Usable Bags

Cherry in Tote
Cherry in Tote

I was walking back from lunch the other day. I am always on the prowl for the perfect bag and saw a display of luggage I had never seen before. I looked closer and really couldn’t figure out the purpose of  these suitcases. Finally, I stepped back and looked at the store’s sign and found it was a pet store and these carriers were for pets! I was amazed at the complexity.

The other day my sister sent me this picture of her dog, Cherry in the tote I made. I never thought of using the Eco-Market totes as dog carriers, but I am sure it was much cheaper than one of the pieces of luggage I saw downtown. Doesn’t Cherry look cute and sweet? She is sweet, but only intermittently. My Sis saved her from a bad home and she has to contend with 3 other dogs, the smallest of whom is 3x her size!

I hope her little claws don’t rip through. The bag has already been back and forth a time or two.

Piles and Piles

My life seems to be all about piles lately. I am racing at top speed trying to get everything done and keep house and heart and work and school and everything from bursting at the seams. It is really frustrating.

Desk pile
Desk pile

This is one of the piles on my desk. It is the pile next to my computer; the working pile, often. It is a combination of project notes, book reviews (took this photo while I was writing the review of Taking Flight), bills, reimbursement requests from healthcare, etc.

Book pile
Book pile

This is the pile hat spurred on this post. It is a pile of books on the floor next to my desk, which are waiting for my attention. One day, I was leaning over to change the radio station and the fell all over the place.

I put all of my craft and quilt books into a database to which I refer before I go to buy a book. My rule is that I only buy quilt and craft books, mostly quilt, though, unless I think I am going to read some fiction book again. I try to check every book out of the library and review it before I buy it. I, frankly, don’t have the space to create a library in my house, no matter how much I would like to do so.

Another Desk Pile
Another Desk Pile

Periodically, I will rip inspirational pages out of magazines and then file them. This pile, towards the bottom, is a big group of those ripped out pages. Somehow I got sidetracked or ran out of space in the middle of filing and it never got done.

Cleaning this up is not yet on my to do list.

Visiting a Guild

I visited the San Francisco Quilt Guild on Tuesday of last week because Mike McNamara was going to speak. I haven’t been a member of that guild for a long time, bu I recently started getting notices of upcoming speakers. I was pleased that they are now meeting closer to where I live and that the group seems to have lightened up a bit.

I was amazed at all they do. They gave over 100 quilts to the local public nursing home. They are having a Quiltaway next year and have lots of activities surrounding that.

I spent some time talking with Mike McNamara (called Mac) about his quilts and his working style. He lives in the City and also has a studio. I tried to question him closely about how he works that style of working. I have thought about getting a studio, but can’t quite figure out how I would have all the supplies I needed in the location I was working in at the time.

Scissor Quilt
Scissor Quilt

I saw one of Mac’s quilts at PIQF and it stuck in my mind, which was part of the reason I wanted to go to the meeting. I also just needed a jolt of some other quiltmakers. The holidays demand more of my time and that time usually gets taken away from my quiltmaking time. My mom came with me.

Scissor Quilt - detail 1
Scissor Quilt - detail 1

The scissors were added using a Thermofax machine.

Scissor Quilt - detail 2
Scissor Quilt - detail 2

Mac stepped in front of the quilt at one point and said that one thing he didn’t realize until he was giving a trunk show was that if he stood in front of the quilt it looked like it was raining scissors.

Double Wedding Ring
Double Wedding Ring

Mac has a series of Double Wedding Rings that he has been working on. He has made 13 or 14.

Double Wedding Ring - detail
Double Wedding Ring - detail

You can see the rings really well in this version of the DWR. Above is the detail of the gold rings and how he combines fabric.

Mike McNamara Quilt
Mike McNamara Quilt

I don’t remember the name of this quilt. He uses a block called the ‘Magic Block’ quite often. You can see it in the upper left hand corner. It has a black kind of cross in the center.

Mike McNamara Quilt - detail 1
Mike McNamara Quilt - detail 1

Love the coffee fabric. This is also a good example of the curved piecing techniques he uses frequently.

Mike McNamara Quilt - detail 2
Mike McNamara Quilt - detail 2

You can also see the cool bamboo fabric in the above detail.

Double Wedding Ring #2 - detail 1
Double Wedding Ring #2 - detail 1

This is another one of Mac’s DWRs. It is actually a straight block quilt. Some of the blocks were made from different fabrics then trimmed to make a block.

Double Wedding Ring - detail 3
Double Wedding Ring - detail 3

Elvis fabric in the DWR quilt.

Double Wedding Ring #2 - detail 2
Double Wedding Ring #2 - detail 2

Each of Mac’s quilts are made for a friend with the understanding that he gets to use the quilt for his trunk shows for 5 years. As a result of making quilts for friends, each of his quilts have stories associated with them. Because of the stories, he finds and uses a lot of interesting fabrics including the skull fabric above.

Ohio Star
Ohio Star

I liked this Ohio Star quilt. Actually l really liked the movement of the Ohio Star blocks. I also like that tree fabric he used.

Ohio Star - detail
Ohio Star - detail

I like the swirly fabric around the upper Ohio Star.

Creative Prompt #45: Flame

Keep the home fires burning

Light a flame

Candle flame

Light the Menorah

FLAME by BK® captures the essence of WHOPPER™

Definition: A flame (from Latin flamma), is the visible (light-emitting) gaseous part of a fire.  (from Wikipedia)

Flames painted on the side of a car/motorcycle tank



rub two sticks together

welding torch

passion’s flame

There is more information on the Creative Prompt Page.

Post the direct URL where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. It will keep all the artwork together.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, now, has a Flickr group, which you can join and where you can post your responses.

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

Book Review: Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts

Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I first started reading this book, I immediately noticed the tone: kind, positive, inspirational and soft. Not disgustingly so, but in a way that made me really feel inspired.

My overall feeling of this book was it was a book that would be useful regardless of what the reader makes. This book is about having confidence, being inspired, getting rid of roadblocks and trying new things.

The format of the book incorporates the patterns/projects into the chapters, so they don’t seem slapped on because publishers think that “everyone must have projects if they are going to buy a book”. I didn’t try any of the projects as I cannot craft late at night in bed (too messy) and I didn’t have most of the supplies needed (too cheap). Still, I though the projects were interesting and would make good exercises for a class.

Kelly Rae Roberts has also peppered the book with interviews with other artists, such as Judy Wise, Mati Rose, and Christine Mason Miller. This feature  brings some liveliness and interest to the book.

Ms. Roberts was interviewed on the Notes from the Voodoo Lounge podcast, 17 November 2009. The podcast is a great companion to this book as it gives just a bit more insight into KRR.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was size of the font. There is a lot of information crammed into this 128 page book, but you might go blind trying to read it.

I think this is a book that I would like to put on my wish list as I think it would be good to dip into on occasion.

View all my reviews , including my non quilt reviews

Various and Sundry Wednesday

There is a lot going on. I realized at some point over the weekend that I had not really inventoried what I for gifts. This year will be a much leaner Christmas even than last year, but I still have a few things to buy and a lot to wrap. There is a lot going on at work and I have just been ignoring everything, and focusing on the gifts I need to make.  I got myself in gear, did an inventory and started working on my Christmas shopping.

I am an inveterate cyber-shopper. Before the web had stores, I would spend the Friday after Christmas with all of the catalogs I had been hoarding on the phone ordering via phone. Since I do mostly online shopping, I inevitably find other sites that might be of interest.

Liesl from Oliver + S pointed me to her free mitten ornament pattern. It can be used for gift tags, winter decorating, tree ornaments or an advent calendar. I could see where the maker could have a nice little reminder of favorite fabrics from the year by using project scraps for the mitten cuffs. Thanks, Liesl!

Liesl pointed me to Alabama Chanin. I like the look of their blog, which they call a journal. I believe they are a clothing company. They do sell scrap bags of organic cotton fabrics. I saw an interesting jacket on the cover of one of their catalogs via their blog/journal. I am thinking about renewing my wardrobe, but want classic pieces with interest which look good on me. That is a project for much later, but it is on my mind.

Quilts, Inc in Houston has website with a list of the winners from this year’s show. Robbi Joy Eklow won second place in the Art-Abstract Large category. It is one of her gear type quilts. I saw Moon Garden by Judy Coates Perez last year at PIQF She won Honorable Mention in the Art-Painted Surface category.

I was pointed to the Running with Scissors Blog for an interview of Susan Shie. She talks a lot about her airpen work and how it has changed the pace of her work (she can do a lot more). She is doing less hand work, but I don’t know if she has completely stopped that. She also talks about spending the day with President Obama sitting by the side of a river and talking with him while they eat cheeseburgers. It is a very sweet image. After the debacle with the White House party crashers recently, I was thinking that it would be nice if a “regular Joe or Jane” was invited to every White House event. It is, after all, our tax dollars at work.

Also, some time ago I took a class at the Marin Needle Arts Guild weekend retreat from Gwen Marston. It was a two day class and we learned Liberated Quiltmaking. I ended up with my quilt Women’s Work 1. I used her technique to having making a lot of different house blocks.

I found a blog called Block Party and they show a tutorial for making star blocks similar to the ones that Gwen Marston teaches. I thought you might enjoy making a few. As I scrolled through the blog, I found they had tutorials for other blocks as well.

Somehow I found my way to a Dutch site full of Mariner’s Compasses and other round designs created by Jacqueline De Jonge. I have linked you to the English version. De Jonge’s work reminds me of Judy Mathieson and her work looks similar to Barbara Barber‘s circular work. I took Barbara Barber’s class at PIQF once and should be able to make these without another class, but De Jonge’s quilts look so cool, I would happily take a class from her as well. There is a review and picture of a great block one of her students made. You can buy the patterns and fabric collections at BatiksPlus. I was surprised at the cost of some of the patterns ($46), but I think it would probably become clear once I actually saw the complexity of the pattern in real life. Not all are that expensive. I think I would rather have a class form her or a book and do the drawings myself.

This reminds me that I have an idea to make a circle quilt a la Malka Dubrawsky, but with inset circles like Ruth McDowell teaches and shows in her Piecing book instead of the dyed circles that Malka uses.

If I had unlimited money, after I bought the diamond earrings, I would buy the Aurifil Suitcase. Have you seen this? If I bought it I would probably never use any of the thread, because I wouldn’t want to break up the set! The colors are luscious. I love the thread and having it in a suitcase keeps the dust away.

Spiderwebs are all over the place. I saw another one on Oh Fransson’s blog. Her spiderweb has her signature colors with a tinge of Christmassy-ness and grey centers.

Janome has a content running called “Pass it On“. You answer some questions about where you learned to sew and are entered to win. Your entry and photos become their property and will not be acknowledged or returned blah blah blah. You can win a sewing machine, serger or big pack of thread. How did you learn to sew and who taught you?

A lot of brain dumps lately, I know. Hope you are keeping your inspiration high during this busy time of year.

Wanted Ad

WANTED: Art patron to pay $6,000 per month plus all applicable taxes for the privilege of allowing art quiltmaker to stay in her workroom and build a creative business through the creation of new works. Benefits include right of first refusal on all ‘for sale’ pieces, invitations to events and the good feelings that come with knowing you are helping someone pursue one of their dreams.

I have been a slacker on the days I am not in the office. Yesterday, I decided to make a to-do list so I would have a guide for today. The list was unexpectedly long!

I spoke with TFQ yesterday on the phone and she told me about a podcast by Rice Freeman-Zachary called Notes from the VooDoo Lounge. Since Amy over at the Creative Mom podcast and Jennifer over at CraftSanity actually have lives and aren’t posting podcasts as fast as I can consume them, I thought I would listen to this one and see if I should add it to my weekly repertoire.

I actually listened to 4-5 of them today while I was at the gym and as I plowed through my quite substantial to-do list. One of the artists interviewed, Judy Wise, talks about art patrons. I thought I might as well put the request out there, because you never know. I really like this podcast for a couple of reasons:

  1. Rice (pronounced Ree-sah) has a nice interviewing style. She isn’t too robotic, but is also professional, humorous and has really great speaking voice. I think she hits the podcasting sweet spot very well.
  2. Lots of information about creativity: how to be creative, how to maintain your creative inspiration, how to get out of the hole of no ideas.
  3. Variety of guests.

One of the episodes to which I listened was an interview with jazz saxophonist Tom Braxton. I am not a jazz fan and don’t know much about jazz, but thought I would keep an open mind. I am glad I did, because he was great! He talked a lot about things that are required for living a creative life. He said he thought musical education was important and that making it big because some producer heard your band as s/he drove down the street or you won American Idol were REALLY rare. He also said that a creative life is work and that the performance (on stage for a musician, at the easel for a painter, etc) are a small part of the job. An artist has to get up in the morning (no lazing around in bed), go to the post office and mail packages, practice their craft, market their services, and be professional at all times, etc. He spoke from a musician’s point of view, but what he said was relevant to all creative types. I think that this particular episode is a great reality check for those wanting to live a creative life without being a slap in the face.

I also really enjoyed Freeman-Zachary’s interview with Roz Stendahl. I loved her tips on time management and her practical advice about living a creative life. One thing she says is to track your time for a week in 15 minute increments, so you know where your time goes. Then you will know where you can find a few minutes to be creative. She has a funny, but no nonsense approach to her business. Listening to this interview made me feel good about my to-do list and the progress I was making on it. This is an episode I will put in my ‘Favorites’ playlist and listen to again with notebook and pen in hand.

She also has an episode she calls ‘Rants from the Grammar *itch’. It was hilarious and I want to have the Child listen to it, but the ‘phrasing’ may be a bit old for him. I have to decide if I am comfortable answering questions the episode might bring up. However, i was definitely a worthwhile 15 minutes. I learned about reflexive pronouns from this episode. Of course, I knew how to use them (and, no, I am not telling you what they are. You have to listen to the podcast), but I didn’t know the whys and wherefores. I learned it at some point in the distant past and promptly forgot. Now I know, because she made it interesting to learn. I will probably remember, because thinking about her examples brings a smile to my lips.

This podcast is well worth a listen if you are the podcast-listening type.

Update on Margaret’s Hope Chest

Some weeks ago, I mentioned a group in Michigan called Margaret’s Hope Chest. They decided to help another organization by collecting quilts to add to the Christmas baskets of toys and books destined for homeless children. These children are all associated with the Grand Rapids School District in some way.

I would go and look at the counter on their blog periodically to see if they were going to make their goal. I have to admit that I was distressed to see that they were not receiving as many quilts as they needed. I took a look at their blog the other day to get an update and am pleased to report that they MET and EXCEEDED their goal!!!! Hooray!

Margaret’s Hope Chest had a goal of collecting 400 quilts for the children. They received 500. I am so thrilled!

Thanks to all of you, dear readers, who contributed to this effort. I know some of you did.

Somehow this project tugged at my heartstrings. I have been thinking about charity quilts lately and whether to have a goal of making some in 2010. I made one for someone affected by Hurricane Katrina called Slash Stars. I haven’t ever done much other charity quilting. Definitely something to think about.

Book Review: Seams to Me

Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing by Anna Maria Horner

I received this book as a 2009 birthday gift from wonderful friend. Today, I listened to Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s podcast interview with Anna Maria Horner again, which made me think about my review. I came to see what had when I first looked at the book. Shock! Horror! I didn’t write a review, nor did I even put it on my list. Shame! I have no idea what I was thinking. The first thing I like about this book is the pre-Table of contents. It is arranged in a very visual and 9 patchy way. It tells you what to expect and what the book contains. The layout alternates words with pictures, which keeps the reader’s eye moving around the page while giving some spots to rest as well. The next thing I like about the book, which Jennifer mentions in her interview also, is the nice tone Ms. Horner uses in the introduction. I found that the tone continues throughout the book, ebbing and flowing in different ways to achieve different points. When all of that glamor is said and done, this is a book that gets people started sewing. Horner goes through all different considerations from where to sew, what sewing machine to use, considerations when buying a sewing machine to notions, gadgets, tools, color and my personal favorite, fabric! While a lot of this section was not new to me, it was well laid out and clear. Anna Maria has some brief definitions about what different needles are for and also a needle size chart with fabric examples. The color wheel is fabulous and like no other I can remember seeing. It is a bunch of squares of fabric arranged like a color wheel. These are not Amish solids, either; they are prints. I am thinking about photocopying this page and hanging it up so I can be inspired. I buy tons of prints, after all, and need some help using them sometimes. This book is entertaining, too. The entertainment starts with the chapter headings, such as “A Place to Perch” and “Let’s Bolt” and continues on to the text with examples like “Tedious Terms” and “Width Wisdom.” Such touches tell me that Anna Maria Horner cared about the details and was confident enough to inject a bit of fun into her writing. Tucked into the section called “Tedious Terms”, the author has included a helpful conversion chart for yardage. You could copy it (again for personal use only!) and keep in in your handbag when you go fabric shopping so you know that when you ask for an 1/8 of a yard you are getting a piece of fabric 4.5″ wide. There are lots and lots of pieces of helpful information that make this a book that I will keep on the shelf very close to my machine so I can refer to it frequently when I want to clip curves, put in a zipper, make a french seam, stitch some piping, gather cafe curtains or make a decorative edging on a garment. As a result, there were quite a few things that I learned. The basic information was so beautifully laid out and written in a way that kept me interested so I was shocked to find that I had finished that section and was on to the projects. I am not much for buying project oriented books, but some of these projects intrigued me. One of the first was called “Cozy Cubes”. They are in the organizing section and I can see where these would be fun, beautiful and useful. I also want to make the Wall pockets, the “I’ll have one of Everything” bag, and am attracted by the “Playing Along” quilt. I also think the “Full Contact Cooking Apron” is fun and useful, though I suspect the fabrics make the piece. Some projects I would probably never make, though I hesitate to say never, because saying never guarantees I will end up making it! I am sure I could learn something from some of these projects as well. I am not excited about the big squares on the “Sideways Skirt,” nor do I find the “Smashing Smock” very smashing or the “Right off the Cuff” cuffs very practical. I might too old to appreciate some of these stylish projects! All in all, I was very pleased that I had gotten this book out again and look forward to working with it a little more.

View all of my reviews, including my non-quilt reviews

Fabric Design Must-Haves

I have been thinking about fabric design a lot lately. I think it is something that I would love to do. Well, the finished product with my name on it would be great. After hearing Anna Maria Horner talk about the process, I am not sure if I am motivated enough to do all the work entailed for an actual fabric collection. If a fabric manufacturer came knocking, I would definitely find the motivation!!

One of the things I have been thinking about is must-have motifs in a collection. What parts of a collection do I always buy? Stripes and dots, definitely.

Eliza Stripe by Westminster
Eliza Stripe by Westminster

I like the above stripes, which I bought during my week away at Fabric Crush in Magnolia, because they are relatively bright and regularly spaced. I also like the ratio of white to color. In my regular fabric psychosis mind, I keep thinking “oh dear! I didn’t buy enough! I should have bought 2 yards!” despite the FACT that I haven’t used any of them and they were just washed over the weekend.

I also liked the stripes from P&B’s Pop Parade collection if the mythical fabric company wants some wonky stripes.

Ta Dot/Michael Miller & Emmalynn's Days of the Week
Ta Dot/Michael Miller & Emmalynn's Days of the Week

Above are a couple of the dot motifs that I like. Both are regularly spaced, but have slightly different sized dots.  The Emmalynn’s Days of the Week by Susan Osborne are on the top and the Ta Dot is below. There are some scatter kind of dots that I like as well. I find myself gravitating towards the regularly spaced dots lately. I think I need something to count on in my life lately. 😉

Perhaps in my mythical fabric collection I would have a couple of regularly spaced dots (smaller and larger??) as well as some scatter dots or spots.
Barbara Brackman brought a new thought in this vein to mind in a post where she talked about how paisleys were must have motifs in a certain era (Civil War??) of fabric design. I haven’t noticed many paisley type prints lately so I don’t know if they are modern enough to go along with the popular prints today. I haven’t been looking, so they could be out there. I have bought a few paisleys in the past as I recall. I definitely won’t be a designing fabrics in Civil War era colors! Still paisleys are an interesting shape and have a lot of opportunity for designexploration. I’ll have to play around with some paisleys and see what I come up with.

I’ll have to think about what else I would include. I am not sure if I would want a focus fabric as I have no idea what I would design for a focus fabric. Flowers? Trees? Snowflakes? I don’t know. A collection without a focus fabric may be a total non-starter for the mythical fabric company that comes knocking on my door, so I’ll have to think about it.

I have always thought that ‘basics’ collections were very appealing. You can buy a lot of them in many colorways (regular stream of income for the company!) and they are useful for a variety of projects. They tend to stick around in terms of being able to buy them, which is an added bonus for those of us who don’t manage to finish projects very quickly. 😉

I would love to see basics types collections be expanded upon rather than just dropped because the Color Council issues new colors. I think Moda Marbles are an excellent example of a successful basics collection. Not only do they have their basic tone-on-tone version, but they expanded out to the Moda Marble Dots and the Moda Marble Stars. Very clever of Patrick Lose to expand in that way. How about Moda Marble Stripe, Patrick?

P&B New Basics was fabulous as well. I have linked to their current colors, which are very dark and not as interesting to me as the previously issued brighter colors.

So, I wonder if I should include some tone-on-tones in my fabric collection? It might be easier to coordinate them with the Moda Marbles or another basics type collection? Hhhmmm…

So, you can see what wanders around in my head as I navigate the rest of my non-quiltmaking life. What do you think your must haves are when you consider purchasing a whole fabric collection?

Creative Prompt #44: Winter

It has been very cold here in the West. Not cold like Minnesota or upstate New York, but a little on the dry and bitter side for us. This inspired me to get started on Winer even though we are still officially in Autumn. Enjoy!

There is more information on the Creative Prompt Page.

Winter Wonderland.


Ice skating

Winter Solstice

Skiing (Schifahren)

Cross Country Skiing

Winter Olympics


Winter definition: Meteorological winter is the season having the shortest days and the lowest average temperatures, which have the coldest weather. (from Wikipedia)

Snow boots, mittens, hats, parkas, snow shoes, long underwear, Smartwool socks

Ice scrapers


ice storm

Weather safety and awareness

Winter poems

Winter in the Country by Claude McKay
Sweet life! how lovely to be here
And feel the soft sea-laden breeze
Strike my flushed face, the spruce’s fair
Free limbs to see, the lesser trees’

Bare hands to touch, the sparrow’s cheep
To heed, and watch his nimble flight
Above the short brown grass asleep.
Love glorious in his friendly might,

Music that every heart could bless,
And thoughts of life serene, divine,
Beyond my power to express,
Crowd round this lifted heart of mine!

But oh! to leave this paradise
For the city’s dirty basement room,
Where, beauty hidden from the eyes,
A table, bed, bureau, and broom

In corner set, two crippled chairs
All covered up with dust and grim
With hideousness and scars of years,
And gaslight burning weird and dim,

Will welcome me . . . And yet, and yet
This very wind, the winter birds
The glory of the soft sunset,
Come there to me in words.

A Winter Eden by Robert Frost
A winter garden in an alder swamp,
Where conies now come out to sun and romp,
As near a paradise as it can be
And not melt snow or start a dormant tree.

It lifts existence on a plane of snow
One level higher than the earth below,
One level nearer heaven overhead,
And last year’s berries shining scarlet red.

It lifts a gaunt luxuriating beast
Where he can stretch and hold his highest feat
On some wild apple tree’s young tender bark,
What well may prove the year’s high girdle mark.

So near to paradise all pairing ends:
Here loveless birds now flock as winter friends,
Content with bud-inspecting. They presume
To say which buds are leaf and which are bloom.

A feather-hammer gives a double knock.
This Eden day is done at two o’clock.
An hour of winter day might seem too short
To make it worth life’s while to wake and sport.

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

Post the direct URL where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. It will keep all the artwork together.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, now, has a Flickr group, which you can join and where you can post your responses.

Another Spiderweb

Spiderweb in progress
Spiderweb in progress

I often find older patterns that don’t seem popular, but have very interesting shapes or lines. I see them at shows in antique quilt exhibits or in books or in early to mid-century magazines or in Barbara Brackman’s book or ripped out of ancient newspapers for sale on eBay.

Mostly, they cannot be strip pieced. Let’s face it, some of those patterns are nearly impossible to piece with the patterns given. Remember the Snowball Wreath? The Flowering Snowball is also no picnic to piece, though completely doable.

I was cruising around the web and found my way to Mrs. Schmenkman’s Quilts somehow or other. Those pesky links, you know. 😉 There I found another, yes ANOTHER spiderweb quilt.

You can see a tutorial and a post about her changes to the tutorial on that site as well

Mrs. Schenkman's Spiderweb

The hand stitching is a nice addition, don’t you think?

It is very obvious, at least to me, now that I don’t get out much. Here I am sitting in my workroom sewing away on quilts with patterns that I think nobody is interested in. then I find a whole quilt subculture of people making the same pattern.

Mrs. Schenkman's Spiderweb, full

This just makes me think that I am too isolated in my quilting world. I sit in my workroom and work on pieces in which I am interested. I don’t get a regular influx of other people’s ideas except from the web. The web is good, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think it is enough sometimes. OR I am not cruising round enough.

Gifted Pencil Roll

Pencil Roll #1, closed
Pencil Roll #1, closed
Pencil Roll #1, open
Pencil Roll #1, open

Julie made me a pencil roll last year, which I discussed in a post in January 2008.

I recently bought a pencil roll pattern from Pink Chalk Studio and, after a bad pattern experience (from a different company), have a great deal of respect for Kathy’s clear instructions and helpful notes.

I wasn’t able to show this until now even though I made it during my week away, because it is a gift. I made it for Julie‘s birthday and wanted it to be a surprise.

The fabrics I used for the strips all came from TFQ’s strip box. They are, what she calls, Fresh Modern fabrics. They are not exclusively Amy Butler and Valori Wells, but are in that vein. The green is an old Marimekko fabric I bought at the Crate and Barrel outlet a long time ago. It spent some time with TFQ and was on its way back to me when I decided to do this project.

This is the small version of the pencil roll. Kathy gives directions for a 12 slot and a 24 slot. You can, with the directions, make one any size. I didn’t quite realize how big they were when I was making this one.

The pattern is really easy to follow. This is a fast project to make. The only part that takes time is the quilting/making the pockets. You have to be aware of what you are doing.

I hope Julie likes it and finds it useful.