Thursday, June 27, 2019

Nina Wristlet

When I needed a small bag for a special event recently, I looked to the Nina Wristlet, a pattern by Svetlana of s.o.t.a.k handmade. Half the fun was choosing fabrics, and for the exterior, I chose my favorite floral from Anna Graham/@noodlehead531's Forage fabric. I paired that with a plaid from Carolyn Friedlander's Harriot for the lining.

The version I made was the larger of two offered in the pattern, as I particularly liked the exterior zippered pocket it offered, and wanted my phone to fit in the bag (it did!). The pattern lining includes card slots, which is handy.

The wristlet turned out to be just what I needed. Not too big, not too small, it held the necessities and was cute to boot. Plus it let me squeeze in just a little bit of sewing time in a super busy week, yet wan't too complicated. This one's definitely on my 'remake' list for sure.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Cul de Sac

No doubt about it, this week's Summer Sampler block took some real focus. It's not that I haven't sewn curves before, but the technique (glue!) and those 'rings' were new to me. Totally doable with Jen Carlton-Bailly/@bettycrockerass's excellent tips, but still.

Honestly I made more fabric-cutting mistakes than usual - totally user error. I think I was just trying too hard, and of course it was fixable, so that's good. My key discovery with these curves was the use of a Sewline Glue Stick (check it out!). That and an angled pin placement when matching seams. Worked like a charm. I had used glue occasionally in times past, but usually make such a mess, I haven't been a fan. But this particular glue stick + this particular block + Jen's technique made it so good.

The finished block has a bit of an art deco vibe to me, and I kinda love it with the rest of my blocks.

Week 5: Rope Twist [paper-piecing]     Week 4: Victorian Tile [nested seams]
Week 3: Curious Crossing [improvisational piecing]
 Week 2: Pixelations [half-square triangles]     Week 1: Spring Fever [precision piecing]

Monday, June 24, 2019


When I told our family friend I wanted to make him a quilt to take to college, and asked if he'd like that, he said, "Sure! Quilts are cool." Yay. So I queried him about favorite colors, and was kind of surprised at his response. Red and purple! I took inspiration from Jeni Baker's Vast quilt, and since I was working mostly with fat-quarters, I opted for 15 1/2" unfinished half-square triangle blocks.

I quilted the HSTs with a simple grid using Aurifil #2250[Red]. Though I had at first thought I would do some of the quilting in dark purple, instead I decided to focus on purple in the binding. Using giucy_giuce's Hyperbolic print from his Redux line was an inspired choice for binding. Cutting it on the lengthwise grain near the selvage allowed for a sporadic 'stripe' I found very interesting.

So the quilt finished at 60" x 75", a generous lap-size. The bright and bold colors in a simple design was a nice change of pace, and hopefully will be a nice reminder of 'home' as someone near and dear heads off on his big adventure.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Rope Twist

So.... surprisingly enough, it took us five weeks before we encountered paper-piecing in this year's Summer Sampler. The block design is by Amy Friend/during quiet time, and is named Rope Twist, and it's easy to see why.

As paper-piecing goes, it went together very easily, and I did take Amy's suggestion and used my light box. I hadn't gotten very comfortable using it with paper-piecing yet, but Faith Jones posted a video that really helped, and I'll try it again next time. So it worked well for me to have a quick and painless block this week. Now waiting (im)patiently for next week!

Week 4: Victorian Tile [nested seams]
Week 3: Curious Crossing [improvisational piecing]
 Week 2: Pixelations [half-square triangles]     Week 1: Spring Fever [precision piecing]

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tuesday at the Table

So what was scheduled as a 'business meeting' the other day was morphed into that + happy hour, and that definitely made things a little more interesting. Hubby and I prepared a small spread of goodies, including incorporating some of the herbs from our garden where we could.

It all disappeared too quickly for many photos, but at least I jotted down the recipes we used for future reference!
The guys devoured the Sausage Bites, I loved the Rosemary Flatbread (which I'd made several times before and is SO quick and easy!), and a new favorite for me was the Goat Cheese Spread which was especially good on the Crostini. At any rate, it made it a nice and tasty way to talk over a little business, and we'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Victorian Tile

So it was a really full week, and I had to postpone the latest Summer Sampler block till I ticked a couple of other things off my list. But the opportunity finally came to tackle it. Can't say I was thrilled to face even more HSTs, but that's what it took.

The block design was by Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily's Quilts, whose 'piecing bootcamp' technique was nested seams. And though I've nested seams plenty of times, I don't think I've ever given them a thought when making half-square triangles, so that was enlightening, and obviously a good thing. Meanwhile, we're four blocks in and I'm feeling pretty good about things!

Week 3: Curious Crossing [improvisational piecing]
 Week 2: Pixelations [half-square triangles]     Week 1: Spring Fever [precision piecing]

Thursday, June 13, 2019


It's tradition, dontcha know? This is the 8th year of my intentionally creating with the Pantone Color of the Year, including the year there wasn't even a Pantone Quilt Challenge. So there really was no question if I'd want to dabble with this year's Living Coral.

Finding a fabric 'match' for my official Pantone swatch card was the first order of business. Thanks to my daughter, Rachel, who orders us both a card each year once the color is announced, I had proof positive. So in my unscientific research (ordering a handful of options) I decided Cotton Couture Coral was the best match for me. I rounded out the palette for my challenge quilt by including Kona Nectarine and Kaleidoscope Persimmon from Alison Glass, accented by Konas Grellow, Silver, and Graphite.

As for a design, I'd been loving the approach of repeated shapes and sizes in my recent Home Away from Home and Nine of Ten quilts, so I decided on doing that again, this time inspired by the improv hourglass blocks found in Free Range Triangle Quilts by Gwen Marston and Cathy Jones. The blocks were fun to make, and I love how there are places in the finished quilt where some hourglasses are misshapen. That really adds to the overall piece, I think. My secret to success with this project really was less is more.... meaning adding more 'tone on tone' blocks really let the others shine.

For the backing, I happily started with a good-sized length from stash, and pieced in some bits to bring it to size. 

Early on, I knew that this one would be matchstick quilted, and time-consuming as that was, I never really second-guessed myself. I used Aurifil 50wt #2220 [Light Salmon] - very nearly an entire spool of it - and it really was perfect. 

And then, as you've already figured out, I finished it all off with a faced binding, using the tutorial by Anita/@bloominworkshop. It really makes for a nice, neat finish.

So I'm super happy with the improvisational hourglass design, and in spite of it being oh so unique for me, my choice of fabrics. And as luck would have it, I finished just in the nick of time!

Quilt Stats
Name – Timeless     Category – Quilts
Size – 45" x 52"     Country – USA

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Tuesday at the Table

It's hubby's herb garden, really. He cultivates it, often snips from it, and keeps me posted on what's the most prolific. But I'm the one that actually puts it to use. And this spring, I've been trying to be diligent about doing just that.

So here's some of what "we've" been making....

Herb butter - very nearly the easiest of all. My simple recipe is:
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • a handful of fresh herbs, minced-basil, thyme, chives, flat leaf parsley, oregano are my go-to mix
Mix it up with a fork. To serve soon, I put it in a little dish. For later, I roll it up in saran and refrigerate or freeze. Great on bread, veggies, or even steak. Last week I topped salmon filets with it before they went into the oven. SO many tasty uses.

And then there's Switchel, an old favorite from The Herbfarm. We have lemon balm growing for this recipe alone. I'm sure it would be good with just the mint, if you don't have lemon balm, and there's also oodles of varieties on Pinterest.

And of course don't forget the caprese. Hubby has basil growing in an AeroGarden on the kitchen counter, as is really seems to need the summer heat that we don't have yet. But we're using it like crazy, in above-said herb butter, added to salads, and quite frequently (we're avid fans) - sliced or chopped tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (or burrata!), topped with a chiffonade of fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of Maldon salt. Oh yeah.

Last night we focused our whole meal on herbs.... some mighty tasty Grilled Chicken Breasts with Herbs and Lemon alongside Panzanella with Mozzarella and Herbs. A keen eye will see I subbed zucchini for the typical cucumber, cuz that's what we had on hand. Still yum! Let's just say I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

 So there's the last week in herbs. Any of your own herby favorites to share?

Monday, June 10, 2019

On-the-Go Project Bag

OK, I have a new favorite bag! After making the Pleated Pouch from Svetlana Sotak's That Handmade Touch, I thumbed through looking for what would be next, and the Project Bag won. One thing is, its leather handles called to me, which took a little planning ahead, since I don't keep those on hand. Luckily, Anna/noodlehead does, so I ordered them pronto.

Fabric choices came entirely from stash, though I knew from the very beginning that the lining would be the Rifle Paper Co. floral I bought when the guild was recently retreating at Quilting Mayhem (Wildwood Garden Party for Cotton + Steel). I'm not really a floral fabric person, but this I love. I finally broke down and bought some to stash, and I'm sure glad I did. I love its sweetness paired with the more graphic Esssex print I chose as the bag's main fabric. THAT's from the Balboa line by Erin Dollar, and I absolutely adore it for this use. And the bottom fabric is also an Essex - from Carolyn Friedlander's euclid.

So just a few notes about my making of this bag:
  • Take careful note of the orientation of the fabric. The pattern clearly states to measure width by height, yet when it came time to sew on the interior pocket, I mistakenly had my fabric orientated wrong and I sewed the pocket on facing sideways. Oops! Totally my error, and easily fixed, but just pay attention.
  • Sometimes I have issues with medium to heavy weight fusible interfacing, so I chose to use Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight, and I'm happy with my choice. The bag still has plenty of structure and stands on its own when empty.
  • I love the leather straps, and they were one reason I really wanted to make this bag. I purchased a 3/4" wide 56" length from Anna Graham's shop. It's high quality, easy to cut with a rotary cutter, and my 12/80 needle passed through it easily. Plus, I have plenty for another bag or other project.
  • Lastly, about those leather ties. I used my favorite leather lacing that I usually use for zipper pulls, but it's a little stretchy for this use. So I'm thinking of switching those out. Love the look though!

Finished bag size: 10" wide x 12" tall x 4" deep

So no surprise here.... this one is one I'll make again for sure. When I'm deep in working on larger projects, I sometimes like to take a break to make a smaller project and actually finish something. This bag totally fit the bill.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 :: Curious Crossing

I knew the minute I saw this week's Summer Sampler block that I would enjoy making it. I recognized Krista Hennebury's Improv Under the Influence technique, which I'd used twice before - in class with Krista a while back, I made Room Temp, and then trying my hand  at my own quilt design, I created Monochrome. Anyway, I really looked forward to making it, and it did not disappoint.

This block design used most but not all of the fabrics in my original fabric pull, and this was the first block that didn't incorporate the gray 'background'. Oh, and I used a different low-volume print for the 'X' than I did in the other two blocks. It's subtle but I know it's there!

So my original trepidation with my fabric choices has faded, and I'm raring to go on whatever's next!

     Week 2: Pixelations     Week 1: Spring Fever

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Tuesday at the Table

I've been thinking of resurrecting Tuesday at the Table and seeing how that goes. Maybe it's the pending summer, perhaps the burgeoning herb garden, quite possibly the podcast I just listened to, but I feel like I've been neglecting an important part of me that I'd like to be more in touch with. As I said, I'll see how it goes.

So about that podcast. You might not know that Seattle actually has a pretty sweet little cookbook store. It's called the Book Larder, and for the first episode of their new podcast, "the incomparable Ruth Reichl [was] in conversation with Nancy Leson (a local food commentator) about Ruth’s new memoir, Save Me the Plums." The New York Times had this to say about the book: "Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet." Truth is, I've read all of Ruth's books, including My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Save My Life chronicling the year following Gourmet's closing. Of course I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. And yeah, the new book is on order.

So meanwhile, we were away to Victoria BC for a few days and in addition to visiting the gorgeous Butchart Gardens, we treated ourselves to Afternoon Tea in the historic dining room. It was a unique and fun (really!) meal in a beautifully quaint setting.

Lest I forget the yummy details, I'm going to share the menu here. So clockwise from upper right:

English Trifle

Chocolate truffle  +  Strawberry lemon Napoleon  +  Lemon tart
Peach vanilla pound cake  +  Wildberry chocolate meringue

House Scone with Fruit Preserves & Devon-style Cream

Traditional Savory Sandwiches & Delicacies
Curried chicken & grapes  +  Deviled egg with scallion mustard aioli
Heritage ham & bell pepper Parmesan aioli  +  Cucumber, pickled ginger, & dill
Salmon, capers, & red onion  +  Tarragon almond pesto & feta quiche
House-made sausage roll

So there were a couple of highlight foodie moments from the last week. I'm on the watch for more....

Monday, June 3, 2019

Begonia :: June

With every passing month, I love it more. One more round was added to my Seattle MQG block of the month Begonia quilt, and it's now 42 1/2" square. Not much profound to say about it, but I am enjoying watching it grow. Now I just need to make another batch of HSTs and wait for next month's instructions!

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