Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#28

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Another week, another Wednesday, another chance to link up and see what all of our online quilty and crafty friends have been up to this last week!

This week I've continued to make progress on my Grandmother Flower Garden, albeit a little slower than last week. (That's what happens when I don't have a three day weekend, I guess). I was apparently feeling blue this week (only in fabric, life is great).

Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden

I like how the red center in this one picks up the hints of red that are in four of the hexagons.

Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden

And of course, pink being my favorite color, I love seeing the pop of pink in the center of this one.

Prairie Sewn Studios Grandmother's Flower Garden

As usual, I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced  and Let's Bee Social because seeing what other's are working on is awesome and inspiring. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Scissors

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.


Our first ten posts will focus our top recommended notions, tools and gadgets for new quilters. These are the perfect items to help a new quilter start building her quilty tool chest. If you're already a crafter these could be great tools to add to your arsenal to crossover and try a new craft.

This week we're talking about a tried and true sewing notion: scissors. We kicked off this Quilter's Tool Chest series with a modern notion that revolutionized the quilting world (the rotary cutter), but it's important to remember that people were still making beautiful quilts BEFORE the advent of the rotary cutter.

There are three pairs of scissors that I keep out on my desk and use pretty much every day: fabric scissors, snippy scissors, and embroidery scissors.

I actually have a couple of pairs of fabric scissors, Fiskars and Ginghers. Both of them work great, so long as everyone in the household follows rule number one: no touching the fabric scissors!


This was Mom's rule growing up and one that I've carried over into my own house as it helps keep the fabric scissors reserved just for fabric. Not paper, not packages, not string cheese. We keep scissors designated for "non-fabric" usage to take care of all of those other needs.

Next up are what I call "snippy" scissors, or more technically the "Easy Action Micro-Tip Scissors (No. 5)" from Fiskars. This is the perfect pair of scissors for trimming threads, clipping curves and cutting corner. They're small, yet sharp, and the pointy ends allow you to get exactly into where you need to be. I also really like that they're spring loaded, so easy to work with and easy on my hand.


Last but not least we have embroidery scissors. Mine are part of my chatelaine from TJ Lane and live in my English Paper-Piecing kit when they're not around my neck. These scissors serve their purpose perfectly, making clean cuts on the thread so that it's easy to thread my needle for hand sewing. Since the blade is under four inches they're also allowed to be carried on the plane (in the U.S.), meaning I take take my English Paper-Piecing kit wherever I go. I've never tried to wear them through the metal detector, but haven't had any problems with them in my carry-on bag. 


I've also added a small Grandmother's Flower Garden from Quilted in Clay to the center of my chatelaine. 

Here are links to a few of our favorite scissors on Amazon. How many different kinds of scissors do you have? Do you use them all regularly? 






All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Storage Solution-Grandmother's Flower Garden

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This week's Festive for Friday is brought to you by what is pretty much the most dangerous place in the world: Target.

There's a Target by my office, and so every once in a while several of us girls will venture out over lunch to peruse the aisles and find all-the-things that we definitely need. Usually in the dollar spot, the current holiday aisle or the baked goods (our office has a penchant for their mini scones).

This last trip, however, I managed to bring home something that is totally awesome and useful from the dollar spot (albeit from their $3 collection):

Target geometric canister hexagon storage

This is a cute little metal jar with my favorite hexagons in teal and white on the outside. The exact same colors that happen to be in my sewing space at home! So of course I couldn't resist, and home it came.

Target geometric canister hexagon storage


Once home, however, the amazement continued when I discovered it is EXACTLY the perfect size to hold my completed flowers for my ongoing Grandmother's Flower Garden Scrap Quilt.

Target geometric canister hexagon storage

Clearly this is one more sign from the universe that random Target trips are a good thing and should happen more often!



Have you ever found anything random at Target that's turned out to be the perfect addition to your crafting space or home? 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winner! Blue and White Vase Giveaway

Thank you all so much to everyone who entered into our giveaway for the blue and white handmade vase! It was so exciting to have our very first giveaway here on Prairie Sewn Studios!

And the winner is..... Daryl of Patchouli Moon Studio!

I've been a huge fan of Daryl's blog for a while now, so if you haven't visited her site it's definitely worth the click over to see her beautiful work.

Patchouli Moon Studio


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#27

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter


Prairie Sewn Studios WIP Grandmother's Flower Garden

Another Wednesday, another chance to check in on how I'm doing on my Works in Progress. This last week I've continued to work on my English Paper Piecing flowers, completing a total of FIVE this week!

Prairie Sewn Studios WIP Grandmother's Flower Garden


Most of these were sewn over the long weekend when when we went up to South Lake Tahoe. I was hoping to get a little snow and winter, but it was warm and balmy the whole weekend! It didn't bother me too much, but it was definitely making the skiers and snowboarders sad.

Prairie Sewn Studios WIP Grandmother's Flower Garden

Prairie Sewn Studios WIP Grandmother's Flower Garden

I love sewing these together, but I'm also really enjoying the process of choosing each hexagon to build each flower. This one is my favorite from this week!

Prairie Sewn Studios WIP Grandmother's Flower Garden

I really love seeing other people's works in progress so I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday. Be sure to check out some of the other fun projects people are working on!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Good Quality Thread

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.


Our first ten posts will focus our top recommended notions, tools and gadgets for new quilters. These are the perfect items to help a new quilter start building her quilty tool chest. If you're already a crafter these could be great tools to add to your arsenal to crossover and try a new craft.

This week we're focusing on the importance of using good quality thread for all of your sewing and quilting projects. Thread is important. It is literally the material that "holds it all together" when you're sewing or quilting. If you choose thread that is either poorly made OR just wrong for the project you're working on then you're likely going to run into problems with thread breakage, fraying or even failure to adequately hold your seams together!


We'll have another post later about the different kinds of threads that are out there (and there are LOTS), but today we're focusing on threads that we recommend for regular piecing or sewing of quilter's cotton fabrics. The good quality threads will provide a more even stitch with less lint if you're machine stitching. They're also going to provide a stronger and more even stitch that holds things together better and provides neater appearance.


 The threads that Mom and I use the most are the 100% mercerized cotton threads from Mettler and Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread (Mom actually attended a presentation with Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Thread in 2014). We use these threads for both machine piecing and hand piecing, as well as some machine and hand quilting (sometimes other threads, especially decorative, silk or metallic threads) can better help you achieve your desired look for quilting).


Here are a few links to threads we like that are easily available on Amazon. What threads do you prefer for your piecing and sewing?


All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Giveaway Day-Blue and White Hexagonal Base Vase

Today we're hoping to make YOUR Friday festive with our very first giveaway!


We're giving away one of our completed containers based on a design in Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Accessories. This container is actually based on the cover vase from the book, but it's set on a hexagonal base instead of a square. The fabric is indigo/white on the inside and white/indigo on the outside! It's about 6-3/4" tall and 8" across at the widest point, so perfect to hold a beaker with fresh flowers! 


Enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter entry options below! We'll close it down at midnight Pacific time on Tuesday, February 17 and announce the winner on Wednesday. Sorry, but we can only ship this to U.S. residents. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#27

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

I'm definitely getting back into the swing of things with my hand sewing.



This week I cleaned out my little English Paper Piecing Yazzi kit, putting away the hexagons that I've already basted and cleaning out the nest of thread clippings that always seem to accumulate.

I spent some time basting more hexagons, but also sewed three flowers together. All of the hexagons are from scraps in my collection. Some of them are my fabric, but a lot of the ones I've been working with lately are from scraps I inherited after my Grammy (who, along with Mom, taught me to quilt) passed away.




I really love seeing other people's works in progress, so I'm linking this up with Life Under Quilts EPP Count, She Can Quilt's Scraptastic Tuesday, and Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Flat-head Pins

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Our first ten posts will focus our top recommended notions, tools and gadgets for new quilters. These are the perfect items to help a new quilter start building her quilty tool chest. If you're already a crafter these could be great tools to add to your arsenal to crossover and try a new craft.

One notion that is used in so many types of fiber arts is the pin!

Flat-head sewing pin


For quilting and sewing, it's usually very important that you get your fabric and seams lined up correctly when you're stitching two pieces together. Nothing is more frustrating than to finish sewing a seam, open it up to take a look and find that your fabric slipped and your seam lines don't match. You'll either decide to live with the way it turned out or get out your trusty seam ripper (a post for another day), remove the stitching and try again.

When I first started sewing, Mom and Grammy gave me a set of white and yellow round-head pins. I still have (and will still use) these today. They're quite cheap, easily available and come in large boxes.

One downside to round-head pins, however, is the round-head and the way it holds the fabric and pushes against the throat plate when you're sewing on a machine. If I'm sewing a quilt block where it's important that my intersecting seams are pulled tight and snug against each other I'd rather use a pin that lays flat against the machine instead of bulging up. It's a little thing, but I find it makes a pretty big difference in my accuracy (and my frustration in getting that accuracy).

There are a couple of different shapes out there, but the ones I have and love are the flower-head pins. These are also great if you want to make your own numbered pins to help make it easier to keep your rows straight when sewing a quilt top together!

Flat-head sewing pin

If the traditional round-head pins are all you have available, then definitely use them. But if you're helping an aspiring quilter or sewer get started with her (or his!) sewing tool chest, investing in the flat-head pins is definitely the way to go.



All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Festive for Friday-Valentine's Day Containers

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Here we are again on Friday with another round of Festive for Friday!



This week we're continuing our Valentine's Day theme from last week with a peek at some of the ways Mom is using projects from Contain It!  to celebrate-and more importantly put out candy for Dad to snack on! I think these projects show where the idea of our book came from; making something festive AND useful for our homes that show our love of quilting, sewing and crafting.

First up is my favorite cube! I love the simplicity of this container, and how easy it is to embellish it however you want with ribbons, beads, rick-rack, really anything you want! Mom actually made this cube EXTRA big by using the largest templates in the book (Template #103 for the Outer Cube and Template #98 for the Inner Cube).

Fabric Cube Contain it!
Fabric Cube! With Candy! 

Another great container for a candy dish is any of the Scallop Containers. The sides are large enough on this container that it's easy to fussy-cut a specific part of your print to highlight feature fabric. The fabric Mom used here was just cutting around the different hearts on the same cut of fabric.

Convex Container-Contain It!
Fussy cut your feature fabric to make it festive.
Of course it wouldn't be Valentine's Day without actual heart shaped containers! These nest together, and a heart-shaped glass insert fits perfectly in the smallest one. You can also put two together to make a heart-shaped box with a lid (As one who grew up in the 90's I ALWAYS get the Nirvana song in my head when ever I talked about our heart-shaped box!)

Heart Container-Contain It!
Heart-shaped box. 

Mom is always very adamant that our containers are NOT just for one specific gender. It's really the fabric that you choose that makes the container, so customize your choices to make the perfect gift for anyone you choose. This one features darker colors with cogs and sprockets tucked away in the bottom. 

Heart Container-Contain It!

Heart Container-Contain It!


And one last standby for Valentine's Day-roses. Because if you have a Valentine's Day vase, you (or your loved one) must fill it with beautiful flowers.

Valentine's Day Vase-Contain It!
If you make it, they will fill it with flowers!

Valentine's Day Vase-Contain It!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday-#26

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Last night I had two goals:

  • Attack the office/sewing studio to make it safe to walk across the floor and get to my projects
  • Sew something!

So after dinner I grabbed some water, lit a candle and set to work with Netflix (currently watching The 100) on in the background. 


The space isn't perfect yet, but major progress was made. Progress to the point that I not only WANTED to sew something but also felt like it was not a procrastination technique (who me? procrastinate? never!). 

Over Christmas break in Omaha I had raided Mom's scrap bin and pulled together little kits for a new pattern we're working on for making pincushions using our English Paper-Piecing style technique from Contain It! This one is made up five diamonds from one of the templates in the book. 

Prairie Sewn Studios pincusion
Figuring out the design.

Prairie Sewn Studios pincusion
All stacked up.

Prairie Sewn Studios pincusion
Sewing! 
I didn't quite get it finished, but I think I'll have time to finish it up tonight. This was the perfect project for me last night, in part because I'd already made the kit up so all I "had" to do was sit and sew! Hand sewing is one of THE things that helps me relax and it really was a great way to celebrate organizational progress, relax and create something! 

Linking up with Freshly Pieced's Work in Progress Wednesday! Be sure to check out all the other fun projects people are working on this week! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Our first ten posts will focus our top recommended notions, tools and gadgets for new quilters. These are the perfect items to help a new quilter start building her quilty tool chest. If you're already a crafter these could be great tools to add to your arsenal to crossover and try a new craft.

This week we're continuing our Quilter's Tool Chest series with the final piece of the rotary-cutting trilogy (rotary cutters and acrylic rulers), the self-healing cutting mat.

As with rotary cutters and acrylic rulers, self-healing cutting mats come in a variety of sizes. Small ones can be great if you're looking for an easily portable system for cutting small pieces, but if you have the space for a larger one I'd recommend getting the largest that will fit on your cutting surface.

7x7 Omnigrid portable pressing station
7x7 Omnigrid Portable Cutting Mat and Pressing Board

One tricky thing about these mats is that they do need to be stored flat when not in use. I've ruined a mat before when I left it standing up between a bookcase and the wall. The slight bend in the mat from being upright caused the mat to permanently warp. Sunlight shining on the mat exacerbates this problem. These mats aren't exactly cheap, so it was definitely a costly lesson for me to learn. If you have a dedicated cutting table, that's the best place to store your mat. I've also had great luck storing them on top of my refrigerator or under the bed.


As with the rotary cutters and acrylic rulers these self-healing cutting mats are easy to find at any crafting/sewing store or online at Amazon. I use both the larger Olfa and the smaller Omnigrad mat all the time.



All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt!