CQFA Retreat Work

The CQFA Retreat was over the weekend. It was a relatively quiet retreat. Several people had to cancel at the last moment, which was a shame. Still, we had a good time and people made good progress on their various progress.

My spot with Julie
My spot with Julie

We were in the same location as last year, which has a separate building in which we are able to sew.

Other sewing space
Other sewing space

This was my view as I sewed. Reva does wonderful work and it was wonderful to watch her, Sue and Robin’s work evolve.

Reva's Black & White Piece
Reva’s Black & White Piece

The black and white piece is made from the fat quarter bundle Reva won from the prizes we got from Fabricworm.

Robin's Blooming 9 Patch
Robin’s Blooming 9 Patch

Robin’s Blooming 9 Patch was made from Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I liked looking at it. I like the pink.

Robin's Blooming 9 Patch 2
Robin’s Blooming 9 Patch 2

Robin added some 4 patches on the ends to make the piece a bit longer.

Sue's Scrap Quilt
Sue’s Scrap Quilt

Sue half square triangle scrap quilt is the kind of project I like to do on the Retreat. Sue had the blocks done and thought to do the rest at home. We encouraged her to use Robin’s design wall to finish the piece. She did so and made good progress. She wanted to use up as many scraps as she could and I think that she did well. Sue is making this quilt for her bed.

Maureen's work
Maureen’s work

I think the pink fabric in the middle left looks like the leaves a tree with the trunk being the piece right below. I mentioned it and Maureen said that we all see what we want to see.

Julie's work
Julie’s work
Julie's Calendar Piece
Julie’s Calendar Piece
Julie's Baggo Piece
Julie’s Baggo Piece

Julie made a lot of progress on various pieces. She started some and made progress on others. I was very impressed with her progress.

The Baggo piece is from a challenge where each person receives a bag of supplies from another and makes something out of it. I was particularly taken with the Baggo piece’s eye stamps. I was even more impressed when Julie told me she carved them herself. I really like the images and encouraged her to make more and sell them. I would be first in line for a set although I don’t do much stamping.

She quilted and bound this piece. She was irritated at the binding, which tinkled every time she worked on it, because of the bells she had added. I told her to stop and do something else in between. By the end of the weekend, the binding was done and Julie was not gnashing her teeth.


We went out to dinner on Saturday night together, which was fun. We had the most wonderful waiter who was kind, didn’t complain about any special requests and gave us each individual bills.

Block-a-Long #41: Split Rectangle Nine Patch

Split Rectangle Nine Patch #41
Split Rectangle Nine Patch #41

This is similar to a nine patch, but split with rectangles in four of the blocks. You must use two different fabrics in the split patches and they two fabrics should have a lot of contrast.

Rotary cutting directions for the Split Rectangle Nine Patch are posted.

If you have made blocks or a quilt from these patterns, please post a link in the comments section of the relevant block or on the AQ Block-a-Long Flickr group. I would love to see what you have made.

Sketching #138

Creative Prompt Response #138
Creative Prompt Response #138

I like to think that I am writing a story with my drawings and, as such, one drawing is sometimes not enough for a scene. This response is related to #131: Hills.

I used the Inktense pencils my mom gave me. I thought about add a bit of water to make the sunrise more watercolor-y, but didn’t want to chance it with the kind of paper in the drawing book.

Read the original prompt and see what comes to your mind.

Creative Prompt #141: Fish

living things that swim

Definition: Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate (or craniate) animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups. Most fish are ectothermic (“cold-blooded”), allowing their body temperatures to vary as ambient temperatures change, though some of the large active swimmers like white shark and tuna can hold a higher core temperature.[1][2] Fish are abundant in most bodies of water. They can be found in nearly all aquatic environments, from high mountain streams (e.g., char and gudgeon) to the abyssal and even hadal depths of the deepest oceans (e.g., gulpers and anglerfish). At 32,000 species, fish exhibit greater species diversity than any other class of vertebrates.[3]


fish tank

fish sandwich

freshwater fish

plenty of fish


fish recipes

fish species

fish games

San Francisco Fish Company

clown fish

Fly fishing


Mary Poppins: Close your mouth, please, Michael. We are not a codfish. (quote)

fish supplies

The Fish

fishing gear

take me fishing

old fishing hole

Big Fish (2003 movie)



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!

Road to California 2012

I took myself off, with TFQ, to Road to California this past weekend, which is in Ontario, California. I have never been to this show before and it is touted as one of the largest quilt events on the West Coast. I am spoiled by having PIQF in my backyard.

Front of Show
Front of Show

Road to California is a nice comfy sort of show, but more like a large guild show than “one of the largest quilt events on the West Coast”. Also, there were a lot of vendors. I would say 2/3s of the space was for vendors.

Eleanor Burns
Eleanor Burns

Speaking of vendors, Eleanor Burns was there. I actually saw her doing her demonstrations! I chatted with her a little bit in the course of a humming bird demo she was doing. She is not the stereotypical haughty celebrity. She was very nice, smiled for everyone who wanted to take a photo and chatted amiably. She is obviously well schooled to being ‘on’, because I saw her continue to smile and demonstrate while listening to someone who whispered a question into her ear.

Quiltin' Cousins
Quiltin' Cousins

The majority of the floor space was given over to vendors and the vendor representation was very good. Not only were there vendors I hadn’t seen before, but the vendors were cheerful. I find the vendors at PIQF to be quite surly, so this was a nice change. I was pleased to see Quiltin’ Cousins from Pismo Beach. Shawn, the owner, was really nice and friendly and we went back to her booth a few times to look at everything. We met her at Long Beach in 2010.

Licorice Allsorts
Licorice Allsorts

I saw a 1930s book that included a pattern called Cowboy Stars (on that table with the pastel quilt on it), but I didn’t buy it. I hope to find it at the library or find the pattern in one of the Kansas City Star books or in EQ7. It has some nasty diamonds and triangles, so I don’t plan on starting it anytime soon.

TFQ bought a pattern she called “not a pineapple” that was really called Licorice Allsorts (the black background quilt on the left). It does look like a baby Pineapple and I am eager to see how it is constructed.

The quilts were good. Different types and styles than I normally see. TFQ pointed out to me, quite rightly, that the fabrics being snapped up from the vendors – yards of Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs blooms, Moda charm packs and Jelly Rolls, lines of 1930s fabrics – were not represented in 90% of the quilts we saw. We walked back through the show and found the quilts made from solids, tone-on-tones, and batiks predominantly. See if you agree from the photos I took. Yes, there were a few quilts with prints, but very few. What are you doing with those lines of fabric you buy? Do you buy fabrics to collect? What are you using for your current quilt?

There was virtually no representation of Modern Quiltmakers at the show. I have to say that I have used a couple of ‘modern’ lines lately and those quilts will probably never see a show. I am, frankly, too lazy to do the paperwork to enter quilts into shows. I used to do it all the time, but the things they ask seem to pointless and a recent entry found the sponsoring organization to be so disorganized I had to essentially send my materials in twice. Still, I am not seeing the quilts like I make, so perhaps I should carve out some time to enter shows?

Road 2 Calif. Purchases
Road 2 Calif. Purchases

I bought a few little trinkets. I don’t buy many patterns, so that cut out a whole shopping niche. There were books in which I was really interested, but want to check out from the Library first to see if I REALLY need to add them to my collection. The fabric was a free gift from Quilt in a Day and I think the ruler will be good for making scrap blocks. TFQ bought me a bottle of buttons to replace those I have been using to embellish card holders and Christmas stockings. She said it was part of my birthday gift.

Now for the sentimental drivel. You can stop reading now if you are only interested in quilting. The show was great. Getting away was great, but I was very pleased to come to my dear DH, who picked us up from the train, had dinner ready and made a birthday cake (yes, my birthday was Friday, in case you missed it). I have been sick on and off for a month and am still hacking up a lung. If the trip hadn’t involved reservations and flights, I probably would have cancelled and stayed home. I enjoyed myself, loved the quilts, enjoyed the vendors but was very pleased to come home to my house and my family.

Gift Bag Challenge

2012 Gift Bag
2012 Gift Bag

In cleaning up the fabric avalanche, I found a piece of marginally Christmas fabric. It is a little pale to be a gift bag, because eager eyes can see through it, but I made a gift bag anyway.

This made me think about my Christmas fabric and after looking through all that I had, I decided I needed to make bags out of it. My ribbon can is also overflowing. I don’t need anymore gift bags and the family is pretty well set, so I decided to try and encourage YOU to start using gift bags for your holidays. To encourage you, I will offer a prize of a variety of gift bags in November for anyone who participates. Most of them will be Christmas bags, because that is the fabric I have.

In order to participate you must:

  • sew gift bags. No tape, staples or glue. Any fabric works
  • post a photo to your blog or Flickr (or other easily accessible web space) of the gift bags you made
  • put a comment with a link to the photo of your bag or bags in this post or a post related to the gift bag challenge. Each gift bag challenge post will say something like gift bag challenge

I will:

  • keep track of participants
  • post a tutorial and ideas for making gift bags
  • on or around November 15, I will draw a name or names (depending on the number of gift bags I have to give away) of the winners

You may:

  • enter more than once, but the limit is 10 times, which is about the number of months until November
  • embellish, embroider to your heart’s content
  • use any pattern you want including my tutorial

Rules subject to change without notice and my discretion.

Block-a-Long #40: Rectangle Nine Patch

Rectangle Nine Patch #40
Rectangle Nine Patch #40

This block could be interesting with as little as four fabrics and as many as eight fabrics.

Rotary cutting directions for Rectangle Nine Patch #40 are posted.

If you have made blocks or a quilt from these patterns, please post a link in the comments section of the relevant block or on the AQ Block-a-Long Flickr group. I would love to see what you have made.

Chocolate Pillowcase

Chocolate Pillowcase
Chocolate Pillowcase

Here is another small project FINISHED!I don’t buy much conversational fabrics, so I knew this was slated for a pillowcase.

I really liked the Sweet Dreams pillowcase I made for my mom. This fabric is from the same line and made me smile every time I looked at it.

The problem for me with pillowcases is finding the cuff and trim fabric. While I was tidying up the fabric avalanche, I sorted fabric and found this chocolate dot. I seem to be buying a few chocolate fabrics (I will not say brown) now and again, but not using them. The dot fabric gave me the idea  for using a strip of one of the Pat Bravo solids for the trim and within a few minutes I was on my way to having a new pillowcase.

Chocolate Pillowcase - detail
Chocolate Pillowcase - detail

I read about a Grandma who made a fun pillowcase for her granddaughter every month during the first year she was at college. I can’t commit to that with all of the nieces and nephews who are in college at the moment. I can come up with a pillowcase or two every now and then, though. I think this will be sent off to one of the nieces as a little treat. I have a couple more fabrics for one of the other nieces and just have to find the cuff and trim fabrics. Soon.

Blue Belle Fleur Journal Cover

Blue Belle Fleur Journal Cover - front
Blue Belle Fleur Journal Cover - front

I know that I am going to start the FOTY 2011 quilt next week, so I have been working on smaller projects. I have, either, been finishing projects in process or making items I have had on my mind.

Here is the Blue Belle Fleur journal cover that I finished this week. I started it some time ago and the pieces ended up in a pile on my old cutting table while I worked on the Stepping Stones quilt.

I set up my new cutting table and found them in the process.

For this journal cover, I worked on putting pieces of the fabric (stamps, postmarks, writing) that I liked where I could see them. You can see, in the top photo, left, where I have done that.

Belle Fleur Journal Cover - inside
Belle Fleur Journal Cover - inside

The inside ended up with a really nice full piece of the Belle Fleur fabric. I am not much of a butterfly person beyond the norm, but in this context, they look really nice.

I am not sure why I decided to pair this fabric with black. I think the black works well with the Belle Fleur, but I don’t remember why I chose it. Perhaps it was handy. I was using those black fabrics for the Food Quilt, so I have a feeling there strips available.

Belle Fleur Journal Cover - outside
Belle Fleur Journal Cover - outside

The only part of the fabric I didn’t get was a bird head. Oh, well. I have some bits and pieces of the fabric left, so I will keep trying.

You can make your own journal cover by checking out the tutorial. If you are not using the Miquelrius journals, you will need to adjust the size to the size of your journal.

Frustratingly, I had trouble with the size. The size of the journals hasn’t changed so I don’t know what the issue is. Perhaps not measuring? I had trouble getting the cover to fit the journal. I think this is why I want to finish a project rather than leaving it lie for a long time.

Creative Prompt #140: Birthday

Yes, today is my birthday, thus the CPP was obvious –at least to me!


birthday wishes


birthday cards

All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.
George Harrison

Today is your birthday!

Happy Birthday

“A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday.” Erma Bombeck

Definition: A birthday is a day or anniversary where a person celebrates his or her date of birth.

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.

Gift Bag Tutorial


  • Fabric – I use either a half yard, a yard or a fat quarter. If you use a yard you can make 4 smallish bags, two medium bags or one large bag. You can make bags with any size piece of fabric and you can make a specially sized bag for a special gift.
  • thread
  • ribbon
  • Sewing machine
  • basic sewing kit

For this tutorial, we will use a fat quarter of fabric

1. If your fat quarter does not have a selvedge, create a hem using two folds so there are no raw edges. If your fat quarter has a selvedge, use the selvedge for the top. It won’t unravel.

2. Press hem in place.

3. Sew hem with a decorative stitch, if you have it, a zigzag or straight stitch work fine as well.

Optional: If you have stitch letters on your sewing machine, stitch your name and the year so you know when you made the bag.

4. Fold hemmed bag in half RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER so that half of the hem is underneath itself towards the top and the fold is on the left. You will be making a French seam.

5. Fold a piece of ribbon about 1.5 feet long in half. You can adjust the size of ribbon you use depending on how much ribbon you need to tie.

6. Place the folded ribbon in the open side of the bag about 4″ from the top edge/hem.

7. Pin ribbon in place.

8. Pin rest of the right side and bottom closed.

Use an 1/8″ seam allowance or as small as you can.

9. Starting from the top, sew down the right side, backstitching at the beginning and over the ribbon 2-3 times. You want to backstitch at stress points to keep the bag from ripping apart.

10. Turn at the corner and continue across the bottom, backstitching at the end.

11. Turn the bag inside out, so the right sides are together and the ribbon is out of the way of the seam (It will be inside the bag, but I put mine as straight as possible towards the opposite side of the bag.

12. Press seams, taking care to push them as far out as possible so there is no extra fabric near the seams.

Use a 1/2″ or 5/8″ seam allowance.

13. Starting at the top, sew down the side and across the bottom again to finish the seam.

14. Open bag to make sure the raw edge is hidden inside the seam.

15. Turn bag inside out and press.

Voila! Your bag is really to use!

Please come back and check this tutorial out as I may update it.

Well Done & Good Job

Good Job Journal open
Good Job Journal open

For a long time, I had an idea in my mind that I would make two pencil rolls for some friends who worked with me on the Primal Green show. Somehow the pencil rolls never got made. Then, the idea morphed into journals as I worked on the Purple Journal and I got in the groove of making the pages. I ended up just kept making more and more pages until I had enough for the two additional journal.

I used the Circa 1934 mosaic piecing pieces that I had started when I got off track for Julie. The words are appliqued on to the cover using raw edge applique’ (straight stitch down the center of the letters). I started out with a freezer paper template using my own, slightly stylized, handwriting. I am not much of a calligrapher, so I reworked the design of the letters until I was happy.

It took me a long time to cut out the freezer paper templates. The letters were thin and I didn’t want to rip them. It was meditative. I wanted the words to be subtle so I chose another fabric from the group I used in the Stepping Stones quilt.

Good Job Journal - back
Good Job Journal - back
Good Job Journal closed
Good Job Journal closed

I might have put the words on the back so that the closure wouldn’t cover them when closed, but I didn’t think of it. That is one reason why I like to work in a series (which sounds so much more arty than “make projects over and over”) – so I can learn and do better the next time.

On the other hand, it kind of looks like a surprise. You get a little peek of something else, then you open the closure and see the words.

Good Job Journal - signatures
Good Job Journal - signatures

The signatures are the same or similar size to the signatures in the Purple Journal. I left a little more space to write and draw on these pages and thought about the Design Series Sandy and I have been working on while I embellished the pages. This project gave me the opportunity to get a little design practice in without starting a new quilt.

Well Done Journal - closed
Well Done Journal - closed

These two journals are really twins: cut from the same cloth and made at the same time.

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the design while I was piecing, because I knew it would be ok. One thing that encouraged me on to add the words was the large expanse of that mustardy dot that ended up on the front. It is really too big of a piece for the front. One large piece of fabric in this mosaic piecing technique does get the piece to the right size faster, but also looks boring. It is, however, a great background for words.

Well Done Journal - open
Well Done Journal - open

Shocking as it might seem, I stitched on the words AFTER I put the cover together. That means I stitched through the manilla folder which provides the base and gives the journal shape.

The ‘Well’ word was more tricky than the ‘Good’, ‘done’ or ‘Job’ words. I think the fact that they are taller and thinner were part of the issue. My second ‘l’ is leaning a bit more than I intended, but I think it looks ok. If I had thought of it I might have used a light fusible to keep the words in place while I sewed them.

Well Done Journal - signature 1
Well Done Journal - signature 1

I made a big effort in these two journals to vary the types of paper and put more blank pages in.

I didn’t realize until I started on the signatures for Good Job and Well Done that I was making mini art pieces as pages rather than embellishing pages to add interest and providing space for the recipient to write.

Well Done Journal - signature 1
Well Done Journal - signature 1

Andrea, at A Work of Heart, where I took the original class, had a lot of great ideas about embellishing pages and adding interesting things to them. She also has a huge supply of all different types of items that could be used for pages, in addition to interesting paper.

I have a smallish bag of paper to use. I found an envelope in it, so I added that to one page so the owner could tuck bits into it. In some cases, I also sewed down only two sides of a piece of paper to embellish so that something could be tucked behind that embellishment as well. I like to tuck things into my journals and imagine that others might, too.

Well Done Journal - signature 2
Well Done Journal - signature 2

On the left, which is the last part of signature 1, you can see that red strip of paper. That is the kind of embellishing that I was trying to do.

In signature 2, on the left, you can see how my stitching shows up on the first page of the signature, but embellishments are actually on the back of the page.

I also try to position the edges of the pages a bit unevenly. I wanted to highlight the handmade nature of the piece and also draw attention to some of the handmade paper I used.

Well Done Journal - inside back
Well Done Journal - inside back

The inside back cover isn’t terribly interesting. I put a pocket on the Purple Journal, but forgot to do so on these two journals.

I thought the card with printed words saying good-bye in different languages was appropriate to put on the last page. I am sorry that I don’t remember where I got them, because I would like to get a few more. I had a few so I think each of these recent journals got one.

Well Done Journal - Good-bye detail
Well Done Journal - Good-bye detail

I also like the small images printed in between each of the words.

In this photo, you can also see that I used a zigzag stitch to adhere the paper to the other pieces of paper. I used the same color thread and the same stitch throughout both journals. I played around with the setting a little bit to get a width and length that I liked. I remembered to not make the stitch length too tight or close together (like a satin stitch) otherwise it would have  torn the paper.

I think that little bits can be tucked behind the Good-bye card.

The bad thing about this project is that it makes me tempted to save much more paper than I really should save. I really don’t have any place to keep paper and A Work of Heart is too far away to depend on for a ready supply of paper. I guess that is another reason to use a lot of blank paper and embellish it slightly.

Well Done Journal - back
Well Done Journal - back

Mosaic piecing is not only good for journal covers, but it is a great way to get something done that you don’t have to think about too much while working on another project. Remember leaders and enders? Mostly, when using fabric, I sew like colors together, but in this case, I used a group of fabrics I had used for a quilt, the Circa 1934 + fabrics. You can see that my cover includes a half square triangle piece. I didn’t use it in the quilt, so why not give it additional life?

The Red Journal cover had a lot of super tiny pieces, but not all mosaic quilting needs to use super tiny pieces. Larger pieces become larger faster. In some way, Pieced Backs are a larger version of mosaic piecing. Of course, a cover can be made much more simply from two pieces of fabric. Piecing like I have done is not required.

Things I would like to try for next time (not that I know when next time will be):

  • use Timtex or similar for the base. I kind of want to see how that works and whether using a more fabric friendly base would be better.
  • use batting for the cover and see how a softer cover works.
  • push the limits on how many pages I can fit into a journal this size. One problem is that the sewing machine needle gets dull, so I have to make all the pages at once or keep track of a “for paper use only” needle and keep switching out the needle. It would be great to use the leaders and enders technique for making the pages.
  • try to put more blank (or nearly blank) pages in the journals. I want people to be able to use these as a journal, so more blanks would be one way to do that.
Three Journals, 2012
Three Journals, 2012

So, above are the three journals. I am really pleased.