Archive for February, 2014

Starting A New Work

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Here is the fabric that I purchased in CA. I am really making an effort not to buy too much fabric as I already have more that I will ever use!


But sometimes you just NEED it! Like that one with the colorful reflections that will be wonderful in this new piece. And the green leaf on blue batik, because I never pass up leaves on a blue background.

Yesterday was my day to volunteer my monthly six hours at the Topeka Art Guild Gallery, so this is what I did the day before after finishing the prep work.The size will be about 30 x 40″


Scroll back a couple of posts if you have not seen the photo I am working with.

Whenever I work with people. I like to start with the face. But here I knew I was going to have to know what I was using for the background that surrounds his face, so I decided to establish that first. I am anxious to get started today and see what develops! Stay tuned! This is always a messy process; I like to pull a bunch of fabric that may or may not work in.


Empty Spools Students

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I finished the freezer paper, including the tic marks yesterday for the new project and am anxious to start the cutting and sewing! But first I want to show you my students from “Empty Spools”. I am so proud of them!
I’ll go around the room in the order that they worked.


Joyce was working from a photo of her grandmother in her wedding dress, a very ambitious project for her first attempt at Picture Piecing but I think she is doing an amazing job! That little bit of blue in the eye is only laid in to keep Grandma from looking like a zombie for now. Joyce enjoys making portraits in various styles and she will probably ink the eye in later. The flowers with dark background fabric was a lucky find at Back Porch where we shopped Wed.


Susan is working from a photo she took of a Mama Robin showing her baby what a birdbath is for. This photo only gives basic information so Susan brought reference material and is really bringing them to life! This is her second Picture Piecing project. Another lucky fabric find is the Marsha Derse light green that she has laid into the birdbath to be the water. It has the perfect color and built in ripple lines. She will cut it up and add the reflections of the birds.


Linda is making this beautiful Sanseveria plant for her first attempt at Picture Piecing and I think it is going to be wonderful! That lovely hand dye is the perfect background to set off the leaves. She probably does not have enough of it so is trying to distribute it throughout, mixed with other fabrics which will only make it richer. Bits of lighter leaf edge fabrics in chartreuse and blue green will accent the dark leaves and add sparkle to the piece.


Janet’s rendition of this photo of her son in Ireland is being done in a combination of straight seam and curved seam piecing. She has done Picture Piecing before so she is up to the challenge and is doing a great job. I love that she chose to do that amazing tree with curved seams. Can you see that his red hair is a piece of autumn leaf fabric? Genius! Janet gets two pictures because I want you to see the curved seam part that didn’t make it into the first shot.


Barbara came to the workshop with no photo, just a sketch, because her inspiration came to her in a dream! This was her first try at this process and she made excellent progress. There will be a second elephant a little darker than the first. That batik she used really gives the illusion of elephant skin wrinkles and look how she found the eye and the ear within the print! Her very well behaved Boxer, Shelby was our mascot for the week!


Last but certainly not least, was Robin with her photo taken on a visit to Yellowstone. The orange that accents this scene is sulfur and there is steam from the geysers against the dark hills. She brought wonderful fabrics to portray the scenery and was able to find the perfect gray cloud fabric for the reflections on our shopping trip to Back Porch.  This was her first time using this technique and she made an amazing amount of progress in the time we had available.

It was a pleasure o work with these ladies and I hope to be able to share “finished” photos with you later!

Catching Up

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Going away is always fun, but getting back home is best! The laundry is done, everything is put away, I’m still catching up on recorded Olympics Figure Skating, but yesterday I finished the layout for a new project.

While I was at “Empty Spools” In my spare moments,  I worked on planning the seams for “Jesse At The Lake”.

JesseAtLakeWhile shopping there, I found a perfect fabric for the reflections – well, almost perfect, I’ll have to change some colors.  Today I hope to get the fabric washed and photographed to show you, the enlargement finished and the freezer paper prepared.  It’s always exciting to start a new project!

Quilt Sold!

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

“Konza Prairie Spring” sold while I was at Empty Spools to someone with fond memories of Kansas. She even remembered the pink grass!


I’m so happy it went to a new home where it will be appreciated every day.

Hello from Asilomar

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Here I am at beautiful Asilomar in Pacific Grove, Ca., teaching Designing for Picture Piecing at Empty Spools Seminar. I have been so busy that I have only walked over to the ocean once, but I’m up early this morning and I intend to take the camera and see if I can get some photos before breakfast. (Yum! The food has been very good!)

I am finally able to find my way around this sprawling facility of many acres and lots of different buildings for each activity. There is a lot of walking involved and for the first few days I was often lost. But not for long!

My students are great! They seem to be enjoying the process and are making nice progress. There has been a lot of sewing going on and we will have good stuff to show when the open house happens tomorrow. The week is going fast!

Leaving For CA

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go, the weather is beautiful and I’m looking forward to sunny (?) California for a week. Asilomar, here I come! Can’t wait to meet my students and see all of the wonderful things they have planned!

Topeka Art Guild has opened their new show “Awesome America” showing til the end of March, and I have two pieces there – if you are in the vacinity be sure and stop in to see “Eagles Soar” and “Grasslands”.


Quilting In The Snow

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

It looks like the birds have been making quilting patterns in the snow… how neat is that!


Yesterday afternoon was spent packaging patterns and watching Pairs Figure Skating from Sochi. Also getting things organized for my up coming trip to Empty Spools. It looks like starting today the weather is going to warm up to above freezing and be clear so I can stop worrying about getting to the airport!

Grif2014Here is Griffin basking in the glory of cold – don’t feel sorry for him – we have to force him to come in and get warm! He’ll be on guard duty here while I am gone, holding down the fort along with my husband.




1994-2014-Innovations is 20!

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

I never imagined when I started INNOVATIONS that it would have been this good!

Every year when I finish up the books for taxes one of the things I enjoy is to tally up all of the sales for the year and for each pattern individually. Since it’s publication in 1997, Third Weekend In October has been my very best seller and continues to excel, having sold, over the years, 31,399 patterns! This is the only pattern that I have had as many as 5,000 printed at a time.

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon when I sat on the sofa with a piece of graph paper and designed this quilt to look like leaf litter on a sunny autumn day. Notice the slash of blue that accents the yellow/orange leaves diagonally from upper left to lower right against the reds.


Being from New England, I had always wanted to do a maple leaf quilt, but wanted mine to be different – not the usual repeated traditional block. I was designing for a one of a kind contest quilt, never intended to be a pattern, but after hundreds of requests I finally gave in and published the pattern. And thank goodness I did! It’s been amazing. Time marches on and I probably will not re order as it is time to slow the business down.

Maybe you already have “Third Weekend”, but if not it is still available over on the pattern page until this printing sells out. It’s 84 x 104″, a true scrap quilt . Lots of pieces, but all straight seams, partially paper pieced to make the odd angles easy.  I have never raised my prices, so this is a bargain at $7.00.

Snow and Sundogs

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

It snowed all day yesterday and into the night leaving us with about a foot of snow to cope with.


It was perfect weather to snuggle in under a quilt and remove all of the little bits of freezer paper from the back of the finished dog quilt top, so that is what I did. I could watch the falling snow go horizontally past the window and be thankful to be warm and safe inside. By late afternoon the birds had emptied the feeder and it needed a refill. Our regulars had been joined by less frequently seen customers, like the Carolina Wrens and Red Winged Blackbirds.

This morning our world is pristine, white and sparkly. There are two sundogs in the sky. I have only ever seen one sundog before, so this is a rare phenomenon for me. I tried to get a photo but this does not do it justice, the colors are brighter, they look like slices of rainbow.

SundogThis one is to the left of the sun and there is another to the right.  Very pretty!


Entering Shows

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

This morning’s email brought notice that today is the deadline for “Form Not Function”. I have already missed two deadlines this year and we are only barely into the second month! I missed the entry for “AQS Paducah” and “Road To California” which just ended. I have never gotten into “Form Not Function”, they seem to prefer more abstract work than what I do, but I thought I’d like to give it a try anyway since it has been awhile since I submitted there.

Every show seems to want the photos different, so it takes time to figure out what it is they want and find the photos and prepare them after having spent a bunch more time just looking through everything to find out what will be available for the time period that they want it, and not be too old. In this case made after Jan 2010, so that’s easy. This one has an entry fee of $30.00 for up to 3 pieces so it makes sense to submit three. Multiply the time factor by 3. I settled on “Bignonia”,Bignonia

“In The Bleak Midwinter”


and “Prairie Power”


I expected problems with the online submission, because, don’t I always have problems? And also it being the last day and all, I figured it might be bogged down. But it seemed to go quick and seamlessly.  Almost TOO easy, did it really go through?