Monday, December 31, 2018

Pillows for Christmas (again)

I've got three adult kids and every year I like to make them a gift for Christmas.  (I made pillows as gifts last year too - see that post!)

My youngest is at UNC Chapel Hill and rides her bike all over the place so a bike themed pillow complete with fussy cut fabric was a fun choice.  (The bicycle was part of Fat Quarter Shop's Snapshot QAL from several years ago.)

My middle one loves the group Celtic Woman so her pillow was themed accordingly.  I machine stitched on the names of the woman who have been with the group - many of which my daughter has actually met.  (I was excited to see my Janome had alternate alphabets so I could get the accents correct.)

Finally, my son has been a major video game fan since he was a little kid.  So a pixelated Mario was a perfect choice.  The instructions for the Mario block are found here on Angela's blog.

Mario makes me smile every time I see him! 

I put zippers into each of the backs with my first set of attempts at an invisible zipper using a 'regular' zipper from my stash.  Results were mixed but I am going to keep working on the technique because I like the results.   (This is actually the back of a pillow I gifted my mom.  The front is part of a blog hop in March so no sneak peaks.)

In addition to these 4 recently gifted pillows, in 2018 I made two pillows for me and one pillow for a friend. 

This is Air Show by Latifah Saafir sits on the couch in my studio.  It uses fabric by Sweetwater.

And Random (also for me) is my pillow created from 100 + randomly placed hexies.   It makes me happy every time I see it.

Finally, I made a pillow for a friend using her favorite color and fabric designer.

Seven pillows in one year is a lot of pillows but they are so much fun to make.  I'm already planning my next one!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, December 28, 2018

Best of 2018

With just a few days left in 2018, it is a perfect time for reflection and revisit favorites as we get ready to wave goodbye to one year and welcome the next. 

As she does each year, Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2018 link-up to highlight our 5 best blog posts of 2018.  (For reference my posts for 2017 and 2016).  

This is my 147th post of the year (who knew!)   Since we can define what best means for this link-up, I decided to share my:
  • most frequently blogged about quilt
  • post with most comments
  • most popular tutorial
  • most anticipated QAL
  • most popular post
In my recent post - Reflections of 2018 and goals for 2019 (post here), I shared Perfectly Imperfect - my most frequently blogged about quilt  with at least 8 blog posts!  (This quilt is also mbest and favorite quilt of the year as well.)  I enjoyed sharing the journey of my discovery of hand-piecing through my blog starting with the very first post in April with my first block. 

Hand Pieced Perfectly Imperfect Elm Street Quilts

It was fun looking to see which blog post generated the most comments.  I had almost forgotten about my Valentine's fabric postcard tutorial share as part of the Put A Little Love in It blog hop.  That post had 60 wonderful comments.  (And while 60 comments on a post is wonderful, I truly appreciate those people who comment on almost every post.  I've made some nice blogging friends that way.)

My most popular tutorial post is How to Make a Temperature Quilt.  With just a few days left in the year, my 2018 quilt is almost complete. (Can't wait to share the final and then turn it into a wall hanging.)   I am going to be making another for 2019 although not out of hexies. 

Tutorial Temperature Quilt

I've run a QAL each year for several years and the Hand Pieced QAL which kickoffs on January 7 is the my most anticipated based on the number of people who have joined the QAL email list as well as the Facebook Group.

As I was hand-piecing Perfectly Imperfect, I knew that I wanted to immediately start hand-piecing another quilt and to share my love for this new technique with others through the blog.  I'm so happy to be sharing the fun with Kristin from  Simple Handmade Everyday       

I hope you'll join us.  It will be a perfect QAL for beginners or the more experienced.  In  preparation for the QAL, we've put together a number of tutorials on the basics to help everyone get started!

Finally, my most popular posts are the link-ups associated with One Monthly Goal.  (If you haven't participated in One Monthly Goal, check out the sponsor announcement for 2019 and give it a try!) 

Goals for a given month need to be something associated with making with thread, fabric or yarn.  You don't need to actually finish a project each month - for example, you could have a goal to make ten blocks from a project along.  I love reading about what everyone else is doing as well as setting a goal for myself each month.

Above are all photos of my goals each month.  I used OMG to make some Christmas gifts, hand quilt my hexie pilllow, finish my QuiltCon challenge quilt plus 6 other quilts!

Have a wonderful 2019!  Happy New Year!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

One Monthly Goal December Finish Link-up

Ready to link up your December finishes?
Don't panic - this link-up is open until December 31 at 11:55 pm ET.

First, did you see the big announcement for the wonderful sponsors and featured designers for One Monthly Goal in 2019?  If not, go take a look - we'll wait!

My goal for December was to make a dozen bags for gifts for family and friends.  I'm happy to say they all got done and gifted although I only managed to remember to take photos of two - all the rest were wrapped before I realized no photos were taken.  I used the open-wide tutorial from Noodlehead.

There will be three winners this month - Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate, Make Modern Magazine is offering a 6 month subscription to their digital magazine and Amy Bradley of Amy Bradley Designs is offering a $50 gift certificate to her web site.  In addition, one winner from those who met their goal in October, November and December for a prize from Aurifil plus one winner will be chosen from everyone who met a goal sometime during the year for a prize from C&T publishing!

Visit the One Monthly Goal event page for the specific requirements for links and social tags. 

And remember, to be eligible for the prize(s) by random drawing you must linkup at both the goal setting and the accomplishment linkup in a given month. (
December Goal Setting Link-up.)

Make sure you add a link to this OMG post so others can follow where you are linking.   Let's make that easy -  just paste this into your post:  

Sign up to receive email notifications when the One Monthly Goal linkup is open.  Think of it as a helpful reminder!  Joining the link-up from Instagram -see the tutorial.

Congratulations to Anne, Tanya, Nann, Diane, Beth & Mary!!
All winners were notified by email. (updated 1/3/19)

Thanks for linking up!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, December 21, 2018

O' Christmas Tree

O'Christmas Tree is my latest finish - adding to the already large pile I have of quilt holiday decorations.  It was a quilt make - downsized the pinwheel blocks to 3'' finished.

One thing that happened with this quilt that happens to me too often - despite being careful - I ended up using two different background fabrics.  You may not have noticed if I hadn't just told you.  Does this happen to you?  If not, what tips do you have for me to avoid this?

The tutorial for this awesome tree is from Missouri Star Quilt Company - I just love Jenny.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Reflecting on 2018 and welcoming 2019

The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a wonderful time to reflect on goals accomplished and to set new ones for the upcoming year.

2018 was a year of firsts for me including my first quilt in a show, first magazine publish, and my first commissioned quilt!

I am very pleased with how I did with my 2018 goals (post here).  My Perfectly Imperfect quilt  met several of my goals.

  • Sew a quilt by hand - Sewing this quilt by hand hooked me on hand piecing.  (See information on Hand Piecing QAL which starts in January.)
  • Be bold in my choice of color and design.  Step outside my comfort zone (a bit!) in my color choices. -  I fell in love with the bright color palette of Alison Glass's fabric line set against the gray - used it to make another quilt as well - see Encouragement - as well.
  • Create a new quilt for submission to QuiltCon 2019 and other shows - I created two quilts for QuiltCon.  Perfectly Imperfect did not make it but another one - Briar Rose - did get accepted!

I really wanted to be published.

  • Submit quilt designs to magazines for publication - It was exciting to see Sequence in Make Modern Magazine.  I've another quilt which will publish in March!
  • Finish the novel - Does getting stuck somewhere in the middle of the 2nd draft count?  I put this project on the back burner once summer hit and have yet to get back to it.

One of my keys goal in 2018 for my Elm Street Quilts blog was to grow and improve and create a space for inspiration and encouragement. 

  • Grow participation in One Monthly Goal - There has certainly been a slight increase in number of goals linked-up plus a whole new group of people have discovered the link-up.  OMG is returning for 2019 - see the sponsor announcement!
  • Collaborate with other quilters / bloggers on a project - I am thrilled with the progress here - from my collaboration with Frances and the patterns for her quilts supporting her novel Friendship Album 1933 and working with Kristin on our Hand Pieced QAL which starts in January.  Collaboration is just so much fun!

My final set of goals in 2018 were the 'exercise more' version of goals - improve my FMQ and practice my photography.  I feel progress was made but certainly have a way to go!

Scrappy Celebration
For 2019, I've chosen the word balance.  (My word for 2018 was bold and for 2017 was brave.)   I want this to apply to physical things (think removing clutter) as well as to how best to focus my day and time.
  • Balance my day with writing, exercise, quilting and family
  • Find homes for finished quilts
  • Deal with my scraps - plan a project or find a home - and buy fabric only to support a project 
For 2019, my goals are:

  • Develop and teach a quilting class or guild workshop
  • Create a new quilt for submission to QuiltCon 2020
  • Submit new quilt designs for publish
  • Improve my design skills through practice
  • Keep pushing my boundaries on color
Motivation and Inspiration (my blog tag line)
  • Collaborate with other quilters/bloggers on a project
  • Encourage participation in One Monthly Goal
  • Develop a social media approach
  • Publish tutorials at least quarterly
Improve my skills
  • Practice and perfect a new FMQ design
  • Develop a better curated Instagram
  • Practice my photography and improve the flat shot
  • Do more with the fabric I already own

I'll be linking up with Yvonne's 2019 Planning Party!

All the best to you and yours for a happy 2019!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 17, 2018

Announcing the One Monthly Goal 2019 Sponsors!!

2019 is just a few days away - it's time to announce the sponsors for One Monthly Goal 2019!

The basics for One Monthly Goal remain the same - pick a goal and link-up and then return at the end of the month to share your achievement.  (Need more information?  Read all about it on the One Monthly Goal page.)

The goal can be whatever you want - any step of the process in making something with fabric, thread or yarn.

Each month, there will be a random drawing to select 3 participants who will win a prize from our sponsors.  Winners are selected from those who joined both the finish link-up and the goal link-up!

Fat Quarter Shop, Make Modern Magazine and Aurifil are returning again this year as sponsors.  I truly appreciate their continued strong support of our link-up event!  New this year, we've added The Quilter's Planner, Paper Pieces, Precision Quilting Tools and Put a Quilt on It as sponsors.

Fat Quarter Shop 
Premier Sponsor

Make Modern Magazine

(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

The Quilters Planner   
(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

Precision Quilting Tools 
(Website  |  Facebook )

Paper Pieces  
(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

Put A Quilt On It  
(Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram)

One of my favorite parts of the OMG event for the last two years was the opportunity to share information about my favorite quilt designers.  The line-up in 2017 and 2018 was full of tremendous talent and I am just thrilled that I can say the same for 2019.

Introducing our designer sponsors for 2019!!

Mathew Boudreaux of  Mister Domesticsponsoring January

Amy Smart of  Diary of a Quiltersponsoring February
Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Pattern store

Tara Faughnan of Tara Faughnan Quilts sponsoring March

Alison Glass of Alison Glass, sponsoring April
Angie Wilson of Gnome Angel, sponsoring May

Holly Anne Knight of String and Story, sponsoring June

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville, sponsoring July

Latifah Saafir of Latifah Saafir Studios, sponsoring August

Camille Rosekelly of Thimble Blossums, sponsoring September

Mary Hertel of Made by Marneysponsoring  October
Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Store

Barb Cherniwchan of Coach House Designssponsoring  November
 Instagram | Facebook | Store

Arlene Stamper and Melissa Harris of The Quilt Company sponsoring  December
 Instagram | Facebook | Store

I just can't wait to share more about these wonderful designers.

In the days remaining of 2018, take a few minutes and think about your creative goals for the new year and how One Monthly Goal can provide an extra bit of incentive.

Now grab a button and make sure you tell all your friends about One Monthly Goal and the exciting sponsors for 2019!

Elm Street Quilts

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Quilters Planner December Block

And now there are twelve!   (Not the best photo, sorry.)

The last block went together quickly.

A post holiday project will be to turn this into a pillow - 9 blocks on the front and 3 on the back.  Making couch pillows is a lot of fun!

I already have my Quilter's Planner for 2019 from Fat Quarter Shop.  The new year will be here before we know it!  

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 10, 2018

Perfectly Imperfect

I consider myself a confident quilter.  Patterns and techniques never tried before are simply a challenge that I'm happy to take on.  I live for quilt math and often down-size blocks simply because it is fun.

When I experimented with hand-piecing for the first time earlier this year, I couldn't stop at one block and kept going until I had a quilt top.  And then, of course, I had to hand-quilt because I'd never done that before.

The result - Perfectly Imperfect - is by far my favorite quilt that I have ever made.  It is a celebration of the imperfection of handwork.  Every stitch is not the same length.  Every stitch is not straight.  But every stitch comes from the heart.  It is the best I can do and I'm proud of every imperfection.

Perfectly Imperfect Elm Street Quilts

There is a lot of hand quilting - stitches cover the surface - and the resulting texture is just amazing.

I've submitted the quilt for consideration for Quilt Con 2019 and really hope that I'll get to see my quilt hanging at the show.

The quilt design is my own.  The block pattern is from Tara Faughnan.  The fabric is Alison Glass Sunprint 2018 plus a gray Painters Palette solid.

I'll be linking up at Brag about Your Beauties Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Needle and Thread Thursdays, Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, December 7, 2018

Product Review: Wool Pressing Mat

Confession time. 

My absolute least favorite part of the entire quilt making process is pressing.  Pressing fabric before cutting, pressing blocks, pressing seams, pressing quilt tops - every one of those steps is not enjoyable.  But every one of those steps is important in the process of creating beautiful quilts.

So when the chance came to try out a wool pressing mat, I didn't hesitate for a moment to see how the Precision Quilting Tools Wool Ironing Mat (affiliate link) could make my least favorite task a bit better.

Please note this post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you purchase an item.  This does not increase your costs in any way.  Precision Quilting Tools provided product for my use and evaluation.  All opinions expressed are my own.

The mat is 17 x 17'' and about 3/4 ''thick.  There is no wool smell associated with the mat, something I had been worried about.

The pressing surface is large and portable.  I loved that I could move it right next to my machine or next to my cutting table.

To test out the mat, I decided to try it on three different things - pressing pinwheel blocks where there is always bulk in the center, pressing fabric with creases and folds from being on a bolt too long, and on fusing fusible fleece.   I compared my results to my typical pressing habits - regular ironing board, no steam - and using a spray bottle of water as needed.  (Spoiler alert - I won't be using my regular ironing board and spray bottle anymore!)

The wool pressing mat did a wonderful job on my pinwheel blocks.  They pressed nice and flat and quickly.  (No water or steam was used.)  Everything ended up nice and flat and it all happened quickly!  The wool mat retains the heat from the iron and helps to press it from both sides.  The fabric didn't move on the mat so there is less chance of inadvertently stretching the block while pressing.

Fabric creases and fold can be hard to deal with - I typically drench the fabric with water to get rid of the most stubborn fabric creases. I was very pleased how it dealt with the fold and creases in this fabric.

I had less success with a crisper fold (before and after photo below) and a 'ghost' fold remained behind.  It did go away with a quick spritz of water and a pressing to deal with the ft.  (No photos of the final pressing.)

The mat did a fabulous job on the fusible fleece.  Typically, I need to press the piece from the top (fabric facing up) and then flip to press from the back (fleece side up) using a silicone pressing cloth.  Using the wool mat, the fleece adhered fine by only pressing from the top.  This was not what I was expecting and I was quite pleased!

Things I love:
  • large pressing surface (17 x 17 '') means I can press a whole block
  • very portable - I moved it to my cutting table and can bring it along to my next quilting class
  • speeds up the pressing process
  • did a great job on fusible fleece
  • handled many of the creases and folds in fabric without water
The wool pressing mats are a bit pricey but I do think it is worth the expense, especially if you aren't a fan of the pressing process.  The pressing job goes faster and is easier.

Please check out the Precision Quilting Tools Wool Ironing Mat (affiliate link) - you won't be disappointed.

Precision Quilting Tools is going to be a sponsor for One Monthly Goal 2019 (more on that coming soon) and one randomly chosen participant will have a chance to win a mat of their very own.)

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

November Temperatures

I love sharing my temperature quilt each month.  November has brought quite the range of temperatures each day!  The high temperature one day was 75 and the 'lowest' high temperature was  42.  Quite the temperature spread!

 I'll be making another one with different shapes for 2019.  Want to make one too?  Check out my tutorial post.

The first column (of color) on the left is January 1 through 15, next column January 16 through 31 etc which means the last column on the right is November 16-30.  I'm using a low volume fabric to fill in months that don't have 31 days plus surrounding the overall temperature quilt

The quilt measures roughly 32'' x 36''.   Here is the mapping of color to temperature range - 

I'll be linking my quilt up to a temperature quilt link-up Brag about Your Beauties Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Needle and Thread Thursdays, Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 3, 2018

Hand Pieced QAL: Fabric Requirements

Have you been enjoying all of hand piecing basic tutorials?  You can find a link to all of them plus everything you need to know about the QAL here.

A bit less then a month to go until the kick-off for the Hand Pieced QAL - mark your calendars for Monday, January 7.  In the kick-off post, we will reveal the quilt, the prizes (!!!) and details about the schedule.  We are excited to share our quilt tops.

Today, we want to share a bit more about the quilt we'll be hand piecing and give you a sneak peak on fabric requirements.

We will be making a sampler quilt made up of 9 blocks.  The first four blocks are basic skill builders designed to help everyone tackle the skill of hand piecing.  The blocks finish at 6'' and are perfectly sized for scraps.

While we won't be able to give you precise yardage for the primary fabrics, we can give you some idea of  the range of fabric yardage by looking at several options:

  • Two color quilt (i.e. primary color plus background): Requires 1/2 yard of the primary color
  • Four colors plus background: Requires a fat-quarter (18 x 22'') of each of the four fabrics.  (A 1/4 yard cut WOF would also work.)
  • Each block in a different color: Requires fat-eighth (9 x 22'') for each of the nine fabrics  

The yardage for the background fabric will depend on the setting you choose for your blocks.  We'll have two options for this too, namely:

  • Traditional set, finishes ~23 x 23":  Requires 3/4 yard of background fabric
  • Set on-point, finishes ~35 x 35": Requires 1 ¼  yards of background fabric
I've chosen the on-point setting and will be using those awesome rainbow fabrics (pictured above) for my blocks.

Moda generously provided this beautiful bundle of Zen Chic Spotted for me to use for our QAL.  I will be making a second quilt in a different colorway - can't wait to get started!  Now go visit Kristin from Simple Handmade Everyday to see the fabric she has been sewing with!

Fat Quarter Shop has some great fat-eighth bundles to choose from.  Look for the smaller sets - about 10 fabrics - for your quilt!

For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.   

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Saturday, December 1, 2018

One Monthly Goal - December Goal Link-up

Welcome to December!  We had 98 projects linked up in November - let's see what this month brings!

New to One Monthly Goal?  Welcome!  To join, share a photo of your project, some words about what you want to accomplish in a blog post, an Instagram post (tutorial) or a post on Flickr and add that photo to the link-up.  Return at the end of the month and share your results.  You can read about the event and the rules on the main event page.

We have wonderful sponsors this month - three (3) winners will be randomly chosen from those that link up in both the goal and the finish event.  Plus anyone linking up will earn an entry for the bonus prize.  (Bonus prize to be awarded in January - you can earn up to 3 entries by joining the link-ups October through December.) 

Fat Quarter Shop offers a tremendous selection of fabric, notions, books and just about anything you will need for your project. Consider their Sew Sampler box to receive a monthly surprise delivery of fabric and fun.  Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate to one lucky participant.

Make Modern is a digital magazine launched by a collaboration of quilters based in Australia. Their magazine is filled with modern quilt designs and a wonderful source of inspiration. Make Modern is offering a 6 month subscription to one lucky participant.

Aurifil is home to a beautiful rainbow of thread in all weights, perfect for any of your sewing and quilting needs.  My favorite product is the designer collection boxes which coordinate with various fabric lines.  Aurifil is offering a thread set for the fourth quarter bonus prize.

I'm very excited to introduce our featured designer Amy Bradley from Amy Bradley Designs.  

Amy started quilting 30 years ago.  Her very first quilt featured dogs and was made for her husband's  veterinary clinic.  Amy started her business in 2002 and partners with her daughter Ashley and her mom Dorothy to bring us these wonderful designs. 

Amy's signature design is her whimsical representation of animals, objects and quilters!  Her fun designs are created with fusible applique.  There are patterns for the every holiday.  I love the newly released Elves pattern (photo below) and Hairy Christmas.

Her comical representations of quilters are my favorites - recognize yourself in Proud to Be a Quilter (below) or maybe Quilt Diva?  I certainly see myself in  Rippity-Doo-Dah.

Credit: Photos and quilts designs by Amy Bradley 

You can find Amy on Instagram, on Facebook, and in her Pattern store.  Amy is offering one lucky winner a $50 gift certificate to her website.  How awesome is that!

My goal for December is to get Christmas gifts made for family and friends.  Here is some of the fabric I've pulled!

Now it is your turn to link up - what is your goal for December?  (A goal could be to finish a quilt but it could also be to attach a binding.  Whatever it takes to help you move forward and make progress on your projects!  And as long as the project involves making something with a needle and/or fabric, you can link up!)

Make sure you visit the One Monthly Goal event page for the specific requirements for links and social tags. 
 Your blog post (or Flickr post) must contain a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and a link back to Elm Street Quilts.  Your Instagram post must include a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and the tag #onemonthlygoal.  (Entries which don't contain the required information may be disqualified.)

And remember, to be eligible for the prize(s) by random drawing you must linkup at both the goal setting and the accomplishment linkup in a given month.   (The One Monthly Goal accomplishment linkup will be available on December 26.)

Make sure you add a link to this OMG post so others can find the OMG link-up from your blog.  Let's make that easy -  just paste this into your post: 

Thanks for linking up!

Have a wonderful day! Patty