Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Bursting Star is finished and hung on the living room wall. This pattern was in the Nov/Dec issue of McCall's Quilting magazine. I made up the design in Electric Quilt with a lot of help from the EQ7 Yahoo group. Thank you, ladies! Such a generous group, I couldn't have managed without them. The original quilt had five different colors and I wanted to play around with other color combinations. I came up with this blue and white/light version.  

Oh, the horror! I did a test before I quilted my bursting star and thought the tension was really off. Well, after re-threading and changing the needle things still didn't look right so I decided to "look under the hood", so to speak. Ack! What a mess! I actually used my vacuum cleaner to clear this accumulation of lint out. The result: perfect stitch tension. 

Back Roads Quilters met for our annual Christmas party recently at a member's home. Isn't this a lovely home? We really appreciate Linda's hospitality and generosity. We had a delicious pot luck supper and then had our Yankee Swap. Chapter members who taught classes during 2014 were given special gifts. See the box on the floor in the center of the room? That is our brand new electric Accuquilt cutting machine. All of our templates from our old crank machine will fit this new one. 

After our Yankee Swap we had show & tell. Brenda showed the quilt she made at Camp Kieve this fall. Someone at the retreat suggested that she use her leftovers and she put together this lovely table runner, too. 

I think these half square triangle units were leftover from her flying geese units. She said she would have thrown them out normally, but followed up on the suggestion to sew them together. Brenda added the Merry Christmas strip on the sides that must have been part of the panel that she used in the quilt. So beautiful! 

Wonderful friends + beautiful quilts = joy, joy, joy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bursting Star

I have a new subscription to McCall's Quilting. In the November/December 2014 issue there is a wall quilt called Bursting Star.  There are three different color combinations featured and all are pretty but I wanted to be able to create the pattern in Electric Quilt so I could play around with different colors, too. I've made Lone Star quilts so I knew I could make this wall hanging. In the Bursting Star, or starburst quilts there are eight star segments and coloring the different rings is what makes these quilts so amazing and fun. 

I belong to an Electric Quilt group called Steppen and I asked the members if they could help me create the design. Two women who appear to be regular contributors responded quickly and showed me how. A third member sent me her technique a little later. All three had a different approach and I learned a lot. I had fun working on the design and choosing colors. The combination I liked the best, and this is to go in my living room that has soft yellow walls, is this blue and white version. 

I chose a blue batik which is alternated with three different white/light batiks. Lots of bias edges so the tight weave of the batiks helps combat the stretchiness of bias edges.

Construction of the segments is a bit different from the Lone Star but each begins with strip sets that are then cut into 45 degree angle strips. The McCall's instructions show how to pin the diamonds successfully. The seams don't nestle together. In order to get the points exact you have to pierce a pin through the 1/4 inch seam line and then put pins in on either side of that pin. Remove center pin and sew. I thought I could bypass that step and went ahead and just pinned my pieces together. After several sessions with the seam ripper, I decided to give the McCall's technique a try. Well, don't you know, it worked! Perfect match up every time (well, almost).

Here's the wall quilt on my design wall. Five segments done, three more to go. By the time I finished today I had seven done. These segments aren't sewn together yet. The blue diamonds at the outer ring will be cut in two and then a large triangle will finish off the corners. The corners will be in blue so it will look like the white is the final row. It is a beautiful pattern. You will see, I'll post the finished top soon! The finished quilt will be 41 inches square. It will replace a Lone Star quilt that has been up for a few years and I'm very tired of looking at it.

What are you working on? Christmas projects? Is this the time of year you stop quilting and wait until after the holidays? I like this time of year to sew because in the summer my sewing room often is too hot. Now the weather keeps me inside and I can sew comfortably in my room.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A word of warning

For all my quilting friends I offer a warning. Do NOT sign up for QNNtv. This is a website that offers quilting videos. Some are free and others are available through subscription.

The subscription is cheap but they automatically renew and when that happened to me recently I found that I can no longer log on as a member. There is no response to emails. There is no one at the phone number they post.

I finally resorted to posting on their fb page and found a number of other people with their own stories of woe with this company. It is too bad that some of the well know quilt celebrities are associated with this company.

Trust me, stay away from them. I'm not going to waste any more time on them and will just wash my hands of the $12 they took from me.


Update 11/20/2014 I received word from QNN that my membership status had been updated. If this had not been on automatic renewal I would not have renewed. The videos are awkward to use and the website is slow. Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims of The Quilt Show have a much better production. They are professional and there is a lot to offer on their website. I highly recommend their show but a big thumbs down to QNN.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Camping and Crazy Quilting

We decided to go on one last camping trip over the weekend recently. We drove up to the Big Eddy campsite on the Dead River near the dam at Flagstaff Lake. Flagstaff Lake was created in the 1940s by flooding an area for a hydro dam. You can see photos on the internet of the houses and towns that were submerged in the process. It must have been heartbreaking for the people who lived there and there is still evidence of habitation on the shores of the lake. This area on the Dead River is very popular with fishing enthusiasts in the early summer. We were the only ones camping on this November weekend. We did see one couple stop and fish in the river in their fishing waders. Must have been chilly and I don't know what fish would be biting at a lure this time of the year. 

Soup and grilled cheese. Lunch is served. We were very cozy in our warm camper. It was very chilly on our first day here. We hiked up the river and along the road. There is a lookout spot where you can look at the rapids. The water looked mighty cold.

I printed some images onto fabric. I really like the way these turned out. Don't you love the cowgirl? I used to want to be a cowgirl when I was little. That was back in the 1950s when there were lots of cowboy and Indian shows on tv. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans loomed large in my younger years. I am experimenting with sewing these pieces into crazy quilt blocks. These are from the Graphics Fairy. 

Halloween Crazy Quilt block. Halloween is not really my thing but it was fun to have this up. I had a fat quarter of this fabric and added some orange and black. 

Experimenting with hand dyeing some cotton swatches. I really like the smoky pale colors. 

I loved working on this piece. I made the wreath first and then decided to put the kitty in the center. Isn't she cute? I really like using the pale colors for the crazy patches and using that as a background for more embellishment. So fun to add the stitching and all the trims. I haven't finished this with backing and binding yet. That's the boring bit, isn't it? On to something new is my habit. I will finish this as a little wall hanging. 

I've added a Pinterest button to my blog and hope you will pin some of my pieces! I finally figured out how to do that. Hey, I'm a quilter not a computer techie. 

Happy Stitching! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nice video of a bed turning. I'd like to examine those quilts a little more closely, wouldn't you?

Here's a little Halloween wall hanging I just finished. I did a little crazy quilting to make this piece. Do you like the bats? They are silk flower petals. I embellished the quilt with fabric yoyos, buttons and beads, ric rac and embroidery. This is about as scary as I get. 

This is part of a wonderful quilt my friend Donna made. It was on display at the Tacoma Lakes Quilters show in Litchfield this past weekend. Donna said she loved working on this quilt as each block was different and a challenge to figure out how to piece. The pattern is by Jen Kingwell from the UK. You can see more of this quilt and other quilts from the show at the Tacoma blog. The ladies put on a very good show with lots of quilts and friendly faces. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cocheco Quilt Show

On Saturday October 18 my quilt group took a bus trip to see the Cocheco Quilters Guild annual show in Rochester, New Hampshire. They did a fantastic job displaying the quilts. Everything was bright with wide aisles for easy viewing. Lots of vendors along the perimeter walls. There were 55 of us on the bus and we had a great time. After the show we boarded the bus and drove to Henniker, N.H. to the Quilted Threads quilt shop. It is a really special quilt shop and worth visiting. We spent two hours at the shop and by then we were ready to head for Kittery, Maine where we ate a delicious dinner at Roberts Maine Grill. On the way back home we watched Miss Potter starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. What a lovely day and the fall foliage was a bonus treat!

Sue Spargo design by Linda Bevins

Wool applique with embroidery details. So much fun!

Love the ombre fabric background

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it's all about? 

This one was darling. We got to talk to the woman who made it, too.  Her name is Laura Sue Parsons and this is a red-brolly pattern.

Lovely soft gray fabrics

The machine quilted trees were very nicely done on this very calm quilt wall hanging

Cute posies and patchwork blocks

Gray is the new black in quilts, too

Bonnie Hunter design

Beautiful wool embroidery. Buttons are fun touch.

Round quilt!

Bugs in jars with some star blocks, too. Fun for a child. We still have the bug jar quilt I made around here somewhere. 

Gorgeous Kate Spain fabrics

Aboriginal inspired fabrics. I like the white diamonds that help break up the patterns. 

Lovely border fabric on this pretty quilt.

Here comes the sun!

So funny-kitties with ric rac whiskers

Hard to get the color right on this one. Brown and pink

Bonnie Hunter design-Quilter used brown and blue rather than Bonnie's scrappy style. 

Bright! I like this pattern. I think it would look nice in a modern palette of  grays, turquoise, and yellow, very pale.

These were really big fun blocks. 

Circles are appliqued on. 1930s fabrics, always cheery

Look Ma, no curves! Those are all triangular pieces. 

Judy Niemeyer design

Pretty pretty

Another quilt by Laura Sue Parsons. We got to talk to her about this quilt, too. I really like it. She calls it Quilt Me a Dream and she used applique blocks from Lynette Anderson and Bunny Hill Quilts combined with traditional quilt blocks. She said her stash is all these colors and she just used fabrics from her stash to make this. Lots of soft blues and reds. 

Love the camper

Really nice fabric for the borders, too

Beautiful blue and white quilt which was machine quilted by Margaret Solomon Gunn. 

This is a "potholder" quilt. I took a class at Maine Quilts this summer by Wendy Caton Reed where she taught us this old technique. Each block is pieced or appliqued then quilted and then bound. These bound blocks are whip stitched together to make a complete quilt. It was fun to see one at the show. 

The back of the potholder quilt. 

Someone used a lot of orange fabrics for this juicy quilt. You just have to smile when you look at this one. 

A little doll quilt. 

Wool applique

Love the crow's necklace

Old quilt blocks made into quilts. 

Another little quilt. Seems that it is difficult to hang the little ones so they often look rather rumpled. 

That's it for the show!