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Monday, September 8, 2014

Giveaway: Nancy Zieman's Quick Column Quilts Tour

Congratulations to Jen, our winner. Thanks for all the comments and enjoy Quick Column Quilts!
Jen Barnard said...
Congratulations to Emilie on her beautiful quilt, and the award.


I want to tell you about a wonderful book now available for quilters. It's Nancy Zieman's Quick Column Quilts. This summer I received an advanced copy, and my little Emilie got to make a quilt from it.
What I love about this book is that there is something here for everyone. As the title suggests, the patterns are quick and the quilts are formed in columns. These are great projects for using up scraps as well as some unwind time where you don't want to do too much thinking.

Each summer, Emilie and I have one sewing project that we work on together. This is the first time she's made a quilt.

Emilie picked the Carefree Columns Quilt. I think her favorite part was choosing fabric and arranging it. She said the hardest part was "keeping on the line" (sewing straight) and making quilt blocks (4-patches).

Here is Nancy's quilt from the book:
As this one is larger (45 x 60) and Emilie made a doll sized one, we omitted the two larger sizes of blocks.

Emilie loves her quilt! She entered in our county fair and received Grand Champion.
This quilt was on display at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo this past week.

Our favorite place for it is at home:
To win your own copy of Quick Column Quilts, leave me a comment below. Then visit Nancy Zieman's blog where there is quite a giveaway going on, including a sewing machine!

For a chance to win from each participating blog on the tour, as well as to see all the quilts the other bloggers made, visit:
09/04/14         Nancy Zieman
09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.
09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny
09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                
09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama
09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan
09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day
09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around
09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio
09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair
09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs
09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Happy sewing!

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Psalm 143:10

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Modern Prairie Sewing Blog Hop and Giveaway

My friend Abigail Long of Marie-Madeline Studio has written a book. And not just any book, but maybe the cutest book ever. Modern Prairie Sewing is FULL of gorgeous sewing eye-candy. And I mean patterns! And more patterns! Bags, dresses, skirts, home accessories, you name it. Abigail is on the cover of the book with her sisters (she is the one on the left) wearing the Riverwalk Skirt from her book. I am so in love with this skirt! I made them for the girls and have fabric to make one for myself (yes it is written for ALL sizes). So pretty!
Abigail suggests making the skirts from voile, so I worked with that fabric for the first time ever! Light-weight and very smooth, this is an easy fabric to work with. While normally pricey, I was able to find some bargains here and here.We took the skirts with us on vacation and got some extra-special photos in the mountains.
(Love this photo!)
Did I mention that I love this skirt? There are tons of other patterns from the book I'd like to make as well.
The girls wore their skirts to the first day of school.

Now I love a good blog hop, but if you're just joining in, I'm kind of near the end. But that doesn't mean that you can't go back and see all the fun projects the blog hop participants made (plus these are some of my favorite blogs in the whole world of blogging).
Start off by visiting Abi's new blog, the Modern Prairie Girl.
Then hop along:
Giveaway on The Modern Prairie Girl blog August 29th-31st.
Two giveaway winners will be announced September 1st and will receive signed Modern Prairie Sewing: 20 Handmade Projects for You & Your Friends and a project from the book by Abigail herself!
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,  
who walk according to the law of the Lord. Psalm 119:1

Thursday, August 21, 2014

10%off for Any Order

10%off for Any Order

I wanted to share these really cute books with you. You might really enjoy these for Christmas gifts. You can personalize them with the names of your children and even choose some of the illustrations. Click the link above for 10% off.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Free Pattern! All Aflutter Skirt

Just in time for Back to School sewing, I'm bringing back my most popular tutorial ever. It's the All Aflutter Skirt. Thank you so much to Timeless Treasures fabric for the fabric goodies that we worked with! Originally included in my book, I've now added it to my free patterns, meaning you can easily print it. It also has some new improvements and measurements included.
 We loved working with the Botanic Garden collection of fabrics. This skirt is so simple that you can complete it in an hour, including cutting! To do this, you will need to use a serger and finishing the edges of the skirt is simply a serged edge. Even if you're using a sewing machine, this is a quick project with very cute results!
 As was always the case, this pattern is made to fit all sizes, from babies through adults. You are only limited by the length you need, so for adult sizes, you will need to find some wider width fabrics, like voile. For children, quilting cottons are perfect.
 Choose one, two or three layers and then get sewing!
 Remember this one? So cute!
 Emilie was only 2 here!
 The edges of this skirt were finished with a crocheted edge.
Ready, set, go make your own! Just visit Lilac Lane Patterns' Free Pattern Page.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 1 John 5:1


Monday, August 18, 2014


 This year for vacation, we decided to visit our neighboring state of Colorado. This may not look like the most relaxing vacation to you, but it was a nice change from our extremely busy summer.
 We stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies. I can't recommend it highly enough. What a cool place with everything you would want to do on vacation right there.
 We went on their new summer tubing slide. A bit of a fast one for me, but everyone else loved it.

 There was also skating.
 And Rock Wall climbing.
 While the kids and Todd went down an Alpine Slide, I took pictures of the beautiful Colorado flowers.

 Todd, Nathan, and Anna did a giant zip line. Scary!
 Then we had a full day of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
 The wildlife was amazing.
 We hiked up to 12,000 feet just as a storm blew in.
 The path went way up to the top of the mountain.

 Canoeing was relaxing.
 There was even a family of ducks we followed around.
 All in all, it was a great time. Hope you had time for a vacation this summer too.


Friday, August 1, 2014

How to Sew with Children

Teaching children to sew, or do anything else you have a talent in, is a rewarding but challenging endeavor. Yet, I challenge you to teach what you know, whether it is sewing, cooking, painting, woodworking, etc. Children are eager learners and especially want to do what you are passionate about.

Here I am going to share 12 tips on teaching children to sew with you. If you have never sewn with a child before, hopefully this will inspire you to start. And if you have been sewing for many years, maybe some of this practical advice will help you.

Thank you so much to Clothworks and Leslie Mark for the beautiful Unity fabric line we worked with. (see photos below)

1. Sewing with your own children is probably most challenging of all. Ha! They know the buttons they can push, and your patience with them tends to be shortest. If possible, SWITCH CHILDREN with a sewing friend and be amazed with the results. If not possible (as it is not for me), sew only when you have had a good night's rest and a lot of energy.

2. With that said, all children can only SEW FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. I sew with girls ages 7 to 13. A seven year old is good for about 15 minutes. I have found this true of both easy-going children and high energy. Start early and give lots of breaks. You will all appreciate it.

A 13 year old can sew for about 45 minutes before quality starts to decline. The best scenario is once a week sewing, but if cramming in a project at the last minute, do not have more than 3 sessions a day with lots of break time in between.
3. Along the same lines, keep your environment FREE FROM DISTRACTIONS. Turn off the TV and send the other kids outside to play. It's hard enough to concentrate on sewing!

4. LET THEM CHOOSE THE FABRIC. Yes, I know it's not what you would want. And with my kids, I can normally talk them into more of what I would use. But in the end, does it really matter? After all, when they pick it, they will probably use what they make from it.

Woven cottons are the best choice for first projects as they do not stretch or slip around much on the sewing machine.

5. If you don't have a large cutting table, YOU CAN CUT ON THE FLOOR. Place a large quilting ruler under the fabric and let them guide the scissors on that. My daughter suggested it, and I've found it to work very well. If you don't own a quilting ruler, I've found them inexpensively at JoAnn's. (make sure to search for a 40% or 50% off coupon)

6. I love children's sewing machines. In fact, Anna has the Hello Kitty one. They are great for letting children explore sewing on their own and create their own projects. But when it comes to making something nice, SET THEM UP FOR SUCCESS. Help them to sew on the best sewing machine you own. Features like needle-down and the scissor tool can help them greatly on their projects. The stronger feed dogs on a higher-end machine may be the very thing that makes them fall in love with sewing. The idea is not to discourage.

On a side note, I find that a serger is just too dangerous for a child under 10 years old.
7. A pair of PINKING SHEARS is a wise investment. 4-H judges here consider them an adequate way to finish seams for a beginning sewist. Want to take a step up? Consider French seams as a great way to completely enclose raw edges.

8. Very young children can sit on your lap to sew while you push the pedal. I'm talking about 3-5 year olds. They can still guide the fabric while you help them start and stop. But a little bit older child who cannot reach the pedal can reach it by PLACING THE PEDAL ON A BOX. We also have an office chair so that I can raise the seat height up closer to the machine.

9. CONSIDER WHO YOU'RE WORKING WITH. One of my daughters needs instant results. Try to choose projects that will take only a few days, such as a bag or an apron. As she gets more experienced, clothing is often pretty quick as well.

My other daughter is patient and likes to sew because she gets to spend time with Mom. Quilt blocks are perfect for her. We still stick with that 15 minute rule, but projects that go on and on are no problem. The end result is less important to this sort of child than the time spent together.
10. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PATTERN. Learning to sew is a lot about keeping spirits high. Starting with too challenging of a pattern can be a deal breaker. In my opinion, skills are acquired something like this:
  • sewing a straight line
  • sewing around a curve
  • pressing
  • top stitching
  • gathering
  • inserting elastic into a casing
  • using bias tape
  • making your own bias tape
These skills are easily a couple of years of lessons. If you can teach the first four things, you can sew a pattern like this:
Or these capri pants from the Spring Break pattern:
Add in gathering and you can make an apron (tutorial coming).
There are several straight line quilts that can be made by beginners as well. The pattern below is the ModKid Malibu and was the perfect thing for Anna to make for herself and her sister this summer. She is nine and has been sewing for several years. It featured an elastic waistline and lots of bias tape.
The fabric was provided by Leslie Mark, the designer, who works with Clothworks.

We are pretty much in love with these dresses.

And even wore them on the runway for the 4-H Style Revue. Anna received a blue ribbon on both.
Just a couple more tips . . .
11. Don't let the mistakes bother you too much. For a very young sewer, go ahead and rip out for her (or him). A little older? Share in the ripping. We all have to do it. We all hate it. I also feel like if the rotary cutter is necessary, most children do not have the height or upper body strength to manipulate it. Go ahead and do it for them. You are wanting to create excitement, so DO NOT BE A PERFECTIONIST.
12. Most important of all, SHARE YOUR LOVE OF SEWING. Encourage, encourage. I know it's hard to work with children, but in the end, you want them to love it. Think of the reward, be patient and don't expect too much.  You will truly be surprised by how fast they learn.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
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