Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pine Needle Winter-Spring 2012 Catalog

The Pine Needle's Winter-Spring 2012 catalog is here! It's in the mail and should be arriving in your mailbox soon. Here's a photo of the cover:

Winter-Spring 2012 Catalog
Of course I adore all the new fabrics from Marcia Derse ... she is one of my absolute favorite designers these days! I am loving the new designs by Metropolitan Quilts (Milan and Valencia especially) ... and the new "Antique Rose" Block of the Month that will start in May ... one of the best BOM quilts I've ever seen!

And then there's the Lemoyne Star workshop that Maggie is teaching ... if you are at all interested in stitching Lemoyne Stars, the ruler from Deb Tucker makes it so much easier!

New flannel quilts that I love are Timberline and Hearth and Home.

The catalog has has three quick and easy projects that can be made in an afternoon or a day:

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Holiday Project Inspiration

I am inspired by the frenzy of holiday creativity happening these days. Pink Chalk Studio is sharing a "Countdown to Christmas" that I've particularly been enjoying. I love Allie Kat Mom's "Oh Christmas Tree" quilt:

Oh Christmas Tree by Allie Kat Mom
The quilt is made of half square triangles, plain squares and a star block at the top of the tree. I think it would look great in shades of green with an occasional red half square triangle. The simple, parallel quilting lines look great!

You can find detailed instructions for making this quilt here.

I am also loving Amanda Jean's square Christmas Tree skirt:

Amanda Jean's Christmas Tree Skirt

Amanda Jean, Crazy Mom Quilts, posted a terrific step-by-step tutorial for making the Christmas Tree Skirt on her blog.

Are any of you familiar with Ed Emberley? He is an artist and author of numerous drawing books ... here are just a few:

Drawing Book of Animals
Drawing Book of Trucks and Trains
BIG GREEN Drawing Book

Cloud 9 is introducing a line of fabrics (February 2012) inspired by his Drawing Book of Animals and I can hardly wait! I especially love the lion print ... can't help it as I am a Leo ...

Lions and Tigers by Cloud 9

... but the elephant print is darling too!

Elephants by Cloud 9


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Free eBook 4 Modern Quilt Blocks from Quilting Arts

Quilting Arts magazine has put together another free eBook:  Quilt Squares for Modern Quilters, 4 Free Quilt Block Patterns. I especially like "Rubik's Crush" by Ashley Newcomb ...

Take a modern approach to traditional patterns for quilting squares and quilting blocks!
Rubik's Crush

... and "Birdhouse Rock" by Tina Givens ...

Birdhouse Rock
Birdhouse Rock Line Drawing

Can't wait to try these!

Click here to check out all their free eBooks:  Quilting Arts' eBooks. I found "Free Motion Machine Quilting" and "How to Bind a Quilt" especially good. Enjoy ... and a big thank you to Quilting Arts for publishing these eBooks! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Learn to Quilt Fall 2011

The Fall 2011 Learn to Quilt class finished up last week. I am so proud and want to share their beautiful quilts with all of you. Please let me know if I got any of your names mixed up ... and if I did, I am so sorry. I will always remember your face (and your quilt)!

Lori is a girl on a mission! Her quilt will be a cherished gift. Not only did she finish her quilt top, she quilted it herself! 

Front of Lori's Quilt

Lori used up scraps and pieced the back!

Here is Ann's quilt ... look what a beautiful job she did matching the directional print in the outer border! The warm yellow middle border sets off the red geese ... and the soft green inner border looks great.

Ann's Quilt

One of Catherine's goals was to step outside her color comfort zone and use brighter, bolder colors. Her quilt is sunny and joyful ... and the red inner border sets it off beautifully.

Catherine's Quilt

Heather used softer colors in her quilt and decided to make the inner, striped border a little bit narrower so it sets off the center without overpowering the quilt. She is binding her quilt with the striped fabric cut on the bias ... I think that will be the perfect finish for her quilt!

Heather's Quilt

Noelle's quilt is a gift for her daughter. Aren't these soft, romantic colors beautiful? The soft blues for the stars and flying geese read clearly ... not easy to achieve when using a close range of values. Noelle used diagonal seams in her outer border to minimize their visibility.

Noelle's Quilt

Susan's quilt is made from beautiful, fall colors. The middle border of her fabric uses two directional prints. She did a great job orienting her fabrics so the subtle stripe in the brown fabric is consistent and the lines of dots in the taupe print flow visually.  

Susan's Quilt
Congratulations! I am thrilled and so very proud of you all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Houston 2011 Winners!

They've posted the Houston Quilt Festival winners and I'm heading for the airport! Click here to see the winning quilts. I am in for a treat and can hardly wait. Harry got me a new flash for my camera so hopefully I can get some great photos of beautiful quilts ... and the awesome quilting! I will share photos when I get back. Meanwhile, happy sewing!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just Dandy Quilt by V. and Co

I have just this moment discovered a new blog loaded with tutorials. The artist is Vanessa Christenson, owner of V and Co. I love her "Just Dandy Baby Quilt", available from her website as a pdf download:

Robert Kaufman has a new Kona cotton roll up called "Silent Film" that I think has tremendous potential. I'm imagining it with a punch of orange or a punch of lime green ... or just the right print ... 

Kona® Cotton, Silent Film palette ®

V and Co. made a pillow using the roll up and put together a lovely tutorial:

The pillow would of course be beautiful in your favorite color gradation!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy 25th Anniversary to Harry and Me

I simply cannot believe that 25 years ago, Harry and I got married. It seems like 10 years ... maybe! This is Harry with our first golden retriever, Jason, who apparently is in need of a tummy rub.

There were no cell phones then ... check out that rotary dial phone! I'm talking to someone about details, I'm sure!

Here I am with my mom as we go into the living room to start the ceremony. It was a very special, emotional time and it's especially poignant to look at these pictures today. Mom died about 15 years ago ... I miss her very much ... every day.

Here's Harry with his sister and father. Another special photo ... Harry's father died maybe 18 years ago. Harry's dad never particularly cared for cats so he, of course, was my cats' favorite person!

Our minister arrives ... in pink ... and to her right is Harry's mom, Grace, in the brown velvet jacket. Brown was Grace's favorite color ... we did not have that in common! Between Lois and Grace is my sister, Angela. But front and center is Jason ... who is hoping for a treat. We met Lois before our wedding day and I remember the first question she asked us was "Why do you want to get married?" I clearly remember a mental panic ... there's a test? No one told us there was a test!

After the ceremony, our friends and family accompanied us to dinner.
Cutting the cake

My brother took photos for us. I have always loved this photo of him:

And of course there had to be a little mischief with Harry's old Ford Custom 500 ... with one of the guilty parties front and center:

We didn't have enough room for everyone to have their own bed so my dear, sweetheart brother slept on the couch ... and was greeted by Jason first thing in the morning.

Mom, my aunt Midge and I made breakfast the next morning ... I'm sure there were biscuits! Mom made the very best biscuits!

So today, 25 years later, I am grateful for such wonderful years and miss those who no longer get to share our lives. And I would simply KILL to be that thin again!!!

The Proper Way to Seam Rip

I ran across this excellent video by Mary Fons ... daughter of Marianne Fons ... of Fons and Porter fame. I had no idea there was a proper way to rip a seam. I tried it and it works great ... it doesn't stretch the fabric and is much faster than ripping out one stitch at a time.

I was so excited about this technique that I volunteered to rip out any seams that needed rippin' in last week's "Learn to Quilt" class at the Pine Needle. Fortunately, there weren't many but it's a great way to rip out a seam. Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Penguin & Fish Embroidery Patterns and more!

I rarely am interested in embroidery but these patterns from Penguin & Fish have really grabbed my interest. Isn't this the cutest little newt you've ever seen?


and I absolutely must get this golden retriever puppy pattern:

Golden cover_thumb

This weekend, I watched Jean Wells on Oregon Art Beat. If you missed it, check it out! It's great to see Jean featured ... she is the most amazing, inspiring teacher ever. I only wish the segment were longer!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quilterly Measurements

Here's a handy "quick reference" of the quilterly measurements in a yard. I have a copy pinned near my cutting table. With "Nickel" distractions every 5 minutes, it's definitely better than doing the arithmetic in my head!


If you have any difficulty printing it out, just let me know. I am happy to email you a pdf file that should print easily.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pine Needle 2011 Fall Open House

The open house was tons of fun! I am very excited about Metropolitan Quilts' new designs and was thrilled to see all the customer quilts hanging from the Farmer's Wife classes and the Great Escape Retreat back in June. Check out the photos on my Picasa photo album.

I demonstrated the Strip Tube Ruler from Cozy Quilts ... a fast and fun way to cut pieced or plain half square triangles from a tube. Clever! I definitely recommend using starch to stiffen the bias edges of the blocks. I can't wait to make the Transitions pattern I bought two years ago ... with no idea there was a ruler to make it a snap!

And I demonstrated Pilot's new FriXion pens. I think these pens are terrific for marking quilt tops, including embroidery and applique. A quick touch with your iron instantly removes the marks. If you don't want to touch your work with an iron, simply hover the iron with steam over your work and the markings disappear. I had gone to great lengths to avoid marking my quilt top but no more! I eagerly await a color that is visible on dark fabrics.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Basting the Quilt - Introduction

Once the quilt top is complete, you need to temporarily hold the quilt top, batting and back together while quilting. There are three main methods of basting the quilt:
  • use a spray adhesive such as 505 Spray and Fix 
  • use safety pins
  • use thread to baste by hand or machine
Here I’ve outlined the advantages and any disadvantages of each method:

Spray Basting
  • The temporary adhesive holds the layers together more securely because the adhesive is sprayed across the entire surface
  •  You don’t have to stop to remove pins when quilting!
  • It’s fast!
  • 505 is odorless, acid free, adheres at least 5 years (ask me how I know this) and, when the quilt is washed, the adhesive releases
  • 505 does not place any drag on your needles, nor does it gum up needles or scissors
  • Even though 505 is non-toxic, spray in an area with good ventilation
Pin Basting
  • Pin baste if you object to using a spray or prefer not to expose your quilt to the spray adhesive
  • Interrupting sewing to remove pins also disrupts the learning process for developing smooth free motion stitching
  • Quilt layers are held together only where there are pins so it is easier to get pleats on the back
  • Pin basting is slower, harder on your hands and, if you pin baste on the floor, is a killer for your knees and back
Baste by hand or machine
  • If stitches are not too far apart nor too long, holds layers together better than pin basting
  • Relatively slow, especially if basting by hand
  • Must remove basting stitches unless you use water soluble thread

NOTE:  the quilt back and batting should be approximately 3” larger than the quilt top on all sides.

I personally will never pin baste again and can recommend the 505 spray. I have basted many quilts, ranging from small wall hangings to a queen-size, with success. The only shifting between layers I have experienced was with a lap-sized flannel quilt with wool batting. Because both the fabric and batting were fluffy, the layers were shifting slightly so I machine basted with water soluble thread in the top and bobbin - problem solved!

Ideally, your work surface is in a room other than the one in which you have your sewing machine.  To avoid getting any of the spray adhesive in or around my sewing machine, I baste my quilts on folding tables in my garage and open the garage door for good ventilation.

Next: layering for spray or pin basting.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dinnertime and Mischief

Puppies, like children, are incredibly flexible. I am so envious ... I never realized nor did I sufficiently appreciate how fluid movement was until it became less so! Here is Nickel, sleeping in his soft crate ... head is north, front paws face south, hind legs face the moon!

Can this be comfortable?

Breakfast and dinner are major events in the lives of a golden so they give their undivided, utterly focused attention during meal prep.

 Harry filling their bowls ... any chance he could miss Nickel?

Unbearable waiting for the magic word ... OK!

Benny's tummy is sensitive due to his chemotherapy meds so we cook part of their food and let them lick the pan afterwards. Nickel will lick the pan long after Benny and Frankie give up, with high aspirations of cleaning every molecule out of the pan.

 Hold that pan still



 Nickel, is that my favorite fleece jacket?

 Jacket? What jacket?

I swear it wasn't me!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nickel Meets Bodhi

Our dear friends, Jane and Gary, just brought home a new miniature Australian Shepherd puppy! His name is Bodhi. Here he is just 8 weeks old and weighs maybe 15 pounds. Boy is he cute! These photos are from his first weekend at  home.

 Don't you love the pink spot on my nose?

Cute little imp

 This chair is perfect for me

Love my green froggie

A couple weeks later, Nickel gets to meet Bodhi. What happened? Run run run run run run run run sniff run run run run run run run run run run run run sniff run run run run run run run pool splash run run run run run run run run run run run run sniff run run run run run pool splash run run run run run run run run run run run run ... wrestle! Once they figured out wrestling, it was non-stop for an entire afternoon.

My what big teeth you have Nickel

Ears a flyin' 

 Nickel weighs 48 pounds, Bodhi weighs maybe 20 pounds

 I've got you now!

 Where ya goin' ?

Lots of teeth ... no injuries ... exhausted puppies ... peaceful evening

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Manufacturers of Solid Fabrics

This list is undoubtedly incomplete; but, it is handy to know which manufacturers produce one or more lines of solid woven fabrics.

  • Robert Kaufman Fabrics:  Pure Organic (21 colors), Kona Cotton solids (over 200 colors), Ultra Sateen (17 colors), Radiance 55% cotton 45% silk (52 colors), Carolina Chambray (7 colors)
  • Northcott:  ColorWorks Premium Solids (over 100 colors)
  • Moda:  Bella Solids (over 125 colors), Cotton Sateen (12 colors)
  • Westminster/Free Spirit:  Designer Solids (100 colors), Shot Cottons (over 60 colors), Amy Butler Decorator Solids (29 colors)
  • P&B Textiles:  Color Spectrum Solids (84 colors)
  • RJR Fabrics:  Cotton Supreme Solids (126 colors), Robyn Pandolph solids (28 colors)
  • Art Gallery Fabrics:  Pure Elements (24 colors)
  • Galaxy:  Lumiere Cotton Sateens (color gradations in a sateen!)
I have been on a tear lately, collecting solid fabrics. I only get 1/2 yard at a time (unless it's green ... or gray ... or orange) and am building up a collection so I can make several "modern" quilts. I have several projects in mind:

  • a quilt with lots of white ... fresh!
  • a quilt of grays and yellows
  • a quilt of grays, greens and oranges ... maybe charcoal too
  • something with mulberry
  • lots of reds
Do you know of any other manufacturers of solid fabrics? Thanks!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wonderful, amazing news about Benny

Today, Benny had chest radiographs at the Oregon State Veterinary Teaching Hospital. He was so happy to see all his friends there. Frankie and Nickel went too. We wanted to check both Benny's and Frankie's progress; Nickel went along to meet everyone and be admired since he's such a cute not-so-little golden retriever puppy. His "feet off" manners are improving but he still needs a lot of practice.

We are thrilled to report that the nodule in Benny's lung that we saw previously is gone! The mass is either gone entirely or so small as to be undetectable. We are thrilled and so very, very grateful. Of course we will continue with the chemotherapy regimen in hopes that we beat the crap out of that cancer. And we promise to continue to enjoy every minute with our three musketeers!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Exciting news: group of 4 quilts may be published

The past two years, I have taken a week long design workshop with Jean Wells. In 2010, I took her Intuitive Quilting class then in 2011, Intuitive Quilting II. Jean is an amazing teacher. She has a gift of knowing which question to ask or just the right moment to check on your progress. I feel that I started to grasp quilt composition and enjoyed every minute. The workshops are offered at the Stitchin' Post in Sisters. A week devoted to quilting is, for me, an ultimate luxury. It's enough time to sink your teeth into a fairly complex project and make enough progress that you have some optimism that you can finish when you get home.

Here is a group of 4 pieces I started in the 2010 Intuitive Quilting workshop. I am pleased with the composition and am particularly happy with the quilting. I wanted the quilting lines to amplify and complement the piecing lines without overwhelming the small quilts mounted on the larger background quilts.

The exciting news is twofold:  first, Jean is writing a new book! Second, Jean asked me if she could include photos of this group of pieces in the book. I am thrilled and honored to be asked. There are no guarantees as the publisher, C&T Publishing, has the final say. So keep your fingers crossed for me!

4th of July with Dear Friends

Traditionally, we barbecue on July 4th with our cherished friends and neighbors:  Glenna, Peter, Acacia and Ezra. They have three dogs:  Reuben, Mia and Lizzie. Reuben and Mia are brother and sister bull mastiffs. Reuben weighs over 137 pounds (solid muscle!), Mia weighs about 90 pounds and Lizzie, the pug, weighs maybe 25 pounds. Nickel's first 4th of July holiday began by meeting Reuben, Mia and Lizzie.

Meet Reuben, a giant (literally) sweetheart. He loves to sit in deck chairs so he can observe the goings on in the back yard as well as be close to his peeps.

Nickel meets Reuben nose to nose.
Hi Reuben ... you're kinda big ...

 Struttin' with the BIG dog

Mia readily adopted Nickel. She's a great mom and is entirely willing to do her part in raising this pup.

 Yea! Mia runs really fast

And after all that running, you've just got to cool off. And isn't this the best bird bath ever? It's just the right size!

 Made for me

Well, I splashed out nearly all the water so Peter needs to refill the birdbath.

 Helpin' Uncle Peter

Gulp Gulp Gulp

 Ahhhhhhh ...

 My best friend Acacia

Harry with three tired goldens:  Frankie on the left, Nickel in the middle, Benny to the right. Benny is still doing well, thankfully. In his most recent lung x-ray, the mass was smaller and less opaque so the chemo drug is at least slowing the cancer down. We are grateful.

Family portrait