Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Milan Views

Hands down, one of the best things about putting a pattern out into blogland is seeing what others do with it. So when Milan blocks started showing up, you can bet I was paying attention!

I asked some of the Summer Sampler participants if I could share their version of the Milan block. 

Just look at their color choices.... how they tweaked the placement or added a bit of the unexpected.

Seeing them make Milan their own is just so gratifying.

So we're on to a new block this week, but I couldn't resist sharing some of the fun we're having on the Summer Sampler Road Trip!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Very Slow Sewing

Keeping true to my word, today I'm sharing progress on my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World. After June's road trip sewing, things have slowed down a bit. I was gung-ho for a couple of weeks (thank goodness!) but then plain let it sit due to other demands.

Pressing it last night actually made me really happy, and I'm hoping to make time for it again. I bought I few more Karen Lewis prints since I'd run out of what I started with, so let's take that as a sign that the end is not yet in sight. Once this round is done, it'll measure 28" square.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Window on Improv

Some much-needed improvisational piecing last week led right to this little quilt. I was playing around with curvy lines, having pulled a haphazardly chosen palette of solids from the ole stash, and somewhere along the line I reached back in to see what could add some interest and came out with what is now one of my favorite Carolyn Friedlander prints. I really like how it seems to pull everything together, and adds a bit of playfulness.

Since that went so well, I chose another Gleaned print to frame all the curves. Love how the design in the fabric changes near the edges. Love that alot!

All along, though I didn't know how I was getting there at first, I knew the end result would be a type of window. The dark solid that I used for the background in addition to the improv piecing is Kona Raisin and I am quite the fan. I find it to be very rich-looking and I think I've decided it's good to always have a couple of yards on hand.

When it came time for quilting, I opted for some organic straight-line to echo the movement of the piecing. I actually went to the fabric store for thread and the best match was Cotton+Steel #753-1078, a medium orange. I used it to densely quilt the frame as well.

And then. I tried a bit of an experiment and did some ghost-quilting in the space below the frame. With any luck, it somewhat mirrors the quilting above, making a four-paned window. Do you see it?

I used Aurifil 50 wt #4030 [plum] for those bottom panes, and went on to quilt straight lines in the background to give the look of siding on a house. The quilt finished at 36 1/2" x 42", and though decidedly quirky, the notion of looking into a window onto some serendipitous improv really appeals to me. It's kinda what I feel every time I walk to my cutting table with my rotary cutter and no real plan in mind. This piece, for me, recounts a time and place and frame of mind that I keep coming back to. And I hope to go there again soon.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Milan

When hubby and I went to Italy for our 35th anniversary, we really only went to Milan to get home. It was the closest hub at the end of our trip, and it was just a couple of nights, but it turned out to be an enjoyable last stop.

One of the sights we saw was the Milan Cathedral [aka Duomo di Milano], which apparently is the fourth largest church in the world. Now we've been in alot of cathedrals, but never have we been on the roof! Yes, at Milan's cathedral, you can go up on the roof to walk among the spires.

And it was from that vantage point that I got my inspiration for Milan, this week's Summer Sampler block.

Milan offers a break from paper-piecing, and while not a tricky block, the intertwined border surrounding the center 'plus'  requires some careful pinning. So be attentive to matching seams, and you'll be good to go.

It's fun to see where all we've traveled with the Summer Sampler, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone's Milan block fits in with their others!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Under the Eiffel Tower

Oh yes! Wouldn't it be great to be under the Eiffel Tower right now, looking up to see the view Rebecca/Bryan House Quilts saw? Indeed. Besides the fact that Paris is a place I'd really like to travel to some day, Rebecca's block is one of my favorites so far. It had some simple curves and the easiest sort of paper-piecing, and I just find it so striking.

It's hard to believe next week we'll be two-thirds of the way through the Summer Sampler! I've been enjoying it SO much!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


The purpose was to have a hand in making quilts to share with others, and I did it with Faith Circle of do.Good Stitches for nearly 7 years, designing and finishing over a dozen quilts, and making blocks for at least 75 others, and it was a very good thing.

But even good things come to an end, and I've let my bee mates know I'm stepping away. A bittersweet twist is that due to a variety of reasons, Faith circle will be merging with Cheer circle to become the new Unite circle. So it's the end of an era, so to speak.

One of the great things about do. Good Stitches is that there are several roles one can play, and I played them all. Beginning as a stitcher, I became familiar with how the bee worked, gaining confidence along the way. Being a stitcher, you also get to make quite a variety of quilt blocks and designs, as every month it's something different.

Eventually I stepped up to quilter, meaning I would take the lead twice a year in planning our group's quilt and eventually bringing it to a finish. All the quilts shown in this post are those that begun with my imaginings, brought to fruition with my bee mates' blocks, and finished with my quilting and binding.

After a few years in that role, the opportunity arose to become host of the circle, and I've served in that role for the last few years.

As I scroll through these quilt photos, I remember quite clearly how utterly proud I was of that first one, HST Love. I was still pretty new to modern quilting, and just the fact that we used all solid fabrics was still very new to me.

As I began to embrace improvisational piecing, I encouraged my bee mates to dabble with it too. Ha. They were brave souls and humored me, and goodness, I think they even sometimes enjoyed it.

So now it's time to say goodbye to something that has been a very meaningful part of my creating for a long time. Bittersweet for sure.

See this page if you'd like to find out more about do.Good Stitches.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Setting in an Improv Layered Circle

It was a bit of a faux pas when I shared the making of an improvisational layered circle with McKinney MQG a few months ago, that I didn't come prepared with instructions for how to incorporate that roundness into a frame or larger block. So here's how I do it.

Lay the pieced circle on top of the 'background' fabric.

Draw around your circle shape with a removeable marker, making a few tick marks - top, bottom, and each side works for me.

With a pin, mark the 'top' of your block and background. Since your circle is likely to be unevenly shaped, it's important that it fits into its frame correctly.

With a small rotary cutter (I suggest 28mm), cut inside your marked circle, estimating 1/4", which will be your seam allowance.

Turn your background in on your circle, repinning at the 'top' and then securing with a pin at each of your other guide-markings.

Sew the two pieces together, gently bringing raw edges together as you sew, and distributing the fabrics smoothly between each quarter. If need be, lift your pressure foot up to redistribute your fabrics, then continue sewing.

Once you've stitched all around, press your seam toward the background, then press from the front side as well. A little steam will help smooth out the perimeter, and any other minor rippling will disappear with quilting.

Here you can see my circle block in my final quilt. Hope you enjoy trying the technique for yourself!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Vatican

Finally! This week's Summer Sampler block is from a place I've actually been! Vatican was designed by Melissa/Polka Dot Chair after a tile floor she saw in the Vatican. I went back through all my Rome photos and didn't see this floor, but it was great to reminisce just the same!

I'm not 100% sure I chose correctly in picking the solid aqua for that large half of the block. It really stands out when all the blocks are together, but I like it alot in the block by itself. It'll all work out. My favorite part though is that dark blue, where the design doesn't match up. Not sure why but I like it! Needless to say, this block was a breeze, and now I'm looking forward to next week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Underground Maps

On June 6, 1889, the entire central business district of Seattle was destroyed by fire, and it was unsurprisingly, a turning point in our city's history. In the wake of the fire, the downtown buildings were rebuilt 20 feet above the original street level.

It was the network of underground passageways [aka areaways], that came to mind when I read Silvia/A Stranger View's Bee Sewcial prompt, Underground Maps. Silvia shared a pin board, Beesewcial Subway Map, and it seemed to give me permission to go anywhere, so underground Seattle it was.

One of the unique details of the bygone days that are still very much visible today are the purple pavement lights - basically 'skylights' in the current sidewalks, which once provided light to shine down to the businesses below. I represented these sidewalk prisms with very tiny piecing. Each 'skylight' finishes at 1".

My block measures 16 1/2" x 19 1/2", and it really is a fairly accurate representation of Seattle's remaining underground network. Believe it or not, this historical area has been a tourist attraction for over 50 years. Silva asked us to 'take her places,' and I think Seattle's underground was a unique and worthy destination.