Category Archives: Hand Stitching

The Bee’s Knees in Constant Flux

Right before the mad-dash to get packed for our trek to QuiltCon, I finished a mini quilt and excitedly mailed it to a hotel in Savannah, where it patiently waited for Giuseppe to arrive. Here’s a closer look at my mini quilt that hung in the Andover Fabrics booth at QuiltCon.

alison glass constant flux mini quilt for andoverThis quilt got its name after it was nearly completed, as I sat hand stitching the binding to the back. A mini quilt made at the request of Andover Fabrics, out of entirely Alison Glass fabrics, to be displayed in the Andover booth at QuiltCon–can you imagine how thrilled I was to make it? I had selected my pattern Constant Flux since I have been wanting to play with different arrangements and color schemes for it, and simply rearranged the blocks to create a central focal square (I rotated each block 180 degrees).

applique embroidered bee from alison glass fabric constant flux detailWith freestyle embroidery fresh on my mind and Nichole Vogelsinger’s book Boho Embroidery freshly on my bookshelf, I was inspired to add an embroidered, appliquéd bee from Alison’s Seventy-Six line in the center.

hungarian braided stitch aurifil 12wt
Just getting started with my favorite stitch: Hungarian braided chain, in 12wt Aurifil 2120-Canary.

So when a local friend of mine sent a message connecting me with a textile designer friend of hers who needed product photography, and calling me “the bee’s knees”, the name just felt right.  I think the entire world pretty much knows that I think nearly all of Alison Glass’s fabrics are the bee’s knees, so it felt like the perfect name: The Bee’s Knees (aka all of my favorite things–Alison Glass fabrics, plus meticulous cutting, plus embroidered applique, plus detailed machine and hand quilting) in Constant Flux (the pattern name). More figuratively, it’s a nod to the fact that the fabrics and styles that we consider the bee’s knees are constantly changing.

foundation paper piecing progressI had a lot of fun with the meticulously cut (yeah, yeah, fussy cut) sections, including bees and flowers as framing for the color flow. I love pairing meticulous cutting with foundation paper piecing. The fussy cutting templates I include in my pattern came in handy, too.

half inch grid quilting aurifilI knew I wanted to incorporate both hand and machine quilting, and I knew that I wanted the machine quilting to be dense. It took me a while to decide between using 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove or 5015-Gold Yellow for the quilting, and finally I opted for the Gold Yellow to pull out the gold of the centrally stitched bee. I quilted a diagonal grid approx 1/2″ apart on all of the colored sections of the quilt and I love the texture it created. I wanted the white star and central diamond to pop, so I let them be, patiently awaiting hand quilting.

hand quilting detail I used a rainbow of 12wt Aurifil thread to help pull the rainbow from the gorgeous fabrics into the white sections, and I love the outcome! I decided to switch to 12wt 2600-Dove for the center so that the bee would stand out.

hand quilting detail back of quiltThe back shows that my hand quilting still has plenty of room for improvement (especially when trying to maneuver around the bee), but it’s still fun to see the back, too!

the bee's knees in constant flux quilt back alison glassI used Seventy Six fabrics Rising in Graphite and Numbered in Duck Egg for the back, with an Insignia in Chartreuse label.

label your quilts!Labeling is one of my favorite parts–maybe because it helps me know that my name is on my work, or maybe because it means I’m finished with a project!!

Andover Booth Quilt Con 2017This quilt is currently in Andover headquarters in NYC for photography and other fun fabric adventuring before it returns to me, but it was super fun to see it hanging in the booth at QuiltCon (see it, top right??). You can see a photo of me proudly standing next to it in my QuiltCon post here.

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, since this finished mini hopped right into the mail upon its completion and hasn’t been shared in detail here yet. Finishes do feel good, don’t they!?

One Year of Stitches: February

I’m still working on a post about my experiences at QuiltCon last week, but as March continues to skip on, I thought I should share February’s stitches for my 1 year of stitches project in the meantime. QuiltCon post coming soon!

My 1 year of stitches project is a personal challenge to stitch at least one stitch every single day. I am working with no set plan, I don’t mark the fabric before stitching; I simply stitch whatever wherever whenever. It’s quite fun!! You can follow along with my daily stitches at @NQ1yearofstitches on Instagram.

Even after a short month, it grows! As a reminder, here’s the hoop after the month of January:

night quilter 1 year of stitches month 1and here it is showing the progress from February:

february progress for 1 year of stitchesI guess 28 days can make a big difference!

erin from aurifil thread live at quiltconThe highlight of the month was getting the chance to chat with Erin from Aurifil on Facebook live while attending QuiltCon in Savannah. You can see my low key chat HERE on the Aurifil Facebook page. I talk about my process, how the project came to be, why I use Aurifil 12wt thread, and I show a quick demo on how to stitch a French knot. It was a really fun opportunity, and while a bit nerve-wracking knowing I would be live, Erin made it easy by being totally awesome and relaxed. Plus, she’s from Maine. Perfect! The whole experience inspires me to try a bit harder to figure out a way to video my stitches live each day, or at least some days each week. I’ll get right on that and will let you know if I figure it out!

1 year of stitches freestyle embroidery progress february 12wt aurifilBack to my embroidery progress! Here are some close up shots of the various sections of this freestyle hoop.

1 year of stitches freestyle embroidery progress february 12wt aurifilI am still stitching without a plan, deciding each day’s stitches the morning–or sometimes night!–of the current day. I have tried a handful of new stitches and look forward to trying even more as the year progresses!

1 year of stitches freestyle embroidery progress february 12wt aurifil1 year of stitches freestyle embroidery progress february 12wt aurifil1 year of stitches freestyle embroidery progress february 12wt aurifilThose little white three-petalled trillium flowers are the most recent addition. Time will tell where this will go from here!

Finn helping me with photographyThis month, I had a photography helper, so of course I can’t end the post without a few Finn cameos. I often use the photos on my phone as a reference, so I pulled up January’s photo to make sure I arranged the thread in a consistent way. Finn was please as punch that they matched.

Finn helping me with thread positioningHe also helped me put the thread back into the box, then arranged around the hoop, back into the box, then arranged around the hoop. What a helper!

Hmmm what shall I stitch today?

One Year of Stitches: January

As a full time mom of three little ones, but one with a strong innate need to create every day in order to maintain sanity, I feel like I do a fairly good job of creating opportunities for creativity and stitching, sprinkled throughout even the busiest of days. First, it was knitting–something I could carry with me and leave next to the couch to pick up while nursing or holding a sleeping baby in my lap. But as my children grew, their desire to turn yarn into spider webs, spy laser obstacles, leashes for stuffed pets, etc. also grew and knitting became quilt a risky endeavor.  English paper piecing helped and I dove into basting hexies and honeycombs. Then I felt like I needed something new. Enter: embroidery. It’s small, I can store it up on the counter out of reach, it’s clearly mommy’s–not simply a ball of yarn begging to be unravelled or little fabric bits to be tossed around–, and it’s something I can pick up and put down quickly.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtLate last year, I kind of got hooked on the quick mental fix that comes with freestyle embroidery while I was creating this Alison Glass hoop. In late December, when some friends brought my attention to the 1 year of stitches project initiated by Hannah Claire Somerville, I was intrigued. After a bit of googling, I found this invitation by Sara Barnes of Brown Paper Bag, who helped spread Hannah’s open invitation for others to join, and I knew that I had to join in. Hannah’s specific personal rules and stipulations are here, but I chose to take a looser approach. The goal is to stitch at least 1 stitch every single day for a full year, 365 days.

night quilter 1 year of stitches beginningsI went into the year with a 10″ hoop of Robert Kaufman Essex linen in light blue, my stash of Aurifil 12wt threads, and no plan at all.

night quilter 1 year of stitches month 1Here is my hoop after 1 month of daily stitch-whereever-the-wind-blows stitching. Fun, right!? I created a separate account on Instagram @NQ1yearofstitches to document my daily stitches, and I am trying my hardest not to make any kind of formal plan at all.

night quilter 1 year of stitches month 1My basic strategy began as a daily google of “embroidery stitches” as an image search. I would scroll through, find a stitch that looked cool, and then find a tutorial on how to make the stitch.

night quilter 1 year of stitches month 1I began by learning bullion knots, so this whole project began with that little mass of turquoise squiggles and has grown organically from there.

night quilter 1 year of stitches month 1I love the texture that results when you stack embroidery stitches together. Those white floppy things are my first attempts at braided picot stitch, another fun one!

night quilter 1 year of stitches month 1This has been really fun so far, and as of the writing of this post, I’m already over halfway through February, too! (You’ll have to wait until March, or check the IG account, to see those additions, though!) I’ll plan to share an update each month, so that you can see how this grows.

night quilter 1 year of stitches month 1My personal guidelines include stitching at least one stitch each day, trying to plan as little as possible and simply stitch whatever feels right each day, and not remove any stitches no matter how much I dislike the final outcome (cough, cough, that octopus family, cough). I figure this way, the stress of getting everything *just* right disappears, and instead the thought that it will all work out somehow in the end dominates. No stress!

1 year of stitches embroidery month 1This is a really fun, exhilarating project since it is pure spur of the moment random creativity. If you have any cool, unusual embroidery stitches to recommend, I’d love to add some more to my arsenal. There’s something about learning something new that makes my day.

If you are itching to learn embroidery, this is also a really fun way to do it. In the end, you end up with a hoop of many different stitches, as well as a visual story of your progress! Happy stitching!

I’m linking up with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts for MCM, since I’m excited to be blogging, and always excited to stitch!

Stitched Embroidery Hoop Finish

The finish I’m sharing today measures only 4″ across, but probably took more hours of work and provided more peaceful moments than most of my other projects. I’m relatively new to embroidery, with really only my Dropcloth Color Wheel sampler and the embroidery stitching I did on a mini quilt a while back as projects under my belt, but when Alison Glass sent me some of her Stitched fabric, part of her new Seventy Six fabric line for Andover Fabrics, it begged to be… well, stitched.

AG Stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtI’m so happy I obliged, because I just love this little hoop!

nightquilter instagram embroidery beginning
Here’s my Instagram post from the wee beginnings of this hoop, about 12 weeks ago.

When the Stitched fabric arrived, I had just completed my Ocean Path quilt for our big Quilt Theory debut, and I was in the final push stage of finishing a quilt that will be in the February issue of Love, Patchwork and Quilting magazine, so picking up a small, no pressure, no purpose, no pattern hoop of Stitched and my 12wt Aurifil thread stash was the perfect brain palate cleanser.

embroidery back
Here’s the back of my finished hoop—see! I am totes a novice! I think this looks fun, though, crazy as ever!

This was back in September, according to my good ole’ Instagram feed, and since that time, ending just a couple of days ago, I’ve picked this little hoop up for 1-20 minute intervals (and 20 minutes might be leaning on the long end) every here and there: a quiet moment when the kids were all playing nicely together, a few seconds here while having a minute lax time while cooking dinner, or just because I needed to MAKE and had not yet had a chance that particular day.

AG stitched embroidery aurifil 12wtI stitched whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted, and tried many different stitches.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtI used Aurifil 12wt thread from my stash, in colors (left to right from photo above): 2530-Blossom Pink, 2435-Peachy Pink, mystery orange–the only Aurifil tag that has ever fallen off a spool!, 2120-Canary, 1147-Light Leaf Green, 2884-Green Yellow, 5005-Medium Turquoise, 2540-Medium Lavender, and 2515-Light Orchid. I used a single strand for all except the turquoise x’s, for which I use two strands. If I were to do it again, I would probably stick with a single strand since I love the crisp aesthetic that results.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wt french knotsToward the end, I went a little crazy with french knots, but I do love them so and they make a great “filler” around the edges.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtSince the pattern is printed on the fabric, there was no actual end, so it was up to me to decide how close to the edges to stitch. At first I thought I’d leave a bit open, but I just couldn’t stop stitching. As it is, most stitches extend to the absolute edge of the hoop. I kind of love it.

finishing embroidery hoop wool feltI finished it using the methods (minus the plan-ahead phase, since I didn’t plan ahead lol) shared in this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.  I stitched the running stitch around the excess fabric, pulled it tight, knotted and tied it, then trimmed off the extra fabric. Next I cut a 4″ wool felt circle using my Sizzix machine and stitched it onto the back with coordinating 12wt Aurifil thread and a blanket stitch. I’m quite happy with the finish, and definitely plan to make more. In fact, I very well might aim to always have a  free-form brain palate cleanser embroidery hoop laying around, since it really worked wonders for helping me get back into a better mental place during especially hectic, crazy kid, too many (mostly self-imposed) expectations-filled days. Making works magic, doesn’t it?

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and then sending this hoop off to a friend!

Monday Giveaway & Off to Slow Stitching

Ahhh Mondays! Mondays often have that heavy feel, transitioning from a relaxing or adventuresome weekend of family fun back into the daily grind of work and household duties. Not this week! I’m home on a quick packing layover, gathering my supplies for the Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak Retreat Center in Washington, Maine!! I dropped in on this retreat for one blissful day last year, but this year I’m attending the entire week! I’m so excited to relax with Sam from A Gathering of Stitches (the mastermind behind these retreats), Alison Glass, Chawne Kimber, my friend Karin Jordan from Leigh Laurel Studios who is also attending the retreat, and all of the other slow stitchers!

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maine alison glass chawne kimberMy parents have graciously come up from New Jersey and rented a house on a lake only 15 minutes away from the retreat center, so during the day they will be playing with all three kids, and every evening someone will drive Finn to me where he will join me for sleep, to be (hopefully) joyfully picked up each morning. He’s still a nursing babe at 14 months, so I’m looking forward to the nightly mama reconnection time, too.

medomak retreat center maineI originally aimed to schedule some blog posts for while I was away, but life has been very full these days, so this week will be quiet. I will be stitching away in this big, beautiful building and its neighboring barn, and will join you upon my return. Keep your eye on Instagram, since I will post a few updates to help share the blissful relaxation of the week! I have a fun color inspiration post pretty much ready for the week I return, and will get back into the swing of sharing my creative process and projects with you next week. And of course, of course, I will share a reflection of my time slow stitching.

fresh adventures amy sinibaldi art gallery fabric fat quarter shopTo hold you over for the week, I do have a fun giveaway sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop! One lucky reader will win this Fresh Adventures Playground Fat Quarter Bundle by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics, which includes 10 fat quarters.

To enter the giveaway today, tell me what type of adventures you like to go on. I’m a big fan of exploring new places, so my ideal day consists of traveling to a new ocean beach, walking along the coast line, hiking through the neighboring woods, and picnicking on the beach. I’d love to hear about what you do for an adventure! Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win.  For an additional entry, click HERE and sign up for my Night Quilter email list (or let me know you’re signed up). Tell me how you follow Fat Quarter Shop (facebook,twitter, Instagramtheir blog Jolly Jabber, etc.) in a third comment for a third entry.

fresh adventures amy sinibaldi art gallery fabric fat quarter shopThis giveaway is open to US and international participants.  The giveaway will be open until Sunday August 14th at 8pm EST when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck, and enjoy your week! This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations One Creative Family!

*Please note that comment moderation is on, so if you do not see your comment right after posting, do not be alarmed! I will be disconnecting from social media for most of each day on the retreat, but will be checking in each evening to approve new comments. xoxo

Slow Stitching for Summertime

Ahh! Summer is upon us! My daughter has mere days left of school before summer break is officially here! That means all three kids home all day, every day, which in turn means time to take lots of day trip adventures! Summer also means lots more opportunity for slow stitching, and a need to have some hand stitching available at all times. We all know that the day I forget my handwork will be the day all three kids somehow fall asleep in the car on the way to some adventure!

hand stitching epp preparation carolyn friedlander modern hexiesMy portable hand stitching kit this summer consists primarily of English Paper Piecing (EPP) hexies and some experimental embroidery-quilting projects.

After a lull in my Carolyn Friedlander modern hexies project progress, I’m ready to pick it up again and baste more hexies! While 2 1/2″ squares work just fine for EPP hexagons, I really enjoy the neatness that starting with a hexagon of fabric provides.

sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for epp
Nine (9) charm squares lined up on top of the Sizzix 1 1/2″ hexagon die. Pass it through….
sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for epp
Viola – 18 hexagons ready for basting

This is another time when the Sizzix die cutting machine comes in handy. It doesn’t take long to cut a whole bunch of fabric and cardstock hexagons for slow stitching on the go. I use the BigZ Hexagons with 1 1/2″ sides die to cut fabric and BigZ Hexagons with 1″ sides die to cut cardstock hexies and I’m ready to roll.

sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for eppA lovely stack of fabric hexagons ready to baste. I need to cut a few more cardstock templates, but this will do for now!

embroidery quiltingI am also continuing to add embroidery quilting to my Rainbow Hex Star mini, as well planning a couple small embroidery quilting experimental projects. My goal is to find a way to get the back to look as neat as the front. Practice, right?

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maine alison glass chawne kimberSlow stitching on the go is not the only slow stitching I’m looking forward to this summer! I’m also officially registered for the Slow Stitching Retreat hosted by Sam at A Gathering of Stitches this August. I can’t wait to slow down and sew with Sam, Chawne Kimber, and Alison Glass. I’m doubly excited since I will also be leading yoga on the retreat! Just imagine… slowing down, breathing deeply, stretching out, learning from amazingly talented and inspirational quilters, and slowly stitching in the sun, rocking on the rocking chairs out on the porch in the calm, cool woods of Maine. You can read about my experience dropping in on a day of this retreat last summer HERE. I am very much looking forward to spending the full four days rejuvenating my soul with some slow stitching in inspired creative company. Are you coming!? I sure hope so!

What are your summer stitching plans?

Make Modern Mini Mini Quilt Challenge: Finally, Mini Minis

Remember that mini mini quilt craze that spread like wildfire among quilty bloggers about eight months ago? Yeah, me too. The fun news is that with the recent feature in Make Modern magazine, the mini mini quilt spark is being fanned back into life with a Mini Mini Quilt Challenge. You can see a fun inspiration gallery of mini mini quilts in the recent issue of Make Modern (Issue 11), including a couple made by yours truly, and there’s a community wide challenge running now through June 20th to help inspire more mini mini madness. Read more about the challenge here, or check out the hashtag #MMminimini to see what creative mini mini quilts have been created thus far (and add your own to the pool!).

mini mini quilts with aurifil for scaleI’d like to say the mini mini quilts I’m sharing today are newly inspired and whipped up in response to this fun challenge, but no. I’ll be honest. I began both of these many, many months ago, and they were worked on at a snail’s pace, off and on. I’m almost embarrassed to share these finishes, since they have taken me so ridiculously long to finally finish. But I know that you understand, and that you would want to see the finished mini mini quilts even if it took over 8 months (gah!) for me to finally buckle down and finish them. So, without further delay, my latest mini mini quilt finishes:

Slow Growth

slow growth mini mini quilt finishThis mini mini quilt was made for Allison at Campbell Soup Diary (you can see the amazingly wonderful mini minis she made me here and here). When we first decided to exchange mini minis, she offered this as guidance: “As for colors that I like… AG grove in grass green is THE perfect shade! I tend towards pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, but generally stay away from blues unless it’s a really nice royal. Turquoise is great, but red is the one color that is almost always left out of my color palette. (don’t ask me why, but I even avoid it in my garden and my wardrobe) If given the choice between straight lines and wonky, I prefer straight. I love natural and soft shapes, but I also realize that that cannot easily be pieced.

slow growth mini mini quilt finishFor some reason, I latched onto the AG grove in grass green (of course), paired with the favorite colors of pinks, purples, oranges, yellows. I wanted to create something with natural and soft shapes, so immediately thought of needle-turn applique. The rest of this mini mini just sort of happened as I stitched. The mod leaves and flowers are needle-turn appliqued, and then I used 12 wt Aurifil thread to embroider details on the flowers.

slow growth mini mini quilt finish snail detailThe snail was not initially intended to be part of this mini mini, but in fact was the result of a mini mini travesty: my three year old son found my little scissors and in playing around, cut a small hole right in the mini mini quilt!! After taking many deep breaths, probably yelling at least once and emphatically saying that it was NOT ok to cut mommy’s sewing, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and needle-turn a little patch over the hole. With a bit of embroidery embellishment, a little slow growing snail was born. It ends up this snail was the perfect symbol of this project, and ultimately inspired its name: Slow Growth.

I densely hand quilted this mini mini with a variety of weights of Aurifil 2600-Dove (50wt, 28wt, and 12 wt), essentially hand-matchstick-quilting the 5″x5″ quilt. I improv-ed the quilting and included a few rows of X’s and one of little bubbly O’s for interest. I used a super thin binding for this (1″ strip to start, single fold), and although finicky to sew on, I really like the feel and aesthetic of the skinny binding. Even if it took ages, there are many positive, grateful, creatively generous thoughts stitched into this mini mini, Allison! I hope you like it!

Too Tiny

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishThis next mini mini quilt was an experiment in how small can you go, and I determined that I reached my tiny threshold, at least with this foundation paper pieced pattern. The intended recipient of this mini mini is a big fan of the color purple, and I also knew I wanted to make her a feather mini mini. I wanted it to be unique, though, so I designed my own teeny foundation paper pieced pattern of a geometric feather.

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishI absolutely love tiny stitching, mostly because of the giggles that reflexively bubble over while I’m piecing the ridiculously tiny pieces. This tiny feather was no different, until it came time to sew the two sides together. The seam was crazy thick; so thick, I had to hand crank my sewing machine to get the needle through it without breaking (I broke a needle trying the first time). With a seam that thick, you can guess how great my chances of pressing it flat might be–slim to none! My solution? I stuffed actual wool batt behind the feather and then quilted around it as best as I could. It’s not exactly trapunto; it’s more a stuffed feather!

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishMy reverse needle-turn applique skills have room for improvement, and the shaft of the feather didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I decided to embroider over it with 12wt Aurifil to try to give it a more intentional look, and I’m much happier with the result. The Anna Maria Horner loominous fabric was the perfect background, and I machine quilted horizontal lines with 50wt Aurifil 2560-Iris.

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishI used the backing as binding and folded over a larger portion on this mini mini quilt, since I felt it needed a stronger frame due to the visual weight of the 3-dimensional feather. Mini mini quilts certainly keep me humble, since every little stitch is visible, and the wobbles and less-than-perfect corners are part of the charm.

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishI signed the back with quick embroidered initials and date, since I feel strongly about signing all creations, no matter how small.

Both of these mini minis are going in the mail today. Once I finish a bit more of the projects on my to-do list, I am sure to revisit the mini mini quilt making scene. I still have one more promised mini mini quilt that is in progress for a friend who has already sent one in return (ages ago), and my very first mini mini swap for which I need to redo the binding. I think I agreed to swap with at least two others, but we left it open and relaxed and since I have not received a mini mini in return, I don’t feel *quite* so bad letting the creation of my mini mini quilt slide. All in good time, right?

make modern mini mini challengeHave you made a mini mini quilt yet? If you feel so inspired, I encourage you to post a photo on Instagram with #MMminimini to join the fun (and enter to win prizes!). I’d also love to see it, so tag me @nightquilter so that I can see your tiny beauty!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social and will link with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF, since community is fun!

Rainbow Hex Star {Sizzix Inspired Project}

Last night kicked off the International Quilt Market, spring edition, which is in Salt Lake City this year. Much of my Instagram feed is flowing with pictures of sample spree booty, gorgeous booths, and peeks at new fabric lines and products. One product that is being introduced at Quilt Market as we speak is a new Sizzix die called Hex Star designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

hex star mini quilt sizzix inspired aurifilI got to play with this die in advance and I’m sharing the project I made with it over on the Sizzix blog today! It included my very first y-seams, rainbow hand quilting with 12 wt Aurifil thread, and a fun go at embroidery quilting (I may have invented that term myself–is it such a thing!?) I share a close look at my hand quilting, a tip for even stitches, and many more photos of the full project here.

hex star mini quilt sizzix inspired aurifilAlthough the mini quilt is bound and finished, I am 99.9% sure I am going to do more embroidery-quilting on the Alison Glass Endpaper outer border. I was debating whether to stick with the colors extending from each arm of the star or to mix it up in the outer border, but I think I’m going to stick with the same colors as the center. I shared more detail photos of the quilting and embroidery in my Sizzix post, so head over to see more!

Here are the 12 wt Aurifil colors I used, just in case you want to try some rainbow hand quilting, too:

5002 – Medium Red
1154 – Orange
2120 – Canary
1147 – Light Leaf Green
4140 – Wedgewood
2540 – Medium Lavender

I’ll be sure to show you when I finally decide it’s really finished. For now, I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts since this mini is technically finished (although is anything ever really fully finished when you have thread in your hand?)

Lucky Love St. Patrick’s Day Reversible Table Runner {Sizzix Tutorial}

Today I’m excited to be sharing another tutorial on the Sizzix blog, this time for a really sharp-looking table runner (if I do say so myself)! I’m typically not one to make seasonal decor, since the seasons come and go so quickly, but this one is reversible so I can use it all year long. Ever since I first cut wool felt with the Sizzix, I’ve been wanting to do a wool felt applique project, and once I realized I could make four-leaf clovers using my Primitive hearts die, it was game on. I backed the table runner in one of my all time favorite Alison Glass neutrals, Botany in Taupe from Ex Libris, which I certainly won’t mind looking at for the non-St. Patrick’s Day part of the year!

sizzix st patricks day reversible table runner tutorial Since I love to make the most of the tools I have, this project is also exciting since it’s the third unique project I’ve made using the Primitive hearts #3 die from Sizzix. You may remember my Growing Tree Wall hanging and Valentine’s Day Garland tutorials, the first two projects I made using this die. You know it’s a winner when there seems to be an endless stream of projects that can be made out of a certain tool.

TUTORIAL- St Patrick's Day Table Runner sizzixI try to make my tutorials helpful to the entire sewing and quilting world, even if you don’t yet have a Sizzix or other die cutting machine, and this one is no different.

sizzix st patricks day reversible table runner tutorial blanket stitch appliqueIn this tutorial, I share:

  • a neat trick for making four leaf clovers out a heart die (you could use it with a heart hole-punch, too, if you have that);
  • tips on accurate straight-line quilting without having to physically mark your quilt; and,
  • how to blanket stitch.

Head on over to the Sizzix blog to read the full tutorial, and I hope you enjoy!

Do you make seasonal projects? How and where do you store them when they are off season? I may need to take some notes if this keeps up!

I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday with Stephanie at Late Night Quilter.

Denim Play, Literally

I’ve been really itching to finish something–anything, so when I saw Leanne at Devoted Quilter’s blog post a few weeks ago with her blue jean English paper pieced (EPP) ball project, I knew I had to give it a try. With Finn just learning how to throw, plus two other kids who love to throw stuff around, and a large stack of jeans worn beyond the point of no return, paired with my desire to reuse and recycle as much as possible, this project was perfect.

jeans ballIt took me a bit longer to finish that I anticipated, as is typical, but today I finally finished this blue jeans ball! As Leanne suggested, I used the EPP templates provided by Abby at While She Naps. I glue basted most of the hexagons of old jeans to help make it a quick project, and I began stitching away!

jeans ballAt first I used 50wt Aurifil thread, but soon switched to 12wt. It was the perfect thickness to make the ball feel substantial and secure. I know this ball will be thrown and pummeled and beat on with the love only kids can exude with a well-loved toy, so I wanted to be sure it lasted the test of time.

kid magnet as a thimbleOne thing I learned during stitching this ball is that I need a thimble! I have old metal ones, but am so awkward in using them, I opted to just use coasters or, in some cases, wooden kid magnets to help ease the needle through the thick denim. This has been my down time and kid-napping-in-the-car project for the past two weeks, created through a series of #sewtake20s.

jeans ball
Ready for stuffing!

With the help of Finn and Max this morning, I stuffed the ball with 100% local wool I bought at Clementine Fabrics, a quasi-local but gorgeous fabric shop.

jeans ball stuffing helperMax helped a bit but soon was distracted with the task of cooking up some sheep soup for us to share with his own big ball of wool.

jeans ballFinn began roaming the rest of the playroom so that I could ladder-stitch the opening closed.

jeans ballIt’s a bit rougher than it could be, but I’m not well versed in 3D sewing. All three kids and a neighborhood friend have already had a blast playing with it within ten minutes of completion, so that’s what matters. Plus, I’ve begun the task of using old jeans for repurposed projects. Yay!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday!