Thursday, November 20, 2014

10 Thanksgiving Ideas You'll Love!

Did you know that 95% of Thanksgiving hosts spend the weekend before the holiday preparing for Thursday's feast? Grocery shopping, baking, last-minute sewing projects, centerpiece much to do!

Okay, so we made up that statistic. But chances are your mind will be on turkey day this weekend. With that in mind, we present 10 of our favorite Thanksgiving themed pins. Enjoy!

1. An easy pieced runner to celebrate the day
Find the pin here.

2. Helpful tips on how much food to serve for your group size
Find the pin here.

3. Ah, Brussel get such a bad rap, but you're actually quite delicious!
Find the pin here.

4. Dresden turkey block
Find the pin here.

5. What? Easier mashed potatoes? No peeling? We're sold!
Find the pin here.

6. Dress up your table with these easy printables
Find the pin here.

7. These are just too funny...deviled eggs recolored (but fortunately not re-flavored) for the season!
Find the pin here.

8. After dinner fun and games...
Find the pin here.

9. Seasonal appliques
Find the pin here.

10. This one takes the cake...literally! Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake. Yum!
Find the pin here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hexies in miniature

Ro Gregg's new collection comes with much fanfare--laden with rich colors, metallic gold accents, and symbolic motifs, so its name, Asian Fanfare, fits extremely well!

Check out the swatches below and then keep reading to hear the story behind Ro's designs.

Q. Tell us about your new collection, Asian Fanfare.
Ro: I found inspiration from Chinese culture—Oriental fans have been involved in Chinese artwork for centuries. They are viewed as good luck and symbolize generosity. I showcased a variety of designs—cranes, peacocks, goldfish, dragons and butterflies. I picked these because they were some of the most popular motifs and each sign means something—they represent wealth, longevity, immortaility, love, romance and dignity.

Q. Why did you choose hexagon shapes for the medallion print?
Ro: I wanted the line to have something geometric in it—I thought it would add interest and flair. It's a perfect shape for showcasing the florals, the peacocks, and the other symbols. The hexagon shapes are very versatile—they can be fussy cut, or used as a border print (like in the free pattern at the bottom of this post).

Q. What about the scale of these prints?
Ro: The idea behind the collection is that the scale of the designs is miniature. I was going for delicacy of design in a very small scale. These are very delicately printed, and the metallic gold creates an etched feeling.

Q. How do the focal prints tie together?
Ro: I started with the hexagon medallions, but then carried the miniature designs into the fan print. The allover stripe is really stunning and showcases the different symbols as well.

Q. And what about the coordinates?
Ro: The peacock feather has that same delicate feel, and the metallic lattice works on its own and pulls out the idea of stripes and textures. It has a lacy allover feeling. The pindot has a multi-texture feel. The lacy metallic gold accent runs throughout, creating a beautiful shimmer and is an accent to many of the dramatic black backgrounds in the collection.

Q. What makes these prints special?
Ro: All of these symbolic motifs bring such good wishes of love, romance, good fortunes and more—that whether you're making a quilt for yourself or giving it away—it's a gift with a positive message.

We have a free quilt pattern to share with you using Ro's Asian Fanfare collection:

"Asian Fans" by Terry Albers
Download the pattern here.

See the entire Asian Fanfare collection here and ask for it at your local quilt shop.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Appliqué Shortcut!

Recently we showed you a photo of Jayme Crow's "Mesmerize" quilt that was hanging in our Quilt Market booth, made using our batiks. We were intrigued by everything going on in this design--the colors, the shapes, the stitches, the quilting, so we asked Jayme to tell us a bit more about her quilt.

"Mesmerize" quilt embroidery design by Jayme Crow of Bella Nona;
quilted by 
Marlene Oddie of KISSed Quilts 
Q. Can you explain the digitized embroidered applique concept for people who might not be familiar with it?
Jayme: Machine embroidery appliqué is an easy, short-cut way to do your appliqué. Digitized designs created for embroidery machines are more accurate and time-saving than free motion embroidered appliqué.
By using a design created for machine appliqué, it's as easy as placing your fabric on the placement lines, letting the machine sew, trimming away the fabric and then letting the machine do all the work! You are left with a finished embroidered design!

Q. How did you go about designing this quilt? How did you come up with the idea of the layered circles?
Jayme: I'm what you might call a "free-motion" designer. I've always liked circles and organic shapes. So I began with an idea and used scrap paper, pencil, tape and scissors and drew and cut until I had the pieces I liked. This quilt actually was an embroidered adaptation of another quilt I did called "Fire Dance." We sized it down and took out the background showing through the rings and created an embroidery pattern.

Q. What can you tell us about the process of making this quilt? 
Jayme: Here's a brief step by step description:
1. Follow the pattern instructions for cutting the fabrics, stabilizer (optional batting) and Wonder Under.
2. Load the digitized designs into your sewing machine and follow the instructions for embroidery.
3. The instructions will take you through the design layer by layer, building it from the outside ring to the inside circle.
4. When the blocks are all embroidered, remove the stabilizer and square up each block.
5. Arrange your blocks into your quilt top and sew them together.  

Q. What attracted you to our batiks? Why do you think they work well for this pattern?
Jayme: Fabri-Quilt has a beautiful array of batiks in many colors. I started with the whole line of batiks and used most of them in this quilt. The lights, darks and brights create dynamic layered circles.

Q. Do you have a favorite batik from the ones you worked with?
Jayme: Asking if I have a favorite batik is like asking if I have a favorite chocolate…I like them all!

Q. Why did you choose the background, inner and outer border fabrics you did?
Jayme: I chose a light neutral as the background fabric to set the bright colors against. The inner border drew a definite line of color between the background and the outer border. Since I used the inner border fabric in some of the circles, it helped to unify the blocks. The outer border is a dark neutral to frame the quilt and ground it.

Q. Can you talk a bit about your thread choices?
Jayme: We used Magnifico by Superior Threads and chose the same colors that are in the fabrics, but we used them differently. For example, we used a lime green thread to outline a dark blue fabric and a red thread to outline a yellow fabric. It adds interest and excitement. In choosing the thread colors to use, it is important to consider both fabric colors the stitching will reside next to. Choosing a color that pops on both creates a bold look. Choosing a color that pops on one fabric and blends with the other gives a more subtle look. It's a fun adventure choosing what color threads and you really can't go wrong, no matter what color you choose!

Q. Who do you recommend this quilt for?
Jayme: This is a great quilt for a beginning quilter who has an embroidery machine. It is done with one hooping. Those with experience will enjoy it as well.

Q. Can you talk about the machine quilting designs used on this quilt?
Jayme: The organic "pebble" design used in the background echoes the rings. It feels like an extension of the blocks instead of a design that might compete with the blocks.

 Q. What do you like best about this quilt?
Jayme: I love the energy this quilt creates! It evokes oohs and aahs from nearly everyone who sees it. I also appreciate the fact that you can use the inside cut-away pieces from the larger rings to create the smaller rings as you build the quilt.

Find Jayme's Mesmerize pattern here.
See our entire collection of batiks here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you, veterans!

This Veterans Day we're posting the red, white and blue as a thank you to everyone who has served in the Armed Forces. 

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. The name of the day was eventually changed to "Veterans Day" to encompass all veterans, not just those who died in WWI, and is observed on November 11th each year.

Be sure to thank a veteran today for his/her service to our country!
Download a free pattern for this classic flag quilt, made from 2-1/2" strips.

The "Old Glory" Snack Pack includes 42 strips--everything you need to make the quilt top and bind it--all tonals from our Tone on Tone collection.

Monday, November 10, 2014

6 table runners for turkey day!

Thanksgiving is a little more than two weeks the annual turkey dinner at your house this year? If it is, it's time to get started! (Not on your that for next week!)

Nope, it's time to get started on a harvest-themed table runner to dress up your table. We've searched the Internet and come up with 6 that we really like, along with some fabric recommendations. 

Happy sewing! And remember, the beauty of a table runner is that you can stitch it quickly--plenty of time to have it finished and on your table by November 27!

 1. Ombre table runner from The Destashification Project
Find the tutorial here.
Suggested fabrics to use: Shadows

2. Quilt as you go table runner from Diary of a Quilter
Find the tutorial here.
Suggested fabrics to use: Topaz

3. Woven squares table runner from The Recipe Bunny
Find the tutorial here.
Suggested fabrics to use: A New Leaf

4. Leaf applique table runner from Seasoned Homemaker
Find the tutorial here.
Suggested fabrics to use: Autumn in the Forest

5. Half-square triangle table runner from The Sassy Quilter
Find the tutorial here.
Suggested fabrics: Batiks

 6. Disappearing ninepatch table runner
Find the tutorial here.
Suggested fabrics to use: Marblehead (featured in photo above)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prepping for the Holidays

During our 12 Days of Christmas celebration, we showed you Judy Hansen's Nutcracker Christmas collection as well as a free pattern and an easy tissue box holder made from the fabrics. We also gave you a sneak peek of this table runner:
"Center Attraction" by Diane Tomlinson;
featured in Love of Quilting Nov/Dec 2014

We're back today to talk more about this table runner, featured in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting Nov/Dec 2014 issue. Called "Center Attraction," this seasonal beauty would be exactly that on your holiday table! Designer Diane Tomlinson talks a bit about what she stitched below. And the best news is that there's still plenty of time to make this runner before Christmas!

Q. What appealed you to about Judy's Nutcracker Christmas collection?
Diane: I like the prints with the accents of gold.

Q. Can you talk about your design for the table runner?
Diane: The block lent itself well to a table runner and the poinsettia print fit well in the center space of each block!

Q. Why did you decide to make a table runner?
Diane: Time is a big factor- easier and quicker to make for the holidays, but sometimes it¹s hard to commit to a larger project around the holidays and this creates a nice centerpiece to highlight someone's quilting talents and adds a personal touch to the table from that quilter.

Q. Any tips for making the blocks?
Diane: Just to cut carefully and piece with consistent seams.

Q. Can you talk about your quilting decisions?
Diane: I thought that the stippling in the cream ''background'' fabric made the block pop more.

See the entire Nutcracker Christmas collection here.
Find the kit for this table runner here.
Find Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's Pillow Time!

Four times each year, American Patchwork & Quilting introduces two new pillowcase designs to help promote the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. With so many ways to enhance a pillowcase design, it's always fun to see what they come up with. And, since we are a proud sponsor of the Pillowcase Challenge, it's always fun to see how our fabrics spoke to them in the pillowcase making process. 

We think you'll love both of these beauties featuring our fabrics as much as we do!

Pattern #44: Quilted Pillow Sham featuring Bella by Ro Gregg
Find the pattern on here

Pattern #45: Butterfly Applique featuring Piccadilly
Find the pattern on here
It's so easy to be part of this worthwhile endeavor! You can sew a pillowcase that can make a difference in someone's life in less than half an hour. Learn more about the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge, including finding all the patterns you can download and information on how to get involved, here.
Thanks, AP&Q!