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

Afternoon Delight

I can’t remember the last time I spent the entire afternoon in my sewing room. Despite the fact that it was really hot upstairs — the temperature in Portland reached 100 degrees at 6:00 pm today — I was in heaven. Fortunately, my ironing board is positioned right under the ceiling fan; the circulating air helped. I still got hot and sticky but it was totally worth it.

First I worked on Junior Billie Bag #11, the one I am making as a teaching tool for my students at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego. I could have finished the bag today but I needed to leave the final steps undone so I can demonstrate them for my students at our third and final class on Friday. Look for the final reveal of this ultimate quilter’s tote next week!

Then I finally got the blocks sewn together on my Sea Star Sampler quilt. Because the blocks are of different sizes — finishing at 6, 12, and 18 inches — I knew I’d be sewing the top together in sections. You can see the four sections here:

What’s missing? The 18″ Chicago Star block, which goes in the center:

The Chicago Star was the first block I made way back in May of last year, when Kristin at Montavilla Sewing introduced it in a Block of the Month program via Zoom. Once in-person classes resumed at the Lake Oswego store in the fall of 2021, the BOM project faded away but I carried on, not really knowing what I would end up with. By the time I finished making blocks, I had used only two of the ones in Kristin’s design — but I feel sure she would approve.

The Chicago Star block needed to be added to my top with partial seams . . . and here it is in its rightful place:

I did wind up making one last-minute swap of two blocks and am pleased with the decision. Right now the top measures 48½” square but there are two borders to come. Maybe tomorrow?!




Posted in Billie Bag, Block of the Month (BOM), Churning Stars quilt block, Junior Billie Bag, sampler quilt, tote bags, update | 6 Comments

That Magic Moment . . .

. . . when a Junior Billie Bag becomes three-dimensional:

It makes all the work that goes into a JBB totally worth it! You’re looking at the inside of my current Junior Billie Bag-in-progress. You can’t see them all but there are 14 pockets in the three sides in the photo above. The other front/back panel has four pockets, bringing the number of inside pockets to 18.

But wait — there’s more! The side panels on the outside of the bag also have pockets. There are three in the photo below . . .

. . . and one more in this next photo, bringing the total number of pockets to 22:

The size of each pocket was carefully measured and made to hold the tools I use most often when I go to take — or teach — a quilt class.

Here’s a look at the side panels/bottom unit on the outside . . .

. . . and on the inside:

I’m absolutely loving the bold poppy prints, all of which have touches of silver. I also used two other silver metallic fabrics in other parts of the bag. I’ve loved every single Junior Billie Bag I’ve made, all of which have been bright and colorful, but this one — #11 — is probably the most elegant.




Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, tote bags, update | 6 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

In the Works: Junior Billie Bag #11

Because of the pandemic, it’s been almost three years since I taught a Junior Billie Bag class. That changes tomorrow, when I teach the first of three sessions to a new group of students. I’m pretty pumped!

Here’s a look at one of the front/back panels of my current bag:

Isn’t that a gorgeous poppy? I’m using several fabrics from the “Poppy Promenade” line designed by Greta Lynn for Kanvas in association with Benartex Fabrics. The line was released a year ago (or was it two?) and I bought a few yards of the main focus fabric, a stunning border print:

My thought was to make myself a sundress (which hasn’t happened yet) but I also purchased a few of the other prints in the line in smaller quantities in case I decided to make a quilt. That hasn’t happened yet, either.

To make the panel you see at the top of the page, I fussycut the border print to isolate a poppy and made an inset circle in the middle of a 10″ block of pearly grey fabric. The block is surrounded by a narrow red print flange, with solid black strips to finish the panel.

Instead of piecing the second front/back panel, I cut one piece of the border print:

I make a new bag with each class so I can show the students the individual components of the JBB and how they go together. Then I assemble the bag right along with the students so that I have a finished product the same time they do. Actually, I’m always a step or two ahead of them!

If you’re new to my blog, this link will explain the history of the Junior Billie Bag and give you a look at the 10 bags I have made over the last 10 years.




Posted in Billie Bag, Junior Billie Bag, update | 7 Comments

Linda’s DWR Quilt

Greetings! We’re one week into the official start of summer. Hope yours is off to a good start. I’m popping in to show you how well the pillowcases I made for Linda, one of my 10th Blogiversary Giveaway winners, go with her stunning Double Wedding Ring quilt. See for yourself!

Linda was kind enough to send me a photo and she gave me permission to post her photo here. In addition to the pieced wedding rings, the quilt contains appliqué in the borders that she did using the needleturn method. And she hand quilted it herself!

Linda made this beauty to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary. I’m so happy that the pillowcases I made for Linda are keeping company with her heirloom quilt!

Posted in appliqué, Giveaway, needleturn appliqué, roll-it-up pillowcases, update | 6 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

Happy Mail

Last month I had the pleasure of giving a presentation in Newport, Oregon to the Oregon Coastal Quilters Guild, which serves quilters up and down the coast. I also taught a workshop on Kim Lapacek’s Dresden Neighborhood quilt pattern. When I complimented one of my students on her denim shirt, which was adorned with this image . . .

. . . she told me the guild had shirts for sale. Of course I ordered one! When the Dear Husband and I returned home Sunday from a minor league baseball road trip to Central and Southeast Washington, my shirt was waiting for me. Happy Mail!!

Years ago I had a denim shirt jacket that I embellished with cuffs and pockets made with leftover fabric from a home dec project. I literally wore that shirt out. Now I have a replacement. I promptly put it on and — even before unpacking — asked the DH to take a photo in our back yard. Notice the continuation of the pink and green color theme? That’s mountain laurel on my right, in my neighbors’ backyard. On my left is spirea japonica, which burst into bloom while we were gone. How I love this time of year!

About that logo on my denim shirt:  “Quilts by the Sea” is the name of the quilt show that the guild puts on every year — or did, until Covid came along. After a two-year hiatus, the quilt show returns on Friday and Saturday, August 4 and 5. It’s the guild’s 30th show! Of course it’s on my calendar. If you’re going to be anywhere near Newport, Oregon in early August, you should put it on your calendar, too. Click here for more information.

The guild members who took my “Wonky Dresden Neighborhood” workshop were scheduled to show their finished mini quilts at the last guild meeting. I’m hoping someone took some good photos. If so, I’ll be sure to share them on my blog.

Thanks for stopping by!




Posted in update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 3 Comments

In Praise of Pink and Green

If you’ve ever wondered about the timeless appeal of pink and green quilts, you have only to look to Mother Nature:

I snapped this photo on May 24, the day the first peony on our three bushes opened up. Since then all three bushes have exploded with blossoms.

This peony is from the darkest of the three bushes:

It’s the Dear Husband’s favorite but it’s the lighter shade I’m swooning over:

The dogwood trees this spring were the loveliest in recent memory. Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees. This shot was taken from our front porch one recent morning when the sun lit up the dogwood belonging to our neighbors two doors down:

Even the lilacs in our backyard, which are actually light purple, looked pink the morning in late April when this photo was taken:

Then there is this unusual succulent growing in a pot in our backyard:

I’m reminded of the most recent pink and green quilt I finished, the one for Baby Isabella . . .

. . . and this kaleidoscope quilt, made for a great niece in 2013 from a fabulous hydrangea print:

This is the back of the quilt, so you can see what the focus fabric looked like before I turned it into kaleidoscope blocks:

And this is my first pink and green quilt, completed 10 years ago, made from my pattern Four-Patch Wonder:

I named the quilt Framboise, the French word for raspberry. You can read more about the making of it here. Here’s another shot of Framboise au naturel, surrounded by even more green:

Speaking of raspberries, the vines in our backyard will be producing those small deep pink edible jewels in a month’s time, adding to my continuing enjoyment of pink and green.

Do you find the combination of pink and green as irresistible as I do? In nature as well as in quilts?




Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, baby quilt, faux-kaleido quilts, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 12 Comments

Another Churning Star Block

My Sea Sampler quilt begun last year is slowly taking shape. I recently finished this block:

The simple Churn Dash block nestled inside a Sawtooth Star has become one of my all-time favorite star blocks. I first saw this particular combo in a book by Jenifer Gaston. She called her quilt Churning Stars so that’s what I call this block.

It joins these six other blocks, all of which finish at 12″ square:

The blocks will be combined with some others that finish at 6″ and 18″ square. Eventually I will get a top put together but for now this project is on the back burner.

All three winners of my recent 10th Blogiversary Giveaway requested pillowcases — they had their choice of three handmade gifts — so I have been putting together fabric combinations for their review. Once their choices have been finalized, I’ll get the pillowcases made and mailed. As I’ve told the winners, it’s been fun getting reacquainted with my stash. But it’s been hard narrowing down the choices because there are so many possibilities. What does that tell you about the size of my stash??




Posted in Churning Stars quilt block, Giveaway, roll-it-up pillowcases, sampler quilt, update | 5 Comments