Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mexican Tile Workshop

I debuted this workshop with the Southern Comforters Guild of Bowie, MD. and I couldn't have done it with a nicer group of women.  And what a debut it was.  It made me want to go home and make a bunch more Mexican tile quilts.  This group's creativity just blew me away.  One of the prominent goals of the workshop is to develop a secondary design where multiple blocks are joined. The women spent the morning creating the individual block designs.  Then we broke for a delicious lunch, from Vince's Deli.  I had to order their specialty, homemade potato chips.  They were served on a stick and were just delicious.  Thank you Amy.
Then the fun really began, as we "assembled" the blocks, using the computer to see what the quilt would look like.  At this point, the designs could be adjusted.  Some of the women used their drawings and others used fabric.



That black background really makes those colors pop. 


Thank you ladies.  It is so rewarding to have such successful students. I can't wait to see some finished quilts.  (This is where you hear the loud guffaws!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eye Candy For Sale

I am headed to Maryland to give a workshop to the Southern Comforters based on !Quilt Fiesta!.  I am so excited about this workshop, "Surprising Designs From Mexican Tiles", because there is so much for the students to learn. During the morning, everyone will focus on designing their own Mexican tile block. And I'll teach them a cool way of using their computer to visualize what the quilt will look like when that one block is made into a virtual quilt.  Then in the afternoon, we'll get out our sewing machines and learn the ins and outs of fusible machine applique.  So there will be something new for everyone to learn.

 But while I'm gone, make yourself a cup of tea and relax and enjoy the eye candy.  It's a fundraiser of fiber art. I lobe their tag line:  Are you getting enough fiber?
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

And I hope to have photos of the workshop to share.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Foto Friday

My favorite time of year in Pennsylvania.  It has taught me to love orange.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crayola Washable Markers

Recently a friend sent me to  I read about a tip for using Crayola washable markers for marking fabric with quilting lines. I thought i f you could use these markers for quilting lines, why couldn't they be used to mark an embroidery design?  I couldn't wait to try it.  I'm quite a skeptic, but I so hoped it worked.  I love the blue marker that is made to wash out of fabric, but they have gotten pretty expensive and you can't see it on a blue or dark fabric.  Actually I paid the same amount for an entire package as I have for one blue marker.  And the chalk markers rub off after a short time.

Before I spent several days stitching, I marked a piece of the fabric that I was planning on using.  I highly recommend doing this any time a different fabric is used.  I found that I needed a little bit of liquid soap and a bit of a soak, but ALL of the ink rinsed out!

So this is what my project looked like.  First I drew a design on paper and then using a lightbox, I tansferred it to the hand dyed fabric using the green washable marker.

I stitched using a variety of stitches including the backstitch, lazy daisy and french knots. I like to embroider with some thin batting behind the design.  When I do this, the fabric doesn't pucker and an embroidery hoop isn't necessary.

Thanks for the great tip.  I love blogs.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finished! So much fun.

I finished the project that I started in Sue Spargo's workshop.  What fun it was.  I just love this bag.  Sue is a brilliant designer.

I couldn't stop with the front, so I created my own design for the back.

The berries are hand dyed silk velvet.  They are just luscious.

And I fell in love with this thread.  It's half wool and half acrylic from Italy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Foto Friday

Today I had lunch with a friend that I haven't seen in quite a while.  I have known Ann for 17 years.  Our kids were in elementary school together -my youngest son and her oldest daughter were 1 year apart.  We hit it off immediately and spent many hours traipsing around Lancaster County buying plants and flowers and being mesmerized by the Amish.  Ann is a wonderful gardener and we bartered - a quilt made by me, for landscaping my yard by her. 

Then Ann started a tablecloth rental business, called The Total Table, renting to caterers and big venues.  It started in the basement of her home and now she owns a 15,000 square foot warehouse.  It has been an amazing success.  And you can understand that our love of fabric has kept our friendship going.  Ann also is a great storyteller and has a great sense of humor.  To read about some of her misadventures and also about tablescaping and tablecloths , visit her blog:   The Tablecloth Contessa.

We also share a love of all things Amish and the farm country in Lancaster County.  Photography has become a passion for her and she has graciously offered to share some of her photographs that she has taken.  So I am going to start a new weekly post called Foto Friday.  Some photos from Ann and some from me, hopefully with a theme.  All for inspiration.  Today's theme is:  Wash Day -   Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Visting Phoenix

 A few weeks ago, I flew from Philly to Phoenix to visit my brother and his clan.He is my only living sibling and our parents are gone.  It had been a little more than 2 years since I had seen them all.  I needed to reconnect and see all of those little ones.  My oldest niece had moved to Phoenix first, from New Hampshire, to go to grad school.  That was about 15 years ago.  Then her sister moved there next from Florida.  After marriages and children, my brother and his wife finally moved there to make the family complete. What a great thing to be able to watch your grandchildren grow up! 
Our farewell lunch at McDonald's.
 There are a bunch of quilt shops in the Phoenix area.  I needed some fabric for a few projects that I was working on and hadn't had time to go shopping at home.  So one morning I thought that my sister-in-law and I could hit a few shops and then meet the kiddies for something fun to do.  I was shocked and stymied when I found out that everyone wanted to go to the quilt shops with Auntie Cheryl!

The first shop we visited was Zoe's  Trunk in Chandler.  I thought the women  were going to pass out when they saw this crew head into their shop.  But they were gracious and had a great play area.  It was my favorite shop with lots of wonderful fabric.  But the visit had to be short.  You can only guess why.  After hitting a couple of more shops, I had exactly what I was looking for.  Then we headed to the play area at the mall, because what else do you do when it's 100 degrees outside.

Other than seeing my family, my favorite part of my trip was my morning walks.  The vegetation in Phoenix is certainly different than in Philadelphia.  I don't know what these plants are called, but they are just beautiful.

 I saw this cactus and it gave me some ideas for a quilt.  I could visualize it with my favorite circles within circles.
 I started working on it while I was in Phoenix with some of the fabric that I had bought.  I got a little stuck, but then got a brainstorm during Sue Spargo's workshop.  I added some of her yummy hand dyed velvet.  I liked the texture that it gave the piece.  Then, instead of keeping my stitches within the applique, I oversized them to mimic the cactus needles.

I played with this block a bit on my computer.  This gives me an idea in which direction to head.  I like the wavy flow, but probably will use a lot of different fabrics. This is going to be fun.  Isn't it amazing where you can find inspiration?
I think I need to go shopping for more fabric!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sue Spargo Workshop

Our quilt guild's speaker for the month of October was Sue Spargo.  She does amazingly gorgeous wool and cotton applique quilts.  I love wool applique.  It is so soothing and forgiving.  I signed up to take the workshop with her to learn more about her technique and how she chooses her bright and cheerful colors. My son's girlfriend came as my guest.  After raising 2 boys, I have been waiting and waiting for someone to share my interests.  (Thanks Loren.)
Sorry Sue - you're a little blurry.

Sue, who is from Ohio, is originally from South Africa.  She is lovely, patient and full of information and has a charming accent.  She came with an SUV-ful of wonderful goodies displayed beautifully in antique suitcases.  It was an amazing amount of eye candy. There were tons of her kits and books, wonderful threads and luscious hand dyed wool and silk velvets, just to name my favorite things.

The wool is all hand dyed by Sue's sister.

It was really hard to pick a project.

This was the project that I finally chose. And so did Loren.

My friend Kelly picked a needlecase kit.  You can read about her experience at

The quilts Sue shared during her lecture were the epitome of folk art.  The combination of wool, cotton, hand applique and machine quilting were unlike any other quilts that I have seen.  Inspiring!

Friday, October 15, 2010

And The Winner Is:

This was so much fun.  So many of you came to see my blog for the first time and became Followers.  I wish I had more time to visit everyone else's blog, but I have been quilting towards a deadline.  I hope you all continue to visit me and share in my quilty life.  Since this was so much fun I may just do my own give-aways from time to time.

The winner of my hand dyed threads from the Fall Blog Hop is:  DOT!!!
Congratulations Dot, e-mail me with your address!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quilt Out Loud with Mark Lipinski and Jodie Davis

On October 1st, I headed to Stockton, NJ to tape a segment of Quilt Out Loud with Jodie Davis and Mark Lipinski.  They were filming on location at The Courthouse Quilters quilt show.  The quilt show is held in The Prallsville Mill in Stockton, NJ - right along the Delaware River.  It is a wonderful, picturesque, historic location.  There were quilts hanging everywhere.  And it was limited to members of their quilt guild.  It is a non-juried show and the quality of the quilts was just amazing.
  I was invited to be on the show, which is a subscription webcast, was to review my upcoming book, Quilt Fiesta.  I brought a bunch of my quilts and Martingale, the publisher, sent a book mock-up.  Jodie and Mark couldn't have been nicer.  They were warm and welcoming and I felt like I really belonged.  He is quite the wacky, entertaining fellow and she is calm and lovely.  Other than having to stand in a certain position that felt so unnatural which was supposed to make me look more natural, it was pretty easy.  Mark and Jodie are truly professionals and without rehearsing, they guided me though the whole experience.  I'm becoming quite the movie star!  Hahahahaha.

My friends and hubby made the trip with me.  Each of these friends took time out of their very busy lives to make a quilt for the book.  I love my friends (and my husband) and couldn't have done this book without them. 

The show will start airing on on Thursday, November 7th.  It is their Thanksgiving show as you can tell by Mark's colorful sweater. It will also include quilts from the show and a discussion about the benefits of belonging to a quilt guild and if it is for everyone. Tune in.  I think it will be a blast.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Signature Quilt Filled with Love

I have so much to share since my last post.  I have been to Stockton, NJ and taped part of an episode of Quilt Out Loud with Mark Lipinski and Jodie Davis.  I have been to Phoenix to visit my brother and his family and now I am home tying to catch up.  But before I tell you about my exciting travels, I want to share with you a gift we gave a friend last night.

I have been making signature quilts since 1995.  They are a great vehicle to "share the love".  I feel so lucky that I can use my abilities as a quilter to create one as a celebration. The key to writing on fabric is first to stabilize the fabric.  I use freezer paper as a stabilizer and I iron the waxy side onto the wrong side of the fabric with a hot iron.  It is also very important to let the people signing the fabric know where the seam allowance is and that they must not sign there.  (If you put the block together fist, this is not an issue.)  The pen that I like the best is a Pigma pen.  It is permanent and has no bleeding issues.  Make sure that you remove the freezer paper after it is signed.  It should just peel off.

The very first one I made was  a wallhanging for wedding guests to write their well wishes for the bride and groom. The theme was their "stories".  This is a photo of the quilt before the wedding. During the wedding people  signed on any part of the white fabric.  Someone even signed under the ballerina's skirt.

Then I did one for my son's Bar Mitzvah. The signatures are in the light border rectangles. The blocks reflect his interests at the time.

The one I just worked on was for a very dear friend of mine, Sue, to celebrate her birthday.  I'm not supposed to say how old she is but I can tell you that it almost rhymes with heavenly! My friend Hattie and I got together and split the tasks.  She is an organizing wiz and took charge of getting the signatures.  Thank goodness for that.  That is definitely NOT my forte. 
She then pieced the blocks and put them together.  I provided the center, then quilted and bound it.

It was so wonderful when we gave her the quilt.  We had a small intimate gathering with a few of her closest friends.  She read every single inscription out loud and was so surprised to see some of the names and wondered how we got them.  The quilt was filled with love and she felt every single bit. The best part for us was watching her.

It was so gratifying when she told us that it was the best gift she ever received.  WOW!

Happy Birthday Sue!  We love you!