Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Apparently something is up with blogger! I haven't been getting emails to notify me of blog comments and just realized it today after a very quiet week. So big apologies for my lack of response these last few days. Hope things are fixed soon. Thanks for your understanding. 

Loosely Connected

You know that feeling after you finish a big quilt, the kind that takes hours and hours of piecing? The one that you fuss over deciding how to quilt and then causes that ache in your shoulders as you accomplish it.... and then a few nights sitting in front of the t.v. stitching the binding? So this quilt ain't that, but amazingly, the feeling isn't all that different.

So why IS there a very similar sense of accomplishment and relief at a quilt that measures just 11" x 11" square and was sewn up in a week's time? It's a mystery for sure, definitely without the shoulder ache, but nonetheless true this time for this quilt.

This mini was created for Curated QuiltsImprov Mini-Quilt Challenge, where the theme was "Connections" and called for the use of any or all of the following: cream, yellow, mustard yellow, navy, moss green, grey. I chose to include them all.

It was totally one of those where I didn't know where I was going at the outset, but just started cutting and sewing. In fact, I had no clear view where it was headed until I was well into the process, and even then I wasn't sure of its success.

But a little time and rearranging was all it took, and once I committed to it, I was excited to jump in on the quilting, and it didn't disappoint. I knew right off I wanted to accent those triangles, and I did so somewhat organically (my favorite!) in Aurifil 50wt #2140 (Mustard). It was a little more trepidatious as I started in quilting the gray with #2784 (Dark Navy). But the farther I went, the more I loved the movement it added.

When it came to finishing it off, I chose micro-binding cut at 1 3/4", with just a tiny accent of matched binding.

So seriously, this is my favorite kind of creating. I love the big quilt-on-every-bed thing, I really do. But the impulsiveness of this kind of small project just really gets my creative juices flowing. There's an eagerness that other projects don't necessarily provide. It's hard to explain, but it's palpable.

So there you go. I'm calling it "Loosely Connected" because of the slim bonds of navy holding the piece together. What I didn't really intend to be the main focus became just that. 

Linking up with Curated Quilts Improv Mini Quilt Challenge.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Southwest Highway

The Summer Sampler has kinda become the highlight of my sewing week. With each new block, I'm more transfixed with my palette and fabrics than ever. Love when that happens!

The third block, Southwest Highway, was designed by my Seattle MQG guild-mate Katie/Sew Katie Did, and is the first paper-pieced block of the quilt-along. Inspired by the mountains of New Mexico, I think the block adds some really wonderful contrast to the collection of blocks.

An added bonus of the quilt-along is the weekly tips shared by the co-hosts. For this week, Faith/Fresh Lemons shares a video perfect for beginner paper-piecers, and Lee/Freshly Pieced showed how to make prints appear straight in the finished paper-pieced block - good to keep in mind for future projects.

I've really enjoyed perusing the #summersampler2018 hashtag, and with this week's block, it's awesome seeing so many folks trying paper-piecing for the first time with terrific results. SO cool to have a new tool in the old toolkit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Shenzhen

Thank goodness I had last night free so I could piece the second block of the Summer Sampler pronto. It's Shenzhen, designed by Angela/@angelapingel, and while it has some similar shapes as last week's Water Well it's constructed quite differently, in quadrants.

I'm really liking mixing prints and solids in this project, and am pleased with how my blocks - all two of them - play together. So now I'm on countdown till next week!

Monday, May 21, 2018


When M-R/@quiltmatters announced this month's Bee Sewcial prompt, I was intrigued. The prompt was 'Code', and having been a programmer in my early days, I was excited about the thought of somehow adapting the code I used back in the day to fabric. But the APT programming language didn't come through for me after all, so after some hemming and hawing, I settled on using binary.

The colors M-R requested were black/dark gray for the background, and red and white for the message. That certainly made things simpler, but it was still a little tedious piecing the ones and zeros improvisationally into 'letters' that just happen to spell.....
bee sewcial!

OK, once I had a concept, this was a fun one. At 19" x 20, the block ended up a tad larger than necessary, but that's just what it wanted to be, I guess. Whew! Survived to sew another day.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Not sure why it took me so long to face this one. It's not huge, and honestly, I loved it from the very first block. It was quick and easy to sew my bee-mates' blocks into a top. So obviously.... no good reason.

It's a do.Good Stitches quilt, with multicolor wedge slabs made by Faith Circle. They are patient with my efforts to sneak some improv into our quilt-making, and they came through beautifully. [Here's the block tutorial.]

I really debated over a quilting plan, and after skimming through Jacquie Gering's Walk, 
settled on a combination of horizontal straight lines and fancy curved lines - gentle curves both between random lines and occasionally crossing lines of straight-line. I think it worked.

On a whim, I quilted with Aurifil 50wt 2520 (Violet) AND shock of shocks, I finished by stitching the scrappy binding by machine. I have only done that a handful of times in my years of quilting, but it just seemed the thing to do this time. [I basically used this method.]

So this quilt, which I'm dubbing "Jazzy" because of its showy color, finished at 48" x 60", and it'll be heading off shortly to Valley Breast Center here in the Seattle area. As always, it feels great to do a little good.

This project was on my 2018 Q2 Finish-A-Long list! Linking up with Finish It Up Friday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Water Well

Well, the Summer Sampler kicked off yesterday, and I could hardly wait to get home from work to make the first block. It's Water Well, designed by Katie/@swimbikequilt, and inspired by a photo Lizzy Williams/@lizzyography took in India. Gotta say, I'm a-ok with my fabric choices, which always feels good, doesn't it?

I'm anxious to watch the travel map as we sew along. Since I've always loved the idea of quilts and quilt blocks inspired by what I/we see in the world around us, this feels good.

There's still time to join in, or feel free to follow along!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Summer Sampler Countdown!

A couple of weeks ago I shared about the upcoming Summer Sampler 2018 hosted by Lee/Freshly Pieced, Faith/Fresh Lemons Quilts, and Katie/Swim Bike Quilt, and that I was a member of the design team. Fun, right? Well after much mulling, I finally settled on my fabric pull today - a mix of prints from Carolyn Friedlander's collections, along with some Gleaned coordinating solids.

A fun little development is that my friend Darlene of Featherweight Doctor is sewing along, with the added twist that she's going to quilt as she goes - on her featherweight! Here's a video where she talks about her process:


So if you've been thinking about joining in but haven't yet, just a reminder that the pre-sale pricing ($24.99 rather than $29.99) ends Sunday! Should be fun!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Going Round

I'm a little late reporting in but at least I've made some progress on my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World. Last report, I had ten rounds beyond the center; now I have just 12, and a start on the next. Obviously the 'trips' take longer than they did at first!

A variety of reasons - prepping for a trip out of town, publishing a newsletter, sewing on hanging sleeves, and pulling together an entry for the Pantone challenge - all kept me preoccupied otherwise. Though I did take it with me to Texas, the days were full, and I didn't find myself very drawn to work on it.

Maybe things will slow down a bit and I'll be newly inspired to continue on. One can hope.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tuesday at the Table

Ok, I know I'm sharing today's post mostly for me, but I want to be able to look back and remember. So.... while we were in McKinney, Texas last week, hubby and I took a food walking tour. We find it a great way to learn about a new place, and have done similar a couple of times. We joined Food Walks of Texas for a three-hour 'tour' of downtown McKinney, stopping and sampling at five different shops. We learned alot of history along the way, but forgive me if I only share about the food. ;-)

Cadillac Pizza was our first stop. What we learned right off from our guide, is that he tasted pretty much the whole menu before selecting the item to include in the tasting tour. And as our pizza was served, he wondered aloud if we'd be as big of fans as he was. Oh yes. The Local Goat & Fig was right up our alley. (Think crispy pancetta, local goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, dried figs, balsamic drizzle, and fresh basil. Yum.)

Next up was The Pantry, nestled in a historic building right off the town square. Apparently the Chocolate Cream Pie has a bit of a history too. Back in the day, the bakers ran out of Hershey chocolate and with none to be found in town, made a substitution. Customers complained, so a posse was sent to neighboring towns to purchase the 'right' chocolate, and that mistake was not made again. Also, this delicious pie had a 'secret' ingredient, which I correctly guessed as a layer of cream cheese atop the crust. Delish.

When all was said and done and we were asked what was the best thing we tasted in Texas, both hubby and I agreed it was the Club Sandwich we ate at Butcher Board. It looks innocent enough in my photo, but I was sad when mine was gone. Oh yeah, and a taster of Tupps brew. Win-win.

Next up was Goodies, and it was just that. Family-owned and run, we got to sample the truffles, which were as beautiful as they were tasty.

The tour finished at Hugs Cafe (oops, no photos), a really special place that strives to enhance the lives of adults with special needs through training and employment. Plus, they make really delicious cookies.

So that was fun in more ways than one. Thanks for joining me on the mini tour!

Monday, May 7, 2018

All In with McKinney MQG

It was nearly a year ago that my buddy Ellyn/ellyn's place first suggested the possibility of me traveling to Texas to do a workshop and trunk show for McKinney MQG. We worked out all the details and then waited for the time to come. Finally, last week it did!

The workshop, Everyday Improv, focused on the 15 improvisational piecing techniques I'd worked into my recent All In. I also shared several other quilts with the group that used some of those techniques, just to give them some idea of how versatile they can be.

Guild president Martha/@sewgreen created the perfect atmosphere with her infamous letter dishes.

And needless to say, we all had alot of fun immersing ourselves in improv.

It was so good seeing friends again, meeting online friends for the first time, and of course, making new friends.

Chris, Chris, Jeri, Stephanie, Michelle [Sterrett, not pictured]

So the next couple of days I had 'off' and had a chance to explore McKinney with my hubby, who had traveled to Texas with me. [Check out the Instagram hashtag #debandjoegototexas if you like.] We also hooked up with Ellyn again to visit Urban Spools, a wonderfully modern shop and 'sewing lounge' in nearby Dallas.

That night, it was time to share a trunk show with the entire McKinney MQG! I had taken 25(!) quilts of various sizes, from my very first quilt to my most recent, and a variety representing my quilting journey in between. I gotta say, it's gratifying when folks are interested in your story... a good reminder to be open and affirming, no matter what phase and stage our fellow creators may be at.

Bonnie gifted me with a McKinney MQG mug and a few tasty treats.

And Stephanie kindly brought one of her quilts that I had admired on Instagram and featured in my most recent newsletter. It was SO good to see it in person!

So... there's a little recap of my visit to McKinney MQG. It was a very good time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Triangle Mix

My turn is coming up again to choose the design for the next Faith Circle quilt, and I've settled on a combo I've wanted to try for a while now.

So I'm asking my bee-mates to make basic half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles including some mix-and-match ones, and even some half-square plus quarter-square triangles.

I found Emily DennisHow to Sew a Perfect Quarter-Square Triangle on Craftsy a really nice tutorial for all of these, with a formula for block-sizes, and just a good resource overall. I'm asking for 4 - 8.5" unfinished blocks, which is a loose equivalent of two - 12.5" blocks. I simplified by cutting 9.75" squares of fabric, so I could intermix them and make a variety of blocks. Below are my fabric choices - Kona Parrot, Breakers, and White, along with a couple of coordinating prints.

Making a note to myself that a 6x7 block layout will call for 42 blocks. I already made 6, and with each of my mates making 4, we'll make a 48" x 56" quilt. Perfect for do.Good Stitches.