So Many Plans!

I’ve been working on a project to be published in Modern Quilts Unlimited in late summer, so there have been no pictures of current sewing lately. However, that is now finished and I’m focusing on several other projects coming right up.

First, I’m going to be teaching a very un-modern quilt at Studio Stitch in Greensboro in May.

Sunbonnet Sue

Sunbonnet Sue Visits Quilt in a Day

This is an old, old Eleanor Burns version of Sunbonnet Sue but the pattern is still available.  It’s the easiest way I know to do perfect applique!  And it’s fun to add trinkets, like this fish bead hanging from Overall Sam’s fishing rod:

Also, I’ve signed up for Quiltfest.  Luckily, it’s in July when I’ll have some vacation time available again.  I’m going to be making a boxy tote with Carrie Licatovich and a star quilt with Renny Jaeger.  Then I’m signed up for “shibori resist with indigo dying”, taught by Debbir Maddy.  Which reminds me, I haven’t used the fabrics I made in my last dying class…  I always enjoy Quiltfest because it’s just the right size: There are well-known teachers, but not a crush of thousands of participants.  And of course there are sales at Tennessee Quilts, too!  Oops!

Finally, I’ve finished a donation quilt.  I’ve gotten far, far behind on my donation quilts, so those will be floating to the top of the to-do list soon.  Here’s the first one, finally quilted and bound:

donation quilt

The concentric squares are pieced; the other pieces are a print from Michael Miller

Do you have any fun quilt events coming up?



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?

The Condom Quilt Goes Home

In case you haven’t been reading my blog long enough to know about the condom quilt, here is a brief summary:

  • A couple of years ago I wanted to make a quilt from a QR code in such a way that the entire quilt top could be scanned to open the target website. Since I was going to be putting in a lot of effort, I wanted a QR code that had some meaning for me.
  • At that time I was working in public health, spending much of each day helping patients cope with various problems that might have been prevented by appropriate use of condoms.
  • When I looked for a condom-related QR code, I found that Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands (PPGNW) had developed a QR code to be placed on their condom packages. Scanning the code linked to PPGNW’s “Where Did You Wear It?” site.  The goal was to encourage safer sex through condom use.

PPGNW graciously agreed to let me use their QR code in my design.  I colorized their code and made my quilt, checking after construction of each section to be sure the whole thing still scanned correctly.

Asheville Quilt Show

This is the finished quilt. That tiny embedded QR code leads to my blog.

I showed the quilt anywhere I could.  (It isn’t just younger people who need safer sex.)  That included guilds, quilt shows, and the folks in my office.  After a year of showing it to anybody who would listen, I donated the quilt to PPGNW to be used in any way they wish.

I was very pleased recently to receive this picture of the PPGNW management staff with the quilt.  That funny looking guy is their condom mascot.

The folks at PPGNW report that the quilt has sparked discussion, especially about the interaction of traditional crafts and technology.  I enjoyed this quilt from start to finish and I’m glad it is now in its home.

With a little help from my friends…

One of the things I love about blogging is hearing from people who comment and share their ideas.  Here are a couple of ideas that I thought you might enjoy, too.

When I blogged about some household items that are useful for quilting, Peggy commented that she cuts up her old calendars and uses the numbers to label her blocks and rows.

It was the perfect time of year for that handy hint, so I promptly cut up an old calendar. The numbers worked great for labeling pieces for a complex project. I clipped them to groups of fabric for the various sections of the quilt using binder clips–an idea I got from Judy Niemeyer’s class years ago.

Another friend, Claire, responded to my post on making single-color slabs by asking what I do with fabric that is a mixture such that no one color predominates.  I had been cutting out sections based on the predominant color, and that seemed to work.  But…

When I came to this piece, I realized I had NO desire to cut out chunks small enough to be mainly one color.  Then I started looking and saw that I had a number of prints from which I would NEVER be able to cut single-color pieces of any size.quilt slab, slab block, quilt block, modern block

So I made a block of multi-color pieces.  It is pretty wild, but so were some of the fabrics that went into it.  I’ll see how it looks with the single-color blocks when I assemble a quilt.  What do you think?  Make more of these or give up on the truly multicolored fabrics for slabs?


A Little Break for Fun

After finishing a big project and preparing classes for the next quarter, I took a little break and used some of the scraps from the unsorted pile.  This is where scraps go before I cut them into the standard sizes I use for storage.scrap block, slabs, scrap quilt

Cheryl Arkison, who blogs at Dining Room Empire, calls this type of block a slab. Of course the idea of joining scraps as you find them has been used by many people in various ways.  I really enjoy making them in a single color, so I made a few when I had a minute.slabs, scrap blocks, scrap quilt

Of course, this didn’t make a dent in the scrap pile, but it was fun!  Has anybody out there found a way to make a real dent in the scrap pile?  It seems to me to grow and grow, with no decrease in size no matter how many scrap quilts I make!

Classes Coming Up

I’ll be teaching two classes at Studio Stitch in Greensboro, NC, this coming quarter.

First is a “Secret Message Pillow”. Go by the shop to see the sample and sign up!  That class will be the morning of Saturday, January 27, which means the pillow will be finished in time for Valentine’s Day.

scrap quilt

Scrap quilt made with strips that finish 1″ wide

Second, I’m teaching a scrap management class that will show several ways to use even small scraps to make beautiful quilts. I call it scrap management because that’s what most of us need: management of the scraps. One option is shown above.  That class will be March 24 and we will have all day to play with our scraps.

All you need to bring is the basket (dump truck load?) of scraps that have been accumulating in your studio.  Sign up at the shop and come have fun!

A Finish to Start 2018

This scrap quilt started out when I saw Tonya Ricucci’s “Lego Quilt” tutorial.  I didn’t use her method; you can see my “improvements” here.  I made changes to make the quilt easier for me to construct, and arranged the blocks a little differently, but I’m sure you can see this is based on her idea.

scrap quilt

Scrap quilt made with strips that finish 1″ wide

For 2018, I plan to set aside pieces of each quilt I make so I can have a “scrappy 2018” quilt to remember all my projects!  I named my version of Tonya’s quilt “Scrappy New Year”, and I guess the next one will be “Scrappy 2018”.  Really the pieces in this quilt are so small that every project should have enough left over to put in the quilt.

scrap quilt

Detail of Scrappy New Year

As for the 2017 version shown here, I estimate it contains 1,680 pieces. I have a friend who has beat that number by quite a bit; you can see one of her quilts, (with 5,496 pieces!) here.

Two Links You May Like

The Quilt Alliance auction of donated art quilts has started.  I’m sorry I didn’t get this announcement out last week, but there is still time to bid in Week 1 of the auction if you hurry!  My quilt is in Week 2, which starts November 27.  Check out the auction here:

This is the “promotional image” for my quilt, which is 16 inches square per the contest requirements:

But really, I encourage you to check out all the quilts.  There is one I really like (other than my own!) and will be bidding on.  If you don’t know about the Quilt Alliance, I encourage you to check out their activities here.

Second link:  My friend Melanie at Catbird Quilts recently pointed out a little research project she found.  Another blogger, Vicki Welsh, posted about testing a variety of methods to save a quilt that has been washed with bleeding of one (or more) fabrics.  The results are very interesting, and are also useful for those of us who pre-wash (at least some of) our fabrics. Check out Vicki’s post here.  Vicki encourages you to share her test results, and I encourage you to be sure to link to her original post when you do.

Have a good week!

Finally, A Finish

This quilt was started as a practice piece for a quilt I want to make using this “one block wonder” technique. Finally it is finished and bound!

one block wonder

Floral Fantasy, a “one block wonder” quilt

Here is the fabric from which these one block wonders were cut.  As you can see, it was pretty lively to begin with.

Sassaman fabric

Flower Fiesta by Jane Sassaman

The border for the above quilt is from a different Jane Sassaman fabric.

Here’s the quilt for which this was practice.  It is back in a box waiting its turn.Sassaman fabricsNext week I’ll show some more of what pushed its way in front of that quilt.

Meanwhile, if you want to try a one block wonder, here’s a link to the book.  And the fabric or both quilts is designed by Jane Sassaman, whose website is here.