Friday, June 27, 2014

Today's the day!

The Imagine This! Quilt Design Contest is open over at Threadbias--if you've been playing with a design, you can upload it. See more here.

The contest is open June 27 through July 14, so get your entry in!

The winner will receive fabric to make the quilt she/he designs. Find all the details here.

Need some additional inspiration? Here's another look at the swatches in Linda Henage and Diana Carlson's Imagine This collection (see larger swatches here), and click here to see quilts that Linda has designed using these fun fabrics.

Have fun playing with Imagine This digitally at, and then ask for these fabrics at your local quilt shop.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Tote Tutorial!

Welcome to summer! We're celebrating this glorious, sunny season with the Bella Casa Summer Tote tutorial, made with none other than the Bella Casa fabric collection. We hope you enjoy the tutorial! Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win some Bella Casa prints for yourself (see details at the bottom of the post).

The tote has exposed boxed out corners just for fun--cover the tips with a button if you like!

These fresh red and blue fabrics really put you in the mood for berry picking--strawberries and blueberries! We used the chevron for the main print on the tote, though the circle print would be equally fun. Two great prints--one for the outer bag, and one for the lining!

2/3 yard red chevron print
1 yard blue tonal print
2/3 yard blue/white circle print
1/3 yard red tonal print
Pellon Decor Bond
Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece

Red chevron:
Two 18" x 21" pieces for outer bag

Blue tonal:
Three 8" x 42" strips for handles
Two 10-1/2" x 21" pieces for outer bag bottom

Blue/white circle:
Two 20" x 21" pieces for lining

Red tonal:
One 10-1/2" x 21" piece for inner pocket

Decor Bond:
Two 18" x 21" pieces

Fusible Fleece:
Two 20" x 21" pieces
Three 2" x 36" strips

Step 1 Cut one 8" x 42" blue tonal strip in half. Sew each half strip to the short end of a full strip. Press each strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Unfold and fold each long raw edge to the center fold line. Position a 2" wide strip of fusible fleece on the blue strip as shown, and then half of a second fusible fleece strip (Note: This makes a handle approximately 54" long. The straps on this bag each measure 44-1/2" long. You can adjust the length as desired, adding more fusible fleece to fill out the length of the blue fabric handle pieces if you like.) Following manufacturer's instructions, press to fuse in place. Repeat for second handle.

Step 2 Fold the fabric in to create a handle approximately 2" wide, with raw edges sandwiched inside. Topstitch 1/4" from both long edges and then again two to three times in the handle center as you like. 

Step 3 Following manufacturer's directions, fuse each 18" x 21" Decor Bond piece to the wrong side of an 18" x 21" red chevron piece. Measure 10-1/2" up from the bottom edge of the chevron piece and mark a horizontal line. Position one handle so the ends extend 1/2" below the marked line and pin in place, 5" in from the left and right sides of chevron piece. Test handle over your shoulder to decide on length. (Ours measured 44-1/2", but you may prefer yours longer or shorter.)

Step 4 Position the 10-1/2" x 21" blue piece right sides together on the top of the chevron piece, aligning the bottom edge of the blue with the marked line. (See how the handle ends peek out?). Stitch along the bottom edge of the blue using a 1/4" seam allowance. Flip blue down, press, and topstitch 1/4" from where the blue meets the red chevron in the middle of the bag. Trim blue piece at bag bottom to align with red chevron piece if needed. Repeat handle and blue fabric addition on second red chevron outer bag piece. 

Step 5 Stitch a box and X on the handle to secure it to the outer bag chevron piece approximately 2-1/2" from the top edge. Repeat on all four handle pieces.

Step 6  Position the two outer bag pieces right sides together and sew along sides and bottom. Turn right side out.
Step 7 Manipulate bag so a side seam and bottom seam are aligned, creating a pointed corner as shown.  Measure 3" in from the corner and draw a horizontal line. 

Step 8 Fold the corner up on the marked line (line will be inside what you see here) and pin tip in place. 

Step 9 Stitch across the tip to secure, making sure that you are not sewing through all layers of the bag--just the tip and the side of the bag the tip is pinned to. Stitch back and forth a few times to secure. Repeat on opposite side. Note: If you're prefer a more traditional hidden corner, turn the bag right side out, skip steps 7-9, and follow Steps 14 and 15 that explain how to box the lining corner.

Step 10 Fold the 10-1/2" x 21" red tonal piece in half wrong sides together to measure 10-1/2" square. Sew around 3 sides, leaving an opening for turning. Turn right side out and press, including pressing the raw edges in on the opening. Topstitch along the folded edge for the pocket top.

Step 11 Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse each 20" x 21" fusible fleece piece to the wrong side of a 20" x 21" blue/white circles piece. 
Step 12 Position the pocket (topstitched edge up) on one 21" x 20" blue/white circle piece (21" dimension should be the width; 20" the height). Center pocket from left to right and pin 6" up fro bottom edge. Topstitch along sides and bottom to secure (this also closes the opening in the pocket).

Step 13 Layer lining pieces right sides together and stitch along sides and bottom using a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave an opening for turning along the bottom. 

Step 14 Cut 2-1/2" squares out of both bottom corners. 

Step 15 Fold lining so side and bottom seams align, matching raw edges, and stitch along raw edges to box the corner. Repeat on opposite corner. 

Step 16 Slide the outer bag (right side out) inside the lining (still wrong side out) and pin along the top edge, matching raw edges and side seams. Make sure handles are tucked inside! Stitch around the top edge of the bag to secure.

Step 17 Turn bag right side out through opening in lining. Handstitch opening closed. Tuck lining inside the bag. 
Step 18 The lining is taller than the bag, creating a strip of lining that peeks out of the bag top. Align outer bag and lining bottoms to determine how much lining will be exposed at top. Pin in place and topstitch on outer bag just below the lining edge.

A peek into the inside of the bag:

This bag looks and feels like summer!

Perfect for beach or lake house trips, or just for errands around town.

How would you like some of the Bella Casa prints to play with? Simply leave a comment sharing your favorite summer activity for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Bella Casa. This giveaway is open through Monday, June 30 at 11:59 pm EST. We'll randomly draw a winner on Tuesday. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Brighten up a bed with Calypso Goldfish

Can't get Ro Gregg's cheery, summery Calypso Goldfish prints out of your mind? Quilt Trends magazine just featured this eye-catching runner using these prints, made by The Quilting Hen. Keep reading to learn more about it!

Calypso Bed Runner by The Quilting Hen; featured in Quilt Trends summer 2014

Q. What did you find appealing about the Calypso Goldfish fabric?
Patricia Sue: I love any fabric that has to do with fish or the ocean. This collection especially appealed to me because of the bright colors--I love the cheerfulness, and just looking at them makes me happy! I love pink, and love how it is used as an accent color in this collection. The masterful blend of contrast and matching colors make it easy to use any two pieces next to each other.

Q. What makes a bed runner such a great project?
Patricia Sue: Bed runners are great for using fabrics that you love, but don't necessarily want to decorate your entire room in. They allow you to have seasonal changes in decor or add a splash of color to a room that you do not want to completely change, but need a new look for a time. They allow you to try different techniques without having to creating an entire quilt. If you have a special or light color bed spread, a bed runner is a nice way to protect the end of the bed covering. They are also a must for those who live in cooler climates and need the extra layer on their feet at night!

Q. How did you construct the blocks?
Patricia Sue: The blocks are all applique. I used steam-a-seam™ just on the edges of the appliqué so that the quilter would not have to go through multiple layers of adhesive. I know what a challenge it is to try and quilt through that many layers of adhesive--nearly impossible! Since bed runners do not need to be washed as often, a raw edge appliqué will hold up well enough.

Q. How did you come up with the design?
Patricia Sue: I was going for an interpretive design that could read like a lily pad. The colorful fish on these fabrics look like they should be in an outdoor pond with lily pads and frogs. The blue wave was chosen to represent water and the yellow gives the appliqués a "floating" effect.

Q. What made you decide to use four borders?
Patricia Sue:  I loved all the pieces in this collection and I could not decide on one to eliminate, so multiple borders were a must-do. The dimensional pink border is an added texture that I like to put in my "fun" quilts. Kids especially like this added texture, and these fabrics could easily be suited to a child's room.

Q. What do you like best about the runner?
Patricia Sue: The little dragon flies are my favorite. I did not realize that the dragonflies were even there until I was piecing the quilt. I was admiring the fish and frogs so much that initially I missed them. They are a nice added splash to an already spectacular design.

Q. How is it machine quilted?
Patricia Sue: The "lily pads" are free hand echo quilted. The block backgrounds, setting triangles, and borders are quilted with a combination swirl and wave design. Our long arm quilter, Shawna Crawford, always seems to know just what to put on the quilt to make it a complete look.

Q. Tell us about the coordinating pillow (shown in the photo).
Patricia Sue: The pillow was made using scraps from the runner. The templates for the appliqué frogs and dragon flies are included in our kits. You can put them on the runner, pillowcase, or throw pillow as desired. The appliqués were made with scrap fabrics from the runner also.

Read more about Ro's Calypso Goldfish collection here and see the entire line here.
Purchase the kit for this bed runner here.
Find Quilt Trends magazine here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bring on the Calypso Colors!

 If you've seen and loved Ro Gregg's first two Calypso lines, Calypso and Calypso Frogs, you're sure to be equally thrilled with the "three-quel," Calypso Goldfish!

Calypso Goldfish by Ro Gregg

Q. Why did you choose to focus on goldfish for this collection?
Ro: When I was growing up, we had goldfish and tropical fish—the goldfish just seemed like the perfect thing. The previous two Calypso lines were really well received, so I wanted to design more—quilters loved the whole feeling of the Calypso look.

Q. Do you have a favorite print?
Ro: Probably the main print with the goldfish and lily pad and dragonflies with the turquoise background. I wanted it to be playful—a visual feast with everything going on. For coordinates, my favorite is the tie-dye looking medallion. It's fun and summery, and the centers have a lily pad look.

Q. Did you use photos of fish to create the motifs in the prints?
Ro: No, it came mostly from my head—I wanted it to be playful looking rather than extremely realistic. I worked to add a little modern twist, with geometrics here and there.

Q. We noticed a few frogs snuck in!
Ro: Yes, the frogs are a nod back to the previous collection, Calypso Frogs. They go well with the lily pads.

Q. Tell us about the colors.
Ro: I used what are to me the Caribbean colors—the blue turquoise, the sunny hibiscus. The palette has that crisp feeling from the Caribbean. I think the collection has an artsy, contemporary look to it. It also plays in with current trends—you're seeing a lot of sea motifs right now—even though it might not be realistic—the fish, waves, frogs, a little nature going on.

See the entire Calypso Goldfish collection here and be sure to ask for it at your local quilt shop!
Download the free Calypso Goldfish pattern designed by The Quilting Hen here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

An Introduction to Threadbias

Hello! This is Alex from to give you a quick run down on how the Quilt Design Tool at Threadbias works, and more importantly, how you can use it to enter the Imagine This! Quilt Design Contest.

First, it's important to note you can always try the design tool even outside of the contest using our free 9" x 9" workspace. Once the contest starts you can use a large canvas for your entry.

The general layout of the design tool looks like this:
Quilt Design Tool
Along the left side you'll find tools for selecting, manipulating, drawing, and erasing shapes. Along the top you'll find tools for selecting fabric, fill tools, color/fabric picker, and fabric swapping. In the top right are your zoom controls as well as text boxes for your X/Y position and Height/Width, which can be helpful for fine-grained control if you need it.

All of the buttons have tool-tip help boxes that show when you hover, I highly encourage you to read up on what each tool does and feel free to use that free 9" x 9" workspace I mentioned to just play around and get the hang of how the different tools work. 

For more in-depth help, there is a series of videos showing how all of the major functions work. You can find these on the website here. We also have a support forum where you can ask questions and myself or anyone else in the community can help answer.

Once the contest starts on June 27th, you can enter the contest by visiting the Quilt Design Tool page on Threadbias and in the initial getting started pop-up there is a spot at the bottom for contests. Select the Imagine This! Quilt Design Contest and optionally change the default size (90" x 108") of your quilt. Use the design tool to create your entry. You can save as you go and come back in multiple sessions to work on it. Once you are happy with your design and before the end of the entry period on July 14th, enter the context by choosing the Enter Contest option from the Contest Menu. Soon after you'll see your entry in the list of entries on the contest group page. If for some reason you decide to withdraw your entry you can choose to delete the entry using the Contest Menu.

Good luck everyone and we can't wait to see what you do with the fabric in the Imagine This! collection. 

Find the details of the contest here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Introducing the Windsor Woods Block of the Month Quilt!

If you're a quilter, there isn't much better than a Block of the Month project--just enough to whet your appetite once a month, but easy enough to finish before the next block appears. It's the type of project that you know won't linger on as a work in progress forever--stay on schedule and you'll finish the quilt and be able to enjoy it sooner than later! 

We are thrilled to share the Windsor Woods Block of the Month quilt design with you today--we hinted about it when we first shared the Windsor Woods fabric, and now it's time for the official reveal! The quilt was designed by Sue Harvey and Sandy Boobar of Pine Tree Country Quilts. 

We love the variety of blocks and piecing techniques used, and the way the fantastic prints in the collection are showcased from the center block out to the borders!

In addition to the Windsor Woods prints, the BOM quilt also uses the panel print, fussy cutting some complex-looking panel squares to add pizzazz to the quilt! 

Ask for this BOM project at your local quilt shop--shops will be getting their kits in September and fabric in November, and the BOM will start in January! Mark your calendars!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Windsor Woods

Classic florals in a contemporary color palette.
Fluttering butterflies.
Leafy and geometric tonal coordinates.
A versatile stripe ready for fussy cutting. 

Find it all in our new collection, Windsor Woods by Ro Gregg.

Then round it out by adding in some additional richly textured coordinates from Ro Gregg's Marblehead collection (we've selected a grouping here that goes well with the prints above):

Here are a few of our favorites up close:

Mark your calendars, because Windsor Woods will be featured in a Block of the Month pattern...get a peek at the quilt design here and mark your calendars for more info to come! And later this summer, we'll be sharing a tutorial here on the blog for a quilt made using these gorgeous prints. In the meantime, ask for Windsor Woods (and Marblehead) at your local quilt shop. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tutorial: Working with Tile and Panel Prints

Recently we showed you Linda Carlson and Diana Henage's new fabric collection, Imagine This! Today, Linda is guest posting on the blog, sharing a tutorial for a quilt that will help you use those cool focal prints from the collection, both the panel collage and the tile yardage. We know you'll enjoy Linda's tutorial! Be sure to read through all the way to the bottom of the post for details on how you can win a bundle of Imagine This to play with yourself!

"Leapin’ Lizards! Where’s Geraldine and Gerald Giraffe?"

Here's Linda:

Hello! I'm here to help you celebrate and use the collage and tile fabrics from Imagine This. Dense collage fabrics are a treat for all eyes to bounce from one intriguing motif to the next; or can delight a child by playing a language learning game to find the jolly giraffes, two big hearts, the big beaked bird, or the long eared bunny! ! 

Running yardage tile and panel fabrics beg to be cut apart singly, in rows for borders, or used whole for a very easy, quick quilt. Our “Imagine This!” collection features both design genres that are at once whimsical, delightful and very easy to incorporate in any quilt design! Let's get started on my quilt design, Leapin’ Lizards! Where’s Geraldine and Gerald Giraffe?

Fabrics And Cutting Directions
3/4 yard Multi-Animal Collage: 
Cut (1) 10-1/2" x 40-1/2" cross grain strip for center row; (5) 2-1/2" x 42" cross grain strips for binding

1/2 yard Red Hot Dots: 
Cut (4) 2-1/2" x 40-1/2" cross grain strips, and (2) 2-1/2" x 38-1/2" strips

1/3 yard Multi-color Animal Tiles:
Cut 2 rows including 1/4" yellow all around

1/3 yard Multi-color Winding Brick Path: 
Cut (4) 10-1/2" squares

1/3 yard Black, White & Gray Winding Brick Path:
Cut (4) 10-1/2" squares

1 fat quarter each: Red, Gray, Black & White Harlequin, Multi-color Harlequin, Blue Nebula, Cool Blue Dots on Green
Sub-cut into (2) 8" squares each (totaling 8 squares)

Batting and backing fabric to equal 48" x 54" (I prefer using wide backs.)
1 package Misty Fuse White 20" x 2-1/2 yds. or your favorite paper-backed fusible (I prefer Misty Fuse as it’s light enough for my machine needle to pierce, and won’t gum up the needle.)
Optional: Teflon Goddess Sheets protect your ironing surface and iron from the glue in fusibles. I use one on my board and another on top of the fabric with Misty Fuse ready to be heat set. Parchment paper works, too. 

Notes: All seams should be a scant 1/4". My machine needle sits at 6.

Make the Quilt
1. Cut two rows from animal tile print including 1/4" yellow frame all around. 

2. Lay Misty Fuse (or favorite fusible) over the wrong side. Protect ironing board surface with a teflon Goddess Sheet or parchment paper as well as on top of the fusible to protect your iron. Fuse all tiles according to manufacturer’s directions. Let cool completely before peeling off.

3. Cut out 8 tiles for this quilt with 1/4" yellow all around (You'll see four down below). The remaining 14 tiles will be ready for part of the backing, or in another project.

4. Audition which tiles look best on which 8" squares; then audition both on the 10-1/2" squares.

5. Find center of tiles on 8" squares by gently pressing horizontally and vertically. Repeat with the corresponding 10-1/2" square. Set 10-1/2" squares aside. Align centers, then fuse a tile to the 8" square. Repeat with all remaining blocks.

6. Center 8" unit onto 10-1/2" square. Machine appliqué in place. Use a stiletto to hold the edge down for blanket stitching if needed. I set my machine to a 3 width and 2 length.

7. Turn over and carefully cut out the 10-1/2" square 1/4" inside the stitching to prevent bulk and see through.

8. For the first vertical row, sew 4 blocks together vertically starting with a multi-color winding brick path block. Alternate with gray/white blocks. Repeat with remaining blocks but starting with a gray/white block. Press seams open since you aren’t matching blocks side by side. Set 2 finished rows aside.

9. Match and pin middle of 2-1/2" x 40-1/2" red hot dot strip to middle side of the 10-1/2" x 40-1/2" animal collage strip, working towards ends to insure evenness of the ends. Sew. Press seam towards red strips. Repeat on other side.

10. Match and pin center of first vertical row of blocks to red strip unit, right sides together as in step 9. Sew and press seam allowance towards red strip. Repeat with 2nd vertical row of blocks.

11. With right sides together, match middle of 2-1/2" x 40-1/2" red hot dot strip side border with first vertical row, and pin outward to ends. Sew, and press seam allowance towards red strip. Repeat process on other side. Add 2-1/2" x 38-1/2" top and bottom red borders in same manner.

12. Lay backing right side down, cover with batting, then top right side up. Pin for home machine quilting, or prepare for long arm quilting. Quilt as desired.

13. Join 2-1/2" x 42" animal collage strips end to end for binding. Fold in half, wrong sides together and pin to right side of quilt’s raw edges. Sew. Turn binding to back and hand sew down.

Here's the finished Leapin’ Lizards! Where’s Geraldine and Gerald Giraffe? quilt! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

And just for fun, a few more leapin' lizards of another variety. :)

Thanks, Linda, for a fantastic tutorial, as well as inspiration for fun ways to use tile and panel prints!

Now, for a chance to win a FQ bundle of Imagine This, head over to Linda's blog post about this tutorial and leave a comment letting her/us know your favorite fabric in the collection.