Challenges are to learn from


My local quilt guild has a challenge each year. It is announced each February and is due at the November meeting. The challenge this year was to make a quilt with two colors, it may be two color families, and must contain one ‘square in a square’ block somewhere in the top.  Oh, there was a size limit. It could be as small as desired but not over 250 inches overall.  It was the size requirement that messed me up.

When I hear the challenge I thought great! I have a red and white quilt top I made a couple of years ago but had not yet quilted it. I waited until June to pull it out of the cupboard and measured it. It was 6 inches too large on each side.  Now what?  I do still have the red and white fabrics I used.  I’ll just make a smaller version.  A smaller version would make all the triangles and borders smaller in ratio and that would really be a lot of work.  I decided keep the size of triangles the same but have fewer of them and I would leave off the 2 outside borders.  I made the quilt top over the summer. I still had to refigure the measurements of the triangles to fit the new size. I ripped out one side of triangles three times to make it fit.  Where did I go wrong?

I used my Statler Gammill long arm to quilt the top. It was a learning experience to place a design in the center block and ‘trim away’ the design from the applique in the center of the block. The next learning experience was to flip the design for the triangles for each direction. The lesson I am the most pleased with is to divide and trim the triangle design to fit in the split half triangle area of the border. The quilt may not be the most pleasing proportionally but it was an out of my comfort zone learning experience.


It is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


It is the most wonderful time of the world. Quilt world that is, fall quilt market in Houston, Texas. It is when manufactures’ come to show, share, and sale their products with the quilters of the world. What will be the color of the year? What is the newest gadget or the best book?

Kathy Miller of Michael Miller Fabrics stated that Navy is now the new black. Olive is the green of the year and Sea Blues, Aqua and Turquoise Greens are happy nature neutrals.   Warm golds are the accent color. The Navy and Aqua looked very pretty next to each other.

I saw several fabric companies offering true Reds. Red and white, red with black or gray. Grays are still very noticeable. Pastels are widely noticeable but in richer colors not washed out or grayed down. Batiks are everywhere. Every company has a line of batiks.

Patrick Lose now has his own fabric company. If you are not familiar with his name, you are with his fabric. His line with Moda , ‘Moda Marbles’, is still a staple after a decade. He is offering a sweet collection for girls (of all ages) with flower motifs of pink, orange, and yellow with a ring of white around them, reminiscent of stickers. It is called Anna’s Garden. His blender collection of blues and greens are right on the mark. For the boys (again of all ages) ‘Let’s go Camping’. The collection has bears, fishing equipment and prints of other camping stuff. He has several other collections just as nice.

Lecien Fabrics of Japan has a collection by Samarra Khaja called ‘Geogram’. It is modern in print but appealing to all quilting taste. I received a door prize package (we all did) of 4” square charms and I can’t wait to use it.

One session featured new books. Several look great, C & T author Patty Murphy ‘Piecing Makeover’ has lots of tips to help beginners  and experienced. John Kubiniec’s new book ‘New Spin of Drunkard’s Path’ looks exciting. I have always liked the Drunkard’s Path block but he has divided and pieced to create new patterns and appearances. I wish I had thought of it.

I also noticed several companies making precut circles usually in 7” or 5” circles. My guess is for Hexies. Animal prints (not patterns) are gaining popularity. Besides the fox and hedgehog of last year, I saw whales, dogs, llamas, rabbits, and more. These prints are small, multi directional prints in primary and rich pastels that will work well together.  It will be an exciting year in the quilt stores.

Pictures are: Market Floor before opening morning, Patrick Lose and Carolyn Perry Goins, Samarra Khaja designing for Lecien Fabrics, Samarra’s Quilt, the Schiffer authors attending – Renelda Peldunas-Harter, Mary Kerr, and Carolyn Perry Goins. More pictures to follow.

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Uncle turns 100!


Sunday, October 16, was my Uncle’s 100th birthday. People came from all across the country to his birthday party.  Some traveled from the east coast (as I did), the Midwest, down the west coast and up and throughout the state of California. The number of family members in attendance was approximating 130.

Family members from my side (my aunt was one of 4 sisters) and of my uncle (he was the youngest of 5) attended. Some members had heard of each other through old stories but never met or met only once. One of his niece’s went to the 6th grade with my mother. I never knew that.  The number of grandchildren and great grandniece and nephews was staggering. Honestly, anyone under the age of 50, I did not know.

The local news station interviewed him and of course asked what his secret to long life was. He stated “clean living”. There was lots of laughter among the family; he then pleaded the 5th to that question.

A surprise guest arrived; it was the old race car that he and his brother owned in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. They owned and sponsored it in the early days of car racing. The car is now owned by ‘Red Roaster’ vintage race cars. The current owners were gracious to bring it for all to see. They had just raced it the night before in the area. It was wonderful to see him run his hands lovingly along the car and talk about the ‘Wayne engine’. We thank our cousin Harold for locating and arranging the car’s attendance.

Happy 100th Birthday, Uncle Cloyd.

Valley Forge and Quilts


crc-groupI attended the Mancuso Pennsylvania Quilt Show just neighboring the Valley Forge area. The weekend weather was perfect and the drive thru the National Park of Valley Forge was beautiful.  I have never been to Valley Forge before and having learned of the Colonial era and General Washington winters there I had always wondered what it looked like.  It certainly didn’t look the same as the winter would, the trees had the slightest hint of turning color but mostly green. The monuments were sprinkled here and there and several log cabins gave a clue to the conditions of that era.  I hope to return one day and truly visit the sights.

The quilt show was very nice. Lots of quilts, I had two in two exhibits with the Mason Dixon Quilt Professionals Network. Many nationally viewed quilts were also being exhibited. There was a lot of talent being shown in all the quilts. The vendors were present with all the wonderful stuff we can spend our money on. Mind you it is all great and beautiful stuff and well worth what we spent.

My reason for being there was that I along with two friends gave a class. We have a presentation ‘Roadmap to Writing a Book Proposal’. We were pleased to have several serious students who soaked up our information and had great questions. Both we and the students felt the time was well spent.

Alaskan Cruise


Lorenzo and I just returned from an Alaskan Cruise. We left the heat of Virginia and California (where we went to our high school reunion) and went to the chilly north west. It rained almost very day and was misty when it wasn’t raining. The temperature averaged 67 degrees.  We saw 2 whales, 2 eagles and 6 dolphins. The cruise shows were terrific, the food was great; Lorenzo never passed a dessert without trying it. And I gained 5 pounds. The calories just float in the air to my hips.

While visiting the three towns/cities that the ship stops at, I visited the local quilt shops. Juneau has two quilt shops, Raintree Quilting and Changing Tides. Of course, I showed them my book (‘The Fiona Block’) but I did some shopping too.

Skagway is a very small town less than one thousand permanent residents. In the summer that number increases big time, as many as five thousand summer hires. The cruise ships come in very couple of days and some/often more than one ship at a time. The Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska shop specializes in Alaskan themed fabrics and patterns. Makes sense.

Our last town was Ketchikan. There were 5, yes 5, ships there at the same time. The quilt shop there is the Whale’s Tale. I had a wonderful conversation with the owner, Jenny. Very enjoyable. I bought fabric there too.

More important to quilters, I scored ‘Row by Row’ patterns from each shop. Now if I can just find time to make a memory quilt of our Alaskan Cruise.

Never to old to learn new tricks


This will be an interesting entry for me to write. I will try to write about a subject that I still do not fully understand. Thursday evening I attended my eagerly awaited quilt meeting. We had arranged for local quilters, Collen Cornell and Bruce White, to speak to our group about Mathematical Quilts and the Fibonacci theory of proportions. It was clear that they had thoroughly researched and planned the presentation. They had presented this program once to another group and the ‘buzz’ was circulating the region of how great it was. We were not disappointed.

All the higher math that didn’t make sense in high school suddenly did.  Well began to for me anyway. Explanations of the proportions and how it creates a more balanced and pleasing quilt was given. A power point presentation of charts and quilts helped to visually understand the ratio of proportions. Now I understand why some quilts are immediately pleasing to the eye.

I had read about the great painters in history using a subject of focus and then drawing the eye around in a circular motion to see the other areas in the painting, then bringing the eye back to the focus subject again. It’s the Fibonacci theory.

Included besides Fibonacci was Eileen K. Ellison. She has a book titled ‘Mathematical Quilts’. The information found in her book was insightful in the evening’s presentation.

Thursday evening reminded me that we are never too old to learn and improve our minds and crafts.