Today’s the day. My twin Diane and I complete another trip around the sun. Though we live 3,000 miles apart, on this birthday I am at her home in Atlanta to celebrate with her and our Dear Husbands.
And look what was waiting for me when I arrived!
It’s not really a birthday present. I bought it in Portland a couple weeks ago and had it shipped to Diane’s home. I always do some sewing on my extended visits and the vintage Elna that I brought to her house decades ago has reached the end of its long life.
I chose this Janome 3160 because I sewed on one in June when I taught at a Pine Needle quilt retreat and absolutely loved the way it performed. Montavilla Sewing Center provided four new 3160s for the students to try out and all four machines were purchased before the retreat was over.
And what will be my inaugural sewing project? Well, Diane and I have a couple of small home dec sewing projects planned. I brought several pieces of fabric with me that are candidates for this project:
I also brought some of my Hazel’s Diary Quilt blocks to work on. Please drop by again soon for an update.
When I left for Quilt Camp on Sunday I took only one project: Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt that I began in January. I had two of nine blocks left to make. Both blocks got made — to be shown in my next post — but I also added the scalloped red frame to one of the earlier blocks, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter.
Friends, it took hours and hours but I am pretty happy with the outcome:
The block measures 18½” square but set on point, as in the photo above, it measures about 25″ at its widest.
In case you didn’t know, that scalloped red frame is done by needleturn appliqué. I followed the directions of designer Shelly Pagliai in her tutorial That Scalloped Red Frame, posted in 2015 while she was teaching her quilt design as a Block of the Month for the Kansas City Star.
Here’s a shot of Shelly’s original quilt measuring 95″ square:
I’m working on the scalloped border on another block and I can already see that my scallops are looking better and my speed is picking up.
. . . is coming up and I couldn’t be happier about it.
In just a few minutes I’m leaving for Quilt Camp — four days and three nights with a group of terrific women I’ve had the pleasure of “camping out” with for several years. In the past few years we’ve gone to Camp Tilikum in Newberg, Oregon, just about an hour away from home. It’s a popular spot for quilt retreats.
I’m packed and ready to go:
Project boxes and fabric tub? Check. Sewing machine and wraparound table? Check. Suitcase? Check. Billie Bag? Check. Big board? Check.
Camp ends at 4:00 pm Wednesday but I’m heading back early, picking up the Dear Husband, and heading to the Oregon coast where I’m doing a trunk show and lecture for a quilt guild on Thursday and teaching Part 2 of my Junior Billie Bag workshop on Friday. The DH and I are staying an extra day for a mini-vacation.
The quilts I’m taking for the trunk show are stacked on the couch, ready to be packed into bags when I get back:
I can’t wait to see the progress my students have made on their Junior Billie Bags in the couple of weeks since the first workshop. Speaking of which, I couldn’t resist seeing what my current one is going to look like when it’s sewn together. I’ll be demonstrating this step at the second workshop so for now I simply pinned the side/bottom panel unit to one of the front/back panels:
One of the fabrics I chose for pockets on the side panels is a batik with directional bubbles. Just for fun I made the bubbles horizontal on one side and vertical on the other. They may not be easy to see once the bag is all put together but I like knowing they are there.
No more work on this till after Quilt Camp. I’ll be working on Hazel’s Diary Quilt. Here’s hoping I make a lot of progress on it!
When I pulled fabrics a few weeks ago for my current Junior Billie Bag, these were my picks:
You can see at a glance this is a combination of batiks and regular woven cottons. Some quilters work exclusively with one or the other but I really like to mix ’em up.
You’ve already seen the front and back panels of my JBB in progress:
Now here’s a look at the pockets on the inside of the front and back panels:
I also have the side panels/bottom unit done (not pictured) and my binding made. This bag is ready to become three-dimensional! That happens next week, when I demonstrate how it’s done for a marvelous group of students from the Oregon Coastal Quilting Guild.
When this bag is finished it will go on display at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego. Why? Because I’m teaching a Junior Billie Bag workshop there in February and March of next year. When the class is over the JBB goes home with a dear friend of mine who loves the color purple.
One of the benefits of teaching quilting classes is learning from my students. The other day my friend and student Arden showed me a great method of cutting binding strips that she learned from Marjorie Rhine of Quilt Design NW. It’s very likely this method is known to many already but it was new to me so I wanted to share it with you.
Cut strips to your desired width. Strips can be of varying lengths, of course, but most quilters cut strips along the crosswise grain from selvage to selvage, also known as width of fabric or WOF.
Lay one strip on top of a second strip, right sides up, aligning the edges. Bring the short edges of the doubled strips up next to each other, still with right sides up. I’ve pinned these to my design wall so you can see that the strips form a U shape and the ends of the strips are parallel at the top:
Layer the strips at the top so that you have four layers, all right side up:
Take the strips to a cutting mat and cut through all four layers at a 45° angle:
You wind up with strips with parallel diagonal cuts at each end:
Place one strip in front of you and feed the second strip in from the left, aligning the edges and allowing for a ¼” offset at each end for the seam allowance:
Stitch from notch to notch:
Join remaining strips the same way, press seams open, press in half lengthwise, and before you know it your binding is ready to attach:
Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my last post about my father’s passing. I don’t often write about my personal life on this blog but in this case my connection with my dad intersected with my quilting life in such a meaningful way that I wanted to share it with my readers. I appreciate your words of comfort so very much.
My big project for 2018, the sampler quilt known as Hazel’s Diary Quilt, has been on hold the last couple months while I worked on small projects for friends and family. I think of these projects as Little Labors of Love.
In the past I’ve shown photos of pillowcases made for my sisters Reigh and Diane. Recently I made pillowcases for another set of very special sisters in my family, Jenny and Tracy. I asked them to let me know their color preferences and then selected fabrics from my stash I thought they would love.
Another labor of love is this mysterious item made from quilted fabric:
It measures about 18″ square (not counting the straps) and is doubled in order to create four channels, each about 4″ wide and open at one end. On the inside it has Velcro strips along the sides:
When folded in half the Velcro strips close and it becomes a carrying case:
Can you guess what this is for? Only if you are a Mah Jongg player! In addition to being a champion bridge player, my stepmother Shirley is an avid Mah Jongg fan and plays regularly. She asked me to make a carrying case for the tile racks in one of her sets.
My guide for this rack carrier came from another Mah Jongg player named Dorothy Huotari who posted a photo on Facebook in June of one she had made and graciously gave permission to other crafters to replicate it:
I have enough left of the quilted fabric to make Shirley a matching bag for the tiles similar to the one shown in the photo of Dorothy’s carrying case.
Last month I put the binding on a beautiful quilt made by my friend Virginia Hammon:
The quilt was one of many made by Virginia that were featured in a special exhibit at Northwest Quilting Expo last month. The quilts illustrate a book she has researched and written about the U.S. monetary system. With the text finished, Virginia can now concentrate on finishing the quilts. Since I truly enjoy the binding process, I was happy to add the binding to this beauty.
I get so much pleasure working on these Little Labors of Love, sandwiched as they are between longer term projects.
When I created my blog in May 2012, one of my very first posts was about an Ocean Waves quilt my father gave me in the 1980s when I first became interested in quilting. Here’s a close-up of the quilt:
To give you an idea of scale, the squares made of Half Square Triangles finish at 2″ and the bubblegum pink print in the center finishes at about 5½” square.
The quilt was made sometime in the late 1920s by Magdalena “Lena” Weissenfluh, my father’s Swiss-born grandmother. My dad, born in 1923, contributed to the making of this quilt. His job was to pull scraps of wrinkled fabric from the rag bag and iron them so his grandmother could cut triangles and sew them together on a treadle sewing machine.
The quilt was quilted by hand on a frame lowered from the ceiling of Grandmothere Lena’s home in eastern Oregon. My dad described the frame and the quilting process in great detail in an email message to me, parts of which were included in this 2012 post entitled “Nattering ladies with needle and thread . . .”
My father, Calvin Eston Weissenfluh, died last week at the age of 95. He had fallen at his home in Bend, Oregon the week before and was in the hospital. My siblings and I rushed to his side, expecting he would be released to a rehabilitation center. Instead he entered hospice care. It was his time and he was ready. His last week was spent in the comfort of his own home surrounded by three generations of family members and his wife of 59 years, my dear stepmother Shirley.
The last week was a time of great sadness because we knew the end was coming but it was also a time of joy as we got to celebrate his long life with him. My father was clear-headed up to the end, telling stories, giving orders, engaging in some good-natured joshing with his son and grandsons, and enjoying one-on-one time with family members. The night before he died he asked for — and got — a sip of whiskey, enjoying a virtual toast over the phone with his son-in-law in Georgia.
My father served in the US Marine Corps during World War II. Here’s a picture of him in uniform at the age of 23 alongside a photo of him taken seven decades later:
What a handsome fellow he was!
During my dad’s last week I was charged with drafting his obituary, which he read and approved. He made one correction and asked me to add one sentence that appears at the end of the following paragraph:
“Cal’s ancestors on his father’s side emigrated from Switzerland in 1880, settling in eastern Kansas before moving to eastern Oregon. A chance encounter with a Swiss tourist visiting Oregon in 1950 led to Cal’s discovery of Weissenfluh relatives in Guttannen, Switzerland. He made two trips to Switzerland to visit them and maintained close contact with his Swiss relatives for the remainder of his life. He was always very proud of his Swiss ancestry.”
My father gave me two things before he died. The first is a replica of the Swiss flag that he brought home from his first trip to Switzerland:
I’ve always loved the simplicity and strong graphic appeal of the white cross on a red background. Now I am thinking about how to include this 22″ square flag in a tribute quilt.
The second is a leather bow tie embellished with beading that was given to him in 1980 by a member of the Klamath Tribe in southern Oregon:
My dad loved that tie and wore it at our last Weissenfluh Family Reunion held in 2017:
In the works: a new Junior Billie Bag, based on Billie Mahorney’s original design. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching this fabulous quilter’s tote for the last three years and will be heading to the Oregon coast next week to teach a two-day workshop for a quilt guild.
A new class necessitates a new Junior Billie Bag, and here’s a preview of the one I’m working on right now:
(My celadon green carpet isn’t the best backdrop to show off the front and back panels but it will have to do for now.)
My starting point was this gorgeous print from In the Beginning Fabrics that came out last spring. Designed by Jason Yenter, it’s called “Ajisai Hydrangea:”
For one of the front/back panels I made a windmill block, inserting a fussy cut blossom in the center with narrow trim around it:
For the other panel I made a kaleidoscope block of eight 45° degree triangles, converting it into a double inset circle:
I just happened to have the perfect button in my collection to put in the center of the circle. The button went on after the panel was quilted:
Now I’m preparing to make a plethora of pockets. Here’s my fabric pull, a pleasing mix of woven cottons and batiks — all from my stash:
Does anyone else love the combination of green and purple as much as I do?
Five years ago or so, I bought a couple yards of New York-themed fabric from a Timeless Treasures line called “Central Park.” In 2014 I used a bit of the fabric to line the inside of this tote bag, the Bow Tucks Tote by QuiltsIllustrated.
Here’s a peek inside at the lining:
Regular readers may remember reading about it in this post from 2014.
Fast forward to 2018. I used most of the remaining lining fabric for the backing of my latest quilt, Checkerboard Curves. All I had left was this remnant . . .
. . . measuring about 9″ x 26″.
I was sorry to use it up and briefly considered searching the Internet for more. I constantly fight the impulse to replace a loved fabric when it’s gone, reminding myself that there will always be new pieces of fabric to catch my fancy. All it took was a look at the size of my fabric stash to convince me that adding to it was probably not a good idea.
But then . . . my friend Barbara, who is making her own black-and-white version of this quilt based on the pattern Dancing Churndash, asked me for selvage information on my backing fabric, hoping she could find enough for the backing of her quilt. Given the length of time since my initial purchase, I wasn’t very optimistic that Barb would find some. However, she embarked on a search of the Internet and I joined in on her behalf.
Well . . . guess what? I found enough fabric online for the backing of Barb’s quilt. And then Barb found some more! And now — here comes the confession — look what I have:
It’s always a happy day when I have a quilt finish to report. My quilt finish du jour is Checkerboard Curves, which you have seen each step along the way. It’s based on the pattern Dancing Churndash designed by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful.
Presenting Checkerboard Curves, bound and labeled:
Measuring 44″ square, the quilt was finished with ½”-wide binding in a lime green solid to match the sashing strips in the center of each block. I rarely use solids in my quilts but this one really seemed to call for it.
Here’s a look at the back featuring a delightful print of young women walking their dogs in Central Park:
I also used the solid lime on the label:
Can you see that I stitched in the ditch by machine on the inside edge of the green circle? The stitching is virtually unnoticeable on the front because it totally blends in with the curves and circles of the quilting motif.
These photos were taken earlier this week on a beautiful late afternoon in early fall:
I’m loving the effect of the dappled sunlight on my quilt.
One last shot against a backdrop of pale yellow roses: