Thursday, December 20, 2012


Many times I read or hear about TV shows going "on hiatus" for a while between seasons. 

Well, my blog is "on hiatus" for a little while as I await the verdict from my Geek friend to tell me how bad the situation is with my laptop computer.  It had become so slow and kicked itself offline repeatedly that I had about given up on being able to use it.  He said to let him take it and check it out.  So it is currently with my buddy, Larry.

In the meantime I am using DH's computer which works fine for a lot of things, but I have no access to my pictures. 

I will be posting more after the verdict comes in about my laptop.  I may have to replace it.  After all it is about 7 years old.

In the meantime I am "window shopping" for computers.  Do I want a laptop, a tablet, or a regular PC that would be stationery on my desk?  Decisions, decisions . . .  Any suggestions?


Thank you for stopping by my blog this year.  I promise to do more posting in 2013!!!  Definitely among my top goals for the New Year.


Monday, December 10, 2012


I am doing some of each step of the Easy Street Mystery Quilt.  Here are a few of my Part 3 units. 
I have chosen orange to replace the blue.


Saturday, December 1, 2012


My last post about the Easy Street Mystery Quilt Project by Bonnie Hunter was without pictures.  I now have the capability to add some pictures.

Here are my fabrics and a few of my Step One Four-Patch blocks.

I exchanged my oranges for the Teal/Turquoise Blues and included some periwinkle in my purples.

I will be doing some blocks of each step in the beginning because of time restraints.  I will finish this after the first of the year.

Step Two was making Flying Geese with the Purples and Black/White background fabrics.

I used the EZ Angle Ruler and the Companion Ruler that Bonnie suggested.  I was very happy with my results.  There was minimum sliver trimming.

I think this is going to be another fun adventure.


Friday, November 30, 2012


This will be my third Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.  This year I was going to pass on it and just collect the clues.  I thought it would be better to do this project in January.  That has all changed.

After the Introduction came out with the fabric requirements, I was still convinced I wasn't going to do it because I did not have enough fabric in the color families and I did not want to start working on substitutions.  I am trying very hard to work out of stash.

I could not get it off my mind, so I started looking for fabric in my stash and found a few pieces.  Looked some more and found some more.

Ultimately I found enough fabric to do the quilt.  So here goes.
This is where I would normally post a picture of the fabrics, but I am, once again, having difficulty with Picasa Albums about posting my pics.  I posted the pics directly to Facebook.  The colors I chose were the same colors that Bonnie used.

Sorry this is all words and no pictures.  Maybe soon I will be back to posting pictures with my words.


Friday, November 16, 2012


In general, I do not make the same quilt pattern repeatedly.  However, this is my fourth Friendship Star Quilt.
The only other time that I have made multiple quilts from the same pattern was when I was teaching Beginning Level Quilting Classes. 
The pattern I chose to use was the Log Cabin and I ended up with several of these.  Each time I would teach the class I would think of another set of fabrics that I thought would look wonderful in that pattern.  Of course, the Log Cabin is another example of a value study quilt.  Each block is composed of a light side and a dark side.

The first Friendship Star Quilt I made was for a Value Play Workshop Retreat that I taught a few years ago.
This quilt was scrappy and I added a rather traditional border to it to give it a finished look. 
I loved this pattern and decided I wanted to make another one someday.

Recently my sister asked me to make a quilt for her to use as a gift for her son for Christmas.  This was the perfect opportunity to make a Friendship Star Quilt where I could use lots of scraps.  I wanted it to have a modern look so I omitted the borders. 

I also made another one.  When my daughter saw it she love it.  This one has fabrics in it that she remembers from other projects I have made over the years.  This is what is so special about scrappy quilts.  They often bring back wonderful memories.

Then I wanted to make a quilt as a thank you for a friend of ours who has been so helpful during my husband's hip replacement surgeries.  In this one I chose mostly browns and blues. 
Friendship Star seemed like the obvious pattern. 

Of course, now that I am on number four, it seems like a series.

  I laid out the blocks and carefully labeled them so that they would all go together in the proper arrangement.  Look closely and you will see that I turned one of the blocks the wrong way. 
I could tell you that that is a "design alternative" or that it is a "humility block".  But the truth is I made a mistake and I am not going to re-do this quilt. I did not see this until after the quilt was quilted and bound and posted to Facebook. 

 Oh, well, I know that our friend will enjoy this quilt and it will keep him warm even with one block that is turned wrong.  A life lesson I have learned is that perfection is not my goal.  Enjoying the journey and sharing my passion is.

This quilt made me smile and I think that it will make others happy.
I have made enough quilts using this pattern now.  My next quilts will use some other pattern.  Stop back by to see some of my other ideas.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


At this time of year I am so drawn to these beautiful bright colors.  It makes me want to pick up a paint brush and put it on paper or grab fabric and make some kind of collage.  I have never done either one.  This year might be a first.
The reds, oranges, golds and yellows really stand out against the green of the Magnolia and the Ornamental Grasses.

Since November is Gratitude month, I thought I should put some of my thoughts down.
There are so many things that I am grateful for which include my family and friends.

My family loves me unconditionally and accepts my personality quirks and my assets and liabilities and just keep making me feel like the luckiest person in the world.

My beautiful daughter brings so much joy to my life!  She is an awesome mom to my wonderful grandsons while maintaining a full time career.  Her husband was God's gift to me of a man who would love and cherish my daughter in the way I wanted her loved and cared for.  Together they have taught their two sons that family life really means loving and living together in harmony and letting those important people know you love them.

My son-in-law is a man with great depth of understanding and love.  I truly feel like he is my son.  He and I have always had a special relationship that actually started before he married my daughter.  This man is very talented in construction and design.  He builds some beautiful pieces of furniture and designs some very nice landscapes for his customers.  He is generous with his time.  He often coaches the recreational athletics of our grandsons.
Sorry, SIL, I do not have a photo to include here.

My grandsons are such wonderful personalities and so different.  The older one is now sixteen years old and looking toward his future preparing for college and, ultimately, his career choice.  This young man is full of compassion and genuine love and loyalty for his family and friends.  His quiet demeanor is so unassuming for a young man who excels in his academics and his community service and his church activities.  He makes my day when he sends me a text or when we have our occasional "date".  This young man appears to be headed toward a future in a career that involves caring for others -- either people or animals.

Our younger grandson is nine years old and, truly, an old soul in a young body.  He has such a unique way of expressing himself and he opens the window to such a fresh look at life.  It is such a pleasure to have conversations with him.  He can sum up life in a few words --  but they usually make you stop and look at him and ask yourself, "Did he just say that?"  We tease that he will be our representative in public community service.  Going down to have a twenty-minute school lunch with him is a highlight of the month for me.

Many years ago I was a young woman of 34 when I was widowed.  I was as unprepared for this as anyone would be at this age. However, I continued day by day keeping my faith in God and believing that my future was to take care of my daughter and bring her up to be a successful, caring woman.

Then, one day God did something wonderful for me.  He put me in a place to meet a wonderful man who was a recent widower himself.  This man has been my husband for almost thirty years.  How I could be so blessed still amazes me!
This man is generous, kind, and loving.  He makes me feel so special every day.  He loves me ALL the time and tells me that I am so important to him and his happiness. 

I certainly am blessed and ever so grateful for these wonderful people who enrich my life beyond measure.

My pets play a big role in making my life full.  They bring us a kind of joy and pleasure that only comes from a four-footed family member.

This tribute to my family is my way of saying "Thank you, God, for such a rich, rewarding life".

Should I go looking for paint brush, paint and paper?


Saturday, October 27, 2012


Since many of us are making hexagon projects, I have been asked several times to show someone how I make mine.  Let me just say up front - - There are many ways to make the hexagons for Grandmother's Flower Garden style projects.  If you have a way that you love, just keep on using it.  This is for those of you who have wanted to do hexies, but were a little intimidated or simply could not figure out how to start.

I like to use a method that requires the least amount of time and gives me the best results.  I am not fond of cutting paper templates, or sewing with paper templates.  I have done some of those in the past.  Once I discovered mylar templates I was off and running to use those for my projects.  I discovered these by reading some one's blog and finding out where she ordered her templates.

When I read about The ScrappyAppleyard Quilt Shoppe and noticed they were located in my home state, I placed my order immediately.  The templates I use are 1" size.  They come packaged with about 80 plates to a package.  Since these are re-usable I only needed 2 packages to give me all the templates I would need to do my Hexagon Star Quilt.  As soon as all six sides were connected to another side, I would remove my template.  This made handling the project easier as it became larger.

I will show you how I make each hexie for this quilt.  I still have a few rounds to go before this is complete.

This is the packaging of the 1" mylar templates that I ordered from The Scrappy Appleyard Quilt Shoppe.

I cut 2.5" squares of the fabrics I am using for the project.  Then I trim off the corners.

Drawing lines and cutting exact shapes of the hexies was not "my cup of tea".

I place the mylar template in the center and secure it with a small applique pin.  The punched hole in the center of the template makes it so easy to pin these on.

I begin folding down at each point around the template and tacking it with a couple stitches.  These stitches are only in the fabric, not going through the mylar.  A couple of stitches at each intersection is sufficient to hold it securely.  At the last intersection I make a finishing knot.

Here is the finish.
After they are completely tacked at all intersections, I remove the little pins from the center of the template.

I will note here that I use any thread that I have because it will never be seen.  It is a good place to use up those spools of thread that have been around for a long time or that are of questionable content.  These are basting stitches that will stay in the quilt.  At least, I don't remove the basting stitches.  So, if you have used rotten thread and in 5 or 10 years it rots out, it will not create a problem because the hexies have been sewn to each other.

Sorry about the quality of this picture.  What I have done is put two hexies together with right sides facing and then I have used a very tiny whip stitch. 
This is the place that the type of thread you use really matters.
I use a very fine thread.  Many quilters use silk thread for this step and so do I sometimes.  However, most of the time I am using a poly thread made by Wonderfil called Invisifil.  It is very fine like silk but not quite as costly.

Most of the time I use a cream or a white thread.  Since it is so fine and my stitches are very small and close together it gives an invisible join from the right side.  The exception to this would be if I were doing something with very dark colors then I would change to a grey or dark taupe.
My needle of choice is a very small sharp in size 11 or 12.  This is the same size needle that I use for hand quilting. 

Notice the very short tail coming off the needle.  I choose to tie a knot at the top of my needle after I thread it so that the thread will not slip out of the needle as I am sewing.
Using very fine thread allows you to tie that knot and it will slide right through the cotton fabric just fine.

Once I have put together several of these hexies and they are attached on all six sides to another hexie.  I use my small scissors and pop the template out of the fabric by putting the point of the scissors in the little hole in the center.

It does not bother me that the fold over isn't exactly the same on all six sides.  As long as it is enough to hold it securely until I can attach the other hexies, I am a happy camper or "hexer".

I hope this has been helpful.  Please send me any question you might have and I will attempt to get you an answer that will keep you "hexing" or that will get you started on this fun technique.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I spent today cutting about 500 three inch squares in lights and darks.

Then I cut some 3.5" strips to make about 200 Half-Square Triangles.

I used my EZ Angle Ruler to cut the half-square triangles.

Here is my basket full of HSTs ready to be pressed.

Tomorrow I will make Split 9-Patch blocks and get started on another Friendship Star Quilt.

This is what Lil Bit did!

She sat in her bed chewing on her Chew Bone with her little "doggy"  toy.

Our day was busy and productive.



What a gorgeous fall morning it is!!  The sun is shining and the air is crisp.  The leaves are starting to turn here in southeast Tennessee and, occasionally, you can smell the aroma associated with leaves burning.  That always reminds me of my childhood.

It has been a week since I last posted because I was having difficulty with my camera settings.  I think I have solved it now with some help from my friend, Ava.  The pictures that follow may not be as crisp as some from earlier posts but, at least, I can now post them.

My sister asked me to make a quilt for her to give her son for a Christmas gift.  I wanted something that was masculine, but not just sports, motorcycles, and race cars.  I went into my stash and started pulling out fabrics to use.  I narrowed it down to a predominance of blues and browns.  Again this quilt will qualify for the category of "Making Do" that I pledged to try this year.  Using fabrics from my stash without making a significant fabric purchase is a real reward in itself.  After completing this quilt, I had hardly made a dent in my blues and browns.  The neutrals are showing some "denting"  so I may have to replenish those as I go along if I want to keep using neutrals for backgrounds.

The pattern I chose is the Friendship Star made from split 9-patch blocks. This layout is similar to the way you would lay out a Log Cabin quilt top.

The neutrals vary from very light to dark light and even some with an orange floral.  There are a couple of  other "ringers" thrown in for interest.  I think putting a few patches of red in the darks and a few patches with pale pink or yellow in the neutrals gives some spark and energy to the overall pattern.

Working scrappy is a challenge for some quilters.  I have tried to encourage my buddies to give it a try.  I firmly commit to the mantra "Value makes the statement in a quilt, but Color gets all the credit".  Scrappy quilts allow you to be free with a color palette and use anything/everything in a color family regardless of its theme or style.  My one hesitation is not to use Batiks and plaids with most other fabrics.  My reason for that is not that they would not work.  They certainly would.  I just like to keep my Batiks as a separate category because en masse they give such a unique look to a quilt.  The same is true for plaids in general.  My personal preference with plaids is to make them a focal fabric and have the background/neutrals play a supporting role.  Just my opinion, you see.

This particular layout has a little modern twist to it.  It is a variation from one of Karen Combs' layouts in her book, "Combing Through Scraps".

The center detail:

The quilt measures 63" x 81".  My sister asked me to make it for him to use on his sofa for TV watching with his girl friend.  I think it will be perfect for that.

I chose to leave it without a border --  this again lends itself to a little more modern approach.  It allows the design to drift off the edges of the quilt.

I am making three more of these quilts for gifts.  I will post more pictures as I finish each quilt.  Choice of fabric certainly changes the look.



Thursday, October 11, 2012


I admire Maya Angelou for many reasons.  Among those reasons is that she can say so much with so few words.

I am trying to internalize her quote above.  Often I find myself saying I don't think I am creative or artistic.  Instead I pride myself on good skills and workmanship.  I consider myself to be a strong teacher/mentor for others wanting to learn the art of quiltmaking.

At this place in my journey I am attempting to step out of my comfort zone and to try some "free wheeling".  It is simply not my nature to let something "just happen".  I would like to find the "creative muse" that lives inside me.  I want a personal relationship with her.

I have been reading a few new books and attempting to learn something about being more creative.  This is my way of getting out of my rut.

Art Quilt Workbook

This is the book that my art quilt guild will be using for its guide this year.  I found a quote that spoke to me  "You must find your personal inspiration and learn how to tap into it.  The most useful skill you can develop as an artist is observation.  Slow down and really look at the world around you.  Look again -- see the relationships between objects, colors, and shapes.  Learning to see is really important." 

I know that I "observe" in generalities and not in particulars.  This will be my challenge.  Observing with no other purpose than observing is difficult for me.  Looking without trying to come up with the method of producing a quilt requires me to stop myself and let the art "talk".

Art + Quilt
This author says  "I firmly believe that  everyone is creative in some way, and that if you have the desire and the willingness to learn, you can become an artist.  There are technical skills in the world of visual art that can be learned, just as we learn to read or do math."

I have the desire and I believe I am willing. 

Fearless Design for Every Quilter

The title of this book is a little daunting, but look at that cover picture.  Does that grab my color senses or what?

The quote from this book that I am latching onto is  "Many people believe that creativity is a magical power limited to those who have a special talent.  Scientific evidence shows us that this is a myth.  Being creative is not a mysterious process understood by only a few.  Rather, it is a process in which anyone can engage and produce new ideas.  The secret is work, trial and error, and learning from mistakes."

I don't do a very good job of sketching and I have not been successful at keeping a sketchbook or a journal.  I am committing to truly trying to practice this technique of creativity.

I am looking forward to the next year of my quilting journey.  I want to practice some trial and error; some pausing and letting my mind rest and relax as I observe my surroundings; and then translating my findings to some form of art quilt.

Come along with me, won't you?



Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Another project in the Simply Needle and Thread group is my Quilter's Playhouse quilt.

This little piece started out as a carry along project for my bi-monthly hand stitching group called TGIF.  That stands for "Thank Goodness It's Finished".  We have such a good time together.  We meet in the afternoon for show and tell, stitching, laughing, and dessert.  I have been with this group for about 10 years now, I think.  There are 9 of us and we rotate our meetings to each other's homes.  Sometimes we are all in attendance and, at other times, some of us are missing because of travel or other commitments.

"Quilter's Playhouse" is a pre-printed panel that reminds me of the blocks from The Quiltmaker's Gift.  Do you remember that book that came out a few years ago?

This is a really cute story.  I bought the book to read to my grandchildren.  It has a good lesson about happiness.
An accompanying book of patterns was published a year or two later.  I do not have that one.  The blocks in this pre-print do not correspond exactly to the blocks in the story.

I think the reason my little quilt reminds me of this book is the primary colors.

I love to hand quilt, but I don't like to have to quilt through the layers of seams.  Maybe that makes me a lazy hand quilter. LOL

 My solution is to look for these cute pre-printed panels and then finish them off as lap or children's quilts.  Here are close up shots of some of the blocks.

My stitches are not the smallest stitches around but I love doing this.  I do not use a hoop or a frame. I am definitely a lap quilter.

Here are a couple of shots of the back of the quilt.

Of course, it must have a label!

This label was done on muslin written with a Pigma Pen.  I did heat set it before applying it to the quilt.  I used a blind hem stitch to attach it.

I guess by now you would like to see the completed quilt.  You thought I had forgotten, didn't you?

One of the drawbacks to using a piece like this is the way the patterns repeat.  In this one they repeat every three blocks.  I found this piece on the sale table and there was only this small amount.  It is still big enough for me to use to watch TV or do more hand work.



Monday, October 8, 2012


I was talking to my friend, Kara, who asked me if I had any tips on how to put together the half circles for the Modern Mystery Quilt.  I promised her I would share some pics on my blog of how I did it.

This is the "field" or background piece.   I folded it in half and creased it.  Then I brought each of the "wing" pieces to the center and creased them.  I have now marked the middle and the quarters of the piece.
Next came the half circles . . .

Take the half circle piece that will be inset into the field/background piece.  In this picture it is the colored dot fabric.
Then fold it in half as shown with the pink piece.  Then I took each edge of the folded piece and folded it back to the center as seen in the purple piece.

You have now marked the center and both quarters of the insert piece.

Here are the two components in their folded state.

When you open up each piece you are able now to match the center and the quarters for pinning.

An extra little tip here.  If you will fold the green piece right sides together and the bring the edges over to the center you will get a valley at the center and two mountains at the quarters.
When folding the field/background piece, make the first fold with WRONG sides together and then bring each edge to the center.
By doing this the center will be a mountain and the two quarters will be valleys.

This makes the two pieces "nest" together better when you start to pin.

See the "nesting" ?

I like to start by pinning the center point, then I go to the edges and pin those two and the last two places I pin are the quarters.

Gently work my way around the rest of the edge without stretching or pulling the edges.  If you are patient and take your time, it will go together with reasonable ease.  There is no need to force the two pieces to fit.

Take it to the sewing machine and sew with the field/background piece on top and stitch slowly and take each pin out as you come to it.

It helps to have a good supervisor on standby. . .

Take it to the iron and press the seam open.  Then the piece will lie flat and be ready to use in your quilt.

This does take a little extra time and effort, but I think it is well worth it.

One other thing that I do as I am chain piecing blocks is to use components from another quilt as a "Leader/Ender".  Bonnie Hunter coined this phrase meaning using components to lead a chain and end a chain.  In doing this you make lots of components for another quilt as you complete the current project.

In this project I was making half-square triangle units for a Split Nine-Patch quilt.

Hope you found this little tutorial helpful.