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

Making a Migraine Relief Headband: A Free Tutorial

Image

Hi everyone,

I’ve experienced migraine headaches my entire life. I’ve tried all sorts of remedies, and I do have prescription medicine to help manage the pain.

I’ve told my husband many times that I wished there was some type of headache wrap that I could wear because I tend to use my hands to press against my forehead for some relief. My hands get tired after a few minutes, ugh!

So, why not make something myself? Although this migraine relief headband won’t cure your achy head, it might help relieve the pain.

Supplies

  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Knit or other stretchy fabric
  • A sewing machine needle suitable for sewing on knit fabric
  • Fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape

Migraine Relief Headband Tutorial

  • Use the measuring tape to measure your head, centering the tape in the middle of your forehead.
  • Subtract 2-inches from the measurement to get your headband length.
  • Cut a piece of fabric to your headband length by 5-inches wide. For example, my head measured at 20-inches. I use a piece of knit fabric that is 18-inches long by 5-inches wide.
  • Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, and hold together with clips or pins.

Fold headband in half, right sides together

  • Sew the long edge using a 1/4-inch seam. Be sure to back stitch at both ends. I like to use a stiletto to help feed the fabric through the machine.
  • Fold one short edge over, wrong sides together.
  • Sew the short edge with a 1/4-inch seam. You only need to fold this seam once.

Fold one short side, wrong sides together

  • Turn the headband inside out. The right side of the fabric should now be on the outside.
  • Insert the raw short edge into the sewn short edge, about 1/4-inch. Use clips to hold the ends together.
  • Sew the two short edges together along the earlier stitching line, and remember to back stitch. You can use the headband now or go to the next step.

Tuck in the raw edge

  • Fold the stitched short seam in half, right sides together.
  • Stitch using a 1/4-inch seam. I like this final step because it gives the headband a nice finish.

Back of headband, short seam folded in half and sewn

Your headband is now finished and ready to wear! It should fit tightly against your forehead so that the compression offers a little relief.

A Completed Headband!

If you do not have allergies to fragrances, you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to the headband.

I’m making a few of these headbands using different knit prints because they can also be used for exercise or hiking headbands. My bangs continue to grow longer and longer during COVID-19, and I’ve decided to let my hair grow out a bit before visiting my hairdresser. These headbands will come in handy during this awkward hair phase!

Happy sewing and I hope these headbands help with your migraine pain.

Best,

Jen

Make a Wish Postcards for SOQS + A Fabulous Coupon for Cricut Maker Machine

Hi everyone!

Today, I’m excited to share with you the 2 postcards that I made for the Make a Wish Postcard challenge for the 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, now a re-imagined as a virtual show. I’m also very happy to share a special price and some coupon codes for the Cricut Maker machine, which you can use with fabric!

The Cricuit Maker machine normally retails for $329-$369, depending on options. However, this weekend through May 31st, you can get one for $299! You can also use the coupon code, JUNSHIP, to get free shipping through June. If you already have a Cricuit machine, you can get 40% off all materials through June 2nd. If you purchase using one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission, which I use to offset the cost of fees for running this blog.

Are you ready to see my 2020 SOQS postcards? I support the show every year by making at least one postcard using the challenge fabric.

This year, the challenge fabric was from Elizabeth Hartman.

Challenge fabric for Wish Upon a Card 2020

For my first card, I used the Flame fabric by incorporating it into bird legs and the Meringue fabric by turning it into a bird’s eye. The remaining solid fabrics are by Cherrywood. I added hand embroidery elements, and added rose gold wire detail to the bird’s head. I called this postcard, “Tall Bird.”

“Tall Bird” Postcard for 2020 Wish Upon a Card

For my second card, I decided to make an alpaca based on a photo that I took at last year’s quilt show while staying at the Sisters Best Western. The hotel replaced their llama herd with some young alpacas. One alpaca, in particular, gave me a charming side grin that I wanted to capture.

Designing an Alpaca Postcard

I started the process by printing 2 versions of my photo: a close-up and a full body. I traced the close-up of the alpaca face onto paper to make my pattern. I used a light table and created reverse applique pattern pieces.

The background of the card is from 3 different green batik prints, pieced together. The alpaca body is made from wool felt with machine and hand embroidered details. I used the Meringue challenge fabric as flowers in the background, along with some orange embroidered flowers.

I called this card, “Happy Alpaca!”

“Happy Alpaca” Postcard for the 2020 Wish Upon a Card challenge

Although neither of my cards won a prize in the challenge, they will both be available for sale during the 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show virtual event. I’m not sure if they were selected for framing or matting, so I’ll find out along with you! I may even bid on my open cards, lol.

I really enjoy supporting the show by making these cards, and I purchase cards each year.

Postcards for the 2020 Wish Upon a Card Challenge

Did you make a challenge card this year? I’d love to see it!

Happy quilting!

~Jen

2020 Mini Series SAL – Finished Project Reveal!

Hi everyone,

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

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

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

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

Quilting my “skinny mini”

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

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

Mini Series SAL Finished Project, A Skinny Mini!

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

Happy quilting,

~Jen

Making a Ski Patrol Themed Pillow, Part 1

Hi everyone,

My nephew is graduating from high school this June and, due to the COVID-19 crisis, graduation will be a bit different from normal. Only the student and 2 guests can attend a sort of “drive-through” graduation ceremony.

I decided to make him a special gift that he can take with him to college. He is an avid skier, and a member of ski patrol. What better gift than a ski patrol themed item? Initially, I thought about making a quilt, but I opted to go for a pillow instead mostly so that I could make the item in time to mail it to him for graduation.

For the pillow front, I created the classic ski patrol logo, which is a cross shape. I made the cross from Kona cotton in Cardinal, and the block background is Kona cotton in white.

Ski Patrol block dimensions

Once I stitched these units together, I had an 10.5-inch unfinished block.

Ski Patrol cross block

My pillow form is 18-inches, so I added borders to expand the size of the block. I used a fun ski lift themed fabric from Dear Stella that I had in my stash. I think the fabric line was called, “North Pole After Dark.” I just love those little ski lifts and mountains!

Ski Patrol block with borders

This ski patrol block will become the pillow front. I’m working on a custom block for the pillow back. Once I have the back block assembled, the pillow should come together pretty quickly.

In my next post, I’ll share the special block that I designed for the back.

Happy quilting!

~Jen

 

A Finished Tula Pink Jelly Roll Rug!

Hi everyone,

In my post yesterday, I talked about making my first jelly roll rug using the HomeMade fabric line by Tula Pink.

I finished the rug over the weekend, and we had a little bit of sunshine yesterday so I could get some outdoor pictures at lunch.

I absolutely love how this rug turned out! I didn’t experience any waviness or warping that can happen with this rug. I think it may be because my Bernina sits in a cabinet so I have a large, flat surface to support the weight of the rug as I stitch the rope coil rows together. I stitched slowly and carefully, using my widest zigzag stitch with Aurifil 50 weight thread.

I didn’t do any regular pressing, except for pressing each of the beginning tight corners. Those early tight corners were the hardest part for me! I did get a slight bit of puckering, but the pattern did indicate to expect that to happen.

Here’s a look at the finished rug!

 

My completed Tula Pink jelly roll rug!

Of course, as I was taking this picture, my quilt inspector, Cow, came sauntering out from under a bush where he had been napping. He gave the rug a thorough cat scan!

Cow gives the jelly roll rug a cat scan!

I brought the rug back inside where my best girl, Pepper, sat on it. She is a 65-pound mixed shepherd breed dog for scale.

Pepper likes the rug!

I now have the rug in my quilting room. I need to clean up some of my sewing chaos before taking a picture!

I hope that you all have a great day!

Happy quilting,

Jen

Quilters for Koalas Mini Quilt Swap

Hi everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Koala that I made for my partner

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

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

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

Koala mini quilt that I received in the swap

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

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

Enjoy,

~Jen

Making Masks for COVID-19

Hello everyone,

Yesterday, I had a phone call with my sister. She is a nurse practitioner who works in a cancer clinic. They are out of face masks, and they are not expected to get any more for a while. She has to treat patients without a mask.

I offered to make her some fabric masks. While they are not as effective as medical grade masks, they are better than nothing.

She asked for 2-layer masks in light colors. The light color allows her to see easily any foreign material that may have splattered onto the mask.

I’m using the Deaconess face mask pattern. Click the link to see printed instructions as well as a video on how to make the masks.

If you want to help make face masks, check with your local hospitals and clinics first. Not all places want homemade face masks. You can also check Million Masks A Day, organized by Just Wanna Quilt, for a list of places accepting homemade mask donations.

After work yesterday, I made 8 face masks, and I will mail those mails out today. I plan to make more each day this week. Each mask takes about 15 minutes to make.

The Deaconess face mask pattern uses double-layered fabric and elastic bands. They are triple pleated. I used batik fabric because it has a denser weave than regular quilting cotton. These face masks are double-stitched so they will hold up well to multiple washings. I made 7 masks with elastic and 1 mask with ties. My sister is going to let me know which style she prefers.

Here’s a look at the masks that I made:

My Tula Kitty Modeling a Homemade Face Mask

Homemade masks with elastic bands

Homemade masks: 1 with elastic and 1 with ties

Stay safe and happy quilting!

~Jen

Double Struck Star Quilt

Hi everyone,

I finished this fun modern quilt earlier this year called Double Struck Star by Krista Moser of The Quilted Life.

This quilt has an off-set, partial star shape, with each of its three star points featuring colorful fabrics. I selected some small-scale modern prints and solids to create my star points in greens, oranges, and turquoises.

The background triangles are from five different low-volume fabrics and one darker gray fabric. I used the same gray fabric for the inner star shadow border and the binding fabric.

Here’s a look at my fabric selections:

star_struck_fabrics

Fabric Selections for Double Struck Star

I cut and pieced all my colorful triangles first and then added them to my design wall, tweaking a few here and there. I made a few fabric substitutions because some of the prints had the wrong scale or wrong shade in my initial fabric pull.

I did follow the pattern recommendation to have more of the lighter triangles towards the middle of the star with the darker triangles radiating out towards the star points.

star_struck_design_wall

Double Struck Star points on design wall

Once I was satisfied with the colorful triangles, I pieced the neutral triangles. The triangles with the gray star shadow were a little tricky, but I used my pins liberally to ensure the seams matched.

For quilting, I used Glide in Cool Grey 3 with free-motion swirls in the colorful triangles. I used the same thread color in the neutral triangles, but I experimented using different free-motion designs and ruler work in each of the triangles.

star_struck_quilting

Quilting the Double Struck Star Quilt

For the binding, I used the dark gray fabric and added a very small color-pop section using left over pieces from the colorful triangles.

I recruited my hubby to hold the quilt while I took pictures of it at a local park earlier this year.

star_struck_finished1

Completed Double Struck Star Quilt

star_struck_finished2

Close-Up of Completed Double Struck Star Quilt

Isn’t this a cheerful quilt? It reminds me of all the beautiful spring flowers emerging after a cold, rainy winter!

Happy quilting!

~Jen

Introducing the Swatch Service from The Confident Stitch

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited to share with you a fun new quarterly swatch service program from a wonderful modern quilt store, The Confident Stitch!

When you sign-up for this program, you can choose to receive from one or more different swatch card options including Quilting Cottons, Garment Fabrics (Warm Tones), and Garment Fabrics (Cool Tones). The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that I earn a small commission. However, I only endorse quilting products that I use myself and find valuable.

Each swatch card subscription features 8 fabric samples and includes delivery for just $13 plus a special discount code for all of the featured fabrics!

The advantage of having a swatch card for quilters is that you can see and feel the fabrics in person before ordering larger cuts of fabric. When you are matching fabrics for a quilt project, it is so important to be able to see the exact shades and hues in the fabric. I also like to feel the hand of a fabric before purchasing, and each 3-inch by 2-inch swatch is large enough to satisfy our tactile need for fabric petting!

The Spring 2020 swatch cards are shipping now. I really love the bright modern fabrics featured this month for quilters.

Outside of the Swatch Card

The outside portion of the card has a note about Kate McIvor, founder and owner of The Confident Stitch. See the color wall on display with the cute dachshund pillow? I made that pillow as a sample for the shop!

Swatch Service, Quilting Cottons, Outside of Card

Inside of the Swatch Card

You’ll find all the quilty goodness on the inside! Each card comes with a brief description, describing the theme of this quarter’s fabric swatches. For this quarter, the theme is “London in the 1960’s.” Each individual fabric swatch is 3-inches by 2-inches. The fabric designers featured this month include Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink, Cotton + Steel, Carolyn Friedlander, Ruby Star Society, and Art Gallery Fabrics.

You will also receive a special discount code for all the fabrics listed in the swatch card. This discount is only available to swatch card subscribers!

Swatch Service, Quilting Cottons, Inside of Card

Peek Under Each Fabric

After you have lovingly petted each fabric swatch, lift it up for a description and pricing of each fabric.

Swatch Service, Quilting Cottons, Close-Up

Are you ready to subscribe? Hope on over to The Confident Stitch and sign-up today! Let me know in the comments if you’ve joined! I can’t wait to see the projects that you create using these fabrics.

Happy quilting,

~Jen