25 Sep

Screeching Halt

So, I’m working on a new piece and it requires lots of 2.5″ squares. If anyone remembers making Watercolor Quilts at least a decade ago, the key to keeping all your little squares in order was to fuse them to a gridded backing, then fold between the rows or columns and sew. I’m doing the same, and I thought that it might be a good idea to go the extra step and cut those folds open so that I could press my seams open for less bulk.

Binary Back



Yuck! It looks so sloppy, and it was such a pain to press open without melting the interfacing. I only did four rows and then I decided that it was a bad idea and I’d take tidy bulk over less seam integrity and plain old ugly (even though it would be hidden inside the quilt and no one would ever see it).

Binary circle


On the other side a few circles got caught in the seams. With just a few horizontal seams sewn and the circles appliqu├ęd by hand, it will be easy to take off the offending circles and reposition them. But, the combination of the chopped circles and the sloppy back just ticked me off the night I sewed them and all of a sudden I completely lost momentum on the project. Silly, I know. At least I knew enough to walk away. I slept on it and things looked perfectly surmountable in the morning. I’m taking a short break to make a costume for my daughter (and loving that I can sew together a pretty profi looking skirt and blouse) and I will be back at the little squares soon with renewed enthusiasm.

13 Aug

Zeitgeist at the World Quilt Show



This is the weekend! See Zeitgeist in the cloth at

World Quilt Show New England

August 15 – 18
Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 10am 0 6pm
Sunday from 10am – 4pm

At the Radisson Center of New Hampshire
700 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101


There are lots of other special exhibits, and vendors at the show too.

Unfortunately, I’m not up for the long drive to get there, but hopefully some more notheasterly friends and family will go be my stunt doubles.

10 Jun


Take the Grumpy Cat internet meme, add the decorative style of schizophrenic Victorian cat illustrator Louis Wain, and make it into a quilt. What do you get? A humorous commentary on the contemporary American zeitgeist.

(click it to embiggen a bit)

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this yet here. I got all excited and put it on Facebook, but I guess I didn’t follow through here. So, it’s all done, and entered into the World Quilt Show at the New England Quilt Festival in New Hampshire in August. I’ll know in about 10 days if it’s accepted or not. If not, I’ll enter it into Art Quilt Elements. If it does get accepted, then I wait until the end of August to see if it wins the chance to travel one of the quilt show circuits. If it doesn’t, then again, I go the art quilt route. Right now though, I think I’m ready to send it to the Grumpy Cat people. I was going to wait until after I got notice from the quilt show just in case a juror reads their website and might be swayed, but now I’m thinking that since there are no rules as to having shown the work anywhere previously, I should just share now while I’m excited and the cat is hot.

18 Apr


Several years ago, I had a wonderful experience quilting a zig zag quilt top I purchased from fellow quilter Wanda, and gave to my daughter. She’s wrapped up in it with our cat right now.

Just recently, I wanted to make a quilt for my exchange student daughter’s Sweet 16, and zig zags seemed to fit the bill. Even starting this one from scratch, it was a pure pleasure to make.

Zig Zag!

I quilted each colorful stripe with variegated rainbow thread and it blended so perfectly no matter what colors were present.

Rainbow thread for the colored zig zags.

I used wool batting which was light and squishy and lovely to work with.
I love how squishy wool batting makes a quilt.

I received an adorable photo of my “hanai” (adopted in the heart) daughter looking all comfy snuggled in her new quilt, but I can’t get it to post here, so here’s my photo of it before it left home.

Finished Zig Zag quilt

06 Apr

30 Lines Quilt

The upside of avoidance is that while you are NOT doing one thing (redesigning your website), you probably ARE doing another thing.

Remember the 30 Lines in 30 Days exercise?

Remember the quilt I started to make based on one of my line studies?

Once the quilt was pieced, it needed a little adjustment to lie flat. At the time, that was enough to get me to avoid IT and move on to other projects, but now resewing a few seams seemed positively fun compared to web design. I’m also trying to attack that pile of unfinished projects so that when we move in two months I will have fewer pieces to pack.

Line quilt

Based on the woodgrain fabric, I quilted more wood grain into the solid fabrics.

Line quilt, detail

For a bit of contrast I also quilted “pebbles” in some areas, and I loosely interpreted the lines themselves in others.

The sketch and the resulting quilt

The finished quilt is 57 inches square and will most likely end up as a lap quilt somewhere in our home. I’m not really sure where yet where it will be most happy.

10 Mar

Crafturday (8) with Quilting

I spent my Crafturday piecing. I spent my Thursday and my Friday piecing too. I’m making a quilt for a special young lady who wanted something with a rainbow. So, I decided that a rainbow zig zag with “modern” fabrics would fit the bill. As luck would have it, I was even offered a sample pack of charm squares from Windham Fabrics that looked like they’d play well with what I had in mind.

Sample squares!

I cut 5″ squares from my stash and arranged them in rainbow-ish rows. I had lots of purply reds and greens to aquas, but not much in the way of pinks, sky blues, or blue purples and I needed more white and grey (I’ve actually heard that hard core modern quilters buy these by the bolt!). So I did a little shopping here and in Austin. Stitch Lab is a charming little shop that stocks not a comprehensive collection, but a very nice selection of fabrics that would appeal to the hip sewist, lovely wool felt and plenty of cheerful notions for projects like aprons and bags. But I digress.

Squares ready to start.

I paired one square of each color with a grey or white for the stripe above and one with a neutral for the stripe below and sewed the pairs on a diagonal to make half square triangle blocks.

The cool zig zags

Once laid out on the floor, I could refine my arrangements. The HST blocks definitely look different than the 5″ charm squares without the neutrals mixed in.

Some warm zig zags

Sewing the blocks in columns and rows is easy and it was fun to see the sections grow. The new Cabana Blooms play very nicely with my stash fabrics. And, of course, there’s a bunch of Kaffe Fasset Paperweight in there too (six colorways!). It never ceases to amaze me how well Kaffe fabrics blend with almost everything else.

An interesting aside, I could really feel a difference in weight between the Kona cottons, the Free Spirit and Moda fabrics, and the Windham and Westminster fabrics. For a well used quilt or handbag, I suspect the heavier Kona, Moda, and Free Spirit would last longer, but on the other hand, if I were making wearables, I’d much prefer the drapier Windham and Westminster. I had no problem using the various weights together though, and if a fabric had a color and pattern that I liked I wouldn’t not purchase it just because it’s base fabric wasn’t as thick as something else. It was just an interesting observation I could make because I was using quilting cottons from many sources.

Zig Zag for J

A couple of days collecting and cutting fabrics, and a good solid three days sewing, and I’ve got a quilt top finished!

Zig Zag for J

I think it looks awesome. Now I need to decide how I want to quilt it.

21 Jan

A Little Sewing Detour

It’s been non-stop sight-seeing and beach-bumming here since mid-December. I’ve actually got a bit of a tan now! But, alas, there’s not much actual quilting or art making going on. I took today to work on one of my in-progress pieces though.

I was on a roll with sewing tiny bits together and my bin of red scraps didn’t look too daunting after using what I needed for the “real” project, so I took a bit of a detour and sewed ALL my red scraps together.

I cut brick shapes that will eventually be a sibling to this quilt top which I made from neutral scraps about nine moths ago. The photo above shows today’s work in the center red pile, plus the few neutral bricks left over from the Achromatic quilt top, and purple and blue bricks previously sewn at a Saturday Bee. The crazy thing is that both the blue bin and the black and white bin have refilled with scraps enough to make as many bricks as the red pile! I think they must multiply in the dark. My green and my yellow bins are almost overflowing. I may need to take a big detour soon and whip them into tidy piles of bricks. For now though, the red scrap bin is empty of scraps. Ahhhhhh.

22 Nov

My Patchwork Class

Begining Quilting and Patchwork at Ho'ae'ae Park

Several times a year, I teach a beginning Patchwork class at my local park. The first class made a sampler quilt; the second a tote bag, pillow cover, and table runner; the third a paper pieced pineapple quilt; and this time, a tote and a baby quilt. My goal with these classes is to give my students some basic patchwork skills that they can expand upon in their own projects, and/or recognize in patterns, and so have the confidence to try the projects that appeal to them.

Jill is learning rotary cutting, and making liberated stars.

Class Project 2

Dez is playing with color. In the foreground is one of Jason’s stars.

Darlene is amazed at how effective the flocked backing of a vinyl table cloth is for laying out blocks and transporting them to and from class.

Trash Bin

And I learn too. With a scrap piece of paper and a little origami skills, a trash bin is always at hand. Kathleen whipped one of these up each day.

Our first project was a lined tote bag with a fused applique of a naupaka flower. The top one is Kathleen’s, to the right is Jason’s, front and center is Darlene’s, and the left one is my sample.

Here’s another Kathleen with her happy Hawai’i print tote.

Class Project 1

Deb made two totes, one for a friend, and the second with my very own Naupaka and Taro print fabrics from Spoonflower, complete with coconut button! I’m going to have to make one of those too.

Class Project 1

Kathleen T’s tote.

Class Project 1

And finally, Katie’s tote made from fabrics she bought in Paris on her summer vacation. Now she’s got a souvenir she can carry with her whenever she wants.

Class Project 2

Our second project was a Star Baby quilt. Fun, liberated stars, and a not-too-big size. Lynn says this top, with it’s puppy print, is for her dogs, but we all think it’s way too cute!

Class Project 2

Jill didn’t quite get her’s finished, but it’s well on it’s way.

Class Project 2

Barbara’s froggy print quilt is going to be extra snuggly since she’s replaced the backing and batting with fleece. We all learned that it’s important to leave a generous amount around the edges as the fleece likes to shift.

Class Project 2

Darlene was the first finished project. She wowed us with her serpentine quilting in metallic thread!

Class Project 2

Naomi fussy cut fabric with a Dresden Plate print for the star centers.

Class Project 2

Kathleen chose an aloha print for her star centers and built her other colors around it. Tying finished the quilt off quickly and now she’s got her very first finished quilt to enjoy.

Class Project 2

Kathleen T’s brightly saturated quilt looks like colorful fish in tropical waters. She even chose a fishy fabric for her backing.

Class Project 2

Katie (our third Kathleen) went for a tropical Christmas theme. She tried using a fancy snowflake embroidery on her machine for her quilting. Not convinced it worked so well on this project, she made a pillow from one star block and outlined it with the snowflakes for a much better effect. Note that Katie adapted the piano key border from the tote in a previous class for the border on this quilt. That’s exactly the kind of skills I want to instill in my students.

Class Project 2

Jason is another of my “advanced” students. He added a liberated half square triangle border, and a pieced backing. He said he loves this easy and affective star pattern and is planning on making star quilts for his whole family (but not necessarily all this year!).

Class Project 3

Since Darlene finished her quilt early, she made a bonus project, the Mod Log table runner. I’ve never seen a version of this I didn’t like, and Darlene’s is no exception. She used a single line of fabrics so everything coordinates perfectly, even though they were scraps from another project

We’re done for now, but everyone is excited to start up a new class on January 23rd. We’ll make the sampler quilt and add some more traditional blocks to our skill library.