Sunday, December 31, 2017


When I first saw Yvonne/Quilting JETgirl's post about planning for 2018, I was knee-deep in making gift-bags and wrapping presents, still debating if I was going to write a Christmas letter (I did not), and hoping against hope that I could get some Christmas baking done (I did). 2018 was not something I was thinking about.

Now that I am sitting down to actually write this post, it feels like 2018 planned itself for me. Of course, that's not totally true, as I did have some say in most of it, but I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed both with the w.i.p.s all around me (and some of their respective deadlines) as well as the groups and events I'll be involved in. All good stuff, but it kind of feels like they are all piled up in front of me, barring me from moving forward, where in fact, what I need to do is step on over them as a group, and start facing them one by one. Maybe getting them down on paper, here, for you, would help me do that.

The thing is, when I went to write my list, it felt like soooo many words. After my Best of 2017 and Another Look posts, I feel like there's been alot of writing and reading. So a list I will write, but succinct it will be. And I'll share more as projects and events unfold.
  1. w.i.p.s - finish them! 
  2. gifts - give generously
  3. QuiltCon - get ready 
  4. organize - 'nuf said 
  5. community - keep involved 
  6. social media - more of the same 
  7. commonality* 
  8. brand* 
  9. write - possibilities 
  10. explore - COTYs, waxed cotton, improvisation 
So I bet you can get the gist of most of those, right? But the two '*' items need some explanation. As far as commonality goes, I'm mulling over incorporating a common element in all my quilts this year. Is that crazy? No promise but the thought intrigues me. We'll see.

And in regards to brand - I need new business cards, address labels, and would like some postcards, preferably with envelopes. If you have a source you'd recommend, please do tell.

So expect to see my Finish-A-Long finishes and new list for 2018 coming soon, and hopefully a couple of new finishes. Time to start on a new issue of The Scrap Basket, make a gift to be gifted soon, and ship off a quilt for QuiltCon. Once that's all done, hopefully I can settle into the new year and explore it as it comes. That's the hope!

Linking up with the #2018PlanningParty! Here we go!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Another Look

Despite sharing my #2017bestnine and Best of 2017 blog posts, which are all about the numbers, of course there was much, much more. Any maker, I think, will have those projects and opportunities (and yes, challenges) that mean something to them that no one else can see. That's just the nature of creating. That said, here's some of what made 2017 especially memorable for me.

Teaching an improv piecing class at Gossypium locally, and then traveling to Victoria MQG to share a trunk show were firsts that stretched and delighted me. More similar opportunities are scheduled for the new year, and preparing for them will consume much of my behind-the-scenes creative time. I'm excited and nervous.

My bi-monthly newsletter, The Scrap Basket, topped 3000 subscribers and continues to be an enjoyable way to connect with my followers.

Chatting with Pat Sloan on her podcast was simply a blast. I was stunned when she invited me on the show, and as nerve-wracking as it was, it was such a privilege, and afterwards, I was buoyed for days.

On a whim I joined in on the #pinnieparade, and crazy as it sounds, it was such a fun diversion!  Consciously focusing on a new, small project every day was intense and rewarding. I tried so many pin cushion patterns, made up my own designs, used up scraps galore, and the best fun of all, gave most of them away.

As far as quilting itself goes, I especially loved dabbling in a range of improv. I purposely tried techniques I never had, explored several unique palettes, and just went with the flow again and again. This kind of creating takes me to such a fulfilling place.

And one of the things I was most excited about is something I haven't even had the chance to share with you yet - but soon!! I contributed an article - and project! - to Issue 2 of Curated Quilts, which ships next week. I can hardly wait!

Whew. Lots of good stuff. There was plenty more of course and I truly could go on and on. Being a member of  both the Seattle MQG and the online quilting community has continued to inspire and affirm me, and indeed, all of you feel like an essential element in my work as a creator. Ok, enough already. It's been an unquestionably good year. Thanks for being a part of it.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Best of 2017

There were hopes of one more finish before the year runs out, but I'm beginning to think that won't happen. I'm feeling a little daunted by things I already know are waiting for me in the new year, but that doesn't mean it's not worth a little time to look back. And for that reason, as a start at least, I decided to join in with Cheryl/Meadow Mist Designs' Best of 2017 Linky Party. The object is to share your top 5 posts of 2017, and I'll just judge that here purely on view count.

1. 10 Ways to Make a Quilt Back - Though I'm not usually too creative in this regard, folks obviously really appreciated a few new ideas.

2. Thinly Sliced - Interesting that of my all my quilt finishes, this one qualifies as most-viewed. What fun to explore the improv stripe technique though!

3. The Improv Stripes QAL Begins! - It was so much fun, others wanted to play too, which led to my second Instagram QAL! Skim through the #improvstripesqal hashtag to see progress photos or if you're interested in where the technique can take you, you might enjoy the show-and-tell blogposts here and here.

4. No Scrap Left Behind - Made for the blog tour for Amanda Jean/crazy mom quilts' latest book, this project was actually made the first time I took my sewing machine on vacation!

5. And finally.... "What do you do with all those quilts?" - I get asked this all the time. And though I shared in depth with lots of quilt photos in my blog post, the short answer is... I use/gift/donate/show/share/store/sell them!

So the above is just one way to indicate 'the best of', of course, and I hope to share some other thoughts soon. But it's telling, don't you think? As much as folks want to see finished quilts, they want to try new things, and get a peek into each other's crafty world. And that sharing is really one of the best things about our quilting community. Here's to more of that!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Guy Gift

Considering all the encouragement and help I get from hubby in support of my crafting, I sure haven't sewn for him much. Sad but true. I've made him just one quilt to call his very own, and the only other time I can think of is when he requested a case for his sunglasses. Pitiful, right? So when it became apparent that he needed a new travel bag [aka dopp kit], I decided to try my hand at making one. I settled on the Boxy Pouch tutorial from Pink Stitches. She gave the dimensions for a 'larger sized pouch' which proved to be just what I was looking for. [Note to self, I used the measurements given for the larger pouch, cutting the corner squares at 1.75".]

On a trusted recommendation, I had ordered a yard of 10-ounce Hand Waxed Cotton Canvas from A. L. Frances Textiles on etsy, which just so happened to come 60" wide - more than generous for my need, but I'm hoping to continue to dabble with the canvas, making a few more items.

As I do when trying something I'm not familiar with, I went slowly, step by step. Due to the heavy and stiff nature of the waxed cotton, I left out the suggested batting and quilting, and that was a fine (and pretty obvious) decision. Otherwise the construction was relatively straight-forward, tho I did use a jean needle with heavy duty thread threaded in my machine and 50wt in the bobbin, and that combo worked like a charm.

Already, the pouch has a 'used' look. That happens naturally as it is handled, and just adds to its appeal. It took unzipping it and seeing the lining before it dawned on hubby that his new bag was handmade. When I just asked him what I could say about what he thought about the bag I made him, he said simply, "I like it!" I'll take it.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Very Merry!

Wishing you a cozy day with a full heart, 
and all the blessings of the season!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Make, Making, Made

Feeling pretty in control of all the Christmas prep by last Sunday, I thought I just might have time to whip up some zip pouches for my coworkers.

First up was a tutorial I'd been wanting to try, the Boxy Pouch by Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k handmade. I opted for a whimsical bee print from Laurie Wisbrun's Bright and Buzzy line. It's an older one that I think was waiting in the ole stash just for this time. I copied the use of the black and white stripes from Svetlana, and I think it makes the pouch.

Then there were a couple where I kept the shape simple. The first got a strip of contrasting fabric, and one of my leather labels....

and one with what to me seemed a Scandinavian-inspired design that suited the recipient.

And then two Color Block Pouches, also a s.o.t.a.k handmade tutorial, which I made with shot cotton. For some reason, I think this pouch design and the shot cotton really pair well together, which is why I've used this combo several times before. [And I just now noticed that I flipped the front panel 180-degrees on one of these.... oops!]

All of the flat pouches were made with SF101 interfacing (the boxy pouch got fusible fleece), metal zippers from Zipit, and either suede or deerskin lacing pulls.

Happily, all were well-received when they were gifted yesterday. Small makes, they allowed me a little sewing time during a busy season, while letting me share the gift of handmade. Oh yeah.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

And Tiger Lily!

First we (well, I, anyway) anxiously awaited the new Pantone Color of the Year, and then of course it was time to wonder about the Kona Color of the Year, which was announced yesterday!

A few of us chatted at our recent guild party, and were just sure it would be something cool, namely blue. Boy were we wrong. But no matter, I'm committed to give it a go. And you? Be sure and check out the lookbook to see some of the beautiful quilts already created! I think it'll be a fun one to play with!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Good and Better

Yesterday started off well enough. The MOD-Q newsletter popped into my email inbox, and there was my Follow the Dots quilt in the Quilt Stories: Headline News feature. Editor Helen Butcher of the Quilters' Guild of theBritish Isles, had written a while back asking if she could include it, so I knew about it, but it was still a fun surprise to see in my feed.

And then things went uphill from there, when I got notification that Follow the Dots had made it into 2018 QuiltCon in the Small Quilts category. Oh yeah. I would have loved if our guild quilt had gotten in but that didn't happen. With over 1430 quilts submitted and room for 360, it is what it is. Honestly, I'm thrilled to have even one in the show.


A bonus was hearing that my Bee Sewcial beemate Felicity/@felicityquilts had her #felicityquiltswinter accepted! It's a group quilt, made in collaboration with the 2015 #beesewcial women @shecanquilt@marci_girl@spontaneousthreads,
@quiltsforthemaking@weshallsew@spontaneousthreads@entropyalwayswins, @diane_stanley_sews, and myself. Considering I wasn't there when my own Bee Sewcial quilt, Mod Mood, was in the show, I'm hoping to get in on the group photo with Felicity and her "Winter."

So back to Instragram to scroll through and see what got in and what didn't. They are all equally inspiring!

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Gift-Giving Frenzy

In the most recent issue of The Scrap Basket, I did a round-up of sewn items perfect for gift-giving. Of course, I'm not the only one thinking in that vein, so I'm sharing a few more ideas here, as I also gather up links for other great gift lists I've seen across blogland. In the mix you'll find purchased gifts for sewers and creative business owners as well. Consider it a round-up of round-ups!

The Color Block Pouch tutorial by Svetlana/s.o.t.a.k handmade

More ideas? Do tell! About as far as I've gotten is a handful of gift-bags!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ultra Violet

For some reason, the challenge of creating something with an 'assigned' color holds an unexplained appeal. Such is the significance of the newly-announced Pantone Color of the Year in my little quilty world. I'm not really into fashion or seasonal trends, but I do like exploring with color and fabric and know I'll have fun with Ultra Violet! Daughter dear has already ordered official Color Swatch Cards for us, so we can do some fabric matchy-matching, which is all part of the fun. 

A little déjà vu is in order, more for my benefit than yours, I know! But I do enjoy reviewing my pantone-inspired journey as I head off on the next one!

:: Greenery 2017 :: "Evergreenery"

:: Rose Quartz and Serenity 2016 :: "Pantone Meets Bias Tape"

:: Marsala 2015 :: "Sizzling"

:: Emerald 2013 :: "An Emerald Table"

:: Tangerine Tango 2012 :: "Tangerisk"

So how about you? Will you be giving Ultra Violet a go? Like it or not, I think it's a great exercise! Several of the colors above are ones I never would have chosen to work with, but I've come to appreciate most of them (still love that Marsala!). And I have no doubt dabbling with them has expanded my appreciation of color, and for that, I'm glad.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Maximalist Improv

"Time to laugh and play, no rulers, no neutrals, all the colours, maximalist improv.... Just have fun and make a block or two that make you feel happy." Well it doesn't get much better than that in bee-block land, now does it? But that's exactly what Leanne/shecanquilt set forth last month for Bee Sewcial.

It's probably no surprise that I went right back to playing with improv techniques I've enjoyed these last weeks. I managed to make the bottom block without any ruler, per Leanne's request, but I got going and forgot as I was trimming the spikes in the top block. I swear, I put that ruler away as soon as I caught myself, ha! Though I was pulling from the scrap bin for the spikes, trying to use quite a few colors, I found I ended up with a loosely-defined palette that is unique but inviting. May have to explore that further one of these days...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Wholecloth Narrow

Don't you love those projects you don't even know you need, then all of a sudden you're deep into it? That's exactly what happened Saturday night after decorating the house up a bit for the holidays.

We have a skinny ledge between our kitchen and dining room, and it was just calling for a little runner to dress is up. Just 8 1/2" wide, it didn't need much, and doing a bunch of small piecing didn't really fit my inclination nor time-frame. Rummaging through the stash, I found a width of Light a Candle from the Moonlit Collection by Rashida Coleman Hale. This print definitely did not need to be cut up, so I did the obvious and moved straight-away to quilting it.

Aurifil 50wt 2325 (Sand) coordinated really nicely, and with a layer of batting behind, simple improv curves down the length of the piece gave some semblance of flickering candle flames. I went ahead and used the entire WOF, and rather than any kind of binding, just backed the entire runner, which finished at 42" long.

So here's a glimpse of it, already in use! We've received a piece or two of Lenox Holiday from my parents every Christmas for over two decades so we've built a beautiful collection, and I kinda love a few of my favorites at home on the new little runner.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2018 QuiltCon Submissions

It was fun to see and hear about the quilts Yvonne/Quilting JETgirl and Heather/
Quilt-achusetts submitted to QuiltCon 2018, and I told them both I'd eventually post mine, so here they are!

First, I submitted Doing the {Pink} Flamingo  in the Group or Bee Quilt category on behalf of Seattle MQG. It was our first giving quilt of this year, and the guild outdid themselves making improv blocks that featured Pink Flamingo, the Kona Color of the Year. The Pink Flamingo and backing fabric were donated to the guild by Circa15 fabric studio, and we really appreciated partnering with them. Also, it was quilted by guild-member Pam Cole.

Considering Refiner's Fire was my most liked post EVER on Instagram, I couldn't resist going ahead and entering it in the Improvisation category. At 40" square, it barely fit.

And beings it's one of my very favorite finishes of the year, in went Improv Alliance in the Modern Traditionalism category. This one was just a joy to make during the guild's 2016 block-of-the-month, and it's extra special since my guild-mate Matt Macomber beautifully quilted this one for me.

I struggled to choose just one more to submit and finally settled on my most recent finish, Follow the Dots, which I intentionally kept small enough so that it fit in the Small Quilts category.

So for better or worse, there we go. I'm disappointed I didn't get this year's Bee Sewcial quilt done in time, but I let it overwhelm me, and just need the right timing to get back to working on it. Meanwhile, it is what it is! Sharing a quilt out in the world is a humbling and exciting thing, and I figured it's definitely worth a try!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Follow the Dots

The fabric for this quilt was chosen way before the design was conceived. It was back in August that my desk calendar featured the teal and yellow combination that caught my attention, and after some research trying to find matches, I settled on Kona Cotton Solid in Everglade with Painter's Palette Solid in Lemon Ice. Fast forward a couple of months to when I traveled to California on retreat, and purchased Maria Shell's Improv Patchwork: Dynamic Quilts Made with Line & Shape to read on the way down. At retreat I was then able to begin exploring the two together, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Basically, I experimented with several of the techniques in the book, the first being improv dots. They made me very happy, and I just made more and more until I was ready to move on to something else.

Next up were the lattice checks - the yellow-framed 'square' on the right side below and 'rectangle' in the lower center. These were fun too, and I was so glad I switched up the fabrics to highlight the yellow a bit more.

Lastly were the 'tracks', such as the piece in the lower left corner above. After making the large track near the top of the quilt, I realized I really liked this technique in skinnier strips, but still, they're good no matter what the size.

Putting the blocks together into a quilt top was of course, improvisational, and it only made sense that the quilting be the same. Using both Aurifil 50wt 1125 (Medium Teal) and 2115 (Lemon), I quilted one section at a time, choosing the design as I went, stitching fairly densely in most areas. Where I densely quilted on one color but not the other, it made the contrasting bits pop.

A faced binding seemed an appropriate finish to the quilt, which ended up 32" x 34".

What was satisfying about this project was the sense of exploration every step of the way. Beginning with the dots, I let them lead me on, step by step. I've wondered whether or not I should have left more breathing room between the sections, but then again, why? Those kinds of wonderings are just part of the process, and I'm happy enough to let them be.