One thing leads to another…

I spent 12 years with an admittedly fine sofa from Crate and Barrel. I loved the chocolate brown color, until I didn’t. CandB announced their annual sofa sale 2 weeks ago and I did a happy dance. Our new Petrie sofa is exactly the same as the old sofa except that it’s a little shorter, charcoal gray, firmer, and cleaner.

I have 2 midcentury modern arm chairs whose cushions were covered with a lovely brown print that I had also grown very tired of. They looked so bad with the gray sofa that I couldn’t put off recovering them.

Why is it that there are so few choices in upholstery fabric, especially if you don’t live in a big city? I could have shopped online but I wanted to see and feel the fabric. I was amazed that I found the perfect fabric at Hobby Lobby — and it was even on sale!

You know me and dots…

Just so you know, recovering cushions is not hard. You have the skills to do this. Use the old cushions as a guide and go for it!

I made the brown the cushions years ago and it wasn’t hard to use them as patterns for the new covers. The foam inserts did not need to be replaced. I spent a few hours carefully cutting all the pieces for 2 seat cushions and 2 chair backs.

And then I sewed. It took longer than I thought it would, partly because I made the covered cording too. My trusty BERNINA 1140 handled the many thicknesses of this thick fabric just fine. I love that machine!

I finished the last cushion just before the eclipse which, when you look at the fabric, felt perfect.

I bought more of this fabric than I needed. There’s probably at least a yard, but there are diagonal cuts from where I cut the bias for the cording. If you would like what I have left and are will to pay the postage, it’s yours :-). Email me at becky.pieceocake@gmail.com. The first person I hear from gets it. I’ll send you a PayPal invoice for the shipping.

Show and tell…

This cute quilt was made by Diane Pfeifley who sent me the photo and the story of her quilt. Isn’t is great!

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Diane said:

I saw your “Welcome to the North Pole” design book many years ago on “Simply Quilts.” When I saw the design of the buildings all I thought was Whoville. My niece loves Dr. Seuss so after many years of thinking about this project I finally was able to put it together. This project I hand appliquéd and hand quilted.

The snowflakes came on a Christmas card. I peeled them off and put them in my embellishment stash. They were perfect for Whoville. I used the design in the blue background to echo quilt. In some places it looks like a ski run. Not intentional. I used buttons for door knobs and shell belt buckles for the windows in the doors.

You might wonder why there are several wildcats tucked here and there. My niece’s husband is a graduate of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. So the wildcats are for him as is the Whocat Alumni Center with KSU on the building.

Your designs were so unique and fun. I really enjoyed making this, even though it took me years of thinking about it before it finally “gelled”. Truly enjoyed using your designs. Now I’m thinking I need to use these patterns to make me a Santa version.

Thanks so much for your unique designs.

I love it!

Kauai Road — done!

This quilt began with a photograph of a road in Hanalei, Hawaii. If you’ve been there, you know the place. I used Photoshop to generate a drawing.

I made a placement overlay with the bones of the design. I didn’t use templates — I cut fabric by eye and built the quilt on my design wall.

Here it is, unquilted…

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The quilting brings all the elements together; the quilting finishes the quilt.

I love this quilt, but Steve loves it more. It is hanging in our dining room on the wall he can see from his spot on the sofa. I suspect it’s going to stay on that wall for a long time.

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When your ironing board needs a facelift…

I’ve had this ironing board from Reliable for many years and I love it, except for one minor thing. Well, two minor things. #1: The piece that slides onto the end of the board to square it up wants to come off when I fold it up and carry it to the closet (which rarely happens). I have trained myself not to grab it by it’s end. #2: The covers that go with the board do not want to stay on and they get dirty. (The getting dirty part is my fault.)

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Yesterday I decided that I would re-cover the board in the easiest way I could think of. I left the old cover in place and cut 2 yards of a more neutral fabric and trimmed it about 8-10″ bigger than the board on all sides. (I didn’t measure, sigh.) I pressed a 3″ hem on each side and ran a length of nylon cord inside the hem, thinking that it was easier to sew it in place than it would be to insert it later. I made a cut in the casing at one narrow end for the cord ends to go through.

Once sewn, I ran the ends of the cord through a toggle, placed the fabric right side up on the ironing board, and cinched it down. I stood the board up on it’s end for easier access. As I looked at the bottom of the board, it occurred to me that I could wire the two parts of the ironing board together. Why didn’t I think of this years ago?

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It turns out that I started with way too much fabric, but it works, but it did not fit the board tightly. The old cover has elastic bands that hold it tight and I borrowed that idea. I cut more elastic and used safety pins to hold it in place. Seriously, who besides me (and you) is going to know that I did it the easy way?

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I had not realized until I made this change how distracting the blue cover was. This quieter color is much, much better.

And, in case you are wondering, I have made serious progress on the Kauai Road quilt, seen on the wall in the first photo. Here’s a snippet, quilted. I love this quilt!

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Join me at Empty Spools…

I am teaching a 5-day Independent Study class, March 19-24, during Session III of the Empty Spools Seminar. Empty Spools Seminars are held at Asilomar, a wonderful facility on the Monterey Peninsula. There are a variety of classes taught during each session.

In my independent study class you are free to work on anything, not just appliqué. Your project can be art or traditional, hand or machine sewn, pieced or appliquéd. Draft a new quilt from scratch or work from a pattern. I am there to help you with any questions or problems you might have. Click here and here to see what students did in my 2016 and 2015 Independent Study classes.

This is one of my favorite classes. The room is always happy and full of energy. Asilomar is one of the prettiest places on the planet. There are still some openings in this year’s class and I encourage you to join me :-). Click here to go to Empty Spools.

Independent Study Class - 2016

Independent Study Class – 2016

Quilt Market 2016, update #1…

I spent one full day at Quilt Market in Houston. I spent a little more than an hour looking at all of the quilts (which was not nearly long enough), I signed books in the C&T booth, and then I walked all of the 26 aisles looking for wonderful new things for the web site. It was full but exciting day!

The quilts in the show, and in the special exhibits, were phenomenal. Honestly it was hard to take it all in in the short time I had. I did stop to take photos of a few of the quilts that spoke to me. I was drawn to quilts featuring portraits and people in particular.

I only took photos where permitted. The quilts below are followed by the information from the artists.

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Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise (quilted by Sandra Bruce) and Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

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Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

Detail of Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

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Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Detail of Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Claire, below, was hanging in the judged show.

Claire by Sandra Bruce

Claire by Sandra Bruce

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The Blood Remembers by Sandy Curran

The Blood Remembers by Sandy Curran

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I’ve seen the next quilt before and I still love it!

Detail of Rollin' Hell For Leather by Peggy Hanson

Detail of Rollin’ Hell For Leather by Peggy Hanson

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Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

Detail of Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

Detail of Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

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I’ll post more images from the show tomorrow.