Inspired by

Moon SetY’all know I’m inspired by the moon, she is a recurring theme in my work. The moon makes an appearance in: Twilight in the Bronx, Moon Over Manhattan, Moon Set, and new piece, that is in need of a name (hold on, I’ll show you.) As I stitched the facing on the quilt this afternoon a memory popped up, sweeping nostalgia like a gentle summer breeze, refreshing and comforting all in the same moment.

In Junior High School our English teacher had us keep a diary for so many days as part of an assignment. This memory keeping, way of processing information stayed with me and I kept a diary in a variety of forms for years. In my late 20’s and early 30’s I attended journaling retreat at a local monastery. At one retreat my room looked out the window facing the Appalachian mountains. Looking out one night the bright, beautiful full moon set between two peaks. Having some art supplies with me I put pastel to paper and saved that moment. I kept this for years wanting to do something more with it, unsure what. When I dropped the image of Moon Set into the post I realized that this moment became a quilt. As I applied the facing onto this new quilt realization swept over me in a wave of nostalgia for these retreats. The wall in front of my machine and cutting table is covered with words, drawings of quilt ideas, words, to inspire. The drawing of the moon set over the Appalachians popped into mind when I noticed the trees I’ve been doodling for years.


Here is the as yet unnamed quilt.


These are the trees from my wall, the ones doodled over, and over again. This whole thing is free motion stitched. By drawing the trees over and over again my brain figured out how to stitch in the texture. The metallic thread is reading very bright at the moment, however it is reminiscent of the moon from that retreat weekend.

Then I thought about And Now What?! (Doodle Your Way to Better Quilting) the more I practice the more likely things that I’m doodling are going to end up as parts of my quilts. Just like the moon and the trees. And of course now my mind is thinking about the details of the quilt and what I’d change if I had it to do over. I don’t so I won’t over think this by too much. I think what I’m going to do is enjoy the quilt I made.

I also think that I’ll share some details with you:
Top Fabric: Oakshott Cotton
Backing Fabric: American Made Brand orange
Facing Fabric: Oakshott Cotton
Batting: silk
Top Thread: Superior Metallic, Silk (Kimono and Tiara)
Bobbin Thread: Superior Kimono Silk and Micro Quilting thread (80 wt. poly)
Quilting Hours: approximately 40 +

Now onto finishing a few other quilts, and working on a project idea for a Generation Q Magazine blog tour. That one kind of excites me in a way that can only be described as fun.

Happy Quilting!


2017 Word of the Year

well I guess I never decided on a 2016 word, or just kept the one from 2015: Journey. Something about keeping the same word seems full of continuity however, I’ve been looking for my word all year, not really finding it. In a sense I’ve felt a little lost somewhat like Sam and Frodo trying to get to Mount Doom, wandering in circles in need of a direction. In a way keeping the same word feels a little lazy as though I wasn’t taking the time to reflect on my own quilt journey and discover some new avenue to wander, and explore. Or a super highway to take me further down the road at a much quicker pace. Journey seems a safe place to stay, comfortable and secure, familiar and fresh. 2016 is quickly drawing to a close and here I sit, at midnight reflecting on this year.

I started keeping a journal when I was 12, maybe 13. Blogging has, in some way, taken the place of journaling. I daresay though, these are two different things. Journaling is intensely personal, something soul searching. Over the last few weeks as I’ve tidied up my studio several blank books surfaced, and I’ve purchased a couple of fountain pens and a book with creative writing prompts. In a way Journey will continue to be a word that lives with me as a word of the year, one that is distinctly personal.

After having zero time and energy to quilt for nearly a year I’m grateful for the last few weeks having time to quilt, and reconnect with the creative life I live. To say I am feeling a little bit like spring in this late autumn/early winter, gloomy over cast, glad that it’s not snowing, time of year.

tree-1The other day in a “this is the piece I have to work on immediately” moment I started stitching on this again. Searching for it did prompt some why on earth did I ever tidy my room thinking. Finding it brought great joy and an ever deepening sense of urgency to complete the piece. Hopefully I’ll get it done in the self-imposed deadline.

So back to my word of the year…Journey still fits. For next year though another one seems to be whispering to me. A little closer to the new calendar year and a little more listening will confirm next year’s word, so expect another blog post or two on this. Do you know your word for 2017?

And there will be another post with the name of this quilt, early next week.

Happy Quilting!


Whole Cloth Challenge Update

dupioni whole cloth playtime my brain on quiltingLisa posted a couple of Whole Cloth updates on her blog. I appreciate her honesty and admire her tenacity in learning how to free motion on her BERNINA 750. I’d feel quite the same on the long arm, in part because no matter what kind of machine we quilt on there is a learning curve And we need to be patient with it. It takes time. I can imagine being in one of Lisa’s classes and getting encouragement from her to keep going, because it’s the same thing I’d say to my students and myself.

Actually I told myself this the other day when, upon finding myself banging my head on the, thankfully, tempered glass of my desk while completely frustrated that I couldn’t do something because I didn’t know how to do it and was completely freaked out because it needed to get done and done now. I took a deep breath realizing that I had friends and know people who know how to do the things I needed and there are, amazingly, internet search engines and websites for products that I can go look at their FAQ and figure out what needed to happen for me to finish my work. All of these things happened. I reached out to Sarah and Jeanie and visited a few websites and learned some new things. My world is richer for taking the time to learn new things.

dupioni whole cloth tiny bubblesIt’s been a while since I’ve seriously quilted. Janie was feeling rather neglected. I more than made up for it yesterday. Oh was it just so delightful. I started with this gorgeous piece of royal blue dupioni silk with red undertones. Oh My Good-ness do I love the feel of dupioni as I stitch. I love the nubby texture, it’s just so real! I’m using Hobbs Tuscany silk/cotton or silk/wool blend (it’s not up on their site otherwise I’d link over) and Superior Kimono Silk Thread.

dupioni whole cloth i like itI’m digging this piece. It’s a bit of whimsy and fun and joy and tiny stitching. Tiny, tiny stitching.
This piece, as of this moment, has no purpose other than practice. I’m using this as a gateway quilt to a few other projects that are on hard time lines. One being the whole cloth challenge quilt and the other Quantum Leap.

After warming up for a bit I moved onto to the Whole Cloth Challenge portion of my day. I’ve been mulling over ideas in my head for weeks. What I started working on it Not what I intended to work on in part because I need to draw it out a bit more before committing to a design. Who am I kidding? I’m just not ready to use the Rust Radiance yet.

whole cloth challenge circle completeSo I pulled out this gorgeous piece of Radiance – the color is grape. I took the lid from my button tin, placed it on the fat quarter and drew a circle with my chalk pencil. Using a ruler and the 45 degree line I drew in straight lines then free handed the “star” points. It’s intentionally wonky.
John Cardin 5A few more freehand lines below and my quilt top is marked. I have a plan in mind but I’m open to whatever happens. I’m using this hand dyed fabric from John Cardin on the back of the quilt.
Step one: stitch in all of the freehand lines.
Step two: stitch the star.
Step three: keep stitching

That’s the plan. Keep stichin’. I like how it’s coming along so far. Later this week I’ll show more of what’s happening below this.
So far I’m using only Kimono Silk, though at some point other thread will be added. In the bobbin I’m using Kimono silk as well. It’s a color I have a bit of and want to use up.

Have a great quilterly day!





Choosing Motifs Part 2.1Serendipity


Serendipty. One of the definitions is “an aptitude for making delightful discoveries by accident”. In other words it just happens, it’s not planned. This little bit of a quilt just happened. The due date was quickly approaching and Mary Kerr emailed me asking if I was submitting something for her book Cutting Edge Art Quilts. As is sometimes my wont I’d seriously considered not doing it. I’d been giving into the whole, “I’m afraid. I’m not good enough. I don’t know what to do.” Just so ya know fear is a part of every quilters life. Shocking! Simply Shocking! *imagine a high-pitched sing-songy voice.
The email kicked me into high gear and I made the quilt in every spare moment I had that week and made the new piece. Taking the high-tech tools of a chalk pencil and a spool of thread I marked a few arcs (just right of center); threaded up the machine with Superior’s Kimono Silk and started stitching straight lines following the curves of the arc. I decided to keep the straight lines going but in a different color and stitched back and forth, back and forth across the width. Then I stopped thinking about it. I just stitched and changed thread; stitched and changed thread until I’d finished. All totaled I probably have about 20 hours into Serendipity.
As I look at “Twilight in the Bronx” and “Moon Over Manhattan” I see clearly leading up to this kind of stitching. The doodling/practicing-on-paper I’d done was clearly leading in this direction with the quilting. Hind sight ya know, hind sight.
I trusted my judgementzen tangle
I went for it.
I just did it.
The quilt was accepted for the book. I am happy.
As you’re thinking about designs for machine quilting think about things like ornate wrought iron; yarn/thread swirling around; tendrils of trumpet plants, the shapes of leaves, daisies and black-eyed susans, think geometric shapes like triangles, circles and mazes. Look at Art Deco architecture and bricks. Bricks are good. think arc and arches think feathery shapes and pearls. think just simply think. draw the shape with your eyes as you imagine it in your head. think with your finger tips. Both of them. No matter if you quilt on a domestic or long arm you use 2 hands to quilt.
after my surgery a couple of years ago I realized that quilting is a full-contact sport. The head, the heart, the hands, the finger tips the abdominal core, the feet and booty. Yes I did say the booty. Full-contact sport means full-contact sport.

Happy Quilting!


Reminder: How to choose a quilting motif 1.

Machine Quilting Unlimited May/June Issue

MQU May June cover 001

So how does one begin to tell a tale?

Oh yes! Once upon a time there lived a quilter in the Bronx who received an invitation from Vickie Anderson and Kit Robinson to participate in a challenge….a whole cloth challenge arrived in my email in box. She said yes.   Sandra Leichner, Terri Doyle, Lisa H. Calle, Jessica Schick , Millie Sorrels and I each made a 36 x 36 whole cloth quilt.  They are all gorgeous.  And I do mean gorgeous and creative and oh I could just gush on and on.

We were sent Radiance by Robert Kaufman for the top and their cotton sateen for the back. Radiance is one of my favorite fabrics ever!  I swooned over the fabric when it arrived and promptly set it aside until after teaching in Houston.  Did I mention the quilt was due January 15th?

dance bang head 1714
Kaufman Radiance and Superior Silk

The Big Idea finally happened after a friend told me it’s time to quilt a spiral.  After several tries the thought of  incorporating spirals and flying geese into one quilt happened.  I had 2 different designed worked out and with a bit of help from the aforementioned friend decided on the design you’ll see in this issue of the magazine and a bit later here on the blog.  Somehow I knew the title of the quilt would be @play because when I sit at my machine, I’m playing.  I love to quilt.  I love the feel of the quilt in my hands as I manuever it under the needle stitching pebbles, feathers, spider webs and all sorts of other quilterly motifs.

All of the quilts will be on display at HMQS May 9 – 11, 2013.

During the process of stitching @play it became “the unruly teenager” as we didn’t get along very well for a while.  @play was determined to be the quilt she is and I needed to listen and *stamping my foot* I did NOT want to listen.  Well, as quilts do, @play had the final word and we get along well now. Gregory Case photographed all of our quilts and they are STUNNING!

I’ll post the full quilt during the week of the show.

Happy Quilting!


Cutting Edge Art Quilts by Mary W. Kerr

Cutting Edge Art Quilts front cover

I met Mary Kerr a couple of years ago in a business class for quilters she taught at Maine Quilts.  Very shortly after this Mary sent out an invitation to a number of quilters to submit quilts for her new book now titled “Cutting-Edge Art Quilts” being published by Schiffer in the spring of 2013.
What Mary doesn’t know is that I very nearly bailed on the whole project and it was her email right before the due date that not only made me rethink bailing but get a new quilt done for the book.  I realized in that email that the new project did not have to be big, that small would work well.  I’d be heading toward more work with whole cloth on silk and recently purchased a few spools of Superior Kimono silk.  (Have I ever mentioned I love Superior Silk?)

Serendipity was created that week.  In a matter of about 20 hours I quilted a 12″ square of decorator weight silk, silk batting and cotton on the back.


I love this little quilt and now that “Serendipity” the quilt that started the series has been in MQX Portland I can share it here.

As soon as I know the official publication date of the book and when I can get my hands on it.

I’ll have more on the blog give away in a few days.  I added 2 new deadlines in the last couple of days.

Happy Quilting!