Archive for October, 2012


Friday, October 26th, 2012

I’ve been doing some stitching on a piece that I started several years ago. I originally pieced together a bunch of hexagonal shapes, then embellished them with rather bright, slightly wild floral images that I cut from chiffon fabric. Then began a long incubation period!! I found it a few weeks ago and have been working on it sporadically when I need a break from my current piecing project.

Luckily I had already adhered the chiffon to the background with invisible thread (a most irksome task) so when I rediscovered the piece, I realized I could just begin “quilting”. However as you can see in the photo, the stitching is more than just quilting. It’s more like drawing with the machine. My goal is to add detail and depth–it’s similar to the process of inking in a sketch.

Here’s a close-up so you can see the stitching in detail.

I’m using a slightly variegated thread which is mostly black and purple, with just a touch of burgundy. Variegated thread is perfect for this technique because the color changes add interest, but I always use thread that is darker than the fabric I’m working with so that the line of stitching looks like an inked line.

I outline stitch motifs in the background fabric also. This has the effect of drawing the background upwards and integrating it with the floral motifs.

You can see the piecing lines in this image. Hopefully when I am finished stitching, those seams will not be so noticeable.

This piece is kind of wild and I don’t know quite how it’s going to end up. But I’m having fun doing the stitching. It truly is like drawing with the sewing machine!!

Quilt Inn 2012

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Since I am no longer traveling to teach, Quilt Inn this year was more of a rereat than a seminar. Highland Lodge (my family’s lodge here in Greensboro where Quilt Inn was held for more than twenty years) closed this year, so ten seasoned Quilt-Inners gathered in Kennebunk, Maine in mid-September. We enjoyed four days of beautiful, sunny weather, intense designing and sewing, and the companionship of fellow quilters. We each worked on our own project and much was accomplished in four days!


Carol, above left, spent some of her time piecing a project from a previous Quilt Inn session. Carol is fearless and tackled some curved seams that even I would not attempt. One of the seams took an hour to pin and sew!! But she persevered and I can’t wait to see her finished project. Karen (middle) did a lot of markinga cutting and will sew her project by hand. Kristen, on the right, worked on a devilishly small and intricate bird design.


Sarah spent some of her time working on a scene of Hardwick. There’s a lot of detail in this piece and it’s fun to see it come alive as the work progresses. She also designed and started to sew a Curved Kaleidomosaic design, seen in the photo on the right above.


Louise, above left, worked on several small projects and Pat, right, finished a free-form colorful design and began work on a multi-block project. Pat used all her own hand-dyed fabrics in her work. Pat owns Cherryfield Chocolates, and kept us supplied with chocolate snacks the whole time we were there. What a treat!


Jane always works on a large project and this year was no exception. Her design features a large flower nestled amidst leaves and other foliage and here (left) you see the flower coming to life. Marilyn, right, is another quilter who is not afraid of a challenge. Her large butterfly design required a lot of time working on the pattern because there were many little pieces. She got half of the butterfly designed and up on the design wall. Luckily, the second half is a mirror image of the first, so finishing the cutting/designing stage should be relatively easy. Hopefully Marilyn (and everyone else) will send me photos  as their projects progress so I can post them here.


The photo of Trudy, above left, captures her trying to remember how to thread this machine, but she must have figured it out because she got three wedges of a Kaleidoscope design sewn together, no easy feat!! Notice the chatting that’s going on in the background. One of the best parts of any quilting event is the chance to enjoy the company of other quilters. Although we do a lot of talking about quilting, that is by no means the only topic of conversation. I’ve been amazed over the years at the topics that come up in today’s version of the quilting bee. No subject is off-limits! I know that quilters have given me a lot of good advice over the years and who knows how many important problems have been solved over the whir of our sewing machines.

Here is my project for the week–a quilt for my granddaughter. She is only 3 1/2 and this quilt is to be a present for her fourth birthday. I know she’s a bit young for such a sophisticated quilt, but I’m hopeful she will grow into it. And I know she will love it because it’s purple. Keep tuned to see how this quilt progresses.


Of course, we are not serious all the time. We do a lot of giggling and fooling around in between heavy-duty stitching times! Taking pictures is always popular. As our time together draws to a close, the cameras start to appear as everyone tries to capture a little bit of the experience to take home with them. The memories of times like this sustain us throughout the year. Just looking at the photos brings a serge of energy and creativity. There is nothing like the collective energy that is generated when a bunch of quilters get together and that energy can keep us all going for a long time. I know I tap into it whenever I need a creative boost.


Carol did some interesting experiments with colored pencils and inks on various textiles (left above). The piece tacked on the board was done on velveteen which gave the image an interesting soft texture. Kristin (above right) got frustrated with her bird pattern so she switched gears completely and worked on a simpler circular design that offered some intriguing possibilities.

As I write this post I get a wonderful feeling of nostalgia and an overwhelming desire to be back in that room again with my nine dear quilting friends. Every time I work on my purple quilt, I think of our time together and enjoy remembering and reliving our time together.