Sunday, July 21, 2013


I'm catching up on showing some of my quilts.  This variation on the Tree of Life was one of the most pleasing quilts I have made, mostly because of the colors I used.

But there's something about putting on those final touches, standing at the long arm frame, deciding on the stitching designs, and then watching it all come to life.  I turn on my music, and the alpha waves roll. 
By the way, the bit of batting at the bottom of the tree trunk is not a design element.  We quilters use snippets of batting to collect the shards of thread when we cut them at the end of each row or after using each color if there is more than one color of thread used.
I'm working on an art quilt for my VERY patient sister.  She gave it to me to do years ago, and initially I was intimidated by the intricacy of the hand appliqued designs.  Then I finally got started on it, but was interrupted by other projects, and then the mayhem and disorganization of my divorce.  I put it back on the frame when I moved to Maryland, but took it off  -- again! -- when she asked me to do some charity quilts she had made.  But I'll put it back on when I come back from Quilt Odyssey and try to get it finished for her before her birthday in December.  December?!  Yes, it will probably take me that long.  It's an art quilt and requires long hours to finish small bits at a time.  But I'll post now and then so you can see the work in progress.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


This quilt's name is Lucinda Brodie.  The original pattern is from a 2009 McCall's Quilting Magazine, and it was all done by hand -- the piecing included. 

When I saw this pattern, I got in touch with quilting buddy and BFF Mary.  We decided to each do this quilt as personal challenges, since it was far more complicated than anything either of us had ever produced before.

However, neither of us wanted to hand piece anything, much less an intricate quilt like this one, so I divided the compasses into quarters and made paper piecing patterns out of them.  This solved two problems instantly:  how to get those perfect points consistently, and how to make the compasses "user friendly" by sewing them on a machine.

Mary showed me how to take the pieced compasses and sew them into the backgrounds, which were squares with the center circles already cut out.  The tall flying geese in the sashing were created with another paper piecing pattern I made from the original hand piecing patterns.

We used repro fabrics for everything, including the lovely appliques on the edges.  Actually, this quilt should be hung with the appliqued edges at the top and bottom, but my display area is not tall enough to do this over the couch, so I just turned mine on its side.

It sets off the newly redecorated medium gray/brown walls of the family room just perfectly!

Oh -- and the quilting is very detailed.  I don't like to use a bobbin thread that contrasts a lot with the backing, but in this case, if your backing is dark, as mine is, you need to use the same color thread as the background to the applique so that no snippets of color come through should your bobbin tension not be correct.

So, this is my opus for 2012.  It took several months to make, once the perfect fabrics were found.  But it took about 9 months to get up the nerve to tackle it in the first place.  The moral to the story: don't be daunted by any project you love from first sight.  It's so worth plodding through to the end!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


My sister, Missy, owns and operates a marvelous quilt show in Hershey, PA called Quilt Odyssey (  Part of the activities during the four days the show runs is a large sewing area with many new sewing machines and one indefatigable staff member, Sue, who assists and directs the varied efforts of visiting quilters who want to leave something behind to pass on to others in the form of donation quilts for sick children.
In her free time (hah!), Missy also makes quilts to give to others in need, and this year she asked me to do the quilting on two of them that she had finished in time to be included with the Quilt Odyssey group.

I wish I could figure out how to turn this picture, but you get the idea.  I liked the bold dark stripe across this quilt.  Most of the time I have so much fun quilting for others, even if the quilting requested is a simple pantograph.  No matter what you put on your quilt, the stitches bring to life the beauty and design of your quilt, and for me, it's almost magic to see the gradual metamorphosis.
Both of these quilts were quilted with pantographs.  If you would like to see the stitching a little better, click on either picture for a magnified view.