I’m today’s stop on Kathreen Ricketson‘s Little Bits Quilting Bee blog tour and very happy to be reviewing this lovely, colorful quilting book. I wanted to share some of my favorite parts from the book, and especially why it resonates so much with me as a quilter and a crafter.
Kathreen has designed 20 quilts that use standard sizes of precut fabric sets (charm squares, jelly rolls, layer cakes, and fat quarters – though of course, you can use your own stash fabrics instead). She also includes thorough instructions all the way from choosing fabrics to binding; advice on color and design; and paper patterns for many of the blocks. Once you learn these quilt-making basics, any of the quilts she’s designed is within reach. My favorite LBQB quilt is Prismatic, which uses layer cakes.
Here’s a closer look at the piecing, which I love, and the overall layout. Simple and striking.
Another instant favorite is Garnets and Gold, which uses fat quarters. This one is so lush and colorful…
But the one at the top of my list to make is Rhombus.
My PMQG guildmate and friend Monica Solario-Snow gave me and Daniela each a jelly roll set of her Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric line, and I have been saving this amazing gift for a special project. The fabric makes me happy (the name couldn’t be more perfect!) and I’m picturing such a gorgeous HMYY Rhombus, bordered in a bright solid. Lovely.
Which brings me to my favorite part of Little Bits Quilting Bee – the bee. I love craft books that offer more than great projects – that tell a story or share history or resources we can all enjoy. Kathreen includes an engaging section at the front on the history and culture of community quilting, from traditional bees to online swaps and groups – I loved reading this part.
Of course Kathreen’s whip-up site has been a huge pillar of our craft community, and my whole life has been shaped so beautifully, and I have met so many people I treasure, through craft.
From my earliest days of learning to sew and getting a million ideas on getcrafty… to hosting naked lady parties and swapping tons of clothes and craft supplies… to our beloved Portland Church of Craft meetings, led by Sister Diane… to my partners in Portland Super Crafty… to Maker Faire… and now the amazing Portland Modern Quilt Guild I’m proud to be a member of, I am very fortunate to be part of our huge, beautiful craft community.
One of my favorite blog entries I’ve ever written, originally as a column for getcrafty in March 2006, was Start Your Own Craft Circle! – half fun details about a weekly knitting circle in North Carolina, and half tips on starting your own craft group. Except for a few links that could be switched out for their 2011 counterparts, it feels as fresh now as it did when I was interviewing the organizers five years ago! Thank you to my friends, everyone who inspires me with your crafts and projects, and to everyone who reads my books and stops by this little corner of the world, too. Now, I would love to hear about your favorite craft groups and swaps and bees!
Giveaway time! I’m happy to be giving away a copy of Little Bits Quilting Bee today – to enter, please leave a comment with your favorite experience in a quilting bee, craft circle, class, or guild, whether it’s with family, friends, online, a swap in the mail, or any other take on this vibrant community. Comments are open through next Tuesday, November 22, and readers in the US and Canada are eligible. I’ll ask Kathreen to choose a winner from the comments and Chronicle will send a book to him or her right away!
Check out the rest of the blog tour here, with lots more reviews, giveaways, and posts about this lovely book!
Happy Corduroy Appreciation Day! I had some grand plans for posting new craft tutorials this week (and sewing corduroy awesomeness), but then my baby ended up with his first-ever ear infection, and cuddling him has been about all I’m good for. So instead, here is a quick post about some fun events coming up…
On Sunday, November 13, Michelle and I are teaching back-to-back fall craft classes at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. My Wool Baby Quilt class is from 11-1:30 and includes all the materials you’ll need to finish your project for $40. Here are some of the quilt tops my students at the Northwest Quilt Expo made – Pendleton has put together tons of kits in different color and fabric combinations for students to choose from! Call 503-535-5786 to register, and if you sign up for either class, you get a 15% coupon off all your purchases at the Woolen Mill Store.
Then, from 2-4, Michelle is teaching a new Firewood Carrier class. This one is only $20! Plus, you can pick up the free pattern for her Christmas tree
skirt poncho project – I can’t wait to see that one in person at the shop…
Next week, Modern Domestic is hosting a lovely holiday party to celebrate their expansion on Friday, November 18 from 6-9 pm. They’re offering snacks and drinks, mini-classes, and giveaways all evening long!
And then on Sunday, November 20, Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns is having a book signing and fabric swap at Powell’s to celebrate her gorgeous new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook! The party is at 4 pm, and she suggests that you bring a small bag of fabric (usable-size pieces, not tiny scraps) to trade with other sewists. Sounds fabulous!
Hope to see you at one of them!
I can’t believe my baby boy is one today! It seems like the time went so fast, like it can’t possibly have been a year, and then again like I’ve known him all my life. October vanished in the rearview mirror very quickly, but I’m so glad I found some time to make Everett some fun things for his first birthday this week, before my sweet November 8th deadline rolled around.
I cut out, appliqued, and stitched up his name pennant the other day with some of my favorite quilting cottons,
and hung it up in the rec room for a super chill little baby party on Sunday.
I also made a nice long string of blue, orange, and white wool pennants for him (using scraps in four colors and white 1″ binding from the Woolen Mill Store). Love how these turned out.
(Oh, and I used that precious extra hour on Sunday to replace the gnarly old wicker rec room curtains with some new ones in a Beach Boys plaid, also from the WMS – a one-yard cut was just enough to stitch up all three sets! You can see them in a couple of the snapshots above… trust me, you don’t need a before photo. Now that we have nice ones, I can’t believe we lived with the crummy old ones the last 4 years. Ugh.)
And my favorite first-birthday craft ever is the 1 shirt + bib. I made a cute set for Pearl’s first birthday in 2009 with one of my precious Flea Market Fancy fabrics,
So of course my little man needed a set of his own too.
These two match a favorite hand-me-down pair of pants I sewed for Pearl (the 18m size of my beloved Burda 9772 pattern – the fabric is Ride ‘Em Cowboy by Robert Kaufman, which I found in Joseph, Oregon two years ago).
I made him some vanilla cupcakes, and of course in the whirlwind of the day didn’t get any pictures of them. They looked just like the ones I made for Pearl’s first birthday, with a blue star candle + sugar sprinkles, but minus the pearl button cupcake toppers this time.
It was a fun afternoon and a victorious first cupcake for my sweet little boy! One happy side effect was that I had to re-organize and clean my craft room pre-party on the fly, since it’s right around the corner from the rec room, and it was in embarrassingly sad shape. Like the old curtains, I skipped the before photo, but it was cluttered with fabric, notions, and random stuff, and not at all inviting for sewing. Here’s what it looks like now – I still have some work to do, but I polished those three sets of cafe curtains off in less than an hour on Sunday morning on that nice clean worktable.
It’s so nice to be able to find everything again!
But after the weekend of fun (including the party, the awesome BUST DIY Guide to Life book event, and half-price tickets to Oklahoma! with Michelle), I have lost my voice and most of my energy has gone with it. So I will be back soon with a new craft book giveaway and some other fun things!
I recently got my contributor copy of the fabulous BUST DIY Guide to Life and I love it! Flipping through all 350 pages has been a treat – it’s basically 15 years’ worth of the magazine‘s awesomeness in one gorgeous place.
Debbie Stoller (whose birthday is today – happy birthday Debbie!) and Laurie Henzel have rounded up hundreds of how-tos from contributors and editors alike and organized them into hefty chapters like “BUST-ier Homes and Gardens” and “Your Style, Your Way.” Along with craft projects of just about every kind, there are dozens (hundreds?) of recipes to try, plus tutorials on tuning up a bike, buying a house, polishing a resume, and just about anything else you might want to to figure out how to do. Here are a few of my favorites…
I’m so happy that two of my articles for BUST made it into the book, too! I wrote “Chains of Love” in 2005, I remember making those three necklaces in our apartment in LA. I was so excited to see it on the page!
And I wrote “Get it Together,” a quick organizing guide, within a year or so of that one too. I could do worse than take my own advice when it comes to my craft room these days…
This Saturday afternoon, Debbie and Laurie will be at Powell’s here in downtown Portland for a signing and party – I would love to see you over there! Powell’s has a nice display of the book (sorry, the photo is blurry – Everett was in the carrier and really wanted to help) if you want to flip through and see some of the awesomeness for yourself.
The BUST DIY Guide to Life signing with Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel!
Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside St. in Portland
Saturday, November 5 at 2:00
I’ve been deep in a big non-crafty project (more on that in a minute), so I officially threw in the towel and didn’t make a thing for Halloween except chicken pot pie for dinner that night. Thank goodness for kind friends lending us cute hand-me-down lion and monkey costumes! So, no cool holiday or costume crafting this time around, but we had a lot of fun riding a train AND a boat at the pumpkin patch, parading with the little kids in the neighborhood, and trick-or-treating with Pearl’s best friend (also a lion).
I did spend a little time crafting non-Halloween things on Halloween itself, ironically – I finished up two ultra-simple wool draft snakes I started the day before to guard the drafty doors in our 1950 house from the suddenly chilly weather. This one, at my front door (which is a vintage style with a tilted frame base), didn’t work as a single snake… so I stitched up a second snake and sewed them together along the seams. Here’s a better photo of the fabric (Pendleton’s sagebrush pattern, from the Woolen Mill Store).
I love the one I made for the back door, which was all blue and orange Pendleton by-the-pound wool scraps left over from other projects, pieced together into a long row and top-stitched. That one makes me happy to look at. I’ll definitely write up a tutorial for both styles in the next few days if anyone else wants to make one, they are a nice simple instant-gratification project!
Speaking of happy crafts, Everett turns one next week (!!) and I’m working on a second round of birthday pennants for him – I just finished a name banner like Pearl’s and now I’m making another set in the same blue and orange to decorate the rec room for his little party. A November basement in the gray Pacific Northwest can use all the cheer it can get, so I’m excited to make another set. (I kind of think you can’t have too many pennants.) I will post all the photos on his birthday (next Tuesday!). So far the plan is pennants, cupcakes, and a 1 shirt and pants. He is fun to make things for!
And speaking of non-crafts – I am so happy that Multnomah County banned the toxic chemical BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles last week! After two valiant tries for broader statewide legislation that were each blocked by industry pressure, this local victory protecting kids in our county is awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who helped get us here, especially the 1,050 people who signed the petition I started on change.org (and the 20 of whom signed in person at our pediatrician’s office!). I was really proud to testify in front of the county commissioners at the public hearing last week and hand-deliver the petition, and we gave them a standing ovation when they voted 5-0 in favor of the ban. The Oregonian also spotlighted my letter to the editor on the BPA ban and the Safe Chemicals Act on the editorial page and printed it in full on their My Oregon blog, thank you!
I have a book review post planned for tomorrow and then I’ll write up draft snakes, birthday projects and anything else good I find a few minutes for after that. See you then!