Archive for the ‘show and tell’ Category

While I wait for the painting bug to hit, I continue to quilt.  I haven’t given up on painting (yet) but it certainly isn’t a passion (yet).  I still have my painting corner set up and I still have the dream of being a painter but in the last 2  1/2 months, I don’t think I’ve painted more than 10 days.  I like what I’ve done, I just don’t feel driven to paint.  I need to work myself up to it.  I’m not stressing over it though…it is what it is, right?

Here are a few projects I’ve been working on:

Jelly Roll Rug.  40 x 2 & 1/2″ strips.  2 & 1/2″ batting strips (I bought it in a roll).  I didn’t actually use a pattern.  I watched a couple YouTube videos and read a few blog posts plus popped in to a workshop that our local quilt group hosted.  It is a bit of a long, boring process but I do like the results.  Didn’t think I’d ever make another one – but I have the supplies if I change my mind.  (Go figure, right?!)


Next?  The Clam Shell quilt – called JUST FLOAT.  I used 4″ templates from Eppiflex.  Each row took about an hour for the stitching alone.  YLI 100 silk thread – which I love for applique.  About 100 fabrics – mostly from my sister K2’s extensive (!) stash.


I wanted to add an improv KRIS touch to the quilt so I went with hand applique words JUST FLOAT.  I landed on those words from K2.  For at least 20 or more years I have associated those words with her.  I’m not sure if she would say it was her mantra…but she has said it enough for it to stick.


I thought about doing various words on all 4 borders but after looking through Kathy Doughty’s latest book Organic Applique, I decided to give her technique a whirl so I used her technique, flower shapes and design for the remaining 3 borders.


Next up…hand big stitch quilt with Aurifil 12 wt.  Once basted, it might wait until Autumn for cooler weather.

Quilted Village is my current piecing project.  This is a BOM pattern by Janet Miller.  My friend purchased the pattern and kit a few years back.  It was that far down on her UFO list that when I was asking (begging?) UFO projects from people, she gave it to me.

I’ve always admired the pattern so it was a win win.  I have the center finished and now will start on the house blocks.  Since someone else has done all the work and all I have to do is follow directions, it will be a perfect project for those days when my muse has disappeared.


This next one I’m calling “My Favorite Word”.   My friend from Chicago sent me this grey starburst chunk of fabric and said she couldn’t wait to see what I did with it.  Oh, the pressure!  I think she was expecting me to do some FMQing but I went with hand embroidery.  It got shoved aside for the last year or so but it has surfaced again and I’m ready to put more work into it.  I have a plan for more embroidered words, motifs and vines and then improv pieced borders (stars?  circles?  triangles?).

If you have a favorite word, let me know in the comments….I just might include it!




And finally, this is a color palette I’m working on.  I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do with it – I have several ideas percolating.  Raspberry, Charcoal and Caramel with some warm-ish backgrounds thrown in.  As I sometimes do, I’ve clipped a bit of each fabric and put it on card stock for reference when shopping.


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This one I’ve called One Hot Mess.  It is a two sided quilt.  I figure that is one way to maximize my creativity (as I need another quilt like I need a hole in my head).


Side one is a Victoria Findlay Wolfe design from her double wedding ring book.  I used her papers and templates that I purchased at her store in New York earlier this year.

The alternate side is improv letters and piecing.  I continue to draw inspiration from a young artist in Sydney, Jessica Wheelahan (@birdie_beetle on Instagram).    In case you can’t read it, it says “I like pretty things and the word fuck”.

I quilted it with a combination of ruler work and FMQ.  I’m not a huge fan of ruler work – probably because I’m not very good at it.  I used Angela Walter’s ruler SLIM and Westalee circles.  I struggle to keep the presser foot snug against the ruler.  When it slips, I suppose most quilters would stop and unpick and try again.  I just reverse back to the ruler and keep going.  (Good enough is good enough!  If you can’t see it from the back of a galloping horse, who cares?  That’s my philosophy anyway.)


I’m pleased with it.  The 2nd side makes me smile.  I have it on our dining room table right now.  I think it ended up about 60×60.

I continue to enjoy personalizing my quilts by putting words into them.  I’m working on a couple more right now.  One is hand appliqued words using 1930/1940 reproduction fabrics.  Another is my autograph quilt using Japanese taupe fabrics.  I’m thinking to make both of those quilts double-sided.


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For the last 2 years I have been a tutor at a 2 & 1/2 day workshop called The Gathering.  It is held locally so I can do my ‘dog and pony show’ and yet be home in my own bed at night.  I enjoy doing it once I’m there but the lead-up causes me some angst.  I enjoy people but I get ‘peopled’ out quickly.  Being full-on Ms. Sunshine and Lollipops for an entire weekend nearly puts me over the edge.

Anyway….this year I taught my version of ‘crumbs and strings’.  In preparation for it, I decided to do a series of string pieces.  I also challenged myself to use solids as I typically don’t.  I ended up with 7 pieces and have called the series String Therapy.

I really do love working with strings.  I’d actually like to continue the series and yet I have some other ideas too (triangles and more drunkard path variations to name two).

Here they are in order of how I made them.

String Therapy #1.  Not QUITE solid color but close.  The green is a shot cotton I picked up in Sydney and the brown/green is one I found in the USA.  I took inspiration from Valerie Maser-Flanagen.    I faced the top and sides and did a pillowcase turn-and-flip on the bottom edge.

String Therapy #2.  This time I used 3 solid fabrics from Cherrywood Fabrics in Minnesota.  I absolutely love these fabrics.  They have such depth and mellowness to them.  Again, I used inspiration from Valerie Maser-Flanagan.  This one proved to be a pain in the ass to finish the edges so I ended up doing a machined button hole stitch with thicker Aurifil thread.  I like the design….I don’t really like the finish but it is good enough.

String Therapy #3:  Next I decided to work with a jelly roll from Cherrywood Fabrics.  I randomly chose 2-3 strips and made them into a string set, trying to vary what I did with each set.  I think I was reading Maria Shell‘s book on Improv at the time so I give her inspiration credit for this piece.  I pretty much used the entire jelly roll for this small piece.  I think it is quite attractive and has potential to be a larger quilt.  All these small pieces were quilted with my Pfaff and a walking foot.  I faced the edges of this one.

String Therapy #4:  From here I switched to my black and white scrap bin.  I had some pre-cut strips so I started there and did a string set.  Then I did alternate rows of another fabric.  It seemed a little dull so I added a couple strings of red.

String Therapy #5:  Still in my black and white bin, I decided to go with solids.  You can really see the effect of NOT using a ruler on this piece.  On all these pieces, I went ruler-free and did all the cutting freehand.  I love the organic nature of the strings/strips when cutting this way.

String Therapy #6:  I had some left over pieces from String Therapy #4 which resulted in this one.   I cut the string sets into squares and then on the diagonal and sewed different ones together.  The piece on the right side was left over from another project.  The two little squares were appliqued on afterwards.


String Therapy #7:  This one came from left overs from 3 previous quilts.  I pulled out the teal colored fabrics and the beige fabrics and sewed random sized strings into string sets.  Hung them on the design wall vertically.  It needed something so I spliced in the brown batik.  I think it is a success!  The edges are faced and I think once I get a sleeve on it, I’ll hang it above the fireplace in my studio for awhile.




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Here my latest finish…Sweet Fanny Adams (SFA).  She’s hanging in the little house above the pressing station.

Chartreuse linen from my friend Elizabeth’s stash.  Cherrywood dark scraps left over from previous projects.  Bamboo batting.  FMQ doodle-style with Sweet 16.  Double trapunto letters (I didn’t want to run the risk of them NOT standing out!).  Faced edges.  Lettering inspiration from Jessica Wheelahan.  Design style inspiration from Irene Roderick.

Sherri Lynn Wood, author of my most favorite quilt book EVER The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters suggests that when you finish a project, you evaluate it by asking yourself questions such as:  surprises?  discoveries?  dissatisfactions?  changes?  what next?

What surprised me about SFA?  I’ve done a fair bit of improv over the years but I found it difficult to study Irene’s work and try to interpret it without copying it.  It was difficult to use her work as a springboard to where I wanted to go.  Although, having written that, I rarely have a plan.  I just wanted the FEEL of Irene’s work.  I struggled.  In reading about her process, I learned that she works from the inside out with her pieces.  I honestly tried to do it that way, but finally reverted back to my technique of starting on the edges and working inward.

Discovery?  No real surprise…I love doing quilts like this.  Quilts that start with a fabric or an idea or just random left over blocks…and build from there.

Dissatisfactions?  I might have rushed it.  I struggle to let things marinate for very long.

Changes?  I wonder if the lower left is a bit ‘heavy’?

What is next?  I have an idea brewing that I’m calling “Oh how she loved being home alone”.  My friend Marcia and I have been brainstorming and I have a loose plan.  I want to finish my String Therapy series (I’m working on #7 now).  I have 8 rows of 24 clamshells (10 across) finished and I have 44 of 45 autograph blocks embroidered.


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Here are a few quilts that caught my eye at the Sydney Quilt Show last week.  There were some stunning quilts at the show but overall, I was a bit underwhelmed.  Underwhelmed with the vendors also.  At first I thought it was me…that I have become a bit jaded to quilting but in talking with others, I wasn’t alone in my thoughts.

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