October 31, 2013

Quilted Luggage Tag tutorial

So last week I made myself a couple luggage tags, attached them to my bags-full-of-quilts, and flew to Houston sans children to go to quilt market.

I just spent an hour trying to write up my experience of quilt market and I give up. The following words apply: fast, chatter, awkward, blisters, flattering, industry, thrilling, uncertain, lucky, powerful, big, touching, grateful, realization.

How about something concrete to offer you instead? Like how I made these luggage tags in about 30 minutes just a few hours before my flight? I personally think these would make great gifts because they are fast and likely to actually be used. You're not freaking out about the holidays yet are you? Yeah, me neither.

So you need a quilted piece, a backing piece, a 5 1/2" piece of elastic and a bit of clear vinyl. Yep, that's my fabric from Spoonflower, but you could stitch some actual selvages onto batting if you wanted to. Or use any scrap quilted piece (maybe a good looking section of a FMQ practice piece?)

You cut quilted and backing pieces 4 1/2" x 3" and then cut off the corners 1 1/2" x 1/2".

Fold the elastic in half and lay it centered on the top of the quilted piece.

Then the backing piece face down over that. Stitch around the outside leaving a hole in the far end.

Trim the corners and flip it right side out. Tuck the open end under and press.

Cut a piece of vinyl 2 1/2" x 2 1/4" trim if necessary to fit your tag.

Topstitch around the edge of the tag. This attaches your vinyl and closes up the hole at the bottom of the tag at the same time. I start stitching on the open edge and I used a piece of paper under the presser foot (but not so far under that the needle actually stitched through the paper)

And there you have it! Cut a piece of card about 2 1/4" x 2" to put in the pocket. Trim smaller if needed.

Whenever I saw one of these on my bag it made me feel happy. So do those knee socks from Sweet Marcel!

So there you are! Maybe these tags will go with me to another quilt market someday. Or maybe this was a one-time thing. Either way, I'm happy. Hope things are good out there, quilters!

October 12, 2013

Why is it?

Just in my sewing room reflecting on my varied ability to choose fabric. Does this happen to you?

Thank you everyone who entered the giveaway for my book, I loved reading about the things that were bringing you joy: your children, grandchildren, partners, parents, friends, family, jobs, births, weddings, endeavors and of course quilting!! The winner is #58, Linda Fleming! Linda please contact me by the end of the week with your mailing address.

October 05, 2013

First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting: Giveaway!

When I learned free-motion quilting I was excited. Amped up. But I looked at the quilt I had to finish and I knew I couldn’t jump right in and free-motion on it. It was so pretty. It had taken me so long. No way.

So I made a little quilt to practice on first. I wanted something quick but not something boring. I made up my own pattern that was quick-ish (but not really that quick because I overthink everything and I have a teeny-scrap improv fetish.) Anyway, I quilted that thing. It wasn’t great…because it just never is when you start fmq. Gotta connect all the right neurons, get your coordination down. Here's a picture. Does it look like your first FMQ attempt? 

After that I quilted one more little quilt, and then I was ready to quilt the big one. And it was great! I was hooked and I felt ready to quilt all the quilts that came after that. Here, years later, I still have both those practice quilts.

So when it hit me that yes, I should write a beginning FMQ book, I thought of that girl, in her apartment, with a box of her grandma’s scraps and a Joann fabric a bus ride away. That new quilter with her little notebook of quilting designs she saw on other people’s quilts.

I’ll write a book for her, I thought. It will have the basics. But not too much info. Nothing about metallic threads or fancy quilt show stuff. Only what she needs to jump in. It will have quilting designs, and it will have practice projects. Projects she can whip up quickly to practice just as much as she needs and then get back to her own creations.

And that’s what I wrote. I warned her against using dark threads on light fabrics. I gave her a troubleshooting guide so she wouldn’t pull her hair out when the machine started skipping stitches. I told her it didn't have to be perfect. I showed her good stitching, not amazing stitching. I put in everything she needed and nothing she didn’t.  And I’m happy with it.

I’m happy with it! And I’m happy to share it with you.

So here is the end of the book/blog tour and a final drawing!  I’ll pick a random commenter and send them a little package of FMQ love. The book, some needles and thread and gloves to get started, and other sewing room randomness. Thanks everyone for sharing my excitement about this book and for loving quilting as much as I do. To enter the drawing just leave a comment telling me something that made you happy this week. I’ll pick a winner October 11. The giveaway is over!

Oh, and if you didn't enter the other giveaways during this tour, a number of them are still open: 

9/25: Allison Rosen at Stash Books Blog 
9/26: Jessica Alexandrakis at Life Under Quilts 
9/27: Monica Solorio-Snow at Happy Zombie 
9/28: Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty 
9/29: Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio 
9/30: Angela Walters at Quilting is my Therapy 
10/1: Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts 
10/2: Megan Dye at Megs Monkey Beans
10/3: Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts 
10/4: Katie Pedersen at Sew Katie Did 
10/5: Christina Cameli at A Few Scraps

October 04, 2013


I have a quilter crush on Katie from Sew Katie Did. She is this total quilting powerhouse, she's classy, upbeat, relaxed. She is a font of great ideas. Even her hair is perfect. I'm totally beside myself that she is today's stop on the book tour! I really appreciated getting her perspective on the book, as a fellow FMQ teacher. Thank you, Katie!

I hope to see you all back here tomorrow for my very own giveaway. But for today, you can go enter Katie's!

October 03, 2013

The countdown

Just three days left on this blog tour! Today Victoria at V Findlay Wolfe Quilts was kind enough to share a little bit about the book. I am always impressed by how many Big Projects this lady takes on. She could run the world I think. I would probably vote for her for president. She embraces everything with an open heart and also knows when to say enough is enough. I love that. I hope we have drinks together someday. 

Today we are working on a Halloween calendar. Because if I have to answer how many more days to Halloween one more time I am going to flip. Just 27 more pumpkins to go!

So, did you enter Victoria's giveaway yet?  

October 02, 2013

Close to home!

Today I'm totally tickled to direct you to Monkey Beans, the blog of my dear friend Megan Dye. Megan and I met through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild and she has become a treasured confidant. She is an elegant parent, an inspired quilter, and a beacon of positivity and strength. I was so excited to see all the free-motion quilting she tried. Check it out and enter her giveaway too!

Oh! Portlanders, there are a few spots left in my beginner free motion quilting class at Modern Domestic next week.

October 01, 2013

Little surprises

One beginner FMQ technique I like to suggest is stitching along the lines of a printed fabric to get a decorative design on the other side of your quilt sandwich. Here's me trying that technique on "Cloud Cover" from the Joel Dewberry Bungalow line. I enjoy the surprise of seeing the pattern created on the other side, and it's a nice easy technique for practicing getting the stitches where you want them.

It is my great joy and privilege to send you to Amanda Jean's blog, Crazy Mom Quilts today. I know you already know her blog, because she is amazing. This woman: pillar of positivity, sister of scrap, off the charts on the talented and humble meters. I look up to her so much, thank you for giving my book a squeeze Amanda Jean! She stitched up my favorite project from the book. You can head over right now and enjoy her post and giveaway.