TBT: She Had to Have Her Latte

Well, best laid plans. Life, I guess, got in the way of me posting old quilts every Thursday for awhile. I really did intend to do it and here I am again.

She Had to Have Her Latte - 1999
She Had to Have Her Latte – 1999

She Had to Have Her Latte was my favorite quilt for awhile. It looks a little dated now, but I still like it.

She Had to Have Her Latte was one of the first Improv quilts, but done in a different way than people commonly understand Improv quiltmaking today. In this quilt, I cut novelty fabrics into shapes with the primary focus being to showcase the motifs. Other pieces were put in between those focus pieces so the quilt fit together. There was no free cutting or rulerless cutting.

I made this with a friend and we had a whole story around the quilt about a woman who had to have a latte every morning. We discussed why and what it meant. I intended this to be the first in a series of quilts, but they were never made.

9/11 Again

Once again, 9/11 is upon us. It sort of snuck up on me this year. There hasn’t been the hoopla surrounding the event as there was last year. I guess there has been too much other stuff going on.

What Comes Next, 2001-2002
What Comes Next, 2001-2002

What Comes Next hangs in my workroom so I look at it every day. In some ways, it can be construed as an altar, because I do look at it every time I pass by and hope that my wish espoused in this quilt is not too far away. It isn’t just part of the background even after so many years.

Like Down the Drain, this quilt was meant to be and came together relatively quickly and with few problems.

I still remember 9/11. I had an almost 5YO. DH was out of town with our BIL on a vacation. I didn’t even know what had happened, because I don’t listen to the news before I head off to work. My mom called me in a panic telling me to turn on the TV. I didn’t want to and couldn’t imagine why it mattered. I couldn’t imagine something like the actions of 9/11 happening.

What’s worse is what came after. The wars, ISIS, Al-Quaida, the European cities under siege, the huge debt that will crush us all one day. The mess that is the Middle East. I am not saying that those things wouldn’t have happened anyway, but I think a different response was required.

September 11 Quilts

This year is the 15th anniversary of the September 11.

If anyone says September 11, I don’t, first off, think of our YM’s friend’s birthday. I think of those planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the passengers taking over the flight that eventually crashed in the field in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. I think of how quiet the skies were for days after and waking up to a phone call from my mom telling me to turn on the TV. I think of not being able to get hold of DH and taking the YM to pre-school. I think of going to work and having to turn around and go straight home before the train stations closed and the trains stopped running. I remember watching TV for hours with DH and seeing the same images over and over. I think of the years of violence that followed.

As you know, I don’t always write about September 11. This year I am thinking about it particularly because of the violence that I perceive our election cycle is causing.


I made two quilts to do something to mark-commemorate-remember (I don’t really know the right word. Send a message?). The first was done very quickly and sent off to Houston to be displayed in a commemorative display at Quilt Festival and Market.

Fireball is a reaction to all the fire that was shown on TV. It is a woven quilt. I have made a few woven quilts, though not in a while. I cut the strips and wove them together, then quilted over the top of the weaving. The strips were not finished.

What Comes Next, 2011-2012
What Comes Next, 2011-2012

The second quilt is also an art quilt. It took me longer and was my wish/prayer for the future. It is called What Comes Next. clearly my wishes were not acknowledged because the things I wanted to come out of that terrible day were not what came out of it.

This quilt has similarities to my Blood and Oil quilt in some of the shapes and motifs I used. Someday I’d like to use those paper doll motifs again.

#TBT: Early Tarts

I don’t often have something to show for Throwback Thursday. I received a box back from ScanCafe and I found an early photo of the Tarts Come to Tea. It is amazing to see how it has progressed and to realized that the quilt is still in process. Sigh.

Early Tarts Come to Tea
Early Tarts Come to Tea

I started this quilt pretty soon after TFQ and I made She Had to Have Her Latte and I was still thinking that novelty fabrics would be a good idea.

Those novelty fabrics were jettisoned at some point, but some of the elements stayed. Even some of the placement basically, stayed.

I also started out using much darker fabrics.

I do still have that vase, which I like and may make into another applique type quilt.

I am not sure how I feel about these improvisational pieces now. Clearly, I am having trouble finishing the Tarts, despite keeping it on the list.

Throwback Thursday: Playmat (#TBT)

A few weeks ago, Sandi, of Quilt Cabana Patterns, posted a playmat she made. It reminded me of Throwback Thursday (#TBT) and how Quiltin’ Jenny always posts something from her pre-blogging days. I wasn’t very productive in pre-blogging days, but I do have quilts that only show up on Artquiltmaker.com about which I have never written.


The Playmat is one of those quilts.I made this quilt in about 1997 or 1998.

The Playmat was one of the first projects I worked on when I was a new mom. I hadn’t been sewing much, was only marginally connected online (remember this was in the dark ages with no Twitter or podcasts or blogs) via the QuiltNet listserv.

I don’t remember why I decided I needed to make a playmat, but I really used it to lay out on the floor so the Y.M. (previously the Tiny Bubba) could lay on it. Later, he sat on it, but as soon as he started crawling, we used it briefly in the stroller, but he would throw it off and out, which became annoying.

I made this quilt very quickly and used a pillowcase technique to avoid binding it, then quilted it myself.  I notice now that the edge is all bias. Not sure what I was thinking, but the piecing is much more interesting (if the color combo doesn’t hurt your eyes) on point than a straight set.

The back is a nice cute bears in King Arthur garb print. I know I didn’t want to cut it up and I used it for a quilt for Friend Julie‘s younger son as well. I’ll try and add that photo to this post.

I linked up with Jenny over at Quiltin' Jenny
I linked up with Jenny over at Quiltin’ Jenny

Pointillist Palette #4

I don’t really even remember when I finished the last Pointillist Palette quilt. The late 1990s? It had some reproduction fabrics in it by Jinny Beyer, maybe? there are 3 quilts in the series and I think I had planned 6. I don’t know if #5 or #6 will ever be made as the bloom is somewhat off the rose after all of the these, but I am more interested in finishing #4 now that I have found some blocks.

Pointillist Palette #4 Blocks
Pointillist Palette #4 Blocks

Fortunately, the fabrics have held up well and are somewhat timeless.

This quilt in the series is called night and the black and white fabrics in it are supposed to represent that. I took apart a back of #2 or #3 so I could use the fabrics in this quilt. TFQ thought I was insane and I probably was since I didn’t actually finish the quilt…yet.

Vintage Tuesday: Blood & Oil

Blood & Oil: The Peace Quilt, 1990
Blood & Oil: The Peace Quilt, 1990

March was an odd month, as I know I keep saying, so I am pressed for content. As a result, I decided to show some older quilts.

I have a couple of quilts that have to do with war. As a mother of a boy, I am concerned about how easily our recent presidents seem to engage in war. I don’t see my son as expendable.

This quilt was made before the Young Man was even a dream in my eye.

This quilt was made as a gut reaction to the First Gulf War. I was sitting home alone watching CNN’s coverage of bombs falling on Baghdad, Iraq. After living in Austria, I know that people everywhere have moms and jobs they go to and children who need to be taken to music lessons and soccer camps. The type of war we have now does not spare civilians and that is of great concern to me. It is a reaction to war itself – the death, the devastation, the violence and makes no comment on the justification for that particular war or any others. It is also not a judgement of those soldiers who choose the military as their career choice. The military does a lot of good for a lot of people and I applaud those who choose that path.

The background uses a technique by Mary Mashuta called ‘pushed neutrals’. The idea is to use several different fabrics in a similar range of hues to make a background instead of using one fabric for the background. This idea has lodged itself firmly in my brain and sometimes comes out these days as mosaic quilting.

This quilt probably has the most organized and intentional use of mosaic quilting of any I have made. It reminds me that I can use it as a design option. It also reminds me of low volume quilts which are such a craze right now. They use the same idea for the whole quilt rather than just the background.

Although the subject matter is difficult, I think this is one of the best quilts I have ever made. It was shown at the San Francisco Quilters Guild show in 1990, with much controversy. It was on display at the law firm of McKenna & Cuneo, LLP from 1997-2000.

I think I will need to take a better, higher resolution photo of this piece at some point.

Vintage Tuesday: Pink Spider

Pink Spider Looking at the Stars
Pink Spider Looking at the Stars

Periodically, I will find something interesting that is old and post it under the Vintage Tuesday tag. In this case, I am showing you an old quilt of mine. It can’t really be called vintage as it is only 24 years old, but you get the idea.

There are a few things that you should immediately see in this piece. They are:

  • another hexagon quilt – I really have done a few of them
  • not my colors
  • gradated to a certain extent – as much as could be with the colors I was using
  • similar to the EPP stars

Here is the story:

This isn’t my first quilt, but I believe it was the first quilt I actually finished (the Sampler took me awhile, because of the hand quilting). It was finished in 1990.

I did in response to a challenge posed by one of the members of the quilt group of which I was a member at the time. We were all on board and one of the other members went to pick the fabric. It is all machine pieced-NOT paper pieced- and machine quilted as well.

Do you like that binding? I put the binding on by machine and then sewed all those miters down by hand.

It was really a challenge to hang.


Quilts for Sept.11 (2001)

Fireball, 2001
Fireball, 2001

I don’t think I have ever posted about the quilts I made around the events of September 11. I try not to think about the whole situation, because it is just depressing and senseless from so many angles. And the senselessness just seems to continue.

I decided to write about them this year, because my work is good and I still think the message I tried to send is good. I keep one of the quilts on my wall and look at the words and try to remember to walk the walk.

After September 11, Karey Bresenhan called for quilts to be made and sent for the Houston Quilt Market and Festival where they would be displayed 2 months later. Many, many quilts were made and displayed, including my quilt, Fireball.

The exhibit was followed up by a book. Fireball was included in the book. Fireball was successful, in a way (displayed at Houston and included in a book), but it wasn’t the quilt I wanted to make for 9/11. It was an immediate, viseral reaction to the horrifying images shown on TV.

What Comes Next
What Comes Next

What Comes Next is the quilt I wanted to make. What Comes Next has a message that I wanted everyone to hear and see and heed. I wanted politicians to take up the call and act in a way that would truly show the US as a world leader.

It took me much longer to make What Comes Next than the month or so I had to make Fireball. I worked on the beading in the car heading to L.A. I worked on the rubber stamping at my SIL’s house during craft night. It is one of the quilts I have quilted myself. I worked hard on the quilt to send a message of hope and peace and to encourage people to think about what comes next after September 11. Nobody heard or saw or heeded. It just makes me sad.


Update 9/12/2011: Based on my friend Kathy’s post, I have changed the name of this post to include the year, 2001. I want to move past this date. I want 9/11/2001 to become part of the past, which is not to say that we should forget those affected. From Kathy’s post:

“The Elder said the thing that would keep the tragedy alive was the fact that we keep referring to September 11th in the present tense. Every time we say 911 or September 11 without including the date 2001, it continues to work on our psyche as a current event. He said that unless we can collectively place the event firmly in the past it will continue to haunt our todays and true healing would not be possible.”

I do not want this day to haunt my life forever. I want to remember the people with joy, I want to learn from the mistakes we, collectively have made in the quest for justice, and remember the heroes with awe. I want us all to consider What Comes Next and move forward confidently in a positive direction.

Old Project Resurfaces

Cross Stitch Sampler
Cross Stitch Sampler

One of my first serious craft undertakings was cross stitch. Counted cross stitch. I started cross stitching when I escaped to Denmark for a week during a difficult year. I went to visit my Danish sister and her family. Ulla, my Danish sister’s mother, treated me like her long lost daughter. One of the things we did was go to downtown Copenhagen and buy a cross stitch pattern. The pattern I bought, daffodils, was Eva Rosenstand / Clara Waever brand, as is the one above. It was the perfect for a long, cold, snowy winter project. Ulla showed me how to follow the pattern and make perfect stitches.

I finished that daffodil wallhanging and gave it to her. The next time I went to see the family, my little cross stitch was hanging, framed, in a place of honor in her dining room. It made me feel so good.

Cross Stitch Sampler Top/Middle
Cross Stitch Sampler Top/Middle

I bought this pattern years later. I think I bought it in Solvang and it was wildly expensive. I worked diligently on it and was so proud when the border came out perfectly.

Cross Stitch Sampler Top Corner
Cross Stitch Sampler Top Corner

I have never created a quilt border that perfectly. You can tell it is Danish, because of the extra letters from the Danish alphabet. No, I do not speak Danish.

I gave it to my grandmother as a gift fo her birthday. I didn’t have the money to have it framed, which was a shame, because the presentation would have been a lot better. She opened it and before she got the whole thing out of the box, her husband said “WHAT are we going to do with THAT?” I felt so deflated and I never saw the piece again. I worked so hard on it and I was sure that it went to Goodwill in one of the regular purges that my grandmother loves.

Cross Stitch Sampler Bottom
Cross Stitch Sampler Bottom

Last week, my mom gave me a small package wrapped in lime green tissue. I wanted to go to Solvang on the way to or from Long Beach to get another cross stitch pattern from the shop there. It just didn’t get high enough up on the priority list.

When I opened the package I almost cried. My grandmother had sent me back this sampler. She hadn’t gotten rid of it! I was thrilled. I really did a nice job on this project and I am going to get it framed and hang it in a place of honor.

Rebirth of Solids??

The other day I was looking around the web to see if some company made solid charm packs. My mom is making a food quilt and wants to use the Corner Store design from Pretty Little Mini Quilts. I think that design must have another name, because I wasn’t able to find any photos of it by that name. I knew that one of my contacts had a photo so I have used that to show you the design. I have a lot of pattern names to look up!


Anyway, I feel like I have a long history with solids. In my first quilt class, the teacher sent us out to buy fabric. She told us to purchase a light, medium and dark from the same color (I chose blue) and a few other colors to go with it (see the pink, green, purple and muslin above?).

I was pretty overwhelmed when I arrived at the quilt store. Even back in the dark ages, there was a lot of fabric to choose from. The shop I visited had a room, yes an entire ROOM, full of solids. I chose solids for my first project to kind of keep the noise level low. You might notice one print. I went back later and got that print when I felt more confident and decided I kind of liked this quilting thing.

I have used solids on and off since I made the above sampler, but have never done a whole project with solids again. TFQ and I did an exchange where we would send each other a block. I made blocks in solids and she made blocks in tone on tones. This exchange was a good learning experience for me, because I learned how to use tone-on-tones and could compare the interest level in a block made with tone-on-tones versus one made with solids.

The fresh modern quilts seem to rely on, at least, some solids.

City Quilts Book
City Quilts Book

Cherri House (don’t you love that name?) has also come out with a book on using solids and their blog is filled with glowing quilts using solids. The Stash blog reviews it here. I need to reserve that book at the library and take a look. Pat Sloan interviewed Cherri House on one of her Toginet Radio shows

In my search, I found that Kona, which came out with a zillion solids a few years ago does have charm packs of their solids. They actually say on their website that they have 221 solid colors. I recently heard about Bella Solids from Moda (love the aqua, green and jade, BTW). P.S. I quilt mentions the Bella Solids, so they are definitely out there.

I think visiting the Amish Exhibit really put solids back on my mind. They had been rattling around in the back because of the Fresh Modern quilts, but now they are firmly ensconced. As I mentioned, those quilts glow. I haven’t decided whether I want to make a whole quilt with solids, but I think I would like to get them back into my repertoire. I did use one solid in one of the teacher pillows as a border. That is a start. I need to practice so I can make solid quilts that glow. I have a large piece of Kona Snow and, perhaps, that is a good place to start.

I am thrilled that solids are out there again; that people are paying attention to solids again. I like having a wide variety of colors, and the subtle variations, to choose from. I’d love to have 5 yard cuts of each of the Bella and Kona solids. Wouldn’t it be great to have that many colors to choose from? Of course, I would need a fabric HOUSE to deal with all of those cuts.

What is going on? What is it with solids all of sudden? Everything old is new again? I am interested to see where this is all going and what people will do with the solids.

Welcome Back, Solids!