All posts by kittywilkin

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!

Plant Worry Grow Hope Pattern Release

Two hundred fifty-three days into our coronavirus stay at home stint, and the Plant Worry Grow HOPE quilt pattern is finally ready for release! This pattern includes 14 different foundation paper pieced block patterns, including a taste of appliqué with the three large tree tops, as well as three different project ideas: a lap quilt, a table runner, and a pillow. It is now available for purchase in my Payhip shop, and 50% of all profits will be donated to charities that are working to grow hope in my community.

Sewing these trees has been my balm during the past many months, and I am excited to be able to share them with you. The forest always brings me solace, so being able to stitch my worries away as I slowly built this quilty forest of hope has been a big help these past months. I hope that the serenity of sewing helps bring you some peace and hope as we buckle down and renew our stay at home efforts as the coronavirus cases steeply rise once more.

plant worry grow hope quilt patternThe lap quilt option finishes at 53″ x 60″ and can be made larger or smaller simply by including more or less trees. I’m looking forward to wrapping up in this quilt once we get through this pandemic!

GrowHopePillowThe pillow option finishes at 20″ x 20″ but can also be customized by switching out different tree options, or by choosing different fabrics. There’s also a table runner option that finishes at 12″ x 53″ and will certainly brighten any setting.

This pattern is available for an introductory $14 for the first week, after which it will be its standard $18. Fifty percent of profits from the first month of sales will be donated to the following three organizations:

  • Waldo County Bounty, which is working to improve food security for ALL people in my county here in rural Maine during the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Reparations Maine, a mutual aid project working to connect land owners with descendants of enslaved Africans and other indigenous people who want deeded land on occupied Wabanaki Confederacy territory in Maine; and,
  • The For Us By Us Fund, a flexible funding and organizing initiative that seeks to support the creative and organizing efforts of People of Color (PoC) in Maine.

While my first quilt top is complete, I’m certainly not finished sewing these trees. Coronavirus cases are again on the rise, and the fight toward an antiracist country that values and supports all people is going to be a long road.

Head over and buy Plant Worry Grow Hope now, and join me in burying some worries with a needle and thread, and watching the hope grow.

plant worry grow hope quilt

Bean Sprout ReRelease for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays since it’s a day when the rest of the world thinks a little bit more about how we can better sustain and protect our gorgeous home, planet Earth. A neighborhood clean-up, a hike, planting seeds for our garden, planting trees, writing to politicians… there are many things you can do to celebrate, though truly, Earth Day is every day. This year is quite different as we shelter at home, but I hope that more reflection on our daily practices and their impacts on the earth still happens, and that when we find our way back to socialization, we keep those in mind as we reshape society to be a more sustaining one, for all life. Earth is getting a much-needed breather while we as the human race face the coronavirus.

bean sprout foundation paper pieced quilt block pattern With a focus on hope and new beginnings, I thought today would be the perfect day to re-release my updated Bean Sprout block pattern, since there’s nothing like a freshly sprouted plant to celebrate spring, new life, and the wonder of discovery. As many of you likely know, I’ve been working with the amazing Lindsie Bergevin to convert some of my older patterns into fresher, more professional, and often more diverse versions and Bean Sprout is the latest to receive a make-over.

bean sprout foundation paper pieced quilt block pattern spring garden growthWith a bit more pattern details, more professional layout, and an added block size (welcome, dear 4″x6″ block!), the newest Bean Sprout block pattern includes all of the great things from the original 2016 design, but in a clearer, crisper presentation. You can buy it now from my Payhip shop HERE. You can use code BIRTHDAY for 15% off it and all other patterns in my shop through the end of April, since I believe in celebrating birthdays all month long.

bean sprout foundation paper piecing pattern nightquilterYou can see a few other versions of this block I’ve sewn up in the past in its original release post HERE. It’s always fun to look back into the blog archives, isn’t it!?

grow bean sprout pillow finishI particularly love the idea of a pillow, and very well might be making another one of these someday soon. I’d love to see what YOU make with the pattern, so please use #beansproutblock and tag me @nightquilter on social media so that I can see your beautiful work.

Happy stitching, happy Earth Day, and happy spring. Be well. 

 

 

Plant Worry, Grow Hope

Today is our 26th day sheltering at home, since we made the decision as a family back in mid-March to stay home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, about 4 days before the state of Maine closed schools and began slowly shutting down. As I’m sure is the same with all of you, we are still trying to adjust to the “new normal”, but are trying to focus on gratitude for our ability to shelter in place in relative comfort while those on the front lines battle this virus, and while many, many people suffer because of lack of safe housing, no paycheck, limited food supply, and lack of healthcare even when sick. This pandemic is certainly making it crystal clear which parts of our society need to change to better support humanity and the planet, once we get through this. 

Suddenly home schooling a 4 year old, 7 year old, and 10 year old has certainly kept my life busy, but after about a week and a half and trying three different schedules without success, we found a routine that seems to “work” for us. Each kid has a checklist of things they need to complete before earning screen time, which in this house is in the form of Cut the Rope, Caterzillar, and other such games on the single tablet and one phone (mine) we have. Because the kids can complete the tasks in whatever order they’d like, they are more motivated than when I tried to stick to a more rigid schedule.  With each of them spending time on reading, writing, math, exercise, chores, outside time, science/engineering, and art/drawing each day, I feel better letting them zone out with games for a while in the afternoon. The well-earned screen time has also meant that I have managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing each day, which as you can imagine has been very therapeutic.

plant worry grow hope tree quilt blocks Since our self-isolation has begun, I’ve found myself sewing trees. They are a brief respite from the realities of life these days. As I’ve sewn more, I realize that I’m just trying to grow some hope, grow some patience, grow some resilience. I’ve started using the hashtag #plantworrygrowhopequilt to document this process, and growing my forest of solace paired with limiting my consumption of news has been quite helpful to my mental health. With the 100 day project beginning world-wide tomorrow, I’ve finally decided to join again, and do #100daysofgrowinghope.  I will be sewing trees, sewing hearts, likely adding a rainbow or two, and just seeing what little things I can do each day to transform my worries into hope. 

plant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksplant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksplant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksI once again plan to be gentle with myself, with soft guidelines of “growing hope”, which I imagine will mostly be in the form of sewing and designing trees, working on putting my Plant Worry, Grow Hope quilt together, and maybe spending sunny days in the garden, literally growing hope in the form of vegetable and flower seeds. I have not yet decided whether I will include weekend days or not, and will feel it out as I go.

While I was talking with my friend Isabelle of Southbay Bella Studio about the 100 Days Project and what project to choose, we realized that between the two of us, we had about a gazillion different ideas. To keep things silly and light, and also to keep the brainstormed deluge of ideas flowing, we are also planning to do 100 Days of Planning 100 Days Projects in Instagram Stories. Again, this is a very relaxed project during which we hope to have a little fun, maintain the personal connection that is SO important during these socially distanced times, and have an epic list of 100 Days Project ideas for future years by the end of it. You can follow her at @southbaybella and I’m @nightquilter

100 days of sew smaller tiny piecing kitty wilkin handsI last participated in the 100 day project back in 2018 when I embarked upon 100 Days of Sew Smaller, which you can read about HERE and see on Instagram HERE.  I quite enjoyed that process, so I’m hoping that this year will be similar. I also truly hope that by the end of these 100 days, the world is well into healing and reconsidering “normal” to include more equality for all humans while also better caring for the earth. 

Staggered Quilt Tester Highlights Reel

One of the absolute best parts of designing quilt patterns is seeing other people’s take on it. I often have a vision of the finished quilt in mind as I’m designing so it’s fun to see my own vision become a reality, but then putting the pattern into the hands of others to let them express their own aesthetic preferences within the confines of the pattern just takes it to another level. Today I’m excited to share the wide variety of stunning Staggered quilts created by my pattern testers. It’s amazing that even within the small pool of testers, there is so incredibly much variety!

Baby Size (44″ x 54″)

Let’s begin with the baby size quilts and work up in size from there. The baby Staggered is a super quick sew, perfect for showcasing your favorite fabrics, matching the color scheme for a nursery, or just providing a fun pop of color for a little love.

amanda allen staggered ice dyed fabrics baby size quiltAmanda @another.amanda used primarily thrifted fabrics for her baby sized Staggered quilt, and she ice dyed them, resulting in these gorgeously soft color variations. She threw in a few added pops of a coordinating light slate blue from her stash for this soft and cozy version. I adore how the ice dyed fabric looks in this pattern, and can picture this quilt hanging over the railing of a crib, babbling, giggling baby and all.

amanda allen staggered ice dyed fabrics baby size quiltNote that Amanda chose to add her own personal touch by sewing vertical stripes into the side borders; that bit is not included in the Staggered pattern.

anja clyke staggered alison glass dark background quiltAnja of Anja Quilts used a darker background for hers, with Kona Charcoal paired with the brights of Alison Glass Road Trip fabrics for Andover fabrics. I love how that strip with the darker background melts into the background so that the lighter flowers pop! It’s such a fun detail. Check out Anja’s blog here, or follow her on Instagram @anjaquilts to see more of her gorgeous makes.

Darlene @dcapulus took a walk on the wild side with a super bright version of the baby Staggered. This combination of the Timeless Treasures rainbow ombre by Chong Hwang and that wild and fun floral background fabric that might be Alexander Henry, creates a whole new look for Staggered! I just love this version, don’t you?! Plus how much fun is this photo? Play at your own risk is right!!

Lap Size (50″ x 62″)

The next size of Staggered is Lap Size. Darlene loved sewing up Staggered so much that she made two; the fabulously colorful baby quilt above, AND this equally stunning lap sized version.

darlene staggered spectrastic guicy guice and venom libs elliotFor this quilt, she used Giucy Giuce’s Spectrastic fabrics paired with Libs Eliott’s Venom fabric for the background, both by Andover fabrics, and it’s so much fun. I love how adding a non-solid background fabric changes the aesthetic of Staggered. You can find Darlene on Instagram @dcapulus, and I highly recommend following her, since she’s always making something gorgeous. This quilt is currently finished and living at my house, since Darlene sent it to me so that I could take fun photos with it… stay tuned for that!

StaggeredQuilt-NatashaNatasha @housefulofstitches sewed up a Staggered quilt for the second time during this pattern test, since she had sewn up the original lap size when it was available through Quilt Theory! For this version she went with the rainbow theme and used a Dot & Stripes Jelly Roll by Robert Kaufman as her focus fabrics. I love seeing the differences in her two versions and can’t choose a favorite. You can see her original as well as all of her other gorgeous makes at her blog Houseful of Nicholes here.

tula pink staggered quilt lisa Lisa @sew.peace.full sewed up her version with a Tula Pink Tabby Road jelly roll and Zen Chic “Be the Color to Someone’s Gray” low volume jelly roll for the strips. For the side pieces she used a quilt themed text fabric she had in her stash. Isn’t it wonderful!?

Shannon Spicer @shannon_at_thespicerack sewed up her Lap Size Staggered with part of a Fall 2016 Lecien Minny Muu jelly roll, with Kona Bone as the background. I love the pops of fun in these fabrics, and the softer rainbow makes for a lovely quilt.

Twin Size (67″ x 86″)

The Twin Size version of Staggered was the one that was edited and changed the most during the testing process, and some of the testers’ quilts reflect this. Initially, the Staggered Twin size had the same six columns and wider, offset side borders, and a couple of the testers sewed up that version.

Kerry of @thatssewkerry who blogs at That’s Sew Kerry used mostly Alison Glass fabrics with some Spectrastic by Giucy Giuce both for Andover fabrics, as well as some other coordinating brights from her stash, on a Moda Grunge in Onyx background and it looks absolutely amazing. Don’t the colors just glow in this one!?

Debbie Griffiths Twin Staggered Liberty fabricsUltimately I decided to widen the center of the Twin size so that the overall aesthetic and assembly for each size was more similar, so the Twin version included in the Staggered pattern is this one, with two additional columns. Debbie Griffiths @dgr04618 made it in Liberty fabrics on Essex linen, a combination I’ve been hoping to see since I first released the simple lap pattern card for Quilt Theory years ago. It does not disappoint, and the elegance of the Liberty fabrics and subtle color flow are swoon-worthy.

Queen Size (87″ x 98″)

The Queen Size of Staggered packs a huge visual punch, and Alyson Olander sure made it shine with her pattern test!

She used an Alison Glass Sun Print 2016 jelly roll plus the “Path” (text) prints from the Sun Print 2019 with Robert Kaufman Manchester Metallic in Licorice (black with gold sparkle) as the background, and holy smokes does it shimmer and shine!!! Alyson had a pretty epic photo shoot for this quilt, too, complete with video to show how much the gold metallic shines in the sun when the wind blows.

alyson olander staggered quilt alison glass manchester metallicYou can start to see the gold glimmer in this photo, but be sure to head over to her Instagram feed at @alysonwonderlan to see more of her gorgeous makes.

Since this is my first pattern with such a wide variety of sizes, I really wanted to take it through the wringer before releasing it into the world. I’m grateful to my pattern testers who provided essential and insightful feedback along the way, to Yvonne Fuchs for her technical editing skills, and to Lindsie Bergevin, who has been helping me slowly convert my patterns into a more professional-looking, consistent pattern layout.

And most of all, thank YOU to everyone who has bought this pattern, and continues to buy this pattern, sewing up gorgeous and varied versions that provide a little peek into how it looks through your eyes.

Staggered Digital cover front quilt pattern nightquilterIf you’re looking to add Staggered to your quilt pattern library, you can get it HERE in my Payhip shop.  Happy stitching!

Aurifil Color Crush Thread Collection Release

I have such exciting news to share today–I’m honored to introduce you to my first Aurifil thread collection: Color Crush! What’s extra special is that for those of you at QuiltCon right now, you can be one of the very first to purchase the thread set if you so desire, so that you can return home ready to stitch the rainbow and always have the perfect coordinating color in your thread stash. Read on to find out more, and then head over to Auribuzz for a really sweet interview.

aurifil color crush thread collection nightquilterI have been using Aurifil thread since early in my quilting days, and once I tried my first spool, I was immediately sold on how silky smooth and strong it is. It leaves hardly any lint in my machine, especially compared to the older hand-me-down threads I had been using before switching entirely to Aurifil. Not only that, the range of available colors has my rainbow-loving heart swooning. Paired with Aurifil’s commitment to seeking the most sustainable options: using 100% cotton thread, putting their most recent thread addition on a wooden spool, going plastic neutral in 2019, and a continuing focus on environmentally sustainable practices, this company’s ideals resonate with me, which is really important.

aurifil thread color crush quliting collection nightquilterOver the past few years, I’ve found myself grabbing the same set colors of thread for most of my projects, and so finally I decided to reach out to Aurifil to see if they would still be interested in my curating a thread collection, since they had mentioned it a while back. I was excited to receive a resounding yes, and then the fun began!

color crush aurifil thread collection cover kitty wilkin night quiltercolor crush aurifil thread collection threads kitty wilkin night quilterI carefully considered each of the colors of thread *I* always use, trying to decide if it would be a universally helpful color to have, and have very intentionally decided upon this spectrum of luscious, vibrant, tertiary-heavy threads. Here are just a couple of the projects on which I’ve personally used these threads recently:

Pollinate EPP quilt

Pollinate in Progress EPPPollinate in Progress EPP aurifil

Staggered Quilt

staggered quilt pattern release alison glassStaggered Quilt progress aurifil thread

Summer Sampler 2019 Alternate Layout, Planned out in my Quilter’s Planner 2020

summer sampler 2019 aurifilsummer sampler 2019 aurifil quilters planner

This thread collection embodies my favorite design aesthetic, and as you can see, I put ALL the colors to good use! I plan to share much more about each individual thread and why it was selected in a later blog post, but for now, I encourage you to head over to the Aurifil blog Auribuzz, where they are sharing really fun interview in which I talk about all things quilting, color, QuiltCon, and more! Read it HERE.

aurifil color crush thread collection nightquilterIf you want to purchase Color Crush and your local quilt shop doesn’t currently stock it, please ask them to special order. Any shop can grab it from a distributor of course, but ANY shop can purchase directly from Aurifil, no minimum, flat rate shipping. Simply click the “Shop Now” button on the top right of the Aurifil webpage, choose “Designer Collection”, set up an account with them, and order until your Color Crushing heart’s content! Please let me know if you are a shop and plan to stock this collection, since I will be creating a landing page with a list of where Color Crush is available for sale, both online and in brick and mortar shops.

QuiltCon 2020 – Austin!

If you are in Austin for QuiltCon right now and love this collection of threads as much as I do, there’s good news! You can buy a signed collection AND say hi to me! (hugs, please) during two meet-and-greet events during the show:

Friday, February 21st, at 12:30pm at Aurifil’s booth, booth #910, facilitated by Private Source Quilting (PSQ), and,

Saturday, February 22nd, at 3pm at the Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth, booth #404.  The Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth will also be selling some of my most popular quilt patterns, including the new Staggered quilt, Sew Tiny Sampler, Pollinate EPP quilt pattern, my Run Run Run block pattern, Pollen Pillow EPP, and a couple more. This is a rare chance to get one of my patterns in print, so I do hope to see you there!

Staggered Quilt Pattern Release!

What better way to kick off the week of QuiltCon than with a pattern release!? I’m excited to share that my fully revamped and expanded Staggered quilt pattern is now available for sale in my Payhip shop! Staggered will be on sale this week only for $9 after which it will return to its usual $12. Get it while it’s hot!

I originally designed the lap sized version of Staggered for Quilt Theory in 2017, with visions of rock strata, water ripples, and windblown sand swirling in my mind. I’m happy to have expanded the pattern to include more assembly diagrams, detailed instructions, and four sizes: baby, lap, twin, and queen, and I can’t wait to see yours!

staggered quilt detail nightquilter alison glassStaggered is a fun, easy, extremely versatile pattern that is a great way to showcase your favorite fabric line. Perfect for precuts, this would be a fantastic pattern for that precious fat quarter bundle or jelly roll you have stashed away. I used the new Alison Glass Sun Print 2020 fabrics by Andover Fabrics for mine, and it seriously brightens my day. My kids are already asking who gets the finished quilt!  I especially love how the Menagerie fabric from Sun Print adds some twinkle among the other rich range of colors. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Alison Glass fabrics, and this *might* be my favorite line of hers so far.

staggered quilt detail nightquilter alison glassThe range of greens-teals-blues are especially to die for! I just love how they play in this Staggered quilt. You can probably tell, but I’m smitten!

aurifil thread collection color crushI quilted my Staggered quilt using coordinating 50wt Aurifil threads– I have another fun release to share–from my very own curated collection of Aurifil threads, called Color Crush! I will share more about this fun assortment of threads soon!

What’s even more exciting, if you are at QuiltCon in Austin this week, you can buy both my Staggered Quilt pattern AND my Color Crush Aurifil collection from the Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth, booth 404.  I’ll be having a meet-and-greet there at 3pm on Saturday, too, so please come by and say hi!

Let’s begin the week with a boom! Go ahead and get your Staggered quilt pattern now, and please use #staggeredquilt and tag me @nightquilter on social media so that I may see yours! You can browse the hashtag for inspiration, since my testers are knocking it out of the park already. Happy stitching!

My 2020 Miles Update & A Pattern Sale

The long, long month of January is in the books, and so far I’m not only keeping up with my running quilt, it’s still motivating me to get out there logging miles on days when otherwise I’d probably skip it. Here’s my progress so far, all sewn together and ready for February.

january my 2020 miles running quilt nightquilterI kicked off the year with a 5K race and a personal record (PR) of 26:28.9 (woohoo!), snuck a hike in there in the middle, managed one back-to-back run duo, and finally started adding some longer runs with a 6 miler and 5 miler toward the end there. To read more details on how I plan to make this quilt, what each strip and color represent, and why some strips are skinnier than others, check out my first post My 2020 Miles Quilt here.

my 2020 miles quilt running nightquilterI love the way the tree looks in there to represent our 2 mile snowy hike, and can’t wait until summer when hikes are much more frequently scattered throughout this quilt!

I’ve been tracking my miles on a Project Planner page in my Quilter’s Planner, which helps my peace of mind that I’ll remember what activity I did each day, and also will help me know without uncertainty how long each row is. Since I ran so frequently in January (12 times), I’ve decided to extend my rows to 70″ instead of 60″, since if I continue at this rate, I would end up with a quilt that would be about 60″ x 102″!  Tracking my progress on graph paper will help me know exactly when to end one row and begin the next.

january my 2020 miles running quiltHere’s a peek at the tracking from earlier in the month, before I changed my width to 70″. I’m getting close to the end of the first row at this point, as well as close to 50 miles, when I’ll stitch a little 3″ runner from my Run Run Run pattern into the strip to designate the completion of 50 miles. I’m actually only 7 miles away from 50 miles as of this morning, so I’m plotting out a 7 mile long run for tomorrow so that my little runner will be in a purple color, too! We’ll see if I can motivate myself to get out in the 27 degree forecasted cold for a long run, or whether I split it up over tomorrow and Friday and accept a teal runner marker.

january my 2020 miles running quiltThis quilt has definitely motivated me to get out there and run on even the coldest days, with most of the runs logged here in Maine, where I crunch along on frozen ground, sometimes snow and ice, and always with lots of layers.

It’s pretty even if it’s frigid.

It also motivated me to get a run in while I was traveling to teach at the Houston Modern Quilt Guild, which was a very different experience with 74 degrees and 100% humidity. I certainly enjoyed the big trees and ample green during that run! Without the promise of earning a run strip for my quilt, I doubt I would have woken up early to fit a run in before a long day of lecturing and teaching, so this quilt is certainly doing what I hoped it would–help keep me on the positive feedback loop of running regularly and inspiring me to sew more. Win, win, win, ad infinitum!

my 2020 miles quilt running progressYesterday I took a bit of time to cut strips for miles 2 through 9, as well as a bunch of cross training and rest day strips. Now I’m ready to go, set up for success for February, since all I’ll need to do is get out there and run, then grab the coinciding strip to add to my design wall. Here’s to a fit and fabulous (and maybe a bit brighter) February!

Speaking of pink, I’m having my annual Spread the Love Pattern sale now through February 14th, so be sure to use code LOVE2020 at my Payhip shop for 20% off! Stock up on Night Quilter patterns now, and spread the love!

Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial

cutting table with skinny bins and alison glassI recently faced the demon that was my chaotic sewing space and have been organizing with the help of my dear friend Alessandra. Yesterday when I shared the above photo of my newly cleared cutting table on Instagram, there were many questions about my rainbow of skinny bins hanging along the side of it. My skinny bins were made using a tutorial I wrote for Quilt Theory years ago, for a fabulous fabric party hosted by Mathew at Mister Domestic, and I use them to sort my tiny scraps by color. You know, those scraps that are too small to fold up again, but the perfect size for some tiny piecing? As I’m cutting, I just toss them into the color-coordinating skinny bin and viola! I thought it was a great time to share the tutorial here on my blog, so today’s your day!

The following is a blast from the past–May 2017 to be exact!–and the tutorial on how to make your very own fabric skinny bins. Enjoy, and please do tag me @nightquilter and #fabricskinnybin on social media if you make one (or ten!)!

I hang my Skinny Bins from an Ikea Dignitet Curtain Wire with Riktig Clips. (affiliate links)


Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial

When you’re designing quilt patterns or even simply selecting fabrics for a quilt, having color cards from different fabric and thread manufacturers is extremely helpful. There’s nothing like having each exact thread and fabric possibility right at your fingertips while you’re fine-tuning your colorway. Most companies offer their color cards for sale, so anyone can benefit from having a rainbow of actual fabric and thread samples at their fingertips.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterA few weeks ago, many fabric and thread companies were kind enough to send color cards to the Quilt Theory team to help with our planning. While brainstorming different ways to store and use these color cards, I realized that a skinny fabric bin I had designed to help sort my tiny scraps would also be perfect storage for the Aurifil thread color card strips once they were cut apart. While cutting up color cards seems terrifying at first, we’ve found the amount it helps ease comparisons between different color options and selection of a perfect fabric-thread match outweighs the initial anxiety about cutting into the card. You can see many other storage options in our guest post over at Auribuzz here.

Today I’m excited to share a tutorial on how to make your very own Skinny Bin, perfect for storing your Aurifil thread color card strips. The Skinny Bins are very versatile, so you can make one even if you don’t yet have Aurifil thread color card strips; they are perfect for sorting tiny scraps or catching threads, and just happen to make a lovely wine bottle cozy, too!

Let’s get started!

Gather your materials:

materials for fabric skinny bin

  • 15” x 11” fabric for outer panel
  • 15” x 11” fusible fleece
  • 15” x 12” fabric for lining
  • Thread – we suggest 50wt Aurifil thread
  • Quilting ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Scissors
  • Marking pencil or tool
  • Iron and pressing surface
  • Sewing machine
Making the Exterior
Step 1

First, fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of your outer panel fabric piece, following the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 2

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterSew the short ends right sides together using a ⅜” seam allowance. You will have a tube with both ends open. Press seam open.

Step 3

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterCentering your pressed seam (3 ½” of fabric should be on either side of the seam), press the tube flat, creating clear side creases.

Step 4

Sew along the bottom with a ⅜” seam allowance. Do not turn right-side out yet.

Step 5

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterMeasure and mark 1 ⅞” (1 ½” from the bottom seam stitch line) up and 1 ½” in from the side on each bottom corner, as illustrated above.

Step 6

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterCarefully cut out the marked squares and discard.

Step 7

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterfabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterOpening the bin, fold the recently cut opening so that the bottom seam and side pressed seam match, right sides facing.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterCarefully pin or hold in place, and sew along the opening with a ¼” seam. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat for the other bottom corner.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterYour bin exterior should look like the photo above.

Step 8

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterTurn bin right side out, press out the bottom corners, admire, and set aside the exterior of your bin.

Making the Lining

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterRepeat Steps 2 through 7 with the lining fabric to create the lining of the bin.

Finishing

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterWith right sides out, carefully slide the lining fabric into the exterior of the bin, aligning the back seams and pressing the bottom corners into each other so that it fits snuggly. The exterior and lining should be wrong sides facing each other and the lining should extend about 1” above the top of the exterior.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterFold the lining down toward the outside of the bin so that the raw edge of the lining meets the raw edge of the exterior (approx ½”).

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterFold again, so that the lining folds down over the exterior, with all raw edges contained inside the folds. Press carefully around the top edge of the bin so that your fold stays in place. You can pin or clip, or live on the wild side and simple feed carefully by hand as you stitch it down.

Carefully topstitch approximately ⅛” from the bottom fold of the lining around the top of the bin. Backstitch to secure threads, or knot and bury your threads. Here you can use a contrasting 12wt or 28wt thread for extra interest if you want!

Fabric Skinny Bin TutorialI used my Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove and a 3.0 stitch length so that it provided a bit of interest matching the pattern on the Alison Glass Sun Print Grow in Pansy I used for the lining.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterTa da! Your first Skinny Bin is compete! Arrange your Aurifil thread card strips delightfully, channeling your inner florist vibes, or fill with scraps or a bottle of your favorite bevvy.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleFeel free to personalize the outer panel, too! Add-on exterior patterns may be available one day if the desire is high. Please use #fabricskinnybin and tag @nightquilter so that I can admire your Skinny Bins, too!

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterIf you don’t yet have an Aurifil thread color card, ask your local quilt shop or order from Hawthorne Threads. Then check out our guest post on Auribuzz to see all of the fun ways you can organize and store it!

My 2020 Miles Quilt

I’m discovering that if there’s a way to intertwine the fibers of life with my love of quilting, I’m going to do it! Between the Milestone Quilt I made for my third child in 2015-16, the Summer Adventure Quilt I made documenting our summer adventures during the summer of 2017, and the tiny adventure blocks I made in 2019 (I may not have shared them here yet!), it’s clear I have a thing for documenting my days in the making of a quilt.

running quilt track my miles 2020With my new love of running, and the start of a new year and decade upon us, I decided to pull inspiration from the temperature quilts people make to track the high and low temperatures through the course of a year and make a color-coded quilt tracking the miles I run or hike in 2020. Sharing this idea on Instagram, a good number of fellow running quilters expressed interest in joining the fun and making their own, so I thought I’d outline my thought process and plan here in as much detail as possible.

If you’re a runner, walker, hiker, cyclist, or any other active adventurer, I invite you to join me in the making of a quilt documenting your miles. I’m hoping that the thought of “earning” a quilt block will help get me out there running even short runs more consistently, as well as doing more cross-training between run days.  Running helps me not only feel physically strong, but also helps me feel more mentally strong, fighting back that mean voice in my head to help assure me that I can do hard things on even the toughest days.

The Basic Plan – Color Coded Miles

running quilt track my miles 2020 konaThe foundational idea behind my plan is to coordinate colors of fabric with a certain number of miles run or hiked. Years ago I cut up my Kona color card and attached magnets for easy use, and this was a perfect opportunity to pull them out and work on a color flow I liked. I am hoping to train for my first full marathon this year, so I knew I needed colors for 1-2 mile runs all the way through 20+ miles.  I chose colors I liked the most for the lower miles, since I know that many of my runs will be between 2-6 miles long and I want a quilt that’s heavy in my favorite colors! I then built a color flow from there, working my way all the way up to 21+ miles. Here are the colors I chose in case you want to use the same:

Number of Miles  –  Kona Color by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

If you know you run more miles, you can make the allotted mile span longer to compensate, OR you could choose more colors to keep it going. For example, instead of each color representing 1 mile span, you could have each color represent 0-5 miles, 5-10 miles, 10-15 miles, etc.  This would make the same color flow fit no matter how far you run, ride, or hike in a given activity.

I have decided that each color will coordinate with any run or hike’s whole number. So a 3.5 mile run will be in the 3 color, a 12.9 mile run will be in the 12 color, a 13.0 mile run will be in the 13 color, etc.

Special Codes

running quilt track my miles 2020I will designate races with a Kona Citrus yellow top corner using the stitch and flip method of adding the corner. (I’m starting my year with a 5k race so I have that block ready to go for January 1st, as seen above).

If I get a PR in a race, I will add a smaller Kona Cyan corner on top of the yellow.

Each time I reach 50 miles, I will sew a 3″x3″ runner block from my Run Run Run pattern into the bottom of the block to visually show larger milestones. At the end of the year, I will easily be able to see where I hit 50 miles, 100 miles, 150 miles, 200 miles, etc.

I plan to count the miles we hike as well, since I want to encourage hiking miles as well as running miles, so for every hike, I will show that the miles were earned hiking by piecing a 3″x3″ Kona Kiwi tree into the bottom of the block. I will likely adapt a tree block from my Summer Adventure Quilt pattern for this.

Cross Training & Rest Days

In any training plan, cross training and rest days are essential, too, so I plan to mark those as well using Kona White and Kona Titanium fabrics. At first I was thinking that Titanium would represent cross-training days, but I think I like the aesthetic of the white better, so I may switch and make white the cross-training days to add motivation for me to do something–planks, yoga, push-ups, Russian twists, really any type of cross-training exercises–on days I don’t run. I’m going to see how the first week of the year goes before deciding for certain.

Cutting Measurements

running quilt track my miles 2020I will cut each run/hike mile block at 3.5″ x 9″, which means they will finish at 3″x8.5″.  Initially, I was planning on cutting them to finish at 3″x9″ but by cutting to 9″, that will allow me to use smaller cuts of fabric (1/4 yard cuts and FQs) efficiently.

I will cut Citrus squares for races at 3.5″x3.5″.

Cross training and rest day strips will be cut at 1.5″x9″ since I want to mark those days, but emphasize the miles.

Tracking Miles on Paper

running quilt track my miles 2020 quilters plannerI will be tracking all of my miles on a Project Planner page in my Quilter’s Planner, and once a row reaches 60″ I will begin another row. I most likely will plan to sew a week’s worth of blocks (really, just color fabric strips) together at a time, and will cut a bunch of strips of each color in the beginning so that most of the time, all I’ll need to do is pull a strip and add it to my design wall. I like to set myself up for success and this is no different!

Fabric Requirements

Buying fabric for a project like this is tough, since I have no real way of knowing how much I’ll need. For me, I know that the bulk of my runs will likely be in the 2-5 or 6 mile range, so I bought the most yardage of those colors (assuming 40″ as the WOF, 44 run strips can be cut from a yard, 22 can be cut from a half yard, 11 can be cut from a quarter yard, etc.). For miles 8 and above, I ordered 1/4 yard cuts since I can’t imagine myself going on more than 11 eight plus mile runs in the year. I guess time will tell, and we’ll see how it all shapes up through the course of 2020!  I ordered my fabric from Fabric Shack since I know they have nearly all of the Kona colors and allow 1/4 yard cuts to be ordered. The one color they didn’t have (Honeysuckle) I ordered from Fabric Bubb, which is another good option for ordering 1/4 yard cuts of alllll the Konas.

Optional – Daily Run Temperature

I toyed with the idea of tracking the daily temperature as well as my running miles, but ultimately decided against it, since I know my sewing time is not copious, and I really want to make this project a fun and encouraging thing rather than a stress or burden.  If you know you have more time to sew and want to track the high and low temperatures each day, that would be another fun bit of data to track along with your miles run.  I thought about using smaller squares for the bottom corners to indicate low and high temperatures, or adding skinny strips to the bottom of each run block (cut to 1.5″x3.5″) for both low and high temperatures (you’d need to add 2″ to your rest and cross training days if you opt for this route), so those are two ideas if you decide to add temperature tracking as well.

Having this all mapped out, the fabrics chosen and partially cut, and a plan to track the miles on paper as well as just in fabric makes this feel like a fun and manageable project to add onto the many others I’m sure to want to finish and begin in 2020. You can follow my progress on Instagram @nightquilter under #my2020milesquilt where I will likely share weekly updates.  If you want to join in and create a quilt tracking your miles as well, please let me know in the comments and let me know how I can see your progress, since if enough people are interested, I will create a Facebook group so that we can all cheer each other on and help hold us accountable to reaching our goals.

If you have any questions about this process, or there are details I inadvertently left out, please let me know and I will update this post with answers and more details. My hope is that my thought process is clearly mapped out so that you can decide which route you’d like to go with your own version.

Here’s to a fun year of getting out into the world, facing challenges head on, and stitching those experiences into a quilt.

 

 

 

Sew Tiny Ornaments by Wise Craft Handmade

A few months ago, my friend Blair over at Wise Craft Handmade emailed me with the most adorable idea–creating Christmas ornaments using the block patterns in my Sew Tiny Sampler pattern. Her ornaments are super quick and easy to make, and by enlarging the pattern a bit, they are perfect for even those who vow never to sew a block smaller than their thumbnail! Hah!

Sew Tiny Sampler Ornaments by Blair Wise Craft Handmade christmasHere are the first three ornaments she made. I love her addition of beads to the perle cotton string, and could see these all over my Christmas tree, or even taped to each gift given. Holiday gift tags that double as ornaments!? Win win!

sew tiny sampler fpp pattern quiltingI’m trying to decide which of these block patterns from my Sew Tiny Sampler to use as my first ornament. Which one would you make first? The tree is awfully adorable, but maybe a star?

Head over to Blair’s blog post HERE for her tutorial on exactly how to make these lovely ornaments, get the Sew Tiny Sampler pattern here (use code HOLIDAY), and please tag us both on social media if you share. You know where to find me @nightquilter and Blair is @blairs . I know I would LOVE to see Sew Tiny Sampler ornaments deck the halls of the internet. Stitchy joy for all!

night quilter new quilt patternsBonus good news–use code HOLIDAY in my Payhip shop for 15% off any pattern through December 20th.  I’m celebrating the re-release of some of my favorite patterns as they show their new faces! Over the next year or so, I plan to slowly update all of my patterns with the help of the ever-talented Lindsie Bergevin to help them look more aesthetically consistent and professional.  Pollen Pillow EPP (Newly released!), Constant Flux Christmas, Sew Tiny Sampler, and Summer Adventure Quilt are the first ones to get the new look and I’m pretty thrilled with them!

Are you sewing for the holidays?