November 14, 2019

New website reveal, and a pattern for subscribers

Wow, two blog posts in one week. How unusual! As sometimes happens, months of work behind the scenes leaves me with a bunch of good stuff to share all at once!

I've been tinkering into the nights on a website. I've gone for years with just my little blog and now my business is growing to look like a business, with an email list, and its own website!



I designed it myself and it feels bright and happy and personal. Sitting down to organize all the work I've done had me realizing: I've really created a lot to be proud of! I should have made this website long ago!


There are no changes to the blog planned, and you should be able to continue reading it however you do right now. But you can also find me at www.christinacameli.com. There you can find links to my classes and patterns as well as see all my recent blog posts, such as this week's scrappy quarter cabin tutorial. 


I have also started an email list, that allows me to send newsletters to my subscribers (without needing to post publicly, like on my blog). This will be a great way to share musings, special offers, and my favorite thing to share: inspiration.  As a thank you for joining my email list, I'm sharing a pattern I've previously offered for sale.


This pattern for quilted nesting buckets takes 1/2 yard of fabric and turns it into a cute giftable set, with some free-motion practice built in!


I stacked them for the photo but you'll see they fit nicely together. 


If you've subscribed to the blog by email, that is a different subscription. To get my newsletters and the link to download the buckets pattern, please go to the website and if the little subscribe form doesn't pop up right away, there is a link at the bottom of the page to join. If you subscribe to any other quilter's newsletters, I'd love to hear your advice about what makes you love a newsletter. I want to add good things to your inbox!

Curious cats might also take a peek at the new shop that I'm setting up. New patterns will be available soon and I'll be selling the digital versions on my site! I popped a couple in there already but haven't announced them yet.  

I hope I see you on the email list. Happy stitching!

November 11, 2019

Scrappy Quarter Cabin Tutorial

I promised a scrap busting tutorial and you all told me this was the one you were interested in! Wow there are so many pictures in here! If you enjoy this tutorial be sure to check out my new class on improvisational piecing, this is one of many ideas I share in the class!


The blocks in the piece above were made using an improvisational method based on a log cabin quilt block. It's a little different than a standard log cabin. Most people would call this a quarter log cabin. Ready? Let's do it. Starting with supplies.

Every log cabin block starts with a center. In the piece above I used charm squares (5" x 5" squares). True story about these squares: the very first time I went to quilt market I sat in on a schoolhouse session given by Cheryl Arkison and won a stack of low volume charm squares. That was six years ago and because I never get rid of anything, I finally put them to good use! You don't need charm squares, it's just what I used. Anything squarish or rectangley would work. If you like the sort of coordinated look of my piece, keep the centers all about the same color.

You'll also need some strips from your scrap bin.  I picked a desert sort of color scheme that helped me narrow down what to pull out of my voluminous scrap collection. (Sharp eyes will spot a couple prints from my advance yardage of my new fabric line, Moongate! I just totally love that my own fabric scraps are finding their way into my work now. It's truly the best feeling.)


Something that makes scrappy work sparkle is little pieced strips. I piece little bits of scraps (I call them "crumbs") into longer strips. (I have a whole lesson on crumbs in my class!) I pulled some crumb strips out of my stash that worked with my color scheme.


So now we're ready to start. You're going to see me build 3 blocks. 

I take each center (for a quarter cabin this will actually be more of a corner) and find a strip to add to the side. I trim the strip to about the length of the side I'm adding it to. We're not being finicky here. If you cut it a little too short or too long, no problem. This is improv. There are no wrong moves. Also, notice in the photo below I've got my scissors. When I started quilting I didn't have a cutting mat and rotary cutter. And you know what? I still made cool quilts. So if all you have is scissors and a sewing machine, you're ready!


After the strips are the right length, I flip them over onto the centers so they are right sides together. Then I stack all the centers with their strips on top of each other in a little pile. I place each block down a little from the block before so they will be easy to pick up as I go.


I stitch them together with about a 1/4" seam. Does it matter if your seam is not exact? No, it doesn't. We are not doing precision patchwork here. Low stress. Just sew.


When I finish adding one strip I just slide the next center and strip under the foot without lifting the foot or cutting the thread. This is called chain piecing.


After they're all added I press them open with my iron. I trim away any excess strips that extend past the edge of the block center.


Now let's do that whole thing again! Pick strips for the next side (going either direction) and trim them to size.

Stack and stitch again.


Press them open and now it's time to do it again. But wait! If this was a normal log cabin you'd go to the next open side of that center. But in a quarter cabin, we don't keep going around the center, we go back to the first side, leaving two sides without any strips added.


Also did you see me tossing in one of those pieced strips above? Yum. I usually get at least one pieced strip in each block.

As you trim your strips you will start to collect scraps. You might just sew some of those together to make your own pieced strips as you go!


When you get several little scraps sewn together, just trim up the edges to make them straight so they're easy to join.


Here's the next round I'm setting up.  Oh no! I want to use the green polka dots on the left but that strip isn't long enough!


So I join a few more scraps to it and yay! It will be long enough.


I trimmed the edge straight after sewing those bits together.


That round is done.


Let's do the next round. Here's a subtle thing to notice: the top block has something special going on. If I was strictly following the pattern I would always go from one side to the next and then back. But for that block the last strip I added was on the left side and now I'm adding another one on the left side. Can I do that? Of course I can! You only have to follow the rules you want to. Also, some unpredictability makes for interesting patchwork.


I also decided there was a little too much of that gold brown so I cut it narrower. No rules folks. Trust your instincts.


There we go.


And below there's another round finished. 


And now I'm starting to ask myself: how big do I want these to get? I think it's easiest when I trim each of these blocks to the same size. You don't need to do that of course, but it will sure make putting everything together at the end simpler. These are looking about the right size to me so I measure them. This one is 8" wide. That seems like a good size so I'm going to go with it.


But the other direction isn't 8" yet so it needs another strip or two added to make it big enough.


I picked out a few to bring the blocks to size...


After those additions they're quite big enough!


Using my quilting ruler and/or cutting mat, I trim all the blocks to 8" x 8". Notice in the picture below I cut off a significant bit of the center block. This is good. It creates variety in the centers so that even though I started with centers of the same size, I end up with different sizes at the end.


There they are! Three lovely scrappy blocks, trimmed to the same size.


Do that over and over and you get amazing patchwork!!


In the piece above, I set the blocks "on point". On point patchwork requires that you use some triangles at the corners and sides to fill in around whole blocks. I made my triangles by cutting up full size blocks. That's not how you would do it with precision patchwork because the triangles would be a little smaller than you needed for a nice smooth edge. But this isn't precision patchwork and losing a little bit of the edge won't be a big deal, so I recommend doing it the easy way unless you like quilt calculations. 

I hope you enjoy this tutorial! I would enjoy seeing anything you create with it! If you love improv and using up your scraps make sure to take a look at my class the Scrappy Market Tote on Bluprint. Happy stitching everyone!

October 30, 2019

Scrappy Totes!

New Class Alert: The Scrappy Market Tote!

(this post contains affiliate links, which help me get paid more for my creative work!)


I recently shared a bunch of scrappy piecing I did this summer. (and I still remember I promised a tutorial! Coming!) This week I can share what all that scrappy stuff was for!


I made a class with Bluprint that is all about improvisational piecing with scraps. As in, you take whatever fabric scraps you have and sew them together however you like. The class turned out great: fast paced and full of beautiful things to look at and ideas to try. 


In The Scrappy Market Tote we explore scrappy piecing in four different lessons. Using up scraps just makes my heart sing. And working without a pattern is so fun!! I show lots of variations of the basic ideas to get your wheels turning about something that would fit your style.


After making a scrappy panel, we turn it into a quilted bag that is just the right size and sturdiness for using as a market tote. I have used a pair of similar handmade quilted market bags for the past 6 years and they are still holding up. They start some lovely conversations in the checkout line!


I imagine there's a lot of ways this Scrappy Market Tote class will be used. Maybe you discover one particular technique that you love, and make a whole quilt out of it. Maybe you dip your toe into improv piecing for the first time, because making a bag is smaller and less intimidating than making a whole quilt. Or maybe you don't do the scrappy piecing at all, and you just use the included pattern to make yourself some sturdy quilted totes out of whatever quilted pieces you already have. 


I'd love to hear how you use the class! And how your scrappy totes are received in the world! I've  heard some great feedback about the class from some of you speed demons who already found it; thanks for checking it out and reporting back, you curious quilters! Bluprint subscribers, if you love the class you can choose it as one of your "keep forever" classes. 

I feel like I've just been full of big news. There's been plenty to celebrate. I'm looking forward to some quiet time to get back to my scrap bin. I hope you get some too. Happy stitching everyone!

October 26, 2019

Moongate Fabric and Horizon Ombres sneak peek

I'm on a quick trip to preview my new fabrics at the twice-a-year trade show in Houston, known as Quit Market. It's a good chance to sit down and make a blog post to share the fabrics too! There are a total of 29 prints in the Moongate collection. I left a few out when I was hurriedly taking these photos before work but I think you get a good feel for the collection. Does it feel spacey to you?


8 of the prints are ombres. They have a very subtle quilting design of mine printed over them.


I'm also releasing patterns to go along with the collection. Oh my gosh writing a bunch of patterns at once is quite demanding! Also, placing an order for printed patterns involves high dollar amounts that kind of make me nervous!


In the picture below you can see the full color range of one of the ombres. Free motion quilting looks so good on it!! This is my Light Speed quilt that some of you tested for me. It's such a fun pattern.


One extra special detail about this collection is that on the selvage of each ombre there is a special message unique to that color. So a total of 8 messages in all. I had fun choosing them, in the hopes that they would find you at just the right time. One example is below, as well as a close up of something I made with....of course....the scraps!!


I brought to market 4 quilts I designed with the collection. But I only had 3 weeks from the time fabric came in to when I left for market. For a single parent with a day job that's wayyyyy too tight of a timeframe. Luckily I had the help of some stunt sewists in Portland who pieced two of the tops. I am happy to have a part in this industry and my commitment to myself is that I will do the amount of work that is sustainable and just be ok that having limits means I won't be meeting everyone's expectations.


I got to know my long arm machine better by quilting these on a deadline. There was no way for me to procrastinate and fuss. It was just what I needed and I'm feeling much more proficient now that I've quilted 8 (I think) quilts on it so far. The longarm is incredibly fast, which is why I got it. I knew I would need to be able to finish quilts faster to share more of my work.


That last quilt above is all ombres. They are just so fun and full of potential! I'm finishing up the print patterns and I will post full pictures of the quilts soon and patterns for all of them will be available in print or digital download! So here are answers to some questions you might have: 

When does the fabric come out? It will ship to stores in February. 

Will there be precuts? Yes! Charms, 10 inch squares, strip rolls and FQ sets will all be available. 

Where can I buy them? This fabric is from Maywood Studio. If your local quilt shop already carries Maywood fabric, let them know you're interested in this collection! If you need to order online, I will be sure to share when I hear of a shop offering a preorder. 

Happy stitching folks! More to come next week!

September 13, 2019

Scrappy and Fabulous things are happening

School started and so has the rain in Portland. We're no longer trying to camp and play in the water every spare moment! We ate soup this week and baked an apple crisp with our homegrown apples. The little delights that make it easier to say farewell to warmer, drier days. And moving indoors more means it's finally time to open the computer and send a report!

I spent a large part of my work time this summer sewing my scraps together. How about these little crumbs and strings??




As you can see, when I use my scraps up I use them improvisationally, without cutting them to a specific size first. I love working this way. It is so intuitive and spontaneous. I feel like it is profoundly therapeutic to just sit down and match fabrics together and sew them up. 




Sometimes using a lot of scraps together can have a chaotic "too much" effect and so I used different techniques to control the chaos. Whether that's adding some solids for visual order, narrowing a color scheme, grouping by color or working light to dark, I think a little intentionality goes a long way. 




I often throw myself into sewing when the kids are at their dads. It makes the time go faster and I can immerse myself in color and shapes in a way I can't when I'm also being a mom. That focused, deep work pattern lends itself to big projects!! All these samples were done as I was preparing a new class for Bluprint! Some shots taken by my producer, Brandon, give you a behind the scenes glimpse.



Shooting these classes is exhilarating and exhausting. There are always three cameras going! I usually come away feeling a funny mixture of warm pride and extreme self consciousness. Ha! Anyway, I think this will be a really fun class! I hope it gets people using up their scraps!

Bluprint's editing of my last class was very well done. It made it feel upbeat and happy, two things I love. But that great work takes time, so it'll be a month or so before this one is ready to share. I'm sure I'll be back here with blog tutorials on a lot of these scrappy things too, because there's only so much you can fit into a class! If you have a request for a tutorial on any of the specific designs I shared above please let me know so I can prioritize!


And there's one more happy thing on the horizon: Just today the news was also released that this year I took on a new challenge in the quilting world: fabric design. Maywood Studio, here in Portland, brought me into their circle of designers. My first collection is called Moongate and we will be showing more of it next month when Quilt Market happens. What we made together is beautiful, versatile, unique and sparkly. I'm so. excited. to share more, but for now, just this little graphic with hints about the collection will have to do!! Happy weekend and happy stitching everyone!