Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Introducing: Tea Leaf - A Mug Rug Pattern

Happy Wednesday!  I'm so happy to pop by and share our newest pattern!  Introducing ... Tea Leaf!


Cute, and lightening fast to finish, this leaf shaped mug rug finishes at 10" x 6.5".  Pattern is available in our shop.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Aspen Glow QAL - Block D


Sponsored by: 


Welcome to the Aspen Glow quilt along!  Over the next three months, we'll be putting together quilts based on our popular Aspen Glow pattern.  Join us any time and share your photos in our Flickr Group to be entered into drawings for fabulous prizes!  You can access any of the previous posts on our QAL Information Page.

I'm a little late getting our post up today - too many weekend adventures - but this week's block is very straightforward, so hopefully I haven't set you too far back. :)  Plus, due to a special pattern release scheduled for next Monday, our block E post will be available a day early, so it all balances out, right?


Block D is a simple square-in-square block. Straight, even stitching and careful pressing will yield nice, even blocks.  It's a great candidate for chain piecing - and keep in mind that you don't have to clip threads between each block after your first pass down the chain.  In fact, keeping the threads in tact from the first round of chain piecing will actually help you go faster as you attach the block to the opposite in your second round.  Plus, then you only have to clip threads all together at once, rather than two separate times.


While you probably starched your fabric when you cut the fabric, adding a bit more while pressing your blocks this week might be a good thing.  It's really important to actually PRESS the fabric with this block.  Moving the ironing in place over the fabric will definitely result in waving, un-sightly borders and stretched seams.  You want everything to be as crisp and even as possible.


As this is the first week we're making blocks in multiple color settings - Winter has 4 versions and Autumn has 3 - it might be a good time to chat about fabric directionality.  If you're using a print with an obvious "direction" like the block below, it's a good idea to spend a minute or two planning or playing around with options before you start piecing.


Now I'm definitely NOT one of those quilters who have to have all the prints going in the same direction all the time - and this pattern is not designed to have a definite top and bottom.  The trick to using directional prints is to just use them uniformly.  If you're being random in your placement, then be random with each block.  If you're fussy cutting your prints so that they all line up, then spend the time to make sure that the blocks all match, and that you place them in the larger blocks the same way.

Personally, I'm not too worried about having chosen a directional print for my blocks.  For my own blocks, I just made sure that even though the text is going in separate directions, all my blocks are pieced exactly like this.  I think they'll blend in with the other blocks quite nicely .  Consistency is key! :)

Be sure to share pictures of your quilt blocks and fabric choices in our Flickr Group and stop by and introduce yourself on our discussion board, if you haven't already!  If you have any questions or would like to share a blog post about your Aspen Glow project, just leave a comment below.  See you on Sunday!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Catching up

Hi friends - I realize that it's been awhile since my last non-QAL post, so here's a little glimpse.

I've been working like a mad-[wo]man to finish up two new wintery patterns that will both be debuting next month.

The first I can't share a whole lot of information about other than it features Snowed Inn, the fun new holiday line from Connecting Threads!  I'll be sharing my fast and fun project(s) in a guest post on the CT Blog in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

Snowed Inn by MaryJo Tuttle for Connecting Threads

My second project features the fabulous Snow Happens line by the amazingly talented Robin of Bird Brain Designs.


I have been diligently working and embroidering my little snowmen blocks for weeks, now and I'm happy to report that I've finished a grand total of ... ten.  Luckily, my mom loves embroidery work too, and gladly allowed herself to be roped into make a few more.  Between the two of us, our little snowman sweatshop, as my hubby calls us, has managed to finish half of the blocks I'll need for my sample.  It's too bad that he practically runs in the other direction when I ask him if he wants to learn how to embroider too.  :)


Hopefully, I'll be able to stitch like mad this week and have some more interesting photos to share soon!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Aspen Glow QAL - Block C


Sponsored by: 


Welcome to the Aspen Glow quilt along!  Over the next three months, we'll be putting together quilts based on our popular Aspen Glow pattern.  Join us any time and share your photos in our Flickr Group to be entered into drawings for fabulous prizes!  You can access any of the previous posts on our QAL Information Page.
Please excuse the light post this week - it was a migraine week for me and the computer screen and I aren't quite friends yet.
Block C is our most complex block to date, but don't let that worry you.  It's really just 3/4s of a square-in-square block ...

... plus a rectangular block similar to last week's block.  You can use the same painter's trick to sew the diagonals too!


While there's several steps involved in putting Block C together, they're both easy pieces to sew and there are no seams to line up!  Awesome, right?

Be sure to share pictures of your quilt blocks and fabric choices in our Flickr Group and stop by and introduce yourself on our discussion board, if you haven't already!  If you have any questions or would like to share a blog post about your Aspen Glow project, just leave a comment below.


Just as a side note - the King Fire - a 87,000 acre wild fire continues to burn in our neighboring county of El Dorado.  The fire is burning along the steep canyons and ravines along the American River between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.  As of Friday night, it was only 10% contained, with over 12,000 homes threatened.

Smoke has been flooding the valley.  Steve Ellsworth shared this incredible photo of the "pyrocumulous" clouds visible over Lake Tahoe.  It almost looks like the aftermath of an atomic bomb.

Photo Credit: Steve Ellsworth

Just to give you an idea of how "orange" it is outside, the photo below was taken at the same time of day, in the same room, as the photos above, taken last week.  The photos above only had very minor editing.



Please keep our brave fire-fighters and displaced neighbors in your thoughts and prayers.  Red Cross is accepting donations to help those that have been evacuated and have lost their homes.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Super Mario BOM Club - Round 2

Happy Friday!  If you're following along with our Super Mario QA, you'll know that we're passing the half-way point this month!


We still have a number of new quilters who are interested in the club, however, so I'm very excited to announce that we'll be starting a second round of the BOM club in October!!  And, as of today, all of the block kits are back in stock!

More information abut the club is available on our info page.  To sign up for the next round, just pay the $6 membership fee using the yellow Paypal button below.  Paying the membership fee guarantees that a block will be reserved for your each month - important especially since with the first round, we sold out of each block within a week or two of posting them.

Space is limited, so I hope you'll join us.  Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spring Sampler Reveal!

Ok ... It's only been two months or so since we've finished our Spring Sampler Quilt Along ... but I've finally managed to get some photos of my finished quilt!


The long arm quilting was done by the fabulous Darby at the Quilted Squid.  She did such a fantastic job and was so unbelievably fast!  I just couldn't envision a thread color so I left the choice in Darby's capable hands.  She picked this gorgeous, iridescent ivory that looks amazing - it just sparkles in the sunlight!



It was so hard to find a good place in our yard to take some pictures!  The bushes hid an entire block while it was hanging from the fence ...


... and while I kinda liked it piled on our swing ... the shade and river rocks make it seem like an autumn quilt ...


... so we packed the kids off to one of our favorite parks one evening ...


... and hubby kept the monkeys occupied on the jungle gym, while I ran around snapping pictures.  I got some strange looks from some of the soccer parents watching their kids practice nearby - the park was unusually crowded that afternoon ...


... but as the sun started setting my favorite photo spot was finally free ...


This gorgeous granite bridge was built in the 1880s, along with 11 others, by Parker Whitney as part of a road from his ranch to our historic downtown along the Southern Pacific Railroad Line.  So pretty!


While our Quilt Along is over, we're leaving the instructions for all nine of the quilt blocks up on our blog.  If you prefer a printed version, we've also published a .pdf pattern available in our Craftsy and Etsy shops.  The 34 page pattern includes full color illustrations for constructing all nine of the 12" blocks, plus the block tutorials and discussion on scrap quilt tones and fabric selection.  The .pdf pattern also contains a bonus "coloring quilt" that can be used to audition colors for your own quilt.


And we love seeing photos of your finished quilts, so share them any time in our flickr group.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Aspen Glow QAL - Block B


Sponsored by: 


Welcome to the Aspen Glow quilt along!  Over the next three months, we'll be putting together quilts based on our popular Aspen Glow pattern.  Join us any time and share your photos in our Flickr Group to be entered into drawings for fabulous prizes!  You can access any of the previous posts on our QAL Information Page.
How did Block A work out?  Hopefully it went together smoothly - I'm having so much fun seeing everyone's blocks come together!
This week, we're setting out to make Block B.  Again, it's not too complicated, but I do have a couple of quick tips to make things go as smoothly as possible.

A few people have notice the bright green tape on my sewing machine bed.  It serves as a guide for sewing squares together, diagonally, without drawing 1,000s of pencil lines on the wrong sides of the squares to serve as a sewing guide!

To do the same on your project:
  • Place a piece of painter's tape on your sewing machine so that the edge lines up directly with your needle and sewing line.

  • Pin (or just hold in place) a small square in the corner of the large square and stitch a diagonal line, always keeping both corners of the smaller square lined up with the edge of the painter's tape, as pictured below.


  • When finished sewing, cut off the extra corners, leaving a ¼” seam allowance.  PRESS (put the iron down and then pick it up to move to an new location) - NOT IRON (moving the iron back and forth).
My old sewing machine had very wobbly feed dogs, so this method of piecing always resulted in very wonky seams.  The beast handles these diagonals beautifully, and I'm definitely a huge fan of this method.  It sure does beat drawing all those lines!  (I'm sure my pattern testers are totally rolling their eyes at me right now ... am I right ladies? )

Now, some sewing machines have a top loading bobbin case, which prevents the placement of tape ... or at least makes it very irritating.  Joanne, one of my fabulous testers, ran into this problem while testing one of our upcoming projects and suggests folding each small square in half along the diagonal and doing a quick finger press to mark the line, rather than using the pencil.  Thanks for the tip, Joanne!


Now, once you've finished pressing you're technically done with this block ... unless you're like me and totally against even the tiniest bit of fabric waste.

If that's the case, stitch those tiny scrap triangles together and trim down to 1.5" squares to save for a fun project down the line. :)


Be sure to share pictures of your quilt blocks and fabric choices in our Flickr Group and stop by and introduce yourself on our discussion board, if you haven't already!  If you have any questions or would like to share a blog post about your Aspen Glow project, just leave a comment below.  See you next Monday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Aspen Glow QAL - Block A

Sponsored by: 

Welcome to the Aspen Glow quilt along!  Over the next three months, we'll be putting together quilts based on our popular Aspen Glow pattern.  Join us any time and share your photos in our Flickr Group to be entered into drawings for fabulous prizes!  You can access any of the previous posts on our QAL Information Page.
Things have been a little crazy at Casa de CQ - most nights as we've gotten the kids to bed, we feel like we're "faceplanting into home base" - so the fact that Block A is a quick, simple block with now seam intersections to line up makes my tired brain happy!

While I used to be a consummate pinner and lover of pressing seams open, over the last few years I've been migrating towards directional seam pressing, especially since it means sewing with less pins (remember Diana)!  Now, the traditional rule for directional pressing is to always press towards the darker fabric, so that you don't have any darker fabric from the seam showing through behind the lighter fabric.

With the ready availability of really high quality fabric, however, I don't know that this is really a hard and fast rule any longer. Unless the light fabric is very thin, my personal preference is to press in a manner that creates the least amount of bulk at seam intersections behind your block - and this is how the pressing instructions for this pattern have been written.


As with all our patterns, we give instructions on how to make a single block first, followed by the number of blocks needed to make each quilt size, and the materials needed for each.  The idea is to make a practice block and then mass produce (aka chain piece) the remaining of the blocks.  If you've never tried chain piecing before, this is a great project to give it a whirl.  There are a number of great tutorials out there, including this one by Connecting Threads.
Be sure to share pictures of your quilt blocks and fabric choices in our Flickr Group and stop by and introduce yourself on our discussion board, if you haven't already!  If you have any questions or would like to share a blog post about your Aspen Glow project, just leave a comment below.  See you next Monday!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Aspen Glow Quilt Along - Introduction

Sponsored by: 


Welcome to the Aspen Glow quilt along!  Over the next three months, we'll be putting together quilts based on our popular Aspen Glow pattern.


Here are a couple of housekeeping items as we gear up to start sewing!
  1. You'll need a copy of the pattern to sew along with us.  It's available on Craftsy or on Etsy.
  2. Get a flickr account and join our Aspen Glow group.  Photos you share each week are your tickets to the fantastic prize drawings we have in November!  We have some awesome prizes provided by June Tailor, Kate and Birdie Paper Co, and we'll be throwing in some fabric and Cora's Quilts patterns too!
  3. Share your pictures on Facebook, Pintrest, or Instagram too! Use the tag #CQAspenGlow!
  4. Introduce yourself!  Send me a link to your blog post, introducing your own Aspen Glow project or drop by our Flickr Discussion Board.  Tell us a little bit about your project and show us the fabric you'll be using.  You can meet your fellow quilters here.

Every Monday, I'll be sharing tips and tricks for putting together the different blocks needed for the quilt.  I'll also be answer any questions posted here on the blog or on our flickr group discussion board

This week you'll be doing all your cutting and prep-work.  Be sure to stop by our Pattern Errata page, to view any updates.  Despite my best efforts, the occasional error can creep into our patterns.


Since I have several different projects going on at the moment, I chose to keep my cut pieces organized by sorting them into labeled ziplock baggies.


Then, each time I sit down to sew, I fill up my little "shopping basket" with the exact pieces I need ... 


... and keep it right next to my sewing machine as I chain-piece.


If you have any tips or tricks for keeping large projects organized, I'd love to hear them below.  Can't wait to see your fabulous fabric choices - see you next Monday!