Quilting, Sewing, & Fabrics

Looking Back: QuiltCon 2015 Favorites

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It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two months since I headed to Texas for QuiltCon 2015. It was my first time attending the conference and I had a magnificent time. You can read more about my experience at the show over on DIY Network’s Made + Remade and my travels through Texas here.

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As a quilt lover and writer I really adored the vendor show floor at QuiltCon. It was great to get meet many of my favorite designers, learn more about new fabric lines coming out and try my hand with some products I’d been anxious to get a crack at. For my final QuiltCon recap I’m sharing some of my favorite products I discovered and interactions I had while in Austin. Hopefully you might like them, too. (more…)

Crafty Review: Rowenta Pro Master

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After coming back from QuiltCon last month one of the tools I knew I needed to really think about back in my craft room is my iron. I run my irons really hard, from pressing quilts to my husband ironing shirt after shirt for a work trip. Unfortunately I’ve not found an iron that has been strong enough to last a long time in my craft studio. Until now, thanks to Rowenta.

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The Rowenta Pro Master has been a powerhouse in my craft studio recently. I received an iron to try from Rowenta out and I was blown away but what a quality, well-made iron could do for my sewing projects. What really grabbed my attention? Take a look.

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The water funnel to the iron is capped closed and has a longer channel to keep the water from running out while filling it. Once the maximum water level has been reached the top is closed so that the water can’t spill out. Irons leaking water has been one of my biggest pet peeves in the craft studio; I won’t have to worry about that with the Rowenta Pro Master.

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The iron is heavy, but not in a bad way. It feels sturdy and rugged, making it almost impossible to accidentally tip over while quickly ironing. The weight of the iron’s body helps create easier ironing from start to finish. Even fat quarters that have been folded in my stash for a long time release their wrinkles thanks to the force and even-distribution soleplate of this iron.

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See the rounded point? It’s perfect for ironing smaller opens, corners and other precision-needed components. I’ve been making a lot of the Hour Baskets leading up to Easter and this new iron has been perfect for making sure the boxed corners are pressed and crisp.

I’ve been contemplating several irons recently, from cordless models to irons that can be rested horizontally as opposed to on its heel. I’ excited to say that my search is over. I’m sticking with the Rowenta Pro Master as my go-to iron in my craft studio; you may want to, too.

Looking for some crafty inspiration? Check out Rowenta’s video, featuring craft guru Lotta Jansdotter, on how to make a patchwork coaster from a few years back.

Fan of Rowenta? Make sure to follow them on:

Review: Julie Jackson’s “Subversive Cross Stitch”

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Julie Jackson debuted her first book, “Subversive Cross Stitch.” Packed with cross stitch sampler patterns suited to give to your snarkiest of friends for any occasion, the book arrived just as the indie craft world was taking center stage. I poured over my copy, not just laughing at the designs packed with F-bomb after F-bomb, but using it as my go-to reference for classic cross stitch alphabets.

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Today my copy has been written on, marked up, dog-eared… you name it. When I saw that Julie was releasing an anniversary edition with 17 new patterns to enjoy, I wasn’t sure how different it would be from the original and whether I needed the new copy. After having spent time with the book the past few days the heart and guts of the have remained true – and that’s the most important part.

Over the years I’ve frequently found myself lending out my copy of the book to friends curious to try their hands at cross stitch, but eventually turned away from it due to the lack of modern patterns for them to practice with. Julie’s samplers aren’t for the faint of heart, but that’s part of why it makes them so funny. Most of us had at least one cross stitch sampler in our house growing up and I can guarantee you there wasn’t one four-letter word to be found it it. It’s not making fun of an art, it’s poking fun at ourselves. Thanks to the new book I feel confident loaning my older copy out from time to time knowing I’ve got the latest and greatest in my craft book library whenever I need it.

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The latest copy of the book has revised stitch counts and larger diagrams to use. It didn’t take me long to make my first new piece, “It’s not mean if it’s hilarious.” I used some of Sublime Stitching’s embroidery floss on a piece of bright aqua Aida cloth. A glass of wine and some time after work was all I needed to get stitching the subversive way.

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If you’re a fan of Julie’s like I am, her new book is worth adding to your collection; you can purchase it from her website. Don’t forget to check out her site for additional PDF patterns and project ideas. Looking for even more patterns? Check out this collection for DIY Network.

Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs For Your Sassy Side
By Julie Jackson
powerHouse Books, $15.95

How-To: Barkcloth Needle Case

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I’m back from an amazing few days in Texas enjoying some vacation time with good friends and, of course, several days as an attendee at the now-annual Quilt Con, presented by The Modern Quilt Guild. My attention the past few weeks has been getting ready for the conference, from making DIY accessories to packing up all of our goodies to take on the road. Over the next few days I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the conference, so look out for that!

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I saw so many wonderful vendors and fabrics at Quilt Con. My suitcases weighed A LOT MORE leaving Austin – I’ll leave it at that. One of my favorite vendors at the show was Cloud 9 Fabrics. Their soft, organic-offering cottons always catch my eye, but at the show last week they offered ready-to-go fat quarters and a look at some of their coming-to-us-soon fabrics that really caught my attention. My favorite had to be the new barkcloth “Time Warp” options coming from Jessica Jones. (more…)

Tote of the Month: December 2014

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Better late than never, right?! I made my tote of the month JUST in time for Christmas this week. With all the handmade gifts I’ve been making and fun parties to attend, this holiday season feels like it’s finally flying by!

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This bag features Michael Miller Fabrics’ “Yule Critters” (which I also used for a new stocking this year) paired with some red Moda fabric I’ve had in my stash for a while. It’s a wonderfully bright take on Christmas that I love to show off.

Now… time to think about January’s tote!

How-To: Fall Harvest Vase Wraps

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It’s officially fall in Michigan and I’m trying to enjoy every second of this always-short season here in the Mitten State for as long as I can. There’s lots of plaids to wear, warm tea to sip and beautiful plant colors to gaze upon.

If you’re in the mood for more harvest hues in your home, you can add a simple canvas-denim-shirting wrap to any plain vase for a quick fall upgrade. This wrap is easy to sew; add it to your own vase for a harvest centerpiece or use it wrap around a bunch of flowers at the end of a dinner party to send home with guests. (more…)

Turn Your Fabric Scraps Into a Quilted Pillow

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This weekend I’ll be a part of the first-ever, all-day DIY event online: The Sewing Party! I’ll be hanging out in The Sewing Party’s Lounge from 12-1 pm talking about ways to put your stash and scrap collection to use. I adore talking about anything DIY, especially when it comes to finding crafting inspiration and making the most of what you have on hand, so this Saturday’s event is sure to be a blast.

Check out my latest post for DIY Network’s Made + Remade as we get ready for this weekend’s The Sewing Party!

Tote of the Month: November 2014

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I’ve started making myself one new tote bag every month. And I love it.

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Last month I decided I wanted a fun work tote bag to carry all the loose nonsense I carry with me to and from work each day. I had a piece of Witches Brew from Maude Asbury’s Spooktacular Eve for Blend Fabrics that I knew would look great as a tote. Paired with a bold Kona solid for the lining and some bright orange belt webbing, I was good to go. And I had a new project: Tote of the Month.

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This month’s tote fabric I used a piece from Rashida Coleman-Hale‘s “Moonlit” collection for Cotton + Steel. This fabric, covered with pennants, is deliciously soft. Once again I used a Kona solid for the lining and added some wavy lines of stitches to the top of the bag to keep the lining and handles in place. It’s charming and I’m in love with it.

What’s on deck for December? You’ll just have to wait and see…