Introducing Alfie the Alpaca Foundation Paper Pieced Pattern!

Hi everyone,

I’m so excited to introduce you to Alfie the alpaca! I designed this cute alpaca block for a mini quilt exchange with my sister.

Alfie is foundation paper pieced, suitable for quilters with some paper piecing experience. The block size is about 16.5 inches by 8 inches before adding borders. The pattern does include instructions for adding the same size borders as shown in my finished quilt.

You can purchase Alfie for just $4 on my Etsy store, QuiltedCatPatterns!

Let’s take a closer look at Alfie the alpaca! I based this pattern on a photo that I took of a cheeky little alpaca in Sisters, Oregon during summer 2019. I used Cherrywood fabrics for the alpaca body, and Pie Making Day in Key Lime from RJR fabrics for the background. I pieced each section of the pattern, and then pinned the sections to a design board before stitching them together. This process helps you to catch any fabric placement mistakes before the whole block is stitched together.

The picture on the left shows all of the individual foundation sections pieced. The picture on the right shows the sections as I started to sew them together into units. I love watching foundation paper piecing patterns come together!

 

 

Alfie the alpaca block without borders

After I sewed all of the sections together, I decided to add some off-set borders to the Alfie block. I used a very narrow inner border from a peach colored Grunge fabric on the left side and along the bottom side. This peach fabric matches the peach tone of the blankets on the llamas in the outer green border.

I knew that I would add the dark green outer border before ever designing this block. My sister picked out this fabric as our challenge fabric for our mini quilt swap. We each had a fat quarter to use in our mini quilt somewhere. The llama fabric is called Llama Life Faraway Places by Cloud 9 Fabrics.

I also auditioned many fabrics for the bottom border, and finally settled on a black and white square print that I had in my stash.

I did simple quilting with an all-over meander on Alfie’s face and body using Glide thread in Linen and Bone, free-motion swirls using Glide in Celery in the light green background print, and some diamond shapes in the dark green border. I also free-motion quilted “Alfie” in Glide Apricot Blush on the bottom border.

Alfie the alpaca block without hair

I thought Alfie might be missing something, some integral part of his cheeky self. I figured that he needed some hair!! I went to a local alpaca farm and purchased some alpaca yarn in a shade to match Alfie’s head.

I used a couching foot on my Bernina to sew the yarn to Alfie’s head in little swirls. I love the texture and dimension that the yarn added to this mini quilt. I think it brings Alfie to life!

Adding alpaca yarn to make hair

Here’s a look at my Alfie completed mini quilt from a recent day hike with his fluffy head and shorn body:

Alfie the alpaca mini quilt with avalanche lilies

I hope you enjoy my new pattern, Alfie Alpaca available now for purchase. I’d love to see a photo if you make something using this pattern!

Happy quilting,

Jen

Finished Bubblegum Kisses Mini Quilt

Hi everyone,

Each month, I love receiving the Sew Sampler box from the Fat Quarter Shop with exclusive patterns and notions. I’ve very behind on making the projects, but I finally completed a cheery and happy mini quilt recently called Bubblegum Kisses by Lori Holt.

This quilt finishes at about 23 1/2″ x 27 1/2″ and uses charm squares plus some background fabric. I started this quilt at a retreat in December 2017, pieced the top, and then set it aside in my to-do quilting pile. Yikes!

I pulled it out last week and found a pretty blue gingham fabric in my stash for the backing.

Here’s my quilt inspector, checking it out before quilting:

Romeo inspects my quilt sandwich

For quilting, I decided to do 1″ piano keys around the border. I also stitched-in-the-ditch around each block. I did a little free-motion meandering in between the blocks. I used Glide thread in Linen for all of the quilting. It is a nice creamy color that blended into the background fabric nicely.

Quilting Bubblegum Kisses

The binding came with the Sew Sampler box, and I love the aqua color! I finished the quilting and binding pretty quickly. I knew that I wanted to take a picture of the quilt outside, and I had a perfect opportunity this past weekend.

We hiked about 9 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, near Mt. Hood. The temperature was perfect for hiking, about 65 degrees. The clouds played peek-a-boo all day with the mountain, but we lucked out and got terrific views.

There are so many wildflowers in bloom right now along the trail from pink rhododendron to white avalanche lilies to tall bear grass.

Here’s a picture of the finished Bubblegum Kisses mini quilt with some delicate avalanche lilies:

Bubblegum Kisses Quilt with Avalanche Lilies

These little wildflowers are just so pretty!

At our turn around point, we had an amazing view of Mt. Hood. I thought this was the perfect location for a quilt-in-the-wild photo!

Bubblegum Kisses Quilt Along the Pacific Crest Trail and Mt. Hood

What a beautiful location and great hike!

I recommended getting on the Sew Sampler wait list if you’re interested in these fun monthly project boxes! Spots do open up regularly. Now to get more projects finished!

Happy quilting!

~Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Finished Project Reveal!

Hi everyone,

I’m happy to say that I’ve finished my project in the 2020 Mini Series sew-along, hosted by Giucy Giuce and Alison Glass. Over the past 2 months, we have made 8 tiny foundation paper pieced blocks as part of this SAL plus a 9th bonus block for registered participants!

This SAL was a great virtual quilting community project to work on during COVID-19. We encouraged each other through our posts on Instagram, which you can find using the #MiniSeriesSAL hashtag.

I completed all the blocks and decided to piece them together into a “skinny mini” horizontal quilt. I added a 2-inch border to the top, bottom, and sides. I did not add any sashing strips between my blocks because I had a special place in my quilting room picked out to display this quilt.

For quilting, I used Glide thread in white and did some simple piano keys in the borders using a ruler. I also stitched-in-the-ditch around each quilt block.

Quilting my “skinny mini”

For my binding, I used a print from Tula Pink’s Zuma line that perfectly complemented the Kona cotton colors that I used for my blocks. This is the same fabric line that I used for the little green print with the seahorses, stars, and anchors in my blocks.

I’m displaying my Mini Series skinny mini quilt above a closet door in my quilting room and attached to a shelf holding some of my antique toy sewing machines. I love the beachy pop of color that it provides in that color. It also coordinates well with the Sherwin Williams Sea Salt paint on my walls!

Mini Series SAL Finished Project, A Skinny Mini!

This has been such a great project to make over the past several months. I’m happy that I kept up with the blocks each week, and that I was able to finish a project on time to get a finisher’s pin. When the pin arrives, I’ll add it to my skinny mini! My thanks to both Giucy Giuce and Alison Glass for hosting this sew-along!!

Happy quilting,

~Jen

Making a Ski Patrol Themed Pillow, Part 2, the Reveal!

Hi everyone,

In my last post, I talked about making a pillow front as part of a special graduation gift for my nephew. Although we are not able to travel to his modified graduation ceremony, I still wanted to make him a gift that he could take with him to college in the fall.

For the pillow back, I designed a foundation paper pieced block based on the logo of the ski resort where he worked as a ski patrol member. I thought it would a fun personal touch!

I used solid Kona cottons in red, blue, and white for the ski resort logo. The background is the same ski lift print from Dear Stella that I used on the pillow front.

For quilting, I used the channel locks on my HQ Avante for hand-guided straight lines. I wanted to keep the quilting very simple. I used Glide thread in white. I did quilt all three of the pillow panels at the same time using solid pieces of backing and batting.

Quilting the ski patrol pillow panels

Once I finished quilting the panels, I cut each panel down to the appropriate size, using the dimensions in the free “Simple Quilted Pillows” pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.

Ski patrol pillow panels after quilting and trimming

I did bind the two back panel pieces using the same red Kona cotton for a nice pop of color on the pillow back. I pre-washed all the fabrics, and washed the red Kona two times with color catchers. I wanted to be sure that my nephew could remove the pillow cover and wash it without worrying about the red fabric bleeding into the other fabrics.

Ski Patrol pillow front, close-up

I really love how this pillow turned out, and I hope that my nephew enjoys it as he starts his college life!

Happy quilting,

~Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 8

Hi everyone!

We are now at week 8 in the Mini Series SAL with the last block called Criss Cross! These past 8 weeks have been very surreal, with time warping strangely due to working-from-home during this pandemic. I’m so grateful to Alison Glass and Giucy Giuce for organizing and hosting this great SAL!

The Criss Cross block is one of the more difficult blocks in the series due to the section joins. I took it slow and careful, taking time to pin the seams together and doing a basting stitch test alignment. I love the itty bitty flying geese in this block!

Here’s a look at my Criss Cross block in a field of lupine:

Criss Cross block

I also completed my bonus block this week, called String Block. This block is very easy and comes together quickly.

String Block (bonus for SAL participants)

I love all these little 4-inch foundation paper pieced blocks! We now have 2 weeks to make a project (or projects) to earn a finisher’s pin.

I’m leaning towards making a mini quilt, but I might also make little fabric baskets. Hmm, what to make!

Mini Series SAL, finished blocks

When I took a walk earlier this week to photograph my Criss Cross block, I took my hiking girl, Pepper. We dodged rain clouds, and we had a marvelous time just being outdoors together, taking in fresh air. I wanted to get some pictures of her in the field of lupine, but she had a hard time focusing with several people walking by and smiling at her. A doggie smile has the power to lift people up, even in uncertain times!

Stay tuned for my finished project with these blocks! Are you doing the SAL? Leave me a comment!

Happy quilting!

~Jennifer

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 7

Happy Thursday, everyone!

This week, we are working on block 7 called the “Curved Cabin” in the Mini Series sew-along hosted by Giucy Giuce and Alison Glass.

This block is comprised of 4 tiny sections, giving you the ability to create many different looks from one block depending on your fabric choices and fabric placement. Each tiny section is 2-inches by 2-inches (finished measurements).

I’m continuing my color scheme by using a Kona charm pack in Mermaid Shores with a batik background that reminds me of tiny beach pebbles.

The pieces in each section are tiny! I narrowed my final block assembly to these 3 options:

I think it’s so wonderful how this block can completely transform depending on my layout! I really liked options 1 and 2, but I ultimately went for option 1 because I do enjoy the center circle that emerged.

My Curved Cabin block with a little frog friend!

I think a quilt made just from this block would be a fun project in the future. I could make the blocks all the same, or maybe do an ombre effect.

Here’s a look at my blocks together:

Mini Series SAL, blocks 1 to 7

We now have 7 out of the 8 blocks in the Mini Series completed. There is 1 bonus block available to the participants only, so I plan to make it next week along with the final block.

If you are participating in the SAL, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let me know your Instagram handle.

Happy quilting!

~Jen

Mini Quilt Reveal for COVID-19

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I posted about creating a mini quilt to acknowledge this current pandemic. I wanted a project that I could make quickly with supplies on hand.

I finished the quilting and binding last night so that I can share my completed mini quilt with you today. I used my Oliso mini project iron for each step of foundation paper piecing, and I really loved the convenience!

I used my Bernina domestic sewing machine to do some cross-hatch quilting on the toilet paper roll. To get started, I like to use a piece of Washi tape. This tape gives me the placement for my first line of stitching. I then use my presser foot to guide my along that first line to complete the rest of the quilting.

I used Aurifil 50 weight thread in silver white (#2309) for both the piecing and the quilting.

Use Washi tape for cross-hatch quilting

Cross-hatch quilting on my Bernina

I kept most of my quilting to the toilet roll portion of the quilt. On the borders, I did just a couple of lines of straight-line quilting in Aurifil dark pink (#4020). I also used this same dark pink thread to complete my binding entirely by machine.

If you missed my post yesterday, this mini quilt is a free pattern by Miso Quilty called Keep Calm and Roll On.

Here are some pictures of my completed mini!

This mini quilt comes together very quickly, especially if you have a little foundation paper piecing experience. I think my total time to complete the quilt was about 3 hours. I did speed up the process by doing machine binding rather than hand binding because I’m just going to display this mini in my guest bathroom.

Happy quilting!

Jen

Using the Oliso Mini Project Iron with Foundation Paper Piecing Projects

Hi everyone,

I started a new mini quilt project yesterday to acknowledge the current pandemic situation. I wanted to make something small and quick, but something a little cheeky to hang in my guest bathroom. Can you guess what it is? Keep reading!

This little mini quilt uses foundation paper piecing, but it is a good pattern for beginners because there are no tiny pieces and only two sections to join together. You can use regular copy paper to print your foundations if you don’t have any “fancy” foundation paper.

I also want to recommend using the new Olison mini project iron for your foundation paper piecing projects. It is small, lightweight, and works great for small projects. I keep my mini project iron next to the left of my sewing machine on a small ironing table. I can flip, press, and trim my foundations without needing to move over to my big ironing station.

These mini irons come in pink or yellow, and Oliso is currently having a sale on them so they are a great deal! You also get a silicone solemate so that you can leave your iron on in the down position. I do get a small percentage of the sale if you purchase through my link, which helps fund the costs of this blog.

Here’s a look at my pink mini iron in action. I do like to use a small wool pressing mat under my irons for crisper seams. Remember, do not use steam when foundation paper piecing because it will shrink your paper!

Oliso mini project iron in pink

This mini quilt is a free pattern available from Mitchie at Miso Quilty called “Keep Calm and Roll On.” She has the block available in 3 sizes, but I selected to make the smallest size at 8-inches by 8-inches before adding borders.

I used fabrics from my stash, digging deep to find just the right background print for maximum cuteness!

  • Ramblings from P&B Textiles for the toilet paper
  • Netorious in Pink from Cotton + Steel for the toilet paper roll hole on the top
  • The Warm Fuzzies by Sarah Watts for Cotton + Steel (2017) for the background/borders
  • Aurifil silver white #2309 for all the piecing

Keep Calm and Roll On block at 8×8 inch size

I cut my bear borders slightly larger at 3-1/4″ so that I could see more of the bears.

Keep Calm and Roll On, toilet paper roll block with borders

Don’t you just love those bear faces? To me, they are saying, “hey, humans, what’s going on with your toilet paper shortage?”

In my next post, I’ll show you how I quilted this fun little mini quilt.

Until then, I hope you have enough toilet paper rolls! 🙂

Happy quilting,

Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 3

Hi all,

Time sure feels different in this era of “sheltering in place.” I’m happy that, for my job, I’m able to work from home, but I’m missing outdoor activities like hiking and missing friends and family.

The Mini Series SAL, hosted by Alison Glass and Giucy Giuce, is a great help during these times because it is uplifting to be participating in a project with so many other quilters around the world. You can see my week 1 block here and my week 2 block here.

We are now on to week 3 in the SAL with the challenging Pineapple block. This block has many, many pieces, and it took me approximately 2 hours to sew a 4-inch block!!

I’m using a Kona cotton charm square pack called Mermaid Shores for my colors, and a wonderful batik with pebble like shapes for my background. I want to invoke all the beach feelings!

Here’s a look at my Pineapple block in my garden:

Here’s a look at the first 3 blocks all together (Log Cabin, Courthouse Step, Pineapple):

First 3 blocks with a little fairy garden statue

Let me know in the comments if you are participating in the SAL and your Instagram handle so I can give you a follow!

Enjoy!

~Jen

Quilters for Koalas Mini Quilt Swap

Hi everyone,

In January, I signed up for a mini quilt swap to benefit various wildlife rescue charities in Australia to help them out due to the massive wildfires. Each person who signed up for the swap agreed to donate $10 towards the charities in addition to making a mini quilt featuring an Australian animal.

Sharon (@shoppershaz_swaphost on Instagram) hosted the swap. We had over 250 swappers so she organized us into groups and assigned us each a secret partner.

I made a little koala on a tree for my partner using the Koalas pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. This is a traditionally pieced pattern rather than a foundation paper pieced pattern, and it was really fun to make!

My partner, Debbie, indicated that she preferred blues, teals, and yellows for her colors, and I knew that she liked batiks based on previous posts to her Instagram account.

I do combine batiks with quilting cottons, although some quilters cringe at the idea! I used a really pretty teal batik for the koala body with light blue Grunge for the ears. The background is also a batik in a warm neutral that is lightly patterned. I found scraps in my stash for the tree trunk, leaves, belly, and facial features. The binding is a dark teal batik.

The tree trunk fabric is directional so I had to make sure each piece faced in the correct direction. No drunken trees here with vertical and horizontal stripe mismatches!

I quilted this mini quilt on my trusty Bernina  Activa 145 S, my everyday piecing machine. For the domestic machine quilting, I used the Bernina free-motion foot #24 with Aurifil 50 weight thread in a light cream color. I did some free-motion swirls in the background, some leaf shapes in the leaves, and some ruler work on the koala and tree. If you look closely at the koala body, I added three free-motion heart shapes.

Here’s a look at my completed koala mini that I made for my partner:

Koala that I made for my partner

For my mini quilt, I asked for a koala, but I left the individual pattern up to the maker. I also mentioned that bright modern fabrics would work or more natural colors.

My partner, Sandy, made me a very cute little koala using a pattern by Joe, June, and Mae. She used natural colors and Essex linen for a rich texture.

Here’s a look at the mini quilt that I received:

Koala mini quilt that I received in the swap

This little koala mini quilt is now hanging in my sewing room, along with other minis that I treasure from swaps over the past few years on Instagram.

I’m happy that I was able to contribute to the wildlife rescue agencies in Australia during this swap! If you want to see more mini quilts from this swap, check out the #quiltersforkoalas hashtag on Instagram.

Enjoy,

~Jen