Camelot – Finished


Another winter finish.  This one is called Camelot.  It is a Trish Harper pattern that was free through the French quilt magazine Quilt Mania. (still available for purchase on Etsy).  It is hand pieced and hand quilted.  I used Quilters Dream Request batting in it so it is very light weight.  A good stack of William Morris fabrics was used plus contributions from a few friends.  I quilted it with Presencia/Finca 12 wt thread in big stitch style.


It is a big quilt…90×90…fits the top of our King Size bed.


I don’t know that I ever want to do another hand quilted King Size quilt again but it did finish rather rapidly (well, after 3-4 months) while watching 45 rugby world cup games the last 6 weeks.  Yes, I love rugby!  Our team, the Wallabies, didn’t win or even do well – which was expected.  However, I did wear my Wallabies jersey for each game they played.  It has now been washed and retired for another season. 

My second favorite team, The Brave Blossoms, did a crack-up job and surprised everyone.  South Africa came away with the top prize and there were certainly heartwarming tales to come from their side.  The first black captain of the South African rugby team, Siya Kolisi,  was raised by his grandmother in poverty, struggled to have food, walked 10 miles to school without shoes.  Hopefully rugby will help bring healing to a ravaged country.


Many people have embraced quick and easy projects.  Many people I know are loving using embroidery machines.  To each their own.  Everyone must find what feeds their creativity and the time they have available.  I find that I continue to embrace the slow.  Slow stitching.  There is a place for all styles and levels of quilting but for several years now, I have been gravitating toward slowing things down.  It started nearly 20 years ago when I discovered something called “Slow Travel”.  Then there was the slow food movement.  And eventually, the last few years, the “Slow Stitch” movement.  Even my improv machine work is slow.  Slow is where it is for me right now.




One Hot Mess


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.


String Therapy


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.




Cold Wax Painting


I’ve put these two aside and am calling them finished – at least for now.  They are on 12×12 (ish) pressed board.  Cold wax and oils.  No enhancement other than cropping.

My painting experiment continues but I must be honest….I wouldn’t say it has taken priority.  I found myself totally focused on making a back for my One Hot Mess quilt top.  The back possibly took more time than the front did.

So, the front is a Victoria Findlay Wolfe pattern with a little bit of crumb piecing.  The back is totally improv.  Improv lettering and crumb piecing.  It was a bugger of a piece to get straight but I think I have it straight (enough).

I’m planning to keep the curved edges on the top.

Warning….back includes my favorite cuss word.  To be fair, I don’t use it A LOT…but it does cross my lips occasionally.



And, thanks to Mr. W, I am typing on a new MacBook Pro 13″  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  No more instability and crashes.

Now, back to painting….at least until the end of the month.  Jury is still out on whether I will continue with my painting adventure or put it aside at the end of the month.  I know so little about painting…I don’t know how to mix colors….I don’t know how to make marks….I actually know so little about painting and it is quite intimidating.  It’s certainly easier to do what you know rather than something you know so little about.



Semi-Quilting sabbatical


I have decided to take a semi-sabbatical from quilting.  I’m not planning to full on QUIT quilting, but I’m going to put it in the backseat and put painting in the front seat.  For the month of September at least.

Years ago, I took a workshop on cold wax painting.  I wasn’t crazy about the workshop (the teacher was distracted, jet lagged and not attentive at all) but I did like some of my results.  However,  I never went any further with it other than to put my paintings up and admire them occasionally.

I have been following the work/art of Rebecca Crowell for well over 5 years.  Dreaming of painting in that style.  About 2 years ago, she came out with a book with Jerry McLaughlin.  They crowd funded it.  Over the last two years, I’ve sat in my chair and read and re-read their book.  Dreaming.  Now they have video teaching available.  I would love to invest in the video, but here’s the thing….I’m still just DREAMING.  And, it is an expensive video (although a LOT cheaper than going to one of their workshops).  I have yet to mix cold wax and oil together and put it on canvas or paper so it is hard to justify the purchase.  But….that is going to change.

September 2019….I deem COLD WAX PAINTING MONTH.

(5 day pause)

ok, so it is now September 4th.  My plan/goal is to paint daily for the month of September and then evaluate whether I want to continue painting or not.  So far, I’ve painted 3 of 4 days.  I do enjoy it.  It only ‘takes’ about an hour of my time though before I’ve run out of ideas and painting substrates so then I switch over to quilting.

My question at the end of my painting session today was “How do you know when to quit?  How do you know when a painting is done?”  Especially with abstract painting….it’s not like I’m trying to paint a tree or a house or something specific.  So…..how DO you know when to quit?  I’ll get back to you on that one if/when I figure it out.

I’ll post picture of my painting throughout the month.  I’m not looking for critique.  I might even shut off comments if I can figure out how to!  I really just want to paint because I want to paint.  I want to suspend judgement on whether it is good or not.  I just want to paint because I enjoy it.  Not because I want to sell my stuff.  Not because I want to have a gallery show.  I really don’t want anything other than the joy of creating.  This, combined with my fear of sucking should prove to be interesting.

Pictures below are progress on “One Hot Mess”.  The top is finished – now I’m working on the words for the back.  “I like pretty things…and the word @*&$”.  🙂  (Sorry mom…lol)


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