Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Monday

22" x 22"

The theme for this month's Island Batik Ambassador quilt is Adventuresome Applique.

 I think this piece definitely conveys my adventuresome spirit.  I have ridden my bike in the PA, DE, VA, NY, Utah, Florida, PEI, Spain, France, etc, etc.  It's a great feeling to have the wind blow in my face and smell the countryside.  My favorite thing to do on my bike is to ride over a bridge or take it on a ferry.  And the tired feeling that you have after being on the bike all day is empowering.

For 2 months in Key West, I try to get on my bike every day with my favorite companion, Bailey.  You'll have to excuse her fur color change.  She would have blended into the background if I hadn't taken a little artistic license.  And if I'm not on my bicycle, I'm at my sewing machine.

I originally made this quilt for my quilt guild's anniversary with a theme of what does our guild mean to you.  There was a designated size and fabric to be used as the background. Since joining this guild about 20 years ago, I went from an eager novice quilter to someone that travels the country teaching and sharing my quilts and techniques.  
So when I needed my adventuresome applique quilt  using Island Batik fabrics, I knew I had to make it again!  It was fun and easy and I'll share my quilt as you applique technique.

1.  Layer the background, batting and backing fabric and quilt.  I used linear organic quilting with Superior Threads, Fantastico, a variegated polyester thread.  I like a bit of shine.

2.  I used my original drawing to create the fusible appliques from the Island Batik fabrics.  Since you end up with a mirror image, I flipped it over and used the wrong side to create the appliques.

3.  I then placed a piece of parchment paper over the drawing, positioned the appliques and pressed. This forms an entire bicycle.

4.  I repeated the process for the letters.

5.  I placed all the appliques on the quilted background fabric, making sure I was pleased with the placement and pressed all the appliques in place. 

6.  I used a straight stitch with a free motion foot and lowering the feed dogs to stitch around all the appliques.  (Securing the appliques in this way also acts like quilting.)

7.  I also stitched the binding on by machine.

 What a fun project! And it looks great in batiks.

Monday, April 17, 2017

It's Monday

I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my communication with people who are interested in what I do and to grow my audience.  Recently, I was reading an article about how to have an unsuccessful blog.  Who would want to spend all that time writing a blog post, thinking about interesting content and moving the photos into the right spot for uploading if they wanted to be unsuccessful? It sounds silly, but I guess the title was to grab your attention, and it grabbed mine.  I felt pretty good reading the article.  The tip that would make me an unsuccessful blogger is that my posts are erratic.

The other day, this message was brought home to me.  My husband is not really into much soial media, but the other day hes mentioned that he was looking forward to someone's blog that he reads every Friday.  That surprised me, but it showed me that people do indeed look for certain blog posts on certain days of the week.

So starting with this post, I am committing to blog every Monday, thus the name "It's Monday".  Now that I have a monthly newsletter and post frequently on Instagram, a weekly post seems just the right frequency to blog.

This is my quilt that I created with a new line of fabric from Riley Blake, designed by Betz White called Juxtaposey.  The llamas caught my eye, and I have a certain DIL that loves llamas.  I named the quilt " Llama Kisses" and I constructed it with Curvalicious both to make the blocks and to create the scalloped border.

I started out with a plan to make a 9 patch.

I wasn't happy with how it looked so I eliminated a bunch of blocks and made it into a 4 patch.

It looked a little plain to me.  Curvalicious to the rescue to create a scalloped border.  I find that it's easier to attach  the binding to the border after it is quilted and before trimming.  

The first step is to mark the border.  Any pen will work because it will end up being the cutting line.  I  like to use one that I can see easily.  

To form the corner curve, use a circular template, like a plate or plastic templates in one corner. 

Copy it onto a piece of parchment paper and use it to create identical curves in each of the other 3 corners.

Since I had a limited amount of fabric for the binding, I had to use straight grain binding, even though I would have preferred bias binding. I make double fold French binding.   I lined up the raw edges of the binding with the line I drew using Curvalicious.  The good news is that since the curve was so gentle, straight grain worked just fine.  After stitching, trim along the marked line being careful not to cut into the quilt and then turn the binding to the back and stitch it down.
I do have a video on YouTube that demonstrates using Curvalicious for binding. 
 Click this LINK to be redirected.

And I created the backing to use up the extra fabric.

 What a sweet little quilt and it looks like Spring is finally here! Check your local quilt shop for Juxtaposey and maybe you'll make Llama Kisses.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Island Batik Furry Friday

Don't check your calendar! I'm pretending it's Friday, but I know it's not.  This was supposed to be posted on Friday, but pattern writing got in the way.

Island Batik and Aurifil Threads are a big supporter along with The Quilt Pattern Magazine of The Small Kennel Quilt Project.  In February, as an IB Ambassador, I created 2 kennel quilts using their beautiful batiks for this project.  Do you remember this cute photo of Bailey, hoping her compatriots get a forever home?
There are two featured pets this month that really do need a forever home.  

Just 4 months old, adorable shepherd mix Gracey is waiting to meet you at the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley in Knoxville.
Image may contain: dog
This elegant young tuxedo girl at Okefenokee Humane Society in  Waycross, GA, is ready to bring her sophisticated style to a special home.
Image may contain: cat and text

And remember, even if you don't want to bring a pet into your home or even another pet, you can always make some small kennel quilts for a shelter or even donate food or some time.  For instructions, visit

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Make Your Own Postcards

There are so many apps available that can be used to transform your photos into fun pix or into drawings suitable for using as a pattern to make a quilt. Each month, in my newsletter, I try to share an app that I have found to be useful or just plain fun. I am far from a computer guru, so I only can choose ones that work on my iPhone or iPad. For other platforms you'll have to experiment like I do.
This morning I was searching for a monthly app and came across PicsArt. It's free. And fun!
Here's a photo I took in a Key West this winter. (Don't you love the color of the sky?)

After you download the app and open it, click on the pink +, then Edit, allow access to your photos and you're on you way. After choosing a photo, my favorite transformation tool is "magic". Here's Rainbow.

And I can add text.

Wouldn't that make a great postcard? I imported it into Vistaprint, a great place for printing, and it was the perfect size for a postcard. You can't beat the cost of $10.00 for 50.

Or how about Midnight?

I also played around with my quilt, Funkytown. (It's a Curvalicious quilt and I'm currently working on the pattern.)

Here's Rainbow

Using the Effects menu, I tried Black & white. This would be useful for a value study.

I really enjoy transforming my photos into mini works of art. If you'd like to see the different apps that I play with each month, sign up for my free newsletter, HERE.

And remember, all art isn't serious, just have some fun!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Day With Quilters

Yesterday I spent the day with The Newtown Quilters Guild in Pennsylvania and a great group of quilters. Some came from as far away as Cape May. The day began with my Mini Mosaics workshop with practically a full house.

The participants are given a choice of 5 different patterns. A break for lunch revealed the most popular choice.

Great progress was made.

At night, my presentation was Turning Travel Into Treasures. I shared my quilts and folding fiber books that have been inspired by my travels throughout the years. I shared some crazy stories about trips to Mexico, Israel and Barcelona.

And then Show & Tell:

Thanks ladies for a great day.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

The New Approach To Foundation Quilts

As soon as I arrived home from The Curvalicious Tour, I got to work on my monthly assignment as an Island Batik Ambassador. I couldn't wait to sit at my sewing machine and do a couple of quick paper pieced projects, of course with Island Batik fabrics. Paper piecing has come a long way. I have always found it a great method to achieve those perfect points. I feel though that there has been a reinvention and explosion. The available patterns are not just stars and mariners compasses, but such a fun variety including vignettes, animals, winding geese and words.

Of course I had to try my "Philly Love" quilt pattern in batiks. I love the bright colors. You can find the pattern on Craftsy by clicking HERE.

I have always wanted to try this sewing machine pattern by Quiet Play. As with Philly Love, it's a downloadable pattern. I like instant gratification. You can check out all of her patterns HERE.


I have 2 tips I'd like to share. The first is when joining 2 sections of a paper pieced pattern together, I use wonder clips instead of straight pins to hold the pieces together. There is no distortion with the wonder clips and I've found I can be more precise.

The other tip is for machine stitching a binding. After stitching the binding to the back of the quilt, press it open and then fold it to the front of the quilt. Then, I take full advantage of the use of a stiletto. I use it for both pulling the binding into place and keeping it in place as I stitch, especially at the corners.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Behind the Scenes of the Curvalicious Tour

I just returned home from 3 weeks on the road where I was a vendor at 3 major quilt shows. I never envisioned myself as a traveling salesperson, but that all changed when I gave birth to Curvalicious. This year is going to be the year of the QuiLt Show. There will be 7 in all. I thought it might be interesting to share a sneak peak about life behind my demos.

After spending 6 weeks in Key West, we loaded up the car and headed to Savannah.

We always keep our fingers crossed that everything will fit. This year we purchased this cargo carrier that holds 3 good sized bins. We needed every single square inch of space.

We drove to Savannah where we had rented a house through VRBO. Why a house? Her name is Bailey. She can't be left alone in a hotel room all day because she would bark and the hotel management does not appreciate that. But it is nice to have a house with a kitchen and living room and yard. So in each location we had a house.

The day before the show is set up day. We always enter via the loading dock. Everyone is trying to get their stuff out of their vehicle and onto the show floor at the same time. I was doing the same thing and neglected to take a photo. This is my early morning entry. We have always been lucky and our booth is usually convenient to the door.

I try to be organized when I load out and load in, in theory. Like I said, I try. It would help when I set up from show to show. The three shows we did were Quiltcon in Savannah, GA then the AQS show in Daytona, FL and then the Original Sewing &Quilt Expo in Atlanta, GA. And yes, if you're thinking about the trip in your head, we headed North from Key West to Savannah and then south to Daytona and then North again to Atlanta. It was a lot of hours on the road.

We are given name badges wherever we are that allows us access to the show.

I can relax a bit when my booth is finally set up.

It's amazing how the show floor looks when all the booths are set up.

Some of the shows have more quilts than others.

I spend most of the day demoing.

Behind my demo table is the place I stash my food and drink.

I try to get to the convention center an hour before the show opens. That gives me a chance to tidy and replenish my booth and to walk around. It's really the only time I have to shop or see the quilts.

At the end of the show, it's time to pack up and drive to the next show!

At some of the shows I get to reconnect with friends, like Calista of Winderfil Specialty Threads

Or connect with Instagram friends, like Ali @mumbird, who was my swap partner at Quiltcon.

The less glamorous moments are:

Prepping for my class in the hotel

Walking Bailey in the dark

And the haute cuisine!

The highlights are meeting so many wonderful quilters, seeing amazing quilts like this one by Lenore Crawford,

getting to take Bailey to a workshop with me for the All Star Quilters Guild of Jacksonville,

seeing a beautiful ocean sunrise

And filling out the sales tax form, NOT !

At the end of it all, it was time to head home.

Three weeks on the road was a wonderful and exhausting experience. Curvalicious had an amazing reception that lifted my spirits and kept me going with a smile on my face and an ache in my feet.

Until next time in Paducah!