Recently in Quilting Category

Blog of the Month: Anna Maria Horner

April 4, 2014

I have long been a fan this this month's blog, Anna Maria Horner, for several reasons. The first is she just does so stinking much in a day, I honestly can't work out the math. Of course, she has a few extra hands around the house to help out: her seven children. She also shares my love of bright colors and creatively employing those colors all across her life. Her house is filled with love and tons of fabric, yarn and thread. I have watched Anna Maria on Martha Stewart, recreated her free projects/tutorials and eagerly bought her fabric. Her blog is like looking through a window in her house but without all the weirdo, creepy vibes and you are welcome to pull up a brightly colored chair with a hand worked needlepoint cushion and enjoy a cup of coffee (though she strikes me as more of a tea gal).

If you are a fan of Anna Maria's fabric collections with Free Spirit you will definitely love her blog which is full of her fabric worked into colorful and creative projects. It will get the ideas rolling through your head. You can also get a sneak peek at her upcoming projects, cute kid pictures (like shooting fish in a barrel) and many how-tos on manipulating fabric. Look for her category cloud on the left sidebar for more specific searches. I love her tutorials because they are well done but also they are just fun. Her tutorials are heavily weighted towards quilting but since I am gaining interest in quilting and most of our customers are interested in quilting than this should be right up you alley.

I also really love Anna Maria's fashion posts. The mixed media that Anna Maria includes plus her color combos and embellishments really make my fingers itch. Her home posts are another favorite. It is like a beautiful family reunion, filled with cookies, song and nice smells (sans fighting and not enough bathrooms). I love the glimpses of kid crafts, hundreds of quilts and cozy blankets, and lots of smiles.


Blog of the month: Crafty Gemini

February 12, 2014

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I am pleased to introduce this month's blog of the month: Crafty Gemini. This amazing mom is well known for her YouTube videos that cover crafting, quilting, sewing, cooking and family fun in general. This wonderful blog covers it all from teaching kids to sew to any and every tutorial you could want. I was delighted to find this blog but even more so when I discovered all the different creative topics Vanessa, the blog mistress, covers. She runs the gamut from crafting to cooking to homeschooling kidlets. Vanessa includes natural farming on her 5 acre homestead (definition of homestead is a family residence that consists of home, land and outbuildings). There are also tons of posts on cooking with recipes and videos. Yum! All cooking posts, videos and recipes work with natural ingredients and look delicious. I am a HUGE Sofrito fan but I dislike buying it in the store because my favorite brand uses MSG as a flavoring, so when I discovered Vanessa's post on making and storing your own sofrito I almost jumped over the moon with joy.

Vanessa is also an avid quilter and instructor of quilting. While she is not currently offering any classes you can look through all her tutorials and videos on quilting. She also offers patterns and many free tutorials. Check out the gallery of pictures off all the quilts she has crafted for friends and family.  There is a great collection of sewing tutorials as well with projects ranging from baby gear, home décor and general "how-to". It is a one stop shop for your next project.

But of all the topics covered on Crafty Gemini I am most intrigued by the farming. I can't seem to get enough of it. On the one hand I want to follow in her footsteps but on the other hand grabbing all my groceries at the store it so convenient. It is so interesting and great to learn how easy farming can be. You can start with just a small garden and grow from there. If you are interested in growing your own food at any level, this is a great blog to reference.

In conclusion, Vanessa is an amazing woman whose passion for life and sharing all the goodness that can be had from it with all of us makes me love reading her blog. Learning tips on teaching kids new skills and crafts is very inspiring. Taking a gander through her quilt gallery makes for a great idle few hours. The recipes and farming could make anyone want to take a greater part in their diet. I love this blog and love the feeling it gives me just reading it. 

Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt

January 29, 2014


For Christmas my oldest daughter received a very special quilt from her Bestemor (Norwegian for Grandmother), a Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to share it on the blog. Typically this is a forum where I share my creations but this quilt was too delightful not to tell the world and since has all the Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric in stock it seemed meant to be.caterpillar3.jpgcaterpillar2.jpg

My daughter is over the moon with her quilt; can't spend a night without it. My mother-in-law did an amazing job in creating it.  She uses a machine to piece her quilt tops but always hand quilts the quilt sandwich and hand stitches the binding which just makes my heart melt. Beste (pronouced Besta- short for Bestemor) used the Fons & Porter Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt Pattern but there are several beautiful Hungry Caterpillar quilts using the multi-color transformation panel fabric (which is my favorite) and many of the coordinating fabrics in different configurations. You can get some great ideas just by googling your favorite fabric plus quilt and searching by images. Here is my search results for Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt Pattern. You can find all our Very Hungry Caterpillar Fabrics here. Beste worked on this over several months with her quilting group who helped her along the way. The quilt top is hand quilted with buterflies but hearts, leaves and apples can also be used and be very cute.

caterpillar5.jpgButterfly hand quilting


You can also find the Very Hungry Caterpillar Coloring Panel. It is a great addition for older artist kids or a way to commemorate art from a certain age. I would love to add the multi-color panel to the quilt top and the coloring panel to the back so you can have something you made on one side and the child's contribution on the other. I imagine my daughter will have this quilt for many, many years as I still have the quilt my grandmother made for me. I hope Beste has already started on a second for my youngest daughter who would love her own caterpillar quilt just as much as this one is loved. 


More Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt Patterns here


Blog of the Month: Sew Sweetness

August 7, 2013

August's Blog of the Month is Sew Sweetness, a great blog for quilters and beginning sewists alike. This blog got my attention from the stunning clutch that graced the cover of Sew News. The blog mistress is Sara and she loves sewing and it loves her back. I adore her projects especially her quilting projects which seem to have leaked into every nook of her home (see Diamond Lattice Pillow). For the beginners there is Sara's 30 days of Helpful Guests Posts which includes everything a beginner could need to know or possibily ask about: fabric pairing, zippers, and grain, etc. Sara also packs her blog with plenty of tutorials that look like a lot of fun. Plus, all the patterns that she has whipped up by other designers you can find here with her notes and handy tidbits. 

I honestly can't tell if Sara shines more with apparel or quilts. I am usually drawn to blogs because of the clothing ideas, inspiration or tutorials but I acutally fell for Sew Sweetness for the quilting. I really love the Shape Workout quilt top she made for a book reivew. But then again,  I really love her version of the Collette Taffy Blouse. Decisions, decisions.

Sara also has a line of bag patterns that are beyond gorgous, cute and fun. I am a fan of her fabric choices and how bold and fun they are. I have found quite a few that definitely need to be on my "to do" list pronto. #1 will be the Petrillo bag (Gorgeous!!!). Thank you for blogging, Sara.

Getting Ready for Baby: Floor Quilt

August 3, 2012

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I am taking a break from my Denyse Schmidt Hills n' Hollers quilts to make a floor quilt. My goal was to finish a quilt before baby #2 makes her debut. My plan hinged on the idea that a precut quilt might speed my process up a bit since cutting out the Hills for the Denyse quilt (I'm 2 twin size quilts for the girls) took a LONG time. I have been eying the Charm Packs we carry for a while now and decided to make my move. The charm packs can just be stitched up and pieced together to make a very cute and just the right size floor quilt for the nursery (Why not a crib quilt? See my post on "What not to make for Baby"). After a careful selection of which charm pack to use I set to work.

Charm Packs are sample sizes of quilting cotton collections sold in 5'' squares pinked on all sides. The charm size is just big enough to show off the print and to be used as a quilt piece but small enough that you don't feel the need to cut into it, but you can! There is a wealth of charm quilt patterns out there online. My favorite place to window shop is the Moda Bakeshop. However, Charm packs are not the only precut packs out there. You can also try your hand at Jelly Rolls: 2 ½'' by 44'' precut quilting cotton bundles that are sold in rolls that look delicious. There are also Layer Cake Bundles: a collection of 10'' squares that make up one of the newer precut themes. There are several more divisions of a fat quarters out on the market but these are the major players and make up the majority of quilting patterns.

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I stitched my charm pack together using ¼'' seam allowance and a 5 x 8 grid. Next, I finished the quilt top with a 5'' border of cotton muslin (log cabin style) all the way around to make a roughly 50'' x 35'' quilt top.  This was just the right size for playing on the floor, car rides, picnics in the park and any impromptu outings that require a soft place for baby to play. I have only finished the top and while it took me a while (I really wanted everything to be perfect) most of my apprehension is for the unknown. I have never made a quilt sandwich before and this will be my first time quilting on my non-quilting machine. Though with all your Facebook tips, I do feel more confident. I have my batting and my quilt backing (the green ribbon print by Denyse Schmidt) and when next you see this quilt it will be all done and ready for baby. I have to look into whether to baste my sandwich together or pin- decisions, decisions!!!

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The quilt is done!! The binding was easier than I had convinced myself and thanks to all the tutorial suggestions on Facebook I was able to figure it all out. I added 1 strip of blue print to the binding to add some fun and embroidered my daughter's name on the quilt in my handwriting. She loves it and so do I!

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Here is an overall view of the top before I finished the quilt


My First Quilt Part 1

July 13, 2012


I have decided to take the next step in sewing, a new challenge to push myself and a new set of skills as well as to see what all the buzz is about. Yes, that's right I am making my first quilt. Actually I am tackling 2 quilts at once but I am using the same pattern for both though one quilt is a twin size and the other is crib size (however, I will be using it as a floor/play quilt*) I am both super excited and scared. I think I have chosen a relatively simple quilt pattern for my first foray into a great art, Denyse Schmidt's Hills n' Hollers,  but I am still shakin' in my boots a bit. If I mess up, that is a lot of fabric at stake or if it doesn't look good, it is on a big scale. But I am not going to think about all that because the pattern I choose is a Denyse Schmidt and I am also calling upon her book: Denyse Schmidt Quilts. The quilt is appliquéd which makes me feel much safer than making quilt blocks. And having read the pattern instructions I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Read on to check them out.



Ok so here is my game plan. I am not looking forward to hand appliquéing 25 and 60 hills for the baby and twin quilts respectively. So I googled a few other blogs to see what short cuts, if any, that they used and decided from there. Off the few blogs posts I read the only short cut I found was Blair Peter's on Wise Craft. Her quilt was GORGEOUS but she attached her hills with fusible web. She swears it turned out well and even looks great after washing. I believe her and want desperately to try it just to save time, but I have not have the best success with fusible web over the long turn without some sort of stitching to hold down the edges. So I have decided to choose her option #2 but modified. Side note: I giggled a bit at Denyse's description of the hills seams allowances as "generous 1/8''. Being new to quilting I don't really know if this is generous but coming from the land of 5/8- ½'' seam allowances this is hardly generous. End Side Note.

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My modified option is to add 1/4 '' seam allowance to each hill pattern piece and then baste ¼'' away from the edge, press along the basting line and then topstitch each in place. I think it will look great; granted not as great as hand appliquéd but my goal is to finish this sometime this year and to keep myself focused. If I hand appliqué, neither goal will be met. To accomplish this, I first traced each pattern piece from the original (which Denyse instructs you to do so) then cut each out and then traced each piece again adding the ¼'' seam allowance and then cutting those pieces out. The larger pieces I then traced onto my fabric and cut those out according to the pattern instructions.


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For my girls, I am FINALLY cutting into my favorite fabric collection (Erin Michael's Uptown by Moda). I am excited and scared about this as well but what better way to enjoy this collection than to see if everyday nestled around my little ones. Plus this is my only fat quarters collection which is perfect for making this quilt. This quilt is a great excuse to purchase a fat quarter bundle. The background of each quilt is muslin; I love the color and texture. For the backing I am using some fabric that I have already used for some window treatments in the girls' room and I want to tie it all in together. I cannot wait to see the finished projects!!

* See my post "What not to make for baby"

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What not to make for baby

June 25, 2012

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Don't be fooled by this attractive nursery picture: the crib quilt and bumpers are considered unsafe. Check out my safe recommendations below. 

For first time moms it can often be overwhelming and excited to decorate a nursery for your first little one. However, many stores, magazines and merchants can lead you astray with adorable pictures and over-the-top nursery decorating ideas. Here are some new regulations and recommendations on what not to make (or use) for your nursery and some helpful tips on what to make instead.

1)      Crib Bumpers: This cute, decorative, soft boundary tie to your crib and run the perimeter of the inside of your crib and were designed to keep your babe from bumping his/her head on the side. While crib bumpers have not been declared against the law, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics, who in my book makes baby law) have officially come out against crib bumpers. The AAP takes the stand that bumpers do not really protect against injury and can increase the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation. While these decorative beauties do add a wow factor to you crib, the effect is not worth the risk. (Read more here)
Instead of creating a crib bumper, make a fitted sheet and crib skirt combo to really show off your nursery colors and beautiful prints. These items are must haves for baby and the crib skirt can hide all your clutter or abundant baby toys once your little one has gone to sleep.

2)      Crib Quilt: these little gems are a beautiful way to show off your or a loved one's quilting skills and a great way to bring more life and color into your nursery but a baby should not be covered with a blanket or quilt until they are old enough to remove it themselves should they become overheated or trapped. Make instead a slightly bigger quilt for floor play, car travel or outdoor play instead. You can change out the quilt backing from lightweight cotton to a heavier weight cotton or home décor fabric for a floor quilt or laminated cotton for outdoor play. A floor quilt will get much more use then a crib quilt which might be too small by the time your little one it old enough to use it as intended and will provide comfort for tummy time and a great backdrop for all those pictures!

3)      Crib Pillows: Pillows have been declared dangerous for the crib for the same reason as crib bumpers but have been so for many years. Infants can easily get their face stuck under the pillow, inhale the pillow or become stuck under them so they pose a suffocation danger and increase the risk of SIDS. It will be at least 1-2 years before it is safe to leave your child unattended with a pillow in the crib so create some floor pillows instead. The floor is where most of your infant's play will take place and consequently where you will spend most of your time so make it comfy for all parties. Floor pillows make great seats for you, dad and siblings as well as an opportunity to make your nursery bright and engaging. You can appliqué animals or quotations of love and laughter while making sure you are as comfy as baby. Plus they make ideal reading areas when your infant grows into a toddler and beyond. I love Amy Butler's Gumdrop pillows because they are so fast but you can mix and match each panel to create a look for you.  

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Reasons to continue sewing in January

January 5, 2012

You may be worn out from the holidays: family and friends visiting, a mad rush to finish all your homemade gifts and cooking (not to mention all the eating). Getting back to your sewing machine may not be high on your list (Mine goes: sleep, eat, sleep, try to stay awake, walk the dogs and if I have time knit and sew) but here are some great, easy projects that will get you back in the mood for sewing in January. Both of these projects call for quilting cotton so grab the most fun prints you have and get back to work. 

The first project is a free pattern Amy Butler did for Better Homes and Gardens' website. The Clutch purse is one of my all time faves because it is so simple but also so unique at the same time. I had a great time picking out the ultra girly fabric for this clutch (which was gifted to my sister) out of Moda fabric. It only requires 1/2 yd of quilting cotton for the exterior and interior and it is interfaced with canvas. You can make your own pin or change out your favorite from your collection. 

Our second project is a super easy laptop bag. It is a simple zip top bag with bottom gussets to give extra room for cords and cards/cds. To size it to your computer, add 2 in. to your width and length. Cut 2 rectangles to those measurements for the exterior and 2 more for the lining. Interface the lining with fusible fleece. Attach your pieces to the zipper using Holly's instructions here and add a 1 1/2 in. gusset at each bottom corners using the same tutorial here. So easy and quick. It is sleek and sizable. You can adjust to fit any electronic device, camera or portable gaming system. 

Both projects can be worked from your stash or can be a low cost way to do some stress-free shopping. 

First Quilt Project!

November 6, 2011

So I consider myself an avid sewer, but I have never sewn a quilt! I have been stashing these gorgeous Anna Maria Horner Flannel fabrics from, picked out a free download, Folk Dance Quilt, from Anna Maria Horner, and I am ready to go. I attempted a quilt about a year ago. A king size one. With no pattern. And no quilting experience... you can imagine how that turned out. It's a bunch of mish mash blocks sewn together in a heap in my storage fabric box...

So now I want to do this the right way! Following a pattern, step by step. Here is the beginnings of cutting out my triangles, and with stellar advice from our quilting expert, Vickie, I feel very confident now. I purchased some Kyoto batting and coordinating Anna Maria Horner Biased Binding to complete my supply list. Almost done cutting and on to the sewing! Stay tuned for first completed quilt!


Fons and Porter Pressing Sheet

March 4, 2011

I remember few years ago I was watching a quilting show in which they demonstrated a Fons and Porter pressing sheet. I had never beheld a tool such as that before and my eyes lighted up! When I discovered that carried them...well, needless to say there was much jumping and clapping. I am not much of a quilter. I have aspirations but very little opportunity. But I do love to appliqué and any tool that can help me to be more creative and at the same time keep my iron gunk free is for me! I decided to start with something simple to start with and get comfortable with the pressing sheet.

I am making another kid tent for some boys who are big hunting fans. Since every hunter needs a few deer head trophies, deer head appliqués were on the cutting table. I found a free coloring sheet with a shape that I liked and printed it out to use as a pattern. I started by tracing the pattern pieces onto the back of my fusible and basically cutting it out. Then I fused the pieces onto the wrong side of my quilting cotton and cut out the appliqués. Then using my pressing sheet (and removing the fusible backing) I was able to perfectly line up and combine my appliqué. Once my appliqué was complete, I could fuse it to my background and stitch around it. It was so easy and there were no mistakes. I felt a rush of excitement and a surge of ideas flooded into my brain.

*Edited- You use the pressing sheet as a base to build your appliqués. After you have cut out all your appliqués pieces and added fusible (Like Steam a Seam) then you peel the backing off all your appliqué pieces (I have 2 pieces: antlers and the head but I could have added more like the round nose you see below and the ears could have been separate as well). Then using your pressing sheet as a base you place your appliqués pattern underneath the pressing sheet. The sheet is transparent so you can see where to place your appliqué pieces and make sure you are assembling correctly. You can place your appliqué pieces on the pressing sheet and fuse them in layers. Once the appliqués is cool, carefully peel it off the pressing sheet and you can then place your completed appliqué in its finished location whether that be a hoody or a quilt. The pressing sheet allows you to assemble and reassemble your appliqué while checking placement. Then you can assemble without attaching it your finished article. Using the pressing sheet lets you see your finished appliqué before placing it so you can determine where it will fit and look best. 

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You can see right through the pressing sheet (it's a tan color) to the pattern sheet below)
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The pressing sheet can be used to solve another of my dilemmas. Whenever a pattern calls for you to cut pieces from fusible interfacing as well as fabric pieces to match, inevitably my fusible pieces and fabric pieces never match as much as I would like. Sometime the discrepancy is as much as ½ in. So usually I cut the fabric piece first and then fuse it and then cut the whole deal out of the fusible interfacing. However, this leads to gunk on my ironing board or iron. With my pressing sheet, I can pull off this feat without the mess. I am super pumped about this. The pressing sheet also comes with a color coded, tulip quilt block appliqué pattern for free! It would also be really great on the front of a messenger bag or backpack.

Let us know what you do with your pressing sheet on our Facebook page or twitter. You can follow to find out the latest deals and you can follow me(@tdangermiller) and get the inside dish on my projects.


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