Award-Winning Laura Hartrich joins the Havel’s Team!

by Luv2Sew,

Last fall Havel’s Sewing went in search of today’s brightest, young talent in quilting and instantly fell in love with Laura Hartrich’s fresh, innovative quilts. So when she agreed to become one of our newest ambassadors we were over the moon! Lucky for us she went straight to work! She has already created two fun blogs as well as Havel’s Sewing Instagram and Facebook posts.

What better way to get to know someone than to hand them all of your social media for a week 😉 Laura’s posts were so colorful and fun that we decided to put them all together for our readers to enjoy!

Laura Hartrich - Instagram Day 1 - Photo

Hi! I’m Laura. I live just outside Chicago with my husband of almost 15 years, two boys, and two cats. I love designing, piecing, and then quilting with my checkbook, as they say. 😊 Happy to be with you on the Havel’s account this week.

Laura Hartrich - Instagram Day 2 - Good Night Love You Quilt

This huge quilt is probably my favorite creation. I can remember getting this idea and being excited as I sketched it out in my graph paper notebook. I remember being so stoked to collaborate with Nikki Maroon @thegirlwhoquilts for the first time and falling in love with her stitches. I was thrilled when it got accepted into QuiltCon and over the moon when it won People’s Choice and then travelled the world without me. I’m really proud of this quilt and sometimes I joke that I peaked when I made it. I don’t know if I will ever make a widely-recognized, award-winning quilt again. And that’s ok. I try hard to make the quilts I want to make and not worry about how they will be received in the wider world. I’m not going to lie, though. Having all of that happen was really, really fun. 😊

Laura Hatrich Instagram Day 2 - Quilt StoriesOne of the creations I’m most proud of isn’t a quilt, it’s an instagram account called @quiltstories where people share their quilts and the personal stories behind them. I was inspired to start this account one day when I was feeling down on myself for not being good enough, not having amazing enough designs. The online quilt community can be a double-edged sword. It’s wonderful for encouragement, inspiration, and camaraderie, but it can also be so tempting to compare yourself and your work to all the awesome things other folks are making. When I was feeling down on myself that day, I thought about what I really love about quilts, and what I could give back to the quilt community that would make me feel better. It occurred to me that the stories behind quilts are my favorite part, and that I could provide a place for people to share theirs. I try to post one a day. It has quickly grown into a really lovely community. Posting to @quiltstories is always highlight of my day. Join me there! And submit your stories! I post them all, in the order received.

Laura Hatrich Instagram Day 3 - Photo

Day 3 Questions: 1. Cat person or dog person? I didn’t want cats. My husband convinced me. Then it turned out I loved them and adopted the cat motif as one of my personal favorites. C’mon, they are cute. Even if I hate the hair all over everything. Portrait of our cats Lupin and Sirius by Jordan Grace Owens. I’ve never had a dog but can definitely see the appeal. 2. How long have I been quilting? The first quilt I made was for this sweet butterball, Penny. I believe she is seven now! Maybe even eight. Thanks for being born and helping me find my life’s passion, Penny. 😘 3. Favorite Color? Impossible to say! I was really pleased with this palette for my clamshell quilt. I’m drawn to pinks and minty greens. But I don’t feel like I have a favorite color. I love them all and do my best to use them effectively in my quilts. 4. What inspires my creativity? Can I say everything? Shapes, colors, other quilts and quilters, buildings, stories… I’m a too-many-ideas-not-enough-time person, like so many quilters I know. These are just a few inspiration images I have saved on my phone. Perhaps they will work their way into a quilt someday, in some way.

Laura Hartrich - Instagram Day 4 - Photo

What I’m working on at the moment, starting upper left corner and going clockwise: I almost always have a stack of hexies and some Havel’s snips in my bag so I can sew a few while I wait for the kids to get out of school or appointments or whatever! +++ I’m about to finish up a large medallion quilt top. It’s made from 100% cat-themed novelty prints, which makes me seem like more of a crazy cat lady than I really am. 😊 Used my favorite Havel’s scissors and rotary cutter a lot on this project. +++ I just got two quilts back from my fabulous long-armer, @thegirlwhoquilts, so this week I spent time trimming them and attaching bindings that I will finish by hand. Trimming was easy with my large Havel’s cutting mat and ruler. +++ I’m doing big-stitch hand quilting on another piece, which looks great to me but is taking forever. I try to stitch one length of the quilt every night while I watch tv with my husband. At this rate I should be done in a few short years.

Laura Hartrich - Instagram Day 5 - photo

Here I am using maybe my favorite Havel’s tools: the extra large cutting mat and rotary cutter. This mat is the perfect size and I love the way it’s marked. A close second favorite would be all my Havel’s scissors. They are seriously the best and I believed that even before I had the chance to be a Havel’s ambassador. 😊Great to be with you this week! Happy sewing! ❌⭕️🙄😂


Posted in Fabric Cutter, Fabric Rotary Cutters, Fabric Scissors, Laura Sliger-Hartrich, Quilting, Quilting, Quilting Tools, Reviews, Sewing Supplies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Simple Strip Blocks Using Havel’s Fabric & Quilt Ruler Cutter

Simple Strip Blocks Using Havel’s Fabric & Quilt Ruler Cutter

by Laura Hartrich

Laura Hartrich - Simple Strip Block

One of my current quilts-in-progress is a medallion quilt made with all cat-themed fabrics. It’s a silly idea but it has actually been a real challenge to consider design, color, and contrast while working under the constraint of all cat fabrics. I find setting boundaries like this, no matter how silly or arbitrary, can really push me creatively and bring out my best work.

Laura Hartrich - Simple Strip Block 3

For the latest border in my medallion, I knew I wanted to use darker colors to contrast with the previous border. I also wanted to do something simple, so it could come together quickly and allow me to focus on the last border, which will be a little more detailed.

Laura Hartrich - Simple Strip Block 4

I settled on simple blocks, small square centers surrounded by strips of the same width. I don’t know if these blocks have an official name. I guess they are a version of square-in-a-square. To construct these blocks, I needed 1.5” strips of the dark fabrics I planned to use. I decided it was the perfect chance to try out the Havel’s Fabric and Quilt Ruler Cutter. I used this awesome tool on my Extra Large Havel’s Cutting Mat. The cutting was smooth and accurate. I felt totally comfortable cutting through 6 layers of fabric. This tool is also easy on the hands/wrists. I would definitely use this again whenever I need to cut strips.

Laura Hartrich - Simple Strip Block 5
I’m excited to have the next border of my all-cat medallion quilt done, with the help of my Havel’s tools.

Laura Hartrich - Simple Strip Block 2


fabric cutter_cta_horizontal_600x154

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blueskycrafter Teams Up with Havel’s Sewing!

By Luv2Sew

Colorful, fresh, and fun are just a few of the adjectives we’d use to describe Jessica Schunke and her quilting creations. In looking for original inspiration for our customers we went in search of today’s best and brightest in our industry and are so excited we found Jessica! We enjoyed having a little one on one with her as well as giving her the reigns to  our Instagram and Facebook accounts for a week. Welcome Jessica!


JESSICA SHUNK - INSTAGRAM DAY 1“Howdy! I’m Jessica, aka blueskycrafter, and I’m so excited to be taking over the Havels Sewing IG feed this week as one of their newest sewing ambassadors. I took up sewing as a hobby seven years ago when we moved from Texas to St. Louis and didn’t know anyone, but it quickly morphed into a passion for me. Now, I spend as much time as I can behind my machine or on the couch working on my newest love, needle-turn applique. I am in the midst of my second year as the secretary of the St Louis Modern Quilt Guild and work part time at a local fabric store (in addition to my “normal” job as a freelance editor). I just got back from QuiltCon and can’t wait to get to work on some new ideas and projects inspired by all the loveliness I saw there. Can’t wait to show you more this week, so stay tuned!” – JS


1. Do you consider yourself a cat or dog person?
I’m definitely a dog person (it doesn’t help that I’m horribly allergic to cats).

2. How long have you been sewing/quilting?
I’ve been sewing for seven years, quilting for six. I decided to take it up as a hobby when      we moved to St. Louis (a city where we knew no one) and soon fell in love.



“Like a parent with their children, it’s impossible to choose a single favorite of all my projects, but these definitely rank near the top: my Tessellation quilt, the Kaleidoscope block I made as the starter block for a traveling quilt (still traveling!), my Fading Star quilt, and my Waterfront Park Pinwheel quilt (an oldie but a goodie). Can you guess what my favorite color might be? ;)” – JS



3. What is your favorite color?
Anyone who follows my sewing projects on Instagram can quickly guess it’s teal. It shows up a lot in my work.

4. What inspires your creativity?
I find inspiration in so many outlets. Seeing the beautiful work of others on blogs and Instagram is always hugely influential, but I also like to take ideas from nature (especially color palettes), buildings, song lyrics (I have big plans to use some in an upcoming project), and art.


JESSICA SHUNK - INSTAGRAM DAY 4“My Havel’s Sewing embroidery scissors are a staple in my sewtogetherbag. Perfect for hand sewing on the go.” – JS


5. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice has long been my favorite book, and I imagine her cleverness and sparkling wit would make for a most enjoyable dinner conversation.

6. What is your guilty pleasure (tv, music and/or food)?  My TV guilty pleasure is definitely HGTV. It’s usually what’s on while I’m sewing. For food, my family jokes about my love for sweetened bread products, which pretty much sums it up. As for music, let’s just say that if you signed into my Pandora account, you’d find Journey, Christopher Cross, and Ronnie Milsap stations.



“My current project is all about paper piecing, so my Havel’s Sewing cutting mat and rotary cutter are getting a good workout…” – JS


7. What do do to make sure no one uses your sewing tools?Threats? Ha! At home, my tools stay far away from anywhere my boys would get into, and there are always plenty of non-sewing scissors around so they’re not tempted. On retreats, I like to wrap washi tape around the handles of my scissors and other items to mark them as mine.

Thanks again to Jessica for taking time out of her very busy schedule to share her work as well as her thoughts. We are looking forward to seeing the beautiful quilts you create this year!





Posted in Fabric Scissors, Guest Writers, Jessica Schunke, Jessica Schunke, QuiltCon, Quilting, Quilting, Quilting Tools | Leave a comment

Emily Lang – A New Face on the Havel’s Team!

by Luv2Sew,

E Lang day 1

Havel’s Sewing is excited to introduce one of our newest sewing ambassadors Emily Lang! A mutual friend suggested we connect and that was, as they say, all she wrote. We instantly fell in love with her fresh, colorful quilts and invited her to be a part of the Havel’s Sewing team!

Emily Lang is a mom who loves to sew and read. She’s been sewing for 20 years, and fell in love with quilting after her daughter was born. She loves to design quilts, and enjoys the challenge of working with intricate piecing on both small and large scale. Follow her quilting adventures at and on Instagram Mommy’s Nap Time

E Lang Day 2 Sunshine and FunMy favorite quilt I’ve made was inspired by the early spring / late winter in Chicago, this quilt brings together precision and free piecing. For anyone who has experienced a Chicago spring, they’ll know that just as you get comfortable with the newly warm temperatures, a snow storm will hit! The unexpected weather changes in spring can be frustrating, but they bring about a level of preparedness – anything goes. The same is true with this piece. I began piecing half square triangles – tiny bits from a pile of scraps. Nothing was measured and nothing was marked. The memorization of movement provided me with near perfect half square triangle blocks. Just as I was feeling comfortable with the comforting bright greens, I at once felt finished. After taking a long break from the piece, the narrow white border was added, and more spring. Sometimes parts of our lives require that definition. We need borders to draw attention to the important moments. This is given to us naturally, in spring in Chicago. – EL

We had fun asking Emily a few questions to help us to get to know her work and home life a little better!

E Lang Day 4 current project1. Do you consider yourself a cat or dog person?

I’m a dog person, but I have no pets currently.

2. How long have you been sewing/quilting?

I’ve been sewing for 20 years, and quilting for 8 years. I found quilting when I was home on maternity leave with my daughter. It was as if all those years of sewing random projects were prepping me to find my home in quilting. I dove in and haven’t looked back since!

E Lang Day 5 fav tools cutting mat3. What is your favorite color?  

 Am I supposed to have a favorite? Choosing a favorite color is a bit like choosing a favorite child. Kona Curry is my favorite solid fabric, otherwise I love bold, bright colors. Teal, rich blue, and lime green are good contenders (my daughter claims my favorite is green, I’m not sure why).

4. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be? 

I feel like the only way to really answer this is to avoid the cliche’d answers. So I’ll choose my grandma who passed away when I was 12. She lived next door to us most of my life up to that point, and there is so much I’d love to share with her.

E Lang Day 5 fav tools5. What inspires your creativity? 

My creativity is inspired by the world around me. I find a lot of inspiration in regular repeating patterns found in architecture (fences and brick / tile work especially), and irregular patterns (books on a shelf, colors on a magazine, random spacing within a mosaic). I work in a used bookstore, and that alone provides so much visual stimulus. I’ve designed quilts while doing monotonous tasks at work – quilts are always in the back of my mind, and I’m working out how I’m going to piece something while doing the monotonous daily tasks in life.

E Lang Day 46. What is your guilty pleasure (tv, music and/or food)?

 Chocolate Cake Shakes from Portillo’s are always a big splurge. Otherwise I love a good sliced apple with hot caramel, and I love to watch netflix in the evenings. Shameless is our current fav, and Switched at Birth is a real guilty pleasure — teen dramas are so cringe-worthy!

E Lang Day 3 don't use my scissors7. What do you do to make sure no one uses your sewing tools? 

First of all, I’m the only left hander in the house, which means my tools don’t work very well for them! Second, I have expressed to everyone that my tools are way too sharp, and are not appropriate for anything but fabric (when my daughter was too young to understand this, I would keep ALL sharp tools above my fabric cabinet and out of reach). Finally, I tie a little bit of a pretty fabric around the handle of my fabric scissors.

What a great way to let everyone know that your scissors are for fabric only. Smart thinking Emily! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and photos with us. We are thrilled to have you on the team. Mommy’s Nap Time ( is a wonderful showcase of the wide array of styles and colors you use to create your quilts. We think everyone will find your creations not only beautiful but inspirational!


Havel's Sewing quilting, applique and embroidery scissors

Posted in art ideas, Guest Writers, Quilting, Quilting & Embroidery | Leave a comment

Meet our New Ambassador, Stephanie Kendron!

by Luv2Sew,

Modern Sewciety_Day One Instagram

It is with great delight that Havel’s Sewing introduces one of our newest ambassadors, Stephanie Kendron of Modern Sewciety! We are excited to sponsor her weekly newsletter, The Stych and have already begun working together on some fun giveaways. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the Modern Sewciety podcast, do yourself a favor and start tuning in! Not only is Stephanie a fountain of knowledge on quilting and crafting, she is also very entertaining and regularly invites other experts in the field to join her. We know you’ll love it!

We hope you’ll enjoy our Q&A with Stephanie as well as some snippets and photos from her recent Havel’s Sewing Instagram take over!


A passion for the makers in our community, Stephanie Kendron, mom of two and sewist brings us the stories of some of the industry’s popular makers through her popular podcast, Modern Sewciety. When not recording, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family and a glass of wine, making quilts that can be seen in magazines such as Love Patchwork and Quilting, Modern Quilts Unlimited and more.

Modern Sewciety_Day Two Instagram“I always stack my fabrics on my cutting mat when making multiple cuts for a pattern. It saves me so much time and Havel’s blades are so sharp they cut through layers easily.” – SK

I asked Stephanie to answer some random questions about herself to give us a little bit more insight into her personality:

1. Do you consider yourself a cat or dog person?

Both- We have a 120 lb Cane Corso and a chunky cat named Boots (they are not friends)

2. How long have you been sewing/quilting?

My whole life but seriously since my oldest was born in 2007

Modern Sewciety _Day Four Instagram“I have been saving selvages of all of the fabrics I have been using. It is almost like a trip down my sewing memory lane when I see them all together.” – SK

3. What is your favorite color?

Anything green

4. What inspires your creativity?

My daily life and of course instagram


Modern Sewciety_Day Five Instagram“I don’t think I can pick a favorite Havel’s product. I love them all and use them so much in my sewing space. Small snips for chain piecing, medium scissors for quickly clamping those pesky, bulky seams, large scissors are perfect for garment sewing, large rotary cutter for easily cutting fabrics with my favorite modern sewciety ruler, and curved small snips for embroidery and binding projects. I can’t forget the workhorse pink DOUBLE SIDED cutting mat that makes me smile so much because of the color and how amazing it is. It doesn’t groove like my old mat so less mistakes with the rotary cutter.” – SK

5. If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?

My grandma whom I lost right after having my first child. I want to ask her so many things about being a mom and creative.

6. What is your guilty pleasure (tv/music and/or food)?

I am a HUGE foodie but I do love some TV too.

7. What do you do to make sure no one uses your sewing tools?

Well, I have lectured my whole household several times but my husband is the worst offender. I need a better strategy with him. Lol!

Once again we’d like to welcome Stephanie to Havel’s Sewing! She may be new to the team but her laid-back, Southern style makes her feel like an old friend. We look forward to getting to know her even better and forging a great partnership in 2017. Remember to check out her podcast, Modern Sewciety at and subscribe to her newsletter, The Stych. And don’t be surprised if you see her popping up to give away some great prizes this year!

Thanks Stephanie! 


Posted in Guest Writers, Stephanie Kendron | Leave a comment