Once a month, we highlight blogs our staff is reading right now!
If you believe quilting is in the details, than you’ll love this blog! Blogger Nicole plays with scary materials for some sewers, such as snaps, pleather, hexagons, fusible and more (and you won’t be afraid, either, after reading her easy tutorials). Her style is bold, but totally livable! And her projects are great for those looking to try new techniques on smaller projects.
Nancy has been the go-to gal for learning new techniques and simplified quilting processes for a long time. And her blog is no exception! Full of clear tutorials, easy projects, and reviews of must-try tools, her blog is perfect for beginners and advanced quilters alike. Plus, her round-ups (like the Top 5 Sewing Projects blog above) make it super easy to find her top tutorials.
Inspired by Antique Quilts
Designer Kathie Holland’s blog is one where you’ll become a better quilter just by looking at pictures of her quilts. She has a beautifully scrappy style, which makes for perfect lessons on color, contrast, and light. The best part is she’s always sewing something new and blogs daily about her projects!
Once a month, we highlight our favorite free quilt and sewing patterns around the web!
Patchwork Pumpkin Pillow + Table Runner from Diary of a Quilter
Blogger Amy Smart gives great step-by-step pictures to make a simple pumpkin block. You can make it into a pillow like above, but she also gives instructions for a seasonal table runner. Plus, this scrappy look is a must for fall!
We’re always looking for new ways to dress up our boring notebooks in our favorite fabric! It has an inside pocket for extra notes and an outside fabric pouch for your pen. It’s so cute and easy — and perfect for last-minute gifts.
This quilt is the perfect way to use your favorite Halloween fabric! It has a vintage look and combines a variety of materials — cotton, lace, and pom-pons — for a textural and bright wall hanging.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to sew perfect curved seams. It’s the perfect way to add motion to your quilt!
1. Joining pieces with curved edges presents challenges. Cutting a small notch in the center of a curved edge makes it easier.
2. With right sides together, match the center notches of curved edges. Pin together at the center point, at seam ends, and liberally in between, gently easing the edges as needed to align.
3. Sew together the curved edges. Clip into the seam allowance of the edge that curves in (concave) as needed, but do not cut into or beyond the seam lines. Do not clip the convex edge.
TIP: Some quilters prefer not to clip curved seams. Instead they use a longer stitch length and sew slowly, which helps ease the fabric layers together (the center notch is still necessary).
4. Press the seam allowance toward the piece that has the inner (concave) curve.
Fabric: Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Project design: Erica Jackman
Quick-to-sew soft little critters make perfect playmates for baby. These two softies (along with six others) are easy to make from a fabric panel. This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, howtosew.com. Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.
Here’s the whole panel. It’s about 22×44″.
The materials given are for eight animal softies. Instructions are for making one.
- One panel (makes 8 animal softies)
- 8—9″ squares assorted prints or 2–18×22″ pieces (fat quarters) for backing
- Polyester fiberfill
- Water-soluble marking pen
- Chopstick (optional)
Finished hippo: about 8×4″
Measurements include 1/4″ seam allowances.
Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.
Assemble the Softie:
1. Cut out animal print along printed border. With a water-soluble marking pen, draw a line around animal shape about 1/2″ from outer edges.
2. With wrong sides together, layer and pin marked animal print and 9″ backing square. Cut out layers on marked line.
3. Pin cut shapes with right sides together (printed sides). Using a water-soluble marker, mark a 2″ opening along one edge of animal shape.
4. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around shape, leaving marked opening free.
5. Turn right side out. Stuff hippo shape with fiberfill, using a chopstick to pack filling into small areas.
TIP: Using small “tufts” of polyester makes a smoother finished stuffed softie.
6. Fold unstitched seam allowances to inside; pin in place. Using a needle and thread, stitch opening closed to complete animal softie.
I had a surprisingly productive month! And although I put two projects aside, I did cross some things off my to-do list that I was dragging my feed on (buying supplies, finishing binding). I’m at the point where I’m nearing the end of a few of my projects. I’m happy to permanently get them off my list and on the wall or bed they belong on! (Find out more about my goals this year in my resolutions blog – read it here.) Four more months this year to finish the five projects I chose. Since the holidays get busy in the magazine world, I’m hoping for one more very productive month so I’m not panicking by the time Christmas hits!
On my to-do list this year:
- Tula Pink‘s City Sampler (See all my blocks here.)
- American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt Along (Read more about it here.)
- Pat Sloan‘s Globetrotting Block of the Month with Free Quilt Patterns (Get details here.)
- Finish my Passion 48 (See our staff’s Project 48 rules here.)
- Quilts and More Welcome Home wall hanging series (in Quilts and More Fall)
I finished the last 20 of my Tula blocks! Now time to choose a sashing color that will match brown, blue, teal, and green! See all my blocks here.
Nine of the blocks for the Globetrotting Block of the Month are done. The quilt is almost done! I love all blocks equally in this and love the fabric line. I hope I have enough time before the end of the year to quilt and bind it.
Finally got the binding done and all the layers ready to quilt. This is the first quilt I started (and obviously one that I put on hold for awhile). I’m ready to get it off my design wall and hanging in my house.
In a burst of energy over Labor Day weekend I almost got the Quilts and More Fall Welcome Home wall hanging done. A little bit of binding left to sew on and some embellishments to make, but I’ll be ready for cooler temps when they come!
I have some tips for jumpstarting your creativity. (See my tips for making your list here.)
1. Take time off. While it’s important to be creative every day to keep the juices flowing, it’s also alright to take some time off from your to-do list. I took time this month to be creative while reading, gardening, and baking. And while I did do some quilting, it was a gift that was not on my to-do list. Taking a break gives you the energy and motivation to move ahead on your projects.
2. Do what you feel. With nicer weather this month, I didn’t want to be cooped inside at my sewing machine. I, instead, opted for a lot of cutting. I liked being on my feet with some music playing. And touching the pretty fabric was a nice stress reliever after a long day. I still made progress on a quilt, but it wasn’t something that was time-consuming or felt like work
3. Let your mind wander. We always say in the office that sitting at your desk and thinking counts as work. While it may seem silly to let your mind wander while you’re working on a quilt, sometimes the best ideas or creative spark come from just sitting. If you’re not feeling the creative process, look at some quilting magazines, browse some websites for inspiration, or go to a store to look at fabric. You’ll be surprised how this can jumpstart your motivation!
Happy quilting in 2014! Share your own quilting to-do list in the comments and make sure to check back to see my progress.