I'm a nature-loving yogini, crafty chick, attempted homesteader, photographer, and dedicated stay home momma and wife. With three little kids, my only sewing time is after bedtime. Thus the night quilter was born. I dream of the day when someone will pay me to quilt! This blog is all about my stitching: both quilting and knitting projects, as well as the creation of my own patterns.
Kittysheartofnature.com is my first blog, written about whatever moves me... good food, attachment parenting, yoga, crafting, inspirations, and everyday miracles. It is currently lost in the interweb but should be back soon!
While I was piecing my newest Quilt Theory quilt, Into the Forest, I was lamenting the scraps that resulted. With conservation on my mind more than ever lately, I knew I wanted to create a supplemental pattern that would make efficient use of the scraps as the quilt was pieced. I know that for me, using scraps left over from a pattern often falls to the bottom of my to-do list, or the scraps fall into the pile that will slowly and eventually feed tiny scrap projects here and there, but with the little time I have to sew, those projects often fall into the “someday” category, aka an overflowing scrap bin. When all of the necessary piecing is done WHILE you’re sewing together your quilt top, on the other hand, it makes it so much easier to actually put the scraps to good use.
Thus, the Glade Pillow was born. A free bonus pattern for all who purchase Into the Forest, the Glade Pillow uses up a large majority of your scraps, and the pieces are actually sewn while you piece your quilt blocks. That’s a win in my book. I hope you like it, too.
I had a fun photoshoot for this pillow, caught right at dusk with two of my little ones in tow, and thought it would be fun to show you a bit more about the pillow, as well as share peeks at our fun photo shoot. The light is low, and less than optimal, but the photos and memories made are fun ones. It turns out kids have as much fun with a fancy arm chair in the forest as quilters do!
First, how about some more details about the pillow? Here’s the backing, which I absolutely love! I made an envelop closure but plan to add snaps or buttons in the near future.I used scraps from my Into the Forest quilt backing, Birds of a Feather from Bird’s Eye View by Sarah Watson for Cloud 9 Fabrics, as the backing for my Glade Pillow, and used the selvedge as the raw edge of the envelop back closure.
I had fun quilting my Glade Pillow with an assortment of Aurifil threads: 40wt: 5005-Medium turquoise, 2785-Very dark navy and 50wt: 2579-Medium orchid, 2800-Mint ice, 2021-Natural white, and of course 2600-Dove. I love the texture that comes with the dense vertical lines and multiple weights of thread, all quilted with my walking foot on my domestic Bernina 560 machine.
You can get the pdf Into the Forest quilt pattern for only $4 in the Quilt Theory shop here, and the Glade Pillow tutorial is linked in the description. You can peek at it here, but just a heads up that some of it won’t make sense without the Into the Forest pattern in front of you.
Getting photos of this pillow proved a bit tricky, since an eager 2 year old helper often means photos like this (above). Add a 7 year old sister helper, and they quickly morph to this:
Finn was soon once again distracted by a nearby plant, so Maddie stepped in for her turn.
Big girl helper, in so many ways! After the photo shoot, Maddie wanted a turn with my camera. With the strap securely around her neck and extra reminders to be extremely careful, I let her commandeer the camera.
As a result, there’s a bit of proof of what it looks like to have quilty photo shoots with little ones’ help. My middle son was inside intently building with legos and had no interest in helping with our forest romp, but it was really fun to wander into the forest behind our house for a bit. Maddie and Finn had a wonderful time rolling around and being silly in the grass afterward.
I hope you have fun with the Glade Pillow if you do decide to make Into the Forest! My pile of triangle trimmings from past projects is so large that I knew for this one I just had to use them up immediately or else they were destined to languish with the others. Scrap busting is an art, and not one I have yet mastered!
Today I’m excited to share my pattern for Quilt Theory’s collection for fall 2017, Into the Forest. This pattern speaks to my heart, and very much fits the vibe for my summer (it fits right in with my Summer Adventure quilt trees). For our third Quilt Theory collection, we challenged ourselves to create a color palette of 12 colors from which to pull, and all designed our quilts around the same color palette, using fabrics from a variety of manufacturers and designers. In this post you’ll not only get to see my newest pattern, Into the Forest, as well the bonus Glade Pillow pattern than accompanies my Into the Forest Quilt, but you will also have a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Cloud 9 organic cirrus solids, so read on!
First, to introduce you to my contribution to the third Quilt Theory pattern collection! Inspired by my frequent family hikes, Into the Forest is a reminder of where you should always head–into the forest!
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.– Unknown
Take a leisurely stroll with me into the depths of nature. Into the Forest plays with two sizes of the same block to create a simple graphic tree design with a crisp and clean aesthetic, like a morning stroll through a cool forest. Inspired by the majestic evergreen trees ubiquitous in Maine, this quilt uses your 5 favorite fat quarters to make a nature inspired lap quilt finishing at 52″ x 60″. Use organic, repurposed, or naturally dyed fabrics to really become one with nature.
It seemed only natural to choose Cloud 9 organic fabrics for my Into the Forest quilt, since Cloud 9 fabrics uses only 100% certified organic cotton in the manufacturing of their base cloths and eco-responsible low impact dyes for printing and dying. They work closely with mills that are committed to ethical and responsible conduct. This includes respecting the rights of all individuals, a devotion to sustained social compliance, and an accountability to the environment (from the Cloud 9 website). These practices are more important than ever, and Into the Forest seemed a perfect vehicle for this reminder.
My Into the Forest quilt was partially pieced and quilted by me, and partially pieced and quilted by Sue Bishop. I’m super grateful for Sue’s willingness to step in and make progress on the quilt while I was traveling in the middle of the summer, and her work is impeccable. The quilt was quilted using straight line quilting on both a long arm and my domestic Bernina, and was both pieced and quilted using Aurifil 50wt 2024-White.
In the spirit of conservation, I also created a free bonus pillow pattern that uses up most of the scraps created through the construction of Into the Forest. The link to the bonus pillow pattern is included on the pdf purchase page here, but note that you need both the pillow pattern and the original quilt pattern to create the pillow. I had a lot of fun quilting the Glade Pillow and used an assortment of Aurifil threads: 40wt: 5005-Medium turquoise, 2785-Very dark navy and 50wt: 2579-Medium orchid, 2800-Mint ice, 2021-Natural white, and of course 2600-Dove. I’ll be sharing a closer look at the Glade Pillow soon, so stay tuned!
Michelle, our fearless Quilt Theory leader and company photographer got some gorgeous shots of our quilts at Urban Cashmere, too. I love these shots!
All of the Quilt Theory patterns are simple enough to be printed on 4″x6″ cards or a single page downloadable pdf. At only $4 each, they are perfect for gift giving or collecting, too!
How to buy or stock Quilt Theory Patterns
You can buy either individual or a pattern collector’s package of PDF patterns through our Quilt Theory website right now!
Collection 3 pattern cards will be coming soon to a local quilt shop near you, and the first two collections are still available, so go ahead and ask for all of them! If you are a quilt shop and want to carry our patterns, set up a wholesale account here, or order through Checker Distributors, EE Schenck Company, or Erie Quilt Art for Canadian shops.
Cloud 9 fabrics was generous enough to offer a fat quarter (FQ) bundle of 12 of their luscious organic cirrus solids to one of my lucky readers!
organic cotton | happy you | happy earth
Take a look at these luscious colors! Many thanks to Cloud 9 for sponsoring this giveaway, and to Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl, who photographed these beauties for me!
To enter the giveaway today, tell me your favorite conservation tip–how do you aim to help the earth daily? (If you need ideas, check this list and begin today). Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. For an additional entry, leave another comment telling me how you follow Night Quilter (email list, instagram, facebook, twitter, blog follower, etc.) Follow Quilt Theory (facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc.) and tell me how in a third comment for a third entry.
This giveaway is open to US participants. The giveaway will be open until Monday October 23rd, at 8pm eastern time when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Giveaway is open to participants 18 years or older.
Quilt Theory Release Blog Hop Schedule
Thanks so much for letting me share my quilt with you! Be sure to check out everyone on the Quilt Theory blog hop. Each day, one designer will share more about her quilt and reveal never before seen photos. And each designer will be giving away an amazing prize so be sure to follow along!
Just to wrap up I’ll share a few fun outtakes from my Into the Forest photo shoot, taken with my family at Birch Point State Park in Owl’s Head, Maine before mailing the quilt off to Michelle to work her photography magic.
He finally realized that I was on the other side taking photos! No photo shoot is complete without a kid cameo, though, right?
I also love seeing how different the forests on the west coast look compared to the forests on the east coast. Michelle took some absolutely magical photos of Into the Forest, too.
I ordered my copy of the magazine through the Quilting Daily website, but I also have seen copies at my local big box bookstore (Books-a-Million) and Joann Fabric stores.
Do you subscribe to this magazine? I’d love to hear what you thought about the interview, and about embroidery’s role in modern quilting! I’m excited to incorporate embroidery and hand quilting into more of my future makes. Now I just need to figure out how to jump back on the “finish the project” bandwagon! ha!
I was bitten by the EPP bug years ago, but this summer I came down with a serious case of Moonstone Madness, and in the best possible way! In June, my talented friend Giuseppe Ribaudo aka @giucy_giuce released his first English Paper Pieced pattern in partnership with Karen of @karenthediyaddict, called Moonstone. He was kind enough to send me a kit and boy has it kept me busy and grinning pretty much all summer! I love EPP and hand stitching is the perfect solution for busily adventuring makers in the summer months, and this pattern didn’t disappoint.
In the spirit of setting myself up for success, I opted to make four (4) blocks to make a pillow rather than a full sized quilt, and I dove into my bright Alison Glass stash to put together a fully saturated, smooth rainbow gradient. You know how I feel about rainbows. Alison Glass fabric rainbow + Giucy Giuce EPP project = heaven on a summer’s day!
I used mostly 50wt Aurifil thread, with a few 80wts thrown in, using coordinating colors so that the stitches blend right in with the blocks. The threads shown here are (from top left clockwise): 2535-Magenta, 1154-Dusty Orange, 5015-Gold Yellow, 5017-Shining Green, and 1125-Medium Teal, all 50wt. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as matching the perfect thread to your fabric!
Alison’s Art Theory print from her Ex Libris line (still my ultimate favorite fabric ever) was my color inspiration, so I planned my 4-block panel around the color flow in the center octagon. Throughout the course of the summer, I finished the four blocks and completely stitched them together!
Now I am at the point in the game where this could lounge in the works in progress pile for a while, but instead, I am going to use my excitement to forge ahead and aim to finish this beauty, which is sure to be my most favorite pillow of all time.
My next step is to choose background fabric, press the pieced panel thoroughly, remove the template papers (so that I can use them again!!), and then hand stitch the panel down onto the background fabric. Just last week, I visited my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, ME, in the hopes of buying some yardage of Insignia in charcoal by Alison Glass, which is a nearly-solid. While Fiddlehead did not have the Insignia, they did have two other options that I bought to try out: Flying Geese in Dark Charcoal from Handcrafted, and Ink in Charcoal from Sun Print 2016 (all for Andover Fabrics).
After looking at those options, I still felt like I needed to see the Insignia before deciding, and with the encouragement of a few friends on Instagram, especially Erin who said, “I’m a strong believer in first instinct=best instinct!”, I ordered a yard of Insignia in Charcoal from Alison Glass’s shop. (Thank you Erin!). Clearly, my first gut choice is the winning choice!
Next I will hand stitch this epic panel to the perfect Insignia background using Aurifil’s monofilament thread in Smoke. I plan to quilt this with the Smoke monofilament thread, too, and I’m so excited just thinking about how amazing this pillow will be. This will be my first time sewing with monofilament thread, either by hand or machine, so I’ll be sure to share how it goes.
If you’d like to get a Moonstone kit for yourself, you can order one HERE on Karen the DIY Addict’s site. The kit is pretty amazing, with acrylic templates for every piece, as well as enough pre-cut foundation papers to make a full 72″x72″ quilt (or lots of pillows!), a booklet with Giuseppe’s reflections, thoughts, tips, and four (4) different layout suggestions, and of course coloring pages for all four layouts.
As for me, I’m nearly finished piecing my next rendition of a Moonstone block, going with the Gems layout and a more nautical theme. I plan to make only one block and top stitch it to a large zippered pouch for a friend to whom I owe a quilt. I’m hoping the consolation diaper pouch/zipped pouch will hold her (and her nearly 1 year old baby) over until I manage to make the quilt!
As you can see, I’ve been absolutely struck with Moonstone Madness and it doesn’t appear to be tapering off just yet. I’ve had a wonderful time piecing together these blocks, and the portable nature of English Paper Piecing ensures that it is still very much on the top of my “summer stitching” projects list!
What did you stitch this summer?
I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social, since it’s about time I was social in blogland again!
Whoa summer! What better post to spearhead my return to blogging than this one!?
This is a bittersweet post to share. Finn’s Milestone Quilt, the quilt that I created to document his first year of life, sewing and photographing one block per month, is finally finished. It’s quilted and bound and was gifted to my sweet third child for his 2nd birthday nearly 3 months ago. Yes! Baby Finn is officially into toddlerhood and joining the ranks of the twos (I daren’t call them “terrible”).
Finn is jumping into the twos with a gusto, expressing his emotions and emphatically requesting (demanding?) “I do it! I do it!” for just about every activity in life. He’s a joyful, social boy who absolutely adores his older siblings, and thusly, mimics their every move. While heart-meltingly adorable, this poses difficult when the 5 year old pitches a fit and storms off in a rage because he can’t cut up all the fruit and vegetables in the house and make soup in a giant pot on the stove at 8 in the morning. I should note that if he ate the soup, I would have no problem with this plan. Finn will watch, then as soon as Max storms off, will exactly replicate his angry sounds and stomps and follow him in an adoring rage. Life is… fun.
Truly, though, I’m blessed. Even on the most challenging days, I know that I will look back at these years with longing, wishing for Finn to come ask for kisses only so that he can impishly wipe them off with a giggle, then ask for more. Remembering how magically a mommy kiss can heal a hurt, and how simply holding my hand makes even a fearful task manageable. Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to hold onto the blissful moments, and like childbirth, block out the chaotic torpedoes of childhood destruction? Or will I miss those too? Only time will tell. For now, I’m happy to have completed Finn’s quilt and hope to see him drag it around behind him on his adventures.
Now, how about a bit about the quilt?
After debating whether to use different quilting designs in different sections, or going with an all-over quilting design, I decided to mix it up. I quilted with a variety of Aurifil thread to blend with the different sections of the quilt while creating a variety of textures. I used 40wt 1148-Light Jade with 50wt 4093-Jade in the bobbin for the dark turquoise sections, using a free motion quilting boxy spiral motif.
I used my go-to 50wt 2600-Dove to quilt wavy straight lines with my walking foot in the lightest areas, creating a smooth flowing feel.
Then I used 50wt 2692-Black to stitch nearly in the ditch, tracing the seam lines in the black log cabin section. This helps define the log cabins while emphasizing their boxy nature. I like the way the squared quilting in the darker sections plays with the smooth flow of the quilting in the lighter section. I certainly need to practice my free motion quilting more, but I’m happy with this quilt finish!
I opted for the Stoff fabric that looks like birch trees as the backing, and honestly until writing this post, I forgot that I had mentally decided on the *other* fabric I bought back when Finn was 10 months old! Oh well, the birch trees look lovely, too!
I used a scrappy binding, perhaps for the first time, using up some of my black and dark grey strip scraps. I machine stitched the binding to the front of the quilt, and then hand stitched it to the back with 50wt black Aurifil thread. Normally, for a baby quilt I would machine stitch the binding completely, but I wanted some extra time to reflect on the making of this quilt, and stitch my love into it just a tiny bit more. Or maybe I’m finish-averse. I haven’t decided yet! Either way, I know that if the binding ever begins to fall off, I know just how to fix it, so no worries! I think it will be nice and secure.
I hand wrote a label and stitched it down with the binding on one of the back corners. Doesn’t it look delicious? For as easy as labels normally come to me, this one was tough. I wanted to write more than the usual “Made for x, by y, date, location” but also didn’t want to write a novel. I definitely could have written a novel. This will have to do. My love is there. My silly boy clearly knows it! (Click the photo above to see a larger version for easier reading).
So, thus ends the era. The exciting, fun, endearing, and so sentimental Milestone Quilt project has officially come to an end. Finn will continue to grow, quilts will continue to be made, but I can’t help but be more than a little sad that this project is finished. Next up: I hope to create a photo book with all of the progress photos and growth updates. One more way to drag this project out juuuuust a little bit longer! I will also be lecturing about this and other quilts to mark milestones at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena, so please come have a listen if you are attending QuiltCon!
I also started another version of a milestone quilt in my Summer Adventure Quilt, about which I’ll share more updates shortly! Just because you don’t have a newborn baby doesn’t mean you can’t create a quilt to document your days!
Thank you so very much for joining in with this fun project, and I hope it has inspired you to find ways to make the creation of a quilt a manageable task even when impossibly busy, and to find ways to document your days through the construction of a quilt. Here’s to the next fun adventure!
I’m home for just a few short days between the amazing, somewhat surreal dream that was the Slow Fashion retreat (it deserves its very own post, which I vow to share before the end of August), and a week long camping trip in the Adirondacks with my extended family, and wanted to just check in here briefly.
Despite my best intentions, between a broken computer in June, whirlwind quilt photography adventures in July, the Slow Fashion retreat last week, and my family camping trip for which I leave tomorrow, I seem to be officially retreating into the wild fun of summer and out of blogging for the season.
My Summer Adventure Quilt is growing almost as fast as my list of things to share with you, and I will share more detailed updates once the summer winds down.
Here are the blocks I made this week to accompany us on our camping adventure next week. A improvisationally pieced tent block for camping, a canoe tied to a tree for our canoeing trips, and a lake section to add for every time we paddle. I made 5 extra trees in case we do lots of hiking, which are positioned around the top and left side of the tent, lake and canoe, and I put a few already-earned tree blocks around the bottom to show what it will look like all together. Hopefully with all of these blocks ready to roll, we’ll have a grand old time. I hope that you are enjoying these fast, hot months, and living life adventurously!
I’m also excited to share that the 2018 Quilter’s Planner is officially released and ready for pre-order! This year, Alison Glass is the featured designer, too, and I’m sure you know how I feel about that! I’ll share much more about the planner and all of my quilt photography fun in a later post, too. For now, visit Quilter’s Planner site to preorder domestically, and international friends can preorder a planner or a planner bundle through Fat Quarter Shop.
Know that I have not forgotten this space, and I fully intend to return with intention once the weather cools, the big kids return to school, and the adventures subside a bit. Until then, happy stitching… and adventuring!
Today I’m excited to be over on the Quilt Theory blog sharing my first post for the new Designer Corner weekly column. I love pulling inspiration from the world around me, so my posts will be focused on exactly that.
This month, I talk about where you can find geometric inspiration (psst… everywhere!) and share some photos I’ve taken. Go ahead and check it out here!
The Designer Corner is a fun new weekly column where each week, one of the Quilt Theory designers shares something new with you. If you’re looking to see more of what happens behind the scenes, tips and tricks, or fabulous quilty inspiration, be sure to follow the Quilt Theory blog so that you can be in the know!
Here are the topics that have been discussed thus far, to give you taste:
The Christmas in July Bundle Sale has ended!! Thank you to everyone who purchased a bundle, and happy sewing!July is well underway which means it’s time for the second annual Christmas in July Pattern Bundle Sale! Get it before it melts!
Once again I’m joining a fantastic group of pattern designers to bring you a Christmas in July pattern bundle, available for $25 for three days only. The bundle includes 23 diverse patterns as well as some great sponsor prizes. This year, my Constant Flux foundation paper pieced mini quilt pattern is included in the bundle, as well as a variety of other fantastic patterns by talented designers, both holiday themed and all purpose patterns great to have in your library.
As a bonus, when you purchase the bundle through me, here, you will also get an exclusive Christmas version of Constant Flux, complete with additional pattern templates and fabric requirements to make stitching a Constant Flux Christmas wreath mini quilt easy peasy. Creating the Christmas Wreath version of the Constant Flux pattern is possible with the original pattern by combining necessary piecing segments as long as you have an understanding of how foundation paper piecing works, but the bonus pattern spells it out clearly. Be sure to get yours today, since this pattern will not be released individually until the snow begins to fall.
Many thanks to Jen Frost from Faith & Fabric, who has organized this bundle sale and helped get everyone together to offer this great deal. Here’s a bit more about what’s included in the purchase of the bundle.
You will get immediate digital download of all of the patterns shown above, plus*:
coupon codes for Sulky and Make Modern,
one entry to win a gift card from Fort Worth Fabric Studio or UpCraft Club,
one entry to win a free Craftsy Class,
one entry to win a 6mo subscription to Make Modern, and,
one entry to win a pattern bundle of Quilt Theory patterns.
PLUS, as I mentioned above, if you buy the bundle HERE you also receive an exclusive Christmas Constant Flux pattern, which will give you plenty of time to sew up a wreath or two before the holidays!
The bundle is available HERE and will only be live for 72 hours beginning RIGHT NOW! This sale runs from Monday 3pm EST until Thursday 3pm EST, so be sure to catch it now. Once you purchase this bundle, greatly expand your library of sewing and quilt patterns, and get sewing, please share your creations using #sewchristmasinjuly on social media. When you make your Christmas Constant Flux Wreath Mini quilt, please use #constantfluxchristmas and #constantfluxquilt. We would all love to see what you create!
*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. To enter to win one of the prizes listed without purchasing the bundle, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information.
I’ve replaced my old laptop and I’m excited to have an opportunity to share once again in this space. With so many post ideas and projects underway, I’ll do my best to share my highlights from the past few weeks! Thank you for your patience as I find my blogging stride once again. xoxo
Slow Fashion has been on my mind for the past few months, or more accurately, at least the past year. I even bought a simple tank top pattern that was suggested for first time garment sewists, and have the fabric I need to make at least three. But the apprehension that stands in my way is still strong. While making 20 minutes of quilting or embroidery progress seems reasonable, 20 minutes doesn’t feel like sufficient time to let my brain wrap around the concept of garment sewing enough to dive in.
My dear dear friend Stephanie from Late Night Quilter even surprised me with an Alabama Chanin stitching book about a month ago! It’s meant to be, truly.
When I heard that Sam from A Gathering of Stitches was organizing a Slow Fashion Retreat as well as a Slow Stitching Retreat this year, I knew this was my chance. I arranged childcare thanks to the team efforts of my parents and in-laws, registered, happily agreed to teach yoga during the retreat once again, and here we are only a couple short weeks away from retreat time! I’m hoping to have a wonderfully blissfully relaxing week, knock my fear of garment sewing out of the park, mend some of my holey jeans, and play with natural dyeing! All this on the coast of Maine amidst some of the best company there is. Yes, can you tell I’m excited? If you’re feeling spontaneous, a little bird tells me there are still a few spaces available for the retreat–join me if you so desire!
In reflecting on my experience at last year’s Slow Stitching retreat and getting excited about this year’s retreat, I realized that I never did post my reflection on last year. I wrote nearly all of it, but was waiting to get it *just perfect* before posting, as well as possibly waiting to finish a couple of the projects I began on the retreat, and well… neither of those things happened. In the spirit of retreat reflections, I thought I’d share my reactions now, nearly a year later. Stitching retreats are an experience unlike any other, and rereading my reflections transports me back to the blissfully sun-filled porch, rocking and stitching and enjoying the company of like-minded makers.
*Note: the following was written a year ago, shortly upon returning from the Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak in August of 2016*
There’s something amazing about the retreat format, where a group of likeminded strangers gathers in a quiet and often intimate setting, spending hours upon hours together in the spirit of learning, relaxing, and reconnecting with self and spirit. The people and the deep and kindred bond I feel with them at the end of such a relatively short time is always what strikes me most upon returning home from a retreat. Here was this group of nearly complete strangers four short days prior, yet tears flow and hugs abound when it’s time to part ways again and head back into our own individual corners of the game called life. It’s a tiny peek at the innate goodness, compassion, and human connection we all share, yet that is often hidden by the bustle and drama of life during our normal day to day existence. That fiber of human connection is truly beautiful, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.
So many things stand out to me about the Slow Stitching Retreat that quietly happened at Medomak Retreat Center in the woods of Washington, Maine, a couple weeks ago. Yes, the people. The new friends, the realization that even the most talented, well-known and revered makers are real people, just like you and me. And that they can be wicked silly and fun to hang out with! The surprising connections and moments of clear understanding that happen in spontaneous conversations over stitching or wine. We came from all over the country, and reflected all sorts of characters. Some quiet, some not so quiet. Some names widely known, some not. All creative. All open. All building and creating and supporting each other. All of us, human. I’m so grateful to Sam for bringing us all together.
The learning and stitching was also really fabulous, so before I get too deep into a philosophical reflection on the human condition and how hand stitching and quilting helps build positive connections, I’ll jump into the more physical aspects of the retreat–slow stitching!
On the first day, I immersed myself in the reverse applique techniques taught by Alison Glass. It was my first time working with knits, my first reverse applique, and my first time transferring a pattern to fabric by *gasp* writing on the fabric! I used a micron pen, since it was a cut line and would not be visible anyway, and amazingly, not only did it transfer the pattern beautifully, no fabric died in the process!
I decided to create a design based upon the geometry of a chapel ceiling captured by my brother-in-law in Oakland, California, so in light of the whole discussion around “derivatives” in quilting that sparked a heated discussion days before I embarked on the retreat, I spent the week being 100% derivative. And liking it.
The process of sketching out the design, transferring it to the fabric using the tips shared by Alison on how to create a repeated design, finagling the knit fabrics to do what I wanted (sort of) and finally, slowly stitching and cutting, watching the design come to life before my eyes, was extremely enjoyable.
Not to mention making slow stitching progress lakeside after a refreshing swim!
This is most certainly not the last reverse applique I’ll do. The one hesitation I have with it is its durability with washing. Having three young kids who love to have pillow fights, make pillow forts, and sneak food into the living room, I would most likely create reverse applique items and then hide them away for now. Either way, LOVE!
The second day of the retreat, I spent the day giggling uncontrollably while tiny stitching with Chawne Kimber in the amazing barn. Having witnessed this technique the year prior with Chawne, I had a little preview of the fun. There’s something about the mantra “sew smaller; no, even SMALLER” that takes quilting to a whole new level.
Chawne’s work is epically awesome on many levels, and it was fabulous to get to see many of her creations once again. They never cease to amaze me, and hearing her talk about her process is always inspiring. (Chawne will be returning for this year’s Slow Stitching Retreat, so you have a chance to stitch with her, too, if you want! I highly recommend it!)
I went into the retreat with a vague design idea, though without a full plan of how to execute it, but also the desire to keep an open mind and take advice as it was presented. At the advice of both Chawne and Sam, rather than jump into trying to execute my idea with my desired fabrics, I played around with some scraps to see if it would translate into reality the way I envisioned.
I’m very glad I did, since it did not really translate the way I had wanted, BUT I do love what I created and had a ton of fun just going wild and sewing whatever wherever, as long as it was smallllllll. Tiny stitching plus improv curves equals loads of fun!
Here are some other scenes from the retreat:
I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends and creating some more slow stitching retreat memories, this time hopefully with a bonus souvenir of a hand-made garment and the knowledge and confidence to dive more deeply into the world of Slow Fashion. As one who does not like to shop, who feels a strong stewardship toward the earth, and who loves to stitch, I’m excited to embark into this new world! Now that I have a fully functioning laptop, I will be sure to share my experiences with you. This time, I will try to post my reflections a bit sooner than a year later!
I just wanted to share that my laptop is on its last legs. It only works some of the time, and holds a charge when it so desires. My blogging, as you may have noticed, has suffered because of the sporadic availability of my computer. It gifted me with an afternoon of turning on and maintaining a 100% charge, so I was able to post about my Summer Adventure Quilt finally (yay!). I’m working on replacing my laptop, but in the meantime my posts may be more infrequent or brief. Hopefully I’ll be up and running again soon!
In the meantime, feel free to follow along with my stitching via Instagram (to which I can easily post from my phone), or go ahead and grab yourself one of my patterns to stitch while you await more inspiration and Night Quilter stitching fun! The buoy and lupine patterns are especially timely right now! (Craftsy, Payhip, and Quilt Theory)
I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start and I look forward to sharing inspiration with you again soon!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed