Free Pattern! Big Stitch Polkadot Coasters

Big Stitch Polkadot Coasters - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

This project is all about those big stitches!

It’s simple, fun and easy.

It’s all hand-sewn – perfect for stitching while you binge-watch your favorite show. 🙂

My friends at Sulky were watching my progress on this big-stitched lap-sized quilt. . .

Quilt-in-progress from Shiny Happy World's Big Stitches and Patchy Patchwork class

It’s a WIP from my Big Stitches and Patchy Patchwork class.

They knew I was using Sulky Petites 12 wt. thread for all the big stitch quilting, and they knew this was a BIG project. They asked me if I’d consider designing a smaller project for people who just wanted to give big stitch quilting a try.

Of course I would!

I loooooove stitching in spirals and I had been kicking around the idea of making some round coasters. This is what came out of it!

Big Stitch Polkadot Coasters - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Get the tutorial here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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Using Fabric Markers and Paints for Small Eyes

Using fabric Markers and paints for Small Eyes - a Product Review from Shiny Happy World

For years I’ve been recommending fabric markers as an option for people who don’t want to applique small eyes, but I’ve never recommended a particular brand.

Until now.

On a recent trip to Joann’s I grabbed one of every black fabric marker and paint they carried. Then I brought them home and tested them out on some dinosaur quilt blocks.

First, let’s talk about the markers. That’s definitely the easiest option for eyes.

Dinosaur eye made with a Tulip fabric marker - recommended by Shiny Happy World

Of all the brands I tested, I liked this Tulip fine-tip marker the best.

Tulip fabric marker - recommended by Shiny Happy World

It has a bullet tip, which is nice. I used the fine tip to outline the eye, and then filled in the center using the broader side of the tip. It took two coats (I let it dry between coats) to get the really opaque coverage I wanted – but that wasn’t a problem. Here’s a close-up of the finished eye.

Dinosaur eye made with a Tulip fabric marker - recommended by Shiny Happy World

Nice tip. No bleeding. Good coverage.

Now – what if you want to get a little fancy with a 3D eye?

Dinosaur eye made with Scribbles fabric paint - recommended by Shiny Happy World

About a year ago I got an email from a customer telling me she had done her eyes using fabric paint, and I’ve been wanting to test that out ever since. I think she had used a puff paint, but I wanted to try the shiny finish, thinking that would add a nice spark of life to the eyes.

I tested out several brands and this one from Scribbles was my favorite.

Scribbles fabric paint - recommended by Shiny Happy World

The black was truly black, not just dark grey. It had a nice shine on it after it dried, and the bottle has a VERY fine tip which made it easier to control. It does take a little skill to use these squeeze bottles – I recommend practicing on some paper before you try it on your almost-finished blocks.

Here’s a close-up of a finished eye.

Dinosaur eye made with Scribbles fabric paint - recommended by Shiny Happy World

A couple of things to note. . .

This finishes to a nice smooth dome – but be aware that the dome is a lot taller when the paint is wet. It will compact down as it dries.

I tried – and was unable – to pick off the eye after it was dry. Just a little testing for kids who like to pick at textures like this. 🙂

You won’t be able to iron over the applique after you apply the paint – your iron will melt it. So you need to fuse down all the applique pieces, then outline stitch, then paint the eyes. You could possibly paint the eyes before outlining, but some of the edges of the dinosaur heads are pretty close to the eyes and I was afraid the rubbery eyes would grab at my presser foot and keep things from flowing smoothly.

Yes – it’s more than a little nerve-wracking to add paint to an otherwise finished block. I wasn’t joking about practicing on paper first. It took me a few eyes to get a feel for how it squeezes out of the bottle.

So there you go – more options for small eyes if you don’t want to do tiny applique. 🙂

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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April Free Calendar

Free April Calendar from Shiny Happy World

Happy April!

It’s the season for bunnies!

This month’s wallpaper uses some bunnies made with this free pattern. It’s a mix & match pattern so you can play with lots of different combinations of heads and ears and faces. Have fun with it!

Here’s the free wallpaper for the month in common sizes for computers, tablets and phones. 🙂

Download the 2560×1440 wallpaper.
Download the 1920×1280 wallpaper.
Download the 1280×800 wallpaper.
Download the iPhone wallpaper.
Download the iPad wallpaper.

I don’t have an iDevice, but I’ve heard that changing the wallpaper on iPhones and iPads can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Here’s a tutorial I found that looks pretty clear.

Enjoy!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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Free Embroidery Files for Machine Stitched Eyes

Free Embroidery Files for Machine-Stitched Eyes - from Shiny Happy World

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

I know the eyes are the trickiest part of my applique patterns. I’ve got a video here showing some tips for outlining them, and I have a tutorial here showing a cheater-pants way to stitch the very small Paper Doll quilt eyes on many regular sewing machines.

But I’ve heard from several of you who have embroidery machines and want embroidery files to satin stitch those eyes – including the larger ones.

That would be awesome! But I don’t have an embroidery machine and I have no idea how their files work. 🙁

We were chatting about this in one of the video Q&A sessions, and Ceil followed up after the session by putting me in touch with Titania Creations – someone who specializes in designing patterns for embroidery machines.

Thanks Ceil!

Titania Creations created a set of files for oval eyes that I’m giving away for free here.

Yep – free!

The eyes are all ovals in various sizes – from 1/8″ tall (great for the Paper Dolls quilt pattern) up to 1 1/4″ tall (great for the Silly Sloths quilt pattern).

You can find all the files here.

Here are the details. . .

Sizes

  • 01 = 1/8 inch tall
  • 02 = 1⁄4 inch tall
  • 03 = 1⁄2 inch tall
  • 04 = 3⁄4 inch tall
  • 05 = 1 inch tall
  • 06 = 1 1⁄4 inch tall

Machine Formats

  • PES – Brother / Babylock
  • XXX – Singer
  • JEF – Janome
  • VIP / VP3 – Pfaff / Husqvarna
  • HUS – Husqvarna
  • EXP – Melco / Bernina (Bernina also uses .ART but this is not available commercially)
  • DST – Tajima / Industrial machines. Any machine can use DST format but most home embroiderers don’t like to use it because it does not retain any colors.

So if you need a 1/2″ tall eye and you have a Janome embroidery machine. . .

  1. Go to this link.
  2. Double click on folder 03 for the half-inch eyes.
  3. Download the file ending in JEF.
  4. Wave a magic wand to get that file onto your embroidery machine.
  5. Stitch your eyes.

You can see that my knowledge of this process breaks down at Step #4. I’m hoping that if anyone has a question they can ask it in the Shiny Happy People group and someone who actually HAS an embroidery machine will be able to help. 🙂

Oh! And these files can also be used to machine-embroider eyes on softies, for those of you making them for kids too young for the safety eyes. Hooray!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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March 7, 2017 Q&A

3-7-17 Q&A with Shiny Happy WorldHere’s the live video Q&A from March 7 – now recorded and posted here for those not on Facebook (and those who want the version with all the empty time and fiddly bits edited out).

There was a storm rolling in just as the video started – which means the light was not great and the picture gets pretty pixelated at times – but I got the sound better this time!

Here’s the video.

And here’s a quick key to the questions I answered and links to some of the things I mentioned.

0:20 Am I going to make other animal lovies?

Yes – and I actually have since the video! You can find the bunny pattern here.

1:50 I talk about some new videos on the way.

They’re here now! You can find them at the links below.

How to Assemble a Quilt that Uses an Alternate Grid

How to “Quilt from the Center Out”

3:20 Which cat ended up winning the contest?

That remake of the Cats quilt pattern is finished.

This is the fabric bundle I mentioned with the pretty neutrals I was loving.

4:30 What kind of thread do I use?

These are the Sulky Petites I mentioned for Big Stitch Quilting and some hand embroidery.

This is the 12 wt. black thread I use for thicker outlining on my applique work.

6:30 I chatted about some new fabric bundles I’d like to introduce.

8:10 What handwork am I doing right now?

This is the Big Stitches and Patchy Patchwork class I mentioned.

10:15 What sewing machine do I use?

15:40 What am I working on right now?

I talked a LOT about the dinosaur quilt – still in progress. I showed some of my drawings, talked about working with a graphic designer to covert them to vector images, and talked about what comes next. You can see photos of my progress on Facebook and Instagram, and you can preorder the pattern here.

That’s it! the next live Q&A will be on Tuesday April 4 at 2 pm.

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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What Fabrics Go with Cuddle Fleece?

What fabrics match the different cuddle fleece colors?

I got an email the other day from someone who wanted to make a pink Bear Lovie and wanted to know which Sketch fabrics would coordinate with the pink Cuddle Fleece.

That’s a great question! It can be so hard to choose fabrics online – the settings of your monitor can really change the way colors look! So I pulled out all my Cuddle Fleece and my Sketch swatch card and started matching.

I chose three coordinating fabrics for each color of Cuddle Fleece. That will give you some options for it you want a lovie face that’s darker, lighter, or a close match to the fleece. Here are two examples. . .

Bear Lovie pattern from Shiny Happy World

For the Bear Lovie I used dark brown Cuddle Fleece for the body. I wanted the face to be lighter than the body (I wanted to make sure the eyes really showed up well) so I chose Sketch latte for the face, and then an even lighter Sketch linen for the muzzle.

Bunny Lovie pattern from Shiny Happy World

For the Bunny Lovie I wanted the face to be almost the same color as the body – with just a different texture to set it off. I used lavender Cuddle Fleece for the body and Sketch lavender for the face and the linings of the ears.

You can get all the Cuddle Fleece colors here, but I only carry a few of the listed coordinating fabrics in my shop. I include links for those fabrics below each color set, but for everything else you can easily google a supplier. All the fabrics are from Timeless Treasures. The straight up-and-down crosshatch print is Sketch. The diagonal crosshatch print is called Hatch. So to get good results, include the name of the manufacturer, the name of the print, and the color you want – like timeless treasures sketch peony. That’ll pull up a number of online fabric stores that carry it.

Ready for the specific colors?

cuddle brown set

Sketch coffee, latte, and linen are all part of the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle.

cuddle camel set

Sketch latte and linen are part of the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle.

cuddle charcoal set 2

Sketch smoke, dove, and mist are all part of the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle.

cuddle lavender set

Sketch lavender is part of the Rainbow Brights fat quarter bundle.

cuddle lime set

Sketch neon is part of the Rainbow Brights fat quarter bundle.

cuddle midnight set

Sorry – I don’t carry any of these in my shop. 🙁

cuddle pink set

Sketch peony is part of the Rainbow Brights fat quarter bundle.

cuddle red set

Sketch peony is part of the Rainbow Brights fat quarter bundle.

cuddle turquoise set

Sketch teal is part of the Rainbow Brights fat quarter bundle.

cuddle violet set

Sketch lavender is part of the Rainbow Brights fat quarter bundle.

So – to answer the original question – for a pink Bear Lovie I would use the pink Cuddle Fleece for the body, Sketch pink for the face, and Hatch blush for the muzzle.

That’s it! Coordinating fabrics for all the Cuddle Fleece colors I carry. And now I kind of want to make lovies in ALL THE COLORS!

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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Quilting from the Center Out to the Edges – a video tutorial

Quilting from the Center Out to the Edges - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

What does it mean to start quilting in the middle and work your way out?

I get this question a LOT – so I made a video showing the answers.

That’s right – answers.

Because the answers are different depending on whether you’re quilting by hand or by machine!

See?

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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How to Assemble a Quilt that Uses an Alternate Grid – video tutorial

How to Assemble a Quilt that Uses an Alternate Grid - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Quilts that “break” the traditional simple checkerboard grid can be really fun and dynamic, but if you’ve never worked with an alternate grid before, figuring out how to assemble the blocks can be kind of tricky. Take a look at the Noisy Farm quilt.

Noisy Farm quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

You can’t just sew all the blocks into rows and then sew the rows together!

Instead of rows or columns, you break these quilts into chunks – and there’s an easy way to figure out how. That’s what I show you in this new video. 🙂

See? Now that you know how easy it is, try breaking the grid on your own! You could take the Playful Puppies pattern – a simple grid. . .

Playful Puppies - a fun and easy applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

. . . and add a bunch of half-blocks with puppy sounds using this free alphabet pattern. Arf! Woof! Yip!

Copy the layout of this Woodland Critters quilt. . .

Woodland Critters quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

And you could have a really fun and dynamic version of the puppies quilt all your own! Noisy Puppies!

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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QuiltCon 2017

QuiltCon 2017

I went to QuiltCon for the first time and it was So Much Fun!

QuiltCon is a modern quilt show – so it was right up my alley. I didn’t get into any of the classes – but next time I’ll be more organized and I’ll be online the day those registrations open. They had a great slate of instructors there!

So for me it was a shopping and soaking up inspiration weekend. 🙂

The quilts in the show were amazing! Here are some of my favorites. . .

Bling by Katherine Jones

Bling by Kat Jones was the big show winner. I’m completely in awe of it. Isn’t it amazing? Abby Glassenberg recorded a podcast with Kat during the show and it was really interesting to listen to her talk about it. You can listen to that here.

Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer

Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer was inspired by her time in Alhambra, Spain. I just love the repetition of shapes, the solids, the simple quilting.

Cursive by Paige Alexander

I loved Cursive by Paige Alexander – it made me look closer and closer. The quilting is like those practice pages of letters we used to do in grade school. 🙂

Inner Monologue by Anne Sullivan

You all know I’m a sucker for stripes, so of course I loved Inner Monologue by Anne Sullivan. I love everything about this! Here’s a closer look at the stitching detail – a mix of machine and hand stitching.

Inner Monologue detail

Yum!

Mend by Melanie Tuazon

Speaking of big stitches – look at Mend by Melanie Tuazon! It makes me think of huge running stitches!

Moonie McMoonFace by Melissa Averinos

This is Moonie McMoonFace by Melissa Averinos. That title just makes me smile. 🙂 She does a lot of improv face quilts and this was her first attempt to make one that she could release a pattern for that people could reproduce. I love it!

My Cat Is a Jerk by Monica Solorio-Snow

My Cat Is a Jerk by Monica Solorio-Snow was made after she took one of Melissa’s improv face classes. I love it! And I think I really want to take one of these classes sometime. It would be loads of fun!

Organic Mid-Century Mod by Laura Bennet

This one is completely different – Organic Mid-Century Mod by Laura Bennet. Beautiful!

Sunday Best by Michelle Wilkie

Sunday Best by Michelle Wilkie really caught my eye. She made this in bits and pieces every Sunday over a period of months.

Vertigo by Elaine Poplin

Vertigo by Elaine Poplin knocked my socks off and made me dizzy. If you look closely you’ll see that it’s four simple circles – but the way they’re offset and the angles of the squares that make up the rings make the whole thing spin. Wow.

There were more show quilts that I loved – but I accidentally took videos of a lot instead of photos. Oops!

My favorite booth quilt was this one at Michael Miller Fabrics.

Michael Miller booth quilt

Look closer!

Michael Miller detail

Most of the quilt is quilted so densely that it makes the less-quilted parts really stand out. Just awesome!

Michael Miller makes the fabrics I used in my two newest fabric bundles – Box of Crayons and Dots.

And here’s my favorite purchase.

Malka Dubrawsky fabric and Wonderfil thread

The fabrics are hand-dyed batiks from Malka Dubrawsky and the threads are gorgeous 8 wt. (that’s even thicker than 12 wt.) rayon threads from WonderFil. You’ll be seeing more of these soon. I can’t wait to play with them!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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March Free Calendar

Free March calendar from Shiny Happy World

Happy March!

I’ve been fairly obsessed with Big Stitch quilting lately (“lately” = for the last year or more) and seeing all the gorgeous big-stitched quilts at QuiltCon has definitely fanned the flames. So I thought I’d use a photo from my very first Big Stitch project for this month’s calendar. 🙂

If you want to give Big Stitch quilting a try, you’re got several options.

I’ve got a basic free tutorial video here.

I’ve got a whole video workshop here, with projects big and small you can make.

And if you want to make the quilt you see in the wallpaper image, you can get the free pattern here.

If you just want to look at the pretty stitches, here’s the free wallpaper for the month in common sizes for computers, tablets and phones. 🙂

Download the 2560×1440 wallpaper.
Download the 1920×1280 wallpaper.
Download the 1280×800 wallpaper.
Download the iPhone wallpaper.
Download the iPad wallpaper.

I don’t have an iDevice, but I’ve heard that changing the wallpaper on iPhones and iPads can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Here’s a tutorial I found that looks pretty clear.

Enjoy!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

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