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Cinnamon and Spice

July 21, 2014

Last Friday I spent the morning sitting on a good friend’s deck with a cup of coffee in hand.  The breeze was blowing, the shade was cool and we were basking in the glow of the warm sun.  There was a crispness in the air that is usually only felt in the fall.  It made me think of cinnamon and hot drinks.  It made me want to buy boots and chunky sweaters.  It left me longing to start some fall sewing.  So this week, we’ve got a fall inspired bundle for anyone who can’t wait to feel the leaves crunch under their feet.  Cinnamon and Spice is on sale at 20% off until Sunday, July 27th at midnight.  Be careful: like fall, you might blink and it’ll be gone.


Sew Canadian – July 20th

July 20, 2014
Posted by: Laura

It’s week three of our Sew Canadian Summer Series and today we’re featuring Anita of Daydreams of Quilts and Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.  If you’re not part of our official summer tour schedule, you can still take part by uploading pics of your own sewing space to our Sew Canadian Flickr Group.  There may even be an Ombre Sewing Studio Kit up for grabs!

First up today we have Anita @Daydreams of Quilts who has this to share:


1. What do you like most about your space?
It’s large and I can fit all my quilting, stamping, scrapbooking and knitting stuff into one space.

2. If you could change one thing about your space, what would it be?
It would be on the main floor of the house where it’s warmer and the natural light is better. (Right now it’s in the cold basement.)

3. When do you find the most time to sew and when are you most creative?
Usually in the evenings/night once the kids are in bed. Sometimes I get up very early in the morning as well so I can have uninterrupted sewing time.

4. Do you listen to music or podcasts, watch tv or movies while sewing or do you prefer silence?
Usually I prefer silence but sometimes I listen to iTunes or podcasts on my computer. I also watch YouTube tutorials on my computer while I am sewing.

5. What’s your favourite sewing snack and/or drink?
I do not bring food or drinks into my studio. If I need a snack I go upstairs to the kitchen for milk or tea and cookies.

6. What kind of machine do you sew on and how many machines do you have?
I have a Kenmore that I piece on and sew garments on and a Juki that I normally do the quilting on. I also have an antique but I have not attempted sewing on it. (I am planning to buy an inexpensive Brother machine at the end of June.)

7. Does your machine(s) have a name? What is it?
Normally it does not have a name unless things are going wrong with it and then it’s name cannot be written here.

8. What are the tools you couldn’t live without?
My sewing machine, rotary cutter, ruler and mat.

9. What advice or tips and tricks do you have for others when first setting up or modifying a sewing space?
I have had four sewing/crafting spaces. Two were custom built by my husband to my specifications but we have been renting the last two houses so I cannot customize this space as much as I would like. If you have a handy person who can build for you customizing to your needs including electrical outlets and overhead pendant lights is awesome! I currently have pendant lights over workspaces that do not have to be hardwired in because they are from IKEA and have very long cords. All of my crafting spaces have been in the basement which is not ideal but it keeps me from infringing on the rest of the family’s space and having little hands getting into supplies that they are not allowed to touch. I recommend a hard floor such as linoleum, concrete or tile. It’s not the most comfortable but I wear slippers and it’s easily cleaned up if there’s a spill of paint or glue. Also, dropped pins and needles are much easier to find. I had a carpet in my first studio space and I was forever searching for dropped pins. I tried a magnet wand but that caused all my pins to be magnetized and stick to each other which was very annoying.

10. If you could pack up and move your space anywhere in the world, where would it be?
The climate in Alberta is generally pleasant for indoor pursuits like crafting. It is not humid here though it is awfully cold in the winter. So I would stay in Alberta but I would love to have my own studio space that was warm in the winter so I wouldn’t have to wear a down jacket to sew and that had great natural light. Something possibly that was a dedicated studio separate from the house would be ideal.

This is my sewing room. Those are stacks of fat quarters and fat eighths on the shelves under thewindow. My rubber stamps are on the white shelf. The dresser drawers contain fabric as well. The bins and baskets along the wall contain yardage and scraps. The cardboard in behind on the wall contains two glass desktops that I have been meaning to get IKEA trestle legs for and raise them up to a comfortable cutting table height. Hopefully in July! This is in the basement of military housing so they do not finish the ceiling as that way it can be called “an unfinished basement”.

This was a computer desk that my husband built for me but now it is my sewing table. I have a Juki and a Kenmore on there. Often I take the Kenmore up to the dining room and sew in a sunnier environment.

Cubbie shelves containing fabric kits, layer cakes, yarn and so on. There are scrapbooking/card making supplies in the white wall unit. The turquoise shelves on the right contain all my Aurifil Threads with Divine Twine on the bottom shelf for gift wrapping and card making. The sewing cabinet below (under the hat boxes) contains my Grandmother’s old sewing machine that is in my blog header.

Looking back the other way to my home office area. The white shelf on the wall has all my rubber stamps. (The clutter on the right is overflow from the kitchen…not enough cupboards in this house!)

A three tiered basket (from Pier 1 imports) with more precuts and yardage. My “Farmer’s Wife” plastic templates are in the little box marked “b”.

So there you have my sewing room in all its messy glory. Thanks for checking it out.

Our next fabulous space belongs to the lovely Lorna @Sew Fresh Quilts


1. What do you like most about your space?
What I like most about my sewing space is that I have everything I need all in one place.

2. If you could change one thing about your space, what would it be?
If I could change something it would be to enlarge that space and add more natural lighting.  My current set up is essentially a high traffic area better known as a hallway and the only window in that room has such a limited view.  Especially in the winter when the snow covers over the gap in the roofs.  There are occasions when I have moved my equipment down into the Blue Room which has large windows to allow for better quality photos when taking pictures for tutorials.

3. When do you find the most time to sew and when are you most creative?
The best time for sewing in my home is when everyone is at school or at work.  As much as I do love having my family around, it is much easier to concentrate on creating and executing designs and doing quilt math when there are no distractions or interruptions.

4. Do you listen to music or podcasts, watch tv or movies while sewing or do you prefer silence?
I do not listen to music or watch movies unless I am quilting a large piece and move everything out to my kitchen table.

5. What’s your favourite sewing snack and/or drink?
I prefer not to snack or drink while working, but I do take coffee breaks to answer emails and catch up on my blog roll.

6. What kind of machine do you sew on and how many machines do you have?Does your machine(s) have a name? What is it?
Aunt Elna is my newest machine.  She is an Elna Excellence 760 that I purchased this January.  She is roomy and makes quilting large projects so much easier.  However, my trusty Lil’ Janome 2030QDC has been a great machine and is much better suited when it comes to free motion quilting.

8. What are the tools you couldn’t live without?
Tools that I could not live without are my seam ripper, small scissors and, most of all, my pointy tweezers.

9. What advice or tips and tricks do you have for others when first setting up or modifying a sewing space?
When first setting up or modifying a sewing space, I would recommend having a source of natural light, a large sewing surface to accommodate quilting larger pieces and that it would be in a room separate from other living spaces.

10. If you could pack up and move your space anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If I could pack up and move my sewing space anywhere in the world, I would move into a glass house set up in my own back yard.  Then I could enjoy lots of natural light, have a scenic view for inspiration, and the traffic congestion caused by setting up my ironing board would no longer be an issue.




LornaHexagonsThat’s all for this week.  Stay tuned next week to see some more great spaces!

Tale of a Tula Raccoon

July 18, 2014

It’s another summer Friday and we’re celebrating with this Ribbon Star Tula Mini by makinglifeprettier.  The raccoons in my neighbourhood seem to be out in full force and, although they’re cute, I’d much prefer to happen upon the raccoon featured in this block. Makinglifeprettier, please send us an e-mail or a PM on Facebook.  You’ve won a half yard of fabric!

TulaPinkRibbonBlockIf this block has captured your wild side, be sure to check out the sale section in the shop.  Some of the fabrics featured are on clearance!  Have a great weekend, everyone!  Happy sewing!

A rainy day at the lake

July 16, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Postage Stamp in pink

I was invited to spend the day with some QuiltCo members at their summer retreat at Buckingham Palace (a lovely lakefront property not too far from the town of Buckingham in Quebec). Although the weather was dreary the company definitely was not! Such a talented group of quilters, and excellent cooks to boot. I came home rested and relaxed, with most of my pink postage stamp top pieced (only 4 more rows to go). These pink squares were cut from my scraps quite some time ago, and I am happy to have this UFO almost ready for quilting.

Pink Bolts

I had it in the loft today to take some pictures, and at the same time audition some backing fabric. How about Catnap Finn in Raspberry? Or Enchant Tea Party in White? Wee Wander With The Birds in Pink?  I think I have a winner — can you guess?

You win too … with 20% savings on all 3 of these awesome pink prints for a limited time. Sale ends Monday July 21 at noon.

Summer Days – Summer Bag!

July 15, 2014

When you think summer days, do you think lounging at the beach with a bag full of goodies and summer necessities at your side?  Well, Anita LaHay of Daydreams of Quilts has you covered with this great tutorial using our Summer Days bundle.

Anita LaHay – Daydreams of Quilts

I chose to sew a tote bag because in the summer I like to take hand sewing, knitting and cross stitch projects around with me along with books and magazines when I go on picnics, to the splash park or to the beach at the lake.


How I made the bag: Firstly, I knew from seeing photos of the fabric bundle that I wanted the have a grass and sky scene with appliquéd flowers and a Dresden plate sun. I was fretting a bit about the template for the Dresden and needing access to a photocopier to shrink it down when I came across the Better Homes and Gardens summer issue of “Quilts and More” and there was a Dresden on the cover exactly like the one I had in my head. How lucky! So I bought the magazine and traced a plastic template from the printed one they had inside.


I traced around my plastic template onto the yellow fabrics with a pencil and cut out my Dresden wedges.I then folded the wedges in half and sewed a quarter inch seam across the tops. (This is my first time making a Dresden plate and it was pretty tiny!)

I trimmed the inside corners inside the seam allowance and turned out my points. Then I gave them a press with the iron. I sewed the wedges together with quarter inch seams and there I had my Dresden sun.



I wanted my grass to be vertical the way it would be growing outside so I cut my fat eighth in half and then sewed it together again so the grass would be the right orientation. Then I sewed it to the blue fat eighth to make the sky and trimmed the blue to match the width of the grass. This is the main body of the front of my bag. It’s about 19 x 19 inches.


I fussy cut some mushrooms and put them face down on the back of the grass fabric to do a reverse appliqué. I stitched around the mushrooms with a small stitch to try to keep the fraying of the eventual rough edges on the front from getting past the stitching.


I pinched the front fabric inside the stitching to lift if off the mushrooms so I could cut a small hole in the fabric.


Here is the small hole.


Now I can get my little embroidery scissors in there and cut away the grass fabric to reveal the mushrooms. At this point you must cut very slowly and carefully. Even when you think you are being careful, be even more careful not to catch the fabric behind with your scissors. (Ask me and my seam ripper how I know.)Here the mushrooms are growing in the grass on the finished bag. (And I see a couple of threads I missed in this picture!)


Once this step was done I sat down for some hand sewing with my Clover Yo Yo makers. I used the large and Jumbo Yo Yo makers for the flowers and the Oval Yo Yo maker for the leaves. I then pinned and machine sewed my ric rac to the bag front. I thought about machine sewing my Yo Yos and Dresden but I was so happy with how they turned out I didn’t want them getting mashed around under the presser foot so I sat and hand sewed them on to the bag front. (It was very relaxing.)

For the back of the bag I wanted it to be pieced hexagons. I have never machine sewn hexagons before but I have read how to do it. I used the plastic template that comes with the Moda Honeycombs to carefully cut my hexagons. It is thinner than a ruler so the potential to cut yourself or the template is very real. Go very slowly with your cutter if you choose to do this. The template has little holes in each corner. These are important
for this technique. I marked the fabric through each hole with a fabric marking pen to make a dot in each hexagon corner. When you sew your hexagons together you start and stop at the dots. Do not sew into the seam allowance. Otherwise your fabric will pucker and not lie flat for you and you will have to unpick your stitches from the seam allowance.


After you have the back all pieced together you sew it to your bag front. If your fabrics are directional remember that if you front is right side up your back is upside down. This way when the sides seams are sewn everything will be right side up. Trim the half hexagons off the sides with your ruler.Here I have trimmed the two top edges of the back and front of the bag together so I could be sure they were even.


For smaller projects like this I like to use up my batting scraps so I fuse pieces together with Batting Tape by Pellon.


From this point on the project is just like a regular quilt or bag project. I put the outer bag piece (it’s now sewn into one piece at this point) onto the batting and gave it a quick spray with spray basting. Then I quilted straight lines the entire length of the bag except over the appliqué pieces. Then I sewed the side seams and squared off the corners. I sewed the bag lining. For the lining I needed a piece of fabric 19 inches by width of fabric and then I trimmed it to match the bag outer. I sewed the side seams leaving a three inch hole for turning. I squared off the corners to match the bag outer. I made bag handles and sewed them to the edges of the bag outer and then put the right side out bag outer into the inside out lining (right sides together) and sewed all the way around the top. Then I turned the bag through the hole I had left and machine stitched the hole in the lining closed. Throughout all of this whenever I was feeling unsure I checked the instructions for making bags in Sherri McConnell’s book “A Quilting Life”

I was going to top stitch around the top of the bag with my machine but the machine did not like that idea so I hand stitched the top with Perle Cotton thread.

The finished bag from the front.


The finished bag from the back.


Yo Yo flowers with ric rac stems.


The Dresden sun, with layered buttons to cover the hole in the middle, and hand stitched top stitching around the top edge. See that hexagon of light catching my lens?… I couldn’t have planned that!)


So there is my summer tote bag. I love it and plan to take it everywhere with me. I hope I have given you some ideas to make your own. Have a great summer!




July 14, 2014

I don’t usually like green, but this combination of green, teal and yellow is making me swoon.  The contrast of organic lines, geometric shapes and a dash of text makes me want to dive right in with my rotary cutter and make something fabulous.  If you’re longing to do the same, you can get this week’s Mosaic Monday bundle, Summersby, on sale from now until midnight, Sunday July 20th at 20% off.


Call For Pitch It to Win It Summer Nights Participants

It’s that time again!  We’re looking for four (4) lucky readers to win a fat eighth bundle of our Summer Nights custom bundle curated by our very own Kaisa.  Think aurora borealis.  Think cool breezes and night air.  Think driving into the middle of nowhere and seeing the northern lights flicker across the dark sky.  If you’re drawn to any of these things, think of what you could do when you get your hands on this bundle!


Pitch us your ideas (either original or based on a tutorial or pattern) for this Summer Nights bundle and you could find yourself a winner! (Ideas must be sent via e-mail to laura(at)madaboutpatchwork(dot)com)  Once we pour over the entries and choose our 4 winners, we’ll send out the fabric and the participants will make their project ideas come to life.  When your creation is done, you’ll send us photos of your finished product (along with a tutorial if available) via e-mail and we’ll feature them on Tuesdays throughout the month of August.

The details:
- Open only to Canadian residents this time around.  Don’t worry, International friends.  We’ve got something in the works for you, too!
- If chosen as a winner, you consent to Mad About Patchwork featuring your pictures, project and any accompanying tutorial on the Mad About Patchwork blog.
- Initial ideas/pitches/sketches/links to tutorials must be sent to laura(at)madaboutpatchwork(dot)com by noon on Sunday, July 20th.
- Projects must feature the Summer Nights bundle pictured above, but can include other solids and prints needed to enhance or complete the item.
- Photos of your finished object and any accompanying info must be sent to laura(at)madaboutpatchwork(dot)com by midnight, August 10th.
- All finished objects and leftover fabrics are yours to keep.  Pictures will suit us just fine.
- Please apply only if you feel you can successfully complete your project within this time frame.
- Put your thinking caps on, good luck and happy sewing!

Sew Canadian – July 13th

July 13, 2014

It’s our second post in our Sew Canadian series this summer and I’m not sure about you, but the anticipation of the sewing space eye candy has been killing me all week.  This week we’re featuring Dominique of The Running Thimble and Cinzia of Deux Petites Souris. Don’t forget you can participate in all of the action by uploading your own sewing space photos to our Sew Canadian Flickr Group.  When you do so, you’ll also be entered to win an Ombre Sewing Studio Kit.  So read, share, and drool away!

First up today is Dominique @The Running Thimble, who has this to share:



This is Dominique from the Running Thimble, and this is my sewing room.  I know, I know.  A lot of you prefer the term “studio” and I have to say, it has a nice ring to it.  But I have always called mine my “salle de couture” (my sewing room) and it is not about to change.
This particular room was born of a basement renovation four years ago.  No more carpet to swallow the needles and pins! No more sharing with the guest bedroom!  I am one lucky girl and I know it.

Now, the questions…

1. What do you like most about your space?
I love the size, the colour, the fact that I can see my kids play outside while I sew, the fact that the room is sunny but there is no direct sunlight on my fabric shelves.  It’s a happy place!

2. If you could change one thing about your space, what would it be?
The first two items on my wish list are a new desk for my sewing machine, followed by a more comfortable chair.

3. When do you find the most time to sew and when are you most creative?
I am a working mom, so I do most of my sewing between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.  If I have handwork to do, I take it with me when I travel.
When am I most creative?  W
hen I have a deadline, of course.

4. Do you listen to music or podcasts, watch TV or movies while sewing or do you prefer silence?
It varies.  I like to listen to the radio, but sometimes, the silence is just fine.  If my favourite hockey team is playing, the TV is on in the other room.  There is a window-like opening in the wall that separates my sewing room from the family room so I can watch the game if I am standing up ironing or cutting.  If I am sitting down at the machine and I hear there is a goal, I can get up in time to see the replay.  I am thinking about getting a little TV, but it is not a priority.

5. What’s your favourite sewing snack and/or drink?
On those rare mornings I find myself sewing, coffee.  In the evening, decaf tea or green tea.  I generally don’t bring food but the room also serves as a hiding spot for holiday gifts and decorations and as of today, I still have a small stash of candy covered chocolate eggs that the Easter Bunny forgot to put out…

6. What kind of machine do you sew on and how many machines do you have?
I have a Bernina 440QE, and I am super happy with it.  The antique sewing table you see in my room is just a table I picked up at a flea market, but it will soon be replaced by my grandmother’s old Singer treadle machine.  I am told it works just fine.  Time will tell if I will actually sew with it.

7. Does your machine(s) have a name? What is it?
I tried a few names, but nothing stuck.

8. What are the tools you couldn’t live without?
Wonder Clips!  I have them in both sizes, they are wonderful.  Also, I can’t imagine machine quilting without my Machingers.

9. What advice or tips and tricks do you have for others when first setting up or modifying a sewing space?
Take your time.  You don’t have to do everything at once.  Work with what you have, and when you get frustrated by a task, big or small, identify the problem and see what you can do to solve it:

Annoying task: clipping small threads at the machine
Problem: my clipping scissors are always MIA.
Solution: buy cute clipping scissors and attach them to the sewing machine with a ribbon so they don’t go missing.

Annoying task: ironing large pieces of fabric
Problem: ironing board too small and not rectangular.
Solution: have someone make a large rectangular platform to sit on my regular ironing board.

10. If you could pack up and move your space anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I could pack up and move my space pretty much anywhere, as long as I get to come back home after a while.





If you’d like more info on Dominique’s sewing space organization and inspiration, she’s featuring details on her blog today.  Be sure to check it out.

Our next great space belongs to none other than Cinzia @Deux Petites Souris.


1. What do you like most about your space?
I love that my space is in a secluded area of our house. Being an introverted type, I work best in isolation and being in a far off corner of the basement allows me to have the solitude I need.

2. If you could change one thing about your space, what would it be?
I would love better lighting and more wall space. I have been making bigger quilts and a bigger design wall (or two!) would be great.

3. When do you find the most time to sew and when are you most creative?
First of all, I am most creative when I am home alone (see #1). So when the kids and the husband are out at school and work is when I try to fit in my sewing time. I do teach several classes outside of home during the week but I try to reserve a couple of days to work on new projects and develop new classes.

4. Do you listen to music or podcasts, watch tv or movies while sewing or do you prefer silence?
Mostly I listen to music. Lately, I have been enjoying classical music on CBC Radio 2. I like the station because, along with playing beautiful music, they give insights on the artists behind the music. I find it very inspiring to hear about their creative process. When I am handsewing or quilting however, I like to listen to Ted Talks ( my laptop.

5. What’s your favourite sewing snack and/or drink?
I don’t eat or drink while I sew. I take a little break when I am hungry. I like to keep food out of the studio.

6. What kind of machine do you sew on and how many machines do you have?
I have 2. I sew on a Pfaff QE 4.0. I’ve had for almost 2 years now. It was a rare splurge for me and I love it! It has some great hands-free features and is much faster than my last machine!I used to own about 8 machines. I couldn’t resist
a good deal when I saw one in a thrift store, for example. But I eventually decided that I needed to declutter more than I needed another machine, so I got rid of them all. But I kept my first ever machine- a Kenmore which I bought about 20 years ago.

7. Does your machine(s) have a name? What is it?
No, but she’s a female!

8. What are the tools you couldn’t live without?
I love my sewing machine of course! But my favorite tool is a thimble. I love to hand sew/quilt and I use a thimble all the time. Just slipping it on has a very calming effect on me. I love them so much that I collect them. I also have a small collection of old thimbles.

9. What advice or tips and tricks do you have for others when first setting up or modifying a sewing space?
I say don’t wait to have the perfect space! Just get a table to put your machine on and get sewing. Your space will evolve as you do. For 20 years, I have always worked in the exact space I am in now, but it wasn’t always pretty. I set up a table there when the walls were just sheetrock and the floor was concrete. I just needed a separate space for myself. That being said, I think ergonomics are very important. Having the sewing machine, as well as the cutting table, at the right height is important if you are going to spend many hours sewing. And get a good chair.Then just surround yourself with things you love to look at. The great thing about having my own space is that I can organise it to suit my own needs.

10. If you could pack up and move your space anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere far away from Canadian winters! Hawaii, for example, would be nice.




For more photos into the lives of the quilty and fabric obsessed, stay tuned next week and every Sunday this summer.  We’ve got a schedule full of inspiration!

If Bill Cosby Were a Quilt…

July 11, 2014

If Bill Cosby were a quilt, he’d look something like this:

BillCosbyQuiltWhich is exactly why I’m in awe of this week’s Flickr Friday winner, Candy Coated Quilts, and her cosbylicious creation.  Congratulations on winning a half yard of fabric!  Happy Friday to everyone and don’t forget to keep uploading your pics to our Flickr group for your chance to win.

Arcadia by Sarah Watson

July 9, 2014
Posted by: Pam


ARCADIA is an unspoiled harmonious wilderness. Toadstools, bouquets of fragrant herbs and wildflowers, big bright sunflowers. Bees, flutterflies, snails and bugs living peacefully together in a dewy garden.


I’m so excited by this new arrival I need to share! Leave a comment for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Arcadia for yourself … tell me what’s on your sewing table right now.

The giveaway is now closed; thanks to all who took the time to comment. The winner is #95 — Kirstin. (updated July 16)


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