Monthly Archives: December 2015

“Someday is Just Another Word for Never”

In the (very fun) 2010 movie ‘Knight and Day,’ Cameron Diaz looks at Tom Cruise and delivers this line (after he talks about all of the fun things he’ll do…someday).  For some reason, this line stuck in my head…and I found myself thinking about all of my “someday” wishes.  

You know…get a quilt into the big show…get published…teach…etc, etc.  I have many very talented friends who, for one reason or another, haven’t taken the plunge yet.

Sometimes you need a catalyst.  For me it was Pokey Bolton’s inspired campaign to raise money for the Houston animal shelter, Friends For Life…an International Quilt Festival special exhibit just happened to mesh with a piece I’d already done, and I was fortunate enough to have “Neon Kitty” accepted. The thrill of seeing my quilt hanging at Festival was enough inspiration for me to begin taking many many more risks (yes and collecting lots of rejection notes along the way along with the joy of acceptance letters!).

So as we move into a new year, I have my list of things I plan to do in 2016…NOT someday.  I’m quite sure I won’t succeed in accomplishing every one, but I plan to give it my all.  What dream will you move from your “someday” list to your 2016 page 😊?

The Quilter’s Planner

Just in time for all of those New Year’s resolutions, a package arrived in my studio today.  If you are not familiar with this wonderful tool for planning out 2016, check out the website,  

I heard about it through the founder’s very effective IndieGoGo campaign, and couldn’t resist…because there is something irresistible about a good low-tech format for plotting out those deadlines!  I like the fact that the project planning pages are formatted for any kind of project, and the production values are quite nice.  The monthly and weekly layouts are great, and there are lots of inspirational quotes sprinkled in (you see my favorite in the photo!). The patterns for blocks and quilts are modern in flavor, and I will find them helpful when I need to make a functional lap or baby quilt as the year goes on.

What are your favorite tools for organizing your plans and dreams?

Leather Notebook Cover

Are you hooked on those plastic-binder 8-ring notebooks into which you can easily slip pages?  Our household is…we love our apps but somehow there is still a major role for paper and ink.

I had made a cover for one of these notebooks out of Carol Eaton’s amazing fabric…which inspired my product development team (that would be my husband) to suggest a black leather version.

If you would like to try this, first trace 2 rectangles on very stiff fusible (I use Peltex II) that are just a little larger than the plastic covers.  The plastic notebook covers pop off easily for use as templates.  I suggest trying an extra 3/8th inch on all sides.

Then, assemble these project-specific ingredients:

  1. Needles for stitching through leather
  2. A piece of soft pliable leather…roughly the size of a far quarter
  3. Optional but fun– a rolling presser foot so that the leather doesn’t create drag as you stitch
  4. A piece of backing fabric, with enough to also create pockets once you stitch the main body of the cover

Lay out your backing fabric on a pressing surface, then take those 2 rectangles of fusible and place them side by side, with enough space between for the spine of the book.  This will require some testing as you hold the notebook and wrap the fusible and fabric around it to check for size.  Once you are happy with the placement, fuse (don’t forget your pressing sheet under the fusible!).  Turn over and lay out your piece of leather to match…then fuse it to the fusible (I place an extra layer of fabric between the iron and the leather).

Grab that notebook again and wrap the cover around it…decide how much to trim.  Do one round of zig-zag stitching around every side before the backing fabric begins to fray.

Next, make the “pockets”…measure 2 pieces the length of the height of the cover, a width that is pleasing. Fold one long edge over and stitch to prevent fraying, then stitch to the edges of your cover…here is what it will look like when finished:

Now the fun part begins!  I decided to simply quilt the fusible-stiffened covers with horizontal and vertical lines, then stitch more heavily on the spine with lots of very slightly-off lines:


Here is what the completed cover looks like on the inside:

  I was happy I had purchased the rolling foot as it made all of the stitching a great deal easier:


A cover for a larger notebook is next on the to-do list :).  Leather is really a pleasure to work with- give it a try!

Challenging Yourself


One of my favorite ongoing challenges is the Readers Challenge posted in each issue of Quilting Arts magazine. This magazine is simply the best ongoing source of ideas and introductions to new materials…I’m not sure I would have become an art quilter without it.

Many of the challenges are, well, challenging!  (I will not show you the picture of my tragic attempt at a round piece with complementary colors…let’s just say that the NY Knicks could have used it as a logo.) But…I try to enter as often as possible because it is a terrific way to try something different.

I began the Face Time piece (which will appear in the Feb/Mar issue) with some trepidation … See an earlier post of mine about bloopers ;).  Human faces are much much more difficult for me than cats or dogs.  And yet…I had some wonderful old pictures of my uncle, clowning for the camera, that I really wanted to use.

First step is easy:  use the MobileMonet app to turn the photo into a more-easily-traceable illustration.

Then, time to MistyFuse the selection of fabrics (I chose a range of greys to honor the original photo) and trace a pattern with freezer paper-

Fueled by Halloween candy, of course. Next, carefully ink in a few features, fuse the pieces and layer with batting and a fun backing fabric (I adore Lynn Krawcyk’s “Inked” collection).  Choose a range of thread colors that are fairly close if you want the thread work to appear blended…here I went to my stash of Superior’s Magnifico thread.

And now for the hard part—quilting the face. Take time to study the work of artists whose human portraits inspire you. Kate Themel is particularly helpful for me in this regard.  (If you ever get to take a class with Kate, DO!). Deep breath, crossed fingers and go for it.

I hope my uncle would be pleased ;). Off to work on the next Readers Challenge!

T’was the Week After Christmas πŸŽ„

‘Twas the week after Christmas

And all through the land, quilters were sitting, coffee in hand…

Surveying new fabrics, notions and threads…While visions of Houston danced in their heads!

An art quilt to dazzle?

A traditional view?

Machine quilt or hand-sewn?

Just so much to do!

So up to their studios–they went with great glee…..To sort their new stash, and plan their entry.

And I heard them exclaim as they danced out of sight,

Merry stitching to all, and to all a good light!

Listening to Your FabricΒ 

My favorite stack of fabric in my studio is, without a doubt, my hand-dyed stash.  I am always inspired by the artists who wield their magic with dye pots.  While a lot of this stash is solids (if you’re not a Cherrywood fabric fan, you should be :)!), there are other pieces that find their way into my heart that are highly patterned.  If you listen carefully, the fabric will frequently tell you what to do.  See the photos above that show the progression of bringing out a tree-lined lakefront (not finished yet!) that appeared in some lovely pieces dyed by Freida Anderson.

Another fun example was a piece of indigo cloth from one of my very favorite people, Carol Eaton.  Carol is known by most folks for her ice- and snow-dyed work…if you are not familiar with it, check out her blog at

The indigo piece simply insisted on becoming a notebook cover!  


What does your fabric say to you?