Friday, August 29, 2014


I  have eight of the braid blocks for Pattern Play finished.  I decided to wait and trim them to size when I'm ready to sew them together.  Once trimmed, the blocks have bias edges and could easily get distorted from handling.

This is my color palette for the quilt.  My inspiration was the Kona Sunset precuts but I did not need all the colors and the pattern requires more than a fat quarter of each anyway so picked out my favorites and got a half yard of each. 

These colors really pop, especially against the white and gray used as contrast.  I'm not keen on the name Pattern Play and am trying to think up something else.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Project

For my next project, I'm making Pattern Play, a project from the June 2014 edition of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.

This magazine...

This is a bit of a departure for me.  It is more modern than my usual aesthetic and uses all solid color fabrics.  I started by making a test block.  This is what a block looks like after sewing.

And here it is after trimming to 10.5 inches square.  The instructions in the magazine for how to trim the block are excellent!  If you are a regular here, you know I've had some complaints in the past about inadequately written pattern directions.  Well, not for this pattern, it is all very good, very easy to follow.

Making one block at a time means a lot of jumping up from the sewing machine to move to the ironing board then to the cutting table.  I'm going to continue this production making my blocks in batches of 8 at t time so I can chain piece.  Either way, it will be faster than a double wedding ring, lol!

Monday, August 25, 2014

DWR Update - Borders Added

I added the borders to my Double Wedding Ring top so now it's truly a finished flimsy!

I used the background fabric for the borders (from a Moda 3 Sisters line called Printemps).  I created a foundation 90 inches square and appliqued the double wedding ring top to the foundation.  Then I cut away the extra fabric that backed the double wedding ring portion, leaving the borders.  The cutting part was a bit nerve-wracking; I was afraid of accidently cutting the quilt top.  Fortunately, all went well.

 I used the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine (Bernina 440Q) to applique the top to the foundation.  Wow, it was easier and faster than I thought it would be and the stitches are nearly invisible.  That's a close-up above; you have to look really closely to see the stitches and I think they will be even less visible after quilting.  More of this machine applique will be in my future.

The next step is to get this top quilted.  I'm planning to spring for custom long-arm quilting.  Now, on to the next project!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Quilts And More, Fall 2014

I picked up the latest issue of Quilts and More in Barnes & Noble on Saturday.  I've been trying to resist buying more quilting books and magazines because I have enough projects already to last a long time.  But Quilts and More focuses on smaller projects and this issue has a few that I can really see myself making. 

The magazine has a regular feature called ScrapLab where three designers are challenged to each make a project from an identical set of fabric pieces.  The fabric for the Fall projects was set of 20 6" by WOF strips of batik fabric. 

Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. made these framed pieces.  I think this is such a good idea for gifts or your own home.  Each of the three here are sized to fit standard size frames which can be purchased fairly inexpensively in many chain stores. 

These decorative pillows were designed by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co and use covered button accents.  I can see these in some Christmas fabrics for the holiday season. 
Zig Zag and Chevron quilt designs have been very popular lately and I like this unusual take on the look.  This design is called Good Vibrations and is by Kari Vojtechovsky.  While this design uses 2.5" strips, it requires more of each print than is in a jelly roll.  Too bad, I still have the jelly rolls I bought in Hawaii (though I do have a plan for them).

There are more projects in this issue but the other thing that caught my eye was an ad for a sew-a-thon that American Patchwork & Quilting is holding Sept. 19-20 as part of their 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.  If you live near Des Moines, you can go to the live event at the Meredith Corporation.  Those further away can join virtually.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Evergreen - Truly Finished At Last!

Finally, a finish!  I pieced this quilt at the end of last year and got it back from my quilter in April then finally finished binding it this weekend.  While I am calling my quilt Evergreen (the backing fabric is a wintery evergreen bough print), the original design by Kim Diehl is called Twilight Hopscotch and is in her book called Simple Comforts.

It is 62 inches square, a nice throw size.  I think I will be using it mainly at Christmas time, though the two green prints I used don't shout Christmas so it could be used year 'round.  I used a batik for the stars and a green with gold metallic dots for the chain blocks.  I bound the quilt with the leftover batik fabric.  The white solid is Kona white.

Karen Thompson did the longarm quilting using an open feathery sort of paisley all-over design.  I like this design a lot. 
This quilt was a change for me.  When I began quilting, I made quilts that had just three or four different fabrics in them but for the past few years, I've been immersed in a more scrappy style. This design uses just three fabrics (and could be done with two).  It will be a calming influence when I put it out with my more wild and scrappy Christmas quilts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

DWR Quilt Update - Milestone Reached!

I got all my Double Wedding Ring blocks sewn together!  I know, I can hardly believe it either!  Mr. and Miss Main Street are acting as quilt holders in the photo below.

At this point the quilt top is about 75" square, made up of 36 blocks ("clamshells") with some additional partial blocks ("melons") to finish the edges.  But this is not the finished flimsy; I have some borders to add.
The photo below is a close-up, after ironing.  Yes, I finally got to put an iron to this thing and it sure looks a lot better for it.

Sewing the blocks together is the most time consuming part of making this design.  In most quilts with square blocks, you sew the blocks together in rows (with or without sashing) then sew the rows together with one long seam. 
Not so in making this Double Wedding Ring design.   The blocks called clamshells are made up of the center (white in this case) with melons (a pair of arcs around a center white piece) attached on two adjacent sides.  The interlocking ring design and the four patches at the intersections get formed as the clamshell blocks are sewn together.  As in other quilts, you sew the blocks together in rows then sew the rows together.  Except, instead of one long seam, you have to sew them in short sections, sewing dot-to-dot.  

In each row, I sewed the four patch units together, starting and stopping on the seam lines.  Then I went back over the row, joining all the curved seams, one arc at a time.  It really is not difficult (though I did more than my usual amount of unsewing in at attempt to keep all the intersections lined up perfectly and have all the seams lie flat) but it is fiddly and takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

By "forever" I figure it took me about 22 hours over five days to sew the blocks together to make the top.  And as I mentioned above, I'm not done yet.  I still have the borders to add.  More on that in a later post.

For now, I am quite pleased with how this quilt is turning out.  I like the colors I used and think it will look fantastic with some fine custom quilting.  It feels good to work on a more challenging design and have it come out well.  And through the process, I've come to have a greater appreciation for fast, fun, and done projects too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Got Zucchini?

'Tis the season for zucchini overload.  Miss Main Street is pet and house sitting for neighbors with a vegetable garden.  They told her to use anything that ripens while they are away.  So far, that means zucchini.

I found a recipe for a salad that uses zucchini on one of the blogs I read occasionally.  The salad is called Ruth's Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Sweet Corn and Avocado.  I like it so much, I've had it twice in one week!  Recipe here.  I used just one avocado which was enough for me and feta cheese instead of queso fresco.

It's a good recipe to try when you've got zucchini.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Find - Victoria BC

Are you looking for a weekend getaway?  I recommend Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada.

While I was in Seattle, I took a 2-day side trip over to Victoria on the Clipper ferry, a high-speed passenger ferry from downtown Seattle to Victoria's Inner Harbor area.  Victoria is a beautiful, small city with just enough to see for a 2 or 3 day visit. 

The Fairmont Empress Hotel, famous for their afternoon tea
I visited the Royal British Columbia Museum, with exhibits on the natural history of the area, the First Nations' people, and the modern history of the area, as well as a traveling exhibit on the Vikings.   The weather was great so a walk around the harbor was in order.  I was able to walk everywhere I wanted to go within the city; it is compact.

Statue of Queen Victoria in front of the Provincial Government building

 I also went to Butchart Gardens, which is located outside of the city.  (It is an amazing botanical garden situated in an old quarry.  (I took a tour bus offered by the ferry company to get there.)

Waterfall at Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens
Victoria has a lot of restaurants serving fish and I had some excellent meals.  I particularly recommend the Steamship Terminal restaurant, located on the harbor in an old building that was formerly a steamship terminal.  I sat on the terrace outside and watched the water taxis and ferries in the harbor.  There are several marinas nearby as well.

I stayed at the Oswego Hotel, a newer boutique hotel located on a quiet side street about three blocks from the harbor.  I give this hotel 5 stars for comfort and service! 

Keep Victoria in mind if you need a west coast getaway or are planning a visit to Seattle or Vancouver.