Thursday, March 25, 2021


Happily, I got a work-in-progress off the design wall, my project from the QuiltCon Together class Color Interplay with Maritza Soto. The finish is just 18" x 19", but it was a fun one to pull together. I began with a complimentary color palette - a couple of greens + several reds, and in retrospect, I remember the navy not being in my original fabric pull, but added during class to add that 'pop' we hear so much about. 

For quilting, whether it was a perfect choice for this particular project or not, I really wanted to use the Dimensional Arrows design from Jacquie Gering's Walk 2.0 book, one of her "Sashiko-Inspired Designs." I had recently used it on a very small project and really enjoyed the execution, so I was eager to try it again. There was a little internal debate, but I settled on Aurifil 50wt #2250 [Red] for thread, which in the end, I really love.

I kept things simple and bound it with Kona Rich Red.

Yeah, it's small, but still a good reminder of things we talked about in the class, and ties up the loose end on projects begun during QuiltCon. So moving on down the list!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Traditional Variations

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of taking a Zoom class with Seattle MQG. As with so many of you, it's been a year now that we've been able to meet in person, though our monthly virtual meetings are still a highlight. Anyway, the class was "Traditional Variations" with Cheryl Arkison.

There were several traditional blocks we could work with, and I chose the classic and familiar log cabin. Maybe I could have challenged myself more, but familiar felt good in the moment.

For fabric, scraps also felt good and comfy, and I selected various green and purple strips, along with pulling my low-volume bin close to grab from as I sewed.

The whole point was to play with variations Cheryl suggested - exercises in size, shape, minimalism, etc. etc. I made several blocks in class, and have continued on - at least until the scraps run out. We'll see.

Obviously I need to finish that QuiltCon Together project and remove my 'Zoom background' before I can really fill up the design wall. So stay tuned. It'll happen.

Monday, March 15, 2021

A Storm Story

My latest finish won't resonate with all of you and that's ok! I was given a unique opportunity so I took it; and since the subject IS a quilt, I think you probably can appreciate it for that at least.

So over the last several months, the church I work at has been inviting artists in our community to share artwork inspired by the Sunday's texts. The subsequent art has been a focal point, used on bulletin covers and other communication pieces for that week. I was asked to participate and was happy to do so. My assignment? create a piece for next Sunday, when the text will be about Jesus calming the storm. Maybe some of you know it.

I'm calling this piece 'A Storm Story,' and in it I tried to express the progression of a storm, reflecting that via fabric choices, improvisational piecing, as well as quilting design(s) and Aurifil 50wt thread colors. 

At the bottom, the storm is dark and raging, full of chaos. I included black with the dark blues, and I incorporated more chaotic, intense quilting - both organic straight-line and echoing of shapes - and black & gray-blue threads - #2692 [Black] and #1158 [Medium Grey]The shark-like wedges were my attempt at waves, so hopefully you can 'see' that in them. 

The middle section is less chaotic and frightening - more medium tone fabrics, with a couple of greens  included; I did organic straight-line quilting with gray-blue & bright blue threads - #1158 [Medium Grey] and #1125 [Medium Teal].

And finally, in the top portion I tried to convey the calm and stillness when "The sea became smooth as glass." [The Message] I used much lighter blues, including an Essex Yarn Dyed Metallic, then straight matchstick-quilted with mostly light blue thread #2715 [Robin's Egg], and just a few lines of the teal. I added a faced binding, and the little quilt finished at 15" x 24".

This was a really unique opportunity and process for me, as I don't often reflect such personal and specific themes in my work. But I also appreciated the chance, so thanks for being open to my sharing it here. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Snowflake Sampler :: Lacy Flowers

Just finished stitching this month's Snowflake Sampler block! I learned a new stitch - the white ones used throughout the block - many of which supported the weaving that became the 'flowers.' 

I chose my own thread palette for my Snowflake Sampler, and this block shows off my MOST variegated thread. Fortunately I had a nice dark purple in my thread stash from one of those Aurifil mini thread samplers, and I used that for the accent stitches. They're the same double cross-stitch as used in the Tiny Snowflakes block, and like the white stitches, were the foundation for those flowers. For me, the smaller stitches were enjoyable enough, but that weaving and seeing the variegated floss do its magic was the most fun of all.

So here are my three blocks so far. It's hard to see the detail, but I feel good about them and am looking forward to what's next.

In case you missed my previous blocks, I'll keep a running list as I stitch along:

X and O Star   +   Tiny Snowflakes

Tuesday, March 9, 2021


So I finished my first project begun at QuiltCon Together. It's from Improv Triangles with Maria Shell. Though I've tried quiet a few techniques from Maria's book, Improv Patchwork, I had yet to dabble with either the 'flying loon' triangle blocks or 'short row' stripes. Happily, they were enjoyable to make and I really liked them together.

There was another triangle block Maria taught us in class - that pinwheel-ish block there in the middle, below. It turned out ok, but I didn't like it nearly as well as my original triangles, so this large block became a focal on the quilt back. As you can see, I pieced together scraps from my fabric pull for the pieced back, and included some left-over triangles and stripes, which worked out great.

For quilting, I settled on an equilateral triangle grid that I found in Jacquie Gering's Walk book, and quilted using Aurifil 50wt #2021 (Natural White). Even though my pieced triangles aren't equilateral, I think the overall design works well.

The quilt finished at 27" x 30", bound in a solid black; and still, one of my favorite things about it is its atypical rainbow palette + neutrals. I'll definitely consider going that route on a future project as it resulted in such a fun and interesting color combination.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

February Fabric Usage

If you thought last month was bad, brace yourself. 

It's not that I didn't sew last month - I finished several small projects. But fact is, I brought in 9+ yards at the start of the month - solids to round out my solid stash as I was facing four QuiltCon classes; possible selections for Valentine pillowcases for my grandgirls; and a couple other 'extras.' Yeah.

So, for the first time in 14 months of keeping track, I didn't use more fabric than I brought in. Oops!

February Fabric Usage
Used up: 7.24 yards
Brought in: 9.25 yards
Net: 2.01 yards
Year to date: -.29 yards

BUT! Look at that negative year to date number, ha! I figure I'm still ahead! Now to get back at it.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Patchwork Sashiko

So having finished my latest Dropcloth sampler, and with no quilts to bind, I needed a handwork project to work on during QuiltCon lectures. I happened across the Patchwork Sashiko booklet I'd purchased from Banjo Flannel a few months ago and decided now was the time.

The process is similar yet quite different from the Kawandi quilt I made last fall. Or should I say, it looks somewhat similar, but in fact there are a few key differences. First off, all the patchwork pieces are cut before beginning for the patchwork sashisko method. I cut mine all from scraps, 1.5" x 1.5" squares and 1.5" x 2" rectangles. Then the fabric shapes are actually arranged on top of a muslin backing, then secured with pins and basted before any stitching begins. 

After pinning, the piece is basted by machine and marked with quilting lines. I used the same needle and thread for quilting as I did for my Kawandi - a Bohin crewel embroidery needle #7, and Spagetti 12wt Egyptian Cotton Thread in Ecru from Wonderfil Specialty Threads.

So here's my finished, quilted piece, with basting and quilting lines removed. It measures just slightly larger than 6.5" x 9.75".

Note that in addition to the quilting lines, there are additional little stitches to secure the occasional loose edge of fabric; and because they seemed to 'fit,' there are a handful of 'x' stitches here and there as well. 

Soooo.... the main reason I thought to try Banjo Flannel's patchwork sashiko methoed was a cute little draw-string pouch I'd seen - I'm not even sure where! But it's the Pita Pocket Pouch, with the hand-stitched fabric panel for the front, and Essex linen on the back.

Super cute! 

I made mine just a little larger than the pattern, just so I didn't trim off any more of that hand-stitching than was necessary. A piece of lightweight fusible interfacing was pressed on the back of the piece before trimming to size; and I also went so far as stitching a very tight machine stitch around the whole perimeter before constructing the bag.

This and several other patterns for things to do with patchwork sashiko are on the Banjo Flannel site. Do note that the fabric patches are raw-edge clear to the end of the project - another key difference from the Kawandi. But with all that hand-stitching, I'm confident the little pouch will hold up well for quite a while. And the occasional loose thread just adds to the bag's character, don't you think?