Four for Four: 4 Months

Four months old! Which means I’m now four blocks into my milestone quilt for Finn. For those of you new to this project, my husband had the brilliant idea (through jest) to make a quilt block every month with which to photograph my baby Finn as he grows, and sewing them into a quilt for him as a birthday present in celebration of his first year. I took the idea and ran, and haven’t looked back yet.

finn milestone quilt 4 monthsThis project is still feeling very doable and I’m considering adding an additional four blocks to make it a big larger of a quilt at the end of the year. For now, though, I’m sticking with the one quilt block per month idea, and so far I’m four for four (great record!). You can see my planned layout in my 3 Month post here.

finn milestone quilt 4 monthsFinn is growing as only babies can. He’s a very stretched out baby, who loves to flex his legs and stand whenever he can, but he also has found the potential in rolling to the side, and has made it halfway over before getting stuck. He sucks and chews on his fingers, either for soothing or maybe he’s teething already (I sure hope not!). He is still so aware of everything around him and loves to “talk” with his baby babble and big bright eyes.

finn milestone quilt 4 monthsfinn milestone quilt 4 monthsfinn milestone quilt 4 monthsHis newfound love of movement makes it quite difficult to get a good photo, but I managed to get a few. Even today, when he’s in the thick of a slimy, drippy, coughy cold, he is so full of bright eyed smiles and giggles. I caught myself almost defiantly asking him the other day, “How are you so happy ALL the time!?”, feeling like I was missing out on something. But then I realized since smiles are contagious, seeing him smile makes me happy no matter how stressed, tired, or otherwise cranky I might be. He’s a gift for sure.

finn milestone quilt 4 months

finn milestone quilt 4 months
Always on the move, with a smile in his heart.

I am really enjoying creating this quilt along with Finn’s growth. Setting small, attainable goals makes the entire quilt-making process not only doable, but it makes it part of my journey through his first year.

Now up I go to relieve my husband and take my shift holding our poor slimy guy upright so that he can get some sleep without coughing and spitting up slimy gunk. It may be a long night ahead, but hey… it’s all part of the journey and it’s a blessed one indeed.

Color Inspiration Thursday {60}

As long as it’s before midnight, it still counts as Thursday, right? I don’t want this week to slide, so I’m squeaking this beauty in before the buzzer. We’ve been getting doused in rain (I hear we got 9″ yesterday!), so these poor gorgeous flowers have been beaten down into a horizontal position since these photos were taken, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bask in their beauty!!

Today’s color inspiration features Cosmos from my garden, a perfect magenta-pink against a bright blue sky. The color palette was created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and the matching solids and Aurifil thread are an awesome perk!

cosmos color palette flower magenta pink blueCorresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Cobalt, Bella Amelia Blue, Kona Candy Pink, Bella Fuchsia, Bella Boysenberry, Kona Eggplant

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1248 – Grey Blue
4140 – Wedgewood
2515 – Light Orchid
2479 – Med Orchid
4030 – Plum
1240 – V Dk Eggplant

Take a deep breath. Soak in the glorious sun (c’mon, play along with me, even if it’s nighttime). Imagine these dainty flowers peacefully bobbing together in the gentle breeze, warm sun shining down upon them. Just looking at this photo makes me feel lighter. It surely helps that I LOVE these colors together. In fact, I very well might take this palette to create my first official color inspiration quilt. I’ll need to include a pop of golden yellow, of course. Maybe?…

I’m sharing a few more photos of these flowers, sans color palette, since the palette above embodies the colors and brightness so well, but I can’t resist sharing these other angles with you. Enjoy!

cosmos flowers pink against bluecosmos flowers pink against bluecosmos flowers pink against blue

A Quick Gift: EPP Rose Star Coasters {Sizzix Tutorial}

Today I’m sharing a tutorial for some quick and easy English Paper Pieced (EPP) coasters, made particularly quick and easy by use of a Sizzix fabi die cutting machine to cut all of the fabric and templates, glue basting the EPP pieces, and backing the coasters with felt (photos and instructions for all steps are included in this tutorial!). They are also a great way to showcase your hand-stitched EPP and meticulous (fussy) cutting if you so desire.

epp sizzix rose star hexi coastersWhile I was planning out and putting together the mug rug I’m making for my sister using the Sizzix Rose Star die (you can see my tutorial for getting started on the mug rug on the Sizzix blog HERE), I realized that the center of the Rose Star would make a perfect hexi coaster. Of course that idea stuck and I decided to play around with fabric arrangements and make a set of coordinating coasters to go along with my sister’s mug rug. Thus, this tutorial was born.

I’ve included affiliate links throughout this post so that if you decide that you want to give the Sizzix and Rose Star die a go and click through my link, I will receive a small compensation at no cost to you. Share the love, right?

Without further ado, here we go!

EPP Rose Star Coasters Tutorial

For this tutorial, I used the Sizzix fabi die cutting machine and the BigZ L Rose Star die, but many of the techniques can be applied to any EPP project.

sizzix fabi die cutting machineFirst, gather your fabric and get your die cutting machine ready. As I shared in my Sizzix mug rug tutorial, I like to pass a piece of regular printer paper through the machine, and label the pieces to help with planning. The Rose Star die is designed for EPP, so the single die can cut all of the templates and fabric needed (pretty awesome, huh?).

For this project, we will be using the A and B pieces. Begin by cutting the templates needed: 1 A and 6 B for each coaster. Since I made four (4) coasters, I cut 4 As and 24 Bs. I use cardstock for my templates, and hole punch the centers to facilitate easy removal after the stitching is complete. Use what works for you.

cuttingThe paper practice pieces can help you save time in cutting, too. For fabric shapes needed in duplicate, use the fabric piece to determine how wide of a fabric strip you will need, then use your rotary cutter and mat to cut a strip. As you can see, I gave myself some wiggle room, but if you’re a die cutting pro, you can really save fabric by lining up the shape flush with the edges of the cut strip.

fabi die cutting machineOnce you have your fabric strip, fold it accordion style and position it in your Sizzix sandwich: bottom cutting pad, die with the blades facing up, fabric over the fabric blades, and top cutting pad (not shown in this photo). Pass it right through the die cutting machine (or have your three year old crank it through for you), and you’ll have all of the pieces needed for a coaster. You can cut all the fabric needed for a coaster in one pass.

Now it’s time to baste our pieces.

glue basting epp with sewline fabric penFor this project, I decided to finally try glue basting instead of thread basting. I got a Sue Daley fabric glue pen, but any washable glue stick or pen will also work (Elmer’s, Sewline, etc.). I’ve heard so much about how glue basting saves a ton of time with EPP, so I figured if I paired it with the time saving cutting from the Sizzix fabi, I’d be golden with a fun, fast, fabulous gift idea. (Pst… I was right!)

sue daley glue basting eppGlue basting is similar to thread basting in that you are securing the fabric around the cardstock template. With glue basting, first put a dab of glue on the center of your template and stick it to the center of the wrong side of your fabric.

sew daley glue basting eppNow is the time to double check any fussy cutting you did to make sure it all lines up how you want it.

sew daley glue basting eppNext, apply a thin line of glue along one edge of your template. Be careful to keep the glue from getting all the way to the edge of the cardstock, since it will make it much more difficult to remove the templates once you are finished (ask me how I know).

sew daley glue basting eppHere’s one way glue basting differs from thread basting. Instead of working your way around the template, apply glue to opposite sides of the shape to help even out the pull of the fabric.

glue basting stepsBefore you know it, you’ll have your first piece.

glue basting stepsContinue glue basting all of the pieces needed for your coaster. With irregular shapes, start by gluing the longest side to help make the process smoother.

epp fussy cutting bunny rabbitHave fun with your meticulous cutting. This is a great project for using those adorable little bits of fabric you’ve been saving.

epp coasters tutorialOnce all of your pieces are basted, it’s time to start stitching them together! I made a set of four (4) coasters, but you can make as few or as many as you want.assembling epp coastersAll you need for this step is your basted pieces, sharp scissors, a sewing needle, and some thread in a coordinating color (I love using 50wt Aurifil thread). Sometimes, when the two pieces you’re sewing together are very different colors, there is no color that coordinates with both (like in my case). You can choose one of the colors to match, or just use a neutral color thread. I didn’t have black thread (Aurifil #2692, how have you evaded me!?), so I went with a contrasting light grey (Dove #2600) since I had already decided to quilt these with the contrasting colored thread. Once you have your supplies, this is a great project to take on the go, to stitch here and there.

assembling epp coastersTo get started sewing the pieces together, arrange your basted pieces the way you want the finished coaster to look. Flip the first piece over one edge of the center hexagon, right sides together.

assembling epp coastersWith a knotted thread, beginning at one corner, carefully stitch the two pieces together. The needle should only pass through the edges of the fabric, not the cardstock template, and only needs to catch a few threads of each fabric to hold. Many people use whip stitch to hold the pieces together (shown above). Sew the edge completely, then pick up the next basted piece, hold it right sides facing the next edge of the center hexagon, and continue sewing along that joining edge. There’s no need to knot your thread after each side; continue stitching the pieces together until you either run out of thread or you get to a point where no other piece can be directly joined.

ladder stitch to join eppladder stitch to join eppI recently saw the idea of using ladder stitch to join EPP pieces, so had to try it. I LOVED it! With ladder stitch, instead of entering the edge of the fabric from the same side every time as with whip stitch, you pass the needle from the side you’re on to the opposite side with each stitch. It may take a bit more time because of the back and forth of the needle, but I prefer it since it results in a nearly invisible join and I’m a slow and steady stitcher to begin with. Use whichever stitch works best for you and sew all seams. Don’t be afraid to fold your center template in order to get the outer seams lined up and sewn together.

Once your coaster EPP tops are all stitched together, it’s time to assemble the coasters.

tracing and cutting EPP coaster backingFirst, trace your EPP top onto a piece of 100% wool felt. I bought mine at my local quilt shop, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, where there’s a huge wall of gorgeous wool felt from which to choose. Trace one hexagon backing for each of the coaster tops. I used a Sakura Micron pen since we are going to cut just inside the line and therefore it won’t be visible. Plus, Micron pens are the best.

EPP coaster assemblyCarefully cut *just* inside the line you traced.

EPP coaster assemblyThis next step is optional, but if you plan to use the coasters for hot beverages I would recommend it. Gather some batting scraps. This is a great way to use those batting trimmings you’ve cut off the edge of finished quilts. Again, trace your hexagon coaster top and cut out along the line.

EPP coaster assemblyTrim 1/4″ off each edge of the batting hexagon. This way, the batting won’t stick out from the edges of the assembled coaster. I used my rotary cutter and ruler, but be sure to count how many edges you trim since it’s easy to lose track. You should have six (6) trimmings after trimming each hexagon. Set your felt and batting hexagons aside.

EPP coaster assemblyNow, back to your coaster tops. It’s time to take out those template papers! You will need your EPP coaster tops, a toothpick, a chop stick (or crochet hook), and an iron. Trust me, and no, we’re not making dinner!

use toothpick to release glue bastingGently slide the toothpick under the glued edges of the fabric, separating the fabric from the cardstock template. Be particularly careful around the outer edges to separate the fabric from the cardstock without pulling it out of shape too much.

chopstick removal of epp templatesOnce the fabric edges are separated from the cardstock template, grab your chopstick and stick the end of it in the hole punched hole of the template.

chopstick removal of epp templatesGently pull the edge of the chopstick up and the cardstock template will pop right out. This chopstick removal method works much more smoothly with thread-basted EPP pieces, but as long as all of the glue spots have been unstuck, it should still smoothly remove the template. You can save the template and use it again!

EPP coaster tutorialOnce all of your templates have been removed, give your coaster top a good press with a hot, dry iron, ensuring that all of the outer corners are still folded in the way they should be.

EPP coaster tutorialWhile you’re pressing your coaster top, fold in the edges of your outer seams like you’re making a paper airplane and press well. This will keep them away from the edges when you sew your layers together, keeping the edges of your coaster neat and clean and free from peeking-out seams.

EPP coaster tutorialIt should leave a nice neat edge.

epp coaster assembly tutorialNow it’s time to assemble our coasters! You can probably just pin the layers together: felt on the bottom, then batting, then EPP coaster top, but I like to glue baste and use Clover Clips* to hold the layers together before sewing since it results in a nearly perfect alignment.

glue basting epp coaster tutorialUsing Elmer’s washable glue, make a tiny path of glue around the outside edge of the entire coaster. I use Fine Line Glue applicator tips provided by Pile O’ Fabric and they are fantastic. They are superfine applicators that screw onto a regular bottle of school glue, but they control the flow so that you don’t end up with gloppy globs of glue all over your project.

glue basting epp coaster tutorialAssemble your layers: wool felt on the bottom, then batting centered within that, then EPP coaster top carefully positioned on top. Give it a gentle press with a warm iron (note that wool is now involved) to set the glue. Clover clip the edges for extra stability and head over to your sewing machine!

glue basting epp coaster tutorialTop stitch about 1/8th inch from the edge of the entire periphery of the coaster.

glue basting epp coaster tutorialYou can also add additional quilting if desired and for added durability. I added a top stitched hexagon about 1/8th inch from the edge of the inner hexagon mirroring the outer edge stitches.

EPP coasters in useCarefully trim any wool felt that extends beyond the coaster top, and admire your EPP Rose Star coasters. Weren’t those quick and easy gifts? (You can give yourself gifts, too, you know!)

Sizzix Tutorial- EPP Rose Star CoastersBetween cutting the fabric and templates with the Sizzix die cutting machine, glue basting the EPP shapes, and backing the coasters with felt, these whip up as quickly as you can stitch the top together. It’s a great introductory project to EPP since it’s a quick finish, yet is still a handmade, hand stitched gift. I’m definitely planning on making more of these, and playing around with my fussy cutting, too.

*Disclaimer: Clover Clips are a favorite treasure for most toddlers. Use with discretion and awareness that there may be a pudgy hand lurking around any corner waiting to snatch your Clover Clips away.

clover clip toddler treasure

I’m linking up with Late Night Quilter’s Tips and Tutorials Tuesday. Enjoy your coaster-making foray! (You know you want to make some!)

EPP Rose Star Mug Rug: Getting Started {Sizzix Tutorial}

I’m excited to share that today is my Sizzix Design Team debut! Over on the Sizzix blog, I share a tutorial on how to get started on making an awesome English Paper Pieced (EPP) mug rug using the Rose Star die.

sizzix EPP mug rug start tutorialDid you know that there are Sizzix dies created specifically for paper piecing!? I cut all of the templates and fabric needed to piece this EPP star all from a single die! Pretty awesome.

english paper piecing tutorialIn the tutorial, I take you step by step through the process of making and basting EPP pieces, including some helpful tips, so if you’ve been wanting to learn or brush up on your piecing, go check it out!

Welded Quilt: AGF Stitched {& Giveaway}

I’m excited to share one of the big behind-the-scenes projects I’ve been furiously sewing over the past few weeks: my version of the Welded Quilt, the newest free quilt pattern released as part of a collaboration between Art Gallery Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop called AGF Stitched with Kimberly (or #agfstitched).

agf-stitched-LOGOwelded quilt agf stitchedThis quilt is the third pattern released by Fat Quarter Shop and Art Gallery fabrics (you may have seen the Birchen and Fractal quilt patterns already released). The original version of the Welded quilt features Artisan by Pat Bravo. There’s an awesome instructional video HERE that helps make the organization and piecing of this on-point quilt very straight forward, without having to worry about bias edges. Fat Quarter Shop also has quilt kits and backing sets available.

When I was invited to be a part of the team to make this quilt, I accepted excitedly. I loved the idea of making an on-point quilt, and I knew that I wanted to use the focal diamonds to feature some meticulous cutting (fussy cutting to the rest of the quilting world). I also know how easy Kimberly makes quilt-making with her simple instructions.

utopia fabric fussy cut welded quiltI was invited to use the Art Gallery fabrics of my choice to make this quilt, and the fabric was generously provided by AGF. I quickly selected fabrics from Utopia by Frances Newcombe, including this Dreamlandia Irradiated (featuring the awesome deer), and some coordinating Curiosities by Jeni Baker. I added Art Gallery Pure Elements in Raspberry Rose, Teensy Weensy Lotus from Littlest for the light sashing, and Optical Origami Mod from Urban Mod by the AGF Studio to round out the palette.

utopia welded quilt agfstitchedI did have a few extra dates with my BFF the seam ripper due to directionality miscalculations, so pay extra attention to directionality of your edge pieces if you choose fabric with a distinct top and bottom. Those seam ripping dates were well worth it, though. I’m thrilled with the resulting quilt.

welded quilt in a treeI quilted it with straight lines in a grid work pattern framing the center diamonds, using my domestic Bernina 560 and a walking foot. I kept the quilting fairly minimal to preserve the super softness of the Art Gallery fabrics. I used my go-to thread, Aurifil 50wt in 2600-Dove for both piecing and quilting. I LOVE how this thread complements just about every fabric color combination and pattern.

machine binding welded quiltI machine bound the quilt for durability using the fabulous machine binding tutorial by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew, and it turned out so well. Practice certainly helps, but I’m finding myself favoring the sharp look of the machine binding more and more (although I will always love hand stitching binding!).

welded quilt deer peeking through fernsI just can’t get over how cute those Utopia deer are peeking out from this quilt. As you can probably tell, I had a blast prancing through our front field with the rest of my family for this quilt photo shoot.

Quilt Stats

Pattern: Welded, part of the AGF Stitched with Kimberly collaboration (instructional video here)

Size: 61” x 79.5″

Fabric (all by Art Gallery Fabrics):
Front: Dreamlandia Irradiated, Specks of Carambola, and Atomic Influx Perse from Utopia by Frances Newcombe;  String Lights Carmin, Book Pressed Memories, and Firefly Jar Dark from Curiosities by Jeni Baker; Art Gallery Pure Elements in Raspberry Rose, Teensy Weensy Lotus from Littlest, and Optical Origami Mod from Urban Mod by the AGF Studio.
Back: Candied Lollies Mint from Curiosities by Jeni Baker.
Binding: Firefly Jar Dark from Curiosities by Jeni Baker.

Batting: 100% cotton Soft n’ Crafty batting

Thread: Aurifil 50wt in 2600 – Dove for both piecing and quilting

Quilting: Straight line quilting in a grid work pattern using my Bernina 560 and a walking foot

Piecing the top: 14 hours 20 min (includes fussy cutting and seam ripping to fix directionality)
Piecing the back: 45 minutes
Squaring, layering, and basting: 1 hour
Quilting: 5 hrs 10 min
Finishing (squaring): 25 minutes
Binding: 2 hr 30 min
Total: Approx. 24 hours 10 min

Why did it take me so long to bind!? Meticulous machine binding, I suppose! It was worth every minute!

Now, for a giveaway!

Fat Quarter Shop has generously offered a giveaway to one of my readers. Comment below to be entered to win a bundle of your favorite Art Gallery Fabrics collection!  You can enter by leaving two comments:

  1. What Art Gallery Fabric collection would you choose?
  2. If you follow me, Night Quilter, let me know how–or visit my right sidebar to follow me if you don’t already, then tell me how! (e-mail, WordPress, Bloglovin’, Instagram, Twitter, Craftsy)

The giveaway will be open until Wednesday, September 30th 12noon EST. I will select one winner randomly from the comments below. Good luck!  Note: This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations, Nicole!

Once you enter, be sure to check out the versions of Welded created by the other talented quilt bloggers participating in this event (links will be added as soon as available):

Cara of That Crafty Cara
John of Quilt Dad
Dana of Old Red Barn and Co.
Michele-Renee of Quilt Matters
Corey of Little Miss Shabby
Christina of Sometimes Crafter
Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting
Sinta of Pink Pin Cushion
Jess of The Elven Garden
Svetlana of Sotak Handmade
Jemima of Tied with a Ribbon
Katarina Roccella
Caroline of Sew Caroline
Riane of Vessel Quilts
Megan of Quilt Story
Kaye of Miss Print
Natalia of Piece N Quilt

Just for fun, here are some behind the scenes shots from our frolicking fun family photo shoot:

behind the quilt
My awesome husband not only is a champion quilt holder, but he also climbs downed branches to help adjust the quilt *just so*.
behind the quilt
Finn cheered us on from the stroller while Maddie and Max ran wild.
behind the quilt
Max needed a piggy back all the way home after playing in the field and climbing the apple tree to pick apples.

SnapChat Welded Quilt Photo ShootEveryone’s husband makes a SnapChat story about his family’s quilt photoshoot adventures, right? Yes, my husband is a tech geek extraordinaire! We had fun. Thanks again to Fat Quarter Shop and Art Gallery Fabrics!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday and TGIFF, because seriously…. I’m so glad it’s Friday and I finished this in time!

P.S. I always try to respond to comments, but may not be able to on the giveaway posts due to the high number of comments.  Please know I appreciate your visit and hope you follow or come back again!

Color Inspiration Thursday {59}

Every year, friends of ours host a pot luck pig roast on their 360+ acre organic farm right up the road. It is truly one of the (if not THE) highlights of our year. With contributing family members who are musicians, a midwife, farmers, cheese makers, contractor, parents, kids, the invite list always includes a wonderful group of local folks with many smiles, more babies than you would think possible, and dear friends. The food is always amazing, the farm is gorgeous as always, the day is filled with kids running around and playing, hay rides behind their team of work horses, amazing seasonal local food, and usually a bonfire with accompanying impromptu music. North Branch Farm is such an amazing place, made so entirely by the vision, ability, hardwork, and unending determination of a wonderful family. I am truly in awe of all that they do, and so grateful to call them dear friends.

Today’s color inspiration comes from some photos I took during this year’s Pig Roast. I spent more time socializing, playing with kiddos, and eating than photographing, but this is just a little glimpse into one of our favorite events. Color palettes are made using Play Craft’s Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs. Enjoy, and I do encourage you to visit North Branch Farm’s website to read a bit more about their awesome farm, and of course be inspired!

hay ride color palette north branch farmCorresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Christmas Green, Kona Pepper, Kona Laurel, Bella Betty’s Teal, Bella French Blue, Kona Raffia

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1158 – Med Grey
2785 – V Dk Navy
2890 – Dk Grass Green
2850 – Med Juniper
4140 – Wedgewood
2314 – Beige

This post wouldn’t be complete without a photo of their gorgeous work horses, named April and May. The resulting palette is super soothing and earthy, too. You can catch a glimpse of one of their gorgeous fields and the happy rows of giant organic veggies to the left of the horses. You can also catch a little glimpse of the haywagon filled with happy rows of friends and family. I’m pretty sure that little head hanging way over the edge on the right is my daughter. I think she rode this wagon with her friend Noah at least 20 times.

table at pig roast north branch farmCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Ash, Kona Shadow, Kona Black, Bella Brick Red, Kona Garnet, Kona Plum

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
5011 – Rope Beige
2600 – Dove

2692 – Black
2245 – Red Orange
1240 – V Dk Eggplant
4030 – Plum

The tiny details are never forgotten, from these jars of garden and wild flowers on the tables, the string lights hung from the tent, or the cross-section of a tree with leaves and grapes used to plate their own aged gouda that graced the pot luck table (I wish I had gotten a photo of this display, but sadly I did not.)

Here are just a few more peeks into our fun day.

north branch farm pig roast maine IMG_4256 IMG_4264 IMG_4270 IMG_4210 IMG_4228 IMG_4215 north branch farm pig roast maineI hope the early days of autumn bring you much joy, family, friends, and fulfilling preparation for the winter to come.

Mega Projects and Mini Minis

Things have been busy behind the scenes here at Night Quilter, and life has been cruising along the way life does. With many big projects about to begin (Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, Sizzix Design Team tutorial posts, a quilt project reveal, etc.), when I saw Michelle Bartholomew post about a mini mini quilt swap on Instagram, the “I love cute little finishes” within me jumped and clicked its heels. I immediately offered to swap mini minis with Michelle. (Look up #miniminiquiltswap on IG to see the current swap stream and jump right in).

mini mini quilt by michelle bartholomewMichelle is deep in the mini mini quilt swap game, so hers was already complete and she must have popped it right in the mail because it has arrived already! I absolutely love how tiny and adorable this mini quilt is.

mini mini quilt by michelle bartholomewThe hearts on the binding are the final touch, in my opinion. So tiny. So perfectly wonderful.

The mini mini quilt idea really resonates with me right now, too. Making a teeny tiny mini mini quilt to swap with a quilty friend gives you an opportunity to try new techniques, new color combinations, quilting styles, etc. without investing too much time or fabric. You also get to make a connection with a quilty friend, sharing a piece of yourself and decorating your walls with pieces of your quilty friends while you are at it. Surround yourself with inspiration! I have really enjoyed the mini quilt swaps in which I’ve participated, but the time investment is more than I have to give right now so I have been firmly resisting the urge to join in on additional mini swaps. The mini mini, though, is TOTALLY doable. Remember #sewtake20? #sewtake20 and make a mini mini! I hope to cover my wonky-sized craft loft walls with them, eventually.

mini mini quilt by michelle bartholomew on cosmosmini mini quilt by michelle bartholomew snuggles borageThis mini mini is so tiny it fit right at home with all of the little flowers in my garden. It lightly sat upon the cosmos leaves and snuggled with the borage.

So what mini mini am I making to mail back to Michelle?

my mini mini quilt in progressI showed her some of the little mini quilt bits I had started to see if any appealed to her and she chose one of my Chawne Kimber-inspired sew small Roberta quilt starts.

So what mini mini am I making to mail back to Michelle?It is far from perfect, but with those little 1/8th inch wide sections, it’s a mini mini work of love, and I think really fun aesthetically. I plan to free motion quilt it in a spiral, bind it somehow, and mail it off!

I’m linking up with Lee’s Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. It’s been a while since a link up for me, but this blog is about to get hopping! I’m excited to show you the projects on which I’ve been so secretly working. Soon…

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sew Along

I’m excited to share another behind-the-scenes project for which I’ve been preparing: The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sew Along hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell, which kicks off on September 28th, only 2 weeks away!

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along: Learn to sew the 99 Blocks from Laurie Aaron Hird's book The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt" with Angie Wilson of, Fat Quarter Shop and From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates. Find out more here:
The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sew-along: Learn to sew the 99 Blocks from Laurie Aaron Hird’s book The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt” with Angie Wilson of, Fat Quarter Shop and From Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Templates. Find out more here:

The Farmer’s Wife quilt is one that while straight-up traditional, I’ve been itching to make for a while now. I’m not technically a farmer’s wife, but I certainly live in farm country and some of my closest friends are farmers (I’ll call mine the Programmer’s Wife in Farm Country quilt). There was just something about the idea of reading “inspiring letters from farm women of the Great Depression” and then making the respective quilt blocks that really appealed to me. Inspiration plus quilting: what’s not to like? When Angie asked if I would join the official bloggers team for the sew along, I knew that this was my chance–how could I say no?

farmer's wife 1930s sampler quilt
The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

This sew along is going to be super cool. All you need to participate is a copy of Laurie Aaron Hird’s book The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt and your fabric of choice. I’m going to try to make mine almost entirely from stash, since frugality is part of the farmer’s wife experience.

Over the course of the year, Angie and the blogger team (including me!) will share tips and tricks to help you create all 99 blocks from the book, 2 per week in a non-chronological, easy to more difficult, order. Blocks finish at only 6″ square, and can be paper pieced, hand pieced, you can use templates, do English paper piecing, use a rotary cutter and sewing machine, or try all methods. I will most likely use a variety of methods, heavily favoring the rotary cutter-machine piecing and foundation paper piecing options.

fermers wife meets my chickensI have my book, took it for a little photography tour of our homestead, introduced it to our chickens, and have been thinking about how I want to make my quilt. I really lean heavily toward the modern aesthetic, so I want to try to make this uber traditional quilt “night quilter style”. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

warm vs cool color palette fabric pullThe fabric pull is pretty predictable, but this time instead of a simple rainbow gradient, I want to play with warm vs. cool colors. I’m planning on making the warm colored blocks with a black background and the cool colored blocks with a low volume/white background.

warm colors with blackI really like how fiery the warm colors look paired with black.

cool color with white fabricConversely, the cool colors look almost icy paired with the low volume/whites. I’m really hoping I can find a layout that emphasizes these visual characteristics!

Now that I have EQ7, it makes playing with layout options *really* quick and easy. Knowing that I am a busy, busy mama of three and that there is a decent chance I won’t be able to make ALL 99 blocks, I’ve opted for a layout that includes whole cloth background squares between the blocks, as well as sashing. I plan to use Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal for the whole cloth background squares, or *maybe* (with the last layout) a gradient from even lighter to darker. Here are some of the layouts I’ve played with. I haven’t landed on one I LOVE yet. What do you think?

Note that rather than buy the entire Farmer’s Wife block file for EQ7, I just used some of the free quilt blocks included in the program. I made them the colors I wanted and then used them in duplicate to get the general aesthetic of the quilt.

Farmer's Wife Layout 1: Warm Cool Converge
Farmer’s Wife Layout 1: Warm Cool Converge

Layout 1. This one feels too stark to me.

Farmer's Wife Layout 2: ROYGBIV blend
Farmer’s Wife Layout 2: ROYGBIV blend

Layout 2. Note that I’ve pretty much decided I’m not going to use this layout. It’s easy, sure, and looks great, but I want to try to stretch my color play muscles a little bit.

Farmer's Wife Layout 3: cool warm
Farmer’s Wife Layout 3: cool warm

Layout 3. I like this one, with consistently colored sashing and background/filler squares. But I’m still not sure it’s exactly what I want. I want to create the effect of the fiery warms rising to meet the cool colors, which are dripping to meet and mingle with the warm.

Layout 4: Cool Warm Converge Blended Background
Layout 4: Cool Warm Converge Blended Background

Layout 4. I like this one more than Layout 1, but I’m still not sold completely.

For now I will plan to start making my cool/warm blocks when the Sew Along begins in two weeks, and will continue to play with layout until I find one I love. Will you be joining in on the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along? If you do, be sure to join the super active Facebook group, too. It will be a fun journey!

A Peek Through the Periscope

Have you heard of Periscope? It’s an app for smart phones that allows you to live-stream videos straight from wherever you are. The idea is that you can discover the world through someone else’s eyes. This past week, a few quilt-blogger friends and I used it to lead tours of our honest craft spaces, and I got to peek into the homes of some of my quilty friends for the first time (and finally shared a peek at my honest–read: messy–craft loft). In the span of just over an hour, I was able to have a guided tour of seven diverse craft spaces across the country.

Honest Craft Room Periscope Hop

This started as just another crazy idea I was tossing around with my friends Stephanie from Late Night Quilter, Terri Ann from Childlike Fascination, and Daisy from Ants to Sugar. We decided to publicly (on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) post an invitation to join us on an Honest Craft Room Tour in Periscope, and then just jumped in and gave mini, 10 minute tours of our craft spaces, mentioning the next person in the tour at the end of our scopes so that viewers could “hop” to the next video. Early in the tour, Mandy from Mandalei Quilts joined the line-up, and then through the course of the night, Silvia from A Stranger View and Kelley decided to spontaneously join us. It was so much fun to take a peek into the spaces in which these quilter friends create. Our spaces varied from small to large, slanty-roofed loft to basement, messy to neat, yet they all housed so much creativity. It was a night of inspiration and strengthening connections. And it was loads of fun.

While a firm plan is not yet in place, we plan to do these Periscope tours weekly, most likely on Tuesday nights beginning at around 9pm eastern time. Each week will have a focus; maybe one week we will share our top five favorite quilting tools, another week share our latest works in progress, yet another week talk about how we go about choosing fabrics for a project. The sky’s the limit! What kind of videos would you like to see?

periscope profile

Followers of your periscope account get a notification when you are streaming live and can join in, watching and listening, and communicating by typing messages and tapping the screen to create a cloud of rising hearts to show the “scoper” that you like what he/she is saying. If you’re interested in giving it a try, here’s a helpful post with technical tips for getting started with Periscope. Be sure to follow me @nightquilter so that we can communicate in yet another way! Perhaps I’ll see you (literally) through the Periscope!


Color Inspiration Thursday {58}

Heat and humidity still run deep here in Maine, although nights are beginning to cool off. Even still, with school starting and the garden passing its peak, we are clearly headed into autumn, like it or not. Today’s color inspiration includes a couple of photographs I took while my family was visiting in early August. I’ve saved them until now, though, since they have a decidedly autumnal feel to me. Color palettes are created using Play Crafts Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs. The matching solids and Aurifil thread are an awesome perk of using the Palette Builder; they are automatically generated for you!

spiral plant color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Coal, Bella Green, Kona Spring, Bella Baby Blue, Bella Plum, Bella Eggplant

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1158 – Med Grey
5014 – Marine Water

2850 – Med Juniper
2606 – Mist
2566 – Wisteria
2568 – Mulberry

This awesome spiral ornamental plant was spotted outside one of the businesses in downtown Camden, Maine. It’s variegated, but beyond that I have no idea what species of plant it might be. I thought the combination of the unique spiral of the soft green leaf, the brick tinged veins and leaf border, and the brick step background would make a gorgeous palette. It feels like fall to me.

wine and bonfire color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Pepper, Kona Chocolate, Bella Acid Green, Kona Amber, Kona Cedar, Kona Spice

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2785 – V Dk Navy
1285 – Med Bark

2120 – Canary
2145 – Yellow Orange
2390 – Cinnamon Toast
2385 – Terracotta

Wine and a bonfire. What’s not to like? While this scene was enjoyed during a hot midsummer’s night, the resulting color palette screams fall. Maybe it’s the fiery orange and yellow with the dark black/brown background that seems reminiscent of jack-o-lanterns and autumn leaves. I’d certainly love to enjoy a nice glass of wine by a bonfire, but I’ll have to wait until my month-long antibiotic Lyme-kicking regiment is finished before I imbibe. This photo will just have to suffice for now.

Taking this photo reminded me that I haven’t paired wine and fabric in a while. I think it’s high time I got back to that, since it makes for some fun creative fabric play. If you’re a wine drinker, what are some of your favorites? Perhaps I’ll try to find one and pair it up with the perfect fabric match!

Enjoy these last days of summer! Happy sewing.


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