In the not-too-distant future, my husband and I will be taking a little trip. I’ll be traveling in style, thanks to my good friends Peggy and Vickie R., who made me some terrific travel accessories for my birthday.
Knowing my favorite color is green, Peggy made a striped luggage strap using black and white prints to set off the greens. I can see myself at the airport now, waiting in Baggage Claim as dozens of nearly identical black bags roll off the conveyor belt onto the carousel. Won’t I be the envy of all when my bag comes into view?
And look at this matching lingerie bag:
It’s generously sized. When not traveling, I can use it as a tote bag to transport small quilts to my guild meetings for Show and Tell.
Vickie R., who also knows my favorite color, surprised me with this Sew Together Bag:
When I opened up the bag, it was like cutting into a sweet juicy watermelon. Look at the lovely pink interior:
And just look at all those compartments!
The Sew Together bag was designed for sewers and quilters. It’s the perfect size for stashing any number of sewing notions and quilting tools but it’s also well suited for makeup and toiletry items. How convenient to have all of those items corralled in one container.
I love my handmade gifts and can’t wait to use them on my next trip. Thank you, Peg and Vickie!
The quilts displayed on this wall in our TV room replace a piano that I donated a few months ago. I had bought a secondhand piano 20-some years ago. Having taken lessons as a kid, I thought I would relearn how to play. That never happened, not because I didn’t want to but because I preferred to spend my free time sewing, especially when I was still working. Retiring in 2008, I plunged headlong into quiltmaking. The piano, alas, remained unplayed.
With the piano gone, my inclination was to increase the seating in the TV room by adding a sectional sofa. Gradually, with that expanse of wall staring at me, the notion of a quilt wall took over. I remembered a photo I had seen in Marie Deatherage and Joyce Brekke’s fabulous book Pieces of Portland (Quiltlandia, 2015). Marie’s husband, Ric Seaberg, made her a wall-size quilt rack:
Floor to ceiling — what an efficient use of space! Since the wall in our TV room is one of the few that doesn’t get direct sunlight, I knew it would be the perfect spot to display quilts.
I called upon master craftsman Phillip Galyon of Wooden Images. Phillip made me a custom sewing table and cabinet in 2012, and the next year he crafted a console table and stool for our remodeled master bathroom.
My idea for this project was a series of quilt ladders that could stand alone or be joined by pegs to form one piece. After consulting with Phillip, we decided on separate ladders that, when placed next to each other, would look like one unit. The wood of choice was African mahogany, well suited to the original dark stained wood trim in our 1913 Craftsman home.
Here are three ladders butted up next to each other . . .
. . . and here they are with a couple of inches between them:
As you see from the photo at the top of this post, I chose to put the ladders together — at least for now. They can easily be moved apart for a change of pace. And adding or rearranging quilts will be a breeze because of the ease with which the ladders can be moved.
I can’t say enough good things about the quality of Phillip’s work. He angled the rungs of the ladders so the quilts would hang properly. He leveled the tops of the ladders so they would be flat across the top (level with the floor). And he added a wedge to the top of the backs so they would lie flat against the wall. Not only that, he put felt on the backs so they wouldn’t scratch:
And he signed each piece on the back of the bottom rung:
All told, Phillip made four ladders for me. There is room for another ladder on my quilt wall in the TV room but for now the fourth ladder is in an upstairs bedroom (hung with quilts, of course).
Having this wall of ladders means that the precious quilts that have come down through my family will be on display as well as the quilts I have made myself. Some of the latter will be given away eventually, to be replaced by new ones, but for the time being I will have the pleasure of seeing them frequently.
I envision my wall of quilts as a changeable feast.
My second completed project of the year is this baby quilt:
Most of the fabrics are from the Migration line by Michael Miller, featuring slightly abstract giraffes and pineapples in shades of blue, aqua, and charcoal. The line also included some blenders and an irregular striped fabric, which I cut on the bias for the binding. I just love the way the bias binding frames the quilt:
Sherry Wadley quilted this for me. We chose an edge-to-edge motif that beautifully echoes the spiky tops of the pineapples and the trees:
Leftover strips of fabric went on the pieced back (including the leftover bias binding strips) :
The label is on now, and the quilt is being washed and dried as I write this, not only to assure that it’s clean but also to give it that wonderfully crinkled look that quilts only get when they’ve been laundered.
Malachi, for whom this quilt was made, is no longer a baby; he is a toddler. Now that he’s walking, it would please me enormously if he is allowed to drag his quilt anywhere he wants. It was made to be used and loved.
Last week came and went so fast my head is spinning. I did something quilt-related every day — but I spent no time at all in front of my sewing machine.
A quick recap: On Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday, I taught at the Pine Needle.
On Tuesday I gave a presentation and trunk show to the Tualatin Valley Quilt Guild. As I was driving to Sherwood Tuesday evening through a torrential downpour, I couldn’t help but think, “Who’s going to venture out on such a dark and stormy night just to see my quilts?” Happily, the answer was: almost every member of the guild. (Thank you, TVQG members, for giving me such a warm welcome!)
On Thursday I had a lesson on my new Janome Horizon 8900QCP sewing machine. I say “new” but I actually bought the machine last July. It’s taken me this long to get that lesson scheduled. I’m so glad I did because some questions I had about using the machine were very well answered, and I can’t wait to try out some new feet I purchased.
On Friday I met my quilt group, the Quisters, at the Stitches in Bloom Quilt Show in Silverton, Oregon. The show is held every January at the Oregon Garden. One of my quilts has hung in the show every year since 2010 — until this year. I plum forgot to enter! We had a wonderful day together, including a celebratory birthday lunch.
Did I miss a day? Oh, yes. Monday was prep day for my classes and quilt guild presentation.
So what did I do today? I cleaned my house! Now I’m ready for the coming week, and I hope to spend lots of time in my sewing room. The first of four baby quilts in progress is back from the quilter so the very first thing on my list is to attach the binding using one of the new feet I bought for my Janome Horizon.
Then — and only then — I’m going to do something with this:
This beautiful little bundle of half-yard cuts is from the debut line of fabric by Mary Fons for Springs Creative. Called Small Wonders: World Piece, the complete line of fabrics includes small-scale prints inspired by six countries. I was especially drawn to the fabrics you see above, representing India.
In fact, as soon as I saw this bundle at the Pine Needle, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I hope you’ll stop back in a few days to find out.
QCR Mini? That’s the new mini version of the Quick Curve Ruler that Jenny Pedigo introduced in 2011. I’m a huge fan of Jenny’s and have made several of the patterns she designed to go with her ruler. You’ve seen the results in my blog posts over the last four years.
Now joined by her sisters Helen Robinson and Sherilyn Mortensen, Jenny introduced the QCR Mini and several new patterns late last year, along with a new book, One Wonderful Curve: 12 Contemporary Quilts (Landauer Publishing, 2015), featuring designs by all three sisters.
I ordered the book, the QCR Mini, and two new patterns from the Sew Kind of Wonderful website the first day they became available. I was so excited when my package arrived that I took a picture of the goodies:
The first block I made using the QCR Mini is the one you see at the top of this post. It’s the mini version of the Fun Poinsettia block introduced on Sew Kind of Wonderful’s blog in 2013 with a free tutorial. The original Fun Poinsettia block measures 20″ square finished whereas the block made with the QCR Mini finishes at 14″ square. That’s still a good-sized block. I’m planning to make an entire quilt with this design.
See the Mini Rings pattern in the photo above? That’s the next test block I made:
This block measures 11½” square, which means it will finish at 11″ square in a quilt.
These blocks will be on display Friday and Saturday (Jan. 15 and 16) at the Pine Needle, the quilt shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon where I teach, in conjunction with Winter Festival, the shop’s annual January Open House. I’ll be demonstrating the original Quick Curve Ruler and the new QCR Mini. If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by.
Back in September 2015, I made this baby quilt top, the first of four I planned to make in short order for babies in my extended family that had either arrived already or were soon to make their appearance in this world:
The fabrics are from the Migration line by Michael Miller Fabrics. The giraffe panel print was printed along both sides of the fabric, from the selvage to the fold, so I knew I would be able to make two baby quilts from one length (two half widths) of fabric. Wonderful!
I decided to make a similar top for quilt #2 but make “bricks” instead of squares. Days passed into weeks, weeks passed into months. On January 1, I realized that four months had elapsed since Quilt Top #1 was completed. Four months! How could I let this happen?
Well! There’s nothing like a New Year to galvanize one into action. I decided to get cracking on those three unmade tops. By the end of the first week of 2016 I had finished Quilt Top #2:
The next order of business in 2016 is to get these two baby quilts quilted, bound, labeled, and delivered to their rightful owners. The quilts are small enough that I could quilt them myself on my domestic machine but they will surely get finished sooner if someone else quilts them for me. This also gives me the opportunity to support the longarm quilting industry, which I am happy to do, especially as we have a plethora of talented quilters in the Portland metropolitan area.
Babies #3 and #4 — a girl and a boy — have since been welcomed into our world, and I vow to get their quilts to them in a more timely fashion. I already know what I’m doing for Baby Quilt #3. Inspiration should strike soon for Baby Quilt #4. When it does, you’ll be the first to know.
Yes, it’s done! My Junior Billie Bag, the quilter’s tote I’ve been working on these last few weeks, is now ready to travel. It’s full of my favorite quilter’s tools and supplies — and there’s room to spare.
Let me show you a few pictures, beginning with the front and back. Actually, the front and back are interchangeable; I think of them as the pink side and the orange side.
Let’s start with the orange side, with the long handles showing:
Here’s another look at the orange side, this time showing the shorter handles:
And now the pink side with long handles . . .
. . . and the short handles:
Having two sets of handles gives you choices in how to carry the bag — over your shoulder or in your hand.
Here’s a shot of one of the side panels, the one with a single pocket:
(That reflection you see is from a specialty ruler.)
Now have a look at the other side panel. Just for fun I added contrasting bands of color at the top and bottom of the two pockets on this side:
The small pocket was sized to hold my business cards on one side and a name badge on the other. That’s one of the great features of this bag: you can customize the pockets for whatever you want to put in them.
In these three-quarter angle shots, both sets of straps are tucked inside the bag:
Which side do you like better, the orange or the pink?
Except for the orange batik and navy Maywood Shadowplay fabric used on the front and back of my Junior Billie Bag, all of the fabrics are from the Paradise line designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Cottons. Several more Paradise prints are inside the bag in multiple pockets. It’s hard to get a good shot of the pockets now that the bag is done; this photo shows the pockets before the bag was completely sewn together:
(I went wild for these fabrics and bought almost the entire line, so you will be seeing more of them in future projects.)
Measuring 14″ in width, 17″ in length, and 7″ in depth, my Junior Billie Bag is a slightly downsized version of the original bag designed at least a decade ago by Billie Mahorney, a popular quilt teacher in the Pacific Northwest, now retired. You can read more about Billie and my earlier progress on the bag in these previous posts:
It’s official: my Junior Billie Bag has reached the 3D stage.
If you’ve been following me at First Light Designs, you know I’m working on a Junior Billie Bag, the quintessential quilter’s tote designed by Billie Mahorney. A smaller scale version of Billie’s original bag, the Junior measures 14″ x 17″ x 7″ — the perfect size for toting a large (but manageable) amount of quilting supplies.
One of the panels (front or back? I haven’t decided yet) has been attached to the side panels and bottom, and the binding has been sewn on. This is what the bag looks like from the outside . . .
. . . and this is what it looks like from the inside:
To paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s a whole lot of pockets going on!
With the binding applied along this panel, my Junior Billie Bag is looking more finished. Now you can easily see how the two sets of handles come into play (although you see only half of them here):
The longer straps go over the shoulder; the smaller straps make it easy to carry the bag like a satchel. The best of both worlds.
When you see this bag next, it will be completed! Before the first week of 2016 is over, I expect to have my first finish to report.
This is Part Two of a two-part post on what I accomplished in my sewing room during 2015. Part One featured my finished quilts (unquilted tops don’t count) and can be seen here. Most everything else qualifies as a Pretty Little Thing, so let’s take a look at the Pretty Little Things I made in 2015:
This 9″ x 41″ reversible runner was made for my sister Diane’s living room to cover a “seam” created when two small chests were placed back to back to make a larger unit:
Here is the runner in situ in her living room in Atlanta:
To celebrate the spring birthdays of my friends and fellow Quisters (Quilt Sisters) Deborah and Peggy, I made these fabric baskets based on the 1 Hour Basket Tutorial from Hearts and Bees. The baskets measure about 9½” wide, 6½” tall, and 5½” deep.
Pillowcases! I make several every year. Here are cases I made as a hostess gift for my friend Anna in Paris . . .
. . . and a pair made for the Portland White House:
Of all the pillowcases I have made for my own home, these are the ones my husband likes best.
My sister Diane commissioned me to make a pair of pillowcases to give as a hostess gift to friends in Maine:
Her friends have a darling little terrier named Lucy who got her own little pillowcase (and pillow). It measures 6″ x 12″ and goes in her doggie bed:
This sewing-themed fabric became a singleton pillowcase for me to take to Quilt Camp:
I drew my sister Diane’s name in our annual sibling draw for Christmas. When I asked her for ideas on what I could get her, she said, “Dawn pillowcases, of course!” I made her these king size pillowcases from my batik stash:
For the annual fall Open House at the Pine Needle, the quilt shop where I teach, I made these Cozy Flannel Armchair Coasters, inspired by coasters bought at a craft sale 30 years ago:
The coasters are reversible. Below are the backs of the coasters you see above. Just for fun I changed orientation of the herringbone weave:
The coasters were a big hit so I made some more as gifts. My friend Beth got these for her birthday in her favorite colors . . .
. . . and I tucked in this set of four as part of my sister Diane’s Christmas present:
My last non-quilt project for the year isn’t small and didn’t get made in my sewing room but I’m including it here anyway. It’s the two-fabric tablecloth I made for my sister Diane’s dining room while visiting her over Thanksgiving:
The tablecloth goes with the 16 mitered-corner napkins I made for her a couple of years ago out of the same large floral print used in the border. Here’s one of those napkins in a place setting:
The first day of 2016 is here! It’s a time for looking ahead but also a time for looking back. Specifically, looking back at what I accomplished in my sewing room in 2015. I never accomplish as much as I think I will, especially when it comes to finished quilts, but I have to remember that I made a variety of small pieces and craft items last year in addition to quilts. It will be fun to revisit them as well.
First up, the quilts.
My first finish of 2015 was Catch a Falling Star, based on Terri Krysan’s star sampler, Reach for the Stars:
Then came Toile Story (73″ x 89″), started in 2009 but not finished till 2015. Designed by Alex Anderson and featuring fabrics she designed as well, Toile Story was quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC:
Next: Olivia Twist, a 31″ x 76″ bed runner made using my own 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist pattern. It was quilted by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts:
Using leftover fabric from Olivia Twist, I made Billie’s Star (56″ x 55″), an original design inspired by my favorite quilt teacher Billie Mahorney, who taught me a lot about drafting and sewing star blocks:
Next came Simply Dashing (58″ x 74″), a simple design that combines 4-Patch Wonder blocks (my name for four-patch kaleidoscope blocks) and Churn Dash blocks set on point. Simply Dashing was featured on the cover of the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s fall 2015 catalog. Quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC.
Pieced in 2014, I finished Sun Flowers, a wall hanging based on my Season to Taste pattern. It’s #9 in my series of kaleidoscope quilts and the third of four quilts I’m making to reflect the seasons of the year. It measures 18½” x 55½”:
My final quilt finish of 2015 was Loose Leaf, begun in a workshop with fiber artist Pat Pauly. Made from her New Big Leaf design, it finishes at 24½” square:
I quilted the last two pieces myself but was happy to have the larger quilts go out to some extremely talented longarm quilters.
In my next post I’ll show you the array of Pretty Little Things I made in 2015.