Monday, February 28, 2011


Aloha and good morning.

I put my little quilt top together.  Isn't it fun?!  It now measures 36 x 48 and I'm contemplating adding a black border.  I think it the black will make the colors pop, and the added size will make it a little more appropriate for a family of growing boys.

I've ordered more of the white on black fabric for the border.  I'm thinking it should be the same size as the strips (4.5" finished) but I might go just a little bit smaller.

The back will be the focus fabric with a pieced stripe in it.   I have two nine-patch blocks left over and a bunch of the brights.  I'm planning on the strip being the same width as those on the front and off center vertically on the back.

The binding is solid black.  The quilting....what do you think about lime green banana leaves, or maybe aqua frothy waves.  I haven't really decided on this one yet.

Noah 2009 at Shaver Lake CA

Tomorrow my boy goes in for surgery.  The plan is to align his clavicle and brace it with metal plates.  This is hardly the first dent on my first boy.  He seems to make a habit of getting hurt.  He's had stitches on his face, and a broken foot, and several concussions.  He's jammed his fingers any number of times.  He always comes back for more.  I don't know how mothers of extreme sportsmen do it.  My boy hardly qualifies for the title, hasn't had nearly as many accidents, and I'm still a wreck.  I don't think I will ever get used to the idea.  If you think of it, say a prayer for Noah and his surgeon...that all goes well, and that healing is just around the corner.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My day off....

I try not to sew, or quilt for customers on the weekend.  I want to make sure that I savor every moment with my boys before they are grown and gone.  I know that day will come, and it is coming sooner rather than later.  However, today my youngest is off playing baseball with his dad; my oldest is in a codeine induced stupor in front of the television watching "That 70's Show" on Netflix; and my middle boy is enjoying time on Halo.  That leaves me with the dogs, the laundry, and my online quilting friends.  You all won!  You are much better company than the laundry or the dogs.

I've got my round robin completed for last month.  (Yes I was a month late.)  Now I have the round robin for next month to do before they swap again.   I have a couple of weeks left to work on it, so I'm giving myself the day off.  Although, I have to tell you that after the last quilt, which was a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors on a black background, this quilt shocked the socks off of me.  Let's just say, "It is Orange."  Orange in a manner that only a UT or OSU fan can pull has some crimson in it too - my Hokie brother might enjoy it.  I think I have to wait a day or two just to get my eyes adjusted to the color.  I think I like it, but need to step back for a day or two.

I'm also contemplating my project box.  I tend to purchase fabric in kitted form rather than as random fat quarters and yardage.  I do the same thing when clothes shopping.  I'll buy a whole outfit rather than a shirt or pair of jeans.  Before I start working on the quilt it lives in an antique box with the rest of the "stash."  This I affectionately think of as my project box.  I want to work on something new.  I want something colorful and lively and not too terribly challenging.  I want a happy escape from the trauma of broken bones and sick kids.


This is the project I think I want to work on.  It is super easy nine patches, pieced strips, and large cuts of focus fabric.  My fabrics are batiks with black and white accents.  My focus fabric is an adorable novelty print with Polynesian children playing in the surf and sand.  Their laughter is contagious and I think, exactly what I need.

I think I could really enjoy some time spent with these kids.  It would be more fun if you were here, but I'll show you pictures of it when I am done.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Goal Achieved!

Hurray! Time to pass this puppy on.

I'm still here

It has been a very emotional week around my house.  I haven't gotten much work done.  I have to tell you, I miss it.  I love those moments when I am "in the zone."  Time flies while my head is down and my thoughts are buzzing about the next step.  I get a huge kick out of sharing those creative moments, or the results of them, with my friends.

DSQ10 Finished Quilt - Front
 Yesterday I managed to finish my DSQ10 quilt.  I think I'm going to name it "Anticipation" in honor of my partner.  In a way DSQ10 is all about creatively waiting - waiting to see who you will be paired up with, waiting for inspiration, waiting to see if they will respond to your postings, waiting to see if they like it, waiting to see what was made for you.  Anticipation seems like the perfect name.  I wonder if she will read this post....

Dear partner - if you are reading this post bells should be going off in your head right now.  You can trust them. 

....I'm back again.  I had great fun making this quilt.  It doesn't quite suit me - I like less sophisticated colors, rainbows and butterflies and smiling children.  This quilt seems dreamier than that - raspberries and apricots on a foggy morning by the river, a place where the edges blur but the flavors do not.

DSQ10 Finished - back

The back is closer to my tastes.  There is more going on here.  Even though the composition is simpler, there is more room for motion to become a factor.

I had planned to use the patterned fabric, one of my favorites from the collection, for the whole back and leave it at that.  Unfortunately, I failed to order enough of it.    Partnering it with the grey didn't work for me - it seemed like an "also ran".  Adding the fluffed circles made me smile.  They seem to be playing a game with each other, bouncing off of the sides, crossing the curly waste land, beating each other to the punch.  I hope it works for my partner too.

I love the way the quilting pattern mimics the curls in the fabric.  That was my plan...but you never know how that is going to work out.  I'm pleased as punch.

My goal today is to finish my leg for this round robin.  I'm already a month late and I have the next leg sitting in a box in the corner waiting for me.

My plan is to complete the large square being formed by these five blocks.  How hard could that be?!  Don't tell me, I don't want to know.

I've got it drawn out...I've started working on the math....I've been putting it off.

It's time to just jump in and get it done.

I'll post a picture to show you how it went....

Have a great day!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh my boy....

Happy Presidents day. I spent most of today happily distracted with my friends in the Creative Quilters Bee. We talked. We ate. We visited a local quilt shop together. Now I'm home and wishing that I could do something to comfort my oldest boy. He broke his collarbone last night.

I hate to sound mean, but I just got his brother back in school. I was just getting used to being home by myself during the day. I love my boy, really I do, I guess I just don't like seeing him hurt.

Maybe I need to use this time to make a quilt for him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Clockwork, Mystery Quilts, & Tall Orders

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  Philippians 1:9-11 NIV

My Mystery Quilt Fabrics

It's Friday again.  It comes around every week, just like clockwork.  Imagine that.

I finished the laundry yesterday, and I have no work due until late next week, so I gave myself the day off.  I've been working on my Mystery Quilt, listening to the radio, and generally laying low.  I have a few more rows to attach to the quilt, then I need to make a decision about the borders.  I'm thinking I will use the focus fabric (Bliss floral) for a wide outer border, but am debating what to do with the inner border and binding.  I'd like to pick up the turquoise, but the funny dots are calling to me too.  I know there is a Bliss fabric like the red dots only in turquoise.  Maybe that is the answer....with a brown border.

FQG 2011 Mystery Quilt

Philippians 1:9 keeps circling through my brain.  No matter how I look at it, it seems backwards to me.  I understand "study so that you will be able to discern." That makes perfect sense.  Isn't that what school is all about?  Most people I know have spent years and years studying just so that they will have the right answer when the occasion arises.  It almost seems like the more years you've spent studying, the more answers you are expected to know - that's why PhDs get paid more.  (Dear Doctor friends and family - that was a joke.) 

Loving to the point of discernment is a very odd thought.  The best that I can figure, it must be a 1 Corinthians 13 sort of love - patient, hopeful, never jealous, etc.  This must be the sort of love that hangs in there for the long haul, the kind that sits back with it's mouth shut and prays.  It's the kind of love that Mary, the mother of Jesus, must of had when she sat back and took in all of the events that surrounded her son's birth, and death.  This isn't the love that buys Hallmark cards and chocolates on February 14th - it knows the depths of your heart because it has plumbed them.  That's a tall order.  I'm so glad Paul prayed for it instead of exhorting us....I've a much better chance of attaining it via God's grace in response to Paul's prayers than I do on my own.  Left to myself it's not happening.

So it's Friday.  Have a fantastic weekend.  It promises to be beautiful in North Texas.  While you are out and about know that I'll be praying for you - that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you will be able to discern what is best.  I'll work on "pure and blameless" next time.

 Be blessed friend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Quilter's Tale

There has to be more...
There came a point in my life when I wanted more.  My boys were all in school during the day.  My husband was at work.  I wanted to do more than laundry.  (I'm still doing laundry...does it ever end?)

I considered going back to work.  I have a wonderful education - a bachelor of arts degree from St. John's College.  I have 11 years of work experience in compensation and benefits billing and research.  I'm even fairly intelligent, most days.  The last time I was gainfully employed was August of 1996.  It was now 2006.  The world was very different.

When I left the corporate world Microsoft was just making it's way into the work place.  PCs were common enough, there was one available to each employee, but they were nothing like they are now.  Windows was the sparkle in someones eye, not the norm.  By 2006 that had all changed....nothing like feeling like a dinosaur at 43.

I wanted something to do, something that would allow the flexibility to be home with my boys when needed, something that had the potential to generate income.  I didn't want to buy a new wardrobe or go back to school.  I am not a salesmen.  I do not schmooze.  I was not going to try and sell products that no body wants to my family and friends.

An idea....
The Dallas Quilt Show happens every March.  It is a great place to go and spend some time, and money, when you've nothing better to do, like quilts, and want to spend time with your Mom...especially if she likes quilts too.

As I wandered around the show that year it dawned on me that there were more people making quilt tops than quilting them.  I'd known that for a while.  It typically took 3 to 6 months to get a top quilted, if you didn't do it yourself.  Mom and I both had drawers with tops in them - ready to quilt and waiting on a quilter.  Maybe I could quilt for people.  How hard could it be?  Really, it looked pretty easy.  I started researching quilting systems at the show. 

For my birthday Gilbert reserved a space for me in a long arm quilting class at Linda's Electric Quilting.  (Owned and operated by Linda Taylor, a leader in the realm of long arm quilting.)  After two days spent learning about thread, machine mechanics, and the physics of loading and quilting a quilt I decided that it was something that I could do.  I took Gilbert back to the shop to have a look and try it out.  He was tutored by Linda herself and was soon sold on the idea....with a twist.  We could do more in less time if we opted for the Statler version.

He was right.  The addition of a computerized drive greatly enhances the process of quilting.  The physical work is minimal.  The learning curve is shortened.  The turn around time significantly improved.  Imagine getting your quilt back before you forget what it looks like.  It could happen...if you have $35,000.  Right.  This was not where my thoughts had started.  Who has that kind of money lying around?  Not me.

Looking back, I'm not sure how it happened.  I know it did.  In May of 2006 I ordered a Statler 30 Preferred Package from Linda's Electric Quilters.  In June of 2006 it was assembled in what had been the boy's play room.  In August of 2006 I quilted my first quilt for a stranger.

Fast forward...
Five years and nearly 600 quilts later I am within spitting distance of paying off my loan.  I am so excited that I can hardly stand it.  I day dream about it on a regular basis.  I want to stand on the roof (no small task when your house is shaped like a castle) and let everyone know that I did this thing.  I think of all of the quilts and all of the people they were intended for and I pray they are happy and healthy and loved.  I think of the new babies, newly weds, high school and college graduates, retirees,...quilters who I've gotten to work with and for and I am amazed that I ever doubted.  Quilters are the best people ever to work for.   I've decided that it is not the work, but the colleagues that make a job pleasant or not.

I want to do something wonderful when the bill is finally paid.  Help me out.  Leave me an idea in the comments.  You never know what I might do.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm not ADD, I'm multi--tasking!

How quickly we get used to new toys...
My sweet husband gave me a new computer for Christmas.  You should see it.  It is like a big flat screen television with a touch screen.  Amazing.  The key board and mouse are wireless.  I can sit across the room and still work on it.  I am really enjoying this thoughtful gift.  However, yesterday it decided that it doesn't want to talk with our network.  It's like a toddler who has decided not to eat.  No matter what I try it won't play nice, sooooo today, I writing on my old computer.  It is very nice, but 4 or 5 years old.  The screen here is fairly big too, but only 1/3 the size of the new one.  And I'm thinking, humph, not the same.  Oh well.  Gilbert will figure it out.  He always does.

Fighting the moody Wednesdays....
It's laundry day again - oh boy - and it's rainy out - and no one is home but me...and the critters.  I've picked the brightest quilt in the queue to work on.

Faux Strings pieced by Oliva Bussey
Don't you love the way the strings escaped into the border!  I didn't notice this until I mounted it on the table.  Oliva - you hit a home run with this one!!

My favorite load...not...
I had to stop quilting and writing for just a minute to move the laundry.  You know how that goes.  And now I'm folding socks and undies and wondering how in the world my family wears their clothes out the way they do.  Really, how do you blow out the seat of your boxers?  And then there is the fact that we are a family of 5 and there are only 4 piles.  What has the 4th boy been wearing under his basketball shorts?  Do I really want to know?!  Do you want me to tell you, if I ever find out?  These are the things that consume my thoughts.

Back to quilting...
For the rest of the day, in between customer quilting, laundry, and taxi service for my boys, I'm going to work on my Mystery Quilt.  Last Saturday I spent the day with 30 or so other quilters from our local guild.  We had all signed up a few months ago and were set up and ready to sew at 8:30 in the morning - a good 30 minutes before the event was scheduled to start.  As the day progressed we were given instructions on what to do with the pieces we had assembled before hand.  By the end of the day we were all fairly close to finishing the central section of our new quilts.

FQG 2011 Mystery Quilt featuring Bliss by Moda

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blue Funks & Smiles

Good morning, I think I am in a blue funk this morning.  I'd like to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over my head.  It wouldn't be that hard, really it wouldn't.  The sun is hiding behind a cloud.  The house is quiet.  No one would ever know.  Problem is, I'm not sleepy.  I'd feel totally ridiculous hiding under the covers waiting for....waiting for what?  Nawww, going back to bed doesn't seem like the thing to do.  Besides, I've got company coming.

In just a little while my friend Sue will be here to finish quilting her custom quilt.  She started it a few weeks ago and only has a little ways to go before she can call it finished.  While she is here we are going to begin working on the raffle quilt for the Frisco Quilt Guild's 2012 drawing.  (Translation - we're going to cut fat quarters.)

I have a few misgivings about our idea.  It is to be a guild effort.  Everyone is to make a themed block or filler blocks to be assembled by the board into a big quilt.  The theme this time is "Around Town"  I know the idea will work, at least as far as construction is concerned.  We did it last year.  The 2011 quilt theme was "Texas" and the quilt is lovely.   (Let me know if you would like tickets.  They will be on sale until May 2011)

2011 Frisco Quilt Guild Raffle Quilt - "Texas Our Texas"

The problem is the new theme.  The Texas quilt is so lovely that I'm afraid that our new theme will be a disappointment.   Now that I stop to consider it I know that I'm wrong.  The new quilt will not disappoint, it will be different.   Different isn't bad,'s different.  The new quilt will be light hearted and fun where this one is bold and proud.  Imagine houses, parks, public buildings, all the activity that goes on and a small town, set against a back ground of sky blue.   I'm  smiling just thinking about the possibilities.

Maybe I should get to work and brush off the blue funk with a smile....

Monday, February 14, 2011


My DSQ10 quilt top is all fluffed and ready to quilt.  I've ordered special thread - King Tut, Sahara Desert - for the job.  It is long staple Egyptian cotton with a great sheen, variegated in tans and pale grey.  I think it will look stellar.  But I have to wait for the post man....again.

In the mean time I thought you might like some hints for fluffing your own raw edge applique.

First off - you want to fluff it BEFORE you quilt.  When the fibers are loose you can easily pull them out from under the quilting stitches.  This way fluffy look will stay even after the quilting is done.  If you try to fluff after you quilt the quilting stitches will get in your way as you fluff, or the edges will get in your way as you quilt.  Either option is frustrating.  Don't go there.  Fluff First!!

You need to clip your curves.  This releases the crosswise fibers and lets you pull them out with a brush.  Clip them perpendicular to the top stitching at 1/4 of an inch intervals starting and finishing right next to the seam.  Be careful NOT to cut the top stitching or the background fabric.

I found it easiest to clip all of my curves before I started fluffing, but it really doesn't matter.  Use sharp scissors and good lighting and you will do fine.

Now you are going to need a few "special" tools - a new firm toothbrush, and a fine mist squirt bottle filled with water.  (I used an old hair spray bottle rinsed out and re purposed.)

Work one block at a time being careful to go at it systematically.  You don't want to miss a block.  I did and it looked very strange next to it's fuzzy brothers.

Lightly mist a block with water.  You want it wet - not dripping.  The water will loosen up the fibers and help you remove the ones that you don't want.

Start brushing, with the toothbrush bristles perpendicular to the fabric, in a circular motion.  Little fibers will easily pull away from the applique and you will start to get a fuzzy look.

The toothbrush bristles will start to fill with these pieces, as will your quilt top, your lap, the floor, your shirt, etc.  You want all of the fibers lying parallel to the top stitching to come out, but only from the loose edge.  If you brush too vigorously you may pull a few fibers from the other side.  If this happens don't worry about it, just stop brushing there.

As you get closer to being finished the fibers will be more difficult to release.  Try turning the bristles of the toothbrush so that they are parallel to the fabric and brush away from the top stitching.  When you are doing it correctly you will feel a little bit of a tug on the bristles - kind of like when you brush your hair.  Sometimes a little extra squirt of water helps too.

Between blocks do your best to clean out the toothbrush.  Using a comb, or other small brush works well for this.

The goal is to get all of your blocks to have a nice fluffy edge.  Be patient.  It takes a little while, but the end results are delicious. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

DSQ10 Top...

 I'm pleased with my work.  I like when that happens.  It doesn't always

I've finished the sewing I needed to do for my DSQ10 swap quilt.

Inspired by the pattern Blissful Day in the Fab/March 2011 issue of Quilt, this mini is made from a charm pack, 3/4 yards of solid fabric and 4 yards of rick rack.  Where the original designers used Bliss (her own fabric line) by Moda on an off white solid, I selected Sunkissed (also by Moda) and a soft grey.  I wish I could show you the inspiration mosaic that helped me choose this line.  I believe it would blend right in.  On the off chance that my partner reads this...too bad...I'm not going to spoil the surprise.

This mini measures 24"x27".  It is about 1/4 the size of the original quilt, Blissful Day.  (56"x61 1/2")

To make this mini:

42 2.5" squares from the charm pack.   Ideally you use one square from each charm.  I chose to make a few substitutions - I didn't see the point of appliqueing grey on grey.

42 3.5" squares from your background fabric.

 4 3.5" wof strips of background fabric and set them aside for your borders.

MAKE a template using something stiff.  I used plastic template material, but a piece of card board would work just as well.  To do this cut a piece of stiff stuff 2.5" square.  Use a compass and draw an arc with a 2.5" radius using a corner of the square as the center of your circle.  Trim the stiff stuff to make a little wedge that looks like the green shape in the picture to the left.

Use the template to trim the 42 2.5" squares.

Put the stack of wedges next to the stack of 3.5" background squares.

Take one wedge and one square, place the wrong side of the wedge on the right side of the square and aline the corners.  Top stitch about 3/8" from the raw edge of the curve.  (If you go slowly, and hold the pieced carefully you don't need to pin)  Make 42.

Arrange as desired in a 6 block by 7 block grid.  I tried to disperse the colors and patterns evenly,  although I don't write it down.  The blocks often get moved in the process of sewing them together.  I like it that way.  If you don't, snap a picture of your final layout with your phone and  refer back to it as you piece the blocks together.

Piece blocks together in rows of 6 using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Piece rows together, being careful to match seams.

Add borders.

Pin rick rack as desired and sew on with matching thread.

To this point the project took the better part of an afternoon.  I was multitasking.  It might go quicker if you give it your full attention.

The next step is to fluff the curved edges....but I'm multitasking again...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy thoughts....

It's snowing out and I don't care, I don't care, I don't care.  It's snowing out and I don't care, my fabric came today!!!

Out side it is North Texas...where the winters are "mild" and most of us don't own coats.  The current temperature is 16 degrees F, and that doesn't include the wind chill.  School is closed again today - the fifth time it has been closed due to the weather in less than a week - in a land where it is almost unheard of to close the schools.  AND I don't care.

Pieced by Kay Moulder

During the break in the weather the mail was delivered.  I got the lovely thread I've been waiting for.  It's called Spring Bud.  I'm using it at this very moment to quilt this quilt.
This quilt belongs to my friend Kay Moulder.  She is making it for her granddaughter who is graduating to a big bed.  Does it get any sweeter than this?  The fabric is bright and cheery and sings "It's Spring Forever!"  I'm quilting it using Spring Bud - a green that is just what you would expect from the name - in Kim Diamond's Simply Paisley design. 

Check out that giant hot pink rick rack!!  Oh yes!!  It's snowing out and I don't care!!!

Sunkissed by Sweetwater for moda

The mail man also delivered my fabric for DSQ10.   Yum!  I can't wait to dive in.

There is no way the winter gloomies are going to get me today.  I'm sun kissed and playing in the spring flowers.

I hope your day is equally cheerful!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy

That was some storm we had: snow and ice and four straight days of closed schools and businesses; rolling black outs; empty shelves at the grocery store; no mail or garbage pick up or deliveries.  I hope you weathered it well. As for myself - I spent it quilting and watching movies on Netflix.

There was one movie in particular that fascinated me. The Agony and the Ecstasy  is a 1965 film staring Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison. In it, Heston plays famed sculptor Michelangelo, and Harrison, Pope Julius II. It is the story of the Sistine Chapel’s beautiful’s beautiful painted ceiling.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the archetypical renaissance man, was initially a sculptor of marble. He spent his youth working with chisels and hammers and stone. In this he excelled. To him the Pope’s request that he paint a ceiling was preposterous. He was a sculptor. The Pope knew that, he knew that. Asking Michelangelo to paint a ceiling was like asking a quilter to design a line of clothing for New York’s fashion week. The medium, the form, the size of the project were all far beyond his demonstrated gifts. And yet....who in the 15th century, could turn down a Pope?

Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
We’ve all been there. We each are gifted with certain talents and education that fit us perfectly for our jobs. It is a blessing to work when the job fits your skills. And yet...there are times when you can’t turn down the task at hand.  You can't run away.  Invariably the job follows you.  One way or the other God gets your attention and turns you back to the task at hand.  Stamping your feet and pitching a hissy fit isn't really a good option.  This scenario leaves you looking stupid, red faced, and childish.  Then you do what you didn't want to do anyway.   If your fit persists, you might even get your head handed to you on a plate, eaten by a whale, or smacked by the proverbial big stick.  Seems to me, it would be best to face it head on, and get to work.  (As if it is every that easy.)

I think that is what the title is all about.  Love takes you to places that you are not naturally inclined to go, it lends to you the power of creation, at which point you have to make a decision.  Agonizing decisions where you fight with yourself and others and eventually give in.  The results?  That's where the ecstasy comes in.

May each of us find our Sistine Chapels.

Monday, February 7, 2011

NOT Watching the Super Bowl....

I don't care much for foot ball.  It is fun to watch a high school team on a Friday night, especially if my boy is playing.  College games can be fun - they remind me of my Dad and fall weekends when I was little.  Professional games - not so much.    It just kills me that these young men, tattooed beyond recognition and paid way more than seems either reasonable or wise for someone their age, are held up as heroes.  In general, I see nothing heroic about them.  I do however enjoy the fellowship and snack food that big games inspire!

So last night while I was NOT watching Super Bowl XLV, and occasionally laughing at the commercials, I was working on a test run of my DQS10 swap mini.  Last weeks snow and ice kept the post from delivering the fabric I ordered, and the thread I need for a few quilt jobs, and the new clothes I ordered from LL Bean, and the new NetFlix movie....sigh....but I do have plenty of scraps.   Yesterday I got some out and played.

I started with a 2.5" Charm pack of "Just Wing It!" by MoMo for Moda.  (Note: This fabric won't be available in stores until April 2011.  I got mine in a gift bag from Moda Bakeshop)  There were 42 2.5" squares, one each with a few repeats of fabric.  These are mostly fun florals and stripes in aqua, coral, plum, and pear.  To these I added white Kona muslin.

From the little charms I cut a 1/4 circle (radius 2.5") From the white muslin Gilbert cut 42 3.5" squares.  I then raw edge appliqued the 1/4 circle about 3/8" from the rounded edge onto the white squares,  lining up the corners.  This gave the appearance of a Drunkard's Path square without the difficulty of piecing tiny round edges.

Next - I sewed the blocks into a grid - randomly placing the colors and clipped the raw edges.  Ruffling the edges with my fingers gave them the nubby look that you see in the picture.

I added a 3.5" white border and then took my top downstairs to fluff it while NOT watching the Super Bowl.

Fluffing, with a brand new tooth brush and a fine mist squirt bottle filled with water took well into half-time.

I fluffed by brushing the curved edges in a circular motion until they began to fray.  Once the job was started, more progress was made by using brush  with it's bristles lying parallel to the quilt top and stroking at right angle to the curve.  Spritzing the edges with a little water helped to loosen threads I wanted to remove.

During the process I learned a few things...

1) Never ever do this job while wearing a black t-shirt.

2) You need to clean the tooth brush every so often by brushing them with your fingers and pulling out the larger bits.

3) The job is rediculously messy...not as messy as the ticker tape down pour at the end of the game...more like washing kleenex with your jeans...and  kind of fun.

4) Dust busters tickle!

 In the end each of the 42 blocks had a nice fuzzy rim to it.

Now I just have to figure out how to quilt it.

PS  The real DSQ10 quilt will have grey rather than white in the background and I've choosen Sun Kissed for the colored bits.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Day 4 of the Big Freeze.  I've lived in Texas for nearly 32 years and I can't remember another time when it stayed so cold for so long.  Everything is covered in ice and snow.  It isn't even the good kind of snow that you can pack and build with.  It's fluffy and laying atop hard ice.

They say it is supposed to warm up....sometime.  I'm sure that by this time next week we will be walking to the mailbox barefoot again.  The sky will be blue and the trees will be starting to don their lacy clothes.  At the moment all is grey and cold, but I know there are daffodils just waiting to show themselves.

On days like today I'm glad that I don't have to travel to get to work.  I'm sitting in my "studio," with fluffy slippers on my feet, looking out at the snow.  I can see four or five inches of it on the trucks window.  The sky is heavy and thick with grey clouds.  (I'm so glad the truck is red - it sticks out in the white landscape.)  Truth is, on days like today I have a hard time.  I've gotten spoiled by the Texas sun, and although I do think the snow is beautiful, I find it a tad oppressive when it lingers.

I need to fight that oppression.  We've met before, and it has often beat me.  For too many years I let it win.  That was a bad plan.  So, today I'm going to think about something daffodils.

I highly recommend going to Flickr and searching for daffodils, or anything else that is bright and sunny.  Spend some time strolling through the tulip fields in Holland, or at a child's birthday party.  Gaze at smile after smile and pretty soon you will find yourself smiling too.  The cold grey day and the depression that it engenders will seem different after a few moments of looking at something else.

Yep, the answer is Daffodils.  I feel better already.  I can almost smell them.

Ooh - and here is my favorite kitty to join in.  Daffodils and kitty purrs.  Does it get any better than that?  I'm good for at least another day now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The New Age of Quilting....part 2...Information

In my pocket, not literally, at least not at the moment, it's being used to stream a Celtic Radio Station, I have a phone.  They call it a "Smart Phone".  It's not any smarter than the phones we used to use - remember the rotary dials and long tangling cords?!  They call it smart because if the user is smart enough to figure out how to ask, the phone is smart enough to do way more than any Princess Phone ever thought of doing.  Essentially, it is a computer in my pocket.  Smaller yes, but not so very different than the computer you might have at home. (The one you are reading this note on.)  Both of these have access to the Internet, a plethora of possibilities.

A new kind of encyclopedia....
For the traditionally minded quilter - that is one who likes paper and pencils and written directions, Quilter's Cache is an incredible recourse.  Marcia Hohn has assembled a collection of directions for quilt blocks of all kinds, and offers them to the public for FREE They are categorized by type, difficulty, size, and name and in some cases have links photos of finished blocks or quilts.   Click on the purple link to check it out - you may become as addicted to the possibilities as I am.

Others of us like to see pictures of a finished product before we dig in.  That is available too.  In recent years the people at Moda fabrics have changed the way we think about quilting.  They've developed a line of pre-cut fabrics that they market under  Moda Bakeshop.  All of the cuts have fun bakery names - Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Turn Overs, Honey Buns, the list goes on.  Along with the cuts they have created a place to find FREE (there's that word again!) ideas and patterns on how to use them.  You can find everything from "Doggie Do-Bags" to Baby Quilts on their site, along with supply lists and directions to make them.  (Don't be put off by their terminology - recipes are patterns, ingredients are supplies etc.)  This is a very sweet place to visit!

A third option is video.  Videos, like the one posted here, have also become very popular.  This one shows you how to make the quintescential half-square triangle, but it is just one of thousands like it.  Quilters are a generous group, they want to share what they have learned.  Their creativity has led them to create these FREE videos and post them so that people all over the world have access to what was once limited by time and place.  You no longer have to have the teacher living in your community.  (This is true of more things than quilting - my "little" brother is a professor for an on-line university and has students all over the globe.)

In gathering information the trick is to use your computer's search engine.  Don't worry, it is safe, you won't catch anything by asking a question.  Be specific in your search and if you find what you are looking for right away try rewording it. 

Let me know if you find anything good!  I'm always up for learning something new.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Planning DSQ10 quilt

I've been stalking my partner on the Internet looking for ideas.  She has been very quiet, which makes my job a tad difficult, but I think I'm finally getting a feel for her.  (Thank you dear for posting some new pictures and an inspiration mosaic.)

My thought is to create a mini version of this quilt from the recent issue of Quilt magazine.  I don't think you can see it in the photo - these drunkard path blocks are raw edge appliqued.  The curved edges are frayed and fuzzy.  The straight edges are sewn into the seams.

I want to make it using a charm pack - maybe one of the ones on the left - and a solid background - not white.  Although, really white might look best with Fresh Flowers if I go that way.  Strawberry Fields and Sunkissed might be stunning with aqua or ash grey.

I need to make a decision soon, order the fabric and get sewing.   I'd love some input...what do you think?

The new age of quilting....

I've been asked to present a program to a local quilt guild about quilting and the Internet.  I'm not a computer geek, more likely I'm a board house wife who has discovered a bevy of friends in the same boat.  The Internet has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

When I was a little girl we had things called encyclopedias.  These were magical books where you could find out anything.  Ten or twenty identical books sat in a row like tin soldiers on the shelf each with tiny gold print on it's spin telling you what might be found inside.  They had glossaries and appendices and annual updates.  The world felt very safe and knowable. 

As I got older I realized that the sum of all knowledge would never fit in such a small set of books.  I discovered the local library.  Here there were more books than I could count - rows upon rows of dusty volumes all categorized, numbered, and catalogued in great cabinets of index cards.  Here there was someone to help me search.  The librarians of my youth seemed to know just about everything.  If they didn't know it, they certainly knew where to find it.

You can't learn everything from a book.   There are somethings that you need to touch and feel, to do on your own before you can understand them.  No one has ever learned to knit without picking up a pair of needles and yarn or to cook without beating a few eggs.  For these things you need a teacher.  My youth was filled with teachers.  Teachers in the public schools showed me how to read and write, they taught me about numbers and science and history.  Teachers at church taught me stories of Jesus and the patriarchs.  Teachers in my home, my blessed parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and brothers taught me things too.  From them I learned about love and live.

Today, some 40 years later, things are a bit different.  There are still books, and libraries, and teachers.  There is still a community of people ready and willing to share what they have learned.  But all of these, books, libraries, and communities, have gotten bigger and...smaller.  There are now galaxies of information available, and billions of voices waiting to instruct and guide me, and they all fit in the pocket of my jeans.  I don't have to be in the same room as my books and teachers, not in the same building, or state, or country, or contenent.  They are all available to me throught the Internet.

I can't tell you how it works.  I haven't a clue.  What's more, I'm not particularly interested in the why of it.  What I can share is what I have discovered there.  I can share the friends I've made around the globe, friends as far away as Luxemburg and Sidney.  I can share the joy that they have shared with me.  Hopefully I can help my quilty friends to open up that little box in my pocket and discover what lies within.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


DSQ10 sounds so ominous, like MI5 or 007.  I imagine that there are some that would equate it with 911.  Truth is it is none of those things.

What is it
DSQ10 is the tenth round of a Doll Quilt Swap.  A game with over 200 participants and 600 members played by a group of people that extend the breadth and length of the globe.  DQS10 is hosted by Flickr and can be found among it's groups at .  The point is to create a small quilt, no smaller than 12x12 and no bigger than 24x24, that will delight it's recipient.  The catch - you are not allowed to talk to or otherwise communicate with the recipient.  This swap is blind. 

The mosaic I made for my partner
 Follow the clues
Players are not totally without resources in their quest.  This flickr group is very active.  You can post questions and pictures converse with the other swappers and members of the group.  Hopefully you get to chat with your partner - you just can't let on that they're your partner.  Participants are required to be active members of the Flickr community.  That means they have to have pictures posted - pictures of their work or work they admire.   They are strongly encouraged to compile a photo mosaic of inspiration for their undisclosed partners.  Additional helps might be links to places they frequent or a blog or some other more personal outlet.  This is where it might be advantageous to have some 007 or MI5 in your background.  If you don't it's no matter.  Quilters are generous and gracious people.  Most love what you make for them because they know what it means to make and present a gift.

The pay off
Quilt made for me in DSQ9 by Mamamary

When all is said and done, when lurking and stalking are finished, designs and fabric choices made it is a joy to sit back and see what happens.  Some players spot their quilts right off.  Maybe it is love at first sight - when that silent bell rings that tells you that something special is happening and you form a connection with what was meant for you all along.  Some players love it all - I think maybe that accounts for most of us.  And some players are totally surprised by what they receive.  I know I was in DSQ9.  I had no idea that the lovely quilt I received was intended for me.  My partner struck a chord that rang deep and true, one that I had no idea existed.

The thrill of receiving the "perfect" quilt is amazing, jaw dropping, leave you speechless thrilling.  However, the joy of hitting the ball out of the park for your partner is even better.  To do that you have to step up to the plate.