Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Very Berry Applique

After you work so intensively on a project, and the project goal comes and goes, it can be a little difficult to find your way back into a normal rhythm. After returning from Nadelwelt with all my lists checked off, it's been a challenge to figure out what to work on next. I have several deadlines coming up, so what is the best way to get back into your normal flow... work on something completely different, right?

It's no secret that I love applique, but I especially love reverse applique. There is so much potential for this not as frequently used technique. These leaves are actually for three different projects, and since I love the result so much, I had to make a set of blue leaves too... who says that leaves have to be green?

It's that time of year where blueberries are strawberries frequently make it to our dinner table, and evidently they've also made their way to my sewing room too!

I've always loved the looks of wild or mock strawberries... such tiny and petite berries that look good enough to eat. There has been a little discussion recently on Instagram whether or not they are edible. 

In any case, edible or not, this project is still growing and developing. (no pun intended) Just a short and sweet sneak peek for today because it's time to get back on track.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Day

My favorite time of the year in Germany has to be April/May... it's when the grey veil finally rolls back, vibrant touches of spring flowers have ushered in the season, and fields of gold are to be seen everywhere you look.The golden canola blooms bring with it the beginning of the best meal that you can find in Germany... Spargel! (white asparagus.. read more about it here)

Living in the country means that such color delights for the eye are just at your back door... literally. I told my husband last week that this field, just a mere matter of steps from our house, is too perfect to pass up the opportunity for a background for a photo shoot. And what could make that field any lovelier, but a quilt in front of it... or is it the other way around that the sprawling blanket of gold is what makes the quilt lovelier?

In any case, Nadelwelt is this week, and in spite of the fact that I've been considerably absent, I wanted to share this quilt top that I finished a while back... perhaps more than that, I just wanted to share the view from my sewing room.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

DIY: Pressing Board

Ask any professional, tradesman, artist, or handcrafter... having the right tools for the job really makes all the difference. One of my most asked questions about my applique, is "how do you get the edges so crisp?"... simple, by having the right tools. I've shared a lot about my favorite starches, irons, paintbrushes,etc. for the starch applique method (found here), but one important tool that is not to be overlooked is a proper pressing board.

While one could argue that a regular ironing board works just as well, let me explain why I use a pressing board instead:
  • A really hard surface, combined with the proper starch and a high heat mini iron, really IS what gives the desired clean and crisp edge.
  • The high heat of the iron and the spray starch have a tendency to slightly "burn" and brown your work surface over time and high use. 
  • With that being said, it saves your regular ironing board cover having to be frequently replaced.
  • Re-covering a pressing board after it's been soiled is a breeze!
  • Lastly, it's small and easy to transport.
Have I convinced you now? So, here's what you'll need to make your own pressing board:
  • Cotton Canvas 16 x 20 inches. (ca. 40 x 50 cm)
  • Cotton Batting 16 x 20 inches. (ca.40 x 50 cm)
  • Plywood Board 10 x 14 inches. (ca.25 x 35 cm)
  • Craft Felt Piece 10 x 14 inches. (ca.25 x 35 cm)
  • Staple Gun & Staples
  • Spray Glue

Layer the cotton canvas, then the cotton batting, and finally the plywood piece on top, as shown in the picture above. Begin on the long side of the board and pull fabric and batting to the back side. Tack with three staples. Rotate the board to the opposite long side, pull fabric taunt, and tack with three staples. Fabric should be taunt but not stretched. Repeat steps with the remaining short sides, but do not staple to the end yet.

After all four sides have been secured, pull the corner batting piece to a point, and cut at an angle for a mitered edge. Repeat for the remaining corners.

Continue stapling along one long side of the board, stopping 1 - 2 inches from the corner, and repeat with the short side until there is a small "dog ear" left as shown in the picture below. 

There are two ways that you can finish the corners, and it is simply a personal preference. The first is to pull the fabric down at an angle. The second is to simply fold it over as shown below. NOTE: Some prefer to also cut out the corners of the canvas fabric to avoid bulk, but my preference is to leave the fabric corners in.

Tack the corners in place. Repeat until all corners are finished. Cut any excess fabric as desired.

Finally, spray a generous amount of spray adhesive/glue to the back side of the felt piece. Position it on the back of the board. This prevents scratching from the staples when working on a table or other sensitive surface.

Now you're ready to go! Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for starch applique how-to videos, including tips on my favorite supplies!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Making Lemonade

These last weeks have been all about getting ready.... getting ready to print my latest pattern, Whirly Girl... getting ready for my upcoming class in Hildesheim... getting ready for both of my Nadelwelt classes... getting ready for my next pattern release... not to mention finishing the quilt top for the pattern after that... wheh!?!... and what do I have to share? Not much... yet.

Well, how about we start with what's NOT under wraps? This weekend I'm teaching another starch applique class, and for those that have never tried this technique, I usually recommend starting out with a simple block that covers a little bit of everything. Since circles and leaves are a staple in many applique blocks, it's the perfect place to begin.

Once those are mastered, it's time to move on to bigger and better things. A simple heart is an ideal shape to begin with because it addresses the issue of an inward curve. Those are the points that can sometimes be tricky to handle because there's just not much fabric to work with.

Last fall, I made a sample block to demonstrate the starch applique technique when I taught a weekend course with Patch-Yard. She made another appearnace just recently in Patchwork Professional, where I did a little how-to "workshop" along with the magazine feature.

Since I will demonstrate this block yet again at Nadelwelt, I thought it might be time to make a plan for all those sample blocks, not that I get stuck with a bunch of random, orphan blocks that only get thrown into the WIP box later.... so I started a little fabric pull. 

Thinking about it in hindsight, it might have been better to have a plan before I started - connecting these two blocks to each other is not the easiest divide to cross... not to mention that is a color combo that is way outside my comfort zone.

So, now I'm making lemonade out of lemons!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Instagram Birthday GIVEAWAY!

It's really not intentional, but somehow my quilt pattern releases seem to line up perfectly timed with my birthday. Even though it's no special number this year, it's still fun to explain to people that I've been 35 for 11 years now... so, you wanna celebrate big with me?

To participate in the giveaway then just pop on over to my Instagram page for a chance to win a 3" x 6" Flying Geese ruler from Bloc Loc PLUS a copy of my latest pattern, Whirly Girl!

When I approach a company about sponsoring a giveaway, for me it's about endorsing products that I actually use and am passionate about. I think I've shared before about my general dislike of HST's (half square triangles)... until a friend introduced me to Bloc Loc rulers. Talk about a game changer!?! So, I was really excited to hear that they also offer a ruler for Flying Geese.

 ... and since Whirly Girl has so many Flying Geese units, I thought it would be a perfect pair up for a giveaway.

Remember that my 20% discount in my entire Payhip shop ends on Sunday, March 24th (GMT+1)... just end the Sale Code: Whirly.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Whirly Girl Release + Shop SALE!

Oh, there's so much to share about the release of my Whirly Girl quilt, where do I begin? How about if I just jump to the good stuff first? part the of Whirly Girl release, I am offering a 20% discount on ALL my patterns in my Payhip shop, just enter the SALE CODE: Whirly. Sale ends Sunday, March 24th (GMT+1)

So, just in case you missed it yesterday, join me on the Whirly Girl blog hop, which starts with me today! Tomorrow, she'll show up with:

Melanie – March 15th
Sandra – March 16th
Alex - March 17th
Judith – March 18th 
Sharni - March 19th

I suppose it's been said, never ask someone to do something that you would not be willing to do yourself, right? And since I asked my testers to make at least a 3 x 3 row Whirly Girl quilt, I thought I could join in with them too!

In all reality, the truth of it is that a while back I ordered a few precious Cotton & Steel fabrics that had caught my eye, and you know how it is sometimes... some fabrics shout a little louder than others that they need to be made into something, and NOW! (am I the only one with talking fabrics?) Have you noticed that soft grey seems to have grown on me?

But somehow no matter how you slice it or dice it, the weather in Northern Germany has just not co-operated with me when it comes to taking photos... she won't pull back that thick veil of grey!?! Ok, well in all fairness, she did for about four days, but three of those four I was out for the count on the couch with a not so pretty cold. I think in some of these pictures you can literally see how thick it is.

I'm just glad that spring is on the way despite the weather... these little blooms are one of my favorites - "Märzbecher" in German, and they are the absolute perfection of spring daintiness.

Not only have I been battling the dense grey, but also the wind. I would have to say that we are give the "Windy City" a good run for their money!

Be sure to follow along on the blog hop this week, and hop on over to Instagrm to check out what my other patterns testers have whipped up - under the #whirlygirlquilt hashtag!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Whirly Girl Blog Hop Announcement

Tomorrow is the official release of my Whirly Girl quilt pattern... so, are you as excited as I am? To kick things off, I'm announcing a little Blog Hop that starts with the pattern release! I had so many talented pattern testers, and what was particularly exciting for me was that I had so many German testers in the mix... it really makes me feel more a part of the community where I am living!

So, here's where Whirly Girl will be taking you this week...
So before the official release tomorrow, I thought that I would leave you with a few color combinations as inspiration for your own Whirly Girl quilt...

I find that a cool color combination is one that I come back to over and over again when I am playing with colors. You'll be seeing more cool colors with my next pattern. (can you believe it's already in testers hands!?!)

Vibrant, warm, popping tones cooled down with grey accents are sure to keep things spicy...

I love gradient quilts, and what could make them better than using some highly saturated Alison Glass fabrics?

Things are super dramatic when combined on a dark background. I usually tend for high popping contrasts on white, but this version has me rethinking things...

But, not all quilts have to knock you over with a powerful punch of color - these sweet and soft pastel fabrics from Heather Ross are on my wish list... those strawberries are just too cute to pass up.

So, be sure to stop back again tomorrow for the official release, March 14th! (and a few other surprises) But before I see you again, I wanted to leave you with a few things that my pattern testers actually had to say about the pattern:

"For me the directions where easy to understand. I would call myself an intermediate quilter and it was fun to sewing the pattern. Because of the directions of the flying geese it is still interesting to sew and its great for chain piecing and comes together pretty fast but looks stunning at the end." - Christa

"The pattern has been a joy to make, I love the partial seam element - not too tricky and your instructions are really clear. Just a little challenge for a confident beginner. I also like how you can make it your own with colour placement.". - Helen

"What a great, easy pattern. I did a mini quilt early on in my quilting journey with partial seams and it has scared me ever since. (I do not recommend partial seams with 1 1/2" wide pieces!)  So, there was a little trepidation but when I got to this step it was sooo easy. I will not be scared of partial seams again!" - Naomi

"The directions were clear and easy to understand. I feel that intermediate/advanced quilters would still find this pattern very interesting. Although the blocks are simple in construction, the design comes together in a way that feels very modern and looks complex.

The cutting tables were easy to use. I loved that you broke each section into separate segments. This was a very useful feature because I like to break up the cutting and sewing into sections. It was also helpful in being able to choose colors as I went because I was able to audition fabrics for each section". - Erica

"I enjoyed making this quilt - I will make another in different colors for sure". - Suzanne

"The construction pictures made it very simple to follow and the block comes together great. The partial seam will never stop me again from sewing a particular pattern." - Regina

"Ich bin von dem Pattern sehr angetan. Es sind viele traditionelle Blöcke miteinander vereint. Sie ergeben zusammen ein verspieltes Layout. Die Anleitung finde ich besonders für Quiltanfänger toll aufgebaut. Du erklärst jede Methode genau und nachvollziehbar. Die einzelnen Schritte zusätzlich mit der entsprechenden Schnittabelle zu versehen, finde ich wirklich klasse". - Judith

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Whirly Girl To The Test

The countdown clock has officially started... in just a little over a week, Whirly Girl will make her public appearance! As I mentioned before, I have a really great group of pattern testers, and since I'm stuck behind the computer instead of the sewing machine, I thought it would be fun to share of few of other Whirly Girl versions...

Cecilia decided to use these fabulous Quantum fabrics from guicy_guice... I've been drooling over them for a while, and trying to convince myself that a girl can never have enough fabric.

Hildy had me at low volume and Basic Grey grunge... what a perfect combination for a sweet baby quilt. I've heard that there's already a new little bundle of joy wrapped up in this soft, pastel Whrily Girl quilt.

It's no secret that I am a big Alison Glass fan... give me a highly saturated fabric, and I am a happy girl. Jennifer put a fun rainbow twist on her version of Whrily Girl.

Are there any Tula fans in the house? Then Regina's yummy greens and teals are just the thing for to make #tulatroopsunite.

Bright, fun, and juicy is the only way that I can describe Erica's fun version. Lots of vibrant Cotton & Steel teal, citrons, and fuchsia, make this a fun summer quilt.

Don't you just love how a quilt can take on a completely different look, just by a few fabric changes. To see more of what my pattern testers have done, be sure to check out the #whirlygirlquilt hashtag. 

Whrily Girl releases next Thursday - March 14, 2019!
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