Monday, 17 October 2016

Daydreams of Quilts Facebook Group has been created!

Hello my quilting friends! I have finally plucked up my courage and created a Daydreams of Quilts Facebook group after receiving a positive response to this idea in my reader survey that I did in the summer.

  CLICK HERE to get to the group page and request to join. I will approve your request as soon as I see it.

 My hope is that this will be a fun and positive place for us to interact with each other. We can talk about Daydreams of Quilts patterns but I do not feel that the conversation in the group needs to be limited to only that. I would like this to be a place to ask questions and share successes in both quilting and quilting businesses. Ultimately I would like it to be a place to strengthen relationships between ourselves. I hope to see you in the group!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Starting an Online Creative Business

If you are thinking about launching a creative business now is a good time to start! My best advice to you if you are on the fence is "just do it!" Get started and figure it out as you go. The internet is huge and even if you make a little mistake here and there no one but you is going to know. That being said, there are some amazing resources at the bottom of this post that I recommend you tap into to learn as much as you can.

There are many ways that you can start an e-commerce site. You can set up a WordPress blog and integrate a shop into it with plug-ins like Shopify and Woo Commerce or you can create a stand alone shop using a site such as BigCartel. You can even have a web developer build a website for you. These options cost money though. Unless you are a web developer or you already have a large customer base my personal advice to you is start cheap and work your way up.

I have recently researched a lot about starting a WordPress blog and may still go that route in the future but I have been on Blogger and Etsy for over five years and they are still working out great for me while costing me very little (Blogger is free!) There are some big quilt blogs who have Blogger blogs (Fat Quarter Shop for example) so I feel comfortable staying put here along with them for now. Having a blog is a great business promotion tool and fun way to interact with your tribe so I encourage you to give it a try if you haven't already.

Etsy has a wealth of resources for it's sellers. If you are just getting started with them you can take a look at their handy Quick-Start Guide which has lots of great tips for online shops. In fact, they have a whole seller handbook which is an amazing resource for shop owners. There are online e-courses out there to help you optimize your shop but you can find all that information for free in the seller handbook if you're willing to look and dig a little bit.

So if you're not sure if your business model is going to fly I recommend starting out on a free blog platform and using a pre-built e-commerce site like Etsy. If things work out for you you can always upgrade to paid and custom sites later. These options worked, and are still working, for me.

There are business advice sites out there (tonnes of them!) who will advise that if you're serious about starting an online business or making money from your blog that you start out with a paid WordPress site from the very beginning. It is true that it can be a hassle to transfer all your content from your free site to your paid site and you would need to redirect all your traffic from sites such as Pinterest to your new site. If you think that is something you wouldn't want to sort out down the road, and you can afford to pay, then definitely go ahead and start out with a paid site. Many people have advised me that if I ever want to switch platforms that I should always go to one that I own (paid site) rather than another free platform so keep that in mind.

You will need to make yourself visible on social media so you can be found. Starting a blog and an online shop is not where it ends because how will people know where to find you? I am on many social media platforms (check the mason jars in my sidebar to find me!) but I recommend starting with one or two that you enjoy or that you think will be effective. I have found Pinterest to be amazing for driving traffic and Instagram is awesome for being seen and building relationships with your tribe. See this post for some quick advice about Pinterest.

What I am saying here is that it never hurts to try and then try again if it doesn't work the first time. Find people who will support and encourage you and go for it! (Hint: these people will probably be found online... there are very few people that I know in person who support me or even understand what I do.) Don't let fear hold you back from giving it a try.

Here are some online places that I recommend for finding information, support and resources:

Check my Business Tips Pinterest Board for pins on business advice.

Business Support Websites: (I just renewed my membership today!)

Facebook Groups:
(These are closed groups you will need to request to join)

If you have any questions I will try to answer them if I can. If I cannot reply by email to your comment I will answer here in the comments so check back if you don't hear from me. Good luck!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Spin the Bottle Block and Lap Quilt Tutorial

Who remembers playing "spin the bottle" when they were younger? (I do!) Luckily you don't have to take any dares with this spin the bottle.

Here's a quick tutorial for the Spin the Bottle Block:

To make this block you will need my Wine Bottle Block pattern which is available on Etsy ($5.00 CDN) and Craftsy ($4.00 US).

To make a spin the bottle block you need four wine bottle blocks.

You need about a half yard of background fabric per spin the bottle block and fat eighths or scraps for the bottles.

The wine bottle blocks measure 4 1/2 inches x 12 1/2 inches unfinished. Once you have sewn four wine bottles you simply sew an 8 1/2 x 12 1/2 inch background rectangle to the right side of each wine bottle and set them into the block by spinning the bottles in the four directions as shown in the photo above. Piece the block as you would a four patch. Sew the centre seam on the top two and bottom two blocks. Press the seams in opposite directions to create a nesting seam at the middle and then sew the top and bottom sections together. This makes a 24" block. This in itself would be great as a table topper but I plan to make a lap quilt.

To make a 60" x 60" lap quilt you need 3 1/2 yards of background fabric. Make four "spin the bottle blocks" as above and piece them together into a quilt top by sewing 4 1/2" sashing strips between the blocks.

Cut 6 - 4 1/2" x 24 1/2" sashing strips and sew them to the vertical edges of your spin the bottle blocks. You will have from left to right: sashing, block, sashing, block, sashing. Make two. Then sew the two rows together with a 4 1/2" x 60 1/2" sashing strip running horizontally across the middle of the quilt. Then add a 4 1/2" x 60 1/2" sashing strip across the top and the bottom edges of your quilt top. You are finished and ready to baste, quilt and bind your quilt.

I am sewing mine scrappy using various half yards of low volume background fabrics but if you want all of your background to be the same then cut the sashing strips first before you cut the rectangles and wine bottle background pieces.

I hope you like this fun block idea! :) To learn more about the wine bottle block pattern you can read this post.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The "Feel Better" Quilt

I have a friend who has been ill and in the hospital. I wanted to do something helpful for him so I set to work sewing a "feel better quilt". I wanted to get it finished quickly so I drew up a simple block in EQ7. This quilt took me four days to finish and I also worked 26 hours at work in those four days so you may be able to get it done in even less time if you have a weekend off. This quilt measures 60" x 72" and the blocks are 12" finished.

Here is the block diagram:

To make the blocks here is what you do:

Fussy cut a centre square that is 2 1/2 inches square. I used a 2 1/2" square ruler so I could get my fussy cuts centred as best I could by looking at the print through the clear plastic ruler.

For the first round in light grey cut 2 - 2 1/2 inch squares and 2 - 2 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inch rectangles.

For the second round in dark grey cut 2 - 3 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inch rectangles and 2 - 2 1/2 inch by 12 1/2 inch rectangles.

Sew the light grey squares to either side of the fussy cut square and press towards the light grey. Sew the two light grey rectangles to the top and bottom and press towards the rectangles. Then sew the 3 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch dark grey rectangles to either side and press towards the dark grey. Sew the 3 1/2 by 12 1/2 inch dark grey rectangles to the top and bottom and press towards the dark grey.

Make 20 blocks.

Layout your blocks in five rows of four blocks each. I added a pop of orange into my quilt so you could consider doing something like that to add a bit of interest to the quilt.

Once your quilt top is sewn together you just need to add the borders if you wish to have them.

Originally I planned to have 3 two inch borders but in the end I went with a two inch inner border, a one inch middle border and a three inch outer border. These borders added a foot to the width and length of the quilt to get it up to the size I needed but you could leave them off or sew more blocks if you wish.

So there you have it! A simple and fast quilt to make quickly when you find out someone needs a "feel better quilt."

You can see more photos and close ups of this quilt in my Instagram feed.

I fussy cut dogs (and one spooky fish) for the centre of the blocks.

I put in one block that was different from the rest to add interest and a pop of colour.

Spooky the fish!

If you are a newsletter subscriber this tutorial was also sent out in last week's newsletter Issue 27. :)

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Ornamental Quilt

Hello! The summer is winding down and I haven't yet shared one of my quilt finishes this summer. This is the "Ornamental Quilt" from Angela Pingel's book "A Quilter's Mixology."

My Mom was given a large piece of fabric as a gift and she wanted me to use it as a quilt back. We decided on the Ornamental Quilt because its ornament shapes mimic the shapes on the quilt backing. (Plus, it was on my quilty bucket list!)

I quilted the quilt from the back following the shapes on the backing fabric. It was tricky and I did have to use my seam ripper a few times but in the end I am very happy with how it turned out. It took 75 times pushing the quilt through my Juki to quilt it. (Yes, I counted.) I broke it up over a few days and did the dance of joy when the quilting was finished. ;)

I added an extra vertical row to make the quilt double bed sized for my parents' bed. You can see close ups of the blocks on Instagram by clicking here, here and here. :)

This was a fun quilt to make. I really enjoyed choosing the fabric for the blocks from my stash. The background fabric is Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Espresso. The binding is an orange Michael Miller solid.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Wine Bottle Quilt Block

As some of you know, if you subscribe to my newsletter, I recently started a new part time job as a liquor store clerk. I wasn't sure I was going to like but it's actually not a bad job! And, BONUS!, I've lost six pounds already from all the lifting and carrying of liquids! :)

Anyway, sometimes it can be a bit boring, as all jobs can be, and then my mind will occasionally wander. As you know, I am prone to daydreams of quilts. So anyway, I was stocking the wine shelves one day and this block idea came to me. When I got home I drew it out on graph paper. It took me a few weeks to get a chance to actually test and tweak the block design and I am happy to say that today I released a block pattern! I have quilt designs coming but the block design is ready to go. Here it is! This is a 4" x 12" finished block.

I am having loads of fun fussy cutting wine bottle labels from my favorite Heather Ross prints. There are a lot of very cool wine bottle labels out there I have noticed so we can pretty much put anything we want on our quilt wine bottles and they will be true to life. :)

This block pattern is available now in my Etsy and Craftsy shops. Cheers!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Patchwork Death Star

I made a Patchwork Death Star pillow yesterday and people seem to really like it over on Instagram so I though I better share it here for those of you who aren't on IG. First, let me tell you a bit about the person who inspired me to make it.

You know how sometimes in life you meet someone and your personalities just click? That's what happened with me recently when I started a new job. One of my work mates and I just click and we work well together. It totally makes my day seeing this person and I really enjoy talking with them. So anyway, my friend is going through a bit of a hard time and I wanted to cheer them up. Since my super power is sewing (joking!) I naturally wanted to sew something for them. Enter the patchwork death star.

Here's what it looks like finished:

Patchwork Death Star pillow made by Anita of Daydreams of Quilts. Pattern by Quirky Granola Girl.
My friend loves movies, and Star Wars especially, so that was why I chose this project. You can find the free pattern here. The original pattern by Quirky Granola Girl is English paper pieced. While I do love EPP I wanted to get this project finished in one day so I used an applique method that I learned from Alyssa at Pile 'o Fabric in the Technicolor Galaxy course.

I printed out the pattern and taped the two halves together. I traced the whole pattern onto freezer paper. Then I placed a piece of muslin over the printed pattern and secured everything in place on my pressing board with pins. Working piece by piece I cut the shapes from the freezer paper and ironed them onto the front sides of my grey scraps. Then I cut them out, removed the freezer paper and glue basted them to the muslin using my iron to set the glue. (I used Elmer's washable glue sticks... the purple ones.)

Once all the pieces were basted down I fused strips of black Clover bias tape to cover the raw edges. To get a 3D effect it's important to imagine that the sun is shining on one side of the Death Star and work your fabric scraps from dark on the left to light on the right.

I cut around the Death Star with my rotary cutter to remove the excess muslin and glue basted the it to the background. I used black Cotton + Steel "Sprinkle" for my background. I put a piece of quilt batting behind the background and top stitched on all edges of the fusible bias tape to secure everything with black thread and quilt it at the same time. Then I fused bias tape around the whole outside edge of the Death Star and top stitched that. I added a quote from the movie "That's no moon" in white thread handwriting in free motion quilting and I free motion quilted the circle on the Death Star.

Then I trimmed, made my envelope pillow back and stitched that together with the pillow front and added binding in Lizzy House's Constellations fabric from her new Whisper Palette.

I am very happy with how this pillow turned out. I gave it to my friend almost immediately after finishing it and I think my cheering up plan worked. :)

P.S. Make sure you enter my 5 year Blog Anniversary giveaway before Thursday August 11th at midnight Mountain time! :)