Whole cloth challenge update and A visit to my family

weeks dye works

As you saw the other day Lisa Calle and I had a great visit to Olde City Quilts earlier this week. While we were there we took a few minutes to work out a few more details for the Whole Cloth Challenge!  (Note as you’ll see below I am heading out for a trip this morning and  have not been able to get back into my sewing room to shoot this quilt)

I’m about 75% finished with the quilt – I’m excited about that and will have it finished by the end of the first week in December. Check in on Lisa’s Blog for her progress.

Please check Lisa’s Gallery if a photo of your quilt is not on there please email it to Lisa.

We will have a date with a Random Number Generator as soon as I return from a trip at the end of the first week of December to give:
Olde City Quilts – Twin Size cotton wool blend batting
Lisa – Pro Max and Pro Mini Rulers
Teri – two 1/2 yard cuts of Robert Kaufman Radiance (I’ll choose color)

We’re really enjoying seeing what’s coming in!


This weekend I’m going to be a bit quiet. There will be very little quilting related stuff going on. I have a blog to write for Generation Q Magazine (big surprise!) since I am the “blogger in chief”.

I’m headed to Maine for the weekend. This is a Total Family Weekejacqui-showing-alines-quiltnd. I haven’t visited with the family in a little over a year. It’s been very difficult not seeing them.

Just because I won’t be Quilting doesn’t mean that I won’t be thinking about quilting.

And thinking about you my favorite quilters.

Have a fab weekend.


Gramma’s quilt top

grammas quilt topAs I sit here to write this post the backing fabric for my Gramma’s 90th birthday quilt is in the washer.

I’ll need to do the clip, rip and stitch to piece the backing.  “Clip and rip?!” you say?  Why certainly!  Why would I do this rather than rotary cutting across 44″ of fabric?  Well if you know my voice you would hear me say, “cauze Ihm layzeh”.  Well. . . while there is some merit in that comment, it would be more accurate to say I like to piece backings quickly.  It’s also important to not get that delightful curve in the middle of the fabric.  You know the one I’m talking about, the curve that happens sometimes when the fabric is folded and folded again.  Yes, I do know how to deal with this bete noir of quilt making world however comma I choose to clip into the selvage, rip cross grain to get to pieces the same size.  Clip and rip the selvages off then stitch the backing pieces together.

To top it all off there is a wee bit, oh heck, a lot of ironing.  Starting with ironing those now wonky sides of the backing before stitching.  I’m fine with that I have a great iron that gets HOT!

One thing I did a while back is price those wide backings per yard and YES they are less expensive than the yardage.  While I’m not on an “I need to use up every bit of fabric before I purchase more” kick just yet I am excited once again about using what’s here.  I purchased it because I liked it.  I’m also, weirdly, excited about piecing right now.  I’m not quite sure how to handle this, except to honor it and piece.

Kaurman canvas weight projectA while back I got sample books from our home dec guy.  They’re a light canvas from two different lines.  I liked ’em so I stitched them together and voila! a quilt top.

cherrywood cool grays warm autumsI’ve had these for a while, sitting on the shelf whispering to me to be used in a quilt.  I’m not sure exactly how I want to use them yet, however they will be used!  I love how they look right here.  There are a few ideas floating around my brain and the answer will come at the right moment.

Those grays are speaking to me for another use as well.  My cousin posted an image of the  moon last month on her facebook page Inescapable Images that I want to play with.  These grays would be simply perfect.  Happy for me there are a couple of shops within driving distance where I can get these luscious Cherrywood fabrics!


Happy Quilting!


Buying Fabric

Waaaaaaaaaay back when I first started quilting purchasing fabric was perhaps the most daunting part of the quilting process.  Mostly because I lacked the experience necessary to put color & texture together in the pattern in a way that was pleasing to me or what I thought the intended quilt receiver would like.

While I’d heard of a color wheel, I didn’t know how to use it or even that it could be used in quilting.  I’m glad I own one!

I didn’t know that I could run with my own intuitive color sense and be quite happy.  Yeah! I can play to my hearts content.

I didn’t know what was on the market for quilters.  The internet helps us quickly see what’s out there.  If I ever thought a fabric shop with 10, 000 bolts of fabric was a lot, the internet just trumped that!

I thought fabric was very expensive.  Well it can be particularly when we’re first getting started.

I thought that quilts had to look a particular way and be hand quilted in order to be a quilt.  They don’t, log cabins do not have to have a red center to be a log cabin, nor should they have florals, just because that’s the impression we have of them.

I thought that everything had to be matchy, matchy in order to work well together.  Well…not so much.  The fabrics in “When Alex & Jinny met in NY, Beauty Happened” came from two very different fabric lines that I worked to get to play together nicely.

Time, experience and seeing what other quilters are doing have allowed me to see fabric differently.  It will for you too, until then feel free to rely on me, other quilters and quilt shop employees to assist you in making those choices.  I still rely on friends to help when I’m struggling finding just the right fabric.  Sometimes it even comes from their stash!

In the very beginning I thought calico’s were it!  Small floral patterns and a few solids seemed to rule my stash, and that was fine, however I still have a couple of unfinished projects from then.  Or did I finally pass those on?  I did, I passed those blocks and partially completed quilts onto a quilter who loves to do scrap quilts, making them for cancer patients.  I’m glad the fabric went to a good use and that whoever is left to deal with the rest of my quilting room will not have all of that extra fabric to distribute.

Over time my fabric choices have certainly changed I tend toward bright colors because they make my heart sing.  I love hand dyes or small batch dyes as they offer a palette for me to quilt.  I like playing with silk because of the texture and the challenge.  I like to try quilting on Satin, but I think I need a different batting and that’s a whole different post.

So when newish and experienced quilters come to me at the quilt shop looking for help I have 2 goals:

1) to help them find what they love

2) to help them grow and see the possibilities

Finding what you love is an essential component of the quilting process.  If you purchase what you love, no matter what I think of the fabric, you will finish the quilt.  My opinions will help you decide if this fabric is working for you or not.  I can help you figure out what you love by asking questions through the process that will help me get a feel for how you see things working with the fabric choices that we have and we do have a lot of fabric choices and we’re not limited by what’s on the shelf at the local quilt shop, though it’s much more convenient.

Let’s start with one way of looking at color choices: fabric lines.  Fabric companies put a lot of time and effort to have a fabric line that coordinates well.

Let say that this Faye Burgos print from Marcus catches your eye and it’s something you’d like to work with.  How would you go about choosing fabrics that go with it?  What if the shop didn’t (couldn’t) buy the entire line for some reason.

What do you look for?  I have the quilters look at the fabric to give me colors that they initially see.  Brown, blue, green, cream & teal would easily and quickly be the answers.

And…what else?

While the first impressions are quite accurate it’s important to note that there are shades of blue, there is a bit of black running through; even a bit of white.

Then there are the textures: flowers, leaves, paisley, squares, circles, diamonds.

Seeing all of these things allow for opportunities to add fabrics to the project stash.

So this print isn’t for you.  I can live with that, let’s look at something much more modern & hip from Kaufmans Glam Garden Collection by Josephine Kimberling

It’s way more modern.

What are your first impressions.

What else do you see?

Would you think solids, mottled or prints with this?

Let me know what you think!

Happy quilting!


Superior Kimono Silk

looking forward to playing with these

Here’s a sneak peak of the Superior Kimono Silk I purchased for my next quilt.

I’ve figured out that this will be the 3rd piece in the “Twilight in the Bronx” series.  I have some ideas floating around in my head that will eventually be worked out on this quilt.

The blue seen in the background is from Kaufman’s Radiance line.

I really love the hand of this fabric line and how it quilts.

The colors are amazing.  What I didn’t know when I ordered this is that some of the spools have Gina Perkes name on the label.  Gina is a phenomenal machine quilter.    I watched her quilt on a long arm on The Quilt Show and was able to take what she did and teach my students the technique.

I’m really looking forward to playing with this thread and seeing how it compares to other silk threads I’ve used.

I’m planning on using Hobbs silk batting for the quilt.   It quilts up so beautifully.  One thing I’m not sure of is whether this quilt will have any trapunto.  Right now it doesn’t seem to be calling for it however, once I get started it may change.

Happy quilting!


PS as soon as I have some kind of sampler I’ll post again.

Bernina Stitch Regulator part 2 & Sketch book cover

When the BSR first came out on the market I decided to wait for a while to get the new machine just to see what other quilters thought about it.    The reviews at the time, as they are now, were mixed with lots of quilters loving it and lot’s of quilters struggling it.

When I took a beginner machine quilting class in Lancaster we had the opportunity to play with the BSR’s in class.  I walked out conviced that the BSR wold not be part of  my quilting tool kit.  Nope, not for me.  Frustration set in as I could not get the BSR to work with my movement, I felt like I had training wheels on my mountain bike.

Fast forward to last summer when I was invited by Pokey Bolton as a guest on Quilting Arts TV.  Prior to the trip to Cleveland I spoke with Jeanne Delpit the National Events Director for Bernina just as a check  in for what I needed.  Jeanne was quite delightful on the telephone.

When I arrived Jeanne asked me if I’d demo the BSR on camera, we had a quickie chat about my experience.  She asked if I would try using the Bernina in a different way and see what I thought.  She set the machine up with the BSR set in Mode 2 with the open to “C” shape foot.  I agreed to give it a try and sat at the machine.  Mode 2 starts and stops with the foot pedal – which is how I think as a quilter – and the needle starts moving with my hand movement.

I started playing around and within about 10 minutes I was quilting swirling feathers at top speed with a consistent stitch.   Two happy quilters, Jeanne Delpit and me.  Jeanne because at the end of that time I told her I would be able to demo this on camera and me because I realized this would eventually become part of my quilting tool kit.

In quilting with the BSR (I still do not own one) over the last year I’ve also realized that depending on what kind of stitching I’m working on sometimes changing the stitch length down to a lower is necessary for effective functioning of the BSR.

So when I quilted the piece for Jeanne to use as a sample I followed some of my usual tips:

1) 90/14 top stitching needle & reduced the tension to work with the King Tut thread I used on top

2) reduced the stitch length to something that is more in line with my own stitch length for the pebbles and the micro stippling I dropped it down to about 1.5 or less.  I’ve heard from Renee that the stitch length can be dropped down to “0” and still create a consistent stitch length, however for beginners please don’t set the stitch length at zero, work your way there.

3) set the machine to BSR, Mode 2 and plugged in the foot pedal and got started quilting

In about 2 1/2 hours the 17 x 17 piece was quilted.  Normally that would take me a bit longer than that.  I had a blast quilting and was able to spend a little bit of time talking with a couple of different customers and a couple of my coworkers.

My red sketchbook arrived the other day from the Art House Coop.  My theme is “lines and grids” though we can do anything in them, it’s an exercise in stretching and growing.

As you can see I’ve already started giving the cover a look that reflects me quite clearly.  I’ll be finishing the swirling feathers of it all and probably filling in some more detail with it.

I’ve done one sketch in the lines and grids theme and am looking forward to seeing what comes next

Happy Quilting!


Bernina Stitch Regulator

Last summer when I went to Cleveland to tape episode 503 for Quilting Arts TV I met Jeanne Delpit, Director of National Events for Bernina, USA.  With about 5 minutes of education and 10 minutes of practice I learned to love the Bernina Stitch Regulator .

I’ve shared before how amazed I was and still am having two modes to use the BSR in and finding one that suits me and works with how I quilt.

In playing with it since I’ve learned that adjusting the stitch length is sometimes necessary particularly when doing small scale work.  I did a small sampler piece for the quilt shop I work in and adjusting the stitch length as I did pebbles made all the difference in controlling my work

I promised Jeanne a sampler and now I’m going to share it with you before I head out for a meeting.


approximately 17″ square

Front: Robert Kaufman Radiance 55% cotton, 45% silk

Back: Daiwabo

Batting: Hobbs Wool

Thread: top King Tut, back MasterPiece

Quilted on a Bernina 440 QE using the Bernina Stitch regulator.

Marking: NONE this is all done free hand.

I even signed the piece and wrote in one of the corners that this is quilted using the BSR.

I love the feel, color and texture of these Daiwabo’s.

Oh my goodness they quilt beautifully!

With the cross hatching I used the inside of the foot as the visual to keep my lines a particular distance apart from one another.  I do this quite frequently and will be one thing that I teach in the upcoming Advanced Machine Quilting class at the Quilt Cottage in Mamaroneck!

I love the freedom this gives me to move quickly across the surface of the quilt and incorporate lots of motifs.

One thing I frequently tell my students “short attention span quilting” is my style.  I like to do lots of different types of quilting motifs.

The micro stippling will also be featured in the class, scaling down a variety of motifs as background filler for trapunto or small quilt projects.

Happy Quilting!


Robert Kaufman’s Radiance and Hobbs Tuscany Silk

When I returned from Lancaster I blogged about Robert Kaufman’s Radiance line a 55% cotton, 45% silk blend.  It’s yummy.  Oh, it’s really yummy fabric.

I mentioned too that I purchased Hobbs Tuscany Collection Silk Batting to use with this and “Moon Over Manhattan”.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to play with these two things together.  I’d just finished a commission piece and I’m figuring out how to make a winding ways quilt from Benartex Fossil Ferns sooo….I’m taking the time to do some of my own pieces that I’ve wanted to do.

First is playing with Radiance & the Hobbs Silk batting.  I’m totally in love with both of these.  The silk batting gives a slightly trapunto effect across the surface, even in the swirling feathers area.  It’s quite easy on the shoulders.  Since I’m using a cotton on the back (will shoot that another time) I did not need to spray baste, though if I were doing a larger piece I would.  I did spray baste for Radiance – just enough to hold it in place as I quilted.

I’m using Aurifil thread here in 3 different colors that match the other 3 fat quarters of Radiance I’m planning on quilting at some point.

The arcs are drawn free form.  I can hardly wait to see what happens with each of the 6 pieces I have in this.

Yesterday my sweetie was in the City again.  Look what he came home with last night

Not just one but 2 smaller thread racks.  This should be more than enough to separate and sort out my thread either by color or brand.  I’m thinking by brand/type as it will make more sense to me.

I was thrilled when I realized he did this again.  I love that I can easily see what’s available to me and take what I need.  What I’m hoping is that one rack will hold bobbins for me.

If you haven’t read an issue – The Quilt Life magazine rocks!

This is a new venture through The Quilt Show & AQS with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. This magazine is all about living the quilt life.

This month’s issue is all about thread.  The photo of Ricky & Alex was taken at Libby Lehman‘s home, in front of her thread rack.  Libby has quite a bit of thread and a great piece on thread in the magazine.

Editor Jan Magee keeps a blog about the magazine and is a real sweetheart.  I got to meet her in person a the AQS Lancaster show a few weeks ago.

I have started working on “Moon Over Manhattan”.  I’m really excited about where this quilt is going.  I have all of the trapunto done.  I’m working with “Moon Over Manhattan” in a slightly different way than “Twilight in the Bronx” and I’m anxious to see where this quilt goes.  I have all the thread I think I’ll need for the project.  My goal is to have this quilt done in time for A Quilters Gathering and to enter into Paducah next year.

I’m still working on the Guild Quilt – because the quilt is not being juried I get to work on it today & tomorrow.  I need to leave enough time for the sleeve & labels to be put back on.

I’m quilting free form feathers into the solid black areas of the quilt.  As soon as I get the quilt finished and can do it I will be taking full shots of this.  The quilt will be raffled in November at Quilt Celebration XI.  (You’re invited to attend the show!  Entry is $6.00 – more info to follow)

Happy quilting!