About Becky Goldsmith

I am a quilt designer/teacher/author, a wife/mother/grandmother, and certified yoga instructor who is searching for balance, strength, and happiness in all things.

Is it REALLY August?!

And of course, back to school! It’s the rhythm of life. If you’re not feeling it yet, here are a few suggestions for the students in your life. Maybe it’ll spark your enthusiasm.

Blackwing pencils are my favorite, both on fabric and on paper. They have the best feeling in your hand as you press them to a surface. They come in soft, firm, and extra firm graphite. As you can imagine, the softer the graphite in your pencil, the less pressure it takes to write or draw with them.

Most of the time, I prefer the firm graphite (602 & Volume 200), my grandson Jack, who is 14, prefers the extra firm (Naturals & Volume 651). The soft graphite (Matte & Volume 93) would be ideal for those times when you want to make a softer, more expressive lines, drawing or sketching. (Also, the lines are thicker, because softer graphite. Not super soft, just softer.) If you’re not sure what you might need, see below for a solution and a special code.

While we keep the basic 3 types of Blackwing pencil all the time, we have several beautiful limited edition volumes in stock right now that will not be coming back. Each new volume that comes out has an inspiration, a story that highlights a movement, an idea, or a person. You can click the photo or link to find out the stories behind each of the volumes we currently have.

Volume 93, below, soft graphite. These are so happy with their bright colors, and there are just a few of the slate notebooks that match left in stock.

Volume 200, below, firm graphite. My favorite pencils to date, these are beautiful sitting on my desk.

Volume 651, below, extra firm graphite. A tribute to Bruce Lee, and could be perfect for school colors.

The Blackwing Starting Point Set is perfect for the person who needs to try out Blackwing. AND I’m giving you (who read my blog) $10 off of this set for back-to-school good vibes. Use code BWBACKTOSCHOOL. (This code will last until we sell out of Starting Point Sets.)

This is the first set that has come with my favorite sharpener! The One-Step Sharpener is more expensive, but I like the way it works, and because the blades are replaceable, it lasts longer. The Two-Step Long Point Sharpener also works to get that sharp point, and Jack happily uses his.

For the student moving out this semester, a needle and thread are a must! They might be the only one in their dorm to have a way to fix a button or do minor mending. Pebbles Needle Sets can be paired with the Neutral Bobbin Set for a quick fix when they need it.

And of course, the Lap App. For hand sewing, sure, but also, tablets, iPads, phones, etc. Help your student be mindful of their neck and posture. Take the pressure off!

Bear, a few years ago with his iPod. It works for smaller arms, too!

And don’t forget, I have the most fun Lap App covers!

I’m wishing everyone happy back-to-school prepping! You can do it!

Show and tell… Bullseye!

Marie Johansen post this comment on my blog. The first photo shows her Bullseye quilt top which is amazing!

Hello! I finished my Bullseye and it one of my favorites in 40 years of making quilts! I want to make another! Is there a mathematical formula that I could use to make it even larger than 60”? I am math challenged, but would love an even larger Bullseye! Thank you for this wonderful pattern!

Bullseye made by Maria Johansen

The answer to the math question is yes… I’m pretty sure that you can enlarge all the foundation paper piecing shapes, and the corner template, by the same percentage and they should fit together.

Marie also sent a photo of her finished quilt on the bed, photobombed by her cat, Tizzy :-).

Bullseye made by Maria Johansen

Thank you, Marie, for sharing your quilt with us! You did a marvelous job and I look forward to hearing how the enlargement works out.

If you would like to make your own Bullseye quilt. click here to find the book.

More from NYC…

I got so busy I forgot to post! I’m home now but here are some more images from my trip.

I looked up at buildings a lot. Don’t you love the way the tall one almost disappears into the sky?

After a while, you can stop looking for nuance. But if you pay attention, there are wonderful things to notice. The reflections off the glass can be truly wonderful!

And then there are little details that you miss if you aren’t mindful as you walk.

I walked along the Hudson River. There is a wonderful trail for both pedestrians and cyclists.

I found an amazing gluten-free bakery at 83rd and Columbus — Modern Bread and Bagel. If you are GF, I recommend going and/or ordering bagels‚—the plain ones. The other breads are also good but the bagels… so amazing. It is worth what it costs for shipping.

I di walk to Times Square, just because.

And I walked the Length of the High Line down to the Whitney Museum to see the Biennial exhibit.

At both the Whitney and the NY Historical Society Museum I saw work from more female artists on display. It’s about time! In fact, did you know that a woman, Clara Wolcott Driscoll, designed most of the Tiffany glass lampshades? I did not know that but, seriously, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

I took a last photo of Columbus, standing above the trees…

I did do quite a bit of sewing. You will hear more about this 20˝ hand pieced 8-point star block…

And then Ted and I parted company. I miss that silly boy!

NYC in July…

I’m here in the big city to take care of Ted, Jeff’s cat. He and I are getting along very well because I feed him on schedule. He would like to be fed more often but he’s a big guy (18 lbs) and he really should not be snacking. He does not believe that is true 🤣.

I’ve been out in Central Park and in the area west and south of there. I’ve walked many of these streets before but it’s not hard to find something new to notice.

Made to Bethesda Fountain…

There were lots of people out and about on Sunday. Lots of people sitting on the grassy areas. I live where just the idea of sitting in grass makes me itch. Chiggers. If you don’t have them where you live, count yourself blessed.

And then there are the random fun things…

This morning I got to an amazing gluten free bakery, Modern Bread and Bagel. I came home with a slice of cinnamon bread and a bagel. Oh, my, the cinnamon bread is amazing. I’m going to do something with the bagel for dinner.

The icing is not necessary—but it’s good :-).

I will be out and about more through the rest of the week and will post more photos here and on Instagram and FB :-). Right now I have to get back to work!

Grow some Joy :-)!

A few days ago I ran across my box of 1/2″ EPP hex flowers. I make these when I run out of other hand sewing because they are so cute and easy to sew on the go. Each side of the hex paper is 1/2″. EPP papers come in other sizes to make different sizes of flowers.

And then I looked over and saw my Piece O’ Cake Travel Pouches that were woefully unadorned. What a perfect combo!!!

I decided to stitch these hexie flowers to my red pouch, with a single hex spacer in between. 

It works best to attach and sew one flower at a time. I pressed the flowers to make sure the creases stayed put and removed the basting thread. I used the Quilters Select glue pen. It works better if you hold the flower in place near the cent and fold back one petal at a time. Add glue to the underside of the outer edge of the petal and press it in place. Repeat for all petals and let the glue dry. 

You will still need to add pins because the Yazzii fabric has a finish the glue doesn’t love. I used the 3/4″ Little House applique pins.

I’m still sewing the red pouch but I finished my blue one. Here’s what I learned:

  • The closer the applique is to the top of the pouch, the easier it is to sew.
  • I used my regular applique thread (Superior’s Masterpiece on the bobbin) and an invisible applique stitch. 
  • I hid my stitch between the quilted layers of fabric.
  • You will have to be creative with the way you hold the fabric and you work around the flower. Take your time and focus on sewing the edges down. If it isn’t perfect, that’s OK. It just needs to be sturdy enough to hold up to the wear you give it.

I could add embroidery. I could add felted wool… maybe leaves, or a bee! But I have other hand projects that are calling me with a louder voice so I am going to call these finished (for now), because they are plenty cute as is :-).

Hexie flowers… you should make some and plant them where you need a spot of joy!

Pictures from my trip to Greece…

I went to the island of Paros on May 23rd to take a 300-hour yoga teacher training class from the Soma Yoga Institute. We stayed at the Okreblue Retreat Center. I did post on Instagram and Facebook, but this is the first chance I’ve had to post anything on my blog because we were busy every day from 6:30AM to 8:00PM. We did have 3 days off and there was time to eat, but mostly, we were super busy every day until June 17.

The dining area was open-air and had a great view. The yoga shalas were big, airy, and well equipped. And here you see me upside-down using two chairs to protect my neck. I’m a big believer in neck protection :-).

I took lots of photos of this road because I liked the look of it and I walked it multiple times a day. Paros is dry and kind of dusty but there were lots of plants growing.

All of the following places were a very short walk from Okreblue. Andrea (my travel companion) and I rented chairs under the umbrellas to celebrate finishing the course.

Greece has cats… so many cats. They are like chickens on Kauai.

Naoussa was the nearest town and it is lovely in the classically Greek way. It was walking distance (about 2 miles). Sometimes we walked but mostly we took a taxi.

Before coming back to Texas, we spent a day in Athens. I went to the Acropolis and it was interesting! The caryatids were my favorites.

And everywhere were small churches… so many…

This is a really short tour that I hope gives you a sense of what I saw :-). I’m glad I went, and I’m happy to be home. I learned so much that I can’t wait to use when I teach yoga :-).