Category Archives: family

Happy Birthday to Me!

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.

 

 

Posted in family, Hazel's Diary Quilt, home dec, update | 8 Comments

A Busy Week . . .

. . . 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!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, family, Hazel's Diary Quilt, Junior Billie Bag, quilt retreat, tote bags, update | 2 Comments

Little Labors of Love

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.

Here are Tracy’s cases . . .

. . . and Jenny’s:

(I followed my picture-heavy tutorial to make these burrito-style pillowcases.)

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.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, roll-it-up pillowcases, tote bags, update | 1 Comment

Transitions

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:

I will wear it to the next reunion in his honor.

RIP, Pater.

 

 

 

Posted in bowties, family, update | 21 Comments

Opposites Attract

Back in July I was playing around with the pattern Dancing Churndash, using positive and negative prints in black and white:

I liked the checkerboard effect immensely but only had enough of the prints to make these four blocks, having used most of the fabric years before in a couple of other projects.

Not to worry. I just (ahem) happen to have several other sets of positive/negative black and white prints in my stash. I pulled out one of those sets to make a quilt I’ve already named Checkerboard Curves. It’s easy to see why:


Dancing Churndash
was designed for Cut Loose Press by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful. The traditional Churn Dash block is one of my favorites, and I love Jenny and Helen’s contemporary curvy take on it. (In fact, this is my second version of Dancing Churndash. You can see the first one here.)

The top above measures 44″ square. I generally make quilts that are at least lap size and thought about adding borders to this one to make it larger. In the end I decided to keep it simple and will finish it with lime green binding after it’s been quilted.

For the backing I did a little more stash diving and came up with this Timeless Treasures print from a few years ago featuring stylish young women walking their dogs in New York City and picnicking in Central Park:

I had just enough length for the backing but needed to add to the width to make it work:

Isn’t that cute?

The photo above was taken yesterday just as the light was beginning to wane. Coco the Cat was keeping my husband company while he was weeding in the backyard but she came over immediately to investigate:

 

 

 

 

Posted in cats, family, Quick Curve Ruler, update | 6 Comments

I See Quilts

Bom dia from Portugal! My husband and I are in the heart of the Douro River Valley on a river cruise. Everywhere you look the terraced hills are covered with vines. We have visited some lovely wine estates and sampled some delicious wines and ports.

I’m finding plenty of inspiration for quilts. Here’s a small sample beginning with a photo taken while we were still in Spain.

An exterior window in the old Jewish quarter of Toledo . . .

A lovely motif, reminiscent of fleur de lis, at the Mateus Palace near Pinhăo, our second docking stop in Portugal:

Tile from the interior wall of a cafe in Lamego where we stopped after a museum visit for a glass of champagne (our Friday night tradition):

A cork-backed ceramic trivet from the Museu do Douro gift shop in Régua:


I’ll be on the lookout for more . . .

P.S. If you are on Instagram, check out the hashtag #iseequiltseverywhere. You’ll see a few of my posts.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, family, update | 6 Comments

Duty Calls

I would much rather be working on a quilt project but . . . duty calls. My sewing room has been temporarily transported into an alteration station while I convert three long-sleeved shirts with one pocket each into three short-sleeved shirts with two pockets each. All for the Dear Husband. We’re going on a trip later this month and he really is in need of some new duds.

In days of yore I could find shirts for him that had matching pockets. Alas, no more. Shirtmakers seem to have given up on this notion entirely — except for western shirts which often come not only with two pockets but also pocket flaps and pearl buttons. Not the DH’s style at all, though I personally like them.

It’s usually easier to make two matching pockets than to duplicate the single pocket the shirt comes with so I start out each project by picking the stitches out of the single pocket to remove it from the shirt. This is usually accompanied by some minor grumbling on my part. Then I cut off the sleeves at the elbow and make new pockets from the leftovers, using a pattern I made (years ago) from freezer paper:

I must admit I like the end result:


Two shirts down, one to go. Then it’s back to the fun stuff!

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 10 Comments

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

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

First Week, First Finish of 2018

Ah, how nice to end the first week of the year with a quilt finish. May I present . . . Bluebirds for Bethany:

Bethany (fourth of my six granddaughters in birth order) is a wife and mother of three little boys age five and under. The boys received quilts made by their great granny (me) when they were babies. I wanted Bethany to have her very own quilt, one that reflects her gentle personality, and I wanted it to be unabashedly feminine. Why? Because she is surrounded by menfolk! Even the family dog is male.

This quilt fits Bethany to a T. I already knew she loved the color scheme and fabrics because she commented on a smaller version I made last year as a baby quilt. I had more than enough pieces left over to construct another quilt. It was meant to be.

On the back of Bethany’s quilt I added a strip of half-square triangles and a very special label:

Here’s a close-up of the label:


I am so delighted with how this quilt turned out. I asked longarm quilter Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day to quilt it using the time-honored Baptist Fan motif. It’s a motif one sees frequently on quilts made as far back as the mid-19th century. Those quilts, of course, were quilted by hand. Today’s longarm quilters use digitized versions to great effect.

Notice how the curves of the fans soften the sharp angles of the pineapple blocks? That was one of my reasons for choosing the motif. Karlee did a beautiful quilting job, as usual, with an extraordinarily fast turnaround. (Thank you, Karlee!)

I chose a bright rose fabric for the binding, cutting it on the bias to show the crosshatch design to better advantage:

Stitching the binding to the back of the quilt by hand was hampered to some degree by a certain calico cat who thinks a quilt draped across a lap is a fort to burrow under:


I tried to schedule my binding sessions around Coco’s catnaps. As you can see, I wasn’t always successful.

Once the quilt was bound and labeled it went into the washer and dryer to give it that old-fashioned crinkly look and feel:

Now all I need to do is tie this quilt up with grosgrain ribbon and deliver it!

Finished size (after quilting, trimming, binding, and laundering): 57″ x 58″
Block design: from Karin Hellaby’s book Pineapple Plus
Focus fabric on front: Birdies by Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods
Background fabric: Kimberbell Basic White 8210 (white dots on white)
Other fabrics (from my stash): various blenders in blue, aqua, pink, and green
Focus fabric on back: bicycle toss by Gail Cadden for Timeless Treasures, #Gail-C 2794

 

 

 

Posted in family, pineapple quilt block, update | 8 Comments