do. Good Stitches: Fieldcrossing Quilt

Way, way back in November, I tasked my fellow members of the Wish Circle of do. Good Stitches with making blocks for a Fieldcrossing Quilt. I asked everyone to use the colors of the Purl Bee's Felt Alphabet as their inspiration when selecting fabrics (they always use the best color palettes for their projects!): various shades of pink, yellow, rust and mustard.

Everyone did an excellent job of making blocks within the color palette, using prints and solids from their stashes. Once I received all of the blocks, I assembled the quilt top.

For the backing, I paired a coordinating Heather Ross mermaid print with a super-soft beige Japanese bunny print.

I did lots and lots of straight-line quilting, mostly with white thread, but I stitched a few lines in light pink as well. Two brown/pink/orange floral prints were perfect for the binding.

The resulting quilt turned out to be a nice size, perfect for a twin bed, and I really love how all of the disparate fabrics came together so beautifully! Like all of the quilts our group makes, this quilt will be donated to Project Linus.

Quilt Stats
Finished dimensions: 58" x 70" 
Fabrics used include: Mermaids by Heather Ross for Spoonflower (no longer available, but can be purchased in another colorway here); Brown Calico from Heather Ross's Briar Rose collection
Quilt pattern: Fieldcrossing by Elizabeth Olwen and Cloud9 Fabrics  


liberty of london hexagon wall quilt

When my husband and I traveled to London in the spring of 2012, a trip to the Liberty of London flagship store was obviously a must on my to-see list. As a souvenir of my visit, I purchased a packet of precut Liberty Tana Lawn hexagons, prepped and ready for English paper piecing.

As I traveled over the next several months (and years!), I stitched together linen-cotton half hexagons, solid white triangles, and those Liberty hexagons (along with a few other floral lawns from my stash). I remember working on this project in North Carolina coffee shops with a friend, as well as in a New York City hotel room during a birthday trip (I vividly remember watching a Downton Abbey season finale while stitching). I'm sure a plane ride or two were in there as well.

The top sat finished for awhile, and was finally basted last fall during a sewing weekend with my mom and a friend. Though I contemplated hand quilting the piece, in the end I machine quilted it with cream thread. I maintained the quilt's angled edges, binding it with bias-tape binding made from American Made Brand's Dark Raspberry, which matched the pink floral backing.

After adding a sleeve to it yesterday, I finally hung it on the wall of our bedroom. What I love so much about English paper piecing is its portability; I can take it wherever I go. As a result, each of those hexagons carry memories of time spent with dear friends, new places, and conversations. This quilt will be treasured for years to come.

Quilt Stats
Finished dimensions: 36.5" x 37"
Fabrics used include: Assorted Tana Lawns by Liberty of London; Essex linen by Robert Kaufman; floral by Denyse Schmidt
Quilt pattern: Salty Oat

P.S. Are you signed up for the Salty Oat newsletter? The second issue went out to subscribers this morning. You can find all past issues here, and sign up for future ones right here.  

P.P.S. And here's the English paper piecing project I was working on while in London.


embroidered heart mini quilt

This mini quilt started out as a simple embroidered heart, which I stitched for a class that I taught a few years ago. While I often frame my finished embroidered pieces in either hoops or on stretcher bars, I wanted to take a different approach for this piece.

I pulled a number of solid pink and red fabric strips to coordinate with the monochromatic satin stitching I'd done to fill the heart.  Keeping the heart as the center, I built a small log cabin quilt top. As I approached the outer rings, I incorporated strips of Umbrella Prints' Hearts in Cherry Blossom fabric, which seemed rather fitting.

When it came time to quilt it, I opted for dense, straight-line quilting in pink thread, something I typically reserve for smaller pieces due to its time-consuming nature.

I used the same Hearts in Cherry Blossom fabric on the back, which shows off the quilting and the fun texture it creates.

The heart was stitched from this digitally printed pattern I designed, which can be purchased from Spoonflower, if you're interested in stitching your own. One heart fits on a swatch and can easily be framed in a 6" embroidery hoop---or with any other method you can dream up!

And if you're interested in the mini quilt itself, it's now available for purchase in my Etsy shop.


wonky triangles baby quilt

A little over four years ago, I made a chevron quilt for my friends' new baby daughter. It's a quilt that I'm happy to say has been well loved and is still in rotation, so when my friends recently commissioned me to make a baby quilt for their second daughter, who was born in April, I was super excited.

I knew I wanted to do something fun, and slightly different, for the quilt design. I remembered that I had a copy of the Wonky Triangles paper-piecing pattern by Owen's Olivia, and thought this could be the perfect opportunity to finally use it.

My friends sent me a few pieces of fabric to include in the quilt: an aqua-and-brown polka dot and a gray, lime green, brown and aqua print. I used those fabrics as my starting point, and pulled coordinating lime and aqua scraps from my stash.

I paper pieced each of the triangles, using various shades of white and cream, and a low-volume print, for the background. I included one solid magenta triangle for fun, which added an unexpected pop of color.

I backed the quilt with a teal and cream polka dot, quilted it with a simple cross-hatch, and made a scrappy binding from the leftover pieces of fabric. I also added a custom cross-stitch label to the back, with the baby's name and birth date.

It was so fun to make a quilt for a baby that I hope to meet soon, and I love knowing that the quilt has gone to home where it will be used and well loved.


hope valley mini flying geese quilt

While packing up my studio and preparing for our recent move, I came across the leftover squares of Hope Valley fabric that I had cut for this baby quilt a few years ago. Rather than tossing them into the scrap bin, I decided to take advantage of the fact that they were already precut and create a small quilt from them. I cut an equal number of squares of a natural Essex linen-cotton fabric, which complemented Denyse Schmidt's pretty prints, and paired the fabrics to create small 2" half-square triangles.

For the layout,  I settled on three columns of flying geese, pointing both north and south. I love the bit of unexpected movement that the layout creates.

I used a puffier-than-normal batting that gives the mini quilt a nice loft, which was especially apparent after I stitched in the ditch; the geese really appear to pop! I used a whimsical, long-hoarded Japanese cat print for the back, which happened to coordinate with the quilt's color palette.

I did a scrappy, hand-stitched binding to finish everything off. It was fun to make use of leftover fabric and work once more with a fabric collection I've long loved; it's something I hope to do more often! This mini quilt is now available in the shop.


new quilt labels + weekend reading

This week, I added a new item to the shop: custom cross-stitch quilt labels. These new labels feature your choice of message in a simple, modern cross-stitch font, which is hand stitched by me in my studio. The custom label can either be attached to a quilt you purchase from the shop, or sent with unfinished edges for you to turn under and stitch to your own project. It's such a nice and thoughtful way to personalize a quilt for gift giving, and I'm really excited to be able to offer this service---hopefully you are too!

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I'm planning to check out a local chapter meeting of the Modern Quilt Guild, as well as Squam Art Workshops' Art Fair. In the meantime, here are a few fun links from around the web that I've gathered up for your reading and viewing pleasure:
  • These coastal quilts from Haptic Lab are stunning (I spy Cape Cod and the Outer Banks!).
  • Did you see Skinny laMinx launched a new fabric line? It's called Diggi Dot and it's gorgeous!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


salty oat spotlight: sarah waterhouse

Today is the first in what I hope will be an on-going series of interviews with inspiring and creative people---including fabric designers, shop owners, quilters, and other makers. To kick things off, I'm so excited to welcome Sarah Waterhouse to the blog! Sarah is an incredibly talented fabric designer based in England, whose work I have the pleasure of stocking in the shop. Sarah's designs are fresh, modern, and often geometric, which is what immediately drew me to her work when I stumbled across it almost two years ago. Read on to learn a bit more about her background, her design process, and how she has environmentally friendly fabric specially woven for her.

Image source: Sarah Waterhouse

Caitlin: Tell us a bit about your background and how you got your start. What was the path that led you to where you are today?

Sarah: I studied art and design at college but decided to pursue the academic side of the subject by doing a History of Art & Design degree at Sheffield Hallam University in 2000-2003. I loved Lino printing at college, but never got a chance to screen print and I was determined that I wanted to have a go. So when I finished university I went to work in an art gallery and started to teach myself how to expose screens and screen print and soon became addicted. I also had to teach myself how to put designs into repeat and absolutely loved working with patterns. I used my new fabrics to make gifts for myself, family and friends and it just blossomed from there.

C: What does a typical work day look like for you?

S: I get into work early, usually around 7am, and deal with all my admin, marketing and orders first so I can spend the rest of the day on the practical side of the business, so designing, sewing and printing. There are also extremes in my working week so some days I might be completely glued to the computer and others I’m printing all day. I love the variety in my work!

Image source: Sarah Waterhouse

C: It’s not always easy---from a sourcing or financial standpoint---to use organic fabrics, but sustainability and environmentally friendly materials are obviously a big part of your company’s story. Why is that?

S: I’ve always been very environmentally minded and determined that once I started a business, it would continue in the same thread. I didn’t like the thought of putting something else out into the world that was damaging, and the processes surrounding cotton production are so polluting. It was very difficult to source both materials and inks though. Even looking for the right packaging was difficult as I didn’t want the quality to suffer in the face of the environmental aspects. Once I found some good suppliers for fabrics and started buying in bulk, my choices grew. I’m now at the point when I’m able to commission my own woven cloth made here in the UK and that is wonderful.

C: What three words would you use to describe your aesthetic?

S: Bold, contemporary and colourful.

Image source: Sarah Waterhouse

 C: What’s your current favorite color palette?

S: I love all the colours as you can probably tell from my fabrics, so I don’t really have a favourite palette. I don’t like to limit myself in any way. I love putting different colours together and creating unusual combinations.

C: What are your sources for inspiration? Can you walk us through how an idea goes from your sketchbook to fabric, and how you refine design elements and select colors before committing to printing the final design on fabric?

S: Most of my inspiration comes from nature so either from direct sketches or photographs I’ve taken. I carry a sketchbook and my camera with me everywhere so I can record any interesting shape, pattern or composition I find. I sketch all throughout the year but twice a year I have a period of about 2 months when I concentrate on work specifically for a new collection. I look through all the work I’ve done so far and then start picking out elements I find interesting to build up a set of about 10 different ideas which are worked on again to see how they could be turned into repeat patterns and my final choice cuts this again down to 3 designs. Once I’m happy with the designs, I refine them as a repeat pattern and get the screen etched. Whilst I wait for the final screen to arrive, I start work on mixing colours. By this point I usually have colours in mind which have come from the point of inspiration. I usually mix up about twice the number of colours I think I might need and do test swatches until I’m sure of the final set and am happy that they all work well together.

Image source: Sarah Waterhouse

C: What projects have you or your customers made with your fabrics?

S: My customers use my fabrics for a variety of uses which is lovely, that’s why I like being able to offer many different weights of fabrics that are suitable for a range of uses. My designs have been used on everything from upholstery to clothes. I always ask my customers to share any images with me of the finished work. It’s lovely to see my fabric become a part of someone’s home or wardrobe.

C: What’s Sheffield, where your studio is, like? Any favorite places to shop, eat, or hang out?

S: Sheffield is a wonderful place to live. I was born here and couldn’t really see myself making my home anywhere else. We’re the greenest city in the UK with more trees than people and we’re surrounded by one of the country's most beautiful national parks, the Peak District, so I’m very lucky to live here. We also have a fantastic cultural vibe in the city, especially music, art and design. There are so many makers based here and we have lots of studio spaces. My studio is lovely. It’s my home away from home and I share it with my husband and our rescue pug Etty. The room is mostly taken up with a huge printing table, 8.5m in length.

Image source: Sarah Waterhouse

C: Where can people find you online? Do you have any upcoming in-person events or open studios?

S: I sell through my own website shop. I also sell through Etsy and have a number of stockists. I like to do as many trade and retail shows in the year as I have time for and try to visit as many places in the UK as I can. The big event of the year is definitely our Open Studios though, which happens every November. This year it’s the 20th-22nd November and all of our studio buildings are open over the weekend so that’s the chance to see about 140 different artists and makers. I like to put on a good display and sell a variety of different fabrics and finished items over the weekend and it’s a lovely chance to meet so many of my customers face to face.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses, Sarah! You can find a selection of Sarah's fabric in the Salty Oat shop (it's currently on sale!), along with a recently added pair of pillows featuring her designs (red and orange), which I made in my studio.