Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sewing with the Boys!

The boys are always curious about what I'm doing while sitting behind my machine. Each of them got a turn tonight to sit in my chair and see the machine up close.

Sewing with the Boys - Brennan

Sewing with the Boys - Brennan

Sewing with the Boys - Brennan

Sewing with the Boys - Brennan

Sewing with the Boys - Rowan

Sewing with the Boys - Rowan

As soon as they are 8, I'll be starting them on quilting lessons!

Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ryan's Holiday Ribbon Block - Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along

Hey everyone! I'm so excited to be hosting a block for the Quilting Gallery's Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along. Thanks for joining me today and thanks to Michele for inviting me to the group.

Fall and Winter are my two favorite seasons because some of my absolute favorite holidays occur right smack dab in the middle of them. Halloween and Christmas, respectively. I go crazy decorating the house for both holidays and occasionally have been known to keep my Halloween swag displayed year round. True story!!

When I think of Christmas, the song "My Favorite Things" by Julie Andrews comes to mind. I immediately picture wrapped packages tied in ribbons of different colors, snow falling outside a frosty window and entryway doors adorned in wreaths of green pine and sleigh bells. Ahhh, such a wonderful time of year.

I chose to share with you a ribbon block in honor of the aforementioned Julie Andrews song. Those of you who read my blog regularly know I LOVE to reproduce vintage quilt blocks in modern, colorful fabrics. This simple yet retro block is a quick-to-piece project and would look great in any fabric.

Make several and put them together for a one block weekend quilt project.

Ryan's Holiday Ribbon Block

Each block will consist of the following fabrics:

2 prints
1 solid

Step 1 - Cut the fabrics

From the solid fabric, cut 1 square 7 1/2" x 7 1/2".

Decide which fabric will be the top ribbon and which fabric will be the bottom ribbon.

From the bottom ribbon fabric, cut 1 square 7 1/2" x 7 1/2"

From the top ribbon fabric, cut 2 squares 7" x 7".

Step 2 - Assemble Your Block

Using a pencil or pen, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of your solid 7 1/2" square and both of your 7" x 7" squares.

Layer both your 7 1/2" fabric squares right sides together (your solid and bottom ribbon fabrics) and sew diagonally, corner to corner, a scant 1/4" from the diagonal drawn line on each side.

Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut the block apart on the diagonal line.

Press the two half square triangle blocks open and trim them to measure 7" x 7".

Layer your remaining two 7" fabric squares (your top ribbon fabric) and half square triangle blocks right sides together so the drawn line lies in the opposite direction of the seam line. Sew diagonally, corner to corner, a scant 1/4" from the diagonal drawn line on each side.

Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut the blocks apart on the diagonal line.

Press your four quarter square triangle blocks open and trim them to measure 6 1/2" x 6 1/2".

Arrange your quarter square triangle blocks to create your ribbon pattern as shown in the photo below.

Using a scant 1/4" seam, sew the blocks together as shown in the photos below.

Finished block should measure 12 1/2" square.

Use several prints of your favorite line and make multiple blocks to assemble this throw.

Quilt block and quilt images use Flurry by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics.

Don't forget to upload you block images to the Celebrate Christmas Quilt Along Flickr Group!

Happy quilting,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trendy Tuesday | Monochromatic Prints

Happy Trendy Tuesday everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Trendy Tuesday where I'll be highlighting some of my favorite trends in the current fabric market. From colors to shapes and all other possibilities, we'll be looking at similarities among fabric collections hitting store shelves.

Monochromatic refers to all the colors (tints, tones and shades) of a single hue. We've seen many collections release this year that include at least one or two monochromatic prints. They're a great way to add a pop of color to any project and are beneficial to designers to help fill out a line; a way for them to add additional supporting prints without over powering the others.

Constructing a quilt in a monochromatic color scheme allows you to limit the quilt's palette all while creating high visual interest; making an all black and white quilt, for example.

However, you can also create a more dull or soothing quilt by choosing shades that have a lower contrast; such as brown and tan.

Monochromatic prints are some of my favorite fabrics to "stash" as they are easier to match and pair with busy or more colorful prints. They play well with others, so to speak.

Here are some of my favorite examples of new and upcoming fabric from today's featured trend:




What are some of your favorite monochromatic prints?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Palette of the Week | Black White Grey and Red

My grandmother's kitchen at one time had a black and white checkerboard floor, white cupboards and tile counter tops, and a red cast iron sink. I really loved the retro feel of that kitchen and spent many hours there watching her cook and bake. I was thinking of it today when I chose the fabrics for this palette of the week.

Of course, I threw in a little grey for good measure ...

Palette of the Week - Black White and Red

Row 1:
Quarter Dot in Black
Peacock Lane - Falling Flowers in Red
Poppy Lane - Small Floral in Black

Row 2:
Going Coastal - Sea Star in Red
Houndstooth in Black
Designer Solid in True Red

Row 3:
Downtown - Cityscape in Gray
Poppy Lane - Tossed Poppies in Red
Dandy Damask in Black

Have any of these fabrics in your collection? Feel free to upload projects you've made using them in the I'm Just A Guy Who Quilts Flickr Group.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Storyboek by Jay-Cyn Designs | A Fat Quarter Shop Friday Sponsored Post

Welcome to another fabric filled edition of Fat Quarter Shop Friday where we bring you information and insight from some of your favorite fabric designers!

Today, we're welcoming husband and wife design team Jason Rector and Cynthia Mann. Together they collaborate under the name Jay-Cyn Designs (what a clever name!) and have just released their second line with Birch Fabrics, Storyboek!

You can check out their first line, Avalon here.

A fun and fantastical children's line, Storyboek draws on Cynthia's childhood memories and mixes Dutch themed artwork with playful images of children and wildlife. The line is printed on 100% organic cotton.

RWQ: Welcome Jason and Cynthia. Its nice to speak with you both today, please tell the readers a little bit about yourself. How long have you been designing fabric? What is your design background?

Jason Rector, the “Jay” behind Jay-Cyn designs, my husband has been a graphic and multimedia designer for the past 15-20 years, he’s worked on many projects that include companies large and small. He started out in his early twenties with his own screen-printing business, and has a long history of design. His strength falls in the computer and design category.

The “Cyn” behind Jay-Cyn Designs, is myself, Cynthia Mann, my design background is nothing in comparison, however I have had a long history of love for all design, especially print, and especially anything mid-century. Our tastes and styles are so similar that we felt it a natural fit to design together, and since we’ve been married for 9 years, we know how to work well together too! My strength falls in the knowing what is marketable and having a finger on the fabric industry pulse. When I created Birch Fabrics in June of 2009 the goal was to bring organic quilting cottons to the mainstream for modern sewers, and hope to make an impact with great designs on organic fabric, to provide a more eco friendly option. We initially licensed designs from designers such as Monaluna and Dan Stiles, and then decided to try our own hand at it.

Jay-Cyn Designs has only been designing fabric for about a year. Our first collection Avalon for Birch Fabrics hit the stores in May 2011, and our second collection Storyboek will be in stores in August 2011.

RWQ: I think it's wonderful that you both can work together so well and I enjoyed the few minutes we spoke during Fall Market 2010. I really appreciate the business model Birch Fabrics represents and feel organic/pesticide free fabrics are an important contribution to today's fabric market. Where do you draw your inspiration from when designing your fabrics?

Both Jason and myself draw our inspiration from our childhoods and our love for past trends and styles, especially those from the fifties and sixties. We are especially passionate about Scandinavian, Danish and Dutch styles.

RWQ: What was your inspiration for Storyboek?

The inspiration for Storyboek was definitely my childhood, from the wallpaper on my walls, to the stories that I loved. The palette was drawn from things I remembered from books and my room. My favorite book as a child was Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses” and the verse “Foreign Lands” had always struck a cord with me. My parents had a set of Encyclopedias, and I was always looking up countries and looking at the pictures and dreaming of what it would be like to go there. Holland was always my favorite, and when I was 5 years old, I was a Dutch girl for Halloween. I thought it would be fun to do a sort of play on a Dutch countryside and throw a little fairytale, woodsy theme in the mix. My mom had a lot of American folk art around the house, and made wood decorations that she cut out and painted and most of them were Dutch inspired, so I was familiar with a lot of the designs and just kind of ran from there.

RWQ: Do you have a favorite print in the collection?

It would be a toss up between both cheater prints, I love how they incorporate the other prints and especially the “Gone Fishin’ Cheater”, since we have two boys who love to fish, it’s really special to us!

RWQ: Since this is your first time as a featured designer, can you briefly tell us about any other lines you have released?

Avalon by Jay-Cyn Designs for Birch Fabrics was our debut Collection that was released in May 2011. It was a collection that featured beach cruisers and birds, and was inspired by sixties beach vacations, renting cruisers and riding along the boardwalks of southern California beaches.

RWQ: Do either of you quilt? How would you describe your quilting "style"?

No, I wish I could say I was. I really love the idea, but I’m not a very patient sewer, and as much as I’d love to learn, I think I might myself crazy trying to make a quilt!

RWQ: Do you design quilting patterns for your fabrics? If so, please tell us about your patterns.

No, wish I could :)

RWQ: What methods do you use to design your fabrics?

For Storyboek, Jason and I collectively drew everything first in pencil. We then scanned our drawings and Jason did all the computer design work from there.

RWQ: Thanks for speaking with me today Jason and Cynthia! Can you please tell my readers how they can find more information about you and your company?

If you are interested in finding out more information about Jay-Cyn Designs or Birch Fabrics, you can reach both Jason and Cynthia through email: and visit our website:

To enter for your chance to win some Storeyboek fabrics donated by Jason and Cyntha, please leave a comment on this post. Feel free to let us know what you'd like to make with it! Only one entry per person. All duplicate entries will be deleted!

I will draw several winners using the Random Number Generator and announce them here in an upcoming post!

Fat Quarter Shop

Please take the time to visit Fat Quarter Shop today by clicking on the image above.

Happy quilting,

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quilt-Uberfest is Coming! | I'm Participating

It's no secret that I LOVE fall. The colors, the cool weather, the quality time spent indoors with your family ... and the QUILTING! Fall and Winter are prime quilting/sewing seasons and I enjoy nothing more than playing with fabric in front of a roaring fireplace.

Quilt Designer and manquilter pal, Scott of Blue Nickel Studios kindly invited me to participate in a Fall themed quilt along he organized and aptly named, Quilt-Uberfest! I've designed a block to share right here on the 6th of October. I'm so excited to be participating along side many talented quilting friends.

Here's what Scott had to say on his blog announcement post this morning:

"Coming up this October, 16 bloggy friends and I are going to present to you a Block-a-day Quilt-Uberfest for the fall and winter seasons approaching…..and you are going to love it!!

We are all working with an upcoming line called Sleeping Beauty by Nel Whatmore for Free Spirit Fabrics. I sent each blogger 2 or 3 prints from the line and 1 or 2 woven stripes or shot cottons from Kaffe Fassett’s lines and told them they could add one fabric of their choice. I thought that would combine the individuality of each designer with an overall cohesiveness to the quilt. When the quilt is finished, we will be donating it to a charity for auction, and we will definitely let you know about it!!

Here is the line up of Fantastic Peeps!

Oct 1 John Adams

Oct 2 Kaye Prince

Oct 3 Karen Linton

Oct 4 Konda Luckau

Oct 5 Amy Lobsiger

Oct 6 Ryan Walsh

Oct 7 Scott Hansen

Oct 8 April Rosenthal

Oct 9 Cara Wilson

Oct 10 Amanda Jennings

Oct 11 Susan Sobon

Oct 12 Jan Peoples

Oct 13 Erin Singleton

Oct 14 Charlie Scott

Oct 15 Emily Cier

Oct 16 Rachel Locke

Each day you can go to their site and find an 12” finished original block designed for you to create and work with the others into a sampler quilt or make many single blocks of your favorite into a one block quilt….or create a two block quilt…or a three block quilt…you get the idea! We have a Flickr page all set up and waiting for you to share with everyone else your version of our blocks.

So get ready…pick up the sauerkraut and kielbasa at the market and your favorite stein of beverage and get ready to Uberfest with us starting October 1st with my friend John and then check out all the rest of us! We plan on having PDF’s available for all of these as well so you can download them as needed..

Do I hear a Tuba playing??"

Scott sent me this nice bundle of fabrics to create a block with. Please join the flickr group and keep an eye on the schedule.

Beginning October 1st, stop by each blog for a visit as we sit for a moment to talk, sew, and enjoy each other's company (virtually, of course!).

It'll be fun, I promise!

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