Xmas in July Giveaway – Cotton + Steel Tinsel FQ Mini-Stack!

Yay! Fabric Giveaway!

Peeps! It’s a flippin’ giveaway! Woohoo! This giveaway is now closed – I’ll announce the winner shortly!

Ok, so the Merry Medallion quilt is almost finished (last batch of instructions on Friday!) and I hope some of these quilts will start popping up between now and Christmas! I finished mine today, and photographed it ahead of the final tutorial, and I have to tell you: I LOVE IT SO MUCH. So much that I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO USE ALL CAPS. Seriously, dudes. It is already one of my most favoritest things I’ve EVER MADE. I freaking can’t wait to show you!!

But that’s a couple of days away, so why don’t we pass the time with a little giveaway?! I have to admit, I originally intended on pairing this particular giveaway with another project, but then I went and got a new job (!) and a few of my Christmas in July projects had to go by the wayside. That’s ok, there’s still Christmas in December. BUT, I didn’t want these fabrics to waste away, since I bought them especially for you and everything, and it occurred to me that these four make a might fine starter for a Merry Medallion of your own!

Yay! Fabric Giveaway!

These four fabrics are my favorites from Tinsel by Cotton + Steel, which is my favorite Christmas fabric EVER. It’s just perfect in every way! Here’s a low volume, a red, and a green – and the very same mid-volume (the washi tape print, isn’t it the best?!) I’ve used in my Merry Medallion, as you’ll see on Friday. These four would be a great start to a gathering of Merry Medallion fabrics!

So, to win this little mini-stack of festive pretties, leave a comment and tell me your favorite story about a holiday project. It could be a funny story about the time you tried to make a gingerbread house and it collapsed into smithereens, a touching story about a birthday gift you made that was loved to pieces, or a near-miss story about the costume you just managed to finish at 6pm on Halloween night. Any story, any craft, any holiday!

This giveaway is open to everyone, everywhere, and I’ll close it at midnight (UK time) next Friday, August 7th. The winner will be chosen by Mr. Random Number Generator. Off you go!

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Hmm, Fabric Change?

So, I previously posted that I was planning on making my orange peel quilt with dark background fabrics and lighter peels. Then Wendy, one of our quilt-alongers, left a comment pointing out that I could run into trouble with darker fabrics showing through the lighter ones. Hmm, good thinkin’, Wendy!

I really didn’t think of that at all, but of course she’s right. That could be a problem. I went through my fabrics in the daylight and tested out a wide variety of pairings. Yes, a few of the higher contrast prints did show through the lightest of the fabrics. I think it could be worked around by carefully choosing background and peel pairings, but it got me thinking about my fabric choices …

Back when I started choosing fabrics, I did this half-assed layout test to get an idea of what my fabrics would look like:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Fabric Layout Test

Ultra-scientific, no?

But then thinking about the light / dark fabric issue, I wondered if it might just be simpler to reverse the layout, using the more typical light-backgrounds-darker-peels combo:

Orange Peel Quilt-Along: Fabric Layout Test

Huh. As it turns out, my gut says that the pink backgrounds work better. But I didn’t want that to be true, because I’d had the dark backgrounds in mind since the start of this project idea, you know? So I did what any sensible person would do – I asked the only person nearby, who doesn’t sew / quilt / care … my brother.

Somewhat surprisingly, he actually gave it a bit of serious thought and said that he liked the pink backgrounds better. He said he didn’t know how to explain it in any sort of proper terms, but that the pattern was clearer with the pink backgrounds, while the dark-background-layout made his eyes work too hard to see the lattice-y pattern the peels make. Double huh.

I took another look and, gee whiz, I think he’s right. But I think the problem is not just because they’re dark, but because my darker fabrics actually have quite a lot of variation between them, which makes it less easy for your eye to see them as all one background. My pink fabrics are all closer in tone – they have enough print variation to make it interesting to look it, but not so much that they contrast much between them.

So it looks like maybe I’ll reverse my layout, in a move that surprises me more than anyone! Quilt-alongers: I don’t tell you this to say that you can’t have dark backgrounds or variation in your choices or anything like that. Playing with the contrast or non-contrast could be totally awesome. In my case my background pile already contrasts my peel pile nearly as strongly as it possibly could, and that’s what I’m going for. The variation between my blues distracts from that – but maybe it’d be awesome in yours?

Have you tested out your layout at all yet? Did it do anything to surprise you?

(Oh and by the way, for anyone waiting for the final part of my Crazy Quilting Sampler tutorials, that’ll be up tomorrow! later in the week, hopefully. I’m really sorry for the delay.)

Tools & Toys Tuesday: Festival of Quilts Goodies!

Festival of Quilts Day One Goodies

Festival of Quilts Day Two Goodies

The Festival of Quilts came and went again this weekend – both the best of times and worst of times. It’s better than Christmas (like, by a lot) but then it’s over and I’m sad again. If only it could the Festival of Quilts every day!

But of course part of the fun is that it’s a massive whirlwind of pretty fabric and beautiful patchwork and chatting with strangers and giggling over cheeky purchases and scrutinizing thread types and puzzling over the awe-inspiring quilts on display. I’ll share a bit of what we saw later this week, but first I have to show off my goodies!

You’ll see that I may have bought quite a bit of fabric. There’s a voice in the back of my head that says I should feel guilty about this, but I just really don’t. I had an amount saved for spending and I went forth and spent the hell out of it. I really needed a responsibily-free fun-fest and it absolutely was. I still feel a bit high just thinking about it!

You’ll see some Liberty pieces there, a bunch of Lizzy House that I’m so pleased to have managed to get my grubby hands on before it’s too late, and a bunch of Cotton + Steel. A few of those will go into planned projects, but they are mostly just stash additions. ‘Cause they’re pretty. And I wanted them, dammit.

There’s a couple Christmas prints there, which will go into a second Christmas quilt to use up the scraps from the first. I scored three meters of a Catnap print (the pink triangles) which, along with the navys and pinks in this hoard, will go straight into a project I’m nearly about to start – which will be a series of tutorials (or hopefully a sew-along, if people are willing to join me!) coming very, very soon.

As for tools, I picked up a few spools of Aurifil thread that I want to try out and some quilter’s rubber thimbles, which were recommended in one of my Fat Quarterly Retreat classes. But my unexpected prize of the weekend? That funny little wooden roller, which has had people asking about it in my last few IG photos – that’s a seam roller, which I spied on someone’s desk at the FQR and looked so damn handy, I thought to myself, ‘Self, you needs one of those!’. And yet, I nearly passed it up, ’cause I’m stupid, but luckily went back for it. If you do any sort of foundation piecing or hand-piecing with seams that need pressing often, this tool is for you – it flattens the hell out of seams but doesn’t stretch them at all. Genius!

Did you go to the FoQ? What’s your favorite new toy??

Tools & Toys Tuesday: Christmas Fabrics

If I’m going to turn my leftover half-square triangles from my Giant Christmas Swoon into a new Christmas quilt later this year, I better start looking at Christmas fabrics to add to it. I didn’t use many (or any, actually) actual Christmas-themed fabric on the front of my Swoon, just reds and greens that gave the right Christmassy feel.

But I think it’d be fun to put some theme / novelty fabrics into a second quilt! They’d have to be just so though, I’m very particular about my Christmas decorations. Tacky is great, but only if it’s really, properly tacky. Half-tacky is no good, it’s usually just cringe-able – you’re aiming for a so-bad-it’s-good sort of thing, you know?

I also love retro Christmas – I think the cutest Christmas quilting fabrics from the last few years have definitely been the vintage-inspired prints. Here’s two adorable prints from one of my favorite UK fabric shops, Fabric Rehab, both from Dashwood Studio’s Christmas Wish collection:



Here’s some happy little elves from The Village Haberdashery (Michael Miller’s Candy Claus collection):


And fabric fair isle (from Studio E’s Winter Essentials II)?! This one absolutely has to be in my quilt!


And lastly, from Emma’s Fabric Studio, these amazingly weird floating Santa heads! Dude, I gots to have these!


What’s your favorite Christmas fabric?

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