Monday, March 23, 2015

Modern Rainbow Tour & Giveaway: Rainbow Remix

I am so excited to be a stop on the Modern Rainbow blog tour today. Becca and I have known each other since way back in the beginning of my blogging career, and I absolutely treasure her friendship. I am so proud of the work she's done on this stunning new book!

As someone who loves a good color spectrum, this book is right up my alley. After providing you with some quilting basics, Becca splits her projects into three groups: modern traditional, modern, and improvisational and liberated quilts. I love that there are plenty of options here for quilters with different styles and skill levels.

I was immediately drawn to the Rainbow Remix quilt. It's so different from what I usually sew, and I loved the idea of working with solids and trying improvisational piecing for a change. Rather than make an entire quilt, I decided to test the waters with a small pillow made from a Kona charm pack curated by Elizabeth Hartman.

It was wonderful not to have worry about matching up seams perfectly with a more liberated approach to piecing, and every time I make something with solids, I wonder why I don't do it more often. These colors and stripes remind me so much of the Bolivian blankets we brought back from Santa Cruz when I was a child.

I quilted the pillow in lines of cream colored thread about a quarter inch apart and backed it in yarn dyed Essex linen in leather.

I had so much fun making this pillow, and I can't wait to try another project from the book! This Flame quilt is completely gorgeous, don't you think?

Here are the rest of the stops on the Modern Rainbow Tour:

March 23rd             C&T/ Stash Books
March 24th             Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt
March 25th             Generation Q Magazine
March 26th             Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane 
March 27th             Sally Keller of Sally’s Angel Works

March 30th            Amy Garro of 13 Spools
March 31st            Angela Walters of Quilting is my Therapy
April 1st                Rebecca over at Craft Buds
April 2nd               Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness
April 3rd               Sarah Craig of Confessions of a Fabric Addict

April 6th                Janice Zeller Ryan of Better Off Thread
April 7th                Beth Vassalo of Plum and June
April 8th                Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
April 9th                Giuseppe Ribaudo @giucy_giuce
April 9th                Shannon Brinkley of Bottle Tree Quilts
April 10th              Rebecca Bryan at Bryan House Quilts

If you'd like to win a copy of Modern Rainbow (hard copy in the U.S., e-copy for international winners), just leave a comment on this post. I'll pick a winner on Friday!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Desktop Medallion Quilt & Other Points of Interest

I was shocked when I checked my Instagram feed tonight and saw that I started working on this quilt almost exactly a year ago. Has it really been that long? I originally intended this Desktop Medallion Quilt to have at least two more rows around it, but life happened, as it so often does. There were other projects and holidays and responsibilities, and these blocks were stuffed in a drawer and forgotten. Several weeks ago I pulled them out and decided that it was time for this little quilt to have a life. I still owed my niece a quilt for her toddler bed, so I added borders to the top and bottom and finished it off. Though a large medallion quilt would have been fun, I haven't one shred of regret for turning this into a gift for my niece as it is. As Angela Walters says, "A finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt top." (For more of her wisdom, by the way, you must check out this wonderful post.)

This quilt uses pencil and envelope blocks from my friend Ayumi's brilliant book Patchwork, Please! which I adjusted slightly for the purpose of the medallion format. It also features an extensive amount of fabric from my precious Heather Ross stash. I backed the quilt in a favorite floral print in warm shades from Jeni Baker's Dreamin' Vintage collection, and I kept the quilting very simple since the top was so busy, just stitching around each row of blocks. The quilt is bound with a green floral print from the A is For... collection. As you can see below, my assistant Miss Bunny was not quite ready to part with it at the end of our photo session.

I'm linking this up with Sew the Library over at Tales of Cloth, where you must read Jodi's beautiful post for this month. It brought tears to my eyes. Remember that you have till the end of the month to link up a project you've made from a book or magazine!

A few other points of interest before I leave you today...

1. My book has just started to ship out from C&T Publishing and Amazon. I've gotten some wonderful messages from a few of you who have read the book, and I can't tell you how much they mean to me. Thank you, my friends! I wrote this book for you, and I really hope that you'll find it helpful. If you have the time or desire, I would love for any of you who have read it to leave a review on Amazon. Reviews always help me decide if a sewing book is right for me, so I know your thoughts would be useful to others!

2. If you would like an autographed bookplate for your copy of Sew Organized for the Busy Girl, send me an email at with your full name and mailing address, and I'll be happy to send you one!

3. The winner of the Just for You giveaway is hart44. I've sent you an email!

4. And finally, if you live in the Southern California area, I'll be having a book signing and trunk show at The Quilt Loft in Upland on Wednesday, April 8th from 5 to 7pm. I would absolutely love to see you there!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Maker Pillow

Maker is one of those collections that looks pretty on the screen, but makes a big impression when you see it with your own eyes. I was so struck by the quiet beauty of these prints last month when I opened the package that Art Gallery Fabrics was kind enough to send me. You all know that I'm a big fan of text prints and low volume designs, both of which are well represented here in this mix of motifs that include pins, pattern drafts, and tiny stitches. It took me a while, but after considering several different patterns, I finally decided to use my prints to make an 18" square patchwork pillow.

I'm a huge fan of the Around the World block. It's an easy pattern that somehow manages to be traditional and contemporary at the same time, creating those lovely diagonal cascades of color. I alternated dark and light prints for my squares, quilting straight lines diagonally across the darker ones with white thread. The beautiful simplicity of this pillow really speaks to me. It's like a modern ode to spring right there in my family room.

I backed the pillow in my favorite text print from the group. There are so many great phrases in here that are just begging to be fussy cut for upcoming projects!

Well done, AGF Studio designers. This collection is definitely a keeper.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crafty Satchel

I am so thrilled to be a part of the Just for You book tour today! Caroline and Sarah have put together an amazing book full of fabulous projects that are just perfect for spoiling yourself or someone you love. If you enjoy sewing clothing and accessories, then you absolutely need to add this book to your wish list! I was asked to make the Crafty Satchel which was created by bag extraordinaire Sara Lawson. Although I would recommend this project for someone with at least intermediate sewing skills, I was able to finish it in a single day of solid work, which is always a big plus for me!

I paired a sweet floral from Acorn Trail by Teagan White for Birch Fabrics with yarn dyed essex linen in leather by Robert Kaufman, and I love the way they look together. For my interfacing, I used a double layer of thick batting rather than the recommended Soft & Stable which I didn't have on hand. Although my version of the bag isn't as structured as it would be with a foam core, it holds its shape fairly well. Leather handles are a challenge to sew onto the bag by hand, but it looks so professional when you're done! And as you can see above, this bag has tons of room inside it for just about anything you might want to carry with you on the go.

My sister pulled into my driveway when I was outside taking photos of the satchel and helped me out by holding it for one last shot.

"It looks beautiful," she said, examining the front while I took a few more pictures.

"It's yours," I answered. "Happy early birthday!"

Her gasp and smile reminded me why I love making gifts for family and friends. It's all so very personal -- just the way it should be.

If you'd like to win your own copy of Just for You, please leave a comment on this post. I'll pick a winner on Friday. The giveaway is open to everyone worldwide (international readers will win an e-copy of the book). So many thanks again to Caroline & Sarah for letting me be a part of this tour and for putting together such a beautiful book!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Why I Sew

Ever since I started Fabric Mutt, I've been very careful with my children's privacy. You hear a lot about Bunny, Bear & Mouse on here and sometimes you catch a little glimpse of them, but that's about it. So it was kind of a big deal when my husband and I decided that it would be special to include a picture of my girls in Sew Organized for the Busy Girl.

These little girls make me absolutely crazy sometimes, yet they make life so good. When I think about sewing, it's almost impossible for me to not think of them at the same time because they've been right there with me from the beginning. How many hours have I spent working at my sewing machine with them standing on their tiptoes by my side to see what I'm making? How many packages have I opened to a chorus of, "Oh Mommy, it's so pretty!" and immediately had three more hands reaching out to pet the new fabric? How many times have I checked on them in the night and felt a little emotional to see them cuddling in their sleep with the quilts we made together?

I look at these pictures, and I'm reminded that this is why I sew. I really believe that sewing has made me a better mommy in so many ways. It not only gives me the chance to burn off the stress that comes with parenthood, but it allows me to bring something beautiful into my children's lives, to show them that you're never too busy to be creative and that it's never too late to learn something new.

So let me introduce you to (from left to right) Mouse, Bunny & favorite people in the whole wide world.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Typewriter Quilt (Tutorial Coming Soon!)

Cotton + Steel Typewriter Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Way back when I was first designing the projects for my book, I knew that I wanted to make a typewriter quilt. You all know my love for vintage things, and typewriters just seem to be one of those iconic pieces that never go out of style. I had so much material that I wanted to pack into Sew Organized for the Busy Girl that, in the end, the typewriter mini had to be cut from the final draft. Thankfully, though, Stash Books is letting me release it to you as a free tutorial this Monday on the C&T blog. I'll also be doing an Instagram takeover for them next week (Monday through Friday) where I'll be sharing some pictures of all that goes on behind the scenes here at Fabric Mutt, so be sure to tune in!

Cotton + Steel Typewriter Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

Ever since I sent my mini quilt off to the Stash offices a year ago, I've been thinking about how much fun it would be to make a larger version. When I saw the first pictures of Melody Miller's Playful collection last year, I decided immediately that I wanted to make a lap quilt sized typewriter quilt using only Cotton + Steel Fabric. And the rest, as they say, is history...

Cotton + Steel Typewriter Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

The keys are a rainbow of prints from all the Cotton + Steel designers. I used my favorite green floral print from Cookie Book for the typewriter (how I would love to have one in real life that looked exactly like this!) and the Playful word find print could not have been more perfect for the sheet of paper. The background is a dark navy XOXO print from the basics collection which is framed in Playful viewmaster reels for the binding. The entire quilt top is traditionally pieced, by the way -- nothing fancy going on here beyond squares, rectangles, and half square triangles. I quilted the entire piece using a wavy stitch on my machine which reminds me of how I used to make "pretend writing" on my pictures back when I was a little girl and didn't know how to make any real letters.

Cotton + Steel Typewriter Quilt by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

This quilt is the first time I've ever used double cotton gauze for backing, and I tell you, it will not be the last! The Cotton + Steel Bespoke collection is unbelievably, gloriously soft, like your favorite t-shirt that's been washed a hundred times until it's the most comfortable thing you own. I can't wait to curl up under this quilt tonight while I watch television with my husband before we go to bed. Out of all the quilts I've made over the years, this may possibly be my very favorite.

Be sure to visit C&T on Monday for the mini typewriter quilt tutorial. I can't wait to share it with you!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sew the Library: Deluxe Pincushion

Yes, you knew I had to use Sew Organized for the Busy Girl for one of these posts eventually. It's such a strange but wonderful thing to have this book in my hands and to actually be sewing from a pattern inside it!

Choosing a favorite project from your own book is like picking a favorite child. How can you possibly do it? But if I absolutely had to, it might just be the Deluxe Pincushion. This little project embodies everything I wanted the projects in my book to be: simple, quick, and very useful. I love being able to indulge in a bit of patchwork with my tiniest scraps, and I'm always crazy about projects that I can finish in a hurry (I began working on this after the girls started their morning classes today and was finished before lunch!). Most of the prints are from the adorable Milk, Sugar & Flower collection by Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics. I added a Sweetwater text print and a little dotty fabric too, since I always love to add some black and white to any project. A side loop out of Cotton + Steel twill tape was the finishing touch.

This would be such a fun pincushion to bring to a retreat or sew-in. All your notions tuck neatly into the pocket, and off you go!

I'm linking up with the rest of the Sew the Library crowd at Weekend Doings. You still have a week before February is over. Come join us!
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