Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflecting and pondering

As noted in my previous post, I have been reflecting on my quilt accomplishments of the past year. I made a bunch! Most of them have new homes and I hope the are loved. 
I have also been reflecting on previous quilting goals and where I stand in achieving those goals. 

Previous goals included entering quilt shows (accomplished), selling quilts(done), having an exhibit (did it), publishing a pattern (not done), teaching (yep), taking classes (yes, but want more), joining a guild (took a while but finally did it), learning paper piecing (need to work on this!).

For 2012 here are my tentative goals:
1. Make more quilts for charity
2. Really learn paper piecing
3. Make 1 more Christmas quilt
4. "Do" my studio: paint, decorate, arrange (in process!)
5. Make another King-sized quilt for my bed
6. Make more scrappy quilts

Not a long list, not intimidating. I have been folding my fabrics, as the hubby and I painted my studio, so another goal is: SHOP MY STASH! 

I resolve to refrain from buying any more fabric until I make at least 3 quilts/quilted projects. The only purchases I am allowing myself are backings and batting!

Care to share your quilting goals?

And what is a post without a photo? Here is a cute pic of my 2 Mals:

Sarge & Pepper

Happy New Year!!! All the best to you in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Relaxing after Christmas

The end of the year always seems to generate lots of lists. I have taken a look back at my quilts of 2011 as I get ready to make some quilting goals for 2012.

Here is a collage of my 2011 quilts:

In related quilting accomplishments this year, I taught several classes in free-motion quilting, I have coached a dear friend as she begins her quilting journey (and she is doing very well!), I have had an exhibit of my quilts as well as the quilts of my mom and 2 friends, I was interviewed by both a local radio station and a local magazine about my quilts, I made another quilt which was raffled for a local humane society (and more than doubled last years $$$$!). I sold a few quilts and have done a couple on commission. I still love quilting very much!

I am still pondering what I want to work on next year. What are your quilting goals for 2012?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

December has been busy and the past 2 week have been in hyper-drive.
What have I've been doing?

Been to see an awesome Christmas light display.
That included a talking/singing Christmas Tree.
With my sweet hubby!
Watched our gorgeous son graduate from Appalachian State University (yippee!)
Made 3 baby quilts for our nephew's new triplets.
And gifted this quilt to our son's delightful girlfriend. 
(Check out his sweet smile)

And it is just now Christmas Eve!
I wish all of you are surrounded by love!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hand Quilting Lives!

Here is a beautiful quilt made by a friend for my dear mother-in-law.

A traditional basket pattern, using traditional calicoes.

The kicker? All by hand! Look at those even quilting stitches.

My MIL's friend, Janet made this. She still makes all her quilts by hand. This is such a beautiful treasure, made even more dear by the personal connection to the quilter. And this quilt is just 2 years old. 

Hand Quilting LIVES!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quilt gifting protocol

First, thanks to all for their kind words after my previous post. I believe there are many of us that are greatly affected by the lack of sunlight in this winter season. We just need to remember to be kind to ourselves and that Spring is 3 months away!

Are you giving someone a quilt or other hand-made gift for Christmas? Here are a few observations I have for the proper way to do this.

Featuring quilts from my Pinterest board

1. Wrap said gift.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

2.Bask in the delight and gratitude.

3. Accept the complements. Yes, you can bashfully grin and say "you are welcome!".

4. DO NOT POINT OUT ANY ERRORS. The recipient does not see them, all they see is the gorgeous quilt, as a whole! If you wanted the quilt to look like it was mass produced by a machine, you should have bought one in a department store. Remember: all of the inconsistencies you see are what adds to the uniqueness and character of this "one-of-a-kind" gift.

5. Let it go. Yes, you put yourself into the quilt during its creation, but now, you are giving it away. It is theirs. Do not check to see they are using and/or displaying it.

And what to do if you recieve a quilt as a gift?
1. Squeal with delight, after all someone thought enough of you to spend countless hours creating a "one-of-a-kind" gift.

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

2. Tears of gratitude are also acceptable.

3. Hugs, of course!

4. Follow up with a "Thank You" note. You will have time to compose your thoughts and the quiltmaker will be so happy. Besides, it is good manners.

5.Use the quilt. They are made for that! Don't fold it up and put it away thinking you are saving it! That invites fold lines that won't come out and irregular fading. Ask the maker about any laundering tips if you are uncertain. 

Quilts come to life as they are used.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A bit out of sorts

I am feeling a bit out of sorts.

I am NOT a "Christmas" person.

This dark time of the year is always really hard on me. On top of this, I have had to go low-carb because of my blood sugar. I guess I am in a bit of denial about that.

I have been making quilts. Quilts are always the best therapy.

3, yes 3, my nephew and his wife recently added triplets to our family! Since they arrived premature, I haven't met them yet, but I want to have their quilts ready for Christmas. I used the same fabric line (Lil' Rascals by Chloe's Closet for Moda). I have made each quilt different. Baby #1 (boy) quilt is a large block alternating with a 4 patch; Baby #2(boy) is a disappearing 9 patch; Baby #3 (girl) is a Twister. These are my last quilts I need to have complete before the 25th and I know I will have no trouble finishing them.
I have a commission t-shirt quilt to work on next. Then, I am going to paint my studio/sweatshop. I want to paint it the brightest white I can find to amplify the light. That will make me feel better.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Eye Candy

This past Sunday was the Poinsettia Open House at a nearby nursery ( Mitchell's). Last year was the first time we had been, so we were looking forward to this incredible show of color.
We were NOT disappointed!

White, coral, bright pink.
Speckled, even a cinnamon-scented variety.
Certainly a show of color and a fun afternoon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Christmas Gift completion!

May I present Danielle's Garden. This is for my son's girlfriend.
62" by 74"

FMQ-ed on my Baby Lock, using Affinity 50wt cotton in top and bobbin.

Personally I think this is my very best quilting ever!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A new tool

I had ordered the Gidget II table from Day Style Designs and it arrived today.

I opened the box, set up the legs, found the right level for my machine and then got to quilting.

I like it a lot. The quilt glides along with no drag! I moved the other table the machine had been on to the side, with my other table in front to catch the weight of my quilts. The custom acrylic insert will come in about 3 weeks, but I took the legs off my extension table and it is sitting on top, I just could not wait to try it out!

Why haven't I done this sooner?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Free motion thoughts

And a work in process!

I had this top cut in about 20 minutes, pieced together in about 2 hours. Takes 1 yard each of the large patterns, 3/4 yd each for the sashing patterns.

Now I am quilting (my favorite part!)

The zen of quilting relaxes me. And I begin to ponder.

Who ever said you CAN'T turn your quilt while quilting?
Why? I am quilting this in segments, from center out. And turning as needed to get to unquilted places.

I really like this "doodling" style of quilting. I haven't seen any just like it, so maybe it is my own style developing itself.

No thoughts, no pressures, just letting the quilt speak and come to life.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I am taking the pledge!

Go see sewcalgal and join! Looks like a great way to learn and improve FMQ throughout the year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Asian-inspired finish

Here is the second of my Asian-inspired quilts:

 Measures 46" by 49 1/2"

Free-motion quilted in a wood-grain style. I used a mult-colored YLI cotton quilting thread in earth tones in top and bobbin.

I love the calm, soothing, taupe colors. Again using my Moda cross weave in Natural. I have less than a yard of it left, and haven't found any more. Still looking!

I hope you all, here in the US, have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday and for all my friends around the globe have a great week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Playing with blocks - quilter style

I have been playing with some dimensions on some star blocks. I need to make a patriotic block for the Triad Modern Quilt Guild December meeting. We are making a quilt for either "Quilts of Valor" or another organization that serves our veterans. I am also making a patriotic quilt for a fundraiser for next year so this has helped me work out my pattern.

Both blocks were developed by sewing squares together around their outer edges (all 4 sides), then cut diagonally across both corners to create 4 half-square triangles.

The small block has 3" squares, the large block has 3 1/2"squares. Amazing how much difference a 1/2" can make!

Fun and easy, and for a good cause!

Friday, November 18, 2011

On my design wall

I was traveling for work this week, so very little on the quilting front. I did play a bit last night, and got my 2nd Asian -inspired quilt started.

This uses more of the gorgeous "Natural" Moda Cross Weave yardage I have been hoarding along with a Kofu pack of woven Japanese fabrics I purchased at The City Quilter last month.

It is a soothing project. I am hoping to get some quality sewing time this weekend. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another completion (I am on a roll!*)

*But that will come to a slow down! I am traveling for work this week, so no sewing! 

I did complete this lovely quilt before leaving town. I call it "Fa Lalala" after the Layer Cake I used, "Fa Lalala" by French General. 

Measures 64.5" by 92".

I free-motion quilted on my Baby Lock using Affinity 50wt cotton thread.
I had ordered the layer cake earlier this year, then found the print I used for the border on sale. It happened to be by French General also which meant all the colors blended nicely. The inner border is from my scraps, it was left over from the backing of my king-sized Christmas quilt; the lattice is Kona Snow, which I keep and use for many things!

This is for my son's bed. For next year, I need to make a Christmas quilt for my guest room.

Next up for me are 4 baby quilts (3 for my nephew's brand new triplets(!) and 1 for a co-worker's new granddaughter), my second Asian-inspired wall quilt, and some patriotic blocks for my TMQG meeting in December! The busy-ness for the Holidays is upon me.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I just finished with this quilt. 
A different direction for me.

I call it "Kyoto". It is 46" by 52.5".

My original pattern. The colored squared are from a batik charm set I bout at the City Quilter. The ground fabric is a Moda Cross-weave I have been hoarding for 2 years. I free-motion quilted in a design to mimic wood grain. 

I have more of the cross-weave I am going to use for another Asian-inspired piece using Japanese Taupe wovens I also purchased at the City Quilter. I just need more time!!!

By the way, today is "Veteran's Day" - Thanks to all who have served and who are serving!

It is also my brother's birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENT!  I love you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


On the design wall, a quilt using the "Fa la la la" by French General. I love their stuff!

This is for my son's bed.

Using a new pattern with a neat trick for setting the blocks on point.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I have been very bad.....

I visited Karen Gray Designs for the first time on Saturday.

It was a gorgeous autumn day, I had been running errands. Barnes & Noble, Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics. Checking out what was new and different, not looking for much, some new magazines. 

Ran into some of my TMQG peeps at JoAnn. (Hi Anya and Sarah!)

Sarah mentioned Karen Gray was having a sale.
Now, I was just on my way home, and as a drove near the Reynolda Road exit, I thought I would drop by, see if they were still open. Check it out.

Oh, boy, my first visit, but certainly not my last! I am already looking forward to may next visit!

A bright, cheerful shop. Karen was so nice and friendly! And yes, a SERIOUS sale on excellent fabrics!

And I bought stuff:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Free-Motion Quilting

When I got into quilting in 2007, I was determined to "do it all myself".
I did not have the $$$ to pay a long-arm quilter to finish for me. I was also drawn to the look of FMQ.

detail of "BowWow" 2009

I dove in. No lifejacket. No one around to teach me. Started free-motion quilting the tops I was finishing. (I am over 100 quilts now!)

Read everything I could get my hands on.
Kept doing it. Ripping out bad stitching (unsewing).

detail of "October Sunset" 2009

Kept sewing. Raced through simple piecing projects just to get to the FMQ.
Then, found a class in 2009. Learned some tricks, received confirmation on some of the tricks I had learned on my on.

detail of "PoppyWood" 2011 - KING SIZED
Kept reading and stitching.


detail of "Forest for the Trees" 2011

Started teaching others. (Love teaching!) Kept sewing.

Seems everyone has something they say you "should" do to be successful at FMQ.

 detail of "Scrappy Star" 2011 - Queen sized

Here's what I know for sure:

Everyone stitches differently, just like handwriting, your FMQ is unique.

Detail of FMQ practice - November 4, 2011

You must learn your machine, be comfortable making tension adjustments, and keeping it clean.
Nothing takes the place of practice.
Then more practice.

Detail of FMQ practice - November 4, 2011

Keep doing it, keep reading, take classes. You will get better! And I hope, you will grow to love the activity as much as I do! 

And feel free to email any questions or concerns to me. I will help you find the answers, and I will cheer you on!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Here is "Shortcake", a small lap quilt I made for our United Fund drive at work.

Measures 50" square, free-motion quilted on my Baby Lock using Affinity 50wt cotton thread.

ALL fabrics from my stash!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why quilts, as art, in public spaces

Reasons other than raw beauty!
Dr. Layne McDaniels' quilts in Faculty Office at Appalachian State University
Art in public spaces always seems to generate comment. The very notion of the spaces being intended for general public use means the art needs to appeal to a variety of people and tastes.
Student Union, Appalachian State University
It is also important, in indoor spaces, to take lighting and acoustics into account.

Quilts offer color, texture and perceived comfort. Since they are textiles, they also absorb echos and add to a pleasant environment.

Lately, Barn Quilts have entered our delightful public experience as well. They highlight and celebrate the humble beginnings of traditional quilts, as well as drawing the eye to magnificent barns and landscapes.

Quilts, not just for beds anymore!