Box of Chocolates

Deirdre sent me this link a long time ago and now that my computer issues are getting resolved I can get back on track to posting inspiration. This is definitely for the girls in the crowd who just need a box of chocolates or an ice cream or other chocolate to make those “bad people go away.”


Peter Anton Box of Chocolates
Peter Anton Box of Chocolates

Check out Peter Anton’s website.

Sorbet Update

Sorbet Columns Block
Sorbet Columns Block

This is similar to the last block I made back in November. When I made the 3 Columns block, I wondered how it would look if I reversed one of the columns. The block to the left is the result.

I think the fabrics are a little  busy, but otherwise it was a good idea. It is a simple idea.

I haven’t worked on the Sorbet quilt in a long time. The idea of a quick quilt to cleanse my sewing palette after the Tarts is working out like I thought it would.

First, the Tarts are still on my design wall calling to me. There is something else I need to do to it, but I am not sure what.

Second, as you have probably heard 1,000 times, my laptop died and along with it the notes on the quilt. The notes include all of the designs for blocks. I can easily remake them, but don’t have it in me right now.

Third, bags and pencil rolls have been demanding my attention.

Finally, I can’t find the other blocks I have made. I would really like to find them. This, partially, goes back to organization. I need a better organizational system in my workroom.

Knitting Progress

Knitting - March 2010
Knitting - March 2010

The progress I am making on the next scarf. They like them to be 60″. I am on the second hank of yarn and not even at 30″ yet, so I am not sure I will make it.

Sue, a CQFAer, suggested I not cast on so many stitches and make the scarf more like 25 stitches wide. I will try that on the next one. I like doing this because I feel like I am doing some good for the world. It might be a small thing, but perhaps it will make a difference

Happy Zombie’s Fun Fresh Quilt

Somehow I ended up on the Happy Zombie blog. Yes, that is a quilt blog. I loved the turquoise and cherries theme. I was fascinated by everything that Monica, Happy Zombie’s mistress, has done in the quilt world. There are lots of fun links to look at in the sidebar.

While I did love the colors and theme I really liked her version of the Oh Fransson New Wave quilt and am actually planning on making one. I love the way she used a ruler to cut the pieces. I think it is a good use of a Jelly Roll. You can four photos of the quilt on her site, the main one is here.

As an added bonus, Monica and I had a personal exchange about the ruler she used, which was cheerful and nice.

Definitely go to her site to look at the photos. The quilt is awesome.

More FOTY 2010

FOTY 2010 - March
FOTY 2010 - March

I have made an effort to cut pieces for the FOTY 2010 project. I really want to avoid the massive cutting and sewing I did in January. I just want to be more balanced about the project this year. We will see if my plans work.

As of this moment, I have pressed a lot of fabric, but there are still a number of pieces to cut.

I haven’t done any sewing. That should come as no surprise since I don’t sew until everything is cut.

Purpose Journal

I went to A Work of Heart for a half an hour last week. I know it sounds crazy to drive an hour for a half and creativity session, but I had to go to the neighborhood anyway. Half an hour was about all I could spend, but it was enough. Andrea, the owner, was there by herself working, so she set me up and I embellished the front of the journal.

I worked on the journal that I originally made (and wrote about) at A Work of Heart with CQFA back in October. I never do this kind of work at home so it really felt like play time to me. I didn’t feel pressure and I worked as though I couldn’t screw up.

Many in the blogosphere have talked about their own personal Word of the Year projects. I think I first heard about it through the Creative Mom Podcast. I have watched these discussions for the past couple of years with interest.

I have seen mention that Christine Kane started it, but I am sure someone was picking a word of the year before she promoted it. I have friends who have been choosing a Word of the Year for the past few years. Julie puts all the words into a vessel and picks one.

Julie’s process didn’t seem right for me. I never picked a word until this year.

Purpose Journal
Purpose Journal

Then, recently, the word Purpose came to mind and that seemed right to me. All the pieces started to fall into place. Now I have a list of questions to explore and this journal in which to write.

In a way it is an exploration via non-quilt media as well as via writing. I don’t know yet what I want to accomplish, but I have a great journal in which to accomplish it!

Creative Prompt #60: Sweet




Sweetie Pie

Semantic Web for Earth and Environmental Terminology (SWEET)

Sweet Tarts

Sweet shop

Sickly sweet

Definition from the Urban Dictionary (just for a change of pace): sound awesome cool amazing nice hot cute sexy sick tight rad great

Way too sweet

See the Creative Prompt page if you have questions about this project.

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

Leave a comment about what you think about when you see the creative prompt word.

Cutting Table

Clean Cutting Table
Clean Cutting Table

I have a small cutting table. Part of my cutting mat isn’t even on the table! From this cutting table comes all the tote bags and quilts that I make. It isn’t ideal, but it is what I have and it works for me most of the time.

End of the Week Cutting Table
End of the Week Cutting Table

Above is what happens to my cutting table by the end of the week. I do try and craft every day but a lot of times I end up pressing fabric, or knitting or engaging in other hand work. Sometimes nothing fiber related happens on particular days.

I don’t have much horizontal space in my workroom and the debris of the week just ends up on the one mostly clean horizontal space. I end up tidying that space on Friday or the weekend and that has become part of the ritual of starting to sew on the weekend.

Finished and Hung Board
Finished and Hung Board

I am currently dreaming of redoing my workroom (which doubles as a guest room) with paint, new shelving, a Murphy bed, lots of drawers. The Board I made last week is part of it – perhaps the start of it. It is a small start, but a person has to start somewhere.

Evolving Board
Evolving Board

I cleaned some stuff off the big desk and started to fill up the Board. So far there are only photos. Now I can enjoy them. I hope to put some inspiration photos and other things on it. I am allowing it evolve organically.

Aprons Doing Good

Apron Front
Apron Front

Jennifer at CraftSanity is running in a race for charity in May. She is part of a special training group called the Road Warriors. The Road Warrior team members get training mentors, have a blog and train together. She has been paired with a domestic violence shelter. In order to be part of the Road Warrior team, she needs to raise a certain amount of money for a charity. Instead of going door to door to gather donations, Jenifer is organizing an apron exhibit. To do that she needs aprons. I decided to make and send her one.

Apron Right (Tarty view)
Apron Right (Tarty view)

I had listened to the Patchwork and Pacifiers podcast just before listening to Jennifer’s newest CraftSanity podcast that mentioned the apron contest. The P&P podcast is one to which I just started to listen. On that day, I heard Jennifer Ruvalcaba (P&: host) briefly mention a petal skirt her daughter had. Then, when Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood (too many Jennifers doing podcasts??) mentioned the apron contest an image formed in my mind.  Then, I was looking the One Yard Wonders book. That combined with the various other sensory inputs and I was off and running.

The Kitschy Kitchen Apron from One Yard Wonders was a big help with sizing and length of the straps. I had a good time working on it as well, though I found it to be quite a solitary endeavor.

Apron Front (Supermodel view)
Apron Front (Supermodel view)

One of the requirements of the exhibit is to add a piece of tie fabric to the apron. I wanted to put a flower made from the tie fabric on the apron, so I had to go and find a pattern, which, through the power of the ‘craft’ web, I was able to do quite easily. I found a site, Tip Junkie, which had a number of different patterns. I ended up using Pink Paper Peppermints Rounded Petal Fabric Flower pattern to make my flower. The tie fabric frayed quite a bit, so it wasn’t a particularly fun process, but I learned how to make fabric flowers. I could have used Fray Check, but I was afraid it would stain the fabric.

Apron Side
Apron Side

I spent most of the weekend working on the apron. I had actually been thinking about making one for awhile for no particular reason.. This was the perfect opportunity. It isn’t a quilt, but it may have gotten that particular wish out of my system.

I didn’t take pictures of all the steps. It just didn’t seem right. I feel good making the things I have for charity lately. I feel like I am doing some good in some small way. I hope you will join in and send an apron to Jennifer at CraftSanity as well. If you can’t make an apron read the post to find out other ways to help.

Apron Bow
Apron Bow

Vegas Floors

Vegas Floor
Vegas Floor

My sister’s sweetie took her to Vegas last weekend. Here is a photo she sent me. These photos were taken of a floor at The Palace Station. This is not your typical Mariner’s Compass as we quiltmakers think of it, however, it would be a wonderful applique’ project. It makes me think of Jinny Beyer’s Soft Edge Piecing book.

The curves of this motif are really lovely. They also look like stylized hearts.

Vegas Floor Corner
Vegas Floor Corner

My family is well trained. They know I always want to see the corner. If tile layers figured out how to get the two borders to meet, I don’t need to do the math, right? I love that rope like piece acting as an inner border.

Thanks, sis.

Open Toe Walking Foot

clipped from

Walking Foot (Open Toe) for Embroidery models

The Open Toe Walking Foot offers precise control of fabric, and is especially helpful when working with layers of fabric, or those that may shift or pucker. Feed dogs are incorporated into the foot itself which work in conjunction with the machine feed dogs to feed fabric layers evenly. The open toe configuration allows for a clear view of your work. Use it for quilting, matching plaids, leatherwork, and any task that requires superior fabric control.
blog it

I have done several projects lately where I wished that I liked using my walking foot. It came with my machine and I tried it and I really couldn’t see where I was stitching and that was pretty much the end of my walking foot use.

Making Deirdre’s pencil roll last week, which actually calls for a walking foot in the directions,  rekindled my wish for a Janome ‘F’ Foot with clamp-on functionality like a walking foot. The Janome ‘F’ foot is clear and I can see exactly what is going on under the presser foot.

I am friends with Janome Sewing Machines on FB and those people are responsive (another reason to love my Janome). Periodically they talk about a new foot or provide a project to fans on their fan page. Something they said last week reminded me of my wish. I made a comment and they got back to me, also in a comment, and then they posted information about this new-to-me open toed walking foot. I called my dealer to find out the cost and if it works with my machine. It was just under $30 and does work with my machine.  Because I think I am at a point in my quilting where this foot would add to my technique when I quilt the Tarts, I bought one. They will mail it to me and I plant to quilt a table runner first. I’d like to try it out and practice before I ruin the Tarts.

I am curious to know if any of you have a similar foot and what you think about it. Do you use it? Is it as great as it sounds?

Palette vs. Stash vs. Fabric Collection

I have been thinking about my fabric lately. It is hard not to think about my fabric. First of all, I love it and second of all, it is where I can see, at least some of, it all the time.


I have been thinking about fabric over the last year, in general, on a lot of different levels:

  • terminology
  • how much yardage should I buy?
  • do I have enough fabric?
  • do I need to add to what I have in order to have a wide range of colors?
  • do I need to add to what I have in case the manufacturers stop making that perfect shade of turquoise?
  • do I need to add to what I have in order to keep my inspiration high?
  • do I still like the fabric that I have bought in the past and haven’t used yet?
  • what happens if I can’t add to what I have?
  • is shopping for fabric a stress relieving mechanism?



Stash – this is the most common way quiltmakers refer to their supplies of fabric. I wonder why? I wonder who first called their fabric a stash? I wonder if calling it a stash was a joke that got out of hand? When I think of a stash, it has a negative connotation. I don’t hide my fabric in a baggie in the toilet so my parents won’t find it. I also have a stash of emergency cash on me, which isn’t really negative, but does imply poor planning or organizational skills.

None of those things really suggest that fabric buying or, by association, quiltmaking are positive activities.

Finally, buying fabric, as many others have pointed out, is not illegal and it doesn’t hurt anyone. For myself, touching, pressing, playing with fabric really reduces my stress level.

Palette – for a long time, I tried to call my fabric supplies ‘my palette’. I was diligent, but eventually gave up because people had no idea what I was talking about. A lot of them thought I was talking about a wooden thing with paint on it. Painters have it made. They have their palette, they put paint on it and everyone knows what they are talking about.

Fabric Collection – TFQ has a fabric collection. She buys fabric as a collection. We have discussions about the subject often. She may buy a fabric that she just wants to for her collection while I really try to buy fabric if it is something I think I will use. I have to admit that some conversationals are so fun-hilarious-cheerful etc that I can’t not buy them.

Fabric vs. Material – when I was a kid my mom would take us to House of Fabric which was in a mall called the Laurel Plaza (I liked a fast food-ish, but not a chain, restaurant there with great blue tropical shakes as well as dried puffer fish hanging from the ceiling) and we would buy some material to make a dress or outfit or something.

Now I only buy fabric.

I don’t know why I don’t call it material anymore. I think ‘material’ isn’t specific enough. If I say “I need some material for my project” someone could think that I wanted to buy some paper for a scrapbook project or metal for my most recent welding project. Perhaps material is a regional term and people don’t use it where I now live?

Size and Shape

I was listening to Brye Lynn’s podcast (still catching up) recently. One of her podcasts talked about the quiltmakers’ Fabric Stash (episode 8). It got me thinking about how much fabric I buy. Up until I started making tote bags at an alarming rate, I always bought half yards and FQs nad that was plenty.

Cutting up a FQ
Cutting up a FQ

Now, when I buy fabric specifically destined to be a tote bag, I buy at least 2 yards and sometimes 3. That is more than I need for most tote bag projects, but I like to have enough for the straps and a FOTY piece and to screw up. Brye Lynn said that the minimum that she has seen recommended to buy is a yard and then if you REALLY like it you should buy two yards. Hhhmmm.

Well, if I buy a yard as a basic rule, then I would only have half or quarter the variety of fabric I have now.

What's Left of a FQ
What's Left of a FQ

Half yards are starting not to be enough. I have a whole list of pieces I have to cut before a piece of fabric is filed into my fabric closet. For blue FQs, they rarely even make it to the fabric closet. I have so many blue pieces to cut (a 6.5″ square, a 2.5″x4.5″ rectangle, a diamond, a Tumbler, etc) that a FQ is just not enough. The above FQ may be a little bit misleading because it was larger than a normal FQ. Not much bigger, but enough.

Part of the Palette
Part of the Palette

Half yards are not enough for most bags, but they are enough for straps for a bag. I have adapted half yards for a bag, but it makes me wonder if I need to purchase fabric with bags in mind and not just quilts? Buying a yard of fabric regularly is a lot more of financial investment as well.

The Whys of it All

  • do I have enough?
  • do I need to add to what I have in order to have a wide range of colors?
  • do I need to add to what I have in case the manufacturers stop making that perfect shade of turquoise?
  • do I need to add to what I have in order to keep my inspiration high?

Well, if I don’t have enough fabric, then there is no such thing as enough.  I have less fabric than others. Still, you saw all the things I made last year. I did not make a dent in what I have.

Adding to my fabric selection choices is interesting, because I have enough, in terms of physical quantity. However, I often  seem not to have the right colors. No matter how many colors I buy, I often don’t have the right color. I am coming to the conclusion that buying more colors is futile. I am not going to stop buying fabric, but I am going to buy without the goal of having ALL the colors.

I have also been caught with my quilt pants down and not had enough fabric (remember the Windham fabric?), so perhaps I need to buy larger quantities of fabric? The FOTY project has helped in learning which fabrics really work in the projects I make. Perhaps I will start a project to convince fabric manufacturers it would be to their benefit to upload their out of print fabrics to Spoonflower.

New fabric does get me excited about quiltmaking. I do think that I need to shift my inspiration from cash outlay to books, as in read books and don’t use my credit cards. I will probably never be able to stop buying fabric, nor do I want to stop buying fabric, but I need to be aware of what I am trying to accomplish when looking for inspiration.

Is Shopping for Fabric a Stress Relieving Mechanism?

Definitely. That reality is good and bad. On the positive side, I have a legal way of relieving stress that also, as an added bonus, keeps small businesses open and helps the economy. If the stress is bad, it can be really expensive and if I don’t have money my stress just continues. I have to admit that I do have other methods of stress relief.

I don’t think I have any answers for anyone but myself. I am curious what you think about fabric.

Book Review: 500 Art Quilts

500 Art Quilts 500 Art Quilts by Ray Hemachandra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Lark Books for sending me this book to review. I love getting cool books for free. And this is a really cool book. It is part of Lark Books’ 500 Series, which they appear to have been working on for about 6 years. Taking a quick look a their webpage, it looks like this series would be wonderful if you are stumped for inspiration. They have a variety of titles in this series covering different types of art. Included are glass beads, rings, wooden boxes, polymer clay designs and beaded objects. The only one I have seen is the 500 Art Quilts book.

First off: NO patterns. I have nothing against patterns. They definitely serve their purpose, but I don’t need patterns and basic directions on how to make a quilt in every quilt book published. This book is pure inspiration. There is page after page of contemporary quilt eye candy, which, in certain circumstances, is just what the doctor ordered.

I was nervous that the book would be filled with the same old quilts that are always shown when books and articles are written about art quilts. There were one or two I had seen before, and a few quilts from the 1990s, but for the most part included were quilts that were new to me. I was also pleased to see that the quilts were relatively recent. I was also pleased to see that some new names had their quilts included.

Second, Karey Bresenhan was the juror. Whatever you think about her style, the woman has seen a few quilts in her day and knows good quilts. She has taken the opportunity to select a wide variety of contemporary quilts. There is something for every quiltmaker’s taste in this book. If you like contemporary quilts that jump off from classic patterns, take a look at Kathy York’s piece, Little Cities (pg.15) or Carol Taylor’s Dispersion on pg.366. If you like thread painting, one of the best pieces I have ever seen is Nancy Murty’s Greens for Dinner (pg. 351). For applique’ Kathy Nida’s Lost (pg.217) and Nancy S. Brown’s The Usual Suspects (pg.329) are excellent examples. There are also photo realistic quilts, dispersed dye quilts and everything in between.

Additionally, Bresenhan is a talented writer. Her introduction is wonderful. There is a lot of history, opinion and experience in the two pages allotted to this section. She puts to rest the art vs. craft debate very skillfully, easily links quiltmaking to the broader concepts of art that many trained artists learn in school and made me not want to wait to finish reading because I was so excited about the quilts. It is well written, interesting ans well worth the time to read it.

When I first started to look at this book, I began categorizing the quilt by “like” and “do not like”. Then I stopped, started over and began looking at the quilts purely for inspiration. Every quilt, with a few exceptions, have something I found to inspire me or gave me something to think about. I don’t mean that the quilts sent me a literal message. I was able to look at each page and find something I could look at and wonder how the artist accomplished that particular element. This is definitely a book where a website of further information on each quilt would be welcome.

Third, Lark includes an index of quiltmakers with their city and the page(s) on which their quilts are shown. I love indexes and this makes it much easier to see which artists were included and which ones have more than one quilt. I love seeing names I recognize and there are several acquaintances and one or two friends in the lists of artists. This index would have been improved by include each artists’ blog or website, but I understand the space constraints as well.

Fourth, having so many quilts gives the reader a wide variety from which to be inspired. Some of the quiltmakers have more than one piece in the book. Yvonne Porcella’s Paris View, Lou & Who, Two & Two jumped out at me, because it is so different that the style with which I normally associate her work: the bright colors and black and white checkerboards. The reader can flip between the above and her Dick and Jane (pg.61) to see her evolution as a quiltmaker. There are enough quilts in the book to see progress in people’s work without one person dominating the book.

Fifth, the detail shots the authors have included are well placed and thoughtfully selected. Philippa Naylor’s piece, Star Sign (pg.60) shows a detail of her quilting. The detail is so good, albeit small, that the reader can see the evenness of her stitching, the way she fills in areas and the color changes.

One of the oldest quilts I saw in the book was from 1995. It is Natasha Kempers-Cullen’s piece, Heart of Lightness (pg.43). The quilts are not chronological and, though, I specifically tried to find the oldest pieces so I could try to judge how many times I may have seen the quilts in the book, I don’t know that this piece is the oldest. My impression: most of them I had not seen. A few I have seen once.

While I am a visual person, I am often drawn to the text about a quilt. As a result, I often forget to look at the quilt. Initially I struggled with wanting to know more about the artists’ thoughts on the quilt. Finally, I reminded myself that these quilts are probably on the web somewhere and if I really wanted to find out more, I probably could. Bresenhan speaks to this when she says in her introduction “The goal with this type of work is to remove all distractions, so that the energy and spirit of the art can speak clearly to the viewer.” If she thought about this when selecting the quilts, then I feel I should just look at each page and let the pieces speak to me without interference from words.

There is a strong visual context in the quilts selected. That may sound strange, but since the pieces are reproduced in a book, pieces where the medium or a certain technique are preeminent would not be successful. These types of pieces seemed to be left for a different book or another method of presentation. The one piece in this genre that was included was Hooked on Caffeine by Penelope E. Mace. I love the shape of the fish. I couldn’t figure out why it looked so dirty until I read the materials and techniques list and saw that it was made from coffee filters. I have no doubt that this piece would have much more of an impact in person.

I was also glad to see that the authors did not feel obligated to include some prominent quiltmakers just because of their names. In addition to my own work, I enjoy seeing as much of other quiltmakers’ work as possible. There are tons of quiltmakers in this book whose work is new to me. What a pleasure to be exposed new pieces! Works from renowned quiltmakers were also included, but, again, they did not dominate the book. I was glad to see two of Susan Shie’s tarot deck quilts, one of Jane Sassaman’s pieces and a piece by Judy Coates Perez.

There is a lot of wonderful colorwork shown in this book, such as Faye Timmerman-Traudt’s Desert Blooms and Jan Elliott’s Shot in the Dark.

By now I have glanced through this book at least 10 times. Twice I went through it page by page and consciously looked at each image. Each time, I was able to find something new to look at. I am sure that I will have the same experience next time I look through it.

I think this book is well worth having in your library. I am really glad Lark sent it to me, because I would not have been able to buy it right away otherwise. I hope you will rush out and buy this book and encourage Lark to put together volume 2 in a few years!

Highly recommended!

View all my reviews , including non quilt book reviews

Creative Prompt #59: Steam

Steam bath

Peter Gabriel’s “Steam” – “Steam” won a Grammy-Award in 1993 for “Best Short Video”. The song was also nominated in the category “Best Rock Vocal Performance”.



Hot and steamy

Steaming hot

Anchor Steam

Steam engine

Vaporized water ( Wikipedia)

Steam Games

Steamed vegetables

Don’t get too steamed!

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. (Wikipedia)

See the Creative Prompt page if you have questions about this project.

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

First Glimpse of FOTY 2010

FOTY 2010 - March 2010Here is your first glimpse of the FOTY 2010 patches. I have pressed a lot of fabric, but haven’t cut it yet. Many of the patches in this photo have been on my design wall for awhile. I have been moving them around so I can see how they look in different arrangements. It is definitely different.

Not different as in “I wish I had chosen something different,” but different in the way I have to think about cutting the patches.

This patch takes a lot of fabric to cut. I like the diamond ruler I bought to help. Once I got the hang of using it, I found it to be quite useful. I am ending up with a lot of triangles and may pick a background and sew them on to squares to make the Corner Store design I discussed in the Pretty Little Mini Quilts review. It would make an interesting sort of scrap quilt. We’ll see.

Starting this cutting process is also making me think about how I will arrange them and set these diamonds. I am thinking of picking something for the border and cutting half diamonds to make a straight edge out of a uniform color. I need to decide if I want to use something I already have or if the “rules” say I have to buy something. Stay tuned.