23 09 2009




Welcome to the journal of my work.  I’m looking forward to chronicling both the old and the new. Ideas, inspirations, mistakes, and progress will all be celebrated.



Autumn On Delancey

28 11 2014

Autumn on Delancey is a quilt I made for my father-in-law Ed Hennessey.  The inspiration for this quilt was playing in the huge piles of raked leaves with our son Patrick in front of the Delancey Street house in Mamaroneck NY.  This fun activity made our fall vacation very special.

Autumn on Delancey, 2001

Autumn on Delancey, 2001

Made from leftovers (as usual), this scrap quilt uses the Chinese Coins pattern, and I was elated to find the scattered leaf fabric for the columns and the borders.  This fabric pulled all the other fabrics together.


Autumn on Delancey-Detail

Autumn on Delancey-Detail

Nina Farrell long-arm quilted this quilt in an overall leaf pattern, using all different kinds of leaves. Click on the Detail photo to enlarge it and see the great leaves. She did wonderful work here, and Eddie loved his quilt.


Fans, or more fun playing with the leftovers

14 11 2014

Anyone who actually reads what I write here knows that I love to solve fabric puzzles.  Sometimes I make too many blocks for just one quilt, or just cut too much fabric.  And sometimes I feel like fitting together the leftovers from many projects into one new piece.

Fans is one of the former, because I made 28 of these foundation-pieced wedges, so setting them aside or throwing them away was not an option for me. Fortunately, Fans was  also one of the quilts that I describe as “making itself”, meaning that it went together very quickly and easily.  I only had to make two more blocks to complete the center.

Fans, 2014 59" x 68.5"

Fans, 2014
59″ x 68.5″

When making the Wheel Medallion quilt (click here to see that finished quilt), I made a classic medallion-maker mistake—I started sewing parts for the next border before finishing the center, so naturally, when it was time to add that border, it did not work for me, leaving me with this huge pile of these curvy shapes.

Here’s where I still thought this border might work:

Potential border-Phase one

Potential border-Phase one

And here’s where I gave up:

Potential border--Phase NO!

Potential border–Phase NO!

Using these “fans”  for the Wheel’s border seemed to detract from the center of the Wheel Medallion quilt, so I moved on to find something else, and I really love what this “mistake” helped me to create.

I had originally thought that Wheel Medallion would be a blue quilt, and, in the making, it turned out not to be the case.  So here I finally got the blue quilt.

Some details of Fans, a fun quilt all on its own:

Fans-Detail 1

Fans-Detail 1

Fans-Detail 2

Fans-Detail 2

Does this mean I now have started a series??


Fun pattern for Children’s Quilt Project

10 10 2014

I had a really wonderful experience on Etsy recently, and here is the outcome.

I am always looking for simple quilt patterns that I can use to make kits for EBHQ’s Children’s Quilt Project for donation to needy kids around the Bay Area and beyond.  These kits are made from donated fabric, and guild members sew them, quilt and bind them, and distribute them to all sorts of organizations that deal with kids that need a cuddly wrapper.

Sooooo, while shopping online at Etsy, I found a great quilt I could adapt to a smaller version for our purposes.  Sue Pfau of the sweetjane Etsy shop was wonderful;  she gave me permission to use her great Between the Lines pattern for our guild kits.

Check out her shop and the pattern here.

The original pattern uses a jelly roll of fabric, 40 cuts to make a large quilt.  My version ends up measuring 38″ x 44″, and uses 22 cuts x the width of the fabric.  Here’s my first run at the adapted pattern, with its speedy, slightly weird quilting that I hope a 3-year-old might not notice.

Between the Lines Adaptation

Between the Lines Adaptation

Check out Sue’s shop,  which is now one of my favorites.


Adaptation—a vacation saga

3 10 2014

I had the privilege of vacationing in Ashland, Oregon for a week of relaxation and five great plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The only difficulty was that I mistakenly left this lovingly-packed basket of travel handwork projects on my dining room table.  Nooooooooooooo!!!  The error was noticed immediately, when I wanted to relax at the cottage we had rented.

I wonder if anyone else would feel lost without something to keep the creative fingers entertained.

One lonely basket

One lonely basket

Soooooo,  bright and  early the next morning, I headed off to Sew Creative, an exciting quilt store on Main in Ashland.  I found this cute kit for paper piecing, which included a handful of pre-cut papers, as well as heavy plastic templates for cutting the fabrics.  I also bought a bundle  of Marcia Derse fat quarters, needles, some thread, and a few pins——-PROBLEM SOLVED!!


Progress by Day Three, peacefully working on the screened porch—very relaxing.

paper piecing process

paper piecing process

Now that I am back home I realize that I have created a monster.

Firstly, how did this project jump to the top of the To Do List?  Others have been waiting patiently, some for years.

Secondly, having chosen these very dramatic fabrics, how do I get them to play with each other without fighting?  I think these blocks look too crowded, although I really do like some of the triangle shapes that are created where the three hexagons meet.  Squint to see these.

Crowded blocks

Crowded blocks


I think these blocks will need to be separated.

Separated blocks

Separated blocks

Thus, thirdly, what can I possibly use to separate them that also does not fight with them?  My current solution is to keep making more blocks and hoping that things will all work themselves out eventually.  That’s about all the planning I can hope for right now.



500 Traditional Quilts: look for the new book

22 08 2014

Soon to be released is this fun new book 500 Traditional Quilts by Karey Patterson Bresenhan, which just happens to contain 3 of my quilts.

Click here to see the book’s preview online, featuring my Food Quilt on page 19 of the preview.

I have written about these quilts before, but I’d like to brag and showcase them again here.

The Food Quilt, made entirely of vintage “kitchen” fabrics, reminds us of an era when all women sewed and made their own kitchen curtains, tablecloths, dish towels, and aprons.   I featured this quilt in this blog when I was describing my love of all things vintage, as well as my fascination with foundation piecing techniques.  Read the entire story of this quilt here.

The Food Quilt 74" x 86" Photography by Sibila Savage

The Food Quilt
74″ x 86″
Photography by Sibila Savage

A second quilt featured in this book is Dot to Dot, made for my daughter’s high school graduation.  It features only dotty fabrics and was a joy to work on.    Read its full story here.

Dot to Dot 74" x 83" Photography by Sibila Savage

Dot to Dot
74″ x 83″
Photography by Sibila Savage

The third quilt selected is Redwork Revisited,  which continues my celebration of all things vintage, this time incorporating vintage embroidery transfers..  This one was another in the labor-of-love quilt series, and please do not ask how long it took to make it.  Read this quilt story here.

Redwork Revisited, 2011 71" x 89" Photography by Sibila Savage

Redwork Revisited, 2011
71″ x 89″
Photography by Sibila Savage

I am very proud of all three of these quilts and quite pleased  they have received this recognition.

You can see these quilts in person at the International Quilt Festival Houston 2014.  Redwork Revisited will be shown in the Ruby Jubilee: Celebrating 40 Years exhibit, which will showcase red and white quilts.  The Food Quilt and Dot to Dot can be seen in the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit, along with other quilts from the new book.

Vintage Fans Quilt

8 08 2014

Another from my vintage quilt collection, this former fan quilt top is now a quilt.  It is filled with really great vintage fabrics, some of which are strikingly unusual, and I wish I had a few yards of some of these.  These complementary colors of lavender and bright yellow create a very strong contrast, and provide a good background for these great fabrics.


Vintage Fans, date unknown 81" x 81" Photography by Sibila Savage Photography by Sibila Savage

Vintage Fans, date unknown
81″ x 81″
Photography by Sibila Savage

This detail shows some of the great fabrics.  This is a great quilt for the summer.

Vintage Fans, Detail

Vintage Fans, Detail

Also, if anyone interested in owning one of the cross-stitch pieces from the previous posts, contact me for details.


Cross-stitch II: more fabulous flowers

1 08 2014

Continuing the cross-stitch story from the previous post . . .

Before I discovered all the roses,  I had discovered other Lilac Studio designs for wonderful flowers and groups of flowers.  These were all delicately shaded, artfully composed,  challenging to complete, and very attractive to me.

A Bouquet with Hydrangea

One of my all-time favorite flowers, this hydrangea is one of the ones still on display in our home .


Hydrangea detail



My next favorite—these freesias have a mix of both bold and muted color palettes.


Freesia detail


Sweet Peas

Loved the blues in this design.



And, on display during December



Some of these patterns are available online on occasion, most likely on Etsy or eBay.  I recommend this as a meditation exercise or a compact travel project.

I just did a search and found two more patterns that I had not seen before;  am desperately trying to resist the urge to start another of these fun projects.  Don’t know if my eyes can handle it anymore.  Alas. . .

Photography by Paul Hennessey



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