Fun News from Aurifil and Fig Tree…

I always tell people that I am not much of a gadget girl… I’m really not. Usually I find something that works and I just stick with it. I have had the same beloved Bernina machine since I became serious about quilting and I still use it every single day and still love it like I did the first day I bought it. I am completely committed to my rulers, cutters and mats and I don’t feel the need to go looking for new ones very often.

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However, the same cannot be said of thread. When I first started sewing, I used the cheap chain store brand that many of you probably did. I then switched to the standard ones I found at my quilt store and I thought everything was fine. Until the day I met Aurifil thread. Hello!

I decided to give it a try since several of my friends seemed so adamant about how great it was. Oh my goodness, I fell in love with it in the first stitch. I loved how it felt, how it looked, how nicely it behaved in the machine and most importantly how little lint it produced in my machine. I have never used another brand since that day, not for piecing or quilting or sewing. I love it. Really love it.

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So when the opportunity presented itself to work with Aurifil, it was a total no brainer. The hardest part was choosing – or more accurately eliminating- colors to choose the final 12 that would go into my FIG TREE COLLECTION. As many of you might know, I am crazy about color and I have so many favorite “Fig Tree” colors that it was really, really hard eliminating some of my favorites in order to have the final 12 that would go into the box! Of course I am in love with the grouping that I ended up with. It just makes me want to sew every time I open the box and look at all that color yumminess in one place!!

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And then there was more!  As an extra project, I got to do something even more fun. Or at least equally fun !! The idea was born to make a little Fig Tree/MODA/Aurifil kit. What could possibly be better?

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It would include 7 threads, 1 mini charm and a free pattern. I went to work! This was a bit easier than choosing the main color collection since the colors had to coordinate with my upcoming SOMERSET collection. Once I had the thread colors and the Somerset Mini Charm, the free pattern came to me almost automatically… of course they had to be spools! So I settled on two different spool shapes and went to cutting! I added several of the colors of thread for the quilting itself too! Not sure if you can see that on the monitor but its there, I promise!

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So here is our little piece of fabric and thread heaven… “MY AURIFIL SPOOLS” made with Aurifil thread and SOMERSET fabric by Fig Tree for MODA! All in one sweet little box, it is the perfect little kit for you to enjoy or as a surprise for your favorite sewing friend! Although once you have one, I am not sure how you would ever give it away LOL!

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Kit boxes will be available in September as will the entire Somerset line!

As soon as we finished putting this little project together, I decided that we wanted to do a special contest and promotion with it! We want all of you to join in the fun! It is a great chance to play around with a little design of your own and win some amazing prizes at the same time!

WHAT: A contest using the new Somerset Thread Box by Fig Tree & Co. for AURIFIL. Using the fabric and thread goodies in the box, design your own original mini charm pattern and submit it to us to win fabulous prizes!

Winners will receive a fat eighth bundle of our upcoming SOMERSET line, a packet of our brand new patterns, Fig Tree nail polish and Fig Tree Fabric Spray by Soak! If possible, we may even publish your pattern!

WHEN: Submit a photo of your quilt with a story of your inspiration and how you used the mini charm and the Somerset threads by November 30, 2014.

You can reserve a kit HERE  or click HERE for more info on the contest itself!

And just in case you need some more inspiration, we recently debuted a line of our own FIG TREE MINIS and joined in all the MINI pattern fun! I know that so many of you have joined too and I have seen so many wonderful minis out there each day on the web and from people’s photos. Keep going with all that creativity ladies [and gentlemen]!  But just in case you haven’t joined in yet, here are a few shots of our mini patterns to get you started…

MINI CANNED PEARS

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… our full size version of CANNED PEARS is also available as a pattern.

MINI BLOSSOM

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… the original size of this pattern is from our WITH FABRIC & THREAD book and comes in both scrappy and 2-color version so we used both in our MINI too!

MINI CHERRY PIE

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… the full size CHERRY PIE is also a stand alone Fig Tree pattern.

MINI STITCH

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… there is no full size pattern of STITCH yet, coming soon!

As we speak, we are working on yet more new MINIS as well… because, well we are just a little bit addicted. Because they are a little bit addictive! If you want to follow along and see what other folks are doing with our MINIS, the best place to do that is to follow us on INSTAGRAM. We are figtreeandco.  Or come see me on my blog, Fresh Figs anytime.

Happy sewing everyone,

Joanna

 

 

 

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Avante Garden by MoMo

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Momo’s quirky Japanese style and retro-modern vibe shines bright in this whimsical collection.  Avant-Garden is in full bloom with poppin’ poppies and cheerful cherries, so pack a picnic and let your imagination run wild! Have fun with these whimsical prints using a pattern from Vanessa Goetzen of Lella’s Boutique, Stock # LB122.

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A variety of these fanciful prints are also available in our 70% cotton, 30% linen blend which will work wonderfully with Momo’s Linen Mochi Dots and new Linen Mochi Solids. All you need now is your favorite tote bag pattern.

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Avant-Garden fabrics and precuts are available at your favorite quilt or specialty store now. 33 Prints, 9 Linens
To see the entire collection, click here.

Advant Garden Skirt

The linen/cotton blend makes an adorable skirt using Amy Butler’s Barcelona Skirt pattern, Stock # AB 028BS

Advant Garden Jumper

Or for the little one in your life, mix the Linen prints with solids and mochi dots for a perfect summer jumper.  The pattern is The Katie J. Jumper by Fishsticks,
Stock # FD KJJ00

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Our own, Tammy Vonderschmitt has one of her quilts featured in the Fall Issue of Quilting Quickly on newsstands now.
So many great projects featuring Avante Garden  by MoMo.

 

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Make it Today: Christmas in July

2014-07-08 11.27.45“Christmas Candy Ornaments” by Bonnie Olaveson of Cotton Way can be made with Moda Candy packs.

You might have noticed the amazing new Moda Christmas collections are readily available now in your favorite shops…just in time for Christmas sewing in July! Planning and sewing Christmas projects during the summer months makes good sense: not only will you have plenty of time to plan and complete Christmas sewing, but you also won’t have trouble finding your favorite pieces from these brand new Christmas collections. It’s always good to plan and shop early for the best selection, and now is that time for Christmas and holiday project sewing. Be sure to plan now for border, backing and binding purchases for these projects, too. It’s often harder to find yardage of the most popular Christmas fabrics as it gets closer to the actual holiday.

2014-07-14 15.15.00“25th & Pine” by Basic Grey, “Solstice” by Kate Spain, and “Winterlude” by 3 Sisters are all available now in pre-cuts and yardage.

Not only is now the perfect time to shop for the latest in Christmas fabrics, but most importantly it’s time to decide what to make with them! Don’t get caught waiting until fall to begin: by then  you might not have enough time to complete all of your wonderful ideas. Go through your Christmas patterns, and also remember the Moda Bakeshop often features projects with the new Christmas fabrics during the summer months; be sure to look there for pattern ideas and inspiration. Keeping an on-going project list whether on paper or on your Pinterest board can be a great help, too. Now is the perfect time to double check those lists and make a plan to start sewing.

Sugar Cookies 2Summer is also the perfect time to finish up unfinished Christmas projects from previous years.

 Simple projects to sew now for Christmas giving:

  • Christmas quilts
  • Christmas pillows (all sizes–mini pillows for decorations and larger pillows and pillow shams)
  • Christmas table runners and table toppers
  • Christmas wall hangings
  • Christmas stockings
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Christmas tags
  • Christmas kitchen items: pot holders, dish towels, and place mats
  • Christmas gift bags of all sizes
  • Christmas mini quilts
  • Christmas door hangers

Really, the possibilities are endless. Anything you make with non-seasonal fabrics can be spectacular in Christmas designs. If you have a favorite “go to” pattern be sure to  put one together in your favorite Christmas fabrics, too. Shops often start displaying their new Christmas ideas and decor during the summer, as well–so be sure to visit your favorite shops for the latest in Christmas sewing inspiration.

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Christmas table runners are the perfect quick and easy gift.

Here are some more ideas to jump-start your Christmas sewing now and throughout the year:

  • Make practice blocks for all of your quilts and projects year round from your favorite Christmas fabrics. Then you can assemble them into Christmas Sampler quilts when you have enough blocks.
  • Try to spend at least one day a month working on Christmas projects. Keep finished projects in one place so you have easy access to them in the fall.
  • Keep a list of ideas for Christmas gifts you want to make using non-Christmas fabrics; summer is a good time to work on these projects as well.

Do you have any tips or ideas to share for Christmas in July Quilting and Sewing?

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Quilting: It Really IS Good for You!

We all know that feeling of getting into “the zone” as we’re quilting—the pleasure that comes from fabric flowing smoothly beneath your fingers, the colors stimulating your senses, the feeling of accomplishment and focus as your creation turns out just as you’d hoped and dreamed.

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This quilt pattern, Fabric Fusion by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle, intimidated me with its many pieces, but I decided to give it a try.

That’s on our best days. But even on those that provide a little more challenge—your bobbin runs out of thread at a critical juncture, your points don’t line up even after they’ve been ripped them out and re-sewn, you wish that block included a little more red and a little less black—quilting has its satisfactions. And it turns out, those satisfactions might provide more than just a temporary good feeling: on days when everything’s going well quilting may have an anti-depressant effect, while quilting’s more challenging days may protect our brains against memory loss and dementia.

In a March 27 CNN article, Catherine Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist and the wife of Craftsy.com CEO John Levisay, noted that science is taking a look at the pleasures of making things. “There’s promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time. And that’s that creating—whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography (or) cake decorating—is beneficial to us in a number of important ways.”

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The article follows Sarah Huerta, whose brother’s sudden death in 2004 left her with extreme anxiety. She took up knitting and eventually found that focusing on working on a complex pattern enabled her to lose herself, and her stress, for hours on end. That’s the result of getting into “the zone” (also known as “flow”), where hours fly by as you’re completely absorbed in the task at hand. Taking on a challenging task, but one that can be accomplished, enables you to lose your sense of time and feel a part of something larger than yourself, according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The effects are similar to those of mediation, which science has been shown can reduce stress and inflammation.

But that’s not all. British occupational therapists studied 3,500 knitters and found that 81% of participants with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. They suggest that’s due to dopamine, which the brain releases during pleasurable acts. While the study doesn’t say so specifically, it’s not hard to imagine the results for quilters could be the same.

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I’m trying string-piecing for the first time!

And there’s more good news. We’ve all heard about the importance of staving off memory loss and dementia by keeping our brains active as we age. A recent study at the University of Texas at Dallas found that people who took up photography and QUILTING improved their memory and the speed at which their brains processed information.

It should be noted that these results occurred in people who were learning to quilt for the first time, and that learning something new seems to have created the cognitive pay-off. So if you’re an experienced quilter, perhaps it’s time to stitch that pattern you’ve long-admired but been afraid to try, or to choose an unusual (for you) color scheme for your next quilt. Or maybe you’ll want to take up a new skill, like appliqué or embroidery, that will add richness to the quilts you already know how to make. Lucky for us, science seems to be saying that creating things with our hands pays off not only in beautiful quilts, but in mental health and stability. Hooray!

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The Magic Pattern Book by Amy Barickman

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We LOVE Amy Barickman and her AWESOME new book!

6 Patterns x 6 Styles Each x 6 Fabric Choices=216 Original Designs! How can you beat that?!

This book includes a CD with downloadable patterns for sizes S-XXL.

You will love their great suggestions for styling as well.

Ask for this book at your favorite local quilt shop!

SHOPS ORDER HERE!

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