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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, 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!

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  • 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


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!

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Spincushion’s If a Quilt Lived Here …

Today we’re bringing you another feature from the Spincushion blog.  We’ve already shared some of Leigh Ann’s fabulous and creative posts (see our previously posted Cover Quilts and Swatchtower features), and today’s post doesn’t stray from Leigh Ann’s penchant for giving us amazing eye candy.

We love the If a Quilt Lived Here series on Spincushion, in which Leigh Ann posts a professionally decorated room along with her fabric picks for a quilt that would fit perfectly in the space.  She even caps it off with a pattern recommendation.  Every time I see one of these posts I find myself saying “yes, yes, YES!”  Leigh Ann nails it every time.

We hope you enjoy these posts as much as we do!

If a quilt lived here …

It might be made from these …

Discussing organic fabrics with Daisy Janie’s Jan DiCintio

Today we’re so happy to welcome Jan DiCintio, the creative force behind Daisy Janie, to the Fat Quarterly blog.  Jan is an accomplished designer who, in 2006, launched 2 collections of digitally printed fabrics under her own brand name.  Equal to Jan’s passion for design is her passion for sustainability and environmental consciousness, which is why from day 1, Daisy Janie’s fabric collections have been offered exclusively on organic cottons.

We wanted to learn a bit more about Jan, her business, and the realities of organic fabrics.  She’s going to share some of her thoughts today, and will be back with us tomorrow to answer a few of our questions and kick off an exciting new Fat Quarterly Designer’s Challenge.

Oh, and Jan has provided us with our newest blog header, created in the style of Daisy Janie’s newest fabric collection, Shades of Grey.  If you’re reading this via a reader or feed, be sure to come check out our awesome new masthead!

Hello Fat Quarterly Readers!

The wonderful crew at FQ invited me to participate in a couple fun posts & projects taking place this summer, the first of which is this little ‘ole introduction post about my business Daisy Janie and the organic fabrics I self- produce. I love chatting up organic fabric, so I certainly couldn’t say no to this “open mic night” opportunity!

There is so very much about organic cotton fabric that is upstanding, thoughtful, conscientious, responsible, meticulous and downright magnificent, and I’m going to talk briefly about just a few of them. Before that however, here’s a quick definition of organic cotton fabric… since that’s typically the burning question.

What is organic cotton fabric?

Organic cotton fabric is a textile that has been grown from non-genetically modified seeds, without the use of toxic synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides and fungicides. The organic cotton fiber is then harvested, cleaned, spun and woven also without the use of toxic chemical inputs, like formaldehyde, chlorine bleaches, aromatic solvents and petroleum-based scours. This carefully implemented process creates systems that “sustain the health of the soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.” This is the minimum that has to be done to yield an organic cotton base cloth. Companies do not have to continue with organic procedures beyond this, but I have chosen to take Daisy Janie’s fabrics alllll the way through to packaging.

3 Awesome-Sauce Things about Daisy Janie’s Organic Fabrics

1. Daisy Janie fabrics go the whole nine yards in eco-friendly fabric production.

From planted seed to packaged bolt, Daisy Janie’s organic fabrics are 100% GOTS certified. The Global Organic Textile Standard is considered the gold standard of certification in green textile production. Basically, my fabrics take the organic cotton fabric a few steps beyond the definition above. The organic cotton base cloth is also printed, finished and packaged in a manner that is eco-friendly and meets the GOTS requirements.

With stringent, compulsory criteria for all phases of production, GOTS certification “ensures the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling, in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.” There are other standards companies may use, but they are typically a stepping stone to GOTS and are not nearly as comprehensive. Although it’s more expensive to follow the GOTS requirements all the way through the growth & production process, I opted for the complete package b/c it represents the same level of conscientious commitment I bring to all of my work. It just makes sense to me to go for the gold!

2. Daisy Janie’s fabrics are socially responsible.

Daisy Janie’s organic fabrics are produced in a Fair Trade Certified facility. This means that employment is freely chosen, working conditions are safe & hygenic, child labor is not used, workers are paid a living wage, regular employment is provided and harsh, discriminatory & inhumane treatment is prohibited. This seems like it would be a given in today’s society, but it is definitely not! Ethical treatment is not at the top of the priority list for Big Corporations, who seek to squeeze every penny of profit out of cotton production – at the cost of human lives and so much more.

3. So far, Daisy Janie’s organic fabrics prevented approx. 4500 lbs. of synthetic toxic fertilizers from entering the cotton supply chain.

It takes approximately 1/3 lb. of toxic synthetic fertilizers to produce 1 lb. of raw cotton fiber, and it takes about 1 lb. of raw cotton fiber to make 1 cotton t-shirt*.

Thinking of 1 yard of cotton fabric (36″ l by 45″ w), I’m sure I could make one shirt out of that single yard. So, based upon how much fabric Daisy Janie has had printed to date, I have prevented 4500 lbs. of synthetic fertilizers from entering the cotton supply chain. And from entering the soil, the air (and blowing on the wind to the food acreage), the waterways, the farmer’s lungs and skin – and so on.

Taking this one step further.

Consider ALL the other toxic chemicals that are used to produce conventional cotton ~ insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, formaldehyde, chloro-phenols, aromatic solvents, petroleum scours, toxic waxes, chlorine bleach, petroleum-based inks with heavy metals and so on. The quantity of ALL these substances that have NOT become a part of the cotton supply chain or ecosystem as a direct result of Daisy Janie’s use of organic cotton fiber & GOTS production methods multiplies astoundingly! My fabrics may be the proverbial drop in the bucket in the quilting fabric industry, but these numbers stand as a testament to my doing my part as a good human and a conscientious business owner.

* Source: Organic Trade Association

Meet the guys from Patchwork Squared

Today on the blog we have the pleasure of chatting with a couple of great guy quilters, Ryan and Charlie (whom you may know separately as I’m Just a Guy Who Quilts and Qubee Quilts, respectively) that have joined forces to start a new venture called Patchwork Squared.  In fact, we featured the fantastic Bookworm quilt — a Patchwork Squared original! — in Issue 5 of Fat Quarterly.

Issue 5 - Bookworm

Welcome to the blog, guys! For our readers who aren’t familiar with your blogs, can you tell us a bit about yourselves? We’d love to hear about your backgrounds, families, etc.

Ryan: I’m an 80’s child! Born and raised in upstate NY on the outskirts of the Catskill Mountains. Typical small town. Went to high school with my wife and sat next to her every day in Jazz Band. I swear she hated my guts then and never talked to me, (geek love at first sight) we didn’t start dating until after college. There, I studied Mortuary Science, returned home and now manage one location of a three-firm funeral establishment. Love every minute of it. Funeral directing can be very rewarding and utterly stressful at the same time. Lots of long hours and missed holidays/weekends. We luckily live right above the location that I manage so I’m not too far away when we have business there. Mandy and I have two boys, ages 5 and 2. Our oldest has just started kindergarten this year. We are very SLOWLY transitioning into being parents with kids in school. I can’t believe it. Still feels so weird to be attending school functions and sitting where our parents used to sit.

Charlie: I come from Kansas City, MO and live with Thomas, my partner of just over 6 years with our dog Zeus. I have worked at a fabric store for six years. Currently, I manage a major sewing machine manufacturer’s retail sales and education location, which is ranked one of the top stores. I think I might have a dream job, but then again all jobs have their days.

We’re no strangers to guy quilters here at FQ, obviously, we have our very own in John, but it’s not a ‘traditional’ male past-time, so how did you the 2 of you first get interested in quilting?

Ryan: Go manquilters! I spent lots of time with my grandmother when I was younger. I would sit and watch her quilt for hours. I believe she had a lot to do with my interest in the subject, but it wasn’t actually till I was married and my wife and I were expecting our first child that I made my first quilt. I remember learning to use the sewing machine for the first time in high school. I had to make a pair of boxer shorts in home economics class. I can still remember that proud feeling I got when I realized I made something I could actually wear. I think I did a pretty good job of hiding how much enjoyment I got out of using the sewing machine then. Now, I find quilting and sewing an everyday necessity. It’s my therapy, really.

Charlie: I first began quilting in 1998 after watching a friend piece a quilt. I thought it might be fun to try. She told me to pick out a quilt pattern from her library of books and buy some fabric. Her advice was not to start with anything too big in case I did not like it or it could become overwhelming. I picked out a log cabin quilt that measured 30” x 30”. I thought this would be the perfect first quilt.

I went to Jo-Ann’s for fabric even though I had no idea what I was doing. I was a fish out of water. I had no idea how to match colors. There weren’t fabric collections. All I found that would go together were a group of Christmas fabrics. I went to my friend’s house and showed her the fabrics and machine. She thought I was doing great. She told me just keep it up and call if I had any questions. I set the machine up and got to sewing on my new quilt! I liked this! I was half way done when I noticed that my blocks were not square. I went back to ask my friend about them and she took a look at my blocks and asked what pattern I was using. After a minute or two, she told me I was doing a miniature quilt! The quilt called for 6” blocks. She suggested it might be better if I made a small quilt using full size blocks. I placed that project in a shoebox and went in search of another quilt pattern and more fabric. Sorry to say I never finished that very first quilt.

The next pattern I took on was Court House Steps. I combined reds, yellows, greens and blues. It turned out great. I was hooked. I have never looked back since, nor been sorry I have gone down this road.

Do either of you have creative backgrounds?

Ryan: No. Unless you consider arranging flowers for calling hours “creative.” I haven’t taken any formal classes on quilting or quilt design. I’ve always been real interested in art, music, design and try to be somewhat creative every day.

Charlie: I’ve tried my hand at music and art and if it was not for Electric Quilt I would not be designing quilts. There are some days I can’t even sew a straight line. I took a few quilting classes at a local store to learn some of the basics, but for the most part have picked it all up on my own. I’m a make it up as I go along type person. Read everything I can about my craft and take it and make it my own.

We love to hear about quilters’ sewing spaces.  Can you describe yours for us?  Do you have to share with anyone else, such as a partner or kids?  Do you listen to music — and if so, what kind?  Do you sew ‘bareback’ (or at least without shoes?  Any snacks on hand?  And what do you have to drink?

Ryan: How much time do you have? I could talk about studios all day! OK, music: classic rock! Anything Zeppelin, Heart, Queen, Stones … (you can check out the music I’ve been listening to lately on my blog). I ALWAYS sew without shoes. Normally in socks or barefoot in the summer. Coke Zero is my drink of choice when putting the foot pedal to the metal. Snacks? Sometimes pretzels. Nothing that leaves residue or oils on my hands when I’m handling fabric. Right now I “share” my space with my wife who scrapbooks, but I admit I tend to spread out quite a bit when I’m working on a project and end up using her work surfaces. Sorry dear! My kids generally wander in and out of the studio when I’m working to entertain me.

Charlie: My sewing space is a small room — 12′ x 10′, give or take. It has my collection of fat quarters. I love to design quilts with lots of colors in them. The shelves came from my workplace and they are just the right size for my ever growing collection of FQ’s. I have a center island cart table that was meant to be used in the kitchen as my cutting table. It’s just the right size for a 26” x 24” cutting mat with a little extra room, and it’s the right height for cutting. I would not give it up for anything. I use an old style teacher’s desk for my sewing table. I picked it up at a junk store for $20. Score! I made my ironing board from press wood because I could not find one big enough and needed more space underneath for my yard goods of fabrics. I have a dresser in the room that I try to keep clean, but it’s becoming a catch-all. It used to be belong to my great grandmother. I have nowhere else in the house for it and it kind of just ended up in my sewing space. I would love to take it out and place another small table so I could sew with friends when they come over. It was not until about a month ago I even got a design wall. I just took the back of table cloth and pinned it behind the door.

I don’t sew “bareback” as you call it, or have too many snacks on hand when I quilt. I will have a bit of jelly beans or candy pieces when I sew. I don’t want anything about that might get on my fabric. I like to have my coffee or Kool-Aid to drink. Just don’t want to spill any and get it on the fabric.

Tell us all a bit about your exciting new venture, Patchwork Squared. How did it come about? Do you have clearly defined roles or you both do a bit of everything each?

Ryan: I guess you could say P2 developed out of a friendship Charlie and I formed through blogging. There aren’t many male quilters (or young quilters in general for that matter) in my area so I turned to the internet to find like minded folks to talk to. I started visiting blogs and found his. I think I commented on one if his posts and we started talking about fabric and quilt designs, etc. He came out with a few quilt designs under Qubee Quilts and I can’t remember if I asked (or maybe he did) if he would be interested in collaborating with me on patterns and it snowballed from there. He’s traditional, I’m modern and we wanted to see what we could come up with if we joined the two together. Our tag line has always been, “designing quilts from a different perspective.” I think it describes what we’re trying to accomplish pretty well. We’re two male quilters, the odd couple of quilting really. We’re taking two different perspectives (worldly and artistic) and joining them together to form one cohesive idea. In this case the idea is a quilt.

I handle most of the PR stuff like blogging and advertising, proof all the patterns and format everything. We work together on the quilt designs and construction. We will each come up with different ideas and send them to each other to look over and change. We typically go back and forth till they look the way we want them to. It’s definitely a challenge with him in Missouri and me in NY. We did get a chance to meet in person last October during Quilt Market in Houston.

How do your personal styles complement each other – do you have glaringly different tastes in fabrics/block styles? Or do you find that you both naturally veer toward the same lines?

Ryan: My quilting style has generally remained the same as when I first started quilting. I blame it on my general lack of education in the subject mostly. I’ve never been one to follow patterns and would construct quilts and blocks by looking at them and figuring out how to piece them on my own. In the beginning I had a large collection of primitive fabrics in dark colorways from Thimbleberries and the like. It was all you could find in the LQS’ around my area and was what my grandmother used. I would often freestyle piece blocks and found that the primitive fabrics would typically not mesh well with that construction style. So, I ventured on to 30’s and 40’s prints with a little more color and eventually grew to love more contemporary fabrics.

For the most part Charlie and I tend to be on the same page when it comes to design. He’s always remained more traditional though and that’s why I think we work so well together and why I hope our quilts will be interesting to people.

Charlie: I’m a traditionalist with a modern twist. Ryan and I like about the same thing. He does have a liking for the 30’s & 40’s prints where I like mine a little more modern and on the darker side of color like grays, browns and blacks. I still like some of the some bright homespuns, but they are getting harder to find. Ryan does more of the computer work where I do more of the designing and writing of the patterns.

OK, there’s a fire.  Your family are safe and so is your sewing machine (phew!) – but you can only grab a handful of fabrics. Which 5 fat quarters do you grab?

Ryan: Gosh, only 5!? Have you seen my hands? I’ve got big hands and can fit more than 5 FQs in them sausages. I’d be stuffing FQ’s under my arms, down my pants, putting a few between my teeth… I’d be the guy throwing armfuls of fabric out my windows and into the front yard! For arguments sake, if I could only grab 5, they would be:

  1. Urban Chiks Swell – Multi Dot in Red Aqua Pink
  2. Denyse Schmidt KJR – Blue Green Dot
  3. Tula Pink Neptune – Caspian in Deep Sea
  4. Denyse Schmidt FMF – Grey Seeds
  5. Sandy Klop Peas & Carrots – Mono Pez in Black

Charlie: I’m with Ryan on this. Only 5!? My room is becoming a Moda shrine and I would want to take them all.

  1. Tula Pink
  2. Basic Grey
  3. Sweetwater
  4. Liz Scott
  5. Aneela Hoey

We’re big on dreams here at FQHQ. Tell us your dream for Patchwork Squared. What does the future hold? And for you guys as individuals?

Ryan: Our main goal, you could say, is to write patterns for people like us who don’t generally buy patterns; to hopefully come up with fresh, new ideas that inspire and get people excited about quilting. We want to contribute in a positive way to the quilting industry and show everyone there’s a new generation of quilters out there. For now, baby steps. We’ll release a few patterns here and there with the hopes that someone will take notice and we’ll FINALLY be able to call this our REAL JOB!

Many thanks to the guys for taking time out of their busy schedules to chat with us. Head on over to Charlie’s blog to find out details of his latest quilt-along, a fun little weekend project set to start on the 10th of this month. And if you haven’t already check out the beautiful modern solids sampler quilt-along the guys recently ran on the Patchwork Squared blog. It’s never too late to join in!

Be Our Guest: Nova’s Peek-a-Boo Bunting Tutorial

Hello! It’s Nova here, just popping in with a tutorial on how to make the ‘Peek-a-Boo’ Bunting that I first made for the Design Challenge block in the Fussy Cut Issue of Fat Quarterly.

I’ve since incorporated this block idea into a couple of cushions…

…and a playful, interactive wall hanging…

…all of which have little surprises hiding under the bunting flags.

Peek – a – Boo Bunting Tutorial

If you have any questions you can drop me a line via my blog.



Be Our Guest: Leigh Ann of Spincushion

Hello everyone! My name is Leigh Ann and I am the writer and designer behind the Spincushion blog. I’m so happy to be with you today, sharing a little about myself as well as a fun project I’m working on….  a quilt inspired by the artwork of watercolor artist Caitlin McGauley.

But more about that in a minute! First, a few fun facts about me:

1. I was a make-up artist for years, but now put pencil to paper far more often than I put liner to lip. 2. I once won a $100.00 gift certificate to JoAnn Fabrics, which my mother used to make my wedding gown! 3. I accidentally once made coffee in my iron. Long story.

I currently design sewing projects for publications such as Sew Hip and Stitch magazines and I have a pattern in the upcoming book, “One Yard Wonders: Fabric Extravaganza” due out later this year. My blog, Spincushion, is a collection of my great loves including surface design, interior decorating and modern traditional style with a focus on fabrics, quilting and sewing of all sorts. As you can tell from one visit to Spincushion, I’m a graphic design junkie and I’m very excited to have just designed the pattern covers for 3 quilts by Cara’s Quilt Designs (coming to an online quilt shop near you!).

My goal in the industry is to someday share my modern, feminine aesthetic through a line of fabrics and patterns. I’ve been sharing many an evening with my colored pencils, and as soon as my portfolio reflects the “me” that I want to share through fabrics, I plan on courting a few manufacturers.

Now back to that fun project! Lately, I’m loving the gorgeous works of artist Caitlin McGauley. Her playful yet glamourous art has attracted the likes of Kate Spade, Lonny Magazine and Tory Burch. I thought it would be fun to do a group of 12″ quilt blocks, each inspired by one of Caitlin’s works, then use white sashing to join them so that it looks somewhat  like a gallery wall in fabric form.

My goal is not to get incredibly detailed, just pick up on Caitlin’s notes on form and color, and then possibly add in some detail with hand quilting later on. I love the idea of the classic look of hand stitching on a very modern looking quilt top- kind of like reading “The Great Gatsby” on a Kindle.

So here’s how this block came to be. First I drew a plan on pattern paper outlining the main shapes. Then I did the math, adding 1/4″ seam allowance to the shape dimensions. Next, due to the angles, I created a template for the floor for easier cutting.

Then I pieced the back together and created and added bias binding to the “rug”.

And the rest is done with applique. This is the technique I usually use. First you cut a square from your desired fabric, larger than the shape that you’re going to be using. Then you trace the template (with no seam allowance) onto the fabric. Then you cut a piece of a lightweight fusible interfacing, the same size as your fabric and pin it to the back, fusible side facing the fabric. Next, using a very small seam, sew over your traced line. Trim the seam allowance to around 1/4″ and notch curves where necessary. Then cut a small hole in only the fusible and turn the piece right-side-out, smoothing out the inner seams.

Then I arranged the applique pieces and pressed them into place. Lastly, I used quilting thread and an invisible ladder stitch to secure the applique.

Thanks so much to Fat Quarterly for allowing me to share today! I hope to continue our conversation- so nice to meet you!

Spincushion’s Swatchtower: LouLouThi

In celebration of our LouLouThi giveaway this week (it’s still open! come and enter!!), we’re excited to share Leigh Ann’s LouLouThi-themed Swatchtower (originally posted on the Spincushion blog).  Swatchtower is a series in which Leigh Ann pulls together stylish images and photographs inspired by the prints and patterns of our favorite fabric designers.  We love the runway shots that she compiled to celebrate Anna Maria Horner’s newest collection, and we hope you enjoy it too.

From Leigh Ann:

Knowing that Anna Maria Horner is a big fan of, I thought I’d give her a much-deserved runway moment of her own. Well, at least a moment for her new fabric line, Loulouthi, anyway. Imagine flash bulbs going off, insanely loud music blasting and envision yourself at a showing of the newest spring collection, a-la AMH.

Spincushion’s Cover Quilts

I was recently contacted by Leigh Ann, who writes for the Spincushion blog, asking permission to feature one of my quilts in her Cover Quilts series. I agreed but, to be honest, wasn’t very familiar with Spincushion. So I checked it out, and I recommend you do, too — but be warned: you may get sucked in by all of the eye candy that Leigh Ann serves up on a regular basis. Not only is Spincushion beautiful to look at, but I was blown away by all of Leigh Ann’s innovative and creative series of posts — Cover Quilts, Color Cues, If a Quilt Lived Here, and Swatchtower are but a few of them. This girl’s got a great eye and a fresh perspective on fabric and design.

The content is so fantastic that I asked Leigh Ann if she’d be willing to share it with our Fat Quarterly readers, and she so graciously agreed. You’ll see many of Leigh Ann’s clever posts showing up here on the FQ blog, but if you just can’t wait, be sure to subscribe to Spincushion.  Tell her we said “hi”!

Here’s today’s Cover Quilt (originally published April 2011):

Quilt by Val Laird
Content courtesy of Leigh Ann Tennant of Spincushion

Be Our Guest: I am That Girl …

My name is Jennifer Jenkinson and I am That Girl who loves to quilt. After a series of athletic injuries and surgeries, I needed a relatively safe hobby so I decided to try quilting. As it turned out, I was one of those people who didn’t discover the extent of my creativity until I picked out some fabrics, picked up a needle and some thread, and made my first quilt. From then on I was hooked and quilting has become a passion in my life.

I believe in quilting without obligation; for the passion and the art rather than churning out a quilt-of-the-day. I’m honest and opinionated and believe that anyone who wants to quilt, young or old, rich or poor, should have the opportunity to create and make a quilt. I love working with new quilters through tutorials, quilt alongs, and any other way I can encourage them to jump in and make their first quilt.

I have a wonderful and supportive husband and a fabulous 7 year old daughter. My daughter is smart, funny, and super creative. She and I spend many hours together creating and crafting in my sewing studio. My husband is my sewing machine “fixer”, a creative second eye, occasional quilt baster, my best friend, and the one I fall in love with over and over. We have two beagles, Buddy & Gus, who combined with the 7 year old, keep us on our toes all the time!

I work full time in the high pressure world of finance. I’m a gymnastics mom and softball coach {& mom} and I have a date night with my husband once a week. What spare time I have left in the evenings and on weekends I use to escape and spend creating, designing, piecing, quilting, and rolling around in my beloved fabric stash.

My Blog:

Post: A Pintuck Patchwork Pillow

As a self taught quilter, I’ve recently become fascinated with different general sewing techniques. I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and make my work look more polished. Like topstitching… I love topstitching!

My latest obsession involves pintucks. So much of quilting is about texture and pintucks give already beautiful fabrics a unique texture. The technique is simple and with this tutorial and a few hours you can have a beautiful pintuck patchwork pillow… say that five times fast! Your pillow will measure 12” x 16”.

*All seam allowances will be ½” unless otherwise noted*
Select 8 fabrics you would like to feature and cut one 5″ square from each fabric. Charm squares also work nicely…

Take your first square and get ready to sew your first pintuck! Some like their pintucks evenly spaced and straight but I prefer mine to have a more organic look; especially when using them in patchwork.

So with that being said, make a fold with WRONG sides together and finger press.

On the RIGHT side of the fabric, stitch along the fold as close as you can to the edge.

Continue this on your square until you are pleased with the number of pintucks. Repeat this step for each of your squares. Press the pintucks of each square to shrink the stitches. Personally, I’m not picky about pressing all the pintucks in the same direction; I like the texture created by the random directions.

Once you have all 8 squares pintucked {is that a word??} stitch them together into 2 rows of 4. Then stitch the 2 rows together. Your seams will most likely not match up but that just adds to the patchwork texture of this pillow…

Now you are ready to sash the blocks. I used linen because I love linen mixed with quilting fabrics. Cut 2 linen strips that measure 2” x 9” for the short sides of the block and 2 strips that measure 2.5” x 17” for the long sides of the block.

Stitch your short strips on first, press and then stitch your long strips. Press and now you have the completed front of your pillow that should measure 13” x 17”! I used a simple envelope closure to finish the pillow off but feel free to use your favorite pillow method.

Thanks for having me today here at Fat Quarterly! I hope you will come visit me soon and see what else I’m up to…

Be Our Guest: Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts

Today we’re very excited to welcome Julie Herman to the Fat Quarterly blog!  Julie is the voice behind the popular Jaybird Quilts blog and is an amazing quilter and pattern designer to boot.  Today, Julie’s answering some of our questions, introducing the Fat Quarterly audience to some of her newest pattern designs, and even offering a few giveaway gifts for some lucky readers.

We hope you enjoy this fun Q&A to help get to know Julie better!

FQ: Congratulations on the release of your new quilt patterns! Can you tell us a bit more about each one?

Thank you! It’s been a busy few months in land of Jaybird Quilts. Since March I have announced 8 new patterns and have one more to reveal before market.

Unwind plays with negative space to create stars in the background. It uses 2 1/2″ strips and is a great design to feature a collection of fabric.

Firecracker is a great quilt to feature some of your favorite fabrics. It requires only a fat eighth of each to create the left and right firecrackers.

Hugs & Kisses is quickly becoming my top selling pattern. The design creates X’s and O’s which is where the name came from. I call this my start crossed lovers quilt. One of the best parts of this pattern is that it looks complicated but is actually very easy to put together.

Fast Forward is bold, fast & fun! I’ve always had a fascination with column quilts and this pattern developed from that. I know that a black background is a bold choice, but for this fabric it was the perfect choice.

Carnival is a twist on a basic pinwheel. It uses pre-cut 10″ squares to create this fun spring quilt of spinning pinwheels.

Plaid Parade is the result of combining plaid and argyle together. It’s a great pattern for large scale prints that you don’t want to cut up into little pieces.

Off the Rail is a modern spin on a traditional favorite. It’s a fat quarter pattern but it would also be a great stash buster.

Chopsticks is my newest pattern & currently my favorite. With the help of a 60° ruler you can perfectly cut all the pieces and make this quilt in a weekend.

…. and one more to come!

Most of my patterns have size options with all of the fabric requirements on the back for easy shopping.

FQ: You’ve got a great sense of fabric and pattern. Can you suggest a few alternative fabric choices for some of your patterns? What new fabric lines do you think would best bring your patterns to life?

I’m attracted to clear, bold, saturated prints. I often call my color style “crayon box” since I prefer to work with those colors over subtle ones.

Patty Young just showed a sneak peek of her new line “Grand Bazaar” and I can see it being a fantastic line of fabric to use for many of my patterns.

Anything by Momo would also be great.

Solids – I have a version of fast forward started that is in all solids and it’s looking amazing.

With the help of some friends I’ll have a few new samples of my patterns at market in different fabrics to show people the possibilities!

FQ: Speaking of fabric, what are your top 5 favorite prints right now?

Top 5?? I’m supposed to pick just 5?? Well I’m in a green mood today… so here are my 5 favorite greens right now:

ANM-11203-49 Olive by Nancy Mims from Pick A Bunch

APC-10997-43 Leaf by Piece O’ Cake Designs from Treasures and Tidbits

Lizzy House – green pearl bracelet (basra blue 1001 Peeps)

Modern Workshop Courtyard Green Roundabout Dots SKU# 11175-14

EIP-11018-47 Grass from Metro Living

FQ: Congratulations also on having your first booth at Quilt Market later this month in Salt Lake City! Tell us what market visitors can expect from your booth.

Thanks… eek!! It’s so close now! People can expect to see a fun space showcasing my patterns as they have seen them & a few in some new fabric collections. I’m also doing a schoolhouse on Thursday with Joan Hawley {} of Lazy Girl Designs.

3:10 – 3:40
Joan Hawley & Julie Herman
Lazy Angle: Strip Cut Pieces for Perfect Points

FQ: Readers of your blog know that you are an expert user of specialty rulers and notions. (I recently bought 2 specialty rulers based on your great tutorials!) Tell us why you love these notions so much, and what are some of your current favorites?

It isn’t a secret that I love specialty rulers. Not all rulers are worth the price tag, but when I find a ruler that I love I enjoy sharing it with others. A good specialty ruler can significantly cut down your prep time and increase accuracy.

Of course my favorite right now is the Lazy Angle ruler by Joan Hawley. {}
The ruler has so many possibilities and you can just play for hours!

My #2 ruler right now is the new 12.5″ Creative Grids 60° ruler that I featured in my Chopsticks pattern. I really enjoy using 60° angles to create triangles & hexagons and this new large ruler has so many possibilities!

I know that sometimes people are nervous to buy them or that they don’t fit into that month’s quilt budget. For this purpose I have included full size templates with all of my patterns that use specialty rulers.

FQ: Look into your crystal ball and tell us what you predict will be some of the biggest industry trends at Spring Market this month.

The first trend that I’ve already seen a peek at is Purple. A few designers have already shown sneak peeks of their lines to be released at Market and Purple is back!

Now into my crystal ball… I see lots of beautiful fabric, great tools and amazing quilt patterns. :-)

FQ: What does 2011 and beyond have in store for Jaybird Quilts?

I hope to teach more and continue to develop more patterns. Past that I’m trying to take each day one at a time and see where this road takes me. The last 4 months have been a whirlwind and I’m looking forward to a bit of rest as well!

Thank you FQ for having me!!

And now for the goodies.  I have three amazing prizes for you. Thank you to Robert Kaufman for the fabric and Creative Grids for the rulers!

Prize #1 will get you started with Unwind. It includes the pattern, a roll up of the fabric featured on the cover “Pick a Bunch” by Nancy Mims and a Lazy Angle Ruler.

Prize #2 will get you started with Fast Forward. It includes the pattern, a roll up of the fabric featured on the cover “Treasures & Tidbits” by Piece O’ Cake Designs and a Lazy Angle Ruler.

Prize #3 will get you started with the Lazy Angle Ruler and 5 of my new patterns! The possibilities are endless!

Thanks again, Julie!  Interested in winning one of Julie’s fantastic prizes?  Simply leave a comment on this post letting us know which of Julie’s new patterns is your favorite, and what fabrics you would use to bring that pattern to life.  We’ll leave the giveaway open for almost a week, and will announce our winners next Wednesday, 5/11.  Good luck, and happy sewing!