Category Archives: family

Snow Day Sew Day

Today happens to be a rare day with no appointments or errands to run so I’m treating it like a snow day. I’m spending the entire day in my sewing room, except for the time taken to write this post. On my agenda: working on a lap quilt for Granddaughter #4 (in birth order).

I have six granddaughters. When I took up quilting seriously a decade or so ago, my oldest granddaughters were already having babies so I started making quilts for the great grandchildren. The pineapple quilt I finished in October for Baby Alira was the twelfth one made for a great grandchild:

Baby Alira’s Quilt, 44″ Square (2017)

 

Now it’s time to make quilts for my granddaughters. I’m starting with #4, Bethany, for the simple reason that she told me how much she loved the fabrics I was using in Baby Alira’s quilt. Since I had plenty of fabric left over and shapes already cut, I decided to make a larger version of the same quilt for Bethany.

The pineapple blocks in Baby Alira’s quilt finish at 10″ square. By adding two more rounds, I wound up with blocks for Bethany’s quilt that will finish at 14″ square. Here are those blocks up on my design wall:

Bethany’s Blocks

Now it’s time to add the sashing and cornerstones, to be followed by borders. Do come back soon to check on my progress!

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, pineapple quilt block, update | 4 Comments

Ain’t That a Sham?

When my husband and I fly from Oregon to Georgia for our annual two-week Thanksgiving visit with my twin sister and her husband, I almost always make something for their home. It’s a small way to thank Diane and Ed for the generous hospitality they show Charlie and me on these visits, and it satisfies my urge to make something when I’m away from my sewing room for an extended time. You know how it is: a maker’s gotta make.

I knew ages ago what this year’s project would be. That’s because Frugal Fabrics, a home dec fabric store in the Atlanta suburb where my sister lives, announced at the beginning of the year that it was closing. Diane and I have found beautiful fabrics there in past years that have made their way into home dec projects in her house.

Before the shop closed its doors for the last time, Diane bought a gorgeous piece of fabric called “Brandywine Paisley” by Duralee Fabrics. She bought what was left on the bolt – about 6½ yards – without any idea what she would do with it. (At $2 a yard, I would have done the same thing. I have a thing for paisley prints.) We consulted via text messaging and concluded the fabric would be perfect as new pillow shams in her master bedroom.

Fast forward to my arrival in November. After Thanksgiving was over, Diane and I designed the shams, starting with the notion of a simple envelope with braided trim on the “flap” of the envelope on the front. She likes her shams up against the headboard with sleeping pillows arranged in front so it was important that the flaps be short enough for the braided trim to show.

If Diane were a quilter, she would have freezer paper in her house. She’s not and she doesn’t, so I made a pattern for the flap out of two sheets of parchment paper:

I had to pin the two sheets together because scotch tape doesn’t stick to parchment paper!

Being somewhat obsessive-compulsive, I wanted the design on the fabric to match where the flap meets the sham. That meant the flap needed to be a separate piece that could be attached to the back of the sham in just the right place for the design to match up on front after the pillow form was inserted. All of this called for some careful fussy cutting – in triplicate, because there are three shams. It took me the better part of one afternoon just to cut the fabric.

What you see below is one sham in two pieces. The body of the sham is essentially a square with rounded edges and a lapped opening on the back where the pillow form is inserted:

This is what the sham looks like flat:

While I was working on the shams, Diane was auditioning pillowcases I’ve made for her over the years (all made from this tutorial). She found three pair that looked especially good against the shams:

She decided to use the pair in the middle first because the reds and greens in the fabrics are right in keeping with the Christmas decorations that started coming out that week.

Here’s a look at the shams in place in the master bedroom:

Don’t they look nice? I love the addition of the Christmas pillow. Here’s a view from across the room:

I’m back home in Portland now, ready to get back to work on a couple of projects I want to finish before the end of the year. And the end of the year is only 27 days away!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, roll-it-up pillowcases, update | 9 Comments

Quilt Camp, Part 2

I finished a UFO at Quilt Camp last week. It was the table runner I started as an experiment when I was teaching at the Pine Needle‘s quilt retreat in June. Remember this?


It’s a bit difficult to see from the photo but the outer edges of the runner were cut to match the curves inside. I wanted the binding on the quilt to echo the design, which you may recognize as Mini Mod Tiles, that marvelous free pattern from Sew Kind of Wonderful that has been the subject of several posts over the last few months.

I had just enough of the dark green batik fabric for the binding:


Didn’t that turn out nicely? I machine quilted it very simply with my walking foot, stitching in the ditch and adding a simple starburst in the center of the curved shapes featuring the focus fabric:


There wasn’t enough of the wintry blue print to cover the entire back so I inserted a strip of the blue polka dot:

I used light blue thread on the back to blend in so the runner is essentially reversible. The label can go in the very center, to be covered by a candle or bowl.

Binding the curved edges presented quite a challenge, as the angle is greater than 90 degrees plus you have the curve to deal with. Fortunately, Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures has a wonderful tutorial on her website that shows how to bind an outside edge greater than 90 degrees. Following her excellent instructions, I was able to bind those corners. Here’s a look at the pinning technique:

I don’t think I would ever have figured that out on my own. Thanks, Heather!

The runner measures 13″ x 38½”, a nice size for the center of a table or dresser. I’m giving it to my twin sister in Atlanta this weekend as a birthday/hostess gift; my husband and I are headed there later this week for our annual extended visit over Thanksgiving.

I’m very pleased with this variation on the Mini Mod Tiles design. And, having made two quilts (a mini and a supersized version) from the pattern, I am finally ready to put MMT behind me. Just in time, too! The Sew Kind of Wonderful team has come out with some marvelous new patterns. I have no doubt there is another Quick Curve Ruler quilt in my future.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, table runner, update | 5 Comments

Bonus Binding

I found the perfect fabric in my stash to bind this sweet baby quilt:

It’s a random blue on blue polka dot that picks up on the shades of blue on the birdies scattered across the focus fabric. I really like how the blue binding frames the quilt on both front . . .

. . . and back:

One more look:


Now freshly laundered, this quilt is ready to be wrapped up and sent to its new owner, Baby Alira.

Alira’s Quilt measures 44″ square. The pineapple blocks were made using the Four Triangle Method described in Karin Hellaby’s book Pineapple Plus (Quilter’s Haven Publications, 2010). Sherry Wadley quilted it edge-to-edge with a delightful cloud motif.

I have enough fabric left to make another quilt. I’m going to add another round to make the pineapple block bigger and make a quilt for a young mother of three little boys who needs a feminine lap quilt to snuggle up in. Luckily, I have enough left of that wonderful polka dot fabric to bind a second quilt.

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, pineapple quilt block, update | 7 Comments

Home to a Heat Wave

The DH and I got home today from a week-long road trip that took us north into Washington State and British Columbia. Our goal was to watch a minor league baseball game every night. (Yes, I do love baseball that much.)

Mission accomplished: seven games, six stadiums, and about 1250 miles of total driving. The trip was fun and relaxing and totally enjoyable. We took our time each day, taking secondary roads when we could and really enjoying the scenery. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and never cease to marvel at its natural beauty.

Coming home to triple-digit temperatures was not part of the plan. The temperature is expected to hit 105 degrees in Portland today and 106 degrees tomorrow. My sewing room is on the second floor of our 1913 Craftsman house. Air-conditioned? Nope. Guess I won’t be spending much time up there the next couple of days.

The night before we left on our trip I finished the baby quilt top I’ve been working on:

This is a variation of the Pineapple Plus design by Karin Hellaby. Adding white sashing strips to lessen the intensity of the stronger colors was a good call. I added an outer border of the birdie fabric (Garden Birds by Pam Kitty Morning for Lakehouse Dry Goods) and love how it turned out. The top now measures 46″ square.

The only problem is I used up almost all of that birdie fabric. On a whim I decided to check the Internet to see if it was still available. You know, just in case. Not only did I find another yard of the fabric, I discovered it also came in a green background color called “lettuce.” Well, you know how much I love green . . .

Look what was waiting for me when I got home:


Do you ever like a fabric so much you search for more more when you’ve used it up? Surely I’m not the only one.

Our road trip involved stops at quilt shops in some of the smaller cities where minor league games are played. My sweet husband even made a list of shops for me to visit. Be it known: I did not come home empty-handed.

While I wait for temperatures in Portland to drop — the forecast is for another week of temperatures in the low to mid-90s — I’m going to hunker down in the basement where it’s nice and cool. Instead of sewing I’ll continue editing the photos I took at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show last month. The plan is to have a couple of posts about that in the near future. I hope you’ll check back.

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, pineapple quilt block, Sisters OR Outdoor Quilt Show, update | 8 Comments

Paris Pillowcases for Diane

It’s been a very busy winter and spring for me. Between preparing for and teaching two new classes at the Pine Needle (one at the shop and the other at the quilt retreat I wrote about in my last two posts) and serving as an officer on a local board, something has been neglected. No, not my husband! My house. Despite my best efforts to keep up, the Portland White House has not undergone really deep cleaning since . . . well, let’s just say it’s been a while. More than a winter and a spring, to be sure.

To the rescue: my twin sister Diane. At the end of June she flew out from her home in Georgia to spend a week helping me with my long deferred spring cleaning. What a gal! We spent four days on the kitchen alone, emptying out every cupboard and drawer, recycling duplicate tools and items I haven’t used in years, tossing rusty implements, and basically reorganizing the kitchen for efficiency. Every single surface in the kitchen has been wiped down and everything sparkles. Including the floor behind the refrigerator.

How to thank her? Besides wining and dining her, I made her a gift she always loves to receive: pillowcases.

This pair of of king-size pillowcases was made using my favorite roll-it-up method with no exposed seams (see my tutorial here.) Diane put them in her large guest room, the one we call the Swankienda. She loves how well the fabrics in the cases go with the coverlet:

The fabrics are the same as the ones I made for the Portland White House in May except in those I didn’t add the band of gold scrolled fabric in mine — only because I had overlooked it in my stash:


I sure love that Paris print in the band!

Here’s a look from the foot of the bed at Diane’s new pillowcases:

The pillowcases will actually go behind the shams I made for her several years ago when she was first decorating the Swankienda. I made the pleated bedskirt, too:

My house will never be as spotless as hers but it’s looking pretty darn good right now. (Thanks, Nubs — you are the best!!)

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful weekend doing what you love best. What should I be doing? Sewing or cleaning? Hmmm . . . .

 

 

 

Posted in bedskirt, family, Paris, roll-it-up pillowcases, update | 2 Comments

Back in the Saddle Again

Three weeks without a post! That’s the longest gap in the five years since I started this blog. What could possibly account for such a lapse? Two back-to-back trips followed by a fun-filled week of family visiting from out of town.

The first trip was to Paducah, Kentucky with my quilt group, the Quisters. Yes, Paducah — home of the National Quilt Museum and site of the American Quilter’s Society’s Quilt Week the last week of April. What a thrill! More on that in a future post.

Home for one day, then off to Central Oregon for a family reunion that my twin sister Diane and I were responsible for planning. It was a great success, with 83 family members coming from as far away as Texas, Virginia, and Florida. Most of the relatives are in Oregon, remaining in the state where our common ancestor settled after emigrating from Switzerland in the 1880s. This reunion has rekindled my interest in family geneaology, which I hope to pursue in between quilting projects. I could use a few more hours each day to accomplish that.

While my relatives were here last week, I squeezed in a bit of sewing time to make a sample block of the quilt design I have chosen for the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat on Hood Canal in June. I’m teaching two sessions back-to-back at a beautiful retreat center in Washington State.

As my regular readers know, I am a huge fan of the Quick Curve Ruler and the designs created by those talented sisters (Jenny, Helen, and Sherilyn) at Sew Kind of Wonderful. For the retreat I chose one of their free patterns that call for the QCR Mini Ruler. The pattern is called Mini Mod Tiles and looks like this:

Isn’t that fabulous? This wonderfully scrappy quilt was made and quilted by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful, finishing at about 34″ square. (Photo used with permission.)

My sample block, finishing at 10½” square, is made from one focus fabric, a Dena Fishbein print from the Painted Garden line for Free Spirit:


That fabric was in my stash just waiting to be picked for this project. I chose a vibrant yellow tone-on-tone print for the connector pieces and couldn’t resist the temptation to add a square of color in the center of the block. My background fabric is a white-on-white dot.

It’s good to be back in the saddle with blogging and sewing.

 

 

 

Posted in family, QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), update | 8 Comments

Finally, a Finish

The year 2017 has gotten off to a slow start in terms of finished projects. I have several projects in the hopper and a few are close to being done; does that count?

At least today I can claim a bona fide finish. Here is Baby Selene’s Pineapple Plus quilt, started in a class taught by Karin Hellaby:

Selene’s Quilt, 47½” Square

Notice the binding? I made it to finish at ½” wide (rather than my usual ¼”) so it would provide a strong frame for the quilt and pick up the tiny bits of red found in three of the four prints used in the quilt:

Picking Up on the Red

The binding strips were cut on the bias so the cross-hatching would be oriented on the diagonal just like the centers of the blocks, which were cut on the bias because I liked the effect.

I had fun playing with leftover blocks for the back of the quilt, using two regular blocks and one larger one, all set on point to make them even bigger:

Supersize Me!

I love how the red binding pulls it all together.

The label is a simple square-in-a-square block that echoes the larger on-point blocks:

On-Point Label

After the label was stitched in place by hand, I realized I had forgotten to put my last name on it. I’m sure Baby Selene won’t mind.

As usual, Coco insisted on claiming the quilt (temporarily, of course):

Coco the Photo Bomb

 

After these photos were taken, the quilt went into the washer and dryer. Here it is now in all its puckery charm:

Pucker Up!

 

Selene will receive her quilt in person at a family reunion in Central Oregon coming up in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I get to enjoy it in its temporary location on my quilt wall:

Dawn’s Ever-Changing Quilt Wall

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, Quilter's Affair, update | 7 Comments

NYC and VFW

One week ago at this time I was in New York City at the beginning of a quick getaway with my twin sister, Diane. It was supposed to be the beginning of a three-week vacation with the Dear Husband — four nights in New York, two weeks traveling in Portugal and Spain, and four nights in New York on the way back. Alas, the trip had to be postponed because the DH needs a new hip.

We had planned to rendezvous with Diane in NYC at the beginning of our trip. She had already bought a ticket to NYC from her home in Georgia. Happily, my sweet husband was fine with the idea of me running off in high spirits and leaving him at home, so off I went.

Diane and I saw five plays in four days . . .

. . . a comedy, a tragedy, and three musicals — all terrific productions.

Here we are enjoying an after-theater dinner at Osteria al Doge, one of our favorite restaurants in the theater district:

We dined on prosciutto-wrapped shrimp served on a bed of soft polenta garnished with watercress:

Yes, it was delizioso!

We saw some excellent exhibits, including two at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and one on Venice at the New York Public Library (NYPL):


We also saw a fabulous exhibit on 40 years of musical theater in London and New York, shown at the NYPL for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. For lovers of musical theater like Diane and me, this was a little bit of heaven.

I also went to New York on a quilt-related mission: to visit the shop of Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Another bit of heaven! We were greeted warmly at the shop by Lindsey, who gave me permission to take photos:


Barbara B., a student in one of my “Sew with Dawn” classes at the Pine Needle, bought Victoria’s new pattern Star Storm recently:

Barbara asked for my help in enlarging this 80″ square quilt to fit a queen-size bed. I wanted to discuss my ideas with Victoria or a member of her staff. Victoria was vacationing with her family in Japan last week so I met with Kim, who was extraordinarily kind and helpful. She gave me a great idea that I can’t wait to share with Barbara.

Even without an agenda, the trip to the shop would have been worth it. So much color, whimsy, and quilting loveliness packed into a relatively small space!

Here is Victoria’s Victory Block quilt and a Dresden Plate block featuring some of her new fabrics:

I was excited to see a different version of Star Storm on display:

Here’s a close-up of the quilting:


I find the combination of straight lines (both horizontal and vertical) and feathers very pleasing.

You can bet that Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s shop will be on my list of places to visit on future trips to New York City.

Just so you know: the DH did just fine without me, though he is happy to have me home. He’s scheduled for hip replacement surgery April 11, which happens to be our 36th wedding anniversary.

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 14 Comments

Loops and Swirls

Baby Selene’s quilt is back from longarmer Sherry Wadley, who did a wonderful job, and I can’t wait to show you how it turned out. Here it is, trimmed and ready to be bound:

Take a closer look:

First notice the loops and swirls in the quilting motif. Then focus on the aqua and green print in the center of the photo. Those are tiny snails. (The print is from the Far Far Away collection designed by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics.)

When I was auditioning quilting motifs with Sherry, I was waffling between three designs. My friend Colleen was with me at the time and pointed out that one of the designs was reminiscent of snails. She was absolutely right, and my decision was made at that instant. The quilting motif is called Sashay.

The loops and swirls in the quilting really show up on the back:

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m going to bind this in the red cross-hatch fabric. I normally finish my quilts with a narrow ¼” binding but this quilt seems to call for a slightly wider binding — I’m thinking ½” — to highlight the red in the center of the pineapple blocks and the tiny red ladybugs in one of the other prints.

Selene’s quilt, based on Karin Hellaby’s Pineapple Plus design, will finish at about 49″ square. That’s a good size for a baby who is now officially a toddler.

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, Quilter's Affair, update | 7 Comments