Monday, November 17, 2014


I finished quilting and binding this quilt over the weekend, washed it and took a nap under it today!

75" x 66"

Here's the quilt that inspired me.  
It's from Roderick Kiracoffe's collection shown in his fabulous new book,

I wish I had the opportunity to meet this quilt maker.  
I'd love to talk to her about her brilliant design and the fabrics she used.
One can only imagine her process.

Mine is made mostly of shirt scraps.  I imagine hers was too.

I pieced the scraps randomly in strips of darks and lights. 
Looks like she did too.

For quilting, I couldn't tell how she did hers.  Roderick said it was done in purple thread.  
I decided to stitch in the ditch by machine, and add some hand stitching in just a few of the large blocks.  

The hand stitching looked so good, I had to keep going!  
That added another month of evenings to the process, but it was worth it.
Here you can see before and after the hand stitching.

The idea for knots on top came from the lovely and talented Carolyn at Material Obsession in Australia. 
I love the little bit of added texture they provide.
The binding is corduroy, nice and soft to touch.

I love how it looks when folded on the couch.
Every new lap size quilt at my house gets it's debut here.

I've thought of several names for this quilt:
"Many Thanks to Roderick"
"Hour Glass"
"Courthouse Steps"
"Day and Night"
"Dark and Light"

None of them have stuck.  That's fine.  
I doubt the original maker named her quilt, 
so maybe I won't either.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh No!

Every quilt teaches at least one life lesson.  Right?
More often than not, the lesson for me is: SLOW DOWN! 

AFTER I spent several weeks piecing, machine quilting and hand embellishing this quilt, 
I decided to test some of the fabrics for color-fastness before washing.
See that piece with the safety pin?


Needless to say, I should have SLOWED DOWN and tested the fabrics BEFORE I used them!

I picked out the offending piece, cut away its stained neighbors, and replaced it.  
Luckily, there appears to be only one piece of this fabric in the quilt.

Phew!  Not too difficult.
I top-stitched it on so I could find this piece and remember the story.

In the end, the quilt had its way with me.
There's just no getting around learning these life lessons!


Here's the color-fast test I use:  
Spray a little piece of your fabric with water, 
place a paper towel on top, and iron until it's dry.  
If it comes up clean, it's colorfast!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Falling in Love

I'm thick into the process of quilting this this top
inspired by a wonderful quilt in Roderick Kiracofe's new book, 

I usually approach machine quilting with a "grin and bear it" attitude.
 "Just do it."  It'll feel good to have it done.    

I decided to stitch in the ditch, "every stinkin' seam," as Cindy Needham
teaches in her excellent Craftsy class.

So, I was going along, a few minutes or an hour at a time, trying not to rush myself.
Noticing my stitches weren't perfect, and forgiving myself for that.
Stitching, stitching, more stitching...

And then I started to fall in love. 

 Slowly stitching around every piece brought the stories to mind.

Oh, there's that red flower that T gave me from her mother's stash.  How sweet.
I love it next to the gingham I bought in Norway!

And there's that piece of men's shorts I bought at Goodwill with S.  That was a fun trip!
And the men's shirts that M and I have shared across the globe. 
Oh, and the golfer shirts that T sent from Florida.

There's a tiny sliver of red and white.  How'd that get in there?
Did I really put a scrap of bark cloth in this?   I like it!

Now I really don't care how the quilt looks overall.  
It's the stories, the connections to sweet friends, 
the memories of the design process that matter.  

I'm sure we've all experienced this.  
It's one of the greatest joys of quilt-making--
working closely with our fabrics and remembering the stories behind them.  

Wishing you finishes and love this season!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Red Quilt #8 and Some Fun News!

Just finished this.  I'm calling it "Red Quilt #8" because it is!

It's from Bonnie Hunter's very fun "Scrappy Trip Around the World" tutorial.  

I was looking at my shelf of red prints one day, 
and decided to see how they would look all together.  
At first I didn't like it, but it's grown on me.

I quilted it with Hobbs Tuscany wool, stitched in the ditch and feathers in the border.
Nice and warm for the winter ahead.

The back is this fun rose print that I got at a thrift store--$5 for the whole thing!

Here's a little peek at Red Quilt #9, my current travel project.  More on this one later.  

If you want to see my other seven red quilts, click here.

OK.  Here's the fun news.  

My blog is featured in the September/October issue of  
Quiltmania magazine!  
(American Edition)

If you're a Quiltmania reader, turn to pages 86 and 87.  
There you'll find my smiling face, plus an interview about blogging
and copying the masters in "Blogger's Corner."  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chattanooga Choo Choo!

Last week I spent a few days visiting my talented and dear friend, Mary
and got to attend the American Quilter Society show in 
Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Mary won not one, but TWO blue ribbons! 

It was so exciting to share this moment with her.  

I also got to meet Julie, a long-time blogging friend, and see her wonderful barn quilt.

There was an Egyptian tent maker,

demonstrating his amazing appliqué.  
Notice his quickly moving hand!

Junko and Katsuhiko Sakiyama of Caohagan (pronounced cow-hah-gah) were also there, 
showing and selling the stunning and whimsical quilts made by island natives.  
Every single one was captivating!  Here are just a few.

OK.  Back to work, refreshed and VERY inspired!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pine Burr Quilt Fini!

I started this quilt nearly two years ago, and finished it today!

The Pine Burr blocks were inspired by an old quilt and a box of gifted polyester squares.

Click here to see the beginnings and a tutorial on how to make the blocks.

I finished the top, but couldn't figure out how to construct it into a quilt.

The blocks are thick and heavy.  The old quilt's blocks were sewn together with bulky seams.
I didn't want to do that, so I was stuck.

Then Karen made her own Pine Burr quilt and offered a pattern for it.
She figured out a brilliant way to construct it with batting and backing,
and no extra bulk in the seams!

I highly recommend the pattern.  You can download it instantly, 
and the instructions are easy to follow.  

She sewed her blocks together by hand.  I sewed mine by machine.  

I also added some Baptist Fans in #8 perle cotton to the borders.  

Now all I have to figure out is where to hang it!

Our blog friend in France, Katell, has written a beautiful post on slavery in the U.S.
and African-American quilts, including the Pine Burr.  Click here to read it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flowering Snowball Top is Done! Plus a Pin Trick.

Phew!  I've been working on this all summer, that is, during the little snatches of sewing time I've had.
Many thanks to Mary at Molly Flanders Makerie for giving us the pattern and quilt along!

This quilt top is a nice big queen size--99" x 99"--the biggest one I've ever made.  
That's 121 9" blocks.

I made each block a different color.

I love the combinations of prints where the blocks intersect.  

I wanted it to have a retro look.  
I used 1930's reproduction fabrics from my stash and several Denyse Schmidt fabrics.  
I added a few larger contemporary prints for variety.  

I completely enjoyed sewing the curves and matching up the seams.  
Not always my style, but it's fun to pay attention to precision sometimes.  
The curves and matching seams required the use of pins. 

Here's a trick I learned from a friend many years ago.
Place your pins pointing northwest as you sew.  

Then you can sew right up to the seams you're matching and 
easily pull out the pin from under the pressure foot.  

There are many more beautiful Flowering Snowball quilts over at Molly Flanders blog.
Click here to see the round up!

If you want to see more about my process, click here.

I ordered my templates here.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Halfway There

I've made 53 blocks out of the 100 I'll need for my queen-size Flowering Snowball quilt!  
The more I make, the more I enjoy it.  

Actually, I've made several more, but edited out and unpicked many.  
The black and gray ones had to go.

You can see lots more beautiful Flowering Snowball quilts here.

My "Spring Equinox" quilt has been hanging at the Edmonds (Washington) Conference Center.
It's been in very good company with some other gorgeous quilts for the last few months.
I can't believe how small it looks on these large walls!  It's queen size.

It's coming down next week, and there will be a fresh collection of quilts there.

This is lunch recently with a friend who has a bountiful organic garden.  
Almost too pretty to eat!

Sunset seen from the ferry in the San Juan Islands.

Ah, summer!