Coats Ceases Free Spirit Production

Kind of sad news here! Coats President of North American Crafts shared yesterday Coats’ decision to cease Free Spirit Fabric production effective immediately. My mind is boggled as I can’t figure out how fabrics by such talent as Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner, and Denyse Schmidt aren’t bringing in great big boat loads of cash. I guess I just don’t have enough information to be able to fully understand. It just seemed to me like Every Body I know in the Quilt World was buying them up. Scary to think how something appeared fine, but in reality, was totally sinking!

Had their deficit been shared sooner, would we, the quilt community, have made an extra effort to support our favorite artists? We’ll never know.

I found the news here, but, will paste the Coats Prez letter below.

I wanted to make you aware that we are going to exit our Lifestyle Fabrics business.  This will take effect from Tuesday 1 May and includes our Westminster Fabrics/ Fibers, FreeSpirit brand and designers.

We have worked diligently for the past few years to make this a successful part of the Coats Craft business here in North America.  But I am sorry to say that, despite our best efforts, we have continued to struggle with an inherent weakness in the business model and have not been able to demonstrate a profit.

It also means we will be moving invoicing and customer service functions supporting the thread and yarn businesses from Greer, South Carolina to our Albany and Charlotte offices in North Carolina.  You will be provided with new contact details for this shortly and in the meantime your contact details for this will remain the same. 

We will continue to fulfil orders placed to date for delivery prior to Thursday 31 May and new orders for existing collections on a first come first service basis. We will not be producing new Westminster or FreeSpirit Fabrics from today onwards.

Coats is particularly proud of its long association supporting our customers and North America based crafters and alternative options have been considered extremely carefully.  We believe that through making these difficult decisions we will create an improved customer focused business for the future, from which you will benefit, and I hope you will continue to work with us. 

It is our intent to support you, our talented and dedicated artist, during this transition. 

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Leichtweis

President, North American Crafts

Cc: Keith Howard

…and there you have it. Add to your stash now, and be sure to keep an eye on your favorite artists. They need support!

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Starbucks Mug Rug Swap

I liked my first Instagram swap so much that I joined a second one! It’s the #starbucksmugrugswap.

The Ohio mug is what I bought for my assigned partner, who wrote that she likes Heather Ross fabrics (I sadly have none!) and Alison Glass (I have to save those for the Thiel Quilt Bee!) so, I chose my Gardenvale charm pack. I think it’s got a similar cheerful look.

The mug cozy ties on with vintage ribbons. I made sure to stitch over them many times in the seam so they are held in tight, and I dipped each end into some fray stop. I tied it on and held the mug in my hand, boy, it sure felt sassy! I like it!! and I need to make myself one, now.

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If you make a similar big bow mug cozy, share a picture with me. I’d love to see it.

This one works well in that the bow can be tied onto the mug opposite the side your face would be sipping from. The bow isn’t in your way, and everyone can take a look at it.

 

 

2018 Quilter’s Planner Covers

My mom and I made Zippy Covers for our 2018 Quilter’s Planners. Find the free pattern and tutorial here.

I can’t help but wonder, is this the year we become more organized? Or, is this the year we become more inspired, causing us to want to make more projects in the same frame of time we scrambled to manage last year? Only time will tell.

Look at how cute our covers came out though!

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@amoviegirl

Our Instagram handles are under the respective photo, and, check out our posts for more details, images and inside sneak peeks!

Update 1/11/18 Our planner covers were shared in this fun article, a story about planner covers! Check it out, some of those covers are works of art!

 

 

Andrew’s Lakardia Cross Quilt

 

My friend Andrew contacted me nearly a year ago and asked about my sewing him a quilt. You see, he’s got this big trip planned, a drive all over the United States, and he wanted to have a quilt made for the journey. Recollections of my own time wandering out West instantly came to mind: red rock, gold sun, and blue sky. I thought my visions could translate into a really beautiful quilt and so I said yes.

I had seen fabrics in such colors designed by nearby artist April Rhodes. I don’t know April, but we do have friends in common. I also shop at her mother’s store, Sew to Speak. My plan evolved quickly to not only to send Andrew off with a piece in specific colors, but to incorporate as much Central Ohio talent and substance as possible. So, off to Sew to Speak I went. The colors I envisioned were right there waiting for me.IMG_0913

In the mix went some of April’s fabrics (mostly from her Observer collection), a few Essex linens, and a print of tiny bird feet. Aren’t these gorgeous?

I had to then come up with a pattern, too, so I’d know how much to buy. If you want to make a similar quilt, make a note to buy equal amounts of light and dark fabrics. I later had to add in other darks to balance out what you see in this picture: Art Gallery solid denim in Wicked Sky, and another from April’s Observer line.

IMG_0911Inspiration was easy. Hanging in the shop was local quilter Leslie Storts Plus Quilt. It reminded me of the skateboarding stuff by John Lucero and Black Label in the late 1990’s. Quilting. Skateboarding. Hmm, I thought, how perfect to balance a bit of these worlds for whom I (and I think Andrew, too) have so much appreciation and respect for!?

I bought the fabric and excitedly returned home to design and cut.

Some time later I had my layout drawn up, and fabrics cut accordingly. Twenty rows of fifteen blocks, arranged in order to diagonally alternate from light to dark. I calculated the placement of reds to make sure I had three rows, and then instead of where the center red row would go, I made one cross, all still following my light and dark rule.

It was glorious! So proud of my layout, I snapped pictures and texted all my quilting friends! There’s, let’s see, well there’s two of them. Okay, and maybe one is my Mom, but still – it’s a very exciting thing to love your own design! Right?

Piecing, aligning, pulling, ironing, sewing: I spent a lot of time thinking about this quilt’s upcoming journey around the United States, and eventually, after much daydreaming, I had made the quilt top. A couple solid navy fabric borders were added. I did this to bring some of the solid navy I’d use for backing around front and really make these colors pop. I bought enough navy to make binding. Andrew was over for a summer bbq, and we had a photo shoot of the finished quilt top out at my pond.

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During all of this time, all of 2017, I was attending monthly meetings of my local modern quilt guild and getting to know some of its’ members. To keep the Central Ohio theme going strong, guild member and award winning quilter Cassandra Beaver was hired. She stitched in edge to edge quilting in a woodgrain design of her own. We chose a tighter quilting pattern to prevent shifting over the years, as it’s likely to be laundered a lot from use.

It’s all done now. Andrew will have lots from home to bring with him on his travels. I hope he takes more pictures of it along the way.

 

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial

I’ll be trying this pattern before Trick or Treat this year. It looks so cute, and I love how it can be so many combinations of fabrics, trim(s), and handles. Endless possibilities for each little kid. Or adult…

lillyella

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

After falling in love with that hexie print, I found the matching purple fabric and there began my plan! When I pieced the 10″ Midnight Bite block, I just knew it had to become a treat bag. This project slowly came together as I found each new piece and it couldn’t have worked out better!

The handles are webbing I found in the trim section of Joanns, the silver is reflective so it’s perfect for night time candy hunting! Then there is the bat trim… I mean, come on! It’s even purple. No brainer. I also found this at Joanns. It’s made by Simplicity and was on an endcap of an aisle. There were spider pom poms too, which I also have big plans for.

Midnight Bite Treat Bag Tutorial | lillyella stitchery

This bag was quick and easy to make and can be customized in a variety of ways. You can use any fabrics, a variety of trims or fabric…

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Thiel Quilting Bee – Fabrics

It’s here! It’s here! The family quilt bee fabric is here and It. Is. GORGEOUS!

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Chroma – A Handcrafted Collection, by Alison Glass, for Andover Fabrics, Inc.

The survey results returned with two categories in a tie for most votes: bright colors on a white background, and, one collection that we all work from. I was able to achieve both with Chroma.

My cousin and I divided up a fat quarter bundle amongst our Bee of eight. We took our time to curate really attractive groupings, with each person receiving 3 to 4 colors. We’ll be combining these fabrics with a background of Kona white solid.

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Mom’s fabric grouping and notes (in case she needs to buy more)

The next step is to pick out a block to sew. I’m thinking of something that would balance a lot of white with the colors, so I’m sure to have enough Chroma for all eight blocks. I also want the balance to ensure that the pretty colors POP! Jacob’s Ladder, Ohio Star, Variable Star – all ideas rolling in my head.

What block would you suggest!?

 

Welcome to my Haunted Gala

Hey friends! I just realized that my Haunted Gala quilt needs a spot on this blog. It was my second quilt, and it took my seven months of 2016 to complete. I’ve been using it all year round. I just love it! The fabrics are mainly Haunted Gala by Eric & Julie Comstock.

Sarah Thomas did the long-arm quilting. I requested a spider web design, and she did it in GLOW IN THE DARK thread. It is so, so, cool. Her dog thinks it’s cool, too. Oh goodness, how we laughed about this picture!! ❤

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But really, let’s get to the good stuff. Here is a close up of the quilting. The thread is Superior Threads NiteLite in pastel green. Spooktacular!

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I bound the quilt in lengths of Candelabra fabric. It’s called Candy Stripe, and it’s by Verna Mosquera for Free Spirit Fabrics.

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My son. He loves the quilt, too.

A Quilting Bee For The Whole Family

Imagine coming upon the realization that you have a family of quilters. That happened to me at this summer’s family reunion. My Mother, three Aunts, my cousin Jess, some other cousins wanting to get into the art, plus me. All quilting in our own homes. Isn’t that wonderful?

I talked to Jess that night. We agreed that it would be worth every bit of effort to organize a Family Quilt Bee.

I sent an invitation to all of our family members ~ easy, the email addresses were already in the reunion emails ~ and gave two weeks for responses. I proposed that we make 12″ blocks, trade them amongst the participants, and in the end, each would have what it takes to piece a family made sampler.

There was a super positive reply to the idea. We are eight participants strong, and spread out across three different states between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

To organize details, I turned to Survey Monkey, a free online data collector, and asked my family the following questions:

How many finished 12″ blocks would you like to make?

Do you want the Bee to last six or twelve months?

Which of the following categories do you want the themes to fall in: red white & blue; brightly saturated colors on white background; black and white with one pop of color, or; one designer collection of fabric?

Do you need help picking out a block pattern?

Most of the data has been collected this week. I’ll be sharing the results amongst the family anytime now.

Perhaps the best thing that will come of this – We all have a reason to stay in touch throughout the year. Something positive and cheerful.

Do you have a family of quilters? Find out, and, if you do, I encourage you to organize something similar, so you too, can end up with your own heirloom pieces.

Nursery Room Wall Panel

I saw this book panel for sale and the graphics really appealed to me. Anything that reminds me of my childhood makes me weak in the wallet. I am grateful that a lot of things I had as a kid were hand me downs, so, my tastes actually include a generation before me. Check it out.

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Vintage inspired, yet timeless, right? As cute as it is, turning the panel into a book worried me, because I knew we’d hardly get to look at it. I stared at it in my studio for months, before it hit me – I just liked looking at it. Why not make it so this adorableness can be admired all the time? Thus gave way to the idea to create a wall hanging for a nursery and child’s bedroom, and also, since my kid is getting kind of big, to put it up for sale.

I trimmed the sections, and pieced them back together, omitting the blue book “binding” area. This netted ten rectangles. I decided on a pattern of two by five, in alphabetical order, of course.

To maximize potential, to give babies and adults something to really look at, I chose to challenge my creativity by adding in additional fabrics. What I ended up with is sashing set in a rainbow of coordinating colors. My “vintage rainbow.”  Some of the sashing is done in Art Gallery Fabric denim solids, and the others are from Connecting Threads quilters candy. Here’s the top sheet.

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I lined the piece with batting and made the backside a from a length of {golden yellow and white} chevron pattern. Quilting was all done on my Singer with a walking foot. I really took my time with the quilting. This was an element that I knew families will enjoy looking at, a part of the piece that would set the stage for these ABCs. I won’t lie, I had advice from an experienced friend, and she was right on with her suggestions.

Hand bound in Art Gallery denim, Wicked Sky, the finished piece measures 15″ across and 55″ down. I am very happy with this one. If no one buys it from me, I will be secretly thrilled!

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Sewing for the play kitchen

The folks at Hawthorne Threads send out the nicest weekly emails. I enjoy reading them. Always chock full of great fabric releases, contests, as well as pattern and tutorial links. At the end of 2016, they shared this tutorial for a child’s reversible apron. I knew I had to make it to give to my niece for her third birthday gift, as well as some matching potholders.

For the play kitchen potholders, I sized them to fit just larger than a toddler’s mitten, which turned out to be about 5.5″ square. They are lined with both cotton batting and Insul-Bright, making them really heat protective. They are oh, so, cute. Being functional is nice, I thought, because as she gets older, they might be useful. Perhaps as coasters, or trivets…

In the meantime, I think sewing these up is a perfect addition to any play kitchen.

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