Category Archives: improvisational quilting



     I think as I was laying in bed last night, I have a plan for the next month. As I  complete the classes that I have started online, I will just work small. Now, I may tire of that and completely change my mind, but I feel relief in just giving myself permission for small. I am thinking of them as small studies and trying to use different color combinations rather than my comfort colors. Also, definitely improvisational with no plan in mind when I started. Just reacting to each piece and the pile of scraps I had . So, the first of small.

     I love some of the shapes that have been made within this piece. This little quilt makes me happy. I named it after lemonjello- the coffee shop in Holland where I enjoy a cup of coffee with my daughter at college.

      Painting more color swatches and another binding today.

      Be creative, my friends!

The Flop of the Workshop Queen

     I really love to read what I read the day before – and then laugh at what I have written. I am making a costume for one of those silly high school events. decided to be Jessie and Woody from Toy Story. I thought ok that will be easy. Fabric obtained and ready to sew yesterday thinking I would be done in a day.

     I have made and re-made the yellow vest-maybe four times so far. I don’t sew garments for a reason. Everything just seems backwards to me and I can’t make it all fit together. No I don’t have a pattern. How hard did I think it was going to be? On top of my frustration is the little princess who thought it wasn’t quite right again… Tomorrow I need to conquer the cuffs and the chaps which will go over jeans.

     So much for all that knowledge I have from all those workshops. Knowledge is only good if you can use it. Most of my usable knowledge is currently coming for free on the internet.

      The good part of my day was that my camera lens came back from the repair shop. Maybe you will get pictures of this lovely costume yet this week and it will be finished.

     My new machine seems to like piecing.

A trial of machine quilting on this next. After the Jessie costume is done.

Washed up two surface design pieces which were painted with some diluted acrylic paints. I feel like a squirrel putting away as much summer time dyeing and painting to use in the long winter months here.  Can’t get enough put away.

I was worried they were going to be stiff but I heat set first, then washed them. Nice and soft. Ready for hand stitching this winter.

Off to sew a costume.
Happy Sewing, my friends!

#2 in the L Series

     That is a really lame title. But my tired little brain can’t think of anything else. I was having sewing machine issues so went to newly bought -used machine-but that was having problems too! But my very dear local dealer replaced it with another used machine and this one is sewing just perfectly for me-at this minute. So I just can’t think of a catchy name for this series right now.

     I am continuing blocks with a “L” theme and this time I went much larger.

     The actual sewing together of this one was very challenging for me. Oh alright, that was a polite way of saying it was driving me crazy at one point yesterday. A construction nightmare. I haven’t done inset seams before. Just sewn by hand but not machine. Until this week. And I heard a very distinctive voice, say to a workshop participant this spring-“At this point you should be able to figure it out. I am not going to tell you how to sew it together. You have to find your own way.” Over and over, I repeated those words.:)

So.that is what I did.

Figured it out.  One seam and one piece at a time. I ripped it some seams out SEVERAL times until the top was done.

     And it’s not necessarily any wonder- design wise. But I just feel accomplished because I didn’t give up. Hand dyed fabrics look pretty outside, don’t they? It measures about 32 x 60 unquilted. How does it fit as part of this series? Well…I did follow the “L” motif but I should have played with my original easy design before I jumped into this one. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s an improvisational series.

     Next, I am moving back to machine quilting these last two pieces. I need to add finished pieces to my tally for 2010.

     Happy Sewing, my friends!

Just Having Fun

    The last five days have been beautiful-in the 70’s and for the most part sunny. We did a few projects around the house and then decided to go to Burlington on Friday. It was really windy on Lake Champlain. Also visited art galleries, took in a baseball game and just people watched on the mall in the city. Great times.

     I am just about to pack the rest of my sewing supplies up but wanted to give you a peek at what I have been doing. I owe you a few that were promised last week.

I had just small strips of this fabric and chose to do long strip pieces-really pretty Australian fabric pack that I bought at the Vermont Quilt Festival.

Then I decided to make one of my previous tops bigger. Don’t know if I like it or it needs to be even larger.

And then this one which is in the process of being pieced. I am FINALLY processing the idea of a moitf from my last Crow class. Ok that took long enough.

I am 20 minutes away from my house right now-so I apologize for this picture-can’t re-take it here at the coffee shop. I really like the feel of this and imagine it to be about 5×6 when it is done. So that’s what I have been working on. Very scattered and unrelated. Just felt like working along with the summer instead of being scheduled and pre-planned.

I can only imagine maybe one more post from here. We have another dairy show which takes up two days and then the big packing up and driving home. Oh and maybe we can squeeze in a trip to Shelburne Farms where there is a quilt exhibit….I am never bored. Have you noticed?

Hope you are having fun this summer.

Happy Summer,my friends!

The Softness of Silk

     My husband, Marc, came back yesterday to spend the next five days with us. He came early enough in the day that we were able to take a day trip and enjoy some of the pretty countryside here.I love choosing new places to check out here. The weather has been especially nice and I took some great pictures which I hope to show you tomorrow. So nice to have him here …

     I finished a little silk piece on Tuesday. I had picked up a package of silk scraps at the Vermont Quilt Show in June at this booth and could have spent hours in there searching through her bags of treasures.It is called Delectable Mountain and is located in Brattleboro, VT. If I take a trip that far south, I will definitely check the store out. She had lots of merchandise. This is what I have left over-

     I loved working with the silk pieces and I did it entirely piece by piece without thinking of design on a design wall. Just laying it out on my table next to me and choosing another piece to add.  No agonizing over what would come next. and I was done with it in an afternoon. And I love it. It’s nothing fancy as far as design is concerned and I could critique for you. But I am just going to enjoy it. I love it.

I will hand stitch this piece and it seems like a good project for the ride home next week. The edges fray like crazy so I need to sandwich it as soon as possible. I will use silk thread and hand dyed embroidery floss for the hand stitching. Any suggestions for me  for those of you who have used silk before?

Off to help out with a kids golf tournament. Having trouble with this…so hope it publishes. 
Happy Summer, my friends!

Yes, I am Sewing…

     The question was asked by Betsy-so are you doing any sewing this summer? Well,  I admit I have been a stuck. Not really having any focus and distracted by the craziness of my life lately. I know it’s summer and I do have less time to sew but just stuck —But just stuck. I start things and don’t push through that one spot you get in when it doesn’t make sense and I just stop.

     So I decided to work backwards and see if I could make sense of anything. I just created more chaos as I now have about 5 different things started. So I sat down last night and told myself I would not go to bed until I just finished something. Just a top -machine or hand quilting will have to wait until fall.

I committed to myself to finish the other four in the works by next Friday. Less than one a day and they aren’t big. This one-no name yet-is about 17×26.  Just to keep moving forward in some way. I had lots of goals for this summer. Maybe I can reclaim them.

It started pouring as I was trying to take a picture.

Lots of inspiration. Time to move on. No more excuses. I only have two more weeks here. I know I can enjoy my time here and still have time to sew. No more excuses.

Happy Summer, my friends!

Time to Relax Now

     I finally feel like I can relax a little bit. Erin, my 19 year old, had her MRI done today of her neck and amazingly enough, everything looks good. She can return to normal activity gradually and can return to driving. Does she have to? I don’t want her to. Good luck with that right? She will be coming to Vermont this weekend and I can’t wait to see her. I have been blessed!

     We keep busy here getting ready for another 4H show. This week I cheered my 14 year old on as she completed her crafts for the show. She has never used double pointed needles before nor has she ever done an increase or decrease. Look at her cute sock monkey!

  She also took the picture of the flower above for one of her entries. Now to get a needle and thread into her hands this summer…. I joined in on the knitting to finish a pair of felted slippers. I now need to stick them in the washing machine for the felting process. My knitting basket is empty which is great.

    My son helped me make a design board. Just took scrap wood from the hardware store which is heavier than plywood and backed it with a few pieces of wood so it wouldn’t warp. I added grey felt from Joanne’s and am ready to go. It’s 4×4 which should should be a good size to work in here. I had been hanging a piece of flannel over the door but my pieces keep blowing away.

I like the grey background as opposed to white to work on. Forgot the glue though. I have three pieces right now in process. Having lots of fun with them.

Better go. I need to vacuum next . I plan on enjoying time with my family for the next week. I am hoping calm is the word of the week . I have reached my quota of stress for the summer. (Did I tell you about my dog who got her choke collar stuck in a radiator causing a bit of a flood? Or the fugitive who dumped his motorcycle in the field above us and ran for the woods?)

Happy Summer,my friends!

Freedom 2010

Happy 4th of July my friends. Hope you enjoy the freedoms that we have here in America. I pieced this little flag this week and it’s not yet quilted. Ever since Robin Ferrier did a flag about a year ago, I have wanted to do one too. Super easy and just what I needed to get going again. Freedom 2010-22×28 unquilted.


Happy 4th of July, my friends!

The Finish Fairy

     I am dreaming of the fairy that is going to get me off my duff , wave her magic wand  and  sprinkle lots of magic dust and then I will finish something wonderful. And then I will write this amazing blog post and have a million followers. dream continues and ….I am amazingly productive, daringly creative and thin.

    But in my real life, I have just been trying to catch up. And keep up. And no matter how hard I was trying to dig out, I couldn’t make any headway. I have big gardens and they just needed to be thinned out and replanted. Nothing got done last fall because of my silly foot. And kids just needed to be kids and have a million kids over hanging a million wet towels all over the place. But the garden is ok for now.  The kids have settled down a bit into summer and need less to just be and relax into summer laziness.

    So the finish fairy and I had a date this morning and at 7:56 am a finish was born.

                                     Lisa’s Quilt: 42×52

     I used hand dyed cottons, commercial batiks, hand dyed silk ribbon, embroidery and machine quilting in this quilt. It is a commission that has been around for way too long. I really had trouble with this one. And it came down to the fact I just don’t like browns -it was hard for me. (and me procrastinating) A lot of stalls along the way waiting for our schedules to coincide for approval. (and me procrastinating) But once I got past that and did exactly what my friend wanted, it came together. She is happy with it and will be excited to have it. Actually-when she saw it last week she said it rocks. And her being happy with it is the only thing that  mattered. Because it’s hers.

     I learned quite a bit from this process. 1. I was able to work with a color that was not my favorite. 2. I always underestimate how long it actually takes to complete a quilt from start to finish. 3. As long as they stay true to what I like design wise, I can do a commission and be satisfied with my results. And get paid for it.

      My yardwork is done too and now I am just going to enjoy a cup of coffee in my rocking chair on the porch. I can’t tell you how good I feel that this is DONE.

Happy Sewing, my friends!

Seeing My Mistakes

       Taking pictures of my pieces throughout the process doesn’t come naturally for me yet. I always have to stop myself and shoot a picture. Sometimes the mistakes are glaring and other times subtle. I think that actually downloading them to the computer takes it a step farther and I see even more mistakes. Today’s piece is a great example.

The purple border at the bottom of the quilt is not at all right-it looks out of place and stops the quilt right there.

Rotating the quilt didn’t solve the problem either. Guess I better keep going and take it off to see what might look better ! It’s a reminder to always use my camera BEFORE I sew

Happy Sewing, my friends!