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During Quiet Time by Amy Friend - 5d ago

I have been wanting to rework this pattern for quite awhile and finally made the time to do it. I was able to simplify some of the lines from the original and added photos in the pattern to show you how to modify the label size to work with whatever fussy cut you have.

The “Tomatoes” plant tag was made from a fabric that I just found at Sew Me A Song.  Here is a link to the listing if you are interested.  The fabric has names of lots of fruits and veggies in different colors which is helpful for coordinating with various background fabrics.

This is a great block for someone who is relatively new to paper piecing.  There are only two sets of seams to match.  And the piecing is easy. Give it a try!

The pattern can be found in my pattern shop, on Craftsy and Etsy. Please use my Etsy shop if you are a customer from a VAT country.  Thanks for your cooperation!  I hope you are enjoying your summer and getting some gardening in!

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During Quiet Time by Amy Friend - 6d ago

I was sent an Oliso Pro smartiron TG1600 for this review.  I have to say, I am super excited to have a pink iron to match all my pink stuff!  I am not ashamed to admit that I love pink and have wished for this iron since it was released.  I had to snap this photo of the pink prints in my By Hand fabric collection, my stash of pink Aurifil thread, and my pink seam rippers, to show how at home my new pink iron feels in my sewing room.  If you use an iron all the time, you might as well choose one that makes you happy!

I have been an Oliso user now for four years.  My previous Oliso was the same model, the only difference was the color. It was yellow.  So I am sure that I will enjoy this iron every bit as much, plus a little more, since it is pink.  I gave my mom my yellow Oliso last week, after the pink one arrived.  She sent me a text a couple of days later saying, “It’s far better than my iron!  Gets wrinkles and creases out much better.  I’m sold.”  I think that’s a pretty great recommendation.

If you aren’t familiar with the Oliso, it’s a little bit different from other irons.  It has itouch technology.  What that means is, you do not need to set the iron down on its end, like you are used to doing.  Instead, you leave it horizontal.  When your hand moves away, the iron will lift up.  When your hand touches it again, the irons lowers and is ready to press.  My fear, when I first started using this iron, was that I wouldn’t be able to use a regular iron again. I thought I would forget to put it on end and burn through iron covers.  I am pleased to say that I have used many other irons at guild meetings and while teaching, etc. and have always remembered because it has been foremost in my mind!  So, I don’t think you need to worry about that too much.  If you press a lot or have any kind of wrist issues like carpal tunnel or arthritis, this is a real selling point. I do not have that issue, at this time, but I do have a long history of ruining irons.  Often, moving around in my tight space, I would knock irons off the board and they would get damaged.  I have found that the horizontal resting position of the Oliso makes it a lot more stable.  I haven’t dropped it once!  If you are a real creature of habit, you can slide the itouch button (pictured above) to the off position, then, the iron works just as a regular iron does and you can rest it on end.

With my old irons, I used to feel like I was racing to get to the iron before it shut off.  The Oliso has an automatic shut off, which is key, but it is set for a generous 30 minutes, which is helpful for a quilter!

Now, I only use my iron dry, so I can’t talk about how it performs over time with steam. I like working with a dry iron because I paper piece and don’t want the steam wrinkling and curling my paper foundations.  I can say, that it works very well as a dry iron, sometimes in conjunction with starch, to press my quilting really flat. I have been very happy with my iron’s performance.

I did have one problem with my last Oliso.  It started making an odd noise when it was supposed to lift and eventually stopped lifting properly.  I contacted the company and was happy with their customer service.  They were willing to replace my iron.  And the second iron is still working well.

Speaking of the noise that the Oliso makes, a reader once mentioned to me that her dog was bothered by the mechanical sound that the iron makes when it lifts and lowers.  My kids like to make the iron go up and down when I have it on, just for kicks.

I hope that you have found this review helpful!  Back to pressing!

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During Quiet Time by Amy Friend - 3w ago

I am over the moon about this finish!  My new quilt is called Sophisticate because she is sewn up in a limited, subtle palette that reminds me of pearls and silk.  There is also a bit of metallic fabric here and there in the quilt and metallic thread was used in the quilting.  All in all, she is a refined, elegant quilt, I think!

Sophisticate was designed using my improv paper piecing design technique.  Antlers were my initial inspiration.  Of course, after playing with the block layout in EQ8, as well as the color placement, the final design doesn’t particularly scream “antlers.”  But, I tell my students in every class, that if the object inspires the block design, its job is complete.  It has served as inspiration. There is no need for the final design to reflect the object.  In fact, I often prefer that it doesn’t!

This picture makes my heart beat a little bit faster.  I found this chair at a yardsale a few years ago. I recovered the cushion for this photoshoot in one of my Improv fabric collection prints that coordinates with the quilt top so well that I also used it for the backing.  I borrowed the antlers from a woman here in town.  And my friend let me use her beautiful yard with tall summer grass for these pictures.

I straight line quilted Sophisticate with lines spaced 1/4″ apart.  The lines change direction in each section.  And they are done in coordinating shades of Aurifil 50 weight thread, and Superior metallic threads.  The metallic threads were used on the Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen Blend Metallic sections.  This was my first time quilting with metallic thread. The idea of metallic thread feels very “art quilt like” to me so I wanted to try using it in a modern quilt instead.  It worked out well! I used a 50 weight Aurifil thread in the bobbin and it was smooth sailing.

I love the texture that the quilting provides and how the antler sections, in grey, pop.  This shot shows how nicely the quilting shows on the back…and how perfect that backing fabric was for the job!

On Instagram, when I was showing sneak peeks of this quilt project, people mentioned that it looked like an enchanted forest of birch trees.  So, I wanted to share this shot with birch trees in the background too.

Here is one more gratuitous picture.  I think it looks ethereal!  I love that tall grass and the wild roses.

I have loved every second of making this quilt, except for the time when my sewing machine was acting up.  I’m a little sad that it is finished up now!  But, the timing couldn’t be more perfect because this is the last week of school and things are going to have to slow down a little bit in my sewing room for the next couple of months.

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I thought that I would play with the EQ8 Serendipity tool today and show you what I discovered…come learn along with me!  To begin, I opened the “New Block” tab and sketched what I thought would be one quadrant of a block design, because I intend to start with the “Shrink & Flip Block” tool.  The purpose of that tool is to take one design and shrink it to one quadrant of a block, and flip the other quadrants in order to create a new block.

After designing the block and coloring it using the “Fabric Tools” tab, I clicked on “Block” followed by “Add to Sketchbook.”

Next, I clicked on “Block” followed by “Serendipity” and then I selected “Shrink & Flip” and located my design from the block sketchbook.

My new block design automatically appeared!  Selecting the “Add to Sketchbook” button adds the new design as a complete block to my sketchbook.

Clicking on the image buttons below the block, cause the quadrants to be reconfigured in multiple ways to form new blocks.  This one has potential too!

To play with that first new block design a bit, I clicked on “New Quilt” tab and adjusted my layout under the “Layout” tab, got rid of the borders under the “Borders” tab, and then I selected the new block and held down the Ctrl button while clicking once on the quilt top layout.  That filled the layout with my new block.

I chose “Fabric Tools” to play with the colors a little bit more now that I can see the block in a layout.

I used the “Swap Color” button to quickly change all like colors on my layout to new colors.  Then I used the “Paintbrush” to go in and click on each piece that I wanted to recolor green.

Next, I decided to try highlighting some of those interesting background fabric shapes, or negative space shapes, forming a secondary pattern.

Then I used my one of my favorite improvements found in EQ8, the “Hide/Show Quilt Patch Lines” function found right above the question mark on the far left column.

I love how this feature shows you the design without the visually jarring black patch lines.  Don’t get me wrong, those lines are really helpful when considering quilt top construction, but I love seeing the quilt top design without them.

The “Shrink & Flip” tool is a lot of fun for block design!  I could accomplish the same end results without using that tool. I could have instead filled my quilt top design with the quadrant I had originally designed and then rotated the blocks into this configuration. However, this tool saves time and perhaps shows the user some block configurations that you wouldn’t have considered on your own.

My EQ8 coupon code expires at the end of this month!  If you are interested in EQ8, visit the Electric Quilt website and enter my code “EQ8AMY” at checkout for 20% off.

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During Quiet Time by Amy Friend - 1M ago

When Betz White showed some images of her new Entomologie fabric collection, I just knew that they would make for an adorable Tell Me A Story block!  Betz sent me some samples of the fabrics and I whipped up this block last night.  The beetles are the perfect size for the fussy cut center.  See the butterfly print?  It would be a great center too and works if you enlarge the block 150%-200% depending on which butterfly you want to use.  The Tell Me A Story block pattern can be found in my Intentional Piecing book.  Betz is now accepting pre-orders for Entomologie and you can order here.  I love the way Betz incorporated images of her felt and hand stitched bugs and butterflies into the fabric collection design. It appears to add texture to the print. And check out those fussy cut corners of my block…see the tiny ladybugs? They are so cute and cleverly incorporated into the design!  Thanks for letting me play Betz!

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When I sell patterns, sometimes I like to include a coloring sheet.  Basically, it’s a page size quilt top layout in black and white, without the patches colored in.  This allows my customer to color the quilt the way that they will be sewing it, to make sure that they like it before they start, to try out other options, or simply as a guide to avoid confusion!  If you do not sell your EQ8 designs, you still might find it helpful to print a coloring sheet or two.  With the summer coming up, it might be more appealing to bring a coloring sheet and your colored pencils to the pool to recolor designs, rather than sitting at the computer.  If you have younger kids, you can sit at the table and color with your kids.  Once you settle on a coloring scheme, you can always mock up your final version in EQ8 quick as a wink during nap time.

To start, open your quilt project in the Design tab (up on the top of the page). I am showing the quilt top here that I used for the new book, EQ8 Designing Quilts: Quilt Design Tricks from EQ8 Experts.

Next, click on the “Fabric Tools” button.  Select the color white from the color squares in the lower window.  Choose the “Swap Color” button. Click on each of the colors in the design, turning the entire quilt top white in just a couple of clicks.

I like to make the lines a little darker next, using the “Thread Tools” selection on the Design menu.  Under thread properties, I changed the Color to black, selected a solid line for the Style, and chose the 4th weight selection.  Then I clicked on the “Swap Thread” button and clicked on a single line on the quilt top diagram to make all the lines more bold.

Now, under “File”, select “Export Image.”  Save the file to a folder on your computer and title it Coloring_sheet.jpg.

You want to make sure that the boxes for outlining patches and blocks are checked.

This is what your final image looks like. You can print it and you are ready to color!

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The QuiltCon Catalog has just been released!  I will be teaching in Nashville next February and hope that I might see you in some of my classes!

My first class, on Thursday, is a full day workshop dedicated to Working Intentionally with Stripes.  We will be using my Magic Spark pattern above and learning many skills–how to foundation piece, how to work on a large scale paper foundation, and how to place those stripes directionally in the background, which really add to the power of the design.  The class is number FDP011.  If you sign up, please note that I will also sell kits to make the quilt as pictured, using my By Hand fabric collection. If you are interested, send me a note and I will get you on my list.

On Friday, I will be teaching Improv Paper Piecing with Object as inspiration.  This is a design class.  You will learn how to create your own improvisationally inspired paper pieced pattern and section and number it.  By the time you leave, you will also have sewn at least one block (often more) and have a great, modern layout planned.  This class is number IMP200.

Saturday morning, I will teach EQ8 Paper Pieced Design.  We will learn how to draw paper pieced blocks, how to section and number them, how to color, export the image, print the pattern as a pdf and more!  This class is number DES105.  If you are interested in EQ8 and haven’t taken the plunge yet, you may be interested in a 20% discount using my code “EQ8AMY” at electricquilt.com. You still have plenty of time to download the program and become a little bit familiar with it before QuiltCon.  Designing paper pieced blocks is my favorite way to use EQ so I hope I have lots to teach you!

Following the EQ8 class, I will be giving a lecture on Fabric Selection for Paper Piecing.  Be forewarned, I will be in-depth and geekily excited about this topic! I have lots to say and share!  This is lecture LEC18.

I hope to meet some of you readers!  Please introduce yourselves!

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I have some exciting news for EQ8 lovers!  The Electric Quilt Company has published a new book, released for sale today, called EQ8 Designing Quilts: Quilt Design Tricks from EQ8 Experts.  I have a project in the book too!

My project is there on the back cover in teal and chartreuse!  My chapter explains how you can use the border tool to create negative space in modern quilt layouts. I have designed a few quilts this way, including my Tranquil quilt which was designed in EQ8 (see below).

It’s such an easy tool to use and a great way to easily see how large the negative space needs to be in order to set your block design off nicely.

This is the quilt that I designed for the book.  It uses a couple of block designs that are built into the EQ8 Block Library–a super easy way to start.  I walk you through selecting the blocks and recoloring them to make a unified design.  Then I talk about how I use the border tool to set that pieced column in negative space.

There are lots of great projects in the book including designing a Rose of Sharon, creating Stars and Feathers, a Modern Wedge quilt, Pictorial quilts, T-shirt quilts and Hexagon blocks. I look forward to reading through it and learning some more about EQ8 myself!

The book, as well as everything on the EQ site, is on sale for 25% off this weekend, in celebration of Memorial Day. Just use the code “WEEKEND.” Here’s the direct link to the book.

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During Quiet Time by Amy Friend - 2M ago

In response to your requests, I have finally listed my paper patterns in my Etsy shop. Each pattern has two listings. They are clearly marked “PDF” or “Paper.” Make sure you choose the listing for the format that you wish to purchase.  All of my brand new patterns are listed, as well as my older printed patterns.  I am currently shipping only within North America because the postage prices just seemed so high otherwise. If you are interested in a paper pattern and I do not ship to your area, get in touch and I will get you a postage quote.
Thank you!

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I have a project in the June/July 2018 issue of Sew News, now available.  You can purchase the magazine here. And, for a limited time, you can even download my project for free from that link! Go get it!

I personally love lemon/limeade and this paper pieced table runner was inspired by that drink!  It was fun selecting various prints from my scrap collection in shades of yellows for the lemon slices.  Then I used a lime green for the background fabric. It’s very citrus-y and summery, perfect for the days ahead!

Now, the magazine calls the project “Easy Squeezy” and it IS made of one simple block.  But keep in mind, you will need to match the seams along the sections of the fruit. That said, the blocks do go together pretty quickly and you can amuse yourself by grabbing different scraps for different sections!  I quilted with a simple grid.

Because you can’t see the whole project in any of these images, I wanted to share a digital layout of the project that I designed in EQ8.  It shows that each slice of fruit is rotated throughout the layout in a very planned way that makes the lemon slice look like it is tumbling through the table runner layout.  One of my favorite things about EQ is that I can rotate my blocks right on my screen rather than on the design wall.  It saves a lot of time and allows me to plan a project before I even start sewing.

I hope you enjoy making this table runner for summer!  As Sew News suggests, you could try making a different type of fruit by changing up your fabric colors too!

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