Monday, November 12, 2018

For the Love of Shibori!

Shibori Clutch Gift Set Square

Last week I finished up my newest small batch gift set, Shibori LOVE!

I had pulled fabrics and carefully sourced coordinating supplies to begin making these weeks ago, just before I got sick again, so it feels extra good to have finished up this project!

Last week I shared a quick sale on my Instagram feed and this morning I added the few I have left to my Etsy Shop and I'm excited to share all the details here on the blog!

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I have always loved the way Shibori looks, whether on clothing, home décor or accessories. The mix of white and indigo dye is always so beautiful!

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To date, I've made two quilt tops using April Rhodes Observer fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics. The main print, Indigo Window Crystal is a favorite of mine and has all the beauty of a hand dyed shibori textile without the work. Love that!

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It was this print from Observer that inspired this gift set collection, and I was so thrilled to have found the perfect handcrafted sketchbook journal to include, with sixty blank pages perfect for writing and doodling with a beautiful Shibori dyed cover!

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Along with each patchwork quilted bag and handcrafted sketchbook, I'm including a lovely indigo & white zipper pull, Fanned Tassel Charm that I picked up from my favorite store, Anthropolgie! These retail for $18 a piece but I was lucky to snag just enough during a recent sale for this Shibori Love collection!

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Zipper colors include black, light blue and grey. Each bag is finished with a flat bottom making these perfect for cosmetics, craft projects and travel. These measure big, around 11"x12" and both sides are made of a similar patchwork pattern of flying geese and stripes. Some are lined with the Observer cotton canvas and others with AGF's heavy duty denim, making each bag sturdy and durable!

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Follow this link to find them in my Etsy Shop -- Shibori Patchwork Gift Set

For those ordering today, I'll include one Fat Quarter cut of ANY of my Art Gallery Fabrics! Just add in the comment section of the order the name of the print you'd like to receive and I will be happy to include that as my gift to you for supporting my handmade work!

xo Maureen

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Sun Kissed Debut!

Sun Kissed Studio Display

This past weekend I had the pleasure of sharing the studio display that I created with my upcoming collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, Sun Kissed, due in store this December! When I began work on this collection in January of this year there was plenty of snow and rain and ice and cold yet to come for us in Northern PA. Happy colors and thoughts of our annual family beach vacation were on my mind and I found myself sketching the magic and wonder of the Summer Season!

Sun Kissed Banner

"A warm breeze making the palm trees dance. Sun Kissed is glowing skin after a cool swim, a puppy’s joyful bandana, colorful pool tiles, that floral dress that will always remind us of a lovely and bright Summertime, forever engraved in vibrant tones of ocean blue, cherry red and citrus yellow."

Sun Kissed Swatch Hangers

While I was at home, sharing my studio display and celebrating the debut of this next collection, my Art Gallery Fabrics family was in Houston at Quilt Market taking pre-orders of Sun Kissed.

There are a total of 25 pieces in Sun Kissed. A 20-piece quilting cotton collection, 3 knits, 1 rayon and 1 canvas, and I have been working on some very fun sewing to create my display that will be included in my upcoming LookBook which I'll be sharing in the coming weeks!

Sun Kissed || Coming Soon || December 2018

I would have loved the opportunity to attend Quilt Market in Houston. I truly enjoy the whole production of putting a display together at the event, especially getting the opportunity to speak with shop owners and industry professionals one on one about the inspiration behind each collection. Although I wasn't able to attend, creating a studio display to share the collection's story as the designer, and to present my fabrics as samples is very important to me.

With creating the perfect space to capture and nurture a child's artistic whims as my inspiration, I got to work making my list of samples, and I love how this display came together! Included is a Sparkler inspired quilt because this collection celebrates the best of Summertime. Colorful baby doll bedding, rainbow pillows and garland because I adore these happy colors. Journals and bags galore perfect for travel & adventuring! It was such a joy to sew with this fun collection and to create this display!

Sun Kissed Creative Space

When it came time to make Sun Kissed fabric samples I've never left so many pieces of fabric intact to let the beauty of each print show. From drawstring & tote bags to half a dozen zipper pouch bags to water bottle & lunch bags in quilting cotton, canvas and rayon, I stitched up loads of bags with this collection!

Sun Kissed Bag Making

This cosmetic style bag is a favorite of mine and is made in Sun Kissed Summerdress Dreams Ray, a happy yellow floral bursting with color!

Summerdress Dreams Ray Bag

This colorful sewing setup has me wanting to sit down and fire up Haila's sweet, little Janome to make more Sun Kissed things!

How about you, what will you make with this collection?

Sun Kissed Creative Space

I hope you love Sun Kissed as much as I have loved creating it and creating with it!

xo Maureen

Monday, October 29, 2018

Autumn Vibes Pillowcases : :

Autumn Vibes Pillowcase Set

I'm a little later than I had hoped getting to my blog today, but I had a super productive sewing day. Hooray! I sewed from 8:30am to 2:00pm and I was able to complete & cross off  SEVEN small projects from my Sun Kissed to-make list. I'm hoping to make many of these new-to-me projects again with Autumn Vibes, once Quilt Market weekend is over, but for today I want to share one of my favorite Autumn Vibes sewing finishes to date -- these gorgeous pillowcases!

Autumn Vibes Pillowcase Set

I would love nothing more than to have a set of sheets for our bed made using each of my fabric collections. Wouldn't that be dreamy? There's always a few standout designs that are so perfect for bedding, that now when my rolls of advanced yardage arrive, making a set of pillowcases for myself has become tradition!

Autumn Vibes

I love picking and pulling prints from the twenty quilting cottons that make up each collection to begin my pillowcase making! Have you ever tried to make your own? It's incredibly simple and is such a great way to admire your most favorite fabrics!

I've made so many over the years that I've been sewing, always using FITF's Pretty Quick Pillowcase tutorial, which includes fancy French Seam instructions that result in a beautiful finish. I love making them so much that I offer orders anytime for custom pillowcases in my Etsy Shop!

Pillowcase Orders

For these first two Autumn Vibes pillowcases I used,

Pressed Ablossom Royal + Cozy Ditzy Plum + Harvest Trails Vanilla - -

Autumn Vibes Pillowcase Set

Foxes In Fall + Fall In Love Serene + Midfall Trellis Pumpkin - -

I made both of these pillowcases in just a short sewing session and would love nothing more than to make a dozen more, mixing and matching my Autumn Vibes prints all day long! Recently I shipped a quilt order inside of one as a special thank you gift to my customer, and now I think that will become my go-to for all quilt orders that come through my Etsy Shop. They're so much fun to make and I'm always so pleased with how they turn out!

Autumn Vibes Pillowcase Set

I really hope today's Autumn Vibes project inspires you!  xo Maureen

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* You can find the list of online retailers currently carrying Autumn Vibes under ----- MY ART GALLERY FABRICS

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Hello, October!

I can't believe more than a full month has past since I last shared here on the blog. For several years now I've enjoyed blogging regularly. Starting my day with a quick blog post to share newly stashed fabrics, a project plan, a celebratory finish or exciting news has been habit for me. When so many of my personal favorite folks in this industry shifted to fast moving, visual platforms of social media and eliminated blogging from their daily routines, I completely understood but, I made a solemn promise to myself to try my best to keep up with this blog. At times it's been impossible to find a moment in the day to share what I want. Other days, the much lower engagement would discourage me from wanting to continue posting here. While on one hand I'm not quite sure how I inadvertently missed a full month of posts, I see the long list of today's to-do's before me and I have my answer. But I've missed it here, without a doubt, so it feels good to start today playing a little catch-up!

Just after my last post, when my Autumn Vibes LookBook was just about to be released, I got sick with a bad sore throat that quickly turned into pneumonia,  again. I had tons to share, but I was much too miserable. Project plans and posts came to a halt, and honestly those couple of weeks are a complete blur to me. So let's start there, have you seen my Autumn Vibes LookBook?

LookBook Cover

I'm excited to officially invite you all to browse through it's sixty-eight pages filled with beautiful sewing projects perfect for Autumn Vibes! From small patchwork to 90" square quilts, you'll find all the inspiration you'll need for Autumn Vibes sewing!

Autumn Vibes Banner - Fabrics

I made quite a few seasonal inspired projects, that I haven't yet had a chance to blog in detail, that I'm really looking forward to sharing more about in the days ahead. Between now and Thanksgiving I'm going to try my best to get through them all, since so many will make the perfect décor or hostess gift for the holiday!

Autumn Vibes Tea Towel and Acorn Patchwork Trivet

In other news, Art Gallery recently launched a series of brand new Color Master products! It was such fun to be surprised by AGF with our Designer Palette's, did you see the announcements?

Designer's Palette Maureen Cracknell Edition No. 1

I'm so excited to share that AGF has created a collector’s box of fabrics like no other! Each Designer's Palette includes a hand-picked selection of fabric just perfect for makers to use for their creative projects. Each palette is a colorful, unique group of AGF’s signature quality cotton paired with an original and collectible box made exclusively for them! Color Master Designer’s Palette include some of the very best of each designer’s fabrics, in groups of ten prints available in two choices: Fat Quarters or Half Yards, as Bundles or Boxes!

The Maureen Cracknell Edition No. 1 includes ten pretty prints from Nightfall, Garden Dreamer and Flower Child that together creates a pretty color palette perfect for your sewing needs. I have plans to create a project or two with these select prints in mind, so stay tuned for that!

Designer's Palette Maureen Cracknell Edition No. 1

Lastly, today I need to share what I'm right in the thick of these days -- Quilt Market sewing! In just a little more than a week I need to complete, photograph and display all the samples I've been busy stitching up with my next collection due out this December, Sun Kissed! Although I'm not able to attend International Quilt Market in Houston, I'm putting together a studio display to showcase this line and I'm so thrilled with how it's coming together! I've been sharing little peeks when I can in my Instagram stories, so be sure to follow me there to get a first look at this upcoming collection. It's so much fun!

Sun Kissed COMING SOON December 2018

There's so much more I'd love to share today, but not to overwhelm you, I think that's a good start to my blog return. I hope you're as excited about these announcements as I am! The backlog of projects I have to share is in the dozens, so be sure to stop back on Monday when I'm planning a fresh start to a full week of blogging. I'll have to organize a Fabric Friday Giveaway for old times sake!

xo Maureen

Friday, September 21, 2018

Autumn Vibes Friendship Braid Tutorial : :

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This project tutorial is a Quick Quilt As You Go style quilt, made with long panels rather than traditional blocks. We'll be using cotton batting as our foundation for easy string quilt piecing. I think you'll be very surprised with just how simple and quickly this method of quilting comes together, especially those of you who have taken my Crafty class, Quick Quilt As You Go!

Fabric and Materials Required : :
  • a variety of fabrics totaling 7.5 yards cut 3" x wof (suggested) or cut into 3" x 12.5" ( I used approximately 250 pieces, using nineteen different prints from a half yard bundle of my Autumn Vibes collection)
  • 5 - 13" x 74" panels (I cut mine slightly larger than trim to size after fabrics are added) of Tuscany Cotton a 100% cotton batting by Hobbs Quilt Batting 
  • thread & sewing pins
  • fabrics for quilt backing (4.5 yards) and quilt binding (1/2 yard cut into 7 strips 2.5" x wof )
  • rotary cutter/large cutting mat/ruler set
* Notes for Quick Quilt As You Go *  
  • Synthetic batting is NOT suggested, only use a 100% cotton or natural fiber batting, such as silk, bamboo or wool. It is important to be able to press the batting with a hot iron and steam
  • Use a standard loft batting. The #1 question I receive about this QAYG is folks wanting to know if there is bulk at the seams. My answer is NO, not to a noticeable degree. I absolutely wouldn't spend my sewing time making a quilt that was poorly constructed or that wasn't comfortable!
  • Quilt panels can be made in any size! The measurements I'm sharing for this tutorial makes a 60" x 72" throw size quilt. Please feel free to adjust that to your own desired length and width.
  • To get the look of my quilt, use Autumn Vibes By the Chimney to make three panels and Autumn Vibes Fresh Night Breeze to make two panels, then alternate the panels when you sew them together

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Now, let's get started!  
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Preparing the Batting Panels:

1. To make the batting panels for the foundation piecing, cut 5 - batting strips measuring 13" x 74". I make mine slightly oversized for a little extra wiggle room and then I square them to 12.5" x 72" once they are pieced with fabric strips

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2. Place one batting panel on the cutting mat at a time, matching one of the long edges to the horizontal grid on the mat. With a ruler matched up as shown in the photo below, mark one line from the corner that's about 7" long to help start the proper angle when adding the first fabric strips. Once those first fabrics are added, you'll keep that angel naturally as you piece. Repeat this step making sure you mark all five batting panels with this line to use as your starting guide

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Adding the Fabric Strips:

3. Prepare the fabric strips by cutting fabrics into 3" x WOF strips and trim away the access length as you add the fabrics for less waste OR subcut the WOF strips into 12.5″ strips. For this quilt I used approximately 250 strips measuring on average 3" x 12.5" with a few measuring less in length for the beginning and end of my panels where that much length isn't necessary. I cut my 3" x WOF strips from a 1/2 yard bundle of Autumn Vibes, minus the Foxes in Fall print. You will need a total of 7.5 yards of fabrics for this 60" x 72" throw quilt top

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4. Using that first mark as your guide, begin by placing that first fabric right side up onto the batting, then place the next strip right side down onto that first strip, matching up the edges. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew along the raw edge. Since you're sewing the fabrics to the batting as your foundation, you'll be permanently setting the fabric strips in place

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5. Fold over the top fabric strip and either press with iron or you can simply smooth it down flat with your hand. The fabrics stick nicely to the cotton batting, therefor I'm comfortable carefully folding over the fabric strips and just smoothing them with my hand as I go and pressing with a hot iron just a few times while I work my way down the panel

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6. Continue adding fabric strips, placing each new fabric strip on top of the other with right sides facing, matching up the raw edges. Attach with 1/4" seam, fold over, and continue to press or smooth each new fabric added until you reach the end of the batting


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7. After you've completed that starting point to anchor the first braid, you'll sew your first braid to the right side of those first fabrics, placing a new fabric strip with right sides facing, matching up the raw edges as shown below. Attach with 1/4" seam, fold over, and smooth with hand to press

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8. Continue sewing strips to the left and then the right of the braid. Match the fabric strips from the center each time

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Below you can see how I kept the WOF length to my fabric strips and trimmed away the access length as I added each new strip.

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9. When finished with a panel, press well. Use a mat, ruler, and rotary cutter to trim away the overhang of fabric from each side of the panel and square up to measure 12.5" x 72". Repeat until all 5 panels are trimmed to size

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Sew Panels Together:

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. Take two panels and place them rights together. Using sewing pins to secure their place and sew along one side keeping a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat this with the remaining panels to create your Friendship Braid quilt top

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11. Press the seams open on the back side and press the front side of each panel well

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Quilt Backing, Basting and Binding:

12. Piece together fabrics for the quilt back to measure at least 2" bigger than the quilt top on all sides and baste it to the quilted quilt front.  I use Therm O Web's SpraynBond basting spray for this, however pin basting works

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13. For a simple finish: Working your way down from the top of the quilt to the bottom, simply sew about 1/4" from the seam lines (when adding this stitching it IS recommended that you do use a Walking Foot). Continue this on both sides of each seam running from the top of the quilt to the bottom, to attach your quilt backing fabric

I chose to attach my quilt back and add my final quilting by using the built-in wavy quilt stitch that comes with my Janome.
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Below shows a close up look from a previously made Quick Quilt As You GO of what the simple stitches will look like from both the front and the back side of the quilt

Close up -- Front

Close up -- Back
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Below you can see an up close look at how the wavy quilting stitches look.

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14. Machine or hand bind the quilt using your preferred method

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Hooray! Your Autumn Vibes Friendship Braid QAYG Quilt is finished!

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Thank you so much for stopping by today and for all the love you've already shown my Autumn Vibes fabric collection here, on Instagram and on Facebook! I really hope you enjoy this tutorial!

Do you think you'll give it a try

If you do, please be sure to share with the hashtag #FriendshipBraidQAYG, there you can see examples of many other projects using this pattern, and be sure to tag me @MaureenCracknell so I can see!

xx Maureen