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!

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Mini Maker Station SAL 2019 Kick Off!

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Good morning, friends! It’s time to kick off the 2019 Mini Maker Station Sew Along! I’m thrilled that so many of you have said you’re finally making the time to sew this up for yourself or for holiday gift. Sew Alongs always give me the motivation to create something that I’ve been wanting to.

If you haven’t downloaded the FREE pattern yet, you can find it here. This pattern requires some basic knowledge of sewing and quilting, but any beginner can tackle it! I’ll be including helpful tips, tutorial links, videos and more along the way for every step and I’m always happy to give personal assistance when I can. You can reach out to me anytime through social media or email.

This SAL will run three weeks, ending on October 4, but you are welcome to join in at any time and sew at your own pace. In today’s post I’m going to talk just a bit about selecting fabrics and go over some of the other materials you need. I’m also going to share some tutorial links on basic quilting and binding for those who may be new to quilting, and a couple tips about thread catcher placement. This week we’ll be working on the main body of the Maker Station and the thread catcher. Next Monday I’ll have a new blog post with some tips about creating the fabric basket and working with the magnets.

Share your progress photos on social media with the hashtags #minimakerstationSAL2019 and #minimakerstation to inspire and encourage others, and have a chance to win some fun prizes!

If you haven’t picked up a hardware or are waiting for yours to arrive, don’t worry! You can still begin your project as there is plenty you can do without it, especially during the first week. You can create the entire body and just wait to sew the last bit of binding down until you have the metal, and you can create the thread catcher. There is also quite a bit you can do on the pin cushion and basket next week before you need to add the magnets. You can find hardware kits in my Etsy shop here.

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FABRIC & MATERIALS

I want to quickly touch on why I don’t often include “fabric requirement” sections in my patterns, including this one. There are endless ways to layout and customize this project. I never want to lock someone into fabric placements by specifying what you should use where. One person may use three fabrics for the whole project, while another may use thirteen! Also, the cuts on a project like this are all small, so a fabric requirement list would simply be the same as the cutting instructions. The specific sizes of all the pieces you need for each part of the pattern are included at the beginning of each labeled section.

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Now, onto materials! If you have not already purchased a hardware kit or sourced your own materials, you can find more information about those materials needed here, including my sources.

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All fabrics used are standard quilting cotton. You could use some lightweight linens or blends, but thicker materials, such as canvas, may be too bulky for the pin cushion, basket and thread catcher, as they’re all pretty small. In addition to your fabrics, you also need a couple different interfacings. Sometimes these can be optional, as they are often used for added durability, but in this project they are required as they hold the magnets in place and create the basket.

The first is Pellon brand SF101, also known as ShapeFlex. You can find this at any fabric store or Walmart with a craft section. You can also order it online. This can be substituted with another featherweight or lightweight fusible interfacing if you wish, but the SF101 is my preference.

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The second interfacing you need is Pellon brand Peltex 71F, ultra firm single sided fusible interfacing. I do not recommend substituting this with anything else as it creates the main structure of your fabric basket. Be sure that you get the 71F and not the 70 (sew in) or 72 (double sided fusible). This interfacing is very thick, it should look and feel similar to a piece of cardboard. It should not fold without “creasing” itself. You can also find this interfacing at fabric stores, Walmart (or the like), or online. Next week I’ll share some helpful tips for keeping the basket edges nice and crisp!

walnut

For filling the pincushion, I like to use ground walnut shells because I love the weight and feel, especially with the square shape. It’s like an adorable little bean bag! I purchase mine at a local quit shop, but Plum Easy (the brand I get) also sells online here. If you’re making this for a gift, just avoid the shells if someone has a nut allergy! I have also used polyester stuffing in the cushion, which works perfectly fine!

The last little “extras” you need are some thin ribbon or trim and buttons to hang your thread catcher (which is optional!).

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CREATING THE BODY & THREAD CATCHER

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

To create the main body of the Maker Station, 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. You can see how this looks on my sample below. 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.

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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.

The body and thread catcher are fairly straight forward and the pattern includes detailed instructions and diagrams on creating these pieces, but if you have questions at any point, feel free to contact me.

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When it’s time to sew the buttons for hanging your thread catcher, think about where you will be using your Maker Station. I prefer to hang my thread catcher on the side farthest away from me so my leg doesn’t hit it and it’s not in the way of my pockets, so this placement will vary if you place the station to your right or your left. Also keep in mind it’s “reversible” in a sense, you can place either set of pockets on the inside of your seat or the outside. I sew at least two buttons on my body, but you can sew four buttons (one on every outer edge) so you’re fully versatile!

As I mentioned, this little thread catcher is an optional piece, but I love it. If you don’t use it for scraps, you can use it for extra storage. It’s also a handy design to use elsewhere, like on your sewing machine!

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So those are all the basics for this week as we create our main body and thread catcher. I will be posting some photos of your projects on Instagram through the week, as well as sharing some of the SAL prizes, so I hope you follow along! Remember to use the tags #minimakerstationSAL2019 and #minimakerstation, and share with a friend!

Mini Maker Station SAL Kick Off!

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Good gravy, how is it February?! I still have a Christmas tree in my studio, but hopefully I can get it down this week :)! I’m SO SO excited to kick off the Mini Maker Station Sew Along (SAL) today! This pattern was in the works for SO long, because A) I’m slow, B) I’m busy, and C) it was a ton of computer work, which I loathe! However, it’s a pretty easy sew, even for beginners. If you haven’t downloaded the pattern, you can find it here.

This SAL will run for a bit over two weeks, ending on February 18. In today’s post I’m going to talk just a bit about selecting fabrics and go over some of the other materials you need. I’m also going to share some tutorial links on basic quilting and binding for those who may be new to quilting, and a couple tips about thread catcher placement. This week we’ll be working on the main body of the Maker Station and the thread catcher. Next Monday I’ll have a new blog post with some tips about creating the fabric basket and working with the magnets.

You are free to work at your own pace and in any order you’d like! Share your progress photos on social media with the hashtags #minimakerstationSAL and #minimakerstation to inspire and encourage others, and have a chance to win a couple fun prizes!

If you haven’t picked up a hardware or are waiting for yours to arrive, don’t worry! You can still begin your project as there is plenty you can do without it, especially during the first week. You can create the entire body and just wait to sew the last bit of binding down until you have the metal, and you can create the thread catcher. There is also quite a bit you can do on the pin cushion and basket next week before you need to add the magnets.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

FABRIC & MATERIALS

I want to quickly touch on why I don’t often include “fabric requirement” sections in my patterns, including this one. There are endless ways to layout and customize this project. I never want to lock someone into fabric placements by specifying what you should use where. One person may use three fabrics for the whole project, while another may use thirteen! Also, the cuts on a project like this are all small, so a fabric requirement list would simply be the same as the cutting instructions. The specific sizes of all the pieces you need for each part of the pattern are included at the beginning of each labeled section.

Now, onto materials! If you have not already purchased a hardware kit or sourced your own materials, you can find more information about those materials needed here, including my sources.

IMG_9046 edit

All fabrics used are standard quilting cotton. You could use some lightweight linens or blends, but thicker materials, such as canvas, may be too bulky for the pin cushion, basket and thread catcher, as they’re all pretty small. In addition to your fabrics, you also need a couple different interfacings. Sometimes these can be optional, as they are often used for added durability, but in this project they are required as they hold the magnets in place and create the basket.

The first is Pellon brand SF101, also known as ShapeFlex. You can find this at any fabric store or Walmart with a craft section. You can also order it online. This can be substituted with another featherweight or lightweight fusible interfacing if you wish, but the SF101 is my preference.

interfacing

The second interfacing you need is Pellon brand Peltex 71F, ultra firm single sided fusible interfacing. I do not recommend substituting this with anything else as it creates the main structure of your fabric basket. Be sure that you get the 71F and not the 70 (sew in) or 72 (double sided fusible). This interfacing is very thick, it should look and feel similar to a piece of cardboard. It should not fold without “creasing” itself. You can also find this interfacing at fabric stores, Walmart (or the like), or online. Next week I’ll share some helpful tips for keeping the basket edges nice and crisp!

walnut

For filling the pincushion, I like to use ground walnut shells because I love the weight and feel, especially with the square shape. It’s like an adorable little bean bag! I purchase mine at a local quit shop, but Plum Easy (the brand I get) also sells online here. If you’re making this for a gift, just avoid the shells if someone has a nut allergy! I have also used polyester stuffing in the cushion, which works perfectly fine!

The last little “extras” you need are some thin ribbon or trim and buttons to hang your thread catcher (which is optional!).

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

CREATING THE BODY & THREAD CATCHER

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

To create the main body of the Maker Station, 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 thatt 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.

The body and thread catcher are fairly straight forward and the pattern includes detailed instructions and diagrams on creating these pieces, but if you have questions at any point, feel free to email me through my website or contact me on social media. I’m always happy to help!

When it’s time to sew the buttons for hanging your thread catcher, think about where you will be using your Maker Station. I prefer to hang my thread catcher on the side farthest away from me so my leg doesn’t hit it and it’s not in the way of my pockets, so this placement will vary if you place the station to your right or your left. Also keep in mind it’s “reversible” in a sense, you can place either set of pockets on the inside of your seat or the outside. I sew at least two buttons on my body, but you can sew four buttons (one on every outer edge) so you’re fully versatile!

As I mentioned, this little thread catcher is an optional piece, but I love it. If you don’t use it for scraps, you can use it for extra storage. It’s also a handy design to use elsewhere, like on your sewing machine!

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So those are all the basics for this week as we create our main body and thread catcher. I will be posting photos of my progress on Instagram through the week, so I hope you follow along! I’ll also be sharing the prizes.

Remember to use the tags #minimakerstationSAL and #minimakerstation, and share with a friend!

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!

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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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 lillyella18. Pass this along to Santa or treat yourself, I GUARANTEE you (and your eyes!) will be thrilled with the investment!

Happy stitching!
~nicole

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

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!

Saki Quilt Workshop in Albuquerque · August 12 & 13

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Calling all my Southwest friends in or around New Mexico! (Or anywhere in the world who may want to get away for a couple days!)

My other half, Sariditty, and I are so excited to announce that we’ll be teaching our SARIELLA Saki Butterfly Quilt Workshop will be at Hip Stitch in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 12 & 13. During this two-day class, you will learn all the basics of Foundation Paper Piecing and Appliqué, as well as how to tackle these techniques on a large scale, while you make a Saki butterfly quilt of your own. Basic knowledge of quilt piecing is required, all skill levels welcome. The class runs from 9am – 5pm both days. The finished quilt measures 75″ x 58″.

In addition to the workshop, we will also be doing a Trunk Show at Hip Stitch on Friday, August 11 at 6pm. All are welcome! Admission is $10. We will be sharing some of our work, as well as talking about our favorite modern quilting tips, tricks and techniques. There will also be some amazing door prizes!

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The cost of the Saki Quilt Workshop is $200 and space is limited to 20 participants. Cost includes paper pattern, pattern templates, and admission to the trunk show. A materials list will be supplied upon registration. Sign ups are now open and you can register by calling the shop, visiting their website, emailing them, or just stopping in!

HIP STITCH
2320 Wisconsin St., NE, Albuquerque
505-821-2739
hipstitchabq.com
Email: HipStitchABQ@gmail.com

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us here. We hope to see you there!

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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!