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

Updated Swatch Service from The Confident Stitch

Hi everyone!

One of my favorite modern quilt shops, The Confident Stitch in Missoula, Montana, has recently updated their swatch service. In the past, this quarterly subscription came with a folded brochure and small pieces of the featured fabrics. Beginning with Spring 2021, the swatch service now comes with at least 20 pieces of 5×5 inch fabric swatches and a pattern!

Let’s take a look at what you’ll get in the Spring 2021 quilting cotton swatch packet!

Spring 2021 Quilting Cotton Swatch Packet from The Confident Stitch

When you sign up for the swatch service, you’ll receive this cute wrapped package in the mail. The card on the front gives you a glimpse of the yummy fabrics contained inside. On the back of the card, you’ll find a brief description of the swatch contents plus a special discount code for swatch subscribers only.

Spring 2021 Swatch Service Fabrics and Pattern

When you unwrap the package, you’ll get the following goodies:

  • 5×5 inch swatches, labeled with the fabric name and pricing. These swatches can be a combination of prints and solids.
  • A packet containing instructions for 2 projects: the Scrappy Diamonds Pillow and the Primavera Pinwheels Lap Quilt. You may need additional supplies to complete some of the projects.
  • Discount code for swatch fabrics.
  • Directions for accessing a companion YouTube video.

The subscription costs $13 per quarter, and you can choose to join the quarterly program where the swatches are mailed to you automatically or you can choose to buy just one swatch service. In addition to the quilting cotton swatch service, the store also has a garment fabric swatch service in warm tones or cool tones.

I think this swatch service is a great value, and I love these larger swatches. I enjoy being able to touch these fabrics, to see the scale of the patterns, and to match actual colors in the swatches to fabrics that I already have in my stash.

I plan on using my swatches on a project soon so stay tuned! Let me know if you join the swatch service, and I’d love to see the projects that you make.

Happy quilting!

~Jen

My Quilt at QuiltCon Together

Happy March, everyone! We are seeing glimmers of spring everywhere around us after our ice storm several weeks ago. I have crocus and some early daffodils blooming and birds are joyfully singing!

A few weeks ago, I attended QuiltCon Together, which was a virtual quilt show this year due to the pandemic. Normally, QuiltCon, which features modern quilts in many categories, is held in person and alternates between west coast venues and east coast venues.

This year, I entered a quilt in the “Floral & Vine Fabric Challenge” category and, for the first time ever, I got a quilt juried into QuiltCon!! In this category, participants received 4
fat-eighths of specific fabric prints to use in the construction of a modern quilt. We could only use these prints plus any number of solid fabrics. We could buy extra quantities of the specified prints, but I decided to challenge myself by using only the provided fat eighth pack. I used 3 of the 4 prints plus a white solid in my quilt. The binding is a gray solid.

I drafted my pattern using paper and pencil initially. I wanted my quilt to express my hope that we will soon be able to gather together in person, and that this weird situation that we are currently living through will not last forever.

I came up with a design and then used EQ8 to create my foundation paper pieced templates and curved traditionally pieced templates. I then calculated my setting triangles to complete the design. I called my quilt, Concourse.

Here’s a picture of Concourse:

My quilt, Concourse, at QuiltCon Together, February 2021

Although QuiltCon Together is now over, the images below show what my quilt looked like displayed virtually. Quilt show attendees could zoom in on individual quilts and even listen to a short audio clip from the quilt makers.

My quilt, Concourse, hanging virtually at QuiltCon Together 2021, front view
My quilt, Concourse, hanging virtually at QuiltCon Together 2021, back view

I was very pleased to have my quilt selected as one of the entrants in this challenge fabric category. Although I did not win a ribbon, I’m just so happy to have had a quilt in the show.

I took a screen cap of the other quilts in the category so that you could see the variety of modern quilts that used just these 4 prints plus solids. Quite impressive!

QuiltCon 2022 is scheduled to be an in-person quilt show in Phoenix in February. I’m very hopeful that we’ll be returning to in-person events later this year. I hope to enter a quilt into that show and maybe (just maybe), I might get to attend it with my sister!

P.S. I added a new page to my blog with recommended quilting supplies and notions. Go check it out!

Happy quilting!

-Jennifer

First 2021 Finish – a Tula Pink Quilt!

Grab a cup of coffee because this post will be longer than usual with a few more pictures! I’m so happy to cross off my first official quilty finish of 2021 by completing a WIP that started its journey in 2018.

In 2018, I signed up to do a 100 blocks in 100 days project, hosted by @gnomeangel on Instagram. The goal was to make each block from the book, Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. Each day, starting in July 2018, and for 100 days in a row, we posted the designated block for that day. We could make the blocks in advance, but we had to post the blocks in order on the specified day.

Here’s a look at my first and last blocks (on little design boards). You can find all my blocks by searching the hashtag #nwquiltedcat100blocks on Instagram.

Once I finished all 100 blocks, I put the project aside for awhile. In January 2020, I was lucky enough to secure a spot in a Tula Pink class set for July of 2020 at the Quilter’s Affair event, which takes place the week before the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Little did we know that a pandemic was looming!

In February 2020, I decided to pull out all the blocks, arrange them, and decide on a setting layout.

Each of my blocks stuffed into the book!

I decided to use all 100 blocks with Kona White and Kona Lighthouse for the sashing. I started piecing in March 2020 and finished in April 2020, still with the hope that I would be attending Tula’s class in July.

100 Modern Quilt blocks layout, light gray and white sashing with quilt inspector, Romeo
100 Modern Quilt Blocks, the quilt grows while quilt inspector, Romeo, approves!

Of course, we all know that all quilting shows and events did get canceled for the rest of 2020. Once I had finished piecing the top, I lost my enthusiasm for the project as I knew I wouldn’t be able to ask Tula to sign my quilt in July. However, most of the instructors, including Tula, agreed to postpone their classes for July 2021! Yeah, hope renewed my ambition to get this quilt finished.

This is a large quilt, maybe queen size plus, but not quite king size. I had to piece the backing so I used a beautiful Neptunia Von Black portrait (from the Nightshade line) backing from I Heart Tula Pink at 54″ x 72″. I then added some of Tula’s 108″ backing from her Linework line called Sketchyer Paper along with some Fairy Dust in Whisper from her True Colors line. My label is a scrap of Kona White fabric, pieced directly into the backing. I left a large open space on the label where I hope to get Tula’s autograph eventually.

In December of 2020, I decided to quilt it using Glide thread in Bone and a hand-guided pantograph called Modern Twist by Urban Elementz on my HQ Avante. I selected this simple panto to keep the quilting in the background and the focus on the blocks.

Finally, I was ready to bind this giant quilt! I went with the same Fairy Dust in Whisper that I used on the backing. It picks up all the colors in the quilt without detracting from any of the blocks.

This past weekend, we took the completed quilt for a little photoshoot to Battery Russell at Ft. Stevens State Park at the Oregon coast. My hubby and son held the quilt while I took the photos. Our dog, Pepper, helped too!

Unfolding the quilt for pictures, January 2021
100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt front at Battery Russell, January 2021
100 Modern Quilts Blocks back at Battery Russell, January 2021
A close-up view of my 100 Modern Quilt Blocks quilt at Battery Russell, January 2021
A close-up view of my pieced backing at Battery Russell, January 2021

I love this quilt! It is so bright and cheerful, and the backing is just as fun as the front. With a little luck, we’ll be able to have in-person quilt events this summer, and I just might get to take my class with Tula and show her this completed quilt.

I’ll leave you with one last picture from our day trip. We also stop to visit the Peter Iredale shipwreck when we visit Ft. Stevens. It is ever so slowly eroding away and, with this visit, we really noticed that a larger piece of the bow had disappeared since our last visit. I really need to dig up some of the pictures of this ship when I visited as a little kid to compare the differences.

Now I’m on to my next WIP, which is my Sea Glass BOM by Fig Tree. I will post an update soon!

Happy quilting,

~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

Scrappy Summer Sew Along + Update on Pepper

Hi everyone,

I posted about joining a scrappy summer sew along a few weeks ago here. This quilt uses your scrap bin to make a 9-patch blocks for a scrappy finish!

I used a bunch of yellows plus pinks/reds to make a “Raspberry Lemonade” scrappy quilt. I started sewing my 9-patch blocks as leaders/enders while working on other projects. Then, a bunch of crazy life stuff happened, and I had to stop sewing for a couple of weeks.

Here’s a look at some of my 9-patch blocks, with sunlight filtering in through a side window:

Scrappy 9-patch blocks

Sunday was the last day to post our finished top on Instagram as part of the sew along. I pulled out the 9-patch blocks that I had completed, and I had just enough for a baby sized quilt. My quilt inspector helped me to sort the blocks into rows and columns.

Romeo inspects the
9-patch blocks

I enjoyed sewing these little blocks together as a sort of meditative time for myself. We had beautiful weather here yesterday so I was able to get a picture of the quilt flimsy, fluttering in the breeze, on a nearby little bridge.

Scrappy Summer Sew Along Flimsy – Raspberry Lemonade!

I’m going to back this little quilt with some soft, cuddly Minky fabric and likely donate it.

You can find other participants and fun quilts from this sew along by searching on the hashtag #scrappysummersal2020 on Instagram.

One of the life events that happened recently is a major (and expensive) surgery for our girl, Pepper. She had the surgery one week ago today, and she is doing pretty well with her recovery. We’re hoping that she’ll be back to hiking with us later this winter or next spring. She needs a full 8-10 weeks for recovery plus multiple physical therapy sessions.

If you’d like to help, I started a GoFundMe to offset some of the cost of the surgery and physical therapy.

Here’s a look at Pepper post-op with her poor, furless leg and incision:

Pepper, resting after knee surgery

Each day, she is getting stronger! We just have to keep this very active dog from running or jumping for 8 weeks. Whew!

Happy quilting!

Jen

Starting a Tula Nova Quilt + Wildfires

Hi everyone,

We are experiencing devastating wildfires here in Oregon, the worst fires seen in over 100 years. We’re in what is called level 1 evacuation, which means stay alert and be prepared. We do not have to evacuate at this time and most likely will not have to evacuate. However, many people just south of us are in the level 3, immediate “get out” zone so my thoughts and prayers are with them!

The fire makes the skies look apocalyptic. Here’s a look yesterday, when the east winds were still blowing:

Wildfires coloring the sky

This morning, the east winds stopped blowing so we have heavy, stagnate air, filled with particulates. It is very dangerous to be outdoors

Heavy smoke in the air

If you want to help the victims who lost everything in the fires, you can donate to the Red Cross.

In the meantime, I started on my first Tula Nova EPP (English Paper Pieced) project several weeks ago. This technique is entirely hand-pieced so it makes for a great project to do in the evenings while watching shows, to take traveling, or to do while my kiddo is in taekwondo class.

I’m using the Disco Kitty fabric from the Quilty Box as my center. I’m also using various colors of 50 weight Aurifil thread for the piecing.

I took this picture several weeks ago while we tent camped along the Oregon coast.

Tula Nova with a Disco Kitty center

When we got home, my quilt inspector decided to help out. He thoroughly approves of my theme for this quilt!

Romeo helps with my Tula Nova piecing

I’ve just finished adding the fourth round, and I went for a purple/pink Tent Stripe fabric by Tula Pink Don’t you love how the stripes add a secondary star around the solid lavender?

Tula Nova – adding stripes

The next round has 10 star points plus 10 diamond shapes to connect the stars. Each round will take longer and longer, but I am enjoying the process and it helps alleviate stress in these crazy times.

Have you made a Tula Nova quilt? I’d love to see it!

Happy quilting and stay safe!

Jen

Sorting My Scrap Bin for a Sew Along

Hi everyone,

I have a very large shoe box, the kind that fits boots, behind my sewing area where I toss scraps from projects that are large enough to reuse. These scraps have been growing and growing until my box was overflowing.

Then, I noticed that @thehomebodycompany and @the.weekendquilter were hosting an Instagram scrap busting sew along called the “Scrappy Summer Sew Along” with the hashtag, #scrappysummersal2020. This sew along uses a free pattern, which contains some different sizing options for using the simple 9-patch block for the quilt.

I dumped out my scraps and started sorting into color groups.

Sorting scraps

Wow, that got tiring fast in my very warm sewing room so I took a little break. When I came back into the room, I found my cat, Romeo, decided to reorganize things a bit.

Romeo reorganizes the scraps

I convinced Romeo to let me continue sorting by color. As the piles grew, I started thinking about how I wanted my scrappy quilt to look. I decided to do a limited color palette by using just pinks/reds and yellow scraps for a raspberry lemonade theme. My background will be a white-on-white fabric from my stash.

I’m making the rectangular throw size quilt so I needed to cut hundreds of 2″ squares from my scraps and hundreds of 2″ squares from my background fabric.

For the background fabric, I used the XL Stripology Ruler by Creative Grids to first cut the 2″ strips, and then sub-cut the strips into 2″ squares. This ruler is a lifesaver! I cut out all my pieces quickly and accurately without any hand fatigue. I highly recommend investing in one of these rulers.

Here’s a look at some of my pretty 2″ squares, just waiting patiently to be sewn into 9-patch blocks.

Pretty 2″ squares

I’m using this project as a leader/ender for other projects that I have underway. I’ll show you some of my 9-patch blocks using these squares soon!

Happy quilting,

Jen

 

A Traveling Quilt Takes an Adventure!

Hi everyone,

Last week would have been the 45th anniversary of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show. I had planned to take classes the week before with my sister, but the classes are postponed until 2021. We decided to have a mini retreat together for some sewing and hiking.

We had fun sewing on small projects in our hotel room, visiting local quilt shops while maintaining social distancing protocols and wearing masks, and hiking in the great outdoors.

I took my Adventure themed traveling quilt with me. I made the center foundation paper pieced block from a pattern called “Camping” by Quilt Art Designs, but without the road and camper van. I also paper pieced the word “Adventure.” My quilt then traveled for about a year around the United States, where 5 different quilters added sections. In return, I added sections to the other quilters’ traveling quilts, all with different themes ranging from Harry Potter to books to gnomes.

Here’s a look at my center block, with and without the word, Adventure:

Each quilter was free to add her own ideas to the quilt, keeping with my theme of travel and adventure.

  • Marianne added an inner border of foundation paper pieced mountains
  • Katie added the next border of foundation paper pieced arrows, a squirrel, a campfire, a fish, and a lantern
  • Kitty added churn dash blocks (one of my favorite blocks) to the top and bottom
  • Gigi added a mountain range in the day to the top and a mountain range in the night to the bottom
  • Jenn added the final left and right borders of trees

I received the quilt back this spring, and then decided to custom quilt it using ruler work and free-motion.

Here is a look at the finished quilting with my dog quilt inspector:

 

Completed quilting on Adventure quilt with Pepper “helping”

My sister then helped me to photograph this quilt while in central Oregon last week. It was quite windy so it was difficult to hold the quilt still and get a good picture.

We took these pictures at Balancing Rocks, which are volcanic tuffs.

Adventure quilt at Balancing Rocks with Mt. Jefferson in the background

Adventure quilt near a volcanic tuff

I really enjoyed my first experience as part of a traveling quilt/round robin group. I even got to meet one of the quilters in person in July 2019 at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, where she brought me the next quilt in line for my additions. I hope to participate in another one in the future.

Happy quilting!

Jen