Minimalism and Maximalism

What I have been up to of late:











-“Queuing Theory” quilt.  Quilted by Christine Perrigo (@ccpquilt on IG).  It was inspired by a series of paintings by Mark Grotjahn called Dancing Butterflies.

-Crazy striped piecing in stripes inspired by a puzzle I saw on Pinterest (thank you glue basting)

-Hand painted linen flowers for Blair Stoker (Wise Craft Handmade) because it is super fun to trade with other makers especially when they are from my previous Seattle home city.

-More Slow Stitch Embroidery in the works.  This improv embroidery is the bomb people.  Try it!!

-A minimini quilt for Stephanie Ruyle ( Spontaneous Threads) that mimics a Rothko painting she pointed out in Houston.  It represents me (mustard) and her (orange) with some more hand stitching and Stephanie’s old suede coat as binding.

-My last quilt blocks of the year for the Bee Sewcial Bee for Leanne (she can quilt).  It was a total kick in the pants to play with color and improv.  The green block also helped me perfect my Y seam skills.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!




Every October I take a large chunk of vacation time to spend with my kids.  Typically I also make a goal of independent study on some area I feel lacking.  A couple years ago inspired by religious violence in the world I chose to actively learn more about religions I knew little about.  One of my friends took me to her Jewish Synagogue and we also listened to the teachings of a Buddhist monk.  Another friend took me later to a traditional Catholic service and yet another brought me to his Mosque.

All were surprisingly foreign territories for me but none so much as the Islamic Mosque.  My visions had been unquestionably filtered through the media and the high profile Islamic extremists so often pictured there.  On the Friday of my visit, my friend and his wife helped me put on a hijab.  We walked through the Mosque center visiting with people as we watched the children gather in their version of “Sunday School” and watched members collect used clothing and supplies for the poor in the area.  My friend’s wife and I filed in with the other women to the back of the Mosque while my friend went to the front with the other men and sat down for the service.  Prayers were said and all the bowing and kneeling seemed meditative and reminiscent of calming yoga sequences I love to settle into.  Children flitted back and forth between mothers and fathers.  The setting was undeniably warm and casual.  And then the Imam got up to speak and you know what his sermon was about?  Conservation, helping those in need and having compassion and understanding for people in other religions “because in the end we are all worshipping the same God.”  That’s right, I had experienced the most liberal sermon of my life.   As my friends and I drove back to their home they told me that all contributions to their mosque had to be in cash as they were concerned credit card or check records if discovered could make them vulnerable to locals who did not like Muslims.

Fast forward to this last week and the horrible violence experienced through the world in the name of Islamic extremism.  My heart sank especially for the city and care providers of Paris as I know this city well and could imagine being on duty there as the rush of wounded flooded their Emergency Department doors.  This creative world of mine seemed kind of silly in context but as I process my emotions in making, I couldn’t help but put something together.  I cut into some beautiful First of Infinity linen generously given to me by Lecien Fabric and next thing I knew I was making up one of my Mini Museum bags with a French Flag variation in appliquéd leather on the front.  If only there was more room, the Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi flags would all deserve a place on my make.

My heart sank in equal measure for my friends who brought me to their mosque and I know are feeling more vulnerable because of world violence perpetrated under a warped vision of Islam.

As a side note when I went to these different religious ceremonies in sum what I came away from was the commonalities.  In each an ancient language was used (Arabic, Hebrew, Latin).  Each held great comfort in the value of prayer or song and each held special reverence for their children and their participation in the process.


That’s a lot of thought pent up in one bag huh?  The good news is it can carry a big load.



Quilting From Every Angle Blog Tour and Giveaway

Nancy Purvis ( owen’s olivia ) is a quilt designer and maker I have been following for awhile.  Her designs speak to me.  They are clean, modern, bold and interesting.  The minute I knew she had a book being released I preordered and when it arrived an interesting thing happened, I felt compelled to make not just one item using her beautiful designs but TWO.  In reality it was hard for me to pick from the gorgeous patterns featured and I am sure there will be more to come.


Quilting from Every Angle: 16 Geometric Designs
By Nancy Purvis

Nancy was kind enough to include me with some amazing other makers in her blog tour.  Make sure to check the rest out for what are guaranteed to be inspiring creations and more opportunities for book giveaways.


11/10- Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts

11/11- Hillary Goodwin (ME!!)

11/12- Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis Textiles

11/13- Anna Graham of Noodlehead

11/16- Rachel McCormack of wooden spoon quilts

11/17- Tara Larson of RAD & HAPPY

11/18- Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane 

11/19- Holly Hughes of Holly Gets Quilty

11/20- Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft

11/23- Pat Bravo of Pat Bravo Fabric Design and Jesse Maloney of  Art School Dropout

11/24- Astrid Slagle of Red Red Completely Red

11/25- Holly DeGroot of Bijou Lovely

11/26- Christopher Thompson of the tattooed quilter

11/27- Spoonflower of Spoonflower Blog

Those who know me understand that I have a special passion for bag making.  I decided that my first make would be a bag using Nancy’s Stones Quilt pattern.   I sized the pattern down to three quarters size, used 9 “stones” instead of 15 and utilized a bag design of my own.  I also used Pellon Flex Foam Stabilzer for the first time-a wonderful discovery.  It gives my bag some nice heft and shows off the quilting beautifully.  I will be using this more in my makes.  In any case, I grabbed some bright Kona solids and used a Carolyn Friedlander print as background with new black leather for the base and handle.  I am pretty pleased with how it turned out and think it shows how different this pattern can go with varied color themes and fabrics.

Quilting from Every Angle - Stones Quilt beauty image







A fun discovery that may be obvious for many experienced makers but was a lightbulb moment for me as I was making this bag was how to make the fabric pattern around the “stones” orient in the same direction as the overall background fabric.  I chose a PATTERNED background and SOLID “stones” in contrast to the opposite shown in the book which made the fabric orientation an issue.  I really wanted the background fabric to all be oriented in the same direction so as to make the piecing less obvious (these kind of details are ridiculously fun fodder for me).   To solve this dilemma while cutting the “stones” for the pattern, I lined up the background fabric scraps behind the solid “stone” fabric IN THE SAME ORIENTATION as the overall background at each corner then cut on the line simultaneously across both “stone” and background and pieced.  I think and hope this  makes the quilted bag front look cohesive and it is definitely a technique I will keep in mind for future makes.






As I said, surprisingly I couldn’t stop at one design from Nancy’s book.  We have just completed a huge remodel including finishing a closed deck and setting up a hammock underneath it.  It is a perfect place to lay down and take naps but was in dire need of a winter pillow to snuggle up with. Using elements from the book’s Mesa Quilt and fun hand dyed printed fabric from Kelsey Boes (Lovely and Enough) and yarn dyed fabric from Jennifer Sampou (Jennifer Sampou ), I made a yummy pillow.  I flipped the light and dark fabrics on the left side and right side to give the pillow symmetry making it a little different then the Mesa Quilt but unmistakably Nancy.  The pillow has recieved my husband’s approvel, and he is a tough sell, so I know it is a good one.

Quilting from Every Angle - Mesa Quilt beauty image





This pillow is pretty fun with points up and down.


I heartily recommend this book and am excited to share a copy with one special blog reader. (hard copy for those in the US or digital copy for those outside the states).  To enter, please tell me about the first craft/quilting book(s) you remember sewing from and how your style is now compared to then. (For the record, I started with Kaffe Fassett’s Quilting books, still have every copy and continue to find inspiration from all of them).  I will pick a winner randomly by 5 PM Monday, November 16th.  If you are a no-reply blogger please make sure to include your email address so I may contact you.

For the Record:  I was given a free copy of this book to help me make projects but before I even received it or asked to participate in the blog hop, I had already purchased the book and started to make.  My opinions are and will always be my own.





One Month

In two days I start back to work again after a month off.  I have logged many hours doing continuing education for Dayjob, baked almost every variety of pumpkin muffin/scone/cookie you can imagine and of course have been creating.

In a month:

Pattern Play (I replicated the Tate Museum flooring pattern using a modification of Latifah Saafir’s Glam Clam Pattern in bag form.  For fun I added a knit pillow of my design to match my previously finished quilt top with buttons covered with treasured Umbrella Prints fabric):







Bag Design (repurposing photos I had taken on canvas)





Block Making (for my Bee Sewcial group and shown with a minimini quilt made by Stephanie Ruyle).




Minimalist Design Play with Leather Scraps



Anatomical Stitch Sketching


Fabric Making



Quilt Finishing (with amazing quilting by Jessie Ziegler)




Self Portrait Work In Process (with my first bias strip quilt using scrubs on hospital sheets)


My creative and family life are feeling extra rich after this sweet time.  Grateful



Slow Stitching

I am halfway into a month off of work and ironically as I rush around trying to fit the rest of life in I find myself more stressed then relaxed?  That soooo is not what vacation is about right?

Inspired by the book “Slow Stitch” by Claire Wellesley-Smith, I decided to slow things down a bit with handwork.  I have always found peace in knitting and excitement in sewing (excitement in sewing??  Haha! I’m sure that sounds so funny if you are not a maker.)  It turns out at least for me that sewing can be relaxing if you do handwork in little bites.


I started the process by cutting up some ill fitting jeans and doing reverse shibori with bleach on the pieces in various folding patterns.  Holy Cow, what a fun easy, quick process that was.  All my future jeans are destined for bleach jobs.



Every night as I have been sitting and watching movies with my husband (such a rarity during the rest of the year), I have been devising and stitching up new little patterns with bits of felted wool, recycled leather and silk floss.  The shibori Os called for some Xs so a theme took hold.

I wasn’t quite sure what was to become of this concoction but finally settled on a bag I have been dreaming up.  It called for a leather border with mitered corners and to add more interest (and help attach it to my extra firm pellon interfacing) I machine embroidered with invisible thread even more Xs and Os.  I used the back of a vintage feedback for the inner part of the bag.





This thing is VERY impractical with silly little pockets on the inside that don’t hold much but I am in love with it as an art piece.  And as with most of the makes I love, it is destined for someone else worthy.  I think they will get the wonkyness of it.  I hope so.



An Invitation To Be Creative

What if someone told you that this month it was especially important to pull out all the stops and be really creative?  Would you do things differently?  Would this mission paralyze or feed you?

Last month as I have mentioned I was invited to make some small quilts in a tight time frame for an art show in Seattle.  As I pondered making, I let my mind open a bit and found myself wandering new creative roads-so fun.


Repurposing is a mission for me, so I decided to incorporate leather or suede I had collected from clothing into the pieces.  My first work above is an image that has been percolating in my brain for a bit and means to show the contrast of light and dark, happy and sad, new and used.  The black leather from an old coat I hope adds a whole new tone to the brightly pieced diamond.


Wanting to continue the contrast theme and the color mission I was given, I did dense quilting on the back in colors to match the front with the hope that they bring light and color to the dark.  With help from an Instagram friend, my make adopted a name, “The Great Recession”.  I think the dark creeping overlay on the overly bright, too perfect front image fits the description well.



On my second piece, I decided to play with an improv method I experimented with in a block for my first Bee Sewcial month led by Stephanie Ruyle.  Striped Ikea canvas made a fun matte dense surface to play with and I went with some of my favorite mustard linen (side note: If I had to pick a fabric that is me, this is it.  I have included it in about a third of my quilts).  To tie my used/new theme, I incorporated some beautiful electric blue suede from a skirt donated to me again by Stephanie.  Our friendship and journey together as makers is meaningful and it feels so appropriate to include this in my quilt. (Plus Stephanie’s has some amazing pieces that will be at the show too.  Go check she and her pieces out: Spontaneous Threads)






Of the new roads I traveled on this piece was the use of purple fabric on the backing.  I NEVER use this color in my makes and now I am quite smitten.  An unintended extra meaning is that purple and gold are the colors of my alma mater, The University of Washington in Seattle where this piece will be shown.

I called on my good friend and Umbrella Prints collaborator Robin King to help me with labels ( A Collaboration On Friendship and Motherhood – Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge Entry 2015 | Entropy Always Wins).  These hand printed pieces are awesome and it makes me happy to have another important friend incorporated in my makes.


Tripping on this creative spree, I started sketch stitching anatomical pictures.  The combination of clinical pieces of anatomy onto used, discarded antique linens tickles me to no end.  They represent well the strange dichotomy of my everyday life: delivering horrible news to a patient followed by helping my kids with homework, helping an addict through an oxycontin addiction followed by stitching up a pretty purse, doing a complicated life saving procedure followed by a yoga date with my girlfriends . . . There is more of this series to come.



If you get a chance and are in the area, check out my mini quilts and the work of others at the Seattle Pacific Art Center on display from October 5th-November 27th.



Sew Mama Sew and Art Show Details

Last month Kristin and Beth of Sew Mama Sew sweetly asked me to share details of a tile block I made up while creating this quilt top as a commission for one of my oldest friend’s.  Go see their intro about me here: Introducing Hillary Goodwin from Entropy Always Wins | Sew Mama Sew | Outstanding sewing, quilting, and needlework tutorials since 2005 and my Tile Block tutorial here: Tile Blocks Tutorial | Sew Mama Sew | Outstanding sewing, quilting, and needlework tutorials since 2005. I’m thrilled to get this quilt finished and enlisted the help of long arm quilter Jessie Ziegler (threaded quilting studio) for a quilt collaboration.  That negative white space is going to look yummy with her quilting.


In other news, some mini quilts for an art show in Seattle beginning next month are in process.  I am honored and excited to be sharing space with many gifted artists.  A big bonus is that Seattle is where i went to undergrad and Medical School and many friends and family still are Seattle residents.   It will be fun to share my work there.   For details of the show (and an introduction to an inspiring maker) see Anna’s post here: It’s Official! I Left My Job to Become a Quiltmaker | Quilting Queerly.