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!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cool link about one of my quilting inspirations

Denyse Schmidt from the Wall Street Journal

Her book, Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects is one of my favorites, for the yummy photos and the awesome "how-tos". 


*quite different from inspiration!

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. [Picasso]

I have been asked how I get my quilts completed in what seems to be a short period of time. Well, I am a "completer", I have no UFO's {Un-Finished Objects}at the moment, just several quilts in different stages. I like having 1- I am piecing, 1- I am quilting, with one on deck. I have something I can do at any given time, to fill the time I have available. This is my therapy, my relaxation, my expression, my true passion. When I do not have the opportunity to do my quilting, I feel crappy.  

At the moment I have just completed a charity quilt for a fund drive at work, I am hand sewing the binding on my "Sargasso", I have the binding of "Phases" ready to hand-stitch and a new quilt top completed, ready to layer and baste. Then, on deck is a Christmas quilt for my son's room. It is how I like to work and it has evolved over time.

That did not answer the question, though. 

The important thing is to create. [Picasso] 

I have a full-time job, leave the house at 7am, return at 6pm. Most nights, my husband and I walk the dogs, fix dinner, eat, chat, etc. Then I head up to the studio for 1-2 hours. Saturdays are generally errand days, but I like to get 2-3 hours in; Sundays I like to get 2-4 hours in. I usually select fabrics and lay out blocks on the weekends, I have the daylight then. And then I have my projects lined up for the following week.
My husband and I are involved in community and family, they are also a priority.

My quilting, is my gift to myself. When my son was young, I did not have the time for it. I made collages, scrap booked, beaded, did smaller projects that were easy to put down and pick up. My creative urges have always been there and part of my life journey has been exploring the ways to express them. I still sketch, now I sketch quilt layouts and quilting stitch designs. 

My quilting is a priority for me. I have to create. I have so many quilts in my head, I need to make them, to get them into the daylight. Perhaps that is just me. The quilts motivate me to make them, to bring them into the world.