Saturday, May 25, 2019


Forty years ago, I bought this sliced stone wind chime when I visited Yosemite National Park. I've re-threaded it at least twice in that time, and it's always hung in my home. I like wind chimes, but I can't stand the tinny ones that sound more like noise than music.

When I bought this house almost four years ago, one of the first things I bought for it was a wind chime. But not just ANY wind chime. I had heard about Woodstock chimes, that were musically toned. This one is Chimes of the Earth. (You can click the link and hear what it sounds like.)

I hung it up under the carport, hoping the breeze passing through would make it sing, but it hardly ever did. I bring it in the house for the winter, and put it out every summer, hoping.               

I was cruising through Amazon one day and saw this chime selling for about ten bucks. I thought it was pretty, so I bought it and hung it in the studio. I bought it more because of the way it looks, not for the way it sounds.

Last year I bought this Seashore Chime, and put it by the back door near the studio. Alas, I don't hear this one much either. I'm too chicken to hang these chimes in the out of doors because I am worried the rain and strong winds will damage them. And because I don't really want to piss off my neighbors if they make noise all the time.

This year I decided to gift myself with another chime, and then I got a bit carried away. I bought this unusual chime with square tubes. It's the Amethyst chime, and I hung it out on the front porch.

This tiny chime is called Piccolo and I thought it was cute as hell. This one is more of a decoration.

But then I found THIS! It's the Chimes of Venus, and it's taller than I am! Not only that, it has the most glorious sound. When you click on the link of this one, the sound you'll hear is when you whack it, but when the breeze blows softly through it, THIS makes such a wonderful soft gong sound that just sort of simmers in the air. It's not big and brash (although I imagine it would be in a stiff wind), but this I hear when I'm in the kitchen cooking, or at the dining room table eating, and I can hear it gently singing at night while I lie in bed.

I mean, there's more to life than just quilts.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Binding Blu

I decided I wanted a light binding for the Blu diamond quilt.

So last night I made the binding, and got it sewn on to the whole quilt.

Now all I have to do... ("all", hahahahaha) is pin it to the front and hand sew it down. 

And if you think, "oh, wasn't she lucky, the binding doesn't cover the points of those diamonds," think again. It's called p-l-a-n-n-i-n-g.

Every time I bind a quilt, somebody has a question. I put all my answers in my tutorial, available at my Etsy shop. It includes all my tips and tricks to get your bindings to look like mine. It's basically everything you ever wanted to know about putting a binding on a quilt. Including all the little things nobody tells you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


This is Blu, the diamond quilt I made last summer. It has also been quilted.

I'll put a binding on it and send it to its new home, which is a surprise.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Big Scrappy Diamonds Quilt - Magic Carpet!

Last year I made this quilt out of the leftover big diamonds cut from "giant" prints. Each fabric is used only once. It's a kind of colorwash quilt made from big blocks and big prints.

As you can see, Millie approves.

The quilting is outstanding.

I'm really happy with it.

Millie likes it too.

This is the fabric I plan to use as the binding of the quilt.

Here's the whole quilt, trimmed.

What quilt really needs is a name! (Geode??)

update: Tuesday May 21, 2019. I've decided this is going to be called "Magic Carpet." Thank you, Rondi!

Everyone always asks about my binding techniques. I wrote a tutorial about it so I could put all my hints in one place. You can get a copy here, at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download, so you can start learning all my tricks right away.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Parade of Zebras, Quilted

It's always fun to pick up a bunch of quilts from the longarm quilter.

I love the way Janet-Lee quilted it.

It's so cool.

I have chosen the fabric on the right as the binding for this quilt. I think it's going to look great. 

I'm pretty sure I know where this is going to live when it's done. Actually that isn't true. What I REALLY mean is that my DIL loves this quilt and when it's finished it will be flying across the country to live in the City of Angels to live with my DS, DIL and granddaughter.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Big Bird

This big bird I plan to use in my classes has been quilted, and I think it's terrific.

 Here's the back. I loved this color chart of fabrics.

I used the same fabric as in the wing of the bird for the hanging sleeve on the back.

I'm going to use this pinkish batik that has been in my stash for ages as the binding.

The big bird block is 24" tall by 26" wide.

The talk at the Monadnock Quilter's Guild last night went very well. Before the talk I walked around the town. This building housed a yoga studio. I thought the mural was gorgeous.

If you want to make your own birds, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download so you can get started right away.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Washing Machine Shuffle

Somebody asked me what I did with the leftover bits of quilts that didn't work. This quilt is an example of what to do with those leftover duds. My pal Julie asked me to send mine to her several years ago and she made me two quilts. This is one of them, and it is made of leftover letters from my Daft Zebras and Nine x Nine quilts as well as some other experiments (houses and trees) and a baby quilt I made (asterisk flowers and hearts). Julie made the quilt from my pieces and Chris quilted it. When I knew that was going to happen I made our names and Julie included them in the quilt. It just goes to show that duds are only duds in the eye of the beholder.

I love this quilt so much it has lived on my bed for almost ten years. Every time I try another quilt it just looks blah.

So why is it on the blog today? Because the other day I was doing laundry and I thought, hmm, maybe I should wash this too, so it took a trip through the washer and dryer ("washing machine shuffle") and when I put it back on the bed I was struck by how much brighter it looked.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

It's a Mess

Contrary to what is shown in this picture, I really do AIM for my wastebaskets when I throw my scraps away.

Most of the time I get it in.

For Gail, who wondered what I do with my failed or dud letters, the answer is I keep everything because sometimes I might be able to reuse them sometime in the future.

I'm getting ready for a talk at the Monadnock Quilter's Guild on Friday night, so I haven't been sewing on the Not Paper Pieced Quilt.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Beta Posse Member

When I was writing Lynne's Liberated Letters, I enlisted several quilters to be my beta posse. I wanted members of the posse to have not had any experience in making free pieced letters at all. I needed the posse to tell me if my instructions were correct or if they needed any modifications.

Let me tell you, the Posse had LOTS of suggestions! They really beat me up. They pointed out things things that were ambiguous and things they felt could be improved. They made me re-explain things I thought were obvious, In some cases they rewrote my entire descriptions.

There were some things they did differently than I did. I encouraged this, because there is more than one way to do anything, and I wanted them to experiment. Marie made her 8 differently than I do, for example.

These letters are by Marie, who lives in NH, about an hour's drive away from me. She is a largely self taught quilter who's been quilting for about five years.

Although I've met Marie (she was in one of my Barn classes), she learned how to to the letters (and birds) exclusively through my tutorials.

If you want to make letters, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download so you can get started right away.

If you want to make birds, I have a tutorial for those too. Click here. Same deal!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

O Say, Can you C?

When I was making the green PAPER PIECING letters, I made this C using three fabrics. I knew what I wanted in my head.

As soon as I made it, I knew it was wrong. Moreover I knew instantly how to make it right. But first, a question for YOU. Do YOU know why this letter C doesn't work? See below for the answer.

 Here is the "good" C. I made it just like the other one. Except.

Here is the bad one on the left, and the good one on the right.

Here are the two of them, together. Bookends.

This just goes to show you how powerfully (and subtly) you can make your fabrics work for you or against you. (Wanda Hansen, from Exuberant Color, said she likes the way I use my fabrics to do "the heavy lifting" in my quilts. It's a great analogy.)

I wrote a tutorial about this too. It's called "Making Your Fabrics Work For You," and you can get it at my Etsy shop. Like all the rest, it's an instant download that you can get right away. Good stuff.

(Answer: It's top heavy.)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Hidden Surprises

You all know I love to add little hidden surprises in my quilts. I moved the snarky cat beside the P in PAPER, but had an empty space below him. I wondered if a bird would fit, so I tried this bird I had made earlier this spring. He filled the space nicely.

I wanted to repeat the colors of the QUILT letters, but I also wanted a bit of gold, to echo the color of the other bird, since I had removed the gold letters, I had to repeat that color someplace else in the quilt.

Yup. That works!

If you want to make your own birds, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It's an instant download so you can get started right away. These birds are made without templates, patterns or paper piecing.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Oh NO!

I have been thinking of what to do with the first NO in the Not Paper Pieced quilt. Here are some options.

I really like the cat as a "full stop," but from a distance, you don't see him. So that doesn't work.

I wondered if maybe the scissors would "read" as an exclamation mark. The answer was no. (It looks like the scissors are going to attack the cat...)

Was the moth better than the cat? Um, no.

So, does the moth look better as a "full stop?"  Nope.

What if he faces another direction? Uh, nope.

So maybe it would work as the dot in an exclamation point? I like the mark, but here the bug looks like he's going to get sucked up by a vacuum cleaner.

This isn't any better.

As usual, once  I make a decision I stop taking pictures and start sewing. I like this flower. It might be a bit big, but that's an easy fix.

So that's done.

Happy Mother's Day.