Mini Maker Station Sew Along Schedule

I’m really excited to get the Mini Maker Station SAL going and can’t wait to see all your projects! I will officially kick things off on Monday, February 4 and it will run for two weeks (plus a weekend) through February 18. I’m going to keep it very casual, like the Maker Mat SAL, but I will be following a loose schedule and will be sharing some tips along the way about materials and working with the magnets. I encourage you to share your progress photos along the way with the hashtags #minimakerstationSAL and #minimakerstation!

If you’re just joining in, you can find the required hardware list in the pattern (download it here!) or in more detail two blog posts back, and I also have kits available in my Etsy shop here. Don’t worry if you’re still waiting on a kit or sourcing your materials when the SAL begins, as there is quite a bit you can do on the project without it.

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SCHEDULE

February 4: Sew Along Kick Off! Blog post about selecting fabrics and the proper interfacing materials needed, as well as notes about measuring and customizing your station.

February 4 – 10: Start pulling and share your fabrics. Work on the Maker Station Main Body and Thread Catcher.

February 11: Blog post with tips about making the fabric basket and pin cushion.

February 11 – 17: Work on basket and pin cushion.

February 18: Share your finished Maker Stations!

I will have a couple prize bundles up for grabs at the end of the Sew Along that I will share next week. One will be awarded to one winner chosen at random from all the posts in the #minimakerstationSAL hashtag and the other will be awarded to one winner drawn at random from all the completed maker stations posted by February 18.

If you have any questions now or along the way, feel free to email me anytime through the contact button here on my website or through social media.

I’ll see you back here next Monday!

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Sonata Fabrics Showcase + Mini Maker Station

I first met Amy Sinibaldi right before her debut fabric line came out and I can’t believe she now has seven amazing collections under her belt! I always love playing with her new designs, so I was excited to join the Sonata Fabrics Showcase along with a handful of really really talented ladies!

Amy has always made THE cutest little, functional items for organization and storage, so I knew that this blog tour and her Sonata fabrics were perfect for the release of my Mini Maker Station pattern!

I had so much fun creating this pattern and am really proud of it. I can’t wait to see how you all customize your own maker stations! You can download the free pattern here. The hardware list is included in the pattern and kits are available in my Etsy shop here.

Shown above is the large 9″ version of the Maker Station using primarily the Ludwig color way of Sonata. That hot pink floral is TO DIE FOR!! The balance of lights, darks, focals, and blenders in this line is perfection. The touches of Navy and the red in the Beethoven color way make it so rich and striking.

If you’re seeing my Mini Maker Station pattern for the first time, it’s like an armchair caddy with a twist! There is a piece of thin sheet metal in the body and magnets sewn into the interchangeable accessories, including a small fabric basket and a pincushion, so that everything stays put! The optional scrap bag can also be used for additional storage. There is a smaller 7″ version of the maker station that will be included in the pattern.

I’ll be hosting a sew along starting in February and will post more details about that soon!

You can also use other magnetic accessories with the maker station, such as magnetic bowls, shown below. There is a lot of room for customization with this pattern and I hope you love it as much as I do! It’s perfect for any type of handcraft from sewing to cross stitch to embroidery and more.

I can’t wait for the sew along and to show you more beautiful Sonata fabrics as I sew up the smaller version of the pattern with you.

Stay tuned for more on the upcoming sew along and be sure to check out the rest of the Sonata Fabrics showcase with the hashtag #sonatashowcase on Instagram and in Amy’s feed!

p.s. Don’t miss the adorable Sonata strawberry pin collaboration that Amy did with Maker Pin Co. – check them out here!

Mini Maker Station Hardware List

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I’m so excited to be releasing my long overdue Mini Maker Station pattern on January 9! Did I mention it’ll be FREE because I love you? I will also be hosting a little sew-a-long starting later in January with the date still to be determined.

If you’ve missed my previous blog or social media posts about this pattern, it does require a few bits of “hardware”. The main concept of the design is that there is a thin piece of sheet metal centered in the body of the piece and magnets sewn into the interchangeable accessories (mini basket & pin cushion). You can also then use any other accessories with magnets, such as magnetic pin bowls, on the piece as well.

I have a limited number of hardware kits available for $11.00 each in my Etsy shop here and I’ll try to keep them stocked as best I can, but below I’m also sharing the hardware specifics if you’d like to source them yourself.

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The Mini Maker Station pattern includes two station sizes depending on how much you’d like to store in it and, more importantly, what size your arm rest is! The larger of the two finishes at 9″ wide (shown above), while the smaller of the two finishes at 7″ wide (shown below). The pincushion and pin bowl in the photos are the same size for reference.

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Each Mini Maker Station requires one piece of sheet metal and four magnets to make it as shown with the pincushion and basket.

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Hardware list:

• One piece 26 gauge Zinc Plated Sheet Metal: cut 2″x8.25″ for the larger 9″ station, cut 2″x6.25″ for the smaller 7″ station

• Three round disc magnets for the basket: N45 Neodymium 1″ x 1/32″

• One round disc magnet for the pincushion: N45 Neodymium 1″ x 1/16″

I purchase the magnets from CMS Magnetics and the sheet metal from Home Depot. I cut it to size with tin snips and file the edges smooth.

A FEW NOTES:

I tried various other sizes, shapes, and strengths of magnets for this project and found the ones specified above work best, so I highly recommend you use exactly what is specified. If you choose to use other types of magnets in your project, I’m not well versed enough in magnets to answer questions about them and can’t specify if your station will “function” properly.

I purchase my “pin bowls” from Harbor Freight. They are actually magnetic parts holders and are available in 4″ or 6″. I prefer the 4″ bowls and I spray paint them to match my fabrics.

I don’t have fabric requirements together yet, but it is a small project requiring small cuts and is fat quarter friendly. The largest piece needed for the main body is 9″x17″.

Stay tuned here and on social media for the pattern release on January 9! Who’s excited? 😀

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Free Holiday Projects

December is here and I’m ready to start some holiday sewing! I’m super late, as always, but I’m only motivated when the holiday spirit is in the air. Today I’m sharing a little round up of my free holiday project tutorials and some ideas on how to use them!

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SANTAS CHIMNEY BASKET

First up is a project I shared late last year, Santa’s Chimney Card Basket. I still cant get over how adorable this came out! This basket uses my Sturdy Basket Pattern with dimensions to fit all the Christmas cards you receive. I used brick fabric and faux fur to emulate the chimney, but you can use any fabric you love or that matches your decor. Aside from holding cards, It also makes a cute decoration or creative little gift giving vessel. You can even line it with a plastic bag and fill it with snacks for a party. Click here for the tutorial!

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CUSTOM STURDY FABRIC BASKETs

This next project uses the same Sturdy Fabric Basket pattern as the Chimney, shown in various sizes and shapes, that I made as gift baskets for the Hawthorne Supply Co. Oh What Fun blog hop. I absolutely LOVE making these, if you can’t tell! The possibilities are endless. One of my favorite gifts to give is custom collections of themed items such as food, bath & body products, useful tools, etc. When you don’t know what to do for someone, you can’t go wrong with a gift like this! Once you have your items, you can make the basket any size you need to fit. You can also use non-holiday fabric, perhaps something that matches their decor, so they can also use the basket year round. They’re great for holiday office supplies, remote controls, phones and wallets by the door, hair accessories etc!

Click here for my blog post about these baskets. It includes a link to the Sturdy Fabric basket pattern and details on how I made all the specific shapes and sizes shown. Also included in the blog post is details about the adorable snack bag shown below. It’s another fabulous little gift giving vessel that you can fill with treats for a neighbor, delivery driver, mail carrier! And the bag is then reusable (and washable!) for lunches, snacks, etc!

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EPP TABLE TOPPER

Free EPP Table Topper Template | lillyella stitchery

Next is a little hand sewing project I shared a few years ago. It’s quick and easy to sew and makes a perfect table topper, hotpad or mini tree skirt! Click here for the free pattern.

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FESTIVE FLUTTER TREE PATTERN

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Fourth is a mini quilt pattern I created using my Butterfly Charm Blocks in the shape of a Christmas tree. You can find the pattern here.

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REUSABLE BOWL CAP

The last project I’m including today doesn’t have a holiday look on the outside, but it’s a favorite of mine! This pattern is super quick and easy to sew, and customizable to any bowl or round dish. They’re perfect for covering snacks and dishes at holiday parties, carrying a dish to a party, storing leftovers, and they’re great for gifts! Pick up a cute, unique bowl, make a matching cap, and give it as a gift. You can fill it with a treat or kitchen tools and the recipient has a useful and adorable item that they can use everyday. I’ll be sewing up some new ones this week with cute holiday fabrics and will share them soon! Click here for the tutorial.

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I hope you’ve found some inspiration in these projects! They’re just a few of the free patterns & tutorials I have available. There are some other great little items to make for gifts, such as my Flex Frame Pouch, and you can find all of them HERE.

Happy Stitching!
~ Nicole

Santa’s Chimney Basket

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I can’t remember what spurred this last minute idea, but OHEMMGEEE is this adorable or what?! I used my free Sturdy Basket Pattern to make a snow covered chimney to hold my Christmas cards. Now I need to make another to hold Santa!

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I used the brick print from Grafic fabric for the basket outer and lining and some faux sherpa for the “snow”. The sturdy fabric basket pattern (find it here) includes directions on making any size basket you wish, so you can customize your chimney, but I made mine 6.5″ wide x 6″ high x 3.5″ deep. In the photo below, I did put a little padding inside the bottom of the basket to make the cards sit a little higher. I didn’t want to make the basket shorter because I wanted to see enough brick.

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I made the basket as specified in the pattern, but I did not press the exposed top of the lining in half before folding it over the top of the basket , I just folded it over so the raw edge was exposed. It gets covered by the sherpa so it doesn’t matter. You really don’t even need to make the lining larger than the outer piece since it is covered. I did it because I wasn’t sure if I would fold the sherpa inside or wrap it on the outside just around the top.

To make the snow top, I cut a piece of the sherpa 20.5″ wide by 5″ high then simply wrapped it around the top of the basket and folded half to the inside. The backing of the sherpa clung to the brick fabric really nicely so I didn’t even need to secure it in place, but you could use some glue if desired. If you make your basket a different size, you’ll need to adjust the size of your sherpa cut. Simply add width x 2 + depth x 2. I added a half inch on top of this just to be safe.

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This project was so quick and fun. I definitely want to make some for gift giving next year! I’d love to see what you make! Please tag me on social media or use the hashtag #sturdyfabricbasket.

Happy Holidays, friends!
~ nikki

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.

Process Support Documents - MQ2.pdf

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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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‘lil monsters treat bags

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Fall is in the air and Halloween is right around the corner! I usually don’t have any ‘lil monsters in my life, but since one of my besties happened to be in town for an extended visit, I couldn’t resist whipping up some new treat bags for her littles.

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I used the midnight bite treat bag tutorial that I shared last year (find the free pattern here) and some ‘lil monsters fabric from cotton + steel, which was absolutely perfect. This line has a little more of a playful feel to it and I was able to pull prints and colors to make both an older boy and a little girl equally happy! Also, our Aurifil Sariella Thread Collection had just the right colors I needed for yet another project! #win

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I used solid pieces for the top panel, instead of the pieced bat as in the original, making this project really quick. I used a spider pom pom trim on one and metallic skulls on the other, both of which I found at Joann’s.

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I hope this inspires you to whip up some treat bags for the ‘lil monsters in your life! I’d love to see what you make. Tag your pics on social media with #midnightbitetreatbag or email me! Happy Haunting!

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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!