Talented quilting teachers

25 01 2013

I am grateful to the many talented quilting teachers with whom I have had the pleasure of studying over these past almost 40 years.  I have written about a few of them in previous posts.    I hope to continue acknowledging them more in this space over the weeks to come.  Sandi Cummings is one of these great teachers, who came into my quilting world at just the right time, and, as a result, I was able to make a big leap forward, creating this beauty:


001bDagueSmlTriad, 1999           77″ x 77″          Photography by Sibila Savage

I had taken a series of color classes with Gerald Roy, another very important teacher for me, and I was fascinated with the interactions of the colors in a triad, three colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel.

For Sandi’s Log Cabin with a Twist class, I tried to use this color palette in a very non-traditional way, and I love the result.  Also, this quilt marks the beginning of my desire to get as much print, color, and pattern into each and every quilt.  If the fabrics fit into my very broad definitions of the “turquoise”, “magenta”, and “yellow-orange”, I wanted  to get them into this quilt.

The quilting provided me with another important learning opportunity, long after the class was finished.  Since I had made such a non-traditional quilt, the quilting would need to match the quilt.  I added this free-motion quilting, using 30-wt. rayon Sulky in two different colors.  This took forever, but was tons of fun.

001bdetailDagueSmlTriad, detail

I tend to downplay some of the quilts I have made merely because they were made using someone else’s pattern and/or directions.  So here I just want to celebrate that this is a great quilt.  I sat in a class and listened to another quilter share her journey with a quilt.  By mimicking her work with my fabrics, personal history, and insight, I learned so much.

It’s not the product but the process.


Found another photo of the Rows of Seven pattern.  Interesting.  And I still like mine better.


Yellow Rows and a wedding quilt

18 01 2013

As previously confessed, my favorite design source is vintage quilts.  I saw this beauty for sale on eBay, and loved it right away.  Not a great photo, but you get the idea.


Since I had found at an antique store a box containing about billion 2″ squares of vintage fabrics, I realized immediately that this pattern would be a perfect use for those squares, and I added many, many more patches from my own collection.   I used yellow because it was the best color from my vintage solids collection, and I had enough to make the quilt just this big.

Here is my version.

Yellow Rows of Seven


Yellow Rows of Seven, 2012       66.5″ x 77.5″     Photography by Sibila Savage

I started sewing these squares together at a retreat last January, and continued sewing the various patches whenever I felt like mindlessly sewing.  I liked the solid patch between the columns better than the strip of fabric used in the original.    This was tons of fun to make.


The quilting took forever, but I wanted it to be very simple, and that took some doing.

A wedding quilt

This may be a first for me—posting someone else’s quilt on my blog, but I could not resist.

This is a quilt my daughter Maggie made for her friends Kristin and Saja for their wedding.  She used the blues and golds they chose for their wedding colors for this gem, and I think it’s fabulous.


When I asked Maggie if she wanted me to say anything in particular about the quilt when I posted it, she told me I should say, “Look how awesome my daughter is!  Are your kids this talented? No.”  A great quilter with an equally great sense of humor–love it!

Vintage Scraps

11 01 2013

Old Business:  I keep forgetting to add this, so here it is.   For anyone still guessing which fabric is non-vintage in the Dresden Plate detail photo in this previous post,  the correct answer is the multi-colored pansy fabric just below the blue plaid at 3 o’clock on the plate.  Somehow I connect this fabric with Debbie M., whom I helped make a Double Wedding Ring quilt top, but I could be wrong.  Ahhhh, memories built right into the fabric.

Slightly Newer Business:  And now on to more of my works using the vintage stuff.  To continue the history, once I had cut into the pieces in my vintage fabric collection for the Dresden Plate quilt, the floodgates were open.  I sought more ways to use these fabrics, while learning more about piecing and quilting.  What better way to self-teach than to find quilts that you love, and to make them for yourself.

Indian Hatchet String Quilt


Indian Hatchet String Quilt, 1993      59″ x 72″     Photography by Sibila Savage

Having taken a wonderful foundation-piecing class from Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood, I knew this would be a relatively simple quilt, using up many small scraps as well as strips cut from larger yardage.  The square blocks are made by sewing right angle triangles on either long side of a wedge that has been covered with fabrics using the flip and sew method.


Indian Hatchet String Quilt — Detail

Putting all the blocks together, with a solid inner border the same size as the original blocks, was quite simple.   The quilting was the hard part for me.  Since I had never done free-motion quilting before and knew this pattern was right for this quilt,  I had to create a “just do it” moment at an Empty Spools retreat at Asilomar, and then the work was done.  So much fun.  I wish the quilting showed better in the photo, especially so you could see my new favorite meander shape—the Mickey Mouse hand with four chubby fingers—scattered liberally in this quilting.  Also, any scrap that was at least 2.5″ wide ended up as part of the binding.  Usually I don’t think this works for a border, but it certainly works here.

At Sibila’s suggestion, we shot this on a black background, and I think this choice makes a big difference in how vibrant the quilt looks.

This quilt is featured in Mary Mashuta’s book Cotton Candy Quilts.

Green Fun Fours–New Year, New Quilt

4 01 2013

Happy New Year ! ! ! !    And, in keeping with the arrival of the New Year, I’m presenting a new quilt, one of the works that we photographed in Sibila’s studio in mid-December.

I have shown this as a work-in-progress, and here is the finished product, with which I am very pleased.  I don’t quite know how this one got so large:  it just did.   This size made the machine quilting a bit of a challenge (and chore), since I do my quilting on my regular Bernina, but my ability to play with new-to-me free motion quilting designs is what kept me as sane as possible during this long process.

Green Fun Fours

#213-Green Fun Fours

Green Fun Fours, 2012        79.5″ x 90″       Photography by Sibila Savage

This quilt started out as one of my usual exercises in 2″ squares (click here for the other versions of this particular pattern):  pull a big pile of squares, and start sewing them together into four patches.   I used the colors in the polka-dotted middle border as the original inspiration.  As I progressed, however, I found that adding more and more colors seemed to work well.    Any lighter hues of the greens and browns were saved for the streak o’ lightning sashing.


Green Fun Fours, Detail

For the quilting, I created patterns that repeated vertically, which I thought would make things a bit easier.  Each of the two patterns (one through the sashing and one through the four patches) required two passes to complete, but were simple and fun enough to keep me interested.

I can’t say that I am done with this quilt pattern, because every time I make it I love the results, and each one looks very different.  Truly are “fun” fours.

BTW: Unlike quilters in previous generations who put intentional mistakes in their quilts because only God was “perfect”. I did not put that piecing error in on purpose.

Random question of the day:  Why does spell check always want me to change “sashing” to one of the following:  slashing, smashing, stashing, swashing (WTF ?!?), sating, sassing, or cashing????????