Monday, October 20, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Last week, Caroline of Trillium Design extended a very nice request that I participate in the "Around the World Blog Hop".  I have followed her blog for quite a while now.  I don't even remember how I found her first, but we both share a home state, both are into science and she even was kind enough to write up a paper pieced pattern I designed for an on-line contest.  In a few weeks, I'll get to meet her in person at the Sewtopia Retreat in Salt Lake City.  It'll be my first ever retreat of any kind, and I'm very excited!

The "Around the World Blog Hop" asks us to answer 4 questions and nominate 3 other bloggers to continue the hop.  I hope you enjoy the questions below:

1. What am I working on?

Besides trying to stock up my Etsy shop and "inventory" of things made from Pendleton Wool for the holiday season, I tend to focus my quilting time in the Fall getting tops that I've made ready to quilt and quilting them.  This "Sea Star" quilt is next!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?


I really really really like science of any kind, and many of my quilts reflect this.  I also tend to use darker colors as the backgrounds of my quilts, and no matter how hard I try, "wonky" and "asymmetrical" seem to be modern quilt themes that I just haven't been able to embrace.

My recent addiction has been to paper piecing!  I love the variety of shapes you can create with it!

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Why does anyone?  I think it's human nature.  When so much of the work I do as a mother and wife gets undone as fast as I do it; cooking, cleaning, laundry, giving rides, sewing is something tangible that I have to hold onto. It satisfies a creative need that I think everyone has.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?


I just write from the top of my head.  You can tell, and frankly, I have never considered myself a writer.  It's not my strength.  When I found quilt and sewing blogs, it instantly appealed to me as a way to share the visual images of what we all do, and to connect with other people who share my love of sewing.  I love looking at other quilts almost as much (sometimes more) than I do making them.  I'm afraid lately posting on Instagram has been satisfying that desire to connect as much as blogs do with even less of a time commitment, so I'm a bit guilty of neglecting my blog because of that.

When it comes to sewing, I use leftover school notebooks as idea files, and also have picture files on my computer and on Pinterest that I add ideas to.  As I mentioned, science is a big inspiration for me, but I also love on-line challenges.  Life is always an influence, as is the on line community.

I use graph paper as much or more than my EQ 7 computer program.  Luckily I love math and find the quilt math really fun :-).  Why let a computer do it for me?

OK  so how about you?  Part of the blog hop is to nominate 3 other bloggers.  If you feel like adding to it, please do.  I've met many people in real life after I've met them on-line.  3 of these people are:

Shanna of "Fiber of All Sorts".  She and I met after swapping fat quarters on-line, and after she saw that I also lived in Eastern Oregon.  She's helped me get my UFO's almost all finished with her "Lovely Year of Finishes", and is always up for a trip to a local fabric store, or a trip to the coffee shop!  She's just as nice as she is talented.

Marlene of "Kissed Quilts" and I met on a Fickr group, I believe.  She has a long arm business and just opened up a brick and mortar quilt store in Grand Coulee, WA.  She has quilted a few quilts for me, and used to be a regular lunch companion when she lived in near by College Place, WA.  She is a true wizard when it comes to EQ7, and has given me lots of advice and support about starting up my very small business.  She has been winning awards at quilt show with her amazing quilts!!

Finally, I got to meet Debbie of "A Quilter's Table" in real life when we took a Spring Break trip to Seattle, WA a few Springs ago.  She is very talented, and even more generous with her time and wonderful comments.  I've been following her blog for a while now, and she keeps rising over and over again to a new level of inspiration with each new quilt that she makes.

Part of what keeps me blogging is all of the wonderful people I've met through it and other social media.  We all know that people who sew and quilt are some of the kindest, more creative, down to Earth people that there are!!  If you've made it this far, thanks for reading!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Steam Punk Lone Star, and other finishes

Gosh, It's been so long since I last blogged that I'm not sure I remember how!  My summer was busy with the usual garden tending, kids' swim practices and meets, and holding the fort down while my husband worked with the summer's wildfires.

I did get a lot of sewing in though, and thought it'd be easiest to do a big recap post and see if I can jump start my blog up again!

My latest finish just got quilted a week or so ago, now that the weather is getting cooler.  I took a class, in Walla Walla, WA, called 2 + Two by Colleen Blackwood.  I knew it was going to be for my youngest son, and asked him what colors he wanted, knowing that he really likes these lone star quilts.  His response was "all black".  Ha!  Challenge accepted!

I deviated a bit from the pattern's last piano key border, because I only had the black and script fabric left.

For the star, I quilted gears on the center.


Then pulleys, sin waves and a ring of fire for the borders.  It measures about 85" by 85", and is already being used on my son's bed!!

Below are some other finishes, including my swap block quilt, which I finished just before our May Quilt Show, and 2 queen quilt tops that I finished, a "Square Foot Garden" quilt made with some orphan quilt blocks I'd made a while ago, and Tula Pink's Space Dust pattern, which I made as part of "Quilt Dad's" Space Dust Quilt Along this summer.
If you have a keen eye, you'll notice our redone deck.  We kept the base, but put up a new railing.  Besides visits from family and a wee bit of local travel, our summer was mostly spent at home.  The most exciting news was that my oldest son qualified for the US Swimming Federation National District Swim meet.  He had to have a fast qualifying time for most events, and swam in 4 Freestyle events, placing in the top 12 for 2, and top 25 for 2 more.  This kid can swim!  He also got his first "real" job life guarding at our local public pool!  I'm a proud mama!!

My other pursuit has been sewing with plenty of Pendleton Wool, making and selling lots of goodies, including these beer growler bags.  I'm stocking up my Etsy store for the holiday season, and crossing my fingers!



I hope you all had a fantastic summer!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Plus Squared Quilt


It's that time of year again!  Amy from "Amy's Creative Side has been hosting the semi-annual "Blogger's Quilt Fest" for more than a few years now.  It's the best virtual quilt show that I've found!  Thanks Amy!

A few months ago, my oldest son asked me for a new quilt.  It's been a few years since I last made him one, so I was more than happy to oblige!

Last winter he started swimming competitively for his high school, then a club over the summer.  It turns out he has quite the ability! 

But it all paid off when he placed first in his district swim meet in the 200 yard freestyle, earning him a trip to the Oregon state finals.  He was also good enough to get an alternate place in 2 relays that also went to state.  He placed 2nd in district in the 400 freestyle.  Only the 1st place finishes go to state, but his personal best time was faster than at least 1 of the 12 finalists.  He placed 12 out of 12 in the state meet, but for a kid who has only been swimming competitively for less than 2 years, we couldn't be any prouder!

My official name for his quilt, is "Plus Squared", but the subtitle is "Gee, you sure can swim!" ;-)  I made it in his high school team colors.

Because I like to hear other people's stories of where they get their inspiration, here is the picture that led to this quilt design.  I stumbled across it around Christmas time, and filed it in my "idea folder".

My son is also good at math, and I just happened to have a few blocks left over that went perfectly on the back.

The quilting took much longer than the construction, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. You can see it best on the back.  Now that I feel somewhat competent at free motion quilting, I am preferring solid colors on the back more and more, as it really highlights the quilting.

It's a 70" by 86" quilt, using a combination of Moda "Comma" fabric, and Robert Kauffman Kona Solid Forest green and curry yellow.  I used a variegated Coats and Clark thread for the quilting, and Kona black for the binding.

It was a joy to make this, as it was to see my son succeed and do so well in a sport he loves.

Please look at the link above to see other wonderful quilts made by the blogger community!!

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Western Tanager Mini Quilt


It's that time of year again!  Amy from "Amy's Creative Side has been hosting the semi-annual "Blogger's Quilt Fest" for more than a few years now.  It's the best virtual quilt show that I've found!  Thanks Amy!

I made this paper pieced mini quilt as a block in Joanna's (of Shape Moth) Forest Quilt Along that she hosted last Spring.  It is her "Eurasian Jay" pattern that I tweaked a little and changed the coloring to turn it into one of my very favorite birds, the Western Tanager.

Quilting this was a lot of fun.  I turned all 6 of the blocks that I made into either mini quilts or a pillow, all of which reside in our living room. They were just too pretty to fold up and tuck away into a closet.


The quilt is 16 inches by 16 inches, and took just as long to make as many of my much larger quilts.

Please look at the link above to see other wonderful quilts made by the blogger community!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pouches and Purses




Here are a few pictures of my latest endeavor.  I've been busy sewing up lots of lovely pouches and purses made with wool from our local Pendleton Wool Mill.  I don't know why I didn't start making these long ago.  As with many things, sometimes the most obvious thing is beyond our vision.  It took the closing of our local quilt store to force me to expand my sewing horizon.  These lovely purses are a joy to make, and are proving to be much more popular than quilts or quilted goodies.  I am still getting some patchwork in here and there, but for the first time in years I am actually making a wee bit of money selling the wool purses and such on my Etsy site, as well as to local friends, family, and shop owners.  I have even been in contact with a small business counselor to explore possibly making something out of this!  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Quilt For My Son


A few months ago, my oldest son asked me for a new quilt.  It's been a few years since I last made him one, so I was more than happy to oblige!

Last winter he started swimming competitively for his high school, then a club over the summer.  It turns out he has quite the ability!  If I've been a bit quiet here, it's partially because I have spent much of the last few months going to high school swim meets, driving his to and from practice, and taking extra trips to the grocery store to fuel the extra calorie needs that swimming for a few hours a day requires.

But it all paid off when he placed first in his district swim meet in the 200 yard freestyle, earning him a trip to the Oregon state finals.  He was also good enough to get an alternate place in 2 relays that also went to state.  He placed 2nd in district in the 400 freestyle.  Only the 1st place finishes go to state, but his personal best time was faster than at least 1 of the 12 finalists.  He placed 12 out of 12 in the state meet, but for a kid who has only been swimming competitively for less than 2 years, we couldn't be any prouder!

My official name for his quilt, is "Plus Squared", but the subtitle is "Gee, you sure can swim!" ;-)  I made it in his high school team colors.

Because I like to hear other people's stories of where they get their inspiration, here is the picture that led to this quilt design.  I stumbled across it around Christmas time, and filed it in my "idea folder".

My son is also good at math, and I just happened to have a few blocks left over that went perfectly on the back.

The quilting took much longer than the construction, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. You can see it best on the back.  Now that I feel somewhat competent at free motion quilting, I am preferring solid colors on the back more and more, as it really highlights the quilting.

It's a 70" by 86" quilt, using a combination of Moda "Comma" fabric, and Robert Kauffman Kona Solid Forest green and curry yellow.  I used a variegated Coats and Clark thread for the quilting, and Kona black for the binding.

It was a joy to make this, as it was to see my son succeed and do so well in a sport he loves.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NASA Star Block Challenge


If you haven't heard of Astronaut Karen Nyberg sewing the first quilt block in space, I thought I'd tell you about it!! She is a quilter, and on a recent trip to the Space Station brought along some quilting supplies and sewed up a start block.  She even took a video of it.

Back on Earth, she decided to take it one step further and has invited quilters to send in a star quilt block to be sewn into a quilt that will be displayed at the 2014 Houston Quilt Festival.  Here's the link for all of the information.  There's also a link on that website for the YouTube video of her space quilt block.

I had some lovely space batik in my stash that I knew would be perfect.  Since I wanted the dark fabric to be the highlight, I designed a simple paper pieced star that hopefully looks a little like a sun.

The deadline is August 1st, so there is more than enough time to make up a block and send it in!