Sneak Peek at the 2018 Sew Along

Sneak Peek at the 2018 Sew Along

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It's been so difficult keeping secrets but the news is finally out that Maureen Cracknell and I will be co-hosting another virtual sewing bee! The 2018 sew along is called Community Sampler. We gave it that name because of the amazing community that grew out of last year's Sewcial Bee Sampler event. The response was incredible and so were the many friendships formed over a common love of quilting. So, to everyone that joined us last year and made the sew along such a success and to all the new friends that will be made with our new sampler--this one's for you!

Next week on Wednesday, February 21st around 9 am Eastern. Maureen and I will be posting to our blogs and release your first PDF download. This sew along is a free event and all you need to do is follow along on this blog and Maureen's blog to find the new PDF release each week, enjoy tips and tutorials, block inspiration, and weekly giveaways. 

With our new name (and new look!) starts a new hashtag pool in Instagram. Grab either or both of the buttons above for sharing on your blog or social media platforms to show your support for the Community Sampler block-of-the-week sew along. When posting your makes to your Instagram account, use the hashtag #CommunitySampler and then you can connect with all your fellow CS Makers by following the hashtag--it's that easy!

Public Instagram accounts will enjoy the added bonus of automatically being entered into the weekly giveaway drawings each and every time you post and use the official #CommunitySampler hashtag. We'll give more details on that as we get underway next week. Remember, this is just a sneak peek and the full reveal will be next week, starting with the Introduction PDF download. 

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The Community Sampler is proud to announce these generous sponsors:

Lady Belle Fabric

Omnigrid

Aurifil Thread

Art Gallery Fabrics

Hobbs Batting

Dritz

Fat Quarter Shop

Bloc-Loc

We look forward to you sewing along with us. Next week cannot come soon enough so to keep yourself busy, finish up all those UFO projects!  

Are You Ready to Sew?

Are You Ready to Sew?

Thread Heart photo by Sharon Holland

Thread Heart photo by Sharon Holland

Great news everyone, there's going to be another free sew along this year! May co-host, good friend, and Art Gallery Fabrics sister designer Maureen Cracknell and I will be hosting another block-of-the-week sew along and it's going to start February 21st! Be sure to follow us both on our blogs, Instagram at @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell for all the upcoming details. Next week we will give you your first peek at the new name, new look, and a Maker button to share on your blog and/or Instagram feed. Everything you loved about the Sewcial Bee Sampler will be there plus we took into account all the wonderful feedback from last year's survey. We're hoping you'll love this new sampler even more. 

2017 block from the Sewcial Bee Sampler with Bountiful and Pure Elements fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics

2017 block from the Sewcial Bee Sampler with Bountiful and Pure Elements fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics

In preparation for all that sewing you'll be doing I wanted to give you a little pre-flight checklist so your sewing experience can be a good one. 

Machine Maintenance 

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Having your sewing machine in tip-top running condition is a must. Not only does it protect your investment but it makes for a hassle-free sewing session. Check out my past tutorial on how to clean your machine and help it perform at it's best. 

Accurate Sewing

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You heard me say it a million times last sew-along "sew with an accurate 1/4'' seam allowance." I'm going to always stress that point and it's the number one reason beginning and seasoned quilters get wonky blocks and clipped points. Make sure you're starting out on the right foot and review my Perfect Patchwork tutorial

Pressing Questions

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Pressing is always a question every quilter has. The answer is, "Yes, and often." I press my fabric before I cut it and after every time it's been stitched. I especially think it's important to press before cutting apart units like Half-Square Triangles, Flying Geese, etc. By pressing the fabrics before cutting apart it not only flattens the unit but sets the seams and helps for a sharp edge once the unit is opened. Read more on the Perfect Patchwork tutorial page. You'll also find my favorite sure-fire, easy pinning method. 

Stip Cutting

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Another must for making your patchwork effortless is starting with accurately cut strips and shapes. Even the small amount off will cumulate once pieces are sewn together and your block again can be wonky or way off the mark. Review how to straighten the edge of your fabric before cutting strips and how to cut the right size strips and shapes for your blocks here

Directional Prints

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One of the things I noticed about last years sampler blocks was the desire for quilters to have their chosen prints all running the same direction. In the past I've not been overly concerned about that because I think of a quilt as an object that is seen from all directions and not static. But, it was a good eye-opening for me to realize that others did find this something they wanted to achieve in their work. To help with that problem, especially when making units like Half-Square Triangles and Flying Geese I put together a little tutorial for controlling the direction of prints

Prints designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics

Prints designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics

You have a little less than two weeks to dust off your machine, finish up UFOs, and get ready for some sewing fun with Maureen, myself, and the amazing other Makers online that take part in our virtual sew along. I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful makes and reconnecting. 

With love,

Sharon

Hello 2018

Hello 2018

Bobbin quilt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living by Sharon Holland

Bobbin quilt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living by Sharon Holland

To be honest, I've done way more work on my computer this year than sewing. I've started at least 6 different projects and all are in a varying states of completion. That's not normally how I like to work. I prefer to start one project, fully immerse myself in it, and finish it before moving on to the next. But for some reason, it's working well this year to be jumping back and forth between projects and I don't feel overwhelmed or feel I'm loosing time switching gears. The nice thing is they will all be finished around the same time and then is will rain stuff to post about!

Until then, here's some fun things happening in the sewing and quilting world you may want to check out!

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living by Sharon Holland as seen in Curated Quilts magazine.

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living by Sharon Holland as seen in Curated Quilts magazine.

It was so exciting to see my new book featured in issue 2 of the fabulous Curated Quilts magazine. The write up for my book was so nice--thank you Curated Quilts!

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The second issue of Curated Quilts is all about Log Cabin blocks. It's a fascinating issue and packed with incredible inspiration. Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living (affiliate Amazon link) has three quilt projects inspired by Log Cabin blocks because I've always been drawn to the graphic, timeless appeal of that type of quilt. 

I want to thank all the quilter's out there you have already bought my book and who are posting their makes on Instagram. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to see the stunning quilts you're all making. We've been using the hashtag #UtilityStyleQuiltsforEverydayLiving and you can use that hashtag to view all the makes in one place. Did you know that IG now has the feature where you can follow hashtags?! It's one of their better "improvements" and by following a hashtag it will now show up in your feed just as if it were an individual you were following. It's a great way to stay connected to what's going on out there. 

20 Best Tote Bags by Dritz

20 Best Tote Bags by Dritz

It's a great day when your favorite notions company teams up with your favorite fabric company! Dritz and Art Gallery Fabrics have collaborated on a tote bag tutorial showing off the amazing assortment of Dritz bag hardware and the beautiful AGF canvas.

Photo courtesy of Dritz

Photo courtesy of Dritz

Photo courtesy of Dritz

Photo courtesy of Dritz

Okay, I'm pretty obsessed with all the bags. Just look at the cool details on the two totes above using my Arborescent Seasons canvas and Bari j's Magnolia Study Fresh print.

Photo courtesy of Dritz. Arborescent canvas by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Photo courtesy of Dritz. Arborescent canvas by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Photo courtesy of Dritz. Sand Bar canvas by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Photo courtesy of Dritz. Sand Bar canvas by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Photo courtesy of Dritz

Photo courtesy of Dritz

That was just a look at three of the bags. Be sure to visit Dritz to view all the other fun ways to dress up your totes AND...

Image courtesy of Dritz

Image courtesy of Dritz

If you'd like a chance to win all this Dritz hardware and eight 1/2 yard cuts of Art Gallery Fabrics canvas...visit Dritz on Instagram for all the details on how to enter into the drawing. Drawing runs from 9 am EST on Tuesday, January 30th until 9 am Wednesday, January 31st so don't delay!

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour Recap Part 2

Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour Recap Part 2

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The Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living book blog tour has felt like a big Christmas present and for 16 days I was surprised by a new and beautiful gift! This tour was so special I had to break up the recap into parts. Part 1 was shared last week and today I will finish the review with Part 2.

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Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples - Fabric Mutt

Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend - During Quiet Time

Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell - Maureen Cracknell Handmade

Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson - Gigi's Thimble

Friday 12/8  Karen O'Connor - Lady K Quilts Designs

Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart - Olive Grace Studios

Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters - A Stranger View

Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell - Designs by Sarah J

Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift - Jessica Swift

Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World

Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens - Live a Colorfullife

Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian - Sew and Tell Project

Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder - Anjeanette K

Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron - Modern Sewciety

Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson - The Tattooed Quilter

Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted - Hopewood Home

Pillow top and photo by Jessica Swift 

Pillow top and photo by Jessica Swift 

The second half of the Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living book blog tour starts off on Tuesday, December 12th with Jessica Swift of Jessica Swift. Jessica is the newest designer for Art Gallery Fabrics and launched her Tallinn fabrics this fall in Houston. She is a beginning quilter and really the ideal type of sewer to tell you about her experience with using my book. I think her project choice to make a pillow from the Pixel quilt was not only a good selection for a beginner to make but also a great way to show off scraps left-over from Jessica's new collection. I love the machine quilting she did on her pillow top as well. See the finished pillow on Jessica's blog. 

Quilt and photo by Lisa Ruble 

Quilt and photo by Lisa Ruble 

Wednesday, December 13th my dear friend and former colleague Lisa Ruble of Love to Color My World blogged about her scaled down version of the Midsommar quilt. I love the graphic clean lines of this quilt and especially think Lisa's teal, grey, and pop of coral are stunning. I enjoyed reading Lisa's blog post because she takes us through her process of fabric/color selection for her quilt and how the book pushed her a little out of her comfort zone with mixing the different greys. The result is stunning and the baby that will receive this quilt will have a modern looking quilt that will stand the test of time. 

Quilt and photo by Cindy Wiens 

Quilt and photo by Cindy Wiens 

Thursday, December 14th the talented Cindy Wiens of Live a Colorfullife shared her tour make with us. This quilt may seem ordinary but in fact it's a very special quilt. The fabrics Cindy used are her father's repurposed shirts. Cindy chose the Comfort quilt pattern and opted not to include the small triangle corners to the blocks. The utility of this quilt shines through from the "Workday Blues" shirtings and the repurposing of materials into a quilt Cindy can now wrap herself in like a big hug. Read more about this quilt on her blog post and see the clever pillow Cindy made from leftover squares.

Quilt and photo by Eleri Kerian

Quilt and photo by Eleri Kerian

Friday, December 15th was the day Eleri Kerian of Sew and Tell Project posted about her stunning Night and Day quilt. Eleri is a garment sewer that is new to quilting. She really just picked patchwork up during the Sewcial Bee Sampler virtual sew along earlier this year. Eleri not only made and finished a quilt for the tour but she made a California King-size quilt! She wowed the socks off all of us and you need to visit her blog to read (and see) more about this magnificent quilt. 

Quilt and photo by Anjeanette Klinder

Quilt and photo by Anjeanette Klinder

Saturday, December 16th Anjeanette Klinder of Anjeanette K dazzled everyone with this baby quilt made with one block of the Sunday Paper quilt. This bold quilt block makes the perfect size for a baby quilt because just one block from my quilt pattern is 36" square! Anjeanette is an extremely talented quilter and her blog is a must for you to visit. Read more about her beautiful little quilt on the tour post. 

Quilt and photo by Stephanie Kendron

Quilt and photo by Stephanie Kendron

Sunday, December 17th brought us this breathtaking quilt by Stephanie Kendron of Modern Sewciety. A lucky baby boy is going to receive this Goose Chase quilt and what a stunning quilt of blue, white, and a touch of sunny yellow. Stephanie had fun with the large center half-square triangles and made this a thoroughly modern-utility make. I'm really in love with this quilt! Read more about it's story on Stephanie's blog, enter for a chance to win a copy of my book (ends December 29th), and be sure to catch some podcasts while you're there too!

Pillows and photo by Christopher Thompson

Pillows and photo by Christopher Thompson

Monday, December 18th was the day that Christopher Thompson of The Tattooed Quilter shared his festive pillows with us. My talented friend, Christopher used the Tracery quilt pattern from my book and extended out the block to make it an 18-inch finished pillow. Christopher is a textile designer for Riley Blake and I love the Riley Blake red, green, and black prints he chose created a graphic-cool holiday look. You have to visit his blog to read more and see all sort of sewing inspiration!

Quilt and photo by Susan Playsted

Quilt and photo by Susan Playsted

Last but not least is Susan Playsted of Hopewood Home on Tuesday, December 19th, the final day of the tour. Although Susan does not have a blog, she is on Instagram. Susan's post is very significant because she also played a role in how my book looks.

When I was unexpectedly handed back my book to finish with 3 weeks until the printer deadline and I was in a panic to get images of my quilts. I didn't even have the quilts in my possession at that time and was wracking my brain how I could get it all done in time. I've been following Susan's Hopewood Home feed on Instagram for years and adore (more like lust) over her home and images she posts. I had the bright idea to contact Susan, tell her my situation, and ask her to kindly allow me use of her photos as inset images in the book--to which she said "Yes"! Since flying to Australia was out of the question, my thought was to use her images from her beautifully decorated home as fill to further enhance the lifestyle feeling I wanted in my book. I was right, the integration of her comfortable rooms and on-trend decor filled in seamlessly with my photos of the quilts and instructions. 

Excerpt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living book 

Excerpt from Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living book 

Here's just one example: I had seen a post of Susan's laundry room on her IG feed and knew I wanted to use it in my book. Originally the window was without a shade and since this book is about fabric I asked if Susan could tack up a temporary "shade" for the photo. We didn't talk about colors or fabric, I left that up to her keen discretion. The result was amazing! This section on Fabric and Quilt Care is spread opposite the last page of the Comfort (baby quilt) project and the colors are superb together.

Quilt and Photo by Susan Playstead

Quilt and Photo by Susan Playstead

The quilt Susan made for the blog tour is a marvelous, non-scrappy Roman Stripe quilt. Roman Strip is the free quilt pattern you can download from Landauer that I designed the accompany the book. Everyone of the quilts and projects made for this tour shows how versatile the patterns in my book can be!

Roman Stripe quilt and photo by Sharon Holland

Roman Stripe quilt and photo by Sharon Holland

It brings me incredible joy to see all these projects made and inspired by book. I have added a STORE page to this blog and have a limited number of copies of my book left to sell. By purchasing the book directly from me you can also have your copy signed and dedicated, if you desire. Otherwise you can purchase the book on Amazon (affiliate link), from the publisher (Landauer), your local quilt shop, or other book stores-everywhere.

A big thanks goes out to all the talented designers/bloggers that made this tour so incredible. I hope you had as much fun as I did! Wishing all of you the merriest of Christmas' or other seasonal holiday you celebrate--they're all an opportunity to gather family and friends around. May you also have all the best in 2018. 

Quilt and photo by Sharon Holland

Quilt and photo by Sharon Holland