Book Recommendation – Sew Adorkable

I get to wrap up this week by telling you about the adorable and hilariously funny Samarra Khaja who recently wrote the book Sew Adorkable. I mean, the tongue-in-cheek title really says it all!

Samarra first came to my notice when she became known as “The QuiltCon Artist” – photoshopping herself into other people’s QuiltCon pictures and then posting them on Instagram, when she couldn’t attend the event herself. (Just go to instagram and search #quiltconartist to see what I mean.)


Now I normally don’t do 3-D sewing (clothes, bags, accessories, etc.) but if I did, I would for sure pick one of Samara’s projects to make. They are just so fun! Just check out some of these adorable (or adorkable) ideas (all photography courtesy of C&T). I think my favorite is the “Pencil Skirt” shown on the cover. Get it? (Get it??)

Masculine Tooth Fairy Pillows

stapler_pillowStapler Pillow


Typewriter Tissue Box – Everyone needs one of these!

Samarra also included some delightful quilt patterns in her book. Take a look at these:

odd_socksOdd Socks – That’s where they went to!!

8 bit birds8 Bit Birds

11114_007.tif_SK1Braille Alphabet Quilt

candy_dotsCandy Dots – Love those added illustrations!

One of the most delightful things about Sew Adorkable is Samarra’s illustrations which are included throughout the book, like in the photos above. Her sense of playfulness is really evident throughout the book.

So if you are looking for that unique gift this holiday season, pick up your copy of Sew Adorkable and stitch up one of 15 fun projects!

coloringbookBut Wait There’s More!

PS – if you like her illustration style, Samarra also has her very own coloring book! It’s called Off the Bookshelf and it just released this week!

Sew and Tell – Do it Yourself Quilts Update

Today’s Sew and Tell is a little different. Instead of featuring a finished project made by one of my customers, I’m excited to share with you some finished jelly roll blocks from one of my quilt- along followers. Scroll down to  the end of this post if you want to join the fun!

These pictures come from Diane in Canada and she finished up this week’s homework in a jiffy!  She had an older strip bundle lying around that she put to good use.

Jelly Roll StripsDiane’s fabric is Greenfield Hill by Denise Schmidt for Westminster. Instead of randomly sewing the strips together, she matched up the pretty jewel tones into coordinating pairs.

Jelly Roll Blocks“Sew” far, “sew” good, Diane! I think your use of color will be striking if you sew each row in a different color, “strippy” style, or if you have the colors cascade across the quilt in an orderly fashion (like green, red, blue, black, etc.)

For those of you eager beavers out there like Diane that are ready to move on, I’ll give a sneak peek of what we’ll be working on for next week’s lesson. If you select 100 of your blocks and sew them together into 50 pairs like this you’ll be one step ahead.

Jelly Roll Block Pairs

Next week’s post will include complete directions on how to finish the quilt top, so make sure you grab your one yard of tone on tone or solid coordinate to go with your jelly roll.  I’m going to use Ruby Red Kona Solid to go along with my Vintage Modern jelly roll shown above.

In case you are just joining us, you can click the links below to catch up and follow along with this tutorial in it’s entirety. My main reason for starting this tutorial is to teach you that  yes, you can, make a complete quilt from start to finish, all by yourself!

DIY Quilts #1.1 – The Jolly Jellyroll Quilt Supply List

DIY Quilts #1.2 – Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Blocks

Christa’s Soapbox – Pressing Your Seams Open

In two words: do it!

The idea of pressing seams always to one side is pretty old school. It comes from when seams were hand pieced; the double seam pressed to one side gave strength. Also, when hand quilting, it was easier to stitch in the ditch if the bulk of the seams was out of the way.

Block With Seams Pressed OpenHowever, with so much modern quilting going on, using lots of solids and white background space, there’s more of a need to press seams open to prevent shadowing.

Moreover, it’s much easier to machine quilt if all of the seams are pressed open.

When I first began doing free motion quilting, I took a class from a teacher that recommended planning all of your quilting ahead of time so you would know which way to press your seams. (For machine quilting stitch-in-the-ditch, it was conventional wisdom to always quilt in the low side of the ditch.) My first thought was, what a pain!

Seams Pressed OpenI want the freedom to be able to quilt how I want when I want without being limited by piecing decisions. I also like how much flatter the quilt lies when all of the seams are pressed open. So yes, you have my permission to press ’em open as much as you want!

By the way, the quilt seams shown in this post are from my Bungle Jungle modern quilt I’m currently working on. You can read this week’s earlier post about making this quilt here.

Bungle Jungle Modern Quilt – Week 1

Before I’ve even finished my current project, the Little Rascals baby quilt, I’ve already started on my next charm pack design! I was inspired by Leah Day’s modern quilt on her free-motion quilting blog.  However,  I’m making mine a little more uniform and less wonky.

I started with one charm pack of Bungle Jungle – a set of 42 precut squares that measure Bungle Jungle with Solid White5 inches. That means the finished size of each square is4 1/2″. I wanted to surround the squares with lots of open space for quilting, so I grabbed 2 yards of  of Kona Cotton Solids in white.

I cut  fifteen 4″ wide strips of white and sub-cut them into 42 pieces that measure 4″ x 5″ for the short side of the blocks and and 42 pieces of 4″ x 8 1/2″ for the long side of the blocks.

I stacked the pieces up next to my sewing machine in order so they were all ready to sew. Some of the prints are directional, but I won’t worry about that as I sew this quilt together. That will add to the “charm!”

Stacked and Ready to Sew

Bungle Jungle Block

To help with quilting later, I pressed all of the seams open. This helps reduce bulk and prevents shadowing of the seams. I will sew a total of 42 blocks, one for every charm square.

This week I will work on arranging the blocks into a pleasing setting. I’m loving it already!

Bungle Jungle Blocks LayoutThe Modern Quilt aesthetic really appeals to me with lots of negative space and clean lines. One of the hallmarks of this design style is to use lots of solid fabric and crisp, clear colors.

If you’d like to follow along, grab 1 charm pack of your choice and 2 yards of background fabric, then sew a total of 42 blocks like those shown above. (I’ve only finished 12 blocks so far.) I’ll continue to blog about this project until it’s done, including quilting and binding.