“Bloom Where You Are Planted”

Bloom Where You Are Planted
Bloom Where You Are Planted
Kathy Nutley
32” x 38”

I made it!! I met the deadline! It began with an idea, hand painted fabrics and hand drawn flowers and leaves. It finished with domestic free motion quilting and a facing. Whew!!


Bloom Where You Are Planted

I entered the 2019 Pantone Quilt Challenge in late March of this year. The 2019 color of the year is Living Coral which was to be the star of quilts in the challenge. I met the June 5th deadline without a moment to spare as I completed hand stitching the facing just last night.

Bloom Where You Are Planted
32” x 39”
Milford, Connecticut

By definition the term “challenge” means to engage in a contest of skill. I viewed this challenge as an opportunity to define my own process for art quilting as designing and assembling this quilt proved to be a personal challenge for me. So many decisions to be made from beginning to end. I learned quite a bit about pushing through to the other side of a viable solution as well as opening my mind to changes in my ultimate vision.

I’m thankful to have been a part of this challenge and look forward to the upcoming link party which will allow me to view the other quilts submitted in this challenge. I hope you will take the time to view them as well. Remember….Living Coral is the color of the day…ok the year.

Happy Quilting,



Pantone quilt 2019 update

I’ve been working…working…working to meet the deadline for the Pantone “Living Coral” 2019 quilt challenge. The week of June 2nd is used for the Last Minute Hustle…sounds about right….with June 9th being THE BIG REVEAL! I can’t wait to see the completed versions of what everyone has been working on.

Below are a few photos of the texture I’ve created using free motion quilting. If you’ve been following my blog you know that I began this quilt by painting each of the “Living Coral” fabrics myself. The Blue Jay background fabric is a Kona solid that I fell in love with as it plays so nicely with the Living Coral challenge color.

Deadlines are made to be met….continue to stay tuned!




The Great Studio Spring Clean

Most everything in life is good and bad…Facebook has its “good” also.  Recently I was invited via Facebook to participate in a “Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop” orchestrated by Cheryl Sleboda of Quilt Pro Clubhouse.  Timing couldn’t have been more perfect for me!  I’d recently been teaching several classes back-to-back while also working on the Pantone 2019 Challenge quilt, samples for upcoming classes, my sister’s Christmas quilt (ok, yes it was given as a top on Christmas Eve 2018) that includes 20+ free motion quilting designs AND summer dresses for my grand-daughter (which also include free motion quilting).  Upon close inspection I realized I had been working within a small confined space in my sewing studio due to the amount of accumulated “clutter”.  My husband told me flat out, “You’ll never do it”.  Hah!


I thought of the strategies I use to clean the house:

  • start in one corner and work your way around the room
  • begin with the worst first
  • aim to clean out what doesn’t belong
  • once you pick it up you must make a decision about it rather than just moving it to another location.

I decided to clean out what didn’t belong any longer according to categories:  books and magazines, patterns, tools and finally fabric.  You’ll notice I didn’t mention threads…you never know what color you’ll be needing..

I began weeding out my books as I find for the most part I’ve been sketching my own quilt patterns and should I have a question…I head for YouTube.  Perusing each book before saying goodbye to it led me to realize just how much quilting has changed over the years….remember Country calico? I decided to keep “Machine Quilting Unlimited” as they have since gone out of business and truly this magazine was one of my all-time favorites.

Next I headed for my pattern box…which I might say I found sprinkled around the studio…I asked myself 2 questions as I looked at each and every one….had I made this pattern and/or in reality would I make it?  Here again, times have changed…or at least my taste in quilted projects has.

Tools….there weren’t many I was willing to part with.  Mainly, “contraptions” which claimed to assist in better free motion quilting….tisn’t so for me.  I prefer to use Lickity Grip and my own two hands.

Ahhh…my stash.  All in all it wasn’t as hard as I had expected it to be.  Yet again my taste has changed greatly over the last 20+ years.  I also prefer to paint my own fabric now instead of searching far and wide and accepting the best I can find.  I cleaned 3 medium size boxes of fabric out of my baskets.

Drawers…I realized as I emptied each of my sewing drawers that I had been only using items located in the front of my drawers.  To my delight I discovered tools that I believed the gremlins had taken for their own eons ago.

Here is a photo of all of the things that I’ve taken out of my studio:

As I adding them to the “go” pile I told myself three things:

  • once an item was added to the “go” pile it could not be removed
  • I would promise myself to “shop at home”
  • to organize items as I removed them in order to save time later

As I worked I asked myself how things had gotten this bad and here’s what I determined to be my challenges:

  • I most enjoy working on projects that incorporate various techniques, all of which bring their own amount of “clutter”, ie. painting fabric, fussy cutting fabric, thread work, sketching and free motion quilting.
  • I am working on too many projects at one time: I purchased beautifully decorated boxes to hold all of the items needed for individual projects.  Now all I need to do is label them.
  • I leave items on open spaces so I can find them easily as needed
  • I tell myself I’ll make time to clean later
  • I need more surface space (and a skylight)
  • I have too many ideas to manage at one time

So what have I learned after all of this?

  • Daily maintenance, whether I begin my studio time organizing for 15 minutes or end it, it must be done.
  • Shop at home first.  I am fortunate to own a wealth of quilting/sewing items that I loved enough to purchase…I want to use them!
  • Decide what to do with my scraps as I finish each project, whether I organize a few into the next project, share them with quilting friends or donate them, they cannot be allowed to accumulate willy nilly.

If you’re still having trouble organizing I highly recommend the book, “Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter” by Carolyn Woods.  Each quilter will benefit from their individual organization solutions but this book will get you on your way.

And now for the BIG REVEAL!!!

My husband maintains he wants to see everyone’s sewing room in one year’s time!

I found I had weeded so many fabrics, patterns, notions, books, DVD’s and handmade items that I needed to hold a tag sale…which I accomplished last Saturday, May 4th. I had advertised it in my guild’s newsletter (230+ members), on Craig’s list and two other yard sale sites online. Sadly, the majority of the attendees (men) wandered into the tag sale looking surprised and bewildered. They had read the signage but not the first word “Quilters” Tag Sale. Sadly the targeted audience didn’t show as I had hoped but there is a silver lining to all of this…I’m donating all of the items to the 2020 Quilt Show Boutique for the Ct Piecemakers Quilt Guild!

  1. April 29 – Linda Bratten – http://lindabcreative.blogspot.com
  2. April 30 – Sandra Johnson – http://www.sandrajohnsondesigns.com
  3. May 1 – Jennifer Schifano Thomas – http://www.Curlicuecreations.com
  4. May 2 – Becca Fenstermaker – http://www.prettypiney.com
  5. May 3 – Sue Griffiths – http://www.duckcreekmountainquilting.com
  6. May 4 – Kate Starcher – http://katiemaequilts.com/blog
  7. May 5 – Jo Westfoot – http://www.thecraftynomad.co.uk/blog
  8. May 6 – Sam Hunter – https://www.huntersdesignstudio.com
  9. May 7 – Simone Fisher – http://simonequilts.com/blogs/news
  10. May 8 – Elisabeth DeMoo https://www.brownbirddesignsquilts.com
  11. May 9 – Sarah Myers –  http://www.quilted-diary.com/blog
  12. May 10 – Amy Bradley – http://www.purplepineapplestudio.com
  13. May 11 – Kathy Nutley – http://www.QuiltingsByKathy.com
  14. May 12 – Carla Henton – http://createinthesticks.blogspot.com
  15. May 13 – Sherry Shish – http://www.poweredbyquilting.com
  16. May 14 – Kate Colleran – http://www.seamslikeadream.com/blog
  17. May 15 – Pamela Boatright – https://www.pamelaquilts.com
  18. May 16 – Cathy McKillip – http://wishuponaquilt.com/blog
  19. May 17 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

So I hope you’ll continue on this journey of exploring quilt studios to realize that there doesn’t seem to be any progress without “mess”, however, it really does help to stop every once in a while to weed out what you’ll never need.

On we go….


Pantone Living Coral Quilt Sketch

How sad the world would be without color

Believe it or not this represents my plan for the Pantone Living Color quilt. How sad this sketch looks without color! I was tempted to color it in but I’m already two weeks behind! Yikes!! The size of each flower and its perspective to the sun is what took time. The sun, in its ultimate glory will need to be made smaller in order to elude to distance. Remember all of the hand-painted fabric? I have such a hard time cutting into it but I tell myself only the first snip is the hardest. It gets easier and more exciting as shapes begin to take on meaning and I forget about the scissors I’m wielding.
Now off to the cutting table.


The Fabulous Five

The Fabulous Five

Congratulations to The Fabulous Five who successfully conquered the initial hesitation in free motion quilting their Hoffman Dream Big panels. They now free motion quilt with confidence and a sense of adventure. Several of the Fab 5 even began designing their own design combinations. This class felt much more like a retreat than a workshop! What great ladies to work with!


Coral compliments

Deep in the recesses of my studio lives a coveted box of my own hand painted fabrics…lovingly painted under the tree in the shade of my own backyard. It’s interesting to me how people perceive color in different ways as evident in the color palettes people choose for the same quilt. Well, here are some of mine….

My coveted box of hand painted fabric

I feel I have a running start at this point…..any guesses on what the quilt top will consist of? There are a lot of clues here….

I must offer one disclaimer though….a few of the pieces of painted fabric were in reality painted by Mickey Lawler. I just can’t resist including her beautiful work. Absolutely anytime I include a piece of her fabric, the piece looks instantly better for it. When I grow up I want to be her.

Happy quilting,



Pantone quilt fabric update

I promised an update to my fabric stash….and here it is! I spent an afternoon painting what I hoped to represent Living Coral in conjunction with colors found along side it in nature. I painted pink coral, orange coral, ribbons of each side-by-side and coral with shades of lemon yellow. I couldn’t help adding a bit of bling in the form of “fairy” glitter to the yellow. I sponge painted a few pieces as well in order to offer a variety of textures and blended color. I’m thinking of painting an additional piece using salt. This really was a labor of love as I enjoy coral anything.

What choices for fussy cutting!

I think tomorrow will bring a round of painting similar colors along with the addition of salt to the fabric just before it begins to dry. I find painting my own fabric to be addicting. I taught myself to paint out of a sheer need to work with fabric that matched the colors in my “mind’s eye” instead of trying to be satisfied with what I was able to find. I’m soooo much happier!

Well….now onto my saved box of previously hand painted fabrics to find colors to make the living coral POP! I’ll post photos of the ones I choose.


Pantone Quilt Challenge 2019

Pantone “Living Coral” Quilt 2019

Following on the heels of my post announcing the Pantone color of 2019, the 5th annual Pantone Quilt Challenge 2019 was announced by Bryan House Quilts.com.  As the 2019 color of the year is “Living Coral”, I was star struck and joined the challenge on Instagram inside of a breath.  Week 1 completed!

The rules are fairly simply:  the quilt must contain Living Coral as the feature color of the quilt. There are 4 categories:  Minis (shortest side under 30″), Quilt (completed baby to bed, shortest side measuring at least 30″), Just -The-Top (any size quilt top, shortest side must be at least 30″) and For Exhibit Only (non-judged).

The challenge runs from March 21st through June 14th, 2019 with the link party open during the last 10 days (June 5th – June 14th).  All entries must have been been completed in 2019.

Week 2 post:  Inspiration….I had recently stumbled upon work completed by Carol Ruth Armstrong, published in Home Quilt Show magazine many years ago.  I find her work to be both whimsical and  delightful to view.  It puts a smile on my face every time I look at it.  She uses flowers, a feeling of warmth as well as movement.  Carol uses free motion and/or quilting with a walking foot which I thoroughly enjoy as well.  Who can resist?  Though I admire her work, our styles are vastly different….as you will see!

Week 3:  Color palette/fabric pull….the opportunity to play with fabric!  I had recently “restored” my studio to it’s former glory (a week long overhaul) which gave me the chance to view and choose fabrics as I worked.  Where’s the rest of the fabric you ask?  I plan to paint my own fabric for this challenge based on the colors in the two fabrics shown here:

These two fabrics appear more coral in person.  I plan to paint fabrics in these hues and values.  All I need is for the weather to cooperate as I most enjoy painting my fabric under the tree in my own backyard.  Stay tuned…

Week 4:  The Sketch! …reaching for my sketchbook and tools as I type this…..

Mark your calendar to check back here in a few days for the reveal….I’m planning to make use of what I believe to be an antiquated technique in assembling my quilt…can you guess?


2019 Pantone Color of the Year…..Living Coral

The Pantone Color of the Year 2019 winner is “PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral.” The color is a light shade of red that is almost close to a salmon appearance. It is meant to symbolize “warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.” Pantone describes the color as “an animating and life-affirming shade of orange with a golden undertone.”

As coral is a long time favorite color of mine…my mind immediately began gathering palettes that serve to compliment the color. as I identified the colors I believe compliment coral and yet allow it to sing from the heart.

Coral…with shades of navy, apricot and vanilla
Coral…with shades of fushia and apricot
Coral…with shades of blue, turquoise and sea green

These 3 photos represent palettes of color that I would be inspired to work with. I will challenge myself to work within these palettes during 2019…amongst others…