Utility-Style Book Review + Project + Giveaway

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Welcome to the fourth stop on the Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour!  


I am so happy to be able to share a new book with you today! 


If you struggle with perfectionism in your quilting, if you often find yourself stressed or at a stand-still with indecision during your projects, or you just want some beautiful new projects to make...you should check out this wonderful, new book by Sharon Holland!

The notion for this book is that if you embrace irregularity in your art you will find freedom!  Sharon even quoted Pierre-Auguste Renoir who said, "Regularity, order, desire for perfection destroy art.  Irregularity is the basis of all art." and Leo Tolstoy who said, "If you look for perfection, you'll never be content." I love that idea!  It is so true...in all facets of life!

Not only does Utility-Style have 12 creative, beautiful projects, lessons on color theory and quilt-making basics, it also has a thorough section on different types of machine quilting, a section for note taking at the end and lots of beautiful, inspiring photography!

I decided to try one of the most simple projects in the book ~ Cabin.


It's a graphic, log-cabin style quilt.


I don't think I have actually ever made a quit like this before.  Normally, I would probably choose something a little more intricate.  But I actually really, really love the simplicity of this pattern!


I pulled out some old Christmasy fabrics and shirtings from my stash.  The only thing I bought was the minky backing.  I just happened to have enough yardage to complete each "round".  But the beauty of this book is that it teaches - if I didn't have enough fabric, I could just fill in with another complimentary fabric and it would be just as beautiful!  Scrappy, unique and full of character!


It's a quick make.  I got it done in one afternoon/evening.  It feels nice to have another Christmas quilt ~ to add coziness to my home this time of year.


Melinda Raven in Alpine, Utah quilted it with this feather/swirl design.  I like that it's not super dense.  The density of the quilting and minky back make it extra soft and cuddly!


Doesn't the minky show off the quilting so well?


I think this might be one of my new go-to patterns now.  It's quick ~ it would be the perfect pattern for a baby or wedding gift.  And, it's a striking, no-fuss design that lets the fabrics shine!  I thought about making it even bigger (maybe for my son's bed?) but thought I'd stick with the pattern so you could see exactly what this book has to offer.


I really do hope you'll check out this book!  You won't be disappointed!

Be sure to stop by Sharon's blog HERE to get more details on her book and the following
15 creative blogs that are sharing more Utility-Style projects. 

Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples - Fabric Mutt
Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend - During Quiet Time
Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell - Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson - Gigi's Thimble
Friday 12/8  Karen O'Connor - Lady K Quilts Designs
Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart - Olive Grace Studios
Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters - A Stranger View
Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell - Designs by Sarah J
Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift - Jessica Swift
Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble - Love to Color My World
Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens - Live a Colorfullife
Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian - Sew and Tell Project
Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder - Anjeanette K
Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron - Modern Sewciety
Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson - The Tattooed Quilter
Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted - Hopewood Home

Also, I'm dying over this FREE project called Roman Stripe that Sharon published to kick off her book tour!  Isn't it just perfect in all it's scrappy glory?  And, it uses 2 1/2" strips (and I know you all have lots of those lying around!)!!!  So be sure to stop by her blog today!

(Roman Stripe photo cred: Sharon Holland)

Sharon has generously offered to send Utility-Style to one of you, my lovely readers!  Just leave a comment below.  For extra brownie points, tell me one of your favorite holiday traditions.  I am trying to be more festive this year and incorporate some new traditions so I'd love to hear ideas from you.  

I will pick a winner Sunday night and announce the winner Monday, December 11th, 2018.  
Note: this giveaway is open to US residents only.  

Happy quilting!

Heart & Soul Blog Tour

Friday, December 1, 2017

Good morning and happy Friday friends!
Can you believe it's December 1st!?!  I'm so excited!  It's apple cider everything around here and I'm just praying for snow!  I've really grown to love it and can't wait for the pretty flakes to start falling.

Today, I have a fun new fabric line I want to share with you!
One of my favorite designers from Riley Blake Designs, Deena Rutter, has just released a new line called Heart & Soul.  It features some pretty florals, geometrics and text prints in some of my favorite colors ~ coral, teal, gray and navy.  It even has some really cute panels:


I was lucky enough to be able to work with some of Deena's new line recently and decided 
to make another Scrap Jar Stars quilt!!!


They're such fun blocks to make.



PSA: Did you know that I have a free tutorial for these blocks that you can find HERE?
I also have a complete pattern with four different size quilts (so you don't have to do all that math!) that you can purchases HERE!  Plus, I simplified the block instructions in my complete pattern to take out a few unnecessary seams.  It's fat quarter friendly (OR a great stash buster)!


These fabrics are so pretty, don't you think?


Heart and Soul wasn't in stores when I finished this quilt so I decided to back it with this gray and white gingham fabric I had in my stash.  But don't worry, it's in stores now for all of you!!!  If I could've I would've backed it with the main floral print in blush.  It's my favorite.


These are the big jars I use to store all of my scraps (color coordinated, usually).  I got them at Walmart and I love being able to see what I've got.  Every once in a while I'll go through my scraps and cut them into squares of different sizes so they're ready for my next scrap quilt!  Hence the name for this pattern, Scrap Jar Stars.


I love that some of the prints in this line are faith based.  The panels include such sweet, uplifting thoughts and the text prints state values, such as "faith", "individual worth", "knowledge" and "virtue" just to name a few.


The modern loop quilting was done by Kaylene Parry from Lehi, Utah.  She has quilted a lot of quilts for me over the years and she is one talented lady.


One last picture for the road.  I hand-stitched the binding down on the backside while I was on vacation in California last week so I couldn't resist a photo shoot on the beach! 

Well, I hope you enjoyed this share today.  
Tell me, do you have a favorite color or print from this line?  I'm kind of dying to get my hands on one of the panel prints now.  I heard they're arriving in stores soon.  If you could, what would you make with a panel?

Stop by Riley Blake Designs to see the rest of the beautiful fabrics from Heart and Soul!
And click HERE to see my friend Andy Knowlton's Heart and Soul project.  It's so cute!!!



Have a great day friends! 

Modern Baby Boy Quilt

Friday, November 17, 2017

Good morning friends!
Just popping in on this wet, gloomy Friday to share with you two things.

First, notice anything different?
My blog got a little makeover and I couldn't be more excited about it!
I started realizing how cold and blah my old blog was looking so I enlisted some help from Smitten Blog Designs to do a little redesign.  I love the warmth they added and think it looks so much more professional.  Yay!  I really hope you feel welcome and inspired as you search around now.  Also, did you notice that I switched my domain from alittlebitbiased.blogspot.com to gigisthimble.com?  Just wanted to keep things consistent with my brand.  So welcome to my new (blog) home!

The other thing I wanted to share is a little project I finished recently.
My daughter's friend's mother just had a baby so I jumped at the chance to make a baby quilt for them!  Their home is really modern so I found some inspiration off of my Pinterest board, Quilt Love and whipped up the quickest, most modern quilt I have ever made! 


I was really drawn to it because of the modern aesthetic, the boyish colors/stripes and mostly, the quilting!  To die for, right? 


I pulled out a bunch of navy blue striped fabrics from my stash and had this pieced in about 30 minutes!


In fact, I had all the fabric in my stash - which always feels so good to use, right?


The cable quilting was done by my friend Cathy Barney.  I actually started trying to quilt it myself (you may have saw me talking about it on my Instagram Stories a while back) but it just wasn't working out like my beautiful inspiration picture above.  I only got a little bit of the first row done and was kind of hating it.  So, I just cut that part off, unpinned my basting pins and took it to Cathy!  That's why the bottom blue rectangle below is smaller than the rest.  Haha.  It's okay.  I think it adds to the modern aesthetic.


Remind me (if I ever say that I'm going to free motion quilt anything again) that it's just not my thing.  It's partly because I'm a perfectionist and partly because I don't have the time to fiddle with it.  Too many other deadlines going on.  But I do admire the skill and look up to those of you that can do it!!!


I washed it up so it would be extra soft and crinkly when I gave it to baby Gray.  Then I tied it up with some gray bakers twine and a cute tag.  (You can download a PDF of these tags from Rad & Happy's Etsy Shop!  There are 3 different sayings on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet for $10.)  I always use these tags when I am giving a handmade gift.  It's all about the details!


I hope Mama and baby Gray are loving their gift.

Now, if I only I had time to make the other 597 quilts I have pinned on Pinterest,
I would be a happy (and busy) girl!

Have a great weekend friends!

Five Fat Quarter Fun Contest Winners!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

5fqf contest
It's the moment you've all been waiting for! 
 November 1st is here and that means that we are announcing the winner of the Five Fat Quarter Fun Contest!!!! 

 First off Amanda and I want to thank you for all the love and support this last year! It has been such a fun journey to connect with all of you, to sew patterns together and to support each other. What an amazing quilt community we have. AND we would also like to thank everyone who participated in our Five Fat Quarter Fun Contest. We were absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the creativity, talent, and skill of all the entries. Truly, we wish we could send everyone a prize because we love them ALL!!!! A special thanks to Andy from A Bright Corner for being our 3rd contest judge. And we would also like to thank all our fabulous sponsors for the fabulous prizes!!! 

 And now, a drum roll please...........IMG_8130

ANNOUNCING THE 3RD PLACE WINNER....... 
 Caffeinated_in_the_studio - Paper Pieced Turtle Quilt 
 "Paper pieced turtle heads and tails with drunkards path bodies. 
Finished at 46x57, FQ’s are from the la vie boheme line by Riley Blake, a bit of kona espresso for heads and tails." IMG_4182 IMG_4183

3rd Place Prize Package 
 2 Rolie Polies from Riley Blake Designs 
1 Small Spool Collection from Aurifil 
 Vintage Vibe Book by Amber Johnson 
 1 It’s Sew Emma Book and a $15 Gift Card to the Fat Quarter Shop 
Notions from Therm O Web 
 I Love House Blocks Book from Martingale (donated by Amanda) 
 Scissors from Warm Crochet   
Product by Soak

ANNOUNCING THE 2ND PLACE WINNER..... 
 Melanie Collette from Hello Melly Designs and her Daisy Lane Quilt   IMG_4189 IMG_4190 

2nd Place Prize Package 
 2 Rolie Polies from Riley Blake Designs 
1 Small Spool Collection from Aurifil 
 Vintage Vibe Book by Amber Johnson 
 2 It’s Sew Emma Books and a $25 Gift Card to the Fat Quarter Shop Notions from Therm O Web 
 I Love House Blocks Book from Martingale (donated by Amanda) 
 Scissors from Warm Crochet   

Product by Soak

ANNOUNCING THE 1ST PLACE WINNER..... Suzanne Jackman from Splendidspeck and her Parachutes quilt IMG_4195

Grand Prize Package 
 Long-Arm Quilting on a 65″ x 75″ Quilt or smaller (.015 cents/sq. inch), Batting and Return Shipping from Kaylene Parry 
 2 Rolie Polies from Riley Blake Designs 
1 Large Spool Collection from Aurifil 
 1/2 Yard Bundle of Haven Collection by Stacy Peterson for Blend 
 Vintage Vibe Book by Amber Johnson 
 Biscuits and Gravy Layer Cake and Cake Mix Recipe Cards from Moda 
Moda Fat Eighth Bundle 
 Scraps Made Simple Book and Sew Cute Bookmarks by Lori Holt 
(donated by Moda)
$25 Gift Card to Brew Stitched Etsy Shop 
 Maker Valley Enamel Pins (2), Tote Bag and Pattern 
 3 It’s Sew Emma Books and a $50 Gift Card to the Fat Quarter Shop 
 I Love House Blocks Book from Martingale (donated by Amanda) 
 Scissors from Warm Crochet 
 Notions from Therm O Web   

Product by Soak

Can you believe those prizes!?!  We're so excited for our 3 winners!  But there were soo many great entries.  It was so hard to choose!

 Here is a little sampling of some of the amazing quilts that were entered in the contest. Be sure to search #fatquarterfuncontest on Instagram to see all the entries and maybe find some new friends!! 5fqf collage

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our contest and to those that made some of our free Fat Quarter Fun patterns this past year!  We hope all of you will keep on creating and challenging yourself as quilters!  

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Four Peaches Fabric {A Quilt Shop + A Discount Code!}

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Today I want to introduce you to a new-to-me online fabric store called 

Four Peaches Fabric is probably the most unique shop you will ever hear about! 


Wendy and her husband travel extensively throughout the United States because of his job. When Wendy started Four Peaches Fabric, they knew they didn't want to be apart, so Four Peaches Fabric physically travels with them in their RV!  Wendy shares their travels, the interesting places they go and the people they meet, on their website and on social media. She believes quilting, like life, is a journey that should be shared and celebrated!  


 Four Peaches Fabric has cute fabrics and great prices!  
I am especially loving these collections!


Aqua and orange...one of my favorite color combos!


And guess what!  Wendy has so generously offered to give 10% off any order of $20 or more to my readers using the coupon code: GIGISTHIMBLE.  
This offer is good through 10/31/17 so stop by today!

Gather 'Round Table Topper {A Free Pattern}

Tuesday, October 17, 2017



A few months ago I was scrolling through Instagram and saw some lovely bolts of fabric from @sarahedgarprettyfabrics.  They were some of the same fabrics I used for my Rustic Pines quilt for the Five Fat Quarter Fun series (click HERE for the original post).  So I mentioned to Sarah that I had a free pattern that used those fabrics and we began chatting back and forth.


Sarah is so, so kind and her UK based shop, Pretty Fabrics & Trims, is well - the name speaks for itself.  I don't think there is a fabric in her shop that I don't love.  It seems like every bolt of fabric was chosen with care.

Sarah asked if maybe she could feature me on her blog (which I'm honored, to say the least!)  Click HERE to visit her blog ~ it's full of all sorts of loveliness!
Sarah also asked if I might design a quilt block to share with all of you today.
I hope you enjoy what I came up with!  


Instead of a block, I came up with this little table topper using a Fig Tree charm pack that I had in my stash.  The fabric line is called Mirabelle and the colors are perfect for this time of year, don't you think?


It was quilted by Cathy Barney with one of my go-to designs, the Interlocking Orange Peel.  I use that design all the time!


The finished size is 27" x 27".  It's pretty quick to put together and did I mention it's charm pack friendly?


I do hope you'll enjoy this free pattern!  Click HERE for the PDF download.



"Let our lives be full of both 
thanks + giving"
               ~author unknown

 Thanks to Sarah for her kindness.  Be sure to stop by her blog/shop today to see her version of this Gather 'Round Table Topper + all her pretty things.  

And thanks to all of YOU for all of your love and support!  I hope you have a wonderful day!
~ Amber


Brew Stitched Quilt Shop

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Happy Hump Day Friends!

I just wanted to pop in for a minute and let you know about a little collaboration I've been working on!  Sheryl at Brew Stitched Etsy Shop asked Amanda (Jedi Craft Girl) and I if we could each curate a few fat quarter bundles to go along with some of the Five Fat Quarter Fun patterns!  She has also put together some quilt kits for some of our patterns!  Sheryl has so many cute fabrics in her shop that it was hard for me to decide which fabrics to use!


Sheryl really wanted a bundle to go along with the May Flowers pattern (see original post HERE) so I chose these beautiful Woodland Fusion fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics.  I am especially loving this floral fabric on top!

Sheryl also wanted a bundle to go along with Cabin Fever (see original post HERE).  I couldn't resist these little woodland creatures.  They are so cute.  This line is called Little Ones from 3 Wishes.

Isn't it perfect for Cabin Fever?


 You can find these fat quarter bundles HERE for $12 or less!  
Plus Sheryl has several more bundles to go along with Cabin Fever, May Flowers, Rustic Pines, All Stacked Up, Garden Path, Fresh Eggs and Star Spangled Pineapples.  Stop by her shop today to get yourself a bundle ~ where the fabric guesswork has already been done for you!

Have a great day!
~ Amber



A Piece of Cake Book Tour

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Good morning and welcome to a new day on the ~ A Piece of Cake ~ Book Tour!


Peta Peace lives in Australia but we became online friends a few years ago and then finally met in person at the Spring 2016 Quilt Market in Salt Lake City.  I am so happy that Peta asked me to be a part of her book tour!  She is so sweet, positive, thoughtful and extremely talented!  She really cheered me on when I wrote my book, Vintage Vibe a few years ago so I couldn't be happier that she has embarked on the author journey, herself!


As you can probably tell from the front cover, A Piece of Cake is a beautiful book featuring 14 fresh, happy projects made from Layer Cake squares.  I can attest that the instructions are clear and there are several projects inside that I would LOVE to make!

There are so many cute projects inside that I decided to "test out" several of the projects by making a block or two or three of each!


Now, I'm kind of going through a blue phase right now so I decided to make blocks that I can eventually put into a sampler of some kind.  But using these more traditional blues really puts a different spin on Peta's version of these blocks.  I want to show you both versions so you can see how different the quilts can feel depending on the colors you use!


Look how different it looks when repeated over and over:


It's such a clever block!  I just love Peta's version called Delight.

I also made a few blocks from her pattern, The Simplest Sampler.


Again, a super cute version by Peta!  I love her aqua background!
Here are my blocks in blues...


Her Confetti pattern is so darling too!  


The stars in Confetti really called to me so I made a couple of those.


Gosh, all of my stuff is looking so boring next to Peta's sweet, happy versions!
But I am going through a farmhousey, vintagy phase at my house, accenting with lots of blues so hopefully it will look cute in my house someday...

And finally, I made one block from her pattern called Spin.


The Spin block is such a unique block.  
I haven't ever seen or made one like it before!


I can't wait to make some more blue blocks for my blue sampler.  Every time I get the itch to make or design a new block I am going to make it in blues (until I have enough for a big quilt!)  I'll keep you posted...it may take a while though!

If you're new to Peta's book tour, here are the other stops:

14 Aug Sedef - Down Grapevine Lane

15 Aug Jemima - Tied with a Ribbon
16 Aug Samantha - Aqua Paisley Studio
17 Aug Andy - A Bright Corner
18 Aug Kirsty - Bonjour Quilts
20 Aug Alison - Cotton Factory
21 Aug Carrie - Moda Fabrics
22 Aug Nadra - Ellis and Higgs
23 Aug Angie - Gnome Angel
24 Aug Tara - Tara Sews
25 Aug Jules - The Creative Retreat
26 Aug Kristyne - Pretty by Hand
27 Aug Kimberly - Fat Quarter Shop
28 Aug Lissa - Moda Lissa
29 Aug Amy - Diary of a Quilter
30 Aug Kerry - Kid Giddy & Cat - Hello from Cat on Instagram
31 Aug Jane - Modern Makers Retreat
1 Sept Kate - Never Enough Hours
2 Sept Jodie - Vintage Ric Rac
3 Sept Sharon - Patches Indooroopilly (in store & online!)
4 Sept Amanda - Material Girl Quilts
5 Sept Amber - A Little Bit Biased
6 Sept Xanthe - Wife Made
7 Sept Rachel - Family Ever After
8 Sept Jenny - Martingale
9 Sept Amy - Nana Company
10 Sept         Peta - She Quilts A Lot

Be sure to stop by as many as you can for lots of inspiration and eye candy!

Congratulations again to Peta on creating a wonderful book!
It is definitely a "must-have"!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber