If you’ve ever been over to my Etsy shop, you’ll know that I have several patterns where instead of using plaid fabric, the plaid sections are all patchwork pieced. It’s a great way to get a perfectly aligned plaid section in the shape and color you want! You just choose a dark, medium, and light/low volume print and you’re on your way to making your own plaid block. With the block below, I choose several Riley Blake Swiss Dot prints to make an easy plaid tree: black for the dark print, gray for the medium print, and a low volume gray dot on white for the light print. It’s always so fun to see the block go from just a few prints into a perfectly plaid quilt block!

This plaid tree quilt block is from my Farmhouse Christmas pattern. The pattern includes instructions for the full quilt (shown below), along with a bonus half-sized block that’s perfect for pillow covers, table runners, or mini quilt. I used the half-sized block pattern for the swiss dot tree block and love how fun it is made up into a quilted pillow cover.

Farmhouse decor has been so popular lately and I love bringing in a little plaid to my Christmas decorations, too.

If you prefer to go with non-traditional plaid colors, Riley Blake has a ton of Swiss Dots to choose from to make your plaid trees perfect! Just choose a dark and medium shade of the color you want, add a low volume or white print, and you’ve got a plaid quilt block in the making.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

It’s almost Christmas time and I’ve been wanting to create a festive t-shirt that also subtly shows my love for quilting. Enter my Cricut machine. There are so many iron on color and design options, but this time I decided to try their new Infusible Ink products. Instead of ironing on a vinyl product to the top of the material, the Infusible Ink actually embeds itself into the fabric which means no fading, peeling, or cracking over time!

To make my quilty Christmas shirt idea come to life, I first created a simple sawtooth star graphic, saved it as an svg file, and imported it into the Cricut Design Space. It was pretty straight forward, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing something like that, I’ve saved my own file in Design Space–you can get there by clicking through THIS link on Pinterest (hopefully that will work for you!).

I also grabbed a T-shirt blank and a package of Infusible Ink transfer sheets. I’m not sure of all of the ins and outs of what the Infusible Ink will work on, so I decided to play it safe and get a Cricut t-shirt so I’d have a better chance of success. 🙂

After cutting out my sawtooth design from the Infusible Ink sheet, I followed the instructions on the Cricut Heat Guide (you’ll want to bookmark that link–the heat guide is a fantastic resource for newbies like me!).

Everything was pretty straightforward, but I did have one issue that I wanted to share in case it helps someone else.

I had been storing my EasyPress Mat (the ironing mat that you put the project on) folded in half. It came that way in the box and I didn’t think much of it. However, it had a big ridge in the middle where it was folded and it was really hard to get the EasyPress 2 to lay evenly on the t-shirt. You can see in the finished product that the uneven surface created areas where the Infusible Ink didn’t transfer as well.

Even with that small mishap, I totally love my quilty holiday shirt! It’s fun to think of all the possibilities with the Infusible Ink–along with compatible t-shirts, Cricut also has tote bags, baby onesies, and coasters. I’m hoping to give Infusible Ink another try soon–and in the meantime, I’m storing my EasyPress Mat flat so that fold smooths out! 🙂

 

 

Anyone else a big fan of Roald Dahl’s books? When I saw that Riley Blake was releasing a line of fabric from his book Matilda, I knew just what I had to make with it–a library book bag! We’re always trying to juggle a huge pile of books in our arms as we make our way to and from the library, so this quilted bag with oversized handles will be perfect for all our future trips to the library.

I wanted a super sturdy, quilted tote bag and wasn’t aware of any patterns that fit the bill, so this project was a “make it up as you go” type of venture. I’m happy to say there was only a minimal amount of unpicking as I made my way through each step of the process. 🙂

I used the Matilda Book Toss print in blue and white for the outside of the bag and the Matilda Standing Books in white for the lining. The handles have the blue Book Toss print again along with the Matilda text print and Swiss Dots in Yellow (also from Riley Blake). The yellow swiss dots match perfectly and add an extra pop of color to the handles. Of course, I used my favorite Aurifloss 50 wt thread from start to finish.

The Matilda fabric line is shipping to stores this month (November 2019). If you’re a Roald Dahl fan–or just a bibliophile in general, it’s a fun fabric line to show your love of the written word.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

When I received my Cricut Explore Air 2, one of the things I was most excited about trying was vinyl! I’ve made projects with vinyl, but have never cut my own vinyl (I’ve always used pre-cut vinyl) and have never used iron-on vinyl either.

To get started, I found a mini-sampler pack of Cricut Everyday Iron-on Vinyl with colors that worked for the project I wanted to do. The sampler packs are great because they come with several different colors, are pretty inexpensive, and since if you’ve never tried iron-on (like me) and are unsure if you’ll like it, you’re not committing to a large amount of vinyl.

Since I wanted to make a Thanksgiving project, I got onto Cricut Design Space and found a perfect “Give Thanks” image to use (the project file is called “Give Thanks Placemat” in Design Space if you want to find it there). As I got ready to cut, I chose Everyday Iron-on Vinyl as the material and Design Space put up a warning reminding me to switch the format so I was cutting the file as a mirror image. I was so grateful for my smart Cricut in warning me about that! I didn’t even realize that you had to cut it reverse image, so that saved me some headache for sure.

After removing the excess vinyl, I was left with the Give Thanks phrase on top of the sticky liner. I positioned the vinyl on top of the piece of linen and was ready to iron!

The EasyPress 2 was super easy to use for adhering the Give Thanks onto the linen. You just set the temperature to the right number (there’s a handy Heat Guide here to help with temperature and time settings) and let the EasyPress 2 do all the work!

After the alotted time has passed, you can slowly remove the liner and the vinyl is left ironed onto the material! Wahoo! In full disclosure, there were a few spots of the “Give Thanks” letters that didn’t get ironed on too well at first—they wanted to stick to the liner instead of the linen. I originally didn’t have the temperature up quite high enough, so I increased the temp, ironed the phrase again, and the second time it worked much better.

I repeated the process with gold iron-on vinyl for the leaves and the leaves worked perfectly (after remembering to cut them out as mirror image, of course!) 😉 They were easily ironed onto the linen and the liner came off nice and clean.

To finish off this fun little Thanksgiving project, I trimmed the Give Thanks linen panel to 6-1/2″ square then added a few borders of 2-1/2″ strips around the outside. After a little hand quilting and installing a zipper, I had a new pillow to display!

I love my new pillow and the cute iron-on vinyl in the middle really adds a special touch. The whole process was surprisingly easy and I’m looking forward to many more iron-on projects in the near future! If you have been wanting to try out vinyl and haveany questions about the process, please let me know–I’d be happy to help.

Happy sewing!

I’ve added a new tiny foundation paper pieced pattern to my collection! Tiny House was created a little by accident—I was actually making a different design and suddenly had the idea to do a super tiny house with a little flower box outside the window.

Tiny House is very beginner friendly (the pattern only has one section! 🙌) and it comes in two size options: 3” x 3” and 6” x 6” (these three tiny houses are the 3” size).

And to make that tiny flower box even cuter, I added some hand embroidered flowers onto the mint house! I used some of my favorite Aurifloss thread and french knots to quickly add some dimension to the tiny quilt block. It creates a big impact with just a little extra work. 🙂 For reference, the mint fabric is Kisses (in Sweet Mint) from Riley Blake Designs and the Aurifloss colors I used are: 2530 (Blossom Pink), 2423 (Baby Pink), 2888 (Fern Green), 1148 (Light Jade), and 2120 (Canary).

You can find the Tiny House foundation paper pieced quilt block pattern in my Etsy shop HERE.

Happy sewing!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Almost exactly ten years ago, I purchased a Cricut Expression on Black Friday. I used it for a couple years to add some flair to my scrapbook pages and birthday invitations. I loved having it for my paper crafts, but as I did scrapbooking less and less, I decided to pass it on to someone else who would use it more. In the years since I’ve given it away, I’ve often thought it would be fun to have a computerized cutting machine again–and especially to try out the more specialized functions like cutting vinyl, iron-on vinyl, window cling, faux leather, and the new infusible ink. Can’t you just imagine all the cool craft projects you could create with the ability to intricately cut those types of materials?!?

I figured over the course of ten years, things could change a whole lot in the realm of electronic cutting machines, and I was eager to try out the new Cricut Explore Air 2. Upon receiving my machine, the first thing I noticed was the color (I mean, I’m a quilter, so I’m allowed to be impressed by the color, right?). There are several color options and I got the gorgeous mint version–so pretty! There are also some handy storage compartments built into the machine to hold tools.

I wanted to immediately get cutting, so I turned to the Cricut Design Space to find a fun design. Just a warning: the Design Space has SO MANY fun designs. My list of items I wanted to make suddenly grew by about twenty. Haha. I ended up finding a fun bat design that would make some fast and fun Halloween decorations (the design I chose is called “Fancy Paper Pumpkins” if you want to find it on Design Space).

The Cricut Explore Air 2 easily connected to my laptop–I just plugged the Cricut cord into the USB port on my laptop and followed the instructions to pair them. I found out later that the Explore Air 2 has bluetooth capability, so you can bet that will be something I’m going to be trying out next! It will be so nice to just send the cutting files to the Cricut without having to connect them by a cord!

I only had 8.5″ x 11″ pieces of black cardstock, so I chose that option on the Design Space “Material Size” drop down menu and the bats from my chosen design automatically adjusted to fit onto an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper. For me, that feature is particularly impressive because with my old Cricut, I’d have to manually arrange the figures on the screen to make sure they fit within the size parameters of the cardstock I was using. With the Cricut Design Space, you can also easily adjust the number of figures to cut (copy and paste more figures, or delete to have less) and the size of the designs.

Cutting out the bat figures was a lot faster and smoother than with my old Cricut, too. I could tell the Explore Air 2 had a lot more power and it seemed to effortlessly cut the cardstock. The cut bat pieces were easy enough to remove from the mat, but I would suggest cutting everything you need from the cardstock/paper on the first run, as the left over cardstock ripped a little here and there taking it off of the adhesive mat.

The bat figures that I cut out had scored lines for their wings to help with bending in the right place. I haven’t purchased a scoring tool for my Cricut yet (it’s on my wish list, though), so instead of having the Cricut cut out the scored lines, I just used a ruler with a metal edge to bend the wings in the direction I wanted. Easy, peasy!

 

My kids helped me place the bats on our wall and they thought it was so fun to have a colony of bats invading our living room. And I thought it was so fun that the project took less than thirty minutes total!

Overall, I am super impressed with my Cricut Explore Air 2. This little bat project was a perfect starting off point and I’m more excited than ever to see what else it can do.

 

 

Every month, Aurifil gives a challenge to their Aurifil Artisans. This month, we were challenged to use Aurifloss or 12 wt Aurifil thread on a project. I use 50 wt Aurifil thread pretty much every time I sew, but am much less familiar with the thicker Aurifil options, so I was excited to gain a little experience with a different weight thread. 🧵

I decided to mix these yummy wool felt colors from Riley Blake Designs with 12 wt Aurifil to create a modern hexie pincushion (inspired by Modern Handcraft’s work). To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how things would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use the 12 wt thread! I kept my regular 50 wt Aurifil in the bobbin, kept the same needle and just lowered the tension a bit for the top thread.

The mix of the wool with the thicker stitching gives such a great texture! I’d love to experiment a bit more with wool + 12 wt Aurifil on another project, so don’t be surprised if you see more of this combination from me in the future.

We made it to the last week of the #fallingforfpp sew along on Instagram. I’ve had such a fun time seeing everyone’s blocks and hearing from quilters who have tried foundation paper piecing for the first time!

For the final week of September, I have one more free FPP block to share: Pumpkin Patch! This block is a little more advanced than the previous free patterns I’ve shared, and hopefully it will help you stretch your FPP skills a bit.

The Pumpkin Patch Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern comes with three size options: 3″ x 3″, 6″ x 6″, and 9″ x 9″. The photos here show the 6″ block pattern, but I’m hoping someone will try out the itty-bitty 3″ block pattern and share a photo with me. 🙂 

Click on the link below to download the Pumpkin Patch pattern.

Pumpkin Patch FPP Pattern

If you’re participating in the sew along on Instagram, remember to use the hashtag #fallingforfpp. We still have some pretty awesome prizes up for grabs, so I’m looking forward to seeing all of the FPP blocks that you make! 

Happy sewing!

It’s week three in the #fallingforfpp sew along over on Instagram and I have another free foundation paper piecing pattern for you! The Mod Log Cabin quilt block pattern is beginner friendly and was designed with fussy cutting in mind–the on-point square in the middle is perfect for a focal print that you want to be the highlight of the block.

The Mod Log Cabin FPP pattern has two size options: 4″ x 4″ and 6″ x 6″. For my block, I used the 6″ block size and Dorothy’s Journey fabric line by Jill Howarth for Riley Blake Designs. I just love all the cute Wizard of Oz characters and the fussy cutting potential!

Click on the link below to download the PDF and have fun making your own Mod Log Cabin foundation paper piecing blocks!

Mod Log Cabin FPP Pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you have a foundation paper pieced (FPP) pattern that you love, but it’s just not the right size for your project? Never fear–I’m going to give you all the info on how to adjust the size (shrink OR enlarge) your foundation paper pieced patterns so you can customize it to fit whatever project you’re working on!

Below, you can see my Tiny Log Cabin FPP block. The pattern comes with many size options (2″, 3″, 4″, 5″. and 6″) but what if you needed a different size? For example, if the project you were working on needed the Log Cabin block to be 7″ x 7″, you’ll need to enlarge the size of the pattern with a copier (or printer settings) to fit your needs.

To change the size of a foundation paper piecing pattern, you’ll want to choose the Resize option on the copier and then you can change the enlargement or reduction value to what you need. 100% will be the original/starting size of your pattern. If you want to shrink it, you’ll choose a number below 100%, and if you are enlarging the pattern, you’ll choose a number above 100%.

For a simple enlargement, such as making a pattern 2 times the original size, the calculation is easy: 2x the original size is 2 x 100% = 200%. Or for half of the original size, the calculation would be: 1/2 x 100% = 50%.

What if you’re wanting to do an enlargement or reduction that isn’t straight forward, though? If that’s the case, here’s the formula for you to use:

The finished/desired size is the size you want the pattern to end up being. The starting/original size is the size that the pattern started out as (these sizes are without the seam allowance!). Again, if you are wanting to enlarge the pattern, the “% to change” number should be larger than 100. If you are wanting to reduce the pattern, the “% to change” number should be less than 100.

If the percentage ends up being a number with a lot of decimals (e.g. 33.3333%), just round up to the nearest whole number (33.3333% —> 34%). That will make the pattern be just slightly larger (which is much easier to work with than pieces that are too small!).

After figuring out the correct enlargement or reduction size, you can go ahead and make the copies! I would suggest checking the pattern size with a ruler to make sure it is in fact the size that you were aiming for (check the size of the block without the seam allowances).

After you have your copies, you’ll notice that the seam allowances are not an exact 1/4″ anymore. If you enlarged the pattern, the seam allowance will also be enlarged and you’ll need to draw a new line 1/4″ away from the edge of the pattern to bring it back to the correct size. If you reduced the pattern, the seam allowance will be smaller. You’ll need to adjust it so it’s up to 1/4″ in size.

Sometimes the original pattern pieces are really close together and after you reduce the pattern, there isn’t 1/4″ in between the pattern pieces to make the seam allowances correct. If that’s the case, you can either print out multiple copies of the pattern to make sure you get each piece cut correctly with the accurate 1/4″, or you can keep the pattern pieces as is with a smaller seam allowance and after assembling each piece, remember to trim the fabric to 1/4″ (which will be beyond the edge of the paper).

I hope that helps clear up any questions you might have on enlarging or reducing a paper pieced pattern! Please let me know in the comments if you need any clarifications or have any additional questions for me. Thanks and happy sewing!