Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Finally, Some Sewing

Where the hell did the month of July go? One minute I'm watching Wimbledon and the next I'm planning for the trip to AQS Syracuse... Aside from hand sewing the binding on the baby quilt, I didn't do any sewing at all in July. EEK!

Back in February I decided I wanted to make a red and white quilt to use as a tablecloth for my dining room table. But I couldn't decide what pattern to make, so I let the idea sit.  After a few of the Bird Tutorials sold, I decided I could reward myself and buy some fabric. A quick check through my quilting library found this, which I decided would work quite nicely.

It's called Triangle Fury and is from Amy Ellis's book, "Modern Neutrals."  Since we all know I use patterns like this as a jumping off point, I intend to tinker with this a bit. In this case, I am thinking of flipping the values, making the white in the original my Red, and making the black in the original my White. I'll use red and white instead of the middle value. And my quilt will have different Reds instead of using one print throughout.

I shopped my stash, but a lot of my reds are warm reds, and I wanted cold reds and white. So I placed a quick online order and this arrived yesterday.

I'll use a variety of WOWs for the whites (like I usually do) and I may play around with flipping the block to see what kind of design pops up.

The design in the book is paper-pieced, and we all know how I feel about THAT. (Note: do not try to talk me out of it. Do not go there.) Obviously I'll figure out how to make the block another way, which is part of the fun for me.

Alas with about fifteen hours of driving in the next couple of days (to Syracuse and back), I won't have much playtime until the weekend. 

Unless you count seeing two of your quilts on exhibit at an AQS show and visiting the fun that is an AQS show as playtime, which I do. I guess I'll be shopping for more red and whites.

If you attend the show in Syracuse, find my quilts, Too Much Chicken and Black & White Crayons and take a selfie and email it to me. It's always fun to put names to the faces of my readers.


OMG, has it been hilarious the last week or so responding to customers who think my birds are paper pieced. I even put that in the description ".. these are NOT paper-pieced." I hear all the time about folks who see my quilts and quite confidently tell the people they are with, "Oh, that's paper pieced." It fries me up every time. NO NO NO NO! No paper!

Makes me want to make a quilt that says...


I wonder if anybody would believe it.

Man, I gotta get back in the studio real soon...

Sunday, July 24, 2016


 You know how I love my plastic storage containers from the Container Store.

 (These are the ones under my ironing table.)

 While I've usually ordered from the Container Store on line, yesterday I visited Plastic Bin Heaven.

 I went to The Container Store in Peabody MA.  Oh Mm Gee, what a gorgeous store.

 I brought home some glass canisters for my kitchen, a bracelet display for my growing bracelet collection, and of course...

Hey, what can I say, it's the little things!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Birthday Wrap Up

So I had a good day yesterday. Bought myself a fun purse with fringe.

I'm a bag lady, what can I say?

I enjoyed the Lobster Mac and Cheese for dinner last night, the birthday cards, texts and phone calls. It was a good day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My birthday is over, and so is the buy-the-bird-tute-get-the-butterfly-tute-free deal. If you were able to take advantage of the deal, thank you very much. All the butterflies should be delivered. If you have any questions about butterflies or birds, please email me.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

When I was making birds last winter, I was a little blue around Christmastime. As it turns out, that was when my DS and DIL discovered they were pregnant. I made this bird to represent me. Bright wings, hot pink legs and a stylish beak. I gave myself a blue body because I was a bit blue.

I'm not blue any longer, and I'm out of the funk I was in for a few months, so that's good.

It's my birthday and if you order a copy of my Lynne's Liberated Birds Tutorial today I'll throw in the butterfly tutorial for free.  Now you'll have to make sure I have your email address because the butterfly tute will come from me, not Etsy. (And since it's my birthday I'll be busy most of the day, and I will send them out tomorrow.)

 And since I apparently have to say it AGAIN, these birds and butterflies are NOT PAPER PIECED!!!! I think I am going to make a small quilt that says "I am NOT paper pieced."

OK! Happy Birthday to me! Buy the Bird Tute, get the Butterfly Tute free!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Flight of Fancy Flimsy - How Did I Do It?

Every time anybody sees the Flight of Fancy quilt, and they know the birds are all in different sizes, they ask how I put it together.

"Did you use set-in squares?" one of my students asked me last weekend.

"Yeah, but not as many as you'd think," I replied. "I think there were only four or five."

At which point I tried to find them, but I had a hard time.

So here, dear readers, is how I did it.
First, I took a picture of the layout, and made it so I could see the edges of the bird blocks. I didn't need to see the individual birds, but I had to figure out how to put them all together, using as many straight seams as possible. Once I figured that out, I'd have to fill in a lot of white space. You can see that easily in the photo above.

I printed a photo (I only have a black and white printer) and drew out the outline of each bird block.
 Then I tried to figure out how best to sew them together in the biggest possible chunks. I knew I could trim some legs down, and the white strip on the top of each bird's head could also be shrunk, but I did not disassemble or trim any of my bird blocks.
Next, using a variety of patterns, I filled in the spaces with squiggles, indicating how much extra WOW fabric I had to sew to each bird block to get it ready to sew to it's neighbors. The solid squares would be the set-in squares.

Here you can see the places I added to each of these three bird blocks. I also used my drawing to assemble some of the big basic "panels" of the quilt. I don't measure with a ruler, I measure by eye. It's a skill I learned when I was learning how to draw. I know it makes people crazy to hear that, but it's true. I move my pieces around next to each other, compare them to my drawing, and I can tell right away if it's OK or not. And in true free-piecing fashion, I always make my pieces BIGGER. That way I have enough room to trim down to size without freaking out.

You can see an example of my set in squares here. One thing I did quite deliberately was to use very strongly patterned WOW's for the set in squares. Dunno why I decided to use them that way. Maybe I was just in the mood to say HAHAHAHA if anybody pointed them out. I'm prickly like that.

Just because I laid out my design that way, doesn't mean I SEWED it that way. Here is proof:

One one side is the layout I designed, on the other is the layout once it was sewn together. Can you tell the difference? There are one or two tell-tale signs, but the changes were not arbitrary or accidental. As I was working I saw some elements that were not as successful as I felt they could have been, so I made changes. I also made some changes to make sewing it together easier. Hey, 50 shades notwithstanding, I'm not into punishment.

This is the way the quilt is sewn together. I used only five set-in squares. The quilt was made in three large "chunks." The first third, with its bottom row one straight seam across. Then the next row is also lone long horizontal strip.

When I got to the bottom third I knew there had to be an easier way than the complex arrangement I originally had, so I broke it down into big pieces and made the big center block (with the upside down birds) first, then added it to the three big pieces next to it. After that it was simple to put the last chunk together and sew it to the rest of the quilt.

You can read more in depth explanation of the process here, when I was actually sewing the flimsy together. I can either SEW, or I can try to remember to stop to take pictures. Usually once I get going I completely forget to take pictures.

Is it hard? Not really. Is it fussy? Damn straight. Is it worth it? Hell yeah.

If you want to make your own unique birds, you can buy the tutorial, Lynne's Liberated Birds, here, in my Etsy shop.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Student's Story... Barb

My pal Barb is more of a math person than an art person. She knows all about sewing and tailoring. She told me once that "everything I've read about quilting tells me it is as addictive as crack cocaine," and for that reason, she would never get into it. Alas, she succumbed. She took a class with me at QT a couple of years ago where I taught the birds along with asterisk flowers, wonky hearts and butterflies, and loved it. "This is entirely YOUR fault" she wrote to me later.

She sent me an email on Friday and I want to share it with you.

Hi Lynne,

I wanted to take your birds class in May, but the timing didn't work out. But I did want to make some birds, so I started looking around for a project where they could fit.

Have you ever looked at your kitchen curtain and said, "How did it get to be THAT color?"

Maybe not, but I did.

The window is about six feet across, so I thought that birds marching along would make a cute curtain. I thought I would make a family of birds so I got a piece of fabric I love and fussy cut some wings.

Clark [her husband] says Hi.

I wanted three different sizes of bird, and since I am more of a mathematician than an artist, I made some patterns for the wings, and used the pattern I got from your birds, butterflies, etc class to size everything.

Then I picked some other fabrics to go with the wings, some of them bought on purpose, and some from my stash, plus background fabrics.  OK, enough obsessing, time to make some birds.

Mommy and Daddy Bird.

So, soon I had birds in three sizes. But then one of those things happened and the project took on a life of its own. Momma bird flew up and whispered in my ear. Apparently there was one more child I had missed. We talked about him, and then I made him, and then put it all together. So while the piece was supposed to be named "Flocking Together," it wound up being "A Different Drummer" or "There's One in Every Family."

 I've got a new curtain for my kitchen, and you can tell your students that even an amateur can do it.
Oh, and by the way, here's a picture of "the special child."

Did I laugh when I read Barb's email. I think her new curtain is terrific, and I loved her "special child" so much I asked her to make me one.

Thanks for sharing Barb!

***PS Barb often comments on my blog, and her login name is 'the Selvage Fairy.'        

****My bird tutorial, Lynne's Liberated Birds can be found in my Etsy shop, here.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Birds, Birds, Birds Class at Quilted Threads

I taught a Birds class yesterday at Quilted Threads. It was a fun day of birdmaking, and the students made a lot of terrific looking birds. Here is a sampling:

I don't do pastels or soft colors, but DAMN, this bird is stunning!

Donnie and Laura drove from New York State to take the class and stayed in the local B&B the night before.  Before they left they asked for a picture of me with the Flight of Fancy quilt.  Well, sure!

A good time was had by all, and the students were thrilled to receive the new bird tutorial, Lynne's Liberated Birds, to take home. You can purchase it here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pages from the Birds Tutorial

I printed my bird tutorial, Lynne's Liberated Birds available now in my Etsy shop, on high quality paper, and then brought it to Staples to be spiral bound, so now it can lie flat like a book.

It's much easier to use this way when I am teaching. It's a good idea to keep the pages together and in sequence. I had mine done at Staples for only $3.99.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bird Tutorial for Sale on Etsy

The bird tutorial, "Lynne's Liberated Birds" is for sale in my Etsy shop here. It's available for ten US dollars and is an immediate download, so you can get started right away.

These birds are NOT PAPER PIECED!  Absolutely NO knowledge of paper piecing is required.

If you buy my tutorial and make a bird, please send me photos. I'd love to share your success!  Wait until you see the special collection I will show you later.

And if that timing isn't cool enough, I'm teaching another Birds, Birds, Birds class at Quilted Threads in Henniker NH tomorrow. This class is full, but there will be others!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lynne's Liberated Birds Tutorial

WOW! It's almost ready, the final version of my PDF tutorial on making my liberated birds is almost ready! A few finishing touches, and some final editing are required, but the *.PDF file will be ready for sale on my Etsy shop over the weekend. I'm so excited. I've been working on it for some time.

It's 40 pages long with photos of dozens of birds and includes detailed instructions for making my birds and information on making variations: beaks, bellies, bodies, legs, etc. It explains exactly how to make a long strip of bird legs so you can chop off what you need to complete your bird. It shows how to avoid the dreaded snub nosed beak. In short, if you want to know how I make my birds, this PDF will tell you.

Remember, these are NOT Paper pieced! 

Coming soon.


I promise.

Update: It's LIVE! Click the link on the sidebar to go to my Etsy shop. You will receive a link to download the file after your purchase!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


You gotta love Vistaprint. They make it so easy to make postcards. Here are my newest cards featuring my quilt, "Too Much Chicken." I've included the dimensions of the quilt and a little story of the inspiration for it. If you notice, there is a list of AQS shows in which the quilt was/will be shown.  I'll be at the AQS show in Syracuse in July, on Wednesday and Thursday. I'll give a postcard to anybody who asks for one while I am there.

I also updated the postcard for the Black & White Crayons. It now lists all the AQS shows in which it has been exhibited as well as the dimensions of the quilt.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Blue Topaz is Finished

 The baby quilt I made for my future grandbaby, due in less than a month, is all finished.

I'm happy with it. Now I have to take some beauty shots of it, run it through the washing machine to make it soft and crinkly, and then send it to the City of Angels.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blindstitching Again

I seem to be having a rough year. I can't seem to get out of my own way. I think hearing I am going to be a grandmother may have knocked me for a loop. My grandbaby will live 3,000 miles away on the opposite side of the country and that's going to be hard for me. I've kind of been in denial about it, trying to bury my feelings in books and busywork. I've got my tickets to visit after the baby is born, and that will be great, so I am trying to keep looking on the positive side of things.

I've been sending a stream of gifts to my son and DIL. A tote bag with pockets to use as a diaper bag and a baby sling along with a few other goodies for Mom and Dad. I have pile of stuff that I've been collecting set aside - some books, some baby onesies, a receiving blanket and a heating pad.

Now I'm working on finishing the baby quilt, Blue Topaz, above.

I'm also preparing for another Birds class at QT this coming Saturday. (It's full.) They tell me that every day at least three customers ask about the Flight of Fancy quilt.  Which is pretty cool.