Category Archives: Paper piecing

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!

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.

Constant Flux Christmas: Pattern Release!

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced pattern snowfallBack in July, I promised to release this pattern to the public when the snow began to fly. This past weekend, we had our very first snow of the season here in midcoast Maine, which happened to be perfect timing since today I’m pleased to present Constant Flux Christmas, a pattern hack on my original Constant Flux pattern.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced pattern snowfallWhen playing around with color placement on my Constant Flux pattern, I realized that by merging large sections, an entirely new pattern emerged–one that looks to me like a modern take on a wreath and star. I decided to make it easy and adjusted the pattern templates to reflect this heavily altered version, and thus Constant Flux Christmas was born. This is a fun, beginner-friendly pattern that would look great not only in traditional colors, but also in any other colors you throw its way! I’ll be sharing photos of all of the gorgeous versions sewn up by my pattern testers so you can see for yourself!

Constant Flux Cover--Christmas! foundation paper pieced patternThe pattern includes printable foundation templates, cutting suggestions, general foundation paper piecing tips, clear assembly instructions, and a coloring page to help you plan your project. There are no tricky angles, odd shapes, or difficult joins, yet the design options are boundless.

constant flux christmas foundation paper pieced patternConstant Flux Christmas is now available for digital download both on Craftsy and in my Payhip shop for those of you in the EU. This week it will be available for an introductory price of $5, after which it will return to its standard price. ‘Tis the season for adding one more holiday sew to your list, right?

Pattern Tester Versions

Constant Flux Christmas by Jitka Clements
Pattern tested by Jitka Clement @jitkadesign

With this pattern, I finally got brave and put a call out for pattern testers on Instagram. I was amazed by the response, and within 24 hours had an eager and skillful crew of quilters ranging from absolute foundation paper piecing beginner to experienced, ready to tackle Constant Flux Christmas and provide feedback.

Constant Flux Christmas by Jitka Clement straight on
Pattern tested by Jitka Clement @jitkadesign

Future pattern testing groups will be quite a bit smaller, but there was so much excitement, I accepted quite a few!

Constant Flux Christmas by Isabelle Selak
Pattern tested by Isabelle Selak @southbaybella

Every single one of them did an amazing job, sewed up the mini quilt in less than a week (some were finished the first day!), and provided excellent feedback on ways to make the pattern even better. I’m so grateful for all of them, and am excited to show you all of their different versions.

Constant Flux Christmas by Nissa Boeckman
Pattern tested by Nissa Boeckman @baladigiraffe

Some stuck to the traditional red, green, and gold colorway, using both consistent fabrics throughout and scrappy versions.

Constant Flux Christmas by Lauren Wood
Pattern tested by Lauren Wood
Constant Flux Christmas by Jessical Lopez Enriquez
Pattern tested by Jessica Lopez Enriquez @thegorillaandthepig
Constant Flux Christmas by Angela
Pattern tested by Angela Hardin @pepperhardin4356
Constant flux by Amanda Allen
Pattern tested by Amanda Allen @another.amanda
Constant Flux by Alyson Olander
Pattern tested by Alyson Olander @alysonwonderlan
Constant Flux Christmas by Karen Weiderman
Pattern tested by Karen Weiderman @kayweedie
Constant Flux Christmas detail by Karen Weiderman
Constant Flux Christmas quilting detail by Karen Weiderman.
Constant Flux Christmas by Katharine Vonbibra
Pattern tested by Katharine Vonbibra. Love that EPP center!!!

I love how a couple of the testers got really creative with their centers–maybe the clever additions cover up a not-quite-perfectly-aligned center, or maybe the centers are PERFECT and it’s simply an added design element–you’ll never know, and the mini quilts look fantastic! LOL

Constant Flux Christmas by Darlene Cunningham
Pattern tested by Darlene Cunningham @dcapulus

Some of the pattern testers tried out different color palettes, and I really love the way this pattern looks in all of them!

Constant Flux Christmas by Lisa Tucker
Pattern tested by Lisa Tucker @duhquilts
Constant Flux Christmas by Cheryl Kirk
Pattern tested by Cheryl Kirk.
Constant Flux Christmas by Kat Ayers
Pattern tested by Kat Ayers @kitkabbit
Constant Flux Christmas by Evie Landry
Pattern tested by Evelyn Landry @evie_landry
Constant Flux Christmas by Rachael Loving-Painter
Pattern tested by Rachael Loving-Painter @glamstream

Aren’t they all gorgeous!?

I can’t wait to see Constant Flux Christmas done up in your fabric choices! Get yours on Craftsy and in my Payhip shop for those of you in the EU. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

I’ll be linking up to Let’s Bee Social, Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF. Flimsy finished are double the fun when they come with a pattern release!

The Mug Club: Paper Love Doppelganger Mug

Today I’m joining in on another sew along hosted by Kerry Goulder of Kid Giddy and her twin sister Sue of Moss and Lotus. The Mug Club Sew Along is a year long event hosted on Instagram in which participants sew up any one of the 12+ mug paper pieced patterns in the Mug Club and share on social media. Check the hashtags #TheMugClub or #TheMugClubSAL to see the most eclectic and amazing collection of fabric mugs you’ve ever seen.

There’s something particularly inviting about these mug patterns, since anything can go on a mug. A person’s collection of coffee mugs can tell you so much about them–places they’ve gone, their sense of humor, their family (do they have a “I love Grandma” mug? Most likely, they have doting grandchildren!) Maybe it’s just me who reads into coffee mugs, but either way, I feel like these patterns allow SO much room for creativity, expression, and sometimes just straight quirkiness (always a good thing!).

alexander henry steven mug club mug rugAs soon as Kerry asked me to play along, I knew exactly what fabric I was going to use. A few years ago, while stopping in at Clementine Fabrics in Rockland, Maine, after a family day at the beach, I spotted this amazing Alexander Henry fabric with a geometric sketched ocean, sailing ships, anchors, a buxom mermaid figurehead, and (the part that caught my attention) a large face that looks exactly like my brother. The fabric is called Lost at Sea and although my brother is not a salty sailor, it was one of those fabrics that I knew I had to buy even though I had no idea what to make with it, since the face looked so uncannily like Steven. As a little backstory, my brother is an extremely talented artist who spent much of his high school years painting portraits, nearly always using his own reflection as his reference. He already has countless creations sporting his likeness, so what’s one more to the pile, right?

alexander henry steven mug club mug rugI used the 10″ Paper Love Mug since it was *just* large enough to fit the full face, and simple enough not to seem busy with the wavy background. Whether my brother will love the mug rug I make with this mug block or just get a good hearty laugh over it, I don’t care. It’s just one of those gifts that must be given.

the mug club alexander henry lost at seaI visited my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply and got some perfect Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in Navy as the background, and used stashed Kona Navy Blue as the handle. I stitched the block with Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove, but plan to use a dark navy for quilting. I’m still trying to decide whether to quilt the face, or whether I should leave it as is. I might *try* to stitch some hand quilting with 50wt dark navy thread so that I’m sure to get it exactly on the drawn lines.

the mug club alexander henry lost at seaI also might add some embroidered detail to that anchor tattoo. We’ll see how brave I get. That’s the one thing with using my brother’s Doppelganger fabric–I daren’t mess up the face! Either way, I think he’ll get a kick out of the gift, and I have finally found a way to gift a piece of this stashed fabric to him!

mug club part 1 by kidgiddyThe Paper Love Mug (top center) is part of the Mug Club Part 1, designed by Kerry at Kid Giddy.

mug club part 2 by sue moss and lotusThe Mug Club Part 2 has another fun selection of 6 mugs, designed by Sue of Moss and Lotus. Aren’t they all so fun! Do you see your favorite mug? If you don’t follow Kerry and Sue yet, I recommend it–they are always having some creative sisterly fun together!

Go ahead and have some fun perusing some of the other mugs at #TheMugClub or #TheMugClubSAL since there is SUCH a fun variety.

What would you put on your mug?

A Tiny Bit of {Tomte} Stitching

It’s been quiet here lately, but I have been doing a tiny bit of sewing. Literally, only 2″ finished square little! With the hustle and bustle of life, my sewing progress has slowed a bit. I’m still sewing, and trying to create daily, but progress is slowwww. When I saw that Sue from Moss & Lotus was having a Tomte Sew Along on Instagram, I knew I wanted in. I had been admiring the cute little gnome-like Tomtes popping up in my feed, and resisting the urge to add yet another project to my unfinished projects pile. Then Sue asked me if I would make a block or two, and honestly, how could I say no? These guys (and gals) are adorable! Plus, the bigger Tomtes will make wonderful coaster or mug rug gifts. I love having an end use in mind before beginning a new project!

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced pattern moss and lotusBefore stitching up a Peder or Halvor Tomte (my two favs at the moment), I had to sew one of the adorable Tiny Tomtes! This Tiny Tomte is a free addition when you buy the Tomte Bundle and is the size of a mini charm square. I’m going to try to resist the urge to make sweet little Tiny Tomte ornaments for everyone I know, but no promises! This particular little guy will happily live on our tree this year, once I give him a little French knot nose and finish him up with some hand quilting and binding.

tiny tomte moss and lotus foundation paper pieced blockI used a Henry Glass print for the background, since the mushroom and snail seemed right at home with this Tiny Tomte. This print actually also happens to be the very first fabric I ever bought, years and years ago before I began quilting. The red fabric is from my scrap bin, some gorgeous Oakshott Lipari from my Vesuvius quilt. The white is a tiny scrap of Robert Kaufman Kona white. These blocks would actually be really fun uses for any tiny scraps.  I used 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove thread since that lives in my machine and works for everything.

large shelf fungus tiny tomte foundation paper pieced pattern moss and lotusAfter sewing up this Tiny Tomte, I had to take him out on an adventure in the woods so that he would feel at home. During my youngest’s nap, I ventured out behind our house and Tiny Tomte had a fun photo shoot! We found a gorgeous shelf fungus on a tree stump, so Tiny Tomte played beneath it.

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus pattern

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus patternAnd on top of it!

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus patternHe climbed some trees and gathered some souvenirs.

tiny tomte foundation paper pieced moss and lotus patternA pinecone three times his size and an evergreen bough will have to hold him over until we cut our Christmas tree this year. I think they will do just fine.

What would you make with a Tiny Tomte?

 

Flit and Bloom Blog Tour: Fussy Cutting Fun

Meticulous cutting is one of my favorite quilting past times, and with all of the new English Paper Piecing (EPP) patterns coming out, there’s ample opportunity for carefully cutting up fabric and piecing it back together in clever ways (widely known as fussy cutting, but read why I prefer “meticulous cutting” here). As soon as I saw Patty Young‘s new Flit and Bloom fabric line for Riley Blake Fabrics, I knew I wanted to create meticulously cut EPP masterpieces with it. From the fanciful hummingbirds and elegant peacocks, to the fact that there are both floral and geometric patterns in the line, there are SO many opportunities for pattern play.

flit and bloom fabric fussy cutting eppToday I’m excited to be the first quilting stop on Patty’s Flit and Bloom Blog Tour, where I get to show you what I’ve been working on these past couple of months using her newest fabric line for Riley Blake Designs. Let’s just say there’s been some meticulous cutting madness in this house lately!

moonstone in flit and bloom eppI began with one of my favorite EPP patterns, Moonstone by Giuseppe (aka @giucy_giuce). I built around the stunning Bloom Henna Blossom in Teal fabric as the center, adding flitting hummingbirds and flowers, some geometric fun to tie the colors together, and coy little pairs of peacocks dancing around the outer edges. I love how this block came together!

peacocks from flit and bloom fabric moonstone eppAren’t these peacocks fun as they dance in pairs around the block?

flowermania epp flit and bloom fabric fussy cuttingWhile I was stitching my Moonstone block, Mathew (aka @misterdomestic)’s new Flowermania quilt EPP pattern arrived on my doorstep. You know I wasn’t going to just let it sit there!! So I dove in, meticulously cutting that same Bloom Henna Blossom in Teal fabric as the petals, showing how versatile this print is with fussy cutting.

flit and bloom fabric fussy cutting flowermania back eppI knew I wanted to incorporate the hummingbirds into this flower block, since hummingbirds and flowers go together like rock and roll, but couldn’t fit them onto any of the individual shapes. Then I realized that I could split the hummingbirds across two background fabrics and decided to go headfirst into meticulous cutting at its best.

flit and bloom fabric fussy cutting flowermania back eppI labeled the humming bird front-back pairs since the Flowermania block is pieced in such a way that they are only joined right at the end as the segments are stitched together. This fussy cutting feat was no easy task, I might add. From the careful cutting to make sure the hummingbird halves would seamlessly meet when stitched together, to basting the pieces *just* so, to then stitching it all together and having it meet perfectly around the green diamonds, this was a challenge. They are not all perfectly matched up, and I learned a few tricks along the way that I’ll keep in mind next time, but overall I’m happy with the outcome.

hummingbird flit and bloom fabric fussy cutting flowermania eppSome hummingbirds match perfectly, but even the imperfect ones are perfect in their own way. Hummingbirds are happily flitting around this Fowermania bloom, and it seems to me that it’s the perfect poster-child block for Flit and Bloom fabrics. Right!?

flit and bloom fabrics lucy boston patchwork of the crosses eppFinally, I started to dive into a Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses block, since what is EPP without Lucy Boston? I love how rotating the fabrics creates even more meticulously cut geometric fun, and I look forward to seeing how this block shapes up.

lucy boston outer pair epp trial runOne of my favorite parts of planning with Lucy Boston blocks is in the outer pairs. I like to make a few “test pairs” with different fabrics and arrangements to see which ones I visually like best.

lucy boston outer pair epp trial runI love that Flit and Bloom has plenty of opportunity for mirror image fussy cutting, since those are my favorites–can you see why?

lucy boston outer pair epp trial runWhich arrangement is your favorite?

aurifil thread 50wt for hand piecing eppI used Aurifil 50wt 2886-Light Avocado thread for all of my piecing, and with the varied colors in these fabrics, its light green color seemed to be the best choice for blending in. Between careful stitching and practicing the flat back stitch, the thread blends right in. I love Aurifil thread for hand stitching!

When I first began piecing these blocks, I was envisioning a sampler EPP pillow, but with the varying sizes of the blocks, I’m thinking I may opt for a table runner instead. That giant Flowermania bloom would make a fantastic centerpiece, wouldn’t it?

flit and bloom fabric fussy cutting eppI hope I’ve inspired you with my meticulous cutting fun with Flit and Bloom fabrics! Fussy cutting opens a whole new world of design, and I encourage you to give it a try!

Giveaway

To help spread the fussy cutting Flit and Bloom love, I have a bundle of Flit and Bloom fabrics left over from my project that I am giving away to one lucky reader.

To enter the giveaway today, let me know what you would make with Flit and Bloom. 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 listinstagramfacebooktwitter, blog follower, etc.).

This giveaway is open internationally. The giveaway will be open until Saturday, November 11, at 8pm eastern time when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Giveaway is open to participants 18 years or older. This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Pamela! 

flit-an-bloom-quilting-tourBe sure to visit the rest of the stops on the Flit and Bloom Blog tour to see what everyone has made with this fun fabric:

Monday, Nov. 6th – Night Quilter <—YOU ARE HERE!
Tuesday, Nov. 7th – Winging It!/Hummingbird Highway
Wednesday, Nov. 8th – Blue Nickel Studios
Thursday, Nov. 9th – ReannaLily Designs
Friday, Nov. 10th – The Sewing Loft
Saturday, Nov. 11th – The Cloth Parcel

 What would you make with Flit and Bloom?

Moonstone Madness (in the Best Way)

I was bitten by the EPP bug years ago, but this summer I came down with a serious case of Moonstone Madness, and in the best possible way! In June, my talented friend Giuseppe Ribaudo aka @giucy_giuce released his first English Paper Pieced pattern in partnership with Karen of @karenthediyaddict, called Moonstone. He was kind enough to send me a kit and boy has it kept me busy and grinning pretty much all summer! I love EPP and hand stitching is the perfect solution for busily adventuring makers in the summer months, and this pattern didn’t disappoint.

moonstone quilt progress giucy giuce pattern alison glass fabricIn the spirit of setting myself up for success, I opted to make four (4) blocks to make a pillow rather than a full sized quilt, and I dove into my bright Alison Glass stash to put together a fully saturated, smooth rainbow gradient. You know how I feel about rainbows. Alison Glass fabric rainbow + Giucy Giuce EPP project = heaven on a summer’s day!

alison glass rainbow moonstone giucy giuce epp pattern aurifil threadI used mostly 50wt Aurifil thread, with a few 80wts thrown in, using coordinating colors so that the stitches blend right in with the blocks. The threads shown here are (from top left clockwise): 2535-Magenta, 1154-Dusty Orange, 5015-Gold Yellow, 5017-Shining Green, and 1125-Medium Teal, all 50wt. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as matching the perfect thread to your fabric!

alison glass ex libris art theory panel rainbow epp moonstone quiltAlison’s Art Theory print from her Ex Libris line (still my ultimate favorite fabric ever) was my color inspiration, so I planned my 4-block panel around the color flow in the center octagon. Throughout the course of the summer, I finished the four blocks and completely stitched them together!

alison glass rainbow moonstone quilt giucy giuce epp patternNow I am at the point in the game where this could lounge in the works in progress pile for a while, but instead, I am going to use my excitement to forge ahead and aim to finish this beauty, which is sure to be my most favorite pillow of all time.

choosing a background fabric alison glassMy next step is to choose background fabric, press the pieced panel thoroughly, remove the template papers (so that I can use them again!!), and then hand stitch the panel down onto the background fabric. Just last week, I visited my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, ME, in the hopes of buying some yardage of Insignia in charcoal by Alison Glass, which is a nearly-solid. While Fiddlehead did not have the Insignia, they did have two other options that I bought to try out: Flying Geese in Dark Charcoal from Handcrafted, and Ink in Charcoal from Sun Print 2016 (all for Andover Fabrics).

alison glass rainbow moonstone giucy giuce epp patternAfter looking at those options, I still felt like I needed to see the Insignia before deciding, and with the encouragement of a few friends on Instagram, especially Erin who said, “I’m a strong believer in first instinct=best instinct!”, I ordered a yard of Insignia in Charcoal from Alison Glass’s shop. (Thank you Erin!). Clearly, my first gut choice is the winning choice!

alison glass rainbow moonstone quilt giucy giuce pattern aurifil monofilament threadNext I will hand stitch this epic panel to the perfect Insignia background using Aurifil’s monofilament thread in Smoke. I plan to quilt this with the Smoke monofilament thread, too, and I’m so excited just thinking about how amazing this pillow will be. This will be my first time sewing with monofilament thread, either by hand or machine, so I’ll be sure to share how it goes.

If you’d like to get a Moonstone kit for yourself, you can order one HERE on Karen the DIY Addict’s site. The kit is pretty amazing, with acrylic templates for every piece, as well as enough pre-cut foundation papers to make a full 72″x72″ quilt (or lots of pillows!), a booklet with Giuseppe’s reflections, thoughts, tips, and four (4) different layout suggestions, and of course coloring pages for all four layouts.

moonstone quilt ocean theme tula pink giucy giuce pattern aurifilAs for me, I’m nearly finished piecing my next rendition of a Moonstone block, going with the Gems layout and a more nautical theme. I plan to make only one block and top stitch it to a large zippered pouch for a friend to whom I owe a quilt. I’m hoping the consolation diaper pouch/zipped pouch will hold her (and her nearly 1 year old baby) over until I manage to make the quilt!

moonstone madness giucy giuce epp kit patternAs you can see, I’ve been absolutely struck with Moonstone Madness and it doesn’t appear to be tapering off just yet. I’ve had a wonderful time piecing together these blocks, and the portable nature of English Paper Piecing ensures that it is still very much on the top of my “summer stitching” projects list!

What did you stitch this summer? 

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social, since it’s about time I was social in blogland again!

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!

 

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.

 

The Bee’s Knees in Constant Flux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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