Wednesday, January 31, 2024

13 Years of A Quilter's Table

Seriously, how can it be that A Quilter's Table has been around for 13 years?! I'm happy about it. I still love posting, and the history of my creative journey - and the community I've found here - are just what I'd hoped for 13 years ago.

As I was mulling over what to share in today's post, Both Sides Now arrived home after being away for a few months as part of a quilt challenge. It's small - 18.5" x 20.5" - but full of meaning, as well as things I love. Creatively, it pretty much has it all - improv of course, stripes, those colors!, matchstick quilting, mixing solids and prints and different substrates, beautiful Aurifil threads, and discovery in the making.

But also, among the themes sewn in to this little one is that of connection, and if there's anything this blog has meant for me, it's the connections I've made with you and others in our creative online community. 

Both Sides Now is, by design, a two-sided quilt. The bit of pieced binding shown in the bottom of the photo below, is one small indicator. But it made me think of how connected we are by the simple fact that we are all creatives, most of us makers of the most motivated kind. It doesn't really matter how or what we focus our creativity on, we're still connected, and a valued part of the community. That means a lot, doesn't it?

And finally, I was reminded that the challenge Both Sides Now was made for had a requirement that each maker signed their quilt. I'd never done that before, but I was proud to. And today, as I'm thinking about my blog-iversary, it seems that each post has felt like a bit of a signature. It's been my work, my thoughts, that I've shared here. It's an amazing thing to have a place like that, and I thank you for coming back again and again to be a part of it. That, too, means so much.

Monday, January 29, 2024

The Cozy | Middle Layer.Basting.Marking

It was back in November(!) that I joined The Cozy Workshop & Sew Along. I had never seen a quilt quite like the Cozy, and wanted to experience it for myself. I have participated in several sew alongs hosted by Alison Glass in the past (listed at the end of this post), and I always learn something new. 

So when I signed up, I ordered the Amber Cozy Knit Kitfour yards of 100% cotton jersey, which will be used for both the top and backing of my Cozy quilt. Other supplies I ordered included:

Pre-Cut Stencils - Falling Leaves 
Sharpie Twin Tip Marker 
Cozy Needles - Milliners 3 - Set of 25

And then for Christmas, I received a pair of Karen Kay Buckle 6" Micro Tip Scissors, which is also a suggested item. I'll also need #8 perle cotton, which I have on hand, but I have yet to decide what colors I want to use.

Back in November, I also thought I'd use my collection of Carolyn Friedlander fabrics for the quilt's middle layer, but I changed my mind along the way. Instead, my focus fabric ended up being Desert Wilderness by Boccaccini Meadows for FIGO fabrics, a dotted print I've had stashed for several years. I also included Hush Hush Gridlock by Amber Kemp-Gerstel and Forgotten Memories by Minki Kim for Riley Blake; Metallic Pepper Dotted from Collection CF for Robert Kaufman; an unknown Art Gallery black and white print, and finally a couple of strips of a cotton batik, which wasn't in my original layout above, but made it into my final layer, shown below.

It was highly recommended that both the jersey, and the center cotton layer be prewashed before layering. Since I don't routinely prewash my fabrics, I did that after the center layer was pieced. Not ideal. To safeguard the seams, I tucked the center layer into a pillowcase and sewed a long basting stitch across the hem to close it. I did make the center layer oversized to allow for any shrinkage.

Even safely tucked into the pillowcase, there was still some fraying of seams, though not too bad. My biggest concern was that the different fabrics used seemed to shrink at different rates. I think that's what happened, as the whole thing was a little skewed. Once I'd pressed it a few times and trimmed it to size (54" x 70"), I felt ok about it, and went ahead with the basting.

Pin-basting 12" apart is what was suggested, so that's what I did. The Falling Leaves stencil I purchased was one-quarter the size of the anticipated quilt size. I held it in place with pattern weights and a few pins, and interestingly enough, then proceeded to mark the design using a Sharpie, as directed. That was a first!

The stencil had to be moved several times to mark the overall pattern, but sliding the quilt sandwich around on my dining table made it all pretty quick work. Alison assured us that this is a very forgiving project, and I'm trusting that to be so. ;-)

So the prep work is done, and now I wait patiently until Wednesday when the stitching instructions will be released. That's the part I've really been looking forward to!!

Past posts, for reference:

Original Stitch Club November 2020
Mini Series Sew Along November 2022

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Calendar Update X

This post marks a milestone, even though I'll be back with one more post once these panels are hung in their final location. But having all three of them done feels monumental. I've finished making and sewing on hanging sleeves, have made and sewn on labels, and am working on making an appointment to deliver them. The end is definitely in sight.

Each panel measures 60" wide by 62" long.

Over the period of making the panels, I used close to 28 yards of fabric. Primarily Kona Cotton, nearly every section includes some Essex linen cotton blend, there are Marcia Derse palette prints throughout, and a variety of other cottons and wovens.

Each colored section was pieced, quilted, and bound with a matching thread, Aurifil 50wt for piecing and binding, and 40wt for quilting. Colors include Red [2250], Very Dark Eggplant [1240], Black [2692], White [2024], Delft Blue [2730], Canary [2120], and Green [2870].

Labels were made using Inkjet Printable Fabric from Printed Treasures by Dritz. Here's a sample, with each label indicating the span of the liturgical calendar on that particular panel.

Time-wise, the panels were made over the course of five months, with planning, sewing, basting, quilting, trimming, binding, and labeling taking a total of 112.25 hours. Yes, I kept track every step of the way.

Thankfully, family was around when the panels were completed and I was able to get a few photos of them all. Hopefully, I'll be back soonish to share photos of them in the space they were created for. Thanks for sticking with me during the making of this long-term project! Your encouragement and affirmation kept me going.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: Thread Organization

Recently I shared about trying the new Aurifil 8wt thread, and that actually was a bonus available to the Aurifil Artisans. The scheduled Aurifil Artisan challenge for January is to share our Aurifil organizing tips and tricks. Tricks have I none, and the one main tip - and it's loosely followed - is to keep similar weights together

Though I do follow my own tip, the different weights are organized in a variety of containers. The 12wt, which I use primarily for embroidery and hand-quilting, is kept in a loose mix in a project bag. This one, made by my friend Sharon @redapplestitches, has a handy tab that you can write on with a Frixion pen, so the current project can be labeled. I know it looks like a jumble, but it's so portable; and when working on a specific project, I often keep a selection of colors in a smaller basket near where I stitch.

In the traditional Aurifil thread storage cases, I keep all my large spools - mostly 50wt, some 40wt, organized by color. The cases at the top and center right in the photo below are my Aurifil Artisan Welcome boxes, which I usually keep as they come, so they do have a larger assortment of threads.

And I have a vintage My Buddy tackle box - hubby kept his painting supplies in it as a child - where I keep a variety of threads - mostly small spools. But there's my small collection of 28wt, small spools of 40wt, the new 8wt, monofilament, and then small spools of 50wt (including my neons!), 80wt, and wool 12wt. Both the thread storage cases and the tackle box are on a shelf right next to my machine for easy access. I guess that's another tip - keep the threads you use most close to your machine!

I don't have a huge collection of Aurifloss, but it's all together in a basket that I keep in my stash closet, at the ready.

And finally, there are my cones of all weights - 50wt, 40wt, and Forty3 - all in the cart next to my machine. I also keep a copy of the Aurifil brochure there, which has info about all the threads, what needles to use, suggested uses etc.

I've thought of a couple of additional tips in writing this post, and they are:

  • If you find yourself running low on a color you really like or use often, order a spare so you have it when you need it.
  • Try out the different thread weights. Before becoming an Aurifil Artisan, I used almost exclusively 50wt thread. I've since discovered that I like to use heavier weights for machine-quilting, I love 12wt for embroidery, and 80wt is amazing for paper-piecing.
I'd love to hear your thread organization tips! Share in the comments so we all can see.

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Stole Project

It's an exciting time in our family! Our son has been called by a church as their pastor, and he will be ordained in the coming weeks. Months ago, we started talking about me making a stole for him. Eventually, he'll need several - in all the colors of the liturgical calendar project I made - as they are worn by clergy in our denomination as a sign of ordination . But to start, we decided on a blue one, which would be for the season of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. And yes, we realize that the way the timing has gone, he won't be using this stole until the end of this year, but we needed to start somewhere!

My main resource for this first stole was a pattern and instructions by Paula Behrens. James @thequiltingrev had also been gracious in sharing with me about the stoles he'd made for himself. The exterior fabric we chose was Essex Speckle Yarn Dyed in Ocean, with a lining of Kona Regatta. I used Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece on the back of the Essex. I also machine-appliqued a Bethlehem star on one side of the front, backing first with Pellon SF101.

One of the other stoles my son had was a gift from his internship site, and we could tell there were small weights in the bottom corners. So I created a small pocket in each corner of the bottom linings, and inserted a penny in each, before stitching the width closed by hand. 

As a final touch, son asked if I'd stitch one of my A Quilter's Table/name labels onto the lining, so I placed that on the lining of the side opposite the star.

The stole finished 5.25" wide in front, tapering on the shoulders and back; and approximately 50" long on each side from the back neck seam.

This was a really enjoyable and satisfying project, and I anticipate it won't be the last stole I make. Now that I've made one, others shouldn't be daunting.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


Bee Sewcial started 2024 off with a bang, with two new members, Jen Broemel @jen.broemel and Irene Roderick @hixsonir. That makes us a group of nine for 2024, heading into our 10th year as a bee. In addition to myself, other continuing members include Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads, Leanne Chahley @shecanquilt, Felicity Ronaghan @felicityquilts, Marci Debetaz @marci_girl, Karen Foster @capitolaquilter, and M-R Charbonneau @quiltmatters. Exciting times!

M-R @quiltmatters was up first, and her prompt was "Ringette." I think I said 'oh no' before I even saw the details, just picturing a lot of rings in my mind - not really my comfort zone. Luckily, that wasn't quite what she meant. Ringette is actually an ice sport invented in Canada, now played in many other countries, mostly by girls and women, including M-R! I was able to learn a thing or two from her Ringette pinboard.

We were asked to use blues, reds and blacks for the foreground elements and scrappy whites for the background ice surfaces. My first block, 8" x 13.5", was inspired by the goal net used in ringette. 

For my second block, I took inspiration from the sticks the players use, and also the rings that they move along the ice. So here's my abstract view of them together, along with a 'pile' of extra rings. This block measures 8.5" x 25".

So it was fun to learn about something new-to-me yet important to my bee-mate. And it's been a while since I was able to enjoy some improv, so that definitely felt good. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: New 8wt Thread

As an Aurifil Artisan, I was recently offered the chance to try the new, soon-to-be-released Aurifil 8wt, and I jumped at the chance. I was sent three small spools in colors 2840 [Loden Green], 2420 [Light Blush], and 2930 [Golden Toast].

Of course, I needed to come up with a project to try them out on, and with Arounna Khounnoraj's @bookhou Contemporary Patchwork: Techniques in Colour, Surface Design & Sewing fresh on my shelf, I chose a project from it - Squeeze-Frame Pouches.

Arounna's samples in the book are all patchwork, made with a combination of linen and cotton fabrics, so I followed suit, choosing solids that coordinated with the threads, some Essex, and a couple of prints. I opted to stitch with a double-thickness of thread, just as I have done in the past with perle cotton no. 8. Gotta say, it stitched beautifully, has a beautiful sheen, and I'm definitely a fan. 

Each pouch measures 5" x 5" when done, and uses a 4 3/4" metal squeeze flex frame. I had three of the correct-sized frames on hand, so I went ahead and made a trio of pouches. Recently I've been doing embroidery with a double-thickness of Aurifil 12wt, and I could tell the 8wt was thicker. And compared to the perle I had on hand, it felt very similar.

 The patchwork pouches were stitched on both sides.

What a fun little pouch design, right? I'm anxious to try more of the projects in Arounna's book.

I've long thought an 8wt would be a perfect edition to the Aurifil line-up, so I'm thrilled about this latest development. Initially, the 8wt will be available in 20 introductory colors. The Evolve collection, in partnership with @suzyquilts, launches on February 24 at QuiltCon.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Gingerbread Houses

All through December, I was stitching in the evenings on the Dropcloth Gingerbread Houses Holiday Ornaments Project. I kind of knew early on that I probably wouldn't have them finished in time to make ornaments for Christmas 2023, and I was ok with that.

But finally, I have all four of the gingerbread houses stitched! 

I stitched with a double-thickness of Aurifil 12wt in a mix of colors I chose at the start, and kept 'organized' in my small Split Pouch.

With the new year starting and all, I'm going to tuck the finished houses away for now, and decide exactly what to do with them later. I'm leaving the 'bases' of the houses blank, so I can personalize them or whatever when I finish the project. But they were enjoyable to stitch throughout the season, that's for sure.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Calendar Update IX

You guys.... after taking a several-week break from the liturgical calendar quilt project, I got binding made first thing in the new year. After that, hubby and I spent time working together (thankfully!) to square and trim all three quilts. 

It needs blocked a bit, but number three of the series is done! After much consideration, I decided to machine-bind the quilts with matched binding. Since these quilts will live out their lives as wall-hangings, I thought that would be a good option. 

I first sewed the binding onto the quilt back, then top-stitched from the front. I had never done that with matched binding, but it worked out really well. Measuring 60" x 62", I'm counting this as my first quilt finish of 2024!

Linking up with Quilting Patchwork Applique's Patchwork & Quilts linky!

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2024 Quilting Planning Party

Yvonne/Quilting JETgirl is once again hosting her Quilting Planning Party, a time to look back on the goals made for 2023 and then to consider plans and goals for next year. Let's see how I did meeting last year's goals, then we'll look ahead.

The Quilts

And also I finished Albersesque, my latest Bee Sewcial quilt.

  • In addition to the hand-quilting of the bow tie quilt this year, I dabbled in Sashiko, and stitched several Dropcloth samplers. What was especially fun with the samplers was stitching with Aurifil's 12wt rather than perle cotton. I became hooked even before they announced they'd be coming out with an 8wt this year!
  • Though I was stitching on one thing or another during the evenings of 2023, I basically have abandoned the Gingiber tea towel I started. Still thinking I'll get back to it, but no love will be lost if I don't. That said, I feel like my handwork goals overall were met. I was consistently working on something.
The Community
  • The goals of regular, frequent posting on the blog here and on Instagram, plus publishing near-monthly editions of The Scrap Basket were met. 
  • I'm not going to make it to QuiltCon in Raleigh, but shipped off one of my quilts going in my place, so that's nice.
New Directions
  • Nothing specific! One day at a time is my motto of late, and I plan to stick with it. Of course, I'm open to new opportunities - I just don't know what those might be yet. And here's where that liturgical quilt project comes in! It has been my primary focus all during quarter 4 and beyond. The quilted panels are staring at me from my design wall, and binding is ready to go. Trimming the panels to size is in progress!
  • I also unexpectedly sold A Neon Moment. Selling any quilts was not a goal and notable enough to mention as having happened.

So looking forward to 2024, the overall goal is to think small, do what sounds fun, and enjoy the process. Though I'm thankful for the opportunity of the liturgical calendar project, I'm hoping this year is free of all-consuming large projects. That said, I do have several quilt projects already lined up.


  • Cozy quilt - this quilt along with Alison Glass will be a major handwork focus in the first few months of the year. I'm really looking forward to learning a new quilting technique and style.
  • Baby quilt - needed for an upcoming shower. I'm debating whether one I already have finished would be appropriate.
  • Finish Diamond Flare, the Seattle MQG BOM from 2023.

  • Hourglass II quilt - I had 30 leftover quilt blocks stashed, and planned to either make them into a quilt or gift the blocks. I went ahead and included that project here even though on January 1, a friend offered to make a charity quilt with them. Perfect!
  • A new Bee Sewcial prompt and quilt - I'm scheduled for July, so this is will be on the back burner for a few months. Meanwhile, I'll make nearly monthly blocks for my beemates.
  • Blocks for a new group quilt opportunity, which I'll share more about when I work on them.

  • New Seattle MQG BOM for 2024.

  • Participate in the #PantoneQuiltChallenge2024.

  • Other quilts as my whim dictates.

  • Cozy quilt fits here too
  • Looking forward to trying out the new Aurifil 8wt
  • Other handwork TBD

  • I plan to continue with the regular blogging and publishing monthly or so newsletters.
  • I also plan to continue to participate in the Aurifil Artisan program, with several commitments upcoming.

New Directions
  • Maybe not new exactly, but I feel the need for a studio refresh - recover ironing table, new cutting mat, new pins, organize supplies
  • We'll see what comes up! 
So mostly, I want to work through that list of quilts, letting the unexpected sneak in there occasionally, and just see what the creative year brings. Though the list of quilts already in the works or planned is a bit daunting (ie. a clean slate would be nice), I think there's enough variety and element of the unknown that I'll enjoy them. If not, I'll re-evaluate! And as always, I expect there will be smaller sewn projects here and there, as they are a good breather, and I really enjoy them too. I'm definitely looking forward to a new creative year!

Linking up with Quilting JETgirl's #2024QuiltingPlanningParty.