Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thankful Thursday - November 16, 2017

I'm mixing things up a little this month with a Thankful Thursday blogpost.  It's good to be thankful in life!  This week I want to share how thankful I am for technology.  WHAT!  Technology.... said by the person who manages to hang up on everyone when a second call is waiting and who publicly asks at the AT&T store if they have a rotary dial cell phone! 

Yes, technology... after all, without it - you wouldn't be reading this blog post .... 

Earlier this week I was a  guest on the American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast hosted by Pat Sloan.  You can listen to the podcast as we talk about why I like teaching online classes.

And yes, without technology, we wouldn't have online classes, Facebook Live or any of the other video options that we have come to expect.

Online classes allow me to share my knowledge with so many more people than I could ever expect to reach if I were just teaching in person.  I would love to take a quick poll here - so give me a simple yes or no in the comments ... Have you taken an online class?  If you want to share more information about the class, that's fine. And if it's one of my online classes, then you get bonus points :)  - just kidding :)

I talk to a lot of people who are hesitant about taking an online class for a variety of reasons.  I love them not only as an instructor but also as a student.   You can see all my online classes available through Annie's Craft Store.  They are all professionally produced and some are even on sale right now!

Even though technology can be a big pain in the "you-know-where" some days, it is part of our lives and it is here to stay.  So we can either reject it, accept it or be thankful for it!  I choose Thankful!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thankful Thursday - November 9, 2017

I'm mixing things up this month and am writing a series of Thankful Thursday posts - some will be "quilty" and some will not. 

This week I want to share how thankful I am to be working with Island Batik as one of their Brand Ambassadors this year. This is an amazing experience.  Not only do I get to work with beautiful fabrics, but it has challenged me as a designer to create outside of my usual style ... and we all know, when you are out of your comfort zone, that is when personal growth occurs!  And for that, I am thankful! I'm also thankful for all the other designers I have met and now become friends with through this ambassadorship. 

I always get a lot of questions about what does a Brand Ambassador do?  We aren't employees or independent contractors for Island Batik but we work with them to promote their beautiful fabric collections.  Twice a year Island Batik gives me the batik fabric that I used to make these projects as well as other projects for independent patterns as well as magazine and book submissions.   

Here is a quick look at three of my favorite projects I have made as a Brand Ambassador.

Early in the year I made the Blossom wall hanging and you can read more about it. This wall hanging really kicked off all the raw edge fusible applique projects I have designed this year - which has been a good thing!  The pattern for Blossom is available as a pdf download  on Craftsy. 

Another of my favorite projects was my Rory Baby Quilt pattern made using Island Batiks.  I don't know which version I like best - the original or the remake? You can read more about Rory here. The pattern for Rory is available pdf download on Craftsy. 

My absolute favorite quilt so far this year was made using my Black & White Express pattern but changing out the fabrics to Island Batik's Sakura Collection. My Back to School blogpost gives you all the details.  Again it's a toss up whether I love the original or the remake better.  The batiks lend so much color to this quilt and just make it so bright and cheery! 

I hope my Thankful Thursday posts have inspired you to take some time to think about all the things that you are thankful for too!  Have a great week and I will see you back here next Thursday!

The Simple Sampler Quilt A Long - Coming Soon

I just wanted to quickly let everyone know that I will be hosting a 13 week Quilt-A-Long using one of my latest patterns ... The Simple Sampler

I've given it a lot of thought and I will NOT release this pattern for sale until after the Quilt-A-Long is over, so this is your chance to get it first and it will be FREE to you!  

So here are the details - real quick...

The Quilt-A-Long will run 13 weeks, 1 week for each of the 12 blocks and 1 week for the sashing and borders.

It starts the week of Sunday January 7, 2018 and concludes on Saturday April 7, 2018.  

Each week you will receive full color instructions including drawings and / or photos PLUS a weekly FB Live or video that talks about the block and how to make it. 

The Quilt-A-Long will happen in my FB Group: Masterpiece Quilting Design Group, so be sure to join the group if you want to participate or get more information.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Thankful Thursday - November 2, 2017

I'm mixing things up this month and am writing a series of Thankful Thursday posts - some will be "quilty" and some will not. 

Many times we get caught focusing on what we don't have, wished we had or think we need.  Instead I want to flip that focus around to being Thankful .... 

There are a multitude of things in life we can be thankful for. It's pretty easy to categorize these things - family, pets, friends, health, job, a place to live.  Sometimes it gets a little harder when we try to narrow down to specifics. 
And other times, it's pretty easy to be specific - especially when looking at old photos - and you are very thankful your hair today doesn’t look like it did back in the 1980's!  :) 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Island Batik - October Challenge: Borders & Binding

October's Island Batik challenge was exactly that - a challenge !

I frequently design quilts with out borders so this challenge left me a little stumped....  I've done elaborate pieced borders before but it took a while to get my design creativity wrapped around this one!

I started by sorting through the Island Batik fabrics I had available....which was a whole lot of scrappy pieces - so how about a scrappy border?

I sorted them into lights and darks since they were from several collections.  I came up with this really cool design, I sketched it out on graph paper and everything was ready to go....  and everything was ready to go....  except me ... I just didn't LOVE the design.  I know that sounds so corny - but it seemed forced and every time I started to work on it... I just couldn't.  

So back to the drawing board... now note, I've just spent 3 weeks NOT LOVING the original design so time is not on my side at this stage.  I need to get a design and I need to get it done.   Our theme is Creative Bindings and Borders - so I went to my sketch book and started looking through all the border and binding ideas I had jotted down or sketched out.  So this quilt is literally a compilation of those untried ideas!  It's an early experiment model! It's R & D at it's finest and you get to see it all - unfiltered :) 
And to be totally honest - I like some of the ideas better than others, some I need to tweak and some you may never see again :) 

So without further adieu .... I present my Broken Hearts Quilt!

Let's start on the outer edge and work our way in...

The binding is a pieced binding made from lots of small pieces - you know I said I had lots of small scrappy precuts strips.  I saw this technique on a competition quilt this summer where the quilter used really small - like 1" - long pieces so the binding looked like striped fabric.  I used slightly longer pieces but the concept is the same.

This technique results in a bulkier, thicker binding due to all the seam allowances.  I trimmed each mitered seam to a scant 1/4" and pressed the seam allowances open, making sure to trim the dog ears. I used 2-1/2" wide strips to help accommodate the extra bulk. Next time I might try 2-3/4" so I have a wider binding.  I think it turned out pretty cool. What do you think?  It has lots of possibilities such as using smaller pieces like the inspiration quilt or using one color with little bits of a second color randomly placed for accent.

Next is the bright pink flange.  I frequently add a flange before binding to add a bit of color at the edge of the quilt.  This time I used a corded flange for added dimension.  I cut the flange at 1" width and pressed it half lengthwise.  I inserted the cord and used the adjustable zipper foot that came with my new Brother sewing machine to baste the cord in place.  

Now onto the quilt top.  I have three individual borders which measure 2" - 5" - 2" with floating hearts raw edge fusible appliqued across them.  The part from my jottings was making the appliques not from a single piece of fabric but from pieced fabric.  Since I was testing this out - I wanted to make it as simple as possible (remember - I'm on a deadline here !) so I cut my appliques using an AccuQuilt die cutter. 

I grabbed some of my scraps and cut them into 3" squares and stitched 4-patch units.  

Next I fused Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible interfacing from The Warm Company to the wrong side.  I ran them thru the die cutter which made quick work of cutting all the heart shapes.

After fusing, I machine appliqued each heart in place with a contrasting color of Aurifil thread.  
I want to try this technique again using improv piecing and then cutting my shapes.  I think it will result in a crazy quilt look - which I love and will take advantage of some of my smaller scrap pieces. It might be fun to add decorative stitches too!

Moving inward to the center section of the quilt, I have a 9" finished star block surrounded by two pieced borders that build off the center block.

Wow - that's a lot of borders and binding options for you!  Let me know which one you like best... Leave a comment and be sure to follow me on IG @masterpiecequilting and like my Facebook page.  I will select one lucky winner on November 1st to received this bundle of Island Batik precut 5" squares.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Christmas Caroling Row Along - Sharing

Hi!  Welcome to Masterpiece Quilting!

The last few weeks have been super busy with the Christmas Caroling Row Along. 

I have absolutely enjoyed reading everyone's blog and seeing the rows they have designed. If you want to read more about my row, it was the Jingle Bells Row.

As we wrap up the Row Along I want to share the blocks that I made.  There were so many gorgeous rows, it was hard to make a decision which ones I wanted to make.

The four rows that I made and then incorporated into a quilt are: 

Let it Snow by Susan Arnold  

Deck the Halls by Nancy Myers 

Carol of the Bells by Suzy Webster 

Jingle Bells by Cynthia Woodham 

Some of the rows are vertically oriented while others are horizontal so incorporating them together into a quilt took a little bit of work and several versions on draft paper.  I decided to add a pieced center block to pull everything together.  Here is a photo of the completed quilt top.  I still need to quilt and bind it. 

To make it easy for you to make your own quilt, I'm providing a free pattern for the Christmas Caroling Row Along Finishing Layout as a pdf download on Craftsy.

The Jingle Bell Row I designed is available for $5.00 as a pdf download on Craftsy and is the outer border for my Jingle Bells Quilt pattern which is available for just $5.95 thru October 31 on Craftsy. 

And what Row Along wouldn't be complete without a giveaway - Amy Bradley's 1 Little 2 Little 3 Little Quilters Pattern. Shipping Is Anywhere / Shipping Cost must be paid by winner. Cost To Ship In USA $4.43
Value 15.00
For more information please link to:

To enter the Amy Bradley giveaway, please enter here.

And from Calibre Arts Is: 50% off a Calibre Arts 14x14 Rotating Mat
Shipping Is USA only
Description Link:

To enter the Calibre Arts giveaway, enter here.

Rules and Guidelines For Giveaways
Please take the time to read it.
  1. Giveaways offered by sponsors are assigned to the various bloggers for their featured day.
  2. There are no prior announcements on who is doing which sponsor except to the sponsor themselves.
  3. You’ll have to visit the blog or the featured blog to enter the giveaways. Not all giveaways can be entered at Seams To Be Sew.
  4. I will start announcing winners on September 12, 2017, and finish announcing winners on October 12, 2017 with the exception of the Calibre Art giveaway, those will be available after each featured day, starting September 06, 2017.
  5. In most cases, the blog where you won at also will announce their winners.
  6. You must give a valid email address when you enter the giveaways, any email returned to me, loses the ability to win automatically.
  7. With the exception of Show and Tell Day, all giveaways run for approximately one week.
  8. You are given 3 days to answer the email, if you do not answer within 3 days a new winner will be drawn. Check those spam/junk mail folders, you may miss that winning email if you don’t do so because there are no exceptions to this rule.
  9. If you are notified that you are a winner, in most cases, you will need to provide your name, address, city, state, zip code, country, telephone number, and email address.
  10. In some cases, you will be asked to comment on the blog to enter the giveaway… do the right thing and thank them for the time it took to create the pattern, thank them for the pattern and…
  11. Thank the sponsor by buying their products for the giveaways. This helps them continue to offer great prizes for these types of events. You can also comment on their social media pages. Even if you don’t win, letting them know you love their products is a huge incentive and they really do love hearing from you.
  12. No purchase whatsoever is necessary.
  13. You must be 18+ in order to win a gift.
  14. You are responsible for claiming and paying any tax owed on the value of any gift that you win. Prizes valued at $500.00 should be claimed.
  15. All winners are chosen at random.
  16. All winners will be announced on the blogs via the Rafflecopter entry form and/or post by the blogger at the site where they won and here at Seams To Be Sew. All winners must allow for their first name and first initial of their last name to be announced on this blog.
  17. Odds of Winning a prize are based on a total number of rafflecopter entries during each week and in total for all giveaways.
  18. This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
  19. Participating bloggers may enter any of the giveaways.
  20. The word giveaways in the rules and guidelines are also known as sweepstakes.
Most of the giveaways are international shipping this year in some cases, you will be asked to pay for shipping your giveaways.

I am not rich and I do not ask sponsors for money, they provide prizes only. If they shipped the prize to me, you will be asked to pay for shipping. All giveaways will be shipped that are in my home within 48 hours of my having heard from you.

An invoice will be sent to you via Paypal, and shipping will take place via Paypal, so your Paypal email will be needed to send the invoice. You will receive a tracking number except for overseas shipments. All shipping will either be first class which averages out at 2.77 to 4.00 up to 13 ounces. Paypal fees are added to that amount to cover that fee. All fabric bundles from Michael Miller, Hoffman, and Moda will be shipped via Priority Mail to protect the fabric itself.

Please note, every effort is made to protect the prizes. They go into a plastic bin when I receive them, and it is covered by an air tight cover. I have a dog in my home and I have a smoker in my home, so I do everything possible to protect the prizes.

Most companies are very good about getting prizes off to customers quickly also, but some companies are overseas, so please allow all sponsors a 2-week time period before you report to me that you still haven’t received your prize. When the company is overseas, it can take 6 weeks to 90 days for an item to also arrive.

Whether or not you read the above, the rules for giveaways are in place to protect everyone. I do not want to hear you didn’t read them, they will be posted on my blog daily during each featured day. There is no excuse for not reading them.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Oh Christmas Tree - Quilter's World 2017

It's always a fun day at the studio when quilts come back from the publisher!

The process for having a quilt published in a magazine can easily take 6 - 12 months from when the call for submissions is received, preliminary designs are submitted, accepted contracts are signed, the sample quilt is made, instructions are written, everything is submitted to the publisher who then edits, photographs, lays out and prints the publication.  Wow, that's a lot of steps and I'm sure I have forgotten some!  

And during this time, the project is on the hush-hush ... which is why so many designers post "secret sewing" photos of random blocks with the promise that it will be really cool when it's done.  It's why when someone pops into my studio, I warn them with "you don't really see that quilt on the wall!"

Earlier this week, my Oh Christmas Tree wall hanging came back from the publisher.  The pattern is the Winter 2017 issue of Quilter's World magazine which is arriving in mailboxes and hitting the newsstands right now. 

The quilt is playful twist on a traditional quilt block - my favorite thing to design!  And is a perfect way to use up some stash greens.  

I hope you enjoy it and I would love to see the version you make of it.