Top Ten Tuesday {Mother’s Day}

Top Ten - Mother's Day

Though we truly believe that every day should be Mother’s Day, it’s lovely to have one day dedicated to showing our moms just how amazing they really are. This weekend (in the US), we take some time out to honor our real-life superheroes, our mentors, our best friends. We love going handmade for Mother’s Day and have rounded up a few favorite tutorials and gift ideas to inspire a bit of last minute stitching.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

1. Eye Mask — Tilly and the Buttons

TillyandtheButtons-EyeMask

2. Appliqué Hoop Art — Craftaholics Anonymous

CraftaholicsAnonymous-EmbroideredHoopArt

3. Fabric Tortilla Warmer — Make It & Love It

MakeitLoveIt-TortillaWarmers

4. Kitchen Towels — Sew4Home

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5. Infinity Travel Scarf — Polkadot Chair

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6. Fabric Flower Bouquet — Lillabelle Lane for Penny Rose Fabrics

FabricFlowerBouquet-PennyRoseFabrics

7. Well Traveled Sewing Book — nanaCompany

WellTraveledSewingBook-NanaCompany

8. Tote — Noodlehead

SimpleTote-Noodlehead

9. Pixie Basket — Fabric Mutt

PixieBasket-FabricMutt

10. Goodie Goodie Binding Kit — Lella Boutique

goodiegoodiebindingkit-LellaBoutique

Sweetly Stitched by Amy Sinibaldi

We are thrilled to introduce Amy Sinibaldi of Nana Company, a new designer for Aurifil threads.  Her debut collection, Sweetly Stitched, is a gorgeous selection of colors inspired by her book of the same name and Playground, her next fabric collection with Art Gallery Fabrics. Amy features Aurifil 28wt & 50wt threads along with Aurifloss in her collection to accommodate all of her needs, whether she is working with appliqué, embroidery, quilting, or sewing bags and accessories. Sweetly Stitched is now available in both large and small boxes!

AmySinibaldiPic-1200

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Sweetly Stitched
100% Aurifil Cotton
Large – 12 colors, Large Spools
50wt spools, 1422yds each: 2800 – 4129 – 2930 – 2479 – 2220 – 1310
28wt spools, 820yds each: 1285 – 2835 – 2415 – 2815 – 67302 – 4654

AmySinibaldi-SweetlyStitchedLG

Small – 10 colors, Small Spools
50wt spools, 219yds each: 2800 – 4129 – 2930 – 2479 – 2220
28wt spool, 109 yds each: 2815 – 6730 – 4654
Aurifloss, 18yds each: 1285 – 2835

AmySinibaldi-SweetlyStitchedSM

THE INTERVIEW
How did you first come into the world of sewing & quilting?
I started sewing felt play cookies by hand and then came up with the brilliant idea of getting a sewing machine.  I taught myself to use it.  I sewed little girl aprons.  And when those sold quickly on Etsy, I was encouraged to learn to sew more things, like pillows and blankets, and those sold quickly too.  So there was like a snowball effect, and before long I’d taught myself to sew very well and I’d built myself a name, of sorts.

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What inspires you to create?
In general, it’s a detail that inspires me.  A color combination, or a combination of materials that looks great together.  I’m not much of a planner, so I tend to start with something small that I want to do, and then I build from there and hope I’m still in love with the project once it’s finished.

What do you love most about the business that you’ve built over the last 10 years?
I’ve never really thought of what I do as a business.  It’s been a really long, public, learning process and I’m nowhere near the end.

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What is your favorite thing to sew?
My favorite things to sew are small and unplanned, and built on an organic process of putting fabrics and elements together that seem to go well as I go along.  So, in a way, you’re not making something, it’s making itself.

How did you first become interested in fabric design and what drew you to Art Gallery Fabrics?
After years of working with fabric, the idea of designing your own dream line of fabric is a natural progression, I think.  Actually doing it ~ starting with a completely blank canvas and creating that “dream” line is much harder than I thought it would be.  I was so excited to design with Art Gallery Fabrics because I’d always loved their beautiful LookBooks and how they’ve always understood that a fabric design house should be artistic and pay attention to detail in all that they do, not just in the fabric alone.

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We are in love with your debut collection, Paperie, and were so thrilled to see that you have a new collection due out in July called Playground. What inspired the collection? Do you have a favorite print?
I love Playground so much because I feel the collection is quite cohesive.  It is inspired by my early early days spent at playgrounds before those massive elaborate “playscapes” hit the scene.  So there had to be a tire print, which is possibly my fave, and a hopscotch print, some jump rope, ring around the roses, and just lots of references to innocent “old school” playground days.  Think sunshine and daisy chains, the sandbox, and Fruit stripe gum.

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Your debut Aurifil Thread Collection was released earlier this year and coordinates with the prints in Playground. What first drew you to Aurifil and how did you go about putting your collection together?
I love the beautiful spectrum of Aurifil colors and it was so much fun creating my own collection.  Actually, choosing the spools for my thread collection was the very last thing I did at Fall Quilt Market in Houston, 2015, before packing up my booth and heading home.  Pat brought me over to the Aurifil booth and I buzzed around choosing colors and we wrote the numbers down and I snapped a pic of the thread spools all together.  I used that pic as the wallpaper on my phone for the longest time, because I loved these colors so much and I knew I was going to use them as the basis for the color palette of my next collection, which is now Playground.

Amy Sinibaldi

What is your go-to thread weight and why?
I absolutely love using 28 wt thread for quilting and top-stitching.  I love how substantial it is and how it adds so much to a piece.

THE GIVEAWAY

AmySinibaldi-SweetlyStitchedRafflecopter

To enter-to-win, simply click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Saturday, May 7! Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Sunday, May 8th. Good luck!

LEARN MORE ABOUT AMY
WebsiteFacebookPinterestInstagramFlickr
Amy Sinibaldi lives in a small house near the ocean in Los Angeles with her four children and sweet husband. She sees a lot of beauty in her “everyday” and she loves sharing that as she designs, creates and sews.Always writing and drawing since she could hold a pencil, Amy didn’t begin sewing until Father’s Day 2006. That day she was at Target and convinced her husband to buy her a sewing machine. They bought the second cheapest machine available that day ~ a Shark (it was sooo loud!) that she used until Christmas 2011, when she switched to a Singer.

In 2007, she launched nanaCompany on Etsy and it tickles her that people sometimes call her Nana. Back then, her daughters Olivia and Mia were not yet born and she decided on the name “nana” Company as an acronym…

“N” is for Nick, her husband
“A” is for Amy
“N” is for Nicholas, her son
“A” is for Anne, her oldest daughter.

Completely self-taught in everything, Amy is a “see it – do it” kind of girl. She loves trying new techniques and still feels that she is finding her style.

[text adapted from nanaCompany, all images courtesy of Amy Sinibaldi]

Maribel by Annabel Wrigley

AnnabelWrigley-Promo

Maribel, Annabel Wrigley of Little Pincushion Studio’s debut collection for Windham Fabrics, was inspired by some of her strongest childhood memories of weekends and holidays spent with her family at a house in the country. It evokes the feeling of being surrounded by fabric, flowers and beautiful English vintage florals. Her coordinating Aurifil Thread Collection is a selection of bold and bright colors, perfect for piecing, showcasing and creating little works of art!

We love learning more about our designers and were thrilled to chat with Annabel about her craft, the business of teaching, and her brand new collections.

MaribelLookbook
[click on the image above to view the collection lookbook]

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Maribel
100% Aurifil Cotton, 50wt
Large – 1422yds each, 12 colors, Large Spools
2784 – 5006 – 5005 – 5015 – 1104 – 2870 – 2225 – 2423 – 2530 – 2630 – 2600

MaribelCollection-Blog

For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

THE INTERVIEW
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how the Little Pincushion Studio came to be?
I started sewing around 16 years ago when my son was born. I really suddenly had this urge to learn to sew and make things for him. I started making baby hats  and then before long began to make them to sell. This was the start of my very small children’s label. Over a couple of years, the baby hat line expanded to include baby quilts, bags, bibs and some children’s clothing items. When our family moved to the States, I took some time off to raise the kiddos and stared sewing strictly for fun. It wasn’t until my daughter was around 6 and started showing interest in my sewing that I began throwing around the idea of teaching her how to sew. Before long I was teaching her and a few of her friends… Little Pincushion grew from there. I have been teaching now for more than 7 years and teach approximately 70 children per week.

What is your favorite thing about teaching sewing to kids? 
It has to be watching the progression of absolute beginners to confident and creative seamstresses! It happens without them ever really realizing. It is a great thing to watch! Kids also have a fearlessness when it comes to color and print, It’s quite inspirational.

Students at Little Pincushion Studio

What first inspired the mobile studio that you opened up last year and how do you find it to be different than operating your regular studio? 
It had always been a dream of mine, originally for use as a home studio space but then I thought it could be a great way to share sewing with kids who live further away. I use it mainly for birthday parties and sometimes for little beginner sewing classes with groups of friends. It has been such fun!

How did you end up connecting with Windham Fabrics to develop your first fabric collection and what has been your favorite part of the process?
I had been dreaming of creating a fabric collection for such a long time! After I was introduced to Mickey Kruger, I started to realize that this could actually be a possibility. When I was working on ideas for the collection, I always kept going back to the idea of florals. Floral prints seemed to surround me as I was growing up and creating a collection with both nostalgia and a modern twist was really important to me!

MaribelBundle

What is your favorite thing about Aurifil threads? Do you have a go-to color or thread weight? 
I absolutely love all of the colors in my thread box, my favorite is the Teal 1148 in 50wt. It is perfect for piecing and appliqué and honestly sews like a dream.

What is your favorite project made with fabrics and threads from Maribel?
I think my favorite is my quilt “bush walk” I did all of the appliqué and straight line quilting with Aurifil thread. Also the little wall flags are a definite favorite!

BushWalk

THE GIVEAWAY
AnnabelWrigley-Rafflecopter

To enter-to-win, simply click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Friday, May 6! Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Saturday, May 7th. Good luck!

LEARN MORE ABOUT ANNABEL
WebsiteFacebookPinterestInstagram — Twitter
Annabel is an Aussie mum, author and designer living in rural Virginia. She owns Little Pincushion Studio, a sweet little space where she teaches many little sewing pixies everything they need to know to go forth and conquer the world of sewing and creating. When she is not teaching, she is busy coming up with a million and one projects for her “We Love to Sew” series of books published by C & T publishing.

[text adapted from Little Pincushion Studio, all images courtesy of Annabel Wrigley & Windham Fabrics]

Dixie by Allison Harris

AllisonHarris-CollectionPromoDixie, Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew’s fourth collection with Windham Fabrics, follows in her signature style of bold foral prints and modern colors. Perfect for both traditional and modern quilters, this complementary follow up to her previous collection, Hazel, offers a new range of patterns that will inspire all sorts of Summer sewing.

Allison has curated a coordinating thread collection featuring Aurifil 50wt and the colors are absolutely perfect. We simply cannot wait to get get our hands on them!

We had a chance to chat with Allison about how she got started in this wonderful world of sewing & quilting and what she loves most about Aurifil. Read on for the interview and don’t miss our fabulous giveaway!

Dixie Lookbook

[click on the image above to view the collection lookbook]

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Dixie
100% Aurifil Cotton, 50wt
Large – 1422yds each, 12 Colors, Large Spools
2882 – 5018 – 1148 – 2830 – 2730 – 2250 – 2435 – 2415 – 5015 – 2024 – 2600- 4654

AllisonHarris-DixieLARGE

Small – 220 yds each, 10 Colors, Small Spools
2882 – 5018 – 1148 – 2830 – 2730 – 2250 – 2435 – 2415 – 5015 – 4654

AllisonHarris-DixieSMALL

For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

THE INTERVIEW
You started quilting nearly 10 years ago. What first drew you to the craft?
My Mom quilted and sewed, so I grew up watching her and when I started having kids of my own I finally took the plunge and learned how to quilt.  It was love at first stitch!

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Since getting started, you’ve grown into a published author, pattern designer and fabric designer. Did you ever imagine this all happening when you first started and how do you feel this has changed your life for the better?
A lot of great things have happened in the past 9 years!  I feel blessed for every opportunity that has come my way, and no, I could have never imagined I’d be doing what I do now 9 years ago!  I sure love what I do, and I hope I get to design more, but also still enjoy sewing and quilting years down the road!   I feel more well rounded as an individual and mother by designing and working, and the opportunity to work from home while my kids are little is really the best.

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Dixie is your fourth collection for Windham Fabrics. Does it feel different to create things using your own fabric?
Yes definitely!  A lot more thought goes into the projects when I’m working with my own fabric, and I can’t help but think about the design process as I sew with them…each one of those prints had to start somewhere!  It’s fun and amazing to watch them go from an idea or a sketch to real life fabric I can use!

AproninDixie-Allison Harris

What inspired this collection?
The inspiration for this collection came initially from a feedsack prints I bought at a swap meet while I lived in Ohio.  It has a more Southern feel to me, I can picture this collection being used for decor or quilts hanging out on a big screen porch in the South.  The colors are a bit more saturated than my last, but it’s also a summer collection…so the brighter the better and I love it!

Dixie by Allison Harris

What do you love most about Aurifil threads? Do you have a go-to color or thread weight?
Aurifil works like a dream in my sewing machines… and lasts forever!  My go-to is obviously my huge cones of white 2024 50 wt. for piecing…I’m always a little proud when I finally run out of a cone of thread!  My favorite color Aurifil is the 2830  (50 wt).  It’s a beautiful Aqua, Sea foam color that I use all the time!

SpocketPincushion-AllisonHarris-Dixie

What is your favorite project made with fabrics and threads from Dixie?
I’m actually sewing it right now… it’s a baby quilt for my daughter that is due in a couple of weeks!  It’s a project from my book Growing Up Modern and I’m quilting circles on it with the colored Aurifil from the Dixie collection…it’s been really fun to make!

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To learn more about the Dixie fabric collection, please visit Cluck Cluck Sew & Windham Fabrics.

THE GIVEAWAY

AllisonHarris-Rafflecopter

To enter-to-win, simply click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 4! Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, May 5th. Good luck!

LEARN MORE ABOUT ALLISON
WebsiteShopFacebookInstagram — Pinterest
Allison started this blogging in 2007 as a way to keep record of the things she was making. She also started quilting around that time, so her blog has followed her journey from a brand new quilter, to a quilter that sort of knows what she’s doing.  Sort of.  Blogging is her first love, but she also writes and publishes quilt patterns, authors and contributes to quilting books and magazines, and designs fabric sold in quilt shops.Allison lives a ferry ride away from Seattle with her husband and three small kids.  She work as a Dental Hygienist here and there, but mainly stays at home with her family now and enjoys this quilty stuff.  She also loves visiting beaches around her house, anything with sugar, wandering around Target alone,  raising bunnies (see this post…so cute!), and long lazy naps (but who doesn’t?).

[text adapted from Cluck Cluck Sew]

Showcase Sunday {4.24}

SHOWCASESUNDAY-4.24

Welcome back to Showcase Sunday, our bi-weekly forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do! We’ve seen some magnificent images of what you’ve been creating over the past two weeks and we’re thrilled to share some of them here today. Keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching!!

(Click on any image below to learn more via the the artist’s instagram.)

@t_jaye

@t_jaye

@nightquilter

@nightquilter

@mommy2lu

@mommy2lu

@fromblankpages

@fromblankpages

@adrianneonthewindyside

@adrianneonthewindyside

@cheryl_arkison

@cheryl_arkison

@mariarosarianolabonaccorsi

@mariarosarianolabonaccorsi

@pieladyquilts

@pieladyquilts

@sameliasmum

@sameliasmum

@allie.and.me.design

@allie.and.me.design

Karen Lewis Textiles

Karen Lewis’s debut collection for Robert Kaufman features her signature screen printing overprinted onto Kona® cotton solids. Blueberry Park is an excellent representation of her passion for textiles, pattern, and color, featuring a wide array of bold and bright colors with uniquely printed patterns. We’ve been fans of Karen’s work for quite some time and were so incredibly thrilled by the opportunity to create a coordinating thread collection.  We had a chance to chat with her a bit about her process and what she loves most about this collection. Read on for a sneak peek into Karen’s world, and don’t miss out on the AMAZING giveaway!

KarenLewis-CollectionPromo

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Karen Lewis Textiles
100% Aurifil Cotton, 50wt
Large – 1422yds each, 12 Colors, Large Spools
Small – 220 yds each, 10 Colors, Small Spools

For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

KarenLewisCollections-open

THE INTERVIEW

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you first came into this amazing world of textiles?
I have always been a crafter thanks to my very creative Grandma but it was always a hobby that I drifted in and out of. After I became a Mum of 3, I took a break from my career as a teacher and went back to sewing on a more regular basis. This was around the time that the internet took off along with social media and it was very easy to see what crafters and communities all around the globe were up to. I was very drawn to discovering screen printed fabrics and bought them from designers and makers in Australia and South Africa to use in my sewing.

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When did you first start screen-printing and was there a particular ‘aha’ moment that you just knew it was what you wanted to do?
I started screen printing about 5 years ago. I loved sourcing and using printed textiles. As my now formed textile business was developing I knew I wanted to design and use my own fabrics to make my work more identifiable as me. I booked onto a screen printing course at my local studio and literally from the first minute I was completely and utterly hooked! I loved the whole process and haven’t looked back since.

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You’ve been working with your own screen-printed fabrics for quite some time… how did the partnership with Robert Kaufman first come about and what has that process been like for you?
I was using a lot of Kona cottons in my work, printing directly over the top of them. One day it came to the attention of the peeps at Kaufman who loved what I was doing. It really was a dream come true having my designs put onto yardage. RK made the whole process a really positive one and I just love the result we have created together. Right from the beginning, RK focused on the fact that I am a hand printer and wanted to recreate the same technique but on a larger scale. I just love the fact that my fabrics are an overprint, just like they are when I personally print them by hand. It feels like a natural and true reflection of my work.

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What is your favorite thing about ‘Blueberry Park’? Do you have a favorite print or colorway?
What a hard question! I think my favourite print wold have to be Allotments because of it’s versatility. It is really about 9 prints in 1! I also have a big soft spot for Scruffy Daisy as it was my very first print that I ever designed. As for colours, by the fact that I struggled to narrow down Kona’s 330 colours to just 70 for the collection tells you how hard that was!

Are you still running screen-printing workshops and what is your favorite thing about sharing your passion with a classroom full of eager students?
Yes, I am very busy with running workshops. It seems everyone wants to learn to screen print and I am certainly a big advocate of spreading the love! I am a teacher by training so I have always been passionate about passing on skills. The thing I love most about teaching is seeing the students’ enthusiasm as they succeed in turning a design into a print. The whole experience is infectious.

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What is one piece of advice that you give students who are just starting out?
Give yourself time to develop your skills and style. Screen printing itself isn’t a difficult process but putting everything together and progressing doesn’t happen over night. Enjoy the journey!

What first drew you to Aurifil threads?
To me, Kona and Aurifil go hand in hand. Aurifil, like Kona, offers such diversity whilst being the best quality you can buy. I love that about Aurifil, that you have so much choice without compromising on quality.

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How did you go about selecting colors for your first Aurifil thread box and what was that experience like for you? Do you have a favorite colour?
I had to have a silver in there as that is my go to colour when I don’t want a colour per se. As for the rest I wanted to pick colours across the rainbow spectrum that most compliment the fabrics from the collection that I use the most. The collection came together pretty easily really, although it was hard to leave 2 out for the small box! I had so much fun picking the colours and like the Kaufman fabric collection it is such a thrill for me to have my own box. I can’t thank you guys enough!

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Thank YOU Karen:)

THE GIVEAWAYKarenLewis-Rafflecopter

To enter-to-win, simply click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on April 27th! Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, April 28th. Good luck!

LEARN MORE ABOUT KAREN
WebsiteBlog — Instagram — FacebookRK Designer Page
Karen was born and brought up in Leeds, West Yorkshire in the UK where she learned to sew and knit with her grandmother. It was several years later, after turning her back on her formal education and teaching career, that she came back to her crafting roots.

While living and teaching in London, Karen met her husband and together they brought up their 3 children there, but when they moved back to Leeds in 2004, she left her teaching career behind and started her crafting business Blueberry Park. Karen always had a passion for textiles, pattern and color and after a brief silkscreen printing course in 2011, she set about teaching herself more about this technique in order to design her own fabric.

Karen’s obsession with screen printing set in and soon she was printing and designing all day, every day perfecting her skills. She was using her fabrics in her own work as well as selling it to other quilters and crafters.

With her passion for screen printing and her skills as a teacher, she started to run screen printing workshops, passing on her skills and teaching others how to design fabric and screen print, particularly at home with little specialist equipment and space. In 2014 Karen brought out her first book Screen Printing at home, teaching the reader all they need to know and what to do to produce great screen prints from the kitchen table.

Karen is also a prolific quilter and her work is regularly seen in Love Patchwork and Quilting as well as Quilt Now magazines. As well as running workshops in her home in Leeds, she has taught at the Fat Quarterly Retreat and around the UK. Blueberry Park is her first collection with Robert Kaufman. — text via Robert Kaufman

Top Ten Tuesday {Teacher Appreciation}

TopTenTuesday-TeacherAppreciation

As we near the end of April, the promise of Summer is in the air which, of course, brings the end of another school year and Summer vacation! Although we feel that year-round teacher appreciation is the way to go, this is a wonderful time of year to make something to show your gratitude. Whether you’re looking for something small, something to make with the help of your kids, or a large scale gift, there are a slew of amazing projects and tutorials out there for the taking! We’ve rounded up ten of our favorites to provide a bit of Tuesday inspiration. Happy Stitching!

1. Teacher Appreciation Keychain & Printable — A Girl & a Glue Gun

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2. On the Go Organizer — Oh How Sweet

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3. DIY Personalized Teacher Tote — Handmade Mood

TeacherGiftBag-HandmadeMood

4. Pencil Mug Rug — Patchwork Pottery

 

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5. Handprint Quilt — Kristen Duke Photography

HandprintQuilt-KristinDukePhotography

6. DIY Phone Charger Holder — Flamingo Toes for Lil Luna

Easy-DIY-Phone-Charger-FlamingoToesLilLuna

7. Fabric Drawstring Bags — Not So Idle Hands

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8. Herringbone Hot Pads — Melanie Dramatic for Moda Bake Shop

HerringboneHotPad-MelanieDramaticforModa

9. Key Chain Gift Card Wallet — Skip to My Lou

KeyChainGiftCardWallet-SkiptoMyLou

10. Easy Peasy Yo-Yo Clips — Positively Splendid for Tater Tots and Jello

EasyPeasyYoYoClips-TaterTotsandJello

 

SCHMETZ Needles, Part 2

Caring for your sewing machine needles is a key part of successful quilting. We went straight to the source for a few tips & tricks and are pleased to present Part Two of our guest series with Rhonda Pierce of SCHMETZ Needles.  Thank you, Rhonda!

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Sewing machine needles do NOT last forever!  The tips get dull and burrs develop in the eye.  Needles work hard at fast speeds.  They penetrate not only the fabric, but fabric dyes and finishes.  Mix in our personal techniques of nudging or pulling fabric while sewing and you realize that little 2” piece of steel, the SCHMETZ needle, endures a tough life.  Look and listen!  When the needle gets dull or has a few burrs from working so hard, not only will you see compromised stitches, but your machine will talk to you.  Watch this SCHMETZ video for a few simple clues to when to change the needle:

Just to recap these are the clues to changing the needle:

  • Threads are breaking or shredding
  • Skipped or uneven stitches
  • Puckered or damaged fabrics
  • The sewing machine makes a little clicking sound at stitch formation.  The sound graduates to a popping sound, then for really dull needles, escalates to a clunking sound.

The solution is easy.  Change the needle!  The sewing machine needle is NOT a permanent machine part.  The needle is meant to be changed.  Changing the needle is the easiest and most economical way to improve the quality of your stitches.  The rule of thumb is to change the needle after every 8 hours of sewing.  If you are a power quilter, this may be too infrequent.  In fact more than a few power quilters have whispered that they change the needle every 3 to 4 hours.  See what works for you.  Start each project with a new needle.  A good practice is to change the needle with every bobbin refill.

Remove pins BEFORE sewing over them. Sewing on a pin will bend, damage or break the needle.

Remove pins BEFORE sewing over them. Sewing on a pin will bend, damage or break the needle.

Next time you buy Aurifil thread from your favorite quilt shop, remember to pick up a couple packs of SCHMETZ needles.  If you are like me, there is nothing more irritating than being in the sewing groove at 2AM and not having the right needle.

For more information visit www.SCHMETZneedles.com.  While on the site download the SCHMETZ Color Chart for posting in your sewing room.  iPhone can users download the free SCHMETZ App.  The SCHMETZ Android version is expected soon.

Sew SCHMETZ!
— Rhonda

To view Part 1 of this series, please click here 

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RP15-125-sendRhonda Pierce has a dream job . . . teaching sewing and quilting enthusiasts about the most important 2” piece of steel in the sewing machine – the SCHMETZ needle.  As  spokesperson for www.SCHMETZneedles.com and Marketing Director for Euro-notions, Rhonda enjoys sharing needle knowledge in classrooms and sewing shows throughout North America.  She is delighted with the ingenuity and remarkable creations that sewing enthusiasts share.  Next time you see Rhonda with her SCHMETZ “Super” Needle, it’s 17” tall, tell her which SCHMETZ needle is your favorite.

SCHMETZ online:
Website — Blog — Facebook — Pinterest — YouTube — Inspired to Sew

Aurifil 2016 April Designer of the Month Kate Spain

Aurifil 2016 Design Team April Kate Spain collage

I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan. We are finally in spring in my part of the world and our April Designer is the amazing Kate Spain!

The quilt world is so lucky to have the talented Kate Spain design gorgeous Moda fabrics and curate yummy Aurifil thread collections for us! She designs for many places, you can find rugs, stationary and much more with her beautiful patterns on it.

We have become good friends over the years and I’m really happy she is on our design team for 2016!  You can listen to my chat with Kate on my talk show.. —>  3/17/14 click to  listen

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PLEASE READ — We are CHANGING something!!

Our Monthly quilt block Challenge will now be at my website with a Photo sharing party! This will be much easier for everyone.  If you want to look first, It’s HERE

We LOVE our MONTHLY thread BOX giveaway (seriously folks… you could win a box of my thread which is over $120.00 value.. JUST for making a quilt block… you have to join in!). Each month we pick one random winner that has made a  block from our featured designer of the prior month. That person receives a FULL BOX of my Aurifil thread as the prize!

Grab your Kate Spain fabric and let’s get to know her!

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Sew4Home Sewing Escapes

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We have long been fans of Sew4Home. Their smart project tutorials never fail to impress and we love that they always have an educational component, be it for a new technique, a favorite product or something else entirely. Over the last 7 years, they’ve built a strong following of sewists and quilters with an eye for quality and an undeniable creative flair. It was only a matter of time before they made a move and took the education offline. Introducing Sew4Home’s Sewing Escapes!

The very first event kicks off in a few short weeks and there are over 20 events currently planned through early 2017. To get a better idea of what to expect and to learn what these workshops are all about, we talked with Sew4Home Senior Editor, Liz Johnson.

THE INTERVIEW
Can you give us a bit of background on Sew4Home? What were your initial goals in starting the site back in 2009?
One of our main slogans is: Want it? Make it! When we started Sew4Home in 2009, our goal was to encourage people who’d never even switched on a sewing machine to become avid sewers. We wanted to give our visitors the confidence to produce projects that looked as good, if not better than, the items they drooled over on the shelves of stores and in the pages of catalogs and magazines. If someone was online searching to buy a pillow, we wanted them to find Sew4Home and consider making their very own pillow instead.

Organization          Bags

You’ve quickly become a key online destination for product highlights and project tutorials with a strong educational focus. Can you tell us a bit more about how you select your content? 
We’ve created our active visitor base by not following the traditional quilting and garment-making emphasis of many sites. We focus on home décor, personal accessories, like our signature bags and totes, and really, really clear instructions. People turn to us for the latest trends, the hottest fabrics, and the best tools to put them all together. They want the kind of things they are seeing on the shelves of Anthropologie and Pottery Barn, as well as on Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram. They want designer fabric and cool embellishments. This is where Sew4Home stands out; we are always out there; watching, trend-spotting, and gathering the ideas from all kinds of sources: from hottest products at Neiman Marcus to textures and colors of the nature outside our windows. When we plan a project, we have three goals: 1) our original concept and design must be on-trend and beautiful, 2) our presentation must be professional and striking, and 3) our information must be thorough and easy to understand.

What do you love most about your readers and the community that you’ve built over the years?
As I keep going on and on about (because it’s so important – not just because I’m annoying), we dedicated Sew4Home to providing the most detailed, step-by-step project instructions and accompanying techniques. The kind that make you shout, “I finally get it! I can do that!” And we do it without ever sacrificing style or flair. So if you make one of our projects, your friends can shout, “Wow! You made that?!” We absolutely love it when we hear from our visitors that something finally clicked – that our instructions allowed them to finally have success. We call those: “lightbulb moments.”

How did the idea to take Sew4Home offline and into the retreat setting first come about? 
We’d thought about it for awhile but it always seemed a bit too overwhelming to tackle on our own. Then, Janome America came to us with the idea of partnering. It was perfect, and it allowed us the support of a large, professional organization. Janome really focuses on education. In fact, they are one of the few machine companies that still maintains an in-house education department. Since they are so dedicated to education, we knew it was the perfect pairing.

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What are your hopes for the retreats, both from a business and personal perspective?
We’re excited to be able to move from behind the virtual screen and meet up with our peeps! Hundreds of thousands of people visit Sew4Home every month from around the world, and we do get lots of comments and feedback, but it’s not the same as reaching out in person. And, with these Sewing Escapes we have a very strong goal to encourage NEW sewers to attend the retreats. We want to meet the twenty-somethings who are excited to “discover” sewing and see how fun it can be to create something unique. They are the foundation of the explosion in the DIY arena, they’re a huge part of our online audience, and we want them to be exposed to the fun in person, using great machines and tools and fabric… and thread :-)!

What can attendees expect from these retreats? What types of content will be covered? 
Soooooo much! They’ll spend three days with the expert guidance of professional instructors and educators, leaving with three finished projects: a patchwork pillow, a designer bag, and an embroidered pouch. They’ll learn the tools, tricks, and techniques to create beautifully finished results from putting in zippers to in-the-hoop quilting and monogramming to how to box the corners of a bag. All in the Sew4Home style of true step-by-step instruction. We want to give people the confidence to not only make things for themselves, but also to be self-assured enough to possibly start that DIY or Etsy business they’ve been dreaming about.

Sew4HomeProjects

Patchwork Pillow, Embroidered Pouch, Designer Bag

Will each retreat have the same classes, or will they be specifically catered to each individual location?
The retreats are the same. Attendees get everything they need. All they have to bring is their enthusiasm. Each attendee will get his/her own brand new Janome Skyline S7 to sew on for the entire retreat — they even get to name their machines:-). We provide all the tools and the cutting and pressing stations, and the projects are kitted with all the fabric, interfacing, trims and notions to complete them. There’s even a pillow form for the pillow! In order to put together all these amazing items, we needed to keep things consistent from event to event.

Janome Skyline S7

Janome Skyline S7

Can you tell us a bit more about the pop-up shops?
Since the retreats are happening in off-site locations for the most comfortable atmosphere, we wanted to be sure there were opportunities for the attendees to be able to go home with some the great stuff they’ve spent the weekend working/playing with… and likely have fallen in love with! The Pop-Up Shops will have all those things available, plus new stuff from our sponsors that’s always fun to see and learn about.

Sew4Home Sewing Escape Thread Collection

Sew4Home Sewing Escape Thread Collection

There are currently 23 nationwide retreats planned through March of 2017. Will that be the end of the Sewing Escapes, or are there plans in the works to extend the tour? 
Well, that depends on how well they go! Of course, we’re excited to see them continue, and there are many areas of the country that aren’t covered yet — even with 23 events! Plus, our friends across the border in Canada have been very vocal about how much they’d like to participate. But, as with everything, it has to be successful in terms of the number of attendees, customer building for the dealers, exposure for the sponsors, etc. etc. Everyone has been very enthusiastic, so we have high hopes that Sewing Escapes will be around for quite awhile.

Wearables          Pillows

You’ve partnered with Janome America to bring these retreats to life. What do you most love about Janome sewing machines and how do you feel like partnership will benefit attendees?
Janome America is a charter sponsor of Sew4Home, which means they have been with us from the get-go. This has been an incredible advantage for us; being able to create all our projects on Janome machines makes everything faster and easier, with incredible stitch quality every time. One of my favorite Janome slogans is: “The easier the tools, the more creative you become.” It’s so true! When you know you don’t have to worry about a machine’s precision or power, sewing is frustration-free. The fact that Janome has such a strong independent dealer network gave us an easy way to roll-out the retreats across the country. The 23 dealers hosting these events are some of the best in the country. They know machines and know how to show people how to use them. As I mentioned above, each attendee gets to sew on a new Janome Skyline S7 and then attendees will be paired-up to use the Janome 500E embroidery-only machines for the embroidery and monogramming techniques we’ll be teaching. We truly could not have done this without Janome. It’s been a team effort all the way.

Jane Memory Craft 500E

Jane Memory Craft 500E

We’re thrilled that Aurifil threads will play a big role in the retreats. We’ve partnered with you to feature our threads and also have a brand new exclusive thread box that will be available for sale in the retreat pop-up shops. What first drew you to Aurifil threads?
We were first introduced to Aurifil by our friends at Fat Quarter Shop when they introduced their Master Collections of your thread. We received a set to test and review, and that was that. We were in love. The analogy we used was: As salt is to cooking, so thread is to sewing: a staple we rely on but may not think too much about. And yet, the thread is what holds everything together! If the quality is low or the color is off, you’ll notice it as quickly as a too-salty soup. We were immediately impressed by the variety of colors, the strength, and the smooth stitching. And we were thrilled by all the big-name designers who had built their own Aurifil collections. A bonus: everyone we’ve worked with at Aurifil has been simply delightful: helpful, fun, and always looking for the next new idea.

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SEW4HOME SEWING ESCAPES DETAILS
Website: www.sew4home.com/sewingescape
Dates/Towns:
(to learn more or to register for an escape near you, please click here)
April 28-30, 2016 – Wexford, PA
May 6-8, 2016 – Noblesville, IN
May 13-15, 2016 – New Tazewell, TN
May 20-22, 2016 – Leesburg, VA
June 10-12, 2016 – Redlands, CA
June 17-19, 2016 – Albuquerque, NM
July 8-10, 2016 – Colorado Springs, CO
July 15-17, 2016 – Arlington Heights, IL
July 22-24, 2016 – Albert Lea, MN
August 5-7, 2016 – North East, PA
August 12-14, 2016 – Jacksonville, IL
August 19-21, 2016 – Santa Fe, NM
August 25-27, 2016 – Sarasota, FL
September 9-11, 2016 – Mobile, AL
September 16-18, 2016 – Lake Villa, IL
September 23-25, 2016 – Olympia, WA
October 7-9, 2016 – Long Beach, CA
October 14-16, 2016 – Findlay, OH
October 21-23, 2016 – Bordentown, NJ
November 4-6, 2016 – Boscowen, NH
November 11-13, 2016 – Kansas City, MO
December 2-4, 2016 – Lockport, NY
March 2-4, 2017 – Austin, TX

FIND SEW4HOME ONLINE
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MORE ABOUT SEW4HOME
Sew4Home is a daily website dedicated to stylish home décor sewing – we believe anyone can and should make their own home décor. S4H offers beginner-friendly sewing projects by making instructions clear and simple. At the same time, our creations are designed to appeal to all levels of capability for their to-die-for results.

Since launching in early 2009, S4H has attracted a rapidly increasing core group of devoted readers. Our step-by-step tutorials, tips & tricks, and inspiration are all free to the user. We feature today’s easy-to-use sewing machines, beautiful and readily available fabrics, plus clever notions and tools. The S4H team is an experienced group with long ties to the sewing and design industry. We hope you’ll be inspired by our tutorials to transform your space. (via Sew4Home)

(images courtesy of Sew4Home)