Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Fat Quarter Shop's Coffee Koozie Tutorial

I'm not a coffee or tea drinker but I do love me some yummy hot chocolate with a big dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!  Another hot beverage I can't resist ~ Vanilla Steamers from Starbucks with an extra shot of vanilla! With the autumn months fast approaching, I know I'll be treating myself to these kinds of drinks more often so I was excited to try out The Fat Quarter Shop's new Coffee Koozie tutorial!

I whipped up one Koozie in about 30 minutes and couldn't help but think what a cute (and thoughtful) gift this could be for a neighbor or teacher!  Wouldn't it be great to just show up on a friend's door step (or at the bus stop!) with a warm cup of cocoa and a handmade Koozie!?!

It's inexpensive, handmade and fabulous for using up scraps!  I used leftovers from my new Marbles quilt pattern (fabric line = Rustique by Emily Herrick for Michael Miller).

Be sure to stop by The Fat Quarter Shop to get the free pattern and check out their YouTube video to see just how quickly this little Koozie comes together!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Applique - The Freezer Paper Method

There are many different methods of applique and they're all good for different reasons.  Today, I'm happy to share with you a quick tutorial on my favorite method of applique ~ The Freezer Paper Method!  This is the method I use 95% of the time and I like it for several different reasons.

Two of the main reasons I prefer this method over other methods 
is because:

1. The template is removed once the applique shape is prepared.
This is nice because there is no paper or other material left inside that needs to somehow be removed or is just left there 
to cause stiffness and bulk.

2. The shape is perfectly prepared before glue basting it in place.
This is nice because (A) you don't have to fiddle with and hope that you're needle turning skills will do the job and keep your shape looking as it should and (B) you can then position the shapes exactly where you want them and don't have to worry about your pieces shifting.

One downside to The Freezer Paper Method, is that it does require some prep work (but I don't really mind - my OCD tendencies like that part!)  Once you get your shapes prepared you are then able to take them with you in the car or or to a soccer game (or wherever!) and you're free to stitch away along the perfectly crisp edges you've already prepared.

So are you ready to try it out?

To get started you will need:

- Freezer Paper (which you can get at most grocery stores.  It is located by the wax paper and foil.)
- Spray Starch (I prefer the Faultless brand that you can get at most grocery stores.  I prefer the Regular Starch with the red lid but my store was out of it last time I checked.)
- a paint brush
- a small bowl or the starch lid
- a pencil
- scissors for paper and fabric
- basting glue (I prefer Appli-Glue by Jillily Studios)
- a pattern
- fabric for the applique shape and the background
- thread that matches the applique piece (I usually use 100% cotton, the Guitermann brand.  Some people prefer silk thread (it's nice too because it practically melts into your fabric but I've heard it's not as durable.)
- an applique needle (I use Milliners Size 11 Large Eye Needles by Richard Hemming & Son).

Step 1: Trace your pattern onto the paper side of freezer paper.

Step 2: Iron the freezer paper on top of two more pieces of freezer paper (paper sides up) to create one sturdy piece of template material.

3. Carefully cut out the shape.

4. Press the shape onto the wrong side of your fabric with paper side up.

5. Cut around the shape leaving a 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance.

6. Spray a little bit of starch into a small bowl or the starch lid.

7. Use a small paint brush to paint some liquid starch onto the seam allowance.  Just paint a couple inches at a time.

8. Carefully press the seam allowance onto the paper side of the template - wrapping the fabric around the edge of the template (without bumping the template too much where it would bend or distort the shape).  If your shape has a strong curve to it you may want to make some small clips in the seam allowance about 1/2" apart (being careful NOT to clip right up to the template).  My orange leaf (here) has a gentle curve so it was not necessary to clip the seam allowance. Also, if your shape has a crevice (such as at the top of a heart) you will need to clip in there too.

9. Continue to press the seam allowance around the entire template.

10. If you end up with these little dog ears, simply fold the part that is showing back underneath the template and press in place.  Use starch for extra hold.

11. Carefully remove the template and press the applique piece one last time. 

12. Apply small dots of basting glue about 1/4" apart on the seam allowances.

13. Adhere the applique shape onto your background fabric and press with a warm iron to set in place.

14. Thread a thin, sharp needle with coordinating thread.  Make a quilter's knot at the long end.

15. Starting at the backside of your fabric, bring the needle and thread through the background fabric (under your applique shape) and out through the fold of your applique shape.

16. Then take one stitch through the background fabric (starting directly under the point where your needle came out before).  Bring the needle and thread back through the fold of your applique shape about 1/8" away from the first stitch.  Continue taking these stitches around your shape until you get back to your starting point. Tie a knot on the backside of your fabric and you're done!

That's it!  I hope that if you have never tried applique (or don't think you're very good at it) you will try this method.  Practice makes perfect!  And coordinating thread sure helps too!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Friday, July 11, 2014

Orange Peel Mini Quilt and a Quilt Along!

Is anyone else obsessed with the Orange Peel design right now?  I have been dreaming of Orange Peel wall paper for my dining room, I just free motion quilted an Orange Peel design on my recently finished Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt (pictures coming soon) and I just started this Orange Peel mini quilt last week!  
I'm obsessed!  Obsessed I tell ya!

So when my boss at Just Sew asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the mini quilt of the month for August and she handed me the book 101 Fabulous Small Quilts by That Patchwork Place and I spied an Orange Peel quilt in it - I knew I just had to make it!  I've always wanted to make one and this was the perfect opportunity.

I decided to do a low-volume, scrappy background with bright fabrics for the leaves.  I've been loving that combo for a while now so I'm pretty excited about finally doing it.

(I had a little helper helping me plan my scrappiness.  She's pretty cute, eh?)

Because I'm on a deadline (this has to be appliqued, pieced, quilted and bound by the end of the month) I've set a goal to applique 8 leaves (or 1 row) every day.  I figure each leaf takes about 10 minutes to applique so it's just over an hour out of my day that I'm dedicating to this project for the next week or so.

I'm already half way done and I'm really loving seeing it come together!

I've posted more pictures of this project on Instagram.  
Feel free to follow along if you'd like.  My username is gigisthimble.  

When I first posted about this project on IG, my friend Jodi Nelson of the blog, Pleasant Home showed some interest in the pattern so I roped her into making an Orange Peel quilt with me.  Be sure to stop by her blog if you haven't already.  She's posting about her Orange Peel quilt today too!  We thought it would be fun to start an Orange Peel Quilt Along but after a little research we found out that Jessica from the blog, Quilty Habit has one going on as we speak!  So Jodi and I are just going to sit back and enjoy the Orange Peel Quilt Along ride!  We hope you'll join us!

Jessica's got great pattern suggestions, applique tutorials, a schedule and there will even be some great prizes given away at the end!  You can click HERE for all the details. 

 Since someone on IG asked for it, I am going to do a tutorial on my favorite method of applique (the same method I'm using on this project).  So be sure to check back next week if you're interested in that.

So...Orange Peel - are you feelin' it?  
Yes or no?

~ Amber

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Vintage Quilt

 A few months ago I ran a few quilty errands with a friend and one of our first stops was to a fabric store in American Fork, Utah called The Sewing Basket.  They had a few antique quilts hanging around which were on consignment.  There was one hanging behind the cash register that really caught my eye.  And the more I looked at it the more I fell in love!

After much oohing and ahhing (and debating) we had the store owner call the quilt owner and make an offer for $100 less than the asking price.  After the offer was accepted I then had to work out how I was going to justify the purchase of $300 for this antique quilt.  To me, $300 was worth it for a hand pieced, vintage, queen size quilt - in GREAT condition!  I could really appreciate all of the time that went in to piecing such a quilt!

But at the time, I really felt bad about spending the money.  Lucky for me, my birthday and our wedding anniversary were coming up so my husband bought it for me as a gift for the special occasions.

The store owner found out a little information for me.  It was made by the grandmother of the lady who brought it in to The Sewing Basket.  She found it in her grandparents attic wrapped in an old newspaper dated 1944.  All of the fabrics are supposedly from the 30's.  I'm hoping to get a name of the quilt maker. I'm so curious what her story is.  I imagine this took many years to make and I want to know what she was doing when she wasn't hand piecing it.  What was her name?  How old was she when she started and finished it?  Did she have children and if so, how many?  Was she a farmer's wife?  I want to know the answer to these questions!

I think she must have been an avid quilter.  Her stitches were tiny and her color choices were great!

There are so many cute fabrics in it and the more I looked the quilt over the harder it was to decide which was my favorite! They really don't make prints like this anymore...

I love these novelty prints.

And I love this orange geometric print.

She even fussy cut some of the hexies!

And did I mention the colors are fabulous!?!


There is a slight discoloring on the muslin but I kind of love the charm it adds.

Overall, the quilt is in fabulous condition.  There are no holes in it but there are a few little stains like this one below.  I think they might come out with a gentle washing but right now I'm not ready to do that since it's still just a quilt top.

The maker finished off the edges with a triple row hexagon border (I just made that term up - I don't know what the actual name of this design and border is called...:) 

Someday I may start looking for some 30's yardage to back it with.  I've heard that a quilt is as old as it's newest fabric so I don't want to buy any current fabric to finish it with that will diminish it's value.

 For now it will stay a quilt top and hang in my sewing room.  

Do you have a vintage quilt?  Do they appeal to you?  
This one really makes my heart beat faster.  I love it.

Happy quilting :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

Thanks everyone for participating in my little giveaway last weekend!  I really appreciate your kind words and the enthusiasm for Cross Stitch, Fresh Cut and Marbles!

So I've picked three winners and here they are...

Needled Mom said...
I think my favorite is Fresh Cut, but they are all wonderful.

Anne said...
I was admiring Cross Stitch, then.  Scrolled down to see Fresh cut and was just as taken and then you added Marbles!!!!  Each is so different, so beautiful! Each sure to please someone! Cross Stitch is the one I would try first!

Blocksandmore said...

Congratulations girls!  Please send me your snail mail address and I'll get these patterns sent right off to you!

Thanks again everyone!  You are awesome!
And, if you're looking for another way you can get your hands on these (or any other Gigi's Thimble quilt patterns) you can stop by my Etsy Shop HERE.

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Patterns + Giveaway

 I'm so excited to finally share with you my three new patterns!  Yay!  It seems like these have been in the works for a LONG time!  Whenever I start a new set of patterns I think, "Oh, I can whip these out."  And then a few months later I get discouraged that it's taking so long!  But I have to remind myself that alot of work went into all of them.  It's time consuming stuff but I love the whole process!  For this particular set of patterns, I made four different quilts, bound five quilts, figured out fabric requirements and wrote instructions for six different sizes and designed new cover sheets and a logo.  Whew!  Did I just say all that?  I'm tired!  Haha!  Needless to say I am happy they're done and I hope you love them as much as I do!

First up is Cross Stitch.

It's a Layer Cake friendly pattern and it has a scrappy binding.  The fabric for this version is Color Me Happy by Vanessa Christensen for Moda.

It finishes at 61" x 80".

My friend and co-worker, Vonda Proctor, pieced it for me after I made the original one (below).  It was quilted by Kaylene Parry (Lehi, UT.)  I use Kaylene a lot and she always does a fantastic job.  I love the modern design she picked out for this one.

Here is the one I made for my sister.  She lives in Montana and I thought these fabrics worked well with her home decor.  This one was quilted by Linda Childs (at Just Sew in Highland, UT) and she did a great job too!

The second pattern is Fresh Cut and I think it's my fave
(shhh!  Don't tell anyone! :)

I love the big, bold flowers.  And I looove the quilting Kaylene did.

It's fat quarter friendly and it finishes at 60 1/2" x 71 1/2".

The fabric collection I used for Fresh Cut was Lottie Da by Heather Bailey for FreeSpirit.  I'm totally in love with the vibrant colors and great patterns Heather designed in this line.

Last, but not least, is Marbles.  

It comes with fabric requirements and instructions for four different sizes (baby, twin, queen and king).  I made the king size version on the cover and used some of Emily Herrick's (Crazy Old Ladies) new fabric line from Michael Miller Fabrics called, Rustique.  I just used the more boyish colors but I'm working on another one that incorporates all the colors from this line!  They're so rich and vibrant!

It's fat quarter friendly but would work well with scraps or 5" charm squares too.  It also has the option for a scrappy binding.  I used Kaylene again to quilt this and I am loving the orange peel design she did.  There are so many fun edge-to-edge digital quilting designs out there right now.  I love all the modern, geometric ones!

I couldn't resist whipping up a baby version of this one using my stash!  It finishes at 38 1/2" x 38 1/2".

My neighbor, Cathy Barney quilted it for me and she did a fantastic job!  She did a tiny orange peel and got it back to me the same day I dropped it off!  Wahoo!

All of my patterns are listed in my Etsy Shop 
and are available in paper and digital form.

So that's it!  What do you think?  I think it's time for a giveaway!!!
Just leave me a comment below telling me which one is your favorite and I'll announce a few winners Monday morning.  Sound good?

Good luck!
~ Amber