Introducing … Northern Lights

I’m a budding knitter and I have so much love for those beautiful Fair Isle knitting patterns.  I’ve tried one or two really simple projects, and have come to the conclusion that unless you are A) a knitting diva or B) you were born with 7 extra fingers on your left hand to handle knitting with multiple strands of yarn at once, Fair Isle is very, very tricky!  So, I did the next best thing and took some of my favorite motifs and put them together into a quilt!  Introducing … Northern Lights!

Northern Lights Quilt

When I finished my first sketch back in December, I had only envisioned the lighter version of the quilt.  I wanted a Christmas-y feeling quilt that could be left out on the couch until February without it being too obvious that I still hadn’t gotten around to putting the decorations away.  I opted for a crisp, snowy background with a modern twist on the classic Fair Isle colors.  Funnily enough, the colors were my high-school colors (go big blue!) … and since the boys will be going to the same school, maybe some day it’ll become our go-to sporting events quilt too!

NL Light 01 with logo

Sometime after the holidays, about the time I shipped my Selkie quilt off to my magazine editor, I was thinking about how much I love, love, love that deep, gorgeous blue … and it hit me!  I needed a dark version of this quilt too!  A quilt that was nice and modern … and most importantly … one that used the exact same pattern but didn’t look anything at all like a holiday quilt!

NL Dark 01 with logo

Both quilts finish at 64″ square and were made with Connecting Thread’s Quilter’s Candy Solids in shades of Persian Blue, Peridot, Grey, and White.  The fabulous quilting on both quilts was done by Darby at the Quilted Squid – love her!!

NL Both 01 with logo

We were lucky enough to be able to steal away for a few days right after the Fourth of July for a little R-n-R (or as close to it as you can get with two toddler-hooligans) in one of my favorite places on earth!  Squaw Valley  – just about 6 or 7 miles away from Lake Tahoe – was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.  They’ve since converted the Olympic Village into a beautiful little ski resort and hotel … and the whole little mini-town overlooks this gorgeous meadow surrounded by mountains.  Think of it as a mini-Yosemite, but with much-less dramatic rock faces. :)

NL Both 02 with logo

We’ve only stayed overnight a few times, but it’s only about 90 miles away from our home, so we love  bring the bikes and kiddos up to ride along the Truckee River Bike Trail.  We typically park at the resort, and let me tell you … I have been eyeing that split rail fence as a possible quilt photography location since the first time I saw it.  We just don’t have places like this closer to home … at least I haven’t found any yet!

NL Both 04 with logo

Ok … are you totally on photo overload yet? :)  If you’re interested in making your own version of our Northern Lights Quilt, we now have the .pdf pattern available on Craftsy, and both kits available in our etsy shop or directly through our website by clicking one of the kit images below.

wp download pattern button


Dark Quilt Kit

Light Quilt Kit


WP purchase fabric kit button

A special thank you goes out to my awesome pattern testers, Joanne and Susan.  I appreciate you guys so very, very much!  Check out their beautiful versions below!

Joanne's Northern Lights
Joanne’s Northern Lights
Susan's Northern Lights
Susan’s Northern Lights

34 thoughts on “Introducing … Northern Lights

  1. Such a beautiful quilt – love them both, but I’m always partial to lighter backgrounds. As for fair isle knitting, it definitely takes a bit of practice and it really helps if you’re ambidextrous. Fair isle knitting is one of my favorites and since I can knit with either hand it was very easy for me. Here’s a trick that might help you with fair isle – learn how to knit western AND continental. Once you know both, then it gets easier. I don’t remember which one is which, but one way you hold the yarn in your left hand and the other way you hold it in your right hand and “throw” it around the needle. Once you’ve mastered both, it becomes second nature.

    1. Thanks Diana. I am most definitely not ambidextrous and I’ve been a crocheter for at least 25 years, so that left-handed-yarn-holding is very deeply ingrained. You’ve encouraged me to give it another try, though … at least once the temps drop below 80 or so in October. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Northern Lights is stunning, Cora! Love it in both the dark and the light versions. You’ve hit just the right note with it being a winter themed design – so that it works for Christmas and beyond. Like you, my knitting skills aren’t at the level to knit gorgeous fair isle patterns, but at least we can sew them!

    Thanks for the gorgeous pics – looks like a beautiful place to visit (making a note of it to show my family – think we’d like it there, too).
    Happy weekend and congrats on the launch of your latest fantastic pattern!

    1. Thanks so very much Katherine! Definitely look into visiting Squaw Valley and the Lake Tahoe region. So many awesome things to do and beautiful sights to see! 🙂

  3. Love the Northern Lights quilts and both colorways. Marvelous way to market it. I crochet and knit in addition to quilting. Knitting is just like quilting. If you don’t know you can’t do it because you’re a beginner, it is a piece of cake.

  4. Oh what a beautiful pair of quilts! I love knitting fairisle and after three Alice Starmore baby blankets I’ve got used to working with both hands! I love the translation into a quilt though, it’s absolutely gorgeous!

  5. Beautiful quilt pattern, Shelley. That is about the most perfect place and props to photograph your quilts. Love it!!!

  6. Du hast so wunderschöne Quilts genäht die färben gefallen mir sehr gut und sie passen so schön in die Landschaft .
    Viele Grüße aus Deutschland

    1. The difficulty level for our Northern Lights Quilt? I would put it at a confident beginner. The most difficult block you’ll make is the HST block. A great deal of the piecing is done via strip-piecing, which is a fantastic time-saver when you’re making lots of the same block over and over again.

      There are a good number of tiny pieces, but as long as you cut and press carefully, and make sure that your 1/4″ seam allowance is spot on, you’ll be in excellent shape. Beyond that, it’s really just lining up seams.

    1. Thanks so much Andrea! Hope you’ll share photos of your version too – thanks for stopping by!!

  7. I love the Nordic style. So classic. I must make one someday in fabric since I can’t do anything in yarn except make pompoms.

    1. Thanks so much Gayle! I’m the world’s slooooooooowest knitter, so an actual yarn project in the this design would take me 50 years! 🙂

  8. Wow! Gorgeous! I love both versions. I think the light version would also be fabulous in red and green.
    Pinned them via your Cora Board (and now follow it).

  9. What lovely quilts, in a setting certainly equal to Yosemite. I have a book of Estonian knitting patterns I bought after a trip there in 2013, which I have also wondered about converting to quilts. I need to up-skill a little before then though.

  10. Hi, wonderful Fair-Isle Quilts. I love them both.
    Fairisle-knitting: you never have more than 2 strands to work in one row or round. I learned in a few hours to knit with one continental strand in one hand and one western strand in the other hand. It works wonderful.
    Greetings from Germany

  11. I love your Fair Isle style pattern Shelley! The navy and white look traditional and the gray, green and blue on white look modern. Very lovely!

  12. i love the quilt just not sure why you linked it to #scraptastictuesday? It is a beauty though and I love the Fair Isle connection

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