Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking Forward

Drawing the year to a close always feels a bit surreal, as if life as we know it is in limbo. I always feel like I need to get past New Year's Day to really focus on the new year. But Yvonne/Quilting JETgirl's
2019 Planning Party ends today, so I've been trying to give it all some thought!

The Quilts
The Community
  • It continues to be my goal to post here on the blog two to three times a week, but that ebbs and flows with whatever is going on.
  • Expect to see me over on Instagram, natch.
  • The Scrap Basket - With 76 issues published over 3 years, and a readership of nearly 4500, my newsletter still seems a viable use of my time. It has some avid fans for sure, though it's a medium with alot less interaction than Instagram, or even the blog. Still, I enjoy sharing directly with those that appreciate it, so we'll plan to continue it for now.
It's right around the corner and I'm grateful I get to go again this year. This time hubby and mom are flying back with me, as we'll also be visiting our family in Nashville and beyond. I need to get prepping for my two classes. Oh! And sew a couple of hanging sleeves on!

Trunk Shows
There are two planned for this Spring - for a luncheon for women at my church; and in June for the local Mukilteo Lighthouse Quilters. Yet another is in the works. Not really planning any out-of-state presenting this year.

The Rest
I have just an inkling of a pattern in my mind, and I'm hoping to flesh that out. We'll see. And I'd really like to host another quick little improv sewalong on Instagram. Hoping I can make that happen. Other than that, I seriously want to just see what comes. I hope to leave room for plenty of spontaneous sewing - that's my favorite. Sound good? I think so too.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Backwards Glance

The Best of 2018 tells just a fraction of the story. This year has held several new types of experiences for me which made for a pretty satisfying - if not sometimes stressful - year. 

It began with my first published article, "Take a Spin with Improv," in Curated Quilts Issue 02, the Log Cabin issue. As that issue's Creative Reset feature, my encouragement to {pause} with a little improvisational piecing is something that I personally turn to over and over again when I need a little restart. What I mean to say is, I really felt like I was sharing myself, and that was meaningful. Icing on the cake was contributing again with "Wavy Curves" in Issue 05 on Improv.

Not long after, Abby Glassenberg asked me to share on Facebook Live to discuss Email Marketing for Creatives. Who, ME? Abby is a well-respected and knowledgeable voice in our creative community, and it was both unexpected and delightful to chat with her. Considering she and her ebook informed and encouraged me as I started my own newsletter, The Scrap Basket, years ago, this too was a very affirming experience. If you missed it, there's still a link here.

There was also a guest post for Amy Smart/Diary of a Quilter, where I shared Tips for Sewing with Waxed Canvas. I had an enjoyable foray into creating with a new-to-me substrate.... I need to do more of that!

And then there was QuiltCon 2018! Always a good time, and having a quilt hanging in the show just put it over the top. Between that, our guild's quilt, and three Bee Sewcial quilts showing, well that was all pretty spectacular.

Then there was some teaching! Hubby and I traveled to Texas(!), where I taught my Everyday Improv class as well as shared a trunk show with McKinney MQG. And then later in the year, I got to do the same for my own Seattle MQG. All really wonderful experiences, and it was great seeing folks excited about exploring improv!

Participating in this year's Summer Sampler Road Trip was also very fun! I was asked to contribute just one block, but I got caught up in it all and ended up making all the blocks, and look forward to finishing that quilt early in the new year!

And of course there were the quilts. I finished 18 quilts in a variety of sizes and oodles of other, smaller handmade items. I really do like creating both.

There were also a few goodbyes this year.... to Faith Circle, a do.Good Stitches charity bee with whom I sewed for nearly 7 years. It was definitely bittersweet saying goodbye. And this month wraps up three years of being a SeaMQG Giving Committee co-host, which I'll share more about later. You may have seen our final quilt on Instagram - what a way to finish up! And lastly, after the recent fiasco at Craftsy, where my small shop was whittled down to one free pattern, I've removed it, and as always, you can find the tutorial for Quarter-Cut Baby Quilt Top under my Tutorials tab.

Of course, there was oodles more, but the above were definitely highlights. Just writing this post makes me thankful for all of it, and excited to cross the bridge into 2019 to start fresh and see what comes. Thanks to all of you for continuing to join me along the way....

Friday, December 28, 2018

Best of 2018

As much as I love Instagram and the in-the-moment sharing, the spontaneous feedback, and the ever-growing community, I'm a blogger at heart, and it's here that I really began to expand my horizons in the online quilting community nearly eight years ago. So I kind of couldn't resist joining in again for Cheryl/Meadow Mist Designs' Best of 2018 Linky Party, where folks are sharing their top five blog posts of the year. I'm choosing to base that solely on reader views.

1. Wedge Slabs
A tutorial I wrote for a Seattle MQG giving quilt project. Measuring 6 1/2″ tall, you can make them as long as you want. The guild made slabs 18 1/2″ and 24 1/2″ long, and you can click to see our finished quilt, Play It Cool,

2. Sidewalk Chalk on Asphalt
Made with Meghan/Then Came June's Sidewalk Chalk pattern, this was a really fun one to put together - with an improv feel, but not really. It went right to use as our bed quilt, and I was able to cross a long-time goal off my list.

3. If Not, Then
Armed with Katie/Sew Katie Did's Box Pouch pattern, what started as discarded quilt blocks became box pouches, and they haven't been the last.

4. QuiltCon: Gifted
This was a surprising 'best of' post! Not sure if it was because it was QuiltCon related, or folks just enjoyed the small projects.

5. Plusses
This quilt, using Leanne/she can quilt's Giant Plus Quilt tutorial, was a fun one to build, used plenty of my Cotton + Steel stash, and went together pretty quickly. I really do want to make another.

Interesting, huh? I do love that #1 is a simple improv tutorial - something I really do enjoy sharing. But otherwise, I'm not sure the 'top five' reflect how I see my work, but then again maybe so. If you see some profound conclusion here, do let me know, ha! Otherwise I'll enjoy it as a moment in time and let it go at that.

Linking up with Best of 2018 Linky Party.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Last of Them

Rather than drag things on, I'm going to fill this post to the brim with the last of the handmade items I made over the last weeks. Varied for sure, all enjoyable to make, and each one gifted. It's been frenzied sewing for sure, but these small projects have been a nice diversion from those larger quilts, which I need to get back to shortly.

After making a set of Patchwork Potholders for a family exchange earlier in the month, I decided more were in order. I made three more sets inspired by Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k handmade's Patchwork Potholder tutorial, hang tab and rivets and all. This time, I used ultra suede scraps for the tabs, which should be totally washable.

Gotta show this set's back view, as it's my favorite print in Anna Graham's Forage collection, which I used completely for these sets. The cotton-linen Essex blend, along with a layer each of batting and Insul-Brite, made for pretty sturdy potholders.

And then, after realizing I'd never made daughter dear a set of Log Cabin Hexi Potholders, I had to rectify that. I've made several sets over the years from the free Craftsy pattern by SewCanShe, and come to think of it, with the upcoming changes on Craftsy, I highly suggest you go download this pattern for future use while it's available. They are so scrap-friendly, and still one of my very favorite potholder patterns.

One of my co-worker friends just loves Dala horses, and in past years, I've made her a pillow and a mug rug. This year I went on the hunt for some Dala fabric, not knowing for sure what I'd do with it when I ordered. But I found a darling print that was part of Katarina Roccella's INblue collection, and decided after some internal debate to make an improvisational table runner. I was inspired by one by Victoria Gertenbach that I'd discovered on Pinterest.

So I curated a little stash collection to go with the Dalas, and just went to creating. Puzzling the different fabrics together was a bit challenging but I like the feel of the piece I ended up with. The runner is long - 14" x 52", and thankfully, the recipient reports it's perfect for her table. I quilted a 3" diagonal grid using Aurifil 50wt #2250 [Red]. I debated going denser, but that scale with the Dala print seemed to work. The final step was a festive red binding.

A new-to-me pattern was the Boxy Travel Pouch from We All Sew, which I made for my mom. Measuring about 6 1/2" x 9" x 2 1/2", I again used Anna Graham's Forage, and with it's unique shape, I think it could be used for a variety of things for my mom's upcoming travels.

And, one more holiday pillowcase, again using the tutorial by Twiddletails. I really could have made these for everyone on my list, they are such a nice finish. Gotta say I've been enjoying the ones I made for us.

And one more repeat - another Danish star to tuck into grandgirl's stocking. I know it's a small token, but all the other 'girls' in the family got a handmade item, so I wanted to make her a little something too.

SO! That wraps up all my Christmas sewing, I think, other than several gift-bags that got put to use without time taken for a photo. Fingers crossed I can start holiday sewing a little earlier next year, but seriously I don't hold out much hope. It is what it is, and now that it's done, I'm certainly glad I did it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas....
one filled with wonder and joy!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Still Sewing...

Don't think for a minute that I haven't been sewing every chance I've gotten since posting a couple of finishes last week. Here are just a few more projects that have either already been gifted or are for ME!

This little fabric star goes by alot of names.... Danish Star, Scandinavian Star, Woven Star, etc. I kind of used a combination of two tutorials to make mine - one by EvQuilts, and one from We All Sew. I like the folded fabric technique in the first - and the wonderful step-by-step photos - but the dimensions - and videos - in the second. Cutting my fabric 4" x 16" and folding per EvQuilts' instructions led me to a successful star. I was really hoping to make more of these - wouldn't they make a fun garland?!

I also made another Box Pouch using Katie/Sew Katie Did's Box Pouch pattern, only this time it was basically a "wholecloth" pouch, meaning I used a single fabric for the exterior. The design was perfect to just layer with interfacing and batt and get to quilting, no marking required.

It ended up being a really soft pouch, but had plenty of structure. I like to press these pouches well along all the 'edges', though of course those edges soften with use.

A project I decided to make on a whim was a set of holiday pillowcases for our bed. Our quilt is really neutral, as you might remember, so I kept that in mind as I considered fabric. I finally chose Sleeping Deer from the Pine Grove line by Dear Stella. For the cuff, I used Anna Maria Horner's Illuminated Graph in Seafoam from her Loominus collection, and the bit of metallic woven in just adds to the festivity. And then the little red accent strip is by Karen Lewis Textiles.

Pattern-wise, I followed the tutorial by Twiddletails, which I've used before and like alot. One tricky bit was my use of directional fabrics, coupled with the fact that I needed the cases to 'face' opposite directions. The simple trick when using directional fabrics is this: Anina's tutorial has you cutting your main fabric 27" x 41", which in most cases, you'd cut the 41" across the width of fabric, using only 3/4 yard of fabric (27"). With a direction print, you need to cut your 41" along the length of the fabric, thus you need just under 1 1/4 yard fabric. Just a little mind game, but nothing too tricky!

I also needed a stash of gift tags. Since I already had plain shipping tags from when I made quilted gift tags, I used them again, this time stitching on some scraps of ribbon. At 4 3/4" x 2 3/8", they're definitely on the large size, but they work!

So that's all I can share right now, but the good news is my 'necessary' sewing is done! Off to work this morning and then time with the family. Good times!

Friday, December 21, 2018


After the announcement of Living Coral as the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year earlier this month, the watch was on for the Kona Color of the Year from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. And yesterday, we were rewarded for our wait with the announcement of Splash, "a bright and boisterous blue-green hue." 

photos courtesy Robert Kaufman/Kona Cotton
patterns shown can be found here

So whatcha think? I confess I kinda love it! And like I did with Kona COTYs Highlight, Pink Flamingo, and Tiger Lily, I fully expect to dabble with it and see where it takes me. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Finish or Two

A little sewing here, a little sewing there, and you've got finishes to share, right? I'm happy to say I completed a Christmas stocking for my little grandgirl! Inspired by one found in Heather/@geminiredcraft's Instagram feed, with a palette gleaned from (half of) a fabric bundle curated by Kristina/@fabricbubb, from there I made it up as I went. Quilting with one layer of batting and some uneven straight-line gave the stocking some good structure and texture. I used the stocking shape template from Camille Roskelley's Merry, which I had used to make a hexagon stocking for baby's big sister a few years ago. That way, they are very similar in size and shape. Don't you love that fussy-cut feature fabric - Cotton + Steel's Noel Snow Babies by Sarah Watts? Baby's mama and I sure do!

I also finished the Tall Tall Trees pillow! It's a pattern by Amy/@amysinibaldi of Nana Company. I made mine using scraps for the trees, twill ribbon for the tree trunks, and the snow-like Cotton + Steel Sprinkle in gray for the background. I finished it at 12" x 20", just a little larger than the pattern directions. Not shown, the back is the same gray fabric, with a lapped zipper, then it seemed perfect to finish it off with more of that red stripe.

Believe it or not, there are just a few more gifts I hope to make before Christmas, so I better get to it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Juried In.... and not

I was walking down to the kitchen yesterday morning, slipper-clad and sleepy-eyed, headed straightaway to our Nespresso, phone in hand to glance at the notifications that had come in overnight, when I actually chuckled out loud! I was suddenly very awake when I read that Loosely Connected had been juried into QuiltCon 2019. Yay! What had made me chuckle though was that this quilt, entered appropriately into the Small Quilt category, was the smallest quilt I made all year! At 11" square, I still think it packs a punch, and though amused, I am excited to have it accepted.

AND my Bee Sewcial quilt Baconrific was accepted too! And that one also has a couple of interesting tidbits about it. One is I entered it into QuiltCon once before, and it wasn't chosen; and two, it's entered for display only, as one of my bee-mates, Anne/@playcrafts, is one of the judges! Obviously I'm glad I went ahead and entered it anyway.

So I also had three #quiltconrejects.... ash+fog, which was made for the two-color challenge....

Improv Alliance, which is still one of my very favorites....

and Looking Up, another Bee Sewcial quilt.

In addition, our guild's charity quilt will be there, and I know of two other Bee Sewcial quilts (see here and here) that were accepted, so I'm looking forward to seeing several quilts I had at least a small part in. Of course that definitely adds to the fun of anticipating QuiltCon in Nashville.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas wips

For better or worse, I'm apparently a frantic holiday sewer. I mean all of the sudden I need to make all the things... not quilts necessarily, but smaller projects, mostly for gifting, but not necessarily. So currently I'm working on a Christmas pillow....

and a stocking. Both were really fun to piece and quilt, and now I'm in the finishing stages.

This thing about holiday sewing - even though it's hectic - is I'm spending time at my machine, and that's a good thing. It kinda balances out all the busyness of the season for me; and well, gifting handmade is pretty satisfying. So what about you? Doing any holiday sewing? If so, whatcha makin'?