Planning my Moonstone Quilt

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Howdy, friends! I’m here today with a short post about planning my Moonstone Quilt. There is a high likelihood that all of this may only make sense in my own head, but planning this was a HUGE struggle for me, so I wanted to share my thought process in case it does happen to help anyone!

First, if you haven’t seen the Moonstone pattern by Giucy Giuce and Karen The DIY Addict, you must check it out! (You can find it here.) Moonstone is an English Paper Piecing pattern (aka hand sewing!) and it comes in a fantastic kit complete with all the pieces you need to make a quilt, or several small projects, along with acrylic templates for cutting your pieces. The kit and pattern are really well done and I think the design is just so striking! It was just recently released, but there are already a handful of really inspiring photos on social media under #moonstonequilt.

AAANNDDDD… there just so happens to be an AMAZING giveaway going on right now where TWO lucky winners will be flown to San Fransisco to hang out with Giuseppe and Karen for the launch of the Moonstone Sew Along! You can find all the details here.

Ok… onto my quilt!

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For my Moonstone quilt, all I knew was that I wanted to use the new line, Neptune and the Mermaid by Margot Elena (Tokyo Milk) for Free Spirit Fabrics. It’s absolutely dreamy and seems like it was just made for fussy cutting. That’s as far as my plan went. I couldn’t even decide what configuration of the pattern I wanted to use.

So I stared, and stared, and stared some more. I only chose a few of my favorite prints from the line, but was really struggling because there is a lot of variation in color in what I chose. As a whole, the line ties together, but when you just pick and choose some prints, not quite as much.

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I started to pull some blenders in every color used in all the prints I had and decided that a Free Spirit Fabric designer mash up would be the way to go. I pulled what I could from my Tula Pink and Anna Maria Horner stash, and order a few more things by those two ladies, as well as Amy Butler and Heather Bailey.

I hadn’t really planned to use this many colors in the quilt, but once I saw them all together, how could I not? I had to figure out a plan. I organized all the blenders by color and took some photos. I spent a good amount of time looking at the photo of all my focals and then at the photo below of all the blenders. I stewed about it for awhile, as I usually do with projects. I kept hoping something would come to me.

And then I stewed some more. I mean, I stewed A LOT. I thought about while I walked the dogs, while I did dishes, I’m pretty sure I even dreamed about it.

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Something that many of you likely already know about me is that I am a planner. Hard core. I so desperately wanted to start cutting and sewing, but knew that I had to figure out where it was going first.

So I thought about the focals and how I would fussy cut them. I took photos of all the parts I planned to use and thought about the main colors in each of those parts, then I made a list. This helped me figure out how many variations I had to work with in my design and how I may be able to organize them.

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I kept going back to the idea of a color fade. Perhaps diagonally across the quilt or something, but I couldn’t make that work. I ended up order some of the dark blue color way of the Neptune line because I felt like I was going to need it to balance everything out.

It was time to make some decisions. First, I had to pick a pattern configuration and then I just had to start playing.

I use Adobe Illustrator for most of my drawing and layout. I understand many people do not have this program, so these next steps may not be helpful for everyone, but it is a great program that anyone can use with a little patience and a few YouTube tutorials!

I really loved the Gems configuration of Moonstone because I love the four pointed stars it makes, but I wanted my fussy cut focals to run horizontally and diagonally because they are primarily people and fish, so I rotated the gems configuration 45° to what you see below. I drew up the pattern in Illustrator so that I could begin placing my fabrics and colors.

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I input JPG swatches of the focal fabrics and turn them into pattern swatches so that I can place them into shapes. It’s not perfect, but it definitely does the job!

Once I had the pattern drawn up, I stared at the blank canvas for a bit until I decided which shapes I wanted to focus on. I settled on the large four-pointed stars that you can see around the outer edges and their center octagons. Everything would radiate from these. I started playing with those elements only and trying different repetitive color arrangements.

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I was going a little crazy with all the possibilities so finally just chose my favorite and started filling in the spaces between. I still really wanted to achieve some sort of color gradation and began trying to do that between the stars. It took some time, but I finally felt like it was moving in the right direction!

Once I reached the point shown above, I felt confident enough about the direction that I could start sewing.

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A good part of what I’ve already laid out will repeat around, but I do still have a bit more to work out. All in good time…

In the meantime, I can sew! I finished my first piece yesterday and have my second prepped. My plan is to work out from the middle of the quilt so that I can stop or keep going at any point. My current design plan is about 65″ square.

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There’s no question that this quilt will take me quite awhile to finish, but I know I’ll enjoy the process, and that’s what matters!

EPP Table Topper Pattern

Free EPP Table Topper Template | lillyella stitchery
This pattern, or something like it, may very well exist somewhere in the world. But with my 25th & Pine charm pack in hand, I went searching for a small EPP pattern that would be relatively quick and had no luck, so I just drew one up.
I am by no means an english paper piecing expert and everyone has their favorite methods, so I’m just sharing my pattern templates here rather than a full tutorial. I will, however, provide some links to other tutorials for anyone who is new to EPP and explain how I finished my piece. The great thing about it is that all you need is fabric, a needle and thread – no sewing machine or experience is necessary.
This pattern creates a piece that is 9.5″ wide and is designed to be charm square friendly (5″ fabric squares). You can get two center kite pieces from one charm square and more of the smaller pieces, but I used 5 white, 5 red and 5 green charms to create my piece. This pattern is also great for scraps, the biggest piece you need is about 2.5 x 5, but the templates can also be printed larger or smaller to create a different sized finished piece.
Free EPP Table Topper Template | lillyella stitchery
Free EPP Table Topper Template | lillyella stitchery
I made mine into a little table topper (isn’t it the perfect little mini tree skirt?!), but it would also be nice used on a pillow, as a trivet or on a bag. You can download a PDF of the templates by clicking the image below. You will need to print two sheets so you have ten of each shape.
I thread basted my pieces because I just haven’t gotten the swing of the whole glue basting thing yet, but that would certainly work, too. When sewing my pieces together, I followed the order shown below.
To finish my piece I removed the papers and cut a piece of batting to the exact size of my piece (you could also use insulbrite if you wanted to make a hot pad). I then unfolded the outer edges of the green pieces and pressed it well. I layered the piece and the batting and did some machine quilting on the center, but you could also do hand quilting or spray baste the batting in place and quilt after attaching the backing. I only wanted my quilting to show from the top.
I cut a piece of backing fabric slightly larger than my piece and placed the quilted top and back right sides together. I sewed around the outer edge, using the pieced top as a guide, with a 1/4 seam and left a couple inches open for turning. I trimmed the seam, turned the piece right side out and pressed. You could machine or hand quilt at this point if you wanted to see it from both sides.
Free EPP Table Topper Template | lillyella stitchery
I decided to finish my piece with a blanket stitch around the edge using a DMC pearl cotton and I love the way it came out. This also closed up the area I left open for turning. And voila! All done.
Here are some tutorials on english paper piecing:
Craftsy – English Paper Piecing from Beginning to End
All People Quilt – English Paper Piecing
Flossie Tea Cakes – EPP, where to begin
YouTube video – How to Finish an EPP Project
And you can find a good tutorial on how to do a blanket stitch here.
Free EPP Table Topper Template | lillyella stitchery
I hope you enjoy the template! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email anytime.
Free EPP Table Topper Template | lillyella stitchery