Book review tuesday for factotum of arts (+giveaway)

Before we commence our book review today, allow me to thank you for the thoughtfulness with which you responded to my unloved Friday finish. If you haven’t had a chance, you should definitely review all the comments (one of my most-commented posts to date). I really enjoyed the exercise and I’m so glad that you felt comfortable engaging in it with me. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to respond to so many comments (packing up my family to leave on vacation Thursday!) but please know that I absolutely read and thought about each and every one.


Now let’s review a book! Michelle from Factotum of Arts asked me to write a post as part of her Book Review Tuesday series and I was more than happy to oblige, particularly because it gives me the perfect excuse to go on about one of my personal quilt idols: Sarah Fielke.

I was first introduced to Sarah Fielke’s work when a couple of bloggers mentioned enjoying her Craftsy class. I was immediately taken with the photographs of her quilts and signed up for the class. After that I became somewhat of a super-fan and bought every single one of her books.

quilting from little things

The one that holds the most special place in my heart is Quilting from Little Things, if only for this quote: “You will notice that I don’t list solids as essential in my stash. That’s because, as a rule, I don’t use them.” I can picture how my face must have looked when I read that and the thoughts that must have gone through my head.

“What? Seriously? That’s allowed? Is that why these quilts look so interesting to me?” Changed my life.

Oh, you think I’m exaggerating? I’m really not. I was rather a newbie at the time and very influenced by traditional quilting decrees like “you must include solids so the eye has a place to rest” and then by modern decrees about “graphic areas of solid color” and “expansive negative space.” As always, I don’t mean to imply that those are not valid decrees. They just didn’t click for me. When I started using prints for my background fabric it was a big step toward finding my personal quilting style – making quilts that I love.

Generally I get more inspiration from just studying every picture and word of my quilt books rather than actually making the quilts. But I have made a couple of small projects from the book and the Craftsy class.


Applique and hand quilting project from the Craftsy class

Just looking at that makes me want to do another appliqué project! I blogged about it here.


Mini quilt using tulips from Sarah’s Night Garden pattern

In this project I was testing quilting with linen and voile. You can read about it here but don’t miss the follow up here.

It might be obvious (but it’s a book review so I guess I should say it): I would definitely recommend this book for your quilting library. I’d rate the projects as intermediate to advanced in difficulty, but completely doable for someone who has made a couple of quilts. It’s perfect, really, for quilters who want to try new and more complex techniques.

As part of Book Review Tuesday Michelle always gives away a copy of the book! How generous is that? So of course I will follow her tradition and give away a brand new copy of Quilting From Little Things. This giveaway is going to stay open a little longer than usual because I’ll be out of town and without internet access. I’ll draw a winner Monday, February 24 at 9 am EST.

The giveaway is open internationally and you don’t have to be a follower to enter. Just leave a comment. You can tell me about your quilt idol(s) if you want!

I’ll be back briefly tomorrow to share my first gypsy wife block and some words of encouragement for my barn door quilt along participants!

A cup of tea

Have you seen that Sarah Fielke is collecting blocks for a special birthday virtual cup of tea quilt? Of course I’m participating since we all know I’m her biggest fan! And there’s prizes!

Here’s the color scheme I came up with:

DSC04263 DSC04270

And here’s the block:


Ok, so the handle appliqué could be smoother but I think it’s still super cute. I hope it fits in well with the others. I’m sure the final quilt will be stunning!

That’s all today because I am working away on my voile test mini quilt I hope to share with you guys later this week. Voile, linen, and cotton, oh my!

Linking up with And Sew We Craft Together!

Finish it up Friday: handwork

I’m so thrilled to say that I have completed my appliqué and hand quilting project!


You can read more about it here and here.

This project surprised me. I expected needle turn appliqué to be really challenging and hand quilting to be more straightforward. It was just the opposite! I thought the needle turn was very doable and Sarah Fielke‘s method (from her Craftsy class) worked great for me.  The hand quilting was harder. I used Sarah’s mini-tutorial but I just couldn’t get it. I probably gave up on doing it right too quickly… I ended up just putting the needle all the way through and then bringing it back up. It looks fantastic on the front but the back is a little bit of a mess!



A charming mess. 🙂 I sometimes let myself do things incorrectly at first and then try to refine my method as I go. In this case it doesn’t matter because it will be a wall hanging. But if I ever want to do a bed or throw quilt (and I do!) then I’ll have to try harder to do it correctly because how it looks on the back will matter more.

By the way, I will never complain about threading a needle with normal thread again after threading my needle with that danged pearl cotton so many times! That was a pain.

I really miss my sewing machine! I spent the better part of the last 2 weeks on this project and my thumb is sore from grasping a needle. I can’t wait to get some good machine sewing in next week.

That said, I love how this looks and I definitely will be doing more appliqué and hand quilting in the future.


Thanks for visiting! Come back Monday to hear about a new project I’m developing using men’s shirts!

Linking up with Crazy Mom!

WIP Week: Sarah Fielke Applique

To kick things off this week I’m going to post a work in progress each day! It’ll be interesting to see how many days that takes because to be honest I’m not sure how many WIPs I have. Not too many I hope but I bet we’ll make it through the week.

Today I’m going to feature the project I am literally working on right now. Ok, not literally right now because I’m literally typing on a computer right now. But it is the project I will be working on during nap time. Have I mentioned I have 2 toddler boys? I’ve had to work very hard to achieve an overlapping nap time! It’s truly delightful.

Anyway, what you really want is pictures so here we go:


This project is from Sarah’s class on Craftsy which I really highly recommend! I’ve probably watched it through 3 times. Sometimes I just put a class on in the background while I sew to keep me company! I do that with APQS radio too. Have you checked that out yet?

I have several objectives with this project.

  1. First is to try needle turn appliqué for the first time. I have done a little machine appliqué and some english paper piecing and dresden appliqué but never the ultimate appliqué challenge.
  2. Second is to try hand quilting. I just adore the look of Sarah Fielke-style hand quilting. It adds a whole extra element of love and detail.
  3. Third is to finally cut into the Anna Maria Horner scrap bags I recently ordered! It is sometimes so hard to cut new fabric, isn’t it? You’d think scrap bags would make that easier but somehow that hasn’t been the case. I think it’s because this is my first experience with AMH fabric and I am very much in love.

So far I have gotten everything cut and glued down. I also sewed one side of a bias strip stem down before bed last night just to see how it went! That wasn’t really very brave because it was similar to other appliqué I’ve already tried. Once I get started on the actual needle turn part my skills will be put to the test.


I’ll be back tomorrow with my next WIP!

(Thus concludes my inaugural blog post. Yeah me!)