Hand Quilting With Aurifil Floss

The October challenge available to Aurifil Artisans was to use at least five colors of Aurifil thread in a project. After considering many, many possibilities – quilted zipper pouch, mini quilt, whole cloth quilt, throw sized quilt (so many choices!) – I decided to hand quilt the Sugar Pop Quilt cushion cover I pieced a few months back. I love the fabric colors in this project, and I was excited to finally finish it.


I used six Michael Miller Cotton Couture colors for my project – Confection, Raspberry, Brick, Lagoon, Spa, and Luna – and Kona Cotton White.


For my threads, I chose to use Aurifloss in matching colors – Burgundy 1103, Fuchsia 4020, Baby Pink 2423, Jade 4093, Light Jade 1148, Light Turquoise 5006. I have only hand quilted a few projects, and I’ve used Aurifloss for the majority of those projects. Three strands of Aurifil embroidery floss is the perfect weight for chunky hand quilting stitches.


I had a little fun with the different stitches, adding a row of Xs and a row of horizontal stitches, rather than go with a straight line of stitches for every row.


I am so happy with how this project turned out. Using contrasting threads, rather than matching colors, really allowed my stitches to stand out against the background color in every row. I usually only use one or two colors for quilting a project, but that has definitely changed as a result of this project!




Catch & Release Project Party

Today is my stop for the Catch & Release Project Party and I’m so excited to share my make with you!


Mathew of Mister Domestic recently released his third fabric line with Art Gallery Fabrics, and it is such a beautiful line.  Mathew has a talent for designing fabrics that appeal to a wide audience – each line includes something for everyone. Some of his fabrics are beautifully layered prints with rich colors and delicate shapes. Others are striking in their simplicity – two color, geometric prints that are great for background or binding.

Catch & Release was inspired by days Mathew spent with his family at their favorite local fishing spot. IMG_5373

I had fun brainstorming what to make for this project party. The prints are perfect for so many things – bags, quilts, toys, garments…the list goes on. I love to challenge myself to try new, sort of unexpected projects here and there.  I thought, how fun would it be to create an umbrella with any print or design you choose?! The answer – super fun, and relatively simple.


I knew I wanted to make one umbrella with a single print. I chose to use Blue Bank Flora for that one. I made another umbrella with a horizontal stripe pattern using River Rules along the bottom, Reflectors in the center, and Rowing on the top.


I purchased two umbrellas, with the intention of using the frame as the base of my project. I took the umbrellas apart, careful to save the canopy for use as my pattern.


I’m so glad I chose Blue Bank Flora for one of my umbrellas. The rich colors and gorgeous field of wildflowers make it the perfect all over print for a project like this.  The dark fabric will provide cooling shade on sunny days, and will be lovely protection from the rain in the coming winter.


The horizontal stripe pattern on my second umbrella was enhanced by the saturated hues of River Rules along the bottom edge of the canopy, and the geometric lines in Reflectors that creates the stripe across the center. The octagon of Rowing on top is the perfect focal point to tie it all together.



I hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventures in DIY umbrella creation with Catch & Release fabrics. Be sure to check out the other makers at the party. So many inspiring projects have been shared, and there are many yet to come!











Aurifil Artisan Wholecloth Quilt Challenge

Each month, a group of Aurifil Artisans has the opportunity to take part in a challenge created by Aurifil, including various themes and often along with other sewing industry partners.  The challenge for August was to create a whole cloth quilt using Aurifil thread and a Painter’s Palette Solid fabric provided by Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, chosen from the sixteen colors that comprise their 2019 Trend Palette, their colors of the year.  I received a spool of Steel Blue (2775)  12wt Aurifil cotton thread and a half yard of Midnight Painter’s Palette Solid fabric.


I decided to add three additional colors to my mini quilt to add some interest, and because (I’ll admit it!) I was a little scared to do my first whole cloth quilt with just one color, and one that perfectly matched the fabric at that!

I added two Aurifil 28wt threads – Mustard (5022) and Grey (2605). I also added one 50wt thread – Tangerine Dream (6729).


And then I just stared at the fabric for awhile. And stared, and stared. I wasn’t quite sure what to do first. I knew I wanted to do something geometric, but what? Circles or triangles or squares or some combination of all of them? My favorite type of quilting on large quilts is 1 inch or half inch lines that go in various angles, giving the quilt movement as the lines turn this way or that. I finally just grabbed a ruler and went for it, drawing out different chunks of the quilting, always with 1/2 lines.

IMG_8212 3

The design reminds me of wood art and tile floors I’ve seen out in the world. I’ve always loved geometric lines – in art, on fabrics, and now in my quilting. Once my design was all drawn out (and re-drawn in some spots, since my Mark-B-Gone pen seems to be air soluble as well as water soluble), I quilted it up. I tried to spread out the colors for a good balance.


I used the same fabric for binding, and finished it with Aurifil Steel Blue (2775) thread. I’m happy with the overall result.  There are spots where I wish I had slowed down a bit for more accuracy, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye on that in the future.  Moving forward, I need to learn how to pull my threads up at the beginning of a line and bury threads later, for a much cleaner look.



Paintbrush Studios fabrics are so soft and luxurious.  If you haven’t had a chance to work with them, I definitely recommend doing so. This was my first time making an entire project with their fabrics, but it won’t be my last. Check out the colors they chose for 2019 Trend Palette. They also have a great resource for matching their fabric colors to Aurifil threads here.

A big thanks to Aurifil and Paint Brush Studio Fabrics for hosting such a fun challenge!




WIP Organization

The June challenge for Sew For Fifteen is WIPs (Work in Progress), and I have no shortage of resources to share on the subject. We all approach our list of projects in progress differently.  I typically have a few projects going at one time, as well as a stack of finished (but not yet quilted) tops waiting for attention. I work on the handful of projects I have going until I finish them, then start a few more. I have friends who tackle only one project at a time, waiting until one is finished to start another one. And I have other friends who have WIPs that are decades old and waiting to be rediscovered. My oldest WIP is a decade old, and I plan to finish it this week.  Finally!

Whatever your approach, this month at Sew For Fifteen is all about organizing your WIPs so that you might tackle them at your convenience.

Free PDF WIP Organizers

String & Story WIP Tracker

Canoe Ridge Creations #finishit2019 WIP Tracker

Mama Love Quilts WIP Tracker

Hello Melly Designs Quilt Project Planner


Blog Posts & Finish Along Challenges

Guest Post By Holly Lesue on Diary Of A Quilter

The Crafty Quilter: 2019 UFO & WIP Challenge 

Scissortail Quilting: Quilty Project Management

A Quilting Life: Quilt Works In Progress

All People Quilt 2019 UFO Challenge

Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) Tutorials & Patterns

The May theme for Sew For Fifteen is Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP). Fabric is sewn to paper one piece at a time, allowing the sewist to create precise points and angles that are difficult or near impossible to achieve with traditional piecing. FPP can be used to make simple blocks, like Half Square Triangles and Half Right Triangles, as well as complicated compositions such as detailed animal blocks and multi-part mini quilts.

Foundation Paper Piecing is a technique that can be done with nearly the same supplies as traditional piecing, with the exception of the pattern templates. However, there are a number of tools that can make your paper piecing easier and better – a seam roller, water soluble glue stick, add-a-quarter ruler, and a light box, among other things. A few of the tutorials below list them in detail.

I recently acquired a light box, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with that tool here.  Beyond that, all I need are paper, fabric, and thread. Oh, and scissors, a rotary cutter, and a cutting mat.  And a sewing machine. You know, the essentials. 🙂

I use Aurifil 50wt 2600 (light gray) thread for all my piecing, including FPP, and I always turn my stitch length down to 1.0.  The smaller stitch length holds the thread more securely when you rip the paper off at the end, and it helps with that part by perforating the paper.

It’s not too late to join us for the May Sew For Fifteen challenge.  Take a look at the tutorials and free patterns below and jump on in!


Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorials:

Blossom Heart Quilts: Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Leila Gardunia: How to Foundation Paper Piece

Wombat Quilts: Paper Piecing Tips

Mister Domestic: Foundation Paper Piecing No Tear Freezer Paper Method with Video Tutorial

String and Story: How to FPP


Free Patterns:

Quiet Play Patterns: Kristy at Quiet Play Patterns has designed a huge variety of FPP patterns, including geometric animals, holiday patterns, dinosaurs, letters, and so many more. The linked image below is one of a handful of free patterns that she offers on her PayHip site, linked above.



Wombat Quilts: Cath at Wombat Quilts has shared some really helpful tutorials and posts on Foundation Paper Piecing. In addition, she has rounded up over 70 free FPP block patterns, including her own and those published by other makers. The block below is an example of one of the many blocks that she has designed and shared for free.



Lillyella Stitchery: Nicole at Lillyella Stitchery has a number of paid and free FPP patterns that are great for learning angles in FPP, and work for small quilted items all the way up to large quilts.



Sariella Patterns: A collaboration between Sarah Thomas at SARIDITTY and Nicole Young at Lillyella Stitchery, Sariella offers a number of beautiful free and paid patterns.  The Electric Diamond pattern is another great way to learn angles in FPP and can be made in so many ways, from edgy to super cute!




Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour


Today is my stop on the blog tour for Lugu fabrics, Jessica Swift‘s latest fabric line for Art Gallery Fabrics. I have enjoyed each of Jessica’s fabric lines and Lugu is no exception. The lighter color way is whimsical and fun, and the darker color way is deep and moving. All of these fabrics are wonderfully suitable for items made for kids, which is the focus of the Lugu blog tour.

I decided to make a doll sleeping bag and baby doll carrier.  There is a doll that is set to join the family of items later today, but for now, we have her accessories. I’ll update the post to include her when she’s ready for her big debut.

The sleeping bag pattern is a tutorial from the blog See Kate Sew.  I chose Tekstiil Emberglow and Lumina Dusk for this item.  The deep orange color and delicate print made Tekstiil Emberglow perfect for the exterior.  The teal, yellow, and pink in Lumina Dusk made it a great contrast fabric for the lining.  I was so happy I could include the selvedge as part of the strap.  Details like that add so much to a project.


I know my four year old son, and his 5 and 7 year old sisters will love putting their dollies to bed in this little sleeping bag. And it even has a pillow for more comfortable doll slumber.

If mobile doll fun is what your kid needs, then this simple doll carrier pattern by Nicole Bennett is just the thing. I used Sova Dayglo to make this carrier, and I had so much fun with it.  The colors in this fabric are deep and rich, with beautiful pink, mustard, and orange accents. The owls in the print were perfect for fussy cutting the main panel of the carrier. My son had lots of fun jumping around the yard with his doll in tow, and even stopped for a few kisses on the forehead (when prompted by me to do so, I’ll admit. 😉 )


The Lugu Fabrics Blog Tour has just begun, and there is already so much beautiful inspiration to be found. Be sure to check out the projects already posted, and follow along as lots more talented makers share their projects made with Lugu fabrics.

Monday March 25 – Jessica Swift

Tuesday March 26 – Priscilla Geissler

Wednesday March 27 – Felicity Greiner

Thursday March 28 – Isabelle Selak | South Bay Bella Studio

Friday March 29 – Katie Skoog | The Simple Life Company

Monday April 1 – Michael Caputo | Patchwork and Paper

Tuesday April 2 – Loni Jakubowski | Havin Sew Much Fun

Wednesday April 3 – Amista Baker | Hilltop Custom Designs

Thursday April 4 – Gwyn LaSpina | Clever Colleen

Friday April 5 – Becca Plymale | Sunflower Seams

Monday April 8 – Brianne Baxa | BriCrafty

Tuesday April 9 – Louise Waterfall | Textile Trolley

Wednesday April 10 – Neressa Bennett

Thursday April 11 – Amista Baker | Hilltop Custom Designs

Friday April 12 – Alexis Wright | My Sweet Sunshine Studio

Monday April 15 – Sarai Schuk | Sarai’s Hobbies

Tuesday April 16 – Cassie Massolia | Lily Shine Creates

Wednesday April 17 – Alex Sorensen | My Sew Bliss

Thursday April 18 – Jennifer MacWilliams | This Girl Is Sew Destructive

Friday April 19 – Betsy Harrahy | Little Pink Pamplemousse

Monday April 22 – Rebecca Ringquist | Dropcloth Samplers

Tuesday April 23 – Chantal Morin | CG Monsters

Wednesday April 24 – Danielle Gobel | Little Pink Peony

Thursday April 25 – Eve Gaddis


Slice & Stitch Challenge

Good morning!  Today I am sharing a project I completed as part of a challenge sponsored by Aurifil and Olfa. Every two months, one Aurifil Artisan and one Olfa Creator will use the same tools to create a new project and share it. This month, I worked with Aurifloss and Olfa specialty blades in the deluxe rotary cutter. The Aurifloss was wonderful to work with for my first hand quilting project, and the pinking blade was a very helpful finishing tool. For more information about the tools I used, see the blog post on Auribuzz, the Aurifil thread blog.

The following is a full tutorial to create your own Stripe Dash quilt block and cushion cover.

Stripe Dash

By Isabelle Selak

Finished block: 18″x18″

Notes: Width of Fabric (WOF) is assumed to be 42″. All seams are 1/4″. This pattern can be constructed using strip piecing. However, I find that my piecing is less accurate when I use strip piecing. Because of this, the following instructions are for individual pieces rather strip piecing.

Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A (background fabric): 1 fat quarter

Fabric B (light aqua): 4″x7″ scrap

Fabric C (medium aqua): 8″x7″ scrap

Fabric D (dark aqua): 1 fat quarter

Batting: At least 20″x20″ piece

Backing fabric: 5/8ths of a yard (20″x20″ square piece)

Cutting Instructions:

Fabric A (background fabric):

Cut (2) 7″ squares.

Cut (4) 3.5″x7″ rectangles.

Cut (16) 3/4″x7″ rectangles.

Fabric B:

Cut (4) 1″x7″ rectangles

Fabric C:

Cut (8) 1″x7″ rectangles

Fabric D:

Cut (2) 7″ squares

Cut (1) 6.5″ square

Cut (4) 1″x7″ rectangles

Piecing Instructions

Create HSTs

1. Use the 7″ squares of Fabric A and Fabric D to create (4) 6.5″ HST blocks.

2. Take (1) 7″ square of Fabric A and (1) 7″ square of Fabric D. Place them right sides together. (RST)

3. Mark a line across the diagonal of one of the fabrics. Mark additional lines 1/4 away on either side of the center line. These are your stitch lines.

4. Stitch along both stitch lines. Cut down the center line to create two HST blocks. Press open, with seams open or to the side of the darker fabric, according to your preference. Repeat with the remaining pair of 7″ squares to create a total of 4 HST blocks.

5. Trim HSTs to 6.5″x6.5″. Set aside.

Create Stripe Blocks

Note: Use a scant 1/4″ seam to ensure that your block dimensions are correct when constructed.

1. Retrieve (4) 3.5″ Fabric A rectangles, (16) 3/4″x7″ Fabric A rectangles, and all 1″x7″ rectangles of Fabrics B, C, and D.

2. In piles of four, lay out your strips according to the following illustration:

3. Chain piece the strips, one colored strip on the left and one Fabric A strip on the right. Place the strips right sides together and sew together with a 1/4″ seam.

4. Sew the strip pairs together into sets of 4 strips.

5. Sew the sets of 4 strips together into one set of 8 strips.

6. Attach the 3.5″x7″ rectangle of Fabric A to the strip set to complete one Stripe Block. Trim the block so it measures 6.5″x6.5″. Repeat to create 4 Stripe Blocks.

Final Assembly

1. Use 4 HSTs, 4 Stripe Blocks, and (1) 6.5″ square of Fabric D for the final assembly.

2. Lay out your blocks according to the illustration:

3. Connect the blocks to create 3 rows of 3 blocks each.

4. Connect the rows to complete the quilt block.

5. Baste and quilt as desired.

Use your preferred method for constructing a cushion cover. Options are envelope closure, button closure, hidden zipper, or invisible zipper. You can also use binding on the edge for extra trim.

And just like that, you’re done with your Stripe Dash cushion cover! I hope you enjoyed the project as much as I did. I’d love to see your finished projects. Please share them on social media using #stripedash.

Third Star Quilt: Mister Domestic’s Aura Blog Party

Aura BLOG PARTY banner

I’m so excited to join Mister Domestic and his Aura Fabrics Blog Party fun! I finally get to share my newest quilt design and pattern-in-the-works, the Third Star Quilt.

quilt third star

For this blog party, I knew I wanted to design a new quilt.  I usually try to design something that features most of the fabrics in the line, but this time I tried something a little different.  I chose five prints from Aura fabrics and combined them with some of my favorite Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids and Wicked Sky denim from Art Gallery Fabrics’ Denim Studio to make this stripy, sunburst-y pattern, Third Star Quilt.


Originally, I planned to achieve that striped star effect by making a large number of tiny HSTs – 384 to be exact. Yikes! I went back to the drawing board to figure out a different approach.  I thought about using traditional piecing to make the striped sections of the block, but that would require some serious precision.  Doable, but challenging. I finally settled on foundation paper piecing.


Foundation paper piecing (FPP) is one of my favorite techniques.  I love the sharp corners and straight seams that I get with FPP.  It was the perfect solution for the striped part of my Third Star blocks. Once I finished all the components, I pieced them together to make 12 finished blocks.  The Third Star quilt is made with an 18″ block, so it comes together pretty quickly.


The bright, bold patterns and soft, tropical florals in Mathew’s Aura fabrics make it such a versatile fabric line. Aura’s Kauai Sunrise color way is light and playful while the Maui Sunset color way is dark and romantic – but that can all change depending on what you pair it with. I cut the Tiki Way Papaya fabric on the bias to make that stripe appear to be radiating out from the center, and I’m so happy with the effect.


I finished it off with some straight line quilting using Aurifil 50wt thread – 1125 (teal) for the top and 1246 (dark gray) for the back – backed it with Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids in Tile Blue and used Wicked Sky denim for the binding.


I love working with Mathew’s fabrics, and Aura is no exception. Be sure to keep an eye out for more of my Aura fabrics projects in the next couple months.

In the mean time, the party rages on! Check out all the projects already made and keep an eye out for all the new ones coming your way – all made with Mister Domestic’s Aura fabrics!

Get Started with English Paper Piecing

Sew For Fifteen is all about finding those sewing techniques or patterns that are on our “Someday I’d like to try…” lists and diving in together.  English Paper Piecing (EPP) is next on our list of techniques to learn.


My basted (still yet unsewn) EPP Party Block #7

English Paper Piecing was on my list for a long time before a nudge from a friend finally inspired me to dive in.  I was intrigued by the fun new patterns being released – The Mischief Quilt and Brimfield blocks were high on my list – but I was intimidated by all the things I thought I needed.  New supplies, new skills – too much, right?!

Thankfully, I discovered a few really helpful resources that taught me how to EPP and even provided files for the templates I needed to dive right in. Having extra supplies is so helpful, but I’m a firm believer that with a little creativity, we can usually find what we need to start a new craft hidden among the things we already have at home.


I have a limited budget for crafting supplies, so I was very happy to find that I could purchase single block packs for some of my favorite blocks for less than $10. I have papers for a few of my favorite Brimfield blocks, and have since splurged on one complete Obsession Quilt Kit from Karen The DIY Addict. If treated gently during the basting and removal process, EPP block papers are reusable.

I’ve rounded up a few tutorials and supply lists to help get you started. If you can, I definitely encourage you to get started with the Brimfield blocks or a quilt kit by The DIY Addict.  There are also tutorials that walk you through a few hexagon projects and some other popular EPP shapes. I’ll let you know, soon, what my favorite EPP supplies are. In the meantime, jump on in and feel free to ask questions in the comments.


Karen The DIY Addict: Comprehensive Guide to EPP

Brimfield Awakening: Introducing the Avon Block (The template is free!)

The EPP Party hosted by Mister Domestic and Pat Bravo

Sometimes Crafter: Adventures in Hexagons

Emily Dennis at Quilty Love: English Paper Piecing

String & Story: EPP

Curved EPP Tutorial by Mister Domestic




*Linked products are not paid endorsements.  Rather, they are items and tutorials that I use and enjoy.




Curves: Types and Tutorials

We’re just about to start week three of Sew For Fifteen, and you guys are blowing me away with your awesome curves! We’ve had improv curves, hand sewn curves, and lots of curves using templates and patterns.  I will be working on a template pattern this month – the Picnic Quilt by Color Girl Quilts.  I cut it out last summer, so it’s definitely time for me to get working on it! Which is your favorite type of curve?

Template Cut Curves

There are many patterns written for curves using printed templates or rulers specifically for curved piecing.  The following blog tutorials and videos are just a few of the great resources that you can use for template cut curves. One of them advocates using ALL THE PINS, one suggests skipping pins altogether, and the rest explore both options. I use a few pins when I’m sewing curves, but you have to find what works for you. Check out these tutorials and videos for guidance.

Color Girl Quilts: How To Sew A Full, Set-In Circle

Sewing Curves by Suzy Quilts (This video features the Propeller Quilt pattern, which has since been improved and renamed Modern Fans.)

Sometimes Crafter: Options For Sewing Curves

Pile O’ Fabric: Easy Methods To Piecing Curves

Art Gallery Fabrics Blog: Alice’s Tulips Block Tutorial

Sewn Up: Curved Piecing Video Tutorial


Improv Curves

Improv curves are typically cut without a template, though one of the tutorials listed here describes a great method for sewing improv curves with a freehand template. Most of these tutorials show you how to layer fabrics, cut a few curves into the layers simultaneously, then sew them together where they match up. Improv piecing is an art in itself, but we’ll cover that later in the year.  The spirit of most of these tutorials is to leave the templates behind and just go for it.

Red Pepper Quilts: Cutting And Sewing Free Hand Curves

Man Sewing: Curved Piecing Tutorial Video

Spontaneous Threads – Caution: Curves Ahead

Quilting Jet Girl: Improv Quarter Circle Tutorial

Night Quilter: Steps To Sewing Perfect Curves (This tutorial describes the method used by Stephanie at Spontaneous Threads, but with different photos and sample blocks.  Both are super helpful.)


Sew For Fifteen

If you’re just finding out about Sew For Fifteen, I’m glad you found it! We’ll be working together to learn some new techniques and check things off our quilting to-do lists, fifteen minutes at a time, for the whole year.  The community, tutorials, and prizes are bound to make this year productive and tons of fun! You can find all the information about how to participate here. Each month has a different theme.  January is all about curves.

So, which kind of curvy quilter are you – template or improv? If you’re just trying curves for the first time, tell me in the comments which type you think you’ll try first.