Didn’t End Well

I was so looking forward to a fun weekend. On my way to teach a class for Burke’s Quilters Unlimited retreat in Winchester, Virginia, I plotted a route that took me right past WebFabrics in Purcellville. My new quilting friends in Fairfax said it’s a fantastic shop and they were so right. Quite a few dollars right.

Somewhere around 80 Quilters gather to sew and quilt together at this retreat. The evening started with Happy Hour and appetizers. Quilters know how to party! It was so fun to walk around and get to know folks and to see what everyone was working on. The quilting projects are all different, everything you can think of in quilt making. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share and learn from each other, enjoy old friends and meet new ones.

On Friday, I taught Quilting in Layers Piecing techniques to 19 quilters. I love teaching this class because everyone makes an original art quilt. No stress for students and just fun for me to watch the design choices develop into a dynamic quilt.

These ladies were motivated and creative and were quilting their blocks within an hour of the class starting.

Aren’t these Fall colors beautiful. When you get a few blocks finished, the play begins. The very best part is seeing the artists– yes, they are all artists, play with design options. What composition will look best? Some choose a sampler approach and try out all the techniques, some choose just one or combine two. The problem is — deciding!

By the end of the day, input from friends and trying out various designs leads to a focus for the quilt. It’s nice to be on a multi day retreat because you can continue work to on this project or switch to another instead of packing up to go home.

I should have stayed and quilted! But I had plans to go hiking with my friend Laura in Shenandoah National Park and I was looking forward to spending time with her. I had just 16.9 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah that would complete a very long section from the James River in Virginia to near Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Saturday morning was sunny and delightfully cool. We had a short climb up Little Hogback Mountain and then a gentle downhill 8.5 mile hike.

It was wonderful to be back on the Trail. We spotted a few violets and bloodroot blossoms and foliage just beginning to bud. Could this hike get better? Sure did! Saturday was Entrance Free To National Parks and there were lots of people taking advantage of a beautiful day to be outdoors. I didn’t expect the Waysides –small snack bars and gift shops along the Skyline Drive– to be open. Usually they operate Memorial Day to Labor Day. But Elkwallow Wayside was open and Laura and I treated ourselves to BlackBerry milkshakes and had an unexpected nice lunch.

We started back to the AT with just 5 miles to go. Another hiker stopped to tell us to look to the right of the trail to see a cute bear cub at the base of a tree. My senses were on high alert– where there is a baby, there’s a Mama Bear! I’ve been bluff charged by a bear and I’ll just say– it makes your heart beat out of your chest!

We walked very quietly and Laura spotted the cub. I was trying to look at the little fellow and get my phone out of my pocket to snap a photo when my ankle rolled and I fell hard. Painfully hard. Definitely something wrong with my ankle. I took my time to asses the situation and quickly understood that bearing weight on that foot wasn’t happening.

I was so darn lucky. Lots of people stopped to help me try to hop and hobble but it was just too painful. The Park EMT Ranger arrived and splinted the ankle which helped a lot. An option was a “carry out” but I’d have to wait for more Rangers to arrive and jeeze, how embarrassing. Not liking that plan, I decided to try to “crutch out” about a quarter of a mile of uphill trail. Dear lord it was hard and painful and I think if I had had to go 10 inches longer, I wouldn’t have made it.

Laura, (who has now moved up from Best Hiking Buddy Ever to Exalted Angel status) loaded me in her car and drove me to the Emergency Room, down the mountain in Luray.

Diagnosis, broken fibula. Temporary cast and some delicious pain meds.

Laura drove back up to Skyland and hauled all her stuff and mine and coached me, swearing profusely, up the steps on my butt, to our cabin room.

The next day, Gary rented a car, drove to Dulles Airport to meet a shuttle driver who took him up the Skyline Drive to Little Hogback Mountain where my car was parked.

I’m home now with my implements of torture– daytime TV, the damn crutches and a hellacious heavy boot cast. I’m still swearing like a sailor but feeling downright happy. It just so happens, my friend Patty in my Quilt Bee, has a son that is an orthopedic doctor, specializing in broken bones. I saw wonderful Dr. Quercetti yesterday and my break is not so bad! No surgery, no big hard cast. Mostly I just need to be patient (I know, not my strong suit…) and heal.

Here is the really rotten thing. I didn’t get any pictures of the darling bear cub.

Art Quilts

There are still a few days left to rush out to the Wayne Art Center and view the Art Quilt Elements exhibit. My friend Christine and I agreed, one of the best collections we’ve seen over the years for this show. I should have recorded the names of the artists of my favorite pieces but there is a slide show on the linked website with the information.

At the entrance, this quilt immediately caught my attention. I’ve seen it in photos but a picture can’t capture how vibrant the colors are.

Every little nuance and detail in color and shading is captured in fused bits of fabric. Some artists will use paint or pencil to blend the edge of fabrics, lending a realistic look. I wonder if this technique was used? The pine cones are masterfully done. There must be a billion tiny pieces of fabric.

In comparison, this is one piece of fabric, a photograph printed on fabric and quilted. It’s beautiful but I just can’t feel the same sense of awe for the technique. Someone liked it because it was sold.

Another whole cloth art quilt, this time the sunflowers were painted. The artist chose to leave the quilting thread ends un-trimmed, adding a textural element.

Hung next to the painted sunflowers, this quilt was meticulously pieced and quilted with clean, closely spaced lines. I think the title should have been Tiger Stripes or something similar.

It appears that straight line quilting is still in vogue. I have a question. How are these quilts shipped so when they are hung, not one quilt shows any sign of a fold line? Any other quilt show– AQS Lancaster, Quilt Odyssey or Oaks Mancuso Show– I always see wrinkles from quilts being folded in boxes. Are the quilts at Elements steamed or ironed when they arrive? Maybe. I’ve had to sign a permission form so my quilt could be ironed if needed at different venue. It’s kind of a scary thing, but the quilts look so much better without the distraction of wrinkles and fold lines. Professional art gallery lighting helps too!

This quilt was a self portrait.

I love the perfection of the edge-stitched, fused organza. The stitched details bring the portrait to life.

Wouldn’t you love to have this piece hung in your house to watch the light filter through the layers. And when you walk by, the slightest air current would cause flutters and ripples of the gossamer fabrics.

I would not enjoy making this “quilt?” one little bit. Remember I had my own dubious butterfly and dragon wing creation adventure. Never to be repeated. But I loved seeing this piece and I’m mesmerized by the concept and artistry. And stamina.

This quilt was constructed from strips of sari silk. Luminous and beautiful, the edges were all raw.

The variations in colors were so engaging when you got up close.

I’ve been experimenting with leaving raw edges, especially on the edge of the quilt.

Christine and I asked ourselves, what quilt would we really like to take home? I wanted that pine cone quilt but this quilt won both of our hearts. I think it has a lot to do with anxiously waiting for Spring!

The quilt had layers of painted organza and pieces of cut fabrics and outline quilting on the leaves and flowers. It was such a lovely garden in fabric. I should have checked the price. Well, maybe not…

If you are any where near Wayne, Pennsylvania go see Art Quilt Elements. The show will inspire you and open your mind to fiber as art.

Circle Game

I’ve got this song stuck in my head, something about “….round and round and round in the circle game.” It’s pouring down rain and I just want to sew all day. But these blocks refuse to cooperate. I love to use a pattern for a bed quilt because the thinking is all done and you can just sew. Unless you try to get creative and it all goes awry. I’m stuck. What to do?

1. Go back to a blank slate and start over.

2. Reorder the units to see them in a different way.

This is the scrappy block. What if I try to keep the color more uniform, like the pattern?

Yuck. Just yuck.

What if I mix up the colors but control the block?

Still yuck. That wishy-washy gray/green fabric has to go.

Stronger– maybe not Full On Yuck but not not in love. Still stuck.

3. Take a walk.

Can’t (or don’t wanna) it’s cold and pouring down rain. This was yesterday. Sigh.

4. Go Fabric Shopping.

I really need more of the bright coral fabric. Can’t, shops closed on Sunday.

5. Clean up something.

See my nice organized bookshelf! I sorted through stacks and stacks of books into Keep and Donate piles. Added benefits, cardio workout hauling books upstairs– to be dealt with later…. and! Gary and I can now walk through the living room.

6. Work on something else.

I could/should finish quilting a background grid on my appliqué top. Nope. Just not feelin’ it.

7. Rip out. Frog. Unsew.

Thirty two already sewn together blocks. Noooooo! Not. Right. Now.

8. Put the project away.

Box up everything and chuck it into a dark closet. There is quite a bit of appeal to this idea but I fear the damn thing will develop a voice I can hear calling me…. Terry….I’m in heerre…..

9. Ask friends for Help.

Jennifer in Indy left a comment, “keep the circles intact, but set each “row” of circles off by a half circle.” Oh wow! Not Yuck! I’m liking this! But…. I have Thirty Two blocks to take apart….. soon….

10. Relax. Drink a glass of wine.

I’m all over this solution. See that bottle of Patchwork? My Mom sent me that and I’ve been saving it for a Sewing Get Away with the Bee– wouldn’t want my friends to develop the dreaded Lint Lung. I need to do some forward thinking with decisions here. The bottle has a screw top. Clearly, this wine was not meant to make it to a sewing retreat.


I haven’t been slacking on quilt work– just dragging my heels on blog posts. It’s been so drab and dreary and cold around these Northeast parts that I’ve stayed inside and sewed and quilted with colorful fabric to keep my spirits up.

I like this pattern by Katie Blakesley but I decided to make the blocks scrappy and have the blocks be the the entire quilt instead of a double row down the center of white panels. Well, that’s not gonna work. It’s hard to believe that my blocks are laid out in the same, off-set configuration. I’ve totally lost the design.

So I made a whole bunch more blocks and tried another design. I’m not really crazy about this layout either. Life Savor, anyone? The plan was for this to be a bed quilt, possibly queen size but the way it’s going right now, I may demote it to a throw.

I’ve been quilting for customers. What a fun quilt! Lots of the circles have been fussy cut with hidden messages. Leslie gave me permission to show her quilt but I can’t reveal the secrets because I’m bound by client/ longarmer confidentially.

Very simple, “sorta straight” line quilting was all this top needed to allow the fabrics and colors to be the focus.

Sometimes the quilting works to reinforce the design. These solid shot cottons were beautiful before adding quilting.

The texture of the quilting enhanced this quilt without being intrusive. I love the way Leslie included just a few patterned fabrics to keep it interesting.

It was hard to let this quilt return to the owner. What a dynamic piece of art! I can picture this quilt on a light gray painted wall. Will she hang it with the “V’s” horizontal or vertical? Either way, it is a commanding statement of color.

And now for something completely different! Another customer is getting a jump on her Christmas gifts and had me quilt Santa. She will finish the wall hanging with button eyes and a tassel on the hat and other ornament embellishments.

I love the diversity of longarm quilting for customers. Sometimes the makers have a good idea of what quilting they want. More often, it’s a collaboration of ideas. I get to work on tops that I probably wouldn’t make and quilt tops that I wish I had made! I get ideas and inspiration from each project.

Now if I can just come up with a solution for those Life Savor blocks.

Happy Easter

And happy April Fool’s Day and good bye to March all rolled into one. It’s been a very busy month and I’m glad to move ahead. Bring on the daffodils!

In Kennett Square, we celebrate when our ice cream shop opens for the season. We had a lovely 70 degree day perfect for…well, anything! Definitely sitting outside and enjoying the sun on your face.

I want to say thank you to everyone who expressed concern over the dire cookie situation. It has been remedied!

Sadly, chocolate chip cookies and our lucky hats were not enough to get the West Virginia Mountaineers into the Final Four. There is a silver lining to the loss, however. Now I don’t have to watch basketball any longer and I’m free to cheer along with all my local friends. Go Villa Nova!

There is a new crop of babies making grandmothers smile in the Sometimes We Do quilt Bee. My friend Christine says these Krinkle Squares are baby favorites. Just layer up 3 squares of cellophane between 2 cute fabric squares, right sides together. Cut everything about 6 inches square. Sew all the way around, leaving a few inches on one side to turn right sides out. Sew opening closed. Get ready to pinch cheeks!

I’ve also been working on these blocks. I love the fresh colors but by making it scrappy, I’ve lost the dominant pattern.

I have 2 design walls in my studio and both are covered with 4 quilts in progress. Yep, I’m all over the place, no focus! As soon as I free up some space, I’m going to try some different design options with those blocks.

Thunder Snow

Ho hum. Another day. Another Nor’easter.

I have a customer top loaded and ready to quilt. But I’m nervous about having my longarm machine plugged in. We might lose power like we did with Nor’easter Two– or was it Nor’easter Three? We might have Thunder Snow.

Its a good day for piecing colorful blocks together. I love to have a project all cut out and ready to go. I call these “get-a-way” blocks because I bring them along on sewing weekends with friends at the shore or in the mountains or– last year at this time, Florida… I think I’ll rename them”Snow Day” projects. Looks like I carefully counted the pieces and now I have no idea what those numbers mean.

I also can’t remember where I saw the pattern. Pinterest maybe. My quilt will be all pieced scrappy blocks. I’m not slapping huge snowy white panels on the sides. Do you ever wonder if Modern Quilters just don’t have a lot of stamina?

So I set up my little travel Bernina machine in my kitchen. If we do get some crazy power surge or outage, it’s a lot less expensive to blow out than my regular, serious Bernina, in the cabinet in my sewing room. I’m also closer to the chocolate chip cookies and coffee. Wait–what cookies? I didn’t get any “snow food.” That was dumb. Ok. I’m ready to risk Thunder Snow.

I also have a good book to read if the heat goes off and I have to get out my huge, thick down sleeping bag. It would be nice if I had some cookies…. did you know they have YouTube trailers for books?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c4Cc_NS7lPE Check it out!

This isn’t gonna melt by tomorrow. Did I mention Gary is stranded in Houston where he is making the best of it, playing golf in short sleeves? I might have some attitude going today. I’m trying to be positive but it’s darn hard without cookies.

Good Times

I haven’t done this in a long time. Two kids to get on the school bus and two dogs to walk before breakfast.

Avarie and Mackenzie tried catching snow flakes on their tongues, hoping for a snow day off of school. It was only flurries down in Roanoke, while Kennett Square, Pennsylvania got buried in 10 inches of the nasty white stuff.

The Appalachian Trail is very near where my grandkids live so I talked Gary into driving me to a trailhead so I could hike a few miles.

It was about 30 degrees and sunny when I started out, but as soon as I got to the top of the ridge, the wind picked up, snow squalls obscured the trail and it just got darn ugly.

Sometimes I’m sweating along the Trail in summer heat, grateful for the smallest puff of cooling breeze. Other times, a massive rock upthrust blocks the wind and I’m so happy for a brief respite. I had planned a 5.9 mile hike but Gary stopped at a closer road crossing and started talking about pulled pork BBQ for lunch. Warm restaurant, BBQ — no brainer! 4.3 miles hiked is good.

I’m glad I got a few miles done, even though it was a teaser hike. I’m happy I got to spend time with my granddaughters. I’m really happy Gary figured out the math homework and that the dog didn’t eat it. It’s all good.

Another One

You’ve got to be kidding me. We have barely recovered from a fierce Nor’easter this weekend and now they are predicting another one, waiting in the wings, ready to go midweek. And it’s going to be worse, with “plowable snow.” Well, plans gone awry yet again. I was hoping to quilt this appliqué top I made several years ago on my longarm machine but I can’t have the machine plugged in, even with a surge protector, when the wind is howling and the lights are flickering on and off.

I love hand appliqué. This is Edyta Sitar’s, “Midnight Blooms” pattern, all turned edge. I’m hand-quilting on a different quilt, with no end in sight and hoped to get this top finished in my lifetime. I also wanted to try out my new Quick Change presser feet.

Gammill has made specialty feet for the longarm and all three have been recommended to stitch closely next to appliqué. The first, an open toe foot, I didn’t like because it didn’t work well with rulers. The second foot is cup-shaped and glides right over bulky seams like a dream. That will come in handy when quilting T-shirt quilts. But why didn’t Gammill fabricate the foot from clear plastic, like other longarm manufacturers have done? You can’t see the line you want to stitch through the black metal. The tiny foot is for trapunto. It didn’t catch on the appliqué as frequently as the regular foot, but the stitches were just a little too far from the edge for my taste.

I decided the best of the lot was the “spoon” foot and outlined all the shapes with it, hoping I would get better with practice. I used Superior Threads new MicroQuilter, a 100 weight polyester thread in Taupe, in top and bobbin. I have always used invisible thread to outline– and cussed a lot. MicroQuilter is so much easier to use, adds just a bit of blending color and is so fine that if you catch the appliqué, it doesn’t show much. Loved the thread, the spoon foot– not so much. I am much more accurate and controlled with the regular quarter inch foot and a ruler guide.

So when I wasn’t pacing back and forth, waiting for the power to come back on, I was reading this appropriately titled book. My friend Jane recommended it and now the whole Quilt Bee is getting nothing done. (Include Gary in that– reading the book, getting nothing done– not the Bee!)

The book revolves around Kate Burkholder who grew up in the Amish community. She returned to this small peaceful town as a chief of police. The story takes place in rural Ohio but could easily be Lancaster County, close to my home. Linda Castillo weaves the Amish belief and lifestyle into the murder mystery series and sometimes quilts make an appearance in solving the crime.

I think there are 10 books in the series. They really don’t have to be read in order but after reading Book 8, I thought I would go back to Book 1 and happily read on. However, SOMEONE has checked out or reserved the digital and library hard copies for Books 2 through 7. Seriously? I WILL FIND YOU.

Snowdrops and Orchids

That’s a bit of a crazy title. Snowdrops are wildflowers that sometimes come up through a drift of snow in February. The orchids I’m referring to are tropical and cultivated in a hothouse conservatory. Here in Pennsylvania we have had two days of summer warm weather– one day was almost 80 degrees! Crazy! The first day, I walked around Nixon Park in Kennett Square and discovered the woods full of snowdrops.

Yesterday I decided to walk around Longwood Gardens ( along with everyone else living in Chester County, surrounding states and varies foreign countries…) and see if snowdrops are blooming there. Of course I got lured into the Orchid Extravaganza Show, on display until March 25.

Spectacular as usual. If you need an infusion of color, orchids won’t let you down. I’ve read that orchids display the most diversity of blooms of any species (that might not be the right botanical term.)

That’s a quilt composition right there. I love those stripes.

I’ve made quilts with orchids as the subject before. I wish they had some Ghost Orchids to see at Longwood.

This huge arch of orchids is beautiful. I’m seeing lots of yellow at the gardens this year.

I walked all over the meadow and through Pierce’s Woods and finely spotted a few blooming snowdrops. Our short sleeve days come to an abrupt end with a cold front moving in. I hope these tiny flowers are hardy enough to survive for a few days so I can revisit them. I think I might be back in the studio making more snowdrops.

Karma Quilting

Last week was a busy week. There were roses and chocolates, a fun Calico Cutters Guild meting to attend. And I hosted “The Sometimes We Do” Quilt Bee. I made a carrot cake that was devoured too quickly to photograph on the cake stand.

When I woke up on Saturday, the sunrise turned everything pink and orange. We got 3 or 4 inches of snow during the night but by the time I snapped this photo, melting was progressing nicely.

I spotted tiny flowers blooming at Longwood! I know winter may not have had its last hurrah but this week promises temperatures in the 70’s. That’s crazy!

I started this quilt with the firm intention of donating it to the Calico Cutters Quilt Show “Small Quilt Auction.” The quilts must be 16 by 24 inches and that is a perfect size for my Quilting in Layers technique. But when the quilt was finished, I really liked it and didn’t want to let it go!

So I made another quilt, thinking I’d keep the first, donate the second. But then I liked the second quilt too! Clearly, I’m not cut out to be a surrogate quilt mother. So while my Bee friends were here, I had them vote on which quilt should go to the guild auction.

I’m so hoping that someone from the Guild wins the quilt with the snowdrops!

Here’s the thing about Karma. If you put it out there, it comes back to you. I’m having so much fun with this crazy scrappy Quilting in Layers technique! If it worked good on a 16 by 24 inch piece of batting, what about my little 4 inch squares? Oh heck yeah!

Don’t Touch!

My Quilt Guild, Calico Cutters, is having a Quilt Show in May. So the Challenge this year was to make small quilted signs to hang near the displayed quilts, reminding viewers that touching the quilts is not allowed. We were encouraged to be really creative and prizes would be awarded by popular vote.

I had a leftover Jack-in-the-Pulpit so I thought it would work with the Leave No Trace ethic encouraged when camping and hiking. I’m not really sure the sentiment will be understood but I certainly want no trace of sticky hands on my quilt.

I printed out several sizes of type and cut bits of fabric to plan the layout.

I traced the letters onto freezer paper and ironed the templates onto fabric pieces that I backed with Wonder Under fusible web.

The words are fused down and I zigzag stitched the panel onto the composition.

I wrote out Leave No Trace on Golden Threads paper and stitched over the letters.

I always like a striped binding.

It was so fun to see the little signs displayed at Guild!

We could only vote for one.

That little one on the bottom is a dire warning! Touch a quilt and you might be removed from the show in handcuffs!

I loved “Keep Your Paws Off!”

I was pleased with how mine looked and it was fun to make. I can’t remember the order, but the makers of the lovely flowered embroidery, the pin cactus “We Get Prickly” and the three bras, all went home with Quilt Shop Gift Certificates. Well done! We had to guess who made each sign, I wish they had read the members names. But it will be fun to find out at the quilt show– not touching, of course.

More Jacks

I’m knee deep in Jack-in-the-Pulpits in my studio. I must have taken hundreds of photos of them over the years. Certainly none are blooming now in dreary, frozen Pennsylvania. I love them because they are some of the first wild flowers to bloom. I’ve been hiking in early spring when the woods are still brown and the trees branches bare. When I come to a shallow stream flowing down the side of a mountain, I often stop for a moment, especially if I’m alone. You can see wonderful things if you remain still and quiet. Once a saw a fisher cat, kind of like a martin, come to the water for a drink! Often I’ve stoped to admire green shoots in wet drainages, thinking it’s skunk cabbage, when suddenly I realize, they’re all jack-in-the-Pulpits!

This is my basket of Ridiculously Small scraps. I can’t throw away tiny bits of my favorite hand-dyed fabrics.

I cut a piece of batting to the size I want for my quilt and iron Wonder Under fusible to one side.

I lay down the scraps, raw edges overlapping slightly, covering the batting.

When I’m pleased with the fabric selections and the batting is all covered, I iron everything to fuse all the bits and pieces.

I stitch with many different threads, some glittery copper metallic, variegated cotton with pops of purple and bright green, and shiny brown rayon. I like the uneven edges so I clipped the threads, leaving tails, to add to the rough look. This really is a fun, freeing technique.

Just a few snips left from the scraps I used. I can actually put these in the trash!

I have created an interesting “forest floor” canvas. Time to build the flowers and leaves on the Teflon sheet. I don’t have a composition drawn out, the plan is to make some Jacks, make a bunch of leaves and then position them on the background.

I’m pretty happy with this layout but I’m going to wait until tomorrow to iron it down so I can look at it with fresh eyes. I can’t wait to start stitching on the flowers.

All a Memory

I miss my morning walk. Gary and I were in Playa Del Carmen for two weeks.

Note the long sleeves, it was a little chilly at 7 in the morning when we would walk on the beach to Sr. Frogs and back. But the water temperature was a balmy 85 so a few clouds didn’t cramp our style at all.

Paddling up the rivers to the cenotes is my favorite thing. The water is so absolutely clear.

Reading by the pool is the best. I read 6 books in that lounge chair– not admitting to the number of cold beverages consumed. The best book by far was “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. I think I have read every novel by this author but this book isn’t fiction. It’s a very thought provoking report on the Kingsolver family’s attempt to eat only locally grown food for an entire year.

I would have no problem eating this same, locally grown in Mexico, lunch, every single day.

The paella with fresh caught sea food was amazing too.

So we are back home now with memories of a relaxing vacation in the sun. I’m trying to keep warm with a fire in the fireplace and baking bread– locally sourced thyme from my window sill. I’m looking forward to quilting every day in February.

Maybe Spring will be early this year.

Debut Day

Yea! I did get pictures from the photo shoot. Reporting for the Hair and Makeup (and Fur?) session.

Work it, girl! Don’t let that scene steeler upstage you.

Exactly. Only one Super Model needed on this page. Kira thinks the photos will be used in advertising for TJ Maxx around Valentine’s Day and Bella may make her debut on the website banners and flyers. You know I’ll be checking it out frequently.

Green, Just Green

How about that cute studio assistant! Bella has been staying with me while Kira was vacationing in Spain and Morocco. My grand-dog had to return home to Manhattan because she’s a working girl now. Bella is making her modeling debut with Kira today. I hope I get photos! It was so much fun having her here. She and I watched all the figure skating on television together, Ladies, Men’s, Pairs, Ice Dance. Not once did she beg for football or try to switch to the Golf channel. Best binge buddy ever!

These past frigid days have kept me inside. I did have some downtime between ice skating competitions, tho. I got all the blocks together on my latest Bonnie Hunter scrap quilt. It’s so interesting how quilters choose color and fabrics. My friend Kelly, over at Pinkadot Quilts is making snow ball quilt blocks and her sewing room is a riot of colors. Mine is green, just green.

Ok– and some brown but definitely Spring is on my mind — as I look out the window at blowing snow. I need to make some framed pieces for an upcoming art show and I’ve wanted to do Jack-in-the-Pulpits for a while.

I just layer up a bunch of scraps on top of a piece of batting and then stitch to secure everything. I’ve left the edges raw because I want a rough, forest floor look.

I apply Wonder Under fusible web to my fabrics and make templates on freezer paper from my line drawing of the flower.

I fuse all the flower pieces on a Teflon sheet, then peel it up as a whole so I can position it on the background.

I had planned to add the stripes and details with stitching but I was afraid it wouldn’t show up well so I free cut some slivers of fabric. I thought about using paint or markers instead, but chickened out. I had already fused the flower down and didn’t want to ruin it with experimenting. I think the details and stitching bring the Jacks to life. All I need to do is glue it down to the cradled wood frame and add hanging wire.

I just don’t want to stop making Jacks. One thing led to another and some blue-purple started to infiltrate. I wonder why?

The colors just look so pretty together. Some Snow Drops would really add to a composition of Jack-in-the-Pulpits.

I’m off to the races with Jacks! I enjoyed making this small quilt, now I’m thinking of going Full On Spring. I could mix in some Trilliums– you saw that coming, right? And what about Lady Slippers!

Here’s a close up of the stitching. I think I like the quilted line better than the slivers of fabric on the framed Jacks. And it’s much faster. I could easily keep making wild flowers in fabric until the real ones bloom. A long darn time from now.