Last month, American Patchwork and Quilting asked if I'd like to take part in another Pillowcase Challenge ... they recently crossed a half a million pillowcases that have been donated all across the country. Now they're working on the second half million to get to their 1 Million goal. So their plan was to have readers of their Pinterest page vote on their favorite pillowcase by repinning it. Then, they'd have some of us remake the pillowcase in their favorite fabrics. The train was the winner! Tomorrow on their blog and Facebook page they'll have links up to all of the pillowcase so you can see the options.
I was delighted to see the train as the choice because I had the perfect fabric ... The Elf on the Shelf fabric by Quiltilng Treasures! So many to choose from but I finally settled on the green elf face paired with the colored face fabric with the white background. It was hard because the red snowflakes and the other face fabric were calling my name, too! I wanted the train to show up, though, so the greeen won.
Because the border was busy, I chose to only make three of the cars and place them across the body. Then I went to my color wall and pulled some other pieces from Quilting Treasures to make the train cars.
One tip ... the face fabric is directional so I had to make a choice ... do the faces go toward the pillowcase body or away. I chose away so when I folded my cuff in half after I sewed the seam, I made sure the way I wanted it to go was the side that was on the outside of the cuff.
Oh ... and another tip ... the pattern pieces aren't reversed for the appliques so make sure you do that if you choose to use fusible webbing like I did.
I carefully cut out a little elf from the selvage and hid him in the window. And I made packages from scraps and added itty bitty rickrack for embellishments. It was hard to stop adding lots of extra details!
You have to sew the train pieces on the front of the pillowcase before you sew the sides. I hate guessing how it'll look so I measured 2 1/4" from the bottom and 2" from the right side for my placement. I placed the wheels along the edge of the ruler so they'd be straight.
Many of you know how I love to sew paper to paper and one of the things I like about that is the imperfect straight stitching along the edges. I decided to use the same technique on my train. It's whimsical and sort of childlike and that's what I was going for. In fact, if you have a new sewer who'd like to make this project, this is a great way to get them comfortable stitching down appliques. You don't have to be perfect and that's what adds to the charm. I hardly ever use matching thread because I want it to show up. The edges will fray a bit when it's washed but that's ok, too. Low stress!!
Another tip ... remember how the cuff is directional? It may seem confusing when you go to join it to the body. Because I wanted my cuff to face away from the body, this is what it looked like when I pinned it for sewing.
The seam allowance is 1/2" ... sometimes its hard to see on my machine so I mark it with painter's tape. It makes it more accurate and easier to control.
If you're going to make one of these pillowcases as a gift, maybe you can make a second and donate it somewhere in your community. Think of all of the little kids who will fall into pleasant dreams when they have such a cute pillowcase to lay their heads on! And don't forget to go to the Pillowcase Challenge page to add your numbers to the count. It doesn't take many to make up another 500,00, right?
I love books ... and I especially love quilting books! When my kids were down for naps, I'd look through them and day dream about the skills I'd have someday and the projects I'd make. I was brand new at all of this back then. But I'm happy to say that because of those books, I have a better understanding of quilting now, plus if I need an answer, help is right at my fingertips!
When Moda asked me which book was my go-to for quilting ... the one I used to learn to quilt ... it wasn't hard to answer. Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Quilting ... written by the editors at American Patchwork and Quilting ... has been on my bookshelf since it was printed. You can tell by how worn it is! I've used it so often to learn how to understand techniques, figure out measurements through their charts, to refresh my memory for steps I've forgotten. I love the clear photos and the spiral binding ... it lies flat on my table and I don't have to stack something on it to keep it open. Its a great book no matter which stage of quilting you're at!
But you know ... I couldn't stop at one! Rotary magic was one of the books that I've read from cover-to-cover ... several times! It has terrific rotary cutting instructions and little tips tucked into boxes throughout the book. It has a 1998 copyright so I'm guessing it's still around somewhere.
Classic books! You need to have these to complete your library ... you'll have to find them in the used book stores though ... or maybe at the quilt guild garage sale. They are priceless! I've spent so many hours with them they are like old friends.
And most of you know I stitch. I grew up with this book and it has traveled around the world with me. I rescue others like it when I find them at the flea market ... I have them stashed in various sewing baskets because you never know when you'll want to try some new embroidery stitch. This particular version was the one that we had at home growing up ... don't tell my sisters that I ended up with it!
For me ... quilting books are like old friends ... I get energized by them and they answer my questions. A good day for me is when I get to spend a few minutes with them. I don't think I'm going to run out of inspiration any time soon! And I'm so glad Moda didn't ask me to show my magazine collection!!
Head over to the Moda blog to see what other designers have on their book shelves, too. There are prizes! And great books to covet.
I hope you'll enjoy Sparklers! ... my next project for Fabri-Quilt's Inspired By Fabric blog. A few weeks ago, Fabri-Quilt sent me a box of red, white, and blue fabric to design with, and fortunately, I had an idea in my head that worked perfectly! I wanted the project to go together very quickly ... that's why there are large blocks and shortcut piecing methods. The blocks finish at 13 1/2" x 21 1/2" so as you can see, it doesn't take many to make a nice size quilt!
My intention for Sparklers! is that you'd use it to take a nap under a tree when you're done with your Fourth of July picnic. Or maybe you'd use it to cover your table for your patriotic party. Or perhaps to snuggle under while you watch fireworks.
A tip to make things easier ... after you sew the first pinwheel pairs together, lay them on your ironing board and then press each seam in opposite directions. Your points will come out perfectly if you do that!
The squares you'll be cutting are really big, so when you cut them into four, use a large OLFA Rotating Mat so you don't have to move the fabric or cut at a weird angle. It really makes things so much easier and is a good good investment.
The pinwheel intersection is pretty bulky ... press your seams open.
I pieced my back with the left over pieces Fabri-Quilt sent me. To make sure they fit, I layed them over the top of my quilt and rearranged them until I was sure they'd cover it, after the seams were sewn. It was pretty fun to do and I love how the back looks!
I was able to make a block in 20 minutes after I got the hang of it ... there's still time for you to make one for the 4th too! You'll need to download the PDF pattern at Fabri-Quilt's blog ... I've included lots more tips for you, too. So dig out your red, white and blue and get to sewing! Randi from Jubilee Quilting did the quilting with a swirly design and light blue thread ... made the quilt sparkle!
After over six months of snow and cold ... including 8" last week ... I decided we needed to craft some bright and happy Spring projects. Today was our Spring Fling at the Cottage where everyone could come in ... sit at the crafting tables ... and just make stuff. So even though it's still chilly outside today, it put us all in a great mood!
Pretty Little Plant Pokes can be made by anyone and are perfect gifts for kids to make. All you need are tongue depressors, scrapbook paper, Chestnut Roan chalk ink, and UHO glue.
Cut 2" strips of paper with a scalloped rotary cutter, leaving one edge straight. Subcut into 2" segments. Ink the scalloped edge. Apply glue to one end of the tongue depressor and lay in the center of the back side of the paper. Bend the edges to the back and glue in place. Ink the edges. With a fine tip Sharpie marker, write the name of your plants. Easy! They'd be cute tied into a bundle for teacher's gifts.
Nothing makes me happier than a Pretty Little Pinwheel. They are so easy to make! You need a 4-1/4" square of scrapbook paper, a paper straw ... I found mine at Typo in the Mall of America ... a bugle bead, a washer or eyelet, and a brad with extra long prongs, and a UHO glue stick.
With a pencil, lightly draw a line from corner to corner on the back of the paper. Make a mark 1" away from the center on each line. With a scissors, cut on the line to the mark. Mark the center with a dot and erase any lines that show.
Working with the pointy corners of the paper square you cut, bring that corner to the center and glue in place. Work around the square to form a pinwheel and then hold in place for a few minutes until the glue holds. Use the mark you made to punch a hole in the center through all of the layers. I used one of those big Crop-A-Diles.
Flatten out the top end of the straw and punch a hole about 1/2" from the top. Working from the front, push the brad through the pinwheel hole, add the bugle bead, then the washer or eyelet, and finally going through the straw. Leave a little bit of slack so the pinwheel turns and then bend the prongs to hold in place. That's it! They'd be so cute in flower pots for a party!
Pretty Little Posie Pins are so fast because we start with a premade flower. Attach them to your jacket, or a purse, or put them on a hair clip. You'll need a premade flower ... mine was from Pettaloo but I've also used the burlap ones from Maya Road ... a 2-1/2" or little bit larger burlap square, a 5/8" x 4" strip of scrapbook paper, a 2" diameter scalloped circle cut from an old book, 1-1/4"x12" piece of tulle, hot glue, Chestnut Roan chalk ink.
Cut a V in the ends of the paper strip and ink the edges. Ink the scalloped circle too. Glue the strip through the center of the circle and then glue to the burlap. Fold the tulle into thirds ... apply glue to the back of the flower and then lay it over the tulle and glue to the paper unit. Ink the flower and tulle. Attach a pin back. All done!
Everyone needs a Pretty Little Bookmark to mark their place. I opened up my Word program and printed out inspirational words in a font I liked and sized it so it was 1" tall. You can make it any size. I have ribbon at the store with the stitching along the side but you could use any 1-1/2" ribbon and stitch the edges yourself. The only other supplies you need are a stash of embroidery floss, a Frixxion marking pen, and a light box.
Cut your ribbon to 12". Center over your word and trace with a Frixxion pen. Back stitch the word with three strands of floss, knotting off after each letter. At the end ... or you could do the beginning ... of the word, make a Lazy Daisy flower. Add three smaller Lazy Daisy leaves in green. Make a French knot in the center. The flower is made with three strands of floss. Press the stitching to remove the ink. Notch the two ends into a V. A fast gift that you can make at the last minute!
You'll find these on my DIY Cuz It's Fun board on Pinterest. Repin them so your friends can make some too!
This weekend it's all about Mom so if you're looking for a unique gift for someone ... or for yourself ... we have the perfect idea! Our partnership with Craftsy allows us to offer fantastic prices on a huge variety of online classes.
When you purchase Craftsy classes through us, you directly support our store. To say thanks, you'll get a follow-up email with a $5 coupon you can redeem in-store for class supplies and tools.
We love to hear about the classes you're taking ... and don't forget, it you get stuck, we're here to help.
The Mother's Day Sale ends at midnight on Monday, May 13 so you have a little bit of time to decide. There are tons of classes to choose from! I just signed up for a photography class. There's so much to learn. Browse through the catalog and find something that interests you!
are starting to bloom, and so are the savings at Craftsy! Our shop is
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Followthis LINK to Craftsy to get your discounted classes during their special sale. And as a thank you for buying it from us, you'll receive a $5 coupon that you can use back at the Cottage.
And don't forget ... we want you to be successful with the classes you sign up for so if you ever get stuck or have a question, just come in and we'll be happy to help you figure it out.
On April 12 and 13, we're opening our classroom to any of you who have purchased a Craftsy class from us. Bring in your supplies and work on your projects. We want you to learn your lessons and the best way to do that is to have dedicated time to work on them. Our classroom is a wi-fi zone so just bring your tablet or laptop. Please pre-register by Tuesday April 9.
Craftsy's sales ends on Monday, April 8, 2013 at midnight, MST so don't wait too long.
What a relief that the quilters on the Moda cruise were finally rescued from the island! Everyone should be safely on their way home by now. But really ... how bad can it be if you're stranded with every kind of quilting gadget at your fingertips? And fabric, too!
Now if you haven't been following along ... you'll need to go back here to the beginning of the story. You'll find out what really happened and as you read through each post, you'll see tons of tools that quilters in the industry love. And you're going to want them all!
The Fat Cat template fit perfectly on a 2" charm pack I picked up at Quilt Con.
The Fat Cat and the 30 degree triangle work together to make a row. I could have cut a 2" strip and turned the template up and down to cut a bunch from the same fabric if I wasn't working with the charms. OLFA's rotating cutting mat would have been the perfect addition to this photo.
I never can get corner flips to turn out exactly right but with this tool, you line up the grid with the size of your square ... trim and sew. The seam allowance is built in to the tool. It is so slick! But ... I've found another use for it that I love, too!
You know how hard it is to get your binding strips sewn together, right? Half the time I have the line going in the wrong direction or the strips don't line up correctly when I sew. Ugh! But with the Corner Clipper you can cut the angles on your strips and then sew them ... just right each time. To do this you lay both of your binding strips right sides up. Trim the corner.
Turn the top one over and lay it against the bottom strip with the right sides together like in the photo and then sew. So easy! Its a genius product and the package has even more uses. But these are my two favorite because they make my life easier.
And then there's the new tool that just came on the scene ... OLFA's Splash rotary cutter. You have to love it if for no other reason than the color. Isn't the aqua shade perfect for being stuck on an island? I loved that it perfectly matched the colors of the fabric in Ticklish and Glamping by Moda. It has features that I like too ... specifically the quick blade change so you don't have to fumble with the little screw thingy. And boy ... is it nice to cut with a sharp blade! Need to buy some new ones.
And finally there's the Lollipop Tool! My friend Melisa from Sweet Home Quilt Co gave us these at a retreat I attended. Who knew a Tootsie Roll has so many uses ... plus that chocolate center when you just have to have something sweet! You'll want to put one in your sewing kit for any kind of emergency.