Dresden Wonky Neighborhood at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

A few meetings ago at Guild I showed something I had made using neckties…I don’t even remember which piece it was.  Well, one of our program directors, showed a Dresden Wonky Neighborhood and asked for submissions for the show.  I really didn’t think much about it, but she looked at me and said “you could even make it using neckties”.  I kind of thought of it as a challenge.

The piece was due at the February meeting so, truly, I had plenty of time to complete one block.  I went online and purchased the pattern.  If you are interested in making a neighborhood of your own you will find the pattern here:  https://www.craftsy.com/quilting/patterns/dresden-neighborhood-block-tutorial/197578.  The designer is Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams, and she even has a Dresden Wonky Neighborhood Sew A Long.

I went through my ties, sort of found a theme, and then cut out, stabilized the pieces and put them together.


Then I talked with my Beloved.   One of the things that had to be done before creating the piece was to write an artist’s statement about what you were doing and the inspiration.  For me it is better if I do this after the piece is completed, but I did comply.  The name of my piece is “Corporate Cog”.

IMG_8814I could have gone on and on about Home Owner Associations, an era of cars being grey, silver, black or white, traffic going into the city and returning to the suburbs. I could have waxed poetic.  But truth be told, cogs get the work done.

Looking at what I had started with, my Beloved mentioned that I could make the neighborhood look “standardized”, like a cog.  I thought like a neighborhood in an HOA too!  So I scrapped my first  effort.


When I laid the block down on the grey background it look sad and lost.  There was an enormous amount of negative space. Being more of a piecer than a quilter I knew I had to fill that space up.  The negative space was dull!IMG_8718

My quilting would be really noticeable!  Generally, I quilt by check, but on some of these smaller pieces I have made a real effort to quilt myself, but I haven’t mastered that part of the process yet, so I need a distraction!  What to do what to do…

IMG_8712There was a solution, but it meant cutting more ties and hoping I had enough Heat N Bond to go around.  As it happened, I had just enough for the cogs on the front and one to go on the label on the back.



So I auditioned my cogs..


Adhered them to the surface so they connected and worked, and did my quilting.

One thing I did learn..IMG_8728

Be very careful what you use to mark your quilting lines.  If you have never used a product, test it on a sample of what you are going to use it on.  I used this with the yellow to mark my quilting lines.  Generally, I use painters tape, I was in a hurry, the deadline was near.  The markings were very stubborn, and did not want to come out.  I tried several different things to remove them, finally Magic Eraser got the lines out.  Again, if you have never used a product test it first.

Just making my deadline, I put on my label and handed the piece in.  I was and am satisfied with the end product.IMG_8813  In fact it has inspired me to take on an even bigger project.  More on that later…much later.

Other fabulous Neighborhoods from the Challenge:


This one was made with wool!


The house that Kaffe built.


Cat House (no really)!

The checkered background and the dots are fabulous!

I would strongly encourage you to participate in those challenges that come your way.  Take part in those quilt shows, read a new blog, try something different.

Until next time…





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Stepping Out of the Box

One of the groups I belong to is the Virginia Consortium of Quilters.  This group meets four times a year, each meeting at a different location throughout the state.  At each meeting there are minimally two classes to choose from.  If none of the classes suit your fancy there is an option to sew for charity or do your own thing.  The important thing is that you are meeting other quilters that share your passion for the craft.  This is a wonderful opportunity to see different parts of the state, visit local quilt shops along the way, learn something new, and be inspired by new friends.  I highly recommend if you are a Virginia quilter that you join in the fun.  I’m willing to bet they also like Maryland and West Virginia Quilters.

I participated in the November meeting, and stayed with a friend that lives locally.  The class I took was taught by Deborah Schupp of Gumbo Design Studios.  Unfortunately I had missed her lecture and trunk show at my “local” guild, but was delighted at the chance to take her Big Blue Modern Mini Class.  Deb is a delightful lady filled with Cajun charm and humor.  She is an easy-going teacher and makes everyone in the class feel at home and confident.  The project itself was easy enough and a nice way to try something modern, and succeed.  I learned several things about color, quilting, and finishing.  My quilt did not look like any of the others in the class.

Most of the ladies used blues (As in Big Blue) and reds on a blue background.  Progress was made and what I saw was stunning, as these ladies nailed it.  I had a little difficulty settling on a color story and finally took out my color wheel and chose my fabrics a couple of days before class.  The purple background is a little bold, but that orange makes me smile.


It was my first time doing a facing on a quilt instead of binding, and I like the way it finishes the piece.

And I actually made a label!


I’ll admit to needing to work on my labelling skills – maybe there will be a workshop on that in the future.

There are so many good reasons to continue your quilting education.   Looking forward to my next class!  What will you be learning next?

For more information about this class and Deborah visit http://www.gumbodesignstudios.com/

For more information about the Virginia Consortium of Quilters visit http://www.vcq.org/ or check out their Facebook page.

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Just in time – after several years

Beloved and I had a little travelling to do over the last few weeks.  Just a couple of overnight trips.  I like to bring hand work to do on these little jaunts.

In my UFO stack I found this little treasure from about 20 years ago that needed just a bit of attention.  Generally speaking I piece quilts.  I quilt by check.  Well on some of these small wall hangings, table runners and  charity quilts,  quilting by check just doesn’t seem “right”.

This little sweetheart was intended for hand quilting.  And as primitive as my quilting is, I think it works.


I used embroidery floss, perle cotton and quilting thread on this.  I did buttonhole stitch around the hearts before I pieced the blocks together decades ago and I can see that I need just a little more practice.  Still I like it.  Done is better than perfect, but this is just perfectly charming.  And this is no longer a UFO!


Happy Valentines day to  you and your loved ones.


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So this is happening…

This is the second snow storm in January.  It’s ok though, as I don’t have to run the roads and I have plenty of wonderful fabrics to work with and projects to make progress on.

And progress I have!  This is a UFO from the Calendar Girls retreat of 2012.


This is a long and simple table runner made with Kaffe fabrics using the pattern Rosy runner from the book skinny quilts & table runners.  It was fun and did I say it was simple?  The runner goes together quickly, and what I have found when using Kaffe fabrics is that simple is better as it allows the fabric to do the talking.  Oh and the retreat…such fun.

But wait there’s more!IMG_8708

Doesn’t this just sing spring!?!  This was crafted using my 2″ scrap squares.  And the Monet border is perfect with the floral and green patches.  I was initially concerned that the yellow greens and blue greens would not play well together, but they look fine.  This is the type of project I do when I have not interest in working on anything I’ve already started, yet want to feel productive.  Just mindless sewing.

I quilted these two myself.

On the Kaffe piece I just did cross hatches in the 9-patches and circles in the squares.  I still need to practice, but I did notice some improvement when I quilted the Just Spring piece.  I cross hatched the entire thing using painters tape to keep me in line.  Eventually I hope to step out a little further and try some free motion quilting.   I just don’t want to ruin anything.

Within the next few days we should get into some 50 degree weather and this little storm will just be a memory.

Stay safe and stitch on.


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Upward and Onward


It has been a productive year.  On one hand not nearly as productive as I anticipated (let’s face it, don’t we all think we can do more), yet in reality I did ok.  There were many things on the “To Do List” that did not get touched.

But these things did!

and then these to match

On the UFO front there were these:

I was thrilled to be “commissioned” to do these pieces:

I made some quilts for charity:

There were the gifts for birthdays and the holidays:

The necktie pieces:

The biggest was entered into my first quilt show for judging.

I joined The Richmond Quilt Guild and Virginia Consortium of Quilters which enabled me to take these classes!

I share this not to brag, but to be accountable, and hopefully to inspire.

What I didn’t do.  You know that promise not to bring any new fabric or books into the house…well that lasted about 90 days.  And I caved…big time!  I must be better this year.

Looking forward I hope to complete these UFO’s.  Many have a fair amount of age on them.

as well as two more.

And then I plan to make something pretty awesome with this:


There are dozens of projects I hope to complete next year…here’s to hoping I can, and the gratitude for being able to.

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The Joy of Holiday Giving

Don’t you love it when a plan works out.  I do.  Beloved and I have two nieces that are now attending college.  Natalie is and always has been interested in horses and Anna is incredibly talented in the water.  It just worked out that I had something special to create for each of them that reflected both their interests and mine.

Several years I had purchased a kit for a wall hanging that used a Laurel Burch bright horses panel.  For an assortment of reasons, I never got around to putting the kit together.  This would be the year.  It was pretty straight forward, and went together nicely.  I sent it up to Terry Burris and she did a phenomenal job quilting it, using the designs of the horses in the cornerstones of the piece.  I was thrilled.  Upon seeing it completed I knew this would be the perfect gift for Natalie.


Quilting detail


I knew I had seen a Laurel Burch mermaid, but they were pretty scarce.  When I found one, I had to let it sit for a while before I could figure out exactly what I was going to do with it, as it did not come as a kit.  Eventually I started making foundation pieced fish and stars.


Then I worked on placement so the piece wouldn’t end up too large.


And when it all came together, I sent it to Terry Burris Quilting to work her magic and bring it to life.


It made me smile to see this complete, as when left to my own creativity, I did alright!

I was rather pleased with the way each of the projects turned out.  Best thing of all, is I believe Natalie and Anna were both delighted with their gifts.  They truly seemed happy with them, which of course thrilled me to pieces.

Merry Christmas all.

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The Challenge and the Commission

One of the people who make me an adventurous quilter is my sister Terry.  She will take on anything and everything.  Seldom does she think “I can’t do that”.

Terry had a box from a woman who wanted a quilt.  Another quilter had begun the process, but due to arthritis in her hands was unable to complete it.  Terry also had a few pieces that were in her work que for quilting.  There was a timeline for this quilt and as the scraps sat on her table weighing on her conscience she “had nothing”.  We’ve all been there with a challenge.  You get a piece of fabric or a block to work with, and you just “have nothing” to make it shine, or sometimes even to make it work.  Terry asked if I would give it a go and I did.  I knew there was a deadline and it was creeping up, but more often than not I work best under pressure.

The box arrived.  I let it sit unopened for a day.  When I opened it I let out a long, heavy sigh.

IMG_7938 (1)

These were not fabrics that I was accustomed to working with.  Some were thin, others bulky.  Many of the pieces of clothing had been cut apart.  The original quilter had begun appliqueing by hand components of the clothes to background, and the blocks were small.  I began to worry.  I allowed myself to worry for a day or two.  Then I adopted a different viewpoint.

Sometimes when we take on a daunting task, we envision an end product.  I call that having a helicopter view.  The ability to see far ahead and the entire situation.  On occasion that view is far too much to absorb.  So I took a dashboard view.  I just started working one block at a time, not even considering the finished piece.  With each block the task became easier.

IMG_7958 (1)

Eventually, I had enough together that I could begin a layout.


Plugging along, I finished the top in the amount of time given, and my sister brought it to life with her quilting.


When I was getting ready to deliver it for quilting my daughter was quite taken with the quilt and posted a photo of it to social media.

To my surprise and delight, there was someone interested in a commission for the same type of quilt.

It was a great feeling to have my talent recognized.  I actually named this one while I was working on it.


I called this Daisy on the Move.  I can tell this little girl is always on the move and testing her boundaries.


Terry Burris Quilting did a fabulous job of breathing life and energy into this sweet quilt.

I’m always interested in ways of making my quilting habit pay for itself.  And this did, in education, practice and creativity.


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