It’s been quiet here, and sadly I can’t even say it’s because I’ve been sewing up a storm. I’ve somehow caught a mean summer sickness that has knocked me down for the count. I’m going on 5 days of this crud and it’s slowly tapering off (I think… I hope), but my energy is still drained. My days have consisted of tea, tissues, sleep when possible (being a mom with 3 kiddos means no sick days for me), getting to necessary appointments with brief playground visits as a reward for my kids’ help, and a *tiny* bit of EPP.
I just wanted to pop in here to let you all know that I haven’t run off into the sunset, nor will have have a bevy of beautiful quilts to show you when I return. But I’m here. And I’ll return. One day, hopefully sooner than later.
Back to my tissues and tea, and another movie day for the kids. At least they don’t seem to mind my sickness, and the weather has been as cruddy as I feel. And so it goes. Happy stitching to you!
My Color Inspiration posts have been less consistent this summer, but not for a lack of color. I’ve been focusing on sewing and having quality family time outside, and with an infant, it’s a lot trickier to carry a camera around with me to capture the color all around us. But it’s still there, oh–it’s there! Last week we had a full, full house with my entire family visiting (minus one brother-in-law)–my parents, two brothers, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and two cousins; it was a full house! This week I’ll be sharing some colorful flowers seen during forays into town, turned into color palettes with Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1.
Corresponding solids from left to right: Kona Titanium, Bella Nautical Blue, Bella Magenta, Bella Peony, Bella Petal Pink, Bella Leaf
Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right: 2606 – Mist 1310 – Med Blue Grey 2455 – Med Carmine Red 2479 – Med Orchid 2566 – Wisteria 2887 – Olive
Purple cone flower, or echinacea, is one of my favorite summer flowers. The color, the shape, the wild nature–I love it all. These were spotted along the Belfast waterfront, beautifying the view of the harbor.
Corresponding solids from left to right: Kona Grapemist, Kona Amethyst, Kona Lavender, Kona Blueberry, Bella Sapphire, Kona Blue Jay
Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right: 2770 – V Lt Delft 2720 – Light Delft 2725 – Lt Wedgewood 2560 – Iris 2775 – Steel Blue 4140 – Wedgewood
Hydrangea. Honestly, it took me a while to fully appreciate this flower. The color of course is hard to be topped, but the giant fluffball style just isn’t my thing. When seen close up, however, the beauty of the color and the detail of each individual petal wins over the goofy fluff. My daughter, on the other hand, LOVES these flowers. The bigger the better, in her opinion. Me, I’d opt for the delicate forget-me-not over the voluptuous (yes, I just called a flower voluptuous) hydrangea any day. But I’ll take the color anywhere I can!
Do you ever get to the point in a project where you are *so* close to finishing that you sort of let your mind think you already have, and it hops right over and latches onto a new project idea or three? Yeah, me too. I have at least three projects that are in their final stages yet have been put aside for the past month, while I instead started a handful of new projects. Who doesn’t love a new project?! Yesterday I decided it was time to get those nearly finished projects into the finished pile, and I pulled my favorite one to the top to start.
Remember this? Over a month ago, I finished my first ever embroidery sampler, this Color Wheel by Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth. I used Aurifil 12wt thread for the first time, learning the stitches as I went, and loved it SO much when it was finished that I just couldn’t let it be actually finished. So I hatched the plan to extend the color wheel using none other than my favorite saturated rainbow: Alison Glass’s 2015 Sun Prints. Putting it aside was not out of lack of love or excitement, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE this project and it feels so good to pick it up again. I just get into spots where the ideas burst and I have to get them started so that they are real. You know what I mean… a project with fabric cut and design sketched and a few stitches invested is a real project. It’s a lot less likely it will sit stagnant in the pool of unrealized ideas once it’s been at least partially begun.
So back to my color wheel. I managed to match the fabrics almost exactly to the colors of the Aurifil embroidery, which is incredible. It seems like Alison Glass and Rebecca Ringquist and Alex from Aurifil must have all gotten together to design this harmonious flow with the perfect combination of design, color, thread, and fabric, it goes together that well. I wanted to be sure that the prongs of the outer color wheel aligned with the organically drawn prongs of the embroidery wheel, so I scanned my embroidery sampler and uploaded it to Inkscape, the free vector program with which I design patterns. I created larger circles, centering the embroidery, and extended the lines on the sampler to create wedges. I then printed it, cut out the wedges with scissors, and used them as templates to cut the fabric wedges, as shown in the Instagram photo above. I winged it, really, but amazingly it came together beautifully.
Right now the rainbow circle overlaps with the embroidery sampler’s edges, but don’t worry–I plan to either trim or fold the edge under so that the entire sampler is visible.It was an exciting day, since this is the first project sewn on my new sewing machine: a Bernina 560, which I recently purchased during one of their 0% interest, 60-month payment plan offer days. (I’ll give you a formal introduction soon, promise!)
I also used Flatter by Soak spray for the first time since QuiltCon, and I’m amazed I survived without it. Between the new machine sewing like a dream and the seam-relaxing Flatter spray, this circle came together without a hitch.
Now I am going to study up on circles by watching Cheryl Arkison’s class Inset and Applique Circles by Machine on Craftsy (affiliate link). It’s my first time trying a class on Craftsy, but I hear there are subtitles. I also was fortunate enough to take a class with Cheryl Arkison at QuiltCon, so I have no doubt of her depth of knowledge and skill. I’m really looking forward to trying to attach these circles!
Having never sewn a circle by machine, and perhaps only one by hand, this will be a creation filled with firsts. I’m getting awfully close to completing this beauty, though, and I’m loving every step of the way.
Also, for those of you on Instagram, I’m having an awesome giveaway to celebrate passing 1,500 followers, sponsored by Aurifil, Soak, and moi (with a fat eighth bundled pulled straight from my stash favorites, basically this color wheel!). Head over, follow me @nightquilter, and tag a quilty friend to enter. Here are some sneak peeks for eye candy (Note: This giveaway is on Instagram only):
One of the perks of quilting retreats and other social sewing is that little tips are tossed around. Today I’m going to share a very simple yet important tip about using the thread you cut from a spool during hand stitching. As a self-taught sewist, these are the bits of knowledge that I miss, since rarely are there blog posts about the bare basics of sewing. While basting our needle-turn applique projects around the table at the Slow Stitching Retreat, I caught this important tip:
Use the thread in the same direction it comes off the spool. The tail end that you pull to unravel your length of thread should be the side you thread through your needle. The end that you cut should be the knot end. This way, you are pulling the thread through the fabric in the intended direction, which works with the ply of the thread instead of against. Using the thread in the proper direction significantly decreases tangles and twists while stitching. Simple, right?!
I never knew that it mattered which end was which, so I didn’t pay attention while cutting my thread lengths. Now, when I’m pre-threading a bunch of needles for a good binding or hand stitching session, I thread each needle as the thread is cut instead of accumulating a nice pile of threads and then grabbing any which end to thread through the needle.
Stephanie’s Tips and Tutorials link ups from previous weeks are filled to the brim with great time savers, tricks, and how-to’s. I’d definitely recommend browsing them with your Pinning finger ready. One of my favorites from last week was this tutorial by Veni Vidi Vicky on how to make your own sewing tags (which could easily be adapted to making your own quilt labels!). She gives great step by step instructions on how to use Spoonflower, which is something I’ve been tempted to do but have yet to try.
Now it’s your turn! Do you have any little tips or great tutorials to share this week? If you do, please link up below!
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Imagine you’re sitting in a rocking chair on a sunny porch, sunbeams playing at your feet, a cool breeze blowing your hair, fabric in your hands, slowly stitching your way through the day alongside new quilting friends all doing the same, seeing your handwork grow at your fingertips. Bliss, right? Now add amazing quilters Carolyn Friedlander, Chawne Kimber, and Samantha Lindgren as teachers, mentors, and fellow slow stitching friends and there you have the Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak Retreat Center in Washington, Maine. Last week, I was so blessed to be able to join the retreat for a day, with baby Finn in tow.
The retreat was the brainchild of Sam from A Gathering of Stitches, and was just as blissfully amazing as the name Slow Stitching Retreat suggests. I attended on Thursday, and joined the group learning the Park needle turn applique quilt block from Carolyn Friedlander. Those of you who know me know that Carolyn is one of my all time favorite fabric and quilt designers. I love her architectural influence, highly textured fabric designs, and simple geometric pattern style. It was all I could do not to jump up and down and squeal like a little fangirl when I first met her at QuiltCon. To spend the day learning from her and relaxing with a room full of equally enthusiastic and experienced sewists was such a rejuvenating and inspiring way to spend a day. It certainly helped that Carolyn is super easy going and we all had a great time chatting and stitching the day away.
After we all had basted our Park patterns, we headed out to the sunny porch to slowly stitch in bliss. It was a truly fabulous experience, and one I think everyone should enjoy!
Finn was there with me, of course, and he was absolutely perfect. Honestly, he happily rocked and watched all of us sew, joined in on conversations with his smily baby babble, and was happy all day long. I think he will be a slow stitcher when he’s a bit older, too!
Since I was only able to attend for a day, I wasn’t able to take Chawne Kimber‘s class on tiny stitching. I did sneak over to their workspace to gawk at her amazing creations and talk a bit about her sewing process, though.
These teeny, tiny bits stitch together into such gorgeous, substantial quilt blocks, it blew my mind. Chawne had a thick stack of many different quilt block samples, all tinier than the tiniest block I’ve ever sewn and all absolutely stunning. They begged to be touched, and then once I touched them, there was no denying: I had to sew a teeny tiny block, even if it was soooo slow that it took me a year to complete. Chawne was also so easy to talk to, and such an inspiration. I wish I could have stayed all weekend and chatted away for hours.
After returning home, I finished stitching the outside edge of my needle-turn appliqued Park block, and I spent two #sewtake20 sewing breaks to get started on a Chawne-inspired tiny quilt block. I’m stretching far out of my comfort zone by going wonky AND tiny!
Here’s my 40-minute, not quite 4″ square quilt block start. I am loving it, and being able to use the scraps of fabric from my “too small to save” bin feels good.
This day spent slowly stitching flew by, but solidified my feeling that quilting retreats should be a part of every sewist’s life. I am very much looking forward to being able to attend a full retreat in a couple of years when my mama milk bar is not in full use, and I plan to start saving pennies now. I’m so grateful that Sam is bringing quilt retreats to Maine with A Gathering of Stitches, and I look forward to seeing what rejuvenating, peacefully refreshing quilt retreats she organizes in the future. Thank you to Sam, Carolyn, Chawne, and all of the other retreat attendees for the lovely day and burst of inspiration.
I’m linking up my tiny quilt block beginning with Design Wall, since all quilt blocks matter, no matter how small.
Once again, your comments were my absolute favorite part about the giveaway. To enter the giveaway, I asked you to share what you think of when you hear “summer nights”. Many of you immediately thought of the song from Grease, which honestly had not even entered my mind. Here is just a tiny sampling of some of the other gorgeous images you shared. Honestly, you’re poets!:
starry skies and campfires, s’mores and songs – Jenn
a glass of wine in the garden in the evening looking at the moon, with my husband sitting beside me – Helen
A cold drink and good conversation on the patio with friends. Staying up late, talking late into the night. – Amanda
Star gazing and fireflies – Monique B.
I remember back when we used to arrive at the beach after dark and you could hear and smell the ocean, but not see the waves washing up on the shore. It held the promise of warm days on the sand and wading in the water to cool off. Happy times. – Amelia V,
Summer nights… trees, black silhouettes against deepening dark blues of the sky… Soft breezes bringing a cool freshening, chasing the day’s heat… A cacophony of frogs, joined by the insistent chirping of crickets… Mystical, magical periodic blinking of fireflies (“lightening bugs”)… The scent of summer blossoms and growing, ripening gardens all around, lulling and delighting with every breath taken… “Day’s end, and all is right”, now, in this moment of time… – Pat T.
and finally, my favorite, which really should be published somewhere awesome:
Summer nights of my long ago childhood includes the wonderful memories of visiting my cousins in rural South Eastern Oklahoma. We would be playing as dusk started settling in. Dinner would have been enjoyed by the crowd of extended family. Always enough, always super tasty, never fancy. Then the adults would settle into their metal lawn chairs as we children raced around the yard. I can remember the low buzzing of their conversation as we played. They were talking about times before us and so we went about creating our own memories, not really sharing theirs. The light would fade and fade until it was almost completely dark around us, the porch light left on, but it’s beam barely reaching into the darkness. Beyond its beam, hidden in the dusk the adults would still carry on with their reminiscing, the murmuring and occasional sound of laughter a constant backdrop to our continued play. And this is when the magic happened. The magic of fireflies. First just a few, then finally a full chorus of them in the dark. Somehow jars would magically appear in our hands. The game was on! Cousins and I dashed as we tried to catch the elusive insects, nothing like the brash ugly insects bashing themselves around the back light porch! These were silent and graceful, taking all your skill to try to catch one as its light flickered on and off and on and off, teasing us to catch it.
So, that’s what I think of when summer nights are mentioned. I hope there are children still out there chasing fireflies and letting them go, barely hearing the history of their people as it’s murmured from lawn chairs that still sit under the clump of trees. It has been years and years since I have seen a firefly. Are they still out there? – magistra13
You probably want to know who won, though, right? Mr. Random chose number 74, which was Linda.
Congratulations, Linda! Your bundle will be mailed out tomorrow. Enjoy stitching with watermelon juice running down your chin! For those of you who didn’t win this one, you can buy this bundle from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply’s online shop (or in person) until they sell out!
It’s a big stash building day, since not only am I bolstering Linda’s stash, but I am also sharing a few new fabric bits that I bought at Maine Quilts for my own English Paper Piecing (EPP) stash. I love tone on tones, but meticulous cutting (also known as fussy cutting) is best with busier prints with lots going on.
Here is my full haul, from windswept kids to flowers (what!? I bought floral prints!?) to awesome sloths.
These first three fabrics were purchased from Alewives Fabrics, and are intended to work together in a currently unplanned future EPP project. From top to bottom, I bought:
1/2 yard of Zephyr by Rashida Coleman Hale for Cotton & Steel
1/4 yard of Picnic by Melody Miller for Cotton & Steel
1 yard of Moon Shine by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
I typically don’t buy (or like, for that matter) floral prints, but that Moon Shine just drew me in and made me say uncle. I think the bold black background with the bright red, lime green, and turquoise combo just begs to be cut up and sewn back together in a fun geometric EPP way. I decided to add in a bit of the red Picnic and a generous splash of the limey green Zephyr, and there we have a solid beginning to a new project.
I also bought 1/2 yard of this Floral Bazzar in Orchid by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Fabrics. Again, it’s far more floral than I typically buy, but the diverse and detailed print just begs to be meticulously cut and pieced back together. I loved the color combination of the bright navy blue, coral, magenta, and grey and so bought this as a feature fabric for yet another not-yet-planned future EPP project. Just look at all of the variation in this one print!
Same fabric, different perspective, and an entirely new look, which means this will be FUN to chop!
Finally, these sloths!! Seriously, how could I NOT buy some of this fabric?! This is the epic sloth fabric, Sketches & Memories from Costa Rica from Honeymoon by Sarah Watts for Cotton & Steel. I bought 1/2 yard of this fabric from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply‘s booth at Maine Quilts. I don’t know what I’m going to make with it yet, but I just couldn’t resist. I surely will need to buy more, and might make a sloth bag just so that I can tote these guys around everywhere.
Did you know that I have a degree in Environmental science and saw sloths in Costa Rica while there for a Tropical Biology class? It wasn’t my honeymoon–maybe we should have gone to Costa Rica–but it sure is a memory, and I’m pretty sure I have a sketch (or at least a photograph) somewhere!
Does fabric ever talk to you, grab your wrist, and refuse to let you go without buying some? And then snuggle you the whole way home? Okay, good. I’m not weird.
You’re probably familiar with the pinkalicious quilt I made for my sister in law a few months back. The heart in a speech bubble I designed for that quilt was begging to be made into a mini of its own, and I’m excited to announce that it’s ready for release!
I named this pattern Hello, Love! , which I, well… love! The mini quilt finishes at 20″x20″ and would also be perfect for a pillow or as part of a larger quilt. The pattern is my first publicly available traditionally pieced pattern (that’s right–it’s not paper pieced! *gasp*) and is fat quarter friendly. There are clear instructions for cutting and piecing, including diagrams and tips. The pattern also includes diagrams showing how to make two half square triangles (HST) at a time.
This pattern is a great way to showcase your favorite fabrics, or show your love for anyone or anything. The heart is a great place to applique anything under the sun, be it the name of your bestie, your kiddos, your fur babies, or a picture of a unicorn, camera, or kale (don’t we all love kale?). Note that applique details are not included in the pattern.
Hello, Love! is available in my Craftsy store (and Payhip for those of you in the EU) and will be on sale for only $5 for the first week, after which it return to its normal price of $8.
Many thanks to my testers, who provided helpful feedback and spotted my late night typos. You may have seen a few of these minis around the Instagram world already, and can see more by checking out the tag #hellolovequilt. When you make your version, please tag #hellolovequilt and @nightquilter so that I can see!
I’m linking up my flimsy and pattern finish with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday. I bought a new sewing machine, so I’m waiting until it arrives before I quilt this mini, but I just couldn’t wait to share the pattern! Enjoy, and I can’t wait to see what you create.
This week showcases the results of what may be my favorite summer scavenger hunt yet. We mixed it up a bit this time and instead of searching for flowers and objects in the yard of a particular color, we collected one of each different lily that grows in our gardens. It’s amazing that one genus of flower can have such a vast variety of size, shape, color, and intricacy. According to wikipedia there are more than 35,000 daylily cultivars alone. We only have a very tiny sampling. Color palettes are made using my photographs and Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1.
Corresponding solids from left to right: Kona Gold, Kona Grellow, Bella Key Lime, Kona Baby Blue, Bella Plum, Bella Deep Burgundy
Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right: 2155 – Cinnamon
2975 – Brass 5015 – Gold Yellow 2710 – Lt Robins Egg 2566 – Wisteria 2568 – Mulberry
An aerial view of our full collection, this photo shows the range of size, shape, and color. You can see that one of these things is not like the other; one of the lilies is a double or maybe triple, meaning instead of one rosette of petals, there are multiples. I cannot take credit for planting any of these, but I’m again grateful that the woman who first created our gardens had a deep love for anything that flowers.
Corresponding solids from left to right: Kona Cinnamon, Bella Kansas Red, Bella Cheddar, Kona Cheddar, Bella Peach, Bella Periwinkle
Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right: 2355 – Rust
2350 – Copper 2214 – Golden Honey 6010 – Toast 2320 – Lt Toast 4140 – Wedgewood
Here’s a more detailed view of the odd lily out. The petals on this species are wild and swirly, reminding me of the gorgeous magnolia blooms that kick off spring. The range from peach to orange paired with the grey blue of the wood make such a gorgeous palette! It’s also kind of fun that the “Cheddar” color from both Kona solids and Moda Bella solids fabric lines appear in this palette.
Max selected his favorite flower, which happened to be the biggest and brightest of them all:
Corresponding solids from left to right: Kona Yarrow, Bella Tawny Olive, Kona Grellow, Bella Grape, Bella Graphite, Bella Deep Burgundy
Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right: 2920 – Lt Brass
2975 – Brass 2132 – Tarnished Gold 2630 – Pewter 2610 – Lt Blue Grey 2345 – Raisin
The largest lily of them all shines like the sun. I love the delicate curl of the pistil and stamen, which reach up toward the light.
Here are a couple more photos of these gorgeous lilies for your viewing pleasure.
While that first month seemed to last so long, with days and nights filled with slow baby snuggles, the second month flew by as we returned to our daily routine. My baby is two months old! With a bit over 20 minutes of sewing time (#sewtake20!) his second monthly quilt block is finished.
I decided to make another teal block since I still have a lot of teal scraps. I think rather than my usual rainbow, I’m going to stick with a simple color scheme for this quilt: teal and black & white. I really need to sketch out a firm plan, so I’ll make that a goal for month three.
I am blessed beyond belief with this boy. He has such a peaceful demeanor, and as soon as he hit one month old, he was all smiles. He is so very interested in the world around him, and I love having “conversations” with him. After three children, I have mastered the art of the one-sided conversation, and I truly love the baby babble and expressions I get in return.
Perhaps the best part about growing our family is the love between siblings. Maddie and Max love their little brother almost as much as he loves them, and seeing the sweet exchanges is heart warming, even on a crazy day.
I’m excited to see this quilt grow with my little guy, and the one-block-per-month requirement still feels more than doable (even if I did make this block last night).