MQG Creative Webinar

Periodically, I am actually able to take advantage of some of the benefits of my MQG membership. Last week, I watched a webinar with Malka Dubrawsky on using prints called Creative Webinar: Printed and Patched: Designing with Patterned Fabric with Malka Dubrawsky.

My overall first impression was that there is an assumption that modern quiltmakers don’t use prints. I see a lot of MQG people buy lots of FQ collections. Wasn’t there some crazy hullabaloo over Heather Ross and some castle/princess collection a few years? Blueberry Park is pretty popular as well.

I tried to take this weird impression and set it off to the side so I could gain some knowledge from the webinar.

Malka said that prints have graphic information. There seemed to be another assumption that we are used to using small scale prints because they read as colors. She talked about using larger scale prints as graphic messaging. Dubrawsky said that using a variety, both large and small scale prints, creates interest.

She divided the presentation up into points:

  • spaces
  • movement
  • color/color contrast
  • common print
  • random

I think that I may have missed one or two points, but I got some good information out of these, so the webinar was worth my time.

When Malka talked about spaces she was talking about dividing up the quilt’s surface into different spaces. She, then, talked about using prints in those spaces. You can also organize blocks as spaces or into spaces to use prints.

Movement went right past me.

She used Color / Color Contrast as a different type of organizing tool, which I thought was interesting. One example was dividing up a quilt into warm/cool.  Again the idea was about organizing fabrics on the surface of the quilt so you can use printed fabrics. I don’t find this to be necessary in my work, but I thought the concept was interesting and it might be worth trying.

She encouraged makers to create rules for ourselves to use prints so they make sense across the surface. I do this with my quilts in general.

I had no idea what Dubawsky meant by Common Print. She was referring to using different colorways of the same prints all together. I have always loved this concept. I often like having all the prints in all the colors. Remember my Half Moon Modern drama? Malka says that it allows for easier color and shape focus.

She said that using prints can produce ‘hidden treasures’ that don’t show up when you use solids. Prints create another point of interest, more to look at.

Random: hard to make work, but can work. This was difficult for the presenter to explain and I can understand why. She threw out:

“Simple shapes, colors go together, big spaces. Active background electrify prints rather than toning them down. Focus is on color rather than design.”

Overall message is that makers need to organize your fabrics and design so that they work on the surface. She said that design is really important and I was thrilled.

She encourages people to make their own FQ packs.

Yay! She uses batiks all the time. She calls them modern batiks – modern, bold, graphic designs. Malka also said that she doesn’t really like the older style, watercolor-y batiks. I got the impression that it was the motifs on the surface of the fabric rather than the batik process she didn’t like.

To start: Pick (buy or create) a fabric collection you really love – she buys entire FQ bundle- and then play around with different ways of organizing fabrics. Small/large prints or warm/cool colors. Use a simple geometric design. Challenge yourself. I also got the impression that she was saying to be brave.

Her new designs will be available on Feb 1 on her website as PDFs. Printed patterns will be available Feb 20. She is also doing kits.

A recording of this webinar is on the MQG site for your viewing pleasure, if you are a member.


Another Updated List of Gift Ideas

In 2015, I created a list of gift ideas. As mentioned at that time, I like the idea of giving and making sets of gifts: choosing a fabric and then making a number of items from that fabric. Since then there are lots of new patterns and ideas. As I was making a gift basket of sewn items last year, I came across a few other items that I thought would make great additions to my list and be useful as well. I decided to update this list and get the ideas out to you again.

Mary's Gifts
Mary’s Gifts

You might remember that I made a set of gift items in February of last year for my friend, Mary. They look great all together in the One Hour Basket, IMO.

The point is not to use the patterns I use, but to make the gifts in whatever pattern YOU like. This is a list of gift ideas. You can use my pattern suggestions, but using your own will make the gift more personal. There are about a gazillion patterns for a variety of useful bags and sewing items. I am sure you can find some lovely items to make if you look through your pattern drawer.

You might be wondering why I am talking about this in January when you just finished with the holidays. Simply, you will need time to make everything without getting stressed out.

Pincushion – Fig Tree Quilts Petit Gateau pincushion pattern. I like this pattern, because the pattern makes sense, is not difficult and looks like a pincushion. I have made several and they go together very quickly. I use wool roving and some of the Beanie Baby plastic pellets to fill it. I buy both at Beverly’s when they are on sale and keep a supply on hand. The pellets give the pincushion some weight. I don’t use walnut shells, because so many people are allergic to nuts. The only issue I ever have with this pattern is to find an appropriate button to put on top and bottom. Often I make these and don’t think ahead and then find myself wanting to finish, but have no appropriate buttons. Of course, there are plenty of pincushion patterns out there and you should use your favorite.

Needle case – many people don’t do handwork and so this is an inappropriate gift, but it is so cute! Regardless, I find that a bit of hand sewing is needed at various times- in front of the TV, in the car, etc. I found the pattern in the Spring 2013 issue of Modern Patchwork. It was designed by Rashida Coleman-Hale of IHeartLinen. I wasn’t able to find a pattern for it on her blog or the web. The pattern is in RCH’s book, Zakka Style, according to Frances Newcombe from Belly Buttons Boutique. You may be able to find I copy of that magazine on Etsy or eBay. I am sure there are other needlecase patterns out there.

Tissue case – This isn’t something that I would really use, though that might change. It is a nice stocking stuffer or small hostess gift. I got the idea to make them from Valerie over at Evening in the Garden blog. I made a few, which you can see in December gift posts. I used the YouTube tutorial that Valerie used. I found that these make great boutique or Secret Santa Shop items since they are very quick to make.

Lanyard – these are great for guild meetings, but also for hanging scissor sheaths, keys, pens, etc. Think of a chatelaine’s key ring.

One thing that goes well with a lanyard is a nametag. You can make a regular lanyard or one that can hold a phone, credit cards, cash, etc in addition to the nametag. The Little Cell Phone Wallet has most of the features named above except for the nametag part, but you could make a nametag with a pinback and clip it to the Little Cell Phone Wallet

Luggage Tag – I haven’t made one of these, but Pam made a really great one.

Scissor Sheath detail
Scissor Sheath detail

Scissor Sheath – as mentioned above, a scissor sheath can be added to the gift pile and adding a ribbon or fabric hanging loop on it enables the owner to hang it from a lanyard.

Journal/Sketchbook Cover – you can adjust the pattern to accommodate a number of sizes of journals. This pattern, as you have seen many times on this blog, is for a 6.5in x 8in Miquelrius journal.

Pencil roll – I love the pattern by Pink Chalk, but it is no longer available. If you can find it somewhere, such as Etsy, buy it and keep it safe. It is useful and fun even if you are not pen hog like I am. I have made, perhaps, a dozen of them and I want everyone to love them. I always put a few pens in to give people an idea of how to use them. I reported on one of my pencil roll posts that this project took me about 3 hours to make. (updated 1-26-2017)

An Alternative to the pencil roll is a tool holder. I haven’t actually made one of these yet, but I do like the pattern. I like the idea of having my most used items all in one place and viewable to so I don’t have to dig for them.

I also find the Little Cell Phone Wallet by Valori Wells to be useful when I am wearing the Schoolhouse tunic. It does not have pockets and the Little Cell Phone Wallet provides a handy adjunct pocket for my mobile phone and hotel key or similar. It also fits nicely into a gift basket.

An Iron Caddy is useful for those who attend classes or Sew Days. I have the pattern by Sisters Common Threads. I also found a free version from the Tri County Quilters.

You could also add a Sidekick from Jinny Beyer’s store. It is good for handwork and I could have used it on my trip this past weekend. I have the pattern, but haven’t made it yet.

Project bag – Jeni Baker Drawstring bag (pattern to purchase). The pattern has multiple sizes. This is good to keep project supplies together. She also has a tutorial for one size – Example

Tote bag – There are lots of different tote bags that I have made. I really like the Jane Market Tote (pattern to purchase). I also like the Eco Market Tote from Favorite things (pattern to purchase). I made a version of that bag with Heart fabric and it is still a great pattern. I have another one in mind. Including a tote bag in your gift selection is a nice way to package all the gifts. Choose any pattern that you like.

One Hour Basket – An alternative to a tote bag, especially for a group of small gifts is the One Hour Basket. This is a free pattern by Hearts and Bees which you can download from Craftsy. She has a new pattern with different sizes as well.

You can use the One Hour Basket or any of the tote bags instead of gift wrapping. Put a pretty ribbon on it and your recipient will be thrilled.


You can also think up themes and find patterns that fit the theme. For example:

  • Kitchen: apron, mugrug, potholders, kitchen towels, casserole carrier, roll basket
  • Bath: makeup bag (zipper pouch), towels, tissue cover, stiff holder for TP and such

If you have a machine embroidery machine, the options open up even more. You can monogram some of the larger pieces or add other appropriate embellishments. Get sewing!

Portland Shop Hop: Pioneer Quilts

Pioneer Quilt Shop - Creepy View
Pioneer Quilt Shop – Creepy View

The Portland region has an amazing number of quilt shops. I thought Pioneer Quilt shop looked creepy from the outside. From the outside, I kept imagining an old lady held captive and mute in the upper floors of the tower. The inside, however, was filled with GREAT fabrics and fun employees. I think, despite the creepy Grandma prisoner in the tower 😉 , this was our favorite shop.

The inside did not give me the creeps at all. The shop was an old farmhouse that had been transformed into an event center at one point. There is a disco ball still hanging over, what was once, the dance floor in the main shop. The building had all the trappings of an old house: kitchen, dining room, etc.

I believe they used the dining rooms (perhaps one used to be an old parlor?) for retreats and classes, but there was nothing going on the day we were there.

We went right when we went in a saw no people, just the rooms above and the sale fabric. We dutifully looked through it all and must have not appeared in the actual shop for so long that one of the employees came looking for us.

Pioneer Quilts: main shop
Pioneer Quilts: main shop

We were kind of disappointed with just the sale fabric, but that was quickly remedied when we got into the actual shop. The shop was bright and airy, well organized, had high ceilings and had fabric for everyone. They had a lot of fabric, a lot of which I had never seen. Bright and cheerful, Civil War repros, solids, a lot of different things. Ann, our friend from BAM who now lives in Lake Oswego, was talking about Marcia Durst fabric and we saw some here.

Pioneer Quilts: main shop view 2
Pioneer Quilts: main shop view 2

One thing I liked was the wool felt. They had a ton of it. They teach classes, have really fine spools of embroidery floss and would allow me to switch out colors for brighter ones if I took a class. I checked out their website to look at their classes and they do something really interesting. They have sort of mini classes that teach just a few complicated stitches. One class includes Cast on stitches, Bullion, Drizzle and Double Cast on. These classes appear to focus on improving skills and really learning these complicated stitches. I would imagine students would have to take some sort of beginner class first. I’d like to see about taking a 1 day class there next time I visit.

I also found Renaissance Ribbons there. I bought a few yards to go with the pattern I bought at A Common Thread, Crafty Carriers. In stead of making a strap, I will use the Renaissance Ribbons instead. I had never seen these ribbons on spools in a shop before.

I would love to have a shop like this near where I live.

Pioneer Quilt Shop
3101 SE Courtney
Portland, OR 97222

On a Roll

FOTY 2016 stack
FOTY 2016 stack

I made a lot of progress over the weekend and finally pulled out the squares from FOTY 2016.

Yep. 2016.

It has been awhile.

Mom was sitting around chatting while I was sewing, so I asked her to sort them for me. She had never done that before, so it was a challenge. She didn’t realize how much of a challenge it was to put fabric squares together with ‘like’ colors. She is more used to painting and that is a whole different experience. She also uses a color theory system called the Munsell system.

Now I have stacks of squares in semi-color order with which to start. I wasn’t going to gradate them again, but they are too large to add in black or charcoal squares a la Ellsworth Kelly. I don’t want to make another giant quilt.

I don’t think it is next on my list, but it is coming up.

ColorPlay: Year of Colour

Last time I did a ColorPlay it was last year. HA! I was trying, again, to make a colorful palette and was moderately successful. This time I think I have done it!

Year of Colour Rainbow Report
Year of Colour Rainbow Report

I used one of the iterations of my Year of Colour report. I have no idea how so much beige got into the report, though I presume it is from my landscape and neighborhood photos. My neighborhood definitely needs more pink and turquoise houses.

ColorPlay Jan 26 default
ColorPlay Jan 26 default

Even the default is fabulous! I do like the Grellow paired with the Watermelon.

ColorPlay.Jan26 n.1
ColorPlay.Jan26 n.1

My first try was very fun and the result pleased me. I like the Coral, Melon and Bright pink combination. I think those colors would look great with the Grellow from above. I thought the Bright Pink would be more violet, a color I am enamoured with lately. Not so much, but I still like it.

I started from one edge to see what I could make. This image has the potential for a lot of palettes. Don’t worry, I won’t make you suffer through hundreds of iterations. 😉

ColorPlay Jan26 n.2
ColorPlay Jan26 n.2

My second try is even more fun. I would think it would be circusy, but it isn’t. I have to admit hunting around for the Papaya. I was actually looking for Grellow, as from above, but found the Papaya and really liked it with the various pinks.

ColorPlay Jan26 n.3
ColorPlay Jan26 n.3

Not sure what I was going for with n.3, but it is pleasing. It inspired me to try for an all blue palette.

ColorPlay Jan 26 n.4
ColorPlay Jan 26 n.4

I thought the all blue palette was too boring so I kept the Medium Pink. I like the combination, especially the Lagoon and the Medium Pink.

There are tons of opportunities for more from this image. I’ll post more next week.


Portland Shop Hop: Pine Needle

The third shop we visited was the Pine Needle Quilt Shop is in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The shop can be found in downtown Lake Oswego in what looks like a nice area in which to walk and shop. It is a large shop and had a lot of interesting fabric. It is also near Kyra’s Bakery, a completely gluten free bakery at which I could order ANYTHING off the menu without asking if it was gluten free. Fabulous!

Pine Needle Quilt Shop - front of store
Pine Needle Quilt Shop – front of store

The Pine Needle Quilt Shop is a large shop with lots of fabric. They could have crammed more in if they had tried even a little. I do know that inventory costs money. I was pleased to see a lot of fabric I hadn’t seen before. There were some large non-Philip Jacobs prints (see the blue watercolor print hanging up on the right of the photo?) that I really liked but restrained myself from buying.

Pine Needle Quilt Shop - middle of store
Pine Needle Quilt Shop – middle of store

Pine Needle also had a very large selection of batiks, which I hadn’t seen in a shop in a long time. (I really think the MQG has done a disservice to batiks) There were a LOT of sample quilts. Not so many small projects, such as bags and gifts.

Pine Needle Quilt Shop - middle of store 2
Pine Needle Quilt Shop – middle of store 2

The sample quilts were interesting. There were a variety of styles including easy, hard, different styles and colors. I thought the shop was a little dark, potentially from the chocolate wall behind the cash register, but there were a wide variety of colors of fabric. Yes, they had some of those Civil War repros, but a lot of other colors as well.

Pine Needle - Tuffet
Pine Needle – Tuffet

I did see that they were having a tuffet class and I liked their example very much. The bottom of this tuffet uses a border print. I still want to make covers for my tuffets to change the look at different times of the year. This tuffet gives me an idea. I have to get back to that project – so many projects so little time.

The one thing I thought was a waste was the two large tables in front of the cash registers. They had half yards and FQs laid out very neatly next to each other. I thought more fabric could have been displayed there, but I am sure they know best. It was very easy to see the choices.

I was glad to go there and probably would visit again.


The Pine Needle Quilt Shop
429 1st Street
Lake Oswego, OR 97034
P: (503) 635-1353
F: (503) 675-1226

Business Hours

Monday – Saturday 10a – 5p
Sunday 12p – 4p



New Year Donation Blocks

I am making some donation blocks, but not as many as I had hoped so far this month. I am still working through the dregs of my box of 2.5″ squares and that is uninteresting. It will be good to get the dregs out of my life, though, so I am determined.

These are really different from those I made earlier in the month.

YM Hat Complete

YM Hat Finished
YM Hat Finished

I ripped out a bunch of YM’s hat and finished it. It is still cold in Portland and I want him to be able to wear it this winter.

The yarn was not a favorite. It was very slippery and seemed to shred. It was not very nice with which to knit. Still, I think the color looks very good. I like the slight variation in the yarn – the flecks of silver.

Hat with tube-tail
Hat with tube-tail

He had said that he wanted it long so he could fling the end over his shoulder. I decreased and started to knit, what I wanted to be, a tail. It ended up looking more like a weird tube. After knitting for awhile, it didn’t get any better in terms of looks, so I sent a photo to the YM and he agreed. I ripped it out and just finished the hat as you see it above.

I have a bit more yarn, so I will knit another hat – as much as I can and donate it somewhere.


Guild Officer Gifts 2018
Guild Officer Gifts 2018

Guild officers are underappreciated. I don’t think guild members realize how hard officers work. At our local modern guild, we make bags and fill them with gifts for the officers. A few people ‘volunteer’ to make bags and then we ask members to bring small gifts – one for each officer. Gifts must be new, unused and could be something that someone makes. If members don’t have the money or circumstances prevent them from making a gift, we ask for a note or card.

I like this idea. Many guilds make quilts or blocks, which are wonderful, but my feeling is that quiltmakers, even officers, can make their own quilts and blocks. Treats and small gifts make for a fun time opening and the bags, if nothing else, are always useful.

Quillow Bag quilt for guild officers 2018
Quillow Bag quilt for guild officers 2018

I have coordinated this process for the guild for a few years now. This year one member approached me about making a particular bag. She coordinated all the bag making, which was great! The bags made were picnic quillow types bags. The quilt folds into a bag attached to the quilt for easy carrying and folds out into a picnic quilt. She recruited makers, gave each some fabric so the quilts were somewhat coordinating and managed the whole bag process.

Quillow Bag quilt n.2 for guild officers 2018
Quillow Bag quilt n.2 for guild officers 2018

I was very pleased with the help I got, the way the Quillow bags turned out and the reception of the gifts. All in all I am pleased to have coordinated it again.

Portland Shop Hop: A Common Thread

A Common Thread
A Common Thread

A Common Thread was next on our list after The Speckled Hen. This shop was definitely one of my favorites.

Things looked up when we saw this shop. Amanda had been here before and wasn’t impressed that time. Things had improved this time and we both found things we really liked.

The store is light and airy. The ceilings aren’t particularly high, but the shop feels large and open.

A Common Thread: bag displays
A Common Thread: bag displays

One thing I liked about the shop was that they had displays with the related products everywhere. Bag patterns were displayed near bag samples along with all of the hardware and supplies needed to make the bag.

Crafty Carrier by Ellie Mae
Crafty Carrier by Ellie Mae

As a result, I bought a bag pattern called the Crafty Carriers. I could see the design made up: the size, the height, everything. I thought it looked like a great design for carrying project materials around. Yes, I already have a bag for this purpose, but…

A Common Thread: machines
A Common Thread: machines

Yes, they had a lot of machines. In some shops this is annoying to me because it seems like machines take up more space than fabric.

I didn’t look very carefully at the machines, but saw that they had a big variety of machine accessories as well as the machines. I did look at the Janome feet. I was impressed by the selection. I almost bought a 1/4″ Acufeed foot with a needle plate. However, I looked back at things I had bought recently I switched to purchasing an ‘in the ditch’ Acufeed foot sans needle plate instead. It cost less and now I have a full compliment of Acufeed feet. I also now have no excuse not to get busy and quilt.

A Common Thread: longarm ruler display
A Common Thread: longarm ruler display

I noticed their Handi Quilter display, which includes machines, but also had longarm rulers nearby. Great marketing.

The machines did not impinge on the fabric and we had plenty of fabric choices to tempt us. I also liked it that the shop had put up different quilts and BOM examples near the machines, integrating the two parts of the shop somewhat.

They are dealers for Bernina, Janome, Miele, and Handi Quilter. All in all a good shop. I would go there again.





Contact info:
5495 SW Sequoia Parkway, Suite 140
Portland, OR 97224

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: Noon – 4pm

Phone: (503) 624-7440

Creative Spark #21: Fear

This is another spark I don’t want to confront or acknowledge. Bloomston, however tackles that exact issue in the first paragraph of the spark by saying “Creativity is my own version of anti-anxiety meds**. It’s a self-made panacea and it is usually effective….You can’t stay stuck in your fear if you are already wandering to your next creative project. Creativity is hope. (pg.89).”

After reading the above, I have to confront what I know about my own creativity related fear:

  • I am not afraid of fabric, piecing, new techniques. Frustrated sometimes: yes; afraid: no.
  • I am not afraid of what my next project will be (have you seen my list?)
  • I might be afraid of finishing all my projects and not knowing what to do next.
  • I am afraid of not having time to finish all of my projects.
  • I am not afraid of fabric combinations or combining fabrics.
  • I am not afraid of running out of fabric (can you say design challenge?).
  • I am afraid of not having enough: enough fabric (stop laughing!), enough thread, the right ruler, enough pins, etc.

Yes, I have fears, but I combat them using many methods. “Being creative is the answer right now (pg.90).” I have a goal to sew or draw or do something every day. This is not a 2018 New Year’s Resolution. I have had that goal for a long time and I just keep chipping away. Creating patterns using the Zentangle method is a new way to try and achieve that goal. “Creativity takes courage. It takes courage to be who you are. It takes courage to step into the unknown, to dig around in your soul and see what you find, to follow your passion, to start something new (pg.90).”

Bloomston provides some ways to be brave. I am not sure bravery combats creative fear, but it is worth considering. She suggests cultivating “beginner’s mind or shoshin (pg.90).” I like this idea. When you are a beginner, you don’t know that you can’t do something. I resized some blocks in my first quilt, not knowing that beginners didn’t really do that. I also found a block in an issue of Quilter’s Newsletter than I wanted to include. There were no templates or anything, so I had to redraft the block and make the templates. Nobody told me I couldn’t, so I did it. I finished my quilt and while it is isn’t perfect, I did it and wasn’t afraid. I wholeheartedly agree with beginner’s mind. I have been thinking about that lately and wanting to embrace it, thus the Zentangle class. I don’t know if I can capture that mindset with quiltmaking. It is hard to forget what I already know.

I do know that each quilt presents a new challenge. Putting blocks or units together is always a challenge.

“Fake it ’til You Make it (pg.90)” is a phrase with which I agree. I often do not feel confident in certain situations. I act confident and that projects confidence to others. Bloomston has some examples from a Ted Talk about how posture changes the body, which are interesting and worth thinking about. I like the idea of power posing she discusses.

You can see the last post on this topic from last week.

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. Play along. There is much more to each spark than what I am writing. The original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of her fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is what started this flight of fancy.






**This is not making an judgments about the need for any kind of mental health medication. If you are struggling, please contact your doctor or ask a friend to contact your doctor.

Various & Sundry 2018 n.1

Best wishes to TFQ for a happy birthday!

January always feels fresh and shiny-clean to me. It also goes by much too quickly and becomes February, which is always a month that seems depressing to me.  This year January is chaotic – too much family and work stuff is happening and I am running from one place to another like a crazy person.

I have resolved to finish up some projects and use some patterns that have been hanging around. I am not doing a ‘refrain from buying’ challenge like many, but I am trying to buy responsibly when I am in a quilt shop. I am also tracking what I use so I can use up more than I buy and use up more than last year as well. Liesl at Oliver+S talks about simplifying, challenges and setting deliberate goals. My personal take on the key to success is doing what works for you. When I see something I don’t want or need, I put it in the ‘to donate’ box.

Doing More Good

The past several months have been tough for California and other places. The Ventura Modern Quilt Guild has launched an effort in support of the Thomas Fire Victims. Scott Griffin, VP of Ventura Modern Quilt Guild has designed a beautiful Perkiomen Valley Block to make as relief for Thomas Fires victims.  Click on the block name to view the size and fabric suggestions.  Choose any solids or prints you wish to use, lights and darks as indicated. All blocks go to superbuzzy (address is included on the block information file). There is no deadline on block submission, but we would like to get quilts assembled out to the needy folks in January and February as they begin to rebuild. The guild will assemble them into quilts for those in need after this devastating fire. VMQG will be arranging sewing and quilt finishing soon. If your guild is interested in participating in this project, please contact them at Review the other opportunities to help Las Vegas and the Wine Country at previous posts.


Fabric is a joy and a problem. We love it so we buy it, pet and look at it. We also dream about what we will make with it someday. Then we have to store it. Storage is always a problem no matter what kind of house you live in. thus the fabric spreadsheet. It was started, as far as I know, by Pam of Hip to Be a Square podcast fame. Others have taken up the mantle including Cheryl of my guild who has written another essay on the subject that includes a recap of her 2017 purchases and usage.

Tips & Tricks

Megan has some tips on using Jeni Baker’s drawstring bag pattern, specifically how to put the directional fabric so it is right side up on the lining. The pattern talks about using directional fabrics for the outer fabric, but apparently the information doesn’t work for the lining. has some storage ideas. I don’t think they are rocket science, but they do make me drool a little bit. I love those wire drawers. There  are 43 various article snippets to click through. I also like the washi tape idea-pretty and useful. Additionally, there are tags at the end of the article, so readers can find other related articles. If you click on the ‘organize your sewing space‘ tag, you can see examples of gorgeous sewing spaces. No solution will be best for everyone, because all of our spaces are different. Use these articles as inspiration.

Patterns, Projects & Tutorials

Charlotte Hawkes, of the Scrapitude pattern, has a newish pattern out, Summer Stars on Fawn Lake. Valerie put me on to it and I am sorely tempted, though my to do list is also on my mind.

Planned Improv Top

Planned Improv Top
Planned Improv Top

The top is finished. It came out to be about 60″ x 84″, which I think is a great size. No, it isn’t bed sized, but it will be a good couch, snuggle quilt.

I cut the border pieces to fit each block and sewed them on to the blocks, then sewed the blocks to each other. It was pretty easy to match up the seams using this modified ‘chunking‘ method. It is somewhat scrappy within both colors – interesting, but not psychedelic.

On to the back

Portland Shop Hop: Speckled Hen

I went to Portland last week and had a very quilty time with Amanda. We made our own shop hop. Amanda looked up a bunch of shops and we decided which ones to visit together.

I had planned to spend more time with the YM, but he told me at the last minute that he was going on tour with the Wind Symphony and wouldn’t return until after I left. As a result, I invited my mom to come along and we had a good trip.

Mom spent a lot of time with an artist she met so I was free to roam local quilt shops with Amanda.

The first shop we visited was Holly Hill. It was closed (on a Wednesday?!? WTH!?) so we were only able to look in the window. Someone in the shop kept waving at a us and finally came to the door and said they were closed. We knew that, being able to read the sign. She asked us if we had checked their FB page and we said no. We told her that we had checked the web page and it was not up to date. Later, when we looked, she had had someone update it. I never check FB pages, do you?

Speckled Hen, Ore
Speckled Hen, Ore

The first shop we were able to enter was The Speckled Hen. The decor fits in with the name of the shop. There are a lot of chicken themed decorations. It is a small shop, but really crammed with fabric and quilty items. Sadly, a lot of the fabric was brown and beige – Civil War and repro type stuff. They had a good selection of chicken fabrics as well. The shop also had a good selection of non-brown 1930s and 40s reproductions as well.

She Sews Sea Shells fabric panel by Janet Wecker-Frisch
She Sews Sea Shells fabric panel by Janet Wecker-Frisch

The shop did have a great line by Janet Wecker-Frisch called She Sews Sea Shells by Quilting Treasures. I liked (and Amanda did, too) the mermaid with the diving suit and would have bought a print with just that motif. Unfortunately, the diving suit was only on a panel.

There is something about the steampunk nature of the diving suit that was appealing. At this point in our adventure, I was trying to be reasonable about my purchases, so I didn’t buy any.


Decades of Style Flapper Apron
Decades of Style Flapper Apron

I didn’t buy any fabric, but I did buy a retro style apron pattern. I had never heard of the company before. I liked the style of the garment, though the pockets aren’t large enough. Also, the pattern uses really a clever layout for cutting. I can’t wait to try it and bought some fabric to make some gifts.

There were two ladies in the shop filling kits, I think. I am not sure the owner (I assume it was the owner) realized we weren’t retro fabric people, because every time we looked at a display, she told us the price and the designer, etc. It was kind of a hard sell that was somewhat useful, but also a little off-putting.

Speckled Hen, Ore
Speckled Hen, Ore

One of the things she mentioned was her sale on magazines. She mentioned Primitive Quilts, but also Simply Moderne. I was tempted, but I have a lot of magazines in my to-read pile, so I didn’t buy any.

I bought some gifts in addition to the pattern.



Contact info:

Speckled Hen Quilts
25455 NE Boones Ferry Rd
Aurora, OREGON 97002
TUES-SAT: 10am - 4pm
Closed Sunday & Monday