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.

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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.

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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.


Posted in Accomplishments, planning, Quilting, recycling, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Yo-yos a Go Go!

Several years ago (more than 10), while my mom was working, she indicated that she was bored when she came home and needed something to do with her hands so she would not snack.  Mama Lou is a petite woman, just about 5 feet tall, and loves to snack but does not like the way those snacks affect her figure.  She has never been “crafty”, and was not interested in sewing in her youth and truly had no desire to learn anything very complicated.  One thing she was curious about were the yo yos my sister and I were working on.  She remembered her mother having made a yo yo quilt many years ago, and was willing to give a go to the yo yos.

Encouraged and excited by this, my sister Terry and I went through our stashes and cut hundreds, maybe even thousands of circles from our scraps using a compact disc as a template.  We figured this would certainly keep her little hands busy for at least six months.

Well, my mother, once she gets an interested in something becomes a woman possessed.  Although she wasn’t interested in making the quilt, she sure was determined to help Terry and I by making our yo yos for us.  For her this was a labor of love.  And a labor it was.  It was less than a month when I received a box filled with yo yos.  And then a bag.


I moved, not once, not twice, but three times, and those yo yos moved with me.  Finally, I am paying them a little homage and honoring the lady that sewed this together.  This was not the original intended use for these dimensional discs, but it is a start.

Mama Lou loves purple, and last year I sent her a quilt with lots of purple in it.  There was a little left of the fabric so I used it as a base for her pillows.  I decided on a simple project one being a wreath of sorts, and the other a primitive bouquet.  First I created texture on the base.


Then I laid out my simple plan.


It took me a while, but I attached all the yo  yos by hand using a buttonhole stitch.  This probably could have been done on the machine, but I love the look of the thicker threads.


Once I finished attaching the “flowers”, I put a bow on them, and backed them as pillows.


The project was not difficult and will be a lovely reminder to Mama Lou of her two girls, as well as pride in herself knowing that she helped make this beautiful pieces.


Now that is teamwork!


Posted in Accomplishments, Family, Pillows, Quilting, simple, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Richmond Quilters Guild Show Post Script

When I entered my quilt into the show, I also entered a couple of garments.  One of the garments was a pieced vest I did several years ago.  Initially it was going to be a long tunic.  Then I changed my mind.


Well, when the show was over and the votes for “Viewers Choice were tallied, there was a three way tie for First Place in the garments category.

My vest was one of those in the tie.  Every vote counts.  Thank you!

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Richmond Quilters Guild Quilt Show

This is the first time I’ve entered a quilt in a show to be judged.  Over the years I have had the chance to view dozens of shows, from an International show in Houston, to local shows in Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania.  There is no doubt in my mind that there are millions of incredibly talented women out there that know their way around a needle.  I’m no longer going to allow that to deter me.

The quilt I entered for judgment is a simple quilt made from humble materials; second-hand drapes and neckties.  The pieced blocks are “string” blocks, a very thrifty and simple way to construct the blocks.  This worked well as with most string blocks a foundation is used and the ties that I worked with behaved better with a foundation.  I am somewhat proud of this quilt as even in its simplicity, it has an impact.  I call this impact a voice and the voice was given to it by the quilting.  Terry Burris Quilting made this quilt sing.


Did it win a ribbon?  No, however, the scores were high with the exception of one, which I will work on to improve.  And I was very proud of the work of my quilter, and the comment the judge left for her, my sister can be proud of all the hard work and practice through the years that have made her the quilter she is today.


I am thrilled.  And not every quilt is a ribbon quilt.  Those that did get ribbons certainly deserved them, as the work was extraordinary.

It was enlightening to hear someone remark while viewing the show, that we need to get over the fact that there are going to be other quilts and quilters that are “better” than ours.  We are all on our own journey and progress at our own pace.  Not everyone wants to or needs to be a “Master Quilter”.  Many quilt viewers are equally inspired by projects that they feel they can accomplish. And there too is a very important thought.  Here are a few of my favorites:

It made me so happy that a dear friend of mine drove down for a visit and to see the show.  She has not quilted in the past.  I noticed that she was enjoying the visuals of all of the quilts, but was thinking many of the pieces were complicated in their construction.  It was such a pleasure to be able to share some of the tips about how the quilts went together and how important a character color is.  I’m hoping that I was able to pique her interest a bit more and instill in her the fact that I KNOW she can make a beautiful quilt.  It would be another thing we could share as friends.

Something else I noticed:  Labels!  People put a lot of time and talent into their labels.  I really need to up my game.


Even my sweet husband mentioned that they could use some work.  I’ve made dozens of quilts, and I’m sad to say these are my first labels.  It just goes to show that there is always a chance to learn and improve.

Posted in Accomplishments, Quilt Show, Quilting, recycling, Terry Burris Quilting, Ties, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the beginning…


Oh those first efforts. The very first effort was a biscuit quilt.  You know, the kind where you stuff each little pillow like biscuit and sew them together.  Well, the first one must have weighed 80 lbs.  The recipient in fear of being crushed under it, gave it to her dog as a bed.  Alas, although disappointed in her actions, I stitched on.

Then I was going to have a baby and wanted a special quilt.  I purchased a kit and embroidered the center.  Even I must say the embroidery was and still is beautiful.  Then time was getting short and I NEEDED to finish the project.  Well, those pieces did not fit together like they did in the picture so I just stitched them down.  Better done than perfect.  YIKES!  But wait there is more.  I put a 100% cotton batting in the piece and instead of actually quilting it, I tied it.  Need I explain what happened when I initially washed the quilt.  Heavy sigh.

As my son got to be a big boy of 5 I gave him quilt blocks as a gift for Christmas one year. Yeah, I was “that mom”.   And then a top the next year.  Well, that was over 30 years ago.  I used the best fabric I could afford at the time and chose those fabrics for their color.  My son, who is in the navy now, and in his mid-30’s will be getting his quilt this week.  It is finally finished.  One of my oldest UFO’s is finally done.


My sister Terry of Terry Burris Quilting, quilted this quilt with the same attention to detail as she would have quilted a showstopper quilt.  She chose the quilting patterns to reflect the subject matter, and did a beautiful job, elevating this humble effort to something special.  In doing so she elevated my confidence to continue trying and making my best efforts with every block I construct.

At the same time I created a quilt for my daughter.  I would watch Georgia Bonesteel and Eleanor Burns on PBS and was so inspired by how simple they make it look.  My daughters quilt is a sampler.  Again, this is not constructed using high-end quilt fabrics, but there are a couple of local quilt shop fabrics in there mixed with some broadcloth and sheeting, as it was what I could afford as a stay at home mom at the time.  Terry Burris quilted this piece also.  I didn’t even notice my errors, as I was just so enamored by the finished product.  Each block was treated as a treasure.



So, stick with your journey.  We all start as beginners.  No one is perfect at the start. It takes practice.  Enjoy each and every accomplishment, and even learn something from the failures.  But above all…stitch on.


Posted in First Quilts, Quilting, simple, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments