Archive for the ‘Fabric’ Category

Threads of Feeling

My stack of Hope Valley arrived!

Usually my “fabric world” consists of following what my favorite new designers are creating and buying my favorite prints and colors to incorporate into my own quilt. To me, fabric is full of possibility– in fact, I’ve noticed that when I get really busy and don’t have time to sew, I tend to want to buy more fabric, because I feel like I’m buying the possibility of having time to sew. Fabric can be an escape– when I want a break from life, I daydream about what I’ll make with my favorite prints of my hoarded stash. I often think about this right before I fall asleep.

flea market fancy!

I’ve come to realize that fabric represent more than its face value, and this point was driven home for me when I came across the Threads of Feeling online exhibit at the Foundling Museum in London. I came across this website because I heard it mentioned on a podcast I regularly listen to, and after viewing it, it stuck with me for quite a while. I thought those of you who read my blog would also be interested in different fabric histories, so I thought I’d share.

The basic story behind this exhibit and the fabric it displays is that in the mid-18th century when women who were unable to keep their children would give them up for adoption, they would often drop them off at the Foundling hospital. The women were instructed to leave a means of identifying the child pinned to their clothing, so often the women would choose a distinct piece of fabric or ribbon and would leave a piece with the baby and keep a piece to prove the baby was hers should the circumstances change and she were able to return for the baby. There are a number of resources on the web with more information, and I would recommend this article from the Guardian.

You can view the online exhibit here.

If you take a moment to check it out, I’d love to know what you think. I was really moved by the photos and notes, and it definitely gave me a new perspective on the many meanings fabric can hold.


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little folks + pastry line

I love fabric. Love love lovelovelovelove it. Even if I have a moment (it’s rare, but it happens) that I don’t feel like sewing, I still want to look at fabric. I love looking at it in person and online, and I love imagining what I’d do with it all!

fabric from Pink Castle

However (believe it or not), I’m on a budget, and so I have to be strategic about my purchases. I have quite a stash, and I like having my favorite fabrics on hand because it helps me think about possible projects.

I often buy fabric on sale, and don’t necessarily bite right away when a new line comes out. I like to wait and see what people are doing with prints before I decide about some of them. In fact, my favorite fabric line (at the moment) is hope valley, however, I didn’t buy any of it for a long time until I had seen it used in other projects and came to love it. I really love how well it plays with so many other fabrics. I’ve been keeping my eye on this line, because I knew I wanted to stock up before it was out of print.

Lucky for me, I have a friend who keeps me posted on these important matters– Brenda runs the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild, and also runs her own fabric shop on esty! Pink Castle Fabric has been one of my favorite places to shop for fabric because I LOVE the lines Brenda orders, and she has really reasonable prices (it also helps that I can pick up my fabric in person!). If you’re thinking about getting some Hope Valley before it’s gone, Brenda’s shop would be a good place to do so– she still has a lot of the prints in stock!

pink castle fabric headquarters

cutting mat

A little while ago I was over at Pink Castle Headquarters (aka, Brenda’s house), and snapped a few photos. Brenda has SO much good stuff in her shop, and will continue to get more… in fact, she’s taking preorders for the Flea Market Fancy re-release this spring! I’m excited to see how it pairs with Hope Valley, I’m imagining a big patchwork quilt.


Brenda also often snaps up fabric as it’s going out of print, like the Anna Maria Horner pastry line voiles and Folksy Flannels. I took the opportunity to stock up! I’m always a sucker for Anna Maria Horner prints, and when I know they’re going out of print and are on sale, it seems crazy not to get some! I had a fat quarter stack of little folks voile prints, and I was really excited to get the pastry line voiles to go with them!

pink castle precuts

1001 Peeps


It’s been really interesting to see the “behind the scenes” at Brenda’s shop, so I thought I’d share it with you all! Plus, if you’re looking for a place to buy some great fabric, you know where I’m going for mine!

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*** This Giveaway is now closed***

Kona color card

As I mentioned yesterday, I had sooo much fun at the sewing summit. One of the great things about it was all of the swag I got to bring home! I’m looking forward to trying some new thread, batting, and using other goodies I got! At the end of Jeni’s class on fabric selection, we were lucky enough to all get Kona color cards. These are so useful when trying to find solids for a project, and I love the one I already have. Now that I have 2, I thought this would be the perfect thing to share with one of you! After all, I can’t talk about how great the sewing summit was without sharing something with you all!

kona color card

I found the Kona color card to be VERY helpful when working on a project such as this:

FMF detail

Matching all of those solid fabrics is SO much easier when you can see an actual swatch in person!
So, if you’d like to enter to win the Kona color card, leave me a comment on this post, and introduce yourself (that is, if I don’t already know you!). Say hi, tell me where you’re from or if you have a blog, or any little thing. I had so much fun meeting up with my bloggy friends this past weekend that I’d like to keep it going and get to know you all a little more!
I’ll leave the comments open until Sunday at 1pm, at which time I’ll pick a winner.

Flea Market Fancy quilt

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Ocean quilt top

ocean quilt top

I was talking to my sister last night and was telling her about this quilt top I just finished, and she wanted to see a picture so here it is! One of the reasons I wanted to blog was to keep my friends and family up to date on my crafty endeavors, and so I realize I need to post photos of things as I’m working on them, not just when they’re finished!

Ocean Quilt top

This quilt top was made (mostly) with hope valley prints and kona cotton solid fabrics. The inspiration was ocean colors, and I’m piecing the back with a few large pieces of kona in my favorite blues. I’m hoping to finish it up by next week!
(Also, I love how Simon was trying to help out in these photos– he almost blends in, but you can see his little face next to the bottom of the quilt top).

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Color stack for Do Good Stitches Quilt

This month it’s my turn again to design the quilt for the Love circle of the Do. Good Stitches quilting bee. Instead of asking each member to make 2 blocks (as per usual), I asked for one strip from each person that is 6.5 by 48 inches long. Each strip can be pieced in any style, and I think a variety of styles would look best in the quilt! I have an idea about how to put the strips together that’s a little different (as in, I’m not just planning to sew them all together as is!), and the more variation the better!

I asked for strips using the colors red, plum, and gold. I can’t wait to make mine, and to see how this quilt comes together!




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fabric stack

Things have been a little busy around my house lately– my sisters were visiting from out of town (I was so sad to see them leave this morning!), and while they were here I wrangled Liv (my younger sis) to fold the rest of my fabric for me! She’s just started sewing, and is already able to identify lines of fabric and designers! I promised her a little fabric in return for her help 🙂

As we were organizing my stash, and I was taking note of the many, many projects building up, I thought it was time for a really realistic check-in with my projects. I don’t usually put this all out there, because I tend to be working on so many things at once it feels overwhelming to actually write them all down! But, work is picking up a bit and I really need to prioritize my projects.

fabric color inspiration

Before I spill the beans about everything I’ve got going on, I snapped a few pics of fabric I pulled for a new quilt. I started with the 4 fabrics (in the pic above) from Heather Ross’s far far away 2 line. I didn’t actually use these in the quilt– but I loved the color combo so much I wanted it to guide my fabric choices. I’d been wanting to do something with orange in it, and this really helped shape the palate.

So, then I broke each color out individually and found fabrics that stayed pretty true to that tone:





Then, (and here’s a true work in progress shot!) I cut them all up. And I’ve been sewing them together, and should have a new quilt to show you soon!

In progress

I also finished the binding on my flea market fancy quilt– I have the big reveal of the whole quilt (which I realize I haven’t yet shown!) later this week.

almost finished

So, here’s the damage–

Things I need to finish soon:
1. Do. Good Stitches Bee Blocks
2. For the love of solids swap items (this is half done, and I have a plan for the rest!)
3. Habitat challenge blocks for the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild (due at our next meeting… next week!)

Things I have in progress, but that don’t have an immediate “due date”:
4. Felted scarves (a custom order– one blue, one green)
5. Felted scarves for the fall craft show
6. Ocean inspired quilt (commissioned for a wedding– needs to be done by the end of September. All the fabric’s cut, just needs to be sewn)
7. Binding on 2 baby quilts for my etsy shop (yep, just the bindings are left. Almost finished!)
8. Throw quilt using the fabrics pictured above! (all blocks are made, just need to be squared and sewn together)
9. Wall hanging for my mom (blocks are made, and need to be squared)
10. Hope valley filmstrip quilt (all the pieces are cut– just need to sew them together!)
11. curtains for my living room (fabric is ready to be cut, and I keep imagining how good it will look when they’re done!)
12. Scrappy quilt (I pulled out all the scraps I want to use for this one and totally know (in my head) what it will look like– just need to get sewing!)

Argh, it sounds like a lot, but I always manage to get things done! I think it helps to be realistic about the WIP list– last night I sketched out 3 new quilt designs I’d love to try, but clearly I need to focus some attention on my current projects first! My ideas always seem to outpace my ability to sew them– Does anyone else have this problem?

Also– one last thing– Lee (from Freshly Pieced, who hosts the WIP Wednesday each week) has entered a design in the connecting threads fabric design contest, and she needs votes for her design! You can find her design (“Flourish,” by Lee Heinrich) here. Check it out if you have a chance!

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When sewing blocks for a quilt, one of the most important steps is “squaring up”– that is, making sure all blocks are of uniform size and shape and are perfectly square. Squaring up a block is pretty straightforward, but recently when I was squaring up a bunch of blocks for a quilt, I started using this trick to make things run a little more smoothly and quickly.

taping off the cutting lines

First, I take 2 pieces of masking tape and I align them on my cutting mat based on the size of the blocks I am trimming. In this case, I was trimming blocks to be 8.5 inches square, so I made sure the inner edge of the pieces of tape were 8.5 inches apart.

Laying down the block

Next, I laid my square between the pieces of tape. I just eyeball it to make sure the middle is centered, but you could mark this off with tape, too.

one edge trimmed

I position my ruler along the inner edge of the tape, and I trim the block. Note– I also make sure the ruler is lined up with the grid lines on the mat above and below the tape to ensure that the cut is perfectly straight. But, having the tape as a guide makes it much faster to line the blocks up and trim evenly from both sides.

All square

After trimming 2 sides, turn the block to trim the remaining sides. Make sure that the trimmed sides line up perpendicular to the taped lines. I usually pick a horizontal line on the mat and make sure my edge is flush with it before trimming.

And there you have it! Perfectly square blocks, all trimmed quickly with the “cheat” lines taped onto the mat.

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