Northern Lights started life as a QDAD design. When Elizabeth Hartman released Rhoda Ruth (her very first fabric collection with Kaufman) I just ADORED it. And still do. I love rich, vibrant jewel tones, and since my good friend Anne introduced me to the joys of navy as a background, I love them even more! I knew when I saw it that I just HAD to make something with Rhoda Ruth and started digging through my files. I landed on this beauty from Aug 30th. The inspiration photo was a bunch of root veggies-carrots and radishes I believe.
As you can see, the final design took quite a departure from the original. It took a couple versions to get the paper piecing just right. I REALLY wanted to have the chevron shape at the end of the point, instead of just a straight across piece. Would it have been easier? Yes. Would it have looked as stellar as it does now? Not a chance!
I wanted to try and showcase as many of the Rhoda Ruth prints as possible, for the most part because I couldn’t narrow them down much, and then paired them up with the coordinating Kona Solids.
The quilting took me a while to think of, but I finally went with a combination of freehand designs that really made the quilt pop! I changed thread for each color of stars (a lot of winding the quilt top back and forth for that!) and quited some dense straight lines in the star points and then some pebbles in the center solids for texture. The background I went with a freemotion swirl between the stars to represent the motion of the night sky, clouds and wind. Then I chose an elongated piano key for the outside edge, giving the quilt a faux border and adding some additional visual texture and interest in the solid background. This is why I have a love/hate with solids, because you can have some amazing quilting stand out but you need amazing quilting because it will stand out. Makes total sense, yes?
I love that the quilting hides the seams of the blocks so you can’t tell it’s on point. I don’t know why I love that, but I do =)
You can find the May/June issue of McCall’s quilting on Newsstands now. I really hope you give Northern Lights a go! It’s one of my favorite quilts to date =)
I am so excited to share a tutorial with you all for my newest quilt using Shannon’s line, Dryad! I met Shannon at Quilt Market last October, and I fell in love with Dryad. The colors are bold and vibrant and earthy, and some of the prints have some subtle metallic details. Shannon is also super awesome and so easy to chat with! When she asked me if I wanted to make a project with Dryad for her blog hop, of course I said yes! Fabri-Quilt sent me a Snack Pack, which contains 42-2 1/2″ wide strips of fabric. It also has a handy swatch chart on the back so you can preview the fabrics and know how many of each print are included in the pack.
I have four favorite prints (because I couldn’t pick just one). First is the main print in the cool greens, which contains bits and pieces of each prints in that colorway. The print is reminiscent of Shannon’s Scrappy Bits Applique style, which I think works really really well with the collection. It adds a lot of visual interest and pops of color to the pieces.
Next is the bright orange print I nicknamed branchlers, because they look like branches and antlers. The orange in person is the PERFECT hue of orange. Orange can be a hard color to pull off, and Shannon nailed it. NAILED IT. Also, kiddo loves it too!
The next is the text print. The text is a Robert Frost poem “Into My Own” written in Shannon’s own handwriting. At first glance the fabric looks black, but it’s really a rich deep indigo blue that sets off perfectly with the other fabrics in the line and would compliment a lot of what’s already in my stash.
Next is the leaf print with metallic accents. I couldn’t pick between the gold and green at first, but the gold won out. It makes good almost neutral compliment to all of the other fabrics and I can see myself using it in other projects as well.
Now, I am always trying to stretch my creativity when it comes to precut fabrics. I wanted to make something simple, but that so did not happen. I had a brainstorm and ran with it, and the result is a full tutorial that uses almost all of the fabrics included in the Snack Pack. The quilt can be made by either a very patient, confident beginner, or an intermediate/advanced quilter. There are two options and you can just continue with whichever option you choose, it’s very streamlined! I added a metallic ivory print from my stash, and a blue binding fabric that looked like water ripples.
Greeting from ~Enchanted Forest~
I really wanted to have the idea of leaves, and at first I was just going to cut out leaf shapes from my strip sets. Then I started thinking more about the name, Dryad, and how they are mythical creatures that you would probably find in an enchanted forest full of sunlight and unicorns. I thought to myself “If I were in an enchanted forest, I would expect it to sparkle and shine” and the idea of the 3D curved diamonds came to life. The curve of the diamonds create the leafy shape I wanted, but with an added level of sparkle. They are the magic in the forest, the sunshine through the trees, and a perfect skill builder!
I just love how Enchanted Forest turned out, and once I got going I finished in a single day. The top anyways. For quilting, I chose to double up a polycotton blend that was much too thin on its own, and then quilted it in simple straight lines that paralleled the direction of the strips. The result is a lofty warm toddler size quilt. Kiddo simple ADORES the color orange and has already confiscated this quilt. Wish me luck getting this one back to show off at Guild!
Now, before the tutorial begins, here is all the information you need to follow along with the rest of the hop and enter to win some great prizes!
For a chance to win a bundle of Dryad, sign up to follow Fabri-Quilt’s blog, Inspired by Fabric. Then leave a comment here letting me know that you are signed up! The giveaway is open until Feb 15th at 10pm Pacific Time! Winners will be randomly chosen after the blog hop ends. You can enter to win from each blog too! Isn’t that awesome! Make sure to go check them out, there are a ton of great tutorials and projects to be had. Also, Angela Walters is offering 10% off of Dryad fabrics from her shop, Quilting is My Therapy, during the hop using the promo code DRYAD. Fabri-Quilt just launched an Instagram account, so be sure to share your own Dryad posts with them! C&T is giving one lucky hopper a copy of Shannon’s book, Scrappy Bits Appliqué, and Aurifil will also be promoting Shannon’s coordinating thread line. So much great stuff happening!
And the winner is Comment #65!
chanzy01 who said”This has got to be my favorite stop on the hop so far. I’ve saved, bookmarked and pinned it so there is no chance I can loose it. I already follow Fabric Quilt and their Inspired By Fabric Blog.” Thank you chanzy01, and enjoy your fabric
Note: To see a photo or illustration larger or in more detail, click on the image and it will open that image full screen.
1. Remove and discard (2) strips from the Dryad Snack pack. Take the remaining (40) strips and randomly sew them together into pairs. Press the seams to one side, and then sew the pairs together to make (10) strip sets 8 1/2″ wide. Press in the same direction.
2. Cut the strip sets into (48) 8 1/2″ squares. You will be able to get (5) squares from a strip set.
3. Lay out the 8 1/2″ pieced squares into sets of (4), rotating the squares as shown so that the strips travel in two different directions. These pieced squares will be sewn together to make a large block with the 3-D shape in the center.
4. Take an 8 1/2″ ivory square and fold it in half wrong sides together (WST). Pin it to the right side of the first pieced square as shown, so that the raw edges match in the corner of the pieces square, and the fold is to the inside of the block. Place the second pieces square right sides together (RST) on top. Sew the pieces together down the side with the fold. Do not press yet.
5. Fold the block out of the way along the seam, so that the folded ivory piece is free. Pin and sew the other side of the folded ivory piece to a second set of pieced squares, in the same manner as before, making sure that the pieced squares are oriented as shown. Do not press yet.
6. Open the block and lay it flat, to check that the strips of the pieced squares are oriented correctly.
7. Place the two pairs of blocks right sides together, matching the side of the seam allowance with the folded ivory piece together. Finger press the seam allowances in opposite directions so that the seam nests together carefully. Make sure that the fold of the ivory piece is not caught up in the square. CLICK HERE for a handy video tutorial for this step! When you open the block it will look like this:
8. From the wrong side, gently open the seam allowance of the first two seams at the center of the block, so that the seams all spin in the same direction. Press the block flat.
9. Repeat steps 4- 8 with the remaining 8 1/2″ pieced squares, to make (12) diamond blocks total. Trim and square the blocks to 16 1/2″.
10. Take one of the 16 1/2″ diamond blocks and place it right side up on your ironing board. Gently fold one the side of the diamond in towards the center, until the side form a concave curve, usually about 1/4″-3/8″ fold will achieve this. Press the side to set the curve. Repeat for the remaining sides and the remaining diamond blocks.
11. Using a matching thread for each block, topstitch right next to the fold as shown, on the inside of the diamond, backstitching at the start and stop of the seam. Trim the threads or pull them to the back of the block to hide them.
Assembling the Quilt Top -Beginner Quilt
This section is for the beginner quilt. After completing Beginner step 10, scroll down to “Finishing the Quilt”. Skip this section if you wish to complete the Advanced quilt.
10. Sew the finished blocks together into (4) rows with (3) blocks in each row, matching the seam allowances. Press the even rows left and the odd rows right.
11. Sew the rows together, matching the seam allowances. Press the entire quilt top. The finished top will look like this:
Assembling the Quilt Top – Advanced Quilt
Alrighty folks, this is where the steps get a bit strange, but stay with me! You can already make the 3D Diamonds, so adding them into the rows just takes a little patience and longer seams. The corner curves are super easy, and the 3D geese are simple as well. Also, lots of pictures!
10. Take one of the 4 1/2″ ivory squares and fold it in WST. Pin it to the right side in the corner of a diamond block and then baste in in place. Turn the fold back like you did for the diamonds, and topstitch in place. Repeat for the remaining 4 1/2″ ivory squares and three more diamond blocks. This makes (4) corner blocks.
11. Take one of the 4 1/2″x 8 1/2″ ivory rectangles and fold it in half lengthwise WST. Pin it as shown on the right side of a corner block. Take an 8 1/2″ ivory square and fold it WST. Pin it in place as shown in the opposite corner of the same corner block.
12. Place a regular diamond block RST on top of the corner block and sew them together down the side with the folded rectangles. Press the seam allowance right and open the blocks flat.
13. Place a folded ivory rectangle and square on the regular diamond block the same as you did for the corner block, and pin them in place. Place a corner block RST on top, so that the curved square of the corner block is aligned as shown. Sew down the side. Open and press the seam allowance to the right. This is the top row.
14. Take (2) regular diamond blocks and pin a folded ivory rectangles in the top corner of each as shown. These will be the side blocks of the next row.
So far so good! This is where we will construct the 3D blocks that are between the rows. The technique is exactly the same as creating the regular diamond blocks, there is just some prep that needs to be done for each before sewing to set up the next set of 3D pieces in the rows below. The pieces tend to get a bit bulky as each diamond block is added and the rows are constructed, so take your time and use pins.
15. Take the left side block and place a folded ivory square in the bottom corner as shown. Using a pin or a removable marking pen, mark the opposite corner with the X. This is the corner that will be lined up with the other side of the first folded ivory square in the first row.
16. Take the first row and fold it back along the first seam allowance, like you did when constructing the diamond blocks. This will free up the folded ivory square and make it easier to sew the second set of blocks to it.
17. Match the raw edges of the left side block with the raw edges of the first folded ivory square in the first row. Pin, and then place a regular diamond block, now referred to as the center block, on the other side of the folded ivory square, RST with the side block. Sew down the side with the folded ivory square, as you did when constructing the diamond blocks. Open and press the seam allowance to the right.
18. Take the right side block and and place a folded ivory square in the bottom corner as shown. Using a pin or a removable marking pen, mark the opposite corner with the X. This is the corner that will be lined up with the other side of the second folded ivory square in the first row.
19. Match the raw edges of the right side block with the raw edges of the second folded ivory square in the first row. Pin, and then line up the center block on top of the other side of the folded ivory square, RST with the side block. Sew down the side with the folded ivory square. Open and press the seam allowance to the right.
Open the piece, and it will look something like this:
20. Place the two rows right sides together and pin at the seam allowances, adjusting and pinning the ivory pieces the same as when you made the diamond blocks. Sew the two rows together, open, and press towards the second row. It should look like this when you are finished:
21. Prep a second set of side blocks. Sew the blocks of the third row EXACTLY the same as you did for the second row.
23. Take the last two corner blocks and pin the final folded ivory rectangles to them as shown.
24. Using the prepped corner blocks and the remaining diamond block, sew the last row the same as the second and third rows. Press the top well, then baste the open raw edges down to the edges of the quilt top. Fold and press all of the newly formed 3D diamond and geese shapes. Topstitch them down the exact same way you did with the original diamond blocks.
Did you make it through? Then give yourselves a pat on the pack and a chocolate bar, you earned it! It’s smooth sailing from this point!
Finishing the Quilt- Both Skill Levels
Give your quilt top a final press. Piece together the backing so that it measures about 56″x 72″ (you can make it smaller, but since I work on a longarm I like to have the extra wiggle room just in case) and then layer and baste the top, batting and backing. Quilt as desired! I used parallel straight lines and left the centers black, but there is a ton of potential for custom quilting in the strips and in the 3D shapes as well. Piece together the binding strips using a diagonal seam, and then attach the binding to the quilt. Sew on a label, take lots of pretty pictures, and enjoy!
Phew! We made it through! I hope you enjoyed my stop on the hop, and if you have any questions when making your own Enchanted Forest quilt, email me or pop a question in the comments and I will help out as best I can.
When you’re done, tag me on Instagram @staceyinstitches or email me a picture of the finished quilt, I love to see what you make!
This particular quilt I designed back in June and made in August, using Tula Pink’s True Colors and Birds and Bees remix. FreeSpirit Fabrics launched a limited series of reprints in a new collection called the Timeless Collection. Select prints from select designers were included, and they asked me to come up with some designs. Spectrum Stars was by far my favorite, and I am so glad they chose it!
Introducing the Spectrum Stars Quilt!
Spectrum Stars Quilt Kit- Photo courtesy of Craftsy
Spectrum Stars is bright and cheerful, full of rainbow goodness. It makes me happy just to look at it! The background is my new favorite ‘not-white’ solid, FreeSpirit Designer Solid in Mist. It’s a warm ultralight ivory-grey blend, it works so well with so many different things, I use it all the time in my designs. I just love how all the colors play so well together between the different collections. Tula Pink certainly did a spectacular job with her True Colors! It plays well on its own, with her latest releases like Eden, or her vintage collections as you can see here.
The quilt is a large crib size, finishing at 48″x60″, and the kit gives you all the fabric you need to complete the quilt.
Photo courtesy of Craftsy
The pattern calls for paper piecing, the templates will fit on regular printer paper. If you want to make a bigger quilt, enlarging the paper foundations 150% will give you a double size (72″x 90″), and 200% will give you a large queen (96″x 120″) Of course, you will have to increase the amount of fabric you need, but you can find the True Colors and Birds and Bees reprint fabric on Craftsy, online, or at your local quilt shop. Craftsy also carries the FreeFall 108″ wide backing, which is what I used for the backing. I love Free Fall, its a lovely sateen weave with some good weight and a sleek soft feel. I never have tension issues when I use it to back my quilts.
Photo courtesy of Craftsy
I picked a stylized flames motif for the quilting, it added depth and texture without overwhelming the quilt. I used my favorite Glide off white thread, it has such a pretty shine when you get it under bright lights, but doesn’t overpower the fabric.
Spectrum Stars is one of my favorite finishes from last year. If you love it as much as I do, you can CLICK HERE to get your own Spectrum Stars kit from Craftsy. I can say I will be making this one again in a queen size for home!
Welcome to the Stacey In Stitches stop on the Good Hair Day Fabric Blog Hop! Today I will be gushing all about Kim’s new line of fabric, Good Hair Day.
When Kim showed me the line and asked if I would make something for her booth at Market, I immediately said yes! I love the sweet, sophisticated, retro look of the prints and the colors. Kim’s signature hand drawn style is so fresh and classic, and really takes the prints to the next level. Her attention to detail with color and print means that every individual pattern stands out, and all work together in a group. Paired with some of the Windham Artisan Cottons (a supple, tightly woven group of crossweaves), Good hair day is sure to make a splash in whatever project you choose to make. I couldn’t decide what to make and what prints to use, so of course I just HAD to make a little bit of everything!
First up is the quilt Baubles. This design has been hanging around in my EQ files forever, and just needed the right line to match up with it. Good Hair Day fit the bill! It reminds me of the beach, and getting your hair braided and beaded while on vacation. I quilted the background using one of my favorite fillers, which perfectly complimented the lines and baubles. The baubles themselves are made using slice and turn applique, a super simple technique suitable for beginner quilters. I even included my quilting motif in the pattern in case you get stuck for ideas.
Then, I wanted to try and capture the feeling of freshly cut and styled hair, that fresh from the salon feeling. Using faux cathedral windows to create the curved diamonds shapes , Sparkle perfectly visualizes that salon day feel. I quilted it using a large all over swirl that gives the impression of big, beautiful locks of freshly curled hair. I used a solid white background to make the diamonds pop, but using the blonde braid print instead of a solid white would work as well and give the quilt some warm depth.
When the quilts were done and bound, I found myself with a few more days before I absolutely HAD to send out the projects, so I pulled out one of my favorite retro dress patterns and got to work. I used McCalls M7081 pattern and a pair of high contrasting prints. The dress turned out amazing, and I definitely need a crinoline to go underneath.
Then I decided that a couple of bags were in order. I pulled out my copy of Sara Lawsons Big City Bags, and picked my two favorites- a the Go Go Bag and a retro style Fireside Bowl Bag. Again, I paired some contrasting and complimentary prints, and used the low volume accessories print for the lining. I love the swivel closure, and even managed to find a matching zipper for the gorgeous cherry bobby pins!
The fabric is hitting stores this month, and of COURSE I just love every little bit of it.
Each blog is giving away a Good Hair Day charm pack, and there will be two Fat Quarter Bundles up for grabs as well, on on Kim’s Blog, and one on the Windham Blog. Be sure to pop by the other participants and see what awesome projects they have to offer.
Now for the giveaway! One lucky reader will be taking home a Good Hair Day charm pack, thanks to Windham Fabrics. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post! Easy peasy! To win a second bonus entry, share this post with your friends and tell me in a SECOND comment! Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or however else you can think of to share Kim’s wonderful collection and possibly win yourself some fabric! I will leave the comment section open until the end of the blog hop- Tuesday, January the 19th, when I will draw the winner. Good luck and happy sharing!
And the Winner is: Comment #29! Janie, who said “Everything you have created with this fabric line is beautiful. Thank you for the free patterns and the giveaway.”
Thank you Janie, and thank you everyone for the wonderful compliments!
This year I had the immense pleasure of attending Quilt Market! I was able to go under my own credentials, but my good friend Kim, @iadorepattern, was also debuting her second line with Windham Fabrics at this Market, so I was able to tag along and lend her a hand as well.
There is so much to talk about I am going to have to write a Market Mini Series! There was so much to see and do, so many people to talk and connect with, it’s just too much for one post.
Overall, Market for me was a success. I learned SO MUCH!! And I even participated in my first Hurricane, so that was something.
On Thursday I met Kim at the airport and we whisked away to downtown Houston to our hotel.
Then we hurried over to the show floor. Windham was great, and set me up with a pass so I could come and go to help Kim set up her booth. In between set up, I hit up all the schoolhouses I wanted, from Kim to Tula Pink, to Cotton+Steel and Elizabeth Hartman. It was hard choosing, because there were so many great people booked at the same time. I missed out on Sara Lawson and Mandy Leins unfortunately, so many hard decisions to make! The Andover Little House on the Prairie was a ton of fun. Two of the actresses were there, and they were just hilarious! And while vintage reproductions fabrics aren’t usually my thing, they had some gorgeous quilts and the range of colors and prints is as true to the times as you can get. They put a lot of effort into making sure it was as accurate as possible, and it shows. And then of course there were these super cute dolls!
Kim’s schoolhouse was a lot of fun. Heather Givans, @crimsontate, was there to lend a hand and some laughs. She is absolutely delightful, and hilarious! I don’t know where she gets her energy from.
Kim with her Twice Tied Quilt, soon to be a free pattern on the Windham Website
Immediately following Kim was the Schoolhouse for Tula Pink! Oh man, she is so awesome to listen to! The quilts were either made by her or Julie Herman @jaybirdquilts . Chipper is probably my favorite line of hers. I love all the colors and the little chipmunk. We have a thing about chipmunks in my family, so I need to make a ton of stuff with this print!
Her new hardware is absolutely gorgeous as well. And she was super enough to sign this quilt for me, even though she is a very busy lady and had like zero time! Thank you Tula!
Then it was more set up, and then finally it was time to eat supper. But instead, I lined up for sample spree. Because why not? I sat in line with a great group of gals from Texas, and we managed to chat the 2.5 hours away until the doors opened. You might think I am crazy, but there were already people in line 3 hours before the doors opened, and I have been told to line up early becuase it gets crazy. And they weren’t kidding!
about half the line 20 min before the door opened. There were probably a couple hundred more to the left of the photo as well.
Spree was crazy! But I managed to get everything on my list thanks to a couple of super special spree angels ( who will remain nameless, but they know who they are). I completely missed the Moda booth and was a little bummed, because the new Zen Chic is so awesome, and I would have loved a bundle. But by that time my card was on fire, so I needed to stop.
All in all the first day of market was a rousing success, and the floor wasn’t even open yet! Kim’s booth was amazing and we both slept a good 8-10 hours that night, despite the blisters (note to self, bring flip flops next time!) The first aid lady was real nice though =)
For Slice of Happiness, I was inspired by a picture of a glass of lemonade. The picture reminded me of warm summer days, sitting in the backyard, sipping a cold drink and having nothing else in the world to do but relax. The 3/4 circles represent both the condensation on the glass, and the slices of citrus inside. I chose colors that both made me happy and worked well together, and I decided to use a lot of negative space to have fun playing with the quilting. The simplicity of the design works well with any quilting style-from minimalist straight lines to feathered flourished, and anywhere in between. The 3/4 circles look great as solids, but are also the perfect size to let you show off your favorite prints.
I’m not sure if you can tell from the photos, but I had the BEST time quilting this one! I used a modified motif that I call Zephyr, which is an allover design of swirls and straight lines combines. I first tried it out on Trade Winds, and then refined the design for Flashy. I have used it a few times now on other quilts (to be shown soon!) and its always different every time.
I also tried out a technique I learned from Krista Withers. I am not the best at ruler work, so I tend to freemotion most of everything. I am definitely going to be making more channels and filling them with pretty fillers in the quilts to come, it’s a great way to break up a quilt.
I chose a selection of Oakshott Cottons, sent by the amazing Michael Oakshott himself! HUGE THANK YOU! Oakshotts are a tightly woven crossweave fabric, meaning that the warp threads and weft threads are two different shades or colours, resulting in a fabric with remarkable color, shine, and drape. They are fully washable, I actually prewashed these ( and I NEVER prewash my fabric!). The fabrics are also 53″ wide, so you get way more out of them than normal solids. I absolutely adore the Oakshott cottons, and I have a small stack of cool colours I cannot wait to dig in to. When you order from the website everything is sent overnight from the UK, so it’s as close to instant fabric gratification one can get without physically leaving the house. They are absolutely worth every single penny (or, I guess, Pounds)
Those of you who are members of the Modern Quilt Guild will be able to download the pattern for free from the Community area of the MQG website. For those that aren’t, patience! The quilt pattern will be available to everyone from me in about 3-4 months (just be sure to send me a friendly reminder and I will get it up and running!) I am currently working on editing Sunshowers to be available soon.
My favorite part of the whole process was when I photographing the quilt. Little H wanted SOOOOO BAAAAAAAD to help hold the quilts, that little hand showed up in every single shot. And I love it!
I hope you all enjoy making your Slice of Happiness quilt! I love to see pictures, so make sure you tag me on Instagram @staceyinstitches or send me an email!
I am going on a Texas Adventure this week to Quilt Market, and you can follow along on Instagram #staceygoestomarket
A few weeks back I was contacted by Michael Miller Fabrics, to see if I wanted to make up a free pattern for a new line of metallic prints, “Glitz Garden”.The fabrics are gorgeous and have metallic detail, which I love. The catch was that they only wanted the “Glitz Bars” fabric in the quilt. Well, you all know how much I love a fabric challenge, so of course I said yes!
A little frame block and fussy cutting later, I came up with “Flashy”.
The name comes from the layout, to me it looks like the flash of a strobe light or set lighting. I used the metallic bars (which are evenly spaced! woot!) to create a secondary pattern. The blocks all have mitered corners, so fussy cutting is really effective.
The quilting for this one gave me pause. I was determined to do an all over swirl, but Fashy was made when I was still learning the art of the long arm, and swirls were getting a little….boring. It needed something to break the swirls up and compliment all the striaght lines. So, add some straight line quilting!
This was the first quilt where I combined the swirls and straight lines, the motif I used in my Trade Winds quilt, only these lines went vertical instead of horizontal. It was liberating and a lot of fun. I used a white Aurifil thread, and it hides well over the colored fabric.
The metallic details in the Glitz Bars are suprisingly soft and easy to sew with. The quilt comes together fast ( I made most of it at my frind Kristie’s house during one of our late night sewathons) and the white space means there are tons of quitling options, from simple to sublime.
You won’t find it in any quilt shop, or at the bookstore, or online.
Back in October of 2013, I read an amazing blog post about one bloggers experience writing her first book. I had been sketching and playing with ideas for a while, and I was so inspired that I finally wrote up a proposal and submitted it to a publisher. The Aquisitions Editor at the company was wonderful. She was encouraging, friendly, and very helpful. She took my proposal to the submissions team, and came back with some suggestions and changes. More designs, and a change of topic. My first idea, while solid, was too niche. They asked if I could adjust the topic. So I did. After a month of back and forth, I has a contract, a book to write and 15 quilts to make. In 6 months. It was a very short time, given that most books are given 12-18 months for a deadline. But I had lots of support, lots of energy, and agreed.
Fast forward to May 2014. My manuscript was done, the quilts were in the binding stages, and I had planned my trip to bring everything to the publisher and finally meet everyone in person. My deadline had come, and I had met it.
And then I got the phone call.
During the months that I had been busy writing, sewing, writing, and sewing some more, the company had been purchased by a larger book publisher. Which meant changes to the direction of the company, replacement of almost all of the upper management , and a slash to the number titles being produced that year. Unfortunately, my book did not fit with the new image and direction of the company. It was cut from production.
Sitting on the other end of the line, trying to stay positive and keep the frustration, confusion, and sadness out of my voice was one of the most difficult things I have done as a quilter. Fortunately, the call came during one of the rare visits I am able to have with my grandparents. My Grandma, who taught me to quilt and encouraged me to try anything and everything, stood there and held me as I cried.
My son came running over at that moment and gave me a huge hug. And just like that, tears turned to smiles. We started brainstorming about what I was going to do with 15 full sized quilts.
My awesome Grandparents and little H
It still took time to regain some of my confidence. Although intellectually I knew it was nothing personal, because we put so much of ourselves into our craft as quilters, it was hard not to sometimes think why wasn’t I good enough. It was when I started actively looking for the silver lining that must be there somewhere that I started to really grow as a quilter and a designer. During my writing period, I was put into contact with several fabric companies. I reached out to them again, this time asking about designing the free projects used to promote new fabric lines. I also started shopping the patterns around individually and basically cold calling other fabric companies about designing for them as well. It was a HUGE learning curve. I suddenly found myself awash in technical writing, trying to produce professional quality illustrations and drawings, and full scale templates from scratch. I purchased the Adobe Creative Suite and learned to use Illustrator and InDesign. Am still learning to use them. And along the way, I found my creative voice.
A huge boost to my personal growth was joining the Quilt Design a Day facebook group, and meeting a wonderful group of creative, talented, like minded individuals. On a bid for advice, I opened a group chat with four other individuals from QDAD. That chat group now has almost 51,000 messages in it between the five of us. Everything from technical support to just shooting the breeze, we have covered almost everything in that chat. We have all gotten to know each other very well, and are looking forward to finally meeting at Quiltcon this year. I have been able to build a good reputation with the fabric companies- you can find many free patterns on the affiliate sites. Just look under the Free Patterns on my menu bar. And I have a few patterns coming out in magazines throughout the year.
I have been able to pull myself back together, but I never did get the chance to properly thank those who were a part of the process when I wrote my book. I want to take the time to do this now.
My wonderful husband for his unwavering support, taking care of the laundry and cooking, and reminding me to eat and sleep on occasion.
My grandmother for teaching me to quilt, and being the first person to tell me there are more ways than the “right” way to sew something.
My parents for being my biggest fans, cheerleaders, babysitters, and personal PR reps. (If a strange lady on the street hits you in the face with a quilting magazine, its probably my mom!)
Holly Broadland, Felicity Ronaghan, Amy Dame, Matt Wheeler, Stacey Murton, and Arita Rai, for making quilts and testing out my patterns and providing some very valuable support and feedback. I never would have made my deadline without all your help!
Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters, for taking on the huge amount of quilting in such a short time, being there last minute when I really needed it, and continuing to be there for me.
Finally, my son, who inspires me so much I can’t put it into words.
Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your love and support and inspiration on this journey.
I also wanted to pay back the support and sponsorship shown to me by Michael Miller Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, and Warm Company. They provided most of the materials for the book quilts. So I have decided that any quilt made with the sponsored materials will be a FREE PATTERN. I will be releasing them throughout the year. The first will be today.
Linked In- Fabric provided by Michael Miller Fabrics, Batting from the Warm Company
Linked In is a beginner friendly quilt that uses rotation in the blocks to create the interlocking squares. I love interlocking blocks and was so happy to be able to come up with my own.
Quilting by Joan Nicholson of Maple Leaf Quilters
The pattern is available for free in my Craftsy Shop. I am working on a platform for patterns here on the blog, but for now, enjoy! Just CLICK HERE.
Thank you to all of you as well, for reading along with me over the years. I look forward to the next few, they are going to be awesome!
Windham Fabrics blog is currently having a giveaway with the new Sarah Fielke collection Snippits. I love the Snippits collection, and had the opportunity to design not one, but TWO lovely quilts that are going to be free patterns on the Windham Website.
The first, “A Great Notion” is available soon! I have links to each of my free and off site patterns in the menu bar above under Free Patterns.
Back in July, Amy@Badskirt posted in the QDAD Facebook group about the Cirrus Solids BOM Challenge hosted by Cloud 9 Fabrics, to introduce their new line of solid fabrics. Cirrus solids are a soft, supple and vibrant line of chambray weight cross woven yarn-dyed solids. There are 21 hues in the collection, and hopefully they will be adding more! The fabrics are 100% certified organic and the dyes are low impact, so not only are they gorgeous, they are ecologically responsible. So naturally the more you have the better it is for the environment, right? I am always up for a challenge, so I started playing with color combinations and shapes. Then life happened, and I had to step away for a while.
About a month later I had a brainstorm, and sketched out some block ideas on a sketch pad I keep on my nightstand (you never know when inspiration will hit). I drafted out a few blocks and plugged in some fabrics.
There are so many variations and options with this block. It creates unique shapes when placed on point or horizontally. You can mirror the blocks, play with the color, whatever you want! Super versatile, and you know how I love versatile!
You can download the pattern and instructions HERE on Cloud 9’s blog. The instructions include yardage to make a 16 block quilt. Below are some of the variations I came up with. You will need a few more than 16 block
I can wait to make something with my bundle of Cirrus Solids! I hope you all take the time to enter the challenge! The entries are rolling, which means your block could be picked any time, you don’t have to enter every month. You can also check out the past challenge winners here and here!
A big thank you to Cloud 9 for making this a great challenge!