Various & Sundry 2012 #3

I couldn’t resist posting something fun for Leap Day. We teased The Young Man about girls asking him out today. I wonder if anyone will? He is quite handsome, though I know I am biased.


Back to the task at hand and your regularly scheduled programming: quiltmaking news and info.

Cherry Trees on 19th Ave
Cherry Trees on 19th Ave

Quilt World News

Terri Thayer of Ocean Waves fame has a new serial on her blog called Tales of the Quilt Shop. Been dying for more of Terri’s tales? Tales of the Quilt Shop is a unique 8 month web-based series. A block of the month AND a story of the month all in one package.

There will be a Modern Quilt Showcase at the International Quilt Festival in Houston and the organizers are calling for entries. This is an interesting website as it shows some quilts from the Modern movement’s founders and attempts to define modern quilting. The deadline is March 2, so get busy.

Did you see the new (at least to me!) newsletter? It showed up in my inbox earlier this month. Short, sweet, great photos. Check out SEWN Europe.

Did you hear about QuiltCon? February 21-24, 2013. The first modern quilt conference, sponsored by the Modern Quilt Guild will be held in Austin, Texas. Denyse Schmidt will be the keynote speaker. Janome, Robert Kaufman, Michael Miller and Stash Books are all listed as sponsors. There are events, workshops and lectures, but the information is a little sparse. They, apparently, have a newsletter to provide information as it comes out.

There was an article on February 9, 2012 (a Thursday) in the Contra Costa Times about Alex Anderson called “TV show, books, designs — Livermore quilter has built quilting empire” by Beth Jensen. There are photos of her quilts, her as well as background shots of quilts, etc.

Katie of Katie’s Quilting Corner has a great interview with Kimberly Einmo. I wasn’t very interested, because of the whole pre-cuts thing. I liked it, because Kimberly was very articulate, she shared tips for beginning and experienced quiltmakers alike, talked about her books, her process and generally came across sounding very articulate. Kimberly designs rulers. I love rulers. I don’t have any of her rulers. Katie was very well organized and professional. There are some photos on Kimberly’s site and more on Katie’s site.

Starting in March, Two Accordions will be conducting a monthly Quilt Lab.  What is a Quilt Lab, you ask?  Come and work on projects and get our guidance and help, meet other quilters and textile enthusiasts!  Good and creative times will be had!  Quilt Lab will be held upstairs at University Art on Marconi Ave in Sacramento.

Fee:  $10.00 per Lab Session

Dates:  Sunday, March 4th

Sunday, April 15th

Sunday, May 6th

Sunday, June 3th

Sunday, July 1th

Sunday, August 5th

 Time: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

 Location:  UArt Sacramento North, Marconi Avenue

Bring your project and your sewing machine

   Check out more on their website. Thanks to my SIL for passing this along.


Adrianne of Little Bluebell Blog fame is hosting an ironing board cover sew-a-long. Need an ironing board cover to match your curtains?

I am so happy! I just heard from my quilter that she will be back in March and may be able to quilt some quilts for me. YAY!!! Her husband is in remission and that is the really GREAT news.

There are a lot of different parts of my house that need to be refreshed. I think these storage boxes would help. I need to make one to test the pattern.

Brain Pickings has a series of fairy tale posters posted. The artist has distilled the fairy tales down to a few images and has done a masterful job. The colors are a bit lumpy, but if I think of the longevity of the tales, I guess the colors fit. Thanks to Tanesha of the CraftyGardenMom blog and podcast for the link.

Some very fresh and fun quilts are posted at QuiltStory.

Color Color Color!!! Post at StashBlog.


Katie, of Katie’s Quilting Corner fame, talks about the changes coming to Blogger in March. This blog no longer lives on Blogger, but if you are you might want to listen to her podcast and investigate these changes more thoroughly.

There was an article about art quilts and Physics in Handeye magazine called When Physics and Textiles Collide. Yes, we are everywhere! The article, by Kate Findlay, talks about the beautiful and inspiring patterns and colors generated by the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. She has worked on a series of quilts from these designs since 2008 The article talks a little about working in series, a subject near to my heart, and how she is starting to branch out from the original format of the series. To view more of Kate’s work, please visit She will be exhibiting these works in Reading, Oxford, Henley on Thames, Basingstoke and at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham in 2012 – all dates and times listed on the website.


A librarian colleague of mine was just laid off. Her firm was merged with a much larger DC firm and all of the managers and much of the staff in the local office was laid off. This coincided with the annual ‘check in’ on a list of which we are both members. I took the opportunity to check in with her personally and found out that she has a knitting pattern business and a blog! She has really nice photos on her blog and I aspire to achieve that level of cleanliness in my photos.

Craftsmanship/Good Technique

Weeks Ringle writes “My last bit of advice on this is to not think of craftsmanship as an all or nothing proposition. My first quilt in 1987 had mediocre craftsmanship but but aim was to get a little better with each project.” in her blog post from February 22, 2012. I am not sure what she means, earlier in the post, about aligning seams, but throughout the post she talks about fixing issues as you go along and doing sewing tasks right the first time. I really believe this, in case you hadn’t noticed. I think that good technique is REALLY important, but I also think Weeks says it really well and gently. I just wish I knew what aligning seams meant? She must be referring to something I call by a different name, right?

Gretchen has some great tips about making a group quilt. If you are part of (or leading) a raffle team quilt project, you might want to read her words of wisdom.

Other Artists

I thought I was alone in my quest to bring order to commercial fabrics, but Katie from The Blue Chair posted a quilt that looks like it could fit into my Fabric of the Year series. I haven’t been following the making of this quilt, but am interested to go back and investigate her motivations.

Renewed Jelly Roll Race Progress

Jelly Roll Diamonds
Jelly Roll Diamonds

After cutting what seemed like a zillion diamonds last week, the picture(left) is what resulted. There are a lot of diamonds. As I mentioned, about 158. It would be nice if that left corner was filled  with diamonds as well. I know I can’t have everything, though, and I am not about to sew another Jelly Roll Race top!

DH figured out how many I will need to make a quilt top as well as the layout. YAY! So glad I married someone who can do math. I was thinking of putting the question (whether there is a formula for laying out diamond quilts) to The Young Man’s Geometry teacher, but haven’t yet.

Leftover from Jelly Roll Race strips
Leftover from Jelly Roll Race strips

The only scrap of any size at the end, aside from shards, was the weird wonky shape I show on my cutting mat.

I was ready to move forward and just toss the scraps when it occurred to me that I could piece together the scraps, mosaic quilting style, and make a few more diamonds. I might need them. I might not need them. You never know.  The scraps might just be fun to sew together or I could make some cool do Donation blocks. A little too wild? Look for more on that.

Jelly Roll Diamonds
Jelly Roll Diamonds

Saturday, I flailed around. DH and I went around a few times about the number of rows and columns. His first calculations rendered a verdict of  10 rows by 9 columns (remember that the second and every other row would have 9 rows and 8 columns), which left me with a really long skinny piece, though I wasn’t sure HOW long or HOW skinny, because I hadn’t put sashing on yet. I was also sick (yes, again!) and tried to take it easy. I don’t feel like I really accomplished much on Saturday, but it was required for the process, I think.

Sunday Work
Sunday Work

Sunday went much better. I didn’t have a headache, which was a bonus. The corner is the hardest part to figure out and the fact that I was adding sashing added to the trickiness. I bought a 1.5″ strip cutting die for my Go! cutter and cut 1.5″ strips from the Pure Elements linen I had. Good thing, because I have a lot of it and used up about 1.5 yards so far. Julie of Intrepid Thread will be getting some business from me to replace that fabric. I need it for the A-B-C Challenge.

The photo, left, shows sections of the quilt sewn together. It is going much more smoothly after getting the weird shapes on the right hand side mostly finished. I was sorely tempted just to sew the thing together in long rows across the piece from right to left, but know I would be hating myself midway through, thus the chunks.

Sashing on diamonds
Sashing on diamonds

And for those of you who are curious about the sashing, I put it on to many diamonds at once. Cutting the strips with the Go! Cutter really made my life easier. I cut 5 strips at a time and then sewed as many diamonds as I could to each strip. It isn’t that I can’t cut strips; of course I can. The Go! Cutter just made my life a lot easier.

Once I had strips of sashing, I lined up the first diamond, folding back the sashing to make sure I had placed the diamond low enough on the strip so that the sashing would fill the entire angle.Then I sewed, one after another as close together as possible so I would waste as little background fabric as possible.

[BTW, that is my hideous ironing board cover. If any of you have a store nearby that carries Polder ironing board covers with a grid pattern, leave a comment or let me know. This one I got off Amazon and it is too thick aside from being not my color. I will be your new best friend if we can work out some sort of arrangement for you to get me one.]

Right Corner detail
Right Corner detail

As usual, I wanted to get a lot farther along. I am past the flailing point; I am past the figuring point and now I am just matching seams and rearranging diamonds. I’d like to be done with this project. I will finish it, but I am so ready to move on. No more Jelly Roll Races for me!


Block-a-Long #45: 2 Split Column Rectangles

2 Split Column Rectangles
2 Split Column Rectangles

As I have said many times, there are almost an infinite number of variations that can be created from one block. This is similar to last week’s block.

Again, you probably really only need the sizes to cut to make this block, but I am posting the 2 Columns 2 Split Columns Rectangle directions for your ease.

If you have made blocks or a quilt from these patterns, please post a link in the comments section of the relevant block or on the AQ Block-a-Long Flickr group. I would love to see what you have made.


Jelly Roll Race Background

Jelly Roll Diamonds on Ta Dot Grey
Jelly Roll Diamonds on Ta Dot Grey

I have been hard at work figuring out what to do with the Jelly Roll Race background. I tried the Ta Dot Grey as someone suggested.

I love that fabric, but think it fights with the fabrics in the actual diamonds. Not a good fit.

I don’t have enough of any one pale grey solid to make the sashing and I don’t want to go out and buy more fabric. (really, I just don’t want to go out) Also, grey is very hip and chic right now and I don’t want this quilt to be easily identifiable as being made in 2012. Kind of like 1980s hair. I want to avoid that look.

SherriD's backgrounds
SherriD's backgrounds

SherriD, the ever helpful did some Photoshop magic to show the contrast between chocolate, black and white backgrounds. This is a good example of another way to “make visual decisions visually.” The darker colors do make the diamonds glow a bit. When I saw this rendition, I thought about the black. I pulled out some black from Pat Bravo’s Art Gallery/Pure Elements solids and laid out some diamonds on that to get a better view.

Diamonds on black
Diamonds on black

I wasn’t that excited when I saw the effect.It isn’t horrible or anything, but not the look I am going for.

I decided on white. I am using the Pat Bravo Pure Elements Linen. If you haven’t tried Pat Bravo’s solids, they have a gorgeous hand to them. They feel very silky, but with the stability of cotton. Lovely fabrics.

I cut some 1.5″ strips and worked a bit on sewing them together on Friday. Check back for more details on that process.

Donation Blocks

February Donation Blocks
February Donation Blocks

These are the latest blocks I made from the BAMQG kits the Charity Co-Coordinators put together. I wasn’t able to get kits of all the same colors, but I think these look nice.

Donation Blocks - My Scraps
Donation Blocks - My Scraps

I also cut some 2.5″ squares from scraps of my own as I worked on some other projects. I am trying to cut 2.5″ squares from scraps and fabrics I am working with, so that I can contribute more to the donation effort at BAMQG.

I was able to make 2 blocks from my own scraps. I like the blue.

Creative Prompt #145: Fly

Restaurant in San Francisco

Dixie Chicks album: Fly

Flying nun

The Fly (movie)

A bibliophile of little means is likely to suffer often. Books don’t slip from his hands but fly past him through the air, high as birds, high as prices.
William Lyon Phelps (Read more:

Must fly!

Fly Lady

Definition #1: True flies are insects of the order Diptera (from the Greek di = two, and ptera = wings). They possess a pair of wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax. Apart from secondarily flightless insects (including some flies), the only other order of insects with any form of halteres are the Strepsiptera, and theirs are on the mesothorax, with the flight wings on the metathorax.

tent fly

horse fly

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.
Mary Kay Ash (Read more:

your fly is open

strength training exercise

a pattern run by a receiver in American football

Please post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog, and how your work relates to the other responses.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to post your responses. Are you already a member? I created that spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses. Please join and look at all of the great artwork that people have posted.

Fly River


fly ball

how birds move from place to place

on the fly

house fly


The brand of universal youth fashion culture


high fly ball

Definition #2: (intransitive) To travel through the air, another gas or a vacuum, without being in contact with a grounded surface.

Test Piece

Test Piece
Test Piece

The center of this piece has been on my design wall for a long time. I made it to try and get my head around sewing diamonds together for FOTY 2010. I didn’t feel like I could toss it even though it isn’t my best work.

Eventually, I decided to use it to test my idea for the border on the Original Bullseye. After some thought, I decided not to use my idea for the Original Bullseye, but I decided to try the border on the Test Piece anyway.

I used some fabric that I didn’t really care about for the border. I modified the directions from an old QNM article (hand applique’ was not going to happen on this piece) and went to work. I got surprising results. The surprising part was that I finally became with one mitered corners. I finally understand the ins and outs of creating a mitered corner. I have known, in a theoretical way, how to do it, but this was the first time the process and theory really made sense to my brain and hands together.

This is no masterpiece, but it does prove that quiltmakers can learn something from every piece. I find it somewhat freeing to not care about the overall piece. I have cared about each specific element or technique or process, but not the whole piece. The point of this piece is learning.

And, in that, this piece has value.

Renewed Jelly Roll Race

Jelly Roll Race
Jelly Roll Race

This is the piece that I started with. As you might remember, I wasn’t very happy with it. It doesn’t have enough interest to continue with it as a quilt. Still, I suffered through all of those long seams, so I didn’t want to discard it. And the fabric is nice.

Jelly Roll Diamonds
Jelly Roll Diamonds

Not sure why, but I decided to cut the piece into diamonds. I worked on that over the weekend. I now have about 158 diamonds, which I intend to sash with something and then resew together.

I also was able to use my diamond ruler again. I got good use out of it for FOTY 2010, but since then it has been languishing.

Now that all of the diamonds are cut, my next task is to figure out a sashing color. I want something that will be different enough so that the diamonds don’t bleed into the sashing.  I want them to be distinct.

I won’t be able to achieve that goal completely, but I was thinking white and the portable design wall does a good job showing how that will look. I did a FB poll on my page and on the FB page(are you a member??) and on Twitter. So far, people like the white, but chocolate and black have also been suggested. Not sure I have enough of a chocolate fabric to sew the whole piece together, but I definitely have enough for a test. I also have a nice piece of black from the Pure Elements line that I can try.

Stack of Jelly Roll Diamonds
Stack of Jelly Roll Diamonds

Fabric of the Year 2011 – Update

FOTY 2011 top
FOTY 2011 top

The Fabric of the Year 2011 top, back and binding are finished and ready to be sent to the quilter.

As you may know from my previous post, I ripped out the first inner border (which meant ripping out all of the outer borders as well) and replaced it with a different fabric. The ‘different’ fabric, is a 2002 star fabric from kp kids. I used it a few years ago on Women’s Work #1. The stars suggest the same form as the triangles and the color is the right amount of black to frame the piece.

I also trimmed a bit of the grey Ta Dot from the top and bottom borders. The top and bottom borders didn’t need that much space.

FOTY 2011 before removing diamond border
FOTY 2011 before removing diamond border

You might think I am crazy for doing all that ripping. I really think I need to make visual decisions visually, but sometimes I can’t see the piece as a whole until I get pretty far along the sewing path. I really want to do my best work and in order to do my best work I needed to get rid of that diamond border. I couldn’t get the joins in the strips I was using for the border to match up to my satisfaction. TFQ pointed out that the diamond fabric was printed off grain so the parts of the pattern printed on the fabric was not the same each section of the strip I used. She is right and I didn’t notice it until she articulated it. All I could tell is that I didn’t like the border and I needed to rip it out. So, I ripped it out.

FOTY 2011 back
FOTY 2011 back

I used large pieces to make the back, for once. The two fabrics on the left are Basic Grey and I thought using the large pieces would show off the labels and the portions of letters, which are part of the pattern of the fabric. I was also pleased that I was able to use the last bit of the Belle Fleur fabric. I like that fabric and I am glad I have a piece that I can keep for awhile.

Backs are arduous and I am really glad I was able to focus on using large pieces and getting the back finished.


A-B-C Challenge: Lincoln
A-B-C Challenge: Lincoln

As I mentioned, there is no BAMQG meeting for March. We still have blocks to make. I made K, which you know, and L in now done. M and N are April blocks and I will get going on those soon.

In looking at all of the A-B-C challenge blocks on my design wall, I also decided that I needed another block with the same on point symmetry as the Basement Window block.

I don’t know why this block is called Lincoln, but I chose it for my L block, because of the on point symmetry. I, now, only have two of these kinds of blocks and need at least three, so I’ll have to find another one.

I chose the colors, because in looking at the whole group of blocks, I thought that I needed to use more of that light green-y yellow.

There are 33 pieces in this block, in case you were wondering.

Block-a-Long #44: 2 Columns-2 Split Columns

2 Columns 2 Split Columns #44
2 Columns 2 Split Columns #44

I know people were having fits with last week’s block. I heard about it. Did you make it?

I am cutting you some slack this week. 2 Columns-2 Split Columns is another easy block. It would be really effective in a quilt if you made a bunch of them and turned some vertically and some horizontally, Rail Fence fashion. I am really loving rectangles right now, so look for more.

You probably really only need the sizes to cut to make this block, but I am posting the 2 Columns 2 Split Columns directions anyway.

If you have made blocks or a quilt from these patterns, please post a link in the comments section of the relevant block or on the AQ Block-a-Long Flickr group. I would love to see what you have made.

King’s Crown

King's Crown
King's Crown

There is no BAMQG meeting for March. We still have blocks to make. K and L are March blocks and M and N are April blocks. I have the K block made and am working on L.

I have all the blocks for the A-B-C challenge on the wall and in looking at them, I decided that I needed a block with another strong diagonal line. I want an uneven number (3 is good) for various elements in the blocks – colors, fabrics, different block elements.

I chose King’s Crown for my K block, because of the strong diagonal line. I am pretty pleased with the colors.

New/Old Cutting Table

Cutting Table
Cutting Table

I recently got a cutting table. “Got” isn’t exactly the right word. Commandeered is more like it. 😉

It isn’t new; I re-purposed a microwave cart we have had for years and turned it into a cutting table. I re-purposed it, because DH made it and I can’t bear to give it away. Besides, it is the perfect height for me to cut. Also, my 18″ mat fits very well on it.

It had just been sitting around downstairs gathering odds and ends that don’t otherwise have a home.

Cutting Table 2
Cutting Table 2

One of the things that works for me about this cutting table is that it fits really well into the fabric closet. Sadly we don’t have a large house, so there are times when my workroom becomes a guest room and people sleep there. A cutting table in the middle of the room doesn’t work well in that scenario. I roll the cart into the closet and the guest room is reborn. Vacuuming is easier, too.

I used the opportunity of setting up the cutting table to clear out the fabric closet. The bottom shelves of the cutting table look like a bit of a mess, but it is relatively organized compared to what it was and that stuff is not on the floor of the closet anymore.

I put all the patterns in a box I wasn’t using for anything else and there is another box full of orphan blocks, tests and partially pieced things that are “simmering.”

Cutting Table top
Cutting Table top

The top is almost twice again as large as my former cutting table. TFQ and I were cutting together on the same surface so it is quite large enough. At the moment, it is covered with the accoutrement of various things I have going on.

I have to figure out some way to attach the bag in which I toss schnibbles to the side of the cutting table. It will come.

Having this cutting table means that my space isn’t so open, but I love having a much bigger space to cut, and some more shelves for storage.



Creative Prompt #144: East

East meets West

The Far East

East Coast

Back East

East Bay

Definition: East s a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography. East is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of west and is perpendicular to north and south.

East side of town

Eastern seaboard

East Asia

East of the moon

California State University, East Bay

Middle East

East Bay Regional Parks

East Orange

The Ballad of East and West by Rudyard Kipling

Please post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog, and how your work relates to the other responses.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to post your responses. Are you already a member? I created that spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses. Please join and look at all of the great artwork that people have posted.

Book Review: Liberated Quiltmaking 2

Liberated Quiltmaking IILiberated Quiltmaking II by Gwen Marston

I knew I liked this book when I read “Life is short. Do your own work, have a good time, and be nice to everybody…including yourself” (pg.10). I also liked this book, because she talks about the wheres and whys of the quiltmaking process. Gwen Marston assumes that quiltmakers are intelligent. She says “We can solve our own problems” (pg.11) and “contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to suffer to make a good quilt” (pg.10). I like Gwen Marston’s writing style, the clear directions and the information she packs into this book.

This book is about design; designing your own quilts as in not using a pattern. This book is about what kind of quilts that can provide inspiration, how to use that inspiration to make your own quilts and the steps to get there. This book is about having fun, using good fabric and enjoying yourself.

This is also a technique book which straddles the line between liberated construction and good technique. She says “…that working in the Liberated style doesn’t mean you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater” (pg.12), a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree. Liberated Quiltmaking is a “process rather than a pattern (pg.8)” and not an excuse for poor design or bad technique.

Most of the books talks about process and the vehicle she uses are, for the most part, traditional blocks such as log cabins, baskets and square within a square. Marston shows us some quilts, usually antiques, talks about the liberated fundamentals of that block and then give step-by-step instructions for the liberated version of the block.

Each section that shows how to make the various blocks, and block parts, are well illustrated. Both written and visual steps are shown. In working with these designs and techniques the reader gets the distinct impression that s/he should follow the directions, but adjust as needed to make the piece her/his own. In the star making section, she writes “the cuts are not made exactly from corner to corner” (pg.31). The end result is complex looking, but not difficult.

One block in the process section is from a quilt by a student (Kathy’s Block, pg.39-45) and other sections discuss borders, triangles, recut blocks and medallions. Kathy’s block is a good lesson in making lemonade out of lemons. If you are afraid of sawtooth borders or joining a border round robin, then this book will help you get more comfortable with the concepts. The topics are covered thoroughly and in a way that gives the reader confidence to do what she is teaching. The Medallion with Wild Geese and Squares on Point (pg. 102) in this section is particularly cheerful.

Keeping the above in mind, Gwen writes “As I am writing about a process rather than describing how to make a specific project, it is not my intention to give you the exact measurement to duplicate my quilt. Rather, I am showing you how to figure out how to make your own blocks any size you want (pg.81).” I hope, after reading this book, that my readers will go away with those skills firmly embedded in their head and fear left outside the workroom door.

It may as well be said right up front that a lot of the blocks and units are on the bias. They are on the bias because of the way they are cut or pieced. Sewing slowly and using Mary Ellen’s Best Press will allow you to work with the bias with no trouble.

If you can only buy one quilt book, I would buy this one. The scope for imagination, as Anne of Green Gables would say, is limitless. A quiltmaker could easily spend her life making variations of liberated quilts from this book.

View all my reviews