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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
After I finished the applique work, I removed all of the machine basting stitches. Here’s a look at the completed quilt flimsy:
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.
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?
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.
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:
Hmm, I thought that Mr. Scarecrow could use a little friend so I made him one!
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.
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!
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!
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:
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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:
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.
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!
If you’ve been following me during the past year, you know that I’ve been working on a BOM by Fig Tree called Sea Glass. This BOM uses a soothing palette of sea glass: greens, blues, and creams.
In January, we received our final BOM packet to not only complete the blocks for month 12, but we also received the final setting instructions for the quilt. So exciting!
When I sew blocks together to form a quilt top, I like to arrange them all first and then take a picture so that I can remember the order in case things get messed up. Sometimes I put the blocks away into a WIP pile, and sometimes my little inspector likes to do a little rearranging!
I then sew my blocks together into rows, one at a time. I press each row carefully and remove stray threads. I like to use Clover Patchwork Glass Head pins because they are heat resistant and glide through the fabric easily.
I also use a fine mist spray bottle with plain water and a hot iron for pressing. I do not use water in my iron to avoid potential issues like rust stains. Plus, I do foundation paper piecing often and steam is a big no-no because it shrinks the paper.
The Sea Glass quilt has, what I call, “feature” blocks and “spacer” blocks. The spacer blocks form a beautiful Irish chain with subtle variations between a light green color and a light aqua color. The feature blocks are all different, usually 2 per month during the BOM. They use deeper hues of blues, aquas, and greens, like beautiful sea glass found on the beach.
Here’s a look at the quilt with all the rows sewn together, but before I added any borders:
The final quilt layout contains 3 borders. The first border consists of cream-colored squares that were leftover pieces from the feature blocks. The second border uses the sawtooth flying geese units that we sewed at various stages during the BOM. The third and final border uses long pieces of the cream colored background. The quilt is roughly 72″ x 72″ before quilting.
It’s been so rainy here lately that it’s been very difficult to get a good picture of the completed quilt flimsy (top), but we finally got a bit of afternoon sunshine yesterday.
In this first picture, my husband is holding the quilt with his arms as wide as he could go!
In this second picture, I’m standing on a little ladder while my teen took the picture. The quilt is dancing in the breeze, and we can’t catch a moment of still air. Oh, the problems of taking quilt pics “in the wild!” I do like how the afternoon sun shines through the quilt, illuminating the sea glass colors.
I haven’t yet decided on quilting. I plan to use this quilt on the bed in my guest bedroom so I’m leaning towards free-hand edge-to-edge quilting rather than custom quilting.
I also plan to back it using minky fabric, possibly this Cuddle in Turquoise. It will so soft and comforting!
With a little luck, I’ll have time to quilt it this weekend.
This week seemed very long for some reason. Cabin fever, I suppose. We had a little snow flurry earlier in the week, giving us a skiff of snow where it was pretty to watch the fluffy flakes falling from the sky, but not enough to cause any problems. It melted within hours, and the dog loved it!
For the Sea Glass BOM by Fig Tree, I finished my month 11 blocks in early December and my month 12 blocks in early January.
For month 11, we made 4 total blocks using 2 similar but slightly different settings. The blocks on the left in the picture are called Sea Urchin and the blocks on the right are called Barnacle Star.
I love how the blues just sparkle and pop in these blocks!
I also finished all my flying geese for the sawtooth border. As of month 11, the exact layout is still a mystery.
For month 12, we made 2 blocks called Sea Sparkle. These blocks are nearly identical with the exception of the placement of the blue half-square triangles.
It’s hard to believe that we have completed all the blocks in this wonderful BOM! We received the final layout instructions with block 12 so I’ve been working on piecing my quilt top together the past several weeks. The finished quilt top has 3 different borders, one using the flying geese mentioned above.
In my next post, I’ll show you my quilt assembly process and the completed quilt flimsy. I’ve been waiting for some non-rainy weather to get a decent pic of the quilt outside with my photography assistants, and I think this afternoon just might work.
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.
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.
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!
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!