Friday, November 17, 2017

More Robot Madness

I unleashed the new robot vacuum in the sewing studio. I confess I moved things around and got stuff off the floors so it would be a bit easier for it.

It picked up all the dust, as I expected, but it also picked up fabric scraps, push pins and sewing pins. It's cool that it works, but the best part is I AM NOT DOING IT!! I'm sure I'll get over watching the thing bounce around from one place to another after a while.

If you're waiting for pictures of Millie sitting on this while it vacuums, don't hold your breath. Millie is getting used to it, and doesn't run away any more. But given how many videos on YouTube showing cats sitting on these things, I thought this question on Amazon was hilarious and wanted to share it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Present for Me

I bought myself a Christmas present, and I gave it to myself early.

 It's a robotic vacuum cleaner. I know that this isn't going to replace a heavy-duty deep cleaning vacuuming job, but I'm so busy I could use help keeping house looking neat. If this can keep the house looking good from day to day, I'll be happy.

I had to see what it could do, so I set it up, let it charge, then told it to get going. Millie does not like it. I hope she'll get used to it, because I have set it to vacuum every morning at 9 AM.

It seemed to go around haphazardly, but when it headed back to the charging station after about half an hour, I figured it was full. (Since I knew it was coming, I had deliberately let the house get a bit messy.) When I took the little canister out I was surprised at how full it was. I think this little sucker (pun most definitely intended) has found a permanent home.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Gobble Gobble

I have two brothers. One lives in Colorado, and the other is retired, spends his winters kite-surfing in Mexico, and his summers rock climbing in Yosemite Valley. This brother is visiting for the next week and we'll celebrate Thanksgiving this coming Saturday, November 18. The big dinner is happening here at my house and I'm cooking.

That means the next few days I'll be cleaning and getting everything ready for the big day instead of spending time in the sewing studio.

These will have to wait until next week!

If you want to make your own Scrap Slab Triangle quilt, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Scrap Slab Triangle Class

I had a lot of fun with my students at the Scrap Slab Triangle class on Saturday. The students made blocks, and then we set them all out of the floor and started playing with them.

I spent about fifteen minutes moving some blocks around and showing different layout options, but when the students started making suggestions, I moved away and said, "Show me. Do it."

The biggest problem wasn't that nobody wanted to move the blocks around. It was that ladies who  are north of 55 or 60 have a hard time getting down on the floor and then getting up again. Fortunately we did have a couple of brave souls, and one student in her 20's who was more than eager to help shuffle the blocks around.

We did find some interesting patterns worth exploring.

It was a good class.  I'm off now until January 27, 2018 when Quilted Threads will offer another bird class, and a barn class on February 10.

If you would like to make your own scrap slab triangle quilt, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download so you can get started right away.

Friday, November 10, 2017


When I studied the Philosophy of Art in college, the professor told us, "If you think artwork A is truly better than artwork B, then you are correct."  Of course it isn't that simple. I know the Colorado quilt is a beautiful quilt. I know it's well made, and well designed, but it's worth... I don't know.

That's why I needed to have the quilt professionally appraised by Gerald Roy, the country's leading quilt expert.

He counted the birds, he measured the size of the barn block. He turned the quilt over and checked out the signature panel on the back.

He loved the quilt, thought the birds were great and the barn was terrific. He thought the quilting was "perfect." Then he gave me the appraisal - much higher than I expected, and the highest of any of my quilts.


Knowing the quilt's value is nice, but being validated is ever so much better.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What's Next?

My pal Allison asked me "What's next?" now that the Colorado Quilt is finished. The answer is the Scrap Slab Triangle Quilt class at Quilted Threads on Saturday, so I am getting ready for that.

For this class the students got a copy of the Scrap Slab Tutorial ahead of time and were asked to make slabs to bring to class. Here are mine. I'll demo cutting them at class.

You can't see in this photo, but I will be showing all three Scrap Slab Quilts at the class.


This is a great way to use up your scraps and make some fun quilts.  You can get the tutorial here.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Colorado on the Rocks

The Colorado Quilt is finished.

I'll get a few more beauty shots, have it appraised, show it off to my students at QT this coming Saturday, my family at Thanksgiving and then it will fly across the US to the high desert where my brother & sister-in-law live. There the quilt will live a life of a bed quilt.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Two Feet Left

I spent a lot of Saturday sitting on the couch sewing the binding of the Colorado Quilt.

It's always gratifying to turn the fourth corner.

Should get this done soon!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Box and The Shirt

The Box from my brother and sister-in-law, not surprisingly, arrived in a bigger box.

Removing the crushed paper and extra cardboard, I uncovered this. The box was wrapped in one of my brother's old corduroy shirts.

 Really. Notice the buttons on the shirt are all buttoned up!

I actually had to unbutton the shirt to get the box out. I texted my brother "You are too funny by half."

His reply? "You can keep the shirt."


Like I told one of my colleagues later, "I'm going to send the quilt to them wrapped in his shirt."

"Oh no," she replied. "You send it to them wrapped in one of YOUR shirts."

"Oooo... what a good idea!" I told her, "That's EVEN BETTER!!!" (Gee, I hope I have a shirt big enough to wrap around the quilt...)

Oh, you want to see pictures of the box itself? Sorry, gonna have to wait on that. I have some binding to sew.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Why Green?

You're probably wondering... Why did I choose GREEN for the binding of the Colorado Quilt? After all, the background of the quilt is white, and the backing is a light brown with gold.  So why choose a dark binding?

It's a good question, and perfectly valid.

Sometimes the reasoning for things is less visual and more emotional. Such it is with the backing and binding choices for the Colorado Quilt. P & J are very quiet, very reserved, very private people. They live where they live because it is beautiful and they live as one with the landscape that surrounds them. The colors for the backing and binding simply had to be earthy tones.

The fabric for the backing was a beautiful, yet subdued, organic design in earth tones - browns and golds. The flowers were a nod to J's work with flowers, and to the tones of the wood that my brother uses to build his furniture pieces.

Sure I could have used white, but the design needed to be contained somehow. Blue would have been too bright, as were Yellow, Orange, Red, and Purple. Gray would have been too dull and dreary, and the tertiary shades of the so-called "Civil War Prints" would not have worked well either. Plus I hate them. To me they are dull and dead.

Brown would have been OK, but we had brown on the back, and wanted J to be a part of the choice for the binding. Things that grow are green. While the high desert of Colorado is not as lush and green as summer in New Hampshire, my feeling of the area was GREEN, so green it simply had to be.

And yes, the binding is sewn on all four sides and attached to the front with at least six million pins spaced probably about three-quarters of an inch apart. I use a lot of pins. So what?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

So... How Did You Two Meet?

Janet-Lee and I have a rather unique "how we met" story. In the middle of 2016 I was "kinda sorta" looking for a local long arm quilter because shipping quilts halfway across the country was getting expensive, and since I was starting to make lots of quilts because I wanted to use up some fabric, the shipping costs were increasing.

I'd seen the work of other long arm quilters at various quilt shops and at some of the guilds I spoke to, but I was looking for somebody who wouldn't be intimidated by the unusual quilts that I make. So I was "kinda sorta" looking, but the reality was that I wasn't looking very hard.

In late August of 2016, while on an airplane at 35,000 feet, on my way to visit my new granddaughter for the first time, I was waiting in line for the rest room when I got to talking to one of the stewardesses. Somehow we got to the "I make quilts," and "Yeah, my mother does too," stage of the conversation. The stewardess (Ariana?) told me her mother did long arm quilting, and believe it or not, lived in New Hampshire. I gave her a couple of postcards of my work and didn't think much about it.

Close up of quilting on the Fruit Loops quilt
Two months later, Ariana finally gave her mother the cards, and Janet-Lee wrote to me, and we went back and forth about what I like and what I didn't like in quilting. She wrote that she quilts about 300 quilts a year, and knew what she was doing. We exchanged contact information and there it sat for about five months. During this time I started making the Scrap Slab triangle quilts, and finished up the Digital Pinwheels. I had six quilts that needed quilting, and the stack was growing. I needed a local quilter.

Digital Pinwheels
At some point it dawned on me that Janet-Lee was one of the owners of the MQX shows, and there was an MQX show in Manchester in April 2017, which was like two days away. I bundled up the Fruit Loops and Digital Pinwheels quilts and went to see the show and meet Janet-Lee. We hit it off and I left the quilts with her. I told her to do whatever she felt was best.

The quilting on Treasure Trove.

 Now Janet Lee is no dummy. She knew perfectly well the quilts I had left with her were only "couch quilts" and that I wanted to see how good she was.

Well, she didn't disappoint. Janet-Lee certainly knows what she is doing, and when I went to pick up my quilts, I left her Treasure Trove, Snow Day and the Tumblers quilts.

We searched through her quilt designs and chose patterns for those three quilts, but as I left I told her that if she got to one quilt and she didn't think the design we picked out was right for the quilt, to go ahead and do what she felt was best.
detail of the Jewel Box quilt
On at least one quilt, she did just that, and I was thrilled with her choice. I left the Jewel Box quilt and Terrazzo, the black and white Slashed Squares quilt.

Terrazzo Quilt
 So by the time it came to quilt the Colorado Quilt, I had no qualms. Janet-Lee knew just what to do and I let her do it.

detail of the Colorado Quilt
So the next time you meet somebody in an airplane, 35,000 feet above sea level, somewhere over the US, don't underestimate the connection.

You never know.

Not only do I have a great long arm quilter, I have a good friend, and next year I'm going to teach at the MQX show in Manchester.

Who'da thought?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Beginning Binding

Last night I sewed the binding to the Colorado Quilt. You know I sew it to the back of the quilt,

and then fold it over to the front, where I will sew it down with a blindstitch. You can read about how I do it here and here. And if you want to know WHY I sew my binding down on the front of my quilts by hand, (even though that's the way I was taught to do it - make the binding lie flat, make it even and make your stitches invisible) you can read this story that makes me smile to this day, some thirty plus years later.

I find the whole discussion so amusing. All my students freak out when I tell them. Even the vaunted Gerald Roy popped up out of his chair like a jack-in-the-box when I told him I did my binding on the front of my quilts, and that I did it by hand! Later, I asked my pal Julie why he did that?  "Because he missed it," she said. "He's an expert. He's supposed to be able to NOTICE things like that."


So anyway, I've got a week's worth of tv watching to do while I sew the binding down on this quilt. I've been planning another scrap slab triangle quilt for when this quilt is finished. I will teach another Barns class at Quilted Threads on January 27th, and another Birds class on February 10. If you want to attend, you better sign up now. Apparently my classes fill up fast, which both surprises and pleases me. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Colorado Quilt, Quilted

That's me (on the right) with Janet Lee Santeusanio of Woodland Manor Quilting, who quilted the Colorado Quilt. It is all hand guided free motion, and she did an outstanding job. Janet Lee brought it to me at Quilted Threads so my students could see it. This photo also shows just how big the quilt is.

Here is a closeup of the quilting on the barn block. It's really spectacular. I particularly love the pebble quilting on the ground in front of the barn.

Here some of my students check out the signature panel on the back of the quilt.

Here's a detail shot of the quilting. You ought to be able to click on this photo to see a larger detail of the quilting.

I've chosen this warm grunge green as the binding for the Colorado Quilt.

If you would like to make your own free pieced birds, you can get my bird tutorial here. Each bird represents something I saw in Colorado when I visited in June. (Scroll back through my blog to see each one in detail and what inspired it.)  I also have a tutorial to make the free pieced butterflies. I modified the flowers from the Old MacDonald Mystery Sampler Block Lotto and interpreted my brother's post and beam barn in Colorado into fabric using Julie Sefton's Build a Barn book as inspiration. As usual, the quilt is completely original and designed by me, Lynne Tyler, without the use of patterns, templates or paper piecing. There will  NOT be pattern for this quilt available, EVER. I am much more interested that you make your OWN quilts.

It's not that scary! Happy Halloween!