Pivoting Quilt Testing

I enjoy the opportunity to test a new pattern. There’s an excitement about trying the pattern and helping the designer edit the instructions. Plus there’s usually a community of other testers and the designer there to help answer questions or commiserate about the project. I’m thankful to have been selected as a tester for the Pivoting Quilt by Staci (@staciquilts on instagram). It’s a bunch of half square triangles (HST) which take patience to trim to size, but allow for lots of great geometric shapes with a simple starting point.

For colors, the pattern shows a black/white quilt with colorful accent squares in an ombre rainbow effect. I love the geometric look and simple two block design. I decided to use my stash and wanted it to look like a garden of flowers, so I’m using a bright cheerful (almost lime) green background, white contrast, and colorful accent squares (all from scraps). It’s going to be gifted to a project that my church group is leading. We’re making throw size quilts to gift to residents moving into a new affordable housing center aimed at serving LGBTQ adults. I want the quilt to be cheerful and remind someone of a bright garden path.

The Facebook group includes other quilters who are putting their own spin on the pattern and providing feedback too. It’s a great way to get fresh ideas and share the process with others who are doing the same pattern.

(pics coming soon!)

It’s a New Year!

Amazing that my last blog post was in 2020. Time to rejuvenate this blog and create time to document my sewing journey. It’s always rewarding to look back and reflect on the growth.

Since my last blog post, here are the blog posts I wish I had written (maybe I will someday! Until then, check out the progress pics on Instagram):

– My daughter turned 3 and my son is now 6. They often choose to wear “mommy made” clothes and enjoy helping to get measured, choose fabrics/styles, and even do some of the sewing.

– When my son started kindergarten, we worked together to sew him a Yellow Lego Backpack. It was a huge project and I was so proud when it was finished and I saw him carry it to school for the first time. It’s like a part of me is with him all day and I love that he helped with each step of the process. I reminded him, “you can’t buy this at Target, so please take good care of it!”

– I’ve made matching family shirts for Thanksgiving, fall (stripes), and Christmas (pjs one year and hoodies another)

– I’ve tested a few patterns: a toddler sized swimsuit for Kelly from Sew a Little Seam, a geometric brick style quilt for The Cloth Parcel, a snowflake quilt for Chris from Rose City Originals, and a cardigan pattern for Winter Wear Designs. Learned so much from each experience! Check out my next blog post for the most recent quilt pattern I’m testing, the Pivoting Quilt.

– In February 2022, a friend in my quilt guild found out I was looking for a Singer Featherweight machine, and she sold one to me that she had rescued from a garage sale. My friend Ruth’s husband fixed it up and it runs so well now! I named the machine Jessie Jean (Jessie was the original owner, Jean sold it to me, and Jean was also my great aunt who quilted by hand and may have once used a machine like this). It was produced in 1939 so it’s older than my parents! Amazing to think of what it’s sewn over the years, and how it’s still working so well for my projects.

– Then in March 2022, my parents surprised me with the gift a new sewing machine with modern features. It was exciting to research and try different models and styles, looking for the best fit. In the end, I was very happy with the service and pricing at Save Stores on Foster Road in Portland. I brought home Janie, my Janome Memory Craft 9450QCP. She has all the features I was hoping for and more! I’ve taken two classes and tried many projects on her but I’m still getting used to things, and occasionally she burps up tons of thread from the bobbin. Not sure what’s going on but I’ll figure it out someday!

– Last fall (2022), Benny’s Crafty Creations and Cece’s Sticker Booth joined So Sew Gifts at a craft table during the Westside Quilt Guild Quilt Show. Again, it was a great learning experience for us all. B did an amazing job creating and selling things made from perler beads and repurposed materials. He earned enough money to pay back for some materials and still get his coveted LEGO ferris wheel set plus more money for savings.

– In December (2022), my guild hosted a quilt show at the Brookwood Library and one of my quilts was displayed!


Fall 2022 Gifts and Projects

Halloween Quilts

I gave the kids some squares of glow in the dark and orange Halloween fabric and let them design their own Halloween quilt tops. It was a fun experiment in design and they look really cool in the dark. I ordered glow thread for the quilting too!


Thanksgiving Quilts

Face Masks during Covid-19 pandemic

So much has happened since my last blog post. My son is now 4 and I have a 4 month old daughter. My sewing room is now shared with my husband’s office to make room for both kids to have their own rooms. I’ve learned to sew clothes, mostly with knit fabric and continued to make gifts and quilts as well.

In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic quickly escalated around the world and sewists began to make face masks. Each day, new information comes out about their effectiveness and usefulness. Now, in early April, it’s clear that more people staying home and if you have to go out, wearing a face mask and washing your hands often might help our communities to be more safe. These homemade masks will not prevent a person from contracting Covid-19, but signal to others that you’re being cautious, keep any coughs and sneezes from spraying everywhere, and remind you not to touch your face.

I’ve started to make a few samples to figure out what fits best for different people’s needs (are you a nurse who will wear this over your medical grade PPE or a citizen who plans to wear it to get groceries?)

Here’s a summary of some of the mask styles that I’m learning to make:

“Fu” Mask 

  • Pattern includes three sizes (L, M, Child)
  • Two layers of fabric, no pleats, no filter pocket, form fitting, can have any tie style
  • For my husband, this was the most comfortable style. For me, it fits very low around my chin but is comfortable around my nose bridge.

See Kate Sew all fabric mask

  • Pattern has one adult size
  • Three layers of fabric, pleated style, includes filter pocket, only made with fabric ties

 AB Mask By Nurse for Nurse – (I haven’t made this one yet)

  • Pattern has one adult size
  • Two layers of fabric, blend of pleated and fitted mask style, no filter pocket, fabric ties

 Crafty Quilter Versatile Mask – (I haven’t made this one yet)

  • Pattern has one adult size
  • Two layers of fabric, fitted mask style

Weneedmasks.com offers two styles

Being a mom of two young kids and since our shared space is where my sewing things are set up, I only have a small amount of time to dedicate to this or other sewing. But being creative and helping others has always been something that makes me feel good, turning anxiety into action and sharing my “talents” (and closet full of fabric) with my family and friends in the form of useful gifts. If you’d like help learning how to make a mask or would like me to make one for you, please be in touch!


Taggies for Kindermusik

I’m excited to have another new project going on these days. A friend took the taggie blanket I made for her son to entertain her new baby daughter at brother’s Kindermusik class and the teacher loved the crinkly toy! She special ordered some from me to give as gifts to new babies born in her community. It was fun to take her logo and color palette when shopping and to research what sort of label to make. Melody at Mad Mad Graphics created an iron on label that will highlight the company name. Joann’s had the perfect minky and flannel colors. Now it’s up to me to sew the gifts!

Company Logo
Color Palette

Melody also created a version of the So Sew Gifts logo for another label I can use on other projects. Fun!

2017 Challenge Quilt

For the 2017 Westside Quilters Guild Challenge Quilt, we are asked to use 10 solid fabrics to create a 36″ square (or smaller) quilt.  It turns out I have almost no solid fabrics in my stash, so together with a friend, we bought a pack of Kona solids from Craftsy.  We divided up the pack so we each have 10 for this challenge plus a few extras for our stash.

Next step is to figure out the pattern I want to use for my challenge quilt.  For awhile I’ve been wanting to make a quilt showing the path of my family moving from Ohio to Oregon.  My parents were both born in Ohio and moved to Oregon before I was born.  They obviously didn’t cross over the “Oregon Trail” officially, but I know there are state blocks and also an Oregon Trail Block.  An idea is born!

Here’s the patterns I decided to use:

Sewcial Bee Sampler Sew-Along

I’ve been following Maureen Cracknell on Facebook and am interested in her Sew-Along program.  It’s going to be difficult to keep up with a new block every week for 25 weeks, but I’d like to try to do a few of them.  Her fabric choices are often modern and colors that I don’t usually use but are appealing when all put together.  I’m sure I want to use fabric from my stash, but not sure yet which ones.  Tonight is the first block reveal, so let’s see how it looks.  Feel free to follow along with me!


I made a few of these blocks and I like my fabric choices, but I ran out of time to keep up with the pace of one block a week, so it’ll become another UFO!


I’ve been enjoying babywearing as a way to bond with our little guy and also get things done around the house or go out in the world with him safely nearby.  There are lots of DIY babywearing ideas but I started with something simple.

I bought a used Beco Gemini carrier and I don’t love the print on the front.  It also has black straps which really show the drool marks from baby’s new hobby of slobbering over everything.  Time to make covers for the straps near his mouth, called Drool/Suck Pads.

Here’s the link to the pattern I used: http://katieskps.blogspot.com/2015/02/corner-drool-pad-tutorial.html?spref=pi

Here’s the link to a pattern I’m going to check about using on our new Lenny Lamb carrier using wrap scraps: http://www.thebriefcaseco.com/lenny-lamb-pattern/

drool pads 2 drool pads

Challenge Quilt for 2016

The challenge quilt for our guild this year is to create a small quilt using at least one 9 patch design and based on page 9 of a book.  I wanted to use scraps from previous baby quilts and choose a book from our nursery.  Turns out, I already had squares in my stash that look great together and remind me of the play mat baby loves, with it’s bright colors and patterns.  Then, page 9 of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble references a red pebble and I noticed that there are red dots in some of the fabrics.  Perfect!

New Hobby Room

This fall, we moved into a new home, and it’s been so exciting to unpack all my craft/sewing supplies into a new space.  There’s cabinets for candles, finished quilts, areas to hang design boards, and baskets of in-progress projects.  Half of the master walk-in closet is full already of fabric, ready for future projects.

This display includes a small sewing machine that my mom gave me from Grandma’s house.  The needle moves up and down but would need a new bobbin and repairs to be actually used.  It’s nice to have a place to show some of my sewing related trinkets.

displayThis display includes two of my first quilt projects. My mom tells a story that when I was three, we lived in Eugene and she sewed little girl clothes for me and for resale in a local shop.  While she worked on them, she gave me scraps to play with and eventually to learn to sew myself.  She kept one of the first pieces (on the left) and framed it for me to hang in my sewing room.  I found the other piece (on the right) and it too deserves a place on the wall.  The basket holds some other in progress ideas/fabric for projects to make for baby.

in progress