August 26, 2014

Best Christmas Quilts blog tour!

Serenity Stars is the center quilt
Hi all!  Welcome to my stop on the Best Christmas Quilts blog tour!  Even thought it is still pretty hot outside in this part of the world, I know some of you smart people are planning ahead to the holidays.  Quilter's Newsletter is ready to help!  Their special issue, Best Christmas Quilts, just hit the newsstand.

The editors specifically mentioned during the submission process that they were interested in alternate color schemes in addition to the traditional red and green.  I've been in love with neutrals at the holidays for the past few years, so I continued this theme with my submission, Serenity Stars.  Lucky for me, they liked it well enough to include it on the cover :)

Serenity Stars
Serenity Stars is made with a neutral Essex linen (putty) and white.  Its simple friendship star block is a perennial favorite and perfect for gift giving or your own holiday decorating.  It finishes at 60" x 60" which is a wonderful throw size for keeping warm during the winter chill.

Quilter's Newsletter has generously offered to give away a copy of the magazine to one of my readers!  Just leave a comment telling me your favorite holiday decorating colors.  Please leave your email address in your comment so I can reach you if you win!  The giveaway will close at 6am EDT on Wednesday, August 27.  Good luck!

August 10, 2014


Sew Solid Sunday is on vacation this month!  See you in September!

August 7, 2014

Do-it-yourself ironing surface!

I wanted to tell you about the fantastic new ironing surface my husband and I put together for my sewing room.  For years I have used a regular ironing board and that has worked fairly well.  However, when I bought my new Janome in November 2012 I also bought a table that it sits in.  I don't have the space to leave it in this table all the time - it would block all the drawers in my desk.  It is fantastic for quilting though.
Ignore the messy parts! - #honestcraftroom
My sewing room has an L shaped counter and the table fits nicely into the corner of the L, giving me support and space all around the machine.
But what to do with it when I wasn't quilting?  My first, fast solution was to take a piece of glass from an old coffee table, wrap it in quilted Teflon fabric and set it on top of the table.  I also had my husband put some casters on the legs so I could move it around the sewing room easily.  This quick fix worked quite well, but the glass was a bit smaller than the table and I wanted to be able to iron a full width of fabric.  I took some measurements and made some calculations and decided that a surface about 24" x 52" would be perfect.  When we got to the home improvement store they had pre-cut pieces that were 24" x 48" so I lost a few inches in the interest of speed and saving a few dollars.  We also bought some 1" x 2" pieces to make a frame on the underside of the top.

My husband attached the 1" x 2" pieces so they fit snugly around the sewing machine table.  Then he attached the top and we wrapped the teflon ironing board fabric around it and stapled it in place.  And voila!

It isn't as big as one of those "big board" ironing boards that you can buy commercially, but it works well for me.

Handy husbands are awesome, but, honestly, I really could have done all this myself (shhh, don't tell him - he likes to do things for me :)).

What do you use for ironing and pressing?

PS  Sew Solid Sunday is on vacation for August - it will return in September on the second Sunday as usual!

July 31, 2014

Fun-Size Quilts winner!

Thanks for playing along everyone!  It was such fun to read the things that you don't put on your to-do lists.  I wish I could have replied to all your comments, but I did read and enjoy them all.  My highly unscientific poll suggests that reading, laundry and making coffee were the most popular answers.  A good book and a hot cup of tea are my idea of heaven, so I know where you are coming from.  I don't read actual books as much as I used to - these days I most often "read" by listening to books on tape while I'm sewing.  The feeling of being transported to another place is still the same, though.

Jess Burns is the winner of the Fun-Size Quilts eBook!  Congratulations, Jess!  Jess says she puts everything on her to-do list except going to work.  I should probably follow her example - some days it seems like I spend all day doing things and then look at my to-do list and none of them were on it!

If you aren't Jess, you can get a copy of Fun-Size Quilts here.

July 24, 2014

Fun-Size Quilts!

Fun-Size Quilts
I love making big quilts - quilts for the beds in our home and quilts to snuggle under on the couch when it is cold out.  I'm totally on board with the fact that quilting is a long term accomplishment.  BUT, sometimes, you just want a quick finish - a fun size quilt to play with; a little project that gets done.  Almost instant gratification!

To-Do List

Well, 17 designers have given you plenty of little quilts to choose from.  Fun-Size Quilts from Martingale includes 19 projects that all finish about the size of a fat quarter (18" x 22").  There really is something for everyone in this book from cute little four-patches and pinwheels to adorable animals and flowers to abstract designs.

The quilt I designed is called To-Do List and includes both appliqué and piecing.  It was so much fun to design this sweet little quilt.  I'm glad it is home now so I can hang it up in my sewing room to remind me that sometimes you just have to do what you have to do!

Two of my favorite quilts in the book are on the cover - Kimberly Jolly's Sunshine pinwheel quilt and Jeni Baker's adorable little foxes called Fox in a Box!  Kimberly's choice to limit the color scheme and change the color of one block is so effective.  Jeni's little foxes have me running for my scraps to choose the perfect fabrics for those adorable faces!

Another of the quilts that has me itching to sew is Thomas Knauer's Perhaps - it is in Morse Code - I love quilts that have a bit of a puzzle to them :)  I guess some of us never get over that childhood feeling of excitement when solving a puzzle feels like unlocking a secret that only we know.

Emily Herrick's Skyline looks like another great project for using small pieces of my favorite fabrics and Jackie White's whimsical My Little Garden is so sweet I wish I had a little girl's room to decorate.  I could go on and on....

My Little Garden

If you've read this far, I hope you are as excited about this book as I am!  If so - good news!  Martingale is giving away a free eBook version of Fun-Size Quilts!  To enter the giveaway, tell me if there is something, besides sewing, that never goes on your To Do List because you know you will always do it!  Giveaway closes at the end of the day Wed, July 30.  Good luck!

Check out Martingale's blog for more info and giveaway links!

July 23, 2014

Quilt Show this weekend!

If you are anywhere near southeastern Michigan this weekend, you must come to the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild Quilt Show!  I'm a longtime member of this guild and the show is always fantastic!  There are over 200 amazing quilts of all kinds, lots of wonderful vendors and some special exhibits.

In a fun convergence of my quilt guild lives, the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild has a special exhibit at the show.  Modern Quilts will feature nearly two dozen examples of modern quilts made by members of the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild.

If you are a fan of my work, I'll have 5 quilts in the two shows (2 in the GAAQG show and 3 in the AAMQG show) and I'll be there in a booth selling my patterns with more of my quilts.  It might be Esch House Quilts overload, but it should be fun!

The show is this Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27 in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College.  Admission is $6 and show hours are 9-5 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday.  Stop by and say hi!

July 22, 2014

Coming Thursday!

My quilt is featured in the new book Fun-Size Quilts! Martingale is hosting a big celebration for the release of the book this Thursday, including 16 giveaways of the eBook. Visit my blog on Thursday and join in the fun!