Forest Abstractions Quilt Along - Questions Answered!

Hello, friends of the Forest!

I have had a couple of questions in comments and on Instagram that I thought might be helpful to everyone. Please find those below. Also - NEW SURPRISE BLOCK COMING WEDNESDAY!!! It will be posted as a guest post at Sew, Mama, Sew!  as well as here. Falcon will be right here on Monday the 22nd, then we are back on schedule with Mr. Squirrel on October 1st! 

The final layout.

Although I'm not going to ruin the surprise of the "surprise blocks" yet, or even tell you which space we are going to fill each month, this is the proposed final quilt layout if you plan to make all six additional surprise blocks and use them on the front of your quilt. I'm so excited to unveil them all! We are going to need some extra background solids and I will keep you updated on those supplies as we go. You can see that the surprise blocks will repeat backgrounds to give the final quilt a more cohesive look. 

Suggested layout using the six additional free SURPRISE BLOCKS. Final top size with additional blocks:  56" wide x 60" tall. 

Paper pattern templates: press those creases! 

The paper patterns come with the pattern templates printed front and back on 11" x 17" paper. These are the patterns, not the pieces to be used for creating your blocks. The very first step in foundation paper piecing is to trace or photo copy your templates into a set to be destroyed in the making of your block. Some people prefer to trace or copy onto newsprint or special paper and others are fine with standard copy paper. The choice is yours! 

The pattern pages are not unlike a commercial dress or other apparel pattern and come folded inside the pattern envelope. The pattern pieces must be smoothed flat before tracing or copying to ensure accuracy. For the easiest and smoothest finish, press the pages on a low setting with an iron with NO STEAM. 

Individual blocks?

So, you only want to make the bunny. I get it. I will be breaking out the pattern into individual blocks for sale in the coming month. The PDFs will be priced individually and available in my shop. 

 

As always, keep those questions coming and I will try to answer them! If you have a question, chances are that someone else does too!

Happy sewing!    

 

The FAQAL: First Surprise Block! The Field Mouse!

Hello Quilt Along friends! With all due apologies, let's get this party back on track! My husband is amazing and swept me and our girls away on a two plus week camping adventure that found us rafting the North Umpqua River, sleeping in a different campground every night (except the two night stop at the Michael Miller design studio!!!), eating and drinking at one new brewery every day, taking photos at every tourist trap between Portland and San Francisco and back again and just two and a half weeks of all around family style nonsense. It was fabulous and we love him to pieces and I will post vacation pics soon too... but now, back to the Forest Abstractions Quilt Along!

Everything should get back on schedule this month. I will be posting more Bunny examples including the original from the Brambleberry Ridge kit and my Christmas version!!! Field Mouse examples will be added this weekend and then I'll get the Falcon up ASAP. Whew! We are going to be busy. Yay!

Original Brambleberry Ridge palette.

Original palette.

Sweet yellow & mint version. He's wearing footy pajamas!

Yellow & mint palette. 


The Forest Abstractions Quilt Along - The Bunny - Mint & Yellow

Basement lighting setup = weird :)

Welcome to my workspace. On the left I have a 14" rotating cutting mat, an Add-A-Quarter ruler and rotary cutter. Right behind the mat is a large glass jar that I use for my trimming scraps. My sewing machine, the Janome 1600P, is set with a short stitch length to help notch the paper and strengthen the seams for easier paper pulling.  

Please notice my seam ripper front and center on the sewing machine. For me, the seam ripper is a main tool in foundation paper piecing. Fabric placement changes WILL happen. The seam ripper shouldn't be viewed as something you get out for mistakes - it's a part of the process and I use mine frequently to change the placement of fabrics while I work.

 

Mint & Yellow Palette

On my left is my handy lightbox sitting on a small table. My husband made this giant beauty for me as a gift several years ago using an Instructables tutorial. My Fabric Palette is taped up above my lightbox and I have each fabric lined up in front of the Palette & Piecing Guide. 

Not pictured: My iron and pressing board are at my right also on a tray table, a paper bag is at my feet ready for paper scraps and my templates are all cut and lying in order with A on top of the stack. 

 

My first piece of fabric for A1 selected and ready to go.

Here is my filled Fabric Palette for this block. I have chosen a fresh, light and bright palette of mint and yellow. I am using a more scrappy look and have picked more than one fabric for a few of the slots.

Background: solid white

Black: In place of black for Bunny's eye and nose, I have used the gray from the background of Waterfront Park Flight in charcoal.

White dot on gray ground: I have two fabrics on my palette. These two prints, Brambleberry in Aqua and Shimmer Reflection in Mint read as a very similar color and saturation and I want to use them interchangeably as I go along. 

White triangles on gray space: I have a lighter mint fabric than the earlier prints, Flight in Mint.

Gray lines on white: Memoir in White

Gray dot on white: I have placed three different fabrics. These three yellows, Wild Carrot in Straw, solid straw and Reflection in Starfruit, I planned to use interchangeable throughout the block. You will see that as I went, I ended up removing Reflection in Starfruit from the block.

White: In the final slot I have two solids as I wasn't sure which one I wanted to use until I got going. I chose the fog gray.  

 

First piece is always right side down, away from the template. 

I have taken my first piece of fabric and placed it underneath the template, under the A1 position. The template is right side up and the fabric placed under the template is right side down. Notice that the fabric piece extends at least 1/4" beyond all of the A1 edges. Since the A1 position is along the edge of the A template piece, the fabric also extends all the way out to cover the 1/4" seam allowance dotted line. 

 

This fabric piece was fitting almost perfectly... almost too perfectly. I was worried it would slip as I was sewing on the second piece, so I carefully lifted up the paper and used a small piece of double stick tape to hold it in place. I love this tape (Duck brand Easy Stick Double Stick Adhesive Roller) and I've never had any problems with it. The main reason it works so well for foundation paper piecing is that it barely sticks to the fabric. It loves to stick to the paper. It holds well enough to keep my fabric from shifting, but when it comes time to pull paper, in my experience the tape has always stayed with the paper. 

 

Take a good look at the space you are about to fill, A2. Notice the line between A1 and A2, this is your stitching line. The piece of fabric you use to fill the space needs to be large enough to cover A2 and at least a 1/4" seam allowance on all sides. Place a piece of fabric under A2 with the right side down and ensure it covers these seam allowances.

Holding all the layers in place, carefully flip everything over so that the fabric is lying right side up.

 

Focus on where the line between A1 and A2 lies. You should not be able to actually see it right now, because it is covered by the fabric. The fabrics should both be lying right sides up covering the places they will be once they are sewn down.

Flip the A2 fabric back across the line between A1 and A2 so that right sides are together and there is at least 1/4" of fabric crossing the stitch line on the A2 side of the line. 

 

Again, holding all the layers in place, carefully flip everything back over so that the template is right side up and transfer the layers to your sewing machine.

Place the layers under your presser foot. Put your needle in about 1/8" before the A1/A2 line. Sew along the line and beyond the 1/4" dotted seam allowance line. 

 

From here, you can see that the fabrics both extend at least 1/4" across the A1/A2 line and the seam extends through the dotted seam allowance line. 

With the template face up, fold back the template paper along the A1/A2 seam line. 

 

Trim off the excess fabric from the seam allowance. I use an Add-A-Quarter ruler as it makes this step quicker, but any ruler with 1/4" line will do. 

 

Smooth out the fold you made in your template. Place your template on your work surface so that the fabrics are facing up and the template is facing down and examine your work. Make sure the fabric covers the A2 space as well as extends 1/4" into all adjoining areas and extends across the 1/4" dotted seam allowance line. 

Using a dry iron or a seam roller, press the seam in place!

Yay! You did it! 

 

Seam Allowance "Shadows"

So, what happens when you run into a light fabric that goes on after a dark fabric and creates a "shadow" in your seam allowance? Most people will probably not even notice this. I'm not convinced that I would notice it after the project was completed, but while it's right up in my face, it bugs the heck out of me. My solution is ever-so-slightly trim back the dark seam allowance. 

Shadow in my seam allowance.

Trim it away. 

Pretty, crisp seam allowance.

With the template lying on the work surface, fold back the light seam allowance and the template and hold it back under your ruler so that it will not be trimmed. Place your ruler so that about 1/16" of an inch of the dark seam allowance is sticking out and trim it away. 

 

Odd Angle Seams

This pattern has a LOT of them... okay, mostly ALL of them. Let's take a look at one.  In this example I have pieced D1 through D4 and am trying to fit the white fabric D5 triangle shaped piece. The D5 triangle does not have a 90 degree corner angle, which is going to make your fabric shift in an odd direction when you sew it on and press it in place. Here is how to get a perfect flip in the expected direction. 

With the template face up on your work surface, place the fabric piece on top of your template where you want it to be positioned after it is sewn, ensuring all seam allowances are covered. You can see that my fabric fits well on the top of the D5 triangle space, but has some weird jagged edges on the bottom edge by the seam. 

Place your ruler so that the flat edge extends 1/4" across the seam line with a little extra room. Using a chalk pencil or other marking tool, mark the seam allowance line where you will trim away the excess fabric. 

Place the fabric on your cutting mat and trim. Now you have the correct angle on your fabric and it should align when sewn on. 

 

Sewing Together Template Pieces & Aligning Points

With all of the angles in this pattern, it is sometimes difficult to see exactly where the end points should match to get perfect alignment. As you complete each template use the piecing guide to lay them out on your work surface with fabric right side up. 

When you are ready to sew two template pieces together, align them along the seam with fabric right sides together. Take a pin and put it through the top seam end point. Poke the pin through until it goes perfectly through the bottom template seam end point. 

Transfer to your sewing machine and secure the pieces under your presser foot. Remove the pin and sew the seam. 

 

The Bunny!

More posts coming with the original and alternate pallets for the bunny. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or where you would like to see more information or detail. 

Cheers! 

Violet

 

Where to Buy

Hello! I have had a lot of questions regarding where to buy Violet Craft paper patterns and kits for The Forest Abstractions Quilt. I created a new page with all known shops carrying the paper patterns found here:

Where to Buy

At this time the only confirmed sighting of Forest Abstractions kits are at: www.intrepidthread.com

If you know of another store carrying kits, please let us know in the comments below!

 

To build your own kit:

To download or print these lists, PDF kit lists can be found here:

Forest Abstractions Quilt Kit List, Complete Quilt Kit List

Forest Abstractions Quilt Kit List, Individual Blocks List

We are getting so close to BUNNY TIME! See you very soon, right here!

 

The Forest Abstractions Quilt - Quilt Along - Introduction

 

I am so pleased to introduce you to my little foundation paper-pieced friends. The Forest Abstractions Quilt pattern consists of a full color booklet with fabric selection guide, fabric palette and piecing order for six different blocks as well as a hefty set of 20 ledger sized pages of templates for The Falcon Block, The Bunny Block, The Squirrel Block, The Coyote Block, The Doe & Bird Block, and The Stag Block.

July 15 - Quilt Along - Getting Started
August 1 - Quilt Along - The Bunny 
September 1 - Quilt Along - The Falcon 
October 1 - Quilt Along - The Squirrel 
November 1 - Quilt Along - The Coyote 
December 1 - Quilt Along - The Doe & Bird 
January 1 - Quilt Along - The Stag
February 1 - Quilt Along - Quilting and Binding

Beginning August 1, I will host a Quilt-Along right here on my blog with tips and tricks for each block and step by step instructions on how to foundation paper-piece. There are also six little surprise blocks that I will be giving away to add to your quilt if you choose to. These will be hosted here and at a few fun, surprise places to be announced along our Quilt-Along journey. 

The Forest Abstractions Quilt has her very own page where you can find links to all of the Quilt Along posts as they come out, , Instagram photos, kit guides and more, found here:

http://www.violetcraft.com/all-the-things/#/forest-abstractions-quilt/

The paper pattern and Brambleberry Ridge fabric and kits are available from many of your favorite online and local quilt shops. The PDF is now available in my PDF shop

So gather up your supplies and I'll meet you right back here very soon! 

My precut Brambleberry Ridge kit available at several online shops and my supplies, all ready to go!

Suggested Supplies:

  • The Forest Abstractions pattern
  • Fabric
  • Scissors for cutting paper 
  • Pencil
  • Tape 
  • Double Sided Tape - I use Duck brand Easy Stick Double Stick Adhesive Roller
  • Cutting Mat - I have a 13" spinning mat directly to the left of my machine
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Ruler - I use a 12" Add-A-Quarter ruler
  • Seam Ripper - this is a MUST, not a maybe :)
  • Water Soluble Fabric Marker or Chaco Liner
  • Sewing Machine with stitch length adjustment
  • Iron 
  • Hard Pressing Board
  • Light Box

 

A little note about light boxes... they are great. I have it on my suggested list as they make paper piecing so much easier, but they aren't entirely necessary. Any bright light source will do the same thing, just not quite as easily, including holding the pieces up in the air in front of any light. My awesome husband made my large lightbox for me as a gift a few years ago using a tutorial he found online. When I travel however, I use a little light box that came in a $20 fashion drawing set my daughter received as a gift when she was about 6. It is smaller, but just as effective. I have also seen some ingenious ways to lay rope lighting inside of a plastic tub for a similar effect. 

Brambleberry Ridge - Available July 2014

Brambleberry Ridge is my newest collection with Michael Miller fabrics. It has begun shipping to stores and is now available in many online and brick and mortar shops. 

Brambleberry Ridge evolved from a love of my great-grandmother Adeline's 1950's home in Dodge City, Kansas and my own current 1950's home on a little tucked away, hidden gem of a ridge line in the middle of the city of Portland, Oregon where coyotes, squirrels, rabbits and falcons are often present amid the blackberry bushes and trees. 

The Bridgetown Dress in Rosemilk. Pattern available August 2014.

The Bridgetown Dress in Rosemilk. Pattern available August 2014.

Rosemilk in Mint

Rosemilk in Mint

Knots & Loops in Coral

Knots & Loops in Coral

Bow Tie Plaid in Cameo

Bow Tie Plaid in Cameo

Brambleberry in Aqua

Brambleberry in Aqua

Taking my great-grandmother's love of Rosemilk hand lotion, my love of her gloriously shiny costume jewelry and combining that with gold rimmed wine glasses and snack plate sets from the cupboards, a little mid-century gold gilt wallpaper, mirrored wall tiles, wood paneling and the always present hand tatted doilies on every wood surface from my various childhood homes, I wove all of this inspiration into a sophisticated, yet rustic collection of quilting cottons. 

Knots and Loops in Bark

Knots and Loops in Bark

Rosemilk in Opal

Rosemilk in Opal

Flight in Orchid

Flight in Orchid

Trading Post in Quartz

Trading Post in Quartz

All in all, this collection comes from my love and appreciation of the delicate sophistication of that era and brings it full circle into a modern collection brimming with joy.

Mrs. Catterson working in the studio.

Mrs. Catterson working in the studio.

New paper patterns to coordinate with the collection are shipping to stores this week and will be available as PDF downloads July 15th. 

Broken Herringbone Quilt

Broken Herringbone Quilt

Breeze Blossoms Quilt

Breeze Blossoms Quilt

Forest Abstractions Quilt

Forest Abstractions Quilt

Flying Falcons Quilt

Flying Falcons Quilt

To see the full collection, visit the Design Gallery. 

Brambleberry in Blossom

Brambleberry in Blossom

Timber Valley in Teal

Timber Valley in Teal

Watercolor Heart Block in Wild Carrot

Hello, friends!

Here is a little project I had a great time putting together for Janome. The full instructions can be found at

HERE

.

Violet Craft: Watercolor Heart Block Tutorial ~ Made with Wild Carrot print from Madrona Road Collection

I love to add a little bit of patchwork to our home every chance I get. This Spring I have been admiring some contemporary watercolor quilts, also referred to as color washing. My style frequently combines a little something classic with a little something modern and for this project I had the idea to use only one modern print and one solid to create a flowering heart pillow.

I had the perfect print in mind and my assistant agreed. Look for areas of loose or solid background when selecting a print to work with. Then select a solid closely matched to the background color. For my example I chose Wild Carrot from my Madrona Road collection matched with white background.

Violet Craft: Wild Carrot fabric from Madrona Road collection

Head over the the Janome blog and

check out the rest of the tutorial

The Breeze Blosssoms Quilt Pattern, Kit and Workshop!

Happy New Year, friends!

This is the Breeze Blossom Quilt. I created this floaty little block based on the cherry blossom trees along Waterfront Park here in Portland, OR. The quilts were first introduced in my Spring Quilt Market booth to coordinate with the Breeze print in the Waterfront Park fabric collection. The pattern is

now available!

The Breeze Blossoms Block utilizes quarter circle piecing inspired by the traditional Drunkard’s Path block. Although the shape is similar to the Drunkard’s Path and the curved piecing technique is the same, the Breeze Blossom Block is trimmed, pieced and combined in a unique way. Pattern includes a Breeze Blossom template pattern for transfer to template plastic. 

The cover quilts were made using my Waterfront Park fabric collection for Michael Miller Fabrics. Each quilt utilized one fat quarter pack of 16 different prints, one quilt in each colorway. Both quilts use solid white background fabric. Kits are also available in

my shop

The Breeze Blossom blocks were also featured in my Cathedral Park quilt shown below. In this quilt I floated the blocks above an intricate applique of Portland's St. John Bridge.

photo by Mia Craft

The 1/4" fine line applique was hand cut with a craft knife from black fabric on fusible interfacing and secured with a zigzag stitch. I quilted wind like breeze lines floating throughout the entire top two thirds of the quilt with straight lines mimicking the bridge angles throughout the bridge applique and water waves below the bridge. 

The St. John's Bridge is a beautiful piece of inspiration. We took this photo to give you an idea of the true scale of the park and bridge. Look, I'm WAYYYYYYY down there. 

photo by Mia Craft

I will be teaching a workshop on the Breeze Blossom Quilt blocks at the inaugural Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show here in Portland on August 14. 

I'll post more information on the classes as the signup time nears. 

Cheers! 

Waterfront Park, Print by Print

All of my collections are a story of sorts. Sometimes the story manifests itself in actual words and sometimes it just sort of floats along in my head as I design.

Waterfront Park starts on the esplanade in the Spring, in the rain of the cherry blossoms that carpet the park and sidewalks all through town. Breeze in Breeze and Iris.

Bridgetown features sketches inspired by the bridges of Portland, OR and the Portland sternwheeler. I took photos of all of the bridges and sketched based off of my photographs. Anyone who has ever photographed the Dragon Boat races finishing under the Hawthorne Bridge during Portland Rose Festival probably has almost the same photo I took.

Top row, left to right: St. John's Bridge, Portland sternwheeler, Broadway Bridge and Hawthorne Bridge

Bottom row, left to right: Burnside Bridge, Fremont Bridge, Ross Island Bridge and Steel Bridge

Bridgetown in Black, Charcoal, Navy, Starfruit and White:

Three prints are reminiscent of the angles and architecture in the bridge design, Half Square Triangles, Shattered and Domino Dots.

Half Square Triangles specifically look like the arch of the Fremont Bridge while gazing up (from the passenger seat, of course) while driving along it. Half Square Triangles in Jewel and Clementine:

Shattered in Berry, Clementine, Luna and Starfruit:

Domino Dots remind me of the rivet work in the beams and were originally inspired by watching people play dominoes in the park. Domino Dots in Black, Geranium, Jewel, Lagoon, Navy, Starfruit, White, Clementine:

Flight is inspired by the peregrine falcons that live on several of the Portland bridges and the swifts that migrate from Chapman school every year. Flight in Black, Charcoal, Clementine, Iris, Luna, Navy and White:

Union Station is a hexagon pattern of vintage tile work. Union Station in Navy and Peony:

Reflection is the glow of the moonlight on the river. The idea for the design of the print was to make your project sparkle like the moonlight or sunlight reflecting off of your project. Reflection in Black, Geranium, Peony, Starfruit and Luna:

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll along Waterfront Park with me!

Mason Gets a Big Boy Bed: A Broken Herringbone Quilt

Well, when a baby sister is born, things change. 

Like, your aunt shows up...

 and reminds you that your quilt she originally made for your nursery is now for

DRIVING YOUR CARS ON. 

And for snuggling. 

And for hiding under from your crying baby sister. 

And she makes you a new big boy bed quilt! 

I used the Fleet Week colorway from Waterfront Park and

The Broken Herringbone quilt pattern

I added a couple of extra rows and 4" borders on all sides to fit his twin bed.  

I used the optional pieced back layout and straight line quilted in sets of three lines along each herringbone stripe. 

I loved that the boardwalk looked like the Broken Herringbone pattern :)

This is his "Auntie, I love it so much!" face. Bwahahaaa! Man I love that kid. 

A Waterfront Park Nursery for Taylor.

For my sweet niece Taylor's nursery I decided to mix up the colorways from Waterfront Park. I combined the purples from Rose Festival and corals from Fleet Week along with the charcoal prints and whites. I used the

Patio pattern

from

Happy Zombie

 to make the baby quilt. It is bound in Shattered in Clementine. 

For her nursery I made her a crib sheet from the Breeze Blossoms fabric and a sweet pillow with a cherry blossom tree framed by 1/4" white strip and bordered with Reflection in Geranium.

 I think she likes it. 

An Introduction to Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park is my most recent collection for Michael Miller Fabrics. Although Waterfront Park is highly inspired by Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park, it is also inspired by all the beautiful bridges and city parks I have had the pleasure of visiting across the country. In my eclectic compilation style Waterfront Park combines abstract monochromatic prints of birds in FLIGHT, hexagon shaped REFLECTION of light on the water, architectural line sketches in BRIDGETOWN and floating petals in BREEZE.

Waterfront Park was released in June 2013 and is available for wholesale order directly from

Michael Miller Fabrics.

To find Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon visit your local sewing shops 

Modern Domestic

,

Bolt

,

Cool Cottons

,

Pine Needle

or

Fabric Depot

. (hopefully I haven't missed anyone!!)

Here is the promotional brochure for Waterfront Park featuring some of my inspiration photos and all 35 of the prints.

Cheers! xoxo,

Violet

QuiltCon... it's never too late to blog!

This week my wonderful friend Katie of

Sew Katie Did

was in town to lecture for the

Portland Modern Quilt Guild

and to teach a class over at

Modern Domestic

. Katie has a prolific collection of amazing quilt work and I loved seeing many of her quilts and hearing her story. I of course, did not take a single photo so you'll have to pop over to her blog to see her work.

While she was here, she mentioned my blog is a little (ahem) outdated. I have been neglecting you, my dear readers. It is true. It did light a fire under my behind and here I am. Where I hope to be regularly. I've been 

Instagramming

 in the mean time and I'd love it if you wanted to see what I'm up to over there!

So, let's get caught up, shall we?

I went to QuiltCon! QuiltCon was held in Austin, TX in February of this year. I went FOR FUN. Yep. There was a little tiny bit of work involved as the Madrona Road Challenge winners chosen by Michael Miller Fabrics had their projects showcased in the Michael Miller booth, but that was all their amazing work, not mine. I loved seeing them in person and meeting some of the quilters. If you want to check out some of the lectures,

you can watch them here on Craftsy. 

I had the pleasure of taking two classes, one from the extremely entertaining

Jay McCarroll

. You may know Jay as the winner of the very first season of Project Runway or as the designer behind some

really great fabric collections

. I particularly love Habitat and Center City. I made this awesome Kitchen Sink Patchwork Skirt in his class... that still needs a hem and the lining sewn in. Procrastination is my middle name.

I also took a quick little class with

Lotta Jansdotter

. Lotta is also a designer of some gorgeous modern minimalist

prints

.

On my last day at QuiltCon I was a full day class volunteer for my amazingly talented friend,

Lizzy House

. I had no idea going into my day who I would be volunteering for, but let me tell you... I hit the jackpot. Lizzy is an amazing teacher. From the thoughtfulness of her curriculum at the very beginning of her class, the thoroughness which she knows her craft inside and out presented throughout the day, to the final retrospection of work at the end of the course, I was in awe of Miss Lizzy. If you ever have the chance, take her classes. You will learn something.

Now, have I mentioned I was there for FUN? I had the most amazing opportunity to travel with some of my closest friends... and not have to WORK during it!!! Yeah, yeah, I was a super volunteer which meant that I volunteered like 16 hours or something like that, but it didn't feel like work. It felt like I was helping out my friends with their big project... and I was SO proud of what the MQG put together, it really felt like an honor to volunteer there and be a part of it. Some of these ladies I get to travel with for Quilt Market or other fabric/quilting/sewing shows, etc, but this trip we got to let loose and well... get tattoos. I think we counted fourteen women who went and got themselves mostly-crafty tattoos during the course of the week. Here is mine:

I also got to meet up with one of my dearest childhood friends, Mandy. When we were very young, we played school and tried to beat up the neighborhood boys, including her two brothers. Her mom made the best homemade caramel I've ever had in my life. We shared a love of Nintendo for hours after school and on weekends in their basement. My second oldest scar above my eye comes from a Nintendo Duck Hunt gun accident on their couch. We were amazing at pulling skateboards with rope behind bicycles or Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels RULED our cul-de-sac well into years that we were MUCH too old to still be riding them... and their wheels, which were mostly shreds of plastic by then, showed it. We built ramps and forts and ran up and down and around the block. It was the best. I only have one blurry photo, but I REALLY hope we get to spend more time in 2015 when I go back to Austin for the next round of QuiltCon!

We are standing in the Michael Miller booth in front of one of the great challenge quilts.

You can see all of the challenge winners here. 

xoxo,

Violet

Favorites from the Madrona Road Challenge!

Onwards by Casey York (Tied for Favorite)

Onwards

Untitled by Iara Ferreira from Bragança, São Paulo, Brazil (Tied for Favorite)

Quilt da minha amiga Iara

Recently I had the most difficult task of picking my favorite project from The Modern Quilt Guild / Michael Miller Fabrics Madrona Road Challenge. There were hundreds upon hundreds of amazing entries and more are still pouring in even though the official deadline has passed. I am so thrilled that everyone is still finishing their projects and I plan to keep looking through all of them as they come in.

I honestly didn't know where to start and I wrote a little about my dilemma. Lindsay from ellesquare responded with her blog post

Steal This Quilt

. To quote her, "In short, I wish I'd made it and I want to steal it. I want it. I will take it and hide with it for years in an underground cave, and then after I lose it in a game of riddles, I will follow a pair of tricksy hobbitses through the gates of Mordor only to jump into the fire of Mount Doom to be with it forever. My precious." Thank you so much Lindsay!

So that is how I started to bring my numbers of favorites (hundreds) down to something I could work with (dozens). When I had a workable number of favorites I asked myself, would I jump into the fire with it? I'm a total geek, so you can see how this post really resonated with me. When I was all said and done, I had ten that I couldn't let go of... and I had two top pics that I completely could not separate. I loved them both for totally different reasons and I wanted to pick them both... and fortunately,

The MQG allowed me to do just that

.

Above are the two I could not separate from being my favorite. Below are in no particular order of awesomeness. Click on the photos to see their Flickr streams. Again, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated in the challenge.

Buckles and Belts by Linda (Flourishing Palms)

Madrona Road Challenge

Madrona Road Scrappy Stars by Terry Aske

Terry Aske - Madrona Road Scrappy Stars - 34 x 42 inches

Untitled by mb slinko

Madrona Road front 4

Madrona Road Challenge Quilt by Irelle (Jibberish Designs)

Madrona Road Challenge Quilt 005

Projective Plane of Order Four by moonbrightinjune

PPO4

Untitled by Lindsay (ellesquare)

Madrona Road - finished! (54x54)

Madrona Road Challenge Quilt by Anne (anne @ play-crafts {asdesigned})

madrona road challenge quilt - 48

Sweet Dreams by Disentangled

Sweet Dreams - 10X35

Amazing, right? The Michael Miller QuiltCon booth choices are all

posted on The Modern Quilt Guild blog

- those were all high on my personal list as well! And with more entries still coming in, I foresee at least one more post soon :)

Hello. Love. Luck.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends! 

One-Sided Binding7

I have a

little tutorial over on the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog

today showing four different ways to finish a project with ruffles. I am a ruffle-aholic and have featured many a ruffled quilt over the years (

Freshcut Quilt-uvet

,

Gypsy Caravan Quilt

 &

Obsession on Point Flea Market Fancy Quilt

), so head on over to

my tutorial

to find out more about my trials, errors and successes in ruffles!

In my tutorial I have created four little mini-quilts a.k.a. snack mats. Two of them use a thread painting technique. Over the holidays, my friend Ale was using a similar technique for some pillows. I modified it a bit and here are a few pictures to show you how I did it.

First off, cut your three layers: top, batting and backing. During this whole process I have the top and batting sandwiched together so that the bottom stitches of my thread painting will not show on the back of my project when I add the backing for finishing.

Luck1

Using a water-soluble marking pen, draw an outline of the image you want to thread paint. I wrote the word "Luck" in cursive. The blue ink would NOT photograph to save my life, so I've enhanced it here :) And it's still hard to see.... sorry folks.

Print

Using a free-motion foot and your feed dogs disengaged, carefully sew along the outline. This part can actually also be done using a regular foot with feed dogs engaged if you move very slowly and turn a lot. I find the free-motion foot to be an easier process, but grab a scrap piece of fabric and try out both ways to see which you are more comfortable with.

Luck3

Increase the outline of your words with a second row of stitching. Sometimes I will draw this area in with my water-soluble pen for a guide.

Luck4

Reattach a zigzag foot and reengage your feed dogs. Use an appropriately sized zigzag with a longer stitch length to fill in the center space of each letter. You can repeat this a few times to get a nice fill. Don't completely fill with zigzags, just enough to get a base.

Luck5

With your free-motion foot and feed dogs disengaged fill in the area with smooth front to back lines as opposed to the side to side lines of the zigzag stitches. This will give a smoother surface to your thread painting.

Luck6

Two examples of completed words:

Love1
Hello1

Now - to see how I finished these with ruffles head over to

Sew, Mama, Sew! for my Ruffle Binding Tutorial. 

Happy Love Day!

~ Violet

Broken Herringbone Quilt - The Pattern!

Broken Herringbone Quilt Pattern Cover

The Broken Herringbone Quilt was originally created from the Broken Herringbone fabric print in my Madrona Road fabric collection. It is still unclear though which came first... print or quilt pattern? I don't remember! The

pattern

is now available in my

shop

!

The quilt showcases fabrics in a bold manner, but in a fresh, modern, on-trend way. This is a perfect pattern for those fabrics you've been waiting to showcase!

Broken Herringbone Quilt

The pattern also puts a unique twist on quilt construction. There are no traditional "blocks". Quilt is constructed entirely of full width of fabric strips. I think you will be surprised how simple it is to pop this quilt together.

Broken Herringbone Quilt

There is VERY minimal scrap production and the pattern includes diagrams for two examples of how to use all of the scraps in an interesting quilt back. Exact dimensions are not included for pieced backs.

Broken Herringbone Quilt

You may recognize the truck in these photos from Madrona Road. My love affair with the trucks on Sauvie Island goes back to exploring the island alone when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest. At that time there was only one beautiful truck exploding with tulips. In 2005 I took my youngest daughter and a dear little friend there for a photo shoot for my handmade children's clothing line, KungFuBambini. Warning - cute baby overload!

Madrona Road Farmstead Truck

I included my illustrations of the truck in the Madrona Road Farmstead print. Last year, when we returned to take the pictures of the quilts, there were two new beautiful additions, one of which is the blue truck above. You'll be seeing more of these trucks from me. It's a magical little place and I hope to return there for years to come and find them full of blooming flowers.

Happy tears.

Warning: there are no pictures in this post. Just words.

I am bawling right now. Absolutely crying. And every one of them is a happy, happy, happy, HAPPY tear. The Modern Quilt Guild Madrona Road Challenge has put me over the edge.

Last May I showed Madrona Road, my fabric collection for Michael Miller Fabrics, at Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City. I love this collection. I put my whole heart into designing it. Our family had been through a lot by that time last year. We were in the process of short-selling our home and changing everything we thought we believed about what we "needed" in life. I wrote Memoir of Madrona Road during that process. It is a very true story about a girl from Kansas making her way in this big world of ours and finding herself and the love of her life in Oregon. About 3/4 of the way through, the story goes on to describe a fictional place called Madrona Road.

At the time I designed Madrona Road, I think I thought that magical little road with the sweet little farm was really and truly what we were looking for. But since then, with ever more changes in our lives in the short span of a few more months, I've realized that the life I created in that little story will exist wherever our family lands. All that matters is that we are together and making the absolute best out of this life that we can WITH WHAT WE'VE GOT. Dreams are so important, but loving what you have right here and right now is so much more important. Making do.

It seems like that's exactly what all of you have been doing. The Modern Quilt Guild Madrona Road challenge deadline was last night and I have been watching the progress daily on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter and blogs and it's been so exciting and fun. Then today, seeing 262 entries in the finished Flickr pool and 473 photos in the progress Flickr pool, well, it just did me in. I've been looking through them and bawling ever since... I am supposed to pick one favorite. I don't think I know how to do that. I love every single one of them. Just thinking of the energy of all of those sewers all stitching, well, it just makes me cry harder if you must know.

Please, oh please... if you are on Instagram, tag me!!! I am @violetcraft and I check the #madronaroad and #madronaroadchallenge tags daily also.

#peacocklanefabric gets used occasionally which makes me smile a little secret smile - and just as a tiny happy teaser, get ready for #waterfrontpark in a few months. Yes, I now openly speak in hash tag language. I'm okay with that.

xoxo,  violet

Let's Craft! Felt Matching Game

Circle Matching Game

Recently we took a little road trip up to Gig Harbor to see my bestie and my most awesomest nephew. Since I normally talk her into painting a bedroom or tearing out her bathroom while I'm there (seriously - this happened) this time we wanted to keep it low key but we HAD to at least fit a craft project or four in to the trip.

Circle Matching Game

This little guy saw some really cute matching blocks on

Pinterest

via

The Purl Bee

 and told me he just had to have them. The first thing I thought when I saw them was that would be a great project for the Go! Baby... so I brought it along with the scrap bins and 1/2 yard of charcoal gray felt.

First off we dug through the scrap bins and found 18 bright, simple prints that were large enough to cut two circles from. I think we used every color of Falling Flowers from Peacock Lane, because that print's awesome. Just sayin'. Next, we used the Go! Baby to cut 72 of the medium size felt circles and the 36 print circles. Cutting multiple layers at once really made this job a lot faster.

The next step was a tad trickier. To cut the center ring without cutting off part of our original circle we had to fold each circle in half and then half it again. Then, lining up the point with the center of the circle on the die, we ran it through again and it cut the ring right out of it. Repeat 35 more times.

Circle Matching Game
Circle Matching Game
Circle Matching Game

Yeah, that part was boring... but this guy helped entertain me through it!

Circle Matching Game

Next, we stacked the layers: felt circle on bottom, fabric circle in center and donut ring on top. Then, using a zigzag stitch we stitched both the outside and the inside of the donut ring.

Circle Matching Game
Circle Matching Game
Circle Matching Game

And that's that. A super simple project - and so far Mason says they taste great. Yeah, he's a little young for them right now, but we're ahead of the game over here :) His momma saved a wipes container to store them in too. Mmmm. Hmmmm. She's a thinker, that one.

Circle Matching Game

Then, when no one was looking, I used the larger size circle to make myself a set of coasters that we actually use every single day. I love these things!

Circle Matching Game

Happy Craft-ing!

xoxo ~ Violet