Thursday, July 31, 2008


In honor of the two photographers who reside in my house (my husband and my son), I've made "G-4 Shutterbug", an advanced-level paper-pieced block. Although it has 29 pieces, it wasn't too hard to make. Very easy to square up to 5 inches. However, if you're new to paper piecing, don't start with this one...

The Tioga County Fair is coming up soon and my son plans to enter a photo again this year. This will be the first year in which he has to compete in the adult division, so the competition will probably be tougher than he's had to deal with in the past. He has won several ribbons in the Junior division, so he's hoping to continue the tradition.

My husband usually enters a photo or two in the fair as well, but has decided not to this year. Good thing, because life in my house might have been difficult if they both had entered and only one won a ribbon...

Gary has had one of his photos win a contest in Wild Bird Magazine (his is the Eastern Bluebird) and he also provides a lot of photos to the Tiadaghton Audubon Society's website. Check them out if you're into birds...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Christmas in July

Some quilter's eye candy today...

Here is some of the fabric I bought while down in the Hershey and Lancaster area last week. Burkholder's was having a Christmas in July sale so all of this was 20% off of their already great prices. In a few months, these fabrics will become pillowcases. Click here for a wrapup of the shop hopping we did that day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back On Track With DJ

After the busy last week, I think I'm back on track with making my DJ blocks. In honor of the end of the Tour de France bicycle race today, I made "F-13 Tour de France", a beginner-level applique block. It would have looked better if the background fabric was more of a solid color, but I wanted to make it in the colors of the French flag, so I had to make do with the blue and white print that was in my stash. The fusible-interfacing technique for applique made this block quite easy. It's too bad that I can't use this technique for all of the applique blocks.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fabric and Ice Cream -- What More Could A Girl Ask For?

Wow! What a wonderful 2 days I just had! Bright and early on Thursday morning, I drove down to Quilt Odyssey, the big quilt show down in Hershey, with 5 quilting friends. We spent the afternoon drooling over all of the gorgeous quilts on display and overdosing on the quilting supplies available from the vendors. The 2006 and 2007 winning quilts of the $100,000 Quilting Challenge were on display in all their glory. What a sight to see! Absolutely glorious!

After a dinner at Duke's Bar and Grille on Chocolate Avenue (their menu is huge!), our van found its way to a local fabric shop, Quiltmaker's Cottage. It was just the beginning of a credit card marathon...

We spent the night in the Hershey Lodge where the show was held and ran into many other quilters and even some of the well-known teachers. Here's a shot of the wallpaper in our bathrooms...
Of course, since we were in the vicinity of Amish country, a fabric shop hop was on the agenda. Bright and early on Friday, the red quiltermobile hit the road. First stop was Burkholder's Fabrics in Denver, PA. The store sign in the middle of the rolling farm countryside was just the beginning of a quilter's dream...This is just an example of what was waiting for us inside...the photo is just the batik aisle. With over 12,000 bolts of quality fabric, overdosing was inevitable. And they were even having a sale (the regular prices are amazing, so the sale prices were a bonus)!
The next stop was Sauder's Fabrics, also in Denver, where in addition to great fabric, we stocked up on some bulk food supplies.

Lunch was at the Park Place Diner and Bakery in Denver...great food and comfortable atmosphere. Here is what I had for lunch...

... and this...

I saw no reason to waste time with a sandwich or something...I went straight for the good stuff -- a root beer float and a piece of Boston Creme Pie (the others with me assured the main courses were good as well).

The lunch provided us with energy to go on to our next stop which was the Old Country Store in Intercourse, PA. More fabric to see and buy and a wonderful quilt museum on the second floor.

Although our credit cards were starting to smoke a bit, the quiltermobile somehow found its way to the Quilt and Fabric Shack in Bird-in-Hand, PA. We felt we had to do our bit to help the economy, so we spent a dollar or two...

Finally, with a van stuffed full of fabrics and exhausted quilters, we made our way home to Tioga County, stopping for dinner at Country Cupboard in Lewisburg, PA.

It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of days...but I'm beginning to think that a couple of days is not enough....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Return to DJ

I've been suffering from withdrawal for the last few days due to the fact that my family was out of town, so I quickly made this DJ block this afternoon. It's "M-12 Hopscotch", a beginner-level block that I chose to paper piece.

While riding in the car this weekend, I spent a bit of time going through the Dear Jane book and was fascinated by some of the things that Brenda Papadakis discovered about the original quilt. For instance, not all of the blocks are the same size.

I did get a bit depressed because the more I studied the book, the more I realized that a lot of the blocks will be quite difficult to do, especially for someone like me who is not an experienced applique quilter. But I will muddle through somehow.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My First "Quilt in a Day"

My family is off to visit Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh this weekend, so there will probably be no DJ blocks for a few days. Here's a project from my past...

I loved making this Double Pinwheel quilt back in early 2001. I just used a lot of scrappy (some ugly) fabrics from my stash and I was amazed at how well they looked together when the whole quilt was completed. Although I don't agree that I could have made the entire quilt in a day, I do like Eleanor Burns' techniques for making difficult-looking quilts using easy methods. From what I remember, the machine quilting in the inner border was my first attempt at meandering, using my Bernina. Thankfully, the thread blends in well with the fabric so the inconsistent stitch size is not very noticeable. I stitched in the ditch in all of the double pinwheel blocks which made them stand out nicely. This quilt now hangs in my foyer and it's the first thing that guests see when they come in the front door. It makes a very nice visual impact.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bikes and Motorcycles

Wow, my computer really doesn't reproduce greens very well. The greens in this block are really much more vibrant than they look on my laptop's screen.

This is "H-5 Michael's Motorcycle", an intermediate-level paper-pieced block. The author of the DJ book, Brenda Papadakis, named this block for her son who is the webmaster of the Dear Jane website. My son is currently working on designing a website for my quilt guild as a high school graduation project (he graduates in 2010), so if I stretch things a bit, I can say that this block fits the theme for today. Thankfully, as of now, my son shows no interest in riding a motorcycle. He prefers riding his bike 6-7 miles a day instead...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Can You Guess I'm a Quilter?

Aren't these the cutest?

Here's a better look from the side.

Or how about these? They even have ties in the corners...
I don't think I'd find these in any of the stores in Wellsboro that sell shoes...Paducah, maybe, but not Wellsboro.

I found both pairs on the Converse shoe website. It's amazing how many designs they have available.

Now I'm completely prepared for spending many long hours on my feet at quilt shows and on shop hops.

And my family is definitely convinced that I'm obsessed...

But I like to quote a passage from the movie "National Treasure" -- Nicolas Cage's character asks "One step short of crazy, what do you get?", his friend Riley answers "Obsessed?", Nicolas Cage says "Passionate".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Watch Out for Mirror Image Effect

Before I printed the foundation pattern for this block, "A-1 Pinwheel Gone Awry", I remembered to mirror the image. This made sure that the pinwheel was spinning in the right direction when I put the block together.

After I made this block, I realized that when I made "E-3 Paddle Wheels", I forgot to mirror the image, so I wound up with the pinwheel spinning in a different direction than Jane's did. You can see it in my post dated June 27th. At that time, I was more concerned with fixing my triangle points and didn't notice the wrong spinning. I don't think it bothers me enough to redo it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Learning From Mistakes

Here is another of my DJ blocks -- "H-7 Bennington Star", an intermediate-level paper-pieced block. If I had to do it over again, I would not use the foundation pattern that comes in the software, but instead would re-section the pieces so that the inner part of the star could be paper-pieced in a "square in a square" method. I think that would make for a much better looking center -- there would be less of a chance for unmatching seams.

I'm beginning to think that I may need to make a second DJ quilt so that I can use all of the lessons I've learned from my mistakes in the first one...
...this is truly a disease...

A fellow Laurel Janer sent me a link to some wonderful DJ "bloopers" -- check it out. I don't feel so bad now...

Monday, July 14, 2008

A New Quilter is Born

This was the most recent quilt that I quilted on my HQ16. It was pieced (using a disappearing nine-patch technique) by a 9-year-old granddaughter of a friend of mine (the friend who lets me play on her quilts). I think the young girl did a fabulous job as a new quilter! It's heartwarming to see the younger generation getting interested in this art form.

Since the backing had hearts on it, I just free-motioned hearts in all of the large blocks using some variegated Rainbows thread (by Superior). Click on a photo if you want to see a closeup.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend (Not)

This block, "C-7 Megan's Mountain Laurel", is accurately labeled as an advanced-level block in the DJ software. I'm afraid that the mountain laurel that blooms in Pennsylvania is much prettier than my block.

I paper-pieced the diamonds around the center square and then appliqued the four outer diamonds in the corners. Again, a lesson in applique. I figure that by the time I'm finished with my Baby Jane quilt, I will have learned everything there is to learn about what NOT to do when appliqueing. But I'm satisfied enough with this one to move on to the next (probably not a block involving any applique work).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Delightful Evening With Carol Doak

Last evening, my guild welcomed Carol Doak, who is known throughout the quilting world as the foremost expert on paper piecing with more than 1 million books in print. (be sure to read Carol's blog)

What a wonderful evening, full of quilters' eye candy. Not only is Carol a masterful quiltmaker, she is a delightful speaker. I think all of us who were there agree that a good time was had by all. Some lucky members of our guild are taking Carol's workshops today and perhaps they will finish their projects in time to enter in our guild's show coming up in less than 2 months.

Here are a few photos taken during the presentation. If I've done things right, you should be able to click on a photo to see a larger version.
Many thanks to Madalene, our guild's workshop coordinator, for helping make this evening a reality. She had been working on getting Carol here for at least the last 2 years. She's also the one you see in the photos assisting Carol with the quilts.
Thank you to Carol as well. It was a long 2 years, but well worth waiting for.

Friday, July 11, 2008

One More Milestone On A Very Special Day

First things first...HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my one and only child, Nicholas, who is 16 today! Your dad and I have had an awesome 16 years because of you!

Now to the quilting...this block is my 25th block -- halfway to my goal of 50 DJ blocks by my 50th birthday later this year. I'm still on schedule.

Since it is my son's birthday, I picked a block with the word "mother" in the title. It is "M-5, Mother's Point", a beginner-level paper-pieced block.

This was less than an hour's work

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Can These Be the Same Quilt?

I took this photo the other day at my guild's meeting of the Laurel Janes. Several of us put some of our blocks up on a design wall and we oohed and aahed for quite some time. It was a great way to share tips on difficult blocks. I wish I had taken the shot earlier in the day when more members' blocks were up on the wall.

We have quite a variety of fabrics being used; some are using civil war reproduction fabrics, some are using 30s-style fabrics, and then some (so far I think only me) are using batiks or brights. There may be others in our group who are using bright colors, but they haven't come to our meetings yet.

I believe some of the ones on the top are placed as they are in the original quilt. Mine are the batik blocks down below, and I just put them up on the design wall without any plan. Eventually, they should fall into place in a "trip around the world" design.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This One Is Better, I Think

This is beginner-level block "B-3 Mirror Image". I think it turned out much better than my applique attempt yesterday. Using fusible interfacing is definitely my preferred method now. No needle turning involved. And no small pieces involved. Very manageable for a beginner. I am also pleased with how the silk thread camouflaged my stitches.

Now for the next block...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Remedial Applique Lessons Needed

Well, here is what I managed to finish (somewhat sloppily) at the July meeting of my guild's Dear Jane group on Monday. This is the center block "G-7 Indianapolis", an intermediate-level (yeah, right) block.

No, there's nothing wrong with the computer or your eyes...I just thought I'd try to hide some of the flaws in this one.

This was the first block I started (see my post from May 22) when I thought I was going to work my way from the center block out to the edges. The first block turned out to be tougher than I would have liked, so I decided to do a few easier ones before finishing the first. If I had to do this block over again, I would do some things differently and definitely better.

OK, here's a shot in focus, but don't look too closely. Kind of looks like a stick figure running somewhere...This may wind up being a block that I decide to redo at the end of the journey. But for now I'm considering it finished.

Going to the monthly gathering of the Laurel Janes has proven to be invaluable. I have picked up extremely useful tips, especially about applique. Hopefully, I'll use those tips to make future appliqued blocks look a bit less beginner-like.