Friday, February 28, 2020

QuiltCon 2020

I was lucky to spend a few days at QuiltCon in Austin.  I had enough time to see every quilt in the show, visit vendors, take a class, and meet old friends plus make some new ones.  I came home so exhausted that sitting in that middle seat on the airplane wasn't an issue - I just closed my eyes and went to sleep.  (And, that bag of swag pictured above made my suitcase so heavy!  So much fun stuff!)

There were over 500 quilts in the show and I choose to take photos of just my favorites and then I narrowed them down a bit more to share some of them with you.  (Makers's are tagged in the caption.)   Clearly drawn to color and curves and Bob.  Bob won Viewer's Choice and is a quilt made from a drawing from the maker's 2 year old grandson.  The pickle green color, the quilt binding and the belly button were crowd favorites!

Top -  Audrey Escarey, Sara Lefebvre, Kathy Cook
Middle - Cassandra Beaver, Patti Coppock, Marla Varner
Bottom -   Nicholas BallPatti CoppockAudrey Escarey
I saw many a sew-celebrity go by and I asked for some fan-girl photos!  I also met in real life some blogging / IG friends.  My goal was to grab many more friend photos but these are the ones I managed!

Top: Paige, Karen, Linda
Middle: Sarah, Jacquie, Kitty
Bottom: Tara, Anja, Christa
 Thanks Anja for the bag of sweets and Karen for the sweet Texas pin-cushion.

Volunteering at QuiltCon is the absolute best way to meet people - many of those photos above were taken on Wednesday night while I was volunteering at registration.  I did about 9 hours - most of it Wednesday and then again Friday morning.

I was happy to actually be in the photo of volunteers this year - there I am in the front row on the right side of the photo.  Several of us were in a class right around the corner and ran out of the classroom for a minute to join the photo.

Photo credit - Jacquie Gering IG

As a member of the board for my local guild (Triangle MQG), I wanted to make sure I grabbed a photo of each guild members quilts.  There were 7 jurried into the show along with one MQG QOM (quilt of the month) and our guild's charity quilt (center).

I did several of the guild's quilt letters, words, and wrote up the pattern for everyone so it was fun to see it hanging up!

An absolute favorite part of my time in Austin was the class on Curves I took with Jen Carlton-Bailley - aka @bettycrockerass.  I've tackled drunkard's path blocks before but never half circle or inset circles.  Jen made the whole process fun and her encouragement really built confidence. 

I can't wait to make more curves!

For what it is worth, that photo was taken at 9:00 pm with a day that (for me) started with a 7 am shift as a volunteer.  I look as tired as I felt!

QuiltCon 2021 will be in Atlanta and I can't wait!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Hand Piecing - Tips, Tools, & Tutorials

With Monday's kick-off of our Hand Pieced QAL for 2020 - Book Club - its time to celebrate all things hand piecing!  Hand piecing is a chance to sit and stitch, deal with partial seams or curves with ease, and to create something beautiful completely stitched by hand.

The pattern for Book Club will be available on Monday, March 2.  I hope you'll be participating!

To get you ready to go, here are my basic go-to tools and basic tutorials for hand piecing.

The Basic Tools

You likely have everything you need in your sewing room to hand piece - here are my favorite tools and notions:

  • Your choice of a needle is really a personal one - I like a short needle while other quilters like to use longer needles.  The key thing to look for is a needle that you can thread without issue and one that feels comfortable in your hand.  Needles are inexpensive - experiment until you find one that feels right.   
  • Regular 50 wt quality quilting thread works well but I like to use the 80 wt because it is finer and takes up less room in your seams
  • Snips (or scissors) are also key - you want something smaller to trim any dog-ears and snip the thread
  • For some people, thimbles are critical while hand sewing and I wear a thimble on the middle finger of my right hand while sewing.  This one is my favorite!
  • Pinning seams is important.  The type of pin you use is one of personal preference but I love using short pins designed for applique because they don't get in my way while I am sewing.
  • small cutting mat can be very useful as a portable surface for marking seam lines. 
  • Basic rulers are important for marking the 1/4'' sewing lines.  This specialty ruler - The Perfect Piecer -  makes marking sewing lines on triangles a breeze!
  • Binding clips to keep pieces organized are wonderful - I just love these mini ones.
  • Wool pressing mats (see my review) and mini irons make the job of pressing each block a breeze.
  • Templates can be used on paper, glued to cardboard or transferred to template plastic 

The Basic Tutorials

Top - Marking stitching line & running stitch
Bottom - Dealing with seam allowances & sewing curves

More tutorials and tips to come - and when they do, I'll come back and update this post so everything is in one place!

Pin for later!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, February 24, 2020

Announcing the Hand Pieced QAL 2020 - Book Club!

I am so very excited to announce the Hand Pieced QAL for 2020 - Book Club!  My friend Kristin Esser from Simply Everyday Handmade will join me in hosting our QAL.  We had so much fun with the Hand Pieced QAL last year that we couldn't resist doing it again.

The pattern offers two different block settings - Glorious Golds (pictured above) , a nice throw size quilt which finishes at 52'' x 52'', and Beautiful Blues (Kristin's version), a fun wall hanging which finishes at 35'' x 35''.  See Kristin's Beautiful Blues quilt!

Why did we call the pattern Book Club?

Our pattern is a 9 block sampler and we've named each block after a character from a favorite book.  Each week we will share a bit about the characters, the books, and plenty of tips for creating that week's block.

The fun starts in March, with weekly blog posts, linkups and all the information you need to know to fall in love with hand piecing!  

Never hand pieced before?  No worries. We will be sharing tips and tutorials and tell you all about our favorite notions.There will an opportunity to win prizes in weekly link-ups as well as the final quilt-top link-up at the end of the QAL. 

How the QAL works
  • The pattern will be available on March 2 as a PDF download for a fee of $10. 
  • There will be nine sponsored weekly link-ups that open on specific Thursdays for you to share whichever blocks you finished that week. Each block shared earns you a chance for a prize from that week’s awesome sponsor.  Blocks must be hand pieced and can only be shared in one weekly link-up – duplicates will be disqualified.  (Blocks can also be shared via email.)
  • There will be four Grand Prize winners. To be eligible for a grand prize, you must share a photo of a completed quilt top (i.e. the flimsy) or a completed quilt which uses at leave five unique blocks from the Book Club pattern.  The quilt top must be entirely hand pieced.
  • You are welcome to change the size of the blocks– but your finished block must visually match the design of a block from the Book Club pattern and be entirely hand pieced.
  • Prizes are randomly awarded.  Winners will be notified by email.
We 💗Our Sponsors

Art Gallery Fabrics,  Aurifil,  Electric Quilt Company,  Famore,  Fat Quarter Shop,  OLFA,  OLISO,  Pineapple Fabrics,  Precision Quilting Tools,  Quilter's Dream Batting,  and Stella Lighting

The QAL Schedule
Each month (March, April, May) we will share weekly tips and tutorials on stitching each block. Because many of the blocks are template-based, we’ve built in a week each month for prep and catch-up. We will be posting tips, tutorials, and a bit more about the origin of the block's name each Monday.

  • March 2 - pattern available
  • March 9 - prep week
  • March 16 - Evelyn
  • March 23 - Jane
  • March 30 - Louisa
  • April 6 - prep week
  • April 13 - Penelope 
  • April 20 - Cathy 
  • April 27 - Jo 
  • May 4 - prep week
  • May 11 - Emma 
  • May 18 - Claire 
  • May 25 - Elizabeth
And don't worry if you get behind.  You don't need to finish a specific block in a specific week.

The Pattern

The Book Club: Hand Pieced QAL pattern will be available on March 2 for a fee of $10.  The download package will come in 3 parts:
  • All the instructions for each of the QAL blocks and final quilt top settings
  • All the templates for each QAL block
  • Coloring page for each quilt top setting
The pattern will feature 9 unique blocks each which finish at 9'' and will offer 2 settings - a wall hanging or a throw sized quilt.  Quilt top fabric requirements are shown below.  More information on backing and binding fabric requirements will be in the pattern.

Download a copy of the coloring pages and start planning your fabric placement!

What's next?

We will share more details other helpful supplies you might need shortly.  The pattern will go on sale on March 2.

Until then, start to gather your supplies - see my favorites!  Brush off your hand piecing skills by making a block from our very first hand Pieced QAL and check out our basic hand piecing tutorials - Marking Stitching Lines  (see the video), the Running Stitch  (see the video), and Sewing Seam Allowances (see the video).

Stay in touch and join our community so you don't miss a thing! 

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Sunday, February 23, 2020

One Monthly Goal February Finish Link-up

Ready to link up your February finishes?
Don't panic - this link-up is open until February 29 at 11:55 pm ET.

My goal for February was to assemble my Mosaic Mystery Quilt!  You can read more about my quilt top here.

Now its your turn to link-up.

There will be three winners this month Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate, ecopeco  is offering one lucky winner an ecopeco® Quetzal Blue Combo Pack (24” x 36” & 28” x 24”), and is offering one lucky winner a Splash 45mm Quick Change Rotary Cutter, Emperor Purple.  

Congratulations to Anorina, Judy, & Cathy - our lucky winners for February!  (updated 3/2)

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. (
February 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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thanks for linking up!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, February 17, 2020

Out of Formation

I love participating in QALs and especially enjoy the one that  Cheryl @ Meadowmist Designs hosts each year.  I often put my own twist on them.  This year I both downsized the blocks (more on that in a minute) and changed the layout slightly.

The original layout (minus some of the piece that belong along the edge) looked like this.  While I really like this layout, I still couldn't resist making some changes.  (The fabric colors in  the photo below is more true to color than the other photos.)

But I wanted to play with it a bit and see what happens when some of the stars start to fall out of formation.

My downsized version measures about 27'' x 40''

My method for downsizing any block is simple - look at the finished block size in the pattern and divide it in half and then add 1/2'' to each dimension to get your unfinished size. 

 For example, a square that finished at 4'' is downsized to 2'' for which I would cut a 2 1/2'' square.   Or a flying geese which finishes at 3''x 6''is downsized to be 1 1/2 '' x 3'' finished or 2'' x 3 1/2'' unfinished.   When units get really small, I draw them up in EQ7 and paper piece!

I'll be linking up here.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, February 14, 2020

Celebrity Crush

Do you have a celebrity crush?  I do!  But this post isn't about mine, it is about my daughter's!

She just loves David Archuleta, American Idol runner-up.  My daughter celebrated her birthday this past weekend so I made her a David themed pillow complete with initials carved into the heart!

I've been very busy in my sewing space but I've been somewhat absent on sharing about it on my blog so it is fun to be back sharing some projects this week.

I've also been putting the finishing touches on my quilt top for the Hand Pieced QAL 2020.  The quilt top reveal and more information coming soon!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Ready for Valentine's Day!

The word love is paper pieced and is a pattern by Kristy from Quiet Play.  

I needed to expand the block just a bit to have enough fabric to wrap around a 10'' x 10'' blank canvas.  To quilt, I went with lots of straight lines.

My stapler was having issues - missing a part meant you had to turn it upright and upside down in order to get it to work.  As a result, my corners are not as clean as I wanted but it was hard to do any better.  Once we either get a new stapler or find the missing piece to this one, I will redo those corners!

I've been wanting to put a quilt block on canvas and glad I finally did so.  There are more of these in my future for sure!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, February 10, 2020

Zip-Up Tray Pouch

I've been wanting to make the Zip-Up Tray Pouch by Aneela Hoey for some time.  Until now, I've been carrying around a plastic box with all my hand sewing supplies.  Practical, sure.  But not much fun!

Now when I meet up with friends to sew in our favorite coffee shop, all my stuff will stay nicely organized!

I've made a lot of bags and didn't find construction difficult.  I took my time with it and I thought the instructions were clear.  The interacting was stiff and fusible on both sides - makes for a nice sturdy final bag!

(I'm still loving my cutting mat from ecopeco - see my review here.)

Zipper installation was easy - I used a metal zipper for extra pizzaz!   There were some sewing gymnastics involved when attaching the sides but it all worked!

I used the same fabric for the binding as the outside of the zip-up tray so any issues would not be too visible. 

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Saturday, February 1, 2020

One Monthly Goal February Link-up

Welcome to February!  We've had 132 people link-up in January - 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! 

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.

ecopeco has designed a 5 layer cutting mat made from food-safe plastic (no BPAs or PVCs).  The mat comes in several beautiful colors.  I use my mat every day - see my product review ecopeco is offering one lucky winner an ecopeco® Quetzal Blue Combo Pack (24” x 36” & 28” x 24”).  I just love my ecopeco mat and know that you will too!  (This prize can only be shipped to US addresses.)

OLFA offers a comprehensive range of premium cutters, and accessories for quilters and crafters.  OLFA introduced the world’s first rotary cutter in 1979.  OLFA is offering one lucky winner a Splash 45mm Quick Change Rotary Cutter, Emperor Purple.   (This prize can only be shipped to US & Canada addresses.)

My goal for February is to assemble the quilt top for my version of Mosaic mystery from Meadowmist Designs.  I downsized my blocks and part of my challenge is to figure out what size I want the final quilt to be!

Now it is your turn to link up - what is your goal for this month?  (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 February 23.)

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: 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a wonderful day! Patty