Stash Building: Libs Elliott True Love and Kona Ocean Gradient

I recently made my first fabric purchase in a loooong time, in the hopes that it will jump start progress on sewing some gifts for family and friends. There are two big projects I’m hoping to finish soon (I’ll be real–most definitely not by Christmas)–a table runner for our home, with my favorite designer’s fabric on one side (Alison Glass) and my husband’s favorite designer’s fabric on the other side (Libs Elliott). The Alison Glass side of the table runner is about half finished and uses her new Seventy Six and Insignia fabric lines, and I’ll share more about that soon.

true love fabric by libs elliott for andover fabricsI ordered quarter yards of much of Libs’ True Love fabric line, with half yards of my favorites, since my husband has also requested Libs Elliott pillows. It’s honestly pretty fun that my computer programmer husband has a favorite fabric designer, and it seems fitting that Libs is his favorite since Libs’ tag line is “Making digital code into physical quilts”. Perfect match.

true love fabric by libs elliott for andover fabricstrue love fabric by libs elliott for andover fabricsI had my usual helper, who was quite eager to jump on the fabric. That’s true love for ya! Such a helper!

kona cotton ocean gradient robert kaufman fabricsI also ordered an ocean gradient of Kona cotton solids by Robert Kaufman Fabrics for a baby quilt I plan to make for my dear friend’s new(ish) baby boy (here’s the quilt I made for their daughter, years ago). They requested an underwater ocean themed quilt, so the Kona solids will be the perfect base. I ordered these fabrics from Fabric Depot since their extensive stock of Kona colors and ability to order 1/4 yards made it an easy choice. Neither of my local quilt shops stocked what I needed, but of course I checked them first.

kona cotton ocean gradient with orangeI plan to use the Range Quilt by Nicole at Modern Handcraft as the base, and then applique some free-drawn sea creatures on top in bright orange. Nicole includes the specific Kona colors for a number of different color gradient options for Range, which is so super helpful! I used her palette as a base, and switched up a few of the lighter colors to keep the blue throughout, ending up with (from dark to light): Kona Storm, Prussian, Royal, Malibu, Water, Niagara, Bahama Blue, and Baby Blue, with the orange pop of Persimmon. I very well may add a darker orange for more detail once I get to the applique part, but first up is piecing the top!

finn helperHere’s a peek at my helper, since he’s just so adorable. I promise I am going to work on piecing his quilt top soon, too!

I’m linking up with Molli’s Sunday Stash (shhh I know it’s Monday), and hope to jump on his train a bit more in the coming weeks. I don’t have a whole lot of stash additions, but I do have a few fun tools and fabric bits that have been partying in my stash and have yet to be shared here.

Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Rainbow Progress

It’s official. I completely understand the draw and very well may be hooked to meticulously cut scrap quilts! I have been having so much fun putting together my Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt for the Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew Along on Instagram. The pattern is by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, and is one of the fabulous quilt patterns included in the 2016 Quilter’s Planner. It’s technically my first scrappy quilt, and to add to the fun, I decided to make it an Eye Spy quilt for my 4-year old son Max.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt It is such a great feeling to be creating for one of my children again (Finn’s quilt blocks are still sitting in a stack, untouched since that 12 month milestone–yes, that’s next on my list!). Every time Max sees the progress, he says, “This is fantastic!” with the enthusiasm only a four-year-old can exhibit. There’s nothing like an exuberant cheering squad to keep the motivation burning brightly.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quiltWe are in the second week of sewing for the sew along, so hopefully I will have the quilt top completely sewn together by Monday. Time will tell if I actually meet that goal with all of the kids home and lots of family Thanksgiving time on the docket, but I’m hoping to at least be close!

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt
Yes, I accidentally created one extra block, but the funny thing is, I was thinking about one particular quilty friend the entire time I was making that block, so I’m taking it as a sign that the extra blue block has different plans. More on that later *wink*

I’ve completely finished all of the rainbow center portions, and am diving into piecing the white-grey-black border portions of each block. I love how the rainbow gradient ended up, and it is so much fun to see little peeks at previous quilts through the scraps used here.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quiltI put a few contingencies in place to ensure that I love this quilt even though scrappy quilts are not typically my style, and I think they are proving to be quite successful. First, I used a very large ratio of Alison Glass fabric in the rainbow portions of each block. I love just about all of Alison’s fabric, so letting her color palette and fabrics play a strong hand is a surefire way to ensure I will enjoy looking at the quilt when it’s finished.

The next two will be a lot easier to see once the neutral outer portions of the blocks are complete, but I’ll mention them anyway. Second, I am using all one solid (Kona medium grey) for all of the “light grey” pieces in the pattern, instead of an assortment of scraps. This will provide a consistent and solid resting place for my eyes, just in case I get overwhelmed (although at this point, I have a feeling I’m going to LOVE looking at this quilt, so it might not have been needed). Third, I am using all of the same silver stars on black fabric for the centers of the lighter rings in the pattern, and light Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper palette (Andover Fabrics) for the centers of the dark rings. Again, a little detail that will be consistent throughout, amidst the scrappy remainder of the quilt.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt progressI love seeing my favorite designers’ fabrics together, too. The top right block in the photo above combines my favorite Carolyn Friedlander fabric from her first line Architextures (Robert Kaufman Fabrics) and the fabulous Alison Glass Grove in Grass from her Sun Prints (Andover Fabrics). They are the perfect compliments to that sweet little mushroom in the middle! Love.

If you want to spend the next week sewing to catch up, you still can join in the sew along (there are some fabulous prizes still to be won, too!); get all the details here. Also, now is a perfect time to order the 2017 Quilter’s Planner–for yourself so that you can join in on the *Spoiler Alert!* 2017 Sew Along during an inspired and productive year, and as gifts for all of your creative friends and family!

Okay, back to sewing and baking!

Many wishes for a peaceful, healthy, happy Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. I’m grateful for you and your continued support and inspiration in this wonderful quilting community.

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since I haven’t linked up on here in far tooooo long!

Creating Positive Change

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, for lack of a better word. The emotion from the elections, the dark realization that our country is a lot more racist, xenophobic, misoginist than I naively thought we were, and the strong desire to do something positive to help outweigh the increase of discriminatory and abusive actions that have resulted have kept my mind busy. To be honest, writing about beautiful sewing felt petty. I’ve now come to realize that sewing and creating are necessary parts of my way of sending kindness and positivity out into the world, and so I’m back to making and sharing as much as I can manage, as well as putting even more energy into fostering a giving spirit of loving kindness in my children, and doing everything else in my power to speak out for human rights and support those who are already fighting the good fight.

During those first few days post-election, I had a discussion with some of my quilty friends who also felt a strong need to create a public statement of our desire to stand with those who would be most negatively affected by the increased public shows of aggression toward minorities. Karin from Leigh Laurel Studios and Samarra Khaja brought our attention to the Safety Pin Movement, a movement that originated after British citizens voted to leave the European Union in June, when the nation experienced a 57 percent rise in reported xenophobic incidents. According to a NY Times article, it began with a tweet by an American woman living in Britain suggesting that people wear safety pins to show support to those experiencing abuse, inspired by the #illridewithyou movement in Australia, in which people offered to take public transportation with Muslims fearing a backlash after a Muslim gunman held people hostage in a cafe in 2014. (NY Times)  It felt like the perfect, simple, symbol that could show others that you are an ally, ready to stand with those being abused, speaking out against hate. Mandy from Mandalei Quilts decided that she was going to make a large safety pin quilt to hang on her porch, and I did what I do–I created a foundation paper pieced block.

safe with me sewn by kate bastiSafe With Me is a simple block, offered for free on my Craftsy site. It’s a symbol to signify you are an ally (no matter who you voted for). Wearing or displaying the safety pin means: You are safe with me. I stand beside you. I created this pattern to help spread the word, and spread the love. Sewing up or even wearing a safety pin is not the end, though–be sure to use your voice. If you see or hear injustice, stand with the persecuted and provide help whenever you can. Call your governmental representatives, make your voice heard and join the fight with love (albiet fierce love). I’m grateful to Kate Basti for quickly offering and sewing up the block within hours so that I could release it into the world on a hopeful mission of good. Hers is the safety pin above, on purple.

safe with me patternI’ve given a lot of thought to this pattern, since there is criticism that the safety pin is just a way for us to feel better about ourselves, or even that being such a widely known symbol, it could be used in nefarious ways. After much reflection and discussion with my husband, I decided that despite these criticisms, I think the safety pin symbol is a good thing. My intention was purely to try to spread some hope and goodness with a further reach than my little rural Maine town. Even if the act of wearing or sewing a safety pin doesn’t make any difference in and of itself, it is a conversation starter, keeping the conversation about the need to stand up for human rights and fight bigotry going, and will hopefully act as a personal reminder for those of us who are not in the minority to step up and use our privileged voices for good. We have a lot of work to do.

There are many others in the quilty community who are making efforts to raise money for different organizations that need our support more than ever right now, and while this is in no way an extensive list, here are a couple:

samarra-auctionThe ever-talented Samarra (SammyK) is holding an amazing auction on her Instagram account now through Friday. As she says in her Instagram post:

I’ve selected 12 of my one-of-a-kind lady portraits (including the nine seen in this photo and at least two you haven’t seen before. They are each approx. 18″x22″ in size). All proceeds, minus actual shipping will be donated directly to the Sierra Club, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. The auctions for each portrait will end Friday, November 25th so you’ll get ample time to watch the auctions build throughout the week and throw in any last minute tryptophan-fueled bids for great causes the day after Thanksgiving. It’s all an experiment in doing good and giving back in creative ways, so let’s all make this happen…with festive sprinkles on top!

I have my eye on a few of these, and have already bid and been out-bid a few times, so head over and get into the game for a good cause (and an amazing one of a kind piece of fiber art).

black-lives-matter-fundraiserRachael from Imagine Gnats has teamed up with Sam from What Sam Made to host a t-shirt fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter movement. Rachael’s post here really hit home, and talks more about the collaboration and the movement.


I know that emotions are high right now and that there are many differing opinions about everything, but in my heart I know that working toward human rights and the ability for all of us to live and thrive peacefully on this beautiful earth is the right thing to do. I truly believe that love will win, and that generous loving kindness does far, far more good than harm (if it ever does actually do harm). No matter what your political affiliation, no matter your personal beliefs, I hope that we can agree that there is always room for more kindness in the world. Please be kind.

Making Time & A Thrifted City Sampler Update

I’ve finally decided that the day isn’t going to arrive when I have a window of “free” time where I’m just sitting around wondering what I could do. The past few months have been really busy and exciting with a lot of new opportunities and projects, and while a lot of big projects are finally wrapped up–the photography for the Quilter’s Planner is complete and the amazing planner is now available for sale, Quilt Theory has been announced and our premier line of pattern cards have been released, I just finished and mailed a quilt sample for a pattern that will appear in the February 2017 issue of Love, Patchwork & Quilting magazine, I’m manning the Quilter’s Planner Instagram feed and leading its (and my) very first Sew Along–there seems to always be one more thing. I’ve finally decided that I’m going to make time to work on little side projects, AND I’m going to make time to blog regularly again so that I can share my projects, process, and inspiration with you. You can hold me accountable for taking time to sew for me, okay?

thrifted city sampler progressTo kick off this new resolution of making time for my own sewing on top of my more business-directed projects, I made three more blocks as part of the #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie from Gnome Angel. I think I left off around block 22 and the challenge is now heading into the 80s, but as I do with most projects, I set my goal low and I’m happy with just picking up again and making whatever blocks I can. As you may or may not remember, I am making my blocks entirely out of old and worn or thrifted garments, including a black leather skirt, some wool slacks, some cotton-poly blend men’s shirts, and an old pair of corduroy maternity pants. It has been *really* fun sewing with different materials, and with a mostly grey-scale color palette, I’m really focusing on textures within the blocks.

The environmental impact of our actions and the philosophy promoted through Sherri Lynn Wood’s #makedoquilt project are a large part of what spurred me to use only thrifted materials in these blocks, and so I’m presenting each block on Instagram photographed with some plant or natural phenomenon. In each description, I am sharing some information about the species or some interesting fact about its relationship with the rest of the environment. My hope is that by learning more about the world around you, you will feel more invested in preserving and improving it, or at the very least, minimizing damage done to it. This is truly a fun project that combines three of my passions: quilting, the environment, and photography.  Since it has been far too long since I’ve shared my creative process with you, I thought I’d share my three latest blocks and descriptions here, too. All blocks are from Tula Pink’s City Sampler, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book, and so I’m calling my quilt the Thrifted City Sampler (#thriftedcitysampler).

block 73 thrifted city samplerBlock 73: old wool trousers, thrifted cotton-poly men’s shirt

Remember the milkweed from Block 15? Well here it is in all its seed dispersing glory! After a fun chat with Sharon from Sharon Holland Designs the other day about the amazing seed dispersal technique of jewelweed, I decided to make these next posts all about seed dispersal. As with any organism, the continuation of the species is an extremely important aspect–almost THE main purpose–of life. Since plants can’t move, they’ve developed some really clever ways to ensure their potential offspring (aka seeds) get spread far and wide and/or have a good chance of success.

Milkweed seeds are attached to a thick, light weight fluff tuft that, once matured, emerges from the dried, cracked open seed pod and is carried by the wind. Wind dispersal!! This helps spread the species into new areas, giving the species as a whole a greater chance to survive and thrive. Can you name another common plant that uses wind seed dispersal??

block 72 thrifted city samplerBlock 72: thrifted black leather skirt, pink cotton women’s capris, my husband’s worn-through 100% cotton slacks.

We are fully in the most drab time of year in Maine. The gorgeous leaves are mostly brown and dropped, the flowers are in their winter form or gone, everything is finding dormancy. But plant identification is still not only possible, but fun! I hope you enjoy finding the beauty in winter weeds with me.

These asters have a small tuft that allows for wind dispersal, but they also use power in numbers to their advantage. A super hardy weed, asters produce many flowers, approximately 300 individual flowers per flower head, with many seeds resulting. The sheer number of seeds helps promote the success of their species. Paired with the wind, it’s no wonder there are asters everywhere!

block 77 thrifted city samplerBlock 77: thrifted cotton-poly men’s shirt, old cotton slacks, worn men’s shirt, black leather skirt.

Another fun installment in the “amazing seed dispersal” adventure is burdock. Burdock (Arctium) is equipped with hooks and spines that latch onto any creature passing by too closely (just like Velcro). The creature continues walking until the spikey, itchy seed pod irritates him enough, spurring him to remove it and toss it aside, hopefully (for the burdock) on fertile ground. This allows the seeds to spread far, far further than a stationary plant could reach. While this is a super cool seed dispersal trait, anyone who has “fixed” her children’s coat, hair, and wool mittens after the child has discovered a burdock plant fully understands the annoyance the poor deer, bear, foxes, coyotes, and other creatures must feel toward this and similar plants! (Note that I was VERY careful not to let my block touch the seeds when taking this photo. Those barbs are sharp and definitely would result in pulls in the fabric.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these blocks and their accompanying environmental tidbits. I’m looking forward to updating you on the other small side projects I’ve been working on between deadline projects, AND hope to even finish some of the many (oh, embarrassingly many) works in progress that are stuck in the “soooo close to finished but temporarily abandoned pile”.  I have so much fun to share with you! Hope you’ve been well, and I’m looking forward to being more present in this space again.