#TinyFloralsAnonymous

Recently I hosted a fabric swap on Instagram involving Tiny Floral fabrics. I’ve been involved in other fabric swaps hosted by @purplepoppyquilts where we all purchased three yards of fabric in a color scheme and sliced them up into 10″ squares. I became a huge fan of these swaps because it’s a terrific way to build up stash without having to buy large quantities of different fabrics. I also like scrappy looking projects, so it was a good fit for me. Briawna’s (aka @purplepoppy) Color Square Swaps focus on a color theme. I wanted lots of florals, so after contacting her for advice (and also not to step on her toes since the format was her brain child), I cautiously hosted the first swap, limiting it to just 40 participants. 

The spots filled up quickly and off we went! Everyone posted a photo of their selection, in hopes that we wouldn’t duplicate prints and it worked! Everyone checked in before purchasing for the go-ahead. I kept track of all the choices. 40 wasn’t bad! My choice was from Quilt Gate, which I discovered after seeing it on @sunnydaysupply’s Instagram feed. Her feed and her shop are irresistible!

All the packages started arriving (I wonder what my mailman thought?) and I was giddy with excitement! I sorted them and sighed a bunch of sighs. You fabric lovers know what I’m talking about! Here they are:


Others posted their own arrangements and I LOVE them all! I actually might have a hard time deciding what my favorite is between the fabric selections or the creative posts showing all those lovely prints off! 


I’ve decided to host another round. Sign ups are Friday, April 21 at noon EST (USA participants only). 

Customized Burp Cloths

Our family is growing by one this spring, so it is baby shower time! And for us creative types, that means it is time to think outside the gift registry and come up with something that we can hand make that will still satisfy the mother-to-be. I started looking around online for inspiration and found several tutorials for cute burp cloths, so I thought I’d start there. The mom has particular tastes so I didn’t want to stray too far from her nursery theme. Turns out I didn’t have to stray at all!

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I went to my local Babies R Us and printed up her registry, went trolling up and down the ailes trying to decide what I’d pick up for the expectant couple, when I came upon their nursery bedding.

And then it hit me. I didn’t see crib sheets; I saw fabric! There it was, my inspiration. After I checked out, I went next door to Hancock’s (conveniently located!) and picked out three coordinating flannels and headed home. If you do this project yourself, don’t do what I did and go to the fabric shop fueled only by one cup of coffee, and only get 1/4 yard of fabric. It wasn’t a disaster, but a healthy sized burp cloth is about 10-18″ so mine wound up being 8″ since I only got 1/4. But hey, I have less to throw in my scrap pile now, so it wasn’t all bad. And I think they came out at a useful size regardless.  PLEASE NOTE: Disregard the batting you see in the photo below! You’ll read why below.

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The basic instructions are:

  • Cut off the elastic part of the crib sheet and iron it out (you’ll have about 2 yards)
  • cut out rectangles of 8″ x 18″ of the flannel and crib sheet (or 10×18 if you bought more flannel)
  • Sew wrongs sides together, leaving and opening on one side to turn it inside out.
  • Clip corners
  • Turn right side out and press
  • Top stitch the perimeter
  • Top stitch a couple of lines across the burp cloth, either straight across the width or length, or diagonally (which is what I did)

If you need a good tutorial for a burp cloth, see Dana made it

I saved the cute burlap Velcro band that came with the sheet and used it to package them up.

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A note about these: I used batting for some reason. I think they are a little too stiff. I hope they wash up nicely, but if I had to do it again I would definitely not use the batting. Mine seem like tiny rectangular quilts. But the good news is I have enough leftover sheet fabric to make washcloths to redeem myself once I find some nice, soft baby terry cloth.

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Another note: If your sheet and your backing are both cotton, use cotton thread and don’t worry about pre-washing anything because it will all shrink up about the same size. However, I have seen a lot of tutorials using polyester backing (Minky or chenille) and quilting cotton for the other side. Definitely pre-wash your cotton in that case because when they get washed for the first time the cotton will shrink up but the polyester won’t and it will look weird.

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Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Embellished Hexies

Hello and thank you for stopping by! Today I’m sharing my method on making 1″ hexies embellished with embroidery. I hunted and pecked my way around it until I found a method that worked for me, so I hope to share any tips you might not know yourself!

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Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Fabric (I used quilting cotton) with small scale prints that you like
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery thread and 50w thread for basting and needles for each
  • cardstock hexagons
  • 1″ hexagon template (the one I used in the photo I found at my local quilt shop)
  • iron
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Heat disappearing marker. (I use Pilot Frixion)
  • small embroidery hoop (4″ is what I use)

 

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1. Place embroidery hoop around the portion of the fabric you’d like to embroider. I usually do not cut the fabric until afterwards, and I work towards the outside edge of the fabric, so as not to waste.

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There are several fabrics that I would consider printed and primed for embroidery. Use your clear hexagon template to see what is the right scale. Then go ahead and embroider whatever you’d like. A note about technique: I use knots to start and finish, but that would not be the case for “regular” embroidery. There is simply not enough from to start  and finish. Also, we will be using the fusible interfacing to kind of seal the back. As you can see, the back of my embroidery work is quite the mess!

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After you are satisfied with the embroidery, prepare the fusible interfacing.

 

Using the hexagon template, trace around the shape on the fusible interfacing (I “accordion” the interfacing up so I can cut several at once. These don’t have to be perfect!). Trim just inside the traced line. You can see I’m about 1/8″ inside the template. This helps to not have so much bulk when you are turning in the edges for basting.

 

Now iron on the interfacing to the back of your embroidery work, making sure your interfacing hexagon is placed correctly. I use the traced lines on the fabric as a guide, since you can see them fairly well through the fabric if you are using a dark erasable marker.

Flip over and use your hexagon template again to trace around the design on the front, and trim from the traced lines at least 1/2″. Give yourself plenty of room. You can always trim some more away, but adding is impossible and you’ve already done all that beautiful embroidery work!

 

Now you are ready for the final couple of steps. Are you excited? Use your cardstock hexagons and fold over the edges and baste in place using your 50w thread.

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Use your iron once last time to get rid of the heat disappearing ink line. Not too much…just enough to get rid of the line. You don’t want your card stock to warp. Please not there is a whole punched in the middle of the cards. This facilitates removal of the paper after they are all sewn in. A chopstick or something similar would work. (And notice I didn’t give myself enough allowance on the deer head so I stitched a few more on that one)

All done! They are secure, ready to use, and best of all CUTE!

 

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Dumpling Pouch

Here’s my latest completed project I am happy to cross off the list for #sewufo2016. This one was an Angel project, which means I sewed up and sent a package to an Instagram swap participant that did not receive a package from their original partner (aka a FLAKER). I’ve been flaked on before and let me tell you, an empty mailbox when you are expecting a package is no fun.

This Instagram swap was the Dumpling Swap. Participants were to sew a Dumpling Pouch from Michelle Patterns and one other sewn object. I have sewn several dumpling pouches, so since I had the hang of it, I decided to embellish this one a little more. Someone commented on Instagram that it looked like the top was whipped cream. I have to agree!

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The pattern is cut on the fold, so if you are using directional fabrics, you’ll need to sew a seam where the fold is, paying attention to how you are cutting the fabric (with the direction headed in the way you want). On this one I didn’t want to do a seam, although I did utilize directional fabric (the strawberries and the music staff). I used batting instead of the fusible interfacing the pattern calls for. I stitched in the ditch and also stitched across, making little boxes.

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For the strawberry fabric I simply switched it so who knows which way is the right way! I didn’t mind about the music (although I am a musician…so I surprised myself that I didn’t mind). In the end, I think it looks just fine.

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I used the green striped fabric (which is Tasha Noel…as well as the strawberries) to line the interior

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Here’s a photo of the two sewn items I did. I will cover the needle book in the next post. Thank you for reading!

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#SEWUFO2016

Swaps and bees…bees and swaps. That pretty much summed up my 2015. I made some new and interesting friends, honed my 1/4″ seam skills and learned some new techniques (as long as there are innovative tools being released, there will always be new techniques!) Now that I have LOVELY blocks for the three bees I participated in, I have quilts to sew, promised family projects to complete and ideas in my head that just won’t stop!

2016 will be a year of tremendous change for my family and while I absolutely have loved swapping on Instagram with my quilty friends (with two very disappointing results…sigh…ok, moving on now), shipping deadlines and coming up with the perfect creative new project might not be the best pressure for me this year. But I realized if I wasn’t actively swapping or in a bee, I might lose touch with this wonderful IG quilting community that has brought me such joy. And then I discovered the perfect solution!

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#SEWUFO2016 was born! It means I’ll be sewing up my unfinished objects this year and whoever wants to join in certainly can! To join, simply post a picture on your Instagram feed with the hashtag sewufo2016.

Have fun and I’ll be enjoying seeing your UFO’s become FO’s!

Star Quilt Getting Quilted!

Well, I’m just so excited today. Yesterday was Easter, which was so wonderful because it meant I could ship of my quilt! Whaaaa? Yep, that’s right. You see, my dining room is my makeshift sewing studio until we move into our new house, where I will have my very own sewing alcove. I mean it, y’all, a real place for me to set up my sewing machine, unpack my fabrics, and leave it! Anyway, I had to clear off the table because there were 11 people gonna be chowin’ down for Easter. This caused me to take care of things that had been sitting around on the table, including my quilt top and backing.

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I filled out my request for Crinkle Love to quilt my Stars over Iowa quilt, which I sewed from Sherri McConnell’s Fresh Family Traditions book. I took a long arm class. Not for me…yet. Plus I didn’t want to try out all my newbie skills on a quilt top I spent a good amount of time making.

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I read this book from cover to cover (minus instructions) when I first got it. I love that her patterns are from quilts that are important to her family quilting heritage.

So, I was inspired and sewed up my very own. Sherri McConnell used Amy Butler fabrics in hers. I used, well, everything but the kitchen sink. I had fabric I’d ordered from Etsy that was either knock off or real Cath Kidson, WalMart Fabric, Tanya Whelan, and I’m not sure what else but I wanted that Shabby Chic look that I love but have nothing in my house in that style.

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I made the quilt for myself because first, I love quilts, and second, because I’m a little bit Princess and the Pea when I sleep. I love my husband bunches, so we sleep in the same bed. But when I get into bed first and I’m all comfy cozy, then he pops in, there is a draft that comes along with him that makes me very uncomfortable. Then I have to readjust everything. Then he moves. Then I have to readjust.

stars quilt

My sister in-law is a genius. You might think this is a sudden change of topic, but it relates. Read on, friend. We visited her a few years ago and she graciously gave us her entire home to sleep in while she and her husband went to their second home. So we got to sleep in her bed, which had two separate duvets, his and hers. Best night’s sleep!

So, I’m making this cottag-y quilted, cozy and all mine quilt to put on me at night. Hubby can create drafts all he wants to. I will have my Stars over Nevada quilt!

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So, thank you Easter Bunny for helping me box up and ship off my quilt. It left today and I am feeling quite accomplished!

Thanks for dropping by. Piece out!

SWAPS. What are they and how do I get in?

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Aha! I’ve found something that seems easier to understand than the online Quilting Bee, which is the IG world of the “Swap”. Since my post about how I was going to go and figure out the online quilting bee scenario, I started trolling around Instagram like crazy and found a couple of treasures. If you are new to this, like I am, read on and maybe some of this will help you out.

The first treasure I found is the wonderful online community of quilters like me. I feel like I’ve found my tribe, my people, my sisters in fabric hoarding and project overload. I love the way one Instagrammer puts it: “My friends that live in my phone.” I am glad to be one of her friends that live in her phone. She makes me laugh and inspires me, as do so many of my new “friends who live in my phone.” How did I find this community? I did some hashtag searches, such as: #quilting #quilt #fabrichoarding. I think you get the drift.

Several mornings and breaks in my day, I sit down and immerse myself in the world of other people’s sewing rooms, fabric stashes, new projects, “happy mail” (when new fabric orders arrive in the mail), finished projects and random life photos, quotes and maybe even find out what TV shows they watch. But my favorite discovery has been the SWAP, the second “treasure.”

In a matter of a week and a half, I went from “how to join a bee” confusion to officially signing up in four swaps. I’m crazy. I’m addicted. And I’m moving in about three weeks!!! The first space in my new house to set up will be my sewing area. I’ve got deadlines, people! That does bring up a good point, though. Make sure you can make the deadline, and don’t over extend yourself. Think of what it would be like if you were the organizer and people weren’t making deadlines. That’s a brand of stress no one needs. Having said that, there are those unfortunate circumstances where someone can not participate and for that there are “swap angels” or “sewing angels” or “block angels” (I think we get the picture!) who will sew instead. For more “swap etiquette”, check out this post on thesewingloftblog.com.

So, what is a swap? Well, the name kind of says it all, but in the world of quilting/crafting/sewing, an Instagrammer might put out a post asking if there is an interest in a particular item (fabric? tote bag? sewing supply bag? etc…). The “host” (organizer)  then creates a Google form and links it to their IG profile, where people can sign up, providing their name, email, mailing address and other pertinent info.

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Some swaps ask the participant specific information, such as favorite colors, fabric designers, etc. In one swap I’m participating in, the organizer asked all the participants to post a collage of things they liked in that particular theme. Here is mine for the #Parisswap

paris swap collage

This particular swap involves secret partners so we are encouraged to stalk our partner’s feed for ideas about what they might like.

Another swap I’m in involves sewing 27 quilt squares from Liberty Tana Lawn fabric (Eeee! I’m so excited) and I’ll get the same number of squares back from other people.

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In another swap, I’ll be sewing an organizer bag and getting the same bag back. I can not wait to pick the fabrics and get sewing. This one does not have secret partners, so I’ll be able to find out before hand exactly what kind of fabric this partner enjoys.

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Maybe you are asking, how do I find a swap? Sometimes people will share/repost the picture of the swap so you can find out who is hosting and go join if you are in time. They fill up pretty quickly. Just keep trolling and snooping around until you find something you like. As you can tell from this assortment I’ve shown you, they are various and plenty! There are specific hashtags for swaps so you can quickly find photos of projects in progress, as well as other participants.  The organizer will advise what the hashtags are. It’s a good idea to follow the other participants in your swap to experience the fullness of the community experience! So fun!

I’ve been on Instagram before…as “myself” and kept it private..not as the sewer, quilter, swapper lady with a public account. I can say this experience has broadened my experience of the quilting world instantly (Insta-glee!). I get to see sewists in Australia and England and their beautiful projects and fabrics…and sewing rooms, and on and on. I’m hooked.

If you have your own swap tips, please share them! Or maybe a swapping story to share?