Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Land of Magic blog tour: the crown block

Good morning and welcome to my blog! It's been a while since I posted, but when Kerry asked me to participate in her Land of Magic blog tour, I couldn't think of a better reason to dust off the ol' keyboard.

I was very excited to be assigned to make the crown block from Kerry's Land of Magic quilt (have you seen it? It's too cute and clever for words!), because as Kerry knows, I love to fussy cut and the crown block is a perfect candidate for some fussy cutting. 

Normally, I like to do English paper piecing, but a fun and maybe little known fact about me is that I like to do foundation piecing as well. People are always mixing up English paper-piecing with foundation piecing (probably because they are both commonly referred to as just plain old "paper piecing"), but the two are very different. For those of you who don't know, English paper-piecing is always done by hand using paper templates whereas foundation piecing is always done by machine, sewing onto a paper foundation.

The crown block gave me all kinds of ideas and there are so many ways you could use this block. The shape of the crown would be perfect done up in solid gold with a little fur trim at the bottom and if you were to then embroider "Let the wild rumpus start!" you would have yourself a very cute piece of wall art for a children's room (Tell me you get the reference!).

You could also make some yo yos and applique them onto the crown for a fairy princess crown (I could see a whole quilt done that way, with different fabrics for each crown block...oh yes!!!) and what about appliqueing a cute little frog peering out at you from behind the crown for a Princess and the Frog tribute? Soooo many possibilities for this block, I tell you!

But what immediately came to mind for me was some very regal Tula Pink fabric that I had in my stash and the idea to turn this block into a tooth fairy pillow. So, that's what I did! 

The block finishes at 8" which is ideal for little hands to hold. I added a little tiny pocket on the back for tooth-and-treasure-leaving purposes and then added a floral piping. Before I was even done, my son (who is only 3 and not quite yet in his tooth-losing years) decided this pillow was for him, which of course made my mommy heart swell. As I type, he is still asleep with the pillow beside him. Awww, they're so cute when they're sleeping ;-) 

Fabrics I used were Tula Pink for Free Spirit "Elizabeth" for the crown, shot cotton in mushroom (I use this fabric waaaaaay too much) for the background, Kim Kight for Cotton+Steel "Lucky Strike" floral for the piping and Aneela Hoey for Moda "Hello Petal" tiny dot for the backing of the pillow. All were fabrics from my stash.

Thank you so much to Kerry for asking me to create one of these blocks and thank you to you for stopping by the blog! Come find me on Instagram @Alewivesfabrics where I post almost every day rather than once every couple of years ;-)


Monday, September 1, 2014

Blog Sweet Blog

I do love having a blog.

I will always love the blog, and I thoroughly intend to spend more time with it in the near future.

But I am cheating on my blog with Instagram.

Until the blog and I work things out in couples therapy, I do hope you will check in on me and the shop via Instagram (and Facebook, too... I am an equal opportunity cheater).

There is some fun stuff going on over there.




Even if you don't have an Instagram or Facebook account, you can see our latest posts by visiting the website's homepage... just click on the colorful icons at the top of the page.  The one that looks like a letter "f" is Facebook and the one that looks like an old camera is Instagram!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wall of minis

We are having way too much fun here this summer.

Most days, you will find us furiously stitching mini quilts at the shop...

I've had this cockamamie idea for a while now to do a "wall of minis" in our booth at Maine Quilts, which is coming right up in a couple of weeks.

We will have a large display of small quilts taking up a significant portion of our display space.

 In other words, a "wall of minis" (say it as you spread your hands across the sky in a most fabulous manner: "wall of minis!").

The whole mini trend is so hot right now: I have drunk the Kool-Aid and the rest of the Alewives Girls are right there with me.

If you aren't going to the show, we've got lots of minis to show you at the shop.

From flying geese to teeny tiny pears.

Fun stuff, I tell you.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July!!!

We are enjoying some hot, hot weather here in Maine this week.

Ollie, Bert and I will be headed to Sprucehead for our annual 4th of July gathering with friends and I am really looking forward to watching Bert play in the surf, eating great food, drinking some fabulous libations, enjoying the company and relaxing.

There will be a giveaway this weekend, hosted by Amanda Soule on her blog Soulemama.

Head on over there and you might win one of our "Main Street" fat quarter bundles.

No stars, lots of stripes: Americana at its best.

And for those of you who aren't lucky enough to win, everyone can use the code "SOULEMAMA" to enjoy a 10% discount on your purchases now through July 13th.

To use the code online, enter "SOULEMAMA" into the promotional code field at checkout.

You know the drill: the discount won't appear in your final order total or your confirmation e-mail, but we will manually change the cost of the order on our end.

And to receive the discount in person, just mention Soulemama at the register and we will discount your purchase by 10%: easy-peasy.

Have a great holiday!!!



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Give me the Liberty and Chambray throw or give me DEATH!!! Free tutorial

The velveteen throws we have made in the past will always hold a special place in my heart, but lately there is a new set of fabrics here at the shop that have garnered my attention.

I am speaking, of course, about the Liberty of  London Tana Lawns we have received that just happen to look oh-so perfect with the Union Chambray by Robert Kaufman that we have also received of late.

When these two new substrates arrived at the shop, we immediately knew we had to make a throw, but we had a DICKENS of a time choosing which Liberty we wanted to use (they are all so gorgeous!!!) and which Union Chambray we wanted to use (regardless of which Liberty we chose, all of the chambrays seemed to match perfectly!!!)

As my friend Kristine would say, this is a rich man's problem.

But, we did finally make a choice and I got one of my girls on the case and within a couple of hours we had a new throw for the shop.

Do you love it? (I love it.)

If you'd like to make a Liberty and Chambray throw of your own, I have a newly revamped set of instructions for you to use. Click the links to download (Page 1, Page 2 ).

We've also listed complete kits in our online shop.

For those of you out there who may not be familiar, Liberty of London is an iconic design house from merry olde England that has been producing THE most beautiful textiles for the last century or so.  Lately, however, the substrate called Tana Lawn has become uber-popular with quilters: particularly those of us who like to call themselves "modern" quilters (exhibit A: Elizabeth Hartman's absolutely adorable "Fancy Fox" quilt, among others.)

Although lawn is traditionally used for garments (it's smooth and silky cotton: a lot like voile.  Perfect for nightgowns, breezy blouses and dreamy pillowcases) it is great in quilts.

And let me tell you about this Union Chambray!  Such a hit here at the shop.

It's soft, sturdy, timeless, and pairs well with everything. EVERY. THING.

The colors in the chambray are quite subtle: they can skew from blue to gray in a heartbeat, depending on what you put next to them.

As we say here at the shop: it's a very friendly fabric and plays well with others.

We have a handful of chambrays available at the shop and have given them their own category on the website.

And even though this sounds implausible, ANY of the chambrays are a good fit with any of the Liberty prints.  We haven't seen a combination yet that was less than stellar.

So please do go ahead and download the set of instructions for making the Liberty and Chambray throw. 
Click the links to download: 

We  have complete kits available on the website right here.

Kits include your choice of 1.5 yards of Liberty and 1.5 yards of Chambray, the Quilter's Dream wool batting (We must insist on using the wool batting! It's super light and airy: a great pairing with the lawn, and don't forget it's machine washable!), a coordinating skein of embroidery floss, and a set of instructions.

Kits are $85.95.  Yes, you read that correctly!  The price of the kits comes out to be just $6.00 more than our Velveteen Throw kits... even though the Liberty is a bit "dear," the Chambray is only $8.50 a yard, so it all evens out quite nicely!

Please enjoy the free tutorial, and remember to use #alewivesfabrics if you post about us in any social media.



Friday, April 4, 2014

What can you do with just one fat quarter of vinyl laminate? Tutorial roundup!!!

The Swag Bag
 If you are local to our shop then you know that every year, April means one thing:

The Shop Hop is a celebration of Spring and a chance for quilters to get out of the house and on the road, connecting with fellow hoppers and collecting swag along the way.

This year, Alewives is giving away a goodie bag containing a free fat quarter of vinyl laminate fabric to all Shop Hoppers.

Our customers LOVE vinyl laminate.

In addition to yardage we sell it in pre-cut fat quarters here at the shop, and I can always spot someone whose never sewn with vinyl laminate before when they hold up a vinyl laminate fat quarter and ask the inevitable question:

What can you do with one of these?

To which I always smile and respond:  

What CAN'T you do with one of these???

To make it easier on one and all (but mostly myself), I've rounded up some tutorials from across the web that need just one fat quarter of vinyl laminate (or in some cases, you'll need to add a bit of fabric from your stash) to complete.

 Proceed with caution: you are about to fall into a very deep rabbit hole full of inspiration and creativity!

*We've made this one a lot here at the shop, but you should note that Martha wants you to have a 29" length of oilcloth or vinyl laminate to make your lunch bag.  MOST of our vinyl fat quarters are cut from 54" wide fabric, so they measure 18" by 27."  For this project we just cut the fat quarter as long as we can, then follow Martha's instructions from there: no need to change anything else in the instructions except the length and your lunch bag will still work just fine!

Some helpful website with hints and tips for working with and sewing on vinyl laminate can be found here, here and here.

All of our vinyl laminates at the shop can be viewed on our website here.

I hope that's helpful to all those of you who are new to vinyl laminate...  it really is fun stuff.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Twinkle, twinkle...

We're kinda in love with this quilt... Night Sky by Jaybird Quilts.

More pictures to follow soon, but we need to bind this one and wrastle it outside so we can get a good photo of the whole thing (it's a queen size!).

Custom quilted by our own Tammy.

I love the ruler work she did on this one.

She knew there was no way (NO way) she was doing some ol' pantograph design on this looker.

We were so pleased when Julie (the creative mind behind Jaybird Quilts) mentioned us on her blog... what an honor!

(Makes us twinkle a little)