Tuesday, January 1, 2019

January Color Challenge: Green

Welcome to the first month of the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge!

If you are new to the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge you can hop over quick to read through the introduction and also see the colors coming up in the months ahead.

Our first color to start the year off is: Green. This year I decided to use a little floral inspiration with my colors and for green I chose Bells of Ireland.

I chose this particular flower because of the gorgeous, fresh color, but also because my family has a little bit of Irish in them. The story goes that my great, great, great (I'm not sure how many greats, I should check into that) grandfather witnessed a murder by the Irish mob. He had to leave in order to not be killed himself, so he flipped a coin between Australia and America. Thanks to that coin flip I am here today. ;)

Are you a beginner? For this months block these posts may be helpful:

For a full ensemble of my tips for beginners see the Beginners Unite page.

For this months block you will need:

Rotary cutter
Marking pen/pencil

Specialty rulers that are NOT required, but helpful (the links above go over trimming with specialty and regular rulers):

A great group of bloggers will be joining us throughout the year. January's bloggers are:

Cinzia - Raconteur

Make sure you visit their blogs, see their beautiful blocks and maybe even get some tips.

Piecing tips

Chain piecing is your friend. I sew as much as I can before I have to go press.

This is the first set of chain piecing. I then pressed.

Remember to finger press your strips before hitting them with the iron, this keeps them from getting wonky.

Then I do the next set of chain piecing, press and trim them all to the required sizes. This means I'm a little out of order with the instructions, but once you start feeling comfortable with piecing quilt block units I encourage you to start chain piecing as much as possible before pressing. It speeds up the process for you.

Remember to sew with the Square in a Square unit on top so you can watch where the stitching meets and you don't lose your point.

I never trim my blocks, but if you are a trimmer I recommend waiting until all of your blocks are pieced and then finding trimming them all at once. Your goal is 12 1/2" unfinished blocks. I don't trim because I don't want to lose my points and since we make the units that makeup the block larger and trim them down, you should be fairly close to the correct size. If you are off 1/8 of an inch or less I really discourage trimming. If you are off 1/4 of an inch then instead of trimming I would suggest taking a look at your seam allowance and cutting, because trimming will definitely cause you to lose the look of the block.

For tips on putting together blocks that are slightly off read THIS POST.

Ready for your free January Monthly Color Challenge block? Find it HERE. Remember there is a change this year and the block is available for free only through January 31st. Use #2019monthlycolorchallenge on social media so we can see your blocks.

To get the block instructions delivered right to your email sign up HERE.

This will not give you January's block, you still need to go to Payhip and download it, but from this point on it will come directly to your inbox.

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Join the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge coming soon!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Whimsical and Wonky with Island Batik

December's Island Batik challenge for ambassadors was "Whimsical and Wonky."

This is a look I love to look at, but it's not one I tend to pick for myself to make or design. Instead I went searching for a pattern that would work. I found FatCat Patterns.

I also found the 2018 BOM "Gnome for the Holidays." I didn't have time to do the whole quilt, though I think it is too cute and I SHOULD do the whole thing, so I bought one month and made it into a pillow. I used fabrics given to me by Island Batik as part of their ambassador program.

After stitching the gnomes and letters down I put a piece of batting on the wrong side and quilted it. The Check It Out fabric makes a perfect grid for quilting without having to mark lines. As you can see, I simply knotted the loose threads on the back side and didn't worry about making it pretty.

Layering your top piece with your back pillow piece ( I cut my pieces 1/2 inch wider and taller than my pillow form) I stitched all the way around leaving an opening on one of the short sides. After I trimmed the corners I flipped it right side out and inserted the pillow form.

I hand stitched that edge shut.

Cute, whimsical pillow. I think a few pillows made up with the blocks from the FatCat Pattern along with the quilt, would make a cozy living room set.

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Join the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge coming soon!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2019 Goals

It's that time of year again where we look back and make plans for the new year.

I'm going to be honest, I have been so busy that I haven't looked at my 2018 goals since early in the year. Which is ironic when you see the first goal I made for 2018.

Looking back at my 2018 Goals

1) Take care of me. I'm changing it up a bit this year. I've been struggling since July to find a good balance in my life; family, child care business and pattern business. I've enjoyed it all, but found myself constantly feeling behind, and that is an awful feeling. While I am planning on publishing more patterns, I'm going to step back from the pressure of publishing them and try to go with the flow a bit more.

Maybe it's not possible to find a real balance when you are running two solepreneur businesses. PBJ is starting to pick up but that means more hours are required. I spend many nights and every weekend in my dungeon (sewing room) missing out on my still growing kids, but the to do list never gets smaller.

Harlequin Court

2) Grow relationships. I'm finding my blogging/social media world a bit quiet, so I'm hoping to get more involved and "in touch" with those who understand the nuances of the quilting world. I think that will help with goal 1 as well, because support goes a long way in helping keep the burnout away.

I think I'm doing a little better in this area, but lets be honest, it takes a lot of time and I don't do a very good job at putting in the effort to build those relationships. I keep thinking "I'll get to them in a bit" and then it's been a month. I need to make it a priority in order for it to change.

3) Distributors. I need to contact distributors again and get some feedback.

I'm excited that Brewer Sewing picked up some Patterns By Jen patterns!

4) Teaching. I'm getting a page ready with information on workshops/trunk shows/lectures. I'm excited to get that "published" and get the information to you.

You can find my teaching/trunk show page HERE. I am keeping it to once a month so if you are interested please reach out soon.

Fall Retreat

2019 Goals

1) Make my family my priority. My plan right now is to commit to taking two nights a week where I don't go back down to the dungeon and work. I'm also going to work on being gentle with myself and quit with the "Mom guilt."

2) Build quilty relationships. This is still important for me and I've had some great support this year. I want to make sure I'm giving back in whatever way I can.

3) Reach out to distributors. I'm finding this is an ongoing need.

4) Release 8 new patterns. I have a few already in the works, but I didn't have a number goal to work towards last year, and I think it worked better for me in 2017 to have that number to work towards.

Mod Squared Photo by Handmade Boy

5) Add sizes to magazine patterns. I have plans to add to the sizes available in the patterns that were in magazines in 2017. These will not count towards the goal above.

6) Newsletter consistency. January I will be sending out Bites of PBJ again. I struggle with finding things to write about, but also have those naughty little thoughts that say "you have no idea what you are talking about." One of the things that changed in 2018 was the amount I blogged, and I found it goes a little bit smoother each time, so I'm going to use that thought to work on the newsletter.

PS Feel free to let me know what you like to read in a newsletter in the comments.

Friendly Flight Photo by Handmade Boy

If you haven't signed up for the newsletter you can do so HERE.

If you are interested in the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge you can sign up to have the block instructions sent directly to you HERE.

Happy Stitching!

2019 Planning Party

Linking up with Quilting Jetgirl for the #2019planningparty

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Join the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge coming soon!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

My "Best of 2018"

I'm joining Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs and choosing my "Best of 2018" blog posts. We're asked to keep it to 5 posts but we're free to decide how to chose them.

Most popular post of 2018

Pattern Design - The Real Cost was by far my "most popular" post of 2018. This post was one that had been on my mind to write for months and with over 29,000 views, and a couple dozen comments, I feel it was well received.

Most Comments

Thread Storage Help received the most comments for an "every day" blog post. By this I mean it wasn't part of a blog hop or giveaway.

Best received announcement

The Border Quilt Quilt Along Announcement was the most viewed and commented on for any of the announcement posts  I did in 2018.

Best received new pattern

Introducing Mod² was the new pattern with the most views.

My favorite

Last, but not least, I chose my personal favorite from 2018...

This one is my favorite because it's the one that made the most difference for me in 2018. While I'm still trying to learn how to use it to be more efficient, having all of my to do list up on the wall was great for this visual person.

I hope you enjoyed this look back at a few of my 2018 posts!

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Join the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge coming soon!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.

Craftsy changes for PBJ

Many of you know that Craftsy did an overhaul of their designers/patterns availability on the 28th. While Patterns By Jen was one of the shops chosen to stay, Craftsy took down 29 of the patterns offered, including the three settings for the 2018 Monlthy Color Challenge. I have since taken down the six patterns they left, but what does that mean for you?

Friendly Flight Photo by Handmade Boy

Where can I get the Patterns By Jen digital patterns?

My patterns are still available as digital downloads from:

Where can I get the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge blocks and settings?

The blocks and quilt settings for the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge can all be found on Payhip. They will remain free through June 2109.

Where will the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge blocks be?

The blocks for the 2019 BOM will be available on Payhip. I have also started a new email list for the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge. This email will give you a link to download the block instructions directly to your computer. Sign up below.

Fall Retreat

Do I get to keep the patterns I bought from Craftsy?

Yes! The patterns you bought are still in your library. I would suggest that you download them just in case. If you have an issue with previously bought patterns disappearing from your library you will need to speak to Craftsy.

Hopefully this answers your questions on how to continue getting PBJ patterns and the Monthly Color Challenge.

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Join the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge coming soon!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

December Color Challenge Link Up

We did it! We completed the year!  I am so thankful that you have joined me in this color challenge journey! Get all the details for the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge starting January 1st 2019!

Did you have black and white in your stash? I love a good black on black and white on white fabric, so I had plenty to choose from.

If you made something in black and white in December add it to the link below, you could win a fat quarter bundle of Fog Modern Background Colorbox Bella Solids from this month's sponsor The Fat Quarter Shop. This is a great way to add color to your stash.

If you are having trouble linking up read this post. If you are still having trouble please email me directly; patternsbyjen(at)gmail(dot)com and I will happily get you added.

Grand Prize

Don't forget, for each month you enter the Link Up, you are also entered for the grand prize at the end of the year:

Jen at Dizzy Quilter is providing the grand prize! 

The generous prize provided is your top quilted by her (up to 90" x 90"),  a $202.50 value!

You must provide the backing, 8" longer than width and length. Batting can be purchased from Jen, for $20, if you like.

Return shipping is included for US residents only.
**Please note, the quilt will not be trimmed or bound, those services are extra**

The winner of the Grand Prize will be chosen January 15th!

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Thread Storage help

Today I am not sharing tips, I'm asking for them.

Anyone else have a thread problem? I try really hard to keep the amount of fabric I keep very low, but I love thread. I am someone who needs to have the fabric and quilting/applique thread match, as well as the top and bottom thread.

Which leads to a lot of thread. They used to store nicely in this container, but with the addition of the Bobbin Buddies I have had to lay them on their sides in order to close the lid. Which leads to less space. PS I also use Tulip Bobbin Clamps to keep my bobbins from unraveling.

This weekend I went through and took out the spools that were very empty, or bobbins that I couldn't match up. I put those in my Binding Bag.

This bag holds thread, thread conditioner, thimble, needles and scissors.

When I'm actually binding it also holds the clips I use to hold the binding down.

It's still pretty messy and I can't see the colors I have without pulling spools out. I would love to hear how you store your threads. Keep in mind I need mine to be covered because I sew in my laundry room and it gets dusty.

I found this pretty color when going through my thread and I think I need to plan something to use it.
I'm looking forward to hearing your tips for better thread organization!

Happy Stitching!

New to Patterns By Jen?

Find paper and digital patterns in my Etsy shop.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily sneak peeks and updates.