Wednesday, September 30, 2015



This is better. The background of the small four patch diamond will be cream.

I had never intended to have a print in the small diamonds, but the ones in the photo yesterday were made from scraps to work out the size. I forgot to mention it.

Sandi, you wondered where I got this fabric...

I can't remember where I bought it, but

I found a piece with the selvage, so maybe you can find it!  Good luck.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Diamond Tapestry

I finished cutting all the big diamonds, so I thought I'd see what they looked like up on the design wall.

That looked ok, sorta, but I knew I needed another vertical row.

And then, of course, I had to rearrange them.

Then I started cutting the medium sized diamonds and throwing them up on the wall. I quickly realized that some of the fabrics I had pulled were a bit on the dark side, so I raided the stash. (Duh!)

This arrangement is by no means final, I just need to get a feel for where this wants to go. I know where I want it to go, but I really need the little four patch diamonds that will fill in all the white spaces before I know for sure.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Shift and an Idea

Like these diamonds? I do too. Hold that thought....

I'm sure you remember this quilt. It's a favorite of my Mother and my Son, and pretty much anybody else who's seen it.
There's a story here.  I promised my niece I'd make her a quilt for her high school graduation, which will happen in June of 2016. The last time I saw her she said she liked sage green and lavender. Well those colors, though lovely, don't make for an exciting combination. I emailed her a couple of times over the summer, asking if she was sure about those colors, but I didn't hear from her. So I decided to gift her the Petals quilt.  My Mother thought it was a great idea. My son, not so much.

After a lot of back and forth, my Son and DIL asked to buy the quilt. Well, I won't take money from my son, so I said if they paid for the quilting, they could have the quilt. They agreed.

So I had to go back to the drawing board for my niece. Fortunately she had a birthday last week and I was able to chat with her. She gave me permission to make any quilt I wanted.  Whee!

I started browsing through my books for some ideas and found this in Colorific, by Pam Goecke Dinndorf. Then I started pulling fabrics.

I started getting excited about it. I had to work out some details about what kind of diamonds those were and finally decided to make them 60 degrees.

This is already fun.

 Yes, I can already tell this is going to be very cool.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

I get a lot of comments about how I put fabrics together, both on the blog and in real life. Truth is, I don't think much about it, but like my friend the Selvage Fairy said to me the other day, "There are things that you know that you don't even know that you know."

These two shared some of the same colors and I liked the lushness of the flowers with the inherent sensuality of the bras.

Well, sort of.

Green on the left, green on the right. This one's easy peasy.

Years ago I brought a salad from the salad bar to the lunchroom and sat down to eat. One of the design engineers came over and looked down at it.

The contrast of the hard shapes on the left, and the soft lines on the right, along with the same colors in both makes this a nice pair. The print on the left also includes a small stuffed olive, though one isn't visible here.

"Lynne, every single time you bring a salad for lunch, it is beautiful. Do you consciously arrange everything like that, or do you just throw it all together?"

Blue with curves on both fabrics. One is tightly packed, the other has more empty space around the print. Generally I like some kind of contrast between the two.

I looked down at the salad. Romaine lettuce and spinach, hard cooked egg slices, cherry tomatoes, red and yellow bell pepper slices, shredded carrot strips and chunks of feta cheese. There may have been other things in it, but I don't remember.

I thought the gold was common to both fabrics, and I liked the juxtaposition of the gentle flowing curves on the left compared to the more plant like and more tightly packed elements on the right.

"I like all this stuff," I said. "These are things I like to eat in a salad."

I admit this is over the top, but I love the exuberance in both prints. The curves in the left one contrast with the straight elements of the fabric on the right.

 "I don't think about making it beautiful when I am putting it together." I stopped and thought for a minute.

I think this pair is hilarious. The rock and roll on the left, and the recipe for chicken soup on the right. Reminds me of a teenager's band playing in the family garage. At some point, the kid's gotta go inside to eat.

"But you know, I was trained as an artist, and I studied composition, how to arrange things in a beautiful way."

The one on the left is definitely Asian, and the one on the right just has the same feel, and shares some of the same colors.

"I think I've internalized it so much that I don't even know I'm doing it."

This hardly needs explaining. Roses, left and right. Still, we have contrast galore.

 "That's it," my coworker said. "You're an artist first all, the time. It's how you see things, and it's what you do. Some part of you that you're not aware of, is doing it, but yes, you do it on purpose."

On the surface, these two aren't at all alike, but look closer. They're both densely packed florals and they share a lot of the same colors and shapes.

 It can also be called "trusting your gut." It's not guessing. It's really about using all the experience you possess to solve the problem in front of you.

Oh come on, stripes and circles? What could be better, even if the circles are really colorful bugs.

I've learned over time that "my gut" makes good decisions, so I can trust them without thinking.

Similar colors, the same airy "feel" and the swirls of each make this a fun pair. To say nothing about putting cats and birds together!

or "over-thinking" which is just as bad, if not worse.

I'm going to let you figure out why this pair works.

Because there's nothing worse than killing the fun, the surprise, the verve, the life, the zing, or, dare I say it... the Magic!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Ballad of the Rotary Cutter

In 1983 I bought a pair of Olfa rotary cutters, and I'm still using them. I never succumbed to the colors or gadgetry of any of the newer versions.
Then one day last week as I was changing the blade on one of them, the little flat spring bounced off the table and fell into the floor vent next to my sewing table.

I heard it go "ping" as it hit the bottom of the vent and bounced out of sight.


So I bought two more.  Again, I resisted the gadgets and colors. This version works and I'll stick with it. 

I wonder if they'll last 32 years?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Suggestions Welcome!

While I was working on the Triangle Dance quilt, my pal the Selvage Fairy wondered what would happen if I sliced up the rectangles using a gentle curve instead of a straight line.

 I thought it was a great suggestion, and decided to try it out.

Well Hot Diggity! I like it a LOT!!

So I sewed a couple of pairs together, and WOW, the next quilt is going to be called "Triangle Twirl".

I can't wait to get started...

It just goes to show that sometimes an innocent question from somebody else can be a wonderful way to get you going on something new. So when a friend, coworker, family member or passerby makes an offhand comment, pay attention. Sometimes good things can happen!

Yes, I think this definitely has potential. I just sewed a bunch of blocks and threw them up on the design wall. I can already see some things I should avoid, and some things I want to emphasize a bit more, but I think this is going to be fun to play with.

Thank you Selvage Fairy, I am happy to say this is entirely your fault.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Shade Garden

This is the shade garden along the side of my house. I worked very hard on it, and I'm happy with it and proud of it. It faces north and when I moved in it looked just awful.

This was taken in early September. There are ornamental grasses, hostas, columbines, coral bells, lamiums, Lady's Mantle, bugbane, Black-Eyed Susans, Brunneras, phlox, toad lilly, jacob's ladder, lungwort and ferns. When the garden is fully mature some plants will be between three and five feet tall, filling up the long blank wall. There will be color from spring to fall as well as different leaf shapes and textures. I'm excited.

This is what it looked like when I moved in last October.

This is what it looked like five  months ago in April. It was a disaster. Mulch was spread over that brown garden cloth, and weeds were growing through it. Underneath that was 2 inches of dirt and then under that was all sand. I had to hire a landscaper to clear it out and spread some topsoil. It was another month before I could put the plants in the ground.

This is the shade garden on Sunday.  Because I was delayed getting the plants in the ground, some of them didn't make it. Replacements arrived last week, and I also transplanted some things I had had in pots. Now everything is where it should be,

 Here's another view from the other end.  It's a perennial garden so everything here will come back again next year, and it will withstand any snow cover, which is a good thing,

because this is what it looked like last February.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Julie!

This is me and my best friend, Julie Sefton. This photo was taken last year at the Zimmerman House in Manchester NH when she came to visit. Julie is Quiltdiva Julie, and we "met" way back in 2009 as online quilt buddies. We've been emailing each other and yakking on the phone, trading ideas and inspiring each other ever since.

Happy Birthday Julie! I wish I was there to give you a hug. Or two. Or three.

I guess I'll have to wrap myself up in the quilt you make for me instead!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

It's That Time of Year...

As much as I'd like to deny it, summer is ending. The air is cooler in the morning, and I need a light jacket to keep me warm on my way to work. The leaves are beginning to change color. 

It's time for the Fall House Top quilt on the dining room table. Last year it was a flimsy, this year, it's the real thing.

I've also got some plants for the garden. Some ornamental grasses for the front steps, some Yarrow and some Hyssop for the side garden, a ground cover for the rock garden and a couple of things to add to my shade garden that didn't make it in this spring, some Goatsbeard and  a Black Eyed Susan.

The cooler weather also means I'll be making more soup. This is a batch of Roasted Vegetable Stock that's simmering on the stove.

It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow, so I'll spend tomorrow in the sewing studio.

Friday, September 18, 2015

More Missing U blocks

These are easy to make and a lot of fun to play with.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Black and White Missing U Blocks

As part of the cleanup from the Triangle Dance quilt, I decided to use the scraps to make some Missing U blocks. I like these and think there is a lot of potential here.

Here's another white block. Yes, I think this has a lot of potential...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

AQS Chattanooga

My quilt, The Black & White Crayons, is on display at AQS Chattanooga this week. If you go, take a selfie with it and send it to me at patcherymenagerie AT gmail DOT com (you know how to put them together.) And I'd love it if somebody would get me a show pin. I'll pay for it and the postage. Let me know, thanks!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Back to Back to Back

It's one thing to make a bunch of flimsies, it's quite another to make the backings for them. It's the part of making quilts I dislike the most.

I've got the backing done for the Triangle Dance. Here it is, wrong side up on the finished backing. I like to take pictures of the wrong side of my quilts.

For the Triangle Dance, I wanted to use more of the black on black fabrics I had kicking around. This was my starting point. Bleh.

This is what I eventually sewed up. Regular readers will notice the black on the lower left as the backing for the Spools quilt I made for my DS and DIL. The big print on the upper right is a Jane Sassaman fabric was used as a backing for the Black Rules quilt. The big Jane Sassaman print (with the bleeding hearts) was bought as a backing for something and I ended up using something different. So there's a lot that's been recycled here.

Sometimes you just get lucky. This is the solid Amish flimsy on top of the backing I selected.

It's perfect, the right tone of greens, and it's got violet and teal to boot. I knew immediately it was the one.

I made four blocks of twelve colors for the digital pinwheel quilt, and only used three of each in the flimsy itself, so I had one each left over and I decided to use some in the backing.  The other fabrics were from my stash. Three of them had been in there over five years. Time to get rid of them.

Here's the backing with the digital pinwheel flimsy wrong side up.

Three backings in one day. Phew!

 The next day I prepared the backing for the Blue Boy Rail Fence quilt. Woo Hoo!