The Lotus Blossom Quilt

One thing I love about quilting is the community of makers. While it may seem like a solitary craft, a quiet escape for someone who likes to create, for themselves or others, there really are so many additional layers and elements that make it all happen. There are fabric designers who create gorgeous art which then moves to fabric by a host of manufacturers; the pattern designers who create new layouts or reinvent traditional shapes or encourage improvisation. There’s thread, batting, sewing machines, brick and mortar shops and online venues. There’s also the “tester” or “editor”. That’s where I came in on this project. I’m so thankful to have crossed paths with Tara Curtis, creator of @weftyneedle. You may know Tara by way of the Wefty Needle or Wefty Miter and her beautifully woven fabric designs. If not, go check out her work; I suspect you’ll want to be weaving by nightfall. Tara gave me the opportunity to test her pattern, the Lotus Blossom Quilt, before it became available to the public and I’ve been hinting at it’s release on Instagram for a few weeks now.

As a pattern tester, I get to mesh my passion for words and fabric. Something you might not know about me is that my education and professional background is in writing, editing and publishing. When I’ve been invited or signed up to test a new pattern, I rarely know what it looks like or whether it falls into my sewing skill set, but I am usually confident that I can at least assist with the written words of the pattern. It’s even better if the pattern contains elements out of my comfort zone. That’s where we grow & learn.

Lotus Blossom Applique

The lesson for me with this pattern was in appliqué and slowing down. It seems I have a habit of fast sewing with one bare foot. Not so great for curved appliqué. I had to temper myself and take my time.

Slow down…

This pattern comes in two sizes, crib and queen. I opted to make the crib size as my goal was to machine quilt it myself and I have not quilted a queen size project on my domestic machine (yet). I also wanted to use fabric I already owned. I had just recently returned from Missouri Star Quilt Co., where I purchased a bundle of the V & Co., metallic ombre dots. If you love the look of these ombre fabrics, seen in a “sample”, they are even better in full-size, real life. It wasn’t until I had laid it all out that I noticed the glow that came from the ombre effect. It was even better than I expected and perfect for this design. I also used V & Co. ombre solids for the blossom petals, except that one, center bloom.

A pop of color on a winter day

When quilting this, I used straight line, “in the ditch” stitching and added a few additional lines in the wider bands of fabric, stopping at the edges of the petals, which were each outlined. I’m hoping to learn more about free-motion quilting, but until then, it’s straight lines and hiring my friends with long-arm quilting expertise!

The Lotus Blossom Quilt by Two Terriers Studio

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, especially with this photo. My husband cheers me on in my quilting endeavors and he also willingly travels around with me as I look for perfect settings and photo opportunities. For those who know him, you know he’s tall. TALL. He’s in this photo. Do you see him? No. He has mastered hunkering down, (keep in mind this is a crib size quilt), as well as having perfected the “fabric pinch” so that we don’t see his hands creeping around the bound corners. Together, we get it done. What I’m curious about is what this must have looked like from the perspective of the house across the bridge. Maybe next time. That could be an interesting shot.

Tara released this pattern today, April 15th, and it is available on her website weftyneedle.com by PDF download. Do yourself a favor, and check it out. She has highlighted other makers who tested this for her and I think it’s terrific that given the same instructions, we each made something unique. She also explains her inspiration for this design, which is even more fitting today than it may have been months ago as we saw this pattern for the first time. It’s worth reading about, please take a look. As we all move through this period of uncertainty with Covid-19, new boundaries, staying home and attempting a new normal, there can be something calming in creativity. I am so thankful for my sewing community, and for Tara giving me this opportunity.

-Stacey

I made it to Hamilton

Wide open spaces in the midwest; no, I’m not driving

When I began sewing almost a decade ago, my first two quilts were made from pre-cut charm packs. I hadn’t invested in many notions and wasn’t quite ready to cut yardage, but I still wanted to make quilts. Those little 5″ squares were the perfect beginning. Additionally, the online tutorials by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company gave me the idea that this was all not only possible, but FUN. Her personality is engaging. If she made a mistake while filming, she shared that too. She demystified this craft. In those early days, I tuned in several times a week and watched Jenny piece quilts with enthusiasm. I think my children recognized the “jingle” and knew with the quack of the duck in the video, that I was intent on learning more. I gained so much information from those tutorials, that it was years and many quilts later before I took an “in person” class at my local quilt shop.

Fast forward to January 2020 and I finally made it to Hamilton, Missouri – home of the Missouri Star Quilt Co.! My family roots are in the midwest and my husband and I were in Kansas City for the AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. We had one free day in our schedule, so off to Hamilton we went. I might add that there had been a significant ice storm and the temperature was in single digits. We were committed; we were ready to explore. Yes, my husband willingly makes these fabric field trips with me…even when it’s freezing outside. I’m blessed.

Hamilton is just about an hour from Kansas City, but what we both noticed is how wide open the roads were along this route. No east coast-like traffic jams or aggressive lane changes by fellow drivers. We were gifted a blue sky that I remembered from my childhood – I swear, I never tire of it. I say RED is my favorite color, but it could easily be THIS blue.

Missouri Star Quilt Company, Hamilton, Missouri

This may sound silly, but I was GIDDY sitting in front of this shop. I had no idea what to expect or if I might just run into Jenny, but this was the embodiment of where and how I learned to sew. Once inside, we were greeted, almost immediately, by the staff who explained the store layout, what we could find at the other shops along Davis Street and that there was actually a place called “Man’s Land” if my husband needed a cozy hangout while I shopped! Interestingly, “Man’s Land” is a place for anyone who needs a break from shopping while relaxing in leather chairs and maybe watching TV. Its original beginning was as an old-fashioned men’s clothing store, well before it had anything to do with Quilt City! If you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop, this might be the place to go, rest and refresh before continuing on.

The stores are organized, bright and clean

I thought it was really cool that in each shop we entered, someone on the staff was sewing. Sewing, right there, by the fabric or the checkout area, not tucked away in a hidden studio. This is a company that walks the walk and they SEW and they QUILT! There’s a community vibe that everyone is working together. It never felt like I had walked into “work”. Everyone we met was helpful and friendly.

There are hundreds of patterns, templates/rulers, notions of all kinds and “gear”. Need a sewing mug, tote, t-shirt or other novelty item? They are available. I had to keep reminding myself that my suitcase was already pushing the airline weight limits, so I had to remain focused and frugal (to an extent).

So much character in these buildings; browse basics and solids here

This particular building is the location of the 500th store of J.C. Penney, which the name and location had been retained. Talk about a step back in time!

Primitives and Wool
Modern – could be one of my favorites!

I liked that each shop had a specialty or theme. This concept means not having to roam a factory sized warehouse to find the perfect fabric. I sometimes find huge stores to be overwhelming. Here, you could narrow it down and find what you need rather quickly. However, if time is not an issue, going in and out of all the stores along this quaint street would be a lovely way to spend a day or more. There are restaurants and benches if you need to refuel or rest.

A Bright Mural on a Winter Day

I don’t know if or when I’ll make it to Hamilton, Missouri again, but I’m thankful I was able to visit at least this once. It was nice to shop these beautiful stores in person. Oh, I almost forgot! You know the “quilter’s cash” you accrue with online purchases? Yes, you can apply that to in-store purchases! What? Happy day! Even better, as we went from one shop to the next, any purchase generated NEW “quilter’s cash”. I know it all adds up, but I convinced myself I was generating my own coupons – ha!

One additional “take away” for me after this vacation was that you don’t need a big city, big lights and a booming metropolis to make things happen. Start where you are, follow your heart and your dreams and work hard. You never know what might be waiting for you around the next corner if you just take that first step and start. If you find yourself in Hamilton, I hope you get to meet Jenny!

Jenny Doan, Missouri Star Quilt Co.

This is not a sponsored post; all content and photos are property of Two Terriers Studio.