Back to School Crafts on creativeLIVE! August 6, 2014

It’s been a busy summer of birthdays, trips, camp, popsicle-making, cocktail-mixing, gardening, breaking up LEGO battles between small children playing with LEGOs, and reading (I’m nearly through Team of Rivals and sad to see the end approaching). And after lots of pattern math and secret sewing, I’m very excited for my new Back to School Crafts workshop on creativeLIVE! We still have nearly a month before Pearl starts first grade (!) and Everett is officially in big-kid preschool, but it’s been nice to get a head start on making them some special things. Shopping for colorful oilcloth, pretty fabrics, and super cool printable fabric at Fabric Depot has been great, and I’m really looking forward to teaching these fun projects next week…back to school crafts on creativeLIVE

My workshops are totally free to watch, and airs Monday and Tuesday 8/11 and 12 from 9 to 4 Pacific time. Please RSVP here to get all the details, or leave a comment on this post with any questions you might have!

In the two days of class, we’ll make appliqued t-shirts,

Easter t-shirts - West Coast Craftyrainbow backpacks, skirts,

skirts for Back to School Crafts on creativeLIVE

capes, lunch totes,

Back to School Crafts lunch totecloth napkins,

cloth napkins for Back to School Crafts on creativeLIVEart totes, and oilcloth homework folders!

art tote for CreativeLIVE Back to School CraftsI hope you’ll check it out and make some things with me! I love that the class doesn’t cost anything to take, so you can watch it live the whole way through, or dip in when you have time during the day. You’ll be able to buy it later, but it’s totally free to see it when it premieres – which I think is so cool.

Happy end of the summer, and happy crafting!

Sew Mama Sew giveaway day – my log cabin quilting class + YOUR favorite supplies! May 12, 2014

I’m super excited to join the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day this year – I’ve put together a crafty package with a 3-month Creativebug subscription (so the winner can take my Log Cabin Quilting class any time, plus any others that catch your eye!), plus you can pick out some of my fabric and supplies to get you started on your favorite of the four projects from the class series! If you already have a subscription, this will add on three more free months, and I’m happy to ship fabric and supplies internationally too. So far, I’ve chatted with students in the US, Australia, Brazil and the UK who are sharing their work and it’s been so fun to see these pretty log cabin pillows from all around the world! Here are my projects from the four classes…

Log Cabin Quilting on Creativebug

This first week’s class, the square within a square pillows, has been awesome. I have LOVED seeing people’s projects over in the Log Cabin Quilting class Facebook group (feel free to join up) and on Instagram (just look up #cbuglogcabin!). I wanted to share a few more fun things before tomorrow’s class, the baby quilt, launches to add a whole new long-form workshop!

a whole bunch of log cabin pillows

I wrote a guest post for Sew Mama Sew this weekend about designing blocks with the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool, and also shared a bit about my sketchbook (where I keep the math, sketches, and fabric swatches for all my many, many rough drafts when I’m working on a new project) – in other words, LOTS of pillows. From changing fabrics and colors to widths and layouts, there are so many ways to make a patchwork project your own!

anna maria horner log cabin pillows for creativebug

I’d love to share one more spin-off project today, which is a favorite of my daughter Pearl’s in particular: a rectangular version of my pillow, mixing two lovely favorite prints by Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross! I fussy-cut a rose from Anna Maria’s Hand-Drawn Garden collection, and framed it with a sweet little print from Heather Ross’s Briar Rose line (which you’ll see lots more of in tomorrow’s baby quilt class).


Here’s my sketchbook page reflecting the final version – I went through a few variations before landing on this block arrangement, including mixing in some darker green Denyse Schmidt from Florence that picked up the roses’ stems and leaves, but I really like the ultra-simple back-and-forth I ended up with after editing the dark fabric back out. I did a little machine-quilting around each of the tiers, and then hand-quilted it too, echoing those simple lines, using soft golden brown and light pink shades of Anna Maria’s lovely Anchor pearl cotton.

For those in Portland: Heather Ross will be at Powell’s Books tonight, signing her new (wonderful) book!

Log Cabin Quilting with Susan Beal - Creativebug

To enter my giveaway: Just leave a comment here telling me your favorite log cabin quilt or project – one you’ve made or seen, or one you really want to make, and I’ll draw a winner on May 16. I’ll set you up with a 3-month Creativebug subscription (which includes unlimited classes for you to take!) and put together a custom fabric and supplies package for you to sew with, based on your favorite Log Cabin Quilting class project, and the colors and patterns you love. Hope to see you in one of my classes soon, and happy quilting! Thanks, Sew Mama Sew!

my new creativebug classes – log cabin quilting! April 30, 2014

I’m so excited to share my new Log Cabin Quilting class series with Creativebug today! I filmed four hour-long workshops in at their San Francisco studio in February, they came up to Portland to visit me a couple of weeks ago and we filmed some more fun things for the class trailer, and now the first class goes live next Tuesday, May 6 (my Pearl’s 6th birthday!). Yay!

Log Cabin Quilting with Susan Beal - Creativebug

Creativebug also filmed me and my friends Nancy, Heather, and Michelle here in Portland, visiting some of our favorite places – Cool Cottons, Modern Domestic, and the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. I think the trailer they made (which has lots of Everett in it too!) really gives a sense of what you’ll learn in the classes, and how fun it is to sew simple, meaningful quilts and patchwork projects. Beautiful things that you’ll use every day in your house, or give as gifts, or just enjoy with your family.

The first class teaches the very first patchwork project I ever made – Square Within A Square Pillows! It’s super beginner-friendly, all straight-line cutting and sewing, and easy clockwise piecing, but you can make it your own with your favorite fabric and color choices, changing the width and arrangement of the log squares, and how you choose to quilt it. This is the “hero” pillow that I sewed start to finish for the class – pretty assorted Denyse Schmidt prints in blue, framed in serene squares of her new Free Spirit Modern Solids (lovely to sew with!) in white. I quilted it very simply, stitching concentric squares in white to reinforce and highlight the geometric piecing design.

Pillow (1)

One of the most fun things about the classes, and log cabin quilting in general, is how easy it is to customize your quilts and patchwork projects in so many different ways. So for every class, I got to include a few variations on the main project – here are two more pillows I made with different Denyse Schmidt prints from Florence paired with more of her Modern Solids in green and blue. I made a few little tweaks here and there and changed size, width, and arrangement of the squares, for a nice set of pillow “cousins.”

Pillow (2)

I’ll share lots more of my pillows and single-block spin-off ideas on Tuesday when the class launches!

The second class, which will begin May 13, takes that same simple log cabin block and brings it back to its traditional “sunshine and shadow” arrangement around a center square, making a beautifully off-center Barn Raising baby quilt. I used Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Canary and Fog, mixing in some pops of color here and there with two of Heather Ross’ Briar Rose prints. I just love how this quilt turned out – the beautiful honeycomb/hexagon quilting is by Nancy Stovall.

Susan Beal - Log Cabin Quilting on Creativebug

This class also covers some of my favorite bits of log cabin quilting history and lots of block settings to try – you can rotate and rearrange those finished blocks into wonderfully different overall arrangements with a ton of graphic pop. I really love changing blocks around to see how they relate to each other. You have so much design freedom in log cabin, right up until you start sewing rows together.

The third class, which starts May 20, takes my all-time favorite log cabin block – my Modern Crosses – and streamlines it even further from the full-size quilt project I designed for Modern Log Cabin Quilting

Modern Crosses - Susan Beal

to a simple, beautiful table runner and trivet set with a slightly larger scale and setting. For this project I used all Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander – I LOVE her cross-hatch print in different colors and the beautifully imperfect lines inspired my organic straight-line quilting. This is such a quick and satisfying block to sew, whether you dip into jelly rolls or roll-ups from a single collection like I did, or just cut from yardage or favorite scraps.

Susan Beal - Log Cabin Quilting on Creativebug

The fourth and last class, which starts May 27, takes all the log cabin piecing and design rules you’ve learned and spins them around for a completely different feel. You’ll make one huge block, building outward at sharp angles instead of straight lines, and mixing distinctive prints and solids any way you like best, then cut the whole thing up into quarters that become the sides of a wonky tote bag, top-stitching for a polished finish. Lining your bag with a beautiful print (this tote bag pairs Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Luna and Fog with gorgeous mid-century prints from their Jug or Not? line) is another chance to use color and pattern!

Susan Beal - Log Cabin Quilting on Creativebug

Each class will include a free live chat at 11 am Pacific on the Thursday after it goes live – I’d LOVE to see what you make or answer any other questions you might have about log cabin quilting! Check out the class page for lots more about the projects, the classes, the live chats, and all the other wonderful workshops on Creativebug. A monthly subscription is only $9.95, which gives you unlimited access to classes! I loved taking Lisa Congdon’s drawing workshops, and I have Cal Patch’s pattern-making classes stashed for when I have time for fun sewing again.

I’ll be doing a Cbug subscription giveaway here on May 6 to celebrate the class launch, and I’m so excited that Erin of House on Hill Road started things off today with a post about her beautiful Denyse Schmidt pillow – and a 3-month subscription giveaway in time to jump in and sew first thing Tuesday! Enter with a comment on her blog post between now and Sunday.

Erin's pillow - Log Cabin Quilting on Creativebug

Happy sewing!!! See you next week!

make it: asterisk sunglasses case! April 24, 2014

plastic canvas blog hopI share a big love of plastic canvas with Diane, and I was so excited to join her 2014 Plastic Canvas Blog Hop with a project of my own – the Asterisk Sunglasses Case! You can find all the fantastic tutorials listed at the end of this post, or of course visit her blog for TONS more details on this magical craft supply.

I’ve used plastic canvas in all kinds of projects, but this was my first needlepoint project with yarn. I had to go with aqua and orange – a favorite mid-century-inspired color combination for sure, that felt just right with these striking atomic asterisks to cover a super-simple sunglasses case.

asterisk sunglasses case yay

This project couldn’t be easier to whip up – please read on for all the details! You’ll need yarn in two (or more) colors, a yarn needle, scissors, needle threader, and two pieces of PC that measure comfortably larger than your sunglasses.

asterisk sunglasses case 1

For my aviator sunglasses, that came out to 6 1/2” long by 3 3/4” wide (times two of course). Fill each of these two case sides with the stitch of your choice, leaving the perimeter open and unstitched – I did a simple allover tent stitch for a smooth background, but you can use one of Pam’s lovely stitches for a more exciting design!

asterisk sunglasses case 2

I carried this project around for a week and stitched whenever I had a few free minutes. I took an all-day class on building your own ADU (accessory dwelling unit, a small apartment) last weekend – this was needlepoint progress gold!

asterisk sunglasses case 3

Here’s a close-up of the corner so you can see the un-stitched rim.

asterisk sunglasses case 5

I caught and stitched my ends at the back of the stitching just as Diane did, securing them into the next row of tent stitches.

asterisk sunglasses case 6

Once you’ve covered both sides of the case with your base layer, you can embellish with a straight stitch design of your choice. I free-stitched groups of asterisks ranging from 4 stitches across (the teeny one below, about 1/2”)

asterisk sunglasses case 7

to 12 stitches across (the largest one on the opposite side, below – about 2”).asterisk sunglasses case 8

I like simplicity, negative space, and asymmetry, but you could do a symmetrical or larger pattern, of course. I didn’t match my sides exactly but I like how they relate to each other…

asterisk sunglasses case 9

Now you’ll stitch each of your top edges with a simple overhand stitch. Once you finish the second one, use that same working yarn to begin sewing the two sides together, wrong sides facing, in the same tent/overhand stitch pattern. Stitch each of the grid blocks twice for a secure bond – no plastic canvas should show here, and I stitch 4 stitches at each corner for double security.

asterisk sunglasses case 10

The finished case is perfect for my sunglasses!

asterisk sunglasses case 11

asterisk sunglasses case yay

I wanted to share a couple of other plastic canvas projects I love. I made this Sparkle Cocktail Brooch (and a few others) by wiring beads, crystals and buttons onto PC rounds for Bead Simple, and I used a nice big piece of PC to reinforce the base of this Beach Tote in Sewing for all Seasons – it’s a miracle crafting substance, truly!

plastic canvas tote bag and brooch

And here are my Austin souvenirs from Quiltcon* last year! Diane got one of the LOVE cups, naturally, and I love, love, love my Texas sunglasses case.

Austin souvenirs

Find all the other wonderful Plastic Canvas Blog Hop tutorials here!

Keys to a Successful Quilt Show Webinar PS – Speaking of Quiltcon, I’m so excited to be part of the Keys to a Successful Quilt Show webinar this coming Wednesday, April 30! It’s free to all MQG members. Get lots more info and register here!

Easter pretties April 16, 2014

I really love making special things like dresses, bunnies, baskets, felt eggs, and skirts for Easter, so yesterday afternoon Pearl and I spent a little time after school making what I call Easter pretties! She calls these little scenes “prerrariums,” for “pretty terrariums,” which I thought was pretty awesome too. This is a super fast and very kid-friendly project, totally customizable to use whatever kinds of spring decorations and fancies you like best, and any bowls, jars, or baskets you have handy.

Easter pretties - West Coast Crafty

The idea first popped into my head when I saw these boxes of Easter chicks at New Seasons – I’ve always loved these little guys. I got a tiny set and a bigger set for us to play with.

pretties - West Coast Crafty

My Aunt Susan gave me these pretty ice cream pedestal bowls years ago, which worked perfectly for our little scenes. You can use whatever bowls, saucers, baskets, or jars you have handy. This project is kind of a kid and pet magnet, so I wouldn’t use heirloom china teacups or anything too precious – sturdy pieces are ideal. And of course keep small, tempting treasures like beads and buttons well out of young children’s reach.

pretties - West Coast Crafty

I pulled some of my favorite vintage beads and some pretty acrylic flowers from Fire Mountain Gems to add to our little scenes.

pretties - West Coast Crafty

I filled both of our pedestal bowls about halfway with white sand (left over from my Ice Planet Hoth terrarium from World of Geekcraft – pebbles or fluffy batting would work as a base layer, too). We each chose a few chicks and settled them into the sand so they stood in a nice arrangement to build around. Then I let her have first pick of beads, flowers, and baubles to add to the scene. I finished mine in just a couple of minutes – a big chick surrounded by two little baby ones and some colorful beads around a flower.

pretties - West Coast Crafty

Pearl arranged and rearranged hers for a lot longer, and her chick ended up with an adorable semicircle of five babies, as well as some fancy flowers. The nicest part of this project is that you can endlessly change it around, nothing is set… so if you find new things to add or want to switch it up, it’s effortless.

Easter pretties - West Coast Crafty

Then, after Easter, we can take them apart, pour the sand back into a bag, and save everything for next year’s decorations! For now, they are just out of Everett’s easy reach, on my dining room hutch with some of our favorite things.

pretties - West Coast Crafty

I’m planning to make them some new Easter shirts like the initial ones I appliqued last year, which were a big hit. I also got mystery LEGO minifigs and Playmobil characters for their Easter baskets, and some of those cool black velvet posters that come with a set of markers, and one big amazing LEGO thing to share that I think they are going to be so excited for. Three and five are keeping me busy, but it’s so fun to come up with big-kid surprises like these…

t-shirts - West Coast Crafty

I hope you are having a lovely spring so far! Mine has been a bit too crazy, honestly, but I’m happy to be making some little projects for fun again, and I have a few more things I’m excited to share soon too. Happy spring!

welcome to Portland! February 5, 2014

The wonderful MQG SewDown Portland weekend is coming right up, so I wanted to share some of my favorite places for fabric, coffee, drinks, and everything else that makes the local crafty world go around. To make this little guide extra-easy to use, I added transit and parking info where it might be helpful for visitors, and divided it up into Downtown, Southeast, and Northeast Portland. Check out the Portland Modern Quilt Guild blog for lots more info, including any events our guild has planned!



The SewDown is happening right downtown at The Nines hotel, which couldn’t be more convenient to all things Tri-Met – our local bus, streetcar and light-rail lines. If you want to plan a trip after the weekend events are over, check out the Tri-Met site (or get their official app or my favorite, PDX Bus, for your phone – both are free). Adult fares are $2.50 for a 2-hour ticket or $5 for an all-day pass. Parking downtown is nearly all metered spaces from 1 to 5 hours, with single credit card or coin meters located mid-block – put in your payment and you get a time slip to tuck inside the curbside window. SmartPark garages are usually the easiest way to go if you want an indefinite space. And Radio Cab is at 503-227-1212.


Powell’s Books (1005 W. Burnside St.) is heavenly. The Orange Room has thousands and thousands of craft books on just about every subject, new and used, and you can pick up the best free map of Portland I’ve seen at any register. On the Burnside-20 bus line.

Find coffee and snacks in their own coffee shop or at Courier Coffee (923 Oak St., a block from Powell’s) and lots of good lunch options at the huge food cart pod centered just south of there, around SW 10th and Alder. My favorites are Nong’s Khao Man Gai for chicken and rice, and the Dump Truck for homemade dumplings. The carts are also right by the lovely Crafty Wonderland shop (808 SW 10th Ave.) and the huge Central Library (801 SW 10th Ave.), which is a beautiful visit. Walk or take the streetcar to these spots!

For drinks, I love the Driftwood Room (729 SW 15th Ave in the Hotel Deluxe, 15-NW 23rd bus line). Or try the free Cocktail Compass app on your phone to pinpoint all the happy hours near you.


cool cottons

Cool Cottons is an awesome fabric store in a beautiful old house, organized by color! It is a joy to walk inside and see the rainbow of bolts all around the store. Marie is running a great February promotion with Bolt (see the Northeast section below) – spend $25 in either store and you automatically get a 15% off coupon to use at the other one! Easy street parking or 14-Hawthorne bus line.

Nearby is the wonderful Happy Knits for yarn (1620 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) and Grand Central Bakery (2230 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) and Jam (2239 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) for coffee, breakfast or lunch, plus Hot Lips (2211 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) for pizza, beer, and homemade sodas.


Further out and well worth the trip are the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, which sells their beautiful wool fabric as scraps by the pound and as yardage (8500 SE McLoughlin Blvd.) and Mill End Store, which carries many specialty fabrics and has a sale annex room (9701 SE McLoughlin Blvd.) – both have large parking lots and are on the 33-McLoughlin bus line.

And another outer Southeast treasure is Fabric Depot (700 SE 122nd Ave.), a huge store (over an acre!) which carries 20,000 fabrics and pretty much anything else you ever dreamed of in the sewing universe. And PNW all-time favorite Burgerville (429 SE 122nd Ave.) is just two crosswalks away for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Take the MAX Blue Line from downtown over here, or park in the huge store lot.



Alberta St. has amazing fabric and craft shops – head north by car, taxi, or bus to visit them all! Modern Domestic (1408 NE Alberta St.) sells Bernina machines, lovely fabrics, notions, patterns, and all kinds of sewing delights. Collage (1639 NE Alberta St.) is across the street and up a block or so, which carries all kinds of art supplies and ephemera – an amazing store. Nearby is Tin Shed (1438 NE Alberta St.) for lots of coffee, food, or cocktails. Find street parking on Alberta or side streets, or the 8-NE 15th or 72-Killingsworth bus lines.

bolt fabrics

Just up the street is Bolt (2136 NE Alberta St.), which sells beautiful, unusual fabrics including apparel knits, silks, and home dec weights (and is having a great sale in partnership with Cool Cottons as I mentioned above!). Next door is lovely Close Knit (2140 NE Alberta St.) for yarn and knitting supplies. They’re right by Pine State Biscuits (2204 NE Alberta St.) for delicious food, coffee, and cocktails, and Salt & Straw (2035 NE Alberta St.) for awesome ice cream, and a little ways down from La Sirenita (2817 NE Alberta St.) for burritos and tacos. Street parking or the 72-Killingsworth bus.


Hope you enjoy your visit and please let me know if you have any other questions, favorites to add, or updated info to share! Happy sewing (and shopping, and eating ice cream, and drinking coffee)…

2013 crafts + happy 2014! January 9, 2014

Happy new year (well, second week of the new year, anyway)! I hope 2014 has been good to you so far. Ours has been busy, and full of house projects which feels really good. Whether it’s the new year, that I’m about to have a birthday, or that I’m finally better after my ankle injury this summer, I thought about what I really wanted to do, made a whole bunch of lists, and I’m super motivated. There have been a lot of boxes to sort, things to give away, and fabrics to fold, but some good rewards along the way, too – I finally got to hang my new calendar in my sewing room (which I made all the way back in 2012 for Sewing for all Seasons, thanks to Amy‘s advance design awesomeness).

new year's calendar

I also put together a collage of some things I made last year, which was fun to look back over – it was a little bit of a whirlwind, but some instant favorites of everything I sewed were the seven Barcelona skirts, eight zip pouches, and nine infinity scarves, along with little-girl skirts, improvised backpack appliques, and a tooth fairy pillow. Another 2014 resolution: make more things for Everett! I am on the lookout for a good kids’ pants pattern, and anything I can sew or craft that has to do with LEGOs. He loved the backyard teepee and the clothespin dolls as much as Pearl did, but it will be great to make some more stuff just for him.

2013 crafts!

This year I hope to make more beautiful things, write up more tutorials, and share more photos (here and on instagram). Thank you to everyone who stops by – I hope you are having a wonderful January!

Seattle this weekend! December 3, 2013

I’m very excited to head up to beautiful Seattle this weekend for two Sewing for all Seasons events on Saturday – a 1:00 signing at Urban Craft Uprising and a 4:00 trunk show and event at the Quilting Loft! I hope to see you at one of them if you can make it.


Kristen kindly invited me to come up to UCU and I am so happy to visit her fantastic show again. I’ll be signing copies of Sewing for all Seasons from 1:00-2:00, and will have lots of the projects to show, and of course free coffee-cup cozy kits to go with books!


Here’s lots more info about the hourly signings – there are some lovely books to snap up while you shop with all the vendors. (Don’t miss Kristen’s great new book and kit, Wizard of Oz Crochet!)

sewing for all seasons coffee cup cozy kits

Then, from 4:00-5:00, I’m doing a trunk show at the Quilting Loft and showing lots of the book projects, including the quilts! Angie is generously offering a discount on the book to anyone shopping and I’ll have kits to go with each one. Amy Peppler Adams of Penny Candy Handmade, who designed the wonderful 2014 calendar I used in the book, will be stopping by too, and in honor of getting to meet her in person after two years of working on fun projects together, I’ll be drawing names for the winner of a New Year’s Calendar kit with everything you need to sew your own!

penny candy calendar

If you go:

Sewing for all Seasons book events, Saturday, December 7!

Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 321 Mercer St, Seattle, Washington

2622 NW Market St, Seattle, Washington

Hope to see you there!

improv November 5, 2013

Hello again after a whirlwind couple of weeks! The short version of my late October was: Sewing for all Seasons release (yay), MRI rapidly followed by the surprise of a missed fractured tibia, dating back from my fall in August (not yay), new walking cast, flying to New York for the first time in almost six years, lovely book party in Brooklyn (yay), photo shoot in Connecticut (yay), getting home in time for Halloween (yay)… and then really feeling completely, completely exhausted with my bone fracture aching (not yay). I’ve never broken a bone before (and for sure never walked around on an undiagnosed fracture for more than two months) and it has really worn me down. So for now, instead of book news this, or new craft project that, I would love to share something unexpected and beautiful that gave me a lot of joy when I really needed it… a gift I really could not have imagined.

PMQG improv quilt

Yesterday morning was one of the tougher ones and I was feeling unhappy, tired, and stressed, with an aching leg and ankle and a ton of work on my plate. My friend Elsa asked if she could bring something over for me, and I was feeling so low, I almost said, how about another day? How thankful I am that I didn’t. She knocked on the door… and gave me this quilt.

PMQG improv quilt

Last year, when I was PMQG president, we made three collective quilts (Graphic, Improv, and Linear) with blocks from a Michael Miller Cotton Couture challenge, and raffled two off at our holiday meeting in December to raise money for charity. Elsa won this one (Improv!) ten months ago. And this week she generously, unexpectedly decided to give it to me. I was just so stunned and incredulous I don’t even know what came out of my mouth besides thank you, but there were plenty of tears. It is just so beautiful and means so much to me – our guild members made 47 of these blocks

some of the beautiful Cotton Couture blocks

and the 2012 board (me, Heather, Petra, Ale, and Nancy) curated them into three 16-block collections for quilts – improv-piecing one more block on the fly to make it an even 48 – and made the quilt tops, pieced backs that went with each, Nancy quilted all three of them beautifully, and then we bound them. Among a few other lovely places, Graphic (the most geometric blocks) showed at 2012 Quilt Market, Improv (blocks that we thought felt most improvisationally pieced and open to interpretation) at Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, and Linear (blocks with clean lines and straight edges) at NW Quilting Expo. One is still owned by our guild (Graphic) and two (Improv and Linear) were raffled off to raise money for charity, won by Elsa and Juline, respectively, and now I can’t believe that one of those precious quilts is mine. I loved them all so much (and bought a bunch of the charity raffle tickets!) but just never even dreamed that things could unfold this way, and that the gift Elsa wanted to bring me was this beautiful quilt she’d won.

PMQG improv quilt back

I recently made a new will, after this important and somber reminder for writers that Susanne thoughtfully shared, and I’m now updating it to also leave this beautiful quilt to the International Quilt Study Center. PMQG hosted our second Documentation Day on Saturday, which was really wonderful, and I was able to share a lot more of the story of Graphic (which we think is the first full-size modern quilt formally documented for the Quilt Index!), and I will be doing the same for Improv – thanks to Bill‘s leadership in helping us to document them. I am thankful for the incredible chance to own this beautiful community-made quilt, and just as happy for the chance to share its story more fully, for the people I know will enjoy seeing it a hundred years from now. Thank you, Elsa, both for thinking of me when I needed it most, and allowing me to be a link in the chain of quilt history that connects us all.

Improv PMQG quilt

book party at Brooklyn Craft Company! October 23, 2013

I’m super excited to visit New York for the first time in five years this week – and so happy that Brett Bara is hosting a book party for me at her beautiful new craft space, Brooklyn Craft Company, on Saturday morning!

Sewing for all Seasons party invite!

We will be doing a Holiday Garlands project from Sewing for all Seasons, using a fabulous brand-new Accu-Quilt Go! Cutter (yay) and some of my favorite fabrics! You can buy a signed copy of the book (which will come with a bonus coffee cozy kit) and we’ll be serving coffee, donuts, and mimosas, too. The party is completely free and you don’t need to RSVP, just please come by Brooklyn Craft Company to have some coffee and make garlands with us!

Holiday Garlands from Sewing for all Seasons!

Brett is lovely (you may know her wonderful book, Sewing in a Straight Line, which is one of my favorites) and I was so honored that she and Denyse Schmidt wrote such kind words for the back cover of Sewing for all Seasons.

Brett Bara and Denyse Schmidt's quotes about my book!

And speaking of Chronicle, they kindly asked me to be their Guest Instagrammer this week and post photos to their feed of all my favorite fall things.

I'm the Guest Instagrammer for Chronicle Books!

Guinevere posted a very nice interview with me on their blog yesterday, and you can see my pictures at @chroniclebooks all week. This is my favorite one – how could it not be?

Mt. Hood Organic Farms for Chronicle Books

This is Mt. Hood Organic Farms outside of Parkdale, south of Hood River – go buy the best apples you’ve ever had in your life and then hang out for a picnic in their meadow with this incredible view. That was our afternoon on Saturday, and it was just awesome. My week has certainly contained some less photogenic moments but I was grateful for this one!

picnic string quilt block tutorial! October 18, 2013

I’m so happy that my Picnic String Quilt Block is the PMQG charity block of the month for October and I’ve shared the tutorial here! See below for more details on the finished Picnic Quilt from my book, Sewing for all Seasons.

Sewing for all Seasons picnic string block!

Here’s how to make this quick, simple and very scrap-friendly block, using foundation piecing on muslin. I miniaturized my original larger Picnic Quilt block to 6.5″ for this version, so it finishes at 12.5″ as a four-block diamond.

Sewing for all Seasons picnic string block!

I used all scraps in happy, summery colors for this version of my block, including some favorites from Monica‘s and Rashida‘s collections.

Picnic String Block:

To begin, cut muslin squares the size of your blocks (for this version, cut four squares that are each 6.5″ square). Choose a large selection of fabric scraps and strips in whatever colors you like best. Begin by pinning a strip diagonally and right side up across your square of muslin, so that the ends extend past the corners (A) and then align a second strip overlapping it, right side down (B). Stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press. Continue adding more fabric strips on both sides of the original diagonal strip, pressing as you go (C) until you have filled your block with strips (D). Feel free to vary the strips’ widths, patterns, colors, and placement as you like – a random draw is a great approach to string quilting!

fig. 28 resized

These illustrations by Alexis Hartman are courtesy of Chronicle Books, from Sewing for all Seasons, and used with permission

Now press your block again and turn it over so you see the muslin back (E). Using a rotary cutter and quilt ruler, neatly trim your fabric ends away so your block is square and the sides are straight (F). Create three more blocks the same way and postition the four blocks as a diamond (G), arranging them so that you have a nice mix of color, pattern, and strip widths. Join the first two blocks together with a 1/4″ seam allowance and press, repeat with the other two, and then join these pairs together for a four-block diamond!

Sewing for all Seasons picnic quilt

Here is my original Picnic Quilt from Sewing for all Seasons – you can find the full, detailed instructions for it in the Summer chapter of my book. My deepest thanks to Petra, Heather, Brittany and Rachel for their help in piecing the last two dozen blocks at a super fun impromptu quilting bee at my house, and to Nancy for quilting it!

sewing for all seasons release day + giveaways!

This week was the official release of my new book, Sewing for all Seasons! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind* but I’m super excited to have my book out in the world. You can now find it at Chronicle, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Modern Domestic, and get signed copies at Powell’s!

Sewing For All Seasons front cover!

So I wanted to celebrate with some book giveaways spotlighting three of my favorite autumn and winter sewing projects, and I would love to send you one of these three prize packages!

Sewing for all Seasons prize packages.jpg

Coffee-Cup Cozy

My daily essential is the simple little coffee-cup cozy I sewed myself last year. I drink a lot of coffee, and I use it pretty much every time I leave the house.

Sewing for all Seasons coffee cozy prize

So I paired a signed copy of Sewing for all Seasons with one of the little kits I made up with everything you need to sew your own version of the cup cozy, and a bag of Stumptown Hair Bender (my personal favorite, especially since Michelle reminded me it was named after the barber shop in the space that their very first coffee roastery moved into fourteen years ago). I bought it at the newest outpost in the empire, Roman Candle, the other morning… Portland 2.0 full circle for sure.

Mason Jar Cozies

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Amy of Penny Candy Handmade‘s beautiful work and I’m so excited to share something brand-new we teamed up on!

Sewing for all Seasons hot cocoa recipe

I love to make hot cocoa mix and give a jar of it as a hostess or holiday present, so I was hoping to share the recipe on the page with my Mason Jar Cozies project, as a fun little extra. There wasn’t room for it in the final book design after all, so I saved it to offer up as a free bonus over here! You can download a beautiful one-page printable Sewing for all Seasons Cocoa Recipe Amy designed with the recipe and three pretty tags to label your jars – it’s on the right in the sidebar too! This prize includes a signed copy of my book, two of my favorite Denyse Schmidt and Carolyn Friedlander prints to sew a whole set of cozies, and of course a copy of the hot cocoa recipe and tags.

hot cocoa recipe prize.jpg

New Year’s Calendar

I love my tea-towel calendars and I’m so happy to give away this prize to make your own version for 2014!

Sewing for all Seasons calendar prize

I paired a signed copy of my book with a FQ of Amy’s wonderful calendar, a Martha Negley trees print, and buttons to sew over your family birthdays. This is another everyday favorite of mine… I love sewing projects that are quick, fun, and useful, and this one makes me happy every time I look at it. I hope you like it, too.

To enter: please leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite season, and something you like to make that time of year. It doesn’t have to be sewing, cooking, crafts or any other kind of project is great! I will draw three winners on Friday, October 25 – US and Canada mailing addresses only, please, but I promise I’ll do an international giveaway soon too.

A few more book things to share…

Apartment Therapy best books

Janel of Apartment Therapy wrote such a wonderful review of the book this week. I was so thrilled to see it! And she picked the amazing photo of the cat with Michelle‘s slippers to spotlight. Awesome.

Diane of Craftypod posted a great and thoughtful review of the book with lots of page snaps, so check that out for more photos, too!

And Amy of Penny Candy Handmade wrote the sweetest post about our collaboration on this wonderful calendar project. She was kind enough to update the awesome 2012 calendar I bought originally two years before the dates were right, and send me gorgeous 2014 fabric to sew with (as a bonus, I found out my 40th birthday will be on a Saturday!). Thank you, Amy!

Sewing for all Seasons Powell's signing

More to come soon but I can’t wait to hear about your favorite things to sew or make all year round. Thank you to everyone who came to Powell’s last weekend (thanks to Kevin for snapping the photo of me above) or Modern Domestic the week before, and to all the friends and strangers alike who have had nice things to say about my new book. I am so grateful! I’m about to head out to teach a mini-version of my Picnic Quilt string block at tonight’s PMQG meeting so keep an eye out for that tutorial going up soon too!

Sewing for all Seasons picnic quilt

*As anyone who’s visited before will probably notice, I just switched from my basic WordPress template of seven years (and counting) to a brand-new blog with all my book sites in one pretty place, courtesy of Alyssa. We are still adding some things here and there but I’m so excited to have this fresh new site instead of six scattered small ones. I will be sharing lots of new tutorials, like the picnic string block, and posting some other bonuses over the next few weeks so please stay tuned for that, too!