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.



Work-in-progress; more leftover tales

20 02 2015

Do you have days when you want to sit at your machine and just sew and sew and sew?

At a recent retreat, I made tons of new “parts” for a fun and happy quilt, and these long strings of strata or piano keys leftover from my previous Freddy-Moran-ish venture looked as though they would not work in the new quilt, since they did not seems to play together well with the new creations.

I decided that I did not want to work right now on quilts that take a lot of brain power.  I have done enough of that recently, and I am meeting personal challenges right now, so my work does not need to be challenging, too.  It needs to be safe, fun, and easy right now.

Sooooo, rather than trying to find a way to make them fit, I decided to let them play all by themselves.  Here is where I am so far in this fun new project.  I’m fascinated at how much this modern version reminds me of my Yellow Rows of Seven, which is all vintage fabrics.

Have I started a series?


The only problem (so far):  there are now leftover leftovers, the strata that don’t fit into this new quilt, which would be huge if they did.  Wow, I guess I really did make too many of these.  Just couldn’t stop, since they were soooooo fun to sew.  These are the remaining strips . . . .


. . . and these are the remaining waiting-to-be-strata pieces.

IMG_0121Beginning to think this quilt may have some sort of a strata border??

To be continued . . .

Vintage Drunkard’s Path, a variation

13 02 2015

I fell in love with this quilt top when I found it in 1994 in an antique collective in Rockford, Illinois.  According to Barbara Brackman, this block is a Rob Peter to Pay Paul variation of the familiar Drunkard’s Path block.


All the very bright colors make this a very happy quilt, and it is one that we use.


I replaced five heavily stained blocks with ones made from vintage fabric in my stash.  Two of the blocks I replaced are pictured here, second and third down.


This 1994 quilt also represents the beginning of my long and still-continuing process of learning machine quilting.  I see here that all I was able to do at the time was outline each of these blocks in the ditch.  Gotta start somewhere.

Kitty Stockings at Christmas, again

19 12 2014

I have been back in the Christmas stocking business again, since there are two wonderful new cats in my extended family.  Although my brother Dave and his wife Wendy (along with me and many others) mourned the loss of the sweet Bozo this year, a new cat came into their household, the charming Griswold, known to his friends as Grizz or Grizzly.  Here’s his stocking:

Stocking for Griswold, 2014

Stocking for Griswold, 2014

And here he is with his stocking.


Griswold, 2014

Griswold, 2014


And my son Patrick and his girlfriend Shannon also welcomed a new cat into their family.  He’s the enigmatic Archie, who previously did not have a warm home to call his own.  Gotta have a stocking so that the Santas who take care of these kitties will know where to put the goodies.

Archie Stocking, 2014

Archie Stocking, 2014

And I cannot resist showing Archie with his stocking as well.

Archie, 2014

Archie, 2014

Since I am still asked how this lettering is done (and it’s not my machine that does it), here is a look at how the process starts.  I have a ball choosing weird fonts from Free Fonts, and use a light box to transfer the letters to my fabric.  For the embroidery, I first do some padding stitches running in the opposite direction of the eventual lettering stitches, then satin stitch once, and re-stitch to fill in any empty spaces.  Sometimes I add an outline stitch around each letter for emphasis.

Stitching in progress

Stitching in progress

To see the array of other holiday stocking creations, click HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Happy Holidays.



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.




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