Tag Archives: embroidery

Easter Egg Pincushion Tutorial by Hillary Goodwin & Kitty Wilkin

Recently Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and I had the opportunity to meet in person after following each other’s work online for years. Both loving embroidery, repurposing textiles, creativity and the sewing community in general we plotted a tutorial that would allow us to play off each other’s creative personality and engage the greater sewing community as a whole.

A year ago Hillary made an Easter Egg shaped pincushion out of velvet and repurposed leather. We expanded on this idea and invite anyone who wants to participate to make a similar pincushion and, if interested, incorporate repurposed leather (Earth Day is coming up after all, and repurposed leather is typically thin enough to easily sew on a domestic sewing machine.) Be bold. Be brave. Let’s sew leather!

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyIn this tutorial we give everyone some guidelines but the emphasis is on PLAY and MAKING THIS PROJECT YOUR OWN. Don’t celebrate Easter? No biggie, make a similar pincushion in another shape. We will be following on Instagram so please tag your makes #eastereggpincushion (as well as tagging @nightquilter and @entropyalwayswins) so we can all enjoy. To celebrate this group project we will both randomly be giving participants some of our own pincushions as well as supplies to make them. All you need to do to be eligible is to play along, tag us, and tag #eastereggpincushion so that we can find you!

Suggested Supplies

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty

  • Thin leather (~6×12 inches)
  • Wool felt, velvet, jeans or any other material for the inner portion of the pincushion (~6×6 inches)
  • Embroidery hoop (a 4” hoop will *just* fit the inner egg)
  • Embroidery Egg Template (click to download-Note updated 3/20)
  • Embroidery thread (embroidery floss, perle cotton, or 12wt thread works. Use what you have!)
  • Embroidery or other needle (I use Tulip size 3 milliners)
  • Double sided fabric tape or fabric glue (optional)
  • Sewing machine with a walking foot
  • Leather sewing machine needle
  • Thread (We both used Aurifil 40wt )
  • Chalk or other removable marker (or a willingness to live on the wild side and stitch without marking)
  • Muslin or other scrap fabric (6×12 inches)
  • Craft clips (both Clover wonder clips or Evergreen Art Supply magic clips work great)
  • Small Funnel
  • Crushed Walnut shell or other favored pincushion fill

Step 1: Templates and Leather

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyPrint the Embroidery Egg Template and cut along both inner and outer egg outlines.
easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyTrace the template onto the wrong side of the leather, marking out two eggs–one with only the outline and one with both the inner and outer lines drawn.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyCarefully cut along the marked lines, remembering to cut one piece along only the outer egg outline and cut the other piece along both the inner and outer egg outlines.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittySet your leather pieces aside.

Step 2: Embroidery

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyUsing chalk or water soluble marker, trace the inner egg outline onto your embroidery surface (felt, velvet, jeans, etc) so you will know the limitations of your embroidery design.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyAdorn at your heart’s desire with embroidery, applique, etc. You are welcome to copy our experiments but please feel free to try your own ideas.

Step 3: Attach the Embroidery to the Leather Upper

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyAlign your embroidered material so that the embellishments fit within the window of your leather upper (the egg with the hole cut out of the middle).

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittySecure the right side of your embroidery to the wrong side of your leather upper with double sided tape, glue, clips, or other method.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyThen, using a ¼ or ⅛ inch seam allowance, top stitch the two together along the inner egg as shown.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty
Self-threading needles work wonders for threading the loose ends to the back of the piece!

Thread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyFinally, if possible, trim the seam allowance of your embroidered material carefully about ½” away from the stitched line so that it remains easily inside the outer margins of the egg.

 

Step 4: Make an inner pincushion

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyUsing only the outer margin of your Egg Template, trace and cut two pieces of muslin. Sew the two pieces together using a ¼ inch seam allowance, leaving a small opening to use for filling.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kitty
Any guesses how many tries with the 10sec timer on my camera it took for me to get this photo? LOL

Fill with crushed walnut shell (a funnel can be helpful for this). One half cup of crushed walnut shell for this project seems to be the right amount. Use a little more if you want a more rounded pincushion. Sew the opening of the inner pincushion completely closed.

Step 5: Finishing your pincushion

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyPlace the two leather egg pieces wrong sides together and secure with clips. (Note that pinning will create visible holes in the leather–use clips!) Sew around the outer margin of the egg using a ¼ seam allowance, leaving an opening at least 3 inches long unsewn.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyStuff your filled and fully closed inner pincushion through this opening. Ensuring the inner pincushion remains entirely inside, top stitch the remaining way around the outer edge of the egg.

easter egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyeaster egg pincushion tutorial by hillary and kittyThread the top threads to the back of the piece, tie all loose ends together and trim or bury.

Step 6: Share your creation with us!

Tag your pincushion on Instagram #eastereggpincushion as well as tagging @nightquilter and @entropyalwayswins, or link to a blog post about your finished pincushions in the comments below.

hillary finished pincushionhillary finished pincushionhillary finished pincushion

hillary finished pincushion
Ideas in progress…

We can’t wait to see what you create! Enjoy!!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday and TGIFF! Everyone loves a quick finish!

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!?

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!

My Best of 2016

Ahhh, the time of year when busy is an understatement, yet still the desire to stop and reflect over the past year–perhaps in the twinkle of some Christmas lights with a hot mug of something sweet–is strong. The phase of feeling more stressed than blessed has passed, the excitement of Christmas Eve and morning has calmed, and now I’m enjoying the holidays in a relaxed, family-filled, grateful way. What better time to do some reflection?

best of 2016 meadow mist designsOnce again, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is hosting her “Best of” linky party, inviting bloggers to share their five best posts from 2016, so I thought it was a perfect time to take a look at the statistics and reflect on the highlights of the past year here on Night Quilter. I’ve put together five of Night Quilter’s “bests” for the past year (plus one personal added bonus), and I invite you to reminisce along with me.

Most Viewed Blog Post

5 steps to sewing perfect curves tutorial nightquilterWithout a new baby announcement like last year, this year’s most viewed post was the tutorial on how to sew perfect curves. I’m especially excited about this one, since one of my goals for 2016 was to tackle curves, and I feel like I made great progress in that category. I love this method as much as you do, and I’m so glad I could share this with so many of you!

Most Viewed Non-Tutorial Blog Post

alison glass quilters planner coverSince my most viewed post from 2016 was a tutorial, I decided to also share my most viewed non-tutorial post. In Planning a Colorful Year, I shared the Riot of Color planner cover design I made for the Quilter’s Planner (which is still available for free, here–and fit’s the 2017 Quilter’s Planner! if you haven’t gotten yours yet, I highly recommend getting one here–this planner is life changing!), as well as a giveaway for a planner. It’s hard to say whether the gorgeous melding of Alison Glass fabrics with Essex linen is what drew the most attention, or if it was the chance to win a most coveted planner, but I am proud of this post all the same and I’m glad you liked it, too.

Most Viewed Blog Post
(not including Tutorials or Giveaways)

one hour basketIf you take all tutorials and giveaways out of the running, the one hour basket (that took me six hours to make!) was the most viewed. This was such a fun make, once again featuring my favorite Alison Glass fabrics paired with Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen, but also is a favorite since I made this basket while attending a class with quilty friend Sarah from Berry Barn Designs at one of my fabulous quasi-local quilt store, Alewives Fabrics.

Most Exciting New Endeavor

2016 was a big year of new endeavors for me, so this category requires a tie:

Yvonne Fuchs quilt in Quilters Planner 2017
Quilt by Yvonne Fuchs, included in the Quilter’s Planner 2017

I kicked off my quilt photography business venture by doing all of the photography for the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, photographing 14 quilts and quilted projects in gorgeous natural locations along the coast of Maine. The photo above features Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl’s lovely Starlight Crystals quilt, photographed along the coast in Acadia. Quilt photography combines three of my loves: quilting, photography, and the beauty of nature, so I’m so excited to be offering it to anyone seeking to get epic quilt photos for publication or just for fun.

quilt theoryocean path quilt white brick quilt theoryI was also one of seven quilt designers to launch Quilt Theory, kicking off with my premier pattern Ocean Path. With the enthusiasm and drive of fearless leader Michelle Bartholomew, we are working on our second round of patterns and are constantly expanding the reach of the Quilt Theory pattern cards. You can find much more information and the full line of available patterns here.

2016 Best Nine on Instagram

Instagram best 9 2016 minus repostsSince I love Instagram so, I would be remiss if I did not share my top viewed posts there as well. This collection is a fun one, including lots of posts about my stress-free stitch-wherever-the-wind-blows embroidery hoop, a fun Alison Glass table runner I don’t think I’ve shared here yet, a progress shot of my Eye Spy Picnic Plaid quilt, a progress shot of all of my thrifted City Sampler blocks, the free Safe with Me pattern I made in an attempt to spread positivity and support for those who need it, and a glimpse of one of my favorite quilt photos for the Quilter’s Planner, the epic sailboat shot of Cheryl Brickey’s Canvas Lines Quilt.

Favorite Project

finn milestone quilt 18 monthsTechnically this is my sixth category, but I can’t let my highlights pass without remembering the completion of the Milestone Quilt Blocks for my son Finnian. While the project didn’t make my top viewed posts for 2016, it is still the project that filled my heart the most. My little babe is now 18 months old, walking, talking, signing, dancing, jumping, exploring, and smiling his days away. His quilt top is together, and I hope to get the quilt layered, basted, quilted and bound early next year. There’s something about making a quilt for your child, marking his progress and growth with a bit of stitching, that really takes quilting to a new level. I’m so grateful that my silly husband made the crazy suggestion (fully in jest) on the day our third child turned 1 month old that I should make a quilt block each month for a photo shoot, since without that little laugh-filled exchange, this project would have never come to be.

2016 was a big year, with many new endeavors and a seemingly endless list of fun projects and adventures. I’m still working on the fine art of saying no and understanding my own limitations, since I really truly want to do it all. I’m a maker through and through. I’m hoping to keep 2017 fairly low key, focusing on finishing projects I’ve already begun, and participating in a few sew alongs with a relaxed mentality. Then again, I have some big goals I’d like to pursue, so we’ll see when and if those kick it all up a notch. I’ll write more about that in a future post, since after reflection comes planning and goal setting. I’m so glad I have my Quilter’s Planner for that!

Thank you, as always, for following along with me here, sharing in my inspiration and project progress, and creating the community I hold so dear. I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and look forward to a colorful, productive, and FUN 2017.

Stitched Embroidery Hoop Finish

The finish I’m sharing today measures only 4″ across, but probably took more hours of work and provided more peaceful moments than most of my other projects. I’m relatively new to embroidery, with really only my Dropcloth Color Wheel sampler and the embroidery stitching I did on a mini quilt a while back as projects under my belt, but when Alison Glass sent me some of her Stitched fabric, part of her new Seventy Six fabric line for Andover Fabrics, it begged to be… well, stitched.

AG Stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtI’m so happy I obliged, because I just love this little hoop!

nightquilter instagram embroidery beginning
Here’s my Instagram post from the wee beginnings of this hoop, about 12 weeks ago.

When the Stitched fabric arrived, I had just completed my Ocean Path quilt for our big Quilt Theory debut, and I was in the final push stage of finishing a quilt that will be in the February issue of Love, Patchwork and Quilting magazine, so picking up a small, no pressure, no purpose, no pattern hoop of Stitched and my 12wt Aurifil thread stash was the perfect brain palate cleanser.

embroidery back
Here’s the back of my finished hoop—see! I am totes a novice! I think this looks fun, though, crazy as ever!

This was back in September, according to my good ole’ Instagram feed, and since that time, ending just a couple of days ago, I’ve picked this little hoop up for 1-20 minute intervals (and 20 minutes might be leaning on the long end) every here and there: a quiet moment when the kids were all playing nicely together, a few seconds here while having a minute lax time while cooking dinner, or just because I needed to MAKE and had not yet had a chance that particular day.

AG stitched embroidery aurifil 12wtI stitched whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted, and tried many different stitches.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtI used Aurifil 12wt thread from my stash, in colors (left to right from photo above): 2530-Blossom Pink, 2435-Peachy Pink, mystery orange–the only Aurifil tag that has ever fallen off a spool!, 2120-Canary, 1147-Light Leaf Green, 2884-Green Yellow, 5005-Medium Turquoise, 2540-Medium Lavender, and 2515-Light Orchid. I used a single strand for all except the turquoise x’s, for which I use two strands. If I were to do it again, I would probably stick with a single strand since I love the crisp aesthetic that results.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wt french knotsToward the end, I went a little crazy with french knots, but I do love them so and they make a great “filler” around the edges.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtSince the pattern is printed on the fabric, there was no actual end, so it was up to me to decide how close to the edges to stitch. At first I thought I’d leave a bit open, but I just couldn’t stop stitching. As it is, most stitches extend to the absolute edge of the hoop. I kind of love it.

finishing embroidery hoop wool feltI finished it using the methods (minus the plan-ahead phase, since I didn’t plan ahead lol) shared in this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.  I stitched the running stitch around the excess fabric, pulled it tight, knotted and tied it, then trimmed off the extra fabric. Next I cut a 4″ wool felt circle using my Sizzix machine and stitched it onto the back with coordinating 12wt Aurifil thread and a blanket stitch. I’m quite happy with the finish, and definitely plan to make more. In fact, I very well might aim to always have a  free-form brain palate cleanser embroidery hoop laying around, since it really worked wonders for helping me get back into a better mental place during especially hectic, crazy kid, too many (mostly self-imposed) expectations-filled days. Making works magic, doesn’t it?

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and then sending this hoop off to a friend!

Slow Stitching for Summertime

Ahh! Summer is upon us! My daughter has mere days left of school before summer break is officially here! That means all three kids home all day, every day, which in turn means time to take lots of day trip adventures! Summer also means lots more opportunity for slow stitching, and a need to have some hand stitching available at all times. We all know that the day I forget my handwork will be the day all three kids somehow fall asleep in the car on the way to some adventure!

hand stitching epp preparation carolyn friedlander modern hexiesMy portable hand stitching kit this summer consists primarily of English Paper Piecing (EPP) hexies and some experimental embroidery-quilting projects.

After a lull in my Carolyn Friedlander modern hexies project progress, I’m ready to pick it up again and baste more hexies! While 2 1/2″ squares work just fine for EPP hexagons, I really enjoy the neatness that starting with a hexagon of fabric provides.

sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for epp
Nine (9) charm squares lined up on top of the Sizzix 1 1/2″ hexagon die. Pass it through….
sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for epp
Viola – 18 hexagons ready for basting

This is another time when the Sizzix die cutting machine comes in handy. It doesn’t take long to cut a whole bunch of fabric and cardstock hexagons for slow stitching on the go. I use the BigZ Hexagons with 1 1/2″ sides die to cut fabric and BigZ Hexagons with 1″ sides die to cut cardstock hexies and I’m ready to roll.

sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for eppA lovely stack of fabric hexagons ready to baste. I need to cut a few more cardstock templates, but this will do for now!

embroidery quiltingI am also continuing to add embroidery quilting to my Rainbow Hex Star mini, as well planning a couple small embroidery quilting experimental projects. My goal is to find a way to get the back to look as neat as the front. Practice, right?

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maine alison glass chawne kimberSlow stitching on the go is not the only slow stitching I’m looking forward to this summer! I’m also officially registered for the Slow Stitching Retreat hosted by Sam at A Gathering of Stitches this August. I can’t wait to slow down and sew with Sam, Chawne Kimber, and Alison Glass. I’m doubly excited since I will also be leading yoga on the retreat! Just imagine… slowing down, breathing deeply, stretching out, learning from amazingly talented and inspirational quilters, and slowly stitching in the sun, rocking on the rocking chairs out on the porch in the calm, cool woods of Maine. You can read about my experience dropping in on a day of this retreat last summer HERE. I am very much looking forward to spending the full four days rejuvenating my soul with some slow stitching in inspired creative company. Are you coming!? I sure hope so!

What are your summer stitching plans?

Rainbow Hex Star {Sizzix Inspired Project}

Last night kicked off the International Quilt Market, spring edition, which is in Salt Lake City this year. Much of my Instagram feed is flowing with pictures of sample spree booty, gorgeous booths, and peeks at new fabric lines and products. One product that is being introduced at Quilt Market as we speak is a new Sizzix die called Hex Star designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

hex star mini quilt sizzix inspired aurifilI got to play with this die in advance and I’m sharing the project I made with it over on the Sizzix blog today! It included my very first y-seams, rainbow hand quilting with 12 wt Aurifil thread, and a fun go at embroidery quilting (I may have invented that term myself–is it such a thing!?) I share a close look at my hand quilting, a tip for even stitches, and many more photos of the full project here.

hex star mini quilt sizzix inspired aurifilAlthough the mini quilt is bound and finished, I am 99.9% sure I am going to do more embroidery-quilting on the Alison Glass Endpaper outer border. I was debating whether to stick with the colors extending from each arm of the star or to mix it up in the outer border, but I think I’m going to stick with the same colors as the center. I shared more detail photos of the quilting and embroidery in my Sizzix post, so head over to see more!

Here are the 12 wt Aurifil colors I used, just in case you want to try some rainbow hand quilting, too:

5002 – Medium Red
1154 – Orange
2120 – Canary
1147 – Light Leaf Green
4140 – Wedgewood
2540 – Medium Lavender

I’ll be sure to show you when I finally decide it’s really finished. For now, I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts since this mini is technically finished (although is anything ever really fully finished when you have thread in your hand?)

Putting it in Perspective

Earlier this week marked two years since I first began writing this blog. That’s right… two years. It feels like such a short time, yet I feel like so much has happened here–sharing stories and inspiration, making friends, keeping on top of project progress (or lack thereof!), improving techniques together, and so much more. It has been a full two years, and I’m so grateful to you for joining me on my journey.

I’ve always been one to set my goals high, which often is a good thing. If there’s a technique or project I want to try, I just go for it. If I want to create my own patterns, I dive in. If I want to go to QuiltCon, I make it happen (at least last year!). But with lofty goals and high expectations comes that nagging feeling that I’m just not cutting it. There are bound to be deadlines that come and go without the project being finished (I’m still working on one such project). There are goals that I set that just can’t be met, not due to any lack of desire or drive, but because of the many hats I wear as maker, wife, and full time mom. My husband has often commented on how my daily to-do lists assume superhuman ability, and it is important to remember that I am only human. A thrice needed mama human, at that.

With a few missed deadlines and a couple looming ones, paired with the general excitement on social media from everyone attending QuiltCon this year, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and disappointed with myself. Seeing the reminder pop up a couple days ago that it is my 2-year blogoversary really helped me back up and put it all into perspective. I’ve been quilting and designing intentionally for only two years. Yet, really, I’ve accomplished a lot! Most importantly, I work daily to balance time with my family with my creative life and I think I’m more consistently finding that balance, and missing QuiltCon this year is a result of that. I would say that’s a win.

Plus, I found that my work is “out in the wild” in a couple of new, exciting places. It’s always fun to see that others are inspired enough by your work to share it, especially in big publications.

amy butler issue 3 blossomMy quilt photography appears in Issue 3 of Amy Butler’s Blossom eMagazine in an article written by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter about the Supernova Friendship Swap that happened last year.

typewriter and supernova swap block 1The above photo is the full title page spread, which is pretty awesome to see.

dropcloth color wheel rainbow quiltThe second fun appearance is of my rainbow embroidery sampler, which is included in an article on About.com. You can visit the article here, and be inspired by all sorts of fun rainbow embroidery projects. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the push I need to be brave, tackle circles, and finish this rainbow color wheel. But not until after I finish my deadline projects. Life goes on. The projects will be there.

I’m sharing my reflection on the whole maker-mom journey in the hopes that it may help you put your own life in perspective when needed. The next time you’re feeling down about the project you didn’t finish, or the technique you just can’t get (yet!), take a step back and look for the good. It’s there. It just has a habit of getting buried by everything else, at least for me. Keep on making with a smile, set your sights high, and take it one step at a time.

Enjoy the journey, and thank you for joining me on mine. I sure am enjoying it!

Surprise Success and Stitching on the Road

I began writing this post this past Sunday, but then caught the cold/fever/cough my kids have been kicking.  So instead of finishing this post, sewing, or blogging, I’ve been sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping. And of course, making the most of the days with as much energy as I can muster. So pretend it is four days ago, and read on! The best laid plans, right?

Over the past two days, I’ve been driving from Maine to New Jersey with my three kiddos to surprise my mom (Grandma) for her birthday. I’m happy to report that the surprise was a complete success! My sister and brother who live in the area were planning on going to my parents’ house to cook dinner for her birthday, so the kids and I arrived at my sister’s house earlier in the day, then we all met up at the far end of the street before dinner, where I parked. My sister and brother walked in and Lucy said, “I invited a few more people over for your birthday; I hope that’s ok” and then Maddie and Max followed by Finn and I walked in. My mom says it was the best birthday surprise ever. Yay!

grandma's birthday surprise
Who doesn’t love little helpers when it comes to blowing out birthday candles?

Since we will be visiting here for five days before beginning the trek back up to Maine, I packed a good number of hand sewing projects so that my hands (and sewing mind) can be kept busy during the week. I contemplated bringing my sewing machine, but since the entire point of this trip is to spend family time together, I didn’t want to feel at all tempted to duck off to sew in a separate room while here. Hand stitching projects are a solution since they can be pulled out anytime, anywhere, and still ensure that I won’t be left with any thumb twiddling with all of the extra eager playmates for my kids.

I thought it would be fun give you a peek at the variety of projects I brought to satiate my need to create daily.

English Paper Piecing (EPP) at various stages of completion
EPP on the go
Basting. I still haven’t decided whether I like glue basting or thread basting best, so I’m doing both.
EPP on the go
Glue basted and ready to be stitched down.
Needle-turn applique
needle turn applique project ready to go
A new needle-turn applique project ready to go.
Embroidery & Hand Quilting
embroidery
Embroidery on a mini mini quilt
aurifil 12 wt thread for embroidery
I brought a collection of Aurifil 12wt thread for embroidery and a range of 12wt, 40wt, and 50wt for eventual hand-quilting.
Visible mending supplies.. just in case
visible mending supplies
Old cut-up jeans and perle cotton just in case my mom actually wants me to patch her jeans for her.

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s WiP Wednesday, since it’s already Wednesday and these are still very much works in progress. C’est la vie! Good night!