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…
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