Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Postcards Keep Coming

Here's a couple more postcard quilts to show off, plus a really clever adaptation of the pattern!

First up is this sweet thing by Tiffany/t.anne. I love the 'postmark' quilted up in the corner, as well as those wavy lines between the blocks that are reminiscent of curvy postcard edges.

Lynne/pieceful1 made this one, and I really like her simple palette. Read more about her quilt on her blog, pieceful.

And lastly for today, M-R Charbonneau (Quilt Matters) made the postcard block her own by making these darling postcard coasters. Find out more at Quilt Matters.
Postcard Coasters - Bundle 1

I know there are more fun postcard projects in the works, so stay tuned!
If you feel like joining in, here's the block patternThe Postcard Quilt Along flickr group, and #thepostcardquiltalong hashtag!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

It kind of feels like the last 10 days or so vanished into thin air. The cold I told you about last week kept me down for a while, but there was at least one up-side. Though I didn't feel like doing much, reading felt pretty effortless, and I managed to make it clear through Delicious! which I really enjoyed. Now what?
Since my recent post about foodie books, your suggestions on what to read next have just kept on coming - thank you! I thought it might be helpful to have them listed in one place - for you and for me. So here they all are! I marked the ones I've read with an '*' . . . you can see I have plenty more to choose from!
  1.  A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg*
  2. Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg*
  3. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl*
  4. Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table by Ruth Reichl*
  5. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl*
  6. Delicious: A Novel by Ruth Reichl*
  7. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
  8. The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Valley by Elizabeth Romer
  9. Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson 
  10. The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn*
  11. On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Herrman Loomis
  12. Peaches for Monsieur le Curé: A Novel (Chocolat) by Joanne Harris
  13. My Life in France by Julia Child*
  14. Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop
  15. American Pie: Slices of a Life (and Pie) From America's Back Roads by Pascale La Draoulec
  16. Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
  17. Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
  18. Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin*
  19. More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin*
  20. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  21. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
  22. How to Cook a Wolf by M. F. K. Fisher 
  23. Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home by Kim Sunée
  24. Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home--A Memoir by Lise Funderburg
  25. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver and Steven L. Hopp
  26. The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball
  27. The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones*
  28. anything by Anthony Bourdain...
  29. ...Calvin Trillin
  30. ...Michael Pollan
  31. ...Elizabeth David
  32. ...Claudia Roden 
  33. ...Nigel Slater
  34. ...Marcus Samuelsson

Monday, July 28, 2014

July Bee Blocks and Such

Time for a block round up for July! Believe it or not, we had to twist PatchworknPlay's arm to let us make blocks for her in the Mid-Century Modern Bee this month! She gave in, asked for star blocks, and I chose an adaptation on Megan's Star by Maverick Quilts in Modern Blocks.

It was Christmas in July in That Stash Bee, where mihertz had us make either a 4-patch or a 9-patch AND a 16-patch or a 36-patch in Christmasy fabrics. I was reminded how much I like those chartreuse Metro Living Rings with Christmas fabrics as I put that block on the right together. I used up my last little bit, so I ordered more to put with my Christmas stash.

As I may have already mentioned, FAITH Circle is making Postcard blocks for me this month, with solid or tone-on-tone "fronts". Here's several that have shown up in the group so far.
I redid these blocks after I noticed my measurements were off on the first set. Hope these are ok @aquilterstable. For July #faithcircle #dogoodstitches blocks #postcardblocks

Postcard blocks for Do Good Stitches Faith Circle July 2014.

And though not technically bee blocks, I did make 2 blocks for the giving committee of our Seattle Modern Quilt Guild. These are 2 of the suggested blocks of the month. First I made a hashtag block, using some crazy-piecing left over from last fall's Crazy Rainbow.
Next was a wonky star, using the tutorial by The Silly BooDilly, using our signature guild colors of aqua/light blue, citron green, greys and white/ivory/neutrals. Blocks are being collected for charity quilts in  4.5″, 6.5″ or 12.5″ (unfinished) - these 2 are both 12.5".

So that's it for miscellaneous blocks for this month! Enjoyable, but it's always a relief when they're done!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Thoughtful Stashing

Earlier this week I read a convicting post by Rossie/Fresh Modern Quilts on "What to Stash". She referred back to a series of 2011 posts by Jeni/In Color Order on "The Art of Choosing," specifically the post on Building a Well Rounded Stash. It didn't quite ring true for Rossie, who discovered that "personally [she didn't] need a well-rounded stash" and I encourage you to read her post to see what she has to say about that, as it's thoughtfully written.

For me, I find both posts were imminently helpful. When I read Jeni's original post, I was a new blogger with pretty much no stash at all. I had been quilting for years, but rarely purchased fabric that wasn't for a very specific project. And I had just discovered the modern quilting movement, so whatever bits of fabric I had left from my projects were not quite what the bloggers I was getting acquainted with were using. As I got more involved in the online quilting community, I began joining swaps and bees and such. And I soon realized that I needed to build a stash, and a modern one at that. So slowly, over the next 18 months or so, following Jeni's advice and watching others, I built that stash that allowed me to pretty much always have something suitable on hand whatever project or sewing whim presented itself. For the first time ever, I had a rainbow of prints to choose from, and solids even! And linen!
Fast forward 3 years, to a place where that well rounded stash has served me very well indeed. I pretty much quit "building" a while ago and as Rossie suggests, am more "maintaining." When I'm running low on certain solids or Essex or text prints, I get more, because I know those are standbys for me, and I'll need them to do what I do. Which brings me to Rossie's basic guidelines for herself which she kindly gave me permission to share:
I'm not suggesting that her rules should necessarily apply to you, me, or anyone else but her. But I do think the whole subject is worth some thoughtful consideration. And even though I'm working on the "admire, don't acquire" bit, I was also touched by something Molli Sparkles shared in his post yesterday, where as an intentional challenge to himself he joined a fabric swap for fabric that didn't really grab him. And after working with it, he found he loved it! So yeah, sometimes I, too, purchase fabric just to see what all the fuss is about. Or because a certain grouping just is so nicely done. Or, yes, just because fabric therapy is a real thing and I need some. But I also want to be attentive to what I have already gathered - because it's helped bring me to where I am - and I can trust it to serve me well going forward.

So give it some thought. I'm pretty sure happy medium wins again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Between a weekend out of town and returning home with a nasty cold, there hasn't been much time in the studio for several days. The few moments have been spent on those big batch HSTs.
Then, of course, there's this and plenty of it.
Almost ready to start piecing!

Monday, July 21, 2014


As soon as I was done with the first postcard quilt, I knew I wanted to do it all again. Besides, friends have been creating their own postcard quilts with The Postcard Quilt Along, and I definitely wanted to sew along with them.

In Duo, I used all Tula Pink prints for the postcard 'fronts' and a variety of text prints and gray solids for the 'backs.'
Quilting was done with vertical organic straight lines, much like the first time, with matchstick quilting down the gray solids, all with Aurifil 50wt #2021 (Natural White). Tula Pink's aqua chevron strip from her Salt Water line made a nicely coordinating binding.
The quilt finishes at 36"x48", and I took the last stitch on the binding while on a car trip to Eastern Washington last weekend. It seemed apropos to do a quick little photo shoot at a winery along our route.

Seriously, postcard blocks are a quick sew! Feel free to nab the tutorial and join us!

This project is on my 2014 Finish-A-Long Q3 List. Linking up with Fabric Tuesday and Finish it Up Friday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Déjà Vu :: Thinking Back

Reposted from February 1, 2011. Feeling a little nostalgic about Where I Sew, here's a bit about how that journey began . . .

Do you ever think, “How did I become a quilter?” Or a baker? Or a crafter? Or whatever? I do, and often. I think about how before I was a quilter, I sewed. As a little girl, I liked to stitch together little doll clothes by hand. I’m not sure who showed me that I could. I remember knitting (yes!) little sweaters for my dolls. Mom must have taught me that. And in Girl Scouts, I somehow managed to make an apron, in order to earn the sewing badge. By middle school, my grandma was living with us, and she introduced me to the reality of having a sewing machine in our very own house! It was a Singer, that she bought with her own money as a young, single woman. She taught me how to use it, and encouraged me to use it whenever I wanted! She taught me how to wind bobbins, thread needles, sew straight, carefully measured, seams – all the details of clothing construction. Crazy as it sounds now, I made clothes for myself, for my mom and her friends, and even for my dad!

Fast forward several years, past the degree in Home Economics, past the days of sewing teddy bears and little Easter coats for my children, to a day in 1987. A friend, a quilter, said, “You should learn to quilt, and then we could do it together.” So I took a beginner’s class. Every stitch was by hand. And I loved the fabric – the texture and patterns and colors. I loved the needle between my fingers – something familiar, used in a new way. I loved the process. I loved creating something beautiful. And I still do.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Where I Sew

It's Where I Sew Month at Pink Chalk Fabrics! Since it's been 3 years since I last participated and I've relocated my sewing space in our home, I thought I might as well share again. Mine is nothing fancy and has a few issues I'd like to improve on, but all in all, I'm more than thankful for it and enjoy it alot. So here's a little tour around my studio.

Walk in the door, and you'll find my design wall on your left and then the desk area. You'll see that there's 2 desks back to back. That's because hubby and I actually share this room, though he likes to give me a bad time that I took over 3/4 of it. I guess that's true, but he did give me permission! Anyway, this is where I wake with my morning latte, blog, and do all my computer stuff.
Behind hubby's desk are a couple of bookshelves, and I've claimed just this one little shelf for my favorite quilting books.
Then along that wall is a nice large window where my cutting table is. That big ole basket is for scraps. Yeah, I'm not a sorter, and I canNOT seem to empty that basket!! So there's my machine set-up. If there was one thing I could improve about my studio, it would definitely be a big table to set my machine on. I think it would really help with my wrestling with quilts as I machine quilt. Though I have a real fondness for that sewing cabinet that holds my grandma's old Singer - the machine she taught me to sew on. All these years, whatever machine I've had, it's sat right on that cabinet. Just in case you're curious, my Patchwork, Please! You've-Got-Mail Wall Pocket holds my basic Aurifil threads - gray in one pocket, white and natural in others, so they are always handy. And that metal thing is an IKEA magazine rack from daughter-dear's old room. It's perfect for a few magazines, bee block instructions, and other paper patterns I'm working with. Over the weekend I was inspired by Leanne/shecanquilt's "show off corner" and hung my 2 ribbons from AQS shows
There's alot I like about my studio, but one of my favorite parts is my fabric storage. No longer in bins, I can open the closet doors and see everything I have. Yes there are cubbies behind that tiny wall, but hubby installed 2 lights on the other side, so I really can see in there pretty good. Can't say I totally cleaned it up for you, but you can see I keep my roll of batting, a bin of all my interfacings, extra rulers, etc. All in all, it's pretty workable.
And lastly, the ironing corner! The Noodlehead bag has all my zips, and there's my main mini wall. The silver IKEA holder in this photo holds my postcard collection - unrelated to my sewing, but they make me smile, and should give you a clue where my idea for The Postcard Quilt came from!
So that's where I create pretty much everything I blog about. It's a comfortable, happy place to be.

Linking up with Where I Sew.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

There's a familiar routine at work . . . I ask my coworker as she's heading out the door to go home: "So what's for dinner?" Much of the time she replies back with a recipe that I gave her! The sad part is, many times I've forgotten all about the recipe she mentions and need to go hunting at home for it.

One of the recipes she's made frequently was just right for a girls sewing day last weekend, and luckily I found it after a quick search. The whole meal was casual, tasty, and perfect for summer and I thought you might enjoy it. Just click through each title for the recipes.

Rosé Sangria from The Pioneer Woman
The fruit and wine are combined a day ahead. Rather than topping off 
with sparkling wine, we used lemon-lime soda at serving time.

Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Bruschetta Tomato Topping from Kathy Casey
I was generous with the arugula, so we added just a little balsamic vinaigrette.

Pavlovas with Strawberries and Balsamic from
The meringues seemed large when I served them, but honest fact: we each ate every bite.

Apologies to those of you in winter-mode. Though do tell, Australians! I hear pavlovas are very popular there. Do you eat them all year round? Are there seasonal versions? Enlighten us in the comments. And as for my coworker's recipe files . . . I need to remember my own good advice!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Big Batch HSTs

There are many ways to make half-square triangles (HSTs), and I've used most of them. How many you need for your particular project, and how scrappy your project is may determine what method you use. Two, four, and eight at a time seem to be popular quantities. {Click the numbers for tutorials for each.} Well, for my current project, I need over 100 of the same fabric pairing. So I wanted to make more at a time. 18 felt like a huge jump from eight, and it was really quite simple. Here's a tutorial that makes 18 - 2 1/2" HSTs (2" finished). I'll have a few notes at the end if you want to make a different size.

Cut 2 - 9" squares, one of each of your fabrics. Layer the 2 fabrics, right-sides together. Using a fabric marker, mark a grid on the back side of 1 of the fabrics, marking at 3" intervals both horizontally and vertically.
Now mark diagonal lines as shown.
Take your fabric to your machine and sew a scant 1/4" on either side of each diagonal line.
(I stitched with contrasting thread so you could see the stitching easily.
Being very careful not to move the fabrics as you cut, use your ruler and rotary cutter to cut along all vertical, horizontal, and diagonally marked lines. And here's what you'll have!
One thing to notice with this method is that you've sewn over the tips of most of the HSTs. But it is such a short little seam once you have cut the HSTs apart, that one quick flick of your seam ripper, and that little seam is gone.
Now press your HSTs as desired and trim to size. Note that the dimensions I use leave you very little excess to trim away.
You can see the bits I trimmed away in the next photo.
SO, if you aren't comfortable with cutting it that close, I'd suggest starting with 9 3/4" squares of fabric, dividing it into a 3 1/4" grid for 2 1/2" HSTs (2" finished).

IF you'd like to make a different size HST, the basic formula is:
size HST (2.5") X 3.6 = size of fabric squares (9")
Remember to round up if you like a little more leeway. And the size of your beginning fabric squares needs to be divisible by 3. Note that other sizes were not actually tested.

By cutting a 9" WOF of my 2 fabrics, and then cutting squares from there, I was able to get 4 sets - or 72 HSTs - in no time at all. And I don't see any reason you couldn't expand on this idea and make even more. Yay.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Rectangles In Rotation

Well the clock is ticking away on the MQG Fabric Challenge, so the pressure's been on to get this one done!
You may remember, this little bundle of Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels was given to all participating modern quilt guild members.
I picked up coordinating Cotton Coutures: seafoam, coral, kryptonite, fog, dirt, and soft white. In the end, I only used 4 of the prints and solids. I kind of hated leaving the seafoam out, but that's just how it worked. And instead of using the soft white as a background as I'd originally planned, my design process led me to use some Kona Cotton in Charcoal and Interweave Chambray in Pepper, both by Robert Kaufman. I tell you, that Pepper may just be my new favorite "basic". It has a lovely hand and I think was the defining moment in this quilt coming to life. 
The inspiration for the focus blocks came as I perused each little block in my "Unlocked" City Sampler quilt, which hangs on our family room wall. I can't really sit on the couch and not look at it, as if I'd try not to. It gives me lots of food for thought.
One of my favorite elements of this project was that charcoal partial "frame" in each block, and it was a no-brainer to repeat it in the border. For backing, I used a stash find, Mod Century by Jenn Ski. Goodness I adore this print, and I am more than a bit sad to have used every inch I had. But on the bright side, I think it made a perfect backing for my quilt design.
For quilting, I elicited the help of Pink Chalk Fabrics, who was kind enough to color-match thread for me. What a great service that is! I used 5 glorious colors to get the effect I was after: #2230 (medium peony), #1231 (spring green), #2615 (aluminium), #2326 (sand), and #2605 (medium gray). {Note: I used that peony in "Aurora", and it may just be my current non-neutral favorite. It's really quite perfect.} Anyway, I accented each center solid color out to the edge in a U-shape, echoing the charcoal frame with straight-line. Then I filled in the "corners" with more echoing straight-line in medium gray. You can see it best in the photo below - especially in the coral and "dirt" sections.
As a finishing touch, some matched binding was definitely in order. The quilt measures 44" square, and it just called to be washed and crinkled, so the texture is really terrific, especially with all that chambray. 

So whew! I {mostly} had fun with this one, am really pleased with my design, am happy with the fabrics I added to the original "assignment" (especially that chambray - thanks to Rachael/imagine gnats for her help in choosing that) and I met the deadline with room to spare. Off to link up . . .

Also linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Fabric Tuesday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


There are 2 more finished Postcard Quilts to show off! First up is one from mimi'sdarlins who says, "Each of my postcards represents a vacation or special event, so for me this has become a memory quilt." How cool is that?

And from Katrin/makatrin . . .
The Postcard Quilt Along
Isn't that sweet? Did you notice the stamp detailing on some of her postcards?
stamp close up
Very fun. There's more progress happening in The Postcard Quilt Along flickr group. Here's the block tutorial if you feel like joining us!

Random: My original Postcard Quilt was shared along with a bunch of other terrific projects over on Sew Thankful Sunday by The Crafty Quilter. Fun to see it out and about.

And the headliner over on Instagram - I hit 1700 followers! wow. I mean wow.
Photo: 1700 followers on Instagram is definitely worth celebrating! A big thanks to Pink Chalk Fabrics for sponsoring a giveaway to mark the occasion . . . just follow aquilterstable and comment on the "1700!!" post for a chance to win!
Thanks to Pink Chalk Fabrics for sponsoring a celebratory giveaway. Just follow me {aquilterstable} over on Instagram if you don't already, and comment on the "1700" post for a chance to win. I'll pick a random winner on Friday.

Speaking of Pink Chalk, did you see it's "Where I Sew" month? In a nutshell, "During July we’ll be taking a virtual tour and sharing a peek at the sewing spaces of some of our favorite designers and sewing enthusiasts. Real spaces where real people sew." There's quite the list of sewists showing off their studios, plus you and I can link up ours! I'm planning on sharing mine one day soon. And I'd sure enjoy seeing yours too!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 Finish-A-Long: Q3 List

Boy, even making another Finish-A-Long list can put pressure on. Or maybe it's just me. There's plenty more rolling around in my head, but I'm sure hoping these 4 get done.

I started another Postcard Quilt. This one won't be huge, but considering The Postcard Quilt Along is underway, I for sure wanted to keep sewing along. There are 36 postcard blocks ready to go, so piecing the top shouldn't take long.

I also started another Spiraled Quilt. Still debating whether to make it less scrappy than the last. I have plenty of the subway map and text prints this time, so I may just use those as my main prints. Thoughts?

There are 2 table runners in the plans for my sister-in-law. Mom helped choose some cool solids, and I'll be adapting a pattern from We Love Color by Susanne Woods. Some dense quilting has also been requested, so looking forward to getting going on this.

This last one is a bit of a gamble, as it consists of blocks from one of my bee quilts. The gamble is these Postcard Blocks are FAITH Circle's July project, so the blocks have just started coming in. I'm hopeful though, that this one can have a quick turn around once I have all the pieces in hand.

So those are the "must-do's" . . . though you know darn well other projects will sneak their way into the line-up!

Linking up with Finish-A-Long Q3 and W.i.P. Wednesday.