Welcome to my journey

I design art quilts, table runners, table toppers, mug rugs, place mats, wall hangings, and quilts and sell them on Etsy. I sew from chosen patterns and well as create unique patterns for custom and commission work.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Finish Something That's Difficult - NAM

I put aside the NAM quilt for about two weeks because something didn't come out right.  I read and re-read the directions.  I measured and re-measured all the pieces, but couldn't make it work.  So I put it down and made two quits and a pillow.

But this quilt has a deadline so I must pick it up again.  I think I have to accept that the directions were wrong.  This is hard for me because I want directions to be orderly and correct so I don't have to think about it.  A safe world.  Good grief.  Why would I think that?  No world is perfect or that orderly.

Thus my one week one challenge is to finish the next section of the NAM quilt.  I have blogged about it previously so some of you may have wondered why this thread disappeared of my blog.  But here it is again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quilting But Not Blogging

I have been really busy.  I finished two table runners, a quilt, and a pillow cover these past two weeks, but I haven't really blogged about it.

Sometimes I just want to keep sewing.  It's safe.  I don't always have to think or "put myself out there" when I quilt.

I have two quilts that I want to create into patterns.  Why don't I start?  I've made the quilts, I know I like them.  I have thought of several ways that the quilt can be appealing to more than one audience.  My husband has had a brilliant idea for a quilt and why don't I design his idea?

What stops you from taking the next step?


Here is one of the quilts I finished.  This is from Kids Quilts.  Its called Oops a Daisy.  I used only fabrics from my stash to make it and was surprised how many prints I had with butterflies in them.  This quilt turned out cheerful and happy.  I love that the butterflies are 8 inches across and the flowers are about 6 inches across.  Children will have so much fun sitting one this quilt and finding the butterflies, flowers and hearts.  If you want the pattern go to the Kids Quilts website.  I bought three other patterns from this company, all for kids quilts.  I think the patterns are unique.  If you want to buy this quilt, you can go to my Etsy page.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Jelly Rolls - Two Quilts

Moda Bake Shop has these two quilts you can make from three jelly rolls.  Great quilt in a day or weekend project. Its called:

Lawn Chair Quilts
Yield TWO 48" x 75" finished quilts
by Monica Solorio-Snow of Happy Zombie


Stolen Quilts


Be on the lookout for these pieces, especially if you are in the New Braunfels, Texas area. You can see the images and read what happened on Karen's blog at
http://karencombs.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/quilts-stolen/

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy National Quilting Month and International Quilting Day

AccuQuilt and TheQuiltShow have teamed up to give all of us the ultimate experience for International Quilt Day! 

Join in on March 16-18, 2012 as we celebrate all things quilting!
Visit TheQuiltShow community for FREE and watch more than 100 shows hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims featuring the Top Quilting Teachers in the world

  • *Explore classrooms, unique tutorials, inspiring slideshows, and much more

  • *Enter the contest to win amazing prizes from companies you know and love—here's a sampling of the prizes you can win:

  • •A BERNINA 550 sewing machine (yes! a new machine!)

  • •Gammill's Deluxe Chair—perfect for sewing at any machine

  • •Fantastic assortment of books from AQS Publishing, plus a 1-year membership to American Quilter's Society

  • •A selection of inspiring quilting books from C&T Publishing

  • •AccuQuilt's GO! Baby die cutting machine, GO! Value Die, GO! Birds die, and a 6x12 Cutting Mat

  • •Bundle of 41 fat quarters from Ricky's Blended Solids collection, compliments of Red Rooster

  • •Box of silk threads from Superior Threads

  • •One of five DVDs from Why Quilts Matter

  • •One of five Stitched: The Movie DVDs

Plus, you'll have exclusive access to an episode of Why Quilts Matter, Stitched: The Movie, and many other sources of excitement and creativity in The Quilt Show community. Simply click here to get started.






Monday, March 12, 2012

Abstract Formal Garden Table Topper - Amy's One Thing One Week Challenge

I used Deb Strain's Tend the Earth line from Moda to make a formal garden table topper.  The garden is in the abstract and each block represents a different part of the garden.  There are ponds, streams, areas for birds and bees, gates and pathways.

Prairie points bring parts of the garden together.  
At the center of each square are bubbles of water fountains and one garden gate.


I still have to add the border and quilt it, but I had been staring at the fabric for three weeks before I started sewing the jelly roll and charm pack so I accomplished my goal.  I love the abstract thought that went into making this project.  Thinking about it opened my mind to new possibilities.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Deb Strain's description of Tend the Earth fabric line

This group is a collection of items that I love to see in a beautiful garden. Architectural pieces, antique watering cans and bee skeps. Of course seeing butterflies, dragonflies and colorful birds add to the allure of nature’s perfect setting. Flowers of every kind bring color, color, and more COLOR! Blues, greens and purples portray the calm, peaceful feeling of a garden with accents of red and yellow adding excitement and wonder. Nature’s palette can be seen in every part of a beautiful garden.

Jeans and Jewels Third Border

I'm still working on the third border.  As this quilt gets bigger, so does the time it takes to complete the next task.  My goal is to have the third border completed by Wednesday evening to post on Thursday.

One Week One Challenge

Fellow blogger, Amy's Creative Side has offered a challenge to finish one project this week as a motivational tool.  Great idea Amy!  And, if you are not a quilter, finish something else this week.  Come back and post it here for all of us to share in your accomplishment and get a ^5.

I have the new Moda fabric - Tend the Earth - by Deb Strain.  I have one charm pack and one jelly roll.  The fabrics are absolutely beautiful.  They are based on a garden theme - birds, butterflies, old planters, in the spring colors of blue, green, purple and brown.


But I have been staring at the fabrics for two days.  I can't come up with an original design.  Do I want it to look minimalist?  The fabrics are a little busy.  I can surround the darks with lights.  Should I go through my stash and find some fabrics to match?  Find some solids?

I love every fabric individually, but collectively, I am struggling.  Until the modern quilt became minimalist, I was satisfied with fabric collections like this. Now, I am wondering if I should go down the modern path or find something else.  I really want to create my own path.

So my challenge is to design and finish a quilt top using this amazing fabric line, Tend the Earth by Moda.What will be your challenge?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Parrot and Tipsy Fish

My feisty parrot has tipped over the fish bowl.  This art quilt is a combination of colorful fabric, fabric markers and  raw edge stitching.  The edges are purposely crooked to add more conversation to the piece.

The parrot and fish fabric is actually a rainbow that I fussy cut to get only the reds to yellows.  I added details of eyes, fins and feathers with a black fabric pen.  I think the expressions on the fish are silly but perfect for the trouble they are in.

The seaweed is leftover fabric from another art quilt.  I used the fabric in that art quilt to make ferns.  Great way to use one fabric for two things.  The background is simple, no quilting and the pellon and paper are still in the quilt sandwich for extra stiffness.

This little image has found a new home in Colorado.  Thanks for stopping by my Etsy page.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Modern Quilt Relish Quilt Completed


I finished my Market Values quilt from the Modern Quilt Relish company.  I love how it turned out.  Look at my older posts about this quilt. (you can get there by clicking on the Modern Quilt Relish label).  You can see that I changed the fabrics in the center of the quilt twice.

Notice how I used chocolate brown thread to tie all the fabrics together.  I left some areas without quilting to create another rectangular area.  I recommend spending more time rehearsing fabrics before you start sewing.  The pattern was simple to make -  just a few hours.  The quilting took the most time because I had the lines of stitching so close together.  By using other quilting designs, the quilt can be completed in a day or weekend.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Jeans and Jewels Third Border


The strips were cut in 1 3/8 inch x 8 inch rectangles.  I placed tape on the 1 3/8 inch line so I wouldn't have to keep looking for it on my ruler.  It saved me a lot of time and headache while cutting.  I used painters tape, it comes off easily after use.


A cream strip and a colored strip were sewn together.  Then the strips were cut into 1 3/8 x 1 3/8 2- patch units.  This is where the painters tape was really helpful. I don't think I could have had the accuracy I needed without it.  Remember the smaller the unit, the more likely an inaccurate seam will be seen..


Chain piecing saves time and thread.


I then lined up all the finished squares until the colors and textured flowed evenly.  Taking a photo helped me find the sections that didn't blend evenly.


I then cut the setting and corner triangles and sewed the units together.  Next,  I have to add a floater to create a color line between this border and the previous border.  I'll talk about that in my next post.



Commitment to Quilting

I've finished four tops without quilting the layers.  It's fun to make tops, I love piecing colors and textures and seeing a design unfold.  But as an artist and Etsian, I must complete my projects.  So the next days are devoted to finishing the smallest of my quilts.  I'm finishing the Modern Quilt Relish pattern.

I am going to use a YLI Machine Quilting Thread.  it's 100% long staple Egyptian cotton, 40/3 ply.  It has a lovely sheen to it.  I bought them wholesale at the Houston Quilt Market.  Its name, Chocolate, is true.  I named it chocolate before I knew that was its real name.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

NAM Quilting Bee
















The NAM Quilting Bee, held February 18, 2012, resulted in over 300 quilts donated to NAM and SOS.  Several church congregations from the Northwest Houston area met at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Kleinwood Rd. to tie several of the quilts and enjoy a luncheon.  The various congregations made quilts through 2011. The quilts were then brought to the hosting church where they were tied, enjoyed and received.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Tool for Cutting Quarter Square Triangles

Tool for cutting quarter square triangles.  Has anyone tried this new ruler? If it works, it could be a time saver.  Check out Quilt Woman's blog to learn more about it.
Today is my birthday.  I am heading to a fabric shop.  What do you like to do on your birthday?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Center Panel - 2011 Jewels Quilt

Thus is the center panel of the NAM Jeans and Jewels 2012 quilt. It is a combination of fused applique, fussy cutting and mitered borders.  The pattern is called Ruffled Roses by Susan Garman.  The fabrics are called Beloved Beauties, designed by Elly Sienkiewicz of P and B Textiles.


I have many more inches to go before the quilt top is complete, but I am on schedule to have the quilt ready for hand quilting.  I have added two borders and have cut the fabric for the third.

One border is a swag.  One border is crosses of the various fabrics and I am now working on the four-patch units.

I love the colors of this quilt. The neutral look is so peaceful  It was my first reaction when I saw a completed version of this pattern in The Quilt Show booth at the 2011 Houston Quilt Market. The Quilt Show used it as their 2011 Block of the Month.
 I told the members of the staff that I wanted to use this quilt for a charity auction and they thought it was a wonderful idea.

Completed Oops a Daisy Strips


All three strips are completed in the Oops a Daisy butterfly quilt from KidsQuilts, a fun children's quilt company from New Zealand.  More squares will border the outside. The top will then be ready to sandwich and quilt.  I am thinking to do a combination of stitch in the ditch and outline quilting.  What do you think?  What color thread should I use?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Strips for the four-patch units border of the Ruffled Roses Jeans and Jewels quilt. This is the third border from the center.  Notice the notebook of instructions in the corner.  The instructions are the clearest and most detailed I have ever used.  Thanks Susan Garman! I have learned several new tips.

Included in the pattern is a link  - Consistent Cutting Video.  Watch this video for an easy way to cut strips on the eighth inch.  The product used in this video is called QTools Cutting Edge.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A resolution of mine is to get my quilts on display throughout my house and studio.  This is a beautiful display of someone's quilts at the Houston 2011 Market.

Too often our quilted talents end up in a stack in some corner of the room.  Developing our inspiration should include looking at our own work when it is finished.  Even if we just create a slide show on our computer or blog or website.  Once in awhile we should view our own work so we can grow from it.

Next Border for Jeans and Jewels Quilt

I'll be making four-patch units for the next border in the Jeans and Jewels quilt.  Susan H. Garman, the designer of this Ruffled Roses pattern,  wants quilters to remember to measure precisely, cut exactly, stitch accurately, and press evenly.

The four patch units have setting triangles in the corners.  The units are set on point and the size of the squares 1 3/8 wide.  If not made precisely, the squares will not fit properly and it will be obvious in the quilt.

Cutting the Squares  The first step is to use  a sharp blade in your rotary cutter.  Otherwise, a few threads will be skipped in the cutting and the fabric will move under your ruler.

Last year I bought a rotary cutter sharpener at the 2010 Houston Market from The Grace Company.   I believe it has paid for itself by lengthening the life of my blade.  The Grace Company has two sharpeners for sale, but I have only tried one of them so cannot compare them to each other.




Run the blade back and forth about 20 times, turn the cutter around and repeat.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Inspires You?

have been thinking about inspiration lately.  As you move around the quilting world, there are as many quilt types and techniques as there are grains of sand on the beach.  Quilters, like many artists, are always pushing the boundaries, inventing new twists on traditional techniques or coming up with new techniques that are absolutely genius.

I have always said that my mother is my inspiration. She made many beautiful quilts, most of which were done completely by hand.  She passed on in 2005, leaving 4 bureau drawers full of fabric.  I hadn't added a single stitch to a quilt before then.

At first, my quilts came from those drawers.  My teachers were television and quilt books.  I watched Alex Anderson on Simply Quilts and Nancy Zieman on Sewing with Nancy.

My first quilts were terrible. If someone had told me that, I would have stopped, but no one did and I began to grow.  Now I sell traditional and art quilts on Etsy.   I go to quilt shops, take classes and quilt and quilt and quilt.  I stared at quilts for 10 days straight at the 2011 Houston Quilt Market and Show this past year.  Each time I walked through the displays, a different quilt would speak to me somehow.  Now my bureau drawers and closet are a mix of fabrics spanning 30 years of colors and textures.

But my question now is: How is my own quilting personality emerging and growing?  What will people say is my style when it is time to leave quilting fabric to my children?

How do you work to discover your quilting personality?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Blanket Stitch

Some of you have asked about the black stitching around the flower of the Jeans and Jewels quilt.  The stitch is called the blanket stitch. It was originally designed to join or reinforce the edges of thick material, such as those used in wool blankets. There were sewing machines specifically designed to use this stitch in large factories in the late 1800's.

Now the stitch is also used as a decorative stitch in embroidery, or as a top stitch in hand or machine applique.  To learn to stitch applique by hand, you can watch this You Tube video.

I stitched my applique flowers to the background with my sewing machine.  It is stitch #45 on my Bernina 440QE.  It is a common machine stitch, so most domestic machines carry it now.  The stitch may also be called the buttonhole stitch on your machine.


I ironed Pellon Wonder Under to the wrong side of the fabric and then ironed the pieces to the background before I began stitching.  This is to anchor the flower in place.  As the machine needle moves back and forth when creating this stitch, you do not want the flower to be removed from its place.

Usually, when a blanket stitch is used, a heavy weight thread, embroidery floss, or yarn is used to emphasis the stitching.  Because the flowers are only 2.5 inches wide, I did not want the stitching to overwhelm the flower or detract from the beautiful red-to-pink shading in the fabric. Thus, I used an Aurifil 50 wt., the same weight used in piecing. I used a contrasting thread color, rather than thread weight to emphasize the stitching.  This gives the perfect contrast to the pink and introduces a primitive feel to the quilt.



Here is a photo of some completed flowers.  So far, there are 28 flowers in the quilt.





Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's a Stitch Sweetheart Sale

Its a Stitch - Humble TX  is having its yearly sale from today (2/9/12) until Valentine's Day.  It's a great time to find backing fabric.  This is the first year that I have gone to the sale with a list and a budget.  I guess I'm growing up.  :)  Now the real "adult" in me will be the one who either a) does not break her list and budget or 2) realizes that another fabric or two is at a price that is too good to pass up, but the decision is based on my business plan and quilt flow chart.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fabric for the 2012 Jeans and Jewels quilt

Here are the fabrics that will be used in the 2012 NAM Jeans and Jewels quilt.


The fabrics are from the Beloved Beauties Collection by designer Elly Sienkiewicz for P&B Textiles.  This line of fabric is from the 2011 collection.  You will need to search shops to find out who still has yardage. One of the many ways to search for fabric is through Fabric Search, a part of FabShopHop.  The pattern is called Ruffled Roses by Susan Garman.  Many of her incredibly detailed patterns can be purchased from Quakertown Quilts.

I know several of you are wondering what NAM is and specifically, Jeans and Jewels.  A history of this nonprofit service organization will be coming soon.  Follow my blog so you will know when I post another entry.  I will be doing interviews with quilters who have made the quilts in previous years, uploading photographs of previous quilts, and discussing all the many facets of NAM and how they serve the Northwest Harris County community.

If you would like to see NAM's website now, go to this link: Northwest Assistance Ministries

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

NAM 2012 Jeans and Jewels Quilt Journey


Walk with me on the journey to create the NAM Jeans and Jewels quilt for the year 2012.   I will share the development of the idea, tips and tricks to modifying the original design and stories and photographs of that great organization, NAM, Northwest Assistance Ministries in Harris County, Texas.

Here is one picture of the quilt to give you a hint of the color and design.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Modern Quilt Relish With a Traditional Flair

While I was waiting for my Bernina 440QE to come back from its cleaning, I started cutting out fabrics for future quilts.  I got this design from a company called Modern Quilt Relish. Modern Quilt Relish is a fellow blogger and one that I follow.  She has very contemporary designs and the photographs show this year's color blends.This particular pattern was put into a goody bag at Houston Quilt Market.  She talks about the pattern in one of her blog entries.




Her suggestion is to use fabrics of similar value, but allow for some contrast.  I decided to try it in colors that are similar to Civil War era fabrics.  While I like this quilt, I think my fabrics still contrast too much to replicate the values suggested in the pattern.

I am going to use squares and rectangles in the quilting of this pattern.  I'll post pictures of the design soon.

February 16, 2012

I took out the red and blue in the center and added some tans instead.  What do you think of my second try?  Is it too light?  I'm not sure the camera has given justice to the change. I like it much better in real life. When the sun filters through my window again, I take another picture.



Next I will quilt it using chocolate brown thread.



Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Wonder of Wonders, Miracles of Miracles'

This song from 'Fiddler on the Roof' comes to mind after I got a phone call saying my Bernina 440QE was ready!  Thanks to It's a Stitch  repairmen.  I was told it would be at least three weeks.  I just happened to get my machine in on the right day.


By the way their big sale will be this week.  Time to buy backing!!  Humble TX is the location of the Its a Stitch shop.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Butterflies in the stash bin


All three strips are completed.

As I mentioned earlier, I challenged myself to use only fabrics from my stash to make the "Oops-a-Daisy' pattern from Kids Quilts.  I succeeded!   Check out these cool butterfly fabrics that will be used to do the squares around the outer edge.  That was a fun find. If you had asked me, I would not have been able to tell you that there were butterflies in my stash.  Does that mean my stash is too big?

I've done a lot of sewing.  Here is the first row of the quilt.
I thought being without a sewing machine would "paralyze" me.  How can you quilt without a machine, after all?  But as I enter the third day and am starting to recover from my withdrawals, I have found plenty to do.

Today I have been cutting out all the fabric from my next quilt.  I am usng the "Oops a Daisy" pattern from Kids Quilts Ltd.  The link to their website is Kids Quilts, Ltd.  Here is a picture of the orginal pattern.  Their company is out of New Zealand so allow plenty of time for your patterns to ship.
At first I was determined to use similar fabrics as those seen in the picture and was getting ready to head to the fabric store.  But I heard my stash calling me.  I challenged myself to only the fabrics from my stash.  I now have the butterflies fused and ready to the point of sewing. (See, there is plenty to do without a machine!)  My butterfles are completely different.



I am now cutting all the sashing and squares that go around the outside of the butterflies, hearts, and flowers. 

More anon

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting my act together

I'm afraid as you read my blog over the next few weeks, you'll see many changes.  Don't despair.  It's me finally taking the time to design the blog.  This is something I should have done months ago.  It took the gateway in front of the bobbin casing on my Bernina 440QE to break before I returned to my blog.  '

I am not saying anything negative about my Bernina.  It's a workhorse.  I have used it almost daily for six years.  Something is bound to break after that amount of use.  I take it in once a year for routine servicing.  It's funny that the gateway broke the day before I was going to take it in.

So I'll show you some of the projects I've been working on.  One is a quilt I am putting together for the Northwest Assistance Ministries Jeans and Jewels auction.  Another is a new quilt from the designer of the New Zealand company Kids Quilts, Inc.  And I am starting to really think about my own designs and will share that process with you.

More anon