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.

I’ve been published in the Spring 2012 issue of Stitch Magazine!

spring 2012 stitch

At the advice of some wonderfully sewy friends, I decided to submit my Patchwork Lunch Sack pattern to Interweave Press’ Stitch Magazine last summer. Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes of actually hearing anything back from them, but to my surprise, they accepted my pattern! Talk about being excited!

my published pattern!

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the new issue, and I couldn’t be any happier. It’s a beautiful issue, with lots of really great projects. And I seriously think that my bag looks better than I could have ever made it look on my own–the styling is fantastic. I am truly on Cloud 9.

it's me!

So, I definitely need to thank some wonderful friends for convincing me to take this step and do this. Andrea, Laura and Rebekah–thank you for believing in me!

Conversation tonight with Ben on our walk:

Me: “….I like it because it’s patchwork-y.”

Ben: “Do they work at State Farm?”

Me: “????”

Ben: “Pat Schwirkey. It just sounds like someone who probably sells insurance at State Farm.

Me: “YES! That’s totally my new alter ego!”

So yeah. Here’s something patchwork-y made by the very un-insurance selling Pat Schwirkey.


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.

on the board


I’m not sure what the problem was, but I was in a funk on Sunday. The previous day I had some trouble with the lunch sacks that I’ve been working on, and it landed me in a grumpy, un-creative mood all day. I tried so hard to pull myself out of it, but things were just not meant to be. I needed a little break.

fold over clutch

I finally managed to pull it together late in the day and I put this little fold over clutch together–not perfect, but a decent first try. I bought the pattern from Keyka Lou and although I think it’s a well written pattern, I’m just not sold on the usefulness of it. Do people really carry clutches? I’m not sure if I could classify myself as a clutch-carrier. I thought they’d look really cute all patchworked-out, but I’m not sure if it’s worth my time to make more. I’m just feeling lukewarm about it.


So although I’m not feeling so grumpy, I feel like my inspiration is still dwindling. I know the deadlines for spring shows are just around the corner and I’m trying to get a jump on having things made.

Is it the cold weather that’s making me feel so sluggish? I’m wishing for spring warmth to sneak in and melt my frozen bones.


…home from work, Friday afternoon. A sunny sewing room. No other plans for the weekend other than to spend my time here.

Happiness is making things. Sometimes it makes me so happy that I can’t even believe it.

Happy Friday, Friends.


Hurray for a snow day!

2.2.11 Chocolate with sprinkles

We got a lot of snow and even more wind last night up through mid-day today. It’s hard to tell how much we really got since it blew around so much, but I think it’s a safe guess at around a foot. Not quite as much as the weather people were calling for, but it’s certainly more than we’ve had all winter.

up to my calves

As much as I had wanted to do today on my day off, I ended up doing a lot of snoozing and movie watching to try to knock out my cold instead. Hudson and I did make it out to play in the snow together this afternoon and I was glad for that. I’ll have another shot to make a day off worth it in the sewing room tomorrow–I’ve already received my phone call letting me know that school is called off for tomorrow too!


I seem to be hit by my first winter cold this season, and I’m showing it. Despite big plans, Saturday’s biggest accomplishment was going out for a walk with Ben and Hudson. Early evening found me surrounded by handwork and other projects on the couch, but instead, I spent my time with my head back, snoring.

Today though, I figured if I could sit while I sewed, instead of standing at my work table, I’d probably be able to get more done. I dragged out my machine to the kitchen, made a pot of tea and actually got a few things done. It wasn’t the sewing blow-out that I had hoped for, but I’m okay with that for now.

snow watch

I can’t help but be a little excited too–they’re calling for up to a foot of snow here by Wednesday. Let’s just say that the adults at school wouldn’t mind a little mid-week snow day…possibly even more so than the kids would. My fingers are already crossed.


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.

It’s hard to find reliable help these days.

helper #1

It seems like everyone wants to walk all over you. And stand in the middle of where you’re trying to bind a quilt at.

helper #2

And if they’re not walking all over you, then they’re laying on your legs so that you can’t move. Then your feet fall asleep, and then it’s your legs and up to your rump, and then you’ve become so disabled that you can’t quilt anymore.

(That’s 120 pounds of brown dog right there.)

Binding on quilt #2 of 2011 is almost done. I hope to have finished pictures to post tomorrow!