Tiny Modernist

Autumn Band Sampler Cross Stitch

I don’t know if it’s the “perfectly fall” colors or the intricate details in each scene, but I can just feel fall by looking at this cross stitch piece! This is the Autumn Band Sampler by Tiny Modernist and what a fun stitch it was! There was so much variety that it kept it interesting and the warmth of the colors kept it exciting.

To compliment the pattern, I chose Oatmeal 25 Count Lugana for the cloth and its modeled design adds a breezy look to the piece. I have to say, the frame is also perfect! It looks like a custom fit, but it wasn’t! I framed it with the Craig Frames Bauhaus 11×17 Inch Picture Frame in Distressed Light Brown from Amazon. I’m impressed that the color and distressed look of it coordinates so well. Not bad for an online purchase! (It appears Amazon no longer has it in the same color I got, but they have other colors in the same style).

I love the modern style of this pattern and really enjoyed stitching it!

Finished Size: 9.5" x 14"
Pattern: Autumn Band Sampler by Tiny Modernist
Fabric: Oatmeal 25 Count Lugana by Lori Holt, stitched over 2 with called for DMC
Sewing Room

Sewing Room Renovation Progress!

I didn’t post much this summer for good reason. A renovation project consumed the last three months and my make-shift sewing area in my dining room was worse than my original sewing space! So, my pace for completing projects was drastically affected. Let me tell you what has been happening.

With my love of all types of sewing and having equipment, notions, and projects for each, my sewing space became cramped. Bringing a longarm into the room two years ago started the issue. Add to that, my daughter and her friend started sewing together and the three of us squeezing into the space was not ideal. So, I began to imagine a nice space where multiple people can sew at once and not be cramped together! Somewhere I would have room to longarm and also sew.

Check out my original sewing room tour here:

Last October, I started brainstorming ideas of how to get more space. Ideas of additions, knocking out walls and completely switching rooms were all entertained. In the end, we decided the best option would be to stay in the current room and finish off the screened porch attached to the sewing room into a four-season room and remove the wall between them to make one large room. We found we weren’t using the screened porch very often (a few times each summer) and it was completely useless during the winter! This would mean a 10′ x 17′ addition to my 11′ x 14′ room!

Screened porch:

After signing a contract with a remodeling company in January 2022, the waiting game began. Due to supply chain issues, we found out ordering windows for the new room was going to be our biggest hurdle. It didn’t make sense to start the project until the windows arrived, so that set the project timeline. We were quoted a 4-month lead time on the windows and sure enough they arrived at the end of May 2022 as expected.

The Plan

The plan was to frame the new walls in the porch, install the windows (11 of them to keep that sunroom type of feel!), and then tear down the wall between the rooms. The same luxury vinyl plank flooring from the existing sewing room would be used in the porch area and both rooms would have the same trim and paint. Electrical outlets would be added in the porch as well as can lights to match the existing room.

I created a floor plan to determine how I would use this new space. As you can see, I have more than enough furniture to put in it! We’ll see how it turns out when the project is complete, but these are my thoughts:

  • Original room will have the longarm in the same location, but since there will be more room I can extend the frame from 7′ to 12′ so I can quilt larger quilts.
  • Existing closet will remain the same and an additional storage cabinet will be added on the wall next to it.
  • The new area will hold all of the sewing stations (4), corner computer desk & work station, cutting table, and ironing table.

Renovation Tour

It’s now September 2022 and the project is still going… We’re in the home stretch and I’d like to think there are only a few weeks left but everytime I say that something gets delayed! Enjoy the following tour of the renovation progress so far:

January 2022

We determined the best way to heat/cool the new room would be to install a Mini Split heating/cooling unit. The existing sewing room didn’t get much heat or air conditioning because of its location in the house, so this unit would greatly benefit both rooms. We had it installed near the wall that was going to be removed so it would be in a central location to both areas. We did this in January since it wasn’t dependent on the rest of the construction.

Mini Split unit is installed

June 2022

Construction begins!

Screens are removed
Walls are framed
Window installation
Wall is torn down between the rooms
Door that was between the two rooms is moved to replace the screen door to the deck
Wainscotting is removed in the original sewing room

At this point I took the longarm out of the room. Yes, it’s in bunch of pieces now and it’s going to be an adventure putting the whole frame back together eventually!

July 2022

Ceiling is framed, electric outlets are added, and six can lights are installed

Besides the 12 outlets I had them add (I think they thought I was a little crazy!), the electricians also added some ethernet ports which will be a great improvement over the ethernet cables I previously would run across the room to my computer!

Wall, ceiling and floor insulation is installed

August 2022

Drywall is installed
Drywall is patched and ceiling is texturized
Ceiling is painted and walls are primed
Siding is installed to match the rest of the house

September 2022

Flooring and trim are installed

So there you have it! This is where we’re at today! Next up is paint (white for trim and Sherwin Williams “SW 6764 – Swimming” for the walls), finishing the electrical installation, finishing the siding and painting the siding.

SW 6764 – Swimming paint color

I’m anxiously awaiting the day I can move in!

Reviews, Sewing Room

Review: Seams-Flat Pressing Bar

I recently attended a local quilt show & conference and spent two glorious days viewing amazing quilts, shopping vendor booths, and taking classes. I learned so much and was so inspired!

In one of my classes, the instructor brought out a pressing bar for us to use when pressing the seams open of the quilt we were making. I had vaguely heard of these before, but hadn’t seen one in person. Pressing seams open has always been a very awkward process to me, as I would try to push the iron to open the seam and use my fingers (close to the iron!) to help open it up and inadvertently press other nearby seams that got in the way in the wrong direction. It would be a battle to repress seams and keep the open seams open!

When I tried out the pressing bar I was amazed! The seam easily opened and I could do it one-handed! Following that, I purchased the Seams-Flat Pressing Bar by Maywood Studio from Fat Quarter Shop. It is a 17.75″ curved wooden core bar with 100% wool on top.

To use it, you simply place the quilt block on the bar, wrong side up. You then press the iron in the middle of the seam and glide it to the end, opening it up as you go. Because the seam is resting on this curved surface, it more naturally opens up and the other seams are not in the way. It’s quick and it works wonderfully with no extra fiddling!

I was using it today on my latest project: a Dear Jane quilt. This quilt has 225 different quilt blocks and since the majority are only 4.5 inches finished, pressing seams open becomes necessary! I’m going to get a lot of use out of this pressing bar.

Check out my blocks so far!

Fat Quarter Shop, Shortcut Quilt

Layer Cake Spools Quilt

When Fat Quarter Shop invited me to sew along for their new Layer Cake Spools pattern, I jumped at the chance! I love anything sewing-themed and the unique design of these spools really caught my eye. This pattern is part of their Shortcut Quilts series which is designed to be beginner-friendly and fast by using precut fabric. The patterns provide multiple sizes and best yet, they are free!

The spools quilt uses two layer cakes (10″ squares): one for the main prints and one for background. I grabbed the Starlight Gatherings Layer Cake which is my current favorite new fabric line featuring a range of pretty blues with tiny diamonds, stars, and florals. I stepped out of the “white background” box by picking up some yardage of a coordinating light blue color Bella Solids Glacier for the background.

When I looked over the pattern, I was so impressed with the construction of the spools. The main and background fabric are pieced together in an ingenious way to produce the mirrored effect. The pattern recommended using an 8.5″ square ruler to trim the blocks down to size. Since I wanted to embrace the quick nature of this pattern, I bought the Quilter’s Select 8.5″ Square Ruler (my favorite ruler brand) and was so glad I did! Being able to lay the ruler down on the oversized blocks and simply trim around them made it so fast.

The pattern instructions are very easy to follow, but to make it even easier Fat Quarter Shop posted a great step-by-step video tutorial on their YouTube channel: Layer Cake Spools Tutorial. They are also offering a fabric kit if you’d like to make this in the fabrics they show in the pattern: Layer Cake Spools Quilt Kit. You can find more free Shortcut Quilt pdf patterns at Fat Quarter Shop Shortcut Quilts.

The majority of my layer cake was blue prints, but there were some white prints as well. I decided to separate the colors and make sets of blue spools and white ones. When it came to assembling the blocks into the quilt, I tried out many different layouts and in the end put the white blocks in the center. I like how the blue spools create a nice frame around them!

As I always try to do, I took the opportunity to play around with many quilting designs. I used a back-and-forth line to represent the thread, but chose a different design for the spool caps of each spool. I tried out different orientations of straight lines, spirals, waves, and loop-de-loops, make each spool unique! I thought something more was needed between the spools, so I added a flower design.

For the backing of the quilt I used Starlight Gatherings Navy Starlight and I bought Starlight Gatherings Cadet Diamond Dot for the binding. I love how the backing reminds me of star quilt blocks — perfect for the theme!

I really enjoyed making this Shortcut Quilt. It only took a day to piece and assemble!

Fat Quarter Shop featured my quilt and others on their blog! Check it out here: https://blog.fatquartershop.com/shortcut-quilt-layer-cake-spools-quilt/

Finished Size: 61.5" x 61.5"
Pattern: Layer Cake Spools by Fat Quarter Shop
Fabric: Starlight Gatherings Layer Cake by Primitive Gatherings for Moda and Bella Solids Glacier by Moda
Kim Diehl, Simple Whatnots, Simple Whatnots Club 11

Smarty Pants Mini Quilt

I think I’ll use this little mini from Simple Whatnots Club 11 as decor on a small table or hang it on the wall of my sewing studio as a little work of art!

This mini quilt is only 10.25″ x 11.25″ and the pieces are just as mini: each square in the colorful 4-patches is 0.5″ finished! Whew! Luckily I didn’t have to sew together each tiny square. I used the amazing Creative Grids Turbo 4-Patch Ruler! You sew strip units together and cut the strips into pieces following the guides on the ruler for the finished unit you want to create. Then you assemble two of those pieces together to create a perfectly accurate 4-patch. It was so fun, I’m trying to figure out what else I can add 4-patches to!

Creative Grids Turbo 4-Patch Ruler

I kept the quilting simple so these little squares could be the star of the show. I used a walking foot on my domestic machine to create the diagonal lines. Conveniently the layout of the squares lended themselves well to this and I was able to follow the corners of the blocks to precisely create my lines.

Finished Size: 10.25" x 11.25"
Pattern: Smarty Pants from Simple Whatnots Collection 11 by Kim Diehl
Fabric: Right As Rain by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass
Kim Diehl, Simple Whatnots, Simple Whatnots Club 11

Keeping Room Wall Hanging

The third Simple Whatnots Club 11 project I completed is Keeping Room. Quite a bit larger at 35″ square, it definitely took longer to make. The pattern called for a more controlled color palette limited to the reds, greens, and golds in Kim Diehl’s Right As Rain fabric line. It was nice to try something different colorwise and with the unique blocks and border.

The cross-like shapes were fun to make. They were actually supposed to all be the same design, but I inadvertently changed the pattern of the light green/red blocks and didn’t see the difference until it was all assembled! Oh well — they remind me of ribbon wrapped around a gift!

The border was very intriguing to me. It makes a nice frame around the piece and I love the alternating colors. In general, my block sizes are usually very close to the sizes given in the instructions, but I know they can be 1/4″ off. So, I was a bit wary about attaching the border and whether it was going to fit on perfectly. A solid strip of border is a bit easier to adjust the size if needed without being noticable!

Surprisingly it magically matched up pretty good. I say “pretty good” because I did have to ease it in a little. And because of that easing, the center of the quilt ended up a bit “baggy”… I had spent so much time on it already that I didn’t want to take it apart and try to get it to fit better, so I thought, “I’ll just quilt it to death and maybe it won’t be noticable!” Hence, I progressively added elaborate arcs and dense fillers until it pounded down any loose fabric and made it look like an intentional medallion design. 🙂 (Shh! That’s my secret!) I’m actually very happy with it! The fact that it came out square and hangs on the wall straight (not wavy) gives me a bit of confidence about my long-arming skills!

Finished Size: 35.5" x 35.5"
Pattern: Keeping Room from Simple Whatnots Collection 11 by Kim Diehl
Fabric: Right As Rain by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass
Kim Diehl, Simple Whatnots, Simple Whatnots Club 11

Hayride Mini Quilt

When Simple Whatnots Club 11 started in January, I vowed to keep up with the monthly projects as best I could. We’re in the fifth month and I’m posting my second finish now, but I do have two more that are almost ready to share! 🙂 I’d say I’m doing pretty good — especially since I’m balancing this with some other block of the month programs I’m working on.

Hayride was fun to make! I like the scrappy spinning star shapes and the secondary pinwheel design you can see if you concentrate on the brown pieces. It is the perfect size for a table topper at 16″ square.

Since I had a few small projects ready to quilt at once, I put them on the longarm together! I could have used my domestic machine for such a small piece, but it definitely saved time to not have to baste the layers together and just throw it on the batting and backing I had already set up.

I traced around the star shapes and then added an extra outline to the white background squares to create some additional texture.

Finished Size: 16" x 16"
Pattern: Hayride from Simple Whatnots Club 11 by Kim Diehl
Fabric: Right As Rain by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass
Lori Holt

Flea Market Flowers Cross Stitch

A Flea Market Flowers finish just in time for Spring! I’ve been working on this cross stitch off-and-on for a year and decided to focus on it this past month to get it done. It turned out bigger than I thought it would (11.5″ x 13″), but it’ll be a nice-sized piece to hang on my wall! I love the bright colors and variety of flowers. I used the called-for DMC colors that came in the Flea Market Flowers DMC Thread Pack from Fat Quarter Shop.

I framed it with the Craig Frames 16 x 16 Inch Rustic Copper Picture Frame on Amazon. I chose the copper color to go with the border around the flowers. It gives it just the look I was hoping for!

My approach with this one was to stitch out all of the brown borders first and then fill in the flowers. This was to make sure I didn’t get off a stitch before I put too much work into the flowers and would need to rip them out. It worked really well! No mistakes!

I love working with Lugana cross stitch fabric. So far 25-count is my favorite — small enough holes that give the look I like, but not too small to see when I’m stitching.

Finished Size: 11.5" x 13"
Pattern: Flea Market Flowers by Lori Holt
Fabric: Barley 25 Count Lugana by Lori Holt, stitched over 2 with called for DMC
Edyta Sitar, Pillow Talk

Lone Star Pillow

This pillow came as a special request from my mom who said she could use a pillow for her living room chair. I had her look through the Pillow Talk book by Edyta Sitar which I had been wanting to make something out of but hadn’t yet, and she picked out the Lone Star pillow.

It was my first time making an 8-pointed star and it wasn’t a simple one. 🙂 It was interestingly pieced together from wedges cut from a strip set. These wedges were then combined using y-seams. Luckily I had recently learned how to sew y-seams, so it was a little less intimidating, however, that didn’t mean it was easy! I had to rip it apart multiple times before I got it right. Even then, I had some ill-fitting fabric in the corners that I was just hoping I could add some quilting to disguise.

I put this pillow cover on my longarm with a few other small projects I’ve been working on. I started by analyzing what part of the star I wanted to emphasize and did dense quilting in the rest to push it down. I played around with a couple different designs to add variety. For the border, I tried out to a rectangular pattern to keep it simple and clean, yet give it some texture. I really had fun with the quilting on this one!

I can’t wait to make more pillows from the book!

Finished Size: 18.5" x 18.5"
Pattern: Lone Star Pillow from Pillow Talk book by Edyta Sitar
Fabric: Laundry Basket Favorites by Edyta Sitar for Andover Fabrics
Anka's Treasures

Mr. Frosty Wall Hanging

How cute is Mr. Frosty! This pattern and fabric are designed by Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures whom I had the pleasure to meet in August 2021 at her presentation for my quilt guild. After seeing her trunk show of quilts, I purchased this kit (and some other patterns) at the meeting.

I love this classic snowman with some quilt blocks thrown in to look like snowflakes.

The original pattern was designed as a table runner, with the two snowmen placed opposite each other, head to head. As I pieced them together I decided they really need to be featured on a wall where I can easily see them, so I modified them and added a top border to each so they could be separate wall hangings.

Finished Size: 20.5" x 29"
Pattern: Mr. Frosty from Trendy Tables 3 book by Anka's Treasures
Fabric: Snowed In by Heather Peterson of Anka's Treasures for Riley Blake