Wednesday, June 30, 2021

100 Day Summer Sewalong :: Day 30

Things are plugging right along in the 100 Day Summer Sewalong! I'm thoroughly enjoying piecing my bow tie blocks by hand, and I'll confess, neither size takes me that long. What I'm especially appreciating is that none of my print fabrics are exactly the same - a few of the same design, but a different colorway - so that has kept things interesting.

My background fabric, Kona Enchanted, is a little tricky to photograph sometimes, but the first and third photos here show it most true. It is definitely more green than blue. 

So it's been pretty random whether I stitch a small block (4.5" unfinished) or a larger one (5.5" unfinished) on any particular day - just whatever strikes my fancy when I sit down to stitch. At any rate, it's going good, and it's hard to believe I'm nearly one-third done with my 100 blocks!


Friday, June 25, 2021

Firefly Tote Sew-Along Week 1

I actually purchased Anna Graham/Noodlehead's Firefly Tote pattern right off when she posted about it, as I was beginning a summer hand-sewing project. But then I realized I already had a project bag I could use, and set the pattern aside. That is until I saw Anna was hosting a sewalong. So why not, right? And I started rummaging through my stash to see what I could use to make it just to give the pattern a go.

Anna suggested using waxed canvas or dry oilskin for the tote's exterior, and miraculously I discovered the perfect amount of  Dry Oilskin in Midnight (1/2 yard), which I'd randomly ordered from OakFabricsChicago a while back just to see what it was like. Note that it has a texture and weight very similar to waxed canvas. This particular piece is Waxed Cotton Duck, 7.2 oz., and 59" wide.

So I had in mind to make the Project Size of the Firefly Tote, which is a drawstring tote pattern that comes in two sizes. The Project Size is the smaller of the two, and measures 8" wide (measured at base), 5" deep, 10" tall. Though it doesn't require that much fabric overall, I don't have many pieces over half a yard in my stash these days. What I did find was a one-yard cut of a favorite quilting cotton from Lizzy House's Andover Catnap Collection - which was perfect for the accent fabric. Thing is, I knew that it just might be something that my daughter, Rachel, would want, Lizzy being one of her favorite fabric designers ever. So I texted her with a pic, offering the fabric to her OR then again, I could go ahead and make the tote, then gift it to her! She liked that idea, which was perfect.

From there 'we' chose an appropriate lining - Essex yarn-dyed in Indigo, and though I had a nice black metal zip on hand, I ordered up a few other supplies from Anna's shop:

  • 1"-wide Leather Handles in Black (the 18" pair)
  • 3/4" Twill Tape in both Black and Denim, so I can see which works best
  • Waxed Cotton Cord in Black, as a possible zipper pull

I also ordered some 8mm nickel rivets from MinkusMargo and still need to find some black drawstring cord.

So the sewalong began on June 23, and the first week's assignment, besides choosing fabrics, was cutting all the pieces and front pocket assembly. So I got that done and now will wait for next week's assignment and the rest of my supplies to arrive. So far, so good!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

At the Table

In general, I make notes on every recipe I make, whether it's in one of my many cookbooks, or on a recipe printed off from the web. Usually it gets dated, and possibly a short comment; but always, always, if it's worth making again, it also gets a star. And if it's REALLY good, it gets two stars! That's my system. Most of the recipes listed below got two-stars, and we've enjoyed them multiple times. 

Though I haven't been as good about sharing them here, I've continued to try lots of new recipes during the pandemic 'stay-home' time, and even as things have begun to open up. Here are some of our current favorites:

Smitten Kitchen

  • Kale Salad with Percorino and Walnuts - I know. Kale, right? But something about this mix has had me hooked, and I've made it more times than I can count. 
  • Simple Cauliflower Tacos - Another big surprise. Cauliflower + Tacos had never before been in our vocabulary. But in an effort to go meatless more often, we happened upon this keeper. Plus, it's quick and fun to make.
  • Homesick Texan Carnitas - Yeah, not every night is meatless, and this recipe is so easy and so tasty, plus always seems to provide leftovers to share or enjoy another night.

Fine Cooking

  • Rainbow Chard with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Basil - If there's one food I've incorporated more into our meal plans that I'd never had before, it's rainbow chard. It's a new favorite vegetable, and this recipe is a simple one to tweak depending on what you have on hand. (Also good with bacon, a little onion, or golden raisins or currants.)

NYT Cooking

i am a food blog

Tik Tok Baked Feta Pasta - You've seen this one I'm sure. It was all over my Instagram feed for a while, and I finally just had to try it. And it was GOOD. Worth a try, for sure.

Half Baked Harvest

And maybe these didn't get two stars; but one for sure, and we'll make them again. We love a wedge salad and these both were really enjoyable variations.

So, sorry I'm not a very good food photographer, and honestly, I forgot to take many food photos lately; but trust me, all these recipes are good ones! Be sure and tell us in the comments about any new favorites you're found!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Summer Sampler 2021 :: City Center

Another week, another Summer Sampler 2021 block, and this week it's Fran Gulick/Cotton + Joy's "City Center," a fresh take on the classic log cabin.

Fran's design uses a technique where wider strips than required are sewn on, then trimmed down to size. It's similar yet different from my recent foray into fine-line piecing, so that was enjoyable. This block's technique results in a more consistent result which is equally engaging. Gotta say I love how the light plays off those greens!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Summer Sampler 2021 :: Summer Blooms

This week's Summer Sampler 2021 block is "Summer Blooms," a design by Katie Blakesly/Swim Bike Quilt, with her modern take on a traditional Rocky Mountain Puzzle block.

I can't say I loooove sewing quarter-circle curves like these, but they went really well, thank goodness, and I was able to finish the entire block is no time at all. All the fabrics were ones I used in last week's "Crossroads" block, except the lime, which is Alison Glass' Kaleidoscope in Fern. It was random how the directions for the block indicated my use of the one lone print from Carolyn Friedlander's Jetty, but I really like it! So I'm only two blocks in, but I think they look really great together!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Snowflake Sampler :: The Classic Star

At 21", this month's Snowflake Sampler block was one of the largest, and will be a key focus in my finished chickenscratch embroidery quilt. 

With all the embroidery I've done this last year, I don't think I've ever used up an entire spool of any one color of perle cotton. But in this one block, I used an entire spool of white perle 8 and then some.... stitching over 400 white star stitches.

Even so, this was a really enjoyable block to stitch. I chose to stitch one complete 'point' at a time, to break up the stitch type monotony.

I thought it was about time to share all my blocks together, so you (and I!) could see the size variations. They don't photograph well, but still. I think it all looks very promising!

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

X and O Star   +   Tiny Snowflakes   +   Lacy Flowers

Large Snowflake   +   Woven Star   +   Pearvocado

Friday, June 11, 2021

Inspired Settings

Recently David Owen Hastings hosted a presentation: Inspired Settings, a conversation with Matt Macomber, our mutual friend from Seattle MQGThey chatted about several quilts in Matt's current exhibit at our local Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum. It was really interesting, and I enjoyed seeing and hearing more about Matt's modern vintage style, as well as seeing some of his collection of vintage quilts. Luckily, the event was recorded, in case you'd like to watch too.


I was pleased to be able to see the exhibit myself last weekend.

I'm happy to show you just a few of the 27(!) quilts on display, choosing to share ones made by Matt himself, along with his artist's statement for each.

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This is just a tiny selection of the many wonderful quilts in the exhibit. If you're local, it's definitely worth the drive to La Connor to see the exhibit at the museum housed in the former Gaches Mansion. It's only there until July 4!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

100 Day Summer Sewalong :: Day 10

Well the 100 Day Summer Sewalong is underway and it's time to report in! Not very many days into the sewalong, I realized that the thread I'd intended to use for piecing my blocks was a better choice for hand-quilting than hand-piecing. I don't know what I was thinking. It was working, but thicker than needed, so I've switched to Aurifil 28wt, which feels much better.

Also, in my prep post, I said I would be making two sizes of blocks, 2.5" and 3", where in reality, those were the sizes of pieces I prepped. The actual block sizes, once pieced, are 4.5" and 5.5", pretty good sized, I think. I've been randomly choosing which block size to sew each day, depending on what else is going on. The variety of printed fabrics definitely keeps things interesting!


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Summer Sampler 2021 :: Crossroads

At long last, Summer Sampler 2021 has begun! KatieFaith, and Lee are back, this year with "Vintage Restyle." Other than needing to order just a bit more background, my fabric pull is all from stash, which makes me verrrry happy!

Block 1 is "Crossroads" from Allison Harris/Cluck Cluck Sew. Reminiscent of a traditional Irish Chain block, it was a fun one to start with. Plus I was really pleased that it combined a mix of solids, a print, a yarn dyed woven (the blue), and an Essex blend (the background). As I'll probably say over and over this summer, I can't wait to see what's next!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021


When I began my latest quilt project, I had in mind to recreate the small "L" quilt I made a few months ago.... something similar but different. But whether it was the different use of fabric or what, things just didn't go the way I'd hoped. 

In fact I really struggled with a layout for the scrappy improv blocks I made, when my original idea didn't go as planned. The overall palette was very similar, but in my mind, not quite so interesting, and trying to make it so didn't feel very successful.

Eventually, after much fiddling and fussing, I settled on a final layout, which I actually liked, once I finally came up with it. Then, it was quick sewing to piece it into a top, a simple backing was made, and before long I was quilting.

I went with a pretty dense grid (about 1/8"-3/8"), primarily red stitching in one direction, and lime green in the other. It ended up about 18" square, and I bound it with a 1/4" Kona Rich Red binding.

So it wasn't where I intended to go, but I'm happy with it now that all the questioning is done. Plus it was good to use some scraps and have a quilt finish, small though it may be. On to the next thing....

Monday, June 7, 2021

Hillside Tote II

It's been over a month now that I've been using my Hillside Tote, made with the pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. It's been great, and after admiring it for a bit, my mom asked if I'd make her one too. Honestly, I told her "yes" right away, with just one caveat: It had to be with a waxed canvas exterior and a canvas lining, so I didn't have to deal with interfacing. She was happy with that, so we went online shopping for the needed supplies.

Here's what we ordered:

  • Light Olive 10 oz. Hand Waxed Cotton Canvas from A.L.Frances Textiles.
  • Robert Kaufman Big Sur Canvas in Bordeaux from CrosscutSewingCo.
  • Redwood Tote Hardware Kit [contained the needed two 1″-wide d-rings plus two 1″-wide swivel clasps] from Noodlehead. Mom chose a nickel finish for these items. We also purchased a 54" length of 1" leather in Rustic for the bag strap.
  • 24" Handbag Zipper in Cranberry from ByAnnie. [This was longer than was needed, but Mom preferred the larger zipper and pull, so I trimmed to fit. That was easy to do since it had a nylon coil vs. the metal zip I used in my tote.]

Where I made the Mini size tote for myself, Mom preferred the Regular size, and it was nice to see how the two sizes compared. 

I usually move very slowly through the construction steps when making a bag, but having done it once, I felt pretty comfortable just moving right along. Really, using the two canvas fabrics and no contrasting exterior simplified the making of this bag dramatically. Though I should note that Anna suggests a little lighter waxed canvas for the exterior - ie. The Waxer Canvas I used in my bag had a weight of 8.2 oz. per square yard, vs. the 10 oz. of the waxed canvas I used for mom's. That was solely due to color availability, and though it might have made things a tiny bit harder to manage, it all worked out great, and we love it in the finished bag. I did use a jeans needle and polyester thread for the final construction, which I highly recommend.

I really loved the color combo Mom chose for her tote. The bordeaux lining paired with the olive exterior added alot of interest, just like the mustard and blue in the bag I made for myself. The larger size of this version measured 9.5" wide x 3"deep (measured at base), 9.25" tall, with width at top opening of 12.5". It's definitely a little roomier than the smaller 'mini,' but not too large, and perfect for summer.

So that's it for bag-making for a while. One more quilt deadline to meet, then it's back to some improv, I think.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

May Fabric Usage

I give up. Meaning I'm not going to torture you (or me) with these monthly attempts at fabric usage accountability. Am I sewing less? Am I buying more? I really don't know and I've decided that's ok!

Last week, I had an opportunity to increase my solid stash at a good value, and I took it. Beyond that, I also purchased specific fabric for a specific project that I'm working on now, and I'll share that soon. But really, there hasn't been terrific progress in the hoped-for direction, and it just is what it is. Not that I'm going to stop keeping track, but I think I'll hold off and report back here at summer's end. How's that for a compromise?

Funny thing is, I did use more fabric this month than any other this year! So there's still hope, right?

May Fabric Usage
Used up: 12.09 yards
Brought in: 22.75 yards
Net: 10.66 yards
Year to date: 8.65 yards