What’s in Your Ears?




Music is so fun. Weird fact: I didn’t listen to pop music, watch mtv, or go to the movies as a teenager.  It’s a long story for another blog entirely. So now, when something fun comes up I like it and add it as a station on Pandora or find a YouTube vid to share on fb.

When I quilt or write I often listen to music. If it’s a marathon quilt session, and serious, I watch the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It’s how one of my friends checks in on me. Ha!

So up first Uptown Funk

it’s just fun and funky.

And then I keep saying I’m bringing booty (my rather ample backside)

And then just because sometimes we have to shake off the quilting and piecing or the personal dramas of life

A little affirmative love ballad goes a long way

I can’t resist Hootie

I mean why would you want to? That voice!!!

When a friend and I are needing a bit of stress relief we send each other videos or ear worms.

And this is just funny.

I’ll see you on the other side of quilting.

Have so much fun.

Happy Quilting!


Character: explored beauty

Melly prints 002

Melanie Testa is by far one of the most joyful, and thoughtful quilters I’ve ever met. A beautiful, creative soul. One of my most treasured memories is having lunch with her and Elizabeth, we were on the receiving end of some seriously disapproving looks from because we were laughing so much. This still brings a smile. Melanie creates unique, interesting squares of hand printed cloth. These are among some of my greatest treasures.

Melly has shared some of her process for making and printing cloth. Watching her demo in a booth a few years ago, this is messy business indeed.


She had stuff all over her hands. Her exuberance, though, quite catching.

What I see though in her process is a lot of work, thought, preparation, experimentation. There’s a lot of “this isn’t going to work” until “hey this is magic”. When Meadowlark (Windham Fabrics) came out I designed a few quilts for her including several seen in her booth.

Melly has recently published a new book with Carol Soderlund that I’ll share more about sometime very soon. It’s a beautiful book. I’ll share this…for now, the it is very much the result of working, trying, things working, things not working, things almost working. A lot of practice getting things just the way you want.

And so, I go looking for more character. Which is often found in the mirror.

Happy Quilting


Going to the Train Show Today

This morning I’m heading over to the train show with some family. It’ll be the first time in a couple of years that I’ve been able to go. I love this show…not so much for the trains but for the incredible work that goes into creating these buildings and vignettes. And the flora in the Conservatory is gorgeous. Before we leave I’ll be working on some final prep for Road to California. Tomorrow is laundry and packing as I’m leaving very early Tuesday morning. I can not WAIT for this show. I am really honored that my classes are full. You all are just awesome. I’ll try to blog while I’m there. I plan to blog for Gen Q while I’m there so if I don’t post here I will post there.
Saturday evening I’ll be in the Cherrywood booth demoing quilting. Come on over and visit with Karla Overland and see these gorgeous fabrics.

Happy Quilting!


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Inventing quilting

Ruler Work Cross HatchingA way back when, that moment I invented quilting the full expectation of the breadth and scope of quilting, in all its various forms and functions I saw in full clarity. Inventing quilting was pretty hard work, well worth the effort I’d say. Watching quilters and quilt making take this delightful turn from utilitarian blankets keeping people warm on cold nights to a recognized form of art has taken a ton of effort. Good grief I had no idea that quilt makers would be so stubborn about the way things “should be”. Yi yi yi! The intent from the beginning to create functional beauty. Functional beauty takes many forms including adorning walls, messages that start conversations, quilts that are seemingly offensive until the story behind them is understood.
Fabric designers, gosh the way they employ the color sense that I gave them – giving piecers and quilters so many ideas and ways to use designed fabrics. An unintended side effect is paralyzing fear in quilters it’s that whole free will thing.  And solids! Oh my 303 solid colors from one company alone, blank canvases to add gorgeous stitching and complement every fabric from every company.

And thread don’tcha just love how thread designers (yes, that’s what they’re supposed to be called) use color in so many varieties and variegation and fibers. I have to say my fave is the silk thread oh the delightfully tiny stitching that is created with this fine, fine thread. Much to my amusement one of the thread companies is making a variegated silk. Delish, simply delish. The complimentary industry: needles, oh the variety of needles for both hand and machine quilting. Whoa! I’m totally digging wool and linen and heavier weight cotton thread too. And have you seen the embroidery floss? That’s brilliant if I do say so myself.

trapunto-scissorsAnd while we’re at it, yes, yes when I invented quilting I intended for machine quilting from piecing to finishing the binding. Trust me, machine quilters have some serious skills from understanding how tension works and how it changes with the given materials. And art quilters, I gave them a different vision of quilting all together. One that isn’t “traditional” or “normal” or “plays by the rules”. Ahem, there are no rules, I didn’t make any. No in the way that most people think. Most of my rules looked like:

Do good work
Find what works with you
Don’t worry about what others think

hand quilting 001The whole point of both hand and machine work is for quilters to take their creativity to a whole new level or quite frankly be comfortable with whatever method they choose. To quote Mr. Rogers, “everybody’s fancy, everybody’s fine, your body’s fancy and so is mine” (admit it you’re singing it now aren’t you), each quilter is different, their quilts are different and unique. When I invented quilting I expected, wanted this, quilters to take quilt making in a direction that makes them happy, to grow and explore. I wanted quilters to work with color that resonates within their soul, to not worry so much about what other people think about their choices. A natural outgrowth of this is quilt competitions. Yes it is a natural outgrowth that encourages quilters to do their very best. And that’s essential. However, the side effect that I don’t like that quilters feel diminished if their quilts don’t do well in a competition or diminished when they do this type of quilting or that type of quilting. Yeah, No. I can’t help that though. As much as I’d like for this not to happen it will continue, quilters have feelings and they need to be honored.

When I invented quilting guilds of all kinds, a great variety of quilting magazines, websites, blogs, tutorials and social media were all a part of that plan. Any way for quilt makers to connect and enjoy the company of one another. It’s an important component of the overall connectedness intended in the quilt making process.

When I invented quilting is a tongue in cheek piece written because:

I’m pretty hilarious. I’m wildly popular and pretty and wicked smart. And because I can.

Happy Quilting!

Chocolate Swirl part 2

Chocolate Swirl cross hatching I love answering questions about the quilting process.
Yesterday I was asked (on facebook) – I thought I’d share here

chocolate swirl with 24 foot
The BERNINA Free-hand Embroidery Foot known in my world as the Quilting Foot

That cross hatch (it’s kinda wonky here but this isn’t a competition piece so I’m okay with that) is simply marked on the cloth using a Generals Chalk Pencil and an Omni-Grid Ruler.
I placed the 45 degree line along the edge of the Radiance – connecting with the lower left hand corner. Then marked all of the other lines, on a 1/2″ grid, based on that first line.
When I stitched it – it’s all done free hand. I’m not using a ruler for the lines (although it might be handy) or the BERNINA Stitch Regulator to get my stitches even (although I could).
In class speeding violations are issued when a quilter races their machine.
A good medium speed gives the control to be able to get good, even stitches.
By that medium speed I mean something that’s comfortable to move the quilt under the needle. I once and often describe it as a 50’s/70’s rhythm. Kind of like our heart beat at rest.

I am going to add in extra stitching here…that will be revealed in a day or two.
Have a great day!


Creative play

Yesterday I spent most of the day working on two different projects in the quilt room.  Both projects require a lot of attention to detail and are on hard time lines.  I love deadlines, they make it so much easier to work.

At a certain point in the day I needed to stop & play for a while.   With each blog post Linda Poole has a color fix where she finds photos that are meant to inspire new ways of looking at color and get your creative juices flowing.  Every time Linda posts I can see a quilt in my minds eye and will be working on building my thread stash to see what I can do to make these happen.  Linda has encouraged me to work on a small scale, something I can accomplish in  an hour or so.  Thanks Linda!

So last night I played.  full view 2And had so much fun.  I started with the green for the stems.  Randomly placing the straight ones until I was happy where they were – at this point I didn’t know they were going to be flowers.

Next I saw the lighter color batik with the oranges, purples, yellow & gray…the shape reminded me of flowers so now I have a direction to go with.

Then the dark red came from another project I’m working on for an exhibit with the City Quilter and had about that much fabric left.   I cut circles from the dark red and then smaller circles from the background of the flower batik and fused them together to create the centers for the other flowers.

batik flower

On it’s own this is quite a fun fabric.  Each flower is quilted differently to give a bit of interest.

flower closeupAround each one of the red flowers I used blue to create petals and orange to create a bit of detail.

I have quite a bit of quilting left to do.  The finished piece will be no larger than 18 x 20.  I’m not quite sure of a title yet, I’ll ask the gals in my mini group later this afternoon.  They’re awesome for input!

purple flower

Have a great day!