Tag Archives: epp

Stitching on the Go: EPP & Visible Mending

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 Goals

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

2018 Finish A Long Logo 2

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

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

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

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

1 – One Year of Stitches Embroidery hoop from 2017

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

2 – Rainbow Moonstone Pillow

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

3 – Secret Sewing Project

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

4 – Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Quilt

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

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

My Best of 2017

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

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

Most Viewed Blog Post(s)

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

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

Most Viewed Tutorial Blog Post

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

My Favorite New Projectsummer adventure quilt progress

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

2017 Best Nine on Instagram

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

Most Viewed Blog Post EVER

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

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

Flit and Bloom Blog Tour: Fussy Cutting Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

To enter the giveaway today, let me know what you would make with Flit and Bloom. Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. For an additional entry, leave another comment telling me how you follow Night Quilter (email listinstagramfacebooktwitter, blog follower, etc.).

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

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

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

 What would you make with Flit and Bloom?

Moonstone Madness (in the Best Way)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you stitch this summer? 

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

3 Self Care Tips for (Mommy) Quilters

The number one greatest challenge I’ve faced in my journey into motherhood is taking time for self care. Even the words self care sound like the antithesis of motherhood. To me, being a mother means your job is to give. Not only do you give life to amazing human beings, literally birthing them into this wild world, but you also then provide the nurturing, sustenance, protection, guidance, direction, support that they need to grow and develop into independent creatures. You’re needed literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for years without any breaks, vacation time, or even sick days. Unless you make a point to create, make, steal, demand–whatever it takes!–some time for yourself, it is so easy for self care to fall completely by the wayside. (Ask me how I know!)

My self care of choice these days is taking time to sew. It took me about 5 years and 2 1/2 kids before I realized that I absolutely needed to make time to sew and create, and that making time to do something I love wasn’t selfish; it was a necessary part of this beautiful dance called life, and without it, my dance steps were more of a heavy trod than a light leap. When we’re all lightly skipping and twirling, everyone is much happier than when mommy is stomping and dragging her exhausted, grumpy self around.

tea epp self care for quilters plum deluxeEven since coming to this realization, I still struggle some weeks to set aside time for me time and self care, especially when there are deadlines looming. A while back, I was in the thick of a few looming deadlines when I received an email from Andy at Plum Organics Tea Company asking if I’d like to try some of their tea and review it on my blog. In perusing their site to see if it seemed like something I would enjoy, and more importantly, something relevant to this space, I discovered their Self Care blend. I also found myself immersed in a world of inspirational quotes, encouraging mantras, and soothing encouragements to take time for oneself.  Relevant? I think yes. Full disclosure: Plum Organics provided two packets of tea in exchange for my honest review on my blog. All opinions are always my own. My gratitude for Andy’s timely email and the resulting realization that I needed more focus on self care is also fully my own, and huge.

As a result, I’ve created this short list of three tips (or ideas) for self care for (mommy) quilters. I include “mommy” in parentheses since the tips apply to any busy quilter, mother or otherwise. I hope it will inspire you to take a moment for yourself amidst your busy day:

1 – Create just for the fun of it. No purpose. No end goal. Just make.

Especially with an endless stream of quilty requests, whether for the next baby quilt for a family member or friend, a graduation quilt for a cousin, teacher gifts for your children’s teachers, or business related quilting, the list of quilting “needs” rarely, if ever, ends. Despite this–or because of this!–it is so important to create for the sake of creating.

epp girt by sea center medallionI’ve recently joined in with the Girt by Sea sew along led by the Modern Makers Retreat and have been hand stitching the center medallion with some fabrics I won from Bari J a month or so ago (Sage fabrics for Art Gallery Fabrics). They are outside of my usual style and color scheme, it is a project with no end purpose or need, and it’s fun! Meticulous cutting, hand stitching, no stress or deadlines. That’s chicken soup for the quilter’s soul.

2 – Slow down and take time to sit. Drink tea. Hand stitch. Read.

When it feels like there’s no way you’ll ever accomplish everything on your daily to-do list day after day, it seems like leisure is impossible. Yet, truly, what’s 10-20 minutes? Take the time to sit, relax, drink some tea, hand stitch, read… whatever helps you fully relax.

tea and epp relaxTea and EPP, anyone?

I’m a huge fan of English Paper Piecing (EPP) and the tiny meticulous hand stitching is meditative for me. Sitting down with a mini pot of the Self Care tea from Plum Deluxe with a sweet snack and my hand stitching, even if only for a few moments, can help rejuvenate and reset my patience level so that I’m better able to tackle the rest of the day. Try it!

3 – Take time for yoga, or simply stretch, move, and breathe mindfully for a few moments each day.

Breathing is something that you do all day and night, but mostly likely rarely think about. Yet taking a few moments to be more mindful of your breath, notice the way you are sitting, and then sit a little bit taller, relax your shoulders, and take a few deep easy breaths can make such a difference in mood and how you feel physically. Especially when quilting or sewing, remember to take a break every so often, sit tall, breathe deeply, and gently stretch your arms, shoulders and back. Your mind and body will feel so much better!

Even on the busiest day, I hope that this list will inspire you to take a bit more time for self care. Your mind, body, and family and friends will thank you! Now I just need to help myself take my own advice more often!

More about Plum Deluxe Tea

plum deluxe organic teaThe first thing I noticed about Plum Deluxe when I visited their site was that their tea is organic, non-GMO, hand-blended, and fair-trade, all by a small independently run company out of Oregon. The focus of the company is community and inspiring people to live their best lives. Even their motto is: Making moments matter. I encourage you to read their About page; they are not your everyday tea company! Everything associated with the tea is packed full of positivity–even the ingredients list on the tea states that the tea includes love and gratitude. That’s my kind of tea!

self care blend plum deluxe teaThe Self Care tea is fruity and delicious, and smells divine as soon as you open the package. I love loose tea, since seeing the actual components makes me feel like I’m enjoying tea straight from nature.

plum deluxe tea package ingredients Andy was kind enough to send me a package of the Self Care blend and a bonus package of Oregon Breakfast Black Tea, since I’ve been wanting to decrease the amount of coffee I drink and the Oregon Breakfast flavor is rich and robust. Not only does it have hazelnut essence, it includes love and gratitude. Mmmm.

I mentioned that a big focus of Plum Deluxe is community; they also have a fabulous tea of the month club – for only $10/month subscribers receive 1 oz of a custom seasonally-perfect artisan loose leaf tea made just for the club. Subscribers also enjoy access to a robust and supportive private tea lover’s community, tea-inspired recipes, discounts on extra teas and supplies, and other surprises. They even host member meet-ups throughout the year, and several of their members host self-organized group events year-round. Andy was kind enough to offer my readers a free tea of your choice in your first month when you join the Plum Deluxe tea community. Be sure to tell him Kitty from Night Quilter sent you, and enjoy!

plum deluxe tea meaningful momentI enjoy how drinking loose leaf tea forces me to slow the daily rush. The practice of getting out the loose tea and boiling the water allows me to slow down a bit, so that I can remind myself to breathe a bit more deeply, stand a bit taller, and chill out. With three kids under 8, I have to tell myself, insist to myself–chill out–quite often. In the grand scheme of things, this mess and chaos doesn’t matter. Everyone will be better off if I take a moment to breathe. Sip some tea. Have a snack. Stitch in a sunbeam. You know, that rare rainbow unicorn called self-care for (Mommy) quilters. I’m going to *try* to work the practice into my life a bit more often. I think we’ll all be better off for it.


Works in Progress: A Little of This, A Little of That

I have a lot of simultaneous projects going on right now, which is pretty typical of my sewing style. I like to have a selection of projects so that when a free moment arises, I have something to work on, but also have a choice as to what I work on each day. It helps my creativity feel refreshed and helps avoid inspiration slumps. When in doubt, I start a new project since I have no shortage of projects I *want* to create, and there’s nothing like curating a new fabric pull or cutting into a new project to renew my excitement for sewing.

It’s been a while since I’ve showed you my ongoing projects, so I thought today would be a good day! These are my most frequently worked upon projects; there are scads more on the semi-permanent back burner that I will pick up again when my plate clears *just* a bit. Today, the highlights!

IMG_5280First up is my ongoing epic Carolyn Friedlander Modern Hexies project. This is my on-the-go English Paper Piecing (EPP) project that lives in my purse. I’m making progress at a bit slower than snail paced this summer, since somehow those free moments that allow for hand stitching while the kids are occupied are few and far between. And oddly, all three kids have not simultaneously fallen asleep in the car on the way to a store even ONCE! What was somewhat regular with two kids is likened to a golden unicorn with three. But still, one stitch at a time, one hexagon at a time, this project progresses.

andover foundation paper pieced project alison glass handcrafted patchworkAnother project I’m plugging away on is a fun one for Andover Fabrics. They were awesome enough to send some Alison Glass Handcrafted Patchwork to me, as well as some yardage of Constellation by Lizzy House from her Whisper Palette collection. I picked up some Andover textured solid from my LQS Fiddlehead Artisan Supply to round it out. I’m working on a new geometric foundation paper pieced pattern, with meticulously cut sections of the gorgeous Handcrafted Patchwork fabrics. There will be a tutorial going up on Andover’s blog very soon, as well as the pattern release, so keep your eye out!

quilter's planner photography outtake karen lewis quilt acadia maineI’ve also been out on three different quilt photography adventures with my amazingly gifted quilt holding assistant, aka my husband. We have been having a blast photographing the quilts for this year’s Quilter’s Planner in a sampling of the gorgeous natural locations in Maine. The planner is now available for preorder! Reserve yours HERE… there are a limited number of early bird specials and some really fun extra bits this year! I’ve shared one fun outtake above, but more will be revealed in the coming weeks. Hint: Shown here is one of the 14 patterns that will be included in the planner this year, this one by the ever talented Karen Lewis! It’s so gorgeous; I can’t wait to show you more! Be sure to preorder yours now; you can read all about it on its Indiegogo page here.

Alison Glass fabric pull for Terrazzo quilt by Lee HeinrichThere are many other fun projects waiting patiently on the decks, including a Terrazzo Quilt (pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced) made using all of Alison Glass’s Sun Prints 2016 provided by Fat Quarter Shop (the fabric pull is shown above!), a simple new pattern I’m making for a secret side project with some fellow designers, a baby quilt for one of my best friends from college who is having her second baby soon (see the quilt I made for her first baby here), a quilt pattern that will appear in a magazine early next year, and more!

Phew! What have you been working on?

I’m linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times & Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts since I love to see what everyone else is working on.

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?

Denim Play, Literally

I’ve been really itching to finish something–anything, so when I saw Leanne at Devoted Quilter’s blog post a few weeks ago with her blue jean English paper pieced (EPP) ball project, I knew I had to give it a try. With Finn just learning how to throw, plus two other kids who love to throw stuff around, and a large stack of jeans worn beyond the point of no return, paired with my desire to reuse and recycle as much as possible, this project was perfect.

jeans ballIt took me a bit longer to finish that I anticipated, as is typical, but today I finally finished this blue jeans ball! As Leanne suggested, I used the EPP templates provided by Abby at While She Naps. I glue basted most of the hexagons of old jeans to help make it a quick project, and I began stitching away!

jeans ballAt first I used 50wt Aurifil thread, but soon switched to 12wt. It was the perfect thickness to make the ball feel substantial and secure. I know this ball will be thrown and pummeled and beat on with the love only kids can exude with a well-loved toy, so I wanted to be sure it lasted the test of time.

kid magnet as a thimbleOne thing I learned during stitching this ball is that I need a thimble! I have old metal ones, but am so awkward in using them, I opted to just use coasters or, in some cases, wooden kid magnets to help ease the needle through the thick denim. This has been my down time and kid-napping-in-the-car project for the past two weeks, created through a series of #sewtake20s.

jeans ball
Ready for stuffing!

With the help of Finn and Max this morning, I stuffed the ball with 100% local wool I bought at Clementine Fabrics, a quasi-local but gorgeous fabric shop.

jeans ball stuffing helperMax helped a bit but soon was distracted with the task of cooking up some sheep soup for us to share with his own big ball of wool.

jeans ballFinn began roaming the rest of the playroom so that I could ladder-stitch the opening closed.

jeans ballIt’s a bit rougher than it could be, but I’m not well versed in 3D sewing. All three kids and a neighborhood friend have already had a blast playing with it within ten minutes of completion, so that’s what matters. Plus, I’ve begun the task of using old jeans for repurposed projects. Yay!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday!

Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses EPP {Sizzix Tutorial}

Today I’m excited to be blogging over on the Sizzix blog, sharing a tutorial on how to piece the iconic Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses (PoTC) block. Lucy Boston blocks allow for endless meticulous cutting fun, the most kickassiduously planned pattern meet-ups, and of course lots of color play. (Translation: You can fussy cut your heart out and the blocks will look even more amazing the more meticulous you get).  Since Lucy Boston blocks are English Paper Pieced (EPP), they are also great on-the-go projects. If you’re looking for a new EPP project but are getting a bit tired of hexies, I definitely would recommend Lucy Boston.

lucy boston patchwork of the crosses epp tutorial sizzixAs you can see, I really stretched out of my color combination comfort zone with this project. With the Tula Pink Moonshine print as my focal fabric, I went wild with the blue, mustardy-yellow, and a pop of red palette. With my favorite Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal as the background fabric, I’m really liking the way this is headed!

lucy boston patchwork of the crosses epp tutorial sizzixIn my tutorial over on the Sizzix blog, I show how to:

  • make a fussy cutting planning template with the Sizzix Honeycombs and Squares die (so you don’t need to buy the acrylic template, too)
  • Find pattern repeats in fabric
  • Fussy cut using a Sizzix die cutting machine
  • Assemble the Lucy Boston PoTC block
  • I share tips on matching pattern meet-ups after fussy cutting, and more!

lucy boston patchwork of the crosses epp tutorial sizzixMany of these tips would be helpful to anyone wanting to create a Lucy Boston block, with or without a die cutting machine.

sizzix lucy boston tutorialSo head on over to the Sizzix blog and have a look at what I’ve been working on over the past few months!

I’m planning to turn my Lucy Boston blocks into a vertical wall hanging with three blocks and red accent squares. Stay tuned…

For other color combination inspiration, you can see another Lucy Boston PoTC project I did here, or peruse the Instagram feed of Rhea at Alewives Fabrics (one of my fav Maine quilt shops)–she’s a Lucy Boston fanatic!

I’m linking up with Design Wall Monday and tomorrow I’ll link to Stephanie’s Tips and Tutorials Tuesday. Check ’em out!

Also, just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the giveaway sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop! Comment on THIS post to enter!