Category Archives: Quilting

Slow Fashion on my Mind & 2017 Slow Stitching Retreat Reflections

I’ve replaced my old laptop and I’m excited to have an opportunity to share once again in this space. With so many post ideas and projects underway, I’ll do my best to share my highlights from the past few weeks! Thank you for your patience as I find my blogging stride once again. xoxo

slow fashion on my mind garment sewing
Fabrics shown are a selection by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics, and a print by Carolyn Friedlander paired with a Kona solid, all by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.

Slow Fashion has been on my mind for the past few months, or more accurately, at least the past year. I even bought a simple tank top pattern that was suggested for first time garment sewists, and have the fabric I need to make at least three. But the apprehension that stands in my way is still strong. While making 20 minutes of quilting or embroidery progress seems reasonable, 20 minutes doesn’t feel like sufficient time to let my brain wrap around the concept of garment sewing enough to dive in.

alabama chanin stitch bookMy dear dear friend Stephanie from Late Night Quilter even surprised me with an Alabama Chanin stitching book about a month ago! It’s meant to be, truly.

When I heard that Sam from A Gathering of Stitches was organizing a Slow Fashion Retreat as well as a Slow Stitching Retreat this year, I knew this was my chance. I arranged childcare thanks to the team efforts of my parents and in-laws, registered, happily agreed to teach yoga during the retreat once again, and here we are only a couple short weeks away from retreat time! I’m hoping to have a wonderfully blissfully relaxing week, knock my fear of garment sewing out of the park, mend some of my holey jeans, and play with natural dyeing! All this on the coast of Maine amidst some of the best company there is. Yes, can you tell I’m excited? If you’re feeling spontaneous, a little bird tells me there are still a few spaces available for the retreat–join me if you so desire!

In reflecting on my experience at last year’s Slow Stitching retreat and getting excited about this year’s retreat, I realized that I never did post my reflection on last year. I wrote nearly all of it, but was waiting to get it *just perfect* before posting, as well as possibly waiting to finish a couple of the projects I began on the retreat, and well… neither of those things happened. In the spirit of retreat reflections, I thought I’d share my reactions now, nearly a year later. Stitching retreats are an experience unlike any other, and rereading my reflections transports me back to the blissfully sun-filled porch, rocking and stitching and enjoying the company of like-minded makers.

*Note: the following was written a year ago, shortly upon returning from the Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak in August of 2016*


slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches medomak maineThere’s something amazing about the retreat format, where a group of likeminded strangers gathers in a quiet and often intimate setting, spending hours upon hours together in the spirit of learning, relaxing, and reconnecting with self and spirit. The people and the deep and kindred bond I feel with them at the end of such a relatively short time is always what strikes me most upon returning home from a retreat. Here was this group of nearly complete strangers four short days prior, yet tears flow and hugs abound when it’s time to part ways again and head back into our own individual corners of the game called life. It’s a tiny peek at the innate goodness, compassion, and human connection we all share, yet that is often hidden by the bustle and drama of life during our normal day to day existence. That fiber of human connection is truly beautiful, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maineSo many things stand out to me about the Slow Stitching Retreat that quietly happened at Medomak Retreat Center in the woods of Washington, Maine, a couple weeks ago. Yes, the people. The new friends, the realization that even the most talented, well-known and revered makers are real people, just like you and me. And that they can be wicked silly and fun to hang out with! The surprising connections and moments of clear understanding that happen in spontaneous conversations over stitching or wine. We came from all over the country, and reflected all sorts of characters. Some quiet, some not so quiet. Some names widely known, some not. All creative. All open. All building and creating and supporting each other. All of us, human. I’m so grateful to Sam for bringing us all together.

The learning and stitching was also really fabulous, so before I get too deep into a philosophical reflection on the human condition and how hand stitching and quilting helps build positive connections, I’ll jump into the more physical aspects of the retreat–slow stitching!

alison glass slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitchesOn the first day, I immersed myself in the reverse applique techniques taught by Alison Glass. It was my first time working with knits, my first reverse applique, and my first time transferring a pattern to fabric by *gasp* writing on the fabric! I used a micron pen, since it was a cut line and would not be visible anyway, and amazingly, not only did it transfer the pattern beautifully, no fabric died in the process!

alison glass slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches reverse appliqueI decided to create a design based upon the geometry of a chapel ceiling captured by my brother-in-law in Oakland, California, so in light of the whole discussion around “derivatives” in quilting that sparked a heated discussion days before I embarked on the retreat, I spent the week being 100% derivative. And liking it.

alison glass slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitchesThe process of sketching out the design, transferring it to the fabric using the tips shared by Alison on how to create a repeated design, finagling the knit fabrics to do what I wanted (sort of) and finally, slowly stitching and cutting, watching the design come to life before my eyes, was extremely enjoyable.

slow stitching lake side reverse appliqueNot to mention making slow stitching progress lakeside after a refreshing swim!

This is most certainly not the last reverse applique I’ll do. The one hesitation I have with it is its durability with washing. Having three young kids who love to have pillow fights, make pillow forts, and sneak food into the living room, I would most likely create reverse applique items and then hide them away for now. Either way, LOVE!

chawne kimber slow stitching retreat 2016 a gathering of stitches maineThe second day of the retreat, I spent the day giggling uncontrollably while tiny stitching with Chawne Kimber in the amazing barn. Having witnessed this technique the year prior with Chawne, I had a little preview of the fun. There’s something about the mantra “sew smaller; no, even SMALLER” that takes quilting to a whole new level.

chawne kimber sew smaller hand stitched
Hand pieced! Chawne Kimber is amazing, and seeing these works in person was so inspiring!

chawne kimber sew smallerChawne’s work is epically awesome on many levels, and it was fabulous to get to see many of her creations once again. They never cease to amaze me, and hearing her talk about her process is always inspiring. (Chawne will be returning for this year’s Slow Stitching Retreat, so you have a chance to stitch with her, too, if you want! I highly recommend it!)

I went into the retreat with a vague design idea, though without a full plan of how to execute it, but also the desire to keep an open mind and take advice as it was presented. At the advice of both Chawne and Sam, rather than jump into trying to execute my idea with my desired fabrics, I played around with some scraps to see if it would translate into reality the way I envisioned.

sew smaller with chawne kimberI’m very glad I did, since it did not really translate the way I had wanted, BUT I do love what I created and had a ton of fun just going wild and sewing whatever wherever, as long as it was smallllllll. Tiny stitching plus improv curves equals loads of fun!

Here are some other scenes from the retreat:

Weeks Dye works floss care of Alison Glass

stitching on the porch

katherine doing her garment sewing thing


I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends and creating some more slow stitching retreat memories, this time hopefully with a bonus souvenir of a hand-made garment and the knowledge and confidence to dive more deeply into the world of Slow Fashion. As one who does not like to shop, who feels a strong stewardship toward the earth, and who loves to stitch, I’m excited to embark into this new world!  Now that I have a fully functioning laptop, I will be sure to share my experiences with you. This time, I will try to post my reflections a bit sooner than a year later!

Summer Adventure Quilt Beginnings

I’ve recently begun a really fun summer project to help replace the absence of Finn’s milestone quilt, now that that’s completely finished (blog post coming soon!).

summer adventure quilt milestone quiltIn the spirit of documenting our days through the creation of a quilt, I’ve decided to create a Summer Adventure Quilt with each block representing a different family adventure. Each block will accompany us on its adventure, be photographed along with our fun, and then become a part of a quilt stitched together in the fall.

summer adventure quilt milestone quiltSince our adventures primarily consist of hikes and beach days, I am making an improv tree block for every hike and an oceany, quasi-improv block for every beach day. The beach day blocks are entirely inspired by the Beach & Boots block from Piece n Quilt’s 30 Days and 30 Blocks sew along in 2015. I really wanted the white negative space to be a big part of the block to match the aesthetic of the trees and this block fits the bill! To go with the improv trees, I am making mine a bit wonky and imperfect, so I’m not using the exact measurements in the tutorial, but the overall design is the same. I decided that I will be making mine in full and half blocks to increase the wonkiness of the quasi-improv nature of my piecing.

tall ship quilt blockI will be making a few unique blocks here and there to represent other adventures, such as a tent for when we go camping in the Adirondacks with my parents, a bridge for when we visit my husband’s dad and stepmom (GrandDude & GrandPrincess) in Pittsburgh, and a big sailing ship I made for a Camden Harbor tour we went on last weekend while GrandDude and GrandPrincess were visiting us here in Maine, shown above. I hope to fit these blocks in smoothly with the rest of the quilt and think it will work nicely!

summer adventure quilt milestone quiltHere’s my progress so far!! As of today, we’ve been on 8 hikes and 1 Camden Harbor tour (on a lobster boat, but the tall ship is representative of the harbor, not the vessel!). We have not yet “earned” the ocean block to the right of the ship block, but I included it for the photo to help show how the block will work into the overall quilt.

birdsacre trails ellsworth maine silly kidsPerhaps the most fun aspect of this quilt is that one block accompanies us on each adventure, and therefore appears in memorable photographs.  I’m hoping to be able to put a photo book together at the end of the summer with photos from each adventure. It’s a big hope, since my list of hopes is endless, but I really think it would be the icing on the cake for this project.

hiking friends summer adventure quiltI’m grateful to have a wonderful group of mom friends who also have kids the same ages as mine and who love to get out and hike. We have created a Mommy Hiking Club (unofficially coined Mountain Mamas Lugging Babies & Towing Trekking Toddlers… it’s a bit of a mouthful, but gets the idea across!!) and we are determined to hike at least once per week with all of the kids. Our hiking groups vary from 3 moms plus kids to up to 5 or 6 moms plus kids, just about every mom is also carrying a baby or toddler in an Ergo or similar carrier, and everyone is welcome. Sure, sometimes there are crying babies, whining toddlers, bug bites, scratched knees, and I’ve been known to have to carry both of my boys (ages 2 and 5) simultaneously on some hikes, but it’s all worth it! Here are some memories from a few of our hikes (since we are 8 hikes in, I am not including every one, but from here on out I will try to share regular updates!).

Blue Hill Mountain, Blue Hill, Maine
The FIRST hike of the summer!!blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt

Great Pond Mountain, Orland, Maine

great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike

Ecotat Garden Trails, Hermon, Maineecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine
Camden Harbor Tour, Camden, Maine

camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine

BirdsAcre Trails, Ellsworth, Maine

birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quiltbirdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quiltHere’s to many more adventures, and to keeping up with the quilt blocks so that there’s always one on the ready for any given adventure. I currently have 3 extra trees and 3 beach/ocean blocks ready to go, so right now I’m feeling ahead of the game!

What adventures do you go on with your family? I’m brainstorming other blocks I could make, and *might* make a few rainbow segments to include for every time we see a rainbow this summer. Rainbow sightings are always exciting!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since it’s been a while!

Happy stitching, and happy adventuring!

 

Arrow Point Path True Love Pillow Finish

Today I’m sharing a finish that has been completed since early May as a gift for my husband’s birthday, but could not yet be shared since the pattern hadn’t been released. Now that the pattern has been released, the pillow has been gifted, and it has lived in our rough and tumble home for a month, I thought it would be fun to share all the details, as well as a sneak peek behind the scenes of my quilt photography process!

libs elliott arrow point path pillow giftMy husband has been requesting a pillow made with Libs Elliott fabric for a while, and so when the latest round of Quilt Theory pattern testing came around, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get his pillow made. I tested Cheryl Brickey’s pattern Arrow Point Path, and the pattern struck me as the perfect choice for the bundle of True Love fabrics I had patiently waiting for a project.

libs elliott arrow point path pillow giftI made 16 quick blocks using the white heavy fabrics and black-heavy fabrics from True Love, Libs Elliott‘s first fabric line for Andover Fabrics as the color/background pieces, and added a few pops of the awesome neon print. I love the way this pattern looks as a pillow, and it’s also really fun to see the pattern in a completely different aesthetic style.

libs elliott arrow point path pillow gift detailI quilted it with straight lines on my Bernina 560 using my walking foot and 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove thread.

libs elliott arrow point path pillow giftI threw in a few sharp angles to help keep the edge, and staggered the distances between lines for some fun.

libs elliott arrow point path pillow gift backI used the large scale Wound Up in Bright for the pillow backing, and closed it with my first ever side-seam zipper.

libs elliott arrow point path pillow gift zipper detailI love how this magenta zipper I had on hand coordinates with the pink from the Wound Up print. Perrrrfect. I do need quite a bit of practice with sewing zippers, but we won’t focus on the wobbles and such. The pillow was well received and lives happily on our couch. Now I just need to make about 5 more to cover the rest of our *cough-cough-ugly-cough* couch pillows, and then redo our living room decor to match our more modern design aesthetic. All in good time, right? (haha laugh with me here).

libs elliott arrow point path pillow giftI did enjoy making this pillow, though, and I’m happy I can finally say I’ve sewn something for my husband. Today is our 10th wedding anniversary, too, so it seems fitting that I share this true love pillow gift!

Behind the Scenes at a Quilty Photoshoot

Just for fun, I thought I’d share a little peek at what goes into getting the perfect quilty photo, since while I absolutely LOVE these photos, I very easily could have gone home without them.

Rather than photograph this pillow on our couch, which is brown and doesn’t coordinate *at all*, I wanted to photograph it out in the wild, as is my preference. I again borrowed this awesome chair from my friend Emily, and requested that she bring it on our Mommy hiking club hike yesterday. While trying to get it into her trunk, one of the legs snapped pure off. Yikes! Fortunately, the leg was able to be propped on, AND it seems like something that should be able to be fixed. Talk about a wrench thrown into the day, though!

After that rough start, we all met at a hiking spot with our babies and toddlers and went on a 3 hour hike up a mountain. There was plenty of fun, plenty of whining and crying, and a good dose of bug bites and skinned knees. Overall, though, it was a fabulous day and my boys got good and tired out. My plan was to find the perfect photo shoot spot along the way home, and because I wanted to photograph this pillow in more of an urban scene, I stopped at the one town between the hike and our home, in search of a good alley or building face in the shade. Not so easy to find in Maine at 1pm on a bright sunny day!

libs elliott arrow point path pillow photoshoot try 1The first spot that seemed like it could potentially work was the shaded side of a cafe. The dark blue-grey surface first attracted my attention, and the fact that it was in full shade was a big plus. However, it seemed flat. Above you can see try #1. I did a full photo shoot here, just in case I didn’t find anything better. Fortunately my nearly 5 year old son was asleep in the car, and my 2 year old was content to watch from his carseat. After the shoot, I drove around a bit more seeing if I could find a better spot.

libs elliott arrow point path pillow photoshoot try 2The second spot I tried was a rusted metal shed in a back parking lot, which I spied while turning around to get back to the main road after my first attempt. This was a bit more of the urban feel I was looking for, but still a bit flat. A bit of graffiti or added interest would have made this potentially a winner, but still, I felt there had to be a better spot. While running back and forth from the shed to the trunk of my car, I spotted the back of a red brick building. The big concrete slabs and tall seeded dandelions are what attracted my attention most. Rather than move my car again, I simply carried everything the extra 50 feet to this next, winning location and had at it!

libs elliott arrow point path pillow giftDefinitely my favorite of all of the attempts, and the photo shoot location winner of the day! The moral of this story? When seeking that perfect photo location, don’t be afraid to experiment and try a few different spots! That perfect shot will come.

If you’re interested in learning ALL about how to take epic quilt photos, you’re in luck! I’ll be teaming up with Michelle Bartholomew to teach both Basic (MSC 101 or 102) and Advanced (MSC 300 or 301) Quilt Photography at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena in February! You can see the full Quilt Con 2018 Catalog here, and I do hope to see you there!

I’m linking up with TGIFF and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.

Quilt Theory Release: Staggered

Today I’m excited to share my pattern for Quilt Theory’s collection for spring 2017. I’m really excited about this collection as a whole; there is such a great variety of easy, innovative, and fun quilt patterns, and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with all of them. For our second collection, we challenged ourselves to write patterns that utilize precut bundles of fabric. Our hope is that you find a lot of inspiration in our collection to make quilts from your favorite bundles in your stash. In this post you’ll also have a chance to win a copy of my Staggered pattern, a rainbow bundle of Alison Glass fabric, and a spool of Aurifil thread, so read on!

Staggered

Kitty-Staggered quilt theory collection 2First, to introduce you to my contribution to the second Quilt Theory pattern collection! Staggered is a fun, easy, extremely versatile pattern that is a fun way to showcase your favorite fabric line.

staggered quilt staged quilt theoryWhen thinking about possible patterns to create for this collection, I turned again toward nature. With the vision of rock strata, water ripples, and windblown sand swirling in my mind, Staggered was born. Designed to be jellyroll friendly, the assembly instructions make it a very quick sew, perfect for all styles and quilty needs.

quilt theory spring 2017 staggered patternI used 14 of my favorite prints from the Sun Print 2017 line by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics, with Lizzy House‘s Asterisk in white as a background. I love the vibrancy of Alison’s fabrics, and the hand of Andover fabrics is the perfect balance of soft and supple and sturdy and strong. When searching for a rainbow, I always head to Alison Glass fabrics first! Many thanks to Andover Fabrics for providing the fabric for this quilt!

Whether using a strip of yardage from your favorite designer, or an old stashed jelly roll of a favorite fabric line that’s been sitting in a drawer for years, this is the perfect pattern to put your favorite fabrics on show! I’m not a Liberty of London girl, typically, but for some reason I’m itching to make this quilt using Liberty fabrics and a textured solid background. I can’t wait to see what fabric combinations you use!

quilt theory spring 2017 staggered quilt detailI quilted my sample with alternating vertical and horizontal straight lines, emphasizing the stagger in the pattern. I used 50wt Aurifil thread in 2021-Natural White horizontally and 2600-Dove vertically, with the walking foot on my Bernina 560. The subtle color difference in thread is nearly imperceptible, but it was a fun experiment to see if Dove truly does blend in with every color. It does! Many thanks to Aurifil for supporting Quilt Theory and providing the thread needed for our projects!

Staggered-Rainbow-Binding (1)Staggered also includes a link to instructions for a bonus rainbow binding, since I couldn’t help but extend that rainbow off the edge of the quilt. So much fun!

staggered quilt theory quilt pattern flowersAll 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 designer team behind Quilt Theory.

quilt theory spring collection 2017Our goal at Quilt Theory is to create simple and modern quilt patterns, and as I mentioned above, for this collection we focused on using precuts. I am so excited about this collection as a whole, since I can see that we are really melding as a group and the efforts show.

We have become a strong team as we worked through writing, testing, editing, and quilting the patterns in our collection, and I’m excited to see how you take these patterns and make them your own.

quilt-theory-designers-row
Quilt Theory Designers (l to r): Cheryl Brickey-Meadowmist Designs, Daisy Aschehoug-Ants to Sugar, me!, Yvonne Fuchs-Quilting Jetgirl, Lorinda Davis-Laurel, Poppy and Pine, Stephanie Palmer-Late Night Quilter & The Quilter’s Planner, Michelle Bartholomew

I think many of you are familiar with the Quilt Theory team members, but for those of you who are not, here’s a brief introduction. 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 second collection for Spring 2017.

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-mosiac-spring17 quilt theoryPattern 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, EE Schenck Company, or Erie Quilt Art for Canadian shops.

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!

No. 10 - Staggered kitty wilkin quilt theory patternTo celebrate the release of Collection 2 for Quilt Theory, I am giving away a copy of my pattern, Staggered (printed or PDF, your choice!) along with a bundle of 11 Alison Glass fabric fat quarters straight from my stash and a large spool of Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove, my panacea thread. See? I really do love you!

staggered quilt theory release giveaway alison glass fabric aurifil threadTo enter the giveaway today, tell me what fabric collection you would use to create Staggered. 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, instagramfacebook, twitter, blog follower, etc.) Follow Quilt Theory (facebooktwitter, 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, May 21st, at 8pm 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! Giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Mary!

Be sure to visit the rest of the Quilt Theory designers this week during our blog hop.

Quilt Theory Release Blog Hop Schedule

Friday 5/12 – Quilt Theory
Saturday 5/13 – Kitty @Night Quilter <–YOU ARE HERE!
Monday 5/15 – Michelle @Michelle Bartholomew
Tuesday 5/16 – Daisy @Ants to Sugar
Wednesday 5/17- Stephanie @Late Night Quilter
Thursday 5/18 – Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Friday 5/19 – Lorinda @Laurel Poppy and Pine
Saturday 5/20 – Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
Monday 5/22 – Quilt Theory

I’ll be linking up with Let’s Bee Social, TGIFF, and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday!

Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Flimsy Finish

I’m excited to share that I’ve finally sewn the final seam in the Eye Spy Picnic Plaid quilt top I’ve been making for my son Max. I absolutely love this quilt, made using the Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt pattern by  Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced, which was part of the 2016 Quilter’s Planner. I used all fabrics from my stash, a large part of which were Alison Glass fabrics. It was sort of my safety net, as this was one of my first truly “scrappy” quilts and I wanted to be sure I would love it.  The vibrant colors and heavy hand of Alison Glass fabric contributions worked; I love this quilt!

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finish If you remember, I began this quilt as part of the 2016 Quilter’s Planner Sew Along back in October of 2016 and made fairly solid progress until around December. Then the holidays and life got in the way of things and with the culmination of the sew along, this project fell back into the endless WIPs list. I think my last update here was in November. Yikes.

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finish Recently, as I finished my last few deadline projects, I decided that it was high time for me to actually finish some of the works in progress I’ve been making at a snail’s pace for my family. I completed the final piecing of these blocks as a leader-ender project with other deadline sewing projects, and just this week, I finally sewed that final seam! That feeling of finally finishing a quilt top never gets old, does it?!

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finish Since this quilt is slated for my nearly 5 year old son Max, I asked him to show me his favorite block. He took a quick look and pointed out a sweet and subtle yellow rabbit block, which surprised me a bit since in the past he’s claimed the turquoise scientist dog, the purple pony, or the green robot as his favorite block.

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finish I thought maybe he had chosen the rabbit block as his favorite since it was closest and he was pretty enthralled in picking daffodils when I asked him outside, so when we returned in and out of the sun, I laid the quilt top out on the floor and asked him again to show me his favorite. True to form, he replied with a good dose of sass, “I already told you. It’s this one!” But of course.

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finish We played a quick game of eye spy with the quilt on his lap, and I got a brief glimpse into the fun that will ensue when this quilt is actually fully quilted and bound. I have a feeling that favorite blocks will change like the wind, and there will be hours of fun centered around seeking out the little details in each print.

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finish Max’s exploration of the quilt top resulted in a climb up and over, a flop all around, and culminated in a dramatic roll right off the couch (of course). This will be a fun family quilt for sure.

I pieced this top using my go-to 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove thread. I’m still trying to decide how to quilt this, and whether to use Dove to quilt with an all-over design, or to break it down into sections and use coordinating colors for more dense quilting. Max’s birthday is June 14th, so part of me wants to try to shoot for completing it in time to gift it to him then, which makes me lean toward a more simple, all over quilting design, or straight lines to stabilize without going too crazy with quilting. Then again, this quilt will definitely see a lot of use, so denser quilting might be a better choice, even if it means it’s not finished in time for birthday gifting. What would you do?

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finishI used four main strategies in piecing this quilt to ensure I would love the outcome despite any fear of scrappy quilts:

  • Rainbow ordered block arrangement
  • Bright colors including as much Alison Glass fabric as I could (easy from my stash!)
  • The middle grey squares are all the same solid Robert Kaufman Kona fabric (medium grey)
  • The black and white diamonds are all made from the same black (an unknown black with silver stars) and white (Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle in White Metallic from her Whisper Palette for Andover Fabrics) to provide some visual consistency.

Now that I’ve made one scrappy, rainbow-ordered quilt, I absolutely understand the draw, and I don’t think I would need as many safety nets in place to ensure I love the outcome for the next one! Sticking to planned color placement and using fabrics I love would be sufficient.

What are some of your favorite patterns for using scraps?

Special thanks to everyone who sent “eye spy” appropriate scraps a couple years ago during the Instagram Quilty Wishes event. I have more to use, but this quilt would not have been possible without your contributions!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday and TGIFF which is over with Leanne at Devoted Quilter this week, and boy it feels good to have this flimsy finished! Perhaps I should get Amanda Jean’s new book No Scrap Left Behind, too!

Sewing from the Heart: Call to Action

If there’s one thing that is consistent about this online quilting community, it’s that when the unbearable happens and someone needs love and support, the community will rise to the occasion and come together to stitch their love, support, prayers, and positive intentions into literal textile hugs–quilts. Quilters have big hearts and give generously. That’s one huge reason I am proud to call myself a quilter. Recently, I’ve found myself contributing to a few different love, support, and help-filled quilting projects, and I wanted to share about them here. Not to toot my own horn, but to spread the word in case you also want to pay it forward and use your sewing powers for good.

Quilts for Seniors by Leanne at Devoted Quilter

A few weeks back, Leanne at Devoted Quilter shared that a senior home near her house burnt down and while all 21 residents thankfully got out unharmed, they lost everything. She made a call for square in a square blocks, and as testament to the huge hearts of quilters, she quickly received offers to make more than the 882 blocks that would be needed to make quilts for each resident!! Please note: She no longer needs blocks for this project!!

square in a square charity quilt blocksThe day she announced her block drive, I made three blocks to send along, and used some beloved blues and mustard fabrics from my stash, since I thought it was pretty gender neutral and could be combined with many other colors.

square in a square charity quilt blocksI mailed these blocks and some Anna Maria Horner Field Study yardage for a backing, and after over a week of still not hearing they had been received, I found the package back in my mailbox, sent back from the US-Canada border. Talk about frustrating! Note that writing your first initial and last name instead of your full first and last names on a return address for an international shipping is not sufficient. I’ve mailed the package once again, hopefully properly completed this time and have my fingers crossed that it actually arrives!

square in a square charity quilt blocksIf you’d like to contribute to this cause, Leanne is still in need of donations of batting and full backings (she has received more than enough blocks and binding fabrics!). You can find all of the info and can contact Leanne for more details at her blog here: Quilt for Seniors – Update.

Love for Linette, organized by Sarah at Berry Barn Designs

love for linette call for nine patch quilt blocksFor those of you who followed along with our Honest Craftroomies Periscope hops, you may remember Linette, one of our dear friends and fellow hoppers. Her husband has been battling cancer, and a bit over a week ago, she shared that he’s now receiving hospice care. Sarah from Berry Barn Designs saw this and immediately emailed me and a few other of the Honest Craftroomies originals with the idea to show our love and support by making a quilt. Of course we all agreed and Sarah graciously offered to organize the block drive and quilt top assembly. Stephanie from Late Night Quilter offered to quilt the quilt. The kindness of this community knows no bounds.

Sarah is spearheading the efforts on Instagram, and you can find all of the block construction details here: Love for Linette Call for Nine-Patch blocks. I suggested a bright monochromatic nine-patch block with one white or low volume square as the pattern for the quilt. Linette loves bright colors and we thought wrapping her in a rainbow hug is exactly what each of us wants to do right now. The white square is to represent the hole that will always exist in her life once this part of her journey is over, but the large swaths of bright color represent the beauty and support that remains and will always be there for her.

love for linette nine patch blocksI made three blocks using some of my favorite tertiary colors, and I plan to help Sarah “fill gaps” in color as needed as more blocks begin to arrive. I do hope that you will contribute to this quilty hug and stitch your love and positive thoughts and prayers into a block or more for Linette. Please  DM Sarah @berrybarndesigns for mailing details, or let me know if you need a different form of contact.

Busy Bag Sew Along to Benefit Sadie’s Dream for a Cure

Sadie's Dream Sew Along quilters planner busy bag charity sewingFinally, during the month of May, the Quilter’s Planner is teaming up with Sadie’s Dream for a Cure to sew as many Busy Bags as possible. The busy bags (simple tote bags from a free pattern provided on the Sadie’s Dream website) will be filled with crayons, art supplies, and small toys for children with life threatening illnesses.  Sadie’s Dream is an incredible organization, founded by Jessica and her mother, in honor of Jessica’s beautiful child named Sadie, who was diagnosed with cancer at 6 months of age.

Sadie’s Dream offers support to children who are in the hospital receiving treatment for cancer by providing them with tote bags filled with toys! They ask volunteers, like you and me, to make reusable fabric tote bags – “Busy Bags” — to give to children while they are in the hospital, often immobile and hooked to an iv. You mail the bag to Sadie’s Dream and they fill the bags with coloring books, crayons, books, craft projects, card games etc.

This Sew Along kicks off today, May 1st, so head over to the blog post on the Quilter’s Planner blog to find out all of the details, or head over to Instagram @thequiltersplanner to make a pledge to make a bag (or more!). And trust me, even if you are not a bag maker, you can make this bag! I will be posting tips along the way and even will be “going live” on the Quilter’s Planner facebook page and Instagram feed (eek!)

busy bag detail insideI sewed up a Busy Bag to become familiar with the pattern (and so that I would have a bag for photos!), and as one who is filled with trepidation over 3D sewing, I can assure you that this is an easy, clearly written pattern that even the bag-fearing sewists can tackle successfully!

busy bag detail handlesIt is a very basic tote bag with extra wide handles to help make it comfortable even when filled with goodies.

busy bag detail backI used a fun print by Robert Kaufman fabrics that I had in my stash for ages, since this bag is great for using fun panels. The front has the pocket in the middle and the full panel print is visible on the back. My panel was not quite tall enough, so I added the solid blue to the bottom before constructing the bag. It worked great!

I do hope that you will join in, since I would love to meet and even blast through our goal of having 25 bags made and donated during the Quilter’s Planner Sew Along in May. If you do plan to join, please head over to Instagram and comment with a pledge of how many bags you plan to make. We will be documenting the process and tallying bags as they are finished and mailed to Sadie’s Dream.

There are so many options for sewing from the heart, and many of them don’t take much time at all. After the past few weeks, I’m feeling like I want to add charity sewing to my monthly goals. I can take an hour or two out of my busy schedule to brighten someone’s day or show my love and support to someone in need. Want to join me?

Crank Up the Volume with AGF Lower the Volume Skinny Bins

Mister Domestic Sewing PartyLeave it to Mathew aka Mister Domestic to throw a party instead of a blog tour. Mathew is one of those talented folks whose enthusiasmmathew and kitty at quilt con 2017 for making is clearly evident all the time. I love his bubbling enthusiasm, his signature communication style, his bear hugs and kind heart, and after you throw in his mad skills with a sewing machine, how could I resist a chance to party down with him?! I was fortunate enough to meet Mathew at QuiltCon, and he’s as awesome in person as he is online. Plus, who doesn’t love a party!? Needless to say, when Mathew invited me to join in on his #misterdomesticssewingparty to help spread the word about the new Art Gallery Fabrics Capsules and Fusions, I was absolutely in! I’m excited to be joining the fun, cranking up the volume for the party with some tall and skinny bins made out of Art Gallery Fabrics’ Lower the Volume Capsule.

lower the volume capsule art gallery fabrics with rainbow of pure elements solidsWhen faced with choosing one of the Capsules or Fusions, the Lower the Volume Capsule seemed like the obvious choice since I love low volume fabrics and seem to incorporate them into most of my projects. They go with absolutely everything, and my favorite bright colors shine when they are paired with low volumes. As soon as I RSVPed an enthusiastic yes, I started thinking about what project I could make that would let the low volumes be the star of the show. I decided to add a rainbow of Art Gallery Pure Elements solids and make a rainbow of tall skinny fabric bins to store my small, but not-small-enough-to-toss fabric scraps.

tall skinny scrap fabric bins agf lower the volumeThe tall and skinny shape gives you the most bang for your buck when storing small scraps, since you can fit a lot of them along a wall or shelf, but still have enough volume to hold a decent amount of scraps. See? I cranked up the volume with this Lower the Volume capsule bundle! The result? The Skinny Bin!

lower the volume agf detailsI love the Lower the Volume Capsule collection, but my favorite might be the little details on the Quiet Downtown print. I can see myself meticulously cutting specific quilty street names to add to my projects, and couldn’t resist some meticulous cutting in making the bins.

lower the volume skinny bins progressTo get started, I sketched out a bunch of Skinny Bin design options in my Quilter’s Planner over the course of a week or so. I absolutely love the handy graph paper section of the planner! The first design that came to mind was the hexagon English Paper Pieced (EPP) Skinny Bin. I jokingly call it iBin because of the design that appears when using the extra-long hexagons I used for the bottom of the bin. Even with the time-saving elongated hexagons, I decided that rather than EPP ALL of the bins, why not mix it up and try a whole selection of block designs?!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleI love the variety of shapes, color, and design in these bins, and plan to add to them until I have a full primary, secondary, and tertiary rainbow! I sewed all of the bins with my go-to Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove thread, but used 80wt to piece the EPP iBin. I absolutely understand the excitement about 80wt for EPP–the stitches melt right in!

I am getting better at making introductions at parties, so why don’t I introduce you? Be sure to oogle the awesome variety of low volume prints as we go through introductions.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule plus block redFirst in line we have Mr. Plus in Pure Elements Red. He’s first aid certified, so you can rest easy at this party.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule orange triangleNext is Madam Isosceles, a triangle jam in Pure Elements Burnt Orange. She can be a bit pointy at times, but is good at heart.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule yellow wonky starThird is sunny Sir Wonky Star in Pure Elements Canary. He is channeling a sun a bit more than a star, but all are welcome here, right?

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule green inset improv circleNext is my favorite (shh don’t tell the others), Miss Inset Circle in Pure Elements Dark Citron. She loves to hug trees and has an unusual obsession with maps. Please don’t mistake her for Olive, her twin sister.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule EPP teal hexagon ibinNo party is complete without Dr. iBin EPP, sporting Pure Elements Emerald. This tech mastermind was put together a bit differently due to her seamless exterior construction, but she fits in just fine despite her genius.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule log cabin blueFinally, Mr. Log Cabin in Pure Elements Denim Blue. He’s a bit casual for this party, but who needs a dress code?

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleThere are also two more bins in active progress: Ms. Lucy Boston in Pure Elements Purple Pansy and Miss Raspberry Kiss in fitting Pure Elements Raspberry Rose. They will be fashionably late to the party, but hopefully they’ll bring dessert.

agf pure elements tall skinny fabric binsOkay, that was silly but quite fun. All of the bins are lined with their feature Pure Element solids, so it makes for quite a colorful crowd. Now you’re acquainted with my new friends and we can all party on!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule wine cozyWhile designing this bin, I conveniently discovered that it really is perfect for a party. Not only does it provide a colorful place to put your itty bitty scraps, but it can also double as a wine cozy for storing or toting your party beverage of choice. Totally #winning!

art gallery fabrics writing on selvedgeI also discovered that Art Gallery Pure Element solids have writing on their selvedge! Solids are often really difficult to keep track of once they dive into a stash, so the printed selvedge is a super helpful detail!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule scrapsI’m now excited to sort through my pile of tiny scraps so that I can fill these beauties!

skinny bin and aurifil thread cardI actually discovered yet another use for these bins, but you’ll have to wait to see any more than this sneak peek. Be sure to keep your eye on this space. Ahhh, gotta love a rainbow of Aurifil thread!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleAt least in my opinion, one of the best parts of having a party is how clean your house gets in the process. There’s nothing like having an excuse to tidy up and rainbowtize. I haven’t yet decided whether these bins will live right here, hanging from the peg board behind my sewing machine, or if I will hang them near my cutting table for easy access. Either way, they will certainly brighten up the room!

Thank you so much for coming to the party, and be sure to check out all of other talented makers who will be partying down for the next couple of weeks:

Many thanks to our fabulous host, Mathew Boudreaux, Mister Domestic: (@misterdomestic)
Art Gallery Capsules (April 17th – 21st)
Monday, April 17: Cristy Stuhldreher (@loveyousew_)
Tuesday, April 18: Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) <—-That’s me!
Wednesday, April 19: Sharon McConnell (@colorgirlquilts)
Thursday, April 20: Stephanie Palmer (@latenightquilter)
Friday, April 21: Nicole Young (@lillyellasworld)

Art Gallery Fusions (April 24th – 28th)
Monday, April 24: Nicole Daksiewicz (@modernhandcraft)
Tuesday, April 25: Tara Curtis (@t_jaye, @WEFTYneedle)
Wednesday, April 26: Melissa LeRay (@ohhowsweetco)
Thursday, April 27: Sarah Thomas (@sariditty)
Friday, April 28: Jennifer Rossotti (@jennrossotti)

Tomorrow I’ll be linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday, since the more the merrier at this party!

The Honey Pot Bee – April Queen Bee Fun

Ahhh, April! My favorite month! April is the month when spring usually begins to prevail over the last cold days of winter, with days getting a tad bit warmer, hopefully the snow melting enough to make way for sprouting crocuses and daffodils, and a prevalence of sun instead of sleet and snow. Not only that, it’s my birthday month, which is always a fun excuse to celebrate a little bit extra. To add some frosting to the cake, this month, I’m also one of the Queen Bees for The Honey Pot Bee hosted by Molli Sparkles. So fun!

the honey pot bee molli sparkles 2017When I was trying to decide what block to throw into the Honey Pot, I stumbled upon the Starry Sky block by Kylie at A Persevering Mom and completely fell in love.  Let me count the ways: 1) it’s foundation paper pieced yet very simply so, 2) the possibilities for color play are endless and I just LOVE Kylie’s warm/cool on low volume background sample block, 3) it comes in three sizes–2.5″, 6″ and 12″ finished squares, and 4) it’s free which makes it a prime choice for a bee! Decision made!

starry sky block by a persevering momBecause the foundation paper piecing in this block is so simple, it is a perfect block for some meticulous cutting fun. I decided that I wanted to use my precious Friedlander fabric for the background, but I wanted it to look like the tree scene was continuous across the block. I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few tips on how I did it.

starry sky block by a persevering momRemember that in foundation paper piecing, you are building the block on the back of the template. For this reason, when cutting each fabric piece, be sure to position the template with the printed lines facing the right side of the fabric to ensure the direction of the fabric is correct.

starry sky block by a persevering momIt’s also helpful to cut as you go, completing one template piece at a time and double checking your progress along the way. This certainly takes longer than cutting all of the necessary fabric pieces and chain piecing each section, but when playing the meticulous cutting game, it’s wise to go slowly and steadily, checking and double checking along the way.

starry sky block by a persevering momIn the photo above, the pieces of background fabric are cut for each section of the final foundation template (remember that the fabric will go on the back, so it appears mirrored when looking at them next to each other this way.) The final adjustment that can be made is with the numbering and order in which fabrics are sewn. With a basic understanding of how foundation paper piecing works, you can rearrange your piecing order to help easily align your fabric pieces. For this block, I always began with the center of the star points when at all possible so that it made it easy to keep the background fabric level and headed in the desired direction. For the piece shown, instead of sewing them in the listed order of A1, A2, A3, etc…, I positioned A3, then sewed A2, then A4, then A1.  This way, I only had one angled seam to line up properly (A5 to A6) in the entire block.

starry sky block by a persevering mom
A final shot of all of the block components in the dying evening light, right before final assembly.

While this seamless background didn’t come across as clearly as I hoped due to the intricacies of the branches and print, I’m still glad I went through the extra effort to get those bushes lined up along the bottom. Even if at first glance, it’s not obvious that the background fabric lines up, I know it does, and that’s what matters, right!?

starry sky block by a persevering momI love how the Friedlander Tree Stripe border in Pistachio looks with the star points, which include fabric from both Carkai and Architextures also by Carolyn Friedlander, some favorite Alison Glass Sun Prints from 2016 and 2017, a Free Spirit solid, Gum Leaves from Terra Australis 2 by Emma Jean Jansen, and an unknown green swirl from my stash. I sewed the block with my favorite 50wt Aurifil thread, 2600-Dove, but was excited to find two lovely greens in my stash, which will come in handy when it’s quilting time! My block will obviously be added to my Greenery Quilt, and I most likely will aim to also make a 12″ version of the block in a different arrangement of greens since I love the block so much. Can’t you see this block looking fab in just about any color combination!?

Head on over to Molli’s blog to see the other gorgeous block for April, and have fun with this Starry Sky block!

I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter in case anyone else wants a few tips on creating a seamless background panel for a pieced block. Enjoy!

 

Stash Building: Culcita Box

Living out in the country, if I can order something online and have it delivered literally to my door (rural mail delivery is awesome!), I do it! Don’t get me wrong–I’m all about shop local and I support local businesses as much as I can. But with three little ones to wrangle into and out of carseats for every errand, some things like toothpaste, shampoo, kid sneakers, and … fabric!? Those can be delivered right to my door, thank you!

culcita box march fq boxSo when Jamie, co-founder of Culcita Box, emailed me a while back and asked if I would be interested in checking out their new fabric subscription service, I only needed a little nudge to say yes. That nudge was in the form of a quick perusal of their website and what their boxes included to make sure it was my style, and instead of a little nudge it was an “absolutely yes!” Full disclosure: Culcita Box provided compensation in the form of product, a subscription box with fabric. All opinions expressed are my own. My excitement and heart eyes are also my own. 

culcita box march fq boxThere are many things I really love about what Culcita Box is offering. They include modern fabric lines in their boxes, and you can basically customize your subscription, choosing the yardage and frequency that best fits your sewing style (1/4 yard or 1/2 yard, delivered monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly). Not only that, Culcita Box also offers specific kit subscriptions including everything you need to make a quilt or a bag/accessory, or kits to help you improve your skills. I think those options are super cool and unique, and I could definitely see gifting someone the improve your skills kit subscription if they wanted to get more into sewing.

culcita box march fq boxJamie was kind enough to send me the March fat quarter bundle box, so let’s take a look at what was in it!

culcita box march fq boxFirst the deets: the March Culcita box included a bundle of 12 fat quarters of luscious Art Gallery Fabrics–from the Take Shape Capsule, two (2) sew-in labels, a Quilt Theory pattern card for Ocean Path (my pattern!), and perhaps my favorite part–a quilty fortune cookie. I love the attention that clearly went into every detail of this subscription box–from the fun text all over the box, the wrapping, the hand-written note, and even a sewing-related message in the fortune cookie!! It’s like unwrapping a present, and honestly, who doesn’t like unwrapping presents?

culcita box march fq box labelsI love that the box included two labels, since I think labeling is one of the most important parts of making, yet it’s something that so many people omit from the process. I bet having labels ready to go would help at least get a name and date added to the quilty goodness stitched with love daily. I’m excited to put these to use!

culcita box march fq box fortune cookieThe fortune cookie was such a fun addition. With a sewing-related inspiring message/fortune inside, and a delicious cookie to boot, how can you not love this little detail? Those who sew, sow peace. Yes!

culcita box march fq box fabricThe fabric is luxuriously soft, as we’ve all come to love about all Art Gallery fabrics, and included fabric from one of the new fabric capsules, namely Take Shape. I love the bold geometric shapes and gorgeous color palette. I also really love that these fabrics are a palette and style somewhat different than my usual saturated rainbow tone on tones. With the inclusion of my Quilt Theory Ocean Path quilt pattern card, I’m really wanting to make an Ocean Path pillow version with 2 offset blocks in these geometric beauties. Will my to-do list allow? Time will tell! Either way, I’m excited to add these fabrics to my stash… or projects list!

Many thanks to Culcita Box for letting me try out their subscription box! I would definitely recommend this box for the modern quilter looking to build a stash of beautiful fabrics, or as a gift for those who prefer making bags, working from quilt kits, or building their skills.

I’ll be linking up with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash since gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve built my stash!

 

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 35 Flora Tutorial

Welcome to the final–yes, the very last!!!–block tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. If you’ve made it this far and have completed all of the blocks, congratulations!! You have finished quite an amazing accomplishment! If you haven’t completed all of the blocks but are still following along, bravo to you as well! And welcome to the club 😀

farmers wife 1930 35 flora tutorialSince at this point in this Sew Along, I’m sure there are hardly any techniques or block approaches that need additional guidance, I decided, with the approval of Angie, to approach this tutorial a little differently. Today my tutorial will focus on “what next?” Now that this epic sew along is officially complete and you may or may not have all 99 of the blocks sewn, I will reflect on and share a few different approaches you might want to take.

Tips for Foundation Paper Piecing Flora

First, let’s get Flora’s construction covered. I foundation paper pieced my block, so for those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

foundation paper pieced flora farmers wifeSince this block is not symmetrical, I printed a mirror image of the templates to help ensure I matched the color placement to that in the book. I selected simple dark, medium, and light green fabrics and carefully marked each piece of the template with a D (dark), M (medium), or L (light) before sewing so that once I had my fabric bits cut, I could chain piece the templates without too much thought. Those two preparatory steps (printing mirror image templates & marking each section of the templates) helped make the actual stitching of this block quick and smooth.

farmers wife 1930 floraThe final block has been sewn! Congratulations! So now what….?

Farmers Wife final layout warm coolIf we reminisce back to October 2015 when we first began this sew along, I originally planned (hoped?) to make 72 blocks instead of the full 99. I planned to sew some with cool colors on a white/low volume background and warm colors on a grey/black background and set them with solid blocks between. It seemed like a solid plan at the time, back when I had in my head that I was making “just a little 6″ block every week”. As you all know at this point, though, these little 6″ blocks pack a punch, often with 30-60 pieces and taking hours to construct. I’ve accepted that the 72 block plan just isn’t in the cards for me at this point in my life. I’m totally ok with that. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are some options.

Keep Plugging Away

all of my blocks sans flora
My full block inventory, not including Flora = 15 blocks

One option is to keep plugging away at the blocks with the goal of completing all of them eventually. If you want to be sure to complete them in a timely fashion, you may want to set a new goal for yourself and try to hold yourself to it.  Perhaps you could aim to make one block per week, at least 3 weeks out of every month.  Or you could plan to make 1 block every 2 weeks, where week 1 is spent selecting fabric and cutting and week 2 is spent sewing the blocks together. If this is your choice, make a plan, write it down, and forge ahead!

Change your Block Setting

Adjusting the way you set your blocks could also help you get a decent sized quilt from the blocks you’ve made. If you have made all 99 blocks, you could set your blocks with simple sashing and have a nice, huge quilt.

background fabric between each blockAdding solid blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block can help you get the most bang for your buck with however many (or few, in my case) blocks you’ve made. Add sashing and that will make your quilt even larger relative to the number of blocks you’ve made. My original mock-up includes both the blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block, and sashing, so you can reference that (included a few images up) for a visual.

negative space block setting - aria lane alyssa lichtnerOr you could think even further out of the box and arrange your blocks in a more modern, negative-space filled setting. I love the idea of arranging blocks similar to the design in Alyssa Lichner’s Concerto Quilt pattern for Aria Lane!

Make a Smaller Quilt

If you made less blocks than you initially had planned, you could always make a smaller quilt!  Lap quilts are all the rage these days, right!? Are any of your local farmer friends having a baby anytime soon? A good handful of these blocks could be beautifully worked into a “Farmer’s Baby Quilt”. With these intricate blocks, you don’t need many of them to make a gorgeous quilt.

Placemats & Pillows!

If, like me, these 6″ blocks showed you who’s boss (and it wasn’t you) and you only ended up successfully making a bit over a dozen of them, they sure would make beautiful placemats or pillows! Both placemats and pillows are handmade items that are often seen and appreciated daily, making sure your painstaking efforts will be appreciated to their fullest.

background fabric between each blockI’m actually thinking the blue unicorn block I made very well might have to become a pillow for one of my kiddos. It will surely be cherished that way.

With all of those options on your plate, your beautiful Farmer’s Wife blocks are sure to find their way into a finished work of beauty instead of floundering in a pile in your sewing space, right?!  Choose your own adventure, enjoy the journey, and thanks so much for joining in on this wild Farmer’s Wife Sew Along experience!

So which adventure will I choose?

Once I completed Flora, I pulled out all of my completed blocks and put them up on my design wall to take stock of my progress. As seen above, I finished a whopping 16 blocks. I am not counting the three blocks that have foundation paper piecing templates printed, cut out, and fabric pulled, since they are not yet sewn, but I do plan to make them eventually.

smaller quilt same layout planAt first I considered the “Make a Smaller Quilt” option, and thought perhaps I’ll make a few more blocks to fill out a lap sized quilt in my original layout. Note that these photos are from a purely planning phase–fabric slapped up onto my portable design wall simply for the benefit of playing with different arrangements visually. It’s wrinkled and wonky and that’s all part of the fun! 

warm on darkSince I made the warm colored blocks with a dark background and the cool colored blocks with a white background, I probably will stick with those for sashing and background blocks.

Once I began writing this post, though, the negative-space filled setting inspired by the Concerto Quilt is really calling to me. I may opt to plug away and make some more blocks, with the end goal of setting them in a fade out pattern similar to the blocks in the Concerto Quilt. Time will tell, and since I know that I want to make more blocks before settling on any of the options, it’s absolutely okay to choose later!

snail and low volumes worked into greenery
Do you see Flora?

Flora is going to go live in my Greenery 2017 quilt, though, since the block reminded me strongly of dappled light through the treetops and I thought adding a Farmer’s Wife block to my year’s Greenery project would be the perfect touch! The quilt is already a green melting pot of blocks from all of the sew alongs and bees I’m joining this year so it feels only right that a Farmer’s Wife 1930s block join the ranks.

The moral of this story is: There are no rules. This is your quilt. You can do anything you want to with these blocks!  Enjoy the adventure!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.