mandalei quilts

Quilts & Longarm Services

“Fair Day”

“Fair Day”

Posted By on May 15, 2015

Well, I may not be at Quilt Market, but I am happy to have something hanging there!  I recently finished a quilt pattern for RJR Fabrics called “Fair Day”, made with the line “Pie Making Day” by Brenda Ratliffe of Pink Castle Fabrics.  The sashing is all 1 1/2″ finished HSTs, and the pattern will be available for free on the RJR site soon!  I’ll let you know when that goes live.  The finished quilt is 72 1/2″ x 72 1/2″. I can’t wait for this one to come back to me!

But for now, I can satisfy myself by looking at pictures.

"Fair Day", quilt pattern by Amanda Leins For RJR Fabrics

“Fair Day”, quilt pattern by Amanda Leins For RJR Fabrics




This is actually a much older quilt, the “Linton Block”. When I first saw it flipping through a collection of old blocks, I new it would look great with wild amounts of color! The original block is smaller, so I resized it so that the HSTs would be able to be cut using any one of the die cutters (that really saves a ton of time and helps with accuracy!) My favorite part about this quilt is that all the seams nest, which is one of the reasons the points turned out so nicely.  I’m submitting it to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side in the Large Quilt Category.  Please check out all the quilts (and vote for me if you’re so inclined, ha!)

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When Cheryl Sleboda first mentioned she was thinking about having a blog hop for studio cleanup, I knew I needed to be on it.  I had started transforming my sewing space into a for-reals studio for my longarm quite a few months ago, and needed the motivation to get it finished.  Other deadlines had been taking precedence, but its half-finished state was a major thorn.  This room has been used for five different things: Ben’s office, a toy/play area, my sewing room, and now it is my longarm studio. I am totally going to set ego aside and show you how bad it looked after I had finished writing my book:

At the time, this was "moderately clean".  It had been a whirlwind 4 months of writing the book.

At the time, this was “moderately clean”. It had been a whirlwind 4 months of writing the book.  The green on the walls and the area rug are left over from the previous room usages.

This was in October 2014.  The following stages all took place in October and November 2014, and then… it sat for a bit.

First, I wanted better cabinets that weren’t cobbled together from years of mismatched furniture.  These are the Billy series from Ikea.  We took the mismatched bits out, painted that section, then put the cabinets in and started refilling them.


this is what is behind the closed door on the left:


My fella is the best thing that ever happened to me.  He was a huge help and drove to IKEA 3 hours away, picked up the cabinets, and drove back immediately just for this.  I am probably adult ADHD, so organizational stuff and cleaning can sometimes literally manifest itself as feeling like ants are crawling all over me and I have to get! out!  but he really helps me to stay on task.





I donated about 200 yards of fabric to various causes.

I donated about 200 yards of fabric to various causes. Not everything in this picture 😉  I still have 300-400 yards left, I guess.

And from this point, this is where it sat since about December 2014:



SO, given the timeline of this Spring Clean hop, here is where I’m at now!  I finished painting, and reorganized my shelves so that I could have a shipping station and better storage for all my longarm stuff (and realized I have a bit of a template collection).  Of course, it had gotten back to being messy first, so I had to clean that up, but here is the finished series:

Ta daaaaa! walls are painted and blinds are taken down!

Ta daaaaa! walls are painted and blinds are taken down!

Fabric folded: smaller cuts up top, big cuts on bottom.  I have my photo stuff and collapsing design wall in the cabinet at left.

Fabric folded: smaller cuts up top, big cuts on bottom. I have my photo stuff and collapsing design wall in the cabinet at left.

Shipping station and quilt storage as they wait in the queue.

Shipping station and quilt storage as they wait in the queue.

inspiration wall

inspiration wall

looking back from the opposite corner.

looking back from the opposite corner.

It’s still not perfect or completely finished, but the biggest needs I had have been met, and I am really happy with the results.  Thanks for checking it out!  Here are the links on the blog hop, go and see other people’s befores and afters!  I love seeing how other people have themselves set up.

May 7 Kathy Matthews
May 8 Misty Cole Http://
May 9 Heather Kinion
May 10 Jessica Darling
May 11 Lisa Blevis Filion
May 12 Peta Minerof-Bartos
May 13 Mandy Leins
May 14 Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz
May 15 Sam Hunter
May 16 Debby Ritenbaugh Brown
May 17 Debbie Kleve Berkebile
May 18 Michelle Mattingly
May 19 Cheryl Sleboda

Thanks, y’all!

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I am pleased as punch to announce the winner of Quick Change!  Thanks to everyone for leaving a commment, and I hope you’ll share your projects when you’re ready.

Drumroll please:



Number 32!  Terri!  Who said “I am working on piecing some table runners for spring and summer. Your design is beautiful! Thanks for the chance to win.”  Terri, I am sending your email to Martingale and they will contact you with your download code!  Congratulations!

Now, for other announcements, I have sold my longarm and will be organizing delivery for a new one so that there will be no gap in coverage, so to speak.  I cannot wait!  I will be the new owner of a BERNINA Q24!  There are some time-critical quilts to finish first, and then the transfer will begin!

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Quick Change Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Quick Change Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Posted By on May 4, 2015

A compilation by Karen Burns at Martingale

A compilation by Karen Burns at Martingale

Lately I’ve been falling for quilts of different sizes.  I love making bed quilts for using and giving away, but they can really take up resources and time that, right now, I seem to have less and less of.  That’s why, when Martingale asked me to submit a design for their compilation of bedrunners, I said, “of course!”

The quilts I make are usually a journal of the kinds of things that are interesting to me at the time.  As I recall, I was desperately searching for beautiful flowers to pin since it was in the middle of winter, and I was feeling the lack of sunshine and green things.  I also have a long love affair with Art Nouveau and Art Deco.  At that time, the colors that really spoke to me came from this flower bouquet

Those pale pinks, peaches, and greens with that rust and bright blue?  Can't resist this palette.

Those pale pinks, peaches, and greens with that rust and bright blue? Can’t resist this palette.

At the time, I was also in love with how  chains were linked in the jewelry from Dec and Nouveau pieces.  In particular, I was looking at this bracelet, that was sold at Christie’s at auction in 2009.  It is by J.E. Caldwell, and was made in 1930.

Image from Christie's auction site.

Image is from Christie’s auction site, link above.

The interlocked links with the difference shapes cross over really appealed to me, and together with the light and summery colors from the fabrics I chose (thanks to Art Gallery’s great collection of blenders), a quilted bed runner was born.
FINALS B1316.indd


I also wanted to play up the feel of the Art Deco Style with the quilting, using the big areas to make marquis-like shapes and then adding flowers and swirls to the prints.  The binding I wanted that bright purple color because, on our bed, there is a lot of white just as in this photo, and I wanted the bed runner to have a frame around it so it stood out more.

If you want to see the other bed runners in this book, check out the Martingale shop!  Martingale is also offering a chance to win Quick Change as an e-book.  To enter, leave a comment below telling me what you’re working on right now OR a comment with a burning question you might have about quilting (I’ll answer these after the hop is over!).  For me, I’m designing new patterns, and I really want to know where to buy giant sheets of freezer paper.  One comment only, please!  The giveaway for my stop will be over Saturday 5/9/2015 at 5:00 PM EST.

For more chances to win and to see who else has contributed Follow the Quick Change blog hop for fun designer Q&A’s, plus more chances to win the eBook!

Tuesday, April 28: Blog-hop kickoff at Stitch This!

Wednesday, April 29: Kimberly Jolly and Jocelyn Ueng at Fat Quarter Shop

Thursday, April 30: Heather Andrus & Megan Jimenez at Quilt Story

Friday, May 1: Brigitte Heitland at Zen Chic

Saturday, May 2: Heidi Pridemore at the Whimsical Workshop Studio

Monday, May 4: Amanda Leins at Mandalei

Tuesday, May 5: Doug Leko at Antler Quilt Design

Wednesday, May 6: Audrie Bidwell at Blue is Bleu

Thursday, May 7: Stephanie Prescott giveaway via Facebook


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strawberry moon home

Matchstick quilting can be great, but there are things you have to do to make it work for English paper piecing that won’t ruin the integrity of your quilt.


It even says “kit available”!

I just got the email that the pack for my English paper piecing pattern “Strawberry Moon” is available at!  This was the quilt in the Spring 2015 issue of Modern Quilt Unlimited.  And what is even better, the whole pack for the complete top is only  $22.00!  Thanks Jess and company!

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After much consideration, I have decided to sell my current longarm and buy a different longarm.  If you or anyone you know is interested, here are the details:

2010 Gammill Vision 1.0 longarm quilting machine, 26″ harp, 12 foot pivot head table.

Estimated less than 800 hours of quilting, it comes with the following: under-mounted camera, upgraded stainless steel wheels and Breeze track system, casters, three sets of zipper leaders, red snappers, Donita Reeves extended ruler base, Circle Lord, micro handles, and Gammill work station. This machine is in excellent condition. All original tools and oiler included, as well as packs of needles in various sizes.

Buyer responsible for picking up, transport, and setup. Assistance can be given for taking down and loading the machine into your vehicle.  Asking $14,000.

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I just got back from MQX in NH, I just finished up another quilt for Modern Quilts Unlimited for the Summer issue, and I have been writing and prep a quilt for kitting up before Spring Market. Phew!  In a much needed break today, I walked out to the mailbox and to my great delight, I got something delivered to give me a needed boost!

The first, my quilt “Strawberry Moon” is officially published in the Spring issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited. This pattern has been on my mind since before I was even a quilter, when I saw it in some random antique shop in Ohio or Kentucky on one of the long drives from campus to home. Being 1) broke, 2) not a quilter and 3) broke, I didn’t buy it and now I wish I had. It’s an English paper piecing pattern, and the kit will be available at for $25.00 (link to be added when it’s available).  I love Kate Spain’s “Paradiso” line on this top (I used a layer cake).  So cheerful.


It's kinda cute, right?

It’s kinda cute, right?

In the article, I also talk about the issues of quilting a top that has been English paper pieced.  There are some definite considerations to mull over before you get started, if machine quilting.

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I’ve talked in a previous post about the wools you can choose and the types of threads that are available.  Before I share an easy (and free!) project for wool applique, there are a few additional useful tools to collect, including scissors, freezer paper, and needles.  These are not absolutely required, but they’ll make your projects just a little easier to work on.


I prefer to use scissors with a serrated edge, with either a 4″ or 6″ cutting edge for different sizes of pieces.  While they can’t be sharpened, they sure do a great job gripping the wool as you cut so it doesn’t slide out from under your blades, which makes cutting that much more accurate, and easier to boot. You can do pretty much everything you need with the 6″ serrated snips. I use the ones by Havel’s, below:


Needles and Thread Conditioner

For Applique:

There are several different types of needles available that can work for the applique part of your project. In general, you’ll want something that has a decent sized eye to get those thicker threads through, and you will want something that is comfortable to hold.  I recommend starting with chenille needles, anywhere from a size #22 to a #26. John James and other companies make these, and I carry a set of sizes 18-24 by  as well.  Get what you like (and change them out when they get dull. As far as expense, needles are cheap!) You can also try straw needles (generally sizes 1#10 and #11) and milliners needles, keeping an eye on the eye: you want something that your threads can pass through.

Thread Conditioner:

I don’t know what this stuff is, except for a hunk of magic in a blue box.  Before you begin stitching, you pull your threads through it and get a light coating and, magically, your thread now glides through any fabric and the amount of knotting you get is significantly reduced.  Works wonderfully for hand embroidery and quilting and ESPECIALLY for binding.  The box on the right is the one I’ve been using for a dozen or so projects now, and it lasts forever.


Mine looks gross, but it’s because I use it frequently. What you’re seeing are loose fibers from the threads as I pull them across the surface. These don’t get onto your thread, promise.


whatever pins work for you, seriously.  I have small applique pins, and these are great because they don’t catch as much on stuff.  However, what I do most often is simply put a line of white school glue where I want my applique and heat set it in place.  No pins, and it stays put.  Don’t put it where you will be stitching, or use so much of it that your work gets stiff !  Just enough to keep it from moving around on you.

In my time trying to find all of this notion stuff in one place, it hasn’t always been easy.  To that end, I’ve put together a beginner kit for wool applique that contains all of the above (and at a slight discount because they’re bundled!) in my etsy shop.


I have these items separately, but purchased as a bundle you save $3.50.


Next week, I will share an easy free project that hits all the points (ha!  get it? points!) and instructions on how to prepare and cut out your applique pieces accurately and cleanly.  See you next week!

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