Another Fun Guild Program

This is part of my occasional series on guild programs, with the hope that it will help others who need to come up with program ideas.

Our modern guild has no money to hire speakers, so we are taking turns sharing our talents. One of our members recently volunteered to teach us block printing on fabric, and she furnished all the materials herself!

block printing quilt fabric

Suzanne brought a beautiful print she had made as an example

A few of us had done block printing in the past, but these blocks were much easier to carve. Apparently the block medium is now made of soft rubber rather than linoleum–a big improvement for the hands and wrists.

block printing

Some people carved abstract designs, using the whole block

Everyone got a square of rubber to carve. Some people carved a design on the square using the entire thing. Some carved an object and then cut out around the object so that it could be glued to a board backing for easier handling.

It was fun to see what everyone did.


Then we were given ink and encouraged to mix the colors, either to produce a variegated print or to produce a secondary color.

The prints were amazing and fun.

I didn’t get a picture of the block used for these fish, but they were very successful.

block printing fabricOur challenge for next month is to use the printed fabric in a project.  Can’t wait to see what everyone does!


Inspiration from Nature

One of my online friends, Chela, reminded me that nature is a great inspiration for quilts (as well as other art).  So here are some of my favorite nature pix.

I love plants and flowers of (almost) all kinds, so they are a frequent subject:

inspiration for quilts

Can you see the bee?

It’s a Jack-in-the-Pulpit right beside my back steps!

Kenilworth Ivy is a favorite, and I like the pattern against the rock wall

The forest floor on one of our hikes

Any nature picture is improved by adding a grandchild!

Like most folks, I take pictures when we travel, some for the colors, some for the general scenery.

The colors are monochromatic, indicating how this little guy survives in the Canadian Rockies (when he isn’t begging from tourists)

One of these days I’ll use this picture, made on the Blue Ridge Parkway, as inspiration for a landscape quilt

The colors in New Mexico are always fascinating, and the sky so big

The one thing I don’t do, and don’t intend to do, is print my photos on fabric and put them in quilts that way.  I use them for shapes, colors, arrangement of forms…but for the purpose of interpretation, not direct copies.

How do you use your photos in your quilts?

A Few Favorites

I’ve been thinking about what inspires my quilt designs, and the first thing that came to mind was the beautiful or fun or amazing quilts I see at shows, guild meetings, retreats, wherever.  Here are a few of my favorite quilts for inspiration.

I love the variety of bright colors and the tiny pieces in this one:


Quilt made by Jerri from TINY pieces of Liberty of London fabric

And this is a favorite because of the bright colors and eccentric design:

Cinco de Mayo, made by Renny Jaeger; pattern by Karen K Stone

This unusual design appeals to me:

Rena was given a circle cutter at the last retreat, and she went wild!

Pamela Wiley’s excellent workmanship and eye-popping designs make her quilts among my favorites:

art quilt, Pamela Wiley quilt

Outside In by Pamela Wiley

I like the use of color in this next one, as well as the movement generated by the curved piecing and curved quilting:

AQS Paducah

In the Marsh #2, by Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry

And this one reminds me of Maine, where we lived for a while:

art quilt

Coves and Islands by Carol Anne Grotian

What inspires your designs?

An Unfortunate Event

But luckily just the one, not a series.  Here goes…

I’ve said before that I enjoy Pinterest and I use it to save everything from quilt ideas to recipes.  I mostly ignore the ads, though I do note that they somehow have me pegged as needing plus size clothing, which is not the case, thanks!

I know there’s a lot of “profiling” going on at Pinterest as well as most other sites, but usually I don’t worry about it.  However: I recently found an idea I thought I’d blog about, so I started a Pinterest board labelled “blog”.

Oh. my. goodness.  Pinterest immediately sent me a bunch of suggested pins concerning how to “improve” my blog.  The first one I clicked on led to an obviously fake blog post (meaning this person doesn’t really have a blog, she’s just a front for an advertisement).  That was bad enough, but the product advertised is designed to “spam” Pinterest for you by posting your stuff several times a day with “no effort” on your part.  This is supposed to drive traffic to your blog, and it probably does.

Now I wonder how many people are using the strategy of spamming Pinterest to have their stuff put in front of me looking like a genuine pin, when really it is an ad?  I’m always cautious online, but this is ridiculous.

You’ve been warned.  And I’ll go back to blogging nice pictures of quilts next week.

Anybody had a similar experience with Pinterest?


The Pantone company is an international organization (though based in the U.S.) that defines colors so that they can be reproduced exactly for printing and industrial uses.  Since 2000, the company has chosen a “color of the year”.  The 2018 color, announced this past week, is “ultraviolet”.  Here is the picture of it from their press release.  You can read the whole press release here.

Pantone publishes many color references, and I have one of their books of suggested color combinations.  I love looking at it, but in reality I choose my color combinations based on what looks good to me.  The book is fun anyway, and certainly I could use it if I ever get “stuck” on finding a color scheme.  You can see information on my book and look at some of Pantone’s other resources here.

I’m sure many of you are well familiar with the Pantone color system.  If you aren’t, browse their website just for fun.  And keep an eye out.  I’m always interested to see which industries seem influenced by the Pantone color of the year and which do not.  Will we see an immediate increase in the availability of purple fabric?


Road Trip

We recently went to the Southwest to visit family, and of course that required visits to a few quilt shops! I like to visit quilt shops when I travel because I always find something new. All these shops have websites, so I’m embedding links to allow you to visit them, too.

First stop was Thread Bear in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Las Vegas is a nice little town northeast of Albuquerque.  It has interesting architecture for those of us who like to see fun buildings of different eras. We stayed in the oldest hotel in town, on the town square. It was built in the late 1800s.

fabric, thread bear, las vegas NM

Fabric from Thread Bear in Las Vegas, NM

But about the quilt shop: Thread Bear had lots of fun fabric from which to choose!  I limited myself (with some effort) to the two pieces above.

Next was Loveland, Colorado, where Stitches has opened since my last visit to the town. They had lots of lovely modern fabrics, so I had to have a few fat quarters. One of the pinks and the yellow are the same pattern as the purple fabric I got at Thread Bear–that’s always fun 🙂

Fabric from Stitches in Loveland, Colorado

After Loveland, we went on to Albuquerque, NM, which has several quilt shops.  I limited myself to purchases at two of them.  Especially notable, however, was Hip Stitch.  They had so much beautiful fabric (including what looked like the full line of Grunge) that I was in there a looong time (just ask my husband!) trying to limit my selection.  Then when I got to checkout, the clerk helpfully pointed out that they stock postal service flat rate boxes, so I could buy more than I could carry and have it mailed to me!  Oh my, what marketing!  So if you own a quilt shop, take note!  Anyway, here are my fabrics from Hip Stitch (I resisted the urge to buy more and have it shipped):

Hip Stitch albuquerque, nm

Fabric from Hip Stitch in Albuquerque. The red has a silver metallic print that I couldn’t resist.

Next is Albuquerque was Stitchology, where I selected several fat quarters from their nice variety.  They also had lots of lovely fabric for clothing construction, but I stuck to my priorities and did not get drawn back into that!

fabric, stitchology, albuquerque

Fat quarters from Stitchology in Albuquerque

I was able (with a little effort) to fit all my finds into my suitcase.  I do have a project planned for each of these fabrics!  I’m off to the studio now…hope you have a good week!

Nothing Is Wasted

We recently spent far too many hours in the Greenville-Spartanburg (South Carolina) airport, but that situation lead to the discovery of this artwork in one of the terminals.

metal "art quilt" sculpture by Evelyn Rosenberg

South Carolina Quilt, by Evelyn Rosenberg 

Evelyn RosenbergThis is a metal “quilt” by artist Evelyn Rosenberg.  She has done other metal works that look like fiber art, and you can see pictures of a number of them by clicking on her name or here to link to her website.  (The website has better pictures than mine.)

As you can see, this work consists of a number of blocks making up 3 panels.  I’ve made pictures of each individual panel, shown below.

Left panel

Center panel

Right panel

Here are a couple of the individual blocks, showing a little more of how the blocks are made and the quilt is sewn together with metal cables.  I really enjoyed seeing this, so if you find yourself in the Greenville-Spartanburg airport, check it out 😉

A Little Quilt Show

Quiltfest, in Jonesborough, Tennessee, is accompanied by a little quilt show of things done by the teachers and the shop owners.  Naturally, I took a few pictures 🙂  Here are some of my favorites:


Clam Shell, a Judy Niemeyer pattern made by Louise Amos

Scrap quilt

 Detail shot.  This quit was at least queen size, and the little HST squares finish less than an inch!

Cinco de Mayo, made by Renny Jaeger; pattern by Karen K Stone


Quilt by Shannon Shirley. The blocks are TINY and the baskets have tiny chain-stitched handles. See detail view below

Detail of quilt by Shannon Shirley

Lobster Stew, by Nancy Mahoney

Quiltfest is 3 days of classes and other programs held in Jonesborough, TN every July.  So, who’s coming to Quiltfest with me next year?

Gypsy Wife Sneaked In!

When I visited Tennessee Quilts recently, I had just run across the 2017 sew-along for Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife quilt. So when I saw the pattern at Tennessee Quilts it just sneaked into my shopping basket! Here’s a picture of my copy of the pattern, in case you’re the only quilter in the world who hasn’t seen 2 dozen versions of it on Pinterest:

I like the combination of color and complexity that makes up this quilt. Here’s the link to the Sew-Along on Angie’s blog, Gnome Angel. She’s in Australia, which is fitting, since Jen Kingwell is, too.

Angie had some useful tips on getting ready to make the quilt, which is fairly complex. Just for comparison, it is nowhere near as complex as preparing to make a Judy Niemeyer quilt.  On the other hand, Jen Kingwell’s instructions aren’t nearly as precise as Judy Niemeyer’s, so it is helpful that Angie has links to several resources that help with preparing to make the quilt.  Check it out if you’re interested.

Angie has helpful suggestions about fabric selection, but I recently bought a layer cake of Jen Kingwell’s “Just A Speck” fabric that was just too cute to leave in the shop.  I’m combining that with some fat quarters from Moda’s “grunge” line to make up my palate for the quilt:

Gypsy Wife fabric selection

Fabrics for Gypsy Wife Quilt

Here are the blocks I’ve made so far. Most of these are “filler” blocks placed in various positions around the quilt.  The “card trick” variation block near the middle is the first of the focus blocks for the quilt.  This is NOT the way the blocks are arranged in the quilt, just the way I have them grouped on my design wall for picture-taking.  

Those cute little people in the center of a couple of the blocks are left over from another project.  I thought a few of them scattered around would add interest 🙂

And by the way, the little 4-patch blocks are not part of the pattern.  I just said “no” to making pinwheel blocks that finish 3″ square, so I’ve substituted 4-patches!  It’s not the first time I’ve deviated from a pattern!

I’ll let you know how this goes.  And if you’ve been inspired to sew along, check out Angie’s blog.


Happy Blog Year to Me

My blog just entered its 5th year, and I’m celebrating by linking to some blogs written by my blog-world friends.

First, two of my blog friends have nominated my blog for another Liebster Award.  This award was started by a blog called The Global Aussie as a way for people to find new blogs.  I have no idea how many times it’s gone around the world, but the Global Aussie keeps issuing new “rules” each year to keep it going.

I was nominated by both my friend Graciela, at Chela’s Colchas y Mas, and by another friend, Tierney, at Tierney Creates.  Both of them post on a variety of subjects, quilting and otherwise.  I enjoy them and would nominate them back if I could, but of course that would not be passing along the award.  So, I recommend checking out their blogs at the links above.  As an incentive, here’s a favorite picture recently posted by Tierney on her blog.  Isn’t it fantastic?

Photo by Tierney at

I’ll answer a few of this year’s suggested questions in a minute, for those of you who may be curious about me.  But first, here are some blogs I enjoy and can recommend to you.  They are, therefore, my nominations for the Liebster Award.  I’m trying to get this out of one circle of friends who all read each others’ blogs so you can see something new.

  1. I enjoy Stephanie’s posts at My Imperfect Life.  She has a pointy sense of humor, and we have Texas in common, even though hers is an Aggie household (eek!). Oh yes, and she blogs about quilts, too.

    Here is one of Stephanie’s quilts. Photo courtesy of Stephanie at My Imperfect Life

  2. I also enjoy Crafting in the 21st Century, written by a couple who, like my husband and me, are a sewist and a woodworker.  I knew I had to follow them when they encased a bunch of fire ants in resin to make a blank for turning a pen. They’re obviously as crazy as we are.  In a good way 🙂

OK, here are my responses to a few of this year’s Liebster Award questions:

  1. Out of all the countries you have visited, which one did you like the most?  Canada.  The Canadians are mostly very sane, and they have some beautiful scenery.
  2. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?  Woo!  People who know me would say this is quite a contest.  But I think probably the winner would be working as a health care provider in a male maximum security prison.
  3. What/Who inspires you to travel this world?  The opportunity to learn something new every day!

And that’s it!  Check out the blogs who nominated me, and the blogs I’ve nominated. Spread the love!