Sewing Projects

I mentioned a while back that I have been in the mood to sew some clothes.  One of the reasons it that I knit sweaters, and then I can’t find anything to wear under them.  The only way around this is to make something to wear under the sweaters.

For example, I made this sweater, called Vitamin D in this beautiful grey yarn from Blue Moon Fibers.



The yarn is one of my favorites – Socks that Rock Heavyweight.  It has beautiful shine and drape.



This is my second Vitamin D sweater.  You can read about the first one here  (scroll down)and you can find my Ravelry link to the second one here.  For my second one, I added the lace detail at the bottom, since I didn’t think they should be exactly the same.



When I got the sweater done, I had nothing to go under it.  I had been wanting to make a top out of the double gauze fabric that I had seen at spring quilt market.  I decided on this one because it has a small grey circle scattered about that pulls the two colors together.  Plus, I have been crushing on all things coral lately.



Even though I loved the look of the double gauze, I’m not sure if I will use it again.  I found it a challenge to sew with.  It wanted to pucker up on me and it’s very wrinkly.  I’m not sure why I didn’t notice that when I was looking at all the stuff made out of it at market.  I think I was just loving the texture so much, that I forgot to squeeze the fabric, instead of just petting it.  But, here is how my top looks after wearing it all day –



I kinda like it better with the sweater over it.


My other thought after making the shirt out of the double gauze is that it has no stretch.  I really prefer comfort over looks, so I think I will be making more knit tops from now on.  Speaking of knits, I also found this print that matches my grey sweater. (Here is the link to Hawthorne threads where I purchased the knit).



This is actually the same pattern as the coral top, I just wacked it off under the bust line to add a little different detail.  I also did neck and arm bands instead of facings (so much easier!)



It’s really comfy and so is the sweater.



That’s all for today folks.  I have to say I have been enjoying my time sewing these tops.  Since quilt market and the end of the major deadlines, I have been sewing clothes during the boy’s nap time, rather than working.  What a treat to steal away to the sewing room for a little time away!




I have two more tops that I will share with you soon, and I have two more cut out.  And I may have pinned a bunch more things that I would like to make.  What have I gotten myself into?  (You can see my Pinterest sewing board here)

Posted in Clothing, Fabric Trends, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments


I’ve got two finished quilts to share today.  One that is mine, one that is my Mom’s.  The pattern is called “Paperweights”.   Both were made during the pattern testing process for my “Angles With Ease 2” book.  Now that they are finished, they will head out on trunk shows and travel from shop to shop for the next year or so.  People often ask me what I do with all my quilts, and this how they all spend their first 1-2 years.  Eventually, I get them back to use in my own home.  So, before they fly off on their little tour of quilt shops, I snapped a few photos to share.


First up, my version using the fabric line “Tole Christmas” by Gina Martin (Moda fabrics)



The fabrics are beautiful, and I kind of wish the quilt had bigger pieces so I could show them off a little more.



The pattern calls for 14 Fat Quarters, 28 Fat Eghths, or 44 – 10″ Squares.  I had a Layer Cake, so I used that, along with a few teal fabrics from my stash so that I had enough prints without having to purchase another Layer Cake (just to get a few more squares.)  One of the nice things about the pattern is that I didn’t have to wait around for the yardage to be able to finish the quilt, because the border fabric is made from scraps from the Layer Cake – Perfect for those Layer Cakes that you have laying around, but don’t have any of the yardage to go with it.




I had fun quilting this one.  You can see the design a little better from the back –



I just did a little free-hand feather, then a couple swirls to get me into position to do the next feather and repeat.  It was easy and fun to do.



Mom’s version of the Paperweights quilt uses my fall fabric line, “Home for Harvest“.





075 copy


082 copy


You can find the pattern for this quilt here and a kit for the fall version here.




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Were any of you fans of the Anne of Green Gables movies?  It was probably one of my favorites growing up.  I don’t know if that was just because we didn’t have cable or what – but I loved it just the same.  I would watch it over and over during all my late night sewing.

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In fact, just talking about it makes me in the mood to see it again.  I still pine away for those simpler times – thought realistically, I would not want to give up mascara, hairspray or electricity.  Or indoor plumbing.  Yeah, that’s kind of a big one.


My favorite characters were Anne and Gilbert.  So, when I happened upon this pattern on Ravelry, I knew I had to make it for Carter.  It’s called Gilbert and I don’t even know if it is actually from the movie, but I wanted to make it anyways.

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And my favorite photo of Carter in the vest – He looks so grown up.



You can find the details on my Ravelry page here.  Since I took these photos, I have added the ribbed neck band.  At first, I thought the neck hole wasn’t big enough, so I had him try it on first (thus these pictures without any neck band.)  Turns out it was fine and I will have to get a few photos of him wearing it now that it is actually finished.

The pattern was really fun to make and I think Carter looks pretty handsome in it.  I might just have to make one for Max too.  Speaking of Max, I took a few pictures of them together, as long as Carter was dressed up.



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Be still my heart.


And now I need to go and watch a movie and snuggle with my boys.  Do you think they will like to watch Anne girl with me?  Ha!!!


PS – Just a few things I found on the internet about the movie that might bring back a few good memories for you too!



Would you please call me Cordelia?

Gilbert Blythe: Anne Shirley. What in heck are you doing here?

Anne Shirley: [trying to sound dignified] Fishing, for lake trout.

Anne Shirley: Gilbert Blythe would stand on his head if I asked him to.

Marilla Cuthbert: Oh, this is a fine kettle of fish

Marilla Cuthbert: [talking to Matthew] She could talk the hind leg of a mule. Hmm, wouldn’t that be a change around here.

Anne Shirley: Fortunately for you, Josie, the only thing you’ve ever had to wear twice is a sour expression.

Anne Shirley. Anne with an “e.”

Marilla Cuthbert: [rolling her eyes at Matthew’s excessive purchase] Twenty pounds of brown sugar.

Anne Shirley: I know I chatter on far too much but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don’t. Give me some credit.


Rachel Lynde: Her tongue appears to be hinged in the middle, but she may turn out all right.

Gilbert Blythe: Well, I figured you can give me a hand with my work, and we’ll call it a fair exchange.

Anne Shirley: Aren’t you worried? I’m liable to break another slate over your head.

Gilbert Blythe: I’m more worried I might break one over yours, carrots.

Posted in Family, Knitting | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Hints for Aligning Angles

Today I want to share a tutorial on how to align angles – specifically for any of you using my Triangler ruler (so any projects from the books Angles with Ease and Angles with Ease 2 or the pattern Summer Stars).  My experience with teaching has been that once the angle is changed from the standard 45 or 90 degrees, many people have no idea what to do, so they just kinda wing it.  Sometimes it works, but most of the time the points are chopped off, don’t meet, or they end up with A, B, or C cups.  Sound familiar?  And in this case, a C cup is not better than an A cup.  In fact, totally flat is best.  Case in point?  A cup to the left, flat on the right.



But – getting back to what I started talking about – How to align angles.  The technique that I’m going to explain works for many different angles.  For example,  all of the rulers shown below cut different angles, but you would align them all using the same technique.



The samples that I have prepared to show the technique all use my Triangler ruler.  First up, just sewing two triangles together.



Nothing complicated here – just lay them right sides together, align them evenly at the top and bottom, and sew.  This is the easiest of the angles to line up and sew.


The main thing to watch out for here is that you sew with a perfect 1/4″ seam allowance and that you have cut the top point accurately.   If you don’t have the little flat top of the ruler aligned perfectly with the top of the strip when you cut, it will throw you off in two ways.  If there is excess fabric to the top of the flat point, your point will not be 1/4″ from the raw edge of the block after you have sewn the triangles together.  Then, if you alter your seam allowance to make sure that the points meet in the center of the block, that will cause your block not to lay flat.  You also want to be careful when working with the bias edges because if the bias gets stretched out, that can also cause your block to be wavy and not lay flat.

The following quilts are made by sewing these tall triangles together in pairs as shown above, then sewing the 4 pairs together to make a block.

PicMonkey Collage


If you take that same ruler and cut up a skinnier strip, you get pieces that look like this.  I am going to sew them together as laid out below.


Lay them right sides together and align as shown.



The trick to knowing exactly how to align them is to make sure that your 1/4″ seam allowance aligns perfectly with the valley at the top and bottom of the pieces.  Do you see the valley?  It’s very important that you know what I mean by a “valley”.  Now do you see the little yellow dash in the bottom of the valley?  That is where your 1/4″ seam allowance needs to be – right in the middle of the valley.

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I think the easiest way to see this is to draw a 1/4″ seam allowance on the block.  Then slide the piece up and down until it lines up perfectly with the valley, as shown below.

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In this sample you can see that the 1/4″ seam allowance isn’t lined up with the valley because the red piece is way too high

DSC_8018 too high


In this sample you can see that the 1/4″ seam allowance isn’t lined up with the valley because the red piece is way too low.

DSC_8021 too low


You won’t need to draw the seam allowance on every piece that you line up – it just helps as a guide until you get the hang of the technique.   Another thing that helps is to set your sewing machine so that the needle is always down.  Then you can see right away if your valley is going to line up with the 1/4″ seam allowance.  See the sample below – I have made the needle bright yellow so you are sure to see it.  I also put a yellow dash in the valley so you can see how they line up.  See how much easier that makes it?  If your needle is left up, you have to reference point and keeping the needle down gives you something to watch for.

DSC_8023 adj


After sewing and pressing, the top edge of the unit should be nice and straight (see sample in the top part of the photo below) – not jagged (as shown in the bottom of the photo below).  If you unit looks like the one in the bottom of the photo, you just need more practice aligning the valley with the 1/4″ seam allowance.



Now let’s practice the angle again – this time by sewing two half triangles to a full triangle.



The concept is the same – Lay right sides together, and line up the valley with the 1/4″ seam line.  With these pieces, the valley is harder to see



It’s there – you just have to look a littler harder to see it.  It’s a teeny, tiny, baby valley.  But again – the concept is the same.  You need to align the valley with the 1/4″ seam allowance.



I think one of the things that gets people confused, is that after they press, their point isn’t exactly in the corner of the block.   See how the point is about 1/8″ in from the right bottom corner?



Depending on the angle you are working with, this distance will vary a bit, but the trick is that after you sew a 1/4″ seam allowance on both sides, then the point will be right in the corner.  On the sample below, I have drawn in the 1/4″ seam allowance and you can see how the point is perfectly in the corner now.  That’s how it’s supposed to work.  (I say supposed to work because I will be the first to admit that my points aren’t perfect.  I know how to align the angles, but they are tiny, bias angles after all, so they don’t always behave every time.)



Now, let’s move to the other side.  Again, align the piece so that your 1/4″ seam allowance will align with the valley at the top and bottom.



Press and double-check to make sure that the top point is 1/4″ in from the top edge of the block.



So – that’s how it’s done.

Now that you know how to do those angles, you could use that knowledge to make any of these quilts.

angles collage 2

Again, those are all made with my Triangler ruler – but the quilts below are all made using a 60-degree ruler like this one, and that same technique works.

60s collage

(Quilts from this book and this pattern)


I hope that helps clear up the mystery.  And just remember – this does take some practice, but once you get the technique down, it’s fun to do.  Being able to sew angles really opens the door to many possibilities.  Once you get the technique down, you will be capable of making lots of unique things!

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The Boys – June 1st, 2015

I am months behind in posting pictures of the boys.  When Carter was a baby, I posted almost every month.  I haven’t even posted the boys Easter pictures yet, so today I am    going to play a little catch-up.


But first – let’s give away the Fat Quarter Pack of Shot Cottons from my last post – The randomly chosen winner is =


Please email your shipping info to  Thanks everyone for playing along and for sharing all the great batting suggestions!


Easter Sunday – Max 7 months, Carter 2 3/4 years




A few Favs of Carter. He loves to play Playdoh and he Really loves his diggers.



Having fun in the back of daddy’s pick-up.  He asked if he could ride back here and I said only if he wanted us to get arrested. 017-(2)


Out for a walk (which was actually a book photo shoot) DSC_6477


Getting ready for Pajama day at school.



Helping Daddy build the booth for Quilt Market



Carter and his first sewing project.  He hasn’t asked for it since, so it wasn’t his thing – Not that I’m surprised, since he is so young and really prefers  tools, digging, and building.



Playing under the quilting machine in my studio with Max.  They like to play peek-a-boo in the quilts hanging over the bar.



The boys and I dressed up for Max’s baby dedication at church.


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And a few Favs of Max





This is Max crawling with a chair strapped to his back.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram have already seen this, but I was trying to keep him in one spot.  It didn’t work!







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My favorite of the Max pictures – taken out on the pontoon the other night.  I just love that toothy smile.


In the last few months Max has changed so much.  He’s gone from a baby to toddler – even though he isn’t walking without support, he pretty much gets wherever he wants to go.  He is busy and loud.  He wants to do everything that his big brother does and he loves any attention Carter gives him.  He misses his Daddy while he’s at work.  He loves to eat, jabber, drool and put everything in his mouth.  He loves to wrestle and rough house.  He pretty much just wants to have fun all of the time.  He flirts and talks with people in stores and they think he’s such a happy baby.  Then they meet us on the way out of the store, and he is screaming and wants down.  There is only so much of being strapped in a cart or car seat that he will put up with.   He’s 9 1/2 months old already.  Busy.  Beautiful.  Full of life.  As I said on Instagram – Where’s the pause button?  9 months is such a fun age!

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Favorite Finds from Quilt Market 2015

Today I just want to share a few favorite finds from Quilt Market.



I will start with a couple of products, and then talk mostly about what I love best, fabric!


First, I wanted to mention Hobbs batting.  I generally use the Hobbs unbleached 80/20. It has been what I have used for 20 years, but I still learned something new about it.  Did you know that it comes in bleached – and more importantly black?  Just the other day I was wishing for a black cotton batting and a week later I find that my favorite batting comes in black!  I also scored one of their wool battings, which I have been wanting to try for a long time.


Another thing that I wanted to learn about at market was using a double of batting.  I had heard about machine quilters using 2 batts in a quilt and I got to feel a couple of them at market.  I will say that two battings really does show off the machine quilting, but I do not like how it feels.  It’s quite stiff and I imagine that it would be hard to sufficiently cuddle with.  If you were hanging the quilt on the wall only, and were a fabulous machine quilter, I can see why it’s done.  But for myself, I like to use the quilts and I don’t have fancy quilting to show off, therefore I will continue to do what I have been doing – 1 layer of the Hobbs 80/20 (or sometimes their Polydown).  Does anyone else have anything to add about batting?  I would love to hear what your favorite type is!


Here’s another little fun thing that I found.  Have you noticed that cross stich is making a comeback?  I did it in the 80’s and haven’t been tempted to try it since.  But look at these cute things from Red Gate Stitchery –


I think it would be great fun to make one of these bracelets, or the necklace below.  You can find them here.  I thought they were even cuter in person.



One of the books that I found was this one by Indygo Junction.  I like how they show one pattern, six different ways by changing up the sleeve, adding an accent fabric, etc.


I also loved their tunic pattern.  It was also cuter in person



I plan to make mine out of the aqua fabric in the photo below.  It is made by Art Gallery and is such a fun print.  The other two fabrics are the new rayons that I saw at market that I wanted to try.  These two are designed by Heather Bailey, but I also liked Cotton+Steel’s rayons.  (All three were purchased at Hawthorne Threads.  If you haven’t ordered from them before, they have a great selections of quilt fabric, knits – even rayons and denim.)


The coral below is some of the double gauze that I saw at market.  It has beautiful texture, but my first impression is that it will be wrinkly.  I will let you know how my top turns out.


Speaking of tops, here are two that I finished last Friday.  Both are knits from Hawthorne threads.  I will tell you more about them when I get some better photos.



And lastly, my favorite quilt fabrics from market.


I loved these shot cottons from Studio E.  Studio E is owned by the same company as Henry Glass (who I design for).   They also are much more beautiful in person.


You can see the beautiful texture a little better in the photo below.  I would love to use the darker ones for some sort of block sampler quilt, with a grey background.  (Hint – If you like these fabrics too, you should read all the way to the bottom of this post)



And – my favorite part about market – Sample Spree at the Moda table.  You can have more fun there in 10 minutes than should be allowed.  And as a bonus, what you purchase in that 10 minutes can keep you having fun all year long.  How great is that?   Below are 3 of the bundles that I liked.  Listed from left to right – Canyon by Kate Spain, Hello Darling by Bonnie and Camille, and Tucker Prairie by OneCanoeTwo.


My three favorite bundles are: (again listed from left to right)

Farmhouse by Fig Tree Quilts, Gooseberry by Vanessa Goertzman, and Prairie by Corey Yoder.


Prairie was my favorite of all the lines.  I love the cheddar yellow – which I haven’t seen a lot of lately, but loved in this combination of colors.  It’s fresh and bright without being too bright.  I’m also a little tired of so many pastels, and this is a little darker than that.



And here they are all together.  I have never in my life bought so much fabric at once, but this will keep me supplied for my work projects for the next 6 months!  Is really fun to know that the perfect fabric is waiting for me in the studio, whenever I have time to sew or a new idea comes to me.



If you would like to share in a little of the fun, I am giving away a fat quarter pack of those beautiful shot cottons – courtesy of Studio E.  If you would like to be entered to win, just leave a comment in the comment section.


Stop back in next week to see if you won!

Posted in Fabric Trends | Tagged | 350 Comments

Quilt Market 2015

We got home from International Quilt Market on Sunday night – and though we had a good time, I am happy to have it behind me!  Writing books is so much work, and then when it’s finished, there is still all the marketing, website work, planning a booth, etc and then getting everything together for the show.  My husband Joel describes it as “Running a marathon and then working all weekend at quilt market.”  The writing of the book is like running a marathon, and then all tired, sweaty and dazed, you have to try to sell the product.  This is my least favorite part of my job, but I really did try to enjoy it this year.  We’ve been around for so many years, that is fun to catch up with the shop owners and other designers that we have met in the past.  Joel is a huge help and I was at ease knowing that my Mom was taking good care of the kids while I was gone.  The orders have already gone out.  Now to get the trailer unloaded and everything put away.  And I suppose I should do some laundry and get my sorry house put back in order.  I think what I will do instead is plant some flowers and work outside.  Carter would love to help me.  Sounds like a good way to spend part of my Saturday!


I have a few pictures to share with you from market.  I never did pull out my nice camera while I was there, so these are just cell phone pictures.  First up – my booth.


I had a double corner booth, so it was nice and big for displaying all the things form the new book.  (In case you missed it, the new book is Angles with Ease 2 and all the quilts are made with this versatile ruler).



The Petals on a String and No Monsters Allowed quilts were the favorites.



This is the group of Henry Glass designers that were at Market.  Karen – the blonde in the lower right corner is my design director.  She took several of us that work under her out for a fun supper on Friday night.  We had a great time reconnecting and hanging out – while having a really good supper (We went to Mesa if you ever want to try good Mexican in downtown Minneapolis).



A took a few other photos of some favorite things and booths –

Sue Spargo’s work is always a favorite.  Though I have actually never made one of her designs, I still really admire her creativity and attention to detail.



This is designer’s row in Moda’s Booth.  Lots of eye candy here – and this is only a small part of it.



Fig Tree was on the end with their quilts made with Farmhouse (one of the lines that I had to pick up at Sample Spree).



Canyon by Kate Spain was another line that I thought was beautiful.  I will show a few more of their new lines in my next market post.



Another favorite booth was Elizabeth Hartman.  I love her woodland creatures.  I think I might need to put a few fabric flowers up on my walls too.



I loved this booth too.  First of all, I loved the wallpaper.  Gorgeous!  The display is beautiful too, with the framed fabrics, bench and bookcase.



This is Cotton+Steel’s booth.  If you have my ruler from the new book – you could use it to make the quilt below.  I had a very similar sketch in my notebook of things to include in the book, so it was fun to see it done up in person.  I was also very interested in their clothing fabrics – especially the rayons and knits.



I also spent some time in Indygo Junction’s booth.  For some reason I have the bug to make some clothing.  I picked up one of their new books and I am probably going to make that tunic in the front.



I’m not sure why I have the bug to make some clothing – but I think it has something to do with all the new fabrics hitting the market.  It wasn’t tempting at all to make something from what they have at my local JoAnns, but when you see that many of the beautiful quilting fabrics also come in knit, rayon, or double gauze, it gets rather tempting.  My mom used to help me stumble through making clothes – that was before I discovered quilting 20 years ago – so we will see how it goes.

Birch fabric had some of my favorite clothing fabrics


I loved the double gauze so 1 piece is on its way here for me to try out.



In addition to getting to see all the new things at market, I was really excited to have so many shop owners compliment me on how my instructions are written – that they are clear, easy to follow, and accurate.  It’s something that my Mom and I work really hard on.  I write the instructions, then she tests the patterns and offers suggestions and changes.  We go back and forth and forth many, many times trying to get it just so and weed out any errors.  It’s a huge job and I have to give HUGE props to my Mom for all her help with this part.  I couldn’t do this without her and to have the shop owners bring it to our attention meant so much to me.


I also have to give props to my husband Joel.  He offered to make me some nice booth walls this time, along with lining up someone to help get them all into the booth and set up.  Joel also did many demos in the booth and helped with that selling part that I dislike so much.  I teased him that being “hot and helpful in the booth” was one of my favorite attributes in a husband ;-)



I’ll be back next week with a few of my favorite products from market.  Have a great weekend!

Posted in Fabric Trends, Quilting | Tagged | 24 Comments