Tag Archives: fussy cutting

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!

Giveaway

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?

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.

 

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!

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!

1930s Farmer’s Wife Sew Along: 2 Weeks In

We are now two weeks into the year-long 1930s Farmer’s Wife Sew Along hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel and sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Michell. I’m a block behind already, but it’s okay. No, seriously, I planned for this. At this point in my life, I have learned to actually PLAN for being behind schedule. (Is that weird or just really resourceful? I haven’t decided yet).

Farmers Wife final layout warm coolThe final layout and block setting I chose/created includes background blocks between the farmer’s wife blocks, so my finished quilt only needs 72 blocks instead of the full 99. This gives me some much needed wiggle room and a whole lot less stress when I’m running “behind”. No worries. This is fun!

I’m having a great time so far experimenting with warm and cool color combinations as I put together the 6″ blocks. Here are the ones I have completed so far. For photos, I’m backing the warm colors with the black fabric in which they will be sashed, and the cool colors in a white/low volume print. I may swap a more grey-silver fabric in as sashing in the final quilt construction. Time will tell.

fw16bonniefarmers wife #8 aunt blockfarmers wife 14 betty block quiltAs you can see, I’ve been inspired by the gorgeous blocks being made by other quilters, especially the fun use of meticulous cutting. While I don’t have many “fussy cut”-able tone on tone fabrics, you can be sure you’ll be seeing more meticulous cutting in future blocks wherever I can make it work. It’s so much fun!

Reading the letters that correspond to each block has been my favorite part. The determined spirit of the farmer’s wives in the 1930s is inspiring and really puts things into perspective. While my block sewing has not been as reflective and relaxing as I imagined (shocker), I am enjoying this journey.

farmer's wife 1930s sampler quilt
The 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.

The only requirement for this sew-along is that you have the book by Laurie Aaron Hird, since the block measurements, directions, and templates are all included only in the book. There is also now an ebook available, which makes it super easy to jump right in.

I’m linking up with Angie’s Farmer’s Wife 1930 Sew Along Link up, week 2. I encourage you to hop over and see all of the gorgeously diverse blocks that have been made so far. It’s amazing how each person’s personal style and tastes can be put into the very same block! You can also visit the extremely active and growing Facebook group, which is now over 4,000 strong! I’m looking forward to making more of these blocks, and reading more inspiring reflections by the farmer’s wives of the 1930s.

A Quick Gift: EPP Rose Star Coasters {Sizzix Tutorial}

Today I’m sharing a tutorial for some quick and easy English Paper Pieced (EPP) coasters, made particularly quick and easy by use of a Sizzix fabi die cutting machine to cut all of the fabric and templates, glue basting the EPP pieces, and backing the coasters with felt (photos and instructions for all steps are included in this tutorial!). They are also a great way to showcase your hand-stitched EPP and meticulous (fussy) cutting if you so desire.

epp sizzix rose star hexi coastersWhile I was planning out and putting together the mug rug I’m making for my sister using the Sizzix Rose Star die (you can see my tutorial for getting started on the mug rug on the Sizzix blog HERE), I realized that the center of the Rose Star would make a perfect hexi coaster. Of course that idea stuck and I decided to play around with fabric arrangements and make a set of coordinating coasters to go along with my sister’s mug rug. Thus, this tutorial was born.

I’ve included affiliate links throughout this post so that if you decide that you want to give the Sizzix and Rose Star die a go and click through my link, I will receive a small compensation at no cost to you. Share the love, right?

Without further ado, here we go!

EPP Rose Star Coasters Tutorial

For this tutorial, I used the Sizzix fabi die cutting machine and the BigZ L Rose Star die, but many of the techniques can be applied to any EPP project.

sizzix fabi die cutting machineFirst, gather your fabric and get your die cutting machine ready. As I shared in my Sizzix mug rug tutorial, I like to pass a piece of regular printer paper through the machine, and label the pieces to help with planning. The Rose Star die is designed for EPP, so the single die can cut all of the templates and fabric needed (pretty awesome, huh?).

For this project, we will be using the A and B pieces. Begin by cutting the templates needed: 1 A and 6 B for each coaster. Since I made four (4) coasters, I cut 4 As and 24 Bs. I use cardstock for my templates, and hole punch the centers to facilitate easy removal after the stitching is complete. Use what works for you.

cuttingThe paper practice pieces can help you save time in cutting, too. For fabric shapes needed in duplicate, use the fabric piece to determine how wide of a fabric strip you will need, then use your rotary cutter and mat to cut a strip. As you can see, I gave myself some wiggle room, but if you’re a die cutting pro, you can really save fabric by lining up the shape flush with the edges of the cut strip.

fabi die cutting machineOnce you have your fabric strip, fold it accordion style and position it in your Sizzix sandwich: bottom cutting pad, die with the blades facing up, fabric over the fabric blades, and top cutting pad (not shown in this photo). Pass it right through the die cutting machine (or have your three year old crank it through for you), and you’ll have all of the pieces needed for a coaster. You can cut all the fabric needed for a coaster in one pass.

Now it’s time to baste our pieces.

glue basting epp with sewline fabric penFor this project, I decided to finally try glue basting instead of thread basting. I got a Sue Daley fabric glue pen, but any washable glue stick or pen will also work (Elmer’s, Sewline, etc.). I’ve heard so much about how glue basting saves a ton of time with EPP, so I figured if I paired it with the time saving cutting from the Sizzix fabi, I’d be golden with a fun, fast, fabulous gift idea. (Pst… I was right!)

sue daley glue basting eppGlue basting is similar to thread basting in that you are securing the fabric around the cardstock template. With glue basting, first put a dab of glue on the center of your template and stick it to the center of the wrong side of your fabric.

sew daley glue basting eppNow is the time to double check any fussy cutting you did to make sure it all lines up how you want it.

sew daley glue basting eppNext, apply a thin line of glue along one edge of your template. Be careful to keep the glue from getting all the way to the edge of the cardstock, since it will make it much more difficult to remove the templates once you are finished (ask me how I know).

sew daley glue basting eppHere’s one way glue basting differs from thread basting. Instead of working your way around the template, apply glue to opposite sides of the shape to help even out the pull of the fabric.

glue basting stepsBefore you know it, you’ll have your first piece.

glue basting stepsContinue glue basting all of the pieces needed for your coaster. With irregular shapes, start by gluing the longest side to help make the process smoother.

epp fussy cutting bunny rabbitHave fun with your meticulous cutting. This is a great project for using those adorable little bits of fabric you’ve been saving.

epp coasters tutorialOnce all of your pieces are basted, it’s time to start stitching them together! I made a set of four (4) coasters, but you can make as few or as many as you want.assembling epp coastersAll you need for this step is your basted pieces, sharp scissors, a sewing needle, and some thread in a coordinating color (I love using 50wt Aurifil thread). Sometimes, when the two pieces you’re sewing together are very different colors, there is no color that coordinates with both (like in my case). You can choose one of the colors to match, or just use a neutral color thread. I didn’t have black thread (Aurifil #2692, how have you evaded me!?), so I went with a contrasting light grey (Dove #2600) since I had already decided to quilt these with the contrasting colored thread. Once you have your supplies, this is a great project to take on the go, to stitch here and there.

assembling epp coastersTo get started sewing the pieces together, arrange your basted pieces the way you want the finished coaster to look. Flip the first piece over one edge of the center hexagon, right sides together.

assembling epp coastersWith a knotted thread, beginning at one corner, carefully stitch the two pieces together. The needle should only pass through the edges of the fabric, not the cardstock template, and only needs to catch a few threads of each fabric to hold. Many people use whip stitch to hold the pieces together (shown above). Sew the edge completely, then pick up the next basted piece, hold it right sides facing the next edge of the center hexagon, and continue sewing along that joining edge. There’s no need to knot your thread after each side; continue stitching the pieces together until you either run out of thread or you get to a point where no other piece can be directly joined.

ladder stitch to join eppladder stitch to join eppI recently saw the idea of using ladder stitch to join EPP pieces, so had to try it. I LOVED it! With ladder stitch, instead of entering the edge of the fabric from the same side every time as with whip stitch, you pass the needle from the side you’re on to the opposite side with each stitch. It may take a bit more time because of the back and forth of the needle, but I prefer it since it results in a nearly invisible join and I’m a slow and steady stitcher to begin with. Use whichever stitch works best for you and sew all seams. Don’t be afraid to fold your center template in order to get the outer seams lined up and sewn together.

Once your coaster EPP tops are all stitched together, it’s time to assemble the coasters.

tracing and cutting EPP coaster backingFirst, trace your EPP top onto a piece of 100% wool felt. I bought mine at my local quilt shop, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, where there’s a huge wall of gorgeous wool felt from which to choose. Trace one hexagon backing for each of the coaster tops. I used a Sakura Micron pen since we are going to cut just inside the line and therefore it won’t be visible. Plus, Micron pens are the best.

EPP coaster assemblyCarefully cut *just* inside the line you traced.

EPP coaster assemblyThis next step is optional, but if you plan to use the coasters for hot beverages I would recommend it. Gather some batting scraps. This is a great way to use those batting trimmings you’ve cut off the edge of finished quilts. Again, trace your hexagon coaster top and cut out along the line.

EPP coaster assemblyTrim 1/4″ off each edge of the batting hexagon. This way, the batting won’t stick out from the edges of the assembled coaster. I used my rotary cutter and ruler, but be sure to count how many edges you trim since it’s easy to lose track. You should have six (6) trimmings after trimming each hexagon. Set your felt and batting hexagons aside.

EPP coaster assemblyNow, back to your coaster tops. It’s time to take out those template papers! You will need your EPP coaster tops, a toothpick, a chop stick (or crochet hook), and an iron. Trust me, and no, we’re not making dinner!

use toothpick to release glue bastingGently slide the toothpick under the glued edges of the fabric, separating the fabric from the cardstock template. Be particularly careful around the outer edges to separate the fabric from the cardstock without pulling it out of shape too much.

chopstick removal of epp templatesOnce the fabric edges are separated from the cardstock template, grab your chopstick and stick the end of it in the hole punched hole of the template.

chopstick removal of epp templatesGently pull the edge of the chopstick up and the cardstock template will pop right out. This chopstick removal method works much more smoothly with thread-basted EPP pieces, but as long as all of the glue spots have been unstuck, it should still smoothly remove the template. You can save the template and use it again!

EPP coaster tutorialOnce all of your templates have been removed, give your coaster top a good press with a hot, dry iron, ensuring that all of the outer corners are still folded in the way they should be.

EPP coaster tutorialWhile you’re pressing your coaster top, fold in the edges of your outer seams like you’re making a paper airplane and press well. This will keep them away from the edges when you sew your layers together, keeping the edges of your coaster neat and clean and free from peeking-out seams.

EPP coaster tutorialIt should leave a nice neat edge.

epp coaster assembly tutorialNow it’s time to assemble our coasters! You can probably just pin the layers together: felt on the bottom, then batting, then EPP coaster top, but I like to glue baste and use Clover Clips* to hold the layers together before sewing since it results in a nearly perfect alignment.

glue basting epp coaster tutorialUsing Elmer’s washable glue, make a tiny path of glue around the outside edge of the entire coaster. I use Fine Line Glue applicator tips provided by Pile O’ Fabric and they are fantastic. They are superfine applicators that screw onto a regular bottle of school glue, but they control the flow so that you don’t end up with gloppy globs of glue all over your project.

glue basting epp coaster tutorialAssemble your layers: wool felt on the bottom, then batting centered within that, then EPP coaster top carefully positioned on top. Give it a gentle press with a warm iron (note that wool is now involved) to set the glue. Clover clip the edges for extra stability and head over to your sewing machine!

glue basting epp coaster tutorialTop stitch about 1/8th inch from the edge of the entire periphery of the coaster.

glue basting epp coaster tutorialYou can also add additional quilting if desired and for added durability. I added a top stitched hexagon about 1/8th inch from the edge of the inner hexagon mirroring the outer edge stitches.

EPP coasters in useCarefully trim any wool felt that extends beyond the coaster top, and admire your EPP Rose Star coasters. Weren’t those quick and easy gifts? (You can give yourself gifts, too, you know!)

Sizzix Tutorial- EPP Rose Star CoastersBetween cutting the fabric and templates with the Sizzix die cutting machine, glue basting the EPP shapes, and backing the coasters with felt, these whip up as quickly as you can stitch the top together. It’s a great introductory project to EPP since it’s a quick finish, yet is still a handmade, hand stitched gift. I’m definitely planning on making more of these, and playing around with my fussy cutting, too.

*Disclaimer: Clover Clips are a favorite treasure for most toddlers. Use with discretion and awareness that there may be a pudgy hand lurking around any corner waiting to snatch your Clover Clips away.

clover clip toddler treasure

I’m linking up with Late Night Quilter’s Tips and Tutorials Tuesday. Enjoy your coaster-making foray! (You know you want to make some!)

Stash Building: Fussy Cutting Fabrics & Summer Nights Winner

Today I’m not only sharing some additions to my stash, I’m also announcing the winner of the Summer Nights bundle giveaway sponsored by Fiddlehead Artisan Supply. Let’s celebrate the winner first!

summer nights fabric bundle fiddlehead
Summer Nights bundle at Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.

Once again, your comments were my absolute favorite part about the giveaway. To enter the giveaway, I asked you to share what you think of when you hear “summer nights”. Many of you immediately thought of the song from Grease, which honestly had not even entered my mind. Here is just a tiny sampling of some of the other gorgeous images you shared. Honestly, you’re poets!:

  • starry skies and campfires, s’mores and songs – Jenn
  • a glass of wine in the garden in the evening looking at the moon, with my husband sitting beside me – Helen
  • A cold drink and good conversation on the patio with friends. Staying up late, talking late into the night. – Amanda
  • Star gazing and fireflies – Monique B.
  • I remember back when we used to arrive at the beach after dark and you could hear and smell the ocean, but not see the waves washing up on the shore. It held the promise of warm days on the sand and wading in the water to cool off. Happy times. – Amelia V,
  • Summer nights… trees, black silhouettes against deepening dark blues of the sky… Soft breezes bringing a cool freshening, chasing the day’s heat… A cacophony of frogs, joined by the insistent chirping of crickets… Mystical, magical periodic blinking of fireflies (“lightening bugs”)… The scent of summer blossoms and growing, ripening gardens all around, lulling and delighting with every breath taken… “Day’s end, and all is right”, now, in this moment of time… – Pat T.

and finally, my favorite, which really should be published somewhere awesome:

Summer nights of my long ago childhood includes the wonderful memories of visiting my cousins in rural South Eastern Oklahoma. We would be playing as dusk started settling in. Dinner would have been enjoyed by the crowd of extended family. Always enough, always super tasty, never fancy. Then the adults would settle into their metal lawn chairs as we children raced around the yard. I can remember the low buzzing of their conversation as we played. They were talking about times before us and so we went about creating our own memories, not really sharing theirs. The light would fade and fade until it was almost completely dark around us, the porch light left on, but it’s beam barely reaching into the darkness. Beyond its beam, hidden in the dusk the adults would still carry on with their reminiscing, the murmuring and occasional sound of laughter a constant backdrop to our continued play. And this is when the magic happened. The magic of fireflies. First just a few, then finally a full chorus of them in the dark. Somehow jars would magically appear in our hands. The game was on! Cousins and I dashed as we tried to catch the elusive insects, nothing like the brash ugly insects bashing themselves around the back light porch! These were silent and graceful, taking all your skill to try to catch one as its light flickered on and off and on and off, teasing us to catch it.
So, that’s what I think of when summer nights are mentioned. I hope there are children still out there chasing fireflies and letting them go, barely hearing the history of their people as it’s murmured from lawn chairs that still sit under the clump of trees. It has been years and years since I have seen a firefly. Are they still out there? – magistra13

You probably want to know who won, though, right? Mr. Random chose number 74, which was Linda.

Summer nights winner

Congratulations, Linda! Your bundle will be mailed out tomorrow. Enjoy stitching with watermelon juice running down your chin! For those of you who didn’t win this one, you can buy this bundle from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply’s online shop (or in person) until they sell out!

It’s a big stash building day, since not only am I bolstering Linda’s stash, but I am also sharing a few new fabric bits that I bought at Maine Quilts for my own English Paper Piecing (EPP) stash. I love tone on tones, but meticulous cutting (also known as fussy cutting) is best with busier prints with lots going on.

stash building fussy cutting bundleHere is my full haul, from windswept kids to flowers (what!? I bought floral prints!?) to awesome sloths.

Meticulous cutting fussy cutting fabric pullThese first three fabrics were purchased from Alewives Fabrics, and are intended to work together in a currently unplanned future EPP project. From top to bottom, I bought:

  • 1/2 yard of Zephyr by Rashida Coleman Hale for Cotton & Steel
  • 1/4 yard of Picnic by Melody Miller for Cotton & Steel
  • 1 yard of Moon Shine by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics

I typically don’t buy (or like, for that matter) floral prints, but that Moon Shine just drew me in and made me say uncle. I think the bold black background with the bright red, lime green, and turquoise combo just begs to be cut up and sewn back together in a fun geometric EPP way. I decided to add in a bit of the red Picnic and a generous splash of the limey green Zephyr, and there we have a solid beginning to a new project.

Flora Bazzar in Orchid by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit FabricsI also bought 1/2 yard of this Floral Bazzar in Orchid by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Fabrics. Again, it’s far more floral than I typically buy, but the diverse and detailed print just begs to be meticulously cut and pieced back together. I loved the color combination of the bright navy blue, coral, magenta, and grey and so bought this as a feature fabric for yet another not-yet-planned future EPP project. Just look at all of the variation in this one print!

Flora Bazzar in Orchid by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit Fabrics

Flora Bazzar in Orchid by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit FabricsSame fabric, different perspective, and an entirely new look, which means this will be FUN to chop!

Sloths from Honeymoon by Sarah Watts for Cotton & SteelFinally, these sloths!! Seriously, how could I NOT buy some of this fabric?! This is the epic sloth fabric, Sketches & Memories from Costa Rica from Honeymoon by Sarah Watts for Cotton & Steel. I bought 1/2 yard of this fabric from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply‘s booth at Maine Quilts. I don’t know what I’m going to make with it yet, but I just couldn’t resist. I surely will need to buy more, and might make a sloth bag just so that I can tote these guys around everywhere.

Did you know that I have a degree in Environmental science and saw sloths in Costa Rica while there for a Tropical Biology class? It wasn’t my honeymoon–maybe we should have gone to Costa Rica–but it sure is a memory, and I’m pretty sure I have a sketch (or at least a photograph) somewhere!

Does fabric ever talk to you, grab your wrist, and refuse to let you go without buying some? And then snuggle you the whole way home? Okay, good. I’m not weird.

I’m linking up with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash, where he shows us the finer points of the not-so-floral Liberty prints.

Key to my Heart: Pattern and Tutorial

Since returning from vacation, my design wheels have been turning and cranking out ideas faster than I can create them and turn them into patterns. I did manage to finish this pattern, though, complete with a tutorial. Key to my Heart is a pattern that combines foundation paper piecing and applique to help you create a perfect log cabin-style heart on a 9″x9″ block (or a background block of your choice. The heart measures approximately 8″ wide by 7″ tall). The log cabin pattern is paper pieced for quick, “perfect” stitching, and then the heart shape is cut out and appliqued onto the background of your choice. The heart is shown on the paper piecing template so that your block is perfectly centered and ready to go.

KEY TO MY HEART paper piecing and applique pattern

This block would be perfect for a variety of Valentine’s Day gifts, or even just to show your love any day of the year. I plan to make my block into a tea cozy using Yvonne’s great tutorial here, but you could make yours into a mug rug, mini wall hanging, table runner, or even add it to a larger quilt.

The pattern is for sale in my Craftsy shop for those in the US, or in my Payhip shop for international folk. It is on sale for only $3.50 until February 1st, when it will be listed at the usual $4.50.

Since this pattern combines paper piecing and applique, I decided to provide a tutorial to help explain and show each step more clearly. Once you’ve printed your pattern template, you are ready to go!

Instructions

Step 1

Paper piece the log cabin portion of the block until fabric extends at least 1/4″ beyond all edges of the heart.

Key to my Heart paper piecing and applique tutorial

Notes:

*Shorten your machine’s stitch length to 1.2 to make paper removal easy.
*The center square is perfect for fussy cutting! Find key fabric to share the key to your heart. Or, be creative! Do you love cats? Fussy cut a cat for the center. Love tea? Fussy cut a teapot for the center. Whatever you or the gift recipient loves can be fussy cut for the center of this heart.
Tip: Hold the paper and your fussy cut square up to a bright window or lightbox to be sure your fussy cut feature is centered before sewing.

Step 2

Using a long basting stitch (2.5 or larger), sew around the outside of the heart, approximately 1/8″ from the line (this distance does not need to be perfect, nor do the stitches need to be perfect. The purpose of these stitches is to hold all of your fabric flat while cutting out the heart shape.)

key to my heart paper piecing and applique tutorial

Step 3

Using scissors appropriate for cutting both fabric and paper, carefully cut along the dotted heart line.

Key to my Heart paper piecing and applique tutorial

Step 4

Remove paper piecing foundation paper.
Jump for joy at how easy it is since you shortened your stitch length to 1.2 before paper piecing!

Step 5

Applique your heart to the center of your background fabric using your preferred applique method.

Notes:

*To accurately center your heart, fold your background fabric in half and press lightly. With the fold running top to bottom, line up the center top and bottom of the heart with the pressed center line of the background fabric. Either measure the distance from top and bottom of the background fabric until it’s equal, or position your heart as desired.

Key to my Heart paper piecing and applique tutorial
Step 6

Find gorgeous matching thread. (I love Aurifil, and there’s almost always a perfect match!).

Key to my Heart paper piecing and applique tutorial aurifil

Step 7

Quilt and finish as desired.

key to my heart tutorial

I would love to see if you create this block. Photos of your finished block can be posted in my Night Quilter Creations group on Flickr found HERE, or can be added to the Craftsy page HERE. The first three (3) people to buy, complete, and upload a photo of a completed block to either the Flickr group or my Craftsy page will receive a full refund OR choice of another pattern from my shop. How about that for sharing the love!?

Want to share the love some more? Instagram your blocks and tag me @nightquilter.

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday. Share the love ❤

Secret Garden Quilt: Attalie’s June Garden

Finally, here is the reveal of my secret garden quilt: Attalie’s June Garden.

garden quilt finish butterfly flower
Attalie’s June Garden: A finished quilt, without all of the butterfly pins.

Last weekend, I was doing some hurried slow stitching, trying to get the binding sewn down on this quilt before the baby shower at which it was to be gifted. I finished sewing the binding just in time for the shower to be postponed due to the swiftly blowing and accumulating snow, and shortly thereafter we lost power. For over three days. But I finished the quilt!

free motion quilted words garden quilt
“Attalie’s June Garden”, free motion quilted into the bottom of the quilt’s border.

This quilt has a definite story behind it. First, to decipher the name for you. Attalie is the in utero baby for whom I made the quilt. June is the name of my husband’s Grammy, the quilter of the family, and the collector of all of the butterfly pins that live in this garden quilt. Grammy June died less than a year ago. When she died, all of the family had the emotional task of going through her things before the estate sale. In looking at her jewelry, I discovered a large number of butterfly pins. “I didn’t know Grammy collected butterflies!” I said. As it turns out, neither did any one else in the family. Either way, I immediately envisioned them living forever in a quilted garden wall-hanging, so I asked if I could take them. Everyone, of course, said yes.

paper pieced star butterfly quilt garden
One of Grammy June’s butterfly pins, flitting peacefully by the glittering sunburst I paper pieced especially for this quilt.

Flash forward a few months. Our cousin Molly, who was the one who took care of Grammy June during her last days, and who now lives in Grammy June’s old house, announced that she was pregnant. Flash forward a few more months: Molly shared that they were having a girl, naming her Attalie, and that the nursery theme would be “Garden”. The butterfly garden quilt was asking to be created, finally. With a little over two weeks before the baby shower, I got started. I designed, pieced, and free motion quilted the entire quilt, which finishes at 27″ x 20″, and stitched on the binding just in the nick of time. The quilt is mostly comprised of fussy-cut 1- and 2-inch squares (1 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ before sewn together).The process was a lot tougher than I imagined, and there were definitely some face-palm, seam ripping moments (which I will go into in a later post), but I am very happy with how this quilt turned out. Here are some detail photos:

flower free motion quilting
I used a wild, make it up as I go free motion quilting pattern, sometimes mirroring the flowers, and sometimes adding features. I love how this particular FMQ turned out!
butterfly garden quilt
The finished quilt, complete with flitting butterflies. The butterfly pins were all collected by Grammy June, who would have been (and always will be, in heaven) baby Attalie’s Great Grammy.

Here are some detail shots of the beautiful butterfly pins on different parts of the quilt. I tried to balance the overall color flow by putting the blue/green pins on the pink flowers, and the other pins in and around the blue and purple flowers. I think the butterflies look quite happy on this quilt!

butterfly pins garden quilt

Attalie's June Garden

butterfly pins on garden quilt
I think this little copper butterfly is my favorite.

butterfly pins on garden quilt

butterfly pins on garden quilt

butterfly pins on garden quilt
As I photographed this quilt after the storm had subsided and during our first somewhat bright day, the sun began to shine with earnest.
flower garden quilt
Even after a blizzard, there were still a few flowers in the garden. This one came out to play with Attalie’s June Garden quilt.
Quilt back with corner label.
Quilt back with corner label.
quilt corner label
My first corner label. I will fill in Attalie’s middle & last names once her middle name has been chosen!

 

Finished quilt stats:

Name: Attalie’s June Garden
Size: 27″ x 20″
Fabric: Assorted flowers from RJR Fabrics, Andover, and Studio E
Quilting: Free motion quilted with mostly Aurifil and some other hand-me-down threads
Finished: November 2014
Related blog posts: A Garden {Quilt} Full of Florals

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

A Garden {Quilt} Full of Florals

For as much as I photograph and swoon over flowers, florals are foreign to my fabric stash. Last week, I built my stash with this fabric it rarely sees: florals. I bought in 1/4 yard cuts since it was the smallest possible cut at the local fabric store I visited, and I don’t typically use florals in my projects. I must say, though, I am happy with the floral fabrics I did find, and they are perfect for the project gift I have in mind.

stash building for a new projectThis project is a surprise gift with a short deadline. I KNOW the recipient will love it, and I’m exciting to share details with you. But for now, I’ll just show off these fabrics.

Grace fabric rjr fabrics flowers

Grace fabrics rjr fabrics flowers

I don’t know the full information for all of the fabrics, since I didn’t have a chance to write them all down, and I bought small enough cuts that the selvedges don’t all have the manufacturer/designer information present. Many of the fabrics are from the Grace fabric line by Mary McGuire for RJR Fabrics, which I love. I had to buy some of the Snug as a Bug (spiderwebs) fabric  by Melly & Me for Riley Blake Designs, since how could I resist sneaking a spider web into the garden?! I also bought a couple of fabrics by Andover and Studio E, with two coordinating Cotton Couture (I think?) solids, one for sky and one for border.

big fabric flower fussy cut

fussy cutting plan
Planning my 2″ square assiduous cutting (okay… fussy cutting!), with the help of the 2.5″ square template I made.

As you may have guessed with the little hidden templates, I plan to fussy cut most of these to make a garden quilt wall hanging. Some of it will consist of 2″ squares on point (2.5″ unfinished), and some will consist of 1″ squares on point (1.5″ unfinished).

small flowers fussy cutting planning

Some small 1" flowers to be assiduously cut.
Some small 1″ flowers to be assiduously cut.

More than that, I cannot yet tell you. I have my work cut out for me, though (pun intended!). Stay tuned to see this secret garden bloom!