Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Quilting Day 2023 Sew Along {Photo Heavy}

 Last Saturday was World Wide Quilting Day and I celebrated by hosting a Sew Along through my Alamosa Quilt Company Sew Along Group page on Facebook. It's a private Facebook page so you have to join to see the posts. There are a couple of questions you need to answer to be allowed into the group. If you answer them all then Facebook will automatically allow you into the group. If you don't answer the questions then you aren't going to be allowed into the group - no exceptions. If you only answer some of the questions you may or may not be allowed into the group, but you will have to wait for me to get around to checking on the join requests which could take several weeks.

However, I'm going to post all the instructions for our latest project right here. So just keep reading. For my version of this I used 10 fat quarters, 5 of them were light fabrics and 5 of them were "dark" bright colored fabrics. You just need good contrast. The blocks finish at 8" by 8" and each pair of fat quarters will make 6 blocks. So 10 fat quarters makes 30 blocks.

Clue 1: First let me apologize for using different fabrics for these first few photos. I got so excited to start my version that I neglected to take some important photos BEFORE I started cutting and sewing.

how to cut your fat quarters

The first photo above shows how to cut your fat quarters. You need to fold the fat quarter so that it is 18" wide by half the length of the fat quarter (about 10" - 11"). Cut your fat quarters in 1 1/2" by the length (20" - 22"). You should get twelve 1 1/2" strips per fat quarter.

Tip: Make sure that your fat quarter is actually 18" wide before you start cutting. If it isn't 18" wide then you won't have enough fabric to get twelve 1 1/2" strips. DO NOT CUT these down any further. You are going to do some sewing before cutting these further.

example of cut strips

The photo above is just an example of two already cut 1 1/2" strips. Yours should look the same.
If you are using scraps, (that is NOT using fat quarters), then you need to cut everything into 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" pieces. This is the only size piece you need to cut.

Clue 2: Take your 1 1/2" strips and pair them up, one light with one dark. I paired up my fat quarters and used the same two together for all of my strip sets. But you can mix them up if you want a scrappier look. Sew the strips together along a long edge. Press the seam towards the darker of the two fabrics.

one strip set sewn

Then cut your strip sets up into 2 1/2" by 2 1/2" squares. Do this for all of your strips.

cutting the segments

Those of you using scraps, just start sewing your 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" pieces together, one light and one dark, to make 2 1/2" by 2 1/2" squares. Sew all of your pieces together into pairs. Each block will require 16 of these pairs. Press the seam toward the darker of the two fabrics.

Clue 3: For each block, you need to make four of Set One and four of Set Two. Pay attention to the fact that the two sets are similar BUT different. There are instructions included on the last two photos for how to press your seams.

sewing set one

sewing set two

how to press set one

how to press set two

Clue 4: The blocks are going to start coming together now. Take all of your Set One units and your Set Two units from Clue 3 and sew them together. Make sure that you pay attention to orientation and placement of the individual units.

sewing the unit

front of sewn unit

back of unit to show pressing

For best construction, you should spin your seams when you press. If you don't know what this means then don't press until you watch the video below on how to spin your seams on the back.

You don't have to do it this way, but I did this for all seams where four seams come together in each block AND in the entire quilt. In each clue I am including a photo of the back of the unit to show you how I pressed everything. Pressing all your seams to one side or open is also fine. Do what works best for you.

Clue 5: Take your units from the previous clue and sew them together in pairs. Again, spin the seam when you press.

sew two units together

back side to show pressing

The photo above shows the back so you can see how I spun the seams for this part, (sorry it's a different set of fabrics). You can mix things up or stick with just two fabrics per block like I did. This is YOUR project so do what makes YOU happy.

Clue 6: Here is the final block. To make it, sew two of the units from the previous clue together. Again, spin all the seams on the back.

completed block front

Again, I am showing you the back of my block so you can see how it is pressed.

completed block back to show pressing

The block should measure 8 1/2" by 8 1/2" unfinished. When the blocks are sewn together they will finish at 8" by 8".

Here is my finished quilt top. It measures 40" by 48".

finished quilt top

The two photos below show how I pressed each row, spinning all the seams. I sewed the blocks together in rows, then sewed the rows together.

close up of how to press seams for each row

how to press seams for each row

If you are doing a scrappy version, just pay attention to where the dark fabric and light fabric goes at each step and don't worry that your units are scrappy. The finished quilt will still look great. And if you do a scrappy version please post a photo of your version in the comments or email me a photo to AlamosaQuiltCompany at gmail dot com.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Ready for another Sew Along?

 I'm hosting another sew along through my Alamosa Quilt Company Sew Along Group on Facebook. 

The Sew Along information has been posted in our Alamosa Quilt Company Sew Along Group Facebook page. If you haven't joined the group you can click the link, answer the two simple questions, and you will be in the group. You MUST answer the simple questions. The questions are a simple line of defense against spammers and creeps. The questions will keep out the chatbots but not real humans so if you see anything funny being posted on the page please let me know.

Details: This is a fat quarter based project but you can also use scraps.

If you are using scraps you need to separate your fabrics into two piles - lights and darks. Cut everything 1 1/2" by 2 1/2". You need sixteen light 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" pieces and sixteen dark 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" pieces per block.

If you want to use fat quarters like I did then don't do any cutting ahead of time. I'm going to show you how to cut your fat quarters the most efficient way. For my quilt I am using 10 fat quarters - 5 lights and 5 brights/darks. This will make a 40" by 48" finished size quilt. More fat quarters will obviously make a larger quilt.

This will be a one day quilt along, Saturday March 18, 2023. If you are busy that day or just want to wait to see what the project is before you commit, that is just fine. The directions will stay in the Facebook group for a while. Later in the week afterwards, the directions will be collected into one post and put here on my blog with a link to the blog post on the Free Patterns page on the shop website. So there are several ways to get the information after the fact, but the only way to get the clues on the 18th is through the Facebook group or come to the shop and sew here.

If you want to come and sew along at the shop on Saturday, March 18, 2023, then just let me know. Our classroom can comfortably seat 5 people with sewing machines, but we can rearrange a bit and squeeze in one or two more. The regular Sew Day rate of $5 for the day applies.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Infinity Scarves

 Recently I received a shipment of batik rayon fabrics. These are incredibly soft and beautiful! I ordered them for infinity scarf kits.

Infinity Scarf choices collage

There are 10 different color ways and all of them are lovely. I picked my favorite blue to make up a sample. Each kit contains one yard of fabric and the pattern, which is very simple. It took me about 30 minutes to make one.

If you would like to make one too I have kits available to purchase for $19.99 each both in my physical shop and in my online shop. To view the kits in my online shop click the following link: Infinity Scarf Kits 

These would make great gifts!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

My Potato Chip Block Quilt Top - Again

 I had some unexpected sewing time at the end of last week so I decided to add the inner border and a pieced outer border to my Potato Chip Block quilt.

My potato Chip block quilt top

I used up all but about a dozen of the pieces I cut for this project! The inner border was cut 2" wide, just like all the pieces. It took me a little bit of trial and error to get the outer border pieces sewn so that the pattern continues around the corners AND no fabric was sewn to itself. That last part got harder as I had fewer pieces left over to work with, but I did it!

I am going to quilt this one myself and try out a new brand of batting in the process. If I like the batting I will tell you all about it. If I don't I will follow the "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" rule.

Instructions for the Potato Chip block can be found by clicking the link.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

My Potato Chip Block Quilt Top

 I finally got all 20 blocks made and sewn together!

My Potato Chip Block quilt top

I have some pieces left over. I am thinking about putting a small inner border around this, probably 2" cut, then sew all my remaining pieces together to make an outer border. Not sure if that will happen or if I will just quilt it as it currently is. I have other projects in process right now so this one will have to wait for a bit longer to get finished.

As a reminder, if you want the free instructions for the Potato Chip block, click here. It's a great scrap buster project! And Accuquilt makes a die for both sizes of piece you can use for these blocks if you don't want to cut your fabrics with a ruler and rotary cutter. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

A Day of Learning

 As a shop owner you have to always be learning! You need to stay current on social media, marketing, new products, changes to taxes, insurance, e-commerce, ... the list seems endless at times. On Monday of this week I spent the entire day on Zoom learning through the Virtual Schoolhouse sponsored by FabShop Network. This is basically a virtual version of the Schoolhouse sessions held the day before Quilt Market opens. One of the great things about going to Schoolhouse at Market is all the swag you get. The Virtual Schoolhouse also has swag.

Virtual Schoolhouse Swag

I learned a lot. Already placed some orders for new stuff. 

It was a fun but long day. However, I still prefer this to running around a large convention center all day. There was no line for the bathroom. Snacks were free and readily available. I was able to eat my lunch and watch. I even fixed dinner while watching.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Mystery Boxes

 My idea with these boxes is to make them a gift that you purchase for yourself. I think that most of you are like me - you are the gift purchaser for your family, including yourself. It isn't often that you receive a gift and not know ahead of time what it is. Well, this can be one of those rare times when you don't know what you are getting!

I am sold out of all the January Boxes and only have a limited number of February boxes left. If you'd like to purchase a February Mystery Box you can do so by clicking on the following link:

February Mystery Box from Alamosa Quilt Company

The February Box is $49.99 plus applicable tax and shipping. Every month the boxes will be different but all of them will contain a pattern and the fabric to make it (a kit) plus some other goodies.

Now that everyone has their January Box I can share with you what it had in it. My customer/friend, Rose, kindly allowed me to photograph her opening up her January box. I meant to do this BEFORE packing up the last one but forgot!

When you open the box:

first opening the January mystery box

What's inside:

inside of the January mystery box

Everyone got a cute tin. Inside the tin was a pink Frixion marker, a pair of my favorite little embroidery scissors, a small spool of Aurifil thread, and some candy.

goodies included in the January mystery box

Then there was the pattern and fabric. All of the fabric was included for the January project - the fabrics for the front, the fabric for the back and the binding fabric.

January mystery box pattern and fabrics

Rose didn't waste any time starting her new project. She got it completely finished too!

Rose's completed January mystery box project

The February Box will be similar in that it will also contain a pattern and all the fabric required to make it (front, back and binding fabrics) plus some fun goodies. I am going to try very hard to keep the price of these boxes at $49.99 for the entire year. If the pattern makes a larger project then I probably won't be able to include backing fabric too but you are always going to get the fabric for the front and binding. 

In January I made up the boxes as they were ordered because I had plenty of the items available that I was putting in the box. February is a different story. I only have a limited number of these boxes because I purchased items specifically for them and was only able to get a limited number of some things. So if you are interested in getting a fun surprise in the mail from me you need to order soon. You can order through February 14, 2023. I will remove the item from the online shop at 5pm (USA Mountain Time) on February 14, 2023. The boxes will be mailed out on February 15, 2023 or available for pick-up at the shop starting at 10am on February 15, 2023.

You can order these boxes yourself every month or pick and choose which months you participate. Or you can let me know that you want the box every month and I'll just charge your card on file on the 14th of each month before shipping it out to you.