Saturday, February 23, 2013

Idaho Excusion

On Friday I flew to Idaho to visit my sister who lives in Bellevue, a small town in Sun Valley. I barely managed to fly in hours ahead of a snow storm that hit Friday night. I am here so we can finish writing our second book on Circle of Nine Quilts "the sequel". It will be filled with lots of good things we have learned from teaching Circle of Nine workshops for the past two years, in other words all the questions you wished you could ask if only you could take the workshop.

Back to the snowstorm. Here is what I woke up to Saturday morning! We have to walk about 50 feet from Janet's house to her studio where we write and make quilts. This is the view from the house front door to the studio doors (the orange light in the photo). Crunch, crunch, across newly fallen snow. I walked it in my flannel pajamas with a fleece Kanuga vest for warmth...and my Ugg boots for really warm feet.

Later Saturday morning we left for the local quilt shop The Granary in nearby Hailey, Idaho for an all day book signing of our just published book, Log Cabin Quilts, the Basics and Beyond, and demo of my Log Cabin Trim Tool. We took along a collection of quilts for display. Some really intrepid quilters from Gooding, Idaho, were the first to arrive. They were loads of fun and the perfect way to start a quilting event. Here is our group photo. 

From lt to rt, Janet Houts, Jenny Koski, Jean Ann Wright, Pat Wagner & Jenea Swanson

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

over the finish line

Last fall my sister and I taught a Circle of Nine workshop at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. We had a full class and a full day of designing Circle of Nine quilts. One of the workshop participants, Brenda Middleton, just emailed a photo of her finished quilt.

Here is what Brenda has to say about her quilt, "I am happy with the quilt.  It is for my granddaughter's "bed at Grandma's".  The borders hang perfectly over the sides and that big patch by the top is the pillow tuck."'

Here is Brenda's quilt. We love getting photos of quilts started in our workshops and then finished at home. It's really gratifying to know workshop projects don't always end up in the UFO box.

"Good job, Brenda!"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Good Morning America

In addition to teaching quilting, I also teach a Sunday School Class at St. James Episcopal Church in Marietta, GA.

A member of my Sunday School class, Asa Valente, will be interviewed on Monday morning Feb 18, between 8 and 9 AM on Good Morning America. She is part of the segment with info about GMA host Robin Roberts and her stem cell transplant.

A couple of years ago Asa received a stem cell transplant due to her leukemia. She is cancer free and healthy today. If you can, watch Good Morning America and see how the gift of a transplant can bring the gift of new life to Robin Roberts, to Asa and to many others. 

St.James Marietta in Spring, a season of new life, a gift every person living with cancer deserves.

All of you know that I am very interested in leukemia research because my granddaughter, Madeline, has leukemia. Hers is managed with daily chemo meds that keep her in remission. Should the meds ever fail (we pray not) then a bone marrow or stem cell transplant would be one of the options. The organization that has helped my granddaughter the most is the Rally Foundation for childhood cancer.

Here is my family at a Rally Foundation event. Madeline is second from the left. She is flanked by her two brothers and my daughter and son-in-law are on the right. Only 18, Madeline often speaks at these events in Atlanta to emphasize the importance of childhood cancer research and how it saves lives. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

fan mail

Like all quilting divas, I just love fan mail. If you email me I consider it fan mail no matter your comment or question. This past week I got an email from Sharleen who needed help getting her log cabin blocks together. I totally identified with her because for years I had the same problem she was having...until I figured out a way to overcome the challenge.

What was Sharleen's challenge? Knowing which direction to sew the next strip to the log cabin block. Now that may seem simple enough but when you have dyslexia like I do, it can be daunting to keep track of where to put that next fabric strip.

Sharleen: "I keep adding logs on the wrong side.  Any tips?"

Jean Ann: "Here is how I keep myself going in the right direction:
1. I always add the new log to the top side of the portion of the block I am working on.
2. I always add the new log in a clockwise direction. I turn the sewn portion of the block to the left (counterclockwiseP so the new strip can be added in the clockwise direction.
3. After the first round of logs has been added all around the center square, pressed and trimmed with the Log Cabin Trim Tool, then I know that each new log to be added will be sewn on the side of the block across two seams from the previously sewn round.

Sharleen: "Oh, I like that two seam hint. As soon as I get this ripped out , I'll be trying that. Thanks for your speedy reply!"

Sharleen's Log Cabin Quilt

Sharleen: "After getting your tip, it all went together better and I'm starting on the layout. I can't appreciate the pattern so much "in person" but I can see in a photo that it's all working out.  Thanks so much!"

Sharleen used my Log Cabin Trim Tool to make her blocks. You can get it at your local quilt shop or from my website:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

like mother, like daughter

My dad was an artist, in a genre now known as Sunday artists. The means he had another job during the week (he was a chef), but on the weekend he painted. It is no surprise that 3 of his 4 daughters are artists. On to the next generation and some of our daughters are also artists. 

My youngest daughter, Heidi, is an exhibit designer at the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. First she got a BA in Fine Arts, then a masters in Architecture to qualify for the position. Needless to say, I am a proud mother. Here is the sign to a new exhibit, Time and Navigation, to open in late March at the museum. The sign was designed by Heidi and the graphics are by her co-worker, Ashley.

This is a very large sign to hang at the entrance of the exhibit. Heidi says it is a huge glockenspiel with parts (submarine, ship, plane, etc) that light up to grab your attention and draw you into the exhibit.

About 20 years ago I made a quilt that reminds me of Heidi's sign. Here is my quilt with a Mariner's Compass center, stars and celestial print borders.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

And the Winner is....

The Dotty Do Little mystery is over and it is time for the big reveal. The reveal of the winner of my new book, Log Cabin Quilts, the Basics and Beyond, is---


Rosa left 2 comments over the 5 weeks of the mystery so her name was entered into the drawing two times. Congratulations Rosa!

The other big reveal is the Dotty Do Little quilt that I made. I didn't have enough of the white polka dot for the outside border so I used a big, happy print. I think I would have liked the white polka dot better, but I am determined to sew down my stash. To be more of a modern quilt, the white polka dot is a must have for the borders.

I love this quilt and I have a young couple I am quite fond of, and if their baby (due next month) is a girl it's going to be their baby quilt. I hope the colors work with their nursery. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Log Cabin Play

I have so many log cabin blocks in little stacks around my sewing room that I decided it was time to put some of them into quilts. Here is a 36 block quilt using a design layout created by my sister, Janet Houts. We use this as a log cabin workshop with the log cabin trim tool

I love scrap quilts and this one uses a variety of strips cut from my batik stash. I have been buying fat quarters of batiks for years and finally started using them to make log cabin quilts for my books and workshops. Batiks make great log cabin quilts. They are so rich in color and pattern. You can see I used every "crayon" in my box with this one. Pink, orange, red, blue, teal, purple, green, you name it, that color is in this quilt. The lights have tints of all these colors and add to the richness of the overall quilt.

How do you plan a scrap quilt? You don't! There is only one easy rule. As you add each new strip, pick one that looks good next to the strip that you are adding it to. How easy is that? I tried to have a good variety of color on the dark side of each block...some hots, some cools, some dark, some medium values, etc. When the quilt was put together there was a good mix overall.

This quilt had to be arranged on a design wall. The blocks twist and turn in a new way and getting everyone of them in the right direction was a real challenge. Now I just have to think of a name for the quilt, any ideas?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Week #5 Dottie Do Little Mystery

At last! Sunbonnet Sleuth is solving our mystery. What to do with all those blocks? Let's sew them together in rows...vertical rows, rows that go up and down.

Quilt Assembly

The quilt is sewn together in vertical rows. Each vertical row has 2 Blocks A,  2 Blocks B, 1 Block C and 1 Block D. The assembly diagram shows how I arranged the blocks in rows to make my quilt.

Quilt Assembly Diagram

You can arrange your rows exactly like mine or you can play with an arrangement of your own for each row. Just remember, each row must have 2 Blocks A, 2 Blocks B, 1 Block C and 1 Block D in each row.  A design wall is a great help in making your own arrangement. You can place the blocks on the wall then step back to see how you like your arrangement. You can play with changing blocks around until you get an arrangement pleasing to your eye. Then just sew it all together.

Now to cut and sew the borders. Yes, that's right we are going to finish the quilt top this week. Quilts made in the modern style use lots of white and also use gray. So I used white borders with gray binding to give the quilt a modern frame.

Next week I will show the photograph of my finished quilt and announce the winner of the Log Cabin Quilts book that my sister and I wrote. Remember to leave a comment. Your name will be entered each week as you leave comments, that way you will be added to the giveaway more than once.

Sunbonnet Sleuth Mystery #6 will begin the first week of March.