Category Archives: family

More Mitts

Way back in May I promised my sister Reigh a pair of oven mitts. Good thing she’s a patient person! I finished the mitts last week . . .

. . . and popped them in the mail.

Reigh had requested yellow and blue. I chose a medium dark blue tonal print for the outside of the mitt — a practical choice and one I’ve used before — and a lovely blue and yellow floral print for the lining. I must have bought a lot of that floral print back in the day because I used it close to 20 years ago to make a ruffled bedskirt for my twin Diane that was eventually swapped for a more tailored one. It also went into a couple of cloth napkins that are in constant rotation at the Portland White House.

You can see more of the lining fabric in this process photo:

That’s a freezer paper pattern I’m sewing around. When the mitt on the left below is trimmed and the cuff is bound, the mitt is turned inside out and looks just like the mitt on the right:

Reigh’s mitts have arrived — she likes them! — and my guess is she has already put them to good use.

Just in case you’re new to my blog, here are links to my tutorials on how to make these oven mitts yourself:

21, Oven Mitts that Fit: Prequel to the Tutorial (April 13, 2021)
21, Oven Mitt Tutorial from First Light Designs, Part 1 (April 18, 2021)
21, Oven Mitt Tutorial from First Light Designs, Part 2 (April 19, 2021)

 

 

 

Posted in family, oven mitts, tutorial, update | 7 Comments

Saying Goodbye

My quilt guild, the Metropolitan Patchwork Society, recently published a blog post entitled “A Call for Comfort Quilts.” Friends of Hopewell House is looking for comfort quilts for residents of Hopewell House, a hospice facility reopening in southwest Portland this fall after a three-year hiatus. Prior to closing in 2019, Hopewell House spent 30 years helping thousands of individuals and their loved ones navigate with grace through one of the most profound times in their lives — death and dying.

According to Jill Citro, the Comfort Quilt Program coordinator, “The Quilt Program will offer patients a quilt of their choice, handmade by generous and creative community members who have donated their time, talents and materials. Each quilt will remain with the patient during their care. Upon the patient’s death, their quilt will be part of their ‘passage observance’ with their family, friends and caregivers, and the family will be invited to take the quilt home with them. As you can see, the quilt becomes an extremely meaningful, moving and cherished gift.”

It’s time to say goodbye to a few of the quilts I’ve made over the past 15 years or so. In a way, quilts are like books. If you’ve read a book and loved it, it’s like an old friend. It’s comforting to see it on a bookshelf; it might even be a book you’ll want to read again someday. I’ve become attached to every quilt I’ve made (even the ones that were made as gifts!) and I have enjoyed filling my home with them. They’ve been displayed in various and sundry places:  draped across chairs or on the back of couches, folded at the foot of beds, or displayed on quilt racks. Many a time a quilt has been pulled from its place on a chilly day to cover me or the Dear Husband while reading or watching TV.

Of the quilts I’m donating, three were made in classes I took from Billie Mahorney at the Pine Needle Quilt Shop in the mid-2000s. (Billie taught me so much about quiltmaking and is the one who first encouraged me to teach quilt classes.) A couple of the quilts are original designs and one is a recent quilt made from a free pattern. Now, freshly laundered and folded, these quilts are on their way to their new home. When Hopewell House opens its doors again, my hope is that these quilts will bring comfort and maybe even joy to hospice patients and their families.

 

 

 

Posted in family, Metropolitan Patchwork Society, update | 10 Comments

Off the Back Burner

Is it just me or is the summer flying by way too fast? It’s been several weeks since I made my last Sea Sampler block. I played around a bit with block arrangements in early June but couldn’t seem to land on a setting that pleased me. Last week I finally figured out why. After remaking a few of the 6″ Atomic Star blocks this week (more on those below), this is what I wound up with:


The Atomic Star blocks look like this:


Now take a look at this photo from early June:

See how the Atomic Stars are arranged with positive/negative blocks next to each other? That’s what was bothering me. The only place I really liked the effect was the one row of three Atomic Stars in the upper left quadrant of the quilt top. There’s already a lot going on in this sampler quilt (any sampler quilt, for that matter) so going with one color combo for the Atomic Stars, in this case the one with the dark star and the lighter background, calms it down a bit.

I had one other design dilemma:  the placement of the block I think of as Dawn’s Nebraska Star because I found the design on a coffee cup purchased in Nebraska years ago:

Don’t get me wrong. I love this block. But the blue star is smaller in scale than the ones in the other 12″ blocks. This one just couldn’t hold its own next to them. I found a couple of places I thought the block could go. It was my non-quilting twin Diane who helped me decide after I texted her two possibilities.

Once the blocks are sewn together, the quilt top will measure 48½” square. I’m going to add a narrow green border (an inch, I think) and then a wider border (say, five or six inches) of the little fishies print that you see in the circle of the Nebraska Star above. I’ll wind up with a quilt around 60″ square — a good size for a lap quilt.

Thanks to a suggestion from my good friend Vickie R., this quilt has an official name: Sea Star Sampler. (Love the alliteration.) Thanks, Vickie!

 

 

 

Posted in Churning Stars quilt block, family, sampler quilt, update | 3 Comments

10th Blogiversary Giveaway Update

The three winners of my recent giveaway — Linda, Chipper, and Bridget — had their choice of three bespoke items: a pair of pillowcases, a rotary cutter coat, or a pair of oven mitts.  Much to my surprise, all three winners chose pillowcases.

After a few back-and-forths via email with the winners, taking careful note of their color and fabric preferences, I got to work. It did take me a while to get the pillowcases made, what with teaching quilt classes, working outdoors alongside the Dear Husband to get the garden up to speed after a verrrry long and wet spring, and welcoming visiting relatives to the Portland White House.

But the cases are done, I’ve sent “sneak peeks” to the winners, and am happy to report the cases are, as they say, “in the mail.” Do you want to see what the end results are? Of course you do!

First up are Linda’s cases. As a reminder, Linda’s comment on my 10th Blogiversary post was this: “What a lovely and generous way to celebrate your blog’s anniversary! So hard to pick a favorite color combo, but pretty much any combination of blues and greens is hard to beat.” Linda’s cases contain — surprise! — blue and green:

The body of the pillowcase is a subtle white-on-white dot. Fun fact:  the fabrics were chosen to complement a stunning Double Wedding Ring quilt that Linda made — and hand quilted! — to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary.

Chipper, my second winner, said “I love blue and white. Congratulations on 10 years!” Here are the cases I made for her:

Fun fact: there’s an amusing story about how I wound up with the blue and white floral fabric you see in the body of the pillowcase.

My third winner is Bridget, whose comment on my blog was this: “Ten years and I have loved so many of your posts! Congrats! I am not sure how this happened, I hate orange but right now I am liking orange and cream combos or maybe orange and yellow…um 😉 Oh, hey, maybe it is a lack of sunshine this spring! lol”

Fun fact: When I showed Bridget a few prints as possibilities for her pillowcases, she jumped on one for a very special reason: her nickname is “Birdie.” Check out her pillowcases:


And take a look at this close-up:

All of the birds have orange beaks! It was meant to be, right?!

My thanks again to all who helped me celebrate 10 years of blogging by entering my Blogiversary Giveaway. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Here’s to the next 10 years!!

 

Posted in family, Giveaway, home dec, oven mitts, roll-it-up pillowcases, rotary cutter case, tutorial, update | 4 Comments

Announcing the Giveaway Winners

I’m popping in to announce the three winners of the giveaway connected to my 10th Blogging Anniversary aka 10th Blogiversary. I asked people entering the giveaway to tell me about their favorite color combination. Using a Random Number Generator found online, I was able to identify the the three winners very quickly. And here they are . . .

Linda B., who wrote, “What a lovely and generous way to celebrate your blog’s anniversary! So hard to pick a favorite color combo, but pretty much any combination of blues and greens is hard to beat.”

C. Cullen, who commented, “I love blue and white. Congratulations on 10 years!”

Bridget, who said, “Ten years and I have loved so many of your posts! Congrats! I am not sure how this happened, I hate orange but right now I am liking orange and cream combos or maybe orange and yellow…um 😉 Oh, hey, maybe it is a lack of sunshine this spring! lol”

Ladies, I will email you to find out which giveaway item you would like me to make for you — a pair of standard or kingsize pillowcases, a rotary cutter coat, or a pair of quilted oven mitts. I’ll also ask you to give me an idea of your color preferences for your item of choice so I can send you photos of some fabric combinations to consider.

My thanks to each and every person who left a comment on my blog. It was fun to read about your favorite color combos. And many of you wrote such nice things about my blog! I am so very grateful for your interest and support. You all are the reason I reached my 10th blogiversary.

In my post announcing the giveaway, I noted that family members could leave comments but would be ineligible to win. My sister Reigh left this comment: “I wanted to win oven mitts in blue and yellow! First time it’s ever been a disadvantage to be your sister! Oh well, I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you!” Dearest Reigh, your wish is my command. You couldn’t win the giveaway but you’ll still get your oven mitts. Love you, too!

 

 

 

Posted in family, Giveaway, home dec, oven mitts, roll-it-up pillowcases, rotary cutter case, tutorial, update | 6 Comments

Giveaway Extended!

I’ve decided to extend the giveaway celebrating my 10th blogging anniversary (aka my 10th Blogiversary) through Saturday. I’ll be out of town for a few days so it makes sense to wrap things up after my return. If you meant to register for my giveaway (announced on my blog on May 1) and let it slide, you have a second chance.

I’m in Portland, Oregon so you can enter up until midnight Saturday, May 14, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). Winners will be announced on Sunday. The giveaway is open to both domestic and international visitors to my blog.

I’m giving away three prizes made by me – a rotary cutter coat (pictured above), a pair of oven mitts . . .

. . . and a pair of standard or king size pillowcases:

But wait – there’s more! The winners get to pick the item they prefer — and the fabrics. I’ll find out what colors they like and give them some choices. If the handmade items I’m offering don’t appeal to you, think about them as gifts for friends or family members. Oven mitts, in particular, make great gifts. There’s even a hashtag for that: #ovenmittsmakegreatgifts.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is go to this post and respond in the comment section to the question: “What is your favorite color combo?” It’s been fun to see the responses so far, many of which mirror the color combos near and dear to my heart.

I’m sorry to say I’ve spent precious little time in my sewing room of late. What could possibly take me away from My Happy Place? The answer: the White House Garden. I have been helping the Dear Husband get our front and back yard ready for planting. I have to be honest: spending time in the garden is at the very bottom of my list of things I want to do. But we’ve had such a cold and soggy spring in Portland that I feel I have to help the DH take advantage of the (fairly) dry and (partly) sunny days to make up for lost time.

My DH moves a bit slower than he used to so I’m stealing time away from my sewing room to help him do the thing that makes his heart sing. I will always be a reluctant gardener but . . . I must confess:  there is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from getting a few feet of land freed of weeds, an overgrown bush trimmed back, a lawn and leaf bag filled and hauled to the curb. I just don’t want to make a habit of it!

I’ll be back on Sunday with the names of the winners. Good luck!

P.S. Instructions for all three prizes are included in the Tutorials page on my website, which you can find at this link.

 

 

 

Posted in family, Giveaway, home dec, oven mitts, roll-it-up pillowcases, rotary cutter case, tutorial, update | 3 Comments

Presenting . . . Baby Isabella’s Quilt

Isabella’s Quilt, 40″ x 44″ (2020)

Not only is Baby Isabella’s quilt finished, Isabella herself has arrived! She was due around May 8 but was born on April 27, weighing in at a robust 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Mama and baby are doing fine; Papa and brothers are over the moon. I was able to deliver Isabella’s quilt this afternoon so now I can show you the entire quilt rather than the sneak peeks of the last few weeks.

See the big shooting star on the front of the quilt? I love that effect! Isn’t it amazing how a few strategically placed half-square triangles can convey an image?

Here’s a look at the simple pieced back:Isabella’s Quilt was adapted from the Star Stream Quilt pattern by Sally Davies of Chasing Tigers:

I saw a different version online that had been kitted by a quilt shop, with the quilt called Shooting Stars Quilt. It took a little sleuthing to identify the original designer. I wound up buying the pattern from the quilt shop as well as from Chasing Tigers since the latter contained additional information.

I knew right away I would make only a portion of the original design, using just two stars and enlarging them for maximum graphic effect. My fabric selection didn’t occur until I found out my granddaughter Bethany was expecting a girl this spring. The two pieces of cherry-themed fabric from an older line by Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Dry Goods were the perfect choice.

My original plan was to use a white-on white print for the background but as I pulled light and medium light greens from my stash to audition for the two star blocks . . .

. . . I was inspired  to incorporate several of the prints to create a low volume background for a subtle patchwork-y effect. I think it makes the quilt much more interesting — and probably more practical in the long run.

I find the color combo of pink and green so fresh and appealing. It speaks to me of spring, my favorite season of the year. Right now our Portland, Oregon neighborhood is alive with pink and white dogwood trees and azalea bushes in every shade from palest pink to deepest rose. This was the view from my front porch a couple of days ago:

The sunlight on the dogwood blossoms surrounded by the lush greenery reminds me so much of the colors in Isabella’s Quilt.

Here’s a close-up of the quilting:

Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day did a beautiful job on the quilting, using a pale green thread and an edge-to-edge design called “Sashay” by Anne Bright Designs. This is the third quilt I’ve chosen to have quilted with this design; the loops and swirls are such a pleasing counterpoint to all of the straight and diagonal stitching lines.

I had a bit of good fortune when it came to the bias striped binding. I had no idea if the pattern would match when it came time to join the two ends of the binding. Alas! It did not. However, with a bit of gentle but very persistent tugging on the two bias strips, I was able to stretch them to the point I could join the seams in the center of the pale pink section. If you look at the binding on the bottom of the quilt . . .

. . . you will see that the center pink section in the very middle is a bit longer than the others. But it’s almost undetectable. Serendipity!

Now for a look at the label:

As usual, I made a label using a compact disc as my pattern.

The last thing I do before delivering a baby quilt is throw it in the washer and dryer. There’s nothing like the puckery goodness of a freshly laundered quilt:

Welcome to the world, Baby Isabella!

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, update | 9 Comments

Another Sneak Peek

I can’t help myself! I’m giving you another sneak peek of Baby Isabella’s quilt. I attached the binding last night and I have to pose this question:  Is the binding fabric not a match made in Quilt Heaven with the other fabrics in the quilt? You be the judge:

The striped fabric from my stash has the very same colors as Baby Isabella’s quilt but it’s from a completely different line. I cut my binding strips on the diagonal because I love the look of diagonal stripes on quilt binding. On this quilt the binding will finish at 1/2” wide (rather than my usual 1/4”) because I really want to call attention to it. In my view it frames and finishes the quilt beautifully.

You’ll be able to see what I mean at the final reveal. Soon, I hope!

 

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, update | 9 Comments

I Cannot Resist . . .

. . . giving you a sneak peek at the quilting on Baby Isabella’s quilt:

It’s just back from the longarmer and I can’t take my eyes off it.

In the foreground you see one of two star blocks I previewed a couple of posts ago. The final reveal will be saved until after the quilt has been delivered to the expectant parents, my granddaughter Bethany and her husband. Baby Isabella is scheduled to make her appearance in the next few weeks.

If I weren’t doing my final prep for a quilt workshop tomorrow, I’d be up in my sewing room this very minute trimming the quilt and getting the binding ready. All in good time!

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family | 5 Comments

Two New WIPs

I have a new Work-in-Progress to report:  a baby quilt! Granddaughter Bethany is expecting her fourth child in a few weeks — and it’s a girl! Baby Isabella — yes, she already has a name — will be joining three older brothers. We are all so excited to be welcoming a girl (although a boy would be equally treasured).

One thing I knew for sure in planning this quilt: it would not be “gender neutral.” Baby Isabella’s quilt will be decidedly feminine, meaning: Think Pink! I pulled out a treasured piece from my stash, “Cherry Baby,” a lovely pink and green print from Holly Holderman for Lakehouse Dry Goods, and discovered a companion print, “Cherry Toss,” tucked in with it. I’ve had these fabrics for — oh, a good dozen years. I must have been waiting for the perfect project.

I won’t be showing more until the quilt is done. Bethany follows my blog so I want to keep part of the quilt a surprise for her. I do hope she likes what she sees so far!

I titled this post “Two New WIPs.” I’ve described the Work in Progress underway in my sewing room. And what of the second WIP? Why, it’s Baby Isabella, of course!

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, update | 4 Comments