Winter Blues

I’m not usually very open about my life aside from the light and fluffy stuff, like quilting and my little ones, but I have felt compelled to share my experience as a pattern designer, quilter and mom living with SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

Many years back, when my husband and I were just starting out, he noticed that I would become lethargic and more socially withdrawn during the winter. I would still go to work and eat when prompted, but I didn’t really show any signs of enjoying my life. When the snow finally melted and the sun came back out we both noticed a very drastic change in my mood. After some reasearch and a trip to my doctor I was diagnosed with SAD.

Over the years I have struggled every winter to find an effective way to combat the effects and still have found few things that have helped. The first being daylight bulbs, to which I have effectively filled my sewing room with a good 240 watts of this light to help. The second is a tiny vile of aroma therapy oils that a friend of mine gave me a few years back.

During these times I’ve learned that my sewing machine does suffer a little neglect, but my graph paper and computer become filled with new ideas and patterns!

I don’t mean for this post to be a woe is me kind of thing, but hopefully it can help others to make the connections I made many years back and find some relief from the effects of SAD in their own life.

Here in Indiana, the winter is not quite over (though just wait 24 hrs and it just might change on you 😂) and I’m still feeling sluggish around my sewing machine, but my designs have been abundant.

I hope to get back to some pretty sewing pieces soon, but until then here’s a peak at what I’ve been cooking up on my computer 😜.

These are availible currently at both my Etsy shop and Craftsy.

Poinsettia Patch cover Isle Star cover Snow Storm cover
Ribbon Dance cover Star Crossed Lovers cover

And these pretties are coming soon.

Corner Crossing cover Queen Bee cover Fireworks cover Chess Match cover

 

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Fair Winds Wall Quilt

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be able to share something I’ve been working on for the Moda Bake Shop. I’m not usually one for keeping my workflow under wraps (haha my Instagram feed is a good example of this), but now I’m ecstatic to get to share with you my first Moda Bake Shop publication!

Introducing……..

Fair Winds Cover Photo

You can find all the info to make your own over at Moda Bake Shop!

The Aqua Umbrella QAL – Final Week (Quilts & Giveaway!)

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The time has finally come to announce the end of The Aqua Umbrella QAL! I’m so grateful for the warm reception my first quilt along has received and the quilts everyone has posted are gorgeous! Thank you so much for quilting along with me.

She’s not bound quite yet but here’s how my quilt finished!
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Now for the best part…. the prizes! Thanks to my adorable little girl we have our randomly chosen winners!

First up, third place winning a Marmalade mini charm pack and Rose pincushion cuff….. @annalee_k!
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Second place, winning a pack of 50 Ruby charm squares… @just_anne_marie!

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And the grand prize winner of a made to order rag rug is….. @jfeddema1!!!
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Ladies, shoot me and email so I can get you your prizes!

 

The Aqua Umbrella QAL Week 10 Final Layout & Piecing Instructions

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We made it! Now that you have all your blocks put together you’re ready to finish up your quilt.

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I can’t wait to see how your top turns out! You have 2 weeks until my next post when you can post your finished your quilt top ( top only is required, so no worries if you haven’t quilted or bound it yet) and I will be doing a few drawings for prizes from Moda fabrics, Aurifil and a few little pretties made by yours truly.

Thank you so much for quilting along with me, it’s been a blast!

Don’t forget to share them on Flickr and Instagram (using #theaquaumbrellaqal) if you have accounts and to check out Sew Sassy Stitchery to get your quilt quilted for 10% off!

Valerie

The Aqua Umbrella QAL Week 9

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Welcome back everyone! I’m so excited to continue this quilt along with you. This week I am sharing with you the patterns for the final two blocks,  blocks 25 & 26! Remember if you ever need a refresher on the basics you can find them here.

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Untitled Block 26

Don’t forget to share them on Flickr and Instagram (using #theaquaumbrellaqal) if you have accounts. Thanks again for quilting along and I’ll be back next Saturday with the piecing instructions so you can put it all together!

Happy Quilting!

Valerie

The Aqua Umbrella QAL Week 8

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Welcome back everyone! I’m so excited to continue this quilt along with you. This week I am sharing with you the patterns for blocks 22-24! Remember if you ever need a refresher on the basics you can find them here.

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Block 22

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Don’t forget to share them on Flickr and Instagram (using #theaquaumbrellaqal) if you have accounts. Thanks again for quilting along and I’ll be back next Saturday with our last  blocks 25 & 26!

Happy Quilting!

Valerie

The Aqua Umbrella QAL Week 7

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Welcome back everyone! I’m so excited to continue this quilt along with you. This week I am sharing with you the patterns for blocks 19-21! Remember if you ever need a refresher on the basics you can find them here.

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Don’t forget to share them on Flickr and Instagram (using #theaquaumbrellaqal) if you have accounts. Thanks again for quilting along and I’ll be back next Saturday with Blocks 22-24.

Happy Quilting!

Valerie

Wrapped Rag Rug Tutorial

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Hi everyone! I’ve been having a ton of fun this past week making my very own scrappy Bonnie and Camille wrapped rag rug! A few people who have been following its progress on Instagram asked if I could do a tutorial so to help all those of you who are like me a hoard scrap strips this will be a great stash buster, but you can also make it using precuts too which is great if you are wanting just one fabric line ;).

To get started you’ll need either a jelly roll or a layer cake. If you are using scraps you can always just keep adding strips until you reach about the same amount of fabric. If you use scraps I recommend using 10″ or longer pieces. Otherwise you’ll loose quite a bit of the piece in the overlapping process (more on that later). You will also need 1/4″ cotton piping cord. You can find this at your local craft store as well as etsy and amazon. For this example I used 50 yards of piping.

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Depending on what type of precut you are using you’ll be cutting your fabric one of two ways:

For Jelly Roll strips you will simply be cutting them in half lengthwise. This will create (2) 1-1/4″x WOF strips per Jelly Roll Strip for a total of (80) 1-1/4″x WOF strips.

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For Layer Cakes squares you will just each square into (8) 10″x 1-1/4″ strips for a total of (320) 10″x 1-1/4″ strips.

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To start the rug you must first wrap the fabrics you’ve just cut around the cotton piping cord.  To begin this you will first place your first jelly roll strip with the end overlapping the cord by about 1/2″ and start wrapping the fabric around the cord. It is important to hold the cording taunt while wrapping to avoid a lot of bumps where the fabrics meet.
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Once you get to the end of each strip leave about an inch of fabric and lay the new strip inside the previous one. Continue to wrap carefully making sure the new piece is wrapping with the old one. Repeat these steps until you reach the end of your cording.

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If you are using more that one hank of cording you might need to join the cording at some point while making your rug. To do this just over lap the cords about 1/2″ and use a basic zigzag (or straight) stitch (with a backstitch) to hold them together. Then keep wrapping over the join. There might be a small “bump” where they join but once the rug is stitched together you won’t see it.

*Helpful Tip: If at any point while wrapping the fabric you want to take a break, just place a wonder clip on the last place you wrapped the fabric and it will keep things from unraveling ;)*

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Now for the fun part! Making the rug. Before you start this I recommend winding a few bobbins to help when things get moving.

Set your machine to a basic zigzag stitch (its usually one of the first ones on your machine but I you are unsure its usually in the operations manual for your machine).

You will need to be turning your rug in a counter clockwise motion. If you start stitching and notice that the bulk of you rug is in the throat of your machine you did an oopsie ( no biggie I did it too >_<). To start you’ll need to decide whether you want a circular rug or a more oblong rug.

For a circle you’ll want the starting turn to only be 1-2″ .

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For a more oblong rug you’ll want a much longer section for the starting turn. Closer to 4-5″.

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Once you’ve decided the shape, it’s time to get stitching! Place the start of your cording with the first “turn” under your pressure foot. This will be a tight squeeze for your machine but if you lift the foot while inserting the cord it helps. I like to have my needle in the down position so nothing moves around when maneuvering the turns at the beginning of the rug. Stitch down the middle of the two cords (use the line on the middle of your pressure foot as a guide). You’ll want to keep the meeting of the cords on that line to ensure that your zigzag stitch is hitting both sides as you sew.

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Once you come to the end, stop and turn the piece counter clockwise and stitch down the next side of the rug.

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Continue doing this until you have sew all but 1-2″ of the cording to the rug. Fold this piece under the rug and stitch (and backstitch) over it to secure the end.

You now have a 30-33″ rug!

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The Aqua Umbrella QAL Week 6

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Welcome back everyone! I’m so excited to continue this quilt along with you. This week I am sharing with you the patterns for blocks 16-18! Remember if you ever need a refresher on the basics you can find them here.

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Don’t forget to share them on Flickr and Instagram (using #theaquaumbrellaqal) if you have accounts. Thanks again for quilting along and I’ll be back next Saturday with Blocks 19-21.

Happy Quilting!

Valerie

The Aqua Umbrella QAL Week 5

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Welcome back everyone! I’m so excited to continue this quilt along with you. This week I am sharing with you the patterns for blocks 13-15! Remember if you ever need a refresher on the basics you can find them here.

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Don’t forget to share them on Flickr and Instagram (using #theaquaumbrellaqal) if you have accounts. Thanks again for quilting along and I’ll be back next Saturday with Blocks 16-18.

Happy Quilting!

Valerie