New Journal Cover

Summer Journal Cover
Summer Journal Cover

I needed a new journal cover, but I also made this with some scraps to comply with Sandy’s Stash Mystery challenge. I tried to do her gorilla challenge last summer, but never got to the stitching. I still would like to finish that, but it isn’t high on the priority list.

Anyway, I heard her talk about the challenge and then I went to look at the requirements. Knowing I had to make a new journal cover and it would fit the rules, I used the requisite number of fabrics and made the journal cover.

I have already been using it for a few days and I don’t know what I was thinking.  Have I made one of these before? It certainly doesn’t seem like it. I had problems with the stitching and I forgot to put interfacing or batting on the inside, so it feels really weird.

Journal Cover Inside
Journal Cover Inside
Journal Cover Back
Journal Cover Back

I started out with the wild dark orange with blue, yellow and orange print. It is an older fabric that I have had for awhile. I pulled that out when I was making the Lovey blocks, but ended up not using it. The piece of the crazy print I had was nearly exactly the right size for a journal cover, so instead of putting back in the orange bin, I used that for the basis of the journal cover. I used some other small pieces, as I mentioned. The colors are good together except the white in the dot print really screams.

I may switch it out for one of the other journal covers I have already made or I may make a new one and put this on an old journal. I just don’t like the way it feels. I use these journals for 2-3 months and I don’t want to be thinking “I don’t like this journal cover” every day. We’ll see.

Sketching #110: Beckon

Response #110
Response #110

Yes, I am back in the saddle, too. I am working on the last few prompts from before the break, but back in the saddle.

This one is different from my normal style of response. I got a bug in my ear to do it this way after looking at some Zentangles, so voila’! I responded in a Zentangly kind of style.

One very exciting element of this photo that I noticed when I was processing the picture was the quality of the pen line. Oooh la la! I really like the way the line looks. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see the line. You will also be able to see the detail of my inexpert drawing, which will hopefully encourage you to just respond. The pen I used is one that I use regularly for writing. It is a Pilot G-2 07.

Really Finished Bag

Flea Market Bag
Flea Market Bag

You might remember this bag from the end of 2010. I finished it, but wasn’t really happy with the way it came out. For some reason, I couldn’t move on from it, so a few months ago, I ripped out the straps and then left it to languish. Yesterday evening, I redid the button loop and redid some of the top stitching. Then today, I finished the top stitching and sewed on a different button. It isn’t perfect, but I am much happier with the result. Before I was a little embarrassed that I had made the bag and now I don’t mind saying that I made it.

After finishing Stars for San Bruno #2, I feel like I have a little bit of brainspace. I feel like I can do a few small finishing projects. I need to piece some batting. I need to make a binding. I need to make sure the back for SfSB#2 is large enough (mom made it before she went on vacation and before I had finished the top), etc. There are those things that I would assign to an assistant, if I were a fancy enough quiltmaker to have an assistant. Since I don’t, I’ll just do it since I am in the right frame of mind.

Have a great weekend!

Creative Prompt #113: Stem

Have you done them all? Have you done a significant number or some? Any?

Did you add links to your art? Contributed to the Flickr Group? Have fun and link to your responses! Ask a friend to join, too! You can do the prompts together.

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, and how your work relates to the other responses.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. Are you already a member? I created that spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses. Please join and look at all of the great artwork that people have posted. Post yours and get kudos!

stem cell

flower stem

starting point, basis

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition

The stem is the component on a bicycle that connects the handlebars to the steerer tube of the bicycle fork. (Wikipedia)

organic skincare company

stop or reduce, as in flow or tide

stems of words


Definition: 1. the ascending axis of a plant, whether above or below ground, which ordinarily grows in an opposite direction to the root or descending axis. 2.the stalk that supports a leaf, flower, or fruit. 3. the main body of that portion of a tree, shrub, or other plant which is above ground; trunk; stalk. (I really like #1, especially ascending axis…)

Everything a Masterpiece?

I was listening to Mark Lipinski’s Creative Mojo episode from 6/29/2011 the other day. He was interviewing Lesley Riley, who I thought was really good. She is the creative force behind TAP and a creative mentor/coach. She said that people often don’t do anything creative, because they have forgotten how (we are all born with the ability to be creative, according to Leslie), or we feel like we don’t have time or we feel like everything we do has to be a masterpiece, because we don’t have time to screw up.

Fabric of the Year 2010 Professional
Fabric of the Year 2010 Professional

The masterpiece comment really struck a chord with me.

It made me think about the quilts I have made where I feel like I have really struck gold. I have had Fabric of the Year 2010 on my mind lately, because I really feel like I struck gold with this quilt. This conversation, further, made me think that there is no predicting whether a quilt that will have the it factor.

Spiky Stars
Spiky Stars

I feel like I have two or three quilts that are truly excellent quilts. This is many fewer than the number of quilts that I have made. I asked myself if I was ok with that and I am. I am because the other quilts are not horrible, ugly or hideous. Most of them are good work and make me happy. They are nice quilts, but just don’t have the “it” factor.

I am going to keep making quilts and I’ll nail another one sometime. I don’t know when, but if I stop working, because each quilt isn’t a masterpiece I will never find that quilt with the ‘it’ factor, but more importantly, I won’t progress. I believe that my truly great quilts are great, because I keep making quilts.

I make blocks to try out color schemes before I commit to a whole quilt, sometimes. I make bags and other small objects to try fabrics and techniques that may not be suitable for quilts. I go to A Work of Heart and play with paint and ink, paper and gesso under the watchful eye of Andrea, a creative genius if there ever was one. It feels good not to be making all the decisions all the time.

I also look at my quilts, once finished, and think about what I could have done better. I worked hard on FOTY 2010 based on what I had seen in FOTY 2008 and FOTY 2009.

And I just keep making.

Stars for San Bruno #2 in progress

SfSB #2 Design Process
SfSB #2 Design Process

The ‘paint was barely dry’ on SfSB #1, but I got busy putting the Stars for San Bruno #2 quilt together on Sunday. I had done a few smaller projects on Friday and Saturday afternoon and decided that Sunday morning was the day for SfSB #2.

Putting all of the blocks on the floor and looking at them worked pretty well last time, so I did that again. I found that they logically divided themselves into 2 groups (generally right and left of the photo). Most of the blocks on the left are Sawtooth Stars and I decided to group them into one quilt. I saved the Stars on the right for the last quilt.

Auditioning Fabric
Auditioning Fabric

Once I had selected the blocks, I laid them out on some fabric that Sandy sent just to get an idea of what I was facing.

I could see right away that there would be a lot more open space in this quilt, because I didn’t have as many blocks left. This looks more like a starry night sky, I think.

The quilt didn’t really end up like this at all, but it was a starting point.

Borders and Layout
Borders and Layout

I could see from the layout above that I needed some of the blocks with the light background in lower corner.

More rearranging…

This is a technique that I call improvisational piecing. TFQ and I have used this process when working together on a quilt called She had to have her Latte, which was kind of a precursor to the Tarts Come to Tea. Isn’t it strange how I can relate all of my quilts to each other?

I kept rearranging disparate sized blocks and adding coping strips, corners and strips until the pieces fit together. This process is not for the faint of heart.

Rearranging Process
Rearranging Process
Making Progress
Making Progress

I decide where I am going to start and then march down or across the quilt.In this case, I started from the top and moved towards the bottom. I decided to put almost all of the blocks on point, so I added triangle corners to them. I also filled in the spaces with large pieces of fabric.

SfSB#2 Finished Top
SfSB#2 Finished Top

I was able to finish the top last night. I wanted to get the parts off of my design floor and I didn’t want to have to remember what went where. There was a lot of partial seaming, so it was important to me to get the pieces together correctly.

As you can see, I added a few pinwheel blocks in different sizes. I was inspired by the very center of TFQ’s block (upper right), though I realized that I didn’t make them exactly like hers.

My first thought after sewing on the last line of blocks (right) and looking at the whole piece was that it needed a border. Sigh.


Pavers is ready to quilt. I am not sure the name suits, but that is what it is. It will be a gift.

Pavers - top
Pavers - top

This pattern is based on a photo I saw on Flickr from Green Couch Designs and related to the Purple quilt I finished a few weeks ago. Both on the Purple Quilt and this quilt I wanted to work with asymmetrical borders. I wasn’t happy with the border on the purple quilt, so I tried again on this one. I think I want to work with the border a little bit more and will make one more quilt in this pattern.

This is an easy quilt to make and I basically finished all of the blocks by using them as leaders and enders.

The photo above has that lovely pink post-it on the top as a direction to the quilter. It just says what I have designated as the top. I do that for the back, too.

Pavers - no borders
Pavers - no borders

Above is a picture of it laying on my ‘design floor’ before I put the borders on. I was amazed at how much better the piece looked sewn together. The duplicate fabrics near each other didn’t seem to matter and the whole thing just came together.

This quilt was made from a group of fabrics I bought from the Fabricworm.


Finished: Stars for San Bruno #1!!

Stars for San Bruno #1
Stars for San Bruno #1

Yes, I really did it! I made the first quilt in this series and it is finished. I have brought it around to CQFA and BAMQG and shown the contributors in those groups. I want as many people as possible who contributed blocks to see it before I give it to DH’s cousin.

Now I have to call the cousins and arrange to bring the quilt. I am nervous, since I don’t know them that well. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Nota bene: the Block-a-long will return next week.

Stars for San Bruno – More Stars Needed

Sandy's Stars
Sandy's Stars

Want to contribute? I could use some more blocks.

Friendship Stars and Sawtooth Stars are both easy and relatively fast to make.

All star blocks are welcome!

Block background: dark blue
Block design: Yellow star (any pattern, technique, eg. embroidery, painting, silkscreen, etc)
Block size: 8? finished (8.5? unfinished) or smaller (we will work with any size)
Remember to sign your block!

More Lovey Blocks

3 New Blocks
3 New Blocks

As I mentioned last week
, a friend asked for lovey blocks for a mutual friend who needed some quilty hugs. I showed the ones I made, but decided to add some Double Four Patches in as well.

Red and Orange
Red and Orange

Yes, I went a little crazy with the red and orange. Doesn’t this one remind you of those popsicles with the twin sticks and two flavors? I love that red.

I think it is Fossil Fern or Impressions, but it is not quite rose red and has no black in it. Just gorgeous.

Paisley and Orange
Paisley and Orange

I wanted to coordinate the new blocks with the stars I made last week, thus the paisley again.

Alexander Henry Dot + Orange
Alexander Henry Dot + Orange

And I just lost it with orange. I pulled out my orange bin and went crazy. I don’t know what got into me.

all blocks together
all blocks together

I think they look nice together. What do you think?

Book Review: Quilt National 2011 + Giveaway

Quilt National 2011: The Best of Contemporary QuiltsQuilt National 2011: The Best of Contemporary Quilts by Lark Books

I received this book to review from Lark Crafts. Thanks to Amanda at Lark Crafts for sending the book and for offering to host a giveaway! See below for details on winning.

I started reading right away fully expecting the regular depressing art quilt images that are so prevalent in modern art quiltmaking. While I did find a few of those, I also found exuberant color, wonderful stitching and great fabrics.

I have always appreciated the Quilt National books because: 1) the book is mostly about the photos; 2) the photos are large, high quality and it is often possible to see the detail; 3) looking through earlier editions allows the reader to see the evolution of art quiltmaking; and 4) it is really nice to have a catalog of art devoted to quilts. This edition is no exception. The quilts are the show in this book.

The foreword and introduction are great to read as they give the reader insight into the thoughts of the organizers. They also reiterate how the judges are selected, which I appreciate. This year there is emphasis on encouraging new and emerging artists to participate.

The information about the judges is interesting. This edition reminds readers that the judges change, so the selection process is different very year. This means that “the individual artist cannot target their work in any particular direction (pg.7).” What that says to me is that I have a chance to get in some day. 😉

The judges also have a chance to make a statement and show one of their works. In some of the statements, jurors talk about specific quilts, others reference historical quilts, women’s culture, and creativity

Then the book gets on to the quilts. 92 pages are taken up with photos of quilts (some span 2 pages). This is a book that forced me to look at the pictures. Words about the quilts are spare and the photos are large. The quilts span a variety of imagery including nature, portraits, geometric and abstract. I also recognize some names, but many are new to me. I wonder if I am not as in touch with art quiltmaking as I used to be?

Stitching is prominent and I was glad to be able to see the stitching whether it was hand or machine and created with a thick thread like Perl Cotton or excellent photos of the quilting stitches.

I was surprised and thrilled to see a quilt from Judith Plotner from Gloversville, NY. I don’t know Judith, but I know what a great place Gloversville is because of my friend, Kathy, so I looked at the quilt longer than others. Judith’s quilt, Soul of an Iris I has great stitching and writing on it.

One of my favorites is Judy Kirpich’s Circles #4 (detail as cover image). The circles depicted give the quilt life. Ellen Oppenheimer, from my own guild, has another quilt (her 3rd or 4th??) in this edition. Berlin’s Anke Kerstan has a quilt that is similar to my FOTY quilts in the way she washes color across the piece. She also uses more of a block technique than some of the other pieces. Lisa Call’s quilting on her piece, Structures, #113, is the showpiece of her work. She is doing a lot of tiny pieces, which you can buy on her site, so I was pleased to see that she is still producing some larger pieces as well.

Since I attended the Maker Faire, I have had Steampunk on my mind. Barbara Lange’s piece Interlocked reminds me of Steampunk, because of the gears, even though it isn’t as dark as Steampunk tends to be.

In addition to Circles #4, my favorite quilts were: Leslie Joan Riley’s Broken Fence (looks like confetti to me), Patty Hawkins’ Lingering Image, Japan, Jan Myers-Newbury’s Firebox and Kathleen Loomis’ Fault Lines 4. The colors and stitching held my attention and made me want to look at them again.

This book is worth purchasing. The images are high quality and there is a lots of imagery to inspire any quiltmaker.

View all my reviews, including non-quilt reviews

Update 7/30/2011: Giveaway is closed

In order to win one of two copies of this book, you must go to the Lark Crafts blog/site , then come back here and write a comment below (this post only) about what you found that was cool there. I will do the drawing on July 29. You must have left your comment by midnight on July 28. the books will be sent to you straight from Lark Crafts, so you need to make sure that I can get a hold of you based on your comment.

Creative Prompt #112: Heat

The heat is on in many parts of my area while we are socked in with fog. In an homage to the heat of summer, heat is the word.

The heat is on

race heat

Miami Heat

in the heat of the moment

Heat, a movie from 1995, directed by Michael Mann


Heat may be defined as energy in transit from a high temperature object to a lower temperature object. An object does not possess “heat”; the appropriate term for the microscopic energy in an object is internal energy. The internal energy may be increased by transferring energy to the object from a higher temperature (hotter) object – this is properly called heating.

extreme heat

heating and cooling systems

Lickin’ the Heat

turn up the heat

when the heat rises

put the heat on

Help Desk software

dry heat

“If it ain’t the heat; it’s the humilty” — Yogi Berra

heat safety

“Anger and hatred cannot bring harmony. The noble task of arms control and disarmament cannot be accomplished by confrontation and condemnation. Hostile attitudes only serve to heat up the situation, whereas a true sense of respect gradually cools down what otherwise could become explosive. We must recognize the frequent contradictions between short-term benefit and long-term harm.” – Dalai Lama

rising heat

feel the heat

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” (widely attributed to Harry Truman)

summer heat

heat relief

heat transfers

commercial heat press

Beat the summer heat

desert heat

Havin’ a Heat Wave [a tropical heat wave] – Marilyn Monroe

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. Are you already a member? I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses. Please join and look at all of the great artwork that people have posted. Post yours and get kudos!

Various & Sundry 2011 #12

I saw a hexagon cushion pattern by Lori Holt after listening to one of Annie Smith’s podcasts. The fabric choices are appealing – lots of dots – but I also like the red plaid (gingham?). I am not sure about pompoms, though.

I also saw a lot of great hexagon quilts and tile designs on Flickr. BariJ is making one from the Lecien group I am using for my hexagon.

Be*mused has a lovely hexagon with a striking black path between the Grandmother’s Flower Garden arrangement of hexagons.

Making Blocks
There has been a lot of talk in my quilt circles recently about making blocks – challenge via BAMQG, Farmer’s Wife Sampler, Lovey blocks, etc. Last month at BAMQG we talked about our obsessions and I mentioned that blocks are my obsession. Frankly, I couldn’t think of what quilt obsession I had and that seemed to be a good one. That resulted in a number of people asking me about block dictionaries and other books about blocks. I am really surprised that more people don’t know about books like Around the Block or have EQ software. I guess I shouldn’t be, but Around the Block is my go to block book when I need to make some quilt blocks. It has a number of blocks and tells me, in clear instructions how to make each block in a number of different sizes. The publisher has compiled this book and its two sequels into one large book called 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks. I would highly recommend this book (or the three that preceded it) for those of you who make blocks frequently.

Alternatively the Electric Quilt software is great. Yes, you will have to shell out some dollars, but the capabilities for this consumer software are great. You can take any of the included blocks, modify them and print out rotary or template directions. The capabilities are so vast. Plus, the technical support is really great. They are nice and friendly and will sometimes even draw blocks for you. 😉

I talked about the Farmer’s Wife Sampler that some at the BAMQG are doing. Pam, from Hip to Be a Square podcast, turned me on to the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Yahoogroup. I was giving her a bit of a hard time about paper piecing all those blocks and she said she couldn’t do it without that group. I am not a member of that group, but perhaps it is a group that will help you with your questions about the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-a-Long.

And just so you are reminded that I am obsessed with blocks and Camille Roskelly’s life in my imagination, I have to say that I love LOVE love her color choices for the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-a-long.

In addition to Jinny Beyer’s new-ish book, The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns, Piecemeal Quilts has a new post in their Skillbuilder series on block grids and drafting. they also include some info on copyright. I am suspicious of anyone posting copyright information who is not a lawyer, but I will reserve judgement as the explanation seems fairly basic and practical. Consult a lawyer (e.g. Lawyers for the Arts) if you get into trouble or have questions. Seriously. You can find the whole list of posts in the Skillbuilder Series on a separate tab. There are many ways to talk about learning quiltmaking and these women have a done a good job in explaining different skills.

PM/GC Quilts Skill Builder SeriesThe Skillbuilder ladies also have a button you can put in your sidebar. I thought I would spice things up on this text heavy post for you!

More on Market
Apparently Riley Blake designers did a paper doll quilt that was available for people visiting Market to win. There is a blog with block patterns at All Dolled Up. I have always loved paper dolls. I had a friend in grammar school who drew manga-like dolls before manga was even a word, which we made into paper dolls. I love the designs these designers have provided, but it is probably too much applique for me.

Doing Good
I guess I don’t get around the quilt world as much as I thought, because I didn’t see anything about this project over at Moda, Just One Star. They have just posted some process photos about receiving quilt blocks, squaring them up and sending the blocks back out to be made into quilts. The project is related to Quilts of Valor. They made their goal of 100 quilts in 100 days.

Fabric and Supplies
I saw this ‘color story‘ on a blog yesterday and thought I would share it. What do you think influences people’s color choices?

I was looking for the Fons & Porter Quilt Shop in Winterset, Iowa and found this cool quilt shop graphic of quilt shops in Iowa.

Lecien has an update to its Flower Sugar group, which I saw on the Hawthorne Threads site. I am not as fond of the colors as I was of the first group. They got rid of the bright blue I really liked.

I am really disappointed in the hardware available to use in making bags. Hardware on bags available to purchase is much nicer. I am particularly enamored of the hardware Sherpani uses. It is gorgeous. I want to be able to buy lovely hardware for my bags. Do you have a source?

I have made a half-hearted attempt to make some money off of quiltmaking without selling my quilts or quitting my day job. Part of that was linking Amazon books and such that I liked. As you may have noticed, I removed that widget, because Amazon has kicked all Californians out of their Amazon Associates program. It has to do with collecting sales tax and reporting it to the state. You can read about it in the LA Times. I just don’t want to give them space on my blog, if they aren’t going to pay me for referrals. I may make a list of books I really like, but you can also click on the Book Reviews tag in the idea cloud and read all about exactly what I think of books I read.


Nota bene: I know I added a lot of links. Hope you have time to take a look. JL

FOTY Triangles

FOTY Triangles, early July
FOTY Triangles, early July

I have been making a big effort to press the fabric that I have washed recently. First it is really uncomfortable to sit and sew with a big pile of fabric poking me in the back. Also, I felt so guilty last time TFQ was down as she spent hours on her feet pressing my fabric. Of course, I greatly appreciate it, but I’d like to avoid the guilt this time.

I have been trying to press fabrics, in general, in groups based on how I am thinking of using them. I may not end up using these all together, but that is in my mind now. Most of these fabrics are from a Piece O’Cake group called Daisies and Dots. I am not liking it as much as I thought I would. I do like the dots, of course, but some of the designs make me realize I have to be more discriminating when I pick fabric. I am looking for a project for this group at the moment.