Holiday Hills Quilt

I’m BACK!

I’ve been a little quiet in this story telling space, but today is the pattern release day for the Holiday Hills Quilt and time for me to get back to the writing of these quilt stories. As the leaves change from vibrant green to red, yellow and now a tinge of orange, it’s clear winter is on the way. It’s perfect timing to prepare for the holidays and handmade gift giving, or to even make something festive for yourself. Truth be told, I will most certainly be keeping this quilt for my family.

A New Quilt

I was fortunate to work with Raye, thehomebodyco.com, who designed the Holiday Hills pattern. She began the initial discussion with testers in 2020 and as you might imagine, there were a few other things that needed attention in that crazy year. Quilting was certainly a positive distraction, but when you’re offering a product to so many people, distractions may not be the best element in the equation. Fast forward to 2021 and this quilt was entirely worth the wait. While we all wanted to go-go-go in 2020, it was wise to settle in and wait; make it perfect. It is well-written, with precise details, easy to make and might I add, FUN.

I have been mindful of “sewing from my stash”; Lord knows I don’t NEED more fabric, as fun as it is to shop and add to my collection. I did want to make a quilt with a traditional color scheme, so I headed straight to my Christmas bin of textile goodness. I pulled this collection, called Merrily by Gingiber for Moda Fabrics. Adding in some coordinates by Cluck Cluck Sew and Sweetwater, I was all set. Let the cutting begin.

Trimming the Tree(s)

There’s always something a little delightful about seeing these fabric trimmings piled together. It’s a sign of what’s to come, but also indicative of little waste, which is a good thing!

A Forest in the Making

Seriously, just having these beauties lined up on my cutting mat was the inspiration I needed. I could already tell how much I would love this quilt.

The Backing

Hello, little woodland creatures

If you’ve been around here for very long, you have seen the photos and heard the stories of all the creatures, great and small, we see in our neighborhood. The black bears seem to be the ones who garner the most surprise and awe, but we also have almost daily visits from deer; the occasional bobcat sighting, and often the hooting of an owl in the trees behind our home. It continues to be magical, if not also frightening at times. I mean, nobody wants to find themselves 15 feet from a bear without any warning (and it happens!). Long story long, that is what drove me to purchase several yards of this fabric. It looks and feels like home. I was shopping with my daughter and stopped the moment I saw this bolt, “isn’t this perfect?” Her reply, “what are you going to do with it?” I had no clue in that moment, but the pine boughs, deer, owl and vibe of it, drew me in. It came home with us that day! I knew I’d figure something out & that it would be used and loved.

A Pieced Quilt Top

Another common thread is my love for summer. It might seem odd that I was as thrilled as I was to dive into a winter holiday quilt. It’s not hard to be excited about changes when things go smoothly. That smoothness isn’t always the case, but in the wait for this pattern and seeing how well it all came together, I was mostly on board for letting summer fade away to focus on the next thing.

This just makes me smile

Quilting, Edge to Edge

If I’m quilting a small item or baby size quilt, I’m comfortable with doing that on my domestic machine. This quilt’s size and my vision for the pantograph meant sending it to be professionally long armed. This quilting work was done by Jenn at knottedthread.com. It’s exactly what I imagined. The ornaments give a feeling of snow and wind gusting through the hills of trees, but also a nod to favorite Christmas decorations. It finishes the “story” perfectly, in my opinion.

All done…I see you, little creatures

I’m staking claim to this one, for snuggles by the fireplace this holiday season. It’s a simple theme, but each element ties together feelings of home for me. To think the fabrics were purchased years apart and that the pattern was a year in the making, it was just meant to be. Timing is everything, correct? I think timing worked out pretty well on this one.

Pattern Release

The Homebody Company is releasing this pattern today, November 10, 2021 for purchase. You’ll find this quilt in both printed and pdf versions, as well as an extension for making a pillow and even a paint-by-numbers kit. It’s a win-win. Special thanks to Raye for including me in the tester team. It’s always a joy to work together!

Holiday Hills Quilt, by Stacey at Two Terriers Studio

Thanks for stopping by! More projects coming soon.

This is not a sponsored post; all opinions are my own. Content not to be copied or distributed without written permission of Two Terriers Studio. All data and photos property of Two Terriers Studio.

Urban Light Quilt

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.

Untrimmed flying geese

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.

It’s coming together.

This block, on its own, would make a beautiful pillow cover to accompany this quilt.

More geese…

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?

Urban Light, the completed top

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.

Urban Light at the MA shore

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!

Happy Quilting…

All photos and content property of Two Terriers Studio; do not replicate or distribute without permission. This is not a sponsored post.

Sawtooth Shine Quilt

My fabric pull for the Sawtooth Shine Quilt pattern test

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.

Fabric confetti

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.

Untrimmed flying geese; seeing the colors coming together

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.

My Sawtooth Shine Quilt on the river bank

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.

Quilts are like hugs on winter days

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.

Spinning Top Quilt

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.

Art Gallery Fabrics

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.

Binding strips ready to go, once the quilting is complete

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.

Longarm Quilting

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.

Spinning Top on a snowy day

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.

Spinning Top, a quilt in the wild…sewn by Two Terriers Studio

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.

Happy Quilting….

This post and project are not sponsored; all comments and photos property of Two Terriers Studio; not to be duplicated or shared without permission.

The Londoner Quilt

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.

The Londoner, by Two Terriers Studio 2020

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.

Sewing curves tip – pin & go slowly

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.

Pin, Pin, Pin

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.

Binding

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.

Edge to edge quilting by Deb, Owl Quilt It
My Finished Londoner Quilt, Two Terriers Studio 2020

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.

Not quite the London Underground, but special thanks to my husband for helping with quilt photos

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.