AG Challenge Finish: Noodlehead Diaper Pouch

Sometimes you just need a quick finish. Something small and beautiful that you made with your own hands, but that takes only hours (instead of days) to create. When Yvonne announced her Quilting Jetgirl Alison Glass Challenge as an incentive for the rest of us to get one of our Alison Glass fabric makes into the finished pile, I had a few different ideas of which of my many Alison Glass-influenced projects I should finish first. At first I thought I’d focus on the table runner I started late last year using the Insignia and Seventy-Six fabric lines, but then thought it might be the perfect boost to finally finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt that has a dominance of bright Alison Glass prints from across the years. Then I gave myself a reality check and decided to select something small. I have two big deadline projects to finish within the next month, so to be real I decided to pull a diaper pouch project off of my WIPs shelves and finish it up. I’m so glad I did!!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelI made this Diaper Pouch using a free tutorial by Anna Graham of Noodlehead, found here. It took me about two (2) hours to make, start to finish, which is pretty awesome as far as projects go.

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelI used my all time favorite Alison Glass Print, the Art Theory Panel from her Ex Libris line as the outer panel, and lined it with Artifact in Charcoal from her Abacus line (Andover Fabrics). I was lucky enough to buy all of these fabrics, AND the cotton webbing strap from my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.

I used my go-to 50wt Aurifil thread 2600-Dove for all the piecing and 50wt 2692-Black for sewing on the velcro so that the stitches would not stand out. I love that Fiddlehead also carries a good selection of Aurifil threads! One stop shopping for the win!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelOf course I had to plan it so that the rainbow star from Artifact was visible right on the top. I should have given myself a tiny bit more space in that seam, but I’m not losing sleep over it. It’s gorgeous anyway!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelNow instead of having a purse filled with diapers and wipes floating every which way, I can have a beautiful and function space to store them compactly, not only making the inside of my purse a bit more organized, but also making it easy for me to visually check that I have a diaper for my little one before I head out!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelSince pens are another item I’m often digging for in the chaos within my gorgeous bag, I decided to store two of my favorite micron pens tucked in the corner of the diaper pouch, so that they are easily found when I think of something to add to my Quilter’s Planner Mini–my traveling to-do list, grocery list, and inspiration keeper. Pst… you can now order the Quilter’s Planner Minis individually, here. Just a PSA for the day!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelThis pouch also perfectly coordinates with the amazing Alison Glass fabric bag my husband bought me for my birthday last year, made by the ever talented Kristy at Rock Baby Scissors. There’s no such thing as too much Alison Glass fabric, right?! No way!! What next?…. I’m thinking a few zip pouches to help organize the other contents of my purse. What’s your favorite simple zip pouch pattern? (Noodlehead’s Open-Wide Zippered Pouch is a fab one, but should I know about others?)

I’m linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and of course Yvonne’s Alison Glass Challenge. Yippee for gorgeous and functional finishes!

2017 Goals and a Lush Idea

In my style, I’ve well missed the 2017 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, but I thought I would write a quick post with my 2017 Goals and word for the year, both to share my focus and to hold myself accountable!

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want to focus on this year, and I’ve decided that I really need to make my mantra: “Finish What You’ve Started”. I have ample projects that were begun with excitement and then quietly forgotten before reaching completion, and I also branched out into a few other big new endeavors in 2016, such as pursuing quilt photography work and designing for Quilt Theory. I’ve been helping Stephanie with the Quilter’s Planner Instagram account, and that has been extremely fun but also takes time. I also have a few potential teaching opportunities that I’m excited about in the coming year. Combined with being a full time mom of three little ones, keeping house, tending chickens, and in the proper season, gardening and adventuring along the coast, my plate is pretty full as it is. So it seems right to set my engine for steady on and just keep plugging away in the direction I’m going.

project planning for 2017
I’ve used the Projects at a Glance page in my Quilter’s Planner to list WIPs from 2016 on the left and new projects in 2017 on the right. The right shows my color palette choice for my 2017 bee and sew alongs–greenery!

That said, I also recognize that there’s no way I could go a full year without trying anything new. For that reason, I also plan to participate in a few Sew Alongs and a Quilt Bee, as I outlined in my last blog post. The relaxed, no-stress mentality will let me fill those block making moments in between my “finishing” so that I can stay fresh and excited about making. I also plan to play along more regularly with the #beesocial prompts, since they stretch my creative spirit more than anything else I’ve encountered. I’m already beginning with Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads’ first prompt for January–Resolution. Watching the video she included as part of her design inspiration prompt reaffirmed the word I selected to guide my year (I definitely recommend clicking over to her post and watching the video. It’s well worth 5 minutes of your time.)

Which brings me to my “one little word”–the one word to guide my year. 2017 will be my “green” year. There are so many influences to my selection of this word, from my lifelong love of nature, my degree in environmental science, to all that’s been happening in the world around us. Sparked initially by Chawne Kimber’s quilt “The One for Eric G”, the first statement quilt I saw that made me hold my breath as my stomach took a nosedive, and made me realize that this amazing craft can be used to inspire positive change (more than just making the world a more beautiful place one stitch at a time), further melded and inspired by the Make Do Quilt challenge posed by Sherri Lynn Wood last year, and always continuously inspired by Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and her focus on using reclaimed textiles in her creations, I have decided on “green” as my word of the year and “finish what you’ve started” as my guiding mantra.

I love how Cheryl from Meadowmist Designs set measurable steps for herself in her goal setting post, so here is my attempt at the same. This year, I will try to:

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!);
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things!
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week!
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!)
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!!

Phew, I’d better stop there. I think this is a great start to my goals for the year, and I’m curious to see how successful I am at meeting each of these goals. Note that I have not included pattern design in my specific goals this year. Aside from Quilt Theory patterns, two of which I plan to develop and release this year, I am letting pattern writing be more relaxed this year so that I may focus on my other goals. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though!

quilter's planner WIPs from 2016So far I’m off to a decent start and have made good progress on one WIP (Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid), and have finished another, which I’ll share later this week. (Note that I’ve added quite a few old WIPs to this list since this photo was taken).  I’ve begun to play with the #beesewcial prompt, and am incorporating repurposed textiles into it! Baby steps!

I hope your year is off to a great start!

I’ll be linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts’ Let’s Bee Social so that you can all hold me accountable this year!

Sew Alongs and Bees: Community Sewing Across the Miles

After a longer than intended lull in blogging, I’m back and eager to share my reflections, process, and creative adventures with you! I’ve said it before, but beginning is the hardest step. I got stuck in a cycle of the longer I waited, the harder it was to simply jump back into blogging. Today, that ends. What better place to begin than with community and some of the fun sew alongs and bees taking place this year, as well as my grand plan for stress-free participation in them!? Soon I will share my goals, focus, and “one word” for 2017, as well as some of the other fun projects on which I’ve been working. For now, hello!! It’s great to be back, and I’m excited to share inspiration and creativity with you again!

The online quilting community is known for its welcoming vibe and almost endless opportunities to sew together virtually if not in person. There are so many fun Sew Alongs and Quilt Bees happening at any given moment across the quilting community, it’s often hard to decide which ones to join and which ones to pass on. I’ve joined a few Sew Alongs in the past, typically the block-at-a-time style–specifically the Farmer’s Wife led by Angie at Gnome Angel, #100days100blocks also lead by Angie on Instagram, and the Quilter’s Planner 2016 Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew Along led by yours truly on Instagram. I had a lovely time participating (and still participating) in them, but found that I often cannot keep up with the pace because of other obligations. For 2017, I think I’ve come up with a plan to address that and turn it into creative opportunity!

First, here are the Sew Alongs and Bees I’m currently committed to participating in:

52 weeks with the quilters planner gnome angel sew along52 Weeks with the Quilter’s Planner

by Angie of Gnome Angel

Hosted by the Sew Along Queen, Angie from Gnome Angel, this sew along is a given for me! Using the block instructions on each weekly spread in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, Angie’s leading this sew along to encourage and support you to make each block each week. Visit her page HERE to read all the details, as well as to see how you can join. This is a great sew along for those looking to get into a regular sewing habit. Plus, it’s a chance to use your Quilter’s Planner to its fullest!

the honey pot bee molli sparkles 2017The Honey Pot Bee

by Molli Sparkes

Molli is hosting a quilting bee that breaks all the rules–as he says, you get none of the sting, and all of the sticky goodness! I love the relaxed mentality about this bee, and it’s a little extra exciting since I’m one of the Queen Bees for April! Here are the details, straight from Molli’s announcement post:

Each month there are two queens (and/or kings, but for the sake of brevity will be called queens) who decide on The Honey Pot Bee block patterns. Each queen picks one, I announce them to the world, then each participating member (Princesses and Princes) can choose to make one of each or two of the same. Each member then keeps the blocks for themselves.

This is less of a block swap, and more of a way to find amazing block tutorials / patterns they never knew they wanted to try from other amazingly talented people. Some of the blocks will be original patterns from the queens, some will be existing tutorials from world class quilters. That will be up to the queens to choose.

The benefits for Participant Princesses and Princes:
They get to use their own fabric that they’ve been stashing
They improve and stretch their own skills
They work to their own timeline
There is no pressure
No one is disappointed if they’re late
They act as their own quality control
They meet a group of like-minded, inspiring individuals
They see the varying potential of each block
Participating with me

I love this idea since I really don’t *need* another project, but I do love the community that is built around quilt bees and sew alongs. I love that Molli encourages you to make only the blocks you love, and that there are two unique options each month. Once I came up with my 2017 grand plan (more on that below), this one definitely needed to be added to the pot! Get all the details HERE.

garden snail quilt
Photo credit: Pen and Paper Patterns

Garden Snail Quilt Snail Paced Slow-Along Sew-Along

by Angie of Gnome Angel
#snailday #gardensnailsquilt

This is another fun weekly sew along hosted by Angie, using Pen and Paper Pattern’s Garden Snail Quilt. I think these snails are super cute, so I am joining in the fun, but plan to make only a few snails to add to the mix of the rest of my blocks. The gist of this Sew Along is easy… you simply make one block each week and post it on social media of your choice on Snail Sundays. You can find all the details HERE.

So now… for my Grand Plan that makes all of this not only manageable, but also fun!

My Grand Plan

Ready? I plan to participate in all of these sew alongs and bees, but with NO pressure. I am not playing along for the prizes. I’m playing along for the community and the recurring “deadline” to make a block and share it. I plan to use the same fabric pull and color scheme for all three of these bees/sew alongs, and combine all of the blocks together at the end of the year into a (hopefully) queen sized quilt for our bed. This way, I can make the blocks I really love, whenever I have the time to make the block, and I won’t need to stress when either life obligations kick it up a notch, or I have another project that needs my attention. As they say in hashtag land, #winning!

greenery color palette sew alongs 2017I’ll write more about this in another post, but I plan to use a color palette based upon the Pantone color of the year for 2017: Greenery. While green is not a color I’ve sewn with in large quantities before, it speaks to me on many different levels–from the freshness of the color, the vibrant hope that comes from new life in the spring, to the rich green that abounds in the environment around me–which as you know, I love dearly–, to the simple challenge of making a quilt with no final assembly pattern, and no guidelines except color. I’m both invigorated and scared at this plan, but as is my style, I’m jumping in with abandon, holding onto the hope that I can pull it all together into something epically beautiful (or at least tolerably pretty) at the end of the year.

For those of you who excel at fun and clever naming, I am trying to decide on a name for this greenery quilt project and am open to any suggestions or ideas! I want to select a name for this quilt so that I can tag all of my progress together across the bees/sew alongs, but “Kitty’s Greenery Quilt” sounds a bit flat. Maybe Night Quilter Hugs Trees and Bees? LOL #NQhugstreesandbeesquilt Uhm….

I’m looking forward to sharing my progress here, and thank you as always for following along with me on my creative journey, during waves of profuse creativity as well as lulls of relative quiet. I hope 2017 is off to a great start, and I’m looking forward to creating with a hopeful heart this year.

I’ll link up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social tomorrow, since I’m ready to jump back in!