American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast Guest

I have some exciting news to share: I will be a guest on Pat Sloan’s inspiring American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast next Monday, March 20th!

American Patchwork Quilting Pocast episode 333 Kitty Wilkin (1)When Pat first invited me to be a guest on her show, I was honored, flattered, and more than a bit nervous since I’m severely hard of hearing and the chat typically happens on live radio over the phone. The phone, as silly as it may seem, is strongly in the running for my biggest fear. With a few emails back and forth, Pat was extremely understanding and accommodating, and suggested a number of alternatives. I ultimately decided to go with her offer of prerecording (instead of live), with Facebook messenger chat open so that if I mis-heard something or missed one of her questions, I could ask her to type it out and the editor could edit out the long pauses. I am so incredible grateful for Pat’s willingness to work around my hearing loss, and once we got going, it was honestly SO fun to talk all things quilting with her! We ended up having a really relaxed and fun conversation, and I had no trouble hearing her (after all that!).

I do hope you’ll have a listen, and if you’re like me and relatively new to podcast listening, you have plenty of time to give it a practice run and make sure you know how to listen in by Monday!  The show time is Monday, March 20th at 4pm Eastern (3pm Central, 2pm mountain, 1pm Pacific) and you can click this graphic to go to the link to listen:

http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/quilting-podcastamerican patchwork and quilting podcast with Pat Sloan

You can listen on your computer, subscribe by iTunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting), or download to a player. If you can’t listen in during the live broadcast at 4pm, you can download the episode (Episode 333) anytime after 6pm on Monday!  In the meantime, feel free to have a listen to previous episodes–you can browse them all here!–there are so many great stories, tips, and laughs shared by many quilters and folks in the industry.

Are you a podcast listener? I know I am looking forward to listening to see how I did (eek), as well as to hear what the other guests have to say. I think I may be hooked on quilting podcasts, now–I may not be able to hear all of them, but they are still so much fun to listen to. Thanks again to Pat Sloan for having me, and happy sewing!

Greenery Quilt Progress

My greenery quilt is slowly growing, despite the fact that I haven’t been sewing all that many new blocks for it over the past month. Between travel, deadlines, and other quilty projects, the greenery block making has dwindled a bit. I’m sneaking two more blocks in this month, but you’ll have to wait just a bit for those reveals! It’s just another reminder of how perfect of a project this is for me–no stress, no worries! I make blocks when I can, and the quilt will grow as it grows!

greenery quilt 2017 nightquilterI haven’t shown much of an update here, so I thought it would be a good time to show you the blocks I do have! I brought my portable design wall right out into the blizzard aftermath, since with all of this white, I thought some green would do it good!

There really aren’t a whole ton of blocks yet, but I’m including blocks from a few different sew-alongs and bees. Here’s a tour…

52 Weeks with the Quilter’s Planner Blocks (with a cameo from the Garden Snail Snail Paced Sew Along hosted by Angie @ Gnome Angel):

unnamed by jane armstrong 52weekswiththequiltersplanner greeneryUnnamed by Jane Armstrong, from the first week of January in the Quilter’s Planner 2017. I started off on the right foot at least! Not one bit of the final layout for this quilt is decided yet, except that this little snail is going to live next to this lovely upward ramp! They seem to go together, and so it shall be.

Doves in the Daylight by Michelle BartholomewDoves in the Daylight by Michelle Bartholomew, from week 2 of the year. Gosh, I love this block!

Double Edged Star by Amy Garro quilter's plannerDouble-Edged Star by Amy Garro, from the last week in February in the Quilter’s Planner. I still want to go back and make some of the blocks I’ve missed, but for now, 1 block per month from the Quilter’s Planner seems to be my pace!

Honey Pot Bee Blocks

greenery quilt 2017 nightquilterThe little improv trees are what kicked off this Greenery quilt, and they were a Wild Card to help get us started with Molli Sparkles’ Honey Pot Bee. Pssst…. I’m a Queen Bee for April, so I’ll be adding another block to the mix soon. You’ll just have to wait and see which block!

starflower block ellison lane honey pot bee greeneryStarflower block, tutorial by Ellison Lane, the January block thrown into the honey pot by Molli himself!

Sewcial Sampler Blocks

patience corners sewcial sampler greeneryThis is Patience Corners, block 1 for the Sewcial Bee Sampler led by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. I’ve only completed one block from the Sewcial Bee so far, but I love the classic simplicity of these blocks and plan to make quite a few more (as soon as I finish my round 2 Quilt Theory quilt–my big deadline at the moment!)

greenery quilt 2017 nightquilterAnd all together now, in the snow, since what better time to spread some greenery than a mid-March blizzard!? Per a suggestion by Anna from Mod Quilt Mom, I’m naming my quilt “It’s Easy Being Green 17” since it’s all about greenery and will be comprised of blocks made in 2017. I still might edit it a bit, but for now, the hashtag is #itseasybeinggreen17quilt on Instagram.

Maddie, my helperNo child-assisted blog post of mine would be complete without a hi from my helper, so here’s a quick photo of my adorable helper today (this is for you, Mom aka Grandma)! Maddie had a snow day, and Max, who goes to preschool just a couple towns over, had school as usual. Isn’t it wild the difference a couple towns can make regarding snow in rural Maine!? So today is a fun Maddie-Mommy-Finn quasi-snow day!

With a bit of growing greenery thrown in, since spring MUST be around the corner!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social!

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!?

Scenes from Savannah: QuiltCon East 2017

The past few weeks have been spent in preparation for our trip to Savannah, Georgia for QuiltCon, the wild travel adventure that was required for us to get there, the excitement of the event, and finally the long trip home. We arrived home late last Tuesday night after a day of flights and then a fully day’s drive with all three kids, having picked up the big kids who spent the week with my parents in New Jersey. When we left home, Maine had 3 feet of snow and highs of 35, yet we arrived home to rain, patches of mud, and just a layer of snow in the yard. It’s amazing what a week can do! There are so many things I’d love to share with you about what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks and my experiences at QuiltCon, so I figured a quick post of highlights would be my best chance of getting it written clearly. I’ll aim to go into more depth for some parts in the days to come.

alison glass constant flux mini quilt for andoverFirst and most exciting is that Andover Fabrics asked me to make an Alison Glass mini quilt to hang in their booth at QuiltCon. How could I say no to that honor?! I decided to go with my pattern Constant Flux, but printed the templates at 90% and rearranged the blocks a bit so that the large focal square was in the middle. I used all fabrics from the Seventy-six, Insignia, and Sun Print 2017 fabric lines by Alison Glass. I added a Wild Boho-inspired bee applique which I embroidered with 12wt Aurifil thread. Both dense 1/2″ machine quilting and colorful hand-quilting finished it off, and from what I heard, there was quite a buzz about it (har har buzz!).

constant flux with alison glass fabric in andover booth quiltcon 2017Here I am proudly standing next to the quilt hung in the fabulous Andover booth.

Andover Booth Quilt Con 2017

alison glass constant flux mini quilt andover booth quiltcon 2017

Workshops and Lectures

Trying new things and stretching my mind are among my top favorite things, so I was sure to register for some workshops and lectures at QuiltCon. I focused on areas I felt I could most benefit from improvement or practice: improv, sewing curves, and improv free motion quilting on a domestic machine.

my minimalist improv mini with Season EvansI really loved the Minimalist Improv class with Season Evans. Her minimalist mindset and explanation of her process was so enlightening, and actually forcing myself to *try* a minimalist palette with improv piecing was so liberating. I made an entire mini quilt during the class, and didn’t touch a rotary cutter or ruler once (except for squaring the finished block). As much as I tried to go into the class with a blank slate mind, I had a preexisting idea to create a minimalist quilt focusing on a trianglesque shape in the upper right hand corner. I abandoned the angular construction plan to try my hand at Season’s style, but still snuck in the little triangle. It’s not as minimalist as Season would create, but it’s VERY minimal for me, I created it entirely improv, AND I love it. Total win!

I also was inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood‘s lecture on finding the Flow with Improv, and took some really great ideas home with me as a result. I’m excited for the next chance I get to play with improv, since Sherri’s lecture inspires me to take a different perspective and tap into other experiences to help me overcome (or flow past) the usual brain-breaking path of uncertainty I traipse while attempting improv.

sewing all the curves with Jen Carlton BaillySew all the Curves with Jen Carlton-Bailley was another fun one! I was encouraged to learn that I am doing everything right when it comes to traditionally piecing curves, I just need more practice for it to feel smooth! It was also really fun to see the many styles and varieties of quilt patterns that incorporate curved piecing, photos of which Jen shared many!

Improv Machine Quilting with Christa Watson was everything I hoped and more. It was such an organized class, with introductions to different motifs and then opportunity to practice on our practice pieces. I LOVE the idea of improv free motion quilting, since it takes some of the pressure off of my self-inflicted desire for perfection. One tip shared by Christa that I especially love was, “The best way to hide imperfections is with more imperfections.”  The human touch adds so much personality, story, meaning, depth…. and imperfections. I’m newly inspired to densely quilt the bajeezus out of some of my quilts, and embrace the flow that emerges.

If you ever have an opportunity to take a class or attend a lecture with any of these talented women, I highly recommend it! I came home ready to celebrate my mistakes, find the flow whether I’m happy with the progress or not, sew curves until the cows come home, free motion quilt all the things, and allow myself to create minimalist creations from time to time as a stress-free palate cleanser. Plus, my husband really likes the mini quilt I made, so that’s a double win!

Quilt Show

quilt con quilt show 2017Thursday morning when I first stepped foot onto the showroom floor, and began slowly walking around to take in the vast depth of beauty, originality, workmanship, and meaning that was displayed in those aisle, I was moved to tears. I don’t have the opportunity to attend many quilt shows, and being in the presence of so many quilts created with such passion by talented fellow quilters and friends was an amazing experience.

quilt Con quilts 2017Despite keeping a fairly light class schedule, I am sure I did not get to see every single quilt that hung at the show, and more time was spent examining details than taking photos. It’s impossible to select favorites, so instead I will share a selection of photos I took of quilts that stood out to me. You can see all of the award winners on the Modern Quilt Guild website, here.

quiltcon 2017 Best in Show modern quilt award
Bling by Katherine Jones @twocatsquilts

Let’s begin with the Best in Show, since it was a pretty epic and gorgeous quilt. Bling by Katherine Jones @twocatsquilts was foundation paper pieced from solids based upon the inspiration of a princess cut diamond. It struck me that the quilt is entirely foundation paper pieced, since that confirms that paper piecing has a strong place in the modern quilt world. Sure, it can help you create perfect shapes and images, but it’s clear now that it can also help take an abstract idea and break it into manageable, clear chunks.

bling best in show detail
Detail: Bling by Katherine Jones @twocatsquilts

The quilting was dense straight line quilting on the diagonal, which did its job. Think about removing all of the papers after piecing this one! Astounding!

img_6240
Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton @brittanybowenburton, Best Machine Quilting

I also saw a lot of curves in the show, the variety of which are demonstrated by this award winner (above:  Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton @brittanybowenburton, which won Best Machine Quilting, Framed, Needle Moves),…

sightseeing-by-daisy-quiltcon
Sightseeing by Daisy Aschehoug @antstosugar

…the cover quilt on the QuiltCon magazine, Sightseeing by Daisy Aschehoug of Ants to Sugar @antstosugar,…

curves in modern quilting quiltcon 2017
Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer
arches modern quilt quiltcon 2017
Detail: Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer

…and Arches by Leah Pahlmeyer. There were many more quilts with curves, both improv and traditionally pieced, and probably your best bet at seeing as many of them as possible is checking out the #quiltcon2017 or #quiltcon hashtags on Instagram.

quiltcon 2017 quilt show
Tea and Skittles by Thomas Knauer @thomasknauer, 2nd place Applique

Statement quilts are still making a strong stand, which was both humbling and empowering to see. As Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl reflected in her recent blog post about QuiltCon, many people use quilt-making as a tool in processing events, or perhaps create quilts out of necessity to help them process, creating some of the most beautiful and powerful textile creations I’ve ever seen. (Read Yvonne’s full post here for more examples and reflection!) I wish I had taken more photos of these powerful quilts, but reading the descriptions and doing my own processing of the inspiration dominated in their presence. The quilt shown above is Tea and Skittles by Thomas Knauer @thomasknauer (Applique 2nd place), and stopped me in my tracks. Read the story here.

chawne kimber quilt quiltcon 2017 text
Autumn is Wistful by Chawne Kimber @cauchycomplete

Text in quilts also dominated, either boldly featured like in Autumn is Wistful by Chawne Kimber @cauchycomplete, subtly and not so subtly pieced like in Implied Consent by Colleen Molen @busybean (3rd place in Use of Negative Space), or quilted into the actual quilting, like in Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us, made by Hillary Goodwin @entropyalwayswins with the Bee Sewcial group blocks (below).

minimalism with meaning: the story of us by hillary goodwin beesewcial quiltcon 2017
Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us by Hillary Goodwin and her BeeSewcial mates
minimalism with meaning: the story of us by hillary goodwin beesewcial quiltcon 2017
Detail: Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us by Hillary Goodwin and her BeeSewcial mates
minimalism with meaning: the story of us by hillary goodwin beesewcial quiltcon 2017
Detail: Minimalism with Meaning: The Story of Us by Hillary Goodwin and her BeeSewcial mates

Hillary tasked her beemates to make blocks that told a story about themselves and then quilted their words into the fully pieced quilt. Quilts tell stories, truly, a fact that is abundantly clear at a quilt show like Quilt Con.

modern quilts quiltcon 2017
Go North by Maritza Soto @sotosewn, Free Spirit Award of Quilting Excellence

Solid fabrics seemed to dominate, with tone on tone and subtle prints playing a stronger hand that bold large-scale prints. This Free Spirit Award of Quilting Excellence winner, Go North by Maritza Soto @sotosewn is a good example, as is the amazingly improv quilt Lincoln by Kim Soper @lelandavestudios (below), which won 1st place for Improvisation.

abe lincoln quilt quiltcon 2017
Lincoln by Kim Soper @lelandavestudios, 1st place Improvisation
canary meets gold mine by stephanie ruyle spontaneousthreads quiltcon 2017
Canary Meets Gold Mine by Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads, 1st place Handwork

I also was excited to see quite a bit of hand quilting and even embroidered details on quilts, which is right up my alley these days! I loved this quilt Canary Meets Goldmine by Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads even before I realized it had won 1st place for Handwork.

canary meets gold mine by stephanie ruyle spontaneousthreads quiltcon 2017
Detail: Canary Meets Gold Mine by Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads, 1st place Handwork

The full amazingness of this quilt cannot be realized until it is inspected from a nose-distance away. French knots!! Amazing, right!?

There were so many amazing quilts and seeing them firsthand, from a nose-distance away in many cases, truly inspired me to continue making beautiful things, to stretch the “rules” and create whatever moves me, continue fine-tuning my skills and techniques, and to attend as many quilt shows as I possibly can.

faces melissa alverinas quiltcon 2017
Moonie McMoonFace by Melissa Alverinos @melissaalverinos
modern quilts quiltcon 2017 savannah
Inside Out by Susan Bleiweiss @suebleiweiss, Applique 1st Place

 

Booths & Vendors

booths and vendors at quiltcon 2017The booths and vendor hall was much fun at QuiltCon. I was able to find replacement milliners needles right before my Facebook Live chat with Aurifil thread, thanks to Red Thread Studio, with quite a few offers of a loaner if I had not been able to find the right needle to purchase. It was exciting to see one of my local quilt shops, Alewives Fabrics, rocking the vending floor, too. Their weekly Lucy Boston kits seemed to be a big hit. I loved playing around on a Handiquilter long arm machine, and can certainly see the appeal of a long arm after having tried it out first hand.

booths and vendor hall quiltcon 2017I did not spend as much time at the booths as I would have liked, both because of fullllll days, but also because most of the time they were absolutely mobbed! These photos were taken Sunday afternoon shortly before the end of the show, which is how you can see the booths.

Special Exhibits

the pulse of quilting quilts for pulse exhibitThere were quite a few special exhibits at QuiltCon, including the quilts of Angela Walters, Siddi Quilts, Quilt Design a Day, Charleston MQG & Emanuel AME Church Project, The Modern Quilt Guild’s 2016 Quilts of the Month, Kona Color of the Year 2016, and The Pulse of Quilting (shown above). I honestly could have spent all four days just exploring these exhibits–there was so much to see, and so many powerful things being done through the gift and art of quilting.

Quilty Friends

Stretching my brain to learn new things in classes, finding renewed inspiration in lectures, seeing row upon row of gorgeously mind blowing quilts, shopping a hall of vendors filled with all of my favorite things–all of these are wonderful, but none compare to the delight of seeing quilty friends in person. A highlight of QuiltCon will always be the personal connections made between friends old and new, the laughs shared over lunch, the deepening of friendships forged through blog comment exchanges and social media posts. Call me a sap if you must, but seeing so many fellow quilters so full of enthusiasm and spirit fills my social quilting cup until my next chance to attend a big event.

quiltcon-selfies
From top left to right, me and: Giuseppe @giucy_giuce, Michelle @michellebartholomew, Mathew @misterdomestic, Erin from @Aurifilthread, Finnnnnn!!!, Anne @playcrafts, Christa @christaquilts, Stephanie @latenightquilter, Karen @karenlewistextiles

I took only a handful of selfies, but enjoyed meeting so many new friends, old friends, and even more new friends.

Savannah

And finally, Savannah!

savannah georgia treesThis post would not be complete without at least a collection of photos from gorgeous historic Savannah, Georgia. It was especially fun to explore since my husband Garrett (who incidentally began an instagram account @knightquilter while he was there) and youngest son Finn were also there with me.

hugging trees with Finn in SavannahI was sure to teach Finn the fine art of hugging trees, and he was a big fan of the birds chirping in the trees (I couldn’t hear them, but I confirmed their presence on several occasions to make sure I was understanding the source of his excitement).

hugging trees with Finn in SavannahSavannah is a gorgeous city and I would absolutely return to explore more!

trio in savannahI’m so grateful to my family for supporting me in my travels.

Gare and Finn exploring SavannahBetween my parents watching my older two kids, my husband not only taking time off work so that he could be with Finn full-time so that I could attend workshops, lectures, and “do my thing” with quilty friends I rarely see, but also begging for Night Quilter t-shirts to wear during the event, and taking an actual legit interest in quilting and the industry to help support and understand my passion, I am surrounded by the most amazing supports.

Gare and Finn exploring SavannahWithout that support, none of this would be possible, and no reflection on an event as amazing as QuiltCon would be complete without a huge, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. What an amazing week it was!

One Year of Stitches: February

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmmm what shall I stitch today?

One Year of Stitches: January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Patchwork & Quilting Feature and a Pattern Sale

I’m excited to share that a new pattern of mine is included in the latest issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine, Issue 44. Not only is the pattern included in the magazine, but it also made the cover!

love patchwork and quilting 44 cover girlWhile this is not the first time one of my patterns has been on the cover of a magazine (this was the fun first), it is the first time it’s on the cover of a printed magazine that my friends and family (and me, I suppose!) will be able to see on the newsstands in Joann Fabric and Barnes and Noble and the like. The issue came out Feb 1st in the UK, and will be showing up in stores in the US in 3-5 weeks. Please do let me know when you see it! If you’re techy, you could also get this issue instantly to your phone or tablet with the digital issues on Apple NewsstandZinio or Google Play.

This issue includes so many great patterns and inspiration, and even includes quilting stencils designed by Christa Watson. Visit the Love Patchwork and Quilting site to read and see more about what’s included in this fab issue.

love patchwork and quilting finding centerInspired by a tile pattern I saw a couple of years ago, this quilt is a great one to use for color play (or colour play!). It looks great in any colorway, and the fun accent block helps feature your focal or accent fabric.

finding center quilt lpq 44I love the styling done by Love Patchwork & Quilting for the photos! I made this quilt using Kona cottons from Robert Kaufman and pieced and quilted it with Aurifil thread. I used 40wt thread in coordinating colors for quilting to make it a bit more substantial and echoed the geometric angles of the quilt, and I really like the aesthetic of the straight lines and the ease of quilting with my walking foot. This is a fun pattern and I do hope you’ll check it out!

Also, in the same color theme, I’m having a pattern sale through February 14th with all of my heart-themed patterns 20% off.

night quilter pattern sale

Craftsy | Payhip (please use Payhip if you live in the EU)

I made a BIG Love Struck block to help spread the world, and I think it eventually will become a festive pillow. Each heart-tipped arrow finishes at 6″ x 18″ and was a really quick sew, so if you’re looking for a fast and fun Valentine’s project, the BIG Love Struck pattern might be the perfect one! (or Hello, Love… or Love Struck… or Love is the Key… or…<3)

It’s a snow day here, so back to the kiddos–enjoy your day!

 

AG Challenge Finish: Noodlehead Diaper Pouch

Sometimes you just need a quick finish. Something small and beautiful that you made with your own hands, but that takes only hours (instead of days) to create. When Yvonne announced her Quilting Jetgirl Alison Glass Challenge as an incentive for the rest of us to get one of our Alison Glass fabric makes into the finished pile, I had a few different ideas of which of my many Alison Glass-influenced projects I should finish first. At first I thought I’d focus on the table runner I started late last year using the Insignia and Seventy-Six fabric lines, but then thought it might be the perfect boost to finally finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt that has a dominance of bright Alison Glass prints from across the years. Then I gave myself a reality check and decided to select something small. I have two big deadline projects to finish within the next month, so to be real I decided to pull a diaper pouch project off of my WIPs shelves and finish it up. I’m so glad I did!!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelI made this Diaper Pouch using a free tutorial by Anna Graham of Noodlehead, found here. It took me about two (2) hours to make, start to finish, which is pretty awesome as far as projects go.

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelI used my all time favorite Alison Glass Print, the Art Theory Panel from her Ex Libris line as the outer panel, and lined it with Artifact in Charcoal from her Abacus line (Andover Fabrics). I was lucky enough to buy all of these fabrics, AND the cotton webbing strap from my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.

I used my go-to 50wt Aurifil thread 2600-Dove for all the piecing and 50wt 2692-Black for sewing on the velcro so that the stitches would not stand out. I love that Fiddlehead also carries a good selection of Aurifil threads! One stop shopping for the win!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelOf course I had to plan it so that the rainbow star from Artifact was visible right on the top. I should have given myself a tiny bit more space in that seam, but I’m not losing sleep over it. It’s gorgeous anyway!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelNow instead of having a purse filled with diapers and wipes floating every which way, I can have a beautiful and function space to store them compactly, not only making the inside of my purse a bit more organized, but also making it easy for me to visually check that I have a diaper for my little one before I head out!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelSince pens are another item I’m often digging for in the chaos within my gorgeous bag, I decided to store two of my favorite micron pens tucked in the corner of the diaper pouch, so that they are easily found when I think of something to add to my Quilter’s Planner Mini–my traveling to-do list, grocery list, and inspiration keeper. Pst… you can now order the Quilter’s Planner Minis individually, here. Just a PSA for the day!

noodlehead diaper pouch alison glass art theory panelThis pouch also perfectly coordinates with the amazing Alison Glass fabric bag my husband bought me for my birthday last year, made by the ever talented Kristy at Rock Baby Scissors. There’s no such thing as too much Alison Glass fabric, right?! No way!! What next?…. I’m thinking a few zip pouches to help organize the other contents of my purse. What’s your favorite simple zip pouch pattern? (Noodlehead’s Open-Wide Zippered Pouch is a fab one, but should I know about others?)

I’m linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and of course Yvonne’s Alison Glass Challenge. Yippee for gorgeous and functional finishes!

2017 Goals and a Lush Idea

In my style, I’ve well missed the 2017 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, but I thought I would write a quick post with my 2017 Goals and word for the year, both to share my focus and to hold myself accountable!

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want to focus on this year, and I’ve decided that I really need to make my mantra: “Finish What You’ve Started”. I have ample projects that were begun with excitement and then quietly forgotten before reaching completion, and I also branched out into a few other big new endeavors in 2016, such as pursuing quilt photography work and designing for Quilt Theory. I’ve been helping Stephanie with the Quilter’s Planner Instagram account, and that has been extremely fun but also takes time. I also have a few potential teaching opportunities that I’m excited about in the coming year. Combined with being a full time mom of three little ones, keeping house, tending chickens, and in the proper season, gardening and adventuring along the coast, my plate is pretty full as it is. So it seems right to set my engine for steady on and just keep plugging away in the direction I’m going.

project planning for 2017
I’ve used the Projects at a Glance page in my Quilter’s Planner to list WIPs from 2016 on the left and new projects in 2017 on the right. The right shows my color palette choice for my 2017 bee and sew alongs–greenery!

That said, I also recognize that there’s no way I could go a full year without trying anything new. For that reason, I also plan to participate in a few Sew Alongs and a Quilt Bee, as I outlined in my last blog post. The relaxed, no-stress mentality will let me fill those block making moments in between my “finishing” so that I can stay fresh and excited about making. I also plan to play along more regularly with the #beesocial prompts, since they stretch my creative spirit more than anything else I’ve encountered. I’m already beginning with Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads’ first prompt for January–Resolution. Watching the video she included as part of her design inspiration prompt reaffirmed the word I selected to guide my year (I definitely recommend clicking over to her post and watching the video. It’s well worth 5 minutes of your time.)

Which brings me to my “one little word”–the one word to guide my year. 2017 will be my “green” year. There are so many influences to my selection of this word, from my lifelong love of nature, my degree in environmental science, to all that’s been happening in the world around us. Sparked initially by Chawne Kimber’s quilt “The One for Eric G”, the first statement quilt I saw that made me hold my breath as my stomach took a nosedive, and made me realize that this amazing craft can be used to inspire positive change (more than just making the world a more beautiful place one stitch at a time), further melded and inspired by the Make Do Quilt challenge posed by Sherri Lynn Wood last year, and always continuously inspired by Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and her focus on using reclaimed textiles in her creations, I have decided on “green” as my word of the year and “finish what you’ve started” as my guiding mantra.

I love how Cheryl from Meadowmist Designs set measurable steps for herself in her goal setting post, so here is my attempt at the same. This year, I will try to:

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!);
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills;
  • 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;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things!
  • 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!
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!)
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!!

Phew, I’d better stop there. I think this is a great start to my goals for the year, and I’m curious to see how successful I am at meeting each of these goals. Note that I have not included pattern design in my specific goals this year. Aside from Quilt Theory patterns, two of which I plan to develop and release this year, I am letting pattern writing be more relaxed this year so that I may focus on my other goals. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though!

quilter's planner WIPs from 2016So far I’m off to a decent start and have made good progress on one WIP (Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid), and have finished another, which I’ll share later this week. (Note that I’ve added quite a few old WIPs to this list since this photo was taken).  I’ve begun to play with the #beesewcial prompt, and am incorporating repurposed textiles into it! Baby steps!

I hope your year is off to a great start!

I’ll be linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts’ Let’s Bee Social so that you can all hold me accountable this year!

Sew Alongs and Bees: Community Sewing Across the Miles

After a longer than intended lull in blogging, I’m back and eager to share my reflections, process, and creative adventures with you! I’ve said it before, but beginning is the hardest step. I got stuck in a cycle of the longer I waited, the harder it was to simply jump back into blogging. Today, that ends. What better place to begin than with community and some of the fun sew alongs and bees taking place this year, as well as my grand plan for stress-free participation in them!? Soon I will share my goals, focus, and “one word” for 2017, as well as some of the other fun projects on which I’ve been working. For now, hello!! It’s great to be back, and I’m excited to share inspiration and creativity with you again!

The online quilting community is known for its welcoming vibe and almost endless opportunities to sew together virtually if not in person. There are so many fun Sew Alongs and Quilt Bees happening at any given moment across the quilting community, it’s often hard to decide which ones to join and which ones to pass on. I’ve joined a few Sew Alongs in the past, typically the block-at-a-time style–specifically the Farmer’s Wife led by Angie at Gnome Angel, #100days100blocks also lead by Angie on Instagram, and the Quilter’s Planner 2016 Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew Along led by yours truly on Instagram. I had a lovely time participating (and still participating) in them, but found that I often cannot keep up with the pace because of other obligations. For 2017, I think I’ve come up with a plan to address that and turn it into creative opportunity!

First, here are the Sew Alongs and Bees I’m currently committed to participating in:

52 weeks with the quilters planner gnome angel sew along52 Weeks with the Quilter’s Planner

by Angie of Gnome Angel
#52weekswiththequiltersplanner

Hosted by the Sew Along Queen, Angie from Gnome Angel, this sew along is a given for me! Using the block instructions on each weekly spread in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, Angie’s leading this sew along to encourage and support you to make each block each week. Visit her page HERE to read all the details, as well as to see how you can join. This is a great sew along for those looking to get into a regular sewing habit. Plus, it’s a chance to use your Quilter’s Planner to its fullest!

the honey pot bee molli sparkles 2017The Honey Pot Bee

by Molli Sparkes
#thehoneypotbee

Molli is hosting a quilting bee that breaks all the rules–as he says, you get none of the sting, and all of the sticky goodness! I love the relaxed mentality about this bee, and it’s a little extra exciting since I’m one of the Queen Bees for April! Here are the details, straight from Molli’s announcement post:

Each month there are two queens (and/or kings, but for the sake of brevity will be called queens) who decide on The Honey Pot Bee block patterns. Each queen picks one, I announce them to the world, then each participating member (Princesses and Princes) can choose to make one of each or two of the same. Each member then keeps the blocks for themselves.

This is less of a block swap, and more of a way to find amazing block tutorials / patterns they never knew they wanted to try from other amazingly talented people. Some of the blocks will be original patterns from the queens, some will be existing tutorials from world class quilters. That will be up to the queens to choose.

The benefits for Participant Princesses and Princes:
They get to use their own fabric that they’ve been stashing
They improve and stretch their own skills
They work to their own timeline
There is no pressure
No one is disappointed if they’re late
They act as their own quality control
They meet a group of like-minded, inspiring individuals
They see the varying potential of each block
Participating with me

I love this idea since I really don’t *need* another project, but I do love the community that is built around quilt bees and sew alongs. I love that Molli encourages you to make only the blocks you love, and that there are two unique options each month. Once I came up with my 2017 grand plan (more on that below), this one definitely needed to be added to the pot! Get all the details HERE.

garden snail quilt
Photo credit: Pen and Paper Patterns

Garden Snail Quilt Snail Paced Slow-Along Sew-Along

by Angie of Gnome Angel
#snailday #gardensnailsquilt

This is another fun weekly sew along hosted by Angie, using Pen and Paper Pattern’s Garden Snail Quilt. I think these snails are super cute, so I am joining in the fun, but plan to make only a few snails to add to the mix of the rest of my blocks. The gist of this Sew Along is easy… you simply make one block each week and post it on social media of your choice on Snail Sundays. You can find all the details HERE.

So now… for my Grand Plan that makes all of this not only manageable, but also fun!

My Grand Plan

Ready? I plan to participate in all of these sew alongs and bees, but with NO pressure. I am not playing along for the prizes. I’m playing along for the community and the recurring “deadline” to make a block and share it. I plan to use the same fabric pull and color scheme for all three of these bees/sew alongs, and combine all of the blocks together at the end of the year into a (hopefully) queen sized quilt for our bed. This way, I can make the blocks I really love, whenever I have the time to make the block, and I won’t need to stress when either life obligations kick it up a notch, or I have another project that needs my attention. As they say in hashtag land, #winning!

greenery color palette sew alongs 2017I’ll write more about this in another post, but I plan to use a color palette based upon the Pantone color of the year for 2017: Greenery. While green is not a color I’ve sewn with in large quantities before, it speaks to me on many different levels–from the freshness of the color, the vibrant hope that comes from new life in the spring, to the rich green that abounds in the environment around me–which as you know, I love dearly–, to the simple challenge of making a quilt with no final assembly pattern, and no guidelines except color. I’m both invigorated and scared at this plan, but as is my style, I’m jumping in with abandon, holding onto the hope that I can pull it all together into something epically beautiful (or at least tolerably pretty) at the end of the year.

For those of you who excel at fun and clever naming, I am trying to decide on a name for this greenery quilt project and am open to any suggestions or ideas! I want to select a name for this quilt so that I can tag all of my progress together across the bees/sew alongs, but “Kitty’s Greenery Quilt” sounds a bit flat. Maybe Night Quilter Hugs Trees and Bees? LOL #NQhugstreesandbeesquilt Uhm….

I’m looking forward to sharing my progress here, and thank you as always for following along with me on my creative journey, during waves of profuse creativity as well as lulls of relative quiet. I hope 2017 is off to a great start, and I’m looking forward to creating with a hopeful heart this year.

I’ll link up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social tomorrow, since I’m ready to jump back in!