Back in the Saddle

You know what they say happens when you’re busy making other plans? The baby has a sleep regression, you have an unexpected surgery followed by a major illness, the husband has to work out of town so you scramble to take care of things on your own, travel plans get rearranged (and re-rearranged), and, unfortunately, not much sewing or blogging happens. Passion, creativity, and self-confidence all wane.

That’s how the saying goes, right?

I wish I had pushed myself to write a bit more over the past few weeks. I’m not sure (because, are we ever?) but I think I’m making it to the other side of this period of chaos. I have some posts planned (and many quilt ideas swirling about!) and hope to get to them soon. First this one, just to talk myself into getting back on the horse.

As a tiny and non-quilt-related delight, I’ll wrap with this: I’ve fallen back in love with a childhood favorite: black-eyed Susan cookies. I’ve also seen them called brown-eyed Susans, fudge thumbprints, and just Susan cookies. One of the fun things about having a hectic month is that we did lots of store-bought food. My two nearest groceries each sell a version of this cookie.

The one on the left has the perfect cookie texture and taste, but is a bit big. The one on the right has the perfect fudge and cookie to fudge ratio, but the cookie is a bit dry. I’m itching to find enough time to test out this recipe and see if I can strike a perfect balance between the two. Because cookies are what happens in my world when life tries to make other plans for me.





16-Patch Tutorial

16-Patch Tutorial from Beth McQ on Vimeo.

It’s Amateur Hour* here at Plaid & Paisley! Why should the blind not lead the blind? If you can’t do, teach! This is a¬†very basic tutorial I put together for my mother-in-law, who is a talented and experienced sewist of clothes, but has never quilted and wants to learn. I go over the basics of making a 16-patch block, something I had never done until making this video — and my inexperience shows in the final block. It’s OK, but slightly under-sized (UGH PERFECT SEAM ALLOWANCES WHY DO ARE YOU SO ELUSIVE), so I won’t use it for the final quilt, but it should do to get Ev started on her squares. Which I expect to be perfect. See: many years of experience sewing. Also: math teacher.

*Keepin’ it real: every hour is amateur hour here at Plaid & Paisley! Did you see I missed a key step? I think it’s easy enough to figure out, but I did not include the step of sewing the first checked strips into pairs.

Sophomore Week Slump

It was a silent second week here on the Plaid and Paisley blog. This was not by design. It was just one of those weeks that takes it out of you. A smattering of what happened last week: baby gave up naps, we parents started sleep training, sister ended up in ICU (is OK-ish now), I got some devastating professional news pertaining to the work I did prior to having a baby, the air conditioner went out, the fridge/freezer died leaving us without fresh food and putting all my breast milk stash in peril, my chronic neck/shoulder strain¬†escalated to the point that my physical therapist said it’s the worst she’s seen and I should be in traction three times a week, the HVAC repair guys showed up unannounced during one of baby’s only naps and woke him up, husband got frustrating professional news, and I dropped my phone and it shattered.

So. That was some of last week!

I guess blog etiquette says you aren’t supposed to blog about anything personal at least until the point where you have a well-established fan base and readership. Oops. I am not so good at etiquette, though I prefer to reframe that as keeping things real. I do not really expect anyone to read this post, but I appreciate when the quilt bloggers I follow keep it real, so here I am, in my quiet little corner of the internet, doing what I do, thankful that sometimes babies do nap and broken things can be repaired or replaced and people do get better and when all else fails, there’s a husband who will binge-watch Girls with me over beer and pizza. And there are cats.


Most Amateur Quilter Ever to Start Blog

I’m trying to #humblebrag, but I’m afraid I’m doing it wrong. Here are the things I know:

  • Making quilts is challenging, but I love a good challenge.
  • I love colors, design, and pattern within quilts.
  • I value diversity in quilting. It’s important who makes the quilts and the stories they tell. I think it’s important to appreciate stories of the past and other cultures, but to continue make sure we tell our own story.
  • This doesn’t mean I don’t copy the greats. But I try to mostly copy those who encourage copying, or the standards that are so standard they don’t belong to anyone anymore. All quilting is copying, really.
  • So far, I’m better at thinking about quilts than actually making them.

That’s it for now!