Happy first day of fall! This year is flying by way too fast.
After our unusually hot summer in Portland with a record number of days in the mid to high 90s, many folks are relieved that fall has arrived. Me, not so much. As a native Oregonian I don’t mind the rain and cooler weather that fall brings but I do miss the long days of early summer when the evening light doesn’t fade till close to 10 pm.
The official change of seasons is my cue to change the wall hanging in the master bathroom. Off the wall goes Sun Flowers . . .
. . . and up goes Autumn Reflections:
Both quilts were made from my pattern Season to Taste. They measure 18″ x 55″.
I was out of town last week on June 21, the Summer Solstice. That was the day I was planning to switch out the wall hanging in our master bath. Back in April I hung Under Paris Skies, the spring version of my pattern Season to Taste, so named because I envisioned a table runner or wall hanging for each season of the year based on fabric choices. (You can see my spring version here.)
Up went the summer version today and it couldn’t be more, well, summery:
For a fun little touch I added a “flower” (two stacked buttons) in the center of each block:
I finished Sun Flowers in 2015 but it’s been hanging in a quilt shop. Now I get to gaze at it every day in my own home. I’ll enjoy it until it’s time to change to the fall version, made in 2014.
I never got around to making a winter version, though it’s been planned for years. If I’m going to have one ready by the time this winter rolls around, I’d better move it up on my project list!
Rally ’round the maypole, folks — I have a May Day finish to report. It’s Hip Hop, my kangaroo table runner (or wall hanging — I haven’t decided which). There was just enough late afternoon light left on this overcast day in Portland to snap a photo outdoors:
In a prior post I described how I quilted the background of each block, some with a walking foot and some with free motion quilting.
The last thing I did was stitch an outline around each of the five kangaroos. I was lucky that the fabric (from the “Walkabout II” line by Paintbrush Studios) included five separate ‘roos so I could put a different one in each circle. In these close-ups you may be able to see the outline stitching as well as the stitching-in-the-ditch around the inset circles:
Last but not least, the label:
The label is a finished edge appliqué circle, my preferred method of making quilt labels. It’s fused in place but I will also appliqué around it by hand to make it really secure.
I’m really happy with my choice of turquoise for the binding. The acid green fabric used between the blocks would have been too strong, I think.
April is my favorite month of the year. It’s the month when the promise of spring in Portland is fully realized. Lawns are emerald green, and the profusion of colorful azaleas, tulips, and other blooming things makes my heart sing. Today is a gloriously sunny day, one of the first of the year warm enough for Portlanders to open all their windows and let the fresh air in. I can hear the sound of a lawnmower starting up and if I’m lucky it will be followed by the scent of new-mown grass.
In honor of spring I hung Under Paris Skies in the master bathroom:
This is the springtime version of my pattern Season to Taste, designed and made four years ago as part of a series based on the four seasons. The summer and fall versions are done but I must confess the one for winter hasn’t been made yet, though I do have the perfect fabric for it in my stash.
This is the first time Under Paris Skies has been on display in my house. All this time it’s been hanging in the Pine Needle, the quilt shop in Lake Oswego where I’ve been teaching the last eight years.
After 25 years running the Pine Needle, owner Geri retired and closed the shop at the end of March. Several of my quilts had been hanging in the shop, and all of them got to come home with me. (Happily, Geri is still involved in the quilt industry and the Pine Needle location is being taken over by a local family-owned sewing business. More on that in a future post after an official announcement has been made.)
Back to Under Paris Skies for a moment. First you have to imagine April in Paris. Think of Ella Fitzgerald singing “April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom, holiday tables under the trees . . .”
Those are real chestnuts in blossom, taken on my trip to Paris three years ago this month. If you look carefully you can see the Seine in the background. Now imagine clusters of people sitting outside at cafe tables, taking in the fresh air while sipping a citron presse or café crème, like the two below (apparently still waiting for their order to be taken):
All three blocks in this kaleidoscope quilt contain two different images of outdoor Parisian life, carefully fussy cut to fit in the confines of the triangles. Here’s another scene that always makes me smile:
When the rains return (which they will, because it wouldn’t be spring in Portland without them), I’ll look at these bright and cheerful scenes of Paris in anticipation of the next sunny day right here at home.
Earlier this week it hit me that I’ve finished only one project since 2018 began. Only one! Plenty of things started, of course. I decided to spend some time this week addressing that rather pathetic record.
I quilted Hip Hop, the wall hanging/table runner pieced in January using my Full Moon Rising pattern. The quilting motifs were suggested by the fabric, a lively aboriginal print featuring kangaroos hopping around in the bush. The kangaroos were fussy cut and centered in the circles, which are inset (not appliquéd).
Here’s a look at the entire quilt, measuring 15¾” x 58″ after quilting and trimming:
All told I used four different quilting motifs. You can see three of them in this close-up of Blocks 1 and 2 bordered by the end piece:
Block 1, with the turquoise background fabric, was quilted with uneven wavy lines patterned after the wavy lines in the fabric design. Block 2 was quilted in a simple loop-de-loop design suggested by the dotted batik background fabric. For the end pieces I quilted angled straight lines at random using my walking foot. All the quilting in the other blocks is free motion.
Here are Blocks 3 and 4, stippling in the dark blue background of Block 3 and a repeat of the waves in the turquoise fabric in Block 4:
Here are Blocks 5 and 6 and the other end piece, with repeated quilting motifs:
Still to do: outlining the kangaroo in each circle using white thread, just following the lines on the fabric. I already did it in Block 1, though it’s hard to see in the photos.
My binding is already cut and sewn. I’m using the turquoise fabric, cut on the bias to show off the wavy herringbone pattern to better advantage:
I’m very happy with this little piece and will be even happier when it is bound and labeled. Only then can I claim my second finish of the year.
I happened across one of my posts the other day that was written in October 2012, a little over five years ago when my blog was in its first year. I was writing about three fabric groupings in my stash that I was wild about even though I hadn’t yet decided yet what to make with them. What a pleasant surprise to discover that I have, in fact, used all three groupings!
The first was this one, a mix from several lines anchored by the red and aqua floral print in the center from Denyse Schmidt’s line, “Flea Market Fancy,” reissued earlier in 2012:
Several of the fabrics wound up in this sewing machine dust cover . . .
. . . and this set of king-size pillowcases, both made in 2013:
The second group was this one, primarily from the “Ainsley” line by Northcott Fabrics:
From this group came a small project, a kaleidoscopic table topper made in 2014 . . .
. . . and a large project, my queen-size sampler quilt Catch a Falling Star, completed in 2015:
The third group was from the “Scarlet” line by Pamela Mostek for Clothworks:
These fabrics remained in my stash until 2017, when I used them to make my current Junior Billie Bag . . .
. . . and matching accessories:
Now when I see a new group of fabrics I just can’t live without, I’ll remind myself that the fabric in my stash is indeed getting used. I’ll just need three additional lifetimes to sew my way through all of it. Can you relate?
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!
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.
I finished binding my WanderLust wall hanging/table runner a few weeks ago but forgot to post about it, probably because I hadn’t decided on the best way to display it. I wanted to hang it in the master bath but it seemed a bit short for the space using a sleeve and the existing rod.
My solution: adding some grosgrain ribbon ties to the top so I could hang it from the rod, thereby adding a few more inches to the length:
I’m really enjoying the motion of the spinning blocks and the contrast of the deep navy background against the pale grey of the wall.
If you’re thinking those blocks looks a lot like the ones in Stella by Starlight, the quilt I just finished (subject of my previous post), you’re right on the mark. They’re made from the same block: Spinners by Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures.
WanderLust finishes at 20″ x 53″ (not counting the grosgrain ribbon ties). Regular readers may remember this is the second quilt named WanderLust I made this year. The other version is a king-size bed runner. You can see both versions here.
I’m working on a post about all of my finished projects in 2016. With only five days remaining in the year, this one needed to be squeezed in.
My husband and I are still in Georgia, enjoying a few more days with my sister Diane and her husband Ed. With memories of a fabulous Thanksgiving feast behind us, our thoughts are now turning toward the next big holiday.
Diane has been decorating their home for Christmas, with a few items chosen to delight their seven-year-old grandson. In the dining room, for example, Santa reigns:
The garland on the built-in buffet is adorned with sparkly fruit and berries:
Suspended from the light fixture in the hallway is a pair of kissing balls the size of bowling balls:
In the living room, the mantel is decorated with an elegant lighted garland:
Also in the living room are a couple of simple but elegant additions. . .
. . . and a tiny tree next to the piano:
In the kitchen you’ll find this charming vignette above the range:
The front and back doors have large wreaths:
Even the powder room gets the holiday treatment:
Every day I notice something new: kitchen towels decorated with snowmen, jingle bells and tiny needlepoint pillows hanging from doorknobs, Christmas-themed bowls and spreaders for hors d’oeuvres displayed on the counter, a nutcracker standing guard on the fireplace surround.
I really do think Diane has a knack for decorating. Her home is graciously appointed all year around but right now, decked out for the holidays, it is especially beautiful.