my creative pursuits with quilts and knits

Free Motion Quilting

My best customer is keeping me in business ;-)  Thanks Mom!  She is a certified Angle Play (TM) instructor, and this is a class sample.

image (not wrinkled in real life, just laid on a chair for a quick photo)

I matched the thread to the rows and did a free motion swirl design across the blue sections and a fern feather across the yellow parts.  Here is the back detail.


I think of the blue section as Landscape fill, since it can look like elevation lines on a contour map.  Here is a sketch of how it is quilted.  You can also search through Leah Day’s tutorials for a similar design.


First break your space into smaller sections, then go back and echo the line.  I use alot of gentle S curves.image You can add a swirl here and there for more interest.  I also add a touch of McTavishing, which is a slightly different effect where one end of the curve always hits the same point.  This is a good filler design for borders.

I want to mention that if you ever see a quilt you are interested in purchasing, please contact me.  I am open to selling my work and I do quilt on commission.  I can teach workshops too!

Sunday Sewing

I finished a small quilt for my best customer…my mom :-)  We agreed on a pantograph so it was quick and easy to get this done as a sample for a class she is teaching on using stripes.


I tried to get a close up of the panto design, swirly paisleys  image

I also made two more blocks for my True Blue 92 quilt.  The pattern is Double Friendship Star (pattern from Quilter’s Cache website).

image  While my students were taking final exams, I sketched out a final layout, but of course now I can’t find the scrap of paper with my calculations!  The plan is to make 92 star blocks to represent my college graduation back in 1992.  I chose 9-inch blocks, and I will make 2 of most of them.  Then I realized, the quilt will be HUGE, and I think I figured out a way to make some smaller blocks in the center and corners and keep the overall size around 90″ square.

Mystery Revealed!

Bonnie Hunter, at Quiltville, revealed her layout for the mystery quilt, Grand Illusion.  I love the shimmery effect, it makes me think of crystals and snowflakes.  I only had time to put a couple blocks together.

Here is the basic center with three of the weekly clues:

2015-01-04 17.56.04

I was going for a scrappy look, but I had a larger piece of the checkerboard pink print, so that will show up most often!

And then we added one more unit for sashings with some solid cornerstones.  TA-DA!

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On-going projects

I had hoped for more sewing time this vacation, but family outings have taken priority.

i managed to get clue 5 done for the Grand Illusion mystery:



We (all of us MQAL followers) are anxiously waiting for Friday morning to see if we will be sewing more units or if it is time to put things together. You can find the mystery details as well as many other patterns and tutorials at Bonnie’s website (

In between clues, I have been working on some other UFO’s.  Over the summer I joined a Swoon block exchange. The blocks are in rows and I have a plan for borders, and have even started on the back!


I also finished the December blocks for the Mod Mod QAL.


Both of these are destined for Quilts of Valor.

Knitting Finishes!

I have been in a scarf/cowl knitting frenzy for a couple months, mostly because there is such luscious yarn to work with!  I have mentioned my “Dark Side of the Moon” scarf, from the rainbow colorway by Must Stash Yarns: image  I used a simple pattern to knit a garter stitch scarf which lets the yarn shine.

Next was the Bar Hopping Cowl in a limited edition Lorna’s Laces colorway inspired by Frozen.

image  This was a gift for the director of my daughter’s holiday ice skating show.

The most recent finish was a moebius cowl using a pattern by Cat Bordhi.  This was a gift for a fellow math teacher.  I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, which is deliciously soft.  With 47″ needles, the circumference of the cowl is only about 15″.


I do have another shawl on the needles.  My daughter’s group was invited to take their skating show to a nearby town for a performance on New Year’s Eve, and that means rehearsals every day between now and then.  Prime knitting time for mom!  I grabbed a skein of multi-colored sock yarn which is turning into a pretty hideous shawl.  A reminder for the new year: Life is too short to knit with ugly yarn!

Merry Christmas from Arizona!


I realized this year that Christmas is all about me, LOL!  Our tree is decorated mostly with ornaments from my childhood.  My daughter was in charge of decorating, and she kept the softer, less fragile ones at the bottom because of our cats, and the porcelain and crystal objects are towards the top.  I need to remember to add to her ornament collection over the years.image

The piano is the other Christmas display area.  I have collected Santa figurines since I was a teenager.  I have a few Jim Shore to show my love of quilting and others that represent my travels.


This year I finally finished my Christmas quilt, started at least 8 years ago!  I went on a shop hop and looked for Christmas fabrics.  At first I tried to limit myself to batiks, but then I found a few prints that I really like, such as the snowmen in knit caps and the jingle bells.

image I used the Turning Twenty pattern.  When it came time to quilt it, I needed a backing.  I had a few pieces of original fabric left, so I cut large squares, about 16″.image I needed just a bit more width so I added a solid strip.  But, I barged ahead when I should have done some more math and the pieces were not all the same.  So, it got a little wonky where the corners don’t quite meet.  Imperfections can be charming, right?  And the cats don’t seem to mind, they have claimed this couch throw as their domain.


I used a pantograph with poinsettias and holly as the quilting design.

Thanks to Bonnie Hunter for setting up a Christmas Eve Linky Party!


May all your homes be full of Christmas Joy!

Working on the Mystery

I had a few spare moments to work on Grand Illusion over the past couple weeks, and now I have at least 10 units for each clue.


This has been a fun project and Bonnie Hunter has written excellent instructions.  Visit her blog, and click on the TAB in the menu for the Grand Illusion mystery quilt.  I was tempted by Celtic Solstice last year, and now I have to wait for the pattern to be releases.  The lesson is to print the pattern while it is free!

So here are more progress photos.  Clue #2 was the diamond unit.  I chose to cut half square triangles and diamonds rather than rectangles.  My accuracy improved a great deal when I laid the triangle on top to sew.

image imageA finished clue 2 unit:


Clue 3 is a checkerboard which I made from strip sets.

image  image


Another tip…keep the instructions handy!  I read through them on my iPad, and usually sketch the layout so I have a hard copy next to the sewing machine.  But, I was in a hurry and ended up putting things together wrong.  Oh well, that’s why we have seam rippers.  I was also challenged to keep this unit scrappy.  Somehow, I kept getting like fabrics next to each other.  So the few truly scrappy units, with 8 different fabrics, really make me happy!  (I say the FEW units, because I was tired of ripping and I am willing to accept minor imperfections)

Clue #4 was more broken dishes units.  I am really liking the Easy Angle ruler for making half square triangles.

Here is another view of the clue 3 and 4 units:image


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