What I’m Working on…Hidden Treasures Tote

I suppose the heading of this post should have been “What I was working on” since I’ve finished it, but oh well. Anyhow, I just finished making the “Hidden Treasure Tote” by The Creative Thimble.

Hidden Treasure Tote

Hidden Treasure Tote

Barb asked me to finish this bag as a store sample since she knew that I had made the Professional Tote which was also designed by The Creative Thimble. I happen to really enjoy making The Creative Thimble’s bags, because the patterns are challenging but very well written. This purse was no exception. There are a lot of pieces to cut and fuse, but as long as you take your time and use the provided labels to mark each piece after it’s cut, it’s not a big deal at all! And as always, the finished product is very professional looking and so stinking cute!

Hidden Treasure Tote Front

Hidden Treasure Tote Front

Professional Tote Back

Hidden Treasure Tote Back

This bag features three outer zipper pockets, as well as a magnetized flap to keep everything closed, but the best part is the “Hidden Treasure” inside!

Hidden Treasure Tote Inside

Hidden Treasure Tote Inside

This bag has a bag inside! You actually make two bags using this pattern, the large tote, and a small cross body bag that attaches to the inside of the larger bag. So you can keep your money and important necessities in the small bag and when you don’t want to carry a large purse, you just un-velcro the little bag and off you go! Genius. I also made one adjustment, I added Soft and Stable to the two outer pieces of the big tote only to give it more body…it makes such a difference! I also used Ruthann Stilwell and Susan Rooney’s new Fabric “Breezy Blooms”…we are so proud of those ladies and we LOVE the fabrics!

Mini Purse Back

Mini Purse Back

Mini Purse Front

Mini Purse Front

This bag will be taught at our East Aurora Location on Saturday, December 6th and 13th from 9:00 am -11:30 am by Diane. If you’d like to attend, please call 716.652.2811 and we can sign you up over the phone.Blog-Sig


What I’m working on…Shop Hop Edition!

It’s Shop Hop season! For those of you who don’t know what a Shop Hop is here’s a definition from the examiner.com

“A shop hop is kind of like a pub crawl only you’re shopping instead of drinking. Normally sponsored by a group of shops that are near each other geographically, shop hops give quilters an opportunity to take a road trip together and do what they love most – shopping for quilt stuff!

The shops usually offer prizes, giveaways and special sale prices for those on the hop. Each participant gets a passport that is stamped or punched at each store to prove they’ve been there. The shops often coordinate on creating a quilt and participants pick up one block pattern (or sometimes even a whole kit with pattern and fabric) at each shop so that by the end of the hop they have all they need to create the quilt.

For the shops, hops provide a whole new customer base. I know that on the shop hops I’ve been on, I’ve gone to quilt shops I had never heard of before. It’s a great marketing opportunity for them. They not only make sales on the day of the hop, but people often remember those shops and visit them again next time they are in the area.

For the hoppers, hops provide exposure to a wide range of different shops, classes, teachers, and products, and a chance to hang out with friends. They also get a chance to win prizes at each shop and sometimes there is a grand prize of a gift basket with contributions from all the shops, or a sewing machine or other big ticket item.”

Tomorrow (6/4) starts the Western New York Shop Hop. This Hop spans the Buffalo/Rochester area and includes 10 shops.

Shop Hop 14logo-01By stopping at each store you will be entered to win 2 $50 gift cards from each location or the grand prize of a BERNINA 215! Each shop will be giving away a 6″ strip of fabric and a free quilt pattern. The free quilt pattern part is where the “what I’m working on” part comes into play…

So as I mentioned each store on the hop has to give away a pattern. I never really looked into just finding a free pattern to give away off the internet someplace…although maybe that would have been smarter. I decided that it would be a good idea to design these quilts myself! (WHAT was I thinking?) After many MANY hours I came up with these two quilts;

Scrappy Chevron Quilt

Scrappy Chevron Quilt


Rainbow Cabin Quilt

Rainbow Cabin Quilt

These quilts were all designs, pieced and quilted by me…I think I might have a control issue. It was my 1st go round of designing and writing quilt patterns, so if you happen to get one of these patterns…please go easy on me! (but I always appreciate constructive criticism). The Scrappy Chevron quilt will be on display in our Williamsville Location and the Rainbow Cabin will be at the East Aurora Location. Free fabric, free pattern and the chance to win a BERNINA 215?? Why would you NOT want to attend this hop? Get your butts in here! Tomorrow the 4th – Saturday the 7th. Oh and P.S. there’s 20% off all bolted fabric at all of the shops in the hop! Awesome.

While I was making these quilts I was also working on our Rows for the New York State Row by Row shop hop. This Hop is a little different than others. Here’s what the Row by Row website has to say about the hop:

Row by Row is a shop hop type event with no fees, no passports and all summer to play? Simply visit any of the participating shops and receive a free pattern for a row in a quilt. Combine your rows in any way to create a unique quilt that represents the fun you had traveling throughout the summer. Travel with friends, discover new quilt shops and have fun collecting rows! Create a quilt using at least 8 different rows and be the first to bring it into a participating shop to win a stack of 25 fat quarters (6-1/4 yards of fabric!). Use that shop’s row in your quilt and win a bonus prize!”

This hop runs from July 1st-September 2nd and the shops are all over the state of New York. The theme for this years Row by Row is “Sew a Season”, and we wanted to incorporate birds into both of our rows. I started with these computer renderings as a proposal for the staff to see what people thought.

Row By Row 14 Summer Birdsv2-01

Row by Row Summer birds (Williamsville)

Row By Row 14 Winter Birdsv2-01

Row by Row Summer Birds (East Aurora)

The response was great, so I went ahead! Here are the fabric versions:

Row By Row Aurora Sewing Center WSC

Row By Row Aurora Sewing Center ASC

What do you think? These patterns will be a FREE give away at each of our stores! There will also be kits for purchase if you want to just grab and go. We think our birds are so darn cute and are so excited about them. They will be available starting July 1st.

So there you go, 4 original designs in 2 or so weeks- I hope you’ll give me a pass for being behind on my Quilt of the Month project, I am in the process of quilting the May quilt- I think you are really going to like it…here’s a sneak peek of  what’s to come;

Kite Runner

Kite Runner


I look forward to hearing what you think of this work!



Quilt of the Month, April edition. Carpenters Star.

It’s that time again! As many of you know April’s quilt has been hanging up at our Williamsville Location for a few weeks- thank you all for your kind words about this quilt! For April I chose the Carpenters Star, Bali … Continue reading

To Market, to market! The Bayport Bag in Botanics.

It’s the time of year here at Aurora Sewing Center when minds start to wander towards Quilt Market. We attend the International Quit Market in the spring, although it’s held 2 times per year- we don’t attend the fall market … Continue reading

Stash Stars- March’s Quilt of the Month

One of these days I will get around to posting in between the “Quilt of the Month” posts…but for now it’s been hard to find the time! ( I am making a quilt a month after all!!)

A YEAR OF QUILTS LOGO For those of you who are new here, I have been working steadily though a goal to make a quilt every month this year. I’m on #3 (March) but if you’d like to read about #1 (January) you can click HERE, or #2 (February) you can click HERE.

For March’s quilt I chose “Stash Stars” a great pattern by Terry Atkinson.

 Stash Stars

We were lucky enough to have Terry come teach at our store a few years ago, and I was so impressed with the clear way she is able to both teach and write patterns. If you have never made one of Terry’s quilts, you should! They are so easy to do and come out beautifully. I chose my favorite Andover Textured Solids for my stars, and just plain white Kona cotton as the background- it was such fun to stack all those colors together and play with combinations. The basic block construction was very simple, and the beauty of the stars is that the points are floating, so if you are a little bit off with your accuracy (which of course none of us EVER are), you can easily hide it!

Stash Stars Geese

You essentially make a whole bunch of flying geese with fat bottoms (fat bottomed geese?) and then arrange them around your center block.

Photo Feb 16, 7 37 18 PM

Because I am a serial chain piecer,  I made all my geese at once and then sewed as much as I could at once (maybe I was trying to avoid the quilt aerobics, you know cut, sew, press, pin, repeat- all while running circles around the sewing room).

Stash Stars Stacked Geese

Once you have all of your blocks done you have to figure out how to arrange them…

Stash Stars Layout

I wish I had taken more photos of the various layouts I played with, but I eventually decided on this one, (looks like I need a bigger design wall!)

Stash Stars Layout Final

By now you know that the quilting is my favorite part of this whole project, and after last months heartbreak of not seeing all the quilting I did because it got lost in the busy background- I was determined not to let the quilting get lost on this quilt! I conducted a quick Facebook poll on what color thread to use to quilt this with- I didn’t want to change colors in every block (I’m not THAT crazy), and I wasn’t crazy about the idea of using monofilament. The internet and I decided that using a light grey thread would be the way to go this time, although I debated using off white, yellow, or even a pale green- I don’t think there’s a right answer to the thread color question, but it’s what I decided on!

Stash Stars Quilting

I used white thread for the white borders and filled them in with a random pattern of lines, bubbles and stars. I haven’t done a whole lot of marking on my quilts up to this point, but for the stars in the borders I cut out a card stock version of the big star and traced it with a water soluble pen.  I use a 1/4″ thick acrylic quilters ruler for my line work- it’s one of my most used sewing room items!


Stash Star Quilting Detail 2



This quilt took a LONG time to quilt, but it was SO worth it in the end. I LOVE looking at the finished product-

Stash Stars Finished(1)

This quilt is on display at our East Aurora location..stop by and see!

And as always- here’s a sneak peek of next month’s quilt!

heart good wished sneak peek

What are you guys working on?


What I’m working on- “Cross It” Quilt from Zen Chic (Part 2)

Welcome back! Yesterday I shared with you part 1 of my “Cross It” Quilt…hopefully you haven’t forgotten already, you can check out part 1 of this post here….but the pattern looks like this:

Zen Chic So as I mentioned, I could see this finished quilt in my mind, so I had a pretty good Idea of how I wanted to quilt it. I knew I wanted to extend the “sticks” into the borders, and add a few horizontal “ghost sticks” to balance all the vertical lines.

2013-02-22 18.53.50Using my Frixion heat erasable pen I marked all the extended lines by continuing out the pieced sticks, and then started pinning! I decided that I would not draw on my horizontal lines until after I quilted the vertical lines so that I could really place them where I wanted  them.

2013-02-22 19.01.38

 I tried to pin only in the “negative” space between my “sticks” so that I would not have to take out too many pins as I quilted my straight lines. After pinning for what felt like forever, it was time to quilt! For those of you who think you need a large machine to quilt a large scale quilt, you don’t! I used  my BERNINA 430 to make this entire quilt. It would certainly be easier to quilt on a bigger machine (my dream machine is the Baby Lock Tiara) but it can certainly be done!

2013-02-25 08.43.35

Quilting the straight lines was actually harder for me than the free motion portion, and once that was out of the way- the fun began! I knew that I wanted to do something curvy to counterbalance the angular nature of the piecing, but I needed a little inspiration. Some of you may be familiar with Angela Walters and her awesome book “Free Motion Quilting”

free motion quilting


photo from Angela Walters

Her book is FULL of inspirational ideas, and when I saw a design called “sea foam” I knew I wanted to do a play on it.

cross it quilting

I took the swirls and bubbles and swapped them out for bubbles and swirls! As I quilted I realized how much I loved how it was coming out! I just took one section at s time, and slowly but surely it got done! Of course when I thought I was all done, I laid it out on the floor and I had forgotten a chunk…so back to the machine I went!

When I was FINALLY done quilting and It was time for binding I knew I wanted to have a scrappy style binding, so I took a pile of my leftover fabric from the quilt top cut it up and sewed it all back together into a rainbow of binding. Here’s where I heard Barb K.’s voice in my head. If you know Barb K. you know that she is the queen of “tips and tricks”. Somewhere along the line Barb had told me about a neat way to manage all that binding.

binding roll

You’ll have to accept that you may look a little silly, but if you wrap your binding around an empty toilet paper tube and then string it around your neck like a necklace, you will have a much easier time managing the binding process.

binding necklace

and finally…here’s what you’ve been holding your breath to see, the finished product!

2013-03-05 12.53.492013-03-05 12.53.58

2013-03-04 09.24.37I’m so proud of this finished product, I hope you like it too! What are you working on?


What I’m working on- “Cross It” Quilt from Zen Chic (Part 1)

Working in a Sewing Store is a wonderful thing…sometimes it’s a tough thing though, we get to see so much beautiful fabric and so many great patterns- but being surrounded by so much inspiration can be overwhelming! I’ve got so many project ideas rolling around in my brain and no time to actually DO anything!

WAAAAY back in May when I was in Kansas City for Quilt Market I fell totally in love with a fabric line called “Simply Color” by Vanessa Christenson, she won the prize for my favorite booth at market for sure!
simplycolor Once we got it in to store I realized that it could be a challenging line to work with because of it’s linear nature. I started looking for the perfect project….and 6 months passed…until one day a pattern called “Cross It” by Zen Chic arrived in the shop.

2013-02-13 08.19.13You know those perfect times when you can see a finished project in your minds eye? (I know for me they don’t happen often) This was one of those projects! I could see the entire quilt done, it was calling out to me to be made! The quilt pattern calls for a jelly roll, but I just got 1/8 yard cuts of  18 fabrics which left me plenty to use for my binding. Everyone who sees this quilt 1st asks if it’s appliqued, but it’s a pieced quilt. It’s done in an “improvisational” style, meaning the directions are less of a step by step guide and more of a general guideline.

2013-02-22 15.22.31You start with a large square of your background fabric and a pile of 1.5″ strips and cut! I started with a long diagonal cut though by background, sewed a strip in, and just kept on going! The trick is not over thinking the process…it’s very easy to start trying to be too careful with your color placement, but I think it turns out better a little free-form!

2013-02-13 08.15.26After you’ve cut and sewn and cut and sewn your center square is looking very Un-square, as you can see on the bottom edge here…but you just square it up and sew on your borders! These were some HUGE borders, I think they measured 18″ each…It was a “woah” moment for sure when sewing them on. In all the pictures I took while making this quilt, I neglected to take a picture while putting the borders on, I think I was too busy wrestling with all that fabric!

2013-02-22 18.40.16 I did get a (fuzzy) picture before I started marking and pinning, so let’s pretend I did a better job of taking pictures of all the steps (I’m still getting the hang of this blogging thing:) ). I’m going to stop at this point until tomorrow, when I’ll show you the finished quilt and show you what I did for the quilting…you won’t want to miss part 2! Please come back and read it…:)

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