Category Archives: cats

Uptown Funk Is Finished!

Uptown Funk, 2020 (24″ x 26″)

And now you know, if you’ve been following along as I pondered four binding options, that Option #1 — the lime green faux flange with the zebra fabric — was the winner.

But guess what? It wasn’t my first choice. Nope. I was going with Option #4, the green flange with the white background fabric as the binding. Here’s the mockup I showed you in my last post, with paper strips made from photocopied fabric:

Why this choice? I liked the idea of the white background fabric extending to the edges, almost as if the quilt were faced rather than bound, with that thin flange as a bright but understated accent. Plus it was an unexpected choice. (I have to thank my friend Deborah for suggesting white fabric. It never would have occurred to me, as I was gravitating to the black prints used in my quilt.)

I made my binding accordingly and started to apply it. Normally binding is stitched to the right side of the quilt and turned to the back. With this faux flange method, however, you sew the binding to the wrong side of the quilt and turn it to the right side to expose the flange. When I got ready to miter the first corner, I turned the binding to the right side. And this is what I saw:

Oh no! You can clearly see the green fabric through the white fabric in the binding. With this particular treatment the seam allowance must be pressed toward the binding fabric for the flange to lie flat. I tried pressing it the other way but it was a “no go.” There was no way I could see to remedy this problem.

Back to the drawing board — er, cutting table. My second choice for the binding was the zebra fabric. That was my husband’s first choice and also my twin sister’s. Some of my readers liked it too so I figured it was a keeper. (Thank you, Vickie R., for suggesting the zebra fabric. Like the white background fabric, it wasn’t even on my radar initially.)

I started cutting more binding strips . . .  until a certain feline came to investigate:


Princess Cordelia (Coco for short) was gently ejected from my sewing room so I could proceed. The binding went on very nicely.

The conventional way to finish a faux flange binding is to machine stitch in the ditch where the flange meets the binding fabric. Instead of doing that I fused the binding down with Steam-a-Seam-2, a  double-sided fusible web.

Here’s the back of Uptown Funk:

I love the way the binding looks with the backing fabric.

Here’s a close-up of the label:

Thank you, Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams, for designing Dresden Neighborhood! It was such a fun little quilt to make.

 

 

 

Posted in cats, update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 4 Comments

Another Walk in the Neighborhood

Uptown Funk, my version of Kim Lapacek’s pattern Dresden Neighborhood, needed more quilting. I knew it right away when I looked at it this morning. So what did it need? More quilting lines radiating out to the edges. Not all the way to the outside, mind you. As you can see, the new stitching lines, placed between the first set I showed you in yesterday’s post, are of staggered lengths and all end shy of the edges, some by quite a bit.

I’m very pleased with the effect but creating that effect was quite a chore, let me tell you. Each stitching line began and ended with four tiny stitches (1.0 on my computerized machine) to lock the threads in place in lieu of knotting. The main part of the line was sewn with a stitch length of 2.7. That’s a lot of stopping and starting while the stitch length was being adjusted. And I buried all the threads. Let’s see: 40 stitching lines — yes, 40! — means there were 80 sets of threads to be buried.

I’ve found that the key to burying threads easily, once you’ve drawn them to the same side of the fabric, is to trim both threads to the same length — three to four inches works best for me — and use a needle with a large eye so the thread ends go in easily:

Because I pulled the bobbin threads through to the front when I started the stitching lines in the interior of the quilt, I buried a lot of the threads in the roofs:

The roofs have a layer of fusible web underneath them so those threads aren’t going anywhere. It was very easy to pull the threads taut and clip them right where they came out of the fabric:

The top thread at the end of each stitching line got pulled to the back of the quilt and buried in the backing fabric.

Just before getting started this morning, I left my sewing room for a few minutes. Look who I found lounging on my ironing board when I came back:

Good thing Coco’s paws were clean!

Now I’m ready for the binding. For those of you who commented on my last post and offered suggestions on color and fabric choices: thank you so much! I’m going to audition everyone’s ideas before making a final decision.

I expect to have a Friday Finish to show you.

 

 

Posted in cats, Janome 9450QCP, update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Give Me the Simple Life (2019)

It’s time for the tenth and final installment in my Throwback Thursday series looking at quilts made in the last decade. Coming up with my choice for 2019 was easy: it was the only quilt I completed last year! Here is Give Me the Simple Life:

Give Me the Simple Life, 95″ square (2019)

The pattern is Hazel’s Diary Quilt by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts. Regular readers followed the making of this quilt from my very first block (and post) in January 2018 till its completion in September 2019.

I’m very proud of this accomplishment, as I made it my goal to become proficient in needleturn appliqué during the making of the quilt. It certainly provided ample opportunities for practice! Longarm quilter Kazumi Peterson did the amazing quilting.

Approved by Coco the Cat Inspector

Give Me the Simple Life will be on display later this month at Northwest Quilters’ 46th annual show, “A Festival of Quilts,” in its new venue, Camp Withycombe, in Clackamas, Oregon. Dates are Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21. If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by. There’ll be over 300 quilts on display and lots of vendors selling wonderful things (like fabric).

Thank you so much for joining me in this 10-week lookback at some of my favorite quilts!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, cats, free motion quilting, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, Throwback Thursday, update | 6 Comments

A Bathrobe for the DH

My sweet husband has a new bathrobe:

Just in time for Christmas, though it’s not a Christmas present. The one I made him several years ago was completely worn out. I’m chagrined he had to wait so long for a new one.

Somehow I wound up with three bathrobe patterns. The one I ended up using was the Palmer/Pletsch one (lower right), with a few modifications:

And I didn’t pull my serger out of the closet after all. I decided to try finishing the seams with the overlock foot on my Janome, a foot I had actually never used before. The results were just fine:

It did take longer to finish the seams this way. And this frequent visitor to my sewing room caused additional delays in the construction process:

 

 

 

Posted in cats, family, update | 6 Comments

Finally a Finish! Here’s Junior Billie Bag #10

I put the finishing touches on my latest Junior Billie Bag yesterday. Take a look at #10:


I can’t decide which view I like better! The block on the left is a Sawtooth Star with a Churn Dash in the center. The block on the right features an inset circle set off by a narrow flange. It’s hard to see from the photo that I used a variegated thread of blues and greens to quilt lines radiating from the circle.

I’ve used both block designs before in other projects (including other Junior Billie Bags) because I really like to make them.

Coco the Cat Inspector approves:

She found it so comfortable that she actually took a little catnap, which is why I don’t have a picture of the inside pockets to show you just now.

This JBB is one that I’m keeping for myself. It’s already loaded with my favorite rulers and other essential tools, as is the coordinating tool caddy I made from the Travel Case pattern from p3designs.com:

I made a few modifications, including the addition of a fourth pocket.

This is what it looks like closed:

I keep it in a plastic brochure rack so that it is always upright, with my smaller tools right at hand.

Still to come: the other accessories I like to make with each Junior Billie Bag, including a rotary cutter coat, a scissors case, and a 4″ square fabric used as a thread catcher.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, cats, Churning Stars quilt block, Junior Billie Bag, update | 3 Comments

JBB 3-D

A rather cryptic title for a blog post, I know, but regular readers know what it means. My latest Junior Billie Bag in-the-making has gone three-dimensional:

As I’ve mentioned before, this is my favorite part of the process, when a series of flat panels like this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . are transformed into the quintessential quilter’s tote known as the Junior Billie Bag.

Junior Billie Bags (JBBs for short) have been a frequent topic on my blog since I started teaching Billie Mahorney’s design three years ago. I have been asked many times about a pattern for this tote but Billie, who owns the copyright on the design, never wanted to create a pattern.

Teaching her design in a hands-on class is by far the best way to go because I can share tips and techniques that have come to me through experience and also troubleshoot problems my students may encounter, just as Billie did when she was teaching. I’m so sorry that quilters across the country and beyond who have seen pictures of various JBBs on my blog don’t have the opportunity to create one of their own.

As I was snapping photos for this post, a little white paw made its way into the frame:


Uh-oh. It can only be Coco the Photobomb!

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, cats, Churning Stars quilt block, free motion quilting, Junior Billie Bag, tote bags, update | 5 Comments

Dogs and Cats and Pillowcases, Oh My!

When I spotted this whimsical travel-themed fabric at a quilt shop in central Oregon last year, the first person I thought of was my friend Anna. Anna loves animals (especially dogs), France, and world travel — probably in that order.

Several years ago Anna sold her home in Portland and moved to Paris to live. Imagine that! It was a dream she had had for many years. I knew her through a mutual friend but had not seen her for some time when we ran into each other on the street just weeks before her departure. We stayed in touch after this chance meeting and a few years later, when Anna proposed a short-term house swap, my husband and I jumped at the chance.

In 2015 Charlie and I spent three weeks at Anna’s apartment in Paris taking care of her sweet cat Buddy . . .


. . . while Anna stayed at our home in Portland taking care of Empress Theodora:

The arrangement worked out splendidly. And I was lucky enough to go back to Paris in the fall of the same year with my twin sister, petsitting for Anna while she went to the United Kingdom to visit her beau, an American who had spent his professional life working in Europe.

Anna subsequently married her beau and they bought a house in France’s Loire Valley which they share with Buddy and two rescue dogs. So you can see how this fabric seems to have Anna’s name written all over it. (In fact, the travel documents on the fabric are in the name of Jane S. Doe but we can use our imaginations.)

I decided to make a pair of pillowcases with the fabric and send them to Anna in France. Months came and went while the fabric stayed in my stash. Then I learned Anna was coming to Oregon this summer for her 50th high school reunion. In no time at all I had made a pair of pillowcases, which were waiting for Anna when she arrived last week:

I tried to tone down the cuteness factor by choosing a rather masculine batik for the cuffs of the cases. After all, husband Joe has to sleep on them too!

(For those who might be interested, the fabric is from the line “Jetset Europe” by Anne Bollman for Clothworks Fabrics. I used my own tutorial to make the pillowcases.)

 

 

 

Posted in cats, family, Paris, roll-it-up pillowcases, tutorial, update | 7 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Week 4

Last week was a big one for the Portland White House kitchen remodel.

First, the walls got painted a soft gray and the ceiling and trim around the windows and sliding glass door got painted white:

I was originally planning to have the walls painted with Benjamin Moore’s “Metro Gray,” which happens to be the same shade I chose for the master bath remodel in 2013. At the last minute I went one shade lighter (1458) with “Silver Bells.” Gray might seem an odd choice for Portland, which gets its share — and then some — of overcast days, but I knew the bright white of the upper cabinets and the vivid blue (Valspar 4006-8C “Bluer than Blue”) of the lower cabinets would be a good foil for this elegant shade of gray:

Can’t you imagine a quilt in these colors?

With the cabinets installed, the empty shell of a room was transformed into a kitchen! Here’s the view looking southeast:

Notice the custom cover for the range hood. (Thank you, sister Diane, for guiding me to this design decision.) The tabs of blue painter’s tape on the upper and lower cabinets allow the cupboard doors and drawers to be opened. The doors are inset — that is, flush with the cabinet frames — so until the knobs and pulls are installed, the best way to open the cupboards and drawers is to pull on those tabs of blue tape.

Here’s the view looking southwest:

The narrow cabinet to the left of the refrigerator cabinet is missing as it got damaged somehow at the shop. The installer wants to wait until the cabinet is in place before attaching the crown molding as he thinks the molding should be cut from the same strip.

The upper cabinet on the north wall will have glass doors and shelves, to be delivered later:

That upper cabinet makes the wall look pretty top heavy. I’m hoping the glass doors will make it feel lighter.

I must say, Coco has remained remarkably mellow as the remodel progresses. As long as her meals arrive on schedule, she is one happy cat:

 

 

Posted in cats, family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 4 Comments

Fancy Farm Girl Has Been Framed!

But in a good way.

Fancy Farm Girl is Block 9 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt project I embarked on a year ago. Here’s that Fancy Farm Girl on point, as she will be in the finished quilt, sporting her red scalloped frame:

She joins four other blocks that have been pieced and framed:


Progress has been slow on the appliquéd frames. I discovered I can’t work on my needleturn appliqué in the evening while watching television because the light isn’t great. (How on earth did previous generations of quilters do such beautiful work by candlelight?) I’m also hampered by a certain calico cat demanding lap time (and who am I to deny her?).

Four additional pieced blocks are awaiting their frames. One of the nine blocks will go in the center of the quilt as part of a medallion. I’ll pick the block for the center after all of them have been framed. Of the five so far, Fancy Farm Girl is the leading candidate. Do you have a favorite?

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, cats, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 8 Comments