Easy Round Cushion Covers

I intended to share this with you on Monday, but I got knocked flat by a nasty bug that my husband tried REALLY hard not to share with me.  I’m finally vertical again, but the sooner this cough goes away the better.  Enough of my sickly whining, I want to show you a quick way to cover round chair cushions.

With the holidays upon us, doesn’t it seem like you’re always looking for an extra chair for company?  You can easily recover round patio chair cushions to fit in better with your indoor Thanksgiving or Christmas décor!

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 1

To create your pattern, measure the diameter of your cushion, add the height, then add 1”.  Cut a piece of string 3 or 4 inches longer than the number you just came up with.  Tie one end of the string around a pencil.  I found it helpful to use a pencil with a cushion on it so the string wouldn’t slide around.  Tie a knot in the other end at the distance from the pencil that matches your number.  Fold a large piece of paper in quarters.  Stick a pin through the knot on the string into the tip of the folds.

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Draw a curved line with the pencil by stretching the string as far as it will go.  Cut along that line.

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Unfold your pattern and pin it to the fabric.  I was making two, so I doubled my fabric to cut them both at once.

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Sew a buttonhole starting 1 1/8” from the edge.  Fold the fabric in 1” and stitch near the edge.  I didn’t fold the edge under because it will be on the inside, but if you’re worried about it fraying you can fold the edge under 1/4” before stitching.  Tie a knot in a piece of cord and attach a safety pin.  Feed it through the buttonhole, around the circle through the casing and back out the buttonhole.

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I cut a smaller circle and laid it in the center so none of the bare cushion would show.  You don’t necessarily need to do this, especially if your cover is temporary.  Lay the cushion in the center of the cover.

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Pull the cord to gather, then tie a bow.  You can either tuck the extra cord inside or cut it off.  I’d recommend tucking it so it can be reused.

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Wouldn’t it be cute to make these with holiday fabrics?

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This set lives on my daughter’s apartment deck now – maybe she needs Christmas chairs! Smile

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DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Sewing Kits

I’m excited to announce I’ve added a new item to my Etsy shop – DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Sewing Kits!

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Everything you’ll need to make your own reversible coffee cup sleeve is included, except a sewing machine and some thread.  Even the sewing machine is optional, as these could be sewn by hand.  I’ve even included a blank tag, which can be personalized with a fine tip permanent marker!

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I just listed these, so there are lots of fabric options to choose from.  At only $5 each, they’ll make great stocking stuffers or small gifts.

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To celebrate this fun new addition to my shop, when you buy two kits you’ll get a third FREE!  Just add three kits to your cart, click “Apply Shop Coupon Code” and enter the code BTGOKITS and click “Apply.”  It will deduct $6 from your order – $5 for the kit and $1 for shipping.  The code is good through Sunday, November 16, 2014.

These have already hit the Kits and Tutorials page in Gift Ideas on Etsy, so don’t wait – they might not last long!

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Siren Nation and Disney Coffee Sleeves

I was a vendor at my first craft show in about 20 years last Sunday.  It was called Siren Nation, and was held at McMenamin’s Kennedy School in Portland.  For those of you from the area, you know the look that the McMenamin brothers are famous for, and this was no exception.  They are masters at making quirky and weird seem like the natural order of things.  We were at a table just inside one of the doors, and spent the day chatting with customers and vendors, while beating the sales goal I had set for myself.  I had a few friends and family members come to visit (thank you all!) and my daughter stuck with me all day. 

Codi and Staci at Siren Nation

Remember how I promised a DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Kit to anyone who visited me and told me they read my blog?  One of my first customers took me up on it!  I was so excited I failed to make a note of her name, but she was here visiting from Pennsylvania (I think?) and decided to come by.  It made my whole day!

Look for a recap of my booth setup and some tips for getting ready for a show in a hurry coming soon.  I’ll also be sharing my tutorial for the cute vendor aprons my daughter and I wore.

Vendor Apron by Crafty Staci

In other news, it’s time for a new Disney project at Undercover Tourist!  I wrapped up a whole series on coffee cup sleeves last year, and made no promise you’d never see new ones from me again.  Turns out, I hadn’t covered my Disneyland obsession yet, so I made these before our trip in September.

Mickey and Minnie Coffee Cup Sleeves - Crafty Staci

To get the pattern and instructions, just visit me at Undercover Tourist.  These would make a great stocking stuffer for the Disney fan in your life!

My last bit of business involves Wedding Wednesdays.  I have a few more things I’d like to show you, but I’ve decided to suspend that series until after the holidays.  There’s just too much going on.  Look for the last few installments in February.

Join me this Friday for some make-able holiday gifts for the family – both here and on Sew Mama Sew’s Handmade Holidays!

Siren Nation, Feather Your Nest and Craft Warehouse

At the beginning of this year I made a goal for myself to get involved in some in-person craft events.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my online work.  It has given me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, and I’m thankful for that.  But it’s just me, sometimes in my pajamas, and I felt like that could be better balanced with some real-world interactions.  And real clothes.

One of the ways I planned on achieving my goal was to do a local craft show or two.  I participated in a few back when my kids were small, but the game has changed a lot since then, and I wasn’t sure where to start.  I decided I would apply to my two dream shows, and make a point to visit as many of the others as I could so I could plan for next year.  I sent in applications to Crafty Wonderland and Siren Nation, both in Portland, and received the “thanks for applying, but…” emails from both.  No surprise – they’re both popular, juried shows and I didn’t really expect to be accepted on my first try.  Imagine my surprise when I got the email last week letting me know that Siren Nation had a cancellation and asking if I would be interested in the spot!

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If you’re going to be in the Portland area next Sunday, November 2, 2014, I’d love for you to come visit me at McMenamin’s Kennedy School.    There will be many tables filled with handcrafted items by female artists, including me and my lovely daughter.  It opens at 10 am, and there’s no charge to get in.  In fact, if you come to my table and tell me you read this on my blog, I’ll give you one of my new DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Kits for FREE!  Meeting someone in person who reads my blog would be the best of both worlds colliding and would make my day.  Also, look for a future post titled How to Prep for a Craft Show in 12 Days Without Losing Your Mind.  Hopefully I’ll be qualified to write it by then.

DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Kits from Crafty Staci

That’s not my only venture into the real world that’s coming up though.  Before my daughter’s wedding, she noticed a new quilt shop, Feather Your Nest, that had opened up across the street from the cupcake shop.  I paid them a visit, and walked out with an armload of cute fabrics and a promise to contact the owners after the wedding to discuss teaching a class.   After sitting down recently with the very sweet mother-daughter team, I have two classes scheduled in their shop for next month.  If you’ll be anywhere near Gresham, Oregon on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 7 pm or Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 10:30 am, come join me and learn how to make my favorite thing – a coffee cup sleeve!  For only $15 you’ll receive all the materials you need, a pattern to take home and personal instruction from me.  To sign up or get more info, contact Kris or Abbi at feathered.nest97030@gmail.com.

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My participation on the Craft Warehouse Design Team is online, but it feels a little closer to live to me because I am always in their store.  They don’t all stop and wave and shout my name when I walk in the door, but I’m working on it.  Last week it was my turn to work on a project for them, so if you want to know a little more about me, you can see my designer profile on their blog here.  The important part is the project though, and this time I got to make a cute Chatterbox reversible apron using some prints from Windham Fabrics Oh Clementine line by Allison Harris for Cluck Cluck Sew.

Apron for Craft Warehouse - Crafty Staci

I had a seriously hard time choosing a favorite side.

Chatterbox Apron for Craft Warehouse - Crafty Staci

Visit me over at the Craft Warehouse blog to see how it came together!

So, for once, I can actually cross a New Year’s resolution off as achieved.  I’m getting out into the real world as a teacher and a vendor.  And it only took me until October!

DIY Superhero Shirts and Robes for the Bridal Party

My daughter’s wedding, like most these days I’d guess, was influenced by Pinterest.  We had a secret board where the bride, the maid of honor and I could keep track of every relevant wedding idea we came across.  We tried to be pretty selective, and cleaned it out once in a while, so it stayed manageable and ended up being an excellent tool in the planning process.  In fact, she made it public after the wedding was over, so if you’d like to see what we were working with you’ll find it here.  We didn’t use every idea on it, but I’m not sure how we would have managed without it.

Looking back at it, the photo I’m going to talk about today isn’t even on that board.  But if you do a quick search, you’ll see pictures similar to this one our boys posed for.

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The bride and groom are both big superhero fans.  In fact, this is their car, which my daughter has been driving for about 4 years.  The Batman symbol on the hood was not part of the getaway car décor.

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The bride’s dad is a police lieutenant and the groom just graduated from the fire academy so as we talked about the superhero photo we realized it made complete sense to include those real heroes’ symbols among the imaginary.  However, that meant we wouldn’t be buying the shirts already made.  They went on my to-do list. 

Since I was making them anyway, I thought maybe if we used all white the boys could just leave them on, hoping they would be covered by their vests.

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It worked in the photos, but in person you can see a little color peeking out over the top of those vests.  I’m still glad we use white though, because I love how it made the symbols stand out.

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So, what about the girls?  I had already planned to make robes for each of them to wear while they were getting their hair and makeup done, so I decided I’d make them match the boys, in the girliest way possible.

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I made the robes using Simplicity 1720, the view in the upper left corner. 

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I added loops to the sides because I knew we’d find the belts everywhere later if they weren’t attached to the robes.  When I was finished sewing them I decided they needed a little something, so I sewed lace to the bottom hem.  You might recognize the fabric from the rug I showed you last month that I made for the wedding bathroom.  It was a great way to use up those scraps!

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To make the iron-ons for both the robes and the t-shirts, I ordered these printable sheets.

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If you follow the directions exactly, these work beautifully.  They survived washing just fine, and the colors were very vibrant, perfect for the comic book look we were going for.

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This was definitely one of the more offbeat projects I did for the wedding, and one of the most fun!

My thanks to Heather Fitch Photography for allowing me to share some of her photos here!

Super Stitches Sewing Book Winner

Good morning everybody!  By random drawing…

Super Stitches Sewing Winning Number

…the winner of the Super Stitches Sewing book…

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…is Beth, who said

I started sewing when I was still playing with Barbies – not sure how old I was but I had fun making my dolls clothes. I am teaching a little girl to sew, so this book would be handy!

Congratulations Beth!  I love that this book is going to help teach the next generation how to sew!

Super Stitches Sewing Book Review and Giveaway

Super Stitches Sewing:  A Complete Guide to Machine-Sewing and Hand-Stitching Techniques by Nicole Vasbinder was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

When I first received Super Stitches Sewing by Nicole Vasbinder for review, I’ll admit I didn’t think it would have much to offer me.  I’ve been sewing for a very long time, which by no means leaves me with nothing left to learn, but I figured I at least had stitches down – the ones I needed anyway.  I’m happy to say I underestimated this book.

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There are three main sections to this book:  Machine Stitches, Hand Stitches and Tools and Equipment. 

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The first section starts out with a basic straight stitch and what to do with it before progressing to more specialized stitches.  It covers buttonholes, buttons, stretch stitches, utility stitches and decorative stitches.  There’s a handy 3 spool difficulty scale on each one.  There are also explanations of what each is for, as all machines won’t have all the stitches shown available and you’ll need to be able to figure out an appropriate substitute.

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The hand-stitching section also begins with pretty basic stitches.  I was glad to see a blanket stitch here, because even after using it many times I can never seem to remember how to start.

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There were quite a few stitches I’m already familiar with or can’t see myself using, but if you’re new to hand-sewing there are many that will come in handy.

I love the way the whole needle section is laid out.  It’s very straight forward, with drawings of each type of needle and an explanation of what it’s used for.  Using the right needles really does make all the difference, both when you’re sewing on and machine and by hand.

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The thread and machine foot pages were a good review.  There may be feet described here that your machine doesn’t have, but it will give you a good idea if you should invest in a new one.

I’m not sure the sewing machine descriptions were necessary, as it’s all information that should be specific to your machine and would be found in the manual that came with it.  If you’re in the market for a machine, though, you might find a bit of useful information here.

I found several websites on the Further Reading page near the back that I’ll be checking out.  Don’t miss the Expert Tips sprinkled throughout.  There is some excellent advice there, like this little gem:

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Overall, this book is very well organized and clear about what it’s trying to teach.  It’s a good review for an experienced sewer, but the real target is the person just starting out or investing in his or her first sewing machine.  This would be a great book to keep close by for reference.

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Now for the exciting part – while there is some good info here for me, I feel like this book could be more effectively used by one of you, so I’m giving it away! 

To enter to win, leave a comment here telling me what year it was when you first started sewing and what that project was.  Leave a second message telling me somewhere you follow me outside of my blog (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) for a second entry.  This particular giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Entries will be accepted until noon, Pacific time on Sunday, October 12, 2014, after which I will draw an entry at random and email the winner.  If I am unable to get a response from the winner by Wednesday, October 15th a new winner will be drawn.

Good luck!

Puffy Fabric Flowers

It probably goes without saying, but you know I’m going to say it anyway.  Weddings generally involve a lot of flowers.  Especially outdoor summer weddings.  We had flowers EVERYWHERE.  Real, fabric, burlap, whatever we could turn into a flower-ish shape, we did.  One of my favorites was the cute puffy fabric version we used on the sign I showed you last week.  Fortunately, with a few basic materials, they’re also a breeze to make.

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All you need is this pattern, some fabric, a little polyester stuffing and a big button.

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Cut out ten petals for each flower you intend to make.  Pin two petals with right sides of the fabric together.  Stitch around the curved edge, 1/4” from the raw edge, leaving the straight edge open.  Repeat for the other four petals.

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Turn the petals right side out and press.

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Add a small amount of stuffing to the inside of each petal.  You don’t want them stuffed tightly, just enough to give them a little fluff.

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Pinch a petal so the seams are touching each other at the bottom.  Using a needle and knotted thread, stitch through both seams. 

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Without knotting or cutting the thread, do the same with the next petal.  Repeat until all five petals are on the thread. 

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Stitch back through the first petal again, creating a loop.

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Pull the thread tightly to gather all the petals together.  Knot the thread, but don’t cut it.  Flatten all the raw edges together in the center and stitch through the center a few times to hold them in place.  You really just want to make sure they’ll be under your button.

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I really like the look of the split petal version.

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Stitch the button to the center.  You could also glue it, but I found stitching it through all the layers added to the dimension of the flower.

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Now you can sew or glue these to whatever needs a little puffy flower perk-up!

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Hot and Cold Pillowcase

I love Oregon, but I find this time of year a little frustrating.  Don’t get me wrong, there are things I love about fall, like apples, pumpkins and boots.  Oh, the boots.  But the inconsistency in the temperature drives me a little nuts.  One minute I’m freezing, the next I’m roasting.  When you live here, you learn to dress in layers.  But nighttime is a little harder to solve.  This project was made to help a friend in the hospital who wanted something soft by his face, but I think I’ve found an easy solution to my freezer/oven problem.

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This is a basic pillowcase, but the secret is using woven cotton fabric on one side and super-soft Minky, or other soft fleece, on the other.  If you’re too warm, flip it to the cotton side for instant cooling.  If you’re trying to warm up, the fleece is the side you want.

To make this, you’ll need 14” of woven cotton fabric, 14” of fleece, 12” of woven cotton for the cuff and 3” of woven cotton for the accent.  The fleece will probably be wider than the cotton (54” vs 42”), so you’ll need to cut it to the same size so each piece is 14 by 42”.

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Sew two of the 42” sides together with wrong sides together and a slightly less than 1/4” seam.  Turn the pieces so the right sides are together and press the seam on the cotton fabric side.  Stitch again with a slightly larger than 1/4” seam.

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What you should have at that point is a piece that measures 27” long and 42” wide with a French seam running down the middle.  Set that piece aside for a moment. 

Fold your 3” accent piece in half with wrong sides together and press.

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Take your cuff piece and lay it face up on your workspace.  Mine is a little deceiving here because I happened to find a piece that was printed with two different colors.  You could certainly piece two prints together if you’d like a different color on each side of your pillow, but what’s shown here is just one piece.

Lay the accent piece on top, lining up the raw edges.  As you can see on the right, they may not match up on the end.  That’s okay – we’ll deal with it shortly.

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Lay the cotton/fleece piece on top of that with the right side down and raw edge matching the others.  If you did piece the cuff, make sure to match up the seams of both pieces. 

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Starting from the bottom edge, carefully roll up the cotton/fleece until it’s past the center of the cuff but not all the way to the top edge.

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Fold the bottom edge of the cuff up and over the roll and match the raw edge to the raw edges at the top.  Pin in place.

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Stitch 1/4” from the raw edge all the way across.  Pull the roll from the inside out one end to turn everything right side out.

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I’d recommend checking your seam to make sure you caught all the layers in it before turning.  The fleece is a little slippery and you don’t want to end up with this hot mess.

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Cut off the accent, cuff and body to match the shortest of the three.

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Line up the edges with wrong sides together and stitch a scant 1/4” seam down the side and across the bottom.  I always go way under 1/4”, just make sure you’re catching both layers.

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Turn the pillowcase wrong side out.  Press the seam on the cotton side.  Stitch a bit over 1/4” from each edge.

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Turn the pillowcase right side out and press the seams one last time on the cotton side.

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I’m ready now, Autumn.  Bring it on.

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Quilt! Knit! Stitch!

It’s been a very long time since I attended a sewing show.  In fact, it’s probably been more than 10 years.  When I saw that Quilt! Knit! Stitch! was making it’s Portland debut, I decided maybe it was time to give it another go.

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I got my daughter on board with the Knit! part, but I was a little skeptical that the $10 per person entry fee, plus parking, was going to be worth it.  That seemed a little steep considering I knew it was going to be full of vendors also wanting a peek into my wallet.  I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.  We ended up spending over three hours there!

There were two sides to the show:  display pieces and vendors.  We started on the display side, which was set up like a museum.  The first thing we came to was a Community Garden.  It was a fabric tree covered in flowers made by attendees.  They offered to let us make some to add, but we were anxious to see what was ahead.

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There were some truly amazing works of art.  They started with those made of yarn, like this crochet piece from local Jo Hamilton, representing the city of Portland.

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This quilt, called Gathering Hearty Roses, was made by a group of four quilters from Japan who have been creating together for 20 years.  Aiko Miyata, Norimi Tashiro, Nobuko Kotani and Reiko Terui each made one of the hearts, then put them together.

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I couldn’t get a photo that would do justice to Scarlett’s Crimson by Philippa Naylor from the U.K.  She drafted the pattern, then used piecing, quilting and applique to create this beauty.  She was inspired by 1950’s couture ball gowns.

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I love the color and style of Indian Summer Sunset by Shirley Gisi from Colorado.

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Jane Sassaman was inspired to make Illinois Album by the rural areas of her own state.

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Cindy Hickok, from Texas, had several 3D pieces made with machine embroidery, but my favorite was See the U.S.A.

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Alice’s Kitchen by Miki Murakami of Japan was a real eye-catcher.

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We moved on to the vendor side, which seemed to go on forever.  One the first booths we stepped into remained one of our favorites.  We even went back to it at the end to buy a book and chat with the author, Kay MacKenzie.

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You can visit Kay at her book website and applique blog.  She had so many cute things, but the Studio sign, which is in the above book, is the first thing I want to make.

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There were a few trends we spotted while we shopped.  Wool felt projects were everywhere.  Bertie’s Year, from Bonnie Sullivan, was a particularly fun set of patterns.

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Another prevalent theme was super-tiny quilts.  It really made me want to give one a try.  Imagine how happy we were when we walked by the Moda Bakeshop booth and they handed us each of us a sweet pack of 2 1/2” squares!

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You know how much I love to rip out a seam, but after holding this seam ripper from Lumenaris in my hand, I had to have one.  This thing is the perfect size and weight.  I’ve already used it, and I’m very happy to add it to my tool box.

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Overall, Quilt! Knit! Stitch! was a fun afternoon.  My daughter was hoping for more knitting and crochet patterns, but she enjoyed admiring the yarn.  I’m hoping the show returns next year!