February Finish {ALYoF}: Rainbow Jellyroll Quilt

With one day to go, I did it! I finished my daughter’s first quilt–a Rainbow Jellyroll Quilt! I’m excited on many levels, since not only was this my first finished quilt for an immediate family member, it was also my goal for February in A Lovely Year of Finishes. A late night binding session last night and a specially requested free-motion quilted dedication session this morning were the final touches.

rainbow jellyroll quilt

I’m happy with how this quilt turned out, but it was a definite lesson in dealing with and loving imperfection. Mental note: when choosing a backing for a VERY linearly directional quilt top, avoid extremely linearly directional fabrics. Before beginning this quilt, I bought some yardage of “The Dotted Line” by De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics as backing. It really is perfect; I just didn’t PERFECTLY line up the backing with the front before quilting, so it’s a little off kilter. I opted to quilt this before squaring it up, since the edges of the jellyroll strips weren’t perfect, but I think that due to the linear nature of both front and back fabrics, I should have squared up my top before quilting. We’re always learning, right?

rainbow jellyroll quilt

quilting rainbow back

I do like how the quilting from the front looks on the back, even though it’s not perfectly parallel to the dots. Maddie certainly doesn’t love it any less due to its off kilter elements.
rainbow jellyroll quilt and maddie

maddie and her quilt

I quilted this quilt with primarily Aurifil 40wt thread, which worked perfectly. It was enough extra weight to make the quilting visible (especially the free motion quilted dedication: “Made for Madeline Joyce with love from Mommy”).

free motion quilted dedication

free motion quilting 40wt aurifil detail

The 40wt Aurifil really helps the stitches pop!
The 40wt Aurifil really helps the stitches pop!

I decided to machine bind the quilt using Cluck Cluck Sew‘s fabulous Machine binding tutorial, since I’m counting on this quilt getting loved to tatters by my little (big!?) five year old. After sewing the binding to the front, I pressed it out around the edges with a hot iron, and folded and pressed the corners how I wanted them to look. Using this little trick, when sewing the binding to the back, I didn’t sew onto the front binding at all! At least one part turnedy out perfectly!

rainbow jellyroll quilt

maddie on her quilt

maddie on her rainbow quilt

maddie on her rainbow quilt
Maybe she will share with her little brother… one can hope!

Quilt Stats

Pattern: Inspired by a Rainbow Jellyroll Quilt seen on Creativebug; I simply sewed jellyroll strips together.

Size: 42″x 61″

Fabric:
Front: Andover Fabrics Color Collection jellyroll
Back: “The Dotted Line” by De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Fabrics 2012
Binding: Poppy Passion Bead Stripe by Springs Creative Products Group

Batting: 100% cotton Warm & Natural batting

Thread: Aurifil 40wt in coordinating colors (contrasting color used for free motion quilted dedication)

Quilting: Straight line echo quilting 1/4″ from each seam; Free motion quilted dedication: “Made for Madeline Joyce with love from Mommy” “2015”

Related blog posts: Work in Progress: Rainbow Jellyroll Quilt, Friday Finish: Rainbow Jellyroll Quilt Top, Rainbow Thread Eye Candy, February Goals {ALYoF}

I’m linking up my finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes February Goals PartyTGIFF & Sew Can She Show off Saturday.

Color Inspiration Thursday {38}

In the spirit of QuiltCon decompression, this week’s color inspiration will feature photos from my travels. To be honest, I took FAR less photos than I typically do (hundreds or thousands less, in reality), since I was so caught up in meeting and conversing with people and seeing everything there was to see. I wish that I could have borrowed a Duplicator from Calvin & Hobbes (or maybe the Transmogrifier if I wanted to be a photographer lizard) to make four of myself: one to meet and converse with people; one to see and fully take in all of the amazing quilts; one to visit the booths and talk with admired fabric and pattern designers, fabric shop owners, and company figureheads; and one to photographically document the entire event. But lo, I am only one person, and one completely gobsmacked, overwhelmed, perma-grinning person at that. So here you go, your color inspiration pulled from the few gems I found in Austin during QuiltCon 2015. But first–did I mention that I got to meet Anne from Play Crafts, the creator of the beloved Palette Builder 2.1!?

kitty nightquilter with anne from playcrafts
Don’t mind the fact that I didn’t figure out where to look on the phone to actually look AT the photo until the very end of QuiltCon. Im not a selfie person!

The following color palettes are created using my (on the right) photographs made into color palettes using Play Craft’s (on the left) Palette Builder 2.1. Now you have a visual of the faces behind these weekly posts!

IMG_9199-palette (3)

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Gray, Bella Home Town Sky, Kona Graphite, Bella Leaf, Kona Goldfish, Kona Sangria

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2324 – Stone
2847 – Lt Grey Green
1126 – Blue Grey
5018 – Grass Green
2318 – Cachemire
2230 – Med Peony

This lovely stack is my pre-cut 7″ squares for Cheryl Arkison‘s Value class before she kindly suggested that we match value without looking at color at all (followed by a long sidelong glance in my direction–what!? is it that obvious that I’m totally hooked on color in rainbow order!? hah). I’ll talk much more about this in a future post, but Cheryl’s class was fabulous at making me stretch out of my comfort zone. I learned a ton, and am looking forward to playing with value more in coming projects. And color. Of course I can’t let go of color.

textile event space wall in austin texas

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Charcoal, Bella Admiral Blue, Bella French Blue, Bella Rust, Cotton Gold, Bella Tan

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2570 – Aubergine
1310 – Med Blue Grey
5008 – Sugar Paper
2385 – Terracotta
2930 – Toast
5010 – Beige

This fabulous structure was right across from the Conference Center hosting QuiltCon. The building is called “Textile”, which is just so appropriate for its gorgeous aesthetic. I could not pass by this terracotta/rust colored door paired with the admiral blue walls with french blue Xs without photographing it profusely. Sure, I may have lost the group of amazing women with whom I was walking, but being left behind for the sake of getting a great photo is nothing new for me–did I ever tell you about the time I almost got left in the Mexican jungle because I was photographing hearts in a palm leaf?–Anyway, this is my favorite photo from Austin (and I was able to finally catch up with and join my friends after snapping it). I only wish I lived nearer to Austin so that this could become a quilt photo backdrop!

If you went to QuiltCon, did you take any stellar photos? I’d love to see them!

 

QuiltCon 2015 Reflection: Friends

There’s a hashtag going around social media that reads #quiltconhangover. Even though I’m with child and didn’t have a single alcoholic drink during my trip (that’s more than I can say for some others, though!) I definitely am feeling the effects of my post-QuiltCon return to reality. After a full 19 hour travel day Monday, I’m exhausted. My head is spinning, too, although not in a dizzy way. The ideas and inspirations from those four whirlwind days have left me on a sleep-deprived “high”, ideas spinning around my brain, leaking out in the form of little sketches of pattern ideas and names. One such pattern idea, as an example, will be entitled “Mind Blown: The Aftermath of QuiltCon”

A couple people have already asked me to tell them about my favorite part of QuiltCon. To be honest, I don’t think it is possible to express in words the vast amazingness of the experience. This was not only my first QuiltCon, but it was also my first quilt show or event of any kind, AND my first time meeting any of my quilty bloggy friends and fiber world heroes. The only word I could use to describe the week was “whirlwind”, but in an absolutely good way. Everywhere I turned, there was another familiar name (usually the blog or internet tag name–I’m so grateful for the huge nametags!), a gorgeous quilt, an admired designer, or a fabulous booth to take in. I was fortunate to attend two uber informative and appropriately comfort-stretching all-day classes, as well as three great lectures. I honestly could talk for days about everything I saw, everything I did, and everyone I met.

For now, though, I will answer the question: what was your favorite part of QuiltCon? You. Over the past year (can you believe I’ve only been blogging for one year!?) I have formed some fabulous friendships with quilty bloggers across the country and world. Even without having met a single one of you in person, I can say that I feel like I am a part of your lives, and you a part of mine. We have swapped ideas, we’ve offered each other encouragement and advice, we’ve shared fears and unexpected pains, all via the reading, commenting, and replying to blogs, Instagram posts, and other online communications. Sure, technology poses new challenges to the balance of life, but boy does it also enrich our lives and create unprecedented opportunities. I’ve said it before–you are my quilt guild. QuiltCon was my first time meeting ANY of you quilting, blogging friends. The experience of walking around, seeing a face I *think* might be familiar, looking down at the name tag to confirm my suspicions, officially introducing myself (“Hi, I’m Kitty Wilkin… aka, Night Quilter”) and then hugging like old friends, was simply amazing. Mind blowing. Whirlwind. Time and time again, meeting up with cherished “old friends” and meeting face to face for the first time ever, hearing voices, taking in mannerisms that are impossible to convey in blogland, firming and reaffirming these friendships–that was my favorite part of QuiltCon. I won’t try to name all the names of the amazing blogger friends I met, so if you’re wondering if I mean you, the answer is YES! You!

new bloggers at quilt con
Here I am with some of my fellow New Quilty Bloggers from Plum & June‘s blog hop this year. L to R: Afton from Quilt Mod, Daisy from Ants to Sugar, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl, Anne from Hudson Valley Quilts, and me (and baby belly) in front of the Best in Show quilt, “i Quilt” by Kathy York.

Three quilty bloggers in particular stand out, though, so I’ll do a *little* naming of names. First of all, I was finally able to meet (and stay with!) my sewing soul sister, Stephanie from Late Night Quilter.

night quilter and late night quilter

Over the past year, Stephanie and I have met, discovered we are totally sewing soul sisters just living across the country from each other (she lives in Austin, TX and I’m in Monroe, ME), decided to start a Late Night Quilters Club facebook group together, watched that group grow to over 2,200 strong in less than 7 months with the help of Michelle & Mandy–and still stay overwhelmingly nice and supportive–, chatted pretty much daily via texts and messages online, and jumped into various other joint ventures, constantly supporting, encouraging, and helping the other. Needless to say, we have become friends. Great friends. And yet, before QuiltCon, we had never met in person. Stephanie is as wonderful in person as she is online, and it was SUCH a treat to meet her, meet her sweet husband and four energetic kids, stay with her, and have her as a steady, friendly, calm, peaceful presence amidst the whirlwind of the week.

Late night sewing session with Stephanie, Late Night Quilter.
Late night sewing session with Stephanie, Late Night Quilter.

The second “meeting” that stood out as epically awesome wasn’t even technically an in-person meeting! Before heading to Austin, I emailed another close bloggy friend, Angie from Gnome Angel, asking if she was headed to Austin. Sadly, living in Australia and having a little one, she wasn’t attending, but said that some of her Aussie quilting friends would be there and told me to hunt them down. When I found Gemma from Pretty Bobbins, and then finally put it all together that she was one of the Aussie quilters Angie had encouraged me to find (I’m slow), I was SO excited! Trying to resist the urge to jump up and down (okay, maybe I did a little bit) I swapped pins AND hugs with Angie all the way in Australia (thank you, Gemma!!), and was able to tell her and share the excitement immediately via Instagram. The world is an amazing place!

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 4.59.56 PM

Finally, meeting Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl was another highlight. I first met Yvonne through Beth at Plum and June‘s New Bloggers Blog Hop earlier in the year. I was trying to think of why I feel particularly close to Yvonne since we primarily converse through blog reading and comments, but then I realized that Yvonne not only reads blogs, she is also consistently the first commentator on a post, with a thoroughly thought out and sincere comment. These frequent comments have opened the door to conversations that have built deeper understanding and closeness over the past few months. Yvonne also has been writing more open and reflective posts about the deeper aspects of quilting, self, and community, which really help me to see inside her thought process and quilty soul (in an open and awesome way). I would definitely recommend her recent posts The Four Agreements and Community {Discussion}. Meeting Yvonne in person was such a treat, and I’m so grateful for the time (as sporadic as it may have been) we had to hang out in person. As I told her yesterday via blog comment-conversation, I keep catching myself thinking how I could see us being great friends if we lived nearer to each other. I catch myself because–duh!–we can be great friends even though we live across the country from each other. Just one more amazing aspect of this blogging community and the simple communication allowed through modern technology. Somehow, the only photo I have with Yvonne is the one above, with the other new quilt bloggers, so here she is modeling her Jetgirl flight suit pre-QuiltCon!

Yvonne modeling her QuiltCon Alter Ego flight suit--can you believe we did not get a single photo together in our Alter Ego attire!?
Yvonne modeling her QuiltCon Alter Ego flight suit–can you believe we did not get a single photo together in our Alter Ego attire!?

By highlighting these three wonderful women, I in no way wish to downplay the intense joy and excitement I had in meeting all of you quilty bloggers at QuiltCon. I am overwhelmed with emotion at the sheer number of fabulously talented and sweet people I was fortunate to meet and get to know during my week in Austin. Just look at all of these pins and cards! It’s only the tip of the awesome iceberg.

IMG_1701I also want to share my experiences from the classes and lectures I attended, and share some of my favorites from the amazing collection of quilts displayed at the show. Like I said, I could talk for days about QuiltCon! I plan to share more in the coming weeks, mixing my QuiltCon reflections in with my slow reacclimation to “real” life, as the changed quilter and designer I am. Thank YOU for reading.

 

Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Wow!! I was floored by the response to my Doe & Aurifil giveaway last week in conjunction with the Fat Quarter Shop Layers of Charm quilt blog hop. 354 comments! Thank you all so very much for your kind comments and new follows. I apologize for not being able to reply to everyone. I appreciate every single comment! For those of you who said you wanted to make the same quilt I made–if you do make it, I would LOVE to see it, so please tag me @nightquilter! Now, without further ado, it’s time to announce the winner!

text here

Mr. Random Number Generator chose lucky 219:

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 12.19.29 PMI counted through all of the comments (don’t worry–I counted twice. Remember: measure twice, cut once. Same rule applies for finding giveaway winners.) and Kriss is our lucky winner!

Kriss, I’ve sent you an email requesting your mailing address, so once I hear back from you and your winnings are received, you’ll be well on your way to making your own Layers of Charm quilt!

Thank you all for entering!

 

The Final Countdown: QuiltCon 2015

The days have been ticking by with a fury, and in only 4 short days, I’ll be on a plane (four planes to be exact) to Austin for QuiltCon. My family–husband especially–has been super understanding and helpful in terms of giving me a bit extra sewing time so that I can feel prepared. After a long late-night sewing stint last night and a great mail day today, I’m feeling much more prepared. Here’s a quick post outlining what I’ve finished:

Super Tote

super tote finish

super tote finish

super tote finish

I amazingly finished sewing this Super Tote (pattern by Anna at Noodle-head) so that I will have an awesome handmade bag large enough to carry all my supplies around QuiltCon. Only the second bag I’ve ever made, there are a number of things I messed up or would do differently next time, but I am happy with it! I used Anna Maria Horner’s line Field Study for both the front pocket and lining, and used Robert Kaufman 21-wale corduroy for the body.

Night Quilter Belt for the AlterEgo Moda Dance Party
night quilter alter ego belt in progress
Night Quilter Alter Ego belt in progress.
quiltcon night quilter alter ego belt in the snow
Don’t mind the snow. Of course it’s snowing again. We are getting another 24″ tonight into tomorrow!

quiltcon night quilter alter ego belt

quiltcon night quilter alter ego beltquiltcon night quilter alter ego belt
Can you tell what my favorite colors are these days?

Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl proposed a fun idea a month or so ago, where we dress up as our QuiltCon Alter Egos for the Moda Dance Party Thursday night.  The idea was to dress like your blog name, since everyone will recognize blogosphere monikers far more easily than actual names or faces. I decided to make a belt reflecting my new Night Quilter logo (see business cards and pins below), and I will be wearing a navy blue shirt with silver star stickers all over it. Night Quilter? I hope it works!

Business Cards and Pins

business cards and pin back buttons

My business cards from Moo and pin-back buttons from Button Arcade finally arrived today! Now I’m feeling like I’m REALLY ready to head to QuiltCon!! There is an official-unofficial pin swap going on at QuiltCon, so I’m looking forward to swapping! I love that Kyle at Button Arcade was able to put my blog url on the back/side of the pins. What an awesome feature!

Here’s my updated QuiltCon to-do list:

  • Order pin-back buttons
  • Download QuiltCon app
  • Prep for classes
    -Buy fabric for Alternate Grid
    -Make blocks (5 finished)
    -Cut scraps for Playing with Value
  • Make Super Tote
  • Make quilted belt for QuiltCon AlterEgo
  • Order business cards
  • Make Noodle-head pouch for holding buttons
  • Buy a new moleskin notebook & micron pens
  • Make a lanyard? (both Sarah at Smiles Too Loudly and Daisy at Ants to Sugar offered to make me a lanyard! I’m SO grateful for awesome quilter blogger friends! Woohoo!)
  • Make a list of people to meet (It’s ongoing!)

Up I go to cut scraps for Playing with Value, then perhaps I’ll make a couple more blocks tomorrow for the Off the Grid workshop. Tonight is date night with my hubby for Valentine’s Day, so all sewing comes to a halt when he arrives home from dropping the kids with his cousin!

Color Inspiration Thursday {37}

It seems the online quilting world has become a swarm of buzzing bees in preparation for QuiltCon. Either we are frantically prepping for our classes, making our handmade accessories, and plotting the long journey, or we are vicariously living through all of the other ubiquitous Instagram and blog posts about QuiltCon. I admit, I’m one of those bees. I’m super excited to be attending QuiltCon, my first ever quilting event, and am definitely caught up in the energy and excitement. This buzz of excitement around QuiltCon got me thinking about color inspiration, and I thought it was the perfect time for another People Palette. Stage left, enter the Modern Quilt Guild email introducing their new staff members, with the bright and colorful Riane Menardi introductory photo. Viola! Our next People Palette:

riane menardi color palette

Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Etchings Stone, Bella Pond, Bella Lemon, Bella Amelia Orange, Kona Kumquat, Kona Tangerine

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
5020 – Light Military Green
2850 – Med Juniper
1135 – Pale Yellow
2150 – Pumpkin
5009 – Medium Orange
1154 – Dusty Orange

Meet Riane (pronounced Ree-ann). She’s the new Communications Manager at the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG). Trust me, she’s great at what she does! I contacted her yesterday morning asking if she would be interested in this last minute whirlwind People Palette moment of stardom (I’m a busy bee preparing for QuiltCon, remember? I’m drinking the last-minute-nectar this week!), and by noon all the photos were sent, questions answered, and communication clearly and efficiently handled. Awesome.

For a little bit of background, here is an excerpt from her MQG intro:

My background is in journalism, but I’ve done just about everything under the sun in communications. I worked for ReadyMade magazine before it was put to rest (R.I.P.), and then went on to help indie handmade companies do promotions, events and social media. I also worked as a community builder for a startup handmade marketplace (not Etsy, but close). And for the past year, I’ve been with an agency, helping clients run marketing campaigns and communications. I also contribute words, designs and project management to Fresh Quilts from time to time.

I’m based in the sweet, sweet heartland of Des Moines, Iowa, and when I’m not sewing or writing, you can find me sipping craft beer, doing yoga or cycling (but only in weather over 50 degrees).

The quilt behind Riane is one that she designed, and which was featured in Fresh Quilts magazine. The pattern is available in the most recent issue (though a new one is due out soon, so you may have to backorder it).

fresh quilts magazine

I asked Riane to answer three short questions to help the world get to know the color inspiration star of the week a little more intimately:

Where do you fit into the worldwide family tree of quilting?
I love this question. Right now, I would say that I’m that independent, fun-loving niece who’s trying to learn as much as possible from the amazing, crazy and inspirational women in her life (aunts, grandmothers, cousins, etc.). I’m like a sponge — trying new things, going new places and developing my personal style, but all while remembering the lessons and wisdom learned from my quilt family.

My favorite branches to swing from, however, are the ones where we play with modern minimalism, neutral linens and the sweet, sweet joys of hand-quilting (especially sashiko).

-and if you want to get technical-

I am the new Communications Manager for the MQG and a contributor and project editor for Fresh Quilts magazine.

What is your least favorite mode of transportation?
Walking in heels. I love heels, but I always seem to encounter a TON of unexpected walking when I’m in my highest get-ups. And while I generally rely on my trusty (Kia Soul) steed to get me from here to there, my favorite mode of transportation would probably be via camel, if I had that option. They’re such badasses!

If you could choose anyone, who would you choose as your mentor?
Dustin Hoffman, hands down. Have you ever seen the movie Stranger Than Fiction? Ever since I first watched it, Dustin Hoffman has been my spirit animal. Even though he’s (probably?) not a quilter, I’d like him to guide me through life with his calm, quirky wisdom.

You can find Riane in the bloggy quiltiverse here:

Or you can say hi in person at QuiltCon. I can’t wait to meet Riane next week and welcome her to the MQG family. Say hi if you see her! She’ll be the one riding a badass camel (maybe?)!

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

All color palettes are created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and photos were provided by Riane.

Navy is the New Black

Forget orange! Navy is the new black. I’ve heard it whispered among quilters here and there, but never being a navy person myself, I was reluctant to buy it. After stretching out of my comfort zone and choosing navy blue as my background/negative space for my recent project, I’m a navy convert.

navy is the new black quilt blocks

I traditionally tend toward black and grey as my dark contrasting colors, both in quilting and in my own attire. Navy is just so…. eh, navy. Bleh. Boring. BUT, when you take navy and pair it with bright jewel tones like magenta, turquoise, gold, and that perfect shade of grass green, it really shines. It’s not as completely dark as black, so it adds a little bit of color, and I would almost say bright color, although I know that’s going against all color description “rules”. Navy blue as a “bright” color? No way! But just look!

navy is the new black quilt blocks

It shines. Am I right?

swirling stars quilt block

navy is the new black quilt blocks

navy is the new black quilt blocks

navy is the new black quilt blocks

I’m registered for Lee Heinrich‘s Off the Grid: Creating Alternate Layouts workshop at QuiltCon next week, and we are required to make a number of quilt blocks in advance so that when we get to the workshop, we can really focus on layout. I wanted to stretch my comfort zone a little, and rather than go with brown and orange (blech), I opted to try navy paired with my favorite colors–bright jewel tones. I am LOVING the outcome and have a feeling this will not be my last time using navy in a star role in a quilt.

navy is the new black quilt blocks
Block ID: center: Wombat Quilts’ Swirling Star; top from left: Inverted Star by Common Threads, Circle of Geese by Piece by Number; bottom: two blocks I found photos of on Pinterest but couldn’t track down the origin or block names.

So far I have four 12 1/2″ blocks and one 8 1/2″ blocks complete (I forgot to allow for seam allowance on one side of the paper piecing template for the small one, so it should have been 9 1/2″ but oh well), and I am going to try to make a few more blocks before heading to Austin next week. The supplies list calls for 5-20 blocks but I know there’s no way I’ll finish 20 blocks on top of the rest of my QuiltCon to-do list! I don’t really like the first block I made (bottom right), so while I will take it with me, I might have to do some serious surgery before including it in whatever finished layout I choose.

I would love to hear your favorite star-style block pattern, since I think I want to make all of the blocks unique, but with the same color theme. What block do you think would go well with the ones I have so far?

I’m linking up with WiP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced, where she is making her demo blocks for the class I’m taking!!

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