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


happy flower qal week 22

Oh my scrappy stars! (I should probably stop describing these blocks as "scrappy" because they are ALL scrappy!

Believe it or not, I machine pieced this one.  Yep.  Wholelotta inset seams.  But it turned out pretty well. :)


These lollie flowers are super cute.  HOWEVER, I think I'm going to change the green one to pink.  And the leaves?  Whoa are they every T.I.N.Y!  I think I would embroider them if I did this block again.  I'm also thinking the stems are a bit too light.  I should redo them darker ...


when your daughter gets into makeup ...

Remember this cosmetic bag for my then 14 year old who when on a trip?

Well little sister who is now 14 is going on a trip today - not alone, but she's discovered the teenage joys of makeup and ... well ... she finally allowed me to make a cosmetic bag for her too. :). Lucky for her that her mama just so happens to have designed some fabric that she likes (sort of ... I may have nudged her in this direction, but can you blame me?)

Anyhow, she didn't give me as many rules as her sister did, but she wasn't all that flexible either.  No pink, no flowers, no top stitching, no trim ... the lace tab and leather label were hard sells.  And the inside is a plain linen so not much so show there.

But I think it turned out super cute and it put a really big smile on her face.  I even got a hug, which is all the payment I need from her. ;)

I love my girls.  And my fabric stash.


happy flower qal week 21

This block is the definition of "scrap happy", isn't it?  I honestly don't think you can put a "wrong" fabric in it LOL! (But did I spend twice as much time choosing fabrics as I did cutting/sewing/pressing? Um, yes.)

Deviated from the original colours a bit here.  Just because, I guess. And I feel like my petals are just a smidge too far away from the center. I keep picturing a baby elephant flapping her ears for some reason.  But, this is how it's going to remain ... the elephant eared flower LOL!


quilting on the go ... EPP ~ book tour

Hello! Thanks for popping by. Today is my turn for Sharon Burgess' new book "Quilting on the Go ... English Paper Piecing".  I'm always super excited about EPP projects.  Did you know the first ... 5 or 6 quilts I made were ALL EPP hexies?  Yep.  My quilting life began with EPP and 30 some years later I still love the portable, theraputic, and quiet progress of this hand piecing technique.

There are so many great projects in this book, but I couldn't help myself when I saw this sweet little needlebook. (SUPER love the scissor ribbon!). I used most of the aquas from my First Romance collection (available in October) here.

I'm only one of many stops on this blog tour. To find everyone, go to Sharon's blog and check out the entire lineup.  I'm sure you'll find so much inspiration!


tiny patchwork ~ and trying something new

Attention everyone who is afraid of making something with a hardware clasp ~ I was once like you, but I tried it and now I know that it's nothing to fear!  Honest!

And holy moly is it ever fun to cut up a bunch of small scraps (courtesy of all my First Romance sewing) into 1" pieces and sew them together - on point - to make a scrappy happy case. :)  Although, if I'm being totally honest, the blue border on the bottom is not a deliberate design detail, but rather a solution to make the case long enough because I underestimated (as I usually do) the amount of shrinkage that happens from when you lay out your pieces to when you sew them together.  That seam allowance is greedy! LOL!

Anyhow, I'm super tickled with how well this little case turned out.  It will hopefully save my precription sunglasses from future scratches.

If you want to try a sew-in clasp, Etsy has LOTS! xo k



colour confident stitching ~ book review

So you know how much I love embroidering and stitchy things.  I wish I had time to do more of it.  Handwork is - in my opinion - so joyful and rewarding on many levels.

Well I was so excited when I heard about this book, Colour Confident Stitching by Karen Barbe.  It's a wonderfully informative and instructional book about colour theory and how to apply it to ... well, anything creative really, but particularly to stitching.  So clever!  Because let's face it - no matter what we look at, we all see colour first.  I know that when I walk into a quilt shop I head straight for the pink section.

It is just full of pages and pages of beautiful imagery, fun projects, and really helpful guidance on how to understand colour so you can the right ones for you and make your finished project look as lovely in life as you imagine it in your mind.

I admit that I struggled for years transposing colours for my thread work.  If I saw a design that I wanted to stitch, but I didn't like the original colours in the pattern, I would always lean on the experts at the stitching store to help me out.  Experience has made me much better, and more confident in my choices.  (I'm certain this book would have gotten me to where I am a lot faster LOL!)

But we creative types can never had too much information when it comes to making things that express who we are and that make us really giddy happy inside when we see our finished projects.  This book has taught me things and has helped me fine tune some of the knowledge in my tool box.  And it couldn't have come at a better time as I labour to perfect the perfect colour palette for my next fabric collection. ;)


happy flower qal week 20

A few weeks ago, I commented on how much I love postage stamp blocks - all those sweet little 1" squares. However, this block - with it's 4 baskets and all the handles pointing towards the centre - is also traditionally called postage stamp. I've loved it ever since I bought my first quilt book "Quilts, Quilts, Quilts" back in like 1990.  And I've yearned to make a quilt with just these adorable little basket blocks.  Haven't quite made it yet, but there's still time ... ;) In the meantime, here's my single block. Five of the eight prints are from First Romance (not the yellow basket or it's white background, and not the white basket on the green background). It was a fun and unexpected surprise to see how my aqua oval/pink dot print translates into the perfect basket weave print. :)

Ok.  If you don't like hand appliqueing inside points (who does, really), this block won't be so much fun to make.  But your efforts will be rewarded tenfold once it's done, because it sure is pretty.


partial seam pillow tutorial

Last year I made this pillow and I've had many requests to do a tutorial, so here you go :)

For a 16" pillow, you will need:

  • (16) 2-1/2" squares
  • (64) 1-1/2 x 3-1/2 rectangles
  • FQ fabric for backing
  • (2) 4" x WOF fabric strips for binding
  • 18" square of batting
  • 16" zipper (optional, for pillow back closure)

Sew the first rectangle to the square with a partial seam - just sew half way down the side of the square.

Press seam away from the square. Only press the stitching, not the unsewn portion of the rectangle.

Sew the second rectangle to the square and press seam outward.

Sew the third rectangle, press seam out.

Add the fourth rectangle, again pressing away from the center.

Now finish sewing the first seam and press.  Block measures 4-1/2" x 4-1/2".

Make 16 blocks.  Piece the blocks together into 4 rows of 4 blocks, pressing seams open.

Quilt as desired and trim to measure 17" square (leaving extra batting to make a 1/2" bound edge).

Make the pillow back with opening style of your choice. I like zippers, but you could also do a folded opening, use buttons, or ribbons ...

Sew quilted front and zippered back WRONG sides together, and then bind!

All fabrics shown are from "First Romance" (available October 2017).

Happy sewing! xo k


new COSMO lecien thread

I came home from Quilt Market with a new thread to try from COSMO/Lecien. Well I've gone through an entire spool already and oh do I ever like it!

Let me preface this by saying I'm in no way a thread expert, I'm just a very prolific user who knows when it works for me and when it doesn't.  This new "tsu mu gi" 40/2-ply Egyptian cotton thread is lovely to use and it sews like a dream.

And this pale pink ... well, you know what I think about that.  I seriously think it's become my new "neutral", especially for "First Romance" ;)


happy flower qal week 19

This first block is fabulous for using up little scraps.  I have a growing box of scraps from this project and it was ... theraputic to use some of the smaller pieces. And then I used one of my prints from "First Romance" for the large triangles.  Oh do I ever love it! :)

These leaves gave me a bit of headache.  The harder I tried to do that "deliberately make-do" look, the weirder it looked.  So I backed way off and here's what I got.  Cute, no?


happy hexie - delightful new book

You know how much I love Japanese craft books, right? Well Zakka Workshop asked me to help them out again on another book they've worked to get translated and published in English.

I didn't do any editing work this time.  Instead I made two of the projects and photographed four of them!  How fun is that?  I didn't expect any of my photos to end up on the cover.  SUPER surprised that three of them did, including both of the pillows I made. :)

If you're hexie crazy like me, or are looking for a lovely gift for a quilty friend, consider Happy Hexies.  It's a fun little book.


first romance ~ pink

Ok.  You can totally accuse me for saving the best for last.  I won't disagree ;). These pinks just make my heart so very happy.

And it turns out that the best motivation to work on a long-term, hand-pieced quilt is to have your very own fabric LOL!

So this is the last of my First Romance colour series.  Don't worry, though.  I've been making lots of litthe things with it to show you in the near future.  In the meantime, if you'd like to have some First Romance in your stash, please let your local quilt shop know! :)

xo k


happy flower qal week 18

Oh am I ever happy with how this one turned out. I thought it would be a challenge to copy the scrappiness of the original here so I didn't try too hard.  Finding the "Little Ruby" print for the middle and then using a single Atsuko print for the triangles, rather than 4 different prints - made my life much easier.  I originally used an aqua stripe for the top left corner, but it just looked weird.  (At least I didn't redo the entire block LOL!)

I thought the fabrics in this original vine block were a bit ... strange? I thought it looked a bit confusing and muddly. But the joke is on me because despite my attempt to have more contrast with my prints, they are kind of smooshy too.  Sigh.  But I love the prints and it's still very pretty so it's a keeper. :)


first romance ~ red & white

Today is Canada Day so I thought it would be fun to show you First Romance reds AND whites today. ;)

I made six little scrappy pouches for my quilt market booth - one in each colourway (sorry, forgot to take a photo of them) - but I gifted all except the red one away as I was packing up.  I met soooo many lovely people at Market.  Seems like such a long time ago already.  Thank goodness for texting and Instagram to keep in touch with far-away friends.

Anyhow, back to red & white. 

I've had more than one person inform me that my red isn't really red, that it's actually a really dark pink.


Ok, maybe it is. ;) But I intended it as a red.  And it reads red next to my pinks.  So ... call it what you like, I love this colour.  I'm already seeing Christmas and Valentine's on the horizon, just saying.

These whites.  I love love love white prints.  Always have, always will.  I especially love these ones ... low-volume essentials, I'd say.

And I'll be using the tossed stems one (bottom center of the second last photo) as an embroidery background until I can no longer stitch, I'm sure.

Happy 150th Canada!