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.

The Gravitate Quilt

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.

Block Preparation

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.

Chain Piecing

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.

Vibrant Blocks

It’s a happy moment when the points are on point!
Back-lit quilt blocks remind me of stained glass art.
Measure twice, cut once.

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.

Binding Time

The binding is ready

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

The Gravitate Quilt; pattern by Modernly Morgan. Pieced by Stacey, Two Terriers Studio.
All done!

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.

Happy Quilting!

Scenic Road Quilt

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!

Fabric Selection

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.

Building Blocks

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.

Beautiful solids by Art Gallery Fabric

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

Quilted

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.

The Finish

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!)

Cozy Cabin Quilt

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.

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.