Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas to Dear Daughter

Last year I made this Kaffe Fasset log cabin quilt at a quilt retreat. I gave the quilt top to Zoe for Christmas last year. According to her account, I whisked it away with the promise to finish it for her and she had not seen it since. Well, I did finish it and she was happy all over again to receive it.
I joined Audible last year and listened to Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove while doing the machine quilting. The two are inextricably mixed in my mind now. For each block I started quilting in the center and spiraled outward through each log. It is a little higgelty piggelty but fun.

No work today, we are having a blizzard, which is why the windows are all white. The wind is howling and the snow is swirling about but the chickadees are flitting from lilac bushes to feeders. Yesterday we had 18 turkeys around the feeder. I hope they are safe in the pine trees today.

When I lived in Halifax I loved Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. One day to unwind after the whirl of Christmas seems such a civilized way to live. I'm glad to have an extra day today, cozy and snug at home.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas to DH (and Weasley)

I pulled this "Turning Twenty" (Tricia Cobbs designer) out of my trunk of unfinished work earlier in December. When I was in Tacoma Lakes Quilters we made these quilts. The blocks are made from twenty fat quarters. Each fat quarter is cut in the same way to give you three pieces for the block and one for the border. Simply, easy, and fast. It was fun to make but I never completed it until this year, which is five or six years later.
I used a wool batt and bought a batik 108" wide backing fabric. This was the first time I used quilt backing fabric and I loved not having to seam the back. There was enough backing fabric left over to make the binding. I did an allover meander on my domestic machine.

Weasely thinks I made this quilt just for him, but it is really for my dear husband to keep him warm on the sofa. "Lap" quilts just aren't big enough for a cold Maine winter!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas
if you stop opening presents and listen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Crazy Quilt

Isn't this gorgeous? Blue and white, buttons and lace, so many dainty stitches. This piece is so lovely. I found this image at Sharon B's Pin Tangle. Look at her sidebar under eye candy. This collection of crazy quilt blocks is called "I dropped the button box." I've never been a fan of crazy quilts, all those dark velvets and garish colors, but these are beautiful. Each block seems to have a theme and a color palette. Pin Tangle is an embroidery website that is full of information.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Tree Skirt

We had a workshop at Back Roads last month and I made this mini-tree skirt. The instructions were for 2 1/2 inch wide strips, but I cut mine 1 1/2 inches. It still made a bigger skirt than I had envisioned. Since mine is for a table, I didn't cut out the center. It is almost flat. I used a collection of fat quarters and a different fabric for the centers. I really like the plaids. I don't think I will ever make another one of these. I'm happy with this one, but making sure everything was precise was a lot of work! The bias binding around the star points was not too difficult, but I still don't know how to do that inner angle. I just jammed the fabric in there and sewed it down. There must be a better way, but I don't know what it is. LOL

Tree Skirt with Cat
Tonks thought I made this for her. The bird feeder is out this bay window and she loves to keep an eye on the world from here. I made this tree skirt thinking that it would look really nice on this bureau. Well, it's a little big, isn't it?

So, I put it on the table. This little tree is one Grammy gave to the kids when they were small. It's a bit of a Charlie Brown tree, but I really enjoy it.

Today I'm cleaning and decorating the house. I've been machine quilting two quilt tops for Christmas presents. Don't quilts look fabulous when they are quilted? These tops have been sitting around my sewing room for several years and now that I am getting them quilted I wonder why I didn't get them finished earlier. I'll post photos as soon as I can.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stirring the pot

I just received this statement from Beth Maitland, PTQG President:

Planning to enter a quilt at Maine Quilts 2011? 
Read this now or you may be disappointed.
Recent information about copyright law and quilting lead Quilt Show Advisory and the PTQG General Board to review and update the quilt entry requirements for Maine Quilts. Everyone who enters a quilt for public display at Maine Quilts that is not their own original design or a quilt based on traditional quilt blocks or designs must submit written permission from the creator of the design for the quilt to be shown at Maine Quilts.
This applies to all entries – display, judged, chapter challenges and Bear Necessities. Yes, even if you made a quilt from a pattern, book, magazine that you purchased or a class you took, you need to contact the author, teacher and/or publisher to obtain permission to enter the quilt. If the design source is another medium (e.g. photography, painting, illustration, other fiber arts), permission must be obtained from the original artist.
Start now to obtain this permission, don’t wait until the spring. Entries that are not accompanied by written permission for the quilt to be displayed will not be accepted. In addition, proper credit must be given on the entry form.
For more information, you might want to read “Know Your Rights (And Wrongs)” by Janet Jo Smith in the September/October 2010 issue of McCall's Quilting. A follow-up article, “People are Talking,” was in the November/December 2010 issue of McCall's Quilting.
Web sites with information about quilting and copyright laws include: 
“Do You Have Copyright Questions?” HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank" This article has a link to a page about copyright and public domain, HYPERLINK ""
AQS Quilt Shows - Do I Need Design Permission? HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank"
AQS's blogspot - HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank" Monday, November 1, 2010 “Copyrights Getting You Down?”
It is not the intent of the board to make things difficult for our members. Rather, it is important that Pine Tree Quilters Guild and Maine Quilts are in compliance with federal and state laws, including copyright laws.
There are several other changes for Maine Quilts. All donations for the silent auction must be accompanied by written permission from the designer giving permission for the item to be sold at the silent auction. There will not be a Members’ Sales Table at Maine Quilts 2011.

The Area 4 Reps came to a Back Road meeting recently and told us about this new ruling by the guild. We were all upset by this news and more than a little confused. I really think this is going too far. Yes, let's give credit to the designer, but to think that you can't even display your work where credit is given without first getting written permission from the designer is a sad reflection on our society, don't you think?

Remember this? I made this after Jo Diggs came to Back Road and gave a trunk show. Yes, I was inspired by her, but I made up my own pattern. I also have a landscape book by Valerie Hearder, which I'm sure influenced my design, too. Should I get permission to show this quilt from both women? Are the quilt police going to come check my bookshelf for other quilt designers I might have missed?
What about my placemat? Do I need permission from the fabric designer to show you this on my blog?

Actually, anything I have ever put in Maine Quilts was my own original design, but this matter really makes me angry. How about you? Will this new rule effect your decision to put a quilt in the show?

I'm sure we could all come up with some far fetched scenarios, for instance say my work was inspired by a Van Gogh painting. Hmm, who owns the copyright on that? How about a Beatles song? Just call Apple? I think it is pretty far fetched that anyone is going to sue me if I display a quilt at Maine Quilts if I don't get their written word first. Sounds like an art piece right there: all the paperwork required, documentation, rejection letters, autographs, returned post-just tuck it into the label on the back, thank you.

Am I being a curmudgeon or does this irk you, too?

P.S. Just to help you out with copyright issues here is a handy little chart.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

T hanks for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
for harvest stored away, home, and hearth, and holiday.
for autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart.
for neighbors, and November, nice things, new things to remember.
for kitchen, kettles' croon, kith and kin expected soon.
for sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that about.
That spells THANKS for joy in living and a jolly good Thanksgiving.

- Aileen Fisher, All in a Word

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

More knittin'

On Saturday I took a trip to Halcyon in Bath and bought five skeins of JaggerSpun Maine Line 2/8 yarn. Originally I picked out the unwashed Shetland by Harrisville yarns which comes in bigger cones. When I told the woman at the cash register what I was knitting, she kindly showed my the JaggerSpun. Smaller cones and less expensive. I say kindly because it this the first time I have ever gone to Halcyon and had someone who was friendly and helpful wait on me. Sad but true.

So, with my five cones of yarn: white, green, yellow, black, and red I rushed home and began knitting. I tore out my first effort, too small, then started on another pattern, which may be too big. After washing I think it will shrink and tighten up a bit. The graphs in the book are fairly small and in black and white so I decided to use color pencils and graph paper to chart one of the cuff designs.

I started with a black hem and knit a picot row (yarn over, knit two together) which will fold and make a lovely scalloped edge. Next came a few pattern rows before the first big chart. Three colors in one row-not my favorite thing. My tension is rather loose I think but I hope it will look fine once washed and blocked. I am much better at two color knitting and am looking forward to that.

Here's my latest finished object. It is called Storm Cloud Shawlette by Hanna Breetz inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman's pi shawl. The knitting starts at the neck edge with four stitches cast on. It is all done in knit stitch. Fine yarn on big needles.

It is really chilly at work with cold air blowing on my neck throughout the day so this little shawlette will keep me warm. It can be pulled up a bit so it looks more like a scarf. I just pulled some yarn out of my stash to knit this and now I realize I don't really have anything to go with it. Time for a little clothes shopping. Speaking of which, have you checked out the latest Google toy? You do a little comparison survey to determine what your style is and that is your profile. All kinds of shoes, dresses, tops, bottoms, bags, etc are shown in your style for you to rate and to shop. Click on a dress and it takes you to a website, such as Bloomingdales, where you can order it! Let me know what you think, I think it is fun if not downright funny. I don't know what I picked but my style is "Edgy". For those of you who know me (and as you can see from the photo) most of my clothes come from LLBean, not known for their "edginess". Good for a laugh at least! I was looking at some of the Boutique suggestions for me yesterday and was dumbfounded by a simple spotted scarf that was listed as $591.95. Can that be possible? I just about fell off my chair laughing.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Last Friday night was the opening night for the Smitten show at the Merrymeeting Art Gallery. The gallery is very small, intimate. On one wall the mittens were hung from tree branches. I got my second pair entered in time for the opening. There were felted mittens, old mittens, new mittens, wonderful mittens knit in gorgeous colors.

My friend Betsy had a display in the entryway of her Irish knit mittens. All were knit with local knitting worsted in the traditional off white color. She made one pair extra big and felted them by putting them in the washer a couple of times. Beautiful cables and baubles.

Angela (sorry I don't know her last name) had a number of pairs of stunning Latvian mittens on display. Very fine yarn, finer than my blackberry mittens which are in sport weight, probably knit in fingering weight yarn like my Fiesta mittens. She knit her mittens based on the designs in Lizbeth Upitis definitive book on Latvian mittens.

Betsy and I took Angela's Latvian mitten workshop on Saturday. There were four of us and we each brought our own needles and yarn to try out some patterns and techniques. I attempted the loopy fringe that is at the bottom of the cuff on some of the mittens in the cover photo. There are many different patterns, many patterns come from specific regions of Latvia. Angela told us that (in the past I suppose) a Latvian woman would have to have knit 250 pairs of mittens before she could get married. Mittens are very important culturally in Latvia. The girls learn to knit when they are old enough to hold needles, about 4 years old. How about you? Were you knitting when you were 4? 250 pairs, that's really 500 mittens! I bet they knit socks, too. I'm such a slacker.

My own copy of Latvian Mittens arrived today from Amazon. I have next week off thanks to comp time. Guess what I plan on doing? Knitting! At the workshop Angela had use four needles instead of three (plus a working needle). I've never used four needles before, but Angela said that the patterns divide better on four needles so I will give it a try.

Speaking of knitting, I came across this slideshow in my web travels. Photos of Shetland complete with wooly sheep and a Shetland pony! What really blew me away are the photos of fair isle samples, drawer after drawer of them. Who says you have to produce something? A swatch is very satisfying. Probably what I should do with the Latvian patterns. Here's the link.

Not forgetting quilting! I'm making a log cabin Christmas tree skirt. It is the pattern where you make six log cabin diamonds and sew them together. I'll take some photos soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Smitten with Mittens

These are "Fiesta Mittens" pattern by Lucy Neatby. These were a fun project. The stitch on the front is the swallowtail pattern. It is made by increasing four stitches in one stitch and on the next row K2Tog, then drop stitches, then SSK, this gives the slant to the stitches on either side. Made with fingering weight wool yarn. From a kit by Blackberry Ridge. I hope I can get these into the show along with my Blackberry Mittens. The Blackberries are in, but I just finished these Fiesta mittens.

Did you know that in Canada they say mitts not mittens?

Please come to the show in beautiful downtown Bowdoinham! Mittens galore and sculptures of hands.......

Smitten: Hands and their Coverings
November 12 - December 19, 2010
Saturdays 10 - 1 or by appointment

** Opening Friday November 12 **
5:00 - 8:00 PM

Merrymeeting Arts Center
Cathance Landing, at the foot of Main Street
9 Main Street, Bowdoinham

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Maine Quilts 2010 redux

J301. Swirling Leaves by Lynn Jourdan, Cape Porpoise. (41 x 41) This quilt was made as part of a year-long round robin. We started out with a center block of our choice and each month received instructions from another member of the group on what kind of border to add to our own quilt. It was a fun challenge! I liked the fact that in this round robin we each worked on our own quilt. Original design. Machine pieced, hand appliqu├ęd, hand quilted.

Did you know you can look at all the quilts from Maine Quilts 2010 online? Yes, you can! All the quilts are grouped in categories-art quilts, display quilts, judged quilts, etc. Have fun!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Show and Tell

At Maine Quilts this year a vendor from Lancaster, PA had this wonderful little lady holding a mass of holly branches. There were several other designs taken from old lithographs, I think. One was a little girl and a bear done in green which was lovely, too. The red border print came from the same vendor. It was packaged as a 3 inch wide strip and so many yards long, wrapped in cellophane. The vendor had numerous pre-cut squares of fabric all wrapped in cellophane. It was a very appealing display and the fabrics did not get frayed like you usually see.

I designed this quilt using EQ7. My first design with Electric Quilt. I really wanted to make that brown frame around the lady and it worked like a charm with the program. I only had to fudge a little when I actually sewed it together. The fudging part is the border between the red strip and the outer border, just had to make sure it was the right width for everything to fit.

This was a practice piece for machine quilting. It is all very well and good to practice on bits and pieces, but best way to practice is to quilt a real piece and finish it off. Don't you find that when you actually finish a piece it looks so much better than you had expected? Sometimes a ho-hum piece looks terrific once it is quilted and the binding is on.

I free motion quilted around the oval flowers in the red strip and then doodled around so that the ovals really pop up. I like the cross-hatching around my lady, but think it might look better if I had used off-white thread instead of the darker color. Still, it's good to try and see how it looks. If I had used neutral maybe I would be saying I should have tried a darker thread. There's always the NEXT quilt, isn't there?

Overall, I really like this piece. It kind of looks like "instant ancestors". I have it in my sewing room.

I'm thinking of calling this piece "Morris Mountain" because I used William Morris fabrics and there is "Morse Mountain" near Popham Beach where we like to hike.

Back Road Quilters had Jo Diggs come to a recent meeting. She did a lecture/slide show/trunk show with many of her wonderful landscapes. I was inspired to make this piece. It measures 16x26 inches. Hand appliqued. Machine quilted.

Here's a view to show the quilting. I used matching thread for each section; that's a lot of thread changing.

On the needles:
or rather off the needles!

Blackberry Mittens from Blackberry Ridge in Wisconsin. Pattern by Anne Bosch. These are made with fingering weight yarn which is quite finer than the usual worsted I use for most mittens. I really like the braided cuff. These are going into a mitten show at Merrymeeting Art Gallery in Bowdoinham in November. I'm making another pair and will show you those when I finish.

That's all for now! Get out and vote!

A litle eye candy

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox

So much beautiful quilting! I'll have to remember the squares on the petunia quilt.

Another free slideshow design by Smilebox

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quilt Show

Here's the news, straight from their webpage.......

Bowdoinham Historical Society Quilt Show

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 10:00am - 3:00pm
event image

BOWDOINHAM – Quilts are not just household linens. They are historical documents marking weddings, births, anniversaries and other major events that touch a family and community. They are also works of art employing a centuries-old craft that continues to evolve with each generation of quilters.

In celebration of that tradition, the Bowdoinham Historical Society is hosting a show of new and antique quilts, including several from its own collection. The show will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, and Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Town Hall. Volunteers from the Pine Tree Quilters Guild will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, to document quilts for a statewide database that so far holds photographs and information on more than 2,600 quilts. Maine’s quilts will then be added to a national database.

“We wanted to preserve the original history of quilting,” said Cyndi Black, co-chair of the Pine Tree Quilters Guild’s Maine Quilt Heritage Committee, which is in charge of the database.

Quilters and collectors are invited to exhibit their work by dropping off quilts at the Bowdoinham Public Library from Wednesday, Oct. 27, to Nov. 3 during library hours. (Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, 2-5 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.; Wednesdays 2-6 p.m.; Fridays 2-5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Exhibitors may also drop off quilts in the Town Hall during voting hours on Nov. 2. Registration forms are available wherever you drop off your quilt, or can be downloaded here.

Anyone with a quilt made before 1960 who would like it documented as part of the Maine Quilt Heritage project may bring it to the show on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Admission to the show is $4; exhibitors get in free. Raffle tickets will be on sale to win a quilt donated by a Bowdoinham quilter Sandy Hickey. The winning ticket will be drawn at the Christmas Tree lighting and Caroling on Friday, Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit restoration of the Jellerson School.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've had fun making these placemats. The first one is for my husband. I machine quilted around the trails and so on.

I really like feathers so this one is for me. This was the first placemat I made. The nature block and the nest block are from a panel I bought at the quilt show. The dark green is part of the panel, the light green strips I added. Just using odds and ends in my stash. The eggs really stand out because I free motion quilted around them and then did the stippling.

Butterflies for my daughter. I free motion quilted around each butterfly and then filled in. These placemats have been washed several times and the quilting always pops up beautifully.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the Classroom

Okay, you've already seen what happened to my August, so now I will show you what I did at Maine Quilts in Sue Nickels class on machine quilting the applique quilt. We brought a 12 inch muslin square with batting ready to quilt. We also brought two appliqued blocks using patterns that Sue provided.

This first photo shows the muslin block divided into four sections where we practiced different machine quilting techniques. I'm quite familiar with this kind of quilting, but Sue gave us some useful tips. Everyone's meandering is like your writing, everyone's is different. Also she told us to work from left to right, top to bottom to fill the space. She also introduced us to the concept of boustrophedon, which means ox-turning, where you work left to right and then work right to left. So, start stippling in the upper left area and work towards the right, dipping down occasionally so that when finished each row blends into the next and doesn't read as a distinct row.

Sue's work is very fine and that is something I really worked on. These variations are to show that you don't have to fill space with just the traditional stipple. Sue suggested I increase the top thread tension a lot more than I was accustomed to and it really improved my stitching. She also said a straight stitch throat plate will help eliminate those "claws" that appear on the back of your quilt when you sew fast. I don't have one of those...yet.

I think the best thing I learned at this class was to outline every applique piece before quilting the background. Taking that one step really improves the whole appearance of the quilt. It makes your quilting look neat and tidy by giving a uniform edge and it really makes your applique pop.

If you click on the flower you will be able to see the quilting in the flower and leaves. I'm not thrilled with all of it, but this is practice! It really does add another dimension and interest to quilt in this area, too.

Our second piece was this tulip on the diagonal. We worked on this later in the day and I think I did better on the first piece. All of this is free motion quilting, even the grid. Sue showed us how to go back and forth to make the grid without stopping and starting, but I got a bit mixed up with my to-ing and fro-ing!

The right half of the tulip was done with a straight diagonal line at one inch intervals. Then I added a squiggle on either side of that line. Kind of cute.

See that feather? Sue Nickels drew that! I free motion quilted it! I think it looks pretty respectable.

The second big tip I learned in this class is to keep the quilt facing in the same direction at all times. Don't turn the quilt, learn to sew going in any direction. Well, that is very good advice when you are working on a big quilt, but not so easy to follow when working on a small piece where it is so easy to turn it, however, by practicing that technique on small pieces, you will be able to do it on a big quilt. All Sue's quilts are made on a domestic machine.

Practice, patience, and persistence, the keys to success. Excuse me while I go design my next quilt.

Happy Quilting my friends!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How I spent my summer vacation

Ida Gold tomatoes and Jet Stars

Tonks investigates the onions.

Otter Cliff, Acadia

Me at Thunder Hole

Sand Beach

Fort Knox

Fort Knox
Esterita Austin?

Observatory at Penobscot Narrows Observatory

The bridge

See how that firm grip keeps me from falling 437 feet to the water?

Yes, there was quilting. More to come!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sue Nickels

Last Saturday I had the privilege of taking a class taught by Sue Nickels at Maine Quilts 2010. It was an all day class on machine quilting the applique quilt. Sue and her sister Pat Holly made "The Beatles Quilt" which won best of show in 1998 at Paducah and now is part of the collection of the Museum of American Quilters at Paducah, Kentucky. Sue and Pat made a smaller version of this quilt called "All You Need is Love", which was at Maine Quilts this year. Did you see it? It was very dear; only 43x43 and made with the same vibrant colors of the larger quilt.

I'm just going to show photos I took at the class in this post. I'll tell you more about the class in the next post. (DD and I are going to the Rockland Lobsterfest in just a bit!) Can you believe I do not have a full picture of this quilt? I remember seeing it on the Quilt Show. It is called "The Anniversary Quilt" and was made by Sue and her sister Pat to hang next to The Beatles Quilt at Paducah for a special exhibit. Quite a contrast to The Beatles Quilt.

The machine quilting on this quilt is so fine. Sue explained how she progresses through the blocks to complete the quilting. She always works so that she is moving the bulk of the quilt away from the quilt. In other words, she is moving the quilt "package" further away from the arm of the machine, so there is less and less bulk under the arm. Yes, all of her quilts are quilted on a domestic machine. She encouraged us to sew without rotating the quilt.

I forgot to ask, but I think this pink quilt is "Blue Tulips on Pink Skies" and is the quilt on the cover of her machine quilting book. I just love her color sense, such a modern twist to traditional applique.

Le Panier de Fleurs is another stunning quilt. The navy blue fabric is not a solid navy, but you wouldn't exactly call it a texture fabric either. Maybe it is hand dyed, anyway the variation within the solid color adds a richness to this quilt that is not evident in the photos. Isn't that true with so many quilts? Going to a quilt show, actually seeing quilts is such a thrill, isn't it? Always more to discover.

"Tea at Tenby", another multi-award winning quilt by Sue and Pat. Green and pink, one of my favorite color combinations. Exquisite quilting. See the little block pinned on the quilt? It says touch me, not the quilt. Sue passed this little sample around the class. Tiny tiny stitches. You know she can not have quilted this all in one go, but you cannot tell any difference in the quality of quilting. Sue said she always does a practice swatch first, probably before she sits down to quilt each time, that way there are no surprises.

Seeing such high quality work is an inspiration to me. Maine Quilts is a wonderful opportunity to see what can be achieved in quilting. I'm motivated to improve my own work when I see such lovely examples of our art. Let's quilt!

p.s. Sue was one of the judges at the show this year. She said she was very pleased to see how much machine quilting has improved over the years. She also wanted to emphasize that her quilts are done on a domestic machine and to show others that they can use their domestic machines successfully, too.