Saturday, October 26, 2013

Roygbiv- Bloggers Quilt Festival

I have to admit, I had no clue what the acronym ROYGBIV was four months ago!  I sent a picture to my daughter asking if my placement was right.  When I receive a text 'ROYGBIV', I thought she has lost her mind!  After a 'Gee, Mom' (not quite that sappy), she explained it to me!  Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet - well who would of thought!  Isn't it nice to learn something new?  

Now that that is out of the way, lets talk quilts!

I decided to enter this quilt in the Bloggers Quilt Festival.  This is my first year participating and the first time I have ever enter one of my anything.  Its a big step for me.  Not to mention exciting!  Exciting to share, exciting to enter and really exciting to see all the beautiful entries and blogs!  

Thinking 'outside the box' is always a goal of mine when designing quilts.  This quilt became just that, along with a huge burst of 'look at me' color!
48" x 68"
I named this quilt 'Outside The Paint Box'.  Which I think fits perfectly in the ROYGBIV category!

I started this quilt months ago with a very loose concept in mind.  I tend to do that a lot.  I fly by the seat of my pants!  This was kind of a three part quilt.  Part one began with a block idea.  Neutral background with 1/4" stripes in varying color tones.  I really love how they turned out.

Part two was deciding how to layout and arrange the bright solids.  Once the whole ROYGBIV was figured out, I thought the solid panels needed a little boost of something.  By adding the randomly placed squares, along with staggering the panels this part came together rather easily!

The last part was the left side of the quilt.  I wanted a neutral background, but knew it needed a little extra boost.  Which brought me to the stripe!  Since this was all about 'thnking outside the box', I flipped the yellow panel to create some crazy visual interest!

This is the back.  Rarely do I choose a solid backing and this was no exception!  It called for it even before I finished.

I decided to use two different quilting designs.  One side is an abstract box and the other is a broken-line. 

This one makes me want to do it all over again!  Maybe one day I will too!  Thank you for stopping by! 

Voting starts November 1-7th.  I would love your vote!  If you have a moment, 
click this LINK to cast a vote! 
My quilt just happens to be #18...

Linky Schedule
October 25-31:  Nominate for Viewer's Choice
November 1-7:  Vote for favorites in each category
November 8:     Winners announced  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Baby Lock - Melody

I think I need this.  Really need this.  Oh,  Baby Lock

Lately, I have become paranoid.  What if my handy dandy machine gets sick, goes on vacation or runs off with the Hoover?!  Then what would I do?  I'm not saying it will happen, she's pretty darn loyal.  

But just in case...I could really use a back-up machine!  Everyone needs a spare, right?!  I've heard good things about this machine and I would be more than willing to give it a go, kick its wheels, check its teeth!

Amy at Amy's Creative Side is having a giveaway!  Baby Lock is donating their new machine 'Melody' to one lucky, lucky person!


I am so excited to be entering a quilt in the Bloggers Quilt Festival for the first time ever!  Looking at all the beautiful quilts makes me drool a little and catch my breath.    

I've decided to enter my 'City Sunset' quilt in the Art Quilt category.  I have recently blogged about this beauty here, so let's recap!

This quilt was a labor of love!  Love of improv, love of hand dyed fabrics, love of color and love of quilting!  My daughter, Britt and I hand dyed these fabrics in our basement.  I knew it was time to use some of those beautiful stacks of freshly dyed fabrics and so I did...    

'City Sunset'.  I should explain the name.  I see a sunset in these colors (others see sherbet!). With the tiny bits of gray, I see sidewalks and roads in the city.  Its a stretch I know, but it fits.

This quilt measures 49" x 62".  It sat around for a few weeks until I came up with a quilting plan.  Sometimes that is the hardest part.  I ended up machine quilting a crazy wonky design.  

I'm not sure how to describe my process.  I get an idea and go with it.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't!  For me, this works.  Its fun to let go and be free.  Like the 70's!

I am excited to meet lots of new quilting friends and would love to hear from you!  Thank you for stopping by! 

Voting starts November 1-7th.  I would love your vote!  If you have a moment, 
click this LINK to cast a vote! 
My quilt is #11...

Linky Schedule
October 25-31:  Nominate for Viewer's Choice
November 1-7:  Vote for favorites in each category
November 8:     Winners announced

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I love to see finished projects.  Its fun to see someones process.   The work, the time and then the final finished piece.

Which leads me to that PURPLE Knitting Needle Roll!  I finished it last night!  Yeah!  

This one measures 15" W x 15 1/4" H.  It has 15 needle slots, lightweight interfacing, double layer for the pocket, a tie to roll it up and edge stitched for a lovely finished look.

I don't know how to knit.  I wanted to learn a couple years ago and went so far as to buy needles.  But I couldn't figure it out.  Maybe I need to take a Craftsy class for that!

I don't think this should be limited to just knitting needles!  Why not paint brushes?  Or art supplies?  Maybe even pixie sticks!  The only limit to its many uses will be your imagination.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Purple Improv Knitting Needle Roll

When I was asked if I could make a knitting needle roll-up for a Christmas gift, I said 'of course'.  Purple was the color scheme of choice.  I set off pulling all the purple fabric I could find in my stash. 

Purple does not exist in my stash much at all, and what I do ain't pretty!  


I love a good purple.  Just not in a print it seems.  Not one single print would work.  Okay, lets use solids!  I have those!  Light, medium, dark.  A beautiful egg plant purple was picked.  Wait!  I can't just make a purple one...that would be boring...I can do something better!

So, today I jumped in with my box of scraps, my cutting mat, my rotary cutter and my imagination.  Just don't think about it, just do it!  My favorite way to work!  

I found just enough in the scrap box to get the job done. 

And I was off!  (sewing, I mean!)

 I cut.  I sewed.  I ironed.  Repeat.

When I finished the panel, I was happy.  
Its still purple.  But it has a personality now! 
Purple is not boring.

All the tiny scraps from cutting adds up fast.  

My fingers were crossed.  Would this be too 'out there'?  I mean, I love it.  After sending some pictures, the answer was...Perfect!  Big breath let out, wiped my brow and now I can finish it! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Paper Piecing - Hummingbird Block, (aka Periwinkle Star)

I like to think of myself as a Modern Quilter.  Being a modern quilter is subjective.  The Modern Quilt Guild gives a great description of what Modern Quilting is about.  We each have our thoughts, twists and turns on Modern.  

That being said, every once in a while I love to 'go back' in time!  Try something traditional, use fabric I don't normally use or learn a new technique.  I have always wanted to try paper piecing.  Having seen so many gorgeous blocks lately, it only fueled my curiosity.  

Paper piecing, foundation piecing or flip and stitch is a traditional method that has been on rise lately.  Fabrics are sewn to a foundation, either temporary or permanent creating perfect blocks every time. 

I was asked if I could make a couple pillows using a Periwinkle Star block.  After looking at the picture and with the help of Google, I decided this was the perfect time to stretch myself.  Jump in.  Go for it.  This block appeared to be the perfect start of my paper piecing adventure.  I watched a video...I could do it!  Well, I likely would have figured it out after many, many attempts.  It wasn't exactly detailed or easy to follow.

Hummingbird Block (aka Periwinkle Star)
When I saw that Rita from Red Pepper Quilts had just written a tutorial for the exact block, I was jumping up and down with relief and excitement!  I downloaded the template and soaked up the tutorial information.  The Hummingbird block and Periwinkle Star are one and the same.  Good for me and my new found paper piecing confidence! 

I began the process by printing the template and trying a couple test pieces.  

Make sure you print the template at 100%!  I didn't for my test pieces and I ended up with blocks that were 1/2" smaller.   

Knowing that I was going to be using a variety of feedsack prints, I paired those with a good selection of coordinating solids all surrounded by a bright white.  

I pieced the first part and was so pleased with the results!  Its time consuming, but there is something very rewarding about the entire process!

Perfect Seams!

Another good thing to remember:  when sewing your fabric on to the paper, use small stitches.  It really makes removing the paper so much easier.  

When done correctly, this is what your seams look like.  I seriously never thought I could make cute 'little squares' like that!  

I ended up quilting 1/4" on the inside of the white.  I was provided a picture of a vintage quilt, and wanted to stay as close to the original as I could.

I made two 18" x 18" pillow covers with a classic envelope closure.  Because the blocks were going to be 5" when finished, I added a 2" border around the center panel.  I think they turned out great.  I think they will be well loved when they make it to their new home.  

I love these pillows.  I can't wait to make this block again or even try something else!  I need to start looking for my next project in paper piecing.  I think I am kinda addicted now! Learning to paper piece isn't so bad.  I would highly recommend finding a great tutorial (like the one above) if you are new to the process like I am.  It totally save me and covered every single detail from start to finish.  

Paper Piecing.  Using a block drawn or printed and sewn on paper 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sew Mama Sew: A Sewing Machine Review!

I have been following Sew Mama Sew for years and years!  There have been plenty of times when I needed find inspiration, figure out a process or gather information.  SMS blog is a great place for all of that.

They put out a request for sewing machine reviews.  What a great idea!  I thought I would give my two-cents worth.  Buying a sewing machine can be daunting and honestly, it's a huge investment.  I hope my review helps with the 'big' decision.

This is my machine: a Janome Memory Craft 6600.  My weapon of choice.  The best sewing machine ever!

 Janome Memory Craft 6600

These are a list of questions put together by Sew Mama Sew in hopes of making it easier to decide which machine may be right for you.  Let's begin!

What brand and model do you have?
I have a Janome Memory Craft 6600.
How long have you had it?
I have had my machine for 6 years.  I purchased it in 2007.
How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
Back in 2007, it cost $1400.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
My love is quilting, but I sew everything on this machine.  It can handle it.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
The past couple years I have been sewing practically every day!  There is no rest for the weary!  The only break would be those 'yearly' checkups.  (Because I use it all the time, I decided twice a year would be a good idea.)

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I honestly LOVE my machine!  It was the best investment I have ever made!  I had just become addicted to quilting when I purchased this machine. I have no name for my machine.
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
There are tons of features on this machine--way more than I thought I’d use.  When I bought this machine, I knew it was an investment.  I decided to go with a machine that was more than I needed at the time.  Something I could grow into.  
My favorite features are:  
  • AcuFeed System:  Talk about making quilting easy!  I machine quilt all my quilts… this feature makes it so easy. It’s a dual-feed system that’s built into the foot, so I don’t have to change out my usual piecing foot for a walking foot. I can just engage it when I need it.
  • Automatic thread cutter, needle threader, extension table, large throat, speed control, needle up/down button, snap-on presser feet, fast bobbin winder (with two spool pins so I don’t have to , and so much more.
  • This machine also has knee lift, start & stop feature and tons of decorative stitches.   

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
The only thing that drives me nuts is the quilting guide bar!  It doesn't stay put.  When I use it I usually have to tape it in place and hope it stays.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I highly recommend this machine.  It can keep up, it’s a work horse!  Everything you need is on this machine, and more.  It has exceeded my expectations.  Even after all these years, I'm still discovering new features that I can use!

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
  • Price: what is your budget?  
  • Use: how often will you be using it, and is the machine sturdy enough to withstand that level of use?
  • Features: what features do you need now based on what you like to sew? What might you want to sew in the future, and what features will you need then? Make sure you won’t outgrow your machine in a few years.

Do you have a dream machine?
This is my dream machine!  I do have a dream of having a 'back-up' machine though.  I shudder to think of a day without sewing!

It also doubles as a bulletin board!

I went back to work after six months of being unemployed just so I could buy a sewing machine.  My husband is a research fanatic!  He did all the leg work for me, I just had to go along for the ride!  

A few important reminders:
You should take your machine in for cleaning/service/check-up once a year.  In between service, clean inside the needle plate.  It’s amazing how much lint accumulates!  

I was having sewing machine demons a couple months ago!  My machine would keep sewing after I took my foot off the foot pedal or it wouldn't sew at all when I pressed the foot pedal.  Aggravating, irritating and perplexing!  I was ready to take it in, when we decided to take the foot pedal apart.  Maybe there was an obvious problem inside?  Turns out that over time, it can collect lint too!  The build up was interfering with the contacts and interfering with the connection.  Problem solved and a great piece of info to have.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Its always a great feeling to finish a quilt!  The planning, pieceing, doubts and (sometimes) aggravation are all behind you.  All that is magically erased.  Forgotten.  And there it is...all done!

'CITY SUNSET' may be the quilt I am most proud of, most in love with.  For me, improv quilting is a gamble.  You are taking a risk, betting that that idea in your head can be executed with fabric.  Quilting without a pattern is intoxicating, energizing and exhilarating!  You never know what you will end up with and can lead to some pretty amazing and bold designs.

49" x 62"
I named this one CITY SUNSET.  I added random pieces of gray throughout that ended up reminding me of sidewalks, streets, concrete.    

The hand dyed fabrics were the perfect choice for this one.  Adding a few Shibori pieces throughout created a some more visual interest.

Using several different colors of thread, I machine quilted a geometric design.  Determining how to quilt it was the hardest part, I think!  I was scared to death about this step!

How do you decide what quilting design you will do?  Will you machine quilt, free-motion quilt or long-arm quilt it?  If you are like me, you haven't mastered the FMQ technique (that is another post!)  I keep saying that one day I will. 

I couldn't wait to wash this one!  I love seeing the final piece after it has been washed and dried.  Maybe the rumpled, crumpled, crinkle look from drying is what makes you feel like it's complete, it does for me.

I have to say, I love a pieced back.  I used four different solids, added a few curved lines and there you have it!    

I'm thinking that I'm happy with this final quilt.  Happy how it came together, happy the 'vision' in my head was translated to a quilt, and happy its finished!

Now on to the next one....

Saturday, October 12, 2013

First Week Of Blogging!

One week of blogging complete!  Initially I thought if I do one blog post a week, I'd be doing good! This is my 6th...I think I'm having fun.  

In the coming weeks I hope to gain more followers, have a give-a-way or two, add tutorials, share more of my style, and hopefully make a splash in the quilting world.    

Nashville Zoo
A little taste of my trip to the zoo yesterday!  Isn't that a gorgeous blue?!

Thank you everyone who has stopped by this week.  I hope you continue to pop in.  And I hope I can keep you wanting to come back!

Quilting Time

My latest Improv quilt.  Its been a work-in-progress since the beginning of September.  I have had it pinned and ready to quilt for weeks, but I couldn't decided on how I wanted to quilt it.  

I love Improv.  Its such a blast to start with an idea and see where it takes you.  It gives me freedom and lets my creative 'artsy' side take over.  

This quilt was an idea that turned out so much better than expected!  I wasn't sure if what I saw in my head would make it to the design wall.  

One of my favorite things about this quilt is all the colors are hand dyed fabrics!  (except the gray and white).  My daughter is a Fiber Major and has been sharing her education with me!  We get some pretty amazing colors.  This was the first BIG project where I used all hand dyed.  They are all so pretty that I hate to cut them up - now that is a WIP right there!

I started with a variety of yellows and gradually added peachy/oranges.  Ending with lots of delicious pinks!  The gradation of the colors came together nicely.  The shades melt together  and actually resemble the idea I had in the beginning.

I'm nearly finished with the quilting.  I decided to go with an all over geometric design.  I think once its washed and the crinkle goodness will be perfect!  I can't wait to see and share it!

This little creature is Mary.  She loves to make sure you haven't forgotten her during any quilting project!  And for the record, this quilt is not for you little Mary Christmas!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Surprise Package!

Have you ever had one of those days where you cannot get motivated?  Your fourth or fifth cup of coffee hasn't kicked in (and never did)?  Welcome to my Wednesday!  

We have to remember that every day cannot be as productive as the last, its okay when it isn't.  Taking a break can be the best motivation and recharge you.

That being said:  SURPRISES can make any day a better day!  My daughter Britt, was in Cincinnati last week and squeezed in a trip to Ikea.  

A sweet bounty!  Check out the dog rear-end!  In my favorite color no less!  I will have to find a special place for that.

I happen to love these napkins and napkin holder!  They will make a bright addition to the dining room table.  Have you ever gotten cool napkins and never used them because you don't want to 'waste' them?  Me.  I'm sure if I mention that to Britt she will promptly take one and wipe her mouth on it proving to me that they are just napkins.

And now to the fabric.  The icing on the cake.  The piece de resistance.  

I love this one.  I love the line drawings.  Splashes of color.  All together it makes for a very interesting piece and I am sure one day it will become something spectacular!  

I kind of went 'ga-ga' over this one!  Its a home dec fabric with great color and design.  My first thought was that I have to make a bag from this.  My second thought was I can't make a bag out of this.

I am not a confident purse/bag/tote maker.  I would like to be.  I think I could be.  But I am not right now.  And then, what kind would I make?  I get overwhelmed looking and usually end up giving up!  If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  I would even let you make it for me!  

I was happy yesterday looking at all these treasures.  Happy that my daughter made my day better with a seemingly small act of kindness!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pantone Spring 2014

I have always been drawn to color.  Rich, bright, bold.  When I saw Pantones Spring 2014 colors here:, I thought 'ME'!  

Either I'm more in tune with fashion than I thought, or I just use a lot of color.  If you knew me, you know I just use a lot of color!!

I decided to check my stash and see if I am following the trend.  This is what I came up with.  My conclusion is this:  Close but no cigar!  My colors tend to be more vibrant and bright.  

I'm not as hip as I thought!  

Trend.   A general direction in which something is developing or changing.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My First Quilt

Do you remember your first?  For me, it's the one that hooked me!    

My First Quilt

This one isn't perfect at all.  (I'm almost ashamed to show it.)  Who knew piecing squares could be so hard?  Or that 1/4" seams would matter?  Or a good machine makes a difference? 

Fabric.  That certainly is another topic.  I picked anything and everything!  Lesson learned.

I learned a lot from this quilt.  Even with its many imperfections, it will always be special to me, because it was my first.  

Kicking and screaming doesn't help.  Thankfully I had a great teacher--my daughter Britt.  Her patience with a reluctant student (let alone that it was her mother) was amazing.  She likes to push me, knowing full well I can do something and that I will love it.

Firsts.  The first occurrence of something notable.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I am happy to announce my newest adventure: blogging!  I have thought about it for a long time, wondering if it was something I could do and scared to death to try--maybe that's why I put it off for so long.  There are some awesome, well written blogs out there with great content.   For now, my goal is to take small steps and see where it leads.    

My love for quilting started in 2005.  My daughter (whom you will hear about often) introduced me to it.  I kicked and screamed the entire way, finally giving in.  She told me I would love it.  She was right!  I have learned so much since then.  I learned I'm addicted to quilting, fabric, color, and learning new skills.  My style has change a lot through the years.  I enjoy all styles of quilting, but modern is what I love! 

I hope you stick with me and come back often to see my progress.  If you have any blogging advice, I'm all ears.  Any comments or questions are welcome, and I'd love to check out your blog too!