Saturday, March 25, 2017

Easter Egg Placemat Tutorial

Easter is one of the best holidays in my opinion. Fun, bright colors, candy, sweets, time with family, and most importantly the true reason we celebrate Easter, our savior is risen! One thing I can remember growing up, we always went to my best friend's house after church for an incredible Easter egg hunt. All the kids would run around looking for as many eggs as their basket would hold, but the best part was each kid had their own GIANT EGG! These placemats were inspired by those giant eggs and bring back some of my childhood memories every time I look at them.

The best part about these placemats is you can use your scraps! As quilters, we all have that embarrassing stash of scraps that you just can't bear to throw away but you also never use them... I'm just as guilty as you are. So I wrote this tutorial just for those all the scrappy strips hanging out in my sewing room. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

You Belong Here

Way back in February of 2009 I wrote the very first blog post for A Thread of Red. This was the little stitching I made for that post. Shortly afterward I began decorating the second shop and continued writing the blog. Not long after that, we moved to our current location and, well, you know the scoop. I'm still here. There's a reason for that, you know - it's where I belong.

I know the mechanics of quilting, what a scant 1/4 inch is and why it's needed, how to bind both by machine and by hand, the value of color and balance, how to properly use a ruler and rotary cutter and more. But, here's the thing - I'm not the greatest quilter, yet I do love making quilts. My seams are never perfect, the back sides are usually a bit messy and need some serious thread snipping and my free motion quilting skills do leave a bit to be desired. Mostly because I rush. Time is rarely my friend. Still, I am not afraid to keep sewing and making quilts that will be wrapped around my family, my friends and, sometimes, strangers.

The reason for that is because I am surrounded by people who consistently teach me, encourage me and appreciate my efforts, coworkers and customers alike. And I watch them do the same things for you.
Yep, you. All of you. The seasoned, the novice, the timid, the expert. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't learn something. Because, truthfully, we cannot all know everything. If we did we wouldn't need each other. That's the key.

Whenever quilters gather there is lots of teaching, applauding, reassuring, praising, guiding, laughing, chatting and more all laced with a strengthening dose of friendship. It cannot happen without you. You belong here. That was the message of that first blog post and it is still the same today. Because, you know, we kind of love having you around.

See you at Shop Hop next week!

Mins (aka Karin Smith)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Overcome Your Fear of Sewing a Bag!

Maker Kaitlin Downs

For any of you quilters out there who want to venture into bag making, but don't know where to start.. this post is just for you! 

If you're anything like I used to be, the idea of making a bag or purse probably scares the heck out of you! When you think of sewing something three dimensional you may begin to break out in a cold sweat, feel flushed in the face, or even lose all mental function.

However, don't fear! I am here today to change everything you've ever thought you knew about basic bag making. It is not scary. It doesn't require a whole new skill set from quilting. And most importantly, you don't need to be afraid to give it a try! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Funky, Fun, & Not Too Serious...

Do you ever feel like life is just too serious? That you want to laugh more? That art doesn't have to be complicated? It's fun to think outside your box, beyond traditional patterns, and challenge your creativity for a little bit of "funky."

It isn't just about looking at the photos and marveling about the creativity, though. I've stumbled across some fun techniques, such as the quilted feathers tutorial, and unique approaches to creating these works of art, too. I was really intrigued by the "Parts Department" concept described for the Abstract Houses quilt, which is made up of quilt blocks in various sizes, styles and colors, blended with black and white elements. Who doesn't have a myriad assortment of orphan blocks that never seem to be useful? I know I do! Wouldn't this be a great challenge idea! Who's up for it?

Until next time...Life is short. Buy the fabric!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Spring Cleaning = Scrap Happy!

As many of you may know, I (Kaitlin) will be relocating to Roanoke, Virginia at the end of the week to answer God's calling on my life. Thanks to the amazing staff here at AST, especially Ken & Karen, I will still be working virtually from Virginia! I will still be sending out weekly newsletters, updating social media, and working on our new website. 

You might be wondering why I'm telling you all this, but there is a reason! While packing my sewing room up, I decided to use the opportunity to do some spring cleaning. Since it's in the 70's outside, you can spring clean in February, right? Anyway, I am not ashamed to admit, I am a hoarder of scraps. Especially Bonnie & Camille scraps! I just can't stand to throw away those little cuties! 

So since I've had so much spare time on my hands lately (NOT!!!), I have been scouring Pinterest for the best scrappy quilts I can find! Lucky you, I have decided to share my favorites with you today. (:

Scrappy Quilted Tote Bag from A Bright Corner
Kawaii Scrappy Trip Along from Mochi Studios

Scrappy Bookshelf Quilt from The Last Piece

Postage Stamp 2 from My Purple Patch

Scrappy Fence Rail from KatyQuilts

String Quilt by Crazy Mom Quilts

Monday, December 5, 2016

UFO Challenge - Number for December

We hope you're following along with us for our 2016 UFO Challenge. If this is your first time hearing about it, you can find all the details here. It's never to late to join in! 

Each month we will draw a number, and that number will correspond with the project number to work on for the month. Then at the end of each month, post your pictures on any of our social media sites or email them to us at Be sure to use the hashtag #AST2016Challenge so everyone can see your progress! 

This month's number is: 10