Monday, March 26, 2012

Quilt Equation

Everyone knows that in order to be a quilter, you must be able to do at least a little math.  If you are one of the many who thought your high school geometry class fit into the "foreign language" category, don't worry.  There are many quilt-y tools out there that can help with the figuring.  And, the best part -- no tests!

So, get out your pencil and scratch pad, your handy-dandy calculator, (or just take off your shoes and socks) and follow along with me on a Quilt Equation journey.  Oh, what fun!  (Yeah, I used to be a math teacher.  I really do think this is fun.)

Start with a Moda Layer Cake--42 pieces of 10-inch square fabric.  I used Sandhill Plums from Kansas Troubles Quilters.
Add a Moda Charm Pack--42 pieces of 5-inch squares.  These should be from the same fabric collection.
With me so far?  42 + 42 = 84 fabric squares.  And, so far, we haven't cut one piece or stumbled upon a single fraction!

Add a Five & Dime specialty ruler.  This ruler is used to precisely center (here comes the geometry) the charm squares onto the layer cake squares.  Pin and stitch in raw-edge applique style.  Easy-peasy!
So, check your math--84 squares sewn in pairs equals 42 squares.  Not so bad, huh?  Wonder where your high school math teacher is now?  ;)

Now we DIVIDE and thereby MULTIPLY at the same time!  (Cue the scary music!)  Flip that Five & Dime ruler around and cut each set down the middle twice--like a plus sign.  Check your work.  42 x 4 = 164 pieces!

Mix and match and stitch your pieces back into 4-piece squares in a random-y kind of way.  This will bring your total back to:  164 / 4 = 42
Use your awesome randomness to sew the patchwork squares into rows of 5.  Continue your quilt-y calculations by stitching together 7 rows.  Add two borders, and what do you get for your final answer???

Ya gotta wonder if the great mathematicians of yesteryear had wives who were quilters.

OK, Bonus Question!  Extra Credit to anyone who figured out there are EXTRA blocks laying around somewhere!  Remember, we started with 42 patchwork blocks, and made 7 rows of 5 blocks each.  So, there are 7 leftovers!  The Five & Dime pattern includes instructions to make a tablerunner out of the extras.  Guess what my next project will be?

Thank you for following along our Quilt Equation journey.  Not even a smidgeon of math anxiety!  And, thank you to Lynne and the gang at KTQ for such a fun pattern!

As I finished this quilt top, I kept wondering what it would look like in a different color palette.  The Berenstain Bears have a new line.  That would make a cute quilt for a kids' room.  I am particularly fond of the Vintage Modern collection from Moda, with its bright, springtime colors.  Has anyone else out there tried this pattern with other fabrics?  I'd love to see pictures!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Prep Work

In less than a week, The Little Shop will be packing up the truck and traveling to Rising Sun, Indiana for QuiltFest!

This morning, I wrote out a list of things to do before we head out.  There were so many things on the list, I ran out of room on the page!  Regardless, I am too excited for words.  Here is a sneak peek at the prep work.

New fabric shipments!  I'm becoming very friendly with my UPS and FedEx man.  ;)  Doesn't this look like a giant box of crayons?

A great flea market find in the back of my car.  It is a doll-sized wooden cradle, and is absolutely adorable!  In its second life with me, it will display fabric. 

Designer fabric gets the upscale treatment in these cute little springtime baskets!

I saved the best for last!  I've been working with the awesome folks at Like Sew Websites to design a new online home for The Little Shop.  Here is a sneaky peek!
The website should be ready to go in less than a week!  Springtime is quilt show time!  Can you feel the Fabric Frenzy?  Happy Stitching, everyone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

We Love You, Amy!

Our first quilt show is coming up soon!  So excited!!!  The Little Shop is traveling to Rising Sun, Indiana for QuiltFest.  We've been busy, busy, busy cutting fat quarters, making up kits and sewing samples of our favorite patterns.

Here is our latest sample.  We love you, Amy Butler!

This is Amy's Birdie Sling made from her Lark fabric collection.  I am very thankful to my Mom for stitching it up so beautifully!  She worked away on this while I stitched away on the Five & Dime quilt.  (Still working on that one!)

Mom's testimony means a lot to me, and she says Amy's pattern was very simple to follow.  

And, this bag is HUUUUGE!  This could become your Go-To tote bag for just about everything.  It would make a great diaper bag, school bag for students or teachers, gym bag for those work-out clothes...anything you need to tote can go in here.  

Plus, there are three huge interior pockets for all of your smaller things.  A place for your keys, your phone, your credit cards.  Love it!

Mom plans to make another one for herself.  ;)

Stay tuned for quilt show updates!  I can hardly wait!  Check out our Facebook page for dates, times, and addresses of all our shows.  Mom will be there, too, along with Amy's bag.  We'd love to see you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quilt Block Dedicated to Donny & Marie

Everybody knows Marie Osmond, right?  I'm a proud member of Generation X and have fond memories of sitting on the floor in front of our TV watching the Donny and Marie show.  Probably the most famous segment of the show was Marie's rendition of "I'm a Little Bit Country" while Donny countered with "I'm a Little Bit Rock n' Roll."

That is what goes through my mind with my current project.  "....I'm a little bit country..."  It's a darn shame you can't hear me singing!  LOL!

This is just one block from Kansas Troubles Quilters' Five & Dime patternSandhill Plums is the name of the fabric line from Moda, also designed by KTQ.

As you may remember (if not, click here), The Little Shop of Stitches is preparing to hit the road soon with Quilt Show Season rapidly approaching.  This is just part of two samples I am busy, busy, busy working on to finish for the shows.

The pattern caught my eye due to its simplicity.  It is a project that anyone with any sewing experience could make.  And, while I enjoy a challenge, sometimes the simple patterns allow the fabric to be the star.  

That is certainly the case with Five & Dime.  This project starts with one layer cake and one charm pack.  Get it?  Layer cakes are TEN inch squares, and Charm Packs are FIVE inch squares?  Five, ten...Five & Dime!  

The Sandhill Plums colors appealed to my mom.  ;)  "...I'm a little bit country..."  She tells me they look "rich" to her.  Kinda conjures up visions of a southern ranch, doesn't it?

The Five & Dime ruler helps line up the squares perfectly for sewing.  You simply open the precut packages, line up your ruler and start stitching!  Awesome!  After cutting the squares into fourths, rearranging them and sewing them patchwork style, they just line up into rows like little soldiers, and VOILA!  OK, I haven't quite made it to voila yet, but I'm close.  That's why you only get a picture of one block this week!  

Once the squares are all sewn, and borders are added, it will be a lap/twin size quilt.  The quilt uses most of the patchwork squares, and a table runner can be made from the "change."  Get it?  Change?  Five & Dime?  Cracking up!

Marie Osmond has become a celebrity in the world of sewing since her early television days.  I think she would like this pattern.  Maybe I should think about doing a "rock n' roll" quilt for Donny...wouldn't want him to be jealous!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Geeking Out!

This week, the computer and I are bonding.  Not so much bonding with the sewing machine, however.

I view my computer as a "necessary" tool.  I need it to run my business, to communicate, and honestly to run my life.  I mean, really, could you live these days without it?  Banking, Facebook,'s all on there.  

The sewing machine is my "fun" tool.  :)  I'll get back to it eventually.

Despite the necessity and non-glamorous side of the computer, my job this week really is exciting to me.

The Little Shop of Stitches is getting its own Dot.Com website!!!!  Wheeeee!!

The designers did a fabulous job with the look of the site.  The programmers have done their part to make it "work" like a website.  (I am so thankful that wasn't my responsibility!)  Now, it's my turn.

I'm doing the tweaking, adding the fabrics/books/patterns, uploading the photos.  You know, the FUN part!

The Little Shop will still be on Etsy!  I believe in Etsy and what it stands for - handmade items and quality supplies to make them.  Additionally, there is a sense of community found on Etsy that is unlike any other.

Starting this new website feels a bit like buying my first house.  It's mine, it's all mine!  Where will I put this?  Where will that fit?  What can I add to make it beautiful and personalized?

I do not yet know exactly when the site will go live, but I sincerely hope you stay with me for the journey!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday's Feature - Yo Yo Cottage

I think one of the best things about sewing and quilting for me is that the concept is simple.  Take a piece of fabric, cut it into the shape you want, and sew it together.  The variety of ways in which this can be done is completely mind-boggling!  However, conceptually -- simple.  And, of course, often times it is the simple things that are best in life.

Today's feature is the Yo Yo Cottage based out of Blairsville, Georgia.  We all know those cute little circles that are hand-sewn by the dozens.  Well, the Yo Yo Cottage takes the simple concept of yo yos and makes them extra special.  Just look...
 I love, love, LOVE this picture!  Yo Yo Cottage takes custom orders to make the size and color of yo yos you need for your project.  They also welcome special orders for finished handmade items such as these gorgeous garlands.

 What a great idea for wedding decorations!  Birthdays, holidays, any celebration!  I appreciate the fact that these yo yo decorations are reusable, also.  No more throwing the plastic partyware into the landfill.

These rolled roses in satin and bright cottons are another specialty of Yo Yo Cottage.  Again, custom made to your liking, they can be used as decorations, embellishments for hair bands, scrapbooking, or any number of creative uses!  Lovely!

The talent continues into the world of childhood wonderment.  They have a blog devoted entirely to showcasing their adorable doll clothes.
How cute is this???  I have a soft spot for the 1930's look.  ;)  Grab your favorite beverage and settle in because there is a LOT to look at!  CLICK HERE to see the entire collection of cuteness!

Simple is comforting.  Simple is familiar.  Simple is calming.  The Yo Yo Cottage will most definitely bring a simple smile to your face.  Find them on Facebook and tell them The Little Shop of Stitches raved about them!