I have a babysitter for a few hours today, and it’s been fun to read lots of the Local Quilt Shop Day blog tour posts, so I figured I’d jump in with my own! What the heck, I hardly ever had time to post over here last year so it’s nice to write about things I like and love when I do get the chance.
Local Quilt Shop Day is January 24 and there are some prizes and other fun things going on if you visit your favorite independent fabric shop. Thursday is a school day for my kids (you may notice a pattern here?) so hopefully I will be over at my dear Cool Cottons finding some new favorites, and chatting with Marie and Linda! Cool Cottons is a beautifully curated shop that’s nearly all patterned quilting cottons, arranged by color in the most inviting and fun way, with some marvelous Japanese fabrics, shot cottons, solids, and other treasures mixed in. Post update! Michelle reminded me in her super comment just now that Cool Cottons offers an amazing punch card, and as she put it, “The day mine filled up for the first time felt like Christmas!” Here is my current one, I’m getting closer…
In the meantime, I thought I would post some of my favorite fabrics I’ve found there over the years. This stack of marvelous Lotta Jansdotter prints has turned into lots of things I like, to say the least.
I got nearly all these solids (a few from home, but most on the lovely solids stairwell at Cool Cottons) for my Denyse Schmidt class #2 (2011).
And these prints and solids for my Denyse Schmidt class #3 (2012). Marie is a color magician and greens are her personal favorite, so you can imagine how fun it is to trail her around the shop when you’re looking for good things in that spectrum.
Here are some of my blocks I made in class with those greens.
Marie also offered to host some of our Quilts for Quake Survivors bees in 2011 and those were wonderful, amazing craft nights! She even gave us a whole bunch of their blocks of the month to turn into the sweetest charity quilts. So awesome.
And I haven’t had time to post about this here yet, but look for it soon… neatly folding my vast amounts of zillions of fabrics around comic book backing cardboards has changed my life. I did a little demo at our November PMQG meeting, based on this great tutorial from Cut To Pieces (with a few of my own variations). Anyway, Excalibur Comics and their stacks of 100 acid-free cardboards are right across the street from Cool Cottons so, car traffic on Hawthorne permitting, this is the most awesome, convenient happy pairing pretty much ever in the world. Buy beautiful fabric on one side of the street, change your life with efficient, life-altering folding techniques on the other. (Then you can get coffee, pizza, or look at vintage. Yeah, Portland is pretty great.)
Of course there are many, many wonderful fabric stores in Portland – I also love and SUPER recommend Bolt*, Sew Po*, Sew Mama Sew*, the Woolen Mill Store*, Mill End, and Fabric Depot. But Cool Cottons is definitely my local (walking distance – I still can’t believe I can walk to a fabric store, even after five years!) quilting cottons shop, so that will be my Thursday LQSD destination for sure!
If you go:
2417 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, Oregon 97214
Local Quilt Shop Day – Thursday, January 24, 2013
The Modern Quilt Guild recently organized a special drive to make quilts for the Austin’s Children’s Shelter. They sent many of the MQGs packages of Quiltcon blocks to work with and asked each of us to make one twin-sized quilt to donate. The 2012 and 2013 PMQG boards teamed up to work on this project collaboratively, which was fantastic! Our blocks we got for the front are wonky stars, which Heather offered to piece into a twin-sized top. So Anne and I volunteered to work on the back together – I actually love working on quilt backs, I got to make one for our Graphic quilt last year which was really fun! And I love Anne’s quilts so it was really fun to collaborate with her.
Kristin of Sew, Mama, Sew! graciously cut and gave away four bolts of a Kona gray for charity quilting at our November PMQG meeting, and that gift came in very handy for this project. I also pulled some yardage of serene, beautiful Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Aqua, and a Japanese elephant print I bought a FQ of last year seemed like it might find its way in, too.
I adore improvisational piecing and had a lot of fun making a LOVE “bumper sticker” quilt block for Michelle’s Design Camp bee last year. For this project, my idea was to design and stitch a quiet, comforting message for the child who sleeps under it, in an unfamiliar place, so he or she felt a bit more at home… and mix stars of some kind around my words. I chose the simplest little phrase, good night.
Anne offered to piece some stars, big and small, and ended up making 32 of the super easy, slightly wonky log cabin mini-blocks I used for my Starry Night pillow in Modern Log Cabin Quilting for her tiny “twinkling” yellow stars! She emailed me a photo while I was still on the east coast, and I was really excited!
And then, finally home from our Christmas trip and so ready to get started, cutting lots of strips for improv letter-piecing, and waiting and waiting for my trusty iron to heat up… I noticed something. Surprise! My iron had a gnarly injury on its side and was stone-cold and broken. My friend Mary lent me hers – but I couldn’t get it for a couple of hours. So with precious childcare time ticking, my first two un-pressed letters, “go,” were a wrinkly, puffy mish-mash that should clearly illustrate to anyone why ironing is way, way important in our craft. I can’t believe I’m posting this horrible photo, but there you go. Wow, was I happy to get the borrowed iron later that night and press these guys!
So, using simple strips and improv piecing (and a working iron), I stitched up g-o-o-d and n-i-g-h-t and joined them together to form a simple heart of the back to pass along for Anne to work her star magic on. I truly loved this process – meditative and simple and intuitive. No pattern, no tutorial to write. Just good night. On an impulse I fussy-cut a little elephant in the same width as the body of my “i” and dotted it with that. It’s one perfect elephant and one little section of another one floating above it peeking down, reminding me of a mother watching over her child. My children loved the elephants. They both gave the tiny little dot over the i a kiss, and I hope that some of that warmth stays in that quilt when it covers another little one.
The next morning, along with last-second packing for our San Francisco trip, I snapped some quick photos of my little good night block. I loved how the reflection of the blocks’ back – full of seams and stitching – read so clearly in the mirror. Kind of cool!
Then we zipped over to meet Anne for a coffee, handed the blocks and some last bits of fabric to her, and headed out for our trip! Imagine my happiness when she sent me a preview picture of her stars. So awesome!
And here is another snap of the back with extra gray sashing, right before she brought it to Nancy for its beautiful quilting (thank you, Nancy, for your unfailingly generous gifts!!). It’s coming to the PMQG meeting so we can all see it! Then, Petra and Anne will bind it, Michelle will label it, and we’ll ship it to Austin for Quiltcon.
I feel deeply drawn to charity craft projects, and as the mother of two young children, I am especially grateful to contribute to families in need. Quilts for Quake Survivors was a huge gift to be part of with Daniela, and donating to our own Bradley-Angle House through QfQ was a beautiful end to our project.
And I can’t wait to see our collaborative quilt at the PMQG meeting tonight!!! Room 205 at PNCA, 7 pm.
PS – Thank you, THANK YOU for the iron rec comments on my last post! I’m going with a Black & Decker from Fred Meyer for now. Unfortunately they’re currently out of the one I want (this one) but yay, Michelle lent me her back-up iron for this week!
I’m so honored to be part of the third annual Action Kivu fundraiser, which helps women and girls in the Congo through education and sewing! Alissa has been a tireless and wonderful advocate for this amazing nonprofit, and has rounded up a fantastic mix of modern quilting prizes for donors. You must see her post to believe all the cool fabric, books, patterns, and even quilts that people who contribute will win!
If you contribute $10 to the cause, you are automatically entered to win this package of prizes. I’m so thankful to Stitch and Pendleton Woolen Mills for generously adding their contributions to make it really special!
One donor will win:
• a signed copy of Modern Log Cabin Quilting
• the new Winter issue of Stitch, with a nice feature on wool sewing, donated by Stitch, and
• a brand-new set of 8 wool fat quarters, and a baby quilt kit (which includes 2 FQs and 1 full yard of wool), donated by Pendleton Woolen Mills.
If a friend or a blog reader wins I’ll add an extra prize, too!
This blog entry from Pendleton shares more about what makes this winter issue of Stitch so special – I’m so proud to have my feature article on the history of wool in America included alongside some amazing sewing projects, including Michelle‘s midcentury-inspired quilt and Daniela‘s Northwest Modern laptop case!
We had such a great time in Seattle! It was so wonderful to meet so many awesome people from SMQG and VMQG and shop for fabric, sew charity quilt blocks, go out for fancy dinner and drinks, and swap international patchwork pouches. You can see tons more photos here (and please add your own!) but here are my 25 favorites from the ones I took:
I’m still catching my breath after a beautiful three-day marathon of buttons, fabric, ferries, Modern Crosses, tote bags, name tags, and hugs, but thank you to all who joined up with us and hope to see you all again next summer! For everyone in Portland, see you Thursday for our PMQG meeting – we have some fun things planned…
I wanted to share a tutorial for making cute, simple patchwork (or patterned fabric) tote bags for kids – perfect for sending to The Littlest Warriors project over at Craft Hope, which is also the PMQG charity quilting opportunity for February. I used two 12” quilt blocks/pieces of fabric for a child’s size bag, but I included some suggestions for sizing them up for sturdier adult-size versions – plus some of my other favorite tote tutorials – at the end of the post. I hope you like them!
A quick note: I sew in a basement room without a whole lot of childcare time, and it’s February in the Pacific Northwest, so be forewarned that these photos aren’t exactly professionally lit or painstakingly staged. It’s a simple tutorial though, so hopefully you can follow along easily – I made these two tote bags in about an hour and a half, counting all the quilt block piecing! If you use stash blocks or just cut solid pieces of fabric, you can fly through these. My goal is to make 5 for the littlest warriors by the March 12 deadline – all the details are here.
-Two quilt blocks (or solid pieces of fabric) in the 11”-12” square range for the outer sides of the bag. I used 12” blocks and fabric squares.
-If using quilt blocks: muslin, the same size as your blocks, or slightly bigger, for reinforcing them
-Lining fabric of your choice, the same size as your outer blocks or fabric
-1.5 yards of webbing for handles
-Thread, rotary cutter, quilt ruler + mat, scissors, iron, sewing machine
1. Cut two pieces of fabric (I used an Alexander Henry zoo print for my blue bag) or piece two quilt blocks of your choice, approximately 12” square. (You can also make them smaller or bigger if you like – 12” makes a nice toddler/preschooler-to-elementary-school size).
This is a great project for stash quilt blocks, or if you need to piece up two quick ones, log cabin is an easy one! I made a random log cabin block in the six yellow fabrics I originally used in my Bright Furrows quilt from Modern Log Cabin Quilting. To make two 12” blocks like these, cut 6 selvage-to-selvage (44”) strips that are 1.75” wide, in the quilting cottons of your choice. Here’s a short video of how I piece log cabin blocks…
For an approximately 12” block, you’ll start with a 1.75” center square in one of the fabrics and add 4 tiers of logs using different fabrics in any order, piecing clockwise and pressing when each tier is completed. Press front and back and square up your blocks.
2. If you’re using quilt blocks, quilt them with a muslin backing (or use the technique of your choice) to add stability. I quilted a square outline pattern about 1/8” outside the center square and then each tier (you can see this more easily in the photo that precedes step #4). Press again and trim excess so your blocks are square. (This would also be a great project for foundation piecing/quilting as you go!)
4. Pin the two outer pieces together around three sides, right sides facing and leaving the top open, and then repeat the same way with the lining fabrics. Stitch the three sides with a 1/2″ inch seam allowance, back-stitching at the beginning and end to hold the seam. You’ll sew the outer and lining sections together the same way.
5. Make box corners by pressing the corners into flat triangles with the seams pressed open, pinning them, and stitching 1” in from the corner. You’ll do this the same way for the outer and lining bag sections.
6. Trim the extra fabric at each corner, as shown.
This is what your finished box corner will look like from the outside!
7. Now turn the outer bag right side out and tuck the lining in, making sure they fit snugly together. Turn the raw edges of both the bag and lining under and press them evenly (you can turn under 1/4″ to 1/2″, depending on how bulky your quilted outer section is – just keep your bag and lining consistent). Pin the bag and lining together all around the perimeter of the opening.
8. Cut two 18” lengths of webbing for handles and pin each of them in place. I placed mine 2” (patchwork) and 2.5” (wholecloth) in from the side seam – I followed the outer edge of the second tier of my log cabin blocks as a guideline for my patchwork tote, and eyed it with my wholecloth one. Just make sure they’re even with one another and match the handle on the other side, and that the handles aren’t twisted!
9. Edge-stitch around the perimeter of the bag, catching both layers evenly, and then reinforce the four handles with double-stitching.
To make a larger/adult size, try starting with 15” or 16” quilt blocks or fabric squares (and same-size lining) instead of 11”/12”, and reinforcing the blocks with a home dec weight fabric instead of muslin. You can cut your handles to 24” each (instead of 18”), too.
Some other tutorials I like:
-The Purl Bee’s Twenty-Minute Tote (my original inspiration – an adult-sized bag without lining or box corners)
-The Pink Penguin’s Lunch Bag tutorial
-And here are four other tote bags I’ve made for my own kids and their friends in this same style!
So, the March 12 deadline is two weeks from tomorrow… I would love to cheer you on if you are sewing for the littlest warriors too! Please comment or keep me posted on what you’re making, and I will be so excited to share photos of all the finished bags and hats I see. Thank you!!
I’ve had a lot of fun sewing these little 25-minute totes for my kids, and now for a couple of their friends – they’ve been an easy go-to birthday present, paired with a drawing or card from Pearl. I’ve made a button version for Pearl and an owl version for Everett, and packed them up with books and art supplies for Christmas presents. They were a big hit!
Since then I’ve sewn a frog version with ribbon handles for Pearl’s buddy Ellie, and a rocket-ship applique on outer-space-worthy star fabric for her very best friend Rowan.
But now I am starting up a new round of my tote-sewing for Craft Hope’s project 16: the littlest warriors. Jade of Craft Hope has teamed up with Melanie – a friend whose son Pierce has battled leukemia for three years – to collect totes and soft hats and beanies for children fighting cancer.
You can make hats or totes from any pattern for children of all ages, babies through teenagers, and send them to Melanie (all info here). She’ll distribute them to the patients who need hope the most… a colorful, happy surprise present to make the days at the hospital a little shorter.
As Jade shared, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer every weekday, and 7 children die every single weekday, too. But there is hope. Pierce, who’s now four and a half, had his last chemo treatment on February 11, a day he’d been counting down to. As Jade wrote, he is winning! My mom is a cancer survivor and the kindness of friends and strangers alike has been a huge gift to her, one I am humbled to give back.
So this isn’t a Valentine’s Day post really, except that it’s about love. I have some Valentine’s posts and free projects to share here, here, here, and here. But the one I hope you’ll also take a look at is here – my simple kid-sized version of the Purl Bee’s 20-minute tote. It’s easy and you can stitch up two of them from contrasting third-yard cuts of fabric and two yards of twill or ribbon, if you’re so inclined. The deadline is March 12 and all details are over here. My goal is to sew and send five bags with little surprises inside, hopefully more if I have the sewing time. If you want to team up on shipping bags or hats from Portland, let me know!
Wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day, and of course a happy
152nd 153rd birthday to Oregon! Here are the valentines Pearl made for all the kids at her preschool, using some fun things from Collage…
…and writing her name on the back of each one! This was a fun and easy little Everett’s-nap project this weekend. She did everything herself except cut the paper up.
Speaking of Collage, they are having their grand opening party for the Sellwood store on Saturday, February 18! And our next PMQG meeting is this Thursday, February 16 at PNCA. We have some fun stuff planned this month, and I hope to see you there!
Like many other, bigger websites, I am turning my blog dark today to protest censorship.
If you enjoy sharing photos, text, and content freely online, I encourage you to voice your opposition to SOPA, which appears to have dangerous, far-reaching consequences for all of us. You can sign a petition here, contact your (US) officials here, or get lots more info here.
Happy New Year! I hope that your 2012 has been a good one so far. I just made a collage of my craft projects from last year and wanted to share it over here…
Lots of sewing! I think my favorite things I made are my denim wrap skirt, Everett’s birthday banner, and the plaid Pendleton blanket for my mother-in-law. I also love my Denyse Schmidt improvisational blocks, and I hope that I’ll actually get to piece them into a bed quilt in 2012. If you’re looking for truly spectacular finished quilt projects, check out people’s mosaics and posts on the Modern Quilt Guild FB page. (All of my quilting time went to Quilts for Quake Survivors, so my contributions were all just parts of a beautiful whole, so no finished quilts to show this year – I’m ok with it!)
Speaking of Quilts for Quake Survivors, I wanted to post an update over here, too. We are winding the project down this week after donating 30 quilts to survivors of the earthquake in Japan (March and April) and raising $2825 and counting for Mercy Corps’ relief work (May-now). A HUGE thank-you to everyone who has donated fabric, pieced blocks, joined or sashed quilt tops, sewed backs, basted, quilted, tied or bound quilts with us. We are so grateful for your beautiful work!
If you are interested, please go to our page on the Mercy Corps website and donate $150 (shipping is on us). You can donate to ANY cause you’d like the money to go to, not just Japan. Just state your preferred cause in the subject line. Mercy Corps will distribute the funds according to your specifications on their back end. Then you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the donation confirmation number and the number of the quilt and your shipping address. We will send you a confirmation email and ship the quilt within 48 hours via USPS. Also – if you’ve already donated $150 or more for end of year giving, you can send us the donor number and we’ll gladly send you a quilt as a thank-you.
After this week, we’ll donate any remaining quilts to Bradley-Angle House, a shelter here in Portland, for the women and children there. Thank you to everyone who has supported QfQ!!
I have a few more little things to share soon… like my favorite new hot chocolate recipe, and the finished 25-minute book and toy totes for Pearl and Everett (which were a huge hit on Christmas morning!). I’ll see you when I have a chance to upload some more photos!
I sewed something I really like as a gift last week and now that it has reached its recipient, I can post about it (now that the kids are asleep, and I’m not…)! I made a cozy lap-size blanket for my mother-in-law with some of the gorgeous plaid blanket-weight wool I bought for $5 a pound at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store a couple months ago. It’s perfect for reading or just hanging out on the couch on a fall afternoon.
I trimmed the remnant evenly on all sides (so it measured about 42″ x 52″) and edged it with the 1″ navy blue wool binding Pearl specially picked out for her Grammy ($1 a yard at the WMS). I used my Sesquicentennial blanket as a binding-style template and bound it with simple folded corners, double-stitching it – first around the inner perimeter to catch all layers, and then doing a second victory lap close to the outer edge. The WMS gives you a “Hand-Tailored with Pendleton Woolens” tag with a fabric purchase, so I got to sew that in as a finale and it’s beautiful. I will definitely be making more of these – they are awesome. Hello, Christmas!
There is a little more excitement around here to report, too! I was really appreciative that Beth from NW Kids Magazine contacted me a few weeks ago for a craftivism feature she was planning, and included an interview with me in the October/Halloween issue (which I picked up at the Children’s Museum last week – yay). Thank you so much, Beth!
She asked me lots of questions about my thoughts on craftivism, the community Quilts for Quake Survivors fundraiser I’ve been working on with Daniela, and my day-to-day and favorite things to do in Portland with two little kids. She also included the POW! ZAP! Magnets from World of Geekcraft as a free project extra in the issue, so please jump on that – a kid at the safety scissors level of crafting should be able to have a lot of fun with that one, with help from a mom, dad, or older sibling.
Speaking of Quilts for Quake Survivors, I’m so happy to say that QfQ is going strong and we are unveiling new quilts every M-W-F for the next month, thanks to Daniela’s fabulous photography and posting. Each quilt is $150 (“bought” via a direct donation to Mercy Corps) and you can choose any quilt you love, email us with your receipt, and we will ship or deliver it to you (US addresses only, international shipping will be extra, it’s out of pocket for us so I hope everyone understands…).
The other thing that is super awesome is that thanks to Mercy Corps, they’ve modified our fundraiser page so that you can designate your donation to go to any of their relief efforts you’re most drawn to (which Daniela had already said on our blog posts, but now it’s official). So if you’d rather make a donation to their crucial, current efforts in Somalia, Pakistan, or elsewhere, that’s great. Our hearts are always with Japan, but we know that Mercy Corps’ efforts have been global and we are proud to support them worldwide. There are 8 quilts still available (and counting!) and 3 have been sold in the last couple weeks. Just a peek…
Thank you to everyone who has donated fabric, pieced, sashed, quilted, tied, or bound our community quilts for sale. We love you!