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!
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!
Summer is a fun time to do the Sunshine and Stitches Shop Hop as well as collect patterns and license plates from shops participating in the Row By Row Experience. The SS is an Oregon two week long event and the RR lasts all summer and includes shops across the United States.
The Sunshine promoters asked us to take selfie pictures in front of their shop signs to promote the event. It was a fun way to see who else was participating and log which shops we visit. I’m looking forward to a road trip with my friend Ruth and visiting some shops with my mom this week!
The road trip turned out to be just me, but I still really enjoyed touring 8 shops in one day! I listened to an autobiography of Oliver Sachs thanks to a free audiobook at the library. The scenery, especially on the way there, was so beautiful! Per tradition, I stopped for “fuel” along the way!
The first four shops were Boersma’s in McMinnville, Grandma’s Attic in Dallas (my favorite shop of the tour), Greenbaums in Salem, and The Cotton Patch in Keizer. Second four shops were Bernina Stretch and Sew in Keizer, Sewn Loverly in Wilsonville, A Common Thread in Tigard, and Tea Time Calicos in Tigard. The shop hop asked people to take selfies to post on their facebook page, so I tried to find something unique to do at each shop.
Each shop really does have their own collection of fabrics, personality in decorations, level of hospitality, and sample quilts that make it unique. Since there were not many people in the shops, I tried to make conversation with the employees and enjoy each shop even if I didn’t buy anything beyond collecting the free patterns.
At the end of the day, I had collected some cool patterns, new projects, and lots of creative ideas!
I just found out that I won a gift certificate from Bernina Stretch and Sew in Keizer! Looking forward to going there to find some treasures for new projects.
This Christmas season, I had a fun time creating a few gifts and special orders.
Lana requested a few infinity scarves, and I made an extra one to give as a gift at the quilt guild meeting. At the guild meeting, I received a handmade gift of a zipper pouch filled with notions and a few fat quarters!
Ellen requested that I copy a pattern for a kids apron she made for her son years ago, using fabric especially for her grandson and granddaughter. They turned out cute and I practiced using bias tape.
I made a tree skirt (free pattern here) for Asami and Matt. This turned out to be an easy and fun project, and using the big space for ironing and laying out pattern pieces at Sewing Saturday was helpful.
I also made a table runner for my friend Jill at work. She just bought a new house and I wanted to give her something sunny and positive for her new space!
At school, we came up with the idea of a “Season of Caring” where each advisory class came up with a project. Ms. Lowe’s group decided to make no-sew fleece blankets for charity. Great job, kids!
I’ve been working on this baby blanket since after Ryan was born this fall. It’s finally done as his belated Christmas gift!
When visiting mom in Arizona at spring break, her quilt guild hosted a “Trash to Treasures” sale. It was fun to look through the goodies and I found quite a few treasures, including 12 Amish style blocks ready to put together into a project.
Then, at Powells in here Portland, I found a funny chocolate recipe quilt book for only $1!
At this month’s quilt guild meeting, they had their annual Brown Bag Sale. Some items were available to “ticket and take it” for one or two 25c tickets, other items were a raffle, put your ticket in and hope to win, and a few bigger things were listed on a silent auction. I helped out with the process and came away with a few goodies, mostly patterns and quilt magazines, but also some Christmas fabric, a bilingual panel to give mom for a charity quilt, and a few templates and rules. Great additions to my stash for only $10! I even won the raffle for 3yds of marching band fabric to donate to a friend’s stash (she and her husband are both band directors).
I received patterns for a modern quilt block of the month from our Sewing Saturday group. They got permission to distribute this collection of patterns from the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild. The other women have already started, which leads me to think about what color palette I want to use.
I decided on my fabric collection for this modern BOM. I’m intrigued by Amish style quilts with the contrast of black and solid color, so I’ve taken that up a notch to become more modern. Bright, saturated colors and a black/gray print background are going to pop! Thanks again to Deb at the Quilter’s Corner Store in Beaverton for her advice about fabric selection.
The January Block created an illusion of woven strips. Making the February Block was my first time making chevrons, using paper piecing for precision. Then for the March Block, the center block wonky star is from another online tutorial. I like how the colors I chose turned out looking like the sun.
(3/15) Last night at the Sewing Friday in North Plains, I cut up the fabric for a few more blocks, and today finished sewing three of them! A paper piecing block is also started. I decided to color on the paper pattern to make sure I get the colors in the position I want (so it doesn’t look like a rainbow but includes all 6 colorful fabrics).
(3/16) The flying geese around in a circle block is complete now. I think this is my favorite block so far. Hopefully I have enough fabric at the end to make another one like it for a table runner project. I’ve started planning the next paper piecing block and asked Aaron to color in the pattern. It’s a helpful way to see how the block will look and plan out where to put all the pieces.
The next block is made with 25 2″ squares, then I need to figure out how to cut out a circle and then set the circle on top of another circle (red fabric) and then both on top of black. To make the grid, lining things up carefully and strip piecing made it a quicker easier process.
(5/25) The final few blocks are now complete! Next step is to decide about how to connect them into a quilt top. The challenge from the guild is to have it ready to show in September.
Now that all the blocks are finished, time to put it all together and create a back. At the September Sewing Saturday, I finished placing the 12 blocks, 11 on the front and one on the back with some scrap pieces. At the October Sewing Saturday, it all sandwiched together with black batting (purchased off the roll at Sharon’s Quilt Attic). I used a technique my mom showed me on youtube that uses two boards to provide the tension to flatten it out and not need pins. Instead, it’s basted with black pearl cotton and ready to machine quilt, perhaps I’ll practice free motion quilting.
When sewing, it’s nice to have something nearby to catch threads…keeps the sewing area (and your clothes) a little less covered in random threads. I found a free pattern on Amazon for the kindle to make a Fairytale Pincushion and Thread Catcher. During the shop hop, I found the crushed walnut shells for the inside of the pincushion as well as a mini-charm-pack of squares for the patchwork fabric design.
I’ve participated in shop hops before, but I usually happen upon them on accident or I can only visit a few shops on the listing. Also, whenever I travel, I love exploring new shops and how there’s such a variety of different shops. Some are well established and others fairly new. Some in old historic buildings and others in strip malls. Many have a style of fabric or projects that their owners enjoy most which is reflected in what they sell such as civil war, modern, novelty, flannel, reproduction, or pre-cut fabric collections. In Cannon Beach, you can often find beach-themed fabric projects that wouldn’t be available among the mountain-themed quilt patters outside of Denver. Some shops sell machines and others specialize in classes, most have samples of projects for you to get inspired. How a store displays their fabrics and sample quilts also really varies and can create an atmosphere of creativity or feeling cramped and overwhelmed in the space. Usually for shop hops, I can’t visit all the shops because of time involved to travel everywhere. This time, the shops are within two general areas and I have a long weekend off work, so time to explore! Also, it’s my birthday soon, so I asked Aaron to be my shop hop chauffeur as part of my birthday weekend. He even gave me a Groupon for $20 to spend at one of the shops…yea!
For the Snowflakes and Stitches Shop Hop, I first visited two shops after work. Tea Time Calicos in Beaverton gave shop hoppers a great Fast Track Place Mat pattern including fabric. A generous project provided by a shop with lots of fabric options crammed into a small space in a strip mall store. The shopkeepers just let you browse and have machines also for sale, but not many sample quilts to see.
Second stop, Sharon’s Quilt Attic in Hillsboro. Sharon and her friends who help out at the shop are always friendly and generous with ideas about color, pattern, and techniques to make your quilt project look great. Steve does an amazing job on the long arm quilting machine and you can usually see some of his recently completed projects as inspiration. They have a wide range of fabrics, embroidery patters, and lots of sample quilts taught in classes. For the shop hop, Sharon is providing an Antique Tile Block pattern and miniature pieces of fabric to give it a try. I also picked up a few random fat quarters that needed to come home to my stash!
Then on Saturday, the big trip began…a loop to include six shops in one trip. In McMinnville, Boersma’s Sewing Center is being remodeled but it’s open with lots of fabric available, including some reminiscent of Ohio. Unfortunately, the staff weren’t particularly friendly, but maybe they weren’t expecting a younger quilter or were feeling busy getting ready for all the other shop hoppers. Their display of antique sewing machines was really cool!
Next stop was in Dallas at Grandma’s Attic. This was my favorite shop of the trip! They had lots of different types of fabrics, great packages of fat quarters, sale items, and project ideas including a free block (which came with a piece of chocolate.) My chauffeur sat in a rocking chair to read his book next to quilt books. The staff were all incredibly friendly, explaining the shop hop, the sample quilts, and talking with all the customers. I wish this shop was closer to my house so I could visit more often!
After lunch at my favorite Salem restaurant, Casa Baez, we went to Greenbaum’s. Usually I find lots of things there that I really like, but just browsed this time. They have friendly staff and a standard poodle who wanders around to greet guests also. This time they seemed to have an especially good collection of modern fabrics and some great sample quilts.
North of Salem, in Keizer, we found two shops within a few blocks of each other. The Cotton Patch is small but spacious with bright white fixtures and high ceilings. They had creative displays of fat quarters and a few nice samples of finished quilts. The sample block was colorful and simple, shown as a quilt with some other block styles to finish the project.
Just up the road at Bernina Stretch and Sew, you can get your sewing machine serviced, find a small variety of specialty fabrics for clothing, and browse a small selection of quilting cotton. For the shop hop, they offer you a choice from few different free block patterns. The best part in this store was an enthusiastic friendly clerk who was happy to have people stopping by on the shop hop and had come up with a game for people who purchase items. Once I picked out my fabrics and was ready to pay, I was given a ball to toss over the counter onto a cardboard game area on the floor. Whatever amount the ball fell onto was my percentage of sale on that purchase. I luckily got 29%…what fun! What will you get?
Last stop for the day was at A Common Thread in south Portland. Again, an unlikely location in an industrial park type area, but many friendly staff helping customers, a class going on where you could practice quilting on their machines, and fabrics of a few different styles (canvas, modern cotton, batik, flannel) to inspire projects. They even had a great selection of clearance ($5.99/yd) fabrics. The shop hop block looked like a stained glass window and for $3 you could buy the other three blocks to fill out the pattern. They also gave a free bag, convenient to collect all the other treasures from the day of shop hopping.
Made it out to Sandra’s Stitches in Hillsboro. Glad my map found it since it’s tucked away in what looks like an apartment complex and happy I had the day off since their hours are a little more limited than some of the other nearby shops.
Looks can be deceiving though and right inside is a great supply of children’s themed fabric and panels. Again, not super friendly staff, but worth going there if you’re looking for a particular novelty fabric or panel to make into a quick project (I got something for potholders). They also have a great selection of coordinating fabrics (moda tone on tone).
At the start of this shop hop, I picked up my passport at the Quilter’s Corner Store and I planned ahead to turn it in there when completed. Today was the day…the end of my first complete shop hop! Lots of great ideas at her shop, including a table runner idea that would work with any 12″ center block, shown here with the extra pieces from the free crocus block as part of the shop hop.
Thanks again to Deb (from QCS) for coordinating this event. I’m looking forward already to the summer version, Sunshine and Stitches! Speaking of sunshine, look what I found outside her shop…breaking through the Snowflakes Raindrops…a rainbow!
A friend asked me to make a baby shower gift and another friend at work is pregnant, so it’s the perfect opportunity to learn to make Taggie blankets. Two colleagues at work said they’re invaluable for their newborns…soft, easy to tuck in the carseat or attach to a stroller, babies love playing with or sucking on the textured ribbons. So my friend and I went shopping at Joanns and found these cute ribbons along with matching minky and flannel fabrics to make the Taggie blankets.
On to find inspiration/information/patterns online. For this project, I used a few sources.
Taggie Blankets are popular so when you look on Etsy or Pinterest, you’ll find lots of inspiration. I used this tutorial which shows each step of the process.
First taggie is for a friend who is a speech language pathologist (hence the letters on the fabric). She’s having her first baby girl…congratulations! Second taggie is for a friend to take to a baby shower…and it’s a boy!
A colleague at work purchased 12 yards of fabric from Ghana and wondered if I could make it into a duvet cover for her. “Sure! I’ll give it a try!”
Step 1: Fabric. She got the fabric from a family member who lives in Ghana and has this blog of handmade items. http://amaamina.wordpress.com/. It was up to me to figure out how to wash/iron the indigo fabric, so I found directions on some fabric distributor websites. I also realized we didn’t have enough to do the whole thing in the Ghana fabric, so got a matching dark blue solid at Joann’s for the back of the duvet cover.
Step 2: How to Make a Duvet Cover. The internet is amazing, truly. Tutorials are helpful in showing the steps to make something new, so with a short lesson on some new techniques (learned to make a french seam so it looks really nice and finished on every side), I was ready to begin. http://www.designsponge.com/2010/03/sewing-101-making-a-duvet-cover.html
Step 3: Make Space. If I do this again, I need to find a bigger space to lay out the fabric to cut evenly. My living room just wasn’t quite as big as a queen duvet cover. 🙂 This picture doesn’t show the blue color, but it really turned out looking nice, with snaps as closures.
Step 4: Dog Cover. After the duvet cover was finished, she asked for a matching sheet sized piece of the Ghana fabric to be made into a layer on top of the duvet so her two big dogs can lay on the bed but not get their hair all over the actual duvet cover. Great idea since it’ll be easier to clean and still look really nice on the bed…plus the dogs will be happy to be still allowed on the bed sometimes!
Thanks so much, Amy, for encouraging me to try a new experience, for your patience in it getting completed over the course of many months, and for the payment and “tip” of a gift certificate to another great fabric store, Cool Cottons in SE Portland, OR. http://www.coolcottons.biz/