Tag Archives: foundation paper piecing

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 35 Flora Tutorial

Welcome to the final–yes, the very last!!!–block tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. If you’ve made it this far and have completed all of the blocks, congratulations!! You have finished quite an amazing accomplishment! If you haven’t completed all of the blocks but are still following along, bravo to you as well! And welcome to the club 😀

farmers wife 1930 35 flora tutorialSince at this point in this Sew Along, I’m sure there are hardly any techniques or block approaches that need additional guidance, I decided, with the approval of Angie, to approach this tutorial a little differently. Today my tutorial will focus on “what next?” Now that this epic sew along is officially complete and you may or may not have all 99 of the blocks sewn, I will reflect on and share a few different approaches you might want to take.

Tips for Foundation Paper Piecing Flora

First, let’s get Flora’s construction covered. I foundation paper pieced my block, so for those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

foundation paper pieced flora farmers wifeSince this block is not symmetrical, I printed a mirror image of the templates to help ensure I matched the color placement to that in the book. I selected simple dark, medium, and light green fabrics and carefully marked each piece of the template with a D (dark), M (medium), or L (light) before sewing so that once I had my fabric bits cut, I could chain piece the templates without too much thought. Those two preparatory steps (printing mirror image templates & marking each section of the templates) helped make the actual stitching of this block quick and smooth.

farmers wife 1930 floraThe final block has been sewn! Congratulations! So now what….?

Farmers Wife final layout warm coolIf we reminisce back to October 2015 when we first began this sew along, I originally planned (hoped?) to make 72 blocks instead of the full 99. I planned to sew some with cool colors on a white/low volume background and warm colors on a grey/black background and set them with solid blocks between. It seemed like a solid plan at the time, back when I had in my head that I was making “just a little 6″ block every week”. As you all know at this point, though, these little 6″ blocks pack a punch, often with 30-60 pieces and taking hours to construct. I’ve accepted that the 72 block plan just isn’t in the cards for me at this point in my life. I’m totally ok with that. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are some options.

Keep Plugging Away

all of my blocks sans flora
My full block inventory, not including Flora = 15 blocks

One option is to keep plugging away at the blocks with the goal of completing all of them eventually. If you want to be sure to complete them in a timely fashion, you may want to set a new goal for yourself and try to hold yourself to it.  Perhaps you could aim to make one block per week, at least 3 weeks out of every month.  Or you could plan to make 1 block every 2 weeks, where week 1 is spent selecting fabric and cutting and week 2 is spent sewing the blocks together. If this is your choice, make a plan, write it down, and forge ahead!

Change your Block Setting

Adjusting the way you set your blocks could also help you get a decent sized quilt from the blocks you’ve made. If you have made all 99 blocks, you could set your blocks with simple sashing and have a nice, huge quilt.

background fabric between each blockAdding solid blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block can help you get the most bang for your buck with however many (or few, in my case) blocks you’ve made. Add sashing and that will make your quilt even larger relative to the number of blocks you’ve made. My original mock-up includes both the blocks between each Farmer’s Wife block, and sashing, so you can reference that (included a few images up) for a visual.

negative space block setting - aria lane alyssa lichtnerOr you could think even further out of the box and arrange your blocks in a more modern, negative-space filled setting. I love the idea of arranging blocks similar to the design in Alyssa Lichner’s Concerto Quilt pattern for Aria Lane!

Make a Smaller Quilt

If you made less blocks than you initially had planned, you could always make a smaller quilt!  Lap quilts are all the rage these days, right!? Are any of your local farmer friends having a baby anytime soon? A good handful of these blocks could be beautifully worked into a “Farmer’s Baby Quilt”. With these intricate blocks, you don’t need many of them to make a gorgeous quilt.

Placemats & Pillows!

If, like me, these 6″ blocks showed you who’s boss (and it wasn’t you) and you only ended up successfully making a bit over a dozen of them, they sure would make beautiful placemats or pillows! Both placemats and pillows are handmade items that are often seen and appreciated daily, making sure your painstaking efforts will be appreciated to their fullest.

background fabric between each blockI’m actually thinking the blue unicorn block I made very well might have to become a pillow for one of my kiddos. It will surely be cherished that way.

With all of those options on your plate, your beautiful Farmer’s Wife blocks are sure to find their way into a finished work of beauty instead of floundering in a pile in your sewing space, right?!  Choose your own adventure, enjoy the journey, and thanks so much for joining in on this wild Farmer’s Wife Sew Along experience!

So which adventure will I choose?

Once I completed Flora, I pulled out all of my completed blocks and put them up on my design wall to take stock of my progress. As seen above, I finished a whopping 16 blocks. I am not counting the three blocks that have foundation paper piecing templates printed, cut out, and fabric pulled, since they are not yet sewn, but I do plan to make them eventually.

smaller quilt same layout planAt first I considered the “Make a Smaller Quilt” option, and thought perhaps I’ll make a few more blocks to fill out a lap sized quilt in my original layout. Note that these photos are from a purely planning phase–fabric slapped up onto my portable design wall simply for the benefit of playing with different arrangements visually. It’s wrinkled and wonky and that’s all part of the fun! 

warm on darkSince I made the warm colored blocks with a dark background and the cool colored blocks with a white background, I probably will stick with those for sashing and background blocks.

Once I began writing this post, though, the negative-space filled setting inspired by the Concerto Quilt is really calling to me. I may opt to plug away and make some more blocks, with the end goal of setting them in a fade out pattern similar to the blocks in the Concerto Quilt. Time will tell, and since I know that I want to make more blocks before settling on any of the options, it’s absolutely okay to choose later!

snail and low volumes worked into greenery
Do you see Flora?

Flora is going to go live in my Greenery 2017 quilt, though, since the block reminded me strongly of dappled light through the treetops and I thought adding a Farmer’s Wife block to my year’s Greenery project would be the perfect touch! The quilt is already a green melting pot of blocks from all of the sew alongs and bees I’m joining this year so it feels only right that a Farmer’s Wife 1930s block join the ranks.

The moral of this story is: There are no rules. This is your quilt. You can do anything you want to with these blocks!  Enjoy the adventure!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

 

Not-So-Ugly Christmas Sweater Block Sew Along with Kid Giddy

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!

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockThe 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!

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI love the subtle Cotton + Steel Mustang twinkle trim on the sweater, and the Kona Wasabi arms round it out nicely.

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockHindsight, 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.

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI 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?

Be sure to check out the other fun ugly and not-so-ugly sweater blocks on Instagram at #uglysweaterblock, or get Kerry’s pattern here.

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI’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!

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 95 Sylvia Tutorial

Ahh, remember the Farmer’s Wife Sew Along!? Today is my day to share the Block 95 Sylvia tutorial for the 1930 Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. Sure, I’m wildly behind on this sew along, but that’s totally ok! With my final deadlines being met within the next couple of weeks, I will have time to catch up a bit, chipping away at the missing blocks here and there. It’s all good! That’s part of what I love about Angie’s Sew Along–there’s no pressure. I’m making this quilt for me and I can take as long as I want to finish it!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEach of these Farmer’s Wife blocks manage to pack quite a punch in the little 6 1/2″ space. My method of attack when deciding how to piece each block has been consistent: how can I piece this with as little muss and fuss as possible? With Sylvia, at first I was thinking chain piecing would be the way to go, since it would help minimize the teeny tiny pieces in the inner borders I’d need to cut and sew. Looking at it more closely, I decided that with this block, even chain piecing would require piecing TINY bits, cutting, and then piecing again. Plus, sixteenths of an inch!? No thank you! Finally, I decided that foundation paper piecing was the way to go, since:

  • there aren’t any tricky joins,
  • the pieces are teeny enough that the foundation paper will be helpful in reducing wonkiness,
  • the block breaks into pretty manageable pieces, AND
  • all of the border pieces can be cut using a rotary cutter and ruler to decrease the paper removal at the end.

Those who know me know that I LOVE foundation paper piecing (FPP), and it’s true–I do! The precision one can get using FPP is unrivaled, and once the technique is mastered, it makes sewing teeny tiny pieces MUCH more manageable. I am not going to take you step by step through how to foundation paper piece, since I have  written two very clear tutorials already (why reinvent the wheel, right!?), but I will share some block-specific tips and tricks to help you piece Sylvia smoothly.

For those of you who do not know how to foundation paper piece, visit my Basic Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial here, as well as the Foundation Paper Piecing tutorial guest post I wrote for the Andover Fabrics blog here. Trust me, it is a technique worth practicing and mastering, since it opens a whole new world of sewing possibility!

Reflection on the Letter – In Spite of the Mortgage

Nearly every one of the letters in this book seems to talk to me in a very specific, seemingly personal way. After the first dozen times of reading a letter I shockingly thought was *meant for me*, I realized that all of the letters have a very widely applicable message and I was simply interpreting it in a way that worked for me at that moment. That said, I can completely relate to this letter!!

Sometimes it’s necessary to just head off on an adventure despite whatever chores, obligations, or need for frugality you have waiting for you at home. We did a lot of adventuring this summer, but like Mrs. A. M. from the letter, we were able to do it on a very tight budget, not paying for much more than gas money.  Day trips to beaches, mountains, playgrounds, and forested hikes abounded, and I was always sure to pack a picnic lunch, extra snacks from home, and full changes of clothes for all three kids (and myself)… just in case. It was a much needed change from the stay home and do chores days we could have had!

Tutorial

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialReady to get sewing? Make sure you have a grasp on how to foundation paper piece, and let’s make Sylvia!

Choosing Fabrics

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAs soon as I saw this block, I knew that I wanted to meticulously cut the center square. I’m arranging my blocks on point, so be mindful of your own plans before meticulously cutting your fabric! (I call “fussy cutting” meticulous cutting, and you can read why here). In looking for a fabric with a perfect color scheme and feature design, I stumbled across my precious Heather Ross Far Far Away unicorns (Windham Fabrics). I added some solid blue from an old project, and some Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper Palette (Andover Fabrics). While the colors are a bit more muted than my other blocks, I think they will all work together. Plus, this fabric combination was a match made in heaven… once it was together, there was no separating it!

Here are some general tips for foundation paper piecing:

  • Shorten your stitch length to 1.2 (if you are an absolute newbie at FPP, try 1.5 until you get the hang of it);
  • Hand crank your needle down at the beginning of each line to make sure you start off exactly where you want to;
  • Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line to secure your stitches (they will be much sturdier during paper removal this way); and,
  • Foundation paper piecing results in many trimmed thread ends. What better time to make yourself a thread catcher? Here’s a free tutorial on how to make the one I use.

To help you while you stitch up Sylvia, here are some block-specific tips for you with photos from my process.

Tip #1: How to make a fussy cutting template for FPP

Fussy cutting while foundation paper piecing can seem daunting, but with one extra step, it can be super easy! Simply create a fussy cutting planning template for the piece(s) you want to focus on. I go through making such template in detail in my FPP post for Andover here, but here are the basics: Print an extra sheet of paper containing the FPP template with the piece you want to fussy cut (printing on card stock will make the planning template sturdier).

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialMark the specific piece you want to meticulously cut. I went a little overboard on marking mine for the sake of clarity here. I circled the number but also traced just outside the line of the particular piece, both with bright pink sharpie. Simply circling the number would probably suffice!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut out the center of the piece, creating a window that is exactly the size of the piece you want.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialDraw a 3/8″ seam allowance around the window. I used a green micron pen for this example to ensure the line didn’t get confused with the printed lines on the paper.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut along the line you drew.

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialYou should how have a planning template to help you cut your fabric for fussy cutting. Notice that I placed my planning template onto the fabric upside down. This is because in foundation paper piecing, we are sewing the block on the reverse side of the template. It did not matter too much for this particular piece, since it’s a square, but always be mindful of directionality of the fabric as well as wrong side-right side. If need be, mark your planning template with “right side up” or “wrong side up” so that your fabric is cut properly!

Tip # 2: Color code your foundation paper

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialBetween sewing the fabric on the reverse side of the paper, having the block broken into sometimes odd sections before sewing, and the many pieces involved in most foundation paper piecing patterns, it is in your best interest to color code your paper template before beginning to sew. This way, you can be sure you sew each fabric in the proper place.

Tip #3: Be generous with your fabric pieces

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialEspecially when first getting started with foundation paper piecing, one of the biggest tips I can offer is to be generous with your fabric pieces. It’s better to have to trim a bit more off than to be short and have to rip stitches! For my bright blue squares on Sylvia, I cut the fabric into 1 1/2″ squares, which as you can see includes ample overhang.

Tip #4: Use rotary cutter and ruler for rectangular shapes

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialThis tip goes for bag-making as well: just because there is a template created for a perfectly rectangular piece, it doesn’t mean you can’t use your rotary cutter and ruler! The outer pieces of Sylvia can be easily cut using a rotary cutter and ruler, which will save time with paper removal at the end. Since these pieces are not easily measured (let’s avoid using sixteenths of an inch if we can help it!) simply cut out the foundation paper piece templates and use them as a guide when rotary cutting. Use the foundation paper piecing method to piece the center portion, then add the D, E, H, and I rectangles using traditional piecing methods. Easy peasy!

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialAnd there you have it. Sylvia, in all her glory.

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you found this tutorial helpful!

Important Links

http://www.interweavestore.com/the-farmers-wife-1930s-sampler-quiltThe Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

 

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial on Andover Fabrics’ Blog

Today’s the day! A few months back Giuseppe (aka @giucy_giuce on social media) from Andover Fabrics asked if I would like to do a guest post on their blog. For those of you who haven’t put it together, Andover Fabrics is the manufacturer who houses fabric lines by Alison Glass, Lizzy House, Libs Elliot… and more! You know how much Alison Glass fabric alone is include in my makes, so of course I said YES! I decided to share a tutorial for my favorite quilting technique that sadly often has a bad rep–foundation paper piecing. Today a revamped foundation paper piecing tutorial featuring my newest pattern, Constant Flux, which features Handcrafted Patchwork by Alison Glass, went live on the Andover blog.

foundation paper pieced block from constant flux andover tutorialThis tutorial takes you through the basics of foundation paper piecing, but also includes some special hints, tips, and helpful cutting measurements for sewing together the Constant Flux pattern. You can read more about Constant Flux HERE, and be sure to visit the foundation paper piecing tutorial on the Andover blog HERE.

constant flux pattern coverIf you haven’t yet added Constant Flux to your pattern library, it’s still on sale for a few more days in my Craftsy shop (and Payhip for those of you in the EU). Get it now for only $5, since at the end of the week it will head back up to its usual $8.

Many thanks to Andover Fabrics for hosting me, and I hope all of you find my foundation paper piecing tutorial helpful! Happy stitching!

Constant Flux: Flimsy Finish & Pattern Release

It’s no secret that I love to design foundation paper pieced patterns. You’ve seen me create the likes of Lupine, Love Struck, Bean SproutLove is the Key, Fish Panels, Buoys, and more. Recently, though, I’ve been wanting to play more with geometric foundation paper pieced patterns, and I’m excited to share my very first one with you today!

constant flux pattern coverConstant Flux is an easy, very beginner-friendly, and diverse pattern. There are no tricky angles, odd shapes, or difficult joins, yet the design options are boundless. The mini quilt consists of four 12″ blocks, finishing at 24″, but it’s easy to make a quilt of any size by simply making more blocks or adding borders!

alison glass handcrafted patchwork fabric andoverAndover Fabrics asked me a while back if I would do a guest post on their blog. Of course I said yes, and decided to share a foundation paper piecing tutorial to try to spread the love of this oft-disparaged quilting style. This pattern is the result, and the tutorial will be posted on the Andover blog soon, so keep your eye out for it! The tutorial will take you step by step through how to foundation paper piece this pattern, which in turn can be applied to all other foundation paper pieced patterns! I’ll be sure to link to it as soon as it’s live. In the meantime, go ahead and buy the pattern and start choosing your fabrics!

fussy cutting for foundation paper piecingI created my version of Constant Flux inspired by Handcrafted Patchwork by Alison Glass from Andover Fabrics and just had to keep her gorgeous large motifs intact, so the pattern includes tools to help you plan meticulously cut elements if you so desire. I also include measurements for precutting fabric to make the process move more smoothly, so be sure to check out the tutorial early next week.

constant flux mini quiltConstant Flux is available in my Craftsy store (and Payhip for those of you in the EU) and will be on sale for only $5 for the first week, after which it will return to its normal price of $8.

The name of Constant Flux makes me happy because of the play on words. The visual aspect of the pattern strongly elicits movement, thus the “Flux” part. Yet aspects of the quilt can be meticulously cut as exact replicas, which is where the “Constant” part of the name comes in. Depending on the way you look at it, the constant can imply both that the movement is happening at all times, or that there are some things that are constant despite the movement! Constant Flux.

Constant Flux color optionsFor now, I haven’t quilted my first one and I already want to make Constant Flux in a different colorway. Look at all of the options I came up with in just a short moment of color arrangement play! The pattern comes with a full page coloring sheet so that you can explore your options before diving in. That bottom right version is calling to me–which one would you make first?!

I’d love to see what you create, so when you stitch up your Constant Flux quilt, please tag #constantfluxquilt and @nightquilter so that I can see your creation!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, Needle & Thread Thursday, and TGIFF. Happy stitching!

Bean Sprout: FPP Pattern Release

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!

bean sprout foundation paper pieced pattern nightquilterTo 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.

grow bean sprout pillow finishYou 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.

pattern piecing diagram bean sprout fppThe 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 block bring spring no matter the weather
Sew up the bean sprout block to bring spring no matter the weather!!

Bean Sprout is available for sale in my Craftsy and Payhip (if you’re in the EU, please purchase through Payhip!) shops, at an introductory price of $2.50 through the weekend. Tuesday morning EST, it will go up to its standard price of $4.50.

bean sprout foundation paper piecing pattern nightquilterI 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!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Let’s Bee Social.

Make Earth Day Every Day: Grow Pillow

Earth Day has always been one of my favorites days. I strive to fully embody the “Earth Day is Every Day” ideal with my day to day life, from adopting a whale in third grade and frequent stream clean ups as a child, to majoring in environmental science in college, to aiming to instill a love and respect for the earth and all its creatures and functions in my children. The earth is our home, and it is our responsibility to help nurture and care for it. Today seemed like the perfect day to share my newly finished pillow featuring my bean sprout foundation paper pieced pattern.

grow bean sprout pillow finishI’m calling this pillow “Grow” and it will be donated to a fundraiser auction/raffle at our local school. The theme for the fundraiser is “Growth & Gardening” so it fits perfectly!

grow bean sprout pillow finishI used my coveted Carolyn Friedlander bright green Architextures fabric (Robert Kaufman) for the sprout, with little leaves of lime linen leftover from a previous project and a dotty dark green that was in my stash, but has no selvedge. A light turquoise modern Indah batik by Me + You (Hoffman Fabrics) makes a perfect summer sky for the background. Alison Glass Sun Prints 2016 Sphere (Andover) as the border rounded out the pillow nicely. It’s bound in the remainder of the lime linen blend and backed in that same mystery, beautiful dark green fabric. I quilted the pillow front with coordinating 50wt Aurifil thread in 2800-Mint Ice, since it blends right in with both the background and the green bean sprout.

grow bean sprout pillow finishI was hoping to release the Bean Sprout Pattern today, too, but lo… life got in the way and it’s not quite ready yet. Soon, hopefully. The pattern finishes at 12″ square so I added 2″ borders all around to bring the pillow to 16″ square.

grow bean sprout pillow finishgrow bean sprout pillow finishI also inserted my very first hidden zipper in the back of this pillow, which is SO exciting! I used a fabulous tutorial by S.O.T.A.K. handmade and it worked like a charm. I am definitely installing hidden zippers in the backs of all of my pillows from now on.

grow bean sprout pillow finishNow that this pillow is finished and photographed, it will be delivered to my daughter’s school for their annual fundraising auction/raffle. Last year’s donated project taught me a lot about the art of giving, and this year’s gift seems no less serendipitous. A quilted item was needed for a growth-themed fundraiser, right as I had tested my bean sprout pattern–perfect! I’m curious to see what next year brings, and I hope this pillow is able to raise some money for our local school!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday, and TGIFF, since a finish ALWAYS warrants celebration! Now, off I go on a hike to celebrate this gorgeous Earth Day! Head on outside and love your mama!

 

Inviting Ancestors to Tea: A Mug Rug Gift

A few months ago, my brother-in-law posted the coolest picture on Instagram of what appeared to be a little metal pin or charm. My first thought (of course) was, “That would make a cool paper pieced pattern!” His caption read: “Our ancestral emblem dates back to the 1800s.”  That sealed the deal. This HAD to be made into fiber art of some sort. How awesome is it to have an ancestral emblem!? I’ve been prodding my artist brother to design one for our family, since you’ve gotta start somewhere, right?!

ancestral emblem IG postWhen I got the reminder from my mom that his birthday was in early March, I decided it was time for this ancestral emblem creation to become a reality. I drafted a foundation paper pieced pattern, decided a mug rug would be the perfect doable yet useful gift, and set to work.

finnish ancestral emblem mug rugI’m very happy with the result!

This gift was a surprise for my brother-in-law, so I had to do some secretive research into favorites. He and my brother both have a very distinct style and I wanted to be sure to make a gift he’ll sincerely love (for more than just the fact that I made it for him). First up was to do some research to figure out a favorable color scheme. Word back from my brother was that colors were tough, and the safest bet was to go with grey, black, or white. Since Robert Kaufman’s Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal is one of my all-time favorite fabrics, this color scheme sounded perfect to me!

finnish ancestral emblem progressWith Kona white and Essex yarn dyed in charcoal, I pieced the top using my newly created foundation paper pieced pattern. I made some binding with my go-to Carolyn Friedlander text on black from Architextures and decided the whole thing needed an accent–just a pop of color in the binding to round it out. I sent my brother the photo above for his opinion, and I’m glad I did! The texty print was vetoed and orange and black apparently are a favorite color combination (you know me–I was leaning heavily toward turquoise).

hand stitching binding relaxationI easily switched in Kona black instead of the Architextures (I’ll save that for another project!) with three narrow bits of Kona Persimmon and before I knew it, I was relaxingly hand stitching the binding to the back to finish it up.

finnish ancestral emblem mug rugI am really happy with this mug rug, and I hope that my brother-in-law loves it and better yet–uses it ALL the time! He can now invite his ancestors to tea whenever he wants.

architextures ledger perfect backing fabric straight quiltingThose of you who follow me on Instagram most likely already saw my secret trick to perfectly straight quilting lines, but I’ll share it here for those who missed it. I used Ledger from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures line for the backing and quilted straight lines with the backing facing up. This project was small enough that I could easily line up the backing with the front, so the lines were perfectly straight, evenly spaced, and horizontal on the front. I used 50wt Aurifil 2600-Dove thread for piecing, quilting, and binding (of course).

finnish ancestral emblem mug rugThis was mailed off yesterday (better late than never!), so it should be arriving soon.

Project Stats – Mug Rug

Pattern: Finnish Ancestral Emblem foundation paper pieced pattern designed by me, inspired by a photo of a metal pin.

Size: 6.5″x11″

Fabric:
Front: Kona White (Robert Kaufman), Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Charcoal (Robert Kaufman)
Back: Ledger in Ivory from Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander (Robert Kaufman)
Binding: Kona Black with three accents of Kona Persimmon (Robert Kaufman)

Batting: 100% cotton Soft n’ Crafty batting

Thread: Aurifil 50wt in 2600 – Dove for both piecing and quilting

Quilting: Straight line quilting using the lines in Ledger as a guide, with my Bernina 560 and a walking foot

*******

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Up Friday. I have a lot of finishes to share in the coming weeks, which explains my relative quiet here on the blog. Time to show you what I’ve been making!

 

 

Love is the Key: Pattern Release and Sale!

Love is always the key. We know that. But now we can also SEW that! Those who know me know that I am a sap for hearts and I see them literally everywhere. One of my proudest moments was the first time my daughter brought me a heart she found in nature. It was a dirty old dried up piece of orange peel that she had found in the gravel driveway, and she was filled to the brim with excitement that she had found a heart. Since then, Maddie and I (and now Max, a bit) have found countless heart rocks, heart sea glass, heart snowballs, heart leaves, and more… since truly, love is everywhere. Reminiscent story aside, today I’m excited to release my newest pattern: Love is the Key.

Love is the Key CoverLove is the Key is a foundation paper pieced pattern that measures 9″ square, but with an option for a 4.5″ wide by 9″ tall version. It features a heart-topped key and is a very easy, beginner-friendly paper piecing pattern. Believe it or not, this pattern was first conceptualized and sketched almost a year ago, on my flight home from QuiltCon. It’s a mash-up of my Unlocked and Love Struck patterns, since who doesn’t need more heart-filled pattern options?

love is the key foundation paper pieced patternTo help celebrate the month of love, this pattern release is also kicking off a pattern sale of all of my love-themed patterns, today through Valentine’s Day. That gives you ample time to sew up some love for your partner, your kids, your parents, or hey–even for yourself!

pattern sale loveGrab Love is the Key for only $3 while you can! The prices have already been reduced in my Craftsy and Payhip shops. After Valentine’s Day, all patterns will return to their standard prices of $4.50 (but my love will still be there).

I always love to see what you create, so please use the hashtag #loveisthekeypattern and tag me @nightquilter when you share on social media.

coming soon... Flying KeyI’m also excited about a few add-on pattern features I’m hoping to release soon. Most likely not by Valentine’s Day, but soon you will be able to stitch up a flying heart key, and will have top and bottom options for a “create your own adventure” key. So much fun. So much love.

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts’ Finish it up Friday since I’m psyched I finally finished this pattern, even if it did take me a year!

 

 

 

How Small Can You Go?

I’m certainly testing this question lately! I’ve written about the mini mini quilt swap craze, and while it seems to have died down a bit on Instagram, I’m still plugging along working to complete the many mini minis I have promised to swap. Such is life when sewing gets done 20 minutes at a time! One such mini mini has morphed into a true test of “how small can you go?”

mini mini fpp featherI designed a tiny foundation paper pieced geometric feather for the mini mini I’m making for Renee at Quilts of a Feather, since I wanted to create a purple feather (her favorite color is purple and feather is probably a clear choice), but I also wanted it to be unique. The tiny pattern crazy me developed has 60 foundation paper pieced pieces in block smaller than 3″x4″.

mini mini fpp featherBelieve it or not, the foundation paper piecing part went smoothly. That’s one of the wonders of foundation paper piecing–you can literally sew ANYthing.

quilting stiletto in useI’ve only removed the papers from half so far, but even that isn’t too bad. I quite enjoy it, actually. When foundation paper piecing, I set my stitch length to 1.2 so the paper basically melts off. I encouraged some of the teeny tiny smaller than 1/16″ bits to come off using a cute stiletto I received as part of a swap last year. (Aside–did you know that a stiletto in quilting is a skinny tool that is thicker and a bit more blunt than a pin, and is used to help feed your fabric through your sewing machine, hold down little corners while sewing, or any other task you can derive? I *just* learned what a stiletto was and so I’m trying to use it more!)

mini mini fpp featherJoining the two halves, on the other hand, was where the challenge truly arose. I broke a needle trying to get through all of those layers, and eventually settled on hand cranking my machine through the thickest part.

mini mini fpp featherNeedless to say, this baby does not lay flat, nor can I hope to press it flat no matter how much Flatter I use.  But no worries! I plan to use a double layer of batting, perhaps only under the feather (I think it’s called trapunto) so that at least it won’t seem too out of place. But it appears I have my answer: this is as small as I can go, at least with this pattern!

I originally planned to trim the outer edge and needle turn appliqué the feather to the background fabric, a gorgeous glimmering square of Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous. After requesting some tips/advice from Carolyn Friedlander via email, I am approaching it in a different way per her advice; instead I’ll do reverse appliqué, where I’ll cut the hole in the background fabric, place it on top of the feather, and stitch it down around the feather’s edge. While it will be my first time trying reverse applique, I think I have a much better chance at success using this method. Thank you, Carolyn!

mini mini fpp feather
I’m leaning toward the lighter purple Aurifil for the stitching, so that it will blend in with the Loominous.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how this mini mini turns out!

I’m linking up with Works in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, since it feels like ages since my last link up!