Friday, November 21, 2014

Share the Love Friday

I have to admit that I have been struggling to get my sewing mojo back since finishing my Tone It Down quilt!  With my demands as a wife, mother, friend, neighbor, etc., I have really only been sewing for about 10-20 minutes a day, which doesn't really translate into a lot of finishes.  I'm really glad I started blogging about other quilter's projects to get some inspiration and to live vicariously through their victories!  Here are some of the quilts/projects I loved seeing this week.

Love this bright quilt by Molli that he made using charm squares!

I really like the geometric shape that is created in the negative space of this quilt.  The colors are so soothing and beautiful!

Emily shares her tutorial for this quilt over on the Moda Bakeshop.  Check it out!

Love this cute little zippered bag by Mahriam!  Perfect for a little tote for my girls' books and activities for long car rides or church.

This is Nancy's first hexagon quilt and it looks great!  I love the cool tones and the purple binding!

As always, if you have a finish throughout the week and would like to be featured on my next Share the Love post, contact me at

Friday, November 14, 2014

Share the Love Friday

It's that time again, friends!  
Here are some of the beautiful projects that caught my eye this week. 

I love all the cute paper pieced blocks on this quilt!  My favorite has got to be the teapot!

Here's a picture I the full quilt . . . 

Julia made this mini quilt for a swap she participated in and shares a tutorial on her blog so you can make it too!  Love it!

I love the contrast of colors that Jennifer created in this quilt that is part of the Winged Fabric Tour. It's beautiful!

Loving the blues and purples in Cindy's quilt!

Solids can make such a powerful statement in a quilt and I love this one by Lee!

This quilt is so visually striking!  Love all the liberty fabrics Lorellen used!

These little boxes would be the perfect addition to any sewing room. I need these!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Lori  shares her tutorial to make this adorable pieced turkey. Love!

Hope you guys have fun plans for the weekend! 

As always, if you have a finish throughout the week and would like to be featured on my next Share the Love post, contact me at amyharward83@yahoo. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Share the Love Friday

Hope everyone has had a great week so far!  Here's a little peek at the projects I've been loving this week!

I love Rachel's color placement and quilting!

I have seen so many cute sewing machines on social media since Chrissy of Sew Lux released this adorable pattern!  I think Jennie's have been some of my favorites, though.  Love her use of color on these little pouches!

Nicole's quilt has a great color balance and I really like her quilting!

I love the cute little yo-yos around the border and in the centers of the tulips, Lea Anne!  So beautiful!

Nicole shares a tutorial on her blog for this beautiful pillow!  Go check it out!

Thanks your sharing the love with me today.  Hope you have a happy weekend!

*If you have a finish that you have blogged about during the week and would like to be featured here, feel free to contact me at or on Instagram @sewinlovequilting.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Modern Quilting, Modern Women

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by Crystal McGann of Two Little Aussie Birds, wondering if I would be interested in joining in on a series she is starting on her blog about modern quilting.  In Crystal's own words, "This series on Modern Quilting, Modern Women celebrates what makes us who we are.  How our craft defines us and gives us a creative outlet which pays respect to our mothers and their mothers before them.  I see many different women coming together as a tribe of quilters.  Woven together by their craft.  Modern quilters are as diverse as modern women."

As part of the series, she is interviewing modern quilters and discussing some of the things that define us in this genre.  Of course I told her I was in!

1.  Tell us about how you started quilting and how you found modern quilting.

Finding quilting was kind of a fluke for me.  I didn't have any relatives that quilted.  I didn't have any heirloom quilts that inspired me to start quilting.  My first experience with quilting was when I was 10.  My grandmother was hand quilting a quilt as a gift for my cousin's upcoming wedding.  All my aunts and my mom and I gathered in a spare room in her basement and stitched away as we talked.  I literally think I was only able to make two stitches in the half hour I was there!  I thought, "Wow!  This is WAY harder that it looks!"  And I literally put quilting in the "never gonna do that again" category.  

I didn't even think about quilting again until I was pregnant with my first child, Lily.  My mom wanted to make her a raw edge flannel blanket and so she took me shopping to some quilting shops around our area.  This was my first exposure to fabric.  I was a little overwhelmed with all the choices and had no idea of a style that spoke to me.  My mom picked some adorable prints that were in the colors I wanted and when she made the blanket for me I was so excited!  I remember thinking that I would love to make a blanket like that one day.  

When I was pregnant with my second child or shortly after she was born, (I don't really remember), I decided I wanted to make her quilt.  I had NEVER used a sewing machine.  NEVER even touched one, but I was determined.  I had a good friend, Allison, that had been making some quilts for friends and had taken me shopping with her for fabric.  She told me that one of our other friends, Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique, was an amazing quilter and that she had great tutorials on her blog for beginning quilters.  I looked on her website and it was gold!  Using her Quilting 101 tutorials, I not only made a quilt for Zoey, but also for Lily and then when the time came our third child, Reuben.  

With three children, I was really busy and didn't have time, let alone the passion, for quilting.  Then last year, my husband was going to school full time and we were looking for some ways that I could make some extra money working from home.  I kind of jokingly told him that if he got me a sewing machine, I could sell quilts and other fabric goodies.  And guess what?  I got a sewing machine for Mother's Day!  I'm kind of glad he was clueless to what he was getting himself into :) 

In August my baby brother was getting married, and I don't really know how, but I got the crazy thought in my head that I wanted to make them a quilt for their bed.  I stumbled across Camille Roskelley's Swoon pattern while surfing the internet and I knew it was the "one".  While shopping for fabric this time, something just clicked.  I was OBSESSED with the feel, the color, the print, the everything of the fabric!

That is really where it began for me.  I may have been a late bloomer, but I was made to be a quilter!

2.  What does it mean to you to be a modern quilter and a modern woman?

Truthfully, I have been ruminating over this question since Crystal contacted me.  I like to think that a modern quilter is anyone that is quilting as this point in time.  Obviously there are differences in style, in fabric choice, in technique between quilters. What is it that makes us modern?  One thing that comes to mind is technology.  Not only are we using more modern equiptment (computerized long-arms anyone?), but we are using social media to share and connect with each other.  And yet there are still those of us that love hand stitching and doing things that maybe our grandmothers' generation would have done.  I think what's nice about being a modern quilter these days is that there is so much choice and accessibility in our creative process because of technology.  For me, that is also what being a modern women is.  It isn't about what we do, or how much we can achieve, but rather that we have the choice of what we do and how we reach our achievements.   We are all Modern Quilters and Modern Women!

3.  Which quilt that you have made represents you and why?

This is such a hard question!  I'm not sure if I can really answer this the way I want to.  I want to be able to say, "Oh, it was definitely this one," or "It's got to be that one."  I don't know if I have quite made a quilt yet that represents me.  But I'm working on that.  Maybe one day I'll make a medallion quilt where each border represents a facet of what it means to be me :)

These two quilts come pretty close, though.

Blustery Day, an original design

Tone It Down, designed by Lisa Alexander for APQ magazine

I LOVE color and cheerful ones at that!  I have never used black or grey in a quilt that was for me.    In case you can't tell by looking at these quilts, I also need some structure.  I tend to be a bit unfocused and scatterbrained when I am in the middle of projects.  I can't think straight until I see them through.  If I gave in to all the wanderings of my mind, I would never get anything accomplished!  I need schedules, timelines, check marks, borders to help me organize my mind and my day.  I like clear cut lines and predictability.   Improv scares me with quilting and with life!  I don't like figuring things out as I go.  I like plans.  Don't get me wrong, I love to try new things and be creative, but I really need to have boundaries to tether that creativity to.

4.  How do you connect with other modern quilters?  What does it mean to you to have this sisterhood of modern women?

One of the first things I did when I started quilting was join my local modern quilters guild.  I didn't really know anyone else that quilted around me and I wanted to meet other women that had the same passion as me and learn from them.  I think it was the best thing I could have done!  The women that I meet with every month as so supportive, encouraging, and kind!  They are always willing to help when I have had questions, need help with new techniques, or need honest opinions.  Not to mention, they are so diverse and fun to be around!  I would highly suggest joining your local MQG, if you have one!

Another thing that helped me to connect with others was by creating profiles on social media that were geared specifically towards quilting.  I created a blog to share tutorials, things I was working on, etc.  I joined free social media sites, like Instagram, to also connect with others.  I was surprised at first how amazing the women were that "liked" my photos, or commented on my posts.  They were just like the women in my quilting guild!  So friendly and helpful.  I have never, to this day received a negative comment, but instead have gained confidence, friendship, and community thanks to the women that I have virtually connected with.

And that's a little more about me!  I am so happy I got to share my perspective a little bit through these questions and I'm equally excited to go read all about the other modern quilters that are linking up on Crystal's blog.  Head on over and get to know them too!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Share the Love Friday

I feel like there is a lot I want to share with you today!  I was nursing some sickos at my house last week so I didn't have time to post my favorites and now I'm sick (of course).  But I couldn't skip another week with so much YUMMINESS going on in the quilt world right now so let's get this Share the Love Friday started!

Totally LOVE this quilt!  I am really digging all the Native American inspired quilts that people are making right now and this might be my all-time favorite!  Katie's quilt is one of the beautiful entries in this year's Blogger's Quilt Festival.

I really like Heather's color placement and simplistic quilting on this small quilt.  I also love the teal binding she used to finish it up.  Heather's quilt is also entered in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Leaded Glass by Tracey of Traceyjay Quilts
I love the way this quilt reminds me of stained glass windows.  This quilt is another entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

For those of you who haven't heard of the Blogger's Quilt Festival, don't feel bad.  I hadn't either until last week.  It sounds really awesome and I wish I had a quilt to enter, but I've kind of been doing some secretive sewing since Sewvivor ended and sure didn't have time to make something quick for this.  Voting starts tomorrow so make sure to go to Amy's Creative Side to check out all the entries before you can vote!  Love the quilting community and love how supportive we can be of each other! 

Cristina's colorful choices and the use of low volume fabrics in this quilt make me want to drop everything and make it right now!

This paper-pieced quilt has such a WOW factor!  This is an original pattern by Diane that can be purchased here.

Each "star" is different, but this one is my favorite.  Stunning!

I have had this pattern by Fig Tree and Co. on my list for about a year and I love Cindy's bright and cheery version.

On to some fabric I've been loving this week:

Fabric is available for pre-order now and is released in November.  LOVE those tigers, but the blues really could be used for any quilt.  

Also available for pre-order and released in November.  I love the feathers and the cute little girls.

I am a sucker for a good floral and I like these a lot!

Any for those of you that love a good sugar cookie or Swig or both:

These sugar cookies are kind of a big deal around here.  Swig is a drink shop that makes specialty sodas plus these amazing, soft, tangy sugar cookies with pink frosting on top.  My husband loves sugar cookies, so he probably visits a Swig once a week.  I tried this recipe and it lives up to its name.  These taste JUST LIKE SWIG SUGAR COOKIES!  If you haven't tried them before, test out this recipe!  It's super yummy!

I also need to share these WIPs that some Instragrammers have been sharing using my Cathedral Window Pocket tutorial!

@vrrigney is using some beautiful Tasha Noel fabrics to make this pocket for her Weekender Bag.

@sweetsueellen is using Miss Kate for her pocket.  Love!

Thanks for sharing your projects with me you guys!  For anyone else that is using my tutorial, please send me your pictures or tag me on Instagram @sewinlovequilting and maybe you'll see your pictures here next week :)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Make a Cathedral Window Pocket For a Handbag

Today I want to share with you how to make a cathedral window pocket(s) for a bag.  I made this Weekender Bag in round 2 of Sewvivor (which you can read about here), and I have had so many requests for details on how I did it!  I am more than happy to share my instructions with you!  I love the effect that the cathedral windows added to my bag, and I know you will too!

Let me preface this post by saying that this tutorial is just a starting point.  I will walk you through all the planning and math that comes with the construction of your cathedral windows and turning them into a pocket for a handbag, but I will not be writing about HOW to construct them.  That is because I used this amazing tutorial on the Moda Bakeshop by Angela Nash.  Angela gives clear instructions and her tut includes a lot of detailed pictures that make the process so easy!  I don't think I could improve on her directions, so I won't!

Getting Started
One thing that really helps me in the design process is to take notes and draw my vision out on paper.  It is really useful when cutting and piecing so that I don't have to second guess myself and make unnecessary mistakes.  I do this with every project I do, including my quilts!


What is a Cathedral Window?
Before I explain the process of making the cathedral windows, I want to show you what I'm talking about when I say "window".  This is a window . . . 

This next picture is not a window, but a "diamond" that is created when two adjacent windows are made.

Keep that is mind when designing your pocket and figuring out what you want your finished pocket to look like :)

What Size Window Do I Need?

The first thing you will need to decide is how many rows of windows you will want showing on your pocket.  After drawing my design, I settled on three rows.  Next, I measured my pattern for the unfinished height of the pocket.  Mine was about 9" at the tallest point.  I then divided the height by the number of rows I wanted so that I could figure out the finished size of window that I needed.  I lucked out and got a whole number of 3".  If you don't get a whole number, then just round down to the nearest 1/4" measurement.  I'll explain how to make it work with the needed pocket size later (see "What Do I Do Once My Cathedral Window Panel Is Done?" towards the bottom of this post).  

Example:  For instance, if your pocket height is 7" unfinished and you want 3 rows, you divide 7 by 3 and get 2.3333.  Just round that down to 2.25".  The windows are square so you will need them to be 2.25" x 2.25".

How Many Windows Do I Need? 

To figure out how many windows you will need, measure the unfinished length of your pocket from the pattern.  Mine was about 19" at the longest point.  Since I already knew I was going to have windows that were 3" squared, I divided 19 by 3 and got 6.3333.  I rounded that number down to the nearest whole, and got 6.  So, I was going to need 6 windows for each row, or 18 windows per pocket (3 rows of 6).

Example:  So, if your unfinished pocket is 10" long and your finished windows will be 2.25" squared, you will need 4 windows for each row.  You will want 12 windows per pocket (3 rows of 4).

How Much Neutral Fabric Do I Need?

Once you know how many windows your pocket requires, you can plan for how much fabric you will need.  To make a cathedral window, you will need to use A LOT more neutral fabric then you might think.  The neutral fabric is folded several times and pretty much hidden by the fabric that creates the pop of color.  To calculate the "pre-fold" size square of the neutral fabric you will need, multiply your window size by 2 and add 1.5" for your seam allowance.  For my 3" x 3" windows, this number was 7.5".

Example: In the example of a 2.25" x 2.25" window, you will start with a 6" square (2.25 x 2 + 1.5).

I usually generalize the width of fabric (WOF) for any given fabric as 42".  When you know how big your squares need to be cut, you simply divide 42" by that measurement to figure out how many square you can get for each WOF.  So, with my 3" finished windows, I needed to start with 7.5" squares.  42 divided by 7.5 is 5.6, so I can get 5 squares per WOF.  I know I need 18 windows total, so I will need (18) 7.5" squares.  Since I can get 5 per WOF, I will need 4 WOF cuts (18 divided by 5 = 3.6 and I rounded up).  Each WOF cut will be 7.5" long since I need squares, so I will multiply that by 4 WOF cuts and get 30".  I will need a 30" by WOF cut of fabric for one pocket, or round up to 1 yard (36").  I actually did two cathedral window pockets on my bag, so I multiplied the 30" by 2.  I needed 60" x WOF, so 1.75 yards (63").

Example:  For the example with 2.25" square windows, you start with 6" squares.
42"(WOF) / 6" = 7 (squares per WOF)
12 (windows per pocket) / 7 (squares) = 1.7, round up to 2.
2 WOF x 6" = 12"
You need 12" by WOF or 1/3 yard for one pocket

If you are making two cathedral window pockets:
12" x 2 = 24"
You need 24" by WOF or 2/3 yard

*You might want to plan for a few extra inches of neutral fabric in case your cathedral window panel is a little smaller than the size of your unfinished pocket.

How Much Colorful Fabric Do I Need For the Windows/Diamonds?

As long as your finished window size is 5" x 5" or smaller, I would use one charm pack, mini charm, or I suppose you could use scraps!  You just need to make sure you will have enough charms/scrap pieces for the number of windows you need and for the "diamonds" that are in between the windows.  I used one charm pack per pocket.

What Size Should I Cut My Fabric to Fit in My Windows and Diamonds?

When your windows are all sewn together, as directed in Angela's tutorial, you will need to measure each window to figure out what size to cut your fabric.  For my 3" x 3" windows I cut them anywhere from 3" to 3.25".  For the diamonds in between the windows, you will need to cut squares that are half the size of your finished windows.  Since mine were 3", I cut my squares 1.5" x 1.5".

Example:  For a bag that has a 2.25" finished window, cut your squares for the windows between 2.25" to 2.5" depending on its measurements.  For the diamonds in between the windows, you would need to cut your fabric into 1 1/8" x 1 1/8" squares.

Thoughts On Color Selection and Scale of Prints

This is kind of where your creative juices come in.  Think about the color of your main fabric for your bag.  Is is busy?  Is it a neutral print?  What do you want to be the main focus on your bag?

If the cathedral windows are the main star of your bag, I would suggest a print for the main fabric that is small and neutral, like a stripe, dots, or maybe even a low volume.  As far as the scale of the print for your windows goes . . .  since the squares you will be cutting are most likely going to be pretty small, if you use fabrics with large prints, you will not really see the print very well, if at all.  Using fabrics with smaller prints and fussy cutting larger prints may be helpful for you!   If the main fabric is the star and you want the cathedral windows to accentuate them, choose fabrics and prints for your windows that are solids, neutral, or large.

I decided that I wanted my windows to be cool tones of aqua and green since my main bag fabric was a warm red.  Alternatively, I wanted the diamonds in between my windows to be warm tones of orange, white, red, and pink juxtaposed against the cool colors.  I used a different print for each of the windows, but used repeating prints for the diamonds.

This is just food for thought!  Everybody has a different style and fabrics that speak to them.  Be creative and do what makes you happy!

What Do I Do Once My Cathedral Window Panel Is Done?

Your panel should look similar to the above picture once you are done with your sewing.  If your panel is a little bigger than what you need for your pattern, just put the pocket's pattern on top of the windows and make sure to center.  Then cut around the edges and you're good to go!

If your panel is a little smaller than what you need for your pattern, you will need to first square it up.

This is where the extra few inches of neutral fabric may come in handy for you.  After squaring up your panel, measure how much bigger it needs to be to equal the maximum height and length of the pattern's pocket.  I think I needed 2" overall added to the height (1" on top and bottom) and maybe 1" on the sides (1/2" on each side).  I added a little extra just in case, so I just cut my neutral fabric into strips of 1.5" x WOF.  Measure the sides first and cut your strips to that length.  Sew the strips to your panel with right sides together and then press the seam towards the neutral fabric and topstitch.  Measure the top and bottom of your panel and cut your strips accordingly.  Sew the strips on and then press the seam toward the neutral fabric and topstitch.

Then I just put my pattern for the pocket on this panel (that's a lot of p's, sorry), centered it as best I could, and cut around the edges to make the pocket shape.  And voila!  You have a beautiful cathedral window pocket!

On a side note, even though this pocket is pretty thick all by itself, I did chose to follow the pattern's instructions for adding interfacing.  I found it created a smoother effect and had my lining been light, I would not be worried that the windows would show through that side.

I hope this post has been helpful for those of you who would like to tackle this project!  It certainly is not what I would call "hard", but it is time consuming, so don't think you'll have it done in an afternoon.  Just be patient with it and enjoy the beauty of what you are doing.  Please let me know is any of my instructions are not clear or if you have any other questions you would like me to address concerning this bag.   And thank you for showing such an interest in this bag of mine!