I'm a 2018 Aurifil Artisan!

A few months ago I signed up to be an Aurifil Artisan, in the hopes that out of likely hundreds of applicants, I would be chosen to work with my favorite thread brand for the next 12 months. Today I am happy to announce that I am officially a 2018 Aurifil Artisan!!



About Aurifil

Aurifil is a family oriented company based near Milano, Italy producing superior quality threads for both professional and domestic sewing enthusiasts. They use 100% cotton grown in the MAKO region of Egypt on the river Nile. As exotic as that all sounds, the thread itself is even more so! To learn more about Aurifil, head over to their website.

Hey, that's me!

About Me

If you're new here, my name is Amista (hi!). I am a stay-at-home mom of three living in central Ohio. My sewing journey began around 10 year ago after I had my first child. My sister-in-law wanted to get rid of her old Kenmore sewing machine that she had used in Home-Ec in Highschool and my husband graciously purchased it for me for $50.00. I had never operated a sewing machine, and I couldn't even hand stitch!

Fast forward a few years and now English paper piecing and hand binding a quilt are one of my all time favorite things to do! I use my machine for quilts, bag making, and so much more! I have opened myself up to learning anything and everything I can, and even took some online courses on embroidery. 

My skillset has improved ten fold over the years and I'm honored to have been selected as a 2018 Aurifil Artisan!


Some Interesting Facts...

  • I have been a pattern tester for Aneela Hoey since March 2017.
  • I own over 4 dozen Aurifil thread shades in different weights.
  • My favorite colors are purple and teal.
  • I've been hosting online sewing themed swaps for years.
  • I have a modest sewing space but I would love to expand!
  • We own 2 female guinea pigs, Sugar and Peaches.
  • I'm also obsessed with beauty products!
  • I love to watch Netflix and Hulu while I'm at my machine.
  • My husbands hobby is beekeeping.

Some of my favorite Aurifil 50 wt. shades!

Is there anything you'd like to see from me??

I'm more than happy to take some suggestions on projects you'd love to see me make during my time as an Aurifil Artisan. Just leave a comment below and I'll add it to my list :)

I hope you'll join me on my journey as an Artisan over the next 12 months. You can follow me here, on Facebook, or by searching for @amistabaker on Instagram and Twitter!

A look at my machine and a small part of my sewing area.


Smitten Quilt Update: Half Way!


If you've been following along on my Instagram feed (@amistabaker), you'll have noticed I'm picking up pace on trying to finish my English paper pieced Smitten quilt. I thought I'd pop by today and upload some photos of finished blocks since I've done so in the past.

Are you working on any EPP projects?? Id love to hear about them!

Here are a few pictures of recently finished blocks. You can see previous blocks my searching for "smitten" on my blog or browsing my IG feed :)













Pattern Review: Booklet Pouch by Aneela Hoey


Yay! I'm so happy I can finally share this awesome Booklet Pouch pattern with you. It was created by the amazing Aneela Hoey and I was so lucky that I once again got to test a pattern for her!

I chose Indie Folk fabrics by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics, and as always my zippers are from ZipIt on Etsy.



First of all - I feel like I always say this - it's easier than it looks! LOL. But really, it is! All of Aneela's patterns are super easy to follow and understand, especially thanks to her great illustrations throughout each step. This pattern comes in two sizes, I chose to make the small size.

Its so unique, and HELLO, it looks like a crafty Trapper Keeper, right???



If you're timid around vinyl or zippers, just give this pattern a try and it will change your mind! I used 100% machine binding for my pouch (although others did a bit of hand binding) and I feel like it make the process even that much more simple. It actually comes together very quickly with some prep work ahead of time. And as ALWAYS - read through each step BEFORE completing it! Make sure you know what you're about to do first!



PRO TIP: Purchase double sided fusible Peltax Ultra Firm (the stiff stuff) to make your pouch look even better. After inserting it in the exterior slots, give it a good press on each side and it'll adhere to your fabrics and make your bag look amazing! No wrinkles!

You can purchase the Booklet Pouch pattern here!

I'm obviously a fan of Aneela, I've been testing her patterns for a while now and I'm never disappointed. I hope you give this pouch pattern a try, and if you do I'd love to see it!

Granny Square Block Swap: Wrap Up



I have officially wrapped up my first ever block swap!

All but two packaged have labels and are ready to ships (no addresses sent for those two stragglers). They will be on their way to everyone very soon! :)

The Granny Square Block Swap was a lot of fun and I love looking through all of the blocks that were sent in. Below are a few pictures of some of the blocks that were sent in for the four groups (Bonnie & Camille, FigTree, Scrappy Brights, and Scrappy Low Volume).

Total Block Count: 322





I have already had lots and lots of requests for another swap since many people signed up but did not get their blocks done in time. I think a second round would bring in many more blocks but I'm not sure if I'll do Granny Square blocks again, or something else!

Have you entered a block swap before? What are your thoughts on them??

Seven Must-Have Sewing Notions

Today I'd like to share with you seven of my favorite sewing notions and tools - some of which are totally unexpected! I hope you'll have a look and let me know what your favorites are!



Over the years I have found some things most would not consider a sewing notion, but I definitely do! Some of these items work for bag making, EPP, and quilting / general sewing. Keep reading to find out how I use them!


Marshmallow Moisture Stick

I don't know about you but when I am doing hand sewing for long periods of time, wether it's EPP, appliqué or hand binding, my finger tips get dry and sore (yes, even with a thimble).

These Treat Beauty Jumbo Marshmallow Moisture Sticks are absolutely amazing! They can be used as lip balm, or put on fingertips, knuckles, elbows, under your eyes, etc. Anywhere that needs a bit of moisture can benefit from these sticks, and the best part is they are HUGE! You could even use them as thread conditioner!


Hot Ruler

Another notion I can't live without is this awesome Clover Hot Ruler! Instead of just marking lines and trying to fold and press a straight ¼" seam by myself which ALWAYS turns out a bit crooked, I now use the Hot Ruler 100% of the time and my folds are perfect every time.

These are useful for bag making, EPP, and more! Just mark your line, place the Hot Ruler along the edge, fold your fabric over the Hot Ruler and press! Ta-da! Perfect folds!


Seam Guide

This isn't your average seam guide. In fact... I never use it as a seam guide! These Quilter's Paradise Machine Seam Guides are perfect for aiding in getting perfect mitered binding corners!

Once you've stitched down a long straight edge of your binding and you're about to come to the corner, place the seam guide (angle pointing to the right) on the bottom edge of your quilt. The point should touch the corner where the two edges of the quilt meet. Mark the diagonal line. Once your stitching meets that line, follow it! It gives you the perfect mitered corner once the binding is folded over to the other side.

I love this little tool so much because its small (1" x 3" and less than $2.00) and easily fits under my lifted machine foot so I can mark as I sew.


Washi Tape

Grab yourself a cheap roll of wash tape, just trust me on this! You can use it for holding things in place during bag making, stitching on vinyl, and so much more. It's sticky but not too sticky and tears away easily, never leaving a residue. Perfect for all the times you need something to stay put but don't want to leave pin holes or glue residue.


Binding Clips

Alright, this one everyone knows about, but have you caught on to the craze yet? If you haven't, you definitely need to get some of Jen's Favorite Binding Clips ASAP! They have all but replaced pins for me. I use these clips for so many different things.

Why Jen's Favorite brand? I have found they hold up much better than Wonder Clips, which often break or fall apart for me. Jen's Favorite brand are much stronger and longer lasting.


Glue Stick

Even if you don't do glue basting for EPP, you still need one of these skinny glue sticks in your arsenal! I use it every single time I make pouches and bags.  I personally use a Fons & Porter brand, but I'll tell you a little secret - all of the glue cartridge refills on the market (Sewline included) will fit into these pens! I have the refills in pink, blue, and even yellow!

I run a thin line of glue along my zipper tape and press the fabrics onto it so they don't slip or bunch up while I'm sewing with zippers. It has improved my bag making game so much! No more wonky zipper tape! Plus it can be used for sticking down appliqué pieces, foundation paper piecing, and more!

Muffling Mat

This funky little padded wool Muffling Mat helps cut down on vibration, noise, and slippage from your sewing machine.  Just place it under your machine, that's it!

I often do a lot of my sewing at night when the rest of my family is sound asleep, so I need the extra noise reduction. However, I've found that I like this mat even more for reducing slippage of my machine on a super smooth surface.


That's it! Do you have any favorite sewing notions or tools that you use in unexpected ways? I'd love to hear about them!!

Shop Restock! January 19th, at 6:00 pm EST

Rainbow Deluxe Pincushion

Happy Friday! I hope you're all having an awesome day and YIPPEE for the weekend!

Today at 6:00 pm EST I will be updating my online shop with lots and lots of new handmade items, which I haven't done in months! Each item is one-of-a-kind and there will even be a few spots opened for custom orders - so you get to choose fabrics, design, etc!

• Click here to visit the shop.

• Click here to subscribe to my newsletter for 10% off!

Below are a few pictures of just some of the items I'll be selling today. I hope you'll stop by and take a look!

Rainbow Two In One Case

Inside Outside Pouch (Bee's)

Linen Deluxe Pincushions

Hand stitched & quilted Posy Pincushion

Boxy Clear Pouch (Beauty Shop)

Unicorn Mini Drawstring Bag


Small pattern weights / pincushions

Mini Drawstring Bag

Key Fobs

All of these plus much more will be available at 6:00 pm EST in my shop.

Thanks for reading. Have an awesome weekend!

Inside Outside Pouch: Pattern Review



Oh, my! I have an absolutely amazing bag to show you all today!

If you've been following my Instagram (@amistabaker) you'll have noticed I tested yet another new pattern for Aneela Hoey, called the Inside Outside Pouch. It features a very large, incredibly roomy pouch with TWO vinyl zipper pouches on the outside.

This pouch is perfect for makeup, sewing or knitting supplies, or arts & craft supplies. It is really an amazing gift for all ages and genders. ANYONE could use this pouch! Clearly I am gushing LOL. But really, I adore this pouch and I can't wait to make more!

Okay, on to the review....



Specs:

  • 10" wide, 6" tall, and 4" deep when opened.
  • 2 vinyl zipper pockets
  • roomy interior
  • sturdy, hard base 
  • carrying handle
  • lightweight

Pattern Review:

You can purchase the Inside Outside Pouch here.

First of all, as always, I find Aneela's patterns to be easy to follow and flawless in their instruction. Her illustrations are a wonderful addition, and something I think ALL pattern writers should consider adding - especially when it comes to bags!



I did not have any issues putting this bag together. The only remotely "difficult" part is hand sewing the binding onto the outer edges to finish it up. Its a bit tricky to get into those inside corners, just like the Boxy Clear Pouch pattern I tested for her last month. But, it can be done with some time and patience and the hand sewing really makes the bag look that much more professional.




Overall, this is a great addition to anyone's pattern library and something I think intermediate or expert level bag makers will really enjoy. If you're a Beginner this is totally do-able! Just take your time :)





Thanks for reading, I hope you'll checkout this awesome pattern and whip one up for yourself :)