Saturday, May 31, 2014

Skinny Strip Hint

This is how I make my skinny strips. I start with something wider, press, THEN trim. Don't think that wide leftover strip is wasted, because it isn't. It then becomes the second leg for the bird blocks.

While I only need 1-1/2 inches for both legs, that isn't enough fabric to work with comfortably, so I make my strips wider. There might be a strip about 1" wide left over when I am finished, but at $12USD per yard, that little strip only costs me 33 cents, which to my mind is a better value than the cost of wasted time, frustration, and burned fingers.

(By the way, at $12USD, a square inch of fabric costs .0079 cents.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Another Bird

I'm getting ready for my next class at Quilted Threads. This one is all about the extras, the "stuff." It's butterflies and asterisk flowers and hearts and, of course, birds. I keep making birds because I want to have a series of how-to pictures to show my students.

And here, as my Friday gift to you, is one of my secrets:
When I need a lot of birds, I make a big long strip of "bird legs" so I can just cut a piece crosswise however long I want.

How do I get the long skinny strips so straight? Regular readers know I don't cut a 3/4" strip.

All will be revealed at the class. Hope to see you there. There are still places available, and New Hampshire in July is a lovely place to be.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Black

In for a penny, in for a pound. I'm sewing the [black] binding on the [black] crayons quilt.

Although I've got all four Crayons quilts here, I've never looked at them all side-by-side-by-side-by-side. When the Black Crayons quilt is finished, I'll line them up and check them out. Yes, there will be pictures.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


When I asked which color block would be the one I was going to make next, the color Brown was NOT on my radar. My pal Tracey suggested it, and as soon as she did I knew I had to do it.

As usual, Tracey has the best ideas!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Black & White Crayons, Finished

Yeah, I know you've seen this six million times, but now it's finished and hanging in my dining room. I'll have a better picture once I can take a photo of it in natural light, but that will have to wait until later.

For all you quilters under say, 59, and those of you who DON'T wear bifocals, you can stop reading right now.

For the rest of you who remember when the first man went up into space, who probably wear bifocals and have a touch of arthritis... You all know how hard (practically impossible) it is to hand sew something black with black thread. I could barely see what I was doing, and for a lot of the time, I just guessed. If any members of the quilt police find fault, they can kiss my richly upholstered derrière. One of my most fervently held beliefs is that craftspeople need to leave the evidence of their hand in the work they do. We are not machines, and our work should not look like it was machine made.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Binding Progress

I've sewn the binding on the black (right) side of the Black and White Crayons quilt. Millie sat on the arm of the chair while I worked.

We watched two movies while I sewed, "Saving Mr Banks" and "The Monuments Men."

Millie was very helpful. She kept the quilt from falling onto the floor when I had to set it down for a moment.

Which is why I hang the quilt when I am not working on it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Binding the Black and White Crayons

I am so happy with this quilt. The quilting is beautiful. I am adding the binding, which is a slightly complex affair given that I am using two different fabrics that have to start and stop in precisely the right spots. Can you tell the two of them apart in the photo above?

I add the hanging sleeve at the same time I sew the binding on. And yes, I do my final sewing on the front of the quilt. I can blindstitch invisibly, so I show it off by defying you to see my stitching.

(It's an ego thing. I admit it.)

And if your binding is striped, as mine is, wouldn't you join sections as invisibly as possible?

I am very happy with this one and think it may be one of my all time favorites.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Black & White Crayons, Quilting Preview

The amazing Chris has sent me these preview pictures of the quilting on my Black & White Crayons.

I'm very pleased and excited to get the quilt home and finished.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I said I would make blocks from the scraps in the little bins, and I actually have a little bin JUST for scraps of fabrics with a black background.You didn't think I was NOT going to make a block from those scraps now, did you?

This is the 19th block, and I need 20 for my quilt. Can you guess what color the last block will be?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Here's a gray block. For a long time it was hard to find a good selection of grays. Usually I could find one or two, but it is only recently that I've seen a nice selection of grays in quilt shops. A couple of  these grays are six or more years old.

Monday, May 19, 2014


This is the blue-green (or teal) block.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

He Likes It!

This is the youngest of my "fairy nephews" on the quilt I made for him (his mother refers to him on her blog as the "caboose" meaning he's the last one).

The quilt is a red white and blue version of "Sliced" from this book.

I think he likes it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival, Spring 2014

 This is my quilt, "The Black Box." It's 55" x 81" and it is completely original, designed by me, Lynne Tyler. It is completely "free pieced," which means it was made without patterns, templates and it is NOT paper-pieced.

I wanted the brightest areas of the quilt to emanate from the box, so the only pure white in the quilt is the opening in the box and, the white and silver rays and the fallouts of the letters O, E, and B. The words OUT OF THE BOX are presented in a rainbow of colors, to emphasize the concept of creative potential.
 The idea was the box was magical, so I wanted the box to make you think of a magician's hat, but still look like an open box.

 BEFORE ideas came out of the box, the world was bland and boring, so BEFORE is dull and gray.

 Magical explosions are always accompanied by confetti, so just beyond the cloud of "OUT OF THE BOX" there is confetti blasting around. The wavy line quilting coming from the center of the quilt also gives the effect of shock waves.

I had to find a way to make the black box show up against the brown background, and tell you it was a magical box at the same time, so the box is surrounded by rays of white and metallic gold.
 Explosions, even magical ones, produce chaos and shock waves. My way of communicating that was to make "made fabric" from the background striped batik fabric.

 The narrow parts of the letters are 5/8" finished and the lower case letters are 4-1/4" tall. They are NOT paper-pieced. I kept the background fabric of these letters running vertical to emphasize the staid, traditional world "before" out of the box thinking.

I work for a living, and hear this phrase "think out of the box" often, and I can't stand it. I made this quilt to thumb my nose at those who are always asking for "out of the box" ideas. Ideas don't come out of the blue, they come from somewhere, usually when things get juxtaposed against something unexpected.

You can see more quilts from the online festival here:
Quilt Blogger's Festival:

The Black Box is in the Original Design category, which can be found here:

Don't forget to vote for your favorite.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I'm a Bag Lady

I'm a bag lady, I'll admit it. I love tote bags.  I admired a bag like this that belonged to my son's MIL, "A," while I was in California. Yesterday I got home from work to find a box from her with this wonderful tote bag!  The tote bag I had been using for years to carry my lunch and other stuff back and forth to work every day was showing it's age. Now it has been replaced with this beauty.

Thank you, A!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rainbow Baby

I always like to have pictures of the quilts I make with their people. This is the Rainbow Baby girl with her quilt, enjoying the warm weather we had over the weekend. 

I can't believe it, but this is my 1,400th post. This blog got started six years ago in 2008.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


This is the cream block. It is fabrics with all cream backgrounds.

These are the nine blocks I have made so far this year.

Yes, this will be a large quilt, though it won't be a bed quilt, it will be a quilt for a couch, and I expect it to be about 60 x 75 inches or so.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Black & White block

This is the black and white block. When I was sewing it up I wasn't quite sure, but seeing it from a distance I am very happy with it. It will join the other color blocks in the quilt I am making from the scraps in the little bins.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Musical Fabric Challenge

Last month I attended a New Hampshire Modern Quilt Guild meeting at Twill in Nashua NH (the next meeting is Tuesday May 13th.

We played a game called the Musical Fabric Challenge, and these are the fabrics I ended up with. I might not have bought the peachy paisley (too wimpy); would never have bought the pink with white dots (too much high contrast); I love the paper clips, and the grey fabric with the light green rows of dots and triangles. The pink I like, the mini flowers, not so much. The blue is good.

Even so, I knew right away what I would make with them.

Birds. Here I added the wing fabric from my stash.

Again I used fabric from my stash for the wing and the beak.

The wing and beak fabric came from my stash.

The bird breast and beak came from my stash for this bird.

I always use a fabric that has some type of swirl or curve in the wings of my birds, and as you can tell from the last bird, I sometimes piece the fabric to get the effect I want.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sunny Yellow

It's easy to sew up a lot of scraps to make one of these blocks. It's a bit harder to sew up ONLY what's needed and not have a lot of of "chunks" left over.  In other words, these blocks (which are about 17" square or so) take a lot less fabric than you think they will.

I am happy with this sunny yellow block.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

LAX Kinetic Light Sculpture

I'm home from Los Angeles and my son's wedding. Everything about the trip (Except my Mom's black eye) was perfect.  The night before we flew home, my Mom and I stayed at the Radisson hotel which overlooks the entry to LAX. (LAX is the abbreviation for Los Angeles Airport.)

These are the large towers or "pylons" outside the airport, as seen from our hotel room.

I've flown out of LAX before, and arrived there when it was still dark, so I knew the large towers were lit up at night

What I did not know was that they changed colors.


all night long.

It was totally and completely cool. I actually moved a chair over to the window so I could watch the towers change colors. They are "active" every night from dusk till dawn.

What a treat! I enjoyed it so much. My Mom said she hadn't seen  me so giddy in a long time.

You can read more about them here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The other night when I was sorting scraps, the orange bin was the fullest, (especially after making the Chicken quilt, with all the oranges in that) so I made this orange block.  Love, love love!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Wedding!

It was a beautiful day for a wonderful couple.

I took this selfie of the happy couple with my niece and nephew.

There was much smiling and joy.