Old Friends

 
This quilt has just returned home. It's been living the good life, traveling with my friend Cheryl Lynch in her trunk show of quilts.
 
 
I made the quilt for Cheryl's book, “Quilt Fiesta.” Cheryl wanted to show different colorways to illustrate how the tiles from Mexico could be used in quilt design. My quilt uses the Salsa Verde block which is a different version of the cover quilt. I designed the calla lily appliqué, also found frequently on Mexican table ware and tiles. Different fabric really changes the quilts!
 
 
I have been spring cleaning, trying to clear out unwanted “stuff” from our basement– mostly Gary's stuff, which could be better described as “junk.” I found my first sewing machine! I still have the original box and manual. I cleaned it up a bit and did a little research on EBay. I guess every little girl had a similar model because selling this old friend is not going to purchase my retirement place in Florida. All I could get would be a cup of coffee and a muffin at Starbucks. I'm keeping it. It will look nice in my studio.
 
 
 
 

 

 

A Little Sad…A Little Not

 
We have lived in our home for over 20 years. My husband and sons constructed this kitchen garden for me. They put up the picket fence to keep out marauding deer and groundhogs and lined the walkways with pretty red rock.
 
 
I had five raised beds and grew all kinds of herbs, greens and vegetables. Peas and beans climbed up the tuture in the center bed. I'd get so excited to harvest the produce and serve it to my family. My kids would ask,”Is it FYG? From Your Garden!”
 
Red roses were on the trellis and autumn clematis smelled so fragrant over the arched gate. I planted perinneals around the outside of the fence and mixed in colorful zinnias and marigolds and any annuals that caught my fancy.
In past years, the garden has been looking sad and very neglected. We have patched up the fence and repaired the deteriorating beds, but Gary and I want to do other things now. Gardening has taken a back seat to golf and tennis. I want to hike and ride my bike on Rail Trails and in the Spring I have a busy teaching and lecturing schedule. Not to mention long arm quilting for clients and sewing my own quilts.
 
 
So I have shed a tear and moved on! It was amazing how fast these two workers took down that garden.
 
 
Reduced to ruble.
 
 
I know Gary did enjoy his shopping trip to the nursery. He came back with more than we had planned– like that big tree. But it's a good thing when he has strong backs doing the digging and planting and he's doing the watching.
 
 
My plan was to eliminate as much maintainence as possible.
 
 
I think it's going to look very nice when the grass grows and the new bushes fill in. I'll be gathering lovely flowers and local fruits and vegetables at the wonderful Farmer's Market in Kennett Square. And hiking the mountains and riding the Rail Trails and quilting. “There is a season, turn, turn, turn…” It's all good. No garden guilt!
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Bobbins on Steroids

 
My daughter Kira, sent me photos from Central Park. Now that's what I call BOBBINS!
 
 
This is an art installation called Desire Lines, by Tatiana Trouvé. I really wonder how many people look at this and don't immediately think of sewing? Quilters ceretainly would! Trouvé measured the paths in Central Park, identifying 212 separate walkways. Each “spool” is wound with rope equal in length to a corresponding pathway.
 
 
In addition to labeling the spools with the location of the walk, Trouvé associates each pathway with a title and reference from history or culture that relates in someway to walking. An example is the path from Mariners Gate to Summit Rock. A walker is invited to contemplate the song, “Walk on the Water” by Credence Clearwater Revival. Music from my past that would be playing in my head, as I remembered that time in my life.

 
How cool to weave together ideas and images that can be enjoyed on physical, mental, visual– many different levels. I hope I get a chance to experience this installation, available through August 30, in person. I see gorgous colors of thread on those huge bobbin spools! And anyone who knows me, knows I love thread. Like candy for quilters with no calories!
 
 
I spent a wonderful day on Friday, teaching Quilting in Layers to Hunterdon County Quilters. I was so engaged in the beautiful quilts they were working on that I never got a chance to take photos. I hope they send me pictures because there is real talent in that guild! Thank you for inviting me, I had a wonderful time getting to know you all. Now if I just had my thread inventory counted after the sales from two workshops…I could actually go for a walk!
 
 

 
 

 

 

A Fun Day

 
I like speaking to quilt guilds and sharing my quilts, but what I really love is teaching Quilting in Layers workshops. I don't want to sound like an advertisement, but it's just darn fun for me to spend a day with quilters. They really are wonderful people. They so graciously allow me to help decide on colors and discuss layouts and composition. I get the fun of creating while they do the work!
 
These quilters from the Loose Threads Guild in Spring City, PA didn't shy away from learning a new technique. Power quilting happening here!
 
 
Everyone had such lovely colors. I saw the influence of spring everywhere.
 
 
Even this Amish color scheme leaned toward the blues and greens.
 
 
This quilter decided to add a ground layer and fringe the edges of her center squares. How creative! Making the little quilts personal is exciting for me to see and I learn things and get inspired. All I want to do when I get home is sew! And sit on the couch and relax… Thank you to Laurie and all the Loose Thread quilters. I had a fun and inspiring day!

 

Northcott at Burkholders

 
I'm a big fan of Northcott Fabrics. The company makes Stonehenge, Artisan Spirit, Shimmer, ColorWorks and many other gorgeous collections. When Burkholders fabric shop invited quilters to attend an event to see the new fabrics coming out, my friend Cheryl Lynch and I jumped at the chance.
 
 
Isn't this Baby Zoom Submarine collection cute. I really need another grandchild! What had me drooling is the 48 new colorways coming in Stonehenge and ColorWorks. Northcott describes their fabrics as “cottons that feel like silk.” The fabric is beautifully made with a finer thread and higher thread count than some quilting cottons. I favor the ColorWorks solids over the Kona cotton for this reason.
Northcott fabrics can be hard to find. I admit it, I want every single color in the ColorWorks line! They work so well for my Quilting in Layers technique. I took this problem up with the representatives. Northcott made a decision to sell only to quilt shops. You will not find their fabric in any chain stores. All the pre-cut fabrics– Chips, Stips and Rolls, are cut by a private contractor, “Vinny” on Long Island, so no skimpy pieces.
 
 
It was a fun and informative program, topped off with a light lunch and swag! Cheryl even won a door prize.
 
We also were invited to preorder the new fabrics and quilt kits and any purchase of Northcott fabrics at Burholders was 20% off. I took full advantage of that! As well as a second helping of the delicious cookies…
 
 

 

Stash

 
This is why I have a stash. Sometimes I need to just pull out some fabric and sew. I bought the floral fabric and coordinating solid green and blue at Roundabout Quilt Shop a few years ago. Gosh I miss that shop.
 
 
I've been wanting to try out this Quick Curve Ruler. Kelly at Pinkadot Quilts made a lovely quilt and demonstrated how to use the ruler at a meeting of our Guild, Calico Cutters. It's fun and easy! I'm really impressed by how little waste of fabric there is. There are so many ways to set the blocks, I'll be trying out ideas on my design wall as soon as I make a few more.
 
 
I've caved. I vowed that I wasn't going to garden this year but I couldn't resist these lovely green lettuce plants. And then I threw in a few lettuce seeds. I only like gardening in the very early spring and at harvest time. That in-between, hard work part, I want someone else to do. Nobody is steppin' up.
 
 
 
 

 

Happy Easter

 
I walked around Longwood Gardens yesterday. Of course, inside the conservatory, is a riot of bloom and color. But I really wanted to see some signs of spring in the meadow and woodland. It took a long time to find these.
 
 
It's pretty pathetic to get all excited about skunk cabbage just starting to push up in April, for pity sakes. Normally, I'd find a swath of this early plants in late February.
 
 
I really thought I'd see some Bloodroot or Spring Beauty but not even a trace. I did find Snow Drops, but not very many and only in the sunniest spots.
 
 
I just can't believe how long Spring is taking to get here this year. The forsythia isn't even blooming yet and I had to buy these daffodils. Cherry pie for Easter? I like to think its a nice counterpoint to all the chocolate!
 
 
It wouldn't be Easter without deviled eggs. My daughter brought me this lovely hand painted egg plater from France. I think the two round depressions are for salt and pepper. My family members consider this a single portion of eggs. Happy Easter!

Three Favorite Things

 
Eat! Drink! Read! Isn't this a cute zippered bag? My friend Ginger is testing out different stitching designs. These bags will be available at a wonderful indy bookstore, Hockessin Book Shelf, in Hockessin, Delaware.
 
The “Sometimes We Do” quilt bee members are always ready to critique designs. Look at the “A” in Eat. The negative space is a tiny fork! We all agreed we like the sold thread the best.
 
Ginger gave us a demonstration of how her machine makes the entire bag, including setting in the zipper, sewing all the seams and stitching out the embroidery. Amazing!
 
 
No embroidery for the demo bag– this is a gift for a friend.
 
We always eat well at quilt bee. Homemade sweet rolls and an easy to make omelet. I really have to try this recipe. Ginger added bacon. I would, too, and maybe some onions and peppers. Thanks Ginger, for hosting us. I am inspired!
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

All Over the Place

 
I just finished quilting this T Shirt quilt for a customer. Football and lacrosse jerseys will remind a young man of his friends, team members and competitions in high school. I was happy to help his mother and aunt in getting this quilt finished for him.
 
 
I really didn't want to concentrate too hard so I decided to make a few fabric postcards.
 
 
To entertain myself, I made all the bindings different. My favorite is the middle on the top.
 
 
Years ago I made this quilt at a get-a-way. I was gaga in love with the black background border print. So much so, that I bought enough yardage to use for backing the quilt. Layered everything and finished the quilt.
 
 
Well, I totally forgot that I bought backing fabric for that get-a-way quilt. When I went out to Illinois to visit my mom, she took me to a wonderful quilt shop and I found the print in black and also the tan color way. I got so excited that I bought yardage for the backing of the quilt that I had already finished! And more fabric, to be on the safe side, of course. So I made a second quilt from a Bonnie Hunter pattern. I actually like the second quilt better!
 
 
So I have it loaded on my long arm frame, waiting for the quilt design fairies to make some suggestions.
 
 
Ironically, I had to piece the backing and keep adding strips because I didn't have enough yardage. Aaarrrgh! Please tell me you've done something like this!
 
And finally, a big thank you to the Pieced Together Quilters in Bridgewater, New Jersey. I so enjoyed meeting everyone and sharing my quilts last week. And I'm still kicking myself for not taking more of those delicious home made cookies. They tasted mighty fine on my drive back home!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Visual Decisions

 

 
Note to self. RESIST the temptation to “just sew a few blocks together to see how they look.” It is a sure-fire set up for having to rip out those same blocks later.
 
 
I'm really playing with fabric, trying out some new things for my upcoming workshop at Mid Appalachian Quilt Conference in July. I just could not get the proportion the way I wanted it on these pieced blocks.

 

 
I need to see what the square will look like, so trying to figure it out by doing math doesn't work for me.
 
 
I don't want the stripe-edge squares to overpower the other squares.
 
 
But I don't want them so skinny that they look like binding.
 
 
I tell my students, you can't just “think” it out. You have to mock it up so that you can visualize how it will look.
 
 
“Spring Ahead” is done. There are some things I would change, but this quilt is a sample and I'm not ripping anything else out. Done is a good thing!
 
 
 

 

Spring Ahead

 
I'm in love with this beautiful fabric line, Artisan Spirit, designed by Elaine Quehl for Northcott Fabrics. I selected mostly colors from the Spring Rain color way to make a small sample quilt for my Quilting in Geometric Layers class at Mid Appalachian Quilt conference in July.
 
 
When I started this quilt, all I could see outside my sewing room window, was blizzard white snow. Over 5 darn inches of snow accumulated! Fortunately two days later, it has mostly melted. Any day now I'll see blooming forsythia and lovely green leaf buds. I already have the name for this quilt–Spring Ahead.
 
 
I want all different kinds of thread, especially the sparkly, shiney ones. The more variation the better for my quilting lines.
 
 
After the blocks have been quilted and squared up, they look so crisp and perfect. I thought I had every color of Superior Threads Bottom Line for appliquéing the center squares but I seem to be missing that greeny turquoise. I might have a thin silk thread that will work.
 
 
I just had to sew a few of the blocks together to see how they're working. Can I get this small quilt done by Wednesday night? I'm giving a presentation to Pieced Together Quilt Guild in Bridgewater, New Jersey and I'd love to bring it with me. Better get crackin' right!
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The House at Pooh Corner

 
Calico Cutters Quilt Guild makes up kits for members to take home and sew kids quilts for our donations to the Domestic Violence Center of West Chester. I grabbed this kit with really cute fabric, Winnie the Pooh prints.
 
 
It was fun to quilt the names of the characters in with the meandering leaf design.
 
 
I had two blocks left over and sewed a pocket on the back.
 
 
Just the right size to include this well loved book. It's upsetting to think how many quilts are needed at the shelter every month. I hope that the child receiving this quilt and book will be read to, wrapped in love, and safe, as every child deserves to be.
 

 

 

No Rip

Yesterday was Bee day at Jane's house. Isn't this quilt gorgous? Jane made this gift for a teenage girl who volunteers her time. I know she will love it.

 

Peggy sent me a photo of her colorful pinwheel quilt a few weeks ago.

 

I sketched out a few ideas and was able to get her approval on the quilting design.
I sent her a sneak peak.
 
 
This is going to hang in Peggy's beach house and I'm so happy she liked the finished quilt. It was a really fun quilt to work on. Thanks Peggy!

 

 

Rip or No?

I have been working on these appliqué blocks. I challenged myself to try and use colors I don't usually select. I don't like the fabrics, the colors or the blocks! The stems on the flowers look wrong to me– too fat and too dark. I made them exactly the same size as the directions said.
 
 
The pattern is from the book “Tending the Garden” by Blackbird Designs.
 
 
I loved the quilt in the book but thought I would use more “modern” fabrics. I think I was influenced by Kelly, my friend from Pinkadot Quilts. I love everything she sews. It always looks fresh and new.
 
 
When I sew four blocks together, the centers will have appliqué joining the stems. Will they look better then? Or should I rip them out and find lighter fabrics and size them down and re-sew? I hate ripping out, but hand appliqué is a big time investment. Next project, I'm staying–no wallowing– in my personal color comfort zone.
 
 

 

Renegade

 
My friend Cheryl Lynch is a renegade. This isn't really a comment on her personality although she is a feisty red head. Cheryl is a vender at the Continental Inn in Lancaster during the AQS Quilt Show in downtown Lancaster. Years ago, when the show was at the Host Convention Center, there were so many venders, many had to set up across the street from the main venue. Somehow they became known as The Renegades, our favorite, not to be missed shops.
This customer came all the way from Israel for the quilt show and is watching Cheryl demonstrating how her Curvalicious Tool easily creates beautiful quilts. Check out The Renegades and say hey to Cheryl and her fun staff in the Cheryl Lynch Quilts booth.
 
This quilt by David Taylor, was my favorite at the show. Is this subliminal? Hearing the birds chirping and enjoying the 60 degree, sunny day? Might be. “Did You Wash Your Beak?” got my Viewers Choice vote.