Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Workshop Sketchings

Last month I took the plunge and signed up for Bethanne Nemesh's Fiesta Feathers workshop. As we all know, there hasn't been opportunities for in person workshops and my one effort with an online workshop back in 2020 was a bit of a fail (IMHO) 

Having followed Bethanne on IG for the past while, I'd been seeing her videos of quilting and how she was approaching her viewers. I was optimistic that her class would be good and I signed up, after waffling for several weeks. I'm so glad I did. We have had 2 lessons so far and although they are a lot of review for me, I've gained so many opportunities to clean up some bad habits I'd gotten into over the years. Here are a few sketches of ideas I've done.

 I'd love to feather your quilt top.  If interested, please reach out to me and we can make a plan.

Keep stitching,


Sunday, August 28, 2022

NW Washington Fair Quilts

 Here are 12 quilts from the NW Wa fair held in Lynden WA every summer.  The last two are mine and it was great to finally be able to have these two pieces hang for public viewing.  If you haven't entered in your fair, local or state, I strongly encourage you to.  The people walking through the exhibit are constantly blown away by the colors, designs, patterns, and workmanship.  Non quilters enjoy these exhibits as much as the quilters do.

Lots of compliments on this one, viewers love seeing themed appliqued quilts

Best of Show, Wool applique and beautiful piecing.  

A Minick and Simpson pattern that was very well done.  I love the crisp color contrasts 

Snake and Ladders?  Hand quilted with a bigger stitch.  So graphic, this was one of my favorites.

More hand stitching.  Kanta styled dense quilting on this gives it a beautiful tactile look.  Close up it was stellar.

This sampler has been hem stitched all around.  I've just recently heard about this method for finishing smaller samplers.  These vintage cross stitch patterns are so delightful. 

Oh la la.  Look at these mittens and matching hat.  I know the maker and told her, "no need to wrap these at Christmas now that I've seen them"  I can't imagine how knitters keep things so organized

A small but mighty piece.  JB has a knack for taking an ordinary Bow Tie block and making it spectacular. 

Another Minick and Simpson pattern.  This one was shrunk down, darkened up with fabric choices, and beautifully hand stitched with a 12 wt(?) thread.  

Dalias on display.  JB's work is wonderful.  There is a lot of machine quilting on this which really draws the viewer into it.

Lastly, these two are mine.  My Beyond the Cherry Tree  by Sentimental Stitches finally had the chance to hang for public viewing.  It's over size for several shows I wanted to enter, but the fair had a spot on a wall that was perfect for this. 

To counter all the hand work on the BTCT, this one, Old Voices, New Impressions by Jeana Kimball is fused, blanket machine appliqued, and longarm quilted with cross hatching and outlines around all the applique.  

I love both of these pieces.  If you want to see more of my applique or my hand  quilting and you are in a guild, please reach out to me.  I have two great trunk shows, The Machine Quilter who Hand Quilts and  Many Ways to Applique.

Keep stitching,


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Blue Baskets 2.0

 From the minute I saw this top, I knew it was one that I just had to make.  Like RIGHT NOW, and I'm so glad that I did. 

This was created by Lori DeJarnatt of Humble Quilts and is featured on pg 53 in the June 2022  American Patchwork and Quilting.  I had the pleasure of quilting it for Lori and I couldn't resist tracing the basket for my own personal use (with her permission, of course)  I've kept my version under wraps until the magazine hit the news stands and now I want to share my vision of her pattern.

Blue Baskets 2.0

 Right now mine is only a top. I wanted to use up fabrics I had left over for another couple of projects and these baskets are perfect for that.  The finished block is only 6" and with using a fusible method, your basket fabrics may be able to come from your scrap basket.  

Most of my baskets came from left overs from this project.  They are not all "quilting" fabrics, but I loved them and I love the combo of red/navy/gold.  Not quite Americana, but certainly pieces that I will put out during the year.

Here is a BIG tip.  If you are using the sheets of fusible that come in a zip bag, you can get 3 baskets by splitting out the handle and making it a little longer.  I simply tucked the handle under the top edge of the basket when I fused it to my scrappy muslin squares and no one will notice.  

Some of my favorite fabrics shown here.  I chose to float the blocks and the corner posts along the outside edge and not add the 1/2 baskets.  Honestly, it's because I ran out of time for sewing.  I had a retreat coming up and wanted to keep this under wraps, and knew I was moving my studio immediately following my sew days.

Here is the back view so you can see how I quilted this.  The goal was to keep it simple, clean and traditional.  There is lots of sashing space for dense motifs if that's how you want to quilt yours.  I've decided I'll quilt mine a bit different, but also very traditional and about the same density.  These baskets just need an outline to let the fabrics shine.

So grab the magazine, start prepping your fusible and get busy.  You will not regret making this project. If 50 baskets seems too much, make it smaller.  13 would make a very sweet wall hanging or table topper.  Thank you Lori, for such a lovely pattern.

Keep stitching,


Friday, March 25, 2022

Back Basting Applique Basic Tutorial

I love applique.  The techniques I use vary from project to project, but I have a lot of tricks in my applique tool box.  For all the teachers and other quilters who have shared their methods and ideas, I thank you.  Just like there is no one way to quilt a top, there isn't a "right" way to applique.  Back basting is a method I first learned from Jo Morton and from there, I continued to learn more about this technique from other quilters.   One of my favorites is Jeana Kimball.  Go HERE to watch a video of her doing this type of applique.  Follow her on IG @jeanakimball

Here is my motif drawn out on the back side of the fabric.  Remember, if your pattern has an orientation, ie a teapot, you MUST FLIP/REVERSE YOUR IMAGE, just like when you draw out your designs for fusible applique.  A light box is very helpful for this step.

After tracing the pattern to the back of the foundation fabric, I  basted a full piece of the red print to the top, both pieces are Right Sides Up. **This particular block is using only one print** This holds the top fabric in place while I do the basting along my drawn lines from the back of the foundation fabric.

Here is the "back basting".  You are basting right on the drawn lines from the back of the background piece, hence the name.  Make your stitches on the front a bit bigger than on the back.  You will be pulling out these stitches as you do your needle turn applique.


Here you can see the top of my piece.  Those loops of thread and tails are there for me to grab on to when I start stitching.  I will pull the thread away from where I am doing the needle turn, releasing 3-4 basting stitches at a time.  The basting acts like pins, holding everything in place until it is stitched down.


Basted and trimmed Sarah's Revival block, ready for me to start doing the needle turn applique.  My perfect block to grab when heading out on a trip.  No pins, just my needle, a bobbin of thread and my little scissors to cut the threads.  The longer this piece "sits" like this, the easier it will turn under when I start to applique.  The basting will also give you a line on the background to see where your pattern is.

**Some Details**

Using a thicker weight thread to do your basting gives more definition to the final stitching line.  It's a great opportunity to use up some of those old threads that might be in your sewing basket. 


These duckbill scissors help to keep you from cutting your base fabric.  Be very careful when trimming your shapes.  Don't worry about getting 3/8" seam allowance, you can always trim back a few threads of the fabric once you start doing the needle turn.

Fully trimmed piece, all prepped and ready to stitch.

 I have basted down the bottom part of the flowers while doing the applique.  They will be covered with the stem section.  For this block the large center stem is covering the base of all the leaves and it hugs the center  flower bud, so it will be the last piece I back baste, and I won't add it until all the under pieces are appliqued.

Blogger was not my friend while setting up this post, but I hope you have enough info to get started on a project using this method.  And check out Jeana, she's a master at this method.

Keep stitching,


Thursday, February 3, 2022

Travel Stitching aka Camelot Update

Third time is the charm.  We have cancelled this vacation twice and we finally got to Maui last Sunday at 10 PM.  It was a long day as our first leg of the trip started with us being fogged in at our local airport when we arrived at 4:30 a.m.  After several attempts to fly out from home,  we drove to Seattle, got our pre-clearance wristbands for Maui, and headed to the Alaska lounge for a snack and a relaxing glass of wine.

We spent a few hours out on the ocean on this beautiful sailboat.  A terrific crew, great company and lots of whales entertained us as they played in the warm waters of the Hawaiian Islands.


Our friends papaya tree was loaded but alas, not ripe. 

We had blue skies and wonderful breezes.

My favorite spot is Big Beach out at Makena.  Crashing waves and the clearest waters.  Once I get out past the breaking waves, I could float for hours!


My friend has an addiction to succulents.  This is a small selection of her wall of plants.  Definitely the right place for these plants.

 And since it's a 6 hour (approx) flight each way, I got a bit more stitching on my Camelot.  The top block is now pressed to it's 16.5"

And this block is about 1/2 ways together.  This one was a bit tricky to figure out the pathway to stitching it together.  There are lots of seams that will sit against the center circle so I'm sewing sections onto the center, rather than trying to set the center into the star.  So far it's working well. 

Now that we're home,  I will give this block a bit of evening stitching time to finish it up so it won't make my next trip, whenever that may be.  This will make 6 of 16 and I'm loving every stitch of this.  It's my 60th year and I am committing to having this as a completed top in 2022.  We might have to take a few road trips to make this happen.

Keep stitching,


Friday, January 21, 2022

Zagged Instead of Zigged

Outback Wife fabrics were quite a rage back when life was different.  I had seen several makes from the first collection and when the second grouping was released, I jumped on a 1/2 yard stack of all the prints.  I knew I wanted a very scrappy top made with everything combined and I started making 1/2 sq triangles out of each print. 
This has been "in the works" for a long time.  It's languished on my design wall at my second studio, (that I have rarely gone to in the past year) but I decided it was time to start sewing the blocks together.  My colors were organized and then, due to neglect, most blocks fell to the floor.  Upon re-engaging with this project, I twisted the blocks for row 3.  So now it's going to be row 4.  The plan is to make 4 sections 5 x 5 and that will make a good sized quilt.
My inspiration is from this book.  I love so many pieces in here, but the zig zag really sung to me with the Outback collection.
Notice how the 4th row switches direction?  It's very subtle and I think it adds interest.  There *might* be some zags instead of zigs further along, it depends on how closely I pay attention to things.

and for something different, here are the four Camelot blocks that I got pieced over Christmas.  I have several more blocks prepped for future travel.

Enjoy your weekend, and keep stitching!