Quickly becoming a best-seller, Aria ahr-ee-uh is a quilt pattern for any feather-weight or other vintage machine lover!
Arias evolved from simple melodies in the 14th century and became a means to tell a story in a more emotional way, allowing a musicians (and later, vocalists) to display their talent. Arias are mostly associated with opera today.
So why call this pattern an Aria? Take a look at her…she’s definitely a singer!
While the traditionalist might cringe, fun things are happening with these featherweight machines. Tables and inserts, custom carry cases, and bright new paint jobs are indicators that these little work-horses will be around awhile.
As I mentioned HERE, I’d love to someday own a colorful featherweight, so making a Tula Pink quilt version seemed the thing to do!
#usebothsides of one focus fabric for the machine, binding, bunting (reverse), and scissors and thimble (both reverse). Choose fun, scrappy background fabrics and accent strips – all the while learning the nuances of value! (Click here for more about value.)
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to share my quilting journey with a group of women whose enthusiasm for quilting was truly inspiring to me.
The Inspired Quilters of Warrensburg, Missouri invited me to speak during their guild meeting. It was a cold, wet, and somewhat icy night. I expected a lower turnout of members due to the weather. That was my first surprise.
One of the interesting things I see when speaking to quilt guilds is the uniqueness of each group.
As quilters notably are, everyone was welcoming and helpful – helping my friend and me carry in 50 quilts, bins of patterns and fabric, and set up the power point.
After the presentation, Nancy and were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic quilters who lined up, waiting to purchase patterns and kits. It’s so fun to see people excited about something you’ve designed – and it is quite humbling.
What I noticed next, while Nancy and I spent the next hour repacking quilts and patterns, was how excited and involved the quilters were in their guild meeting. I was wishing I could sit and watch, especially when it came time for Show and Tell. It seemed like each quilter did more than showed her quilt, she told the story behind her project – who or what it was for, how it came about…the details that make a quilt more than just a quilt.
These quilters truly inspire me – to tell the details, to let people know the stories behind the quilts.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Whether the quilts we make are for special people in our lives, for hurting people we don’t even know, for veterans and service members to be honored, or even for learning something new alongside friends – it’s the people in the story that make quilting worthwhile.
A heartfelt thanks to the quilters in Warrensburg for sharing their quilting journey with me!
Start your packing – it’s time to take your quilting on the road!
Below is my 2019 Quilt Retreat List. I have found that you can’t make a good list if you aren’t clear on your retreat objectives…sounds official, doesn’t it?
Is your retreat purely for productivity? Is it social? Do you spend time shopping? Going out to eat? Do you eat quick bites on location or carefully planned meals? Is your goal to relax? Did you answer, “All of the above?”
I think that’s why i take so many items on retreat – I want to pack (no pun intended) EVERYthing I can into a few days – high productivity, great fabric shopping, relaxation, yummy food, rest, movies, music, walks, and fun with friends…is that too much to ask?
I hope this “official” list helps you on your next quilt retreat – or even just a bit of quilting on the road…
*Sewing machine, electrical cord, pedal, extra light bulb, feet, manual, bobbins, Q-tips for cleaning.
*Sewing table, extra lighting.
*Fabric, patterns, projects, kits, felt-backed table cloth or other design wall with tacks, painters tape, or 3M strips for hanging.
*Personal items which might include drinks, snacks, rice bag to heat for sore shoulders, comfortable clothing and walking shoes, pain relief, charger cords, overnight bag and products, chocolate, and popcorn.
NOW for the REST of the story: a reveal of everything that is actually in my spinning work station (I use it in my studio, plus it’s ready to hit the road on a moment’s notice. Note: I’ve never really cleaned it out before!)
Top left to bottom right: Fusible web (hmmm, not my favorite kind, so it must be for emergencies only), pressing spray, mini iron, chain-piecing cutter, very cute rice bag (for sore muscle, compliments of friend Donna), various rotary blades, The Purple Thang, a gripper tool, bandages, rotary cutter, two styles of Karen K. Buckley scissors (definitely a fave), Pre-cuts guide for fabric purchase emergencies, thumb tacks, pins, cord wrap, thread, Q-tips, battery, thread and button (?), needles, a plethora of markers and pencils, snipping scissors, Fabric Fuse (never used it), the back of something which apparently held batteries, calculator (fabric purchase emergency?) guild directory (what’s her name?), obsolete business cards, note pads, another gripper tool, clips (hmmm, for hanging table cloth design wall?), True Grips (truly a favorite), and last, but not least, Martelli cutters (I am an ambidextrous cutter, so I use both left and right-handed ones). Whew!
What have I missed? Tell me in the comment section below!
To the tune of “On the Cover of the Rolling Stones”, I feel like singing! At the close of 2018, I happened onto my pattern, “Holly”, featured on the cover of a Hoffman California Fabrics’ catalog!
It began with an email asking if I (along with four or five other designers) would like to try our hand at designing with a new Christmas line of fabric. It’s my understanding that other designers use digital fabric swatches and their computers to design patterns. But since I use BOTH sides of the fabric, I need the real thing!
Click HERE to see the Winter Projects 2019 Catalog by Hoffman California Fabrics.
We had a week for the deadline – but since I needed the fabric shipped to me and then I needed to ship the finished quilt back to California, I had less than that to design and make the quilt!
Frankly, I was in a hurry! Add to the mix that it was Thanksgiving weekend, I was driving six hours on Saturday, attending our daughter’s show, driving four on Sunday, and staying in a hotel (with terribly inadequate lighting) until Tuesday AND, until I could see and audition BOTH sides of the fabric, I had no idea if my idea would work!
Working with both sides of fabric means lots of value-checking. You can’t tell from the front of fabric if the reverse will work. Some fabrics have great reverses and some just don’t. Click HERE for “The Tricky Traits of Value”.
The Christmas tree panel is gorgeous on its own – who would want to cut that apart? I certainly wouldn’t cut it to make another tree. I was also pretty certain that other designers would be designing borders around the whole panel, so mine had to be different.
I started to focus on the fat-quarter panel they sent. I had received a whole box of fabric to choose from and I knew if I wanted to use this panel, I couldn’t just use one fat-quarter of it or even half of them- I needed to use the whole panel. After auditioning many combinations, I decided I could use the panel – BOTH sides of the panel!
So…once again, it all comes down to fabric values. In classes, I have quilters audition many background fabrics and take lots of black and white pictures to see how their background fabrics “play” with their focus fabric. The smaller accents strips are allowed to be a bit “louder”, but the larger pieces need to provide interest as opposed to distraction. So take a look at this picture of the panel. Lots of dark fabric, right? Really pretty fabric…but more darks than lights.
Now look at a close-up of the quilt. Do you recognize those fabrics? …same fat quarters from the panel – just using the other side! Most of the accents strips are made from the front side. The bows, bells, stripes, plaid, and Christmas words make this an exciting background for the Holly wreath. One of the fat-quarters had two stockings printed on it. I used the one on the wreath and I embroidered the second stocking for the quilt label.
The wreath is made using fused holly leaf shapes from the Christmas tree panel. Being a digital print, the fabric has a sparkle of light to it, making the wreath sparkle as well.
Even the pieced binding is made from the fat-quarter panel!
This is a fun quilt to make and so easy to shop for if you use the two panels! While I have no official timeline, my guess is that these fabrics will be in shops by summer!
If you have Christmas yardage in your stash – you can use it! I wrote this pattern to work with the panels as shown OR using your own choices of fabrics. The same method applies to both – it’s all about the value!
Here’s how Holly look inside the catalog!
I designed Phoebee 2.0 using BOTH sides of Hoffman California Fabrics “Electric Garden” as the focus fabric -it’s available in shops now!
Shop all my patterns at my Etsy Shop: Creative Bee Studios (Click HERE)
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“Holiday Revue” is our youngest daughter’s current dinner theatre gig at the Myers Dinner Theatre in Hillsboro, Indiana.
Our first stop in the quaint town was a visit to the old-fashioned soda shop!
Everything about the dinner was delicious and the Christmas “variety” show featured every Christmas genre: we heard beautiful spiritual music, classic carols, and youthful tunes. Featured guests included Mary and Joseph, Elvis, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Frosty, a cow girl, a giant blue bear, Linus, and a stage full of life-size toys.
And there was lots of audience participation! Yes, that is my husband on stage and dancing to Santa Baby! I got a little hug from Elvis!
The show ended my favorite way- with a wonderful White Christmas finale!
Oh, the weather outside is frightful…
It’s the most wonderful time for quilts! Do you include quilts in your Christmas decor?
You might recall JOY, made with Hoffman California Fabrics All Aglow on a scrappy background. The tree, topper, and binding are made from the front of the focus fabric and the gifts are made from the reverse.
This year, I #usebothsides of one Hoffman California Fabrics Supernova Seasons panel for the tree, topper, gifts, and binding! It’s a fun quilt pattern that makes a great gift for a quilter friend, a quick quilt to gift, or to add to your Christmas decor.
b) me learning about the first-time discount was what it took for me to finally subscribe. I want to share my discovery with YOU!
I remember as a teenager subscribing to a make-up club. It was so fun to get different products in the mail to try each month. I figured, what could be better than make-up? Fabric, patterns, notions, thread, and more, all mailed in a cute little teal and brown box and delivered to my mailbox!
Options: They state there is a Quilty Box for everyone – and there is!
Classic: This is the original box which features a different artist each month, 2 yards of fabric, a spool of thread, pattern, one or two notions or tools, and a mini-magazine. The price is $48.00 but if you prepay, you can get discounts on that monthly rate.
English Paper Piecing: In partnership with PaperPieces.com, this box includes a pack of 5 x 5″ fabrics, thread, templates and paper pieces for the pattern, and a mini magazine. This starting price is $34.99 with discounts applied for prepayment.
Mini: Inside this little package you’ll find a full-sized pack of 5 x 5″ fabric and a small spool of thread, the mini-magazine, three patterns, a mini-pattern, and an English paper-piecing pattern all for $23.99 (with discounts for prepayment).
First-time discount? Receive $10 off your first box!
So what are my thoughts about Quilty Box?
I loved it! It was so fun to get in the mail. I saved my box to open until I could give it my full attention! My box came with eight fat-quarters of Tula’s new line. This was especially fun because when we heard her speak this fall in Paducah, she explained how she designed that line of fabric. Also inside my box was Aurifil thread, a cute pattern for zippered pouches which I would actually love to make, zippers for the bags, and large piece of Soft and Stable for the bags. The Bundles of Inspiration magazine is high-quality and I’m looking forward to reading it cover-to-cover. It features an article about Tula, several patterns, history and how-to’s for English paper piecing, and more!
Need a gift for a quilter friend? Send them a Quilty Box!
Shipping is free in the USA.
One thing you need to know about Quilty Box is that your order begins an automatic subscription. You can easily and promptly cancel your subscription with a simple email to firstname.lastname@example.org . I did it and received an email confirmation of the cancellation immediately.
So why did I cancel my subscription? ONLY, ONLY, ONLY because I am already overwhelmed with projects, new patterns designs, my Etsy shop, and my teaching/program schedule! If I were wanting a fun way to treat myself, get inspiration, and learn about the latest in the industry, I’d definitely continue my subscription!
By the way, I hereby reserve the right to order Quilty Box again!
In fact…maybe (on behalf of my readers), I should really order at least one of each TYPE of Quilty Box – so I can report back, of course. What do you think?
Here is my Tula Pink version of Aria (expressive music heard in opera – she’s a “singer”…) Quilt Patttern. See Vintage Machine Quilt Pattern for more information.
For the next six hours, I auditioned 42 fabrics (both sides of each) trying to get just the right mix of color, contrast, values, and feel that would be worthy of this new line by Hoffman California Fabrics.
Phoebee is the pattern and Electric Garden is the fabric line. Of course, I took tons of pictures, mostly black and white, and still this was a challenge…and a gamble! Not seeing the reverse of a fabric before-hand made me a little nervous – some fabrics just don’t have usable reverse sides.
Well, Electric Garden rocks! Vibrant color with a soft, contrasting reverse side was just the recipe I needed. I flipped several backgrounds to their reverse as well, so they wouldn’t compete with the bee or flowers. The next step was cutting out Phoebee and her flowers.
I slept on this mix so I could get a fresh look the next morning. Yes! I began fusing and quilting (on my Handiquilter Avante) right away. Next came the prairie point hanging method, binding, label, photos, writing and producing the pattern, and Phoebee was flying to California on Tuesday, August 7th!
My new friend in California let me know Phoebee arrived safely! Now for the waiting game…
Quilt Market in Houston was November 3 – 5. I was fortunate that several kind quilter souls saw Phoebee hanging in the Hoffman California Fabric booth and shared their pics with me on Instagram! Thank you, friends!
This morning I am shipping Phoebee 2.0 patterns to a very fun quilt shop in (wait for it) Canada!
Original Phoebee and Phoebee 2.0 quilt patterns are available in my Etsy Shop HERE.
Aria ahr-ee-uh: expressive music often heard in opera. (Get it? She’s a singer?)
This is a fun little quilt that you can make using both sides of one focus fabric – think florals, feathers (she’s a featherweight!), sewing notions, Tula Pink, Kaffe Fassett Collective – the possibilities are endless for making this the cutest little machine you own!
The sewing machine and binding are made from the front of the focus fabric. The pennants, little scissors, and thimble are made using the reverse side of the same focus fabric!
Someday I’d like to own a beautiful turquoise featherweight, preferably purchased in person from Roxanne’s A Wish and A Dream shop in California! (Talk about California dreamin’ – we did live there – twice, and in three places- Dana Point, Lake Forest, and Escondido!)
I was drawn to this lovely, sweet floral with beautiful roses for this machine. Of course, the reverse side passed my audition test (pattern comes with guide for auditioning both sides of focus and background fabrics).
Choosing backgrounds for this little wall hanging is the most fun. You can really mix it up here!
Each #usebothsides pattern comes with complete instructions and full-size paper templates.
Wanna jazz things up? Check out this Tula Pink version! LOVE.
Find the Aria quilt pattern and 22 others which #usebothsides of one focus fabric in my Etsy shop: HERE.
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South Dakota, wildlife everywhere, incredible terrain, bison strolling along the roadside, animal skulls…this isn’t some cutesy butterfly pattern I’m introducing…in fact, it took this Southeast Missouri girl some time to wrap her head around it…
…but with the right fabrics – WOW! I’m diggin’ this bison skull quilt pattern. I hope you are, too!
As many of you know from “South Dakota Quilts & More” (click here), our recent trip to the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park included some fun sights, statues, monuments and, of course, quilt shops.
Tanka is the first pattern in what I call my “Out West” series.
Tanka, in Lakota, means “big, great”.
I chose feathers on a light background for the focus fabric. The skull is made from the reverse side of it and the hanging feather decoration is cut from the front. The background fabrics for this quilt were really fun to play with! Don’t you just love that black and white fence row fabric at the bottom? I found it and “several” other fabulous fabrics at The Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, SD.
A fun element of making these quilts is mixing up the background fabrics. This one has batik, southwest, gold circles on gray (but reversed), grunge and a fur look to really give interest to the quilt.
It’s so much fun to #usebothsides of fabrics and it’s a great way to learn about the nuances of value. You won’t look at fabric the same way again! AND when you use both sides, you DOUBLE your stash! Give it a try!
If you like the wildlife theme, hang on! There’s some really fun ones in the thinker and on the design wall!