Friday, December 5, 2008

"Thrilled" is how I felt when I saw one of my quilts "Oak Leaves" in the latest edition of The Quilter Magazine. I designed it especially for a grouping of hand dyed fabrics I had been tinkering with for a while. Hand appliqueing the blocks and border took an even longer while, as did the quilting. This is one of those quilts I'm not going to part with for some time.

New Fabrics for Spring

One of the new spring lines, Urban Rhapsody, arrived recently and I've been busy working on some new designs. Here's what I'm planning to make. Let's see how it goes. You know how sometimes you get started on a project and then it seems to take on a life of its own . . .

Thursday, October 16, 2008


When Exclusively Quilters asked me to design a quilt using one of their new lines, Giant Pandas, I was somewhat apprehensive. The line featured a rather large panel of pandas, and I had never really made a "panel" quilt before. After tinkering with several designs on EQ6, I had a few things to send them--none of which I was very thrilled with. Neither were they. In the meantime, I had designed a much larger quilt than what they wanted, so I just said "what the heck" and sent off that larger quilt design. Well, sometimes, another set of eyes, another perspective, another designer can suggest just the thing to make a design work. A crop here. A shift there. A change in measurements. Voila! Magic! Giant Pandas is my first quilt design employing a panel.

And for those of you who may be interested in making a panda quilt of your own, I am currently taking pre-orders on the kits for this 40" x 48" wall hanging at my website

By the way, thanks Deb, for all of your suggestions!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Flower Power?" (aka "The Westminster Project) Quilt

The quilting is complete and the binding is finally stitched down. Now all it needs is a label. And so begins the process of selecting a name. "The Westminster Project", as it had been dubbed while in progress, will simply not do. The name is too sterile, too empty, too nondescript.

Oliver, my clever husband, says the quilt looks like a 1960s throwback with its funky bold colors and large floral print. Of course I was but a small child in the '60s, so who am I to judge whether "Flower Power" is a name appropriate for this quilt that features a Kaffe Fassett floral print in the outer border, and other more subdued Kaffe Fassett prints, along with other fabrics manufactured by the Westminster Fabric Company, in the blocks and inner borders. So what do you think? Is "Flower Power" it? If you have any other clever name ideas, please, please weigh in!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Westminster Project, continued. . .

The blocks are fused and the satin stitching complete. Prior to this project, I did not have much experience at satin stitching. I can most definitely see that my last blocks are much better than my first. The stitching is smoother around rounded edges and crisper at corners. I thought about taking the stitching out of some of the first blocks I made, but, trust me, that was a fleeting thought that I batted away much like one bats flies away from a picnic feast. What the worst and most tedious part of the Westminster Project (so far) was tearing away all of the stabilizer. I had stabilizer shrapnel scattered all over my sewing room. And before long there was stabilizer all over the house because it hitchhiked on my dog, Daisy, who likes to hang out in my sewing room. Next step: assembling the alternate blocks.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The "Westminster Project"

And now on to the "Westminster Project". This quilt, which for lack of a better name at this point in time, has been dubbed the "Westminster Project" because the lead fabric and several other fabrics are manufactured by Westminster Fabrics. If that name doesn't ring a bell, then just think of fabric designer Kaffe Fassett, one of their lead designers, and the designer of the lead fabric I'm using.

So . . . the quilt's designed--thank you Electric Quilt Company. The lead fabric chosen, along with a stack of potential running mates. don't they look yummy together?

Now for the next task. The pattern I've designed has a whimsical applique flower block that I plan to fuse and then satin stitch with threads from my bountiful thread stash. I grabbed one of my many rubber trays and pulled practically every thread that I thought would work. Now, how to decide. I don't want my trial and error to take place on my beautifully fused blocks. No, no, no, that will just not do.

Due to some personality defect implanted within me at birth, I realize that I must approach the task of thread selection in a rational, logical, and planned manner. (Oh, how I do hope there are some of you out there with this same condition. For those of you who can throw caution to the wind and just jump right in, I applaud and greatly envy you.) So here's what I did. First I sewed together a piece of my background fabric, a deep burgundy, and a piece of light green scrap fabric left over from the Sunflower quilts. Then I did a test satin stitch of each thread on the background fabric and wrote the name and color of the thread next to it on the light colored fabric. Very systematically organized--very planned--very logical. Time consuming, yes, but I should be able to avoid any gross color errors which would lead to--gulp--ripping out. And obviously, I had so many threads that I had to do two swatch pieces.

So, what of all this test sewing and satin stitching and overly compulsive behavior? Here's how I proceeded. When I needed to satin stitch around a fabric, a pulled the fabric from the stack and folded the test stitch swatch next to it in order to see which thread looked best. In the example in the photo, the fabric is a blue green mottled fabric. What thread choice would you make?

Okay, I've made my choice and picked one. . . I think. I'm off to sew. Satin stitching is not my forte, but a girl has to learn sometime.

There's a time to quilt and a time to dye, and yesterday was a dyeing day. The "Westminster Project" (sounds like a band name from the 70s, doesn't it?) pretty much cleaned me out of green hand dyed fabric. And since I have a trunk show next week, I thought it a good time to dye fabric for myself and collectors of hand dyed fabric. I dyed well over 50 yards of fabric. YIKES, what was I thinking?! The dyeing is rather fun. It's the washing and pressing and trimming that's work. But here's just some of the evidence of my hard work.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quilt Patterns from Exclusivley Quilters Fabrics

Over the past few months I've had the privilege of working with Exclusively Quilters Fabric Company, designing quilt patterns for several of their fabric lines. Below is a slideshow of the patterns I've designed and some of the accompanying fabrics. If you'd like to see more of their fabrics, pay a visit to their website. There you'll also find links to shops that carry their fabrics. You'll also get a peek at some of their upcoming lines. Of course if you want any of the patterns, you can get them from my website I also have kits for Forever Lovely and will soon have kits for Akimbo.

Their fall lines are currently "in the works'--I can't wait to see them and begin the process of figuring out what I'm doing with them. My plan is to share some of my design process and construction steps with you here on my blog.

Meanwhile, I have a quilt I'm making with some great Westminster fabric that'll I'm going to share with you, too.

Patterns from Exclusively Quilters Fabrics

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Working on the New Block of the Month Quilt

Designing, making, and writing the directions for a block-of-the-month sampler quilt always seems to have me frazzled. I want each BOM quilt to have a theme, so that's the first task. The theme of the new quilt is "Building Blocks", which, coincidentally, is the name of the quilt. When I selected the theme of building blocks, what I had in mind was all of the building toys I played with as a kid. I wanted each block to be named after a different building toy, so I sat down and began brainstorming the names of toys.

Legos, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, erector sets . . . . . Uh, wait . . . that's only four. The quilt has twelve blocks.

And so I began some online research into different types of building toys. I certainly found a lot of very interesting toys. Some of them I had seen and my own children had played with, but I certainly didn't know the official name of the toy. Other toys I had never seen before but was intrigued by them. One such toy is Kapla, a French toy made from marine pine.

It just goes to show you. Quilt projects can take you to some unusual places. I got to revisit my childhood and some really cool websites with really cool toys!

Oh, and by the way. Yes the quilt is done and will debut July 2008 on my website,