Thursday, June 30, 2011


Hmm... One, two, three... ten, eleven, twelve... fifteen, sixteen, seventeen...twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six.

What does one do with twenty-six reds?

Gee... I wonder.Kick up a little hell, I guess!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Fabric?

Chris gave me a wonderful compliment when my sampler quilt, Letters From Home, arrived at her house for quilting. "I've gotta hand it to ya," she said, "You didn't drop the ball on the back." I used a Kaffe Fassett fabric for the back, and included a cat emoticon. I've never forgotten what Chris said, and I try to find the perfect fabrics for the backs of all my quilts. Here is the fabric I have chosen for the Black Rules:
I like to use large prints on the backs of my quilts. The back of a quilt is a big area, and if you use a small scale print, it just looks... boring. I like BIG prints. I simply adore a lot of the Westminster fabrics, and the large Kaffe Fassetts, and Jane Sassaman, who designed this fabric.

Yeah, I know these colors are not quite perfect for the quilt, but they match the feel of it, and it's my quilt, so I can break the rules if I want to! I had to piece two lengths together to get the backing wide enough (the quilt is 50" wide, and the backing has to be 12"bigger...) Fortunately the repeat wasn't big, and I was able to match the pattern with no loss. Woo hoo!

The quilt is flying to Chris in Tennessee today for quilting. I can't wait to see what she does with it!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Second Thoughts

I wrote about hanging Nine x Nine at Quilted Threads on Saturday night, set it to publish just after midnight, then went to bed. I woke up on Sunday morning, looked at my blog and had second thoughts.

I called my sister. "Can you look at my blog?" I asked. "I think I hung the wrong quilt. I think maybe I should have left the white rules quilt instead of Nine x Nine."

Five minutes later, my phone rang. It was my sister. "Yes."

"Yes what?"

"White Rules. DH and I agree. White Rules Quilt."

So about an hour later, my sister and I were on our way back up to Henniker, where we took Nine x Nine down and hung the White Rules quilt it its place.
It looks really nice. Don't get me wrong. Nine x Nine looked great too, but I felt that out of context, Nine x Nine looked a bit lost. I didn't have that "LOOK AT ME!" quality I felt was needed to attract quilters to want to learn to make free-pieced letters.

You can click the photos to enlarge, and then click again for more detail and to see Becky's fabulous shop!

The Black Rules are on their way to Chris to be quilted. I can't wait to see the two quilts hanging side-by-side!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nine x Nine at Quilted Threads

I visited my favorite quilt shop, Quilted Threads, yesterday, bought some fabric, and swapped out The Quick Brown Fox for Nine by Nine, which will be on display there until the fall.
Sometime in the fall, I will be teaching a class on free-pieced letters at Quilted Threads. It will be an all day class on a Saturday. I'll have many of my letter quilts with me for students to see. In the meantime, if you are in New Hampshire, drive on over to Henniker NH and check it out for yourself.

The shop is so totally cool too!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Laughing @ Home

After spending a few months in Tennessee, being quilted by the awesome Chris, visiting friends and enjoying life as a minor celebrity, my Laughing Out Loud quilt has finally arrived back home to soggy New Hampshire.
LOL has decided traveling is very nice, but there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed.

I still have to bind the quilt, but that can wait. I want to enjoy sleeping under this quilt first.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Last Fun

An idea is only an idea until you make it real. Sometimes it's a great idea, sometimes, not so much.

But you never know until you try. Here is the last BOB Fun for the Black Rules quilt.
This one is going to disappear for sure, and it was NOT my intention. Oh well! Live and learn. It's in the quilt.

Speaking of which:
It needs a bigger strip of black across the top. Again I have to apologize for the lousy picture. The quilt is positively stunning in real life, but taking photos in my sewing room at 10 PM at night of a black quilt is a recipe for mediocrity. When it stops raining, I'll take the quilt outside and get a really good photo. I promise.

My quilt Laughing Out Loud is due back from Chris by way of Julie today. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Black RULES!

The flimsy isn't quite finished, but it's getting close. The word OBEY is too tall, and needs to be trimmed. I haven't sewn the last hidden fun to the IF YOU panel yet, and I need to add a bit of black at the bottom, and square up the sides. This is shaping up to be a favorite.
So why do these letters POP so much? A couple of reasons...

First, visually, light areas always pop forward, and big dark areas recede. You can't get darker than black, so the most intense light/dark contrast will always be black and white, but lighter colors against black will really attract your attention.

Secondly, we see color when light hits an object and reflects back at us. Different colors absorb different amounts of light. White reflects all light back at us, black absorbs all of it. So bright colors next to black appear to really jump out at you.

A more intense color will jump out at you more than a less vibrant one. Think of an orange (a real orange you can eat). You can't get a BRIGHTER orange than an orange. If you make it lighter, it loses some intensity, it gets a bit duller. It's the same thing if you make it darker, you lose the intensity, the brightness. (I swiped this picture from

I used a lot of bright colors and bright fabrics in this quilt, so they really jump out. In the White Rules,the brightest color is probably the big pink F, but that doesn't have as much light/dark contrast as the U next to it. These colors are much more subdued than the colors in the black quilt.

The letters "YOU OBEY ALL THE RULES" are exactly the same in both quilts. I used the same fabrics. Actually, the reason I made TWO quilts was to show how differently the same colors look when using a white, then a black background.

Amazing, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sewing up the Black Rules

I've started sewing the big panels of the Black Rules quilt together.

It's great, and the colors positively glow, but -damn- is it hard to photograph!
This quilt will be slightly larger than the White version. Like Julie, I am very eager to see them side-by-side!

Dear Clare, Dream On!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fun, Fun, Fun!

I sewed up the big FUN in the Black Rules quilt, and made the exclamation mark.
This isn't exactly how the letters will line up, but I am really loving the hot colors.Now I have to make one more BOB "fun" and then I can start putting the words together into a flimsy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


There's nothing like natural light on a slightly overcast day to show off a quilt. Here, finally, are photos of my last two big finishes - the White Rules (which still doesn't have a proper title)
and Nine by Nine.
I've photographed them both at the highest resolution my camera will allow, and I haven't compressed them, so you can click the photos, and then click again for all the little details.

Friday, June 17, 2011


This is a future quilt project in the works. I'm nowhere near ready to start sewing. First, I have to settle on a way to organize the words in this quote.

I have turned my wonky free pieced letters on their sides, making them wider than they are tall. (Most of them, anyway.) As usual, I draw my letters out first, experimenting, then when I get some ideas I think I will like, I color them in with black permanent marker, make photocopies, then start cutting and rearranging the letters until I get a layout that pleases me.

Here are two arrangements. There are seven things that are different from one to the other. Do not consider the word spacing -- that won't happen until the letters are sewn together. There are two red herrings - which is to say two things you ought to be able to see right away. Some of the differences are very subtle.

This isn't a contest, there is no prize, no bragging rights. It's just a way to share my thought process, and to show how sometimes the littlest things really do make a difference.

I've left the photos quite large. You can click them, then click them again to enlarge so you can see a lot of detail.

Have fun!

To my Very Best Friend: Happy Birthday!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy FUN!

OK, so you don't get much sewing done when your team is in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, and then win it. Go Bruins!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Wild yellow batik fabric, right? I bought this fat quarter at my lqs over the weekend. I thought I'd use it in small pieces.I certainly didn't plan on using such a wild print in my Black Rules quilt.But it works!

(sorry it's such a crappy photo. The light in that room is lousy. I promise better photos soon. You can click the photo to enlarge.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


For those of you who know I have been having back pain for the last month, I've finally got the results from my MRI.

I have arthritis in the lumbar region of my spine. There is physical therapy in my future, and I'll have to exercise and stretch each day. If that doesn't work, I may get some pain injections. We'll see.

I've raised my work table so I can work pain free, and I've had to make other adjustments. It isn't the best news, but it could have been so much worse, so I am grateful.I am working on the Black Rules quilt, and choosing fabrics for the big FUN.

Monday, June 13, 2011

So Far..

So far, so good. I made a second hidden FUN, and have chosen the fabrics for the last big FUN.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Black Fun

You didn't think I was going to forget some hidden FUNs in the Black Rules quilt, did you?I have to say, working with BOBs (Black-on-Black) is a lot harder than WOWs, because it's harder to see!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I am really, really, really happy with the color flow of these letters. I was so involved sewing them together, so careful about the letter and word spacing, I never noticed the "h" until after the top and bottom strips were added.

You can click the photo to enlarge, then click again for more detail. I'm almost sorry to tell you the picture is a poor representation of how it looks in real life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Hot "The"

I really, really, really like this word.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Office Fun

I brought the Daft Zebras to work yesterday and hung it up over my desk. Let's just say it attracted a lot of attention, and that I had to explain what a pangram was more than once.

OK I admit it. I'm a bit subversive.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot!

The ALL THE in the Black Rules quilt is gonna be HOT. HOT colors, from the warm violets to reds and red-oranges to yellow. What caught my attention in the lqs last weekend was RED. I thought... hot damn... why not change the second half of the Black Rules quilt and make it move toward hot colors?The top half of each quilt (IF YOU OBEY ALL THE RULES) is pretty much the same.. same colors and fabric for each letter in both quilts. After that, they are going to be different. The fonts, the shape of each letter will be the same, but the colors will be different. I do plan to include some hidden FUNs in the Black version, and have a unique exclamation mark and point.

So, as usual, stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


It's funny how something that seems unrelated ends up influencing decisions you make about a project you're working on.

An email discussion with my friend Lynne from the UK (yes, she spells it exactly the same way I do) about Contrast got me to thinking about my Black Rules quilt. Contrast*, I wrote, is nothing more than the way we tell where one thing ends and another begins. It's about edges. "Many quilt patterns rely on the integrity of the edges of the pieces for the design to be a success. Take my letters, for example," I wrote. "Do you ever see me losing my edges? Not unless I want you to..."

That and a trip to my lqs for some BOB (Black on Black) fabrics opened my eyes to a possibility in the Black Rules I had not considered. I am VERY excited about this new development.

It's WAY too late to elaborate now, but remember this? Well, forget it!HAHAHAHAHAHA!

* there are many kinds of Contrast: Hue, Value, Intensity, Temperature, Shape, etc...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Make It Work - Tout Fini!

Here it is, all finished. I am happy with it, but 3/4 of the way through sewing the binding onto the front of the quilt (which was harder than I expected due to the close quilting), I thought this would have been equally successful with a colored binding. It just goes to show that often, there is no single right answer!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making it work!

I've finished hand sewing the binding on the small Make It Work quilt. Today I'll be sewing down the hanging sleeve. You can click the photo to enlarge, and click it again for more detail.

I'll be watching the French Open, rooting for Roger Federer.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hanging Sleeve for Make It Work

Last night I sewed up the sleeve for the Make It Work quilt. It had been a rough day (doctor's visit plus LOTS of X-rays for a back problem, and an MRI in my future), so I started working on automatic pilot. As a result, I over-engineered the sleeve. Which is to say I made it strong enough to hold a quilt six times the size. Oh well. Better more robust than wimpy.Julie told me how to make a hanging sleeve, and it's great. It's a "D" shape and holds a quilt beautifully. Thing is, it takes a piece of fabric the width of the quilt by 24" (Bear in mind the MIW quilt is about 24" square.) I don't mind the fabric requirements, but I like the backings as well as the hanging sleeves of my quilts to look nice, and not be made out of fugly fabrics. However, in the end you only see 6" of that 24", and I hate wasting 18" of "good" fabric (read: fabric I would use in a quilt.)

So I figured out how to use some "fugly" fabric (these roses) in the parts of the hanging sleeve nobody would ever see.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Make It Work ~ Quilted!

You know the phrase "Read it and weep?"

Well, check out the phenomenal quilting Chris did on my little Make It Work flimsy!Look at it and SQUEE!

You should have heard me SQUEE when I first saw pictures! Chris calls it McTavishing. I call it OUTSTANDING!

I love this so much, I might just have to hang it over my desk at work! Well, at least for a little while!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(really, what else do I need to say?)