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 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