Wednesday, December 6, 2017


The December challenge for Island Batik is Table Scraps, Quilty Table Toppers.  Finally, I am not behind and have my project finished! I was motivated to have it available as a free pattern for Chanukah.  I love blue and white.  Blue had disappeared from quilting and Home Dec for a while, so you can imagine my delight when I found out that this is a new fabric line from Island Batik, coming to your local quilt shop soon.  

I was so excited to get started on the project.  I have had this idea in my head for almost a year.  One year ago, I designed my Philly Love wallhanging. 

 I made a few of them and the pattern is now available as an inexpensive download. 
 You can get the pattern HERE.  I had so much fun doing the spiral quilting.

At the time someone asked me if I could make the same pattern, but in Hebrew.  The Hebrew word for love is AHAVA.  It is read from right to left.  It looks like this:

To stack it like the Philly Love quilt

and I quilted it just like the original:
The challenge was for a table topper, not a wallhanging, so I added border triangles, 
beads and sequins.

It's the perfect time of year to share AHAVA.   Although it would be perfect any time of the year , it Chanukah starts Tuesday night.  

If you want to make your own, you can download the pattern HERE .  It does assume knowledge of paper piecing.  You can add any border that you would like. It's a table topper and is a great twist on the LOVE statue in Philadelphia.

I've been enjoying this fabric line, getting ready for the Island Batik Blog Hop in January, creating a few blocks a week.  If you'd like to see my progress, I've been posting the blocks on IG (CherylLynchQuilts) and Facebook (Cheryl Lynch Fiber Arts).

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter full of quilty goodness, including ideas for road trips, free patterns, inspiration and great recipes, click HERE.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Silk, Mosaics, John Lennon & Quilts

I love New York City.  I grew up on Long Island and used to go into the city on school trips, to go shopping, to see the circus, to go see a movie and the Rockettes at Radio City Music  Hall, to go to Broadway show and to flirt with boys. It was our playground and easily accessible via the LIRR (Long Island Railroad).  The food was delish.  There was a Chinese restaurant where my friends and I would always eat in Times Square.  Here's a secret that I never  shared with my parents.  We used to do a lot of school trips to hear the opera and go to the symphony. I remember seeing the legendary Leonard Bernstein. When I was in High School, after the lights went down, we would sneak out, explore the Lincoln Center area and make sure we were there to get on the bus to head back to school.  I honestly have never acquired a taste for Opera, but I do enjoy the symphony. 

In the last few years, I have rekindled my love affair with NYC.  It began with my quest for silk dupioni.  This also led to searching for the food of my youth.  Please don't hate me, but you cannot get  a good bagel, corned beef sandwich, slice of pizza or cheesecake anywhere but in NY or Long Island.  Sometimes I come home with bags of bagels or pastries after a pizza or corned beef sandwich. 

In January, I am teaching a silk dupioni Curvalicious class at Road2CA.  The class is full and I need to make up 26 silk kits.  It was a beautiful day to head North.  I am happy taking the bus from Philadelphia. I found everything at my favorite shop, Bazar Fabrics on 39th St.
When I finished shopping, I was so happy to see my wonderful cousin who has lived in NY her whole entire life.  I had given her my list of what I wanted to see and she was my tour guide extraordinaire for the  day.  She knows the city inside and out and had a plan for us to maximize  every minute. 

There are many  subway stations that are adorned with mosaics.  Of course, I want to see them all but I am a bit intimidated by the massive subway system.  We started with the subway beneath the Museum of Natural History. 

I stepped off the  train and was greeted with this:

As we walked along the subway tracks, there were more mosaics:

and my favorite:
Then we went down one more level and this was a surprise:
We left the subway and walked to Central Park.  My cousin remembered another mosaic she thought I would like to see.  There's a small section of the Park called Strawberry Fields that is right in front of The Dakota, where John Lennon was shot.  And there was the most wonderful surprise - a mosaic in homage to John: IMAGINE
After a yummy lunch, we headed to the American Folk Art Museum to see an exhibit called "War & Piece".  The museum is not very large since moving from its initial location for financial reasons. It appears to be the lobby of a large building, but there were probably about 20 quilts.  Every single one was magnificent. They were made by men during wartime from wool uniforms. Here's a peek at a few.  It was hard for me to choose which ones to share, because I loved them all.

Here's one with beads:

Here's a close up of one of the quilts.  Check out the detail and the vibrancy of the color in this applique.  

And I found this painting amusing

Inspiration galore!
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Another Learning Curve

Learning Curve.   As I try to become social media relevant, I encounter those two words many times.  I shudder when I  hear those words.  What do they mean to me?  They mean many hours of frustration.  Times when I want to throw my computer across the room.  Times when I want to rip every hair out of my head or just sit and cry.  My husband shakes his head as I mutter every curse word that I know.

Unfortunately, using the computer to share my quilting via the Internet has cause me many,many, many hours of frustration.  Over the years I  have had to learn to edit photos, create and write a blog, create and edit videos, upload those videos to Youtube, write a newsletter, maintain a mailing list, edit and organize photos, e-mail huge files, learn how to use Dropbox, create and maintain a website.  The list goes on and on.

My next learning curve was to tackle my longarm quilting machine.  I purchased it over a year ago.  It has sat in my extended studio (aka my living room) gathering dust and as a very expensive shelf for storage. 

My goal this Winter is to start to master that longarm learning curve.  Well, maybe not master it, but at least be able to use it.  For those of you that are not familiar with a longarm, it's kind of the opposite of a sewing machine.  Instead of the  machine being stationary and the quilt moving. the longarm head moves on rails and the quilt stays stationary.  As a newbie, there are 3 steps to learn:
                                               1.  Loading the quilt
                                               2.  Achieving proper tension
                                               3.  Moving the machine to achieve a pleasing quilting pattern

I had spent lots of time practicing on a plain piece of fabric after the longarm was first delivered.  It was unrewarding and boring.  It did not inspire me to practice.  So that was last year.  I decided that I needed to quilt an actual quilt. I thought that would hold my attention and I would focus on steps 1 & 2.  I made a simple but adorable baby quilt.

A friend came over to help with the loading process. 

The ugh! came the tension issues.  I really didn't think that birds nests (thread tangles on the back side of a quilt) and  thread breakage were going to be an issue - but they were.  Telephone calls, emails and rethreading helped me a bit with the tension. 

To avoid dealing with the quilt pattern, I just did straight line quilting. This was part of my original plan.  Learn to load, then straight line quilt.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Then I would tackle the quilting designs.

My finished quilt:
More practice to come, including some tension adjustments.

In the process of making this quilt, I ended up with big triangle scraps.   On my long bucket list of quilts to make is a NICU graduation quilt.  Only 20"x30", an Instagram friend has a goal of donating 100 to the NICU where here child had a temporary home.
I sewed the triangles together and trimmed the squares to 10".

and then cut each HST  in quarters and rearranged them. 

 I added some of the nursery print also left over from the original quilt to make the graduation quilt.

The end of my learning experience is 2 quilts, both to be used for good causes.  A friend said to me once, no one has ever returned a charitable quilt because the quilting wasn't perfect.  I'm sticking with that and will continue and will improve. 

Do you grow from attacking a new technique, whether it is physical or mental?  It certainly can  be painful, but I feel it keeps our brain young.  Plus when you achieve success, it is so rewarding.  
Go challenge yourself today. I'm going to laod another quilt on my longarm!

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Quilting On A Cruise, Lucky Me!

I have been asked multiple times how I liked teaching quilting on a cruise. In one word - AWESOME!  My two favorite parts of teaching is: 1.Sharing what I know and 2. getting to know other quilters.  Spending 7 days together was great.  There was a different class for each of the 3 days at sea.  There were optional shore excusrsions for the 3 port days.

The cruise left out of Galveston and it was an IQA fundraiser run by World of Quilt Travel.  My plan was to fly in the day of the cruise.  I know this is not recommended, but I had been away the week before for Quilt Market and I just did not want to spend one more night away from home.  But .... my travel experience is exactly why you should arrive in your departure city the day before a cruise.  I flew from Philly to Chicago.  And whoops! everything was fogged in at the Chicago airport.  I waited and watched the departure board to see when my flight would depart for Houston.  As it became later and  later, I became more and more  concerned that I was not going to be able to land in Houston and then make it to Galveston before the ship would leave.  I decided on a cut off time that would decide if I would continue to Houston or head back to Philadelphia.  I just did not want to disappoint my students.  Plus I had pre-paid kits for my classes in my suitcases.  (I do have oe extra in my Etsy shop.)

Ten minutes before the cutoff time, the flight was scheduled to depart.  I hit the ground in Houston running, literally running and used an UBER for the second time ever.  I arrived at The Liberty of the Seas 15 minutes before the ramps were to close.  I made it to my room and collapsed!  I had missed the teachers' meeting, but made it to the Welcome Students meeting where I found out that they were divvying up my classes!

There were 4 teachers, Helen Stubbings, Cherry Guidry, me and Sujata Shah:

This was one of my classrooms:
This was what the floor of each elevator looked like to remind you of the day:
Each night there was a different towel animal waiting for me after dinner:

I indulged myself and paid for an upgrade to a cabin with a balcony.  To sit on the balcony, with a latte,  after a day of being on my feet teaching was such a wonderful end to the day. I really love the water and I find it so calming. It was the perfect spot to think about my gratitude that I was  teaching in such an environment while missing Bailey and my hubby.  I loved sitting there at sunset, sunrise, in the dark as well as when we arrived in port.

 I did try to eat healthy.  Breakfast was pretty much the only meal where I was successful!
There were women on the cruise from all over the US, as well, as British  Columbia, New Zealand and my fellow teacher Helen Stubbings from Tasmania, Australia.  Some of the women shared gifts during the cruise:

and my new friend Sandra sent me gifts from her home in Northern California.
  Did you know they grew rice there?

The last night of the cruise, we had a farewell get togther along with a Show & Tell.  Most of us had packed our bags, but some of my students brought their WIPs and some even brought their finished tote bags!:

It really was a wonderful time. 
 I have such fond memories and look forward to seeing these women again.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Quilt Market Trends

Shopowners attend Quilt Market to learn about the latest trends.  They want to have the newest items in their shops.  Vendors also bring their newest designs and products.  The fabric that is showcased at Market won't be available in quilt shops until the Spring.

Each morning before the doors opened, I walked the aisles to get an overview and see the trends.  I noticed a few.  
1.  Cork - cork that can be used like leather was everywhere.  There were natural colors, colors and prints.

Cork was mainly used for accents on handbags and bags themselves.

2.  Blue & White
This is so exciting.  I love blue and white.  I have a collection of Willow Blue dishes.  My walls are painted blue.  Even my car is blue!  Blue has been on the outs for the past few years.  I'm so glad it's back.

3.  Brights
Bright, clear colors have been on the store's shelves and there is more coming.  Believe it or not, this is a Block of the Month (BOM) called Cadence Court, with instructions to create a wedge a month.  Pretty clever.  It was designed by Shayla Wolf of Sassafras Lane Designs with her fabbric line - Foundation.

4.  Clothing
There were a bunch of patterns to create clothing, plus knit fabric and double gauze.  It's interesting to see what we think of as quilting fabric appear as a shirt or skirt.Have you started making you own clothing?

Did you take a Quilting In America survey a few months back?  It showed up on many websites.  The results were presented at the beginning of Market.  
       Quilting is a $3.7 billion industry
       There are 7-10 million quilters in the US
       Each quilting household spends an average of $442 annually
       Dedicated quilters are defined as those spending more than $500 or more a year.  The demographics of the dedicated quilter is female, 63 years old, has been quilting for 19 years, is well educated (70% attended college), affluent with average household income of $95,900 and leans toward a preference of traditional quilting styles.

Not surprising, is there was almost a 40% increase in those who get information from quilting related websites, online classes and videos and participation in social media since 2014.

The good news is there is a growing group of Dedicated quilters under the age of 45.