Tag Archives: quilting

Bean Sprout ReRelease for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays since it’s a day when the rest of the world thinks a little bit more about how we can better sustain and protect our gorgeous home, planet Earth. A neighborhood clean-up, a hike, planting seeds for our garden, planting trees, writing to politicians… there are many things you can do to celebrate, though truly, Earth Day is every day. This year is quite different as we shelter at home, but I hope that more reflection on our daily practices and their impacts on the earth still happens, and that when we find our way back to socialization, we keep those in mind as we reshape society to be a more sustaining one, for all life. Earth is getting a much-needed breather while we as the human race face the coronavirus.

bean sprout foundation paper pieced quilt block pattern With a focus on hope and new beginnings, I thought today would be the perfect day to re-release my updated Bean Sprout block pattern, since there’s nothing like a freshly sprouted plant to celebrate spring, new life, and the wonder of discovery. As many of you likely know, I’ve been working with the amazing Lindsie Bergevin to convert some of my older patterns into fresher, more professional, and often more diverse versions and Bean Sprout is the latest to receive a make-over.

bean sprout foundation paper pieced quilt block pattern spring garden growthWith a bit more pattern details, more professional layout, and an added block size (welcome, dear 4″x6″ block!), the newest Bean Sprout block pattern includes all of the great things from the original 2016 design, but in a clearer, crisper presentation. You can buy it now from my Payhip shop HERE. You can use code BIRTHDAY for 15% off it and all other patterns in my shop through the end of April, since I believe in celebrating birthdays all month long.

bean sprout foundation paper piecing pattern nightquilterYou can see a few other versions of this block I’ve sewn up in the past in its original release post HERE. It’s always fun to look back into the blog archives, isn’t it!?

grow bean sprout pillow finishI particularly love the idea of a pillow, and very well might be making another one of these someday soon. I’d love to see what YOU make with the pattern, so please use #beansproutblock and tag me @nightquilter on social media so that I can see your beautiful work.

Happy stitching, happy Earth Day, and happy spring. Be well. 

 

 

Plant Worry, Grow Hope

Today is our 26th day sheltering at home, since we made the decision as a family back in mid-March to stay home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, about 4 days before the state of Maine closed schools and began slowly shutting down. As I’m sure is the same with all of you, we are still trying to adjust to the “new normal”, but are trying to focus on gratitude for our ability to shelter in place in relative comfort while those on the front lines battle this virus, and while many, many people suffer because of lack of safe housing, no paycheck, limited food supply, and lack of healthcare even when sick. This pandemic is certainly making it crystal clear which parts of our society need to change to better support humanity and the planet, once we get through this. 

Suddenly home schooling a 4 year old, 7 year old, and 10 year old has certainly kept my life busy, but after about a week and a half and trying three different schedules without success, we found a routine that seems to “work” for us. Each kid has a checklist of things they need to complete before earning screen time, which in this house is in the form of Cut the Rope, Caterzillar, and other such games on the single tablet and one phone (mine) we have. Because the kids can complete the tasks in whatever order they’d like, they are more motivated than when I tried to stick to a more rigid schedule.  With each of them spending time on reading, writing, math, exercise, chores, outside time, science/engineering, and art/drawing each day, I feel better letting them zone out with games for a while in the afternoon. The well-earned screen time has also meant that I have managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing each day, which as you can imagine has been very therapeutic.

plant worry grow hope tree quilt blocks Since our self-isolation has begun, I’ve found myself sewing trees. They are a brief respite from the realities of life these days. As I’ve sewn more, I realize that I’m just trying to grow some hope, grow some patience, grow some resilience. I’ve started using the hashtag #plantworrygrowhopequilt to document this process, and growing my forest of solace paired with limiting my consumption of news has been quite helpful to my mental health. With the 100 day project beginning world-wide tomorrow, I’ve finally decided to join again, and do #100daysofgrowinghope.  I will be sewing trees, sewing hearts, likely adding a rainbow or two, and just seeing what little things I can do each day to transform my worries into hope. 

plant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksplant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksplant worry grow hope tree quilt blocksI once again plan to be gentle with myself, with soft guidelines of “growing hope”, which I imagine will mostly be in the form of sewing and designing trees, working on putting my Plant Worry, Grow Hope quilt together, and maybe spending sunny days in the garden, literally growing hope in the form of vegetable and flower seeds. I have not yet decided whether I will include weekend days or not, and will feel it out as I go.

While I was talking with my friend Isabelle of Southbay Bella Studio about the 100 Days Project and what project to choose, we realized that between the two of us, we had about a gazillion different ideas. To keep things silly and light, and also to keep the brainstormed deluge of ideas flowing, we are also planning to do 100 Days of Planning 100 Days Projects in Instagram Stories. Again, this is a very relaxed project during which we hope to have a little fun, maintain the personal connection that is SO important during these socially distanced times, and have an epic list of 100 Days Project ideas for future years by the end of it. You can follow her at @southbaybella and I’m @nightquilter

100 days of sew smaller tiny piecing kitty wilkin handsI last participated in the 100 day project back in 2018 when I embarked upon 100 Days of Sew Smaller, which you can read about HERE and see on Instagram HERE.  I quite enjoyed that process, so I’m hoping that this year will be similar. I also truly hope that by the end of these 100 days, the world is well into healing and reconsidering “normal” to include more equality for all humans while also better caring for the earth. 

Staggered Quilt Tester Highlights Reel

One of the absolute best parts of designing quilt patterns is seeing other people’s take on it. I often have a vision of the finished quilt in mind as I’m designing so it’s fun to see my own vision become a reality, but then putting the pattern into the hands of others to let them express their own aesthetic preferences within the confines of the pattern just takes it to another level. Today I’m excited to share the wide variety of stunning Staggered quilts created by my pattern testers. It’s amazing that even within the small pool of testers, there is so incredibly much variety!

Baby Size (44″ x 54″)

Let’s begin with the baby size quilts and work up in size from there. The baby Staggered is a super quick sew, perfect for showcasing your favorite fabrics, matching the color scheme for a nursery, or just providing a fun pop of color for a little love.

amanda allen staggered ice dyed fabrics baby size quiltAmanda @another.amanda used primarily thrifted fabrics for her baby sized Staggered quilt, and she ice dyed them, resulting in these gorgeously soft color variations. She threw in a few added pops of a coordinating light slate blue from her stash for this soft and cozy version. I adore how the ice dyed fabric looks in this pattern, and can picture this quilt hanging over the railing of a crib, babbling, giggling baby and all.

amanda allen staggered ice dyed fabrics baby size quiltNote that Amanda chose to add her own personal touch by sewing vertical stripes into the side borders; that bit is not included in the Staggered pattern.

anja clyke staggered alison glass dark background quiltAnja of Anja Quilts used a darker background for hers, with Kona Charcoal paired with the brights of Alison Glass Road Trip fabrics for Andover fabrics. I love how that strip with the darker background melts into the background so that the lighter flowers pop! It’s such a fun detail. Check out Anja’s blog here, or follow her on Instagram @anjaquilts to see more of her gorgeous makes.

Darlene @dcapulus took a walk on the wild side with a super bright version of the baby Staggered. This combination of the Timeless Treasures rainbow ombre by Chong Hwang and that wild and fun floral background fabric that might be Alexander Henry, creates a whole new look for Staggered! I just love this version, don’t you?! Plus how much fun is this photo? Play at your own risk is right!!

Lap Size (50″ x 62″)

The next size of Staggered is Lap Size. Darlene loved sewing up Staggered so much that she made two; the fabulously colorful baby quilt above, AND this equally stunning lap sized version.

darlene staggered spectrastic guicy guice and venom libs elliotFor this quilt, she used Giucy Giuce’s Spectrastic fabrics paired with Libs Eliott’s Venom fabric for the background, both by Andover fabrics, and it’s so much fun. I love how adding a non-solid background fabric changes the aesthetic of Staggered. You can find Darlene on Instagram @dcapulus, and I highly recommend following her, since she’s always making something gorgeous. This quilt is currently finished and living at my house, since Darlene sent it to me so that I could take fun photos with it… stay tuned for that!

StaggeredQuilt-NatashaNatasha @housefulofstitches sewed up a Staggered quilt for the second time during this pattern test, since she had sewn up the original lap size when it was available through Quilt Theory! For this version she went with the rainbow theme and used a Dot & Stripes Jelly Roll by Robert Kaufman as her focus fabrics. I love seeing the differences in her two versions and can’t choose a favorite. You can see her original as well as all of her other gorgeous makes at her blog Houseful of Nicholes here.

tula pink staggered quilt lisa Lisa @sew.peace.full sewed up her version with a Tula Pink Tabby Road jelly roll and Zen Chic “Be the Color to Someone’s Gray” low volume jelly roll for the strips. For the side pieces she used a quilt themed text fabric she had in her stash. Isn’t it wonderful!?

Shannon Spicer @shannon_at_thespicerack sewed up her Lap Size Staggered with part of a Fall 2016 Lecien Minny Muu jelly roll, with Kona Bone as the background. I love the pops of fun in these fabrics, and the softer rainbow makes for a lovely quilt.

Twin Size (67″ x 86″)

The Twin Size version of Staggered was the one that was edited and changed the most during the testing process, and some of the testers’ quilts reflect this. Initially, the Staggered Twin size had the same six columns and wider, offset side borders, and a couple of the testers sewed up that version.

Kerry of @thatssewkerry who blogs at That’s Sew Kerry used mostly Alison Glass fabrics with some Spectrastic by Giucy Giuce both for Andover fabrics, as well as some other coordinating brights from her stash, on a Moda Grunge in Onyx background and it looks absolutely amazing. Don’t the colors just glow in this one!?

Debbie Griffiths Twin Staggered Liberty fabricsUltimately I decided to widen the center of the Twin size so that the overall aesthetic and assembly for each size was more similar, so the Twin version included in the Staggered pattern is this one, with two additional columns. Debbie Griffiths @dgr04618 made it in Liberty fabrics on Essex linen, a combination I’ve been hoping to see since I first released the simple lap pattern card for Quilt Theory years ago. It does not disappoint, and the elegance of the Liberty fabrics and subtle color flow are swoon-worthy.

Queen Size (87″ x 98″)

The Queen Size of Staggered packs a huge visual punch, and Alyson Olander sure made it shine with her pattern test!

She used an Alison Glass Sun Print 2016 jelly roll plus the “Path” (text) prints from the Sun Print 2019 with Robert Kaufman Manchester Metallic in Licorice (black with gold sparkle) as the background, and holy smokes does it shimmer and shine!!! Alyson had a pretty epic photo shoot for this quilt, too, complete with video to show how much the gold metallic shines in the sun when the wind blows.

alyson olander staggered quilt alison glass manchester metallicYou can start to see the gold glimmer in this photo, but be sure to head over to her Instagram feed at @alysonwonderlan to see more of her gorgeous makes.

Since this is my first pattern with such a wide variety of sizes, I really wanted to take it through the wringer before releasing it into the world. I’m grateful to my pattern testers who provided essential and insightful feedback along the way, to Yvonne Fuchs for her technical editing skills, and to Lindsie Bergevin, who has been helping me slowly convert my patterns into a more professional-looking, consistent pattern layout.

And most of all, thank YOU to everyone who has bought this pattern, and continues to buy this pattern, sewing up gorgeous and varied versions that provide a little peek into how it looks through your eyes.

Staggered Digital cover front quilt pattern nightquilterIf you’re looking to add Staggered to your quilt pattern library, you can get it HERE in my Payhip shop.  Happy stitching!

Aurifil Color Crush Thread Collection Release

I have such exciting news to share today–I’m honored to introduce you to my first Aurifil thread collection: Color Crush! What’s extra special is that for those of you at QuiltCon right now, you can be one of the very first to purchase the thread set if you so desire, so that you can return home ready to stitch the rainbow and always have the perfect coordinating color in your thread stash. Read on to find out more, and then head over to Auribuzz for a really sweet interview.

aurifil color crush thread collection nightquilterI have been using Aurifil thread since early in my quilting days, and once I tried my first spool, I was immediately sold on how silky smooth and strong it is. It leaves hardly any lint in my machine, especially compared to the older hand-me-down threads I had been using before switching entirely to Aurifil. Not only that, the range of available colors has my rainbow-loving heart swooning. Paired with Aurifil’s commitment to seeking the most sustainable options: using 100% cotton thread, putting their most recent thread addition on a wooden spool, going plastic neutral in 2019, and a continuing focus on environmentally sustainable practices, this company’s ideals resonate with me, which is really important.

aurifil thread color crush quliting collection nightquilterOver the past few years, I’ve found myself grabbing the same set colors of thread for most of my projects, and so finally I decided to reach out to Aurifil to see if they would still be interested in my curating a thread collection, since they had mentioned it a while back. I was excited to receive a resounding yes, and then the fun began!

color crush aurifil thread collection cover kitty wilkin night quiltercolor crush aurifil thread collection threads kitty wilkin night quilterI carefully considered each of the colors of thread *I* always use, trying to decide if it would be a universally helpful color to have, and have very intentionally decided upon this spectrum of luscious, vibrant, tertiary-heavy threads. Here are just a couple of the projects on which I’ve personally used these threads recently:

Pollinate EPP quilt

Pollinate in Progress EPPPollinate in Progress EPP aurifil

Staggered Quilt

staggered quilt pattern release alison glassStaggered Quilt progress aurifil thread

Summer Sampler 2019 Alternate Layout, Planned out in my Quilter’s Planner 2020

summer sampler 2019 aurifilsummer sampler 2019 aurifil quilters planner

This thread collection embodies my favorite design aesthetic, and as you can see, I put ALL the colors to good use! I plan to share much more about each individual thread and why it was selected in a later blog post, but for now, I encourage you to head over to the Aurifil blog Auribuzz, where they are sharing really fun interview in which I talk about all things quilting, color, QuiltCon, and more! Read it HERE.

aurifil color crush thread collection nightquilterIf you want to purchase Color Crush and your local quilt shop doesn’t currently stock it, please ask them to special order. Any shop can grab it from a distributor of course, but ANY shop can purchase directly from Aurifil, no minimum, flat rate shipping. Simply click the “Shop Now” button on the top right of the Aurifil webpage, choose “Designer Collection”, set up an account with them, and order until your Color Crushing heart’s content! Please let me know if you are a shop and plan to stock this collection, since I will be creating a landing page with a list of where Color Crush is available for sale, both online and in brick and mortar shops.

QuiltCon 2020 – Austin!

If you are in Austin for QuiltCon right now and love this collection of threads as much as I do, there’s good news! You can buy a signed collection AND say hi to me! (hugs, please) during two meet-and-greet events during the show:

Friday, February 21st, at 12:30pm at Aurifil’s booth, booth #910, facilitated by Private Source Quilting (PSQ), and,

Saturday, February 22nd, at 3pm at the Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth, booth #404.  The Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth will also be selling some of my most popular quilt patterns, including the new Staggered quilt, Sew Tiny Sampler, Pollinate EPP quilt pattern, my Run Run Run block pattern, Pollen Pillow EPP, and a couple more. This is a rare chance to get one of my patterns in print, so I do hope to see you there!

Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial

cutting table with skinny bins and alison glassI recently faced the demon that was my chaotic sewing space and have been organizing with the help of my dear friend Alessandra. Yesterday when I shared the above photo of my newly cleared cutting table on Instagram, there were many questions about my rainbow of skinny bins hanging along the side of it. My skinny bins were made using a tutorial I wrote for Quilt Theory years ago, for a fabulous fabric party hosted by Mathew at Mister Domestic, and I use them to sort my tiny scraps by color. You know, those scraps that are too small to fold up again, but the perfect size for some tiny piecing? As I’m cutting, I just toss them into the color-coordinating skinny bin and viola! I thought it was a great time to share the tutorial here on my blog, so today’s your day!

The following is a blast from the past–May 2017 to be exact!–and the tutorial on how to make your very own fabric skinny bins. Enjoy, and please do tag me @nightquilter and #fabricskinnybin on social media if you make one (or ten!)!

I hang my Skinny Bins from an Ikea Dignitet Curtain Wire with Riktig Clips. (affiliate links)


Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial

When you’re designing quilt patterns or even simply selecting fabrics for a quilt, having color cards from different fabric and thread manufacturers is extremely helpful. There’s nothing like having each exact thread and fabric possibility right at your fingertips while you’re fine-tuning your colorway. Most companies offer their color cards for sale, so anyone can benefit from having a rainbow of actual fabric and thread samples at their fingertips.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterA few weeks ago, many fabric and thread companies were kind enough to send color cards to the Quilt Theory team to help with our planning. While brainstorming different ways to store and use these color cards, I realized that a skinny fabric bin I had designed to help sort my tiny scraps would also be perfect storage for the Aurifil thread color card strips once they were cut apart. While cutting up color cards seems terrifying at first, we’ve found the amount it helps ease comparisons between different color options and selection of a perfect fabric-thread match outweighs the initial anxiety about cutting into the card. You can see many other storage options in our guest post over at Auribuzz here.

Today I’m excited to share a tutorial on how to make your very own Skinny Bin, perfect for storing your Aurifil thread color card strips. The Skinny Bins are very versatile, so you can make one even if you don’t yet have Aurifil thread color card strips; they are perfect for sorting tiny scraps or catching threads, and just happen to make a lovely wine bottle cozy, too!

Let’s get started!

Gather your materials:

materials for fabric skinny bin

  • 15” x 11” fabric for outer panel
  • 15” x 11” fusible fleece
  • 15” x 12” fabric for lining
  • Thread – we suggest 50wt Aurifil thread
  • Quilting ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Scissors
  • Marking pencil or tool
  • Iron and pressing surface
  • Sewing machine
Making the Exterior
Step 1

First, fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of your outer panel fabric piece, following the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 2

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterSew the short ends right sides together using a ⅜” seam allowance. You will have a tube with both ends open. Press seam open.

Step 3

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterCentering your pressed seam (3 ½” of fabric should be on either side of the seam), press the tube flat, creating clear side creases.

Step 4

Sew along the bottom with a ⅜” seam allowance. Do not turn right-side out yet.

Step 5

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterMeasure and mark 1 ⅞” (1 ½” from the bottom seam stitch line) up and 1 ½” in from the side on each bottom corner, as illustrated above.

Step 6

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterCarefully cut out the marked squares and discard.

Step 7

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterfabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterOpening the bin, fold the recently cut opening so that the bottom seam and side pressed seam match, right sides facing.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterCarefully pin or hold in place, and sew along the opening with a ¼” seam. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat for the other bottom corner.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterYour bin exterior should look like the photo above.

Step 8

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterTurn bin right side out, press out the bottom corners, admire, and set aside the exterior of your bin.

Making the Lining

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterRepeat Steps 2 through 7 with the lining fabric to create the lining of the bin.

Finishing

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterWith right sides out, carefully slide the lining fabric into the exterior of the bin, aligning the back seams and pressing the bottom corners into each other so that it fits snuggly. The exterior and lining should be wrong sides facing each other and the lining should extend about 1” above the top of the exterior.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterFold the lining down toward the outside of the bin so that the raw edge of the lining meets the raw edge of the exterior (approx ½”).

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterFold again, so that the lining folds down over the exterior, with all raw edges contained inside the folds. Press carefully around the top edge of the bin so that your fold stays in place. You can pin or clip, or live on the wild side and simple feed carefully by hand as you stitch it down.

Carefully topstitch approximately ⅛” from the bottom fold of the lining around the top of the bin. Backstitch to secure threads, or knot and bury your threads. Here you can use a contrasting 12wt or 28wt thread for extra interest if you want!

Fabric Skinny Bin TutorialI used my Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove and a 3.0 stitch length so that it provided a bit of interest matching the pattern on the Alison Glass Sun Print Grow in Pansy I used for the lining.

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterTa da! Your first Skinny Bin is compete! Arrange your Aurifil thread card strips delightfully, channeling your inner florist vibes, or fill with scraps or a bottle of your favorite bevvy.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleFeel free to personalize the outer panel, too! Add-on exterior patterns may be available one day if the desire is high. Please use #fabricskinnybin and tag @nightquilter so that I can admire your Skinny Bins, too!

fabric skinny bin tutorial nightquilterIf you don’t yet have an Aurifil thread color card, ask your local quilt shop or order from Hawthorne Threads. Then check out our guest post on Auribuzz to see all of the fun ways you can organize and store it!

My 2020 Miles Quilt

I’m discovering that if there’s a way to intertwine the fibers of life with my love of quilting, I’m going to do it! Between the Milestone Quilt I made for my third child in 2015-16, the Summer Adventure Quilt I made documenting our summer adventures during the summer of 2017, and the tiny adventure blocks I made in 2019 (I may not have shared them here yet!), it’s clear I have a thing for documenting my days in the making of a quilt.

running quilt track my miles 2020With my new love of running, and the start of a new year and decade upon us, I decided to pull inspiration from the temperature quilts people make to track the high and low temperatures through the course of a year and make a color-coded quilt tracking the miles I run or hike in 2020. Sharing this idea on Instagram, a good number of fellow running quilters expressed interest in joining the fun and making their own, so I thought I’d outline my thought process and plan here in as much detail as possible.

If you’re a runner, walker, hiker, cyclist, or any other active adventurer, I invite you to join me in the making of a quilt documenting your miles. I’m hoping that the thought of “earning” a quilt block will help get me out there running even short runs more consistently, as well as doing more cross-training between run days.  Running helps me not only feel physically strong, but also helps me feel more mentally strong, fighting back that mean voice in my head to help assure me that I can do hard things on even the toughest days.

The Basic Plan – Color Coded Miles

running quilt track my miles 2020 konaThe foundational idea behind my plan is to coordinate colors of fabric with a certain number of miles run or hiked. Years ago I cut up my Kona color card and attached magnets for easy use, and this was a perfect opportunity to pull them out and work on a color flow I liked. I am hoping to train for my first full marathon this year, so I knew I needed colors for 1-2 mile runs all the way through 20+ miles.  I chose colors I liked the most for the lower miles, since I know that many of my runs will be between 2-6 miles long and I want a quilt that’s heavy in my favorite colors! I then built a color flow from there, working my way all the way up to 21+ miles. Here are the colors I chose in case you want to use the same:

Number of Miles  –  Kona Color by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

If you know you run more miles, you can make the allotted mile span longer to compensate, OR you could choose more colors to keep it going. For example, instead of each color representing 1 mile span, you could have each color represent 0-5 miles, 5-10 miles, 10-15 miles, etc.  This would make the same color flow fit no matter how far you run, ride, or hike in a given activity.

I have decided that each color will coordinate with any run or hike’s whole number. So a 3.5 mile run will be in the 3 color, a 12.9 mile run will be in the 12 color, a 13.0 mile run will be in the 13 color, etc.

Special Codes

running quilt track my miles 2020I will designate races with a Kona Citrus yellow top corner using the stitch and flip method of adding the corner. (I’m starting my year with a 5k race so I have that block ready to go for January 1st, as seen above).

If I get a PR in a race, I will add a smaller Kona Cyan corner on top of the yellow.

Each time I reach 50 miles, I will sew a 3″x3″ runner block from my Run Run Run pattern into the bottom of the block to visually show larger milestones. At the end of the year, I will easily be able to see where I hit 50 miles, 100 miles, 150 miles, 200 miles, etc.

I plan to count the miles we hike as well, since I want to encourage hiking miles as well as running miles, so for every hike, I will show that the miles were earned hiking by piecing a 3″x3″ Kona Kiwi tree into the bottom of the block. I will likely adapt a tree block from my Summer Adventure Quilt pattern for this.

Cross Training & Rest Days

In any training plan, cross training and rest days are essential, too, so I plan to mark those as well using Kona White and Kona Titanium fabrics. At first I was thinking that Titanium would represent cross-training days, but I think I like the aesthetic of the white better, so I may switch and make white the cross-training days to add motivation for me to do something–planks, yoga, push-ups, Russian twists, really any type of cross-training exercises–on days I don’t run. I’m going to see how the first week of the year goes before deciding for certain.

Cutting Measurements

running quilt track my miles 2020I will cut each run/hike mile block at 3.5″ x 9″, which means they will finish at 3″x8.5″.  Initially, I was planning on cutting them to finish at 3″x9″ but by cutting to 9″, that will allow me to use smaller cuts of fabric (1/4 yard cuts and FQs) efficiently.

I will cut Citrus squares for races at 3.5″x3.5″.

Cross training and rest day strips will be cut at 1.5″x9″ since I want to mark those days, but emphasize the miles.

Tracking Miles on Paper

running quilt track my miles 2020 quilters plannerI will be tracking all of my miles on a Project Planner page in my Quilter’s Planner, and once a row reaches 60″ I will begin another row. I most likely will plan to sew a week’s worth of blocks (really, just color fabric strips) together at a time, and will cut a bunch of strips of each color in the beginning so that most of the time, all I’ll need to do is pull a strip and add it to my design wall. I like to set myself up for success and this is no different!

Fabric Requirements

Buying fabric for a project like this is tough, since I have no real way of knowing how much I’ll need. For me, I know that the bulk of my runs will likely be in the 2-5 or 6 mile range, so I bought the most yardage of those colors (assuming 40″ as the WOF, 44 run strips can be cut from a yard, 22 can be cut from a half yard, 11 can be cut from a quarter yard, etc.). For miles 8 and above, I ordered 1/4 yard cuts since I can’t imagine myself going on more than 11 eight plus mile runs in the year. I guess time will tell, and we’ll see how it all shapes up through the course of 2020!  I ordered my fabric from Fabric Shack since I know they have nearly all of the Kona colors and allow 1/4 yard cuts to be ordered. The one color they didn’t have (Honeysuckle) I ordered from Fabric Bubb, which is another good option for ordering 1/4 yard cuts of alllll the Konas.

Optional – Daily Run Temperature

I toyed with the idea of tracking the daily temperature as well as my running miles, but ultimately decided against it, since I know my sewing time is not copious, and I really want to make this project a fun and encouraging thing rather than a stress or burden.  If you know you have more time to sew and want to track the high and low temperatures each day, that would be another fun bit of data to track along with your miles run.  I thought about using smaller squares for the bottom corners to indicate low and high temperatures, or adding skinny strips to the bottom of each run block (cut to 1.5″x3.5″) for both low and high temperatures (you’d need to add 2″ to your rest and cross training days if you opt for this route), so those are two ideas if you decide to add temperature tracking as well.

Having this all mapped out, the fabrics chosen and partially cut, and a plan to track the miles on paper as well as just in fabric makes this feel like a fun and manageable project to add onto the many others I’m sure to want to finish and begin in 2020. You can follow my progress on Instagram @nightquilter under #my2020milesquilt where I will likely share weekly updates.  If you want to join in and create a quilt tracking your miles as well, please let me know in the comments and let me know how I can see your progress, since if enough people are interested, I will create a Facebook group so that we can all cheer each other on and help hold us accountable to reaching our goals.

If you have any questions about this process, or there are details I inadvertently left out, please let me know and I will update this post with answers and more details. My hope is that my thought process is clearly mapped out so that you can decide which route you’d like to go with your own version.

Here’s to a fun year of getting out into the world, facing challenges head on, and stitching those experiences into a quilt.

 

 

 

Sew Tiny Ornaments by Wise Craft Handmade

A few months ago, my friend Blair over at Wise Craft Handmade emailed me with the most adorable idea–creating Christmas ornaments using the block patterns in my Sew Tiny Sampler pattern. Her ornaments are super quick and easy to make, and by enlarging the pattern a bit, they are perfect for even those who vow never to sew a block smaller than their thumbnail! Hah!

Sew Tiny Sampler Ornaments by Blair Wise Craft Handmade christmasHere are the first three ornaments she made. I love her addition of beads to the perle cotton string, and could see these all over my Christmas tree, or even taped to each gift given. Holiday gift tags that double as ornaments!? Win win!

sew tiny sampler fpp pattern quiltingI’m trying to decide which of these block patterns from my Sew Tiny Sampler to use as my first ornament. Which one would you make first? The tree is awfully adorable, but maybe a star?

Head over to Blair’s blog post HERE for her tutorial on exactly how to make these lovely ornaments, get the Sew Tiny Sampler pattern here (use code HOLIDAY), and please tag us both on social media if you share. You know where to find me @nightquilter and Blair is @blairs . I know I would LOVE to see Sew Tiny Sampler ornaments deck the halls of the internet. Stitchy joy for all!

night quilter new quilt patternsBonus good news–use code HOLIDAY in my Payhip shop for 15% off any pattern through December 20th.  I’m celebrating the re-release of some of my favorite patterns as they show their new faces! Over the next year or so, I plan to slowly update all of my patterns with the help of the ever-talented Lindsie Bergevin to help them look more aesthetically consistent and professional.  Pollen Pillow EPP (Newly released!), Constant Flux Christmas, Sew Tiny Sampler, and Summer Adventure Quilt are the first ones to get the new look and I’m pretty thrilled with them!

Are you sewing for the holidays?

Splendid Sampler 2: Adventure Abounds

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsToday I’m excited to reveal the block I designed for the Splendid Sampler 2 book: Adventure Abounds, found on page 122.  Those of you who know me are most likely not surprised by this block one bit! For those of you who are new, welcome! I’m Kitty Wilkin, aka Night Quilter, and I’m so glad you’re here! I am a full time mom of three kiddos in rural Maine, but I’m also a pattern designer (EPP, FPP, traditional piecing–I love it all!), quilt and product photographer, teacher, social media manager for the Quilter’s Planner, AND an avid fussy cutter, which I prefer to call meticulous cutting. I’m often inspired by the natural world around me, and when Pat and Jane asked me to design a block reflecting my best quilty life, I knew it had to include family adventures in nature tied together through the creation of a quilt. With strong influence from my Summer Adventure quilt pattern, this block has a bit of everything–sea, trees, and lots of love!

If you’re new to the Splendid Sampler books curated by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson, find out more about the Splendid Sampler 2 book and sew along HERE.

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsToday I am going to share 3 tips for using fussy cutting in foundation paper pieced blocks, using my Adventure Abounds block from the Splendid Sampler 2 book. If you’re new to foundation paper piecing (FPP), read my beginner basics FPP tutorial HERE first to make sure you know all of the key components and basic tips. Then let’s dive in!

splendid sampler 2 adventure abounds fppThere are a few things you should remember before beginning FPP: First, the templates are a mirror image of the finished block, so when planning your fabric placement, visualize the right side of your fabric on the back of the template. Second, I highly recommend color coding your paper templates before starting so that you know exactly where each fabric should be. Third, don’t forget to use paper scissors to cut out and trim the templates! Your fabric scissors don’t want to go there!

color code foundation paper piecingOnce your fabrics are selected, your templates are cut out along the 1/4″ seam allowance line and color coded, you’re ready to dive in. Here are three tips for using fussy cutting in FPP:

1. Place your fussy cut on piece 1

One of the easiest ways to use fussy cutting with FPP is to position your fussy cut fabric on the very first piece placed. With this method, simply hold your fabric up to a light source on the wrong side of the paper template, aligning the fabric motif you want to feature. Use a little dab of washable glue stick to hold it in place, and then continue piecing the rest of the block as you normally would. Your fussy cut can be perfectly positioned with very little effort. Depending on the block you’re creating, even this little use of fussy cutting can create quite an impact.

positioning fussy cut fppAs an example of this for my Adventure Abounds block, I decided to position a subtle bird in the sky above the ocean, and held it up to a window to make sure it was positioned exactly how I wanted it. With a white on white background for my blocks, this example is subtle, but sometimes those subtle details are my favorite!

2. Create templates

Another way to make fussy cutting a bit easier while foundation paper piecing is to create a template for the pieces you wish to meticulously cut. You can use template plastic for this, or can even repurpose clear plastic lids to food containers. You want to use something that you can see through or at least trace through using a light source.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingTo create a template, first trace the shape from the paper foundation template onto the plastic. Be sure to label your piece, AND make note of directionality since the paper template is a mirror image.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingOnce I trace the shape, I flip over the template plastic and write my notes on the opposite side, so that when I cut the fabric for that piece, I know that my notes should be legible on the right side of the fabric.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingNext, using a quilting ruler with 1/4″ measure, draw seam lines 1/4″ outside all the edges of your drawn lines.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingCut out the template along that seam allowance line.

Repeat for all of the shapes you want to fussy cut. You can use the clear templates to be sure you’re cutting your fabric piece exactly as you want it. Note that you will want to use all of the tips outlined in this tutorial when piecing so that the perfectly cut piece of fabric gets sewn in exactly how you want it.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingFor my block, I decided to fussy cut the heart so that the fabrics for the two pieces of the heart look continuous despite consisting of two fabric pieces. I decided to make a third reference template of the full heart and traced the pattern from the fabric onto the template, which I used as a reference when cutting out each individual part.

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingOnce you have your template positioned over the exact motif you want, carefully trace around the template with a fabric marking tool and cut out the fabric, or very carefully use a rotary cutter to cut around the template. Note that with planning templates made with template plastic or repurposed food lids, using your rotary cutter contains a good level of danger–so either purposefully live on the wild side, or use the trace and cut-with-scissors method!

creating templates fpp fussy cuttingYour perfectly planned fabric piece is ready to carefully stitch onto your growing foundation paper pieced section.

Because this piecing is quite meticulous, you’ll want to be sure to align this next piece perfectly before stitching.

fpp fussy cuttingfpp fussy cuttingFolding along the seam on which you are about to stitch and trimming the overhanging fabric to 1/4″ will help you line up the next piece accurately.

fpp fussy cuttingYou can also fold over the piece you are about to stitch along the seam line to see how it looks before actually stitching.

Note that meticulous cutting is exactly that–meticulous. Be sure to be meticulous in all phases of this process to get the best results. Also, be gentle with yourself. This is not easy! Use a stitch length that you are comfortable ripping out if needed to get those first fabrics lined up. I give myself a Rule of 3 when stitching any block: I’m allowed to use my seam ripper to rip out progress and make it align better 3 times during the stitching process for any block. Once I hit my 3 times, I need to just accept the imperfections and move on. We are human, after all. But don’t be afraid to try! As with anything, the more you practice, the easier it will get.

fpp fussy cuttingOnce your fussy cut pieces are cut and stitched as desired, continue piecing your non-fussy cut pieces as you would any other FPP block.

3. Focus on the joining seam

A third tool to use while fussy cutting in FPP is to pay close attention to the edge of the motif you want to feature. This works particularly well for lining up directional prints along the seam line, or for less precise fussy cuts.

This method is used for any piece AFTER the first piece placed. If your fussy cut is the first piece, use Tip 1!

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsIn the Adventure Abounds block I made for the original Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, I used this tip when piecing the text on the tree, specifically the word “love”, since the word “listen” was the first piece placed, and was therefore easy to simply glue in place and piece around. Knowing that I wanted the top of the word love to be juuust below that darker top piece, when I cut the square of fabric I carefully cut just a tad bit more than 1/4″ from that top edge of the word love. I left the rest of the rectangle of fabric a bit larger and less specific, since as long as that edge lined up properly, the rest didn’t matter.

With the Adventure Abounds block I’m making for my own Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, I am not using as finicky or directional of fabric for the tree, so there is no need for fussy cutting. However, I wanted to control the directionality of the fabric in a few of the waves, so that the dots on the Cotton and Steel basics and the wavy paths on the bike path fabric by Alison Glass ran parallel to the seam line. The piece is not the first one placed, so I couldn’t use Tip 1. All I want to control is the directionality of the fabric, so making a template seems like more work than is necessary. Enter Tip 3: Focus on the joining seam.

 

fussy cutting with fppWhenever employing any type of meticulous cutting in your FPP, it’s always a good idea to trim your 1/4″ seam allowance before positioning and stitching your fussy cut shape. To do this, simply fold back the foundation paper along the line you are about to sew on, and using a quilting ruler with 1/4″ measure, trim the fabric 1/4″ away from the fold. (Obviously use a cutting mat underneath! This photo shows without the mat for aesthetic consistency). Once your fabric is trimmed, you have a clean line with which to line up your next meticulously placed piece.

This also helps facilitate another key FPP tip, which I originally learned from Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, and which has saved me countless brain-scruntches trying to be sure a fabric piece would align properly on wonky angles in FPP.

fussy cutting with fppWhen your paper is folded along the seam-to-be-sewn, you can place it on your next fabric (right side up) and the paper shape as folded will be exactly on top of the fabric that will end up in that space once you sew along the line. Be sure to visit Lee’s tutorial for a perfectly clear and in depth explanation–it’s truly life changing when it comes to FPP!

https://weallsew.com/how-to-make-paper-piecing-easy/What that means for us is that with that clear 1/4″ seam line showing us the direction we want our print to go, simply lining up the folded seam line with the directional print will ensure the pattern runs in exactly the direction we want. Fold up the edge a bit to peek under and make sure the pattern is positioned the way you want it, then without changing the position of the fabric, fold the paper back up and sew along the line.

https://weallsew.com/how-to-make-paper-piecing-easy/You will end up with your directional fabric meticulously positioned along the seam line, just how you wanted it. Paired with that fun bird flying over the ocean that we placed using Tip 1, these tips can help take your foundation paper piecing blocks to a whole new, intentional level.

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsHere’s the block I made for my slowly growing Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, about which I’ll show you more soon! I’m creating monochromatic blocks and using an alternate rainbow layout I sketched out in my Quilter’s Planner. This Adventure Abounds block will be positioned in the teal row, but as you can see, it is transitioning to the green. I made a compromise from my monochromatic-rule for this block, since I make the rules around here anyway! ha!

the splendid sampler 2 night quilter quilters plannerOkay, just one peek at my planned layout and a few of my blocks so far. A full look will come in its own blog post soon, so be sure to follow this space!

Thank you so much for joining me today–I hope this tutorial is helpful and entices some new fussy cutters to try adding some meticulous cutting to their foundation paper piecing! Please show me what you’re making and either comment with a photo, or tag me on social media @nightquilter . Most of all, have fun!!

If you’re sewing along with the Splendid Sampler 2 excitement, be sure to head over to the Splendid Sampler website, and post your completed Adventure Abounds block. There is a fun Martingale book giveaway for one lucky person picked from the blocks shared on their website.

splendid sampler 2 adventure aboundsHave fun with your Adventure Abounds block, and may your adventures abound!

Let the Summer Adventures Begin! (Pattern Release)

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, as well as the start of summer. What better way to celebrate than with the release of my long awaited Summer Adventure Quilt pattern!?

summer adventure quilt patternToday I’m excited to share my Summer Adventure Quilt pattern, a 30 page pattern complete with 14 foundation paper pieced blocks, traditionally pieced blocks, clear assembly diagrams, and instructions for two different methods of construction. You can choose to either sew the cover quilt, which finishes at 60″ x 70″, or you can choose your own adventure and create your quilt in the same way I created my original summer adventure quilt–by earning one block per adventure you take. I walk you through both options in the pattern.

summer adventure quilt block tree
I am making my summer adventure quilt out of Alison Glass fabrics for Andover Fabrics, since their bright and vibrant colors help the blocks to really pop! Aurifil 50wt thread is my go-to for piecing and quilting!

The pattern is available on Payhip for an introductory price of $15 through the end of June. On July 1st, the pattern will return to its normal $25 price. With 14 FPP block templates, traditional block instructions, and more, this is a steal!

Summer Adventure Quilting with Kitty Wilkin on FacebookI also created a Facebook group called Summer Adventure Quilting with Kitty Wilkin, where I hope you’ll share your summer adventuring–both in the sewing room and out in the world! It will be a platform where I will be able to answer questions, and where we can all celebrate in each other’s adventures and share inspiration. One of the biggest reasons I create patterns is to help share inspiration with the larger quilting community. The community is what makes me tick!

blue hill mountain summer adventure quiltYou probably remember the improv, make-it-up-as-I-go Summer Adventure quilt I made last summer (you can see the finished quilt top HERE), which inspired this pattern. I had such a fun time documenting our summer family fun with that, that I wanted to be able to share it with you. Bring on my favorite foundation paper piecing, some quilt math puzzle solving, and I think that this pattern meets that goal! I’m hoping that this Summer Adventure Quilt pattern inspires you to get outside and enjoy the natural world around you a bit more, and tie your love of quilting and sewing together with a love and appreciation of nature. Enjoy the journey, and adventure often!

If you’ve opted in for Night Quilter emails, be sure to check your email for an additional 20% off coupon code good on Payhip through the end of the month. If you *want* to opt in for Night Quilter emails, click here to get in the know.

Happy adventuring!

 

The 100 Day Project: Sew Smaller

Well, I did it again. While I knew I couldn’t commit to another 365 days of stitching like last year’s One Year of Stitches embroidery project, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to jump on another daily creativity bandwagon.

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingI’m officially 11 days into The 100 Day Project, and my focus is on sewing smaller. So far I’ve sewn 11 tiny quilt blocks that will finish at 1 1/4″ square. I’m using the hashtag #100daysofsewsmaller on Instagram and aiming to share my progress daily.

Here is a closer look at each of my blocks thus far!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting1/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting2/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting3/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting4/100 (which was also the day when I created a foundation paper pieced template for my day 11 block. I didn’t sew that one until today, but the idea was born on day 4!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting5/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting6 & 7/100 – Day 6 was the day of my daughter’s First Communion & Confirmation and my family was visiting all weekend, so I got a self-granted “bye” on posting. I caught up on my birthday, day 7!

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting8/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting9/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting10/100

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quilting11/100

I’ve been sharing updates on both my @nightquilter feed and also @thequiltersplanner feed, since I’ve been using my Quilter’s Planner to track each block.I am making blocks that fit perfectly in each daily column on the weekly planning pages, so it works wonderfully. My planner is always open to the weekly planning pages, so it is a great way to get a visual of my week’s blocks together. Maybe for my next post I’ll show you a photo of my blocks on my personal in-use planner instead of the nice neat, clean one I have for staging photos!

I’ve been having fun taking summary photos for the QP feed, since I love creating rainbows in any way possible.

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingDays 1-3

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingThe first week of blocks

#100daysofsewsmaller tiny sewing quiltingThe first 10 days

Going into this project, I first imagined making the same block for 100 days, but once I started stitching them, I started to think about how many different blocks could be sewn in miniature. So then my plan morphed into 10 different blocks sewn 10 times each, alternating color and background like the first 10 blocks. It would allow me to mix up the blocks sewn, still play with color and tiny stitching, and have a pretty predictable finished 12″x12″ mini at the end of the 100 days.

Then my friend Sharon of Sharon Holland Designs shared some really wise advice:

I love how your challenge is going Kitty and how it relates to you as a quilter but also think you should let it be organic and use the 100 days to explore if needed and push yourself also if needed. Don’t get locked into a direction.

How wise is that!? What better activity than a 100 day project to use as a springboard for experimentation and stretching the limits and bounds of my creativity!? It is so ingrained in my habit to be able to visualize the end product before I begin a project, and I really think it would be a great growing experience for me to let go, give myself some very loose guidelines, and just allow myself to experiment.

So, that’s the plan. My “rules” are:

  • I am only allowed to use scraps from my scrap bin, and will aim to make them using a colored scrap with a white or low volume scrap.
  • I will do my best to stay current, but am allowed to work ahead up to 5 days. This (I’m hoping) will allow me to stick with it even when there are days when I know I won’t be able to get to a sewing machine. It’s my attempt at being gentle with myself while still pushing myself to stick with a habit of making.
  • I have to have fun with it. If it becomes a stress or source of self-deprecating thoughts, I will stop and try again next year. The last thing I need is another “I should be able to…” thing to beat myself up over.
  • and recently added: I will try NOT to plan at all, will experiment as desired, but will try to keep at least one dimension of each block at 1 1/4″ finished size.

That’s it! So far, all of my blocks are 1 3/4″, which will be 1 1/4″ finished.

#100daysofsewsmaller 100 day projectI’ve worked ahead twice (once when my entire family was visiting for the weekend for my daughter’s First Communion, and once today since I know weekends are often filled with family time and not necessarily sewing time), but have stuck with the block per day format.

Most importantly, I’m having FUN! I had forgotten how giggly-fun it is to sew on a teeny tiny scale, and with lots of exciting big (albiet secret) projects going on behind the scenes, it’s really fabulous to have a little project I can sew and share daily.

#100daysofsewsmaller 100 day projectI’ll leave you with a cheeky peek at the backside of my latest block, since one of the big questions I’ve gotten so far over on Instagram is “How big is your seam allowance?”.  My answer: 1/4″ seam allowance, just like always. Note that so far I’ve created blocks with mostly straight joins, and I might scale a few seam allowances down to 1/8″ to decrease bulk as I experiment further, but for the most part, the 1/4″ seam works just fine!

If you’re on Instagram, you can follow my daily progress both in my Night Quilter feed or updates in The Quilter’s Planner feed. You should also be able to see my latest Instagram posts over on my right sidebar -> so keep an eye on that as well!

Until next time, I hope you have a *little* stitching fun this weekend!