Sunday, June 14, 2015


This has arrived, and I'm thrilled.

Stars In Their Eyes is a group of quilters who met on the now defunct 3x6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee. (That was a great way to get started in an online quilting group.) We wanted to keep sewing with each other when the group folded, and started with each of us taking a turn as Queen Bee, and receiving blocks we asked for from each of the other members. I made my Feathers quilt with blocks from SITE. It's one of my all-time favorites.

Next, we decided on a round-robin exchange. Each of us would state a theme and make one or two blocks to start our own quilt, then send them to one after another. Every six weeks we'd add to another member's quilt in subsequent order, until the quilt came back home. Along the way, we posted sneak peeks of our work, but the final outcome would be a surprise. I started with this:
Hand appliqued, I stitched this last summer while I was in Pittsburgh with the little family.
I needed something to work on  while I was away from my sewing machine for five weeks!

Here are some of the teases my bee mates sent. I knew they were making good stuff, but I didn't know what to expect.

I certainly didn't expect a whole, complete quilt top! And a true medallion quilt, with borders going all the way around! And such artistry- well, I think I knew it was going to be great. But really, this is so, so great! I love the colors, the designs, the balance, all of it!
It's hanging over the couch, next to me, and I stare at it, loving it. I can hardly wait to quilt it, but I'm enjoying it as it is, for now.

Not all the quilts have made it home, yet, but all that have are fantastic. You can take a look here and here and here and here. This has been a lot of fun. I think everyone loves their quilts as much as I love mine.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

While I keep vigil for the mailman...

Here's another UFO (unfinished object) from the closet. I wanted to sew something, but didn't want to start on a new project. (More on that, later.)

I was part of a swap; lots of little squares sewn together and sent to one another around the US to make scrappy patchwork quilts. Then I got tired of the patches all crowded together, and re-shaped them into asymmetrical blocks and sewed them together. Then I got tired of the whole thing, and put it away.

I mindlessly sewed some neutral strips around the edges, then wondered why I had bothered with that. Then I got distracted by all those little pairs of squares that had been saved with the quilt top. Had I meant to use them as a border? A scrappy binding?

Now I thought I'd like to just sew them up as a traditional patchwork.

Then I quilted them, using one of my favorite designs. As I'm sewing, I see all the little wobbles and inconsistencies, but when it's done, the overall design takes over. My not-so-circular lines appear as lovely, interlocking circles.

Even better once they've been washed! (Yes, we're in a drought, so it had to wait to take a ride with a full load of laundry.)

I sewed two panels back to back, to make a pillow. No piping, no zipper, because I wanted to see the checkerboard pattern all around. I'll just stuff this one, and sew it shut. When it needs to be washed, I'll un-stitch it and redo it, no big deal. Nice, summery colors, soft, squishy, ahhh.

The quilt top? It's back in the closet. I'm clearing the deck, getting ready for this to come home:
A year ago, I took a workshop to learn hand applique, and made this big panel. (Pattern by Piece o' Cake) Then I sent it off to its travels to the different members of my Stars in Their Eyes quilt bee. Each one, in turn, has added to it, and today it's supposed to come home to me via USPS! I have no idea what I'll get, but I have seen what we've been adding to one another's tops as it's been my turn on their travels. I'm trying to keep my mind open, to be ready for anything, but really, I have great expectations!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Quilt colic?

I posted this picture on Instagram with the caption: "Working on a quilt I don't love. It might get better." What's not to love?

I started the quilt in a class, using this gorgeous fabric, Morris Meadows. I love the colors, and the art deco design. I already had a yard in my stash, and I ordered another yard online from Loom in Pittsburgh so I'd have enough for the class project. 

There was a lot of fussy cutting with a special ruler, resulting in a lot of wasted fabric. Boo. And I wasn't thrilled with my arrangements of the resulting pieces; I wished I'd featured more of the floral edge. After cutting apart and sewing back together, I thought I might as well have simply bought a fabric printed like this. It helped me realize I really do prefer scrappy quilting. I like seeing what happens when lots of fabrics are combined, instead of using one fabric, or one designer's collection of fabrics.

The addition of quilting added another dimension to the little quilt, as did some more favorite fabric from stash for a border. It's getting a little likable. However, as I quilted a cable in the border, the bobbin thread ran out with two inches to go! 

And even though I laid out the binding on the quilt before stitching it on, I ended up with a seam in the corner. Out came the seam ripper, and the binding was cut and resewn before sewing onto the quilt. This quilt is testing me!

Here it sits, ready for the binding to be hand sewn to the back. I like to do that while watching TV in the evening with my husband. It might have to wait until summer programming begins. 

Edited: Red Box to the rescue! Rented a movie and sewed the binding. Ralph doesn't understand why those two go together, but I get antsy just sitting in front of the TV. (Movie was Still Alice, sweet movie, but always with the sense that the actors were telling a story, rather than making believable characters. Just as well, since it would have been super-emotional if I'd connected with them, and I resent being emotionally manipulated by movies.)

Here's a detail of the quilting. It probably wouldn't matter what I did, since the fabric is so busy! Orange peel in the center, sweet cable in the border.
Here's the finished quilt!

Okay, I'm feeling a little love for this little one, now. 40x48" Maybe someone else will like a sophisticated, art deco baby quilt.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Indie Groove

It seems I've had a serious case of blog flu, unable to write or post without being intimidated by ideas and overcome by procrastination. Now I need to use it or lose it, and I'm not quite ready to give it up.

I never showed you this quilt in its entirety, did I?
Indie Groove

Two years ago I won some of Pat Bravo's Indie fabric from Lily's Quilts. It seemed ideal to pair with Sujata Shah's Painted ZigZag quilt pattern. I think it's fascinating to follow the flow and break of the colors in the zigzags. 

I quilted it with a metallic copper thread. Maybe it's lost in the busy-ness of the fabrics, but I like to think it adds to the pizzazz of this pattern!

You can see here how I quilted from the back of the quilt, loosely following the floral pattern on the backing to get an overall floral design on the front.

Now this quilt has gone to live at Cris's house. The colors are perfect for her! It was great fun to surprise her with this gift for her birthday. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sugar Skulls

A lot of life and projects have happened since I was here last, but let's just jump to this project:

I posted this little tease on facebook, and I was happily surprised at how many people liked the sugar skull fabric.

This is what I made with it:
Matching dresses for Poppy and her doll, Becky.

Becky was Bethany's doll when she was a girl,
and we're delighted that Poppy loves her
as much as Bethany did.

Bethany says Poppy loved the sugar skull fabric when she opened the package, and she loved the dress when she unfolded it. But when she noticed the little doll dress that was included, she really got excited! She ran upstairs to put them on, and Bethany heard Poppy talking to Becky about loving the dresses. In fact, when Bethany heard a squeal of delight and asked what it was about, Poppy said, "Oh, that was Becky!" That makes me so happy!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Quilt Show!

Harold and the Purple Crayon, at the Quilt Show
Of course, I listened in when viewers came into the room to see the challenge quilts. These 18x22" quilts were submitted anonymously, and viewers were invited to vote for their favorite quilt. The theme for the challenge was "Children's Storybooks," and everyone who saw the quilts could relate to them. (Maybe yours was there: Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, Fancy Nancy, The Little Engine That Could?) When I heard viewers say they were divided between two quilts, I encouraged them to vote for both of them! (I had on an official badge, so they listened to me!) After all, are you voting for your favorite story, or depiction, or technique?

I'm dressed to coordinate with my mini quilt.
Not really.
People who knew the story of Harold and the Purple Crayon recognized it immediately, happily and sentimentally. Others just walked past, wondering, "What is that creature in the lower left corner?" (It's a dragon. Harold drew it to protect the apple tree. His hand shook and drew waves as he backed away from it, and he found himself sinking in the water, so he drew a boat...)

Country Girl
This little quilt was tucked away in a corner, below eye level, so it didn't show very well. It was popular with little girls.
Pretty colors!
Country Girl is another little quilt I'll be happy to hang in my sewing room. (I'm running out of room in there.)

I submitted this quilt for judging, in the Group Quilt category. The judge's comments were minimal; pattern is a good choice for a group quilt, good scrap quilt, nice modern design, appropriate quilting. Okay. It's nice the judge didn't point out the obvious imperfections in stitch length and spacing, but I expected a little more direction for future projects.

Feathers looked great hanging in this space. It was the first quilt seen when a viewer turned the corner, and was in a booth with some fantastic neighbors. I felt very honored to see that Feathers held its own in distinguished company!

The 7 Sisters Quilt Show was a lot of fun. Lots of great quilts to see, friends to connect with. And vendors! I bought stuff: fabric, and a great basket for holding/carrying my hand project. I'll show you later!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Country Girl

I was so excited about getting my Harold and the Purple Crayon mini quilt finished in time to take it my guild meeting, and turn it in for the upcoming quilt show, I forgot to take a picture of it before I handed it over. I'll be sure to take a picture of it hanging in the show!

I've changed the name of the other little quilt I was working on for the show to Country Girl. Here she is:

You can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger.

I love this little quilt! I liked the Madrona Road fabric as soon as I saw it, and I surprised myself by buying a bundle of the entire collection, and in the pink/orange colorway! The fabrics begged me to put them in a sampler, but not just any sampler. I found the Perfect Points pattern on the Connecting Threads website.

From the beginning, this quilt has had me thinking of Flagstaff, AZ, my home town. Look at these design motifs:
We didn't have a truck, but my stepdad had a big, old, carryall. It's like an enclosed truck. It certainly drove like a truck; I had to use both hands to shift gears!

We didn't have a windmill, but we had a well for water. That's why I take quick showers, and turn off the water when soaping my hands or dishes, or brushing my teeth. We learned to conserve water, or we would run out!

We did have a donkey! My sister, Grace, begged to keep it, then she had the job of taking care of it. On mornings when she was late with its breakfast, that donkey made a lot of noise.

In the summer, fields around Flagstaff are filled with prairie sunflowers.

There's no better place to look at stars. At 7000 ft. altitude, you feel as if you could reach out and touch the sky. Did you know that Flagstaff is the first International Dark Sky City? Those nighttime views are protected!

Julie has been my friend since we were in high school together in Flagstaff. We encouraged each other in textile arts and other projects, love for the outdoors, and appreciation of all things quirky and/or beautiful. As high school friends do. Julie commented on a Flickr picture of this quilt, "That's an amazing amount of work!" I can't begin to add up all the hours that went into this quilt. Including the hours picking out stitches that didn't work, like the machine embroidered words I later covered with a Dresden/sunflower. 

Burying threads, so there is no backstitching on the quilt top.
This bandanna print is the back of the quilt. 
Every time I started or stopped a line of quilting stitches, I pulled the top and bobbin threads to the same side, knotted them, threaded them onto a needle and buried the knots in the quilt layers. That was a lot of loose threads to hide!

Even after I posted a picture on facebook, and called the quilt done, I went back and added a few more areas of free motion quilting. 

I added the vine stitching in some white areas to flatten them.

I loved working on this little quilt, and it's got me looking forward to visiting Flagstaff soon! I will enjoy seeing it hanging in the upcoming quilt show, and when it comes home, let's see if I hang it on the wall, or if I add some more quilting to the background! 

Although, I am already onto a new project...
Tie-dyed fabric, getting chopped!