23 09 2009




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

Click on the tabs above to view galleries of my work.



Fabric postcards, the latest from the pandemic

5 06 2020

During the abundance of time available these days for hand sewing while binge-watching whatever I can find on on Netflix, Hulu, or [insert your fave streamer here], I have created all of these small items, in fond remembrance of making postcards for my guild’s cancelled Voices in Cloth 2020 quilt show.

So here’s what I have come up with so far.  All these meet my very simple criterion:  fun to make for my personal use, some more successful than others.  All the stitching was done using vintage embroidery transfers.

Not all are purple, though I really like the color.


And, just for my wacky sense of humor, these few extra, non-embroidered ones:

That’s all, folks.


Leftover follow-up and donations

15 05 2020

All the leftovers from the UFO donation described in the previous post made only a small stack of strips, so I found this cute multicolored print in my stash and made just one more child-sized quilt from this color family.

A fun finale to this use-up-the-scraps project and a nice diversion for me.

And when that one was finished I had time to stitch and quilt one of the kits that I had made up, simple and fun.

And just one more . .

I had taken a bundle of coordinated fabrics that Sandi Cummings had put together for our First Place for Youth volunteer group.  I liked the bundle but did not know what I was going to do with it.

Then I remembered the quilt that fellow volunteer and quilter extraordinaire Becky Keck was making from piles of leftover from her previous projects.  This quilt pattern seems to work with any grouping of fabrics that have even the slightest color or pattern relationship with each other.

I played around with the fabrics, added a few more from my collection, and finished all in one day. These rectangles are 6″ by 8″ finished, so it cuts and sews in no time.

I hope this one will eventually find a good home with one of the First Place clients.

Stay well and keep sewing.



Fun with solids

10 04 2020


This is another story about finishing projects that other quilters have started.

Our EBHQ volunteer group received a donation of a pile of finished blocks, a small finished quilt top and a bag of pre-cut strips, all in bright solids.  Also donated was her pattern, Tiki Temple, a Disappearing Log Cabin by Natalie Barnes of Beyond the Reef.  (See all of Natalie’s patterns and more Here.)  Although many blocks were sewn, our Mystery Quilter did not finish the Tiki Temple pattern.

Enter me, the lover of leftovers and orphan projects, ready to accept this challenge, especially as I am sheltering-in-place.  The challenge for me was that I rarely work with all solids, save for a random Amish attempt or two.

First, I quilted the small quilt top into one for our Children’s Quilt Project, using random leftover strips for the binding.:

Then, wanting to take the easy route, and admittedly not much of a challenge, I sewed the finished blocks together in a simple pattern different from Natalie’s, and I really like this version.  MQ’s choice of adding white for the centers makes this whole thing so bright and cheery.  This one will be donated to my First Place for Youth project for quilting.



Next, since there were still fabric strips leftover (that magic word again!), I used another First Place pattern, this time Strip It Three Ways Pattern, a fun pattern, available at Annie’s Craft Store. This is definitely where the challenge part became real.

I’m nuts about how this turned out, fun and cheery, just the color palette I need to be working with these days. This one is also destined for First Place for Youth.

And, buckle up, leftover fans, there are still a scant few strips LEFTOVER, and I have found a bright kid’s print to coordinate with them, so stay tuned;  there is one more child-sized piece in the works.

One donation makes four quilts; that’s a big win for us.  Many, many thanks to our Mystery Quilter.


My “sheltering in place” coping strategy

3 04 2020

My extremely simple strategies for optimizing the time I am sheltering:

—-Finish projects, especially if this includes just getting into the meditative zone of sewing

—-Finish other’s works, for donation to different others

—-Sew anything for others; it feels good to be purposeful

—-Acknowledge and be grateful that, over the years, I have fostered this skill that is so personally rewarding, and that I have a mammoth stash of fabrics to be able to do all this for a long time

Here are a few of my recents:

Quilting and binding a preemie quilt top turned in by an EBHQ member:


Piecing and and finishing child-sized quilts, made from just a few of the perhaps thousands of quilt kits put together by Carolyn Weil, chair of the DDCQP, the quilt donation arm of EBHQ. (For many free patterns for making these simple donation quilts, see our EBHQ site here.) Some of our guild members find these “sampler” kits a challenge, but they are my favorites.  Here are three examples:

That’s all for now.  Five more ready for sewing, so stay tuned.

Donation quilts, large and small, and some leftovers

26 03 2020

Well-known quilter and author Sandi Cummings leads and mentors a great group of quilters who meet monthly at The Cotton Patch fabric store in Lafayette CA.  I’m pleased to be a part of this group.  We make quilts to donate to a local charity, First Place for Youth, which assists in helping young people transition out of foster care and into adulthood.  Each of their clients chooses one of our quilts for their new place, which we hope keeps them warm and lets them know we care.

I have made a dozen or so quilts for this group so far, but I always forget to take pictures of them.  I remembered this time.

This quilt’s story includes a story of the inspirational fabric that started it all.  Originally designed for a group of fabrics that represented a designer’s Christmas series, I found this on a sale table and bought a bunch, just because I liked it.  It then sat in my stash for probably more than ten years, since I had by that time burned out on the idea of making more Christmas quilts (seven was enough).  Here’s a detail photo of the fabric:

After joining this First Place group I went through my stash and looked for fabric to donate for a simple quilt, and I finally realized that this fabric doesn’t necessarily look like a recognizable Christmas motif, save for the little red holly berries hiding in the background.  By using tons of other non-holiday fabrics, I could make a fun and colorful quilt, finally using this fabric favorite.  I love the finished quilt and hope it finds a good home.

The masterful quilting was done by Tina de Man , who quilts tons and tons of our donation quilts so fabulously.  Her dedication is truly admirable.


The pattern I used was one from Sandi’s folder, which included many sets of simpler quilt instructions torn from various quilting magazines.  I modified the pattern slightly, and I would love to credit the original designer if I still had the printed material.  Help in identifying the source would be appreciated and included here at a later date.

Of course, just as usual, I cut waaaaaaay too much of the coordinating fabrics, and had the plenty of the focus fabric left (remember; it was on sale!!!).  So off I went on my favorite sewing expedition, making a quilt from the leftover fabrics and bits and pieces of a project I have just finished.  I love this one too, and hope that it too finds a good home through my guild’s Children’s Quilt Project donation system.


P.S.–Confession time

A few more words about this “leftover syndrome”, that continues to haunt me.

Here is how is happens:

I am currently 91% finished working on the top for a new project using blues and yellows.  However, during the long process of working on this English paper piecing (which takes a fair bit of time), I have manage to amass fabric that I thought I might need to use.  Always good to have choices, right?

See below what is leftover now, perhaps enough to make 6-7 different backs for the quilt in progress.  Sigh

Does any one else do this or is it just me?  I know the fabric stores are all in favor.

I’m pretty sure First Place will receive just a few blue and yellow quilts relatively soon.


Please forgive the quality of the quilt photos.  These are just phone photos taken on the wall in my studio, where lighting is not optimal.



Fabric postcards: forever fun

20 03 2020

“Sheltering in place” has offered me and many others the opportunity to sew away to our heart’s content.  So I have been playing with fabrics postcards, the items we hoped to offer to the guests at my guild’s Voices in Cloth 2020 show, now postponed until August.  This gives our members more time to make even more of these lovelies.  Here are a few of mine:



A few made from Susan Peck’s generous donation of many fun pre-fused images:


My favorite?  The bright yellow in the center at the top, with hand-embroidered flowers.

Stay well all.


A new quilt . . . and a conundrum

18 10 2019

OMG — It’s been forever since I posted here.  Life gets in the way sometimes, and often in a good ways.  But here is what I have been working on, the one that actually got finished.

However, in completing this quilt I also created a conundrum:

What should I name this quilt when I write about it?

You see, HATE trying to come up with a “Title”, an identifier for each quilt, something that perhaps gives additional meaning to the piece.  Titles are required on show entrance forms and in my inventory system.  These titles often relate to a theme, emotion, place, etc.

But I don’t think or work that way.  I just start with a piece of fabric, a photo of a vintage quilt, a thought that triangles might be nice, or simply a color I want to use.  So I’m often frazzled coming up with a name after the fact.  If I were good at names I would be a writer.  Since I have made almost 350 quilts, they can’t all be called “Untitled.”

Moreover, I feel that no name can add enough information to persuade a viewer to have a different response than what is derived from just looking.

So I started playing around with names that were an accurate expression of my work on this quilt, a limited list that perhaps will be updated when the dust begins to settle in my brain.  Getting this off my chest, ranting over, here are my title suggestions:

The Quilt With No Name

Absolutely Untitled

Untitled No. 344


Entirely Marcia Derse Fabric

This Is So Not My Usual Style

Enough Already with the Pyramids!

I Bought This Fabric:  I Must Use It

Sure, Why Not?

I Just Liked the Way These Fabrics Looked Together  (the inherently true title of ALL of my quilts!!!!)

Hey, This Turned Out Kinda Cool

Just Look at This and See What You Think

I leave this open.  Come up with a non-title for this quilt for me, if you are inspired.


To Be Determined, 2019
63″ x 75″

And here is the detail

To Be Determined, Detail

The story of this quilt’s creation:

Way back in 2016, when I was collecting fabrics for Woven  Hexagons (click here to see that finished quilt), I bought way too much fabric (Surprise!!) and had a banker’s box full of leftovers.  Since I love the colors, tones, prints, patterns, and variety of these Marcia Derse fabrics, I wanted to make another quilt.   But since my current “style” tends toward working with bright colors, I labored over what the new quilt could be.  I finally decided on an old favorite, my pyramid blocks, the huge version of the traditional Thousand Pyramids pattern.  As soon as I made that decision, this project became what I like to describe as the-quilt-that-made-itself, and was completed very quickly.  This pattern also turned out to be a wonderful way to showcase these special materials, imho.






Eight small quilts; I’m back!!!

1 03 2019

I’m finally back in my studio, making lotsa fun stuff and really happy just to be sewing again.  The hip replacement surgery in November took a bit of my time, and during that time I had little energy for creative stuff, so making these donation quilts for my guild’s community outreach program got me back in fine form.

See this link for information on our program, free patterns, and more fun info.

In no particular order, here’s the show:





This might need a comment:  A member of our guild donated these Dr Seuss fabrics, and I fell in love with them.  I made one donation quilt a while back, but anyone who has seen my Happy Quilt Series can tell that this yellow/red/turquoise color combo would be right up my alley, so I kept making them.   I ended up buying a bit more of the fabric and using tons of fabrics from my own stash to finish these crazy four before I ran out of fabrics and interest.




Only two more (non-Seuss) left to quilt.

Feels good to donate these to kids in hospitals and foster care.

Cuddle up with a quilt and see if it helps you feel better.

Christmas stockings for the new cats

14 12 2018

It’s that time of year when I get to go bonkers over making stockings for the new kitty additions to my extended family. This year I have three new kids and three new stockings.  Still don’t know why this is so much fun to do, but it really is.  The hand-embroidery is a fun and relaxing part of the project, as is coordinating all the fabrics.

Firstly, two brothers, Bud and Lou, were brought into the Florida cat compound in 2018.  They were found in the wild on a movie shoot location and nurtured back to robust health by Dave and Wendy. Louie has turned into quite a rascal, and Buddy’s new nickname is Badass, a moniker that everyone hopes he will eventually outgrow.  Louie and Buddy are brothers, so their stockings are made with the same Christmas print in two different colorways.

Meet Louie

Louie, 2018


Louie Stocking, 2018

Louie Stocking, detail


Meet Buddy

Buddy, 2018


Buddy Stocking, 2018


Buddy Stocking, detail


Selene is the newbie in the Durham area, and she gets one of my favorite stockings ever, just barely beating out the stocking for one of her caregivers by just a nose.  Shannon’s was my former fave, and Selene’s in right up there beside Shannon’s.

And here is a pic of the lovely Selene, who has learned that there is warmth to be had when a human is using the oven.

Selene, 2018

Selene Stocking, 2018


Selene Stocking, detail

And we cannot forget to wish peace and joy to Lucy, now playing with all her heavenly buddies.

RIP Lucy.  Love you.

Lucy with stocking

Happy Holidays to all, including all the animal family members.

Swirly Pinwheels; Happy Quilt IV

5 10 2018

When I found this new (to me) pattern on Etsy, I immediately wanted to make another quilt for my “Happy” series using this pattern.  I have a large collection of fabrics in these bright colors, as well as tons of black and white fabrics, and love playing with them.

The pattern is named Swirligig, and is downloadable from the Etsy site Piece by Number, a seller with tons of foundation-piecing ideas.  Here’s a link to this pattern:  Swirligig   This pattern includes four different swirly variations, each in three sizes.  There are great instructions as well.

And here’s my version:

Swirly Pinwheels, 2018


Swirly Pinwheels, detail

Special trick about making this quilt:  The detail above shows two blocks with the arms of the swirls touching each other.  Though they are the same pattern, one is the mirror image of the other.   By making every other block a reverse of its neighbor,  the swirls connect to each other all around the quilt, creating a faux frame for each section.

I am very pleased that this piece was selected for display in the New Quilts of Northern California, an  exhibit sponsored by the Northern California Quilt Council (NCQC link).

The exhibit is on view at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara CA,  which will be open Thursday, October 11 – Sunday, October 14, 2018.  For location details, hours, and more info, click Here.