While this is not the first time one of my patterns has been on the cover of a magazine (this was the fun first), it is the first time it’s on the cover of a printed magazine that my friends and family (and me, I suppose!) will be able to see on the newsstands in Joann Fabric and Barnes and Noble and the like. The issue came out Feb 1st in the UK, and will be showing up in stores in the US in 3-5 weeks. Please do let me know when you see it! If you’re techy, you could also get this issue instantly to your phone or tablet with the digital issues on Apple Newsstand, Zinio or Google Play.
Inspired by a tile pattern I saw a couple of years ago, this quilt is a great one to use for color play (or colour play!). It looks great in any colorway, and the fun accent block helps feature your focal or accent fabric.
I love the styling done by Love Patchwork & Quilting for the photos! I made this quilt using Kona cottons from Robert Kaufman and pieced and quilted it with Aurifil thread. I used 40wt thread in coordinating colors for quilting to make it a bit more substantial and echoed the geometric angles of the quilt, and I really like the aesthetic of the straight lines and the ease of quilting with my walking foot. This is a fun pattern and I do hope you’ll check it out!
Also, in the same color theme, I’m having a pattern sale through February 14th with all of my heart-themed patterns 20% off.
I made a BIG Love Struck block to help spread the world, and I think it eventually will become a festive pillow. Each heart-tipped arrow finishes at 6″ x 18″ and was a really quick sew, so if you’re looking for a fast and fun Valentine’s project, the BIG Love Struck pattern might be the perfect one! (or Hello, Love… or Love Struck… or Love is the Key… or…<3)
It’s a snow day here, so back to the kiddos–enjoy your day!
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.
Tomorrow kicks off the Quilt Market and Quilt Festival fun in Houston, and while I’ll be hanging out at home (participating in #missingmarket on IG, though!), all of our Quilt Theory quilts and a few of our fearless team members will be representing in Houston. We are so excited to have our patterns at Market and Festival, so if you’re going to Houston, please stop by and say hi (and take a photo for me!)
Here’s where you might spot some Quilt Theory goodness if you’ll be there too! (For those of you like me who can’t make it, you can follow everything on Instagram @quilt.theory and there will be a recap on the Quilt Theory blog when everyone is home and settled).
First off, one of the amazing Quilt Theory designers and my good friend, Stephanie Palmer will be participating in a schoolhouse session with Christa Watson and Leah Day on book publishing at Quilt Market. If you have any interest in writing a book or just want to hear some great folks speak, definitely check them out on Friday at 4:55pm… these ladies know their stuff!
Michelle Bartholomew will be joining in the fun on Saturday & Sunday, walking around the convention center, taking photos and chatting up whomever she can! She is bringing some exclusive quilty postcards to hand out too, so if you are there, be sure to hunt her down, say hi, and take a few postcards to mail to your friends back home (pst… like me!!)!
If you’ve been excited to see all of the quilts in person, the wait is over! Three of the quilts (Tiled Parquet, Ocean Path–that’s mine!, and Strip It Down) will be in the Checker Distributor’s area along with all of our patterns. Scrappy Geese (shown in the top photo), will be in the Michael Miller Fabrics area.
Additionally, Stephanie will have a booth at Quilt Festival for the Quilter’s Planner. Yvonne Fuchs from Quilting Jetgirl, another one of our wonderful designers, will be joining her in her booth and will have Quilt Theory patterns available for sale. They’ll also have three of the quilts on display (Jelly Lanterns, Cross Cabins, & Highland Tile).
Have a great time if you are going to Houston, and be sure to say hi to Michelle, Stephanie, and Yvonne for me!
It’s finally time to share one of the big “secret sewing” projects I’ve been working on behind the scenes for the past few months! Those of you who are also on social media have most likely seen the announcement that I have teamed up with six (6) other pattern designers to launch a new company called Quilt Theory. Today is my day to introduce you to my pattern called Ocean Path, its inspiration and creation, and tell you a bit more about Quilt Theory. You also will have a chance to win a copy of my pattern, Quilt Theory coloring pages, and all of my Art Gallery Pure Elements scraps (enough to get you amply started on your very own Ocean Path Quilt) and Aurifil thread.
First, I’d like to introduce you to Ocean Path, my contribution to the debut Quilt Theory pattern line. Our underlying theme for this first collection of patterns was “Where can your quilt take you?” since the designers that comprise Quilt Theory live all across the country.
Living in midcoast Maine, an ocean path felt like the perfect inspiration for my quilt. I wanted to embrace the simple beauty of nature while providing a pattern that could be adapted to fit any color scheme, style, or decor.
I should note here that the stunning photos included in this post were taken by Michelle Bartholomew all the way across the country in Washington state. Michelle is the mastermind behind Quilt Theory, a talented quilter and photographer, and I’m so grateful to be working with her!
There’s something about the simple beauty of the ocean–the clean lines, soothingly subtle color play, and oh so much space to breathe that makes my heart happy–-and I aimed to captured it all in this simple yet striking pattern. I would like to think that you can take a stroll along the coast through the making of the Ocean Path quilt.
Using simple construction from easily cut triangles and sashing, this quilt comes together in a breeze. Generous negative space provides room for intricate free motion quilting, or you could finish it with simple modern straight line quilting.
Many thanks to Art Gallery Fabrics for providing the beautifully soft Pure Elements fabric for this quilt. I used Tile Blue PE-418, Emerald PE-417, Ocean Waves PE-442, Warm Wave PE-464, and Mirage Blue PE-424 for the feature triangles. The background and sashing are Snow PE-433. The backing is Seawater NE-123 from Skopelos by Katarina Roccella, which is the absolute perfect fabric to back this design!
I quilted Ocean Path with echoing, organic triangles within each colored portion using 50wt Aurifil variegated 4654-Seamist. I quilted the bulk of the background with organic horizontal wavy lines with 50wt 2021-Natural White using the walking foot on my Bernina 560, and went a little wild and free motion quilted pebbles into all of the sashings between the triangles and drifting out into the wavy lines. It was one of those times that once I had the vision in my head, there was no turning back. I’m excited to report that it turned out pretty much the way I hoped! I did all of my piecing with 50wt Aurifil 2021-Natural White and 2600-Dove. Many thanks to Aurifil for providing the thread!
I think Ocean Path would look equally striking in many other color combinations–from fiery reds and oranges on a dark background, to the soothing calm of cool colors on a light background. I can’t wait to see your version!
All of the Quilt Theory patterns are simple enough to be printed on 4″x6″ cards or a single page downloadable pdf. At only $3 each, they are perfect for gift giving or collecting, too!
About Quilt Theory
Let me tell you a bit more about the designers behind Quilt Theory.
In February 2016, a group of quilters connected to cultivate relationships with others running businesses in the quilting industry. A tight-knit group was quickly woven together as we shared successes, answered questions, and supported one another. What started as a way to collect real-time insight and expertise quickly evolved into an opportunity to collaborate.
Our goal at Quilt Theory is to create simple and modern quilt patterns, and we challenged ourselves to design a line of patterns printed on small cards. As a group, we have become a strong team as we worked through pattern writing, testing, editing, and quilting.
Quilt Theory designers have been featured in 20+ major quilting publications and international quilt exhibits. Combined, we have 47 years of quilting experience, and we are excited to share our debut collection for Fall 2016.
How to buy or stock Quilt Theory patterns
You can buy either individual or a pattern collector’s package of PDF patterns through our Quilt Theory website right now!
Pattern cards will be coming soon to a local quilt shop near you! If you are a quilt shop and want to carry our patterns, set up a wholesale account here, or order through Checker Distributors.
Want to buy the cards, but don’t own a quilt shop? Let your local quilt shop know you want them to carry Quilt Theory patterns (click for a handy note to send to your favorite local quilt shop!)
Now, for the Giveaway!
To celebrate the launch of Quilt Theory, I am giving away a copy of my pattern, Ocean Path (printed or PDF, your choice!) along with a PDF of all of the Quilt Theory Coloring Pages. I’m also including all of the fabric leftover from the making of my quilt, which contains enough fabric to get you amply started on your Ocean Path quilt, plus the rest of my large spool of color coordinating 50wt variegated Aurifil thread in 4654-Seamist.
To enter the giveaway today, tell me what color way you would use to create Ocean Path. Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. For an additional entry, leave another comment telling me how you follow Night Quilter (email list, instagram, facebook, twitter, blog follower, etc.) Follow Quilt Theory (facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc.) and tell me how in a third comment for a third entry.
This giveaway is open to US and international participants. The giveaway will be open until Sunday, October 16th, at midnight eastern time when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Giveaway is open to participants 18 years or older. *If you buy my pattern and then you win it, I’ll refund you or let you pick out another free Quilt Theory pattern! This giveaway is now closed! A winner will be announced shortly!
Be sure to visit the rest of the Quilt Theory designers this week during our blog hop.
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:
Like it or not, the final days of summer are here. The kids are heading back to school, the nights are getting cooler, and leaves are already beginning to change. Back to school time means that some of us may have more time for sewing, so I thought I’d kick off this Labor Day weekend with a double giveaway sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop AND a pattern sale of all of my quilt patterns, both foundation paper pieced and traditionally pieced.
All of my quilt patterns are 20% off for one week only! Now is your chance to restock your pattern library so you’re sure not to run out of projects once the kids are in school. Sale prices are already reflected in my Craftsy shop, and if you are in the EU, please use code BACK2SCHOOL to get 20% off any and all pattern purchases in my Payhip shop.
To enter the giveaway today, tell me which bundle would be your first choice: Moonrise (Giveaway #2) or Moonset (Giveaway #1). I will select two winners, and will be sure to give the first choice to the first winner! Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. For an additional entry, leave another comment telling me how you follow Night Quilter (email list, instagram, facebook, twitter, blog follower, etc.) Tell me how you follow Fat Quarter Shop (facebook,twitter, Instagram, their blog Jolly Jabber, etc.) in a third comment for a third entry.
This giveaway is open to US and international participants. The giveaway will be open until Friday September 9th at 8pm EST when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck, happy shopping, and enjoy your Labor Day weekend for those of you stateside! This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations Julianne and Rose!
It’s no secret that I love to design foundation paper pieced patterns. You’ve seen me create the likes of Lupine, Love Struck, Bean Sprout, Love is the Key, Fish Panels, Buoys, and more. Recently, though, I’ve been wanting to play more with geometric foundation paper pieced patterns, and I’m excited to share my very first one with you today!
Constant Flux is an easy, very beginner-friendly, and diverse pattern. There are no tricky angles, odd shapes, or difficult joins, yet the design options are boundless. The mini quilt consists of four 12″ blocks, finishing at 24″, but it’s easy to make a quilt of any size by simply making more blocks or adding borders!
Andover Fabrics asked me a while back if I would do a guest post on their blog. Of course I said yes, and decided to share a foundation paper piecing tutorial to try to spread the love of this oft-disparaged quilting style. This pattern is the result, and the tutorial will be posted on the Andover blog soon, so keep your eye out for it! The tutorial will take you step by step through how to foundation paper piece this pattern, which in turn can be applied to all other foundation paper pieced patterns! I’ll be sure to link to it as soon as it’s live. In the meantime, go ahead and buy the pattern and start choosing your fabrics!
I created my version of Constant Flux inspired by Handcrafted Patchwork by Alison Glass from Andover Fabrics and just had to keep her gorgeous large motifs intact, so the pattern includes tools to help you plan meticulously cut elements if you so desire. I also include measurements for precutting fabric to make the process move more smoothly, so be sure to check out the tutorial early next week.
Constant Flux is available in my Craftsy store (and Payhip for those of you in the EU) and will be on sale for only $5 for the first week, after which it will return to its normal price of $8.
The name of Constant Flux makes me happy because of the play on words. The visual aspect of the pattern strongly elicits movement, thus the “Flux” part. Yet aspects of the quilt can be meticulously cut as exact replicas, which is where the “Constant” part of the name comes in. Depending on the way you look at it, the constant can imply both that the movement is happening at all times, or that there are some things that are constant despite the movement! Constant Flux.
For now, I haven’t quilted my first one and I already want to make Constant Flux in a different colorway. Look at all of the options I came up with in just a short moment of color arrangement play! The pattern comes with a full page coloring sheet so that you can explore your options before diving in. That bottom right version is calling to me–which one would you make first?!
I’d love to see what you create, so when you stitch up your Constant Flux quilt, please tag #constantfluxquilt and @nightquilter so that I can see your creation!
Today I am excited to release my newest foundation paper pieced (FPP) pattern, Bean Sprout. Today is arbor day, so for now I’m thinking of it as more of a tree sprout, but regardless of which species you’re growing, this block pattern is ready to roll!
To me, the bean sprout is the epitome of spring, new life, and the wonder of discovery. I have watched my children’s excitement over the first sprout of newly planted seeds, and wanted to capture that fresh promise. This block is perfect for the gardeners among you, and I can see it as a focal block in a quilt, or even turned into pillows, tote bags, wall hangings, or table runners.
You may remember my first iteration of this Bean Sprout block, which I turned into a pillow and donated to my daughter’s school for their annual fundraiser auction/raffle. Since then, I made a few tiny tweaks to the pattern to make it a bit more versatile, easier to piece, and clearer to follow. The block finishes at 8″x12″, but can easily be made into a 12″x12″ finished block by adding two side strips, which is explained in the pattern.
The pattern includes clear piecing diagrams, sewing tips, and templates for the 8″x12″ finished block, with various shading to help with accurate fabric placement. Quarter inch seam allowances are included on all pattern pieces to help ensure easy piecing, and a 1″ reference square is on every printable page so that scale can be confirmed. Full foundation paper piecing instructions are not included in the pattern, but I have a thorough paper piecing tutorial HERE. Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced also has a fabulous tutorial on the Bernina We All Sew blog HERE, which will ensure you will never miss corners again. Knowing all of the information in these two tutorials will help demystify FPP, or at the very least will GREATLY reduce seam ripping.
Bean Sprout is available for sale in my Craftsy and Payhip (if you’re in the EU, please purchase through Payhip!) shops, at an introductory price of $2.50 through the weekend. Tuesday morning EST, it will go up to its standard price of $4.50.
I pushed spring into summer with my latest version of the block, using Cotton + Steel teals and coral that remind me of watermelon. I wanted to show the versatility of the color possibilities with this true-to-life block. While my brain initially goes to the greens and blues true to real life bean sprouts and summer sky, there are many other combinations that could work well to make the block shine! (For the avid gardeners among you, yes, I know the seedling shown is a brussel sprout plant, not a bean!)
There’s not much more exciting than seeing what others create with my patterns, so if you make this block, please use the tag #beansproutblock on social media and tag me @nightquilter. Sending an email would also work! Enjoy, spread the word, and go grow some quilts!
Love is always the key. We know that. But now we can also SEW that! Those who know me know that I am a sap for hearts and I see them literally everywhere. One of my proudest moments was the first time my daughter brought me a heart she found in nature. It was a dirty old dried up piece of orange peel that she had found in the gravel driveway, and she was filled to the brim with excitement that she had found a heart. Since then, Maddie and I (and now Max, a bit) have found countless heart rocks, heart sea glass, heart snowballs, heart leaves, and more… since truly, love is everywhere. Reminiscent story aside, today I’m excited to release my newest pattern: Love is the Key.
Love is the Key is a foundation paper pieced pattern that measures 9″ square, but with an option for a 4.5″ wide by 9″ tall version. It features a heart-topped key and is a very easy, beginner-friendly paper piecing pattern. Believe it or not, this pattern was first conceptualized and sketched almost a year ago, on my flight home from QuiltCon. It’s a mash-up of my Unlocked and Love Struck patterns, since who doesn’t need more heart-filled pattern options?
To help celebrate the month of love, this pattern release is also kicking off a pattern sale of all of my love-themed patterns, today through Valentine’s Day. That gives you ample time to sew up some love for your partner, your kids, your parents, or hey–even for yourself!
Grab Love is the Key for only $3 while you can! The prices have already been reduced in my Craftsy and Payhip shops. After Valentine’s Day, all patterns will return to their standard prices of $4.50 (but my love will still be there).
I’m also excited about a few add-on pattern features I’m hoping to release soon. Most likely not by Valentine’s Day, but soon you will be able to stitch up a flying heart key, and will have top and bottom options for a “create your own adventure” key. So much fun. So much love.
Today I’d like to share a tutorial for a great project that documents the growth of little ones while showing love in a beautiful way: the growing tree. In my case, it will be a growing grove of three trees, so feel free to adapt to fit your kiddos. I initially hoped to make four of these, one for each set of grandparents (we are blessed to have three sets!) and one for us to keep. Now that I’ve finally finished the first one, I’m accepting the fact that I may just stop at one, since I would like to cherish my little babies’ hands, too, and Christmas is less than three (3!?) days away. Since it involves hearts, this project would also be a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift for those doting grandparents.
From the moment I gave birth to my first child, my holiday gift giving style changed completely. Instead of trying to think of the “thing” each family member would like or need most and focusing all of my time on making handmade gifts of love for every family member possible, I acknowledge that presence is the best present if at all possible, and as a busy mom (of three lovely children, now), gift making time is much more rare. I am blessed to have a large family, and to have married into an even larger family, so potential gift recipients abound. But especially in recent years, my parents and in-laws–the grandparents–are usually the sole recipients of Christmas gifts, and such gifts nearly always involve their cherished grandchildren (our kids). This year, grandparents will get a whole lot of love, since time wasn’t on my side with this project. When I had the idea to make heart-filled trees out of my children’s hands, I did my typical google search to see if it had been done before. I found this post, about a creation inspired by another creation, and I knew that that inspiration would need to take one more step into the quilting world to become a quilted gift. Here’s how to make your own Growing Tree.
First, gather your materials. Note that material amounts will vary depending on the number of children you have and the size of the child. I’ve tried to include amounts for a single tree, but feel free to adjust as needed. I’ve also included affiliate links to products that I use and love. If you click through and purchase with these links, I will receive a small commission that will go toward funding all that goes into creating these tutorials and keeping my blog up and running.
1/2 yard background fabric – you may be able to use less if your child is small. A fat quarter should be sufficient for a baby’s growing tree. A half yard is playing it safe if your children are older. (I used Essex yarn dyed linen in light blue)
Children! and a pencil for tracing their forearms and hands!
*These items are not needed if you opt to frame your growing tree instead of quilting it, but you will also need a suitably sized picture frame, stiff acid-free cardboard if the frame doesn’t come with it, and a form of adhesive (glue or tape) to tightly wrap the fabric around the cardboard before insertion into the frame.
Let’s get started!
Gather your children! Have them spread fingers wide and put forearms down onto the Heat’n Bond. With their excited help, trace each child’s forearm and hand onto the non-textured side of the Heat’n Bond. You want to trace from just below the elbow, up around each finger, and then down the other side. If you are making more than one version of this Growing Tree, trace as many forearm-hand tree trunks as you will need. (Because I initially aimed to make four versions of my Growing Grove of Trees–oh my boundless ambition!– I traced each patient child’s arm four times, except Finn’s. With squirmy 6 month old Finn, I struggled and wiggled and waggled until I got a somewhat accurate tracing of his arm and hand, cut it out, and traced THAT three more times. He was not interested in sitting still!)
Carefully cut out each tree trunk, either enlisting the help of your children if they are older and proficient at cutting, or sending them off to play for the next few steps.
Fuse your tree trunks to the wrong side of the tree trunk fabric, following the manufacturer’s directions. Always be extra cautious if using a hot iron with small children around. Toddlers are inherently curious and can not yet physiologically control their curious explorations, despite fervent warnings from mommy–as I’m sure you know! I do my ironing upstairs without any kids underfoot to be safe.
Set the tree trunks aside to cool. Once cool, carefully cut around each forearm tree trunk and set aside.
Fuse Heat’n Bond to the wrong sides of all of the fabric scraps that will become hearts. Remember to have the paper side of the Heat’n Bond facing up, and put a pressing cloth down to protect your ironing surface. Let cool completely.
Once the fused heart-intended fabric has cooled completely, with paper-friendly scissors or rotary cutter (NOT your fabric scissors!), cut your fabric into 2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″ rectangles for ease of quick cutting.. Note that I am using the three smallest heart sizes for my trees, and am not worrying about directionality of the fabric. If you have smaller scraps or want the directionality of the fabric to be level, you can cut 3/4″ x 3/4″ for the smallest heart, 1 1/4″ x 1 3/4″ rectangles for the medium heart or 1 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ rectangles for the large. (I did not use the extra large heart). I mostly cut the medium and large hearts from 2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″ rectangles and then used the scraps from those to cut small hearts.
Next, pull out your Sizzix fabi die cutting machine and Primitive hearts #3 die. Call those children back! Layer the pre-fused fabric rectangles over the desired sized hearts on the Primitive Hearts die, four (4) at a time. The Sizzix can cut up to nine (9) layers of fabric at once, but since the fusible is pre-fused, each rectangle counts as two layers. Make your Sizzix sandwich: bottom cutting pad, die with the blades facing up, fabric centered over the heart blades, and top cutting pad.
Let your kiddos carefully crank them through! If you don’t have a Sizzix, get the kids’ help and start cutting out hearts of different sizes, ranging from 1/2″ to 2″ in size. Depending on the ages of your children, you can either enlist their help or set them up with a different activity while you lay out the wall hanging once all of the hearts and trunks are cut.
Lay out a large piece of your background fabric. I suggest arranging your tree or grove of trees BEFORE cutting the background fabric to size, since every child’s arm is different. Layout your tree trunk(s), arranging the hearts around the top like the leaves of a tree.
Once they are arranged the way you want them, carefully remove the adhesive paper from each component, placing it back in its proper place as you go.
Once you have an iron-surface-sized batch with the paper backings removed, fuse them down. *Note: If possible, lay out your arrangement on your ironing surface so that once all of the papers are removed and pieces stuck, you can simply fuse them down. I used a large foam board beneath mine, and actually pressed onto the foam board since my ironing surface is tiny. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using Heat’n Bond!
If you’re like me and are interrupted during this process, simply flip a row of hearts that haven’t been fused yet, so that you know where you are when you return.
Trim the background fabric approximately 3″ from each edge of your Growing Tree if you plan on quilting. Be sure to use the lines on your cutting mat to ensure your quilt is square as you cut.
Alternatively, after fusing the hearts and tree trunks, you could wrap the fabric tightly around a thick acid free piece of cardboard and frame it in a picture frame. If you opt to frame yours, be sure to give yourself at least 2″ of overhang on all four sides, and plan your tree arrangement to fit into your desired frame.
Back to the quilting option…
Cut batting and backing fabric to extend about 1″ from each edge of your Growing Tree quilt top (For example, if your Growing Tree top measures 27″ x 22″ like mine does, cut your batting and backing 29″ x 24″)
Baste your quilt layers using your desired method (I used pins).
With a thread that coordinates with your background fabric, free motion quilt AROUND the edges of your tree trunk(s) and hearts. I also stitched around a few single hearts (you don’t need to sew around all of them) within the tree. Remember that the Heat’n Bond is NO SEW, so be sure not to sew on top of the fused pieces. Feel free to free motion quilt the background to help hold everything in place. I used a windy spiral design and was reminded at how much fun free motion quilting is! I need to do it more often!
Add each child’s name beneath each tree, either with embroidery or permanent fabric marker. I used fabric marker so that Maddie and Max could include their signatures. Don’t forget the date! (Confession: I copied Max’s signature from a recent art project since I didn’t dare let him and a permanent fabric marker near this finished project. Perhaps a 3 year old with a less impish nature might be able to sign right on the project, but use your judgement.)
Trim the batting and backing flush with the quilt top, square up, and bind as desired. I included corner hang tabs on the back of my Growing Tree Grove using THIS method, and bound the quilt using THIS great tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew.
Hang this Growing Grove on your wall so that you can immortalize those precious little hands, or wrap & gift to those doting grandparents if you’re superwoman, or if you are already planning ahead for Valentine’s Day!
Enjoy, and happy holidays!
Just for fun, here’s what the vast majority of the photographs of my kiddos using the Sizzix looked like:
Max does not. stop. moving! Enjoy the blurry laugh, and enjoy your holidays!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed