Friday, December 26, 2014

Pendleton Patchwork

I hope you've all had a very sweet holiday with loved ones.
Here's what I gave to my 24 year old son for Christmas.
A lovely friend named Merry gave me a bag full of Pendleton wool scraps last month.  

I used the scraps almost exactly as they came out of the bag.
The wool is already heavy, so I didn't add backing or batting.  

Pendleton Woolen Mills is based in Oregon, where I grew up.
I have fond memories of going to their factory store with my grandmother when I was little.

The company started weaving woolen blankets to trade with Native Americans over 100 years ago.  
The symbols and colors carry meanings for various tribes.

I'm happy to say that my son was thrilled with his new blanket!

Wishing you all a very happy and creative new year.
I'm looking forward to seeing your starts, your finishes, your struggles and your successes.
Happy 2015!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Another Finish!

"Contentment"  49" x 49"
I've been going through my pile of flimsies, thinking about the ones I want to quilt.
This one cried out to me recently.  

I put it together a year or two ago, with leftover blocks from five different projects.
The words came from instructions in Tonya Ricucci's excellent book, Word Play Quilts.

On second look, the original house block seemed a bit muddy.
So I decided to do a little "home improvement."

Hmm, not exactly what I was looking for.

The third time was the charm.  Now for the quilting.

After stitching in every ditch, I sewed thin matchsticks around all the letters.
Then I added easy back and forth designs and small stippling.
I used puffy wool batting so the letters would pop out.

The half-square triangles got their own simple flower shapes.
Dark binding popped the colors.

Don't you just love finishing?
I surely do!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cultural Fusion Quilts Blog Tour!

I am so happy to recommend Sujata Shah's beautiful new book, Cultural Fusion Quilts!

You may know Sujata's gorgeous quilts from her blog, The Root Connection.
If you've visited her there, you know she has a unique and fanciful eye for design and color.  

She grew up in India, where vibrant color and pattern are everywhere.
In the book, she tells the story of coming to the U.S. as a young bride, feeling like 
"a character from a color film that had walked into a black and white film."

With Cultural Fusion Quilts, she introduces us to her world of color and design, 
and helps us step into that joyful place with our quilt-making.

Sujata taught quilt-making at a shop in the Seattle area for several years.  
I had the good fortune to receive her help while selecting fabrics for some of my quilts.
Over the years, we became friends, and I was invited to try the technique she presents in the book.  

I found it easy, fun and new.  The results create unique quilts with just enough quirkiness to add a sense of the maker's own hand.  No two quilts could ever be alike with this technique!

You'll find my quilt in the book.  Today I'll show you some of my process in making it.

I started with pinwheel blocks.  I just love the way each one dances in its own way!
This is one of the many configurations of the Rail Fence block on the cover.

Once I made many, I tried out different arrangements.
Above, I've alternated warm and cool pinwheels.

Each cut set made a group of four. Here I tried grouping the sets 
and placed all the red ones in the middle.

I kept making blocks, (I couldn't stop!), and decided to alternate the sets by warm and cool colors.

I had enough leftover to make another quilt. 

I decided to add them to the border, and make it queen size. 

Now it's my favorite quilt to sleep under!

To win a copy of this book, enter a comment, and make sure I have a way to email you.   I'll do a random drawing Saturday night, 12/6, at 9:00 p.m. PST, and post the winner on Sunday.  If you're in the U.S., you'll receive a print copy.  If you live outside the U.S., you'll get the ebook.

Here are the dates and locations for the next blog tour stops.

Thursday December 4 Victoria Gertenbach @ The Silly Boodilly

Friday December 5 Rachaeldaisy @ Blue Mountain Daisy

Saturday December 6 Lori Dejarnett @ Humble Quilts
Sunday December 7 Casey York @ The Studiolo

Monday December 8 Malka Dubrawsky @ A Stitch in Dye

Tuesday December 9 Sherri Lynn Wood @ daintytime

Wednesday December10 Bonnie Hunter @ Quiltville's Quips and Snips

Thursday December 11 Jake Finch @ Generation Q

Friday December 12 Jan Burgwinkle @ Be*mused

Saturday December 13 Janet Treen @ Quiltsalott

Sunday December 14 Lindsay Conner @ Lindsay Sews 

Good luck!

Monday, November 17, 2014


I finished quilting and binding this quilt over the weekend, washed it and took a nap under it today!

75" x 66"

Here's the quilt that inspired me.  
It's from Roderick Kiracoffe's collection shown in his fabulous new book,

I wish I had the opportunity to meet this quilt maker.  
I'd love to talk to her about her brilliant design and the fabrics she used.
One can only imagine her process.

Mine is made mostly of shirt scraps.  I imagine hers was too.

I pieced the scraps randomly in strips of darks and lights. 
Looks like she did too.

For quilting, I couldn't tell how she did hers.  Roderick said it was done in purple thread.  
I decided to stitch in the ditch by machine, and add some hand stitching in just a few of the large blocks.  

The hand stitching looked so good, I had to keep going!  
That added another month of evenings to the process, but it was worth it.
Here you can see before and after the hand stitching.

The idea for knots on top came from the lovely and talented Carolyn at Material Obsession in Australia. 
I love the little bit of added texture they provide.
The binding is corduroy, nice and soft to touch.

I love how it looks when folded on the couch.
Every new lap size quilt at my house gets it's debut here.

I've thought of several names for this quilt:
"Many Thanks to Roderick"
"Hour Glass"
"Courthouse Steps"
"Day and Night"
"Dark and Light"

None of them have stuck.  That's fine.  
I doubt the original maker named her quilt, 
so maybe I won't either.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh No!

Every quilt teaches at least one life lesson.  Right?
More often than not, the lesson for me is: SLOW DOWN! 

AFTER I spent several weeks piecing, machine quilting and hand embellishing this quilt, 
I decided to test some of the fabrics for color-fastness before washing.
See that piece with the safety pin?


Needless to say, I should have SLOWED DOWN and tested the fabrics BEFORE I used them!

I picked out the offending piece, cut away its stained neighbors, and replaced it.  
Luckily, there appears to be only one piece of this fabric in the quilt.

Phew!  Not too difficult.
I top-stitched it on so I could find this piece and remember the story.

In the end, the quilt had its way with me.
There's just no getting around learning these life lessons!


Here's the color-fast test I use:  
Spray a little piece of your fabric with water, 
place a paper towel on top, and iron until it's dry.  
If it comes up clean, it's colorfast!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Falling in Love

I'm thick into the process of quilting this this top
inspired by a wonderful quilt in Roderick Kiracofe's new book, 

I usually approach machine quilting with a "grin and bear it" attitude.
 "Just do it."  It'll feel good to have it done.    

I decided to stitch in the ditch, "every stinkin' seam," as Cindy Needham
teaches in her excellent Craftsy class.

So, I was going along, a few minutes or an hour at a time, trying not to rush myself.
Noticing my stitches weren't perfect, and forgiving myself for that.
Stitching, stitching, more stitching...

And then I started to fall in love. 

 Slowly stitching around every piece brought the stories to mind.

Oh, there's that red flower that T gave me from her mother's stash.  How sweet.
I love it next to the gingham I bought in Norway!

And there's that piece of men's shorts I bought at Goodwill with S.  That was a fun trip!
And the men's shirts that M and I have shared across the globe. 
Oh, and the golfer shirts that T sent from Florida.

There's a tiny sliver of red and white.  How'd that get in there?
Did I really put a scrap of bark cloth in this?   I like it!

Now I really don't care how the quilt looks overall.  
It's the stories, the connections to sweet friends, 
the memories of the design process that matter.  

I'm sure we've all experienced this.  
It's one of the greatest joys of quilt-making--
working closely with our fabrics and remembering the stories behind them.  

Wishing you finishes and love this season!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Red Quilt #8 and Some Fun News!

Just finished this.  I'm calling it "Red Quilt #8" because it is!

It's from Bonnie Hunter's very fun "Scrappy Trip Around the World" tutorial.  

I was looking at my shelf of red prints one day, 
and decided to see how they would look all together.  
At first I didn't like it, but it's grown on me.

I quilted it with Hobbs Tuscany wool, stitched in the ditch and feathers in the border.
Nice and warm for the winter ahead.

The back is this fun rose print that I got at a thrift store--$5 for the whole thing!

Here's a little peek at Red Quilt #9, my current travel project.  More on this one later.  

If you want to see my other seven red quilts, click here.

OK.  Here's the fun news.  

My blog is featured in the September/October issue of  
Quiltmania magazine!  
(American Edition)

If you're a Quiltmania reader, turn to pages 86 and 87.  
There you'll find my smiling face, plus an interview about blogging
and copying the masters in "Blogger's Corner."  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chattanooga Choo Choo!

Last week I spent a few days visiting my talented and dear friend, Mary
and got to attend the American Quilter Society show in 
Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Mary won not one, but TWO blue ribbons! 

It was so exciting to share this moment with her.  

I also got to meet Julie, a long-time blogging friend, and see her wonderful barn quilt.

There was an Egyptian tent maker,

demonstrating his amazing appliqué.  
Notice his quickly moving hand!

Junko and Katsuhiko Sakiyama of Caohagan (pronounced cow-hah-gah) were also there, 
showing and selling the stunning and whimsical quilts made by island natives.  
Every single one was captivating!  Here are just a few.

OK.  Back to work, refreshed and VERY inspired!