Wednesday, August 30, 2023


It feels great to have another quilt finish before the summer is quite over here in the Pacific Northwest. My third plaid-ish quilt (see Scrap-ish Plaid-ish and Twofold), the Mini Plaid-ish quilt pattern is also the creation of Erica/@kitchentablequilting, and is a free tutorial that uses several different scrap sizes. 

The Mini Plaid-ish is basically a smaller version of the original Plaid-ish, which was 64" x 82". The mini is 58" x 66". And just for reference, the Plaid-ish2, which is similar yet different from those two, is 69" x 86". So yeah, the mini is definitely the smallest of the three, but still a very nice lap-size. I'm more than pleased I was able to create my quilt top entirely from scraps from the scrap basket. Where Erica did not repeat fabrics in her version, my goal was strictly to use the scraps, and there are definitely some repeated prints, and I'm ok with that.

Cutting the scraps for a quilt like this is no-doubt the most tedious part, with the smallest pieces measuring 1.5" square.... smaller than I usually choose to work with. But there was really never any doubt in my mind that I'd make this third plaid-ish version. By now, it's tradition. haha

Rather than over-worry about value, I focused on choosing 'light' fabrics that were low-volumes, 'medium' fabrics that were pretty much any non-neutral color, and 'darks' that were primarily black or gray. Erica said, "even if your values aren't perfect your quilt will turn out great." and I trusted that to be true. And I do see that the plaid in my finished quilt top may not be quite as pronounced as others, but I'm totally fine with it. I let my scraps speak, and that was my goal.

For the quilt backing I combined a mix of Denyse Schmidt fabrics that I'd long had stashed. And wouldn't you know, I had just enough of the trimmings to make a scrappy binding from them. A few of the prints can also be found in the quilt top, though I don't think all. Still, it was a satisfying choice.

For quilting, I went with an uneven grid, which I'd done on the original with good result. I stitched along with seams for some lines, and marked others with my hera marker. It was all quite stress-free quilting, for which I was grateful. Now, whenever I quilt a grid, I use Erica's method: from center out to the right, then rotate 90-degrees, and repeat, etc. etc. It works so well, and I really like how the grid quilting suits the quilt design.  Probably the biggest surprise might be that I used Aurifil 40wt 1148 [Light Jade] thread for quilting. While piecing the blocks into a top, I'd felt like there was a lot of pink in the mix. But when I started considering quilting thread choices, that jade just really worked. Plus it was fun! I like to think by using it and the binding which has plenty of teal and green in it, I've changed the focus somewhat from the pink to the cooler colors I prefer. That part could be wishful thinking on my part but let's go with it, ok?

So anyway, this was a satisfying finish. I expect this quilt will be used around the house as we head into fall.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

At the Table - Rainy Day Bites May to August

Taking a brief quilt-related interlude to record another quarter of cooking with Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club hosted by Deborah Balint @rainydaybitesIn case you missed my earlier post, the cookbook club is arranged so there is a new, featured cookbook each month. Then there is a baking book for every two months. I've been focusing on participating in the challenges from those books, but not necessarily from the third category, a year-long dessert book. Besides trying some tasty new recipes, I especially have enjoyed trying cuisines I may not have otherwise. So thanks for humoring me as I keep track of what I've cooked and baked with Rainy Day Bites. Note that I linked to each IG post, as available, in case you wanted to read what I wrote about each recipe.

Featured book: 
Treasures of the Mexican Table: Classic Recipes, Local Secrets by Pati Jinich @patijinich

Sonoran carne asada tacos + basic simmered beans/fiesta refried beans + fire-roasted Sonoran chunky salsa + guacamole with chile verde

Oaxacan green mole with pork and white beans 

classic creamy flan 

crunchy carne asada tostadas + border pintos + smoky guacamole


Featured book: Half Baked Harvest Everyday: Recipes for Balanced, Flexible, Feel-Good Meals by Tieghan Gerard @halfbakedharvest

prosciutto breakfast cups with chive pesto

rosemary chicken avocado salad with bacon shallot vinaigrette

savory garlic peanut noodles with sweet potatoes 

zucchini sauce pasta

garlicky greens pizza

crispy sour cream and onion potatoes

olive oil-braised beans

May & June baking book: Sweet Enough by Alison Roman @alisoneroman

deep-dish apple galette 

raspberry ricotta cake

sticky cinnamon rolls


old-fashioned strawberry cake

creamy cauliflower galette

salted lemon cream pie


Featured book: Pomegranates & Artichokes: A Food Journey from Iran to Italy by Saghar Setareh @labnoon

tahchin with  saffron chicken from Iran

bucatini “marinated” in tomatoes from Italy 

spritz, the classic

filo triangles stuffed with feta

a simple salad of grilled zucchini, garlic, mint & (a lot of) olive oil

zucchini patties with feta & dill

July & August baking book: 100 Morning Treats by Sarah Kieffer @sarah_kieffer

maple bourbon caramel rolls 

blood orange poppyseed pull-apart

streusel Danish 

cinnamon twists

Unfortunately, it just didn't work out for me to cook from the August featured book, Rambutan: Recipes from Sri Lanka by Cynthia Shanmugalingam @cynthia.uma nor did I participate in the challenges from the end of month baking book What’s for Dessert by Claire Saffitz @csaffitz. But I still tried over 30(!) new-to-me recipes in the last four months. Deborah just posted the next quarter's cookbook selections and it looks to be plenty more good eating!

Monday, August 28, 2023


My Bee Sewcial mate Kari @quiltsforthemaking was inspired by all the ceramic tiles she saw while traveling in Spain and Portugal, so she challenged us to create tile blocks this month. Her suggested dominant colors were cream, terra cotta, navy, and cobalt blue with accent colors as we see fit. I decided to stick with the four colors for both of my blocks. We were also asked to make two or more blocks of different sizes, squares or rectangles.

My first go at a block is a mix of ruler-cut and freehand improv, and measures approximately 15" square. I really wanted at least one of my tile blocks to include some improv curves and love the secondary shapes mine turned out with. Those corner sections were trickier than they look to make the correct size, each being totally improv. I like the result though!

I went with pretty basic shapes for my second block, though I think it still packs a punch. This block measures about 12" square. I (Kari too!) especially love that portions that are a little wonky or don't 'match up.'

Kari's prompt kind of stymied me at first, but once I got started and saw that limited mix of colors together, I really enjoyed myself. I kind of hated to stop at just two.

Linking up with Patchwork & Quilts weekly linky.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

30 Days of Improv :: Curves

We've explored improv stripesl-shapes, triangles, and now in the final week of 30 Days of Improv, curves. Gentle curves was the prompt for our first day of circle week, and I very much enjoyed making this one up as I went along. I think it's up there as one of my favorites of the sewalong.

The focus for Day 2 was piecing small curves. Though I may have gotten carried away with the multitude of different fabrics, it was fun to make a bunch of small curve blocks and then see how they could fit together.

I knew I had less than an hour to tackle Day 3's challenge, which was to break out of the standard curve and add a bigger ‘hump’ to our curves. Not sure I did that, and the result is buusssyyyy, but considering it's made out of some favorite Carolyn Friedlander prints, I'm more than happy with it.

Below is the block I started with for slice & dice day.

And below is the final block, after I basically cut the top and bottom off and swapped them. I kinda wish I still had the original block, but oh well.

And here's my final curves block for the week. Again, I just made a bunch of small curve blocks, then figured out how they could all live together.

TADA..... here are all 20 blocks up on the design wall in the order they were created. (L to R, then down) I'm really looking forward to next week when we start puzzling them into a quilt top. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: Mindful Stitching

August has felt like the perfect time for this month's Aurifil Artisan Challenge of Mindful Stitching. Coming off a long-term hand-stitching project, my Bow Ties quilt, I was ready for my ultimate relaxing stitching in a new Dropcloth sampler. I'd had the Log Cabin sampler stashed for a while, and I was happy to be finally starting in on it.

The challenge specifically requested that we use either Aurifil floss or 12wt. Traditionally I've used perle cotton on my samplers, but I've become quite enamored with the 12wt, and was anxious to try that again for embroidery. It is two-ply, the heaviest weight thread that Aurifil offers, and comes wound on a red spool. I didn't have a huge collection on hand, but a nice enough assortment to get started. On this particular project, I am doubling my thread for all my stitching.

To be honest, this piece is still a work in progress! I've been working on it for a couple of weeks now, and I've really been enjoying it. The Log Cabin is printed on a red and yellow background which totally influenced my choice of thread colors. I've chosen a red/orange/gold/purple palette, a little bit unusual but lots of fun to work in. And happily, the 12wt is a dream to stitch with - it stitches so smoothly, with just a bit of a sheen.

Just for the (my) record, the threads I'm using include:

1240 [Very Dark Eggplant] + 2134 [Spun Gold] + 2245 [Red Orange]
2255 [Dark Red Orange] + 2260 [Wine] + 2270 [Paprika] 
2520 [Violet] + 2535 [Magenta] + 2975 [Brass] + 5022 [Mustard]

I'm also doing a variety of stitches, choosing which to do as I start in on a new log cabin. So far, there's a mix of chain stitch, backstitch, stem stitch, couching, and coral stitch. 

So selecting a stitch and a thread color as I do this slow-stitching has been a fun element.