UFOs. Does the mere mention of UFOs bring up visions of spacecrafts and beings from another galaxy? A favorite sci-fi movie? The utterance of “UFO” in the quilting community may leave you with a sigh… More
What’s the saying, “better late than never”? That applies to this post! The timing of my blogpost has nothing to do with my enthusiasm for this pattern or quilt. I finished the quilt top MONTHS ago, but I’m just now getting around to showing the final project.
In the spring of 2021, I was asked by Karen, http://www.bloomingpoppies.net to test this pattern, the Urban Light Quilt. When I saw her mock-ups and how the color choices influenced the overall design, I knew immediately I wanted to make this. Not to mention, just wanting to work with a designer who loves improvisation, like I do.
I pulled from my fabric stash and settled on this Catch & Release collection by Art Gallery Fabrics. More than 2 years ago, I sewed for the AGF Look Book & Blog party, and at the time I was so obsessed with the designs, I purchased several yards of each fabric after the maker projects were done. I’ve hoarded it a bit over the past couple years, but finding ways to incorporate it into new quilts has been nice.
The Urban Light Quilt comes in 5 sizes, I made the large throw. One thing to note about this quilt is that the blocks are large, they repeat and make for a fast finish. The cutting instructions are very easy to follow and if my memory serves me correctly, I was able to put this together in just a couple days. I preface that with the reality that I have few distractions and blocks of time each day to sew. In any case, it’s not a pattern that will take much time given the design and overall block size.
There are traditional elements like flying geese in this design. I love the no-waste approach. I did incorporate text fabric in my quilt and while some of it “reads” correct, directionally, I decided to not be too fussy about the blocks individually. With this particular print, the text is multi-directional on it’s own, so there didn’t seem to be an “up” distinction anyway. Also, with a square quilt, who even knows which direction it will be used on any given day. It all works out; don’t sweat it.
Aren’t the fish & florals just a perfect nod to summer? I think they are so sweet. There’s something whimsical about it that made me look forward to summer days.
This block, on its own, would make a beautiful pillow cover to accompany this quilt.
My favorite color is red and I chose to add a pop of this AGF Pure Elements Solid to the mix. In my opinion, it’s the perfect, clear red. I believe it’s actually called “London Red”. Favorite color and one of my favorite vacation destinations, how could it not work?
As I mentioned, this quilt top and the pieced backing were finished in the spring of 2021. Snow was still on the ground in New England, but this bright fabric was calling for summer. I really like the simplicity of the blocks, but each time I look at it, I see another element in the design that pulls my attention.
Fast forward to summer, June 2021 to be more specific, and my Urban Light is back from the longarm quilter. I brought it along on our family vacation, knowing that these water colors, fish, florals, and the patriotic feel would be perfectly photographed at the beach.
I chose an edge to edge pantograph that mimics the ripple of water. Don’t forget that the thread and this quilting is yet another element to be considered. After all the work to piece it together, I have to remind myself that there’s one more decision to be made. No time for snoozing. With so many angles, I like the smooth curves and motion across these blocks. The binding is done in a small floral, framing it all in red, white, and blue.
This is a pattern I would highly recommend and it’s available on the designer’s website mentioned above. Take a peek at her account or follow the hashtag to see the other tester’s variations; it’s interesting how color choice changes the look of this quilt. Seeing my own version, sometimes the center appears to be a floral motif, sometimes I notice the stars, sometimes it’s the POP of red. How fun to have a quilt with such dimension. I love it and hope it brings cozy snuggles to anyone who gets a chance to use it.
I’m appreciative of the opportunity to work with Karen & to have tested this pattern. I’ve worked with her again since making this one & that second quilt will be posted soon!
All photos and content property of Two Terriers Studio; do not replicate or distribute without permission. This is not a sponsored post.
Summer, sunshine and star block quilts. It’s a winning combination, as is this new pattern by Modernly Morgan (www.modernlymorgan.com).
Having tested Morgan’s last pattern, the Cozy Cabin Quilt, I was definitely excited when she asked if I’d test this one as well. She and I share a love of star blocks and stash-busting quilts, so I knew it would be a great project. It’s a fat quarterly friendly pattern, and I decided to cut into my Tula Pink “Homemade” bundle. In this process, I learned that accuracy is important before making the first cut. Not all my FQs were accurately sized, so I had to swap a couple in the preparation process. This pattern is designed with very little waste, so having a FQ that is too small (it happens!), is something to take notice & choose accordingly.
I do use a wool pressing mat and a mini Oliso iron when pressing blocks. My family gifted both these tools to me and I use them both every single time I sew. For me, it sure beats moving to a large ironing board over & over while making blocks.
In making this quilt, I looked through each of my cut pieces and assembled piles or sets of each block I intended to make. Sometimes, I choose as I go. This time, I knew I’d be working in more fragmented sewing sessions as my calendar was a bit hectic. Setting aside all the pieces and being able to fit in a block here or there made the most sense. I definitely fell into a rhythm and the written directions are so clear and concise, I was able to pick up a block set and sew as time allowed. I’m still amazed at how quickly a quilt of this size came together, even with my studio time being less flexible recently.
I have always been a fan of bold graphics and colorful fabrics. I keep a bin of Tula Pink fabric for those moments when the feeling, “I need a BRIGHT quilt”, strike. Because I like a scrappy look and her collections are so well matched in color and tone, I find it easy to blend prints without too much worry. This particular line, “Homemade”, features all things sewing related. It’s perfect for me & my hobby-loving heart. I will say that I’m not 100% focused on directional fabric matching every single time. None of my quilts are on beds. They are all used for picnics, days at the beach, watching movies or wrapping up little babies for warmth. That being said, the directions shift with each use, so I’m personally OK with the fabric facing different (all?) directions. Of course, if there is a specific need for it to be directional, I make that effort; it mostly applies to text print. It’s fair to say, I’m not overly fussy when I know it’s a quilt I’m keeping for myself or my family.
The Quilt Swirl
Once all the blocks were made and the quilt top was pieced, it had to be a quilt swirl! In addition to my love of quilting, I also have a sweet tooth. This type of swirl is all the beauty, none of the calories. How could I resist?
As you can see, I blended a few collections here. Homemade, Pom Pom, True Colors and Curiouser & Curiouser. For those of you who may be new to fabric acquisition, my one bit of advice would be to choose a favorite fabric and buy enough of it for a quilt backing at the same time you buy a bundle. I didn’t always do that & now I have a stash of beautiful fabric bundles or precuts or maybe even smaller yardages, but not always a piece large enough for a large backing. If matching matters, this is a helpful tip. If not, ignore it. For my Gravitate Quilt, I wanted it to be cohesive. Thankfully, my local quilt shop had just stocked this newest line of prints and I was able to purchase enough to finish my quilt. They did not have yardage of the other collections. I’ve been working very hard to not purchase new fabric until I use more of my existing fabric; Lord knows I have enough already.
Off to the Longarm Quilter
This quilt was quilted by Jenn, @knotted_thread, on Instagram. I cannot say enough good things about her skill and customer service. She is responsive, reasonably priced and I’m happy with the finish work she did on this piece.
I anticipate this being a well-loved (ie – often used) quilt, so I opted to machine sew the binding. Most of the time, I machine sew to the front and hand-bind to the back. With this one, it’s all machine sewn. It’s a little stressful for me, because I know hand-sewn is more precise and “hidden”, but I also know I can only get better at machine binding if I actually practice. Finding a good thread match is key; especially in the learning stages.
Ready for the Close-up
Thank you, Morgan, for including me in this pattern test. I’m already envisioning this in different color-ways and looking forward to making another. Special thanks to my HHQ, “husband holding quilts”. He so willingly helps me scope out locations and keeps my work from getting dirty, or in this case, sea soaked.
If you’re looking to make a star block quilt, definitely check into this one.
It’s now May 2021 and I’m ready to be outside, enjoying all the spring gardens have to offer. Coincidentally, it’s also pattern release day for this latest quilt, designed by Brittany Tunison for White Plains Quilts. Meet the Garden Paths Quilt!
When the opportunity to test this pattern came up, I had zero hesitation. All of Brittany’s patterns are well written and make creating a unique quilt a breeze. I had recently seen a fabric by Art Gallery Fabrics http://www.artgalleryfabrics.com called “Little Clementine” and it was the catalyst for this color scheme. I was drawn in by the whimsical graphics of animals, florals, lettering, bicycles and more. The peach and plum colors are a bit out of the box for me, but I really love this print. I asked Brittany to “kit” fabric for me using this and a floral by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics called “promenade plum”. I could not be happier with the outcome.
This pattern is heavy on the half-square triangles, probably best suited for an advanced beginner or someone who is interested in mastering their HST skills. I mean, I’ve made hundreds (thousands?), of half-square triangles, but there’s always room for improving those points, right? I think back to the early days of my quilting journey, about a decade ago now, and remember thinking, “Do I need to trim all these dog ears?” The answer is YES. It may not seem like much, but squaring up blocks is important and that little bit of excess over the entire quilt does add up to a lot of inaccuracy. Just take the time to trim your blocks, if you’re not doing it already. Added bonus, look at all that fabric confetti goodness.
I like to press my block seams and see all the pieces lined up along the way. Sometimes progress is slow, but having pretty fabric and little piles of finished pieces is motivation for me.
The Garden Paths Quilt is designed around two block structures. You’ll make a different quantity depending on the size of the quilt. In this case, the baby quilt I made was relatively fast to assemble. This pattern comes with instructions for three sizes: Baby, Throw and Twin. I opted for a bleached white background, but now having seen other tester’s quilts, as well as the designer’s quilt in a dark background, all color combinations are stunning.
Long Arm Quilting
I had this quilt professional long-arm quilted by my friend, Deb, of Owl Quilt It. I’ve said it before, but choosing the motif or pantograph at the end of the piecing process, is often the hardest choice for me. This is a baby quilt, but the colors are not specifically “baby”. There are beautiful graphics in the fabrics and I wanted to highlight the theme and name of Garden Paths. When I saw this design, I knew it was right. Notice how the leaves and berries so closely mimic the florals of the Little Clementine fabric? No doubt this was what I was looking for in the quilting. 99% of the time, I opt for a white thread; I want it to blend into the quilt, and not be distracting. This one will get cozier with each wash & tumble dry!
I like dense quilting. Some quilts lend themselves to more open stitching, but I like it when my quilts have a little tighter sizing on the edge to edge quilting.
Even my husband noted how much he likes this quilt. He’s my sidekick when it comes to photographing quilts, but also the one cheering me on along the way. He’s seen plenty of bright, bold, graphic prints and colors, so this one really got his attention. He said, “this isn’t usually what you choose, but I really like this one. I wouldn’t have thought I’d like it so much, but I really do.” Go figure….it’s OK to step outside our comfort zone of color!
If you follow me long enough, you’ll see a pattern of pieced quilt backs. I LOVE them. I do think there’s a beauty in a single fabric background, but I see the quilt back as one more chance to make something unique…it’s good “real estate”, if you will. You never know which side will be right side up when getting wrapped or cuddled with a quilt, so I want the back to be interesting too. It’s a good way to use any leftover bits and pieces that indicate what is found on the other side. You can see the Little Clementine fabric here, in all it’s glory. How sweet is that? It makes me smile. Oh, don’t forget to label your quilts! Artists sign their work; quilters should too.
This pattern is available beginning today, May 4, 2021 from http://www.whiteplainsquilts.com. All orders placed there today will be entered for a drawing to win $20.00 in shop credit. Patterns from this site will be discounted 20% until May 7, 2021. Brittany will also have limited quantities in quilt kits available, so shop early if you’re interested. This is not a sponsored post; I’m sharing these details so that you, too, can make this beautiful quilt pattern.
As I mentioned, I’ve used fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics in prints and pure solids. This is also not sponsored by AGF (but I secretly, not so secretly, wish it were!). The feel of their fabric is delightful. The drape is something you just need to feel.
Thanks, Brittany, for including me once again in your team of pattern testers. I enjoyed it & I’m so happy with this fabric pull and finished quilt. I’m adding it to my collection of favorites!
All photos and content are property of Two Terriers Studio and not to be copied or distributed without written permission. This is not a sponsored post.
When we think of Scenic Roads, it may bring memories of wide-open country spaces, city skyscrapers, or rocky cliffs with an ocean on the horizon. Each of us has a different place we consider scenic or that calls for us when we need space. When I think of scenic roads, the very first vision is that of a particular bridge that leads into one of my family’s long time summer get-away towns. Crossing that span, windows down, arms out of the car, inhaling the salty sea breeze equals summer and time together. It is a blessing.
I was asked by Amanda, of www.artbycritter.com, to test her Scenic Road Quilt pattern and when I learned the back story, I was all in. Her father created a real, wooden barn star, that now hangs on a barn at the corner of Scenic Road and Hubertus Road in Hubertus, Wisconsin. This quilt design was a tribute to his work and a collaboration for them in the form of this quilt. Having grown up in the midwest, and visiting farms of my own extended family, this concept and design rang true for me in many ways. I remember the drives down gravel roads, the barns, the barn stars. I also thought of how fortunate I’ve been to see so many places across the USA and how each is scenic in its own way. Family, special places and horizons meshed into a quilt? Yes, please!
For my version of this quilt, I opted for solid fabrics that remind me of the shore. The blues, greens, gray and a hint of pink are all reminiscent of sunsets across a sandy beach. I spent the first 18 years of my life, land-locked in the midwest, but the ocean is where I feel most at home. This quilt design and these colors seemed a perfect union of those two things. I also realized this would be my first-ever, all solid fabric quilt top. I tend to lean toward bright colors and graphic prints, so this was a new scheme. I selected fabric by Art Gallery Fabrics http://artgalleryfabrics.com from their pure elements collection. The drape of this fabric is perfect. So smooth and easy to sew. It makes for a dreamy finish.
Even the “inside” of a quilt brings beauty. We so readily focus on the finish, but all great quilts start with a precise and solid foundation. I’m the first to admit, I like a quick to finish project. However, I’m slowly learning to enjoy not only the joy of that last stitch in a binding, but the measured and precise steps along the way. It all adds up, so I’m slowing down & enjoying the journey.
A Completed Top at Hillstead
Once my quilt top was complete, I wanted to get it photographed. I was so happy with how it turned out and couldn’t wait to share. Finding a place in New England in the spring became a little challenging, because Mother Nature was delivering the wind. Lots of quilt-whipping wind! My husband helps me with every photo shoot and I was so thankful he had a good grasp on my work as we moved from place to place looking for stillness. This may have been day 2 or 3; the first day sent us home pretty wind-blown; toting a quilt that needed another pressing.
I love this shot taken at the Hillstead Museum. A beautiful home, now a museum, is the first architectural project of Theodate Pope Riddle, the fourth registered female architect in the USA. She is an early proponent of historical preservation and caretaker of the family art collection. I thought it a fitting scene for this project
This is a large quilt, so I had it professionally long-arm quilted by my friend, Deb, of Owl Quilt It. I think she did a wonderful job and I really like the edge to edge design that swirls though the straight/geometric blocks. It reminds me of leaves, the wind and if I look just right, an “S”, which is the initial of my first name. I truly try to tie it all together with my projects, from the pattern to the final stitch.
Ta-da! It’s all done. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been included in this pattern tester group and I’m happy to add this to the collection of quilts that will stay with my family. The large blocks, simplicity and accuracy of instructions lead to a quick finish and a quilt I love.
Today, April 17, 2021, the pattern is available for purchase. Amanda has designed a limited edition art print and a sticker that are also available for purchase. Look at her Instagram account (@quiltsbycritter) for the link in her bio for these items. Proceeds from the limited edition print will be donated to @mentalhealthamerica.
I hope all roads lead you to places of joy, health & prosperity. Thanks for being here to see my version of the Scenic Road.
Enjoy & happy quilting!
All photos and content, property of Two Terriers Studio; not to be duplicated or shared without written consent. This is not a sponsored post. (I wish it were!)
I’ve often admired quilt patterns by designer, Modernly Morgan, (www.modernlymorgan.com) so when she asked if I’d test this latest design, it was an easy “YES” from me. Morgan and I both have a love of scrappy quilts, so I was excited about the opportunity to work together. This pattern comes with instructions for three sizes – Baby, Throw and Bed. I made the 60″ square throw size.
Let’s just say, this pattern is a keeper.
The Making of a Quilt
Cozy Cabin is a modern twist on the traditional log cabin quilt block. The scrappy element is just a bonus, in my opinion. For my version of this quilt, I pulled a fat quarter bundle by Windham Fabrics www.windhamfabrics.com, designed by Amy Gibson, called Meriwether. The variety of florals, plaid, text, and blenders seemed the perfect foundation for this project. It’s bright and has a spring-like feel; just what I needed after a long winter.
I wouldn’t call a fat quarter bundle, “scrap”, in this case, it was “stash”. I purchased this collection a while back and saved it, knowing the right pattern would come along. Enter Cozy Cabin! When I first purchased this bundle, I didn’t have a pattern in mind, so I hadn’t accounted for the backing or binding. I consider myself very lucky that my local quilt shop had bolts of yardage, in stock, when it came time for me to finish the quilt. With the variety of colors and prints, I could have found a different fabric or collection to coordinate, but I’m thankful to have been able to keep the entire quilt in the Meriwether collection.
Half Square Triangles
Squaring up half-square triangles is an act of patience and accuracy. I actually prefer when a pattern has a little “wiggle room” in the measurements so that I can square-up to a perfect size, but I also like not having a lot of waste. This pattern calls for scant 1/4″ seams and as you can see, produces blocks with little waste.
Building the Blocks
Once the HSTs were made, I organized my remaining pieces into sets that would become one quadrant of each block. This step made it easy for me to pick up a set and sew as time permitted, even if I only had a few minutes between other obligations. The accuracy of the pattern made testing it a breeze. I was able to move through the sewing without issue.
This quilt came together so quickly. It’s a combination of the same block, repeated and rotated, throughout the layout. Once the pieces are cut and the HST trimmed, it was a lot of chain piecing for efficiency. I don’t tend to overthink blocks if I’m creating a scrappy look. Loving all the prints and knowing they work together certainly takes some of the worry out of the process for me. I had no doubt it would be cohesive.
I like the rotation of the blocks as it allowed me to think about the placement of pieces with text/font and how it would “read” once completely assembled. Additionally, if this were being made with a truly scrappy style, you could make each block independently with small pieces of fabric and make quite a dent in your scrap stash.
The top is pieced & swirled. This is the kind of cinnamon roll-like swirl that is calorie free! Look at all those delightful colors coming together.
The Finished Top/Front
There is always something fun for me in photographing a completed quilt top. My husband helps me every single time & thankfully, he’s tall and can keep them off the ground. To stand back, and see my effort and time spent creating a quilt, is gratifying. I think about the pattern, the designer, the fabric choice and how it tells a story. Seeing it from a distance also shows the secondary pattern; do you see it? Not just the stars, but the bands, joining the blocks. In our home, quilts are made to be used and loved. Seeing my favorite people enjoying something I’ve made makes it even more special.
Longarm Quilting and Binding
With this being a larger, 60″ square quilt, I opted to have it professionally quilted. When I make baby quilts, I feel more confident quilting them on my domestic machine, but I opt for straight lines and nothing too fancy. There are so many edge to edge designs available and I think this decision is one of the hardest for me to make in the entire process. Once it’s quilted, it is what it is and all the layers and seams are connected. It has to be right. I never want to get this close to the finish line and wing it. I used a 2.5″ straight cut binding and finished it by machine. Lately, I’ve been doing more binding by machine than by hand, because it takes practice and I’m comfortable practicing on quilts I know I intend to keep. Quilts I gift, those are mostly done with hand-stitched binding.
Here’s a closer look at the quilting pantograph. It’s an edge to edge design called Modern Twist.
Fabrics with text, fonts or inspirational messages are among my favorites. I wanted to include a large section of this yellow fabric in the quilt back, as well as using it for the binding. The evenly spaced rows of words almost give the binding a subtle stripe.
I enjoyed making this quilt & 100% plan to keep this one for myself! It’s a pattern I’d recommend and I think when you see the designer’s version and the other sizes and fabrics chosen by the team of testers, you’ll see that it works well in all colors and themes. Take a minute to visit Modernly Morgan on Instagram (@modernlymorgan) or her website, shown above, to purchase your own copy of this pattern. It is being released April 14, 2021.
Enjoy and happy quilting!
All photos and content property of Two Terriers Studio; not to be duplicated or shared without consent. This is not a sponsored post.
I’m often asked if I buy fabric with a specific quilt in mind. Sometimes, yes; most of the time, no. As I’ve mentioned previously, creativity comes to me by way of “the story”. If a fabric quickly reminds me of someone, a special location, or an event, I’m easily hooked. This collection by Art Gallery Fabrics (artgalleryfabrics.com) is called Little Forester Fusion. The moment I saw it, I added to my cart! No hesitation. (Thank you, Victoria, @midnightquilter!). I live in a very wooded, full of creatures, kind of neighborhood. We have more squirrels and chipmunks than I can count; deer tracks criss-cross our snowy lawn, not to mention the bears, bobcats, owl and red fox. Yes, bears. Our home is surrounded by woods & over the years we’ve lost a dozen trees to ice storms and planted more in their place. ALL the nature I see at home, I see in this collection. Even the marshmallows on a stick. We have so many family memories of making s’mores around the fire pit. I had no doubt this collection would one day be a perfect quilt for my family.
Almost simultaneous to buying this fabric, I was asked to test a pattern, the Sawtooth Shine Quilt, designed by Brittany Tunison of White Plains Quilts (whiteplainsquilts.com). It was actually more of a discussion about which of TWO patterns I’d like to make, as she was planning a double pattern release for February! TWO. Can you imagine? We’ve worked together on several other pattern tests and they have all been great experiences for me. She is talented; such an eye for detail and precision. I appreciate that she’s likely made several versions of a pattern before even considering sending it to testers. I enjoy the collaboration; seeing if I understand the instructions as she intended and if there is occasionally something in my experience that may be helpful to her in the written portion. It’s a really cool process, I think.
In this pattern release, there is the Sawtooth Shine Quilt (as I’ve made) and Sawtooth Sparkle Quilt. Each pattern has three different size options: baby, throw and twin. Additionally, both quilts will have two different layout options. It’s truly like having access to six quilt designs with each title. There is room for unique personalization. Yes, at first glance they may look similar, but there are subtle differences between the designs, and therefore also in the method of cutting and piecing. The blocks finish at a size that could potentially be a pillow cover, mini-quilt/wall art. The limits are only in the maker’s imagination.
As they say, measure twice, cut once. So much accuracy in a quilt is found in the initial cutting. Pressing. Pressing, not ironing. Who knew this was a thing before they became a quilter? One more thing I have to consciously remind myself to do; pause, press, not iron.
I like to stack my quilt block pieces as they should appear, just to double check seam allowances and directions of prints. It’s easier to move things at this stage than after it’s all been sewn. For this particular fabric, I wanted the print to be in a top to bottom linear format. On the more bold prints, as shown below, there would be some pieces turned on their side.
Coincidentally, as I was sewing this block with an owl print, designed by Jessica Swift, I could hear the faint “hoot” of an owl in a tree outside. I hadn’t heard it much before & now it seems more of a regular occurrence. One more element of the story built into this quilt. There truly is beauty all around if we stop, look and listen. Having lived in a city, with all of its bustling street noises, adjusting to the “woods” was a learning curve for me. I’d miss these critters, sounds and clear night skies if we ever moved elsewhere. The crescent moon reminds me of my youngest and the rainbows – ALWAYS the sign of a promise.
As I make each block, it is my new favorite. Until the next one is made, then IT is my new favorite. Thankfully, I didn’t have any that I didn’t like in this quilt! Does that happen to anyone else?
Secondary patterns emerge as the blocks are joined. The boldness of the stars is echoed in this secondary element, almost like a pinwheel. Look at those bees, and the squirrels gathering acorns. How cute are they?
When the blocks are complete and the quilt top gets that ‘held from the corners, whip into a full length view’, it’s the moment of truth. This page of the story is the culmination of the designer’s idea, the interpretation of the instruction, fabric selection and layout of color. Did it work? Yes, I think so!! I’m so happy with this result, even with one more chapter, the quilting and binding yet to be completed.
Just as each new block becomes my “favorite”, trying to choose a backing and binding fabric turns into a question of which fabric do I like best? Which of course, isn’t fair, because I like them all. I’m still uncertain which to use or whether I may make a pieced backing. For now, I’m happy with this top and I’m taking time to decide the last steps of the process. It’s going to be a quilt that will surround my family in handmade love for many years to come, so I’m not rushing it.
In celebration of her double pattern release day on February 19, Brittany will be offering a 20% discount on patterns in her shop through Sunday, 2/21/21. For those who can’t pick a favorite, or for anyone who loves a deal, a bundle option will also be available. Shop: whiteplainsquilts.com
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work as a pattern tester. It improves my skills and results in quilts I can keep for my family or gift to other friends & loved ones. I take my role in reviewing text, layout, instructional details, as well as sewing, seriously. It’s creative & fun, yes, but it’s also a collaborative effort to put out the best finished product possible. While it is most obvious that a tester works to assist the designer, I have to say that designers assist me too. I learn something new with each test. I’ve built relationships and made friends I would not have had without these projects. It’s a blessing. It’s a part of the story I did not anticipate when I started sewing as a hobby all those years ago.
Make something beautiful…
This is a non-sponsored post; all comments and photos property of Two Terriers Studio and not to be copied or distributed without written consent.
Meet the Spinning Top Quilt, a pattern I tested in February 2021 for Monika Henry of Penny Spool Quilts (pennyspoolquilts.com). I’ve worked with Monika before this project & always find her patterns to be well-written, which also results in a lovely finish. This one is no different & I might add, I was able to finish piecing it in one, uninterrupted day. Yes, one day. The linear design & mirror image layout speeds up the process without sacrificing interesting design.
I used a couple of collections from Art Gallery Fabrics (artgalleryfabrics.com) for my baby sized version of this quilt. The florals are called Extempore Fancy and Extempore Celebration, designed by Sharon Holland (sharonhollanddesigns.com). I added pieces from both Art Gallery Fabrics “Fusion” Collections, Serenity & Ballerina, and a touch of Pure Solids. While I really like the softness of these colors together against the bleached white background, I think a bold or dark background fabric is equally pretty.
Add-on pattern features
This pattern features cutting instructions for three sizes, pillow, baby & throw. As a consumer, I like having more than one size option for a specific design, but the add-on of the pillow size is really nice. While I could most likely adapt the pattern & calculate it to suit my needs, having the pillow dimensions already available is a nice touch.
For my pillow, I recreated the front of the quilt and kept the quilting simple with a few straight lines. The back of the pillow is a single panel and I opted to add my zipper to the bottom edge. I like this placement because when I sit it on a bed or chair, I orient the zipper to the bottom and it’s virtually invisible. It also keeps the back panel as one continuous piece.
I sent this quilt to be professionally quilted on a long-arm machine. Some of my projects, I quilt myself, others, I leave to the pros! More specifically, if I have an intricate design in mind, or if the quilt is large, I send it out. This quilt is called Spinning Top. It’s a very linear design & initially I thought concentric circles would bring an illusion of “movement” but also break up the bands of horizontal color. When I shared my ideas with the pattern designer, she was already quilting her personal quilt with concentric circles! We laughed, realizing that we had the same idea. I then saw this edge to edge pattern and it immediately represented the mark a spinning top would leave, as it moved across the floor. Done. This is my choice. When I create, I’ve found the best results come when it all ties together for me into a story. The name, the fabrics, the feeling, the design. Granted, not all projects have that need or nuance, but when they do, I really like it and feel more connected to it from start to finish.
I underestimated how tricky it might be to get good lighting and photos of a quilt with a white background on a snowy, February day. Luckily, my husband is more than willing to drive around with me until we find the right location! I could not do this without his help.
I had someone in mind as the recipient for this, but guess what? That someone is now “my collection”. Maybe there will be a duplicate in the future, but I’m not ready to let it go. Oh man, are we all singing that song, in our minds now?
Monika is offering 15% off the pattern price, in her shop, until February 21, 2021. No code will be needed at checkout, and the pattern will be available for purchase after that date as well.
This post and project are not sponsored; all comments and photos property of Two Terriers Studio; not to be duplicated or shared without permission.
I remember, as much of the world does, watching Lady Diana Spencer become Diana, Princess of Wales. Yes, I woke at 4am to watch the Royal Wedding, before heading off to school. Don’t judge, maybe it isn’t your thing. I wasn’t a princess & fairytales kind of kid, but this was entirely different. I had never seen anything like a royal wedding and I found it all quite fascinating. In the process, I fell in love with images of the UK; the castles, the countryside, the hustle and bustle of the city, the “proper-ness” and even the music scene. It seemed a world away and I really liked it. I had no first hand knowledge, but I wanted so badly to go see for myself.
Fast forward a few decades. I traveled to London with my husband and children, after I’d waited so long to see it all in person. It was even better than I anticipated. The feeling I had about this place was etched in my mind and being there was exciting. We walked or used the London Underground for all our transportation. Those rings became a new symbol for my “London Story”. One aspect that was new to me since that fairytale wedding years before, was that I had become a quilter. A new stop on the “to do” list became Liberty of London. WOW. What a store. A fabric haven, if there is such a thing. In London, no less. That stop made me look at fabric and florals differently than I ever had before.
Why all the backstory?
It may not the be case for everyone, but creativity in quilting, especially for me, comes from a feeling. I don’t know that I can perfectly explain it, but it’s never just the pattern or the fabric. It’s not the desire to work with a specific designer or fabric collection. It’s ALWAYS a feeling for me. A connection to something personal, a memory, a spiritual significance, a reminder of someone or some place; it’s the story. I work best when it all connects. All aspects ultimately count, but I’ve tuned in to that little voice or emotion and what I’ve learned is that my favorite quilts come from tying together the story.
A New Quilt Story
The Londoner. When I saw those tell-tale, iconic symbols of the underground transit system of London in a new pattern, I was all in on making this quilt. London. Yes, please. This is a must make.
This pattern by Megan Lopez, founder of The Athena Workshop (www.theathenaworkshop.com), was a delight to make. Do not let the sewing of curves derail you. She has designed these blocks with detailed instructions and room for squaring up to achieve precision in the finished block.
I opted for non-traditional colors, as we know the London Underground symbol to be red & blue. There are hints to the original colors and circular pattern, so it clicked for me as a lovely option for a baby quilt.
If you’ve ever sewn with me, you probably notice that I don’t often pin straight seams. That is not the case when I sew curves. All the tips & tricks are in the pattern, but squaring up the edges, pinning the center, and sewing slowly works well for me.
One thing I vividly remember from my visit to London, are the expansive gardens and so many beautiful flowers. These prints are a nod to the colors of the original symbol, and my memories of the flowers. The yellow cross bar echoes the circles as well, although in reality, it would be a solid red.
Once the quilt top was pieced and a backing chosen, I made the binding. This plaid turned out to be a fun frame and matching the patterns at the joined seams was a challenge I set for myself. Let’s just say, sometimes you win, sometimes you rip seams & start again.
The last step of the pattern is how it will be quilted. I wanted to have this professionally quilted or “longarmed”, so I had a few more design options available than what I would be able to do on my domestic machine. In keeping with those feelings and memories of London, I chose an edge to edge design that reminded me of a subway map. Those tracks are never straight lines, they do go around corners and often intersect and look at bit haphazard.
It may be small, but it is mighty. The memories, the flowers, the freedom of travel, the TUBE, and now the quilt. What a serendipitous moment to have it all come together for me in this quilting project. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Megan and to have tested this pattern before its release to the public. Her story of London and her current work outside of quilting are an inspiring read. I am moved by the final few pages of her patterns. Let’s just say, she is not only sharing her love of quilting and design, but she is working to help others who may need resources and assistance out of incredibly difficult situations. The power of giving back and helping other lies within all of us.
This quilt pattern has options for crib, throw, and bed sizes. It is also fat-quarter friendly. Today, 12/4/20 through 12/6/20, you can find this pattern and all other @theathenaworkshop patterns on sale for 20% off. If you love all things UK or consider yourself an “anglophile”, I’d suggest adding this pattern to your collection. I enjoyed making it and I’m inspired by the original color schemes and those the other testers have been posting online. On Instagram, follow the hashtag #londonerquilt.
I “may” have already purchased some London themed fabric to make a larger version to keep for myself. We can’t leave out those red phone booths, crown & scepter or Stonehenge, right?
While my version came together based on my personal love of London and tying it together into a quilt, let your creativity and your story drive your quilting endeavors. Quilts are the embodiment of love. How will you tell the story?
All content and photos property of Two Terriers Studio and not to be shared or duplicated without written permission. This is not a sponsored post; just a reflection of my own thoughts & sewing.
Have you ever purchased fabric for one project and when you finished, you wished you had more yardage for something else? This Big Sky collection by Annie Brady for Moda Fabrics is that fabric for me. The first time I saw it, the nature scenes, animals and colors just grabbed me, but I didn’t have an intended project. My yardage choices were random, because I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew the right thing would come along. I didn’t want to miss out on this beautiful collection. Fast forward a year (or more) and the Firefly Cabins Quilt pattern by Brittany Tunison for White Plains Quilts came my way. I knew right then, that this was the pattern for this fabric I’d been saving.
There’s something to be said for simple, efficient patterns. Firefly Cabins is an efficient, yet still so interesting pattern, in my opinion. I like to sew or create most days, and sometimes, being able to quickly put a quilt or gift together is just what I need. I never want my work to look rushed or half-done, but I often have so many things in progress, that the one “simple” finish is a blessing. What I like about this pattern is the repetitive nature of the blocks, the ability to showcase the fabrics in larger swatches and the option to chain piece. There is a time investment in cutting, and we all know that the best cutting accuracy leads to the best finished product. However, because of these block designs, once the strips are cut, chain piecing fits right in for a rapid finish.
As most of my readers probably notice, I choose and use bold prints far more often than solids. I am slowly learning to incorporate low volume prints and solids into my fabric stash and luckily, this Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Element Solid in “Honey” was the perfect match. It’s just what I needed (and fortunately, already had!).
Another feature of this pattern are the center set blocks which would be perfect for fussy-cutting a favorite image. Mine aren’t necessarily fussy-cut, but the repetition of animals in the largest blocks makes me smile.
I send a lot of my quilts to be longarm quilted, since I’m not always 100% thrilled with my own quilting on a small domestic machine. I do quilt my own, when the project is smaller or I think I’ll be happy with straight line stitching or a simplistic design, but more often, I lean toward a theme and need some talent from other professionals! This leaf theme, edge to edge design, was just the ticket. It mimics the fabric design and pulls in that feel of nature. If you look closely, you’ll see that the thread choice is a pale yellow. I rarely venture into colored thread for quilting, but Deb of Owl Quilt It, encouraged me that this would be a good choice and she was exactly right.
I opted to bind this quilt by machine, rather than my “go to” hand-binding. I have a funny relationship with quilt binding. I want it to be perfect, but I also want it to be DONE. By hand is always more precise for me, but I recognize the only way I will improve in machine binding is to do it & practice. What’s that saying about 10,000 hours? Goodness, how many quilts would it take to fill 10K hours of practice?
Finished. This quilt has a pieced backing with the Moda Bleached White, and two prints from Big Sky. The binding is also a third color-way of the Big Sky leaf motif. A single piece backing is clean & neat, but I also like to think of the back of a quilt as an option for more interest and a hint of what might be found on the front side. It’s almost like two quilts, literally bound together.
The pattern for this quilt can be purchased from Brittany Tunison (@brittanytunison) on Instagram.
I’m curious if you purchase fabric you love first and then find the project, or only purchase with a project plan in mind. Tell me in the comments! To be honest, I’m a little bit of both.
All photos and content property of Two Terriers Studio and not to be duplicated or shared without written consent.
Hooked. I don’t know how to crochet, and I can only sort of knit, but this fabric collection by Mathew Boudreaux, aka Mister Domestic, had me hooked the minute I saw the sheep. Well, the sheep, the text, the readers, the florals. OK, I like all the colors too. Sign me up. Working again, for the third time with the Mister Domestic Master Maker group for a fabric collection blog party release was a lure too. As is Art Gallery Fabric. Have you felt it? It’s magic and sews up beautifully. “Hooked”; it hooked me.
When I thought of Hooked, it obviously brought to mind visions of crochet & knitting projects. What does every yarn enthusiast need? A project bag. I mean, yarn and hooks are portable, so a unique and handmade bag is in order. I think the most challenging aspect of the project was deciding which fabrics to use. The pattern choice came easily as I’d been admiring the Juniper Basket, by Svetlana Sotak of sotakhandmade.blogspot.com. Her patterns are so well written and easy to understand.
This Juniper Basket comes in two sizes and features an interior patch pocket and an exterior zipper pocket. The handles at each side, in addition to the drawstring closure make for several interesting design elements. I opted to make my own drawstrings from one of the prints in the collection, but this could easily be swapped for cording or a decorative ribbon. When I’m working with a new fabric collection, I’m inspired to incorporate as many fabrics as possible. I like to show as much of the artist’s work as I can. This basket fit the bill perfectly; I used six different prints in this one project.
Once the Juniper Basket was complete, I knew I wanted to also tie my love for quilting into this blog party. I believe winter crochet projects are made better by snuggling under a handmade quilt, right? We all love a good quilt, don’t we?
New fabric collections are a fine time to let a quilter’s talent shine. I looked at many intricate quilting patterns and kept coming back to the idea of letting the fabric speak for itself. To me, this collection has several stories of its own; between the sheep, spectacles, historic crochet blocks and more…it made sense to let that be the forward message. I also wanted bigger blocks so that the images had more space to be seen.
The pattern I chose is called Star Light Star Bright, by Craftsy. I’ve had this pattern in my “things to make someday” notebook; someday became NOW. Meet the merging of the pattern I’ve been saving with the fabric that has just arrived, courtesy of Mathew. I’ll let you in on a secret. That green solid fabric shown above…it’s an Art Gallery Fabric Pure Elements solid. Look familiar? It coordinates with Mathew’s last collection, “Playroom”, for which I also made several projects. I didn’t think anyone would mind if I added an earlier 2020 fabric into this new quilt. Honestly, I think it matches perfectly with those little highlights in the crochet blocks. It’s also what I do; blending past & present. I like the fact that his collections coordinate and are cohesive, when you see them lined up against each other.
Here’s another not-so secret, secret. I like a crinkly textured quilt, that just gets more cozy with every wash. I’ve yet to wash this one, but look at that texture. Do you see the sheep? Hello little cuties. While I’m not personally looking forward to chilly winter nights, I am looking forward to sitting under this quilt.
In addition to the AGF Pure Elements solid in Warm Wave, I added Pure Elements in Snow for the corners of the star block. I wanted it to “pop” against the other prints. I think it’s just enough of a frame to let the other colors shine. I backed this quilt in the sheep print, “wool origins”. It’s precious.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with such talented makers, fabric designers and fabric manufacturers. It truly is an aspect of sewing and quilting that I never could have imagined just a couple of years ago. Artists continue to create new designs and my fellow makers encourage me and one another; they raise the bar in a way that is inspiring. You all push me to be better. Thank you.
Mathew, thank you again for this fabric. I appreciate it and had a lot of fun sewing for your latest collection release.
Golden Light. What do you envision? Sunrise or sunset, autumn colors as they fall upon us? When I began to work on this pattern by Julia Raye Bednorz, http://www.thehomebodyco.com, I thought about how we can see rainbows and clear skies after a storm. There is golden light if we stop and look for it. It also reminded me of a time when I lived on the west coast and often carried an umbrella, because their hazy skies meant “impending storm” to my midwest rooted mind. So many colleagues would say, “you’re not in Kansas” and we’d laugh. I eventually understood the marine layer; I still had my umbrella.
The pattern includes six sizes from a wall hanging to a king size quilt. I opted to make the baby size quilt first, but having seen other versions in larger sizes and colors, I look forward to exploring those options.
With strip sets, half-square triangles and flying geese, this pattern offers the opportunity to work on and improve matching points.
This rainbow print by Wilmington Prints perfectly complements the raindrops of the Robert Kaufman Fabric next to it. I noticed how the drops are saturated, faded and feature little stars within the “splatter”.
Finished! This pattern has a lot of individual pieces, but it does come together quickly. I like how the blocks and finished quilt have primary and secondary patterns. I made mine in a two-toned palette, but there are other testers with ombre, scrappy, halloween and multi-color quilts. If you’re on Instagram, take a peek at the hashtag, #goldenlightquilt, to see the variety. It’s really impressive how we all interpreted this pattern.
Yes, babies improve quilt photos! It may look like she’s studying the cloud themed long-arm stitching, but she might have been wondering why I was standing over her on a step stool taking photos and not holding her instead. When she’s with me, I rarely set her down.
This backing fabric is by Henry Glass Co. Isn’t it just wonderful to find fabric from multiple manufacturers that work so nicely together in a finished piece? Sometimes when I quilt or make other projects, I strictly follow one designer or manufacturer for the entire project and I love the outcome. This quilt has so many things going on and I love it too. In my opinion, when you follow your eye and your gut, it tends to work out. When I see this rainbow dot binding against the two-toned front, I think it hints at what you will find on the back. The circles mimic each other in different sizes throughout the quilt.
Again, babies for the win. Before anyone asks, no, this isn’t my baby. She’s so sweet & I’m blessed to have young neighbors.
I’m often asked if my quilts are for sale, and to date, I’ve not sold any. I have made so many for my family and I’ve made some to gift for birthdays, weddings and new babies. As I’m making new quilts, the thought does run through my mind of who I’d consider gifting it to and when I finish, it’s sometimes hard to part with quilts I love. The day is coming when it’s going to be time to unload some finished projects. How many does one person need? If you don’t sew, do you look for quilted gifts?
If you’re new to quilting, I would rate this Golden Light Pattern, beginner to intermediate friendly. Check out the designer’s website, Instagram (@thehomebodycompany) and consider purchasing the pattern for yourself. Be sure to look at the Instagram hashtag and see how versatile it can be given different fabric choices and color themes. I think you’ll be impressed by what has been created.
Let’s finish with a quilt and a baby. This is truly a “Golden” moment.
It’s still September, but there are Christmas trees in my studio. I am not one to jump ahead in holiday decorations, choosing instead to savor the current moment. However, when the opportunity to test a pattern for Monika, @pennyspoolquilts, came about, I gladly set aside my Autumn projects and worked on some scrappy Christmas trees. I’ve tested patterns for her before & knew this one would also be a quality project.
This particular pattern is based in foundation paper piecing, which is not outlined in the pattern, but assumes the maker has a basic understanding of this technique. I found it to be a simple FPP pattern; the pieces are easy angles and manageable sizes. No tiny piecing here.
I’ve made two projects with this pattern; each using a different template size. The first, this turquoise, gray and white table runner using the larger of two tree sizes. Compiling four blocks, alternating their “top” direction, it has become my first holiday gift to be finished for the Christmas of 2020. That seems so odd to say…I’m sewing Christmas gifts in September. That’s not a typical event for me; maybe it’s a new trend. I opted for these non-traditional colors so that I could coordinate with the recipient’s decor colors. This pattern would be lovely in a coordinated fabric pull or any variety of multi-colored scraps. The versatility is limited only by the maker’s imagination!
In my second project, I shifted the color scheme to one that is considered more traditional. If I’m going to be making Christmas gifts a few months ahead of schedule, I’m going to include gift bags! I truly think the sky is the limit in how this block is depicted; color choice could make it more or less holiday-themed. Go with bright colors like hot pink or yellow and make it a retro vibe. In a variety of greens or backgrounds of darker colors, this could easily be a woodland theme.
This gift bag is fully lined and uses the red grosgrain ribbon as a drawstring. By adding additional borders, it could be resized to suit your needs to accommodate a different sized gift. I will likely be using this size for smaller gifts and treats this holiday season.
I’m thankful to have worked with Monika again & hope readers will take a minute to browse her Instagram (@pennyspoolquilts) and website, http://www.pennyspoolquilts.com and check into the patterns and tutorials linked there. This particular pattern, Festive Forest, will be released to the public October, 8, 2020.
So tell me, do you sew for the holidays or other gift giving seasons? What’s your favorite thing to make?