happy flower qal week 35

Another block with inset seams that is just sooooo worth the effort.  I made this 100% by machine.  And it went together quick and easy.  The trick is accuracy - accurate cutting of both template and fabric, accurate marking of the 1/4" seam starts and stops, and then shortening your stitch length (I go from 2.3 to 1.5) to help you hit that 1/4" mark exactly at the end of every seam.

There is a block near the end of this quilt with holly berries, so I decided to make these berries hot pink. Gosh do I ever love a pretty little sprig!


happy flower qal week 34

I like finding opportunities to use the same print in different colours in the same block. This - to me - is the equivalent of Saturday-Nite-Dance-Party fun. :)

This is another block I did months ago - before the QAL started.  I was super happy to find fabrics in my stash that were so close to the original.


happy flower qal week 33

My middle seam is a bit off - after the second try to get it perfect - so my center isn't quite as spot on as I'd like it to be.  But sometimes good enough is ... good enough. ;)

I bought some more Atsuko fabrics from Sunny Day Supply - fantastic shop. This happy yellow strawberry print is ideal for this quilt.


happy flower qal week 32

Starting this week with yet another redo.  Block #4.  The background I chose before was too ... loud.  So I just picked a calmer background (and changed the leaves). Much better. :)

Ugh.  Why do I do this to myself?  I was all happy with this block until I noticed that a cluster of roses in the big blue square runs into the busiest triangle (top right).  Now all I see is a big mashy mashup in that section.  If I'd noticed that before I sewed it together, I'd have swapped the two strawberry triangles.  But I didn't notice it.  And now I'm doomed to live with this blob in a block forever.  'Cause I ain't got time to placate ALL of my nutty O.C.D. tendencies. (sigh)

(That said, the original block here has the same mashy mushy thing going on too ... maybe I'm just an overthinker who needs to just calm the heck down.)

I don't have any amazing large scale prints like this one.  But I have lots of pretty little ones! :)

UPDATE:  I ca ved and redid the block after writing the post ... all I can say now is aaaaaaaaaah :)


first romance (and new patterns) are finally here!

I found out yesterday that bolts and bolts of my fabric collection have left the Moda warehouse and are on their way to a quilt shop near you!  It was just over a year ago that I started working with Moda so this day has been a long time coming.  I simply could NOT be a happier camper. :)

And I have a few more new patterns to inspire you.

These three patterns all started from the same kernel of inspiration.  Way back when I was doing the Farmer's Wife QAL (doesn't that seem like a lifetime ago?) there were a few blocks that kind of got stuck in my head.  One of those blocks was called Flock of Birds. I probably only remember it because - as you may remember - my sister is an avid birder so all things bird-ish remind me of her.

When I started thinking about patterns to design for you with First Romance, that bird block fluttered to mind. Then I started thinking about that massive swarming of birds - like the kind you see on a documentary about Planet Earth or something ... you know what I mean.  So I began messing around with the traditional block and that idea.  And this is what I came up with!

Now don't be deceived by the seemingly haphazard arrangement of the birds.  Look carefully and you'll see that there is a pattern - smaller groups of birds are flying in the same direction.  And the directions change gently to swirl around the quilt. :)

I sought my sisters help to name this pattern and she said that swarming flock motion is called "murmuration".  Hmmm.  Although fascinating, and technically correct, it didn't grab me as name for a quilt.  Then she suggested that murmuration is most often associated with Starlings.  OK!  I can definitely work with that! :)

The mini quilt is pretty self explanatory - just a handful or birds on a blue sky.

A dear friend who made this mini quilt for me calls it "Tiffany Blue". :)

And them I love this Lovebird tote.  Just one white bird on a field of either scraps or blue (or whatever you like, really).  I couldn't resist appliqueing a heart from one of the prints in the beak (you could totally use a button instead, or omit it altogether) and then I slipped the quote from the selvage "i heart you" next to the heart.

Links to these PDF patterns are just to the right here.  Hope you like them!


happy flower qal week 31

I have another redo block to show you today.  This is the first block and ... just wasn't in love love with it. But I sure am now! :)

Ok. I really had to do this for myself ... make a block entirely with my own fabric (due to hit shops this month I hope!). And it had to be this block. My quilting life began with a series of EPP hexagon quilts and it will always be my favourite quilting shape.

Kinda having a love/not-so-much-love relationship with this block.  The design is fine, just don't know if I like the fabrics I chose together.  I'll have to wait and see how it looks with all the blocks together.  It might look great.  Or it might stick out like a sore thumb. I'm definitely prepared to remake if necessary.  Or maybe it just needs a different center?


happy flower qal week 30

I got several comments about my bow tie "cheat" method from a few weeks ago and it got me thinking about this earlier block (week 22) ...

 I wasn't happy with the first two versions I made (wrong fabrics) but I also "cheated" with that piecing and just made 4 snowballs.  This weekend I bothered to remake it using my bowtie method of avoiding inset seams by appliqueing the squares and triangles onto a 4-patch instead.  Works like a dream! Super loving this block now - both fabric and construction. ;)

Now to this week:

The interesting thing about patchwork, or one of the interesting things, I should say ... at least for me ... is the fabric decision-making process.  Even though this block is about as easy and basic as a patchwork block can be, I am a pro at making a quick block take f.o.r.e.v.e.r because I could literally spend a day choosing the exactly perfect combination of prints.  Funny thing about quilting and perfection.  I rarely achieve what I consider perfect, but I get close.  And I'm never defeated by my frequent inability to please myself.  I just keep looking forward to that next time.  And there is ALWAYS a next time. ;)

Wasn't sure about this one. Didn't really want to do those jagged edged petals. So I didn't.  I made very feeble attempts at making slight waves, but they didn't really work.  Meh.  And I thought that half blossom was a bit weird. I guess when a quilt designer needs to come up with 50 different flower (and a few fruit) blocks, coming up with something "outside the box", literally haha is bound to happen.  That one petal on the right should be tilted a bit more.  But whatever. It's all good. ;)



happy flower qal week 29


The blade template for this block is a smidgen too big.  If you sew the blades together with a 1/4" seam, the dresdan plate will finish too large to fit inside the 6" parameter. 


Simply sew the blades together with a 1/3" seam, rather than a 1/4".  That's what I did for mine. Sorry for the messy photo, but now you see that my process isn't always ... "neat". I wasn't worried because I knew the circle in the middle would hide all the inside threads, and I simply tucked all the outside threads in as I appliqued the plate to the background.  Easy fix.  No fuss. :)

(Also, I modified the pointed part of my template so I could finish the tips a little differently than the standard applique method.  If you're not familiar with this method, don't worry about it, just notice how I increased my seam allowance.  It took a few rounds to get it right.)

And then you can also reduce the size of the circle center, if you like, which is what I did.

All that said, I think this is my favourite block so far.  What is it about a wee dresdan that is just so gosh darn cute? The background fabric is from my "First Romance" collection (coming sooooooon!)

If you're sewing along and haven't made this block yet, learn from my mistake and take note that you need to make TWO of the large leaves.  The way the templates are indicated on the sheet in the book make it look like there is only one. :)   I used another "First Romance" print for the background of this block too.  Kinda reminds me of those green plastic strawberry pint containers.



pretty petal dilly bag

You guys know Lauren Wright, right?  She's the name behind @mollyandmama (or Molly and Mama) and is responsible for some of THE prettiest images of the prettiest things on the internet.  Seriously.

When she invited me to join her book tour for Pretty Handmades, YES PLEASE was my answer. :) (We share the same obsession with pink, btw.)


I chose this absolutely adorable drawstring bag.  Now you may be surprised that I didn't use pink fabric.  I'm kind of suprised myself.  When I first flooked through this beautiful book, I was in heaven with all the pink-ness of it all.  But then I thought maybe I should be a little unpredictable, ya know? And I also thought that the sample in the book is already half pink so maybe you'd like to see it in a different colour.  So I pulled a few yellows and a white from First Romance and ... voila! Cute cute cute, isn't it?

Plus I made it in an afternoon.

There are many more lovely things to see from this book.  Pop over to Lauren's blog to find links to all the other blogs on this tour.  And then be inspired. :)


one million pillowcases challenge

The wonderful people over at American Patchwork & Quilting, and Quilts and More magazines are having their 4th annual Sew-A-Thon making pillowcases for charity this weekend.  Click here if you'd like more information.  You can find free pillowcase patterns and ways to register your made/donated cases. 

Hope you can join!

xo k


happy national jelly roll day ~ & a giveaway

Giveaway closed and winners notified.  Thank you so much! :)

My new jelly roll friendly pattern Clematis was inspired by a print from First Romance. 

It's new in my shop today! (There's also a mini version. :)

As a brand new fabric designer for Moda, it's crazy exciting for me to actually hold - in my bare hands - a jelly roll that swirls with the prettiest colours of "First Romance" (in stores soon for all you lovelies who have been so patiently waiting for months now, thank you thank you thank you).

Even better, Moda has give me TWO First Romance jelly rolls to give away!  PLUS, to help inspire you to make something with a jelly roll, I'm going to email the winner a PDF of my new jelly roll pattern Clematis (see above).

If you'd like a chance to win a jelly roll of my debut collection and a pattern, simply leave a comment here telling me the name of your favourite jelly roll pattern - either one that you've made or one that you'd like to make.  There are literally 743 million jelly roll patterns out there to choose from.  I also highly recommend checking out Moda's Bakeshop - a website chalk-a-block full of patterns designed specifically for precuts, including our celebrated jelly roll.  Oh, and did you know all the patterns over there are f.r.e.e?


100% zero dollars ... AND 100% zero calories.

Giveaway closes Sept 16th and is open worldwide.

Happy National Jelly Roll Day everyone!


happy flower qal week 28

Ok.  This isn't an easy block, for sure.  But once again, the time and effort (and un-picking/re-stitching) that goes into making a tricky block more than pays for itself in satisfaction and a super cool looking block that you can't get with simple piecing. :)

Oh me and my wonky applique placement.  What is UP with that? LOL!  All I see when I look at this block is a silly clown with strippy weird pants, buck teeth (I don't know why, but that's what I see in my mind), and one of those squirting lapel flowers.  My daughters think I'm going a little crazy.  I qualified their theory by suggesting that I'm "cute crazy". Not sure they're buying it. ;)


happy flower qal week 27

I don't know if my construction for this block would be considered "cheating", but I'm of the opinion that when it comes to making, we are all free to do what works for us.  So I decided to machine piece the 4 patches together, and then I simply appliqued the bowtie "knots".  Super easy.  No inset seams.  It definitely works for me ;)  I actually really like how the appliqued squares have a wee bit of a 3D effect to emphasize the knot in the bow.

This block has three little buttons at the top center of the heart, but I'm going to add them after the quilt has been top-stitched.  And if I can't find buttons that I love, I may just embrodier super big knots instead.

Oh who am I kidding?  It will probably remain unfinished forever. ;)


happy flower qal week 26

This traditional quilt block is called Honey Bee and I've been attracted to it since the first time I saw it many years ago.  I've wanted to make a big quilt with it for a long time, I just never got around to making it - much like the Postage Stamp Basket block from a few weeks back.  I thought that making just this one block would scratch my years' long itch.  Turns out now I want to make piles and piles of them now more than ever.


Yay!  Another "free" block this week. :) This yellow print ... there's just something about this print by Atsuko Matsuyama that - for me - is the epitome of the style and spirit of this Happy Flower Quilt, don't you think?


a piece of cake ~ book tour and giveaway (with a twist)

I met Peta Peace at Quilt Market this past spring and I can say with unmitigated joy that she quickly became one of my favourite people with her irresistable Aussie accent and her side-splitting sense of humour.  Wow can that girl ever tell a great story!  So when I learned that her first book was coming out, I practically begged her to let me be part of the book tour.  So happy she let me join in the fun. :)

Peta's quilt designs are just as the name of her book suggests - easy (and delicious) to make. As I went through the beautiful pages of her book - tons of eye candy, by the way - I immediately decided that I NEEDED to make this adorable "LOVE" quilt with the pinks from First Romance.  Such a perfect match, I think. ;)

The quilt in her book is a perfectly sized baby quilt, but I decided to shrink mine to about half the size (maybe a wee bit smaller than that) and it is the perfect wallhanging.

Congratulations on your first of hopefully many great quilt books, Peta! xoxo

*  *  *  *  *

And now for the giveaway.  YOU MUST ENTER ON INSTAGRAM!

The prize is this LOVE quilt that I made.  But there is a twist ... you can't win it for yourself, you can only win it for someone you love. :)  If the one you love wins, YOU will also win a jelly roll of First Romance.

So find me on IG @prettybyhand for more details on how to enter.


happy flower qal week 25

I really really like this block with dramatic and symmetrical dark/light.  I'm particularly pleased with all the fabrics.  (And we won't mention that one naughty little background triangle in the yellow section that is upside down, will we?  Thanks for your cooperation. I noticed it just as I finished making that yellow section, and considered fixing it for all of about 1.5 seconds ... and then I shrugged my shoulders and went "meh".)

I don't know why I have so much trouble placing/keeping my applique pieces positioned properly.  This flower is ok, but a few pieces shifted so to my eye it looks a bit wonky.  I think I'm going to start using that nifty Roxanne's basting glue instead of pins.  A tip I picked up from Jen Kingwell a few months ago.

And just like that, we are halfway through this QAL ... 50 blocks down, 49 to go!  Whew!  It's never too late to join, you know so if you haven't, come on and join the fun!  You'll find tons of inspiration on Instagram #happyflowerqal and lots of advice on our Facebook Page.


getting chatty with pat sloan

Hey y'all! I had a super fun little chat yesterday with Pat Sloan on her podcast for American Patchwork & Quilting. Wow does time ever fly with I start talking about quilting and fabric!  If you're interested, you can tune in to hear my interview here.

Thanks again Pat, you are such a lovely and gracious host. :) xo k


happy flower qal week 24

If you asked me to name this block, I would call it "Summer Picnic".  I want to be sitting on a quilt in a sunny, warm, breezy meadow full of flowers, eating cucumber sandwiches and fresh strawberries with cream.  And a glass of sangria would be nice too.

This was one of the first blocks I made for this quilt, back in January, I think.  It is DEFINITELY one of my favourites.  I love these colours.  And she is such a sweet little birdie.


happy flower qal week 23

This is such a weird block.  It's called "Devil's Claw".  Yeesh!  I've seen this block many times and it always amazes me how different it can look based on colour, value, and print placement.  It's crazy versatile that way.  But this psychedelic-scrappy layout is fun and I love the results.  Totally loving the blue/green/pink combo! I started out using the green strawberry print (lower middle triangle) but then decided I wanted a brighter pop so I switched to one of my First Romance "kelly green" prints. :)

This is the second time I've used this print for a "feature fabric" block ... the other one is pink.  I also have this print in blue and yellow so you may see it again.  Hatboxes were big when I worked at Laura Ashley and I heart them. 


quilter's candy box ~ it's like santa for grown ups ...

... at least that's my opinion.  And I can't imagine any quilter who receives one of these boxes could disagree with me. ;)

If you're not familiar with this amazingly fun, inspiring, useful, AND delicious thing, check out Quilter's Candy Box.  Then treat yourself, treat a quilty friend, get started on your Christmas shopping ...

I can tell you right now my book hungry girls are going to battle over those socks - crazy awesome with one sock featuring redacted titles of formerly banned books, and the other sock with legible titles. I think they will become "communal" property and it'll be first come, first served out of the sock bin.  Or even better, they'll be arguing about who gets to do the laundry! LOL!

xo k