26 Sep

Quilting Arts!


The October/November issue is in stores now, and I have not one, but two pieces in it! QA gave Dinner@8 Artists a nice write up and features seven of the 33 pieces in the show. My Selfie was one of the seven. I’m pleased that they included a detail photo as well as the overall piece since my quilt is so much about the myriad fabrics that make it up. I went to the framing store to pick up some artwork today, and one of the ladies there is also a fiber artist. She had already read this issue of QA and recognized my work. We talked about the piece a bit, and she hadn’t realized that it included a square from every fabric in my stash. I was VERY brief with my statement, so maybe I should have written more. Or maybe all those fabrics will be a secret to uncover while enjoying the patchwork.


The exhibit will debut at the Houston quilt show in October/November. I plan on going with my friend Deborah and am looking forward to not only talking to people about the show, but meeting other quilt artists whose work I admire. I love putting names to faces, so if you’re going to Houston too, let me know.

As an extra added bonus, one of the “Breast Pockets” I made for Melanie Testa’s project is featured in the magazine too (as are pockets by friends Natalya and Vivien)


And if that’s not enough, yet another friend, Lorie, is a featured artist in the same issue! Obviously, this issue is a must-buy, collectors item.

25 Aug

Hello Oregon

Hello Mt Hood.

I’ve been to Oregon and back. One of my Army Wife aprons was part of a fantastic show at Hap Gallery in Portland and I wanted to go to the opening reception. I was also curious about the new Quilt!Knit!Stitch! show organized by IQF as a replacement for their Long Beach, CA quilt show. The two events were a week apart and I wasn’t sure I could justify going to one let alone both. But… our family will be moving next summer — to the location of our choice — and the Willamette Valley in Oregon tops our list. So off I went to satisfy my artistic curiosity and to do some location scouting for our next home.


Terry's Studio
This was my temporary home for the first half of the trip. I stayed with my “Quilt Aunt,” Terry Grant and this is her fantastic little studio/guest bedroom. We had a wonderful visit talking about our art and goals. She was kind enough to drive me around Beaverton so I could get a feel for the area, and in my investigation of potential schools for my kids, Terry got to know more about area high schools than she ever wanted to know!


Unraveling, by Kristin La Flamme
Together, we enjoyed Portland’s happening First Thursday and went to a reception for Columbia Fiber Arts Guild in which my friends Terry and Gerrie both had artwork, and to “my” reception at Hap Gallery. Fail/Safe is a fabulous show, thoughtfully curated by Marci Rae McDade and reviewed positively in Willamette Week and The Oregonian. I am honored to have been a part of the show, and especially chuffed since this was the first time someone had come to me to ask for specific art to put in a show. I wish I had taken photos of this gem of a show to share, but I just soaked it up instead. Afterwards, Terry, her husband Ray, and I went out to dinner. Lovely evening.


I've Been Framed
On another day Terry took me to I’ve Been Framed, and electing framing and art supply store on the opposite side of Portland. It’s a warren of papers and paints and who knows what else. We both found treasures we did and didn’t know we needed.


Three days were with my mom, exploring the corridor between Portland and Eugene. I discovered that I’m not at all interested in living in a town smaller than Corvallis (about 55,000 pop) and that I appreciate the influence a large college or university can have on a place like Charlottesville where we live now, and on Corvallis and Eugene, but not necessarily Salem. However, Salem has a fantastic quilt shop!

Guard Frog
Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest is a wonderful place, owned by the same family for three generations. It’s up for sale and I wish I was the right person to buy it. It’s a local fixture though and the right person will come along. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and the stock is fresh and interesting. They have a huge range of patterns and books and activities to engage all levels and interests. I broke my nearly year-long vow not to buy any new off-the-bolt fabric and came home with yardage for several projects. Being a forest, Greenbaum’s has a “frog pond” and when you stack up your fabric for consideration a frog guards it so no one else accidentally returns your bolts to the shelves. Adorable.


Woven hangings and stalactites
Back in Eugene, my mom and I stopped at the Eugene Textile Center which I was happy to see is going strong. It is focused mainly on weaving, but stocks other yarn goodness as well. They’ve also got a small gallery which is currently hung with weavings and these subtle stalactites which I quite liked. I’m sorry that I didn’t take note of the artists names.


The latter half of my trip was spent near downtown Portland at “The Congdo” with my quilt mom Gerrie Congdon. One afternoon I walked myself down to the Alphabet and Pearl neighborhoods. I decided that I wouldn’t want to live there, but I would very much like to be close enough to visit often! In my walk, I came across Cargo which I immediately recognized as a must-stop in any Portland visit. It was a trove of color and texture.


Small Medium Large


Nesting Tables



At Quilt!Knit!Stitch! in Portland, OR 2014
The end of my trip had Gerrie and I at the Quilt!Knit!Stitch! show volunteering at the SAQA exhibit area. I quite enjoyed the show. It was similar to the Festival in Houston, but not nearly as large and overwhelming. There’s lots of room for improvement, especially in attendance and inclusion of local talent, but I think that comes with time and the show will definitely be back next year. I’m excited to see how it evolves.


At Quilt!Knit!Stitch! in Portland, OR 2014
Click on any of the photos to go to my Flickr stream where I have more pictures of individual quilts and exhibits that I enjoyed.

Thank you Oregon, it was a great trip! Perhaps next year I will be attending QKS as a local.

08 Nov


I feel like I used to be pretty good at machine quilting. Nothing fancy, and my stitches weren’t always even, but at least the fronts looked good and the backs of my quilts were smooth.


Lately, I’ve been getting this and it’s ticking me off. The only real change is that I used to use cotton batting and now I’m trying wool. Cotton is less poofy and it sticks nicely to the fabric, whereas wool and poly are both poofy and non-sticky. I tape my backing to the floor smooth but not taught. I pin baste a hand’s width apart. I use a walking foot for straight lines like these (and I have to say, that I’ve turned down the speed on my machine and that has done wonders for keeping me slow and steady and at least making my stitches much more even). I work from the center out unless I have motifs that need to be dealt with first (like the red cross in the background).

This particular quilt is a small utilitarian bed quilt from a Jelly Roll and destined to be donated, so I’m not stressing too much about the puckers, but I’m using it and another that I do care more about as practice for my next round of art quilts and I want to solve as many issues as possible before tackling something bigger and more important. I want to use wool, so I’m looking for any tips anyone wants to throw at me?!? Probably closer basting, but I’m open to all ideas.

09 Jul

What is it?


Yes, it’s a pile of threads pulled out of a quilt I’m working on. But why?


When I finish quilting my work, especially larger pieces, I like to “block” them before adding the binding. To do this, I use a sprayer to wet the quilt, then I lay it on towels on the floor, and gently smooth and pull it into a nice rectangular, flat, shape.


Unfortunately, this time several fabrics I used in the backing (which I know I had washed (years ago)) and which had not acted suspiciously, bled through to the front in rather unsightly ways.


Add to that a general dissatisfaction with the overall puffiness of the quilt, and finding more ugly puckers on the back than I had originally thought I had.


There was only one thing to do. I picked out all the quilting and separated the backing from the top and from the batting. I will gently wash the top in a detergent that often works in situations like this, and hope for the best. I will wash the crap out of the backing and set it aside for another project. I will break my no new, off the bolt, fabric, and go buy a nice, quality backing fabric in a neutral color that won’t bleed and won’t matter even if it did. I will re-quilt using cotton batting instead of wool. As mush as I like the buttery softness of wool, it’s lightness, and it’s resistance to creasing, it’s just too lofty for the amount of quilting I want to do (or lack thereof, as wool seems to look better with denser quilting and cotton stays flatter with comparatively less).


As the quilt says, I will suck it up and drive on.

23 Aug

Patchwork Class at Ho’ae’ae Park

Back to school means back to Ho’ae’ae Park for cool classes! I really enjoyed the session where we made a tote bag, a pillow, and a table runner. I think everyone felt very productive. we’ve also gotten a good reaction to the Pineapple Log Cabin quilts. So, this session will attempt to bridge both with two projects: a tote and a small quilt.

Naupaka Tote

First we’ll make a lined tote bag with an applique naupaka flower. Since we did needle turn last time, we’ll do fusible this time. I see this project as a chance to get warmed up and acquainted with your sewing machine.

Star Baby Indigo

Then we’ll jump into making a quilt. this is the perfect size for a baby gift, or something to stash in your car or office drawer for impromptu picnics or reading a book at the park or beach on your lunch break (yes, we can do that in Hawai’i). This liberated star is a great block to have in your patchwork toolbox as it doesn’t require great precision, can be made with coordinated fabrics or scraps, scales perfectly, adapts to many aesthetics, and looks great!

Star Baby Kaffe

For those who want to dress it up even more, it can even have extra little bursts here and there.

I’ll be teaching at Ho’ae’ae Community Park in Waipahu (Village Park/Royal Kunia neighborhood). Classes are Monday mornings from 10:00 until 11:30 (ish). Classes start on September 12th, 2011 and run for ten weeks. The fee is a mere $20 though you should bring your own sewing machine and will need to bring your own fabric and basic supplies — which we will talk about on the first day. Registration will be August 25th and 26th at the park. That’s this week!!

Any questions, leave a comment or call Ho’ae’ae Park at 808-676-8832. The address is 94-709 Ka’aholo Street, Waipahu HI for the map savvy.

15 Jun

A Day at the Races

First there were Jelly Rolls, those pretty rolls of 2.5″ wide strips from a fabric collection. Then came books and blogs of projects to make from the strips.

I made my own jelly roll with most of my solid fabrics (I was surprised I had so many).

Then I read on Diane’s blog about about Jelly Roll races. Well, my friend Kim LOVES jelly rolls AND she organizes a monthly sewing bee. I knew she’d get a kick out of quilters racing each other to make a simple quilt out of a jelly roll.

And so Kim challenged us to a Jelly Roll Stroll last Sunday. Here I am, ready to start, with my strips sewn end to end. Kim took an extra hour or so and joined her strips with contrasting triangles. Check out her blog for better pictures and her adorable finished quilt top.

It took me one hour and 18 minutes to get from 1600″ long strip to this quilt top (above). I probably spent an hour cutting the strips (which you wouldn’t have to do with a purchased jelly roll) and about an hour sewing the strips end to end and pressing them. I could have been done at that point, with a whopping 3-ish hours invested.

1600 Jelly Roll quilt +

But…. it called for a half square triangle border. So I went home and spent at least four hours cutting, sewing, trimming, and sewing some more. Totally worth it though, and in only two days, I’ve got a quilt top. I went out today and bought batting and backing, so this could be a finished project in the near future! I think it’s destined for my son’s bed.

24 Jan

Aloha Pineapple Quilt Along: part 1


You can read the introduction to the quilt along here.

Today was the first day of class at Ho’ae’ae Park. After catching up on who was coming to class and who wasn’t and why, and comparing notes on the geographic inaccuracies of Hawaii Five-0, we got down to the real business of what fabric we needed and how much. The class supply list is basically the following:

Basic Supplies

sewing machine with universal or microtex needle size 80
thread for sewing (all purpose polyester or 100% cotton 40 or 50 weight)
rotary cutter
cutting mat
clear quilting ruler)
pins (thin pins are best)
postcard or similar piece of stiff paper with a straight edge
paper foundations, 1 per block (downloadable next week)


approximately 3 yards of a solid colored fabric
a total of three yards of assorted fat quarters, quarter or eighth yards, or scraps of Aloha fabrics (or the fabrics of your choice)
cotton or low loft batting slightly larger than your quilt top
approximately 3 yards fabric for backing and binding

Because we’re focusing on using aloha prints, I decided that a solid fabric would be a nice foil to all the tropical busy-ness. My samples use chartreuse, but aqua or turquoise would work similarly. A neutral taupe, chocolate, or caffe au lait would really make the brights stand out and still tie them in to decor with lots of woods or other neutrals. Orange would make a wonderfully juicy quilt. Red looks great with aloha fabrics! White is a good option, as well as black, for a bold look.

I am excited to see what everyone brings to class next week. A crib/lap sized quilt that is 7 blocks across and 9 blocks down will need between 2.5 and 3 yards of the solid fabric. We’ll see how far we get over the next five or so weeks and then start making plans for the final size of our quilts.

Depending on whether you use your solid fabric on the horizontal and vertical logs, or on the diagonal logs will affect the balance of solid and print. Solids on the horizontal and vertical will showcase more of your scrappy print fabric, while using the solids in the diagonal pieces will give more emphasis to the solid fabric. It’s up to you which way to go. If scrappy kinda scares you, put the emphasis on your solid (second photo above). I want to emphasize the aloha prints, so I’ll use them in the diagonals (first photo above).

Of course, you don’t HAVE to use aloha prints. You could use contemporary florals from your stash, or how about shirt plaids? Deb in our class loves animal prints, so she could use a bunch of animal prints, combined with red solid for a wild quilt! (Her stash isn’t quite big enough for that though, but I’m betting that a bit of leopard sneaks into her tropical garden!) Another suggestion was japanese-esque indigos, which I know would look super classy with taupe.

Making the center of each block the same can add some spark to the quilt. I think red can stand up to just about anything. If a colorful solid for the logs of your blocks seems too much for you to live with, a bright center with a neutral (taupe, grey, chocolate, navy, etc.) for the other solid logs could be just the ticket! A half yard should be more than enough for all the centers.

So, gather your scraps, pick a solid you love, and we’ll meet next week to wrap our heads around the paper piecing process.

29 Oct

Friday (for lack of a decent title)

More Fabric Collage Postcards

I’m all caught up on fabric postcards for my lovely friends who’ve donated to JDRF on behalf of my neighbor Taylor. I have some more cards (though I think I’m going to keep this one as it’s my favorite) and there’s still a few more days until the walk on November 6th, so if you’d like to support a good cause AND get a little something in return, go here. (Connie A, if you are reading this, I don’t have an address for you.)

My View Right Now

My view other than postcards has been this. It started with strips of scraps and grew to become my homage to the red dirt and furrowed fields seen from the road between my house and Schofield Barracks.

Quilting a Rainbow

One often sees rainbows on the drive too.