IMG 9253 1024x768 Favorite Things: The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go

The mountains are calling and I must go. ~John Muir

I love this shot of my son by my husband–more than anyone, my 8 year old loves being in and exploring nature. I can certainly sympathize with John Muir–the grandeur, wildness, and beauty of the Wasatch Range are something to behold.

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We have spent most of the last three months finding and then fixing up our “new” house (more on that another day) and spending time with family. In a lot of ways, the last three months have felt like a very long vacation, and a work until you drop every night experience, rolled into one.  FullSizeRender 5 1024x1019 Favorite Things: The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go

We have taken a few opportunities (although not as many as we would have liked) to explore a few nearby canyons and trails–my kids more than any of us, thanks to grandparents and my husband.

IMG 8873 1024x768 Favorite Things: The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go

I thought I would share a few photos of some of the beautiful places nearby–Big Cottonwood Canyon. Snowbird. Little Cottonwood Canyon. Millcreek Canyon. Guardsman Pass. Emigration Canyon. Grandeur Peak Trail (not all pictured, but all explored).

And if you are surprised how green everything is, and doing a double take, yes this is Salt Lake City and not Portland! I think we had more rain last month here than we did in Portland–totally unheard of.

IMG 9008 1024x1024 Favorite Things: The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go

It has been nice to explore.


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IMG 1196 1024x1024 Something New: Not Your Mamas Bee

Something new: a few months ago, a group of my sewing friends started a virtual quilting bee with a twist–involving our kids! When Faith and Lee told me about it, I thought it would be a lot of fun. I always have intentions of sewing with my kids, but it can require a lot of patience. I’m so lucky that with our new move, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (who also live in Salt Lake City) have involved my kids in so many sewing projects! Doll clothes! Hand sewn doll backpacks! It is really quite impressive.

The bee, cleverly named Not Your Mama’s Bee by Jen, works similar to other bees. Each month, one of the kids gets to pick a block, and the other 11 (or a few more, in this case) make her or him a block! They rotate months, and both of my kids are participating, although we only finished one block. The kids in the bee range from about 5 to 9 years old, so some of them have a little more help with the cutting and ironing than others.

IMG 1182 Something New: Not Your Mamas Bee

June is the first month, and Lee’s daughter requested rainbow + kitty blocks.  I let my kids pick through my small stash (small only because the rest is still in storage… and it consists of pretty new Laura Gunn Painters Canvas colors and Folk Song by Anna Maria Horner) and I think my 5 year old did a great job with the rainbow requirement.

I have to say, it was a lot of fun to sew with the kids with an achievable goal in mind! And hey. It’s about the only time the sewing machine has been used in the last 3 months, so that was exciting too.

We move into our new house next week, and I couldn’t be happier! Hurray for progress.

Posted in Sewing + Friends, Sewn | Tagged , , , | 3 Responses

IMG 05431 Vintage Quilt Sundays: A Lone Star Quilt

After a year long hiatus, please join me in celebrating YOUR vintage quilts! Last year, I wrote 12 posts as part of a series I called Vintage Quilt Sundays. Today I am back and have some really great quilts and stories to share with you over the next few months.

I wanted to start with an especially beautiful quilt, sent to me by Kathy Dryburgh.

This is a quilt made by my great- grandmother almost 100 years ago.  There is an extra point in the Lone Star pattern and don’t know why. When I was little, I used to sit with her in her bedroom as she quilted on her frame. She would tell me stories of growing up in the mountains of PA. She died at age 97. I was 22 and expecting our first child. I made myself maternity tops, and she hemmed them. Her stitches were perfect.

IMG 0543 1024x956 Vintage Quilt Sundays: A Lone Star Quilt

Does anyone have an ideas of why this particular quilt would have an extra point? I have always liked the extra little chevron shape every few diamonds, radiating from the center of the lone star. I also liked the diamond border at the bottom. Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy.

IMG 0545 684x1024 Vintage Quilt Sundays: A Lone Star Quilt
About Vintage Quilt Sundays:

If you are interested in sharing a favorite vintage quilt (and a story behind it if you have one), please send me an email at swimbikequilt at gmail dot com and attach a picture of the quilt/sketch of the story. I would love to ask a few questions about the quilt, and of course, I won’t share any photos you send without your written permission. You can also send me an email through the contact me button/envelope. located on my sidebar to the right.

Quilt Photographs: Please take clear, well lighted photos of your quilts. Please include a full shot, as well as 1-4 detail or styled shots. Quilt usually photograph best in natural light–outside on an overcast day, or in a room with lots of natural light (and during the day) thanks! 

If you know of someone who has a great quilt they might be willing to share photos of, please send me an email as well and I can contact them. Quilts can be appliqued, pieced, embroidered, etc., and don’t have to be “family” quilts.


#1: Tricia’s Joseph’s Coat Quilt shared by Tricia Martin
#2 Heirloom Quilt shared by Katie Bowlby from Katie’s Korner
#3 Great Grandmother Diantha’s Quilt (shared by me)
#4 Log Cabin Quilt from Rebecca Verna Birchell shared by Heather Ashby
#5 A Family Quilt Auction in Kentucky shared by Joni Morgan from Sunday Farming Quilter
#6 Irish Chain shared by Marti Dyer-Allison from 52 Quilts
#7 “Crazy Quilt” from Cathy Winer
#8 “Picnic Quilt” from Jennifer Barnes
#9 Cathedral Window Quilt from Robin Fonville
#10 Double Wedding Ring Quilt from Kacey Platky from Little House in Vine Crest Woods
#11  Amber’s Vintage Dresden Quilt
#12 Honeybee Quilt from Linda Fasules of I Finally Have Time
#13 Lone Star Quilt from Kathy Dryburgh

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The Paper Pieced Home jacket art 849x1024 The Paper Pieced Home Review + Giveaway

I recently received a review copy of Penny Layman’s The Paper-Pieced Home from Interweave/F+W. I’ve really enjoyed reading through the book (in between packing and moving), and chose to make the Layer Cake Block (block #4). I don’t have a lot of sewing time right now, and I’m also not great at decorating and celebrating holidays. I thought it would be fun to turn the Layer Cake Block into a mini-quilt or table topper for birthday celebrations! I picked fabrics, printed the pattern, and it is waiting for me as soon as I can unpack my sewing machine!

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The Paper-Pieced Home Details

Title: The Paper-Pieced Home: Quilting a Household One Block at a Time
Author: Penny Layman, author of Sew Take A Hike
Softcover, 135 pages, published by Interweave/F+W
List Price: $26.99

Why I Would Recommend a Friend Take a Look
If paper-piecing is your thing, or you want to learn to paper piece, this is a great book for you. The patterns (included on a CD that comes with the book!) range from fairly simple to quite complex. If you like a retro/modern vibe, you will love the quilt blocks in this book.

The book is well designed–the layout and font are easy to follow/read, and it is a beautiful book. I appreciate that there is a full color picture of each of the 40 blocks, as well as styled shots of the 10 additional projects.

The first (12 page) chapter is an introduction to paper-piecing–Penny suggests tools, walks you through a well illustrated lesson on how to paper piece, and offers a lot of hints, tips, and tricks, on everything from fabric selection to pressing your blocks. I have been meaning to buy a seam roller for years, and finally did thanks to this chapter.

The second (10 page) chapter covers things that are beyond the basics–fussy cutting, y-seams, embroidery, appliqué, etc. I thought this was a helpful inclusion.

Screen Shot 2015 03 12 at 10.40.28 PM The Paper Pieced Home Review + GiveawayThe remaining chapters are titled Kitchy Kitchen, Wear It!, Retro Home (don’t you love the couch!), Create & Organize, Playtime, and Get Outdoors! Each chapter has multiple projects using one or more of the blocks.

The last few pages include Resources and Selected Templates.

Clear Instructions and Illustrations
I made (started) the layer cake block, which is one of the more time intensive paper pieced blocks. I found the instructions to be clear and easy to follow, although I am an experienced paper piecer. If you are a beginner, I suggest trying a block like Watermelon Slice (#39) first.


Screen Shot 2015 03 12 at 11.19.07 PM The Paper Pieced Home Review + Giveaway

Each chapter includes a few projects that you can make with a block from that chapter (or any chapter, really). Sometimes it is difficult to decide what to do with a solo block–the book includes instructions for making hot pads, a grocery tote (shown here using the Fruit Bowl block), a trio of pillows,  and a baby quilt, among other things.

Attention to Detail
If you are familiar with Penny’s work, you will know she has a distinct style, and pays attention to details. I think what I liked most about this book was seeing the different fabrics she chose for each block. You can tell she really thinks about scale, pattern, directional prints, etc. I am not always a deliberate quilter–the complexity of many of these patterns means I wanted to be a bit more deliberate in my choices.

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I Wish the Book Included
The Paper-Pieced Home includes fabric requirements to make each block, for example, 6” of the yellow solid for the cake frosting (totally made up the specifics). The book does not include directions for what size to cut each piece (so it doesn’t say cut a 2″ x 2″ square for  A1). This isn’t a deal breaker–it isn’t that difficult to cut things to size based on looking at the pattern, especially since you aren’t typically making 30 identical blocks–but it would have been a nice inclusion. Having written a book, I know that often times these things are the publisher’s decision.

I make a lot of things for other people. This book made me want to sit down and make something for me! At some point in the near future, I’m definitely making the claw foot tub block–we have had one in our Portland house and we loved it.

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Giveaway/Are you interested in seeing more?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Paper-Pieced Home (in the US) or an electronic version (outside the US).
You can leave any comment for a chance to win, or if you want, leave a comment with your favorite home organization tip. With two big moves in less than 9 months, I can use the all the help I can get!

Visit one (or all!) of the stops on the blog tour for the Paper-Pieced Home below:

3/16       McCall’s Quilting / Sewing Machine Block
3/17       Love of Quilting / Review
3/17       Sandi Sawa Hazlewood  of Crafty Planner / Watering Can Block
3/18       Quilty Pleasure (Quiltmaker blog) / Review
3/18       Imagine Gnats / Rotary Phone Block
3/20       Verykerryberry / Lion Block
3/21       Artisania / Cast-Iron Skillet Block
3/23       Where the Orchids Grow / Lamp Block
3/24       Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt / Layer Cake Block
3/24       House on Hill Road / Oven Mitt Block
3/24       Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced / BBQ Grill Block
3/26       Pink Penguin / Allie-Gator Block
3/26       A Happy Stitch / Giraffe Block
3/27       Bijou Lovely / Jar Block
3/27       Two Little Banshees / Saucepan Bloc
3/27       Charise Creates / Espresso Mug Block
3/30       Karen Lewis Textiles / Couch Block
3/31       Poppyprint / Clawfoot Tub Block
3/31       One Shabby Chick / Stack of Books Block
3/31       During Quiet Time / Sleeveless Dress Block
4/06       Pat Sloan The Voice of Quilting / Author Podcast Interview

The Paper-Pieced Home: Quilting a Household One Block at a Time
By Penny Layman
Interweave/F+W; $26.99

Posted in Sewing + Friends, Sewn | Tagged , , , , | 101 Responses
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