It's been ages, friends, I know...
Back in the middle of June I shared on Instagram that I was taking a break from social media for the summer, and it has been the BEST THING EVER. Don't get me wrong -- I love chatting with so many lovely people on Instagram and getting to see all the beautiful projects they're working on. But I've been trying to focus my attention on what's right in front of me these days, the family and friends I love who need me the most right now. After running through my days at breakneck speed for so long, becoming numb to everything except the demands of my to-do list, I almost thought it wasn't possible to live life any other way.
I'm so happy to tell you that I was wrong about that. Life has become a hundred times simpler, slower, quieter, and more peaceful than it's been for years. Suddenly I have time again to read, to talk with my husband, to sew with my girls, to play, to think, to dream. It's been a balm to my soul and a treasure that I can't imagine giving up lightly. So for now, I'm continuing my break from social media, though I did want to drop by this space to say hello, catch up with a little news, and share a quilt tutorial that I promised myself I would give you before the summer was over.
|Little Joe at 2 weeks
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll remember Little Joe, the tiny tabby kitten I found abandoned in the middle of the parking lot at my local Target. He was about two weeks old, lame in his back paw, and very near death when I rescued him that day and took him home.
At the time, I had no clue how much care and commitment is involved with raising young orphaned kittens. It's truly like taking in a newborn baby. I spent weeks bottle feeding him through the days and nights, keeping him warm, massaging his back legs, relying heavily on videos by The Kitten Lady and on help from my vet to face each new challenge.
|Joey at 3 months
I promised Joey's many fans that I would give an update on his progress during the summer so that you could see how much he's grown. He's now 3 months old, and not only are his legs perfectly healed, but thankfully we've also been able to set up a room for him inside our house despite my parents' and husband's cat allergies. A special air filter in the room and weekly baths have kept the dander at bay. My husband loves to have coffee with Joe every morning while he feeds him his breakfast, and Dad pops in to cuddle with Joey every afternoon. Watching my men together with this cat just melts my heart. I'll always be his mama, but I think he saves his loudest purrs for the guys.
Joey is still a rambunctious little goofball who loves to climb and play with his toys and my girls every day. But my favorite moments are when he climbs up into my lap and touches his wee nose to mine just to say "I love you." We are so incredibly grateful to have him in our family, and seeing him happy and playful in his special room just brings me all kinds of joy.
I also wanted to share with you these sewing kits I made for my girls, who all wanted to practice sewing hexagons this summer. I let them each choose their main fabric from my stash, and then I picked coordinating prints to go along with that.
The pattern is the Double-Zip Clutch from my first book Sew Organized for the Busy Girl which I shrank down to about half size. It makes an absolutely perfect travel sewing kit. I made one for myself years ago which I've taken on plane trips for easy-to-pack sewing on the go. I love that it has a spot for all the supplies and every tool I need to bring along. Right now the girls are sewing Laundromat Coin Pouches from my book Patchwork USA, and they're having so much fun.
And now on to the pattern! This quilt was originally going to be published in my abandoned Carnival of Patchwork book. I had dreamed for ages of making a quilt with a ton of little button blocks on it, and it was so much fun to see that dream become reality in this project. It took me three long months to sew this one together, but I'm absolutely crazy about it. My friend Jennifer at Farm Fresh Stitches did the gorgeous quilting in a classic baptist fans motif. This block would look darling on so many other projects too: a tote bag, a zipper pouch, a pillow. Even if you don't feel like making a whole quilt, try it out on something small and have fun with it!
All the Buttons Quilt Tutorial
Finished Size: 53’’ x 60’’
Finished Block Size: 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
From 97 5’’ squares of various colored prints, cut from each:
- (2) rectangles, 1’’ x 2’’ for button blocks (A)
- (2) rectangles, 1 1/2’’ x 2’’ for button blocks (B)
- (2) rectangles, 4’’ x 1 1/2’’ for button blocks (C)
From 2 yards of white solid, cut:
- (2) rectangles, 1’’ x 2’’ for button blocks (D)
- (4) squares, 1 1/2’’ x 1 1/2’’ for button blocks (E)
- (98) squares, 4’’ x 4’’ for alternating squares (F)
- (4) rectangles, 4’’ x 53’’ for borders (G)
From 2 yards of wide batting, cut:
- (1) square, 70’’ x 70’’ for interfacing (H)
From 2 yards of 108’’ wideback fabric, cut:
- (1) square, 70’’ x 70’’ for quilt backing (I)
From 1/2 yard of pale blue floral fabric, cut:
- (6) rectangles, WOF x 2 1/2’’ for quilt binding (J)
Make the Blocks
1. Sort the pieces for each button block into 100 stacks. Each stack should include 2 A rectangles, 2 B rectangles, and 2 C rectangles from a single Colored Print. It should also include 2 D rectangles and 4 E squares from the White Solid
2. Sew a D rectangle to either long edge of an A rectangle. Cut the resulting piece in half through all 3 rectangles as shown in the illustration above.
3. Sew the pieces from step 2 to the upper and lower edges of the remaining A rectangle. Sew the B rectangles to the right and left edges of the block.
4. Sew the C rectangles to the upper and lower edges of the block. Use the E squares to snowball the 4 corners of the block, to yield a finished block as shown above.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 with the pieces for the remaining blocks, giving you a total of 97 blocks.
Make the Quilt
1. Arrange the button blocks and F squares as shown above, organizing the colors in whatever order you like best. Sew the blocks and alternating squares together in rows. Then sew the rows together.
2. Sew a G rectangle to the right and left edges of the quilt top. Then sew a G rectangle to the upper and lower edges.
3. Quilt and bind as desired.
|All warm and crinkly after coming out of the wash...
If you make anything with this tutorial, please share your photos! You can use the tags #fabricmutt and #allthebuttonsquilt. I'll be back on Instagram sometime in the fall to check in, so be sure to tag me @fabricmutt so I can see it then.
I hope you're all having a beautiful summer and doing the things you enjoy best. Most of all, I hope you're getting time with the people you love. Enjoy every minute of it!