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Thursday, September 16, 2021

NTT- A September Kind of Project

Welcome to Needle and Thread Thursday, y'all!  In case you missed it, on Monday I started showcasing individual projects from my new book, Scrappy Improv Quilting, and blog tour participants started showing their amazing mini quilts from the book as well.  You can see Monday's post HERE, and yesterday's post HERE.  Each post features two projects and believe me, you don't want to miss out on all of the awesomeness going on!  

That's a whole lot of excitement, but in the meantime I have been sewing quite a bit.  I'm not quite ready to show any real progress yet, but check out this enormous pile of trimmings!


It occurred to me while I was working on this quilt that this color palette is perfect for September.  Most of the colors are dark and rich, and even though they're jewel tones, they feel very fall-ish.  But the addition of the bright coral, melon, and aqua tones still scream summer.  I feel like that when I think about September weather.  It is a little bit cooler and of course all of the pumpkin people really want it to be fall, but there are still enough hot, muggy days to remind us that all of the pumpkins and hay bales and scarecrows everywhere are just wishful thinking (well, here in the South anyway).  

I can't wait to show you more, but for now, let's get into the highlights from last week's party!  This pretty quilt is from Linda at kokaquilts-


This striking quilt is by Leanne at Devoted Quilter-


Look at this pretty finish by Something Rosemade-


I love this graphic floral quilt by Kat at Scrapbox Quilts-


And this quilt by Sandra at mmm...quilts is just so lovely- what a breathtaking photo!



Okay, friends!  It's time to get our party going!  Link up the latest from your sewing studio!  And be sure to come back next Monday for day three of the Scrappy Improv Quilting blog hop!  :) 

And remember that NTT will be posted on Thursdays, instead of Wednesday evenings for the duration of my Scrappy Improv Quilting blog tour!

1You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!

2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link within your 
    post.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)




Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Botanics and Flutter

It's day two of the Scrappy Improv Quilting blog tour, and today's featured quilts take their inspiration straight from nature.  First up is Botanics, and in this quilt, rather than making up the block itself, the scrappy improv piecing creates a beautiful textured background.  I used shades of cream, tan, white, and even some metallic gold scraps  for the improv in this one, and I just love the way the fresh shades of green stand out against it.


The leaves and stem in the block are made with Kona Tarragon and Kona Basil, and using two different shades add just a little extra dimension to the quilt.  The stems are quilted with very dense lines, with veins in each leaf, which allows them to stay a little more smooth and puffed.  I wanted the leaf veins to have a "sketch" look, and I think I acheieved that!  The stippling in the background adds plenty of crinkly texture but doesn't compete with the stems and leaf quilting.  


On the back, I used up some of my chunkier scrap pieces, and you can really see how the quilting shows up against them.  I enjoy quilting with the same color thread on top and bottom so you can see an echo of the design on the back!  A Kona Khaki binding made a perfect frame for this little quilt!


Diann at Little Penguin Quilts made her own gorgeous version of Botanics, so you should definitely head over there and see it!

Flutter is the second quilt being featured today, and the inspiration for this quilt actually came from a dream.  When I woke up in the morning, I hurried to get a rough sketch so I wouldn't lose it.  I couldn't wait to make it, and even though I had all of the designs all set for the book, I knew I had to include this one. To fit it in, I ended up eliminating a design that wasn't my favorite, and I'm so glad I did!


I decided to make Flutter with orange and yellow improv with Kona Tangerine in the center, but I know she would look amazing in a variety of different colors- or even two shades of the same color!


The scrappy improv wing sections in the Flutter quilt are quilted with curved lines echoing the design.  The dense lines in the center and body add a nice contrasting texture, and the swirls in the background give the impression that the butterfly is floating along a gentle breeze.  The background is Kona Bone, and the creamy shade set off the warm yellow and orange nicely.


I had a single fat quarter in my stash from Anna Maria Horner's LouLouThi, one of my very favorite fabric collections of all time.  This bold print picks up just enough of the colors from the front, and it makes the perfect backing (especially since it means that I didn't have to really cut it up!).  You can see the echo quilting on the wings a bit better from the back side.  The Kona Charcoal binding is the same deep shade of gray used in the butterfly's body, and gives the Flutter quilt a nice clean finish.

Rose at Something Rosemade sewed up her own Flutter quilt, and you're going to love the colors she chose.  Go check it out!
  
The blog tour continues next Monday, where I'll be sharing two more quilts from the book. Check out the full schedule below!

Scrappy Improv Quilting Blog Tour Schedule-

9/20- Face the SunLaura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
           Full SpectrumJayne @ Twiggy and Opal

9/22- PrismaticAnja @ Anja Quilts
           DownpourNancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

9/27- FunkytownVasudha @ Storied Quilts
           Cherub WingsMichelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

9/29- Chapel WindowKris @ Sew Sunshine
           Winter FrostLeanne @ Devoted Quilter

10/4- HeartstruckRebecca Grace @ Rebecca Grace Quilting
           Star SpangledChristine @ Triangles & Squares

10/6- Birds of a FeatherPreeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts
           Fall FoliageSusan @ Quilt Fabrication

10/11- OrnamentalGail @ Quilting Gail
            Churn, Churn, ChurnCynthia @ Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

10/13- Sunset CrossingKate @ Katie Mae Quilts
             Positivity- Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts

10/18- All Dressed UpLinda @ Flourishing Palms
             ShockwaveAnne-Marie @ Stories From the Sewing Room

10/20- Sweet Bee (a bonus thank-you pattern), Finishing, and Wrap-Up (here!) 

Signed copies of Scrappy Improv Quilting are available in my Etsy shop HERE, or ask about it at your local quilt shop.  It is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major booksellers.  
And shop owners, you can get it from any of the major distributors- Checker, Brewer, United Notions, and EE Schenck.  I hope you'll consider adding it to your library or carrying it in your shop!  :) 




Tuesday, September 14, 2021

September Sponsor News!

Welcome to the middle of a new month, friends!  It's time for my monthly run-down of the latest deals and  newest fabric collections from my favorite shops on the web.  So, let's jump right in!




A Fort Worth Fabric Studio, they're getting ready to kick off their Autumn Avenue Mystery quilt on September 20th, using the fabulous Pumpkins and Blossoms collection by Fig Tree and Co. 


There's still time to get your kit and join in the quilt along fun.  Get your bundle HERE.






Right now, there are SO many things in Fort Worth Fabric Studio's sale section, including lots of Halloween and Christmas yardage, plenty of quilt kits, and even some bundles.  This Curiouser and Curiouser fat quarter bundle is for all of you Tula Pink Troops!


             Fort Worth Fabric Studio






At Lady Belle Fabric, I'm crushing on this warm, cozy Bookish line by Sharon Holland.  This prints in this collection are an earthy mix of florals, geometrics, and even a couple of themed prints, and I am loving them.  They're just perfect for the season.



                  Lady Belle Fabric












If you're looking for a a full fabric collection on sale, Lady Belle has a generous selection of fabric bundles in their 30% off section.  The colors in this Handicraft bundle by Alison Glass are so vibrant and rich, and this is just one of the bundles listed there.










LouLou's Fabric Shop is leaning into autumn as well.  Take a look at this gorgeous Laurel Wreath quilt, made with the Pumpkins and Blossoms fabric collection.  it's so unique!


                LouLou’s Fabric Shop








Speaking of unique, one of the things that sets LouLou's Fabric Shop apart is their Gift Boutique.  I don't know if you're already making your Christmas gift list, but we're getting very close to the season of giving.  

LouLou's Gift Boutique is filled with tons of cute little "sewing happies" for your quilty friends.  Keychains, lapel pins, insulated tumblers, t-shirts...the selection is great.  And best of all, everything is sewing or quilting related.  Each of the items has a very reasonable price, so you don't have to leave any of your friends out!  You'll find this beautiful set of four Songbook tea towels, and someone you know will love them!





Okay friends!  I hope you'll take a few minutes to browse each of these amazing shops!  I know you'll come across lots of things to add to your shopping carts, and you'll get some great deals too!



Monday, September 13, 2021

Summer Blossom and Up, Up, and Away!

Here we go, friends!  It's finally time to start showcasing individual projects from my new book, Scrappy Improv Quilting, and I just can't tell you how excited I am to start really showing them to you.  You're in for a ton of eye-candy, so let's jump in!

The first section of the book is called Single Block Beauties, and these quilts pack all of the improv fun you could want into a single block design.  The first one is called Summer Blossom.


Summer Blossom is full of tropical colors, and the scrappy improv gives the flower so much texture.  I originally envisioned this blossom with a lighter blue background, but when I saw how the Kona Delft Blue set off the warm colors of the flower, I knew it was meant to be.  I also love how the orchid and white stripe binding just pops!


Dense lines fill the petals, stem, and leaf, while the magenta center is set off with tight crosshatch quilting.  And the swirls in the background offer a nice contrast to all of those straight lines.  With mini quilts, I often quilt each section separately, rather than an allover design, and that usually means that I opt to quilt with blending thread.


I pulled this Anna Maria Horner print from my stash for the backing, and it picks up the colors from the front really beautifully.

Lori at Crossquilt has made a version of Summer Blossom and it is fantastic!  Be sure to head over there and check it out.


The second quilt being featured today is Up, Up, and Away, and I really had fun with this one.  Since the hot air balloon has all of the scrappy improv in one spot, it's a great place to curate your scraps and use all of your very favorite bits.  The Kona Prairie Sky background is the perfect shade of blue for a cloudless day.


I specifically designed this quilt with the hot air balloon offset so it would look like it was floating off into the distance.  With the addition of the wind quilting, it looks like it's doing just that.  I left the quilting on the balloon itself a little more open, and that, along with the gently curved lines give it a puffy, rounded appearance.  And a super dense crosshatch gives some dimension to the basket.


The back of this one is finished with a simple gray polkadot, and I picked some of my favorite scrap strips for the binding.

Sandra at mmm...quilts! is sharing her own Up, Up, and Away quilt on her blog today, and she really made it her own.  Don't miss it!

I'll be back on Wednesday to share the next two quilts on the tour, but you can check out the full schedule below!

Scrappy Improv Quilting Blog Tour Schedule-

9/15- FlutterRose @ Something Rosemade
           BotanicsDiann @ Little Penguin Quilts

9/20- Face the SunLaura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
           Full SpectrumJayne @ Twiggy and Opal

9/22- PrismaticAnja @ Anja Quilts
           DownpourNancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

9/27- FunkytownVasudha @ Storied Quilts
           Cherub WingsMichelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

9/29- Chapel WindowKris @ Sew Sunshine
           Winter FrostLeanne @ Devoted Quilter

10/4- HeartstruckRebecca Grace @ Rebecca Grace Quilting
           Star SpangledChristine @ Triangles & Squares

10/6- Birds of a FeatherPreeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts
           Fall FoliageSusan @ Quilt Fabrication

10/11- OrnamentalGail @ Quilting Gail
            Churn, Churn, ChurnCynthia @ Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

10/13- Sunset CrossingKate @ Katie Mae Quilts
             Positivity- Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts

10/18- All Dressed UpLinda @ Flourishing Palms
             ShockwaveAnne-Marie @ Stories From the Sewing Room

10/20- Sweet Bee (a bonus thank-you pattern), Finishing, and Wrap-Up (here!) 

Signed copies of Scrappy Improv Quilting are available in my Etsy shop HERE, or ask about it at your local quilt shop.  It is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major booksellers.  
And shop owners, you can get it from any of the major distributors- Checker, Brewer, United Notions, and EE Schenck.  I hope you'll consider adding it to your library or carrying it in your shop!  :) 




Thursday, September 9, 2021

NTT- In-Person Teaching!

Happy Needle and Thread Thursday, y'all!  This week, I was so excited to visit a quilt guild in person for the very first time since Covid.  The Nimble Thimble Quilt Guild in Cabot, AR and I had a blast, and we were so happy to finally get to meet.  So, much fun, in fact, that I did not take a single picture.  That's right.  I was so wrapped up in talking about quilty things with people who are just as obsessed with quilts and fabric as I am, that I completely neglected to stop and snap a single, solitary photo.  Bummer.  Just trust me when I say that my class of 22 lovely ladies totally rocked scrappy improv piecing!

I don't think that improv lends itself to virtual classes very well, so I have held out for an in-person experience, and I have missed teaching so much!  I still have some availability in 2022 so contact me to get something scheduled for your guild!

So, we'll just jump right into the party highlights from last week!  Deb at A Scrappy Quilter shared this gorgeous pineapple quilt-


Julie's Quilts and Costumes linked up this beauty-


And Andree' at Quilting and Learning showed this fun little quilt for her garden fence.  So unique!


Okay friends, let's party!

And remember that NTT will be posted on Thursdays, instead of Wednesday evenings for the duration of my Scrappy Improv Quilting blog tour!

1You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!

2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link within your 
    post.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)



Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Seasonals and Standards

Hey there, friends!  I am so happy that today I get to give you a little overview of the final sections of my new book, Scrappy Improv Quilting.  The third section of the book is titled Seasonal Sensations and contains six adorable little seasonal quilts.


Every year, I go all out decorating for Christmas (I put up four trees!), but I don't have that same stamina when it comes to the other holidays and seasons.  Even though I don't decorate my entire house during the rest of the year, it is nice to have a little holiday touch here and there, and these mini quilts are perfect for that!  They're easy to turn into pillows, use in a fun table scape, or even hang on the wall, and you'll always feel like your home is ready for the season!


The fourth section of quilts in the book is called Standards With a Twist, and as the name suggests, each of these projects is built around a traditional quilt block, but with a little extra pizzazz to make the quilt fun and fresh.  It just goes to show you that this technique is not a one-trick pony.  It can really be used with any of your favorite quilt blocks.  

Remember when I said that this book was written so that even a novice quilter would be successful?  Well, once you peruse the 22 mini quilt projects contained in Scrappy Improv Quilting, you're not left alone to "quilt and bind as desired."  Sure, if you're experienced, you may not need the guidance for turning your quilt top into a finished mini quilt, but if you need it, it's there for you in the final section of the book. In Finishing Your Quilt, you'll find full instructions for choosing batting, basting, quilting options, and binding.  There are even detailed steps for turning your mini quilt into a pillow, and for sewing a hanging sleeve!

Well, there you have it, friends!  For the past couple of weeks, I've given you a quick overview of everything Scrappy Improv Quilting has to offer, so I hope you're ready to start seeing the individual projects NEXT WEEK!  I've been getting sneak peeks from these amazing quilters, and I promise you're in for lots of eye-candy.  

Beginning next Monday (9/13), the blog tour will feature four projects each week- two on Monday, and two on Wednesday.  

And beginning this week, and for the duration of the blog tour, NTT will be posted on Thursday mornings, rather than the usual Wednesday evening, just to make sure that the posts don't get crowded. 

Scrappy Improv Quilting Blog Tour Schedule-

9/13- Summer BlossomLori @ Crossquilt
           Up, Up, and AwaySandra @ mmm...quilts!

9/15- FlutterRose @ Something Rosemade
           BotanicsDiann @ Little Penguin Quilts

9/20- Face the SunLaura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
           Full SpectrumJayne @ Twiggy and Opal

9/22- PrismaticAnja @ Anja Quilts
           DownpourNancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

9/27- FunkytownVasudha @ Storied Quilts
           Cherub WingsMichelle @ From Bolt to Beauty

9/29- Chapel WindowKris @ Sew Sunshine
           Winter FrostLeanne @ Devoted Quilter

10/4- HeartstruckRebecca Grace @ Rebecca Grace Quilting
           Star SpangledChristine @ Triangles & Squares

10/6- Birds of a FeatherPreeti @ Sew Preeti Quilts
           Fall FoliageSusan @ Quilt Fabrication

10/11- OrnamentalGail @ Quilting Gail
            Churn, Churn, ChurnCynthia @ Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

10/13- Sunset CrossingKate @ Katie Mae Quilts
             Positivity- Sarah @ Sarah Goer Quilts

10/18- All Dressed UpLinda @ Flourishing Palms
             ShockwaveAnne-Marie @ Stories From the Sewing Room

10/20- Sweet Bee (a bonus thank-you pattern), Finishing, and Wrap-Up (here!) 

Signed copies of Scrappy Improv Quilting are available in my Etsy shop HERE, or ask about it at your local quilt shop.  It is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major booksellers.  
And shop owners, you can get it from any of the major distributors- Checker, Brewer, United Notions, and EE Schenck.  I hope you'll consider adding it to your library or carrying it in your shop!  :) 






Before we go, I owe you a giveaway winner!  Comment number 3, grammajudyb is the winner of a signed copy of Scrappy Improv Quilting.  Congrats!  I'll be sending you an email to get your shipping address very soon.








Wednesday, September 1, 2021

NTT-Spooky Spiderweb and a BIG New Pressing Station!

 Hey there, friends!  Welcome to Needle and Thread Thursday!  There has been lots going on in my studio lately.  Not all of it has been actual sewing, but it's definitely all been useful.  My latest quilt is all finished, and I am in love with it.


I'm all ready for October with this quilt!  If you can believe it though, there isn't a single Halloween fabric on the front.  That just goes to show you that the color of a fabric is as important as the print itself- maybe even more so.


With my family in town last weekend and other plans on the horizon (more on that later), I needed to get this one finished up quickly, so an easy stipple fit the bill.  Since this quilt is going to live on my couch and get used, it didn't need to be super fancy.


The backing on this one is super fun.  I made giant, irregular log cabin blocks with the leftover fabric chunks, and I did choose a Halloween print to finish it off.


This print from the Spooky 'n Sweeter collection (Art Gallery) is just darling, and it sets off the more saturated colors really well.  I worried a little bit about the fact that there is pink in this fabric, but I decided that I actually like the way it picks up the purples in the quilt.


My plan was to put a solid black binding on this one.  I really do love the way solid bindings frame the quilt.  But my local quilt shop was sold out of Kona Black.  I did find this fabric from the Free Spirit Seeds collection that works just perfectly though.  Besides the main backing and binding fabrics, this quilt came entirely from my stash, and that always makes me happy!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I really enjoyed making this quilt, and loved using the Creative Grids Spiderweb Ruler.  There was one part of the process I didn't enjoy though.  When I'm making a quilt, I like to know how much fabric I need to start with.  I don't like cutting some, sewing a little, and then having to go back into my cabinet for more fabric, and I had to do that with this quilt.  So, I decided to write a full pattern using the ruler, for those of you who are planners like me.


This pattern is written in three sizes, with full yardage requirements and cutting charts for lap, twin, and queen size quilts, so there is no guesswork involved.  You'll still need the ruler of course, but you'll know from the get-go how many prints you'll need for the spiderwebs and exactly how many to cut of each strip width.  It also includes two different background options, depending on whether you want to use several prints (as shown), or a single background fabric.

Spooky Spiderweb is available in my Etsy shop HERE.  It's the perfect time to whip up a Halloween quilt, or you don't have to make yours spooky at all (remember, my first spiderweb quilt was a Christmas quilt)!  This pattern works using any fat quarters (or quarter yards) you have on hand with whatever background color you choose!

The next big thing that happened in my studio this week is my brand new, HUGE pressing station, and I am so very giddy about it.


I have seen lots of tutorials for pressing stations on the web, and finally decided that I needed one for myself.  Most of the tutorials I found start with an Ikea Kallax cubby unit, but alas, it is college-dorm-room-furnishing season, and our Ikea was all sold out of white units.  Since they weren't planning to get anymore for 3-4 weeks, my impatient self started looking for other options.  This unit is from Target, and is practically identical in size (and price) to the Kallax, and they even sell the bins that go with them!

My hubby put it together and added six locking casters (3" wheels) to the bottom so I can roll it away from my design wall when I need to.  We had some solid wood shelving that we pulled out of our closet when we redesigned it, so we joined two of them together and repurposed them for the top.  

I did a lot of research into the layering on top of the ironing surface.  I don't like a cushy surface when I'm ironing, so I didn't want a lot of padding, but I also use a lot of starch, so I didn't want to soak the wood and make it warp either.  In the end, I settled on four layers.  

First, I covered the wood with heavy duty aluminum foil.  This creates a barrier between the wood surface and any starch that might get through, and it will reflect any heat back to the surface.  Then, I added a layer of regular Warm and White batting, followed by a layer of Insul-Bright heat resistant batting.  This batting reflects heat back to the source and is commonly used in pot holders and hot pads, so it is a good choice for an ironing board.  Finally, I covered the layers with a solid gray duck cloth.  I pulled it as tightly as I could and stapled it all the way around the board.


The one part of my old ironing board that I was sad to leave behind was the iron rest.  I always liked having it there, keeping my entire board available for pressing.  Thankfully, my amazing husband figured out how to take it out of the old board, and he mounted it to the side of my new one (which was actually kind of tricky).

My new pressing surface is a whopping 22" x 66", and it is just over 34 inches tall, which is my sweet spot for pressing comfort.  I actually measured the height of my old ironing board and planned accordingly to make sure this one was right.  If you like your surface a little taller (or shorter), you can adjust that with the size of the casters, or you can even double up your wood top.  This is going to make pressing so much easier!  Or dare I say enjoyable?  :) 

Before we get to this week's party, take a look at some of the fantastic projects linked up last week.  Wendy at Pieceful Thoughts shared her version of my Face the Sun mini quilt, found in my new book, Scrappy Improv Quilting.  I just love seeing someone make one of my designs their own.


This quilt top by Julie's Quilts and Crafts is gorgeous!


My jaw dropped when I saw this beauty by Rebecca Grace Quilting-


This fun quilt is by Something Rosemade-


And finally, I am loving this temperature quilt by Jen's Crafts and Quilts Scrapbook


Okay friends, it's time to link up!

By the way, in case you missed it- I kicked off the blog tour for my new book, Scrappy Improv Quilting, yesterday!  You can find the full schedule of blog participants HERE, and enter to win a free signed copy.

1You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!

2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link within your 
    post.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)





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