Saturday, August 29, 2009

Piecing Curves

Do you avoid patterns with pieced curve designs? Are feeling unsure about your ability? Join me in Madison at the Quilt Expo where I will be teaching a fun tablerunner called Curvaceous Bodacious Blooms. You will gain confidence while conquering curves and making eye-catching blooms.

See you there. Stop and say "Hi".

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The fun part of quilting is the creative moment when we let our imaginations fly. I love making quilts that let the viewer determine what is seen. In Java, viewers have envisioned both flowers and an underwater scene. A treasured moment was when small girl came up to me and said "I really like the dinosaur".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

To kit or not to kit

What are your thoughts on kits for class projects? Do you like them?

As I am preparing kits for an upcoming class, I am pondering the question "How many students find them helpful?".

Usually, I like to let students make their own fabric choices so they can be assured of colors and patterns they enjoy. In class, I suggest ways the students can alter the arrangement of the blocks or change the pattern in some way to make it their own. Perhaps, it is the length of the class time that controls our creativity -- the shorter the class the more controlled we must be.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tip for Perfect Seams

Do you have trouble maintaining that perfect 1/4" even though you are using your 1/4" foot? With just a small foot to guide you, it may be hard to keep focused.

Try adding a piece of tape to your machine in front of the foot to help guide you. (I like the blue painter's masking tape that is so easy to see and removes without leaving a sticky residue on my machine.) Place the tape in line with the edge of the 1/4" foot. Use the tape as a guide to align your fabric in advance of your needle and you will have no more wobbles in your stitching.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beware of the Buzz

There I was, captured by the Blackberry King of Thorns. I could feel his grip on my hat and down the middle of my back. His favorite knights had my sleeves firmly in their grip, when I heard the first buzz. I managed to break away and reached for those luscious black giants. Another buzz. Distracted by the lovelies within my sight, I ignored the sounds.

Suddenly I was in the middle of a swarm of angry bees, (maybe wasps, who had time to check) as I beat my way out of the thicket. It's amazing how fast you can move with the right motivation!

Tomorrow, I think I'll stay home and quilt.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blackberry Jam

This is the time of year when quilting has to make room for blackberry picking. Instead of putting on our walking shoes, my neighbor Kathy and I pull on long sleeve shirts and our toughest jeans. We are ready to do battle with the long pokey thorns of the blackberry bushes. Our dogs are more then willing to accompany us into the woods where they can freely run and sniff to their heart's content.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Paper Piecing Tip

For paper piecing, you will need a copy of the pattern for each paper-pieced block. A common method is to copy the pages at the nearest copy machine. I prefer another method of making the needed copies.

Staple the pattern to the top of several sheets of tracing paper. With no thread in your machine and a heavy needle, stitch along all the lines of the pattern. The stitching will perforate the tracing paper making your paper-piecing copies. Remove the staple and carefully pull the copies apart. Mark numbers and fabric choices on the copies and you are set to stitch.

The thinner paper makes it easier to see if your fabric is correctly placed and the perforations make the paper easier to remove.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We are certainly inspired by the beauty of nature. The colorful gardens at Heidel's in Jackson were both serene and inspiring.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paper Piecing with It's a Stitch Guild Members

I had a fun day working with the members of It's a Stitch Quilt Guild of Jackson, WI. We used paper foundations to create 'perfect' points for the mariner's compass and flying geese blocks of the "G.P.S." quilt pattern. With so many colorful fabrics and different choices, I can't wait to see the completed projects. Thanks, ladies, for inviting me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I had the opportunity to speak at the "It's a Stitch" Quilt Guild Salad Buffet in Jackson, WI. I enjoyed meeting the guild members and their invited guests from surrounding guilds. What a lovely way to share your interest in quilting; with friendly conversation, inspiring show and tell, and delicious food.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Trying all the options

I've been working on an idea for a new art quilt. I have this marvelous circle fabric which I thought would work into an interesting background. It inspired me to start making sunflowers. After pinning my sunflowers in several arrangements on my newly created background, I finally admitted this wasn't working. Now my marvelous background is put aside for the moment, it still has the makings of a fine quilt, and I am exploring new background options for my sunflowers.

Life leads us in many directions, and its up to us to make the most of them. My disgarded, or rather sidelined, background inspired my color choices and the round circles inspired the sunflowers. Now its the building process to see what comes next......

Will there be a sunflower quilt? Or will we see a marvelous circle quilt?

More on this later....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The temperatures are warm. The sun is shining. The plants are lush after a recent rain. It is a perfect day.

If you have a perfect quilting day, what would it encompass? Would you be starting a new project, or finishing an old one? Would you rather be shopping for new fabric or cutting into it? Is it the designing or the execution that excites you? Perhaps, it would be the sharing of that newly completed project with your friends or family. All wonderful options, and that's why we continue quilting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are you ready to try a new direction in your quilting?

My new book "Serge and Merge Quilts" has just come on the market. If you find that your serger is standing idle while you are busy quilting, have some fun exploring the possibilities of using your serger as your newest quilting tool. I've found there are ways to be creative using even the most basic of serging stitches and to incorporate some lovely decorative threads.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why do we make quilts? Would it not be quicker and wiser to purchase a blanket at a nearby store to keep ourselves warm?

For me, quiltmaking is much more. It is a creative outlet and a way to share myself with the people I love. I embrace the process, the cutting and rearranging, enjoying the fabrics, playing with colors and patterns and exploring the textures of the stitching.
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