Tag Archives: sewing

Plant Worry, Grow Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staggered Quilt Tester Highlights Reel

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

Baby Size (44″ x 54″)

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

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

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

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

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

Lap Size (50″ x 62″)

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

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

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

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

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

Twin Size (67″ x 86″)

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

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

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

Queen Size (87″ x 98″)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aurifil Color Crush Thread Collection Release

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

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

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

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

Pollinate EPP quilt

Pollinate in Progress EPPPollinate in Progress EPP aurifil

Staggered Quilt

staggered quilt pattern release alison glassStaggered Quilt progress aurifil thread

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

summer sampler 2019 aurifilsummer sampler 2019 aurifil quilters planner

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

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

QuiltCon 2020 – Austin!

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

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

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

Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial

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

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

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


Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial

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

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

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

Let’s get started!

Gather your materials:

materials for fabric skinny bin

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

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

Step 6

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

Step 7

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

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

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

Step 8

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

Making the Lining

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

Finishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cricut Maker and a World of Possibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cricut maker rotary blade
Cricut Maker rotary blade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What would you make with a Cricut Maker?

Fabric Skinny Bin Tutorial & Auribuzz Guest Post

Have you been eagerly awaiting the tutorial for the fabric Skinny Bins I showcased during Mister Domestic’s Sewing Party with Art Gallery Fabrics? Today, you’re in luck! The full photo tutorial went live over on the Quilt Theory blog today, offered in celebration of our Collection 2 Pattern release week! Check it out here!

Fabric bin finished 1 tutorial aurifilAs I mentioned in my post a few week ago, the list of use ideas for this tall and skinny fabric bin just keeps growing. From sorting tiny fabric scraps to housing your favorite adult beverage bottle, the sky’s the limit.

Fabric bin display aurifil thread cardToday I’m also sharing one such use over on Auribuzz, the Aurifil thread blog. It turns out that my Skinny Bins are the perfect size for holding cut up Aurifil thread card strips, too! Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl and I co-wrote a post for Auribuzz all about how to cut apart your Aurifil thread color card and the many ways to display and store the strips, since cutting the cards really is super helpful when it comes to finding that perfect color match.

Aurifil thread strips in use skinny binHead on over to the Auribuzz blog and be inspired!

When you make your own fabric Skinny Bins, please use #fabricskinnybin and tag me @nightquilter and @quilt.theory so that I can see them (and see how you decided to use them!). Patterns for customizing the exterior panel will be available in the coming weeks.

I thought this also might be a great time to share that I’ve been selected to be an Aurifil Artisan for 2017, so I’m honored and excited to be a part of the talented team of makers that love to work with Aurifil thread. Visit this post on the Aurifil blog to see the whole Aurifil Artisan team!

Happy stitching!

 

Crank Up the Volume with AGF Lower the Volume Skinny Bins

Mister Domestic Sewing PartyLeave it to Mathew aka Mister Domestic to throw a party instead of a blog tour. Mathew is one of those talented folks whose enthusiasmmathew and kitty at quilt con 2017 for making is clearly evident all the time. I love his bubbling enthusiasm, his signature communication style, his bear hugs and kind heart, and after you throw in his mad skills with a sewing machine, how could I resist a chance to party down with him?! I was fortunate enough to meet Mathew at QuiltCon, and he’s as awesome in person as he is online. Plus, who doesn’t love a party!? Needless to say, when Mathew invited me to join in on his #misterdomesticssewingparty to help spread the word about the new Art Gallery Fabrics Capsules and Fusions, I was absolutely in! I’m excited to be joining the fun, cranking up the volume for the party with some tall and skinny bins made out of Art Gallery Fabrics’ Lower the Volume Capsule.

lower the volume capsule art gallery fabrics with rainbow of pure elements solidsWhen faced with choosing one of the Capsules or Fusions, the Lower the Volume Capsule seemed like the obvious choice since I love low volume fabrics and seem to incorporate them into most of my projects. They go with absolutely everything, and my favorite bright colors shine when they are paired with low volumes. As soon as I RSVPed an enthusiastic yes, I started thinking about what project I could make that would let the low volumes be the star of the show. I decided to add a rainbow of Art Gallery Pure Elements solids and make a rainbow of tall skinny fabric bins to store my small, but not-small-enough-to-toss fabric scraps.

tall skinny scrap fabric bins agf lower the volumeThe tall and skinny shape gives you the most bang for your buck when storing small scraps, since you can fit a lot of them along a wall or shelf, but still have enough volume to hold a decent amount of scraps. See? I cranked up the volume with this Lower the Volume capsule bundle! The result? The Skinny Bin!

lower the volume agf detailsI love the Lower the Volume Capsule collection, but my favorite might be the little details on the Quiet Downtown print. I can see myself meticulously cutting specific quilty street names to add to my projects, and couldn’t resist some meticulous cutting in making the bins.

lower the volume skinny bins progressTo get started, I sketched out a bunch of Skinny Bin design options in my Quilter’s Planner over the course of a week or so. I absolutely love the handy graph paper section of the planner! The first design that came to mind was the hexagon English Paper Pieced (EPP) Skinny Bin. I jokingly call it iBin because of the design that appears when using the extra-long hexagons I used for the bottom of the bin. Even with the time-saving elongated hexagons, I decided that rather than EPP ALL of the bins, why not mix it up and try a whole selection of block designs?!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleI love the variety of shapes, color, and design in these bins, and plan to add to them until I have a full primary, secondary, and tertiary rainbow! I sewed all of the bins with my go-to Aurifil 50wt 2600-Dove thread, but used 80wt to piece the EPP iBin. I absolutely understand the excitement about 80wt for EPP–the stitches melt right in!

I am getting better at making introductions at parties, so why don’t I introduce you? Be sure to oogle the awesome variety of low volume prints as we go through introductions.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule plus block redFirst in line we have Mr. Plus in Pure Elements Red. He’s first aid certified, so you can rest easy at this party.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule orange triangleNext is Madam Isosceles, a triangle jam in Pure Elements Burnt Orange. She can be a bit pointy at times, but is good at heart.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule yellow wonky starThird is sunny Sir Wonky Star in Pure Elements Canary. He is channeling a sun a bit more than a star, but all are welcome here, right?

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule green inset improv circleNext is my favorite (shh don’t tell the others), Miss Inset Circle in Pure Elements Dark Citron. She loves to hug trees and has an unusual obsession with maps. Please don’t mistake her for Olive, her twin sister.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule EPP teal hexagon ibinNo party is complete without Dr. iBin EPP, sporting Pure Elements Emerald. This tech mastermind was put together a bit differently due to her seamless exterior construction, but she fits in just fine despite her genius.

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule log cabin blueFinally, Mr. Log Cabin in Pure Elements Denim Blue. He’s a bit casual for this party, but who needs a dress code?

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleThere are also two more bins in active progress: Ms. Lucy Boston in Pure Elements Purple Pansy and Miss Raspberry Kiss in fitting Pure Elements Raspberry Rose. They will be fashionably late to the party, but hopefully they’ll bring dessert.

agf pure elements tall skinny fabric binsOkay, that was silly but quite fun. All of the bins are lined with their feature Pure Element solids, so it makes for quite a colorful crowd. Now you’re acquainted with my new friends and we can all party on!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule wine cozyWhile designing this bin, I conveniently discovered that it really is perfect for a party. Not only does it provide a colorful place to put your itty bitty scraps, but it can also double as a wine cozy for storing or toting your party beverage of choice. Totally #winning!

art gallery fabrics writing on selvedgeI also discovered that Art Gallery Pure Element solids have writing on their selvedge! Solids are often really difficult to keep track of once they dive into a stash, so the printed selvedge is a super helpful detail!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsule scrapsI’m now excited to sort through my pile of tiny scraps so that I can fill these beauties!

skinny bin and aurifil thread cardI actually discovered yet another use for these bins, but you’ll have to wait to see any more than this sneak peek. Be sure to keep your eye on this space. Ahhh, gotta love a rainbow of Aurifil thread!

Fabric skinny bin AGF lower the volume capsuleAt least in my opinion, one of the best parts of having a party is how clean your house gets in the process. There’s nothing like having an excuse to tidy up and rainbowtize. I haven’t yet decided whether these bins will live right here, hanging from the peg board behind my sewing machine, or if I will hang them near my cutting table for easy access. Either way, they will certainly brighten up the room!

Thank you so much for coming to the party, and be sure to check out all of other talented makers who will be partying down for the next couple of weeks:

Many thanks to our fabulous host, Mathew Boudreaux, Mister Domestic: (@misterdomestic)
Art Gallery Capsules (April 17th – 21st)
Monday, April 17: Cristy Stuhldreher (@loveyousew_)
Tuesday, April 18: Kitty Wilkin (@nightquilter) <—-That’s me!
Wednesday, April 19: Sharon McConnell (@colorgirlquilts)
Thursday, April 20: Stephanie Palmer (@latenightquilter)
Friday, April 21: Nicole Young (@lillyellasworld)

Art Gallery Fusions (April 24th – 28th)
Monday, April 24: Nicole Daksiewicz (@modernhandcraft)
Tuesday, April 25: Tara Curtis (@t_jaye, @WEFTYneedle)
Wednesday, April 26: Melissa LeRay (@ohhowsweetco)
Thursday, April 27: Sarah Thomas (@sariditty)
Friday, April 28: Jennifer Rossotti (@jennrossotti)

Tomorrow I’ll be linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday, since the more the merrier at this party!

Stash Building: Culcita Box

Living out in the country, if I can order something online and have it delivered literally to my door (rural mail delivery is awesome!), I do it! Don’t get me wrong–I’m all about shop local and I support local businesses as much as I can. But with three little ones to wrangle into and out of carseats for every errand, some things like toothpaste, shampoo, kid sneakers, and … fabric!? Those can be delivered right to my door, thank you!

culcita box march fq boxSo when Jamie, co-founder of Culcita Box, emailed me a while back and asked if I would be interested in checking out their new fabric subscription service, I only needed a little nudge to say yes. That nudge was in the form of a quick perusal of their website and what their boxes included to make sure it was my style, and instead of a little nudge it was an “absolutely yes!” Full disclosure: Culcita Box provided compensation in the form of product, a subscription box with fabric. All opinions expressed are my own. My excitement and heart eyes are also my own. 

culcita box march fq boxThere are many things I really love about what Culcita Box is offering. They include modern fabric lines in their boxes, and you can basically customize your subscription, choosing the yardage and frequency that best fits your sewing style (1/4 yard or 1/2 yard, delivered monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly). Not only that, Culcita Box also offers specific kit subscriptions including everything you need to make a quilt or a bag/accessory, or kits to help you improve your skills. I think those options are super cool and unique, and I could definitely see gifting someone the improve your skills kit subscription if they wanted to get more into sewing.

culcita box march fq boxJamie was kind enough to send me the March fat quarter bundle box, so let’s take a look at what was in it!

culcita box march fq boxFirst the deets: the March Culcita box included a bundle of 12 fat quarters of luscious Art Gallery Fabrics–from the Take Shape Capsule, two (2) sew-in labels, a Quilt Theory pattern card for Ocean Path (my pattern!), and perhaps my favorite part–a quilty fortune cookie. I love the attention that clearly went into every detail of this subscription box–from the fun text all over the box, the wrapping, the hand-written note, and even a sewing-related message in the fortune cookie!! It’s like unwrapping a present, and honestly, who doesn’t like unwrapping presents?

culcita box march fq box labelsI love that the box included two labels, since I think labeling is one of the most important parts of making, yet it’s something that so many people omit from the process. I bet having labels ready to go would help at least get a name and date added to the quilty goodness stitched with love daily. I’m excited to put these to use!

culcita box march fq box fortune cookieThe fortune cookie was such a fun addition. With a sewing-related inspiring message/fortune inside, and a delicious cookie to boot, how can you not love this little detail? Those who sew, sow peace. Yes!

culcita box march fq box fabricThe fabric is luxuriously soft, as we’ve all come to love about all Art Gallery fabrics, and included fabric from one of the new fabric capsules, namely Take Shape. I love the bold geometric shapes and gorgeous color palette. I also really love that these fabrics are a palette and style somewhat different than my usual saturated rainbow tone on tones. With the inclusion of my Quilt Theory Ocean Path quilt pattern card, I’m really wanting to make an Ocean Path pillow version with 2 offset blocks in these geometric beauties. Will my to-do list allow? Time will tell! Either way, I’m excited to add these fabrics to my stash… or projects list!

Many thanks to Culcita Box for letting me try out their subscription box! I would definitely recommend this box for the modern quilter looking to build a stash of beautiful fabrics, or as a gift for those who prefer making bags, working from quilt kits, or building their skills.

I’ll be linking up with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash since gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve built my stash!

 

Christmas in July Pattern Bundle Sale – 72 hours only!

I’m not typically one to sew for the holidays, but in retrospect, perhaps it’s because I don’t begin my projects early enough to make it possible! Enter: Christmas in July.  I’m beginning to understand why the term “Christmas in July” exists–since if you want to hand stitch gifts, you should be beginning in July! If you are the type who does like to sew holiday gifts, or even just someone who loves a great deal, today is your day! Note: This sale has ended for the year! 

christmas in july Bundle Sale HeaderI’m excited to be joining a fantastic group of pattern designers to bring you a Christmas in July pattern bundle, available for $25 for three days only. There are 23+ great patterns included, as well as some great sponsor prizes. Both of my top selling foundation paper pieced patterns Lupine & Love Struck are included in the bundle, as well as a variety of other fantastic patterns by talented designers, both holiday themed and all purpose patterns great to have in your library.

Quilter's Planner IncentiveAs an extra special incentive, if you buy the bundle from me, you will also be entered to win a Quilter’s Planner 2017 Starter Kit, which includes a 2017 Quilter’s Planner as well as pens, stickers, and highlighters to help you stay organized, productive, and inspired! (Note: The winner will receive the starter kit as soon as it’s available, expected to be shipping in October). Congratulations to Sharon, the winner of the Quilter’s Planner Starter Kit!

Many thanks to Jen Frost from Faith & Fabric, who has organized this bundle sale and helped get everyone together to offer this great deal. Here’s a bit more about what’s included in the purchase of the bundle.

bundle sale contentsbundle sale participantsYou will get immediate digital download of all of the patterns shown above, plus:

– two coupon codes: one for Gotham Quilts and one for Sulky
– one entry to win a free Craftsy Class
– one entry to win a 6mo subscription to Make Modern

PLUS, as I mentioned above, if you buy the bundle HERE, you will also be entered to win a 2017 Quilter’s Planner Starter Kit, care of yours truly and my dear friend Stephanie (Late Night Quilter), the mastermind behind the Quilter’s Planner. Talk about Christmas in July! Again, congrats to Sharon!

The bundle is no longer available since the sale has ended for the year. Stay tuned next July, and for those of you who purchased the bundle, happy stitching!  The bundle is available in my Payhip shop, and will only be live for 72 hours beginning RIGHT NOW! This sale runs from Monday 3pm EST until Thursday 3pm EST, so be sure to catch it now. Once you purchase the bundle, greatly expand your library of sewing and quilt patterns, and get sewing, please share your creations using #sewchristmasinjuly on social media. We would all love to see what you create!

Bundle Sale Ended

 

 

Pin Cushion Sew Along with Fat Quarter Shop

Today I’m taking part in yet another fun, quick sew along hosted by Fat Quarter Shop. Kimberly from FQS teamed up with Sherri McConnell once again to bring you a video tutorial for a really simple and cute pin cushion, which is being released today. I definitely will be making more of these!

fat quarter shop pin cushion sew alongI really love clear video tutorials since I am very much a visual learner. Seeing each step helps make the process smooth and easy to complete without hang up or confusion. That, to me, is a big win!

fat quarter shop pin cushion sew alongI decided to make my pin cushion with a range of warm Alison Glass Sun Prints 2015 and 2016, and once it was finished, it begged to be photographed out in the garden with the peonies. Such vibrant colors need to be in colorful company.

fat quarter shop pin cushion sew alongI used a Tula Pink ribbon I won in a giveaway from Renaissance Ribbons a year or so ago as the ribbon detail, top stitched with Aurifil 40wt 2230-Medium Peony (so fitting!). I topped the pin cushion with Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen, which is a fabulous all-purpose blender fabric that happened to coordinate wonderfully. Aurifil 50wt 5022-Mustard was the perfect thread for hand stitching the opening in the Quilter’s Linen closed, too. I just love when perfectly coordinating fabrics and thread can be found in my stash.

fat quarter shop pin cushion sew alongI backed the pin cushion in Ex Libris Bookplate in Charcoal by Alison Glass (Andover Fabrics), and really would be tempted to use the pin cushion upside down every so often, it’s so pretty. This pin cushion is not for me, though, so the recipient can do with it as she pleases!

fat quarter shop pin cushion sew alongThis is the first pin cushion I’ve stuffed entirely with crushed walnut shell, at Sherri’s suggestion, and I really like the sturdiness and ease with which pins go into it. I bought the crushed walnut shell from a quasi-local, fabulous quilt shop, Clementine in Rockland, Maine months ago but had not yet had a chance to use it. Leah at Clementine suggested the crushed walnut shells since the oils from the nut shells help keep the pins and needles sharp and rust free. They also provide a nice, sturdy base for your pins and needles.

fat quarter shop pin cushion sew alongCheck out the video below and make your own pin cushion if you want! There’s no such thing as too many pin cushions, right?

Be sure to visit the other bloggers in the hop to help spark your inspiration and see what they did with this pin cushion:

Kitty from Night Quilter <–You’re here!

Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl

Nicole from Modern Handcraft

Jessica from Quilty Habit

Jessee from Art School Dropout

Tina from Emily Ann’s Kloset

Michele from Island Life Quilts

Angie from Gnome Angel

Sinta from Pink Pin Cushion

Melissa from Happy Quilting