Saturday, March 29, 2014

And Still More Birds

I love my first bird quilt.

It started with a fat quarter pack of the "Neutral Territory" collection from P&B Textiles.  I added a few fabrics of my own and the effect was VERY subdued. I knew that there would be more birds.  Bright birds.

This time the color inspiration came from a fat eighths bundle of batik.  After last Saturday's bird class I kept on making birds.  Then it was time to add borders.  At this point, I wasn't too happy with my combination.  I wished that I had stayed with the red-orange-yellow-purple combination.  I almost took that green border off the bottom block.

I switched around border fabrics for a while before I finished the rest of the blocks and now I like them.

The new problem is that I don't want to put this quilt together exactly like the last one.  I played around with some other ideas that might be added to the quilt:  WORDS and LITTLE BIRDS.

Friday, March 28, 2014

River Walk Gallery

I am the visiting artist at River Walk Gallery, here in Washington.  Tonight was the opening reception and I was thrilled with how many friends came out to support me.

Here's the display of seventeen of my favorite art quilts.

Quilting friends are the BEST!

My quilts will be on display until April 21.  Gallery hours are 10-5, Monday through Saturday.

River Walk Gallery
139 W. Main Street
Washington, NC 27889

Monday, March 24, 2014

Birds, Birds Everywhere!

On Saturday I taught a class on how to piece the crazy birds from the Hot Flashes of Inspiration book.  I had six eager students attending. Unfortunately, I got so caught up in the action that I only thought to take a few pictures.  Here are the first blocks finished.  Sue on the left and Marsha on the right.

Nancy was on her way out when I snapped a picture of her bird blocks.

Sue was the speedy-sewer of the day.  She finished three blocks.

At the end of class, I talked about, and showed samples of many different ways to cope with blocks that are different sizes.  There is not much measuring going on while you make each block, so you need an end plan!!!  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bunnies and Chicks

I was deep in the back closet this morning, straightening and looking for art quilts to include in the up-coming exhibit of my work at a local art gallery.  It was a sobering experience.  

If you have quilted for 30 years and love small projects, you will end up with an enormous pile of miscellaneous.  Some are old friends, other I wish would just disappear.  Three have been targeted for donation to the guild's sale table at the September quilt show.

With Easter coming, I thought it would be OK to show these two small quilts. I think that I'll offer them for sale and see what happens.

"Bunny" (20" x 21") features reverse applique with a surprise crazy pieced under layer, technique from Jan Mullen in her book Reverse Applique with No Brakez.  I thank Tonya Ricucci for showing me how to piece letters in Word Play Quilts.  It is hand quilted, big stitch style, with green pearl cotton.


The second little quilt (16 1/2" x 17") was made after I taught a spring paper piecing class.  I saw sample blocks online and used them for models while creating my own patterns on EQ.  It is machine quilted and hand beaded. It features more of Tonya's letters


As long as I'm indulging in true confessions, I'll show the little bit I came across last week.  I found an outline of a puppy, fused on a background square and layered with batting and backing.  It had been a demonstration piece - there was thread and needle attached and buttonhole stitching about half way around.  It hovered over the waste basket for a second!

But I SAVED it!  I finished the buttonhole stitching, quickly machine quilted, then drew guidelines and added narrow folded accent strips.  I've found a fabric to be the final border, too.

I'm going to finish it up as a little pillow.  It might even get a button or two!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Free-Form #5

Finished!  I hung up the black back-drop so I could take some snazzy pictures today.   This is my third free-form quilt pieced, but the fifth finished.  I was so carried away with the project with the circles that it took precedence, then I had to finish the other for the Mancuso show.  I finished the last stitching on the hanging sleeve this morning.

Yesterday was so STRANGE at the quilt shop.  All of my customers came in the same two hour window. Needless to say, I had a lot of time on my hands.

There is a cupboard in the next room, around the corner from the check-out. It is the catch all for scraps, pieces that are mis-cut, leftovers from projects, etc.

The piles were getting more and more tippy all the time.  The smallest scraps were in the boxes.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE - LOVE - LOVE scrap quilts.  But I have a quilt shop full of pretty fabrics and I really need to use those fabrics, especially in store samples.  So in all of that free time yesterday I sorted and sorted.  A good friend who is a prolific art quilter will be the recipient of a pretty good sized tote bag full of  pieces ranging from 2" squares to almost fat quarters.


*Note that the precious batik hoard is not stored in that cupboard and I don't discard a bit of it!!  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I've Been Busy

I've been working on a lot of little projects.  For the store, I put together a sample of this little fabric book:

The title is Busytown's Bravest and the fabric panel comes from Quilting Treasures.  

After I finished Carnival, I had a couple of curvy-pieced panels and one circle left.  So I tried out a new drawstring bag pattern.

What else?  How about some more BIRDS?

And some knitting!

Now I'm working on the facing of my FIFTH free-form quilt a la Rayna.  I'll show it off when it's finished.  More birds are will be coming too. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I finished the Carnival quilt top this morning!  I thought it might show better spread on the floor, then I got a chair ... then a step stool.  (I'm a shortie.) Finally, with the camera held over my head, I got a nice picture.

The gentle curves were easy to piece.  Each rectangle was pressed and trimmed after sewing, so it all went together quickly in the end.  I fused the circles with Steam-a-Seam and used the buttonhole stitch on my sewing machine with thread that matched.

I hope to have time to make more BIRDS blocks this weekend.  In the meantime, I'll give you a glimpse of some birds made by my friend, Sally.

See the clothespins?  Sally attaches them to the wall with command strips so she can change wall hangings at a moment's notice.  No nails, no mess.

Friday, March 7, 2014

This 'N That

I showed the birds to my good friend, Mary, and this week she appeared at the shop with this.  It's so much fun to see the different directions people take with the same basic idea.

I want to make more birds myself, and also some butterflies, patterned after those seen on the Patchery Menagerie BLOG.

Meanwhile, "Carnival" is taking shape.  I have machine appliqued the interior circles and have sewn the big blocks into vertical rows.  Next, borders well be added plus more circles spilling out into the borders.  I've had to pre-plan where those circles will go.

The "beginners" class here at the store is finishing up.  I've put the borders on my sample quilt top.  I'll try to get pictures of the student quilt tops, too. They have done a good job and it is fun to see all of the different color schemes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Carnival and More

This morning finds me back at work on the Carnival quilt.  After I finished the curved piecing the other night, all of the segments needed to be trimmed to 6 1/2" x 12 1/2".

Then I sewed the segments into groups of three, carefully mixing them up (I think it is HILARIOUS how hard I work sometimes to make something look random.)

Look what I have after all the trimming - I see the seeds of another free-form quilt!  It's going to be hard to keep myself on track today with that little pile of strips tempting me.  I have developed quite a collection of skinny strips. Whenever I trim off a strip that is 'bout wide enough, I put it to the side ... for "later".  It doesn't quite rival my selvage collection, but it's growing!

I've been teaching two beginner classes here at the store.  We're making a sampler quilt and everyone just about has their quilt top put together.  I've been making one right along with them as I demonstrate.  All I have left to do is add outer borders.

Isn't it nice to be able to change your mind?  I had originally planned to use the daisy floral for my sashing and border.  WAY too busy.  The nice blue tone-on-tone works much better.  If this was a quilt for ME, I would probably make a narrow inner border and finish up with the daisies as the outer border. But, since this is a beginning project, I think I'll just make one border.  I'll teach this again and will use this as my class sample.

Last, but not least, look what I found when I took a break from sewing.  The floor lamp beside the chair puts out a lot of heat, so Baby has found the coziest place around.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Trip

On Sunday, two friends and I went to Hampton, VA to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.  It was as much fun to visit friends as it was to see the quilts.  I walked right in and ran into Augusta Cole, quilt instructor extraordinaire, who just happened to teach the first quilt class that I ever took, way back in 1985!

Sally, Ruth and I made a beeline to the area where our challenge was hung.




The rest of the display:

(There's my spiral on the left)