Chopsticks – Quiltcon or Bust! … The story


I posted a picture of this quilt on facebook yesterday, and wanted to give you the full story of this quilt, as “I” can’t take all the credit for it:).  So…. ever since the first Quiltcon show in 2013, myself and two of my best friends (and fellow longarm quilters) Nancy Gano and Eva Birch, decided that we had to make it to the 2015 Quiltcon show.  So, this past year, as information on the show became available, we discussed it, and went back and forth about how none of us could really justify paying for the trip “just to go”. So, back in July, we found ourselves at our annual quilt retreat, still trying to figure out how we could go to the show.  So, I made a suggestion … what if we worked together on a quilt, tried entering it in some shows, and maybe, just maybe we would win, and use the prize money to help pay for the trip ……….. I know, a long shot, but, really, what could it hurt to try right?!?!.  OK, so none of us has any spare time with quilting for others, etc., but, if each one of us only had to do “part” of the quilt, and we kept it fairly small, we thought we could make it happen.  So, we remembered that Nancy had this gorgeous quilt that she had designed and pieced (and had been trying to talk one of us into quilting for her for quite some time).  I LOVED this quilt top.  Years ago, I had been hand dying a lot of fabric, and of course, after washing and trimming, I had a big bag of cut offs from the edges that I had saved, I just couldn’t throw them away. When I cleaned up my quilting room one time, I realized that I was not ever going to do anything with these scraps, soooo, I asked if anyone wanted them …. and yes, Nancy took them.  She later came to a meeting and showed us this amazing quilt top she had designed and improvisationally paper pieced with those hand dyed scraps… and her choice of the deep plum color that she set them with was stunning!  She had named it “Chopsticks”.  So it was decided we would quilt Chopsticks, and this would be the quilt we work together on.  We all met shortly after the retreat to come up with a quilting plan, and timeline to get this thing done in time to enter it in the MQX Midwest show  (since we would be there to see it hanging).  Nancy had already done here part, she pieced it, and beautifully, I might add.  So Eva took the quilt first, and did all of the SID and linework, which she is VERY good at, and when she was done, the quilt was basically quilted, so it didn’t need to be basted or anything, she took it off the machine, and brought it to me.


I added the background quilting.  Nancy wanted what she calls the “Circle Pops” for the fill, and so that’s what I did.  It was soooo cool to get to create something with these girls, we work great as a team, and it was the BEST, not having to do ALL of the work:)!  There was only one hiccup in the whole process, and that was that we initially had added some other elements in the background area, but, when I was done with the fill, and hung it up and looked at it, all I could see were those open areas we decided to leave in the background.  I really couldn’t see past them, to me, the piecing was so, clean and crisp, that it just needed one solid fill behind it, and nothing distracting from the piecing design, so yes, a little ripping on my end was involved, and more filler (it was nothing too terrible, lol).  So, we got it bound, sleeve, and label on just in time to ship of to the MQX Midwest show. We had already entered the quilt in the show, unquilted. Nancy and Eva were a little concerned about doing this, but, I assured them, that this is better, because now we CAN”T procrastinate, and we WILL get it done (I personally work best this way, lol).  The only bad thing about being in such a rush, is that we didn’t have the time to properly block the quilt, but, we know it needs done, and will take care of that before it gets sent to any other shows.  When we entered the quilt, we changed the quilt name to reflect the story of the quilt “Chopsticks – Quiltcon of Bust!”.  This was the first time Nancy had ever entered a quilt for show, so it was awesome that it received a Faculty Ribbon from Linda Poole!  And, we were able to get a pic of us with the quilt.

Nancy with her quilt:


The three of us:


Congratulations were also in order for Eva, for her 1st place win at MQX for a quilt she quilted for one of her customers


And so….we very quickly realized that, we are probably not going to win a bunch of prize money to help pay for the trip, lol, but, it turned out to be very rewarding.  We have entered the quilt in a few other show, and in the mean time have booked our trip to Quiltcon …. so, if we happen to win a couple of bucks towards going, it will be great, but if not, we will still be going to the show, lol.  We are hoping it gets accepted to the Quiltcon show, so that we can see it hanging there in person:)!!!!

New Quilt Process, Part 2 (better late than never)

Oh boy, I really dropped the ball on this step by step process  …………  sorry!   I am going to continue to show how I made this quilt, but I have to admit, that  I really did not do a very good job at documenting the rest of the process. I took it along on a quilt retreat to finish it, and …. forgot my camera, ooops.  But, I had to  go ahead and finish it, as this was my only opportunity to have 4 days of uninterrupted time to work on my own quilts.

But, before I pick up where I left off, I wanted to share this:

This is my quilt “Keep It Simple”, it won the “Best Modern Quilt” award at the AQS Show in Phoenix.  OMG!  I was totally shocked when I received the phone call from the show to tell me I had won.  I was amazed to win this award, and of course, after being totally shocked, and then thrilled to have won, my mind instantly went to …. Maybe they called the wrong person, I better wait until I see it officially on the website.  Seriously, I don’t know WHY I do that!?  But, I do, every time, lol.

Thanks to Jessica for taking a pic of it with the ribbon, hanging at the show!

Keep it Simple AQS Phoenix

And here is a close up from while I was quilting it.  The whole quilt design, including the quilting was inspired from the backing fabric, you can see it in this picture on the take up roller.


OK, so, back to the quilt process!!!

So, my next step was to prepare my applique shapes, and apply them to the background.  I use Sharon Schamber’s machine applique method.I will share with you the few pictures I took, but, at this point, rather than me going through the whole process, I will suggest you click on over to Christy’s (Sharon’s Daughter) blog Sew Much like Mom and watch her amazing, step by step Video Tutorial on how to do this, the right way (as I have kind of gotten lazy in the way I do it, lol).  Also, you can find all the supplies you need at Christy’s Online Shop Purple Daisies, LLC .  Their applique interfacing/stabilizer is the best!

So, after tracing my applique design onto my background fabric using the light box, and trimming it up, I peeled my freezer paper off, and this time, put it under my applique stabilizer, and traced  each of the shapes, so I could cut them out of the stablizer  for my applique.  I have experimented with many different products for this, and have to say the one Sharon uses is my favorite by far, it is the “most firm” and it makes it easier to turn the fabric edges to the back of my applique shapes.  but, because this was kind of an “on a whim project”, and I wanted to do it NOW, this was all I could find locally at Joann’s:


As you can see below, I then cut out my stabilizer shapes, and using my glue stick, ironed them onto my applique fabric.


I then cut out all of the shapes using somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4″ around the outside of each shape.  For my long straight black pieces, I did not need to leave any fabric to turn to the back, as the ends will be tucked under another applique shape.


The next step was to use my purple, Elmers washable glue stick to turn the fabric around the edges of the stabilizer


You need to glue and turn only a small section at a time.  The glue tends to dry too quickly for me to put the glue on the whole shape and then turn it all at once.  The trick is to kind of do tiny little pinches as you go around, being sure to keep all of your edges nice and smooth.  I use a travel iron, as you can’t see what you are doing if you try to use a normal size iron.  I just glue a small area, fold over, and then quickly hit it with the tip of my travel iron to dry the glue, then move on to the next section.


Once you have turned all of the edges, you end up with these awesomely perfect little shapes!


You should definitely watch the video to see how this should be done, as this is where I get lazy.  You are supposed to use white school glue now to attach the shapes to the background, but …. I just hate cleaning out my glue tips, and usually forget, and then when I go to get hem again they are all clogged up with dry glue, and crusty, lol.  Soooo, I just again grab my glue stick to attach the shapes to my background.  Yes, it does make the whole thing a lot stiffer, but I always wash my quilt when it’s done, so that doesn’t really concern me too much.  Below you can see I now have all of my shapes glued down to the background.  After I attached all of my shapes, I realized that the center (which was initially going to be solid coral) really needed something.  So I ended up adding a turquoise circle in the center, and it really helped to tie it all together with the inspiration fabric that I will use around the outside.  Now, at this point,  I would normally stitch my shapes on by machine with monofilament thread (monopoly is my choice), using a tiny zig zag stitch.  But, when I started this, I thought it would be a nice project that I could stitch by hand in the evenings when watching TV.  So, I immediately needed to see how this was going to look, and I decided to hand stitch just one piece to have a look, and yes, it looked very nice, lol, so …………. yes, just one more piece, lol, and yes, you can guess, my nice little hand applique project for the evenings was done in the next few hours, and didn’t even make it to that evening ….. because I just couldn’t wait to see it done ….. seriously, there is something wrong with me, lol.


After finishing the applique panel, I put it aside until my quilting retreat.  The following pics were taken after it was done, again, I apologize for not getting any pics in progress.

To frame the applique section, I simply cut some wide black strips, about 5″, and sewed them to all 4 sides.  I then just laid it on the cutting table, and trimmed each side into a wonky shape that was appealing to me.  Next, I did the same with white fabric, but this time, used a much larger strip, about 10″ and sewed them to all sides, but this time, I laid it on the cutting table, and used the wide white strips to trim it back to having straight edges.


The last step was to frame the whole thing with my inspiration fabric  (that to me, is just too cool to cut into little bits, lol).  As you can see in the photo, I used thinner strips on the left and top, and wider strips on the  right and bottom edges.


Now, it is sitting in my pile of tops that need quilted, and I’m hoping to get to this one pretty soon!

New Quilt ……. my process

I had mentioned in a previous post that I was working on a new project for myself (well it will actual go to my son).  I have people ask me all the time … how did you come up with that idea???  Well, I don’t know, seriously, I just think of it, there isn’t any big thought process for me.  I just get the idea, then sketch out a basic drawing (and I do mean basic, you’ll see in the photo, lol).  And then I just basically work it out as I go.  So I thought that this would be a good project to kind of share my step by step process of how I made it.  Especially since the inspiration for this quilt came straight from the fabric!

Sooo …. it all started with a piece of fabric that I absolutely fell in love with.  I knew as soon as I saw it online that I HAD to have it.  But, of course, it was constantly on backorder (apparently a lot of other people HAD to have it too, lol).  I eventually was able to get my hands on some, and I ordered a bunch, because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get any more later if I needed it.  It is from Michael Miller Fabrics, and it is called Atomic.


I have had the fabric for probably about a year now, and just kept looking at it trying to figure out what I could make with it, without having to cut it up into little pieces.  Because to me, the large, bold print is just too cool to cut, and wouldn’t look the same.  Then one day I realized why not just take my inspiration from the designs on the fabric.  So I drew something up real quick (see what I mean, not some precise scaled drawing or anything, lol)


So I decided I would do an applique panel, frame it, and then surround it with the print.  So my next step was to draw out an actual pattern for my applique panel.  I did this on freezer paper because it was the only paper I had big enough for the size of my applique.


The next step was to decide on a background color for my applique panel.  I was initially going to just use light gray, but decided to go ahead and add tiny white strips to the gray to mimic the white lines on the actual fabric.  So I sliced and inserted random 1/2″ strips (they finished 1/4″) to the light gray.


I then starched and ironed the daylights out of it from the backside (like 4 or 5 times), until it felt like paper


My next step was to transfer the applique pattern to the background so I would be able to easily place my applique pieces.  And wow, how lucky, I realized that because I drew the pattern on freezer paper, I could just iron it to the back of my fabric.


After I ironed the pattern to the back, I used the edges of my pattern to trim my background to the correct size.


And the final step in preparing my background was to flip it over, put it on my light box, and trace the pattern lightly with pencil on the right side of fabric.


And yep …. the second I held it up to look at it, I realized that because I ironed it onto the back of the fabric and then traced it, I had reversed the pattern!!! Seriously, I was not going to start again …. so, after looking at it for a few minutes, I decided it really didn’t make a difference to me that the design was leaning the other direction now … I can live with it, lol.


So the next step will be preparing my applique pieces, and I will pick up there in my next post.




Update on “In The Background Book”

In my last post I told you about my second new book, “In The Background”.  The discounted copies that I had available with printing that was too dark are now gone.  And … I finally have good copies available that I can live with, lol.  You can click “HERE” if you are interested in more info about the book.

I have received a couple of emails asking about the quilt on the book cover.  The quilt was a challenge piece for the longarm group I belong to.  I just took a white square of fabric, and used a flower stencil to paint the flower with Stewart Gill fabric paints.  Then I did the quilting.


After I finished quilting it, I went back with a pigma pen, and added doodles over the stenciled petals, and on some of the areas of the background fills.


I really like this little quilt!


Two posts in one day!?

Just a quick note —- I gave my MIL a copy of my next book that is coming out called “In The Background” last week to check out.  Well, I saw today that she mentioned it in a post online, and then she called to tell me she didn’t see it anywhere for purchase on my blog —-well, that was because I wasn’t ready to sell it yet, LOL.  Sooo, I just added a page for the new book.  You can click HERE to check out the info on “In The Background” if you’d like (or you can use the tab under my blog header).  There is an explanation there as to why I hadn’t mentioned it yet.



Computer Skills, lol …..

Wow, I am so seriously in need of some computer skills!  Now that I have finished my new Modern Simplicity book, I have been trying to figure out how on earth you add a paypal button so people can order online.  After looking at numerous youtube videos, and doing searches in the help section, I finally, after 3 hours (yes, I said 3), figured out how to add a paypal button to purchase the book.  I mean really, everyone I talked to told me how easy it was, NOT!!!  I just absolutely suck at computer stuff.  So anyway, at least it is finally done, so if you are interested in purchasing the new book, you can now do that on the “New Modern Simplicity Book” page up there under the blog header.

I have been keeping extremely busy trying to get caught up on customer quilts after being away teaching at the Machine Quilters Showcase.  MQS was really nice this year, except for the fact that my boxes of class supplies didn’t show up until the last day I was there, lol.  I was so happy that the two Modern Simplicity classes based on my new book went really well, and I received great comments from the students.

Because I have been so busy trying to get caught up on quilts, I forgot to take pics of most of them. Below are a couple of the quilts I’ve done over the past few weeks (that I remembered to get pics of, lol).

This is Marian’s wallhanging, I did some Less Stress Feathers on it:


This is Barb’s Quilt — I love the fabrics and colors she used! I used some designs from my new book on this one.


I also wanted to share a couple of photos sent to me by people who have used some of the new modern designs on their quilts.

First up is Vicki’s table runner ….. I soooo love this!  You can read more about it on Vicki’s blog


This one is from Janice, she used one of the Modern Simplicity designs in a quilt border ………….. COOL!

Jodis border treatment

I have a couple of projects I’ve been working on for myself, that I will share with you in coming posts.  One of which is a quilt I’m making for myself (well, actually for my DS), and I thought it might be fun to share pics of the process of making it from start to finish.  So watch for that in the coming week.

Now, it’s back to the machine for me!


My Newest book is FINALLY done!

I mentioned in my last post, that the pillow I made


Was planned for another use as well ……….

Modern Simplicity Book Cover

I wanted something to use for my newest book cover!

I have been working on some new books for what seems like FOREVER!  And I finally have “Modern Simplicity” – Machine Quilting Designs for Modern Quilts actually in my hands, lol.  I am so excited about this book …. it is my favorite that I’ve done.  You can click on the “New Modern Simplicity Book” link (below my blog header pic) for the particulars on the content, and ordering info.  At this time, I can only take orders by mail, but as soon as I return from teaching at the Machine Quilters Showcase, I will get everything in place to take credit card orders online.  And of course, if you will be at the MQS show, I will have them there.

I am actually a little disappointed, because I had 2 books done, and submitted to the printer, but ….. only one made it out as a book, LOL.  I haven’t done a book in quite some time, and thought that this time around I would get some desktop publishing software and try to make things easier (I mean, the description for the software made it sound like a piece of cake) ……… well, it really just made it much more difficult, especially with my computer skills being so terrible.  So, it turns out I need to totally reformat how I put the other book together in order for them to print it, so I am hoping to get that done, and back to the printer by the end of May.

My Pantos in use!

I have the most amazing friends (who also happen to be longarm quilters)!  They were nice enough to share photos with me of quilts that they have used some of my pantos on.  My pantograph patterns are available at : Digitech Patterns

The first one is Dancing Wedges:

Modern Wedges Pantograph

This first quilt was done by Janice, she finishes more quilts than anyone I know, lol.  You can visit her blog at:

JaniceDancingWedges2 JaniceDancingWedges

Nancy made this green and white quilt for one of her grandchildren (I love the color combo!)


The next quilts are done with my Modern Ripple Pantograph:

Modern Ripple Pantograph

First up was another quilt done by Janice, I love the texture of this one!

Janice Modern Ripple

And another quilt made by Nancy for one of her grandchildren.  I love how it looks with the pattern oriented across the stripes vertically, rather that having it oriented horizontally with the stripes.


I also want to mention, that both of Nancy’s quilts (the purple/white and green/white ones) were made using an AWESOME tutorial for the Firefly Quilt found at Canoe Ridge Creations.  Here is a link right to the tutorial .  I sooo love this quilt pattern!  So much so, that I made one too.  My son wanted a smallish quilt for on his couch, but wanted it to coordinate with a room divider curtain he has, so I replaced one of the solid stripes on the bottom of mine, with the same fabric that is in his curtain.


And of course he needed a coordinating pillow too!


This pillow was also made for another purpose —- and I’ll share that with you tomorrow ;)   Now …. back to work getting ready for my classes at the Machine Quilters Showcase .

Another one done!

I finished binding this next table runner a while ago, but haven’t had the chance to post it here.  I made some cool candle holders for Christmas gifts this year, and wanted something to put them on, to make them stand out.  (I saw the idea for the candle holders on Pinterest, though they used frosted spraypaint, and I actually sandblasted them to get the frosted effect).

Full Shot:



Heres a closer shot of one of the ends & quilting



And last, a shot with the candleholders on it :)



I spent last weekend at a monthly retreat, which I truly enjoy, since it is pretty much the ONLY time I get to spend working on things for myself (well, not necessarily things for myself, but things I WANT to work on, lol).  I was able to get two small quilts pieced there this month, but when I got home, and added it to the pile of things that need quilted ….




I was reminded what being a longarm quilter is all about, LOL!  I seriously need to come up with some kind of schedule to start getting some of my stuff quilted between customer quilts.  Ugh, if only I could take the quilting machine to retreat every month, lol, then maybe I’d get something done …. rather than just adding to the stack.

Better get outside and clear the snow off my car (again), I am SOOOO sick of doing this, it really needs to quit snowing EVERY day!!!




One binding down

Here is the first of the tablerunners, finally bound.  Yeah, I know, it is small, but I despise the binding process, lol.  And of course I had to start back to work on customer quilts this week, which slows down any work on my own stuff.  I have been quilting a bunch of small stuff to make packing class samples easier.  Please excuse the quality of the pics …. my son is studying abroad in Rome this semester, so obviously he got to take the good camera (which leaves me stuck with the REALLY old one)  Anyway ….. here’s a full shot



A shot with some side lighting to see the quilting a little better



And one a little closer of the quilting




I still have to wash it to remove the stiffness from the applique.  Should be able to finish binding another tonight.