By the Light of Daylight {+ a 20% off coupon!}

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I recently did an internet search for “Essential Sewing Tools.” I knew what the results would be — pages of articles talking about scissors, cutting mats, rulers, and everything else one might expect. Some even included things such as masking tape in their list of “Everything a Beginner Needs!”, but what every article left out was the one essential tool that is so often overlooked, light.

Today I want to share with you more about my favorite essential light tools for creating from The Daylight Company and a special 20% off coupon code!

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Light has played a crucial role throughout my creative career as a graphic artist and photographer, and is equally important to me now as a sewing pattern designer and quilter. It’s a tool that I utilize every step of the way in my sewing and design process.

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My patterns begin with the basics, pencil and paper. I sketch out my subject matter in true-to-life form and then begin the steps of creating a usable sewing pattern with the aid of my absolute favorite tool, a light box. I place tracing paper on top of my sketch on the light box and begin creating an angular version of the subject, figuring out how to break it up into sections and where all the seams need to be. Once I am satisfied, I scan my design into the computer and finalize the pattern pieces in Adobe Illustrator.

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When I’m ready to sew up a sample, I once again turn to my light box. I first trace the lines of my pattern onto the back of the paper patterns and mark my numbers and fabrics in each segment. This is something I recommend to everyone! When you can see the pattern on the side where you are placing your fabric, it allows you to check your work as you go and helps prevent common errors such as cutting your fabric too small or missing segments of the pattern.

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I also use my light box to precut all my fabric before sewing. It is especially useful when fussy cutting, but also allows you to cut your pieces to the exact size and shape you need, eliminating waste and ensuring you don’t end up with pieces that are just a little too small once you sew them on. Oh, the horror of seam ripping when paper piecing!
I currently use the Wafer 2 Light Box by Daylight Company and it is amazing! It’s only 3/8” thick and weighs next to nothing. The 12.5” x17” surface area is large enough for most any task, but still small enough to travel with. The LED bulbs stay cool and are dimmable, my favorite feature! I also use it when doing appliqué, embroidery, and a variety of other crafts.

Once I’m ready to sew a sample, I rely on a different type of light, my sewing lamp. I bet that I’m not alone in getting at least a little (or a lot!) jealous when I see amazing, sun drenched spaces on HGTV or while scrolling through social media. We all long for such a space to create in, but let’s face it, how many of us actually get to roll out of bed, make a cup of coffee and spend all day sewing in the sunlight? I sure don’t!

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Even though sewing is my “day job”, my daylight hours are often filled with chores and business tasks that push my actual creating time well past dusk, not to mention when I’m pulling an all-nighter to complete a tight deadline. Even when I am able to sew during the day, I found the built-in lights on my older machines were never enough. I was left with horrible shadows in the throat, right where I needed to see the most. Some modern machines I have tried do have much better LED lights built in, but they still tend to provide only condensed light in a specific area. Sometimes I would use the flashlight of my phone and stand it against the front of my machine. I even tried wearing a headlamp!

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I now use the Daylight Slimline Table Lamp and it’s a tool that I don’t know how I lived without. I recently had a friend over for a sewing night and she called the Slimline “magical.” I have to agree! It provides wide, even coverage, and daylight color temperature all in a sleek and lightweight package. I can clamp the lamp to any table I am working on and easily move it to a different location when needed. I even take it with me when I travel. Sometimes I work at our dining room table when I want to watch a movie with my husband and I love that I can bring my Slimline with me and feel like I’m in my studio. The flexible long arm allows me to move the light source wherever I need it and the slim design ensures it is never in my way. The LED bulbs stay cool so I don’t have to worry about burning myself when I need to move the light or have to shed layers of clothing after working for a few hours. They also make a floor lamp version.

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Not only is the Slimline indispensable for sewing or cutting, but the true-to-life color of the bulbs allows me to select fabrics or match threads any time of the day or night, just as if I was working in the sunlight. I previously had to squeeze time into my day to pull fabrics for projects that I may work on later or to complete other detailed tasks, such as hand finishing, because I knew doing these things in artificial light would lead to horrible unmatched color choices or would be difficult to see clearly once the sun went down. These kinds of things were horrible for my time management and productivity, especially when facing a deadline.

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I’ll wrap this up with a statistic. Did you know that by age 50, a person requires ten times as much light to read or do equivalent tasks as a child would? By age 80, that increases to thirty times. So, if you’re one of the many people that didn’t think light was one of their most essential sewing tools, it’s time to turn the lights on.

I’m so excited to have paired up with Daylight to offer a 20% discount on any order from their website with code lillyella17. Pass this along to Santa or treat yourself, I GUARANTEE you (and your eyes!) will be thrilled with the investment!

Happy stitching!
~nicole

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Cotton Cuts Mystery Quilt Blog Hop

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Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in a really fun Blog Hop for an awesome “block of the month” type quilt from Cotton Cuts called the Puzzle Mystery Quilt. This is seriously such a cool concept! if you haven’t heard of it before, this is how it works…

The club begins in February or July and runs for one year, with a new quilt theme each year. (And before I forget to mention it, sign ups for next years Mystery Quilt beginning in February start TODAY! Click here for all the details.)

The current Mystery Quilt theme that I was part of is Through the Garden Gate. When you sign up for the club, you choose a colorway and finished quilt size. The colorways/fabrics for the Spring Puzzle Mystery Quilt (PMQ) are so fun! There is always a variety of styles to choose from. Some of the upcoming spring choices include Panache by Rebecca Bryan, Fable by Rae Ritchie, Diving Board by Alison Glass and many more.

Each month you receive a packet of PRECUT fabric (the best part!) and directions on piecing that month’s blocks or block parts. The mystery aspect is that you have no idea how it will come together until the last month when you receive directions on how to piece all your parts together.

What I love most about this is how quick and easy it was. Because the fabrics come precut, you just sit down for about an hour of sewing and that month’s blocks are done. This is something I COULD ACTUALLY KEEP UP WITH! Right?!

#TeamZinnia (2)So, when you join the club, you make the entire quilt yourself, but to help spread the word and make an awesome quilt for Charity (which you can enter to win, read on!), Cotton Cuts asked a group of us to each make one month’s blocks. The colorway we worked on is the Aster colorway which is a mix of Carolyn Friedlander fabrics. Below you can also see the other colorways from the 2017 PMQ.

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Here is an example of what you receive each month, your precut fabrics and direction sheet. It was really easy to follow and took me about 45 minutes, if even, to sew all my parts.

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In the end, below are the November “blocks” I sewed up. I am so anxious to see how these all come together! Everyone who has participated has sent their parts back to Cotton Cuts for them to assemble the final quilt which will be raffled off to benefit Valley Industries.

You can read more about this cause and enter the quilt raffle here!

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As I mentioned in the beginning, sign ups for the 2018 Puzzle Mystery Quilt are now open! You can see all the colorways and learn more here. I’m really torn between the Dublin and Helinski colorways – which is your favorite??

You can check out the previous and upcoming clues through the Blog Hop here:

July – Sheila Christensen (www.mysteryquilter.com) with guest blogger Kim Moos
August – Yvonne Fuchs (www.quiltingjetgirl.com)
September – Teri Lucas (www.terificreations.com)
October – Wendy Welsh (www.wendysquiltsandmore.blogspot.com)
November – Nicole Young (www.lillyella.com)
December – Chris Dodsley (www.madebychrissied.blogspot.com)
January – Amy Smart (www.diaryofaquilter.com)
February – Sam Hunter (www.huntersdesignstudio.com)
March – Cheryl Sleboda (www.muppin.com)

Happy sewing, friends!
~ nicole

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!

I may be underdressed, but at least I’m not late.

Earlier this year, Art Gallery Fabrics asked if I wanted to play with any of their new collections, and when I first saw Lower the Volume, I immediately knew I had to make a quilt. I have been wanting to make a low volume quilt for some time and this was the perfect opportunity to finally do it. Shortly there after, Mister Domestic asked me to be a part of his sewing party showcasing the new AGF Capsules and Fusions lines, to which I replied, “of course!”, seeing as I already had this plan in the works, and who doesn’t want to party?! But then I went into panic mode…

I knew there was no way I could finish this quilt “on time”. My thought was that I should make something else so I would have a beautiful finished product to show off when it was my day on the tour. This is what I typically do and how I always think. The problem with this is that I never let myself do the “big projects” that I really WANT to do, because I never have enough time to complete them.

I am a slow sewer, and I mean SLOW. This is partly because I just physically move slow and meticulously when I create, partly because I’m always working on about 13 things at once, and partly because I just don’t have a lot of time to sew, especially when spring hits and it’s time to tend to the land, or when my husband gets extra busy at work because sh*t is hitting the fan somewhere in the world.

So, there you have my little chunk of a quilt top in progress. I have no idea when I will finish it (though I’m super excited to because I am LOVING it!), because I’m not even done typing this blog post and already stressing about the new deadlines I have ahead of me next week.

Showing off this unfinished top for my day on the blog tour is painful and embarrassing for me. I’ve been feeling disappointed in myself all week and I know that’s just ridiculous, right?! We are always striving for a picture of perfection, even though every one of us knows that is never what life is actually like behind the scenes of social media. But, despite these feelings, I’m really glad that I chose to continue with this selfish sewing project, to let myself make something that I really wanted to, and to try and be more comfortable with being “less than perfect”. I do hope you like what you see thus far, though, and help cheer me onto the finish line!

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ABOUT THE FABRIC & PATTERN

Lower the Volume is one of four new Art Gallery Fabrics Capsules collections, and I think its awesomeness speaks for itself! We all use low volumes in nearly every project we make, but what I love about this line is how it’s interesting and lively enough to stand all on its own. I originally planned to use the line exclusively in the quilt, but decided that a small pop of color would be a really nice accent.

I chose the fantastic plaid shown above from the new Mad Plaid capsule collection for the backing (because it matches my living room perfectly!) and pulled the accent colors from there, which are Art Gallery Pure Elements and Solid Smooth denims (my favorites!). Aside from a single row of blue and yellow hexies, the rest of the quilt will be all low volume.

The pattern I’m using is Sari’s and my Sariella Deco Hex pattern that we created for the April Stash Builder Anniversary box. If you saw the mini we originally made, you’ll see I’ve rotated the pattern 90° counter-clockwise here for use in the quilt. I also enlarged the pattern a bit. If you missed the pattern in the Stash Builder box, it will be available from Sariella later this year, so stay tuned! I will also share more about my process in making this quilt when I finish it.

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STOP by the party!

Today wraps up week one of Mister Domestic’s Sewing Party, but be sure to check out the other posts from this week (shown above, links below), and also the Fusions portions of the tour beginning next week. I’ve already seen a few of the projects and they are legen… wait for it… DARY!

Capsules (April 17 – 21):
Monday: Cristy Stuhldreher (@loveyousew_) http://www.iloveyousew.com/
Tuesday: Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) https://nightquilter.com/
Wednesday: Sharon McConnell (@colorgirlquilts) http://colorgirlquilts.com/
Thursday: Stephanie Palmer (@latenightquilter) http://latenightquilter.com/
Friday: Nicole Young (@lillyellasworld) That’s me!

Fusions (April 24th – 28th)
Monday: Nicole Daksiewicz (@modernhandcraft) http://modernhandcraft.com/
Tuesday: Tara Curtis (@t_jaye, @WEFTYneedle) http://www.tjaye.com/
Wednesday: Melissa LeRay (@ohhowsweetco) http://www.ohhowsweet.com/
Thursday: Sarah Thomas (@sariditty) http://www.sariditty.com/
Friday: Jennifer Rossotti (@jennrossotti) http://gingerpeachstudio.com/

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!
~nicole

p.s. bonus points if you can guess what show I’ve been binge watching this week!

Blithe Fabrics Blog Tour

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I first got to play with Katarina Roccella’s newest line, Blithe,  when I made my Bias Weave pillow for the Lookbook last fall. It was love at first sight before I even had the fabric, but you just cannot help but fall head over heels in love once you start piecing it together. Something about the palette and the way it plays with the Art Gallery Fabrics denims just melts your soul. I had a few bits and pieces left from my first project and knew exactly what to make for my stop on the Blog Tour.

I see cathedral windows as a quilty bucket list item, you know? I’ve always loved them (even before I was quilting), and recently watched a friend make a Christmas pillow and it really sparked my fire. It was time. I spent hours looking at and trying various methods and tutorials and decided that the Faux Cathedral Window tutorial by Diary of a Quilt Maven was the way to go for me. The method is pretty much the same as the Missouri Star easy cathedral windows tutorial as well, in case you prefer it in video form.

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What I liked most about this method was two things – first, it used small pieces of fabric, and that was all I had, and second, it felt very precise to me. Being a perfectionist, this is key. It’s also super easy to adjust the size of your windows to anything you wish and to create any shape piece you wish. I won’t walk you through the steps, because that is what the tutorial is for, but below are a few progress photos that may help demonstrate how I translated the tutorial into my finished pillow. Please excuse the bad lighting, it’s been a “work all night” kind of month! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or send me an email anytime.

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The solid fabric I used along with Blithe on my pillow is solid smooth Art Gallery Fabrics denim in Cool Foliage. It is absolutely perfect with this line and always a dream to work with. I made my window foundation pieces 3″ to start, versus 2.5″ as in the original tutorial, and I pieced 8 units across and four units down to create the window panel. I chose to use the text print inside the petals and the denim for the petal edges, but I also really love the look when these two elements are the same fabric.

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After the full window panel was complete, I pieced on the top and bottom strips that included a 1″ strip of the text print to help carry the design over, and then a 3″ strip of denim. I kept the back simple to showcase the beautiful owl print, but I think it would be really lovely to make a second window panel so the effect wraps all the way around the pillow. The finished pillow measures 20″ wide by about 18″ tall.

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The end result was exactly as I envisioned and there was nothing I did not like about the method I used to make it. l definitely be using it again and may actually have a cathedral window obsession after this experience. I already have two more projects planned!

Now that I have these two gorgeous pillows, I guess it’s time to make a bed quilt! It won’t be cathedral windows. I love them, but not that much 🙂

Be sure to check out all the other *amazing* projects in the blog tour by visiting Katarina’s Instagram feed and through the hashtag #blithefabricsblogtour!

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Beautiful Blithe (and a new pattern)

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Happy December, friends! Gosh, has this year flown by. I always have such big plans at the start of each year and then beat myself up at the end when I’ve barely touch my grand to-do list. But, life happens and I’m trying to teach myself to not stress about the things I don’t accomplish, but rather enjoy the time I spend on the things I do!

Easier said than done though, right?

I drew up my Bias Weave quilt pattern at least six months ago, probably longer. I designed it specifically for my Stash Fabrics Design Star Bundle and got as far as cutting everything and piecing a few rows, when things got really out of control around here, so on the back burner it went. But, when Katarina Roccella asked if I’d like to create a piece for her Blithe fabrics lookbook, I just could not say no because I love her and her fabrics!

I decided that an oversized pillow version of the pattern would be a great way to showcase the fabrics and get me motivated to keep working on the full quilt.

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I created this a couple months ago and the Blithe Lookbook is now out so I’m excited to share it with you! The pillow measures about 26″ x 23″ and is living on my bed right now. It’s a really nice sham size and it’s perfect for propping myself up to read. I’ve also used it on the floor when I’m crafting.

My husband put it best though, I have to say, “This is like a fancy person pillow. Like someone buys it out of a fancy magazine to put on a fancy couch that no one sits on. It’s all high class and sh*t.”. I’ll take that as a compliment, I think. (Disclaimer: My husband doesn’t always speak like a redneck. The first part was serious, then he started being a smart ass 🙂

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ABOUT THE FABRICS

Katarina has done it yet again, she is a true artist! Blithe is so dreamy and gorgeous. Deer, owls, birds, butterflies, tall trees, soft blenders, it feels like your taking a trip into a majestic winter wonderland. In addition to quilting cottons, the line includes canvas, knits, voile, ANNNNDDDDD Art Gallery Fabrics first printed linen – it is amazing! (It’s the antler print on the right below.)

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The line also pairs beautifully with the Art Gallery Denim Studio collection. I used the vanilla mist yarn dye and wicked sky smooth solid denims for the border strips on the front and incorporated the nectarine sunrise smooth solid into the back. The cool foliage is a perfect match, as well.

Click here or the pic below to check out the entire fabric line and all the amazing projects in the Blithe Lookbook >

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ABOUT THE PATTERN

My Bias Weave pattern will be for a full quilt and include a few sizes, but like the pillow I created, you can make a variety of pieces using the “block”. I wanted to create the full quilt sample before releasing the pattern, but I’m considering releasing it with just a diagram and the directions before I finish the quilt. I will (unfortunately!) be having surgery soon and I will have a lot of down time where I can work on the computer, but won’t be able to cut and sew for a bit. What do you think? I know this isn’t uncommon, but it’s just not something I’ve done myself. Give me your feedback, please!

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The pattern isn’t technically difficult to sew, but does require precision in cutting and piecing, so I’ll call it a skill builder! I did, however, build a little overage into the blocks to allow for trimming, which makes that precision pretty easy to accomplish.

There’s so many fun ways to play with color and fabric placement, I’m really excited to get this pattern out to testers and see what everyone comes up with!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek at this amazing new line, Blithe, and please take a second to leave me some feedback on the pattern release!

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Oh, What Fun Blog Hop (and the reality of life)

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Hello and happy Friday, friends! If you have popped over from the Hawthorne Threads blog, you will have seen that today is my day on the Oh, What Fun Blog Hop, and I have to start by saying oh, what fun it has been to work with these stinkin’ adorable fabrics! #icouldntresist

This line is new to the amazing in-house collections that Hawthorne Threads designs and prints digitally. If you are not familiar with their in-house lines, for the love of fabric go check them out now! I guarantee you will be awestruck and overwhelmed. When I browse their site I go into MAKE ALL THE THINGS overload.

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Upon first seeing Oh, What Fun, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. When it comes to gift giving, I often keep things simple and utilitarian. I’m a big fan of food gifts and useful things such as bath and body products, and my favorite thing about giving them is making the presentation adorable. Christmas is such a visual holiday. We can’t help but feel warm, peaceful and excited all at the same time when we see lights, Christmas trees and beautifully wrapped gifts, so I find the extra time and effort that goes into presentation is totally worth it for me.

So, I decided my post would be all about easy-to-sew gift giving vessels and adorable extras to decorate them with. Alright, so where are the projects, you ask?! Well, that’s where reality comes in.

I think we all realize, though sometimes forget, that blogs and social media are merely a glimpse at the highlights of life. I, for the most part, keep my everyday life and reality separate from my sewing adventures, and am often able to do this without interruption. But, the truth is that sometimes I fail. Sometimes it is too much to balance and we have to admit defeat. I am totally beating myself up that today is my day to share and that I am not ready, but the reality is that while I am here making pretty things, my husband is away in a dangerous country fighting for our freedom. There are fire fights, there are daily attacks, there are friendly workers who one day just decide to strap on a suicide vest and blow themselves up in the middle of the base. There are injuries and there are deaths. Too many lately. And this is my everyday reality.

The last six months have been rough, the last few weeks have been especially rough, and the last seven days have been excruciating, but all that matters at this moment as I write this, is that my husband is now home. Reality shifts again, for a little while, with different struggles and different challenges for now, and then eventually we do it all over again.

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So, on that note, I ask you to please stay tuned and pop back next week to see my finished Oh, What Fun projects, because I promise you will love them! I will be sharing some variations of my Sturdy Fabric Basket pattern AND doing a tutorial on how you can modify the pattern to create ANY size and shape basket you like! This is something I get emails about ALL the time, so I’m excited to finally get that together for you. I’ll also be showing you a few other cute patterns and embellishment ideas AND will have an awesome giveaway where you can win three yards of Oh, What Fun for yourself!

In the meantime, go check out the other stops on the Blog Hop and see all the fabulous makes!

Monday 11/14 – Sew Sophie Lynn
Tuesday 11/15 – Hawthorne Threads
Wednesday 11/16 – Olivia Jane Handcrafted
Thursday 11/17 – Holly Gets Quilty
Friday 11/18 – Lillyella (that’s me!)
Monday 11/21 – Violette Field Threads

I hope you all have an awesome weekend, I’ll be back in a few days!
~ nicole

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{Photos by Hawthorne Threads}

Maker Mat Sew-a-long Prizes!

I think we’ll all agree that the real fun is in creating our mats, but… prizes are really fun, too, right?!I have had some awesome and generous prize donations to share with you and have also put together a few things myself  🙂

I have now posted about all the steps in the pattern and you can find links to all the previous posts at the end of this post if you’re just joining in. I’m going to wait another week before drawing winners for the prizes to give everyone (including myself!) some more time to work on their projects. You do not need to complete your mat to be eligible to win, you just need to post at least one progress photo on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat. If you do not use social media, you can email me your photos.

I will pick my three favorite completed mats to win a prize of their choosing, and then I will randomly draw the remaining prize winners from all the posts in the sew-a-long hashtag. How does that sound? Alright… onto the prizes!

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First up, from Make Modern Magazine, I have five 6-month subscriptions! I love this mag, there’s always a great variety of projects and well-written, informative articles. Plus, it’s run by an awesome group of ladies!

Next, I have a three month subscription to Stash Builder Box! If you’re not familiar with Stash Builder Box, it’s a monthly subscription club where you receive fabrics, patterns, notions and other fun items and they donate a portion of the profits to help children in need. They also work to create quilts to send to different organizations. You can read more of their website. It’s a total win-win for everyone when you support them!

Last, but certainly not least, from our sponsors, I have a $25 gift certificate to Stash Fabrics! It’s no secret that Stash is my favorite fabric shop, they have such a a wide variety and they usually ship the same day. Can’t beat that! Beth and her team are also the sweetest. Friendly service means everything to me these days.

pattern-bundle

In addition to those awesome prize donations, I’m also giving away three bundles of all my patterns (shown above) and the little prize pack shown below with 12 fat quarters, rainbow wonder clips, colored pencils, graph pad, omnigrid ruler and more!

prizepack

Now get back to work, because I have to as well! ; ) And keep posting your photos!

Have a fabulous weekend!
~ nicole

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ADDITIONAL SEW-A-LONG POSTS:

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

PART TWO: September 6 – Kickoff, prizes and main body panel variations

PART THREE: September 8 – Accent Pocket Panels

PART FOUR: September 12 –Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

PART FIVE: September 15 – Optional Thread Catcher

Maker Mat Sew-a-long: Optional Thread Catcher

You guys. This sew-a-long has just been so awesome! I keep saying it, but it’s true. As always, I am blown away by your creativity! The best thing about designing patterns, for me, is watching other people bring them to life, and this one just has so much personality to it.

I was thinking about this while working on mine yesterday. I chose two sets of fabrics for two mats, with no thought but what do I want to look at everyday, and then I laughed when I realized how similar the two pulls were. I realized that my mats 100% represented me, my style and my personality, and that the same was true for every one being made. Of course this holds true for many quilts and other sewing projects, but there are so many ways to customize and personalize this project, that I just feel every one gives so much insight into the person who made it.

I’m still working on mine, but will share some pics tomorrow! Below is the mat I made for the Paperie blog tour earlier this year. Aren’t those fabrics gorgeous?

DSC_0490 edi

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! Tomorrow I will be sharing some additional prizes, but will be waiting until next Friday (September 23) to draw winners. I will choose my two favorite finished mats to win prizes, but will draw the remaining prize winners from all the photos in the hashtag, so even if you’re just beginning, you’re still eligible to win! You just have to post your progress photos with the hashtag #undercovermakermatSAL on Instagram or Facebook. 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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originalcatcher

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tulacatcher

purebredcatcher

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OTHER USES

Outside of this project, the thread catcher alone is handy for a variety of other uses! I’m working on a set that will hang from hooks on the wall behind my sewing machine to hold tools and notions (I’ll share pics when I’m done!), or 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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Just a handful of you have finished the thread catcher so far, but here are some pics from the sew-a-long hashtag!

catchers

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Remember to keep sharing your photos with the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some additional prizes up for grabs and I will also share more photos from everyone sewing along throughout next week!

ADDITIONAL POSTS:

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

PART TWO: September 6 – Kickoff, prizes and main body panel variations

PART THREE: September 8 – Accent Pocket Panels

PART FOUR: September 12 –Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

PART FIVE: September 15 – Optional Thread Catcher