Monday, August 31, 2015

The Habit of Giving

One of my summer sewing traditions these last few years has been to participate in 100 Quilts for Kids. Hosted by Heather/Quilts in the Queue, 100 Quilts for Kids is an annual charity quilt drive that encourages quilters to make a quilt and donate it to a child in need. One thing I love about this effort is that you are encouraged to donate quilts in your own community. I've set a few aside through the year, with plans to deliver them to my local Project Linus chapter. Here's what I'm sharing this year.
This year, the campaign is running from August 1-September 30. There's a place to link up, and a chance for prizes, even. Glance at this post which shows quilts I've donated in past drives, many with links to fun and simple quilt patterns that could still be made in plenty of time. Plus this year, I used my Quarter-Cut Baby Quilt Top tutorial, which provides another quick option. Hope you consider joining us in the giving tradition. It's a good thing.

Linking up with 100 Quilts for Kids. Join us in using the hashtag #100quilts4kids on Instagram (though I see #100quiltsforkids being used too).

100 Quilts for Kids

Friday, August 28, 2015

Worth a Read

One of the regular features in my newsletter, The Scrap Basket, is 'Worth a Read.' Usually I share quite a variety of things I've found on the interwebs - techniques, photography, just stuff I find interesting and think you might too. Something I keep meaning to post about here and there are a couple of books I've read recently. Both by Austin Kleon, the first was a random gift from a friend, Steal Like An Artist. {Thanks Hillary!} Apparently I was the last crafty person to hear about this book as it made the rounds a while back, but I was intrigued from the get-go. First, the word 'steal' was in the title - not something I consider doing. But I really liked the subtitle: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. Ok then.

Show Your Work!10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered is the 2nd book, and I found it just as inspiring, if not more so. 

One of the great features of these little books is that the format keeps your attention. They are just plain fun to read. I spread it out, reading a chapter or so a day, highlighter in hand. The books are full of inspiring gems. One that stuck with me was the challenge to "do good work and share it with people." That I can do.

Another takeaway was "share something small every day", which I already try to do, whether it's on Instagram, facebook, or here on the blog. And there was a section about 'sharing your trade secrets' that I really appreciated . . . "Teaching people doesn't subtract value from what you do, it actually adds to it."

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this pair and they gave me much food for thought about my own creativity and the ways I share it. I'm thinking you might like them too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Geometric W.i.P.

It appears I only have w.i.p.s to share these days, but some weeks are like that. When I had a day to sew at the SMQG Meetup, I decided to work on something that wasn't even really on my to-do list and definitely not one of my projects with a deadline. Maybe not too clever, but it's something I've been wanting to tackle for a while, and I was anxious to work with my Imprint fabrics again. My chosen pattern, Geometric Sewing Machine by Kristy/Quiet Play, is paper-pieced and took me most of the day, but went together easily enough. Keeping my fabrics straight as I sewed along was the hardest part, and it helped me to mark my pattern pieces and focus on one color at a time. Over 20 different fabrics were needed, so I dug into my cherished Indelible, also by Katarina Roccella, for some additional coordinating fabrics, and still added a few odds and ends to balance the colors to my liking.
I'm thinking the completed 16 1/2" block just might work its way into a nice sewing machine cover, so that'll go on the list. So the equation is kind of fuzzy . . . I accomplished something not on the list so I could add a new project to the list? That's the way it goes sometimes . . .

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday at the Table

A borrowed photo and a couple of links are all I have for you today, but when a recipe is worth making twice in one week, I consider it worth sharing. So may I present Pesto Pasta Salad from Alice Currah and her book, Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion. Even though I've made pasta salads oodles of times, this one is so simple and so tasty, perfect to make ahead, tasting just as moist and good the next day. Alice includes a recipe for homemade pesto in the book and on her blog, though I went the convenience route and used good quality purchased.

I met Alice once, and she's as sweet as her book is beautiful. Take our advice and enjoy the savory sweet life.

photo credit: Alice Currah; used by permission

Monday, August 24, 2015

PNW MQG Meetup

EPIC Meetup 2015

This last weekend the Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meetup was held right here in Seattle, hosted by the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild. This is an annual event, with locations rotating between Portland OR, Vancouver BC, and Seattle. I had only been to 1 meetup before, in Portland, in 2013. This year, 11 PNW guilds were represented - isn't that cool?

Our weekend started with a potluck on Thursday night at Ravenna Park, where we got acquainted, swapped buttons ala QuiltCon, sat around hand-stitching, and even had sew and tell. It was a fine beginning.

Friday there were a couple of tours offered - 1 to Martingale Publishing, and the one I went to at Clothworks. Ted Hoffman, CEO, led us on a tour of the facility followed by a presentation on their American Brand Made Cotton Solids fabric. It was really interesting and we all went home with ABM color cards - yay.
Clockwise starting from left: AMB Cotton Solids; with Ted are Allison/allisonsews, our SMQG Vice President of Programming and Kristen/kristenballou, our guild President; my "backseat drivers" and I: Michelle/goldogmom, Ruth, & Marcie/bikeham33

I missed the Happy Hour Shopping Party at Drygoods Design, but doesn't that sound fun? That evening a group of us ventured out to Kidd Valley for burgers and conversation, and back at the hotel, there was a mixer, including a composition book swap. I didn't participate, but sure enjoyed seeing the workmanship.
Rachel/liketosew, Rachel/snippetsofsweetness, Michelle/goldogmom, me, Louise/imfeelincrafty

Saturday was sew-in day and the room was packed! Read: crowded and deafening. But we squeezed together and sewed the hours away. I mostly worked on a geometric sewing machine, using the pattern by Quiet Play. I'll share that yet this week. There was also a demo by Lysa Flower from the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild on her Match Needle Book, with supplies provided by Circa 15 Fabric Studio. We all got kits to make our own, and it's great the you, too, can find the tutorial on Lysa's blog.
Becca/velouria73, Louise/imfeelincraftyme, Rachel/snippetsofsweetness, Rachel/liketosew

I got to try a new-to-me restaurant for lunch, Evolution Fresh. Besides being really healthy stuff, it was unique in that you can have your menu choice as a salad, soup, or a wrap. Same basic ingredients presented 3 ways. Plus there were handcrafted juices, and I found it all really tasty.

Oh, and one really special feature of our meetup was that Island Quilter came and provided a pop-up shop for us! Shop hops were an opportunity each day of the meetup, and that was great, but having Island Quilter in-house was uber convenient and fun.

Anyway, we sewed all day Saturday, met more new quilty types, and basically just hung out. We also made charity blocks - improv forest blocks with Modern Solids supplied by In the Beginning Fabrics in beautiful northwest hues. Late in the day, my sewing table finished up with a delicious dinner at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House. We had a crazy long wait to get in, but boy were those dumplings delish! Good to know!

group blocks above, my blocks below
Wendy/wweathers, Rachel/liketosew, Rachel/snippetsofsweetness, Louise/imfeelincrafty

Last on my list as far as meetup events went was on Sunday, when I headed out to Quilting Mayhem in Snohomish, where SMQG member Allison Dutton was doing a demo on freezer paper paper-piecing. It was good to see her technique, and I definitely want to try it. You can too, as she has a post about it on her blog.

Last but not least, there were awesome swag bags, thanks to our generous sponsors: American Made Brand, Andover, Aurifil, Bernina of Renton, carolina patchworks, Circa15, Connecting Threads, Gathering Fabric, In the Beginning Fabrics, Jaybird Quilts, Martingale, Massdrop, Nancy’s Sewing Basket, Pacific Fabrics, Pile O'Fabric, Quality Sewing, Quilting Mayhem, Quilt Now, Quilt Sandwich Fabrics, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Sassafras Lane Designs, Schmetz Needles, Sew Fabulous, Sew Sweetness, and Timeless Treasures. Wow. That's pretty amazing!
And a huge shout-out to our guild board for all they did to make the meetup successful: Kristen/kristenballou, Allison/allisonsews, Martha/onceawingnut, Megan/quiltygoodness, and Kate/whatatangle. All weekend we used the Ig hashtag #EPICMeetup2015, so glance there if you want to peek in on more of the fun!
PNW Meetup Logo

Friday, August 21, 2015


There's a new hashtag over on Instagram!

If you hang around here much, you've probably seen my Bee Sewcial blocks. We're a quilting bee, yes, but a different kind of bee. And maybe, just maybe, you'd like to sew alongside us.

Here's all the scoop:
"About a year ago a unique sewing bee formed that asked each member to choose a monthly theme/inspirational source and color palette. 10 quilters would then go forth and make "blocks", blocks become a quilt, one for each month. In this process we bee members have gained new skills, explored different designs and close friendships have grown. Somewhere in this whole creative endeavor other talented people have observed our journey and have asked to participate.

Unable to keep a good thing to ourselves, we have created a companion community #inspiredbybeesewcial to sew right along with us. We will continue to post our monthly inspiration on IG with dual hashtags. We ask only that you use #inspiredbybeesewcial when you post your makings. This larger group #inspiredbybeesewcial is about being a respectful, supportive, creative, collaborative community and making ourselves better designers and sewists. If you would like to be part of this companion community, you may follow monthly "instructions" on our blogs and tag your pictures on IG with #inspiredbybeesewcial. You will find us commenting on all your creativity over in #inspiredbybeesewcial creative space.

So, are you ready? Hillary @entropyalwayswins is point for September. Look for her mission to us all in the last week of August. The other co-conspirators (and people you might want to follow just so you don't miss anything) are: Leanne @shecanquilt, Diane @ylmommyx4, Marci @marci_girl, Felicity @felicityquilts, Karen @capitolaquilter, Kari @quiltsforthemaking, Melissa @weshallsew, Stephanie @spontaneousthreads, and myself, right here at @aquilterstable."

So if you want to push your creative boundaries and enjoy working with solid fabrics, consider sewing along. Just remember that hashtag, #inspiredbybeesewcial, so we can cheer you along!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Making Headway

Ok, you might want to put your sunglasses on...

It's been a while since I've shared progress on my SMQG block of the month medallion quilt. For my 12 1/2" center block, I chose HoosierToni's Skinny Churn Dash. From there I added borders designed by the BOM team. They're all on our guild's website, if you're interested.

Anyway, I'm caught up through July. August's border was just posted, so plenty of hsts are in my future. Then there's just one more border before we start finishing our quilts. Sooo here's my medallion so far!
I'm trying to tame some of the brightness with the low-volume prints, but it's still pretty wild. Stay tuned!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


For FAITH Circle's  July quilt assignment I chose Rachel/Wooden Spoon Quilts' Raspberry Kiss block, upsized to 12 1/2" unfinished. The coral and yellow palette was an unusual one for me, but it was definitely cheery. I asked for backgrounds that were black and white or gray and white low-volume prints, white on white prints, or a very pale gray solid.

I kind of forgot my original plan once the blocks started coming in, and when I put them all on the design wall, I arranged them 'square'. A friend happened to stop by and saw them and mentioned how she thought they'd look good set on point, and lightbulb! I remembered that was what I had meant to do. So I rearranged them, made a couple more blocks to fill in gaps, and set to work cutting setting triangles. I referred to this resource for the calculations needed.

For backing I was pleased to find Thomas Knauer's Frippery in my stash to use as the main fabric, and paired it with some yellow Michael Miller Ta Dots to bring it to size.

Quilting was done with  Aurifil 50wt #2021 (Natural White) in a serpentine stitch cross-hatch, leaving the quilt very soft and cuddly. Binding was most more of those Michael Miller Ta Dots, accented with just a bit of Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures crosshatch print.

Seeing as this sweet finish will be heading soon to Restore Innocence, Faith Circle's chosen charity, I washed it right up, and had it in the car throughout our busy weekend, just in case we found a setting for a quick photo shoot. Finally, heading home after our last commitment, I noticed a neighborhood park with a charming trellis which suited our needs perfectly. The end.
This project was on my 2015 Finish-A-Long Q3 List. Linking up with Fabric Tuesday,  Sew Cute Tuesday, and Finish It Up Friday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Way of Inspiration

When I saw Jayne/Twiggy & Opal's quilt-in-progress pop up in my Instagram feed the other day, I did a double take!! I stopped to take a better look, and oh yeah, it was so reminiscent of my own Monochrome. Being so, of course I loved it, and naively commented, "Love this! I made something similar but different...." Duh. And that's when Jayne told me, "@aquilterstable your quilt was what inspired me! I love what you did!"

Well then! Check out Jayne's post about her now-finished Threads. You need to see it close up! From here you can see some similarity to Monochrome, pictured below, but of course Jayne made it her own by tweaking the improv under the influence technique and adding in bits of color. It's up close, though, that you also see she added color through her quilting. Marvelous.

I came oh so close to adding color in my quilting of Monochrome, but in the end, obviously stuck with the neutrals. And I love it. But even more, I enjoy the two takes, Jayne's and mine, similar but different. I love how inspiration does that - is such a personal thing, and becomes something new.

Of course, my own inspiration for Monochrome came after I made Room Temp during a class with Krista/Poppyprint. I was so taken with the improv under the influence technique, that I finished my version pronto, and then wondered, "what next?"

Here is Krista/Poppyprint's own original Improv Under the Influence quilt. I know I've traveled 'backwards' in this post, but isn't it great how the inspiration flows . . . tweaking as it goes, according to each person's vision, yet having similar elements that tie them together.
It really is something, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday at the Table

Remember a few weeks ago when I turned a wine-tasting into a photo shoot? Well we left the winery with more than a few bottles and a fuller camera card.

Just the night before, DavenLore Winery had participated in a local sangria contest and gotten rave reviews on their Peach Basil Sangria. Lucky us, they posted the recipe on their website so we all could enjoy it. And our family certainly did when I got around to making it for our last get-together.

Peach Basil Sangria
recipe courtesy of DavenLore Winery, Prosser WA

3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 1/2 cups peach nectar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (750 milliliter) bottle white wine such as 2014 DavenLore Dry Riesling

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, basil leaves, half of the peach nectar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, crushing the basil leaves with the back of a spoon to release their flavor. Simmer just long enough to melt the sugar, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Strain the basil mixture into a pitcher filled with ice cubes. Pour in wine and remaining peach nectar. Stir briefly and serve.

So yeah. If it's summer where you live, you just might give it a try. Cuz it's delish.

Monday, August 10, 2015


When the Inside Addition Quilt Along started up in January, I was gung ho, declaring that it was going to be my 1st scrappy quilt of the year, and I'd attack it as a leader/ender project. Obviously things didn't happen that way. As much as I wanted and intended this to be a big 'ole scrappy quilt, I wasn't that enamored with my scraps, and finally decided to just finish it up as a small lap quilt (48" square).
The pattern for the Inside Addition blocks is by Jessica/a little gray {alittlegressica on Instagram}, and you can find plenty of them on Ig tagged #insideadditionquiltalong.

You will find some form of gray in most of my blocks, which was my attempt at tying things all together. Backing is dearStella's Gridlock in navy . . .

. . . and binding ended up very scrappy. I actually used my lengths of left-over binding bits, plus added in a fresh cut of Michael Miller's Clown Stripe, also in navy. So you'll see a mix of the navy, medium blue, gray, and the scrap-friendly Clown Stripe in black as well.

Quilting, though it's hard to see in these post-wash photos, is a horizontal straight-line, every 3/4". I used Aurifil 50wt #2021 (Natural White), which is what is in my machine 90% of the time. It tied everything together without standing out too much - one of its consistently fine qualities.

Even though I used about every delay tactic at my disposal, thankfully this one is now complete, and sadly, that scrap basket is as full as ever. So be it.

This finish was on my 2015 Finish-A-Long Q3 list. Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Fabric TuesdayScraptastic Tuesday, and Finish It Up Friday.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Afterthought Labeling

It's not rocket science by a long shot. But recently when I realized I'd forgotten to sew in one of my preprinted quilt labels again, I knew I needed an alternative method. Now this isn't for those show quilts or to-be-gifted quilts. This is for the everyday quilt you just want your name on.
Easy peasy, but I figured if I thought it was fun, some of you might too. Now here's the disclaimer, the labels I have aren't available to new customers any more, which is a real shame, but maybe you have some other labels that will work equally well.

Cut a couple of matching rectangles out of coordinating scraps. Mine happen to be 2.5" x 3.5". Plus you'll need one of your preprinted labels. I'll show you what I did, and you can adapt as needed.
 Seam the 2 scraps - obviously you could use 1 larger scrap and fold it in half.
 Turn in 1/4" on all edges. Dab some fabric glue on those edges.
 Fold closed, tucking in your label on one side. Press well
 Machine stitch all the way around your 'tab,' then hand-sew to the back of your quilt.
And that's it! I told you it wasn't rocket science! But I think it fits the bill, right?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Studio Six :: Pressing Surface

Well it's been nearly 2 weeks since a trip to Ikea resulted in a new sewing and cutting surface in my studio, and I am enjoying it immensely. What I didn't tell you then is that hubby and I also re-purposed my old cutting table.
If you've ever seen where I sew, you may remember my cutting table was a second-hand drafting table. It's worked pretty well, but now that it was no longer needed, hubby had the idea to recraft it as a pressing surface. I was still in love with the cool canvas I'd used to recover my ironing board last year, so I ordered more for this new project. It's Emmie K Geo Pop Canvas Chevy in Lagoon, which I happily found at Fabric Bubb and is a bright spot in my sewing space.

We padded the table with 2 layers of cotton batting, then covered it with the canvas, and secured it on the underside. So far I really like it. Dimension-wise, the ironing board was 15" x 53", and the drafting table is 31" x 42". So I lost a bit in length, but the width sure is nice.
So the ironing board has been delegated to the actual laundry room, just in case I change my mind, but I'm thinking the new pressing space is going to work out just fine.
Previous studio updates:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday at the Table

Earlier in the summer, I posted about a family visit to a restaurant named the table, where we had the quite-new-to-us combo of ricotta and olive oil served with fresh crusty bread. Ever since, I've wanted to try my own version, and with the summer herbs finally plentiful, I did!

Garlic Ricotta and Herb Spread
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 Tb. finely chopped fresh herbs - thyme, oregano, flat leaf parsley; a random proportion of each is fine or another mix of herbs would be welcome
- generous grating of fresh ground pepper
- a couple of pinches of salt - I like Maldon flaked salt + extra for sprinkling
- extra-virgin olive oil

Gently combine all ingredients except olive oil. Scoop ricotta mixture into individual-sized bowls or larger ones for a group. Pour olive oil over the scooped cheese. Sprinkle with a bit more flaked salt. Serve with crusty bread.
Soooo simple. And soooo good. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Snooze Alarm

Every once in a while, something totally unplanned takes over your sewing time, right? In my current case, a new pattern and some just-released fabric caught my eye and just had to be partnered up. Enter the Wake Up Call block by Amy/Badskirt and Katarina Roccella's Imprint.

I 'met' them around the same time, halted progress on all my other projects and set to work. I kept things small - 4 - 11" blocks, no sashing or border necessary. I played with layout and then settled in to quilt.

I had a sense that matchstick quilting would be the way to go the minute I started on this one. Aurifil 50wt #2021 (Natural White) was threaded in my machine already and seemed the obvious choice. When doing this kind of quilting, I use my hera marker to divide the width of the quilt every 3 1/2" or so. I quilt these guidelines first and then go back to fill in each section

I auditioned several of the Imprint prints for the binding, and though I finally settled on the gold "Morse Dot Sun," I didn't have quite enough, so over on the right side I filled in with "Crossthread Sheen". It's not real obvious in photos, but I'm glad it is in person. And I failed to get a shot of it, but the backing is Katarina's Floret Stains Tealberry. You know I had to keep it all in the family!

I named this one "Snooze Alarm" as a nod to the block's name. Boy was I sad when it was finished. It's just so dang refreshing to drop everything and make something on impulse. And I find a small project like this a kick-start for the other projects that were interrupted. So now it's back to that 'to do' list!
Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.