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Anticipation . . .

The weekend can’t come fast enough for me. On Sunday I am heading to Sisters, Oregon with my quilt group, the Quisters.

Sisters, a small town in central Oregon, is home to the largest outdoor quilt show in the world. The show is always held on the second Saturday in July. Last year on that day 1400 quilts were hung all over town and the population of Sisters swelled from about 2000 to 12,000. It’s a wonderful experience to spend the day walking in sunshine with your best friends, oohing and aahing over the spectacular quilts on display.

For the last few years our little group has rented a house for the week preceding the quilt show in order to participate in Quilter’s Affair, a week of quilt classes and events sponsored by the Stitchin’ Post. Classes are taught by local experts, nationally-known teachers, and a few instructors from abroad, and quilters come from all over the world to take their classes.

This year I’m taking a class from Janet Fogg, a world-renowned quilter who happens to live right here in Portland, Oregon. Her class is called Basic Drawing for Machine Quilters. The only things we bring to class are sketchbooks and pens — no sewing machines!  The emphasis is on drawing freehand quilting motifs. I can hardly wait!

My trusty sewing machine is in the shop right now for its annual tune-up (six months late, I confess) so I’m spending this week deciding which projects to take with me to Sisters. Let’s see . . . I have a quilt that needs binding . . .

ready for binding

 

I want to make a sewing machine cover along the lines of one designed by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts. Instructions are in the August 2012 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I have some blocks and fabrics left over from another project that I want to use on that. . .

sewing machine cover pattern

 

I’m getting reacquainted with some UFOs. (The project bins in my sewing room closet seem to be reproducing at an alarming rate.) Here are the blue and white strips I cut ages ago for that checkerboard square quilt; think I’ll take them along . . .

blue and white strips cut

 

And I’m still tweaking my newest design, the Monterey Bay Apron. Here is one of my recent versions; I really love this French-inspired bicycle fabric:

work in progress: Monterey Bay apron

 

It doesn’t look like I will run out of things to work on in Sisters. I’m looking forward to a great week of inspiration, productivity, and fun.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Fourth of July!

 

 

 

Posted in update | 3 Comments

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 | 7 Comments

Progress Report

After returning last month from a week in Sisters, Oregon, home of the largest outdoor quilt show in the world, I posted about the quilt show and the terrific class I took. Before I had a chance to write a third post about what I accomplished that week, my husband and I left on a road trip to California to visit our two youngest granddaughters (9 and 12). We brought them back to Portland to spend a few days with us. My sewing and quilting projects languished but I didn’t mind because I was having such fun with the girls.

They are home in San Francisco now. The house is quiet. Elfie the cat has come out of hiding. And I’m back in my sewing room taking stock of the projects I worked on in Sisters. Remember the sewing machine cover designed by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts that I posted about here? This is my version so far:

sewing machine cover, in progress

 

When it’s finished, it will look something like this:

Monique Dillard’s design

 

I finished binding my pink and green quilt, Framboise, made from my 4-Patch Wonder pattern:

Framboise, bound but not labeled

 

When the label is on, I’ll declare the quilt finished and post a proper picture in my Gallery. That’s Elfie, by the way, who doesn’t seem the least bit interested in my quilt.

I’m very excited about my newest design, the Monterey Bay Apron. After making eight versions and tweaking each one, I’m finally satisfied with the cut and the fit. Here is a look at Number Nine:

Monterey Bay Apron

 

back of Monterey Bay Apron

 

The belt is secured to the back with buttons. In the photo above, the ends of the belt were temporarily pinned to the back, adjusted for my model, Geri. The ends can be positioned anywhere along the back, making the apron one-size-fits-most. Here is a close-up of the front:

detail, Monterey Bay Apron

 

The pattern should be available in just a few weeks!

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, aprons, family, sewing machine cover, Sisters OR Outdoor Quilt Show, update | Leave a comment