When Life Gives You Lemons . . .

. . . make pillowcases!

Seriously, who could resist the lure of this beautiful lemon print from Art Gallery Fabrics? I spotted it at cool cottons, a delightful quilt shop in my own neighborhood, and quickly transformed it into a pair of pillowcases for the Portland White House.

Turns out one of the fabrics I bought recently from Jill Finley’s new line “This and That” for Penny Rose Fabrics is the perfect shade of yellow for the band. I auditioned all of the yellows in my stash and this one was by far the best fit.

I have a thing about lemons. Not just fresh lemons, which are always on hand at our house. I also like lemons as a decorating theme, and so do my sisters Diane and Reigh. When I bought the fabric for these pillowcases, I bought enough to make each of them a pair as well. Their pillowcases are in transit right now. I’m not sure which they will see first — their package in the mail or this post. Either way it should be a fun little surprise.

Just call us the Lemon Sisters.

P.S. These cases were made using the roll-it-up or burrito method, with all seams enclosed. If you’d like to see how I make them, check out my tutorial here.




Posted in family, roll-it-up pillowcases, update | 6 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Coal Miner’s Granddaughter (Block 4)

Happy Friday, friends! I have a Friday Finish to show you: Coal Miner’s Granddaughter, Block 4 in the sampler quilt known as Hazel’s Diary Quilt:

When I posted this block on my blog earlier in the week, the center of it was empty. Here’s a before-and-after shot:

Quite a difference, eh?

I gave myself the entire month of March to complete this block — and here it is done on the 9th of March. Can you guess why?

The answer: because I didn’t put off working on the appliqué until the end of the month. Can you guess why?

The answer: because I was eager to get to it!

I do believe I’ve turned a corner when it comes to needleturn appliqué. I still have a very long way to go to become truly proficient but I’ve seen an improvement in my skills since starting this project in January. More to the point, I am enjoying needleturn appliqué instead of approaching it with trepidation.

Here are my three blocks completed so far:

The quilt calls for nine blocks, one of which goes in a center medallion. The block at the top is the one Shelly Pagliai, the designer of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, chose for the center of her beautiful quilt:

Once all of my blocks are made I’ll choose my favorite and put that one in the center medallion.

Do you have a favorite so far?




Posted in Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 11 Comments

My Own Personal BOM

I’m in Month 3 of my own personal 2018 Block of the Month (BOM) program and right on schedule. What you see above is Block 4 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, a stunning sampler quilt celebrating the life of a young woman coming of age in the 1950s in the American Midwest. The quilt was designed by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts.

I’ve made Blocks 1 and 3, skipping Block 2 for now as it’s a heavily appliquéd border around a center medallion. That will come later, after I’ve finished making the rest of the individual star blocks and added their appliquéd centers. I’m using this project to hone my needleturn appliqué skills and I’m still very much in the rookie stage.

My Block 4 is looking a little bare right now without the appliquéd flower in the middle. The individual shapes are all cut and ready to be sewn, though, and I’m eager to get started. Producing just one block a month on Hazel’s Diary Quilt is giving me the time and freedom to work on other projects. It’s also keeping me from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of appliqué called for in the quilt.

I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see how different the block looks with a lovely flower in the center.




Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 1 Comment

A Mere Eighth of an Inch

Friends, it couldn’t have been easier.

My challenge was to make four Flying Geese units that measure 1⅞” x 3¾” finished (2⅜” x 4¼” unfinished). Those are the measurements needed for the resized block I’m making from the pattern Idyllic by Coriander Quilts. My last post explains why I was even entertaining this idea.

Neither of the two specialty rulers I use for trimming Flying Geese units have such odd measurements so I decided to make a set the closest size up marked on the rulers and then figure out the best way to trim the units down. The closest size up was 2″ x 4″.

I chose to use the Ultimate Flying Geese ruler designed by Deb Heatherly for Creative Grids and the method that yields four units from two squares:

This is such a great method! With very little sewing and cutting you end up with two pieces that look like this:

Those pieces are magically transformed by trimming (with very little waste) into four Flying Geese units. Here are two of the four units trimmed to 2½” x 4½”:

I trimmed an eighth of an inch off each side to bring the width to the desired 4¼”:

That was when I realized how easy my task actually was. Notice two things. First, in the photo above you can see that the top of the unit has already been trimmed so that the point of the black triangle (the “goose”) is exactly ¼” from the raw edge. Second, once the sides are trimmed it immediately becomes obvious that it’s the bottom edge that needs to be trimmed.

In the photo below you can see that when I trim an eighth of an inch off the bottom, my unit will measure exactly 2⅜” x 4¼” — and the diagonal line on the ruler is running right where it should along the seamline:

Here’s that Flying Geese unit with a mere eighth inch trimmed from each of three sides, giving me exactly the size I need for my resized block:

Now I have three sizes of Idyllic blocks that will finish at 14″, 17½”, and 21″ respectively:

The next challenge? Deciding what to do with these blocks.




Posted in update | 6 Comments

Idyllic Block — Supersized

What’s going on here?

Simply this: I supersized Corey Yoder’s Idyllic block. As designed, her block finishes at 14″ square. I enlarged it to finish at 21″ square. Why? Curiosity more than anything else — plus the fact that I bought enough of these fabrics to play around a bit.

One of the things I love about this pattern is that it can look traditional or modern depending on fabric choices. Take a look at the pattern cover:

The scrappy version pictured above looks quite traditional to my eye whereas the two-color version has a modern vibe. I figured it would look even more modern if the blocks were larger.

That got me to thinking about a kaleidoscope quilt I made as an experiment a few years ago using three different size blocks:

(This quilt top eventually became a baby quilt for a darling great niece. You can see the finished quilt here.)

What, I wonder, would Idyllic look like as a quilt with three sizes of blocks? I know how to find out . . .

But here’s the thing. Each Idyllic block has three sets of Flying Geese units in it. Two are the same size and one is smaller. The proportions need to remain consistent. If I make a block halfway between the ones I’ve already made, it needs to finish at 17½” inches square. That would make the smaller Flying Geese unit finish at 1⅞” x 3¾”.

Do I really want to go there?




Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, update | 7 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Canasta (Block 3)

I just finished Canasta, my second block in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt I embarked upon last month:

Here’s my block on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:

Why the name Canasta? If you look at it carefully you’ll see that it’s based on the traditional block called Card Trick. The designer, Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts,  started with traditional blocks like Card Trick, tweaked some of them, and added appliqué designs.

The result is a strikingly dramatic and original quilt:

That’s Shelly’s quilt. Isn’t it a beauty? Not only is it strikingly dramatic, it’s also challenging. The biggest challenge for me comes in the huge amount of appliqué, which I am choosing to do using the needleturn method.

I’ve taken a few needleturn appliqué courses in years past, including one last summer, but have never followed up with a project. Since beginning this quilt, I felt like I really needed a refresher so I signed up for a class online taught by Mary Sorensen through iquilt.com, part of the American Quilter’s Society. Mary Sorensen is a superb teacher.

That said, the green leaves in Canasta gave me absolute fits. I don’t know how many times I tried to make the leaves as Shelly designed them, with deep indentations in the scalloped side. Finally I realized I’m just not skilled enough yet to sew them properly. I altered the leaf template to make the scallops less pronounced and was finally able to appliqué them onto my block.

The yellow circle in the middle of the flower is much lighter than the black petals in the background so I interfaced it first, which precluded sewing it on via needleturn appliqué. Instead I basted around the fabric circle, pulling the raw edges tight around a template. Then I cut a tiny circle out of batting and tucked it under the circle before appliquéing it in place. It looks rather like a covered button.

Here are my first two blocks, Missouri Farm Life and Canasta, side by side:

Now measuring 12½” square, these blocks are ready for their sashing strips, which will increase their size to 18½” square.

Next up: the block Shelly named Coal Miner’s Granddaughter. My goal is one block a month. If I stay on track, I’ll have a finished quilt top by the end of the year. I might even be an old hand at needleturn by then!



Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 7 Comments


Many of you know I started two long term quilt projects recently. One is a sampler quilt with lots of hand appliqué that’s going to take me the better part of a year to make. The other is Cascade, the curved braid quilt designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Cascade is a scrappy design calling for a multitude of fabrics. In preparation I bought quite a few quarter-yard cuts and fat quarters. That’s something I rarely do, preferring to buy bigger cuts of yardage. In this case, I had chosen colors for my version of Cascade that aren’t well represented in my stash: lots of neutrals and muted golds and greys.

Two days ago a new muted gray fabric with a subtle gold metallic finish came into my local quilt shop and I quickly snapped up a quarter yard of it for my version of Cascade. Then a funny thing happened. I went back to the shop yesterday and bought a lot more.

The reason? Idyllic, a quilt pattern by Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts. I bought her pattern last year and have been casting fond glances at it ever since, trying to decide what fabric I might use. When I laid eyes on that piece of fabric, I could see it in this quilt.

Here’s my test block:

Isn’t that striking? The block measures 14½” unfinished. At this point I have no idea where I’m going with this but I sure like what I see right now. I could potentially make star points for other blocks using scraps from cutting curves for Cascade or I could make an entire quilt using just the three fabrics you see here.

Could these fabric choices represent a seismic shift in my color sensibilities? Maybe . . . maybe not. You see, just a few days ago I made an earlier test block of Idyllic using a color combination you would more likely expect from me. Take a look:

Completely different look and feel, right? One of the things I love most about quilting is how color and fabric can completely change the look of a quilt.

I like both of these blocks a lot but it’s the neutral version on top that’s calling to me.




Posted in curved braid quilt, update | 10 Comments

It’s Valentine’s Day!

I Love Paris, 58″ x 64″ (2012)

Here’s a look back at a quilt I made six years ago. At the time I had two Lil’ Twister templates (by CS Designs) that make interlocking pinwheels. The larger template made pinwheels much bigger than I wanted so I figured out how to mark a 6½” square ruler to make my own template. Some time later I discovered a template that size was actually available.

The smaller template made 3″ blocks, creating a perfect little shelf for my heart to sit on. I used several Paris-themed fabrics, which helped me choose a name for the quilt.

My initial post about I Love Paris can be found here.

A tutorial to make the quilt shown can be found here.

I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. If the hints I dropped are successful, my valentine will give me a (small) box of chocolate covered caramels. They go very well with champagne.




Posted in Paris, twister, update | 5 Comments

Cascade: the Second Wave

You’re looking at slightly under half of the curved braid strips making up one of the  projects now on my design wall. The design is Cascade by Victoria Findlay Wolfe of vfwquilts.com and the curved braid strips were cut using her acrylic template.

I’m calling this “the second wave” because I’m putting the curved strips up on my design wall in three sections. (You can see the first wave and read about my initial efforts here.) The second wave isn’t complete but I thought you might like to see how far I’ve gotten.

This is an experiment in gradations of value and color that is taking me far outside my comfort zone on so many levels. Right now I’m working with medium light to light strips but very soon the strips will start getting darker. The lower half of the quilt, especially on the right hand side, will be quite dark.

See that strip across the top of the photo above? That’s a piece of grosgrain ribbon pinned where the quilt top will be trimmed after the curved braid strips are sewn together. It helps me visualize what the top of the quilt will look like, something like this:

The position of several strips has changed since these photos were taken a couple of days ago. I’m finding the placement of gold and grey strips especially challenging. I will persevere . . . slowly . . . trusting that by the time the third wave is up I’ll be happy with the outcome.

While I ponder the placement of curves in this very modern quilt, I’m continuing to work on Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the lovely traditional sampler quilt designed by Shelly Pagliai that I recently started. I’m getting ready to appliqué flowers and leaves to the center square of a block called Canasta.

Needleturn appliqué — now that’s a good project to have on hand as the coverage of the winter Olympics commences. Will you be watching the Olympics? If so, will you have handwork to carry you through the commercials?




Posted in curved braid quilt, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 6 Comments

Marvelous Marsupials

For the last few years I have studiously avoided the lure of aboriginal fabrics. We all know I don’t need another fabric obsession. But I caved in the other day and bought a length of fabric from the “Walkabout II” line by Paintbrush Studios featuring five stylized kangaroos hopping around on a background that included greens and blues. How could I possibly resist?

I decided to put the kangaroos into a wall hanging using my own Full Moon Rising pattern. I’ll be teaching a circles workshop for a quilt guild later this month and figured it would be a good idea to revisit my favorite way of making inset circles.

Here’s another one of those marvelous marsupials:

The two circles above are 5″ in diameter: The one below is 6½” wide:

And here is a look at my completed quilt top, 16″ x 59″:

This little quilt already has a name: Hip Hop.




Posted in update, wall hanging | 7 Comments