Saturday, September 19, 2020

Quilting and Sewing for Beginners

These past months have been a time when many have chosen to take up new hobbies or spend more time focusing on things that bring them joy. For us, we have devoted the time to designing new quilt patterns, making video tutorials and working on other fun craft projects to share with you. 

Are you, or is someone you know, interested in learning more about quilting? We know well just how scary it can be to get started. There are so many terms, techniques and tools used and it can be hard to keep everything straight. I can recall jumping in headfirst when I first learned how to quilt - and I made quite a mess of things (a long story for another time). 

However the good news is that it lead me to our local quilt shop to ask for help. The owner took one look at my creative attempt at a quilt and immediately recommended I enroll in a beginner class to learn the basics. Since finishing that course, I have designed and developed thousands of quilts throughout the fabric industry and never looked back.

After gaining such experience, I decided that I want to share with you my best advice for beginners in a new video series on YouTube "Learn How to Make a Quilt". This series is FREE to everyone since I believe a good understanding of the basics helps to make the quilting experience better and more fun. Hopefully it will encourage you to keep learning and growing, and want to advance on to some of our other, more intricate projects.

So make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Whimsical Workshop and follow along with all videos in this series to get you started in this great craft. And if any of your friends are also ready to take the plunge and learn quilting ,or just want to brush up on the basics, make sure to let them know as well. The more the merrier!  

You will need to have a basic understanding of how to thread and run your sewing machine, but everything else will be covered.

Below is the Beginner Project for this course, Simply Rails:

To get us started, I have designed a quilt that is small and approachable. For this project, we'll be focusing on technique more than the overall design. Let's first get you comfortable with making the various components before worrying too much about the visual components. The size of this quilt makes it perfect for use as a table topper, wall hanging or even a baby quilt. It will all depend on the fabrics you choose to use. (Don't worry, we will cover how to pick the right fabric).


Here is the schedule for the YouTube Series (Feel free to save this image to your computer so you can keep track if need be!):

We've also compiled several of our classic beginner patterns for when you're finished with the series and ready to tackle a project on your own! Quick reminder too that for any of our patterns, we're available via phone or email to help walk you through any questions or concerns - don't be shy about reaching out! 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

How to make a simple Pencil Cup Organizer! Fast and Easy

Hi there and welcome back! Today I want to highlight our newest YouTube video tutorial “Free Quick and Easy Sewing project for Back to School-Pencil Cup Organizer”. 
This video is the first in a series of simple sewing projects that will help you improve your sewing skills. Each video tutorial should be easy enough to follow along, that there's no need to purchase a pattern.

Since we are beginning this series off in September, I wanted to start with how to make a Pencil Cup Organizer. I made one of these a few years ago while at quilt camp with some of my dear quilting friends. At the time, I wasn't sure if I would use it, but thought it could be fun to make anyway. Now years later I can tell you that this little organizer has sat by my sewing machine holding all of my goodies ever since I brought it home.  

It's the perfect size for your sewing room or for holding miscellaneous household items, and makes a great gift for your favorite student or teacher. They're so quick to make that you can easily make more than one. 

For this project you will need three different fabrics:  

Red Gears from Matthew's Mini Monsters by Matthew Pridemore

Pipes and Monsters from Matthew's Mini Monsters by Matthew Pridemore

Black Gears from Matthew's Mini Monsters by Matthew Pridemore

Supplies you'll need:

Fat ¼ for the body of the organizer (Red Gears print in example)

Fat 1/8 for the Pockets (Pipes and Monsters print used in example)

¼ yard for the binding for the Binding (Black Gears print used in example)

You will also need (1) piece of batting that's the same size as the body of the organizer, and (4) 3/8” x 8” ribbons for the ties.

This video covers everything from cutting to basic quilting with a walking foot, pressing and pinning and adding on a binding using the Binding Ruler. Let's get into it!

To start, let's start with how to measure the cup you plan on using, in order to figure out what size to cut your pieces. 

In our example shown above, the cup was 4 ½” high x 12” around the widest part, so the cutting for our project was as follows:

(2) 9” x 12” pieces for the Body & Batting

(1) 6” x 12” piece for the pockets

(1) 2 ½” x 60” strip for the binding (we show you how to piece this in the video)

Once you are cut and ready to go, we will walk through basic quilting with a walking foot:

How to press and pin the pockets in place to create box pleats (easy peasy, I promise!).  

And Finally how to put a binding on completely by machine as well as how to use our Binding Ruler. This method is the same method I use on all of our quilts so it is a handy technique to know)

Need a Binding Tool of your own? You can get one here, on our website:

I hope you've enjoyed this simple sewing project and have learned lots of new sewing skills. We would love to see your cup organizers and what you put in them! 

Let us know in the comments if there other simple projects you would like to see me make and share with you in future videos and stay tuned for more virtual trunk shows, free projects, sewing tips and tricks, and more! 

Thanks for following along.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Batty and Happy FREE Block for Halloween!

It's time for another Block Mania Blog Hop free block! If you aren't familiar with the Block Mania Blog Hop, every month a group of the quilting industry's top designers each create a free 12" block that all fit within the same theme and color palette. All blocks are posted on the first Tuesday of the month and you get to hop from blog to blog, learning more about each designer and collecting your free patterns. 

This month's spooooky theme is Halloween! I created this block called Batty and Happy, and it's available FREE on our website here: Batty and Happy.

We are also offering a SVG File for sale to cut the applique shapes on a fabric cutters such as the Cricut Maker. Here is the link to purchase this

Batty and Happy

This month, I wanted to take you behind the scenes on how I select fabric for my projects. Here is the video showing just how I chose the fabrics for this block.


Here are the final fabrics I ultimately decided on. They are a combination of fabrics from Benartex and Windham basics.

Recently I've been using my Free Block design to test out new ways of using my Cricut Maker. It's led to some pretty interesting discoveries and useful tips on how to more easily cut fabric for applique with the Cricut. I've documented some of these tips in a series of YouTube videos that you can watch here

Once we have all of our fabric pieces cut and ready to assemble, it's to move to the iron!

Here's a shot of our adorable bat coming to life. I am using an Appli-fuse mat to make easy work of this. Did you know we now have these available on our website and have a video on how to use them here

Now that we have our block assembled, it's time to pick our favorite Aurifil threads for the finishing stitch. This month I got up close and personal in a video on how to finish the edges of the applique ,as well as my trick for using a machine stitch that looks like embroidery for the stitch around the bat's mouth.

 And finally, here is our adorable Bat out collecting treats! Happy Halloween!


I hope you have enjoyed this month’s free block. Make sure to visit our website, for more whimsical patterns and our YouTube channel for more quilting tutorials.

Here are the links to my fellow designers on this Blog Hop. Have Fun!"


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Dutch Wonderland Sew Along Wrap Up

Ten weeks ago we decided to take on a big, new project - A sew-along for our 100" x 100" quilt, Dutch Wonderland Pattern. With a group of ambitious and talented quilters from our Facebook Group, Heidi's Quilting Help Desk, we embarked on a long yet rewarding adventure. 

One of the things I love most about this quilt is that it's made up of a variety of different blocks. This gave our quilters the opportunity to make the entire quilt as is, or just follow along sporadically to brush up on specific block techniques. More advanced quilters were able to play with color matching, fabric patterns and the mixing and matching of different blocks. It made this a great project for improving block construction and challenging oneself, no matter how experienced a quilter you are.

I went live once a week to walk viewers through each new block, and the videos were then uploaded to YouTube several days later. I've found this to be a helpful format for quilters as it lets people follow along at their own pace, however they also have a chance to connect with me directly and ask questions as they come up. 

Now that this sew-along has been completed, I want to share some of the images I compiled throughout the process.

This next set of photos are courtesy of Glenda Lewis, one of our wonderful Facebook group members who completed this sew along with us!

Glenda's quilt turned out stunning, don't you think? 

Here are some images from Lois Schulstad (Center Block) and Barb Craig (Teal Blocks). Thank you to everyone who followed along over the ten weeks!

If you missed the sew-along but want to make your own Dutch Wonderland (or if you started and had to take a quick break!), we have videos for each week up on our YouTube channel. We'll walk you through every step of the quilt from start to finish and you can follow along on your own time. Here is the first video explaining the set up. Also check out our blog post about how to start this project here.


Make sure you join our Facebook group, Heidi's Quilting Help Desk, or follow us on Instagram @WhimsicalWorkshop to stay up to date with the details for our next sew-along and all of the other exciting news happening around the studio. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Versatility of Triangle in a Square Blocks using Creative Grids 2-Peaks in 1 Ruler

Welcome back to our blog! Today I wanted to go more into depth on why I love to use Triangle in a Square blocks in so many of our quilt designs. Not only are these blocks easy to construct with the right tools, but they're incredibly versatile and can be used in so many different ways to create a ton of unique visuals. 

You can use this block to create an interesting border, you can add a small triangle with flip and sew, or you can even create the illusion of curved lines! There are a ton of possibilities just waiting for you to try them all out. 

My favorite way to create these units is with the Creative Grids 2-Peaks-in-1 ruler, which is available for purchase on our website

If you haven't used this tool before, we have a video tutorial on our YouTube channel showing just how easy it is to create these units.

If you're looking for some inspiration, we've pulled a selection of patterns from our website that are great examples of how this block can look. Let us know in the comments which one you're most excited to try!


COMPASS OF COLOR: Here is an example of the basic triangle in a square block being used for the block points. It gives the block a modern and clean feel that compliments the bright tonal fabrics. Fabrics from Andover Fabrics.

JELLY BEAN BLAST II: In this quilt, the Triangle in a Square blocks are used for the border. These units are great when you don't want a solid colored border and they definitely add some flair. Fabrics from Benartex Fabrics.

PENCIL BOX: This quilt was made using strip sets from Black and Tan fabric, and then I used the 2-Peaks-in-1 ruler to cut the pencil tops. You can even change the black strip out for different fabrics to create colored pencils! This would be a great project for a classroom, art studio or playroom. Fabrics from Timeless Treasures.

FRESH CUT: In this quilt, I used the foreground print for the small triangles and the background for the large triangles. Then I flipped the triangle in a square units 180 degrees to create modern flower petals.  Fabrics from Maywood Studios.

FABRIC KIT: Make this project even easier by using a pre-made fabric kit! 

CRESTING WAVES: In this project, the Triangle in the Square units were used as the sashing strips to continue the movement of the snail trail block across the quilt top. Look at that curved wave illusion!  Fabrics from Anthology Fabrics.


BURST OF STARS: Here is an example of how adding a smaller triangle to the corners of the Triangle in a Square block can create an entirely unique new look. Fabrics From FreeSpirit Fabrics.



PRIMARY POP: In the project below, I used the smaller triangles from the ruler for the vertical columns. It gives the quilt a fresh modern feel.  Fabrics from Island Batiks.

ANTICIPATION: Pop quiz time! Can you find the small triangles from the 2-peaks-in-1 ruler in the presents? Just another fun example of how versatile these blocks truly are. Fabrics from Andover Fabrics.

I hope you've enjoyed this mini trunk show and been inspired by all of the fun, creative ways in which this block can be used to create one-of-a-kind quilts. I look forward to seeing all of the projects you create in the future with these units! Happy Quilting!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Let's Get Organized - Tips for Your Sewing Room

Getting and staying organized in the studio can feel like a full time job some days. You want everything to have its place, but also be easily accessible at any moment and not get in the way. We all know how fast our sewing room space can turn from organized to pure chaos while working on a project. And who wants to take a break from all the fun creating just to clean up?

In our studio, it's imperative that the cutting table be clean before starting a new project since these are paid projects with tight deadlines. We treat the set up and clean up of a project as part of the project itself. Everything has to be finished and put away properly before moving on to something new. So, we thought we'd have Heidi come and share some of her best tips on how to stay organized in a new video series. These videos can be found on our YouTube channel, in a special playlist so you can watch them all the way through. Be sure to subscribe and get notified whenever we upload a new video.

To kick off this series, I was so excited to share a tour of our studio with you. This video covers how I set things up in the studio to make things easy to reach.  I feel very fortunate to have this space to work in, as my last studio was 10’ x 10’. I can tell you from experience that the smaller the space, the more organized you will need to be.   

Next in the series is a group of videos on how I recommend storing quilting supplies,  including rulers, pre-cuts, small notions and tools. If you are anything like me, you'll collect notions and tools for each project and then before you know it, you're swimming in extra tools.
The best piece of advice I can offer is to properly organize and store the tools you use infrequently. For tools that you reach for on a daily basis, it's more convenient to keep them out (and organized). What a great excuse to buy some colorful and fun containers for your room!

 Now we wouldn't be quilters if we didn't have a constantly growing stash of fabric. In these videos, I go over how to store fabric, quilting projects and UFO’s (unfinished Objects). I share my tips on how to sort through UFO’s and stay organized when you have more than one project going at a time. Because let's be real, who only does one project at a time?

Now that I've shared how I store my projects, I wanted to give you guys a video on how to stay organized when you start cutting a new project.

I always recommend cutting and labeling a project as if you are going to give it to someone else. If you put the project up for several months and then come back to finish it, you basically are someone else at this point and now you have to figure out what the old you did in the past. If you stay organized and label everything while cutting, it's so much easier to sort it all out at a later date.

Finally I want to share with you my general tips and tricks as a wrap out to our "Let's Get Organized" series

We hope you'll check out our entire series on Youtube and share these videos with your friends. And if you have any tips on staying organized, please share them with us! If you're someone who prefers to work in a less organized way, I hope you at least found this entertaining. You all never fail to impress and we're so glad you're part of our community. Happy Organizing!