More Makings

This last month has been surprisingly productive given the craziness of my work and family life.  I think my creative life feeds on it a little bit though.  The less time I have, the more ideas I come up with and the more I need to make.  Can anyone relate?

I started and ended the month with blocks finished for Debbie in our Bee Sewcial group.  She gave us the mission of making Midcentury Modern blocks.  Find her block post about it here: A Quilter's Table: Bee Sewcial Goes Mid-Century.  What a fun endeavor this has been once again.  I did some improv curves with inset ovals.  I made up a paper piecing pattern for a MCM star, experimented with a boomerang shape utilizing the 6 minute circle technique (It worked!) and lastly made up some very geometric appetizers to finish up this fun buffet.  It’s all I can to keep from sharing my month’s mission which begins in September.  Can’t wait!





Of course, I have been bag making too.  I am really inspired by the new book out by Anna of Noodlehead, “Handmade Style” (Handmade Style: 23 Must-Have Basics to Stitch, Use, and Wear: Anna Graham: 9781940655062: Books).  I channeled her Tablet Case pattern and modified it (as I tend to do) and made three bags, the last being one for my dad for Father’s Day.  I used my stitched toaster for one, recycled a french knot project for another and did some more stitch sketching/free motion quilting on left over painter’s drop cloth in the shape of a camera for the third.   To add interest, I used unfinished leather for the binding and tiny pockets in all of them.






My friend Sondra and I are collaborating on some bags together too so I combined vinyl and paper reproductions of her works with leather and took them back to her today as she plans to add paint, mica and other ornamentation.  I can’t wait to see them finished.






In the selfish sewing department, as we are headed to some cold weather soon I combined some organic fleece I had previously hand dyed with linen and left over Malabrigo Rasta Wool for a scarf.  It was picked as a Craft/Make Magazine online weekly favorite this last week (CRAFT Flickr Pool Weekly Roundup | Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers | MAKE: Craft)-so fun.


Lastly, I finished up a quilt top I started in December.  I call it “Stars and Stripes” though there really aren’t either to be found on this modern American Flag variation.  I am excited to have a quilt that I can take out on future 4th of Julys.  It’s fun to see it mixed in with my other quilts-geometric lover anyone?







Happy 4th friends.


A Quilt Collaboration






Last winter here in Northern California we faced what they thought would be the “storm of a century”.  Since we live on a piece of property with a lot of trees this typically means electricity going out, trees down and several days of time off the grid.  As we prepped bringing out lamps, blankets and our generator, it brought to mind the mood and the phrase “Batten Down the Hatches” and a quilt design was born.  I grabbed a large piece of orange/red Kona cotton and made it a pieced porthole with which i filled improv curved waves and sky.  The huge storm as it turned out never came to pass BUT I was left with a throw sized quilt top that grew on me daily and begged for some special quilting that I knew I was not up to.

I’ve mentioned before that 2015 has been a year of collaboration for me.  This latest quilt is the child of one such amazing union.  The free motion quilting work of Christina Cameli (A Few Scraps) is epic, truly.  To be honest I had no idea how special her art was until I held the fruits of it in my hands.  As I was pondering how to finish this piece, I threw out the idea of collaborating to Christina and lucky me, she said yes.

She filled this quilt with beautiful free form art that tells quite a story.  We both have since acknowledged the fact that somehow working with another makes you travel roads you would have never considered.  I am so thankful we got to travel the journey together.

Christina will be teaching several free motion classes at Quiltcon 2016.  One of them is titled “Wild Quilting” and uses this quilt and other works as inspiration.  Catch this quilt and Christina at Quiltcon if you can.  I promise, you will find her work and teaching inspiring.


Holy Cow, We Won?!

Robin and I are still riding the high of our unexpected win in the Open Category for the 2015 Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition (Umbrella Prints: And the winners are ……).  It is especially humbling when you look at all of the amazing makes out there like this one by my friend Kirsty (Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge 2015 – Patchwork yoke top) and this one by Megan (A little bit of my life: making :: just enough {umbrella prints trimming challenge}).  And I think the Quilt Category was especially rich with beauty this year.  Be sure to check out my friend Dorie’s take (umbrella prints trimmings quilt), Ashley’s (FITF: Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge 2015 | Film in the Fridge), Leela’s (Sunrise Quilt | Miss Leela) and the beautiful winner in this category by Amy (Trimmings 2015).

And for all those who entered or chose not to for fear of putting themselves out there, I entered two bags last year that I think only got 10 views total on Pinterest (haha!) BUT the making of them (and keeping to the tiny scrap restrictions) stretched my brain in wonderful ways.  They expanded my creative approach and became cherished gifts for friends.  So next year if you are contemplating entering, DO IT!



A Collaboration On Friendship and Motherhood – Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge Entry 2015
























What started as a friendship in creativity and motherhood turned into a challenge to expand our horizons and spend some juicy time together.  My friend Robin King (@r0bingail on instagram and Robin Gail Art on Facebook) is an amazing artist and our times together are full of painting, needlework, children and dressing up.  When the Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge (Umbrella Prints: 2015 Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge #umbrellaprintstrimmingschallenge) came around again this year, I knew that I wanted to do it together.

To start our project, we had an image in our minds of a child holding something precious and stumbled across a picture of her daughter at a younger age holding one of their ducklings.  This picture became the basis for our piece and Robin drew her image on inexpensive painter’s drop cloth.  Taking inspiration from the work of Kristin LaFlamme (Musings | Kristin La Flamme | Textile Art), I tried my hand at free motion quilting for the first time and stitch sketched over the image with my sewing machine.  Robin and I added some eyelet for a dress and then cut up the beautiful Umbrella Prints scraps into feather shapes that we then glue basted down in the shape of a duckling.  There was little more then lint left after using all of the scraps!  From there I free motion quilted the feathers and fabric down with invisible polyester thread and backed it all with waterproof oilcloth to make a picnic blanket that we got to test out with our kiddos at Robin’s house.

The best part of this project was spending time with such a special, creative lady and trying out so many new things.  I have no doubt we will spend more time together pushing and nurturing each other in our paths as mothers, friends and artists.


Two Friends – Two Bags

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated 1000 followers on Instagram by giving away a custom made bag of their liking to a follower and a friend they tagged.  I picked by random two delightful and talented sewists Valerie (Between Quilts) and Nicole (Mama Love Quilts).  Go check them out they are lovely!

In any case, I wanted to make something extra special for them that reflected their friendship with some connection using designs of my own.  By lucky coincidence, a pack of beautiful Marimekko fabric I bought on sale and some new leather I picked up were available and sent me easily into creative mode.


Nicole had highlighted a previous bag I made out of recycled orange and white leather so I ran with that idea, this time using new white and blue leather with a bit of the Marimekko Pink Unikko print.  I hadn’t written down the dimensions of my previous bag so I winged it (wung it?) as I tend to do.  The leather this go around, probably because it was new, was a little stiffer then my previous attempt but I am pretty pleased with the results.


For the second design, I chose the same Unikko print but this time on the outside of the bag along with some dark blue suede in what I call my Mini Museum pattern.





I made inset zippers for both bags and had fun fancying both up with metal feet and pull tabs for the zippers.

I think these gals who I now consider friends genuinely liked their bags and honestly I LOVED making them.  This whole virtual world can feel like a weird online dating game sometimes and I hate that some people know me more by what I make and my tagline rather then by face and up close interaction but I guess this is the new world and no question I have made some amazing friends here.  If you are interested in seeing even MORE of my pictures and are not already tired of me, you can find me on Instagram here: Hillary (@entropyalwayswinsblog) • Instagram photos and videos

My May Bee Sewcial Block came together last week as well.  When Marci gave us our assignment (Bee Sewcial | Flickr – Photo Sharing!) for the month to work on a village block, I kept thinking of San Francisco from Marin County looking across the Bay.  That image informed my weird shaped block.  It is fairly literal though totally improv.  I hope it works for her quilt.




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.


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!