Turkey Tracks and Books: And My Birthday

Turkey Tracks and Books:  March 18, 2018

And My Birthday

Friend Roxanne Wells not only suggested William Kent Krueger’s novels (set in Minnesota), she lent me the ones she has, which is all of them but the one coming out this summer.

Guess what I do at lunch these days?  And late into the night.

Reading Krueger is a bit like reading Paul Doiron’s books about a Maine game wardens solving murder mysteries.

Friend Lynn Vermeulen sent me this card, and I burst out laughing when I opened it.

My friends know that I have been watching ALL of Project Runway and PR All Stars this winter–another piece of mischief fomented by Roxanne Wells.  The key saying in every program, just before the judging begins, is the following:  “As you know, in fashion, one minute you’re in, and the next you’re OUT.”  Lynn’s card statement finishes with a happier ending.

I feel really blessed with my friends and family’s attentions.  My birthday was great.

We have two feet of snow on the ground and a cold snap, so the snow isn’t going anywhere fast.  But it is very pretty, and the days are longer, and the birds are singing.  And, the female turkeys have joined up with the males–which means the breeding season is starting.  They all know I’ll throw out some black-oiled sunflower seeds when there is snow on the ground.  They were all here this morning.  They come look in the windows if I am too slow in feeding them.

Look at this design wall!  There is a whole lot of fun going on in my house:  The scrap quilt with “made” fabric, upper left.  Valse Brilliante.  A big block selvage quilt in “cool” colors–using a larger version of Amy Friend’s design.  Bonnie Hunter Garlic Knot and Wild and Goose blocks.  Assorted foundation pieced log cabins.   A “cool” neutral block from SUNDAY MORNING QUILTS–this one by Cheryl Arkinson.   AND, Long Time Gone quilt blocks.

LOL.  The bed in the adjoining bedroom only has ONE big quilt ready to quilt on it and ONE little art quilt with a design I made.  BUT, I have to confess it has a pile of knits ready to be made into tops and skirts and, yes, one dress.

I’ve almost finished another selvage placemat.  This is the quiet selvage, not the written ones.  I string these selvages as I cut fabric, and when I get a lot, I stop and knit them into the placemat.  I like how a bright napkin pulls colors out of the placemat.

I spent a chunk of yesterday ironing and cutting 2 by 8-inch strips from my “warm” Cotton+Steel neutrals.  Yes!  A  “warm” “vanilla” quilt is in process.

AND, Marsha Green sent me this picture of her blooming amaryllis plants.  Marsha has a GREEN THUMB writ large.  I didn’t start any this year for some reason, so it is fun to see hers.  Marsha and Harry’s garden is glorious in the summer.

I’ll post pics of this month’s “Long Time Gone” quilt blocks I made when I’ve finished with the adorable little 3-inch churn dash blocks.

Meanwhile, Heidi August sent a pic of where she is now with this project.  She says she loves the Creative Grid Pineapple ruler, so I ordered the mini one for these mini blocks.

Go Heidi!

Blog Reader’s Quilts: Becca Babb-Brott’s Quilt

Blog Reader’s Quilts:  May 2015

Becca Babb-Brott’s Quilt

Becca is one of our Coastal Quilters members.

I love, love her work.

Here’s a quilt she made by using all the “modern” neutrals combined with contemporary warm and cool colors.

I am so drawn to all the neutrals that are around today–and have a stack of them I need to start cutting up and using.


Becca also has an etsy store where you can see the kinds of modern fabrics she likes:  SEW ME A SONG.



Quilting Information: MQX, Manchester, NH–Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson Quilts

Quilting Information:  April 13, 2015

MQX, Manchester, NH–Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson Quilts

I appreciate modern quilts, but am not drawn to making them.

However, the Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson (sisters) display of quilts at this spring’s MQX show was really fun to see.  And I certainly enjoy the sense of “style” and the lovely quilting seen in modern quilts.

I attempted to take a picture of most of the quilts shown.  Or pieces of these quilts anyway.  Those of you who have ipads or iphones can enlarge the pictures to see the fine detail of the quilting.

And, there is at least one book from these two amazing women.

Note that modern quilts often play with the juxtaposition of straight lines and curves.

And note the use of grey here, which is very “big” right now.





















Here’s my favorite:













These quilts are GRAND!  So fun.

Quilting Information: MQX, Manchester, New Hampshire, April 2015

Quilting Information:  April 13, 2015

MQX 2015

I am just back from the Machine Quilters’ Expo, held in early April in Manchester, New Hampshire.

I took four classes and really learned so much.  The teachers were Judi Madsen, Judy Woodworth, and Angela Huffman.

I used to free-motion on my domestic machine a lot.  But when I got my long arm, I settled into making the kind of quilts I love the most:  big and scrappy.  Those quilts really look their best when quilted with an even, overall pattern.  Thus, I’ve been using pantographs most of the time.

However, I do not want to lose my free-motion skills.  And I do make some quilts that would look great with more custom quilting.

So, I have a goal of improving my “front of the machine” skills this year.

Angela Huffman does it all.  She spent her time teaching us how she works.  She uses free-motion and templates.  She taught us so many patterns that I will definitely be able to use.  Her web site is http://www.quiltedjoy.com.

Modern quilter Judi Madsen’s work is so beautiful.  Here are some examples–which she broke down and taught us to do.  (Of course it takes practice.)  Quilting at this level often involves layering two wool battings to get the trapunto effects.  AND, lots of marking on the quilt, a straight ruler, and MATH.












Judy Woodworth is more of a traditional quilter, but I think she can do anything she wants to do.




Here she urges us to just have fun and experiment.



Blog Readers’ Quilts: Judith Brill’s Quilts

Blog Reader’s Quilts:  February 4, 2015

Judith Brill’s Quilts

Judith lives in New York.

We met on my blog, and we chat back and forth on email.

Judith sent me these pictures of two quilts she will be hanging in a quilt show in Cooperstown, NY.

The are so pretty…

I thought you’d enjoy seeing them:






Thanks, Judith!

Keep up the good, good work!


Quilting Information: Long-Arm Practices That Work for Me

January 26, 2015

Long-Arm Practices That Work For Me

Last year in April I took several classes at the Machine Quilters’ Expo in Manchester, New Hampshire.

What I learned there–and also what I’ve learned from the long-arm quilters on Bonnie Hunter’s Facebook Studio for Quilters–has helped me so much.

So, I thought I’d share…

Make sure your bars are level.  Get or borrow a four-foot level and check them.  If they are off, tinker until you have them level.

This apparatus below involves suspending a curtain rod over the bars and bringing the side fasteners over it.  AND, see the long rod with the blue ribbons?  Underneath is a plastic piece that the rod snaps into.  This arrangement gives the sides of the quilt a great deal of stability AND prevents you from quilting off of it.  (There are several forms of this kind of stabilizing rod for the edge of the quilt.)



Here’s another view:



I load my quilt backing in the normal way.

But after being encouraged to do so, I float my top, just like the batting.  See?


I  sew a plumb line on the batting (using my channel blocker piece), then line up the top of my centered quilt on that line–and sew it down.  THEN I measure both sides of the quilt from the frame on each side and as I move the quilt forward, I make sure that I keep those measurements constant along the length of the quilt.  I sew down the sides every time I roll the quilt forward.  Every time. Especially if I am using a pantograph.

BIG TIP:  If I were to roll the top onto the top bar, I would try to place the quilt (and the backing if needed) LENGTHWISE–which minimizes the bulk of side seams being rolled up over and over on top of each other.

At the end of the quilt, I roll forward to expose the end and sew that down before making the last pass.

I make a lot of scrappy quilts that seem to do best with an overall, even pattern.  So I use, mostly, pantographs–sometimes I free-motion a pattern, but less and less so as I like the patterns in the pantographs.  I place the pantograph UNDER this grid that fits the length of my table–and mark on it with a wet erase marker that can be erased with water.



I estimate the amount of thread that one pass will take–and whether or not a whole bobbin will reach through two passes.  On a large quilt, it will not.  So, I estimate the number of passes I will be making and load that many bobbins–from 2/3 to 3/4 full, depending on what I think the pass will need.  The leftover thread gets run off onto bobbins for my domestic machine and/or just used up piecing scrappy quilts I’m making.  There is no thread waste.  (I also use Signature thread, which is sturdy, has a good range of colors, and is way cheaper than that other brand that is so pricy.  I do have to order it online and bought a thread card showing all the colors.)  Here are leftover threads.  More importantly, there are NO thread joins in the quilt body.


One of the BIGGEST TIPS I got last year was from Sue Patten (quilter extraordinaire):  “Let the right hand steer if you are right handed.  The left hand doesn’t like to steer!”

I was having some trouble with thread shredding at the needle site, and with the advice of the long-armers, I went up a needle size.  As I do very scrappy quilts, there are a lot of seams, so I try to keep my backings pretty plain–which does not add to the bulk of the quilt sandwich.  The thread shredding involved both the expensive and the less-expensive threads…



Before quilting, I put three lines of Sew Rite down the length of my thread cone.  Magic!  No more shredding.


If things do start to go wrong, I turn off the machine and walk away.

I think my own personal goal for next year is to try to use more of the speciality rulers I’ve purchased for the long-arm.  Maybe I’ll see if there are some hands-on classes at this year’s MQX show in April…

But, I won’t put any pressure on myself, because, truth to tell, what I like best to do is to piece a top that will be used and loved and washed–so a lot of fancy quilting doesn’t draw me.  I’m not sure that I have the patience for it!!

Interesting Information AND Quilting Information: Cotton + Steel

Interesting Information:  January 21, 2015

Cotton + Steel

I love stories, and this one is fascinating.

Five “bad ass” women.

Start a business.


And let’s them do whatever they want.


Even if you don’t sew, this story is really fun.


Turkey Tracks: Megan Brun’s Quilt-In-Progress

Turkey Tracks:  January 16, 2015

Megan Brun’s Quilt-In-Progress

Megan came over this week for a breakfast, and afterwards, we sat and visited and worked on our hand-sewing projects.

I LOVE the quilt Megan is making.

She is making neutral panels with appliquéd circles:



Here’s a close-up:


As I understand this project, she will now add some half-as-long-panels with neutral circles.

The quilt is in the “modern” vein.  The panels will be only part of this queen-size quilt.  Megan plans to move out to other shapes, like big rectangles.

Here’s Megan:


I will show you my hand project soon!  It’s getting borders now…



Quilting Information: Tackling the International Quilt Festival 2014, Houston

Quilting Information:  November 5, 2014

Tackling the International Quilt Festival 2014



I flew on Thursday–having driven to Portland, Maine, from Camden (two hours) on Wednesday and having stayed in the Comfort Inn, which lets me park my car.  In Houston, I was swished from the airport in a car (Bettini)–arranged by friend Gina Caceci–who, as it turned out, was in Houston on business at the same time.  She extended by one night, and we had the best visit.  We ate at The Grove, a nice restaurant on the green that sits just in front of the Convention Center and which is less than a block from my hotel, The Four Seasons.  (Don’t gasp as I got a special festival rate when I made reservations back in January–and it is LOVELY to be here.)

Here’s a picture of the deck at The Grove, where Gina and I ate:



My plane connections Thursday were in Atlanta, and there were quilters on that flight.  One was Shelley Kirk, whom I met again at breakfast on Friday, and we tackled the Festival together.  Shelley is from coastal North Carolina, the Cape Fear/Wilmington area, and is a new quilter.  This show is her FIRST big show.


Shelly and I did about half of the vendors and, maybe, three rows of quilts–all of which were for sale.  Gorgeous quilts.  I especially liked Russian quilter Olga Milovanova’s “Peasant Yard” 

Of course I did–it was of a rooster.  (This quilt is copyrighted, so I could not take a picture.)  Olga is from the old Russian city of Kovrov, and I could not find an on-line picture of this very special quilt.

Alex Andersen and Ricky Tims of The Quilt Show have a booth, and Shelley and I met Victoria Findlay Wolfe demonstrating her newest quilts.  Victoria’s first book is a delight:  15 MINUTES OF PLAY.  Since then, she’s been making innovative wedding ring quilts (some of which we saw), and that book will come out in January. 

The table they were using had a white covering with names of people that have been on the show.  I saw one of our local quilter’s names among the rest:  Dianne Hire.  That was a fun moment.

We also saw Eleanor Burns at The Quilt Show booth (Quilt in a Day quilts) and later at her own booth.

And it’s always fun to see Deb Tucker of the “rapid fire” templates.  She is so amazing.  The quilts in her “Studio 180 Design” are so interesting, colorful, and beautifully quilted. 

Then we went to The Grove for a late afternoon meal and back to the quilt show for about an hour.  After walking about five hours, I was tired and settled into my wonderful room for the evening.


Shelley took classes all day, and I walked all day.  It took me about three hours to see the rest of the quilts.  And that didn’t include stopping to admire each one separately.  There were so many…  And so many that were so beautiful.

Here are a few favorites–though I could have taken pictures of every single quilt there.  Sometimes I take pictures so that I remember something about the technique in a quilt, and I’m afraid that’s what I mostly brought home in terms of pictures.

When NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg was on board the International Space Station, she made a quilt block.  Her block pattern was combined with star-themed blocks made by quilters from all over the world.  The blocks were sewn into quilts that look like this one and displayed in this exhibit:  ASTRONOMICAL QUILTS! BLOCK CHALLENGE.  There were about a dozen of these quilts.  And, isn’t this whole idea just so…quilty?


In the exhibit WHAT’S FOR DINNER, 3-D dinners were exhibited, each on its own placemat.  They were so much fun!


Of course I fell in love with the exhibit IT’S RAINING CATS AND DOGS.

Here’s “Summer Camp” by Barbara Bates Beasley:


And, also, Beasley’s “Can We Talk About the Steak?”  Don’t you love her use of purple and green?


I have been drawn, for some time, to different color variations of one image.

Here’s Deborah Yates’s “A Warhol Zakoosa”–Zakoosa is her dog, a boxer.


Here’s a log cabin by Mary Cammizzaro.  I’m in a log-cabin moment,and what I liked about this quilt is that the use of one fabric for the dark side of the block.  Interesting…


Here’s a Lucy Boston variation by Suet-Fern Lee of Singapore.  This block is pieced as an elongated hexie, called a honeycomb.  I am playing around with this block piece as well, but with bright fabrics.  I’m using pre-made paper pieces to make it.  The blocks are linked together with an assortment of different shapes, including the tiny squares you see here.


Here’s a close-up:


Here’s a very different use of the New York Beauty block by Carol Anne Ludington.  I LOVE the New York Beauty block.


Here’s “As American As…” by Laura Fogg, shown in an exhibit highlighting American-made fabrics which are, for the moment, all solids.


Here’s a gorgeous hexie quilt by Miyuki Hamaba Sanda of Japan.


Here’s a close-up:


I took a break after the quilts in the food court–which was HUGE.  The camera could not take in the whole thing.  This is about a third of it.


I sat with a coffee for a while with a group of four women from the Houston area.  They were gracious and funny and it was a delight to visit with them for a bit.  Then I tackled the other half of the vendors.  I kept running into this group of women with shark hats. 


I found two patterns for little girl short skirts, a special ruler with a rotary cutter attached that does not slide away from you when you cut, the two log cabin rulers I wanted (I’m long cabin mad at the moment), a plastic widget that sews curves when attached to your machine, and some chicken fabric for a new bow-tie purse as my current one is wearing out.


Bonnie Hunter posted pictures from her quick visit to the show before going to Galveston for a cruise.  She saw Edyta Sitar–one of my favorite quilters–and I did not realize that Edyta and her Laundry Basket Quilts had a booth.  I sought her out, had a lovely visit with her, which included her telling me about seeing Bonnie.  I bought her newest book, HANDFULS OF SCRAPS.  She GAVE ME two of her journals, one for me and one for my local quilt group, Coastal Quilters.  The new book has a gorgeous hexie quilt pattern that I will likely make my winter hand sewing project.  Best of all, I saw many of her beautiful, beautiful quilts up close and personal.  There was one especially that is haunting me and for which I may have to order the pattern. 

Edyta, like Bonnie Hunter, likes complicated quilts with small pieces.  But they use entirely different color arrangements, and Edyta does a lot with very innovative and gorgeous applique borders.  I might have the courage to try one of these borders if I do the hexie quilt.  My only problem is going to be choosing which color scheme to use:  Edyta’s rich warm colors or brighter contemporary colors. 

So, I quit about 2:00 p.m., too tired and too overwhelmed to see or think about another thing.  I got a coffee at Phoenicia foods and sat around the Four Seasons pool and read Edyta’s book–and tried not to think about the blizzard raging back in Maine. 

Dinner will be a salad from Phoenicia as well.  And, the maid changed the room’s clock for me so I will wake up on time now for my 5:30 a.m. pick-up.

It’s been a fun and enriching trip, but I am wild to go home and sew, sew, sew.

Quillting Information: The Ruby Jubilee Exhibit, Houston

Quilting Information:  November 5, 2014

The Ruby Jubilee Exhibit, Houston


This is the International Quilt Festival’s 40th anniversary, so one is greeted with a huge central display called “Ruby Jubilee” made of red and white quilts of all sizes.  (Rubies = 40 years.)  Some hang in tiers from the center in a large, very well-lit circle that made the quilts glow.

Here’s a video from the front:

Here’s a view from a different angle.  See the Dear Jane quilt at the bottom center?


Here’s a close-up–and somehow I did not get the maker’s name and cannot make an association from the show booklet.


Within the Ruby Jubilee exhibit are separate exhibits.  Here’s “Rouge et Blanc” by Marie Baraer from the Quilts de Legende exhibit:


And, a close-up.  The quilt was hand quilted.


There were some spectacular miniature red and white quilts and, of course, red work.

Here are other angles: