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

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

Sea Glass Quilt Finished

Hi everyone,

I took my completed Sea Glass quilt to the ocean for a few pictures several weekends ago. It was beautiful weather, although the wind made it pretty tricky to get good pictures. We rented a yurt for camping and had a great time! We were so glad to be in a yurt instead of our tent because it did get below freezing at night. Brrr!

I did free-motion quilting using Glide thread in Cool Mint. I used large, open swirls that reminded me of the beach. For the backing, I used Luxe Cuddle in Seal Aqua Sea. My HQ Avante handled the cuddle backing perfectly!

Free-Motion Quilting on My Sea Glass Quilt

For binding, I opted to use a fabric that wasn’t part of the BOM. I had some Zuma High Tides in Aquamarine by Tula Pink in my stash that complements the blues and turquoises in the quilt. I think it really accents and frames the quilt very nicely. Those little anchors are too cute!

Sea Glass Binding

I did machine stitch the binding to both the front and the back because it is pretty difficult to hand sew through the cuddle fabric. I knew that this quilt was going on a bed so I also liked the extra durability of machine stitching.

Here’s a look at the completed quilt with the Pacific Ocean in the background:

Completed Sea Glass Quilt at the Ocean

We found some interesting cliffs a little farther down the coast so I asked my hubby and son climb up on a log to hold the quilt for a picture. It really helps having a teen who is now taller than me!

Sea Glass Quilt Near Cliffs

I have a full size futon bed in my guest room so this quilt will make a nice covering. The luxe cuddle backing is so soft and feels so good against your skin. I’m sure my guest (aka my sister) will love sleeping under this quilt during a future visit.

This Sea Glass quilt finish is the result of a year long block-of-the-month program through Fig Tree & Co. Although the BOM program is over, you may be able to purchase a pattern on their website.

I really enjoyed making a quilt with this soothing color palette, and I’m really glad to have another WIP completed!

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

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