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12 Days of Ruby Star | Sarah’s Lapkin Tutorial

Fat Quarterly threw down the gauntlet for their 12 days of Ruby Star FQ Designer Challenge and I eagerly picked it up!

I’m Sarah and I blog over at Pings And Needles, and if you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big big Melody Miller fan.

So, the task was to make something easy and quick and possibly festive using Melody Miller‘s two latest lines, ruby star spring and ruby star shining.  I also added some linen and Melody’s first fabric line ruby star rising to the mix.

So, without further ado, I present to you:

… my “Load of Balls Lapkin” tutorial …

The red lightweight linen lapkin above measures 22″ x 17″ finished (there’s no hemming – yay!) Obviously you could just use a FQ of solid per lapkin (22″ x 18″)! but I lost an inch because this linen had a really thick selvedge on one end that I had to rip off to be able to fray …

I don’t think we love our napkins enough. I’m sorry, I can’t call them serviettes because (a) my mum said it was common – she was a terrible snob! and (b) these babies are too big to be anything-ette. They just sit on our laps or tucked into our chins taking everything we drop at em.  Not anymore …

These baubles are padded for extra lap stroky entertainment!

You will need:

fabricApplique: 2″, 3″ & 5″ circles – This is a great scrapbuster project because you could just as easily cut the smaller circles if your pieces are small. Lapkins: 1 FQ per lapkin of solid cotton or linen.

But, if you do use the 5″ circles you get to show off some of Melody’s lovely prints at their best – Don’t you just love the typewriter and clock from the new ruby star shining line?

batting/wadding offcuts - if you just want plain applique without the padding then just leave the batting out of the equation.  You will also need some solid in a grey or gold for the bauble tops.

thread – This was a great opportunity to use some of my old wooden spool cottons which I forage for like they’re truffles, in flea markets … I also used Gutermann topstitch thread, and Aurifil 12wt cotton (dreamy!) – Remember that you’ll need a topstitch needle!

applique fusible bonding – I used Heat’n'Bond lite … I find it stays in one piece better than others.

I really wanted to give my Go! Baby a bit of a workout with this project. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would never have thought this up if I hadn’t had something else doing the circle cutting for me. However, I know that there are enough of you out there who are perfectly capable (unlike me) of cutting things out with scissors, so I hope it appeals to both …

I used the machine to cut some old polyester wadding and my Heat n Bond into circles too … I can use the little strips that are left and I think you get a more lasting bond if you bond onto the circles and then onto your lapkin. But that’s just me.

If I were cutting out with scissors I’d probably just bond the fabric and then cut the circles…

I also like that you can still fussy cut with a machine!  It was one of the things I really worried about …

So, first of all you need to sew with your fancy topstitchy thread at least two and a half inches inside the edge all the way round … (see top picture)

Then you can start to fray your fabric!  This is such a great thing to do while watching a movie.  All you need is a pin and some patience!  Don’t get too carried away … stop at least 1″ before the stitching …

Then you are ready to start laying out your festive balls (you could turn these into hot air balloons or just leave them as circles if you want, this doesn’t have to be Christmassy …)

Now is the time to put your batting in under the 3″ and 5″ circles. I really wanted to use up my polyester wadding offcuts, (horrid stuff, you have to watch the iron heat when you applique or they it just turns into interfacing!)

I put a little bit of fusible onto the wadding and stuck that down onto the lapkin first … then I placed the circle on top and bonded the whole thing …

I also experimented by cutting concentric rough circles out of soft bamboo batting and building up more dimension.  This has a much more strokable curve to it.  But takes a little more time.

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You will need to cut some little bauble tops out of some pre-bonded fabric and iron them on too:

Then just stitch down, using any thread you like … I used a blanket stitch on my machine, but if this were a slow project I would have hand appliqued with perle cotton.

Next, setting my stitch length to 5.0,
I stitched up from the centre of the bauble top to just within the stitched top border for the hanging thread…

When you have appliqued all your baubles, take the time to pull all the ends through to the back, tie off and trim.

If you use a contrasting colour in your bobbin then you’ll have a double sided napkin!

I think these would be really nice as a quick embroidery project too, leaving out the fabric!

But in this case … using Melody’s fabrics just makes the experience all the lovelier ….

I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did … It’s always a joy to play with Melody’s fabrics … thank you FQ!

Thanks, Sarah!  We absolutely love your Load of Balls … errr, that didn’t sound right.  In any case, this is a great gift idea to whip up in no time!  (In fact, Sarah shared that it took her longer to type out the instructions than it did to make the items.)

You can learn more about Sarah and see her beautiful work on her blog, Pings & Needles.  Be sure to click over and say “hello”!

12 Days of Ruby Star | Kristy’s Round Pincushion

Hi Everyone!  My name’s Kristy Daum and I blog over at St. Louis Folk Victorian.  I’ll be showing you today how to make a Round Pincushion.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have a use for another pincushion, these also make great children’s toys or can even add a small pop of color throughout your home.

I was inspired by this pincushion over at Lily’s Quilts, and when I made one as part of my St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild’s pincushion swap, it was a big hit.

This ball is much like a soccer ball in that it is made from both hexagons (6-sides) and pentagons (5-sides).  When you mix both of these, they come together in a round shape.  If you are not familiar with paper piecing, I would encourage you to Google it as there are several techniques and you’ll find one that works best for you.  I’m not going to show you that process here; but rather what to do with the shapes themselves.

I’ve created a handy template of all the pieces you’ll need to create a ball that measures a little under 4” in diameter.  I do encourage you to print this template off on cardstock.  You can of course pick up these shapes at several online shops as well.  You will need 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons to make one Round Pincushion.

Photo 1: Hexagons & Pentagons

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Once you have cut out your shapes, find some fabric scraps that are about a ½” wider on all sides.  I have found that this will make your job a lot easier in the long run and don’t worry about cutting them to match the shape you are covering…squares work wonderfully.

Photo 2: Template & Fabric

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Once you have selected all your fabrics, go ahead and start covering those paper shapes using whichever method of Paper Piecing you desire.  Remember, if you are new to Paper Piecing, just put that keyword into Google and you’ll soon have hundreds of tutorials/videos showing you how.

Photo 3: Hexagons Done

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I really enjoyed fussy-cutting into Melody Miller’s fabrics.  Don’t you just love that clock face above?

Photo 4: Pentagons Done

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I decided to go with plain natural linen for my pentagons to complement; but not distract from the fussy-cutting that I had done with the hexagons.  Before you start hand-sewing the shapes together, it’s a good idea to “set” the shapes gently with an iron.  This will help keep your folds crisp and makes sewing them together a little easier.

Photo 5: Always make a flower

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The key to this shape is always remembering that you are trying to make a flower.  1 pentagon surrounded by 5 hexagons.  Now go ahead and start hand-sewing the flower together.  When you are done, it should look like the photo below.

Photo 6: First Flower

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You’ll quickly notice that your ball is beginning to take shape, and looks somewhat bowl-like now.  Let’s add some more pentagons and hexagons; paying special attention that your pentagons are always surrounded by 5 hexagons…and yes, your “flowers” will share sides as seen in the photo below.

Photo 7: Taking Shape

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When you have all but the last few shapes sewn, you can start removing some of your basting stitches, in order to take out the paper piecing templates.  Before you remove them, just make sure that all 5 or 6 sides (depending on the shape) have been stitched to other shapes.

Being careful not to stretch your ball out of shape, gently turn it right side out and stuff it full of your favorite stuffing.

Photo 8: Nearly Done

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I choose to leave the paper inside my last 3 shapes, as it was easier for me to sew the ball closed; but it is entirely up to you.  If you decide to remove the last of the paper pieces, just make sure that the fabric doesn’t lose its shape.  As you can see, these last few seams can be a little tricky; but with practice it will become easier and you’ll learn how to hide your stitches.

Photo 9: Celebrate

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The time has now come to clip that last thread and admire your Pincushion/Toy/Home Décor wha-cha-ma-call-it.  I hope you had fun!

Thanks to the team at Fat Quarterly for letting me be a part of this event.

Thanks for kicking us off with such a great tutorial, Kristy!  You can find Kristy at her blog, St. Louis Folk Victorian, where she shares her love of both quilting and old homes.

The 12 Days of Ruby Star

It’s no secret that we have mad love for Melody Miller here at FQHQ.  Not only is she an unbelievably sweet & genuine person, but she is an amazingly talented surface designer whose fabric collections for Kokka Fabrics have been the buzz of the modern quilting community for the past several seasons.  From the ingenious viewfinder reels and cameos of her debut collection, Ruby Star Rising, to the oversized bees and cross-stitching motifs of Ruby Star Spring, to the typewriters and captivating florals of her newest collection, Ruby Star Shining, we’ve fallen in love with the deep, rich colors and eclectic vintage-modern-funky-urban-retro-whimsical style of her designs.  And it’s all printed on an absolutely gorgeous heavyweight linen-line fabric that is truly versatile — whether it’s a quilt, a bag, or some home decor items, Melody’s fabrics make items that you will literally love to touch and hold.

This holiday season, we’re thrilled to collaborate with Melody on a Designer’s Challenge that we’re calling The 12 Days of Ruby Star.  In the spirit of the season, we wanted to showcase the versatility of Melody’s fabrics  by sending little bits of her 3 collections to a handful of Fat Quarterly readers and challenging them to make a small item that would also make a perfect gift idea.  So it’s a win all around for you — not only will you be inspired by the creations made from Melody’s fabric, but you will also have access to over a dozen free patterns and project ideas from some of our community’s most creative and prolific crafters.

For the next 12 days — from now until Christmas — we’ll be posting free project ideas from a wide variety of Fat Quarterly community members.  There will be some familiar faces but, in the spirit of Fat Quarterly, we’re also excited to introduce some new names and faces of sewists whose work you might not yet be familiar with.

It’s not too late to whip up some hand-crafted gifts for your friends and loved ones, so we hope we can provide you with some fresh, new ideas.  Of course, if you make anything from our guests’ tutorials, please be sure to add them to the Fat Quarterly Flickr group.

We can’t wait to see what you make!  We hope you enjoy the 12 Days of Ruby Star!

Designer’s Challenge: Pennants for Olympic Athletes

Something BIG is happening in London in 2012 … and no, this time we don’t mean the Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat!

London is not only the host city of our first-ever live community event, but it’s also the home of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games!  In honor of this event, we’d like to call your attention to a fun, quilt-related activity in honor of the games, and issue a special Fat Quarterly Designer’s Challenge.

Quilts 4 London is asking quilters from around the world to take part in a wide-scale community project.  They’re looking to gather 14,000 handmade pennants to give to athletes as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  Yes, something you make will be given to an Olympic or Paralympic athlete!

Here’s a little more about the project:

The Quilts4London Project started in June 2009 with an idea to produce something as a gift for all the athletes taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. The idea of pennants (traditionally exchanged at friendly sporting events) seemed perfect and the concept was born.

Although initially created by a group of Quilters (hence the name) it has now blossomed into a National and International project of creative, imaginative and beautiful textile pennants all of which will go towards the target of 14,000 pennants needed to give one to each competing athlete.


Image from the Wombourne Quilters blog

The Quilts 4 London site has all of the information you need about the specs and details of the pennants.  Don’t have time to make a pennant?  The group is also looking for volunteers to make braids & rods.  They’ve extended the deadline to February 15th, 2012, and have a pretty specific list of guidelines that are worth a read.  We think this would be a GREAT opportunity for Modern Quilt Guilds, sewing circles, and virtual quilting bees.

While the images shown above of sample pennants are wonderful, we sure would love to see our modern quilting community’s take on these Olympic pennants.  So much so, in fact, that we’re issuing a Designer’s Challenge to help this effort.  Think you can earn a perfect 10?  Between now and February 15th, when you make an Olympic pennant and upload it to our Fat Quarterly: Community & Inspiration Flickr group, your work will be featured here in the FQ blog and in an upcoming issue of Fat Quarterly.  Not only that, but we’ll select Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winners who will receive fabulous prizes.

We can’t wait to see what you create!

Wreally Great Handmade Wreaths

‘Tis the season, and if you spend any time on Pinterest, Instagram, or Flickr, you can’t miss it.  We love seeing all of the personal photos of how quilters around the world are preparing for the holidays by decorating their homes in some pretty wonderful and creative ways.  Today, we pulled together some of our favorite handmade wreaths from Flickr users for this beautiful and inspirational holiday mosaic:

Inspired by Wreaths

1. Yarn Wreaths 2, 2. Yarn Wreath with Fabric Flowers and Cardinal, 3. green wreath, 4. Recycled Spool Wreath,
5. Yarn Wreath Christmas Colors with Jingle Bells, 6. Linen Christmas Wreath, 7. wreath, 8. holiday rag wreath (8),
9. Festive Snowy Owls, 10. ruffly felt wreath, 11. Pink and Green Yarn Ornament Wreath, 12. yarn wreath,
13. Fabric Covered Wreath, 14. christmas wreath, 15. spring green recycled wool sweater wreath, 16. DaHLiA WReATh

So how are you decorating for the holidays?  Are you incorporating handmade items into your holiday decor?  If so, we’d love to see them!  Add your photos to the Fat Quarterly: Community & Inspiration group.  We’ll be highlighting our readers’ creations throughout the month.

Gen Q Music Monday: Break Out!

Do you enjoy our Designer Challenges?  You know, the ones where we ask Fat Quarterly readers to create something based solely on a single piece of inspiration, or using a specific material, or by trying a new technique?  Well, our friends at Generation Q Magazine have just launched their fun new challenge series, Music Monday.  The idea is that the team at Gen Q will select a music video and have their readers show off what it inspired them to create.

Their first pick to kick off the challenge?  A blast from the past called “Break Out”, by Swing Out Sister.  Remember this one?  Check out the video below (and behold the awesome sewing sequence that kicks it off!), and then head over to the Gen Q blog to read more details about the rules, their Flickr group, and the announcement of their guest celebrity judges for the first challenge.  (Here’s a hint: IT’S US!)

So what are you waiting for?  BREAK OUT!

Spincushion’s Cover Quilts

Today we’re sharing another Cover Quilt, courtesy of Leigh Ann and originally posted on her Spincushion blog.  Do you enjoy seeing Leigh Ann’s posts here on Fat Quarterly?  If so, click on over to Spincushion and let her know!


{Color Study Quilt by by Sherri Lynn Wood}

By |November 30th, 2011|Spincushion|0 Comments

Be Our Guest: Aubrey’s Grinch Advent Calendar

There’s simply no denying it anymore — we have officially entered the holiday season.  You know what that means: days filled with Muppet Christmas carols, Starbucks Peppermint Mochas, and HOLIDAY SEWING!  Oh wait, is that just me?  Well, even if you’re not into the Muppets or whipped cream-topped hot beverages, I hope that many of you can agree with that last part.  Holiday projects are something many sewists look forward to all year, so to kick off the 2012 season, we’re excited to bring you a fun, free project courtesy of Fat Quarterly contributor Aubrey Schwartz.

Aubrey is an avid sewist, pattern designer, and mommy who blogs at Maubys.net, and her blog is a veritable treasure trove of information and project ideas. We also recommend that you check out Aubrey’s shop, where you can find some wonderfully original and creative sewing patterns (our favorites include the Presta Pouch, Rosie’s Circle Twirl Skirts, and the Teardrops Heart Quilt).

We hope you enjoy Aubrey’s Grinch mini quilt and advent calendar project!

When I was a little girl we had an advent calender with a plush mouse that you moved from pocket to pocket each day until you got to Christmas.  It was one of my absolute FAVORITE Christmas decorations!  At some point my mom disposed of it and I have missed it for nearly 20 years.

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 5

When I saw Robert Kaufman’s, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, fabric line the wheels in my head started to turn and I just knew that this year we were going to have a Grinch advent calender!  One that would bring back all those special memories of Christmas when I was a kid.

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 3

Now that it is all finished, I cannot wait to watch my little guy enjoy it!  I am also super excited to share it with you.  Here is a step by step tutorial so you can make your very own!

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 7

Materials:
  • 6 Grinch fabric fat quarters of your choice: 1 for the bottom front , 2 for the back, 1 for the hanging sleeve & binding, 1 for the pockets, and 1 for extra scraps & appliqué.
  • 2 rectangles from the Grinch Book Panel or a 12″ x 19″ Fussy cut of your favorite Grinch print, for the front top.
  • Small scrap of the Holiday Grinch fabric print , 4″ x 5″ minimum, with at least one Grinch in the center.
  • 2, 4″ x 5″ pieces of lightweight fusible interfacing.
  • 4 strips of 2 1/4″ x 18 1/2″ fusible fleece.
  • 1 strip of 2 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ fusible fleece.
  • 21″ – 24″ wooden dowel with holes one each end (or other hanging device).
  • 3/4 yard of ribbon for hanging

Directions:

1. Fuse the interfacing to the back of the Holiday Grinch Fabric print and an equal sized piece of scrap fabric.

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2. Place pieces with right sides together keeping the main Grinch centered.

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3. Sew around the center Grinch with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 1/2″ gap on one edge for turning.

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4. Trim around the Grinch leaving at least 1/4″ between the stitching and the cut line. Clip round edges and tight corners.

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5. Turn Grinch right side out.

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6. Stuff through the turning gap, making your Grinch three dimensional.  Slip stitch opening closed.

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7. Set aside the Grinch until you are done.

Caution** This tiny stuff Grinch is sooo cute that you must watch out for little hands!  They like to steal stuffed Grinches, so you may want to make a few extra.

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8. If you are using a fussy cut piece for the top then jump ahead to step 10. Otherwise, cut out two of your favorite pictures from the book panel, they should measure around 11 1/4″ long.  Sew a strip of 2″ x 11 1/4″ scrap of fabric in between the two panel pictures.

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9. Measure the width of your set.  It needs to be 19″ long.  If it is less than 19″ then add scrap pieces to each end to make it measure 19″.

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10. Cut down the bottom front fat quarter to measure 12″ x 19″.  Sew it to the bottom of the top panel you just created along the 19″ edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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11. Sew the two fat quarters for the back together, then quilt the whole piece in the design of your choice.  Baste around all four edges.  Trim off the excess batting and backing. Set quilted panel aside.

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12. Take the fat quarter that is for the pockets and cut it into 4 strips that measure 5″ x 19″ each.

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13. Fold one of the pocket strips in half lengthwise, right sides together and press.

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14. Center one of the 2 1/4″ x 18 1/2″ strips of fusible fleece to one side of the pocket strip between the shorter edges, while lining up the longer edge of the fleece with the folded edge.  Fuse in place.

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15. Sew the long edge closed with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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16. Turn strip right side out and press.

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17. Edge stitch along the folded edge of the strip.

18. To draw the date pockets, measure 1/4″ in from the shorter edge.  Using a fabric safe marking tool, draw a line perpendicular to the lengthwise edge.  Measure 3″ from the line just drawn and draw a line parallel to it.  Keep drawing parallel lines 3″ from the previous line until you get to the end of the strip.  The last line will be 1/4″ from the end of the strip.

19. Repeat steps 13 – 18 for each pocket strip.

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20. Now for the dates.  Each pocket is one date.  Dates should count up from bottom right to the bottom left:
Top Row:  24  /  23 /  22  /  21  /  20  /  19
Next Row:  18  /  17  /  16  /  15  /  14  /  13
Next Row:  12  /  11  /  10  /  9  /  8  /  7
Bottom Row:  6  /  5  /  4  /  3  /  2  /  1

If you want to appliqué or screen print your dates, do that now.  If you want to embroider your dates, then mark the numbers now and embroider them after step 21.

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21. Place the bottom of the bottom pocket strip 1″ up from the bottom of the quilted panel.  Lay the bottom of each following pocket strip 1/2″ up from the top of the previous pocket strip.  Sew ONLY the sides and bottoms of each pocket to the panel using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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If you have chosen to embroider your dates, do that now.

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22. Now sew the pockets.  Starting at the bottom of each pocket strip, sew to the top of each pocket strip along the lines you drew in step 18.

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23. Take some fat quarter scraps and cut out a 5″ square for the day 25 pocket.

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24. Fold in half, right sides together.  Lay the 2 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ piece of fusible fleece along the fold line and in between the shorter sides of the pocket piece and fuse.

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25. Sew along all 3 open edges, leaving a 1″ turning gap along the bottom.  Trim the corners to remove bulk.

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26. Turn pocket right side out through the turning gap.  Edge stitch along the folded edge.

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27. Create a small pleat by folding the pocket over itself about 1″ in from each edge.

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28. Edge stitch the pleat in place along the bottom seam.  If you are going to appliqué or screen print your numbers do it now.

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29. Find a place on the top panel to put the pocket.  Make it kind of special since it is the, “YAY! It’s Christmas Day!” pocket.  Sew the pocket to the panel along the sides and bottom of the pocket with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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If you have chosen to embroider your numbers, do it now.

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30. Now you can bind your mini quilt advent calendar!

If you need help with binding, there is a seven part series on my blog, click here and scroll down to Quilt Binding.

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31. Create and attach a hanging sleeve to the top back of the calendar!

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 2

And tada! You are all set!  I wish the camera could capture how sweet this calendar is, I just love it!

I hope you make some of your own and have a lot of fun!  Come share some pictures with me if you do, I would love to see them!

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 11

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 6

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 4

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Happy Thanksgiving from Fat Quarterly

To those celebrating today, the Fat Quarterly team wishes you a warm holiday filled with family, friends, and a delicious feast.  Try to take some time for yourself this weekend to feed your creative soul and sew!

autumn :: fat quarterly issue 3
Autumn embroidery by Cathy Gaubert, featured in issue 3 of Fat Quarterly

By |November 24th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Autumnal Inspiration

Autumnal Inspiration!
1.
My Autumn Happiness…, 2. fat quarters quilt, 3. Stepping Stones table runner folded, 4. Brandied Pear, Random Patchwork Quilt,
5. fall leaves 2011, 6. A Quilt for Judy, 7. Fall wreath, 8. Squash,
9. pink leaves, 10. zinnia quilt close, 11. 100 Quilts for Kids quilt, 12. Ripple quilt ,
13. Halloween table runner14. Not available15. Not available16. Not available

Inspiration can come from so many places — not only from the creations of others, but from the everyday sights, smells, and sounds around us.  That’s why we love this month’s theme: Autumnal Inspiration.  Think crisp, cool air,  shades of orange, brown, and green, and the festive harvest holidays.  We hope you’re inspired by the images above, all pulled from the Fat Quarterly: Community & Inspiration pool on Flickr.

We also wanted to share this beautiful and modern quilt that Amy created using Lizzy Houses’ new collection, Outfoxed.  Not only is Amy’s color palette fitting with our autumnal theme, but her “cracked log cabin” design is both striking and super modern.  We love it!

improv is foxy
Improv is Foxy, by Amy / craftydame

For our December mosaic, we want to showcase holiday quilts as well as handmade gifts and gift ideas.  Come on, show us what you’ve got!  Simply visit and join our group, and add your photos there.  We can’t wait to see what you submit!