Friday, January 31, 2014

Three Years

Once upon a time I started a blog, solely for the purpose of getting more involved in the online quilting community. I was uncertain yet excited, and as with most journeys, I had no inkling of where blogging would take me. I did not foresee just how varied the experience would be, how meaningful the relationships, how downright motivated I would become.
FAITH Circle February quilt completed
At One Year and Two Years, I had already stretched and grown, and it isn't any different at three. I tried to come up with some really meaningful words for today, and I found myself cruising through old posts, stopping to read one now and then. And you know what? I find that I am bordering on speechlessness.
"Common Affection" completed!
I can't seem to find the words to quite express how full life is because of all of you. To say that I find joy in sewing and sharing in this community of ours is in itself an understatement.
The fact that I actually just grabbed a tissue and dabbed my eyes tells, I guess, how much it means to be welcomed, accepted, and affirmed. It means alot. And it encourages me on. Who knows what this next year will bring. But with you in my corner, I can't wait to find out.
*This giveaway is now closed.* Celebrate with me just for a moment, won't you? We'll have a little giveaway . . . Just leave a comment on this post, and on Sunday night, I'll choose a random winner to receive a $40 credit to Knotted Threads, one of my favorite online shops . . . a small token with a heart full of gratitude behind it. So it is.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Random: Short and Sweet

Blair, my bee-mate in the SMQG, wrote a book! It's called Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects Into Stuff You Love. I know some of you are thrifters, so I thought you might enjoy hearing about it. Here's a little video to pique your interest. I know it did mine.

Blair also has a blog called wisecraft. I'm really enjoying a series she's started sharing her "friday favorites," such as a recent post on vintage quilt photos.

I love a good quilt finish whether it's mine or not! I had just a very small part in FAITH Circle's recent finish (that row of Courthouse Steps on the left), planned and completed by Debbie/Blue.Ridge.Girl. Isn't it something?! Click here to read all about it.
Faith Circle Row Quilt

Do you sew with leaders and enders? If you don't know what that means, click here. I often piece two or more projects at a time, cutting my threads and restarting as seldom as possible. Just curious if you do that too.

I'm also wondering if you've ever done a Round Robin quilt. "A round robin quilt is a quilt made by a group of quilters rather than by one person." At our upcoming guild retreat, we will have the opportunity to participate in an improv round robin experience. {kinda scary}
We will be divided up into groups of 4, each of us bringing 4 fat-quarters, plus a baggy of scraps to incorporate into the quilts in our group. I believe we will each start our own quilt, then rotate every 15 minutes, so every person works on all the quilts in their group. Have you done this before?? Any tips for me? Yikes. I'll be sure and report back.

Linking up with Really Random Thursday.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday

January has had me focusing on just a few items - bee blocksa quilt with a deadline, and my City Sampler quilt top, now safely linked up over at Sew Sweetness. It remains a w.i.p. as I mull over a quilting plan.

But meanwhile, this next weekend, the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild is going on retreat, which is perfect timing to make some progress on a variety of other projects - some already begun, and some ready to move forward on.
  1. Christmas patchwork table runner - tutorial by s.o.t.a.k handmade; I made this pattern twice before Christmas, and have been wanting to make one up for myself ever since.
  2. Riley Blake Challenge mini quilt - the top is done; now it needs to be quilted!
  3. 2 Kindle covers - fabric chosen; I'll be using the tutorial by Ellison Lane, which I've made twice before with great success
  4. Mini Swoon quilt - The pattern, of course, is by Camille Roskelley, and this mini will be the latest in a long line of Swoon quilts. I'll try and share them all when this one's done. Anyway, I'll be using Dowry by Anna Maria Horner

5. SMQG block of the month - The BOM is a new effort for the guild. January's block is the
Christmas Snowflake by Wooden Spoon. I'll be making mine into a 20" pillow, with fabrics that will coordinate with my Christmas quilt and tree skirt.
Teeny pieces cut for #smqg BOM....making a Christmas Snowflake pillow. Pattern by Rachel of Wooden Spoon. #widrn tagged by @shecanquilt tagging @sewkatiedid @samilou01 @bestcoasty #smqgbom
6. Charity quilt - The pattern I've chosen is Double Plus Quilt, pattern by QuiltsbyEmily. I have a perfect piece of Alexander Henry's Heath for the background, and will be pulling some stash prints for the crosses.

That should keep me busy, eh?

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Monday, January 27, 2014

February FAITH

It's my turn to plan the next quilt for the FAITH Circle of do.Good Stitches! I'd had several ideas in mind, but when I saw the January block for Gen X Quilter's Vice Versa BOM, I knew I'd found 'IT.'
Vice Versa BOM January 2 blocks rectangle
Of course, deciding on a palette is always another issue, and after considering several, I settled on this one . . .
spring flora
A pale gray background (mine is Kona Ash), a dark gray center (shown is Kona Coal), chartreuse and aqua/teal. 
I really like these blocks and think the 'vice versa' is such a clever idea. Can't wait to see what my bee-mates do with them!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


When I shared this little block right after New Year's, I had every intention of making oodles more and having an Economy Block quilt as my first scrappy quilt of the year. 
And then last night, with a few free hours to sew, I looked at the 6 blocks I'd made and everything changed.
Don't get me wrong. They are darling. I love the scrappiness. I love seeing all the quilts made from them. And a part of me wanted one for my very own. But apparently not a big enough part. Because what I really wanted last night was to just stitch up a mini. So that's what I did.
Nine blocks just under 5" each, pieced together and quilted with a few square spirals and echos. And a little black and white stripe binding to set it all off.
A total change of plans. But a satisfying one at that. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Random Bits

Random is a funny thing. Some weeks I think I have none to share, and before I know it, I have a very full post! So here we go!

First off, did I ever show you this photo?
Wonky Cross quilt binding 
I rolled the binding for "Sunshiney Day" on an empty Aurifil spool and voila! For once I didn't have binding wrapped around my ankles as I sewed it on! It helped keep the process nice and neat and I'll definitely be doing this again.

Jennie from zipit shared a very informative "Guide to Zippers" on sew mama sew this week - worth a read.

Then it was kind of deja vu with Stephanie from Spontaneous Threads who is using her left-over 2.5" Polaroid centers and changing up the Economy Block dimensions to suit. Basically, that's what I'm doing if I ever get back to them. Great minds think alike!

There was more deja vu when I spied the pillow jerigirltx had made for her guild's low-volume challenge. Love that it was inspired by Common Affection, which used Little Miss Shabby's Hugs & Kisses block.
Pillow for the DMQG low volume challenge.

I'm loving keeping tabs on the City Sampler linky over at Sew Sweetness. As of this writing, there are 13 quilts linked up using several different layouts. SO cool! Can hardly believe my top is done and "turned in" so to speak!

There are two new sew-alongs that have started up . . . Vice Versa BOM and Vintage Quilt Revival. Is anyone joining in? I hope at least to try a few blocks from each. Both look terrific!
 Gen X Quilters Vice Versa BOM  Vintage Quilt Revival Block Along

Are you following the True Colors Blog Tour? I'm really enjoying seeing the projects being made with these lovely fabrics. Do you have a favorite?
photo courtesy of FreeSpirit LifeStyle Fabrics

Lastly, did you see the cool shout-out in last week's sew mama sew blog highlights email (January 16)? Let's just say that little tidbit brought some new activity to the A Quilter's Table facebook page. Fun times.

Boy that was random, wasn't it? I told you I had oodles! Bye for now - hope you have a great day!

Linking up with Really Random Thursday.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January Bee Blocks

Fun and colorful as ever, I've been working away at my bee blocks!

Melissa/~Me1issa of FAITH Circle asked for 2 sizes of stars using The Silly BooDilly's Wonky Star tutorial. With both 8" and 12 1/2" star blocks, this should be a really fun quilt.

Next up were Kaleidoscope blocks for Nicole/Mama Love Quilts of That Stash Bee. Using the tutorial and templates from Quilter's Cache, I made 2 - 12 1/2" paper-pieced blocks. I'm loving Nicole's favorite orange/pink/red palette with low-volume prints for the 'background.' Can't wait to see this quilt!

With the goal of having Christmas quilts on all of her children's beds this Christmas, Toni/HoosierToni of the Always Bee Learning Bee asked for Spiderweb blocks from the tutorial by House of A La Mode. This block is much easier - and quicker - than it looks, and what a great way to use scraps! Toni asked for us to send the block back in quarters, and I had enough fabric to make an extra quarter block, so that's good.

And lastly, I was kind of holding out on my last block, a house for Linda/b-bumble of the Mid-Century Modern bee. I've never been that happy with house blocks I've made in the past, but coming across the Mod House block by Marianna on flickr changed all that. This was great fun to put together using Linda's bright palette.

So that's that and what a relief! Time to see what else is on the to-do list!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

It wasn't lost on me that on my mom's 80th birthday last week when visiting family were here to join us in the celebration, where did we choose to spend our morning? Why the best grocery store in our area, of course. We went just to see what we could see, and pick up a few special items for our meals together. I guess you can see where I get my foodie sensibilities.

That night, however, we celebrated big time by taking mom to the classiest restaurant we could think of. Canlis, with a rich history, and a reputation to match, did not disappoint.
Quoted from, "the food and service has no peers in Seattle." We'd be inclined to agree. The epitome of a special-occasion restaurant, it was a perfect setting for our celebration, and was an experience none of us will soon forget. From the unexpected and delicious amuse-bouche, the classic salad tossed tableside, the exquisite desserts {in triplicate!}, the impressive synchronized service, and the unrivaled view, it was, in a word, perfect.

The mood lighting didn't lend itself to the best food photography, but hopefully you'll get an idea of the delights set before us.
Our evening at Canlis was a singular experience, ending with a Canlis-embossed chocolate bar as our parting gift. And another little souvenir of sorts, a recipe for one of our now-favorite dishes ~ The Canlis Salad. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

City Sampler Quilt Along :: Unlocked

Nearly 8 months after starting my City Sampler blocks, I have a finished quilt top! I began with some trepidation, but amazingly was able to keep up every step of the way. I began using stash fabrics following the colorways in the book, but it wasn't long before I began collecting more Tula Pink fabrics. A few charm packs, my proceeds from the Tula Pink charm swap, and a fat-eighth bundle of Acacia made up the bulk of my fabric. I added stash solids and other miscellaneous fabrics as inspired, all along planning on using the Gridlock layout. But the more blocks I added to my block grid, the more I liked the blocks nestled together edge to edge. So in the end, I sewed them together just like that and came up with my own Gridlock variation: "Unlocked."
There was one block that just was not 'right' in its original placement - a very purple block in the middle of some reds - so I swapped it with another. Otherwise, for better or worse, the blocks were placed according to the placement for the Gridlock layout. 

As I pieced each block, I placed it in my book for safe-keeping. Then all these months later as I sewed rows together, I pulled blocks from the book as they were called for. And happily, my book is in great shape, surviving to inspire another day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday

Piecing of rows has begun. I'm sewing right out of the book, and already I see a block, maybe two, that I will relocate eventually. But for now, I'm just sewing rows. Giddy.

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sunshiney Day

This time last year, my son and daughter-in-law were living in Minnesota and experienced the worst winter there in over 50 years. This year though, they are happily and warmly settled in California. So when son asked if I'd be willing to make a quilt for his youth group's auction, all I could really think of was blue skies and ocean, green trees, and the warmth of the sun. Thus, the wonky cross quilt we had agreed on became "Sunshiney Day".
The wonky cross block is one of the easiest and most satisfying I know. I raided my stash solids and pulled a variety of colors that reminded me of a beautiful, warm California day. And for a touch of sunniness, I added a lone salmon-colored block. I wanted to let that salmon block shine a bit more than it already did, so I crazy-pieced its cross using bits from the other blocks.
For the back, I made one big ole cross with the winning combo of Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill Frames and boho by Urban Chicks.
When it came time for quilting, I extended the arms of the crazy-pieced block all the way out to the edges. In each quadrant, I echo-stitched at 1/2" intervals, using my walking foot and a fun Aurifil 50wt #2805 (light blue). Remember, blue sky is a key ingredient here! Then within the arms of the cross I matchstick-quilted to make a large cross the width and length of the quilt.
Finally it came down to binding and I decided to use scrappy solids, and I think it suits the quilt well. Measuring 46x58", Sunshiney Day is a nice-sized lap quilt that will hopefully warm someone inside, if not out.

This project is my first finish from my 2014 FAL Q1 list. Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

About that Inspiration and More

"Inspiration" seems to be a key-word in my little world lately, as I continue to share "31 Inspiring Quilters" over at sew mama sew. Hope you are following the series, meeting some new-to-you quilters, and of course, being inspired! If you've missed any of the daily posts, check out the tab above.

Blair, a fellow-member of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild, just started a Friday series on things that inspire her. The first post is an interview with longarm-quilter Krista Withers, which I found very interesting. I think you will too.

Did you see that Katy/I'm a Ginger Monkey of Monkey Do has a new show on QNN? I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but it should be fun and informative, exactly what you can expect from Katy! Here's a link to her post about it.

And my friend Louise/I'm Feelin' Crafty, also from the SMQG, is participating in the latest round of Project Run and Play! The first challenge starts today!
I'm Feelin' Crafty      

So I'm wondering . . . have you met anyone 'new' through the "31 Inspiring Quilters" series? Who or what is inspiring you today?

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Finish-A-Long: Q1 List

Time for a new list in a new quarter with a new host!
Finish Along 2014
First up is a wonky cross that needs to be quilted pronto. It's going to auction on February 1 to support summer trips for the youth group my son directs.

I'm super excited to get my City Sampler quilt sewn together! The link up is the end of the month, so this one's got a tight deadline also.

The Riley Blake Challenge deadline is in early February. I had an idea and started cutting and piecing before Christmas. Hoping I can remember my good idea in a timely manner.

Since I enjoyed the Patchwork Table Runners I made for Christmas gifts, I vowed to make one for myself as well. It was pretty handy to get a mini charm pack of Aspen Frost in my stocking. I've got the patchwork started, and plan on pairing it with some natural Essex.

Economy blocks seem like a perfect leader/ender project, but should also be a help in lowing the level of my scrap bin. A scrappy lap quilt would be nice, but we'll see where the blocks take me.

That's it for this quarter! I've got more on my mind, but that's all that's officially been started. Sounds doable, don't you think?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Random, Random, and More Random

Hope you are enjoying the "31 Inspiring Quilters" series at sew mama sew! I added a tab to my blog with a running list of the bloggers being featured, just in case you missed any. And of course, there's many more to come!

I think I mentioned that the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild's Binary Challenge Exhibit is going on now at Island Quilter on Vashon Island, through February 6. I'm not sure when I'm going to get over to see the exhibit, but there's a couple of great posts up about the show from two of our guild members HERE and HERE. I think you'll see at least one quilt you'll recognize!
Unknown Journey

Did you hear about the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid sponsored by On the Windy Side and playcrafts
2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid
There's several categories, lots of terrific prizes, and even fabric suggestions, which I love. I'm hoping to join in and just for fun, made a Radiant Orchid pinterest board, so I can keep track of my favorite fabric possabilities. Actually, I invited Rachel/Snippets of Sweetness to pin too, so don't be surprised to see selections from both of us.

I've been wanting to make a 'brown quilt' for a while. This may just be the palette to inspire me. Don't know what pattern yet, but I'm mulling.

edible tones

Ok, so who's obsessed with Economy blocks??
I've only managed a half-dozen, but plan on using this as a leader-ender project for a while once I get past my current quilting deadline. Looking through my bloglovin' feed this morning, I see posts from Katy/Monkey Do, Rita/Red Pepper Quilts, Nicole/Mama Love Quilts, Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k handmade, AND Amy/During Quiet Time with a bit of a variation, but all about their Economy blocks! So obsession? I'd say so.

Lastly, my friend Louise/I'm Feelin' Crafty is a contestant on the latest round of Project Run and Play!
I've followed this series before, and even though I'm not a garment-sewer, seeing their entries is alot of fun! I'm hoping some of you will follow along, and root for favorites! Read all about Louise here, and the other contestants in recent posts.

*Edited to add* Just caught wind of another Triple-Zip swap! Sign-ups are open for round two at Quarter incher! And just a reminder, the tutorial is always available through the Tutorials tab above!
Triple-Zip Pouch Swap

Hope you have a great day!

Linking up with Really Random Thursday.