Thursday, May 31, 2012

X Q's Me

There are several ways to make an upper case Q.  These aren't particularly good examples, but you get the drift.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


What do these six letters have in common? (Aside from the fact they are all green and are the same height?)

"QUIZ"  (ooooo... that's a good four letter word...)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Sewing Machine Had a Hairball

I was sewing merrily along yesterday, and changed the bobbin.  I made a mental note to clean the sewing machine when I ran the bobbin out, but after about 10 minutes, the machine started dropping stitches and breaking thread.

So I took it all apart and cleaned out the accumulated dust and lint, then put it back together.

Same problem.

So I changed to a new bobbin.

Same problem.

So I changed the needle.

Same problem.

So I dug out the manual to make sure I was doing it all right. I was.

I unthreaded the sewing machine and re-threaded it.

Same problem.

So I repeated the process.

Same problem.

Finally I called the machine's previous owner, my friend Yvonne. I thought she might have some insight.  We went through the whole process together, then she suggested I take the cover off the upper part of the machine and make sure it was threaded properly.

With the help of a flashlight, I could see some loose threads inside.  Fortunately I have a hemostat (long needle-nosed pliers), so I could reach in and pull the threads out.

Here is the small greasy mass that was giving me so much trouble.  I am very happy I could fix this on my own and didn't have to bring it to the sewing machine hospital.

Needless to say, my sewing machine sews like a dream once again.

I love my friends.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Millie on the Quilt

Millie is no dummy. I put a quilt down and she's all over it.

I had just brought Nine x Nine back from Quilted Threads and set it on the bed while I made dinner. When I looked back, Millie was giving herself a bath.  By the time I got the camera, she'd started stretching. When dinner was over, she was napping smack dab in the middle of it, and only moved when I practically pulled it out from under her to hang it up on the wall.

I guess I'm really happy I don't have a big dog.

Friday, May 25, 2012

How-to How-to

Whenever I make a tutorial, the thing that always hangs me up is the step-by-step photos.  It's such a pain in the neck to set it down and take a picture.  Plus, the pictures are never lined up the same way, never lit the same, they're never the same distance from the camera, etc, etc.

Finally I figured it out.  Make a small design board, hold it up at a consistent angle, and mount the camera on a tripod!  After a trip to the local craft store and an investment of less than $20, I'm all set!  I wrapped a piece of foam core with white flannel, and leaned it up against one of those easel mounted picture frames. I already had a small tripod for the camera.

Now I can make something, place it easily on the design board, and take a photo.  Woo hoo! This works like a charm!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've been thinking a lot about creativity and imagination over the last few days, particularly since a reader asked me where did one learn imagination? It was almost the most heartbreaking thing anybody ever asked me. Not because I don't know (for me the answer is everywhere), but because some folks obviously think they haven't got one. 

Anyway, here's writer Neil Gaiman addressing the University of the Arts Class of 2012.

If you can't see the whole thing, go here:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2012

Amy's Creative Side

Here is my quilt for the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2012 

It's my free pieced Four Seasons quilt. I wanted a quilt that showed the four seasons as I see them throughout the year.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I haven't been sitting on my butt doing nothing, I've been working on a couple of projects that won't come to fruition for many months. Part of the project is how I got from A to B with my quilts, and I know  don't*  mean making letters.  I've been actually doing my "Quilt History" with dates and pictures of each quilt.  It's something I really should have been doing all along.

It's fun to look back though, and see the whole progression.

I started here...

and now I'm here...

Interesting, huh?

* I should know better than to attempt a post past my normal bedtime.

PS, I hate the new blogger too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Guest Artist

I asked Michele if we could do a swap.  She said yes.  I received this lovely in the mail late last week. It's called Ethereal, which I think is just perfect.

Michele is active in the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, and asked that I help draw attention to that noble cause.

I -LOVE- this quilt. Thanks Michele!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Sometimes you get a great idea, and when you execute it, it doesn't look the way you envisioned it.  Such it is with this green butterfly. I really did want it to look like eyes, but this shape is all wrong.

So I tried again.  The upper part of the butterfly fabric is now a slightly different fabric, and the eyes are at the bottom.  Actually, I'm not quite happy with this one either. It looks really stiff.

This one looks better in an odd sort of way.  Look familiar? This is the first butterfly, turned upside down.

Stuff like this happens sometimes, and you have to be willing to go with it. Or at least be willing to set it aside for a while and move to something different.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

This butterfly is part of the Steal Like an Artist quilt. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Steal Like an Artist

Hi Julie! How do you like these fabrics? 

Your quilt is in here somewhere. 
 I won't use ALL of these.

 But I might!

I'll definitely use a lot of them.
 I hope bugs don't freak you out.
 And did you see the little fox?  You might see him in there...
Of course, there will always be the usual hidden surprises....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Steal (part two)

 I sewed up the letters for STEAL.  I'm rather pleased with them. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012


My pal Julie has a bit of empty wall space in her sewing studio and asked me if I'd like to fill it.

Hell yeah!

I wanted something that would be positive, but would also encourage creativity.  Since we both love Austin Kleon's phrase (and book) Steal Like an Artist, I knew that phrase would be perfect.

The wall space is about 31" x 43" and that's the size of the rectangle formed by the blue tape above.  I'll place the word STEAL pretty much as shown, and as for the rest...

Well you'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Do you know what I found most amazing at my class on Saturday?

That the staff at Quilted Threads have been asked repeatedly if there is a pattern for the Four Seasons quilt.

"There is no pattern," the staff would say to the customer, "but she's giving a class, she'll teach you how to do it yourself!"

Nope, they wanted a pattern.

Which is too bad. Thirteen ladies had a great time learning how to make their own houses, and I have no doubts they will make their own house quilts, and they'll be much happier with their own versions.

Which reminds me of something else I kept hearing the students say to each other on Saturday, when they needed a bit of help or encouragement.  "There aren't any rules," they'd say gleefully.

"Wing it!"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Houses and Trees, Oh My!

The class at Quilted Threads was a big success.
 There were 13 students, and they did awesome!
They made great houses, and then made wonky trees, and several even made overlapping trees.
All the ladies had name tags, but most were covered by their houses when I took their photos. Sorry I can't tell you all their names.
 Some gals made really wonky houses.
Some made more traditional houses.
 Some made really, really wonky houses!
They had great fun, can you tell?
Heidi's house has bats coming out of the chimney!  Isn't this house great?
Kathy made two houses. This is her second.
Can you see the bluebirds on the top of this chimney?
This house has a dog playing ball as well as a windowbox full of flowers AND a pair of overlapping trees.
Lynn set her house in Hawaii.

All the students made terrific houses. Most found NOT measuring hard at first.  I had lots of "Can I do ...." questions, and my answer was, "It's YOUR house, you can do anything you want.  There aren't any rules." 

 By the end of the day, Juanica said, "I can't believe it. I'm not measuring, I'm not using a template, and I'm not worrying about a perfect 1/4" seam.  This is fun."

Great job ladies!

It's in the Bag!

 About a year and a half ago I was showing off a quilt I had made to a fellow quilter. I had put the quilt in a tote bag I had made over 20 years ago. It was made in brown calicos and was a traditional block. My friend said, "Lynne, you need a new bag. This one does not represent you."  You can read about that exchange here.

So I went home and did a lot of thinking. My new bag had to have letters, and it had to have something bright and fun. What I would make was easy. Figuring out how to make my letters fit into a very small space was much trickier.
 This crazy party house (the Red-Eye) did not make it into a quilt I was working on at the time. I loved it's wildness, it's wackiness and it's complete disregard for the rules.  It HAD to be on the bag.
Since a bag has two sides, it was obvious to me the other side had to be a "daytime" house. And of course, Millie had to be included.

Here are photos of both sides of the finished bag. It draws comments wherever it goes.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I'm ready for the big day tomorrow, my class on Houses and Trees at Quilted Threads in Henniker NH.

All that's missing in this picture is my lunch, my purse (with the camera) and the laptop (which will be in the laptop bag.)

I've got sample quilts, and sample houses in various stages of construction to show my students. I've got my handouts ready, and I've made a PowerPoint presentation on making free pieced houses to show them.

I'm pretty excited. I'll take as many pictures as I can.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Itsy Bitsy

I saw some itsy bitsy little houses over at Nichi's and was inspired.
How itsy bitsy?

I think I have to make some more of these.