Saturday, February 28, 2015

There's More To Life ...

... than Netflix.

I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms and Netflix is a great companion, but sometimes I turn off Netflix in favor of other pursuits.

Did you know that it is possible to take courses online, and I don't mean quilting classes?  I have taken online courses through,, Yale University (, and other places.  I can listen to lectures and watch videos on my computer from my hotel room, complete assigned readings on airplanes, and enjoy learning new things during those "in between" times in my life.  Some of these courses are self-paced and some are completed on a schedule, but every course I have taken has been FREE.  How cool is this?

I have completed Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques taught by a professor at Penn State University.  I have taken a writing course from Duke University.  I am in the middle of a literature course from Yale University.  I'm about to start two new classes, one self-paced/open-ended and one to be completed by June 1.

I feel like these types of courses have been designed to work with people's crazy schedules, and I certainly have a crazy schedule.

Have you ever taken an online course?  What did you take?  Do you know of any other good courses starting soon?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Favorite Friday

My favorite sign at Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup WA:

Found on a stall in the washroom. The vendors' bladders thank you!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy Trails!

As a traveling quilt teacher, I can write my own version of one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs:

This week I am teaching at Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA, but I am also hard at work in the evenings doing paperwork and making travel arrangements for future events.

I just added a new event to my calendar and I'm so excited to announce that I'll be teaching again at International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX in October.  I will be teaching six classes on the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen!  I could nearly die of happiness at the thought!

Will I see you there?

Also, if you live near New York (or even if you don't but are in the mood to travel there), I will be teaching a class on the Handi Quilter Pro-Stitcher at the Quilt Basket in Pawling, NY on Saturday, March 7.  I love showing what that amazing machine can do!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Like the dinosaurs, these YouTube quilting videos of mine will become extinct.  Watch them before it is too late!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pat Sloan's Globetrotting -- month 6 St. Louis (green)

I'm running about a year behind on Pat Sloan's Globetrotting block of the month.  I've completed months one through five and am now (finally!) moving forward!

I am making two copies of this quilt.  I just pieced the green colorway of St. Louis:

Next up? The pink one!


Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (in review)
Globetrotting Block 4 San Juan (in review)
Globetrotting Block 5 London (in review)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Quilt of the week -- a mini-quilt pillow

Oh, Pat Sloan.  That woman gets me into so much trouble!

It all started when Pat began posting about the Aurifil mini quilt series for 2015.  Gudrun Erla designed January's quilt.  I've been a huge fan of her work for years!  I tried to resist, really I did, but the pull of the pretty little quilts was too strong for me.

I downloaded the pattern, pulled out some American Made Brand solids, and began piecing:

I loved it!  So I cut and sewed some more:

That was cute, so I kept going:

Eventually, the entire top was complete!

I chose a few of my favorite quilting designs (ribbon candy, continuous curve, and swirls) and started quilting with red thread on the red fabric:

I quilted those same three quilting designs with white thread on the white fabric:

Since I don't have a need for a mini quilt.  I decided instead to make a 20-inch pillow:

I adapted the Complete Your Suite pillow pattern to get a 20-inch pillow with a flange.

I have to fly to Seattle tomorrow to teach at a show in Puyallup, WA but I will start the February mini quilt as soon as I get home!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Getting It Together -- at the ready!

I have designed several Cutie quilting patterns for the Quilt Basket.  Two patterns are out so far (Squared Away and Going My Way?), but many more are in the works.  Whenever I get an idea for a new pattern I am able to open my Cutie drawer, pull sixteen fabrics that will work together, and stitch up a sample.

My Cutie drawer is full of fabrics leftover from other projects:

It is so convenient to have a drawer full of pre-cut fabric for when inspiration strikes!  Fewer quilt ideas slip away from me this way.

Last week, I pulled a bunch of fabrics and tested a new pattern.

Sneak peek:

I promise that I'll eventually show the whole quilt.  Really, I will.

I'm sewing the last border today, then I will quickly quilt it, bind it, photograph it, and probably give it away.  If this pattern gets approval, I will then remake it with a pack of Cutie fabrics and the pattern will eventually be released.

I am having so much fun with this project and wanted to share a peek of how I get the process started.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snowbound... Again.

I often complain about winter travel difficulties:  cancelled flights, de-icing delays, etc., but today I was reminded that I am blessed to not deal with a daily commute in the nasty white stuff.  I taught a class at a quilt shop less than an hour away from home.  There was no snow when the class started, but the last student left with still a half-hour of class time to go.  Then I, the steadfast teacher, had to drive home.  Wow.  Apparently, I never drive in the snow.  The roads were horrible and I hated every inch of that drive.

So, my hat is off to those who deal with a daily commute in the awful winter weather.  I am a princess who doesn't drive in the snow and I don't envy you for a second.  I also want to tip my hat to the road crews in my town.  The awful roads got a whole lot better once I crossed the border into my town.  Great job guys!  Keep up the good work, Town of East Fishkill road crew!

Now that I am safely home, I don't plan to leave again until this storm (#4,832 of the season) is over.  I will lock myself in my sewing room, plug my headphones into a good audiobook, and quilt!

What I won't be reading:

Any books/novellas about Jack Reacher.

It has taken a while, but I have finally read every novel and tracked down every short story and novella featuring Jack Reacher.  19 books, 4 novellas, and 1 short story.  I am now waiting, impatiently, for the 20th novel, Make Me, to be released later this year.

Dear Mr. Lee Child:  WRITE FASTER!

I know several other quilters who have read books in this series.  What do you do while you are waiting for another book to be published?

And in case you were wondering about the Jack Reacher book-to-movie adaptation:  TOM CRUISE IS NOT JACK REACHER!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites

I have the best husband ever. When he went grocery shopping tonight (I told you he was the best), he bought me a cake because he knows that I've had a long week.

This is the cake:

I understand that they couldn't call it "buttercream" if no butter was used, but "But-R-Creme"?  and a TM?  Because, obviously, everyone wants to claim that their cake is made with Butt Creme But-R-Creme.

Yes, I am still 12 years old.  Inside my head I'm hilarious.

Since today is about favorites (plural), I also like Brie cheese.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

HOME! (but for how long?)

I am home this week, busily working in my sewing room and having the best time!  Fabric is flying and thread is covering my clothing completely.  This is my happy place!

(some of the remains of the day)

I am doing some "just for fun" quilting as well as making samples for new classes.  Stay tuned for more information about them!  I'm also making handouts and packing for some upcoming events.

On Saturday, I will be teaching at the Quilt Basket in Pawling, NY.  Students will use Handi Quilter Avante and Sweet Sixteens and learn how to use rulers and templates on them.  Could anything be more fun?

If you aren't on the east coast, maybe I'll see you on the west coast next week at Sewing and Stitchery Expo.  I will be teaching eight classes on twelve Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteens at that show.

I truly love my job!

If neither of these classes is near you, check my calendar to see if I'll be teaching near you sometime soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Going My Way?

I'm always going around and around and usually end up where I started.  That's why I designed this quilt:

My latest pattern is called Going My Way.

This is a new addition to the Cutie pattern line.  I am so proud to be involved in this project.  I think it is fantastic that a quilter can buy a Cutie pack of fabric (16 fat eighths) for $20, add a little background/border fabric, and create something beautiful without spending an arm and a leg.  I think newer quilters will love this cost-effective way to buy quilt fabrics and established quilters who have adequate stashes can buy a little new! pretty! fabric without much guilt.

I can't wait to re-make this quilt in batiks... I mean solids... I mean.... Sigh.  TOO MANY CHOICES!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Globetrotting -- Month 5 quilting videos (London, in review)

I had so much fun quilting the London block for Pat Sloan's Globetrotting block of the month.

First, I made a block:

And then I made a plan:

Full tutorial here.

Then I quilted curved lines:


Full tutorial here.

Then I quilted swirls:

Full tutorial here.

Then I quilted triangles:

Full tutorial here.

Then I stitched ribbon candy:

Full tutorial here.

My finished block:

I can't wait to staring quilting the rest of the blocks!

All of these amateur YouTube videos are free.  If you would like to see my professionally produced quilt DVDs, they are available for purchase:

Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Getting Started
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Quilting Blocks and Borders
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Using Rulers and Templates
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Thread Work

If you would like to take a machine quilting class with me, check out my teaching calendar.

Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (in review)
Globetrotting Block 4 San Juan (in review)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Quilt of the Week -- A hint

I'm not going to show a photo of this week's quilt of the week.  This is a scavenger hunt.

Step 1.  Buy this book:

Step 2.  Turn to page 64.  You'll see a quilt that I quilted for Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

I quilted the quilt about a year ago, and I was a nervous wreck if you remember.

This quilt was lovely and lime and orange and I'm so honored to have spent a little time with it.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Getting it Together -- on the road

I was in Denver this week.  It was beautiful!  It was 70*F and sunny and I ate lunch outside and wasn't wearing a coat.  Why don't I live in Denver?

I tried to fly home yesterday, but it was not meant to be.  This winter is becoming one for the record books.  I flew to Detroit and then this happened:

I officially hate winter.  I guess I am grateful that I wasn't flying in the awful weather, but mostly I'm just bummed about spending yet another night in a hotel away from my husband.  And it was Valentine's Day.  Happy belated Valentine's Day, sweetie!  Also, I have no hand-sewing with me here and I'm going nuts.

So, no hand-sewing, but this is what I do have:

If it is inside of my travel bag, I have it with me.  If it is not inside this one little travel bag, then I don't have it.  The airline keeps custody of luggage when they cancel a flight.  Good times.

What I do have:

  • my computer
  • a book
  • a Kindle
  • my datebook/planner
  • pen and paper
  • necessary medications
  • comb
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • phone charger (ok, 3 phone chargers.  Yes, I'm paranoid)
  • snack crackers
  • mints
  • a wool wrap
  • driver's license
  • credit card for booking a hotel tonight
  • cash for tipping the shuttle driver and the pizza guy.  Also good for the soda machine at the hotel.
  • phone with contact list, including priority airline re-booking phone number for super-travelers like me.  Also including the number of a hotel that has a restaurant and good internet speed.  I've been stuck in Detroit before.

What I do not have:

  • MY WINTER COAT!!!!  I packed it inside my suitcase.  I know better than this!

Oh well.  I had it mostly together and wrapped myself in my wool wrap to keep from getting frostbite while waiting for the hotel shuttle.  I had everything that I absolutely needed to get me through one night at the hotel.

Fingers crossed that I can get home to my husband sometime today?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I got one!

One of the best television series that I've committed to and binge-watched (listened-to-while-quilting) on Netflix was "Life."  I don't have a television and don't remember hearing anyone talk about this show while it was airing, but...

It is one of my favorite television shows.  Ever.  I can't really explain why.  I think it was quirky and clever and fun but serious at the same time.

Have you ever heard of this show?  Did you love it?  Can you explain why?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites

I like to talk about my favorite things on Fridays, but this week I want to talk about some of my favorite quilters.  All of these quilters have something in common:  I haven't met any of them.  I love their work and want you to experience it if you haven't already.

1.  Sue Bleiweiss

Every time I see a quilt by Sue Bleiweiss, I am overjoyed and jealous and covetous.  Her quilts just make me happy.  The colors, the shapes, the subjects... I love everything about her quilts.  I am jealous because I can't do art like she does.  I am covetous because someday I want to own one of her quilts.  (In case it matters to anyone, my birthday is in May.  Consider this a hint.)

2.  Janet Stone

She makes cute and clever alphabet quilts.  I couldn't find a website for her, but if you google "Janet Stone Quilts" you'll find several images, usually supplied by shows that have awarded ribbons to her quilts. Her quilts just make smile.

3.  Kellie Wulfsohn

Kellie Wulfsohn is an Australian pattern designer.  I admire her eye.  I want to buy every one of her patterns.  I think I have already bought every one of her patterns.  I want to make every one of her quilts.  Ok, reality hits, but maybe I'll make one or two?  Her quilts are bright and bold and colorful and cute and clever and...  I need to get home and quilt.

I would love to meet any (all?) of these quilters someday and let them know how much joy their quilts and designs have brought me.  They inspire me.

Who are your heroes in the quilting world?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why I am not quilting this week

I live in New York and the winter weather has been particularly unkind of late.  We've suffered through storm after storm after storm, and the snow is piling up!  I am content during a storm if all of my chicks are safely home and no one has to travel anywhere, but I travel often and my family members are all employed.  I am discontent with this winter weather!

The storm earlier this week had me stressed out!  I had to be in Denver yesterday so I planned to book a flight for Tuesday.  It is February and I live in New York, so I booked a flight for Monday, just in case the weather got ugly and I had some delays.  Well, it was predicted to get ugly and then uglier and leaving two days for travel wasn't enough.  I was able to argue the Delta operator into changing my flight to Sunday.  I was so relieved that I would be able to get out of town!

The snow was falling on Sunday and I learned a lot about de-icing planes.  I was feeling bad and grateful for the ground crew that had to work outside in the nasty weather to make sure I had a safe flight.  I looked out my airplane window and saw this contraption:

It was an enclosed bucket hanging off a truck.  A man was inside of the bucket, spraying de-icing stuff (it's the term industry insiders use) onto my plane.

After the de-icing stuff came the we-don't-want-to-form-any-new-ice-on-the-plane stuff:

You didn't know I was up on all the industry terminology, did you?  And this stuff is poison green.  Sigh.  Now I need to go buy poison green fabric.

Well, both types of stuff worked and I got out of town on Sunday.  Phew!  I was in Denver by Monday morning, nearly two days before I really needed to be here.  That left plenty of time for a manicure:



(Sorry, no picture.  Did you honestly expect one?)

I am staying at a hotel with really funky details like this carpet:

This panel on the elevator:

And the wallpaper that makes me want to go home and quilt:

I'm supposed to go home on Saturday.  Look at the weather for the rest of the week;

Why would I want to go home to sub-zero temperatures and even more (please, no more!) snow when I could stay here in Denver with weather like this?:

I guess I kind of miss my husband and it's like Valentine's Day or something, so if the weather allows, I will get on a plane and fly home to where it is always winter and never Christmas.


Oh, wait!  I forgot to tell you why I am in Denver!

(OK, I didn't really forget.  It's kind of a secret and I can't tell you.  Stay tuned, though, and I'll let you know about fun new happenings when I can.)

Happy quilting to all!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Last chance to see

Did you know that I have machine quilting videos on YouTube?  Did you know that I plan to "retire" several of these videos soon?

This would be a great time to watch the following videos because they are going..... going......

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Globetrotting -- Month Four quilting videos

Here's a recap of the quilting the San Juan block from Pat Sloan's Globetrotting block of the month.

First, I made a plan:

I started by quilting swirls:

Then I quilted continuous curve:

After that I quilted triangles:

And finally I quilted some ribbon candy:

See the finished block:


All of these amateur YouTube videos are free.  If you would like to see my professionally produced quilt DVDs, they are available for purchase:

Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Getting Started
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Quilting Blocks and Borders
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Using Rulers and Templates
Sit-down Longarm Quilting: Thread Work

If you would like to take a machine quilting class with me, check out my teaching calendar.

Globetrotting Block 1 Washington DC (in review)
Globetrotting Block 2 Venice (in review)
Globetrotting Block 3 Chicago (in review)

Monday, February 09, 2015

Quilt of the Week -- the best of intentions

Sometimes, good plans fall apart.

I planned to show you a finished quilt today.  Here it is:

Do I get half-credit for showing my work?

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Illusion of Progress

I am cleaning out my sewing room and starting to see some improvement.  It's time to take a small step backwards.

Last week I was cutting up the fabrics from my scrap bin into usable bits, and this week I'm sewing together the parts that were too small to cut up.

Sewing these little bits together is doing diddly squat toward a cleaner sewing room, but it makes me feel like I'm making progress.  Don't ruin this for me, ok?

Recently I unearthed this book from my swag bag at International Quilt Festival:

and also this book from my friend Victoria:

I am obsessed with them individually, but more obsessed with them both together.

I might be combining these two books with some of my little bits of sewing, all in the quest for a clean sewing room, naturally.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Cheaper than Therapy

I've mentioned before that I binge-watch (binge-listen-to-while-quilting?) television shows on Netflix.  One I commit to a show, I don't stop until I've watched every single episode.

I've been hard at work in my sewing room lately, and I've been burning through Netflix shows.  Recently, I pieced a few quilts while listening to "Lie to Me".  Have you seen that series?  I thought it was fun and clever and easy to follow without watching the computer screen.  My kind of show.

Have you committed to this show?

Friday, February 06, 2015

Friday Favorites

I'm having a difficult time today.  I stayed in bed a while this morning, but I didn't waste that time.  Instead, I composed a little haiku stating how much I love winter:

No no no no no
No no no no no no no

Do I get bonus points for making it rhyme?

Does anyone else love winter as much as I do?

My husband texted me this photo from his car:

If you can't read it, the temperature is -6*F.  For my friends outside the US, that is -21*C.  It is inhuman.

My favorite things today are cocoa:

And a warm fire in the sewing room:

My last words on winter weather and the next snowstorm coming tomorrow:

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Illusion ... SHATTERED!

When 2015 started, I promised myself that I would work on my Grand Illusion mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter.  I also promised myself that I would write a blog post every week showing my progress.


This past week I saw something shiny:

Look at all of those strings!  Aren't they pretty?

Instead of diligently working on my Grand Illusion mystery, I've been playing with my strings.

This happened:

Bonnie is a string quilter; I think she'd approve of my diversion.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Not since 1974...

... have I been to the state of Washington.  I was there for Expo '74.  I was a very young child in 1974 (work with me here, will ya?) so I remember little about that visit.

I'm so excited to finally get a chance to return to Washington in a few weeks.  There will not be a world's fair this time, but there will be a quilt show!

Sew Expo will be held in Puyallup, Washington from February 26 through March 1.  I am tickled that I will be teaching classes on the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen.  

Will I see you there?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Vacation Time block 2: Toes in the Sand

I am so tickled to be working on Pat Sloan's Vacation Time Block of the Month.  The second block is called Toes in the Sand.

I had fun picking colors for this block:

What goes better with lime than purple?  Nothing!

I used the flying geese method for the triangles so I had some leftover triangle pairs to sew together after I finished the block:

I think I'm gonna have to make a mini quilt out of these, but I'm not sure yet what that will look like.  For now, they are resting in my Vacation Time block folder until I make a decision.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Quilt of the Week -- Play Time!

I promised myself that I would do more "fun" quilting this year.  I just grab fabric and thread and batting and start to play!

I found a pile of orphaned four-patches and then pulled some matching fat quarters:

Those four-patches are leftover bits from my travel quilt that has been to many different hotel rooms with me over the last decade.   

I stitched on some of the coordinating fabric:

Then I began quilting on Hazel, my sweet Sweet Sixteen  I love my Handi Quilter Mini Scallop Ruler and used it to quilt some diagonal lines through the center of my quilt:

I also love my Handi Quilter Oval Rulers and used them to stitch continuous curve in the four-patch:

If stitching one curve is good, two curves must be better:

Back to the Mini Scallop ruler for stitch in the ditch:

What this quilt every quilt really needs is some lots of ribbon candy:

Back to the Mini Scallop ruler for some parallel lines, stitched a perfect quarter-inch apart:

Pebbles, anyone?

I had some space to fill and stitched a million feathers, long and lean:

Nearly done:


I used two different threads in this quilt, both Clover 50-weight silk variegated.  Yummo!

I gave this quilt to a colleague, but I have more of those orphaned four-patches.  Hmmmmmm....... I think I might have to start playing again right away!