Category Archives: update

Gearing Up for Quilter’s Affair 2016

On Sunday I’m heading over to Central Oregon with my quilt group, the Quisters, for a week of sewing,  including taking classes at Quilter’s Affair.

Do you know about Quilter’s Affair? It’s the week of classes put on by the Stitchin’ Post  quilt shop in Sisters, Oregon, leading up to the biggest outdoor quilt show in the world. The show is always held on the second Saturday in July; this year it falls on July 9.

For Quilter’s Affair, the Stitchin’ Post brings in teachers from the U.S. and abroad to join a group of talented local and regional experts. I’m taking a class taught by fellow Oregonian Karla Alexander of Saginaw Quilts. I’ve met Karla, heard her lecture, and admired her designs, so it’s high time I took a class from her.

She’s teaching five classes at Quilter’s Affair. I’m taking the one based on her pattern Rewind:

RewindP436FB_lg

Many of Karla’s designs are made by cleverly stacking, cutting, and sewing fabrics. Rewind is no exception. I was attracted to this pattern because of its resemblance to the classic Greek key design. Whereas the traditional Greek key is dignified, with straight lines and symmetry, Karla’s key (if I can call it that) is quirky and lighthearted, thanks to free form cutting, a freewheeling color palette, and funky fabrics.

I decided to raid my batik stash for this quilt. Instructions were to start with a family of colors and pick an equal number of lights and darks. I started with green — no surprise there — and randomly pulled other colors that go well with it. After cutting my 12″ squares, I layered them so that each fabric looks good with its neighbor on either side.

Here is my fabric pull:

fabric pull for rewind

Most of these squares are doubles, with a few singletons. For the class project 48 squares are needed. I wound up with 60, which gives me some leeway. In some cases a fabric works as a light with one neighbor but as a dark with the other. It will be interesting to see if this affects the construction process.

Taking this class will be extra fun because my fellow Quister Deborah is taking it, too. I wonder what fabrics she chose. Quilter’s Affair, here we come!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Quilter's Affair, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), update | 1 Comment

Revisiting Reach for the Stars

Reach for the Stars, the spectacular sampler quilt designed and made in 2012 by Terri Krysan of Lakeville, Minnesota, continues to enchant quilters all over the world. Terri’s quilt was pictured on the cover of the Oct./Nov. 2013 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter. My guess is that hundreds, if not thousands, of versions have been made — or at least started — since then.

Directions for the quilt were presented in a series beginning with that issue of Quilter’s Newsletter and ending with the Oct./Nov. 2014 issue. My version, named Catch a Falling Star, was completed early in 2015. During the year I spent making my quilt, I became part of an on-line community of Reach for the Stars makers that continues to this day.

About a year ago I heard from Annette Holder in Jonesboro, Tennessee, who was just starting her RFTS quilt and had a construction question. A couple of weeks later, Annette sent this picture of her center medallion and first five blocks:

annette holder's medallion and first five blocks

In addition to the center medallion, Reach for the Stars contains 14 pieced blocks. Annette replaced some of the blocks in Terri’s original quilt with some more to her liking. (I did the same.)

Just a few days ago Annette sent me photos of her completed quilt top. It is gorgeous! See for yourself:

image1

Here’s a view from a different angle:

image2

Beautiful, Annette! I can’t wait to see it quilted.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Judi Schwenk, a quilter from Vancouver, Washington — just across the bridge from my home in Portland, Oregon. Judi’s version of RFTS is called Shadows in the Fog:

Judi Schwenk's RFTS quilt

Perfectly named, considering the misty blues and muted lavenders and greys in the quilt. Here’s a close-up of the center medallion, which also gives you a glimpse of the lovely swirly quilting motif:

Judi Schwenk's RFTS detail

This is a stunning achievement, given that Judi is a relatively new quiltmaker.

Chris Tabuteau of Melbourne, Australia is also a beginning quilter. She, too, created a fabulous version of Reach for the Stars. Chris bought a set of 40 Barbara Brackman Richmond Reds fabrics “on a bit of whim,” as she recalls. She thought a sampler quilt would allow her to use most of the fabrics and develop some sewing skills.

An avid gardener, Chris replaced some of the star blocks with her own very stylized adaptations of flower blocks. The result is Cottage Garden:

Chris Tabuteau RFTS
Can you believe this is Chris’s third quilt? This close-up shows her accurate piecing as well as the fine work of her longarm quilter:

Chris Tabuteau RFTS corner detail

Chris also pieced a lovely back, a finished quilt in itself . . .

Chris Tabuteau RFTS back

. . . and made a set of pillowcases from the very last of the scraps:

Chris tabuteau RFTS pillow

Thank you, Annette, Judi, and Chris, for sharing your beautiful creations!

 

 

 

Posted in Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 4 Comments

Friday Finish: Mini Rings Quilt

2016-6 Ring Toss, croppedMy quilt Ring Toss, based on the double wedding ring block, is finished. It measures 32¼” square. The pattern is  Mini Rings by Sew Kind of Wonderful and was made with the mini Quick Curve Ruler.

As much as I liked this little quilt after getting it back from the longarm quilter (Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day), I like it even more now that it’s bound:

2016-6, Ring Toss binding detail

One of my friends wondered why I chose green for the binding over black. Black would have provided a strong dramatic frame for the quilt, it’s true. So why green?

First, I wanted to draw attention to the playful nature of the focus fabric used in the rings. That fabric (from the Doodle line by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures) is mostly black and white with touches of lime green and light blue. The overlapping circles in the fabric remind me of ferris wheels and fireworks. A bright color seemed more appropriate than black for the happy mood I wanted to emphasize.

Second, instead of piecing a backing for the quilt with different fabrics, as I usually do, I used one piece, the same print used on the front. From a distance, the fabric reads primarily as black and white. If I had pieced the back I would have added quite a bit of lime green to liven it up. Since I wanted the quilt to be bright and cheerful from both sides, green binding was the obvious choice.

Oh, and then there is that third reason, which I think I’ve mentioned a few times before: green is my favorite color.

In keeping with the block design, fabric design, and quilt name, the label features  — what else? — a double ring:

2016-6, Ring Toss label

Do you think I should have named it Coco’s Quilt?

Coco's quilt

 

 

 

 

Posted in cats, QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, update | 8 Comments

Ring Toss: Quilted!

Ring Toss, my little quilt made from Sew Kind of Wonderful’s Mini Rings pattern, is back from the quilter already. Take a look:

Ring Toss, quilted 1
I asked Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day.com to quilt this for me, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I had been thinking of Karlee as an up-and-coming longarm quilter because she is quite new to the field, but it’s quite clear she has already arrived.

Here are some close-ups of her lovely quilting, first on an X block . . .

Ring Toss, quilted X

. . . and then on an O block:

Ring Toss, Quilted O
The acanthus motif fills the center of the O block beautifully. And don’t you love the quilted “pearls” in the elongated oval between the rings?

For the green and black triangles that form an on-point square where the rings meet, Karlee designed her own quilting motif, intertwining rings that reinforce the theme of the quilt:

Ring Toss, quilting detail 1
I have been trying all morning to photograph this quilt. Every time I place the quilt on a flat surface, my new cat Coco photobombs it:

Ring Toss, photobombed by Coco

Ring Toss and Coco

Doesn’t she look innocent?

Ring Toss measures 33¼” square after quilting. Now it’s on to the binding and the label. I’m going to use the same lime green fabric for the binding that’s in the quilt; I think it will frame it nicely.

 

 

 

Posted in cats, QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, update | 14 Comments

Mini Rings: Off to Be Quilted

Mini Rings top done
The Mini Rings quilt top I started last month is done and — as of today — off to be quilted. The top, measuring 34″ square, was made with a focus fabric from a Timeless Treasures line called Doodle, designed by Alice Kennedy.

The quilt is small enough that I could have quilted it myself on my domestic machine but I chose not to do that. You probably know that quilting is my least favorite part of the quiltmaking process. I decided I wanted the quilt to reflect the deft touch of a talented free motion longarm quilter. We seem to have a growing number of them in the Portland area.

I used a single piece of the focus fabric on the back, a portion of which is shown here:

Doodle

Primarily black and white with touches of lime green and cool blue, the print features overlapping circles ranging from 1¼” to 2¾” in diameter. What do you see when you look at them? I see fireworks and ferris wheels, which makes me think of carnivals.

And that led me to the name for my quilt:  Ring Toss. Isn’t that perfect? Or should I call it Mini Ring Toss?

 

 

 

Posted in QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, update | 4 Comments

Pine Needle Retreat 2016

Talk about a room with a view!

Hood Canal

This photo of Hood Canal in Washington State — those are the Olympic Mountains in the background — was taken from the deck of the house I stayed in last week. I was in Union, Washington to teach at a four-day quilt retreat organized by the Pine Needle. The deck of the house I shared with Geri, the owner of the Pine Needle, was built right over the water. I fell asleep to and woke to the sound of water gently lapping at the rocks on the shore.

The retreat itself was held at St Andrews House, a retreat and conference center run by the Episcopal Church of Western Washington:

St Andrews House, Hood Canal
Isn’t that a serene setting for a retreat? Here are a couple of closer views of the building:

St Andrews House Hood Canal 1

St Andrews House Hood Canal 2

A covered deck runs the entire length of the house on the water side, affording spectacular views of Hood Canal (technically a glacial fjord) and the Olympics.

The pattern I selected for the retreat was Spinners, from the book On the Run Again by Heather Mulder Peterson (Anka’s Treasures, 2014). Spinners is one of 11 designs in the book, so participants got a bonanza of designs when they signed up.

One of the things I love about teaching is seeing what fabric combinations students bring to the sewing table. Here are the first few blocks:

Spinners first blocks
On our last morning, we had an impromptu show and tell of our projects. Unfortunately, our California girls (Candyce, Jan, and Janice) had to leave very early to catch a flight home, and a couple of other participants had already packed their projects away, so I don’t have photos of those. Still, we have plenty of examples to show you.

Diana came to the retreat planning to make one test block. She liked her first block so well she decided to make an entire quilt! Here are her first six blocks:

Spinners Diana

Linda completed her quilt top! She fussy cut the center hexagons. The narrow containment border and wider floral border set off her blocks beautifully:

Spinners Linda Lake

Sophia was very productive! Not only did she complete a Spinners top . . .

Spinners Sofia
. . . she also made another block from Heather’s book, the block called Happy Dance . . .

Sofia with Happy Dance . . . and this one called Chatter Box:

Sofia with block
Donna made a set of placemats using the table topper design from the book — and had enough fabric leftover to make a table runner:

Spinners Donna

Those placemats will add a lively jolt of color to Donna’s table.

Carol S. also chose the table topper design, using a delightful holiday fabric featuring poinsettias and holly:

Spinners Carol Stark
She made several, to be given as gifts. Lucky recipients!

Carol D. made kaleido-spinner blocks (my name for the Spinners block made with identically-cut triangles that surround the center hexagon) using a lovely stylized floral fabric:

Spinners Carol Dyer
Did you notice Carol’s Spinners blocks are on point? She is making a runner for a narrow table; her runner will be 13½” wide. If she had turned her blocks horizontally, the runner would measure 15½” wide.

Pam S.’s runner features playful prints spinning around solid gold:

Spinners Pam Snyder

I can’t help it; those fabrics make me smile.

Evelyn also made kaleido-spinner blocks. She’s making a quilt and is showing us the fabric she chose for the border. It’s going to look terrific next to the subtly textured aqua batik that surrounds the spinning triangles:

Spinners Evelyn Bonney
I can think of only one word to describe Tamara’s Spinners runner: elegant. Take a look:

Spinners Tamara Brockett
The touches of metallic in the triangles and light background fabric, contrasting with that rich burgundy, contribute to the rich effect. Tamara fussy cut her triangles from a fabric I wouldn’t have thought of for a kaleido-spinner quilt:

Spinners Tamara Brockett with focus fabric

Tamara will incorporate that fabric on the back of her runner.

Sharon fussy cut flowers for the center of her blocks from a beautiful fabric that looks like a watercolor painting. Here’s one of those blocks . . .

Spinners Sharon Justus
. . . and another:

Spinners Sharon Justus block 2
She’s using a different colored batik in each of the triangles.

Debbie H. chose fabrics for her runner that match the décor of her dining room:

Spinners Debbie

That creamy jacquard background fabric sets off her Spinners blocks so well. And her Y-seams are perfect!

Debbie S. pieced a king-size bed runner using lively tropical fabrics. She also made kaleido-spinner blocks:

Spinners Debbie ScroggyDebbie put her own spin on the design by incorporating two fabrics in the top and bottom blocks (that stripe!), omitting the sashing strips, and adding an accent strip around the blocks. Debbie is a professional longarm quilter (AllQuilted LLC). I will be very interested to see how she quilts this vibrant runner.

While the retreat featured the Spinners pattern, the participants were free to work on whatever they wanted.  Helen was finishing the binding on two spectacular small projects . . .

Helen with Convergence

Helen's project
. . . and she was also working on her version of Shadowbox (pattern by Mountainpeek Creations):

Helen's quilt

Colleen worked on her 6″ Farm Girl Vintage blocks, designed by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet:

Colleen with Farmgirl Vintage
That block on the far right has over 50 pieces in it. I can only imagine how many pieces the finished quilt will contain.

Thank you, Geri, for organizing a fabulous retreat filled with laughter, games, good food, and some very productive and creative sewing. Thank you, participants; you made teaching a pleasure. I hope to see you all again when we convene at the Pine Needle in October to show off our finished creations.

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, hexagons, kaleido-spinner, table topper, update, wall hanging | 13 Comments

A New Coat for my Rotary Cutter

I’m heading off shortly to Hood Canal in Washington State for a quilt retreat organized by the Pine Needle, the quilt shop where I teach. On one evening I’m going to show my students how to make a rotary cutter coat based on my free pattern (tutorial here).

As I was gathering my materials yesterday, I realized I didn’t have a rotary cutter coat of my own. All the ones I have made were given away.

I fixed that in short order. Here is my (new) rotary cutter coat:

rotary cutter cut

The fabric? Two prints from the Paradise line designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Cottons. I bought a lot of this line when it came out last year. You may recognize it, because it goes with the Junior Billie Bag I made a few months ago. These are the front and back panels of my bag:

Jr Billie Bag front and back

Now my Billie Bag is packed for the retreat, including my new rotary cutter coat:

billie bag and cutter coat
I’m good to go!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, rotary cutter case, update | 5 Comments

Friday Finish: WanderLust

Well, that was fast.

Just yesterday I showed you pictures of WanderLust, the king-size bed runner I picked up on Wednesday from longarm quilter Coleen Barnhardt of the Quilted Thistle. The bed runner needed to be bound and labeled — and that’s been done.

As good as my quilt looked after Coleen worked her free motion quilting magic on it, it looks even better now that it’s bound:

WanderLust complete

WanderLust back and front

Are you surprised I got it bound so quickly? It would have taken me hours to stitch down the binding by hand. Confession: I took the easy way out and fused the binding in place in a matter of minutes with Steam-a-Seam-2, a double-stick fusible web.

I use Steam-a-Seam-2 occasionally on wall hangings and other small pieces that won’t get washed. It should be just fine for this bed runner that will be laundered but not as often as, say, a baby quilt. (Actually, a fusible web should never wash out or come undone if applied properly. I used it on this quilt because I was in a hurry to get it done; my preference is for a binding stitched down by hand.)

The label is a bit unconventional. In fact, it’s not a label at all. I mentioned yesterday that this quilt is reversible so I didn’t want to attach a label as I normally do. Here’s what I did instead:

label

Can you see where I wrote “WANDERLUST, DAWN WHITE, 2016 PORTLAND OR” in permanent ink? It’s hard to see (my plan) but it’s there. I like to include information on my labels about the patterns and designers but I skipped it in this case. Let this post be a permanent record that WanderLust was based on the pattern Spinners by Heather Mulder Peterson. Spinners is one of several delightful designs in her book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014).

My new cat Coco must really like this quilt. She photobombed it:

Coco photobomb

 

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, cats, free motion quilting, quilt labels, update | 6 Comments

WanderLust, Quilted

Yesterday morning when I looked at my Instagram feed, I saw something familiar, a photo on Coleen Barnhardt’s Instagram page very similar to this one:

WanderLust, quilting detail 1

Oh, joy! It meant Coleen, an award-winning longarm quilter (the Quilted Thistle), was working on my quilt WanderLust, made from Heather Peterson’s Spinners pattern (from the book On the Run Again).

Later in the day Coleen let me know she was finished, and off I rushed to claim the quilt. It’s actually a king-size bed runner (measuring 20″ x 88″ after quilting) so it was a bit difficult to photograph. Here are a few shots taken on my back lawn yesterday afternoon:

WanderLust

WanderLust front and back-001

I liked the floral fabric so much (it’s from Joel Dewberry’s Wander line, which is how this quilt got its name) that I made the bed runner reversible. Because of that I won’t put a label on it — but I may write some information on the back in very tiny letters.

Coleen’s free motion quilting is spectacular! Here are a few closeups:

Wanderlust quilting detail

WanderLust quilting detail 4

WanderLust, quilting detail 3

WanderLust, quilting detail 2
Coleen and I chose a pale khaki thread with sheen. Because the quilt is reversible, I asked her to use the same thread on the back:

WanderLust, quilting detail, back
The fern-y batik I used on the front of the quilt is all but gone from my stash. Fortunately, I have enough of the dotted batik from the back to use for the binding:

Wanderlust, binding fabric

Getting this bed runner bound is top priority, as I am teaching the Spinners pattern at the Pine Needle retreat this weekend, and I want to show a finished quilt. After that, I am sending WanderLust off to my sister Reigh, as it will look perfect at the foot of her king-size bed.

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, family, hexagons, update | 10 Comments

Hitting the Jackpot

That shipment of Garden Pindot fabric by Michael Miller that I’m using as the background for my Mini Rings quilt finally arrived today. It shipped out 10 days ago, and I’d been wondering if it would ever arrive.

I think the wait was worth it:

2016-05-31 15.59.37
That sticker was on the plastic bag my fabric was packed in. I ordered five yards — and received 11½ yards instead.

But that’s only part of the story. All I needed was a small amount of this white-on-white dot to finish my Mini Rings quilt:

2016-05-31 16.00.05

I couldn’t find it locally so I decided to shop online. When I discovered that fabric.com had 11½ yards of this fabric available, I impulsively ordered it all, reasoning that it would serve as background for a great many quilts and I would never be in a situation where I would be using noticeably different dye lots in the same project.

Then fabric.com notified me that the yardage was not one continuous piece of fabric but rather several pieces in 1 yard, 1.5 yard, and 2 yard cuts. Did I still want the fabric? I decided to rein in my impulse purchase and modified my order to three pieces totaling five yards. The fabric shop altered my order and refigured the price.

When the box arrived today, I lifted it and thought, “Gee, this is awfully heavy for five yards of fabric.” Inside were eight cuts of fabric totaling 11½ yards. Talk about hitting the jackpot! Thank you, fabric.com!

Interestingly, two of the eight cuts are noticeably creamier than the others, so I will set them aside and make sure I don’t unwittingly combine them with the snowier ones.

Guess I won’t be running out of Garden Pindot anytime soon.

 

 

 

Posted in QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, update | 5 Comments