Tag Archives: michael miller fabrics

A BOM Update & Why You Need a Sewing Corner

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A tiny upcoming BOM hint.

First – a BOM update in the form of the above photo.  Yes indeed, kits are being assembled and gorgeousness is about to happen, friends!  We’ve still got a little over a month before the July 22nd first ever Serendipity Woods Block of the Month project kickoff and I’m pleased to announce that already – the response has been extraordinary!  Rather than spend too much time reiterating about it (of course if you need a refresher or are newly in-the-know about it and want more info – DO click the link – quicklikeabunny!), I want to inspire some thoughts on sewing spaces and why they matter.

First, let me start by saying I completely GET that for most of us, available space is at a premium, especially in busy homes with children. Often that means sewing machines come out of a closet when needed, only to be tucked back into that closet when we’ve whipped up whatever something we wanted or needed to make.  Sometimes that’s unavoidable and it is what it is; yet its hard to feel inspired to sew when the process of sewing involves SETTING UP all the time.  Ideally, having a space somewhere where all our sewing happiness can live without having to be put away is so great because it allows us to sit down to sew whenever the mood strikes or whenever the free time presents itself (like naptime…oh yes, I remember naptime!).

When my kids were small, my machine was set up in a fairly large space in our basement.  It worked great because for one thing, my sewing space didn’t have to be neat all the time! It was also right off our family room so the kids could be playing nearby and I was close if they needed me.  The other great thing about basement sewing spaces is that often there’s plenty of room to spread out. I took a moment to search ‘Basement sewing room’ (since I just don’t seem to have a photo of mine from the past) and just LOOK what I found:

Miss sews a lot Sewing Space Progress

This space belongs to Miss Sews A Lot and reminds me a fair bit of my (past) basement sewing studio – in a word: SPACIOUS!

Now, while I do miss the spaciousness of my basement sewing studio, I learned a couple of things – first of which is that I honestly don’t technically  need that much space all in one spot (but trust me, I love spare closets!). Not to mention – the biggest drawback to having a basement sewing studio is DINNER; rather, having to drop everything to go upstairs and make it.  I realized what I really wanted to do was to sew some and work some, then sew some and work some more.  I found that with a basement studio, I was less inclined to volley back and forth between the two and more inclined to do one for a long period, then the other. That wasn’t really working for me.

So. Enter a room like this:

Phamplet 1971 Governor's Residence

This isn’t MY formal dining room, nor was it ever (not even in 1965, before I was born, for the record). It’s the formal dining room of the Minnesota Governor’s Residence , just for fun – I picked it so we could all bask in its superfluous, nonsensical (and especially golden) formality.

Formal.  I am not. WE are not. Never have been. But still, for the last few houses, we’ve been graced with a superfluous room – a formal dining room…usually right off the kitchen where clearly I make dinner…or someone (like my handsome Superman) does. Did I mention not technically needing all that much space in one spot?

Fast forward to this afternoon when I took this photo:

Sewing Corner

Yep – you guessed it.  This is a small corner of my dining room, right off our kitchen.  Were it not for the fact that the rest of the room is occupied by bolts (and bolts and bolts) of fabric, I may have more room for my sewing space; but remember – I technically don’t need very much room all in one spot (I could use a little more room for bolts of fabric, however, as evidenced across the hall in Superman’s office. That’s obviously where Bonnie & Camille’s Little Ruby Collection lives).

For sewing – I really just need one corner.  You really just need one corner.

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A foldable TV tray covered with several layers of quilt batting and a layer of Insul Bright with my favorite pretty fabric makes for a great block pressing table.  My iron lives on the little wrought iron shelf/stand too, so it’s handy but not taking up space on the mini ironing table I may want to fold and put out of the way.  See my little basket of fabrics I’m using for one of my active projects? And my scrap bowl, for just especially the scraps I’m using for our BOM project (for reasons I can’t possibly share just this very second)?  All handy and only what I need – not what I don’t. Don’t get me wrong – there are nearby closets for the ‘don’t need right this minute,’ and you’d better believe I use them!

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A portable block pressing board is a must as far as I’m concerned so I can carry my pieces from wherever I’m cutting (in my case, an adjacent table that always has my mat set up, but maybe yours is on your kitchen counter temporarily for the day).  Mine portable pressing board/carrying tray is a Quilter’s Cut & Press by June Taylor that I simply recovered on the one side with my favorite happy fabric. There are a variety of brands out there, but I like this one best because I can hang the handle from my next favorite studio tool…

3m hooks

Never underestimate the value of the almighty 3M Command Hook . I’ve mentioned it in previous posts – I use them everywhere.

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I get it. It may not be practical for you to hang your projects from 3M hooks in your sewing corner, but I love them. What you see are the 3 projects I’m currently working on as well as some clip boards for shop happenings. Even my wire file holder on the wall hangs from 3M hooks. Also, because I can see my WIPs, I’m a whole lot more inspired to spend a few minutes here and there to make progress on them.  It also keeps me thinking twice about starting a new project if I can see the ones that aren’t yet finished. I like to have a few projects going at once, but not too many or my crafty brain gets cluttered.

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Two more magical words: Binder Clips. Another one: Brilliant.

 

Sewing Corner

You’ll obviously see that a good amount of what also occupies this corner is shop stuff – superfluous to your needs as a sewist who just needs a corner of space for sewing.  The printer, the monitor, the patterns on the wall (with more 3M hooks – I’m telling you, they’re genius). The bottom line is that everything is handy and nothing is there that I don’t need to just sit down and sew when I have a free minute or two.  Even my sewing machine…

Charlotte and Jane

…is Jane, my 1956 Featherweight. She’s small, portable, and great for piecing.  I do have other machines and sometimes get them out for various reasons – but I love Jane most because she’s small and usually all I need to sew a nice little seam (or two, or a hundred).

So ‘What’s the update on the Modern Heritage Block of the Month prep,’ you ask? Okay, okay…

Large Cross Block

…one more sneak peek photo of my progress in prepping for our upcoming Modern Heritage Quilts Block of the Month. Of course click on the link if you haven’t yet signed up to join us. It’s going to be incredibly fun!

I’m really excited for us to get started on our Block of the Month project too.  In the meantime though, I wanted you to have a chance to spend a little time thinking about your space and how to make it most inspiring for you to create, JUST when you want to create. I hope you have at least a little sewing corner you can call your own.  I’d love to know more about it, if you feel like sharing.

Until next time – happy sewing 🙂

Pam

A Teeny Tiny Quilt Market Recap Plus a Great Big Annoucement

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Yummy fabrics, eh? Keep Scrolling, bear with me, and be a sweetie by humoring me while I lead with a bit of applicable Spring Quilt Market happy stuff.

I know – you can chastise me later for not constructing an immediate, lengthy and glorious post about all the wonderments of Spring Quilt Market 2016, the moment I got home from Salt Lake City, Utah a few weeks ago. Suffice to say, there were wonderments – MANY of them, but since Market, I’ve been OH-SO busy planning OH-SO-MUCH-MORE important stuff to share with you!

Okay, okay – I’ll take a sec to share a few pics from quilt market, but only a few before I share what I REALLY want to tell you about…

Quilt Market wonderments…like meeting this girl:

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A confession – the very first official quilt class I’ve ever taken was at the Riley Blake Shop Owner’s Extravaganza Retreat in gorgeous Park City, just before Spring Quilt Market 2016 (I’m historically more of a learn-on-my-own sort of girl). The one and only Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet was my teacher and I learned lots!

And this girl:

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Teacher of the second quilt class I’ve ever taken was the queen of English Paper Piecing herself, Sue Daley of Sue Daley Designs.  Oh, good grief – where do I begin?!  I cannot even begin to quantify how much I learned from this lovely lady about not only EPP (and her famous Knicker Knot!), but also just about our great business itself. I’m forever changed having met her and learned from her, HONESTLY.

Moving on to Quilt Market itself, how can I forget our visit to the Glamper?

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Carina Gardner, designer of patterns, paper art, and OH so many gorgeous fabrics (including Posy Garden, coming to the Woods in July!), was on the TOP of my list of Must-Meets at Quilt Market.  See that smile?  Yep – as genuine and sweet as it looks (even Sophie loved her enough to leap into her hands for the picture!)

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Had it not been for the fact that she knew I’d be all by myself at Quilt Market without her, I almost think Sophie may have stayed and gone home in the Glamper with Carina – she had that much fun hopping around in it.

Okay, okay, okay!  Before I get too lost in the ‘nostalgia’ part of Quilt Market 2016, I want to talk about what I really, really, REALLY need to share with you in this post:

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This gorgeous quilt was on display at A Schoolhouse class I attended the day before Quilt Market with Amy Ellis, sharing some details of her just-released-today new Quilt book called, Modern Heritage Quilts. Two words for which I specifically sought better clarity at Quilt Market : Modern Quilting.

Ah yes – this brings me to the most important reason for my blog post today – the announcement of the first ever Serendipity Woods Block of the Month project!

 

It starts with Amy’s Modern Heritage Quilt book as our guide, which will take us through a 9 month pseudo Mystery BOM project creating a whole new quilt (aka – not in the book) with associated block instructions which can be found on corresponding pages.

Modern Heritage Quilts Book

Invite your friends to join you for Serendipity Woods’ first ever BOM project, featuring Modern Heritage Quilts by Amy Ellis. Begins July 22, 2016!

Most importantly, we’ll learn together a little (probably a lot) more about quilting with a modern feel, yet preserving some of the tried and true, historical pattern styles. I don’t know about you, but I am so game!

The short, simple, to-the-point details:

What: Serendipity Woods Modern BOM 2016

When: July 22, 2017 – April 22, 2017

Cost:

  • Reservation Fee/First Month’s shipment – $39.50 +$4.89 shipping (includes Modern Heritage Quilts book and your first month’s instructions and fabrics, including Kona Snow background)
  • Remaining 8 months – $12.50 + $4.89 shipping/ each month (includes instructions and all fabric needed for associated month)
  • Deadline for registration is July 1st, so we’re sure to have all the supplies needed in stock, on time!

Fabrics included are from our Serendipity Woods’ Happy Scrappy Modern Bundle, curated especially for this Modern Heritage Quilts BOM project.

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Serendipity Woods Happy Scrappy Modern Fabrics collection, available at SerendipityWoods.etsy.com.

  • How: Several Ways:
    • Tell us RIGHT HERE (a simple, ‘Count me in for the BOM’ will suffice. We’ll take it from there)

    • Find our post on Instagram, Facebook, or Ello and tell us there
    • Purchase our ‘First Month BOM’ listing at Etsy (subsequent months will invoice through Paypal) HERE

What else, what else, what else?  Nothing, except we’re so excited and we hope you are too!

Cheers,

Pam and the Bunny Crew

PS – one more photo I ought to share of another miraculous girl I met during my adventure in Utah:

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My new friend, Crystal, owner of The Clever Quilt Shoppe, whom I met on the first day of the Riley Blake Retreat.  In a word: Serendipity.

 

A Couple of Quilt Finishes, Some Thoughts on Social Media, and a New Addition to the Serendipity Bunny Team

As usual, it’s been a while since I’ve shared here at the blog.  Frankly – pesky social media sites – it’s always easy to toss up a quick photo on Instagram or Facebook, which is a bit like posting to the world on January 1st that you’ve resolved to lose twenty pounds.  Somehow, proclaiming it diminishes the urgency to actually follow through.  I always mean to write a blog post to share completed projects, but if I share it on social media first – the blog post tends not to happen.

So – other than a few ‘in progress’ photos I shared of my newest Sea Holly quilt, I’ve saved my ‘finish’ post for here there I could toss out a few helpful hints I thought you might find useful.

Triangles

For instance, this quilt required a whole boatload of triangles sewn together. Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I invariably sew down the wrong edge and wind up with a whole boatload of seam ripping to do. To avoid this, I lay out all my pieces on a portable something I can carry from my cutting mat to my sewing machine so that the edge that needs to be sewn faces my machine exactly as it will sit beneath my presser foot.

Sewing

Then I can just pick each piece up, sew all at once in a daisy chain which I can then cut apart and press once I’ve carried it back to my table.

Bits

Aside from preparing all my pieces for what I planned on being an ‘assembly over time’ sort of process, I took a much needed step away from quilting to create a new bunny friend.

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Meet Caroline.

In all honesty, I expected this quilt to take me a whole lot longer than it did, so I intended to just do bits every day.

Sea Holly and Caroline

But after I got everything organized (with Caroline’s help), I found that everything went together so quickly, I couldn’t stop!

Block

Before I knew it, and coincidentally right before a weekend, I had the entire quilt top assembled.

Top

Since I’ve made up my mind not to shelf a quilt top for any period of time (else it tends to think it now LIVES there forever, unfinished), I sandwiched it on Friday night for a fresh start to machine quilting on Saturday morning.

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Yep, I could have and probably should have done some straight line quilting to showcase the lovely pinwheels on this quilt.  However, I find Stevie Wonder-style swirly/meandering in an all-over stipple stitch to be relaxing as heck! Also, my new favorite Aurifil thread shade lately has been 2410 – Pale Pink.  I used it for my Love Quilt below too (which admittedly, I posted on social media but not here)…

Love Quilt

I used the fabrics from our Happy Little Love bundle to create the Cloth Parcel’s Candy Shoppe quilt. Of course you can always ping us with a message to create a custom kit with this pattern, but a half yard bundle would work beautifully.

 

For both quilts, the Pale Pink Aurifil for machine quilting made especially good sense because I used this same gorgeous Art Gallery fabric for the backing…

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It’s called Sublime Stitchery Spring and is from the Bijoux line by Bari J. We have a few yards left in our shop (and it’s even on sale) here Sublime Stitchery Spring fabric

As you can see above, I couldn’t help but piece the binding since there is quite a bit leftover of the fabrics showcased in the quilt.

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Sea Holly fabrics and quilt kit can be found at our shop (though the pattern is available free at the Michael Miller website, we include a printed copy along with the quilt kit we assemble). The fabric is designed by Sarah Campbell and the pattern (which goes together like a dream and quick too!), is designed by Susan Emory

Ultimately, my main draw to this quilt design in particular (aside from being completely in love with the Retro colorway of the Sea Holly collection), is that the finished quilt is 58″ square, and I have a frequent need for multiple square quilts…

Emma and Sea Holly Quilt

Above is the ottoman that lives in our living room.  Emma and her gal pals, Ruby, Tess and  Ivy tend to spend quality time on said ottoman, playing with toys, chewing on tiny tennis balls, eating treats, and occasionally throwing up those treats all over whatever quilt happens to be beneath their sweet little schnauzer bodies at the time.  Lest I mention another reeeeally good reason to choose premium quality fabric: it launders beautifully and fades SO MUCH LESS than discount fabrics.

Lastly, I mentioned social media here and there throughout this post. I guess the point is that even though my preference is to blog about the things I make so I can share a bit more detail, it’s not always possible to find the time. With that said, if you are a social media bug, you can find more of my daily goings on at the following locations:

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

and my ESPECIALLY NEW favorite: Ello

Happy Quilting, Friends 🙂

Pam 🙂

 

 

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