Category Archives: update

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:

.
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

Idyllic Block — Supersized

What’s going on here?


Simply this: I supersized Corey Yoder’s Idyllic block. As designed, her block finishes at 14″ square. I enlarged it to finish at 21″ square. Why? Curiosity more than anything else — plus the fact that I bought enough of these fabrics to play around a bit.

One of the things I love about this pattern is that it can look traditional or modern depending on fabric choices. Take a look at the pattern cover:

The scrappy version pictured above looks quite traditional to my eye whereas the two-color version has a modern vibe. I figured it would look even more modern if the blocks were larger.

That got me to thinking about a kaleidoscope quilt I made as an experiment a few years ago using three different size blocks:

(This quilt top eventually became a baby quilt for a darling great niece. You can see the finished quilt here.)

What, I wonder, would Idyllic look like as a quilt with three sizes of blocks? I know how to find out . . .

But here’s the thing. Each Idyllic block has three sets of Flying Geese units in it. Two are the same size and one is smaller. The proportions need to remain consistent. If I make a block halfway between the ones I’ve already made, it needs to finish at 17½” inches square. That would make the smaller Flying Geese unit finish at 1⅞” x 3¾”.

Do I really want to go there?

 

 

 

Posted in Idyllic, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 7 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Canasta (Block 3)

I just finished Canasta, my second block in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt I embarked upon last month:


Here’s my block on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:

Why the name Canasta? If you look at it carefully you’ll see that it’s based on the traditional block called Card Trick. The designer, Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts,  started with traditional blocks like Card Trick, tweaked some of them, and added appliqué designs.

The result is a strikingly dramatic and original quilt:


That’s Shelly’s quilt. Isn’t it a beauty? Not only is it strikingly dramatic, it’s also challenging. The biggest challenge for me comes in the huge amount of appliqué, which I am choosing to do using the needleturn method.

I’ve taken a few needleturn appliqué courses in years past, including one last summer, but have never followed up with a project. Since beginning this quilt, I felt like I really needed a refresher so I signed up for a class online taught by Mary Sorensen through iquilt.com, part of the American Quilter’s Society. Mary Sorensen is a superb teacher.

That said, the green leaves in Canasta gave me absolute fits. I don’t know how many times I tried to make the leaves as Shelly designed them, with deep indentations in the scalloped side. Finally I realized I’m just not skilled enough yet to sew them properly. I altered the leaf template to make the scallops less pronounced and was finally able to appliqué them onto my block.

The yellow circle in the middle of the flower is much lighter than the black petals in the background so I interfaced it first, which precluded sewing it on via needleturn appliqué. Instead I basted around the fabric circle, pulling the raw edges tight around a template. Then I cut a tiny circle out of batting and tucked it under the circle before appliquéing it in place. It looks rather like a covered button.

Here are my first two blocks, Missouri Farm Life and Canasta, side by side:

Now measuring 12½” square, these blocks are ready for their sashing strips, which will increase their size to 18½” square.

Next up: the block Shelly named Coal Miner’s Granddaughter. My goal is one block a month. If I stay on track, I’ll have a finished quilt top by the end of the year. I might even be an old hand at needleturn by then!

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 7 Comments