Happy Monday morning! I have a few quick reminders to share today for the week ahead, as well as a silly story from over the summer.
First of all, today’s the day that I will be a guest on Pat Sloan’s American Patchwork & Quilting podcast, streaming live at 4pm EST and available for download at 6pm–I hope you’ll tune in! You can listen on your computer, subscribe by iTunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting), or download to a player. If you can’t listen in during the live broadcast at 4pm, you can download the episode (Episode 333) anytime after 6pm. You can read more about my experiences chatting with Pat here.
Second, today kicks off a fun Blog Hop celebrating the expansion of my quilty friend Bernie’s Etsy shop Needle & Foot, which now hosts a selection of modern fabrics. See the kick off blog post and lineup here at Needle & Foot, and visit Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs for the first stop! Come back Wednesday for a chance to enter a great giveaway, and to see what I made! In addition to the giveaways throughout the hop, Bernie is offering everyone a coupon code to her new shop. Use the code NANDFREADERS15 for 15% off any order over $5.00 (the coupon code will be active through Sunday, March 26th).
And finally, a new face! Since the photos were taken over the summer and I never shared, I thought it was high time I updated my headshot photo! While I still think I look much like the old photo, it was taken nearly a decade ago on the windy moors of England. It was time for a new one. So this summer, I requested that my husband, aka fearless quilt holder assistant, take some new headshots for me.
In his typical form, he made the process fun, giving goofy prompts to generate the proper variety of faces. A model I am not, and a photographer he is not… yet I think we got some winners!
“You’re fun and sassy and having a great time…”
“So endearing and sweet…”
“…so you’re walking along and begin to realize there might be a snail in your shoe…”
So which am I really? Not sure, but I ultimately decided on a different headshot altogether; one that I think is a bit less dramatic, but still looks ok and looks like me.
I will be slowly updating my blog and other social media to have this photo, but thought it would be fun to share the process. Really, the snail in the shoe prompt was too silly not to share… what would your face look like if you were walking along and slowly began to realize that there miiiiight be a snail in your shoe…?
Recently Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and I had the opportunity to meet in person after following each other’s work online for years. Both loving embroidery, repurposing textiles, creativity and the sewing community in general we plotted a tutorial that would allow us to play off each other’s creative personality and engage the greater sewing community as a whole.
A year ago Hillary made an Easter Egg shaped pincushion out of velvet and repurposed leather. We expanded on this idea and invite anyone who wants to participate to make a similar pincushion and, if interested, incorporate repurposed leather (Earth Day is coming up after all, and repurposed leather is typically thin enough to easily sew on a domestic sewing machine.) Be bold. Be brave. Let’s sew leather!
In this tutorial we give everyone some guidelines but the emphasis is on PLAY and MAKING THIS PROJECT YOUR OWN. Don’t celebrate Easter? No biggie, make a similar pincushion in another shape. We will be following on Instagram so please tag your makes #eastereggpincushion (as well as tagging @nightquilter and @entropyalwayswins) so we can all enjoy. To celebrate this group project we will both randomly be giving participants some of our own pincushions as well as supplies to make them. All you need to do to be eligible is to play along, tag us, and tag #eastereggpincushion so that we can find you!
Thin leather (~6×12 inches)
Wool felt, velvet, jeans or any other material for the inner portion of the pincushion (~6×6 inches)
Embroidery hoop (a 4” hoop will *just* fit the inner egg)
Crushed Walnut shell or other favored pincushion fill
Step 1: Templates and Leather
Print the Embroidery Egg Template and cut along both inner and outer egg outlines.
Trace the template onto the wrong side of the leather, marking out two eggs–one with only the outline and one with both the inner and outer lines drawn.
Carefully cut along the marked lines, remembering to cut one piece along only the outer egg outline and cut the other piece along both the inner and outer egg outlines.
Set your leather pieces aside.
Step 2: Embroidery
Using chalk or water soluble marker, trace the inner egg outline onto your embroidery surface (felt, velvet, jeans, etc) so you will know the limitations of your embroidery design.
Adorn at your heart’s desire with embroidery, applique, etc. You are welcome to copy our experiments but please feel free to try your own ideas.
Step 3: Attach the Embroidery to the Leather Upper
Align your embroidered material so that the embellishments fit within the window of your leather upper (the egg with the hole cut out of the middle).
Secure the right side of your embroidery to the wrong side of your leather upper with double sided tape, glue, clips, or other method.
Then, using a ¼ or ⅛ inch seam allowance, top stitch the two together along the inner egg as shown.
Thread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim.
Finally, if possible, trim the seam allowance of your embroidered material carefully about ½” away from the stitched line so that it remains easily inside the outer margins of the egg.
Step 4: Make an inner pincushion
Using only the outer margin of your Egg Template, trace and cut two pieces of muslin. Sew the two pieces together using a ¼ inch seam allowance, leaving a small opening to use for filling.
Fill with crushed walnut shell (a funnel can be helpful for this). One half cup of crushed walnut shell for this project seems to be the right amount. Use a little more if you want a more rounded pincushion. Sew the opening of the inner pincushion completely closed.
Step 5: Finishing your pincushion
Place the two leather egg pieces wrong sides together and secure with clips. (Note that pinning will create visible holes in the leather–use clips!) Sew around the outer margin of the egg using a ¼ seam allowance, leaving an opening at least 3 inches long unsewn.
Stuff your filled and fully closed inner pincushion through this opening. Ensuring the inner pincushion remains entirely inside, top stitch the remaining way around the outer edge of the egg.
Thread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim or bury.
When Pat first invited me to be a guest on her show, I was honored, flattered, and more than a bit nervous since I’m severely hard of hearing and the chat typically happens on live radio over the phone. The phone, as silly as it may seem, is strongly in the running for my biggest fear. With a few emails back and forth, Pat was extremely understanding and accommodating, and suggested a number of alternatives. I ultimately decided to go with her offer of prerecording (instead of live), with Facebook messenger chat open so that if I mis-heard something or missed one of her questions, I could ask her to type it out and the editor could edit out the long pauses. I am so incredible grateful for Pat’s willingness to work around my hearing loss, and once we got going, it was honestly SO fun to talk all things quilting with her! We ended up having a really relaxed and fun conversation, and I had no trouble hearing her (after all that!).
I do hope you’ll have a listen, and if you’re like me and relatively new to podcast listening, you have plenty of time to give it a practice run and make sure you know how to listen in by Monday! The show time is Monday, March 20th at 4pm Eastern (3pm Central, 2pm mountain, 1pm Pacific) and you can click this graphic to go to the link to listen:
You can listen on your computer, subscribe by iTunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting), or download to a player. If you can’t listen in during the live broadcast at 4pm, you can download the episode (Episode 333) anytime after 6pm on Monday! In the meantime, feel free to have a listen to previous episodes–you can browse them all here!–there are so many great stories, tips, and laughs shared by many quilters and folks in the industry.
Are you a podcast listener? I know I am looking forward to listening to see how I did (eek), as well as to hear what the other guests have to say. I think I may be hooked on quilting podcasts, now–I may not be able to hear all of them, but they are still so much fun to listen to. Thanks again to Pat Sloan for having me, and happy sewing!
The past few weeks have been spent in preparation for our trip to Savannah, Georgia for QuiltCon, the wild travel adventure that was required for us to get there, the excitement of the event, and finally the long trip home. We arrived home late last Tuesday night after a day of flights and then a fully day’s drive with all three kids, having picked up the big kids who spent the week with my parents in New Jersey. When we left home, Maine had 3 feet of snow and highs of 35, yet we arrived home to rain, patches of mud, and just a layer of snow in the yard. It’s amazing what a week can do! There are so many things I’d love to share with you about what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks and my experiences at QuiltCon, so I figured a quick post of highlights would be my best chance of getting it written clearly. I’ll aim to go into more depth for some parts in the days to come.
First and most exciting is that Andover Fabrics asked me to make an Alison Glass mini quilt to hang in their booth at QuiltCon. How could I say no to that honor?! I decided to go with my pattern Constant Flux, but printed the templates at 90% and rearranged the blocks a bit so that the large focal square was in the middle. I used all fabrics from the Seventy-six, Insignia, and Sun Print 2017 fabric lines by Alison Glass. I added a Wild Boho-inspired bee applique which I embroidered with 12wt Aurifil thread. Both dense 1/2″ machine quilting and colorful hand-quilting finished it off, and from what I heard, there was quite a buzz about it (har har buzz!).
Here I am proudly standing next to the quilt hung in the fabulous Andover booth.
Workshops and Lectures
Trying new things and stretching my mind are among my top favorite things, so I was sure to register for some workshops and lectures at QuiltCon. I focused on areas I felt I could most benefit from improvement or practice: improv, sewing curves, and improv free motion quilting on a domestic machine.
I really loved the Minimalist Improv class with Season Evans. Her minimalist mindset and explanation of her process was so enlightening, and actually forcing myself to *try* a minimalist palette with improv piecing was so liberating. I made an entire mini quilt during the class, and didn’t touch a rotary cutter or ruler once (except for squaring the finished block). As much as I tried to go into the class with a blank slate mind, I had a preexisting idea to create a minimalist quilt focusing on a trianglesque shape in the upper right hand corner. I abandoned the angular construction plan to try my hand at Season’s style, but still snuck in the little triangle. It’s not as minimalist as Season would create, but it’s VERY minimal for me, I created it entirely improv, AND I love it. Total win!
I also was inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood‘s lecture on finding the Flow with Improv, and took some really great ideas home with me as a result. I’m excited for the next chance I get to play with improv, since Sherri’s lecture inspires me to take a different perspective and tap into other experiences to help me overcome (or flow past) the usual brain-breaking path of uncertainty I traipse while attempting improv.
Sew all the Curves with Jen Carlton-Bailley was another fun one! I was encouraged to learn that I am doing everything right when it comes to traditionally piecing curves, I just need more practice for it to feel smooth! It was also really fun to see the many styles and varieties of quilt patterns that incorporate curved piecing, photos of which Jen shared many!
Improv Machine Quilting with Christa Watson was everything I hoped and more. It was such an organized class, with introductions to different motifs and then opportunity to practice on our practice pieces. I LOVE the idea of improv free motion quilting, since it takes some of the pressure off of my self-inflicted desire for perfection. One tip shared by Christa that I especially love was, “The best way to hide imperfections is with more imperfections.” The human touch adds so much personality, story, meaning, depth…. and imperfections. I’m newly inspired to densely quilt the bajeezus out of some of my quilts, and embrace the flow that emerges.
If you ever have an opportunity to take a class or attend a lecture with any of these talented women, I highly recommend it! I came home ready to celebrate my mistakes, find the flow whether I’m happy with the progress or not, sew curves until the cows come home, free motion quilt all the things, and allow myself to create minimalist creations from time to time as a stress-free palate cleanser. Plus, my husband really likes the mini quilt I made, so that’s a double win!
Thursday morning when I first stepped foot onto the showroom floor, and began slowly walking around to take in the vast depth of beauty, originality, workmanship, and meaning that was displayed in those aisle, I was moved to tears. I don’t have the opportunity to attend many quilt shows, and being in the presence of so many quilts created with such passion by talented fellow quilters and friends was an amazing experience.
Despite keeping a fairly light class schedule, I am sure I did not get to see every single quilt that hung at the show, and more time was spent examining details than taking photos. It’s impossible to select favorites, so instead I will share a selection of photos I took of quilts that stood out to me. You can see all of the award winners on the Modern Quilt Guild website, here.
Let’s begin with the Best in Show, since it was a pretty epic and gorgeous quilt. Bling by Katherine Jones@twocatsquilts was foundation paper pieced from solids based upon the inspiration of a princess cut diamond. It struck me that the quilt is entirely foundation paper pieced, since that confirms that paper piecing has a strong place in the modern quilt world. Sure, it can help you create perfect shapes and images, but it’s clear now that it can also help take an abstract idea and break it into manageable, clear chunks.
The quilting was dense straight line quilting on the diagonal, which did its job. Think about removing all of the papers after piecing this one! Astounding!
I also saw a lot of curves in the show, the variety of which are demonstrated by this award winner (above: Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton @brittanybowenburton, which won Best Machine Quilting, Framed, Needle Moves),…
…and Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer. There were many more quilts with curves, both improv and traditionally pieced, and probably your best bet at seeing as many of them as possible is checking out the #quiltcon2017 or #quiltcon hashtags on Instagram.
Statement quilts are still making a strong stand, which was both humbling and empowering to see. As Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl reflected in her recent blog post about QuiltCon, many people use quilt-making as a tool in processing events, or perhaps create quilts out of necessity to help them process, creating some of the most beautiful and powerful textile creations I’ve ever seen. (Read Yvonne’s full post here for more examples and reflection!) I wish I had taken more photos of these powerful quilts, but reading the descriptions and doing my own processing of the inspiration dominated in their presence. The quilt shown above is Tea and Skittles by Thomas Knauer@thomasknauer (Applique 2nd place), and stopped me in my tracks. Read the story here.
Hillary tasked her beemates to make blocks that told a story about themselves and then quilted their words into the fully pieced quilt. Quilts tell stories, truly, a fact that is abundantly clear at a quilt show like Quilt Con.
Solid fabrics seemed to dominate, with tone on tone and subtle prints playing a stronger hand that bold large-scale prints. This Free Spirit Award of Quilting Excellence winner, Go North by Maritza Soto@sotosewn is a good example, as is the amazingly improv quilt Lincoln by Kim Soper@lelandavestudios (below), which won 1st place for Improvisation.
I also was excited to see quite a bit of hand quilting and even embroidered details on quilts, which is right up my alley these days! I loved this quilt Canary Meets Goldmine by Stephanie Ruyle@spontaneousthreads even before I realized it had won 1st place for Handwork.
The full amazingness of this quilt cannot be realized until it is inspected from a nose-distance away. French knots!! Amazing, right!?
There were so many amazing quilts and seeing them firsthand, from a nose-distance away in many cases, truly inspired me to continue making beautiful things, to stretch the “rules” and create whatever moves me, continue fine-tuning my skills and techniques, and to attend as many quilt shows as I possibly can.
Booths & Vendors
The booths and vendor hall was much fun at QuiltCon. I was able to find replacement milliners needles right before my Facebook Live chat with Aurifil thread, thanks to Red Thread Studio, with quite a few offers of a loaner if I had not been able to find the right needle to purchase. It was exciting to see one of my local quilt shops, Alewives Fabrics, rocking the vending floor, too. Their weekly Lucy Boston kits seemed to be a big hit. I loved playing around on a Handiquilter long arm machine, and can certainly see the appeal of a long arm after having tried it out first hand.
I did not spend as much time at the booths as I would have liked, both because of fullllll days, but also because most of the time they were absolutely mobbed! These photos were taken Sunday afternoon shortly before the end of the show, which is how you can see the booths.
There were quite a few special exhibits at QuiltCon, including the quilts of Angela Walters, Siddi Quilts, Quilt Design a Day, Charleston MQG & Emanuel AME Church Project, The Modern Quilt Guild’s 2016 Quilts of the Month, Kona Color of the Year 2016, and The Pulse of Quilting (shown above). I honestly could have spent all four days just exploring these exhibits–there was so much to see, and so many powerful things being done through the gift and art of quilting.
Stretching my brain to learn new things in classes, finding renewed inspiration in lectures, seeing row upon row of gorgeously mind blowing quilts, shopping a hall of vendors filled with all of my favorite things–all of these are wonderful, but none compare to the delight of seeing quilty friends in person. A highlight of QuiltCon will always be the personal connections made between friends old and new, the laughs shared over lunch, the deepening of friendships forged through blog comment exchanges and social media posts. Call me a sap if you must, but seeing so many fellow quilters so full of enthusiasm and spirit fills my social quilting cup until my next chance to attend a big event.
I took only a handful of selfies, but enjoyed meeting so many new friends, old friends, and even more new friends.
And finally, Savannah!
This post would not be complete without at least a collection of photos from gorgeous historic Savannah, Georgia. It was especially fun to explore since my husband Garrett (who incidentally began an instagram account @knightquilter while he was there) and youngest son Finn were also there with me.
I was sure to teach Finn the fine art of hugging trees, and he was a big fan of the birds chirping in the trees (I couldn’t hear them, but I confirmed their presence on several occasions to make sure I was understanding the source of his excitement).
Savannah is a gorgeous city and I would absolutely return to explore more!
I’m so grateful to my family for supporting me in my travels.
Between my parents watching my older two kids, my husband not only taking time off work so that he could be with Finn full-time so that I could attend workshops, lectures, and “do my thing” with quilty friends I rarely see, but also begging for Night Quilter t-shirts to wear during the event, and taking an actual legit interest in quilting and the industry to help support and understand my passion, I am surrounded by the most amazing supports.
Without that support, none of this would be possible, and no reflection on an event as amazing as QuiltCon would be complete without a huge, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. What an amazing week it was!
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:
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!
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.
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!
I’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.
Ahhh, the time of year when busy is an understatement, yet still the desire to stop and reflect over the past year–perhaps in the twinkle of some Christmas lights with a hot mug of something sweet–is strong. The phase of feeling more stressed than blessed has passed, the excitement of Christmas Eve and morning has calmed, and now I’m enjoying the holidays in a relaxed, family-filled, grateful way. What better time to do some reflection?
Once again, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is hosting her “Best of” linky party, inviting bloggers to share their five best posts from 2016, so I thought it was a perfect time to take a look at the statistics and reflect on the highlights of the past year here on Night Quilter. I’ve put together five of Night Quilter’s “bests” for the past year (plus one personal added bonus), and I invite you to reminisce along with me.
Most Viewed Blog Post
Without a new baby announcement like last year, this year’s most viewed post was the tutorial on how to sew perfect curves. I’m especially excited about this one, since one of my goals for 2016 was to tackle curves, and I feel like I made great progress in that category. I love this method as much as you do, and I’m so glad I could share this with so many of you!
Most Viewed Non-Tutorial Blog Post
Since my most viewed post from 2016 was a tutorial, I decided to also share my most viewed non-tutorial post. In Planning a Colorful Year, I shared the Riot of Color planner cover design I made for the Quilter’s Planner (which is still available for free, here–and fit’s the 2017 Quilter’s Planner! if you haven’t gotten yours yet, I highly recommend getting one here–this planner is life changing!), as well as a giveaway for a planner. It’s hard to say whether the gorgeous melding of Alison Glass fabrics with Essex linen is what drew the most attention, or if it was the chance to win a most coveted planner, but I am proud of this post all the same and I’m glad you liked it, too.
Most Viewed Blog Post (not including Tutorials or Giveaways)
If you take all tutorials and giveaways out of the running, the one hour basket (that took me six hours to make!) was the most viewed. This was such a fun make, once again featuring my favorite Alison Glass fabrics paired with Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen, but also is a favorite since I made this basket while attending a class with quilty friend Sarah from Berry Barn Designs at one of my fabulous quasi-local quilt store, Alewives Fabrics.
Most Exciting New Endeavor
2016 was a big year of new endeavors for me, so this category requires a tie:
I kicked off my quilt photography business venture by doing all of the photography for the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, photographing 14 quilts and quilted projects in gorgeous natural locations along the coast of Maine. The photo above features Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl’s lovely Starlight Crystals quilt, photographed along the coast in Acadia. Quilt photography combines three of my loves: quilting, photography, and the beauty of nature, so I’m so excited to be offering it to anyone seeking to get epic quilt photos for publication or just for fun.
I was also one of seven quilt designers to launch Quilt Theory, kicking off with my premier pattern Ocean Path. With the enthusiasm and drive of fearless leader Michelle Bartholomew, we are working on our second round of patterns and are constantly expanding the reach of the Quilt Theory pattern cards. You can find much more information and the full line of available patterns here.
2016 Best Nine on Instagram
Since I love Instagram so, I would be remiss if I did not share my top viewed posts there as well. This collection is a fun one, including lots of posts about my stress-free stitch-wherever-the-wind-blows embroidery hoop, a fun Alison Glass table runner I don’t think I’ve shared here yet, a progress shot of my Eye Spy Picnic Plaid quilt, a progress shot of all of my thrifted City Sampler blocks, the free Safe with Me pattern I made in an attempt to spread positivity and support for those who need it, and a glimpse of one of my favorite quilt photos for the Quilter’s Planner, the epic sailboat shot of Cheryl Brickey’s Canvas Lines Quilt.
Technically this is my sixth category, but I can’t let my highlights pass without remembering the completion of the Milestone Quilt Blocks for my son Finnian. While the project didn’t make my top viewed posts for 2016, it is still the project that filled my heart the most. My little babe is now 18 months old, walking, talking, signing, dancing, jumping, exploring, and smiling his days away. His quilt top is together, and I hope to get the quilt layered, basted, quilted and bound early next year. There’s something about making a quilt for your child, marking his progress and growth with a bit of stitching, that really takes quilting to a new level. I’m so grateful that my silly husband made the crazy suggestion (fully in jest) on the day our third child turned 1 month old that I should make a quilt block each month for a photo shoot, since without that little laugh-filled exchange, this project would have never come to be.
2016 was a big year, with many new endeavors and a seemingly endless list of fun projects and adventures. I’m still working on the fine art of saying no and understanding my own limitations, since I really truly want to do it all. I’m a maker through and through. I’m hoping to keep 2017 fairly low key, focusing on finishing projects I’ve already begun, and participating in a few sew alongs with a relaxed mentality. Then again, I have some big goals I’d like to pursue, so we’ll see when and if those kick it all up a notch. I’ll write more about that in a future post, since after reflection comes planning and goal setting. I’m so glad I have my Quilter’s Planner for that!
Thank you, as always, for following along with me here, sharing in my inspiration and project progress, and creating the community I hold so dear. I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and look forward to a colorful, productive, and FUN 2017.
The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, for lack of a better word. The emotion from the elections, the dark realization that our country is a lot more racist, xenophobic, misoginist than I naively thought we were, and the strong desire to do something positive to help outweigh the increase of discriminatory and abusive actions that have resulted have kept my mind busy. To be honest, writing about beautiful sewing felt petty. I’ve now come to realize that sewing and creating are necessary parts of my way of sending kindness and positivity out into the world, and so I’m back to making and sharing as much as I can manage, as well as putting even more energy into fostering a giving spirit of loving kindness in my children, and doing everything else in my power to speak out for human rights and support those who are already fighting the good fight.
During those first few days post-election, I had a discussion with some of my quilty friends who also felt a strong need to create a public statement of our desire to stand with those who would be most negatively affected by the increased public shows of aggression toward minorities. Karin from Leigh Laurel Studios and Samarra Khaja brought our attention to the Safety Pin Movement, a movement that originated after British citizens voted to leave the European Union in June, when the nation experienced a 57 percent rise in reported xenophobic incidents. According to a NY Times article, it began with a tweet by an American woman living in Britain suggesting that people wear safety pins to show support to those experiencing abuse, inspired by the #illridewithyou movement in Australia, in which people offered to take public transportation with Muslims fearing a backlash after a Muslim gunman held people hostage in a cafe in 2014. (NY Times) It felt like the perfect, simple, symbol that could show others that you are an ally, ready to stand with those being abused, speaking out against hate. Mandy from Mandalei Quilts decided that she was going to make a large safety pin quilt to hang on her porch, and I did what I do–I created a foundation paper pieced block.
Safe With Me is a simple block, offered for free on my Craftsy site. It’s a symbol to signify you are an ally (no matter who you voted for). Wearing or displaying the safety pin means: You are safe with me. I stand beside you. I created this pattern to help spread the word, and spread the love. Sewing up or even wearing a safety pin is not the end, though–be sure to use your voice. If you see or hear injustice, stand with the persecuted and provide help whenever you can. Call your governmental representatives, make your voice heard and join the fight with love (albiet fierce love). I’m grateful to Kate Basti for quickly offering and sewing up the block within hours so that I could release it into the world on a hopeful mission of good. Hers is the safety pin above, on purple.
I’ve given a lot of thought to this pattern, since there is criticism that the safety pin is just a way for us to feel better about ourselves, or even that being such a widely known symbol, it could be used in nefarious ways. After much reflection and discussion with my husband, I decided that despite these criticisms, I think the safety pin symbol is a good thing. My intention was purely to try to spread some hope and goodness with a further reach than my little rural Maine town. Even if the act of wearing or sewing a safety pin doesn’t make any difference in and of itself, it is a conversation starter, keeping the conversation about the need to stand up for human rights and fight bigotry going, and will hopefully act as a personal reminder for those of us who are not in the minority to step up and use our privileged voices for good. We have a lot of work to do.
There are many others in the quilty community who are making efforts to raise money for different organizations that need our support more than ever right now, and while this is in no way an extensive list, here are a couple:
The ever-talented Samarra (SammyK) is holding an amazing auction on her Instagram account now through Friday. As she says in her Instagram post:
I’ve selected 12 of my one-of-a-kind lady portraits (including the nine seen in this photo and at least two you haven’t seen before. They are each approx. 18″x22″ in size). All proceeds, minus actual shipping will be donated directly to the Sierra Club, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. The auctions for each portrait will end Friday, November 25th so you’ll get ample time to watch the auctions build throughout the week and throw in any last minute tryptophan-fueled bids for great causes the day after Thanksgiving. It’s all an experiment in doing good and giving back in creative ways, so let’s all make this happen…with festive sprinkles on top!
I have my eye on a few of these, and have already bid and been out-bid a few times, so head over and get into the game for a good cause (and an amazing one of a kind piece of fiber art).
I know that emotions are high right now and that there are many differing opinions about everything, but in my heart I know that working toward human rights and the ability for all of us to live and thrive peacefully on this beautiful earth is the right thing to do. I truly believe that love will win, and that generous loving kindness does far, far more good than harm (if it ever does actually do harm). No matter what your political affiliation, no matter your personal beliefs, I hope that we can agree that there is always room for more kindness in the world. Please be kind.
I did it again. I said yes. I couldn’t help it; it was for a friend! Over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping my good friend Stephanie (the mastermind behind the Quilter’s Planner and the one and only Late Night Quilter) with the Instagram feed for the Quilter’s Planner. She’s up to her eyeballs in getting the amazing 2017 Quilter’s Planner printed, proofed, boxed, and shipped to your doorsteps, and so I offered to help her spread the word via my favorite social media application–Instagram. Extra points to you if you’ve recognized my style over at @thequiltersplanner Instagram feed!
Not only that, but today we are kicking off the inaugural Quilter’s Planner Sew-Along over on Instagram, with the Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, one of the fabulous patterns included in the 2016 Planner. Apologies to those of you who are not on Instagram, since this Sew-Along is happening only on IG (you can still watch the progress by checking the #QP2016SewAlong hashtag and feel free to sew along, but you cannot enter to win the prizes along the way without a public Instagram account. Hopefully next time!)
Here’s the information and schedule!
Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along!
We are so excited to announce the kick-off of the very first Quilter’s Planner Instagram Sew-Along, taking place over on the Quilter’s Planner Instagram feed! While we all eagerly await the arrival of our 2017 Planners, let’s sew up a pattern from the 2016 Quilter’s Planner! Sew along with us as we make the Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, one of the fabulous patterns included right in your 2016 Quilter’s Planner. Don’t have the 2016 planner? Don’t worry—you can purchase the pattern right from Lee’s shop HERE and still sew along with us.
There will be great prizes along the way, generously sponsored by Handiquilter, Aurifil Thread, Threadcutterz, The Quilter’s Planner, and Stephanie herself at Late Night Quilter! There will be a BIG grand prize at the end (pst… new sewing machine plus more!), eligible for all of you who share a photo of your completely finished Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt! To join in this Sew-Along you do need a public Instagram account.
This pattern is super versatile and perfect for using up scraps! Make as a holiday gift, a scrap buster, or just a fun project with your quilting friends. The Sew-Along will run now through the middle of December, giving a little extra time for the piecing and quilting steps to allow for family time around the holidays.
*Note: For every photo you post on your Instagram account tagging @thequiltersplanner and #QP2016SewAlong, you will be entered into the running for the giveaways along the way!
October 24th – Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along Kick-off! (Spread the word with #QP2016SewAlong!)
WEEK 1: October 24-30th
Get the pattern! You have one week to get your hands on the Scrappy Picnic Plaid pattern so that you can sew along with us! Find it right in the Patterns section of your 2016 Quilter’s Planner, or buy the pattern HERE if you do not have a 2016 Planner (be sure to order your 2017 Planner now so you don’t miss out on next year’s fun!) Share the graphic on Instagram to show the world you’re in on the Sew-Along, using hashtag #QP2016SewAlong !! (Note that the more photos you share and tag on Instagram, the more entries you have to win prizes along the way!)
WEEK 2: October 31-Nov 6
Choose your fabrics. Dig through your scraps, visit your local quilt shop, or swap with a friend. No matter your methods, gather your fabrics and show us what you’ll be sewing with! Scrappy or solids? Holiday prints or rainbow fun? Post a photo of your fabric choices on Instagram tagging #QP2016SewAlong !
November 7th – GIVEAWAY #1
WEEK 3: Nov. 7-13
Cutting. Post photos on Instagram showing your cutting progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong.
November 14th – GIVEAWAY #2
WEEK 4 & 5: Nov 14-27
Sewing together the blocks and quilt top. You’ll have 2 weeks to sew your blocks and piece your quilt top! We will be sharing progress and encouragement on @thequiltersplanner Instagram feed, and look forward to sewing along with you! Again, post photos on Instagram showing your piecing progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong to enter the giveaways.
November 28th – GIVEAWAY #3
WEEK 6 & 7: Nov 28-Dec 11
Quilting and finishing. You’ll have 2 weeks to quilt and finish your Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt, and we will be cheering you on!
December 12 – GIVEAWAY #4
WEEK 8: December 12-16
Final Link Up. You will have one extra week to finish up any final touches needed to complete your quilt and get the perfect photo of your completely finished and quilted Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt on Instagram, tagging #QP2016SewAlongFINISH to be entered to win the Grand Prize!
December 17th – GRAND PRIZE
Winner chosen from finished projects tagged #QP2016SewAlongFINISH!
For now, go ahead and grab your 2016 Quilter’s Planner and flip to the pattern (or buy the pattern HERE), reserve a Project Planner Page in your Quilter’s Planner for the Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew-Along, and repost our graphic on Instagram announcing that you’ll be joining the fun! Please be sure to tag @thequiltersplanner and #QP2016SewAlong in every photo so that you can be entered into the running for the great giveaways along the way!
We are excited to sew along with you!
Have any questions about the sew-along? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer them promptly! Please keep in mind that we are full time mamas (with too many kids to count), so patience and kindness are appreciated! We are SO looking forward to sewing along and sharing inspiration with you!
My favorite colors! Flying geese! Curves! Precision delicately dancing with improv! Yessssss, this block has all of those things and I’m excited to share a detailed tutorial with you today. This new block was designed for the New Block Blog Hop sponsored by Cloud9 Fabrics and hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. Today is day three of the hop, which means that 46 new block tutorials have already been shared, and 23 more are being shared today. Amazing!
I’m calling my block Steady On, which just seemed fitting for such a classic made-by-me block. Those of you who know me know that I cannot keep anything simple, and this is a perfect case in point. This block has double improv curves, twenty (20) tiny flying geese, an hourglass block, and quite a few points that should match *just* so, all in the 12 1/2″ unfinished square block. But fear not, this tutorial has detailed photos and instructions on how to make each component of the block, and breaking it down into manageable chunks makes this block come together quite smoothly (Spoiler: we can make some of the flying geese 4 at a time!). There’s something about the determined light colored geese headed bravely into the dark and improvy unknown that urges me to encourage them… Steady on, now! That same encouragement goes for you, since I would LOVE to see you tackle this block and come out victorious (tag @nightquilter and #steadyonquilt when you do!). This is going to be fun, so let’s get started!
Gather your materials:
Fat quarter (FQ) of each of the five (5) fabrics generously provided by Cloud9: Amazon, Sky, Shadow, Lilac, and Iris. (There will be fabric left over–enough for a second block or more depending on how frugally you cut your scraps!).
Clover hera marker and/or other fabric marking tool
washable school glue (I use Elmers)
Fine glue tip (optional but helpful)
rotary cutter & mat
quilting ruler with 1/4″ and 1/8″ markings (I use Omnigrid rulers)
sewing machine (I have a Bernina 560)
thread (I use Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove for nearly all of my piecing)
Press your fabrics and use spray starch or Flatter by Soak to help stabilize them before cutting.
Then cut the following pieces from each fabric:
– (8) 1 7/8″ squares (for geese 4 at a time)
– (4) 1 1/2″ squares (for single geese)
– (4) 5 1/2″ squares (for curved quadrants)
– (1) 3 1/4″ square (for geese 4 at a time)
– (6) 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles (for single geese)
– (1) 3 1/4″ square (for hourglass block)
Now, we will break down the block into manageable pieces, and make a component at a time. Let’s start with the curved quadrants!
Making Double-Curved Quadrants
For this step, you will need your 5 1/2″ squares of Iris, Amazon, and Sky, washable school glue and tip, a marking pen or pencil, scissors, and an iron and pressing surface. To make the double-curved quadrants for this block, follow my tutorial on easy curved piecing using a visual layering approach and glue basting HERE. Go ahead and read it now, I’ll wait for you. When you’ve read through it once and have a grasp on the general technique, grab three of your 5 1/2″ squares, one each of Iris, Amazon, and Sky. For this block, the Iris is the bottom layer, the Sky is the middle layer and the Shadow is the top layer.
Since this method begins from the bottom up, start with Iris and Amazon. Mark the Amazon square 2 1/4″ up along both sides from the bottom right corner. Make sure your mark extends 1/4″ in from the edges before beginning the curve. This will be your sew line, not your cut line, so by measuring the 2 1/4″ we are ensuring our seams will match up, even though the flying geese are exact and the curves can be improv. (Note here that if you are using fabric with a right and wrong side, you want to be marking the wrong side of the fabric. With the Cloud9 Cirrus Solids that’s not important).
Draw an improv curve from marked point to point, or trace a perfect curve using the edge of a small plate or glass. Make sure your curve begins and ends at your marked points 2 1/4″ up from the corner.
Next, grab your Shadow 5 1/2″ square and mark 3 1/4″ up both sides from the bottom right corner. Again, draw your curve as desired, connecting from marked point to marked point, and using that line as the sew line.
Make four quadrants, measuring 2 1/4″ up on the Amazon square and 3 1/4″ up on the Shadow square for two of them, and measuring 3 1/4″ up on the Amazon and 4 1/4″ up on the Shadow square for the other two. Admire your smooth curves, and set those blocks aside for later!
Making Flying Geese 4 at a Time
Next we will crank out as many flying geese as we can, using the technique of making 4 at a time found in the Reference Section of the Quilter’s Planner. I use my Quilter’s Planner daily, and it sure did save some time with this block! Here’s how:
Place two 1 7/8″ Iris squares in the top right and bottom left corners of a 3 1/4″ Sky square as shown. Using your fabric marking tool of choice, draw a diagonal line from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. I love my Hera marker since it doesn’t actually mark the fabric, but makes a clear guide line.
Sew 1/4″ from either side of the drawn line. Press with a hot iron to set the seam (notice that I didn’t do this step? tsk tsk).
Cut along the drawn line.
Press the small Iris triangles outward, with seams pressed toward the dark fabric. Then place another 1 7/8″ Iris square in the corner of each unit, and mark a diagonal line as shown above.
Again, carefully sew 1/4″ from either side of the drawn line. Cut along drawn line.
Press open, with seams toward darker fabric.
Trim to 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and set aside.
Repeat instructions above using the remaining 1 7/8″ Iris squares and a 3 1/4″ Lilac square to make four Lilac geese with Iris corners.
Making Single Flying Geese
The remaining flying geese must be made one at a time since the corner colors are mixed up to flow into your improv curved quadrants.
Grab your 1 1/2″ squares and 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles and lay them out to help plan which corners should be positioned on each rectangle. Use the finished flying geese above to help plan before you start sewing.
To make a flying geese block (or would it be flying goose?), position a 1 1/2″ square right sides facing the right top corner of a 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangle. Draw a diagonal line as shown above.
Sew along the line and then trim a 1/4″ seam allowance.
I like to get mine all paired and drawn so that I can chain piece each side.
Repeat with the other 1 1/2″ square on the top left side of the block. Press seams open or up toward the corner.
Time saving tip: I cut my 1/4″ seam allowances with scissors while pressing. As long as you are accurate with a pair of scissors, it takes much less time than rotary cutting, at least for me.
Square your flying geese to 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangles, making sure that your goose point is a perfect 1/4″ (or slightly further) from the top edge. Set aside.
Making Center Hourglass Block
Finally, let’s make that center hourglass block. Grab your 3 1/4″ Lilac and Sky squares.
Place right sides together and mark a diagonal line. I like to pin my pieces together since we are working with such a small scale. If you’d prefer some wiggle room, you can begin with 3 1/2″ squares and trim to size when you’re finished!
Sew 1/4″ from either side of the drawn line. Cut along the drawn line.
Press toward darker fabric. You will have two half square triangles (HST).
Place HSTs right sides together, with the Lilac half of one facing the Sky half of the other, and nesting the seams.
Draw a diagonal line perpendicular to the existing seam line, again pinning to keep the pieces in place while you sew.
Sew 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line. Then, cut along drawn line.
Press seams open. You will have two hourglass blocks, but will only need one for this block. Save the other one for your next Steady On block!
Trim to 2 1/2″ square. Set aside.
Assembling the Block
Now that you’ve made all of the components, it’s time to sew the block together! Arrange all of your pieces as shown above, paying careful attention the positioning of the flying geese in relation to the large and small curves on your curved quadrants. There should be two Iris flying geese corners next to small curves and three Iris flying geese corners next to large curves.
Sew the top five and bottom five groupings of geese together, and sew the center horizontal strip of geese and center hourglass block together.
Perfect points tip:When sewing the flying geese together, keep the piece with the goose point on top. As you’re sewing, make sure your sewing machine needle sews exactly through the “x” that marks the point of the goose, or if anything, slightly to the right (above) the point. This way you won’t lose any points!
Next, sew the top left and top right curved quadrants to the top grouping of geese, pinning just after each seam that needs to match.
Press seams toward the less bulky side (toward the curved quadrants).
When aligned properly, the geese corners should flow into the curved piece perfectly–that’s why we so carefully marked our curve starting distances with our improv curves!
Finally, sew the top and bottom panels to the center horizontal strip, again pinning just after each important seam match. Press toward the less bulky sides (the curved quadrants), and viola! Steady on…
I am really excited about how this block turned out, and I’m eager to play around with different color placements and curve arrangements. I’d love to see if you sew up this block, too, so please tag me @nightquilter#steadyonquilt when you do!
Thank you for visiting and I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Check out all of the other new block tutorials shared today, all of which will be combined to make one big gorgeous charity quilt:
A few months ago when Angie from Gnome Angel announced her newest wild and crazy sew along, a challenge to sew all 100 blocks from Tula Pink’s City Sampler book in 100 days, of course I was intrigued, tempted, and mentally plotting color schemes. But I was good, and knew that I already had a full plate. I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch from the outside. Flash forward a few weeks when the challenge began and thousands of gorgeous blocks started popping up everywhere, flooding my Instagram feed with beauty, diversity, and temptation. Cue…
So fun! Still, I resisted. Then I noticed that Kim from My Go Go Life was making her blocks entirely out of thrifted materials, and they were GORGEOUS. This reminded me of the #MakeDoQuilt challenge recently initiated by Sherri Lynn Wood of Dainty Time, where she invites participants to make at least one quilt top and back out of salvaged clothing, linens, curtains, or other household materials in the next 365 days. She shares:
Did you know that a significant percentage of the stuff that goes into landfills is discarded clothing and textiles? Textile waste is a huge problem which will require changes from how the industry runs business to how we run our homes. If every one of the 16 million occasional quilt makers or 1 million active quilt makers in the US made one quilt a year from discarded clothing and linens, imagine how many pounds of material waste would be spared from the landfill.
Reading this struck my environment-loving heartstrings, and I knew I had to add this to my list of makes for the year. With Kim’s encouragement, I was hooked. Thus began my #ThriftedCitySampler, 10 days late but raring to go. I resisted for quite a long time, really!
I pulled some old worn out clothes from our toss/donation piles (a workshirt of my husband’s with elbows worn nearly through, a pair of maternity corduroys that were a hand-me-down given to me by a friend who had received them as a hand-me-down from another friend and worn bare in too many spots to mend, and a thrifted leather skirt I had bought for a project that fizzled before it really began), and hit up a local thrift shop to fill in the gaps a bit. I decided to focus on a monochromatic grey color palette, but asked my kids to choose a pop of color from the sale racks. A large pair of coral women’s capri pants fit the bill, and I’m excited at the resulting palette.
It took me a few days to decide how I wanted to share these blocks each day on Instagram. I began by simply sharing each block with a basic flat lay, but with the muted color palette, the aesthetic just wasn’t doing it for me.
I finally decided to continue along the environmental advocate path. Appreciating, understanding, and caring for our earth is very important to me, and so I decided to use the sharing of these blocks made out of thrifted materials as a platform to share some tidbits of information about the environment, in the hope that by learning more about this mind-blowingly diverse and beautiful world, people will be more invested in preserving, restoring, and caring for the environment.
Even if you don’t have Instagram, you can follow along with my posts and environmental tidbits by clicking HERE to see my #ThriftedCitySampler stream on Instagram.* I invite you to follow along with my posts, where I’ll share tidbits about this beautiful world: information about a specific ecosystem, an introduction to some of my favorite plants, or sharing wild stories of symbiotic relationships in the world around us.
*Please let me know if this doesn’t work, those of you without Instagram; it seems to work for me, but I also have an IG account.
So far, I’ve shared information about my favorite ecosystem: wetlands (I worked for 6 years as a wetland scientist before teaching and then mom-ing), and the awesome symbiotic relationship between milkweed and monarch butterflies. I hope you enjoy the journey and perhaps learn something new about this amazing world in which we live.
I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since it’s been AGES since I’ve joined a linky party and I miss sharing my creative process and in turn, peeking into your recent creations!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed