Book Tour: Quilting Isn’t Funny by Megan Dougherty

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Have you heard of The Bitchy Stitcher?  No, I’m not name-calling, I’m referring to Megan Dougherty.  She’s a quilter, comedienne and all around kick-a** lady. Oh, and her quilts are pretty darn amazing.  Anyone who designed these pins is pretty dang cool in my book:

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Megan writes humorous and brutally honest essays for Quilter’s Home and Generation Q and she has collected her essays into a self-published book. So grab your mug rug and latte, snuggle up under your favorite quilt, and have a good laugh.   Her essay on “Quilting With Kids” was like a sticky finger-marked mirror into my life.

I am so glad that Megan asked me to be part of this tour because I haven’t been taking enough time for myself and work has been somewhat overwhelming. I really needed to be reminded of the humor in quilting right now.

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Because I am terrible at summarizing, here is the description from Megan’s site:

Quick! There’s a horde of brain-eating zombies headed your way: you only have an acrylic ruler, some safety pins, and a bias tape machine. What do you do?

And, hey, zombies aren’t the only scary things quilters have to deal with. What happens when your teenager discovers your stash? What are your rights when you get arrested by the Quilt Police? Do you know how to tell which urban legends of quilting are based in fact? What should a quilter’s insurance policy actually cover? And what did the Buddha have to say about all this?

Quilting Isn’t Funny is a collection of hysterical essays by the inimitable creator of the Bitchy Stitcher blog, Megan Dougherty. This is quilting humor with a sharp edge, pieced together from wit, snark, and a little bit of satire. Turns out, quilting is funny. No, make that freakin’ hilarious.

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You can purchase the book (paperback or PDF) on Megan’s website  (you will definitely want extras to gift to all your quilting friends) and Megan has generously offered a signed copy to one of my lucky readers.   All you need to do is a leave a comment.  If you are so inspired, tell me what quilting term you think is funny, or annoying.

Giveaway will be open until Sunday January 12th, 11:59am EST and I will announce the winner on Monday.

Also, take a moment to visit the other blogs on the tour!

Dec. 2 – Maddie Kertay  - Bad Ass Quilter’s Society
Dec. 3 – Sam Hunter – Hunter’s Design Studio
Dec. 4 – Carla Crim – Scientific Seamstress
Dec. 5 – Scarlett Burroughs – Craft Gossip
Dec. 6 – Jill Dorsey – Made With Moxie
Dec. 9 – Victoria Findlay Wolfe – Bumble Beans Inc
Dec. 10 – Lynn Harris - Little Red Hen
Dec. 11 – Teresa Coates – Crinkle Dreams
Dec. 12 – Joshua Helms - Molli Sparkles
Dec 13 – Liz Kettle – Stitch Journeys
Dec. 14 – Leah Day – The Free Motion Quilting Project
Dec 16 – Lisa Sipes – That Crazy Quilty Girl
Dec. 17 – Charlotte Newland – Displacement Activity
Dec. 18 – Teri Lucas - TerifiCreations
Dec. 19 – Cheryl Sleboda – Muppin.com
Dec. 20 – Kelly Biscopink – Stitchy Quilt Stuff
Jan. 6 – Generation Q
Jan. 8 – Rose Hughes – Rose Hughes – Quilt Artist
Jan. 9 – Janice Ryan – Better Off Thread
Jan. 10 – Flaun Cline – I Plead Quilty
Jan. 13 – Heather Jones – Olive and Ollie
Jan. 14 – Meg  – Without A Stitch On
Jan. 15 – Laura Lochore – Quokka Quilts
Jan. 16 – Elaine Wong Haselhuhn – Dashasel Sews
Jan. 17 – Kim Lapacek - Persimon Dreams

Countdown To Christmas Quilt-Along: Winners

Everyone’s Advent Calendars for the Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along look so wonderful!  I had a wonderful time hosting along Melissa. We’ve been dealing with the stomach flu running through my entire house over the last 4 days, and this is the first almost well day, so I’m going to get an up-close look at everyone’s calendars today!

Now for the winners!  (All winners were chosen by Random Number Generator.)

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A fat quarter bundle of Santa’s Little Deer donated by the Fat Quarter Shop goes to Nicole from Modern Handcraft

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A $30.00 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Jen at Acts of Craftiness.  

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A fat quarter bundle of “Holiday Sweet Tweets”  by Laurie Wisbrun from Robert Kaufman Fabrics goes to Sandy at Upstair Hobby Room.

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A $50.00 gift certificate from Sew Modern goes to Martina from Sunshinequilting.

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Thank you so much to everyone that participated.  Melissa and I will be contacting the winners.  If you don’t hear from us by tomorrow, it means we couldn’t find a contact, so email us!!

Have a wonderful week!

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial

Is everyone ready for Turkey Day?  I have a quick and easy project for you today to dress up your Thanksgiving table and add a modern touch.

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

I was invited to join in Jo-Ann Fabric’s Celebrate the Season Campaign and this month the theme is #TurkeyTablescapes.   I decided to dress up my Turkey Tablescape with some new placemats in modern colors (citrus yellow, tangerine, lime green and navy).  Keep reading for instructions on making your own!

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

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Supplies for four placements (finished size 13″ x 19″):

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

  • 1/4 yard each 6 different prints ( I used prints by DS Quilts, Juliana Horner, Keepsake Calico and Quilter’s Showcase)
  • 1 1/2 yards navy solid (I used Symphony Broadcloth in Navy).
  • Craft Size Quilt Batting (I used Warm & Natural)
  • Coordinating thread (I used white and navy Gutermann Thread)

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

1. From each of your print fabrics, cut strips that are varying widths (1.25″-2.25″) x 14″ long.

2. Sew strips together until they measure 13″ wide x 14″ tall. Press seams open.

3. From the navy solid, cut a strip 1″ x 14″ and sew to right side of your set of strips.

4. From print fabrics, cut strips that are 1.25″-2.25″ x 7″.

5. Sew the long edges of your 7″ strips together until they measure 7″x 14 “.

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

6. Sew your two strip set together as pictured above.

7. From the navy solid and batting, cut rectangle that measures 14″ x 20″.

8. Layer top, batting and navy back and baste with pins or basting spray.

9. Quilt as desired (I sewed vertical lines along the seams).

10. Cut placemat to 13″ x 19″.

11.  Cut 2 1/4″  strips from navy solid and bind placemat.  I use this tutorial and then machine sew the binding to the back, rather than hand-sew.

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

Enjoy your turkey dinner!!

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You can find more craft ideas on the Jo-ann Fabrics website.  Search #turkeytablescapes on Instagram and Twitter to see what the other bloggers have crafted.

Here is a coupon to get you  started!

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

 Happy Thanksgiving!!

 *This tutorial is part of the Jo­‐Ann Fabric and Craft Stores® Celebrate the Season campaign. I was given a gift card to create a unique holiday projects, but all views, opinions and designs are my own.

 

 

 

Countdown To Christmas Quilt-Along: Link-up and Prizes!

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How is it the final week of the Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along already?  I am SO happy that Melissa asked me to run this quilt-along with her, because I finally got the advent calendar done after being on my list for four years and working with Melissa was a joy (thank you, Melissa!).  I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished advent calendars and what you are putting in them!

Advent Calendar at Better Off Thread

Here is my finished calendar, again.  I’m so thrilled with how it turned out. If you would like more information on the quilt-along and the great pattern by Elizabeth at Oh Fransson!, click here.

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I debated a lot over what to fill the Advent Calendar pockets with.  My children are younger (2 & 4), so I didn’t want them to start each day in December with candy and I also didn’t want them to get some sort of toy every single day, because they are already greedy little toddlers!  I decided to make the calendar activity-centered, with a couple candy/gift treats thrown in here and there.

Here is my list (mostly, but not all in order):

1. Visit Santa
2. Make family photo ornament
3. Donate toys to charity
4. Trip to the library for Christmas books
5. Make paper snowflakes and paper chains
6. Make christmas ornaments and felt wreaths
7. Pizza night out
8. Get a new Christmas book
9. Make Christmas cards for Grandparents
10. Picnic under the Christmas tree
11. Christmas shopping for Daddy (shhhhhh)
12. Go out for hot chocolate
13. Donate canned goods
14. Ice skating
15. Drive around the neighborhood and see Christmas lights
16. Make a gingerbread house
17. Get Christmas coloring books
18. Get gold chocolate coins
19. Make cards for the teachers, make /get gifts
20. Christmas movie night w/ popcorn
21. Make christmas cookies and take to neighbors (give little cookie cutters)
22. Christmas train ride
23. Snowfall at Americana
24. Special candelit dinner and Mass

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I purchased these gift tags at Jo-Ann’s to write each day’s activity on the back.  I added the gems and red ribbon to embellish them a bit.  I think when the kids are older and can read, I’ll use little notecards sealed in envelopes (no peeking!).

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My son is VERY excited to get started!

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Now it’s time for the prize link-up! We have 4 amazing sponsors giving away a variety of prizes:

A $30 gift card to Green Fairy Quilts

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A fat quarter bundle of “Holiday Sweet Tweets” by Laurie Wisbrun from Robert Kaufman Fabrics

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A fat quarter bundle of “Santa’s Little Deer” by Benartex from Fat Quarter Shop

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A $50 gift card from Sew Modern 

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The link up will be open until Sunday, December 1st at 11:59pm EST.  Show us your finished advent calendars! You can link-up a blog post, or from your Flickr account, but make sure you mention the Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along.

On Monday, December 2nd, Melissa and I will announce the winners (randomly selected).

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along: Binding

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I can’t believe the Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along is almost over!  If you would like more info on the Quilt-Along, click here.  We will be binding our Advent calendars over the next two weeks and  November 25th is the big link-up for prizes from our sponsors:

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A $30 gift card to Green Fairy Quilts

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A fat quarter bundle of “Holiday Sweet Tweets” by Laurie Wisbrun from Robert Kaufman Fabrics

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A fat quarter bundle of “Santa’s Little Deer” by Benartex from Fat Quarter Shop

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A $50 gift card from Sew Modern 

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I FINALLY finished all the pebble quilting on my calendar and I chose a bias printed stripe for my binding.  

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My favorite binding tutorial is by Canoe Ridge Creations and it is a double fold, straight grain, binding.

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The corners come out so perfect every time, and I only have to pin at the corners

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I normally hand-sew the binding to the back, but since this is a wall-hanging, and the back will always be facing the wall, I chose to machine sew it.  Anything to save a little time!

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I love how the binding looks like a candy cane and helps to make the colors in the pockets pop.

Countdown to Christmas Quilt Along: Better Off Thread

Here is the full view.  My kids can’t wait to use it!

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Now it’s your turn to link up!  Share your progress below and be sure to stop back in two weeks for ideas of what to put in the pockets and the big prize link-up.  Don’t forget to post your photos in the flickr group.  You may link from there, or from your personal blog. Also, be sure to check out Melissa’s beautiful advent calendar.  She has a different technique for binding than I showed above and her corners are perfect!

Super Kids Inspired Party at Ann Kelle Fabrics

Free Super Kids Mask Tutorial by Better Off Thread for Ann Kelle Fabrics

Last month, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Kelle Boyd (The designer behind Ann Kelle Fabrics) to create Super Hero masks based on her Super Kids fabric line for Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Super Hero cards she designed for Tiny Prints.

Free Super Kids Mask Tutorial by Better Off Thread for Ann Kelle Fabrics

Kelle created a colorful, fun, Super Kids party to celebrate her new line and the photos on her blog today are adorable!  Be sure to check it out. She is also hosting a giveaway for a $50 Tiny Prints giftcard (just in time for the Holidays!).

Free Super Kids Mask Tutorial by Better Off Thread for Ann Kelle Fabrics

There are also lots of great tutorials in her blog for super hero capes, party printables and I created a free tutorial for the masks, so you can have your own little Super Kids (children not included).  Click here to check it out!

 

A-Maze Finished (and a FREE Craftsy Pattern)!

A-Maze Quilt with Architextures: A Craftsy Pattern by Better Off Thread

I FINALLY finished my A-Maze quilt!   I wanted to make  a quilt to showcase all those yummy Architextures fabrics by Carolyn Friedander before I used them up in other quilts. I don’t often use one fabric line in a quilt, but I LOVE these fabrics so much.  I wanted something simple and linear, so the fabrics are the focus.

A-Maze Quilt with Architextures: A Craftsy Pattern by Better Off Thread

I decided to do my favorite wavy quilting on it, and I also added in some large pebbles, to echo the curvy lines and circles on the Architextures fabric.

A-Maze Quilt with Architextures: A Craftsy Pattern by Better Off Thread

The binding is scrappy on one side, using each print from the collection.

A-Maze Quilt with Architextures: A Craftsy Pattern by Better Off Thread

The back is one of the ledger prints paired with Kona Peacock.

A-Maze Quilt with Architextures: A Craftsy Pattern by Better Off Thread

The finished quilt measures 60″ x 70″ and it’s really quick and easy to make.  It’s also a great pattern for a man (my husband has already claimed it for his couch at work).  I love sharing with all my wonderful readers, so I wrote up the pattern and it’s a free download on Craftsy.  You can find it here.

Happy Halloween!

Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along: Quilting

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How is everyone doing with their Advent Calendars?  By now, you should have it pieced and ready to quilt.  Don’t worry if you haven’t started yet.  I bet you could still catch up in time to link-up for prizes at the end of November!  If you’d like more information on the quilt along and our sponsors, you can read all the details here.

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Now that your top is completed, it’s time to make a “quilt sandwich” and quilt it!  A quilt sandwich is a VERY technical term for layering the quilt top, batting and backing and basting them together (either with pins, spray or thread).

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Here is my Advent calendar being basted into a quilt sandwich.  I tape the backing to the floor and then place the batting and top on it.  Elizabeth Hartman has a great tutorial right here.  For batting, I like to use “Warm and Natural” or “Warm and White”(if the quilt has a lot of white fabric).  I would normally cut my batting to be several inches larger than the top on the sides, but I REALLY wanted to use a scrap of batting I already had.

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I like to start by pinning at spots where 4 blocks meet and then I add pins as needed.

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For my quilting, I decided to do “pebbling”, which is tiny little quilted circles all over the background of the quilt.  I love the results, but it takes FOREVER, so I will be quilting little bits at a time over the next two weeks, while all of you quilt your calendars.  Melissa at Melia Mae Quilting did very pretty loops and she also shows a few other quilting options, so be sure to check out her blog.  If you are new to quilting, you can also just sew straight lines around each pocket and call it done!  It really doesn’t need much quilting at all.

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Now it’s time to show what you’ve been working on!  Link up your progress below and be sure to check out the flickr group.

See you in two weeks for binding!

Candy Corn Table Runner and Bunting Tutorial

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When Jo-Ann asked if I’d like to be a part of their Celebrate the Season Campaign, I jumped at the chance!  I love creating holiday crafts and the kids get really excited about seeing the decorations.

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Our neighborhood gets pretty crazy on Halloween and my husband does up the entire outside of the house.  I had abolutely no decorations for the inside, though, so I decided to create some festive decor for the mantle and coffee table. My kids are 2 and 4 and don’t really like spooky, so I decided to play it safe and use candy corn as my inspiration.  This table runner and bunting are super easy to make and customizable to any size table and mantle.

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Candy Corn Table Runner and Bunting Tutorial

(All amounts and measurements are for a table runner that is 17 1/2″x 40″ and bunting that is 6′ long.  You can modify the patterns by adding more, or less, candy corn triangles.)

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Materials Needed:

All seam allowances are 1/4″

Step one: Cut fabrics

(Fold all fabrics in half, selvage to selvage.  Tutorial assumes your fabric is 44″ wide.  If your fabric is several inches narrower, you may need extra strips.)

White Fabric
- Cut 3 strips 2 1/2″ x 44″ for strip sets

Gold Fabric
- Cut 3 strips 2 1/2″ x 44″ for strip sets

Orange Fabric
- Cut 3 strips 2 1/2″ x 44″ for strip sets
-Cut 3 strips 2 1/4″ x 44″ for binding

Black Fabric
-Cut 3 strips 6 1/2″ x 44″ For background
-Cut 3 strips 3″ x 44″ for border

Step 2: Sew and Cut Triangles

Take your 2 1/2″ strips, and sew a white, orange and yellow strip together lengthwise (orange will always be in the middle). Press seams open.

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You will now have three sets of 3 sewn strips that match the photo above.

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Line your Pyramid Ruler (or your printed template) up with the top and bottom edge of your strip set and cut out your first triangle.  (Don’t worry if your strips are wider or narrower than the template, just line your template up with the top edge.)

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Flip your template and cut your next triangle.  Repeat until you have 21 triangles.

 Next, take your 3 black 6 1/2″ wide strips and cut them the same way you just cut your strip sets.  Cut 21 triangles.

Step 3: Sew Triangles for Table Runner

 

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Sew triangles together using the diagram above as a guide.

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Triangles are sewn right sides together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press all seams the same direction.

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You’ll now have two strips of triangles.

Step 4: Assemble your table runner

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Sew the two strips of triangles together, matching the point of the candy corn triangle with the center of the black triangle. Press seam open.

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As an alternate layout, you can match your triangles point to point to create diamonds.

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Trim  sides of table runner, so they are even, as pictured above.

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For the border, sew the black 3″ wide strips to the sides of the runner, trim,  then  sew to the top and bottom.  Press all seams towards border.

Most of my readers are quilters, so I am not going to bore you with instructions on quilting and binding (plus it would get really long!), but here is a list of my favorite tutorials, if you need help:

- Making a “Quilt Sandwich” at Oh Fransson: that’s quilter speak for layering the top, batting and backing.

- Straight line quilting tutorial at Amy’s Creative Side.

- Double Fold Binding Tutorial at Canoe Ridge Creations.

Step 5: Make your bunting!

You should have 10 orange and 10 black triangles left over.  Feel free to cut more and make longer bunting.

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With right sides together, sew an orange and a black triangle along two sides.

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Clip point, turn and press flat.  Repeat to make 9 more triangles.

Clip off those tiny seam allowance points that are sticking out of the raw edge.

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Open bias tape up,  align with raw edge of a triangle and sew.  Butt next triangle up to first and sew to the same piece of bias tape.  Continue for all triangles.

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Fold bias tape around to orange side of bunting and press.  Sew just inside the edge of the bias tape.

You are done!

Happy Halloween and enjoy your new decorations.

For more craft and sewing ideas, check out Jo-Ann Fabric’s Celebrate the Season website.  There are tons of project ideas from very talented craft and sewing bloggers. You can also search #spookyspaces on Instagram and Twitter.

 As an added bonus to you, I have a 50% coupon to get you started on your holiday projects!

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This tutorial is part of the Jo­‐Ann Fabric and Craft Stores® Celebrate the Season campaign. I was given a gift card to create a unique holiday projects, but all views, opinions and designs are my own.

Countdown To Christmas Quilt Along: Piecing and Layout Variations

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Wow, we are over the half-way mark in the quilt along!  How is everyone doing?

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I had fun piecing my calendar this past week. Now I can see it really coming together and it is CUTE (if I do say so myself). The instructions for this week were very straight forward, so I really don’t have any tips to give, except, “Measure twice, cut once.”.  There are lots of cuts to make, and you don’t want to have to redo any of the hard work you’ve accomplished so far!

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I decided to put my numbers in sequential order.  Someone asked me why there is no 25th of December.  Most advent calendars count up through Christmas Eve, but you could totally do 5 rows of 5 and add Christmas Day!

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It’s your turn to link-up and share your progress.  Don’t forget that we have great prizes from our sponsors at the end of the quilt-along.  If you haven’t started your calendar yet, there is still plenty of time to catch up.  All of the information is located here.

Also, stop by Melissa’s blog and check out her progress.  I love how her calendar is turning out!