Maker Mat SAL: Optional Thread Catcher

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Hello, Hello! If you are just joining the sew-a-long, please scroll down a few posts to find the kickoff and all the tips shared in previous posts or scroll to the bottom of this post for direct links.

Some of you are just joining in and some are already finished with their projects. Today is my last post about the steps of the pattern, but there is still plenty of time to sew! I will officially be wrapping up the SAL at the end of this month and choosing winners for the awesome prizes up for grabs, but you don’t have to finish your mat to be eligible to win. You just have to post your progress photos with the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL2019 and #undercovermakermat on Instagram or Facebook. Every post is an entry. If you’re joining in and don’t have any social media accounts, feel free to email me some pics (nicole at lillyella dot com)!

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THREAD CATCHER

Onto today’s business. You’re either a thread catcher kind of person, or you’re a throw-it-on-the-floor-and-sweep-it-up-later kind of person! So, this step is optional. The thread catcher is designed to hang from a button on the far right pocket, but it will also stand on it’s own and can sit on your work table. If you choose to have it stand alone, you may want to shorten the height of it a bit to make it easier to use.

As with all the elements of this pattern, there are endless ways to customize the thread catcher. You can use a single fabric embellished with trim and selvedges or you can create any sort of patchwork design you like. Piece in a single accent strip, make the bottom half a contrasting fabric or use another paper pieced block. Here are a few examples:

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purebredcatcher

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OTHER USES

Outside of this project, the thread catcher alone is handy for a variety of other uses! I often hang one somewhere on my machine while I’m sewing and I’m also working on a set that will hang from hooks on the wall behind my sewing machine to hold tools and notions. You could hang some in a bedroom or bathroom for jewelry, toiletries, hair accessories, etc! You can easily adjust the size by adding or subtracting equal amounts to all pieces.

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Remember to keep sharing your photos with the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL2019 and #undercovermakermat!

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long: All the details

PART ONE: Kickoff! Sizing your mat and tutorials for beginners

Sponsors and Prizes!

PART TWO: Adding a machine handle opening

PART THREE: Pocket Panel Tips & Tutorials

Maker Mat SAL: Pocket Panel Tips & Tutorials

Hello, Hello! If you are just joining the sew-a-long, please scroll down a few posts to find the kickoff and all the tips shared in previous posts or scroll to the bottom of this post for direct links.

So far we’ve worked on the main body of the mat and how to add a machine handle opening, and today I’m going to talk about the pocket panels. If you’re just getting started on your mat, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time!

Before you begin your pocket panels remember that if you changed the size of your main body, you will need to also adjust the size of the pocket panels! You can do this by changing the size of one pocket or adjusting all the pockets equally. Don’t forget to think about seam allowances when calculating cutting sizes.

One thing to note about the pocket panels is that there are SO many ways you can customize this entire project, but especially this part. You can adjust the sizes, add more or less pockets, you can piece them all with any block you love or you can eve use one solid cut of fabric to make it really quick and easy. Be sure to check out the #undercovermakermat hashtag on social media to see tons of creative inspiration!

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Above you can see just a few variations from mats that I’ve made in the past. The top left follows the pattern as written, which the bottom left follows the same sizing and layout, but uses full cuts of fabric (rather than piecing) with cute fussy cuts! On the right, there is a little mix of both. I substituted my Love Story pattern block for the butterfly and then used solid fabric cuts for the other pockets with some added lace trim details.

First I’m going to share some tutorials and tips on creating the accent pocket panels which are the paper pieced butterfly and the selvedge pockets, then I’ll cover a bit more details on piecing the panels and trim options.

All the information you need to create the accent pocket pieces is included in the pattern (including a link to a tutorial on making the butterfly for beginner paper piecers), but I will go into a bit more detail here and include some additional tips and photos, as well as design variation ideas.

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PAPER PIECING TIPS

You can find the pattern for my Butterfly Charm Blocks here. All three butterfly designs are the same size and any can be used. The foundation paper piecing tutorial link included in the pattern is from Cassandra Madge and you can find it here. It was so sweet of her to use my pattern as the example for her tutorial!

Our methods of paper piecing are very similar, with just a few differences. I like to use the Add-A-Quarter Ruler, rather than a standard quilting ruler. It does the same job, but is just one of those tools that takes away some room for error. Another paper piecing tutorial I often direct people to is this video from Connecting Threads. You can see the Add-A-Quarter ruler being used.

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

When I paper piece, especially small blocks, I like to use Foundation Paper. You can buy one from Carol Doaks or you can use any thin newsprint. Someone recently mentioned they found this pack from Dick Blick, and you can’t beat the price! I also apologize that I don’t remember who tagged me on that, please let me know if it was you! It is essentially just a thinner paper that creates less bulk and allows for easier removal. You can use any paper for paper piecing, but the thinner you can find, the easier it will make the process.

Another thing I ALWAYS do is to trace the pattern onto the back of the sheet. It does not have to be perfect because you will only be using it for reference, but it helps in a multitude of ways. I use a lightbox, but you can also use a window. Since this is the side where you will place your fabric, you can use these lines as a guide for cutting your fabric pieces. You can still use the printed side, but you have to work with your fabric upside down at that point, and I like to see the prints and placement.

After tracing and selecting fabrics, I also note my fabric selections or color accordingly on this side. Then I always know I’m placing the correct piece. These lines also help you as you sew to make sure a fabric cut will cover a segment. Place the fabric where you would for your next seam, but before sewing, hold the fabric approximately where your seam will be and fold the fabric over as you would when pressing it after sewing. You can then see if your piece is large enough to cover everything it needs to. You can then sew your seam with confidence, because unpicking a paper pieced seam is NO FUN!

Lastly, I find having these lines helps prevent you from missing a segment, which is something I see a lot in paper piecing. When you have the pattern lines on the side where you are placing fabric, you will notice if you’ve missed a piece. You still have to pay attention, but it’s definitely better than flying blind!

paper piecing tips | lillyella stitchery

In Cassandra’s tutorial, you will see her talking about adding some basting stitches to you sections to help when piecing them together. This is important and something I always do as well, however, I put my stitches in the seam allowance as you can see above in the left photo.

Another tip is that when trimming sections to the seam allowance after piecing, do not trim any sides that are on an outer edge (above right). This way you can trim your final block to size after it is completely pieced. It is not uncommon to lose a little bit in each seam, so this ensures you can have the correct sized block in the end, and also lets you trim the block to a slighty larger size, if desired.

After piecing sections, I always remove the paper from the seam allowance only before sewing sections together. This just helps with bulk and allows you to press a flatter seam before adding the next section. You can also see this in the above right photo.

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SELVEDGE POCKETS

For those who are new to sewing or do not know what a selvedge is, it is the finished edge on a bolt of fabric. There are finished edges on both sides along the width of the fabric, but only one will contain printing and this is the side I use on this project. I cut my selvedges off with about one half inch to one inch or so of the fabric print included, just to make sure I always have enough extra to work with them. The directions on how to work with the selvedges to create the pockets are included in the pattern.

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VARIATIONS

Below are more variations from makes on Instagram to help inspire you!

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TRIM

This pattern uses trims or ribbons for securing the secondary pockets and hiding the raw edges, and also for creating the side ties when using it as a machine cover. Below are some trims from my collection that I’ve found at Joanns, Hobby Lobby and even Walmart. Anything between 1/4″ to 3/8″ width is best. If it is too small then you will have trouble enclosing the raw edge of the pocket, any thicker and you cut into your pocket space. Trims that are more solid are best to hide the raw edges, but some lacier style trims can work ok, too.

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If you don’t have any trims on hand, you can also use a thin bias binding strip instead. Start with a 1″ or 1.25″ cut strip, fold the raw edges into the center, then fold in half and press and use this as you would a piece of ribbon. You can also you another selvedge with the cut side pressed under. Lots of possibilities!

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Undercover Maker Mat | lillyella stitchery

POCKET BINDING

I like the look of the binding on the pocket because I think it balances the piece nicely, but if you prefer, you can eliminate this step and instead attach the lining to the pocket panel just as you did on the small secondary pockets. Just lay your lining piece, RST, on top of your finished main pocket panel and sew across the top with a 1/4″ seam. Flip the lining to the back, press, and top stitch along the top edge. You can include the fusible fleece when you do this, add it after tucked up to the seam, or skip it all together and use some lightweight interfacing on one or both pieces instead.

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Above are a couple examples I saw on the #undercovermakermat hashtag on instagram that demonstrate this variation. If you have any questions about doing this instead of the binding, just let me know and I’m happy to help!

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Once your full pocket panel is complete, you will baste it to your mat body and bind the entire piece as covered in the pattern. BE SURE TO ADD YOUR SIDE TIES BEFORE BINDING! If you do not plan to use your mat as a cover, you can leave them off. I did forget to add them once and just had to unpick a little bit of my binding and tuck them in, which was not hard to do, so it’s not the end of the world if you forget, or even decide to add them later!

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Just as with trim used to secure the secondary pockets, you can instead use a binding strip for your side ties, or even additional selvedges. If using a binding strip, simply top stitch along the folded edge to close it up. You can tie knots on the ends or stitch them closed.

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Stay tuned next week for one more post talking about the thread catcher before we wrap things up on October 28!

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long: All the details

PART ONE: Kickoff! Sizing your mat and tutorials for beginners

Sponsors and Prizes!

PART TWO: Adding a machine handle opening

Maker Mat SAL Sponsors & Prizes!

We’re just about through week one of the Undercover Maker Mat Sew Along and it’s time to talk prizes! Who doesn’t love the chance to score some sweet gifts while sewing up a super fun project?!

I have some really awesome and generous sponsors that have donated some SUPER FABULOUS prizes to give away during the sew along. Everyone who participates in the SAL and posts progress photos and/or finished pieces on social media with the hashtags #undercovermakermatsal2019 and #undercovermakermat will be eligible to win. All winners will be drawn at random at the end of sew along.

Here’s what’s up for grabs…

String & Story

HollyAnne of String & Story is offering a spot in the Spring session of her online Free Motion Quilting Academy course! YOU GUISE, that’s a $150 value! Isn’t that so sweet of her? You really need to check out this class. She has a session in progress right now, but you can sign up here to be notified about the next class.

Be sure to check out her Instagram posts to see the amazing work she does and what her students accomplish during the course. If you have always thought you could not learn to FMQ like a rockstar – THINK AGAIN! I guarantee HollyAnne can teach you! (And this is using any domestic machine!).

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Hummingbird Lane Fabrics

You like fabric, right?! Well, we have two chances to win some! First up, I have a bundle of POP! Fabric by Rashida Coleman Hale for Ruby Star from Lesley at Hummingbird Lane Fabrics! This collection is SO CUTE and Lesley carries all the best in modern fabric. She’s also super sweet and amazing to work if you need help or something specific. You can check out her shop here!

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STASH FABRICS

More fabric! Next we have a $25 gift certificate to Stash Fabrics! You know how much I love shopping with them! The shipping is lightening fast and the service can’t be beat! They ship all over the world and have just about every single thing you could ever need from fabric to notions to patterns. You can check out the online shop here!

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EYE CANDY QUILTS

Are you a Fierce Quilter? I’ll say I get a little fierce when I quilt because I hate it so much :D! My brows furrow and my tongue sticks out the side of my mouth, but I do love rocking this pin from Anneliese at Eye Candy Quilts. It lives on my jean jacket and I’ve got one for one of you to win! You can find them here in her Etsy shop and I recommend stocking up on some for gifts for all your quilty friends!

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MAKER PIN CO

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen my super fun collaboration with Amanda at Maker Pin Co! She works with all your favorite designs to create THE CUTEST enamel pins based off quilting patterns and fabric designs, and she’s giving away a $20 shop credit! Here are a couple of my current favorites in her shop AND my Midnight Bite Bat Pin will be out soon, too and I can’t wait!! You can find all the current designs in her shop here!

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Sandy Oz Stitches

Don’t you love handmade gifts? I find that people don’t often make things for me since I make things myself, but there is nothing better than receiving a handmade gift from someone else! Sandy Osborne makes THE CUTEST little sewing accessories, pouches etc AND she knits!! So good. She made the little notion basket and button card shown below for the sew along and is also including a pack of 24ct gold straw needles and a $10 gift card to Super Buzzy! Isn’t that so sweet?! You can check out her Etsy shop here and follow all the adorable things she creates on instagram here!

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LILLYELLA STITCHERY

Hey, that’s me! Last, and I’m gonna say not least :D, I’m offering three winners my entire pattern library! If you don’t know how to paper piece – DON’T Worry! My Take Wing Mini pattern includes complete step by step instructions on how to foundation paper piece for beginners.

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I will have the next SAL post up in a couple days talking about how to add a handle hole to your Maker Mat body, then we’ll talk about pocket panels!

Maker Mat SAL Kickoff – Sizing your Mat & Tutorials for Beginners!

It’s time to kick off the 2019 Undercover Maker Mat Sew Along! I’m thrilled that so many of you are joining in. This is my favorite sew along because I love seeing all the personality that people put into their projects, plus it’s just awesome when I hear how much everyone loves having it and using it!

If you’re just tuning in, you can download the free Maker Mat pattern here. This sew along is open to everyone, there’s no sign up or obligation and anyone is free to join in at any time. I’ll be following the schedule outlined here sharing tips along the way, but you are welcome to sew at your own pace. There will be some amazing prizes up for grabs, too, and everyone who posts their progress photos and finished pieces on social media with the #undercovermakermatsal2019, #undercovermakermat and @lillyellastitchery will be eligible to win! Every post counts as an entry and winners will be drawn at random.

This week we’re pulling fabric and sewing up the main body of the mat. Today I’m going to talk about how to customize the size of the Maker Mat to fit your specific machine and then later this week I’ll be sharing a tutorial for adding a machine handle hole to the body. This is also something you can do to any finished mat if you’ve made one previously.

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SIZING YOUR MAT

The finished mat as it is designed in the pattern measures 20″ wide by 23″ long. This size was based off a couple machines I had on hand and what felt good to fit on a variety of tables. This size can be easily changed if you find that you need a larger or smaller mat to cover your machine or fit on your work surface. I just got this adorable little travel machine, so I’m making a tiny mat to fit it. Aside from determining the size of your main body, the only other change you’ll need to make to the pattern is adjusting the width of the pocket panel, which I will cover next week.

A couple things to consider when sizing your mat. If you plan to use it as a mat under your machine and also a cover, you will follow the steps below for measuring your machine, but you will also want to think about the table you’ll be on when using the mat under your machine. You may need 25″ or more to fully cover your machine, but may find this leaves too much mat on your table that you don’t have room for. If this is the case, perhaps consider a happy medium. The cover does not need to fully cover the machine to be functional.

To customize the size of your mat, start by measuring the width of your machine and deciding if you’d like any “extra”. The base of my machine measures 13″ across, but since the hand wheel sticks out a bit farther, I’m going to make my body 13.5″ wide.

Next you will measure up and over your machine. You will want to leave a little slack in your tape or add a bit to your measurement to account for a little bulk in the body once it’s quilted. I left some slack in my photos above, so I’m going to make my mat 24.5″ long. If you do not plan to also use your mat as a cover, then you do not need to worry about this measurement and can stick with the original 23″ length in the pattern, or measure your table and decide what size you like.

I’m a visual person so I like to make diagrams of my measurements. Above you will also see my handle hole measurements, but I’ll cover that in more detail later this week. So, to fit my machine, I’ll be making the main body of my Mat 13.5″ wide by 24.5″ long vs the 20″ x 23″ specified in the pattern. (I may choose to add a bit more to the width, just to have some extra pocket space, but I don’t want the sides too “floppy” when it’s covering the machine since I’ll be traveling with it.)

As I mentioned, if you change the width of your mat, you will need to equally add or subtract measurements when making the pocket panel pieces. I will cover this in more detail next week, but for those who like too work ahead, an easy way to do this is to simply add or subtract from one of the end pockets and keep the inner pocket dimensions the same, but you can, of course, adjust them any way you like.

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FABRIC PULL

This is a piece to have fun with! I usually go with a subtle background so that I can really have fun with the pocket panels, but I’m going to change things up this time. Since my mat will be smaller for this machine, I’m going to make my pockets a little simpler. I will use some prints and perhaps piece one panel of stripes, but I’m going to use that super fun focal print from Alison Glass Handiwork as the body with the bright blue mariner cloth binding.

This is pretty much how I make decisions on fabrics, I try to lay things out as best I can and just step back to take a look. This time when I stepped back, I tripped right over my space heater and conked my head, but I don’t really need ALL of my scalp anyway.

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TUTORIALS FOR BEGINNERS

If you’re a sewist, but new to quilting, don’t fear! The body of the Maker Mat is a great first project to dip your toes into the world of quilting!

To create the main body of the Maker Mat, you will need basic knowledge of how to layer your top, batting and backing and how to do the quilting stitches. This tutorial from Suzy Quilts covers all the basics. It applies to a large quilt, so working with your main mat body will simply be a smaller and simpler version! Straight line quilting is a great design for beginners, or a crosshatch is a always a nice option, too. I’m not sure its mentioned in the tutorial, but I love using a Herra Marker (a bone folder or scoring tool also works similarly) to mark my quilting lines, especially for something like a crosshatch. Here is a video on using a Herra Marker.

Another quilting technique you will need to know comes at the end of the body and that is binding. This is the little edge “wrap” that goes around the entire piece and seals everything up. Here is a helpful tutorial from Bluprint.

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So this week share photos of your fabric pulls and your main body progress and be sure to use #undercovermakermatsal2019, #undercovermakermat and @lillyellastitchery when posting! Tomorrow I’ll start sharing some of the amazing sponsors and prizes I have lined up!

Undercover Maker Mat SAL 2019

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It’s almost time! The 2019 Undercover Maker Mat Sew Along will kick off on October 7 and run thru October 23! Anyone is welcome to join in and sew along. There is no sign up or obligation and the sew along will be casual! You can download the free pattern here. I will be following the schedule below but you are welcome to sew at your own pace and join in any time!

There are many ways to customize this project and adjust it to your skill level, so please note that many specifics indicated in the schedule are optional. Before the SAL begins, I will share a blog post discussing some of these options, variations and customizations to help you plan. I will talk about sizing the mat to your specific machine and this year I will also be sharing a little tutorial on how to add a hole in the mat for a handle, if your machine has one.

UNDERCOVER MAKER MAT SAL SCHEDULE

October 7: Kick off! Make main body panel

October 15: Adding a machine handle opening

October 17: Pocket panels

October 18: Make optional thread catcher

October 28: Share your finished projects!

In the meantime, you can download the pattern and start thinking about your fabric pull. You can also check out the hashtag #undercovermakermat on social media to see oodles of inspiration! If you’ll be joining in, I’d love for you to share the top graphic from the post and tag me @lillyellastitchery and use the hashtag #UndercoverMakerMatSAL2019!

~ Nicole

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Sew-A-Long Tutorials for Beginners

Hello, my Sew-A-Long friends! Today I’ll be sharing a few tutorial links for those who are joining in the Undercover Maker Mat SAL, but may not be familiar with basic quilting or paper piecing (which is an optional element!). There are a lot of step-by-step photos in the pattern and many basic techniques, but it does require basic knowledge of making a “quilt sandwich”, binding a quilt, and paper piecing , if you choose. If you haven’t viewed my Instagram stories, please pop over and take a look. I’m saving all the SAL stories in a highlight which you can access anytime from my main profile. You can also turn on notifications for my posts and/or my stories so you don’t miss anything. I shared a few tips and examples yesterday on how to simplify or customize your mat, so this can help you with the planning stage.

Onto the tutorials! If you’re new to quilting, you will need basic knowledge of how to layer your top, batting and backing for the main mat body (aka the “quilt sandwich”), and how to do the quilting stitches. This tutorial from Suzy Quilts covers all the basics. It applies to a large quilt, so working with your main mat body will simply be a smaller and simpler version! Straight line quilting is a great design for beginners, or a crosshatch is a always a nice option, too. I’m not sure its mentioned in the tutorial, but I love using a Herra Marker (a bone folder or scoring tool also works similarly) to mark my quilting lines, especially for something like a crosshatch. Here is a video on using a Herra Marker.

Another quilting technique you will need to know comes at the very end of the project, but it is binding. This is the little edge “wrap” that goes around the entire piece and seals everything up. Here is a helpful tutorial from Craftsy.

Lastly, we have paper piecing. If you’d like to create the butterfly pocket panel as shown in the pattern, but have never paper pieced before, don’t be intimidated! This is a great time to learn! Cassandra Madge did a wonderful two-part tutorial for beginners using my Butterfly Charm Blocks pattern and you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions along the way, and stay tuned for more helpful tips here and on Instagram!

Brimfield Meadows + EPP Tips

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Howdy, friends! Sheesh, this blog has been neglected. Some days I feel bad and others I don’t because most people have the attention span of a goldfish these days and blogs aren’t what they used to be. Still, I love to have a space to share more than a few words and one photo of something, regardless of who ever reads it!

Life has been extra crazy lately, but I squeezed in a few days of hand stitching recently because I needed to create something beautiful for myself. I stitched up the new Brimfield Meadows block from Brimfield Awakening and HOT DOG! I couldn’t be happier with it. It was quick and fun to sew, it came together like a dream and it’s such a unique and beautiful shape. I used Sleeping Porch lawn to match the bed quilt I’m working on and plan to make a pillow out of this block to go in my bedroom.

While I’m here, I just wanted to share a few things I loved about this pattern and how I sewed up the variation I chose. I’m also going to talk a bit about some of my favorite notions for English Paper Piecing, because I often get questions in my social media posts. I am by no means an EPP expert, but I have experimented with a variety of threads, basting techniques and stitching methods, and definitely have my favorites that I think yield nearly flawless results.

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Above are just a handful of the fabric placements I was playing with for this block. My final block matches the top left diagram above. You can see all the separate segments of the pattern and how I chose to combine two or three pieces in areas to create one larger piece. I love how you can do this to change the final look of there block, use larger fussy cuts, and make the stitching go quicker!

I simply taped some of the segments together to create the larger units. Note that the outer most tip of every “petal” is perforated on the paper so you can use them whole or split them as I did. Also, another design variation that isn’t shown above is different arrangement of those center “orange peels”. You can flip them 180° from how I used them, sew them up as one unit or even leave half or all of the segments out completely, letting your background show through. You can check out the hashtag #BrimfieldMeadows on social media to see some beautiful examples of all these variations.

While this photo above may look like someone’s unmade bed, it’s how I audition fabrics. If you look close you can see the method to my madness! I’m a total planner, so even when I say I’ll just “wing it”, I always end up making diagrams and taking pics of piles of fabrics to help me plan things, or at least start in the right direction.

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TIPS & TOOLS

Basting curves was new to me, and it took me a couple tries to figure out the best order of basting down the sides, but once I did, it was really easy! I basted the concave edge first, then pulled the convex edge as needed to make it smooth, and did the two straight sides last. I cut small notches to help with the concave curves which you can see below. As I mentioned above, I used small pieces of tape to connect the paper pieces and create the larger units, which you can also see below.

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When I first started EPP, I would thread baste, mainly because I didn’t have glue basting supplies and didn’t feel like researching how to do it! I tried glue basting because it seemed to save time and it did not work for me AT ALL! The problem was that I was applying the glue all the way to the edge of the paper and I couldn’t grab my fabric to stitch it. I watched some amazing tutorial videos from the queen of EPP Karen the DIY addict and it changed my glue basting life! I watched her apply the glue a bit in from the edges and it was like a “why didn’t I try that?!” kind of moment, but it works like a charm and I’m all glue now! I prefer to use a glue pen (such as Sewline or Fons and Porter).

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When it comes to stitching all those pieces together, I also tried many methods and many threads! If you know me at all, you probably see what a perfectionist I usually am, so visible stitches drive me BONKERS! Though I have learned that sometimes this is on purpose to show consistency? Regardless, it’s not for me. Once again, Karen saved my EPP life with her flat back stitching tutorial. You can see in the photos above of the back of my block that my stitches are by no means consistent or perfect, but you can see directly above how they are not visible at all from the front. This is the only stitching method I use and while some people think it’s slower than others, I find it very easy and quick. It helps to line up pieces and I love that the stitches are hidden so well.

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Last but not least, my favorite thread and my favorite thimble! Hands down, I love InvisaFil thread from WonderFil. It is 100wt polyester and virtually invisible. I do double the thread over and sew with two strands simply because I like a secure thread on my needle, rather than a loose tail, but it’s strong enough to be used as a single strand. I have tried 80wt cotton threads and they also work well, but I’m a tight puller and am much more likely to break the cotton thread, but I’ve never broken the InvisaFil. I match my thread to my lighter fabric when possible, but as you can see in my detail shots, it’s not too important since you can’t see the stitches!

My favorite thimble, which I cannot stitch without these days, is the Natural Fit Leather thimble shown above which is from Clover. It comes in three sizes and I wear a small on my middle finger, but I have pretty tiny hands 🙂

So, that’s all I got for now! I hope some of these little tips and resources have been helpful to you. I’ll be sure to share my finished Brimfield Meadows pillow once it’s complete, and you may very well see more blocks popping up because I am in love with this pattern (which you can find here if you’re interested)!

happy stitching!
~ nicole

Maker Pin Co. Collaboration

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I was so excited when Amanda at Maker Pin Co. asked me to be her next collaborative artist! It was really hard to decide which of my paper piecing patterns to turn into a pin and I knew that two patterns I had in the works, a honey bee and a luna moth, would be super cute options, so I quickly finished them and we put four designs up for a vote. But, in the end, no one else could decide either so we produced all four and I just received the first batch. Aren’t they the cutest?!

We just opened up a second round of preorders through August 30, so if you’d like to snag one of these pins for yourself or as a gift or swap extra, pop over to Maker Pin Co. here!

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If you haven’t heard of Maker Pin Co. yet, let me introduce you! Amanda, formerly of Stash Builder Box, recently began this new adventure. She works with different artists to create enamel pins using their designs and, just like with Stash Builder Box, maker Pin Co. is all about helping those in need with $1 from each pin sale being donated to a charity of the artist’s choice.

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The charity I chose is the Pollinator Partnership. Founded in 1997, the Pollinator Partnership is the largest nonprofit in the world committed to protecting pollinators and their ecosystems and promoting conservation efforts. The charity works throughout North America and globally to safeguard birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles and other pollinators.

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We donated $280 so far from the first round of preorders and I’m hoping we can more than double that! What do you think?

The Bee pin measures 1.5″ wide and the rest measure 1.25″, making them perfect for jacket lapels, hats, bags, pouches or as push pins on bulletin boards!

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If you don’t follow me on social media, I’ve been a little behind on blogging lately (summer is so busy!) and you may be wondering about the Bee and Luna Moth patterns. They are new and coming soon! I typically don’t share my new designs until I’ve sewn them up myself, but I really wanted to include them in the pin designs, and am so glad I did!

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My goal is to have the Bee pattern, named Honey Maker, out in October or November, with the Luna Moth (Moon Dancer) released shortly after, but likely early in the new year. I hope you’re as excited about them as I am!

Thanks for stopping by today! Remember, pin preorders are only open through August 30, so head over there now and support our pollinators! Be sure to check out all the other awesome collaborative designs while you’re there, too!

~ nicole

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Fabric.com Fall Block Party

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Fall is officially in the air and I’m closing out the Fabric.com Fall Block Party with my contribution, Flutter By! If you’re just joining the party, you can find all the free blocks shown above on the Fabric.com blog here. This collection of quilt blocks is an excellent skill builder with traditional piecing, foundation paper piecing, english paper piecing, and appliqué.

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Though many people typically associate Butterflies with Spring, some of my favorites appear as Fall blows in when the monarchs emerge and the Painted Ladies make their migration. Plus, we all know I love them, so I’m always game to share a new pattern 🙂

My Flutter By block is foundation paper pieced and sews up quickly with just three simple sections. The pattern includes the butterfly as shown and reversed so your butterfly can head East or West!

You can download the free pattern from Fabric.com here!

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I wanted to use an unexpected mix of fabrics on my block, with a variety of prints and textures, and am so in love with the result! I started with the focal floral print, which is Liberty of London Lawn. Many people do not think about using Lawn when quilting, but it’s quite dreamy, especially when paper piecing because it is lightweight.

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The pink stripe fabric is a woven from Loominous by Anna Maria Horner, dotted line coral. The stripes are raised and add such a lovely textural element. The remaining prints are quilting cotton from different designers – Indah Batiks Herringbone Coffee, Dear Stella Trail Mix Feathers Mustard, Dear Stella Honey Bee Scallop Dot Corn, and Cotton + Steel Ombre Pigment Aqua for the background. I love how the gradient of the ombre prints plays subtly in the background. It’s so perfect for sky!

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I have a few fun quilt layout and other project ideas in mind for this block, so keep an eye here and on my instagram page for those! I hope you enjoy my contribution to the Fabric.com Fall Block Party! Please share your projects with the hashtags #flutterbypattern and #fabricdotcomblockparty!

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Planning my Moonstone Quilt

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Howdy, friends! I’m here today with a short post about planning my Moonstone Quilt. There is a high likelihood that all of this may only make sense in my own head, but planning this was a HUGE struggle for me, so I wanted to share my thought process in case it does happen to help anyone!

First, if you haven’t seen the Moonstone pattern by Giucy Giuce and Karen The DIY Addict, you must check it out! (You can find it here.) Moonstone is an English Paper Piecing pattern (aka hand sewing!) and it comes in a fantastic kit complete with all the pieces you need to make a quilt, or several small projects, along with acrylic templates for cutting your pieces. The kit and pattern are really well done and I think the design is just so striking! It was just recently released, but there are already a handful of really inspiring photos on social media under #moonstonequilt.

AAANNDDDD… there just so happens to be an AMAZING giveaway going on right now where TWO lucky winners will be flown to San Fransisco to hang out with Giuseppe and Karen for the launch of the Moonstone Sew Along! You can find all the details here.

Ok… onto my quilt!

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For my Moonstone quilt, all I knew was that I wanted to use the new line, Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena (Tokyo Milk) for Free Spirit Fabrics. It’s absolutely dreamy and seems like it was just made for fussy cutting. That’s as far as my plan went. I couldn’t even decide what configuration of the pattern I wanted to use.

So I stared, and stared, and stared some more. I only chose a few of my favorite prints from the line, but was really struggling because there is a lot of variation in color in what I chose. As a whole, the line ties together, but when you just pick and choose some prints, not quite as much.

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I started to pull some blenders in every color used in all the prints I had and decided that a Free Spirit Fabric designer mash up would be the way to go. I pulled what I could from my Tula Pink and Anna Maria Horner stash, and order a few more things by those two ladies, as well as Amy Butler and Heather Bailey.

I hadn’t really planned to use this many colors in the quilt, but once I saw them all together, how could I not? I had to figure out a plan. I organized all the blenders by color and took some photos. I spent a good amount of time looking at the photo of all my focals and then at the photo below of all the blenders. I stewed about it for awhile, as I usually do with projects. I kept hoping something would come to me.

And then I stewed some more. I mean, I stewed A LOT. I thought about while I walked the dogs, while I did dishes, I’m pretty sure I even dreamed about it.

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Something that many of you likely already know about me is that I am a planner. Hard core. I so desperately wanted to start cutting and sewing, but knew that I had to figure out where it was going first.

So I thought about the focals and how I would fussy cut them. I took photos of all the parts I planned to use and thought about the main colors in each of those parts, then I made a list. This helped me figure out how many variations I had to work with in my design and how I may be able to organize them.

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I kept going back to the idea of a color fade. Perhaps diagonally across the quilt or something, but I couldn’t make that work. I ended up order some of the dark blue color way of the Neptune line because I felt like I was going to need it to balance everything out.

It was time to make some decisions. First, I had to pick a pattern configuration and then I just had to start playing.

I use Adobe Illustrator for most of my drawing and layout. I understand many people do not have this program, so these next steps may not be helpful for everyone, but it is a great program that anyone can use with a little patience and a few YouTube tutorials!

I really loved the Gems configuration of Moonstone because I love the four pointed stars it makes, but I wanted my fussy cut focals to run horizontally and diagonally because they are primarily people and fish, so I rotated the gems configuration 45° to what you see below. I drew up the pattern in Illustrator so that I could begin placing my fabrics and colors.

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I input JPG swatches of the focal fabrics and turn them into pattern swatches so that I can place them into shapes. It’s not perfect, but it definitely does the job!

Once I had the pattern drawn up, I stared at the blank canvas for a bit until I decided which shapes I wanted to focus on. I settled on the large four-pointed stars that you can see around the outer edges and their center octagons. Everything would radiate from these. I started playing with those elements only and trying different repetitive color arrangements.

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I was going a little crazy with all the possibilities so finally just chose my favorite and started filling in the spaces between. I still really wanted to achieve some sort of color gradation and began trying to do that between the stars. It took some time, but I finally felt like it was moving in the right direction!

Once I reached the point shown above, I felt confident enough about the direction that I could start sewing.

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A good part of what I’ve already laid out will repeat around, but I do still have a bit more to work out. All in good time…

In the meantime, I can sew! I finished my first piece yesterday and have my second prepped. My plan is to work out from the middle of the quilt so that I can stop or keep going at any point. My current design plan is about 65″ square.

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There’s no question that this quilt will take me quite awhile to finish, but I know I’ll enjoy the process, and that’s what matters!