Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Time with Giuseppe

Gotta say, it was a really fun weekend. Giuseppe Ribaudo/@giucy_giuce led two workshops with the Seattle MQG, and I had happily grabbed spots in both of them. First up was Modern Quilt Photography & Branding.

Giuseppe discussed several techniques for us to consider in taking photos of our projects - lots of helpful tips and sharing plenty of examples of each. His suggestion to make clear the message, "Don't forget for a moment that I made this thing," was a good reminder that as much as we want to show off our projects the best we can, they aren't made by machines, and it's ok to add some reality to our photos. I suppose it's a balancing act for each of us, right?

One handy takeaway was learning about the Snapseed photo editing app, which already has been interesting to play with.

After the lecture, we took to outside with our quilts in hand! Kinda fun wandering the neighborhood as a group, looking for possible photo spots and taking photos of each other's quilts. [Here's a few.]

The next day, I went back for some reallllly Tiny Piecing. I had curated a colorful combination of fall-ish scraps and stash to take with me, though after my first block - a micro log cabin measuring 4 1/2" - I realized the scale of some of them wasn't ideal. Still, I like my little block alot, and I'm thinking of making a quilted bag like Giuseppe had. He made a point to suggest that these small blocks are great to add to larger projects.

Anyway, for my next block I gave Giuseppe a wave and asked if he'd help me choose a selection of fabrics from those I'd brought with me. It was obviously second nature for him, and when we needed just one more print, he suggested I see if there was anything among his new Quantum scraps that would work. And of course there was - that dark green "Aquastone" was the perfect final touch. Here's the mix we came up with!

Oh yeah! Love this little pineapple block - just 3 1/2" square!

See? The second block is 'significantly' smaller than the first. ha.

I loved taking a break mid-day and walking around to see all the blocks my bee-mates were making. Really impressive!

So there's a little summary of my weekend. If you'd like to try your hand at tiny piecing, the block patterns are available for sale in Alison Glass' shop, either individually or as a set of four designs. I think I'll try the Stretched Geese next!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Blogger's Quilt Festival :: Loosely Connected

Thanks to Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side, the Blogger's Quilt Festival has been a lively online event for 10 years now!

Ridiculous or not, one of my favorite quilts from the last few months is the smallest, Loosely Connected. Just 11" square, I've hung it above my sewing machine, and honestly think several times a week that I really must make another version, except larger.

Making it was just that much fun.... the free and easy kind of creating that very nearly takes charge and makes itself. It had to be that, as I had no idea where I was going until well into the making. I remember beginning with striped strips and then cutting into them at angles. Connecting them with those skinny navy zigs and zags became my most-loved piecing details.

Once the arrangement of the triangles was set, even though I'll admit I wasn't sure at that point, echoing them with matchstick quilting was definitely a no-brainer. And it was in that process that I was totally won over.

Micro-binding cut at 1 3/4", with just a tiny accent of matched binding, was the obvious finish. And of course, a great reminder that creating doesn't have to be long, drawn-out, and overwhelming to be completely satisfying. Take the time to dabble now and then and see where it takes you!

Thanks for stopping by! You'll find me on Instagram at @aquilterstable. Leave your email in the sidebar if you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, The Scrap Basket....  more from A Quilter's Table delivered straight to your email inbox. 

My previous entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival:
EverGreenery, 9/19/17
StringSong, 9/23/16 ~ Yay or Nay, 9/21/16
Room Temp, 5/20/15 ~ Keychain, 5/19/15
Unlocked, 5/16/14 ~ Red Hots, 10/27/14
Absolutely Mod Pop, 5/19/13 ~ HST Love, 5/17/13 ~ Crazy Rainbow, 10/25/13
Hopscotch, 5/19/12 ~ The Stars of Summer, 10/26/12
Supernova, 5/13/11 ~ Mango Revisited, 10/28/11

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Fish Rack

It's Week 18 of the Summer Sampler, and that means the last travel-themed block of the quilt along. It's hard to believe we've been at this for over four months and very soon it's time to start putting our quilts together! This week, Daisy Aschehoug of Warm Folk shares a block she calls "Fish Rack," inspired by Norwegian rack for drying fish. Specifically, Daisy says, "The Fish Rack is based on the nomadic art project by architect Sami Rintala called 'SALT.' The series of large structures currently overlooks the Oslo Opera House and is modeled after the fish racks along the coast where, traditionally, fish were dried in the harsh winds before winter."

Funny thing (not) was I had no trouble with the paper-piecing itself this go-round. In fact, the matching went flawlessly. But. I messed up - twice - getting those side triangles on. Gee whiz. No worries, though, as it still came together pretty quickly and I'm more than pleased with the finish. What a striking block design.

So.... now we wait until next Monday for the final posting which will be the finishing directions. I have purchased several grays for the setting blocks, and won't know till I get a few up on the design wall if I like that choice. So stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I've thoroughly enjoyed our trip around the world - just look at all the places we've 'visited'! The theme of this year's sampler - Summer Road Trip - has added such a dimension to this quilt along, and I'm looking forward to seeing the map of blocks all come together.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday at the Table

So when did Avocado Toast become a thing? I mean, I remember when I was a kid, my mom enjoyed the occasional avocado sandwich - basically mashed avocado, salted & peppered, between two slices of bread with a smear of mayo. But avocado and bread (specifically toasted) on a restaurant menu? That's new to me but I've seen it alot lately. So I tried it the other night.... topped with Burrata cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. And it was tasty!

I searched the web and I couldn't believe how many variations were posted. It seems to be quite the trend these days. See California Avocado Toast Three Ways, 11 Easy Ways to Fancy Up Your Avocado Toast, and 15 Best Avocado Toast Recipes. In just three posts there are nearly 30 variations! Deb/Smitten Kitchen talks about where the trend originated - in the 90s! Maybe it just took a while to get to the west coast, or maybe I'm late to notice. I got a kick out of her saying, "I wish everyone would stop making it so complicated in an effort to either upsell it." Basically, keep it simple - like mom used to.

Anyway, do tell! Is avocado toast a trend where you live? Do you like it? Do you make it? Inquiring palates want to know!

Monday, September 17, 2018


When Cotton + Steel first started out, I fell hard, indulging myself with a monthly subscription that eventually left me with an over-abundance of fat-quarters. Summer is usually the season where you'll find me trying to sew through my scrap basket, you know, kind of a clearing out before fall begins. This year, I had a hard time settling on a scrappy quilt plan, so I did the next best thing - sew through my C + S stash.

I knew from experience that Leanne/she can quilt's Giant Plus Quilt tutorial would show off those prints as well as make use of a good number of those fat-quarters. It's a fun design to build as you go, which is exactly what I did, using one of Alexia Abegg's Mesa prints [that bottom one in the photo above] to build a palette.

One element in Leanne's design is to remove the center block of a few of the pluses and replace it with a square of 'background' fabric. Can you find where I did that three times? It's a detail that I think makes this pattern.

I did purchase a couple of yards of Daisies in Aqua from Melody Miller's Mustang collection for the backing, bringing it to size with various stash prints, including a big piece of my inspiration fabric.

Quilting was done with a simple grid.

Both 'background' and binding were Paint Dot Cloud Pearl Pigment from Alexia Abegg's Paper Bandana collection. Other than purchasing that one piece for the backing, every inch of his quilt is from my C + S stash, and that feels really good.

The quilt finished at 68" square, though this pattern is easily modified to any size. So what little scrap-sewing I did this summer evolved into box pouches, but I feel good to have at least sewn from stash. So all is good!

This last shot is included mainly as an opportunity to give a shout-out to my photo location for this quilt - Heritage Park in Lynnwood, WA. Even though our city is now a busy, pretty unspectacular place, this park is a wonderful site where history has been preserved in a beautiful setting. Yup, that's a trolley car, which went out of service in 1939, has been restored, and now lives in a handsome garage at the park. There are several restored buildings on the site as well, which now house historic resources and our local genealogical society. Plus there are beautiful old trees and plenty of room to wander and be. I like it alot.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


If it seems like it's been a while, it has. Bee Sewcial takes August off, so here we are in September back to our improv prompts and it's Anne/@playcrafts' turn.

Anne chose the theme of 'Home' using colors found in the palette of this photograph of downtown Atlanta, where Anne now lives.

As I was thinking about the theme, I really wanted to portray my family, because they are of course my dearest 'home'. But I had trouble taking that thought anywhere improvisational; didn't really want to do our 'house'; and at some point the idea of my home city came to mind, and that seemed doable.

Really, it seemed mandatory to include an image of the Space Needle in some way. And Smith Tower, and Mount Ranier of course, and why not plenty of blue sky, right? {wink} Though I'm happy with my representation, I'm a bit concerned whether or not my depiction will be too literal to fit well with the other blocks. But Anne ok'd it, so trusting all will be well, and of course inspiration is what inspiration will be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Chrysler Building

The next to last Summer Sampler block was designed by Christopher Thompson of The Tattooed Quilter, inspired by the classic art deco style of the Chrysler Building in New York City.

It was a paper-piecing challenge - very doable yet time-consuming. I'm really fond of that center medallion though!

While not wanting things to end, I'm a little antsy about the upcoming setting squares. The original cool-colored mockup showed a gray-variant palette, and that's what I've been planning on all along. I'm hoping even though my blocks are colored slightly different, the gray will still 'fit'. I guess time will tell....

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday at the Table

Over the weekend, hubby and I had a fun morning at our local Pike Place Market that was worth documenting. We went on a Seattle Bites Food Tour, which was a wonderful way to get out and about and meet our step goals for the day, visit some market stands both familiar and new to us, and of course eat some tasty food. We've done food tours in Portland, Oregon and McKinney, Texas, but never in our own city. It was time.

Here's a listing of places we visited and what we ate!

Crepe de France - banana nutella crepe

Corner Produce - fresh Washington grown honeycrisp apple, nectarine, pluot
This stall has been open since 1957! There are actually 20 varieties of nectarines grown in Washington state, but I forget which we tasted.

Pike Place Chowder - New England clam chowder and vegetarian Lime & Coconut Chowder
Their backstory is a good one.

Pike's Pit BBQ - BBQ Bowl
Our guide called this a 'walkabout'.... basically a layering of beans, brisket, and slaw.

Uli's Famous Sausage - Italian chicken sausage
This is one stand we've visited and purchased from many times before.

Pure Food Fish Market - alderwood smoked salmon
Goodness this was good!

Ellenos Real Greek yogurt - honey yogurt with marionberry sause
Oh yum! I'll be looking for this in my local grocery store.

Mariscos Mexico - cod fish tacos
This was so good, we went back after the tour and had a full order. We'll be back!

As a postscript, our tour actually began inside the Seattle Art Museum, which is very near the market, and on our way out we stopped in the lobby to see and hear about a current exhibit, John Grades's Middle Fork, which "echoes the contours of a 140-year-old western hemlock tree located in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle." Get a glimpse, and if you want to know more, there's even a video. It was truly awe-inspiring.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

21 Rounds and Counting

Another month, another Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World check-in, and I'm feeling pretty good about my progress. As I worked on pressing the row I was working on, fully planning on taking progress pics, I got inspired, and an evening in front of the tv motivated me to finish up that row - some 30 or so squares, which is alot for me to do in a day. But yay, I get to share a completed round, and am now debating what color I should do next.

What made the last couple of rounds more interesting for me was to do a mixed-color round as I ran out of one solid, and I also introduced a new Karen Lewis print, which is subtle but I like it!

Folks keep asking how big I'm going to make this thing, and I honestly don't know. Let's just say I'm not ready to be done, so I'll leave it at that for now. Here's to another round!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Summer Sampler 2018 :: Moais

This week's Summer Sampler block is another where I learned something, and it wasn't about sewing. To wit: "Easter Island (Isla de Pascua in Spanish) is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. Easter Island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site."

And it was these moais that inspired Carolina Oneto's block design. If you're like me, each one of the QAL blocks has been more interesting yet once I've heard about their inspiration, and I've really enjoyed that!

I've had all of my Summer Sampler blocks up on the design wall lately just to check on the balance of fabrics that I've used. Like this week, I intentionally used a background I'd only used twice before. As we have just two blocks left to do (sad face), I'll be keeping a good eye on that balance going forward.

Monday, September 3, 2018

If Not, Then

Early in the summer I thought it might be time for another scrappy quilt and decided to try my hand at a scrappy spiral block [aka crazy quilt block in Abby Halverson's tutorial]. I kinda liked it, but got distracted by other projects and it sat around until last weekend when I decided to get back to it.

I started in on three more blocks, and honestly, I wasn't feeling them. I mean, they were interesting enough, but I just wasn't really enjoying making them.

To give them a fair shot, I finished all four that I'd started and then came to the conclusion that I didn't want to make any more.

So..... it dawned on me that it was a perfect time to try Katie/Sew Katie Did's Box Pouch pattern, which I luckily picked up when she had it for sale a while back.  
Anyway, I've often heard Katie say that box pouches are perfect for those orphan blocks, so now was a perfect time to try one, right? 

Oh yeah. This pouch was pretty quick to make (about 2 hours including quilting the panels) and I confess I like the pouch better than I did my blocks by themselves!

Plus I still made good use of some scraps and feel ok about moving forward to something new. I have two more blocks to make into another pouch at some point, and I'm feeling pretty good about that. Time well spent after all.