Forty Peaks Quilt Beginnings

This year I celebrated a big milestone birthday, and I thought it was high time I made a quilt for myself to document it. I’ve discovered how powerful positive feedback loops with quilting and adventurous living can be, through our Summer Adventure Quilt back in 2017 and my 2020 Miles quilt that kept me running despite the pandemic. My 40th birthday felt like a perfect occasion for my next foray into quilting my life. I pulled out my Quilt Your Life project organizers and dove into planning.

During the weeks leading up to my birthday, I reflected a lot on age and what it means to get older, the power a measly number somehow has on my psyche, and how to break free from that feeling of impending mortality. I fully know that 40 isn’t “old” and that there is much grace and wisdom found through aging, but the whole “over the hill” thing got to me. In embracing the wonderful things that come with age, I decided to play on the “over the hill” bologna and instead, focus on climbing mountains. For my first year as 40, I hope to climb to 40 mountain peaks, celebrating my 40 year old body, mind, and soul from the highest points. Of course I’ll be making a quilt block to document each peak reached. I’m calling it my 40 Peaks Quilt, and I’ll be documenting it on IG under #40PeaksQuilt and hopefully blogging about it here.

This past weekend, my 40th birthday and associated quilt project kicked off with a bang–I have 3 peaks under my belt already!! The first hike was a birthday hike, celebrated with my kids and a few hiking friends and their kids. We headed up a favorite local-ish mountain on a gloriously warm and sunny spring day, and it was perfect.

The day began in an unexpected way: I woke up to an overflowing drain line in the basement, so instead of birthday breakfast in bed, I spent the morning helping Gare carry everything outside into the sun to dry. It was so apropo!! A friend came over to help, we got the drainlines all snaked, and Gare graciously offered to stay home and do the mopping, cleaning, and drying while I headed out on my planned birthday hike.

It was an absolutely stunning Maine spring day, and our hike up Blue Hill Mountain was delightful. I discovered that my sweet Finn, who during my last adventure-tracking quilt was my enthusiastic block holder, is very much like his mama and prefers to be behind the camera rather than in front. The photos of me shared here were taken by Finn.

So was this one, but this was his first official photography gig, so it’s all good. Hah!

Here’s the one photo he let me take of him as block holder, but I do think he will much prefer to be the one taking the photos during this project. Time to train the next generation of memory capturers!

The fresh air and sunshine was amazing, some dear friends joined the kids and me–including one of my fellow Mountain Mamas from our #SummerAdventureQuilt days, who I hadn’t seen in over 13 months. Then the day was capped off with our first gathering of any size–a bonfire outside, with everyone masked and distanced, but oh so happy to see each other. Many of the adults were fully vaccinated, we all wore masks and stayed outside, but just being together for the first time in over a year was the most amazing birthday gift. And we made plans for a regular weekly hike day all summer, so our Mountain Mamas Lugging Babies & Towing Trekking Toddlers will be reunited, now that our babies are five+ and we’re the ones being towed by our speedster youngsters as they race up the mountains.

Block one for my 40 Peaks Quilt, done! I am planning to stitch some embroidered details on each block to track the people who accompany me on each hike, but I’ll share more of those details in the next post.

The next day, we dropped our three kids off at my fully vaccinated in-laws’ house and Garrett and I headed to Acadia National Park for a date hike, our very first time away from our kids in over 13 months. It was another gorgeous sunny day, and it was amazing. I love our kids dearly, but we all were very much ready for a day apart!

Gare and I hiked the Acadia Mountain & St Sauveur Mountain Loop, hitting two more peaks and getting in a serious workout! Those trails were STEEP!! Halfway up the second mountain, I commented, “When I thought of this project, I wasn’t thinking about this part! I was thinking about the epic views at the top!” But lo, you have to take the whole journey, not just the peaks, right? If that’s not a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is!

One of the gorgeous views along the way. The day was GORGEOUS!

The hike ended up at 4.6 miles total, with an elevation change of 1,176 feet according to Strava. Because we hit two peaks, I am going to use two mountain blocks for this hike, and I haven’t yet fully decided how I will be marking the mileage. The block I brought with me, and which is in the photos for Acadia Mt and St Sauveur Mt has the color arrangement for a 3.5 mile hike. I made a 4.5 mile hike mountain for the second peak, and might just plan to do something similar for future multi-peak hikes: I’ll bring a block to designate part of the hike, and plan to make a new block after the hike to document the full mileage.

The first three peaks for my 40 Peaks Quilt documented in fabric. Hike mileage is color coded in 1/2 mile increments, and the embroidered arrows are adults on the hike, and french knots are kids. I am using Aurifil 12wt thread in natural white-2021.

This is one part of this project I am still uncertain about: I love documenting memories through photos on each hike, but realize that without knowing the final mileage until the end, I won’t always guess correctly if I bring a guess block with me. Initially, I was thinking that maybe I would bring the previous hike’s block on each hike, since then we’d have a block for photos with us, but then the blocks would be documented on a different mountain than the one they represent. I might opt to relax the mile documentation aspect a bit and take a guess on hike mileage so that I can bring blocks with me on hikes, making notes so that the end quilt still accurately represents the mileage. I feel like for this project, the data tracking doesn’t rank as high as the memory making and adventuring, so this feels like a potential solution. I’m not fully decided yet, so if you have any ideas, please leave them in the comments!

Either way, my positive feedback loop is in place and underway. I’m getting out in nature, climbing to new mountain peaks (I’d never been up St. Sauveur Mountain before), and enjoying the best views in Maine. I can’t wait to see where this project brings me, how my health and well-being improves through doing it, and to what gorgeous heights I climb over the next year. Bring it on, 40!

A Color Crush Hike

I’m due for a solid catch-up post here on this blog, but let’s just pretend we’re all up to date and have been sharing stories and inspiration like days of old. So many challenges were faced and lessons were learned in 2020, but I’ll reflect on those a little later. Today, let’s go on a little relaxed hike through a forest of whimsy, shall we?

I’m excited to share a fun little post I wrote for the Aurifil blog, which goes live on AuriBuzz today! Just over one year ago, I excitedly introduced my inaugural Aurifil thread collection, named Color Crush. I wrote about it here, so you can check out the threads in all seriousness before heading into a magical land of imagination if you want.

We had a super fun kick off party in Austin at QuiltCon, and then shortly upon returning home, the COVID-19 Pandemic hit and life was turned on its head. Fast forward a full year. Now that vaccine distribution is increasing, spring is beginning to show its face once more, and things are possibly looking up, I thought I’d finally share a introduction of the specific threads I selected for inclusion in Color Crush, as seen in their natural habitats.

While the whole world was locked down, my family and I found solace in nature. As any good tree hugging quilting photographer would do, I brought my threads along on many hikes and adventures, seeking out their natural habitats and color inspiration roots. My Color Crush threads trekked in every season, and I highly recommend heading over to the Auribuzz blog today to read about their personalities and see them in all their glory, out in nature. You can read it HERE. 

Here’s a sneaky peek at one….

Enjoy the journey, and let me know which photo was your favorite!!

Quilt Your Life! Live Virtual Workshop

I’m excited to share that I am offering my first-ever self-hosted, live virtual workshop! Quilt Your Life: Milestone Quilts for Every Moment is a quilt planning workshop scheduled for December 19, 2020 from 7pm-9pm EST.

I will be hosting the workshop via Zoom and have listed registration in my Payhip shop. I’m super excited to be taking this first big step into being able to share my creative process with all of you while everyone stays home and is safe in the face of the rising COVID-19 cases in the US.

There has been so much talk about “pivoting” businesses because of the pandemic, and to be honest, March brought so many family changes, stress, and uncertainty, I instead opted for the “put the business on the back burner” course of action, and focused on helping my kids through virtual school, working through the emotional toll of having all five of us home all the time with no outside help or friends fully in our bubble, and finding the new rhythm needed to help all of us meet our emotional needs and be gentle when someone is having a rough day. This is hard. We spent a LOT of time outside, hiking in remote locations, hitting up the secret beaches, and working in the garden. It’s been hard work on everyone’s part, but I think we have actually begun to find our stride. Only took 280 days or so, but I’ll take it!

Now that we are getting back into the swing of virtual school once again, I’m ready to dive into this next step. This workshop is designed to introduce you to the idea of creating Milestone Quilts–quilts that document some aspect of your life–and help you create a plan to create your own such quilt. 

Finn's Milestone quilt finishI have been exploring the world of Milestone Quilts for the past 5+ years, beginning with Finn’s Milestone Quilt made during the first year of his life, and I have learned so much along the way. I have also confirmed the powerful positive feedback loops that can be created by making a quilt like this, especially this past year when my 2020 miles quilt kept me running despite the upheaval of life as we knew it.

my 2020 miles running quiltAs we are entering the final weeks of the year, my 2020 miles quilt (#my2020milesquilt) is still getting me out in the below freezing weather to run. Without a single race since January 1st, I’m pretty happy with the fact that I’ve met my goal of running more than 500 miles this year. This quilt has also helped document many other important aspects of the year, from the group runs with my fellow running quilters at QuiltCon right before the pandemic began, to the first days of lock-down, to the week I joined a virtual Womxn Run the Vote relay and logged 50 miles worth of activity, including 29 running miles–my longest mileage week by a lot. This quilt will tell a story, that’s for sure!

plank push twist quilt milestone quiltEven with fairly regular running, I’ve been slacking on my cross-training exercises, and my body notices. For that reason, I began a short, one-month-long milestone quilt tracking plank. push-ups, and Russian twists, to help motivate myself to do even just 1 set per day during the month of December.

Nearly halfway through the month, and it’s working! I’ve done some amount of exercise every day, and I haven’t woken up with a sore back or neck since! Positive feedback loops are the best! Note: I am making two versions of the same quilt, with different color assignments, so the photo above shows progress for both. Same data, same length of time, same block pattern, same fabrics, just different color assignments for the activities and intensities. Pretty neat, huh!?

If you are interested in learning more about Milestone Quilts and how to make a plan to quilt your life, I encourage you to join me for my virtual workshop this Saturday evening. It’s going to be loads of fun! I’m also working on creating printable pdf planning documents to help you track and plan your activity, so keep an eye on my Payhip shop for those. In the meantime, I hope that your sewing is bringing you peace and that you are staying safe, at home as much as possible and masked when out and about! Be well, my friends.

Plant Worry Grow Hope Pattern Release

Two hundred fifty-three days into our coronavirus stay at home stint, and the Plant Worry Grow HOPE quilt pattern is finally ready for release! This pattern includes 14 different foundation paper pieced block patterns, including a taste of appliqué with the three large tree tops, as well as three different project ideas: a lap quilt, a table runner, and a pillow. It is now available for purchase in my Payhip shop, and 50% of all profits will be donated to charities that are working to grow hope in my community.

Sewing these trees has been my balm during the past many months, and I am excited to be able to share them with you. The forest always brings me solace, so being able to stitch my worries away as I slowly built this quilty forest of hope has been a big help these past months. I hope that the serenity of sewing helps bring you some peace and hope as we buckle down and renew our stay at home efforts as the coronavirus cases steeply rise once more.

plant worry grow hope quilt patternThe lap quilt option finishes at 53″ x 60″ and can be made larger or smaller simply by including more or less trees. I’m looking forward to wrapping up in this quilt once we get through this pandemic!

GrowHopePillowThe pillow option finishes at 20″ x 20″ but can also be customized by switching out different tree options, or by choosing different fabrics. There’s also a table runner option that finishes at 12″ x 53″ and will certainly brighten any setting.

This pattern is available for an introductory $14 for the first week, after which it will be its standard $18. Fifty percent of profits from the first month of sales will be donated to the following three organizations:

  • Waldo County Bounty, which is working to improve food security for ALL people in my county here in rural Maine during the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Reparations Maine, a mutual aid project working to connect land owners with descendants of enslaved Africans and other indigenous people who want deeded land on occupied Wabanaki Confederacy territory in Maine; and,
  • The For Us By Us Fund, a flexible funding and organizing initiative that seeks to support the creative and organizing efforts of People of Color (PoC) in Maine.

While my first quilt top is complete, I’m certainly not finished sewing these trees. Coronavirus cases are again on the rise, and the fight toward an antiracist country that values and supports all people is going to be a long road.

Head over and buy Plant Worry Grow Hope now, and join me in burying some worries with a needle and thread, and watching the hope grow.

plant worry grow hope quilt

Bean Sprout ReRelease for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays since it’s a day when the rest of the world thinks a little bit more about how we can better sustain and protect our gorgeous home, planet Earth. A neighborhood clean-up, a hike, planting seeds for our garden, planting trees, writing to politicians… there are many things you can do to celebrate, though truly, Earth Day is every day. This year is quite different as we shelter at home, but I hope that more reflection on our daily practices and their impacts on the earth still happens, and that when we find our way back to socialization, we keep those in mind as we reshape society to be a more sustaining one, for all life. Earth is getting a much-needed breather while we as the human race face the coronavirus.

bean sprout foundation paper pieced quilt block pattern With a focus on hope and new beginnings, I thought today would be the perfect day to re-release my updated Bean Sprout block pattern, since there’s nothing like a freshly sprouted plant to celebrate spring, new life, and the wonder of discovery. As many of you likely know, I’ve been working with the amazing Lindsie Bergevin to convert some of my older patterns into fresher, more professional, and often more diverse versions and Bean Sprout is the latest to receive a make-over.

bean sprout foundation paper pieced quilt block pattern spring garden growthWith a bit more pattern details, more professional layout, and an added block size (welcome, dear 4″x6″ block!), the newest Bean Sprout block pattern includes all of the great things from the original 2016 design, but in a clearer, crisper presentation. You can buy it now from my Payhip shop HERE. You can use code BIRTHDAY for 15% off it and all other patterns in my shop through the end of April, since I believe in celebrating birthdays all month long.

bean sprout foundation paper piecing pattern nightquilterYou can see a few other versions of this block I’ve sewn up in the past in its original release post HERE. It’s always fun to look back into the blog archives, isn’t it!?

grow bean sprout pillow finishI particularly love the idea of a pillow, and very well might be making another one of these someday soon. I’d love to see what YOU make with the pattern, so please use #beansproutblock and tag me @nightquilter on social media so that I can see your beautiful work.

Happy stitching, happy Earth Day, and happy spring. Be well. 

 

 

Plant Worry, Grow Hope

Today is our 26th day sheltering at home, since we made the decision as a family back in mid-March to stay home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, about 4 days before the state of Maine closed schools and began slowly shutting down. As I’m sure is the same with all of you, we are still trying to adjust to the “new normal”, but are trying to focus on gratitude for our ability to shelter in place in relative comfort while those on the front lines battle this virus, and while many, many people suffer because of lack of safe housing, no paycheck, limited food supply, and lack of healthcare even when sick. This pandemic is certainly making it crystal clear which parts of our society need to change to better support humanity and the planet, once we get through this. 

Suddenly home schooling a 4 year old, 7 year old, and 10 year old has certainly kept my life busy, but after about a week and a half and trying three different schedules without success, we found a routine that seems to “work” for us. Each kid has a checklist of things they need to complete before earning screen time, which in this house is in the form of Cut the Rope, Caterzillar, and other such games on the single tablet and one phone (mine) we have. Because the kids can complete the tasks in whatever order they’d like, they are more motivated than when I tried to stick to a more rigid schedule.  With each of them spending time on reading, writing, math, exercise, chores, outside time, science/engineering, and art/drawing each day, I feel better letting them zone out with games for a while in the afternoon. The well-earned screen time has also meant that I have managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing each day, which as you can imagine has been very therapeutic.

plant worry grow hope tree quilt blocks Since our self-isolation has begun, I’ve found myself sewing trees. They are a brief respite from the realities of life these days. As I’ve sewn more, I realize that I’m just trying to grow some hope, grow some patience, grow some resilience. I’ve started using the hashtag #plantworrygrowhopequilt to document this process, and growing my forest of solace paired with limiting my consumption of news has been quite helpful to my mental health. With the 100 day project beginning world-wide tomorrow, I’ve finally decided to join again, and do #100daysofgrowinghope.  I will be sewing trees, sewing hearts, likely adding a rainbow or two, and just seeing what little things I can do each day to transform my worries into hope. 

plant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksplant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksplant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksI once again plan to be gentle with myself, with soft guidelines of “growing hope”, which I imagine will mostly be in the form of sewing and designing trees, working on putting my Plant Worry, Grow Hope quilt together, and maybe spending sunny days in the garden, literally growing hope in the form of vegetable and flower seeds. I have not yet decided whether I will include weekend days or not, and will feel it out as I go.

While I was talking with my friend Isabelle of Southbay Bella Studio about the 100 Days Project and what project to choose, we realized that between the two of us, we had about a gazillion different ideas. To keep things silly and light, and also to keep the brainstormed deluge of ideas flowing, we are also planning to do 100 Days of Planning 100 Days Projects in Instagram Stories. Again, this is a very relaxed project during which we hope to have a little fun, maintain the personal connection that is SO important during these socially distanced times, and have an epic list of 100 Days Project ideas for future years by the end of it. You can follow her at @southbaybella and I’m @nightquilter

100 days of sew smaller tiny piecing kitty wilkin handsI last participated in the 100 day project back in 2018 when I embarked upon 100 Days of Sew Smaller, which you can read about HERE and see on Instagram HERE.  I quite enjoyed that process, so I’m hoping that this year will be similar. I also truly hope that by the end of these 100 days, the world is well into healing and reconsidering “normal” to include more equality for all humans while also better caring for the earth. 

Staggered Quilt Tester Highlights Reel

One of the absolute best parts of designing quilt patterns is seeing other people’s take on it. I often have a vision of the finished quilt in mind as I’m designing so it’s fun to see my own vision become a reality, but then putting the pattern into the hands of others to let them express their own aesthetic preferences within the confines of the pattern just takes it to another level. Today I’m excited to share the wide variety of stunning Staggered quilts created by my pattern testers. It’s amazing that even within the small pool of testers, there is so incredibly much variety!

Baby Size (44″ x 54″)

Let’s begin with the baby size quilts and work up in size from there. The baby Staggered is a super quick sew, perfect for showcasing your favorite fabrics, matching the color scheme for a nursery, or just providing a fun pop of color for a little love.

amanda allen staggered ice dyed fabrics baby size quiltAmanda @another.amanda used primarily thrifted fabrics for her baby sized Staggered quilt, and she ice dyed them, resulting in these gorgeously soft color variations. She threw in a few added pops of a coordinating light slate blue from her stash for this soft and cozy version. I adore how the ice dyed fabric looks in this pattern, and can picture this quilt hanging over the railing of a crib, babbling, giggling baby and all.

amanda allen staggered ice dyed fabrics baby size quiltNote that Amanda chose to add her own personal touch by sewing vertical stripes into the side borders; that bit is not included in the Staggered pattern.

anja clyke staggered alison glass dark background quiltAnja of Anja Quilts used a darker background for hers, with Kona Charcoal paired with the brights of Alison Glass Road Trip fabrics for Andover fabrics. I love how that strip with the darker background melts into the background so that the lighter flowers pop! It’s such a fun detail. Check out Anja’s blog here, or follow her on Instagram @anjaquilts to see more of her gorgeous makes.

Darlene @dcapulus took a walk on the wild side with a super bright version of the baby Staggered. This combination of the Timeless Treasures rainbow ombre by Chong Hwang and that wild and fun floral background fabric that might be Alexander Henry, creates a whole new look for Staggered! I just love this version, don’t you?! Plus how much fun is this photo? Play at your own risk is right!!

Lap Size (50″ x 62″)

The next size of Staggered is Lap Size. Darlene loved sewing up Staggered so much that she made two; the fabulously colorful baby quilt above, AND this equally stunning lap sized version.

darlene staggered spectrastic guicy guice and venom libs elliotFor this quilt, she used Giucy Giuce’s Spectrastic fabrics paired with Libs Eliott’s Venom fabric for the background, both by Andover fabrics, and it’s so much fun. I love how adding a non-solid background fabric changes the aesthetic of Staggered. You can find Darlene on Instagram @dcapulus, and I highly recommend following her, since she’s always making something gorgeous. This quilt is currently finished and living at my house, since Darlene sent it to me so that I could take fun photos with it… stay tuned for that!

StaggeredQuilt-NatashaNatasha @housefulofstitches sewed up a Staggered quilt for the second time during this pattern test, since she had sewn up the original lap size when it was available through Quilt Theory! For this version she went with the rainbow theme and used a Dot & Stripes Jelly Roll by Robert Kaufman as her focus fabrics. I love seeing the differences in her two versions and can’t choose a favorite. You can see her original as well as all of her other gorgeous makes at her blog Houseful of Nicholes here.

tula pink staggered quilt lisa Lisa @sew.peace.full sewed up her version with a Tula Pink Tabby Road jelly roll and Zen Chic “Be the Color to Someone’s Gray” low volume jelly roll for the strips. For the side pieces she used a quilt themed text fabric she had in her stash. Isn’t it wonderful!?

Shannon Spicer @shannon_at_thespicerack sewed up her Lap Size Staggered with part of a Fall 2016 Lecien Minny Muu jelly roll, with Kona Bone as the background. I love the pops of fun in these fabrics, and the softer rainbow makes for a lovely quilt.

Twin Size (67″ x 86″)

The Twin Size version of Staggered was the one that was edited and changed the most during the testing process, and some of the testers’ quilts reflect this. Initially, the Staggered Twin size had the same six columns and wider, offset side borders, and a couple of the testers sewed up that version.

Kerry of @thatssewkerry who blogs at That’s Sew Kerry used mostly Alison Glass fabrics with some Spectrastic by Giucy Giuce both for Andover fabrics, as well as some other coordinating brights from her stash, on a Moda Grunge in Onyx background and it looks absolutely amazing. Don’t the colors just glow in this one!?

Debbie Griffiths Twin Staggered Liberty fabricsUltimately I decided to widen the center of the Twin size so that the overall aesthetic and assembly for each size was more similar, so the Twin version included in the Staggered pattern is this one, with two additional columns. Debbie Griffiths @dgr04618 made it in Liberty fabrics on Essex linen, a combination I’ve been hoping to see since I first released the simple lap pattern card for Quilt Theory years ago. It does not disappoint, and the elegance of the Liberty fabrics and subtle color flow are swoon-worthy.

Queen Size (87″ x 98″)

The Queen Size of Staggered packs a huge visual punch, and Alyson Olander sure made it shine with her pattern test!

She used an Alison Glass Sun Print 2016 jelly roll plus the “Path” (text) prints from the Sun Print 2019 with Robert Kaufman Manchester Metallic in Licorice (black with gold sparkle) as the background, and holy smokes does it shimmer and shine!!! Alyson had a pretty epic photo shoot for this quilt, too, complete with video to show how much the gold metallic shines in the sun when the wind blows.

alyson olander staggered quilt alison glass manchester metallicYou can start to see the gold glimmer in this photo, but be sure to head over to her Instagram feed at @alysonwonderlan to see more of her gorgeous makes.

Since this is my first pattern with such a wide variety of sizes, I really wanted to take it through the wringer before releasing it into the world. I’m grateful to my pattern testers who provided essential and insightful feedback along the way, to Yvonne Fuchs for her technical editing skills, and to Lindsie Bergevin, who has been helping me slowly convert my patterns into a more professional-looking, consistent pattern layout.

And most of all, thank YOU to everyone who has bought this pattern, and continues to buy this pattern, sewing up gorgeous and varied versions that provide a little peek into how it looks through your eyes.

Staggered Digital cover front quilt pattern nightquilterIf you’re looking to add Staggered to your quilt pattern library, you can get it HERE in my Payhip shop.  Happy stitching!

Aurifil Color Crush Thread Collection Release

I have such exciting news to share today–I’m honored to introduce you to my first Aurifil thread collection: Color Crush! What’s extra special is that for those of you at QuiltCon right now, you can be one of the very first to purchase the thread set if you so desire, so that you can return home ready to stitch the rainbow and always have the perfect coordinating color in your thread stash. Read on to find out more, and then head over to Auribuzz for a really sweet interview.

aurifil color crush thread collection nightquilterI have been using Aurifil thread since early in my quilting days, and once I tried my first spool, I was immediately sold on how silky smooth and strong it is. It leaves hardly any lint in my machine, especially compared to the older hand-me-down threads I had been using before switching entirely to Aurifil. Not only that, the range of available colors has my rainbow-loving heart swooning. Paired with Aurifil’s commitment to seeking the most sustainable options: using 100% cotton thread, putting their most recent thread addition on a wooden spool, going plastic neutral in 2019, and a continuing focus on environmentally sustainable practices, this company’s ideals resonate with me, which is really important.

aurifil thread color crush quliting collection nightquilterOver the past few years, I’ve found myself grabbing the same set colors of thread for most of my projects, and so finally I decided to reach out to Aurifil to see if they would still be interested in my curating a thread collection, since they had mentioned it a while back. I was excited to receive a resounding yes, and then the fun began!

color crush aurifil thread collection cover kitty wilkin night quiltercolor crush aurifil thread collection threads kitty wilkin night quilterI carefully considered each of the colors of thread *I* always use, trying to decide if it would be a universally helpful color to have, and have very intentionally decided upon this spectrum of luscious, vibrant, tertiary-heavy threads. Here are just a couple of the projects on which I’ve personally used these threads recently:

Pollinate EPP quilt

Pollinate in Progress EPPPollinate in Progress EPP aurifil

Staggered Quilt

staggered quilt pattern release alison glassStaggered Quilt progress aurifil thread

Summer Sampler 2019 Alternate Layout, Planned out in my Quilter’s Planner 2020

summer sampler 2019 aurifilsummer sampler 2019 aurifil quilters planner

This thread collection embodies my favorite design aesthetic, and as you can see, I put ALL the colors to good use! I plan to share much more about each individual thread and why it was selected in a later blog post, but for now, I encourage you to head over to the Aurifil blog Auribuzz, where they are sharing really fun interview in which I talk about all things quilting, color, QuiltCon, and more! Read it HERE.

aurifil color crush thread collection nightquilterIf you want to purchase Color Crush and your local quilt shop doesn’t currently stock it, please ask them to special order. Any shop can grab it from a distributor of course, but ANY shop can purchase directly from Aurifil, no minimum, flat rate shipping. Simply click the “Shop Now” button on the top right of the Aurifil webpage, choose “Designer Collection”, set up an account with them, and order until your Color Crushing heart’s content! Please let me know if you are a shop and plan to stock this collection, since I will be creating a landing page with a list of where Color Crush is available for sale, both online and in brick and mortar shops.

QuiltCon 2020 – Austin!

If you are in Austin for QuiltCon right now and love this collection of threads as much as I do, there’s good news! You can buy a signed collection AND say hi to me! (hugs, please) during two meet-and-greet events during the show:

Friday, February 21st, at 12:30pm at Aurifil’s booth, booth #910, facilitated by Private Source Quilting (PSQ), and,

Saturday, February 22nd, at 3pm at the Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth, booth #404.  The Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth will also be selling some of my most popular quilt patterns, including the new Staggered quilt, Sew Tiny Sampler, Pollinate EPP quilt pattern, my Run Run Run block pattern, Pollen Pillow EPP, and a couple more. This is a rare chance to get one of my patterns in print, so I do hope to see you there!

Staggered Quilt Pattern Release!

What better way to kick off the week of QuiltCon than with a pattern release!? I’m excited to share that my fully revamped and expanded Staggered quilt pattern is now available for sale in my Payhip shop! Staggered will be on sale this week only for $9 after which it will return to its usual $12. Get it while it’s hot!

I originally designed the lap sized version of Staggered for Quilt Theory in 2017, with visions of rock strata, water ripples, and windblown sand swirling in my mind. I’m happy to have expanded the pattern to include more assembly diagrams, detailed instructions, and four sizes: baby, lap, twin, and queen, and I can’t wait to see yours!

staggered quilt detail nightquilter alison glassStaggered is a fun, easy, extremely versatile pattern that is a great way to showcase your favorite fabric line. Perfect for precuts, this would be a fantastic pattern for that precious fat quarter bundle or jelly roll you have stashed away. I used the new Alison Glass Sun Print 2020 fabrics by Andover Fabrics for mine, and it seriously brightens my day. My kids are already asking who gets the finished quilt!  I especially love how the Menagerie fabric from Sun Print adds some twinkle among the other rich range of colors. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Alison Glass fabrics, and this *might* be my favorite line of hers so far.

staggered quilt detail nightquilter alison glassThe range of greens-teals-blues are especially to die for! I just love how they play in this Staggered quilt. You can probably tell, but I’m smitten!

aurifil thread collection color crushI quilted my Staggered quilt using coordinating 50wt Aurifil threads– I have another fun release to share–from my very own curated collection of Aurifil threads, called Color Crush! I will share more about this fun assortment of threads soon!

What’s even more exciting, if you are at QuiltCon in Austin this week, you can buy both my Staggered Quilt pattern AND my Color Crush Aurifil collection from the Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth, booth 404.  I’ll be having a meet-and-greet there at 3pm on Saturday, too, so please come by and say hi!

Let’s begin the week with a boom! Go ahead and get your Staggered quilt pattern now, and please use #staggeredquilt and tag me @nightquilter on social media so that I may see yours! You can browse the hashtag for inspiration, since my testers are knocking it out of the park already. Happy stitching!

My 2020 Miles Update & A Pattern Sale

The long, long month of January is in the books, and so far I’m not only keeping up with my running quilt, it’s still motivating me to get out there logging miles on days when otherwise I’d probably skip it. Here’s my progress so far, all sewn together and ready for February.

january my 2020 miles running quilt nightquilterI kicked off the year with a 5K race and a personal record (PR) of 26:28.9 (woohoo!), snuck a hike in there in the middle, managed one back-to-back run duo, and finally started adding some longer runs with a 6 miler and 5 miler toward the end there. To read more details on how I plan to make this quilt, what each strip and color represent, and why some strips are skinnier than others, check out my first post My 2020 Miles Quilt here.

my 2020 miles quilt running nightquilterI love the way the tree looks in there to represent our 2 mile snowy hike, and can’t wait until summer when hikes are much more frequently scattered throughout this quilt!

I’ve been tracking my miles on a Project Planner page in my Quilter’s Planner, which helps my peace of mind that I’ll remember what activity I did each day, and also will help me know without uncertainty how long each row is. Since I ran so frequently in January (12 times), I’ve decided to extend my rows to 70″ instead of 60″, since if I continue at this rate, I would end up with a quilt that would be about 60″ x 102″!  Tracking my progress on graph paper will help me know exactly when to end one row and begin the next.

january my 2020 miles running quiltHere’s a peek at the tracking from earlier in the month, before I changed my width to 70″. I’m getting close to the end of the first row at this point, as well as close to 50 miles, when I’ll stitch a little 3″ runner from my Run Run Run pattern into the strip to designate the completion of 50 miles. I’m actually only 7 miles away from 50 miles as of this morning, so I’m plotting out a 7 mile long run for tomorrow so that my little runner will be in a purple color, too! We’ll see if I can motivate myself to get out in the 27 degree forecasted cold for a long run, or whether I split it up over tomorrow and Friday and accept a teal runner marker.

january my 2020 miles running quiltThis quilt has definitely motivated me to get out there and run on even the coldest days, with most of the runs logged here in Maine, where I crunch along on frozen ground, sometimes snow and ice, and always with lots of layers.

It’s pretty even if it’s frigid.

It also motivated me to get a run in while I was traveling to teach at the Houston Modern Quilt Guild, which was a very different experience with 74 degrees and 100% humidity. I certainly enjoyed the big trees and ample green during that run! Without the promise of earning a run strip for my quilt, I doubt I would have woken up early to fit a run in before a long day of lecturing and teaching, so this quilt is certainly doing what I hoped it would–help keep me on the positive feedback loop of running regularly and inspiring me to sew more. Win, win, win, ad infinitum!

my 2020 miles quilt running progressYesterday I took a bit of time to cut strips for miles 2 through 9, as well as a bunch of cross training and rest day strips. Now I’m ready to go, set up for success for February, since all I’ll need to do is get out there and run, then grab the coinciding strip to add to my design wall. Here’s to a fit and fabulous (and maybe a bit brighter) February!

Speaking of pink, I’m having my annual Spread the Love Pattern sale now through February 14th, so be sure to use code LOVE2020 at my Payhip shop for 20% off! Stock up on Night Quilter patterns now, and spread the love!

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