Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I shared my twins a couple of weeks ago.

I created two identical "Elegantly Amish" quilts (39"x39") to determine if silk dupioni quilts can be washed.  Up to this point I was telling my students that silk quilts needed to be dry cleaned.  Washing would ruin them.  Once a scientist, always a scientist, so I needed to do an experiment.  What would happen if I washed a silk quilt?  Would it lose its sheen? Would it get distorted?  Would it shrink?  Would it bleed?

But before I share the results of my experiment, I want to introduce Midnight Quilter aka Ashley Malinowski.  She quilted "The Twins".
Ashley is a young woman who recently graduated from college. She purchased a long arm at the end of her senior year of high school.  She put herself through college by quilting for others.  Although she graduated with a very employable degree, she decided she wanted to keep on longarming to keep in touch with her customers!  If you want to read more about her or get in touch to hire her, 
visit her website:

So what happened to The Twins when I gently washed one of the twins in a low suds detergent?

The quilt on the right was the one that was washed.  It shrunk 2.5%.  It did not lose its sheen, that is so important when sewing with silk dupioni.  It did not bleed.  What happened because of the shrinkage is that the colors became a bit more vibrant, which is hard to see in this photo.  I like the increase in vibrancy. Maybe I'll wash all of my silk quilts.  Maybe.

I have presented my newest lecture "Sensational Silk" a couple of times.  I am happy to share with other quilters my silk quilts and  my tips for  quilting with silk.  I can now tell them that the quilts can be washed. If you want to read my other tips, check out this LINK.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beachalicious Debut at Calico Cutters

 It's here! I am so excited.  My first published pattern using Curvalicious(c)! 
 It made it's debut this past week  during a workshop with Calico Cutters Quilt Guild.  I am a little biased because it's my home guild, but the ladies did a great job. I can say that even thought they called me  tough task master.
You know how I can tell they were working very hard?  The room was quiet!
And thinking hard!
It couldn't have been too bad, because Dorcas was still smiling.
There is always someone who has a great gadget.  This time it was Beth.
We had a great Show & Tell the next day at guild, 
even though about half of them were too shy to share.

The pattern is now available in my etsy shop.  I decided to print it as an oversized pattern, so that I could include a full sized pattern of the quilt for ease of placement.  
So the package measures 8 1/2" x 11".

We are having nasty weather her in PA, so it would be a nice time to think about the beachor start planning your summer sewing projects.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

A Quilting Mystery

Martha Rose has done it again.  The middle aged California quilter helps to solve another mystery in this second book written by Mary Marks.  This book is filled with quilty details and even focuses on their generosity sharing the giving of quilts to a group of homeless people that becomes integral to the mystery. 
I read it on the airplane ride home from Bali.  It certainly helped to pass the time.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Busy Week Ahead

"Elegantly Amish" Twins- 39"x39"  - Silk Dupioni
The next 12 days will be crazy busy for me.  I will be traveling from Malvern, PA to the Pocono Mountains to Warwick, NY.  Here's my list of presentations, just in case you will be in the area.  You know I'd love to see old friends and meet new friends.
 Check the websites by clicking the highlighted links, or call ahead to get the particulars.

So are you wondering why I made identical twin silk quilts? You will find out if you attend my lecture at Penn Oaks.  If you can't make it, I know lots of you live too far away, I'll share the story next week, right here.  Sign up with Bloglovin' to make sure you don't miss it.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Zero Calorie Candy Corn

Happy Halloween!
Halloween was my youngest son's favorite holiday when he was young.  Not only did you get to dress up, but people then gave you candy. That was a double bonus. Now as adults, his wife loves Halloween too and their old Victorian house is decorated both inside and out with spider webs and other spooky things.

But candy isn't good for everyone, so I made my own treat for my grandson. It's a healthy treat - a candy corn toss game.

I started by making a pattern for the candy corns on white fabric.
 I sewed around each one leaving a space for the filling.

After filling it, I sewed it shut. I created this liner so the filling would not leak out.
I filled it with crushed walnuts so beans would never be a choking hazard.

I made 5 of them, one for each letter of his name.
Then I made the outside by sewing three strips of fabric together.

I added the letters for his name with ric rak.  Don't they look spooky?

Laying the bean bag on top of the background, I placed the candy corn strip piece on top and stitched around it.
This is what it lloked like from behind.
after cutting the edges with pinking sheers.

 And then I found this plastic pumpkin bucket from when his Dad was little.  
I think Henry will like it.
Trick or Treat!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Great Retreat

I'm just getting organized after spending 3 days hosting my Pet Portrait Retreat at our lakehouse in the Poconos.  It was 24/7 of sewing, eating, talking and laughing.  Everyone made great progress and I felt they left with the tools needed to finish the quilt.

We used every square inch of the house.

 Can you see my Accuquilt Studio cutter behind Roz?
 When your quilt is made up of 1,296 squares, their 2" die cutter is a beautiful thing. 
 It cuts 60 squares at a time.

 When I arrived at the lake to prep for my guests, my son and DIL were there.  Loren had gone to the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival with her Mom.  It was a convenient place for them to stay.
I was thrilled when she offered to stay and help me with the cooking for the retreat.  I took it as an opportunity to further entice her with quilting, because the pet quilt I was planning on creating was a portrait of their dog, Cooper. It was supposed to be a surprise.  Instead I taught her the techniques and she just ran with it.
I ended up being her assistant! I did the grunt work of sewing the pieces together.  We got pretty far working as a team.

To make my map, I printed the photo of Cooper and placed a clear grid over it.
 The pattern starts to take shape using 2" squares of fabric following the grid.
Here's a close-up of the ear.
I chain pieced the top in sections.  See how much it shrinks?

 The top half is done!
Here are the start of more pet portraits:

Roz and Reggie
Wisps of Reggie's fur

Teresa and   Rosie (
Rosie's nose
 Grace and her owner, Cheryl
Grace's eye

 Luna and Rose
A Luna close-up

You can see from the close-ups that these quilts are not pixilated.  The grids are used to piece the details.  This makes the quilts look realistic. I'm looking forward to seeing them quilted and bound.

I was delighted to receive an e-mail from one of the quilters, after she arrived home that said:
"I want to thank you for a relaxing creative weekend, I feel recharged!"
I have tentatively schedule another Pet Mosaic Retreat in June.  June 12-14 th of 2015, also at the lake house.  If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail.

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