Saturday, September 20, 2014

Reverse Applique Deer Mini Quilt & National Sewing Month with FatQuarterShop

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Last year, my "deer" friend Mary made a pillow that I just absolutely fell in love with.  She has such a creative mind! Check hers out in her blog post. Isn't it awesome!?!?

Since I've been wanting to add a little sewing decor to my sewing corner in my home, I thought it'd be fun to make a mini quilt version of Mary's pillow to hang on my wall. I just LOVE how it turned out. The handquilting is my favorite part.

Also, I'm so honored to be celebrating "National Sewing Month" with the Fat Quarter Shop! I haven't had a lot of time to sew since giving birth to my 4th baby this summer, sew it was nice to finish up this project I began back in February. FQS challenged me to sew something I've never tried before. I've never made a mini quilt, nor anything to decorate my sewing room, so this project was great!

I'm not sharing the entire tutorial, because this creation was Mary's idea, and I think she'll be sharing it on her blog. But here's a few pictures of the sequence behind the scenes. She hand drew the template both for the deer and the scalloped shield, and shared them with me :)


Reverse Applique-ing:





Be sure to visit Mary's blog, Molly Flanders, for lots more sewing inspiration and tutorials!

Also, if you're in the market for fabric, I just LOVE online shopping with the Fat Quarter Shop. Not only do they have a huge fabric selection, great sales, quick shipping, but their staff is super nice and helpful, and they always do such a nice job packaging the goodies :)

Also to celebrate National Sewing Month, FQS asked me a series of sewing questions... 
so here we go!

1. How did you start quilting/sewing?
I was exposed to sewing as a child, as my mother is an excellent seamstress. I sewed a few things alongside her, but it wasn't until I went to college that I truly desired to learn the art of sewing. I took every sewing class I could at BYU, and they were my hardest classes! I stayed in the sewing lab past midnight several nights a week. Things haven't changed much-- I am often awake past midnight sewing in my little sewing corner of my house!

2. When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter/sewer?
I landed my first job out of college as an 8th grade sewing teacher. I learned so much about sewing from my student's trial and error. They came to me with a lot of questions and sewing mishaps, and together we learned to work through them. Until then, I had never learned to thread a serger-- now I had 4 sergers that needed to be rethreaded frequently! I didn't have a sewing machine of my own, but was lucky to have 30 machines at my fingertips in the classroom. I worked on class samples and a few of my own projects in between class periods. One day, my husband and I both decided to make a quilt for our mothers as a Christmas gift. I'll never forget our trip to the fabric store. He chose several African inspired prints, and I thought he was crazy! I went with an Americana theme. After school was over, he'd come to my classroom, and we would sew and listen to music. Together, we both made our first quilts! And that's when I knew I wanted to be a quilter!

3. Do you have any sewing/quilting horror stories or faux pas?
The hardest thing I have ever sewn was a man's collared button up dress shirt. I made it for my husband, and guess what.... it was too tight in the neck and shoulders. He was never able to wear it. Years later, when cleaning out his closet, it ended up in the Goodwill pile. He'd forgotten I made it. I almost had a heart attack when I found out he got rid of it! 

4. What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in sewing/quilting?
These days, I truly believe that anyone can learn to sew. Start with an inexpensive machine and online tutorials; the possibilities are endless! I have continued to learn so much beyond what I learned in my college classes. What I love about sewing is that you can create something that will last forever. Sewn gifts are my favorite. If you have the desire, you can do it! I'm so excited about the sewing and quilting revival that has taken place in the last 10 years. Being part of the online sewing community is one of my favorite parts. Don't be afraid to dive right in! There's room for everyone!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sewvivor 3: Hexie Challenge Results

Coats and Clark can trace its roots back nearly 250 years. They are the world's largest supplier of crafting products-- from cotton sewing threads, to knitting, embroidery crochet, accessories, and fabrics (including Free Spirit and Rowan).
Visit them on Facebook and Instagram.
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Our Top 5 didn't hold back when it came to technique and creativity. It was really fun to see everybody's different interpretations with their hexie projects. This challenge was particularly difficult for our judges, because every single project was incredible!

The challenge was:

Congrats to these 3 contestants who will advance to  the final Challenge #4: Lap Quilt. The final round will be completely anonymous, so don't anticipate seeing any sneak peaks. The projects will be revealed here next Monday!

Nicole from Snips Snippets
hexagon floor cushion

Amanda from A Crafty Fox
Sewvivor King Quilt-3

And a hard, heavy goodbye to these lovely ladies, who will be so missed in this competition...

Jade from Stitch Mischief

Here is the breakdown from the public voting and judges. The first picture shows the graph from the public vote. The Sewvivor twist included 30 extra points awarded to the third person to turn in their project. The lucky winner was Amy!

This chart reflects the popular vote plus the judge's votes. The popular vote percentages are recorded in the first two columns. This counts as 50% of the total vote. The next columns include the judges rankings, which includes the other 50% of the total. Each judges individual cans as 10% of the total vote.

And now for the Quilted Bag SewAlong winner, chosen at random (by scrolling through the hashtag on IG with my eyes closed and tapping a picture). She will win a shirt from Patchwork Threads!
Congrats: aqua_paisley

If you're participating in the sew-along, upload to the Sewvivor Sew-Along Flickr group, or post on Instagram, tagging @sewvivor and @familyeverafter and use hashtags #sewvivor and #sewvivorsewalong! A "SewPrize" will be given to a random sewalong participant, announced at each Challenge Result post. The new theme for the next two weeks is: Hexies, so feel free to jump in!

A note about one of our sponsors, Westwood Acres. I approached this amazing fabric shop to be a sponsor back in May, and I was delighted to have them onboard! Just a week after that, Amanda, the owner, asked if she was able to audition. I said yes. At the time I did not see it as a problem, seeing as her shop is separate from her creative sewing blog. But now that she has approached the top 3, I was concerned that others may see it as a conflict of interest. So she has kindly stepped down from being a sponsor. I take full responsibility for any confusion or perceived unfairness this may have caused. I do maintain that Amanda has earned her way into the top 3, separate from participating as a sponsor. Thank you all for your understanding!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Sewvivor 3: Hexie Projects + Voting!

Coats and Clark can trace its roots back nearly 250 years. They are the world's largest supplier of crafting products-- from cotton sewing threads, to knitting, embroidery crochet, accessories, and fabrics (including Free Spirit and Rowan).
Visit them on Facebook and Instagram.
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And now Sewvivor presents the Top 5 Contestant's projects for Challenge #3. 

Scroll through their amazing work, then VOTE for your Top 3 favorites at the bottom of this post! Polls close Wednesday at midnight EST. The results will be announced next Monday. Three Contestants will advance to the final Challenge.

{Projects appear in the order they were submitted}.

CONTESTANT #1: Crystal from Two Little Aussie Birds

In some ways it feels like many months  have passed since we started on this crazy ride. There has been so much quilting crammed into the last few weeks and I can't quite believe this little Aussie bird is still in the competition! Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for your support.

The hexagon challenge had my brain absolutely racing with with ideas, yet I kept coming back to using wool. After a trip down to the local quilt shop and an almost meltdown with the possibilities, I found a scrap pack of assorted wools - bingo! I grabbed some yardage of yarn dyed linen which would make a perfect backdrop for all my lovely wools.

The linen reminded me of denim, so I really wanted to quilt it with bright yellow like the old school yellow top stitch that jeans used to have and I added a spool of lovely thick perle 8 thread for hand quilting to my order. 

I laid the hexagons out in a couple of different ways before landing on the right layout. Then I decided that it was far too structured for me and mixed it up - I was never good at perfect!  I love the way the hexagons are falling into place, finding their place -  some behaving and some finding their own way to break free.

My quilt is almost entirely made by hand. The hexies are slip stitched in place with matching wool thread and I have hand quilted the entire thing, including (pause for dramatic effect) the binding! I adore the way this finishing technique looks - I will definitely being doing it again. The texture of the different wools against the linen is divine and the hand quilting has left it feeling so lovely and soft.

I might not be able to feel my fingers from all the late night stitching, but I am so happy with this quilt, which I am going to call 'falling into place'...

CONTESTANT #2: Nicole from Snips Snippets

For this round of Sewvivor, the hexie challenge, i wanted to make something for our home. I'd made a mini quilt for round one, then the bag for round two and with a lap quilt being the final challenge (fingers crossed i make it) i wanted to make something new. Something that we would use regularly. Something like a giant floor cushion? Perfect!

hexagon floor cushion

Once again i found myself pulling stack after stack of fabrics wondering what direction to go in (there was talk of a rainbow and Unikitty from the Lego Movie, but in a testosterone filled house there really isn't a lot of room for rainbows and unicornkitties!) So in a brief moment of insanity i pulled out my meager half yard of Melody Miller typewriters that i've been hoarding and sized it up with my Hex N More ruler. I could perfectly get a 6.5" hexie out of it. And so it began, cutting into some of my most treasured bits of fabrics, after all this was something that was going to stay in my living room, why not use all my favorite fabrics!

hexagon floor cushion

And while we chop with reckless abandon, lets mix things up a bit and make some + hexies and some kaleidoscope ones as well! I love the way the + hexies turned out and will be posting a little tutorial for them, super easy to make!

hexagon floor cushion

I wanted the quilting on this to hold up to the two little boys that will no doubt be jumping all over it so i wanted it somewhat dense. That being said i just didn't have the heart to quilt all over the little typewriter, (does anyone else have this problem?) So i've echoed the star/typewriter block and for the rest i stitched about a quarter inch apart in a v formation with Aurifil in turquoise (#2810). I love the lattice effect that happens when two sections of the v cross and the turquoise Aurifil looks amazing against the black fabrics!

hexagon floor pillow

The sides of the cushion were pieced with slightly smaller hexies, 4.5" and i kept the quilting fairly minimal. Just a quarterish inch from the seam on both sides of each diagonal with Aurifil in black (#2692). Makes a fantastic little x pattern all the way around!

In my life pre-quilter i always slept under a down duvet, but now that i have experienced sleeping with a quilt i'll never go back. So what to do with the old duvets? Well i used one to stuff this cushion with, and let me tell you, while i no longer enjoy sleeping under one... it is so supremely comfy to sit on!

hexagon floor cushion

And by the way my little Max has claimed it, i don't think i'll get a chance to sit on it again! I have more pics on my blog and would love to have you stop by! And i'd also like to thank everyone so much for all the encouragement through these challenges, it's been so much fun! I have a killer idea for the final round so fingers crossed i make it through! Good luck everyone!

CONTESTANT #3: Amy from Sew in Love Quilting

Before I start sharing my hexagon project, I again need to say a heart felt "thank you" to everyone who has given me support and cyber-love!  With immunity getting me into this round, I was so grateful for all the positive feedback that buoyed me up and got me pumped up for this challenge in the competition.
Without further adieu, I am excited to show you Honeybee Heaven!

Maybe it's because I live in the Beehive State, but whenever I think of hexagons, I immediately think of bees and all things honey related.  I have actually really wanted to make this honeycomb inspired quilt for a long time and probably would have already written a pattern for it had I not had the pleasant surprise of making it into the Sweet 16 of Sewvivor in July.  So, I've had this one planned from the beginning and am so happy to have the chance to share this original design with you!

I used Bonnie Christine's "Sweet as Honey" fabric line, and I must say, the bright colors mixed with the earthy browns and taupes really had me drooling!  A couple of the fabrics had these cute bees flying around on it.  I fussy cut the bees out, appliqued them flying about the honeycomb, and then hand embroidered their flight pattern using a yummy chocolate colored perle cotton floss.  I sure would be in heaven if I were one of these bees, wouldn't you?

I absolutely LOVE looking at a quilt top and letting it speak to me about what specific custom quilting I should create to make it a work of art.  I brought in a bit of the celestial inspiration for this quilt using quilted 6-pointed stars in each corner and light beams placed around the honeycomb giving it a glowing effect.  The neutral fabric in the middle of the honeycomb is quilted with echoing hexagons, while the colorful fabric is quilted with stripes and a closely stippled line to emulate the bees.

Since the quilt front has a lot of earthy tones, I really wanted to bring in bright, gorgeous color for the backing and binding. Instead of making life easier on myself and cutting the edges of the quilt straight for binding, I opted for the curvy convex and concave corners that really "make" this quilt.  That's right; each one of those convex corners is mitered, making for 49 miters in all!

I really hope you love this quilt as much as I do!  I have put every ounce of energy and creativity that I could muster (with a two week time period, nonetheless) into this beauty.  I know this quilt speaks volumes about my whimsical creative style and I hope that it speaks to you!  Remember to vote, and if this is the end of the road for me in this competition, I am all too grateful for the opportunity it has given me to share my passion with all of you!  Thanks friends!

CONTESTANT #4: Amanda from A Crafty Fox

Sewvivor King Quilt-3

I may have just finished my favorite quilt. The theme for this week's Sewvivor challenge was hexagons. I love 60 degree angles. I've made quite a few hexagon quilts, but this one is by far my favorite.

Sewvivor King Quilt-5

This quilt is based on an antique quilt block, but I've made it much larger and created a new setting for it. And then I picked some favorite fabrics, and turned what was in my imagination into a king sized quilt that I'm excited to put into rotation on our bed.

Sewvivor King Quilt-10

The corners of this quilt are rounded. I think that the slight curve balances out all of the pointy points and straight lines to give this quilt some flirty personality. And that minty binding makes my heart sing.

I quilted this on a neighbor's long arm with double loops all over. I had originally planned to do straight lines, but I was gently prodded by a friend to try something loopy and I think it turned out better than my imagination!

<Sewvivor King Quilt-14

I've loved every minute of this journey. Hopefully I'll see you again next round!

Sewvivor King Quilt-2

CONTESTANT #5: Jade from Stitch Mischief

This quilt is inspired by vintage star hexagon quilts, which are traditionally
(from what I can tell), hand-pieced. For a while now, I've had it in my
mind that there had to be a way to make this design machine piecing
friendly. I'm happy to say, I figured it out, came up with a design and absolutely love the
result. Each star is encased in an outer frame which creates a large hexagon.

My best friend, and cousin, is the new owner of this quilt. Every single fabric, stitch, and color was chosen with her in mind. She is undoubtedly, always, the first to believe in me and my little creative dreams. I was waiting for the perfect quilt to make for her and this is it. It reminds me of our childhood summers spent together, family, and sunshine.

My cousin and I have named this quilt Carousel, as to us, it evokes childhood and the spinning shape of old vintage carousels.

I pulled many of my absolute favorite fabrics for this quilt and I love the way they play together. The finished size is 68 x 76 inches - the perfect size for sitting under while knitting on a chilly autumn evening.

This is already off to its new home, being loved and treasured by my cousin, and friend, and I couldn't be happier. You can read more about this quilt at

Vote for your top 3! Voting closes Wednesday September 10, at midnight EST.
FYI, the competitors are allowed to use patterns. They may incorporate hexies into any type of project. Contestants are allowed to recruit from their blogs, social media, family, and friends. One vote per device is allowed. The public vote counts as 50%. The other 50% of the vote comes from our "tribal council" aka Judges. The Top 3 will be revealed next Monday, September 15.
If you're sewing along, just upload your pictures to the Sewvivor Sew-Along Flickr group. Or post on Instagram, tagging @sewvivor and @familyeverafter and use hashtags #sewvivor and #sewvivorsewalong! A "SewPrize" will be given to a random sewalong participant, announced next Monday. Until then, keep working on your Hexie Projects! Can't wait to see them!

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