Friday, July 29, 2016

{Fabric Friday Fix} How I Choose Prints for a Quilt, or Beyond the Bundle

Because my summer isn't crazy enough, I decided it was time to pull fabric for a new quilt. One of my new favorite patterns is this Shimmer quilt by Allison Harris.  I love that there is no paper piecing or y-seams. But what I love best is that this quilt is a great way to mix up some fabric. 

While I absolutely love pre-cut fat quarter bundles (stacks of gorgeousness, I call them) because they're so convenient, I also love using some of my stash. I'm of the opinion that I buy fabric I love because I intend to use it. Aside from a few pieces of Tula Pink that I'm saving to pay for my kids' college tuition, I plan on using my stash. 

Sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap that we have to use a fat quarter bundle as a whole, instead of pulling pieces for different projects. But I've decided recently that with a few exceptions, I'm going to start buying prints I love and not feel pressure to buy everything. Because it's often just so easy to pull out a bundle and start cutting (ha! if only it was really easy), I wanted to share how I pull from different lines and coordinate a bundle for a specific project. 

First, I find a print that incorporates a variety of colors that I know I want to use. I usually pick a print that has the feel that I want. By that I mean a print that can read bold or subtle, depending on what you pair it with. I want a print that I love because I'm going to tie everything back to this print. 

For this quilt, my focal print is this Emmy grace by Bari j. (Art Gallery Fabrics). It's got bright colors and subtle prints, I love this floral because it's bold without being overpowering. It floral without being chintz-y or overly feminine. 

Second, I pull a few fat quarters that coordinate with the background. These two worked so perfectly, it's like I planned it!
Michael Miller pinhead dot
Weeds by my sister and me for moda

Then, I start pulling from each of the dominant colors in the print. If you have a hard time finding dominant colors, the dots on the selvage are a good place to start. These prints work with the coral flowers on the Emmy Grace fabric. When choosing prints that coordinate, I shoot for a range of dots, florals, stripes, novelty, etc. 
Ladybug in nectarine (true colors) by Tula pink for Free spirit fabrics.  
Submarines and seaweeds (saltwater) by Tula pink for free spirit fabrics. 
Domino dot (waterfront park) by violet craft for Michael Miller fabrics. 
 As I choose prints, I try to balance out the feel of the quilt. While some of these prints are lighter, they still work with the bolder solid. When choosing fabrics and colors, you need some lighter colors where you can "rest your eyes" when looking at the quilt. 

Fresh Dew Quilter's linen by rober Kauffman fabrics. 
Simple flower (Sophie) by Chez moi for moda fabrics 
Mint Wee gallery heart by dear Stella fabrics
Eponine (paperie) by Amy sinibaldi for art gallery fabrics. 

I wasn't intending to go bolder with the greens, but I loved these bold prints. Since my blues were lighter, I could go bold with some of the prints. There are a few florals, a dot, and a stripe. 

Olive zest (summer) by lily Ashbury for moda fabrics
Green eyelet (flea market fancy) by Denyse Schmidt for free spirit fabrics. 
Green medium dot by Riley Blake designs
Olive making waves ( true colors) by Tula pink for free spirit fabrics. 

These berry colors were just crying to be pulled! Note that they're not all exactly the same shade of berry. But it still works because the flowers in the Emmy Grace print have some variety in them, too. 

Raspberry henna garden (meadowsweet 2) by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller fabrics. 
Jewel domino dot (waterfront park) by upset craft for Michael Miller fabrics 
Wisteria daisy buds ( true colors) by Tula pink for free spirit fabrics. 

If you look at the flowers on the Emmy Grace print, you'll notice the brighter colors in the foreground and some of the lighter, more subtle fabrics as added definition. Your quilt should be the same. Just like having lighter prints to rest your eyes on, you also need them to add contrast and definition to your quilt. These blush pinks added perfectly for contrast. 

Pink check dot (sew stitchy) by aneela hoey for moda fabrics. 
Pink ovals (home essentials) by Robyn pandolph for RJR fabrics. 
Pale pink butterflies by Lizzy house.

When you put them all together, you should see a flow between bright and light, bold and subtle. The best part of this is that you know you love all the prints bought them! Go forth and experiment with fabric bundles. 


Share your bold fabric pulls on Instagram with:

Monday, July 25, 2016

2016-2017 Color Block Swap

UPDATE: The Color Block Swap has been put on hold, due to the fact that we're moving states, buying a home and starting a new job! We'll start up in January. Watch for the post with the 2017 calendar. 

I know I said I was done with square swaps for awhile, but when I sat down to calendar my fall with my new bullet journal (it's my new favorite way to track and document my life. Eventually, I'll get around to writing about it), I realized that I can fit it in if I plan ahead. So, we're back with a new program and a new name! Introducing...

What's a Color Block Swap?

Beginning, August 8th, you'll be able to sign up for 1, 2, or 3 colors for a 10" square layer cake. The goal is to give you 40 different basic blender fabrics that can be used in a variety of projects.  Each color will be offered once in the fall and once in the spring. I spaced the colors out so you can do some theme sewing/quilting if you want (You'll get Halloween colors by the end of September, Christmas colors by the end of October, and Valentine's colors by the end of January). You will pick a single print, cut it into 40 squares, and ship the squares to me by the deadline. I sort them and send you a beautiful stack of basic blender fabric.

What do you need to do?

1. Sign up. The first round goes live on August 8th (see color schedule  below).

2. Post your fabric choice, along with designer and fabric line, to Instagram by the deadline. Only 100% quilting cotton will be accepted. No big box fabrics will be accepted (Joann fabrics calicos, walmart, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc. are NOT quilting cottons. The exception to this is Kona solids you can buy at Joann Fabrics). This ensures that we don't have duplicate fabric choices in your layer cake. Because your posts have to visible, you must register and post using a PUBLIC instagram account. 
3. Purchase 3 yards of the print you've posted.
4. Cut it into 40 10" squares, using a rotary cutting system. Be careful! Squares with jagged edges or squares that don't measure at least 10" will be returned.
5. Pay your $10 return shipping fee to me. The $10 covers your shipping fee, the cost of the shipping label, and the cost to sort, package and ship your bundles. You pay $10, whether you sign up for 1, 2, or 3 colors. Instructions for payment will be in the confirmation email. 
5. Mail your squares to me by the shipping deadline. My address will be in the confirmation email you receive when you register. Please be aware of shipping deadlines. Packages received after the deadline will be returned. 
6. Anxiously await your happy mail. I will distribute packages by the distribution deadline. 


Do I have to sign up for all three colors?

No. You can sign up for 1, 2, or all 3. You can also sign up for multiples of a single color. So if your stash is woefully small in the orange department, you can sign up for two bundles of orange. This means you'll pick, cut and ship two different fabrics. You'll likely receive two identical bundles, but then you'll have double the options for blender fabric! 
*Note: I can only ship 3 layer cakes per Padded Flat Rate Envelope. Please keep this in mind when signing up. 

Why do I have to post my fabric on Instagram? And why does it have to be a public account?

I use Instagram to catalog what fabric color block swap participants choose. It's the easiest way for me to keep track of your choices. When you post your fabric choice to the hashtag for that round, it lets everyone know that your chosen fabric has been claimed. Private accounts who post to a hashtag will not be seen by other users, unless those users follow you. This defeats the purpose of cataloging your fabric choices via hashtags. 

Can I use more than one fabric or do all 40 squares have be from the same print? 
For this swap, all 40 squares need to be from the same print. This is another way I ensure that we don't have duplicate fabrics in your layer cake. 

What is a basic blender fabric?
A blender fabric is a fabric that reads a single color and that can be used on a small scale. The goal with this swap is to give you a stack of fabric that can be used in a variety of projects. Blender fabrics tend to be solid, tone on tone fabrics, or single color with some white/cream designs on them. Am easy, super scientific method of establishing whether something is a blender fabric is what I call the "squint test". Squint your eyes and look at your fabric. Does it read a single color or is the design distracting? If it reads solid and has a small scale pattern repeat, it's probably a blender. See! Super scientific. 

How do I cut my fabric once I've purchased it? 
I posted my method of cutting the fabric here. You're free to use any method for cutting squares, but you need to cut them with a rotary system. Hand cut squares with jagged, crooked edges, as well as squares that are too small will be returned. 

If I sign up for one round of Color Block Swap, am I committing to sign up for all future rounds? 
No. When you sign up for a specific round, that's all you're signing up for. I won't send you random emails or contact you for any purpose other than confirmation of your registration,  instructions for shipping your squares, and any pertinent status updates. 

I've participated in past rounds and have sometimes received two squares of a print. Why is that?
The goal with every round is to get 40 different participants, so you get 40 different fabrics in your layer cake. But I also don't want to fall behind on deadlines or keep you from getting fabric in your hands. So, if the deadline comes and we only have 30 participants, you'll get a few repeats in your bundle. You'll never receive more than two squares of a fabric and I double check to make sure you still get 40 squares. After doing this multiple times last year, I've figured out the pattern for doing this effectively. If I make a mistake, I'll make up for it and send you squares from my stash!

I live outside the contintent USA. Can I still participate? 
Absolutely! International participants are welcome. You just need to make sure you get the fabric to me in the shipping window. You will also need to 
Pay the cost of international shipping + $5. So, a padded flat rate envelope to Canada is $23.95. You'd pay $28.95 for return shipping. 

Color Block Swap Schedule:

You'll find the schedule for the 2016-2017 Color Block Swaps below. Each color is represented once in the fall and once in the spring. The first deadline listed is the deadline for selecting/posting fabric choices and paying your return shipping fee. The "receive by" deadline means that any packages received after that date will be returned. Distribution is the date I've assigned myself to get your packages sorted, packaged and mailed.

Sign Up
Shipping Deadline
Receive by
Aug. 8
Aug. 19
Sept. 9
Sept. 14
Sept. 23
Orange, Black, Purple
Sept. 19
Sept. 30
Oct. 14
Oct. 19
Oct. 28
Red, Yellow, Green
Oct. 24
Nov. 4
Nov. 18
Nov. 22
Dec. 2
Aqua, Navy, Grey
Nov. 28
Dec. 9
Dec. 30
Jan. 4
Jan. 13
LV, Pink
Jan. 9
Jan. 20
Feb. 3
Feb. 7
Feb. 17
Red, Purple, Orange
Feb. 13
Feb. 24
Mar. 3
Mar. 7
Mar. 17
Yellow, Green, Aqua
Mar. 13
Mar. 24
April 7
April 12
April 21
Black, Grey, Pink
April 17
April 28
May 12
May 17
May 26
Navy, LV
 * LV=Low Volume

Are you excited for all the fabric gorgeousness (that's absolutely a word!)? I can't wait to see what fabrics you pick. Start stalking your favorites fabric vendors now! The first sign up will be posted here in two weeks. See you then!



If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at

Saturday, July 23, 2016

August do.good stitches

I'm in charge of picking the block for our August do.good stitches quilting bee. Sewing and quilting with my nurture circle ladies is one of the highlights of my month. 

This month we're tackling some simple paper piecing kaleidoscope blocks. The tutorial for this month is found here: 

For the blocks, I'm asking the circle to use low volume prints for the outer corners and ROYGBIV solids for the spokes (see the examples below). In the instructions, it says to join four of the finished blocks into a 12" block. You can skip that step and just make 8 different blocks and send them to me. Try to use a variety of solids and not make 8 red blocks. 

A couple tips that helped me when making these blocks. 

I chain pieced my blocks and just did the same step 8 times. It made trimming, sewing, pressing, etc. go so much faster. 

I noticed when trimming my blocks before the final piecing step (sewing the halves together) that the outer line is just a bit wider than 1/4". Make sure the seam allowance is truly 1/4" before seeing the two halves together. 
When piecing the halves together, make sure you leave a 1/4" "notch" at the top and bottom of each block. This ensures that the center points line up. 

Leave the papers in. I'll take them out once I piece the blocks together. 

The blocks do take some time to put together, but the paper piecing is pretty easy. Have fun! 


Friday, July 22, 2016

Fabric Friday!

Because sharing my love of fabric makes me feel a little better about hoarding it, I'm starting this series of Friday Fabric Fix with you lovelies. Whether you just like color or love working with fabric, I hope you love these fabric lines as much as I do. 

Also, I'm trying to be more conscientious with my fabric purchases and that means I won't be sharing every Friday. But I'm sharing fabric I think is versatile and covers a wide range of uses-from pouches to quilts to appliqué to garment sewing. Let me know if you have any lines that I HAVE to check out. 

This week's fabric Friday is Janine Vangool's first line for Windham fabrics. Like her magazine, the line is called Uppercase. And I LOVE it! 

I mean, look at this line. I'm a sucker for basic blender fabrics and this line fits the bill perfectly. It's got a great range of color and small prints for those tiny projects. 

My nine year old pulled out these butterfly florals and immediately asked if I could buy more to make her a dress. She gets me. She really gets me. 

These darker Perforated prints just make the perfect dramatic dot for applique. When I started pulling fabric for my Smitten EPP quilt, these were some of the first fabrics I pulled. They're dark and moody, but a lovely contrast for some of the lighter fabrics.  

The Dotty prints just make me happy because...well, dots!

I love these Tweed prints as a great directional print because they're not stripes. I like stripes and they play well with others, but I really like how these are directional without being overbearing. 

The Waffle prints are just happy, light fabrics that play very well with others. They would be beautifully matched with pretty much any themed fabric.

The Knitted fabrics make me think of bubbles, which is perfect for pretty much any project! Right? 

When my six year old saw these Ice Florals, she immediately asked for dresses in "every color". They're bright and fun without being overly dramatic. Like me. Ha!

Confession time: I initially bought this bundle because, though I loved all the blender fabrics and potential for all of the fabrics, I NEEDED these All Caps prints. Yes, I'm a total nerd (aka, junior high English teacher and general bibliophile) and all things text are my love language. That's absolutely one of the categories, isn't it? I can these making their way into lots of projects in the near future. 

That's it for the the first Friday Fabric Fix. If there are lines I have to check out in the near future, let me know! What would you make with this line? 




JUNE Cross Plus Charity Spotlight & Block Construction

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