Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Quilting with Claire

It has been really nice to have some time at home this summer and I have been able to spend time in my studio with various friends and family.  Claire fits into the “friend” category!!

Claire is 9 years old and goes to my church.  She and I were talking a few months back about hobbies and she expressed an interest in making a quilt.  I asked her what her favorite colors were and she responded that she didn’t have favorite colors but that she loved horses.

I hopped onto and came up with this fun panel to base the quilt on……IMG_3150

When Claire arrived we picked some fabrics and she took off with the sewing…..IMG_3400

At first we had some problems with the horse fabric crawling because it was so soft but a quick shot of Spray starch fixed that problem…..


My machine proved to be very easy to set up for her…… we turned the speed down to “Turtle” so that it didn’t run away with her and between the 1/4 inch foot and a magnetic fabric stop, she was able to keep a very even 1/4 inch seam……IMG_3429

Claire particularly enjoyed seeing how long of a chain she could make……IMG_3405

This is where we were at the end of the first day…..


Day two started with sewing the blocks together, adding two borders and then came the hard task of picking fabric for the backing…..IMG_3426

When she left after day two, it was basted and ready for quilting…..


Before she arrived for day 3, I put the binding on and did a bit of quilting, just to make sure that we got it finished.  While I was getting things set up for her she had a fun time creating “Pin Cushion Woman”……IMG_3521I particularly love the hair bow!!

The quilt was soon finished……IMG_3510

….and used for a silly picture….. IMG_3511

I really had a wonderful time working with Claire and found that she has a quick wit, is encouraging, fun and extremely creative.  I cant wait to spend more time with her in  the future and to see what other creative ventures she finds in her life!!!


Thanks Claire for letting me share in your project!!!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bo’s Mountains

When I heard that our friends, Ruth and Austin, were expecting their first son, I knew that I wanted to make him a quilt.  I asked Ruth to be thinking about color combinations and to have a look around on the internet for pattern ideas that she liked.

She responded with the colors blue, red and gold and found a very simple, sweet pattern that she liked.  Her comment was that “they loved mountains” and that was why it had appealed to her.

I started the quilt in the usual way by pulling way too many fabrics out of the box and then weeding them down to the proper number…..


Now I had to figure out the size of the flying geese (aka mountains).    I have to say that I was NOT at my brightest and best during this process and it ended up being a lot of trial and error, but eventually I had the strip put together……


As I had sewed each triangle, I ended up with “bonus” triangles that had been dutifully sewn into more half-square triangles and then into more geese…..


My thought was to include these geese somewhere in the body of the quilt, but I simply couldn’t find an arrangement that I liked……



so I moved back to the original design……


I wanted to keep the strips as straight as possible so I used my 1/4 inch foot to do the piecing.  I LOVE the little edge that guides the fabric….IMG_3141

I then spent time debating about whether or not to add a border, but eventually decided to leave it simple.

After putting together the backing (while STILL trying to use the extra flying geese), I was ready to quilt.  Since I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to quilt it, I followed the advice that I always give to my classes and started with what I knew……   straight lines down the mountain/geese backgrounds…..IMG_3163

But where to go next……  I knew that the family loved hiking and especially fishing and I was sure that Bo would spend much of his life participating in these activities, so I felt that his quilt had to include references to those things.   After much thought I decided to split the larger section into strips and quilt each one with a different design, starting with mountains……


…..followed by a line of trees……IMG_3490

…..a stream of trout……


….a field of flowers……IMG_3494

….and ending with a few more trees.

I was happy with the back……IMG_3500

….happy with the finished quilt……


….and even happier when I got to present it to the boy himself…..


Michael and I wish only the best to this very special family…..IMG_3508

(Now I just have to figure out what to do with those extra flying geese!!!)

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Back in April I had talked to Michael about the possibility of my getting  to Houston in November for the International Quilt Festival.   He agreed that it would be a good idea so I started making plans.

The first thing that I  wanted to do was to enter my “Himalayan Hallows” quilt in the show and see if I could get it juried in.  Well that plan didn’t work out so well because the final registration date had passed about 4 days earlier!!!!  But while I was on the site, I noticed that the registration was still open for a special exhibit called “Tactile Architecture” and I decided that since there was a structure in the quilt that I would enter it there.



This is actually a traveling exhibit so it will debut at the Festival and will then travel to other shows over the next year.

The quilt doesn’t have to travel and I debated about whether or not I wanted to send it away for such a long time but several people (including my husband) urged me to do so.

SO, on Monday I carefully packed up my quilt and took it to the UPS store to send it on it’s merry way.   It will be great fun to see it hanging in the show in November and then to hear where else it will be displayed over the next ten months.

Here is one last look…….


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Note to self.....PLAN the quilt before you start!!!

As I finally had some time in my studio, I really wanted to work on something that was simple piecing and didn't require much thinking....boy did I miss that mark!!!!

Our guild has been working with the "Quilts of Valor" program that gives quilts to returned servicemen and women and it had long been on mind to make one.   On a recent fabric buying trip with friends, I had purchased 1.5 yards of a nice red patriotic fabric and figured that this is where I would start. 

Many QOV quilts are being made with the "Disappearing Four Patch" block so I thought that would be a good way to go.   The block is made in three steps.  First a four patch block is made.....

Then it is sliced into 9 pieces.....

 A few of those patches are flipped and it is re-sewn.....

Now this block is nice enough, but I found it very hard to put into a pleasing arrangement.   I started by adding some white blocks.....
.....but it seemed pretty boring.  so I decided to add a star block in the middle.....
AND, about this time, I started running out of the red fabric that I had bought so had to start improvising on that as well.   The next step was to add some yellow and red blocks.....

When I started laying the quilt out, I realized the real problem with these blocks is that they have a definite diagonal feel to them that makes it hard to put into a pleasing arrangement.  I tried a few other options.....
....but just didn't like how it looked.

Also, I was trying hard to keep the quilt from being square by adding more and more rows to the top and bottom.   Finally, I started laying the blocks out so that the red fabrics came together and formed a secondary square and decided that it looked ok.   Then, as I was continuing to make blocks to add more rows, I decided that it would just be square and I would be thru with it!!!!......

It is not my favorite quilt, but it meets the size requirements and I hope that the recipient will know that it was made with gratitude for the sacrifices that they gave so that I can be free!!!!

But next time, I will do more planning first!!!

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