In my last post you saw one of the front/back panels of my current Junior Billie Bag under construction. The second panel is now done. It’s the one on the left in this photo:
I love the look of the small Churn Dash block inside the Sawtooth Star block. I first saw this combination in a quilt by Jenifer Gaston called Churning Stars and liked it so well I used it on my most recent Junior Billie Bag. (Someday I’ll make an entire quilt from this block design but that’s on the back burner for now.)
In the center of the Churn Dash in the photo above is a fussycut square from my focus fabric, a vibrant floral print from In the Beginning Fabrics. You see much more of the floral design in the first panel, which features an inset circle framed by turquoise flanges.
I used the same floral fabric to make two small pockets that go on the outside of the bag on one of the side panels. Those are on the left in this photo:
The other glimpses of fabric are some of the interior pockets. This bag has lots and lots of pockets! It’s been fun diving into my stash to audition these fabric combinations. The most difficult thing is making decisions about which fabrics to use. You may have noticed I like to combine batiks with woven cottons.
The next time you see Junior Billie Bag #10, it will be three-dimensional. I hope you’ll check back soon to see the transformation.
Can you believe I’m up to #10 already? I had already made two Junior Billie Bags when I started teaching the class in 2016. Seven classes, seven more bags. (You can see them all here.)
I make a new bag with each class so I can show the students the individual components of the JBB and how they go together. Then I assemble the bag right along with the students so that I have a finished product the same time they do.
I’m doing the prep work for my eighth class, coming up next week. I have only one of the two front/back panels done so far because I haven’t yet decided what I want to do for the other panel. My focus fabric is a gorgeous floral from the “Unusual Garden” line by Jason Yenter of In the Beginning Fabrics. Here’s a better look at it, along with the fabrics I pulled from my stash for straps and pockets:
My plan this time is to leave the bag unassembled so that I can use it in future classes. My worry is that I’m going to love the components so much I won’t be able to resist sewing it together!
Give Me the Simple Life, my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, is home again after hanging for three days at last week’s Northwest Quilting Expo. I entered my quilt for judging in the traditional category and received the judges’ comments when I picked my quilt up this morning.
Here’s what the judges said:
“A very compelling combination of a primary color palette. Presentation inside scalloped sashings is so appealing and beautifully executed.” Credit is due Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts, who designed Hazel’s Diary Quilt and cheered me on every step of the way as I posted my progress on Instagram and on this blog.
“Hand appliqué stitch is very well done.” This comment means a lot to me because I took on the challenge of making this quilt to become proficient at needleturn appliqué.
“Machine piecing is precisely done.” Thank you, judges.
“Quilting motifs are well chosen to fill the spaces.” Kudos to Kazumi Peterson, whose free motion quilting skills and precise ruler work greatly enhanced the finished product.
“Outside edge of quilt should be straight and corners square.” This comment caught me by surprise. Were the corners really not square? I used a square ruler to trim my quilt before attaching the binding. Of course I got out that ruler and checked the corners. The first three were perfectly square. But guess what? The fourth corner was an eighth of an inch off!
I know there are many other imperfections in this quilt but all in all, I am very happy with how it turned out. Most of all, I am glad that it’s done!!
Yesterday found me happily wandering around NW Quilting Expo, now in its 19th year, out at Delta Park in Portland. Hundreds of quilts were on display, including mine and several made by friends, fellow quilt guild members, and students.
Given my recent experience with needleturn appliqué, I found myself looking more closely at quilts featuring appliqué. There were some stunners, that’s for sure! Let’s look at a few of them:
Detail of Audra Rasnake’s Hosanna:
Detail of Sharon Engel’s Spring Explosion:
Here’s a fun one made by Judy Liebo, one of the featured quilters:
Judy reproduced Disney princesses (with permission), replacing the faces with photos of her granddaughters. Check out Tinkerbelle — that’s Judy’s face — in the upper right corner:
Here’s my quilt:
Among the other quilts that caught my eye:
Here’s another of featured quilter Judy Liebo’s whimsical challenge quilts . . .
. . . and here’s Judy herself with another one:
Linda Reinert, a fellow teacher at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego, was another featured quilter. Here’s Linda with her husband’s favorite quilt:
This one was also made by Linda as part of a group challenge on the theme of architecture:
Look at the beautiful embroidery in this detail of Marcia Sanderman’s award-winning quilt:
Here’s a look at the entire quilt:
I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of the quilts that caught my fancy at the show. If you are anywhere in the vicinity, I highly recommend that you visit NW Quilting Expo today or tomorrow. If that’s not in the cards, you can see videos and photos on NWQE’s Instagram page. Sometime soon photos of all the winning quilts will be pictured on NWQE’s website.
I hope I’m not overloading you with pictures of Give Me the Simple Life, my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt. All you saw in my last post was the folded quilt because it’s too big to photograph on any wall at home. Here it is pinned to the wall at Montavilla Sewing Center’s Lake Oswego store:
I’m so excited it’s finally finished! I started working on this quilt in January 2018; my first post about it shows the original quilt designed by Shelly Pagliai.
The last thing to do was sew the buttons back on that had to be removed before longarm quilter Kazumi Peterson could work her magic. Buttons? Yes; three of my nine pieced blocks have buttons in the center of the appliquéd flower.
Coco was very interested in what I was doing:
Fortunately, I got that last button sewn on before she could bat it off the quilt and have a little frolic with it.
A word about my backing fabrics, neither of which appears on the front:
My goal was to find fabric that looked like it belonged on the front and was light enough on the back side that it wouldn’t show through. Guess I was a little nervous about all that white fabric on the front of the quilt. The light red paisley print was a lucky find but I couldn’t get enough in one continuous piece of yardage to cover the entire back. I could have ordered the rest online but feared the dye lot would be different so I filled in with a green print that complements it nicely.
Give Me the Simple Life has been accepted in Northwest Quilting Expo’s big quilt show coming up in Portland Sept. 26-28. If you are anywhere in the vicinity, please come and see my quilt in person!
It didn’t take forever to bind my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt; it just felt like it. This quilt is big. After trimming and binding, it measures about 95″ square. That’s 380″ inches of binding to tack down. I take about three stitches to the inch so I figure there are close to 1200 stitches in my binding.
This quilt is also heavy. Think about it: queen size to begin with, it contains eight blocks with lots of little pieces (which means lots of seam allowances on the back side), appliqué in the center of each block, reverse appliquéd scalloped borders around the blocks, and more appliqué in the center medallion. Even with wool batting, which I specifically chose because it’s the lightest of the batts, the quilt packs quite a heft.
I usually hand print my quilt labels but this time I printed one on my inkjet printer using instructions from a fellow quilt guild member. (Thanks, Marcia!) Here’s the label ready to be tacked down on the lower right side of the back . . .
. . . and here it is stitched in place:
I named my quilt Give Me the Simple Life, though the making of the quilt was anything but simple. As the label indicates, the quilt pattern is from the book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts. The name I gave my quilt is both homage to Shelly’s mother Hazel Ilene, who was the inspiration for Shelly’s book and the quilts and projects in it, and a nod to the 1945 song of the same name, with music by Rube Bloom and lyrics by Harry Ruby. For you music trivia lovers, the song was first recorded by Bing Crosby singing with Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra. To hear it, click here.
The quilting — all free-motion and hand-guided — is by Portland quilter Kazumi Peterson. I am so impressed with her abilities. And I am completely in love with this quilt.
The indoor lighting is not ideal but I think you can get a sense of Kazumi’s amazing quilting. Here’s a close-up of the center block . . .
. . . and here’s a shot of the full center medallion:
The white background in the interior of the quilt is filled with spirals and pebbles. All of the pieced blocks have extensive stitching in the ditches and Kazumi carefully quilted around the appliquéd flowers and leaves in the middle of each block and also the ones in the center medallion:
In the setting triangles and gray border I asked for free-motion feathers. Here’s one of the corner triangles . . .
. . . and one of the side triangles:
I was so happy a couple weeks ago when I got the top finished. “I’m finally done!” I remember thinking, completely forgetting that when it came home from the quilter it would still need to be trimmed, bound, and labeled. Okay then! I’d better get busy.
When I showed you pictures of my newly remodeled kitchen last week, I mentioned there was something I wanted to do to the glass-fronted cabinet. Today I did it:
Do you see what I did? Here’s the before picture:
Yes! I covered the back of the cabinet! It needed something. The clear glassware didn’t show up well against the white walls and the spots of color from the dishes on the middle shelf didn’t add enough pizzazz.
I was originally planning to use a scrap of wallpaper left over from another room. It was the right shade of yellow but it was too formal for the kitchen:
My twin sister Diane suggested I use fabric. Of course! With medium-weight interfacing fused to the back, it would have just the right amount of body to attach to the back wall. I had what I thought was the perfect fabric in my stash but when I went to fetch it all I had were scraps. Fortunately, there was enough yardage of another tone-on-tone print to do the trick.
I cut the fused fabric and interfacing slightly oversize. After fusing them, I trimmed the sides with a rotary cutter to fit the back of the cabinet. Nice raw edges with no raveling, thanks to the interfacing. I applied double-sided tape to the back of the fabric at the top edge and pressed it into place with my fingers.
I figured the glass shelves would hold the sides in place, and they do. Along the bottom edge I glued a piece of braided trim, also from my stash, to provide a nice finished look:
Back in November of last year – my gosh, where does the time go? – I received an email from a woman in Canada named Tammy asking if I could help her track down a dahlia quilt pattern. She included photos of a quilt that her mother-in-law, then 89, had given her in the 1990s. Tammy’s mother-in-law thought she might have received the quilt as a wedding gift when she got married in 1952 and that her husband’s sisters might have made it.
Here’s a photo of a block with sashing strips and cornerstones:
The block measures 10½” square and the dahlia blossom measures 9½” from tip to tip. You can see that the appliqué pieces were turned under and zigzagged in place by machine. Here’s a detail of the appliqué:
Tammy searched the Internet and Pinterest as well as several quilting websites and blogs but could not find the exact pattern. She did find somewhat similar blocks like the Friendship Dahlia and the Star Dahlia but no block in which the white “star” formed between each of the printed fabric petals is the background of the block rather than actual pieces appliquéd in place.
She reached out to me because she had seen my posts on a mystery quilt my husband’s niece inherited. It turned out to be a Star Dahlia quilt but Tammy thought I might have come across her version during my quest. Tammy is not a quilter herself but her birth mother is and would love to make a quilt using this block. That was a great incentive to help.
If I couldn’t find the exact block, I thought, perhaps I could create it. Having embarked in early 2018 on a huge needleturn appliqué project – Hazel’s Diary Quilt – I thought it would be fun and useful to reproduce Tammy’s mystery block while practicing my needleturn skills. “This is just the kind of challenge I love!” I told her.
I too searched online but could not find a block exactly like the one in Tammy’s quilt. I did find a couple of dahlia blocks that seemed to match the outline of what I was already thinking of as “Tammy’s Dahlia.” The Friendship Dahlia Diagram on FieldGuidetoQuilts.com was a good start:
I also found a lovely version on Barb’s Block and Border blog of a Friendship Dahlia quilt made by her mother in the 1950s using a pattern in Aunt Martha’s Favorite Quilts: 17 Quilt Patterns Pieced and Appliqued, first published in 1935.
In both versions I could see that if the lines of the petals were continued to the center circle, the block would look very much like Tammy’s Dahlia. Using the software program EQ7 (in which I am not very proficient), I attempted to draw the design . . .
. . . and then created a mock-up using “fabric” made of paper. What I mean is that I photocopied a piece of fabric (in this case a print from Fig Tree that I’ve been hoarding), cut out the shapes, and glued them onto freezer paper:
Right away I could see that the white star shapes were too narrow compared to Tammy’s version. Every few weeks I would head back to the computer and play around with the software. Here are just two more of numerous versions I worked on:
And here is my first test block made using actual fabric:
This block measures 9½” from tip to tip so it’s the same size as the one in Tammy’s quilt, sized for a quilt block that finishes at 10½” square.
My second test block measures 11″ from tip to tip, sized for a 12″ finished block:
Both blocks turned out reasonably well but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted the inside tip of the petal to come to a point like some of the ones in Tammy’s quilt. It’s tricky because the curves of the inner point are convex rather than concave. Just a couple days ago I made a test petal — and nailed it!
I sure couldn’t have done that a few months ago.
Tammy has been wonderfully patient while I worked on this project in fits and starts. Now that Hazel’s Diary Quilt is off being quilted, I am at last free to turn my attention back to Tammy’s Dahlia and, with the help of a graphic artist, finish this project in the next few weeks. I am so looking forward to the day when I can forward the pattern to Tammy and she in turn can give it to her birth mother.
I’ll be sure to show you the final product. If there is interest, I will post the pattern on my website as a free download.
It’s been a couple of months since I posted photos of our kitchen remodel. It was almost complete by mid-June and for all practical purposes it’s complete now, although there are a couple of technical issues to resolve regarding a lower cabinet. I’m still planning to do a “before and after” post but for now I’ll show you pictures of the kitchen so you can see some of my decorating choices.
Here’s the view looking toward the southeast corner:
The kitchen faucet was one of the very first things I bought and I was a little nervous about how big it seemed:
My husband and I were on the same page about wanting hot and cold faucets rather than one faucet that has to be adjusted to hot and cold. Once installed the fixture seemed to fit just fine. The first soap dispenser I chose was so wobbly I sent it back and the replacement almost looks like it’s part of a kitchen faucet set.
Opting for a single sink was such a good decision. Our old sink was divided. It’s so much easier to wash large pots and pans in this one, and anything not going into the dishwasher gets washed and dried and put away.
Here’s a straight shot of the south wall:
You can probably tell from this photo that my blue and white color scheme is punctuated by splashes of primary colors.
Looking toward the southwest corner:
Here’s a peek into the broom closet to the left of the fridge:
Notice the paper towel dispenser mounted on the inside door? One less thing taking up space on the kitchen counter!
The rest of the west wall:
The blue ceramic canisters were chosen not just for their color. They are shaped along the lines of the white ceramic composter to the left of the sink (see second photo).
Circling around to the north wall:
There’s my new cookie jar. And how do you like the retro-style kitchen step stool? It arrived in a flat box a few weeks ago but didn’t get assembled until last night, which tells you something about the timing of this post. It’s a happy coincidence that the green of the step stool is repeated in the watercolor above it.
Speaking of which, I must tell you that the three pieces of artwork in my kitchen are by my talented daughter-in-law, Jeanne Ann. Here’s a close-up of the original watercolor to the left of the glass-fronted upper cabinet . . .
. . . and the linocut print on the right side of the upper cabinet . . .
. . . and the original watercolor to the left of the refrigerator:
I love what Jeanne Ann’s artwork adds to the kitchen!
So what’s left? Well, in addition to the aforementioned cabinet issue — happily not noticeable in any of these photos — I still plan to make a tailored valance for each window. That project was put on hold while I labored on my Hazel’s Diary Quilt top. And I have something in mind for the glass-fronted cabinet I think you’re going to like.
Before I embark on those, I have a certain project to finish up that I’ve been working on periodically for months but haven’t written about yet. Although not connected in any way to Hazel’s Diary Quilt, it does involve needleturn appliqué. I hope you’ll check back in with me to see what it’s all about.
Thanks for stopping by the Portland White House to see my new kitchen!