A while back, Kerry from Kid Giddy asked if I wanted to sew along with her Ugly Christmas Sweater Sew Along, and of course I said yes. I have been wanting to make her “Ugly Sweater” block since it came out last year, so this was the perfect excuse to get it (and a deadline) on my to-do list. Plus, quick little finishes are really nice this time of year. I don’t think my sweater is very ugly, but that’s ok!
The block finishes at 6″ square, so my initial thought was to shrink it down to a 3″ square and make an ornament. I love making functional items, and you know how I love to sew teeny tiny ridiculously small things! But then when I sorted through my stash and decided upon the Tula Pink Prince Charming print as the sweater body, I decided the scale would look better with the 6″ size. Now we are going to have a festive mug rug/coaster, which I plan to have out for all of sweater season, which is nice and long here in Maine!
I love the subtle Cotton + Steel Mustang twinkle trim on the sweater, and the Kona Wasabi arms round it out nicely.
Hindsight, I should have made the shoulder bits with the greeny-yellow part of the Tula print instead of the blue, since they kind of disappear into the background, but c’est la vie. My husband says he likes it this way, so all is well.
I plan to do some simple diagonal crosshatch quilting with the walking foot on my Bernina 560, but haven’t yet decided whether to use Aurifil 50wt Medium Delft Blue-2783 or Lemon-2115. I’m leaning toward the lemony yellow, I think. Which would you use?
I’ll be sure to share this block in action once I quilt it up and plop some delicious treats or a warm mug of something sweet on top! I borrowed some of the tiny glittery ornaments from the tiny tree my son cut for our kitchen island for my block photo shoot and now there’s glitter EVERYwhere! I hope your holiday season has been glittery and bright so far, too!
There’s nothing like beginning a month with a holiday to help it feel like it’s flying by like a firecracker. Pair that with a week long trip down to celebrate with family, and July has truly snuck up on me!
As I get back into the swing of things on the homestead, unpack, and hopefully dive productively into a few big sewing projects, I thought I’d host a giveaway to help get the second weekend of July (how did that happen!?) off to a fun start.
Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop, one of my lucky readers can enter to win this newly released Raindrop fat quarter bundle by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton + Steel Fabrics. The bundle includes 20 fat quarters and two (2) 24″ x 44″ canvas prints, and seems most fitting to kick off this rainy weekend here in Maine. There are so many great prints in this collection–from the geometric play stash builders to the fabulous cicadas, all inspired by the rainy season in Japan. True to my naturalist heart, I love cicadas. I used to love to collect their exoskeletons from trees when I was a kid, and hook them all over my clothes to surprise the less-bug-loving kids on the block. Ahh, memories!
To enter the giveaway today, tell me what you like to do on rainy days. Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. For an additional entry, click HERE and sign up for my new Night Quilter email list. You will get occasional emails with highlights, pattern announcements, and special offers. Leave a second comment to let me know you’re signed up! Tell me how you follow Fat Quarter Shop (facebook,twitter, Instagram, their blog Jolly Jabber, etc.) in a third comment for a third entry.
This giveaway is open to US and international participants. The giveaway will be open until Thursday July 14th at 8pm EST when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck, and enjoy your rainy (or sunny if you’re lucky) weekend!This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations, Kendra!
Today I am excited to release my newest foundation paper pieced (FPP) pattern, Bean Sprout. Today is arbor day, so for now I’m thinking of it as more of a tree sprout, but regardless of which species you’re growing, this block pattern is ready to roll!
To me, the bean sprout is the epitome of spring, new life, and the wonder of discovery. I have watched my children’s excitement over the first sprout of newly planted seeds, and wanted to capture that fresh promise. This block is perfect for the gardeners among you, and I can see it as a focal block in a quilt, or even turned into pillows, tote bags, wall hangings, or table runners.
You may remember my first iteration of this Bean Sprout block, which I turned into a pillow and donated to my daughter’s school for their annual fundraiser auction/raffle. Since then, I made a few tiny tweaks to the pattern to make it a bit more versatile, easier to piece, and clearer to follow. The block finishes at 8″x12″, but can easily be made into a 12″x12″ finished block by adding two side strips, which is explained in the pattern.
The pattern includes clear piecing diagrams, sewing tips, and templates for the 8″x12″ finished block, with various shading to help with accurate fabric placement. Quarter inch seam allowances are included on all pattern pieces to help ensure easy piecing, and a 1″ reference square is on every printable page so that scale can be confirmed. Full foundation paper piecing instructions are not included in the pattern, but I have a thorough paper piecing tutorial HERE. Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced also has a fabulous tutorial on the Bernina We All Sew blog HERE, which will ensure you will never miss corners again. Knowing all of the information in these two tutorials will help demystify FPP, or at the very least will GREATLY reduce seam ripping.
Bean Sprout is available for sale in my Payhip shop, at an introductory price of $2.50 through the weekend. Tuesday morning EST, it will go up to its standard price of $5.00.
I pushed spring into summer with my latest version of the block, using Cotton + Steel teals and coral that remind me of watermelon. I wanted to show the versatility of the color possibilities with this true-to-life block. While my brain initially goes to the greens and blues true to real life bean sprouts and summer sky, there are many other combinations that could work well to make the block shine! (For the avid gardeners among you, yes, I know the seedling shown is a brussel sprout plant, not a bean!)
There’s not much more exciting than seeing what others create with my patterns, so if you make this block, please use the tag #beansproutblock on social media and tag me @nightquilter. Sending an email would also work! Enjoy, spread the word, and go grow some quilts!
Halloween is a fun time of year around our house, since my kiddos love to dress up in costumes from years past all year ’round, and the end of October means NEW costumes and candy! While I’m not really big into decorating the house for holidays (with the exception of Christmas and Easter–how can you resist those?), I do like making holiday crafts with the kids to help build excitement.
Today I’m going to share a quick tutorial for some spooktacularly sturdy beanbags, a perfect addition to a Halloween party but also a great addition to any child’s toybox. I should note, too, that beanbags are my go-to gift for two year old birthday parties. When a child turns two, I’ve found it’s really fabulous to have something you’re SUPPOSED to throw. Beanbags are such a versatile gift since they can be personalized in any way; you can change the shape, change the fabric, or personalize with applique letters or pictures. I’ve included affiliate links in this post so that if you decide to buy any of the tools I’m using, I will receive a small commission, too. I only share tools and products I love, so you can be sure they are tried, tested, and loved!
I made my beanbags using my Sizzix fabi die cutting machine and the BigZ L Circle 5″ die. You can also use any palm-sized circle item in your kitchen to trace circles on fabric for the beanbags if you don’t have a die cutting machine.
I figured since it’s nearly Halloween, it was the perfect time to use my Cotton + Steel Spellbound Collaboration charm pack. The 5″ circle die worked perfectly with the charm squares, which made my job even easier! I used my go-to thread, 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove for all sewing.
Choosing four pairs of coordinating charm squares, cut eight (8) 5″ circles, layering your Sizzix sandwich: bottom cutting pad, die with the blades facing up, fabric centered over the circle blade, and top cutting pad. All necessary circles for this project can be cut with one pass through the die cutting machine, which made this a really quick project to make with my kids.
Next, pin your pairs of fabric right sides facing. I used only four pins, two of which marked a 2″ opening. With a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the circles together, leaving 2″ open for turning and filling. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
Turn beanbags right side out through the 2″ opening. Gently slide your finger along the seam from the inside to make sure the circle is fully turned. Press with a hot iron. Turn in the seam allowance around the opening and press, too, since that will make sewing the beanbags together much smoother once they are filled with dried beans. Since it’s a curve, this step is a little tricky (or at least it was a little tricky for me). Just remember what you’re making: these are going to be tossed and thrown and loved, and perfection is overrated!
Now comes the fun part! Grab some small dried beans (I used dried black beans), a funnel and/or spoon, and a couple of eager helpers.
Fill the beanbags with dried beans, leaving at least an inch of empty space at the top. Trust me here; the beanbags will seem too empty, but while you are sewing them shut and top-stitching, you will want that extra wiggle room.
We found that a combination of funnel, spoon, and simple “use your hands to put the beans in” worked well for us.
Either pin or clip the tops once the beanbags are filled (remember to leave that good inch or inch and a half of empty space in the top). This will both remind you that the beanbag is “finished filling”, and remind your kiddos not to cram any more beans into it. (We definitely took as many beans out of the beanbags as we put it. All part of the fun, right!?)
Depending on the size of your helpers, this may be a messy activity. Plan accordingly, or embrace the chaos.
Once all of your beanbags are sufficiently filled, head back to the sewing machine and topstitch about 1/8″ inch from the edge of the beanbag, beginning by sewing the opening closed. This extra round of sewing will securely close the opening, and will also provide extra durability for the entire beanbag. I made some beanbags for my nearly-six year old when she turned two, and they are still going strong in our playroom.
I used my zipper foot to sew these beanbags closed, and sewed most of them with the needle between the foot and the beanbag (shown in the top photo above). It proved more finicky than I remembered, so with the final beanbag, I moved the needle so that the foot was between the needle and the beanbag (shown in the photo above). This worked much more smoothly for me. As you sew around the edges of the beanbag, stop every couple inches with the needle down to reposition the beans, pushing them away from the part of the beanbag you are about to sew. Sew all the way around each beanbag.
Now you have a handful of spooktacular sturdy beanbags and you’re ready for fun! Toss them at pumpkins, into trick-or-treat buckets, or at each other (avoid faces!). Have fun!
It’s here: the most epic sewing-blog giveaway day in the entire blogosphere. This is my first year participating, and I’m excited to have a great bundle to give away today! Welcome to readers new and old, and to those of you visiting for the first time, I encourage you to have a look around. Here I share my creative and design process, project progress, completed creations, tutorials, color inspiration, and more, chock full of colorful photographs. If you like what you see, you can follow my blog via email or bloglovin (look –>) or follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or can check out my paper piecing patterns on Craftsy.
Now, let’s cut to the chase! Here’s what you could win today:
I personally selected this bundle of fabric from one of my favorite local quilt shops, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, Maine. The bundle includes a half yard of Cotton + Steel Fern book in Navy, from Mesa by Alexia Abegg as the inspiration piece, and fat quarters of:
XOXO in Toy Boat by Rashida Coleman Hale, Cotton + Steel Basics
XOXO in Dandilion by Rashida Coleman Hale, Cotton + Steel Basics
Plot Circles in Carrot from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander (Robert Kaufman Fabrics), and
Spot On Pearl Metallic Small Dot in Copen (Robert Kaufman Fabrics)
Choice of Two (2) Quilt Patterns from
Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl was generous enough to offer winner’s choice of any two (2) of her quilt patterns! You can check out her available patterns in her Craftsy shop HERE. I know which two I would choose–have you seen Tesselated Leaves or Triangle Transparency!?, but which two would you choose? Here is a peek at just a few of her patterns:
On this blog, I strive to share the course inspiration takes in my sewing and creating: from original spark to completed project. To enter the giveaway today, I’d love to hear what inspires you to create. Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. If you’re a follower, leave a second comment telling me how you follow for a second entry.
This giveaway is open to US and international participants. The giveaway will be open until 8pm EST Sunday 5/10 when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. I’ll announce and email the winner on Monday 5/11. Good luck!NOTE: The giveaway is now closed. A winner will be announced tomorrow!