A Maker’s Gonna Make














A Month in Making:

Messenger Bag with Reflective Material donated by Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads) and repurposed seatbelt closure-my design :: Linden Sweatshirt out of a vintage tablecloth :: Linden Sweatshirt out of organic fleece I hand dyed-both as part of #memademay :: My first adventures in free motion quilting with help from the book Stitch Draw by Rosie James :: Umbrella Prints collaborative project begun :: Blue WIPs.

In other news, I’m delighted and I know we are all flattered that the Modern Quilt Guild referenced Bee Sewcial (Flickr: The Bee Sewcial Pool) as a guide for Quiltcon West’s Charity Quilt Challenge for next year.  Check it out here:  Member Charity Challenge | QuiltCon West.




All Things Being Equal

I love the Goodwill.  How fun is it to find treasures among cast off and used clothing?  These items for the most part are lovingly dropped off with the hopes that they can be used and they represent to me the beautiful mixture of our society.  Young people, old people, people of every color under the sun, big and small people, gay and straight, rich and poor-their cast offs all show up and are equally treasured.

I purposely try to limit my exposure to “the news” and it’s 24 hour stream directed my way but the Indiana’s recent anti-gay law and the current case being argued at the Supreme Court have riled me.  How can we deny many of my friends and their families the same rights guaranteed other couples and families just because of their sexual orientation?

So of course, I made a quilt as that is how my emotions are often best expressed.  My Triangle in a Triangle block uses the stripes strategically to make two equilateral triangles (TWO EQUALS) and how better to show them off using all varieties of striped shirts from the Goodwill (where people of all sorts are represented)?  All different and yet all the same.  They remind me somewhat of Kaffe Fassett’s shirt quilts.  I purposefully surrounded the crazy pieces in a solid denim border to ground them a bit and hope to show off some special quilting I have planned.








Love is Love.  Let’s hope the Supreme Court agrees.



A “Maker’s Curiosity”

Do you ever wonder if you have too many creative hobbies?  Although knitting and sewing have been mainstays for me, I have ventured into embroidery, cross stitch, clothes making, jewelry making . . . well you get the point.  I believe the skill and practice of making causes one to look at the world differently.  We makers start to examine more closely how things are constructed and what materials they are made with.  That study often propels us to the next question of whether we can make it ourselves which at least in my case, leads me into new creative hobbies. (I treasure this “maker’s curiosity” by the way as it seems a rarer and rarer characteristic in our buy everything from Target, disposable culture.)  All these words to say I have ventured into some new creative fronts this month while continuing work on my mainstays of quilting, knitting and bag making.

Dying Fabric requires a ton of rinsing muscle power and a ridiculous amount of water.  Who knew? The results however are hard to compete with.  Following directions from Malka Dubrawsky’s “Color Your Cloth” and Kim Eichler-Messmer’s Book “Modern Color” I dyed some organic fleece in various shades of blue using both dry and wet dying techniques.



Using this pretty substrate I decided to try sewing knits for the first time with my new serger.  It’s a tad ridiculous how easy my machine makes its all for me.  I decided to make the very popular Linden Sweatshirt (Linden Sweatshirt – Grainline Studio) and had to adapt it a bit by making the neck opening a little wider, lengthening it an inch and making a wide split cuff at the bottom.  I look Kind of silly in the pic but man this sweatshirt is comfortable and I already have plans for others.



I decided for the first time as well to combine fabric and knit together in the Shawl Collar Baby Coat by sweet k m. (Direct Download PDF Knitting Pattern Shawl Collar by sweetKM)

What better fabric to use then some hand dyed by Kim Eichler-Messmer from a previous order and I topped it off with a vintage button.  The pattern recommended using a felt heart on the inside to better secure the button.  I will definitely use this technique in future sweaters.  What a cute detail!




I ended this week by making up and testing a new bag pattern.  Oh this is a good one!  Look for more examples and maybe even a pattern or tutorial in the future.




Merry Making.



April Bee Sewcial Blocks and Other Makings

Boy oh Boy, April has been a productive month thus far!  Not only did I tackle and succeed (after some missteps) in making some challenging curved blocks for Diane (random thoughts…do or “di”: Me Bee-ing Sewcial) in our Bee Sewcial group, I made something with my new serger for the first time and as we speak I am in the process of dying some fabrics (a first for me and next time I need to remember to keep the gloves on the whole time.  Call me Ms. Blue Hands.), I started the month off finishing some gifts for a dear quilting friend and her gorgeous daughters.  I made a dress up using some linen, vintage lace and even used my serger to make finished edges.  I knit together a sweater from FrogTree Bamboo/Wool yarn in the Wallaby 10 ply pattern (Ravelry: Wallaby 10ply pattern by Georgie Hallam) and made up a sweatshirt using a washcloth and fabric scraps in a combined machine and hand appliquéd technique.  The book, Sew Adorable (Sew Adorable: Classic Clothes for Boys and Girls: Vanessa Mooncie: 9781861089311: Books) from which the dress pattern came was the gift for Mama.  When I see people, I often see them in terms of colors and my friend is all about blues so I channeled the turquoise variety in her gifts.  They were very fun projects. 9L4A7506 IMG_1923 IMG_1952 IMG_1949 IMG_1954 9L4A7503 I am gratefully in the middle of some collaborations with artist friends.  One of my friends gave me a vinyl copy of one of her mixed media paintings to play with.  I combined pieces from it with some donated repurposed leather and made them into a folded clutch of my design with another topstitched Lonestar. IMG_1984 9L4A7581 IMG_1989 In the repurposing arena I also transformed a painted canvas left over from a Musical Chairs Painting Party into a simple clutch.  You guys, this was soooo easy and easily done on a traditional machine.  I think a tutorial may be coming up for a few of these techniques in the future. 9L4A7549 9L4A7550 9L4A7554 And of course, I had to work on my Bee Sewcial blocks for the month.  I was actually feeling a little cocky about the mission we were given.  Diane asked us to incorporate curves into our blocks with a fun color palate that asked for a sliver of black.  I have done so much curved piecing over the last year, I thought this would be an easy month but man it took me several attempts to get the blocks I wanted.  In the end, I think they will go well with the other pieces made by my stellar bedmates. (I came back to edit when I almost choked on my coffee reading my typo but had to keep the original for giggles.  I meant BEEMATES not BEDMATES. Yikes. Haha)IMG_1994 IMG_1945 9L4A7611 IMG_1993 Cheers, Hillary


My Quilts in Modern Patchwork Magazine and Other Happenings

I just got the news today that the latest issue of Modern Patchwork Magazine is coming to news stands April 21st and two of my quilts are going to be featured!  How do you spell EXCITED?!  I am beyond humbled and flattered by how my quilts are shown in an article by Cinzia Allocca titled “Minimalism in Modern Quilt Design”.

Check out their website for more on what’s inside and there is a link there to purchase a copy as well if you are interested. (Modern Patchwork Spring 2015 – Special Issues – Blogs – Quilting Daily)

With precious free time, I have been playing more with bags, this time using recycled suede.  Believe it or not this is my first Lonestar quilting project.  I have so many other ideas for this topstitching technique.  The possibilities are endless.






Although we have had to stick close to home this Spring Break because of work, I have been doing a lot of secret sewing for friends (can’t wait to share what I have been working on) and we made a quick trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore in Marin County for some hiking.  The hills were full of wild irises, California poppies and other wildflowers.  The area was at it’s finest.


And although I can’t share yet my secret sewing, I can share a simple boy sweatshirt I made for a friend that includes an impromptu cloud out of a washcloth and leftover vinyl.  As I was making it, much needed rain started to fall with more on the way.  Who needs rain dances when one can make rain clothing instead? ;)





A Modern Girl’s Easter Basket

Every modern girl deserves an Easter basket right?  Today I got the urge to make a Spring Bag and decided the bronze vinyl fabric remnant from my favorite upholstery store (a steal for $4 mind you) and it’s fancier sparkly Japanese canvas fabric and Robert Kaufman canvas would go well together.  My friend Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads) has been working the metallic threads so beautifully lately  how could I resist trying it all too?


Inspired by the hexie quilt design and techniques of Nicole Daksiewicz (ModernHandcraft)  I cut up the vinyl in several 1 inch wide diamonds and laid them out in an asymmetrical design.  I then glued them down to the green canvas with Fabri-Tac by Beacon (a permanent fabric glue), let it dry and then started straight line quilting it down to my fave Peltrex 70 Ultra Firm Stabilizer.  Stephanie had advised using a nonmetallic thread for the bobbin which I did and I used a metallic sulky thread for the topstitching.  Stephanie had suggested a top stitching needle as opposed to a metallic needle but I was afraid it would not go through all my thick layers so I used a leather needle which worked well.


This glue basting thing is the next best thing to sliced bread-no lie!  You guys need to try this!!  It is a life-changing technique (or at least Sew-changing technique) for sure. Next up I quilted the back in the same pattern as the front except without the vinyl diamonds.  I love this pattern so much I think I will use it in future quilts.  And do you see those crosses on the diamonds?  Perfect for Easter, no?  My accidents are my best friends.


Lastly I sewed them all together in another version of my Mini Museum Bag and added a zip pocket on the inside.

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In quilting news, recycled men’s striped shirts cut at odd angles has been keeping me busy and a Triangle in a Triangle quilt is evolving.


Happy Spring Break Everyone!



Old Blue Eyes





Losing myself in some thoughtless creativity this week.  My work has been especially brutal from an emotional perspective-too much tragedy for certain.  Can sewing be therapy?  YES, YES, YES!!!

I finished a quilt top that has been several months in the making.  I was initially inspired by wood panelling made by artist Ariele Alasko (ariele alasko)  For me, is easy to see many of her designs interpreted as quilts.  It morphed in the making, as my creations always do and required sewing and unpicking several times to get right.

On my daily drives I pass by a beautiful abandoned gas station.  It is a remnant of the old Lincoln Highway that is now virtually unused since they built Highway 80 here in Northern California.  The blue wall and wood paneling of the station called for pictures (and that color combo deserves a quilt too don’t you think?).  While I stopped and set up my portable backdrop, the elderly owner came out to chat.  No question he was leery of me at first but warmed quickly when he saw my quilt.  It is hard for anyone to be threatened by that.  As I drove away I realized the quilt needed to be called “Old Blue Eyes” as the blue diamonds remind me of a steel blue gaze and in reference to the lovely old man who let me take pictures on his property.