Tuesday, November 25, 2014

6 Fabric Selection Tips

Today I'm guest posting over at Martingale's blog and sharing a little video about fabric selection.  (And if you decide to head over and check it out, I MUST warn you that I am the most awkward person EVER when I get in front of a lens.  I think I try not to be too hyper and then I come across on the other end of the spectrum.  Oh, so embarrassing!  I know I could never be an actress!)

So, fabric selection, do you love it or hate it?  

I love it!  But from my many years of working in a fabric store, I've learned that many quilters are overwhelmed with that part of the quilt-making process.  If you fall into that category, use the following tips to give you more confidence at the start of your next project.

Tip #1:  Gather inspiration!

Find one article of clothing, a piece of artwork or a piece of fabric that speaks to you!  Use that as your starting off point.  As I tried to re-create my Growing Up quilt (from my new book, Vintage Vibe) in a different color-way, I used this vinyl wall decal that I purchased from Target as my inspiration piece.

Tip #2: Pull colors, style or graphics 
from your inspiration piece.   

Because I already had a quilt pattern to use, I didn't need to pull graphics for the design part of this project.  But I did want to use the wall decal as my color inspiration.  I decided to focus primarily on the black, white, pinks, and gold in the decal.  I felt that by sticking with those colors I was staying more true to my inspiration piece.  After some debating I chose to use grey for the stems on this quilt (as opposed to green) because I wanted to keep it classy and modern.  Using green would have completely changed the look of this quilt by the way.  Try to imagine it!  

Tip #3: Audition and eliminate fabrics.

Go through the possible fabric candidates and decide whether you love them or hate them.  Make sure they have the right "feel" (are you going for modern, traditional, etc.) and make sure you like the color.  Many people worry about whether or not a particular fabric is a "perfect" match.  My rule of thumb is that if you don't notice in the first few seconds of looking at it, then it's fine!  I think it adds depth and personality to have some variation!

Tip #4: Create balance.

It's okay to use different shades of one color as long as they are used repetitively throughout the quilt.  Having that color pop up here and there will create balance.

Tip #5: Give your eyes a place to rest.

I LOVE scrappy quilts!  I love using as many different fabrics that I can in a quilt!  The more the merrier, in my opinion.  But I never want my block pattern to get lost.  So, it's important to have one unifying piece of fabric in your quilt (whether it's your background fabric or using at least one solid).  It gives a quilt "order", freshness and really lets your blocks sing!  And, I love having contrast.  Contrast is always good.  

Tip #6: Love it?  Then use it!

Everyone of us has a different personality and I believe our quilts should reflect that.  Be unique, be you and don't be afraid to think outside the box!  If you love a particular fabric or color then use it!  It'll bring you happiness every time you see it and you can't beat that!  Also, do some research!  I love to go to my Pinterest boards to see what images I'm drawn to and then I study them to see exactly what it is about them that I love!  You'll learn a lot along the way too but trust your instincts!

If you follow these simple tips you're sure to put together something wonderful and I hope you now feel more confident to put together beautiful quilts inspired by things you love!

The Growing Up quilt pattern is available in my new book, Vintage Vibe.
Head on over to Martingale's blog today where you can enter to win your very own e-copy!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Another Vintage Vibe Quilt

Shhh... don't tell anyone.

But I am completely (completely!) obsessed 
with my friend, Aniva's yellow and white Vintage Vibe quilt.

Aniva used the same long-arm quilter that I used for my aqua and white Vintage Vibe quilt so she was able to use the same fabulous design!  It was a design that I spied on Pinterest one day on an antique, hand-quilted, two-color quilt (which you can see HERE).  I asked my quilter (Kaylene Parry in Lehi, Utah) if she could do that same design with her long-arm machine. She had a friend tweak it just a little (so as not to infringe on any copyright laws) and then the friend digitized the pattern so Kaylene could quilt it as an edge-to-edge pattern.  I'm absolutely in loooove with it!

And the yellow?  With the colorful, floral back?  
Obsessed.  Obsessed, I tell ya.

Hope that inspires you today :)

This pattern is available in my new book, 
Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics
available HERE.

P.S., There's another stop on the Vintage Vibe Blog Tour today.
Be sure to stop by Corey Yoder's blog (Little Miss Shabby) to check it out!  She's sharing another project from Vintage Vibe.

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Simply Strings Winner + Vintage Vibe Stuff

Thanks to all of you for entering the giveaway for the book, Simply Strings by Rana Heredia.  It was fun reading how all of you cut, organize and store your fabric scraps.  It sounds like I've got a long ways to go in the organization department now!  I'm not sure if my cute little jars are going to cut it anymore!

I want to say congratulations to the winner of Simply Strings.  Maryjo, I sent you an email!  Please send me your mailing address.  You've got a fabulous book coming your way!  Congratulations and thanks again to everyone for playing along!  And if you're crying, heartbroken or angry that you didn't win this giveaway, just remember, everything's going to be okay!  
You can click HERE to purchase your very own copy :)

So are you guys following along on the Vintage Vibe blog tour?  I can hardly stand waiting for the Tuesday and Thursday postings!  So much fun!  

Did you see Jessie Finchman's cute Rainy Day block from last Thursday?  I didn't post that day to remind you but it is SO CUTE!  You'll have to check it out (plus, I saw that she's doing a giveaway - woot! woot!!)  I always love Jessie's fabric choices.  She's inspired me for a long time and I feel so lucky to have her on the tour :)

And another group of ladies that I'm super happy to have on the tour ~  The Fat Quarter Shop!  They're posting today about their favorite project in the book and doing a little giveaway!  Be sure to stop by! 

I'm hoping to get some sewing time in today.
But first, I've got to get the post office.  Vintage Vibe books are finally being sent out (after a little loading dock delay) plus I've restocked my Etsy Shop with more Pineapple Block paper piecing patterns so I've been a busy girl the last few days.  Sew for me okay!?!?

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Simply Strings Book Review + Giveaway!

At the International Quilt Market a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Rana Heredia.  She is the author of Simply Strings, a fabulous new book geared towards using up scraps.

I was quite taken with her book because, well, the scraps seem to be never ending around here.  So using them up is a concept I can get behind!

I like to keep my scraps in jars, as many of you know.  I divide them up by color into 6 different jars.  The colors I use the most are in these large jars.  I also have 3 smaller jars just like them with yellows and oranges, blacks and greys, and browns.

I like many of the projects in Simply Strings.  There are a few that I could see myself making, such as this one (below) called, Organic.  I've been itching to do a bit of improve piecing (since I've never really done it before).  I think this pattern is perfect for that, yet there is still some order to the overall pattern.

Twinkle Toes is another one of the projects that I've got my eye on.  I'm thinking I may have to make this with bright scraps for the stars and low volume scraps (pieced in the same manner) for the background.  Wouldn't that be cute?!?

These look really fun.  I think the patterns in Simply Strings are a great way to empty out some of my jars - and make room for more scraps!  'Cause you know there will be more - LOL!

Rana was so kind to GIVE me not one, but two copies of Simply Strings and I would looove to give one away to one of you, my quilty friends!

So let's do a giveaway okay?  Leave a comment below telling me how you organize your scraps and I'll pick a winner later this week.

You can stop by Rana's website, Sewn Into The Fabric, to see more photos from her book or to purchase your own copy of Simply Strings.

Also, be sure to stop by April Rosenthal's blog today for the next stop on my VINTAGE VIBE Blog Tour. A little birdie told me she's doing a giveaway too!  

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Thursday, November 6, 2014


 Well, it's about that time folks.
My new book, VINTAGE VIBE is shipping to stores any day now!  
So, let's have some fun, shall we? 
It's time for a VINTAGE VIBE Blog Tour!!!

I've got some really amazing quilty friends sharing different projects from the book every Tuesday and Thursday in November and December (except holidays).  I hope you'll join in the fun!

I'm going to kick things off with the very first project, Skipper.

[Image credit: Martingale, Brent Kane]

Skipper puts a little twist on the very traditional Flying Geese block.  This quilt comes together quickly and it's perfect for beginners!
The fabric line I used in the book is called Out To Sea by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.  The whole thing just kind of screams "boy" to me.

But what if we changed things up a bit?

I've been dying to see what this pattern would look like made up in some girly fabrics from my stash.  And well, I think it works.  Don't you?

I started making these the other day and I didn't want to stop!  My little pile of Skipper Blocks kept growing and growing!  Now, I'm just trying to decide if I need to make a whole other quilt...or just a table runner?  Hmmm.  Decisions, decisions...

So, as you can see, there's lots of fun to be had with VINTAGE VIBE.  
This is just the beginning!

I do hope you'll tour around with me and the rest of my quilty friends 
on the VINTAGE VIBE Blog Tour.  And hey, who knows?  There might even be a few fun surprises along the way :)

Here's the schedule:

11/11/14 - April @ http://www.aprilrosenthal.com/
11/18/14 - The Fat Quarter Shop @ http://fatquartershop.blogspot.com/
DATE CHANGE! 11/24/14 - Sherri @ http://www.aquiltinglife.com/
12/11/14 - Heather @ http://quiltstory.blogspot.com/
12/16/14 - Andy @ http://www.abrightcorner.com/
12/23/14 - Melissa @ http://www.polkadotchair.com/

P.S.  For those interested, 
you can get your autographed copy of VINTAGE VIBE HERE :)

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quilty Fun Turns One!

And to celebrate,
Lori Holt created the most darling birthday block!

When I saw it, I knew I just HAD to make one too!

It was so much fun to make and came together so quickly.
I seriously spent more time picking out fabrics 
than I did on the cutting and piecing.

I'm still debating how I want to finish this little cutie 
but for now I just want to say... 

Happy Birthday Quilty Fun!  It's been a fabulous year!
I ♥ my Apple-licious quilt and my Quilty Fun Sampler! 
(which is almost bound - pictures coming soon :)

If you haven't had the chance to get your own copy of Quilty Fun, 
it's not too late!  It's available HERE from the Fat Quarter Shop. 

Happy quilting everyone!
~ Amber

Click HERE for the instructions 
to Lori Holt's birthday block.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Book, Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics

 You guys, things have been very exciting around here lately.

When one copy of my new book, 
Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics 
landed on my doorstep last Friday evening, there was a nervous, excited feeling that I hadn't known before.  I opened the package and eyed it - from a distance - for about an hour.  Every few minutes I would stop back by the book and squeal, pet it, flip it over (there may have even been a little bit of jumping up and down and clapping).  But I couldn't open it.  I was frozen with anticipation.  My husband was on his way home from a business trip.  My children were at friends' houses.  I had to share the excitement with someone so I called my mom.  She finally convinced me to open it and then listened as I described every detail to her. 

This book has been a two year project (me: working on the quilts and instructions for one year and my publisher: editing, editing, photographing and more editing for the second year).  I'm thrilled with how it turned out and am so thankful to the amazing crew at Martingale Publishing.  They have been so fabulous to work with!!!

This book is full of 14 bold projects, tid-bits about the inspiration behind the projects, beautiful photography, quilt making basics, tips on fabric selection and lots, lots more.

One of my favorite quilts in the book (okay, let's be honest, I LOVE them all!)  But one of the most unique quilts in the book AND the namesake behind the book itself, is this 2-color quilt called Vintage Vibe.  

It was inspired by this cover of a home decor catalog I received in the mail.  It's one example of what you'll find in this book ~ the quilts, the stories behind them and hopefully a new appreciation for the little things in your lives that can inspire your own projects!  

The quilting on Vintage Vibe is amazing!  Kaylene Parry in Lehi, Utah quilted it for me (in fact she quilted several of the projects in the book.  I use her a lot and she always does a fantastic job!)

I was also blessed to have Natalia Bonner from Piece 'N Quilt quilt four of the projects in the book, including the cover quilt and pillow, this black and white quilt (above) and the Rainy Day Table Runner (below).  She is amazing and it was so fun to meet and collaborate with her!

You guys, all of the quilting in this book is amazing!!!  You're sure to be inspired!  And the great thing is, I share lots of specific tips in the book about long-arm quilting ideas and how to get great results from your quilter!

The projects in Vintage Vibe range in skill level.  There's a little something in there for everyone.  Including 3 different types of applique, different methods for making Half Square Triangles and how to make both classic and new blocks alike!

I wish I could share with you all the projects, and the inspiration and stories behind the projects but you'll just have to get one to see.  I (think?!?) it will definitely be a fun and inspiring read, along with lots of eye candy and fun projects to make.

If you want to pre-order an autographed copy today, click HERE.
Vintage Vibe: Traditional Quilts, Fresh Fabrics
Coming November 4th.