Thursday, March 31, 2016

Voting Is Now Open

I've been working on these sweet little 4" blocks from Cheri Payne--it's her Scrapbasket Sampler she posted on her Facebook group, Quilts by Cheri--Friendship Group.  It's a closed group you have to ask to be added to--they watch carefully to keep the non-quilters out.

There are two more blocks to be released soon but I've gotten caught up on the 23 available.  I found out about it last week and have been working on these babies like crazy.

Now I want to decided on the background and this is where YOU come in:  you get to voice your opinion on which you prefer.   Please put your vote in the comments below so I can keep them all together.

Option 1:  A variety of tan prints ( I stopped cutting when I only had 15 blocks done--there would be 7 more blocks to add)

Option 2: One dark gray small print:

Option 3: A variety of light shirtings, this only shows two, I would use 4-5 in similar value to these:

Option 4:  One medium gray small print:

There is always Option 5:  None of the above because you have a better idea--bring it on!  I have a preference among these 4 but am still open to suggestions.  It's not like I don't have any more fabric to choose from...

I hope you will play along and let me know what you think--Let's Quilt!


Monday, March 28, 2016


The quilting is done on two samples--they will be delivered to the shop this week:

Smitten--simply loopy swirly motifs

Smitten top

Strippy Stars

Very simple straight lines with free-form cables in the border.

I did some of the straight lines with rulers, some free hand.  The lines vary a bit but over-all it's OK.  Someday this may be a baby quilt and it's fine for that.

I'm keeping up with The Splendid Sampler.  Here is Block #13:

This week I'm working on some 4" sampler blocks and preparing for the demos I'll be teaching at Quilt Festival Chicago--have to pack all the supplies I need plus samples and still try to keep myself to one large suitcase.  We'll see how that goes.

I also start a new Quiltmaking 101 class for beginners tomorrow night--I love teaching beginners and am eager to get back in front of them.  Here is the class sample they learn to make in 5 weeks:

Mix N Match Stars by Glad Creations
They make the top, approximately 48" x 60" in the class.  Many of the students choose to have a longarm quilter do the quilting, quite a change from years ago when everyone hand quilted their first quilt.  Some choose to machine quilt their quilt themselves.  I can't remember the last time a student handquilted this project.  I wish more people handquilted but for now, just getting students excited about the process and eager to make another quilt after this one is my goal.  We have fun in class and most of the students are amazed at what they learn to do--especially if this is their "first quilt ever".

Let's Quilt!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Special Delivery: Free Quilter Tool

It's new phone book time in my neighborhood--the time when a FREE quilter tool is dropped off at my front door:

FREE paper to use for string piecing--how great is that?!

The ink does not rub off on the fabrics or the iron.  Use a DRY iron, no steam, when pressing, so the paper doesn't crinkle.  See My Tutorial on String piecing here.

Make use of your smallest bits, those fabric leftovers you don't want to throw out, crumbs and strings, to make easy, scrappy quilts.  I'll be teaching the String Pieced Lemoyne Star at International Quilt Festival Chicago in 3 weeks at our free Open Studios demo classes.  People are amazed with this tool they didn't know they had.

Some day in the not-too-distant future, we won't get phone books anymore so I have been saving them for several years, collecting them from my office, etc.  This year's version is half the size of last years--residential numbers are NOT INCLUDED--a link to a website is provided should you want to look up a residential number.  The writing is on the wall, eventually no more phone books.

Just a tip for my quilter friends--don't throw out this free tool you were given--you might want it someday.

Let's quilt!


Sunday, March 20, 2016


Yellow is a color I don't use very much, in quilts, in clothing or in decorating.  But when I do use it, I really like it:

Forsythia!  One of those easy-to-grow plants that reminds me of my childhood, we had a couple large bushes in my backyard in Philadelphia.  In 1981 we received a bush from our babysitter as a gift for the baptism of our youngest son, Andy.  I have moved pots of it with us to every house since then and this is the grove we have of it now.  My husband did a major cut-back of it last Spring and this is the result this past week.  Our son has two plants of it at his home in St. Louis--it is a gift that keeps on giving.

I am eager to get back to this quilt:



Ruffled Roses by Sue Garman for The Quilt Show BOM 2011

The quilt was the 2011 BOM for and the pattern is still available at Sue Garman's website.  I have more parts for baskets and the border sections ready to be sewn together, it just needs to become a priority.  Soon, very soon.

Another work-in-progress that has slipped to the very back burner is this round robin piece I started in 2014:

My friends, Ellen and Sharon, and I often do a round-robin project, usually to commemorate a trip we've taken.  This was begun in Paducah 2013.  It's currently 35" square and I don't think this will become significantly bigger, not bed-size.  I just have to study it a bit to figure out what it needs next--so I'm letting it stay up on the design wall so I can ponder the next step.

As I look at these, one reminds me of Spring and one of Fall, so they need to get done so I can have seasonal quilts to hang.  I have a Christmas quilt that goes up December 1.   And for summer I will have this one, when it's done:

This is basted and ready for quilting, a task I will complete this week.

A few years ago we repainted the living room from a plain light beige to this golden yellow:

I still don't know why, since yellow isn't one of my usual colors, but it is the perfect color for this room. Bright in the morning, warm and inviting at night.  A-Round with My Friends looks like it was made for this space, though it wasn't. It has a soft, buttery yellow for the applique' background and an inner border.  Circle Play, above the mantel, was a piece from one of my artsy phases. It has a gold/yellow flange inserted in the black binding, a great pop of color.  I still have a large stash of Oriental prints that haven't seen the light of day in quite a while, guess I need to get back to those too.  So many quilts, so little time...

Do you have a favorite color you use a lot, and one you rarely use?  Do you even think about color?  Of course you do, if you're a quilter.

Let's Quilt!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Summer Samples

I love teaching quiltmaking to interested students.  And I'm always looking for good classes to offer, those that teach a skill or a particularly great quilt design.  Here are my Summer 2016 local classes at Patches & Stitches.   NOTE:  Sign-ups are not open yet--I'll let you know when that happens--some time in April probably.  This is so you can plan:

Strippy Stars, 44" square

This uses a great little Creative Grids ruler and makes those sharp points easy.  They also float which is a bonus when adding borders.  A great Quilt of Valor, baby quilt, or holiday quilt in your choice of fabrics.  Saturday June 25, 1-4 p.m.

Paper Piecing--Learn to Sew Upside Down and Backwards

Paper piecing is a skill set most quilters try and some find very difficult.  Learn how to make it easy. Saturday July 9, 1-4 p.m.

Hexie Stars

Learn to hand piece or English Paper Piece these cute 6" stars.  A great way to decide if you really want to make a bed-size  La Passacaglia quilt--which is quite a commitment of time and money.  Try this FIRST! Tuesday June 7, 5:30-8:30.   I'll be teaching this at Open Studios at Quilt Festival Chicago, next month.


Nice big pieces make this fun quilt easy to sew by machine or hand or my favorite method:  hybrid, some of each.  Saturday June 25, 9-noon and July 9, 9-noon.  A much easier version of the La Pass or New Hexagon style quilts.  And with pieces cut it's the perfect take-along project for summer travels.

String Stars

Use those small leftover pieces, strings, to make a 12" Lemoyne Star block.  Learn to sew on paper foundations then learn the simple steps to Y-seam piecing that block.  It doesn't have to be hard. Tuesday July 12. 5:30-8:30.  Another Open Studios demo class in Chicago in April.

Here are two more I'm thinking of offering--if either of these are classes you would sign up for, please comment below and share this post with your friends--guessing which classes you want isn't as good as your feedback is:

Antique Rose Star--hand or machine piece, your choice

Scrappy Trips--very easy and a great stash-buster.

Now to get the supply lists ready.  It takes more than making a sample to prep for teaching classes--you might be surprised at the behind-the-scenes work involved.

Let's quilt!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Stella's Splendid Sampler

Here are the first 7 blocks from The Splendid Sampler:

And here is Block 7, Snug as a Bug:

This pattern was shown embroidered only but when I saw someone on the Facebook group use fabric for the quilt, I really loved that--thanks Lois Bestwick!  I used Crayola Crayons, Metallic FX, for the bunny, baby, and bear.  It was fun and easy.  Then I gave her a black eye with the Pigma pen, oh, my!  Of course, that was the very last thing I had to do, all the stitching was done.  My recommendation:  do the permanent pen thing first, so if you  mess up you can simply cut another square and try again, before you do all the sewing.  Someone on Facebook said she was under her comfort quilt because of her sore eye.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Let's Quilt!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Samples and More Finished

I have been doing some free-motion quilting and finished a class sample and a Comfy Quilt I'll donate at our next guild meeting.

This little runner is a sample for Hexie Stars, a project I am teaching at Open Studios in Chicago next month and at my local quilt shop this summer.  It measures 15"x 32" and the stars are 8" across.  There are kits available so students can starting sew right away AND they get to choose whether to sew by regular hand piecing or to do the star by the English Paper Piecing method.  I'll teach both.
This pattern is by Nellie's Niceties and is available here.  I did ruler work around the stars and a simple free-motion design in the border.  Don't look too close.

The Comfy Quilt is a pre-printed panel I have had for years and finally used to practice free-motion quilting:

It's 35" x 42" and could have used more quilting.  Truth is, I was ready to be finished and it has enough quilting so "Finished is Better than Perfect".  This will be donated as a Comfy Quilt to my guild.  Local First Responders and other agencies that work with children in crisis carry quilts with them to give as a comfort to those in need.

Both of these were bound by machine, a skill that takes practice but is a useful tool for quilts that will either get lots of wear and washing, or just need to be done and don't have to be "quilt-show" worthy.
Today I will quilt a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt and get it bound.  Love checking these projects off  as Done!  I also planned my Summer classes so I can be sure those samples get done on time--Smitten quilting is up next.

We had a fun but brief visit with Stella, our 9 month old grand-girl, this weekend.  Here she is showing off  a couple of her "faces":

Hulk Face, complete with clenched fists
Sweet Face

Always happy early in the morning

Ready for her late morning nap

Let's Quilt!