Quiltcon 2015 – My Top 10 Favorites

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I am home from Austin and Quiltcon 2015.  It was everything I had hoped for and more.  I don’t think I have ever had this much fun at a Quiltshow.  There was so much going on but I pared it down to my top 10 favorite things.  In no particular order….

quiltcon buttons

#10 Buttons Buttons Buttons

This year there was a button swap.  Folks who wanted to participate made up little metal pin on buttons with their guild logo, or their business logo, or their instagram handle.  It was a great conversation starter and I talked to lots of people I might have been too shy to talk to normally.  Those little buttons gave me a reason to meet a lot of new friends and share a little about ourselves. You could swap them about anywhere, I kept my little bag of buttons with me wherever I went.  I even made the Quilting Daily blog with a picture of me swapping buttons, check it out HERE.

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#9 Stocked up on hard to find goodies

There were some really awesome vendors and I picked up my kitty japanese prints, oohed and aahed over the Oakshot cottons, admired the Doe fabric, and even splurged on some Aurifil thread.  There were some new technology based services like Massdrop, a group buying service and Pattern Jam,  online quilt design software, that I had not been aware of that I now definitely need to look into. There were sewing machine and long arm dealers to try out your dream machine brands.  There was something for everyone in the vendor area.

Nancy Zieman and myself

Nancy Zieman and myself

#8 Met a mentor I admire in person

She may not be officially modern, but she is sewing royalty.  I met Nancy Zieman after her lecture about how Sewing with Nancy came to be.  She was a gracious and genuine speaker and I really enjoyed her inspirational journey.  And she brought Clover goodies for everyone!  The authors, lecturers and teachers were very accessible and you could find them everywhere at the venue.

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#7 Gave a little of my time for others

When I needed a little rest and sit down time, I found the perfect booth.  There I sat and embroidered  and stitched a little outfit for a pig.  It was the cutest little quilt square on fabric printed for you to dress the little characters.  When I finished, I turned him in to be made into a charity quilt.  A very nice way to take a little breather.  Of course, my Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild had a charity quilt that I worked on displayed in one of the large halls.  It is so nice that the Modern Guilds also give back to our communities.

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#6 Gained Loads of Inspiration from the beautiful quilts

There were so many quilts, I think I walked the floor about 3 times and every time saw a quilt I had missed before.  They were beautiful and detailed.  The textures, fabric choices and colors were amazing.  From simple to complicated piecing, they all told exquisite stories.  Here is some of thebeautiful texture, I apologize that I did not get the name and designer of this quilt.

My roomie, Donna A and me

My roomie, Donna A and me

#5 Old friends, New friends

It was hard not to make a new friend at Quiltcon.  Even an old friend that you might have only known before from their instagram pictures or perhaps you had a swap partner you wanted to meet. Even the dear friends that you brought with you to the show was an opportunity to build a deeper friendship.  It was such a friendly atmosphere from the attendees to the people manning the booths, the atmosphere was buzzing.

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 #4 Free Stuff

I do love me some free stuff.  Well, I did spend enough to receive on the conference to receive the MQG swag bag too.  This bag was filled to the brim with patterns, thread, fabric and the cutest little container, book and colored pencils from the MQG.  All around the floor were fabric and thread manufacturers with games, temporary tattoos and freebies for everyone.  Even the demos had prizes.

Donna A, Whatsonemoreproject, HouseofDuke, and Sewtogether Phyllis at dinner

Donna A, Whatsonemoreproject, HouseofDuke, and Sewtogether Phyllis at dinner

#3 Yummy Food

Austin did not disappoint.  There was the expected Tex Mex and BBQ, but just about anything you might desire was there too with lots of fresh ingredients.  I enjoyed delicious fried chicken, some wonderful Italian and a had great Mexican food at some of my favorites.

My blocks from the Patchwork City class

My blocks from the Patchwork City class

#2 I learned something new!

I took two classes by some wonderful teachers.  My first class was Patchwork City with Elizabeth Hartman.  I learned about texture and color and looked at the combination of block parts, colors and patterns so differently than I had before.  Here are three finished blocks all put together.

Donna (dolce-t), Carolyn Friedlander and myself with our aerial grove projects

Donna (dolce-t), Carolyn Friedlander and myself with our aerial grove projects

My second class was Aerial Grove with Carolyn Friedlander.  This class with hand applique on Sunday was the perfect relaxing activity for the end of Quiltcon.  Again I worked with color and scraps.  In both classes, I discovered that less is more and limited the colors for a great effect.  I feel if you learn at least one new thing, the class is always worth it.

RubyThreads and I goofing off in the Moda Photo Booth

RubyThreads and I goofing off in the Moda Photo Booth

#1  Had fun

Whether I was shopping, in class, or hanging out with new or old friends, I had a ton of fun.  I laughed a lot.  Joy makes any adventure memorable.  I had a sweet roomie who made me laugh until I cried.  I caught up with an old friend for lunch and just had fun goofing off with all my pals.  Could it have been any better?

If you were not sure before, start saving up for Quiltcon 2016 in California.

I am home now recovering, napping and doing laundry.  And of course, sewing.  Happy Stitching!

 

New Pattern – Dizzy Daisy Threadcatcher, Needlebook and Mini Pincushion

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I have been making this cute little dizzy daisy pincushion and threadcatcher for my friends for years and they have been asking for the pattern.  I added a Needlebook and Mini Pincushion for some cute bonus items to go with it.  You use a threadcatcher to well…catch the threads and little snips and bits as you are sewing.  It helps keep your sewing area neat and it is simple to carry to the trash can to empty it out when it is full.  The little daisy on the attached pincushion is pretty and clever – you can park your needles here so they are easy to find.

Dizzy Daisy Threadcatcher

I have several.  One is perched on my sewing table next to my machine where it is handy but I won’t knock it off.  I have one in my travel bag for sew-in days and retreats.  And I have one to carry with me to my recliner.  I have it hanging off the arm of the chair when I am doing hand sewing and watching tv.  I like to think I am being productive while I watch my favorite shows.

Dizzy Daisy Needlebook

I added this cute little Needle book too.  I have several of these too.  One for embroidery needles, one for applique needles, and one for quilting betweens.  I even have a special one with my big eye needles for Big Stitch Quilting.  It makes it easy to grab what you need for any project.

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Use it for pins or regular needles too when you are sewing on your quilt binding if you do it by hand like me.  I find it to be relaxing to do it by hand.

Dizzy Daisy Mini Pincushion


Finally, there is this tiny mini pincushion.  It is a 3″ x 3″ 9 patch.  I even tried to fussy cut the center square on this one.

This tiny size is easy to throw in a hand sewing bag or for a travel pincushion.  It is so simple and quick to make.  I stitched up a bunch of them for stocking stuffers this past Christmas.  I think they would be a fun gift to make for your sewing group too.

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Here is an example of another set I stitched up with a natural linen.  I embellished the items with embroidery floss in a running stitch and some twill tape.

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 I even changed up the little pincushion but it is still a petite 3″ x 3″.  Once you have the pattern, you can explore your own creativity to create something that is one of a kind.

Thanks for letting me share my new pattern with you.

You can find it in my Craftsy Shop HERE.  Upload your project pictures too.  I would love to see your versions of my Dizzy Daisy Threadcatcher pattern.

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I still have a few of these rainbow colored ones IN MY SHOP for sale as well.


Easy Crochet Valentine Hearts

Yes, I usually am sewing or quilting.  But every now and then I like to do a little crochet.  I found this great pattern for easy crochet valentine hearts that I made into a fun holiday garland.  Perfect for a beginner, this pattern would be great to teach someone new how to crochet, as it has several basic stitches including chain, single, double, half double and triple crochet!  It also works very fast with only 3 rounds to make a heart.

crochet valentine heart - Lori Miller Designs

I made this whole garland in an evening of watching tv and I just used my leftover red, white and pink yarn stash!

Cindy first shared this pattern on her website Skip to My Lou.  Find her free crochet directions here.

Note: Definitely use the alternate directions for round 3.  It really helps the valentine to lay flat.

Round 1

crochet valentine heart - Lori Miller Designs

Round 2

crochet valentine heart - Lori Miller Designs

Round 3

crochet valentine heart - Lori Miller Designs

Here are my hearts all strung together.  I alternated red and pink valentine hearts, they really brighten things up.

crochet valentine heart - Lori Miller Designs

You just use a chain stitch and single crochet to the tops of the valentine hearts to form the garland.  They hang very nicely like this.

crochet valentine heart - Lori Miller Designs

What a great little decoration to create for valentines day.  A truely perfect afternoon project to teach your little ones to crochet in this cold, snowy weather. Why don’t  you make the little valentine hearts and slip them in a letter, lunchbag or on a pillow for your sweetheart for a surprise?

Happy Valentines Day!

Make a simple pieced heart quilt block – tutorial

Pink and red are a traditional color combination for Valentine’s day and I simply adore them together.  I am sharing a simple pieced heart quilt block in those lovely colors that you can use as a foundation for a sweet holiday project.  Although it is a small quilt block, only 4 1/2″, this size is very versatile.  I used it to make a festive table runner, but you could create coasters, placemats, mini quilts or even a baby quilt.  I combined four of them to make a 9 1/2″ block.  This would be a great project for a beginning quilter.

Materials

  • Scraps of pink and red cotton fabric
  • For each Heart – 6″ x 6″ square is plenty
  • Background – 6″ x 6″ is plenty here too

Hint:  This simple pieced heart quilt block is fat quarter and jelly roll friendly.

Directions

heart quilt block - Lori Miller Designs

Cut the fabric:

Heart fabric

  • 1 – 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ strip
  • 1 – 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ square

Background fabric

  • 1 – 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ square
  • 4 – 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ squares

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See block diagram above to use as a guide.

Sew the quilt block:

 

heart quilt block - Lori Miller Designs

  1.  Take both of the heart pieces of fabric and  two small background squares, right sides together (RST) at one end.heart quilt block - Lori Miller Designs
  2. Sew diagonally across both small squares to form a V.  Trim 1/4″ away from stitch.SONY DSC

    3. Iron the flaps out.  These are the tops of the heart.SONY DSC4. Sew the remaining background square to the left side of the small heart square, RST.  Iron open.

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     5. Sew the two heart pieces together at the center of the heart.  Iron open.

You now have a beautiful unfinished 4 1/2″ square simple heart which will finish at four inches.  You can use this anyway you like.

Make a Larger Block

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I added one inch strips to combine four simple heart blocks together.

From background fabric, cut:

  • 2 – 1 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ strips
  • 1 – 1 1/2 x 9 1/2″ strips

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Here is a table runner that I embellished with my simple heart blocks in red and pink.  I placed the block on point to add some interest and used a pink and white striped binding on the bias for some punch.  It is the perfect thing to set off my table for Valentines day.  What are you making for the holiday?