2-Cent Tuesday & A Leaders/Enders Sew-Along!

QUICK PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT – please note that I will be responding to your questions/comments in the comment section from now. Due to time constraint, I won’t be responding via email. So, if you ask a question, do check back on the comment section in this post for answers!

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Hello Friends, Happy Tuesday to you! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

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I often work on more than one or two quilts at one time, and in between, I always have another project that has easy units to make as my leaders and enders units. For those who aren’t familiar with leaders-and-enders units — here’s how they work. They are just simple units for a “side” quilt that you would make while working on chain piecing for your main quilt project. That way you don’t have to cut off any threads as you sew.

So, it’s like getting an extra quilt pieced while you are working on your projects. It is a GREAT way to make charity quilts that generally have simpler designs. And that brings up the leaders-and-enders quilt that I will be working on for the next few months.

I am going to do a sew-along between mid-December 2021 and April 2022 with this Aunt Grace Sew Charming Hearts quilt. All are welcome to join!

Click HERE to purchase the kit from Hancocks of Paducah. Picture below shows exactly what you are getting with the kit — a FQ bundle, background and binding fabrics! These 30s’ prints from Marcus Fabrics’ Aunt Grace Sew Charming line are absolutely adorable. Click HERE to see the individual prints.

This is supposed to be a stress-free sew along because you will just be sewing the blocks as leaders-and-enders when you work on your main quilt! It’s never a race. And you are more than welcome to join in if you just want to make the quilt at your own pace, or make the quilt a main quilt project. I will, however, have a few dates (12/16/21 – 3/21/22) where I check in with you on your progress. Our first date is 12/16/21. You will have some time to get the kits in the meantime. So check back on 12/16/21 for our first assignment! With the assignments I will share with you as time goes on, you will find that these heart blocks are great as leaders and enders blocks!

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Now for my 2-cents this week — one way to ensure you actually finish a quilt you start is to grab a friend or two or three to work on the same quilt. That way, you can spur each other on to finish the quilt!

Recently, Bronwyn of New Zealand had a friendly sewing contest with my Stomping Ground design with her friend Helena who lives across the globe in Sweden! They picked a pattern, determined the number of blocks they were going to make in a week, and had a contest to see who was first completing their weekly assignment. The end result: they completed their quilt just after a few weeks.

Then, both Jenny Doan of Missouri Star and her friend Cherry made a quilt with my Go Big or Go Gnome design. Again, sewing with friends = completed quilt! [The pattern for Go Big or Go Gnome is in the book Quilted Gnomes for Your Home HERE.]

Both sweet sewing-with-friends stories is proof you can sew along with your friend(s) whether you live close by to each other or not — and have lots of fun — AND complete lots of quilts!

So, why not grab a friend and pick a quilt you would like to work on for 2022, and then cheer each other on while working on the quilt? How about making that Aunt Grace Sew Charming quilt with your group of quilting friends?

That’s my 2-cents this week. Now it’s your turn to share your 2-cents!

Have a great rest of your week!

p.s. I will be doing “A Christmas Quilt A Day” series on Instagram starting December 1, and you will see my Go Big or Go Gnome quilt there!

Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

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My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to continental US): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

Find all my stand-alone patterns: https://shrsl.com/337dq

2-Cent Tuesday

Hello Friends, it’s Tuesday again! I hope you have had a lovely start to your week. It’s time to think about fall — and I have a couple “colder months” fall quilts to share with you today!

#1. Autumn is Calling – featured with complete pattern in Quilters World Autumn 2021 issue. You may purchase the issue HERE.

#2. Autumn Leaves kit – purchase kit HERE.

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And my 2-cents for this week: USE YOUR PHONE to take pictures of your blocks before you sew them together, or even after the quilt top is sewn together, but BEFORE the quilt is quilted!

[Ask me how I know this is an important step! I recently turned in a magazine project where I didn’t realize one of the blocks was turned incorrectly. The project was quilted and bound and sent to the editor — before I realized the error! Fortunately the project is a small project, and it took me a day to re-make the project to resend to the editor.]

The picture you take doesn’t have to be fancy — following is one I took of Autumn is Calling before it was quilted!

That’s my 2-cents for today. Now it’s your turn to share yours with other quilters! Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a lovely rest of your week!

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to continental US): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

Find all my stand-alone patterns: https://shrsl.com/337dq

(Late) 2-Cent Tuesday & World Elephant Day

Hello Friends, Happy Thursday and World Elephant Day to you! It’s time to re-read a poem about elephant written, by my daughter.

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The Elephant

by GKS, Jan 2021

Oh, creature of colossal height!

Oh, creature of such stately might!

Your trunk is like a garden hose

But bigger. And, as for your toes

They are huge! Oh, Mighty One,

When most see you they want to run.

Your trumpeting is louder than

An orchestra. And, having no fan

You slop black mud between your ears

Which takes care of your sweaty fears.

Your tusks! Well, they’re something to see!

For they are made of ivory!

Oh, wonderful! Marvelous to behold!

What a brave creature and bold!

I think we overlook your tail.

You show it off, but to no avail.

So I will help. Oh, lovely tail!

It’s quite thin, quite as thin as a rail.

And your legs! Oh, gracious, they’re like trees!

And just look at those giant knees!

Oh, how could I forget the ears?

With them, one most assuredly hears

Things that us humans do not know

Such as ‘Elephants know their friends from foes!’

Your physique is clumsy, I’m afraid.

It is the truth, it must be said.

However, you can run, if needed.

Your wise advice is quite best heeded

Because of your great memory

And because you are quite, quite free.

And now, my poetry must relent –

Goodbye, my friend, the elephant.

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You may remember the quilt-along Pat Sloan did with my Stomping Ground pattern last fall. I have certainly enjoyed seeing the different elephant quilts made with the pattern.

There are two kits available that I know of at the moment —

Click here to purchase this kit using Moda’s Tochi fabrics:

Click here to pre-order this version with Moda’s Jungle Paradise fabrics:

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And here’s my 2-cents for this week: I keep an inexpensive and small handheld vacuum close by when I am trimming my block pieces to keep my cutting mat clean. That keeps my trimming debris (aka fuzz and lint) to a minimum on my cutting mat! The vacuum works much better than me trying to scrape fabric debris off with my quilting ruler off the mat!

[And yes, I need a new cutting mat. I am still researching what I should get next…]

That’s all I have for my 2-cents this week. Now it’s your turn to share your 2 or 3 cents!

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have a lovely rest of your week.

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to continental US): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

2-Cent Tuesday (delayed again!)

Hello Friends, I hope you have had a good week so far!

First of all, please allow me to welcome all the new followers! Thank you for following me.

I do apologize for the delayed 2-Cent Tuesday (again!) post for this week. I have used most of last week and this week so far to finalize a few upcoming patterns. Getting a commercial pattern ready always involves a lot of time, hours and hours, and more hours! One of these days, I will share a little behind the scenes with you! I do get to work with two very talented ladies who make my pattern look they way they do. I am most grateful to them.

My BEARING GIFTS pattern is ready, and you may purchase the pattern or kit from Keepsake Quilting by clicking HERE.

Now, back to my 2-cents for this week. So, I recently made largest quilt ever, with a finished size of 95″ x 95″. Unfortunately, I will have to wait till June to share the quilt. It is quite an exciting project for me, but more about that in June.

Background to my 2-cents: I have to admit sewing the blocks together in order to make the quilt isn’t my favorite thing to do. I like making the blocks, but sewing them into long rows — not so much! Sometimes I also find that long row units tend to be wonky.

2 cents: So, I came up with this little trick. When I look at a quilt layout, I try to see if there’s a way to do a “divide and conquer” on the quilt top construction. That way, I minimize having to deal with long seams.

Here is what I mean — for an 8 x 8 quilt layout as shown in the picture below, instead of sewing 8 rows of 8 blocks and sewing the 8 rows together (8 long seams!), I divide the layout into quarter sections. I make the sections, and then sew the sections together (1&2, and then 3& 4) — and then sew the halves together. By doing that, I only have to deal with ONE long seam (RED line). See how that works? This trick came in really handy when I was working on that 95″ quilt!

You may ask — what if my quilt layout is a rectangular layout? Then, you will have rectangular sections. Premise remains the same.

And that’s my 2-cents for you this week! Now it’s your turn! Happy Quilting, my Friends — I shall catch up with you again!

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to continental US): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

Answers to a few questions…

Hello Friends, I hope your week got off a lovely start!  I am still chugging along at my end tending to the different irons in the fire!  First off, the second round of flowering has begun on my rose bushes.  Due to the heat, the flowers aren’t as pink as in the early spring.  And they don’t last as long either.

rose5

I actually tracked the “life” of a rose on my Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago, trying to see how long it took for a bud to mature into a flower.   With the growing conditions in my reason, I say it’s about 14-18 days.  I never thought it would be that long.

rose6

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Every week I receive emails from quilters asking where they can purchase stand-alone patterns for kits they see in catalogs like Keepsake Quilting.   Most of the time these patterns are not available as stand-alone for sale patterns because they are exclusive collaborations among all the parties involved in offering a design as kits .  The only way to get the pattern is to purchase the kits.  I have also learned that Keepsake Quilting almost never re-kit a project after their kits sell out.

So if you like a kit you see, it’s probably best to purchase it while it is still available.  Click HERE to check out the kits that I have designed for Keepsake Quilting.  

I thought I would share with you the newest kits available that I had designed with the Walnut Creek fabrics by Windham Fabrics.

Walnut Creek

The first one is Homestead.  Click HERE to purchase the kit.  Remember the house blocks I had shared with you a few weeks ago?  The design is offered as quilt kits using the Walnut Creek fabrics.

Recolorr4_60 x 72

The second one is Plum Creek.  Click HERE to purchase the kit.

Recolor1_Larissa_93 x 93

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Receiving frequent requests for my stand-alone patterns is a big determing factor for the launch of my own pattern line in December 2019.  I want to thank those of you who have purchased the patterns.  I am appreciative of your support.  Please know that my editors and myself work really hard to make each of these pattern happen!

Click HERE to see the current offerings.  More will be added within the few weeks.  

All my patterns are non-fabric specific, and oftentimes precuts friendly.  And chances are I am sewing my quilts right along with you!

What if you really like the version(s) of my quilts I have shown in my fabric choices?  Email me, and I am more than happy to share with you names of fabric lines, and pertinent details.

Please also let your quilt shops know that copies of paper pattern are offered exclusively to them.  They just need to email me for details.

Precuts Friendly_FQ_Elliptical

This is one I am working on.  It is actually a log cabin quilt.  In case you missed it, I had blogged about it here.  Pattern is available here.  And here is my latest progress picture.  A quarter of the blocks are made!

Apricot & Ash2

Meanwhile, I am working on these blocks…. details coming soon!

Just Need Shortcake1

Morrison Park1

That’s all for now, Friends.  I am burning midnight oil trying to get a huge quilt completed…. This quilt has more than 850 HST units!  I am crazy, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Take care, and may the bluebird of happiness fly up your nose!

Bluebird

Till next time!

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to US addresses): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

Back to blog-land just for a little bit…

A Day In Life

Happy Summer, my dear Friends!  I hope you have been well!  One reverberating question that has been playing in my mind is where the time has gone!  It seemed like it was yesterday I picked Miss Baby from school on the last day of her school year back in May, and now we are way into the month of July!

I have really enjoyed having Miss Baby home this summer although she claims I work her harder than her teacher at school! Haha!  I think she is probably right, but I am certainly not keeping score.

Miss Baby is ever inquisitive and happy to go along with my impulsive outings.  We were at a lavender farm where shortly after this picture was taken, my partner-in-crime left me out in the field cutting lavender sprigs while she enjoyed herself in the shade of the farmhouse porch.

Lavender is the thing on Miss Baby’s bed at the moment.  She even made herself a pillowcase because she thought the one I had out for her was too bland!

A Day in Quilt Life

Quiltingwise, I have kept a demanding pace.  But I am not complaining.

A couple of weeks ago, the great and gracious Pat Sloan had me on her podcast!  It was so much fun chatting a little with her about machine quilting, and stitching with Miss Baby.  If you missed the show, you can listen to the show here.

Besides being excited to see my magazine quilts being published,

Rainbow Room in Quilty (July/August 2018)

Playground Plaza in Fons and Porter Easy Quilts Fall 2018 (click here for kits)

I have been doing a bit of hand applique for my Celebrating Mary Brown quilt.  I am using only Lynette Anderson fabrics for this quilt.

I am also a designer included in the Splendid Sampler 2 this year!!  Are you sewing along with the Splendid Sampler since its launch about a month ago? It is a great sew-along especially if you want to challenge yourself to new skills and techniques.  Here is a picture of my Block #3.  Follow me on Instagram (handle: ivory_spring) to see my other blocks.  Due to time constraint, I haven’t been able to update my blog as often as I would like, but if you need anything from me, just send me a direct message to me via Instagram.  I normally respond much quicker on Instagram.

That’s all for now, My Friends!  I would love to hear from you what you’ve been up to this summer.

p.s.  I have MORE fabric boxes to give away — if you can even believe it!!  But it is what it is, haha.  I will post on the giveaway soon!

Long time no chat!!!

Hello Friends, looong time no chat!  I hope you have been well…. and spring has sprung!

DAY IN LIFE

If I don’t see another clump of monkey grass for the rest of my life, it would be too soon!  I don’t mean any offense at all to those of you who love monkey grass.  We are in the process of redoing part of our front garden, and that involved having digging up and digging up and digging up existing monkey grass!  I thought it was just going to be an afternoon to get the front garden on the path of living out my vision.  But it turned out to be a much bigger deal, and I am still not finished.  Part of what’s in place of the monkey grass are some new rose bushes.  So far so good — I check for new growth every morning, and keeping my fingers crossed!

Spring is my favorite season.  What is yours?

SOME FUN QUILTS FOR YOU

I have quite a few new designs out.  You might have seen this one on the cover of Keepsake Quilting catalog.  Sweet Berry Farm is my design, and I was so excited it made cover on the catalog.  I actually wasn’t aware of it making cover until my sweet quilting teacher Barbara texted me about it!  This is an exclusive design with Keepsake Quilting.  You may purchase the kit or pattern here and here.  The fun thing about the blocks is that I used Ohio Star units to be the strawberry stems!

Then, I have my Sleeping Cat kit offered through Hancocks of Paducah.  You may purchase the kit here.

And the latest release is my quick and easy Basket Toss quilt!  I love this quilt for its simplicity.  I can’t decide for now whether to use this on my bed or the guest bed.  Complete instructions are in McCall’s Quick Quilts June/July 2018 issue, and kits are available here.

Miss Baby’s Stitching Shenanigans

You remember the confetti handstitching Miss Baby learned to do through the monogram pillow ornament I posted here?  Well, there is a method to my madness…. the confetti stitching was meant to prepare Miss Baby for more structure stitching.

So from this random stitching…

to this…

We are beyond the moon happy a magazine in Australia, Handmade, feature Gwedolyn’s stitching story to celebrate her first thread collection, Spool-en-dids.  She had to answer a questionnaire in order for the story to be written.

THINGS ARE HAPPENING

Though I have been silent on my blog, things have been happening at my end.  Between home and mother responsibilities, and the regular things I do all things quilting, here are some upcoming exciting happenings.

Next week — I start my 2018 travels.  I will be speaking at Flying Geese Guild in Maryland on May 21.  Public is welcome to attend with an admission.  I will be bringing goodies!

Then, I will be in Tennessee later this summer/early Fall.

It’s to Berne, Indiana I go…. because I will be filming a new machine quilting video class!  Click here if you haven’t known about my existing classes.  I have some step-out samples from previous classes I found the other day that I will be giving away soon!  Stay tuned.  I am also arranging an event with a local guild while I am in IN.  I will share more once I have more details.

I will be home just in time to head to Houston for Fall Market.  Some fun things are being cooked up that I can’t share yet….

AND — I just found out I will be teaching 5 different classes at Road to CA in Jan 2019.  So I hope to see some of you there!

And with that, I need to get going with my day to squeeze in work before I pick up my precious cargo from school.

If all goes well, I will be posting my no scraps left behind giveaway winners tomorrow.  So, I hope you will come back!  Tootles for now.

Checking in & Giveaway Winner & MORE No Scraps Left Behind Giveaways & FREE PATTERN DOWNLOAD!

DAY IN LIFE!

Hello Friends!  I hope you have been well.  I just came through a sewing marathon where I have had to work through weekends the last few weeks.  The last I counted, I think I have at least 10 quilts already in queue for editorial features from this year’s sewing.  Yikes!  And this past weekend, I covered more than 100 miles just driving my precious cargo (aka Miss Baby) for her activities!  Nonetheless, I hope you had a fun National Quilting Day weekend, as well as St. Patrick’s Day!  Have you seen my Irish Reel Dance quilt, featured in Quiltmaker’s March/April 2018 issue?

I found this fascinating article about St. Patrick that I would share.  Click HERE to read.

I made Colcannon for our St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  So, what is your go to dishes for St. Patrick’s Day?

And in the midst of all the craziness, I have THIS going on for me.  You can imagine the rest.. ha!  This is going to be another ongoing process.

PATRIOTIC FABRICS GIVEAWAY WINNER

Before I go any further — I am happy to announce Kathy to be the winner of my Patriotic fabrics giveaway!!  Congratulations, Kathy!  An email is sent to you – please respond with your mailing address, and I will get the fabrics sent out to you!

MORE “NO SCRAPS LEFT BEHIND” GIVEAWAYS

This picture was taken last fall of my quilts from my sewing room sans about 25 quilts that were not returned to me, and another 30 or so bed quilts stored in my linen closet upstairs.  SO, you think we might have a clue for my “seemingly never ending” stash?!  I am offering 4 more fabric boxes (size of USPS Priority Flat Rate Medium Boxes) to give away.

Offer open to US mailing addresses only, and you will have to be willing to pay $17 shipping cost for me to get the fabric boxes to you!  If you have received boxes from me before, you know I am a generous sharer!!  Leave a comment in this post, and tell me which box you would like!

Box #1:  Useable scrap pieces — these are scrap pieces from my recently pieced quilts.  They don’t come in yardages, but some are large pieces that will be perfect if you are a scrappy quilter.

Box #2:  Mostly green, red and cream yardage pieces – large and small.

Box #3:  Mystery miscellaneous yardage pieces – large and small.

Box #4:  Mainly solid yardage pieces.

 

SPRING TULIP QUILT “TULIP PATHS” FREE PATTERN!

To celebrate the first week of Spring — here is a free pattern for you to download here!  Enjoy!!

Meanwhile, you can find patterns and exclusive quilt kits I have designed HERE and HERE.  If you see a quilt kit you like, do purchase it while you can because the kits aren’t stocked indefinitely, and more often than not, they won’t be available after the fabrics are out of circulation.

HAPPY MONDAY, HAPPY WEEK, AND HAPPY SPRING – Friends!!  Take care till we chat again!

New Year Same Projects

Day In Life

As a result of my ongoing organizing effort, I am faced with the reality of “New Year Same Project(s)” situation!!  I see projects I started before Miss Baby was born, and she is turning 9 this year… that shows you how old some of my projects are.

So this year, I will working to reduce the reality of New Year Same Projects situation in my life!  Here is one that I will be working on for the next two months.  This projects uses almost all the blues out of the 270 Aurifil offers for embroidery floss.  The pattern is Bois Le Duc by Long Dog Samplers for those who are interested.  It is a sampler based on historical Dutch sampler motifs, many with Christian symbolism.

I can only work on this a few minutes when I get some down time.  One thing I find that has helped is to always make sure my needle is threaded when I stop — so that when I pick it up again everything is all ready to go.

CURIOUS MIND WANTS TO KNOW WHAT TRICKS AND TIPS YOU MIGHT HAVE TO TACKLE THE UFO’s IN YOUR LIFE?

Upcoming quilt news

Miss Baby was always fascinated in plants and such (including dandelion!) when she was three, and she still is now!

I have designed this Make A Wish quilt a few weeks ago using Windham Fabrics’ upcoming Botany fabrics.  This quilt celebrates girl, and is inspired by Miss Baby, who can never pass up the chance to blow on a dandelion!  The girl even has the hair much like Miss Baby’s usual hair style!

Please note:  This will be offered as a kit by Windham Fabrics!  Pattern is part of the kit.  And since fabric line doesn’t run indefinitely, if you are interested, you should get the kit while you can, and while it is offered. Ask your local quilt shops to contact Windham Fabrics about Make A Wish kits.  Kits won’t be out for another couple of months, so be sure to check back on this site or my Instagram page for updated information.

I have received many emails asking for past kit patterns.  Unfortunately, those patterns for kits are often not available after the kits are gone.  So, if you see something you like, the thing to do is to get the kits before they are sold out.

With that…. I shall close out today’s post…. but not before I share with you a New Year Same Project situation that I proudly maintain in my life: spending time in God’s Word!  Blessings to you all!!

COVER QUILT ALERT: Snowfall in American Patchwork & Quilting December 2017 & Giveaway Winners

Happy Friends — Christmas is coming, and that’s a fact! :-)  I am very happy to share with you the news my Snowfall quilt made cover on American Patchwork & Quilting’s December 2017 issue!  This is my second time having a cover quilt this year in American Patchwork & Quilting’s magazine.  I cannot be more excited!!

Snowfall is a fun one-block-wonder quilt, using curve piecing.  But really, each block only has 3 seams!  And the quilt has more than 25 fabrics, I think.  You know what many fabrics means — that means fun VISUAL EFFECT!  The fabrics featured in this quilt are from RJR Fabrics’ Merry, Berry and Bright!

Quilt kits are available from fatquartershop.com!

This issue will be on the newsstands till Dec 5th!  Keep your eyes peeled for them at your favorite newsstands.  In the same issue, there is also a free quilt pattern download that I have designed.  It’s call Starry Night Square Dance!  This quilt features fabrics from RJR Fabrics’ Hopscotch.  The magazine has information on how to download the pattern.

Now for the winners of my pile giveaways:

Pile #1:  Debbie Rhodes

Pile #2:  travelingro

I have sent you an email with information on how/where to send the payment to cover the shipping cost.  THANK YOU FRIENDS, for being willing to take the stash off my hands.  Come back tomorrow, I am giving away a set of quilting motif books!  Till tomorrow. :)

Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 7

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

petalquiltfinal-rgb

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well since our last Spring on Bleecker Street post (Part 6).

But before I share about the new part added to the quilt, let’s enjoy what you have sent in!  And THANK YOU, and good job for keeping up!  And please don’t feel bad if you haven’t been able to devote as much time as you would like on the project.  I know I sure haven’t because of the happenings in my life recently.

This is mine from Part 6.

Billie of http://billiebeesblog.blogspot.com (I have “known” Billie for quite a few years.  I have affectionately called her the queen of BOM’s because she works out the coolest BOM projects. Stop by Billie’s blog and see all the amazing quilts she is making!

Alice’s block is really special to me.  You have read about my major de-stashing effort, and Alice asked to be sent a box of my mystery fabric box!  She ended up incorporated one of the fabrics I sent her in the birdhouse block.  What a sweet gesture.

Gail sent in her Parts 5 and 6 progress pictures.  I love the 30’s fabrics Gail has used, making her blocks take on a sweet and whimsical feel.

Good Job, EVERYONE!  Your quilts will all be absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at anystage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time, and still have a life to live. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. You can go as fast or as slow as life allows.  More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project as I have.

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I have had another busy month.  Within the last two weeks and a half, I finalized almost 25 upcoming quilt designs. So I have been doing a lot of pattern writing.  I can’t wait to share with you these new designs — there are some really fun ones!

Back to Spring on Bleecker Street — I have only been able to do the applique on both the bird/swirl blocks this month.

There are a few things I thought I would share with you that might help your applique process go a bit smoother.

#1.  I use a lightbox for tracing and placement purposes.  I have this nifty LED lightbox that is really bright (you can get it at Hobby Lobby because that’s where I got mine).  So, the pattern sheet is place on the light box first, and then, the paper-backed fusible for tracing applique pattern pieces to prepare the fabric applique pieces.

Applicable specifically to this pattern, there is no full-sized placement guide included in this pattern, only a guide!  So, after you have prepared your fabric pieces, you will have to guess-timate and approximate where the pieces go.  That’s perfectly fine. I had no problems with that.

NOW — if you want both your blocks to be as close to perfectly mirror-imaged as possible, this is what you would do.  Work and finalize the placement of applique pieces on one block only.  Fuse the pieces in place.  Then, bring that block #1 (with applique pieces) to your light box (or a window if you don’t have one) — place the block RIGHT SIDE DOWN.

Then, place the background block of block #2 right side up, on top of the wrong side of block #1.  You will see where the pieces are placed on block #1, and then you can in turn place the applique pieces on the appropriate spots on block #2.

#2.  We all like to finish our applique pieces differently.  I like to finish my fusible applique pieces with buttonhole stitching.  So the following is applicable only to buttonhole stitching.  I like to use fine threads and small stitches for buttonhole stitching so that they do not dominate over the applique pieces.  In these pictures you see, I have used the newly released Aurifil Mako 80 wt!   The 80wt was developed for hand applique, but the spools are also machine friendly.  So you can actually use the 80wt for machine stitching as well.

I loved using 50wt for buttonhole stitching, and I am loving the 80wt for buttonhole stitching even more!  The picture below shows a close-up of my buttonhole stitches.

#3.  With buttonhole stitching, I always had problems with the direction-changing of the stitching paths where I have to pivot the stitches to be perpendicular to the edge of applique pieces, and more often than not, those pivoting stitches don’t come out looking good.  The other situation that frustrates me is that it’s hard to do buttonhole stitching around sharp points or narrow pieces…. so, over the years, I have come up with using a combination of buttonhole and outline stitching around my applique pieces — buttonhole stitching when the going is good, and then I switch to straight line stitching when the going gets tough (e.g. when I am getting close a pointy edge, or where the piece is just too narrow), and then, once I get through the rough spots, I switch back to buttonhole stitching again!  I like the resulting look much better that way.

You see how by switching to outline straight stitching, I didn’t have to deal with trying to pivot the buttonhole stitching just so…?  It’s much easier for me this way.

Here you see that the swirl on the bird is too narrow for me to really do buttonhole stitching.  So I just outline/straight stitched around it.

Now, I do have to warn you about the switch between stitches:  I always use my hand wheel (instead of my foot pedal) to control where my needle lands right at the edge of the applique piece. 

#4.  As mentioned before, I always press-starch my blocks REALLY good before I sew the applique pieces in place. That way, I don’t have to use a stabilizer on the bottom of the block, and I won’t have anything to peel off after the finishing stitches.

SO I am hoping these tips will help you navigate applique-ing small pieces, and my swirls relatively easily!  If you know me, you know that swirls pop up quite often in my applique designs. :)

Once you are finished with the applique, and are ready to move to the stitchery part, use the following as a guide to mark the embroidery.

dsc_0402

As you know, I didn’t quite get my act together, so I will be using the next few weeks to add the stitchery to my bird/swirl blocks, as well as the birdhouse block.  I will be using my Marmalade Meadows colors…. I love these colors, if I do say so myself. :)

Have you tried stitching with Aurifloss?  If you haven’t, you have to!  One thing that struck me when I first tried it was that my stitches looked much more defined and crisp.  Then, through communicating with Alex Veronelli, he told me the floss is manufactured the same way as the other cotton threads in that an extra step is added to the manufacturing process to reduce the lint!  I know what that step is — but you will have to find out what it is at Alex’s thread lecture.  If you haven’t been to the thread lectures, you have to!!!  

Anyway, you can order these amazing embroidery floss through your local Aurifil dealers, or you may order them online from

#1.  Cinnamon’s Quilt Shoppe here.

#2.  You may contact www.followthatthread.com to order.

#3.  Pumpkinvine Corner (scroll down to the bottom of order page) here.

marmalade-meadows

marmalade-colors

Well, I have my work cut out for me with the stitching this month!  And meanwhile, I have this daunting quilt I am supposed to make for a magazine with about 80 star blocks.  I have to get the quilt top completed in about 5-7 days.  So…. I’d better get going and get star-block-making!!  Till next time, Dear Friends — and Happy Sewing!

Giveaway — Quilting Treasures Zola Fabrics to make an entire quilt!

Happy Monday, and I hope your week got off with a rousing start.  This is too good to not share!  I had shared with you this free-to-use pattern featuring the Zola fabrics from Quilting Treasures.  I am excited to hear that the fabrics are quickly becoming many’s favorite!!  Quilting Treasures is generously giving away fabrics to make this quilt!!! Click here to enter the giveaway.  I am turning off comments here so that you don’t accidentally leave your comment here and miss the chance on winning. :)

Click here to view the fabric group.  Be sure to check out the adorable snail prints!

Click here to download free to use quilt pattern.

Well, that’s it for now… Friends!  I hope you have a lovely rest of your week.  We have about two weeks before school starts, and still have lots to do before we are ready for school!  Yikes!