Sew Outside

Sewing in the wild. Camping in Banff at Tunnel Mountain. We spent the cloudy day walking around Canmore and Banff. It had been a long drive the day before so The Viking and I needed a little down time before our big hike at Johnston Canyon the next day.

What are the chances? When pulling into a parking space I looked across the street to see a quilt shop/yarn and gift shop. The Sugar Pine company. Fun shop. Lots of great fabric. The Viking pointed out that all the collections had fat quarters nearby.

While in Banff we took a stroll down to Bow Falls then up to the Fairmont Hotel.

That night I was inspired by the mountains and broke out the sewing machine. The Canadian Rockies have so many layers and different textures. My idea jumped off there. First I cut strips of each fat quarter I brought with me. Next I used a charm pack of Kona Snow to sew strips onto then I joined 2 squares to make a mountain.

What a thrill!! To be able to run my machine outside next to the camp fire in the Canadian Rockies!!! I was super impressed with the Goal Zero Yeti 150 which had no problem powering the Singer Featherweight. The speed was normal and MJ felt like she was plugged into the wall at home. I am elated to report that you literally can sew outside anywhere your heart desires.

Opt Outside! Sew Outside! Sew in the Wild!!!

We did make it to Johnston Canyon the following day. Words can’t even describe just how amazing this hike was.

I’ll post video soon.

Follow on Instagram WhatGoesWith_What and Letyourselfgoadventure for more up to date posts.


Travel Sewing Kit

Traveling for a month? How does one travel for a month and NOT sew? That’s the question I kept asking myself. I need my creative outlet but I have a strong desire to travel and explore. Be Brave is my mantra for the year. But how could I take a sewing machine camping.

Lucky me… The Viking, my travel partner, has taken to quilting so it didn’t take much to convince him that little MJ [the featherweight] should be our travel buddy.

The big question, How do I power a sewing machine in the wild? On IG and Pinterest I see Van Lifer’s running their computers off grid. I watched a few YouTube videos of people powering various home appliances using solar power.  What about a sewing machine.  How much power did I really need? REI Summer sale had a cute little power generator on sale. Could it power my machine? No one seemed to know.

A featherweight sewing machine runs on about 50 watts of power. The Goal Zero Yeti 150 watt should power MJ. Right? Well, I couldn’t find that answer online. After some great conversations with the guys at REI, I purchased Sparky, 150 watts of power by Goal Zero. If it didn’t work I could always take it back. The Goal Zero Yeti 150 is a power generator. Basically it’s a power source that can be recharged using solar power, A/C outlet or charge as you go in the car. Ideally  I would prefer to have the solar panel. How cool would that be, sewing on the picnic table getting all my power from the sun! In reality, we’re car camping. Sparky will recharge in the car on the go.

I could barely sleep the night Sparky arrived. So small and adorable. I plugged sparky into the outlet to charge all night. The next morning I woke at about 5 am with such excitement to see if MJ would run on the 150 watts of power from Sparky.

The first surge of power thru MJ my Featherweight was incredible. She didn’t blink an eye! I felt no hesitation or difference in my machine running off grid. I read somewhere that starting a sewing machine with the needle down draws less power. Makes sense but didn’t seem to matter. The first day I sewed for about 1.5 hours and still had 80% of battery left. It works!!!!  After 2.5 hours the battery shows 60%. Success!!! Let the adventure begin.

Here is a list of my essentials

  • MJ – 1948 Singer Featherweight 221
  • Sparky – Goal Zero Yeti 150 Power Generator
  • small rotary cutter from Olfa
  • small cutting mat from Olfa
  • Aurifil Thread
  • Microtex needles from Schmetz
  • Wonder Clips
  • 10 Fat Quarters [must draw the line somewhere]
  • 2 Charm packs
  • Be Brave T-shirt from El Sage Designs

Of course there will be quilt shops on the road. The Viking and I can’t wait to explore those as well. I decided to limit our fabric to 10 fat quarters each. Restraint! I know… It will be hard.

I will be posting pics of actual sewing outdoors. Hope you will follow along to see where our adventure takes us and learn about sewing in the wild.

Happy travels!


Sister Quilts

2 quilts using some of the same fabrics and color scheme. The first Sister came about while I was still working at Pink Chalk Fabrics. It started with a charm pack from Amy Butler at the Portland Quilt Market in 2013. The Chalkettes visited the Colette studio where we met Sarai along with Amy and David Butler. I was a bit star struck.

Once the front was completed I thought I’d make my back more scrappy. I started playing with improve log cabins. Guess I got carried away. Pretty soon I had enough for another quilt. So the back became a front and the Sister Quilts were born.

The quilting on Sister 1 mirrors the circles in most of the Amy Butler fabics. I love the Martini’s from the classic Amy Butler Midwest Modern. In fact the circles look much like the Martini’s.

I tried a new quilt design on Sister 2 the log cabin. My thought was to mirror the square blocks. I’m quite pleased with how it came out. All of the quilting is done on my home machine. These days that’s the Bernina 830 Record that I found at a garage sale for $10. When I bought the machine it only had forward and reverse. A quick service fixed that right up. I have since replaced the brushes in the motor. I love the free motion on this machine.

Here are a few pictures of the backs.

And one more to finish off. I was staying at my folks log cabin by the lake watching their dog Brody. The perfect setting.

Happy 4th of July!!!


Log Cabin Challenge 2

Here is my 3rd quilt for the annual BIMQG challenge. This year the challenge is a log cabin design. In my previous post I showed my Mod Minni quilts. Here I have done a more traditional but improv log cabin.

I started with a basket of scraps in a pleasing color pallet most of which were left over from previous quilt blocks or recent sewing projects.

I really enjoy the freedom of improv piecing. My rules include… No measuring. No ironing. Just grab fabric and sew it into 1\4 log cabin blocks.

Once the blocks were made I filled in with some Kona Cotton Ash. My go to gray fabric. Again the fill in pieces were kept wonky.

I kept the quilting simple by mirroring the log cabin blocks.  The free motion quilting was done on my 1978 Bernina 830 Record which I found at a garage sale for $10.

You’ll notice there isn’t a binding on the quilt.  I sewed it right sides together with the backing then turned it thru the opening I left. I like the finish but I’m sure there must be an easier way to accomplish this same look.


For more Mini Quilt Challenge pics check out the BIMQG 

Enjoy and Happy Sewing!


Log Cabin Challenge

I  belong to the Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild that was started when I worked at Pink Chalk Fabrics. We have and annual mini quilt challenge. This year the challenge was to make a mini log cabin quilt. To get started I played around with some traditional blocks until inspiration hit. Once that happened I found myself obsessed and unable to stop making blocks.

This is my first mini quilt in process. I added pieces and cut the angles to make a retro block. The design and lay out was challenging. But so fun!

The finished block. Fun angles! Now for the quilting

Some times quilting works and sometimes it doesn’t. This is an example of when it didn’t work. I wasn’t happy with random stars and zig zags so I ripped.

Awe… that looks much better. I love how the quilting itself is like a log cabin block.

After making my Mod Minni I made another and then kept making log cabin blocks. I found I couldn’t stop myself. They are so fun to just sew and go.

Mod Minni #2

To see more log cabins from our guild here is a link to the BIMQG page.

I have another to share in the next blog post.

Happy sewing!




Lowlander Style – Design and Print your own fabric

I sold my vintage travel trailer or caravan, as they’re called in some places. Don’t worry I bought another one. The Lowlander was my travel buddy while the kids were small. We had some amazing family adventures on the coast. For Christmas I wanted to give the kids a momento of our vacation time in the 1969 Timberline Lowlander. Yes, there is a Midlander and a highlander but the Lowlander was home to us for 2 1/2 weeks each summer.

A friend suggested printing fabric with a picture of the trailer then making pillows for the kids. Enter Spoonflower. I had the original sales brochures which I scanned before selling the trailer. With a little photoshop magic I cropped and touched up those images. Uploaded them to Spoonflower and ordered fabric. All printed on Kona Cotton of course.

I found Spoonflower to be very user friendly. Saving your images as .jpg makes it very easy to upload and manipulate in their program. Once uploaded the size, scale, repeat and fabric can be adjusted. You can even print an 8 x 8 inch swatch for $5 to check color. I was too impatient to wait for swatches. My order included fat quarters, half yards and a yard of the larger images.

I have to admit I was quite impressed with the quality. The image printed beautifully with clean and crisp colors. The Lowlander pillows are so fun and happy!! The kids (they are quite grown up now) loved them. After the holidays I made one for my self, thinking I was going to put it in the new vintage trailer Lola but it hasn’t left the house yet. I love it. It’s my favorite pillow.

Check out that zipper. I’ve always done envelope type pillows but I am loving the zipper as a design element on the pillow. It really pulls out the red of the car.

Let Yourself Go in a Lowlander!!!


Mammoth Flannel and Upcycle Scarf

Mammoth Flannel Scarf

In the Northwest, flowers are starting to bloom, but it’s still winter. Sad but true. We still need to stay cozy and warm. The Mammoth Flannel Scarf was made using 1/2 yard of Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel and a soft old T-shirt with just the right shades of gray.

Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel

Cut the T-shirt off under the arms or at desired width. Cut the flannel to the same width plus 2 inches for the hem. Stitch a half inch hem on the top and bottom of the flannel. Top stitch the T-shirt fabric to the flannel leaving the edges raw..

Flannel Infinity Scarf

For a deconstructed look, leave the side seams on the T-shirt and leave the selvedge edge on the flannel. The flannel will fray a bit and the knit will roll without a hem but that just adds to the look. The scarf can get quite bulky so I did not add a twist.

The total length of my scarf measures 88 inches. At this length it can be worn double or triple looped. The T-shirt knit complements the soft flannel to make a warm and cozy scarf you can snuggle into.

Happy sewing!

Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio

Archer Button Up, Oh how I love thee!!! I count 4 ways so far. My latest in Mammoth Flannel Plaid, 2 using Chambray Union and one in Studio RK London Calling.

Archer Button Up in Mammoth Flannel

I would have to say the Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio is by far the most rewarding garment pattern to make. Yes, it’s a bit technical but each step leaves me feeling like I accomplished a magical feat. Each time, I make the Archer, I rely on the Grainline Studio Sew Along to get me through. Jen’s instructions are broken up into manageable sections that are easy to follow.

The plaid stripes are easy to aligned using Jen’s tutorial online. The center placket was cut on a slight bias for added interest. Truthfully – You don’t have to match those pesky stripes. Pocket? I may have been lazy that day. I’ll go back to add a pocket or two.

I added quite a bit to the length on this Archer. My goal was to wear it with leggings or skinny jeans which means I needed more of a tunic length.

Wish I had cut the yoke on the bias as well. I saw Jen’s tip after I finished sewing up the Archer. Next time…

The Mammoth Flannel is warm, comfy and super soft. At 6.4 oz per square yard it’s a bit heavier than the the 3.8 Chambray Union. Interfacing was used only on the cuffs. I felt they needed just a little added structure for folding the cuffs up.

To get the fit I like, here are the changes I continue to make to the pattern.
1 – Start with size 16 pattern, for bust measurement of 44 inches.
2 – Lengthen the hem line about 2 inches or more for tunic length.
3 – reduce the bulk in the sleeve by cutting the size 12 cuff and grade the sleeves down to match. (The armhole of the sleeve was left at the size of the shirt, size 16. I just tapered it down to a size 12 at the cuff.)

From Instagram #momselfie

I originally blogged about the Archer Button Up at Pink Chalk Studio. And for more info on the other two here is the link.

Happy New Year!


Fold over Clutch by Michelle Patterns

I had fun making the Michelle Patterns Fold Over Clutch to take to Quilt Market this fall. The style is simple and holds just the essentials. Mochi Linen from Moda was just the right weight for the exterior. I love the construction which allows for a fun feature fabric to be the accent down the center of the bag.

A light fusible interfacing was added to the interior fabric from Cotton + Steel XOXO in Chartreuse. The sassy pop of color in the zipper and lining plays well off the gray. FYI – An iPhone 4s fits perfectly in the exterior pocket.

I love the size and shape of the bag. I may tend to over stuff a small bag so, if I were to make it again I would add an inch to the height. The strap was added by cutting a 3 inch wide strip of Mochi, fold each side into the center then over again. Tabs were placed just above the line of the snap on the pocket. My strap is 49 inches long.

There are 2 sizes in the Fold Over Clutch. I chose the large size which measures 9.5″ x 10.5″ x 2″. I would definitely make this bag again. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out!

Happy sewing!