Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Have you heard about the Zakka Along?

Do you know Rashida yet?  You should :)  She's the designer behind one of my current favorite fabric lines, Washi, and also a fabulous author.  Her new book Zakka Style has even inspired a Sew Along that I'm super excited to take part in.

Lindsey of LR Stitched and Amy of Don't You Know Who I Am? are organizing a sew-along of every single project in the book, and they asked me to join in the fun!  There are 24 projects and we'll be sewing right through the book from start to finish.

The sew along starts Monday April 2nd with the first project in the book and will continue through Monday September 10th with a new project  introduced each Monday. Each blogger will sew a different project and will be sharing their finished project and inspiration with you.  I'll be doing the Orchard Path Tweed Pouch and finally tackling my fear of hexagons, which I'm really looking forward to!



  • April 2nd :: Zig Zag Tote with Sew Fantastic
  • April 9th :: The House Pouch with During Quiet Time
  • April 16th :: Zakka Pincushion with Pink Penguin
  • April 23rd :: Sewing Kit with Monkey Do
  • April 30th :: Patchwork Pencil Case with VeryKerryBerry
  • May 7th :: Itty Bitty Quilt Block Magnets with Little Bluebell
  • May 14th :: Raincloud Mug Rug with Quilt Dad
  • May 21st :: Zakka Block Quilt with I like Orange
  • May 28th :: Stem Messenger Bag with Sew Sweetness
  • June 4th :: Zip Organizer with Spotted Stone
  • June 11th :: Orchard Path Tweed Pouch with Don’t Call Me Betsy
  • June 18th :: Happy Couple Handwarmers with A Cuppa and a Catchup
  • June 25th :: Patchwork Potholder with Sew Take a Hike
  • July 2nd :: Water Bottle Holder with One Shabby Chick
  • July 9th :: Elephant Bookmark with Cut to Pieces
  • July 16th :: Patchwork Ribbon with {House} of A la Mode
  • July 23rd :: Delightful Linen Bag with Sukie(ha! that’s me!!)
  • July 30th :: Bread Basket with Patchwork Notes
  • August 6th :: Sweet Sugar Cookie Sack with BettyCrockerAss
  • August 13th :: Little Pocket Pillowcase with Freshly Pieced
  • August 2oth :: Sweet Memories Photo Frame with Noodlehead
  • August 27th :: Pleated Coin Purse with Shape Moth
  • September 3rd :: Happy Garland Message Board with Maureen Cracknell Handmade
  • September 10th :: Nesting Boxes with From the Blue Chair


  • The projects in the book are small and a lot of fun to stitch up, so I sure hope you'll join in the fun.  You will need a copy of the book to participate.  You can find a copy at Amazon as well as many local quilt shops.  

    There will be some fab prizes offered throughout the sew along and we are so thankful to have the support of Stash Books, Aurifil, Zip It, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, Cloud 9 fabrics, Fabricworm, and The Intrepid Thread.

    Feel free to join in the flickr group and be sure to grab a button!

      Zakka Style Sew Along
    <div align="center"><a href="http://lrstitched.com/category/zakka-style-sew-along/" title="Zakka Style Sew Along"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7199/6841837772_1b737ca48a_o.jpg" alt="Zakka Style Sew Along" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Radiant Ring block tutorial

    Sorry for dropping off the face of the blogosphere this last week - thanks to those of you who wrote to me with your concern :)  I am indeed A-OK, just spent a lot of time enjoying our early summer weather here in Florida, before the inevitable 90 degree temperatures set in.  Bike riding has become a new favorite activity of the munchkin's, now that he's physically gotten the hang of riding his new big boy bike.  To make it up to you, my wonderful readers, I've got a new block tutorial for you :)

    This year, I'm having a lot of fun with the Stash Trad bee.  It's a group of amazingly talented quilters who have a love for messing with traditional blocks with a modern twist.  Lee made us a fabulously apropos button for the bee, with that very motto in mind.

    stashtradbutton

    April is my turn in the group, and I waffled a lot this month, thinking about what to ask the girls to make for me, and I kept coming back to the Rolling Stone block, which dates as far back as 1898, credited as being listed in the Ladies' Art Company Catalog.


    Much as I like the block, I wanted to do something a little different with it, so I fooled around with the color placement, using four colors rather than two and creating an octogon or ring in the center of the block.  Then, I decided that I wanted to do something really colorful, so I played around in Illustrator until I came up with this fun layout:

    Rainbow Rolling Stone variation for April

    After some trial and error, I found that paper piecing the corner units of each block is the most accurate way to piece these blocks, so I've created my first paper piecing template.  It's hand-drawn because Illustrator and I couldn't seem to see eye-to-eye, but this template works great for this block.  And if you've never paper pieced, don't worry!  This is super easy-peasy paper piecing, I promise it will be painless :)


    Radiant Ring block
    12.5" unfinished block

    This block tutorial is written for using one neutral color as well as three additional contrasting colors.  In my block, I used warm colors for color A, B, and C, but I think a scrappy version of this block would also be amazing.

    4 neutral 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
    4 neutral 5" square
    1 orange 4.5" square
    4 red colored 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
    4 red colored 3.5" x 5.5" rectangles
    12 yellow colored 3.5" x 5.5" rectangles

    All seams are a scant 1/4" unless otherwise noted.  All paper piecing done with a 1.5mm stitch length.

    1. Print four copies of the Radiant Ring Template for each block you're making.  Cut your fabric, and keep in mind that you'll be using the 3.5" x 5.5" rectangles are used for paper piecing.  This size worked nicely for me when I was piecing, but you may want to make adjustments after your first block.

    2. Let's get the paper piecing out of the way.  If you've paper pieced before, this is going to be a breeze, and if you haven't, that's okay, too, I'm going to make this as simple as possible.  We're going to be making the four corner units using one template each.  First, place one neutral 5" square right side out on the back of template, making sure that your square covers the entire template square.  Pin in place, in the center.

    IMG_8296

    3. Next, take one of your yellow 3.5" x 5.5" rectangles and line up the long side side so that approximately 1/4" overlaps over the seam line for part A of the template, making sure that the right side of the fabric face down onto the paper.  Pin in place, if necessary, and stitch in place.  Be sure to stitch into the seam allowance to lock the fabric in place.

    IMG_8299

    IMG_8305

    4. Finger press your yellow fabric in place then press with a hot dry iron.  Flip your yellow fabric back and trim the excess neutral fabric to approximately 1/4" or so beyond the seam.  Don't worry about trimming the excess yellow fabric yet.

    IMG_8307

    5. Next, flip your template back over so the template faces you.  Take another of your yellow 3.5" x 5.5" rectangles and line up the long side side, with the right side of the fabric face down onto the paper, so that approximately 1/4" overlaps over the seam line for part B of the template, which is directly across from part A. Pin in place, if necessary, and stitch in place.  Again, be sure to stitch into the seam allowance to lock the fabric in place.

    IMG_8315

    6. Repeat step 5 for your final yellow rectangle, using part C of the template.

    7. Flip your template back over so the template faces you again.  Take one of your red 3.5" x 5.5" rectangles and line up the long side side, with the right side of the fabric face down onto the paper, so that approximately 1/4" overlaps over the seam line for part D of the template.

    IMG_8319

    Pin in place, if necessary, and stitch in place.  Again, be sure to stitch into the seam allowance to lock the fabric in place.  Press your seam open and bring your finished template over to your cutting table.

    IMG_8309

    Ugly, right?  Let's fix that!

    8. Place your template paper side up for this step.

    IMG_8310

    Disregard the dotted line and trim all the way around the solid black square line of the template, and voila!  A simple paper pieced square in square!  Marvel at your paper piecing prowess for a moment, and then move on to the next step ;)

    IMG_8312

    8. Next, let's build the other subunits for this block.  Take the four 2.5" x 4.5" neutral rectangles and pair each one with a red rectangle of the same size.  Seam each pair together and press seams open.

    9. To finish your block, we're simply going to sew the nine subunits we've created together, in rows of three.  First, lay out your subunits as shown below.

    IMG_8320

    Then, remove the paper from the back of your corner subunits, which should be fairly simple.  Your stitches perforated the paper, so simply fold back your paper and pull.  Repeat for all subunits.  Stitch each row of three together, then stitch the three rows together, and voila!  A finished gorgeous 12.5" block.

    Rainbow Rolling Stone

    I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  If you make a Radiant Ring block, I sure would love to see it in my Flickr group, Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy!  Happy Monday :)

    A note to the Stash Trad gang:  Please make either a Warm or Cool block, using Kona Snow as your background color, and don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions. 
    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Patchwork Wheel block tutorial

    This super easy block tutorial shows exactly how I made the lovely mini I shipped off to my partner in the For the Love of Solids swap.  When I made the mini, I made four of these blocks, and you'll see when you stitch these blocks together, they create a gorgeous, interlocked look.

    For the Love of Solids mini - done!

    I definitely plan to make a scrap quilt using this block at some point in the near future, as my scraps are starting to take over my sewing space!!  Perhaps over the summer, we could stitch up some of these blocks together?  Maybe as a tame-the-scraps-along?

    Patchwork-Wheel-quilt


    This particular block has a rich history and dates back as far as the 1930's.  It was first published as a Cheyenne block, by the Kansas City Star in September of 1933, but later in the 1960's was referred to as a Rock Garden block by Quilts magazine.  When I look at this block, full of a rainbow of focal colors rather than two focal colors (dark and medium) as in the original, I see a patchwork wheel and that's how I came up with the name for this block.

    Cosmic Burst by Mark Cesarik

    Thanks, Mark and Cara, for the gorgeous Cosmic Burst fabrics to play with - I paired them with gray Robert Kaufman Quilter's Linen for this particular tutorial, and I love how the bright colors pop against the gray.

    Patchwork Wheel Block Tutorial
    12.5" unfinished block

    Patchwork Wheel block tutorial

    You'll need:
    (8) 3.5" squares in various colors/prints
    (8) 4.25" squares in various colors/prints
    (8) 4.25" squares in a solid/neutral print

    IMG_8175

    1. Draw a diagonal line on the back of your neutral squares.  We will be using these to create half-square triangles.  Then, match up each neutral square with a colored/printed square, right sides together, with the line you've drawn facing you.

    HST making

    2. Stitch a scant 1/4" seam on either side of the line you drew, then cut along the line to create two half-square triangles (HSTs).

    IMG_8181

    Press your HSTs and trim down to 3.5".

    IMG_8182

    3. Lay out your squares and HSTs as shown below, then stitch sub-blocks together in pairs to create the four rows for this block.

    Laying out sub blocks

    4. Stitch rows together, taking care to line up the seams as you go.

    Matching seams

    5. Enjoy your finished block!

    Patchwork Wheel tutorial

    As always, if you use this tutorial to make some Patchy Wheel blocks of your own, please add them to my Flickr group, Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy.  I'd love to see them!
    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    WiP Wednesday: The one with lots of fans

    It's been a good sewing week at my house, between finishing up a quilt and a tutorial to share with you all.  It's spring break this week for the munchkin, so there hasn't been a boatload of sewing time, but there has been a lot of fun so far.  We've made plans to visit Thomas the Train this weekend, had a wonderful time bouncing with a school friend yesterday at an indoor play area and at storytime at the library on Monday, so it's been a good week so far.  I hope you're having a great week, too!

    Done!
    Star Crossed Stitch quilt

    Star Crossed Stitch quilt - unwashed detail #2


    FMQ Baptist Fans tutorial

    Baptist Fan FMQ tutorial



    Still going:
    Cosmic Burst project - I'm using these gorgeous little bits of Cosmic Burst to create a new block tutorial for my Patchy Wheel block that I used in my mini for my partner in the For the Love of Solids swap, which is on its way to its destination as we speak.  Hopefully I can wrap this one up this weekend.  :)


    Oakshott shot cottons project - Um...does admiring fabric count as progress?  Not really ;)  I am positively in love with the block Sara just did for the NY Beauty Along, so I suspect that might be the first one I tackle.

    New this week:Modern Madness at Fat Quarterly - I'm working on my brackets for Modern Madness tournament at Fat Quarterly.  Last year, I was sorry that I didn't participate, so I'm making sure to get in on it this year.  I'm down to last pairing (Ruby Star Shining vs. Half Moon Modern), and I'm having a tough time deciding who wins for me.  I'm sure I'm probably totally wrong on who the final four are, let alone, the sweet sixteen, but it will still be fun to follow along!


    What are you working on this week?  Write it up and share it over at Freshly Pieced!
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Tutorial: FMQ Baptist Fans

    I think these baptist fans are officially my new favorite style of free motion quilting.  I'm hoping that with a bit more practice, I might just be able to freehand these fans without marking up the quilt, but we'll see.  I've heard from a lot of you guys over the last few days about these fans, and how they look hard, and I can tell you this much: you can do this.  It may take a little bit of practice, but this style of FMQ is totally doable.

    Star Crossed Stitch quilt - unwashed detail #1


    You'll need:
    Circle Cut ruler, or similar
    Water-soluble fabric marker
    FMQ foot of your choice - I use a spring-loaded open toe foot
    FMQ thread of choice - I use Gutermann or Aurifil, but whatever your machine likes will work just fine

    A few notes about this tutorial:
    * I am right handed, but I stitch right to left in this tutorial and 99.9999% of the time.  Why?  Because it makes sense with the way my machine is set up.  Feel free to flip the ruler upside down and trace your fans in the opposite direction so you can stitch right to left, if you prefer quilting that way.
    * This design can also be done with a walking foot, but honestly, I really intensely dislike straight line quilting (and to me, all quilting with my walking foot is like straight line quilting), so I much prefer this method.  I feel it's way more enjoyable, but to each their own.

    Let's FMQ!
    1. Before basting, take your finished and pressed quilt top to your cutting table or another large surface.  It's best to do your marking on an unbasted quilt, in case the marker bleeds through to your batting.  It's also a lot easier to work with, without the extra heft of the batting and backing.  Note below that I have modified my circle ruler slightly; I have added a piece of masking tape at an approximately 45 degree angle, so that I don't overtrace my fans. 

    IMG_8115

    2. Align your Circle Cut ruler with the bottom of your fabric, with the outside edge of your outermost circle line close to the edge of your fabric.  It doesn't have to be at the edge, just close.  Begin tracing the lines, stopping at the tape.

    IMG_8117

    3. Repeat step 2 over and over until you have completed your first row of fans, scooting your ruler to the left and starting each new fan with the outermost arc butting up to the edges of your previous fan.

    4. To start a new row of fans and create some additional visual interest, you'll want to nest your fans.  To do this, set your ruler with the arrows in the center lining up with where your fans below meet as shown below.  

    IMG_8123

    5. Continue tracing fans and creating new rows until you have covered the quilt top.  

    IMG_8124

    6. Baste quilt as desired.  Next, load up a fresh bobbin, your FMQ foot of choice, and get ready to quilt.  Begin by putting your needle down at the start of your fans in the bottom right hand corner of your quilt.  If your machine has a needle down feature (where whenever you stop the machine, the needle is down), be sure to turn it on.  We're going to be moving the quilt to create the curves in these fans, but in a linear fashion.  There will be no rotating of the quilt as this design is quilted.

    IMG_8129

    7. Stitch-trace the outermost curve of your fan, moving from right to left, until you reach the end of your first curve.  Stop, with the needle down.  As you're stitching your first curve, the one after that, and the zillions after that, here's a tip: Don't freak out if your needle bobbles or wobbles a little bit as you're stitch-tracing.  Just keep flowing with it, don't try to correct it immediately, you can gradually work your way back to the blue line.  Once you rinse the blue lines from your quilt, you'll never see the wobbles again.  I promise.  :)

    IMG_8133

    8.  To begin stitching the next curve, slowly stitch downward from your top curve down to the next curve, as shown below.  Then begin stitching to the right, again tracing the curve.

    IMG_8137


    IMG_8139

    9. Continue stitching back toward where you began your fan, creating the second curve of the fan, and stop, needle down, at the end of the traced line.  Next, stitch to the left, to catch the next traced line.  

    IMG_8148

    10. Repeat to stitch all traced lines from your Circle Cut ruler.  You'll notice, however, that when you stitch the final traced curve, that you have stitched to the left of the stems of your fan curves.  You will need to freehand stitch the final curve of your fan, moving back to the right, to match your other curves.

    IMG_8153

    11. To travel to your next fan from your final freehand curve, stitch to the left, to the edge of the outermost curve of the next fan as shown below.  The arrows show you here which direction to move your quilt as you stitch.

    IMG_8157

    12. Repeat, stitching over each traced line, until all lines are stitched.  Then, using a spray bottle loaded with water, rinse away those blue lines, and ta da!

    IMG_8158

    IMG_8169

    Now, if my husband ever stops working 18 hour days, I will try to post a video of me doing this kind of FMQ, to help make it a wee bit clearer.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know!  And if you use my tutorial to add some fans to your quilt, please be sure to shoot me an email, I'd love to hear all about it!  You can also add photos of your work following this tutorial to my Flickr group.   Have a great day!
    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Star Crossed Stitch quilt - done!

    Thank you all so much for your support last week when I was unquilting this quilt and trying something new. I am so excited to share the finished quilt with you!  This is definitely one of my favorite finishes in a while, thanks to the fun I had quilting this one and the great texture the quilting created.  I love densely quilted quilts like this one, so I'm quite sure it's going to be one of my favorites for a while to come.

    Star Crossed Stitch quilt - unwashed full shot
    before washing

    Star Crossed Stitch quilt - washed full shot
    after washing
    A while back, I fell in love with a block I saw in a copy of Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns, on loan from the library, and sketched it out in my sketchbook.  Many months later, back in January, when the fabulously talented Betz White sent me some of her fantastic organic line of fabric for Robert Kaufman, I revisited the sketch and decided to finally make the block.  I called it a Star Crossed block, as it felt like a fab combination of a star and cross block, and I slowly started working on this quilt bit by bit, in between what feels like a zillion other obligations that I can't share yet.

    Star Crossed Stitch quilt - unwashed detail #1


    I was super excited to finish this quilt...until I realized that I didn't have a clue how I wanted to quilt it.  Usually, I don't make that decision until after I see the finished quilt top.  When I looked at this quilt top, I just couldn't seem to decide.  I wanted to do something other than my usual smooth stipple, and I thought a pointy stipple would be fun, but rather than mocking it up to see how it would look, I just went for it.  Whoops.  I hated it.  Intensely.  So much so that I ripped it all out.  Note to self: always mock up the quilting.  Always.  (ETA: All I do to mock up my quilts is print out a photo and draw out my FMQ design on it with a highlighter.  It's uber-low-tech and fast.)

    IMG_8059
    before washing

    Somehow or another, I got baptist fans on the brain, and just couldn't let go.  So I did them.  And they were really fun to do!  The way I stitched these fans is indeed in a continuous line, with one start at the beginning of each row of fans and one stop at the end.  I'm putting the finishing touches on a tutorial of how I did this quilting to share with you all tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.

    IMG_8056
    before washing
    I'm so happy I went with my gut and ripped out the pointy stipple quilting stitches I started with.  I'm also really glad I tried a new style of quilting, even though I really thought it was going to be either too difficult or too tedious.  Trying something new can be so much fun!

    Star Crossed Stitch quilt - washed detail #1
    after washing
    Thanks again, Betz, for sharing some of your lovely fabrics for this project!

    Quilt Stats
    Name: Star Crossed Stitch quilt
    Block Pattern: Star Crossed block
    Size: 34" x 44"
    Fabrics: Betz White's Stitch Organic collection for Robert Kaufman along with some coordinating fabrics from Just Dandy, Katie Jump Rope, and So Sophie
    Backing: Remants from Betz White's Stitch Organic collection
    Quilting: All-over baptist fan free motion quilting (tutorial coming tomrrow!) by yours truly
    Binding: Scrappy binding, using remants from Betz White's Stitch Organic collection, hand finished
     hello

    Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?

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