Japanese Quilting Study Group- More Taupes and More Progress

Welcome to this month’s edition of the Japanese Quilting Study Group!

I am still working hard on my Hexagon and Fence Post quilt from Yoko Saito’s book, My Quilting Life. I still love this quilt. However, it is officially the most difficult quilt I have EVER attempted. I have been agonizing over the center border curves. The book’s instructions say to cut the hexagons in a curvy pattern.  Here’s a progress picture of that border before cutting the curves:

fence post frame





The idea of cutting all those hand-pieced hexagons, and maybe messing them up, or having the seams unravel before I could baste them down, absolutely terrified me. I just couldn’t do it.

Instead, I cut the smoky teal border strips around the rail fence center to match those curves. I figured, if worst came to worst, I had more of that fabric and could redo the borders if I messed it up.

Now I’m making progress once again, and have nearly all the border strips appliqued:

fence post almost finished

I’m hoping to get a lot of the hand quilting done this weekend, as soon as I determine how to quilt it. Any suggestions?


Last weekend we visited the Midlothian quilt festival and had a ball.  In amongst all the “trendy” fabrics at the vendors, I hit on a treasure:  fat quarter taupe bundles with the Serenti line from EE Schenck and Daiwabo.

taupe bundles






Aren’t they delectable?

light taupes







dark taupes






Not sure what I’m going to do with them yet, but it feels rather decadent to have a taupe stash of my own!

Happy Stitching!



Stitch Fall 2015!

I am so excited to share some sneak peeks of the new Stitch issue with you!  Their magazines are always gorgeous, but I think they outdid themselves on this one!

Stitch Fall 2015 COVER






All photographs are courtesy of JackDeutsch.com

Here’s my project, a super-quick, fun little sashiko accent for your kitchen.  I can’t wait to get my samples back to start using them! Don’t you just love how they staged this photo?  I may just have to paint one of the walls in my studio a dusky teal so I photograph my quilts like this.

Breclaw Sashiko Tea Towel







In case you want to see the sashiko up close, the next picture is one I took before sending the towels off for their professional photo shoot.

sashiko tea towels

Look for this issue on newsstands next week (July 28), or if you can’t wait that long, it’s already available digitially.

Happy Stitching!













More Christmas in July Fun!

I think I may be a tiny bit obsessed with Christmas quilts this month!  I’ve finished a second one, and sent it off early last week for photography.  I’m so excited to show it to you. . . . sometime in October!  For now, though, here’s a close-up of the quilting on the back:

mistletoe quilting design

I freehanded mistletoe leaves and berries.  I had hoped to include holly leaves too, but my machine was NOT happy with those.  The thread kept breaking in the points of the leaves.  Maybe my tension is too tight overall?

Yesterday I started cutting into scrap yardage for a THIRD Christmas quilt.  This one will be a “rough draft” of a pattern I’m working on for the Little House on the Prairie fabric from Andover.  So I’ll hopefully have a finish and a pattern on that one in early September.

Christmas fabric strips

So many exciting projects, and I really SHOULD be unpacking instead of sewing.  Oh, well! What are you stitching up this week?

Don’t forget my Christmas in July pattern sale if you’re looking for holiday inspiration!

Happy Stitching!


Christmas Whirlwind Pattern Release and SALE!

While I may be behind on everything else right now, I’m tickled pink that I’ve already finished a Christmas quilt! Today I’m so excited to share a new pattern with you, Christmas Whirlwind!

whirlwind blog

This fun quilt is made with the lovely Downton Abbey Christmas Collection for Andover Fabrics.  I had a ball playing with the different sizes and orientations of pinwheel blocks.  This is a very easy quilt to piece, and goes together quickly.  I’ve included step-by-step piecing directions with ample diagrams. Last week I shared an alternate color version of the quilt made with Civil War reproduction fabrics.  I keep thinking this would also be fun with bright colors on a lime green background, or white fabrics with a blue background. . . So many possibilities!

And because it’s such a fantastic feeling to have a Christmas quilt already made for the year, I’m offering a special sale on ALL of my Christmas patterns in my Craftsy store for the whole month of July.  Hopefully one of them will inspire you to get a jump start on your Christmas quilting too!

Christmas in July






Happy Stitching!



Happy Fourth of July- and a Sneak Peek!

My apologies for the lapse in blog posts! Getting back into a routine after our move has proven to be a bigger challenge than I had originally imagined.  But there have been several exciting quilty adventures in the new studio that I’m looking forward to sharing with you as soon as I can.

Here’s a sneak peek of a new pattern that will be available next week.  This is my “rough draft” quilt, and the patriotic color scheme seemed very fitting for the fourth of July weekend:

Whirlwind preview








Tune in next week for the pattern and a very special sale!

Happy Fourth, and Happy Stitching!!


Quilting in Boxes

This is my first time to write a post from my cell phone, so it will be brief. We’re in the middle of a move, and don’t have computers set up yet.

Studio and kitchen, however, are functional! Here’s a sneak peek of the new studio. I love all the space, and the lighting is amazing!new studio

Hopefully I’ll have more fun stuff to share next week, but right now my progress is limited to an un-photogenic stack of empty boxes.

Happy Stitching!

Magna Glide Delight Bobbins and the Artistic SD Machine

When I first bought my Janome Artistic longarm, the demo machine was running on Magna Glide delight bobbins.  I’ve been a huge fan of Glide thread for years now, as it makes the most beautiful quilting stitches of any thread I’ve tried on either my domestic or longarm machine.

So I bought some of the prewound bobbins, just to see how that worked.  One thing I do not like about the Artistic is winding bobbins.  It usually takes me several tries to get it right.  It reminds me of trying to wind a yo-yo as a child.  The string would just go round and round, never quite catching.  Same thing with winding bobbins.

Long story short, it took a while for me to get these bobbins to work out right. After some online research and a note to the great folks at Glide threads, I finally figured out why the thread was breaking so often.

First of all, these bobbins don’t have sides to them.  So you have to remove the little anti-backlash spring in the bobbin case, or it will fray your bobbin thread.  It looks like this:

remove check spring

And yes, I promise you can put it back in when you’re done- just hold it with a pair of tweezers and gently press it back into the case.  Then run the tweezers along the side of the spring to lock it in.

Secondly, there’s a right and a wrong way to load the bobbin.  You want the magnetic side to go into the case first, and the blue plastic side to show once the bobbin is in.  Like so:

metal in first






plastic to outside






If you don’t do it this way, your bobbin will stick inside the machine instead of inside the bobbin case.  Not fun.

Now I’m back to happily quilting away on the Artistic.  I think my machine loves Glide threads as much as I do!!

Happy Stitching!



Quick and Easy Teacher Gifts

One of these years, I’m going to be way ahead of schedule and not scrambling to make teacher gifts at the last possible moment.  But not this year!

As I was searching Pinterest for something quick, easy, relatively inexpensive, and pretty, I found this awesome wrist cuff tutorial. And it fit all my criteria!  All in all, it took only a couple of hours to make a dozen or so bracelets.  I used some of my old Hoffman Challenge fabrics, and some other fun prints from my scrap bins.  My girls picked the buttons.

Here they are:







And a close-up:






And my daughter modeling one of them:

modeled bracelet






Don’t know what I’ll do next year when my son has all male teachers, but at least I’ve got a year to figure that out!

Happy Stitching!


JQSG- More Progress

Welcome to the Japanese Quilting Study group, a semi-monthly blog series devoted to exploring the wonderful world of Japanese quilts and quilters!  You can see all posts in the series by clicking the tab above.

May progressEarlier this month, I posted about finishing the center blocks for this quilt.  And I mentioned how I enjoyed the slow progress of this project.  A few days later, I woke up and realized we were halfway through May, and this quilt is scheduled to go on tour mid-July. Ack!!  So the project has risen to the very tippy top of my quilt priority list.  Here’s an updated progress shot of the quilt.  I’ve rewatched the entire Pride and Prejudice series while stitching hexies.  Such a delightful way to spend the evenings.

Do you remember Teresa Wong’s guest post on my blog last fall?  Her book release date approaches quickly, and you can now pre-order it on Amazon.  How cool is that? Wowsers, just after seeing the cover I’m in love with it.  I can’t wait to read all about the quilters within.  And I really enjoyed this post about her first stop on her book tour.  My little hexie quilt is going to be in some lovely company, don’t you think??

Happy Stitching!


Quiltmaker Blog Tour Winner

First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by my blog last week!  What a fun tour!!

As my regulars know, I try very hard to respond by individual e-mail to every comment left on my blog.  I will not be able to do that for the tour comments.  But please know I’ve read and appreciated every single one of them!  In fact, all the great comments about Jane Austen inspired me to stay up WAY too late last week, watching Pride and Prejudice, sipping tea, and sewing like crazy on my Yoko Saito hexagon project. Fun times!

Congratulations to Marie, who commented with:

I haven’t tried English paper piecing. Not sure if it’s for me but maybe someday…. I do love English period shows and movies though.

You’ve won a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks volume 11!  We’ll be in touch with you over e-mail, Marie!







And now I’m back to work on a couple of new patterns, end-of-the-year teacher gifts, and a slew of crazy projects that I can’t wait to share with you soon.  I’m looking forward to a less frantic schedule in June.  No school and all the kids home means a more relaxed pace, right?!?

Happy Stitching!