Hi. : )

As per usual, it’s been a little while. Okay, it’s been a long while. If you’re still reading, I’d like to give you a hug. HUG. Thanks for sticking with me.

I’ll do my best to catch you up. In the past 7-ish months of so, here’s what’s been going on at ye olde Hip to Piece Squares:

Yellow Door Art Market

By far, the most exciting thing for me was being picked to have my sewn goodies have a new home at the Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley, Michigan this spring. It’s a fabulous and well loved shop that has goods from about 60 Michigan artists on display, all the time. My spot is a cozy little green table near the register…just perfect!

Yellow Door Featured Artists

In March, I was Yellow Door’s featured artist of the week, and had a whole week dedicated to me and my work on their blog. I even had a spot in the store’s front window for the whole month. That may be the closest I ever come to being a celebrity.

back from the repair shop

In April, just as I was starting to get ready to start getting ready for summer shows and keep my table at the Yellow Door full, my sewing machine took a dive. I was without my machine for two whole weeks. I borrowed a friend’s machine, but it wasn’t the same. Thankfully, my machine feels like it’s in the best condition since it first came home.

crazy list

But while my machine was away, I went to crazy town and started making my patented, crazy lady, color coded lists. I actually lost it a little when I misplaced my orange pen (which was used to cross off checked items) and had to make a special trip to the store to buy one. Ben asked if I could just use another color, and I may have looked at him like he had two heads. OF COURSE NOT. ORANGE IS THE COLOR OF CROSSING OFF. I found my original orange pen two days later at work. Now I’m all set!

pouch stack

But all that crossing off with the orange pen meant that I got a lot done! I sewed what seemed like hundreds of bags and pouches this spring. Maybe it wasn’t hundreds, but it was a lot.

triangle pillows

Pillows were also on my to-do list this late this spring. I want to do patchwork projects, and they can be hard to fit in with my other sewing obligations sometimes. I’ve been in a half square triangle mood for the past few months, and I imagine it’ll continue. They’re just so much fun to piece and quilt.

Redford I-Art Festival

With the arrival of summer, also came my craft show season. I did A LOT of shows last year…12 total. I decided early on this year, and especially with the addition of the Yellow Door to my workload, that I would cut back, and only do my most favorite shows. This summer I participated in three shows, including Maker Faire Detroit and the Redford Michigan I-Art Festival. Great times were had at all, and now I’m looking forward to starting my fall shows.

Hudson is sleepy

The pets had a busy summer too. Hudson was a lousy guard dog most days at the sewing room door.

Audrey as a penguin

And Audrey pretended to be a penguin. They’ll have lots to tell their friends when they go back to school in two weeks. (Wait, that’s me. I go back to work at school in two weeks. Crap!)

Laura's wedding party!

I also was a bridesmade in my friend Laura’s wedding this summer! All four of us originally met at our now disbanded Brighton Modern Quilters group several years ago. The group might not have worked out as a whole, but I made some amazing friends there that I still continue to see and sew (or knit) with. It was a beautiful and fun (but hot!) weekend.

mistake pouch

One beautiful thing about 2012 so far is that I have felt so creative! I can’t fall asleep at night because I keep thinking of all of the things I want to make. New ideas don’t always work out, but on the whole, I feel like this has been one of the most creative years, ever. The discouraging thing is that I don’t physically have time to do it all, and that’s when I get frustrated. This pouch came out of an hour of pure sewing experimentation, and although I don’t think it’s quality enough to sell, it’s quality enough for me. Sometimes I like it when that happens, and I don’t feel bad keeping the items I make.

Chevron Pouch

So that, pretty much, is it for the past seven-ish months in a nutshell. Keeping this blog is by far, the toughest part for me. I love to write, I love to take pictures, and I LOVE to sew and make things, but it is SO hard for me to just say it. There are those who do it so much better than me, and it’s hard to compare yourself to that. But, I can look back over these notes and snapshots that I’ve taken over the years and know what I’ve accomplished for myself. I still have a long ways to go, and a lot more sewing to do.

no time to sit

It’s hard for me to believe how quickly this summer has flown by. I still have much to do before I go back to work for the year. Recently, I’ve been working on a few projects related to the blog and my Etsy shop.

those darn happy elephants

I guess the biggest project so far has been with my shop. Today is my 6th (!!) anniversary of my original Etsy shop. I suppose that in celebration of that, I finally made the decision to begin closing it. My new shop is pretty much exactly the same as the old, but I’ve changed my user name to “hiptopiecesquares.” I’m hoping that helps people find me a little better. I’d love it if you’d be willing to stop by and give it a little love.

I should mention, though, that I’m having a moving sale. All of what’s left in the old shop is 25% off, with the code Move11 at checkout. If you’re interested.

Also, I’ve been working here! Take a look at my new main page! All of the links aren’t working just yet, but they will be soon. I’m excited to finally have my own domain name too! Makes things feel a little more professional around here.

Finally, if you haven’t and have a Facebook account, you can “like” Hip To Piece Squares there too! I’m trying very hard to keep that updated as well.

Enough of all that! I’ll be back with a real post again soon.


Despite winter being AWFUL right now (the windchills were so low today we couldn’t even go out for recess today at school) it was finally sunny, all day long. It helped break up the monotony of what has felt like weeks of cold, gray depressing-ness.

I rushed home to take some natural light photographs in my warm kitchen so that I can begin listing the items that I have left over from my holiday shows in my Etsy shop this evening and through the weekend. I only got about 5 items photographed, but the sun felt so good through the window while it lasted.

I hope you too find warmth and color on this winter weekend. Happy Friday.

I know I talked a lot about it yesterday, but I thought I’d show you all the final version of my five (but now six, since it took me until this morning to finish the binding) day quilt.

scrap squares finished!

Introducing, Scrappy Squares!

quilted lines

I’ve got to say, that I was so nervous about putting this in the wash. I’m not typically a fabric prewasher, but I’ve been burned before with some of the red prints in this quilt. Instead of washing before I sewed them, I rinsed them in cold water after piecing, let them air dry until they were nearly dry, and then I ironed them with a hot iron. I was still pretty worried that I’d have some running, but it turned out great. I couldn’t have been happier.

(And after some thought about it, I decided to list Scrappy Squares in my Etsy shop.)

More selvage action, people! I love this stuff.

Oh selvage...

Does it step over the line a little when the reason for wanting to buy more fabric has changed from using the actual fabric (or at least stashing the actual fabric) to being solely about the selvage? Because I think I’ve gotten to that point.

Also, good news everyone! I have two days left of work until my summer break starts. I am so looking forward to spending more quality time with my sewing machine.

I just recently (within the last six months or so) figured out about paper piecing, and it has totally changed the way that I think about piecing now. I got started with a few little string piecing experiments, based on Film In the Fridge’s tutorial and loved how simple it was. I love how you can take just a sliver of fabric and make it look neat and tidy in a block. It made me think about piecing in a whole new way.

little blue square

So last night I got to thinking about how I could make it work for squares and small pieces. I know so many people have figured this out already and are thinking “duh, Sarah, duh,” but I was so excited about how precise a teeny three inch square could look! Seriously fantastic.

I want to make a whole quilt out of these lovely little blocks, but for last night, I made a very quilty pouch with my little blue square. I’m thinking that tonight I’ll make a little green square!

You know what’s super cool? How SO many people seemed to be genuinely excited about the hand quilting tutorial last week. It’s must have struck a deeper chord to me because it kicked my sewing mojo into gear. I want to sew everything now!


Despite my ongoing “Finish It or Pitch It” campaign (two quilts finished this spring!) I broke down and started some new things for my shop. When I updated last week, all three of my selvage pouches sold (thank you!!), so I figured that I’d make some more.

This has resulted in me losing my mind. I want to cut selvage for days, then refold my fabric and find interesting ways to stack it. My mild OCD is shining through the Internet like a beacon of light for all of you to see. I am crazy.


My mind is buzzing with activity. I want to sew (and cut) and sew and sew. I love that feeling.

I made some things

So, I just thought I’d mention that I updated my Etsy shop this week. I haven’t been making a while lot of new bags, but I did finally take photos of a few things that I made back over the winter. My favorites are probably the selvage edge pouches, but that’s just because I’ve been hoarding those edges for so long (and although it kinda made me cry to use them, I love the end result so much that it’s worth it).
So anyway, if you’re interested, I’d be delighted if you stopped by and took a look at what I have. Thank you!

Who’s tired of looking at my dorky face? How about some pillows instead? Would that make you all happy?

pink pillows

I was asked to make these for a custom order this past week. She wanted them done the same way that I make my patchwork totes. I hadn’t really thought to make pillows like this before (duh) but I like them way better than the log cabin style ones that I’ve made before. I think I may make a few more like these in other colors.

pillow #1

I’ve also been taking pictures like it’s going out of style because I bought a new camera. The new Nikon D60 and I are joined at the hip. It’s a fabulous camera, and I still don’t know how to use it all. Hopefully there will be many, many quality photos to show off in the coming days.

I know that it seems like I’ve yet again, abandoned the blog, but alas, I am here. Sewing my brains out!

Green Journal

I’m getting ready for a show next weekend, and these are the latest edition to my goods that I’ll be bringing along with me. Journals! For as much as I’m obsessive compulsive about writing everything down, these have been perfect for me to make. Once I fill up one notebook, I can slide it out and put a new one in.

yellow and gray

I’ve been using different colors of linen to line the outside, with three pieces of cotton to make it all pretty-like. I’ve also found a bit sturdier of an iron on interfacing that seems to work really well. I’m not sure of the name; so far I’ve been able to pick it out based on feel.
**Side note: Am I the only one who does that with interfacing? All the women at the craft stores don’t believe me when I ask for other interfacing than what they have on display, and they’ll tell me, “Oh honey, these are the only kinds they make. I’m sure one of these are what you need.” And I’m all like “no, I can tell the difference by touch, and this isn’t the same interfacing you had last month when I was in the store. I swear there’s a conspiracy.

inside the notebook

So, these, along with oodles of pouches and bags and other sewing have been keeping me busy this month. Next Saturday I’ll be back in Ypsilanti, Michigan for the Summer Shadow Art Fair at the Corner Brewery. It’s always a really fun day, so if you’re in the area, stop by, look at crafts and have a beer! (You’ll have to buy your own, though.)