"summer"

Euroa Quilt Update

Euroa Quilt English Paper Piecing

And done.

Not the quilt, just the second row. It seems I am on track for one row a year as I started this quilt a little over two years ago. I haven’t quite worked up the energy to assemble the two rows together. More accurately, I haven’t found the time to clear the dining room table to do so because that is the only place I can do it.

This whole thing is sewn together via the flat back stitch. I love it! Unlike a whip stitch, which most of us seem to use for EPP, the stitches totally disappear with the flat back stitch. On the small scale it is no less portable than the whip stitch. I always have my sketch book with me so I tape my pieces together on then get right to stitching. On the large scale though, like when I have a mega block together or am assembling a row like this, I need to go back to my old stand by - the dining room table.

In time for summer I should have the two rows together and the next batch of blocks ready for work. Slow and steady on this project. I will say that finishing this row is motivation. Yes it is only row two out of five, but seeing it all together is exciting! It reminds me that my work is indeed getting me somewhere. One block at a time it seems interminably slow, but I am drinking in the process. Camping, road trips, and the odd lazy afternoon are coming up, perfect for a little more assembly. Probably by the time I get the third row done it will be dandelion season again!

5 Ways to Find Your Sewjo

Sewjo Cutting Table

Have you lost your sewjo?

So many people I know are feeling little to no desire to sew, let alone create. Whether it is personal circumstances (kids, parents, sickness, bills!), politics, drama, or simply the heat, sewing machines are sitting idle this summer. It is all totally normal. Yet I find so many folks feel the need to apologize for it, or worse, give up on sewing all together!

Remember people, this is a hobby. (Unless, of course you are an industry professional.) We are completely free to create or not create on our own time. Despite what our mothers or partners or kids might say, it isn't wasted space or time or even money if we don't sew for a little while. This isn't a gym membership where money is going down the drain when we don't go. The money's already been spent, so there is that. 

Maybe you go in an pet fabric? Or you scroll through Instagram, liking pictures of pretty quilts? Or you don't think about quilts at all as you lick that summer ice cream cone and wet your feet in a lake? It's all good.

Seriously, it doesn't matter. Sew or don't sew. You have your reasons.

Now all that being said, the last thing I want is people to give up on their creativity. If you are missing your sewjo and want to cultivate it or at least try and locate it, here are some helpful tips.

1. Turn off the phone and the news

Whether it is the state of the world or the feeling of inadequacy from social media, all they are doing is making you feel bad. It's totally okay to walk away from it for a bit. The world will keep spinning, posts will be posted, and the news isn't likely to change. Give yourself a break to create.

2. Create in response

Channel your feelings (anger, despair, or whatever) into a creation. It's okay to make an angry quilt. Embrace the process of doing so even more than the final project. Make a statement with your work, whatever that statement might be. (Great ideas here.)

3. Make something different

Try a different kind of creating. Whether that is pottery, painting, brush lettering, woodworking, garment making, or anything. Learning something new will get your neurons firing and your hands moving. 

4. Clean your sewing space

Or, at the very least, sort your scraps. Sometimes our spaces and the clutter overwhelms us. Usually the thought of cleaning is overwhelming too. Sorting your scraps  - I recommend the tips in Sunday Morning Quilts - does wonders for freeing up mental space. It can be very inspiring. Whether that inspiration takes you to your sewing machine or helps you find it remains to be seen.

5. Establish a habit of creative action

You know me, I love my Morning Make. Frankly, if I didn't have this habit - one I still consciously make - I wouldn't be sewing at all. Most days it is 15-20 minutes, some days I can get a whole hour. For me it is about committing to the dedicated time before anyone else demands my attention, like the kids or our business. It might be before bed for you, or at lunch, or post dog walk. Whatever works. The key to it is that creativity begets creativity. The creative act invites creativity. So if you are struggling, just get your butt in the seat and sew. Pick up an old project or sew scraps together mindlessly. You may not be interested in running a marathon right now, but it will be a lot easier to get back into training if you at least walk every day. 

Sorting Scraps Sewjo

Summer Play - Improvisational Piecing With Solids

Improv Piecing Solid Fabrics Cirrus Solids Robert Kaufman

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. We sew when we can.

The Improv triangle work started as a class sample. Then I liked it so much I kept playing. Still, I play. I set some parameters for the play. This is always a good thing to do, especially if you find Improv Piecing overwhelming. These are mine:

  • Two colour blocks, high contrast in value.
  • Only solids.
  • Fundamental construction revolves around the techniques I share in my Improv Triangles class.

I've invested in some more solids because my stash is minimal in that department. These are all a combination of Cloud 9 organic Cirrus Solids (so seriously dreamy) and Kona cottons. I work only 2 colours/1 block at a time. No rhyme or reason to my choices other than I think those two fabrics look fun together. 

Kids started summer vacation over the weekend. And we were going hard with activities until that Friday night. We are all totally pooped. The sum total of the sewing I've done (minus the quarter circles that got me on a tangent) in the last month is right there on my design wall. Hand sewing my Euroa quilt while still on pool decks and soccer pitches, and little Morning Make triangle bits slowly, ever so slowly adding up. Whether it is after dinner frisbee tossing or sewing triangles together, I'm having fun with this summer playtime.

Corn and Swiss Chard


There was a stirfry contest between myself, an elderly neighbour, and my three year old Evil Genius. I was losing. Taken down even in my dreams.

My stir fry was watery and being taken over by corn and swiss chard. A watery stir fry is unforgivable, but I won't apologize for the corn and swiss chard. It is a tremendous late summer/early fall confetti combination. Even if it meant that my kid beat me in a cooking contest.

The first time I made this it was with the first corn of the season because I wasn't sure the kids would be up to tackling corn on the cob. I've since been proven wrong, but this is also such a popular dish in the house that we've been having it at least once a week since the corn arrived. Technically, I've been having it twice because any leftovers serve as an excellent bed for poached eggs in the morning.

This has been an excellent dish to take advantage of our CSA chard, garlic, and herbs. When I combine it with some Noble Meadows goat feta and use Mighty Trio Organics Flax Oil instead of Olive Oil it makes a completely Alberta dish.

Corn, Swiss Chard, Feta, and Mint
Serves 4 as a side dish

3 cobs fresh corn (0r 1 cup frozen niblets)
1 bunch swiss chard
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Shuck the corn, being careful to remove the silks. Standing the corn straight up on a cutting board, slice off the kernels. Set aside.

Remove the center rib from the swiss chard. If they are thin or you chop them small, you can use them here. Otherwise, discard or set aside for another use. Roughly chop the leaves.

In a large frying pan with a lid toss the swiss chard with a generous pinch of salt and the water. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, covered. Uncover and add the corn. Toss well. Keep uncovered and cook for another 3-5 minutes until any remaining water is evaporated. Stir frequently. Add the oil and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Place in a serving dish and top with the feta and mint.