Category Archives: Good Books I’ve Found!

We are Part of Nancy Zieman’s Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour!!! Yay!


 Hi!  Thanks for stopping by!

Be sure to keep reading so you can see which quilt sample I chose to make from Nancy’s AWESOME new book!  Drum Roll, Please! …………………………………….

My name is StitchinJenny and this is where I blog about all the fun things I’m doing as an educator at my favorite sewing shop:

Humble Sewing Center/SewVac Outlet

This week, I’m taking part in Nancy Zieman’s Blog Tour to help get the word out about her latest book.  Let me tell you, it’s FULL of great quilt projects that will delight the novice to the expert quilter with it’s easy to follow instructions and tips.  You are definitely going to want your own copy of this one!



Enter to Win a FREE Copy of Nancy’s Newest Book!!!

Would you like a chance to win a free copy of Quick Column Quilts?  Just leave a comment on this blog post and a random winner will be chosen from the comments at the end of Nancy’s blog tour on Sept. 17th.  We will ship your book to you once we receive our copy from the publisher!


Nancy Zieman will be hosting a grand giveaway of 15 prizes!!!  If you would like to enter to win PLEASE follow the instructions below:

Readers must comment on Nancy’s September 4th blog posting to qualify for the giveaways. Click this link and make a comment on her quick column-quilts post.       

I chose to make the Happy-Go-Lucky Chevron Column Quilt:


First, I had to decide on which fabrics to use.

First, I had to decide on which fabrics to use.  I got these fun prints from my designer friend, Erin Schlosser.

Then I had to cut the fabrics into strips as directed in the handy dandy instructions.

Then I had to cut the fabrics into strips as directed in the handy dandy instructions.

Next, I sewed the strips together using a really neat method to create a staircase effect.  This helped eliminate waste when creating the chevrons....

Next, I sewed the strips together using Nancy’s method to create a staircase effect. This helped eliminate waste when creating the chevron columns….  See next photo for my fabric “Stairs”

Downstairs Strips!

Part of my Downstairs Strips!  I love those big,colorful flowers….

Once my strips were sewn together, I followed Nancy's very clear instructions for cutting my "Stairs" into what would become the chevron columns.

Once my strips were sewn together, I followed Nancy’s very clear instructions for cutting my “Stairs” into what would become the chevron columns.

My first Chevron column!

My first Chevron column!

Once I had all my columns prepared, I needed to decide on a layout for my quilt.Preparing the columns was so easy. (There's some cool steps involved that save fabric and give great results.)

Once I had all my chevron columns prepared, I needed to decide on a final layout for my quilt. Preparing the columns was so easy. There’s some cool steps involved that save fabric and give great results.

Next, I stitched the narrow strips in between and around the columns.

Next, I stitched the narrow strips in between and around the columns.

I love how this quilt top turned out!

I love how this quilt top turned out!

So, I must confess, I’m not done with the final steps such as adding the batting, backing, binding, and actually QUILTING my quilt.  (Yes, I’m one of those quilters who loves to make the tops and procrastinates the finishing….)

BUT, I was relieved to see that Nancy included a lot of helpful illustrations and instructions to help newbie quilters like myself get this job done and done WELL!  I’m looking forward to finishing this and improving my skills in the process.

If you’d like to see more from Nancy’s Blog Tour, just visit the links below:

Here is a listing of all the wonderful bloggers on the Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour:

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman

09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.

09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny

09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                

09/08/14         Jina Barney DesignzLilac Lane Patterns, and Totally Stitchin’ 

09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama

09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan

09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day

09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around

09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio

09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair

09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs

09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Thanks for reading!

Jenny Gabriel alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Seams Unlikely


Hello everyone!  Thank you so much for stopping by!

jenny profile pic 2I’m Jenny Gabriel alter ego:  StitchinJenny and I’ve mostly been a sewing educator for the past several years.  I’m now a full-time member of the sales team at Humble Sewing Center/SewVac Outlet and I get to be their blogger when I’m not teaching or on the sales floor.

Today is such a special day because, I get to participate in Nancy Zieman’s Book Launch Blog Tour!  I’ll be sharing a little bit about her autobiography and how she is a true inspiration to me.  I think it’s wonderful that Nancy is a long distance mentor to so many of us!

Here’s the cover of her new book!


At the end of this post you will find links & details to allow you participate in Nancy’s book giveaway (YES!  You could win a free copy of her book!)  and also see what other bloggers are posting along this tour.

A Moment to say, “Thanks!”

I’d like to have all of you pretend for a moment that you are reading over Nancy’s shoulder as she reads the following note….

Thank you Nancy for writing this transparent book about your life, struggles with low self esteem, and victories of reaping the rewards of your hard work and perseverance.

It delights my heart that your greatest joy is “helping others to gain the confidence to achieve in the face of challenge.”  I believe your book is fulfilling that goal in exponential ways!

I love the statement/motto that you shared early in your book:

“Each of us faces challenges in life.  Some are bigger than others.  But what happens to us, does not define who we are, unless we let it.”

This quote perfectly captures the true spirit of being an over comer.

It holds a special significance for me because of how it applies to myself and some very special people in my life.  You see, I started a non-profit organization to facilitate teaching sewing to underage survivors of human trafficking. I get to work with them face to face and sometimes I even catch a glimpse of their self-confidence growing right before my eyes.

I thank you because, many aspects of your story are an encouragement to me to persevere in my efforts with these girls.  In your book, you mentioned that sewing became an outlet for you to build your confidence and affirm your worth.  I’m hoping to repeat that success story with these young ladies.

Thank you for your openness as you shared your insights into the painful topic of overcoming low self-esteem and how certain people really helped you with this.

I especially loved reading about your mom and your former English teacher:


“…my mother is a giver.  But she doesn’t give, and walk away.  No, she’s the kind of person who […….] walks alongside until you’re strong enough to make it on your own.”

English Teacher-

“Sometimes people fail to recognize how far a little encouragement can go.  Mrs. Fawcett believed in me, and because she believed in me, I could believe in myself as well.”

What great ladies!  They are such good examples of the kind of parent and role model that I want to be.  Thanks for sharing about the difference they made in your life.

In closing, I just want to tell you that I think you are amazing in so many wonderful ways! Thank you for being you and for your excellence at doing what you do!

Kind Regards,

Jenny Gabriel alter ego: StitchinJenny

Video Preview

If you haven’t see this short video about Nancy’s book, watch it here:

Book Give Away!

Want to win a free copy of Nancy’s book?

Readers must comment on Nancy’s February 4th Seams Unlikely Blog Tour Posting to qualify for book giveaways.

Blog Tour Road Map:

February 4          Nancy Zieman 

February 5          Eileen Roche

February 5          Pat Sloan

February 6          Melissa Stramel

February 6          The Long Ladies

February 6          Tori Thompson

February 7          Amy Barickman

February 7          Melissa Mora

February 8          Shari Butler

February 8          Vicki Christensen

February 9          Carolina Moore

February 9          Kate Mclvor

February 10          Amy Ellis

February 10          Melissa Mortenson

February 11          Ilene Miller

February 11          Liz Hicks

February 11          Rachael Pannepacker

February 12          Bill Gardner

February 12          Elizabeth Evans

February 13          Amy Webb 

February 13          Lindsay Wilkes

February 14          Gertie Hirsch

February 14          Veronica Philips

February 15          Jenny Gabriel

February 15          Laura Wasilowski

February 16          Frieda Anderson

February 16          Rita Farro

February 17          Cindy Cloward

February 17          Joan Hawley

February 17          Patty Young

February 18          Nancy Zieman

Book Review: Fabric-By-Fabric One Yard Wonders

That sounds familiar, right?


This is actually Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskin’s follow up to one of my favorite books, One Yard Wonders. The original focused mainly on quilting fabric from what I understand. This one is divided into chapters for the following:

Chapter 1: Fabric Fundamentals

Chapter 2: Lightweight Cottons

Chapter 3: Quilting-Weight Cottons

Chapter 4: Home Dec Fabrics

Chapter 5: Flannel

Chapter 6: Woven Pile Fabrics

Chapter 7: Coated Fabrics

Chapter 8: Fleece

Chapter 9: Knits

Chapter 10: Wool


Again, they have made a great hardcover book with a spiral you can see on the back to help it fold open while you work.


The first thing I noticed is that this book is much thicker than its predecessor. The patterns at the front of the book are very substantial.


I found this page invaluable. It is a fabric cheat sheet that tells you very specifically how to work with every type of fabric listed in the book. It even included the best way to mark and press the fabric! I see me using this as a reference often as I enjoy working with new types of fabric, but use a lot of trial and error to get things right.


I had to show an example of how well the directions for the projects are laid out. The directions are always spot on as well.


I love this cute travel set!

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders

What really sold me was a review by Dixie DIY of the Panties that are pictured above from the Panties and Camisole set done in knits. I have been wanting to try underwear, but just haven’t gotten around to it. She convinced me! She did at least one more project out of this book she reviewed as well that was cute.

Final Verdict: I knew this book would be a sure thing because I loved the first one, but I am even more pleased with it than I imagined. Expect to see some projects from me in the future.

Book Review: One-Yard Wonders


I have had the book One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins for several months now, and it is a fun go-to book when you need to make up a last minute present or fun project for yourself. The book features 101 projects that all use 1 yard of fabric or less. That makes for some fun stash busting too.


The book is a hard cover book that has a spiral binding allowing it to lay flat. That is great when you are referencing instructions on the project while you are working on it. There is also an envelope within the front cover that holds all the pattern pieces needed to complete the projects in the book.

The book is nicely divided into 11 chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Sewing Fundamentals – a review of sewing basics
  • Chapter 2: Dwell Redux – home decorating projects
  • Chapter 3: Household Affairs – utilitarian projects for around the house
  • Chapter 4: Craft Organization – a chapter just for organizing your crafting tools
  • Chapter 5: On the Go – projects for the car, store, vacation and more
  • Chapter 6: From Head to Toe – wearable projects
  • Chapter 7: Carry it All – various bags and totes
  • Chapter 8: Outfit your Small Wonder – projects for infants
  • Chapter 9: Accessorize your Little One – projects for toddlers
  • Chapter 10: Playtime – toys
  • Chapter 11: Your Furry Friends – projects designed for pets

What I love about this book is just about every time I think to myself, “I wonder if I could make _______.” I can usually check One-Yard Wonders and find my answer. I have used it to make baby shower gifts, organizational tools and even an apron I love.

When I buy a sewing book I like to be sure I will use it more than once whether for projects or as a reference. One-Yard Wonders fits the bill. It also allows me to buy small amounts of fabric I love that I would not necessarily wear to make great projects.

The book also has a great following over at Pink Chalk Fabrics which had a sew-along with the book. You can see some of the amazing projects that came out of the sew-along. I am always amazed at the wonderful results people get from some of the projects that did not strike me as amazing at first.

On that note, I would like to leave you with a picture of my apron I made from the book that I use all the time and just love.



Don’t you hate when you catch your toes n the picture? Well, as you can see from the book the directions are nicely laid out and well illustrated.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested.

Sewing Books Make Great Gifts, Too!

I have a sewing student and dear friend, Liz Taylor, who’s ventured into the wonderful world of quilting at a local sewing group.  She asked me about projects for fat quarters the other day, so I went looking…….found this terrific book and bought it!  (Merry Christmas Liz!!!)

Based on the books I found, most often, fat quarters are used in quilts.

But, this book isn’t just for quilts.  It has a mixture of quick little things like eye glasses case, wonderful bag patterns (which I LOVE!), some lovely quilts and more,more, MORE!  If a book has at least 3 or more projects in it that I think I’d actually take the time to make, I’ll usually go ahead and buy it.  This one has several.

Wanna see a picture of my sewing room bookcase?

The 2nd row is full of my kid’s school books.  (We homeschool.)  But the top row is a growing collection of fun sewing/crafting books that just got a little bigger today because, when I found the Fat Quarter book for Liz, I also found….

“One-Yard Wonders” for me!

The ladies who wrote this book know about my sewing room fabric closet.  They know about the fabric I have stashed beneath my cutting table.  And they know that I will often buy a yard of this or a yard of that not even really sure what I want to make from it, but I’ve just got to have it….

So, they stuffed this book full of fun projects to help me in my mission to BUST my fabric stash!  (So I can buy more fabric, so I can bust my stash, so I can buy more….) heh, heh, ummm…..  And, moving right along.

What’s UP with our Gift Give-Away?  We only need one more confirmed email follower of this blog to click this link:  Contest Link  and say whether they want the key fob or the koozie.  Where are you lucky winner #25?  We need you!

In the meantime, I’ve been busily embroidering and making all the other winner’s prizes and should have them ready very soon.  Soon, as in early next week.  No worries, I’ll announce it.  If you are already a winner, and you live way out in Timbucktu (real place in Africa by the way), you can email me your mailing address & I’ll ship it to you instead of having you come pick it up at HSC.  Click here to email your address to me:  Contact Jenny

Not sure if you won?  Click the contest link to find out.  The winner’s list is updated daily.

Well, Happy Friday everybody!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny

What is a Serger & why would I want one???

I recently put up a blog post with some shopping tips for sewing machines, embroidery machines, and also sergers.  An old friend, new to sewing, asked me for some more information about sergers, so I decided to shed some light on these mystery machines here.

A few samples of decorative stitches done by serger.

Short Answer:

On the practical side, a serger is a machine that people use to finish seams with a professional looking stitch. (Look inside of what you’re wearing right now. The seam was probably done with a serger.)

The serger has a built in blade and lets you trim the seam allowance, stitch the seam, and overcast the raw edge simultaneously so you get done much quicker than with a conventional sewing machine.

They also do decorative stitches that sewing machines cannot do and they have special settings that make it easier to sew on knits and tricky fabrics. If you’re just getting started sewing, you probably won’t need one of these right away.

Video Clip Answer:

As you may have figured out, I’m a fan of Nancy Zieman’s show, “Sewing with Nancy,” and I like to post some of her video clips here.  In the clip below, Nancy does a great job of showcasing the “Queen of all Sergers,” the Babylock Evolution.  Even though I don’t have the Evolution, watching the clip just now, reminds me why I love my trusty serger so much!

Oh, and if you’re brand new to serging, a really good book to get is:  Ready, Set, Serge  by:  Georgie Melot

Ready,Set, Serge by: Georgie Melot

It’s full of easy projects that also make great gifts.

Humble Sewing Center carries this one and you can find it online as well.

Let’s Get Sewing!
Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny