Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday at the Table

For you Tuesday at the Table fans, I think you'll be happy to know that I have several posts forthcoming, after our recent vacation. First up is all about the Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill we visited in Kelseyville, CA. This was one place that we had discovered in our trip planning, so we were anxious to check it out, and pleased that it more than met our expectations.
So the wine tasting was delish, and our host welcoming and informative. In fact we may have enjoyed our time together a little too much, chatting on and on, and eventually getting a little tour of the wine-making and even more unusual, the olive-pressing operation. Yes! The wine was good, and the addition of an olive mill on-site and the resultant tasting was not the run of the mill winery experience. It involved a sweet little story about olive groves being gifted to some local monks, who at some point decided they didn't want to do olives, and sold the whole thing to Chacewater.
So that was a fun table experience, hearing about and tasting a variety of Spanish and Italian olive oils, having no idea what was coming next... To top it all off, we were offered a little cup of vanilla ice cream drizzled with Blood Orange Olive Oil. Talk about tasty! Who knew?
We left sated and smiling, which is never a bad combination.

A testimonial, which also documents the process of making olive oil

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Modern Sampler

Another quilt along was not on my radar. At all.
But then Caitlin/Salty Oat posted on Instagram that she was hosting a quilt along for Yoshiko Jinzenji's Modern Sampler Quilt. Get where I'm going here? One block a month sounds doable, right? Yeah.
Each block is made using templates, which I admit, isn't my favorite; in fact I cheated a bit making the center of the first block using my tried-and-true piecing methods. But I did use those templates for the 2 borders and they worked great, which is a good thing, since there are 1 or 2 borders on each block we'll be making.
As you can see on the logo below, the original quilt has bits of color sprinkled throughout the quilt. I'm not quite sure where I'll go with mine, but my first inclination is to keep it very neutral. So time will tell.

It's not too late to join in! I'm posting my finished block A today and will link it up over at Salty Oat tomorrow (and onward on the last Tuesday of each month). So you'll be able to see everyone's blocks there, as well as on Instagram under hashtag #modernsamplerquiltalong. The quilt pattern can be purchased online through Zakka Workshop, the pattern's publisher (use coupon code QUILTALONG for a 20% discount). Basically, all the scoop on the quilt along can be found over at Salty Oat!

Linking up with Modern Sampler Quilt Along.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Stash

A Sunday Stash report isn't my norm, but I kinda wanted to document the 4 quilt shops I visited on vacation, and since I did, uh, imbibe, well why not? Plus it's always nice to give shops a little shout-out.
  1. Kerrie's Quilting, Lakeport, CA - A very small shop, though manned by the very pleasant owner herself. I selected a piece of the black and white Cotton + Steel typewriters since I'd run out of my previous-release typewriters, and they're one of those fabrics that I rarely know I need until I do, so they're nice to have on hand. Then I grabbed a couple of charm packs of Bonnie & Camille's new Hello Darling, which daughter-dear and I like to use for random patchwork now and then. Plus there were packs of photos from the Lake County Quilt Trail that I wrote about earlier, so that was fun.
  2. Quilted Angel, Peteluma, CA - Wouldn't you know, we happened upon this shop 10 minutes before their closing, but I quickly scanned the extensive fabric selection (can you say speed-walking?), and after the clerk showed me a project she was working on, I chose to purchase the same background as she was using - a gray metallic print from the Steel Collection by Gerri Robinson/Planted Seed Designs for Red Rooster Fabrics. I really like to keep 2-3 yard cutsin my stash for backgrounds on a whim. The clerk also mentioned that the shop had an exclusive Creative Grids ruler (2.5"x6.5"), and it sounded too useful to leave behind.
  3. Cloth Carousel, Winters, CA - After perusing the whole shop, I finally took some of Pepper Cory's peppered cottons to the cutting table, choosing some fog (light gray) and midnight (dark blue). It was as I was paying that the clerk and I started discussing the pincushions in the impulse-buy section right near the register, and I randomly asked her if she knew what was in the little strawberry pincushions used to sharpen needles. Of course she did, and led me back to the small jars of ground emory, which I couldn't resist purchasing as well, and I'm be back to say more on that later.
  4. Sewn Loverly, Wilsonville, OR - I really thought I'd seen my last quilt shop on vacation, but I found hubby had looked one up in the town where we'd spent our last night. The website claimed a stock of both traditional and modern fabrics, and even so I was pleased at how may of my favorites I found on their shelves. Funny thing. Almost every time I pulled out a new-to-me bolt to see what it was, it was Zen Chic Figures, which is last year's line but I guess I'd never seen it up close. So I used the excuse that my stash is low on blue (actually it is!) and chose a couple of prints, plus a mini charm pack for the paper-piecer in my life.
So I came home with some goodies, created a new project idea for myself with that emery, plus made some fun connections. Good times.

Linking up with Sunday Stash.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Whole Cloth

Often after I've published an issue of The Scrap Basket newsletter, I've been inclined to try the technique or pattern I just featured. Most recently, it was the issue with whole cloth quilts that got me going in a new direction.

For the top of my whole cloth quilt, I chose a colorful Cotton+Steel print from Mesa by Alexia Abegg. This particular piece of fabric has a fun story attached, considering Alexia was standing right next to me when I purchased it at QuiltCon!
Anyway, I cut a length 45"x60" for the top, and pieced 9 coordinating C+S fat-quarters for a backing.
Shock of shocks, I decided I better pin-baste, since I was planning on hand-quilting this one. I know, also shocking. But my machine was headed in for a check-up, so it was perfect timing to go this route.
I posted the following progress photo on Instagram, asking two questions: 1 - "how big IS "big stitch" quilting?" and 2 - "who else stitches 2 (or more) rows with 2 (or more) needles before moving their hoop?" Here's a link to the conversation. I was kind of surprised that alot of folks don't even use a hoop when doing hand-quilting, though many also sewed with several needles at a time, so I don't feel weird about that. And my stitches measure about 1/4", which was the general consensus for big stitch quilting, though I'm not super consistent on my stitch length unfortunately. Considering I like organic quilting in general, I'm OK with that too. One clever commenter asked if I was left-handed, and no, I am not. I just happened to grab the hoop for a photo without thinking what direction I was holding it.
So here's where I am now, with about 1/3 of the quilting done. I'm using bamboo batting, and it's quilting very easily. As you can see, I'm using several colors of perle cotton #8, and combining both straight and outline stitches, all quite randomly chosen. (I like organic, remember?)
Despite the orientation of these photos, the quilting is actually going across the quilt. So it's slow sewing for me right now, and though I really miss my machine, I'm enjoying this project for what it is.
I'd  love to hear about your experience with whole cloth quilts, hand-quilting on pin-basted vs. spray-basted quilts, if you have a preferred batt for hand quilting, what "thread" you use, etc. etc. This is new territory for me, and I'm all ears.

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Friday, September 18, 2015

good neighbors :: a pincushion party!

A first fabric collection is definitely reason to celebrate, and I'm joining in to give a shout-out to Amanda Jean/Crazy Mom Quilts' as her new collection, Good Neighbors, is now available through Connecting Threads.

Amanda Jean is a real encourager, scrap-happy and then some, gathering oodles of us up each week for her finish it up Friday link-up. AND she is an avid pincushion maker and collector so a pincushion party made perfect sense! Her Good Neighbors collection is a colorful and delightful mix, with white thrown into every piece. I chose one of my favorite prints for the top of my pincushion - the "X's". The charcoal makes a great low-volume choice, and I know it'll be making its way into other projects.

The little bow-tie blocks are 2" finished, so this is one mega 6" pincushion, quilted in a dense grid. I hand-washed the quilted patchwork to add more texture before continuing on with construction.

By continuing on, I mean I was having so much good neighborly fun, I had to make the "bottom" as interesting as the "top", so I make some cross blocks (2 3/4" finished) and matchstick quilted them, again washing before the final step.

The Silver Lining "Cross Stitch" print was perfect for the sides, adding just a bit of calm to all that color. And per my norm, I filled my pincushion with crushed walnut shells. 
Lucky us, as part of my participation in the pincushion party, I'm able to give away a charm pack of the Good Neighbors collection to one of my US or Canadian readers! So if you'd like a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post, and I'll choose a random winner after the weekend. This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Helen, commenter #21!

Meanwhile, enjoy the party and check out these hashtags on Instagram to see more Good Neighbors fun: #goodneighborsfabric and #connectingthreads.

9/1/2015    Amanda Jean – Crazy Mom Quilts
9/2/2015    Anna – Noodlehead
9/3/2015    Mary –
Mary on Lake Pulaski
9/4/2015    Svetlana – S.o.t.a.k Handmade
9/5/2015    Debbie – Esch House Quilts
9/6/2015    Holly – Bijou Lovely
9/7/2015    Carla – Grace and Favour
9/8/2015    Faith – Fresh Lemons Quilts
9/9/2015    Vanessa – V and Co.
9/10/2015   Anna – Thimbleanna
9/11/2015   Krista – Poppyprint Creates
9/12/2015   Erin – Why Not Sew
9/13/2015   Lee – May Chappell
9/14/2015   Alex – Teaginny Designs
9/15/2015   Cheryl – Nap Time Quilter
9/16/2015   Penny – Sew Take a Hike
9/17/2015   Amy – During Quilt Time
9/18/2015   Debbie – A Quilter’s Table (you're here!)
9/19/2015   Anne –
Spring Leaf Studios
9/20/2015   Melissa – Happy Quilting
9/21/2015   Amber – One Shabby Chick
9/22/2015   Nettie – A Quilt is Nice
9/23/2015   Adrianne – Little Bluebell
9/24/2015   Cindy – Live a Colorful Life
9/25/2015   Amy – Diary of a Quilter
9/26/2015   Chase – Quarter Inch Mark
9/27/2015   Rene – Rene Creates
9/28/2015   Erin – House on Hill Road
9/29/2015   Nicole – Modern Handcraft
9/30/2015   Teri – Connecting Threads

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Quilt Trail

While hubby and I were out and about yesterday, we happened upon the Lake County Quilt Trail and it was an unexpected and delightful find. We had stopped at Angelina's Bakery & Espresso, thanks to a glowing review on yelp, and we were not disappointed. Just a few steps away, we saw our first 2 quilts on the trail.

It was while we were snapping a photo of the third, on the side of Lakeport English Inn, that the inn's owner, Karan, happened to step around the corner, saw us admiring her massive Double Wedding Ring, and offered to go back inside and print us a copy of the trail map.
While she did that, we were encouraged to wander around and we found the inn to be inviting and just an all-round lovely place. This plaque hanging outside Karan's office tells a bit about the quilt trail project.

Click for a list of all the quilt blocks on the trail, and I'll just leave you now to enjoy the quilts we happened upon. At the end of the post, there's also a video about the project. Enjoy!


Monday, September 14, 2015

The Execution

It's been about 10 days since I shared my Now What? plea, right after I put all my Bee Sewcial Mid-Century Modern blocks up on the design wall. After a few helpful considerations from others, I plunged in, beginning with a very basic concept: I made a frame of blue painter's tape on the design wall.

I first heard about this suggestion in a class with Katie/Sew Katie Did. Basically my bee blocks were overwhelming me with all their varied sizes and shapes (exactly what I'd asked for by the way!), and by making this 18"x22" frame, I was able to fill the space and piece the blocks together in a more organized fashion, at least in a way that wasn't quite so random. Here's where I started with the first block.

Then I filled in with solids, echoing that micro line going through the block of diamonds. I was pretty thrilled how that worked out, though all the blocks didn't lend itself to that. But you will find filler solids trimmed with a contrasting 1/8" throughout the quilt.

So I went on to do 8 more blocks this size, each comprised of 2 or more smaller blocks. I would have been happy with that BUT. I still had a handful of blocks from my bee-mates left! I briefly considered making a 2-sided quilt, but went with option B, which was making 3 more block sections, each of these 9"x22". I didn't want the layout to be any more structured that it already would be, so I added the narrower blocks in thusly:

Can you see it?

So the finished top is 62"x66" and I've started quilting! I came up with a crazy free-motion stitch when I took a class with Christina Cameli a few months ago, and I knew instantly I wanted to use it on this quilt. It felt like something I could manage yet was a bit unique, so I'm going for it. Now....what shall I call it?
Anyway, I've really just begun, and wouldn't you know it, but my machine began acting up, so quilting is on hold for a while. But this crazy thing is put together and I know where I'm headed, and I'm more than happy with that!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sweet Tweets

Simple truth: I was tickled to be invited by Erin/Why Not Sew? to participate in her blog hop for her new book, Sweet Tweets: Simple Stitches, Whimsical Birds. I've admired her work for ages, with the delightful combo of cute birds and sketch stitching.

I couldn't resist making a project right away, and I chose the Early Bird Place Mat. Besides the bird, of course, the patchwork called to me. And the tree looked like good practice for a novice sketch stitcher like me.
Of course, as soon as I decided what I wanted to make, it was time to decide on fabric, and immediately, Ayumi Mills's Lighthearted came to mind. Oh it was fun to use it again, and I think it is a perfect fit for Erin's Sweet Tweet projects. (I was pretty pleased that when my project called for a crocheted edging that wasn't in my skill-set, I was able to substitute with a flange made with one of Ayumi's prints.)

Erin's book gives a helpful overall description of raw-edge appliqué for the birds, then each project has a more detailed diagram and tips for the sketch stitching (aka sketch appliqué or free-motion appliqué) necessary. In my case, the tree was easily manageable, and I really had fun with it.

As part of the blog hop, I'm able to offer a giveaway for an e-version of Sweet Tweets! Just leave a comment on this post, and I'll choose a winner Friday night, September 11. This giveaway is now closed - thank you! Congrats to #56, OhioLori! Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the blog hop, and check out the Instagram hashtags #sweettweetsbook and #sweettweets to see more darling projects!

Sweet Tweets Blog Hop
Tuesday, September 8 - Erin (Introduction post) Why Not Sew?
Wednesday, September 9 - Heidi Fabric Mutt
Thursday, September 10 - Debbie A Quilter's Table
Friday, September 11 - No Post
Saturday, September 12 - Jacque Brown Dog Prims
Monday, September 14 - Amy nanaCompany
Tuesday, September 15 - Svetlana s.o.t.a.k handmade
Wednesday, September 16 - Renee Sewn With Grace
Thursday, September 17 - Martingale Stitch This! The Martingale Blog
Friday, September 18 - Heather Vintage Grey Handmade
Saturday, September 19 - Clara and Jennie Clover & Violet
Monday, September 21 - Amanda Jean Crazy Mom Quilts
Tuesday, September 22 - Cindy Live a Colorful Life
Wednesday, September 23 - Carla Grace and Favour
Thursday, September 24 - Mary Molly Flanders
Friday, September 25 - No Post
Saturday, September 26 - Erin, Big Giveaway Post!!! Why Not Sew?

Sweet Tweets

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another Round of Candy Land

Secret sewing is tough stuff, so the reveals are always a bit of a relief for me. I have a few this month and the first was yesterday's Candy Land Play Mat for Louise/I'm Feelin' Crafty's Sew Ready to Play series. There were a few more details about the play mat I wanted to share, just for the record.

The background for my playing board is a new favorite, Cotton + Steel's "Paint Dot Cloud" from the Paper Bandana collection by Alexia Abegg. I actually purchased 2 yards at Island Quilter's pop-up shop at the PNW MQG Meetup with the intent of using it for Christmas gift bags, but when I didn't have enough of the Essex I started with, I needed a quick change-up from stash, and the dots seemed my best option. In the end, I'm happy with the switch, the sparkling background adding a nod to Candy Land's very own Queen Frostine. All the colored bits are a mix of stash solids. 

Quilting was the biggest challenge for this project, as the colored tumblers alone didn't scream "Candy Land." But quilting the Candy Land path would, so I marked it on with my hera marker, and matchstick-quilted it with my walking foot. That required quite a bit of rotating of the quilt, but achieved the look I was after. THEN the big question ... how to fill in the rest?

For better or worse, free-motion seemed the way to go due to the odd-shaped sections that needed filling, and I considered a lot of options before I settled on a pretty organic straight-line, beginning and ending each row short of the path, so those bits of travel show, but I'm good with that. Fmq is not the method I'm most comfortable with, but it went pretty well, and I like the texture it gave this piece. Washed up now, it's comfy cozy.

Backing is a very pink and fun "Welcome Road" a Nicey Jane print from Heather Bailey from 2009 found in the stash. Basically it repeated the vertical lines of the quilting, and I thought grandgirl would approve. She did.

As for the binding, daughter-dear suggested incorporating the red and white stripe to match the lettering on the game board, and I did, using the two toned binding tutorial from Ellyn/ellyn's place, using a Timeless Treasures 1/8" stripe paired with more of the dots. I did cut the stripe on the bias to give more of a candy cane effect, and the result was just what I'd hoped for.
The finished Candy Land Play Mat measures 40"x38", and there's a tutorial over at I'm Feelin' Crafty. We've already been having fun with this little one . . .