I got back from Quiltcon over a week ago with a crummy cold/sinus thing and have been pretty wiped out… I guess abrupt withdrawal from beautiful 60-degree weather and being around stunning quilts, colorful fabric, and nice people all day can be a little tough on the immune system. Sigh. Anyway, I really want to write up a personal post here about it, but I am so pleased that I got to cover the show for the Coats & Clark Sewing Secrets blog if you’d like to read those posts! Here’s my favorite things from the first two days, and the last two days, over there. Thank you so much to Coats for the chance to write about it for their blog!
In the meantime, here are some photos of pretty things that are making me happy this week… I finished my hand-quilting project from Anna Maria Horner‘s lovely class, a pillow for Pearl! I’m not drawn to purple that much in my sewing or crafts but I thought her gorgeous fabric from Field Study was a dream to hand-stitch with, and Pearl LOVES it, so I am very happy.
I got to visit Oliver and Madeleine in their natural habitat at the Woolen Mill Store after they got back from their trip to Sew Expo. Sounds like people shopping in the Pendleton booth liked them a lot, which made me happy!
I picked up these super gorgeous Pendleton wool swatches from the WMS too. I can’t wait to go back and buy some yardage soon – they are having a sale in March so you should head over there too. So hard to choose which one (ok, ones)…
And this morning I got to have coffee with Diane downtown, which was so great. It has been way too long and it was such a treat to get to hang out (and get a look at her beautiful upcoming book!). Afterwards we walked over to the magnificent Button Emporium and I fell in love with these ribbons so of course they all had to come home with me. We are lucky to have such awesome shops here in Portland!
So, stay tuned for a Quiltcon post (a mere two or three weeks after the event, hopefully when this dumb sinus thing has left me alone finally). I also plan to write up my tips and tricks for sewing the incomparable Barcelona skirt with lots of photos, if anyone else is interested. I have sewed five of them, have fabric pre-washed for three more, and am wearing one right now actually, so I’m a huge fan! Along the way, I figured out a few little things for sewing it that make me love it even more and I’m excited to share those.
I’m super excited to be visiting Austin (for the first time!) to go to Quiltcon this month! I wanted to join the linky party The Modern Quilt Guild is hosting on their blog, so here is a photo and five things about me for fun. I’m proud to be the historian for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, and I’m also a craft writer and the mama of Pearl (who’s 4.5) and Everett (who’s 2). So… hello!
1. I’m a Capricorn (the photo of me was taken by my lovely friend Nancy right after we toured beautiful Heath Ceramics on my birthday a couple weeks ago!) but really never liked it, it seemed like a boring and chilly astrological sign. However, now that I’m in my thirties, I’m starting to get right with it and embracing the parts of life as an earth sign that do resonate. I love my home, and I am definitely a bit of a workaholic when it comes to writing and sewing and crafting. Also, I love my Enid Collins zodiac bag (see #5)…
2. My husband Andrew and I got to be in a Bright Eyes video our friend Cat Solen directed a few years ago, which was super fun! I got to make out with Andrew, share a toast with Evan Rachel Wood and Terence Stamp (who were both very nice), and hand my Bloody Mary to the sweet guy in headphones sitting across the aisle from us. I love Bright Eyes, and Cat’s animation and design are beautiful, so being an extra for her was completely awesome all the way around.
3. After nearly fifteen years of trying, I have to admit that I’m a pretty crummy knitter. I can make rectangles and triangles, and not very fast ones at that. Give me a sewing machine or a needle and thread and I’m much happier!
4. My two favorite places in the world (besides my house in Southeast Portland) are Mt. Hood here in Oregon, and San Francisco.
5. I love mid-century and vintage clothes, furniture, and fabric, and my favorite designers are Enid Collins (my two favorite handbags are below), Vera Neumann, Lilly Pulitzer, Maija Isola (of Marimekko), and Tammis Keefe. As seen above, I wear a fabric headband or a scarf in my hair and a vintage cardigan just about every day. 80s revival, skinny jeans, and neon kind of scare me fashion-wise, so I’m not very on-trend (though I am really excited for the 80s dance party!).
I hope to say hello at Quiltcon! I am westcoastcrafty on instagram and infrequently on twitter. I’m taking Anna Maria Horner’s Every Last Stitch class Thursday afternoon and Lotta Jansdotter’s Textile Printing class on Friday morning. I’m also on a panel on writing for magazines on Friday at
1:00 2:00, right before Kathy Miller lectures on Tammis Keefe… my dream topic! Yes!
I’m so happy to be part of the first Portland Mini Maker Faire at OMSI this weekend! There will be hundreds of makers there showing and selling their work, and I’ll be doing two events on Saturday.
First, I’ll be on a panel at noon called “Cultivating Craft in Portland” on the Innovation Stage with Diane, Shawn, Chris, and Isaac, so please come ask us some questions or share your favorite resources with everyone. The community here is really special and I’m excited to talk about our favorite parts of this super-creative town with these folks (and hopefully you, too!).
Then, at 2:00, I’ll do a free demo of my Comics Magnets project from World of Geekcraft in the OMSI All-Stars booth. Stop by and make a POW! ZAP! magnet for your fridge, featuring whatever word or phrase (or well, anything you can cut out of felt, really) you have in mind. OMSI will also be selling copies of my book in their shop tent so you can pick one up if you’d like. Thank you to OMSI and Portland Mini Maker Faire for inviting me to participate!
Hope to see you over there!
PS: Heather wrote an amazing post for Portland Modern Quilt Guild about some of our members’ craft classes coming up in town. She will be teaching a lovely quartered log cabin quilt class on Saturday at Modern Domestic, and some rad vintage-inspired craft classes at Portland Flea on Sunday!
PS 2: One more thing going on this weekend: my husband Andrew‘s last four free Life Coach shows for the TBA Festival! You can see a review here, and hear an interview with him on OPB’s Think Out Loud if you’re interested.
I was so lucky to take one of Denyse Schmidt’s modern quilting workshops here at PNCA (for the third time – hi Rachel!) this summer with PMQG friends Paula, Rachel and Amy. Each of her classes is different… the first one pushed us to experiment with random-draw improvisational piecing, the second one was about developing intentional pattern through happy accidents in improv, and this third one, Traditional Improvisation Quilting, invited us to explore making a traditional pattern our own through our creativity and choices in color, design, cutting, piecing, and arrangement.
photo by Paula
Denyse came to Modern Domestic Friday evening for a lovely book signing and trunk show of four of her quilts from Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration, which a bunch of us made it over to. I got quick snapshots of each of her quilts with their pages.
Speaking of her book (more on this later, too)… it is beautiful. Denyse offers twenty historical quilt designs, each reinterpreted through her lens, and shares their stories.
It was very cool to see these four quilts in person!
Our class started on Saturday morning with a quick round of template-making and then learning to piece the beautiful windmill shapes of the Shoeman’s Puzzle block pattern in our chosen solid fabrics. This was my favorite quilt in her book so I was very happy to be working on it!
After we made our blocks, we experimented by ditching the templates and cutting the basic angular lines freehand. Once we had four blocks made, up they went on the design wall. It was very cool to see how two fabrics that seemed so similar (a lot of us were worried our picks were too close to provide much contrast) could work together so well in the design.
Denyse encouraged us to keep going with sketches and piecing to make the pattern our own. Some people went in totally new directions, which was very cool to watch. I tried some other improvisational piecing and angles, but ultimately I loved the simplicity of the Shoeman’s Puzzle and wanted my “new” design to to stay close to its charm. So I kept working with color – trading one of my greens with Rachel was a nice element – and line by cutting freehand, or mixing layers or tones within a block. This is what I had at the end of the first day.
For the second day, we continued working in our chosen block style, with guidance from Denyse, and kept adding to the design walls. We took over nearly all of the walls in the Stagecraft building room (where we usually meet, which was cool!) and everywhere you looked was filled with color. We concluded with a review of everyone’s designs, going around the room one by one.
photo by Paula
Amy worked with chocolate browns to create her series of blocks for a quilt she wants to finish for her Mt. Hood cabin… backing it with wool. Her description was so evocative and really brought the design to life.
photo by Paula
Paula mixed her soft, subtle cream solids with bold prints for a stunning balance and combination. During the review, Denyse added some tiny, impactful lines of navy blue and suddenly Paula’s work was sharpened to lovely effect.
photo by Rachel
Rachel created a vibrant kites shape she said she’s long been drawn to in her work, and continued to build her overall design with curves and angles. I loved how she mixed our two traded greens for a fluid effect.
My second-day blocks mixed in a few new elements, like Marimekko Appelsiini, Lizzy House’s Castle Peeps, and a darker green shot cotton. I also let go of the strict two-fabrics-per-block oppositional patterns and tried to keep my blocks less controlled. (Of course, I have some trial and error blocks made with piecing I didn’t love, or colors that didn’t end up playing as nicely together, that are going to be great for the back!)
photo by Rachel
Denyse is a wonderful teacher and her talent for encouraging and inspiring students, while sharing technique really gives her classes depth. The joy of sewing for a whole weekend, finding your own path, and seeing others’ work is a gift. Her book is just as charming – its fresh, beautiful take on the most venerable quilt patterns of the last two centuries is very inspiring!
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’m so excited for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this year! I’m leaving for the show tomorrow, heading out with three friends from PMQG, while my family holds down the fort in Portland. Can’t believe it’s this weekend!! Twenty quilts, each by a different guild member, will be in our PMQG special exhibit. So awesome, I can’t wait to see them all in person…
I’m so happy and thankful that my Oceanside quilt will be part of our show. It feels like so long ago that I took this photo and got the idea (three years last month!) and then piecing it together with Cotton Couture solids was really challenging and fun – so different than any other quilt I’ve ever made. It’s traveled a long way… from the first little tiny baby idea stage at the beach, to its birth in Portland, and on to the other side of Oregon for our show in the high desert.
I think my favorite quilt of all 20 has to be our collective Improv quilt from our Michael Miller challenge. Fifteen PMQG members each made one block, but one is an extra-extra collective effort. When most of our board (Heather, Nancy, Petra and I) met to organize all the blocks into three quilt tops (Improv, Linear, and Graphic), we realized that we had 47 blocks instead of the 48 we thought.
The other two tops (Linear and Graphic) felt right at 16 apiece. So the four of us improvisationally (and quickly!) pieced one last block to tie things together for Improv. Michelle gave such a great presentation on improvisational piecing in March, after the exercise she led at the all-day sew where we each built blocks in turns, and it was very inspiring – and fun to do!
See you in Sisters (we are hosting meet-ups in our exhibit space at noon and 4:00 on Saturday if you’re there)… or at our PMQG meeting next Thursday. Hopefully we will hang onto this sunshine and see everyone at Laurelhurst Park!
Happy summer! After two giant deadlines, two sick kids, two trips to FedEx, and tying up about two thousand loose ends, I feel like summer has finally started around here. We had a sweet little Fourth of July, got to pick seven pounds of raspberries the other day, and my garden is going crazy… now that I’m not hunched over my laptop eight or ten hours a day I can actually go outside now and then!
I’m in town for the weekend this time, but I sure wish I could make it to Seattle for the Urban Craft Uprising show! Kristen has organized another awesome line-up with tons of vendors, author signings, and craft demos.
Two of my favorite crafty ladies will be up there sharing a booth with their lovely jewelry, accessories and clothes! Cathy Pitters of BossaNova Baby and Crafty Wonderland has making gorgeous embroidered jewelry… bracelets and locket-style pendants. She is still screenprinting hoodies and skirts (you can see lots more of her stuff in her Etsy shop and at Crafty downtown).
And Torie (aka Totinette and the other half of Crafty) has these striking wooden necklaces for sale, along with filigree metal earrings and other charming bijoux. She also has a newly updated Etsy shop if you’re not local…
I’m looking forward to the PMQG exhibit at Sisters and the new Denyse Schmidt class at PNCA (oh, can’t wait for that one), but in the meantime Pearl and I are planning to make raspberry freezer jam and try our hand at some potato printing during Everett’s nap. Have a great weekend!
It took me awhile to finish my name tag (you can see a couple dozen awesome ones from February’s meeting over here btw!), because I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to write/print/embroider West Coast Crafty. I was dreaming of Gocco, but finally went super-simple with a lovely turquoise Sharpie from Collage.
Loving my 2012 craft project journal from Ex Libris Anonymous…
Finished name tag! I used blue Pearl Bracelet from Lizzy House for my main section and binding-tape lanyard, and yellow Peacock Lane from Violet Craft for my pennants, and the back. I embroidered my name, stitched down my bias tape, pinned the pennants in place, and then used Pellon 71F heavy interfacing for it instead of batting, stitched around 3 sides, trimmed and carefully turned it, fully fused it on the back, and then turned the raw edges in on the bottom and top-stitched the perimeter.
I’m confident there’s a prettier way to add the pinback than invisible thread, but oh well. I like the back and that cheery yellow!
At the February meeting (which was completely awesome and included a stellar talk by Kathy Miller and a Cotton Couture color card for each of us!),
I got to wear my finished Lisette market skirt. Hooray! I bought the Denyse Schmidt fabric at JoAnn at the end of January, started cutting and sewing it at the Fabric Depot All Day Sew and stitched the buttons on the day before the meeting. I really like this pattern.
Here are my thoughts:
1. I made View B which I think is super cute, but it’s short. Really, really short by my late-thirties’ standards (I think 18″) so I “hemmed” it with folded twill tape right over the raw edge, instead of losing any more length. When I sew it again, I’m adding a couple inches to its length for sure!
2. The six pieces (front center + sides, back center + sides), look REALLY similar on your sewing table. I notched them all (thank goodness) and was still struggling to figure out which were front, back, side, center, anything. Don’t unpin them all at once (oops).
3. Choose big, striking buttons for the plackets. I really loved how that defined the skirt style along with the neatly top-stitched panel seams. It’s really cool how the plackets also create an avenue for a belt, tie or scarf, like stylish belt loops.
4. This is a nice efficient pattern that will give you good-sized scraps for patchwork – yay – or… a headband! I sewed a headband to match and I really love it, on days where my messy hair is kind of driving me crazy it is a nice polished feeling. If you’d like to make one too, I love Caitlin’s tutorial, I just adapt it a bit for my love of vintage and excessive amount of long, thick hair.
Ok, last sewing thing! I’m really excited for our PMQG field trip to the Sew Expo in Puyallup, Washington this weekend! Nancy, Brittany, Rachel, Kaci, Cherri, Michelle, and I are all heading up to check out the show, the first time I’ve been in 10 years. If you are going too, I’m doing a book signing for both Modern Log Cabin Quilting and World of Geekcraft at the Pendleton Woolen Mills booth on Saturday from 10am-12noon, please come by and say hi and get a free quilt block or magnet kit. I’d love to meet you!