Category Archives: Quilting

Let the Summer Adventures Begin! (Pattern Release)

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, as well as the start of summer. What better way to celebrate than with the release of my long awaited Summer Adventure Quilt pattern!?

summer adventure quilt patternToday I’m excited to share my Summer Adventure Quilt pattern, a 30 page pattern complete with 14 foundation paper pieced blocks, traditionally pieced blocks, clear assembly diagrams, and instructions for two different methods of construction. You can choose to either sew the cover quilt, which finishes at 60″ x 70″, or you can choose your own adventure and create your quilt in the same way I created my original summer adventure quilt–by earning one block per adventure you take. I walk you through both options in the pattern.

summer adventure quilt block tree
I am making my summer adventure quilt out of Alison Glass fabrics for Andover Fabrics, since their bright and vibrant colors help the blocks to really pop! Aurifil 50wt thread is my go-to for piecing and quilting!

The pattern is available on both Craftsy and Payhip (please purchase through Payhip if you live in the EU) for an introductory price of $15 through the end of June. On July 1st, the pattern will return to its normal $25 price. With 14 FPP block templates, traditional block instructions, and more, this is a steal!

Summer Adventure Quilting with Kitty Wilkin on FacebookI also created a Facebook group called Summer Adventure Quilting with Kitty Wilkin, where I hope you’ll share your summer adventuring–both in the sewing room and out in the world! It will be a platform where I will be able to answer questions, and where we can all celebrate in each other’s adventures and share inspiration. One of the biggest reasons I create patterns is to help share inspiration with the larger quilting community. The community is what makes me tick!

blue hill mountain summer adventure quiltYou probably remember the improv, make-it-up-as-I-go Summer Adventure quilt I made last summer (you can see the finished quilt top HERE), which inspired this pattern. I had such a fun time documenting our summer family fun with that, that I wanted to be able to share it with you. Bring on my favorite foundation paper piecing, some quilt math puzzle solving, and I think that this pattern meets that goal! I’m hoping that this Summer Adventure Quilt pattern inspires you to get outside and enjoy the natural world around you a bit more, and tie your love of quilting and sewing together with a love and appreciation of nature. Enjoy the journey, and adventure often!

If you’ve opted in for Night Quilter emails, be sure to check your email for an additional 20% off coupon code good on Payhip through the end of the month. If you *want* to opt in for Night Quilter emails, click here to get in the know.

Happy adventuring!

 

The 100 Day Project: Sew Smaller

Well, I did it again. While I knew I couldn’t commit to another 365 days of stitching like last year’s One Year of Stitches embroidery project, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to jump on another daily creativity bandwagon.

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingI’m officially 11 days into The 100 Day Project, and my focus is on sewing smaller. So far I’ve sewn 11 tiny quilt blocks that will finish at 1 1/4″ square. I’m using the hashtag #100daysofsewsmaller on Instagram and aiming to share my progress daily.

Here is a closer look at each of my blocks thus far!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting1/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting2/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting3/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting4/100 (which was also the day when I created a foundation paper pieced template for my day 11 block. I didn’t sew that one until today, but the idea was born on day 4!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting5/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting6 & 7/100 – Day 6 was the day of my daughter’s First Communion & Confirmation and my family was visiting all weekend, so I got a self-granted “bye” on posting. I caught up on my birthday, day 7!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting8/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting9/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting10/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting11/100

I’ve been sharing updates on both my @nightquilter feed and also @thequiltersplanner feed, since I’ve been using my Quilter’s Planner to track each block.I am making blocks that fit perfectly in each daily column on the weekly planning pages, so it works wonderfully. My planner is always open to the weekly planning pages, so it is a great way to get a visual of my week’s blocks together. Maybe for my next post I’ll show you a photo of my blocks on my personal in-use planner instead of the nice neat, clean one I have for staging photos!

I’ve been having fun taking summary photos for the QP feed, since I love creating rainbows in any way possible.

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingDays 1-3

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingThe first week of blocks

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingThe first 10 days

Going into this project, I first imagined making the same block for 100 days, but once I started stitching them, I started to think about how many different blocks could be sewn in miniature. So then my plan morphed into 10 different blocks sewn 10 times each, alternating color and background like the first 10 blocks. It would allow me to mix up the blocks sewn, still play with color and tiny stitching, and have a pretty predictable finished 12″x12″ mini at the end of the 100 days.

Then my friend Sharon of Sharon Holland Designs shared some really wise advice:

I love how your challenge is going Kitty and how it relates to you as a quilter but also think you should let it be organic and use the 100 days to explore if needed and push yourself also if needed. Don’t get locked into a direction.

How wise is that!? What better activity than a 100 day project to use as a springboard for experimentation and stretching the limits and bounds of my creativity!? It is so ingrained in my habit to be able to visualize the end product before I begin a project, and I really think it would be a great growing experience for me to let go, give myself some very loose guidelines, and just allow myself to experiment.

So, that’s the plan. My “rules” are:

  • I am only allowed to use scraps from my scrap bin, and will aim to make them using a colored scrap with a white or low volume scrap.
  • I will do my best to stay current, but am allowed to work ahead up to 5 days. This (I’m hoping) will allow me to stick with it even when there are days when I know I won’t be able to get to a sewing machine. It’s my attempt at being gentle with myself while still pushing myself to stick with a habit of making.
  • I have to have fun with it. If it becomes a stress or source of self-deprecating thoughts, I will stop and try again next year. The last thing I need is another “I should be able to…” thing to beat myself up over.
  • and recently added: I will try NOT to plan at all, will experiment as desired, but will try to keep at least one dimension of each block at 1 1/4″ finished size.

That’s it! So far, all of my blocks are 1 3/4″, which will be 1 1/4″ finished.

#100daysofsewsmaller 100 day projectI’ve worked ahead twice (once when my entire family was visiting for the weekend for my daughter’s First Communion, and once today since I know weekends are often filled with family time and not necessarily sewing time), but have stuck with the block per day format.

Most importantly, I’m having FUN! I had forgotten how giggly-fun it is to sew on a teeny tiny scale, and with lots of exciting big (albiet secret) projects going on behind the scenes, it’s really fabulous to have a little project I can sew and share daily.

#100daysofsewsmaller 100 day projectI’ll leave you with a cheeky peek at the backside of my latest block, since one of the big questions I’ve gotten so far over on Instagram is “How big is your seam allowance?”.  My answer: 1/4″ seam allowance, just like always. Note that so far I’ve created blocks with mostly straight joins, and I might scale a few seam allowances down to 1/8″ to decrease bulk as I experiment further, but for the most part, the 1/4″ seam works just fine!

If you’re on Instagram, you can follow my daily progress both in my Night Quilter feed or updates in The Quilter’s Planner feed. You should also be able to see my latest Instagram posts over on my right sidebar -> so keep an eye on that as well!

Until next time, I hope you have a *little* stitching fun this weekend!

Splendid Sampler II

Do you remember The Splendid Sampler, the epic sew along from a couple of years ago organized by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson that included 100 blocks and sooo many of our favorite quilty bloggers? On Tuesday, Pat & Jane announced that because their first sew along was so successful and so much fun, they are doing it again with the release of The Splendid Sampler 2!

Splendid sampler 2 coming soonI’m excited to share that I was invited to contribute a block to The Splendid Sampler 2 party, and I happily obliged! There are still a lot of unrevealed details around this splendid sequel, so I can’t tell you anything else about my block, but I am excited to get started sewing along!

The Splendid Sampler 2 book is now available for preorder on Amazon (no affiliate link), and will include 100 unique blocks, all finishing at 6″ square. To mix things up this year, and to let everyone get in on the fun a bit early since the book won’t ship until mid-October, Pat and Jane are giving away the first 20 blocks free, beginning on June 14th. Here’s the plan:

▪ Between NOW and June 14 there are some fun things planned
▪ June 14 – Sew Along STARTS with one block a week on Thursday
▪ Nov 1 – the 20th block is given out
▪ Dec 6 – we start sewing from the book with blocks announced on Thursdays.
▪ May 2 is the planned end date. So it’s a full year of fun!

You can get all of the details HERE.

I won’t be sewing ALL of the blocks, but I do plan to sew as many as I can! Can you guess the color theme I’m planning? As my mom always said, “I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.”

Back to my regularly scheduled stitching and mommy-ing. I hope to have more to share here soon!

Flying Geese Table Runner with the Cricut Maker

Today I’m happy to share a simple and fun Flying Geese Table Runner project I made using the Cricut Maker. With Easter approaching and my table bare, I wanted to put together a quick project that could brighten the room for Easter, and really all year long. This table runner was also one of the first things I designed in the Cricut Design Space, so I wanted to keep it fairly simple while also using as many Cricut Maker features as I could! You can read a full review of my new Cricut Maker here.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterThis post is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions and text are my own. This Flying Geese Table Runner includes both traditional piecing and embroidery or hand quilting. If you don’t have a Cricut Maker, I’ve included cutting instructions and a pdf as well, so anyone can make it!

Let’s get started, shall we!? First, gather your materials.

Materials (My fabric details are in parenthesis)
  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut Washable Fabric Pen
  • Cricut FabricGrip Mat 12″x24″
  • 3/4 yard background fabric (Kona cotton in Snow)
  • fat quarter focal fabric (Twinklestar in Berry from Garden Dreamer, by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabric–from the blogger bundle I put together for Needle & Foot, here)
  • 1/2 yard fabric for backing and binding (Painted Desert Morning from Sage, by Bari J Ackerman for Art Gallery Fabric)
  • approximately 18″x44″ piece of batting
  • 50wt thread for piecing & quilting (I used Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove for piecing and 50wt 2479- Medium Orchid and 2021-Natural White for quilting)
  • 12wt thread, embroidery floss, or perle cotton for embroidery (I used 12wt Aurifil 2435-Peachy Pink)
  • sewing machine
  • small embroidery hoop (6″ or smaller)
  • embroidery needle
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • iron and pressing surface

Note that if you do not have a Cricut Maker, you will also need a washable fabric marking tool, printer to print the embroidery template, and light box or other bright surface to facilitate tracing the embroidery template onto your fabric.

Now for the fun!

Using the Cricut Maker

Log into Cricut Design Space and get my Flying Geese Table Runner with Embroidery project here, and click “Make it!”

Prepare your mats as instructed, smoothly spreading your fabric onto your 12″x24″ FabricGrip mat. The Cricut Maker will lead you through the entire process, so simply follow the screen instructions and let the Cricut Maker work its magic!

Cricut Maker in action drawing and cutting The Cricut Maker will both draw the washable embroidery guide lines AND cut the larger rectangle for you!

Attaching elements in Cricut Design SpaceWhen I designed the drawn geese section, I designated the geese shapes as draw lines rather than cut lines and ATTACHED them to a larger cut background rectangle, about 11 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ in size so that they would be easier to embroider. For those of you designing for your Cricut Maker, this is key to remember when you want to combine both cut lines and drawn lines! Also, many thanks to Julie at Intrepid Thread for teaching me how to do this! If you’re a quilter getting to know your Cricut Maker, I highly recommend checking out Julie’s how-to resources both on her blog and YouTube channel!

Cricut Maker in action cuttingThe Cricut Maker will also prompt you to cut squares of your focal fabric, small squares of background fabric, and some background rectangles. Once the fabric is cut, carefully remove the excess fabric, revealing your perfectly cut shapes. Carefully remove the fabric from the mats, and then get ready to sew!

You will also need to cut a 19 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle of background fabric with your rotary cutter and mat for the center portion of the table runner. You can easily shorten or lengthen your table runner by adjusting the dimensions of this center panel accordingly. It should always be 13 1/2″ wide, but can be as long or short as needed to fit your table.

Preparation Instructions if you don’t have a Cricut Maker

If you don’t have a Cricut Maker, here’s how you can cut and prepare your fabric using a rotary cutter, mat, washable fabric pen, and lightbox or other light source.

First, do your cutting. From your background fabric, cut:

  • (1) 11″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle (onto which you will trace your embroidery templates
  • (12) 2 7/8″ squares
  • (2) 2 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangles
  • (4) 1 1/4″ x 4″ rectangles
  • (1) 19 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle (as noted above)

From your focal fabric, cut:

  • (3) 5 1/4″ squares

We will use the backing of the table runner as the binding, so will keep the backing fabric as a whole 1/2 yard cut until after quilting.

Download the Flying Geese Table Runner Embroidery Template-Night Quilter Printable, print on your computer at 100% scale, tape the two pages together along the match line, and trace onto your 11″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle of background fabric using a washable fabric pen. Be sure to center the template so that there is at least 1/2″ of fabric on both sides of the geese and 1″ above and below the geese.

Once all of your cutting and prepping is complete, it’s time to get stitching!

Embroidering the Accent Geese

embroidering the accent flying geeseThe embroidered accent geese are meant to add some subtle accent interest to your table runner, since hand stitching of any kind (in my mind) adds a special touch. Especially with a project that will be seen often, those hand stitches can echo the sharp aesthetic of the pieced flying geese.

aurifil 12 wt thread for embroideryGather your embroidery hoop, background fabric with your flying geese drawn on, and a thick 12wt thread, embroidery floss, or perle cotton in a coordinating color. I chose to use Aurifil 12wt thread in 2435-Peachy Pink since it’s a subtle echo of the geese that pulls the beautiful coral color from the Twinklestar in Berry fabric.

aurifil 12 wt thread for embroidery running stitchYou can use the drawn embroidery guides to do any type of embroidery you want. I chose to do a simple running stitch around each flying goose, but feel free to get creative! Chain stitch would me another fun stitch to use to outline each goose, you could echo the stitching inside each goose as well, or even fill the geese with french knots!

Note that if you choose to use a more dense embroidery design, you may want to layer another piece of white fabric or use an interfacing stabilizer behind your panel.  Yet another creative option would be to wait on the stitching, assemble your table runner, and then use the drawn guide lines to hand quilt around each goose, stitching through all three layers of the table runner. If I make another one of these table runners, I will go this route, since I think the stitches would work really well as hand quilting, too.

trim embroidered geese panelsOnce you’ve finished embroidering your geese, carefully trim the panel into two rows of geese, cutting 1/2″ away from the side points of each row. Do not cut the top or bottom of each row of flying geese. You should now have two embroidered geese panels measuring 5″ x 13 1/2″.

Piecing Flying Geese Four at a Time

piecing flying geese four at a timeWith your fabric pieces cut perfectly by the Cricut Maker, or as specified above, piece your flying geese using the four at a time method. I used the Reference section of my Quilter’s Planner to piece mine, and you can also find a download of the page HERE as a little taste of the awesome that is contained in the Quilter’s Planner. (If you don’t have one already, go ahead and buy a Quilter’s Planner 2018 while they are still available!) Note that we are making flying geese that finish at 2″x4″.

flying geese strips for table runnerMake twelve geese total and sew them into two strips of six as shown above. See how they are mirrored by the embroidered strips? Note that your embroidered strips should be cut apart by this step.


Sewing Tip:

Perfect Points for Flying GeeseWhen sewing two geese together, position the point of the goose on top and make sure your stitch line passes exactly through the stitched point of your goose.

perfect points with flying geeseThis way, you will be sure to never chop off the point of a flying goose ever again!


sewing top and bottom sectionsOnce your flying geese rows of six are assembled, sew a 1 1/4″x 4″ piece of background fabric to the top and bottom of each strip. Align with your 13 1/2″ embroidered geese strips, and trim the pieced flying geese strips to 13 1/2″ if needed, being sure that your embroidered geese align with your sewn geese before trimming. There is a little bit of wiggle room included in the top and bottom background rectangles to allow for those who sew scant or generous 1/4″ seams, so trim as needed.

Assembling the Table Runner

flying geese panel of table runnerFirst sew together the flying geese panels of the table runner. I’ve arranged mine on top of my backing fabric so that you can clearly see the different pieces being sewn together. With geese facing the same direction, sew the embroidered flying geese section to the pieced flying geese section. Then sew to the 2 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ background rectangle. Make two.

assembling table runnerAssemble the table runner top by sewing the sections together as shown above: Note that the embroidered flying geese panels should be sewn to the center background piece on both ends.

choosing threadOnce your table runner top is pieced, position the runner top and batting in the center of your chosen backing fabric, right sides facing away from each other. In other words, layer and baste your table runner and prepare for quilting!

quiltingI chose to use Aurifil 50wt 2479- Medium Orchid to quilt my Flying Geese Table Runner with a dense free motion quilting pattern in the center, simple outlines of the pieced flying geese, and dense free motion quilted switchbacks in Aurifil 2021-Natural White between both the pieced and embroidered geese. I wanted the texture but not the visual distraction from my hand stitching.

detail of quilting on flying geese table runner cricut maker aurifil threadI’m certainly not a free motion quilting pro, but I am pretty happy with my over-all heart-flower free motion quilting motif! Plus, how fabulously do those tulips go with the BariJ Sage fabric backing!?

As you quilt your table runner, be sure to stay 1/4″ away from all edges with your quilting! This will help your binding look great from both the top and the bottom, since we will be using the backing fabric folded over the edges as binding.

fold back backing fabricOnce your table runner is quilted as desired, carefully fold back the backing fabric and trim the batting *just* outside the top of your table runner top. I gave myself a little less than 1/8″ around the edge of my table runner.

cutting batting square Be extra careful not to cut your backing fabric during this step!

Next, trim your backing fabric between 3/4″ and 1″ from the outer edge of your table runner quilt top. Fold the backing so that its raw edge meets the edge of your trimmed quilt top and batting and press. Fold again and top stitch in place, securing your binding to the front of the quilt.

binding close up flying geese table runnerA full tutorial for how to bind your quilt with the backing fabric can be found HERE on Cluck Cluck Sew’s blog.

binding close up flying geese table runnerI wanted my binding to be slightly slimmer, so I cut mine 3/4″ from the edge of the table runner top instead of 1″, but choose whichever you prefer.

flying geese table runner tutorial cricut makerTa da! Your table runner is nearly finished! All that remains is to wash out the washable fabric marker lines. I’ve found that the Cricut Washable Fabric Pen easily washes out with a bit of soap and cold water. Note that if you prewash your fabrics, you can wash out the fabric pen before trimming and piecing the embroidery panels into your table runner. I don’t prewash my fabrics, so I opted to wash it all at once after it was completely finished.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterSet your Easter table and enjoy! I always love a good bundle of fresh flowers on a table, especially during these early days of spring when the snow is still thick on the ground outside.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easter

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterAfter giving my table runner its first wash, and in looking at these photos, I think I will go back and hand quilt within those embroidered flying geese to give them a bit more texture.flying geese table runner tutorial cricut makerEnjoy, and I hope you’ll share a photo of your Flying Geese Table Runner if you make one! You can tag me on social media @nightquilter or share a link here in the comments.

Happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

Cricut Maker and a World of Possibility

Today I’m excited to introduce a new tool I’ve been playing with over the past few weeks: the Cricut Maker. A few months ago, the folks at Cricut asked if they could send a Cricut Maker and starter kit to me in exchange for an honest review. I hesitated at first, since do I really need another cutting machine? But once I began reading up on the Cricut Maker and all of its digital cutting capabilities, including cutting any of your own designs and ability to cut literally hundreds of materials, I decided to say yes. I’m glad I did since this machine can do anything!

cricut maker digital cutting machine introductionThis post is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are my own and I only share products that I think are awesome. Note that there are no affiliate links included since I live in Maine where affiliate programs aren’t permitted, but I have linked to referenced products for your ease. Business aside, shall we get on with the fun? Let’s!

I’ve played with die cutting machines before, so the concept of a machine to help with the cutting step of quilting is not new to me. Some pros to cutting machines are that they cut perfectly accurately since human error is removed, they are safe since the blade is in the machine and not your hand, and they are versatile. The Cricut Maker is all of these things, but takes versatility to the next level since you can cut all of your own patterns and designs in Cricut Design Space.

cricut maker digital cutting machine introductionI set aside a day where I would have a window of a few hours without any of the kids home to first unbox my Cricut Maker, since I knew that I would need to not only figure out how it works, but also figure out how to use Design Space, where your projects and designs are created. I was pleasantly surprised at how extremely easy and user friendly the entire set up was! I probably could have figured it out with all three kids hanging on me–it was that intuitive!

Intro for Cricut MakerTo set up the Cricut Maker, I just went to the Cricut website and found the set up page. From there, I clicked the green “Get Started” button at the bottom and it walked me through the entire Cricut Maker set up, as well as an introductory greeting card project to help me learn the ropes. All materials for the greeting card project are included with the Maker machine, and because the project uses multiple settings and pens, after creating the quick greeting card, I felt confident enough to dive into making and designing myself! My “new technology” worry was all for naught!

cricut maker iron on glitterI went into my Cricut Maker exploration day with full intention of diving into its capabilities for the world of quilting, but in exploring the Cricut Design Space, I accidentally–OOPs!–ended up bedazzling one of my daughter’s tank tops with a glittery iron-on unicorn! The Cricut Maker Design Space has a large library of free graphics, templates, and projects and as soon as I saw this unicorn, I knew it just had to make its way into our world.

Cricut sent me a box full of supplies along with the Cricut Maker, and a roll of silver Glitter Iron-on was included. Even though the entire process was new to me, I couldn’t resist figuring out something new. Besides, glitter + unicorns = magical! Another big perk to the Cricut Maker is the huge library of available videos and tutorials available. A simple search found me a huge selection of tutorials, from the actual Learn page on Cricut, to a multitude of YouTube tutorials by craft bloggers.

cricut weeder tool at workIt didn’t take me long at all to have the unicorn cut since it was a free image already in the Design Space, and the Cricut Weeder tool was the perfect tool to help get the background away from the iron on transfer, all while making me feel like a glittery unicorn-loving dentist. The weeder tool comes in the Cricut Tools Basic Set, which is definitely worth getting if you have a Maker.

cricut maker iron on glitter vinyl Within a half an hour, I had a fully bedazzled unicorn tank, which fortunately my daughter LOVED when she got home from school.

After that brief interruption, I continued to explore the possibilities of the Cricut Maker. Here are a few highlights:

washable fabric pen for cricut makerThe Cricut Maker comes with a fine point pen, but there are also a wide variety of other pens available for diversified projects. The pen I will likely use most in my quilting is the washable fabric pen. This is great for drawing on cut lines, seam allowances, embroidery guidelines, and more. It’s quite easy to designate lines in Design Space as a drawn line rather than a cut line, too, so you can have the Cricut Maker both draw and cut on the same fabric.

inserting the washable fabric pen for cricut makerThe pens and blade tools are *really* easy to install and switch, since they are held in with an easy snap clamp, and the Cricut Design Space prompts you on what pen or blade to insert before each project so that you’re sure to use the correct blade for your project.

cricut maker rotary blade
Cricut Maker rotary blade

The Cricut Maker comes with a premium fine point blade, which is used for cutting paper, card stock, vinyl, leather, and other light-weight to medium-weight materials. What makes it really useful for quilters, though, is that it also comes with a rotary blade for cutting fabric.

cricut maker rotary bladeUsing the sticky pink FabricGrip mat and the rotary blade tool, the Cricut Maker can cut standard quilting cotton and other fabrics without needing to stabilize them first. Watching this little rotary cutter at work is super fun, too, since its little robotic lift, turn, press, cut, repeat is like taking a trip to the future.

cricut maker rotary bladeNow that you’ve seen the rotary blade from every angle, wouldn’t you agree that that’s the cutest little rotary blade you ever did see?

tools for the cricut makerThe blades snap into the little B compartment to the right of the A pen holder, and it’s incredible easy to switch blades when needed. The Cricut Maker also has ample space for storage of unused blades, pens, and tools, which is really handy for someone like me who doesn’t have a whole lot of extra storage space.

My hands down favorite features of the Cricut Maker are its design versatility and ease of use. You are not limited by the shape of a specific die, or even by a set library of designs. Because the Cricut Design Space is so user friendly and easy to figure out, and because there are so many fabulous tutorials available to help walk you through the details, I know that the sky’s the limit with design. For a pattern designer like me, that aspect is KEY.

I can see myself using the Cricut Maker for anything from:

  • fabric cutting for simple and quick sews
  • designing and making logo vinyl stickers
  • cutting fabric for my own foundation paper piecing patterns
  • cutting cardstock papers for English Paper Piecing
  • cutting templates for meticulous cutting using a thicker material like template plastic
  • drawing embroidery designs on fabric
  • cutting clothing patterns using the Simplicity patterns available in Cricut Design Space
  • quick projects from the Ready-to-Make Projects library in Cricut Design Space
  • helping my kids create cards for Thank Yous, holidays, etc.
  • other family and school projects not even related to quilting
  • and so, so, so much more!

I’ve already designed a little robot for my son, who loves robots and goes around telling people that they are either in or falling out of favor in his eyes because of the number of hearts in their heart tanks.

maxwell's heart tank robot cricut makerFor example, when I do something he really loves, he says, “You just got 10,000 hearts in your heart tank!” and if we tell him he can’t have a second cookie, he says, “Your heart tank is almost empty!” in a warning voice, finger wagging for emphasis. How perfect is this little robot for him? I’m thinking I’ll make it a layered card stock creation to frame for his room. This was easy to make, since the robot is a free image in the Design Space, and adding the heart, customizing colors, and adding the text was very straightforward.

As you can see, one little afternoon with the Cricut Maker, and my to-make list has already grown quite a bit! Can you blame me?

cricut maker world of possibilityNow for the nitty gritty: how much does the Cricut Maker cost? The Cricut Maker machine retails for about $399.99.  When you buy a Cricut Maker, in the box you get: a Cricut Maker™ machine, Rotary Blade + Drive Housing, Premium Fine Point Blade + Housing, Fine Point Pen, FabricGrip™ Mat 12″ x 12″, LightGrip™ Mat 12″ x 12″, welcome book, USB cable, power adapter, Cricut Access™ free trial membership, 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns, materials for a first project.

If you plan to use the Cricut Maker for primarily quilting and fabric-related projects, you might want to get the Cricut Maker + Essentials Collection ($459.99), which comes with two larger 12″x24″ FabricGrip Mats and washable fabric pen, among other sewing-related tools. As I said earlier in the post, I don’t have any affiliation with Cricut, so I don’t get anything if you buy one. I’m simply sharing what I know and my experience with the Cricut Maker to help you decide if it’s a tool that would work well in your life.

I’m excited about the world of possibilities that exists with the Cricut Maker, and I’ll be sure to share my projects and experience as they happen. I’m excited about a new knife blade that will be coming out soon that will allow for cutting thicker, tougher materials like balsa wood and chipboard. The Cricut Maker’s Adaptive Tools System™ is perfect for the makers among us who don’t want to be limited to just one craft!

sneak peek project cricut maker quilting embroideryHere’s a sneak peek at a project tutorial I’ll be sharing for the Cricut Maker next week that pairs quilting and embroidery, so stay tuned!

What would you make with a Cricut Maker?

Stitching on the Go: EPP & Visible Mending

I don’t travel often, and when I do, I usually have three kids in tow who demand quite a bit of my attention, so traveling solo to and from QuiltCon early last month was quite a treat. Even with layovers, long flights, and all-day travel days, it seemed like I was on vacation traveling solo. Well, okay, I WAS on vacation… but you know what I mean! All the free time meant that I made a lot of progress with my hand stitching, which I want to finally share with you today.

travel stitching progress EPP mandolin quilt blockI headed off to QuiltCon with an English Paper Piecing (EPP) project–the Mandolin Quilt Block by Jodi at Tales of Cloth. I had gotten a bit further than my last blog update on this project, but I still had the entire outer ring to baste and stitch on, as well as some of the inner colored segments to attach. EPP is my favorite travel stitching project at the moment, since it’s compact, fun, and easy to pick up and put down. I also don’t seem to be tiring of rainbows and high contrast, so hopefully you’re not getting bored, either!

As you can see, I was able to completely finish stitching my Mandolin Quilt block during my travels, which means this is next in line to become an awesome pillow right behind its Moonstone brother. I used Alison Glass fabric in that saturated stunning rainbow for which she’s so well known, and threw in some fun meticulously cut Libs Elliott fabrics from her True Love line for Andover Fabrics for contrast. I stitched it together using Aurifil monofilament thread in smoke, which meant I didn’t need a headlamp for precision on the poorly lit plane, yet you still can’t see any of the stitches. Bonus!

travel stitching visible mendingWhile I was traveling, the mending on my most-worn jeans began to wear through, but fortunately I was able to pick up a mending kit from the Brooklyn Haberdashery booth at QuiltCon, and I stitched on a new patch during my travels home. I love the texture on this patch, and also am kind of loving the mending of mending layered play between the stitches on the original mending and the stitches on the new.

travel stitching visible mendingI used the 12wt Aurifil thread I had with me to stitch on the new patch, whip stitching the full edge in place and then used simple vertical running stitches to secure the patch further. These jeans contain a bit of stretch, which is part of why they are wearing through so quickly, but also means that there’s a good clear Kitty-knee worked into them. That knee mountain makes me laugh, but gosh are these jeans comfortable!

travel stitching progress EPP and visible mendingMy long flight back to NJ after QuiltCon allowed me to finish both of these hand stitching projects, which felt pretty amazing since I typically make progress at a snail’s pace.

I’m still working on my QuiltCon Reflections post, but hope to be sharing that soon. Spoiler: Finishing these projects was the icing on the cake of a wonderful trip.

Modern Plus Sign Quilts Book Blog Hop

I’m excited to be leading off the Modern Plus Sign Quilts book blog hop, celebrating my friends Cheryl and Paige’s new book published by Stash Books/C&T Publishing. Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs and Paige Alexander of Quilted Blooms are two talented designers who have a knack for writing clear and concise instructions, and their newest book is no exception.

modern plus sign quilts book With 16 diverse patterns including a variety of techniques including traditional piecing, applique, and foundation paper piecing, this book is a great resource for quilters of all levels of experience. For the next few weeks, be sure to follow along with the Modern Plus Sign Quilts Book Blog Hop to see makes using all of the versatile patterns in their book, and to enter to win a bunch of fun prizes. Pst… you could win an Aurifil thread set today, so be sure to head over to enter!

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouchAs part of the hop, I got to play with the Signature Plus pattern, and opted to make a large open wide zippered pouch using the free pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I knew that February would be completely packed with QuiltCon prep, so this large pouch was a great way to show off the versatility of the blocks and patterns in Modern Plus Sign Quilts, while also ensuring I would have time to finish my project!

signature plus quilt prepOne thing I love about the Signature Plus pattern is that it’s designed as a pattern well suited to group quilts, inspired by Red Cross signature block quilts from the early twentieth century. You can read more about the history of Red Cross quilts here–so interesting!

Photo credit: C&T Publications, from Modern Plus Sign Quilts

Because it’s designed for group quilts, not only are the cutting instructions for Signature Plus provided for the quilt as a whole, but there are also single block cutting instructions so that if you make it as a bee block quilt or group quilt, the individual quilt block math is already done for you and easily laid out. Cheryl and Paige thought of everything!

Photo credit: C&T Publications, from Modern Plus Sign Quilts

For my large zippered pouch, I used one of the smaller plus sign blocks from the pattern as the focal block. I pulled some repurposed black leather, some Essex linen in charcoal, and some scraps of Oakshott deep red shot cotton from my stash, bought the perfect zipper from my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, and dove in.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouchI used 50wt Aurifil 2692-Black to assemble the plus block and pouch, and 40wt 2230-Red Peony to quilt over the plus sign to give it a bit of punch.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch alison glass liningI was excited to find some Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric that was the perfect pouch lining, too. I always love when I can use some much loved fabric from my stash in its perfect project.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch zipperWhile zipper installation isn’t fearfully new for me, I’m still not a pro, so I’m excited at how well this zipper went in.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch upcycled leatherSewing with leather for this project was much trickier than when I used leather in basic quilt blocks, simply because the bottom seam joins ended up being four layers thick. I admittedly did not use heavy duty leather sewing machine needles, so that could be why my workhorse Bernina 560 couldn’t make it through and instead skipped stitches. I ended up hand stitching about an inch or two of each center bottom seam, which worked just fine. I’m proud of how well everything aligns, though, since bag sewing is not something I do very often!

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch zipper pullEven the little detail on the zipper pull makes me happy. It’s the little details, right?modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch The largest size of pouch fit the plus block from the Signature Plus quilt pattern perfectly, and I think it will make a great, sleek and elegant first aid kit. It’s large enough to fit all of the first aid kit supplies needed for a busy and active family with three adventurous little ones, even the bulk sized box of Band-Aids! I like to think it’s a mature, cool looking first aid kit. Right? Humor me!modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch I noticed that I even have the “Quiltvent” variety of bandaids–how perfect!! To be honest, when I first planned to make this First Aid style zippered pouch, I fully intended to stuff it full of first aid supplies and keep it handy on family adventures.

modern plus sign quilts book signature plus zippered pouch Now that it’s finished, though, I might just keep it for myself, filled with a secret stash of chocolate. Shhhh don’t tell the kids!

You can get a signed copy of the Modern Plus Sign Quilts book from either Cheryl’s Meadow Mist Designs Etsy Shop or Paige’s Quilted Blooms Designs Esty Shop , or unsigned copies can be purchased on Amazon, from C&T Publishing, or from a number of other domestic and international sources.

Be sure to check out the other gorgeous Signature Plus makes today, as well as all of the other stops along the Book Blog Tour:

MODERN PLUS SIGN BOOK HOP SCHEDULE

Monday, March 12th
Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Paige @ Quilted Blooms

Tuesday, March 13th
Soma @ Whims and Fancies
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Kitty @ Night Quilter <—YOU’RE HERE
Sophie @ Luna Lovequilts
Afton @ Quilting Mod
Shelley @ The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts

Wednesday, March 14th
Jayne @ Twiggy and Opal
Jen @ A Dream and a Stitch
Abigail @ Cut & Alter
Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl
Sandra @ mmm! quilts
Karen @ Run Sew Fun

Thursday, March 15th
Linda @ Flourishing Palms
Bernie @ Needle and Foot
Liz @ Savor Every Stitch
Stacey @ Stacey In Stitches
Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty
Patty @ Elm Street Quilts
Melanie @ A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog

Friday, March 16th
Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
Izzy @ Dizzy Quilts
Ruth @ Charly and Ben’s Crafty Corner
Christa @ Christa Quilts

Monday, March 19th
Jessica @ Quilty Habit
Cindy @ Hyacinth Quilt Designs
Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter
Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

Tuesday, March 20th
Tish @ Tish N Wonderland
Judy @ Sew Some Sunshine
Emily @ The Darling Dogwood
Wanda @ Wanda’s Life Sampler
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Katherine @ Sew Me Something Good

Wednesday, March 21st
Anja @ Anja Quilts
Kate @ Smiles from Kate
Sue @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Carole @ From My Carolina Home
Alison @ Little Bunny Quilts

Thursday, March 22nd
Debbie @ Esch House Quilts
Laura @ Slice of Pi Quilts
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts
Janice @ Color Creating and Quilting
Joanne @ Quilts by Joanne

Friday, March 23rd
Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs
Paige @ Quilted Blooms

Many congratulations to both Cheryl and Paige on a wonderful book! I look forward to seeing everyone’s plus sign quilt creativity blossom as a result!

I’m going to link up with Let’s Bee Social, Crazy Mom Quilts’ Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF since it’s been ages since I’ve had a finish to share!!

Happy sewing!

2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 Goals

It’s no secret I struggle to finish things. In fact, last year, I made it my yearly focus to finish what I started, but then got distracted by other fun ideas and didn’t actually succeed in finishing much of anything! Oops. Life happens and all is fair in love and creativity, right? This year I’m going to try something a bit different. I’m going to *try* to join in on the community link ups that focus on FINISHING projects completely, namely the 2018 Finish-A-Long hosted by a group of bloggers across the world, and One Monthly Goal hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts. In my style, I’ve already missed the link up for the January goal for One Monthly Goal, but perhaps I’ll get February’s posted in time! I’m sneaking in right under the wire for the Finish-A-Long Quarter 1 link up, but I made it!

2018 Finish A Long Logo 2

There is a lot going on behind the scenes here, between preparing for my QuiltCon classes and lecture, working for the Quilter’s Planner manning the Instagram feed and leading a January daily photo challenge as well as helping guide the 2018 Block of the Month Sampler sew along (so many fun things happening over in the QP community!), working on the development of a couple of patterns I hope to release before summer hits, and of course being a full time mom and wife, so I don’t imagine my lists will be long. But any progress is progress, and one more way to help keep me motivated can’t be a bad thing.

As seen in December when I joined the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge, committing to a public community goal helps motivate me to meet my goals. While I didn’t post a blog post every day in December (note that I went into it not expecting to post every day), I did write or work on blog posts nearly every day and I published 8 posts for the month when my monthly average for the 6 months prior was 2-3 posts. That’s a marked improvement and I consider my goal met.

finish along 2018 q1 goalsSo here I go again, publicly announcing my goals so that maybe the thought that you or someone out there is eagerly anticipating my finish, cheering me on, and helping spark my fire even when I’m feeling heavily weighted with other responsibilities, will help me stay on track.

The first quarter of this year includes a good amount of travel and preparation for QuiltCon, which is in late February in Pasadena, California, so I know most of my time will be spent fine-tuning my classes, preparing handouts, and practicing my lecture so that I can share my knowledge, inspiration, and tips the best I possibly can (It’s not too late to sign up for the Advanced Quilt Photography classes I’m teaching with Michelle Bartholomew at QuiltCon, or to register for my Quilts to Mark Milestones lecture Sunday morning, so go register if you will be in Pasadena and haven’t already!).  The Finish-A-Long guidelines clearly encourage us to set high goals, but I also know I need to set myself up for success so I don’t get too overwhelmed or discouraged, so I’m going to start with four projects I hope to have completely finished by early April when Q1 ends:

1 – One Year of Stitches Embroidery hoop from 2017

may 1 year of stitches embroidery freestyle aurifil threadI still have about 14 days worth of stitches to complete to have fully finished the stitching for my 364 days of stitching, 1 year of stitches freestyle embroidery project I took on in 2017.  The photo included above is an old old old one from May 2017, so there is MUCH more stitched at this point (see the photo with the projects together to get a peek!)! I want to get the stitches finished and documented, post the fully updated post on IG at my @nq1yearofstitches account, publish a blog post with monthly updates that has been in draft form since May 2017, and fully finish the hoop so it’s ready to hang on my wall.

2 – Rainbow Moonstone Pillow

alison glass rainbow moonstone giucy giuce epp patternI want to completely finish my epically gorgeous (modest, aren’t I? haha) rainbow Moonstone pillow I made using Giuseppe @giucy_giuce’s Moonstone quilt EPP pattern and Alison Glass fabrics. Right now, it’s fully stitched together, stitched onto the backing, and most of the papers are removed.  I still need to finish removing the papers, trim the seam allowance edges of the backing fabric, layer, baste and quilt the pillow front, make the pillow back (I want it to have a zipper closure–I haven’t yet decided whether it will be a side seam zipper or a zipper across the backing yet–and finish the pillow. I’m using Aurifil monofilament thread to stitch and quilt this, and it’s an exciting new look (it really is invisible!).

3 – Secret Sewing Project

secret sewing fabric pullI’m doing some secret sewing for a book release blog tour in March, and unfortunately can’t tell you much more than that. I have my project chosen and fabrics pulled, but haven’t cut into it yet. I’m planning to use some thrifted leather and scraps of Oakshott Lipari red fabrics in this one, paired with Essex Linen in charcoal. It’s a small project, but I’m excited about this one! This project is my given, since the fact that I have a hard deadline means that I will finish this project no matter what. I don’t mind setting myself up for some success, though, so it’s included here.

4 – Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Quilt

rainbow eye spy picnic plaid quilt flimsy finishThis one is a stretch only because of the limited time I have this quarter, but I want to put this quilt at the top of my list. I began it back in 2016 during the Quilter’s Planner Sew Along and have the full quilt top finished and the backing pieced. I need to layer and baste the quilt (my brick wall when it comes to finishes!), quilt it, bind it, finish it, and finally gift it.  I’m thinking Max has most likely forgotten about it at this point, so it will be a fun surprise when (if?… no, WHEN) I finish it.

So there you have it. Think I can do it? I’m excited at the prospect of having a little extra motivation to finish these projects, and also hope this can get me back into the thick of the quilt blogging community. There’s so much inspiration to share! Here’s to fabulous finishes!

My Best of 2017

I’m in the thick of that time warp of a week between Christmas and the New Year, and I admittedly don’t even know what day it is. We are traveling, visiting my family in New Jersey, spending days relaxing, visiting, and watching the kids play with toys, aunts, and uncles. I *do* know that it’s not yet 2018, though, so I’m reveling in that end of year coast into the new year.

Best of 2017 meadow mist designMy dear friend Cheryl at Meadow Mist Design is once again hosting a “Best of” linky party, inviting bloggers to share the best five posts from 2017, so it’s a perfect time to look at the analytics and statistics from my blog, as well as reflect on my personal highlights from the year. I invite you to reminisce along with me.

Most Viewed Blog Post(s)

I’m considering this one a tie, since the views for these posts have a less than 20 views difference:staggered quilt theory quilt pattern flowersMy Staggered Quilt pattern release for Quilt Theory’s spring collection had the most views from 2017. I did not have many big quilt finishes this year, and this is definitely one of my favorite quick and easy patterns, so I’m excited to see this one at the top.

Finn's Milestone quilt finishA very close runner up was my post about Finn’s Milestone Quilt finish. This project is very near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons, and I’m happy that its completion was as exciting for you as it was for me.  What an epic project, and I’m happy to report that Finn sleeps with the quilt every night and still drags it around with him from time to time.

Most Viewed Tutorial Blog Post

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyI was happy to see that my Easter collaboration with Hillary of Entropy Always Wins ranked the highest on tutorial posts this year! A combination of using repurposed materials (leather, wool, felt, etc) and hand stitched detail, this project is uber versatile and so much fun. It also can be made in any imagined shape, so it’s pretty timeless.

My Favorite New Projectsummer adventure quilt progress

While my Summer Adventure Quilt didn’t rank among highest views, it’s definitely my favorite new project.  I’m guessing that the fact that I’ve not yet been able to complete all of the blocks and get the quilt top together is part of what’s to blame with its lack of public enthusiasm, since it’s kind of hard to be enthusiastic about a project you haven’t yet seen in its entirety, but it’s one of my favorites. I’m hoping to have the blocks finished and the quilt top complete by early 2018, so it just might actually rank a bit higher next year. Time will tell!

2017 Best Nine on Instagram

nightquilter best nine 2017 IGSince I love Instagram so, I would be remiss if I did not share my top viewed posts there as well. This collection is a fun one, including my big 10K follower milestone, two of my favorite Greenery quilt blocks, my Bee’s Knees quilt, Plenty of EPP, from Flowermania, to Moonstone, to the EPP and pieced skinny bins I made for an Art Gallery Fabrics stitchy party with Mathew at Mister Domestic, and a cameo by the gorgeous mini quilt Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl made for me (bottom center). Neither Finn’s quilt nor my Summer Adventure quilt made the cut this year, but they still rank high in my list of favorites for the year.

Most Viewed Blog Post EVER

one hour basketWhile the blog posts listed above rank highest of those written in 2017, the post about the one hour basket (that took me six hours to make!) written back in 2015 was the most viewed ever with over 7,000 views since it was written. This was such a fun make, featuring my favorite Alison Glass fabrics paired with Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen, but also is a favorite since I made this basket while attending a class with quilty friend Sarah from Berry Barn Designs at one of my fabulous quasi-local quilt store, Alewives Fabrics. It’s fun to see how timeless this post is, and I’m thinking perhaps it’s time I make a few more one hour baskets. They are a super handy and quick project!

Thank you, as always, for following along with me here, sharing in my inspiration and project progress, and creating the community I hold so dear. I’m hoping to blog a bit more regularly in 2018 and look forward to sharing more tips, tutorials, project progress, and inspiration with you! I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and look forward to a colorful, productive, and FUN 2018!

Reflections & Goals for 2018

This time of year always results in the oddest collision of feelings–excitement for the family filled fun that comes during the holiday season, either stress over the projects I need to finish for the holidays or disappointed-letting-go of projects I will never complete in time, introspection and reflection on what goals I met (and didn’t meet) in the year behind me, eager anticipation and renewed inspiration for the possibilities that exist in the new year, gratitude for the gifts that I experience daily, and many more in between. As 2017 leads into 2018, these feelings seem to crash together like waves, one emerging strongly at one point only to be engulfed and buried by another the next moment. That odd transition from one year to the next, it’s really just the passing of a day like any other, so how does it hold such power? Does this happen for you, too? or is it just me?

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerEvery year, my dear friend Yvonne hosts a Planning Party on her blog Quilting Jetgirl, which really helps motivate me to sit down and sort through all of these feelings, reflections, dreams, and limitations, and try to determine my goals for the next year. I’ve decided to share my reflections on 2017 and goals for 2018 here, both to make a record of my intentions at this moment, and to maybe help inspire you to not only define your goals and determine steps to help you reach them, but also to be gentle with yourself when life doesn’t go as planned. Since honestly, when does life ever go as planned?

Reflection on 2017

Let’s start by looking at the goals I set for myself in January of this year. A few days ago when I read this over, I honestly laughed out loud.  I’ll give you a spoiler: I accomplished hardly any of these goals, but oh, I had such high hopes back in January! Here’s the list, with my comments in bold after each one.

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects. Here I intended to pick up my repurposed 100 blocks in 100 days project that used all upcycled garments, but that wasn’t meant to be. I did use repurposed textiles in my contribution to Mel from Mel in the Attic’s Woman’s Work, so I’ll give myself a 1. I also am realizing I never shared about that collaboration here!;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!) I definitely did that this year. I only bought fabric for specific projects, or Alison Glass fabric (my weakness!), and not much at that.  I consider this one met.;
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills. While I sketched out ideas for three (3) of these prompts, not a one made it into reality. I did not meet this goal.;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end. I did this!!! My Greenery quilt was really quite fun, and I did a fairly good job of making blocks from various bees here and there, until I had the idea for my Summer Adventure Quilt. Once my Summer Adventure Quilt began (see the most recent update here), Greenery took a backseat and has been sorely neglected. I do not have enough blocks for a full quilt yet and I’m still deciding what to do about it.;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description I did not meet this goal. Fear, or fear that I would not be able to dedicate the time needed to organize, piece, and follow through with this idea has stalled me. It’s still simmering, but has not been met.
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing I attended the Slow Fashion Retreat with A Gathering of Stitches in August and I very much am slowly wading into the Slow Fashion movement. I’ve made two tops–one of which I might actually wear!, and I’ve found a sewing buddy with whom I aim to sew 9 garments in 2018, so I did pretty well with this one!
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment. I did not hand stitch a garment, although I’ve mended 2 pairs of my jeans, a pair of my son’s shorts, and began repairs on my daughter’s jeans. Not what I meant by the goal, but hand stitched garments all the same!;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience. I did this! I did quilt photography for Carole Lyle Shaw’s newly released book Patriotic Modern, did product photography for two local artisans (including Spring Fed Farm), and I also completed the epic Quilter’s Planner photography project of 14 quilted items for the 2018 Planner. Combined with ongoing photography projects for the Quilter’s Planner, I consider this goal met and surpassed!;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things! Not yet! I am teaching at QuiltCon in Pasadena in February 2018, so that will be one (well, 4 courses and 1 lecture!). 
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week! Sad to say the exercise habit hasn’t happened. I have built up to doing yoga 3ish times per week, and I did a LOT of hiking over the summer, but I consider this goal not met.
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!) I very nearly succeeded in this! Near the end of the summer, I got off track, but so far have stitched for each day, even if it’s not posted on the correct day. I have a couple week’s worth of stitches to update on Instagram, but it looks like I’m actually going to meet this goal! 
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!! Oh goodness. No goal met here. I finished Finn’s Milestone quilt, but that might be the only WIP from 2016 that I finished. Oops. Yikes. 

So clearly, I did not meet many of my goals from 2017. It really was a year of very few finishes. In looking back at what quilts or projects I’ve finished, the list is very short: Finn’s Milestone quilt, two quilts for Quilt Theory: Staggered and Into the Forest, and my Superbolt Mini Quilt. I may have missed one, but that very well may be the extent of my finishes for 2017. So much for the mantra of “Finish what I’ve started.”

summer adventure quilt progress
Photo from about midway through the summer. There are many more blocks than these!

So what did I do in 2017? I did a LOT of hiking! We hiked at least once per week pretty much every week from March through September.

great pond mountain hikePaired with making an improv tree block before every hike, as well as other blocks to represent other summer adventures, my summer was pretty much filled with the Summer Adventure Quilt and all of the family adventures that went with it. I call that a win.

2018 Quilters Planner and mini-hi resI also did a lot of work for the Quilter’s Planner. Between photographing all 15 projects (I really need to share a post on this soon!), taking photos of the 2017 and 2018 planner both for marketing and for posting on the Instagram feed, and working as the Social Media Manager heading off the Instagram feed, I spent a lot of my time helping inspire others and providing tips on how to plan, stay organized, and create a positive routine of productivity and inspiration. In 2018, I aim to practice what I preach! (laugh with me here!) Honestly, though, the Quilter’s Planner is such an amazing tool, jam packed full of inspiration. Working with Stephanie is really fulfilling and I really do love it.  As with any job, it takes time.

Finally, of course I’m also the full time mom of three amazing children, the wife of a fun-loving husband, and the keeper of a lovely home in rural Maine. That in and of itself is a full time job. All this to say, I’m not disappointed in what I accomplished in 2017. I do, however, hope to use this reflection to help me set more manageable goals for 2018.

Goals for 2018

Where to begin? Since my high aspirations were a bit too high for 2017, I decided to focus on self care, family time, and finding a good balance of time spent on work and fun (both quilting and otherwise!).

I pulled out my 2018 Quilter’s Planner and opened to the Yearly Goals page (this planner really is amazing… and that’s not just my bias talking) to help me brainstorm and get ideas down on paper.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerI chose 3 main goals, and then listed a few steps that would help me achieve each goal. Here they are:

1 – Sew for my family and me, and not just work

  • Finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt
  • Finish Moonstone pillow
  • Plan for 2-3 hours per week dedicated to me-makes
  • Finish Summer Adventure Quilt–finish making blocks, piece top, quilt, finish
  • Sew 9 garments for me!
    • Pick patterns
    • Find sewing buddy!

2 – Focus on Self Care and Family Time

  • Yoga-make it a routine at least 3x per week
  • Schedule and plan ahead more (using Planoly, scheduled blog posts, etc.) so that work isn’t constantly on my mind
  • Actually make goal #1 happen–finish the family quilts that have been on my WIP list for a year+
  • Say NO to some opportunities
  • Summer Adventure 2018?

3 – Continue to Grow and Maintain Night Quilter

  • Blog 3x per week
  • Newsletter 1x per month
  • Quilt & Product Photography – 2 jobs (Quilter’s Planner and ???)
  • Pattern Development:
    • Release 2-3 personal patterns
    • 1 submission to a magazine
    • Stretch: QAL
  • Teach – rock my QuiltCon classes and lecture and then evaluate direction from there–do I actively pursue teaching gigs, or focus on home and family time until my kids are older?
  • Take on no more than 4 outside sew-along, blog hop, or other pattern promoting projects unless it has a measurable impact to build my business.

goal setting planning for new year quilter's plannerSo there you have it. My goals for 2018 are laid out and in public. They now are real, even if they are still written in pencil in my planner.

Any tips to sticking with your goals and making it happen? I’m going to begin by using my Quilter’s Planner in a more organized way. Right now, I absolutely can’t live without it, but I use it more of a to-do list brain dump and “if all stars align and everything is awesome” weekly and daily goals list, than a meticulous plan with actionable, measurable, and attainable steps to get me there. The brain-dump helps keep me sane, prevents me from missing appointments, and helps me feel like I accomplished something even on my craziest days. Now I think it’s time to step it up a notch and work on improving my routines to help me make better use of my time AND take better care of myself.

Here’s to an inspired, productive, and nurturing year ahead!

What are your goals for 2018?

2018 Planning Party

I’m linking up with Yvonne’s Planning Party 2018 over at Quilting Jetgirl.