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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 5

Hi everyone,

Surprisingly, this week is going by fast for me. I’m balancing working from home with helping my teen with his schooling from home, and fitting in some sewing each evening. I’m also trying to keep anxiety feelings at bay with regular exercise, mostly in the form of long walks with my dog.

The block in our sew-along this week is one of my favorites. It is called Stretched Geese. I really like any form of the flying geese block, and this one is really fun!

This is my 4-inch block in progress:

Stretched Geese block during construction

I decided to alter the block slightly by adding little border strips to the sides of the flying geese using my one print fabric from Tula Pink. I’m working in a little bit of this fabric into each block.

Stretched Geese block, slightly modified

I love my growing group of little blocks! The beachy feel of the fabrics is quite soothing.

Mini Series SAL blocks, weeks 1 to 5

We now have 3 official blocks left to make in the SAL, plus I need to make the bonus block.

On one of my dog walks this week, I saw one of my favorite flowers, lupine, starting to bloom. Isn’t it pretty?

I just realized that the colors in my lupine photo below match the fabric colors in my SAL blocks! What a happy coincidence.

Lupine starting to bloom

I hope you are all staying healthy and making a little time to work on sewing projects other than face masks.

Take care!

~Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Week 4

Hi everyone,

The little block for this week is called Hexagon Step. This is another block that took about 2 hours to sew together.

When I first saw the block, it reminded me of radiation danger signs!

Hexagon Step Pattern cover

I decided to change up the look by not alternating my color strips with background strips in each row. Instead, I used full color row around the hexagon shape and then followed it with a full row of the background fabric.

Here’s a look at my Hexagon Step block with one of my antique toy sewing machines. Isn’t the little seahorse cute?

My Hexagon Step block with antique toy sewing machine

I’m enjoying piecing these little blocks each week. There are small but satisfying in these unusual times. We have four more blocks left to sew in the SAL, not counting the bonus block, and then we have a 2 week window to make and finish a project using the blocks.

Here’s a look at my first four blocks together:

Mini Series SAL blocks 1-4

Next week, I’ll post my Stretched Geese block for week 5.

Take care and happy quilting!

~Jen