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

Fierce Cheetah Mama

Happy spring, everyone! The days are getting a little longer, bulbs are blooming, and birds are singing. I’m very happy that we’re heading into the warmer spring days because it means more hiking and gardening.

For Christmas last year, my sister sent me the Cheetah Abstractions pattern by Violet Craft. This is a foundation paper pieced pattern that usually finishes at 48 inches by 60 inches, but I decided to shrink it down to 75%. I like to print my foundations using Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper because it is really easy to remove after sewing.

I challenged myself to use only fabrics from my stash. The fabric audition process can take a few days and, for this quilt, my hardest decision was the background. I knew that I’d need about a 2 yard piece in a solid or mostly solid color with enough contrast to make the cheetah body pop. I auditioned creams, grays, grunges, and others until I came across a mottled light aqua fabric. Perfect! It reminded me of a partly overcast day.

Once I had the background fabric, I pulled different solids and lightly patterned fabrics to audition for the cheetah body. I like to use Violet’s included color palette to tape small swatches of my fabrics so that I remember which fabric goes with which symbol while paper piecing.

Cheetah Abstractions – fabric selections

I started with the cheetah face first. I was just so eager to see it come to life in fabric! The head section is the most complicated, especially at just 75% size. If you’re new to paper piecing, just go slow and remember to reduce your stitch length. Here’s the start of the cheetah with the pattern for scale.

Over the next few days, I tackled sections of the cheetah body. I sewed the smaller sections and laid them out before joining sections together. It is much easier to fix mistakes this way! Isn’t her expression great? Her gaze is so intense and focused.

I pieced my cheetah fairly quickly in just a few weeks. I put all my other projects (mostly) on hold. Once pieced, I thought about how to quilt her for a week or two. I didn’t want the quilting to detract from the magnificent cheetah mama.

I decided to do some straight-line quilting all over the cheetah face and body using Glide thread in Sand Dune. For the background, I did some free-motion leaves using Glide thread in Cool Mint. I also used 2 layers of Quilter’s Dream Poly Select batting for extra texture!

The double batting does make this small quilt heavy, but I plan to hang it on a wall rather than using it as a lap quilt. For the binding, I used a dark brown fabric for three-quarters of the quilt and then used a piece of the backing for the remaining one-quarter to accent some of the colors from the cheetah.

The backing fabric is called Kenyan Cats by Alexander Henry Fabrics, which I thought worked so well with the cheetah theme.

I really love how this fierce mama cheetah quilt turned out, and I can’t wait to display her on a wall behind my work desk at home.

Enjoy!

~Jen

A Ghastlie Reveal!

Hi everyone,

Two years ago, I attended a quilt retreat with my sister and some friends. We decided to do a Ghastlie themed round robin, where we would each create our own center block. We determine a round robin order, and then send our centers to the next person. We had 4 total members and had no restrictions other than using Ghastlies fabrics with blenders.

The Ghastlies is a line of fabric by Alexander Henry, featuring a splendidly creepy family including a cat! It is unusual, whimsical, and funny fabric, and definitely outside of traditional quilting.

For my quilt, I really wanted my theme to be Sebastian, the Ghaslie cat. I used a foundation paper pieced pattern by Linda Hibbert of Silver Linings Originals called Miss Teree. I don’t see the pattern on her website, but you may be able to email her if you are interested in the pattern.

Here’s what my center looked like in December 2018:

Sebastian, my center block

Coincidentally, the other 3 members of our round robin all selected the same Ghastlie fabric for their center block, but added personalized details:

All the Ghastlie center blocks for the round robin

Aren’t they fun? From 2018 to 2020, we added rounds and mailed them to the next person. The last round finished up this September, and we each received our completed tops in October.

Here are the completed Ghastlie quilt flimsies!

Kimberly’s Ghastlie quilt flimsy
Shannon’s Ghastlie quilt flimsy
Jody’s Ghastlie quilt flimsy
Jen’s Ghastlie quilt flimsy

Our plan is to quilt them and enter them into a quilt show in fall 2021,and we’re hoping for the COVID crisis to be lessened by then so that we can have in person quilt shows again.

We had so much fun with this round robin, and we’re planning another one. The next round robin will be different. Instead of complete quilt flimsies, we are thinking about a Ghastlie themed block swap.

Happy quilting!

Jen

Tula Nova EPP Progress

Hi everyone,

This summer, I started an English paper piecing (EPP) project so I could have some handwork to do while waiting in parking lots due to Covid restrictions. I blogged about starting the Tula Nova quilt here.

I’ve had a bunch of time in the past few weeks due to my son’s taekwondo classes and surgery follow-up appointments for my dog. We used to be able to go inside, now we must wait in the car. I’m not sure what will happen will we start getting below freezing, lol!

I’ve added some more rounds to my cat themed Tula Nova. I’m using as much of the “Tabby Road” line as possible, but I don’t have many of the coordinating prints so I’ve been trading with people on Instagram for different pieces. I’m also using fabrics from the True Colors line, such as the mineral prints, hexy rainbows, and fairy dust.

Do you see the cute cans of cat food in the star blocks?

Once I complete each round, I audition fabrics from my stash. It’s quite a messy process! I have fat quarters and half yards scattered about the room, until I decide on something.

The next round has 10 stars and 20 medium hexagon shapes. I decided on some purple stars to pull out the purple in the center of the quilt.

I fussy cut a striped print from the “Chipper” fabric line so that the dark purple fabric was more or less in the middle of the star points with some green on each side. I had just enough of the cat eyes print from “Tabby Road” to make enough small hexagon centers for the 10 stars needed.

“♪ ♪ ♪ I always feel like someone is watching me . . . ♪ ♪ ♪”

After I finished hand piecing these 10 stars, I placed them next to the my Tula Nova to decide what color I wanted for the medium hexagons in between each star.

Well, my quilt inspector had a strong preference, which I will reveal in a future blog post! He is really loving this cat themed quilt, and loves to help me “arrange” fabrics.

This is a bright and cheerful quilt, and I’m so happy that I started learning how to EPP.

Happy quilting!

Jen

Quilted Zip It Up Project Bags

Hi everyone,

Recently, I decided to tackle my first pattern from ByAnnie, the Zip It Up large organizer. I almost only do quilting projects so anything with a zipper seemed to be a good challenge. So instead of making just one organizer, I decided to make two!!

I made one for me using the HomeMade fabric line by Tula Pink. I just love the sewing machines and notions in this line so I thought that it would be perfect for a sewing project bag.

The pattern calls for quilting together the bag outside, Soft and Stable (the material inside that gives the bag its shape), and the bag liner. At first, I thought about quilting it on my domestic sewing machine, but then I thought why not try and quilt it using my HQ Avante? I wasn’t sure how my longarm would like the Soft and Stable project, but it quilting like a dream.

I used Glide thread in Cool Mint, and did some pretty floral swirls.

For the second organizer, I decided to use llama/alpaca themed fabric for my sister. I did straight-line quilting on her bag.

I surprised her with this organizer several weeks ago when we had a mini sewing retreat together.

Here’s a look at her completed organizer, with some alpacas giving it an inspection:

Alpacas inspect a Zip It Up organizer

Inside the organizers, there are 2 separate zippered pouches. One is a clear vinyl pouch, and the other one is a mesh mesh. There is also a second zipped pouch on the outside back of the bag (the pattern has it on the front but I decided to add them to the back instead).

I added some fun goodies to the inside of the organizers including a little cutting mat, stickers, pencils, a notepad, and some Tula Pink ribbon. The zipper pull is a cute fluffy llama that I found at a local craft store.

Zip It Up organizers, a look at the inside

Finished Zip It Up Organizers

I really like how these Zip It Up organizers turned out. These are the large size finishing at about 11.5 inches by 14 inches, which is perfect for taking a little sewing project with me while traveling.

Happy quilting!

Jen

A Quick and Easy Baby Quilt

Hi everyone,

A family member just had a baby this past week, and I wanted to send her a little gift to welcome the precious little one.

I decided to put together a simple and quick baby quilt using fat quarters and scraps from my stash. I had some super cute safari themed fabric with giraffes, zebras, and alligators that I thought would be perfect for a baby boy.

I cut out 48 squares at 5.5 inches unfinished, and then set them out in 8 rows of 6 blocks each.

Arranging the blocks

It’s was a pretty quick process to sew these blocks together, and then sew the rows together. Once I had assembled the top, I decided to add borders. However, I only had fat quarters and odd scraps, so I had to piece the borders together. I used 3″ borders all around the quilt, with giraffes down the sides and zebras on the top and bottom.

For the backing, I used a piece of minky called “Safari Jeep” by Michael Miller Fabrics. I did purchase this piece from a local quilt shop because I wanted the softness of minky, but I didn’t have any in my stash.

I did a simple stippling for quilting using Glide thread in Lemon Ice. I loved the look of the yellow thread against the quit. The minky back quilted up beautifully on my HQ Avante. The binding is a navy blue and white striped fabric.

I forgot to measure the finished quilt before I mailed it off to the new mom and baby yesterday. I think it is close to a crib size.

Here’s a look at the finished quilt, with my inspector helping:

Cow inspects the baby quilt

The completed baby quilt

I hope the mom and little one enjoy this quilt for years to come!

Happy quilting,

Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 6

Hi everyone,

Happy weekend! We are getting some spring rain showers, which I’m sure the plants are loving. I planted a few color spots in some patio containers recently so all those tender roots are enjoying this mild weather. We are supposed to get some warmer sunny days later in the week, which I will love!

Today is the end of week 6 in the Mini Series sew-along, hosted by Giucy Giuce and Alison Glass. We made the Triangle Geese block this week, and it went together pretty fast!

I’m continuing to use my Kona cotton charm square pack called Mermaid Shores with a lovely batik background that reminds me of tiny beach pebbles.

Here’s a look at my Triangle Geese block with my friend, Victor. He’s wondering where the path might lead him . . .

Victor poses with my Triangle Geese block

Well, in Victor’s case, the Triangle Geese block was going to lead to the other blocks that I have sewn so far in the SAL, but my quilt inspector, Cow, had other ideas.

This picture is what happens when trying to photograph quilt blocks with a curious cat. Of course, as soon as I took the picture, he feigned disinterest and started to take a bath. Victor is quite shocked!

Cow, the quilt inspector, interrupts the photo taking

Eventually, Cow decided that taking pictures of miniature quilt blocks was too boring for him, and he strolled over to the grass to watch birds.

I got another picture of Victor with all 6 of my blocks. Victor is still miffed, but decidedly happier to have the blocks all to himself.

Victor with blocks 1-6

We now have just 2 blocks left in this SAL before creating a finished project. I’m still undecided on my project, but I have a few ideas that I’m pondering.

Happy quilting!

~Jen

A Very Special “Caticorn” Fabric Postcard

Hi everyone,

I took a little break recently from sewing fabric face masks and working on quilting projects to make a fabric postcard for a special occasion.

A neighbor girl is turning 9 this week, and she had planned on having a kitty cat themed birthday party with her friends. Unfortunately, she cannot have the party now due to COVID-19 so her mom put out the call to friends and family to mail her cat themed birthday cards.

I decided to make her a fabric postcard using a pink “caticorn” from Riley Blake. The pink and yellow solid pieces are from Cherrywood Fabrics and the striped fabric is from a little leftover piece from my Koala quilt swap.

Caticorn Fabric Postcard

I mount my fabric postcards using Heat n’ Bond Lite onto a firm backing such as Pellon Timtex before quilting. I used a light pink Aurifil thread to add some straight-line quilting around the cat. I also used a heart-shaped decorative stitch on my Bernina along the striped outer border.

On the back side of the card, I adhered a piece of a light-colored, solid fabric using Heat n’ Bond lite. I wrote a “meowtastic” little greeting on the back side of the card for the special birthday girl.

To finish the postcard, I used a zig-zag stitch and went around the postcard twice for durability. Even though I could technically mail this postcard as-is, I will place it into an envelope to protect it. I’d hate for the cute caticorn to get marked up in the postal system!

Quilted Caticorn Fabric Postcard for the Birthday Girl!

I’m really hoping that this simple fabric postcard will cheer her up a bit and make her birthday a little more special.

Happy sewing!

~Jen

Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Blocks Project, Part 2

Hi everyone,

If you celebrate Easter, I hope that you had a great day yesterday even if it wasn’t your usual celebration with social distancing practices in place. We had beautiful weather and enjoyed being together and taking the dog for a long walk.

Last week, I blogged about one of my works-in-progress (WIP) started back in 2018.

Today, I’m going to show you my completed Tula Pink 100 modern quilt block finished quilt flimsy! If you haven’t heard of the term “flimsy” before, it is just the completed quilt top before quilting. I pieced the entire quilt using Aurifil 50 weight thread in white.

I added the white block frames to all 100 of my blocks, and then I added the sashing (Kona cotton in Lighthouse) to each row individually. I pieced together the top 5 rows separately from the bottom 5 rows, just so that I didn’t get confused and to help keep the weight of the quilt top less.

When I had the top 5 rows and the bottom 5 rows pieced, I was ready to join them together.

Here’s a look at the two last chunks of the quilt on the floor of my quilting room:

The top 5 rows and the bottom 5 rows, ready to be stitched together

This quilt flimsy is pretty large so I couldn’t get a good picture of it indoors. My husband and I each stood on a chair to hold up the quilt flimsy, and our teen son took the photo in the field behind our house.

Completed Tula Pink 100 Modern Quilt Blocks Quilt Top

It was a very windy afternoon and so we had to take multiple pictures and wait a bit for the breeze to subside. I do think the quilt looks pretty, fluttering in the wind!

Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Block Quilt Top, fluttering in the wind!

Of course, one of my quilt inspectors strolled by to supervise the photo session. My cat, Cow, is just off to the side of the quilt, rolling in the dirt. He is loving this sunny weather!

Cow, the quilt inspector, loves to roll in the field dirt!

Next, I need to decide how to do the quilting. I want the focus of the quilt to be the beautiful blocks so I’ll likely do just an all-over swirly pattern. I don’t want custom or heavy quilting to distract from the blocks.

I hope to get this quilting and bound by July.

Happy quilting!

~Jen