Sunday, December 30, 2012


As I've posted several times, my quilting group the Calendar Girls, has a block exchange in June every year then reveals the finished quilt in December. This year our blocks were red, white and blue with a patriotic theme. There are 16 of us in the group but we decided we wanted a small quilt this year so only made 8 blocks and divided them between the group. Here is the quilt I made.

In my attempt to give these blocks some 'movement' I drafted paper-pieced, flying geese corners which was quite challenging! I'd never tried that before. But, there you go--that's the reason I do all these group challenges and such. It makes me grow as a quilter.

Have you been in a quilting group recently? What project did you make?

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Successful Row Robin

I'm lucky to be part of a great little quilt group in my town (aside from my big group in the town I used to live in about an hour away). Almost a year ago we decided to do a Row Robin. Six of us participated and we had about 2 months to complete each row. A couple of weeks ago, we completed our last rows and the 'owner' now has to complete her quilt. Here is my quilt--I wanted a "colorful, quilt that screams SUMMER"! I'm thoroughly delighted with the flip-flops, beach balls and bikinis, sun glassed kitties, kites and stars! Thanks to my wonderful Row Robin-eers!

(My initial row is the French braid, 2nd from bottom).

Have you every participated in a Row Robin?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Charming Dresden

I finished a quilt! It's a small quilt but still--it's all done! If you haven't tried Darlene Zimmerman's Easy Dresden Ruler, you're missing something! This block goes together so easily and you can use a Charm Pack--thus the name, Charming Dresden!

When I made a table runner out of a Kaffe Facett Charm Pack with 4 of these blocks here, I loved it so much, I developed a class out of it and scheduled to teach it at my local quilt shop. I really wanted to make another one so I made another 4 blocks with Moda's colorful line, "Ladies Sewing Society" which I've fallen in love with. But these 4 blocks were made into a 36" x 36" wall hanging so the ladies who took the class could chose which they wanted to make.

In getting ready to teach the class, wanting to have plenty of sample parts and pieces for demonstration purposes, I started yet another 4 blocks in autumn colors. I received a call from my cousin the other day and found out I've been "chosen" to host Thanksgiving this year! I'll have to get this finished fast!   ;-)

Thanks to Judy Laquadara for giving us all the opportunity to show off our design walls!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Color Palette

I'm so glad Judy decided to give us this great challenge! I'm learning a lot about color and having fun scouring my stash for matches every month. This block, like all the rest I've made, has this month's colors in it. When we're all through, I'll make a quilt out of them all (see this post).

 If you have any suggestions as to how I should orient them within a quilt or if you thing I should put sashing (and if so what sort?), please let me know.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another Finish

I'm on a roll! I finished my dresden plate table runner last week and a quilt this week! I won these blocks at a quilting retreat in June and plan to donate it to the next non-profit that asked me if I'd agree to "donate one of your pretty quits" for a silent auction, something that's quite popular in the community-oriented town I live in in northern California. All those who came to the retreat were asked to make a 10-inch "batik and white block" for a drawing and 25 people participated. Two winners got 12 blocks each and I was one of them!

Since I didn't have to make all the blocks, I thought I'd take the time to do some nice quilting on it and really like how it turned out.

 I do my quilting on a domestic machine, a Janome 6600. I bought it 4 years ago because I wanted a machine with more space at the 'neck' to quilting on larger quilts. For those of you who don't quilt your own quilts, I really urge you to try. Take a class in machine quilting and practice. And practice some more--it takes a long time to get really good at it but, like your momma always told you, whether it's a musical instrument or a dance routine or anything else, you'll never get really good if you don't practice. If I can do it, you can too. It's so rewarding to be able to make your own quilt from start to finish--then, it's all YOURS!  
Take a look on Judy's Design Wall Monday to see what everyone else have been accomplishing!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Almost Finished!

I love to start projects. I'll see a something fun in a magazine, find a great pattern in a local quilt shop, get inspired at a quilt show and *POOF* will run into my sewing room with its gargantuan stash and dig in. I didn't count but I'll bet I started 5 projects in the last 2 weeks--I'm hopeless.

But this week--I almost finished this quilt!! I only have the binding to sew on! The blocks in this quilt are those I won when I attended Linda Ballard's McCloud, CA retreat in June. All attendees were urged to make a 10" "batik and white" block and 25 of us complied. Since there were so many, Linda pulled 2 tickets and I won half of the blocks, plenty to create a nice quilt to donate the next time someone asks for "one of your pretty quilts for our silent auction".

Since I figured I got the blocks with very little effort, I spent a lot of time on the quilting of this quilt and I really love the way it turned out! I just quilt on my domestic Janome 6600 which I bought 4 years ago because it had a nice, large 'neck' so I could quilt larger quilts. LOVE IT!

I worked on a couple of other projects too:  made a cute little case for the new camera I bought last week! Bobo is our kitty who knows I'll be using said camera to take lots of photos of HIM. Can you blame me--he's so adorable!

See, I just can't stop starting new projects!

See what everyone else has started on Judy's great blog--

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August Color Palette Challenge

I'll tell you, I'm really enjoying this Color Palette Challenge that Judy has invented for us. I knew I couldn't make a whole quilt or even a big project each month so I chose a fun block from the great book "Knockout Blocks and Sampler Quilts" by Judy Martin. The blocks in this book are really original and it's fun to make this block each month out of my stash with the palette colors. I plan to make them into a quilt at the end of the year.

I have to say, I was not thoroughly fond of this month's colors as they read "muddy" to me and I tend to like clear, bright colors. But along with all the other blocks, they totally work--and, I learn a lot about my preconceived notions about what I THINK I like. August's block is in the lower left in this photo.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Delightful Dresden

Several months ago on the Bunny Hill site, Anne Sutton shared her method of using Darlene Zimmerman's fun and easy Dresden Ruler to make these wonderful blocks. I looked for this ruler for months (I like to buy at quilt shops if I can) and finally found one. These blocks were so fun and easy to make with charm packs (of which I have more than I want to admit--it's a sickness). Each charm square makes 2 'blades' and you need 20 blades for each block. I used 40 charms from a Kaffe Facett charm pack and it went really fast.

Those circles in the center cover up the 'raw edges' of the blades and aren't sewn down yet as I'm auditioning colors, so they look a little crooked.

I might make this could be made into a long table runner for our new dining room table or a 2 X 2 configuration for a cute wall hanging (I'm kind of liking that interesting design in the 'negative space' in the center).  Either way, I'm going to title it "Dresden Kaffe". I auditioned several backgrounds and liked dark shades best.

--OK, it's Sunday night and I've made some great progress on this project--officially a tablerunner.
 What do you think about the background I chose? I wanted every piece to be Kaffe's fabric and I wanted it to be really "busy" and sort of "muddled".

I chose a purple binding (it isn't sewn down yet so looks a little wonky) but when I do, it will look great on our new dining room table!

You just have to try these Dresden Plates! Also try the other creative blogs on Judy's Design Wall Monday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's MY Favorite Star Too!

On my design wall right now is this star block. Isn't it wonderful?! I found it on this great blog that I've been reading for many, many months--

When I read this blog post and it mentioned "my favorite star" I thought, "yeah, right. . . there are so many beautiful star blocks". But I took a look and, Oh MY! I was totally smitten and HAD to make this block! The blog had a really good, easy to understand tutorial for cutting and sewing the block. There are 49 pieces, people, but I think it's pretty enough that I might make a whole quilt out of it.

I drafted it on EQ7 and colored it several different ways but in the end, had to do it just like I saw it on the blog--well, maybe mine has a little more raspberry than true red in it.

I pinned it to my Pinterest wall so I'd always be able to find it and finally collected all the fabrics I needed to start on it. In fact, I made a few more. . .  I think I need to put sashing between the blocks, don't you? (The red fabric--maybe 2 1/2 or 3 inches? Each block is 14").

Take a look at all the other design walls on Judy's blog today!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Too Many Tops!

What's your favorite part of making a quilt? What's your least favorite? Is there a place where you come to a dead stop and find yourself with another pile of blocks or unfinished tops?

I woke up this morning and before I got out of bed, thought about what I was going to work on in my sewing room on this, a totally free, nothing-on-my-calendar day: The table runner? The last mystery retreat quilt?

The group quilt due in December? The last Bonnie Hunter mystery? That online BOM of Anne Sutton's? Oh, and there's that new Dresden Plate ruler I bought to use with all those charm squares I have and that beautiful star block pattern I saw on the AnyoneCanQuilt blog!

Wait a minute . . . let's get real. . . I decided to take stock. Within 5 feet of my sewing machine table, I found 8 completed TOPS! Two more in the closet (from over 5 years ago) brought my tops total to 10 and I stopped looking.

Do I have a problem? It's ovbious I love to piece blocks and tops and I do enjoy machine quilting my own quilts---I just hate to pin quilts!

Since I feel a quit is 50% finished when the top is done, I'm going to redo my "UFO" list on the left-hand side of my blog to include some of these 10 tops half finished. I'll force myself to pin a couple of quilts and get them quilted and hope to finish many of them before I start anything else.

                                        I'll keep you posted. . .

P.S. I wrote the above last Friday. Since then I pinned quilts # 2 and 4 above, played around with the Dresden Plate ruler and, yes, started on the Dresden Plate blocks. I may have made progress on UFOs but I'm pretty much hopeless!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Polka Dot

My wonderful Spring Chicks group met last Tuesday night at my house. We eat goodies, do show-and-tell, talk about quilty things then reveal our projects. Several months ago, we decided to do a Row Robin. Out of 9 of us, 6 committed to do all 6 rounds. Tonight was out 4th round. We follow the color and style of the original row with the fabric provided or using our stash then the owner will put their quilt together and reveal it. Here's just a couple of them:

We also have an ongoing "word" challenge. This month's word was "Polka Dot". I didn't have any idea what I was going to make and decided last Friday that I just wouldn't make one this month which is OK. But I went to  the Long Beach CA quilt show last weekend and was so inspired by the "12 by 12" quilts ( that I decided to go for it. This is my 25" x 18" "Polka Dot" quilt.

I hope you will go to their website and read about this creative group! After years of following them and buying their wonderful book, seeing the quilts in person was amazing! There were 2 years worth of them, 144 for each year, and I spent two hours of my 6 hours at the quilt show marveling at their diversity and techniques.

Hope you'll also check out Judy's design wall for other inspiring projects! Happy quilting!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July Color Palette

I'll say it again, I'm LOVING this color palette challenge on Judy's blog.

Above is my block for July to go with the other month's blocks (right) which I'll be making into a quilt when it's all over.

Happy quilting, everyone!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vintage to Wearable

Although I have a lot of quilts in progress, I made a garment this week. Lately I've been trying something new--making garments out of old tablecloths and such. I took a stamped, 60s California tablecloth and made this blouse/jacket out of it. Because the cloth was only 36" X 42", it was quite a puzzle to make the top big enough to fit me while getting the images on to the pattern to form a pleasing design. I scoured the fabric stores to find modern fabric similar enough to the vintage fabric of the tablecloth to make the transition and include facings.

Fusible web was used on cut-outs of the small amount of leftover tablecloth fabric and sewn on, raw-edged, to the back. I couple this top with light blue crop pants for a vintage, summary outfit.

I can see this becoming an obsession! I've bid on and won several interesting vintage linens from eBay to try some more garment-making.

Look for more traditional quilting than this on Design Wall Monday on Judy's new and improved blog!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Productive Week!

I made all sorts of things this week. The one on the right is a 16 X 20 wall hanging I'll be bringing to a friend who's invited us to the "Tiki Hut" in his backyard. I thought this funny saying would add to the ambiance of all the kitchy stuff hanging in there.

 These rows of flying geese are the start of the "Blooming Tale" pattern below right. It's an all paper-pieced pattern that is one of those epic projects that will be on-going for a long, long time!

Below are the 4 placemats I made Friday to bring to friends who've just moved into their new house. We don't know them very well and wondered if this would be a gift they'd use. They invited us for dinner tonight (Saturday) and after some nice conversation, the husband offered to set the table. "Do we have any placemats?" he asked his wife of only 2 years? Umm, not really. It was then I suggested they open the gift I'd brought. They were thrilled with them--and I was tickled that I'd picked something they could really use!

Check out all the other great projects on Judy's Design Wall Monday! (Isn't her newly remodeled blog great?!)

Have a great quilting week!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quilt Trail--Barn Blocks

Have you ever seen those big (8 foot square) quilt blocks hanging on the sides of barns or other buildings around? I was happily surprised by just that in Lake County, California this weekend--Clear Lake to be exact--where I was giving a lecture on antique quilts.  I've seen these colorful displays on trips to the east coast but I didn't know we had them in California anywhere!

Driving to the local State Park for a little hike, I glanced over and shouted to my husband, "LOOK!!" He knew to stop for a photo! A few miles further and there was another one! I hightailed it to the local quilt shop (Kerri's in Lakeport, delightful!) and she had a map  of 3 dozen quilt blocks around the lake! We saw about 10 of them on our trip.

I've always wanted a quilt block on the side of our house and we have a great place for one. I even know the block I'd use--Bear's Paw. See, my husband is the 4th generation graduate of Cal Berkeley and they are The Bears. You can only imagine how many bears in the form of t-shirts, welcome mats, car stickers, yard carvings, ball caps, etc there are in our house and my FIL's house! What block would YOU choose to hang on your house or barn?

I know this is not exactly design wall stuff but I thought you'd find it interesting. And I didn't think Judy would mind. Head on over to the other talented quilters who've followed the rules an actually photographed their design walls!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Make A Block

Every year for the past several years at our local County Fair, our quilt guild has hosted a quilt block contest. Our guild is in charge of the "Home Arts" building at the fair and we design it and set up in a very attractive way, all the quilts, jellies, pies, clothing, beadwork, and all the other hand-work and food that is entered in your typical county fair. The block contest rules are: make a 12" finished block created with the theme of the fair. This year's theme is "Summer Fun". This is my entry--Sunbonnet Sue at the Seashore. (yes, she does have feet but they're very close to the same color as the 'sand' fabric. It looks better in person. . . .)

What happens to the blocks that are created and entered? Well, first you need to know that the makers don't get them back. They are made into a quilt that at the following year's fair, is raffled off with the proceeds going to pay for the room where we have our quilt show--which is at the fairgrounds! Nicely symbiotic, don't you think?

And, there are monetary prizes for these block entries! Starting at $35 for 1st place and going down by $5 through 6th place--you BET we get a lot of entries! And the quilts we make with these blocks are fantastic!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June Color Challenge

I'm really loving this color challenge Judy offered to us for many reasons: 1) it makes me proud of my extensive stash which I've pulled all fabric from all these months, 2) it forces me to use colors I'm not necessarily comfortable with, 3) it gives me a BOM that will turn into a nice quilt at the end of the year 4) it makes me look at color palettes differently than I might have. (June's block is in the upper right.)

Along the same lines, I've also been enjoying my daily color inspiration email from Design Seeds at No sales pitch, no pop-ups, just 4 lovely, colorful photos each with 5 colors that can be used as a wonderful quilt palette. They're inspiring and make me smile every time!

I think this is going to be the configuration I use for the quilt at the end of the year when I have 12 of these blocks made. Maybe I'll put a star border all around it too. Better yet, I might use one of the great borders from Judy's newest book, "60 Pieced Quilt Borders"!

Have a great quilt-y month!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Retreat Time!

Just returned from a 3-day retreat to the cool mountains of northern California! The high was 70 degrees and when I tell you that it was 93 degrees when I got home, you'll know how welcome the 40 degree chill at night up there was!

This was a mystery class with Linda Ballard and it was the 12th retreat I've gone on with her along with my dozen quilting buddies. Of course, we bring other projects along and stay up late and get up early to work on them while enjoying WAY too much food and fun !

I really love this mystery quilt and only had to do a little border work after I got home to complete the top. This, I vow, will NOT become a UFO!

One of the many fun things Linda asks us to do on a retreat is make a 9" block for a drawing. This time it was to be "any color batik on a white background". I was the lucky winner of 11 of these blocks! Watch what I do with them in a future DWM post!

Have fun looking at all the other design walls on Judy's blog!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I've recently been introduced to working with wool and I really, really like it! Using all wool in a project (like this) is very nice but when added to quilters cotton, there's a dimension I really love. I've hand blanket stitched around each of these wool pieces (which is how wool is usually finished), on to cotton squares. Considering how long it takes to prep and hand-applique regular cotton, blanket stitching wool takes a fraction of the time!

I have a project coming up where I'll use these blocks (taken from the book "Flower Festival" by Kim Schaefer) but I can't tell any more about it. . . I need to keep my quilting groups guessing!

Wool is expensive and not so easy to find but I urge you to try it sometime. I've had good luck finding small pieces of wool (5" x 7" or so) at quilt show venders' booths pretty cheaply.

Don't forget to take a look at the rest of Judy's Design Wall Monday participants.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Color Palette Challenge

Here's the block I made out of the colors for this month's challenge. I'm making the same block for each month and will put them together into a quilt at the end of the year. See a couple of my other blocks here and here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I have 3 things on my design wall this week: two blocks and a little dress. The first block is for Judy's color challenge. I'm making the block each month with the month's colors and at the end of the year, will make a quilt out of all the blocks.

The second block is for a retreat I'm going on in a couple of weeks to McCloud CA. About 15 of my quilting buddies go every year to the mountains of far northern California to enjoy a break from the Valley heat and to bask in the pines. We rent all the rooms in the McCloud Merchantile, a 100-year old (but updated) establishment where each of the wonderful rooms has a different theme catering to historical figures of the area. The enormous workroom is where about 30 quilters gather for 3 days of sewing, eating and fun! One of the fun things we're asked to do is make a block (this year it's a 9" finished made out of any color batik and white), put it up on the wall, then we have a drawing and someone wins them ALL! I really like the way this one turned out.

This cute little dress is for my daughter's best friend's daughter--turning 2 next month. She loves Sesame Street, especially Elmo, and she asked me to make a birthday dress with rick-rack. I asked her measurements: 10" across the shoulders, 19" chest and 18" from the base of her neck to her knees--Hee-hee--how tiny!! I think she'll really like this!

Take a look at what all the other creative quilters are making on Judy's blog.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Block Exchange

Once a year for the past 11 years, my Calendar Girls group meets to exchange blocks that we then make into quilts we reveal at another meeting at the end of the year. This year our theme was The 4th of July. We were to make 8 blocks that finished 9" square.

 I created this block with a pieced flag which I appliqued on, "Long may she wave" hand-embroidered at the bottom and a wool flagstaff hand-blanket stitched on to give it a little 3-D effect. They were well received.

Here's a photo of the blocks I received in the exchange. Now all I have to do if figure out a great way to display them in a quilt.

Aren't I lucky to be associated with such talented quilters!? Thanks to Judy for allowing me to show this to another wonderful group of quilters from design Wall Monday!

P.S. Long May She Wave!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I'm in a small group of 9 quilters who call ourselves "Spring Chicks" because the first time we met as an official group, it was the first day of spring. We did a block exchange last year and are now working on 2 projects: a Row Robin and a small art quilt. For the latter, we decide on a word to inspire the project we'll make every other month. This time the word was "Serendipity". We agreed the quilt would be 18" x 18".

As soon as I heard the word I knew exactly what I'd attempt to make. About 5 years ago, I received a lovely birthday card from my good friend Lee, with an image on the front I loved from the minute I saw it as it reminded me of her joyful spirit. In fact, I bought a frame for that card as soon as I received it and it's been in my living room ever since. This friend passed away a couple of years ago and I miss her terribly but that image makes me think so fondly of her and how she was always optimistic and had such a great view of life even though she knew she probably wouldn't be with us long. She passed away of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 61. I posted about a couple of quilts I finished for here here.

 The card's artist is Masha D'yans and I've reproduced her image in fabric, yarn and beads, for my own use and enjoyment which I'm sure won't upset any copywrite laws.

I think of myself as a traditional quilter but I try new things with fabric as often as possible to keep me from getting stale. Sometimes I try something that really works and it makes me feel like I've still 'got it', that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Being part of a group that is not intimidated by possible failure is such a growth experience--I highly recommend it! I actually learn and am inspired so much by the blogs I read from Judy's Design Wall Monday. I feel like it's one of my fun quilting groups!