Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From the Mouths of Babes...

calenjames:  No one is born homophobic. Sexuality isn’t learned, but homophobia is.
No one is born homophobic.
Homophobia is learned, sexuality isn't.
(reblogged from )

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I am a new subscriber to
This is a terrific site that is all about software training. I purchased Adobe Illustrator and the training at has been invaluable.
There are also documentaries. The last I have watched is on logotype designer Doyald Young --
"I have always liked helping people learn to draw. It is better to give than to receive. I think that teaching is rewarding. It (teaching) helps you decide what you believe in and what the real principles are that satisfy your aesthetic."

"I'm still learning how to draw. There are no secrets to what I do. All that I do is hard work and observation. Really! and doing things over and over until you're satisfied with them and think they're right." This says the eighty year old of the craft he has practiced since youth.

Thanks Doyald and thanks

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Connect the Dot Design

UnCommon Threads Quilt Guild Retreat is coming up in November. My class, Connect the Dot Design is filling up fast! This is a little information about the supplies... plus a visual aid (love them!).

Connect the Dot Design

Supply List

Fine Tip Sharpie

Ultra Fine Tip Sharpie

Pencil (mechanical pencil is preferred*)

Pencil sharpener (for 2 mm mechanical or wooden**)

Straight Edge or Drafting Ruler

Eraser (pink rectangular with angled edge)

Notes on Supplies --

*I prefer a 2 mm Mechanical pencil (often labeled Drafting Pencil) as it is a little thicker than the 5 mm or 9 mm pencils. This preference id due to drawing with them and having a heavy hand that breaks finer leads. Use what you have, or is most available/cheap!

**When you choose a finer/thinner lead there is no need for a sharpener. With a 2 mm or a wooden pencil there is. These two require different sharpeners. No matter which you choose if it does not have a built in container to capture the shavings please bring a small container for that purpose!

ALSO - a drafting ruler or straight edge (Some times labeled a Grid Ruler) is a good tool to have. Rotary cutting rulers work, but the thickness of them is cumbersome. Using other items, like the edge of a pad or book also works -- seeing through the straight edge is invaluable!

***Don’t let anything get in your way! A pencil with an eraser will suffice. The other supplies just make it simpler and more accurate.

Kit Contains

Copy Paper

Card Stock

Tracing Paper

Layout Grids and Graph Paper

Things you will need to do more at home

*Exacto knife (with new blade or extra blades) or Box Cutter

Small cutting mat (12 x 12 or similar)

Square Rotary Cutting Ruler (9.5 x 9.5)

Screw Punch or Hole Punch and Hammer

I will have Punches in class for use and sharing - if you have one bring it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Going to a class with Carol Soderlund at the Crow Timber Frame Barn in a couple of weeks. The class is "Layer upon Layer" ad we have been asked to find images that we are inspired by of layer. Here are some of mine....

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Connect the Dot Design

Connect The Dot Design

Remember as a child doing connect the dots and pictures would appear. This is that simple.
From a couple of simple dots will come lines and from repeated lines will build blocks

Blocks that can be just a block, can be used in multiple to create layouts for a whole quilt.

Or perhaps they will be the inspiration for a whole cloth quilting design...

This is a simple workshop that will take you though the basics of designing; a block a layout for blocks or quilting. You choose!
All this with no math!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tripping Fest Begins

I just got a new iPad.
I like it.
THEN I was asked what apps I liked.
My reply was that I was not really into apps.
But I did NEED a drawing app -- so I went looking.
What a great thing!
I lost yesterday.
But here was what I found.
Some I created on my own, but most were collaborations. First with Christopher then Lydia (she is three and awesome!) and then Tripping Fest the Game was born and Christopher, Dana and I all played. FUN!
Let me know what you think.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011


I love hand dyed fabrics.*
Like most quilters I love them and buy or make them and then don't know what to do with them.
THEN I watched an episode of Design Matters TV with Laura Kemshall
She took a piece if hand dyed fabric and made a rail fence block and then quilt. Interesting, imaginative and simple! Not to mention that it makes perfect use of those multi coloured hand dyed fabrics that you don't know what to do with.
This is the fabric before cutting it up.
After cutting it into 4.5 inch strips the width of the fabric then 1.5 inch strips it was sorted into groups by colour. A lengthy process that really is a great exercise on colour and decision making! Then four strips were sewn into a block and blocks arranged -- another lengthy process requiring making up my mind. Easier said than done!
This is the resulting layout all sewn together
I love the way the mottling of the fabric when cut makes the colours sparkle. The mixed vertical and horizontal nature of a rial fence lay out adds another layer of texture to the surface.
Now on to quilting it. More decisions!
Make sure to check out Design Matters TV!

*Love them enough to take Carol Soderlund's class on dying. Two classes coming up this fall at the Crow Timber Frame Barn; True Colors and Layers upon Layers. I am looking forward to them!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quilting the quilt

I have been working on a huge service quilt. Huge for two reasons (a) I have been told my lap quilts are too small and (b) last fall after renovation I moved things around and now have a larger design wall. Larger space = larger work. Or so it would seem!
I though I would share some of what I have been doing in the quilting arena.
I created a stencil with my domestic machine.
There is no thread in the machine and an old needle is being used to perforate a piece of tracing paper. The paper has been cut the size of an area that I want to repeat the same quilting in several areas. Just a simple design that outlines some areas for circles and another for cross hatching.
Tracing paper is good if you want to see what is under the stencil. Newsprint also works - cheap, but no seeing through it.
This is after laying the paper down and using a pounce pad to mark. The chalk goes through the holes in the paper leaving a line of dots to follow.
The finished area.
Here is another area. It was my intention to do less quilting on this project. I didn't like the results so I did more.

If you would like to take a class from a great quilter I have news for you! My friend Sanrda Ciolino, who is an awesome quilter is teaching a class at the barn. If you are not familiar with The Crow Barn it is a beautiful facility to take a class at. Relaxing and invigorating! Sandra's quilting designs are simple and effective and her calm manner makes her a great teacher. (I know as she has explained several things to me in classes we have taken together when I was a little slow on the uptake...) Best it is a three day class so there is plenty of time to understand the ideas and try them out! Also this is contemporary quilting design. Check it out!

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Size Matters?

Once the corners and boarders were applied to the half square medallion quilt top the next issue was what to put on the back!
At 92 inches square I had not many options. I don't have many wide fabrics and those I have are not right for this piece. I don't love piecing a back as a vertical seam builds up on the take up bars of the long arm.
What to do?
Another option for piecing occurred to me. What about taking a foundation piecing approach to the back and follow the edges of the center? This is what I did.
I began by putting the top backwards on the design wall (seams facing out). I did this almost as if I were blocking to make sure it was square.
Next I sprayed adhesive (505 by ODIF) on the top and applied a layer of batting.
Then the center got sprayed down. The first corner was pinned to the sandwich and flipped, stitching in the ditch to secure. I pressed it open and basted the edges. On to another corner.
Like an over scale square in a square - only on the back!
Now on to quilting... do I hear some bobbin work calling to add to the interest of the back? Perhaps...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Half Square Medallion

Yesterday's work began with only a dozen seams to sew to complete a project. Then I noticed an area where two little blocks were oriented incorrectly. fixing that required ripping open five seams and restitching them all with the blocks oriented properly.

At the end of the day there were still four seams to complete - each at this point being eighty plus inches long, so no small task. I did think ahead to block the top (make sure it was square) while it still fits on the design wall...

Today I look and there is an area that is rippled and needs attention. It is not horrid, but if I ignore it and put the final borders on it will not be better. Perhaps it can be quilted out, but why go through that when I can spend another day ripping things out and fiddling? YEAH!

So begins the task for today... fixing one tiny area in hopes it is all worth it in the end.

Just some background. This piece was started at UnCommon Threads Quilt Guild retreat in November on 2009. I wanted to add borders, but kept trying things -- nothing seemed to suit. Until recently I turned the whole thing on an angle (making the center diamond) and it works! I thought sewing the corners and subsequent borders would take a day. Three later I hope to finish today.

Then on to the task of quilting...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thought I would share some fabrics I have dyed in the past year or so and the ways that I have used them!

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I have also just finished a whole cloth piece that I died a while ago.

Rorschack Mountain
There is loads of machine quilting as well as a little hand quilting.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Optical Quilt Finished - almost!

Last fall at the UnCommon Threads Guild Retreat I took a class from Vanessa McCallum on her optic quilt, a circular checkerboard pattern. Vanessa sews two sets of strips, one light and one dark and cuts them using a 10 degree ruler for wedge shaped pieces that are then put together.
The piecing went together easily. I was finished a couple hours after class ended.
At home I decided it needed corners. And I discovered I did not have enough fabric. So I ordered some from and waited...
And after the fabric came and was laundered it took weeks to get inspired to put the corners on... then took a while to begin quilting it. But I finally began last week.
THEN I had issues with my machine. I was trying to place long curvy lines, but could not get them smooth. Partly it was not having enough dexterity and there are two places on my quilting frame where there are bloop zones - the machine suddenly goes contrary to my movements...
After ripping out for an hour I returned to my Bernina and quilted some.
Then inspiration hit - I have a sit down table for my Handi Quilter! I drug it out of the attic and took the machine off the frame and am newly in love!
Since finishing the quilting portion I have started the painting portion. It will be a lengthy process as I can only stand the tedium for an hour or so at a time and can not do it for the entire day. It will be a great time to work on other things as well -- as if I were ever too focused for too long!
I will post some detail shot of the painting soon...

Here is the address for the creator of the 10 degree ruler.

Monday, May 9, 2011

There are two great artists, Linda and Laura Kemshall. They have regular shows on different things relating to fiber and art. Linda did a series on Altered Books. I have been working on one for weeks now - a slow process, allowing for each layer to dry on each two page spread.
Here is what I have done so far. Most of the spreads (46) have not even gotten a coat of gesso. Only 9 have had something done to them and of those I think only a couple are 'finished'.

I hope you enjoy looking - I have really enjoyed the process!
Here is a link to the Kemshalls

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

These are some images of things I have been working on...
Apart from everything else; the reno, lecture at IQF show in Cincinnati... There are no images of 'Because' until after the Knoxville show... then I will share it all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

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Thought you might enjoy some photos of the renovation, before and after...