Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m not quite sure how it got to be almost Thanksgiving when it was just Halloween.  But here I am, wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  Sweet Husband and I will be spending the holiday with my mom.  I have to admit that mostly what I made for Thanksgiving was a reservation.  I’m taking a pie (whose crust is currently cooling in the fridge) and a fruit salad for snacking and letting the pros worry about dinner.

 I’ll take some handwork to do while I’m visiting and having a relaxing couple of days.  I do not plan to leave the house on Friday except maybe for a walk if it’s not raining.  I learned my lesson about black Friday years ago:

One Thanksgiving weekend in the early ’80’s, my mom wanted to see what the mall was like on black Friday.  So the two of us left the kids with Sweet Husband and my dad (aka Ironhand Jack) and ventured out to watch the crazy people shop.  Sadly, we spent 20 minutes driving around the parking lot never finding an empty space, called it a good lesson and went home.  To this day, neither of us has bought more than a quart of milk on the day after Thanksgiving.

Portland area (and beyond) sewers and makers are currently dealing with the closure of Fabric Depot, our iconic giant fabric store of many years.  I’ve actually met people from Alaska who fly down to do a major shopping there.  I will certainly miss the “acre of fabric” that engendered so many ideas.  FD was a local family business that we were happy to support.

We are enjoying a lovely fall.  The pansies still look great.  And actually, if I keep deadheading and we don’t have a long freeze, they’ll survive until spring.  However, the marigold in the picture below is a surprise.  I had them in the window boxes in the summer and allowed some to go to seed just to see what would happen.  The weather’s been so mild, some have come up and bloomed.  They will not last through the winter, but I could easily get some volunteers in the spring.  The forecast calls for rain starting tomorrow and lasting through the weekend.  It’s a good thing since we haven’t had much, but I will miss the energy of the sun.


I’m in the middle of a couple of quilts that I want finished by Christmas.  This will take some dedication.   The last week has been filled with out-of-the-house commitments and December looks to be quieter.  My quilts can be done and the house ready for Christmas guests.

I know, no quilt pics this week but next week I’ll show off something I was given last week that’s really pretty cool.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Quilt when you can and enjoy the heck out of your weekend,


And Then There Was Sun!

And Then There Was Sun!

Today is springy and it feels so good.  I actually sat outside in the sunshine and took in a bit of Vitamin D.  I’m always surprised at how much more energy I have on sunny days. It’s nice to have the windows open and I can hear kids playing outside and imagine their mothers sighing in relief.  There’s a leaf blower in the distance and by tomorrow the air will be alive with the sound of power washers.

The house repairs are finally finished and what a relief.  I am really enjoying the quiet.  The only sad part is that I have no excuse to put off housework!

I’ve been quilting this quilt

which has been nameless until now.  I looked up the name of the block and was disappointed to find it unimaginatively called Double X #4.  That is just not cutting it.  I’ve decided to call the quilt “Birds Heading Home.”  The birds are the little green triangles and the birdhouse has a bright pink door.  I’ve quilted the top right corner.

It’s a lot of quilting, but since the piece isn’t really big, it won’t take too long.

If patriotic quilts are your thing or you do Quilts of Valor, there’s a lot of red, white and blue fabric out there now.  I love the colors and am ready to do at least a runner.  I have some older runners I’ve made and looking at them now reminds me how long some of those pieces have been around.  Many of the blues I used before the turn of the century have faded to gray.  The newer dyes are much better and I now have windows that block the UV rays that bleach out carpet, draperies and even wood floors.  If you’re looking for patterns for patriotic quilts, I’d like to recommend our Blue Star Mothers pattern.  If you want a good sized quilt in a hurry, Fall Into Halloween would be great in USA prints.  Also, for some cool patriotic fabrics, Mother Goes Mod works well, especially if you have a red, white and blue layer cake.

Blue Star Mothers

Blue Star Mothers

After a long, hard winter, get outside and get a little sun.  Then quilt for fun!


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Thinking Ahead

Thinking Ahead

After some cool and rainy weather, our usual fall is back.  We still have leaves on the trees (at least for a while) and the mums are about to bloom.  The tomatoes didn’t come up to expectations, but we’ll have some green ones to fry up.  If you’ve heard the old phrase about looking like (or feeling like) the last rose of summer, you likely have a good idea what my once lovely potted flowers look like.  In a couple of weeks, decorating for Halloween will be in full swing.  I have something new for the front yard that I’m dying to try out.

Toby and Ella are not really ready for cooler weather.  The problem is not the temperature outside on these chilly mornings, but having the door  closed so they can’t be both inside and out.  Here they are with cousin Finn, a young labradoodle,  who came for a visit with my son and daughter-in-law.  He’s such a cute little guy and everyone gets along.

Somebody mentioned on Facebook that there were only 92 days until Christmas.  And we wonder why people get stressed.  Barb tells me there are some Christmas trees up in the mall.  Seriously?  Internet gift shopping, here I come. So this is my one and only very early reminder.  Here are some pictures of our patterns that were designed with Christmas in mind.

“Santa Says Hi”


This is “Starshine Runner” in a different color combo than the one on the Shopping Page.  Just add or subtract blocks to fit your table. If you’re looking for a larger quilt, make the blocks bigger and go for a bigger project with same blocks.

Now, let’s get those imaginations in gear.  This is “Snapshots” suing some leftover Laurel Burch prints.  I’ll post again when it’s quilted .

And for a quick one, how about “Falling for Halloween” in Christmas fabrics.

Fall Into Halloween

This one would be REALLY easy if you have a Christmas or winter stripe.


Mother Goes Mod

How about “Mother Goes Mod” with a Holiday layer cake?


I just bet you have some Christmas, Holiday, or Winter fabrics that would work in these or other patterns.  Make them larger or smaller or out of snuggly flannel for the little ones.  We (especially Barb) often use patterns as just a jumping off place.  And don’t forget, we’d love to see what you make out of our patterns.

I’m also seeing some Thanksgiving themed fabrics.  There’s time for a runner or some placemats.

Don’t think that I’m giving Halloween short shrift this year.  It’s me, remember?  Those fabrics are about to go on sale!

For those of you in the Portland, OR area (sorry Portland, ME), the Quilting Expo is coming up this weekend and in a moment of shameless self-promotion, let me ask you to check out the quilts of Friends on the Edge.  It’s a collaboration between two small quilt groups and we had so much fun making our quilts.  I’m a huge fan of small quilt groups as we not only challenge each other and improve our skills and test our imaginations, but build the sweetest friendships.  The show is at the Portland Expo Center on September 28,29, and 30.  There will be lots of quilts and vendors.  Wear sensible shoes.

And don’t forget to quilt for fun!



For All Who Learn the Hard Way, Like Me

For All Who Learn the Hard Way, Like Me

Autumn Sunset, the pattern, is ready.  I’m currently quilting it (well, I stopped to write this, but you get the picture).  I have a couple of suggestions for this project, and quilting in general to help curb the frustration factor.

  1.  Keep a notebook next to your sewing machine.  Do not move it or put it someplace safe.  It needs to be right where you can get your hands on it.  Write down the threads you’re using for your current project.  Also note any changes you make with regard to needle size and tension.  Even when you use the same machine, things seem to work differently for some projects.  I opted for free-form leaves on Autumn Sunset, using Aurifil 40 weight on the top.  After changing the bobbin thread type twice, the needle twice and messing with the upper tension at least 6 times, I finally got pretty much what I wanted.  While I will tell you that I ended up with Aurifil #40 in the bobbin, a #90 topstitch needle and notching down the tension to 4.8, it would’ve been nice to start with a plan closer to the one that worked.  Write it down.  Someday you’ll thank yourself for this.DSC_0169
  2. Clean out the bobbin assembly A LOT, especially when you’re quilting.  It should be the first place you look when the top thread breaks.  I have no idea why a lint filled bobbin case breaks thread, but it seems to.  It should never look like the inside of the lint trap in your dryer.
  3. Set a timer and take a break.  Take a break earlier if things are going badly.  Please trust me when I tell you that gritting your teeth and battling it out wastes time and energy.  When you get back after your break, it’ll be easier to see what the problem is and how to fix it.

The center part of Autumn Sunset is being quilted with variegated thread.  Because the thread changes from very light yellow to orange to dark purple, the question is, what to use in the bobbin.  No matter what I do, from time to time the bobbin thread shows on the top.  I thought about putting the matching variegated thread in the bottom until I realized that it would almost never match up.  There’s probably more yellow than anything else in that thread,  so I went with yellow for the bobbin thread.  If some yellow pops out in the middle of a purple patch, I’ll deal with it.


The free flowing leaves is one of my favorite quilting themes.  If you quilt yourself into a corner, just wander out through the leaves to a good area to start making leaves again.  Also, if one turns out kind of weird, just pretend that an unexpected storm clobbered the daylights out of it and keep going.

Fall is really here.  We had enough rain yesterday to actually soak into the ground and by this time of year I’m about done with watering the flower pots so it works out.  It’s time to tear out what’s left of the veggie plants and put in some tulip bulbs and chrysanthemums.  Summer came and went too quickly.  Luckily, fall is lovely here and I intend to enjoy it.

The Northwest Quilting Expo opens in Portland (at the Expo Center) this Thursday and runs through Saturday.  Lots of cool quilts and vendors.  I can hardly wait.

Look around our site and be sure to check out our patterns on the “Shop” page.  All our Halloween patterns are on sale.

Enjoy fall and Quilt For Fun!



Quilt Show Fun

Quilt Show Fun

Technology, yes or no.  I’m at yes, but . . . I hate it when my technology turns on me.  The computer issues of the last couple of weeks are fixed now (thank you, Laura) and it’s nice to be back.

I spent all of last week in Sisters, OR taking classes and, of course, toured the Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday.  The weather was cooler than usual, which was actually kind of nice.  Naturally, my quilt friends and I had an air conditioned house for the first time in ages.  Quilt classes were taken, wine was drunk and a good time was had by all.  I took a three-day class on the embroidery of Sue Spargo.  Sadly, Sue couldn’t be with us, but Tonye Phillips filled in nicely and I now understand the joy of wool.  I’ve made a few pieces in the past and done a couple of kits.  Now that I know more of the possibilities, I’m hooked.  I’ve started a little sampler so I remember what I learned.

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The other two days were spent in a design class by Rosalie Dace.  Again, so many possibilities.  Now I just need a whole heap of time to fully get into this.  The block below will be part of a larger project that I can hardly wait to work on.

The pear


The day of the Outdoor Show, my friend Judy and I got there in time to watch the local firemen put up quilts on the side of the building that houses The Stitching’ Post.

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Everyone helps out during the Outdoor Quilt Show.

Here are a few quilts I totally loved.  Actually, I loved all of them, but here is just a small sampling.

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And I met some new furry friends who found the cooler weather much more fun. Love those quilt show dogs.

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And as we were gassing up to leave Sisters on Sunday, we saw this.  Just couldn’t resist snapping a pic.



Barb was at my house last night looking at her UFO’s and I reminded her to cut her binding or at least attach the binding fabric to a project before putting it away to finish later.  She suggested I share that tip (again) as I’ve frustrated myself more than once by not thinking of it.

As always, quilt for fun and enjoy summer.



Officially Quilt Time

Officially Quilt Time

It’s officially fall, which is a beautiful time of year in the Northwest.  It’s cooler, of course, but often sunny with comfortable temperatures up around 70.  We have lots of trees that turn amazing shades of red and gold, mixed in with the evergreens.  This last full weekend of September is also the Northwest Quilt Expo, here in Portland.  We spent some hours there on Thursday and my feet are still tired.  As always, it was worth it.  I have to show off the entry from my small quilt group, Quilters on the Edge.


It’s called “Glories of Oregon” and each small quilt was made by a different member of the group.  Because it was not supported in the middle, and it’s heavy (each small quilt is about 18″ X 24″) it didn’t hang straight, which was a bummer.  I might also add that I forgot my good camera and used my phone, which I’m not very good at.  It was a fun project that challenged all of us.

This show has a bit of everything.  Modern . . . love the colors.


Realistic . . . he could’ve just jumped out and scampered into the woods.


Landscape . . . very seasonal and cool.


Hard to classify . . . but SO classic.


Amazing quilting . . . and use of fabric.


My head is swimming with all that great inspiration and some new ideas.

Of course the vendor mall was fun and I had to use all my self discipline powers not to buy one of each.  All in all, it was such a fun show.

It’s about time to close down the vegetable garden.  I learned a few things and will do it differently next year.  I’m even making some notes so I remember what not to do next year.  Some of the plants loved the hot, dry summer.  Others not so much.  Sadly, I can’t magically know in April what the weather will be like in July.  It’s a gamble every year.

I’m working on a block for a Christmas runner which I hope to show in about 10 days.

Do a little handwork while you watch football if you’re a fan.  If not just go to your sewing space and QUILT FOR FUN!


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