Tag Archives: jeni baker

Stuck Inside

Poor California. It is a mess. Currently there are ten large fires burning up and down the state with approximately 400,000 acres are involved. It is horrible. Smoke fills the air and ash rains down everywhere. (If you want to see more details, here is a good source of information.) Yesterday and today have been horrible as far as air quality goes. It was a stay-inside-kind-of-weekend. The photo above shows the pasture next door to us and was taken by Julia this afternoon.

Doesn’t take much to guess what I did. Played with fabric, sewed, cooked, and read. It was only logical. What else is there?

Let’s take things in order, shall we? Saturday morning Julia had to be at a meeting at the library for an hour so I had a time to check out a few books. Here is the reading list for the next little while.

IMG_20150912_3812I am already half way through The Distinguished Guest, by Sue Miller. It is an excellent book. Sometimes Sue Miller’s books are a little dark for me but I am really enjoying this one. The two Kaffe Fassett books are solely to drool over. I have finished drooling over his Quilts in the Sun book and yet to begin salivating over Country Garden Quilts. The book by Lee Cleland, Quilting Makes the Quilt, is amazing. The quilting shown in this book is far beyond my skill level but the process she used in creating this (older) book is amazing. In order to show how much the quilting defines the quilt, Cleland, an Australian quilter, decided she would make five sets of twelve traditional quilts, each exactly the same. So, twelve quilts – five of each of them! Sixty quilts in a two year period. It exhausts me to even write about it.  She took each of the quilts and quilted them, one different from the next. It is really helpful in seeing how the different choices of quilting motifs would set off the piecing and secondary patterns on each quilt. She is brilliant. While this book is a great one to thumb through, it is beyond me at this point. She does include the patterns for each of the twelve quilts in the book.  The two cookbooks are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The French Laundry Cookbook, by Thomas Keller, is just for grins. I don’t cook like that and as a result, we don’t eat like that. But it makes a person hungry to thumb through it! However the Light & Healthy Cookbook (from America’s Test Kitchen) is how I cook and eat.  Last night I made the Turkey, Lime and Tequila Chili and it was excellent. Finally, I grabbed the biography of Mary Cassatt because she is one of my favorite impressionist artists. I have seen a number of her paintings at different exhibits and there is a tiny print of one that hangs in my sewing space, making me happy each time I see it. I’m looking forward to reading more about her.

Ok, moving forward. Playing with fabric took some of my time yesterday. I recently ordered some Michael Miller solids to use in the Michael Miller Challenge, sponsored by Modern Quilt Guild. I have a few ideas brewing but luckily this project isn’t due until November so I have some time. At least I have the fabrics ready to go.

IMG_20150913_3816 I ordered the solids from Hawthorne Threads and while I was on their site, I also ordered a scrap bag. I love these. It is an inexpensive way to add a few pieces to the scrap bin (because I really, really don’t have enough scrap.)  Most of the pieces I received are wonderful. Here is a sampling of them (a few have already been cut into so aren’t included here.)

IMG_20150913_3818See that pretty piece of Amy Butler’s, second from the left?  To the right of that is one of Jeni Baker’s prints. They are all lovely and will be used here and there.

I did receive one piece that I know I will not use.  I haven’t ever watched Downton Abbey so I have no affinity for this fabric.

Does it speak to any of you? It has a little Christmas holly on it. The piece measures out at 16″ wide, so just under 1/2 yard. If anyone thinks they would like to use it, leave me a comment and I will happily send it to you. If more than one person asks for it, I will just choose a name randomly. Hope someone can use this so it doesn’t just live sadly on my shelf. Claim it as yours!

Finally, I did accomplish some sewing. Check out these orange Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks.  They will be the orange row for September on my Classic Stitches BOM project. These blocks are so bright – they will add a good splash of color to the quilt. Hoping to finish these up this week.


That is my weekend in a nutshell. A lot of nutshells actually.  This post just got longer and longer!  🙂  Hoping for the air to clear and feeling eternally grateful for the nearly 10,000 firefighters that are battling active fires in California right now.

Linking to Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash which is hosted by Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts this week and to Freemotion by the River.




A quick project

Recently I traveled to Chicago with my daughter, Julia, and my mom.  We went to see my middle son, Kyle. Julia and I had not been to Chicago before but my mom had lived there as a young girl. We had the best time.  Chicago is a gorgeous city.  The architecture is fascinating. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather.  Sunny days with clear blue skies.

Julia was on a mission to see some of the parts of Chicago that were used in the recent movie, “Divergent”. We saw the ferris wheel at Navy Pier (which was used when Tris was climbing it to find the other team’s flag during the game of Capture the Flag played during Dauntless Initiation).

20140525_0900We were only there for four short days.  We packed as much of Chicago into those days as we possibly could.  What a fantastic trip.

When I was getting ready to go on this vacation I decided I needed a different bag for my camera.  The bag that I have is bulky and I didn’t want to take up that much space in my backpack. The day before we left I made a quick drawstring bag to use instead. I used a tutorial by the talented Jeni Baker. Jeni’s tutorial is so clear and easily understood. I chose to add a fusible interfacing to the body of the bag and also quilted some batting to the body as well. I wanted it to be a bit sturdier so the camera would be safely cushioned in the bag. I used some fat quarters that I have had from a Henry Glass collection designed by Jill Finley,  “Beyond the Gate”. The bag came together in short order and was perfect for the trip.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart, Free Motion by the River, Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation. Linking to Amanda Jean at CrazyMomQuilts!!

drawstring bag 2

Birthday Quilts

Around December of last year I was (like most of you) planning some quilting goals for the upcoming new year. I wanted to be sure that I made some progress and improved my skills this year.  How better than by making quilts!? My thought was that I would make birthday quilts for three certain woman. I have three sons and each one has a significant other.  One has been married four years now.  The middle son has been partnered with his girlfriend for almost four years. My youngest son has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for about seven years now (since they were 15 or 16 years old!)  These women are such a part of our family and I thought it would be fun to make each of them a quilt for their birthday.

The first birthday, Kelly’s, was in mid-January. I started to work on hers just before Christmas.  Because I had such a short timeframe, I chose a simple pattern.  I used a stash fat quarters from Jeni Baker’s Color Me Retro line. I loved this fabric and thought it suited Kelly perfectly.  After consulting with my son, he agreed! (I won this fabric from a giveaway at Diaryofaquilter.com quite a while back.  It was the first giveaway I had EVER entered and I couldn’t believe it when I got an email from Amy Smart that I won.  Of course I have entered a billion giveaways since then and never won again! But this was quite a prize.) For the pattern I chose to use “Tifton Tiles”. It was a tutorial at SewLuxFabric.com. I didn’t follow it exactly but the tutorial was really helpful in that it provided the basic measurements that I needed for the piecing.  I added white sashing between the rows to add a bit of definition to the quilt. I think the quilt turned out very pretty.  I made a pieced backing, which I love to do – it adds character to the quilt. I quilted it with an argyle, or cross hatch, pattern of straight lines. I think this was the first larger project on which I used straight line quilting.  I was so thrilled when I happened upon Jacquie Gehring’s tutorial that talks about using painter’s tape for your guide.  It changed my world – no more trying to draw lines or eyeball it and being so disappointed with the result! If you haven’t tried this, give it a go.  It is a fantastic method.

Here is the front:


Here is the back.20140115_0579


And a close up of the argyle quilting pattern.



The second birthday was slated for the end of February.  Once I finished Kelly’s I had to get right to work on Naomi’s (my daughter-in-law.)  I wanted to try making a quilt with solids.  I hadn’t done this yet.  Working with Andrew, I chose Naomi’s color palette.  Once I picked the colors I wanted, I decided it did need one print to add some interest.  I can’t remember what line the piece was from.

I used a tutorial for a braided, striped pattern at www.anneandwill.com. I love the end result that I got but this was tough for me. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have difficulty with spatial relationships and when I was working on this quilt this whole issue reared its ugly head. The premise of the tutorial is that you keep building the quilt by adding rows at an angle and making each successive strip long enough to be able to cut a square perimeter when you are finished. Here is a picture of the quilt top before I squared it off for making the quilt sandwich. (My devoted husband is there in the corner – he is a great help with things like squaring the quilt tops. In this shot I think he was distracted by something on tv! Really, he is so good about helping with this process. 🙂



You can probably see that I cut the bottom strips way too long. I just can’t always visualize this stuff – so I had a lot of waste with this quilt.  No, not waste – usable scraps!! I used a great deal of it when piecing the back.

Here is the  (finished) front:



I quilted this one with straight line quilting echoing the V in each stripe.  Again, I used Jacquie’s painters tape method.  So much easier! I used a gray thread which blended well with each stripe. I love that about the color gray – it sort of mimics the color of the fabric that I quilt with it.

And, finally, the back:

20140220_0606The sun wasn’t in the best position for this picture so you can sort of see through the backing.

Once I washed this it softened and became beautifully crinkled.  I wanted to wash it (using Color Catchers) to be sure the vibrant colors wouldn’t run.

So, two of the three birthday quilts are finished.  I am not going to post anything about the third quilt as I have yet to give it to the recipient.  (Actually I have yet to make it!  I cut the pieces this week though so I am ready to start it.) It will be ready for a certain someone’s July birthday!!

Linking up with Kelly’s Needle and Thread Thursday at www.myquiltinfatuation.com. Also over at TGIFF.

Also linking up with Amanda Jean at CrazyMomQuilts.com.