Quilt Market & Festival

I offered to help setting up in the RNK/Quilters Select Booth, getting to meet some of my new co-workers. This has been so much good. I ran into Alex & John Anderson. As you probably know Alex has a line of product with RNK called Quilters Select. Even before I joined the company I started using Alex’s mat, rulers, and rotary cutter, and they’ve been a great addition in the studio.

I did a facebook live with Alex.

Karla Overland of Cherrywood announced the 2018 Cherrywood Challenge, the color is PURPLE and the shades are gorgeous!! It’s available here at Festival right now, and should be up on the site very soon.

I’m in booth 951 with Maria from Pinwheels selling Daiwabo Taupe and Oakshott cotton. I’d love to see you, even if it’s for a brief hello and hug.

I am going to try to get in to see the quilts in the next day or so. So watch Instagram for pics.

Enjoy your stitching!


A seam ripper is a quilters best friend

Who knew the proper way to use a seam ripper? I sure didn’t. Pam Damour, the Decorating Diva and BERNINA Ambassador shows proper technique and at the same time shows how to splice cording for home decorating projects. I’d always wondered how that happened and now get why there is that need for at least 1/8th yard extra when purchasing cording is essential, allowing for a really good, full join. The Aha! moment was priceless, I think you could read it right across my face. Thanks Pam for sharing this.

I’ve always loved my BERNINA seam ripper because it’s sharp and has a really fine tip. I’m loving my Alex Anderson 4-n-1 Essential Tool even more. It’s the same BERNINA seam ripper, a stiletto, pressing tool and pointer all in one. I like it even more because it’s a good feel in the hand. Being wood it’s kind of earthy.
To me as a quilter it’s important to have a good seam ripper for taking out machine quilting or wonky seams. It’s the eraser of the quilting/sewing world and a quilters best friend.


Getting up at 3:30 in the morning sometimes has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: watching to episodes of The Quilt Show: one with Hollis Chatelain (1207) and the most recent one with Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero (1504). Hollis’s episode confirmed that I’d love to take a class with her somewhere, some day to see how she quilts. Jeanie’s episode just inspires me in part because I love Kaleidoscope Kreator 3 and all that can be done with it, and in part because I can see some changes in my own quilting across her quilts. While getting up at 3:30 is not my time of choice there’s a bonus: I’m inspired. And I can see a bit more clearly yesterdays quilt coming into focus. I have 3 quilts ready to baste. But first, off to work.

Have a great day,


Let the Travel begin

Debby Brown and Jerry Granata at the teachers meeting Road to CA, Jan 2015

While I was at Road I stopped by The Quilt Show booth. Mary Kay took a 10 Questions With video on her phone. It was fun to do.

I fly out early this afternoon from California time and get home late tonight. I’ve done a little writing, a little blogging and had some fun with friends.

When I get home the writing and projects for the book will go full tilt. The ideas have been solidifying in my head this week. Now to get what’s in my head onto fabric with thread!

Happy Quilting!


AQS Lancaster

gray radiance 001Road tripping is always a delight.  Road tripping with 3 friends is priceless.  Our first stop: Ladyfingers Sewing in Oley PA.  Well our first “stop” was Wegmans for provisions, ie chocolate and fruit.  I just missed Gail, however I did not miss one of my very favorite fabric lines, Robert Kaufmans Radiance.  I picked up these beautiful gray pieces.  I have plans, plans I say.  I may pair them with the cheddar orange dupioni silk and I may not.  We’ll just have to see what happens.  The color choices may seem odd for this quilter however I’m planning thread play on each one of the pieces of gray that I have.  I’m not sure of size yet, that will come later.

Arriving at the quilt show I was delighted to see Jan Magee, the Editor of  The Quilt Life.  The Quilt Life is quite refreshing for a quilt magazine and, I think, is leading the way in encouraging quilters to really grow their skills as quilt makers.  I’ve written a couple of times for them and plan to submit again soon.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo with Jan.

AQS Lancaster 002I did get a photo with Alex Anderson.

Alex has been part of my quilting  journey nearly from the beginning.  Now that she and Ricky have The Quilt Show.  We get to see more of her joy and exuberance in personality.  I really love how different The Quilt Show is compared to SQ.

One of the gals brought home a new Bernina 350 Special Edition with the cool skin on the front.  Alex signed it.  How cool is that?

lime and gray yarn 001Before heading over to the show on Saturday we stopped at Kitchen Kettle Village to shop at The Olde Country Store, Zooks and the Village Shops.  My first stop: the Lancaster Yarn Shop.  Oh my!!  This shop is delightful, friendly staff and lots of beautiful yarn.  First of all how can you go wrong when the shopping bags are lime green with metallic purple writing?  So stinkin’ cute!  And then I picked up this lime green and gray kettle dyed yarn.  And this time I have a plan.  A friend showed me a herringbone infinity scarf.  I can’t wait to start stitching this.  I want to finish a couple of other projects first though.

AQS Lancaster 016When I saw this quilt the first time I stopped in my tracks and had to take a photo.

Then saw the artist, Sue Reno.

Sue and I have been friends on facebook for a few years and the last couple of AQS shows we stand on line and chat while waiting to pick up our quilts.  This year was, delightfully, a bit different.  We talked for a bit, went to see her quilt and Sue shared the process a bit with a family admiring her quilt.  The silk used comes from a particular town in India where Sue studied in the 1970’s and again on a recent visit.  The ornamental ginger leaf is dyed using a cyanotype process (a type of  light reactive dye – left in the sun for a period of time for the desired effect).  The family asked great questions about how Sue put the quilt together.

Sue and I talked a bit more about her quilt after the family left.  I really love the groundedness and freedom of this quilt.  It speaks to roots and growth.  At least in my mind.

I am once again grateful to see Tilde hanging in a show.  I have a few more shows to enter Tilde into before shipping her off to Keith as he AQS Lancaster 003has a couple of shows to enter into.  Thank you John Anderson for taking this photo.   John also took the photo of Alex & me.

I was able to share with quilters about the making of this quilt a few different times, which is always a pleasure.

Tilde is one of my favorite quilts to date.

Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero and I did the great quilt hand off with a long conversation at the Superior Threads booth.  I can share that the quilt Jeanie pieces is off the hook gorgeous uses Radiance as well as some commercial batiks.  I know roughly how many hours she has invested in the quilt so far and know I’ll probably meet her in hours quilting.   We won’t know until later when we’ll be able to share the quilt, it just depends on when I get it finished and which show we decide to enter first.   A very special thank you to Gina Reddin who spent a good 20 minutes with us offering a few great suggestions.

Happy Quilting!







An interview with Quilter Maggie Szafranski

Meet Maggie Szafranski quilter and Nurse Practitioner.  Maggie blogs at Maggie May Quilts.  Maggie & I met through The Quilt Show and hope to meet in person sometime soon.  I do love her name, I have a niece named Maggie who is enjoying learning how to sew when she can.

How long have you been quilting, and how did you get started?

Maggie: I offically started quilting when I was in 7th grade.  At the small school I went to, the 7th and 8th grade separated the boys and girls in the morning first hour.  The boys took industrial arts, and the girls did crafts. Miss Sybil Morgan had each girl hand piece quilt blocks.  We had two years to complete the blocks for a quilt. The background was white, and the colored patches were scraps of fabric found in our homes. The pattern was four 4-patch blocks with a central square and 4 rectangles.  Put together, it would make a scrappy simple Irish chain.  I hate the pattern.  I wanted to make a crazy quilt!  See, I was a rebel then!  The first quilt that I remember was one that my Aunt Ruby had given me.  It was a string quilt made of men’s suitings and ties.  It was very heavy, but kept me warm in our drafty, poorly heated farm house!  No, I don’t have either quilt!

 I think I was predestined to sew.  When my mom was pregnant with me, my dad came home from a farm sale with a used sewing machine.  He just knew that I would be a girl, and that my mom should have a sewing machine to make things for me, and to teach me how to sew.  Well, mom did not sew, and I taught myself with some help from my Aunt Zola when I got into High School.  I did not take home ec, as I was taking math and science courses.  I was even in “Boys” 4-H.

 You mention you were a “rebel” even then which leads me to ask, do you modify the quilt patterns you purchase either with fabric choices or changing it up a bit?

Maggie: I don’t like to make a quilt that looks exactly like the picture on the pattern.  I sometimes h.ave a hard enough time just following the pattern!  I recently made a queen size quilt for my hubby at his request.  He had seen the quilt in a local quilt shop and wanted one exactly like it.  I was so tremendously bored doing that quilt.  There was no excitement with how the fabrics and colours were going to play against each other.  It was like watching a movie for the second time.  I didn’t feel as if I had a part in the creative aspect of the quilt.  I was just the craftsman who was putting the pieces together.

 My ultimate goal is to be able to establish my signature look/style.  Something that will set my work apart.

Favorite quilt pattern and colors 

Maggie: I can truly say that I love them all!  I love the old fashioned patterns, especially the log cabin patterns.  I love star patterns, especially the lone star.  They all truly fascinate me!  I have no favorite color for quilting, as they all have a purpose!

Can you share a photo of a quilt you’ve made and a little of the back story behind it? Maggie: My Masterpiece (as my hubby refers to it) is Circle of Life.  The pattern was designed by Jacqueline de Jonge.  I first saw this quilt and pattern at the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2010.  I was looking for a pattern to make a donation quilt for our local refuge center.  I wanted something that represented the diversity of life.  I fell in love with the pattern.  But by the time I was done piecing, I knew that I couldn’t give this away.  This was too special.  So another quilt was donated, and Circle of Life went on the quilt show circuit.  It has won best of show, three blue ribbons, a red ribbon, hung at National Quilting Association show, and was juried in and hung at Paducah 2012!  But the icing on the cake is that one of the local quilt shows that is run as a benefit for a local children’s home used Circle of Life for background for a lot of this year’s advertising!  Seeing my quilt on a billboard in town has been an awesome experience!

 Favorite part of the quilting process

MaggieI love the time at my sewing machine!  Holding the fabrics, pinning, becoming one with the machine as we take these small pieces and turn them into larger pieces!  I think it is a total Zen thing!  The same happens when I am free motion quilting.  That is why having a machine that you are comfortable with is so important.  It doesn’t have to be the latest or most expensive! 

What machine do you have? 
MaggieYou mean, machines!  Until recently, I was strictly a Janome girl.  My first Janome was a 6260, which led to getting the 6500, which I still have and dearly love!  The 6500 is a workhorse and has done everything I have ever asked it to do.  We really would get into a zen thing!  I have the 7700, but she has been a very fussy machine, in regards to needles and threads.  So I recently replaced her with a Bernina 550QE!  Her name is Earline, and we are in love!  She is an amazing stitcher, and the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) is awesome!  I am hoping this will definitely help me take my quilting to the next level. I also have a Janome 11000SE which I use to do machine embroidery.: I love the time at my sewing machine!  Holding the fabrics, pinning, becoming one with the machine as we take these small pieces and turn them into larger pieces!  I think it is a total Zen thing!  The same happens when I am free motion quilting.  That is why having a machine that you are comfortable with is so important.  It doesn’t have to be the latest or most expensive!

  Do you quilt with an open or closed toe foot? 

Maggie: I generally use an open toe foot, but sometimes a closed foot is in order.

 Favorite Fabs?

Maggie: My favorite fabrics are batiks and dyes!  I am not wild about the new big print fabrics.  They definitely serve their purpose, but not in the type of quilting that I like to do.  30s repro and Civil War prints don’t trip my trigger, either.  I like strong colours that make a bold statement, that are fearless in announcing “I am ORANGE!”

 Do you design your own quilts or use patterns?

Maggie: I would like to get more into designing my own patterns, but I like to use other people’s patterns, especially if it has a new twist on an old favorite design.  I do get creative with baby quilts, and generally don’t use a pattern for them.

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.

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!