About thequiltedcat

Mom to a teenager, wife, quilter, hiker, cat wrangler, dog mom, lover of nature, and tech writer!

Painted Quilt Blocks

I usually talk about sewing quilt blocks on my blog, but I recently did a project where I painted quilt blocks. Painted? Yes! Much like painted barn blocks are used to embellish buildings, you can embellish furniture with painted blocks.

In August, I got my son a different computer desk and so his old desk needed a new purpose. It is about 10 years old and was banged up quite a bit from years of kid, and then teenage, use. I cleaned up the desk, tightened up the screws, and repainted it glossy white. Pepper kindly guarded my work area from squirrel invaders!

Desk freshly painted white while Pepper watches in the background

I decided to paint 2 classic quilt block shapes on the left-hand side of the desk top: the churn dash block and the 9-patch block.

I used FrogTape to mask off the far left side of the table and the initial parts of the churn dash blocks. I used regular craft acrylic paints. Here’s what the first part of the churn dash blocks looked like after they were dried and I removed the tape:

The beginning of painted churn dash blocks with Gracie helpfully supervising

For each section of the painted quilt blocks, I carefully used the tape to mask off sections where I didn’t want the back. I completed the churn dash blocks first before working on the 9-patch block. I applied 2-3 coats of each color so this process took about a week with drying time.

FrogTape works really well to keep the painted edges sharp

Once I finished painting my blocks, I let the paint dry overnight. I used a glossy crystal clear spray paint to finish the project and to protect the painted blocks.

Here’s a look at the freshly painted desk:

My newly painted quick blocks with dry September grass, lol

With some help from my teen, we transported this newly painted table into my sewing room. I thought my little Singer Featherweight would look cute on it!

My newly painted quick block desk with a Singer Featherweight

I now have a fun table with brightly painted quilt blocks that I can use for years to come!

Happy quilting!

-Jen

Grinning Cat O’ Lantern Quilt

Have you heard about the Spooky Box from Fat Quarter Shop? Each year, they release a Halloween themed mystery box, filled with quilting goodies including a project with fabric and notions! You can still buy the 2021 box at Fat Quarter Shop with this link.

For last year’s 2020 Spooky Box, the quilt project was a fun Cat O’ Lantern mini quilt. I pieced this quilt last October, but then set it aside in my to-quilt pile. I was inspired to pull it out and quilt it recently as I was decorating my yard for Halloween.

I made a few modifications from the original pattern. I swapped the black and purple fabrics so that I could have black cat popping up from behind the pumpkin. I also changed the shape of the cat’s eyes and nose from squares into diamonds and a triangle. I knew that I’d quilt in more face details such as whiskers and the famous cat grin.

I did all free-motion and hand guided ruler work using Glide thread in Apricot Blush for most of the quilt and Glide thread in Black on the cat.

Here’s a look at a little spider that I added to each of the black triangles at the top and bottom portions of the quilt:

A little quilted spider

In the orange triangles, I quilted little ghost shapes. I did some basic fills in the background portion, and a swirly pumpkin fill in the purple behind the cat.

For the cat face, I added some eyebrows, whiskers, pupils, and grin. I later enhanced the pupils with an outline of black thread.

I gave the cat a little dimension by quilting some swirls on the forehead, checks, paws, and tail. For the pumpkin, I kept it simple with straight-line quilting to keep the emphasis on the sweet cat!

We went to pick pumpkins last weekend, and my son held the quilt up while I snapped a quick picture in between other pumpkin hunters. I love a striped binding so I used this black/gray/white striped fabric in my stash that I think really frames this little Cat O’ Lantern quilt perfectly.

Happy Halloween from the cat at the pumpkin patch!

~Jen

A Completed Tula Nova Quilt!

I started working on hand piecing my Tula Nova quilt during summer of 2020 and just finished the binding in October 2021. I’m going to call my quilt “Tabby Nova” because I used a great deal of Tabby Road fabric by Tula Pink (now out-of-print).

This quilt is entirely hand pieced using a method called English Paper Piecing or EPP for short. In EPP, you use paper templates and baste them to fabric, using either thread basting or glue basting. I use the glue basting method because it is much faster. I used Aurifil 50 weight threads for the piecing, in colors to match the fabrics.

Once the pieces are sewn together and stable, you remove the paper backings. The advantage to EPP over machine sewing is that this method is portable so you can take your sewing with you. I often stitch while waiting for my son at sports or other appointments. I even stitched the initial center block while camping last August.

I decided to quilt my Tabby Nova using a combination of ruler work and some free-motion swirls. I used straight lines to echo the pieced shape out into the background 5 times. Then, I quilted swirls in the remaining spaces. I used a Rainbow thread called “Lilac Bouquet” by Superior Threads, which is variegated and beautifully accents the colorful fabric.

My backing is another out-of-print wide back fabric by Tula Pink called Free Fall with large dots and birds. I had this small piece in my stash for a few years, and I thought it went pretty well with the quilt top. The backing fabric is a purple Moda grunge, and I used Tula’s True Colors in Tourmaline Mineral for the binding with a small color burst of Citrine Mineral on the lower right-hand side.

Are you ready to see this quilted explosion of color?? Here are a few pictures that I took this weekend, with the help of some very special quilting inspectors and assistants.

My “Tabby Nova” with the fall leaves and my husband’s feet!
“Tabby Nova” on a play structure at a local park
“Tabby Nova” back
“Tabby Nova” getting a quality cat scan from Cow in the dappled sunlight
“Tabby Nova” getting a second inspection by our neighbor’s cat. Do you see him?

I really enjoyed making this Tula Nova quilt. It is my first completed quilt using EPP. I have since started a second quilt called La Passacaglia using Tula Pink fabrics. This one is going to be huge and take more than a year to complete.

Enjoy and happy quilting,

Jen

A Nutty Quilt!

Hi everyone,

This past weekend, I did some traditional piecing and started work on a nut themed throw quilt for fall. What nut, you might ask? The acorn! I’m using the Acorn Woods pattern by Fig Tree Quilts, which you can get on sale at the Fat Quarter Shop this month.

I’m also using the Pumpkin & Blossoms fabric line by Fig Tree with beautiful pumpkin oranges, grays, greens, and creams. It is such a warm and cozy fabric line for the fall season so you can use it for months. I like that this fabric line isn’t Halloween-y but you could use it for Halloween-themed quilts.

I cut all my pieces and labeled them with Alphabitties so that I could just sit-and-sew all the blocks assembly-line style. The Alphabitties keep everything tidy and organized, and I don’t mix up some of the smaller sub-cut pieces when I’m at my machine.

Here’s a look at the acorn blocks. Aren’t they fun?

Acorn blocks

To add a little more fall theming, this quilt contains some leaves to sprinkle in amongst the acorn blocks. The bright green leaves add some color interest to the layout.

Leaf blocks

In addition to the leaf and acorn blocks, there are some low-volume setting blocks. The blocks come together pretty quickly, and I was able to sew them together over the weekend and on one evening after work.

Here’s a look at the quilt top outside in my backyard this afternoon:

Acorn Woods quilt top (not yet quilted)

I thought that I might have a cat come over and inspect the quilt, but they were too busy dozing in the sunshine.

This quilt top is really pretty, and I can’t wait to quilt it! I want to finish it soon so that I can take advantage of the fall sunshine and get some pictures of it on a lovely hike with beautiful leaves.

Happy quilting and happy fall!

~Jen

Fall 2021 Swatch Service from the Confident Stitch

Are you ready for fall? After a long, hot summer here in the Pacific Northwest, we are expecting our first soaking rain tomorrow. The leaves are beginning to turn brilliant colors, and the evenings are cooler and comfortable.

I’m starting to sew more now that summer is winding down, and I’m thinking about fall and winter projects. This quarter’s quilting cotton swatch fabrics and patterns from the Confident Stitch are absolutely perfect for the season, featuring the gorgeous fall colors.

In this quarter’s package, you’ll receive the following items:

  • (14) individual 5.5″ swatches of quilting cotton fabrics
  • (1) 5.5″ x 22″ strip of bronze solid fabric
  • (1) 5.5″ x 44″ strip of dragon fruit solid fabric
Fall 2021 Quilting Cotton Swatch Service Bundle

What is the best part? You can use the fabric in this swatch set to make the included pattern, Turkey Time Table Topper, which is perfect for your fall table settings. The table topper finishes at 17.5″ x 25.25″, and the Confident Stitch has an accompanying video for you to watch on how to make this project.

You also get an Information Card listing all the fabrics and prices in this quarter’s swatch service. The large project featured is the Faster Fourteen Quilt by Hunter’s Design Studio, and the Confident Stitch has a kit available to order or you can choose your own individual fabrics.

Fall 2021 Quilting Cotton Swatch Service Contents

I’ve used patterns from Hunter’s Design Studio, and they are great patterns that can you complete pretty quickly. Most recently, I’ve made these quilts to give as charity quilts to organizations such as Project Linus. They also make great baby quilts!

If you want to subscribe to quarterly swatch service, the cost is $13 every 3 months. The Confident Stitch offers 3 options: quilting cottons, garment fabrics in warm tones, and garment fabrics in cool tones. You can sign up for 1, 2 or all 3 swatch services. As a quilter, I highly recommend the quilting cotton service to get a nice variety of swatches plus a fun project as happy mail every quarter!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve joined! I plan on making a project with my swatches soon, and I’ll blog about it in an upcoming post.

Happy quilting,

Jen

Tula Nova Flimsy Completed

Hi everyone,

I haven’t blogged much this summer, but I have been doing a little sewing, a little gardening, and a little hiking. I will share some of these experiences over the next few posts.

One project that I did complete is the hand-piecing of my Tula Nova quilt. This quilt is an English Paper Pieced (EPP) design, meaning that all sections are individually stitched together by hand rather than by machine. Hand piecing does take much longer than machine piecing, but EPP projects are portable. I enjoyed being able to work on this project while traveling, camping, sitting in the backyard, or watching TV.

I worked on my last block while in my backyard, with my dog sitting lazily in the grass and my cat snoozing in the chair beside me. Here’s a look at my last block:

Last Tula Nova block!

Yep, that light blue print is really little cat eyes and the white center is a tin of cat food! I decided to do a cat theme for my Tula Nova by using many prints from her Tabby Road line (now out-of-print) that I had in my stash.

Once I stitched in my final block, the main body of my quilt was completed. I took it with me for some photographs while hiking earlier this summer.

My Tabby Road themed Tula Nova quilt at Fort Rock, Oregon (before basting to a background fabric)

See those feet in the photo? I asked my husband and son to hold up the quilt so I could get a picture of it with the rock formations in the background. With a few eye rolls, they agreed.

To finish the quilt flimsy, the pattern instructs you to applique the blocks to a background. I auditioned 5 or 6 different fabrics, but settled on a deep purple Grunge background. I first spray basted the top to the backing, and then machine basted using a very long stitch. I didn’t want the top to shift while I hand-appliqued the blocks.

What you don’t see in the picture below is my cat, Romeo, sitting under the quilt and “helping” me!

Hand-appliquing the top to the background

After I finished the applique work, I removed all of the machine basting stitches. Here’s a look at the completed quilt flimsy:

Tula Nova appliqued to the Grunge background

I really love how this deep purple background accents this quilt overall and pulls out the deep purple stars in the flimsy.

Next, I carefully cut a circle on the backside of the background, about an inch or so inside the applique stitching line. This step is not only to remove the excess background fabric, but also to remove the EPP papers from the last round. Here’s a look at the backside of the quilt flimsy with all the papers removed:

I have not yet quilted my Tula Nova, but this quilt flimsy is first in my to-quilt pile this fall. I will show you pictures when I finish the quilting!

If you want to piece your own Tula Nova quilt, you can purchase the pattern, paper templates, and acrylic templates from the Fat Quarter Shop. I highly recommend purchasing the acrylic templates because they include the seam allowance and make it so much easier to cut out the pieces.

Happy quilting,

Jen

A Not-Too-Sweet Vegan Sourdough Blueberry Muffin Recipe

This muffin recipe is quick and easy, and makes for some tasty blueberry muffins. I wanted a recipe to use up some of my sourdough discard, but also wanted one that is healthy and not too sweet.

I use spelt flour in place of whole wheat flour for both its nutritional benefits and because it is not as dense as whole wheat flour.

Vegan sourdough muffins with fresh blueberries

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup nondairy milk (your favorite)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • optional sugar to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°.
  2. Use non-stick spray on your muffin pans. This recipe yields about 12 regular sized muffins.
  3. Combine the flours, cornmeal, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  4. Add the maple syrup, applesauce, milk, and sourdough starter to the dry mixture, and mix together until just combined.
  5. Fold in the blueberries gently.
  6. Scoop into muffin pan.
  7. Bake for about 22-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!

Let me know if you make these muffins!

~Jen

Hello Mr. Scarecrow!

Hi everyone,

In 2017, I joined a block-of-the-month program through a local quilt store. In this program, we made all of the blocks from Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage book over the course of a year. I kept up each month, made the blocks, and then set them aside because I couldn’t decide on a quilt layout.

Later on, I made a few more blocks from Lori’s second book, Farm Girl Vintage 2, because the new animal blocks were so cute! I couldn’t decide which blocks to keep so I decided to combine all of my blocks into a quilt layout. I also couldn’t resist adding the little dog from her book, Spelling Bee, because what is a farm without a dog?

Here are a few of my blocks going up on my design wall. Hmm, what layout should I use?

Farm Girl Vintage blocks on my design wall

I played with a few layouts, turning blocks this way and that way. Then, I decided to sew more blocks!!

My little farm needed a scarecrow out in the fields with the tractor. The Mr. Scarecrow block is from the Farm Girl Vintage 2 book, and is a fun addition to my quilt.

Look at all the pieces! I kept them organized by using Alphabitties, which are little plastic squares that you use to label block components.

Alphabitties – great labels to use while making blocks with many pieces

I use Clover Clips to attach the Alphabitties to the fabric pieces so that I don’t lose them in the chaos of my cutting table.

Here’s a look at my assembled Mr. Scarecrow block:

Mr. Scarecrow block

Hmm, I thought that Mr. Scarecrow could use a little friend so I made him one!

A crow joins Mr. Scarecrow in my Farm Girl Vintage quilt

I will hand embroider Mr. Scarecrow’s facial features before I start the quilting. I plan to add this block in front of the tractor in my final layout.

This quilt is so bright and cheerful, and I’m having a blast figuring out how to assemble it into a unique layout. Stay tuned to see how I finish this quilt.

Happy quilting!

~Jen

Running with Scissors! + More

Hi everyone,

I recently made the Take A Stand bag from ByAnnie patterns, and I blogged about it here. I then decided to create the companion tool organizer called Running with Scissors using similar fabrics from Tula Pink.

Isn’t the name fun? This organizer is really a clever zipped tote that you can use to carry your quilting tools to a class or a retreat or use it at home to save space on your sewing table.

I used Tula Pink’s Pinkerville line with its beautiful unicorn as my front pocket centerpieces. This organizer has 2 large quilted fabric pockets with zippers on the outside. You’ll find smaller inside pockets made out of mesh, vinyl, and quilted fabric, all sized nicely to fit a variety of tools.

Here’s a look at the organizer once I had sewn on the outer pockets and the inner pockets, but before I added the center facing to the inside.

For me, one of the tricky parts is attaching the outer zipper and binding. When you purchase this pattern, it comes with a $5 off coupon for the accompanying video from Annie, making it free. I highly recommend the video, and I watched it while attaching the binding so I could pause and re-watch as needed. I also use Clover Clips rather than pins to avoid poking myself and because they are just so much easier to use.

Attaching the Binding

The inside center facing uses clever elastic loops to hold a variety of items from sewing machine feet to bobbins to thread. I had 2 colors of elastic on hand so I decided to use both colors by alternating them on the facing.

Inside Center Facing

Once I had sewn the inside center facing, then I just needed a few finishing details such as zipper pulls to complete my Running with Scissors tool case!

Here’s a look at the front of the completed case:

Completed Running with Scissors Case

I decided to do a little photo shoot with my 2 new ByAnnie bags, along with my foster kitty, Gracie. She provided excellent inspection services!

In the picture where Gracie is sitting next to the bags, you can see my new Running with Scissors tool case folded over my Take A Stand bag. I’m going to use these 2 bags together at my sewing table to keep frequently used tools close at hand.

Another pic of both bags together;

Take A Stand Bag and Running with Scissors Case

I now have more confidence to tackle a bigger bag project! On my to-do list is the A Place for Everything 2.0 bag from ByAnnie. It’s a great bag to hold English paper piecing projects and supplies. I haven’t decided which fabric to use yet so stay tuned!

Do you follow me on Instagram (@nwquiltedcat)? I’m very close to reaching 2,000 followers. I’m going to do a little giveaway once I reach that milestone, and it will most likely feature Tula Pink products. Come follow me if you don’t already!

Happy quilting!

~Jen

A Tula Unicorn Bag!

Hi everyone,

I had some really pretty unicorn fabric by Tula Pink in my stash that I’ve wanted to use for a special project. I didn’t want to make quilt, but I wanted to make something more portable. How about a bag?

Yep, I decided to tackle a bag! I’m mostly a quilt maker and rarely make bags because I struggle sometimes with 3D objects. I had a By Annie pattern on hand called “Take A Stand” that I wanted to try.

For the front and back pockets of the bag, I decided to fussy cut the unicorn. It’s from Tula’s Pinkerville line, and it’s called Imaginarium in Cotton Candy. It’s out-of-print but you may be able to find pieces out in the wild at local quilt shops. These pockets sit on the outside of the bag and are sewn to the main body of the bag. I used a different print for the main bag body called Fairy Dust in Daydream, which is a beautiful purple color with little multi-colored birds, stars, and dots sprinkled all over.

I really like the contrast of the unicorn against the purple bag body. I quilted both pieces using my Bernina and some lovely purple thread in a diagonal cross-hatch pattern. For these little quilt sandwiches, I do use this Soft and Stable foam stabilizer because it just works so well.

For a contrasting pocket detail, I used some green fabric from the Pinkerville line called Serenity Frolic. I used the pink moth from Pinkerville for the entire interior, but the binding is pink stripe from a different Tula Pink line.

The pink mesh is from By Annie in lipstick and the shiny pink material that you see below is fold over elastic from By Annie, also in lipstick.

Once I had all the pieces cut and quilted, I was ready to tackle the bag assembly! First up, the exterior pockets with zippers. These zippers actually went in pretty well. At least, until I noticed on the second pocket that the zipper head had actually fallen off! I just couldn’t get the zipper head back on and so I asked my sister for help. Of course, she was able to reattach it in about 2 seconds.

I love the rainbow teeth on this zipper! It’s from Sew Quirky from Australia, but I was able to find it online at a US retailer for cheaper shipping. The package contained enough zipper tape and zipper heads that I can make another project with the left overs.

The side pieces of the bag went in pretty easily! I definitely recommend using these Wonder Clips by Clover to help keep the pieces in place without worrying about pins poking you.

Once I had finished sewing the sides, I took a break before tackling the binding. The instructions are very text heavy so I did watch the accompanying videos from By Annie to make sure that I knew what to do. When you order the pattern, you get a $5 coupon for the video, making it free. I highly recommend the video, especially if you aren’t an expert bag maker.

Here’s a look at my finished “Take A Stand” bag in the smaller size, which is approximately 8-3/4″ tall x 12″ wide x 6-1/2″D. I took it with me to a local nursery and took some pictures with flowers.

I love it, and now I want to make the companion “Running with Scissors” tool case to go with it. The tool case folds over the top of the “Take a Stand” bag, which is very handy at your sewing machine or to take to quilt classes.

Happy bag making!

~Jen