Tag Archives: quilting

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!

Friday Giveaway & Back to School Pattern Sale

Like it or not, the final days of summer are here. The kids are heading back to school, the nights are getting cooler, and leaves are already beginning to change. Back to school time means that some of us may have more time for sewing, so I thought I’d kick off this Labor Day weekend with a double giveaway sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop AND a pattern sale of all of my quilt patterns, both foundation paper pieced and traditionally pieced.

night quilter back to school sale patterns All of my quilt patterns are 20% off for one week only! Now is your chance to restock your pattern library so you’re sure not to run out of projects once the kids are in school.  Sale prices are already reflected in my Craftsy shop, and if you are in the EU, please use code BACK2SCHOOL to get 20% off any and all pattern purchases in my Payhip shop.

Giveaway #1 Nightfall fabric by maureen cracknell for art gallery fabrics fat quarter shopOn top of that, Fat Quarter Shop is generously sponsoring a double giveaway! Two lucky readers will win a bundle of Nightfall fabrics from Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics. Both the Moonrise and Moonset fat quarter bundles of 10 fat quarters each are up for grabs this week.

Giveaway #2 Nightfall fabric by maureen cracknell for art gallery fabrics fat quarter shopTo enter the giveaway today, tell me which bundle would be your first choice: Moonrise (Giveaway #2) or Moonset (Giveaway #1). I will select two winners, and will be sure to give the first choice to the first winner! 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, instagram, facebook, twitter, blog follower, etc.) Tell me how you follow Fat Quarter Shop (facebook,twitter, Instagramtheir blog Jolly Jabber, etc.) in a third comment for a third entry.

This giveaway is open to US and international participants.  The giveaway will be open until Friday September 9th at 8pm EST when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck, happy shopping, and enjoy your Labor Day weekend for those of you stateside! This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations Julianne and Rose!

Color Inspiration Thursday {77}

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.”
Rudyard Kipling, Complete Verse

Today’s color inspiration brings us into my vegetable garden. From afar it looks like a fenced in plot of weeds and wildflowers. Pass through the gate, wade through the grasses and clover, though, and you will see three little somewhat tended garden beds, gleefully holding a bunch of delicious veggies. Get a little bit closer, and you have the photos shared here today. Want to sing “oh, how beautiful!” while we sit in the shade and enjoy today’s color inspiration? Let’s! This year my garden is severely neglected, but has been weeded just enough for it to do its job: produce food for our family. Balance and nurture, right? Color palettes are made using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs, craftily taken at such a scale so as to crop out the weeds!

kale color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Limestone, Bella Clover, Bella Terrain Cactus, Kona Basil, Kona Grass Green, Kona Black

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2324 – Stone
5010 – Beige
5024 – Dark Brown
5021 – Light Grey
5018 – Grass Green
2692 – Black

Our first stop is with the hardy, delicious, and dare I say–GIANT–kale. We eat kale in egg scrambles, as kale chips, in soups and stews, stir-fries, and more. Kale does amazingly well in our garden and climate, so each plant grows about 3 1/2 feet tall and 2 feet across. Each leaf is as big as my son’s head. One of these years, I’ll realize that even with our family of five, we only need two kale plants, not eight. In the meantime, kale abounds! I love how intricately frilly each leaf is! The range of greens is amazing, too, including everything from earthy subdued to vibrant and fresh. Mmm!

yarrow soft pink paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Forest, Bella Dill, Bella Thistle, Kona Smoke, Bella Parfait Pink, Kona Pearl Pink

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2892 – Pine
2890 – Dk Grass Green
1140 – Bark
2606 – Mist
2515 – Lt Orchid
2405 – Oyster

Next up we have Yarrow. Honestly, when I ordered these seeds from our local organic seed company Johnny’s Seeds, I thought the yarrow would be white or yellow. To my pleasant surprise, it bloomed this beautiful pink! Yarrow is a great companion plant to many vegetables and is one of those plants you should feel free to plant all over your garden. It repels soil nematodes, aphids, bean beetles, and many more. I planted mine near my brussel sprouts, kohrabi, and kale and it is doing its job well so far!

onions earthy color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Hunter Green, Bella Betty’s Teal, Bella Green Tea, Bella Fig Tree Cream, Bella Paper Bag, Bella Etchings Charcoal

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
4026 – Forest Green
2850 – Med Juniper
5014 – Marine Water
5020 – Light Military Green
2375 – Antique Blush
1140 – Bark

Finally, onions. Onions are my garden pride and joy (very quickly followed by carrots!). After experimenting with a few different varieties of onions, trying seeds vs. sets, I finally discovered the type of onion that thrives well in our area: Copra onions. These are storage onions that I will soon pull, cure in the dry, sunny garden bed, then braid to hang in my kitchen. I learned all of this from a local friend, since I saw a braid of huge gorgeous onions hanging in her kitchen a few years ago and asked if she would teach me everything she knew. She did, and I’m so grateful. I grew less onions this year than last, but they should still last me far into the frigid snowy days of winter. And that earthy color palette that results just embraces the richness of a garden, doesn’t it!?

How does your garden grow?

#100Days100Blocks Thrifted City Sampler

A few months ago when Angie from Gnome Angel announced her newest wild and crazy sew along, a challenge to sew all 100 blocks from Tula Pink’s City Sampler book in 100 days, of course I was intrigued, tempted, and mentally plotting color schemes. But I was good, and knew that I already had a full plate. I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch from the outside. Flash forward a few weeks when the challenge began and thousands of gorgeous blocks started popping up everywhere, flooding my Instagram feed with beauty, diversity, and temptation. Cue…

100 days 100 blocks peekSo fun! Still, I resisted. Then I noticed that Kim from My Go Go Life was making her blocks entirely out of thrifted materials, and they were GORGEOUS. This reminded me of the #MakeDoQuilt challenge recently initiated by Sherri Lynn Wood of Dainty Time, where she invites participants to make at least one quilt top and back out of salvaged clothing, linens, curtains, or other household materials in the next 365 days. She shares:

Did you know that a significant percentage of the stuff that goes into landfills is discarded clothing and textiles? Textile waste is a huge problem which will require changes from how the industry runs business to how we run our homes. If every one of the 16 million occasional quilt makers or 1 million active quilt makers in the US made one quilt a year from discarded clothing and linens, imagine how many pounds of material waste would be spared from the landfill.

Reading this struck my environment-loving heartstrings, and I knew I had to add this to my list of makes for the year. With Kim’s encouragement, I was hooked. Thus began my #ThriftedCitySampler, 10 days late but raring to go. I resisted for quite a long time, really!

thrifted clothing for quiltI pulled some old worn out clothes from our toss/donation piles (a workshirt of my husband’s with elbows worn nearly through, a pair of maternity corduroys that were a hand-me-down given to me by a friend who had received them as a hand-me-down from another friend and worn bare in too many spots to mend, and a thrifted leather skirt I had bought for a project that fizzled before it really began), and hit up a local thrift shop to fill in the gaps a bit. I decided to focus on a monochromatic grey color palette, but asked my kids to choose a pop of color from the sale racks. A large pair of coral women’s capri pants fit the bill, and I’m excited at the resulting palette.

Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13
Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13 (from Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book, for the #100blocks100days challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel)

It took me a few days to decide how I wanted to share these blocks each day on Instagram. I began by simply sharing each block with a basic flat lay, but with the muted color palette, the aesthetic just wasn’t doing it for me.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100days
Block 14 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 14 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: wetlands!

I finally decided to continue along the environmental advocate path. Appreciating, understanding, and caring for our earth is very important to me, and so I decided to use the sharing of these blocks made out of thrifted materials as a platform to share some tidbits of information about the environment, in the hope that by learning more about this mind-blowingly diverse and beautiful world, people will be more invested in preserving, restoring, and caring for the environment.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100daysEven if you don’t have Instagram, you can follow along with my posts and environmental tidbits by clicking HERE to see my #ThriftedCitySampler stream on Instagram.* I invite you to follow along with my posts, where I’ll share tidbits about this beautiful world: information about a specific ecosystem, an introduction to some of my favorite plants, or sharing wild stories of symbiotic relationships in the world around us.

*Please let me know if this doesn’t work, those of you without Instagram; it seems to work for me, but I also have an IG account.

block 15 tula pink city sampler 100 days 100 blocks
Block 15 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 15 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: milkweed and monarchs!

So far, I’ve shared information about my favorite ecosystem: wetlands (I worked for 6 years as a wetland scientist before teaching and then mom-ing), and the awesome symbiotic relationship between milkweed and monarch butterflies. I hope you enjoy the journey and perhaps learn something new about this amazing world in which we live.

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since it’s been AGES since I’ve joined a linky party and I miss sharing my creative process and in turn, peeking into your recent creations!

Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop–Mark Your Calendars!

Cloud9 New Block Blog HopI’m excited to be a part of the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop that kicks off two weeks from today. This is the third year this New Block Blog Hop is happening, hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter, and the second year I’m participating. During the first new block blog hop, I shared a tutorial for my block called Transparent Play. When the hosts announced this year’s blog hop and made a call for participants, I signed up as soon as I saw the colors they had chosen, and learned that the fabric would be the gorgeous Organic Cirrus Solids made by Cloud9 Fabrics.

2016 cloud9 organic cirrus solids new block blog hopThere are almost 70 participants in this hop and each one will be presenting a free tutorial for a new 12″ (finished) block using 5 fat quarters of Organic Cirrus Solids generously donated by Cloud9. All blocks will be collected by the hosts and made into quilts for charity.

I love this project for many reasons: the community building effort of helping new designers work a bit out of their comfort zone in creating a step-by-step photo tutorial, the fact that the fabric is organic and therefore an environmentally friendly choice, the fact that all created blocks will go into quilts donated to charity, AND because the hosts serendipitously (or intentionally???) selected my all time favorite colors for the color palette. How could I say no?

cloud9 new block blog hop bundleAfter petting this gorgeous bundle of organic fabric and sketching out a few block ideas, I think I’ve decided on a winner, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I will be posting my tutorial with the Wednesday crowd on September 14th, so mark your calendars!