Sunday, April 29, 2012

VCQ Celebration....Some Snapshots!

I had a great time at Celebration! at Smith Mountain Lake this weekend....160 ladies (and 1 true gentleman!) enjoying great classes and camraderie at the Virginia Consortium of Quilters biennial retreat.

We had a great time with Bonnie Hunter in her "Smith Mountain Morning" class on Saturday.  Her infectious enthusiasm had us all laughing all day.  I even got some blocks finished:

Friday was spent exploring a new technique (for me) of creating a quilt from a photo.  The class was taught by Annette Kennedy from Colorado, and her quilts were incredible.  Below is a photo of one of her beautiful projects (photo taken with permission):

We worked on a landscape called Rocky Mountain Sunrise; and then got an opportunity to trace one of our own photos to learn the process of taking it from photo to pattern.  I did a tracing of my photo from the Vatican Museum in Rome....a staircase in the shape of a nautilus shell:

It will be interesting to see if I can actually translate this into a finished product.  

Thanks to all the VCQ Celebration team who did a great organizing job.  The weekend went smoothly, classes were well thought out and taught, meals were enjoyable, and all the handouts, quilting notions, and "extras" made for a fun getaway.  The most rewarding experience was visiting with old friends, and meeting new quilting companions. 

I'm glad to be home with my honey, and now I just have to unpack and see what I was doing when I left.  Getting away and letting the creative juices flow in different directions is always inspiring. 

Enjoy this beautiful Sunday,


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I'm Reading on Wednesday - Modern Quilts Illustrated #1

Modern Quilts Illustrated #1 is the first issue of a new publication from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr of Modern Quilt Studio (formerly Fun Quilts).  When I responded to a request for "review" bloggers, Weeks sent me a copy, which I received early this week:

My first impression of the magazine is the same as my first impression of Weeks and Bill's other works....high quality, great color, sophisticated, uncluttered, and filled with creative details.

This magazine is distinctly different from most quilting publications, in that it has no advertising.  It is printed on sturdy coated stock, and the photography is lovely.  They give clear, concise directions for three different projects, and the remaining pages describe tips, inspirations, color palette choices, Minkee backing hints, and links to creative documentaries and works in other arts media.
The three projects described (two piecing, one a combination of piecing and applique), give straightforward cutting and assembly instructions,  present a variety of colorways, and give manufacturers and SKU codes for the specific fabrics used in the photos.

One of my favorite aspects of their work is their extensive analysis of color, color choices, and color matchings.  Here is an example from the pattern "Stacks" of what I mean:

"The second variation is much more graphic because just three fabrics are used.  Differentiating the structure with tan and green completely transforms the quilt.  To have this color work read clearly, the blue field fabric must contrast well with both the tan and green."  (MQI, p. 4).

Instead of saying "you could use tan and green, too", they provide comparative color analyses that help guide choices.  I truly appreciate writing that both "informs" me and challenges me to analyze and think on my own. 

This may be a "thin" booklet from the number of projects given, but it is bursting with options and opportunities that build on the projects presented.  Weeks and Bill are constantly seeking out suggestions from readers as to what they would like to see in future issues, and I can't wait to see what Issue #2 looks's out now and I need to get a copy.

You can find out more about Weeks and Bill through some of their books:  Transparency Quilts, Quilts Made Modern, through their website at Modern Quilts Studio (formerly Fun Quilts), on Weeks' blog at Craft Nectar, or on their Facebook page.  You can subscribe to the magazine by calling the studio at (708) 445-1817.

I have been following Weeks and Bill's patterns for years in almost all of the major quilt magazines.  It's a joy to hear their "unique voice" in the quilting world  in their new publication. You'll enjoy it, too, I'm sure.

Have a great day,


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Linky Party Tuesday......

I'm hooking up with Connie at Quilting by the River this morning to show what's happening around here.

Yesterday was rainy and COLD (yes, we've been spoiled by all that lovely early spring weather) it was a good day to sew.  I managed to get these sample blocks together for my "Summerbreeze" quilt:

This was not the design I was originally playing with, but when I rotated the alternate rows that blue star popped out.  We'll see......I've got a lot more blocks to make.  I'm not sure I like the white with the yellow, either, but I have a lot of yardage to play with.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time cutting strips for my "Smith Mountain Morning" class at "VCQ Celebration"  this weekend.....I always overestimate the amount of time available in these workshops.  I have NEVER run out of fabric because I was "unprepared".  But if the guidelines say:  3 yards of scraps, I usually put together 5 yards of scraps, because I don't know how I'll like the combinations until I get them together.  Does anyone else have that problem  use that solution?

On a rainy day, sometimes picking up the mail seems more important than other days.  And yesterday was no exception.  In addition to the Wall Street Journal (Guy's bible), I got a magazine in the mail, and a package of these:  a set of charm squares, "Salt Air" by Cosmo Cricket for Moda.  They were a "birthday present" from Connie (her birthday, not mine), and I was the lucky winner.  I love the muted colorways and already have an idea in mind for a simple "beachy" setting. What a fun package on a dull afternoon.

Make sure you head on over to Connie's to see what other people have been working on.  I've still got some more rotary cutting to do.

Have a great day!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

BINGO! During May for Me

I'm linking up with Tanya at Hillbilly Handiworks for the BINGO! Linky Party during May for Me.

Here's my card (whoops, totally forgot about color matching) but Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts said we didn't have to worry too much about that:

Here are my row labels:

Now I have to get my "card" finished up with some batting, binding, and get out those buttons....I'll be ready to play when I get back from VCQ Celebration next week.

Sounds like a good time....I'm already having fun "playing" by putting together my card this morning.  Hope I got my entry in on time.


Do you "Sudoku"..and ...Do you "Etsy"....?

I should have known you can't fool quilters.  I had eight comments on my blog yesterday, and all of them guessed the Sudoku pattern for my quilt.  The winner was "Rosmarinus Designs" who said:

"Definitely a Sudoku quilt. And I am guessing the title is the possible number of legal combinations that can be arranged?" 

I'll be sending off my little packge of foundation-pieced Christmas stocking patterns to her this week.

I don't have any photos to post of quilt progress this morning, because I spent most of yesterday hand-sewing on my antique client crazy quilt, and because I opened a shop on can find it here at


Do you "Etsy."  What has been your experience?  Do you have any hints for me?  I just put up a few of my quilts to get started, and am working my way through refining things.  I have gotten so many great hints and ideas from bloggers.....I love the way people are willing to share their experiences and instructions with me.  I really think it's the nature of this community of quilters, who are generous to a fault.

One of the things I really need to work on is my photographs; I tend to want to get things done too quickly, so don't take the time I need to photograph things well...this is probably an area where "done is better than perfect" doesn't always apply.  And I'm sure improving my "tags" would direct traffic better.

We seem to be trying lots of new endeavors lately.  I guess this "reinventing" yourself doesn't really ever have to end, does it?  If mental activity helps fight off dementia, I should be golden....I haven't "thought" so much in years.

Anyway, selling on Etsy is another area where I figure I don't have much to lose, and as Guy says to me (more and more frequently),  "Honey, what are you planning to DO with all these quilts?"

 Check back later.....I hope to have a picture of the antique client quilt to show you....I'm sewing down the binding and tying the individual squares.  This baby is BIG (93" x 93") and HEAVY....wools, velvets, silks, muslin, and backing.  I'm so glad I didn't add any batting to it.

Have a good's gonna' rain all day, I it's a good time to stay in....
and sew.....


Friday, April 20, 2012

A Little Friday Puzzle.....and a Giveaway!!

It's been a busy Friday.  I just finished a top for my next submission for the "Little Quilts, Big Talent" auction for the Virginia Quilt Museum.  Here's a picture.....

Can you guess the pattern?  And yes, those are nine-patch blocks, but that's not the quilt pattern.

If you can guess, I'll send a package of foundation-piecing patterns from Cindi Edgerton.  Here's the title of the quilt, and a picture of the mini-Christmas stockings:

Yep....that's the title; I had to take a picture of it because I can't figure out how to do superscript yet in's the giveaway.  There are two foundations each of four different stockings in various sizes:

This is easy folks; here's a hint.....the quilt has nine colors:

Do you need another hint?  It's the smaller version of a quilt I want to make for Guy (if you've been reading my blog, you know what that is). 

Tell me the pattern, and the significance of the title.  Leave me a comment, and I'll enter you in the drawing for the pattern.  Become a follower, and you'll get a second entry.  Make sure your comment includes a link to your email; I'll keep this contest open until Saturday night (April 21st).   

And don't forget to check out these links:  The Colorado Lady is hosting an Ugly Fabric Quilt Challenge.  Click on the link or on the button on the right; you can enter until April 30th.

Have you made a quilt for the Virginia Quilt Museum auction yet?  We need your quilts!  Submissions are being accepted all year long.  The first silent auction is already on display at the Museum, and the first on-line auction starts May 10th.  Go to this link to download a submission form.  All money raised helps to support the Museum; you can also get the latest Museum news by following them on Facebook

Have a great day....I had fun this morning playing with these lovely colors.  This afternoon I've got to pick out my fabrics for my class next week...I'm running out of excuses.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Little Indecision Isn't Such a Bad Thing.....

Well, yesterday I was "dithering" here and there, about what to start, when to start it, and I got myself totally confused.

I decided that I needed a quick, fast project, so I finally started in on Tracey's purse yesterday afternoon.  The piecing went smoothly, the fusing went quickly, the quilting was minimal and I got everything assembled but the ties and the button.  Those went on this morning (yes, at 6:30 a.m., but I'd been up since 5:00).....and

Ta-Da!!...a cute birthday gift for my BFF.......

Margaret showed up bright and early this morning, and we made our way to Patchwork Plus for a shopping expedition.   She was on a mission to find fabrics for some jackets, and I was going to find a border for "Little Monkey"......mission accomplished:

It's a crazy border, but has lot's of solid colors in it....sort of like crayon scribbles.....

The back is pieced and it's going on the long-arm tomorrow.  Late this afternoon, I finally got up the courage to slice into my Moda Summerbreeze Fabrics....8 blocks and an hour later.....I'm 1/10th done with the pieced top......I could like this.....

Sometimes taking "time out" is good for regenerating enthusiasm.....

We're off to have dinner with friends and listen to some music at the Woodstock Cafe in a little while.  Have a great evening......


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pondering the Possibilities......What's Next?

I finished putting the last sashing and borders on my client's antique quilt top yesterday, and sent it downstairs to let Guy put some quilting in the sashing before I tie the blocks and bind it.

I was glad to get that out of my sewing room; it's been nagging at me and I knew I just needed to sit down and finish it up.  So, I had a "free" day to start a new project.  What is it about having a blank slate?  I had a terrible time deciding what to start you have that problem?

Here were some of my possibilities:

My scrap basket has now become my "scrap baskets" again....these all need to be sorted, sliced, stripped, did that happen?  That seems like such a mess, and I just finished cleaning up a bunch of messes.

I now have TWO possible designs for my "Summerbreeze" fabrics; I went back to EQ yesterday morning and started playing with other lay outs....but I can't decide which one I like, so that project is going to sit a while longer.

I designed this Sudoku quilt for Guy while I was on vacation (can you believe I have never made him a quilt?)  He's the "Sudoku Guru" around here.  I think I want to use my Cherrywood scraps, but I was too lazy to open the drawer and start sorting........

I found this gorgeous button when I was shopping at JoAnn's a few weeks ago; the button led me to the blacks and whites; the blacks and whites led me to the red....this will be a purse for Tracey when I get my act together...but I have to find the Pellon and where did I put that?...........and where's the pattern?

VCQ Celebration starts exactly ONE WEEK from tomorrow.....and I still haven't put my class kits together.  I need to print out some landscape photos, I have to decide what three colors I want to use in Bonnie Hunter's "Smith Mountain Morning" class.  I fully intended to get a lot of pre-cutting done before class, since Bonnie's classes are all about the sewing, sewing..

The landscape class has a laundry list of items that I think I have around here somewhere, but I guess I'd better get busy and find them.
And, of course, I still need to decide on a border for my "Little Monkey" quilt.....took it to my hand-quilt group yesterday, and got tons of suggestions, but no really great ideas.

You can see where this is heading, can't you folks?  I spent so much time wondering how to spend my free morning, that......I ran out of time and had to leave to run some errands........sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.....

Margaret's picking me up early in the morning to head to Patchwork Plus for a little retail therapy.  Maybe I'll have my Mojo working by the time I get it's time for a little Washington National's baseball and a good book before bed.

Have great rained slowly and softly all day here today, and our trees and shrubs got a much-needed watering....


Friday, April 13, 2012

Finish It Up on Friday............

Well, I can't say that everything is finished, but several projects are in the last stages of completion.  Despite having a somewhat disconcerting week, I managed to get these things done:

I made matching pillowslips for our king-sized bed quilt!  This has been on my list for TWO years....of course, now I need to get another pillow, since we need two to sleep on and two for "decoration.".....

I downloaded and got my "Sew Red for Women" April block done.  You can find this tutorial over at Katie's blog at Swim, Bike, Quilt.  I've been keeping up with these and now have three done....can't wait for the next one.  It's fun doing just one block a month....but I'm already thinking about settings, sashings, you know the drill.....

My "Massanutten Majesty" got borders and a backing yesterday....and Guy finished quilting it's going back in my sewing room, waiting for binding.  Sometimes he is just too fast for me....but I love how it turned out.  It's the first "drab" quilt (can I call it that?) I've made, but it's also very richly textured.

I'm delighted with the quilting...of course, I'm delighted with the quilter, so what would you expect.  We used a King Tut variegated green.....

I got the last of my "Little Monkey" blocks finished, and now I'm adding the sashing and setting blocks.  I'm still investigating borders, so that's a photo for another day.

I've been sending emails, printing out papers, and getting ready for a Board meeting at the Virginia Quilt Museum tomorrow, so I'm off to get my briefcase organized...this seems too much like my old job.........

Have a great weekend, the temperature's supposed to be in the 80's by Sunday!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What I did this weekend........

Well, I meant to get these pictures up yesterday, but life has a way of overtaking good intentions.  I got my "Massanutten Majesties" pieced over the weekend.....I just kept chain-piecing, cutting, and chain-piecing, and hurray!.....I had the rows together.  The light is sort of weird on this....but this blog isn't about my photography skills, is it?

Massanutten Majesties

This is a true "scrap" quilt for me....everything came from my stash.  I dug around in my large backings and found a great piece for the borders, and I've got the backing washed and ready to piece, too.  This was a fun and fast pattern to work up, and I've been wanting to make a "two-color" quilt for a long time.  This baby should be on the quilter this week!

Watching The Masters was good for my hand-work, too.  I finished binding two of my quilts, including "Puzzled in Provence", my top made from my American Jane "Breath of Avignon" fabrics.  Guy quilted it with a lovely paisley pattern, and I even got it washed; it's got a lovely, soft hand to it.  Should be a great "snuggling" quilt.

"Puzzled" in Provence

Here's a close-up of the paisley quilting pattern (although it doesn't show up as well as I'd like):

I may have to try this pattern again; it's all pretty straight piecing, is great for brightly defined fabrics, and looks very crisp and contemporary.  I think it would be a perfect quilt for toddlers and even older kids in the right fabrics.  The pattern came from Kristy at Moda Bake Shop, and the "Masssanutten Majesties" pattern is Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville page  "Scrappy Mountain Majesties". 

I just love the incredible patterns that are available on the Internet and within the blogging community.  I try to make sure I give credit and links when possible, but if I miss something, make sure to let me know, OK?

Today I'm going to take an hour and work on my "Sew Red for Women" April block.  It's not too late to catch up if you're interested; click on the button on my page and you'll find the links to the various designers.

And I've got to make a decision about fabrics for "Celebration" at Smith Mountain Lake at the end of the month.....that's our bi-annual retreat for Virginia Consortium of Quilters.

Just for fun, here's a totally "unquilty" was a beautiful weekend here in the Valley...a little cool and windy, but my iris are already up and the lilacs are smelling wonderful.....does anybody know how to keep lilacs fresh in the house?  I love to cut them and bring them in, but the stems are so woody, they wilt within 24 hours....just asking......

Have a great day today.....




Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's "Masters Week"..and time for a little Golf Story...

I was talking to my friend Tracey the other night, and she told me she needed me to make her another quilt (Tracey probably owns more quilts of mine than any other person).  This time she wants me to make a "golf quilt" for her living room of her and David.  Of course, most people just want a simple "couples photo", but not Tracey.  She is always giving me interesting assignments.

How does she know I can make a golf quilt?  Well, I've already made one for her.  About ten years ago, she commissioned me to make a quilt for her husband, David.  He is an avid golfer, and has been since we first met them over 25 years ago.  Tracey didn't golf much then, but her expertise has improved incredibly. 

Here's the quilt I made for him:

I found the pattern in one of the quilt books I had acquired, and it was fun to design a quilt using materials that mimicked the "old time" golf outfits, complete with "plus fours".  The whole exercise was quite a challenge for me at that time.  I wasn't terribly good at applique then, but I had a lot of fun with the possibilities using textures and fabric gradations for the sky, the grass, the clubs, clothes, bag, etc.  Tracey snuck me a picture of Dave, and I was able to copy it and sew it into the quilt:

Needless to say, he was totally surprised, and I was happy to have made a lovely gift for my friends.  Now Miss Tracey has me at it again......I guess I'm going to have to get to Richmond to get some photos.....she wants them in "contemporary golf outfits" this time....doesn't that sound like a perfect excuse to watch The Masters on TV this week? 

Once you get into this quilting business, you never know where your next idea is coming from......and I was also happy to get home from vacation to find a voice mail asking me for a long-arm quilting quote, and an email from a friend who has a quilt that she wants "little ducks" on......its always fun to have new work to look forward to.

Have a wonderful Easter....I've got to get back in my sewing room and figure out what I was doing when I left.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Little Beach Time.....

I'm taking time off from some of my projects to spend a little time with my family at the beach; we're here with our granddaughter Maya and her girlfriend, Natalie; our son, Chuck, and his wife, Laura.  Here's what the weather looked like last night:

It poured last night, and the weather turned really cool.  But before the rains came, we had a little sun time in the afternoon, and I got a few good pictures of my granddaughter and her friend on the deck before the rains came:

Natalie on the deck with her awesome sunglasses
Maya Deiss and her loving Nanny sitting on the deck before dinner

Today we spent some time shopping, and finally got home in time for the girls to spend time at the beach; our son and daughter-in-law got in a little beach time, too:

Chuck and Laura on the Beach at Duck

My daughter-in-law, Laura, who is a great photographer, got a really good picture of the late afternoon from our beach house:

Laura's lovely view from our deck in Duck....

Once the girls returned from the beach, Maya was freezing, and asked me for a blanket.  This is what I found in the's a soft, old, well-worn, well-loved log cabin with hand quilting.  I can't believe it was just stuffed up in the closet above our bed..

Of course, even though I'm away from my beloved Bernina, and Guy has left the Gammill "Monster" in the basement, I've always got a few projects to work on.  I brought this sashiko to keep working on.  It's a representation of cherry blossoms for a future wall-hanging for Chuck and Laura; I loved seeing the Cabin Branch Quilters' Guild interpretations of the Cherry Blossoms at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in April.  I've been working on this to incorporate in a wall-hanging for them for some time:

The colors don't show up very well, here, they are many gradations of pink.  I also brought along a little felt, wool, and plaid wall-hanging I've been working on; it's a cute rendition on "Little Lambs"......

I'm a happy camper; I've got my family around me; got some projects to work on; have the inspiration of sun, sand, beach, and a new environment to reinvigorate me.  Life in good here in North Carolina.....we'll be back to the Valley in no time.