Author Archives: Dawn

April in Paris — er, Portland

April is my favorite month of the year. It’s the month when the promise of spring in Portland is fully realized. Lawns are emerald green, and the profusion of colorful azaleas, tulips, and other blooming things makes my heart sing. Today is a gloriously sunny day, one of the first of the year warm enough for Portlanders to open all their windows and let the fresh air in. I can hear the sound of a lawnmower starting up and if I’m lucky it will be followed by the scent of new-mown grass.

In honor of spring I hung Under Paris Skies in the master bathroom:

This is the springtime version of my pattern Season to Taste, designed and made four years ago as part of a series based on the four seasons. The summer and fall versions are done but I must confess the one for winter hasn’t been made yet, though I do have the perfect fabric for it in my stash.

This is the first time Under Paris Skies has been on display in my house. All this time it’s been hanging in the Pine Needle, the quilt shop in Lake Oswego where I’ve been teaching the last eight years.

After 25 years running the Pine Needle, owner Geri retired and closed the shop at the end of March. Several of my quilts had been hanging in the shop, and all of them got to come home with me. (Happily, Geri is still involved in the quilt industry and the Pine Needle location is being taken over by a local family-owned sewing business. More on that in a future post after an official announcement has been made.)

Back to Under Paris Skies for a moment. First you have to imagine April in Paris. Think of Ella Fitzgerald singing “April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom, holiday tables under the trees . . .”

Those are real chestnuts in blossom, taken on my trip to Paris three years ago this month. If you look carefully you can see the Seine in the background. Now imagine clusters of people sitting outside at cafe tables, taking in the fresh air while sipping a citron presse or café crème, like the two below (apparently still waiting for their order to be taken):


All three blocks in this kaleidoscope quilt contain two different images of outdoor Parisian life, carefully fussy cut to fit in the confines of the triangles. Here’s another scene that always makes me smile:

When the rains return (which they will, because it wouldn’t be spring in Portland without them), I’ll look at these bright and cheerful scenes of Paris in anticipation of the next sunny day right here at home.

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, Paris, table runner, update, wall hanging | 4 Comments

Hip Hop: Almost a Finish

Earlier this week it hit me that I’ve finished only one project since 2018 began. Only one! Plenty of things started, of course. I decided to spend some time this week addressing that rather pathetic record.

I quilted Hip Hop, the wall hanging/table runner pieced in January using my Full Moon Rising pattern. The quilting motifs were suggested by the fabric, a lively aboriginal print featuring kangaroos hopping around in the bush. The kangaroos were fussy cut and centered in the circles, which are inset (not appliquéd).

Here’s a look at the entire quilt, measuring 15¾” x 58″ after quilting and trimming:

All told I used four different quilting motifs. You can see three of them in this close-up of Blocks  1 and 2 bordered by the end piece:

Block 1, with the turquoise background fabric, was quilted with uneven wavy lines patterned after the wavy lines in the fabric design. Block 2 was quilted in a simple loop-de-loop design suggested by the dotted batik background fabric. For the end pieces I quilted angled straight lines at random using my walking foot. All the quilting in the other blocks is free motion.

Here are Blocks 3 and 4, stippling in the dark blue background of Block 3 and a repeat of the waves in the turquoise fabric in Block 4:

Here are Blocks 5 and 6 and the other end piece, with repeated quilting motifs:

Still to do: outlining the kangaroo in each circle using white thread, just following the lines on the fabric. I already did it in Block 1, though it’s hard to see in the photos.

My binding is already cut and sewn. I’m using the turquoise fabric, cut on the bias to show off the wavy herringbone pattern to better advantage:

I’m very happy with this little piece and will be even happier when it is bound and labeled. Only then can I claim my second finish of the year.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, table runner, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

A Funny Thing Happened . . .

. . . on my way to New York City.

New York City? Yes. My husband and I got back last night from a quick five-day trip to Manhattan to celebrate our wedding anniversary. While packing for the trip I had tossed a couple of quilt magazines in my carry-on bag. One happened to be the July/August 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting.

Flipping through the pages of the magazine, which I probably hadn’t opened in years, my eyes landed on this advertisement for a new line of fabric, “Midnight” by Studio 3 for Quilting Treasures, to be released in the summer of 2014:

“Hmm,” I said to myself, “I don’t remember seeing this ad before. I really like these fabrics!” I do love the drama of black and white prints, especially with the addition of a bright accent color. “I wonder if they’re even available anymore, four years after their release,” I mused.

So . . . after getting settled into our hotel room in Midtown, I picked up my iPad and did a search for the fabric. Lo and behold, I was able to find almost every fabric in the line! You know what happened next, friends: I had a little shopping accident.

Look what was waiting for me when I got home:


And that’s not all.

While I was in New York, I paid a visit to VWF Quilts, the shop of quilt artist Victoria Findlay Wolfe. I got to say hello to Victoria and chat with her about one of my Works-in-Progress based on her Cascade pattern. She designs for Studio 37 Fabrics, a division of Marcus Fabrics, and has an amazing array of fabrics packed into her shop. I added these four to my stash:

The three on the right are from her “Futurum” line and I am already regretting putting back another bolt from the line without purchasing any. (Thank goodness for mail order!)

Speaking of mail order, there was one more package waiting for me when I got home, a purchase I had made a few days before departing for New York. This purchase I can attribute to Anne W., a fellow cat lover and member of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. (If you are on Instagram you can find her at @pdxannie.) She posted a picture of some adorable Paris-themed fabric featuring cats and I impulsively ordered a couple of yards.

No buyer’s remorse here, though. I love this fabric! And look at all the goodies from the new-to-me shop called Sunny Day Supply that came with it:

That’s a postcard in the upper right hand of the photo (with a handwritten message on the other side from the owners, Mary and Shawn, thanking me for my purchase) along with charm squares and buttons and a postage stamp, all wrapped so sweetly. What a charming shop, with amazing customer service.

And the trip to NYC? Braving unseasonably cold weather, my husband and I managed to pack in four plays . . .


. . . and several museum visits, including the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), always a source of great exhibits:

It’s one of our regular stops, along with the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Public Library. Had the weather been warmer, we would have taken in a New York Yankees or Mets game as well. Next time!

By the way, our wedding anniversary is #37 and it actually falls today. On the agenda: a leisurely dinner out, where we will celebrate — with champagne, of course! — the fact that we have spent nearly four decades together.

 

 

 

Posted in cats, family, Portland Modern Quilt Guild, update | 11 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Corn and Beans and Other Things (Block 5)

I just finished Corn and Beans and Other Things, my fourth block of Hazel’s Diary Quilt. And here it is, complete with center appliqué, set on point as it will be in the finished quilt:

The appliqué is all needleturn, including the red circle in the center of the flower. The circle wasn’t as hard to make as I thought it would be. And it’s reasonably round! Not bad for a rookie, eh?

Here are all four of my blocks so far (Blocks 1, 3, 4, and 5):

That little black star on the top center block is just a placeholder. The real thing hasn’t been appliquéd yet. I do believe I’m ready to give it a shot.

An afterthought: Does my flower (bottom center) need more leaves?

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 4 Comments

Corn and Beans . . .

. . . and Other Things. That’s the name of Block 5 in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt I’m currently working on. I’m pacing myself: a block a month. Except that I’m ahead for the month of April.

As I’ve done with all my blocks so far, I rotated the design 90° so that when the block is set on point in the finished quilt, it looks like Shelly Pagliai’s original design.

Here is Shelly’s original Block 5, complete with scalloped border:

She tweaked the traditional Corn and Beans quilt block and added an appliquéd wildflower to the center. That’s the and Other Things part of her block name.

Here is my block sans appliqué, sashing strips, and scalloped border:


Don’t those fabrics play well together? The blue and white print is from Jill Finley’s new line called “This and That.” She designs for Penny Rose Fabrics. The yellow raindrop fabric is from an old line called “Kate’s Umbrella” designed by Felicity Miller for Westminster Fibers. It’s been in my stash for the better part of a decade. I have a feeling this quilt is going to be quite a mash-up of new and old fabrics.

When you set my latest block on point, it looks like this:

Now you can see its position relative to Shelly’s original design.

April’s block was more challenging to make than you might think. For starters, rotating the design changed the dimensions of the individual pieces. My half square triangles (HSTs) finished at 2⅛” and other measurements were equally odd. I was able to determine the sizes of my components by drawing the blocks in EQ7 software:

The drawing is 6″ finished so all I had to do was double the measurements since the actual block is 12″ finished (before sashing). Those squares composed of Half Square Triangles measure 1-1/16″ in the diagram.

Coloring the block in EQ7 helped me keep the blue/white and yellow/white HSTs in proper position for sewing:

Getting all those points to match required careful cutting, pinning, and sewing. And I resorted to pressing most of the seams open (something I rarely do) to get the seams nice and flat.

Now I’m ready to work on the appliquéd center. No foolin’.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 9 Comments

One More Idyllic Test Block

Yep. One more version of Idyllic, the design by Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts that I’ve been playing around with the last few weeks. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve already seen this block in a green/red/black colorway and a gold/taupe/black colorway. Now it’s making another appearance in the colors you see above.

There really is a method to my madness. You see, Idyllic is the pattern I’ve chosen to teach in June at the Pine Needle’s quilt retreat on Hood Canal in Washington State. This will be my third year teaching at this retreat and I can’t wait to go back. I’m teaching two back-to-back sessions.

The cover of Corey Yoder’s pattern shows a two-color version and a scrappy version, both measuring 82″ x 98″. I’m playing with a couple of three-color versions and a controlled scrappy version — that’s the one you see in the block above. I’m also playing around with Idyllic in EQ7, the quilt software program, “making” different size quilts so that I can give my upcoming students ideas and options on both fabric choices and finished quilt size. The latter is very important for figuring yardage requirements.

I thought I would have at last one version of Idyllic to show you by now but there’s been precious little sewing going on in the Portland White House.  Instead I’ve spent the last week and a half fighting a cold that will just not go away. Maybe today’s the day I turn the proverbial corner.

I hope you’re having productive days in your sewing room. I’m sure looking forward to getting back into mine!

 

 

 

Posted in Idyllic, update | 3 Comments

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:

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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 Idyllic, update | 6 Comments