Make a Tree Skirt out of a Quilt - Video!

Do you remember earlier this year when I blogged about my Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge fabric and how I said you could get an insanely early start on your holiday sewing? Did you start your holiday sewing yet? No? Yeah, me neither.

But now, you may have noticed that Christmas decorations are starting to pop up in stores. So now, it's game on, full on Christmas prep! Too much? Ok, we'll ease down the road with a simple tree skirt project that utilizes a forgotten WIP or reuses an old quilt!

Below is a video with Rob Appell, of Man Sewing, using my Mandala Quilt pattern to make an easy, striking tree skirt. WARNING: Due to the graphic use of scissors on a quilt, I feel I should warn the faint of heart. Don't worry, no quilts were harmed...much, and they look fabulous.


For this tutorial you will need to finish the edge of the tree skirt with a bias binding. I did a quick tip tutorial with Rob about bias binding as well, so be sure to take a look at that video for tricks on easy bias binding.

Get ready to throw another log on the fire, sip peppermint hot chocolate, and listen to some holiday tunes!

Merry Sewing!


Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial VIDEO!

Have you ever tuned into Man Sewing with Rob Appell? I know what you're thinking, is it a sewing show just for men? It's a show for all, with Rob, a lovely, caffeine fueled man who loves to sew and share that love with others. Every Manly Monday he has a new tutorial. Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Rob for a quick and easy paper pieced tutorial perfect for any level of sewer.

Afraid of paper piecing? So was Rob, but together we made a quick and easy project featuring Rob's needle bolt logo. It's very rock and roll, you could add it to a bag or perhaps sew it onto the back of a jeans jacket. It will be great for your street cred.

Tune into the video below!

You can download the free template here and make your very own needle bolt.

Happy Sewing and Rock On,


Jungle Abstractions: The Lion, Alternate Colorways

Over the last year since Jungle Abstractions: The Lion was released I have received many emails asking about alternate color ways.

The first, I have put together in honor of all the real life lions in our lives. The Savannah palette features a more natural color similar to a wild lion's coloring. Many people have been touched by personal connections to lions they have encountered and many by the story of Cecil the lion.


The Savannah Lion

The replacement list of Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids is as follows, the new colors are in all caps

  • Black - BLACK
  • Charcoal - CAPPUCCINO
  • Clay - PUMPKIN
  • Fog - COIN
  • Brick - CINNAMON
  • Paprika - TOFFEE
  • Clementine - GINGER
  • Coral - MELON
  • Geranium - MANGO
  • Creamsicle - HONEY
  • Wedgewood - GINGER
  • Powder Blue - HONEY
  • White - VANILLA


The second colorway, The Tropical Lion was featured in the Michael Miller booth at QuiltCon 2016. With tones of peaches and purples, this lion surely listens to a lot of glam 80's rock and demands attention on the dance floor. This Lion sample was made by Kimberly Lumapas (@perfectionnotincluded).

The Tropical Lion

The replacement list of Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids is as follows, the new colors are in all caps.

  • Black - BERRY
  • Charcoal - BLACKBERRY
  • Fog - BLUSH
  • Brick - HYACINTH
  • Paprika - SHELL
  • Clementine - LAVENDER
  • Coral - GERANIUM
  • Geranium - IRIS
  • Creamsicle - BLUSH
  • Wedgewood - GERANIUM
  • Powder Blue - IRIS
  • White - SOFT WHITE


If anyone out there plans to make either colorway, I'd love to know. Happy sewing!

Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge

Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge is beginning to ship out to stores, cue the Christmas music! Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge pulls some of my favorite prints from previous collections in tones of reds, greens, and gold. Each line I create tells a story and now it feels like my favorite friends (and hopefully yours) are coming home for the holidays!

From the original Brambleberry Ridge line you will see some returning favorites.

Knots and Loops in Red

Knots and Loops in Red

Knots and Loops in Green

Knots and Loops in Green

Brambleberry in Burgundy

Brambleberry in Burgundy

Brambleberry in Evergreen

Brambleberry in Evergreen

Timber in Evergreen

Timber in Evergreen

Timber in Red

Timber in Red

Bow Tie Plaid in Garland

Bow Tie Plaid in Garland

Bow Tie Plaid in Burgundy

Bow Tie Plaid in Burgundy

From Waterfront Park, the birds from Flight soar in a trio of shades. They like to fly in from time to time and you never know when they will make another appearance! Reflection gets fancy with the addition of metallic gold in Shimmer Reflection.

Flight in Cranberry

Flight in Cranberry

Flight in Green

Flight in Green

Flight in Red

Flight in Red

Shimmer Reflection in Green

Shimmer Reflection in Green

Shimmer Reflection in Red

Shimmer Reflection in Red

Perhaps a couple of my favorite prints come from Madrona Road, but don't tell the others, I don't like to play favorites with my fabric. Wild Carrot a lovely, simple floral and Memoir a true fairy tale. Memoir is available in two colors, a beautiful red and a dreamy metallic gold.

Wild Carrot in Red

Wild Carrot in Red

Memoir in Gold

Memoir in Gold

Memoir in Red

Memoir in Red

Just in time for the holidays you can snap up Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge and get way, way ahead on your holiday sewing! I can't wait to see what you will create!

Merry Sewing to you!

Modern Patchwork and the Cardinal

Recently I was featured in Modern Patchwork magazine, Winter 2016. The article tells a little of my background as well as the story of the inception and creation of the The Lion from my Abstractions series. You can purchase the magazine or digital copy here.

In addition to the article there is free project for my cardinal table runner featuring Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge. The cardinal table runner project is a great project if you're new to paper piecing. It's simple, sweet, and you can get a jump on your holiday sewing (Don't laugh, some people really do prepare this far out, a dream for the rest of us.)

The Color Palette for this project:

Cardinal - Brambleberry in burgundy, Bow Tie Plaid in burgundy, Shimmer Reflections in Red, Wild Carrot in red, Cotton Couture solids in Black and Paprika

Background - Memoir in gold, Cotton Couture solid in Paprika

Binding - Bow Tie Plaid in burgundy

Directions for the table runner can be found in Modern Patchwork Winter 2016, the downloadable templates are available online are available here.

Merry sewing,




The Forest Abstractions Quilt Along: Final Suprise Block!

It's here! The final installment of the companion blocks to the Forest Abstractions quilt. Thank you for your patience and commitment to the Forest Abstractions Quilt along.

Introducing the Snail!

The Snail joins the worthy ranks of the Field Mouse, Trillium, Wild Carrot, Hummingbird, and Pine Cone.

The color palette used for the Snail (shown above) in order from the top:

  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture Lagoon
  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture  Stone
  • Brambleberry Ridge Knots & Loops in Coral
  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture Luna
  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture Blossom
  • Brambleberry Ridge Shimmer Reflection in Mint
  • Brambleberry Ridge Rosemilk in Sorbet

The color palette used for the Pinecone (shown above) in order from the top:

  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture Taupe
  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture  Shell
  • Brambleberry Ridge Knots & Loops in Fog
  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture Blossom

Each of these free companion blocks make up an entire column that can be added onto your Forest Abstractions Quilt.

The final suggested layout for the expanded Forest Abstractions Quilt. Finished size 56" x 60". 

The final suggested layout for the expanded Forest Abstractions Quilt. Finished size 56" x 60". 

This block is FREE in my shop. Download The Snail here.



Crafty Planner Interview

Hello, friends!

Today I have an interview with Sandi Hazelwood on Crafty Planner. Sandi and I have a little chat about my adventure from Kansas through corporate America and finding my home in all things Craft. Find out my opinion on the word "sewlebrity" and how I feel about failure and perfection. I have a lot of FEELS! 

Hop on over to the Crafty Planner blog and listen if you'd like :)

Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop

Have you had a chance to check out Sister Sampler Quilts by AnneMarie Chany yet? The book features 25 vibrant blocks that can be made in pairs (sisters) and assembled into 3 different modern sampler quilts. AnneMarie's samplers feature wonderful innovative layouts that break from a traditional grid. With 25 wonderful blocks to choose from, Sister Sampler Quilts provides inspiration that can make dozens of quilts.

I decided to make the Box & Star Frame blocks. As soon as I saw the block design I could immediately imagine using selvages for the center string blocks and for the first time utilized my own selvages! 

Using AnneMarie's technique of foundation paper piecing the string block center, I drew the square on a larger piece of paper so I could see where my selvages were going to land. I'm a fussy cutter, so I wanted the words and kitty faces to be placed just right in my blocks. I also drew a few random lines across the block so that I could see that I was sewing them on straight. 

I continually checked my progress with a ruler to see where my trimming would be and make sure the words fit within my boundaries. Since I was using selvages I top stitched them down flat with right side of the previously sewn selvage to wrong side of the next one going on. 

Next I trimmed up my center blocks. I made one for Waterfront Park and one for The Highlands. 

These blocks were so fun to make! Sister Sampler Quilts has so many great blocks to choose from and the unique layouts of the finished quilts really shine. I think you'll see a lot more blocks to love when you check out all the stops on the Sister Sampler Quilts blog hop!

I'll be giving away a copy of this fabulous book on my Instagram account. Happy Sewing! 

Monday, January 18  

AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters - Introduction

Sara Lawson / Sew Sweetness


Tuesday, January 19

Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed


Wednesday, January 20

Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces


Thursday, January 21

Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily's Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time


Friday, January 22

Christa Watson / Christa Quilts
Violet Craft


Monday, January 25

Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting


Tuesday, January 26

Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles

Amy Gibson / Stitchery Dickory Dock


Wednesday, January 27

Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life

Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair


Thursday, January 28

Amy Ellis / Amy's Creative Side

Heather Valentine / The Sewing Loft


Friday, January 29

Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life

AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters - Wrap Up

Edited 1/26/16: ConCATulations! to Teri Seal @seeterisew for her comment, "Just kitten!" Her response? "I'm so excited right meow!!" 

Giraffe Abstractions Quilt

The next installment in the large block Abstraction series is here, introducing the Giraffe! You may have seen her at International Quilt Market in the Fall. The Lion, though mighty needed a graceful friend to keep him company. 


The Giraffe features a bright color saturated palette of Cotton Couture fabrics by Michael Miller. The Giraffe is foundation paper pieced and is made with one striking large scale block. The Giraffe finishes at 44" x 60". 

Below you will see the color chart for The Giraffe quilt. Each one of my foundation paper pieced patterns features a color chart with all the colors organized from dark to light.

In this pattern, The Giraffe colors are on the left and the background colors are on the right. 

You can now purchase The Giraffe in my PDF shop.

The Giraffe has her own hastag on social media. Share your photos and see others with #giraffeabstractions

Happy Sewing!  ~ Violet



Foundation Paper Piecing - Tricky Angle Tutorial

Perhaps this isn't your first dip in the foundation paper piecing pond, you're more than a beginner, but sometimes a tough angle looms up and you put it off because it's a little intimidating. Or maybe you're using scraps of some precious hoarded fabric and you need to make each little piece fit. This technique utilizes smaller pieces of fabric, so the angles will need to be just so. This method will also come in handy when fussy cutting small designs and pieces for your foundation paper piecing. If you're unsure about foundation paper piecing you can check out a beginner course here, using my Forest Abstractions - The Bunny pattern.

You can see piece A4 has an interesting angled shape and I have the perfect fabric to fit there.

Pieces A1, A2, and A3 are already pieced into place.

I want the Catelope to fit right in the center of the A4 diamond shape with the Catelope antlers positioned into the wider section of A4.

To prepare my templates for piecing this angle perfectly, I first trim the seam allowances of the previously sewn fabric from along the seam I want to sew next. In this case that seam is the line between the A4 section and the previously pieced A1 & A3.

With RIGHT SIDES DOWN against the cutting mat, use any thin cardboard along the seam line to fold a crease in the paper. I use a paint swatch.

Fold the paper back along the line to get a good crease.

Trim 1/4" past the fold in the paper, creating your seam allowance.

I use an Add-A-Quarter ruler to quickly get a perfect 1/4" every time, but any quilting ruler with 1/4" markings will do.

Take a minute to think about this. Trimming the seam allowance in advance shows you exactly where your next piece will need to line up and prepares you to get that A4 piece perfectly fit for sewing. 

I have moved the desired A4 fabric under the paper. The fabric is RIGHT SIDE DOWN towards the cutting mat. This will be the fabric's final home. It fits here and the right side is facing down like all its neighbors. If you are worried about the fabric shifting, this is a good time to pin your A4 fabric to the paper. You will be removing the pin prior to sewing.

Hold the A4 fabric and foundation paper firmly in place and fold the rest of the foundation back again along the seam line.

Repeat the process of trimming 1/4" past the fold in the paper.

The seam allowance you created in the previous section of steps now perfectly matches the seam allowance you just cut.

Let's stop to take a quick minute to think about this again. You have now cut both of your seam allowances and your angle is perfect and ready to seam in. There is one more step in making sure the angle lands exactly where you want it to when you bring the fabric to the correct side of the paper to sew it. 

Use a fabric marking tool or a pin to mark the exact spot the two fabrics meet up at the top and bottom. In this case, the bottom points are coincidentally matched up. 

Bring the A4 fabric back to the top, still RIGHT SIDE DOWN (unpin from the paper, if you did in a prior step). Match the position of the pin or marks to ensure the fabric is still in the desired position.

Holding everything carefully in place (this is a good time to put a pin back into these fabrics through the paper to hold them in place), unfold your paper back out. 

Carefully turn the whole piece over and sew along the seam line. 

Fold the fabric out and roll or press the seam on your perfectly placed piece! 

Hello, kitty! 

Did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Sewing!


It's Here! Jungle Abstractions: The Lion


Today was a day of epic technical difficulty proportions. With my cute pink laptop that is WAY cuter than functional at this point in her life ... I won the battle over bad print drivers, insufficient memory and just plain ancient software to bring you this new pattern that I am ridiculously excited about. 

You can now purchase The Lion in my PDF shop or pre-order paper patterns for your store in our Wholesale ordering section.  If you need a wholesale account, please email us at and Whitney or I will get you all settled in! 

Brace yourselves. The Lion templates are a whopping 35 pages of 11" x 17" paper piecing goodness. He is SO MUCH FUN to make. I'm starting on my second one this week. 

Forest Abstractions: The Pinecone is also now available as a FREE download in the shop. We are so close to wrapping up those free blocks. The final block is around the corner!

Happy sewing!  


Hello from Quilt Market!

Hello, friends,

I am writing you from Spring International Quilt Market in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I am debuting the first project in a new series, Jungle Abstractions. 

Jungle Abstractions: The Lion

The Lion is a foundation paper piece quilt made with one striking large scale block. Finished measurement is 60" x 60". The PDF pattern will be available June 1.

NOTE FOR SHOPS: Shops can pre-order the paper pattern beginning on June 1. Patterns will ship to shops by July 1. If you pre-order before July 1 you will receive a free PDF pattern to make your shop samples ahead of time!  Curriculum for teaching the pattern in your shops will also be included with your shipment in July!

NOTE FOR FOREST ABSTRACTIONS QUILT-A-LONG FRIENDS: The next block is about one work day away from being posted. I plan to complete it and prep the files as soon as I am back in the studio next week... and if you have read this far, you deserve to know what's coming... The Pinecone :) He's such a cute little pinecone. I can't wait for you to see it! Thank you for hanging in there with me!

Picking a Palette using Forest Abstractions: The Stag

My Abstractions patterns originate from creating 3D models of real animals I have photographed. I create the patterns in such a way that the shapes of the pattern pieces combined with the placement of the fabrics distinguish skeletal and muscular structure in the animals. 

In the Forest Abstractions Stag notice the curvature in his back and haunches. Where the lines break out the individual shapes and combine with the fabrics to create the movement and curvature in these places. Now look to the facial structure and the long snout area and the contrast created by the area for set back eyes. In his legs the lighter fabrics and long lines of the pieces highlight the long sinewy shape of the legs. Each fabric was chosen to highlight or lowlight the appropriate places to capture this movement and curvature while still retaining the abstract sharpness of the design. 

To retain the same look in your blocks you can use the exact or similar prints as I used or you can select your own and follow a few simple guidelines.

Let's take a closer look at the fabric chart included in all of my foundation paper pieced patterns and how it can help. The example below left is for the original Stag block from the cover quilt.

The fabrics are listed on the chart with the background fabric first and then all other fabrics follow from dark to light.  

To retain a similar look select fabrics and arrange them in the same order with background fabric first and then from dark to light. An alternate "Bright Palette" chart is shown below right using this method.

Original: Michael Miller Cotton Couture (CC) Eggplant, CC Toffee, Brambleberry Ridge (BR) Timber Valley in Fog, BR Knots & Loops in Coral, BR Shimmer Reflection in Peach, BR Bow Tie Plaid in Mist, BR Rosemilk in Opal, CC Bright White

Bright: Unknown linen blend, Waterfront Park (WP) Domino Dots in Navy, WP Domino Dots in Jewel, Madrona Road Haystack in Fuschia, Peacock Lane Falling Flowers in Turquoise, WP Reflection in Coral, WP Domino Dots in Starfruit, WP Domino Dots in White

When I was placing the fabrics on the chart, I wasn't exactly sure which order they should go in. To make sure I had them in the correct positions I took a photo of them and then also used a filter to make the photo gray scale and then it became more obvious.

It is very important that the background fabric you choose contrasts well from all other fabrics that will touch it. In the example of the Forest Abstractions Stag, all other fabrics will touch the background fabric so I chose the Cotton Couture deep Eggplant in the original quilt which contrasts well with all of the other prints. In the Bright Palette I used all very saturated prints, so the lighter linen-blend background contrasts well with all other prints.

In this version I created a rustic Christmas Stag. I reversed the lights and darks which still highlight the appropriate places and results in the chart shown below. For the background I chose a deep red to contrast with all of my other choices. 

I also created this Forest Abstractions Stag head pillow in lighter prints where the lights and darks are reversed from the original. I chose the very light Rosemilk in White as the background. 

Christmas: CC Red, CC Toffee, BR Bow Tie Plaid in Fog, BR Brambleberry in Fog, BR Knots & Loops in Fog, BR Shimmer Reflection in Fog, BR Knots & Loops in Bark, BR Timber Valley in Bark

Pillow: BR Rosemilk in White, BR Rosemilk in Opal, BR Knots & Loops in Coral, BR Brambleberry in Fog, BR Timber Valley in Teal, BR Timber Valley in Bark

So, let's say you want to do a completely scrappy version, but still maintain the same contrast in these areas. Gather your scraps and then organize them into piles from high saturation to low saturation. When the pattern calls for one of the darker fabrics, select from your high saturation pile and so on and so forth through to the lightest fabrics. Again, choose a background that will contrast well with all of the scraps you have chosen to use.

So, you want to know more... let's get picky. When looking at any of the blocks, look to the original cover quilt and think about which pieces are important to you. For the Stag, my starting point would be his face. That long, strong snout is a standout piece in the pattern. The face really sets the attitude of your entire Stag. This is the fabric I would choose first. Once you have determined this piece, you can really choose which of the above routes you want to go down for the rest of your selections. 

In the original Stag I chose Timber Valley in Fog. Although my other fabrics are all a little sweeter than this fabric, the moodiness of the Fog print really sets the attitude of the Stag. The sweet peach and coral prints don't take on the softness they would if his face weren't set as such a strong focal point. Looking to the chart, I found that the face was second to top position under the background and the hoof fabric making it almost the darkest print on the chart. This coincides with the fabric I chose, so I went down the chart from darkest to lightest from there. 

Now, let's look at the Stag Pillow. I chose the sweet Rosemilk print to create a more romantic attitude for the pillow. Because this print is the lightest I wanted to use, I reversed the order of prints so that they fell lightest to darkest on my chart. 

Once you start to look at positioning you can really customize your look and see if it makes sense before you even begin. You can see that the chart shows where the hooves are and that the hoof fabric is not used anywhere else and choose accordingly. You can see the lightest fabric on the chart is the setback for the eye position. Does the fabric you chose for this position on your chart make sense in this part of your Stag? If not, you can change it up before you start.  

I hope all these tips are helpful. Show me those blocks on Instagram and remember to hashtag #forestabstractionsqal.



hello there.

I disappeared off the face of the blog for awhile. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you probably have a better picture of what in the world we have been up to. 

The Craft Family unexpectedly bought a house and moved our home and studio and four people and four fur babies across the river right back in time to 1969. Well, our home and neighborhood feel like we moved right back there anyway. I am in love with this house. 

We did this right smack in the middle of the holidays and upended any grand plans of staying on schedule. Our girls started new schools and the oldest is attending a true middle school for the first time... and in the middle of the school year. Transition has gone really well, but it's still been, well, transition. And it's certainly not over. 

We are all settled into our new home though. The beautiful Janome longarm I received right as we were making an offer on our new house is STILL IN ITS BOX. Oh my goodness, if I didn't have so much to get us all back on track with the quilt-along, I would go unpack that baby right now... but I'll worry about that when we are done with this quilt, alright? Alright! 

So.. on to the Stag! Stag instructions post coming Monday with the next surprise block right on its heels next week. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me! I have so many fun projects and fabrics launching this year and I can't wait to share them with you. More "Abstractions" are coming as well as more free projects and blocks. 

Let's do this 2015! 



Not the real key, but it worked for a sneaky selfie before we had the real ones :)

Fur baby approved.