Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nostalgia & Falling Through the Hourglass

Here are some closeups of my first attempts at quilting on this new HQ-16. The video that came with it is basic, but helpful. I used a size 16 needle (recommended by my salesperson), but think it is too big. The batting for the first one is Hobbs Heirloom (80/20) and the second one is just Warm 'n White.

This rather homely little one is about 30" square, from scraps made into a split nine patch and great for the first practice quilt. My tension was bad (shows on the back). I tried several patterns, all free motion, and am binding it just to have another UFO finished. The quilt is NOT curved, just hanging on the back of my sofa. LOL.

This one is a top that I make many moons ago and seemed like a good one to try next. I can do leaves, so just covered this simple hourglass with them to get the feel of the machine. I adjusted tension as I went and finally got it right. As you can see, I'm a doodle quilter. I can do regular patterns from templates, but have a plaque in my studio that say, "It is more fun to color outside the lines."

The thread is variegated 50 wt. with a pre-wound bobbin in Superior's Easybobs. It took less than 1/4 of the bobbin, which surprised me. I thought I'd be changing bobbins all the time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Long arm fun

Thanks for your comments. I am having a great time with this machine. I worried about the arm being only 16" instead of huge like the machine I had a lesson on, but no problems so far. I am also a doodler, so the hours go by without me noticing the time... I need to start setting a buzzer. Otherwise I have to stop because my throat is dry and my back is sore! LOL.

I'm also chuckling because my hubby, who goes to bed early because he gets up early for work, now drops by before retiring to watch me quilt. He's never done that before! Any bets on how long it takes for him to ask if he can try it?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ready to go - finally

This is my Christmas present to myself. We finally got the machine on the rails on Christmas Day with our son's help to lift it, level the table, etc. Last night I threaded it and loaded this small quilt.

It felt weird as as I turned it on. I actually was worried that it might not work. But the needle went down as I pushed the button, then up again with another push. Then I pulled the bobbin thread to the top, used a thick ruler as a guide, and quilted in the ditch around one of the blocks. Since a longarm owner told me that quilting in the ditch is one of the more difficult things to do on a longarm, I am pleased that this turned out okay.

I'm slow, but it has a stitch regulator so all the stitches are even and not piled up on themselves. It looks okay. Practice will help... but I am of Scottish descent and hate to "waste" fabric on practice. I'll likely do all my least liked quilts as practice. Sigh.

This is set-up full length. That is, I've used all the rails. My tables are from IKEA and very sturdy. I can raise or lower them, but right now it is just right for standing. There is room behind the table to use the laser stylus to copy patterns, or do free motion on the front.

My eventual goal is a king-size for our son (the one who helped set it up, and who also thought using it could be lots of fun) and one for ourselves. A shorter goal is to finish all my UFOs.

However, my husband is worried that he might never, ever get supper on time again, so I'd better set another goal to not get too carried away!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Collaborative I-Spy Quilt

This quilt is another collaborative effort. Several people cut 6" squares that would work for a girl's I-Spy quilt. One person bought the flannelette backing and sashing, and another person pieced it. I did the quilting on my domestic machine (this one was sandwiched and basted before I bought the long arm) and put on the label and binding.

It goes to a youngster about eight months old whose mother died as she was born. The young father is raising her by himself. We figured this would be a good home for a colorful playtime quilt.

I'm not a pink/magenta person, however the colors do look better "in person." I quilted it with loops large and small, fun to do. The label says it is not only for I-spy, but also learning colors, numbers, etc. Hopefully this sad young father will have some happy moments with his little girl.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pattern suggestions please! (and Saint Andy's Square

My daughter-in-law would like a "landscape, country-look" quilt to hang in a stairwall. It needs to be fairly large, like 48" x 60-70" and complicated is okay. Can anyone direct me to an idea or a pattern? I've been looking, and am not having much success.

This picture is a quilt that I made using the ideas from Bella Bella Quilts by Norah McMeeking. These designs based on floor tile work always draw my attention. I'd like to try a few more with photos we have taken in various parts of the world. This one was small, but fun to make. I wound up donating it as a door prize and it went to a good home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tree Skirt and HQ-16

My, oh my, it has been far too long between posts. I've not been idle though. Our church group made an I-Spy quilt which I've basted and will quilt today. It will be my last quilt of that size done on my domestic machine, for I am buying a longarm today!

It is not one of those that cost the same as a nice car. This is the HQ Sixteen. I tried a Porsche (APQS Millennium) a few weeks ago and liked the huge sewing space, but found it very hard on my back and hard to maneuver. Free motion and trying to follow templates was humiliating.

So I tried the HQ, first for maneuverability, then following a template. It was much easier, in fact the results were much better. Also, since it sets closer to the edge of the table, I could stand erect and my back was fine.

The biggest problem is space. I have a studio room about 10.6 x 24, windows on three sides, with a huge U-shaped computer desk in the middle, 6 IKEA cupboards, 3 IKEA tables, a craft table, 3 bookcases, and other assorted stuff like rolling drawer units and a serger table. Don't ask me how, but they fit and I can work in this. So the big question... where do I put a 8-12 foot quilting machine? My GH thinks I've lost it! He is probably right, but that is another post. LOL!

Amazingly, it will work. I took out a couple things that fit elsewhere, consolidated two large tables to hold the quilter, moved the craft table out since I don't need it for basting any longer, and rearranged a few things. The room actually looks bigger now. It is still messy with thread, iron, machines, etc. all in the wrong spots, and the longarm is not here yet, but I will post a photo when it is done.

In the meantime, here is a photo of one of my first quilts. It was supposed to be a tree skirt, but I didn't have the heart to cut it, so it now adorns a table during the Christmas season.

And speaking of that, the tree is up and I'm thinking of ways to enjoy this celebration. We love the turkey and gifts, but also love the Reason for the season. May every one of you experience a restful holiday and great joy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Garden Path - Finished

This quilt is finished! One down --- nineteen to go --- unless I get some bright ideas that interfere with good intentions!

Find out more about the origin of this idea at my PhD (Projects half Done) site, which also has a larger photo. The link is on the right.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quilt Show in Korea

I've posted all my photos from the quilt show in Seoul, South Korea! The page takes a while to load, but they are so interesting. Go here to have a look. The link is also at the right side of this page, so you can return anytime for another peek. Have you ever seen quilts like these before? The traditional ones, yes, but not those 'fairy tale' designs. They are wonderful!

Sorry, there is no way for anyone to comment on that link, but you can comment here. I'd love to hear what you think of these quilts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unexpected Quilt Show

We went back to the quilt shop yesterday and figured out from the sign on the door that the shop was closed because the owner was at a quilt show. With a little English on the mostly Korean sign, we knew that the show was "Quilting from Fairy Tales" and had a website and the dates. I looked at the website but it was all Korean. I took the URL to the front desk of our hotel and the man at the desk looked it up, then told us where to find the show. After some searching, we found it in the "art gallery" of a large department store.

The search was worth it. All the quilts but one were pieced and quilted by hand. They were elaborate and wonderful. I was allowed to take photographs so I have one or more of nearly all the quilts. I cannot post them (forgot my camera's USB cable at home), so decided when I get home I will make a page for them similar to my UFO page, and you can see all of these wonderful quilts, full size rather than a shrunken version that will disappear off the bottom of the page after a few days. So come back next week, and the page will be available through a link on the right.

Just one more note: the fabrics are cottons, not as good as USA cottons, but the colors and patterns gave the quilts a wonderful variety and good tonal contrast. Several of them were heavily embellished and all were well designed. I can hardly wait to share them with you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Unexpected Quilt Shop

We are in the huge city of Seoul, South Korea. Yesterday we went for a long walk and one of the first little stores we saw was a quilt shop! I didn't expect that. It was closed but through the window we could see a shelf of cotton fabric, a few tops, a Bernina serger sitting on the floor, a cutting table, and so on. Since it is only a few minutes from our hotel, we will likely go back. My funny hubby kept shaking his head saying, "They're everywhere, they're everywhere."

Monday, November 10, 2008


Early tomorrow morning, BH and I are hopping on an airplane for South Korea to visit our granddaughter. Our hotel in Seoul is supposed to have a desktop PC in the room, but if the keyboard is in Korean, you won't be hearing from me for a couple weeks! Otherwise, I will try and post some pictures of interest from South Korea.


This is the result of a few days working on my PhDs. This one goes by the working name of Black and Red Grad Challenge. A group I attend was challenged to make a 12" asymetrical block, then move it around to make the quilt. I added one small extra plain block in the center so I could arrange these like I did. I've a dozen photos of other placements, but this one pleased me most.

Anyway, it is finally quilted - heavily, in a whimsical floral and leaves, free-motion pattern. I used variagated black and red thread so the quilting appears and disappears, but really shows up well in side lighting. It has been trimmed and blocked, so is still on the floor with pins around the edg
es. I couldn't get high enough to take a picture of the whole thing. When I get the binding on, I'll post the entire quilt.

I've another one not on the UFO list yet. It is a simple design that uses up some small pieces of florals. The top row is sewn together. The squares finish to 6" and the sashing to 1 1/2" to make a quilt about 48" x 56." I'm not a flower person, but am enjoying this one so far.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dayspring - paved with Gold

This one is done (well, the label needs to be attached). It was a collaborative effort by eight people, including the donation of long arm quilting. I put the binding on yesterday. It goes to a family whose story brings tears...

Scroll down to the September 28 post on this blog for more about the reason we made this quilt.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Celtic Bell Pull

I'm working on my PhDs... making progress but nothing worth a photo. That Black and Red quilt is being quilted. Also, the binding for the group project blue and yellow quilt goes on today. Photo soon.

In the meantime, this is a Celtic Bell Pull that I did for Christmas a couple years ago. I have another one in blue/green. This was a joy to make. The applique patterns are from my own collection of Celtic clip art. Every house has a long narrow place to hang something like this.

Actually, I'm thinking seasonal ones would be cool... oops, I already have more than twenty UFOs so better put that idea on the back burner. LOL.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Long Arm Lessons

Yesterday I took a lesson in long arm quilting. The gal who has done a few of my quilts offers her machines for rent, but she says, "You cannot drive my Porsche without taking at least one lesson."

It was humbling, to say the least. I love free-motion, making up the pattern as I go with a rough idea in my head or a sketch taped to the wall in front of me. But following a design marked on a quilt is another story. I can't stay on the lines. Of course, my lesson lady thought this would be the easiest for beginners, so gave me four hours of about 95% following lines.

As I tried to follow the patterns and "loosen up" as she suggested, my mind was working the same way it does when I write by hand. I cannot write with my whole arm like you are supposed to without really thinking about it. This is not natural. Same with the rhythm of swimming and dancing. It is not easy for me and requires a certain way of concentrating, not "letting myself go" as most would suggest.

My husband says golf is a "muscle memory game" and I'm now convinced that long arm quilting is the same. This will require lots of practice --- unless some of you long arm quilters can give me a quick cure for my preference to color totally outside the lines!

However, it was fun in a tormented sort of way. The result is the ugliest quilt I have ever seen... and sorry, no photograph. My pride is bruised and bleeding so I didn't take one.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Change is supposed to be good...

I decided a blog is not the best way to post my UFOs, so have made a web page that seems to be the answer, at least for me. So if you have my PhD blog bookmarked, you will need to change it. The link is at the right side.

I know there are a few typos and other little details yet to correct, but otherwise, I hope this will be a good way to hold myself accountable to get these quilts finished!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Joint Project

Last night our small group of quilters got together and assembled a joint project, shown here on the design wall before we started putting it together. We each made a bunch of 6" blocks, either strip-pieced or nine-patches, in mostly light blues with a touch of yellow. Some of them are hanging a bit crooked here, but this gives you an idea of the results.

Altogether, five people made the blocks and six people (some different than the five) sewed them together. We had one person who doesn't quilt come in and just press as we sewed. Later it will be quilted by another volunteer with a long-arm machine.

I'm really excited about working together like this. It was risky (how can five people all do exact 1/4" seams, never mind get colors that work together), but we are pleased with it. I think the quilting will add much to it. We are not sure about borders, and think maybe just a darker blue binding. Any thoughts on that?

This quilt is going to a family who lost their daughter. We also had a few blocks leftover, enough to make a lap quilt for someone in a wheelchair. I will post a picture as soon as I have one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New PhD blog

I just posted all my UFOs (I think) on another blog. The link is at the side. I'm hoping that knowing the whole world knows that I have not finished these will spur me to greater effort!

Today I'm going to start quilting the second one from the top on the list. I will not mind anyone offering a tiny boot in the behind to keep me going.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Have a look at this blog!

C&T Publishing just invited me to allow a link to this blog on their new blog. Likely everyone who has a quilt blog was invited, but this is still exciting. Do pop over there and have a look. I will also add them to my blog role, because next to quilting, I love quilt books! Many on my shelf are by C&T including the first quilt book I ever bought, Art & Inspirations by Ruth McDowell. It used to be out of print and used copies were pricey but I see that she has it on her site for $30. She has become my favorite mentor, by books. One day I'll catch up to her and take a class!

Note: labels will not let me use an ampersand

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hope Challenge # Two

These little quilts are a fun break from bigger things. Hopefully they will also find a home and raise funds for Alzheimer research. This one is 7" x 11.25" with white and some pink hearts on the back. It took about 1-2 hours, including the binding.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Alzheimers Quilt Initiative

I've signed up for the November Priority Hope Challenge for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, partly because my mother suffered with this, but also because making little quilts is a nice way to learn techniques and play with fabric.

My first try at this will be hard to give away - I like it! It reminds me of the way my mother remembered things and forgot things, and how she remained cheerful even when she used the wrong words without noticing. She loved gardens and flowers, and remained a bright spot in my life even when her mind slowly slid off the edges.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heart Mats have new homes

The writer's conference is over. I'd made eleven little quilts to decorate the tables. The speaker, Jane Kirkpatrick, even brought a quilt. She writes historical fiction but has a coffeetable book about quilts. I asked that no one make a big deal about the decorations, but the woman who was the MC wanted to buy one, and she had to tell everyone that I'd made them, and the next thing I knew people were holding out money. I sold five of them in about fifteen minutes.

I've not tried to sell my quilts. Once someone asked me to make a baby quilt for her second daughter because the older one would not share her quilt. She paid me for it, but that was the only time anyone even offered to purchase. Yesterday was a total surprise.

The MC liked the little round one "Pieced but still Blue and Broken" because it spoke to an important experience in her life. Another person liked the colors of "October Hearts" and another wanted "Rose in my Heart" because she thought it was beautiful. One writer debated -- should she buy one for her daughter or be selfish and get "Heart in Woven Ribbons" for herself? She finally said, "I'm going to be selfish" and paid the higher price for the one she liked. Jane Kirkpatrick bought "Confetti Heart" because she "just loved it."

Funny, I don't do this to sell them, and while it felt good to make those sales, what was even better was the delight people had with their choices. Quilts make people happy, certainly for various reasons, but making people happy is incredibly delightful.

Now that the conference is done (and I am off the executive), I've already named my next quilt and haven't even started it yet!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Leftover Reds

Inspired by Wanda's strip-piecing, my red scraps are now a quilt top! There were several colors left over from the heart mats, and a few in my drawer of red scraps. I took them, plus a few smaller pieces stacked in my stash and made 5" nine-patches from the 2" strips and 5" blocks of just stripes from the bits and pieces, some of which had to be first pieced to make a strip.

This was so much fun, and as I watched the leftover pile get smaller, I kept thinking about Wanda and how much I've enjoyed and been motivated by her blog ~ Exuberant Color. I don't know what to call this quilt yet, maybe "Leftover Borscht" but suggestions are welcome.

I've plans now to sort a few more bags of bits and pieces into various color schemes and do the same with them. The blocks may look different and be a different size than 5", but there is huge satisfaction in using up what I might have otherwise been tempted to throw away. Thanks, Wanda!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alzheimers Quilt Initiative

My mother had Alzheimers. Even with her dementia, she kept her sweet spirit and sense of humor. I miss her and wish she could see the wonderful quilts that my blogging friends make, and how many people care about those with this disease and use their quilts to express it. Click on the purple patch for more information.

Mom and Dad lived with us in 1994-95. In that time and the nearly ten years she lived beyond it, I learned a great deal from her about how to face life's challenges. She couldn't remember the names of things, and near the end became disassociated from her own self, but she always remembered family and never stopped being an incredibly adaptable person. One of her sayings sticks with me: "I've been through a lot... I can handle this too."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jen's Kaleidoscope now a duvet cover

A few months ago I posted some kaleidoscope quilts from a class I taught. One of the quilters had never sewn before, never mind tried a quilt. She picked her fabrics and made her colorful kaleidoscope. Her intention was to make it into a duvet cover for a gift duvet that was "an awful orange" color.

Like most of us, she got the quilt top finished and felt she was "done" so asked me to assemble the duvet. I'd not made one before but agreed and did the whole thing yesterday. I lined the quilt top so there are no raw seams on the inside of the duvet. I also put some thinsulate behind the kaleidoscope and quilted some of the seams in the ditch so that section has dimension. I put two 20" zippers in a flapped seam near one end of the backing, each 'zipping' toward the outside edge to make an opening the full width of the cover. I joined the back to the front with French seams. All in all, it looks pretty good, mostly because Jen picked fabrics that are rather amazing.

Her little girl will spend hours exploring the designs on this one. It does look bright - because it is. I wouldn't have chosen this combination, yet had a lot of fun finishing it up for her and am delighted to see a beginner do such a great job.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The mats are done - big cheer!

Finally, they are done, meaning the ten mats that I promised to make for a writer's conference using the theme, "Out of the abundance of the heart the pen writes."

This one is called Pieced but still Blue & Broken for obvious reasons. It is not very large, but I had fun couching the cording around it and sewing on a few beads. Putting binding on a round quilt is super easy, so I have my eye on our round table that could use a nice quilted table cloth.

The next one is called Victorian Hearts. I'm not into this one at all, but someone might like it. I did enjoy the quilting and lace is an interesting addition. The lace ends at the bottom with two 'tassels' dropping down and beaded on the end. This doesn't show up well in a photo, but it gives balance since the heart seems to be too high on the background. Lowering it with those tassels would not work. I used a foundation method to deal with lots of scraps from the other heart mats.

The last one is a total break from all this pink, red, Valentine stuff that I don't like myself (someone might?). I had the idea yesterday and just grabbed some fall colors and made it in a couple hours. I call it October's Hearts because the leaves are still green here (most of them) and I don't want them to turn until October!

I'm glad these are finished and I con go back to other things that are more my style. I don't think I will make another heart motif quilt for a long time!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Love Wall Hanging

One more heart mat done. This one is actually a wall hanging with a sleeve, but for the event, it will be used as a table mat. I did a quilting motif I'd not tried before in the wide border. It is a curved scallop thing, something like Ruth McDowell uses, was easy and seems to suit the fabric and style of this little quilt.

For some reason, the applique heart photographed darker than it is, and the letters reflected some light and look lighter.

It is cold and rainy here today, a good day for sewing. I will ignore the little poster a friend gave me that says, "God made rainy days so gardeners would get their housework done."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dotty Double Daters

One more heart mat finished. This one is a bit larger, just over 20" square. I used dotted fabric for everything except the binding. These are not "my colors" but this was a fun project.

I also did what could be called tied quilting in the hearts, only used seed beads instead of knots. They do not stand out but give the hearts texture, and everyone touches them to see where that texture comes from. I'd not tried this before and am enjoying these little mats to try something
new. Click on the picture to get a better look, but it is a bit blurry. I need a camera like Wanda's!

I've another one sandwiched. It is a different style. I hope to finish it today. That will be the seventh, hopefully out of ten.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No photo today. I'm getting organized, a strange phenomena that happens every time I do crossword puzzles with my left hand. (No kidding, just try it.) Anyway, I added more quilter blogs to my list on the right. These are the ones I most often drop by to see what they are doing.

Also, I moved things around a bit... which is what often passes for getting organized LOL, but I also cleaned out my pantry and tossed a bunch of baskets that were collecting dust. Before I break my arm patting myself on the back, I need to check the state of my desk... yikes!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Oldie and a Question

I've got two nearly finished, so will post them another day, but here is one of my first quilts, a sampler for a class. The neat part of this one is that I had both pink and blue Scottie dog fabric and used the pink for a new great-niece. A few months later I made this one, not knowing that the same couple were expecting again. When their little boy was born, he got this in fabric similar to his sister's quilt. I was told that they both considered these their precious 'blankies' and carried them around all day. Mom had to wash them at night when they were sleeping.

I've a question for you wise quilters out there. I tried using those fabric sheets made to go through your printer (my printer doesn't like my homemade ones, no matter what I do to them), and find that the fabric used is so tightly woven that sewing the labels on my quilts is almost painful. Sharp needle, thimble and all, I'd rather not use them --- unless of course someone has a tip that will help me make this easier??

Monday, August 18, 2008

Educating the public & The Quilt project

On Saturday I sat in a furniture story as the "quilt answer person" for a display of nearly 100 quilts. The project is a traveling display called The Quilt and is about breast cancer.

Anyway, it was a slow day. My most interesting conversations were with two of the store salespeople. They admitted knowing very little about quilts and it was informative hearing their comments. One of them, a man, said that he liked some of the quilts better than others. He pointed to a brightly colored medallion style with lots of white background and lovely feather quilting in the white. He said he liked the way they used that "embossed white fabric." I explained to him how that was done and he was totally surprised. He thought that the fabric was purchased like that and then cut into pieces to sew together to make the quilt. He had no idea that the "embossing" was done by the quilter.

This was the first time I've ever heard anything like that, and am now even more aware that many people have no idea what a quilt is or how it is made!

The Quilt is a Canadian project that raises funds to provide support for people with cancer, and their families. The quilts are made and donated by individuals and guilds, then sold by online auction. In just a few years, they have raised over 1.5 million dollars. The quilts have a reserve price, but if they are sold at those reserve prices, the new owner will not only have a lovely quilt, but a huge bargain. Many of them are really lovely, and some are hand-quilted. Have a look by clicking on the link above.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hosta Inspiration

I vowed this would be a 'quilts only' blog, but the hosta in my backyard are inspiring me. I've no idea what they would look like in a quilt, but I sure like the way they look right now. My usual view is top-down from our second floor deck, but the angle didn't lend itself well to a photo, so this is from ground level. They are so large this year that they make that big triple window look small!

Oh, and I never noticed the reflection in the window until I posted it. This shows part of the deck wall and some of the eight-foot feather grass nearby.

Anyone have a hosta pattern?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Joy, more joy, and Dots

Yesterday's email brought a happy one from Leonna, the first to receive one of my Pay it Forward items. She was excited and her delight made my day too. When all three are safe at home, I'll post some pictures. What fun!

I just finished another little 'cheater' using a Mary Englebreit panel, this time a book. It is easy, cute and will go to a baby whose not yet arrived and the parents know the gender, but won't tell. So this baby is getting some books. This couple is dear to me, so a quilt will come later when I know their colors, etc.

Also, I'm working on another heart mat. This one is really spotted. I've not finished the quilting (hence the pins) nor decided on the binding, but wanted to post a picture as is. I tried the white dotted but it is too much contrast. I'd like the red, but there isn't enough left. Sob. Binding tips anyone?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Keeping Track

My first stab at quilting was enough to send me for quilt lessons. One of our local shops, Earthly Goods, offers a series of classes and calls it their "Degree" program. After taking them, I became a "grad" and a member of their grad club.

During these courses, emphasis was made on either keeping a journal as I quilted, or keeping some sort of records. This appeals to my nature, so I started. I had some photos of those earliest quilts, or could find the pattern and even a few leftover scraps for fabric samples. One of the instructors at Earthly Goods gave suggestions for record pages. I modified it and of course set it up in a nice arrangement as a template on my computer because even I cannot read my own handwriting! I include photos, a copy of the label, sometimes the pattern, and anything else that goes with the quilt, This is what my record page looks like:

If you cannot read the words, the sections have these titles ... (double-click too)
Quilt Name •
Finished Size • General Purpose •

Date Started • Date Finished •
Inspiration •
Top Construction •
Top Pieced by •
Notes •
Quilting Method •

Quilted by •
Notes •
Fabric Samples •
Batting •
Borders, Trims •

Shown •
Embellishments •
Owner / Location • Sold •

I put this page in a plastic page-protector sleeve on the left. On the right are the clippings, photos, etc. That means that the record page for the next quilt becomes a white background for the inserts of the previous one.

This all takes a bit of time, but is quite satisfying to go through and see the progress. Of course the goof-ups are in there too, but I often need to be humbled.

Here is a photo of the quilt that the page describes. It was from an instamatic camera so I had to scan it. Not too sure about the color! Also, many of the quilts done since then do not have the same details as this one. I don't keep track of the time now, but often make comments about the fun I had (or not) making the quilt.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Blue Heart

One more heart! This one is a simple design made with squares and half-square triangles. I put the binding on the back side first, then turned it and machine sewed it on the front side. My Bernina 1630 has this neat foot that runs a vertical piece at the edge of a fold and stitches close beside it wherever I set the needle. This is a quick way to attach binding that I often use for baby quilts.

Now on to the next one... but maybe I will finish another UFO first. I've a crazy reason. This Blue Heart was quilt #99 and I might want #100 to be something other than another heart mat. I started making quilts in 1996, so feel pretty good at having this many completed. Even though the number includes many small ones, I'm a busy person and 100 seems a huge number for me!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heart in Woven Ribbons

Three "Pay it Forward" packages are in the mail. That was fun!

Now it is time to finish all these heart motif mats/table centers. This is the latest one. It was lots of work, but I always wanted to try this technique. Never again, even though p
utting on the beads made me happy and the overall result is okay.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pay it Forward Challenge & a Wreath

I'm nearly finished the "pay it forward" challenge pieces, which I cannot post because I want to surprise the three recipients. June was my target for mailing these, but life happens. We were away for a week, had a wedding and a few other events, the biggest one being that our granddaugter, who has been living with us for the past two years, departed for South Korea to teach English. She did most of this herself, but the preparations included shopping trips (she does not drive), last minute "I forgot..." stuff, and a lot of emotions.

Anyway, I wanted to post something, so this is a paper-pieced Christmas wreath, about 20' square, from a pattern in an old magazine. I made about eight of them for gifts and as samples for a class that I taught. They were in several color combinations, from traditional to this, and even one in pale blues and silver lame. Most had beads or some type of embellishment. Quick and easy.

Last night someone asked me how to quilt a project she was making. She had purchased some Nativity panels and was making "cheater quilts" for Christmas gifts. She said the four recipients loved to decorate their homes at Christmas time and "have everything" so she hoped this would be a good gift. I had to admire her for thinking this far ahead. I'm usually making Christmas gifts the first week of December!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Heart in Confetti

Here is another heart table-center. This one uses a technique I've never tried or seen and it turned out exactly as I'd hoped -- soft, feminine, and not at all like me! These are the steps I took:

Plan the size, then draw a heart stencil to fit inside it. Since this is a cutout, the stencil is in two pieces, the outside and the inner portion. I laid it on my background fabric (which is creamy with pastel flecks in it) and used masking tape on the back of each piece to hold it in place. In my photo, the green paper is the stencil and it looks like it is behind a heart, but it really is on top of the heart.

If you save tiny bits (which I don't, but I might start) great, otherwise cut up several scraps into small pieces about the size of bunny ears that you cut off half square triangles and normally throw away. I made lots. This little black tray is about 7" x 8".

Spray fabric glue on the background fabric inside the stencil. Then remove the stencil and sprinkle the bits on the portion that is glued. They went beyond it, and missed some spots, so I took some tweezers and sat in front of the TV and fiddled with them, not excessively but just to make sure the glue was covered and the edges had a nice raggedy look. Also, a few pieces were up-side-down and didn't look good that way. Picky, but it didn't take long to fix.

Layer over with tulle or any sheer fabric to give the look you want. I used a white, glistening silk organza. The photo showing this stage was too shiny to show well so didn't bother posting it.

Baste (I used plastic headed silk pins, not safety pins), and quilt it. I went around the entire heart, inside and out. Then I did some loose double feathers on the heart, and stippled the rest of it. After binding it with a pale pink that had a bit of mottled color in it, I put on a pink organza bow that seemed to suit it. I may add a few tiny pearl beads, but right now am fairly happy with it as is.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Heart: 9 patch - done!

Finally, after a week's vacation and another week of putting my house in order (as if that will last long - LOL!) I have finished another heart mat for the writer's conference in September. It is about 14" x 14" and a standard pattern, but fun to make. I did the heart shape in CorelDraw X4, printed it and cut it copies in freezer paper. The applique is needle-turn. It takes longer but I like it better than raw-edge, at least on some things. I even hand-quilted around the hearts, but don't look too close. I'm not merely rusty; I've never been good at hand-quilting. Alex Anderson's method works best for me though.

The next heart mat is going to be a confetti-like project. I've never made one using the technique I have in mind, but it will be fun -- and hopefully quicker to get finished and will definitely use up a bunch of bits.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Over the bounding waves - and pounding flowers

Today we are in Victoria, BC to see the Tall Ships. What a sight to see nearly thirty of them sail into the harbor. Tomorrow we get to go on some of them. My choices are Christopher Columbus' Niña, the Bounty, and the USCG Eagle. The Bounty was constructed in Nova Scotia using the original ship's drawings on file in the British Admiralty archives. It was built in 1960 for MGM's Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando. The Eagle is my husband's choice, maybe because it is huge, nearly 300 feet long. I told him I would go along since all the sailors were so good looking. The Niña is a replica, of course, but it is really a beaut. This is a picture of her, only 68 feet long.

The most unexpected part of all this is we had Admiral's Club tickets (gave us some extra perks) and sat with a couple who just moved to Vancouver Island from Calgary, AB. She wants to start painting in watercolors. I told her about 'flower pounding' and she asked a million questions. She'd never heard of such a thing and even though she is not a quilter, she wants to try it. I felt like I'd made a friend forever!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How to Pound Flowers

Since Marilyn asked, some of you might want to know too. Flower pounding is kind of messy, but not as bad as first thought… like poor posies being beaten with sledge hammers until all their ‘blood’ comes out…

The flowers are pulled apart so you can put them flat, and arranged on the back side of PFD (prepared for dye) fabric, usually one at a time and face down. Cover completely with masking tape so no ‘juice’ can leak out. Then you turn the fabric over and put it on a piece of board or masonite with a towel under it. (This can be quite noisy) Then start tapping with a hammer, usually a small one with a very smooth head.

Depending on the flower, the results may be a surprise. Purple might come out as red, or even yellow. It was a lot of fun since the flowers look like we made them up, not like the flowers we used. Just pansies retained a bit of their distinctive shape and color. Leaves do nicely too, but are place right side up so the veins show in the fabric.

There is a book called Flower Pounding by Ann Frischkorn. This link goes to, but it is available in the USA too.

And HGTV has a site with more complete instructions, and this one has some other ideas about using this technique.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rose in my Heart & Pounded Flowers

Here is the first heart mat. It is from a foundation paper-pieced pattern by Bobbie Osborne. I liked it better before I put too much quilting on it. Maybe I'll make another one. This one is just a tad over 12" square, which made some of those leaf pieces very tiny. A bigger one would be easier. Also, I'd make the background lighter and give it more contrast to the heart.

These other two pictures are the results of a flower-pounding class I attended on Saturday. My quilting buddy that I team-teach with offered it because some of the ladies in our little group had never tried it. I hadn't either, wasn't that interested, but we had fun. It was noisy, and the place smelling like silage when we were finished, but we laughed a lot and found out that some flowers do not pound into the colors we expected. One purple one made yellow. Dandelions became green.

I've yet to embellish these. I started with some outlining using a Pigma pen, but they need more of that and some beads. Embroidery could be nice, but my needlework might ruin them.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Five Questions

Fabric Mom, the gal with giveaway Fridays, has these questions on her blog. They seem like a good idea...

What was I doing ten years ago?

We were building a house and getting ready to move in! After moving a zillion times, and 25+ years of marriage, this was the first house we'd ever built. My, how time flies. Our kids had all left home and we had lived in the same city for six whole years, a record for us. (See below). At that time, I had made only a few baby quilts and was working on a queen-size. Now I have finished about 90... of course some are little, most are wall or lap size, and a few queens.

What 5 things are (or were) on my list to do today?

1) Attend a flower-pounding session with the "Fellowship Peacemakers" from our church. Most of us had never tried it before and by the time we were done, the room smelled like silage! LOL. I'll post mine results later. This was noisy but fun.

2) Finish the material I plan to teach Sunday morning (a ladies Bible study class).

3) Pull a few weeds from the garden in the back yard.

4) Exercise for at least 30 minutes (No one groan... this is really my hardest daily to-do item.)

5) Call my daughter for final arrangements for Father's Day. She and our youngest son are taking us golfing. It will be "best ball" for her and I, a pair of duffers who can be really annoying to the more serious golfers in the family.

Snacks I enjoy?

Nuts, chocolate and Hawkins Cheesies (that's why I must exercise), and fruit.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire?

Redo this place or move to a little-care house/yard (or get a couple of houseboys!). I'd like a bigger studio and a smaller kitchen, and after treating family and friends, I'd likely give most of it away. (Don't line up... I've not become a billionaire yet!)

Places I have lived?

Alberta & Saskatchewan in Canada; Alaska, California and Illinois in USA, moved 28 times within those places.

This is supposed to be a tag, but as Fabric Mom said, if you would like to play along too, please do. Just post the answers to these questions on your blog.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One down, nine more to go!

No photo of this one yet, but I have finished another mat for the writers conference. It is a paper-pieced one from a free pattern. I like the pattern but am not sure I should have quilted it as much as I did. It looked good plain.

If anyone out there has some heart block or heart ideas, I'd love to hear from you. This is a writers' conference based on the theme, "Out of the abundance of the heart the pen writes" and I'm doing small mats to put on the tables. Since
this is the chosen decor, they need to be colorful! After the conference, I'll be giving them away, so any contributors are in line for a small parcel in the mail!

This photo is one of the ideas that I already have lined up. The picture is a bit fuzzy, but doable. Send more via comments or email me.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Here is a little mat that I started and finished this week. It was a kit, so I didn't have to pick the colors, only cut out the pieces and sew it together. How refreshing!

Although it does not have hearts on it, it will go on the registration table at the writers conference. This is the event that is about "out of the abundance of the heart, the pen writes" and for which I offered to make several small heart quilts to decorate the tables. I've got some good ideas (thanks to several of you), but if anyone has a block pattern with hearts or a heart on it, send it to me. I'm making a draw from the contributors and someone will get something from this project! (See this post.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

K-3 Detail showing beads

Here is a photo of K-3 Pieced Border & Beads. I simply outlined the kaleidoscope and happened to randomly select the bugle bead colors for the first few that I sewed on. Then I noticed that the alternate colors fit in with the border design. It doesn't show in this photo, but it was done with the "strata" from the center, so is in the alternating colors of the kaleidoscope. A happy accident. I finished it last Saturday.

Now I'm working on a heart quilt. I'm still open for ideas, so scroll down a little bit to that post and send me some!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

K-2 with beads

We arrived home yesterday and I'm still trying to get caught up with email and all that stuff that is so easily abandoned while on vacation!

Here is one thing I did on those rainy days last week and in the evenings. I put seed beads in every spot of the leopard-like fabric in Kaleidoscope-2. It was just enough to give this wall hanging some zip. I also added to the title, so it is now K-2 Piping and Beads. You can see a full photo on this post, but it doesn't have the seed beads.

I'm adding beads to K-3 also, but in a totally different arrangement. I'll post a photo when finished.

Beading is surprisingly very relaxing!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On Vacation

I brought two quilts to bead (K-2 and K-3), my art supplies, and laptop. However the wireless service in the lovely remote place in the Rocky Mountains where we are staying offers such a weak connection that I am unable to connect. Right now, I'm in their main building plugged in direct with a cable. Besides that, it is pouring rain and I want to hibernate, not go out to post blog messages. As soon as the sun shines, I will be back (or when we go home, whatever comes first!)

BTW, the beads are looking good. Such a relaxing way to spend a rainy day. We have a spectacular view, even with the rain, and our chalet is roomy, warm and has everything but email. What more could I want!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Can you rescue me?

I've been challenged to make some small heart-themed center mats for a few round tables... to be used at a writer's conference with the theme "Out of the abundance of the heart the pen writes."

Any ideas? I've a few. if anyone sends me an idea or pattern, I'll put their name on a list and after the conference is over (September) make a random draw. The winner will get one of the completed mats (not the same as their submitted idea). These should be fairly simple (I'm too busy now!!) and more elegant than 'cute' as the writers are mostly older adults.

Post your idea in comments, or link me to your blog with the idea or pattern, or post a link to an online idea, or email whatever you have to: