Category Archives: family

Back in the Saddle Again

Three weeks without a post! That’s the longest gap in the five years since I started this blog. What could possibly account for such a lapse? Two back-to-back trips followed by a fun-filled week of family visiting from out of town.

The first trip was to Paducah, Kentucky with my quilt group, the Quisters. Yes, Paducah — home of the National Quilt Museum and site of the American Quilter’s Society’s Quilt Week the last week of April. What a thrill! More on that in a future post.

Home for one day, then off to Central Oregon for a family reunion that my twin sister Diane and I were responsible for planning. It was a great success, with 83 family members coming from as far away as Texas, Virginia, and Florida. Most of the relatives are in Oregon, remaining in the state where our common ancestor settled after emigrating from Switzerland in the 1880s. This reunion has rekindled my interest in family geneaology, which I hope to pursue in between quilting projects. I could use a few more hours each day to accomplish that.

While my relatives were here last week, I squeezed in a bit of sewing time to make a sample block of the quilt design I have chosen for the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat on Hood Canal in June. I’m teaching two sessions back-to-back at a beautiful retreat center in Washington State.

As my regular readers know, I am a huge fan of the Quick Curve Ruler and the designs created by those talented sisters (Jenny, Helen, and Sherilyn) at Sew Kind of Wonderful. For the retreat I chose one of their free patterns that call for the QCR Mini Ruler. The pattern is called Mini Mod Tiles and looks like this:

Isn’t that fabulous? This wonderfully scrappy quilt was made and quilted by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful, finishing at about 34″ square. (Photo used with permission.)

My sample block, finishing at 10½” square, is made from one focus fabric, a Dena Fishbein print from the Painted Garden line for Free Spirit:


That fabric was in my stash just waiting to be picked for this project. I chose a vibrant yellow tone-on-tone print for the connector pieces and couldn’t resist the temptation to add a square of color in the center of the block. My background fabric is a white-on-white dot.

It’s good to be back in the saddle with blogging and sewing.

 

 

 

Posted in family, QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), update | 8 Comments

Finally, a Finish

The year 2017 has gotten off to a slow start in terms of finished projects. I have several projects in the hopper and a few are close to being done; does that count?

At least today I can claim a bona fide finish. Here is Baby Selene’s Pineapple Plus quilt, started in a class taught by Karin Hellaby:

Selene’s Quilt, 47½” Square

Notice the binding? I made it to finish at ½” wide (rather than my usual ¼”) so it would provide a strong frame for the quilt and pick up the tiny bits of red found in three of the four prints used in the quilt:

Picking Up on the Red

The binding strips were cut on the bias so the cross-hatching would be oriented on the diagonal just like the centers of the blocks, which were cut on the bias because I liked the effect.

I had fun playing with leftover blocks for the back of the quilt, using two regular blocks and one larger one, all set on point to make them even bigger:

Supersize Me!

I love how the red binding pulls it all together.

The label is a simple square-in-a-square block that echoes the larger on-point blocks:

On-Point Label

After the label was stitched in place by hand, I realized I had forgotten to put my last name on it. I’m sure Baby Selene won’t mind.

As usual, Coco insisted on claiming the quilt (temporarily, of course):

Coco the Photo Bomb

 

After these photos were taken, the quilt went into the washer and dryer. Here it is now in all its puckery charm:

Pucker Up!

 

Selene will receive her quilt in person at a family reunion in Central Oregon coming up in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I get to enjoy it in its temporary location on my quilt wall:

Dawn’s Ever-Changing Quilt Wall

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, Quilter's Affair, update | 7 Comments

NYC and VFW

One week ago at this time I was in New York City at the beginning of a quick getaway with my twin sister, Diane. It was supposed to be the beginning of a three-week vacation with the Dear Husband — four nights in New York, two weeks traveling in Portugal and Spain, and four nights in New York on the way back. Alas, the trip had to be postponed because the DH needs a new hip.

We had planned to rendezvous with Diane in NYC at the beginning of our trip. She had already bought a ticket to NYC from her home in Georgia. Happily, my sweet husband was fine with the idea of me running off in high spirits and leaving him at home, so off I went.

Diane and I saw five plays in four days . . .

. . . a comedy, a tragedy, and three musicals — all terrific productions.

Here we are enjoying an after-theater dinner at Osteria al Doge, one of our favorite restaurants in the theater district:

We dined on prosciutto-wrapped shrimp served on a bed of soft polenta garnished with watercress:

Yes, it was delizioso!

We saw some excellent exhibits, including two at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and one on Venice at the New York Public Library (NYPL):


We also saw a fabulous exhibit on 40 years of musical theater in London and New York, shown at the NYPL for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. For lovers of musical theater like Diane and me, this was a little bit of heaven.

I also went to New York on a quilt-related mission: to visit the shop of Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Another bit of heaven! We were greeted warmly at the shop by Lindsey, who gave me permission to take photos:


Barbara B., a student in one of my “Sew with Dawn” classes at the Pine Needle, bought Victoria’s new pattern Star Storm recently:

Barbara asked for my help in enlarging this 80″ square quilt to fit a queen-size bed. I wanted to discuss my ideas with Victoria or a member of her staff. Victoria was vacationing with her family in Japan last week so I met with Kim, who was extraordinarily kind and helpful. She gave me a great idea that I can’t wait to share with Barbara.

Even without an agenda, the trip to the shop would have been worth it. So much color, whimsy, and quilting loveliness packed into a relatively small space!

Here is Victoria’s Victory Block quilt and a Dresden Plate block featuring some of her new fabrics:

I was excited to see a different version of Star Storm on display:

Here’s a close-up of the quilting:


I find the combination of straight lines (both horizontal and vertical) and feathers very pleasing.

You can bet that Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s shop will be on my list of places to visit on future trips to New York City.

Just so you know: the DH did just fine without me, though he is happy to have me home. He’s scheduled for hip replacement surgery April 11, which happens to be our 36th wedding anniversary.

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 14 Comments

Loops and Swirls

Baby Selene’s quilt is back from longarmer Sherry Wadley, who did a wonderful job, and I can’t wait to show you how it turned out. Here it is, trimmed and ready to be bound:

Take a closer look:

First notice the loops and swirls in the quilting motif. Then focus on the aqua and green print in the center of the photo. Those are tiny snails. (The print is from the Far Far Away collection designed by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics.)

When I was auditioning quilting motifs with Sherry, I was waffling between three designs. My friend Colleen was with me at the time and pointed out that one of the designs was reminiscent of snails. She was absolutely right, and my decision was made at that instant. The quilting motif is called Sashay.

The loops and swirls in the quilting really show up on the back:

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m going to bind this in the red cross-hatch fabric. I normally finish my quilts with a narrow ¼” binding but this quilt seems to call for a slightly wider binding — I’m thinking ½” — to highlight the red in the center of the pineapple blocks and the tiny red ladybugs in one of the other prints.

Selene’s quilt, based on Karin Hellaby’s Pineapple Plus design, will finish at about 49″ square. That’s a good size for a baby who is now officially a toddler.

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, Quilter's Affair, update | 7 Comments

Plus-Sized Pineapples

My favorite quilt teacher Billie Mahorney always encouraged her students to make the backs of their quilts interesting, incorporating leftover blocks or fabrics from the front. I took Billie’s lesson to heart.

This is the back of Baby Selene’s quilt:

selenes-quilt-top-back

In case you missed my earlier post, this is what the front looks like:

selenes-quilt-front
The design, made of 16 identical pineapple blocks, is from Karin Hellaby’s book Pineapple Plus (Quilters Haven Publications, 2010).

I had four blocks left over that couldn’t be used because the prints were in different positions. Apparently they were destined for the back. I supersized one of the leftover blocks by adding two more rounds, then set that block and two more on point. I floated the three blocks on a soft green background printed with drifting leaves.

The result looks rather modern, doesn’t it? It would look even more so with different fabrics. I may have to test that theory by making another quilt incorporating a plus-sized pineapple block or two.

After this one is quilted, I’ll add a label in the lower right-hand corner that echoes the larger blocks. It may be as simple as a square in a square or I might add another round or two to make a mini-pineapple block. I think Billie would approve.

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, Quilter's Affair, update | 4 Comments

Baby Quilt #4

One of my goals this year was to make four baby quilts. I finished three by the middle of the year and then got sidetracked by other projects. With one week left in the year, I realized I needed to get back on track. Quickly.

I remembered a fun pineapple block quilt I had started in a class with Karin Hellaby at Quilter’s Affair 2015 in Sisters, Oregon. The prints are perfect for a little girl’s quilt. Here’s one of my blocks:

selenes-quilt-1-block
Isn’t that a delightful combination of fabrics? They are all from completely different lines but they go so well together.

I had already made 12 blocks but for some reason only eight of them were identical. I had changed the position of the fabrics in the others. Why? I couldn’t tell you but I did know right away that they wouldn’t work in the layout I had in mind.

It didn’t take long to make the remaining eight blocks I needed for a 4 x 4 layout of 16 blocks. Here they are in my newly finished quilt top, destined for a special great-niece:

 

selenes-quilt-top

The blocks finish at 10″ square. With two sashing strips added, this top measures 50″ square, a good size for a toddler quilt.

The design is from Karin’s book Pineapple Plus: Sew Simple Techniques for the 21st Century (Quilters Haven Publications, 2010). This is the “four triangle method” she describes in her book, which results in the center squares (the red ones in this quilt) positioned on point. (Karin’s books are published in Great Britain but are available in the U.S., sold online and available at many quilt shops.)

The red fabric has a cross-hatch design that looks great on the diagonal. Take another look at the single block at the top of the post and also notice the tiny red squares in the green fabric and the tiny red ladybugs in the blue leaf fabric. I knew immediately that I wanted to bind this baby quilt in the red cross-hatch fabric.

Alas, I only had one little piece left measuring about 8″ x 14″ — and nothing in my stash that exact shade of red. A quick search of the Internet revealed that the fabric — Mixology Woven 2143 by Camelot Fabrics — was still available. What’s more, I found it on sale. Result: I ordered two yards instead of one.

What about those leftover blocks? They’ll go on the back, of course, along with the leftover pieces of the other fabrics from the top. I’m going to start working on that right now.

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, Quilter's Affair, update | 6 Comments

In the Christmas Spirit

My husband and I are still in Georgia, enjoying a few more days with my sister Diane and her husband Ed. With memories of a fabulous Thanksgiving feast behind us, our thoughts are now turning toward the next big holiday.

Diane has been decorating their home for  Christmas, with a few items chosen to delight their seven-year-old grandson. In the dining room, for example, Santa reigns:

stoffel-dec-2016-santa
The garland on the built-in buffet is adorned with sparkly fruit and berries:

stoffel-dec-2016-din-rm

Suspended from the light fixture in the hallway is a pair of kissing balls the size of bowling balls:

stoffel-dec-2016-kissing-balls
In the living room, the mantel is decorated with an elegant lighted garland:

stoffel-dec-2016-mantel-wreath

stoffel-dec-2016-liv-rm-mantel-detail
Also in the living room are a couple of simple but elegant additions. . .

stoffel-dec-2016-liv-rm-dec
. . . and a tiny tree next to the piano:

stoffel-dec-2016-tiny-tree
In the kitchen you’ll find this charming vignette above the range:

stoffel-dec-2016-kitchen-detail
The front and back doors have large wreaths:

stoffel-dec-2016-back-door-wreath

stoffel-dec-2016-front-door-wreath
Even the powder room gets the holiday treatment:

stoffel-dec-2016-powder-rm
Every day I notice something new: kitchen towels decorated with snowmen, jingle bells and tiny needlepoint pillows hanging from doorknobs, Christmas-themed bowls and spreaders for hors d’oeuvres displayed on the counter, a nutcracker standing guard on the fireplace surround.

I really do think Diane has a knack for decorating. Her home is graciously appointed all year around but right now, decked out for the holidays, it is especially beautiful.

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update | 5 Comments

Voilá!

How do you like my new sewing tool caddy? I’m indulging in a little sewing for myself while visiting my sister over Thanksgiving. This one was made from the pattern Travel Case by p3designs.com.

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I need to find a fabulous button to go on the front. The loop was made from an elastic band made for a ponytail.

I stitched inside the pink lines of the medallions to give the cover flap a bit of texture:

img_5068

The pattern calls for three pockets but I added a fourth one so my caddy would hold more tools:

img_5066
These tools stay at my sister’s home because I do plenty of sewing while I am here on extended visits. I’ll take the caddy home empty and fill it up with tools from my sewing room.

The DH and I are here for a few more days, during which time I hope to get a bit more sewing in. Not now, though. Now it’s time for the best part of Thanksgiving: leftovers!

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 3 Comments

Back at the Wheel

It’s Thanksgiving Day and I am thankful to be here in Georgia at the home of my twin sister, Diane, celebrating with her family and my own DH. After six days away from my sewing machine, however, I am eager to get back behind the wheel. (A sewing machine has a flywheel, after all.)

Many years ago I brought my old Elna sewing machine (purchased in 1975) to Diane’s home, and I have worked on many a quilt and home dec project since then. This year I brought a few small projects from home to work on, including a new sewing tool caddy using some favorite fabrics I have used on other quilting accessories:

img_5059

The pattern (Travel Case by Pearl P. Pereira of 3designs.com) calls for three pockets on the inside to hold tools but I am adding a fourth pocket:

img_5060
My fabrics are cut and ready to sew but I am putting everything away for now to help Diane with Thanksgiving Dinner. The air is already redolent with the smell of pumpkin pie, which just came out of the oven. The turkey goes in next!

For those of you who celebrate American Thanksgiving, I hope the same good smells are permeating your home and that you too are spending the day with loved ones.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, family, home dec, Junior Billie Bag, rotary cutter case, tote bags, update | 2 Comments

Deal Me In!

Do you play bridge? I like to play poker and pinochle but I must confess that bridge completely mystifies me. My stepmother, Shirley, is a champion bridge player. She qualifies as a Ruby Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League’s masterpoint ranking system, so she must be pretty good. She’s actually gone on cruises where she taught bridge and had all her expenses paid. Sweet!

So what’s an avid bridge player to do when she has arthritis in her hands and finds it difficult to hold a full bridge hand of 13 cards? If she has a stepdaughter who likes to sew, she asks her to make a card holder. And that’s exactly what I did for Shirley. This is what it looks like:

2016-09-28-14-44-37

The cardholder measures approximately 14″ x 8″. The bottom is divided into two sections, with each section easily holding two suits.

The top of the card holder is divided into four sections, each of which contains some evenly divided #12 shot to weight the holder at the top.

On the back of the card holder, at the top, I stitched a length of anti-skid grip-cloth fabric (the kind used on the bottom of children’s pajama feet) to keep the holder from slipping on the table top:

2016-09-28-14-40-05
When Shirley sits at the table to play her bridge hand, this is what it looks like:

2016-09-28-14-43-32
Shirley’s cards are out of sight of the players on either side of her but easy for her to see and pull out to play.

I didn’t just dream up this design. A friend of Shirley’s had made a similar one for her but it didn’t have the gripper fabric on the back and was made of just one layer of fabric. I used two layers, interfacing one layer for additional stability, and made a couple of other small changes at Shirley’s request.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and my stepmom is delighted. As my sister Diane would say, “elegantly simple and simply elegant!”

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 6 Comments