I started this post during my visit with the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild. Progressed a bit on it a week later in Seattle waiting for my 3xs over delayed flight to teach with the Longmont Quilters Guild, sat in my studio on my mattress, lounged by a lagoon in Mexico and now am attempting to catch a little time here again in Denver with the Metro MQG to bookend its finish. I promise the mattress situation will make more sense by the end.
Regardless of the physical location, I’m happy to finally make it back to this virtual space. Getting here has been on my mind, but placed at the bottom of the list.
So let’s start with a quilt;). A few weeks ago in between rain drops I got Jefe to hold up the first of my two Wonky Snowballed Stars Quilts.
Here’s the top and back of my second quilt.
No students during Covid meant the whole studio became my own padded room of design walls. I cut into intended fabric stack and started messing with it on the design wall. I didn’t intend to make two quilts but inadvertently a color wouldn’t work so I’d place the misfit to the next wall. I’m usually stubbornly committed to the back ground fabric of my original idea, but the second quilt was open to whatever other neutral for a different feel, so I went with a mix of the grey from my stash.
The good news is through this process I now had two new samples for my Throwing Stars: Magic Numbers meet Improv workshop with the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild.
Once I figured out the colors, it needed something else to make it pop. It stalled on the design wall for months as I wandered around navigating our weird world and Jefe took over the studio as an office.
I don’t know what sparked it, but it occurred to me that switchin’ out the stellar’s centers with their neighbors’ and adding the improv triangles to snowball the middle of the stars might bring it together. It was the breath of fresh air it needed. I love the improvisational evolution of a quilt’s design and when you realize it’s perfect and ready to be sewn into a top.
Since I started posting quilts with this improv mix I’m seeing more and more of these snowballed centers mixed with the magic numbers concept on Instagram in creative ways. Good reminder that these techniques belong to all of us.
Vertical quilting lines in aqua thread offered the zero disturbance to the quilt’s design I was aiming for. Depending on the math, my lazy approach to quilting is a quarter of an inch from seams, and then utilizing the side of the Bernina walking foot from the needle, which equals a ½” against those first quilting lines to fill in. I always give it a one over measure for even distribution. In my opinion a quilt design like this doesn’t need anything special. No burying threads for me.
With all that Essex as background and the mostly flannel back it will wash up double cozy.
Let’s talk binding. I ran out of the black fabric I’d used for some of the stars, so hacked into something similar from stash to use.
Adding a little sparkle and definition to its edge.
It’s a good mix of yarn dyed fabrics in the black color ways, front and back. If I didn’t have a million other ideas I want to try then I’d make a king size. The colors would be perfect for our bedroom and the dark background impacted less by a 90# dog.
If you’re interesting in learning the improv triangle technique I’ve had a cancellation, so have one spot open for the Saturday May 21st workshop.
Sorry about the garden disaster, also low on the list.
Last post I shared some repurposed pillow tops transformed into box pouches (pattern here), and then I went on a cutting spree through stash picking some favorite fabrics.
These top two have already found homes.
I was especially in need of a curves with a walking foot sample for my upcoming Straight Line Quilting workshop. I loved how it turned out. Both of the horse prints have lived in my stash since my first days of sewing and I have people in mind for their gifting.
The Buddhas went to Jefe. He needed a smaller size to carry his cords and miscellaneous stuff.
It’s all matchy-matchy with his Devon zip pouch he carries his passport in.
Quite some time ago I made some big ass buckets from the book Zakka Handmades. Mine lacked the structure a good mix of stabilizer would have given them, so with a baby shower gift in need it was the perfect opportunity to dig them out of the basement, spend some time with the seam ripper and add some soft and stable inside. Little Raja’s mom is using them in the nursery and I’m sure their use will transition over time.
Since I think they’re fun to make, next round I’ll be playing with the stabilizer, quilting, adding some more topstitching to the handles and perfecting the piecing of the curved bottom. They’re cute as all get out, reversible and utilitarian.
It was nice little boost for me when my host from the Omaha MQG sent me a photo of my Psychedelic Baby Quilt from the exhibit at the National Quilt Museum. It looks so perfect next to that stop sign.
Speaking of centrality, since showing my In Line Star Quilt in my last post I’ve been playing with some big stars that have a very central layout. I made a couple myself and then had a few of my friends over to help me test drive this new improv strip piecing workshop. We all made stars, but the blocks can be altered to other designs.
I’ll be getting this up as a workshop soon.
I never use brown so this was a good challenge. I’ll be using this color combo again.
What we’ve really been working on is the house. We’ve made so much progress on the fireplace take down that I shared with you last post, and then before I left for my first Denver trip.
Nonfunctional, it made since to reclaim the space.
We were hoping the outer brick wall could stay, but decided it need to come down.
The room feels so expansive now, especially with the light coming in from windows on both sides.
In preparation for extending the wood floors we widened the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. We wanted to take it to the ceiling like the other entries but the ceiling is textured in the rest of the house and we want flat in the kitchen eventually.
Here’s a great little photo reminder of the progress that has been made. Eight years ago or so after scraping off four dark layers of wallpaper I found we had plywood walls in the kitchen.
Like there wasn’t enough wood to begin with.
Jefe was a good egg. I’ve always wanted a pink room and since the plywood walls would be coming down in the future he was agreeable to my wish. Enter Prairie Rose.
It feels right wider.
Then we packed up 9+ years of our crap into the garage and basement, moved the beds and all the plants into the studio, and had wood floors woven into the hearth area of the living room, added to the kitchen and refinished.
It was all very cozy.
Boss thought so too.
Getting the floors in and refinished feels like a huge step in the house remodel. There is now an actual walkway to the little attached room off the living room that doesn’t involve walking over a hearth and a flow into the kitchen.
The good news about the plywood walls I mentioned is little mess in taking them down. Next is electrical in the kitchen and insulation throughout the whole house.
We obviously have some painting and trim to catch up on.
What a difference a few years and some sweat can make.
A 51st birthday celebration came and went.
As did Saint Patty’s day. The boys were in Mexico City eating tacos and playing soccer, so Boss and I headed to the neighbors for bangers and mash and green cocktails with some soda bread in hand. This recipe with golden raisins has been my standby for as long as I’ve been baking. I probably should branch out, but why chance ruining a good thing?
A freezer with left over Easter ham and a package of puff pastry becomes a great breakfast treat when you add some cheese. All my cookbooks are packed until we paint, but these come from a recipe in one of the Back in The Day Bakery cookbooks and you should just buy them all. (affiliate link)
They also pair well with a salad.
Did someone say salad? Just like last year, I planted too much lettuce and greens, but have plenty to share with the neighbors that way. I was also given some asparagus ‘fingers’ that I’m hoping between the 72 degree day and the snow more than the few I’ve chopped into a salad will show.
When the chives come in I always make cauliflower au gratin which matches up with a nice salad and steak or salmon perfectly.
More salads. If you’re a fan of Thai food and have a bunch of fresh herbs this larb from Food and Wine is where it’s at. If you’re around a Trader Joes and they still have them on the shelf, then grab yourself a few cans of the fried jalapeños to toss on top with the peanuts for some spicy crunch.
Time for apricots again. Smitten Kitchen’s breakfast crisp is a seasonal treat and a good excuse to eat some delicious whole fat Greek yogurt along with it. Even if the apricots are a little bitter or under ripe, baked up they generally turn sweet with a great texture.
The said asparagus we have been eating in two other spring standbys. One is a raw salad with some toasted pine nuts and cheese. Check out Salad Days for it and be sure to eat the Napa salad too.
The other is Nom Nom Paleo’s asparagus eggs which is one of the best breakfast dishes I know and only takes about 6 minutes of your morning to make. You don’t really need a recipe to follow for it, but the book is worth it for some of the other recipes.
It’s halibut time again. This one’s an easy ceviche we use to eat when we’d go to Guerrero, Mexico in our past lives. Cut up some halibut (or other firm white fish like sea bass), white onion and jalapeño. Squeeze a bunch of lime all over it and let it sit until it goes opaque white. Regionally it’s served with Ritz crackers and some Buffalo Chipolte sauce. Yum. Make sure to crack a cold crisp beer or make yourself a Margi.
The monster is back. We cut the wisteria back multiple times in the growing season or it would literally lift the roof. I do love it.
Everything is blooming in defiance of the colder than usual weather here in Seattle. I’m all done for the season with my travel teaching and looking forward to spending some time home, especially in the yard in between teaching at the studio.
Of course no post is complete without the puppers. Boss is Boss.
And we took care of the pugs for a couple weeks. Fiona is still the sweetest girl ever.
Franco is just silly, always reminding you he’s hungry by bringing you his bowl.
And we spent some time with Hazel who was quick to put Boss in his place.
I’ve got the quilting done and the binding on the second quilt. Due to the Swedish finish on the floors we’ve had all the windows open to air out the house and it’s nice to have an excuse to cuddle up.
Hope your spring has sprung. Unless I’m on vacation I won’t be writing posts from a hotel lounge, but it is kind of fun. Make sure to be kind to those people taking care of you in your travels, they’re working their tails off.