Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Back to Basics

Every morning I check my facebook page to keep up with my family. This morning I was surprised to see my Country Retreat Log Cabin quilt at the top of the page. Since I design rulers for Creative Grids I have "friended" their facebook page so I know when one of my rulers is featured.
I love this photo. Of course, I see this quilt the last thing every night and first thing every morning as it rests on my very own bed. I made it to use up my scraps with prints representing fabric designs from the end of the 19th century. Pattern and ruler are available on my website

Monday, December 7, 2015

A quilt for baby....

Where do my daughters shop when they need a baby gift? In my quilt stash, of course. A couple months ago my daughter came to help me hang some's really great having an exhibits designer at the Smithsonian Institution expertly hang all your pictures and arrange your collectibles. This time there was a payback for the photo arrangement. Heidi needed a baby gift for a co-worker and she knew just where to shop.

I pulled out all the small quilts in my stash and let Heidi choose one for the baby shower gift. She decided that a richly colored quilt would suit this baby the best. So glad the baby is a girl as the fabrics and color are very girly.
Here is newborn Farah Ahmed taking a nap on her quilt. 
The "Wings" quilt by Jean Ann Wright, a pattern for Cut Loose Press that uses my Log Cabin Trim Tool Two. Pattern and ruler can be ordered from my website

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Techno-dog Time Out

My quilts turn up everywhere! Here is a star quilt in my favorite setting. I made it about 20 years ago. Now it lives in my daughter's keeping room. Family dog, Woody, finds it a perfect place to take a nap. He has finished his computer search for a better bone and stuffed his cell phone in the pocket in the back pocket of his sweater while settling down for a post-Thanksgiving dinner nap.
The blocks in this quilt are the simple Sawtooth Star...8" size and then each block is squared off with big quarter square triangles that position the stars "on point". Then just sew the blocks together to finish the quilt. I used star blocks but any block can be set on point using quarter square triangles. These stars are 8" blocks (finished size). To figure the size of the triangles add 1-1/4" to the finished size of the block (in this case it comes to 9-1/4". Then cut the triangle in half on the diagonal twice to make 4 triangles. The block with triangles added will come out to an odd size, but if they are all the same size they will sew together with ease.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Destination: Deb's Cats n Quilts

I'm spending Thanksgiving in North Carolina with my daughter's family. Ellen picked me up at the Atlanta airport and we drove up to Black Mountain via Hendersonville. Since we were passing through  Hendersonville, I had her stop at Deb's Cats N Quilts so I could surprise my long time quilting buddy, Deb Heatherly. I popped my head in her Saturday AM class and, yes, she was surprised.
We are standing in front of a display of quilts made from our rulers. The Curvy Log Cabin quilt uses the 8" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool, The little Square on Square quilt uses the 6" Square On Square Trim Tool. The star quilt uses Deb's Strippy Stars Ruler. and the quilt in the bottom left corner uses Deb's Cat's Cradle Ruler.

When you find yourself driving in the southeast, drive through Hendersonville and take the time to stop and visit Deb's Cats n Quilts. You'll be glad you did. She has lots and lots of fabric and a big collection of gadgets....not to mention all of the Creative Grids rulers and trim tools.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Quilters Rule!

My Georgia driver's license expires on Monday. I devoted this week to obtaining a Washington DC license. It took 4 days.

Tuesday: I took complete DMV forms (2 of them) to my eye doctor and my primary care doctor to get a medical sign off.

Wednesday: Off to the DMV armed with doctor's forms, social security card, GA license and two utility bills (to prove I live in DC). Stop! No birth certificale, no license. REALLY! Back home and a two hour search later I found the certificate.

Thursday: I decided to get my expired passport renewed for backup documentation, just in case the DMV didn't accept my birth certificate. A visit to the passport office at the US Post Office. Mission complete, the passport is on its way.

Friday: Back to the DMV with my funny little birth certificate, black background with white printing. It's a photograph of a microfiche record. I was born before copy machines. I wasn't sure if DMV would accept such an ancient certificate. I walked right in, got a number for my turn, and it was called right away. I went to the designated clerk and presented all my documentation. She was examining the forms and noticed that my occupation was listed as Quiltmaker. She said, I'm a quilter, I meet with a group called DC Threads in your area of town, come join us. She breezed right through my paperwork. In less than 30 minutes I had my new license. No hassle today, just lots of happy quilt talk. We need to infiltrate quilters everywhere so the whole world can be happy.

Here is a happy quilt I made several years ago. It's called Delectable Mountains. I'm sharing it in honor of celebrating my birthday in the mountains.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Jolly good news

Now that I live in Washington DC and have to drive 30 to 40 minutes to reach a quilt shop that is only 12  miles and two interstate highways away, I order most of my fabrics from It comes in a day or two and there is nothing like getting a package of fabric in your mailbox to brighten your day.

Their blog, Fat Quarter Shops Jolly Jabber found through this link just listed their staff's favorite rulers...all by Creative Grids©. I was excited to see that Kimberly's favorite my very first ruler, the 8" Log Cabin Trim Tool. If you haven't visited the Fat Quarter Shop website, I recommend it. Also follow the blog, the Jolly Jabber for lots of good information for quilters.
Thanks Kimberly for loving my tool. I love your site for having my favorite fabrics just a mouse click away. 

Another favorite is the Stripology ruler by Gudrun Erla. I use this ruler to cut the strips for all my rulers. It has marks along the bottom of the ruler showing where to cut for 1-1/2" and 2-1/2" strips so I don't have to think when cutting these sizes, just slice at the square symbol or the star symbol. For 2" strips I can do the math, counting by 2's, a skill I acquired in 2nd grade. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Jewel of a Quilt

For the past month I have been having lots of fun making 4" log cabin blocks. Hoping to have a ruler for this size soon! Here is one I finished on Sunday. It takes just 2 days to make one of these cute little quilts. One day to piece the blocks and a second day to sew them together, and free motion quilt it. I can try out lots of setting ideas for my blocks without a big investment of time or fabric when I sew 4" blocks. . The name of this collection is Joyful by Quilted Koala, and it is by Andover Fabrics -

I named this quilt Gemstones because the colors remind me of sapphires, rubies and onyx with pearly white for the background. I had the black and white paisley fabric for the border in my stash. I think it makes a perfect frame.

Tomorrow I am off to Houston TX for the annual Quilt Market. I will be seeing lots of new products and I plan to take pictures of my favorites to show on this blog after I get home. This is going to be exciting.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Its a winner! Circle of Nine

Here's how it happened......
On Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 8:14 AM, Alissa wrote:
Hello! I love your circle of nine quilt book/design and I am finally creating one of my own!  :) Please may I have your permission to enter it in a local county fair competition? I will gladly give reference to the two of you and your "Circle of Nine" in my submission. Thank you for your consideration! Alissa Mills

My reply: Of course you may enter your Circle of Nine quilt in a local county fair competition. And thank you for thinking to ask for permission and for giving reference to Circle of Nine in the submission. I would love to see a photo of your quilt....perhaps on display at the fair? JA
Today: Good morning! My quilt got a blue ribbon at the Clay County Fair :) and a friend of mine loves it and has a perfect place for it so I gave it to her :) Here is a picture of the quilt. It's mostly pieced but the center square is appliqu├ęs. I loved doing the circle of nine concept! Many blessings to you. Alissa

Today's reply: Alissa, your quilt is just beautiful! I am thrilled that you won a blue ribbon for it. It may be our setting but you chose the blocks and made the quilt with expertise to win that ribbon! I have put it on my blog for everyone to see. JA

There are 3 editions in the Circle of Nine book series co-authored by myself and my sister, Janet Houts. They are available for the special sale price of $17.50 each on my website

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cotton Candy

Back to making log cabins. This one has 4" blocks. I pieced all he blocks and sewed them into a quilt in just one day. After dinner I layered the quilt sandwich. The next morning I started free motion quilting about 7 AM. I finished the quilting (with a break for breakfast and walking the dog). Then I put the binding on and had lunch. I love these little blocks they are so cute and it doesn't take long to make a quilt. This was just plain fun and I can try all kinds of setting ideas with my favorite log cabin blocks with a small investment of time and materials.
I named this one Cotton Candy.

Monday, October 5, 2015

So Many little racks

For years I have been storing my rulers in ruler racks on my cutting table. My ruler inventory has grown with my own rulers and with other Creative Grids© rulers. Saturday my daughter came over to install some peg board on the back of a solid closet door in my studio. When the door is closed the rulers are in hiding. When I want a ruler I just open the door and there they are, hanging in place and easy to find.
You can see I have an old fashioned wood panel door and we had to add the peg board both above and below the door knob. Some of my rulers still have their labels attached, but I also have a notebook with clear plastic pockets in it to store the labels with directions to use the rulers for the rulers that I use the most often. This includes the directions for my own rulers as I still do refer to them when I am cutting and using the rulers. The ruler racks on my cutting table now just hold the rulers I use the most often.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Big Reveal! My new Trim Tools with Creative Grids

Quilters have been asking me for a tool to sew and trim perfect Square on Square block. It took me two years to work out how to do this new trim tool because it uses triangles instead of strips. Then one night, I woke up in the middle of the night, and wella! the solution just popped right into my head. Creative Grids was so excited about the new ruler they decided to introduce it in two sizes: 6" and 8". The rulers and patterns can be ordered from my website or ask for them at your local quilt shop.
To see a youtube demonstration of the rulers follow this link:

I have six patterns to go with the rulers, 3 patterns in each size. Here are the quilts with 6" blocks. La Petite Fleur, Team Colors and Little Widgits

Here are the quilts with 8" Square on Square blocks. The quilts are Penny Candy, Pinwheels on Parade and Sew Many Snails. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sewing all day

Today is a great day. I get to sew all day. I am making the Basket of Eggs quilt I designed for the Little House on the Prairie collection called Prairie Flowers for Andover fabrics. The neat thing about this hexagon pattern is the connecting triangles. When they are added to the hexagons as shown in the directions you put the quilt together without any "Y" seams. Just make straight rows, then sew the rows together. So easy!

Here is the link to download the pattern:

When you get there click on Quilts and Patterns in the menu bar just above the fabric swatches.  It is a FTU (free to use) download of the pattern so you can make the quilt. I have been designing quilts for Andover Fabrics for several years now. All of the patterns I design for them are FTU patterns.

These fabrics will be in your local quilt shop this fall. They are scheduled to be released in early November.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Solar Sisters

This past Saturday I went to a quilt exhibit, Quilting For A Change, at the Artist & Makers Studios in Rockville, Maryland Artists have studios here where they work, teach classes and sell their and there are changing exhibits open to the public.

I took some photos of quilts in the Solar Sister room Solar Sister is a non-profit that empowers women by teaching them the potential of solar technology to bring electric power. They provide a woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope and opportunity to remote communities in rural Africa.

The name of this quilt is Light & Shadows Parts 1 & 2. Made by Timna Tarr, South Hadley, MA
The quilting was very closely spaced diagonal lines making the illusion of a corduroy like fabric across the surface of the 2 pieces.

There was no identification tag close to this quilt, but I was very taken with the color and movement. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Cheering for Madeline

Every year our family supports September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It is IMPORTANT to us because my granddaughter, Madeline Gaffney is celebrating her 7th year as a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with leukemia just 3 days before her 14th birthday. Many years of research and many dollars were given to finding the medication that she takes everyday to keep her leukemia in remission. We are very thankful for all of the people who gave of themselves so Madeline can not only live, but live life to it's fullest. 

Madeline is a junior at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and this year she is a cheerleader for the football games. Last night was her first game. Madeline is on the far left.

Georgia Tech painted big gold ribbons on the field for the game...Gold ribbons are the color and symbol for childhood cancer. Madeline is in the back line...the one with the highest kick! The top right shows the big gold ribbon.

And a word from her mom, my second daughter: "Today I am that annoying stage mom who posts too many pictures of her child doing something she loves. I won't apologize because I'm her cheerleader and I thank God every day that she is here. Day 3 Childhood Cancer Awareness month." Ellen Gaffney

Ellen volunteers for the Rally Foundation. Rally raises $$$ for research and provides support and events for the children. Here is the link:

Did you know? Only 4% of the money for cancer research is used to research new medicines and treatments for childhood cancer. Our children are worth more than 4%!

Monday, August 31, 2015

quilt studio visit

Recently I was interviewed for a video segment on The Quilt Show. It will be a feature focusing on a quilter's studio visit at home. A photo crew came to my little 800 sq ft apartment in Washington DC and taped the segment that will appear sometime in late 2015 or in 2016. As soon as I know when I'll let you know. Here is a photo sent to me...taken during the photo taping. I have permission to share.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A doggone quilt

Do you know what happens when you gift your children with quilts? They end up in all kinds of places. My second daughter, Ellen, has 3 dogs, all rescues. One from a fire, the others from living as "dumpster dogs", a term for abandoned dogs found eating out of dumpsters. Some kind person found them and took them to a shelter. The rescue people know my daughter is a softie so she adopted them. Here they are living a luxurious life....on one of my quilts!
Look at the bottom right corner, this is a Log Cabin quilt made years ago before I invented my Log Cabin Trim Tools by Creative Grids©. Wimby is on the left, she contracted an infection while living in the dumpster and she is blind. Next to her is Winston, named for Winston Churchill. He was just 6 lbs and ost nearly all his hair from malnutrition. He's now well fed and beautiful and healthy. At the back is Woody, short for Woodrow (named for president Woodrow Wilson) and rescued from the fire. I am happy to share one of my quilts with 3 little guys who are now loved and cared for by their new human parents. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Curvy Creativity

Curvy rocks! Look at the two new Cut Loose Press patterns for the Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tools. I think these rulers can go on and on. There are so many ways to put the blocks together. Your only limitation is your own imagination. Of course, if you just want to get down and get sewing try making these projects with precuts. Fascination used 2.5" precut strips and Roundabout is cut from a stack of 10" layer cake squares. Both quilts are designed by Camilla Quilts. Look for the patterns at your local quilt store.
Roundabout using 6" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool and 10" Layer Cake squares.
Fascination using 8" Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool and (24) 2.5" strips.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Aussie Babies - American Quilt

Several months ago I posted two almost identical quilts that my friend, Michele Corliss, was taking to Australia as gifts for her new twin granddaughters. I made the quilts and they were my gift to Michele for being such a good help to me when I moved from Georgia to DC.

Today Michele sent me this picture of the quilt on the grass at a playground in Australia. I am not sure which if this circle of infants is the real owner of the quilt, but they are so cute, each and every one of them. You can barely see the quilt under all the cuteness of the little ones. It is the first Log Cabin quilt I made after I designed my first trim tool.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Studio Visit

Last week I decided to totally rearrange my studio so the space would work better for me. Here are the photos of the new arrangement. It took all day last Friday to shift the large, heavy, cumbersome pieces of furniture around. Then I had to refold and stack all the fabric on Saturday. Sunday a film crew from The Quilt Show came to film a studio visit. The segment will appear sometime after Nov 1, 2015. I will let you know when as soon as I know. It was an exciting event.
Step into my studio, this is how I store my fabric, Ikea cubes with fabric wrapped around my 8" Creative Grids© ruler, then slip off the ruler, fold in half and stack. Easy and efficient.
This is the first vignette you see when you enter the studio. My sewing table is in the center of the room with my computer in the corner by the window. The ironing station is between two windows looking over Connecticut Avenue (the view is mostly of the traffic). The quilt hanging over the ironing station is Columns and it is in my Curvy Log Cabin Quilts book.
Another view of my sewing, shipping, computer station. The pie safe is my shipping department holding all of my Creative Grids© rulers. The Hoosier cabinet holds office supplies. The 3 quilts on the wall use my 8" log cabin rulers. The shelf over my computer holds some of my stitch birds that I have collected over the years. Jelly Rolls fill in the open spaces. Quilts are stacked everywhere.
Here is the cutting station. Notice the fabric stored neatly in boxes. Also the TV in the corner for entertainment and the rulers in their ruler racks so everything can be accessed easily. The log cabin quilt was made with my 12" Log Cabin Trim Tool and it is the cover of my second book,
Quilting A Circle of
What was my dog Chloe doing while the entire studio was rearranged? Napping on the sofa of course. Here she is on her vintage quilt, resting her head on a vintage redwork pillow. Chloe always sleeps with her head on a pillow. Some days I wish I was Chloe. Except Chloe can't sew.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Capital Quilts Workshop

I had my first teaching gig at Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg, MD on Tuesday. The shop is the closest to my new home in Washington DC. And it is a very nice shop with lots and lots of fabrics, a Janome dealer to service my machine, the ability to rent time on their longarm quilting machine as I had to sell mine before I left Georgia. I am very lucky to find a quilt shop that meets all my needs and it is located so close to home. Another plus, the owner Alison, and the staff and other teachers are very friendly and welcoming.

I taught the Rainbow Swirls curvy log cabin project. In just 3 hours all of the participants managed to make 8 blocks. Of course they did their homework, coming with their fabric cut according to the supply list. They were ready and eager to rev up their sewing machines and start stitching after a short demo on how to sew the strips and trim the blocks.
Hilary is chain piecing her blocks
Feli and Pat are chain piecing their blocks
Feli is trimming her blocks

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Another day...2 more quilts

Here are the quilts that were finished on Tuesday. Actually 3 quilts got their binding but you have to wait to see the big reveal of quilts 3 and 4. I got ahead of myself a little bit, by putting the binding on a quilt for scheduled for Wednesday.

Back to Tuesday. newly finished is Hex-A-Dizzy, named for Dizzy Gillespie the great jazz musician.

Tuesday afternoon the Ragtime quilt was bound. I have often said that when a quilt top is pieced together it is just a rag until it is quilted. This one especially looked like a rag before it went to my longarm quilter, Susan Bentley of Believe it or not it has only 3 different blocks to create the overall design. It may look complicated, but putting it together like a puzzle proves it very easy to make.
After making the hexagon blocks I realized the same jelly roll fabric collection was used for the hexagon quilt on the cover of my previous book, Jelly Roll Jambalaya. All I can say is this, "If you have a fabric you love, stick with it!" It looks like a winning hexagon duet. The first book is still available from my website but supplies are getting low.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sneak Peek - Monday

      My first Jelly Roll book, Jelly Roll Jambalaya is so successful I have been asked to write a sequel. I think this one will be called Jelly Roll Jazz, but it could change. Here are the first two quilts finished for the book. I picked up six beautifully quilted quilts from the longarm quilter late yesterday. Now I have to get to the sewing machine, get the bindings on and get them to the post office to ship to the publisher
Because it's a "sneak peek" you are seeing just 1 quarter of the folded quilts. Two more to come every day this week! Watch this space to see what's up next.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Quilt Market Minneapolis

This past weekend I flew to Minneapolis early Saturday morning and back to DC late Sunday afternoon. I went to Quilt Market to promote my ideas for new books and rulers. It was a very successful trip so watch this space to see the roll out of multiple new books and rulers from this fall to next spring. I have a list of several deadlines so I will be sewing like a crazy lady to get it all done. All will be revealed as each phase of design work is completed and released. Until then, its all a secret.

Here are views of how I was represented at Quilt Market...

My first stop was Checker Distributors to see my Creative Grids© rulers and Cut Loose Patterns. First thing I noticed was this poster featuring the top 20 pattern sales. 10 of the patterns use my rulers to make the quilts. I designed and made 6 of those projects. The top 3 patterns are my quilts. Big grins.
This is the Landauer Publishing booth. The curvy log cabin quilt on the left is the cover of my new Curvy Log Cabin Quilts book and the quilt with the circles and flying geese on the right was made by my sister Janet Houts and its the cover of our new jointly authored book, Best of Circle of Nine. Both books are available on my website

I also design free to use (FTU) patterns for Andover Fabrics There is a menu across the top of the home page so just quilt the link "free patterns". Had a very nice chat with Daryl, the marketing director about quilts I am designing for some of their new fabric collections. These patterns will appear over the summer and next fall. As I finish the quilts, I will post their photos here and direct you to the free downloadable pattern on the Andover website.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wiregrass Quilters - Albany Georgia

Here are photos from the workshop I taught last weekend for the Wiregrass Quilters. They have a wonderful big room so everyone gets a big round table for themselves unless they choose to share. This is the second workshop I have led for this group...a lively, friendly bunch of quilters who are a delight to be with. I'll go back anytime I am invited. I love teaching workshops.
Everyone was teasing Cathy about her chaotic workspace but it looks very much like my own sewing studio at home while I am in the middle of a quilting project.

Plenty of table space for everyone in this workshop space at Grace Baptist Church in Albany.

These two sisters often take workshops together. Note how organized their workspace is.

A group of blocks showing how different they look with each choice of color and fabric pattern.

Two blocks that will become part of a Carousel quilt. Blue and yellow always play together well.

An unlikely pairing of bold prints with a red, gray, white and a touch of blue.
Bold solids make a dramatic choice for this start of a star block.