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Quilt on a wall with a yellow chairin front of it. The quilt has colorful fabric bundles tied with ribbons
My Patterns

New ‘Bundles Of Joy’ Quilt Pattern: Every Quilter’s True Joy

What brings more joy to a quilter than a fresh, new bundle of fabric?

When I thought of designing a quilt that featured little bundles of fabric wrapped with ribbon, I knew I wanted to save this pattern to use with Amy Sinibaldi‘s fabrics.  If you know me, you know that her fabrics have been a favorite of mine as long as I have been quilting. (See other quilts I have made using her fabric here and here).

One of the things I love about the fabric I picked for this quilt, ‘Mayfair’, are the colors and the tiny designs on the fabric.  Let me share a few ‘Bundles of Joy‘ blocks and you can take a look for yourself.

Bundle Of Joy Blocks

A close up of 'Bundles of Joy' quilt blocks using 'Mayfair' fabric by Amy Sinibaldi. These blocks are blue and purple.

Can you see the tiny flowers in the top fabric?  There’s hints of yellow, along with the dreamiest blue.  You can see a pop of the yellow fabric on the right, and notice the purples, pinks, and deep blues.  The colors make this fabric line turn any quilt into something you would find at a cute boutique.  Maybe, for instance,  a cute store in London?  The entire line is inspired by Amy’s  time spent in London, so that’s very fitting.

One 'Bundle Of Joy' Quilt block with a pink ribbon and blue and pink floral fabric.

In this close up of a quilt block, you can see how Amy’s hand drawings are turned into the perfect, whimsical fabrics.  And if you are drooling over that custom quilting (come on quilters, you know you are), I’ll leave a link so you can find out who the magical hands behind that was:  CUSTOM QUILTING. You can also try HAND QUILTING to give your quilt a custom feel.

Drawings Turned Into Fabric

Here are some of Amy’s hand drawings.  Notice her flowers here and in the quilt block above.  I just LOVE them!

Amy Sinibaldi's black and white ink hand drawn flowers and vases.

QUILT ALONG

If you like this fabric and the ‘Bundles Of Joy’ quilt, you are in luck!  I am starting a Quilt Along to help you make your best ‘Bundles Of Joy’ quilt, and it starts Wednesday, the 25th of March 2020.  No matter when you read this blog post, you can access the Quilt Along with all of it’s tutorials and tips HERE.

Want to get your hands on this fabric?   I’ll link a few online shops that sell it HERE and HERE.

A Bundle of Mayfair Fabric with the Quilters Candy logo in the bottom right corner.

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

One last thing I would love to hear from you about is this: What do you see when you look at the ‘Bundles Of Joy’ quilt?  One quilter said it looks like a gift bundle.  Another said this reminds her of a stack of quilts.  Another said it looked perfect for a baby shower.  I’m not sure what she saw the bundles being, but I like it!  I’m curious what you see when you look at the quilt top?

Quilt on a wall with a yellow chairin front of it. The quilt has colorful fabric bundles tied with ribbons
Bundles Of Joy

If you want to get this pattern and make your own ‘Bundles Of Joy’ quilt, you can get the pattern HERE.

A collage showing woman at a quilt retreat, fabric, and pins
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Everything You Need to Know about Quilt Retreats

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I am excited to have a guest on the blog today who knows ALL about quilt retreats!  Let me introduce you to Kiley Ferons.

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My name is Kiley Ferons, and I’m a stay at home mom of three (almost four) little minions.

I started quilting as a creative outlet 10 years ago.  5 years ago I bought a longarm machine and began quilting for others.  Then three years ago, I started an annual quilt retreat here in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.  Needless to say, quilting has become a major part of my life for the past 10 years.

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Organizing quilt retreats each year is probably one of my favorite things.  Everyone should experience a quilt retreat at least once.  There’s nothing quite like getting together with other like-minded people to share your passion.

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Let me share a few things I’ve learned about Quilt Retreats over the years.

What kind of Quilt Retreats are there?
There are three main types of retreats:

  1. The first is called a “sit-and-sew” where you bring your projects and work together in a big room.  People bring WIPs (work in progress), and UFOs (unfinished projects).  Often, these retreats have show-and-tell time so you can show off each project as you go.  It’s relaxing, and you get to hang out with other quilters.  Everyone works at their own pace and their own speed.
  2. The next type of retreat is “classroom” style.  This is where a class is offered to teach new skill or pattern.  This is a great way to learn things you may not normally do on your own.  You have a teacher there to help you along the way who shares tips and tricks for that specific pattern.
  3. The last type of retreat would be a quilt convention.  This would be Quilt Con, Paducah, AQS Quilt Festival, Etc.  These have so much to offer.  They often have vendors, classes, and quilts on display for inspiration.

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What is it like at a Quilt Retreat?

Each quilt retreat is unique.  You will find that each retreat offers different places to sleep, different food options, you can go with friends you already know or plan to make new friends.

Because each location is different, you will want to look into each retreat’s specifics.  I can share a bit more about what it’s like where I host Quilt Retreats.

My retreat is located at the Clarion Hotel in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, along the Shenandoah River.  We are just down the road from Historic Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.  When you come to a retreat here, you book a room at the Clarion Hotel and that’s where you stay for the retreat.

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For meals, the hotel includes a continental breakfast.  We provide a boxed lunch each day in the ball room where we are socializing and sewing.  At night we head to town and eat dinner at one of the favorite local restaurants.

During the three day retreat, guests sew projects, learn new skills (if there is a guest instructor), work on make-and-takes, get some goodies and giveaways, and make new friends.

Retreats are one the highlights for me as a quilter.  I hope you get a chance to attend one.  There are many to choose from, but if you find this location and time of year to be a good fit for you, we would love to meet you and have you join us.  Regardless of which retreat you choose to go on, I hope you love your experience.  Hopefully what I shared here today motivated you to try a quilting retreat or attend another one if you’ve already gone to one.

 

 

3 fabric book marks made of blue fabric, one being used to hold a book's spot
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How To Make Quick & Easy Fabric Book Marks

I am excited to have a talented guest on my blog today.  Mara, from The Quilt In Progress, is sharing how to make the cutest, and quickest, fabric book marks.  Take is away, Mara!

I cannot be the only one who has a big ‘ol bucket of fabric scraps . . . or two.  I diligently fill my bucket with every last fabric scrap, certain that I will turn them into something beautiful.  I have a long list of scrap projects in mind.  Yet, my bucket is full and not much is made.

That is until I created these DIY Fabric Bookmarks!  This project is perfect because it requires only 4″ × 4″  pieces of fabric, you can use all scraps.  They make the perfect gift.  The only extra materials you need are a little interfacing and thread.  Did I mention they are super fast to make?

To start:

Cut:
 1. (3) 4×4” squares of fabric.  Your fabric can be all matching, different, or a mix.  There is no right way to do it.
2. (2) 4×4” squares of interfacing.  Note: For interfacing, I prefer Pellon 911FF featherweight.  It gives your bookmark a little flex, but enough stability to protect the pages of the books.  I would not recommend getting anything lighter. If you want to use a stiffer interfacing it wouldn’t hurt the final product, it is just preference.  You can always experiment with these if you have different types available at home.
i. Cut one square of interfacing in half diagonally to make a triangle.  See photo below for reference.  Note: You will only use one half of the triangle.

After you have cut all your pieces, it is time to start ironing the interfacing to your fabric.

3.  Using the fabric that you want to hang over the pages of the book, Iron the half triangle interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric.

4. Then iron the square in half over the interfacing. This will create a triangle of fabric with interfacing in the center, with right sides having an open seam.

5. Using the fabric square that you want to be the back of the bookmark, iron the full square of interfacing to the wrong side of that fabric square.

6. Layer your squares like the photo below, right sides together.  The bottom layer is your NON-interfaced full square right side up.  Your triangle is in the middle.  Make sure the open corner with open seams is facing the top right.  Last, place your interfaced square, right side down.

7. Pin your layers together and sew with a 1/8″ seam allowance around the entire edge leaving a 1.25-inch opening so you can turn it right side out later. (Make sure this opening is on one of the 2 sides with only 2 layers, opposite the triangle. It makes it easier to close the opening after turning the bookmark right-side-out).

8. Carefully trim the corners, and turn right side out.

Top stitch around the entire edge at 1/8″ seam allowance to close the opening.

That’s it! You’re done! You have a quick, fun, useful project to use up all those little bits of fabric.


Thank you, Mara!  This is so fun and quick, I am looking through my scraps now so I can make one.

Be sure to leave a comment sharing what you liked most about this tutorial, and what fabrics you want to use to make your DIY Fabric Bookmark!

Two hands holding flowers with the words love letters on it
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My Favorite Classic Quilt Block

*Steps to Making a Quilt Top using this Traditional Quilt Block Below*

Dear Star Flower, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways:

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Star Flower, also known as Eight-Pointed Star
  1. You are simple to make. (Think Half Square Triangles)
  2. Your beauty is timeless. (First appeared in the middle ages)
  3. Simplicity never looked so good.
  4. Your versatility is stunning.
  5. I have you hanging in my quilt room.

Welcome to my turn on the Galentines / Valentines Blog Tour!  I hope you TOOK THE QUIZ to see which Traditional Quilt Block you are paired with.  (You can also enter to win this lovely fabric bundle from Cottoneer below). If you are paired with the Star Flower / Eight Pointed Star, you’re matched with my pick!

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I am going to share a simple way to make this traditional quilt block with a fun twist.  And if you make enough of them, how to put them together to make a quilt top.

MAKING A STAR FLOWER / EIGHT POINTED STAR BLOCK
I am giving you the easy way to make this block.  We’re going to avoid the diamond shape and Y seams, and stick with using Half Square Triangles.  CLICK HERE to get a cheat sheet on making HST’s.  I’m also designing the block with a slight variation.  The finished block will look like this:

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How is this a variation, you might ask?  Here is a picture of a traditional block without any variations:

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Star Flower, also known as Eight-Pointed Star

To Start:
1. Cut (2) 6″ squares in Color A.
2. Cut (2) 6″ squares in Color B.
3. Draw an ‘X’ on the wrong side of both Fabric B squares.

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4. Place (1) Color A 6″ square RST with (1)  Color B 6″ square.
5. Sew ¼” away from drawn lines.  Dotted lines show where to sew.

Screen Shot 2020-02-06 at 11.47.47 AM6. Cut on the drawn diagonal lines.  Without moving fabric, cut on the vertical and horizontal lines as well.

7. Press open, with seams toward the darker fabric.  Trim to measure 2 ½” x 2 ½”.
8. Repeat these steps with your second Fabric A and Fabric B 6″ squares.  You will have (16) 2 ½” HST’s.
Arrange your HST’s and sew together to form your Star Flower.  Press seams open as you go.

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Now let’s take this one step further.  You can make (12) Star Flowers to make the following quilt top.  I made a mock up with Amy Sinibaldi’s new Mayflower line for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Eight Pointed Star

To do this, you would just need to add some sashing in between each Star Flower.  It can make a traditional and stunning quilt top.

What do you think?  Is the Star Flower one of your favorite traditional blocks as well?  If you do end up making one of the blocks, be sure to use the following hashtags so we can see your work: #quiltycupid and #QuiltersCandy.

Have you taken the Quilty Cupid Quiz to see which block you are paired with?  And if you haven’t yet,  be sure to enter to win this lovely fabric collection from CottonJoy.  Happy Galentines!

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A flat lay of air pods, a laptop, and a flower that says The Business of Surface Pattern Design
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Want to be a Surface Pattern Designer?

**Save $100.00 on Bonnie Christine’s Surface Pattern Design Course**
Find out how!

Have you dreamed of designing fabric?  Or maybe walking into a store and seeing a notebook with your artwork on the cover.  Even if you just want to learn Adobe Illustrator, I have an exciting offer for you.

Once a year an exceptional course is offered to teach people how to use Adobe Illustrator, along with inside tips on the business of surface pattern design.

I took this class 2 years ago.  I LOVED this course!  I loved the friends I made in the course, 2 of which are now fabric designers (one for Riley Blake Fabrics and the other for Art Gallery Fabrics).  I use what I learned in that class every day for my business.

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If you want to get a feel for what the class offers, join a FREE master course beginning February 10th.

If you know this course is for you, I am offering a $100.00 discount for the course.  If you sign up for the course with my affiliate link, I will reimburse you $100.00 off the total cost of the course.  You will have to make sure to use THIS LINK to join the course in order to get the $100.00 reimbursement.  You can sign up for the course from February 18th – 25th.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have about the course and what I learned from it.  I am an open book, and only share this with y’all because I can back it 100%.

 

 

Cafe Tiles quilt hanging on a wall with a plant in front of of it
My Patterns

New Cafe Tiles Quilt Release

I am SO excited to share my newest pattern, Cafe Tiles, with the world.

Two Decembers ago, I was eating at a cafe with some friends.  We were downtown at a quaint little place, and I couldn’t stop admiring the floor.  Thankfully my friends get me, and they encouraged me to photograph the floor so I could turn it into a quilt pattern.  That’s when you know you have true friends.

It only took me two years to turn that design into a quilt pattern.  Okay, okay, I admit, it took a while.  But the pattern is here now, and that’s what matters.

I reached out to some pattern testers who’s work I adore.  I asked if they would be willing to test this new pattern for me.  I am just blown away with the different looks and designs each tester created with the Cafe Tiles pattern.

Let me introduce my Cafe Tiles pattern testers.  I’m adding their Instagram names so you can go and see their accounts.  They have some really pretty work!

1. Julie Gehman – @thelittlepineneedle

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2. Kaylee Hildreth – @31rubiesquiltstudio

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3. Sharon Challenger – @shashalaruequilts

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Image may contain: 1 person

4. Laurel Aigner Ray – @porcupinestew_threads

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5. Alex Hoffman – @hoffmamacompany

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6. Morgan Alonso – @thesweetestsnuggles_quilts

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7. Erin Grogan – @lovesewmodern

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8. Valerie – @threebirdsnstitches

3 birds 2   3 birds 13 birds 3    3 birds 4

Aren’t these quilters amazing?  I love ALL the looks!  Scrappy, Solids, Prints – they are amazing!

Last but not least, I am sharing some photos of my original Cafe Tiles Quilt, along with the newest version I am working on.  When it’s done, I plan to update this post with the finished quilt showcased.

For my original version, I used Art Gallery Fabrics solids in grey and oranges.  For the backing I used Amy Sinibaldi’s ‘Pastoral Crescendo’ from her Sonata line.  I loved the bright oranges that complimented the oranges on the front of the quilt.

 

What I am working on now is also using Art Gallery Fabrics solids.  I decided to try a brighter color scheme, and go with ‘Cottontail Explore’ from their Meriwether collection for the backing.

cafe tiles purple

How about you?  What fabrics would you like to use to make your own Cafe Tiles quilt?  The world if your oyster.  I will be watching the hashtag #cafetilesquilt to see what you design.  To grab a copy of the pattern, CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions or comments about the pattern, leave a comment and I will respond as soon as I can.  Happy quilting!

Orange, yellow, and peach fabrics in X Marks The Spot quilt top, folded and words that say Quilt Patterns
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Want to Write Your Own Quilt Pattern?

Have you wanted to write your own quilt pattern?

Learn to create your own

I am sharing the two most useful tools I use to create and write my quilt patterns, plus I’m sharing a coupon code for one of them!

WHAT I USE TO WRITE QUILT PATTERNS:
1. I first design my quilt using the Electric Quilt 8 program (EQ8).  It is THE BEST program out there for creating quilt patterns.  I’ll show you a little video tutorial of what it can do.

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A Glimpse at creating ‘X Marks The Spot’ pattern

If you are interested in buying the EQ8 program, you can use this coupon code to save 20% off their entire website until March 31st, 2020COUPON CODE: EQ8Elizabeth Website: Electric Quilt Website  Direct Link to EQ8: EQ8 LINK

EQ8-box

SEE VIDEO ABOUT EQ8 HERE

2. After I design my quilt, I use Adobe Illustrator (AI) to write my patterns.  I actually used Microsoft Word to write my first pattern.  It worked, but it wasn’t pretty.  I didn’t even know how unattractive and clunky it was until I really started doing my homework.  I will never turn back from using AI.

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Inside AI working on a first draft of ‘Cafe Tiles’ Quilt Pattern

I have thought about creating an online course for how to write quilt patterns.  I’m thinking it would include step by step  tutorials on using EQ8, AI specifically for writing quilt patterns, and some business tips on marketing, printing patterns, and the like.

Would you be interested in a course like that?  If so, click HERE and I will get in touch and see if there’s enough interest and share some more ideas with y’all.

Do you have other questions about writing quilt patterns?  There’s SO much to share on the topic, but if you have questions, leave a comment and I could even write another blog post answering some more specific questions if there’s an interest.

And if you are a quilter not interested in quilt pattern writing, that’s great, too!  We need both the pattern writers and the pattern users! 😉

If you are interested in writing quilt patterns, I highly recommend looking into the EQ8 program and using that 20% discount while you can.

Happy quilting and quilt pattern writing, if that’s your jam.

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How to Stay Focused as a Creative

If you’re like me, a creative, it can be difficult to stay focused and organized.  Doesn’t creativity mean being scattered?  Okay, I’ve told myself that long enough.  Enough is enough.

There are a lot of planners and people to turn to.  I want to share with you what I am using this year to achieve my goals, and why I picked it.

I decided to use Bonnie Christine’s new Flourish Planner for 2020.  I have watched Bonnie grow her business and achieve her dreams.  When she said she had a planner that comes along with video tutorials on how to organize your year, I was on board.  She has figured some things out, and if she’s willing to share that knowledge, I’m ready to learn and apply.

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Inside the planner there are places to track daily habits, set goals at a glance, and then get more detailed by month and day.

One of the things I like most about this planner is keeping track of my daily habits.  Because I have a box to check if I have done certain things each day, simply knowing I will either check the box or leave it blank helps me do my daily habits.  Weird, right?

I remember learning that Benjamin Franklin did something similar.  He wrote a bunch of habits he wanted to work on, and then put a mark for each day of the week that he practiced it.

Here’s Benjamin Franklin’s habit tracker:

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Not a bad idea, Ben.  Not at all.  In our own, modern way, Bonnie included a place to do something similar.  Each month you can write habits you want to work on, then you put an X for each day you do that habit.  It has been surprisingly helpful!

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Here is a glance at a few other pages from inside the planner:

Another huge help is that this planner comes with a class.  There are a series of videos where Bonnie walks through how to use your planner.  It’s like having a personal mentor helping me get on track.  Here’s a screen shot from one of her videos.

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Besides a planner, I also have a large calendar on my wall that Bonnie designed.  I love having something I can glance at that reminds me of my deadlines and what things I have around the corner.

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When the year wraps up, I’m excited to write another post on how my year played out and how the planner plaid a role with that.

We’ll see if I achieved my goals!

MY BUSINESS GOALS FOR 2020

  1. Add value to membership (studying how to make membership best as possible)
  2. Plan and host a large retreat this year.
  3. Exercise at least 4 days a week (yes, I count this under my business, because it helps me be more productive).
  4. Add at least 1 video tutorial to my YouTube channel per month.
  5. Write at least 3 blog posts per month.
  6. Get my patterns all in paper format.
  7. Reach out to Pattern Distributors and have my patterns carried with them.
  8. Enter at least 2 quilts for QuiltCon in the Fall.

How about you?  I would love to hear what you use or do for goal setting.  Do you have something you’ve found that works?  If so, please share in the comments.  I would love to hear about it!

 

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Best Quilt Binding Tip for Quilters

One of the quickest and most helpful tips I have learned for doing quilt bindings is this: Press your binding.

Let me explain.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve sewn your binding to the front or to the back of your quilt.  Once you’ve sewn your binding completely on either side of your quilt, press the binding out, away from the quilt.  Then pull the binding to the other side of your quilt and press it so it lays flat, just how it will look when it’s sewn down.

This makes sewing your binding a piece of cake.  No more tugging and pulling and fighting the binding as you sew.  In fact, this has been so helpful that I hardly use clips to hold my bindings anymore.

If you’re like me, you’ll want a visual example.  Maybe even a video.  I’ve got you covered.

WATCH VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE 

This is an action shot of me ironing my binding OUT, away from the quilt.  This is step one. Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 9.42.06 AM

After your binding is pressed away from your quilt, you will want to flip the quilt over, and press the binding down.  Do this for the entire binding / quilt.

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That’s it!  Now that your binding is ironed in the direction you want to sew it, it is so much easier to work with!  I hope this helps you with your bindings.  If you want to see how I hand quilted this binding, see my blog tutorial HERE.

  • The quilt shown here is my soon to be released ‘Cafe Tiles Quilt’.  It will be available in my shop by the end of the month.
a woman stretching her arms with the words Simple Stretches for Quilters on it
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Stretches Every Quilter Needs To Practice

Quilters, listen up!  I am here to tell you that sitting and quilting, or cutting your fabric for long periods of time, can reek havoc on your back and shoulders.

Here are a few simple stretches to do every day, or at least while you are sewing and cutting fabric.  I even set a timer for every 20 to 30 minutes, otherwise I lose track of time and pay for it later.

You can watch a YouTube video where I show you these stretches ‘in person’.  You can refer to this blog post if you need a refresher or reminder of some simple stretches.

WATCH VIDEO

NOTE: I am not a certified fitness instructor.  I AM, however, a quilter who benefits from doing these stretches.  I hope these stretches can help others the way they have helped me.

Shoulders

Grab your left wrist with your right hand behind your back.  Then lift your chest and tighten your abdominals so that you feel the stretch in the front of both shoulders.  Hold for 20 – 30 seconds.  Switch arms and repeat with the right wrist.

Triceps

Reach your left arm overhead with the elbow bent. Grab your left elbow with your right hand and gently push your left elbow back until you feel a nice on the back of the upper arm.  Hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Upper Arm

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Bring your left arm in front of your chest, hand held straight.   Grab your upper left arm with your right hand, gently pulling your left arm toward your chest.  Feel a light stretch.  Hold for 20 -30 seconds.  Repeat on the opposite arm.

Neck and Back

With your left arm in front of you and out to the left of your body, Cross your right arm over your left, interlock fingers.  Tilt your head to the left until you feel a slight stretch,  Hold for 20 – 30 seconds.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Chest

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Interlock fingers behind your back.  Press your chest forward and arm back until you feel a slight stretch,  Hold for 30 seconds.

LOWER BACK and HAMSTRINGS

The following has helped me with my lower back pain.  Again, this is just my experience.  If you have serious back pain or injury, consult with a medical professional for help.  I have learned, however, that a lot of lower back pain if due to tight hamstrings.  So the next two stretches focus on your hamstrings, which in turn can help with lower back pain.

TOE TOUCH

Keeping your back straight, reach your fingertips to your toes.  Notice that I can only make it to about mid shin.  That’s okay.  Go as far as you can until you feel a slight stretch.  Make it a goal to get lower and lower as you do your stretches regularly.

HAMSTRING STRETCH

stretch 12

This is a more advanced pose, as far as stability goes.  If holding this pose is too tricky, use a desk or sturdy object to hold on to.

Bend your right leg to rest on your left upper leg. Squat until you feel a slight stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.


I also got a great Christmas gift this year.  It is an AMAZING hand held massager.  It gets the job done!  If you are feeling tight anywhere, just turn this on, swapping out the head of the massager based on what you want it to do, and it really gets the tightness gone.  You can adjust the speed and strength of the massage, and its easy to use on yourself or have someone help you.  Here is a link to the one I have:

GET MASSAGER

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There it is!  Be sure to visit the video tutorial HERE if you want real life demonstrations on these stretches.  Leave a comment with your favorite stretches and what has helped you avoid quilting aches and pains.