Friday, July 11, 2014

Orange Peel Mini Quilt and a Quilt Along!

Is anyone else obsessed with the Orange Peel design right now?  I have been dreaming of Orange Peel wall paper for my dining room, I just free motion quilted an Orange Peel design on my recently finished Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt (pictures coming soon) and I just started this Orange Peel mini quilt last week!  
I'm obsessed!  Obsessed I tell ya!

So when my boss at Just Sew asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the mini quilt of the month for August and she handed me the book 101 Fabulous Small Quilts by That Patchwork Place and I spied an Orange Peel quilt in it - I knew I just had to make it!  I've always wanted to make one and this was the perfect opportunity.

I decided to do a low-volume, scrappy background with bright fabrics for the leaves.  I've been loving that combo for a while now so I'm pretty excited about finally doing it.

(I had a little helper helping me plan my scrappiness.  She's pretty cute, eh?)

Because I'm on a deadline (this has to be appliqued, pieced, quilted and bound by the end of the month) I've set a goal to applique 8 leaves (or 1 row) every day.  I figure each leaf takes about 10 minutes to applique so it's just over an hour out of my day that I'm dedicating to this project for the next week or so.

I'm already half way done and I'm really loving seeing it come together!

I've posted more pictures of this project on Instagram.  
Feel free to follow along if you'd like.  My username is gigisthimble.  

When I first posted about this project on IG, my friend Jodi Nelson of the blog, Pleasant Home showed some interest in the pattern so I roped her into making an Orange Peel quilt with me.  Be sure to stop by her blog if you haven't already.  She's posting about her Orange Peel quilt today too!  We thought it would be fun to start an Orange Peel Quilt Along but after a little research we found out that Jessica from the blog, Quilty Habit has one going on as we speak!  So Jodi and I are just going to sit back and enjoy the Orange Peel Quilt Along ride!  We hope you'll join us!

Jessica's got great pattern suggestions, applique tutorials, a schedule and there will even be some great prizes given away at the end!  You can click HERE for all the details. 

 Since someone on IG asked for it, I am going to do a tutorial on my favorite method of applique (the same method I'm using on this project).  So be sure to check back next week if you're interested in that.

So...Orange Peel - are you feelin' it?  
Yes or no?

~ Amber

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Vintage Quilt

 A few months ago I ran a few quilty errands with a friend and one of our first stops was to a fabric store in American Fork, Utah called The Sewing Basket.  They had a few antique quilts hanging around which were on consignment.  There was one hanging behind the cash register that really caught my eye.  And the more I looked at it the more I fell in love!

After much oohing and ahhing (and debating) we had the store owner call the quilt owner and make an offer for $100 less than the asking price.  After the offer was accepted I then had to work out how I was going to justify the purchase of $300 for this antique quilt.  To me, $300 was worth it for a hand pieced, vintage, queen size quilt - in GREAT condition!  I could really appreciate all of the time that went in to piecing such a quilt!

But at the time, I really felt bad about spending the money.  Lucky for me, my birthday and our wedding anniversary were coming up so my husband bought it for me as a gift for the special occasions.

The store owner found out a little information for me.  It was made by the grandmother of the lady who brought it in to The Sewing Basket.  She found it in her grandparents attic wrapped in an old newspaper dated 1944.  All of the fabrics are supposedly from the 30's.  I'm hoping to get a name of the quilt maker. I'm so curious what her story is.  I imagine this took many years to make and I want to know what she was doing when she wasn't hand piecing it.  What was her name?  How old was she when she started and finished it?  Did she have children and if so, how many?  Was she a farmer's wife?  I want to know the answer to these questions!

I think she must have been an avid quilter.  Her stitches were tiny and her color choices were great!

There are so many cute fabrics in it and the more I looked the quilt over the harder it was to decide which was my favorite! They really don't make prints like this anymore...

I love these novelty prints.

And I love this orange geometric print.

She even fussy cut some of the hexies!

And did I mention the colors are fabulous!?!


There is a slight discoloring on the muslin but I kind of love the charm it adds.

Overall, the quilt is in fabulous condition.  There are no holes in it but there are a few little stains like this one below.  I think they might come out with a gentle washing but right now I'm not ready to do that since it's still just a quilt top.

The maker finished off the edges with a triple row hexagon border (I just made that term up - I don't know what the actual name of this design and border is called...:) 

Someday I may start looking for some 30's yardage to back it with.  I've heard that a quilt is as old as it's newest fabric so I don't want to buy any current fabric to finish it with that will diminish it's value.

 For now it will stay a quilt top and hang in my sewing room.  

Do you have a vintage quilt?  Do they appeal to you?  
This one really makes my heart beat faster.  I love it.

Happy quilting :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

Thanks everyone for participating in my little giveaway last weekend!  I really appreciate your kind words and the enthusiasm for Cross Stitch, Fresh Cut and Marbles!

So I've picked three winners and here they are...

Needled Mom said...
I think my favorite is Fresh Cut, but they are all wonderful.

Anne said...
I was admiring Cross Stitch, then.  Scrolled down to see Fresh cut and was just as taken and then you added Marbles!!!!  Each is so different, so beautiful! Each sure to please someone! Cross Stitch is the one I would try first!

Blocksandmore said...

Congratulations girls!  Please send me your snail mail address and I'll get these patterns sent right off to you!

Thanks again everyone!  You are awesome!
And, if you're looking for another way you can get your hands on these (or any other Gigi's Thimble quilt patterns) you can stop by my Etsy Shop HERE.

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Patterns + Giveaway

 I'm so excited to finally share with you my three new patterns!  Yay!  It seems like these have been in the works for a LONG time!  Whenever I start a new set of patterns I think, "Oh, I can whip these out."  And then a few months later I get discouraged that it's taking so long!  But I have to remind myself that alot of work went into all of them.  It's time consuming stuff but I love the whole process!  For this particular set of patterns, I made four different quilts, bound five quilts, figured out fabric requirements and wrote instructions for six different sizes and designed new cover sheets and a logo.  Whew!  Did I just say all that?  I'm tired!  Haha!  Needless to say I am happy they're done and I hope you love them as much as I do!

First up is Cross Stitch.

It's a Layer Cake friendly pattern and it has a scrappy binding.  The fabric for this version is Color Me Happy by Vanessa Christensen for Moda.

It finishes at 61" x 80".

My friend and co-worker, Vonda Proctor, pieced it for me after I made the original one (below).  It was quilted by Kaylene Parry (Lehi, UT.)  I use Kaylene a lot and she always does a fantastic job.  I love the modern design she picked out for this one.

Here is the one I made for my sister.  She lives in Montana and I thought these fabrics worked well with her home decor.  This one was quilted by Linda Childs (at Just Sew in Highland, UT) and she did a great job too!

The second pattern is Fresh Cut and I think it's my fave
(shhh!  Don't tell anyone! :)

I love the big, bold flowers.  And I looove the quilting Kaylene did.

It's fat quarter friendly and it finishes at 60 1/2" x 71 1/2".

The fabric collection I used for Fresh Cut was Lottie Da by Heather Bailey for FreeSpirit.  I'm totally in love with the vibrant colors and great patterns Heather designed in this line.

Last, but not least, is Marbles.  

It comes with fabric requirements and instructions for four different sizes (baby, twin, queen and king).  I made the king size version on the cover and used some of Emily Herrick's (Crazy Old Ladies) new fabric line from Michael Miller Fabrics called, Rustique.  I just used the more boyish colors but I'm working on another one that incorporates all the colors from this line!  They're so rich and vibrant!

It's fat quarter friendly but would work well with scraps or 5" charm squares too.  It also has the option for a scrappy binding.  I used Kaylene again to quilt this and I am loving the orange peel design she did.  There are so many fun edge-to-edge digital quilting designs out there right now.  I love all the modern, geometric ones!

I couldn't resist whipping up a baby version of this one using my stash!  It finishes at 38 1/2" x 38 1/2".

My neighbor, Cathy Barney quilted it for me and she did a fantastic job!  She did a tiny orange peel and got it back to me the same day I dropped it off!  Wahoo!

All of my patterns are listed in my Etsy Shop 
and are available in paper and digital form.

So that's it!  What do you think?  I think it's time for a giveaway!!!
Just leave me a comment below telling me which one is your favorite and I'll announce a few winners Monday morning.  Sound good?

Good luck!
~ Amber

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Quick Corner Triangle Piecing Method (Photo and Video Tutorials)

Today I want to share one more of my favorite quick tips with you.  You can use this method whenever a pattern instructs you to mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of a square from corner to corner.  

I first learned this method a few years ago while working at the fabric store and it's changed my life!  Seriously.  No more marking squares for me.  And that's awesome.  Especially when you have 444 little squares to sew on (like I did on my upcoming "Marbles" quilt pattern - made in the king size version). I think it's become quite a popular technique but I thought I'd share a tutorial with you today, just in case you're new to the quilting scene or haven't been introduced to it yet.

All you need is a piece of colored tape (about 3" long) and your squares - cut to the size instructed in your pattern.  I love to use Washi Tape whenever I use this method - because - A) it's cute B) it comes off super easy and C) it doesn't leave any sticky residue.  I just happened to have this perfect Washi measuring tape on hand but really, any colored tape will do.

So first, you'll need to place the piece of tape onto the slide on table of your sewing machine.  Place it carefully, so that the right-hand edge of the tape lines up with your center needle position and comes straight out towards you.  Make sure it doesn't cover up your feed dogs.

    Place your small square on top of your large square with right sides together.  Line up the corners and place the two squares under your presser foot.

Lower your needle so that it comes down in the first (top) corner of the white square.  Make sure the second (bottom) corner is lined up on the right hand edge of the tape.

Sew towards the second corner - keeping it aligned along the right hand edge of the tape the entire time.

When you're done you should have a straight, diagonal line, from corner to corner.  Trim a quarter inch from the stitching line and press according to your patterns instructions.  

And P.S. - If you have 444 corners to piece (like I did) you can save even MORE time by chain piecing them.  Then trim them all.  Then press them all.  Super big time saver.  You can thank me later :)

So if you want to see this tutorial in video form or just see me laughing because of my "sticky residue" comment (which my son didn't think sounded like me because I guess he's never heard me say "sticky residue") then you can check out this video (below).  And please don't judge.  It was my first go at making a YouTube video and I had to bribe my 11 year old to shoot it once again after a gazillion takes.  He's a sweet boy.

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Quick Rotary Cutting

Everyone needs more time in their life to do the things they want to do, right? As a busy wife, mother, blogger and quilt pattern designer I need to take advantage of every time saving tip I can find!  So when Amy Smart asked me to share one of my quick quilting tips as part of her new blog series, I had a hard time deciding which one!?!

One of my favorite tips these days is one that may seem obvious to many but isn't a method that I've always used.  It's a quick and accurate method for rotary cutting lots of squares or rectangles at once.

Many times in the past I've ignored the grid lines on my cutting mat and just used the lines on my ruler to cut what I needed.  I'd cut a strip and then one by one I'd cut lots of squares.  I felt like it was the most accurate.  But it definitely took a LOT longer.  Am I the only one that did it that way???

These days, when I have to cut, like three hundred and eighty-four squares for one project, I use this quick rotary cutting method:

First, I lay my folded fabric on my mat with the folded edge along one of the lines on the mat.

Then I square off the end of my fabric by lining up my ruler on one of the lines (at the end of my mat) perpendicular to the fold, cutting 90 degrees from the folded edge.

Then I start cutting my strips.  For this particular project I needed to cut 16 strips, crosscut into a total of 384 squares. Since I can't crosscut 16 strips in one shot (because my ruler isn't long enough) I did it in 2 batches of 8 strips each.  As you can see I don't move the fabric at all.  I just use the grid lines on my mat and the lines on my ruler to make sure I'm cutting straight lines the width I need.

After I cut the strips, I start crosscutting.  First I cut off the selvages.  

Then I use the grid lines to crosscut the strips into squares, making sure my ruler is straight along the mat grid lines.  I'm very careful to not bump or lift the fabric when moving my ruler for the next cut.

Cut as many squares (or rectangles) as you can get from each strip and discard the ends.

Then, remove the squares from the mat and cut the next batch of strips!  And, if your anything like me and my silly-self, you can pick them up in a checkerboard fashion just to see a fun pattern!

Oh, and here's another little tip I use all the time:  

After you've done a lot of cutting, use a lint roller to pick up all the leftover fibers from off your mat!  This is especially useful if you ever cut minky!

Well, there you have it.  A quick and accurate way to cut 384 squares in a fraction of the time!

Be sure to stop by Amy's blog, Diary of a Quilter to find the rest of the links to many more fantastic quilting tips!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber