Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paint Chip Challenge

Remember a couple of months ago when I told you about the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Paint Chip Challenge? Well we were on vacation during the beginning of the exhibit at Seattle's Drygoods Design, and though I really meant to get there once we got home, it just didn't happen. Thanks to my guild-buddy Louise/I'm Feelin' Crafty for letting me share her photos with you!

Exhibit photos courtesy of I'm Feelin' Crafty
Each person was given a paint chip with one of 4 palettes - darker blues, teals, light blue-greys, or white-greys. A small number of members randomly received a bonus paint chip with yellows that they had to incorporate into their quilt. All finished quilts needed to be 18" square. In case you missed my post about it, here's my entry, Through the Looking Glass.  

There were 2 display areas in the exhibit, a 9-patch table quilt and a 49-patch wall quilt.

Aren't they cool? Here's another glance at all the quilts with their makers. I was so amazed at the variety of designs and as usual, the workmanship was exquisite. Must say, I feel pretty fortunate to be among them.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mod Irish

As I was mulling over what to do for the MQG Riley Blake Fabric Challenge, I went looking for My Quilty Bucket List, fishing for ideas. Compiled early last year, the list has been a consideration several times when I've been wanting to start on a new project. Right there at the top as #1 was an Irish Chain quilt, a design I've wanted to make ever since my early quilting days. Except when it came time for this challenge, I didn't want to make it all that traditional. The result is Mod Irish.
A big part of this challenge was using a fat-eighth bundle provided by the MQG. This year, it was Riley Blake's The Cottage Garden by Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish. The rules allowed the use of additional fabrics from the collection, and I chose to add in the black/white text and the teal/gray/white triangle prints. This may have been the first time I used a text print for an entire quilt background. At any rate, I liked it immediately, and it kind of makes the quilt for me.

I pieced the backing with more of the challenge fabrics, and then started thinking about how I should possibly quilt it up. I always go to my fmq + wf etc. Pinterest board (shorthand for free-motion quilting, walking foot, etc.) when looking for quilting inspiration, and this quilt by Robin/simply robin caught my eye. I knew I'd seen something similar recently, and quickly found it over at Alex's teaginny Designs. Since I'd never tried anything quite like it, and it seemed to coordinate with the square elements of the quilt, I went for it.
As I progressed with the quilting, I was pretty sure the grid was getting lost on the quilt front, especially in that newspaper print. But as you can see in the photo above, it was doing amazing things on the back!

For the binding, I used the few bits and pieces I had left to create a scrappy look that I think serves the quilt well.

Mod Irish finished at 44" square, and even though it's not the traditional Irish Chain I had always planned on making, I'm checking it off my quilty bucket list.

If you'd like to see more of the challenge quilts, checkout the Instagram hashtag #mqgfabricchallenge. This quilt was donated to 100 Quilts for Kids 2015.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Little Stuff

It seems I've been making as many little projects as anything lately, and I must say, it's suited me just fine. There's been a pincushion, a couple of mini quilts, and more. Like a gift bag for my FAITH Circle swap item (said pincushion). Svetlana/s.o.t.a.khandmade's drawstring bag always pleases, and it was such fun stitching it up with a couple of fat-quarters of Cotton + Steel. Though the twill tape ties seemed to be everyone's favorite part.

I also needed a handmade gift for my coworker's birthday, and after some mulling, I decided on a Big Patchwork Tote by Ayumi Mills/Pink Penguin from Krista Hennebury's book,  Make It, Take ItI'd made one for daughter dear a while back, and was pretty sure my coworker had nothing like it, considering most of her handmade items had come from me over the years. Besides, this bag is a really enjoyable make, which was what I was definitely in the mood for. And I'd guessed right - she loved it. yay.

And most recently, I tried a new-to-me pattern for a Quilt-as-you-go Thread Catcher by Tessa/The Sewing Chick. This was a fun one too! Cutting the patchwork was a little fiddly, but the construction technique was terrific, and it measures 5" tall when done. Pretty darn cute, if you ask me!

So I really should get to some quilting, but it's great to have a few finishes, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Modern Hexie Encounter

From the first time I saw Nicole/Modern Handcraft's modern hexies, I thought they were amazing. Like truly beautiful and unusual and just so cool! But I thought to myself, "hexies really aren't my thing." I'd made them a time or two for special projects, but though I didn't mind basting them, I really didn't enjoy sewing them together.

But it came to pass that I wanted some handwork to take on our recent vacation, and well, I had just done an 'On Trend' feature on modern hexies in my newsletter, so they were on my mind. I had even started filling a Modern Hexies pinterest board for goodness sakes. So right before we left, I stopped and bought some pre-cut hexies, downsized a couple of stashed charm packs - Kate Spain's Sunnyside and Cuzco - and I was ready to go.

Miraculously, I managed to baste all the hexies I took with me - nearly 100. Mine were 1 1/2", slightly larger that the ones Nicole uses, because that's what my store had. And I did try the basting tutorial she suggested, one by Ellison Lane, which was new to me. (You don't sew through the paper, which is what I usually do. It seems to me it's just a matter of preference, but I was game to try.)

I ordered Aleene's Fabric Fusion while we were away, and I arrived home just before it did. So when I was ready to go for it, I just had to look up the Modern Hexies tutorial and decide on background fabric. I auditioned several solids and none of them did it for me, so I finally chose a light gray Timeless Treasures Sketch (maybe "mist"?). Because my hexies were rather large, there was no way they would all fit on the fat-quarter of fabric I had laid out. So after playing around with them some, I settled on a relatively cool palette with just 27 of the hexies.

Then came the sticky part. I mean the tutorial is perfection, the glue did just what it was supposed to do, but I must be glue-challenged. I left mid-glueing several times to wash my hands before continuing on, and I confess not long into the process I decided this technique wasn't for me.
But then! I quilted them, just like Nicole, and wouldn't you know but I fell in love. The quilting part was seriously fun and it just got better and better. And that night when I added the binding in Carolyn Friedlander's Crosshatch in Cadet, I was smitten. I still can't stop looking at it!!

My mini finished at 18"x22", and despite the glueing, I will be doing this again. Like I still have hexies left, and I ordered some finer tips for my glue bottle to see if that helps me, and Kate Spain herself commented on Instagram that my hexies were stunning! So yeah, I'll be doing this again. Stay tuned! And while you wait, try it yourself!

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Desire to Make

I totally blame my recent research for tomorrow's issue of The Scrap Basket. Yesterday when I had a couple of hours to sew, I glanced at the scraps covering my design wall, at the stack of modern-minded hexies piled on my ironing board, and even at 2 wips in the closet, you know, the kind with deadlines. But what I was really itching to make was a quarter log cabin block. A quilt full of them would have been better, but that wasn't going to happen in the time allowed, so I settled for 1 block.
Working from Heather Jones' Half Way Home tutorial just up on the Robert Kaufman website, I literally pulled from the scrap basket as I began to sew, seeking a very neutral palette and as many linen-cotton blends as I could dig up.

When the block was done, it measured only 9"x12", yet I had the urge to just quilt it up and make it into a mini quilt. Why not? So I gathered a handful of Aurifil 50wt threads - a variety to make things interesting - and got started. When a project is this small, even matchstick quilting takes almost no time at all.
I bound this little one while watching TV last night, reflecting on how satisfying a sew it was. Not preplanned in the least, but out of an impulse to make grew an inkling of a project, which soon materialized into something small yet fulfilling. How good can it get?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Living Large

It's true that my Faith Circle swap partner asked for a "large 'flat' pin cushion" but I kind of got carried away.
I started with the 12 1/2" New England Quilt Block tutorial by A Bright Corner, down-sizing by 50%. I dug into my mix of Bonnie and Camille charms and created the block with a controlled scrappiness that I though my partner might like.
Concerned that my block was a tad large for a pincushion, I matchstick quilted it, hoping it would shrink the block a bit. If it did, it was imperceptible.
Next try: I zig-zagged the edges, gently hand-washed it, and tossed it in the dryer, again hoping it would shrink. It did not.
So I went with it! What's the definition of large anyway? I hoped against hope it was 6".

Good news! Julia/red rainboots handmade seemed to love it just like it is. whew.

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Scrap Status

Having several projects last week where I got to use scraps made me very happy. First up were a couple of 15.5" slab blocks for #floodtexaswithlove, organized by sara/supersara20 of Southern Transplant. Seeing more extreme weather headed their way on our local news last night, I was glad I was able to help even a little bit.

For FAITH Circle, we made 6 1/2" Mini Heart Blocks using the tutorial by bee-mate Anita/Bloomin' Workshop.

And better late than never, I hopped on the scrap vortex qal with crazy mom quilts a couple weeks late, but I'm ready now to move on with the group into week 3.

Please tell me. Why is my scrap basket still so full?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday at the Table

It probably won't surprise you that when I heard about my son and daughter-in-law's visit to a restaurant called the table, I knew that next time we were in town, we had to go. And so last week we did!

The dining room was simple but inviting. The vibe was good, the waiter ever-so-helpful, and the menu enticing. Oh and the company? It was excellent! 

The chef's tartine (aka crostini), the mains, and oh-my-gosh the pot de crème were creative, flavorful,  and savored down to the last bite.

The biggest "ah-ha" for me was actually the first course of crusty bread and olive oil with ricotta. Honestly, I'd never heard of such a combo, but when I searched on Pinterest for it, obviously others had! Here's a couple of recipes I found if you want to try it. I know I do!
Whipped Ricotta with Lemon and Olive Oil
All in all, I loved this place. And best, of course, was sharing that terrific meal with family we don't get to see often enough. Really, there's nothing quite like it, is there?

Monday, June 15, 2015


Monochrome was created explicitly for the August Quilt! Knit! Stitch! show in Portland, Oregon. This is my second year entering the challenge, last year getting into the show with ástərisk. When announced, this year's theme, Black to White, was another "oh dear, what will I do with that?!" just like last year's modern metallics challenge. But once I had an idea, I ran with it and really enjoyed myself.

Fresh from Room Temp's "improv under the influence", the gradient of black to white seemed a good fit for the same technique, and I was anxious to try it again. Except I used the white very sparingly, only in the Michael Miller's Clown Stripe. The rest of the fabrics were solids from my stash, mostly Kaufman Konas. Rather than begin with 5" squares as in Krista Hennebury's original, I used 9", wanting to work with larger strips.

Backing is Jazz Jam by Jane Dixon for Andover Fabrics, and quilting was done with Aurifil 50wt #2600 (light gray) and #2605(medium gray) in straight-line spirals and echo-stitching in random areas.

Again I used the quilt facing tutorial by Terry Aske Art Quilt Studio, and the finished quilt measures 45"x53". So there's my interpretation of 'Black to White' - I'll let you know if she makes it into the show!

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Table Tidbit

You know darn well that when we travel, it's definitely about the people and the places, but it's also about the food. That just can't be helped. And though I want to tell you about a really special restaurant visit while we were vacationing in California, today it's short and sweet about our new favorite coffee shop. Rather make that tall and iced. And yes, the fact that it is over 800 miles from our home is a definite inconvenience.

We happened upon Barefoot Coffee Roasters one warm afternoon, needing a pick-me-up and hoping to try the local brew. I almost am embarrassed to admit we went back a handful of times more before we left town a week later.

The menu needed a translation, as there were no descriptors next to the menu items, but we still discovered orange and coconut mochas, house-made caramel, and what became a favorite, the Shakerado. What was fun (and tasty) about the Shakerado, was that you never knew what you were getting, it being the barista's choice. It definitely left us guessing at the ingredient list while we sipped down the deliciousness.

So on one hand, Barefoot Coffee wasn't a major player in the big scheme of things, but on the other, we won't soon forget what fun we had around that coffee table.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Those Modern Hexies

In my most recent issue of The Scrap Basket, I featured modern hexies, the brain-child of Nicole/Modern Handcraft. Well after perusing some examples of this clever technique, I was compelled to try it myself!

Starting the hand-stitching was a perfect travel project, and using Nicole's tutorial, I managed to baste all the hexies that I took with me - 80 or so, or 2 charm-packs worth. Rummaging through my stash at the last-minute before we left, I grabbed Kate Spain's Cuzco and Sunnyside. I had 1 1/2" hexies, so trimmed the charms to 4" square, though I probably should have gone a good half-inch smaller. I think with a good press, they'll be fine.

So I have some other w.i.p.s to face before going on to the next step, but I'm pleased I at least have my hexies all ready to go!

If you've tried modern hexies, leave a link in the comments! Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Friday, June 5, 2015


Looking for a clever way to begin this post, I randomly typed into my search engine 'define Pinterest.' I do this all the time actually, searching for just the right word. From Wikipedia - "Pinterest is a web and mobile application company, which operates an eponymous photo sharing website." What does that even mean? (A glance at several definitions of eponymous made no sense to me.)
Anyway, the point actually being that I've been really enjoying Pinterest lately. Like more than usual. Searching for a quilt pattern or idea to feature my Cotton + Steel prints, I decided to start a board for those ideas and called it Quilts to Feature. Then I thought maybe other folks would have good ideas for this kind of quilt too, so I made it a group board. On Instagram and Facebook, I invited anyone who wanted to to pin along with me, fully intending to extend the invitation to you all as well. So IF you'd like, just leave your Pinterest name or email in the comments, or you can email me at aquilterstable (at) gmail (dot) com if you'd rather, and I'll invite you to join us!

Not to end there, I started a few more boards I thought would be fun - Photoshoots with some of my favorites (mine and others), Solid Quilts, Modern Hexies, and The Scrap Basket, where I'll be pinning all the things I've featured in my newsletter. OH, and I joined a group board myself, Fresh Modern Quilts, hosted by Lindsay Connor. With nearly 2000 pins by 70 pinners, you can bet there's some good stuff in there.

So that's that. Eponymous or whatever, I'm liking it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

W.I.P. Times

Nothing like starting a new project two weeks before the deadline knowing full well half of that time you would not have access to your sewing machine. Yup. That's what I did. Or am doing. Whatever.

I had fabric cut and piecing started as I headed off to the SMQG sew-in last Saturday. I was using Krista Hennebury's "improv under the influence" technique again, basically cuz I loved it last time.

 Call me focused, but before long I had rows pieced and my first section up on the design wall.

I was able to complete one more section before I had to leave for home, but at least when I got there, I was able to put them both on my own design wall, and be assured I was headed in the right direction.
Two more sections, and I had a quilt top I loved.
When I was ready to start quilting later in the weekend, I got out several threads, you know, hoping they would speak to me. In the middle of a teal vs. gold debate on Instagram, mom called. Now she doesn't do this often, but she happened to see the Ig action and had to chime in. Let's just say she was pretty convinced no color was necessary. And with that, I set my quilting course. Those two grays on the left will be used for the majority of the quilting. And for a bit of a focal? That black.  

So I've begun . . . willy nilly just like in Room Temp. Déjà vu all over again.