Saturday, November 28, 2015

if you were shopping... #46 - the Black Friday edition

Welcome to if you're shopping.... On Fridays, sometimes Saturdays like today,  I share news from my sponsors, in case you want to do a little shopping, or even window shopping, this weekend - and there are a lot of sales, for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, etc.

Fabric Spark has 20% off everything including new collections, sale fabrics, patterns, kits and bundles, until Midnight November 30 (Cyber Monday). Use coupon code woohoo at the checkout.

Oakshott Fabrics Oakshott Fabrics is offering 25% OFF selected Blue, White and Red shot cottons for this weekend only. 

Fluffy Sheep Quilting has 20% off everything in the store until Monday night (Ireland time). Use the coupon code Black20.

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop still has their Kona Basics on sale and they have plenty of new fabrics in.

Sew Me a Song has a Thanksgiving Shipping Special of 0.99 US / $8.99 Canada and $12.00 Everywhere Else, from Becca's house to yours!

Green Fairy Quilts has 40% off all bundles for Small Business Saturday and are continuing their Black Friday sale of Jelly Rolls for $26.70 US.

The Fat Quarter Shop has 25% off all orders until midnight tonight!

I've been trying to resist shopping this fall, but I am caving in this weekend.



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners - Blog Hop

Today is my stop on the blog hop for You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners. I have been waiting for this book for a number of years, ever since Leila ran the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler Quilt Along on her blog which began in June 2011. I learned a lot from Leila in that QAL. And now she has put it all into a beautiful book.

I have to say that I don't think that this book is only for beginners. It has instructions, tips, photos, and different levels of difficulty of blocks for pretty much every quilting technique you might want to try from regular piecing to paper piecing, from appliqué to improv.  It is a fantastic resource for quilters and would make a great teaching or retreat source book too.


I'm sure you are not surprised to learn that I decided to try the improv blocks and I started with the String block. 

You can see that the book is full of tips, variations, and great instructions too. 


I decided that since I had some strips left over, to continue on to make the improv Asterisk block too. I have to say that in past years, it would have bothered me that the dark pink line does not meet up but now I love the slight fracturing of the line that is happening here. I have learned to embrace improv more all the time.

Improv - back

The book goes on to suggest one can make the asterisk "your own". Well I had to try that too. First I will share the back - a total mess - but then no one sees the back.


Here is my last block, about 8" by 6", not that big. I'm imagining it as a 50" square quilt top - I have to try that one day soon. I'm going to add these three blocks to my Bee Sewcial improv sampler maximalist quilt too.

As I said, in my view, this book is not just for beginners, it is a great resource for everyone, and I totally recommend it. You can get a signed copy from Leila at her shop, or a signed coy from Marlene at her blog or from AQS here or Amazon here, and I bet you will find it on a handy shelf at your local quilt shop too.

For the blog hop, Leila is hosting a give away for a copy of the book and fabrics from Moda on her blog - Sewn by Leila, so be sure to head over to enter.

And do stop in to check out  the rest of the blog hop. Here is the schedule:

Nov. 16th - Lee (
Nov. 17th - AnneMarie (
Nov. 18th - Leanne  ( That's me.
Nov. 19th - Julie  (
Nov. 20th - Lyn (guest blogger at



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Scraptastic Tuesday Winners and a project

Before I announce the ST winners for the November link up, I wanted to share my scrappy project for this week. 


On Sunday, I awoke sad and angry about the events in Paris. I looked at my small bin of tiny scraps of Michael Miller solids left over from my paper piecing project, and though that I could sew them together.


I started with pairs and then joined the pairs, trimming and cutting off bits as I went.

in progress

Soon I had this blob - I was thinking about a river of blood and of tears. I pulled out the Michael Miller fabrics that I had received for the Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge and though about them together.

in progress

Then, last night, after some other fun improv blocks, I just decided that it was safe to cut those fabrics up and add them to my blob. Without any clear plan, before I knew it, I had an improv tear shape.


So I carried on and used up most of the prints. This quilt will be called paris. She is about 24" square right now, I am not sure if she is finished, but I think so. There will be a lot of quilting - very dense.

You know one cannot solve very many problems with a quilt or with a creative piece, but it sure helps me to work out some of the emotions this way.

Now, on to the Scraptastic Tuesday November link winners.

A huge thank you to our generous sponsors for providing the following prizes which have  been awarded randomly among those of you who linked up as follows:
    I'll get emails out to the winners shortly.

    Please plan to join Nicky from Mrs. Sew and Sow and I for December's Scraptastic Tuesday link up on the second Tuesday in December, which is December 8, 2015. In the meantime, if you have not visited the November links yet, there is great inspiration there, go here.



    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    Scraptastic Tuesday, the November link is open

    Well, I got sidetracked and then was out much of the day and finally am getting the November Scraptastic Tuesday link up. At least it is still Tuesday at my house.


    First, I have a small scrappy project to share. I was making a butterfly with some scraps of my precious hand screened prints by Karen Lewis. Paper piecing is a great place to use scraps, especially a butterfly that finishes at 5".


    As usual, the paper piecing created more, even smaller scraps. These were so tiny that I tossed them out.


    At this stage, the magic of paper piecing is ready to happen, at least that is how I see it.


    Those tiny bits come together to make the cutest little butterfly, and everything matches up and works.  This butterfly is for the Pip Round Robin that I am part of.

    The butterfly pattern is by Nicole from Lillyella and came with two other tiny butterfly patterns as well.

    Paper Piecing

    Some more paper piecing of the Lion Jungle Abstraction quilt - pattern by Violet Craft - that I have been working on this fall also happened last weekend. You can see in this photo how I work.

    I cut large chunks of fabric from the yardage bought for the pattern and then I use those chunks first. As I trim off bits from the piecing, I separate the larger pieced (middle of the photo) and use them for smaller piecing if possible. The even smaller trimmings are going in that metal basket, and I have a plan to sew them all together to make an improv shard sort of quilt, perhaps. The trimmings that are too small to sew together and have 1/4" seams go with my paper trimmings into the garbage. I am determined to use as many of the scraps created by this project as possible.

    Now, its time for you to link up and share your scrappy projects to inspire us all. I am hoping for lots of links this month, it is the start of year 2 of Scraptastic Tuesday after all.

    A huge thank you to our generous sponsors for providing the following prizes which will be awarded randomly among those of you who link up.
    Please join Nicky from Mrs. Sew and Sow and I by linking up a blog post or flickr or instagram photo sharing a scrappy project, in progress or finished, or your thoughts on dealing with your scrap mountain:
    • You don't have to have joined us before, everyone is welcome.
    • One link per person, and it will be your entry into the random draw for the prizes. It is the same link up here and at Nicky's blog - Mrs. Sew and Sow - so you only need to link up on one of our blogs.
    • Please visit at least a few of the links, they are very inspiring, and leave comments too as everyone loves to connect. 
    • Use the Scraptastic Tuesday button if you like (code is on the sidebar) and invite your friends to join us too. 
    • The link is open until next Monday night at 10:00 pm MST. We will announce the winners next Tuesday. 
    • If you have trouble linking up, let me or Nicky know and we will get you sorted.


    Saturday, November 7, 2015

    Pow is over at Sew Mama Sew today!


    A quick note to let you know that Pow and her tutorial is featured over at Sew Mama Sew as part of their Handmade Holidays series. I've been thinking that its time to make another of these giant plus quilts, maybe you have too - this is a quick make for a last minute present. By the way, if you know the Pow story, just to let you know that my friend is doing well so far, which is fantastic.

    Today is more tidying and arranging, unpacking some boxes in the corners and the hallways, and hopefully a lot of sewing, oh and vacuuming too. It's great to have a Saturday off!



    Thursday, November 5, 2015

    Bee Sewcial - November is my month

    maximalist improv block, trimmed

    November is my month to set the inspiration and ask for Bee Sewcial. 

    We have has a couple of months of minimalism, which is one of my favourite modern quilt approaches. However, I decided that I a break from all the negative space. I also have to admit that while I love the kind of quilt I am asking for  - a colourful improv sampler - I find it hard to imagine the crazy colours and lack of space. So this is a perfect project to get  help with.

    Here is my request to my bee mates:

    Theme: Maximalist (is that a word or a concept, anyway you know what I mean) and all the colours with no negative space. I am aiming for a happy celebration of colour and improv with lots of movement. A quilt that will make one smile and want to dance.

    Please make me the equivalent of about 2 - 12.5" blocks but you can make pieces in any shape and size, curved or straight or a bit of both. I am quite happy if you don't trim your pieces, which will leave me options for piecing the final quilt. Also, if you have little bits or practice bits feel free to throw them in too, I will use everything you send. I want to make this a big quilt.

    I would like you to make improv blocks and the primary quilt inspiration for both the idea and colour scheme is this quilt by Lucy Summers 

    Colours: The rainbow is open to you but try to go for an overall look at is happy and reads aqua yellow pink orange purple apple-green rather than blue red dark-green. Use mostly saturated colours in mediums (from the light medium dark approach to fabrics) but you should add some lights or darks for contrast but try to focus on the overall block reading as medium not pastel. Avoid white, grey, black, tan, brown. 

    Improv: If at all possible, don't use your ruler for blocks, even those blocks with fairly straight lines, but if you want or need to use it that is ok too. Consider the books and work by Lucy Summers, Sherri Lynn Wood, Gwen Marsden, Jacquie Gehring for inspiration. This is a good opportunity to try something you have not yet tried. 

    Background: None, fill your block with improv. But it is ok to have some edges, just aim for the block to read as having edges as opposed to negative space. Also I might well trim those edges to make the blocks fit together.

    Here is a pinboard for consideration . But please don't feel limited to the board. I will try to add more to it as the month goes on. Consider this a month to just play with improv and colour.

    maximalist improv block

    So last night I made the block above as a way to show what I was getting at. Today, Hillary, who has already made a fantastic block - go here - mentioned that she had a lot of negative space. So I added the bit above about edges being ok, it is hard to do some kinds of improv without having some bits of just edges.

    Then I had a look at my own block. Yup, I automatically included negative space, even if it is bright. So I trimmed the block - see the picture at the beginning of the post and I now have edges, at least my personal definition of edges.

    The members of Bee Sewcial have set up a hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial for those who want to use our inspiration and make their own projects. Feel free to join in with us on instagram if you like.