Saturday, January 31, 2015

Four Years

It’s really hard to believe A Quilter’s Table has been up and running for 4 years. I clearly remember the nervousness I felt as I brought it into existence ... the conversations I had with my family about what I should name it ... the downright courage it took for me to put it out there.

Since that moment, things have changed - how and what I quilt, how I spend my free time, how wide my circle of fellow-quilters.
Socken - my first use of solids

When it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, in the 4 years since I began blogging, I have:
  • curated a fairly modern stash, where before I only had ‘project leftovers’
  • incorporated fabrics other than quilting cotton into my work
  • created a workable dedicated sewing space that even has a design wall, something I had no idea had value
  • upgraded to a sewing machine that gave me machine quilting capability
  • shown my work in a variety of real-life settings and even entered quilt contests
  • become active in a modern quilt guild, where ‘modern’ was something I barely knew existed before
  • moved beyond sewing from a pattern – though I still love them – to creating my own designs, even sharing some as tutorials
  • been known to cut fabric without a ruler . . . improv was not a word in my vocabulary back then
  • expanded my presence in social media . . . starting a blog was huge then . . . now A Quilter's Table is on Pinterest, facebook, Instagram
Plain and simple, my life as a sewist has evolved, and it really is tough to take it all in.
 Mini-X - my 1st tutorial

And then there’s you.

None of the above would have been half as meaningful, as fulfilling, without you. The affirmation you’ve given has made me believe I was capable of things I would never have considered. You have encouraged me to think outside the box I knew to a place where just about anything can happen. You've made it all downright fun, and I am so eager to see where this journey takes me next.
Mango - the first quilt of my own design
I'll confess I've looked back and read my posts marking each year of blogging, and it really touched me to see how many of you have been with me from the start. That says a lot about the camaraderie and support we find in each other, and honestly, it's at the crux of why this blogging thing is so rewarding to me. If we weren't in this together, I'm not sure I'd enjoy it quite so much.
So thank you for being here day in and day out. And thank you for all you do to make creating one of the most satisfying things I'm about. I hope you'll mark the occasion with me as I offer a little giveaway. Just leave a comment on this post and on Monday, I'll choose a random winner to receive a $40 credit to fabricBUBB, a shop with beautiful modern fabrics and terrific customer service. It may be a small way of showing my appreciation, but it's heart-felt nonetheless. This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

3 Things

After sharing last week about my experience with wool batting bearding, I thought I'd report back. Fact is, there was quite a convo on Instagram about it, and I don't think I was the only one who learned something. Like the fact that some battings (not all) have a right and wrong side. Of course I don't know which side of my batt was up, and even so, I wouldn't want bearding on the wrong side any more than the front. But according to Melissa/ weshallsew, '[some] batting is "needle-punched", and one side has texture, the other does not. Find the side with texture and that should be the side that goes up, behind the quilt top. The non-textured side should go to the backing. That should cut down on your bearding.' Also, Krista/poppyprint pointed out that seams pressed open 'maximizes bearding due to all the holes between stitches.' Hmm.

I did also notify the manufacturer, and was told the following:
"Our goods are not resin (chemically) bonded, but thermally (heat) bonded, which can allow a small amount of bearding to occur.   However, bearding to the extent you described would be quite unusual.  My best deduction is that the goods used in this quilt must have had an area that may not have been bonded properly. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing exactly why this occurred.  In addition,  darker fabrics could be making the bearding appear even worse.   The Wool Batting does not have a right or wrong side.   We have made up some samples with yardage in our warehouse and washed and dried them and could not re-create this issue. Please keep in mind for the future that if you use thermal bonded wool again be sure to wash on a gentle cycle, using only cool water and a cool dryer. This should help prevent bearding." 
For the record, I was offered a 'replacement' wool batting but I graciously declined. I think I'll stick to what I know for a while. And while I'm not glad I had this experience, I definitely am coming away with new information, which is almost always a good thing.

On to another issue . . . that ole CAPTCHA word verification ordeal that appeared out of nowhere in many of our blogger comment sections a while back. I wasn't able to figure out how to remove it until Kathy/Kwilty Pleasures showed me the way. Check out her post if the "I'm not a robot" routine has gotten old for you too.

And last but certainly not least, it's time for the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala! Adrianne/On The Windy Side and Anne/Play Crafts are co-hosting the challenge this year (read their posts here and here). This will be my 4th year participating, and you probably noticed that Marsala and I are getting along just fine. Whether you love it or have kept it at arm's length, I encourage you to explore the deets in Adrianne and Anne's posts and consider joining in. I predict we'll all be impressed when it's all said and done.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sipping Marsala

Marsala, the Pantone Color of the Year, was met with a pretty chilly reception around blogland when it was announced, yet I was kind of anxious to play with it a bit. I had gathered a few fabrics as possibilities and was mulling over what to do with them when I flipped through Alex Ledgerwood/teaginny Designs new book, Improvising Tradition: 18 Quilted Projects Using Strips, Slices, and Strata, and saw IT. That being her En Pointe Wall Hanging, with its slashed blocks reminiscent of a traditional rail fence.

The fabrics I ended up using were Essex Linen in Natural, Kona Sienna and Brick (the closest I've come to my Pantone Marsala swatch), and 2 luscious Kaffe Fassett Shot Cottons, a Terra Cotta and a Multi Stripe "Parma".

There's something about these blocks that is low-stress and satisfying, not something I can say about all improv. Here they are on my gray design wall, nighttime lighting and all.
I really would be happy just making more blocks, but decided I'd stop here and see what I could come up with. The first layout below is most like Alex's, but I rearranged my blocks a bit just to see if there was anything else I liked as well.


I may do something totally different, we'll see, but so far this little dalliance has been invigorating. Not quite what you'd expect from reddish brown, is it? {wink}

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Just about ready to leave the office yesterday, I texted hubby, "You up for meeting me at the U-Haul?" Yes he was, and no, we're not moving. But I had noticed their diamond-clad wall a couple of weeks ago, and I had my heart set on taking a photo of my latest FAITH Circle finish with that wall as a background. Don't worry. I asked permission, and before long I had what I was after.
The blocks are 11 1/2" (unfinished) intersection blocks, tutorial by Film in the Fridge, and I admired them from the second I saw Ashley post them. Frankly, I think they are perfect for a group bee such as this, and my FAITH Circle girls hit my chosen palette perfectly. 

For backing, I went stash-diving and came up with 2 pieces of Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson of V and Co., and lo and behold, did they not look terrific pieced together.
Quilting was done with Aurifil 50wt #2021 (Natural White) in a grid, double stitching in some areas, single in others, and honestly, it was a pleasure to do.
Binding is hard to see well, but is Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill Frames in Fern, a sweet aquamarine and citron geometric print - one of my favorites in the line.
The quilt finished at 55"x55", and once I get a do.Good Stitches label on, it'll be off to Restore Innocence, our bee's chosen charity. There, it will hopefully bring a smile to a young girl's face, just like it has to mine.

This project is on my 2015 Q1 Finish-A-Long list.
Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Over the weekend, my friend Louise and I had the chance to go to Island Quilter on Vashon Island, where there was a quilt exhibit we'd been wanting to see: My MODERN: Celebrating Five Years of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild.

Oh yeah, this was our guild's show, and we both had quilts hanging, but just wait till you see the exhibit in its entirety. I'm biased for sure, but I think it's a terrific showing of modern quilts, and I'm fortunate and grateful to be a part of such a talented group of quilters. So here goes! {Note that the quilts are listed in the order I saw them hanging around the room.}

 "Not a Christmas Quilt" by Dionne Matthies-Buban

"Spiraled Jungle" by Debbie Jeske

"Postage Springs Eternal" by Lynne Shandley

"Shades of Grey" by Louise Wackerman

 (l-r) "Kaleidoscope Love" by Jessica Vehorn, "Hunks of Sky" by Matt Macomber,
"Double Binary" by Deborah Ferguson

 (l-r) "yellow birds on back" by Kristen Ballou, "Fallen" by Allison Dutton

 (upper left) "Scrap Migration" by Rachel Pascual, (lower left) "Tinkering No. 2"
by Grace Lainhart, (right) "Double-Trouble" by Katie Pedersen

 "Orange Appeal" by Lisa Nolte

 (l-r) "She Loves Me" by Katrine Eagling, "Tempo Rubato" by Martha Peterson

"Antitheses" by Rachel Singh

"BitterRoot" by Darcie Kantor

"Soundwave" by Amy Killian

"Plymouth Rocks II" by the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild

rainbow/zen by Megan Riley

 (l-r) "Happy Encounter: Gwen Meets Karla Meets Angela" by Jackie Benedetti,
"Gina's Gold Star" by Marilyn Lone

 (l-r) "PNW" by Becca Jubie, "If a Tree Falls in the Woods" by Maureen Mandy

 (l-r) "Fox Tails are a Girl's Best Friend" by Ellen Jackowski, "Happy Times" by Chandra Wu

 (l-r) "Timelines" by Carrie Franklin, "Passage" by Aly Bazeley

 (left) "Isaac's Quilt" by the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild, (upper right) "Molten Metal"
by Megan Vanderburg", (lower right) "Untitled" by Vicki Christensen

 (left) "Reflection" by Sandra Jean, (upper right) "Waves" by Amber Arnold,
(lower right) "Tunnel Vision" by Sue Mariotti

"Grey Geese" by Kate Barnet
While enjoying  the quilts themselves, I enjoyed so many of their names too. Beside each quilt was a card not only identifying the maker, but a little about each piece, and also what modern quilt attributes the maker was expressing in their quilt. I found all that info about the quilts and their makers very interesting. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit, and I hope you did too!

Friday, January 23, 2015


About time for some randomness, no?

First off, you probably saw the sketchbook cover I showed off the other day. I used this Journal Cover tutorial, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Yet I happened upon another tutorial (thanks Blue.Ridge.Girl!) by  Bloomin' Workshop, which has the added features of bound edges and rounded corners. I think it's good to have options, and would highly recommend both tutorials if you're so inclined to make a cover too.

And speaking of options, the paper-pieced Hack Slash block by badskirt that started off my sketchbook cover is now available as a traditional pieced block as well. (Thanks Amy!) I'm kinda crushing on this block right now!

Boy things are just leading one to another today! My guild-mate, Allison of Allison Sews shared a new-to-me technique for freezer paper piecing this week. She makes it look simple and neat and definitely worth trying next time I paper piece. I even have the suggested Add-A-Quarter ruler around here somewhere!

Have you heard about Heidi/Fabric Mutt's Sew the Library sew along and linky party? I find I often use my craft books for inspiration or technique and then go off on my own. Others, though, you've known me to sew from beginning through to the end. Either way, they are a treasure trove for sure. If you've sewn from your library lately, consider joining in!
sew along
Lastly, I randomly (right?) posted my Quiltyness Pinterest board on my facebook page last week, and it got shared around quite a bit, so I thought I'd mention it here. I go there often for inspiration and even just to soak up the beauty created by our quilting community. Another of my favorite boards is my Quilt BLOCKS board, where I stash blocks I want to try or even blocks I've made - just to remember.
Anyway, there's some stuff I've enjoyed lately and wanted to share with you. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh, Baby!

Last weekend, daughter dear and I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for my goddaughter, Jessica. Besides silly games, tasty food, and goodie bags, it seemed like we just had to have some sweet fabric bunting. I was lucky to happen upon a tutorial by my guild friend, Louise of I'm Feelin' Crafty. She includes a pattern for the triangles, which I thought were the perfect size. I chain pieced all the triangles, and then happily made scrappy gray binding right out of the scrap basket. I found that 20 triangles sewn edge to edge made a 10' bunting, of which I made 2. I attached the binding with a narrow zig-zag stitch, which made the buntings secure while adding a decorative touch. And now that the shower's over, they will be sweet hanging in baby boy's room, right?

Of course I wanted to make baby a quilt. Jess, Rachel, and I happened to already share a baby quilt ideas Pinterest board, where Jessica clued me in to a few of her special favorites. I chose the Star Cluster, an enlarged version of a block by Judy Martin. Judy's block pattern makes a 12" or 16" block, where the baby quilt measures 40" square.
photographed before washing

The front of the quilt is a scrappy mix of baby's nursery colors, all set on Kona white. For batting, I used a baby-sized Pellon Legacy Wool Batting, fully washable, and therein lies just a bit of an issue with this little quilt. Though the batt description says otherwise, I did experience some bearding after a wash. If anyone else has had this experience with wool batt, I'd love to hear about it . . .
The quilt's backing is a teal and navy print from Waterfront Park by Violet Craft. For quilting, I cross-hatched each block using my machine's serpentine stitch as long and wide as it would go. All piecing and quilting was done with Aurifil 50wt #2021 (Natural White), the cone that stays on my machine for most of my everyday sewing. And binding was another scrappy mix, this time of white on white prints.
photographed after washing

The Star Cluster was a perfect block for supersizing and using a varied palette. Plus I think it's super sweet for baby.

This project is on my 2015 Q1 Finish-A-Long list.
Linking up with Finish it Up Friday.

Monday, January 19, 2015

To Sketch

cover front

Now this was a pleasant diversion! As I mentioned on my 2015 Q1 Finish-A-Long list, twice at SMQG sewn-item swaps I've had my hands on a patchwork journal/sketch book, and twice they've been stolen away. So I knew it was up to me to make one for myself. And that I did.
I used the Journal Cover tutorial by Stitched in Color, which worked perfectly, but the thing is, it's up to you to design and create the basic patchwork. I tried several new block tutorials and from there I just filled in with random pieces of fabric. Note that every inch of this cover is from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander, which undoubtedly is a current favorite. I used 22 different prints(!) which just added to the fun!
cover back

So here's the block tutorials I used:
  1. Hack Slash block by badskirt (upper right on cover front)
  2. Diamond Cross block by Hopfaldera (lower left on cover front)
  3. Flying Geese by craftietammie (upper portion of cover back)
  4. Raspberry Kiss block by Wooden Spoon Quilts (lower left on cover back)
When I slipped the composition book into the finished cover (shown below) it fit like a glove.
 Here's a glance at the inside covers, complete with my label.
Let's just say I'm pretty pleased to finally have a patchwork covered sketchbook of my very own. And I couldn't have had more fun making that happen. oh yeah.

This project is on my 2015 Q1 Finish-A-Long list.
Linking up with Fabric Tuesday.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Through the Lens :: interlude

It's an age-old phenomenon, and I'm as guilty as they come. That would be the attempt to really learn about one's camera. The simple fact is, when I heard (ie: read) Katy/The Littlest Thistle's post about the Camera Challenges & Tutorials series she's starting, my ears perked up. I've tried, yes. But either my retention is really poor, or it just hasn't remained an important focus. But I'm willing to try again! Here's a glimpse of where I am today . . .

What do I have?
I've shot with a Canon EOS Rebel T3i for nearly 3 years. When hubby bought it for me, he called it an advanced beginner's dslr - my very first. It came with an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens, which stays on probably 95% of the time. I also have a 55-250mm f4-5.6, a medium range telephoto lens. It's used more on vacations than with my quilt photograpy. But the good news is, I do know how to switch the lenses out.

What I know.
I got off shooting automatic right away. I'm comfortable in Program mode, fiddle in Macro mode occasionally, but haven't explored much beyond that. I finally know how to control the auto-focus though. And I can manage downloading and editing my own photos, though have plenty to learn about composition and all that.

Where have I been?
I've participated in photography challenges online, specifically with Plum and June last year. I posted about those experiences then - taking fabric photossubject and composition, and about white balance. I hate to admit whatever I learned I either don't continue to practice, or have forgotten entirely.

What I meant to do.
I have a Pinterest Photography board where I collect all sorts of things about photography. I'm sure I could learn a lot through what I've collected, but I haven't read most of it. I purchased a Craftsy photography class (Shoot It! by Caro Sheridan) and another that I can't even remember {not good}. I watched neither.

So yeah. Pretty pitiful. Good intentions but not much progress. That's why I'm gonna do my best to follow Katy's posts and learn what I can. I know there's alot she can teach us me.