Tag Archives: Quilting

Quick Start Quilting

Beginning practice for free motion quilting

qsq-sarasota-3 qsq-sarasota-2 qsq-sarasota-1

Learning how to extend a design in the fabric

qsq-sarasota-6 qsq-sarasota-5 qsq-sarasota-4

So much improvement in just 3 short hours! Great job, ladies!


Filed under Learning New Things!, Quilting, Teaching Quilting, Thinking About Quilting!

Progress is being made

Taught Rule Breaking Quilts at Friendship Knot Quilt Guild today and thought I’d show you pictures of pieces from starts to almost finishes! There are a couple that I just did not get photos of, but sometimes people pull the pieces off the design wall to actually get them assembled and then I miss the opportunity!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As often as I have taught this, I am always amazed at how different each piece is. Totally unique in both construction and the artistic expressions of each student. I’m so grateful that I get to do this!

Tomorrow is Quick Start Quilting and Monday is Your Design Here. Two more days of fantastic fun for me…and work, work, work for these women! I do hope they are having fun, too!


Filed under Color, Designing Quilts, Learning New Things!, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilting, Teaching Quilting

Did you hear the brakes squealing?

My brain took an abrupt turn around all the projects I have hanging around my studio and I practically got whiplash from the spin!



and this


are now going to be merged into one project!

I couldn’t decide what to do with either one of them separately but suddenly it seemed perfect to slam them together!


I threw them up on the design wall and tried out a couple of sashing fabrics. Here’s how round 1 came out.


One more row top and bottom and suddenly I have a full size quilt!


I’d put a little border on it, but I don’t have any more of the yellow sashing fabric and nothing else really seemed to fit. And the best part is that I have only a tiny pile of scraps left.


The strips equal about one more width of the quilt and they will be fine to go into any back I put on this. I’m feeling pretty good about my Use Up the Stash efforts this week!

Now–I almost forgot that I have a group project that is due a few days after I get back from my next trip. I won’t be able to take it with me, so I guess that jumped to the top of the list, didn’t it? And it’s one of those that I can’t show you until later. S0……………busy, busy, busy!


Filed under Designing Quilts, Fabric, Thinking About Quilting!, Use Up the Stash

Actually USING it!

This is a pile of leftover binding strips that I sewed together at one point, on one of my many attempts to use up some scraps.


And they just sat there…

Grabbed one and a piece of “other scrap” and wondered if this is something I want to do…


Or the simple, traditional looking rail-fence style?


Do I want to use them in a more improv way? Grabbed two, gave them cross cut slices and had a couple of okay looking rectangles.


And using four different blocks, which required a little more work to get them together. Let me show you. When you cut and sew the first half, the seams come out very uneven.


In order to sew the halves back together, you need to have a plan and give yourself a straight edge to go by. You can lay them out and cut them individually or you can stack and trim one side and use that as your straight edge guide.


Flip and sew right along that edge for a nice, straight seam. Then you can trim the other side–or not, depending on how picky you are about seam allowances. I have to admit that I trim!


And that gave me four very busy blocks…maybe too busy to make a whole quilt out of…?


How ’bout trying it with a chunk of “other scrap” fabric?


Not a huge improvement and probably not worth scrounging for chunks of more plain fabric. BUT…I think I have a chunk of map fabric left from another project that might work if I throw these all together in cross-cut squares and rectangles. The map fabric could be sashing.

In any event, this pile of scrap has now made it to the top of my cutting table and will not be returning to the shelf! I will stick to my resolve of use it and get it out of here!

Aaaaaand…every time I move stuff around I find other good stuff. My newest found treasures are a coule of dyed pieces of lace in red and orange. I immediately thought they might be the happy solution to my workshop/bias tape project


and I have more lace that I can easily dye if I need it! Yep–I like it!

There are some more artful projects that I’d like to do, but I want to have thinking time as I work on those. I have another teaching trip to make before that happens, so I’ll try to work on scrap reduction in the short times in between.

People often have a word of the year–mine looks like it’s ‘reduction’—in all areas!

Oh-oh-oh—I totally forgot about my friend Mary Hogan’s book! It’s called String Quilt Style and the cover quilt is one I’ve wanted to make…and it’s totally perfect for these blocks!


I’m not sure if I’ll use a single background color, for I have no large amount of any single fabric. If I have to buy more fabric, I will, but it will be a defeat in the reduction area. I will try to improvise something appropriate first!



Filed under Designing Quilts, Quilting, Thinking About Quilting!, Use Up the Stash

What is your ultimate goal?

After griping about how much fabric I have and not enough sewing time–yet again–one of my friends asked me what my ultimate goal for the fabric is. That really made me sit back and think.

Certainly it’s not going to go into the trash. It’s good quality new fabric for the most part.


I’m waaaaay too cheap thrifty to give it away, even to my guild charity sewers. That’s simply not an option for me.


It all came into my house because I love it, every piece, and thought I would use it.


And I really want to use it all up and make wonderful art.


But really, what IS my ultimate goal for all of it?

I want it to be gone so that I can make my art from fabric that I have created.

Moons of Ios

Moons of Ios

Yep. I am a fabriholic. I cannot resist it. I am definitely a hoarder. But I’m not getting it used and that’s a crying shame. What to do…what to do…what to do…I’m really thinking hard on this one. The best I’ve come up with so far is to block out some time on my calendar and make quilt tops, all day, every day. And then keep using the fabric to make quilt backs, all day, every day. Even if they never get quilted by me, that way there would be a chance for all that fabric to be useful rather than just sit on the shelf. Someone could quilt them or give them to charity after I’m gone–I won’t care then!

Are there better ideas? I’d love to hear them. I DO have a goal now and I’d love to think that it really is attainable…but I’m getting older fast so I have to work quickly now!

Wait–a goal without a timeline is just a wish, right? Then I’d like to have it mostly done by September…sufficiently far away that it sounds possible. Ready–aim–go for it!





Filed under Art Quilts, Quilting, surface design, Thinking About Quilting!, Use Up the Stash

Slow progress

This week is particularly busy for me, so I haven’t done much textile work at all. I had a few minutes today so I finally got my triangle quilt basted and ready for quilting. Let me give you a quick look at how I do it in my studio.

I actually had to clear everything off of my cutting table…that’s a big job! I did NOT clean up the floor all around the table!! This one is not a large quilt, so I laid it out lengthwise. If it had been any longer, it would have been better to drape the layers in the other direction. If you don’t have a large table like I do, this works fine on one of those folding tables and if you have room for two of those, you are golden!


I center the quilt on the table and roll back the top and then the batting. I spray the glue just on the exposed backing that is on the top of the table.


Then I unroll the batting and smooth it over the sprayed backing. I spray that batting and unroll the top and smooth it over the batting. The quilt gets scooted over and the process is repeated until I reach the edge of the quilt. Baaaaack to the center and do the same for the other side of the quilt. I also then flip the whole thing over to make sure there are no big pleats or wrinkles on the back. I like to let a freshly basted quilt sit at least overnight before I start quilting it. I can’t swear that it keeps the needle from gumming up, but I also haven’t had any gummed-up needles this way!

As always with spray baste, try to keep your area well-ventilated. I run a fan close to the floor, just to keep the air moving. There is always going to be overspray, whenever you use anything sprayed from a can. You can cover all the surrounding surfaces with plastic, newspapers or an old sheet, which is washed and re-used or you can plan on scrubbing the floor. Nothing is better than another; you just have to be prepared to deal with overspray.

I also tried to use up every last bit of the scrap pile this came from and I came pretty darned close. These two little pieces are ready to stitch on and I’m really feeling withdrawal from lack of beads, so these must be beaded!



You might recognize these as the pieces I used to demonstrate putting faced holes in blocks. I still have two blocks and a few scraps, but I’m tired of this bunch of stuff. It’s going to be the start of the pile that goes to live somewhere else. Every little bit that goes away is a plus for me now.

Of course, when I stopped in to the quilt store today for a sewing machine needle, two yards of fabric also had to come home with me…but I’m going to use it at a workshop this weekend, I swear!

Looking forward to a real slowdown after this weekend. Only have to prep for two Florida engagements and that’s mostly my ‘regular’ stuff. There could be a major hand stitching overindulgence coming up!



Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Quilting, Use Up the Stash

Facings and holes again!

The subject of making holes in a block–on purpose–has come up again! I wrote about how I make them here, here and here but I’ll give it another go with my current pile of scraps…just because someone asked how to do it and I really, really want to use up those scraps! I’ll try to keep it short and illustrate with pictures, but it’s quite easy to do.

WHY would you want to do something like this when it’s so much easier to fuse on a shape or applique it? Well, sometimes you don’t want the stiffness of the fusible or you don’t like to applique or you might like the added texture of the facing as a frame. Or it’s fun and different…

I had some leftover triangle blocks and will demo with those. First thing is to choose a shape and get it on a piece of fabric that will be your facing. The facing fabric will not show, unless you really want it to and press it that way.


Place your facing fabric on the right side of your block and sew all around it on the line.


You will then cut out the hole, inside the line, pull the facing to the wrong side and press it down.


Circles need to have the seam allowance clipped all the way around. Squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. only need to be clipped in the corners, but right up to the last couple of threads in that corner!



Once it’s pressed, you are ready to audition fabrics behind your hole. The piece of fabric you choose only needs to be large enough to cover whatever hole you have made.


After that, you get to decide how you are going to make that fabric stay where you want it. Sometimes I reach into my jar of fusible scraps and fuse them to the facing. Then I throw on the hole fabric and it’s all fused together, waiting for the next step.



Sometimes I use a glue stick, or glue baste or liquid thread. I almost never use pins and if your hole is no larger than these (the whole block size here is about 7.5″) you probably don’t need anything but your final solution. And that’s where the fun begins!


You can do any number of things to your lovely little holey block! I used one of the built-in stitches on my machine and a metallic thread here. I’m not 100% sure that it’s gonna stay that way! But since the fabric isn’t fused, even if I rip this out the holes will close up with a little spritz and ironing.


I love to embroider and bead around my openings and so I created this piece.


And that’s why the subject of holes in quilts came up again! I’ll be showing everyone in my Creative Seasons art group how to do this Monday evening. We’ve had it demo’d to us before, but if you don’t do something right away, you forget how to do it! Or what you see in a demo doesn’t appeal to you or have any relevance until further down the line…I know that I’m going to have fun with these small blocks and their little holes! And there will not be one little scrap left when these are finished!





Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilting