Tag Archives: quilting

2017 Goals and a Lush Idea

In my style, I’ve well missed the 2017 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, but I thought I would write a quick post with my 2017 Goals and word for the year, both to share my focus and to hold myself accountable!

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want to focus on this year, and I’ve decided that I really need to make my mantra: “Finish What You’ve Started”. I have ample projects that were begun with excitement and then quietly forgotten before reaching completion, and I also branched out into a few other big new endeavors in 2016, such as pursuing quilt photography work and designing for Quilt Theory. I’ve been helping Stephanie with the Quilter’s Planner Instagram account, and that has been extremely fun but also takes time. I also have a few potential teaching opportunities that I’m excited about in the coming year. Combined with being a full time mom of three little ones, keeping house, tending chickens, and in the proper season, gardening and adventuring along the coast, my plate is pretty full as it is. So it seems right to set my engine for steady on and just keep plugging away in the direction I’m going.

project planning for 2017
I’ve used the Projects at a Glance page in my Quilter’s Planner to list WIPs from 2016 on the left and new projects in 2017 on the right. The right shows my color palette choice for my 2017 bee and sew alongs–greenery!

That said, I also recognize that there’s no way I could go a full year without trying anything new. For that reason, I also plan to participate in a few Sew Alongs and a Quilt Bee, as I outlined in my last blog post. The relaxed, no-stress mentality will let me fill those block making moments in between my “finishing” so that I can stay fresh and excited about making. I also plan to play along more regularly with the #beesocial prompts, since they stretch my creative spirit more than anything else I’ve encountered. I’m already beginning with Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads’ first prompt for January–Resolution. Watching the video she included as part of her design inspiration prompt reaffirmed the word I selected to guide my year (I definitely recommend clicking over to her post and watching the video. It’s well worth 5 minutes of your time.)

Which brings me to my “one little word”–the one word to guide my year. 2017 will be my “green” year. There are so many influences to my selection of this word, from my lifelong love of nature, my degree in environmental science, to all that’s been happening in the world around us. Sparked initially by Chawne Kimber’s quilt “The One for Eric G”, the first statement quilt I saw that made me hold my breath as my stomach took a nosedive, and made me realize that this amazing craft can be used to inspire positive change (more than just making the world a more beautiful place one stitch at a time), further melded and inspired by the Make Do Quilt challenge posed by Sherri Lynn Wood last year, and always continuously inspired by Hillary from Entropy Always Wins and her focus on using reclaimed textiles in her creations, I have decided on “green” as my word of the year and “finish what you’ve started” as my guiding mantra.

I love how Cheryl from Meadowmist Designs set measurable steps for herself in her goal setting post, so here is my attempt at the same. This year, I will try to:

  • Focus on incorporating repurposed textiles into at least three (3) quilt projects;
  • Minimize new fabric purchases; focus on using the fabrics that exist in my stash already (not very measurable, but important to state!);
  • Experiment with at least six (6) of the #beesewcial prompts to help stretch my creativity and build improv skills;
  • Use a purely green color palette (inspired by Patone’s color of the year, Greenery) on all bee and quilt along blocks to help create a visual statement on being “green” and to stretch my design skills by fitting them all together at the end;
  • Create a more concrete plan for my social action quilt idea, including:
    • a full sketch
    • 2-3 sample blocks
    • brief description
  • Dive further into the “Slow Fashion” movement:
    • Overcome my fear of garment sewing by making at least three (3) items of clothing
    • {BONUS} hand stitch one garment;
  • Complete two (2) quilt photography projects to deepen my repertoire and experience;
  • Teach at least three (3) different quilting and quilt photography related classes–spread the love and inspiration for creating beautiful things!
  • Use my Quilter’s Planner to set manageable goals and help myself feel successful and motivated–including building up to exercising 5 times per week!
  • Stitch daily for 365 days as part of my participation in #1yearofstitches (more on this soon!)
  • Finish eight to ten (8-10) works in progress from last year!!!

Phew, I’d better stop there. I think this is a great start to my goals for the year, and I’m curious to see how successful I am at meeting each of these goals. Note that I have not included pattern design in my specific goals this year. Aside from Quilt Theory patterns, two of which I plan to develop and release this year, I am letting pattern writing be more relaxed this year so that I may focus on my other goals. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though!

quilter's planner WIPs from 2016So far I’m off to a decent start and have made good progress on one WIP (Max’s Eye Spy Picnic Plaid), and have finished another, which I’ll share later this week. (Note that I’ve added quite a few old WIPs to this list since this photo was taken).  I’ve begun to play with the #beesewcial prompt, and am incorporating repurposed textiles into it! Baby steps!

I hope your year is off to a great start!

I’ll be linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts’ Let’s Bee Social so that you can all hold me accountable this year!

Sew Alongs and Bees: Community Sewing Across the Miles

After a longer than intended lull in blogging, I’m back and eager to share my reflections, process, and creative adventures with you! I’ve said it before, but beginning is the hardest step. I got stuck in a cycle of the longer I waited, the harder it was to simply jump back into blogging. Today, that ends. What better place to begin than with community and some of the fun sew alongs and bees taking place this year, as well as my grand plan for stress-free participation in them!? Soon I will share my goals, focus, and “one word” for 2017, as well as some of the other fun projects on which I’ve been working. For now, hello!! It’s great to be back, and I’m excited to share inspiration and creativity with you again!

The online quilting community is known for its welcoming vibe and almost endless opportunities to sew together virtually if not in person. There are so many fun Sew Alongs and Quilt Bees happening at any given moment across the quilting community, it’s often hard to decide which ones to join and which ones to pass on. I’ve joined a few Sew Alongs in the past, typically the block-at-a-time style–specifically the Farmer’s Wife led by Angie at Gnome Angel, #100days100blocks also lead by Angie on Instagram, and the Quilter’s Planner 2016 Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew Along led by yours truly on Instagram. I had a lovely time participating (and still participating) in them, but found that I often cannot keep up with the pace because of other obligations. For 2017, I think I’ve come up with a plan to address that and turn it into creative opportunity!

First, here are the Sew Alongs and Bees I’m currently committed to participating in:

52 weeks with the quilters planner gnome angel sew along52 Weeks with the Quilter’s Planner

by Angie of Gnome Angel
#52weekswiththequiltersplanner

Hosted by the Sew Along Queen, Angie from Gnome Angel, this sew along is a given for me! Using the block instructions on each weekly spread in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, Angie’s leading this sew along to encourage and support you to make each block each week. Visit her page HERE to read all the details, as well as to see how you can join. This is a great sew along for those looking to get into a regular sewing habit. Plus, it’s a chance to use your Quilter’s Planner to its fullest!

the honey pot bee molli sparkles 2017The Honey Pot Bee

by Molli Sparkes
#thehoneypotbee

Molli is hosting a quilting bee that breaks all the rules–as he says, you get none of the sting, and all of the sticky goodness! I love the relaxed mentality about this bee, and it’s a little extra exciting since I’m one of the Queen Bees for April! Here are the details, straight from Molli’s announcement post:

Each month there are two queens (and/or kings, but for the sake of brevity will be called queens) who decide on The Honey Pot Bee block patterns. Each queen picks one, I announce them to the world, then each participating member (Princesses and Princes) can choose to make one of each or two of the same. Each member then keeps the blocks for themselves.

This is less of a block swap, and more of a way to find amazing block tutorials / patterns they never knew they wanted to try from other amazingly talented people. Some of the blocks will be original patterns from the queens, some will be existing tutorials from world class quilters. That will be up to the queens to choose.

The benefits for Participant Princesses and Princes:
They get to use their own fabric that they’ve been stashing
They improve and stretch their own skills
They work to their own timeline
There is no pressure
No one is disappointed if they’re late
They act as their own quality control
They meet a group of like-minded, inspiring individuals
They see the varying potential of each block
Participating with me

I love this idea since I really don’t *need* another project, but I do love the community that is built around quilt bees and sew alongs. I love that Molli encourages you to make only the blocks you love, and that there are two unique options each month. Once I came up with my 2017 grand plan (more on that below), this one definitely needed to be added to the pot! Get all the details HERE.

garden snail quilt
Photo credit: Pen and Paper Patterns

Garden Snail Quilt Snail Paced Slow-Along Sew-Along

by Angie of Gnome Angel
#snailday #gardensnailsquilt

This is another fun weekly sew along hosted by Angie, using Pen and Paper Pattern’s Garden Snail Quilt. I think these snails are super cute, so I am joining in the fun, but plan to make only a few snails to add to the mix of the rest of my blocks. The gist of this Sew Along is easy… you simply make one block each week and post it on social media of your choice on Snail Sundays. You can find all the details HERE.

So now… for my Grand Plan that makes all of this not only manageable, but also fun!

My Grand Plan

Ready? I plan to participate in all of these sew alongs and bees, but with NO pressure. I am not playing along for the prizes. I’m playing along for the community and the recurring “deadline” to make a block and share it. I plan to use the same fabric pull and color scheme for all three of these bees/sew alongs, and combine all of the blocks together at the end of the year into a (hopefully) queen sized quilt for our bed. This way, I can make the blocks I really love, whenever I have the time to make the block, and I won’t need to stress when either life obligations kick it up a notch, or I have another project that needs my attention. As they say in hashtag land, #winning!

greenery color palette sew alongs 2017I’ll write more about this in another post, but I plan to use a color palette based upon the Pantone color of the year for 2017: Greenery. While green is not a color I’ve sewn with in large quantities before, it speaks to me on many different levels–from the freshness of the color, the vibrant hope that comes from new life in the spring, to the rich green that abounds in the environment around me–which as you know, I love dearly–, to the simple challenge of making a quilt with no final assembly pattern, and no guidelines except color. I’m both invigorated and scared at this plan, but as is my style, I’m jumping in with abandon, holding onto the hope that I can pull it all together into something epically beautiful (or at least tolerably pretty) at the end of the year.

For those of you who excel at fun and clever naming, I am trying to decide on a name for this greenery quilt project and am open to any suggestions or ideas! I want to select a name for this quilt so that I can tag all of my progress together across the bees/sew alongs, but “Kitty’s Greenery Quilt” sounds a bit flat. Maybe Night Quilter Hugs Trees and Bees? LOL #NQhugstreesandbeesquilt Uhm….

I’m looking forward to sharing my progress here, and thank you as always for following along with me on my creative journey, during waves of profuse creativity as well as lulls of relative quiet. I hope 2017 is off to a great start, and I’m looking forward to creating with a hopeful heart this year.

I’ll link up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social tomorrow, since I’m ready to jump back in!

 

My Best of 2016

Ahhh, the time of year when busy is an understatement, yet still the desire to stop and reflect over the past year–perhaps in the twinkle of some Christmas lights with a hot mug of something sweet–is strong. The phase of feeling more stressed than blessed has passed, the excitement of Christmas Eve and morning has calmed, and now I’m enjoying the holidays in a relaxed, family-filled, grateful way. What better time to do some reflection?

best of 2016 meadow mist designsOnce again, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is hosting her “Best of” linky party, inviting bloggers to share their five best posts from 2016, so I thought it was a perfect time to take a look at the statistics and reflect on the highlights of the past year here on Night Quilter. I’ve put together five of Night Quilter’s “bests” for the past year (plus one personal added bonus), and I invite you to reminisce along with me.

Most Viewed Blog Post

5 steps to sewing perfect curves tutorial nightquilterWithout a new baby announcement like last year, this year’s most viewed post was the tutorial on how to sew perfect curves. I’m especially excited about this one, since one of my goals for 2016 was to tackle curves, and I feel like I made great progress in that category. I love this method as much as you do, and I’m so glad I could share this with so many of you!

Most Viewed Non-Tutorial Blog Post

alison glass quilters planner coverSince my most viewed post from 2016 was a tutorial, I decided to also share my most viewed non-tutorial post. In Planning a Colorful Year, I shared the Riot of Color planner cover design I made for the Quilter’s Planner (which is still available for free, here–and fit’s the 2017 Quilter’s Planner! if you haven’t gotten yours yet, I highly recommend getting one here–this planner is life changing!), as well as a giveaway for a planner. It’s hard to say whether the gorgeous melding of Alison Glass fabrics with Essex linen is what drew the most attention, or if it was the chance to win a most coveted planner, but I am proud of this post all the same and I’m glad you liked it, too.

Most Viewed Blog Post
(not including Tutorials or Giveaways)

one hour basketIf you take all tutorials and giveaways out of the running, the one hour basket (that took me six hours to make!) was the most viewed. This was such a fun make, once again 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.

Most Exciting New Endeavor

2016 was a big year of new endeavors for me, so this category requires a tie:

Yvonne Fuchs quilt in Quilters Planner 2017
Quilt by Yvonne Fuchs, included in the Quilter’s Planner 2017

I kicked off my quilt photography business venture by doing all of the photography for the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, photographing 14 quilts and quilted projects in gorgeous natural locations along the coast of Maine. The photo above features Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl’s lovely Starlight Crystals quilt, photographed along the coast in Acadia. Quilt photography combines three of my loves: quilting, photography, and the beauty of nature, so I’m so excited to be offering it to anyone seeking to get epic quilt photos for publication or just for fun.

quilt theoryocean path quilt white brick quilt theoryI was also one of seven quilt designers to launch Quilt Theory, kicking off with my premier pattern Ocean Path. With the enthusiasm and drive of fearless leader Michelle Bartholomew, we are working on our second round of patterns and are constantly expanding the reach of the Quilt Theory pattern cards. You can find much more information and the full line of available patterns here.

2016 Best Nine on Instagram

Instagram best 9 2016 minus repostsSince 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 lots of posts about my stress-free stitch-wherever-the-wind-blows embroidery hoop, a fun Alison Glass table runner I don’t think I’ve shared here yet, a progress shot of my Eye Spy Picnic Plaid quilt, a progress shot of all of my thrifted City Sampler blocks, the free Safe with Me pattern I made in an attempt to spread positivity and support for those who need it, and a glimpse of one of my favorite quilt photos for the Quilter’s Planner, the epic sailboat shot of Cheryl Brickey’s Canvas Lines Quilt.

Favorite Project

finn milestone quilt 18 monthsTechnically this is my sixth category, but I can’t let my highlights pass without remembering the completion of the Milestone Quilt Blocks for my son Finnian. While the project didn’t make my top viewed posts for 2016, it is still the project that filled my heart the most. My little babe is now 18 months old, walking, talking, signing, dancing, jumping, exploring, and smiling his days away. His quilt top is together, and I hope to get the quilt layered, basted, quilted and bound early next year. There’s something about making a quilt for your child, marking his progress and growth with a bit of stitching, that really takes quilting to a new level. I’m so grateful that my silly husband made the crazy suggestion (fully in jest) on the day our third child turned 1 month old that I should make a quilt block each month for a photo shoot, since without that little laugh-filled exchange, this project would have never come to be.

2016 was a big year, with many new endeavors and a seemingly endless list of fun projects and adventures. I’m still working on the fine art of saying no and understanding my own limitations, since I really truly want to do it all. I’m a maker through and through. I’m hoping to keep 2017 fairly low key, focusing on finishing projects I’ve already begun, and participating in a few sew alongs with a relaxed mentality. Then again, I have some big goals I’d like to pursue, so we’ll see when and if those kick it all up a notch. I’ll write more about that in a future post, since after reflection comes planning and goal setting. I’m so glad I have my Quilter’s Planner for that!

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 hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and look forward to a colorful, productive, and FUN 2017.

Finn’s Milestone Quilt Flimsy Finish

It’s about time! Six months after finishing the last block, I finally squared up and assembled Finn’s Milestone Quilt top! For those of you new to this project, I made a quilt to document my third child’s first year–one block per month for one year of his life. I finished the blocks at his first birthday, and until just this past week, they have sat quietly reflecting on what a year it had been. You can see all of the blocks taken with monthly photos of growing Finn HERE.

finn's milestone quilt flimsy I finished this quilt top two days before Finn’s 18 month milestone, which was the mental deadline I gave myself, so I guess that’s what I get for giving myself such a far-off deadline! But life with kids is busy, this summer was a whirlwind of new endeavors and family adventures, and it, like so many other projects, got tucked away out of sight and out of mind. I’m glad to have it out, quilt top together, and ready for basting and quilting. I won’t count on a Christmas finish since I have two other projects I also want to finish and Finn truly won’t mind waiting a bit longer, but I can hope.

finn 18 monthsSo, Finn! He is as wonderful and cheerful as ever, growing into such a bright soul of a little boy. In these photos he’s wearing a shirt gifted to him at birth by Nancy, one of my quilty friends met through conversations over blog posts–thank you, Nancy!

finn's milestone quilt flimsyI really wanted to get some photos of Finn wrapped up in his quilt, but he wouldn’t have it. When I tried, he enthusiastically shook his head no and ran off. When I flopped the quilt to the ground, he at first picked it up and looked at me as if to say, “What are you doing, Mama? This doesn’t belong in a pile on the ground!” Even still, this post is full of photos. I know you wouldn’t want it any other way!

finn 18 monthsWhen I asked Finn to put his quilt on his head, he ran off to jump on the trampoline instead, impishly grinning at me the whole way. He loves to jump, loves to run around with his older siblings, playing chase or attempting hide and seek. He loves “shooing” the chickens and exploring the natural world. Finn is so independent, and will often focus on a project (shaking a toy around in a bowl, or putting something in and out of an empty bottle, for example) for quite a while. If you will play with him, Finn would throw and catch a ball for hours.

finn 18 monthsHe’s so much fun to watch, constantly learning and exploring the world. Finn is starting to talk a bit more, but still primarily communicates with “Daaa” and pointing. His signing is just now starting to take off, which is fantastic since we’ve recently discovered that he has hearing loss, same as his older siblings (and same as me, his mommy, although mine started much later in life).

finn's milestone quilt flimsyI was finally able to lure him back to his quilt with a block tower. Finn loves to stack blocks and then knock them over! I love to play the game of seeing how tall I can make a tower before he decides it’s smash time. Unlike his big brother who excels in demo, Finn likes to help build just as much as break down the towers.

finn's milestone quilt flimsyfinn's milestone quilt flimsyOnce I spread the quilt out on the floor, Finn was all about it. I was able to get some fun photos of him playing with blocks on his quilt with fun little upward grins when he discovered that I was standing on a chair photographing from above.finn's milestone quilt flimsyfinn's milestone quilt flimsySuch a sweet boy!

finn milestone quilt 18 monthsThen of course, as soon as I was off the chair, he wanted to carry it around and climb up on it, too.

finn milestone quilt 18 monthsfinn milestone quilt 18 monthsHe loves flexing those muscles of his, and boy does he learn fast!

A little more about the quilt. I ended up switching around some blocks to get a better aesthetic balance. Since the quilt design developed as I went, I didn’t necessarily make the blocks in any order, so this rearrangement was pretty easy to accept. Sure, the final layout is different than the ones that appear in the progress posts, but that’s okay with me.

victory lap around the edge of quiltAfter I sewed all of the milestone quilt blocks together, I did a “victory lap” of stitches around the entire perimeter of the quilt, about 1/8″ from the edge. I saw Christa Watson of Christa Quilts encourage people to do this after finishing a quilt top, and figured it’s a great idea for holding everything together, especially when a photo shoot with a toddler is imminent.

victory lap around perimeter of quiltAlthough Finn didn’t drag the quilt around as much as I thought he might, the victory lap was definitely worth the extra time it took to stitch!

finn's milestone quilt flimsy finish 18 monthsNow all I need to do is get this layered, basted, quilted, and bound. No biggie, right? I think I’m going to use an all over boxy meander free motion quilting motif with my favorite neutral, Aurifil 2600-Dove in an attempt to keep it simple. I’m looking forward to getting this quilt into the circulation of family use, but am also savoring the journey.

Thank you for following along, and hopefully your final update on this quilt will be before Finn turns 2!

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Friday. Gosh, it’s been a while! A flimsy finish is still a finish worth celebrating, though!!

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

A while back, Kerry from Kid Giddy asked if I wanted to sew along with her Ugly Christmas Sweater Sew Along, and of course I said yes. I have been wanting to make her “Ugly Sweater” block since it came out last year, so this was the perfect excuse to get it (and a deadline) on my to-do list. Plus, quick little finishes are really nice this time of year. I don’t think my sweater is very ugly, but that’s ok!

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockThe block finishes at 6″ square, so my initial thought was to shrink it down to a 3″ square and make an ornament. I love making functional items, and you know how I love to sew teeny tiny ridiculously small things! But then when I sorted through my stash and decided upon the Tula Pink Prince Charming print as the sweater body, I decided the scale would look better with the 6″ size.  Now we are going to have a festive mug rug/coaster, which I plan to have out for all of sweater season, which is nice and long here in Maine!

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

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockHindsight, I should have made the shoulder bits with the greeny-yellow part of the Tula print instead of the blue, since they kind of disappear into the background, but c’est la vie. My husband says he likes it this way, so all is well.

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI plan to do some simple diagonal crosshatch quilting with the walking foot on my Bernina 560, but haven’t yet decided whether to use Aurifil 50wt Medium Delft Blue-2783 or Lemon-2115. I’m leaning toward the lemony yellow, I think. Which would you use?

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

kidgiddy ugly sweater blockI’ll be sure to share this block in action once I quilt it up and plop some delicious treats or a warm mug of something sweet on top! I borrowed some of the tiny glittery ornaments from the tiny tree my son cut for our kitchen island for my block photo shoot and now there’s glitter EVERYwhere! I hope your holiday season has been glittery and bright so far, too!

Eye Spy Picnic Plaid Rainbow Progress

It’s official. I completely understand the draw and very well may be hooked to meticulously cut scrap quilts! I have been having so much fun putting together my Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt for the Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew Along on Instagram. The pattern is by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, and is one of the fabulous quilt patterns included in the 2016 Quilter’s Planner. It’s technically my first scrappy quilt, and to add to the fun, I decided to make it an Eye Spy quilt for my 4-year old son Max.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt It is such a great feeling to be creating for one of my children again (Finn’s quilt blocks are still sitting in a stack, untouched since that 12 month milestone–yes, that’s next on my list!). Every time Max sees the progress, he says, “This is fantastic!” with the enthusiasm only a four-year-old can exhibit. There’s nothing like an exuberant cheering squad to keep the motivation burning brightly.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quiltWe are in the second week of sewing for the sew along, so hopefully I will have the quilt top completely sewn together by Monday. Time will tell if I actually meet that goal with all of the kids home and lots of family Thanksgiving time on the docket, but I’m hoping to at least be close!

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt
Yes, I accidentally created one extra block, but the funny thing is, I was thinking about one particular quilty friend the entire time I was making that block, so I’m taking it as a sign that the extra blue block has different plans. More on that later *wink*

I’ve completely finished all of the rainbow center portions, and am diving into piecing the white-grey-black border portions of each block. I love how the rainbow gradient ended up, and it is so much fun to see little peeks at previous quilts through the scraps used here.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quiltI put a few contingencies in place to ensure that I love this quilt even though scrappy quilts are not typically my style, and I think they are proving to be quite successful. First, I used a very large ratio of Alison Glass fabric in the rainbow portions of each block. I love just about all of Alison’s fabric, so letting her color palette and fabrics play a strong hand is a surefire way to ensure I will enjoy looking at the quilt when it’s finished.

The next two will be a lot easier to see once the neutral outer portions of the blocks are complete, but I’ll mention them anyway. Second, I am using all one solid (Kona medium grey) for all of the “light grey” pieces in the pattern, instead of an assortment of scraps. This will provide a consistent and solid resting place for my eyes, just in case I get overwhelmed (although at this point, I have a feeling I’m going to LOVE looking at this quilt, so it might not have been needed). Third, I am using all of the same silver stars on black fabric for the centers of the lighter rings in the pattern, and light Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle from her Whisper palette (Andover Fabrics) for the centers of the dark rings. Again, a little detail that will be consistent throughout, amidst the scrappy remainder of the quilt.

eye spy picnic plaid rainbow quilt progressI love seeing my favorite designers’ fabrics together, too. The top right block in the photo above combines my favorite Carolyn Friedlander fabric from her first line Architextures (Robert Kaufman Fabrics) and the fabulous Alison Glass Grove in Grass from her Sun Prints (Andover Fabrics). They are the perfect compliments to that sweet little mushroom in the middle! Love.

If you want to spend the next week sewing to catch up, you still can join in the sew along (there are some fabulous prizes still to be won, too!); get all the details here. Also, now is a perfect time to order the 2017 Quilter’s Planner–for yourself so that you can join in on the *Spoiler Alert!* 2017 Sew Along during an inspired and productive year, and as gifts for all of your creative friends and family!

Okay, back to sewing and baking!

Many wishes for a peaceful, healthy, happy Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. I’m grateful for you and your continued support and inspiration in this wonderful quilting community.

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since I haven’t linked up on here in far tooooo long!

Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along Kick-Off!

I did it again. I said yes. I couldn’t help it; it was for a friend! Over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping my good friend Stephanie (the mastermind behind the Quilter’s Planner and the one and only Late Night Quilter) with the Instagram feed for the Quilter’s Planner. She’s up to her eyeballs in getting the amazing 2017 Quilter’s Planner printed, proofed, boxed, and shipped to your doorsteps, and so I offered to help her spread the word via my favorite social media application–Instagram. Extra points to you if you’ve recognized my style over at @thequiltersplanner Instagram feed!

quilters planner 2017 order now
Isn’t it gorgeous? The 2017 planner incorporates so many new features, like laminated cover and tabs, even more patterns, and beautiful quilt photography by yours truly. Order yours now!

Not only that, but today we are kicking off the inaugural Quilter’s Planner Sew-Along over on Instagram, with the Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, one of the fabulous patterns included in the 2016 Planner. Apologies to those of you who are not on Instagram, since this Sew-Along is happening only on IG (you can still watch the progress by checking the #QP2016SewAlong hashtag and feel free to sew along, but you cannot enter to win the prizes along the way without a public Instagram account. Hopefully next time!)

Here’s the information and schedule!

Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along!

quilters planner 2016 sew alongWe are so excited to announce the kick-off of the very first Quilter’s Planner Instagram Sew-Along, taking place over on the Quilter’s Planner Instagram feed! While we all eagerly await the arrival of our 2017 Planners, let’s sew up a pattern from the 2016 Quilter’s Planner! Sew along with us as we make the Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced, one of the fabulous patterns included right in your 2016 Quilter’s Planner. Don’t have the 2016 planner? Don’t worry—you can purchase the pattern right from Lee’s shop HERE and still sew along with us.

There will be great prizes along the way, generously sponsored by Handiquilter, Aurifil Thread, Threadcutterz, The Quilter’s Planner, and Stephanie herself at Late Night Quilter! There will be a BIG grand prize at the end (pst… new sewing machine plus more!), eligible for all of you who share a photo of your completely finished Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt! To join in this Sew-Along you do need a public Instagram account.

scrappy picnic plaid close upThis pattern is super versatile and perfect for using up scraps! Make as a holiday gift, a scrap buster, or just a fun project with your quilting friends. The Sew-Along will run now through the middle of December, giving a little extra time for the piecing and quilting steps to allow for family time around the holidays.

SEW-ALONG SCHEDULE

*Note: For every photo you post on your Instagram account tagging @thequiltersplanner and #QP2016SewAlong, you will be entered into the running for the giveaways along the way!

October 24th – Quilter’s Planner 2016 Sew-Along Kick-off! (Spread the word with #QP2016SewAlong!)

WEEK 1: October 24-30th

Get the pattern! You have one week to get your hands on the Scrappy Picnic Plaid pattern so that you can sew along with us! Find it right in the Patterns section of your 2016 Quilter’s Planner, or buy the pattern HERE if you do not have a 2016 Planner (be sure to order your 2017 Planner now so you don’t miss out on next year’s fun!) Share the graphic on Instagram to show the world you’re in on the Sew-Along, using hashtag #QP2016SewAlong !! (Note that the more photos you share and tag on Instagram, the more entries you have to win prizes along the way!)

WEEK 2: October 31-Nov 6

Choose your fabrics. Dig through your scraps, visit your local quilt shop, or swap with a friend. No matter your methods, gather your fabrics and show us what you’ll be sewing with! Scrappy or solids? Holiday prints or rainbow fun? Post a photo of your fabric choices on Instagram tagging #QP2016SewAlong !

November 7th – GIVEAWAY #1
WEEK 3: Nov. 7-13

Cutting. Post photos on Instagram showing your cutting progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong.

November 14th – GIVEAWAY #2
WEEK 4 & 5: Nov 14-27

Sewing together the blocks and quilt top. You’ll have 2 weeks to sew your blocks and piece your quilt top! We will be sharing progress and encouragement on @thequiltersplanner Instagram feed, and look forward to sewing along with you! Again, post photos on Instagram showing your piecing progress, tagged with #QP2016SewAlong to enter the giveaways.

November 28th – GIVEAWAY #3
WEEK 6 & 7: Nov 28-Dec 11

Quilting and finishing. You’ll have 2 weeks to quilt and finish your Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt, and we will be cheering you on!

December 12 – GIVEAWAY #4
WEEK 8: December 12-16

Final Link Up. You will have one extra week to finish up any final touches needed to complete your quilt and get the perfect photo of your completely finished and quilted Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt on Instagram, tagging #QP2016SewAlongFINISH to be entered to win the Grand Prize!

December 17th – GRAND PRIZE

Winner chosen from finished projects tagged #QP2016SewAlongFINISH!

SPONSORS & PRIZES

The giveaways are generously sponsored by Handiquilter, Aurifil Thread, Threadcutterz, The Quilter’s Planner, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter! More detailed information about what EXACTLY you’ll be winning will be shared soon, but trust us—they’re gonna be great prize packages!!

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

For now, go ahead and grab your 2016 Quilter’s Planner and flip to the pattern (or buy the pattern HERE), reserve a Project Planner Page in your Quilter’s Planner for the Scrappy Picnic Plaid Sew-Along, and repost our graphic on Instagram announcing that you’ll be joining the fun! Please be sure to tag @thequiltersplanner and #QP2016SewAlong in every photo so that you can be entered into the running for the great giveaways along the way!

We are excited to sew along with you!

QUESTIONS?

Have any questions about the sew-along? Email kitty@quiltersplanner.com and I’ll do my best to answer them promptly! Please keep in mind that we are full time mamas (with too many kids to count), so patience and kindness are appreciated! We are SO looking forward to sewing along and sharing inspiration with you!

Quilt Theory Debut – Ocean Path

quilt theoryIt’s finally time to share one of the big “secret sewing” projects I’ve been working on behind the scenes for the past few months! Those of you who are also on social media have most likely seen the announcement that I have teamed up with six (6) other pattern designers to launch a new company called Quilt Theory. Today is my day to introduce you to my pattern called Ocean Path, its inspiration and creation, and tell you a bit more about Quilt Theory. You also will have a chance to win a copy of my pattern, Quilt Theory coloring pages, and all of my Art Gallery Pure Elements scraps (enough to get you amply started on your very own Ocean Path Quilt) and Aurifil thread.

Ocean Path

ocean path quilt white brick quilt theoryFirst, I’d like to introduce you to Ocean Path, my contribution to the debut Quilt Theory pattern line. Our underlying theme for this first collection of patterns was “Where can your quilt take you?” since the designers that comprise Quilt Theory live all across the country.

ocean path quilt theory patternLiving in midcoast Maine, an ocean path felt like the perfect inspiration for my quilt. I wanted to embrace the simple beauty of nature while providing a pattern that could be adapted to fit any color scheme, style, or decor.

quilt theory ocean pathI should note here that the stunning photos included in this post were taken by Michelle Bartholomew all the way across the country in Washington state. Michelle is the mastermind behind Quilt Theory, a talented quilter and photographer, and I’m so grateful to be working with her!

ocean path quilt theory pattern
Oh, how it glows!

There’s something about the simple beauty of the ocean–the clean lines, soothingly subtle color play, and oh so much space to breathe that makes my heart happy–-and I aimed to captured it all in this simple yet striking pattern. I would like to think that you can take a stroll along the coast through the making of the Ocean Path quilt.

quilt theory ocean pathUsing simple construction from easily cut triangles and sashing, this quilt comes together in a breeze. Generous negative space provides room for intricate free motion quilting, or you could finish it with simple modern straight line quilting.

quilt theory ocean pathMany thanks to Art Gallery Fabrics for providing the beautifully soft Pure Elements fabric for this quilt. I used Tile Blue PE-418, Emerald PE-417, Ocean Waves PE-442, Warm Wave PE-464, and Mirage Blue PE-424 for the feature triangles. The background and sashing are Snow PE-433. The backing is Seawater NE-123 from Skopelos by Katarina Roccella, which is the absolute perfect fabric to back this design!

quilt theory ocean path urban in cashmereI quilted Ocean Path with echoing, organic triangles within each colored portion using 50wt Aurifil variegated 4654-Seamist. I quilted the bulk of the background with organic horizontal wavy lines with 50wt 2021-Natural White using the walking foot on my Bernina 560, and went a little wild and free motion quilted pebbles into all of the sashings between the triangles and drifting out into the wavy lines. It was one of those times that once I had the vision in my head, there was no turning back. I’m excited to report that it turned out pretty much the way I hoped! I did all of my piecing with 50wt Aurifil 2021-Natural White and 2600-Dove. Many thanks to Aurifil for providing the thread!

I think Ocean Path would look equally striking in many other color combinations–from fiery reds and oranges on a dark background, to the soothing calm of cool colors on a light background. I can’t wait to see your version!

quilt theory ocean pathAll of the Quilt Theory patterns are simple enough to be printed on 4″x6″ cards or a single page downloadable pdf. At only $3 each, they are perfect for gift giving or collecting, too!

About Quilt Theory

Let me tell you a bit more about the designers behind Quilt Theory.

Quilt Theory pattern mosaic
2016 collection of Quilt Theory patterns.

In February 2016, a group of quilters connected to cultivate relationships with others running businesses in the quilting industry. A tight-knit group was quickly woven together as we shared successes, answered questions, and supported one another. What started as a way to collect real-time insight and expertise quickly evolved into an opportunity to collaborate.

Our goal at Quilt Theory is to create simple and modern quilt patterns, and we challenged ourselves to design a line of patterns printed on small cards. As a group, we have become a strong team as we worked through pattern writing, testing, editing, and quilting.

quilt-theory-designers-row
Quilt Theory Designers (l to r): Cheryl Brickey-Meadowmist Designs, Daisy Aschehoug-Ants to Sugar, me!, Yvonne Fuchs-Quilting Jetgirl, Lorinda Davis-Laurel, Poppy and Pine, Stephanie Palmer-Late Night Quilter & The Quilter’s Planner, Michelle Bartholomew

Quilt Theory designers have been featured in 20+ major quilting publications and international quilt exhibits. Combined, we have 47 years of quilting experience, and we are excited to share our debut collection for Fall 2016.

How to buy or stock Quilt Theory patterns

You can buy either individual or a pattern collector’s package of PDF patterns through our Quilt Theory website right now! 

Pattern cards will be coming soon to a local quilt shop near you! If you are a quilt shop and want to carry our patterns, set up a wholesale account here, or order through Checker Distributors.

Want to buy the cards, but don’t own a quilt shop? Let your local quilt shop know you want them to carry Quilt Theory patterns (click for a handy note to send to your favorite local quilt shop!)

Now, for the Giveaway!

quilt-theory-ocean-path-4x6-kitty-front-01To celebrate the launch of Quilt Theory, I am giving away a copy of my pattern, Ocean Path (printed or PDF, your choice!) along with a PDF of all of the Quilt Theory Coloring Pages. I’m also including all of the fabric leftover from the making of my quilt, which contains enough fabric to get you amply started on your Ocean Path quilt, plus the rest of my large spool of color coordinating 50wt variegated Aurifil thread in 4654-Seamist.

To enter the giveaway today, tell me what color way you would use to create Ocean Path. Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win.  For an additional entry, leave another comment telling me how you follow Night Quilter (email list, instagramfacebook, twitter, blog follower, etc.) Follow Quilt Theory (facebooktwitter, Instagram, etc.) and tell me how in a third comment for a third entry.

This giveaway is open to US and international participants.  The giveaway will be open until Sunday, October 16th, at midnight eastern time when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Giveaway is open to participants 18 years or older. *If you buy my pattern and then you win it, I’ll refund you or let you pick out another free Quilt Theory pattern! This giveaway is now closed! A winner will be announced shortly!

Be sure to visit the rest of the Quilt Theory designers this week during our blog hop.

Quilt Theory Release Blog Hop Schedule

Friday 10/7 – Quilt Theory
Saturday 10/8 – Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
Monday 10/10 – Daisy @Ants to Sugar
Tuesday 10/11 – Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Wednesday 10/12- Kitty @Night Quilter <—-You are here!
Thursday 10/13 – Michelle @Michelle Bartholomew
Friday 10/14 – Stephanie @Late Night Quilter
Saturday 10/15 – Lorinda @Laurel Poppy and Pine
Monday 10/17 – Quilt Theory

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

Farmer’s Wife Sew Along – Block 95 Sylvia Tutorial

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

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

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

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

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

Reflection on the Letter – In Spite of the Mortgage

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

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

Tutorial

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

Choosing Fabrics

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

Here are some general tips for foundation paper piecing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

farmers wife 95 sylvia tutorialCut along the line you drew.

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

Tip # 2: Color code your foundation paper

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

Tip #3: Be generous with your fabric pieces

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

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

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

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

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

Important Links

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

 

Down the Deadline Rabbit Hole & A Lesson in Organization

Hi! Remember me? I’m currently stuck down the deadline rabbit hole, but am very much looking forward to returning here. I am nearing the finish line for a couple more projects, and then I will have MUCH more time for slow, leisurely stitching and lots of sharing my projects and progress here.

The funny thing about the past few months, which have seemed filled to the brim with exciting, albiet deadlined projects, is that ALL of the projects were taken on in the span of one particularly ambitious-feeling week back in March or April. It was right when I was finishing the final touches on my first commissioned quilt, Kittens at Play, and I was feeling on top of the world, having knocked out a few big deadline projects. Within the span of a week, quite a few project opportunities presented themselves to me, and in my feeling of boundless ambition, I said yes. Then I said yes again. Then I said yes a couple more times. Do I regret it? Nah. There’s no sense in that, and the projects have been fun and exciting. But I certainly will learn from it, and by sharing my story here perhaps you can, too. The lesson? Know your limits.

Leanne from Devoted Quilter emailed me a few weeks back asking if I would be willing to participate in a blog post she was writing about staying organized. Last week, she posted her compilation post, filled with tips from some of her favorite quilters on how to stay organized with quilting.

12-tipsfororganizingyourquilting2*Spoiler alert* My tip for her was to know your limits. When every project is a priority with a quickly approaching deadline, it’s difficult to make a prioritized list and keep yourself organized. On normal weeks, the prioritized list I make in my Quilter’s Planner each week is my saving grace. You can head over to her blog to read more great tips for staying organized, and I look forward to joining you soon!

I couldn’t write a post without ANY photos, so here are a few quick photos I took along the walk to pick up my daughter from school today. Autumn is officially here in midcoast Maine!

birch trees maine october
The birch leaves are *just* beginning to turn.
queen annes lace winter weed autumn maine
Queen Anne’s Lace is fully seeded and ready for winter.
red maple leaves autumn maine
The maple trees are really putting on a fiery show!

How do you manage to stay within your limits even when presented with fun and exciting opportunities!? Clearly, I need some pointers!