Bom dia from Portugal! My husband and I are in the heart of the Douro River Valley on a river cruise. Everywhere you look the terraced hills are covered with vines. We have visited some lovely wine estates and sampled some delicious wines and ports.
I’m finding plenty of inspiration for quilts. Here’s a small sample beginning with a photo taken while we were still in Spain.
An exterior window in the old Jewish quarter of Toledo . . .
A lovely motif, reminiscent of fleur de lis, at the Mateus Palace near Pinhăo, our second docking stop in Portugal:
Tile from the interior wall of a cafe in Lamego where we stopped after a museum visit for a glass of champagne (our Friday night tradition):
A cork-backed ceramic trivet from the Museu do Douro gift shop in Régua:
I’ll be on the lookout for more . . .
P.S. If you are on Instagram, check out the hashtag #iseequiltseverywhere. You’ll see a few of my posts.
I would much rather be working on a quilt project but . . . duty calls. My sewing room has been temporarily transported into an alteration station while I convert three long-sleeved shirts with one pocket each into three short-sleeved shirts with two pockets each. All for the Dear Husband. We’re going on a trip later this month and he really is in need of some new duds.
In days of yore I could find shirts for him that had matching pockets. Alas, no more. Shirtmakers seem to have given up on this notion entirely — except for western shirts which often come not only with two pockets but also pocket flaps and pearl buttons. Not the DH’s style at all, though I personally like them.
It’s usually easier to make two matching pockets than to duplicate the single pocket the shirt comes with so I start out each project by picking the stitches out of the single pocket to remove it from the shirt. This is usually accompanied by some minor grumbling on my part. Then I cut off the sleeves at the elbow and make new pockets from the leftovers, using a pattern I made (years ago) from freezer paper:
I must admit I like the end result:
Two shirts down, one to go. Then it’s back to the fun stuff!
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.
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.
Ah, how nice to end the first week of the year with a quilt finish. May I present . . . Bluebirds for Bethany:
Bethany (fourth of my six granddaughters in birth order) is a wife and mother of three little boys age five and under. The boys received quilts made by their great granny (me) when they were babies. I wanted Bethany to have her very own quilt, one that reflects her gentle personality, and I wanted it to be unabashedly feminine. Why? Because she is surrounded by menfolk! Even the family dog is male.
This quilt fits Bethany to a T. I already knew she loved the color scheme and fabrics because she commented on a smaller version I made last year as a baby quilt. I had more than enough pieces left over to construct another quilt. It was meant to be.
On the back of Bethany’s quilt I added a strip of half-square triangles and a very special label:
Here’s a close-up of the label:
I am so delighted with how this quilt turned out. I asked longarm quilter Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day to quilt it using the time-honored Baptist Fan motif. It’s a motif one sees frequently on quilts made as far back as the mid-19th century. Those quilts, of course, were quilted by hand. Today’s longarm quilters use digitized versions to great effect.
Notice how the curves of the fans soften the sharp angles of the pineapple blocks? That was one of my reasons for choosing the motif. Karlee did a beautiful quilting job, as usual, with an extraordinarily fast turnaround. (Thank you, Karlee!)
I chose a bright rose fabric for the binding, cutting it on the bias to show the crosshatch design to better advantage:
Stitching the binding to the back of the quilt by hand was hampered to some degree by a certain calico cat who thinks a quilt draped across a lap is a fort to burrow under:
I tried to schedule my binding sessions around Coco’s catnaps. As you can see, I wasn’t always successful.
Once the quilt was bound and labeled it went into the washer and dryer to give it that old-fashioned crinkly look and feel:
Now all I need to do is tie this quilt up with grosgrain ribbon and deliver it!
Finished size (after quilting, trimming, binding, and laundering): 57″ x 58″
Block design: from Karin Hellaby’s book Pineapple Plus
Focus fabric on front: Birdies by Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods
Background fabric: Kimberbell Basic White 8210 (white dots on white)
Other fabrics (from my stash): various blenders in blue, aqua, pink, and green
Focus fabric on back: bicycle toss by Gail Cadden for Timeless Treasures, #Gail-C 2794
Happy New Year, friends! I hope 2018 is off to a good start for you. It certainly is for me — I’m on track for a quilt finish during the first week of the year. Today I attached the binding to the quilt I’m making for my granddaughter Bethany (it came back from the quilter in record time) and now I’m hand sewing the binding to the back. Some people find this part of the quiltmaking process a chore but it’s one I really enjoy.
Bethany knows she’s getting this quilt and has even seen photos of the top. I want her to be the first one to see the completed quilt, though, so for now here are a couple of sneak peeks. First, the quilting:
Isn’t that wonderful? The motif is Baptist Fan, a classic quilting design I’ve been wanting to use on a quilt for a long time. Here’s a look at the binding:
Such a beautiful shade of pink, don’t you think? It’s more like a deep rose than a fuchsia. I love how it looks against the fabric on the front of the quilt (birdies) and on the back (bicycles).
Okay, break time is over. Back to hand sewing. I can’t wait to show you the entire quilt!
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2017 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of the year. It’s a fun way to look back over the last 12 months and identify some of the high points.
My top five are below, in reverse order. Clicking on the links will take you to the original posts.
5. Dutch Treat. Although I didn’t finish this quilt till June, I started it in January during an epic snowstorm that kept me and many Portlanders indoors for several days.
4. NYC and VFW. A trip to New York City with my twin sister in March combined many of the things I love in life: family, travel, theater, museums, and quilting. The quilting part? A visit to the Manhattan shop of Victoria Findlay Wolfe:
Victoria didn’t happen to be there that day but I had the pleasure of meeting her the following month in Paducah, Kentucky during AQS Quilt Week:
Designed over 20 years ago by Billie Mahorney, it’s a fabulous quilter’s tote personalized by each maker, starting with the design on the front and back panels and ending with the pockets inside and out. Two years ago Billie turned the teaching of her design over to me, and I make a bag every time I teach a class. This may be my favorite of the eight I have made so far.
Without consciously planning to, I wound up making a suite of accessories to go with my Junior Billie Bag:
(See the rotary cutter coat in the lower left corner? I wrote directions for it in 2014 and it remains my most popular tutorial. Every now and then when I see a huge spike in the number of views on my website/blog, I know it’s because someone provided a link to the tutorial.)
1 . Where It’s @. Much to my surprise and delight, this quilt won a second place ribbon at the Northwest Quilting Expo in Portland, Oregon in September:
The design is Rewind by Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilts. I started the quilt in a class with Karla in Sisters, Oregon in July 2016. Getting a ribbon was honor enough but the award came with a check for $500. My first reaction? “Think how many yards of fabric I can buy with that!”
Well, this has been a nice little trip down memory lane. Do you want to join Cheryl’s party, too? The link is open until January 2. Be sure to check out the top five posts of the other quilting/blogging partygoers. And thank you for checking out mine!
When I bought this fabric two or three years ago, I remember thinking it would be a good choice for a quilt back. I guess that’s why I bought several yards of it. Either that or it was the end of the bolt — a particular weakness of mine.
The backing fabric has two things going for it. First, it features all the colors used on the front of the quilt, and second, it possesses an equal amount of whimsy. (I’m big on whimsy.)
The front features birds scattered every which way, including upside down:
Bicycles scattered every which way, including upside down, are right in sync, don’t you think?
What’s more, I found the perfect binding fabric in my stash. Over the weekend I was going through my project tubs and discovered a lovely fuchsia fabric I had set aside for another quilt. I cut the binding on the bias to get maximum effect from the subtle cross-hatch design:
I have a date with a longarm quilter tomorrow. Bethany’s quilt could well be my first finish of 2018!
You’re looking at the intersection of four pineapple blocks in my granddaughter Bethany’s quilt top. I just had to fussycut a little birdie from the focus fabric (“Birdie” by Pam Kitty Morning) in each of the four interior cornerstones.
Little birdies are in the center of every block:
Here’s a look at the finished quilt top, which measures about 62″ square:
This is the supersized version of the baby quilt I made a few months ago using Karin Hellaby’s Pineapple Plus design from her book of the same name. She has a clever method of constructing the pineapple blocks that leaves the outer edges of the colored blocks on the bias. To supersize the blocks (from 10½” to 14½” unfinished) I added two additional rounds, cutting the outer triangles so the two short edges would be on the straight of grain. A couple of those triangles were deliberately cut with the short edges on the bias to preserve the directional design on the fabric.
I guess I went a little overboard cutting triangles for the first quilt because I still have a lot left over, even after making a second quilt. Some of those triangles will wind up on the pieced backing, my project du jour.
Today happens to be a rare day with no appointments or errands to run so I’m treating it like a snow day. I’m spending the entire day in my sewing room, except for the time taken to write this post. On my agenda: working on a lap quilt for Granddaughter #4 (in birth order).
I have six granddaughters. When I took up quilting seriously a decade or so ago, my oldest granddaughters were already having babies so I started making quilts for the great grandchildren. The pineapple quilt I finished in October for Baby Alira was the twelfth one made for a great grandchild:
Now it’s time to make quilts for my granddaughters. I’m starting with #4, Bethany, for the simple reason that she told me how much she loved the fabrics I was using in Baby Alira’s quilt. Since I had plenty of fabric left over and shapes already cut, I decided to make a larger version of the same quilt for Bethany.
The pineapple blocks in Baby Alira’s quilt finish at 10″ square. By adding two more rounds, I wound up with blocks for Bethany’s quilt that will finish at 14″ square. Here are those blocks up on my design wall:
Now it’s time to add the sashing and cornerstones, to be followed by borders. Do come back soon to check on my progress!