Sunday, January 14, 2018

FreeSpirit presents Folk Tales by Jane Sassaman


Happy New Year! Are you ready to start things off with a bang? Need some ideas to help you keep your sewing and making resolutions for 2018? Look no further. We've got you covered.

Jane Sassaman's newest collection, Folk Tales, is shipping to stores this month. The fun factor in this collection is high and makes for easy drama no matter what project you choose. Jane is known for her personality prints and bold, beautiful color combinations and Folk Tales does not disappoint. You'll find bugs, chickens and lovely flowers—all of which combine to do the hard work for you.

These motifs practically beg to be made into kitchen projects. Everything from aprons to pot holders to place mats and table runners are excellent options. Because the best way to set yourself up for success with those sewing resolutions is to start easy with great fabric, today's tutorial will walk you through the necessary steps to make two place mats (18 1/2” x 14 1/2”).

To begin, cut the following pieces:
            (2) 10 1/2” x 14 1/2” rectangles from Kerchief
            (4) 3 1/2” x 14 1/2” strips of Blanket Stripe
            (4) 1 1/2” x 14 1/2” strips of solid black
            (4) 2” x Width of Fabric strips of Indispensable Dots (optional)
            (2) 18 1/2” x 14 1/2” rectangles of Bumblebee
            (2) 18 1/2” x 14 1/2” rectangles of fusible fleece

Sew one Blanket Stripe strip to one side of a Kerchief rectangle. Sew a second Blanket Stripe strip to the other side of Kerchief rectangle. Press seams.

Sew a solid black strip to each Blanket Stripe. Press seams.

Repeat for second place mat.

Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse one piece of fusible fleece to each pieced top.

Optional: If choosing to omit binding, sew the pieced top and the backing, right sides together, around the edges. Leave a gap of approximately 4” inches for turning on one side. Clip the corners. Turn right side out and press. Slip stitch the opening closed. Edgestitch around all sides of the place mat. Quilt as desired.

Place pieced top and backing wrong sides together. Baste as necessary. Quilt as desired. Trim edges if necessary.

Sew 2” strips of Indispensable Dots together end to end. Press in half along length, wrong sides together. Pin to front side of place mat and sew. Press to back and hand stitch in place.

To add dramatic flair to your table setting, use the Kerchief yardage to make a table cloth. Or enlarge a quilt block to make a table topper as seen in this inspiration only image.

These easy mats make great gifts and are just the thing to keep on hand for last minute gifting. If you're short on time, skip the piecing and use a single 14 1/2” x 18 1/2” rectangle of different prints for a varied table setting. Easy peasy!

Choose a colorway, grab some yardage, and start enjoying a pop of color in the new year!

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Iconic Tula Pink designs now available for you to backstitch, French knot, chain stitch, etc. in her new book, Coloring with Thread!

The Chipmunk from Chipper, the Frog Fly King from Prince Charming, Pony Play from Fox Field, Astraea flower from Elizabeth, plus so much more awaits you in the pages of the new Coloring with Thread by Tula Pink.


Coloring with Thread by Tula Pink, Available Now
All these designs, so lovingly created through Tula Pink's talented hand and watchful eye, are iconic in the world of fabric and quilting.  They are near and dear to Tula's heart, each with their own imaginative tales of adventure and playful spirits, much like Tula. We have all fallen in love with the thought and idea of who Tula has created them to be, line by line, vibrant color after vibrant color, so lovingly placed with intention and vision.

Now Tula, asks you to collaborate with her by loading your needle with the gorgeous colors of Anchor embroidery floss, and bringing to life these iconic drawings by coloring with thread.  She is anxiously waiting to see you hand-stitch Dear Me from Moonshine, the Octopi from Salt Water or The Hare from Slow and Steady.

If you haven't hand-stitched in ages, now is the time to dust off your embroidery hoop and refresh your hands with simple stitches or jump right in and satin stitch.  Coloring with Thread tells you everything you need to know from helpful tips for transferring designs to the best fabrics for you hand-stitching to call home.  This books is the perfect primer whether you are a seasoned professional or you are just looking for a portable, creative hobby. Tula offers 17 heart-felt designs, awaiting you to breathe new life into each soulful line.   

Our friends from The Quilting Company asked us to help spread the word.  Read what other bloggers are saying about Coloring with Thread by Tula Pink. As you know, Tula is near and dear to our hearts and we'd love to hear from you. Comment on our blog and tell us about your first hand embroidery project. We will select one commentator on Friday, December 15, to win a package of Tula Pink fabric and some goodies from Anchor, so you can Color with Thread! 

November 27th The Quilting Company  
November 28th  Minki’s Worktable  
November 29th Wildboho  
November 30th Sew Daily
December 1st Nydia Kehnle Design 

December 5th Raspberry Sunshine  
December 6th Crafty Planner 
December 7th zakkaArt  
December 8th Elise & Emelie  
December 12th Sew Sweetness    
December 13th Free Spirit Fabrics  
December 14th The Sewful Life  
December 15th The Quilting Company  


 Photos courtesy of F & W Media.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Artist UnSEWn Series presents Autumn Grace by Verna Mosquera

Autumn, my favorite of all seasons. As I sat down to write this blog post I began to reminisce about what this beautiful season has meant throughout my life. It has gifted me wonderful memories.

As a young girl I would spend hours raking leaves before school with my older brother. Just when we thought each tree could not shed another, more and more would fall making the quantities seem endless. Even though a chore it somehow turned into great fun as we dove into our piles at the end of each day.

In my teens it represented fall sports, endless hours training soccer on the green grass fields as the sun set in California and created the most beautiful skies of pink. Weekends meant watching and playing football in the backyard. Although my taste is now girly I grew up a bit of   a tomboy never wanting to be left out of the action.

When I got married autumn meant long runs after work with my husband feeling those crackling leaves crush under each stride. The air was cool and crisp and so invigorating. Saturday mornings meant trips to the farmers market picking delicious apples, pomegranates and squash in endless varieties of color.

Soon came motherhood and autumn became about a new school year and watching my boys grow. In the early years that meant walking them to school playing kick the acorn and scoring goals through a break in the side walk at the end of the street. They were everywhere as our town is blessed with the most beautiful oak trees. Then trips to the pumpkin patch where the boys wanted orange and my heart would sing when I’d see white & blue green cinderella varieties.

Of course no autumn season would have been complete without long family gatherings full of laughs and comfort food. Not to mention those special coffee outings with girlfriends while the boys were still in class. It is the perfect time to gather.

It is also a time to express gratitude for all that life brings each year. There is no greater sentiment as I have been and continue to be incredibly blessed by all those around me. I am also incredibly thankful for my creativity and the way that I am able to see the world in its most vivid and subtle beauty. I most definitely embrace autumn in all the grace it offers.

As I designed Autumn Grace I had all of these treasured memories and delightful colors in mind. The collection is peaceful and romantic just the way I see this very special season. I am currently working on a new appliqué quilt called Forever Fall. The weather is perfect as I curl up in the comfort of my studio to stitch a while. With the boys in their teens now my days are   spent with my dog Oliver who finds his autumn fun chasing squirrels in the backyard. Autumn days are just as wonderful as they have always been and the memories just keep on coming.

I hope that all of you will find my newest collection Autumn Grace inspiring, I can hardly wait to see what folks make out of it.
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Monday, October 23, 2017

The Artist UnSEWn Featuring English Garden by Snow Leopard Designs

"The English Garden Collection" from Snow Leopard designs is inspired by my deep love for English gardens and English garden plants. For the inspiration for the collection I drew on a number of sources including 19th century botanical illustrations from my archive, as well as antique seed packets and catalogues and antique floral fabrics also from my archives.

The design: "Vegetable Garden" was directly inspired by antique and vintage seed packets. I have always found the style of these designs so visually pleasing and I wanted to try to convey this rich fullness of form, texture and colour directly to fabric.

"Strawberry Fields" was inspired by an illustration of strawberries in an antique volume in my collection called "The Floral World". I had bought a whole set of these books in the late 1980s and had often thought how wonderfully the strawberry print would transfer to fabric to make a simple and striking design.

"Begonias" was developed from an antique English textile document in my archive that was first printed in the 1890s. I loved the crisp sharpness of the drawing and the outline so reminiscent of late Victorian England.


Pelargonium was also developed from a late 19th century textile document in my archive. I have always had a passion for Pelargoniums and geraniums with their amazingly patterned leaves and jump at any chance to include them in my designs. I also developed an all over pelargonium leaf pattern to lie under the different blooms as a background texture. This pattern was then also produced as a separate semi plain fabric: "Pelargonium Leaves" where it works as solid colour to co-ordinate with the other designs in the collection.

"Garden Peonies" was inspired by a selection of antique woodblock prints in my archive that I put together to create a dense and lush all over texture of exuberance. I just love painting up this type of design and the satisfaction I get as each new colour is added from my paintbrush to the paper is hard to describe.
"Rose Bower" is a lovely little classic English rose print that I found in the late 1980s in a large old leather bound volume of English fabrics from the 1850s. It`s the sort of "filler" design that works so well with the larger patterns in quilts and on it`s own for multiple other uses such as bags and clothing etc.

Finally to round the collection off I included "Cherry Tomatoes". It is based on a lovely little woodblock print from the 1920s that I found recently. I thought that it would work so well in quilts as another texture to both frame and complement the larger prints.

For the colourways. I wanted fresh and vibrant colours that were also naturalistic and where every design and colour would work well with every pattern in the collection. I see the collection being used for a number of craft and furnishing projects including full blown flamboyant quilts that are literally full of the perfume of English gardens, to clothing, bags and all manner of household furnishings including curtains, cushions and bedding. I just hope that you have as much fun working with them as I did painting them.

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Monday, October 02, 2017

Long Arm Quilting Workbook by Teresa Silva

Achievable and Encouraging – Long Arm Quilting Workbook by Teresa Silva
Photos courtesy of F+W Media

My job as the Inspiration Manager for FreeSpirit is to take our beautiful fabric collections and create quilts to inspire shop owners and quilters to fall in love with our fabrics.  Teresa has quilted for me, always with stunning machine quilting which I, as a quilter, aspire to and admire.  So when asked to review her new Long Arm Quilting Workbook, I jumped at the chance.

I have long considered purchasing a long arm machine but always ask, “Can I do this?” “Would I be able to learn how to create the beautiful stitches that make a quilt a work of art – stitches that turns quilt tops into quilts?”

For anyone who shares my thoughts when considering a long arm machine, this book is for you! It is chalk full of everything you need to consider from batting to marking pens and needles to rulers. She delves into thread and endorses polyester and poly-wrapped thread which many have considered taboo. Most importantly, from my perspective, she confirms that your quilts deserve premium, high quality fabrics.

The book is full of techniques including practical considerations in selecting the right machine, whether a mid-arm or a long arm.  Teresa encourages you to shop for a reliable local independent retailer who will teach you how to use your machine and be there to assist with questions and repairs.

Best part, the variety of techniques presented in such detail allows a complete novice to open the book and start playing.  Teresa tells you to practice the techniques on your home sewing machine before you even consider buying a long arm. From whole cloth to pieced quilts, she openly shares what she has learned along the way, encouraging your confidence and making the techniques achievable. 

She sprinkles wonderful tips throughout the book such as doodling in a journal thus teaching yourself to draw and hanging your quilts with hand sewing needles so as not to disrupt the beauty of your work of art.  Her gallery of quilts speaks to her outstanding work and expertise, making this truly a coffee table worthy book. 

FreeSpirit is stop one on this blog tour.  Follow along and hear what others have to say as well.  I am certain they will find this book equally as inspirational. In the meantime, comment on our blog and tell us your long arm aspirations.  We will select one commentator to win a copy of Teresa Silva’s Long Arm Quilting Workbook . . . your long arm quilt dreams will come true with this book!

-Sharon Thornton

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Friday, October 6, 2017
Monday, October 9, 2017
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Friday, October 13, 2017
Monday, October 16, 2017
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Quilting is My Bliss

A few quils from Teresa's Longarm Quilting Workbook

Blog Tour-Grand Prize 1

Blog Tour-Grand Prize 2
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