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Look What I’m Designing for Christmas

Christmas I find to be a super duper easy theme to design for. No. “Super duper easy” doesn’t accurately describe it – it’s more like, I could sneeze and pop out a cute Christmas design.

As I said in my previous post (click here to see previous reveal), at this very moment in time I am working on creating several new patterns, and I am at my favorite part of the process.  I’ve created the design, fused it all down and now it’s ready to applique by machine or hand. And, let me say that it’s nearly impossible for me to convey in words, the pure exhiliration of this exact moment in my designing process.

Here is one for all you Farmgirls out there:

It features a windmill for the ‘O’. It will measure approximately 6.5″ x 13″ when finished. This one is done in cotton (see below for a wool version) and would you again like to know about that background? That is gray/white (version) with white snowflakes and an all over sparkle to it (“Forest Frost” by Sentimental Studios – for Moda.)This picture does not do it justice, as pictures never do. By the way, I tried searching for this fabric line online, and it looks like several quilt shops still have some of it. But fabric companies only print a fabric once, so if you love and find it, ya better snag it. Don’t dilly around is all I’m sayin’.

I couldn’t resist doing it in wool too.

Have you dipped your toes into the wool pool yet? Wool gives you portability – you can hand stitch on a small wool project anywhere, not to mention it can save your sanity should you find yourself waiting (for-ever) in any Dr. office.

If you’re reluctant to get into the wool pool, would you please share with me “why”? I’d like to know. Perhaps create helpful tutorials for you and others with the same fear.

And, which threads will I be using to machine the cotton sample . . . well  my Valdani 35wt variegated threads, of course, which I use for 99% of my machine blanket stitching needs. I’ll likely be using the brown, cottage grey and vibrant reds for this particular design.

We have my personal thread collection available on our website – click here. In case you need a simple, go-to thread collection that is.

And don’t forget, this is just the 2nd look at several new designs in the works. Oh yeah campers, there’s more sneekin’ and peekin’ a comin’.

Happy Stitchin’ folks – thanks for keeping me on your radar.

~Julie~

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Take a Tour of My Raised Garden Beds

Want to see a gorgeous garden? Our raised bed garden sits between our home and my office. It’s deliberate placement is so I get to walk thru it every day to get to work.  So, today, Sept. 27, 2017, I am taking you on a tour of my garden.  For your safety, please keep arms and legs inside the ride at all times.

This is a full view of our garden as I stand outside my office and look towards our home. That’s Harper, our Golden Retriever – easily the best dog I’ve ever loved.

This simple trellis has pole beans planted and climbing on the left and very very very tall gigantic sunflowers on the right. The trellis is a piece of cattle panel fence, which my husband bolted to the wood bed on either side. That’s all that holds it there. I’ve loved it all season. Simple, functional and beautiful. What more can ya ask for.

This is actually a crop of winter onions, also called “walking onions”.  While they are smaller than your typical onion, they are perennial and never freeze out in our Iowa winters. I love the idea of “not having to buy seed onions”. They reproduce like crazy, so if you’d like to give ’em a try, I’d be happy to send you an envelope of small starter bulbs.

And what kind of a garden would it be without tomatoes? This year we have a bumper crop, so far that is. These shown are Brandywine – easily the tastiest eating tomato of all time. We have 12 plants total and have already canned countless quarts and pints of tomato soup, salsa, chilli, more salsa, ketchup (yes, we painstakingly made our own ketchup) and pizza sauce. Yum yum.

And then there are strawberries. I have 3 beds of strawberries that look like this. My little boys are frequently in here munching on berries, in between playing in the empty bed over yonder – We deliberately leave one raised bed empty thru the growing season, so they have one giant box of dirt to play in. There’s usually an assortment of trucks, skid loaders, tractors . . .you know, boy stuff in that dirt bed.

We love love love our berries. Here is our yellow razberry bed. yep, yellow. They’re sweeter than the red. More like scrumptious. Here’s a closeup.

Are you enjoying this tour? I hope I’m not boring you to tears . . .. I guess if I had, you haven’t read this far down anyway, so I can share a couple more pics.

At the other end of the garden is my entry trellis. My favorite spot in the whole garden. Again, my husband made this – he’s a handy fella. The closest vine is a hardy kiwi (I haven’t seen a fruit yet, but I patiently wait for a bumper crop one of these years) and the other vine is a fuscia morning glory – it’s full of blooms in the early morning.

Here’s the view as I stand at the beginning of the garden, looking toward my office.

So, that’s my path, to and from work everyday. Sometimes I stop off in the garden for a snack – like this morning for yellow rasberries.

I absolutely love my garden and being in it. It beckons not only me, but my whole family. Our little boys love playing in the dirt and snacking on snap peas, cucumbers, berries and carrots.

And that folks, concludes today’s tour of “Julie’s Garden”. Please exit to the right and leave a comment if you enjoyed this tour and would like to see more “inside peeks”.

Don’t forget – if you want to give winter onions a try, holler and I will send you seed bulbs. I love sharing garden bounty.

Happy stitchin, and happy gardening.

~julie

Tips for Better Applique · Uncategorized

THE most important tip for appliqueing letters!

When you’re working with appliqued letters, if you forget to do this, I guarantee you will screw it up.

 

Jeeze! What a way to start a blog post.

Well, it’s the truth. But relax campers, because I’m about to teach you the first and most important step to appliqueing letters, so that you get it right the first time.

Let me back up by about 16 hours here.  Yesterday afternoon, I was beginning to work on a brand new design. One that contains letters. My favorite applique method is to use Heat ‘n Bond Lite, a fusible web. It’s paper on one side and the fusible stuff (not sure what that stuff is, some sort of heat activated glue, so I’ll just call it “stuff”). The thing to remember with fusible web is that if you want your finished project to look exactly like your pattern, you must reverse it before tracing onto the paper side of the HnB.

Most of the time, I’m not working with letters when I’m designing, so I pay no attention to reversing anything and my finished project ends up as a mirror image of my original sketch. Which suits me just fine. . . . . with 1 exception . . . . letters.

So, yesterday afternoon I traced all the shapes onto HnB for my new design . . . and forgot to REVERSE the letters before tracing them.

This is my original sketch, from which I traced 2 J shapes onto HnB.  See. I traced it just as you see it here.

 . . . . and I still didn’t notice as I cut out my letters, while watching the boob tube last night.

Can you see what’s wrong with these J’s?

In my defense, I was tired and should have just gone to bed, but wanted to get these cut out so I could fuse down all the shapes on my background this morning.

Seeing a brand spankin’ new design all fused on the background and ready for stitchin’, is MY FAVORITE PART. My heart beats a little faster, I physically get excited.

Okay, now fast forward to now. I pulled out my J’s, put on pre-recorded drum roll music, and . . . . .and . . . . . then turned off the drum roll.

Okay Einstein. Now can you see what’s wrong with these J’s?

In case you’re still not smellin’ what I’m dealin’ here, let me tell ya.  They are backwards.

Dangity dang it! Or something like that. But I didn’t say that, however, in the respect of a totally public blog post, I cleaned my language up for ya . . . in case you’re cat is listening.

So. Here it is.

The Most Important Rule in Appliqueing Letters is:

** Reverse your letters **

Before you do anything.   Before you grab the Heat n Bond.   Before you pick up a tracing pencil/pen.

— REVERSE THE LETTERS —

Because if you don’t, you’ll mindlessly cut out your letters while watching reruns of M*A*S*H (my preferred boob tube entertainment) or Golden Girls at 11pm at night, which will seem harmless and relaxing . . .. .

. . . . . . . . . .until you wake up from your fabric induced stuper in the morning and realize what you’ve done.

So, take it from this designer. Don’t forget to reverse any letters.

I wish I could give you a sneek peek of the new design, but I have to go reverse my letters and start over.

Keep your eyes on me though, as I will give ya a peek when I have it all laid out .. . . .. yeah, I’ll let ya share my excitement.

 

 

 

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Winning Image & winners for Pumpkin Spice are .. . . . .

 . . .. and the winning image by a 74% margin is

Thank you!
Last week I reached out to our tribe. That’s you.
I asked for your help to choose the best pattern cover image for my new Pumpkin Spice table runner.

Over 425 of you voted! Yowza.

Thanks a ton and then some, for your time and “click”

I also promised to award 5 lucky recipients,
with a complimentary advance copy of this pattern.

I get so excited about “giving” that I chose 7 names – YAY!

If you’re on this list, email us your mailing address to: info@patchabilities.com

And  . . . . one more “thank you”. I am humbled by the more than 425 people who voted.

It warms my heart to see that kind of response. I am grateful.

~Julie

 

 

 

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Help Me Pick the Image for my Pumpkin Spice Table Runner Pattern

How would you like to help me in writing my next pattern?

Are you envisioning the two of us, coffee cups in hand, sorting thru a splash of instruction pages spread across a table? You pick up a sheet of paper and make a brilliant suggestion . . . . . I give you a look as though is the best idea since sliced bread.  We high-five each other saying “that’s pure genius, that’s what it is”.

Uh, erm, eh. Well yeah, something like that, but it sounds more like this:  I create and write the entire pattern on my own.  I photograph the new design model with a couple different pieces of fall decor in the picture, have trouble picking which image I love best, and ask for your input, thus helping me choose the best image for the final pattern publication.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  You can still do the coffee thing . . . and you can even do the “that’s pure genius” comment too if ya like.  See? You get all the fun with none of the work . . . unless you consider lifting a mug to your mouth work.

Okay, okay, enough jibber jabber you may say.

But here’s the real deal . . . . . I would love your help in choosing (see poll below) which image I use on the front of my brand new pattern “Pumpkin Spice”.  It’s a fall table runner featuring cotton and wool.  I’ve narrowed the pattern cover images down to these 2.

Option A, shows a gorgeous reclaimed wood pumpkin with “grateful” sitting upon it. My pal Dawn makes one-of-a-kind home decor pieces from wood that she and her dad salvage from century old homes, buildings and barns, which would otherwise be burned or destroyed in some manner.  If you love the “farmhouse” decor look or anything vintage, pop on over and take a peek at her site http://www.skrapwork.com/

Option B, has 3 simple reclaimed wood pumpkins that say “blessed” and “thankful”.  These little pumpkins are also from my pal Dawn at Skrapwork, but they’re not quite as bold as the large “grateful” pumpkin.

Your opinion matters and you can help me choose the final pattern cover image by voting for A or B in the poll below.  I hope you’ll put in your 2 cents. The future of the free-world depends on it . . . . . uh yeah I guess it’s not that crucial of a decision . . . . . but I could say the future of 5000 plus published patterns depend upon your vote.  So,  enter your vote below, for pattern cover A or B.

psst! I’ll let ya in on a little secret . . . . . we will draw 5 names from all the “votes” who will receive a FREE advanced copy of the pattern!  Weeeee Hewwwww!  Okay, get over and vote . . . . and invite your friends to vote.

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Testing 123. . . .Im ba-ack

If you are a follower of this blog, then I owe you an apology.  I had given up on my blog and stopped putting any of my energy into creating posts.

I guess I needed a break. I went so far as to cancel my wordpress account, so I’m not even sure this post will reach a single soul. Which is why it truly is a test. I’m sending it out mainly to see if it gets published.  So, if you are by chance hoping for some life changing inspiration here . . . . . uh, this isn’t it. For today anyway.

Ive had a long break from posting and am ready to get back on the pencil. So stay tuned and please share with your pals because that’s how you inspire others, by sharing your experiences.  Um, I don’t mean share this exact post cuz it’s just a little blabber, but please share the future fantastic posts.

Tah Tah for now.

-julie

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Peek at New “Quilty” Patterns

A Peek at the New


(our booth at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City)

Oooh whee! We now have Spring Quilt Market 2016 behind us and we’ve come up for air. If you’re not sure what “quilt market” is, I’ll give ya the cliff notes.
Quilt Market is a culmination of everything “quilty” coming together under one gigantic roof. Companies large and small, showcasing their latest/greatest fabrics, threads, gadgets, patterns, batting, sewing machines, quilting machines . . . whatever products they create/sell related to quilting, it’s all under one beheamoth of a convention center roof.
Oh, and any and every “quilty” celebrity is there, just walking around as if they’re not famous . . . .and you can waltz right up and talk to them. Yeah, you don’t have to stalk them, it’s really cool. I’m talking really famous folks like Eleanor Burns, Rob Appell (star of Man Sewing), Nancy from Nancy’s Notions, Fons and Porter just to name a few you may know.

Anywho, that’s what quilt market is. It’s a really big deal for those of us companies who vend at quilt market, and we’re swamped for a few weeks afterwards, as we fill orders and catch our breath.

Now that you are in the know, how about that peek I promised you.

We released several new products at market.
I’m going to show you 2 of them today, so as to not overload and thus short circuit your creative juices.

Click on images for direct product purchase link.

This is P162 Sew Vintage – it finishes at 12″x14″ and can hang upon a 12″ hanger or on your 12″x14″ table stand if you have one of those.  Just a little embroidery needed to add the thread and needle. I love the modern fresh colors I chose for the pieced borders.


And, here’s P159 Sew Necessary. It finishes at 6″x12″ and it too can hang on a 6″ hanger OR a 6″x12″ table stand if you have one. If the style looks familiar, you’d be correct. The checkered background is the same style as all my designs in the Monthly Minis 8 series. A little embroidery is necessary to define the folds in the fabrics and creases in the pincushion, but all the embroidery stitch directions are included in the pattern. So don’t let a little embroidery intimidate you if you’re new to it. As for the cute ruler tape, you can use just about anything for this (if you don’t have exactly this). If you have a fabric company’s ribbon from purchasing an entire fabric line’s fat quarter bundle, that would work perfect!

Purchase options on both include getting the pattern and hanger or stand all together. Lots of quilt shops loved these patterns at market, so if you have an awesome quilt shop near you please check with them for getting these patterns. If, you do not (gasp!) have an awesome quilt shop near you, then we’d love to help take care of you.

Oh, yeah – if you love my fabrics in my samples, you can get those exact fabric kits from my Mom’s shop (where I pick all my fabrics for new designs). Go here: www.merrysstitchins.com

And  . . .that’s all I’m gonna let you peek at for today. Everything in moderation, right?
Uh, besides, I’m still updating the website anyway.  HA!

I’ll send you more spanks, oops I mean brand spankin’ new peeks in a day or two.

As always, I want to thank you sincerely for being part of my tribe. I love what I get to do for a living. That’s what being a kitten has helped me achieve, pure occupational freedom.


 

Ooh Ooh! We’ve added “Pinterest” pin buttons to every item on our website. So, please feel free to pin everything you love and wish for. Oh go ahead and get pin happy.  Pin pin pin pin pin.


Wishing you happy stitchin!
~Julie

Uncategorized

Make Easter More Exciting Then Christmas

MM804onstandEaster rocks!  It’s far more exciting than Christmas, in my opinion and here’s why . . . oh, and my little boys (2 & 4 years old) agree with me.

Easter in our home is exactly what you see here in this cute little quilt:  An Easter bunny, early spring blooming flowers, coloring eggs the night before so the Easter bunny will stop by and hide them all for us to find in the morning, along with our Easter baskets filled with a few goodies.  It’s the entire family, kids and adults, getting excited about hunting to find all the eggs/baskets.  And I don’t know about your Easter bunny, but ours is quite good at hiding those eggs.  Some years it takes us all day to find that last egg.  And, if the spring is an early one and warm enough to be outside, we take all the plastic eggs and do another hunt outside – the kids love to play “Easter bunnies” for this hunt, teasing the adults to find all their hidden eggs.

It’s spring, the long cold winter is behind us (mostly) and we get teased with warmer days and sunshine.  The fun lasts all day long.  The presents are just 1 or 2 instead of many – as a parent I find this to be refreshing.  Ahhh.  Crocus flowers are usually blooming, the very first sign of spring that I’ve longed to see all winter.

My little boys are beginning to share my love love love for Easter and I love love love it.  Considering they are little sponges, it’s no wonder.  They hear me talk about Easter with all the dreaminess I’ve just told to you.  And they’ve been telling me for weeks now how they can’t wait for Easter to come.  Ahhh, I think to myself, they’ll grow up appreciating Easter as a renewing, awakening, egg hunting, crocus-blooming, spring holiday.

This may be a good time to point out that we are not a religious family in any structured sense, and that our definition of “Easter” does not involve any holy figure’s resurrection/biblical reference at all.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not our family belief and this would not be the place to talk about those anyway.

So, whatever this glorious spring holiday means to you, I wish you a renewing, warm, sunny, crocus-blooming Easter.

~Julie

 

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“F” Applique – Make your own words

Do you ever find yourself thinking “I wonder how I could make my own words or letter” for an applique project?  I have a method for creating words, any words, in just the perfect font you want, and turning them into fabulous fusible fabric.  Here’s how I do it.

If you’ve been following along for the past couple weeks, you know that I’m sharing all my tippy top tips and tricks for “F”un applique.  And if your experience with applique has been some “F” word other than FUN, then you’ve come to the right place.  I want to show you that it is a fun, fantastic technique that is very user friendly.

And, since it’s 4:33pm as I sit down to write this post, I’m gonna be brief.  I pick up my peanuts (little boys) in 15 minutes . . . . this will really test my get-to-the-point skills.

So, you want to create your own words or letters, and you don’t want to embroider them.  Follow these steps and you’ll open up endless possibilities for fabric-word creations.

  • grab your computer or tablet that is connected to a printer (very important)
  • open up a program which you can create letters, documents, etc.
  • open a new document and type the word you want on the screen
  • highlight the word and change the font until you find the font/look you want – –wording 3 - Copy here’s my “welcome” in a font I like
  • next widen the stroke of the text – I put the stroke at 3 to make it bolder, like this: wording 4 - Copy
  • then widen the word until it is wide enough for your space: wording 2 - Copy

 

  • then mirror the entire word:  wording 5 so you can use it with fusible web.

 

  • last, print it out, trace and use!

I hope this all makes sense . . . . my 15 minutes are up!

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback.

 

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How to Bind a Quilt Video – 6 Easy Steps

Binding.

For most beginner quilters, it’s intimidating.  Pff, for many seasoned quilters, it’s still a challenge.  I too was intimidated at first.  Then challenged once I did learn how to put them on my designs.  But, now I’m comfortable at doing bindings.  MM809onhanger

I’m sharing a terrific video by Heirloom Creations today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWh90tXr7g4

It’s a terrific video that may help you too, become comfortable at binding your quilts.  Happy binding everyone!

~Julie