Modern Plus Sign Quilts Book Blog Hop

I’m excited to be leading off the Modern Plus Sign Quilts book blog hop, celebrating my friends Cheryl and Paige’s new book published by Stash Books/C&T Publishing. Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs and Paige Alexander of Quilted Blooms are two talented designers who have a knack for writing clear and concise instructions, and their newest book is no exception.

modern plus sign quilts book With 16 diverse patterns including a variety of techniques including traditional piecing, applique, and foundation paper piecing, this book is a great resource for quilters of all levels of experience. For the next few weeks, be sure to follow along with the Modern Plus Sign Quilts Book Blog Hop to see makes using all of the versatile patterns in their book, and to enter to win a bunch of fun prizes. Pst… you could win an Aurifil thread set today, so be sure to head over to enter!

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouchAs part of the hop, I got to play with the Signature Plus pattern, and opted to make a large open wide zippered pouch using the free pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I knew that February would be completely packed with QuiltCon prep, so this large pouch was a great way to show off the versatility of the blocks and patterns in Modern Plus Sign Quilts, while also ensuring I would have time to finish my project!

signature plus quilt prepOne thing I love about the Signature Plus pattern is that it’s designed as a pattern well suited to group quilts, inspired by Red Cross signature block quilts from the early twentieth century. You can read more about the history of Red Cross quilts here–so interesting!

Photo credit: C&T Publications, from Modern Plus Sign Quilts

Because it’s designed for group quilts, not only are the cutting instructions for Signature Plus provided for the quilt as a whole, but there are also single block cutting instructions so that if you make it as a bee block quilt or group quilt, the individual quilt block math is already done for you and easily laid out. Cheryl and Paige thought of everything!

Photo credit: C&T Publications, from Modern Plus Sign Quilts

For my large zippered pouch, I used one of the smaller plus sign blocks from the pattern as the focal block. I pulled some repurposed black leather, some Essex linen in charcoal, and some scraps of Oakshott deep red shot cotton from my stash, bought the perfect zipper from my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, and dove in.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouchI used 50wt Aurifil 2692-Black to assemble the plus block and pouch, and 40wt 2230-Red Peony to quilt over the plus sign to give it a bit of punch.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch alison glass liningI was excited to find some Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric that was the perfect pouch lining, too. I always love when I can use some much loved fabric from my stash in its perfect project.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch zipperWhile zipper installation isn’t fearfully new for me, I’m still not a pro, so I’m excited at how well this zipper went in.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch upcycled leatherSewing with leather for this project was much trickier than when I used leather in basic quilt blocks, simply because the bottom seam joins ended up being four layers thick. I admittedly did not use heavy duty leather sewing machine needles, so that could be why my workhorse Bernina 560 couldn’t make it through and instead skipped stitches. I ended up hand stitching about an inch or two of each center bottom seam, which worked just fine. I’m proud of how well everything aligns, though, since bag sewing is not something I do very often!

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch zipper pullEven the little detail on the zipper pull makes me happy. It’s the little details, right?modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch The largest size of pouch fit the plus block from the Signature Plus quilt pattern perfectly, and I think it will make a great, sleek and elegant first aid kit. It’s large enough to fit all of the first aid kit supplies needed for a busy and active family with three adventurous little ones, even the bulk sized box of Band-Aids! I like to think it’s a mature, cool looking first aid kit. Right? Humor me!modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch I noticed that I even have the “Quiltvent” variety of bandaids–how perfect!! To be honest, when I first planned to make this First Aid style zippered pouch, I fully intended to stuff it full of first aid supplies and keep it handy on family adventures.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch Now that it’s finished, though, I might just keep it for myself, filled with a secret stash of chocolate. Shhhh don’t tell the kids!

You can get a signed copy of the Modern Plus Sign Quilts book from either Cheryl’s Meadow Mist Designs Etsy Shop or Paige’s Quilted Blooms Designs Esty Shop , or unsigned copies can be purchased on Amazon, from C&T Publishing, or from a number of other domestic and international sources.

Be sure to check out the other gorgeous Signature Plus makes today, as well as all of the other stops along the Book Blog Tour:


Monday, March 12th
Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Paige @ Quilted Blooms

Tuesday, March 13th
Soma @ Whims and Fancies
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Kitty @ Night Quilter <—YOU’RE HERE
Sophie @ Luna Lovequilts
Afton @ Quilting Mod
Shelley @ The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts

Wednesday, March 14th
Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
Jen @ A Dream and a Stitch
Abigail @ Cut & Alter
Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
Sandra @ mmm! quilts
Karen @ Run Sew Fun

Thursday, March 15th
Linda @ Flourishing Palms
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Liz @ Savor Every Stitch
Stacey @ Stacey In Stitches
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
Patty @ Elm Street Quilts
Melanie @ A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog

Friday, March 16th
Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts
Ruth @ Charly and Ben’s Crafty Corner
Christa @ Christa Quilts

Monday, March 19th
Jessica @ Quilty Habit
Cindy @ Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter
Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

Tuesday, March 20th
Tish @ Tish N Wonderland
Judy @ Sew Some Sunshine
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood
Wanda @ Wanda’s Life Sampler
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good

Wednesday, March 21st
Anja @ Anja Quilts
Kate @ Smiles from Kate
Sue @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Carole @ From My Carolina Home
Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts

Thursday, March 22nd
Debbie @ Esch House Quilts
Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts
Janice @ Color Creating and Quilting
Joanne @ Quilts by Joanne

Friday, March 23rd
Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Paige @ Quilted Blooms

Many congratulations to both Cheryl and Paige on a wonderful book! I look forward to seeing everyone’s plus sign quilt creativity blossom as a result!

I’m going to link up with Let’s Bee Social, Crazy Mom Quilts’ Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF since it’s been ages since I’ve had a finish to share!!

Happy sewing!

Blogger Bundle with Needle & Foot Fabrics {Giveaway}

needle and foot blogger bundleSelecting fabric combinations and color arrangements is one of my favorite stages in the quilting process. So a few months ago, when my friend Bernie asked if I would be interested in putting together a Blogger Bundle of fabric for her Etsy store Needle & Foot, of course I said yes! Today I’m excited to introduce you to the bundle I put together.

needle and foot blogger bundleWhile this bundle is versatile enough that any one of the fabrics could shine, there is definitely a star of the show in my mind, and that’s the Tartan Field in Midnight print from Bountiful, designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabric (top left in the photo above). I selected this entire bundle based up on that one print. I’ve had my eye on it ever since Sharon first revealed her Bountiful fabric line peeks, and there’s just something about the grid work paired with the subtle colors, a touch of geometry and a good dose of nature (it’s the top down view of a garden, right?) that really makes my quilty heart sing.

needle and foot blogger bundleThe other fabrics have all been carefully selected from Bernie’s shop to coordinate and complement Sharon’s print, and I love how the colors of all of the other fabrics mesh so well with it.

needle and foot blogger bundleThe bundle includes (from top down in the photo above):

You didn’t think I would put together a bundle of fabric without a single Alison Glass print, did you?! hah!

needle and foot blogger bundle tulipsJust for fun, these tulips had to join the fun since spring is not even close to appearing here in midcoast Maine yet, and I was in dire need of some cheer. Aren’t they luscious?!


february blogger bundle needle and footNow, for the giveaway! Today I’m flying across the country to Pasadena for QuiltCon, but I thought it would be fun to kick off my QuiltCon adventures with a blog giveaway. Bernie has generously offered this bundle of five (5) fat quarters to one of my lucky readers.

To enter the giveaway today, tell me your favorite fabric from Needle & Foot’s shop (linked here for ease). Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. For an additional entry, follow Needle & Foot on Instagram. For a third entry, follow Needle & Foot on Facebook. Leave a separate comment once you complete each entry.

This giveaway is open to US only. The giveaway will be open for one week, until my return home to Maine Wednesday, February 28th, when I’ll select the winner randomly with The winner will have 48 hours to reply or I will select a new winner. Good luck! This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Wendy!!

*Please note that comment moderation is on, so if you do not see your comment right after posting, do not be alarmed! I try to respond to each and every comment I get on my blog, but with giveaway posts the numbers are usually too great to do this. Plus, I’m at QuiltCon!! Follow me on IG @nightquilter or my Night Quilter Facebook page to see some live updates.

needle and foot blogger bundleLove this bundle and don’t want to wait? You can get yours here! I would love to see what you make!

QuiltCon or Bust!

With one more day to get through all of the laundry and packing before I head off on my adventures to QuiltCon, I’m in that final push! Monday morning I set off south with my three little ones, driving all day down to NJ to help them get settled with my awesome parents. Then Wednesday eaaarly morning, I’ll be hopping on a plane and flying across the country to sunny Pasadena! It’s nearly here!

quilt con teaching quilt photographyThis year is especially exciting since I will be co-teaching four classes with my awesome friend and colleague Michelle Bartholomew: two sessions of Quilt Photography Basics, and two sessions of Advanced Quilt Photography. Michelle is the mastermind/owner of Quilt Theory and spent years as a successful wedding photographer in her past (pre-quilty) life. We’ve been working hard, collaborating via Zoom since I’m in Maine and she’s at the far reaches of the country in Washington state, and I think we’re ready! These classes are going to be awesome!

quilt con lecture milestone quiltsI’ll also be giving a lecture on Quilts to Mark Milestones on Sunday morning, during which I’ll talk all about my Milestone Quilt project for Finn, my Summer Adventure Quilt, and so much more! I’m honored to have the opportunity to share my journey with other like-minded people, and hope to inspire a few more makers to make meaningful quilts that document the milestones of their lives.

I’m triple excited since I *just* managed to finish my Summer Adventure Quilt flimsy, so it will be traveling to Pasadena with me! Those of you attending my lecture will be able to see it in real life! I’ll share one quick photo here now, but will write much more about it upon my return. This quilt is quite special to me, and I can’t tell you how great it feels to have the quilt top together!

Are you going to QuiltCon? I hope to see you there–please do stop me if you see me, since I’m often the deer in headlights walking around with a permagrin! Tomorrow I’ll be up to my eyeballs in laundry, packing, and prepping some hand-stitching for my travels, and then the adventure begins!

Follow me on Instagram @nightquilter for live updates next week, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you when I return home!

ps. In the whole QuiltCon-prepping, social media world, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl is my hero. I love her post Social Media Honesty here. So so true, and worth a read!

Mandolin Quilt Block Progress, My Newest Rainbow EPP

I haven’t been able to escape the sew-in-rainbows bug, but I admit I haven’t been trying too hard to escape it! Now that my Moonstone Quilt pillow is in basting, quilting, and finishing mode, I’ve begun a new English Paper Piecing project to have on the ready for any travel stitching that might arise. The Mandolin Quilt pattern by Jodi at Tales of Cloth will be the next addition to my rainbow and black and white quilted pillow collection, and I thought I’d share my progress.

mandolin quilt beginnings alison glass rainbow eppI’m using *gasp* Alison Glass fabrics for the rainbow, with the center cameo from an Art Theory panel from her Ex Libris line and a couple of rounds of Sun Print 2018 before diving into her older lines. I’m also adding Libs Eliott fabrics as a black and white zap to the vibrant rainbow. Both Alison and Libs design for Andover Fabrics, so I feel like they can be buddy buddy quite happily in the same project. Plus, my husband’s favorite fabric designer is Libs Elliot, so this pillow will have both of our favorites included, and will coordinate wonderfully with my Alison Glass Moonstone pillow (once it’s finished) and Gare’s Libs pillow.

choosing fabrics alison glass rainbow epp mandolin quiltI have a highly technical approach to selecting fabrics when it comes to a project like this. I place my center on the floor, surround it with all of the Alison Glass fabrics I can find, and then play.

auditioning alison glass fabrics epp mandolinI audition fabrics not only in person, but also through the screen of my phone’s camera, since oddly, some fabric arrangements look different from afar. Alison makes it pretty easy since her fabrics are such a vibrant spectrum of tone on tone color that already transition so well through the rainbow. It’s still fun to decide where to put each bright little bit, and mixing fabrics from new and old fabric lines.

tales of cloth acrylics mandolin eppI love English Paper Pieced patterns that have acrylic templates, since I’m a big fan of meticulous cutting (aka fussy cutting). These Mandolin templates help me see exactly what section of each fabric will be showcased in the quilt and which will be included in the seam allowance. It makes the basting step a lot easier, since the work is done in the cutting!

meticulous cutting progress mandolin tales of clothEven with a project focused on the color flow and not so much the individual pieces, I still fit meticulous cutting in where I can. You *might* notice that the squares around the center are all meticulously cut from Compass from Sun Print 2018, alternating designs since I only had fat eighths of the fabric, which didn’t include a full repeat of the design. The triangles are also meticulously cut, alternating between Latitude from Diving Board and Link from Sun Print 2017.

Once I extended beyond those triangles, the meticulous cutting is less consistent, since I focused more strongly on color flow around the circle.

mandolin quilt beginnings alison glass rainbow eppI’ve been using Aurifil monofilament thread in smoke to stitch these together, which makes the process a little bit quicker since the thread is essentially invisible and I don’t take *quite* as long with my meticulously tiny stitches, since I’m less worried about it showing on the front. I can definitely see why so many folks stitch EPP together with monofilament. It’s a bit more fiddly in hand, and a bit tougher to sew with because of its invisibility, but I think the result is well worth the effort.

I made pretty consistent progress on this Mandolin block in January, stitching here and there, and taking advantage of rare quiet moments to stitch a bit. Early last week, though, QuiltCon prep began to overtake every free moment, and I’m admittedly still in the thick of it. I’m very excited to be co-teaching four classes with my friend Michelle Bartholomew (two each of Quilt Photography Basics, and two of Advanced Quilt Photography), as well as giving a lecture on Quilts to Mark Milestones Sunday morning at the event. I’ve been working hard to get everything perfect, and am very excited that in just over a week, I will be beginning my trek to get to Pasadena.

The one positive to my not being able to make much additional progress on my Mandolin block these past weeks is that now I will have a perfect hand-stitching project to take with me for the flights and any airport waiting time. Hopefully I will be returning from Pasadena not only with a feeling of class and lecture success, shared and gained inspiration, and a refreshed tank of quilty friend time, but also a nearly or fully finished Mandolin block!

Who will I see in Pasadena? If you’re headed to QuiltCon and see this bright thang in the airport or along your way, please do stop and say hi!

2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 Goals

It’s no secret I struggle to finish things. In fact, last year, I made it my yearly focus to finish what I started, but then got distracted by other fun ideas and didn’t actually succeed in finishing much of anything! Oops. Life happens and all is fair in love and creativity, right? This year I’m going to try something a bit different. I’m going to *try* to join in on the community link ups that focus on FINISHING projects completely, namely the 2018 Finish-A-Long hosted by a group of bloggers across the world, and One Monthly Goal hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts. In my style, I’ve already missed the link up for the January goal for One Monthly Goal, but perhaps I’ll get February’s posted in time! I’m sneaking in right under the wire for the Finish-A-Long Quarter 1 link up, but I made it!

2018 Finish A Long Logo 2

There is a lot going on behind the scenes here, between preparing for my QuiltCon classes and lecture, working for the Quilter’s Planner manning the Instagram feed and leading a January daily photo challenge as well as helping guide the 2018 Block of the Month Sampler sew along (so many fun things happening over in the QP community!), working on the development of a couple of patterns I hope to release before summer hits, and of course being a full time mom and wife, so I don’t imagine my lists will be long. But any progress is progress, and one more way to help keep me motivated can’t be a bad thing.

As seen in December when I joined the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge, committing to a public community goal helps motivate me to meet my goals. While I didn’t post a blog post every day in December (note that I went into it not expecting to post every day), I did write or work on blog posts nearly every day and I published 8 posts for the month when my monthly average for the 6 months prior was 2-3 posts. That’s a marked improvement and I consider my goal met.

finish along 2018 q1 goalsSo here I go again, publicly announcing my goals so that maybe the thought that you or someone out there is eagerly anticipating my finish, cheering me on, and helping spark my fire even when I’m feeling heavily weighted with other responsibilities, will help me stay on track.

The first quarter of this year includes a good amount of travel and preparation for QuiltCon, which is in late February in Pasadena, California, so I know most of my time will be spent fine-tuning my classes, preparing handouts, and practicing my lecture so that I can share my knowledge, inspiration, and tips the best I possibly can (It’s not too late to sign up for the Advanced Quilt Photography classes I’m teaching with Michelle Bartholomew at QuiltCon, or to register for my Quilts to Mark Milestones lecture Sunday morning, so go register if you will be in Pasadena and haven’t already!).  The Finish-A-Long guidelines clearly encourage us to set high goals, but I also know I need to set myself up for success so I don’t get too overwhelmed or discouraged, so I’m going to start with four projects I hope to have completely finished by early April when Q1 ends:

1 – One Year of Stitches Embroidery hoop from 2017

may 1 year of stitches embroidery freestyle aurifil threadI still have about 14 days worth of stitches to complete to have fully finished the stitching for my 364 days of stitching, 1 year of stitches freestyle embroidery project I took on in 2017.  The photo included above is an old old old one from May 2017, so there is MUCH more stitched at this point (see the photo with the projects together to get a peek!)! I want to get the stitches finished and documented, post the fully updated post on IG at my @nq1yearofstitches account, publish a blog post with monthly updates that has been in draft form since May 2017, and fully finish the hoop so it’s ready to hang on my wall.

2 – Rainbow Moonstone Pillow

alison glass rainbow moonstone giucy giuce epp patternI want to completely finish my epically gorgeous (modest, aren’t I? haha) rainbow Moonstone pillow I made using Giuseppe @giucy_giuce’s Moonstone quilt EPP pattern and Alison Glass fabrics. Right now, it’s fully stitched together, stitched onto the backing, and most of the papers are removed.  I still need to finish removing the papers, trim the seam allowance edges of the backing fabric, layer, baste and quilt the pillow front, make the pillow back (I want it to have a zipper closure–I haven’t yet decided whether it will be a side seam zipper or a zipper across the backing yet–and finish the pillow. I’m using Aurifil monofilament thread to stitch and quilt this, and it’s an exciting new look (it really is invisible!).

3 – Secret Sewing Project

secret sewing fabric pullI’m doing some secret sewing for a book release blog tour in March, and unfortunately can’t tell you much more than that. I have my project chosen and fabrics pulled, but haven’t cut into it yet. I’m planning to use some thrifted leather and scraps of Oakshott Lipari red fabrics in this one, paired with Essex Linen in charcoal. It’s a small project, but I’m excited about this one! This project is my given, since the fact that I have a hard deadline means that I will finish this project no matter what. I don’t mind setting myself up for some success, though, so it’s included here.

4 – Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Quilt

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finishThis one is a stretch only because of the limited time I have this quarter, but I want to put this quilt at the top of my list. I began it back in 2016 during the Quilter’s Planner Sew Along and have the full quilt top finished and the backing pieced. I need to layer and baste the quilt (my brick wall when it comes to finishes!), quilt it, bind it, finish it, and finally gift it.  I’m thinking Max has most likely forgotten about it at this point, so it will be a fun surprise when (if?… no, WHEN) I finish it.

So there you have it. Think I can do it? I’m excited at the prospect of having a little extra motivation to finish these projects, and also hope this can get me back into the thick of the quilt blogging community. There’s so much inspiration to share! Here’s to fabulous finishes!

My Best of 2017

I’m in the thick of that time warp of a week between Christmas and the New Year, and I admittedly don’t even know what day it is. We are traveling, visiting my family in New Jersey, spending days relaxing, visiting, and watching the kids play with toys, aunts, and uncles. I *do* know that it’s not yet 2018, though, so I’m reveling in that end of year coast into the new year.

Best of 2017 meadow mist designMy dear friend Cheryl at Meadow Mist Design is once again hosting a “Best of” linky party, inviting bloggers to share the best five posts from 2017, so it’s a perfect time to look at the analytics and statistics from my blog, as well as reflect on my personal highlights from the year. I invite you to reminisce along with me.

Most Viewed Blog Post(s)

I’m considering this one a tie, since the views for these posts have a less than 20 views difference:staggered quilt theory quilt pattern flowersMy Staggered Quilt pattern release for Quilt Theory’s spring collection had the most views from 2017. I did not have many big quilt finishes this year, and this is definitely one of my favorite quick and easy patterns, so I’m excited to see this one at the top.

Finn's Milestone quilt finishA very close runner up was my post about Finn’s Milestone Quilt finish. This project is very near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons, and I’m happy that its completion was as exciting for you as it was for me.  What an epic project, and I’m happy to report that Finn sleeps with the quilt every night and still drags it around with him from time to time.

Most Viewed Tutorial Blog Post

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyI was happy to see that my Easter collaboration with Hillary of Entropy Always Wins ranked the highest on tutorial posts this year! A combination of using repurposed materials (leather, wool, felt, etc) and hand stitched detail, this project is uber versatile and so much fun. It also can be made in any imagined shape, so it’s pretty timeless.

My Favorite New Projectsummer adventure quilt progress

While my Summer Adventure Quilt didn’t rank among highest views, it’s definitely my favorite new project.  I’m guessing that the fact that I’ve not yet been able to complete all of the blocks and get the quilt top together is part of what’s to blame with its lack of public enthusiasm, since it’s kind of hard to be enthusiastic about a project you haven’t yet seen in its entirety, but it’s one of my favorites. I’m hoping to have the blocks finished and the quilt top complete by early 2018, so it just might actually rank a bit higher next year. Time will tell!

2017 Best Nine on Instagram

nightquilter best nine 2017 IGSince I love Instagram so, I would be remiss if I did not share my top viewed posts there as well. This collection is a fun one, including my big 10K follower milestone, two of my favorite Greenery quilt blocks, my Bee’s Knees quilt, Plenty of EPP, from Flowermania, to Moonstone, to the EPP and pieced skinny bins I made for an Art Gallery Fabrics stitchy party with Mathew at Mister Domestic, and a cameo by the gorgeous mini quilt Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl made for me (bottom center). Neither Finn’s quilt nor my Summer Adventure quilt made the cut this year, but they still rank high in my list of favorites for the year.

Most Viewed Blog Post EVER

one hour basketWhile the blog posts listed above rank highest of those written in 2017, the post about the one hour basket (that took me six hours to make!) written back in 2015 was the most viewed ever with over 7,000 views since it was written. This was such a fun make, featuring my favorite Alison Glass fabrics paired with Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen, but also is a favorite since I made this basket while attending a class with quilty friend Sarah from Berry Barn Designs at one of my fabulous quasi-local quilt store, Alewives Fabrics. It’s fun to see how timeless this post is, and I’m thinking perhaps it’s time I make a few more one hour baskets. They are a super handy and quick project!

Thank you, as always, for following along with me here, sharing in my inspiration and project progress, and creating the community I hold so dear. I’m hoping to blog a bit more regularly in 2018 and look forward to sharing more tips, tutorials, project progress, and inspiration with you! I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and look forward to a colorful, productive, and FUN 2018!

Reflections & Goals for 2018

This time of year always results in the oddest collision of feelings–excitement for the family filled fun that comes during the holiday season, either stress over the projects I need to finish for the holidays or disappointed-letting-go of projects I will never complete in time, introspection and reflection on what goals I met (and didn’t meet) in the year behind me, eager anticipation and renewed inspiration for the possibilities that exist in the new year, gratitude for the gifts that I experience daily, and many more in between. As 2017 leads into 2018, these feelings seem to crash together like waves, one emerging strongly at one point only to be engulfed and buried by another the next moment. That odd transition from one year to the next, it’s really just the passing of a day like any other, so how does it hold such power? Does this happen for you, too? or is it just me?

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerEvery year, my dear friend Yvonne hosts a Planning Party on her blog Quilting Jetgirl, which really helps motivate me to sit down and sort through all of these feelings, reflections, dreams, and limitations, and try to determine my goals for the next year. I’ve decided to share my reflections on 2017 and goals for 2018 here, both to make a record of my intentions at this moment, and to maybe help inspire you to not only define your goals and determine steps to help you reach them, but also to be gentle with yourself when life doesn’t go as planned. Since honestly, when does life ever go as planned?

Reflection on 2017

Let’s start by looking at the goals I set for myself in January of this year. A few days ago when I read this over, I honestly laughed out loud.  I’ll give you a spoiler: I accomplished hardly any of these goals, but oh, I had such high hopes back in January! Here’s the list, with my comments in bold after each one.

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects. Here I intended to pick up my repurposed 100 blocks in 100 days project that used all upcycled garments, but that wasn’t meant to be. I did use repurposed textiles in my contribution to Mel from Mel in the Attic’s Woman’s Work, so I’ll give myself a 1. I also am realizing I never shared about that collaboration here!;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!) I definitely did that this year. I only bought fabric for specific projects, or Alison Glass fabric (my weakness!), and not much at that.  I consider this one met.;
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills. While I sketched out ideas for three (3) of these prompts, not a one made it into reality. I did not meet this goal.;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end. I did this!!! My Greenery quilt was really quite fun, and I did a fairly good job of making blocks from various bees here and there, until I had the idea for my Summer Adventure Quilt. Once my Summer Adventure Quilt began (see the most recent update here), Greenery took a backseat and has been sorely neglected. I do not have enough blocks for a full quilt yet and I’m still deciding what to do about it.;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description I did not meet this goal. Fear, or fear that I would not be able to dedicate the time needed to organize, piece, and follow through with this idea has stalled me. It’s still simmering, but has not been met.
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing I attended the Slow Fashion Retreat with A Gathering of Stitches in August and I very much am slowly wading into the Slow Fashion movement. I’ve made two tops–one of which I might actually wear!, and I’ve found a sewing buddy with whom I aim to sew 9 garments in 2018, so I did pretty well with this one!
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment. I did not hand stitch a garment, although I’ve mended 2 pairs of my jeans, a pair of my son’s shorts, and began repairs on my daughter’s jeans. Not what I meant by the goal, but hand stitched garments all the same!;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience. I did this! I did quilt photography for Carole Lyle Shaw’s newly released book Patriotic Modern, did product photography for two local artisans (including Spring Fed Farm), and I also completed the epic Quilter’s Planner photography project of 14 quilted items for the 2018 Planner. Combined with ongoing photography projects for the Quilter’s Planner, I consider this goal met and surpassed!;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things! Not yet! I am teaching at QuiltCon in Pasadena in February 2018, so that will be one (well, 4 courses and 1 lecture!). 
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week! Sad to say the exercise habit hasn’t happened. I have built up to doing yoga 3ish times per week, and I did a LOT of hiking over the summer, but I consider this goal not met.
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!) I very nearly succeeded in this! Near the end of the summer, I got off track, but so far have stitched for each day, even if it’s not posted on the correct day. I have a couple week’s worth of stitches to update on Instagram, but it looks like I’m actually going to meet this goal! 
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!! Oh goodness. No goal met here. I finished Finn’s Milestone quilt, but that might be the only WIP from 2016 that I finished. Oops. Yikes. 

So clearly, I did not meet many of my goals from 2017. It really was a year of very few finishes. In looking back at what quilts or projects I’ve finished, the list is very short: Finn’s Milestone quilt, two quilts for Quilt Theory: Staggered and Into the Forest, and my Superbolt Mini Quilt. I may have missed one, but that very well may be the extent of my finishes for 2017. So much for the mantra of “Finish what I’ve started.”

summer adventure quilt progress
Photo from about midway through the summer. There are many more blocks than these!

So what did I do in 2017? I did a LOT of hiking! We hiked at least once per week pretty much every week from March through September.

great pond mountain hikePaired with making an improv tree block before every hike, as well as other blocks to represent other summer adventures, my summer was pretty much filled with the Summer Adventure Quilt and all of the family adventures that went with it. I call that a win.

2018 Quilters Planner and mini-hi resI also did a lot of work for the Quilter’s Planner. Between photographing all 15 projects (I really need to share a post on this soon!), taking photos of the 2017 and 2018 planner both for marketing and for posting on the Instagram feed, and working as the Social Media Manager heading off the Instagram feed, I spent a lot of my time helping inspire others and providing tips on how to plan, stay organized, and create a positive routine of productivity and inspiration. In 2018, I aim to practice what I preach! (laugh with me here!) Honestly, though, the Quilter’s Planner is such an amazing tool, jam packed full of inspiration. Working with Stephanie is really fulfilling and I really do love it.  As with any job, it takes time.

Finally, of course I’m also the full time mom of three amazing children, the wife of a fun-loving husband, and the keeper of a lovely home in rural Maine. That in and of itself is a full time job. All this to say, I’m not disappointed in what I accomplished in 2017. I do, however, hope to use this reflection to help me set more manageable goals for 2018.

Goals for 2018

Where to begin? Since my high aspirations were a bit too high for 2017, I decided to focus on self care, family time, and finding a good balance of time spent on work and fun (both quilting and otherwise!).

I pulled out my 2018 Quilter’s Planner and opened to the Yearly Goals page (this planner really is amazing… and that’s not just my bias talking) to help me brainstorm and get ideas down on paper.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerI chose 3 main goals, and then listed a few steps that would help me achieve each goal. Here they are:

1 – Sew for my family and me, and not just work

  • Finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt
  • Finish Moonstone pillow
  • Plan for 2-3 hours per week dedicated to me-makes
  • Finish Summer Adventure Quilt–finish making blocks, piece top, quilt, finish
  • Sew 9 garments for me!
    • Pick patterns
    • Find sewing buddy!

2 – Focus on Self Care and Family Time

  • Yoga-make it a routine at least 3x per week
  • Schedule and plan ahead more (using Planoly, scheduled blog posts, etc.) so that work isn’t constantly on my mind
  • Actually make goal #1 happen–finish the family quilts that have been on my WIP list for a year+
  • Say NO to some opportunities
  • Summer Adventure 2018?

3 – Continue to Grow and Maintain Night Quilter

  • Blog 3x per week
  • Newsletter 1x per month
  • Quilt & Product Photography – 2 jobs (Quilter’s Planner and ???)
  • Pattern Development:
    • Release 2-3 personal patterns
    • 1 submission to a magazine
    • Stretch: QAL
  • Teach – rock my QuiltCon classes and lecture and then evaluate direction from there–do I actively pursue teaching gigs, or focus on home and family time until my kids are older?
  • Take on no more than 4 outside sew-along, blog hop, or other pattern promoting projects unless it has a measurable impact to build my business.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerSo there you have it. My goals for 2018 are laid out and in public. They now are real, even if they are still written in pencil in my planner.

Any tips to sticking with your goals and making it happen? I’m going to begin by using my Quilter’s Planner in a more organized way. Right now, I absolutely can’t live without it, but I use it more of a to-do list brain dump and “if all stars align and everything is awesome” weekly and daily goals list, than a meticulous plan with actionable, measurable, and attainable steps to get me there. The brain-dump helps keep me sane, prevents me from missing appointments, and helps me feel like I accomplished something even on my craziest days. Now I think it’s time to step it up a notch and work on improving my routines to help me make better use of my time AND take better care of myself.

Here’s to an inspired, productive, and nurturing year ahead!

What are your goals for 2018?

2018 Planning Party

I’m linking up with Yvonne’s Planning Party 2018 over at Quilting Jetgirl.

Constant Flux Three Ways

There’s something about making a pattern your own that is especially desirable for many makers. Whether through varied fabric choices, changes in color and value placement, or even addition of new features, taking a set pattern and making it look distinctly yours is satisfying. I also have a really hard time following a pattern without adding at least a *little* change to make it my own, even, as it seems, with patterns I designed myself!

As I photographed my latest Constant Flux Christmas mini quilt top, I realized that I’ve sewn up my Constant Flux foundation paper pieced pattern in three very distinctly different ways. One was even so distinctly different I decided a stand-alone pattern was the best route, since explaining my section-grouping might not be the easiest to do! I thought it would make a fun blog post to show you different ways you can take one pattern (Constant Flux, in this case) and make it look completely uniquely different.

constant flux mini quiltWhen I first designed Constant Flux, I was aiming for a pattern that was fun and geometric, but allowed for meticulous cutting fun. I used Alison Glass Handcrafted fabrics from Andover, and my focus was on the big scale prints in that line. With meticulous cutting and careful placement, the radiating pattern is clear, with the white star-like secondary pattern for some added interest.

alison glass constant flux mini quilt for andoverThen Alison Glass came out with her Seventy-six fabric line and Andover Fabrics asked if I would make a mini quilt for their booth at QuiltCon. How could I resist!? I had been wanting to sew up a Constant Flux quilt in a different colorway anyway, and in looking at Alison’s fabrics, I wanted to use all of the colors.

applique embroidered bee from alison glass fabric constant flux detailI had recently discovered Nichole Vogelsinger’s Boho Embroidery book, and really wanted to incorporate a Wild Boho-style embroidered applique in the center, so I rotated the blocks 90 degrees. Same exact blocks and pattern as my original Constant Flux, only rotated and shrunk to 80% so that the scale of the bee fit better. Constant Flux a second way.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced patternFinally, while playing around with color placement options on my original Constant Flux pattern, I discovered that when arranged a certain way, it looked very much like a Christmas wreath! Because this required merging large sections of the pattern into one fabric instead of many, I decided that it was high time I tackle a holiday pattern, and I made three new templates to make Constant Flux Christmas come together smoothly and easily. It is closely derived from the original pattern, and if you have the original Constant Flux pattern you can technically make the Christmas version if you have a strong understanding of foundation paper piecing and how to join pieces to make it happen. I created a separate pattern to make it easier for everyone. That brings us Constant Flux a third way.

I wonder what it will look like in my fourth rendition?

Do you follow patterns to a T, or do you change things? I’m always curious to hear, since from talking to other quilters, it seems that we fall into two pretty clear camps: those who follow patterns meticulously, and those who just can’t seem to follow the pattern as written and must change or add some feature nearly every time. I clearly fall into the latter. I’d love to know what camp you fall into!


Stash Building: Alison Glass Sun Print 2018

It’s no secret that I love rainbows. It’s probably also no secret that I’m a huge fan of how Alison Glass does rainbows with her fabric lines for Andover Fabrics. Saturated tone-on-tone fabrics, with a bright spectrum of tertiary-heavy colors, natural elements in each print that sing to my nature-loving heart, and fabric lines that flow into and complement each other wonderfully; what’s not to love?! With the rainbow stage set, I will apologize in advance for enabling my fellow rainbow lovers, but I’m excited to be adding a bit of Alison Glass’s newest Sun Print line to my stash. She & Chen  kindly sent me a fat eighths bundle of the line, and I can assure you there will be more joining my stash (or hopefully if all goes as planned, an actual in-progress project or two!) as soon as the fabric is available in shops (slated for late January 2018).

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbowFeast your eyes upon this! Can you blame me!? I mean, seriously…. is there anyone who doesn’t love a rainbow? Here’s a quick introduction to the line, with attention drawn to a few details I especially love, and far too many photos, as is my style.

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow

Here are the full spectrums of each line within Sun Print 2018, from left to right: Diatom, Compass, and Depths.

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow diatomDiatom reminds me a bit of Insignia, with its large solid portions, only a bit softer. I love how the colors play wonderfully together, yet you can get different value play within each color.

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow compassCompass is definitely the boldest in color, and I love the addition of complementary colored details on some of the fabrics.

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow depthsWith the dense white sketch-like pattern on Depths, it reads the lightest in color.

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow  and diving boardThe designs are reminiscent of Alison’s most recent fabric line Diving Board, with a definite nautical vibe. You can see one of the Diving Board prints on the card in the center in the photo above, and see how compatible it all is.

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow Together, these fabrics make a rainbow that fits in wonderfully with the rest of my rainbowtized stash (let’s be honest, it’s probably 90% Alison Glass fabrics anyway), and I can’t wait to work them into my projects. I already have two new rainbow project ideas in the works, even though I really could do with some project finishing before I begin more new ones (shhh).

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow white and greyI also love that Alison includes white and grey versions of each print, since both act as the perfect neutral to help the rainbow truly pop. She’s thought of everything.

alison glass sun print 2018 rainbow Soooooo so pretty! I’m thinking I’ll use these in an EPP project or two, and I’m planning on using mostly this line (with a few other Alison Glass fabrics of old) in my Quilter’s Planner Sampler quilt for the Sew Along happening in 2018.

What would you make with this rainbow?

I’m linking up with the sparkly Molli Sparkles’ next Sunday Stash since it’s been AGES since I’ve added to my stash and shared about it. I have a few new books and notions to share, too, so hopefully I’ll get those photographed soon! Happy sewing!



Constant Flux Christmas: Pattern Release!

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced pattern snowfallBack in July, I promised to release this pattern to the public when the snow began to fly. This past weekend, we had our very first snow of the season here in midcoast Maine, which happened to be perfect timing since today I’m pleased to present Constant Flux Christmas, a pattern hack on my original Constant Flux pattern.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced pattern snowfallWhen playing around with color placement on my Constant Flux pattern, I realized that by merging large sections, an entirely new pattern emerged–one that looks to me like a modern take on a wreath and star. I decided to make it easy and adjusted the pattern templates to reflect this heavily altered version, and thus Constant Flux Christmas was born. This is a fun, beginner-friendly pattern that would look great not only in traditional colors, but also in any other colors you throw its way! I’ll be sharing photos of all of the gorgeous versions sewn up by my pattern testers so you can see for yourself!

Constant Flux Cover--Christmas! foundation paper pieced patternThe pattern includes printable foundation templates, cutting suggestions, general foundation paper piecing tips, clear assembly instructions, and a coloring page to help you plan your project. There are no tricky angles, odd shapes, or difficult joins, yet the design options are boundless.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced patternConstant Flux Christmas is now available for digital download both on Craftsy and in my Payhip shop for those of you in the EU. This week it will be available for an introductory price of $5, after which it will return to its standard price. ‘Tis the season for adding one more holiday sew to your list, right?

Pattern Tester Versions

Constant Flux Christmas by Jitka Clements
Pattern tested by Jitka Clement @jitkadesign

With this pattern, I finally got brave and put a call out for pattern testers on Instagram. I was amazed by the response, and within 24 hours had an eager and skillful crew of quilters ranging from absolute foundation paper piecing beginner to experienced, ready to tackle Constant Flux Christmas and provide feedback.

Constant Flux Christmas by Jitka Clement straight on
Pattern tested by Jitka Clement @jitkadesign

Future pattern testing groups will be quite a bit smaller, but there was so much excitement, I accepted quite a few!

Constant Flux Christmas by Isabelle Selak
Pattern tested by Isabelle Selak @southbaybella

Every single one of them did an amazing job, sewed up the mini quilt in less than a week (some were finished the first day!), and provided excellent feedback on ways to make the pattern even better. I’m so grateful for all of them, and am excited to show you all of their different versions.

Constant Flux Christmas by Nissa Boeckman
Pattern tested by Nissa Boeckman @baladigiraffe

Some stuck to the traditional red, green, and gold colorway, using both consistent fabrics throughout and scrappy versions.

Constant Flux Christmas by Lauren Wood
Pattern tested by Lauren Wood
Constant Flux Christmas by Jessical Lopez Enriquez
Pattern tested by Jessica Lopez Enriquez @thegorillaandthepig
Constant Flux Christmas by Angela
Pattern tested by Angela Hardin @pepperhardin4356
Constant flux by Amanda Allen
Pattern tested by Amanda Allen @another.amanda
Constant Flux by Alyson Olander
Pattern tested by Alyson Olander @alysonwonderlan
Constant Flux Christmas by Karen Weiderman
Pattern tested by Karen Weiderman @kayweedie
Constant Flux Christmas detail by Karen Weiderman
Constant Flux Christmas quilting detail by Karen Weiderman.
Constant Flux Christmas by Katharine Vonbibra
Pattern tested by Katharine Vonbibra. Love that EPP center!!!

I love how a couple of the testers got really creative with their centers–maybe the clever additions cover up a not-quite-perfectly-aligned center, or maybe the centers are PERFECT and it’s simply an added design element–you’ll never know, and the mini quilts look fantastic! LOL

Constant Flux Christmas by Darlene Cunningham
Pattern tested by Darlene Cunningham @dcapulus

Some of the pattern testers tried out different color palettes, and I really love the way this pattern looks in all of them!

Constant Flux Christmas by Lisa Tucker
Pattern tested by Lisa Tucker @duhquilts
Constant Flux Christmas by Cheryl Kirk
Pattern tested by Cheryl Kirk.
Constant Flux Christmas by Kat Ayers
Pattern tested by Kat Ayers @kitkabbit
Constant Flux Christmas by Evie Landry
Pattern tested by Evelyn Landry @evie_landry
Constant Flux Christmas by Rachael Loving-Painter
Pattern tested by Rachael Loving-Painter @glamstream

Aren’t they all gorgeous!?

I can’t wait to see Constant Flux Christmas done up in your fabric choices! Get yours on Craftsy and in my Payhip shop for those of you in the EU. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

I’ll be linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF. Flimsy finished are double the fun when they come with a pattern release!

I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed