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

Tula Pink Postcard Swap

Hello everyone!

Recently, I participated in a Tula Pink themed postcard swap. The only restriction was that we could only use Tula Pink fabrics. We could use any fabric technique to make the card.

Postcard swaps are really fun to join because they are such quick and easy projects, and you don’t have a long turn around time like you do with a mini quilt swap.

I decided to make a Tabby Road themed postcard for my secret partner, using a mix of foundation paper piecing, traditional piecing, and applique.

I made the kitty applique using 2 pieces of Tabby Road in different colorways and sewing them together. It was a technique that I wanted to try, and I think it added some pizazz to the postcard.

Under the striped fabric in the background, I did stitch in a piece of the selvage from Tabby Road, fluffiness included!

I made a little quilt sandwich, using the postcard top and a stabilizer in the middle. I quilted around the kitty and in the background before attaching the backing.

I used a satin-stitch to go around the postcard two times to secure it completely to the inner stabilizer as well as the light-colored fabric on the back. You can learn more about my postcard technique by reading my free Fabric Postcard Tutorial.

The Tabby Road postcard that I made for my partner!

In return, I received a wonderful EPP postcard from Maureen (@sewhappyquilting), filled with a rainbow of Tula Pink fabrics. These hexies are tiny, just 1/2 inches! I really love it.

The postcard I received! So beautiful!

Maureen mailed this postcard as-is with a stamp on the back through the USPS, and it arrived just fine. If this method makes you nervous, you can always send your postcard in an envelope. It may cost an extra stamp, but it will also be less likely to get damaged.

These bright postcards are a sure way to brighten up someone’s day. I think I’ll make a few more to mail out as random surprises! I’m also thinking of hosting a fabric postcard swap sometime this year?? Would you be interested??

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

Historic Ice Storm

In Oregon, we had a pretty wild Valentine’s Day weekend with an historic ice storm for some people and snow for others. At my house, we didn’t receive much snow, maybe 1/4 of an inch, but we were hit hard with the ice storm.

We had about 1-1/2 inches of ice accumulating over a short period of time, which caused major power disruptions and tons of damage to trees in the area.

During the ice storm, we heard the cracking, creaking, and falling of tree limbs and whole trees constantly over several days. We saw tree branches explode, just literally fall to pieces in front of us. With other trees, it looked like the ice covered limbs shrank back into themselves before cracking and falling under the weight. The eerie popping noises spooked our dog and kept us nervously looking out the window to see if one of our trees or a neighbor’s tree fell.

We lost 2 large trees in our front yard and one flowering plum tree in the backyard. One of the front yard trees dropped a large limb on our car. Fortunately, the thick ice spared the car major damage, and we saw just minor denting after the ice melted.

Our large maple in the backyard took heavy damage and will need an arborist to remove it later this year. We had a decorative juniper bush, about 20 feet tall, topple over. We cut the top 10 feet off and replanted it, hoping that the roots will take to the earth again.

After a few hours of ice, this is what our front street looked like:

Trees with ice damage

Many of the trees in the photo above took severe damage and either fell over during the storm or had to be removed. One branch fell on the neighbor’s house and punctured the roof.

Ice storm hits these trees hard

In our backyard, my beautiful flowering plum tree took heavy damage. Most of the major limbs snapped and fell during the storm.

Plum tree, mid ice storm

Limbs continued to snap and break for a few days after the freezing rain stopped falling. I will replant something beautiful where the plum once stood.

Plum tree, after (February 2021 ice storm) and before (spring 2020)

The ice was very beautiful, in its own way. It made beautiful patterns and shapes in the bushes, grass, and objects on my patio.

Ice coats a bush in my backyard
Icicles dripping off a hanging basket frame

I wouldn’t want to sit in this chair during my lunch break. Brrrr!!

Ice coats a patio chair

Before the COVID pandemic, my sister gave me a fun garden decoration for Christmas. It is a rooster made from metal scraps. He’s now become the recipient of many jokes and curses in the past year, including this ice storm. Let’s all blame him, ha, ha!

Ice coated “Corona” rooster

I didn’t get any sewing accomplished in the past two weeks, outside from a little English paper piecing. Now that the ice is melted and we’ve cleaned up most of the fallen debris, I plan to get back to some quilting.

Stay safe out there!

~Jen

Sea Glass BOM – We Have a Quilt Top!

Hi everyone,

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!

The quilt inspector happily rearranges blocks!

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.

Piecing blocks into rows, Sea Glass BOM

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:

Sea Glass BOM, top without the 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.

Happy quilting!

~Jen

Sea Glass BOM, Months 11 and 12

Happy Friday, everyone!

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.

Month 11 blocks in the Sea Glass BOM

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.

Assorted flying geese but the final 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.

Happy quilting!

~Jen

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

Welcome 2021!

On New Year’s Eve, my family and I stayed home as we usually do, played board games, and made homemade pizza for dinner. We stayed up until midnight to celebrate the official kicking of 2020 to the curb. We saw fireworks light up the sky as neighbors welcomed the new year. I feel positive that this year will turn things around for everyone, and that we’ll finally see Covid lose its grip as the months go by. I want my son to be able to enjoy some normal high school times and make memories.

I have a few goals for this year, not time-specific. The first is to spend more time in nature. We did quite a bit of hiking last year, and I want to continue doing so.

Here’s a picture from Ecola State Park with Haystack Rock in the background at Cannon Beach (aka “The Goonies” beach) in Oregon just days before the new year. We took the dog and had a lovely short hike and picnic lunch.

My second goal is to release and let go of stuff. I have way too much stuff in the house so I’m committing to reducing and donating items each week.

My third goal is to sew a little each day, even 5 minutes. I want to finish WIPs that have been languishing for far too long! The first one in the queue is to add the binding to my Tula Pink 100 Modern Blocks quilt. The second one is to finish my Seaglass BOM, which I just received the final blocks and setting layout this week.

My word for the year is serenity. I want to live it, breath it, be it.

Do you have any goals, quilting related or otherwise?

Happy quilting,

~Jen

Sea Glass BOM, Month 10

Hi everyone,

I’m playing a bit of catch-up on my Sea Glass block-of-the-month project. I finished the block for month 10 several weeks ago, but haven’t had a chance to blog about it. If you are new to my blog, this BOM is by Fig Tree & Co, and sign-ups were last year. I don’t know if this BOM will run again in the future or if the pattern will be available to everyone at the end.

I continue to really enjoy working with this soothing color palette each month, and I’m a bit sad that we only have 2 months to go! I’m not sure if month 12 will contain finishing instructions only or if that month will also include blocks.

For month 10, our block is called Water Lily. This block stitched together very quickly!

Seaglass BOM, Month 10

We’re getting very close to the end of the program, and I just received my fabrics and pattern for month 11. I will stitch those blocks up this weekend as well as catch up on my flying geese for the sawtooth border.

Happy sewing!

Jen