Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Right as I was finishing up on the machine-quilting on my Quiltober quilt a week ago, I came down with a nasty cold that slowed things down considerably. I mean seriously slowed. So those last stitches... trimming... binding... and getting a photo... all took way longer than normal. But happily, though the cold is still nagging me, the quilt is done.

I'm calling it "Miscellany" - a mixture of various things. Although I did indeed respond to the prompts set out by our sewalong host, Nicholas @quiltsfromtheattic, I definitely did my own thing, with much less actual Halloween inspiration as might be expected. But I'm good with that, and had a really lovely time improv-ing my way through the month.

I may have mentioned I ran out of the Kona Pepper background, so used some Kona Black to finish the puzzling, and honestly, I like the subtle contrast a lot. 

I made a pieced backing from mostly project leftovers. Though the palette - front and back - was a bit of a stretch, I'm super fond of it, and really like the mix of solids, prints, and wovens. For quilting, I did straightline quilting with four Aurifil 50wt threads - 4241 [Very Dark Grey], 5004 [Grey Smoke], 2975 [Brass], and 2515 [Light Orchid]. The somewhat random placement and color of each line of stitching was determined often by the fabric it would cross, and overall is at 1/4" widths, though also often more - or less.

The finish measures 44" x 48", and I had restocked Kona Pepper in time for binding, and I like how that turned out. Just overall, this was a fun one, and I'm definitely glad I joined in the Quiltober sewalong.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

It's Fall Y'All

"It's Fall Y'all!" is the prompt my Bee Sewcial bee-mate Marci @marci_girl chose for us this month. Living in Louisiana, she doesn't get the traditional fall vibe, but here in the PNW, we definitely do, so pulling fabrics felt very familiar to me.

Leaves on the trees in our area can be a variety of typical fall colors; or my favorites, those that have different colors on different parts of the same tree. That's what I was thinking of as I created this first block, which measures 11" x 13". Lots of little triangles! The block definitely evolved as I began constructing it, which is half the fun of improv. For one, I had to include some green to represent the ever-present color we enjoy so much in The Evergreen State.

For my second fall-inspired block, I took inspiration from this week's skies. The weather has been brisk; but we've enjoyed some blue skies, tinged with pink later in the day. Imagine looking up through bare tree branches and maybe you'll 'see' what I've been seeing.

Even though the colors I used were in Marci's original fabric suggestions, I asked her to ok the palette, and she was good with it! Though on one hand, the blues and pinks aren't traditional fall colors, I'm definitely seeing them, and I kinda like how this block looks with my first. 

Marci asked that I leave the second block untrimmed. It is a
pproximately 18" x 21", though would be somewhat smaller once trimmed. That, of course, remains to be seen.

Both blocks include quilting cotton and shot cottons or crossweaves. The block containing blue also includes some textured cotton. That all was a little different from our normal 'solid-only' requirement, but something Marci was open to for her blocks this month. 

So those were fun! Love being inspired by what I see around me, and I enjoyed doing two very different blocks in different palettes from the same larger colorway. I'm really looking forward to seeing all Marci's blocks come together.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: Using 80wt Thread

This month's Aurifil Artisan Challenge - to use their 80wt thread in a project - was perfect timing, as I just finished up nearly two months of tiny piecing with the Mini Series Sew Along, where I used Aurifil 80wt thread to stitch all of my blocks. I also used 80wt in my bobbin, as suggested on the Aurifil website.

The needle recommendation for this weight of thread is a 70/10, so that's what I used. It was also the suggestion for stitching these small four-inch blocks, as was a stitch-length of 1.4, so that all felt like kismet.

Though I expected a learning curve with this fine of thread, there really wasn't one. It sewed smoothly and flawlessly through my machine from the first stitch. I used a seam-roller for most of the pressing, and the thin thread allowed seams to press really flat. It'll be nice to have a "go-to" thread for paper-piecing, when next the occasion arises.

Monday, November 21, 2022

All 24 Days of Sashiko

So I started 24 Days of Sashiko, hosted by Sashiko.Lab, back on October 24, and I kept up just fine with the daily prompts until I went off to Houston and Quilt Festival for a few days. Once I got back, it took me a day or two to get back with the program, but I worked hard to catch up, and finished stitching the final prompt on time on November 16. Getting photos was another thing entirely, so there went my initial plan of posting daily finishes along with the Japanese names of each stitch. 

In these two photos, the lower-left in the photo below was our first design; the upper-right in the photo above was the final design. You can see where several designs are variations of each other.

I really enjoyed learning some new sashiko stitches. My use of Kona Windsor for the base cloth made things a tad harder on myself, so next time I'll try to use real sashiko cloth. But I think the Aurifloss 2390 [Cinnamon Toast!] worked well, and for the record, I used four strands for all the stitching.

I'm thinking this piece might become a table runner, though I'll set it aside for a bit until I'm ready to finish it. Other projects are calling to me, but I know I'll enjoy completing it when the time is right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Quiltober Quilt

The project I really wanted to get back to once I returned from Houston, was my Quiltober quilt! If you want a refresh on the propts, see links at the bottom of this post. Meanwhile, I have a quilt top to share!

The puzzling was a little tricky, as I was running low on several of my key fabrics. In fact, I had already run out of Kona Pepper, which I'd usde for most of the 'black' in the quilt blocks; and my Kona Black was dwindling quickly. I'm happy how it turned out, though, and used the remains of my original fabric pull to piece a simple backing. 

I was inspired, and got right to basting a quilt sandwich! Then I started considering threads, and I've pulled several Aurifil 50wt spools, and am inclined to use all of them.

So stay tuned. I'm pretty motivated to get this one finished before month's end.

I - Crooked

II - Buried + III - Moon + IV - Spell

V - Bones + VI - Carve + VII - Spikey

VIII - Mummified + IX - Teeth + X - Tome

XI - Witch + XII - Shadow + XIII - Rune

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

At the Table

If you subscribe to my newsletter, The Scrap Basket, you may have already seen that I mentioned the current butter board trend. It apparently originated with Justine Doironinspired by chef Joshua McFaddenZestful Kitchen shared a butter board mini series though lots of others have shared their version too. I gave a shout-out to my daughter-in-law, Lindsey, who shares 'board' ideas back and forth with me... like a peanut butter board, a bagel board, or this gorgeous butter/cream cheese board! Yum.

Fast forward to last weekend, when our family gathered to celebrate THREE November birthdays. Lindsey and I took the opportunity to make our first butter board together! We used:

Let's just say it was very fun to satisfy our butter board hankering, and it was tasty to boot. I think the family got a kick out of it, and we've already chosen another board we want to try.

Obviously, I'm always curious about food trends... are you? What's one you've tried or would like to try?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Bow Tie Progress

It was in May 2021 that I prepped bow tie blocks to hand-piece during the 100 Day Summer Sewalong. If I remember correctly, I was able to make 100 blocks over the summer, and then promptly set the project aside.

I picked it up again this July for the Aurifil Artisan Challenge, and I focused on it in between a variety of other handwork projects. I wish I could say it was my favorite thing to stitch on, but that wasn't always the case. 

The blocks, yes, were all hand-pieced. But so were the rows and the sashing....

And at long last, I have a quilt top!! It measures about 53" square, and I was beginning to doubt I'd ever see this day.

I've ordered a 60" square throw-size of Quilter's Dream Request batting, and need to piece a backing. Then I hope to be hand-quilting it over the winter months. Not quite sure which thread or design I'll be using yet, but I'm definitely happy to be inching this quilt towards completion.

Friday, November 11, 2022

September & October Fabric Usage

So I'm still working at sewing through stash, and headed in the right direction, even though I had several fabric aquisitions during the last two months.

First up, after joining the Mini Series Sew Along and choosing Carolyn Friedlander's Ledger print as my background, I wondered if I'd need more of that print to use in my final tiny-piecing project. It's an older print, so I went hunting on etsy, and found some at a really good price point. In fact it was so good that I was sure it was for a half-yard, rather than a full yard, and typed in 'Qty 4.' Oops. It was in fact the full yard price, so guess who now has 4 yards of Ledger? No worries, it's a favorite, and I'm happy to have it re-stashed.

Then, Kari @quiltsforthemaking, designed some Bee Sewcial-branded fabric that the bee members were able to purchase from Spoonflower. [See this pic of us wearing some of our Bee Sewcial items.] I had in mind to make a small gift for each of my bee mates, as well as a tote for me to use at Quilt Festival. A worthy purchase, I thought, and I used almost all of my branded fabric on those two projects, so that was great.

Here's how September's stats panned out:

September Fabric Usage

Used up: 15.58 yards
Brought in: 6.25 yards 
Net: -9.33 yards

Net Year to date: -72.442 yards
Total Year to date: -150.192 yards

In October, I was busy using stashed fabric for my Quiltober blocks and the bundle I'd purchased in September for the Mini Sew Along, so that helped. But then my daughter Rachel @snippetsofsweetness, was destashing, and I garnered a few fat-quarters from her. Why not, right? I do know a brown quilt is in my future!

So October was a pretty productive month, even though most of the projects were small in size.

October Fabric Usage

Used up: 12.58 yards
Brought in: 1 yard
Net: -11.58 yards

Net Year to date: -84.022 yards
Total Year to date: -162.772 yards

Looking back at my August fabric usage, I see there's been a net use of just over 20 yards since then, which feels good! I'm not gloating in the least though, as guess who made an impulse fabric purchase at Quilt Festival? But we'll save that for next month's report. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

"The Quilts of Bee Sewcial" Special Exhibit

Though the quilts in The Quilts of Bee Sewcial special exhibit have been shared in our Instagram posts and stories over the last few weeks, I really wanted to include them here too, as a group, so my readers could get a really good view of them. The exhibit itself consisted of three rows of quilts with eight or nine in each row, right along the red carpet at the entrance to the vendors. IE. you couldn't miss it.

So here are the 26 quilts, with quilt names and makers listed below each photo. 

BeeSewcialville - M-R CharbonneauDirection Optional - Stephanie Ruyle

2 Degrees Celcius - Stephanie Ruyle

Poster Pop - Kari Vojtechovsky + Baconrific - Debbie Jeske

Eyes - Karen Foster + BeeBright - M-R Charbonneau

Reflections - Karen Foster + Reverberate - Leanne Chahley

The Power of Pink - Hillary Goodwin

Elements - Montana Retreat Group + Flow - Felicity Ronaghan

Homage - Debbie Jeske + Stretch - Karen Foster

Connections - Karen Foster + Winter - Felicity Ronaghan

Bubble - Leanne Chahley + Timeline - Stephanie Ruyle

BeeCoders - M-R Charbonneau + Smile - Leanne Chahley

Chihuly Days and Nights - Stephanie Ruyle + Lined - Debbie Jeske

Subtle Secrets - Felicity Ronaghan + Rings - Debbie Jeske

Efflorescent Midnight - Marci Debetaz + Fire and Ice - Hillary Goodwin

Hope you enjoyed 'the show!' A new Bee Sewcial website is up, and we are working to include more info on each of our collaborative quilts and bee members. It's definitely a work in progress, but meanwhile, we are busy making November blocks for a new quilt!

Note that Bee Sewcial members, past and present, whose quilts, blocks and/or quilting were represented in the special exhibit quilts are Stephanie @spontaneousthreads Debbie @aquilterstable Karen @capitolaquilter Marci @marci_girl M-R @quiltmatters Ken @thekingslacker Felicity @felicityquilts Leanne @shecanquilt Hillary @entropyalwayswins Kari @quiltsforthemaking Christine @ccpquilt Sharyl @itssewscottsdale Latifah @latifahsaafirstudios Diane @diane_stanley_sews_and_knits Melissa @weshallsew Silvia @astrangerview and Anne @playcrafts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Bee Sewcial at International Quilt Festival

In a word? Priceless. The whole experience of having 26 of Bee Sewcial's quilts displayed as a special exhibit at International Quilt Festival in Houston was exciting. The opportunity to join my bee mates there to see the exhibit and to share it with others was deeply meaningful. 

From the airport on Wednesday, we went straight to Preview Night, and walked through The Quilts of Bee Sewcial exhibit, reminiscing over blocks we'd each made, admiring how they'd all come together, mulling over the challenges and joys. Considering the quilts span the eight years we've been creating together, some of the memories were fuzzy and that just added to the fun.

And then Thursday was a full first day at Festival. We spent most of the day together, hanging around the exhibit. The highlight was our gallery talk where Leanne @shecanquilt gave a brief history of our bee, and then folks walked with us through the whole exhibit, as we each shared briefly about our quilts, and answered questions. It was fun to see the excitement over the quilts and the curiosity about working virtually, creating with only solids, the prompts, and of course improv itself.

That morning, I wandered off to meet my online friend, Carolina, @carolina_oneto, and see her own special exhibit.

Bee mate Karen @capitolaquilter and I also ran into friends Allie @exhaustedoctopus, Sarah @saroy, and Jessica @maeberrysquare, which was such a delight. All three I had met online during the pandemic, so being able to meet in person was so so good.

Stephanie Hackney of Hobbs Batting found us, so we were able to thank her for their support and sponsorship of our exhibit.

On Friday, in addition to another gallery talk, Bee Sewcial stopped by the Aurifil booth to say thank you to Brad Mitchell @aurifilbrad and the team for their sponsorship of our special exhibit!

As fellow Aurifil Artisans, my Bee Sewcial mate, Karen @capitolaquilter, and I were happy to visit the Aurifil booth and get an appropriate photo together.

Then Saturday was my last day in Houston. Bee mate Marci @marci_girl and I met up with Ellyn @ellynz and her hubby for breakfast at Phoenicia (love that place!). What fun to catch up a bit before walking over to the show. 

And of course, Marci and I had to get a selfie in front of our two quilts, Efflorescent Midnight and Rings, hanging side by side.

By early afternoon, I was on my flight back to Seattle. It was a full few days, but the kind of wonderful you don't forget about for a long long time.