Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Giveaway Day!

It's Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day again!

I'm giving away one of my quilt patterns to a lucky reader. The winner can choose from the Macro Plaid Quilt Pattern:

Or the Two Carat Quilt Pattern:

Or the Pantry Staples Pattern:

Leave a comment by Sunday December 13th to be entered to win. I'll notify the winner via email by Wednesday December 16th. If you need a prompt, let me know what you're sewing this holiday season. For a bonus entry, follow me on Instagram and leave a comment with your Instagram username.

Can't wait for your pattern? You can purchase your pattern now and still enter the drawing. If you win I'll refund your purchase price (or you can choose a second pattern).

Good luck, and happy Giveaway Day!

[UPDATE] Cydnee is the lucky winner! Cydnee, I've sent you an email. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Envelope Needlebook Tutorial

I wanted to share my envelope needlebook tutorial and templates. These are based on the needlebook that my sister made for me years ago, and I use it all the time. It seems like a free tutorial existed for these once upon a time, but neither my sister nor I can find it. I think this style needlebook is so clever, so I've made a template and tutorial to share.



  • Templates

  • Freezer paper (optional)

  • Outer fabric - 8" square

  • Lining fabric - 8" square

  • Fusible interfacing - 8" square

  • Fusible web, like Pellon Wonder-Under - 1" square

  • Fabric for "stamp" - 1" square

  • Felt

  • Sew-in snap

  • Thread

  1. Print and cut the template. I recommend ironing 2-3 layers of freezer paper to the back of the template before cutting it out. This makes it more durable and (I think) easier to trace.

  2. Prepare the "postage stamp"

    1. Iron the fusible web to the back of the "postage stamp" fabric

    2. Cut the stamp down to size, using pinking sheers if you have them

  3. Cut the pattern pieces from outer fabric, lining fabric, interfacing, and felt. Everything is ready for assembly now.

  4. Fuse the interfacing to the outer fabric. If you are using a delicate fabric, like voile, for the lining I recommend ironing a 2"x3" piece of interfacing to the middle of the lining. This will reinforce the area  where you'll attach the felt pages.

  5. Fuse the stamp to the outer fabric, following placement guide on template. Stitch in place.

  6. Stitch the "address" on the outer fabric, following placement guide on template. I used a straight machine stitch, but a decorative stitch or hand embroidery would be lovely.

  7. Center the felt pages on the lining fabric. Stitch down the middle of the felt pages.

  8. Put the outer fabric and lining fabric right sides together. Pin. Stitch around the edges with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving at least a 1.5" opening to turn right side out. I leave the whole bottom flap un-stitched.

  9. Trim the seam allowance and clip the corners.

  10. Turn right side out. Use a crochet hook or knitting needle to turn out the sharp corners.

  11. Put the needlebook page-side up. Roll the seam slightly towards the lining, so just the tiniest bit of the outer fabric is visible. Finger press the seam. This minimizes the amout of lining visible when the needlebook is folded up.

  12. Press the inside and outside with an iron. If you're using a polyester (or poly-blend) felt, do not touch the felt with the iron!

  13. Edge-stitch all the way around the envelope. I like to use a blind-hem foot for this.

  14. Hand-stitch the snap in place. I attach the snap to the top flap first, then fold up the needlebook and press down on the top flap. This makes a little indentation in the bottom flap where the other snap should be sewn.

  15. Fill your needlebook with your favorite hand-sewing notions. Happy sewing!

Friday, December 4, 2015

[finished] Envelope Needlebook

This week I finished another envelope needlebook. My sister made me an envelope needlebook years ago, and I use it all the time. I've used hers as a template a couple times since she and I have searched the interwebs and failed to find the original tutorial. I just finished this needlebook and I hope to have it posted to a friend soon!

I fussy-cut the stamp from a scrap of Japanese linen blend. The outer fabric is silk from India that a friend passed on to me.

The front of the envelope. The silk proved hard to photograph - my camera phone cannot deal with the sheen.

The lining is a scrap of Carolyn Friedlander Architextures. I love using text prints for the inside of these needlebooks. The lines on this print remind me of a security envelope. I think this needlebook is so clever and cute, I see a lot of them in my future. I'm working on a template and tutorial for these - I'll be sharing that next week!

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts finish-it-up-Friday post. It's always a nice motivation to finish things!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Play tent

Joel and I have been working on a super-secret birthday surprise for Isaac: an A-frame tent.

Joel built the tent frame using this tutorial as a guide. He added a brace in the back and the silver caps to both ends of the top pole, so the tent can't be easily knocked over or accidentally collapsed. I made the fabric cover from an IKEA fitted sheet and some navy quilting cotton I had in my stash. I used a bias tape maker to make the ties that attach it to the tent frame. The green matches the PLUFSIG gym mat nicely.

I also made a pretend marshmallow roasting set, which makes for a super cute picture but I'm sure it will be dismantled in seconds. The fake logs were cut from a (surprisingly sturdy) wrapping paper tube. I doodled a faux bois pattern on them with a Sharpie. The campfire is a string of battery-operated LED lights inside a half-pint canning jar, surrounded by tissue paper fluffs. I knit a pair of marshmallows out of single-ply yarn and stuck them on twigs I found in the yard. I fully expect the twigs to be used as weapons within the first 2 minutes. After that they'll be returned to the yard.

If you want to knit your own marshmallows, see my pattern post here.

Monday, November 2, 2015


I whipped up these little knitted marshmallows for a pretend marshmallow roasting set. Isaac has been asking for more "pretend food" lately, and this goes nicely with the A-frame tent we're making for his birthday.

They're the same size as real marshmallows, but 100% less sticky. I pushed them onto skinny sticks so they're ready for pretend roasting.

Knitted Marshmallow Pattern (ravelry link)
Yarn: any worsted weight yarn. I used a single-ply yarn because I think it will hold up better to being poked with sticks.
Needles: US3

Cast on 3 stitches
Round 1: Kfb all stitches
Round 2: K all stitches
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 twice more - total of 24 stitches
Round 7: P all stitches
Round 8-19: K all stitches
Round 20: P all stitches
Round 21: K all stitches
Round 22: K2tog all stitches
Stuff your marshmallow before continuing on.
Repeat rounds 21 and 22 twice more - total of 3 stitches.

Break yarn leaving an 8-inch tail. Draw yarn through 3 remaining stitches. The ends of my marshmallows stuck out too much for my liking - making more of an egg-shape than a cylinder. If you want a more cylindrical marshmallow, stitch through the marshmallow, from the cast-off stitches to the cast-on stitches, a few times. Pull yarn just taut enough to make the marshmallow top and bottom flat. Knot your yarn and bury the end inside the marshmallow.

Happy camping!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

[finished] I-spy quilt

Earlier this month I finished Ethan's second I-Spy quilt. This is way ahead of schedule - he needs two blankets for day care in December. I'm so pleased with it!

Isaac loves to play I-Spy with these blankets. Ethan, never wanting to be left out, points to random squares and says "Da!"

I pieced a scrappy back. I've been hanging on to that Space Invaders fabric for a long time, waiting for the right project. I also worked in a tiny bit of hedgehog fabric, leftover from some projects for Isaac when he was a baby.

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Clockwise Pinwheel templates

I've posted new Clockwise Pinwheel templates on Craftsy.

The free download now includes the (original) templates for a 4.5" unfinished block, and a 12.5" unfinished block. You can reference the original tutorial for piecing instructions. Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

[finished] Halloween quilt

This is the year I turned the Haunted Mansion jelly roll (that I've had for 4 years) into a quilt. And in time for Halloween, even!

I did straight-line quilting on one side of each long seam. This is the largest quilt I've quilted on my Bernina 830 - it measures just under 56" x 76". Much rolling, folding, and wrangling was required to quilt the center seams.

The back is pieced from yardage of other Halloween fabric I had in my stash. I love the monster movie posters and hearses!

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts' Finish It Up Friday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

[finished] Candy Land quilt

The Candy Land quilt is done! It's on its way to its new home today.

I was unsure of the quilting at first, but it grew on me. It helped that other MMQG members complemented it as I quilted it during our retreat last Friday. It's always nice to get reassurances from people who know what they're doing :) I used my walking foot to make curved lines, resembling the winding path on the board game. The lines are a little wonky. Some of the wonkyness is on purpose, some not. After washing and drying the quilt my doubts are gone - I love this quilt!  

The quilting is more noticeable on the back. I used some of the leftovers from the front and a random scrap of blue Kona (bottom left) from my stash.

I prewashed the fabric, all Kona cottons, in hot water and sent them through the dryer. I washed the light colors separate from the dark, and I washed the white by itself. The Clover Kona did backstain the white background a tiny bit when I washed the finished quilt in cold water with two white towels and three color catchers. I won't say I'm surprised... I've had problems with red and blue Kona bleeding before, too.

This quilt turned out just as I'd envisioned it when I started sketching designs and doing math. It's so nice when that happens!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Resizing the Clockwise Pinwheel Block

Last week I scaled up my Clockwise Pinwheel block from 4.5" to 12.5" (unfinished). This block is going to Karen, this month's Sew2Bee2 queen bee for the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild.

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

This week I'm working on creating templates for the 12.5" block. They should be done and up on Craftsy by Friday.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Candy Land quilt WIP

Early this year we started playing Candy Land with Isaac. We have a 1980's edition of the game. I love the color palette and illustrations!

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

  Our version has (dog-eared) cards - some of the new versions have spinners instead. 

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

I sat down with the Candy Land cards and my Kona color card and picked out a stack of fabric: Lipstick, Orange, Yellow, Clover, Cyan, Purple and (how appropriate!) Candy Pink. I chose Kona Snow for the background. This made me a little nervous - I don't use a lot of white in my quilts, and this is a baby quilt for a friend. I feel a little bad gifting a white baby quilt... but I think this really calls for a white background. I'll wrap up a bottle of stain stick with the quilt. Here's what the project looked like last week:

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

  And here's what it looks like this week: 

  A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

So far I'm loving it. I have one more row of tiles in progress. I want to keep this simple so I think I'm going to limit the quilt to three rows of tiles with a lot of background space. I'm planning some curved line quilting, maybe free-motion but probably guided by my walking foot.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Doll quilts

Over the long weekend I finished two doll quilt + pillow sets for my nieces' birthdays. This pink and blue set is for my niece who just turned one. It matches the crib quilt I made for her a year ago using my Two Carat quilt pattern.

I shrunk the pattern down to 33%, so the finished size is just over 12" x 16". I did a little improv piecing for a 3" x 4.5" pillow.

This set, made with the Cotton and Steel fat quarters I won from Red Pepper Quilts and Miss Matatabi, is for my soon-to-be-three niece. I added a couple prints from Mona Luna and Cloud 9 because I thought it needed more mustard yellow. This one measures in at about 13" x 18".

Both sets are happily at home with their new owners now.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th!

I hope everyone in the US is having a safe and happy holiday weekend!

I made this patriotic banner using a free pattern from Wild Olive and a scrap of linen. To hang it, I whip-stitched a length of bamboo skewer to the back.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Color wheel quilt

This summer I am finishing things. I'm getting my pile of WIPs back under control.

Today I'm working on a color wheel quilt that I started in 2013. The pattern is from The Purl Bee.

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

The fabric is all hand-dyed by me, with the help and supervision of Kristin of A Little Crispy. She was kind enough to give me a half-day crash-course in dying. I love the results! The piles of hand-dyed fabric are so beautiful that I had a really hard time cutting in to them.

I sewed these blocks together and then abandoned the project. I remember I was on the fence about how to quilt and bind it, and I wasn't thrilled with the curved seam on the center circle. I wanted to do some fancy free motion quilting on this, but my skills weren't there yet. They're still not. After re-examining this WIP, I decided to leave the slightly-wonky curved seams alone. I remember ripping and restitching the seams a bunch of times when I initially pieced the blocks, so it's probably as good as it's going to get. I decided on straight-line quilting with variegated thread. Simple and colorful. I love it!

I'm going to attempt a rainbow binding. I'm more than a little nervous about that because I have limited quantities of this fabric, and I hate having a lot of seams in my binding. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Two finishes!

This week I managed to finish two quilts that have been in my WIP pile for far too long. The first is a lovely quilt from my do.Good Stitches circle from March of last year. Sigh. The blocks are reverse applique and they all looked so pretty and spring-y. I love how it turned out and it felt great to mail it off to Threading Hope yesterday.

The second finish is a mini quilt using the Wild Olive Summer Stitching Club pattern that I bought back in 2013. Sigh. I used a mix of American Made Brand solids for the embroidered hexies, and hand quilted with DMC Pearl Cotton.

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

I had some doubts about my color choices after I started embroidering, but I think the pink binding pulls everything together nicely. I'm happy to hang this up for summer!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Tutorial: Clockwise Pinwheel Coasters

I have a tutorial for my Clockwise Pinwheel Coasters! You'll need:

  • A copy of the templates

  • 11 different scraps of fabric: 8 for the pinwheel, 1 for background, 1 for backing, and 1 for binding

  • scrap of batting

Gather your supplies. I chose a rainbow of fabrics for the pinwheel. Download and print the templates. I like to iron a few layers of freezer paper to the back of my templates before cutting them out - they're more durable and (I think) the extra thickness makes cutting easier.

Cut the following pieces:

  • 5" square of batting

  • 5" square of backing fabric

  • 2" x 24" strip of binding fabric

  • 8 triangles for the pinwheel

  • 4 background A pieces

  • 4 background B pieces

Lay out your coaster. Alternate background A and B pieces around the outside of the pinwheel.

Line up the background pieces right-sides-together with the triangles. On the right is Background A lined up with a triangle, on the left is Background B lined up with a triangle and ready to sew. Notice the colorful "ears" peaking out behind the background.

Stitch the pieces together using a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Start stitching at the straight edge and stitch towards the "ears." Press the seams open. Lay out your coaster again.

Stitch together pairs of triangles. Press the seams open.

Stitch the squares together. Press the seams open. Make the quilt sandwich (top-batting-backing) and quilt your coaster. Trim. Bind. Repeat 3x more for a set of coasters. Cheers!

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Clockwise Pinwheel Coasters

This spring the MMQG hosted a "get inspired" challenge. The guidelines were to find inspiration and use it to make a quilty project. Inspirations and projects were shared at the April meeting, which I had to miss :(

I spent the first months of this year finding inspiration in everything... board games, sunsets, bookcovers. I noticed Evil Twin beers - their labels are fantastic and so many of them would translate easily into modern quilts. Their logo even looks like a quilt block.
I searched and searched for this quilt block. Whirlygig? That's a completely different block. Sawtooth? That's another quilt block, which I think looks less like a sawblade than this one. Sawblade? Pinwheel? 8-pointed star? swirly 8-pointed star? 8-pointed star pieced with templates? It seems like this is one kind of pinwheel block, with the pins wheeling in the opposite direction than normal. Who is the authority on quilt blocks and their names? My searches grew increasingly vague yet wordy.

I stepped away from Google and whipped up templates for what I am calling the Clockwise Pinwheel block. Printed at 100% it will make 4.5" (unfinished) blocks, a perfect size for coasters.


A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

I made 4 variations: rainbow, half rainbow, two-tone and monochrome. I'll be making more cool-colored coasters soon so the blue one will not look so lonely. I'll post a tutorial next week as well. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Giveaway Day!

It's Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! I'm giving away one of my quilt patterns to a lucky reader. The winner can choose from the Macro Plaid Quilt Pattern:

Or the Two Carat Quilt Pattern:

Or the Pantry Staples Pattern:

Leave a comment by Sunday May 10th to be entered to win. I'll notify the winner via email by Wednesday May 13th. If you need a prompt, let me know what size quilt you usually make. For a bonus entry, follow me on Instagram and leave a comment with your Instagram username.

Can't wait for your pattern? You can purchase your pattern now and still enter the drawing. If you win I'll refund your purchase price (or you can choose a second pattern).

Good luck, and happy Giveaway Day!

Update: congrats to Cheri, commenter #30! I've sent you an email :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kid's clothes week - wrap up

I finished Kid's Clothes Week with an Oliver and S Nature Walk shirt ( in size 4T. I used two Birch organic cotton prints that I had stashed for about 3 years. I think I bought the fabric intending it to be a size 1 Nature Walk shirt. It feels good to have finally put it to use!

My model refused to wear the shirt. Last week his favorite colors were orange and brown. This week he only likes "bright colors" and is on the record saying "that brown is not bright enough." Maybe next week he'll like brown again.

I'm super happy with the results of my Kid's Clothes Week - I finished FOUR garments. None of the garments adhered to the theme, though. I'll make that a goal for next time.

Friday, April 24, 2015


I have been bitten by the embroidery bug. I've been working on my April Showers sampler.

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

A lot of embroidery inspiration has been popping up in my social media feeds lately. I just listened to the recent While She Naps podcast with Rebecca Rinquist. I signed up for the Freaky Flowers swap with &stitches. Sublime Stitching has a Moomin sale and contest going on. Alison Glass has an embroidery sale. So much to stitch, so little time!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kids clothes week

Kid's Clothes Week is off to a good start for me! I finished an Oliver and S Field Trip raglan shirt for Ethan that he can wear NOW. It's the 6-12 month size, and it just barely fits over his big noggin. I shortened the sleeves about an inch. I used fabric I bought at the Textile Center garage sale a couple years ago.

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

I also finished a second raglan shirt, size 12-18 months, for Ethan to wear later. These shirts take an hour or less. And I made these two shirts from scraps leftover from other projects.

And I finished an Oliver and S Secret Agent Trench Coat, size 4T, for Isaac. It's a little big for him right now, but I think (hope) he can wear it later this spring and into the fall.

This trench coat was a warm-up for making a jacket/blazer/coat for myself. Some day. Soon. I hope. After finishing this I feel pretty confident about my top-stitching and button holes.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Showers embroidery sampler

I love embroidery. I'm always on the lookout for screenprinted embroidery samplers. My sister gave me a screenprinted Sea Captain sampler for Christmas and it's awesome. I'm a huge fan of iron-on transfers, and I pay extra for those if they're an option (vs digital downloads). If iron-on transfers aren't an option I'll settle for a PDF pattern but I'll be cursing the whole time I'm tracing it on to the fabric. I've tried everything short of buying a light table and Sublime Stitching's brand new fine-tip transfer pens. I refuse to breakdown and buy a light table, but I may be ordering the transfer pens soon.

Anywho, in my search for embroidery patterns that I don't have to trace I've discovered that Spoonflower swatches are only $5 and fit perfectly in a 6-inch embroidery hoop. I've found a few cute swatch-size embroidery patterns at Spoonflower like this and this. But there should be more.

There is one more now - my April Showers embroidery pattern. I ordered a swatch on Kona cotton and I love it. If you want to stitch one, you can find it here.

I'm working on a color palette. Blue raindrops? Rainbow raindrops? I'm planning to do french knots for the cloud and satin stitch for the raindrops. I'll be an expert at both by the time I'm done!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

My favorite sewing hack

I recently learned from the Bobbin Doctor that I could use my blind-hem foot as an edge-stitching foot. Just move the needle a couple positions to the left. This goes in the "Doh! Why didn't I think of that?" category.

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

Perfect edge stitching, every time! This made the drool bandanas for Ethan even easier. I've been using this hack for cloth napkins and top-stitching pockets, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Baby clothes

Ethan has been sporting a few handmade garments lately. I'll start by playing catch-up.

A pair of Quick Change Trousers, 3 month size, from Handmade Beginnings by Anna Marie Horner. He outgrew these pants about a month ago.

A slightly modified Tummy Warmer vest, size 3-6 month, knit using S. R. Kertzer Down To Earth Cotton. This still fits but it's getting short and snug.

A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

A sunbonnet by Purl Soho, size 0-3 months. This is too small for him, but I made him wear it for a walk last week because all his other hats are too big.

  A photo posted by @carriebee04 on

Ethan is sporting drool bandanas most days now. He is teething and drooling like crazy, and these are much easier to make than bibs. I used this tutorial by How Does She. I started with a 12.5" square, because I have a 12.5" square ruler.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Two Carat Quilt Pattern

I'm thrilled to release a new quilt pattern today - the Two Carat quilt. It's a clean geometric design that works equally well with solids and prints. The pattern includes directions for two sizes - baby (36" x 48") and throw (60" x 72") - along with templates and detailed cutting diagrams. Fabric is used efficiently and there are minimal leftovers. You will not have a pile of half-diamonds left over from this project!

This is the baby size quilt in girly-girl pinks and blues. The quilt top requires (2) 1/2 yard cuts and (5) 1/4 yard cuts - so a total of only 2 1/4 yards.

I finished the quilt with simple straight-line quilting 1/4" from the seams so it is extra crinkly and cuddly. I think this quilt would also look sharp with a baby's name or birth year free-motion quilted in one of the large diamonds.

Here's a second baby quilt with Elk Grove fabrics by Jay-Cyn. This fabric is gorgeous and so, so soft - perfect for a baby quilt! I used 8 different prints for this variation: 2 half-yard cuts of solids and 6 fat quarters in different prints.

The throw quilt uses the same size templates, just more pieces. The layout for the throw quilt includes 2 sets of large diamonds.

You'll invest more time in the cutting than you will in the piecing. Cutting diamonds and triangles using templates takes a little more time (I think) than cutting rectangles with a ruler, but piecing the quilt top goes quickly. The pattern includes tips for accuracy in cutting and piecing. This pattern is suitable for intermediate or adventurous advanced beginners.

You can find the Two Carat quilt pattern on Etsy and Craftsy.