Monday, December 24, 2012

A peaceful Christmas

I was wondering how I could wish everyone a merry Christmas. This morning my daughter, Heidi, sent me this video of her church's Christmas pageant. Heidi is the director and once in awhile you can see her peeking of the front pew on the left.

Heidi and her husband live in Washington DC and adopted a 2 yr old African American child 3 years ago. I think the pageant shows how different cultures bring their own unique perspective to share with us all. They attend Wesley United Methodist Church, a multicultural worship community with a jazz ensemble for music and a gospel choir. The leader of the congregation is Pastor Kate, an energic white woman in her early 30's.

One of my favorite parts is the camel who arrives and does a rap routine to announce the arrival of the 3 kings.

My granddaughter, Cymia, is the only angel. She arrives about 4 minutes into the video (the video lasts about 10 minutes). Here is the link.

If we could all learn to live, work and worship together like the members of this church, maybe there really could be peace on earth afterall. Join me in praying for peace, here at home and all over the world as we celebrate Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the design wall

Can you believe I have been designing and sewing quilts for thirty some years without a design wall? Well, it's just a fact. One of the exciting features of my new sewing studio is a design wall. The wall deadends into a corner and the back door to my house is right there. The very light area on the right side of the photo is the light coming in through the window in the door. 

I got up early this morning to paint the entire wall willow green. The rest of the sewing studio has old tongue and groove paneling. After the paint dried I tacked up a white fleece blanket I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond to provide a fuzzy surface to hold my quilt blocks in place. The fleece really works better than flannel as it provides more "stick". The fleece covered the whole section of the wall between my bedroom door and the back door. The smaller section of the wall on the other side of the bedroom door will be used to hang a shelf unit  to display my collection of little antique toy sewing machines. 

Last week I sewed up 20 log cabin blocks to make a second modern log cabin quilt. My first such quilt, "Waterfall" was a great success so I decided to start a series. I am calling this one "Terra Firma". I decided on emerald green because pantone has designated it the color of the year for 2013. These modern log cabin quilts are a lot of fun to sew because I add slivers of color to the mostly white blocks and to some of the colored blocks as well. I get to slice little angled pieces and stitch them in incorporating a random pattern. It's all kind of unplanned and scrappy, my favorite way to make a quilt. I am offering a workshop in modern log cabin quilts. 

Here are some guidelines for making a modern quilt:
  • Quilts are primarily functional rather than decorative
  • Traditional blocks are reinterpreted (my log cabin blocks with slivers of color)
  • Often there is an absence of visible block structure and often use improvisational piecing
  • Incorporate increased use of negative space and often are asymmetric in design
  • Quilts are often inspired by modern art and architecture
  • Use of bold colors, and trendy color combinations; also graphic prints enhance design simplicity
  • Gray and white are popular neutral colors with increased use of solid fabrics in both color and neutral fabrics

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Repurposing rooms - creating a sewing studio

Can you believe that after 25 plus years of being a professional quilter...the first 20 as editor-in-chief of QUILT magazine and the past six as designer, author, teacher and log cabin tool inventor...for the very first time I have an actual dedicated sewing studio. This room used to be my den. I never used my living room except to walk through to get to other rooms in the house. I have moved all seating to the living room and turned the den into the sewing studio. The room is 10' wide and 16' long. Here it is....

I have a long table for my sewing machines for my stitching station. I am in the middle of a project making pineapple blocks. The large table in the lower right corner is my ironing station. The cool thing about my ironing station is that I can iron from either side. to the right and far in the back you can just see the corner of my cutting station. 

Here is a bit of a better view of my cutting station. It's still behind the ironing station. It is actually a 6' long sales counter from an old country store with a wood plank top and two shelves under for storage. 

In another corner hidden from the camera is my book nook with a comfy chair and bookcase when I need to take a break. I feel like I am in heaven. For once I am now squeezing all of my sewing into a little corner of a room that is primarily used for some other purpose. The only purpose this room has is to make quilts. 

How can you repurpose some rooms in your house to create a dream sewing studio?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


My house repairs are all done. The contractor who showed up every morning for 5 weeks is not coming back. He did a fantastic job. No contracting horror stories here, just happy satisfaction. But there is a cloud to every silver lining. Chloe, my darling dog sits waiting every morning for Eric to arrive. Eric was Chloe's new best friend. Where is he? On to the next job of course.

A very said picture. Chloe waiting for Eric to come, but he is finished here and not coming back. This makes me so sad. I will have to give her an extra dog biscuit. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Almost Done

My house project is almost done. The old knob and tube wiring will be completely replaced by tomorrow. The electrical in the house will now be up to code and safe. The old lead paint in the walls has been safely covered up. Phew! What a mess it has been for the past 5 weeks. Yesterday the contractor put the shelves in my guest room closet.

If future guests thinks they will be able to hang their clothes, they have another think coming! Hopefully this will keep guest visits short and happy.

I have folded up a small portion of my quilts and stored them in the closet. If we have a blizzard in Georgia guests will be warm, they can heap quilt upon quilt on the bed and snuggle down for a warm night's sleep.

Since I am starting fresh I have stacked the quilts in categories. Stacks of log cabin quilts, and pineapple quilts are on the middle shelf, There are 2 stacks of unfinished quilts (in the top corner on the left), stacks of quilts for sale (2 stacks - top shelf on the right). There will be a built in cupboard in the dining room where I will store more quilts. The contractor will finish it today. Bottom shelf has boxes of fabrics and threads. 

Question: can I keep it this neat and organized? I hope so!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Circle of Nine

Here is another quilt from my visit to Denver. If you live in the Denver area I highly recommend the Arapahoe Quilters. They are a big group of very friendly and talented quilters. One of their quilters, Terri Lynn Scott made a circle of nine quilt using the book Janet and I wrote presenting these new, easy and creative way to set 9 blocks into a quilt. You can purchase the book from my website:

Lynn used 3 different blocks in her quilt. One block is the center of the quilt, another the four corners touching the center block and yet another for the midnight-3pm-noon-9am positions. Her spacers and borders are the same fabric giving an overall unity to the quilt. Merrie Jones is the longarm quilter. Lynn calls her quilt "Stitching in the Garden".

You can see Lynn's fingertips and her feet...I always love it when quilts have fingers and feet. It makes me giggle and who doesn't enjoy a good giggle once in awhile.

Janet and I are working on a sequel to the Circle of Nine book. The original has been sold out and the publisher is out of stock. Janet and I have a few left to sell so if you are interested in the book, order now! The sequel will be a workshop to make the quilts with expanded information of designing and making spacers. It will be ready by late spring/early summer. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Quilt Inspirations...where I find them

In the midst of my house repair contracting work, it is sewing that has kept me sane. Here is a quilt I made last week. The design is based on a quilt I saw in the Denver Quilt Museum. This is a small museum that has high quality exhibits. If you are ever in Denver area you must check it out. The following 4 photos will show you one way I get inspiration for a quilt and how I turn the inspiration into a finished quilt.

Quilt Inspiration: Antique velvet quilt from the Denver Quilt Museum

Making a quilt map: This is my adobe illustrator diagram of how I interpreted the design. I decided to substitute the red in the original quilt for white in my version. I also used Courthouse Steps blocks throughout instead of the strip piecing in the original.
I used my new Log Cabin Trim Tool to make the Courthouse Steps blocks. 

Here is the finished quilt. Not the best photo but you can see how I arranged the blocks using my computerized map as a guide. I have added slivers of color in some of the blocks. I wish I had used more solid white for some of the strips and not so many white/black strips. This quilt will hang in my new library when I get all the furniture in place.

Here is a detail of one of the blocks. Note on the partial block at the bottom there is a sliver of dark gray stitched in on the right hand side of the block. This will be part of my new log cabin workshop series.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This blog has been silent for 3 weeks. Why? Because I have been living in a construction zone. My 100 year old house needed some repair work that became a minor renovation of the four front rooms to best accommodate the repairs. Yesterday, the contractor finished the painting in two rooms. I can now use one of those rooms. I have designated it the library. It opens into the living room with a lovely wide arch. My computer and watercolor desk will be in this room (pictures to come later).

In the midst of all the chaos I have been quilting. In fact, quilting has kept me sane as I wend my way through all the furniture and stuff that was moved from the front four rooms to be temporarily stored in the back four rooms. I have little pathways to the sink and stove, the bathroom, my bed and a teeny-tiny corner with my sewing machine set up...well you get the picture. Now some of those pathways are opening up.

Here is the library at 7:30 AM. This is the "before" picture. I will be working on putting the room together the room today and will post an "after" picture this afternoon. Expect that big bookcase to be filled with quilting books before I go to bed.

Sunday Afternoon
It took a bit more time than I thought, but by Sunday afternoon the bookcase was filled and my corner is ready for work. Here is how one corner of the new library is set up with my computer looking out the front window and my watercolor desk looking out the side window.

Chloe, the dog has her bed in front of the big bookcase. I have one empty shelf at the bottom for storage, and all my quilting, knitting, textile and gardening books are organized by interest and subdivided by topic or style like history, art quilts, technique, etc. Let's see how long they stay that way. The books stacked on their sides are too tall to fit in the shelves. At least quilting books have colorful spines. 

Notice all the Noah's Ark sets? These were in my den that is now my sewing room. The only place to display them...the new library. As soon as the sewing room is organized I will post photos and you will see my antique toy sewing and vintage stitch bird collections.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Denver log cabin/crazy quilts

Here is another picture from the Denver Quilt Museum in Golden, CO. I was delighted to see a crazy quilt made of cotton fabrics in what might loosely call log cabin blocks. At least the fabric strips are obviously sewn around a center square, the defining character of a log cabin block. The layers not quilted together, they were tied with a yarn or string of some sort. The block on the left features the American flag and is dated 1886 (or 1888). The block on the right was made by Ruth (last name unreadable) and dated 1887. The quilt is reversible as a pieced top with just squares of fabric measuring about 2" square was used for the reverse side. There is cotton batting between the layers.

Looking at these quilt blocks we have to conclude that modern day quilters did not discover or invent or design what we call "wonky" log cabin blocks. It is always heart warming to see what's old is new again and to revel in continuing the wonderful traditions of quiltmaking.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Denver in 3 days

I just spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Denver. On Thursday night I spoke to the Arapahoe County Quilters, a guild of about 200 members. I flew into Denver on Wednesday, and had all day Thursday free before the evening meeting. My hostess, Lucy, took me to the Denver Quilt Museum in Golden. Antique Victorian crazy quilts made up the featured exhibit. It is an exhibit well worth seeing if you are in the area.

The store front entry to the downtown museum.

Here is an unusual crazy quilt. It is a skating costume created by a young victorian lady to wear to the skating rink. She has wooden platform skates. Roller skating was a very popular activity for young people in the late 19th century. 

A detail of a late 19th century crazy quilt. The quilt was first sewn in blocks, and the blocks were sewn together to complete the quilt top. The detail and embroidery in each of the blocks is exquisitely stitched to show the skills of the needleworkers who made the blocks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I have been so weary of all the political ads on TV that I have watched a lot of HGTV while I sew.  Before long I realized that a modest remodel would make my house a lot more user friendly and would also give me a nice, big sewing studio. Today the demolition started. My house is 100 years old. The contractor knew the wall that he was going to break through to add a double french door was a load bearing wall...but here is our demolition surprise.
Instead of a lathe and plaster wall the interior of the living room was tongue and groove paneling--the boards being as old as the house. After they were removed we realized that the wood on the other side of the studs is outdoor siding. The room that is now my computer room (and will soon be the library) started life as an outside porch with overlapping exterior wood siding. Amazing. Sometime after the house was built the porch was apparently enclosed to become a bedroom and a second, new porch was added to the front of the house. Contractor was not happy but he is continuing to tackle the problem. It's a lot more work to saw through wood instead of just smashing through plaster or wallboard with a sledge hammer.

Here is the other side of my once lovely living room. I am not worried about the sofa and chairs as I plan to have them reupholstered after the renovation is finished. It is now a workroom for the contractor.
I have an old fashioned shotgun house. If you stand at the front door with a shotgun you can shoot out the backdoor. There are four rooms at the front of the house, these are the ones being remodeled, and four rooms at the back of the house...this is where I am living and working until the renovation is complete. Right now I have my computer on the kitchen table. The dog is confused. She doesn't like change. She is getting lots of change. In the end we will both love it I am sure.

On Wednesday I am off to Denver to present a program to the Arapahoe Quilters. I hope when I get home on Friday that the door opening will be cut in the wall and the roof will still be intact at the top of the house and not caved in to the living room.

I am quite excited about the Denver trip. If you live nearby, come as a guest. I would love to meet any and all of you. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quilt Festival Fun

Home from Quilt Festival at last! After teaching 3 workshops and presenting other events in Houston that were all so well organized, I hit bottom at the airport. My flight was cancelled - the plane was broken and there was no part at the airport to fix it. There was just one more flight to Atlanta leaving that day and I was able to get a seat thanks to my million miler status with Delta. My bags are still in Houston, but should be delivered today but I got to sleep in my own bed last night. WHEW!

Janet and I taught the workshops together in Houston. On Friday it was Lickety-Split Log Cabin for a half day and on Saturday it was Magical Medallion quilts in circle of nine settings. One quilter, Beth, was in both classes. She finished 9 log cabin blocks on Friday and then told us she was planning to skip the medallion workshop on Saturday because she didn't have 9 quilt blocks ready - but now she did, so she was coming to class to make a Log Cabin Magical Medallion quilt.

Here's what happens when two workshops are combined into one fantastic quilt. I couldn't imagine log cabin blocks in a circle of nine setting, but Beth did it beautifully.

Janet Houts (my sister) and I are available to present programs and lead workshops (together or individually) at quilting guilds everywhere. Visit our websites: for me or for Janet. Our workshops, fees and email addys are posted for convenience.

Monday, October 29, 2012

doing the Texas 9 patch with Roscoe

here I am in Southlake Texas visiting my daughter's family. The most important member of the family is Roscoe. He really loves my quilts, especially when the weather gets a little cold. He likes to sleep under a quilt to keep warm. Here is Roscoe with my Double Nine Patch flannel quilt I made my son-in-law a few years ago. Don't tell Roscoe the quilt isn't really his. Roscoe is a rescue dog from the Humane Society but he believes he is king of the house and entitled to the best of everything...especially my quilts.

Your dog (or other family member) might like a nice warm double nine patch quilt too, so here are the instructions.

1. Cut (12) 2-1/2" x wof strips from red and blue fabrics
2. Cut (6) 2-1/2" x wof strips from gold fabric
3. Cut (24) 2-1/2" x wof strips from light beige fabrics.
4. Sew fourteen strip sets with 1 red, 1 blue and 1 beige strip. Recut the strips into 2-1/2" sections. 
5. Sew seven strip sets with 1 gold and 2 beige strips. Recut the strips into 2-1/2" sections.
6. Sew two red-beige-blue sections to each side of one beige-gold-beige section to make a Nine Patch block. Make 30 single 9 patch blocks for the six Double Nine Patch blocks and make 12 single nine patch blocks for the sashings. Cut (24) 6-1/2" squares to construct the Double Nine Patch blocks as shown in the illustration. 

7. Cut 17 6-1/2" x 18-1/2" sashing strips. Make 4 rows of 2 sashing strips and 3 nine patch setting squares.
Make 3 rows with 3 sashings and 2 blocks in each row. Alternate the sashing rows and the double nine patch rows to complete the quilt center. Add borders, then quilt as desired.

Quilt size without borders 54" x 78". Add 6" borders all around for a 66" x 90" quilt - great for a single bed or a winter nap on the sofa. Roscoe the rescue dog may be a miniature dachshund but he loves a really big soft and fuzzy quilt to roll up in.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I spent the last week teaching at the Georgia Quilt Show in metro Atlanta. It is sponsored by the Sewing Expo It is a very professionally run show and more than that, it was lots of fun. There is most likely a Sewing Expo event coming to a location near you, so check out their website and treat yourself to shopping the vendors, viewing the spectacular quilts on exhibit, and taking  great workshops by a variety of nationally known teachers.

For about two years I have been needing a new sewing machine. I have been checking out various brands and features. At the Georgia Quilt Show I taught in rooms with 3 different sewing machine brands. They were all great machines, but there was one that stood out because it was offering the particular features that I wanted the most. The Atlanta dealer, Discover Sewing offered a great deal that included a serger. I also wanted a serger but wasn't sure I would use it enough to justify the expense. The machine was a deal and the serger clinched the sale. 

I bought and brought both machines home with me. I decided I couldn't put them in the corner of my office where I am currently crunched in to sew so I started moving furniture from my den to the office and the sewing equipment to the den. I have been planning to repurpose these rooms for several months and decided it was time to do it! Some of the den furniture is also going into my living room. Right now only the dog uses the living room which is kind of silly. I am going to get a wall mount TV for the living room and rearrange the furniture so I can use it too. Move over Chloe, you are soon going to be sharing your space.

Every quilter needs a quilting studio. This is the beginning space for my new studio. There is still lots to do but until I start it will never get done. See my new Brother sewing machine in pride of place. Enough of this blogging...I am off to test drive my new machine while making log cabin demo steps for Quilt Market and Festival. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek of one of the quilts in my new book, Log Cabin Quilts, the Basics and Beyond. It is a traditional, but little known setting, called the Echo Setting. I think the photo is beautiful and it is just one of many "glamour" shots in the book. All of the quilts in the book (20 plus) are patterned. There are also photo lessons showing how to make a log cabin block the traditional way and using my new log cabin trim tool. You can pre-order the book from my website: I have been told the projected shipping month is December 2012.

Although I chose a traditional setting for my "Funtastic" quilt I used contemporary fabrics, a collection by Marcus Fabrics call Spintastic. I made half log cabin blocks for this setting to add movement and excitement to the setting that can also be made using a traditional log cabin block. This quilt was lots of fun to make especially using the log cabin trim tool. And that's what our new book is all about, having fun making log cabin quilts in both traditional and imaginative and innovative settings.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Butterfly Corners

Just to let you know....every quilt I have made in the last six months is not a log cabin quilt. I made this one small quilt to be featured in Gyleen Fitzgerald's new book, coming in 2013, titled The Queen's Court. The book will feature Gyleen's easy, innovative way to sew set-in patches. She calls her method "butterfly corners" which makes it sound like it will be fun to sew set-in corners...and it is. The set in corners are the big yellow squares adjacent to the narrow blue borders. I took the picture in front of my bookcase with all my sewing and quilting books with my iPhone.

Check out Gyleen's website She has a series of really great books that she self-publishes for quilters. My favorite is Quilts: Unfinished Stories with New Endings. I may have to change my favorite after The Queen's Court comes out. We will see.....

Monday, October 8, 2012

A busy October

October is going to be a very busy month. I am teaching at two large quilting events. The Georgia Quilt Show in my own backyard and the Houston Quilt Festival in Texas. I wish I could rest...but in November I have a weekend at my favorite place on earth, Kanuga and then off to Washington DC for Thanksgiving and my birthday - both on the same day this year. I will be visiting my youngest daughter and her family...can't wait to see 5 year old Cymia.

Waterfall by Jean Ann Wright

In the meantime I am sending an entry today for a juried show to be held this winter in Mapleton GA for modern quilts. Not wanting to leave my Log Cabin Trim Tool behind, I experimented with piecing geometric shapes together then cutting the strips so I have pieced strips with little slivers of color mixed amongst the white strips. Then I made the blocks with the trim tool. Here is what I made....what do you think? Could this be a workshop for the future? Would you like to try it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Check Up

I went in for my annual check-up today. My health all checked out okay.  Then I spent the morning giving advice on sewing and quilting to the nurse and to the doctor.

The nurse had to fill out a long questionnaire about my daily activities, etc. She came to the conclusion that I was busy and happy. Could have told her that without all the questions! When she came to my occupation and I said quilt maker...she said I want to learn to quilt and I am going to the Georgia Quilt Show in 2 weeks. I said, "I am teaching!" After asking about my classes she decided to sign up for the Pretty Boxes workshop.

Two of my workshops, Lickety-Split Log Cabin and Pineapples are full. All that is left to fill up is Pretty Boxes and Jiggling Jelly Rolls, plus the machine quilting class. 

The the doctor came in, read my info and saw that I am a quiltmaker. He said, "My wife wants to learn how to sew and make quilts. So I told him about the Georgia Quilt Show and then recommeded she check out Ashby's Sewing Center in Kennesaw. It's the closest sewing studio to his home. He wrote down the information and said they would check it out this weekend.

I am healthy, and the doctor and nurse are interested in sewing. Life is beautiful. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Did I make that?

Taking a nostalgia trip through my computer files for quilts made years ago I discovered this quilt I made about 15 years know when country colors were queen of quilt-land. Way back then I was already playing with layouts for log cabin blocks and came up with this one. Could this have been a hint of books to come?

 I have made the quilt one more bright crayon colors with a snappy Kaffe Fassett fabric for the borders.The photo of the new quilt and the instructions to make this log cabin quilt are in our new book, Log Cabin Quilts, the Basics and Beyond.  The book is presently in production (on sale December 1) and can be ordered from my website:

I am teaching a log cabin workshop at the Georgia Quilt show in two weeks and at the Houston Quilt Festival the first weekend in November. There is only one spot left at the Georgia Quilt show and the Houston class is filling fast. Hope to see some of you in Georgia or Texas. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Newland Quilt Guild Workshop

I spent last week in Newland NC teaching a Lickety-split Log Cabin Workshop to the Newland quilters. One of the Quilters, Linda Covar Owens was my best friend in high school. She is new to sewing and to quilting. In high school Linda was really involved in dance and I sort of sewed my way through school, making my own clothes and designing and making the costumes for the annual school musicals. Here is Linda working on her blocks.

I had quilters in the workshop from very beginners to long-time experienced quilters. The best thing about using the Log Cabin Trim Tool is that beginners...

can easily use this no-math, no-measure method for perfect first-time blocks and experienced quilters...

love sewing a fast and perfect block every time. You can order the trim tool from my webpage: - if you belong to a quilt guild in the southeast, I would love to come to your guild for a program and/or workshop. Information is also on my website.

I am teaching the Lickety-split Log Cabin Workshops Oct 18-20 at the Georgia quilt show, in Duluth, Georgia and the first weekend of November at the Houston Quilt Festival, There are still a few openings in each of the workshops, but sign up soon if you want to sign up and start your way making stacks and stacks of log cabin blocks!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Log Cabin Quilts - Basics and Beyond

For the past year my sister and I have been working on our 3rd book, Log Cabin Quilts – the basics and beyond. The quilts are made, the instructions are finished and all has been sent to the publisher. One of the most exciting parts of this process is to see what the book cover will look like. To sell the book quilters must first be enticed to pick up the book and look inside to see the contents. It is the cover that provides this enticement. This cover is is sure to tempt quilters and then some.

Our overall concept in writing the book is to have it become the "go to" book for making log cabin quilts from the most basic to the creative and innovative. 

In the chapter on basics we present seven classic settings for log cabin quilts that come from traditional quilts. We researched antique quilts to find these settings. Some of them you will be familiar with and others are not seen as often. The two most popular settings are straight furrows and barn raising. This is the barn raising setting.

Last year at Quilt Festival two of my good friends, Gyleen Fitzgerald and Beth Ridder volunteered to make a quilt for the book. Gyleen made a Courthouse Steps using her own hand dyed fabrics. Beth took up my offer to send fabrics from my stash to make a quilt design I selected. I asked her to make the barn raising and here is the result. Beth is a fantastic longarm quilter and the quilting is phenomenal. 

In the Stepping Out chapter we present ten contemporary settings for arranging log cabin blocks. All of the quilts in the book can be made using the Log Cabin Trim Tool and the Log Cabin Trim Tool Two. We also give cutting instructions to make the blocks without the tools. The book has photo lessons showing how to make the basic log cabin block so a beginning quilter can enjoy sewing this popular quilt.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Circle of Nine - taking flight

My first book, Circle of Nine, that I wrote with my sister is almost sold out....of the second printing! UPS just delivered the last carton of 24 copies and we are not sure if the publisher is going to do a third printing. If you are interested in this book, best order it now from my website:

Here is one of the projects featured in the book. It is called Taking Flight. It is a very easy quilt to make and full instructions are in the book. After you finish making Taking Flight there are 23 additional circle of nine quilt projects to keep you busy sewing for weeks to come. The book is only $24.95 and when you compare the cost of any quilt book to the cost of a pattern (patterns usually cost about $10), then a book with 24 patterns is a real bargain.

I like this quilt because of the cheerful fabrics and "Palm Beach" colors. I grew up in Palm Beach so  fabrics with surf and sand colors capture my attention and just beg to become a quilt. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

September - Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Today's post isn't about quilting. It's about September...Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. My granddaughter who is now 17 years old was diagnosed 5 years ago with CML leukemia. Unknown to us, she was born with leukemia, but we didn't find out until she was 13 when she was suddenly in crisis. Two weeks in Scottish Rite hospital in Atlanta and the wonderful treatment she received there saved her life. The generosity of the many people who have donated to childhood cancer research has provided a particular chemo that continues to save her life. I have two pictures to share. One is of Madeline, a happy, healthy 17 year old with a full, active life while living with cancer. She is a senior in high school and looking forward to college.

The next picture is not as exciting. It is a picture of her medicine. It is delivered monthly to her home by express delivery. It is very, very expensive and someone must be home to sign for it as it cannot be left on the door step and must be refrigerated right away. Here is the box delivering life saving chemo to Madeline who would not have lived more than a year after her diagnosis without it.

Our family became suddenly aware of the vital importance of helping to fund childhood cancer research. The whole family, in many different ways, helps the Rally Foundation –, an organization that raises money to fund that research. If you have a chance to support someone who is raising funds for childhood cancer research, think of Madeline and all the children like her who are living because of the generosity of others and your good will to theirs.

Monday, September 3, 2012

week #5 Sunbonnet Sleuth

Here is the big reveal....the Back to School Mystery Quilt. It's a school of fish! Directions to finish the quilt follow the photo of the quilt.

Cutting and Sewing Sashings:

1. Cut (15) sashings 3" x 10-1/2" (measurements INCLUDE seam allowances)
2. Alternate 3 fish blocks with 3 sashing strips to make a row. There are 5 rows. Note that three rows have fish swimming towards the right and two rows have the fish swimming left. 
3. Sew the rows together alternating the rows so the fish change directions from top to bottom.

Cutting and Sewing Borders:

4. Cut (5) 1-1/2" x wof strips, sew together end-to end the cut as follows: (2) inside borders 1-1/2" x 50-1/2" and sew to opposite sides of the quilt. and (2) inside borders 1-1/2" x 40" and sew to the top and bottom of the quilt.
5. Cut (5) 5-1/2" x wof strips, sew together end-to end the cut as follows: (2) outside borders 5-1/2" x 52-1/2" and sew to opposite sides of the quilt and (2) outside top/bottom borders 4-1/2" x 50" and sew to the top/bottom of the quilt.

Binding: use same fabric as inside borders and cut (6) 2-1/4" x wof strips. Sew together end-to-end.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jiggling Jelly Rolls expand

I took my Jelly Roll with 20 white/black strips and 20 bright color strips (5 strips in each of 4 colors) to make the sample for my workshop at the Georgia Quilt Show in Gwinnett this October I was having so much fun making these blocks with the Log Cabin Trim Tool that I just couldn't stop. I made 12 additional blocks and turned a square quilt into a rectangle.

Then I decided I needed a bolder border for the larger quilt, so I added a black border cut 2-1/2" wide, the same width as the jelly roll strips in the block and topped it with my clever folded narrow accent border.

Here is how I do my folded accent border: I cut fabric 1-1/2" wide and sewed the strips together using a bias joining at the seams to minimize the seam allowance. Then I folded the long strip in half lenghth-wise and firmly pressed the fold line. Then the narrow accent border is fused in place using the steam-a-seam two fusing material that comes in a roll, precut to 1/2" wide. I followed the manufacturer's directions to do the fusing. After fusing the narrow border I top-stitched it in place on the black border.

Next I cut the black and white print 5-1/2" wide times the length of fabric. Lately I have been buying enough fabric to cut borders on the length of the fabric without having to seam them together when I am making a small quilt. I needed 1-1/2 yards because I added the side borders first then the top and bottom. I trimmed the borders to size after sewing them in place.

Here is the virtual quilt diagram I worked from to sew the top together. The quilt itself is on my longarm machine and I going to finish quilting it today. 

The directions for both the smaller square quilt and this expanded larger quilt will be included in the pattern handout for my workshop at the Sewing Expo's Georgia Quilt Show this October.

There are still places available in the workshop, so sign up now! This is a class that allows you to bring your own fabric or purchase a fabric kit from the workshop leader (that's me). 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week 4, Sunbonnet Sleuth Mystery

Here is the 4th week clue for the Back To School Mystery. This week completes the blocks for the quilt. Next week you will get the scheme for the quilt layout so you can finish your quilt over the Labor Day weekend. I will be going to Art On The Square in old Marietta. It is a lovely weekend event and I plan to buy some new earrings from one of my favorite artist vendors. Who knows what else I might find.

1. Cut fifteen 5-1/2" x 10-1/2" rectangles of the purple fabric. Cut thirty 5-1/2" squares of the light blue or aqua background fabric.

2. Position one of the light 5-1/2" squares at one end of the purple rectangle with right sides together. Sew from corner to corner. Trim away excess fabric 1/4" from stitching line. Fold out triangle and press seam line.

3. Repeat step 2 in the opposite corner of the rectangle to make a flying geese unit. Make a total of 15 units. 

4. Using the units made in Week 3, join the fishy fins and the fish head together to complete the block.

5. Using a quarter for a template cut 15 round black eyes from felt or fabric, or use a quarter size button to add an eye to each of the blocks.

This completes week 4.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sewing Expo Workshops

Announcement! I have been contracted to teach at the Georgia Quilt Show this October 18, 19 and 20. Workshop enrollments opened this week. I am offering five workshops, four with strip piecing techniques and one free motion quilting. Sign up for classes at the Sewing Expo website. The listing for the Georgia Quilt Show is at the bottom of the double column list of shows.  

Here are the my workshop quilts. Lickety-split Log Cabin, Pretty Boxes, Trash To Treasure Pineapple and Jiggling Jelly Rolls. Something new for the Sewing Expo, you can now bring your own fabric (BYOF) or you can buy a fabric kit from the teacher, your choice.

I am really excited about joining the Sewing Expo roster of teachers. They run a really professional event with a judged exhibit with cash prizes a large vendor area and lots of workshops. There are Sewing Expo events coming to a city near you! Try Birmingham Al Sept 20, Chantilly VA Oct 4, Kansas City Oct 11, Minneapolis Nov 8, Tinley Park IL Nov 15, all in 2012. In 2013, back to Atlanta, then to Lakeland FL, Cleveland, Schaumburg, IL, and Worcester MA.

If you live near any of these areas, you don't want to miss the event.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week #3 Sunbonnet Sleuth Mystery

Time for the next step in making this quilt. This is such an easy mystery to sew that I feel guilty for making it so simple. Maybe the next one will be more of a challenge.

Cut (8) 5-7/8" squares from each of the hot pink and the bright yellow fabrics. Cut each square in half on the diagonal to make (16) half square triangles in each color. Using 15 of the half-square triangles in each color, sew to the units made in Week #2 of the mystery. Easy-peasy. :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zany Zinnias

My Log Cabin Trim Tool Two is here at last. I have been playing with making blocks that we don't see as typically coming from a Log Cabin construction. Here is a courthouse steps variation with just two rounds of strips around a center square. I used the 12" side of the trim tool, fussy cutting the 3" flower centers from the leftover border fabric. The finished strips in the rounds are 1-1/2" and the block finished size is 9". I just couldn't stop making blocks and ended up with 35 of them for a pretty good size quilt. With the new trim tool I made the whole quilt measuring 60" x 78" in just 3 days. Incredible.

The Log Cabin Trim Tool Two can be ordered from my website:
Here is what the tool looks like. You can see that the centering squares for 6" blocks start in one corner of the tool and the centering squares for 12" blocks start in the opposite corner. Two blocks from one tool...economical and versatile. What could be better!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Week 2 Sunbonnet Sleuth Mystery

Are you ready to cut and sew. Once again we are going to make the quilt week-by-week and unit-by-unit. Here is your first set of identical units.

How is this for simple sewing! This is going to be a quick and easy mystery. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's The Cat's House

I am new at blogging, so you will have to forgive me if I am a little slow to figure things out. One of the quilters following my blog has a blog of her own. Jan, The Calico Quilter, from Chattanooga is author if the blog she calls It's the Cat's House, I just live here.
Check it out, you will like it! I have signed up as a follower and can't wait to see everything that Jan is making. 

Jan made the Have A Cuppa Sunbonnet Sleuth mystery and she has finished her quilt top. To read all about it follow this link to see what Jan has to say:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Week #1 Sunbonnet Sleuth Mystery

A Back To School Mystery...I am really into listening to mysteries this week. Still working on the series by Charles Todd with a WWI nursing sister as the main mystery sleuth... When Bess gets back to England she discovers the killer has shot, but not killed a young woman at a farmhouse. Bess bundles her into a dog cart (not everyone had cars in 1916) trots her off to the local doctor's clinic. The nurse at the clinic takes one look at the gunshot patient and says, "I'd better go get us all a cup of tea!" I LOVE this series!

At any rate, tea has absolutely nothing to do with the new Sunbonnet Sleuth mystery quilt. Instead, it is more about people who live in Atlanta GA do in August. Off to the beach, then back to school. Wonder how I am going to fit beach and school into one quilt? You gotta start sewing to find out!

Here are your fabric requirements. The finished quilt measures 49-1/2" wide x 64" long. The blocks are 10" x 10". The four fabrics on the top row are used in the blocks along with the pale aqua on the second row. The other 3 aqua fabrics are for sashings, borders and binding. 

As for beach vacations before heading off to school, here is my youngest granddaughter Cymia (on the right), with her cousin Madeline (on the left) enjoying a bumper boat ride at Rehoboth Beach, VA while on their end of summer vacation with the family. The girls are both 5 yrs old and are best of friends.