Friday, January 31, 2020

9 Years

New Wave, 2011

Nine years feels like a very long time, and in all reality, I guess it is. It's been that long since I tentatively created A Quilter's Table, hoping someone would find it, and connections would be made. Thankfully, that happened, along with a whole bunch of stuff I didn't foresee. And if I had foreseen it all? I just might have been too timid to try. But something convinced me - I think even at that point it was you all - and I really can't be more grateful.

Folks who haven't joined in our online community really can't fathom, I guess, what it all means. How one can be encouraged and inspired and even motivated by a community, most of whom they have never even met.... you know, 'in real life'. After all this time, the sense of belonging is tangible, and I have come to realize that our community is about as 'real life' as it gets. We spend time together, don't we? We share bits and pieces of our lives. We celebrate together and mourn together. It's all so very real.

If there's a caution to be had, I think it might be that sometimes things seem a little too glossy. Like maybe my - and your - sharing project after project might make it seem like life is all rosy all of the time. Yet we definitely know that that isn't true for any of us. And somehow it seems that spending all these years together has helped us understand that too, and thrive in spite of it.

So all that to say I Appreciate You! Your presence here - whether for years or days - has meant so much to me. You've given me a satisfyingly safe spot to retreat to, to speak from, to share a part of me that feels meaningful to share. Seriously, it means so much. Thank you.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

January Fabric Usage

For ages Jeni/In Color Order has done monthly reports on her blog, highlighting her projects and such. Part of her report is also tracking her fabric stash - what she's brought in and used up. I've long been intrigued by that and finally 2020 is the year I'm going to try and do that too.

I started with Jeni's post How I Track My Fabric and Yarn Yardage, where she shares her spreadsheet, which I easily adapted for myself. She gives several tips on how to actually calculate fabric use, and that was really helpful.

SO, here's my first month's report! Much of what was 'brought in' was prep for the class with Anna Maria Horner, which wasn't all used, at least not for the top. Some has already gone into the stash; most will hopefully find its way into the backing. We'll see.

Of note: the largest use of stash was for three quilt backs - nearly 12 yards! Gotta say, it's felt good to be more conscious of the ins and outs, and I'm definitely hoping to keep it up.

January Fabric Usage
Used up: 17.83 yards
Brought in: 13 yards
Net: -4.83 yards
Year to date: -4.83 yards

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Rainbow Love

In late November, I saw Paul/@evildemondevildog post some very sad news - that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Ugh. It wasn't long before Jessica/@jessicaquilter began gathering a group together to make a quilt for Paul. For quilters, it's the most obvious thing to do in times like this.

We were asked to make solid rainbow blocks using Bonnie Hunter's Strip Twist pattern. As an option, Nicole/@saphre1964 designed a foundation paper-pieced version of the block, which is what I made.

Jessica sewed the blocks into a top, and quilting was done by Kela/@quilterssquare, who added a beautiful layer to the rainbow twists, don't you think? The quilt finished at 76" x 80" and once again, it amazed me how blocks from a wide mix of people came together to make a really beautiful whole.

Word is, Paul has received the quilt, and I just hope he can find some comfort and healing in it. As the makers post, you can see more at #fortheloveofpaulquilt.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Triangle Baby Quilt

There's a Pinterest pinboard I go to when I need to make a baby quilt. It's full of ideas, and this time, the Triangle Baby Quilt by Allison/Cluck Cluck Sew caught my eye. And luckily, Allison had provided enough of a tutorial that it was easy to closely replicate.

Happily, I was able to pull a combo of blues and yellows from stash and just enough Kona white to fill in. Though I'd done triangles before [here, here, and here], I refreshed myself with Paula/The Sassy Quilter's piecing triangle rows, so it was smooth sailing from there.

For quilting I followed my normal trinity, following the lines of the triangles, their seam lines marked out to the edges with a Hera marker, and in between those lines, I sewed by eye, creating a diamond-like grid approximately 2" wide.

I was on a roll, I guess, feeling a little overshadowed by what else I had going on, and went ahead and bound the little quilt by machine while I was at it. Not my norm, but it felt good to do it that way on this quilt at this time. That finished the quilt at 39" x 45".

It felt good to be able to whip this one up over several days. Good for the stash, good for me, good for the little guy it'll be gifted to soon.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Cross Country with Anna Maria

So I spent yesterday with Anna Maria Horner and the Seattle MQG. It was an enjoyable and inspiring day, with I admit, a few moments of quandary. But Anna Maria was there to both help and stir things up, and she stood the test. (grin) Here's where I was after our first little consult.

If you're not familiar with the pattern, it "features a bold and simplistic patchwork layout to show off some of your favorite fabrics, but has a special element of applique." So I'll see about the applique, but I was definitely up for the patchwork, and chose one of the pattern variations to recreate. It includes a quarter log cabin block in each quadrant, so that's where I started.

I did get a little further, starting on piecing some squares for one of the bars and cut some setting triangles and accent strips as well. I was stuck on one other element, and after considering several, Anna Maria and I settled on one we both liked. So that felt good to go home with that figured out.

So I've got some sewing to do, obviously, and then need to figure out the center block. So stay tuned, and we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


When you work on a quilt bit by bit, month by month, all year long, there is a really big sigh when it's done. That said, my Seattle MQG mystery block-of-the-month quilt is no longer a work-in-progress. sigh....

The pattern is by Stefanie Satterwhite, and the monthly instructions are on the Seattle MQG blog. Good news, Stefanie's Begonia pattern will be out soon also, which has a few bonus features, if you'd like to make your own. It's all about half-square triangles, obviously, and Stefanie is a master with them. Be sure and check out her other designs.

For my own Begonia, I chose mostly solids, with just two Carolyn Friedlander prints. I must say, having a swatch card to reference throughout the year made all the difference in keeping things organized.

The backing was pieced from all the project leftovers, plus just a couple stash finds to bring it up to size. [Note that when we took it out for a photo-shoot yesterday, we tried an idea Zak Foster had posted a while back. Well, our haphazard version of his idea. Where Zak had made canvas pockets and basted them to the top corners of the quilt, we actually used push-pins on the front of the quilt, pushing through to a couple of pieces of wood. It definitely worked - and well - put I'm planning on pockets the next time around.]

The finished quilt is 78" square, with a 3" border all around the main design. For quilting, I did an orange peel design, which worked really well with all of the HSTs and squares... ie. very little marking.

For thread, I struggled, as I didn't [think] I had anything that would suit, and I debated endlessly over dark to match the background, or lighter, though I was worried how that would look on the background. When I happened across my old thread stash (pre-Aurifil days), I found two spools - a Madeira Aerofil #8790 [Midnight Teal Green], which just happened to be 100% polyester. I used it anyway, and it was a perfect match to the Kona Everglade background. BUT, I ran out about three-quarters through. So I switched to the second spool, a Sulky variegated 30wt, #733-4021 [Truly Teal], which was my more normal 100% cotton. So did I do the unthinkable, mixing not only colors of thread, but fiber content? Time will tell, but I'm betting it will all be ok. Both blend in so well, I really doubt anyone will notice.

So, Begonia is done and I'm pleased as can be. 

Here's a list of each month's progress, if you're interested:

This project is on my #2020FALQ1List.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Anna Maria Horner Trunk Show

So last night, I had the pleasure of attending a trunk show with Anna Maria Horner. It was sponsored by the Seattle MQG and held at the local shop Quilting Mayhem, and it was such a treat.

photo by Susan Pray/@sushi.farmer; used by permission

Honestly, I haven't sewn alot with AMH fabrics, but I definitely appreciate them for their beauty, and was quite smitten with Craft South both times I visited when I was in Nashville. AND, since Anna Maria is in town, I'm signed up to take a class with her next weekend making the Cross Country Quilt.

photo by Susan Pray/@sushi.farmer

photo by Susan Pray/@sushi.farmer

Seeing three variations of the quilt last night (two shown above) definitely has me thinking where I want to take it. It's big! (80" x 80") And per the pattern, an excellent vehicle for some applique, so we'll see if I go there or not.

Of course it was great to hear Anna Maria's creative story, and she shared some interesting thoughts on color and fabric etc. One very compelling takeaway was the quote from I believe her art teacher back when she was in school, "What risks did you take?" Oooh. That's a good one to ask ourselves, isn't it? Another was (paraphrased), "If you get too bogged down in the details, go bigger!" That definitely spoke to me, as I often, especially in my improv work, tend to go tiny rather than larger. Something to consider going forward.

photo by Susan Pray/@sushi.farmer

Anyway, it was a very good time, and even though they were SO different from my body of work, I loved seeing Anna Maria's quilts. I'd say she was brave from the get-go as a quilter, going colorful, bright, and big! Her use of value and scale is a sight to behold.

photo by Susan Pray/@sushi.farmer

Friday, January 17, 2020

2020 Finish-A-Long :: Q1 List

It's a new day for the Finish-A-Long! Begun back in 2012 by Rhonda/@rhonda.j.laws, it is and always has been a supportive community working on finishing works-in-progress, and I've joined in from Day One. In fact, here's my very first finish - a set of color block placemats. Though once firmly blog-based, times have changed, and starting with this year, the FAL will happen entirely on Instagram. All the details are right here.

SO, one begins by making a list of the projects they'd like to finish in this first quarter of the year. If you've been around a while, you kind of know how it works. My first two projects are carrying forward from last quarter:

1. My Begonia quilt top has been pieced since November, and just this week I pieced a backing, basted it, and have begun quilting. Yay! So I have high hopes this will be my first quilt finish of the year.

2. Then there's my Summer Sampler. I feel like I've been working on it forever! Finishing the piecing of the top had its challenges, but it is complete now too, and I also pieced a back for it too. Now to muster up the courage to baste it - which is actually scarier than facing the quilting. At any rate, it looms ahead.

3. And finally, I'd like to add a project that's been on my list for ages... and that's my Teeny Time Trip Around the World. Begun at QuiltCon in 2018, I finished hand-piecing it last March(!) and finally, in early December, I started in on hand-quilting it, and it's going well! I'm about one-third done, and will do my best to stick with it.

Three projects should be easy-peasy, right? I sure hope so, cuz I'm itching to start something new!

Linking up with #2020FALQ1List.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Which Blue is Classic Blue?

Ocean is too blue.
Blueprint isn't dark enough.
Royal isn't deep enough.
Riviera is too bright.
Marine is again, too blue.
Prussian's too teal.
Regatta is ever so close. In fact, it is my Kona of choice.

Yup, after Rachel/@snippetsofsweetness kept up tradition and ordered us official Pantone Color of the Year swatches, I've been watching out for a good color match in fabric. Kona is always my first choice, and as I said above, after considering quite a few blues, Regatta was closest.

But then there's Lapis. From Paintbrush Studio, Painter's Palette Lapis is, in my limited research, the closest match to Pantone's Classic Blue. I did also consult with my RJR, American Made Brand, and Cotton Couture color cards, but nothing felt close enough to really consider. [read: order]

So there's a couple of really good options for you, if you're wanting to sew with Classic Blue. You can bet I plan to!

Have you found a Classic Blue for yourself? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, January 13, 2020


Our latest Bee Sewcial prompt is 'Radiate.' M-R/@quiltmatters asked for wedge-shaped block(s) - one or more - exploring what we hope to radiate this year. My initial thought was 'encouragement,' and I mulled that over for a while, finally asking hubby, "what does encouragement LOOK like?" Our conversation wound around to 'standing together,' and that is what I tried to portray in my block via the use of improv stripes.

What a fun palette M-R chose - yellows, oranges, reds, & purples. I love then together, don't you? Obviously I went with one wedge, just for the challenge, and I gotta say it was kinda tricky! Marci had figured out if we did one block, according to M-R's request of 1-3" wide on one end, 5-7" on the other, it would be about 60" long. That's way bigger than my cutting mat, so I finally taped an approximate shape on the floor, and that worked pretty well!

I actually made striped segments one by one, auditioning their composition and placement, tweaking, then finally roughly cutting to size and filling in as I went. Then once it was all pieced and fit 'neatly' between the tape, I laid my long ruler down and marked where to cut. Then it was easy to take to my cutting board and trim it up. Kinda crazy, but it worked.

Even with better lighting, it was difficult to photograph these colors, but here's one more try so you can see a bit of the detail pieced into the block before I mail it off to M-R. Fun times though!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Summer Sampler Sequel

So it's taken me a while to pick up my Summer Sampler blocks and continue on to the setting blocks. The quiltalong had a stunning layout included in the pattern and it's part of what drew me in.

For those blocks, I continued with Kona Shadow, which I'd used in many of my blocks, along with Kona Storm, a really deep blue. And honestly, it took alot of hours to get to this point. Templates and curves and pressing, oh my. I wish I could say I was 100% happy with my work, and in this photo it doesn't look half bad! But up close, those points and circles leave alot to be desired.

But! I've gotten this far, and now it's on to making a big ole quilt back. Even though a wide-back sounds easy(!), I think I'll use all of my extra fabric and start in on piecing one. I sure hope to be quilting before long!