Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guest Blogger: Organizing a large quilt project

Hello Everyone, it's been awhile since I posted here, thought I'd shoot one at ya ;)

Jess's patterns are fantastic. I've been testing her mysteries for quite a few years now, and always enjoy it. But this one, well, this one overwhelmed me some. As I had a baby in the house.

 I'm talking about the Someday quilt that Jess designed as a mystery in 2011. This quilt is  78 x89" , and has 224 - 5.5” pieced blocks! That is a LOT of blocks.Jess is fantastic at giving you tips along the way. Like using baggies to keep your step pieces in, or using  sticky papers. A design wall also comes in handy, but some of us don't have one of those. So here's a few tips I put together for helping to keep your project in order, as you sew it.

I finished piecing all my blocks together, then had to set the project aside for another day. That day finally got here a few weeks ago. I laid out all my blocks and put them in piles of same blocks. (If you have a small side table you can put near your machine, that would work great. I just had to use the flap on my sewing cabinet.)

I started by looking at the directions for piecing together the finished top. I took the first two blocks, sewed them together and check marked them off on the piece of paper.

I continued to chain stitch all of the first row together.

Making sure I check marked each piece on the piece of paper.

I made all my rows, keeping them in a chain. When I got to the end of row one, I started row two, then sniped off row one and safety pinned a #1 to it. Then folded it up and set it aside. I did these with all the rows as I got finished with this step.

Then I took my row one, snipped all the blocks apart, and started chain stitching two by two. Leaving the last two by themselves.

Still working with row one. I then stitched two-4pieces together, and the 4 and 2 piece.

And then sewed those two pieces together.


I thin reclipped the row #1 sign to it, and started row two.

Repeat, another 14 times!

And when all the rows were sewn, I  took rows one and two, sewed them together; checked marked them off on the paper; and safety pinned their row numbers to them. Continue till all your rows are sewn together.

Pinning the row numbers to your rows and marking off the blocks on your paper, really made this project go by smoothly and easily. I constantly looked at the paper to make sure my blocks were in the right place too.

When you have your rows paired up and sewn, you take rows 1/2 and 3/4 and sew them together. Then 5/6 and 7/8. Etc. Just keep stitching the rows together and using your safety pins with the numbers on them. And pretty soon, I had my finished top.

Someday quilt pattern by Jessica JE Smith copywrite 2011

I hope my little tips can help you out when you are overwhelmed with a project.

Have a great day!


Monday, August 26, 2013


Quick and fun, “Stratify” is a stress free, 5 yard project. As with all of Jessica’s patterns, plenty of “Awesome Tips” are included with full color graphics to create an easy to follow pattern. Hints are included to help the quilter enlarge the quilt without additional fuss. 
Rated as a "Beginner" skill level pattern, "Stratify" comes together at 48" x 60", a perfect size for wrapping up and watching your favorite movie! Special Introductory price is on until Midnight, August 27th - so order your Digital Download "Stratify" now before the special pricing goes away.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Sticks and Stones"

Especially for all you modern quilt design enthusiasts: a contemporary quilt project that can easily be completed in a weekend!

A fun design for boys or girls, this quilt looks like it fell right off the pages of a designer bedding catalogue. 

Jess’ newest design “Sticks and Stones” finishes at 80” x 90”, perfect for a full-size bed. 

Skill level is Advanced Beginner as a previous knowledge of applique is required - and of course, the pattern includes plenty of informative graphics and Jessica’s "Awesome Tips" to help every quilter bring this project to life! 

Order your Digital Download of “Sticks and Stones” now and get 20% off the regular price. Better order soon as this introductory pricing special goes away at Midnight on Friday, August 23rd!

If you prefer, order your Paper Pattern version of "Sticks and Stones" here (sorry but the special introductory price does not apply).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Kind of Pizza

Howdy y'all! When I started The Quilt and Needle, I really wanted it to be an "online quilting pub" - with great friends, awesome quilting, and yummy food ideas.

Over the years, we've had tons of phenomenal quilters come and go, making lasting friendships along the way. We've enjoyed crazy-cool patterns and grown together in our quilt-making abilities, seeing many of our novice quilters go professional and start to make a name for themselves out in the quilty world. (Jami, Lizzie, Dorian, Nikki, and Cindy... to name a few.)

I'd like to start adding some foody stuff here. All my life I've had a love affair with food - I love to putter around in my garden and my kitchen, making new foody stuff for my friends and family. I've traveled around a bit, and I'm addicted to trying new foods.

Recently, when I was diagnosed with a not-so-fun autoimmune disease, I was given the choice of starting a drug that is known to cause cancer OR go on a very strict, quite radically healthy diet. For me, that is a no-brainer. My diet didn't cause my illness, but it may be the key to dealing with it sans cancer pills. Frankly, I'd rather eat grass than take those pills, so there you have it.

I'm afraid the foody stuff I'll post about won't be very pub-like, but I've got some great recipes, some awesome tips, and a lot of healthy eats to share. Diving right in, here's a pizza recipe that I really enjoy:

100% whole grain pizza crust
1/4 cup pizza sauce
five cherry tomatoes, halved
1/8 red onion, thinly sliced
2-4 artichoke hearts, quartered (I like the small jars of marinated, quartered artichokes)
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped pineapple
crushed red pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (use a low fat pizza cheese here if you prefer)
(Optional: add a bit of lean chicken breast or turkey bacon)

Carefully spread the sauce on the crust, then add all of the toppings except nutritional yeast. Cook according to crust directions (I like mine directly on the rack for 8-12 minutes). Place under the broiler for a couple of additional minutes to really make those veggies taste snazzy. Carefully remove the pizza from the oven, and add the nutritional yeast while hot. Slice and serve. Nummy.

Piece out,

Friday, May 24, 2013


Introducing "Lola's Dance"

Original Pattern Design by Jessica J. E. Smith
Finished Size 59" x 59"
Skill Level:  Advance Beginner
"Lola's Dance" is the perfect size for the special baby in your life!
Available both as a paper pattern and as a digital download pattern.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Quilt and Needle Now Offers Instant Download Patterns!

Jess and I have exciting news!  The Quilt and Needle has jumped on the Instant Download Pattern bandwagon!
You now have a choice between ordering a paper pattern and waiting for it to arrive in your mailbox or you can now order an instant download pattern PDF file and have it sent to your email inbox - what fun!!!
Today's featured Instant Download Pattern is Someday, click here to order.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Guest Blogger: Claiming our blog

Hello Everyone,

Most of you know by now that Google Reader is going away. So we are 'claiming' our blog on Bloglovin.
Click to add us to your bloglovin feed.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Have a great day!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guest Blogger: Saturday Special...coming in May!

Howdy Everyone! It's been a long time since I've posted here. Having a 1yr means a lot less time :)

I wanted to tell you about our Saturday Special on the forum next month, May 18th.

We will be making my Pats' Gems pattern. Go here to see the original one.

But for this Saturday Special, I changed it slightly. Instead of  4x6 rows, it is 6x8 rows and doesn't have the pieced border. It is roughly 54" x 70".

This is a charm pack friendly pattern, or you can use a layer cake, yardage or scraps! 

For this pattern you will need:

Seventy-five 5" squares, in five different colors. They don't have to be the same shade. For example, for my blue color I used a medium blue, a light blue and one that has a white background with blue flowers on it.

 10 green
  9 pink
12 purple
24 blue
20 orange

 And 2.5 yrds of contrasting background fabric. Cut this into seventy-five 5" squares, forty 4.5" squares and six 3.5"x wof for the borders.

If you have FQ's, you can use them too. Here's the rundown on them...Thanks Pat! Cut into 5" squares.

1 green
1 pink
1 purple
2 blue
2 orange

I hope you all will come and join us on May 18th. I'll put a pdf up on the forum. We'll have  a thread so we can show off our fabric choices and show our progress.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Outside The Box" now at Keepsake Quilting!

Jessica J. E. Smith and The Quilt and Needle are extremely proud to announce that Keepsake Quilting now sells Jess' "Outside The Box" pattern as well as fabric kits!  We are very excited about this and wanted to share with all our quilting friends!

"Outside The Box" was our Mystery Pattern design for Summer 2012 and has received rave reviews by all who have made this quilt.  To see more "Outside The Box" quilts, please visit our forum's photo album here.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

SALE!!! 10 Random 1-Yard Cuts of Fabric for only $33!!

It’s February, the month of Love and who doesn’t love a surprise? Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and Jess and I want to give you a special deal. 10 random one-yard cuts of fabrics for only $33.00 – yes, you read that right, 10 yards of fabric for only $33.00! Oh YAY! That is more than 66% off the original price of our fabrics. Jess will randomly select ten fabrics and cut one yard of each for your order. All our fabrics are top quilt-shop quality. We really want you to help us clear out the current inventory to make room for new fabric kits AND the new patterns that will be coming to the Quilt & Needle webstore soon. Don’t miss out on this deal, order your Surprise Fabric Box today!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Guest Blogger: Prepping fabric, Pressing Seams, and Trimming Blocks

Preparing Your fabric, Pressing Your Seams, and Trimming Your Blocks
By:  Connie Eicher, Award Winning Quilter

The quilting world is split in half on the subject of washing your fabrics before you make your quilt. I personally wash every fabric as it comes into the house and then when I get ready to use it I know it has already been washed.  I highly recommend using Spray Sizing when you press your fabric to cut it. It will give it some of that finish you love to handle when you buy it, and it will help prevent slippage of your rulers as you cut. If you want your quilt to appear more antique, and you are sure none of the fabric color will bleed when washed, then don’t wash your fabrics first. Your quilt will wrinkle a bit around the quilting stitches when you wash the completed project. This makes it appear more like antique quilts. Keep in mind that fabric that has not been washed will shrink some if you use steam when you iron. Here are some helpful tips for washing your fabrics.

1.     Sort the fabric by color, darks, reds, and lights separated.

2.     Unfold the fabric as you put it in the washer.

3.     Use a gentle cycle or just a rinse cycle.

4.     Use warm water.

5.     Trim off all large clumps of thread from the edges before you dry the fabric.

6.     Separate each piece of fabric as you move it to the dryer. Straighten it out and put it into the dryer one piece at a time.

7.     Don’t overload the dryer.

8.     Fold the fabric fresh out of the dryer, straightening it out with your hands.

Pressing your blocks is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Pressing is not the same as ironing. Pressing means laying your iron on your block and press down lightly. Then pick it up and press another area. Try not to slide the iron across the blocks as that may distort the pieces. Here are some helpful tips for pressing your blocks.

1.     I use steam when I press as I feel I get a much crisper crease.

2.     Press your seams closed first to set the stitches into the fabric. This will help prevent any distorting of the seam.

3.     Press your seams to one side on the back of the block. This will prevent any puckers or creases on your block.

4.     Then turn your block over and press the top carefully.

5.     Press borders to the quilt before you sew them down. Pressing will help the border stay in place.

6.     When you need to cut a stack of fabric never stack more than four layers and press those layers together before you cut. It will help them stick together and not slide.

Trimming your blocks can make or break the success of your project. Some patterns will give you measurements of each finished step. Measure to make sure you are keeping accurate seams. If your pattern does not have measurements for each step, but has measurements for the finished blocks, then I recommend you make one block and measure it to make sure it is the size it is supposed to be. Then continue with the remaining blocks, chain piecing if you like. Here are some helpful tips for trimming your blocks.

1.     Trim all dog ears.

2.     Pay close attention to the points on the block. You need ¼” seam allowance to insure the point will survive being sewn to the next block.

3.     Use a square up ruler whenever you can. Place the diagonal on the ruler on two opposite corners to make sure the block will be square when you trim it.

4.     If your block is just a bit too small, lay it on your ironing board, use a steam iron to gently maneuver the block into place. When you get the block squared pin it down until the steam dries.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 Quilt & Needle

 “Paint Chip” Challenge!!!

Hostess:  Cindy                                   Co-Hostess:  Jess


It’s time for another Quilt & Needle Challenge!  Have you got your quilty thinking cap on?  I’m sure many of you have heard of Paint Chip Challenges, and I hope that this challenge will be an awesome way for getting you out of your comfy “color” zone. 
Each quilter who accepts this mission will be sent a Paint Chip card of the Hostess’ choice (that would be moi, Cindy!).  There will be 4 or 5 colors on each card – you can use fabrics in any of the colors on that card - you can add fabrics of your own choosing that coordinate with your card colors - HOWEVER, your card colors MUST BE the focus of your quilt.  Example:  let’s assume that you like scrappy quilts and that you receive a “purple” paint chip card.  You can use as wide a variety of fabrics to achieve the scrappiness you like in a quilt but when I look at your quilt, I must see the “purples” from your paint chip card, not mere glimpses of your card purples.   Other than the color requirements, there are no other restrictions – let your imaginations soar as to your design, pattern, type of project, etc.

I will take sign-ups through 5:00 P.M. Central, Monday, January 21st, 2013.  You will need to email cindy@thequiltandneedle.com and let me know your mailing address.  I will mail your Paint Chip soon after you accept this assignment and once you receive it, you may begin your project with a little fabric fondlin’ . . . er . . . um . . . I mean . . . you may begin your project with a trip to your local quilt shop or, if you are fortunate enough, a trip to your fabric stash to select colors to match your Paint Chip card!
Pictures of finished projects will need to be submitted by Midnight Central time, Friday, June 28th, 2013.  To qualify as a “finished project”, anything lap-size quilt and larger only needs to have the top finished, it does not have to be quilted and bound – anything smaller than a lap-quilt (i.e. wall hanging, quilted bag/purse, etc.) should be completely finished.  Photos may be submitted one of three ways:  (1) Posting the photo on the Forum’s Challenge thread. (2) Posting the photo on theQuilt and Needle’s Challenge Event wall. (3) Emailing the photo to me at cindy@thequiltandneedle.com.  This deadline will give everyone well over FIVE months to work on their projects, so PLEASE do not ask for extensions of the deadline – it is not fair to those quilters who have finished their chosen projects by the deadline and any extension requests will NOT be considered.

I will set up polls/albums of all finished projects on both the Forum and Facebook after the pictures have been submitted and let our Forum and Facebook members vote on their favorite project!  Blog followers will be directed to either/both of these sites to cast their vote.  Criteria for voting will be how closely the quilter “showcases” the colors on her Paint Chip card as well as the creativity of her project.  Voting will end at 5:00 P.M. Central on Friday, July 5th, 2013.  Votes from both the Forum poll and the Facebook poll will be added together to determine the Challenge winner and first runner-up.  The winning quilter will receive a $50.00 gift certificate from the Quilt and Needle.  The first runner-up quilter will receive a $25.00 gift certificate from the Quilt and Needle.

So . . . who’s ready to step out of their quilty coloring zones?