Are you an Aussie? If you are, I’d love to see you next week at the Adelaide Craft & Quilt Fair, where I’ll be hanging out with the Best of QuiltCon exhibit! The best part is that I hardly had a chance to view the quilts at the quilt show in Nashville, so I’m excited to have some quality time with them in Adelaide. If you happen to swing through the fair, make sure to come by and say hello!
Welcome to the new and improved website! Did you notice my photos got all clunky a few months ago? That was the start of this change, and there’s still way more work to do, but I’m excited for you to see the new look and feel.
Tell me what you think - what do you like? What do you miss? it’s still very much a work in progress, but I’m really excited about how it’s all looking so far!!!
A few big updates to share before I try that though -
1. Big destash today at 1pm on my shop right here as well as on Instagram at @dcmbdestash - The husband has gotten a new job out of state, so we'll be making a very big move in the next six weeks or so. It's super stressful and the fewer things I can pack, the better!
2. I finished a quilt! I made a gorgeous new quilt using Denyse Schmidt's Washington Depot collection, and there's a super simple tutorial coming for it super soon. Lorelei has claimed it as her own and likes to play on it.
3. I've been cross-stitching a ton. I'm working on a secret cross-stitch project right now, in fact, that is nearly finished and I'll be able to share in a week or so, but in the meantime, I can show you a sneaky peek...
4. I'm even working on a quilt right now. Amazing! It's a simple tessellated plus quilt in reds and purples, but I'm having fun with it...in between stressing about moving and dealing with a screaming almost two year old (she's warming up for the terrible twos in the worst way).
These next few weeks leading up to our move are going to be crazy, but I sure am going to try to be more involved with my blog! I miss you guys!
That's the thing about making big quilts for me - it's hard to really get a good sense of how they're looking in my sewing room right now with the way things are laid out. I really need a full wall of design wall. That would be superb. But that would mean giving up a lot of storage space, which isn't really doable with the current state of my stash, so unless I downsize my stash massively, this method of laying things out sometimes in my bed will just have to do. Make it work, as Tim Gunn says, and he says it so enthusiastically and convincingly that he's got me believing.
I'm really, really, really excited about how things are looking so far. Super excited. Wish I could sew, sew, sew and finish the whole thing off today excited. But life rules, and there are kids to care for, and QuiltCon to work on, and dogs to walk, and real life waits for no one. But come next weekend, here's hoping there's at least another row or two added onto this bad boy. I think there's ten more to go total to get it large enough to have enough size to be able to tug back and forth between me and my husband and for it to hang down to where I want it to hang to. Ten more. I can do that. Eventually. Here's hoping you all had a great stitchy weekend too!
Signed, sealed, and delivered! I've finished off the Pink Sunshine quilt, and it's officially been delivered to the munchkin's math teacher, so it's safe to share, not that I think she's a blog reader :) I think she likes it, I sure hope hope she does. This super happy, mega scrappy quilt was a lot of fun to work on, using scraps of Lorelei's baby quilt and other various pink fabrics floating around my sewing room.
I kept the quilting fairly simple, just doing a modified stipple with pearl clamshells here and there, majorly because I don't get to free-motion as much as I'd like to these days and I wanted to keep it from being a big hairy deal...but my machine is definitely in need of a visit to the spa, so it was a little more dramatic than I would have liked. It's been almost two years since her last spa date, so it's time, I need to just get her over to the shop for her full cleaning and tune-up. It's important to do, even with a fully mechanical machine! While I can oil my machine and clean out a large part of my machine, there's still areas I can't get to and things that need maintenance that are beyond my skill set. I used Aurifil 3660, a fun variegated pink, to go with all the different shades of pink used in the quilt, and also shockingly because it's the only spool of pink Aurifil I own! I must remedy this at some point.
The binding might just be my favorite part. It's a print called
, which I stumbled on at Stash Fabrics when hunting for pinks. Perfect fabric for binding this kind of adorable baby quilt.
It feels good to finish a quilt. It makes me want to sew even more. I think the next quilt I want to get back to is my
that I think is also destined for my bed, or maybe the living room. My
desperately needs another quilt it can alternate with!!
Quilt Name: Pink Sunshine
Size: 36" x 40"
Pattern: None, improvised strip quilt using scraps and made scraps
Quilting: Modified stipple with pearl clamshells in
I love trying to put blocks together, mashing up two different classic blocks that I love, and two blocks that I love very much are the classic Carpenter's Star and the Patchwork Wheel, or Cheyenne, block. I fooled around over and over again with the components of these two blocks, and came up with a mashup that I presented on last week's new episode of Fresh Quilting, which if you're an MQG member you can watch online for free anytime on the MQG Community site. I'd like to introduce you to the Carpenter's Wheel!
You can get your very own copy of the Carpenter's Wheel PDF pattern, from my Pattern Shop, and Craftsy, on sale this week for $3. It includes two different block sizes, 20" finished and 30" finished. This block is built with simple squares and half-square triangles and makes a great start for a medallion quilt, or a mini quilt of its' own! The pattern features tips and tricks on making eight half-square triangles at once, as well as loads of full-color illustrations to walk you through making the quilt block.
Carpenter's Wheel PDF download from my Pattern Shop
Carpenter's Wheel PDF download on Craftsy
I hope you enjoy it, and I can't wait to see what you stitch up!
Let's see, where to start...let's start today with cross-stitchy fun.
I've been cross-stitching like crazy. It's been an easy thing to pick up here and there between conference calls and Excel spreadsheets and mothering all that, and it's been the kind of craft I can manage to do without having to hide in my sewing room on the rare occasion that my husband is actually not traveling for work, so most of my crafting time the last few months has been the cross-stitching variety. Here's a few recent finishes...
And at least one still in progress...
I even taught my son to cross-stitch this weekend using a super cute kit I stumbled upon at Fancy Tiger that I cannot recommend enough - Cross Stitch Friends. He's seen me cross-stitch for a while, and this was just the project to hook him with!
Stay tuned for some QuiltCon treasures I purchased and some actual sewing soon! Woo hoo! Have a fantastic week everyone :)
My first day of normalcy just happens to be MQG Sew Day, which was a fun coincidence, because it was an incredible reason to get into my sewing room during Lorelei's (all-too-short) naptime. While I've been mostly off social media the last two weeks, I've occasionally seen snippets here and there and one thing that I saw that stuck with me was Kate's adorable Tall Tales book block. Just had to make one, with one of my most favorite fabrics that I've been hoarding for eons.
I haven't decided what this will become yet - a pillow perhaps? a mini? we'll see - but it's a super simple paper pieced block that is way fun to stitch up.
I'll work on a fun sewing update from my sewing-with-friends post-Christmas trip later this week hopefully as life starts to return back to normal, and in the meantime, I'll leave you with a snap of the newly crowned one-year-old Lorelei. She's not walking yet, because she can't be bothered to walk when she's the world's fastest crawler, but she is babbling up a storm.
I hope you all are having a wonderful and mostly uneventful new year so far :)
I realized when I hung the stockings that Lorelei's stocking is fairly matching, save for two things - the embroidery thread is different (white-white instead of off-white, darn it!) and then I managed to introduce mint to the color palette, but it works, I think, so I'm not going to go and restitch, that's for sure!
Oh! And this year, the stockings are hung differently! When the husband saw what 3M Command hooks cost (this is precisely why you shouldn't take husbands to Target), we re-thought things for something we didn't have to keep re-buying year over year, so this is a fun set of lights from Target, a shower rod in bronze from Amazon, and shower hooks, plus various Christmas decorations I've gathered over the years (some new, some old). And one day, I'll have a real fireplace and mantel to hang the stockings on. Just not in Florida.
What are you stitching up for the holidays? I'm finishing up some fun hand-stitched gifts, which you can follow along with some sneak peeks on Instagram @dontcallmebetsy and I'll post the finished makes as soon as the receivers open them! Happy holiday stitching everyone :)
Never cross-stitched before? No worries, here's a super simple basic tutorial you can use!
Stitch something up? I'd love to see it! Tag it on social media with #stitchingwithlorelai and #dontcallmebetsy and I'll be sure to check it out! Have a great weekend everyone :)
The Building Block Dress book is focused on the art of learning a simple dress, the Building Block Dress, and then learning a zillion ways to alter or customize it, to make it in a bunch of different ways, essentially giving you a ton of new skills along the way. I look forward to spending more time with this book because I know I am going to learn ever so much from it!!! There's custom sleeves, different skirt options, pockets, necklines, you name it. Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? It's like that, but with garment patterns, in sizes from 6 months all the way up through size 12. For a beginning seamstress like me, it's a little overwhelming to start from, but at the same time, it's super exciting because I know it's the kind of book I'll come back to over and over again. In fact, I need to take it to my local UPS Store to get the binding cut off so I can have them spiralize it!
The Orlando MQG is collecting heart blocks and quilts of heart blocks for the victims, victims' families and first responders. There's a very simple heart block tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew you can use right here, or if you're not a fan of stitching and flipping you can download my new free heart paper piecing templates right here or via Craftsy. There's no cutting instructions on these templates, they are strictly templates, but they're extremely simple and easy to use.
While you may say, who needs quilts in Florida, you'd be surprised how many my family piles on in the wintertime, not to mention how much joy a quilt draped across a couch can bring. There's loads of ways to get involved if you don't want to make blocks or quilts, and you can check out all of the details right here: The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.
I will say this - I tend to bite off more than I can chew, so to start with, I truly considered making four of them. At once. Then the rational side of me took over and I decided to try one first, sew it all the way through, before cutting into the other pretty, pretty fabrics I gathered for my Geranium possibilities pile. I narrowed it down to a gorgeous Eastham by Denyse Schmidt print, and got to pressing and cutting.
Everything was going well with the cutting and such until I got to the actual sewing and realized that while I thought "View A" in the pattern was the cuter of the options (though both are adorable), it was also the more challenging one, for me, because it required gathering, which I am absolutely dreadful at. I always pull the threads so hard that I break them. And unsurprisingly, I did just that in this project, but kept on trucking and gathered the best I could.
The dress still needs buttons or snaps - I haven't decided which yet, in part because I've never installed either, but also because the mom in me thinks the snaps are more practical and I don't have any so it requires a trip to Jo-Ann's - but other than that, it's totally done. All hemmed and everything. And it's super cute!
So, I think the chances that I'll make another (or twelve!) are mighty good. This pattern was definitely a good one for a complete garment novice like myself, so if you're on the fence about trying your hand at garment sewing, go for it. It's not as scary as I thought it would be. Need some proof? I even bought a few adult garment patterns, like the Scout Tee and the Bianca top/dress. And I might actually use them! Have a fantastic week everyone :)
I've been slowly gathering my courage to try making something garment-y for a few weeks now. Goodness knows that I surely have plenty of fabric to do it with! But I was totally lacking in the confidence department. Quilts are flat. They don't have to go over anyone's head. They always fit. I like quilts. Garments? That's a whole different story.
It's no secret that I love solid fabrics - they're one of my favorite groupings of fabrics to use, especially in paper pieced blocks, because they make those beautifully crisp and sharp angles and points even more pronounced. But ombre solids have a special little spot in my heart. Ombre solids can be so much fun to work with, figuring out how to cut a single half-yard, for example, into eight or so different shades of one singular color and then seeing them come together in a finished block or mini. And if there's one designer I always associate with ombres, it's for sure Vanessa Christensen of
Before the baby came, I had a chance to work with some of Vanessa's beautiful ombre fabrics for a project for
, and the Spring 2016 issue featuring the quilt, pattern and an article about paper piecing by yours truly has finally hit the stands. You'll find my Circus Star quilt pattern on page 40 of the magazine, with my article on paper piecing just before that on page 36.
The Circus Star totally reminds me of the multicolored patterns you see on circus tents and such, and yet also gives off a kaleidoscope kind of feel. It's a three template project, and has loads of possibility. It could easily be done in a color wheel kind of style, or even in grayscale, and be really and truly stunning.
: Circus Star
: Circus Star pattern in spring 2016 issue of
: 24" square
: V + Co ombres
: Aurifil 50 wt in assorted coordinating colors in multiple styles, including straight lines, zig zags, meandering stipple and wiggle
So my second book,
, has started to ship a whole month early, and I'm so excited!!!! I'm incredibly proud of this book, so I wanted to take a moment this morning to show you a few sneak peeks of some of the things I love most about it.
I love the photography. I gave my publisher, Interweave, a "mood board" to work from, trying to give them an idea of the style of photography I hoped to see in the book and oh boy, did they deliver. Absolutely the look and feel I had hoped for!
I love the projects in this book. They are so very me. And it's impossible to pick a favorite, but right now I'm crushing real hard on Steely Gaze...
I love the amount of me that's still left in the text. The amount of personality that didn't get edited out. I think my voice really comes through in the writing, and that's really exciting to me.
I love the amount of illustrations and photos throughout. It makes the book so much more vibrant.
And really, I love a lot more about it, but that's all I'm going to share for now. Don't forget, you can order a copy from Amazon
or you can order a signed copy from me
! Stay tuned for more, and have a fantastic day!
Once upon a time, we bought our first house and lived in a neighborhood where we had great neighbors. And one neighbor became a good friend of mine around the time my son was born, so much so that she's had the title of auntie since he could talk. And though she moved away a few years ago, after we left that neighborhood in search of a bigger neighborhood with more kids around, we're still in touch and she recently welcomed her first child, a boy she and her husband named Henry.
Henry came a good bit early, but he's doing really well so far, which is so wonderful. I'm so excited for her to become a mom and to get to enjoy all the sweet mom/son things that I've enjoyed with my son. I know that Henry is a lucky boy to have her as a mom, and I wanted to send my love to them both the best way I know how - a quilt.
This quilt isn't super technical or super fancy, but it's meant to be loved and enjoyed, and will be a great playmat for Henry after he gets to come home from the hospital. I did some simple plus blocks using fun blues and yellows, with one of my favorite text prints as the background,
in Snow from Littlest. I bordered the patchwork with simple improv piecing using some great shades of Kona:
Most days, I wind up with baby poop on my person somewhere at least once.
Most days, I get a super fun migraine or headache from the ear-piecing sound of my daughter screaming about something mysterious that she's upset about.
Most days, I fall asleep at least once in front of my computer while working on a spreadsheet or while writing a work email.
Most days, not only do I have to change diapers and take care of my daughter's waste products, I have to the same for my elderly dog, who's having accidents in the house. Poor Sam.
Most days, I can't remember if I found time to brush my teeth in the morning.
Most days, I screw up the laundry in some way, whether it's forgetting about a load in the washer only to discover it when it stinks up the laundry room or pink splotches on my husband's white undershirts. I hate sorting laundry, but it often bites me when something bleeds and I then have to try to fix it.
Most days, my husband and I are ships passing in the night as he works crazy long days or is off traveling.
Most days, I feel some sort of guilt. Whether it's guilt for not listening to something my son said over breakfast, or guilt for working on spreadsheets and schedules when my daughter's cooing at me, or guilt for not washing dishes...there's always something to feel guilty about.
And on the worst days, I wonder what on earth I'm doing. Then something happens that turns me around - whether it's a smile from the baby or a hug or sweet words from my son or a little bit of extra coffee or chocolate, or just a few quiet minutes to myself to get my head on straight. Motherhood is hard work, for sure, but it has its moments.