My pattern made the cover of Stitch!

I’ve never seen a more attractive cover model in all my life. (Except for the gratuitous airbrushing done around its cellulite. That needed some covering up!)

I felt like the process of making this pattern was so much work. It was even more so than the several others that I’ve done for Stitch. I had it all planned out, but the majority of work in constructing it fell during my holiday show season this past fall. Talk about being SO stressed out. The fabric took forever to get to me, and I wasn’t able to begin in until much later than I would have hoped. But, even so, it was a project that turned out even better than I had envisioned it when I first started. Getting to that point of being finished and pleased with the result just wasn’t as direct as I would have liked it to be.

On the cover!

So I think that’s what makes this feel so wonderful. Getting to the end result was tougher than I thought it would be, but sticking with it even when it drove me to tears was very much worth it.

Also, I’m sorry to those kids I scared in Barnes and Noble when I found this on the shelf. You’d jump up and down and pose in front of the rack if your pattern made the cover of your favorite magazine too, thankyouverymuch.

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!

Allison's Quilt

It feels really good to finish a quilt! Despite sewing my fingers sore over the past year, it had been since last March since I worked on a quilt. That was too long.

I spent a week after Christmas hanging out in my sewing room, going through my fabrics, and knowing that I wanted to start a quilt, but I just couldn’t put together in my mind what I wanted to make. I think I was overwhelmed.

Allison's Quilt

Then, after one day back at work (and feeling so frustrated that I hadn’t really done any sewing over my vacation) I knew what I wanted to make. The colors, the fabrics, the backing…I was so excited to get home and start.

It took me five days to make this quilt from start to finish. I’ve never finished a quilt so quickly before! And it turned out to be a perfect gift for my friend Allison. I’m ready to get started on another!

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.

Hey! You know what’s cool again??

and suddenly, I'm 10 again

Okay, so I don’t know if they’re cool with EVERYBODY, but they’re cool with me! I saw a post the other day on The Purl Bee, that featured old school macraméd friendship bracelets and I decided I had to make some immediately.

I can so clearly remember taking home the free, peel off instruction sheets on how to make the various bracelets from the Piece Goods Shop at the mall in about the 4th grade. I worked for hours on them, and would use my allowance to go back and buy more of the colorful floss to make more and more. I never really thought of it as doing a craft back then, but now I think about how these were part of my start in loving to make things for myself and other people.

Plus, they’re super fun. And I make way good ones. AND, if you’re my friend, I just might make you one!

mini quilt madness

I’m starting to learn that good things really do come in small packages. Even small quilts are really, really good. In fact, it’s as good or even almost more gratifying than a large quilt right now.

I’ve been wanting to do more quilting for a while now. The problem is, I never seem to finish what I start. I have more quilt projects than I’d like to discuss that are sitting in the unfinished pile that just sit and wait for me to have more time to commit to them. But when I have so much other sewing to work on (I have three upcoming, two day craft shows that kick off next weekend). I just can’t justify working on my bigger projects. And I SO want to.

mini log cabins

Instead of pulling out bigger projects, I’m starting small. I can still quilt, but I can finish a project in a day, or, even better, a few hours. I’m planning on taking them to my upcoming shows, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to try selling them or not. I just think they’ll look great hanging above my table.

mini robot plus quilt

Now, instead of people coming to my tent and then walking away and then thinking to theirselves, “oh, look at all the mediocre bags and pouches,” they’ll say “oh, look at all the mediocre bags and pouches AND QUILTS.” And then they’ll walk away without stopping.


quilt for nephew Vaughn's 1st birthday

If posting about a finished quilt three months after I finish it is somehow wrong…well, then I just don’t want to be right.

So, then.

quilt for nephew Vaughn's 1st birthday

Back in March, my nephew Vaughn, turned one. Ben made him a beautiful, cherry wood toy box, and I wanted to make him a small quilt to go along with it. I had picked up this Riley Blake fabric earlier in the year, but at the time, I had no idea what to do with it. It was just too cute to pass up.

quilt for nephew Vaughn's 1st birthday

It’s certainly nothing fancy. Strip quilts are about my least favorite kind of quilt–they seem like such a cop out, but I just really wanted to make something so that the fabric would really show. There’s a couple of big prints in the bunch, and I wanted to make sure that Vaughn could really pick out the cars. So, strip quilt it was.

quilt for nephew Vaughn's 1st birthday

The one thing I was please about was my second real attempt at free motion quilting. It’s still not perfect, by any means, but I think I did even better than on my Log Cabins In the Snow quilt. It felt more natural while I was sewing it, and I certainly wasn’t as stressed out about making mistakes this time. It makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable.


If I thought the few weeks of creative block was bad this past month, I had no idea what was to come. I was down for the count for a whole week of a stomach virus, complete with an itchy rash that kept me in bed for too, too long.

But finally today I’m feeling lots better, and I am READY to get back to sewing.

I’ve got a lot on my mind right now…I need to finish projects for people, craft shows must be applied to in the next several days….there’s loose ends to tie up everywhere. But after work today, I came home and worked again with those little fabric strips I was telling you about last time.

I don’t know how it’s possible, but those strips have pulled me out of my slump and I’m ready to make so much again. Tonight, I worked on a few pouches and journal covers and everything came together without stress. It’s the kind of feeling where you’re excited about the project of the moment, but you can’t help but think about the details of the next three projects as well.

I wish I had more photos to show you, but I promise there will be much more in the days to come. I’m so ready to get back to work.