Tuesday, May 11, 2021

postcard quilt 2021

We all love quilt stories, right? At least I do, and I couldn't resist sharing about my participation in the postcard quilt experiment hosted by Zak Foster and Amanda Nadig. The entire project had the theme of "newness," and every step of the way, it indeed felt fresh and new.

So there were several steps involved to get us to the end result, and each was as surprising, and 'new' as the one that followed. First up, each participant was asked to create a postcard based on the theme. That took a bit of careful thought. My postcard included a 'scene' inspired by the lake view out my window, including string glued on to represent the screen I often few from.

All the participants were paired up into partners, and before long, my "newness" postcard was winging its way to none other than Heidi Parkes!

Of course, then I had to be patient and wait for the inspiration card Heidi sent to me! I love it for its simplicity, 'sprouts' of fabric hand-stitched onto the card.

After receiving Heidi's card, I spent several days mulling over how I could translate it into a quilt block for Zak and Amanda's quilt. When it came right down to it, my resultant quilt block borrowed several elements pretty literally, including turning the gray smudges into 'clouds.' The off-white fabric I chose for my background was slightly textured, just like the surface of the postcard; and the green print, as you see, included some white 'stitching.' 

In true Heidi fashion, some hand-stitching was definitely in order. 14" square, here is the 'block' I finally submitted to Zak and Amanda.

Meanwhile, Heidi was creating a 'quilt' inspired by my postcard. Here is what she created, and about it she said, "@aquilterstable mailed her beautiful postcard to me, and she’d glued a lovely thread grid on the surface that was almost entirely lost in the mail. This quilt block is in memory & honor of those lost threads, and a tribute to my ‘spring cleaning’ goals this year of letting go of things that aren’t serving me, to free up space & time for ‘newness.’" Though I felt a little bad most of the 'screen' element on my card got lost in shipping, Heidi affirmed it was meant to be. And as Zak first said, whatever happened during transit was indeed part of the quilt's story.

So after just a few weeks of inspiration, mailing, and creating, here is the finished collaboration quilt! 

With 378 participants from around the world (12 different countries!), it's an amazing, creative, beautiful digital work. Many thanks to Zak and Amanda for their vision for this project. You can see more about the individual blocks at #postcardquilt.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Summer Sampler 2021 :: The Fabric Pull

There really wasn't any question. I saw this year's Summer Sampler announced and jumped on board. Year four in a row (plus the first in 2011!), it's always a fun, relaxing sewalong, and I was definitely game. Hosted one again by KatieFaith, and Lee, the theme this year is "Vintage Restyle." Here's a mockup:

I really like to work from stash when possible, and considering I'll finalize sashing decisions down the line, here's the fabric pull I'll be starting off with. A mix of solids, prints, and substrates, it pretty much follows my formula for the last several samplers.

My swatchcard is ready too! I find this really helps with a long-term sewalong - both remembering what's what each week as well as insurance in case I need more of a certain fabric.

Sooo.... anyone else joining in? Should be fun!

Friday, May 7, 2021

Snowflake Sampler :: Woven Star + Pearvocado

Lucky me, there were TWO new chickenscratch embroidery blocks in the Snowflake Sampler this month! The first, the Woven Star, was plumb full of the white eight-pointed 'stars' used in two of the previous blocks. The weaving felt unique though, and was a pleasure to stitch.

The second block was the Pearvocado, and it's definitely a stand-out among my blocks so far. For one, it was a first for the green floss I chose; then with the weaving, I had to be extra careful with the tension, as afterwards, the woven threads were stitched down with bar stitches. Filling in the shape with three different stitches playing together made things pretty interesting, both to stitch and in the end result.

In case you missed my previous blocks, here they are!

X and O Star   +   Tiny Snowflakes   +   Lacy Flowers

Large Snowflake

Monday, May 3, 2021

April Fabric Usage

My fabric usage continues to creep (and I do mean creep) in the right direction, but finally spending my birthday gift card slowed things down. But I mostly chose solids to keep building up that part of my stash, plus just a few small pieces of Carolyn Friedlander's Kept because why not?

There was also a piece each of waxed canvas and Big Sur canvas, but they were immediately used to make my Hillside Tote and coordinating Minimalistic Wallet. Otherwise, my largest single uses were the backing for the scrappy Variations quilt and impromptu Running Stitch Napkins. So, overall, the picture is still not good, but April was my highest use month so far, and I'm hoping May sees things looking even better!

April Fabric Usage
Used up: 11.22 yards
Brought in: 9.75 yards
Net: -1.47 yards
Year to date: -2.01 yards

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Fine-Line Piecing

It’s my turn to offer a prompt to my Bee Sewcial mates! Always a quandary of sorts, I had an idea that I kept coming back to, so I guess we’ll go with it. The prompt is “Fine-line Piecing,” meaning using very skinny contrasts between the pieces of the main fabrics. Below is a small sample, measuring approximately 7" square.

This post will serve both as instructions for my beemates, but also as a mini-tutorial for fine-line piecing for the rest of you.

Please make two blocks each – any size, but not the same size – together equaling approximately two 12.5” blocks. They can be trimmed to squares or rectangles or not – your choice. For the ‘main’ fabrics, please choose a selection of dark blues. [See KONA Prussian, Storm, Nightfall, Nautical, Indigo, Navy as suggestions.] If possible, please use at least two dark blues in each of your blocks. More are definitely welcome; and if necessary, just one is fine. If you are able to use more than one, using the shades to create their own pattern is an option, but not necessary. (IE. Grouping particular blues together rather than randomly as in the sample block.)

For the “fine lines,” please use whatever you have closest to the gold-green KONA Pickle, which is what I used in my sample. IF you have Pickle on hand, using it in at least one of your blocks would be great. [See KONA Wasabi, Acid Lime, Limelight as other suggestions. Cotton Couture Gold or Acid look to be good options, as is Painter’s Palette Wasabi.] If you have none of these, choose a gold that leans to green rather than too yellow, or a green that leans to lime or blue rather than true yellow.

Piecing only, please (no applique), though the method you choose to use is up to you. I chose to cut approximately ¾” strips of my contrast (Pickle) fabric and sew to a piece of background, pressing away from the skinny strip. 

Then I placed it RST with another background piece, and used my previous stitching line as a guide, trimming to about a ¼” seam allowance after sewing if needed. (See photo below.) 

Finished skinny strips measured approximately 1/16”-1/8”, though some ended up closer to a scant ¼”. Please keep within that range, but aim toward the skinnier. In the photo above, I sewed with my foot next to the previous stitching, and the result was a scant 1/4" strip. I found if I positioned my foot ON the stitching line, the result was closer to 1/16", which I much preferred.

I kept adding to my piece, eventually starting on another and then piecing them together. Beginning with a larger background piece and cutting and piecing it down is another option.

Ruler-free or with-ruler are both welcome. Though the skinny strips appear relatively straight in my sample, they don’t have to be – whatever you choose. Feel free to vary your width in a single skinny strip, while keeping within the suggested range. Curves are welcome but not necessary. Feel free to create blocks that are more minimally pieced or dense, or play with a combination. See Pin Board for views of both as well as other options. A few pins contain some technique tips you may wish to consider, but not necessary. Finished blocks can be trimmed before being sent to me - or not. Hope you find a lot of freedom while creating your blocks and enjoy exploring fine-line piecing!

Here are links to my previous Bee Sewcial quilts - Mod MoodBaconrificLooking UpHomage, Modular, and Rings, if you missed them.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Salsa Medallion I

So I'll tell you right off that I'm behind. In fact, until now, I hadn't even started in on this year's Seattle MQG block of the month. Other things just seemed to take priority. But (hopefully) I'm ready to catch up now and stay on board.

This year's Block of the Month is super clever! It's called the "Salsa Medallion," obviously a medallion quilt; and offers mild, medium, or spicy options every month. SO many options, all around a central theme each month. In fact, it's very much like a 'choose your own adventure' BOM!

Deciding on a palette was a quandary as is often the case, but I finally settled on making this project the first where I dabble with the Pantone Colors of the Year, Illuminating and Ultimate Gray. So Kona Highlight and Cotton Couture Pewter will be my main focus; and already in this one block I've added in bits of Kona Punch, some stripes, and a couple of other random scraps, including one lone piece of a  print by Yoshiko Jinzenji.

So for now at least, I've created my center focal block. I really debated what to do, but when I saw what Laura Loewen/@quiltfortco was doing with her Rocky Mountain Puzzle blocks, I was drawn in that direction. My block measures 13..5" x 17". I thought it might be interesting to begin with a rectangular block as the center focus rather than square. We'll see how that works out!

If you're interested in following along or just want to explore a great resource, do feel free to check it out. There's so much good information there.

Monday, April 26, 2021

the postcardquilt project :: my quilt block

So shortly after I shared the postcard I made for Zak Foster and Amanda Nadig's #postcardquilt 'experiment,' I received an inspiration postcard from Heidi Parkes, and then the pressure was really on!

After staring at her postcard for a week or so, I finally got to work over the weekend, pulling fabric directly inspired by it, right down to that gray smudge. The off-white fabric was slightly textured, just like the surface of the postcard; and the green print, as you will see, included some white 'stitching.' It's the little things, right?

On one hand, I got pretty literal, when it came to the two 'sprouts' on Heidi's card. But then I got into some other improvisational green growing thing shapes, as well as a few gray 'clouds,' as that's what I determined that smudge must represent.

Just over 14" squarish, I was pretty happy with it. 

But something felt missing. And that was a little hand-stitching. You may have noticed that Heidi hand-stitched the fabric onto her postcard; and knowing most of what Heidi creates is hand-stitched, I felt I had to at least give it a go. 

If you scroll back to the first photo, you'll see a faint peach-colored postmark of some sort. That gave me the idea to add a little peachy detailing to the 'flowers' in my block. I left my little quilt - as there is indeed batting and backing - as I may add more stitching before binding, though I'm just not sure. But for now, I cropped it square, per Zak's request, and went ahead and submitted it.

I was surprised at the feelings that arose as I worked on this little project. The whole theme of the project was "newness," and I definitely felt that in all the green, just as I am in real life these days. Newness, spring, hope, all those things; yet still so much uncertainty. And that's why including the 'clouds' felt important.... maybe a bit of shadow over it all? At any rate, my piece is submitted, it was an enjoyable exercise, and I'm looking forward to seeing what inspiration Heidi found in the postcard I sent her, as well as the completed group 'quilt.'

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Hillside Tote + Minimalist Wallet

Spring is definitely here, and even though we're still not going out much, a new bag was in order. I settled on the Hillside Tote, a pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I love that she makes multiple versions of each of her patterns in different substrates or other options. After perusing several, I decided I'd make one similar to her Green Hillside Tote. With a Waxer Canvas exterior and a canvas 'lining,' Anna omitted the use of any interfacing and that sounded like a win to me!

I did have to hunt a bit to gather all of my supplies. Thought I'd list them all here for your reference as well as mine.

As usual when making a bag, I took my time, doing a few steps per sewing session. An important thing to remember is NO PRESSING when using waxed canvas, but luckily finger-pressing works great. Also, if you haven't used it before, don't freak out too much as your canvas gets scuffed up as you work with it. It can't be avoided, and really shouldn't be, as it definitely adds to the look of the finished bag.

I made the 'mini' version of the bag, vs. the 'regular.' It measures 8 ¼” wide by 2 ½” deep (measured at base), 8 ¼” tall, width at top opening is 10 ½”, and I think it's perfect for something lightweight yet sturdy for spring and summer. It went together swimmingly, and despite one slightly crooked rivet on the strap, I have no complaints whatsoever.

Soooo, once the tote was done, it suddenly made perfect sense to make a coordinating Minimalist Wallet to use with it. Another pattern by Anna, I made the 'mini,' which measures 4 ½” W x 3 ½” H rather than the 'regular,' which is sized more like your average wallet. Happily, I had enough of the mustard canvas to use for the exterior. I found a sweet stashed fabric for the zippered pocket, and I have no idea why, but I also had a gold 4" zipper on hand, which was perfect!

There was a slight misunderstanding on my part which left me to spending a little time with my seam ripper, but it wasn't too traumatic; and before long, I was back on track and had a finished wallet. 

I made it a little harder on myself by going off-script as to Anna's suggested fabrics for this little project, but then again, I have a pretty cute little companion to use with my bag, so there's that.

Gotta say, I really enjoyed the little bag-making detour and am looking forward to putting my new pair to good use!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Punchy Geometry

Unfortunately I was so anxious to get Marci/@marcigirl's blocks to the mailbox, I took one mediocre photo, and that was it. Marci's Bee Sewcial prompt was "Punchy Geometry" - "Graphic, clean, simple. True shapes (triangles, squares, ovals, rectangles) they are improv but no blobs (ex. kidney bean.). Geometric not organic." Fun, right?

Marci did share a Pinterest Inspiration Board from which I took alot of inspiration. I didn't expect it to at first, but her chosen palette really drew me in!

Monday, April 19, 2021


Last month when I took our guild's Traditional Variations class with Cheryl Arkison, I didn't really plan on starting a new quilt. I mean, Cheryl even said as much as our session began - we were there to play, with no end result necessary. But whatever, right?

During class, I played with scraps, and that continued over the next few weeks until I just had to pull from stash a tiny bit to finish some of the larger blocks. Not quite sure why I was so liberal with the block sizes, but that was part of the fun. They ranged from 9" x 15" to 20" x 21".

So somewhere along the way, I decided to create a lap-sized quilt, and at 54" x 65", it's pretty perfect. For a backing, I was really happy to find that the good-sized piece of Denyse Schmidt's Big Dot from her  Franklin line coordinated nicely. To bring it to size, I added Lori Holt's Cross Stitch, one of her backgrounds, some scraps of which are in my blocks as well.

Quilting was a simple diagonal grid, and for binding, I cut from a leftover piece of Carolyn Friedlander's Doe wideback - that thing has been a part of several of my quilts - I just can't seem to use it up!

Anyway, this one was really satisfying fabric play, just as it should have been.

Thursday, April 15, 2021


So behind the scenes, I'm quilting my improv log cabin scrap quilt; but also, I've snuck in a couple of smaller projects. You may have already seen one if you subscribe to my newsletter, The Scrap Basket. It's a zipper pouch I made by repurposing one of my actual mini quiltsHomemade Emily Jane gave me the idea in her post, How to Make a Mini Quilt Zipper Pouch, and now that I've done it, I think it's brilliant.

The quilt I started with measured just 14" x 15", a small, scrappy little one. I actually didn't quite use all of it for the pouch, as I had to consider the zippers I had on hand. And yes, it did hurt just the tiniest bit to cut the bindings off a finished project.

But really, it was perfect for it's new life as a pouch! Where Emily actually starts by making a mini quilt as a part of the pouch-making process, I used a finished quilt; but still needed to add a lining like usual, so the quilt-back gets hidden, which is a small price to pay.

So the pouch finished at 7" x 7 3/4", and a leather lacing zipper pull was a logical addition. It'll soon be off to a new home. Fun, right?

Then, after finishing my most recent Dropcloth Sampler, I needed some hand-sewing to work on in the evenings. Between that, and the bleak status of my stash fabric usage, I decided to stitch up some Running Stitch Napkins, a tutorial from Purl Soho

A fortuitous find were the remains of a fat-quarter stack of Anna Graham/Noodlehead's Forage fabric collection. The group is all printed on Essex cotton-linen blend, which obviously makes for a pretty substantial napkin. The only solid I had enough of that worked even reasonably well for the back of the napkins was a Northcott Colorworks in Pearl, a very very light gray, which I'd been 'saving' for quite some time. But as I spend several hours stitching the napkin edges with perle cotton, I decided the Pearl was perfect to bring the grouping together, especially as I stitched each napkin with its own coordinating thread.

My napkins measure 15" square finished, which is as large as I could go with the fabric at hand. I did pre-wash all the fabric before I started cutting, and I think they'll get even softer with subsequent washings. Oh! And one little detail I wanted to be sure and mention was that, per the tutorial, all knots are on the right-side of the feature fabrics! Though I've seen others do this, I never had, so it felt a little naughty, but very fun, just the same!

Anyway, I really enjoyed making these too and using several yards of stash fabric in the process. Now back to quilting!