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Botanica Quilt

To those who are visiting our blog for the first time, welcome!!! I'm Julia! I'm a mom to 2 girls and 2 boys, married, and love living close to the Atlantic Ocean. My sister-in-law and I are the makers of Briar Hill Designs. We're having a blast working together! We share all about our quilting and art on Instagram at @briarhilldesigns, on Facebook and here on our Blog. 


So, here she is! My quilt for the What Shade Are You Blog Hop! I'm quite in love with Cotton Supreme Solids, and since I couldn't say "I'll take 'em all!" I delightedly settled on this palette of beauties!

Here's the list of Cotton Supreme Solids I used:
- Glow in the Dark
- Bowood Green
- Martini Olive
- Pea in a Pod
- Peridot
- Hydrangea
- Opera Mauve
- Marvelous
- Cloud 9
- Periwinkle
- Lancaster Sky
- Hyacinth
- Amethyst
- Feelin' Blue
- Jacaranda
- Purple Haze
- Verbena
- Jean Jacket
- Celeste
- Tourmaline
- Banana Cream
- Harlequin
- Citrus
- Citron
- Custard
- Linen White
- Lemon Chiffon
For the background I chose Swan. It's the perfect not-quite-white, and I'm ordering a bolt of it next week, I like it that much.


Sewing has always been a great interest of mine, though my love for quilting came quite a bit later. I sewed decor for my dollhouse as a kid, then clothing for myself and friends as a teen. I studied all-things-sewing at University including pattern making, tailoring, and reproducing period clothing. I then moved on to making wedding gowns, theatre costuming, and alterations until we had children. Sewing then changed to sundresses and stuffed animals. I even opted to make my kids duvet covers instead of quilts! I'm embarrassed and a little mad at myself that it took me so long to give quilting a go! My first taste of quilt making, and I was hooked! I followed a pattern for my first two quilts, and every one since then has been my design.



Design inspiration can come from many different venues. For this one, I set up some criteria, and came up with the design for this block from there:

·I wanted to design a quilt that could show off the soft and gentle side of working with solids.
·It needed to be a block that could be successful for many levels of quilter, while also teaching skills.
·I designed this pattern in the dreariest, slushiest, bone chilling cold of grey Nova Scotian winters (now you really want to visit, right?!) so I also made a requirement that this design needed to help me think happy thoughts of warmer weather. So this was nicknamed "The Happy Quilt" until I chose to name her Botanica.

I designed the blocks in EQ7, then made tweaks to the curves to fit the Circle Cut Ruler by EZ Quilting. Curved piecing, and what I call true-up templates help the blocks come together with ease.


Making Botanica with these warm purples, soft yellows and spring blues was made especially enjoyable because I could also choose mini palettes for individual blooms. Seriously, the 49 blocks in this quilt were not enough to play out all the dreamy colour grouping potential!
Blocks are 12" and set in a half-drop layout. They're also rotated so the leaves point every which way, which adds to the organic look of the quilt.


Backing is Cotton + Steel's Checkers in Sky. Their gingham is a favourite of mine! This is the third time I've used one of the gingham weaves as a backing. I've used ½", 1" and their 2½" checkers and they all look great.  As a bonus, it's a little wider than most quilting cottons at 50" so I could piece the back of this 84" quilt in two pieces instead of three.
I thought long and hard about how to have it quilted. In the end I chose a favourite loopy edge-to-edge, that Violet Quilts and I built together.
Batting is Hobbs Heirloom Premium Wool, and the scrappy binding was made with a selection of pastel tinted solids in the bundle.
I'm so pleased with how it turned out in these gorgeous colours! For a chance to win your own botanical bundle of fabrics, follow @briarhilldesigns, and @rjrfabrics, and tag a friend on the giveaway post! While you're here, and if you are on your home computer, you can subscribe from the home page of the blog. We'd love to share our creative adventures with you as well as send some freebies your way every once in awhile!  See you around!  





New Spring Quilt Pattern


 So far, I'm able to call myself a quilt finisher. I usually work on about four quilts at a time in different parts of the process, but they do all get done. And I don't start many more projects before one has been completed. I like it this way! It keeps my to-do list short, or at least, not too overwhelmingly long!  ;)

This winter, facing snowstorm after snowstorm, I was desperate for the thought of spring. A quilt idea suddenly took shape in my mind, I designed it and within a very short couple hours, I was testing out the block. I had a few other deadlines looming, but I thought a little spring would do me good, and it has!



I designed this quilt to use 2 1/2 inch squares in the tulip patchwork
The pattern includes amounts needed if you would like to use 2 1/2 inch pieces from your stash, and also how many you'll need of other precuts.  So, whether this will be a scrapbuster, or cut from precuts Or yardage, I've got ya covered!

For this quilt, I used Lecien's antique flowers in pastel, and added a few pieces from Brenda riddles line, Guernsey.

I fell in love with these sweet florals, and his new they would look so Spring-y with this pattern. I deliberated over what colour background to use, but I'm happy I chose the cream background. I find it softens the entire quilt, and I'm quite certain I'll be using this delicate creamy white much more often.


These blocks go together so easily.  This is a great beginner quilt for someone who's ready to take on curves. The curves are very soft, so it's very easy to manage, and I have instructions in the pattern for everything you need to know about curved piecing: cutting curves, how to start sewing, easing the two curves together, pressing, and truing up.

All curved piecing comes with truing up templates, which ensure excellent blocks.

Every one of my pattern testers commented that the curved piecing went so much more successfully than they had expected! I love this! Isn't that what we all want to for our sewing projects? To have successful outcomes!  I'm so delighted that my pattern help them learn a new skill successfully!

The backing was pieced in a brick lay style with leftover pieces from the fat quarters, and a few extra prints that weren't on the front.



It's actually easy to figure out how many pieces you'll need!  I will prep a tutorial on how to do it!

I love how the front of the quilts is understated simplicity, and the back of the quilt is this huge saturation of colour!

I searched for way too long for pantograph that I thought would look sweet on the quilt.  In the end, I asked my quilter if we could design an edge to edge. She happily obliged and we came up with this sweet little thing! I love how it turned out, and I'll definitely use it again! Quilting was done by Sheri from Violet quilts.


My scrappy binding helped to use up lots of the last bits of fabric.  I barely have any fabric left, just the way I like it!

Country Clothesline has put together quilt kits for both the Crib and Throw sizes of the quilt using mostly the same bundle of fabrics I used for mine!  And, as always...


... the New Spring Quilt Pattern is available in our Etsy shop!






Best Dressed Mini Quilt


This is a quilt I want to make over and over and over again! It's made using 2 1/2 inch squares. I used mini charms, five packs of them, but you could easily do this with any pre-cuts, or do some serious scrap busting.

The pattern comes with paper templates, which I love!  I cut them out, then tape them to the backside of a ruler. I align the paper on the fabric and cut the edge. I can cut about four+ fabric pieces at a time!

The fabric collection I chose is called Hazelwood by One Canoe Two.  There's a huge variety of prints and colors, and I love how some bows make me think of hair bows, while others remind me of bowties. It makes me think of a little group of Sunday School kids in their finest.


The quilt comes together fast, using a great technique called 2D chain piecing! 

Free motion quilting is something I'd like to practice more at.  I'm alright at walking foot quilting, I'm very good at dropping my quilts off at Violet Quilts for her longarm service ;) , but my free motion quilting skills could use some work!  This was free motion quilted with coral cotton thread. Every circle was stitched individually, no traveling.

To mark the circles, I used the clover blue disappearing marker, and traced around the base of a small thimble, then stitched all the circles.  Using a spring loaded free-motion foot.


The blue marker comes out with water. I found the steam on my iron wasn't enough to do it, so I spritzed it with a spray bottle and the marks disappeared immediately.

This was my first time using this disappearing marker. I will not admit to how many other marketing tools I have tried and not jived with!  I like this one! Since I don't want to prewash my fabrics, I may want to make sure that it's a pretty light spritz of water, so that I don't make the colours bleed before their first wash,(which didn't happen, but I would like to be cautious of that when using this method again) but it really did work successfully!


I backed it with some dear Stella fabric, and used a happy bundle of leftovers from other projects for a scrappy binding, my usual! I cut my binding at 2 1/2". If I'm going to finish my binding with handstitching, I cut it at 2 1/4", but with machine bindings I find 2 1/2" makes the most successful finish.


This mini quilt measures out at 23" x 28".  Adding a 6" border around it would make a perfect baby quilt, measuring 35" x 40"

Pattern is available as a free download Thursday June 15th through Friday June 16th 2017 for subscribing to our blog!  It will also be available after that in our Etsy shop!




Pattern: Barn Doors

This quilt feels like home to me!  It's inspired a place that's close to my heart; the Annapolis Valley.  I grew up dreaming about time in the Annapolis Valley because that's where my grandparents lived; in the valley, in farm country on the ocean, with the highest tides in the world always going in and out.  The beach a short walk from my grandparents was one of my favourite places, and looked different every time I went.  We'd walk down stairs scaling a 50ft drop off to the beach, the cliffs eroded chips of red rock on to the beach every year.  At high tide the beach was only 20ft wide, but when the tide was out, the beach was easily a kilometre wide and filled with the softest mud. We would venture out in bare feet to the water's edge, then it would walk us back in.




The drive to my grandparent's home felt like forever, but it was a drive full with pretty views of pastures, saltwater rivers that emptied and filled with the tides, gardens, farmhouses, orchards and aged wood barns.


The blocks in this quilt all are all inspired by barn doors of the Annapolis Valley.  I love how these blocks work together!   Individually, the blocks have their own character; whereas together, angles or colours from one block are carried into another block which makes more character.  It's synergic!

The fabrics are from Vanessa Goertzen's line, Little Miss Sunshine.  So sweet, right?

For the sashing I'd planned to use an off-white or maybe a celery green, but I found these options separated the blocks, and I wanted something that would help one block flow into the next.  I chose a mint green, and it was surprisingly just right!

My longarmer, Sheri from Violet Quilts did the quilting with cream thread in a 3 1/2" orange peel.  Batting is Hobb's wool, and I used one of my favourites from the Little Miss Sunshine line to make an Invisible Pieced Backing.

I LOVE how the quilting turned out!  Something I hadn't anticipated was that the orange peel does a fantastic job of enhancing angles on the 45.  See how it creates beads on the angled parts of the block?  LOVE IT!



A scrappy binding finished it up better than I imagined!

What colours would you use on this quilt?


Pattern is available in our Shop!