Tag Archives: quilting

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!

Flying Geese Table Runner with the Cricut Maker

Today I’m happy to share a simple and fun Flying Geese Table Runner project I made using the Cricut Maker. With Easter approaching and my table bare, I wanted to put together a quick project that could brighten the room for Easter, and really all year long. This table runner was also one of the first things I designed in the Cricut Design Space, so I wanted to keep it fairly simple while also using as many Cricut Maker features as I could! You can read a full review of my new Cricut Maker here.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterThis post is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions and text are my own. This Flying Geese Table Runner includes both traditional piecing and embroidery or hand quilting. If you don’t have a Cricut Maker, I’ve included cutting instructions and a pdf as well, so anyone can make it!

Let’s get started, shall we!? First, gather your materials.

Materials (My fabric details are in parenthesis)
  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut Washable Fabric Pen
  • Cricut FabricGrip Mat 12″x24″
  • 3/4 yard background fabric (Kona cotton in Snow)
  • fat quarter focal fabric (Twinklestar in Berry from Garden Dreamer, by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabric–from the blogger bundle I put together for Needle & Foot, here)
  • 1/2 yard fabric for backing and binding (Painted Desert Morning from Sage, by Bari J Ackerman for Art Gallery Fabric)
  • approximately 18″x44″ piece of batting
  • 50wt thread for piecing & quilting (I used Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove for piecing and 50wt 2479- Medium Orchid and 2021-Natural White for quilting)
  • 12wt thread, embroidery floss, or perle cotton for embroidery (I used 12wt Aurifil 2435-Peachy Pink)
  • sewing machine
  • small embroidery hoop (6″ or smaller)
  • embroidery needle
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • iron and pressing surface

Note that if you do not have a Cricut Maker, you will also need a washable fabric marking tool, printer to print the embroidery template, and light box or other bright surface to facilitate tracing the embroidery template onto your fabric.

Now for the fun!

Using the Cricut Maker

Log into Cricut Design Space and get my Flying Geese Table Runner with Embroidery project here, and click “Make it!”

Prepare your mats as instructed, smoothly spreading your fabric onto your 12″x24″ FabricGrip mat. The Cricut Maker will lead you through the entire process, so simply follow the screen instructions and let the Cricut Maker work its magic!

Cricut Maker in action drawing and cutting The Cricut Maker will both draw the washable embroidery guide lines AND cut the larger rectangle for you!

Attaching elements in Cricut Design SpaceWhen I designed the drawn geese section, I designated the geese shapes as draw lines rather than cut lines and ATTACHED them to a larger cut background rectangle, about 11 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ in size so that they would be easier to embroider. For those of you designing for your Cricut Maker, this is key to remember when you want to combine both cut lines and drawn lines! Also, many thanks to Julie at Intrepid Thread for teaching me how to do this! If you’re a quilter getting to know your Cricut Maker, I highly recommend checking out Julie’s how-to resources both on her blog and YouTube channel!

Cricut Maker in action cuttingThe Cricut Maker will also prompt you to cut squares of your focal fabric, small squares of background fabric, and some background rectangles. Once the fabric is cut, carefully remove the excess fabric, revealing your perfectly cut shapes. Carefully remove the fabric from the mats, and then get ready to sew!

You will also need to cut a 19 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle of background fabric with your rotary cutter and mat for the center portion of the table runner. You can easily shorten or lengthen your table runner by adjusting the dimensions of this center panel accordingly. It should always be 13 1/2″ wide, but can be as long or short as needed to fit your table.

Preparation Instructions if you don’t have a Cricut Maker

If you don’t have a Cricut Maker, here’s how you can cut and prepare your fabric using a rotary cutter, mat, washable fabric pen, and lightbox or other light source.

First, do your cutting. From your background fabric, cut:

  • (1) 11″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle (onto which you will trace your embroidery templates
  • (12) 2 7/8″ squares
  • (2) 2 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangles
  • (4) 1 1/4″ x 4″ rectangles
  • (1) 19 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle (as noted above)

From your focal fabric, cut:

  • (3) 5 1/4″ squares

We will use the backing of the table runner as the binding, so will keep the backing fabric as a whole 1/2 yard cut until after quilting.

Download the Flying Geese Table Runner Embroidery Template-Night Quilter Printable, print on your computer at 100% scale, tape the two pages together along the match line, and trace onto your 11″ x 13 1/2″ rectangle of background fabric using a washable fabric pen. Be sure to center the template so that there is at least 1/2″ of fabric on both sides of the geese and 1″ above and below the geese.

Once all of your cutting and prepping is complete, it’s time to get stitching!

Embroidering the Accent Geese

embroidering the accent flying geeseThe embroidered accent geese are meant to add some subtle accent interest to your table runner, since hand stitching of any kind (in my mind) adds a special touch. Especially with a project that will be seen often, those hand stitches can echo the sharp aesthetic of the pieced flying geese.

aurifil 12 wt thread for embroideryGather your embroidery hoop, background fabric with your flying geese drawn on, and a thick 12wt thread, embroidery floss, or perle cotton in a coordinating color. I chose to use Aurifil 12wt thread in 2435-Peachy Pink since it’s a subtle echo of the geese that pulls the beautiful coral color from the Twinklestar in Berry fabric.

aurifil 12 wt thread for embroidery running stitchYou can use the drawn embroidery guides to do any type of embroidery you want. I chose to do a simple running stitch around each flying goose, but feel free to get creative! Chain stitch would me another fun stitch to use to outline each goose, you could echo the stitching inside each goose as well, or even fill the geese with french knots!

Note that if you choose to use a more dense embroidery design, you may want to layer another piece of white fabric or use an interfacing stabilizer behind your panel.  Yet another creative option would be to wait on the stitching, assemble your table runner, and then use the drawn guide lines to hand quilt around each goose, stitching through all three layers of the table runner. If I make another one of these table runners, I will go this route, since I think the stitches would work really well as hand quilting, too.

trim embroidered geese panelsOnce you’ve finished embroidering your geese, carefully trim the panel into two rows of geese, cutting 1/2″ away from the side points of each row. Do not cut the top or bottom of each row of flying geese. You should now have two embroidered geese panels measuring 5″ x 13 1/2″.

Piecing Flying Geese Four at a Time

piecing flying geese four at a timeWith your fabric pieces cut perfectly by the Cricut Maker, or as specified above, piece your flying geese using the four at a time method. I used the Reference section of my Quilter’s Planner to piece mine, and you can also find a download of the page HERE as a little taste of the awesome that is contained in the Quilter’s Planner. (If you don’t have one already, go ahead and buy a Quilter’s Planner 2018 while they are still available!) Note that we are making flying geese that finish at 2″x4″.

flying geese strips for table runnerMake twelve geese total and sew them into two strips of six as shown above. See how they are mirrored by the embroidered strips? Note that your embroidered strips should be cut apart by this step.


Sewing Tip:

Perfect Points for Flying GeeseWhen sewing two geese together, position the point of the goose on top and make sure your stitch line passes exactly through the stitched point of your goose.

perfect points with flying geeseThis way, you will be sure to never chop off the point of a flying goose ever again!


sewing top and bottom sectionsOnce your flying geese rows of six are assembled, sew a 1 1/4″x 4″ piece of background fabric to the top and bottom of each strip. Align with your 13 1/2″ embroidered geese strips, and trim the pieced flying geese strips to 13 1/2″ if needed, being sure that your embroidered geese align with your sewn geese before trimming. There is a little bit of wiggle room included in the top and bottom background rectangles to allow for those who sew scant or generous 1/4″ seams, so trim as needed.

Assembling the Table Runner

flying geese panel of table runnerFirst sew together the flying geese panels of the table runner. I’ve arranged mine on top of my backing fabric so that you can clearly see the different pieces being sewn together. With geese facing the same direction, sew the embroidered flying geese section to the pieced flying geese section. Then sew to the 2 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ background rectangle. Make two.

assembling table runnerAssemble the table runner top by sewing the sections together as shown above: Note that the embroidered flying geese panels should be sewn to the center background piece on both ends.

choosing threadOnce your table runner top is pieced, position the runner top and batting in the center of your chosen backing fabric, right sides facing away from each other. In other words, layer and baste your table runner and prepare for quilting!

quiltingI chose to use Aurifil 50wt 2479- Medium Orchid to quilt my Flying Geese Table Runner with a dense free motion quilting pattern in the center, simple outlines of the pieced flying geese, and dense free motion quilted switchbacks in Aurifil 2021-Natural White between both the pieced and embroidered geese. I wanted the texture but not the visual distraction from my hand stitching.

detail of quilting on flying geese table runner cricut maker aurifil threadI’m certainly not a free motion quilting pro, but I am pretty happy with my over-all heart-flower free motion quilting motif! Plus, how fabulously do those tulips go with the BariJ Sage fabric backing!?

As you quilt your table runner, be sure to stay 1/4″ away from all edges with your quilting! This will help your binding look great from both the top and the bottom, since we will be using the backing fabric folded over the edges as binding.

fold back backing fabricOnce your table runner is quilted as desired, carefully fold back the backing fabric and trim the batting *just* outside the top of your table runner top. I gave myself a little less than 1/8″ around the edge of my table runner.

cutting batting square Be extra careful not to cut your backing fabric during this step!

Next, trim your backing fabric between 3/4″ and 1″ from the outer edge of your table runner quilt top. Fold the backing so that its raw edge meets the edge of your trimmed quilt top and batting and press. Fold again and top stitch in place, securing your binding to the front of the quilt.

binding close up flying geese table runnerA full tutorial for how to bind your quilt with the backing fabric can be found HERE on Cluck Cluck Sew’s blog.

binding close up flying geese table runnerI wanted my binding to be slightly slimmer, so I cut mine 3/4″ from the edge of the table runner top instead of 1″, but choose whichever you prefer.

flying geese table runner tutorial cricut makerTa da! Your table runner is nearly finished! All that remains is to wash out the washable fabric marker lines. I’ve found that the Cricut Washable Fabric Pen easily washes out with a bit of soap and cold water. Note that if you prewash your fabrics, you can wash out the fabric pen before trimming and piecing the embroidery panels into your table runner. I don’t prewash my fabrics, so I opted to wash it all at once after it was completely finished.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterSet your Easter table and enjoy! I always love a good bundle of fresh flowers on a table, especially during these early days of spring when the snow is still thick on the ground outside.

flying geese table runner cricut maker easter

flying geese table runner cricut maker easterAfter giving my table runner its first wash, and in looking at these photos, I think I will go back and hand quilt within those embroidered flying geese to give them a bit more texture.flying geese table runner tutorial cricut makerEnjoy, and I hope you’ll share a photo of your Flying Geese Table Runner if you make one! You can tag me on social media @nightquilter or share a link here in the comments.

Happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

Cricut Maker and a World of Possibility

Today I’m excited to introduce a new tool I’ve been playing with over the past few weeks: the Cricut Maker. A few months ago, the folks at Cricut asked if they could send a Cricut Maker and starter kit to me in exchange for an honest review. I hesitated at first, since do I really need another cutting machine? But once I began reading up on the Cricut Maker and all of its digital cutting capabilities, including cutting any of your own designs and ability to cut literally hundreds of materials, I decided to say yes. I’m glad I did since this machine can do anything!

cricut maker digital cutting machine introductionThis post is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are my own and I only share products that I think are awesome. Note that there are no affiliate links included since I live in Maine where affiliate programs aren’t permitted, but I have linked to referenced products for your ease. Business aside, shall we get on with the fun? Let’s!

I’ve played with die cutting machines before, so the concept of a machine to help with the cutting step of quilting is not new to me. Some pros to cutting machines are that they cut perfectly accurately since human error is removed, they are safe since the blade is in the machine and not your hand, and they are versatile. The Cricut Maker is all of these things, but takes versatility to the next level since you can cut all of your own patterns and designs in Cricut Design Space.

cricut maker digital cutting machine introductionI set aside a day where I would have a window of a few hours without any of the kids home to first unbox my Cricut Maker, since I knew that I would need to not only figure out how it works, but also figure out how to use Design Space, where your projects and designs are created. I was pleasantly surprised at how extremely easy and user friendly the entire set up was! I probably could have figured it out with all three kids hanging on me–it was that intuitive!

Intro for Cricut MakerTo set up the Cricut Maker, I just went to the Cricut website and found the set up page. From there, I clicked the green “Get Started” button at the bottom and it walked me through the entire Cricut Maker set up, as well as an introductory greeting card project to help me learn the ropes. All materials for the greeting card project are included with the Maker machine, and because the project uses multiple settings and pens, after creating the quick greeting card, I felt confident enough to dive into making and designing myself! My “new technology” worry was all for naught!

cricut maker iron on glitterI went into my Cricut Maker exploration day with full intention of diving into its capabilities for the world of quilting, but in exploring the Cricut Design Space, I accidentally–OOPs!–ended up bedazzling one of my daughter’s tank tops with a glittery iron-on unicorn! The Cricut Maker Design Space has a large library of free graphics, templates, and projects and as soon as I saw this unicorn, I knew it just had to make its way into our world.

Cricut sent me a box full of supplies along with the Cricut Maker, and a roll of silver Glitter Iron-on was included. Even though the entire process was new to me, I couldn’t resist figuring out something new. Besides, glitter + unicorns = magical! Another big perk to the Cricut Maker is the huge library of available videos and tutorials available. A simple search found me a huge selection of tutorials, from the actual Learn page on Cricut, to a multitude of YouTube tutorials by craft bloggers.

cricut weeder tool at workIt didn’t take me long at all to have the unicorn cut since it was a free image already in the Design Space, and the Cricut Weeder tool was the perfect tool to help get the background away from the iron on transfer, all while making me feel like a glittery unicorn-loving dentist. The weeder tool comes in the Cricut Tools Basic Set, which is definitely worth getting if you have a Maker.

cricut maker iron on glitter vinyl Within a half an hour, I had a fully bedazzled unicorn tank, which fortunately my daughter LOVED when she got home from school.

After that brief interruption, I continued to explore the possibilities of the Cricut Maker. Here are a few highlights:

washable fabric pen for cricut makerThe Cricut Maker comes with a fine point pen, but there are also a wide variety of other pens available for diversified projects. The pen I will likely use most in my quilting is the washable fabric pen. This is great for drawing on cut lines, seam allowances, embroidery guidelines, and more. It’s quite easy to designate lines in Design Space as a drawn line rather than a cut line, too, so you can have the Cricut Maker both draw and cut on the same fabric.

inserting the washable fabric pen for cricut makerThe pens and blade tools are *really* easy to install and switch, since they are held in with an easy snap clamp, and the Cricut Design Space prompts you on what pen or blade to insert before each project so that you’re sure to use the correct blade for your project.

cricut maker rotary blade
Cricut Maker rotary blade

The Cricut Maker comes with a premium fine point blade, which is used for cutting paper, card stock, vinyl, leather, and other light-weight to medium-weight materials. What makes it really useful for quilters, though, is that it also comes with a rotary blade for cutting fabric.

cricut maker rotary bladeUsing the sticky pink FabricGrip mat and the rotary blade tool, the Cricut Maker can cut standard quilting cotton and other fabrics without needing to stabilize them first. Watching this little rotary cutter at work is super fun, too, since its little robotic lift, turn, press, cut, repeat is like taking a trip to the future.

cricut maker rotary bladeNow that you’ve seen the rotary blade from every angle, wouldn’t you agree that that’s the cutest little rotary blade you ever did see?

tools for the cricut makerThe blades snap into the little B compartment to the right of the A pen holder, and it’s incredible easy to switch blades when needed. The Cricut Maker also has ample space for storage of unused blades, pens, and tools, which is really handy for someone like me who doesn’t have a whole lot of extra storage space.

My hands down favorite features of the Cricut Maker are its design versatility and ease of use. You are not limited by the shape of a specific die, or even by a set library of designs. Because the Cricut Design Space is so user friendly and easy to figure out, and because there are so many fabulous tutorials available to help walk you through the details, I know that the sky’s the limit with design. For a pattern designer like me, that aspect is KEY.

I can see myself using the Cricut Maker for anything from:

  • fabric cutting for simple and quick sews
  • designing and making logo vinyl stickers
  • cutting fabric for my own foundation paper piecing patterns
  • cutting cardstock papers for English Paper Piecing
  • cutting templates for meticulous cutting using a thicker material like template plastic
  • drawing embroidery designs on fabric
  • cutting clothing patterns using the Simplicity patterns available in Cricut Design Space
  • quick projects from the Ready-to-Make Projects library in Cricut Design Space
  • helping my kids create cards for Thank Yous, holidays, etc.
  • other family and school projects not even related to quilting
  • and so, so, so much more!

I’ve already designed a little robot for my son, who loves robots and goes around telling people that they are either in or falling out of favor in his eyes because of the number of hearts in their heart tanks.

maxwell's heart tank robot cricut makerFor example, when I do something he really loves, he says, “You just got 10,000 hearts in your heart tank!” and if we tell him he can’t have a second cookie, he says, “Your heart tank is almost empty!” in a warning voice, finger wagging for emphasis. How perfect is this little robot for him? I’m thinking I’ll make it a layered card stock creation to frame for his room. This was easy to make, since the robot is a free image in the Design Space, and adding the heart, customizing colors, and adding the text was very straightforward.

As you can see, one little afternoon with the Cricut Maker, and my to-make list has already grown quite a bit! Can you blame me?

cricut maker world of possibilityNow for the nitty gritty: how much does the Cricut Maker cost? The Cricut Maker machine retails for about $399.99.  When you buy a Cricut Maker, in the box you get: a Cricut Maker™ machine, Rotary Blade + Drive Housing, Premium Fine Point Blade + Housing, Fine Point Pen, FabricGrip™ Mat 12″ x 12″, LightGrip™ Mat 12″ x 12″, welcome book, USB cable, power adapter, Cricut Access™ free trial membership, 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns, materials for a first project.

If you plan to use the Cricut Maker for primarily quilting and fabric-related projects, you might want to get the Cricut Maker + Essentials Collection ($459.99), which comes with two larger 12″x24″ FabricGrip Mats and washable fabric pen, among other sewing-related tools. As I said earlier in the post, I don’t have any affiliation with Cricut, so I don’t get anything if you buy one. I’m simply sharing what I know and my experience with the Cricut Maker to help you decide if it’s a tool that would work well in your life.

I’m excited about the world of possibilities that exists with the Cricut Maker, and I’ll be sure to share my projects and experience as they happen. I’m excited about a new knife blade that will be coming out soon that will allow for cutting thicker, tougher materials like balsa wood and chipboard. The Cricut Maker’s Adaptive Tools System™ is perfect for the makers among us who don’t want to be limited to just one craft!

sneak peek project cricut maker quilting embroideryHere’s a sneak peek at a project tutorial I’ll be sharing for the Cricut Maker next week that pairs quilting and embroidery, so stay tuned!

What would you make with a Cricut Maker?

QuiltCon or Bust!

With one more day to get through all of the laundry and packing before I head off on my adventures to QuiltCon, I’m in that final push! Monday morning I set off south with my three little ones, driving all day down to NJ to help them get settled with my awesome parents. Then Wednesday eaaarly morning, I’ll be hopping on a plane and flying across the country to sunny Pasadena! It’s nearly here!

quilt con teaching quilt photographyThis year is especially exciting since I will be co-teaching four classes with my awesome friend and colleague Michelle Bartholomew: two sessions of Quilt Photography Basics, and two sessions of Advanced Quilt Photography. Michelle is the mastermind/owner of Quilt Theory and spent years as a successful wedding photographer in her past (pre-quilty) life. We’ve been working hard, collaborating via Zoom since I’m in Maine and she’s at the far reaches of the country in Washington state, and I think we’re ready! These classes are going to be awesome!

quilt con lecture milestone quiltsI’ll also be giving a lecture on Quilts to Mark Milestones on Sunday morning, during which I’ll talk all about my Milestone Quilt project for Finn, my Summer Adventure Quilt, and so much more! I’m honored to have the opportunity to share my journey with other like-minded people, and hope to inspire a few more makers to make meaningful quilts that document the milestones of their lives.

I’m triple excited since I *just* managed to finish my Summer Adventure Quilt flimsy, so it will be traveling to Pasadena with me! Those of you attending my lecture will be able to see it in real life! I’ll share one quick photo here now, but will write much more about it upon my return. This quilt is quite special to me, and I can’t tell you how great it feels to have the quilt top together!

Are you going to QuiltCon? I hope to see you there–please do stop me if you see me, since I’m often the deer in headlights walking around with a permagrin! Tomorrow I’ll be up to my eyeballs in laundry, packing, and prepping some hand-stitching for my travels, and then the adventure begins!

Follow me on Instagram @nightquilter for live updates next week, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you when I return home!

ps. In the whole QuiltCon-prepping, social media world, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl is my hero. I love her post Social Media Honesty here. So so true, and worth a read!

2018 Finish-A-Long Q1 Goals

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

2018 Finish A Long Logo 2

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

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

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

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

1 – One Year of Stitches Embroidery hoop from 2017

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

2 – Rainbow Moonstone Pillow

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

3 – Secret Sewing Project

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

4 – Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Quilt

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

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

My Best of 2017

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

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

Most Viewed Blog Post(s)

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

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

Most Viewed Tutorial Blog Post

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

My Favorite New Projectsummer adventure quilt progress

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

2017 Best Nine on Instagram

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

Most Viewed Blog Post EVER

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

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