7 10 2016

I have finished 133 of these puppies, and I think that may be enough. They look kinda cool on the floor, so I am really jazzed about how they might look on my design wall.


And here is the fun one:










I will have to make a pile of half-triangles for the sides of the quilt and a few more blocks to see how I can get color into this piece.

Here is a sample, just because I happened to have this black-with-red fabric nearby. Don’t know if this will be enough color to compete with all this black and white.




And, now that I have finished all of these blocks, I am amazed to realize that I never once considered using the same fabric for all three sides of each of these triangles.  Oh, well . . .

Would have looked like this:



Maybe that is how the color can be used.  Hmmmmmm . . . .

And here’s another one of the CQP kits, just for fun:




A new project-finally

23 09 2016

Having finished a lot of previous projects, I am finally starting a new one, one I have been thinking about for a while.

I cut a ton of 2″ strips from black and white fabrics I had collected, probable cutting way too much, nothing new for me.  And next I  cut another ton of center triangles.  Loving the triangle shape these days.

Then I made about 140 of these triangle patterns using freezer paper.  These are the foundations on which the strips are sewn.


And here is the result of my sewing so far, not even halfway finished, but lots of fun along the way.  I’m still thinking about getting some color into all this neutral, but that will happen when I get all the blocks on the design wall.  Maybe some magic will happen.



And here below are all the scraps from trimming the extras off the edges of the foundations. I started throwing them into this nice bowl, and all of a sudden they were an arty project all on their own.  Gonna keep doing this and see how full it gets.




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.



Wheel Medallion

13 06 2014

My most recently completed project, this Wheel Medallion represents a true labor of love, which included my continuing to learn all the do’s and don’t’s of the medallion process.

Wheel Medallion, 2014 77" x 77" Photography by Sibila Savage

Wheel Medallion, 2014
77″ x 77″
Photography by Sibila Savage

There were two inspirations for this quilt.  The first was finding this brown fabric on the discount table at a local fabric store;  I bought all they had.  When I started working with the medallion concepts, I thought this fabric would be a good one to use, mainly because of all the different colors included in the fabric.

I loved the deep blues in the print, so my original assumption was that this would be a predominately blue quilt.  FAIL   As with all of the medallions I have made so far, assumptions made at the outset of the project fall by the wayside almost immediately.  This quilt definitely wanted to be brown and rust.

These wheels were foundation-pieced, and I made so many that you will see quite a few more of them in a different configuration in posts to come.  Anyone who knows my work understands that I discard almost nothing leftover from a project, using as much as I can for some other use in the future.

Wheel Medallion, Detail D

Wheel Medallion, Detail D

This quilt was also one of my first attempts at a large applique project.  Turns out I love the look, even though the hand work is a bit time-consuming.

Wheel Medallion, Detail C

Wheel Medallion, Detail C

Quilting this piece was also quite a challenge for me.  Each different area of the medallion seemed to call for its own special quilting, so I tried to oblige.

Wheel Medallion-Detail A

Wheel Medallion-Detail A

Below is a photo of the second inspiration for my Wheel Medallion, a vintage quilt seen in a showing at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek, CA.  I continue to be inspired by the quilts from past eras and am most grateful for the art and the skills of the quilters who have come before me.

Vintage quilt inspiration

Vintage quilt inspiration


Starshine: foundation piecing

24 05 2013

Having taken the beginner class in foundation piecing** from Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood in Houston, I jumped at the chance to study with foundation-piecer extraordinaire Karen Stone when she came to EBHQ in the late 90’s to speak and teach classes.  My Starshine quilt is the product of that class and is made from Karen’s Lady Liberty pattern.

Karen has a wonderful technique for identifying the different areas of the block and then distributing the different colors within these areas.  In addition, she taught us the intricacies of using foundations to make sewing the curved seams easier.

For this quilt, I used the same color palette as my Triad quilt (seen here), adding purple as an extra color.  And note how intense these colors seem when the quilt is photographed on a black background.

010DagueStarshine, 1999               55.5″ x 55.5″             Photography by Sibila Savage

Here is a detail of four blocks put together.

010Dague_2Starshine, detail

What surprises me about this quilt today is its lack of quilting.  I know I was having trouble at this time trying to figure out how to machine quilt these creations of mine that have soooooo many different fabrics in them.  What color thread is best for the quilting?  Will you even see the quilting on these blocks?  It seems I took the easy way out and quilted the whole thing in the ditch.  Might do it differently today.

This quilt is another example of my discounting my work merely because it was made using someone else’s pattern.  I loved making it, and I love the product, but I folded it up and put it aside, writing it off as a so-so work, and not thinking much more about.  It was not until I was showing some of my quilts to a group of non-quilters that I had a change of heart.  One of the group pulled this quilt off the storage shelf, opened it up,  and raved about it, so I looked at it again with new eyes.  It’s really kinda cool.


P.S. . . .

A couple more of the fabric postcards I’m working on, not finished yet.  Afraid I’m becoming obsessed.



**Jane and Dixie always call their work “foundation piecing” to distinguish it from English paper piecing (EPP), which is a method  done by hand.

Foundation Piecing: more great teachers

8 02 2013

I learned about foundation piecing in a class taught by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood at the Houston quilt show in 1994.  These excellent ladies taught us five ways to make patchwork on various kinds of foundations and described all the situations in which these various techniques would be useful.  The most appealing use for me at this time came from Jane:  “If it needs to be perfect, use paper piecing.”   I came away from their class with piles of samples, to which I can still refer when solving difficult piecing problems.

Shortly hereafter, I got an opportunity to put this new skill to use.


Super Triangles Baby Quilt by Kaffe Fassett, 1997

A friend gave my name to Liza Prior Lucy, Kaffe Fassett’s quilt book writing partner, who needed quilts sewn for an upcoming book, since the deadlines were looming.  I volunteered to sew the top for this wonderful quilt, which is included in the 1997 edition of Patchwork by Kaffe Fassett with Liza Prior Lucy. (Subsequent publications are entitled Glorious Patchwork, and it is still a fabulous book.)  Kaffe and Liza translated some of Kaffe’s wonderful knitting designs into quilting patterns.  The Super Triangles sweater looks like this:


In return for piecing the quilt top I received an acknowledgment in the book, along with a book and poster, both signed by Kaffe.  I devoured the book, and immediately made a quilt from my favorite (besides the one I made) Kaffe quilt.


Yellow Pennants, 2001        59.5″ x 71.5″    Photography by Sibila Savage

I was just beginning to use these wonderfully bright fabrics, so the Yellow Pennants Quilt (p.39) was a good tutorial for me.  Great quilter Rebecca Rohrkaste once told me that if you want to learn to make color choices that you don’t usually make, copy a quilt you love, and you will learn a lot.  Although she was referring to Amish quilts at the time, the message is still the true.   Kaffe’s quilt design included extra borders, which I found distracting, so I just eliminated them.  Easy.

I went on to make at least one more in this pattern, especially since I used my own fabrics as demonstration when I taught a class on this quilt.  Here’s an example, with one of Kaffe’s borders added on:


Lime and Fuchsia Pennants, 2002                      36″ x 36″

And don’t forget to take a class.