Piecing quilt blocks – what works for me

Hello Friends,

I hope you have been well.  I am happy to back again to visit with you and chat about the joy of needle and thread.  Before I really get into sharing about what works for me in piecing quilt blocks, I want to share with pictures of my daughter’s current stitching project.  Gwen is stitching the Beatitudes by Little House Needleworks, and absolutely loves improvising on the design and adding her own touches (like stitching the climbing rose).

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In case you missed it, Gwen is an Aurikid, who curates her own thread collections for Aurifil.  She has guest-posted on Aurifil’s blog HERE.

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I also want to thank you for purchasing my patterns!  Please know that I am making the quilts right along with you.  So today, I am back with a couple of behind-the-scenes tips that have worked well for me when I am piecing quilt blocks.  I am zeroing in on the Parcels in the Post blocks today.

You may purchase the pattern HERE.

Parcels in the Post Cover Photo

My 2 cents #1:  I never ever cut all the pieces I need for the blocks that go into my quilts!  I actually prefer to cut as I go because:

  • I always risk cutting errors in a monumental way if I cut all the pieces at once.
  • I never sew more than 10-15 minutes at my machine.  I like to get up from my machine and cut more fabrics for the subsequent blocks or pressing the blocks I am working on.  I think it’s just a little healthier that way in that I am not stuck to my chair at a long period of time.
  • Another reason is that — since I am home by myself during the day, sometimes when I get up, I will take a slight break to clean one thing around the house before I go back to sewing.  That way, I can sew and clean at the same time.

My 2 cents #2:  I ALWAYS make a test block based on the instructions where I check the size of block is what it is supposed to be.

My 2 cents #3:  Then, I start my batch cutting, based on how to break down the quilt block I am working on, as well as how many blocks certain fabrics appear in the quilt.  So, I cut, and then I sew up the units. I repeat until all the necessary units are constructed, then, I work on putting the blocks together.

To illustrate, let me use a Parcel in the Post block — 

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Strategy #1:  If you are going by the fabric requirements in the pattern, you will see that (1) Fat Quarter is used to construct (2) blocks.  There are (35) blocks total in the quilt.  So, we need a total of (18) Fat Quarters, with (17) Fat Quarters making a total of (34) blocks.  The remaining (1) Fat Quarter will be used to make (1) block.

S0 — right away, that lone Fat Quarter is one I will use to make that test block.  I cut all the necessary pieces for just one block.  If things work out correctly, I know I already have one block done.

NEXT — I will just tackle (2) blocks at a time using (1) Fat Quarter and the necessary background fabric.

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Strategy #2.  Now that we have the general strategy, let’s get down to the details.

Step 1.  I would first cut the pieces for the following unit enough for two blocks.  Then, I sit down and make the units.

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Then, I get up to press, trim, and cut more fabrics for the subsequent step.

Step 2.  So with the units made in Step 1 and more cut pieces, I will make these units.  At this point, I would make sure I have the orientation correct for all the pieces.  Since mirror-imaged units are involved in the Parcel in the Post blocks, it’s a good idea to keep the units separate.  The Clover Wonder Clips are what I love to use to keep my pieces organized!

Unit 2

Unit 3

So I make these units.  I get up and press and cut the pieces that go in the next step.

Step 3.  Things should be pretty smooth-sailing when I get to this point.

Unit 4

I sew the pieces together, and then proceed to add the sashing pieces to complete the block.

Then, it’s rinse and repeat type of operation.  I would usually keep making (2) blocks at a time for a few more times.  Once I am familiar with the measurements etc, then, I would make (4) to (6) blocks at a time — which at that point, things will go fast!  And soon, I will have all the blocks I need for the quilt top!

At Home Quilt

I hope that sharing this might be helpful to some of you.  I find that piecemeal block construction works best for me because it helps me avoid mistakes.   Let me know if you would like to see how I break down the construction of the blocks in my other for-sale quilt patterns.

I do want to emphasize that my way is NOT the only way.  I always encourage quilters to do what works best for them.  Feel free to share your piecing tips and tricks in the comment section.

Since my last post, I also added a new pattern for sale in my Etsy shop: Maisons de Patchwork.  I will be sharing progress pictures of that quilt soon.  If you know me, you know I adore house quilts, and aspire to make as many house quilts I can!  Next post, I will be sharing all the house quilts I have ever made!

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Click HERE to purchase Maison de Patchwork pattern.

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That’s all for now, Friends!  Till next time, Happy Quilting!

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

My Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

Thank you to all who have supported my little shop and contributing to my daughter’s college fund.  Remember, threads always ship free!

 

 

 

 

 

What’s been happening & Happy Valentines’ Day

Hello Friends, I hope you are well.  This week has flown by for me, and I can’t believe tomorrow is already Valentine’s Day!  And of course I hope you have a sweet day tomorrow.

Valentines Day

While I am pulling back on my magazine feature work, you can still find me regularly featured in American Quilter magazine (the publication by AQS).  My Cicle Symphony Quilt is featured in the latest issue (March 2020).  I have had more than 300 quilts featured in various publications, and this styled shot is probably one of my all-time favorites!

And the quilt is done in all solids — rare for me too, but I am loving this quilt.

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Last time I showed you my Parcels in the Post quilt done with Moda’s At Home fabrics.

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At Home Quilt

I started making another version of the quilt this week.  This time with Windham Fabrics’ upcoming line Backyard Blooms.  All I can say is a parcel is a parcel no matter the wrapping paper!

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If you have been to any of my trunk shows, you might have heard at some point the story about my daughter being concerned about having to inherit my 350+ quilts!  What I have yet to disclose to her that in the mix will be multiple versions of one quilt design, haha!  Should I let her know explicitly, or should I let her figure out herself — that’s the question!

These parcel blocks go really quickly!  I thought it was going to be a drag making more blocks for the same quilt, but I can honestly say I really like picking out the different “wrapping paper” for the parcels that version 2 has been just as fun!

Patterns are available for purchase HERE.  Quilt shop owners are welcome to email me for wholesale pricing.

Parcels in the Post Cover Photo

I have another pattern that just went live in case you missed it.  It’s a baby/child quilt design called Baby Dreams.  It has the options of doing a bear cub, puppy or kitten sleeping under a quilt!  Except for the animal faces that require a little bit of piecing, the rest should be a cinch.

Click HERE to purchase the pattern.

Cover Image

Yellow Bear

Blue Puppy Final

Pink Cat Final

And I added a little progress to my Louisa sampler.  THANK YOU to those who wrote to tell me you liked the sampler.

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Louisa Coulimore is a Bristol Orhpanage sampler, charted by Hands Across the Sea Samplers in England.  The Bristol Orphanage was started by the famous Christmas George Muller in the 1800s.  In his life time, Muller cared of more than ten thousand orphans, established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children.

I remember reading a biography of George Muller when I was a teenager, and his life story changed the perpective of how I viewed life.  So stitching this sampler is my way of paying tribute to George Muller.  And it helps that the stitching has been really enjoyable.

Lots are happening here, and I will show you more of what I have been sewing lately!  Till then, take care, Dear Friends!

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

My Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

Thank you to all who have supported my little shop.  Remember, threads always ship free!

 

 

 

Parcels in the Post & an amazing giveaway!

Hello again, Friends!  Happy Day to you all!  Today, I am back today to share with you my first finish of the year!  My Parcels in the Post quilt is made with At Home fabrics from Moda Fabrics.

At Home Quilt

You may purchase the Parcels in the Post pattern HERE.

Parcels in the Post Cover Photo

I had shared with you at the beginning of the year I have pulled back on my magazine work, and am working to bring my designs direcctly to you.  For every design that makes it to my pattern line, there are probably between 6 to 10 that don’t make the cut.  The designs you see in my pattern line will be versatile, non-fabric specific, and often times, all you need would be Fat Quarters + a background fabric to complete a quilt top.

In the case of Parcels in the Post, you will need 18 FQs + background fabric + binding fabric (part of which will be used in the blocks).  So, get raiding on your stash!

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This slightly different direction in my quilting journey has allowed me to have more time to explore the possibilities within each of my quilt designs.  In the following you can see that Parcels in the Post works with any fabrics – themed, Christmas, tonal etc!   I will be making more versions of this quilt, and will share them as I get them completed!

Backyard Blooms

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And The Patchwork Co of Windham, New York is having a most generous giveaway of a total of 30 (!) Diamond Dust (by Windham Fabrics) fat quarters to celebrate the release of my Parcels in the Post pattern!  Remember, you only need 18 for the quilt!  Winner will also receive the pattern in pdf format.  So, check out the details of the giveaway HERE.

NOTE:  Only comments left on The Patchwork Co’s Instagram page will be counted for the giveaway.  Comments on this post here are most appreciated (truly!), but will not be considered for the giveaway.

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And here is my take on how to use the Diamond Dust fabrics in Parcels in the Post — and of course, you can absolutely come up with your own version!

Diamond Dust

That is all for now!  Here are a few handy links related to today’s post:

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

Find The Patchwork Co on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thepatchworkco/

My Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

Thank you to all who have supported my little shop.  Remember, threads always ship free!

See you next time!  Blessings to you all!

Gingerbread Men Shenanigans

Hello Friends!  Happy Monday, and Happy Week to you!  I hope you are well.

A nice weekend for me always involves a little bit a handwork.  Here is one that I am currently working on – using Aurifil cotton embroidery floss.  If you are curious about this project — check out my Instagram feed under handle ivory_spring!  It is a fun little stitch-along I am doing with famed quilt designer Susan Ache!

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I am also very happy to show you the last gingerbread man block I made for my for-sale pattern You Can’t Catch Me!

Click HERE to purchase the pattern pdf download.

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I have made all 24 gingerbread man blocks — and here is the 24th block!

Gingerbread Man 24

And here is the entire line-up!  You will notice almost most of the browns I used aren’t Christmas-related.  Point is, these gingerbread man blocks will work with ANY brown, tan, or orange fabrics you have in your stash.  So often, the brown stash isn’t considered for main fabrics for quilt blocks — the gingerbread man blocks are for your browns, tans and orange to shine!

gingerbread man line up

So —- here are a few tips to make your quilt even more personalized if you are making it!

  1.  Notice that all 24 blocks use 24 different brown/tan/orange fabrics.  You can certainly do that, or you can use 12 FQs to cut for (2) blocks each.
  2.  Instead of using the same background as stated in the pattern, I decided I wanted to make my quilt as scrappy as I can.  So, I actually use 24 different fabrics for the background.  You can easily do that by just cutting what you need for each block from each fabric.  So for my 24 blocks, I used 48 different fabrics – how’s that for scrappy?
  3. I found it much easier to keep track of things grouping the pieces according to the head, arm and leg sections.

Gingerbread Man pieces

4.  The blocks go really quickly — EXCEPT you need to pay attention to the pieces for the leg sections.  You make the leg sections mirror-imaging each other!   Ask me how I know. :)

You might find it helpful to jot down what pieces go where on this bonus block diagram.  Download the block pdf HERE.

Block

5.  And who says you have to make all the blocks suggested in the pattern?  Make fewer blocks to make a wallhanging or tabletopper!

I look forward to seeing your version of You Can’t Catch Me!

Now it’s time for me to teach the gingerbread men to get along by making the heart blocks!

Visit my etsy shop HERE.  Thread collections always ship free.

Follow me on Instagram HERE.

And — Karen Miller and I are having our second Free Motion Quilting Retreat this year in Hamilton, MO!  Click HERE for details!

My little blurb in Modern by the Yard

Good morning, and happy Monday to you, Friends!  I hope you had a great Father’s Day weekend.

This is a new one for me, as you will find my little blurb a fun twist on the sawtooth star block in the latest issue of Bernatex’s Modern by the Yard issue!

Some of you might know that I am on a quest to see how many sawtooth star quilts I can make.  Here are a few I have made with Benartex’s fabrics.

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So, it was really fun to be asked to add a bit of a twist to a well loved block.  Here goes with my twist, done with Benartex’s fabrics Sew Excited fabrics (current).  I named this block It Has To Be Fun!

Because it really does have to be fun when you quilt!  And it’s definitely fun when I get to experiment with the different looks.

And how about we put the block in a couple of quilt settings?

I hope I have piqued your interest — read about my and a few other designers’ take on sawtooth star blocks, and more about fun quilty snippets by click HERE.

Happy week to you all — I will have more to share later this week!  Stay tuned.

Free Motion Quilting Retreat at Hamilton, MO

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Friends, we are already 3rd week into Miss Baby’s summer holiday!  It’s been a busy and happy summer so far.  I love having my baby home with me.  In the summer time, I also double as a homeschool Mom.  I was just telling someone the other day that I used to be able to just wing it with the learning material, not anymore!  Now I have to prep.  I am also using this summer to train Miss Baby on some essential life skills.  So, I haven’t had to do as much laundry this summer because she is doing it.  So, I am definitely NOT complaining!

So, here’s to wishing you all a wonderful summer!

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Today, I am VERY excited to announce that I will be heading toward the midwest to Missouri this Fall!

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[Credit all goes to Karen for this fun image — notice how our van is decorated with free-motion quilting motifs, our front license plate, AND our Aurifil bumper sticker!  You can’t quite see because of the texts above the van.  If the texts weren’t there, you would have seen the piles of quilts we are bringing for the trunk show, and I think somewhere in there are our machines, hopefully, safely tucked in between layers of quilts! Oh…. and it would appear we have a SELF-DRIVING van from the picture so that Karen and I can concentrate on gabbing the whole way there!]

THE beloved Karen Miller and I are doing a double-team and bringing free-motion quilting fun to Hamilton, MO this fall!

WHEN: September 23-25, 2019 — timing is great because this is RIGHT before Missouri Star Quilt Company birthday bash!

WHERE:  7200 sq foot Event Center at Hotel Hamilton (click here to see the beautiful grounds and amenities)

EVENT WEBSITE: CLICK HERE

FEE:  $325 includes lodging of 3 nights of retreat style sleeps in beautifully adorn room, meals (3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner), lectures and classes* – Check Event Website for further details

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: This is a fun retreat format built on friendship!  Karen and I are friends, and would love to be your quilting friends!  You will more than likely make new friends there as well.  PLUS — with Karen and I both being there, we will double the insights in machine quilting!

BRIEF SCHEDULE:

September 23 Evening – Lecture on Aurifilosophy and Trunk Show – we share why we are Auri-fanatics!

September 24 All Day – Free motion Quilting Basics with hands-on fun at the machines

September 25 All Day – Venturing out of the basics into feathers and background fillers with hands-on fun at the machines

In between — at night you will have free time either to just relax with friends or sew!  I will more than likely join you with my handwork projects.

PERKS:  Sewing at your own 6′ space (no invasion of personal space!), swag bags from Aurifil and possible more swags, snacks and best of all confidence in machine quilting, and friendship!

COME JOIN US!  IT WILL BE FUN!!!  WE WILL HAVE SNIPPETS to share soon– so, watch our blogs!

Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 1

Jan 7: Announcement post
***Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging

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Hello Friends, today is the day we start working on our Free-motion Quilt Along!  We are so happy to hear about the warm responses indicating you will be participating.  Again, this is low-maintenance stress free!  If you haven’t already joined us on this sheepish adventure and are thinking about it, I say, “Just do it!”  Click on the announcement post above if you aren’t sure about the details.

Now, I have heard that certain shops sold out of the panel, click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.

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So, today I will share with you my tips on planning, pinning and basting.

#1.  I first starch-press my fabric pieces – panel and backing fabric piece.  You don’t have to use starch if you’d rather not.  I find that starch helps keep the fabrics nice and stiff for the pinning process so that I don’t end up with unexpected slack.

#2.  I am not doing anything to the panel.  I then trim my backing fabric to be about 1.5-2″ larger than the panel itself.  Then, I cut the batting piece to the size of the backing fabric piece.  The reason I don’t like to cut the backing or batting pieces larger than that is because I don’t like to deal with too much excess with the quilt sandwich.  I have had cases where I had too much excess on the backing piece,, and I would accidentally quilt the excess to the back of the quilt in the process of scrunching and pushing the quilt sandwich through that little throat of my machine.

#3.  This is a light-hearted and really cute panel.  So, I decided to add a little something fun to the quilting scheme.  Besides quilting the free-motion quilting motifs, I am going to quilt the word BAA along the left and right wide borders.

To fit the mood, I just scribbled the letters A and B about 4″ in height onto a piece of paper.  This piece of paper from Miss Baby’s stationery drawer has seen better days.  But I am a frugal Mom.  My daughter will never use that piece of paper, so I get to do the honor!  I did darkened the letters with a Sharpie.

Then, I just slipped the piece of paper under the panel, and use a Frixion pen to mark the letters onto the panel.  I am SO excited about these letters!

ALWAYS mark before you start pinning!

#4.  And let the pinning party begin.  A quilt sandwich is made of quilt backing piece (wrong side up), then batting piece, then panel (right side up).

a.  So, before actually pinning, it’s a good idea to tape down the backing piece with painters tape to make sure the fabric is taut all around.  This should take care of any slack as well as any puckering that might happen otherwise during the quilting process.

b.  Then smooth your batting piece down on the backing fabric before placing the panel.

c.  Starting from the panel center, pin outward in all directions with nickle-plated safety pins about 2″ apart until your quilt sandwich is securely basted and more than likely covered with pins.

d.  Pat yourself on the back — you have done well!

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For my quilt, I am using the Hobbs Silk Tuscany batting.

And I will be using all the colors from my Subtle String Aurifil 50wt collection to quilt this piece.  You may purchase the threads HERE (a $140 value offered right now at $99.99).

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This panel piece is perfect for us to try out the subtle contrast quilting concept that I so love!  Basically, I got tired to being relegated to only using gray, beige or white threads for quilting while there are so many other beautiful threads out there.  So, I began using pastel colored threads to quilt my quilts for a subtly colored effect.  I have been more than pleased!

Alrightie, FRIENDS!  I call it a smashing success if you have done this part.  Remember, successful machine quilting is made of baby steps.  In college, I was taught to set up the equations right for engineering calculations.  In today’s baby step, we set up the quilt sandwich correctly for stress-free quilting on the machine later.

NOW, I wonder what Karen has done …. remember, it’s ALL a mystery between the two of us!!!  I am heading on to her blog to see what she has been up to.  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along

Hello Friends,  a very blessed New Year to you all!  I hope you had a great holiday season.  It was an extremely busy year for me last year, and this year is looking like it will be just as happening!  But I am hoping I will finally find a happy medium in my schedule where I get to interact with you more on my blog.  I appreciate many of you who emailed to check on me.  You are all so very sweet!  Again, if you are on Instagram, that is the best place to find me right now.  Look me up at ivory_spring.

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I have exciting news to share… it’s been simmering for a while now!  But the soup has finally boiled over, and I have no choice but to share the exciting news!  Ha!  The super sweet and VERY talented Karen Miller of Redbird Quilt Co and I are teaming up for a Mystery Quilt-Along! Karen and I had been online friends for a while, and were able to meet up two Fall Markets ago!  She has been a bright spot in my quilting journey.

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This is a special quilt-along — because this one focuses on Machine Quilting, and we will be using motifs covered in my book Stitching Pathways.  You can read about the book here.  This will be a multi-part quilt-along where Karen, and I won’t know ahead of time how we each quilt the different parts of the quilt, making the quilt-along rather mysterious!  Think a really fun Quilt-Off!

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DETAILS on supplies:

1.  We’ll be using one of our favorite panels from World of Susybee, Lewe the Ewe.  This panel is a 1 yard cutThe product code for this panel is SB20042-710.  You’ll need one panel — or one 36″ x 42″  cut. There is NO additional piecing because we are impatient and want to jump RIGHT into the quilting part.

Click HERE for participating shops who are selling the fabrics.

2.  For backing — we are using the Susybee Lewe the Ewe allover design.   Product code: SB20049-810.   For this fabric you’ll need about 42″ in length (or 1 1/4y) — that will give you a little extra around the edges of your quilting.

3. For the binding we choose the Susybee Black and White Dot.

The product code on this is SB20171-199    A quarter yard of this fabric is perfect for your binding.

4.  I will be using the Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting because that is my go-to.  You may also use wool or cotton.  A crib size is is all you would need (45″ x 60″).

5.  My book Stitching Pathways.  Karen gave the most gracious review on my book. “In my opinion this is one of the best Free Motion Quilting books on the market.  Not only does Wendy give you awesome beginner information and tips, she includes a wide variety of quilting motifs and shares in great detail HOW to quilt them… You won’t be disappointed — I promise!  Best Book Ever!”

You may order the book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing

Amazon

or email me for signed copies!

6. I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!

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DETAILS on schedule (subject to change):

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We are all busy — so, we are trying to keep this Quilt-Along very non-demanding!

Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging

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And of course, what is a Quilt-Along without a giveaway at the end?  Check this link here for information.  This will updated as we quilt along. :)

I hope you will get your supplies ready, and join us on this really really fun adventure!  Just think — by the end of this Quilt-Along, you will have a completed quilt, and have honed your quilting skills!  WIN-WIN!

GIVEAWAY!!!! Michael Miller Last Minute Gift Blog Hop 2018

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Hello Friends — Happy December, and Happy Christmas to you all!  I hope you have been well!  For those of you who have started to follow me at Instagram (ivory_spring), THANK YOU!  I have enjoyed your visits and comments, and chatting with some of you even!   I have lots more to share, but for today… I am going to focus on my contribution to the Michael Miller’s Last Minute Gift Holiday Blog Hop!

Operative word here is Last Minute!!!

Christmas is in full swing at my end despite a really busy work and life schedule, and I am sure it’s about the same at your end.  No matter how prepared I think I am, I always end up with something last minute to do!  If you are looking for a last minute gift to make — a pillow is always a quick one!

TIP:  Make a quilt block (pieced or even cut from a panel), and add border pieces to the size of your pillow form.  Then, construct your pillowcase, and voila!

HappyElephant copyI got to work with Hollywood Pixie fabrics for my blog hop project.  This is a most adorable line, especially if you have a precious girl in your circle of influence who fancies herself a fairy or pixie.  I have just such a girl living in my house!  These fabrics are currently available in local and online quilt shops.  Click here to view the fabrics.

So… I made a tree block from my Santa’s Tree Farm pattern, and added enough pieces to make a 24″ x 24″ square because I have a 24″ square pillow form from Hobbs Batting — softest pillow form ever, by the way!

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I get asked a lot how big is that little star tree topper — it is 3″ finished!  It is possible to make as long as you are careful with your seam allowances, with your seams pressed open.

IMG_9906Constructed throw pillowcase with the pillow form inserted — in the “kids” Christmas corner at my house.

FROM START TO FINISH — a little over an hour — can’t get more “last minute” than that!

IMG_9926I used the easiest “envelope” method to construct the pillowcase back  because I don’t know how to insert a zipper!  There — I said it!  I just used the pixie print for the entire back.

Do visit Michael Miller’s Facebook page HERE

GIVEAWAY:  To win a fabric bundle from Michael Miller, please comment and tell me if you give handmade Christmas gifts!  Winner will be announced on December 12th!

I hope this gives you an idea for a quick gift to make this holiday season!  In case you haven’t checked out the other blog hoppers —

That’s all for now, Dear Friends!  Have a great weekend.

Spool-en-dids Ornament Project #4 – Focusing on the Spool!

Hello Friends, it’s good to be back to re-connect!  Summer is over for us.  Miss Baby started school this week.  I have to say it took me a bit to get used to the quietness during the day while she is at school.

Have you been sewing along with a little friend, or by yourself since I last shared “Happy To Be ME”, Smar-kly and a Primer on Cross-Stitching ornaments?

It’s time for me to share with you the fourth of the six mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project, released to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids iniatiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy and needle and thread to the next generation.

All the ornaments use embroidery floss Spool-en-dids, a thread pack my daughter curated for Aurifil.

Read more about Spool-en-dids, and find out the names my daughter has for her selected colors HERE.

#1.  YOU may now purchase the collection from FAT QUARTER SHOP by clicking HERE.

#2.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#3.  YOU may also purchase the collection by clicking HERE.

#4.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Miss Baby is saving the royalties for her college fund, as well as supporting the medical missions of Samaritans Purse.

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PROJECT: Focusing on the spool!

SUPPLIES:

7-8″ square piece of Cross-stitch Aida fabric (11 or 14ct — I recommend 11ct for younger children 7 and under, 14ct for older), Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, stuffing material & basic sewing supplies. 

To make the ornament like what we have done here, you will need 4 pieces of fabric scrap to frame your stitched piece, and one for backing the pillow case.  Time to go dig through your scraps pile.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all pillow ornament tutorials in this series, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: We will just be practicing on crossing the crosses row after row to get used to cross-stitching, until your child complains about being cross-eyed (JUST KIDDING!).  But in the end, the rows will result in a spool of thread.

From ornament #3, (if you missed the tutorial, the link is here),

we will progress to this:

Here is the fun part about this spool stitching — you may choose the colors you would like to use, and you may stitch as many rows as you would like as well.

Step 1.  If you would like to stitch your spool just like the one that is shared, first you will hoop the fabric with an embroidery hoop!  You will just start a little left of the center of your 7-8″ cross stitch fabric square,

a.  stitch a row of 13 cross stitches using the brown floss.

b.  stitch a row of 11 cross stitches using the brown floss, off setting one stitch from the previous row.

c.  stitch subsequent 14 rows of 9 cross-stitches using red and yellow, alternating 2 rows of red and 1 row of yellow.

d.  stitch a row of 11 cross stitches using the brown floss, mirroring row b.

e.  stitch a row of 13 cross stitches using the brown floss mirroring row a.

Step 2.  After stitching is complete, remember to praise your kid stitcher to the sky!  Trim and square up your piece, and frame with fabric scraps to make pillow ornament top.  Then, with the pillow front and back pieces facing each other and folded ribbon piece tucked in the between, I sewed with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening. Turn pillowcase right side out, and stuff. I started using the stuffing made by Hobbs recently, and have ABSOLUTELY loved it!!  Hand stitch opening shut, and there you have it!

Now, how cute is this little spool ornament?

Imagine…
#1. having a stitching party of stitches of all ages, and have everyone stitch out the spool in their favorite colors – solid, variegated etc!
#2. making this as a gift change for a stitching or quilting group
#3. stitching a row of multiple spools during the different colors to make a horizontal pillow ornament

I hope you will enjoy this little stitching project with your kid stitcher, and jump start a lifetime of sweet stitching memories.

Meanwhile, Miss Baby has a new progress picture to share on her Patchwork Aux Chat sampler using ONLY colors from her Spool-en-dids collection.  She has mixed up floss of different colors to achieve additional colors besides the ones in her collection.  I have learned to zip my mouth and let her run with her color choices for her sampler because I think her choices produces striking results!

She tried her best to finish this sampler up before school started, but it didn’t happen.

Thank you for stopping by — and let’s get some stitching going!

Spool-en-dids Ornament Project #3 – A primer on cross-stitching

Hello Friends — have you been sewing along with a little friend, or by yourself since I last shared “Happy To Be ME” and Smar-kly ornament?

It’s time for me to share with you the third of six mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project, released to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids iniatiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy and needle and thread to the next generation.  This third ornament is a simple primer on cross-stitching, to get us ready to do cross-stitching for ornaments #4 and #5.

Read more about Spool-en-dids, and find out the names my daughter has for her selected colors HERE.

#1.  YOU may now purchase the collection from FAT QUARTER SHOP by clicking HERE.

#2.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#3.  YOU may also purchase collection by clicking HERE.

#4.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Miss Baby is saving the royalties for her college fund, as well as supporting the medical missions of Samaritans Purse.

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PROJECT: Cross-stitching Primer Pillow Ornament

SUPPLIES:

Cross-stitch Aida fabric (11 or 14ct — I recommend 11ct for younger children 7 and under, 14ct for older), Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, stuffing material & basic sewing supplies. 

You will need 4 pieces of fabric scrap to frame stitched piece, and one for backing the pillow case.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all subsequent pillow ornament tutorials, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: This project is to get children familiar with structured stitching associated with the “holes” on Aida/cross-stitching fabrics.

PLEASE read through the entire project before attempting. You may let your kid stitcher step in and be involved in any of the steps. For us, my daughter participated in selected the fabrics and stitching. I did the rest.

So — you would want to start with a piece of cross-stitch Aida fabric that amply fits your hoop.  The stitches are done with (2) strands of embroidery floss.  The Aurifloss consists of 6-strands of individual floss, just like the conventional embroidery floss.  So, you would have to cut a length of the floss, separate out 2 strands for the stitching.

Step 1.  Refer to the photo below to teach your kid stitcher stitching just straight lines, half-cross-stitches, and then cross-stitches! Notice all the Spool-en-dids come out to play on this one!

Important Notes:

#1.  It’s really important that you hoop the cross-stitch Aida fabric so that the stitches will turn out nicely.  If not, hooped, your kid stitcher might struggle with the tension of the stitches.

#2.  Your kid stitcher may choose to stitch more than just 15 squares in a row.  She might want to stitch long lines for a nice throw pillow.  Since we are doing ornaments at our house, we do a limited number of stitches so that our ornaments do not end up being more than 4″ x 4″.

#3.  To make it fun, feel free to mix colors – using 1 strand of yellow and 1 strand of brown for example for a fun effect.

Step 2.  After stitching is complete, remember to praise your kid stitcher to the sky!  Trim and square up your piece, and frame with fabric scraps to make pillow ornament top.  Then, with the pillow front and back pieces facing each other and folded ribbon piece tucked in the between, I sewed with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening. Turn pillowcase right side out, and stuff. I started using the stuffing made by Hobbs recently, and have ABSOLUTELY loved it!!  Hand stitch opening shut, and there you have it!

Next month, we will be cross-stitching a thread spool ornament!

Meanwhile, Miss Baby is stitching a Patchwork aux Chats sampler (designed by French designer Jardin Prive – I highly recommend her designs for children).  She is mixing her colors to stitch the cats.  Follow me on Instagram for work-in-progress pictures.  My handle is ivory_spring.

I hope you will enjoy this little stitching project with your kid stitcher, and jump start a lifetime of sweet stitching memories.

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p.s.  If you missed the article in a recent Quiltmaker issue about my experience in teaching Miss Baby to stitch, it is now available online here.  Enjoy!

A Simple SPOOL-EN-DIDS project tutorial #2

Hello Friends — have you been sewing along with a little friend, or by yourself since I last shared “Happy To Be ME” ornament?  It’s time for me to share with you the second of six mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project (Smar-kly), released to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids iniatiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy and needle and thread to the next generation.


To dovetail with the release of Spool-en-dids my daughter curated for Aurifil, we will be highlighting 6 monthly projects to give you ideas on hand-stitching with kids. The colors selected are by a kid for kids!  You may purchase Spool-en-dids from the following sources:

#1.  NEW!! ** YOU may now purchase the collection from FAT QUARTER SHOP by clicking HERE.

#2.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#3.  YOU may also purchase collection by clicking HERE.

#4.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Read more about Spool-en-dids HERE if you aren’t familiar with the Aurikids initiative. And to those of you who purchased the thread collection, please allow me to thank you from the bottom of my heart or contributing to Miss Baby’s college fund!!

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PROJECT: “Smar-kly” Pillow Ornament

SUPPLIES: POLKA DOT fabric scrap, paper-back fusible and THIN batting scraps, Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, & basic sewing supplies. 
You will need pieces of fabrics – one for pillow top, and one for backing the pillow case.  I didn’t use a batting piece this time to stabilize the project because I wanted Miss Baby to be aware of the thread tension when stitching just on a fabric piece.
OPTIONAL – however, if your kid stitcher is tiny, it is always a good idea to back your ornament top fabric with a piece of batting and a piece of backing fabric.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all subsequent pillow ornament tutorials, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: In ornament #1, we did the random no rule confetti stitching.  For ornament #2, we will introduce structure into stitching within the confine of a circle.

ALSO:  This tutorial will not cover how to finish the pillow ornament, as the steps are already covered in the tutorial for ornament #1.

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Step 1:  This one is light on prep work for the adult.  Once you have the supplies, your kid stitcher is ready to go.  So, everyone has a polka dot fabric collection like I do, right? :)  I picked the polka dot print because the work is all done for us in this quick and easy project.

NOTE:  I notice with children (and adults alike), the excitement of the first project wears off over time.  I also believe keeping on with the projects teaches perseverance in children.  Keeping in mind both aspects, I picked this super easy project to make the experience stress free for both adult and child.

Step 2:  Once you have your fabric hooped, the stitching can begin.  Simply stitch the length of the diamater of the a circle four times (first do a cross, then, the two diagonals), and you are finished!  There is no ruler on how many circles to cover.  The stitching gives the polka dots a bit of dimensional sparkling twinkle!  I happened to find a fabric that provided the background for matching a few Spool-en-dids colors.  Feel free to do a contrasting effect!

Step 3.  To secure the stitches at the center of the circle, you could teach your kid stitcher French knots if she is older.  If not, you can just teach your kid stitcher to take a tiny stitch in the circle center, and your stitches are secure!

Step 4.  Finish up the ornament as we did before, and you will have added another Christmas ornament for your stitching buddy.  Do remember to store the ornaments in a nice clean box, so you don’t have to hunt for them when Christmas comes… ask me how I know!?!

We are actually using this as a sewing pillow companion as summer is just about here — we will be ramping up the stitching!

If you are stitching along — do send me pictures — the plan is to do a couple more of these, and we will have a nice giveaway for those who are participating!

*Smar-kly = Sparkly (Gwen’s version at 5), and we still say her 5 year old version at home.

I hope you have fun with this fun little project.  It should take no more than 20-30 minutes for handstitching.  I will show you additional ideas on stitching on polka dots in a couple of weeks.  And the next installment — cross stitching basics!  If you want to prepare ahead, you will need either 11- or 14- count aida that you can easily purchase at your local craft stores.  

Love and hugs to you all — till next time!