Category Archives: WMQG

New Tricks for an Old Dog

Well, now that its the first day of February, I will wish you a Happy New Year. ūüôā I keep meaning to re-start but realize how much of a perfectionist I am and how that really hinders me. I sat down to journal why in the world I haven’t been here! ¬†And came with all sorts of excuses.

Reasons I came up with: can’t show some of my work right now, haven’t been taking enough quality photos and lastly, I feel busy but boring. And I realize how ridiculous that is. I had a fine week filled with a workshop I jumped into at the last minute for 2 days, a blizzard, dyeing a large quilt backing, a husband who has been gone skiing for 5 days, and this overwhelming urge to organize. ¬†And I had critique with a long lost friend and dinner with my niece who is a young artist. So exciting for me, but maybe not so for you?

Anyhow, I did indeed purge my studio last month.

clean sweep of the desk

clean sweep of the desk


I can now see my desk and my photos I take on my little Selphy printer are all ready to be filed away. I have sat at this desk and actually sketched this past week and did some printing of inspirational photos for my journal. One of my new goals for the year is to use my sketchbook for more than just pasting photos and notes in . I got a swanky new  to me lateral file so I am dreaming of my profound organizational skills I will have this year. Yup,  you can smile .


I am dyeing some backing fabrics for finishing. I wasn’t sure how my white sink would like this but it fared ok.


never buy into the color when its wet

IMG_0335 2

And I wanted a white sink for what reason?


Bummer about the large hole in the first piece. It was too light of a color so I will darken it up after I cut out the hole. I had ordered extra wide Kona for the first time to save me from piecing the backs. So much for that great idea.


I also jumped into a workshop sponsored by the WMQG this past week. It was a 2 day long machine quilting class and featured the wonderful Harriet Hargrave. I took this same class 20 years ago and am not sure at that point if I heard anything at all. I was recently having such a time with my free motion quilting skills and the George and getting kind of desperate to improve-quickly and quietly. This workshop was absolutely the right thing to do. The amount of information I had wrong or was just ignorant about was AMAZING.

new edition chock full of information

new edition chock full of information

Needles , thread and just plain technique. I had been a walking foot girl for so long and what I was doing had been working for me.

tried and true walking foot although I would never mark a thing

tried and true walking foot although I would never mark a thing

I guess when I jumped into free motion quilting, I never took time to stop and understand how it was different. And a call to APQS helped me fix George’s problems that I had been struggling with for about a month now. I should have called sooner.

free motion quilting needs work

free motion quilting needs work

Harriet was forthright and adamant that you need to learn the skills. And then you can do whatever it takes to make it yours. I really needed this kick in the pants to practice before I jump into the next quilt. So, if you forgo a workshop because you “should” already know the information, think again. You are coming at the information from an entirely different vantage point. Or you haven’t done the practice. Harriet won’t be teaching for much longer so take advantage of her knowledge while you can . If she comes close to where you, sign up and you won’t regret it.

I generally take the lifelong learner phrase to heart. I am indeed a lifelong learner and find it rewarding  to stretch.

Nice to catch up.


Crazy Times

     I am so looking forward to summer and a change in schedules. The end of the school year is always busy! Combine that with going away for a week in May and I was really far behind.

     Earlier this week, I helped out with the West Michigan Quilt Guild welcoming Bonnie Browning, the president of AQS, to Grand Rapids for a class and lecture. She shared with us some of the excitement of having a national quilting convention in our city: imagine 930 quilts and 350 vendors all under one roof.  I had no idea it was going to be so large! It is really exciting for our guild to volunteer there and our city. They are bringing many special quilt exhibits and one that looked intriguing was the Tentmakers of Cairo.

¬† ¬† The rest of the week I have been machine quilting on the never-ending piece. Every night I am stitching away and I wake up in the morning and feel as if I have made two inches of progress. This is a piece I should have really tracked how long it took me to machine quilt it. Because when someone asks the inevitable question of how long did that take me to do, I could answer: 7000 years. ūüôā

     I hope to start dyeing this weekend as I have used up my deep red fabrics.

    If anyone wants to come and visit, the American Quilt Society Show will be here August 22-25th. Read about it here.


And So The Season Begins

¬†¬† ¬† I really don’t like thinking about it until after Thanksgiving. I don’t do any shopping even the day after. The last place I would like to be at 6am the day after Thanksgiving is shopping. But when daughter said please last night, I couldn’t resist. She wanted me to take her to the tree lighting ceremony at the Gerald R Ford museum to earn some extra credit points for her history class.

I loved the lights and lines from the museum.

I didn’t realize they were going to let us in and that it would be all aglow with trees and lights -and QUILTS!

Provided by our own West Michigan Quilt Guild. ¬†Architectural lines and lights and quilts. Ahhh…

Red and white is just so pretty. I don’t know who did this one-no name on it.

Dear Jane by Jan Landry

The season has begun. I tried to catch the Presidential seal through the window for you but couldn’t.

I didn’t even mind that I was seeing Christmas things before Thanksgiving -and enjoying it.

Be creative, my friends!

Dear Sewing Machine

Dear Sewing Machine,

¬†¬† ¬† No, I haven’t forgotten about you. I know I was cranky with you last week because there were tension problems. I really shouldn’t have kicked you. For that, I apologize. That was very childlike. Please forgive me.

¬†¬† ¬† ¬†I am busy right now working on the¬†West Michigan Quilt Guild¬†¬†show. I watched 280 quilts being judged over the past few days and learned lots in that process. More later about that. Once the show is over, I can’t wait to get back to work and promise to treat you more kindly and see if a check up is in order. You will ¬†be plenty busy as I am super -over -the- top -inspired.

Happy creating, my friends!


West Michigan Fiber Arts Group

     I belong to a group that meets on a monthly basis called the West Michigan Fiber Arts Group. It meets ly at a local sewing store and consists of about thirty people.  We have been working through the book by Jane Davila and Elin Waterson called Artists at Play this past year. Lots of fun show and tell each month and also we have been working through all the techniques in the book. The group is led by our own artist Beth Williams, a very talented fiber artist.

¬†¬† ¬†We are having a small show during the month of March at the the Lakeshore Sewing Center in Wyoming. The theme is Artists at Play. It has been a good experience to prepare for a formal gallery show or other type show as we have had to develop an artist’s statement and work within a specific size-18×18. With that being said-you have to know there is some strange happening with my piece:).

I wanted to mount mine on a canvas. (Why do I try all these new things when there is some risk involved with the outcome? ¬†Gotta love a challenge!) So I painted ¬†my canvas before vacation. And of course, going on vacation I thought it would be dry by the time I got back. Plenty of time. It wasn’t dry on Friday night-and it was due on Mon. What’s a girl to do? I got out the hair dryer! Voila-it’s dry. I don’t know it that I should have done that. I used oil paints on the canvas because I wanted the texture but should have factored in a long dry time in the winter.

                                                        Missing the Mark
¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†14×18

Lots of fun things to play with but just couldn’t make it work- thus missing the mark. Had fun though. ¬†That sometimes happens,doesn’t it? ¬†I had plenty of time to do this but should have stuck with a method I was more comfortable with for this piece. Ah-the joy of learning!

Sorry about the pictures. It is snowing so hard here and I don’t feeling like dragging out my lights. Off to try again.

Happy Sewing, my friends!

Something New

¬†¬†¬† ¬†I am a member of the West Michigan Guild which meets every other month and sponsors a nationally known teacher to come for workshops and a lecture. It’s a guild of several hundred so not easy to get to know others. At first. But since I always jump in to the opportunity to take a local class I have met some fun sewing friends. I really had no intention of attending ¬†this month since it was not a technique I could see myself using. But a quick posting of an invitation of Facebook on Tues night led me to go. Paper piecing? Mmmm…I couldn’t imagine how I would do as I was driving there. Where would that fit in to what I am doing now? But I needed social contact with other humans who sew and would actually talk back to me. I hoped.

      Well, the teacher was Deb Kurasik and she would teach us paper piecing using a pattern called Look Ma No Curves. Deb was a great teacher and made everything seem easy. I brought my hand dyes and picked really bright colors to start an intricate pattern of pointy triangles.


It was so out of my realm-I haven’t used a pattern in three years maybe-that I was grateful for a great teacher sitting next to me as well-Betsy. I enjoyed chatting her ear off for five hours and one thing about quilters-they are always fun to get to know. And nice.¬†¬†The pattern is on the back and you sew each piece on to the paper foundation. ¬†Took me awhile to wrap my head around that concept again. With Betsy’s patience, I finally did it and enjoyed something entirely different. Great pieces to use in some project. No, I will not make that quilt. I admire those who have the patience and expertise to do this but not me….

     Five hours of work and I only made two pieces. Wow. But I did sell a piece of my hand dyed fabric to a quilter who needed just the right color. Recouped some of my spending , met a great teacher and got to know another great precision perfect quilter who is funny, too. Thanks Betsy for the invite.

    I have seriously digressed from the jeans quilt. Must focus today.

Happy sewing, my friends!