When my local friend Kim told me about an art auction she was organizing to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), I knew that no matter how much I had on my plate, I wanted to make something to contribute. I finished just under the wire, but was able to finish this 6″ hoop for the Art of Action, which will take place tomorrow in Bangor, Maine. Don’t worry–I got the hoop to Kim earlier this week so that she had time to hang it!
This hoop primarily features a quote that has become a war cry that helps women honor their strength and their ability to fight for what they believe in, and I added freestyle embroidery flowers for a light aesthetic touch.
My goal was to make it bold and strong, yet pretty at the same time. Rosie the Riveter meets a lovely sunlit tea room.
This was the first time I actually wrote on a hoop before stitching, but I knew with lettering I wanted it to look perfectly centered, and advance planning was necessary. I printed the quote I wanted in the fonts I wanted, held it up to a window with my cotton and steel background fabric held on top, and then traced it with a regular pencil. I’m really high-tech here, as you can see.
The stem stitch “Nevertheless” was fairly straight-forward, but by golly, that cursive “she persisted” was tricky! Nevertheless, I persisted. I give mad props to those of you who hand embroider lettering regularly! It’s not for the faint of heart.
Overall, I’m happy with the lettering even though it’s far from perfect. I ultimately outlined the thicker parts of each letter with backstitch, and then went back over the entire thing with satin stitch to fill in. Some letters are more rough than others, but that’s all part of the charm of handmade, right?
My favorite part other than the message and the really good letters (there are a couple!) is the bunch of flowers at the bottom. The french knot lavender flowers are so much fun to stitch, and I love the look of the tall, single chain stitch flowers. I used 12wt Aurifil thread for all of the stitching, and as usual, I’m quite happy with the thickness and silkiness of the stitches.
I finished the hoop with a felt backing, blanket stitched in place and embroidered with a very simple signature and date.
If you are in the Bangor, Maine area tomorrow evening, April 8, 2017, please come by the Art of Action Auction, a silent auction of art to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) taking place at 58 Main, a pop-up event venue in the heart of downtown Bangor.
The juried art show will be auctioning more than 60 pieces of art and works at varying price points done by Maine artists, living, working or with roots in Maine. This grass roots effort is intended to promote Maine Artists, bring the community together and safeguard individual rights and freedoms. (Information from the Art of Action website) I’ll see you there!
Sometimes you just need a quick finish. Something small and beautiful that you made with your own hands, but that takes only hours (instead of days) to create. When Yvonne announced her Quilting Jetgirl Alison Glass Challenge as an incentive for the rest of us to get one of our Alison Glass fabric makes into the finished pile, I had a few different ideas of which of my many Alison Glass-influenced projects I should finish first. At first I thought I’d focus on the table runner I started late last year using the Insignia and Seventy-Six fabric lines, but then thought it might be the perfect boost to finally finish Max’s Eye Spy quilt that has a dominance of bright Alison Glass prints from across the years. Then I gave myself a reality check and decided to select something small. I have two big deadline projects to finish within the next month, so to be real I decided to pull a diaper pouch project off of my WIPs shelves and finish it up. I’m so glad I did!!
I used my all time favorite Alison Glass Print, the Art Theory Panel from her Ex Libris line as the outer panel, and lined it with Artifact in Charcoal from her Abacus line (Andover Fabrics). I was lucky enough to buy all of these fabrics, AND the cotton webbing strap from my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.
I used my go-to 50wt Aurifil thread 2600-Dove for all the piecing and 50wt 2692-Black for sewing on the velcro so that the stitches would not stand out. I love that Fiddlehead also carries a good selection of Aurifil threads! One stop shopping for the win!
Of course I had to plan it so that the rainbow star from Artifact was visible right on the top. I should have given myself a tiny bit more space in that seam, but I’m not losing sleep over it. It’s gorgeous anyway!
Now instead of having a purse filled with diapers and wipes floating every which way, I can have a beautiful and function space to store them compactly, not only making the inside of my purse a bit more organized, but also making it easy for me to visually check that I have a diaper for my little one before I head out!
Since pens are another item I’m often digging for in the chaos within my gorgeous bag, I decided to store two of my favorite micron pens tucked in the corner of the diaper pouch, so that they are easily found when I think of something to add to my Quilter’s Planner Mini–my traveling to-do list, grocery list, and inspiration keeper. Pst… you can now order the Quilter’s Planner Minis individually, here. Just a PSA for the day!
This pouch also perfectly coordinates with the amazing Alison Glass fabric bag my husband bought me for my birthday last year, made by the ever talented Kristy at Rock Baby Scissors. There’s no such thing as too much Alison Glass fabric, right?! No way!! What next?…. I’m thinking a few zip pouches to help organize the other contents of my purse. What’s your favorite simple zip pouch pattern? (Noodlehead’s Open-Wide Zippered Pouch is a fab one, but should I know about others?)
I have spent the past three months or more psyching myself up for the Quilter’s Planner designed by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. I’ve dreamt of a year during which I’m organized, on time, and actually accomplishing my goals in a somewhat planned and consistent way. One month into using the Quilter’s Planner and I’m excited to report that it has helped me create a life that fits my vision! I also finally finished sewing the cover, which adds even more color and cheer to the year ahead. To celebrate, I’ll be giving away a Quilter’s Planner! Now is your chance to get one since they are sold out everywhere else! To be clear, the giveaway is for a planner and fabric only. The planner cover shown in this post is mine… BUT there will be instructions on how to make one just like this available soon, and I’m including the fabric needed to make the outer panel in the giveaway!
Ever since Stephanie announced that she would be teaming up with Amanda at What the Bobbin to provide a tutorial for sewing a personalized planner cover, I’ve been planning to finally cut into my cherished Art Theory panel from Ex Libris by Alison Glass. I am absolutely smitten with the result, and am planning to create a tutorial and piecing instructions for the outer panel in case you would like to make an Alison Glass-themed outer cover, too. (I’m hoping to have it to Stephanie some time next week and she will make it available on the Quilter’s Planner website.)
The cover has the Art Theory panel as the center focal print, with Essex linen in charcoal and coordinating Sun Prints 2016 on the sides. Sun Prints 2016 are arriving in stores now, but Alison was kind enough to send a bit my way in advance for this project. I love how all of her fabric lines coordinate and compliment each other so well!
Here’s the full outer cover, without the planner in it. As you can see, I chose cool colors for the front and warm for the back, complete with the appropriate Sun Prints 2016. As I mentioned above, cutting and piecing instructions for recreating this outer panel will be available on the Quilter’s Planner website soon. I absolutely love it!
Here is the inside without the planner so that you can see the Bookplate in Charcoal (Ex Libris) pockets paired with the Sticks and Twine in Charcoal (Abacus) lining. I added two ribbons; one marks the current weekly calendar page, and one marks the page on which I’m currently sketching new ideas.
I used a bit of Artifact in Charcoal from Abacus as a pen/scissor holder, too. It fits perfectly! Realistically, I most likely will keep my pencil and micron pen in the zip pocket and my scissors in my sewing kit, but I know I have an option to carry them along if need be. Plus, BEAUTY!
I found a perfectly coordinating zipper and some fun eggplant colored elastic at my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply. The elastic is designed for bra straps, so it’s sooooo silky smooth.
I love how the elastic holds the planner together when it’s closed. I have big plans to make a coordinating Super Tote (a Noodlehead pattern) and carrying my planner with me everywhere (scheduled for sometime in the future! LOL).
As you can see, I absolutely love my planner and am very excited to have this finished cover to show to you. I am a big list person, so making the decision to set goals and write out my lists at the beginning of each week and again every morning has been monumental. Not only am I improving at setting and staying on top of realistic sewing and blogging goals, I’m also keeping my house nearly completely clean for the first time ever. The change? A switch from “I should do…” to just doing it. Instead of looking at the dishes and saying “I need to do the dishes” I just put on my dish gloves and dig in. I also space out tasks so that laundry is done in manageable steps instead of left until it’s a mountain with no end in sight. Did the planner work some magic over me? Who knows. Either way, knowing that I have a paper planner with actual listed items I need to cross out each day has made me much more accountable for actually doing the things on my list.
Now, for the giveaway! Stephanie was nice enough to send me an extra planner and I want to share it with YOU! I’m also going to include a charm pack of Alison Glass’s Sun Prints 2016, one Art Theory panel in charcoal, and a bit of Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen in charcoal–in other words, all of the fabric needed to create the outside panel for a planner cover just like mine!
To enter the giveaway today, tell me your favorite feature of the Quilter’s Planner, OR a feature you’d like to see next year. You can read all about this year’s Quilter’s Planner and can sign up for email updates here. Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win. If you’re a follower of Night Quilter, leave a second comment telling me how you follow for a second entry.
For those of you who want to be in the loop for next year regardless of whether you win this planner, I definitely recommend signing up for the mailing list at http://quiltersplanner.com/. When you sign up, you’ll also immediately receive a PDF of the Individual Project Planning Page. Stephanie will periodically email you new PDFs as she develops them to thank you for your support, and you will be the first to know when preorders open for next year’s planner.
This giveaway is open to US and international participants. The giveaway will be open until 8pm Wednesday 2/10 when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck, and spread the word! This giveaway has ended. The winner will be announced shortly!
Please note that while I usually try to reply to every blog comment by email, due to the volume of comments during giveaways I will not be able to reply to all comments on this post. Know, though, that I read every one and appreciate all of your kind words!!
All Night Quilter love-themed patterns are on sale through Valentine’s Day on Craftsy and Payhip. Sew up some hearts for your home!
Lately, I’ve been sucked into the world of mini mini quilts, sparked by an Instagram post by my quilty blogger friend Michelle Bartholomew. The Mini Mini Quilt Swap, as far as I can tell, is an open swap of teeny tiny quilts (finishing usually between 3 – 5 inches square). It’s entirely independent, and up to you or a partner to send the invitation to swap, on you and your swap partner’s own set timeline, and open to as much fun and interpretation as you want. As Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said, it’s the perfect “Squirrel!” activity for quilters.
I have a big project to fini…. Squirrel! Off to the world of mini mini quilts.
I’ve finished four mini mini quilts so far and have at least two (more like three or four) in progress. You can see my mini minis in progress HERE. I have promised mini mini quilts to 9 people and have received 4 (5, technically, since Allison sent me two!) so far. They are a perfect little brain-rest in between bouts of completion on larger projects.
The first mini mini quilt I finished was inspired by Chawne Kimber’s Roberta quilts and her idea to sew SMALLER (check #sewSMALLER on Instagram to find her amazingly tiny and detailed quilting @cauchycomplete). I had played around with the idea after meeting Chawne and seeing her amazing work in person at the Slow Stitching Retreat hosted by Sam of A Gathering of Stitches this summer, and this mini mini was originally one of my play pieces. Michelle claimed it, I quilted it with a spiral and bound it with as much skill as an elephant threading a needle.
As my first mini mini quilt bound, I was silly and tried a normal binding method, except thought it would be a good idea to join the binding at a corner (like a miter, right!?). Trust me, don’t do that. I’m seriously strongly considering ripping off the binding and giving it another go. In fact, I think I will. Sorry, Michelle, it will be a bit longer before your mini is in the mail.
The second mini mini I finished is for Yvonne, who said she liked rainbows and that I could have free reign. I first made the rainbow strips 1/4″ wide, but it ended up far too large.
So I channeled Chawne and sewed smaller… these finished rainbow bars finish at about 3/16ths of an inch. In my typical style, this mini is rainbow with a black/grey contrast (it’s either that or low volume, right!?).
I added a little meticulously cut bit of Medrona Road that says “a place to call home”. Without going into too much detail, one of the projects Yvonne is undertaking in an ongoing manner is her Reclamation Project, where she creates quilts with a personal statement. As she says, she “decided to take seeds of inspiration I found in song lyrics to create my own unique poetry in the form of a simple haiku. Once I had derived my own original work, my goal was to use my poetry as design inspiration for a mini quilt.” (from her Reclamation Project intro) From these projects, and through knowing Yvonne for nearly 2 years (really!?), I know that Yvonne has moved quite a bit in her life. I mean this mini mini quilt as a positive reminder that now that she’s found quilting, she will always have a place to call home. Home is where your sewing machine is, right?!
I quilted this mini mini with 50wt Aurifil 2600 – Dove around the text, and then used 12wt Aurifil in coordinating colors to hand quilt a single stitch above and below each rainbow bar. I think it’s the perfect amount of quilting to bring out the colors without detracting from the overall clean aesthetic of the quilt. I hope Yvonne loves it!
Next, I attempted my first improv and resulted in this mini mini. I love the scrappy binding and the gold 50wt Aurifil works great to bring out the pops of gold in the quilt. This mini mini is not yet claimed, but I figure I will make a few more and then email the folks with whom I agreed to swap and let them choose a mini mini of their liking.
Finally, I made what is perhaps my favorite mini mini to date: my ultra tiny modern hexies mini mini, with 1/4″ EPP hexagons glued and sewn according to Nicole at Modern Handcraft‘ awesome Modern Hexies tutorial, and finishing at 4 1/2″ square.
I wasn’t sure if these tiny hexies would work, but with forgoing actual basting (I just used a hot iron and Flatter to press the fabric around each tiny cardstock template), and using a toothpick for fine-tuning placement, it all worked quite smoothly! I quilted with 50wt Aurifil 2600 – Dove and bound in one of my favorite Carolyn Friedlander prints from her Botanics collection.
Now that I’ve bound four of these mini minis, I think I’m beginning to get the hang of a method that works. A single fold binding, joined before it’s attached to the quilt, and sewn to the back before top stitching to the front seems to work the best for me. As you can see, the bottom left corner of the modern hexies mini is a *bit* mis-calculated, but the rest of it is spot on. I’m planning to send this one to Jennifer at Little Black Cat quilting, since it’s somewhat inspired by the gorgeous mini mini she made for me!
I am so excited to introduce the newest member of our family: Finnian Steven Wilkin, born at 5:59am on Friday June 5th. He weighed in at 9lb 3oz and 21 inches long, and has been warmly welcomed by his big siblings (even if his big brother insists his name is “Taco”)! His birth was smooth and completely natural, and we are all doing great!
For those of you on Instagram and Facebook, you’ve already been introduced to baby Finn as my epic Friday finish. I’ve been doing a whole lot of cuddling and snuggling and nursing, and as Finn sleeps peacefully in his daddy’s arms, I figured it’s a perfect time to share our happy news here.
What better way to introduce you to my newest bundle of joy than through photos? Here are a few photographs of Finn at 3 days old.
Since Finn’s birth, I’ve been thinking that he really needs a quilt. I’ve decided to make child sized rainbow quilts, since Maddie loves hers so much. I have a few design ideas in mind, and plan to pair rainbowy goodness (which we know is in good supply in my fabric stash) with either low volumes–for one design idea–or black–for the other design idea. I probably will go with both designs since Max still needs a quilt, too.
Here are a few of the new stash additions that I plan to use in these quilts. They definitely need to be properly photographed and described in a stash post, but that will come in time. I’m eager to put all of these to good use and create more beautiful things for my children.
I really can’t wait to put this rainbow fat eighths roll to use in some quilts!
Now begins my transition back to snuggling a newborn, and sewing in very small increments. I will focus on appreciating every moment, and remembering that creating 20 minutes at a time results in a finish eventually. I’ve learned that taking those 20 minutes to create each day is so essential to my balance, and being happy and balanced will benefit my whole family.
As I enter this next phase of my journey, know that I read and appreciate every single comment on here, even if my responses dwindle or are quite delayed in the coming weeks. I will still try to reply to all of you, but baby snuggles trump all (as we all know!). Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I look forward to sharing the new inspiration that comes with every big change in life!
For the fun of it, I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday this upcoming Friday, and Molli’s Sunday Stash–does adding a baby to the family count as stash building!? If not the baby, then I’ll count this sneek peek at my new fabrics that have yet to be shared as my stash building!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed