Monthly Archives: September 2015

Facing West Quilt

I finally finished my first quilt from Carolyn Friedlander’s great book, Savor Each Stitch.  This one is technically called “Facing East,” but my yard faces West, so we’ll go with Facing West.  This one is a present for my parents on their fortieth wedding anniversary.  I’m so proud of them for still having a strong marriage after so many years!

I loved making this quilt, and I’m delighted with the finished product.  It was fun and challenging, but not too challenging.  It was my first attempt at paper-piecing and my first real attempt at hand applique, and I enjoyed both.


I used quite a variety of neutral fabrics for this quilt.

Various neutrals from Architextures, Botanics and Doe by Carolyn Friedlander

Net in Beige by Dear Stella House designer (love this one)

Art Gallery Fabrics, Prisma Elements, Prisma Element Metallic in Pearl and Gold

Makower UK, Sherwood, Outline in Sage (love this one, too)

AGF Studio, Maker, Make Drafts in Paper

Robert Kaufman House Designer, Essex Linen Cotton Solids, Essex in Linen

Other neutral fabrics

For the back of the quilt, I used Crosshatch in Grey by Carolyn Friedlander


Quilter’s Dream Orient

I find this batting to be a nice balance between having enough volume for definition in the quilting, but being low volume enough to quilt without going crazy.  It has nice drape as well.  The one thing I don’t like about it is that it’s not made of natural materials.  It’s a blend of bamboo, silk, Tencel and cotton.


Piecing, quilting, binding and hand applique: Aurifil Mako 50 in White 2024


I did my usual double fold binding stitched to the back.  I used Breeze in White from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander.


I used the Lilypad pattern from step-by-step Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli.  I always wonder how I can get better at free-motion quilting given that it takes me a month or two to make a quilt, so I rarely get to practice.  However, I do think I’m getting a little bit better every time I give it a go.  As usual, it was a tense, white-knuckle process, but I’m really quite pleased with the result.  There were inevitable errors – some minor puckering, unevenness in stiching and so on, but I honestly don’t think it’s noticeable to the non-quilting population.

Sewing Machine

I’m continuing to love my Brother PQ1500s.  Having the extra wide shoulder makes all the difference in the world when it comes to quilting, and unlike my old machine, it has no trouble sewing through many layers of fabric, like at the corners of the quilt when I’m attaching the binding.


car shopping

I’m in the market for a new car.  The car I would like to get is the Volvo XC70:

In brown, if you please!  Sadly, this vehicle sells for on the order of $40,000.  I never would have looked at it in the first place if I’d realized Volvo was a luxury brand.  (I haven’t been browsing Mercedes, Lexus, et.)

In reality, we are more likely to buy the Pacific Northwest’s most popular vehicle, the Subaru Outback.  It’s actually so popular around here, it’s ridiculous.  I’m a little underwhelmed, but I’m sure it’ll do the job.  Still, I feel I should be more excited about something I’m shelling out $25,000 for, don’t you?

2016 Outback

2016 Outback

2016 Outback

I took it for a test drive last weekend and was decidedly underwhelmed.  This is actually in contrast to when we test-drove a Toyota Camry and were very impressed, but in our extremely hilly neighborhood, all-wheel drive will be very handy in the winter, and I’d like the additional storage space of a station wagon / small SUV.  I’m also looking at all the other small SUVs below 30K with AWD and 35 sq. ft. of trunk space or so.

Facing East quilt progress

Ready for basting:

Basted and ready for quilting:

I debated how to quilt this.  In Carolyn Friedlander’s book, she has two quilts of this style.  One of them, done in neutrals like mine, she quilts all over in a plant-inspired pattern.  The other, she quilts all the triangles behind the bars each “sun”, leaving the bars and circles in the foreground unquilted.

Here is a photo of the former:


Here is a photo-grab of the latter approach:

FacingEast(I really cannot recommend Carolyn’s book – Savor Each Stitch – enough, by the way.  It is undoubtedly my favorite quilting book.)

In any case, the latter approach emphasizes the paper-pieced pattern to a much greater extent, whereas the allover quilting pattern goes with the much more subtle neutral palette of the white / beige quilt.  Another consideration is that I think the second approach would be a lot more work because it would involve so much stopping and starting.  In the end, I decided to do the allover quilting approach.  I wanted to emulate the way Carolyn did her neutrals quilt, and I also was lazy and wanted to take the easy way out.  I’m about 25% of the way through with the quilting.   It definitely de-emphasizes the texture of the paper-piecing as expected, but I think it’ll be a nice effect in the end.

Quilting is exhausting!  My arms are literally trembling from fatigue as I type this.



quilt dilemma

For my next quilt, I’m planning to another Friedlander design from her book, Savor Each Stitch.  I’d like to do the Lattice quilt.  Here are a few examples . . .

Made by Carolyn Friedlander herself below.  Note the large scale pattern in the background.  She discusses this quilt more in her book.

Cowboy Circle Lattice_Carolyn Friedlander

And one more version:

Anyway, I was thinking of making it with this fabric in the background: (Fabric 1)

Sarah Watson - Indian Summer - Menagerie in Onyx

And this fabric in the foreground (ie as the lattice): (Fabric 2)

Maude Asbury - Sunsational - Seaside Stripe in Pink

Now I’m afraid the background fabric (Fabric 1) is too dark and will clash too much with the foreground fabric (Fabric 2).  Originally, i was going to use this fabric (below) for the background, and now I’m second-guessing myself: (Fabric 3)

Makower UK - Sherwood - Outline in Sage

Perhaps I should use that instead?  I wish it were more gray rather than brownish.  Still, I love the idea of all the faces (from Fabric 1) looking out through the lattice.  But you still have faces in the second fabric, and perhaps the lighter look goes better with the brightly colored lattice fabric.  Thoughts?

Just to complicate matters, I had intended to use this fabric for the back, and I really like the way it goes with Fabric 1, so I wonder if I could use it for the lattice: (Fabric 4)

Sarah Watson - Indian Summer - Woodland in Pine

The lattice is too thin to show the pattern, but maybe that doesn’t matter?

Overall, I’m leaning towards sticking with the original plan, with Fabric 1 in back and Fabric 2 as the lattice, but I’m torn.  I’m just not sure if it’s too dark and too bright and just overall too much.  It’s intended for a child, so it’s not meant to be subtle or sophisticated, but it should be cute.


a little bit close to nature

We apparently had a bear in our yard yesterday evening, folks.  I did not see it, but it was in our neighbors yard and disappeared stage left . . . meaning most likely into our yard.  They have photographic evidence.  I love it!  That adds to the list of animals I’ve seen in our yard – squirrels, rabbits, deer, (dogs), a coyote, a bobcat, and a bear.  And our neighbors two doors down had a mountain lion in their yard.  We are a couple of miles from a giant pair of wooded, mountainous state parks totaling 5000 acres.  I guess the animals must be coming from thataway.  Hurray for that!  I love feeling that we are just a little bit close to nature.

More on bedside tables

Next week, our nanny starts Monday.  L starts preschool Monday, and then I go back to work on Wednesday.  Needless to say, I’m just a tad bit stressed about all this, so I’ve been trying to channel my angst into bedside table shopping.  H thinks I’m insane, but I’d like to point out that I’ve had my current bedside table for twenty years!

Current contenders:

Antique Revival PL Home 1 Drawer Nightstand

$200, 25 x 14.  Pine.  Reviewers note that drawer is basely functional- no track, falls out.

Wildon Home ® Leadville 2 Drawer Nightstand

$400, 27 x 19 (a better size).  Pine.  Major con here is the price.

Epoch Design Nara 1 Drawer Nightstand

$375, 23×16, bamboo.

I went to Ikea a couple of days ago, and I couldn’t find anything I like.  Their bedside tables are just too small for my taste.

I do still like the Pottery Barn one, but I think I prefer the natural wood look:

Clara Lattice Wide Bedside Table


Facing East in Neutrals Quilt in progress

My quilt is coming along slowly, but I’m pleased with it so far.  It’s still taking me probably about an hour for each one of the blocks, but it’s an enjoyable process, and after all, what’s the hurry?

After this, I’m planning to try another Friedlander quilt.  Then a winter twin quilt for L.  Then, we’ll see.