December 2015 Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day


Welcome from Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Dec 2015 SMS Giveaway Day

If you’ve never visited before, I’m Heather.  I’m a longarm quilter and pattern designer living in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Mm Issue 8 Cover

Even if you haven’t stopped by, you may have seen my work.  My Forging Steel Quilt was in/on Issue 8 of Make Modern Magazine.

Square Dance pattern Cover

Today, I am giving away a copy of the Square Dance Quilt Pattern.  This pattern is also available on Craftsy, and if you already own a copy, I will give you copies of my next 2 patterns that will be coming out shortly after the new year!

This pattern can be made very intricately and custom quilted like I show above, or you can make a sweet baby quilt with an all-over design and it will still look great!  This pattern is so versatile, I wish I had time to make one in red and green before Christmas… maybe you can win and make it!

Baby Square Dance Front

If you would like to win, please do one or more of the following:

  • I need a quick gift for a new friend who crochets – I don’t crochet, so I don’t know what would be useful for her.  Please leave a comment with ideas!
  • Follow my blog using bloglovin’ and leave your account name
  • Follow me on Facebook – Quilts Actually – and leave the name you use there
  • Follow me on Instagram – @QACreations – and leave your instagram name

At the conclusion of the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway period, I will use the magic number generator to choose a winner.  Good luck!

Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show

Columbus Day weekend marked my first New York quilt show.  The Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show is every other year in  Poughkeepsie, New York at Dutchess Community College and is put on (mostly) by members of the First Dutchess Quilters (but it’s not technically the guild’s show).

They had a wide variety of vendors (16!) and put on a fashion show and workshops in conjunction with the show.

I entered a few quilts, and was quite pleased with my first showing up here.  I like to enter quilt shows because it’s one of the few places that you can receive true feedback on the quality of your quilting and piecing.  Show and Tell at guilds is great, but it’s purpose is to share and celebrate and inspire (not to critique).  Classes teach a new technique, but don’t necessarily help you learn what you need to learn to improve the techniques you already know.

In the interest of removing some of the mystique from quilt show judging and to help others learn from my lessons, I want to share the comments for my quilts.

Forging Steel quilt with ribbon

The first quilt I entered was my Forging Steel quilt, which is in Make Modern issue 8.  This quilt earned 1st place in Pieced Wall Quilt, a Judge’s Choice award, and a Vendor’s Choice award (Amelia’s Garden).  The comments for this quilt (and all the others in this show) were very in-depth and positively phrased even if referring to improvements.

  • Fabrics lend appeal
  • Unexpected quilting choice add so much visual excitement
  • Very good quilting technique
  • Excellent precision in piecing
  • Excellent binding

Square Dance with ribbons

I also entered Square Dance in the Group Quilt category.  It earned 1st place in the Group Quilt category, and a Vendor’s Choice award (Easy Piecing).  If you like this quilt and want to make your own, my PDF pattern is available on Craftsy here.

  • Wonderful color palette
  • Value placement shows well
  • Piecing is excellent
  • Quilting design in good scale
  • Quilting technique very well done
  • Binding excellent
  • Wonderful interpretation of modern quilt

One of Those Days mini ribbon

One of Those Days was a mini quilt I made a tutorial for that had a few issues, which is probably why it did not do as well.  I earned 3rd place in the Miniature category.  I use a smaller binding for miniatures – a 2″ double fold binding, but I guess should go even smaller in the future.

  • Fabrics and quilting design well chosen to keep scale for miniature
  • Traditional look successfully achieved
  • Excellent piecing and quilting technique
  • Binding, although well secured, should be in scale for miniature

Nature of Purple cropped

I also entered my Nature of Purple quilt in the Pieced Wall quilt category, and this quilt just does not show well.  I also used white thread for part of the piecing before I thought about it.  I switched to purple thread later, but after quilting if you look super close, you can see the white thread a little bit.

  • Modern interpretation is successfully achieved
  • Take care with obtrusive piecing thread
  • Complementary quilting design is successfully achieved
  • Excellent binding

How have your experiences entering a quilt show shaped your quilting?  Has it been a positive experience with valuable feedback, or are there things that you wish had gone differently?

Linking to: Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays @ Late Night QuilterLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt Addict


Forging Steel Quilt Pattern

Forging Steel Quilt Pattern

I am a covergirl!  Or, at least my quilt is!  Meet my latest pattern: Forging Steel Quilt.

Mm Issue 8 Cover

This is Issue 8 of Make Modern magazine, which was released November 1st.  Forging Steel is large baby/lap sized quilt.  I personally like large baby quilts, so I would not hesitate to use this quilt for that purpose (although this one is going to be all mine!).

Quilt on rock wall closer for web

The block is a spin-off of the traditional anvil block with a border of half square triangles surrounding.  I made this quilt with a variety of Cotton & Steel prints, so combining the historical roots with the modern brand of fabric used, I called it Forging Steel.

Straight View for web

I quilted the background with large spiral loops and then went linear on the inside of the blocks for contrast.  I left the triangles puffy because the puff once again contrasts the heavy quilting elsewhere.  I really love custom quilting contrasts.  The batting is Quilter’s Dream Puff, so it’s nice and light with good loft.  In the background I used Bottom Line, and the inside of the blocks is a minty So-Fine.

I love this quilt, and I hope you do too!  Please share if you make it because I would love to see your version.  The hashtag is #forgingsteelquilt.

Linking to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsLinky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the RiverLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricLink a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya QuiltsShow off Saturday at Sew Can She

4th quarter Finish a Long

Adrianne at On the Windy Side hosts a quarterly challenge to finish up our WiPs.  I’m joining in an attempt to get on top of what I should finish up so I can move on.

Round Trip Quilt Progress

  1. Jennifer’s Round Trip Quilt addition
  2. Meadow Quilt
  3. Carpenter’s Star Quilt to demo quilting
  4. Boy Baby Gift
  5. Girl Baby Gift
  6. Finally finish the real world red & white quilt!!
  7. Make the bag from the hexies I sewed this summer
  8. Paper Pieced patterns x3
  9. Table Runner & Placemat pattern
  10. Stash & Dash bag

If I can do this before Christmas, I am completely impressed with my future self!

Sewing Organization – Scrap Organization

Organize Your Scraps

I had a pretty bad system for scraps for a long time.  It was just a jumbled up mess in a plastic tub.  Then it got worse… my daughter started to play in my scraps so I created a second smaller scrap bin for her.

Scrap Playground

Good idea, right?  Except that then I started adding my scraps to her bin and that bin got bigger than the original stack.  She also quit playing with it once there were so many scraps.

Scrap Storage

Something had to be done about my scrap problem.  There are many very smart ways to deal with scraps that I researched as I looked for the solution to my problem.  The main methods I found for scrap organization are by color or by size.

I find that scrap management works best for me if I make it easy… spending a day cutting scraps from a bin into something useable is not my idea of fun.  So, the scraps stay in the bin.

Easy for me: I cut my scraps down to a useable size as soon as I finish cutting what I am working on.  Sometimes that means I cut them out the minute I am finished with the fabric, sometimes that means setting it aside and doing it at the end of the day.  If I am cutting out a complete quilt, I may wait until I am finished if I am on a roll, but I cut them down before I can start another project.

I do admit to letting the cut squares sit for awhile before I sort them into the ziplock bags I store them in.  I would probably claim that sorting goes faster when you have multiple of each size, but I am sometimes just mentally done with those scraps after cutting and need to build up the energy to face them another day.

Organizing Scraps

How do I cut my scraps down?  I arrange by size.

  • 2″ squares
  • 2.5″ squares
  • 3″ squares
  • 5″ squares
  • 10″ squares
  • strings

I started originally with only 2.5″ and 5″ squares, but found that these other categories were meeting the size demands of my scraps.  I arrange them by size with no regard for color.  I don’t have enough scraps for a scrappy quilt yet, but I try to draw from these if I have a Stash Bee block that requires anything that fits into these categories.  For my stash bee block last month, I had to cut a couple squares that were 1.5″ so I just grabbed a 2″ square and cut it down.

Keeping scraps for paper piecing? Even though I love paper piecing, and those odd little shapes were part of what originally motivated me to start keeping scraps, I’ve found I just don’t use scraps to paper piece.  The odds of finding the color I want in the size I need from my scraps was just too unlikely and slow of a process for me.  Thus, cutting the scraps down into useable shapes makes me more likely to use them.

Scraps Sorted

I keep the cut and sorted scraps in a green scrapbooking square tote.  They sell these at every crafting store, but if you get them seasonally at Costco they come in a 5 pack that is an amazing price.  I like the green color because it reminds me to recycle the fabric within my own projects.

There are so many methods to deal with scraps, and this is what I have found works for me after a lot of trial and error.  What are your favorite ways to control scraps?


Linking to: Scraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltTips and Tutorials Tuesdays @ Late Night QuilterWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric

3rd Quarter 2015 Bee Blocks

Time for the Stash Bee roundup!  I always enjoy the wide variety of blocks that I get to make, and this quarter was no exception.

I finished up Margaret’s block just in time!  It wasn’t completed the last day of September, but I was pretty close.  This field of flowers is going to make such a cheerful quilt!

Flower Block for Stash Bee

August was a fun month making these blocks for Debbie.  Even though this block was in the middle of some personal projects with too many HSTs, I really enjoyed making it.  I still love these colors, and can’t wait to see the finished quilt!

August 2015 Hive 3

In July, we made string blocks for Martina.  I’ve only made string block once before and they are so relaxing and fun.  Strings are one of my scrap categories, so maybe I’ll make one of these someday.

Stash Bee String Block

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsScraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt Addict

Website Maintenance

My Friday finish isn’t a traditional one… but it was a long time coming! I’ve been meaning to do some site cleanup and add a page for my tutorials and patterns so that they are easier to find, and I’ve finally done it!

updated website

I will be updating these pages as more patterns and tutorials come along. I’ve got a few patterns in the works, so hopefully between 15 page term papers, I will have time to put those together. Let me know if any of these are helpful or if you make any of the projects, because I would love to see them!

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFLink a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts

Noodlehead Cargo Duffle

I made the Noodlehead Cargo Duffle (free pattern) along with at least half the online quilting community with the intent of it being my overnight/weekend bag to go camping or traveling with.  I don’t get to make bags as often as I would like because I just don’t need that many!  I carry a diaper bag with my daughter, and a backpack when I go to school, and that covers about 98% of my life.

Cargo Duffle

This is an amazing pattern, considering it’s free!  The only tricky part is cutting out the fabric.  Just take your time, double-check the directions – and make sure you are not cutting out your fabric to the final dimensions before you quilt it.  Cut a little big, quilt, and then cut down to size.  It’s a little safer!

I made a few changes to the pattern… First, I quilted it on my longarm.  I just did straight line quilting because I had intended to make another one, and wanted to test my construction methods before getting fancy.

Cargo Duffle

I also added a lining instead of binding the inside seams.  I wanted pockets inside, and needed the lining to do that.  Lining Tutorial: Small Town Thread

I also never added the snaps to the outside pockets.  They are really more decorative than useful, so why bother?

Cargo Duffle

I added a zipper pocket to the inside, and a water bottle spot.  I’m not a fan of how my water bottle spot works, but the zipper pocket turned out great!  Tutorial for zipper pocket inside: Sew Mama Sew and UHandbag.  I also added a row of straight pockets.

Cargo Duffle

Since using this for awhile, I’ve discovered this bag is not what I wanted for an overnight bag for me.  It’s a little too small, and the handles are shorter than I like to carry.  The pockets would have been great for this use, if it was how I used it.

Cargo Duffle

It’s not a lost cause though!  It’s perfect to put my daughter’s clothes in for trips.  I can fit a week or more of her clothes in here, and fold it up and tuck it away if we unpack somewhere (like we did in the camper this summer).  We lived out of our bags for a month, and only did laundry once, so it was about 2 weeks of a 2 year old’s clothes in here.

Cargo Duffle

This was a fun bag to make, and I have two more bags from Noodlehead next on my list to make.  If only there were more hours in the day…

Fabric used: Linen for the base of the bag, and Chicopee for the handles.  I think the blue leaf fabric may have been from the Denise Schmidt line for JoAnn’s, but I bought it so long ago I can’t remember for sure.  The lining is Ty Pennington Impressions.

– Heather

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricLink a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya QuiltsShow off Saturday at Sew Can She