Monthly Archives: April 2016

Inspiration in the Studio

Some of my favorite things to read are articles about the studios of other fiber artists. What do you keep nearby for inspiration, motivation and purely sentimental reasons?

My most prized possession is the quilt created by Yvonne Porcella, pictured above, “Oski Loves the Birds.” I was on a mission to win this piece during the auction of the Quilt Alliance’s contest quilts last year. This piece is not only lovely on its own but represents the spirit of one amazing lady who paved the way for our tribe…I was so fortunate to be able to get to know her in person. (See what treasures you can find in the Alliance’s auction? Watch this year’s bidding to find the artist who inspires YOU!)

Then there is Quilting Arts magazine…I framed the article I wrote in last year’s Holiday special edition to celebrate a goal met and a reminder of all those future goals (who else has QA tv on their bucket list?!). It is also a tribute to the wonderful team that edits the magazine now…and a thank you to the founder, Pokey Bolton. Pokey, if you hadn’t created Quilting Arts, many of us would never have heard of art quilting.

I have an internal windowsill that holds treasures and reminders of just a few of the wonderful friends I’ve made within our community. And, yes, Simon’s Cat ;).

And, most precious of all, the Featherweights that belonged to my mom and favorite aunt. I learned how to sew on that black machine…and sometimes imagine the two machines gossiping with one another about those newfangled behemoths on the other side of the room :).

And now, back to work on my WIPS!   

Top 10 Reasons to Enter the Quilt Alliance’s “Playing Favorites” Contest!

10- It will distract you from any painful memories of the check you had to send to the IRS this week.

9- It’s a fantastic excuse to buy more fabric and thread in the name of a great cause. More Aurifil! More Moda!

8- A 16″ square project is something you can FINISH. (Not implying you have any UFOs stashed under the bed, just sayin’…)

7- This year’s theme allows you to create a piece in any style you like! Art quilters, browse though my older posts for lots of project ideas. 

6- My cat wants lots of company ;). OK that’s a little weak but I couldn’t resist…


5- It’s a terrific way to avoid spring cleaning.

4- Your piece will be part of an amazing exhibit at Quilters Take Manhattan and International Quilt Festival, in addition to other venues…AND become a part of the Quilt Index.

3- Last year’s winners were featured in Quilting Arts magazine!

2- The prizes are incredible. Admit it, you’d love a HandiQuilter, wouldn’t you?! (Remember, past winners and QA board members are not eligible to win so the chances of winning increase!)


1- You will be joining us on a very important mission: to document, preserve, and share our beloved quilt heritage! 

So…if you haven’t submitted a quilt yet…there’s still plenty of time. We can’t wait to see where your creativity takes you! 


Inspiration from the Garden


You don’t need to be a gardener to find amazing beauty as spring arrives :). A very fun small art quilt can be created by starting with a photo, then turning to your favorite app to turn it into an illustration:

Begin by considering the background fabric…in this case, a grey batik that had a little help (once you’ve taken a class with Judy Coates Perez, you will not be able to resist adding a little paint…😊)

Then, pull out those pre-fused scraps you’ve been saving from other projects:

Begin with some greenery:

Then sprinkle the petals:

Ready for thread selection (one of my favorite parts):

For a three-dimensional effect, choose wool batting…then ‘carve’ the stones with stitching:

And pull out the fabric inks for more depth:

And leave the flower petals partially un-fused:

Bind and you’re done!


“Map of Your Heart” class prep



Oh, the challenges of photographing a quilt that has been framed under glass πŸ™„. As explained in a post last December, I was inspired by a piece of green batik to create a map of our home and favorite motorcycle routes-using silk ribbon to represent the classic GPS map yellow roadways and blue bodies of water. As I decide which background to use for my (UNframed) class sample, I’m having fun imagining what kind of locations my students will want to use.

Heavily forested like my home state of Connecticut?


A desert vacation spot, with some canyons stitched in?


Perhaps a grid-like urban area…these fantastic fabrics by Weeks Ringle would be fun…


My choice for the next piece? A beloved spot in the Caribbean.(After all, we can show flight routes as well as roads!)


Time to MistyFuse to batting and backing, applique a few islands and stitch lots of water 🌴🐠 …Happy weekend to all :)!

“And, then, I read the instructions…”

This remark at a chapter meeting this past Saturday, made as part of an explanation of a remarkable piece created by a SAQA board member, caused the entire audience to burst out in laughter. There was a palpable sense of ‘been there, done that!’ that reminded me how happy I am to have found my tribe.

Remember way back in elementary school when the teachers (or, in my case, nuns) would hand out fill-in-the-blanks tests and tell us multiple times, READ the ENTIRE page before beginning the quiz? How many of you, like me, blasted our way through each answer only to find the line at the bottom of the page, “do not take this quiz”?

I am grateful to have begun my quilting journey in the realm of traditional quilting (and marvel at the incredible pieces each year in Houston). But, somewhere along the way, thanks in very large part to Quilting Arts magazine, I began to leave many of the traditional rules behind. Pinning, marking, basting…nah, that’s why we have MistyFuse ;). And, each time I try to do a piece by “following” the assigned theme of a contest or show, I find that the works are not nearly as successful as the ones that spring from that “I just have to make this quilt” gut instinct.

So…here’s to learning by listening to instructions…and then knowing which ones to follow!

A Tail of Two Fabrics πŸ˜»

Recipe for a very fun art quilt:

-1 mischievous black cat for inspiration 

-2 fabulous pieces of fabric: Cherrywood’s awesome black and Carol R Eaton Designs’ luminous ice-dyed green

-2 favorite threads from Superior Threads: Metallic in black and Fantastico in a medley of greens

-MistyFuse, of course…

First, fuse both fabrics with MistyFuse (the black background will be fused to a piece of batting and backing for ease of quilting…a small piece reserved for kitty ears ;))

Make sure your rotary cutter has a fresh blade! Cut fabric into a stack of rectangles…

And then, cut freehand into leaf shapes. Don’t try too hard for uniform shape and size, Mother Nature doesn’t. Save 2 pieces to cut into kitty eyes…I went for a rounder kitten look here.

From the scraps, slice some curving stems for your “vine.”

Arrange to surround the face you will bring to life with thread:

One of the things I love about MistyFuse is the ability to reposition a piece if you change your mind. Use a Tsukineko black pen to ink in his pupils. Now take those ears and position appropriately over the eyes…

Suddenly you do begin to see the cat’s face, right? It is helpful to sketch in a jawline and nose here with that black pen…subtle but a great guideline to follow while stitching in his “fur.” If your subject has gorgeous glossy black fur, a metallic thread in black is the perfect choice. 

After your kitty has enough fur, switch to your leaf-colored thread and swirl some stitching through the leaves and, using a somewhat dense file stitch, flattening/defining the areas that are not the kitty. I used a simple lasso and broke every rule of the quilt police by crossing over a line whenever I felt like it…after all, the stems of my creeping myrtle go every which way!


You’re nearly finished…time to stitch the eyes (using the center of the eye, stitch radiating lines to the edge of the eye and back) and, of course, don’t forget a touch of white ink for highlights:

For bobbin thread choice, I always recommend using Superior Threads’ monofilament. Here is the back of the quilt:

This would also be a very fun design if you imagined the kitty in a bed of flowers! This little guy is off to the Quilt Alliance’s “Playing Favorites” benefit auction :)…have you begun your entry yet?