Lancaster American Quilter’s Society Show

Yes!  I’m freshly back from vending at my first big show, and I wanted to share how it went!

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Firstly, props to my family who subsisted on popcorn and dried beef and carrot sticks for the week before the show.  SO MANY last minute details and you maybe know that I’m not the best at getting things done in advance 😀

Second, ultimate props to my hubs who did so many last minute errands for me, always with a cheery attitude.

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So, with that out of the way, how was it?  So fun.  Just a week before, I received a huge shipment of Outback Wife barkcloth by Gertrude Made.  The American distributor of that fabric has been absolutely lovely to work with and I hope there are any more collections to come!  I have MANY ideas for samples to make up with this lovely fabric.  I noticed a lot of people were buying it for handbags and a LOT of people were saying, “oh, that reminds me of my grandmother…”  It made me super happy to bring that to the show.

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Also, the rainbow tables of perle cotton… (All arranged by my lovely friend Johanna who came to help!) I loved watching people choose their own color palettes from those.  I brought mostly Finca/Presencia, with a little Valdani just as a test.  Plenty of people were interested in the Valdani so I’ll be expanding that offering for next time.

EPP Demo!

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I demonstrated my Snowflakes Freezer Paper Shapes for a good part of each day.  Which means I was working on a fun project the whole time and actually made really good progress.  I was making 2″ hexies out of the barkcloth and I do have an exciting idea for putting them together once I get more solids in stock.  I glue basted these because they’re such big shapes and I just want this to come together quickly.

People!

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Seriously.  I met so many interesting people.  Friendly customers, guild members, the people working the show.  One person who I believe is my long lost twin, we are so similar in so many ways.  (Hi Andrea!)  My booth neighbors on both sides were super friendly and helpful.  And I had time to reconnect with two more friends who came to help, Heather and Mike, and I was so grateful for both their help and the time to get together!

So, I loved this.  I think it’s the perfect fit for me.  I can work from home, homeschool my kids, have my little web shop, and then dart out and get a few days of total quilt immersion to recharge my quilty soul.  I’ll be announcing more show dates soon as I get them confirmed!

I AM sewing!

Guys, I may have lost my sew-jo last year for various reasons, but it is back big time now.  I have so much to say, but I’m gonna ease myself back into blogging with a few snapshots of what I’ve been doing.

Working on this and that:

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I instagrammed a couple of videos while I was working on the above clamshells, so go look for those if you’re wondering how these go together.  20180212_164845.jpg

IMG_20180214_113020_747 - CopySent Diabolical Jane to Stitched in Color to be longarmed.  Thrilled with the results!

IMG_20180218_212812_256 - CopyThese are Paleo! 

What? your caveman ancestors didn’t have chocolate cupcakes?  well someone’s did.  The cookbook said so.  Anyway, they’re delicious and if you are eating healthy but getting desperate for a treat, check out My Paleo Patisserie.  Everything I’ve made from it has been good.

20171114_135938-copy.jpgI washed dried and folded like a million yards of fabric.  I had decided to freshen up my stash and there was no going back.  Then I donated half of it to my local crafty thrift shop because I have too much.  OK maybe a quarter donated.  But there’s more to wash.

Parenting!  Oh the parenting.  Everyone’s back to homeschooling now and I am so glad.  The school schedules were just not good for me.

20171121_162712 - CopyLooking for a farm.  Yes, I want to farm.  really bad.  But we have to come to terms with what we can afford and figure out where that’s going to be and it’s a really huge decision, so for now the talk is still all hypothetical.

IMG_20180102_141930_481 - Copy20180111_162613.jpgChicken farming:  I may not have land yet, but you don’t need much space for chickens.  We have been eating exclusively our own chicken for a couple of years, and added egg birds last fall. We love our chickens but they are definitely not pets; the kids are understanding where our food comes from and the animals that will become our food live a good life, and that means a lot to me.

So there’s a little snapshot of where I’ve been!  Back soon!

Retreat!

It’s the beginning of retreat season!  Yes somehow, I have managed to sign myself up for three quilt retreats in two months!  I’m not feeling bad about that.  I’m feeling awesome.  And yes, my co-parent is booking himself a getaway, hopefully as we speak.  Everyone needs some time for themselves.

( I guess this will do for natural lighting..)

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So this weekend is my first of three.  Here’s what I brought to work on:

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A dolly quilt for my littlest.  I forgot the backing, so I’ll have to be happy with getting the edge pieces set in and I’ll finish it at home.

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An improv quilt in weird colors. I first had the idea to put these colors together a few years ago- scarlet and lavender and marine blue and black and cream and off-shades of rust- I cut hundreds of strips in the fabrics I could find at the time, but it just wasn’t right.  The fabrics sat segregated in their special bin for a very long time, as I slowly added to and edited the collection.  Now I’m feeling pretty good that I have what I need to enact the vision.  The intent is to put it to bed this weekend and let it be whatever size I get it to by Sunday, but I’m willing to be flexible.

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A basket full of old shirts for some EPP.  So excited about this one.  But I’m excited about them all…

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A binding that’s ready for hand stitching.  I think I’ll work on this during show and tell.  Big stitches will get it done 🙂

I also packed a little cooler with lots of greens, beef stew, poached salmon, and kombucha.  And lots of tea and some super dark chocolate.  Meals are provided and so far they’ve been awesome, but it feels good to be prepared.  And to eat beef stew in bed at 10:00 pm.  🙂

Courtyard Garden

Hi there friends!  I took some time over the weekend to update my Etsy shop.  I have been sewing for months with my favorite new shape, the 90 degree kites, and I thought it might be a good time to actually list them in the shop so you could sew with them too.

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Courtyard Garden Mini

I used the 2″ 90 degree kites, together with 2″ 45 degree diamonds, to make my #handpiecedminiswap2 quilt. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this- if you’re not on Instagram, I joined what is surely the only hand piecing swap going on right now and made this quilt for one participant, and received a mini quilt from another participant.  It was a blind swap, so we had to “stalk” our partners to figure out what they might like to receive.  It took me a long time to decide on something, but there were some beautifully colored yarns in my partner’s feed, and I used those as inspiration for the colors in this quilt.

 

My favorite part of this quilt is that dark raspberry border.  That and the geometry of the quilt made me think of a formal courtyard, so I’ve named this quilt Courtyard Garden.

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I decided to use some creative value placement to create a medallion layout, but there is actually an allover grid pattern going on with the shapes. 4-pointed stars or 8-pointed stars, depending on which way you look.

I’m working on another version of the quilt that highlights the 8-pointed stars.  I am so in love with these stars btw!  As a derivative of the above pattern, I’m calling them Courtyard Stars.

I have made downloadable design sheets for this pattern; one highlights the value placement of the medallion mini, and one has just a plain grid so you can do your own experimenting.  They are listed as a set in my Etsy shop.

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Courtyard Stars

 

To make either the medallion version of the pattern, or 16+ of the above stars, you will need:

Medium pack of 2″ 90 degree kites

Small pack of 2″ 45 degree diamonds

Downloadable design sheets

The pieced portion of the mini is 20.5″ square, and I recommend appliqueing onto a 24″ background square.

I hope you’ll give these shapes a try!  I’ll be back later in the week to show some of the other layouts you can achieve with these beautiful 90 degree kites.  Octagons feature prominently in these designs so first I need to get them ready and listed 🙂

Happy sewing!

Jessie

 

 

Winter Solstice

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Did you/ will you celebrate the Winter Solstice this year?  Here on the east coast of the US it was at 11:49 last night; for Europe it was early this morning. The longest night and the shortest day of the year.  It’s not an event my family has ever really celebrated, but every year I imagine us making the time to mark the event. I picture a day of peace and simple beauty. A bundled-up nature walk in the low afternoon sun, a crackling fire, a special homemade stew. New pajamas?  We did have a lovely soup for dinner last night but otherwise we didn’t break from the rush of this season.  Next year, we keep saying…

I did gather myself together long enough last night to list my Winter Solstice template pack in my Etsy shop.  I love how the star looks almost like a snowflake.  My sweet friend Carissa came up with the name for me many months ago and so I thought I should list the templates for sale in honor of the night.

Winter Solstice

Technical details:

There are three pack sizes, containing enough templates for 1, 2, or 9 stars.  The star finishes 17″ high and 15″ wide, and can be appliqued onto an 18″ pillow or quilt block or set together with 1″ hexagons and 1″ 60 degree diamonds.  Or, it can “float” alone in a sea of as many 1″ hexagons as you like!  If you want to make the 58″x64″ layout shown below, you will need a large pack of Winter Solstice stars, a large pack of 1″ hexagons, and a small pack of 1″ diamonds.  You also need a few 1″ equilateral triangles for the edges, which I include for free with your package.  If you are doing a smaller layout and only need a few diamonds/ triangles, let me know in the notes to seller and I’ll just throw them in for free 🙂

Winter Solstice Layout

So here she is, Winter Solstice.  If you have any winter solstice traditions or have heard of any nice ones, I would love to hear about it!

 

5 Reasons to Love Freezer Paper

So, why did I go to all this trouble to make die-cut freezer paper shapes available?  Here are five reasons to love working with Snowflakes Freezer Paper Shapes:

Template stays put while you baste!

#1. And this would be enough, even if it were the only attribute: the paper shapes stay put while you baste. Just a touch with a hot iron, and there is absolutely no slipping, and no need for pins or paper clips to hold the fabric still as you baste.

Fabric cutting is a snap!

#2. Fabric cutting is a snap. Other methods ask you to get a separate plastic template and trace around it onto the fabric, adding time to every piece you prepare. When a freezer paper template is ironed into your fabric, it is easy to eyeball a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance as you cut, no marking necessary!

tessellating templates saves a lot of fabric!

#3. Saves fabric. If you are rotary cutting squares and then trimming them down into hexagons, you are wasting a lot of fabric!  With Snowflakes, you can arrange the pieces in a tessellating fashion, then cut them out zig-zag style without any waste. If you need a large number of shapes from one fabric, you will save a lot of fabric cutting this way.

precise fussy cutting is easy

#4  precise fussy cutting. Iron the shape onto the reverse side of your fabric, then hold up to the light from the right side to see exactly where the fabric design will fall.

templates can be reused many times

#5 Reusable.  I use my Snowflakes many times before retiring them.  Even with the holes from basting, they still iron on many times before being exhausted.

Check out Snowflakes freezer paper shapes for yourself here in my shop!

An outdoor demo

A couple of weeks ago (wow, was it really like a month ago?)  the DC Modern Quilt Guild had our annual outdoor sewing meeting.  I love this meeting, even though this time it made me hate the DC Metro sooo much… What would have taken me an hour to drive, on the Metro was 1.5 hours on the way in to the city and 2.5 hours on the way out. 45 minutes of which were in a sweltering rail car with the A/C out… Arrgh. But I digress.

Photo by Frederick Nunley

Photo by Frederick Nunley

We have a lovely space where we like to meet in the US Botanical Gardens. I was pleased to be asked to demo English Paper Piecing this time!  How fun that was, to have so many other people around me catching the EPP bug!

Demo Day Pouch

I brought some bits of fabric for everyone to practice on, and at the end of the day there were lots of basted hexies left behind, some even joined into pairs or trios. What to do with them? Certainly not throw them out! I joined then all together and made this little pouch as a little memento of the day. I’m thinking this will be the perfect size to transport sewing machine and extension cords to sewing meetings. If it doesn’t get swiped for My Little Pony figurines first!

Demo Day Pouch

Would your guild or shop like me to demo English Paper Piecing with freezer paper shapes? Please get in touch!

Spring Basket Tutorial

 

Spring Basket Alternate version

As promised, if you just want to dabble into English Paper Piecing, but still end up with a sweet and eminently useable project, this version of my free Spring Basket pattern is just the thing for you!

To make this version of the basket, you’ll follow all the original steps as posted on Sew Mama Sew with just these few modifications:

You’ll need a 32 inch x 6 inch piece of fabric for the outer basket, and only 16, 2.5 inch square-ish scraps for the hexagons.

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Prepare and baste 16, 1 inch hexagons.  Lay them out and sew into a zigzag line as shown.  Then join the two end hexagons together to form a ring.  Press well and remove the papers.  If you are new to English Paper Piecing, here is the information you need.

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Using the extra pattern piece marked [Outer fabric- non-pieced version only], cut four pieces from your outer fabric and sew together as described for the lining pieces.

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Line up your ring of hexagons 1/2 inch from the top edge.  The top left corner of every fourth hexagon should line up with a seam in the outer fabric.  Pin well, then topstitch with your machine on both edges of the ring.  (Or hand applique if you are more comfortable with that technique.)

You can cut away your base fabric from behind any light-colored hexies if it shows through.  Be sure to leave 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Follow the rest of the project as written.  Then, start a new English Paper Piecing project and use this basket to store the pieces 🙂

Visit www.FarawayRoad.com or my Etsy shop to buy a starter kit for this project which includes Snowflakes Freezer Paper Shapes and the In-R-Form stabilizer you’ll need to get going!

 

Thanks for reading!

❤ Jessie

My other baby 😄

Now that “Baby Vivian” is firmly a toddler, I want to talk about another little pet project I’ve been nursing along in my spare moments. I’m so excited to announce it here today!

You all know I love English Paper Piecing. Well, I like to use freezer paper templates for my EPP, and I used to wish and hope and Google in vain for a supplier of precut freezer paper shapes. No luck. Eventually I realized that I could be the one to supply them for everyone!EPP work tray

So for the past year or so I’ve been working with a great company to create the dies and have these shapes professionally cut, working with another company to get some packaging created,  setting up a website, and of course basting and sewing hundreds and hundreds of little shapes.  (In the name of research, y’know?!)   I’ve even quietly sold a few packs on my Etsy shop.  It’s been so fun.

So… why freezer paper? Quite simply, because freezer paper sticks to your fabric with just a touch from the iron. Then you can just eyeball your seam allowance as you cut around the paper. No tracing around a plastic template and cutting on the lines.  The freezer paper sticks to the fabric while you baste the edges, eliminating the need for pins or paper clips. Nothing for your thread to get caught on!

Hexies Galore

Furthermore, some instructions for EPP would have you start by cutting out your own paper shapes from freezer paper or card stock.  That is time that I could be playing with my fabric and sewing, so I’d much rather NOT hand cut a billion paper shapes, thank you very much!  Snowflakes are professionally die cut, saving you that time of cutting them yourself, and giving you more accurate results too!  I have five shapes in 3-4 sizes each and I’ll be adding more shapes as we go along. In fact, I’m finalizing my next additions now, so if you have a shape you’d like to see, I’d love to hear your opinion!

SpringBasket

To celebrate my “soft launch” I’ve got a free pattern for this little Spring Basket over on Sew Mama Sew today! It’s a sweet and rather quick little project (as far as EPP goes), but if you just want to dip your pinky toe into English paper piecing, I’ll be posting a variation later today that’s even quicker.  I have a starter kit for sale both in my Etsy shop and on FarawayRoad.com that includes the Snowflakes Freezer Paper Shapes for this project and enough In-R-Form stabilizer for one basket.

For those of you who are curious about EPP but have never tried it, check out my YouTube tutorials here. In the meantime please check out my shop and let me know what shapes you’d like to see Faraway Road produce next!

Thanks for reading!

Love,  

Jessie

A Giveaway, For Pink’s Sake

IMG_0961Today I’m participating in a blog hop for my friend Anna over at Life Sew Crafty.  Anna is raising money to help with her Mother-in-law Tina’s medical bills after lengthy cancer treatments.  Anna writes that her mother in law has remained cheerful and upbeat through it all, but now that she is cancer-free the looming medical bills are putting a real damper on her spirits.  I was especially inspired to help Anna and Tina after reading this, since I know a bit about looming medical bills dragging down what should otherwise be a joyous thing. We chose a home birth for Vivian’s arrival back in April, but after her birth I was transferred to the hospital. So, we paid for both the home birth and a stay in the maternity ward.  Our insurance picked up some of the cost, but more than half is coming of our pockets, and sometimes when I think of how grateful I am for her beautiful birth, my mind also drifts to all that we had to lay out to make it happen, and the bills that are still rolling in….  All that is to say that it just sucks to have a dollar amount on a life, so let’s help Tina and her family get over that hurdle.

IMG_0953 The block above is going to a quilt that Anna will make and donate to the center where Tina had all her treatments.  It’s English Paper Pieced, with 3″ and 1.5″ 60 degree diamonds.  Then I hand appliqued the star onto a white background.  The block is big; 14.5″,  but Anna can trim it down to 12.5″ if that fits better into her quilt.

I’ve also made this little pouch to give away to one reader who contributes to Anna’s cause:

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The pink star is made from one of very favorite Liberty of London Tana Lawns.  I intended to make the background mostly white, but somehow all those lovely aquas crept in… it was pure enjoyment putting this little guy together!

For a chance to win the pouch,

1. Go to Anna’s fundraiser page and make a donation in any amount, then come back and leave a comment that you have done so.

2. Make a pink block for Anna’s quilt, which will be donated to the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids, MI, then leave me a comment that you’ve done so.

3. Publicize this giveaway on the social media platform of your choice, and leave me a comment that you have done so.

If you do more than one of the things above, please leave a separate comment for each action.  The comments are your entries to win.  This blog hop has been going on for a little while now, so if you’ve already donated (thank you), of course you are welcome to enter this giveaway.  I’ll draw the winner on Monday, July 28th.
Please also visit the other folks on the blog hop:

May 10
May 24

June 7

June 21

July 5

July 19

Anna also will be doing a drawing for some really nice prizes for anyone who participates in the above ways, so be sure to check back with her on August 2nd for a chance to win.

ETA: Linking up with Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts.  So excited to have a finished project to share this week!