I’ve been quiet here, not for lack of sewing, but for lack of *shareable* sewing and computer time. I’ve been working on my first commissioned quilt, and I’ve been buckling down to try to get it finished. I’m having fun with it, but as is the case with just about every project, it’s taking me a bit longer to get together than I had hoped.
Perhaps one day I will learn that “I’ll just make a background of half square triangles (HSTs) and then I’ll just appliqué on top…” really is equal to cut, sew, press, trim, sew, cut, sew, press, trim, sew, on repeat for days, and while aesthetically “simple”, it is far from actually simple. The just is deceptively dismissive, but resides heavily in my planning process. I think part of my nurture goal for the year should include eliminating some “just” and being more realistic with my goals. In the meantime, I’ll continue making slow and steady progress, and enjoying the journey.
I can’t share much, since who knows if the recipient may be reading this, but here are a few peeks at my progress, and at the awesome project that has been filling most of my sewing time as of late.
I promise to show the final quilt once it is finished, gifted, and received. All I can say is that the half square triangles are “just” a canvas for something greater.
Love is always the key. We know that. But now we can also SEW that! Those who know me know that I am a sap for hearts and I see them literally everywhere. One of my proudest moments was the first time my daughter brought me a heart she found in nature. It was a dirty old dried up piece of orange peel that she had found in the gravel driveway, and she was filled to the brim with excitement that she had found a heart. Since then, Maddie and I (and now Max, a bit) have found countless heart rocks, heart sea glass, heart snowballs, heart leaves, and more… since truly, love is everywhere. Reminiscent story aside, today I’m excited to release my newest pattern: Love is the Key.
Love is the Key is a foundation paper pieced pattern that measures 9″ square, but with an option for a 4.5″ wide by 9″ tall version. It features a heart-topped key and is a very easy, beginner-friendly paper piecing pattern. Believe it or not, this pattern was first conceptualized and sketched almost a year ago, on my flight home from QuiltCon. It’s a mash-up of my Unlocked and Love Struck patterns, since who doesn’t need more heart-filled pattern options?
To help celebrate the month of love, this pattern release is also kicking off a pattern sale of all of my love-themed patterns, today through Valentine’s Day. That gives you ample time to sew up some love for your partner, your kids, your parents, or hey–even for yourself!
Grab Love is the Key for only $3 while you can! The prices have already been reduced in my Craftsy and Payhip shops. After Valentine’s Day, all patterns will return to their standard prices of $4.50 (but my love will still be there).
I’m also excited about a few add-on pattern features I’m hoping to release soon. Most likely not by Valentine’s Day, but soon you will be able to stitch up a flying heart key, and will have top and bottom options for a “create your own adventure” key. So much fun. So much love.
It’s been ages since my last color inspiration post, but I’m determined to get them going again. Maine has been thoroughly drab and colorless this winter, and not even with the pristine blanket of snow so common this far north. We finally experienced our first good snow a week or so ago, and I knew it was a great time to get out and take some photos. These color palettes were created using my photographs and Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1.
Corresponding solids from left to right: Kona Silver, Kona Stone, Kona Medium Grey, Bella Glacier, Bella Cloud, Kona Cloud
Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right: 2615 – Aluminum
2325 – Linen
2524 – Grey Violet
5008 – Sugar Paper
2612 – Arctic Sky
2560 – Iris
As much as my mind calls snowscapes white, when I look closely I discover that there actually are quite a few colors hidden in the soft scene. Blues, lavenders, and browns abound. This creeping thyme looks much different now than it did when it appeared in THIS color inspiration post a few months ago!
Corresponding solids from left to right: Kona Cloud, Kona Pewter, Bella Blush, Bella Tomato Soup, Bella Indigo, Bella Wisteria
Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right: 2560 – Iris
2606 – Mist 2445 – Victorian Rose 2245 – Red Orange 2468 – Dk Wine 2524 – Grey Violet
Leave it to Mother Nature to provide some pops of color even during the bleakest season. Red berries paired with fresh snow create a quintessential winter scene and a color palette I’d surely use in a quilt!
Where have you found your latest color inspiration?
I’m certainly testing this question lately! I’ve written about the mini mini quilt swap craze, and while it seems to have died down a bit on Instagram, I’m still plugging along working to complete the many mini minis I have promised to swap. Such is life when sewing gets done 20 minutes at a time! One such mini mini has morphed into a true test of “how small can you go?”
I designed a tiny foundation paper pieced geometric feather for the mini mini I’m making for Renee at Quilts of a Feather, since I wanted to create a purple feather (her favorite color is purple and feather is probably a clear choice), but I also wanted it to be unique. The tiny pattern crazy me developed has 60 foundation paper pieced pieces in block smaller than 3″x4″.
Believe it or not, the foundation paper piecing part went smoothly. That’s one of the wonders of foundation paper piecing–you can literally sew ANYthing.
I’ve only removed the papers from half so far, but even that isn’t too bad. I quite enjoy it, actually. When foundation paper piecing, I set my stitch length to 1.2 so the paper basically melts off. I encouraged some of the teeny tiny smaller than 1/16″ bits to come off using a cute stiletto I received as part of a swap last year. (Aside–did you know that a stiletto in quilting is a skinny tool that is thicker and a bit more blunt than a pin, and is used to help feed your fabric through your sewing machine, hold down little corners while sewing, or any other task you can derive? I *just* learned what a stiletto was and so I’m trying to use it more!)
Joining the two halves, on the other hand, was where the challenge truly arose. I broke a needle trying to get through all of those layers, and eventually settled on hand cranking my machine through the thickest part.
Needless to say, this baby does not lay flat, nor can I hope to press it flat no matter how much Flatter I use. But no worries! I plan to use a double layer of batting, perhaps only under the feather (I think it’s called trapunto) so that at least it won’t seem too out of place. But it appears I have my answer: this is as small as I can go, at least with this pattern!
I originally planned to trim the outer edge and needle turn appliqué the feather to the background fabric, a gorgeous glimmering square of Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous. After requesting some tips/advice from Carolyn Friedlander via email, I am approaching it in a different way per her advice; instead I’ll do reverse appliqué, where I’ll cut the hole in the background fabric, place it on top of the feather, and stitch it down around the feather’s edge. While it will be my first time trying reverse applique, I think I have a much better chance at success using this method. Thank you, Carolyn!
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how this mini mini turns out!
I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that there’s a really good chance I’d be setting myself up for failure, or perhaps it’s the fact that I make resolutions and goals for myself all year long, but I’ve never really jumped on the resolutions bandwagon. I do, however, love the reflection, reevaluation, and goal-making that comes with beginning a brand new year. Many have chosen a single word on which to focus; “one little word” to guide their year. As Ali Edwards explains on her blog:
“The premise is simple – choose a word to invite into your life for the coming year. You live with it. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities and no right or wrong way to approach the adventure.”
Last year, I chose “balance” as the word to guide my year. It’s hard for me to move my focus in another direction, since I know from the depths of my soul that balance is still very much at the top of my goals list, and most likely will always be there. In reflecting over the past year, I think I did a really great job of balancing quilting with family, friends, and the rest of life, at least up until the last couple of months. Toward the end of the year, I let my excitement at my success at making time to sew despite my full plate bubble over, and I bit off more than I could chew. I’m still floundering to get caught up so that I can feel that refreshed new year, new start feeling. I’ll get there.
With all of that in mind, I’ve finally settled on a word to guide my 2016: nurture.
Even beyond the obvious–the nurture of my three kids–this word is one that I hope will guide my year in a positive way on all levels. Yes, I will aim to care for and encourage the growth and development of my children first and foremost. That almost goes without saying. But I will also use this word to guide other areas of my life:
My relationship with my husband–so easy to let slide as our family grows
My family as a whole–family fun time all together!
Myself–making time for self-care IS essential
Relationships with friends–mommy playdates even when the kids are in school soothes my soul
My piecing skills–I want to master curves, and always keep learning
My quilting skills–more free motion quilting practice, hand quilting, stretching my quilting style
My handwork–I want to sew all the things! embroidery, visible mending, applique, sashiko…
My creativity–regularly sketching and developing new patterns helps exercise my creative mind
Quilting community–I love this community and want to continue to share inspiration, ideas, and creativity with you. YOU nurture me!
The business side of quilting–finding a balance of business commitments that nurtures my creativity while staying true to my ideals and working toward my goals
The garden–I let the garden go last year because of Finn’s birth, but this year I want to nourish our bodies with homegrown food again
I suppose it’s a good thing that my biggest problem is wanting to say yes to everything, and wanting to create even half of the ideas that inspire me. But balance is key. This year, I hope to let NURTURE guide my creative, personal, family, and business decisions and continue to let my creativity shine.
I’ve been letting my blogging slide a bit so far this year, but plan to get back into the rhythm of sharing inspiration here. As I mentioned above, I bit off more than I could chew at the end of last year, so I’m still working hard to catch up and meet some final deadlines. I miss you, and will share more soon! Thank you for following along with my creative process, and I look forward to many inspiring conversations in the year ahead! May this blog help nurture your creativity as well!
Time is not the only thing that has been flying by. Finn is already seven months old and is officially on the move! While he still moves primarily through his inching army crawl, he is getting a lot more adept at moving his body around from belly to sitting to up on all fours, *flop* to belly and across the floor!
While I didn’t finish it before Christmas, I did finish Finn’s 7 month milestone quilt block. I’m on course to have 12 blocks by his first birthday. The photography part is definitely getting fun, since as soon as I sit Finn down, he wants to move. That squirmy wormy desire to *move* just shows his growth and personality, so I’m embracing it. It’s one more opportunity for creativity!
The biggest news this month is: teeth! Finn’s two bottom teeth are in and now big enough to see when he gives his gummy smile. Teething is never fun, but Finn (and mommy & daddy) have been handling it like champs. Between his big sister’s birthday, Christmas, and holiday travel, it has been a full and busy month!
Not much stands in Finn’s way these days. Trying to get him to stay on the quilt near his quilt block was tricky, so most of the photos this week are movement or snuggle photos. I’m sure you don’t mind. This was what I saw less than a minute after putting him down right next to the wall. “I want to play, Mommy!”…
…until he got distracted by a design in the carpet. He is also really working on his fine motor skills, trying to grab tiny bits off the carpet and floors. I love watching his little mind at work. Babies are amazing; they learn so much so quickly!
Finn’s quilt is really taking shape! You can see my full layout plan here in case you missed it a few months ago. I’m tempted to begin sewing blocks together but I think I will wait until the end to be consistent with photos. Here’s a quick photo burst since who doesn’t want to see babies in front of gorgeous quilt blur?
This project is so much fun, and I love that even if I procrastinate, sewing up a block takes less than an hour; sometimes it comes together as quickly as a half hour. For a busy mom with a million things on her plate (Hi, that’s me!), this project is a breath of fresh air and a chance to see and make progress without a huge time commitment. Plus, it’s such a fun way to document Finn’s growth and milestones.
Thank you for following along!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed