Monday, May 20, 2019

The Pleated Pouch

When my copy of Svetlana Sotak's That Handmade Touch arrived, I browsed through it again and again, trying to decide what to make first. Then I realized the Pleated Pouch might just be the perfect vehicle for a gift certificate for daughter dear's birthday, so that's where I started.

What a fun little pouch! It has a unique construction method that I found really clever, an easy zipper installation, and leather accents. Do note though, that there's a slight misprint in the book: the dimensions of the lining should be 12" x 9". Unfortunately I saw Svetlana's post about that after I was midway into the project, but thankfully was able to continue on with a minor little tweak which didn't affect the look of the pouch or its use.

I think that accent fabric next to the zipper is my favorite detail. Or maybe it's how the 'pleat' just falls into place when the pouch is turned right-side out. Either way, I like it alot. Making it with Carolyn Friendlander prints made me happy - isn't that new blue Harriot 'Screen' print wonderful? You'll be seeing that Screen print in upcoming projects as I treated myself to several colorways. Anyway, the pleated pouch is one I'll definitely be making again.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Reporting In On Living Coral

So I've been plugging along on my Pantone Quilt Challenge project, and I'm really liking where it's headed. I've made and added more 'tone on tone' blocks, and I think they add some needed resting spots. At first I was adding in strips of fabric to accommodate for rows that didn't match up, but I decided that wasn't the look I was after and removed them. I'm preferring to trim to fit rather than add to fit. I really love how the hourglass blocks are definitely recognizable, but every once in a while there's a random misshapen one. 

So it's growing bit by bit. I have a couple of more rows to add, and I should be able to share a quilt top soon. Already looking forward to quilting this one!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: The Fabric Pull

Yup! After all the fun of last year's Summer Sampler, I couldn't resist signing up for 2019. Hosted once again by KatieFaith, and Lee, the theme this year is Piecing Bootcamp. When I first saw that, I assumed it wouldn't be for me, but maybe better suited for beginners. But after seeing the quilt mock-up below (one of two offered), I knew I needed to join in. According to Lee, "We’ll be tackling skills ranging from half-square triangles to foundation paper piecing to curves to Y-seams. It’s great for everyone from a confident beginner to experienced quilters looking to hone their skills." Sounds good, right?

I wanted to work from stash as much as possible. As much as I love the bright colors in the sample quilt, I also have plenty of fabric I love that I want to try to use. And I really enjoyed using a mix of solids and prints last year, so that was my goal again. After much consideration, I actually ended up with a few more fabrics than required, but I just had trouble ruling things out! So for a few colors, I'll alternate between a couple of fabrics, depending on the block and of course, my whim.

The prints I chose are from a wonderful variety of Carolyn Friedlander's lines: Doe, Carkai, Friedlander, Gleaned, Polk, and Harriot. Then of course, some Kona cotton solids, Essex yarn dyeds, and one each American Made Brand and Alison Glass Kaleidoscope solid (my new favorite!). I'm going to hold off on finalizing my setting fabric, as that's months off, and I want to see my blocks together before deciding for sure. I expect it to be a very dark blue, but time will tell.

With this many fabrics, quite different from the pattern, I thought making swatch cards would be helpful. I included a pretty specific description of each fabric just for reference.

Soooo.... anyone else sewing along? There's still time to join in!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Forage Bag

With the handle of my Traverse Bag ready to fall off after months of use, I was looking for a new bag for summer, and impulsively started in on a Forage Bag last Friday night. It's a free bag pattern from Anna of Noodlehead, found on the Robert Kaufman website. I'd actually been thinking of making a different bag, and I still may, but I wanted something right away, and I had yet to decide on fabric and order zips for the other project. And for the Forage Bag, I was able to use supplies I had on hand... Maker Maker fabric which I'd been hoarding for ages - a linen/cotton blend from Sarah Golden - some black Essex yarn dyed, and a print from Carolyn Friedlander's Carkai collection for the lining. Considering I had the right size metal zipper AND the grommets on hand, it seemed like kismet.

It took me a little longer than I expected, but it was straight-forward, and I was able to finish it in one (long) evening. The construction technique is really unique, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the zipper was a super easy installation, a step that can sometimes be a bother. Of course I had to consult my own tutorial for installing the grommets [What? You thought I wrote them only for you? grin], but they went in quick and easy, for which I was grateful.

So it felt great to start and finish a project in one sewing session, use supplies totally from stash, and of course, have a new bag to use right away. Seriously, being a maker is the best, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Unfolding of Living Coral

So..... with my palette and fabric all chosen for the Pantone Quilt Challenge project, I figured it was time to at least get started. I'd been perusing one of my Gwen Marston books - Free Range Triangle Quilts, coauthored by Cathy Jones - and for the nth time, stopped to admire the "Mardi Gras" hourglass quilt. That was enough to set my direction, and I'm so glad I went with it. Making improv hourglass blocks in (mostly) two sizes, for now I'm just putting them randomly up on the design wall.

I love it! But the more I admired it, the more I realized I wanted the contrasting colors to have more 'space.' So I made a bunch more 'tone on tone' (Cotton Couture Coral + Kona Nectarine) blocks to spread things out some. And I think it's an improvement!

I plan on making a few more tone on tone blocks, though I may get started sewing blocks together first, we'll see. But it's a start!

Monday, May 6, 2019

For Baby

When I wanted to make a baby quilt for a family friend recently, and I heard her primary nursery color was gray, I immediately thought back to Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k. handmade's Modern Coins quilt I had saved in my Baby Quilt Ideas pin board ages ago. My version was different, but still (I think) with the same flavor, and measured 40" x 44".

For the backing, I chose Dear Stella Pine Grove in Multi. Actually, I chose the backing first, and Kristina at Fabric Bubb was kind enough to color-match for me, and helped me select Kona White and Iron for the front.

Quilting was an uneven grid, which is always fun. The little quilt was gifted to the mama-to-be over the weekend, so all the secret sewing of late has been revealed. yay!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Begonia :: May

The excitement continues over the Seattle MQG block of the month! This month's row included three types of units: half-square triangles, diamond in a square, and rectangles. Something about it really enhanced the overall design imho.

Our hostess, Stefanie/@satterwhitequilts was really clever in front-loading the HSTs to keep the total workload fairly even each month. I'm glad, because considering the whole quilt will use 312 HSTs, it seems much more manageable to make just a portion of that amount each month, even though we won't be using a bunch until later in the year.

So this round sewed up really quickly, and my Begonia is now 36" square. Back to making more HSTs!

Mystery quilt design by Stefanie/@satterwhitequilts. Check out the #begoniaquilt hashtag to see more!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Ready or not, it's my turn to choose the prompt for Bee Sewcial. This is my fifth year with the improv bee, which continues to challenge me every month - which is a good thing! If you've missed the previous quilts I've made with Bee Sewcial, they are Mod Mood, Baconrific, Looking Up, and the most recent, Homage.

Soooo... after lots of consideration, I've chosen the theme "Modular". Think modular bookcases, furniture, buildings. According to, modular can be defined as: "composed of standardized units or sections for easy construction or flexible arrangement." I've created a pin board with inspiration photos to get my beemates thinking about possibilities. Up until now, my Bee Sewcial prompts have resulted in quite maximalistic quilts, and this time, I'd like to be a tad less so. Not that the block/s have to be minimalistic, but I'm asking my bee mates to pare down rather than get too detailed.

DIY wooden color block shelves ikea prant

Number of blocks and block size is up to the maker, keeping in mind the approximate equivalent of two-12" blocks. As far as fabric, I'd like all the 'backgrounds' of each module to be neutral - white, cream, snow, natural, etc. And the lines between each module to be quite dark - black, dark gray, dark blue, or even very dark purple such as Kona Raisin. The one exception to the above is I'd like to give each maker the option of incorporating ONE piece of coral or orange into their work - possibly a module background similar to those in the photo above - maybe somewhere else. But that's totally an option - if it feels, right, do it; if not, ignore it.

So, unlike my previous prompts with Bee Sewcial, I'm actually making a block up front. I just had an idea and I needed to see if it would work. Plus, it shows off the colors I've chosen, including the optional coral. It's about 12" big at this point, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to finish it off, but there's plenty of time for that.

Bee Sewcialites, you'll find details posted in our Flickr group. Please check in there so I know you've see this month's prompt. #inspiredbybeesewcial

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

H is for Hillary

It had been on my list for a while to make a little something for my friend, Hillary. As thoughtful as they get, over the last few years unexpected little handmades have arrived from her.... a special pincushion, a tablet case, a handmade card which somehow led to a quilt named "Debbie". Imagine that!

So though I debated for ages what to make, I knew the fabrics needed to be a bit unique. At guild meeting one night, I nabbed a bright and shiny scrap of jacquard, which isn't really something I can say I've incorporated into my work before. It came to me that I should pair it with something truly re-purposed, and headed to my closet, where I found a lightweight denim shirt that didn't work for me anymore.

As for a design? I had so enjoyed the technique incorporated into my QuiltCon projects, Home Away from Home and Nine of Ten, that I was itching to do it again, and how perfect it felt to use the letter "H". It was a natural. So I made a bunch of blocks of various sizes, with my only rule being no ruler. To bring the blocks all together, I added in a blue/black crossweave with a similar hand to that denim, and it added a nice contrast.

A bonus to using the denim shirt was its detailing. I incorporated the sleeve panels with the buttons right off, but it wasn't till the top was complete that I realized it might be cool to incorporate the tabs too. Once I thought of it, I just couldn't resist.

Quilting was as improvisational as the piecing, done with my walking foot and Aurifil 50wt #1158 [medium grey]. It seemed right to leave the jacquard unquilted, so that made the path a bit circuitous, but such is life sometimes, right?

I finished the little quilt (17" x 22") off with a faced binding and called it a day.

So Hillary received the little quilt yesterday, and it made me happy to surprise her. It also felt good to finally show my appreciation in the one way I know best. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Show News

There I was, busy at work last Friday, when I received a text from my Seattle MQG quild-mate, Matt/@odditease letting me know that our Improv Alliance (I pieced, he quilted) had won a third place ribbon in the Group Quilt category in our local Everett Quilt Show. Yay! I was so pleased, as I'm super proud of this quilt, and Matt's quilting just made it extra special. AND it was just plain fun to have it hanging in the show.

Then as I was heading up to the show, I heard from Elizabeth @eagould that my Home Away from Home had won a ribbon of its own .... First Place in the Small Pieced category. Matt was leaving that little tidbit as a surprise, and I admit, when I got the note from Elizabeth, I just started laughing!

The theme of the show was "It's Raining Quilts" which explains why the ribbons all had umbrellas on them!

I had entered one more quilt in the show - Follow the Dots. It was hanging with other modern quilts, many made by other members of Seattle MQG.

It was SO good to see other quilts from my guild-mates on display, and though I fear I may have missed some, here are the ones I caught a photo of. Enjoy!

 Refraction by Lynne Shandley

 The Giant Placemat by Clare Kapitan

 Rhythm of the Heart by Elizabeth Gould [2nd Place in Modern Quilts]

 The Last Hurrah by Louise Wackerman and Seattle MQG

 The Sum of Blue by Sara Goss

French Cut by Matt Macomber

 Black Hole by Lynne Shandley

 Raindrops on Wildflowers by Louise Wackerman

 Pinstripe Suit by Martha Peterson [1st Place in Modern Quilts]

 Sunset Dreams by Louise Wackerman

 Morphing by Martha Peterson [2nd Place in Small Pieced]

 Whose Turn? by Elizabeth Gould

English Toffee #1 by Clare Kapitan

Camano Fields by Rosie Winters [award unknown]; quilted by Dionne Matthies-Buban

Octagon Sky by Rosie Winters [3rd Place in Modern Quilts]; quilted by Dionne Matthies-Buban

There you go. Hope you enjoyed (a portion of) the show!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

More to Say

You know when you feel something deeply but you can't quite put it into words right away? That's how I felt last Thursday as news about Gwen Marston's passing was trickling out. It was serendipitous then, that the Michigan issue of Quiltfolk arrived the same day. I'd ordered it a short time before, as I knew Gwen was ill, and I really wanted to read the article about her, and it in some small way provided comfort. [If you haven't had a chance to read it for yourself, Quiltfolk generously offered the feature for all to read here.]

I sadly never was able to take a class from Gwen, but treasure the time I heard her lecture and share many of her quilts. I was able to experience her wisdom and her humor. I met her after, and expressed my gratitude for her sharing herself and her work so generously. It was a small moment in time, but I am thankful for it.

But then after my Bee Sewcial Homage quilt was complete earlier this year, I was able to share it with Gwen via email and she was obviously pleased. She'd actually heard about it from others, and was happy to hear the quilt's story from me directly. She said, "This quilt speaks very clearly of adventure and not only your adventure but everyone who participated in it." That reference to adventure was meaningful, as I had heard Gwen herself say that her 'sketches' were a way to risk an adventure, and that was exactly what I'd wanted my bee mates to do in making their blocks for me. And that's precisely what I did in puzzling them together into a whole.

I was so glad to have brightened Gwen's day (her words) by sharing the quilt that she herself had inspired. Our short correspondence added another layer of meaning to this quilt. And it encourages me still to continue having fun and trying things, to keep risking adventure, and to take heart in Gwen's final words to me, "Keep up the good work."

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Color Books

In the last few weeks, I've added two new books to my bookshelf. I honestly don't buy books that often, but I was super curious about both of these, purchased one and was reading through it when I went to work one day, my coworker had a copy of the second, and after perusing through it, I ordered it for myself.

Though obviously both are totally about color, they are quite different, and I don't feel having one excludes the other. The first is The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, and in one way it is the most comprehensive, in that for each color it explores, there is an essay on the history of that color, overall telling 'the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues.' It includes some very unique colors [such as Gamboge, Archil, Verdigris] that I find intriguing and enlightening. You'll get a good hint at its content in this post and interview with the author on 99% Invisible.

The Designer's Dictionary of Color by Sean Adams is similar in ways yet very different. It highlights nearly 30 colors, documenting each with brief histories, color range and palette variation charts, and cultural meanings. It's also beautifully illustrated for each color, more expansive in that way that Secret Lives. Here's a review from SFcrowsnest that will give you an inside look.

I'm not completely sure how these two volumes will inform my future creating, but they are both definitely interesting and lovely, and I figure inviting more color into my world is never a bad thing. If you have either book, do let us know in the comments what you think and how you use them.

Friday, April 12, 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long :: Q2 List

Time for another Finish-A-Long list, and don't laugh, but I wish I had more projects started to put on it. What that really means is I've got quite a few additional projects on my mind, I just haven't gotten them going yet. So don't be surprised to see a baby quilt, a new purse, and more sneak in amongst the following....

First up is the Courthouse Colour Play that I started last weekend. It's currently on the design wall with lots of fabric strips cut and ready to go. I'm hoping for a lap size quilt but time will tell.

Next is my Teeny Tiny Trip Around the World. Considering this one will be hand-quilted, I'm not even sure it's feasible to finish it within the quarter, but one doesn't know unless one tries, right?

And lastly, is my Pantone challenge quilt. I have no inkling what that might look like yet, but I'm sure I'll have fun finding out.

Linking up with the Finish-A-Long Q2 Link Up.