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Hi everybody! Wow, this summer has flown by. Wasn’t it just spring?? I got to do a lot of little short trips this summer, along with a couple longer ones, which were so fun, but also made the time seem to speed by even faster. Now the girl is back in school, the tomato plants are starting to brown, and my thoughts are turning to quilts.

 

Months ago, I shared an image of a modified star quilt I made using our (then) new Magical Creatures collection of organic cotton poplins. I got so much great feedback, and a number of people asked for the pattern, or at least for quantities, so that they could make one. But of course, when I’m improv quilting to a deadline, I tend not to keep track of pesky things like the amount of each fabric I’m using, so recreating the pattern was a little trickier that it first seemed. Luckily, Mindy came to my rescue and recreated it for me. Here’s her tutorial. Thanks, Mindy!

 

Magical Creatures Quilt

finished size: 55.5” x 42” (lap/crib size)

Note: We are providing instructions to make the quilt exactly as shown, but feel free to play around with different combinations! You should have enough fabric left over to cut more pieces if needed.

 

Fabric required:

Magical Creatures fat quarter bundle

1 2/3 yd white background fabric

1 3/4 yd backing fabric

1/2 yd binding fabric

Other supplies:

quilt batting, cotton thread, rotary cutter, ruler, and mat

 

Cut the following:

Cut from Unicorn Dreams:

4 4 1/2” squares

1 2” square

Cut from Scales:

4 4 1/2” squares

4 2 1/2” squares

3 6” squares

Cut from Forest Flowers:

5 4 1/2” squares

4 2 1/2” squares

1 6” square

Cut from There Be Dragons:

4 4 1/2” squares

Cut from Mermaid Party:

5 4 1/2” squares

1 2” square

Cut from Dots Pink:

3 4 1/2” squares

2 6” squares

1 2” square

Cut from Dots Lavender:

4 4 1/2” squares

4 2 1/2” squares

4 6” squares

1 2” square

Cut from Checkmark:

4 4 1/2” squares

4 2 1/2” squares

4 6” squares

1 2” square

Cut from Shards:

3 4 1/2” squares

8 2 1/2” squares

4 6” squares

1 2” square

Cut from the white background fabric:

5-2” WOF (width of fabric) strips for borders

6-2” WOF (width of fabric) strips for sashing, subcut into 17-2” x 12 1/2” strips

18-6” squares

24-4.5” squares

24-2.5” squares

 

Sewing instructions:

This quilt has two types of blocks: a nine patch and a star block.

Nine Patch

Each nine patch uses nine 4 1/2” squares – 5 with prints and 4 white.

Lay out the squares in three rows, alternating prints and background, and starting with a print.

Using a 1/4” seam, sew the squares into three rows of three, and press the seams toward the printed fabric. Join the rows, nesting the seams for nicely matched seams. Press the row seams to either side or open.

Make six of these blocks.

We used these print combinations:

Dots Lavender, There Be Dragons, Scales, Mermaid Party, Forest Flowers

Unicorn Dreams, Scales, Shards, Dots Pink, Dots Lavender

Checkmark, Forest Flowers, Dots Pink, There Be Dragons, Unicorn Dreams

Dots Lavender, Mermaid Party, Scales, Checkmark, Dots Pink

Scales, Forest Flowers, Checkmark, Mermaid Party, Shards

Forest Flowers, Checkmark, There Be Dragons, Dots Lavender, Shards

 

Star Blocks

First make half square triangles using the 8-at-a-time method. Lay out a printed 6” square, right side up. Place a white 6” square on top and mark the 6” white squares with diagonal lines going from corner to corner, crossing each other in an X.

Stitch 1/4” on each side of the drawn lines.

Cut the squares in half lengthwise and crosswise, and cut on the marked diagonal lines. Press the seams open to avoid bulky seam intersections. Trim the half square triangles down to 2 1/2” squares.

Now you can start assembling the star blocks. Lay out the blocks as shown:

Sew the blocks into pairs, press seams open, sew the pairs together into 2×2 blocks (4-patches), and press seams open. Trim 4 patches to 4 1/2” if needed.

 

Lay out the squares into a nine patch as shown. Sew into rows of three, press seams open, sew the rows together, and press the seams open. 

We used the following print combinations (listed as center square, star points, triangles, corner arrows):

Unicorn Dreams, Dots Lavender, Checkmark, Shards (shown in photo)

Mermaid Party, Scales, Dots Lavender, Checkmark

There Be Dragons, Checkmark, Shards, Scales

Mermaid Party, Checkmark, Scales, Shards

Unicorn Dreams, Dots Pink, Dots Lavender, Forest Flowers

Forest Flowers, Dots Pink, Shards, Dots Lavender

Lay out the quilt into rows, starting with a star block, and alternating with nine patches. Lay out the 2”x12 1/2” sashing strips and 2” square cornerstones between the blocks. Sew the blocks and sashing strips into rows, and sew the sashing strips and cornerstones into rows. Press seams. Sew the rows together, and press seams.

Cut 2-2” WOF strips to the width of the quilt for the borders. Sew the borders to the edges of the short ends of the quilt and press the seams. Piece together 2-2” WOF strips to the length of the quilt (with the short borders sewn on). Sew the final two borders to the long edges of the quilt. 

The quilt top is now finished! Quilt and bind as desired, and enjoy!!

Simple Water Bottle Sling

Summer officially hit hard here a couple of weeks ago, and I needed a little refresher on heat-management. We don’t have air-conditioning in our house, so once it gets hot, we get into a routine of opening all the windows in the evening when it cools down (which it usually does here in the Bay Area), and then closing them all and drawing the curtains once it gets warmer outside than in, around 9 am. I also had to change my lunchtime hike habit to one where I got my outside exercise earlier or later, when the sun wasn’t as hot. And I needed to bring water. Which has always been a challenge for me because I hate carrying things when I hike, and didn’t really need a backpack for my 90 minute excursions. So, as I was heading out on one particularly hot day, I took a pause to sew this little water bottle sling. It took me about 1 1/2 hours, but I was figuring it out as I went, and I used some of our new Terrarium organic fabric (from the Saturday Collection) paired with organic hemp muslin that we have in the shop. It worked perfectly! I think it would be even better with an added pocket, which you could easily add. Here’s the simple tutorial. 

SIMPLE WATER BOTTLE SLING TUTORIAL


Fabric and Notions

-1/3 yard sturdy fabric for bottom, base and strap (I used the hemp muslin for this, but you could also interface quilting cottons, or use a canvas, denim or similar heavier fabric.

-1 10×13″ piece of printed fabric for top (poplin, quilting cotton or canvas works great)

-1 small scrap of interfacing or stabilizer (can be an extra scrap of fabric)

-1 long ribbon, cord or scrap of fabric to make the tie, 24″+

-Eyelets or grommets (or you can just sew two buttonholes)

Cut Pieces

Bottom: Cut 1 4″ circle (I used a wide-mouth mason jar as a template, giving 1/2 of space around the edge)

Base: Cut 1 5×13″ rectangle

Top: Cut 1 10×13″ rectangle

Strap: Cut 1 5×34″ rectangle (Note: this size worked for me as a comfortable cross-body length. However, because the strap won’t be adjustable, use a measuring tape or measure a string to 34″ and make sure this size works for you. If not, adjust accordingly.

Procedure

  1. Sew the strap: with right sides facing, sew the long edge of the strap with a 1/2″ seam allowance to form a long tube. Turn and press. If you’re not familiar with tube-turning, a chopstick or other turning tool can help with this. I have one that looks like this.
  2. Join base to top: with right sides facing, sew your base fabric to your top fabric along the 13″-inch edge. Open and press the seam down toward the base. Then, on the right side of the fabric, topstitch 1/8″ from the seam on the base side, securing the seam allowance in the stitching. This will strengthen the seam and keep the seam allowance pinned in place.
  3. Create fold lines for later step: at the top edge, fold the edge 1/4″ to wrong side and press, and then 1 additional inch and press, creating a channel. Do not sew yet (this will make it easier when you get to that step).
  4. Create the tube: with right sides facing, sew the side edges with a 1/2″ seam allowance to form a tube. Press seam open.
  5. Sew the tube to the bottom circle (including one end of the strap in the seam): with wrong sides of the side tube out, slip one end of the strap inside the tube and center it over the side seam at the lower edge, matching raw edges. Then, sandwich the strap between the lower edge of the side tube and an edge of the bottom circle and pin in place. Continue matching the lower edge of the side tube to the edge of the circular base with right sides facing and pin all the way around. Stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
  6. Insert grommets, eyelets or buttonholes: using water-soluble ink or chalk, mark the center front by flattening tube and marking opposite center back. Apply fusible interfacing or stabilizer the the center front, just under the second fold line. This is where you will insert 2 parallel grommets or eyelets, or sew 2 small parallel buttonholes, to accommodate the tie. I used a grommet kit that I had on hand (probably purchased from Joann’s). The first time I tried, the grommets pulled out because I was using lighter fabric and hadn’t used stabilizer, so don’t skip this step if using grommets on lighter fabric.)
  7. Sew the channel (including top edge of strap): Once your grommets are inserted just below the second fold line, with wrong side of the sling out, fold the top to the wrong side along the 1/4″ line, then again along the second fold to form the channel. Pin in place. Being careful not to twist strap, pull the loose edge up and slip it underneath the lower edge of the channel, centered over the side seam of the tube, and pin in place. Stitch close to the lower edge of the channel, making sure to catch the strap in the seam. Turn the sling right side out and topstitch the upper edge of the channel over the strap to hold in place.
  8. Make the tie (optional): if you are not using pre-made ribbon or cord, cut a long, 1″ wide strip of fabric that coordinates with your print. Mine was about 36″, but it should be at least 24″. Fold each long edge 1/4″ to wrong side, so that edges meet at the center. Press. Fold the strip in half the long way so that the edges are encased and the strip is now about 1/4″ wide. Stitch close to the open edge. This will be your tie.
  9. Using a small safety pin, thread the ribbon/cord/tie through one grommet, around the channel and out the other grommet. Tie knots at each end of the tie.
  10. Fill up your water bottle, sling it on your back and get out there!

Saturday Organic Fabric by Monaluna

Our new Saturday collection has arrived! The fresh fabrics finally landed at our warehouse on Monday, and we’re busily shipping them out to shops and designers who have been patiently waiting while they made their slllooooowwww progress through customs. I’m so excited to get to work making with these fabrics! It’s a funky little group of designs that all evoke for us a relaxed, creative weekend vibe.

Saturday Organic Fabric Patchwork

These designs have all been printed on our premium organic poplin, which is our most versatile substrate. It’s wonderful for quilting, adding a smoother, softer hand than traditional quilting cotton, and it also works beautifully for many apparel projects, pillows, tote bags and all kinds of other sewing projects. As always, the fabric is 100% GOTS-certified organic, which means that the farming and production processes meet very strict environmental and social standards. If you’d like to read more about the certification details, you can view the guidelines here.

We had a chance to work on some patchwork projects like the quilt and pillow above, and this Market Bag (by Noodlehead) using the small amount of sample fabric that we had before the shipment arrived, but now I’m ready to get to work on some more projects. I started a cute wrap skirt using the Cruise print (bicycles!) and the mustard Shards print, and I’m going to try a Sutton Blouse (by True Bias) with the Terrariums. What would you guys make from these prints? If you’d like to see more, you can hop over to our website to view the full collection, or place your order!

Saturday Patchwork

Our Saturday organic fabric collection is almost here! It landed in Oakland last week, and is making its way through customs now, so we will have it any day. This is always the hardest part of the long wait for fabrics, because it can take a couple days or many, and I’m always so anxious to get started on all the projects I’ve been dreaming up. This collection is designed to be smaller – just 5 prints – but it coordinates with all 4 of the Magical Creatures blenders, so you have a total of 9 coordinating prints (and you can even work in Magical Creatures if you want to blend themes!) The prints are diverse, but they all center around the theme of laid back weekend pursuits.

I have been wanting to sew a blouse from the Cat Nap print (featuring cats and houseplants on orchid) ever since the strike-offs arrived, and I have a skirt in mind for the Potted print (succulents and vases on blue), a gardening apron planned for Terrarium and a project bag in the works with Saturday Sewing. What would you guys make with these prints?

Market Tote using Saturday Organic Fabric

As always, the collection is printed on our premium, GOTS-certified organic cotton poplin, which is ideal for all kinds of projects, including quilting, apparel, and projects like the tote bag, above. It’s 44-45 inches in width, and about 3.73 oz/yard. Hop over to the website to see the full collection!

 

 

Magical Creatures Organic Fabric by Monaluna

I spent the better part of yesterday unpacking our newest collection, Magical Creatures, and I am so excited it’s here! It’s been a long time coming – we had to switch mills due to the tariffs, and that set everything back a bit, so what already seems like a long process was even longer. The fabrics look great, though, and it always makes me so happy to see the bright and shiny bolts stacked up neatly on our warehouse shelves.

 

This collection is a bit of a departure from the last few, like Journey and Wanderlust, which used watercolor and indigo ink, and were inspired by my (real) trips and experiences in the Southwest. The new group is whimsical and imaginary, with cheery colors and images of unicorns, dragons and mermaids that would set my 4th-grade heart a-flutter. I’m hoping they will instill the same excitement in some current-day 4th graders, and rekindle it in you grown-up 4th-graders out there.

 

Despite the mill change, the fabric is our standard premium poplin weave, and is, as always, 100% GOTS-certified organic. I’ve had some questions lately about whether this fabric is best for quilting or apparel, and the answer is, both! I find this substrate to be a wonderful quilt weight – more tightly woven and smoother than standard quilt-weight fabric – but also excellent for crisp garments like shirts, skirts and dresses. It’s a wonderfully versatile fabric. Here are a couple images of garments I’ve made with the fabric (the Ayashe shirt by Figgy’s, a made-up pattern by me, and Monaluna’s Skater Shirt pattern, L to R), and I’ll have some images of a lovely Magical Creatures quilt shortly!

 

Magical Creatures by Monaluna

 

One of my favorite parts of running the Monaluna shop is discovering all the cool products by makers and designers that we carry in the store, in addition to our fabrics. It’s like Christmas every time we get a box full of beautiful hand-poured candles, or gorgeous jewelry made by a designer in their studio. Here’s a list of some of our favorites, perfect for holiday gifts.

 

The Stocking Stuffers

Modern Scandinavian Holiday Ornaments

 

 

Shopping for a minimalist? We have a beautiful array of modern, Scandinavian holiday ornaments, like the gorgeous Tiny House ornaments from Norwegian artist Laurie Poast, or lasercut, mid-century walnut and birch ornaments from Frederick Arndt and Light+Paper Studio.

 

Are you shopping for a sewist? Try some of the beautiful sewing tools from Merchant and Mills, like the Baby Bow Scissors, Pin Magnet, Tailors Wax or specialty pins like the Spanish Lace Pins, delicate, red-headed pins made in the oldest pin factory in Spain. The Rapid Repair Kit is also perfect for anyone who might want to make quick repairs on the go!

 

Is there a quilter on your list? The simple Post Card Patterns from Purple Pineapple Studio make great stocking stuffers, an easy and affordable way to give the gift of inspiration.

 

The Accessories

handmade jewelry by Larissa Loden

One of our most popular makers is Minneapolis jewelry designer Larissa Loden. She takes overstock materials and crafts them into wonderful, modern accessories that feel current and sometimes a bit whimsical, like her bee necklaces and earrings, and the very on-trend airplant necklace. We also have some gorgeous pieces from Swedish designers Sägen and Johanna N, and socially-minded Ethic Goods.

If jewelry’s not their thing, we also have hand-sewn infinity scarves in some of our most popular organic cotton prints, and yummy, all-natural candles in refreshing scents to accessorize the home.

 

The Craft Kits

Craft kits make wonderful gifts for beginners and seasoned creatives alike! On our trip to Germany last spring we found a great French company that makes the most adorable embroidery kits, with designs featuring llamas, kitties, cacti and woodland creatures. We’re in love! The designs are suitable for almost any level, and they come with everything you need to create a beautiful embroidered project. We also have darling ornament, jewelry and thread-keeper kits from Red Gate Stitchery, embroidered and felt stuffie kits from Kiriki Press and Threadfollower, and lots of great Sashiko kits and cloths.

 

The Books

It doesn’t matter how many I have, I’m always overjoyed to receive a sewing or craft book (or to buy one for myself, for that matter). Give the gift of beauty and inspiration that will last for years!

 

The Bundles

When in doubt, every sewist can use more fabric! We have select pre-cut fat quarter and 1/3 yard bundles available, or you can put together your own 1/2 yard or yard bundles by making selections from our full catalog.

Happy holidays to all!

A couple of weeks ago, Amy Butler shocked the fabric design world (or, at least, my little piece of it) by announcing that she is leaving the quilting industry. Today, Abby Glassenberg is hosting a #ThankYouAmy link party to pay tribute, and I want to share my gratitude and a little story about how I got into this business. Because, well, it had a lot to do with Amy Butler.

 

In 2007 I was working as a freelance designer and had started to sew again after a long (long) pause. I had discovered that my local fabric shop, Piedmont Fabrics, had a great selection, including some beautiful, cool, retro-modern fabric that looked different from what I was used to seeing in fabric stores, so I bought it. During that same month, I had bought some notecards that I absolutely loved, and was searching for a reason to send, and I’d also picked up this gorgeous book, Midwest Modern, at a local bookstore. One afternoon I was sitting surrounded by these treasures when I happened to notice that they were all created by the same person! WHAAATTTT???! Who was this incredibly talented genius who had hit the design nail on the head in all these different products?? Well, Amy Butler, of course. I became an instant fan (a condition that was intensified a thousand-fold when I actually met her and realized what an incredibly lovely person she is). But I also was totally inspired, and for the first time realized that fabric design is a thing. A thing that I really wanted to do.

 

Over the last decade I’ve had a few chances to talk with Amy, and every time I’m blown away by how kind and authentic and lovely she is, even in the midst of Quilt Market when she’s been talking with literally thousands of people. She has brought such wonderful aesthetic, innovation and design to the industry, but also a very real sense of goodwill that I think has reached beyond her own brand and become a part of this industry. Thank you for everything, Amy, and best of luck in your next adventure!

One of the most exciting parts of designing a fabric collection is when the big package of strike-offs lands on my doorstep. The strike-offs are the hand-screened samples that show what the artwork and color will look like on the final product. Sometimes, they’re spot on and look exactly like I’d hoped they would. Every once in a while they look even better! And then occasionally… well, we go for round two (or three). Last week our Magical Creatures strike-offs arrived, and they look great! Here’s a little peek:

Magical Creatures by Monaluna

The collection is 9 prints total, with 4 of them (the green, gold, lavender and pink blenders) carrying forward to sit with our upcoming Saturday collection (Coming in February). As always, the designs are printed on our GOTS-certified organic cotton poplin (read more about the GOTS certification here!), which works beautifully for quilting as well as many apparel and home dec projects. We see it as a great all-purpose cotton fabric.

The prints are a balance of large, medium and small scale motifs, designed to work well together in quilts and clothing.

There Be Dragons by Monaluna

Although it was tempting to go all girly with the unicorns and mermaids, we got some excellent dragons in there too (for the boys, or girls who like dragons, like me!) The green and gold blenders both work really nicely with that print.

Mermaid Party by Monaluna

I’m already planning for a pair of Mermaid Part pajama bottoms with a Lavender Dots top…

Unicorn Dreams by Monaluna

I felt like I was channeling my 4th-grade self when I painted the Unicorn Dreams print. I was unicorn-obsessed as a 10-year-old, and was also quite excited about flower crowns and peacock feathers, so I got them all into that print. Come to think of it, I’m still a bit obsessed with those things…

There will be a few minor tweaks to the prints (color trapping should be better, and a few colors will be adjusted for better details), but they’ll be on their way shortly! Look for the collection to land around the middle of November.

Field Flowers

Back to School in Simple Life Canvas by Monaluna

 

There’s just something about fall. Even long after I finished school (and before I had a kid of my own going off to class), as soon as the weather turned cool I would start to think about stocking up on writing supplies, sweaters, and the perfect backpack to carry everything in. This year, we decided to stitch up a little School Days set, including an awesome backpack, a lunch tote and a pencil case, using our organic Simple Life Canvas and Poplin.

 

For the pencil case, we used a free tutorial by Anna Graham that we found posted on her Noodlehead blog. It’s the perfect size and shape to hold your pencils and pens, and any other small trinkets you want to keep from getting lost in the bottom of the backpack.

 

Pencil Case in Simple Life Organic Canvas by Monaluna

 

Mindy stitched it up using Rosa Canvas and Herringbone Canvas on the outside, with a nice pop of On Point Poplin for the lining.

 

Pencil Case made with Simple Life Organic Fabric by Monaluna

 

The lunch box is the Chubby Lunch Tote free pattern from the SewCanShe blog. There’s so much great stuff on that blog, but this project popped out as the perfect petite but roomy carryall for lunches.

 

Lunch Tote in Simple Life Organic Poplin by Monaluna

 

We used Hydrangea from the Simple Life Poplin collection, with accents and lining in On Point. The zipper used on both projects is a really sturdy and nice organic cotton and metal one that we carry in the shop.

 

 

Finally, the backpack is the Range Backpack, also by Anna Graham from Noodlehead, and available for sale in her shop. I absolutely love all the details and functionality of this pack, and the finished product looks super professional.

 

Range Backpack in Simple Life Canvas by Monaluna

 

Instead of the usual flap, the top of the pack folds over and fastens with a d-ring closure. It has a nice zippered pocket on the front, and in interior pocket as well, plus adjustable straps and a loop for hanging. Pretty much the perfect backpack! Mindy stitched this one up in the Hydrangea Canvas with Herringbone accents, and On Point Poplin for the lining.

 

Range Backpack in Simple Life by Monaluna

 

Altogether they make the cutest little set of back-to-school (or off-to-work) gear! It almost makes me want to go register for some classes…

The weather turned cool here this week just in time for back-to-school. I sent Anabelle off to her first day of 3rd grade yesterday, and now I have a little time to start thinking about fall sewing. One of the the most popular projects we’ve done here in the studio is our Patchwork Infinity Scarf, and Mindy stitched one up in our Journey Lawns last week. The fabric is delicate and lightweight, making it the perfect layer to add a bit of warmth and pattern to early fall outfits. You can get the free pattern for the project here ( just print or save as a pdf), and you can buy a 1/3 yard bundle of the Journey Organic Cotton Lawns (enough to make 2 scarves!) on the website here.

Journey Patchwork Infinity Scarf by Monaluna

Journey Organic Cotton Lawn Bundle

If you end up with some fabric left over, we have another idea for you: you can make this gorgeous patchwork pillow, based on May Chappell’s All Strung Up quilt pattern. Although it can be made with poplin or any quilting cotton, it’s especially nice in lawn, which makes it a bit softer and lighter.