Monday, January 30, 2012

Design Wall / BOM's Away Monday

My newest version of Zoe in red/blue black/white colors of the Punctuation's now ready to quilt! I was excited to use my new circle cutting tool from Olfa, received as a result of making it into Round 1 of the McCall's Quilt Design Star 2011 contest last year. This would be a great tool to make all kinds of circles. Accommodating for seam allowances as appropriate by placing the pivot point accordingly, it worked well to cut circles, half circles and quarter circles for my Zoe pattern. This pattern is purchasable at Craftsy.

Added another block --the eagle block to my 'Oddie's Wild Nature' quilt.

Check out my post on what I learned from Irena Bluhm last week! Here is what I'm working on with colored pencils.
More Design Walls linked up at Patchwork Times.
More BOM's Away Monday's linked up at Whatahoot Quilts.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Learning from Irena Bluhm

The Washington State Quilter's Spokane Quilt Guild hosted Irena Bluhm on Thursday with a 2 hour lecture as part of their guild meeting. I was excited to take advantage of this opportunity to hear from Irena in person, even if it took an almost 3 hour drive to get there--a lot less expense to travel that distance than across the country. I've watched some of her videos online and have been inspired by her work for a while. She is originally from Poland and lived in Germany for a few years before immigrating to the United States in the 90's. She got her long-arm in 2004 without ever having used one when her husband retired and she decided she wanted to make a bit of her own money. She is quite entertaining and is a very common sense thinking person.

Here are some of my notes from the lecture and a few pictures.
The quilt immediately to her right has won a lot of ribbons and was made within about 5 months of getting her long-arm machine. I believe this is the one she first showed with only the center medallion colored and realized that it needed more color to have that visual impact--the second of three critical elements to winning in the shows, the other two critical elements: (1) good design and (3)workmanship. She then colored the rest of it as seen in the photo.

As an illustration of an issue with a lack of repetition and balance, this quilt has a different border on the ends and she thinks this is a mistake.
With this quilt she made the point that the blue was the wrong color to use and the asymmetry of the quilt was also not well balanced.

She loves hummingbirds! Look at the background fills on this. A bit of bling added as well.

You know I love hearts, so had to share this one with you too.

Friday was a 5 hour class about her coloring techniques. These are samples that she brought for us to be inspired by. You can purchase these 'quilted panels' on her website and then color them in yourself! Or experiment by quilting a design on your own machine, then color them in! If marking before quilting, she uses Mark-B-Gone to identify registration elements used in doing the quilting. She doesn't typically draw the entire design, just the registration marks. Often creating an entire grid with Mark-B-Gone on the fabric to help with laying out the entire design. Using just about any pigment medium you can come up with (soft lead, rich in color are factors to consider--also cheapo pencils have more wax in them, expensive pencils have less wax --the less wax the more pigment), the key is to 'fix it' with textile medium. She recommends to NOT use liquid based textile medium--minimize the water as much as possible to prevent running of colors. Occassionally a color will change after the textile medium is applied so always test it. Delta Perma coat was the textile medium provided in the class. Once it has 'cured' for 7 days, put it in the bathtub for 30 minutes or so, then on the spin cycle in your washing machine, then hang it to dry. Once dry, steam the quilt flat. The samples are on a white muslin and have one layer of poly batt. For show quilts, she recommends white 100% cotton sateen (smooth fabric), a layer of cotton/poly or wool batting--something with loft, and then a second layer of batting that is 100% cotton --very flat and hangs well to help in the draping. All should be BLEACHED when using white so that seeds can't be seen. Use a contrasting thread when quilting to help color within the lines. Deciding on the color to use for shading and filling in may be the hardest part of the process. Consider shading techniques from general art concepts when coloring. She also demonstrated marbling techniques for backgrounds and suggested items to put under the fabric to create a texture while color treating the fabric i.e. sandpaper under the fabric, then use your colored pencil to rub over the top. I'm thinking a rubbing plate or your own stencil using tulip paint or something like that could also work and create interesting effects.

Here is the coloring that I did. I want to do some marbling in the center and add fill quilting on the outer edges then probably do some additional marbling. The color pencils are set with textile medium. I've got a couple of other designs on order and am excited to do a few more samples in the future. The fill quilting will be done with a thin non-contrasting thread unless a color is desired.

Other's work included:

During the class I had opportunity to show Irena a photo of my 'Supernova-Blackhole' quilt that I quilted with inspiration from her formal feathers. I also got some advice on my McCall's quilts that need more quilting in order to really become 'show quilts' that can compete. She was very helpful.


The photos above are of a purse that my mom made me with special fabrics selected based on my own personal favorite colors and styles. My dad makes the wooden part at the top which acts as an automatic closer of the purse when grabbing the handles in either a long strap or grabbing both sides for short straps. It is quite clever with lots of pockets inside and out, so everything stays very organized. While discussing some of the homemade purses that happened to be sitting on our desks while packing up at the end of the class, Irena was interested in having some of her old samples made into purses or totes in the way my mom had made mine. Kinda cool...will be interesting to see what comes of that. Maybe a new product will be available soon from Irena with some assistance going to the Adobe School Project. My mom and other women at her church makes these and sell them as a fundraiser for their local school. If you're interested in having a purse like this made, contact bettybaerg at cox dot net for details or via Facebook--in the next week she will post information in her 'notes' on her FB page for details. All proceeds go to a great cause. Patchwork ones are available from them directly from donated decorator samples, or you can send the fabrics you'd like to have it made with and they will make it for you. They can give you fabric requirements, etc.

While in Spokane I was able to find a few more batiks to use in my EQ7 2011 BOM layout! Still need a background fabric that I have selected--still trying to confirm the one I selected out of EQ7 is the one I want and can source it.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


BMCU Mug Rugs / Table Runner and Placemats
I have served on the Blue Mountain Credit Union board for the last 3 years, the last two as board chair. The staff organize dinner for our normal monthly meetings. At least two years ago I designed a table runner and placemats to replace the well worn ones that are currently utilized for our meals. Last night I got to present the staff and the board with the items and a unique individual mug-rug for each staff member. Bitter sweet to complete my years of service to this organization. With these items on the table for years to come...somehow my presence might be remembered ;-)

back side of the mug rugs.

This is the center of the table runner while it was still on the quilting table. I put $ and cent symbols in the center, alternating them, in each bar of the table runner. In the dark green it says Blue Mountain Credit Union -- one word per side of the center square. The center square is four identically fussy cut pieces. The radiating lines from the center of each bar are kind of like stacks of coins.

12 placemats with different but similar bindings in sets of 3. This photo shows my quilting signature.

Other side of the placemats.

(Started and completed)
Irish Hand Welcome Block for International Quilt Festival of Ireland Exhibit

This block will go into the welcome exhibit at the IQFOI this coming June. I traced my own hand with a few quilting marks to show the structure of the hand. I had this fabric in my stash that I just had to use given the theme and location that this block will be used at--Ireland!! Hope you'll be able to join us in Ireland this June and find my block in the welcome exhibit!


Skill Builder Sampler Block #4 - Pinwheels
I have really gotten the hang of doing HST's with a full square sewn on the outside then diagonally cut both directions, press and trim to the exact square size. It worked really well even with these small pinwheels. I don't like wasting (trimming), but well worth the exactness that results and it is very fast to sew. The biased edges aren't great, but am wondering if I started with a square cut on the bias, the resulting cuts would be on the grain, eh?

McCall's Mystery v.2 step 1 done. (blogged on Monday)

EQ7 BOM layout -- Can't reveal this until March 1.

Awaiting quilting:

Charmed Network v.2-Eva
WWVQG 2006 Basket BOM

'Til Next Time
  • Zoe - red/blue retro version (started, but forgot to mentioned it)
  • Oddie's Wild Nature
  • Alaska's 2007 Shop Hop (block 1 is up in February)
  • Out of the Darkness (block 1 is up in February)
  • Rose of Sharon Bird Block
  • Snowflake/Blizzard Quilt

2012 STATS
Completed: 6
In Progress: 11
To start: 3 (Peace Park, Shop Hop the Blues 2007 & 2009)

Are you going to Ireland in June? Join me!!

More WIPs at the linkup on Lee's Freshly Pieced blog. Happy WIPping ;-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Design Wall / BOM's Away Monday

Irish Welcome Hand block for the Céad Míle Fáilte exhibit at the International Quilt Festival of Ireland, June 2012.

Trying to decide if I want to add quilting within the hand. I'd like to add crystals where my ring would be, but am waiting for details on whether or not that type of embellishment is permitted. Still need to add my name and other required details. I'll post a completed photo on WIP Wednesday.

McCall's Mystery version 2 - Part 1 !! If you saw my blog post around Christmas time I had Part 1 done in my 'version 1' selection of fabrics. I've now got my 'version 2' selection of fabrics also done through Part 1-- our Fearless Design group will meet this week, so had to get this one done as well ;-)


Design Walls are linked up at PatchworkTimes.
BOM's Away progress posts are linked up at WhataHootQuilts.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ice bound

We've had an interesting storm sequence this week with mostly ice coming out of the sky and accumulating on the ground. I had hoped for real snow so I could put a big bowl out, collect the snow and make some instant ice cream the way we used to do it when camping in the snow at Yosemite. (snow and Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk stir it up and add whatever flavorings or extras you'd like -i.e. chocolate chips ;-)) The weather has prompted my husband to work at home for parts of the last couple of days. A different scenario than normal. It has been nice to ask him a question without waiting for him to get home, or get a mechanical thing fixed that takes him about 5 seconds and I might sit there and wonder how to approach the situation and what tools I might need or how to just fix it. Yesterday he even took me out to lunch--I think he just wanted to go out and drive in the stuff! But...I'm not complaining!

I've been able to get some quilty things almost done (binding still to go!) that I'm preparing to give away next week (full blog post on WIP Wednesday next week) as well as a couple of client quilt tops that were requested to be done so they could be finished in time for trips being taken by my clients and the quilts are being given as gifts on the trip out-of-state. Always fun to have more of the story and be a part of making it successful. Still have Charmed Network-EVA version to quilt...but there is next week.

Tried a new pantograph this week that I've had since I got my machine, but it just seemed like the right design for this quilt. It was one from a package, so not on a roll and wasn't long enough, but after a couple of photocopies and some tape, it was good to go. Rather than moving the panto for each row to get the alternating effect, my husband helped me see how to set the laser light and then just move the laser light each row so that the pattern itself stays in place. YEAH! It actually was much quicker once I got the system figured out. Perhaps making a 2nd row of copies and taping them to the other one in the right alternating pattern would allow me to do two passes before moving the quilt vertically--that would also save time. Ah....things to think about.

I'm excited about spending some quality time with Irena Bluhm who will be presenting a 2 hour lecture at the WSQ-Spokane Quilt Guild meetings on Thursday next week and presenting an all day class on Friday which I'm going to also attend, she is also doing another one on Saturday. If you're not familiar with her work, use the link and check it out. I tried to apply some of her techniques in my Supernova-Blackhole with the quilting I did on that one. I was also inspired by her painting/coloring of fabric after quilting it, but haven't learned her style specifically yet. I'll try to blog about it after my classes next week, but it probably won't get posted until Saturday night.

I hope you have been able to stay warm and productive. I'm glad to have more daylight hours!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Charmed Network v.1-Terrain -- blogged about here.

Tina's version
I have to share about the exciting photos I got last night. I had sent my Mi Amore out for testing and the first testing results were returned. WHOO HOO!! Thank you Tina! She challenged herself to use fabrics from her stash and used a different applique method to save on fabric. A few good feedback points on adding some additional thoughts on border sizes if you don't use the exact border that I did and a less techy solution for creating the heart shapes. Very exciting for me!

My original - Mi Amore

Skill Builder Sampler Block #3 - ChurnDash
I used a different method than the two described for the HSTs. Start with 2 -  7 1/8" squares and sew all the way around the squares, right sides together. Then cross-cut on the diagonal. This is a nice tutorial for it. Used some big print I got in a grab bag last fall on a shop hop that seemed to work with my colors and a special center block ;-)

BMCU Mug Rugs / Table Runner and Placemats
These need to be done by next week, some progress made. Quilting is done on the mug rugs.
Added border print ends to the table runner. Now loaded on the quilting table. Need to quilt the runner and placemats and then get them all bound.

Out of the Darkness BOM - see post here.

EQ7 BOM layout --one layout idea flushed out, another in the works today. Wondering if there are more ideas. Can't reveal this until March 1.

Awaiting quilting:

Charmed Network v.2-Eva - Backing got pieced.
WWVQG 2006 Basket BOM

'Til Next Time

  • Oddie's Wild Nature
  • McCall's Mystery
  • Alaska's 2007 Shop Hop (block 1 is up in February)
  • Rose of Sharon Bird Block
  • Snowflake/Blizzard Quilt

  • 2012 STATS
    Completed: 4
    In Progress: 11
    To start: 5

    Are you going to Ireland in June? Join me!!

    More WIPs at the linkup on Lee's Freshly Pieced blog. Happy WIPping ;-)

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    {Sew} Modern / Design Wall / BOM's Away Monday

    Whew...lots to share today. So excited to get my latest design, Charmed Network - Terrain version quilted and bound. I had a customized quilting planned out, but the quilt kept sitting there on the machine and distractions kept taking me away from the idea. The more I looked at it and kept seeing how busy the fabrics were, I decided a simple 'bones stipple' all over which is done freehand, would be nice. It would also give me a sample of this quilting design.

    A {Sew} Modern Finish - Charmed Network
    (v.1-Terrain by Kate Spain for MODA)
    This pattern is now available at Craftsy. I will also be teaching it as a class at Stash in Walla Walla, WA starting February 16, 2012. It will be a two session with an optional third session class.

    The next sample on the design wall is another 'Zoe' in the punctuation fabric line, focusing on red/blue as the backgroundn colors with black and yellow accents. Once I add the circles, that are all yellow/black, I'm hoping it will give it a bit more pop. None of the circles are cut out yet except that little one in the lower right. I got a circle cutter as part of the McCall's Quilt Design Star 2011 round 1 gifts and want to use that to do the circle cutting. This is using about half of a layer cake, instead of the actual size called for in my pattern. Using the tickets as a border adds a bit of whimsy. There are blue tickets too.

    Here is my BOM progress for this week - Pam Bono's Out of the Darkness. I had started this block several years ago, got it all cut out and nicely put back into sandwich baggies, but never sewed it together. I decided it was time to work on this quilt this year. I'm hoping to get one block a month done. This is Block #1 - Morning Glory. Lots of little pieces, but using the Angler2, it goes fairly quickly. It still needs the 1/4" bias stems, but I'll make enough to do them all when I'm done with the blocks.

    Contests are in full swing again, and this weekend I participated in the Quilting Gallery 'New Beginnings' themed contest. My 'Your First Journey' quilt was entered and received a 2nd place! I was awarded a $25 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop. THANK YOU!!!!

    I'm currently in a contest that lasts through January 25. If you have a Facebook account, become a fan of Aurifil Thread and vote! My '1892 Rondure' is entered. Thanks for checking it out.

    While on a self made mini shop hop on Friday, I heard of another person going on the Ireland trip! Don't forget you can still sign up. And that irish welcome hand block....I've got my fabric picked out of my stash and hope to work on that this next week. Let me know when you post yours!

    Enjoy the others linked up via

    Friday, January 13, 2012


    So easy to get distracted when the schedule falls apart!

    I had in my queue this week a commission quilt that the client hasn't provided critical information in order to continue the process. It was so easy to let other things creep into my daily life when I'm on 'hold'. I probably should have pressed on with the next client in the queue, but I also wanted to get 'Charmed Network' the Terrain version quilted. But, even other non-quilting activities have distracted me significantly. Most of them will be out of my life I'm hoping within a month, but it really does take time away from my business. Maybe I'll get it quilted TODAY??

    And then...I hear of a long-arm shop closing their store-front to work only out of their home, so everything is basically 50% off (fabric, patterns, etc.) that is usually worth checking to see if there is anything you HAVE to have, right? That is in the schedule today too!

    Some were good distractions...I decided to spend some quality time designing the EQ7 layout. Exciting times ahead.

    So....We'll see.....!! Happy Weekend!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012


    Christmas Mug Rug - actually did two (but will count it as one finish)...I'm calling them lame and late. ;-) (HA!) They are so small, I just did a quick quilting job on my domestic with my regular foot. Sometimes I wonder, what I am thinking? The top one used the backing fabric as my design motif which is laid out in offset squares, so just quilted on those lines. The second one I quilted from the front around the stocking motif and in the ditch between the 4 fabrics. These are scraps given to me through someone who got them from another person who had closed their fabric shop long ago and was trying to clean out old fabric samples. I like the 'old world' style to them. One of them is going to the person who selected it in the mug-rug swap, and the only one left for me to pick in the swap was the other one ;-) At last night's guild meeting, I gave them both to the person. She liked them! yeah!

    I decided to use every scrap of this bright floral fabric which was used in some blocks I made for a quilt guild project last year. These pictures are both sides of the 'mug rug'. I get really stumped when dealing with something so small. WHERE do I quilt it? On my domestic or my long-arm. To change my domestic over to doing real quilting is just annoying (not really hard, just annoying), so I started off trying to hand-hold this on the long-arm and move the long-arm too...well don't try to imagine that picture. I ultimately put the channel lock on both vertical and horizontal and moved the mug rug around to get these loops just as I would have on a domestic, but on the long-arm. OH BOY. It didn't help that I had a quilt loaded already and I was doing this in the remaining margin and the back handles were hitting the side. DOH!

    I gave it to the recipient of the latest quilt that used the original fabric, last night at quilt guild. Just for fun! This should surely brighten the recipient's day when using it! She had not been able to attend the December meeting, given her medical situation, which is when we did the mug rug swap. I hope it is the thought that counts with this.

    I'm including a photo of the finished quilt too--it was a group project--along with the recipient from last night's guild meeting. So glad she is back with us! We call them hearts and flowers quilts. There is a committee in our guild and when a life altering event occurs, we try to whip one together. Sometimes it takes us a while, sometimes they come together like magic. One of our newly minted guild officers for 2012 had some subdural hematoma's just after Thanksgiving. When her friends didn't hear from her for a couple of days, they checked on her and found her on the floor! CHECK ON YOUR FRIENDS! I was working on some blocks for our Dec. block lotto which should have been a 'light' background....but I found a fat quarter of these gerber daisies in my stash and just thought WOW! These would be so great. When this life altering event occurred and it became evident we were on task for another hearts and flowers quilt, I suggested instead of me submitting these blocks to the lotto which was to be turned over to hearts and flowers anyway, and since I was in such violation of the original idea of the lotto blocks, that we just use them as starting points for the latest quilt. I had 24 blocks in all which was a great start to get going. The stash of collected blocks had some loud / bright blocks too and we were able to put this together. The striped inner border was out of my stash, and the outer border came from donated stash of a deceased quilt guild member (Trudy Y.). I volunteered to quilt it and put the same bright green -- minkee backing on it which I still had in a charity project / stash from several years ago. This was a good cause! Jan E. is our committee chair and was instrumental in getting it put together--including fixing some of my hastily pieced blocks that were NOT the right size, DOH! Thank you Jan!! She always has such a can do spirit--so appreciated!

    I also got the binding done on this class project from Linda Taylor's class at MQX-West 2011. This wasn't on my list, but had been quilted and was awaiting binding. When I used the binding fabric on that mug rug, it is what I typically use to bind the class projects, so went and grabbed it from my long-arm room and got it bound as well! YEAH! Another one completed!

    Progress this week:

    Charmed Network - Terrain Version quilting in progress

    Got the quilt loaded yesterday onto the long-arm machine, thinking I'd get it done and take it to guild last night. After finishing the Habitat for Humanity quilting yesterday morning, I just didn't have time, so pushed on and got some other things completed (see above!) So...this is what is on my list today!

    BMCU Mug Rugs - tops are finished, one has some quilting done on it, but am little bit torn on what type of quilting to do...on my domestic (these are small pieces) or on my long-arm just because writing a word is easier to do on the long-arm. I may end up doing a mix ...the straight stitching with a walking foot to outline the mountains on my domestic, then take them to the long-arm to write the initials of the credit union in the lower portion.

    Skill Builder Sampler - this is a photo of both blocks so far since I didn't show you what this was last week. If you follow Lee at all, you'll recognize these blocks since she is working on this quilt-a-long too. I'm way behind the rest of the group, but fun to add them to the flickr group anyway.

    Alaska Shop Hop 2007 - fun to get something new going! It appears there will be lots of trees and stars! This block is called Whispering Pine and was from Quilts of Many Colors in Wasilla, AK. I went to Alaska for the first time back in 1995, but returned in 2007 to attend a friend's wedding in Seward. I discovered a quilt shop while hanging out in Seward for a few days and their State Shop Hop was underway. I cannot imagine that anyone is physically able to get to all of the shops that participate. It motivated me to try and get to other shops in the locations that I would be during that trip which included the Anchorage area and north to Denali. Wasilla is on the way! I don't think I actually made it to this particular shop based on the information I found today on the web, but for all the places I didn't get to, I called and had them ship me the block! More than one way to accomplish a shop hop. Each block had to be purchased (they weren't giveaways), so add some shipping and it arrived in my mailbox back at home. With my recent cruise to Alaska in 2011 with my husband's family and my parents, my motivation was renewed to get this out and try to make it.

    Untouched this week:
    • EQ7 BOM layout --well, I did some research and sketching...any details may have to wait until the March 1 deadline for the contest ;-)
    • Oddie's Wild Nature
    • BMCU Table Runner
    • McCall's Mystery
    • Rose of Sharon Bird Block
    • Snowflake/Blizzard Quilt
    Awaiting quilting:
    • WWVQG 2006 Basket BOM
    • Charmed Network - Eva version ----but I must tell you, I'll be teaching the class at stash Feb. 16 with follow-up classes on March 1 and another TBD. yeah!!
    Completed: 3
    In Progress: 12
    To start: 5

    Are you going to Ireland in June? Join me!!

    More WIPs at the linkup on Lee's Freshly Pieced blog. Happy WIPping ;-)