Monday, January 25, 2016

Smithsonian Inspiration

Three years ago when my daughter was an exhibits designer at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum she designed the new Time and Navigation exhibit. When she needed a design for a mariner's compass image, who did she turn to for inspiration? Her mother the quilter. I sent her several quilt blocks to consider and she made her own compass using them for ideas. Here are Heidi's designs....
This one is on the wall just as you enter the exhibit.
This one is on the floor and you walk over it as you enter the exhibit space. 

I bought some really cool fabric at Capitol Quilts, a white background with navigational symbols in pale gray printed on it. Now all I have to do is make her a quilt in to celebrate her first big exhibit design at the museum. Which one will I make?

Time moves on and Heidi is now at the National Museum of the Native American Her first big exhibit will open in 2017. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Grid Girls Club....and a good time was had by all!

Here is a great idea for your local quilt shop. A Grid Girls Club! The club meets once a month and each month a new Creative Grids© ruler is demonstrated and then members get right down to sewing as they make blocks using that ruler. If you are looking for a block of the month club alternative for the coming year this is a fun and fabulous way to get together while learning to do new blocks.

Deb's Cats N Quilts in Franklin, North Carolina ( with my traditional Log Cabin Trim Tool. This is an easy ruler to use and you can see by the happy smiles on everyone's face that everyone was successful in making perfect log cabin blocks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kanuga Retreat 2016

Every January, for the MLK holiday weekend, my sister, Janet Houts and I teach a 3 day workshop at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. This year there were 31 quilters in our workshop. They were working on their own projects or working on one of 5 different projects we provided ranging from easy for beginners to challenging for experienced quilters. Every year we have returning quilts as we welcome quilters of all levels of skills to our event. You are all invited!

Kanuga 2015 Workshop

Charlotta's Round Robin
Mary's Round Robin
Jeanine's Jelly Roll Quilt
Danielle's Pineapple Quilt
Pineapple Quilt Back
Mary's Quilt in Blue
Mary's Wonky Log Cabin In Yellow

Kanuga 2016 Workshop

Color Boxes In Progress
Michele adding embellishments
Compass Rose In Progress
Denise's Compass Rose pieced and ready to quilt
Mary's Purple Wonky Log Cabin

Friday, January 8, 2016

Binding Bonanza

Last week I picked up 3 quilts from Sue Bentley,  my longarm quilter  Then I machine quilted a smaller quilt on my Janome professional machine. All 4 quilted at once, all 4 needing binding, right now.

I do all of my binding by machine, both front and back. I use a folded binding. I cut my binding strips 2-1/4" on the straight grain of fabric. Most of my quilts never see a bed and they are not entered into quilt competitions. (If I were making quilts to be judged I would apply the binding to the front of the quilt, then hand stitch the folded edge to the back.) Here are the steps I take to bind my quilts:

1. I sew 2-1/4" strips together end-to-end, fold lengthwise and press the fold. Then I line up the raw edges of the binding to the raw edge of the quilt top and sew in place with a 1/4" seam allowance. Note that I am using the even feed foot with rudder to control the 1/4" seam allowance as I sew. The even feed foot is a built in feature of my Janome sewing machine.
2. I turn the folded edge of the binding to the back of the quilt and use those clever little binding clips to hold the binding in place. Then I stitch the binding in place from the right side of the quilt, again using my even feed foot. The stitching is on the top of the binding strip and using the even feed foot with rudder to maintain the 1/4" stitch line. 
3. When turning the corner to start a new side of the quilt, I stitch right up to the edge of the quilt.
Then I fold the binding at a 45° angle. Then I start stitching again, beginning at the top edge of the binding and resume sewing right down the edge.
4. I use the clips to sew maintain the mitered corner in place as I approach the corner, turn the corner, then continue stitching until I have sewn around all four sides of the quilt. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Back to Basics

Every morning I check my facebook page to keep up with my family. This morning I was surprised to see my Country Retreat Log Cabin quilt at the top of the page. Since I design rulers for Creative Grids I have "friended" their facebook page so I know when one of my rulers is featured.
I love this photo. Of course, I see this quilt the last thing every night and first thing every morning as it rests on my very own bed. I made it to use up my scraps with prints representing fabric designs from the end of the 19th century. Pattern and ruler are available on my website

Monday, December 7, 2015

A quilt for baby....

Where do my daughters shop when they need a baby gift? In my quilt stash, of course. A couple months ago my daughter came to help me hang some's really great having an exhibits designer at the Smithsonian Institution expertly hang all your pictures and arrange your collectibles. This time there was a payback for the photo arrangement. Heidi needed a baby gift for a co-worker and she knew just where to shop.

I pulled out all the small quilts in my stash and let Heidi choose one for the baby shower gift. She decided that a richly colored quilt would suit this baby the best. So glad the baby is a girl as the fabrics and color are very girly.
Here is newborn Farah Ahmed taking a nap on her quilt. 
The "Wings" quilt by Jean Ann Wright, a pattern for Cut Loose Press that uses my Log Cabin Trim Tool Two. Pattern and ruler can be ordered from my website

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Techno-dog Time Out

My quilts turn up everywhere! Here is a star quilt in my favorite setting. I made it about 20 years ago. Now it lives in my daughter's keeping room. Family dog, Woody, finds it a perfect place to take a nap. He has finished his computer search for a better bone and stuffed his cell phone in the pocket in the back pocket of his sweater while settling down for a post-Thanksgiving dinner nap.
The blocks in this quilt are the simple Sawtooth Star...8" size and then each block is squared off with big quarter square triangles that position the stars "on point". Then just sew the blocks together to finish the quilt. I used star blocks but any block can be set on point using quarter square triangles. These stars are 8" blocks (finished size). To figure the size of the triangles add 1-1/4" to the finished size of the block (in this case it comes to 9-1/4". Then cut the triangle in half on the diagonal twice to make 4 triangles. The block with triangles added will come out to an odd size, but if they are all the same size they will sew together with ease.