Progess on my Rock Garden quilt

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday week, for those who celebrate Thanksgiving. I wanted to share with you the joys of my new design wall and the progress it has helped me make on my Rock Garden quilt (made with a lot of Kaffe Fassett fabrics). Take a look:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had to move the covered board from my sewing room into another room in the house that didn’t need much furniture. It’s technically the dining room, but since I have an eat-in kitchen and don’t do much formal entertaining, I think I’ll make this a design studio annex.

The quilt is by no means done — I’ve just put the pieces up on the wall (except some of the sashing), but having a large enough space to accommodate what will eventually be a 95″x95″ quilt really helps see how I want it to come together. I love that I can look at it both close up and far away.

The wall/room be even better once I paint the cranberry red walls a neutral color, but before then, I think I’ll add another covered board to make even wider quilts!




Don’t you hate it when …

this happens?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn addition to it being a lousy, overexposed photo, I had the ends twisted when I sewed them together and cut. Believe it or not, I even checked and still made this mistake.

You would think that given this is my 11th or 12th one of these blankets, not to mention all the quilt binding I’ve done, that I wouldn’t need to follow the diagram in my beginning quilting class binder.

You’d be wrong.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA better photo (a little, anyway), and now the mistake is on the way to mending. Thankfully, I have enough leftover from the cut strip to fix this.

Happy Sunday, everyone!





Holiday gift sewing: two fleece blankets

It’s here! Can you believe it? I know I can’t, but it’s true. I finally had time to do some sewing this weekend, and with the holidays approaching, I thought I’d get started on my gift list.

One of my favorite things to make are double-sided fleece blankets; they’re perfect for the chilly months ahead. (You can find my tutorial here; if you’ve seen it before and haven’t made a blanket yet, I added a few helpful tips today.)

The first one is for one of the not-so-little girls I take care of from time to time. Well, actually, she’s not so little anymore, which is why she’s getting a blanket. The one I made for her when she was five just doesn’t quite keep her nine-year-old body warm enough. Here’s what this Santa will bring her in a few weeks:

chloe_blanketThe fabric choice needed to be something young enough for a nine-year-old, but sophisticated enough to last her through high school. I hope this fits the bill!

I’m almost done with another one I made for a basketball fan. Here it is (apologies for the bad indoor iPhone photo) at the machine, waiting for me to stitch the back side of the binding:

bball blanket

Tip: If you’ve forgotten to put whatever label you want to use on the back (like I do) and have serged all the edges together, instead of taking one side apart, you can attach your label in this first seam.

I have tape labels, so I fold them in half and pin them with the cut side to the edge, leaving enough room when I fold the binding over so my name still shows. That’s what I did on these two blankets:

label photoIt’s machine stitched inside the binding and then again on the outside. You could also just fold the raw edges under and stitch them, or use pinking shears on the raw edges, then sew the long side in the seam. Remember to make sure you can still see your label name when you fold the binding over and stitch.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll have more inspirational quilts to share from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center later this week.


Inspiration Friday: more quilts from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Last week, I wrote about my trip to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and the lucky surprise at finding the exhibit, “And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations,” which features 85 quilts made by the Women of Color Quilter’s Network. I wanted to show you more of these wonderful works of art.

Unfortunately, this set doesn’t contain any of the artist’s information, but their beauty is still worth seeing. Take a look:

This one celebrates Juneteenth, or National Emancipation Day.
I’m always amazed by quilters who can capture faces with fabric so well.
I love the water on this one.
Aren’t these two just gorgeous?
I love the subtle stitching of faces on this one.

IMG_0071 IMG_0073 IMG_0074 IMG_0076 IMG_0079The exhibit runs through March 2014, but I’ll have yet another batch next week. And for those of you wondering if you’ll ever see me make anything again, I promise, a new post of my stitches will be here soon!


Inspiration Friday: quilts from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Last weekend, I had the chance to go to Cincinnati to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center. I was excited to go, but never more so when I saw the large banner on the side of the building proclaiming, “And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations,” an exhibit of 85 story quilts spanning 400 years of history.

These amazing quilts were made by an international group of artists from the Women of Color Quilters Network. They narrate the history of the African-American experience and capture the stories of freedom’s heroes.

Unfortunately, we were only in that exhibit about 10 minutes, where I was furiously trying to capture images so I could pour over them later. In many cases I didn’t get the artist’s plaque, but I only hope that will encourage you to go the exhibit yourself, if you’re anywhere near the area. The center itself is highly educational, and for any quilter, the exhibit is truly inspirational.

“Repatriation,” by Arlene Kweli Jones (2012)
"Juliet Mills at the Rivers' Edge," Valerie C. White
“Juliet Mills at the Rivers’ Edge,” Valerie C. White. You can learn more about Juliet’s story here.

IMG_0061IMG_0060 IMG_0065

Peggie Hartwell. Lucy Terry Prince: The Griot's Voice. 2012. Summerville, SC. 50” x 50”. 1746: Lucy Terry, an enslaved person in 1746, becomes the earliest known Black American poet when she writes about the last American Indian attack on her village of Deerfield, Mass. Her poem, “Bar's Fight,” is not published until 1855.
Peggie Hartwell. “Lucy Terry Prince: The Griot’s Voice.” 2012. Summerville, SC. 50” x 50”. Lucy Terry, an enslaved person in 1746, becomes the earliest known Black-American poet when she writes about the last American Indian attack on her village of Deerfield, Mass. Her poem, “Bar’s Fight,” is not published until 1855.
This quilt celebrates the life of Levi Coffin, a noted abolitionist nicknamed, “President of the Underground Railroad.”
If I had taken this photo at an angle, you might better see the three-dimensional quality of the rifle sticking out of the bow. Very powerful.
I couldn’t make out the full title on this one, but the context is Gen’l Washington welcoming free African-Americans into the army. Learn more about their service during the Revolutionary War here.
This one was my favorite. “240 Million African Slaves Ago,” by Valarie Pratt Poitier, 2012. In 1653, indentured servants and enslaved African and Native Americans built a 12-foot high wall across Manhattan Island to protect the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam from British invasion. The wall would stretch from the Hudson River clear across the island to the East River and would later become Wall Street.

I’ll have more samples from the exhibit next week, but if you get the chance, I hope you’ll consider making a visit to the Freedom Center to see these incredible works of art. The exhibit runs until March 29, 2014.