Wednesday, April 16, 2014

They're Here!

 Yes, that's right, "the ghastlies" collection of fabrics from 
The Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection (C) 2009
are piled high on the cutting table!

You know how some fabrics just make you smile? 

This collection of fabrics is so much fun to work with. 
I can assure you that clever tulip bags, bucket bags and 
my "Essentials" purses are fast on their way to
 Cinch (in time for Cortland Blooms, April 27th),
and to my Etsy shop (which is in dire need of restocking!)
Did I mention how fun these fabrics are?!
 How about Lost and Found, you ask?
I'm happy to say progress continues.
Here's the layout I'm leaning toward. 
Personally, I think the sashing is a tad too dark; however,
the sashing will decrease in visual weight once the seams are sewn.
Before I go cutting up more fabric, if you have a moment,
 I'd love your input!
What do you think: choose a range of softer grays for 
the sashing, or leave them as they are?
Thanks a lot!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Class at Cinch!

I'm thrilled to be teaching my bookmaking workshop
at Cinch on Saturday, April 26th!
There's still plenty of time to sign up, 
and with enough interest 
I'll happily teach it again.

There truly is something magical about making one's own book. 
I hope to see you there!

Last week, I began documenting my latest quilt adventure,
Lost and Foundand here's an update:
I settled in to the chain piecing and pressing.
I found it relaxing, enjoyable and so worth
the time and care.
Next, I squared up each block to measure 5.75".
As I trimmed this particular block,
something caught my eye.
Barely visible evidence of something that was.
Can you see the double row of needle holes in the pink square?
A piece of trim? A hem?
One of the things that intrigues me most about 
these anonymously pieced blocks
is the mystery life each fabric lived before
being cut up and made anew.

I'm anxious to see what's next for this quilt top.
Stay tuned!

April is suddenly a whirlwind of teaching classes, taking classes, 
shop hopping, quilting, sewing and much more.
Come back to catch all the fun!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lost and Found

 Over a year ago I posted about these charming 
hand pieced blocks that came into my life 
after a trip to a local antique shop. 

All this time, I've just been looking at these blocks. 
And moving them around the studio. Looking some more.
 Until finally, this past weekend, these beauties came out
of their bag, received a fresh pressing and squaring up.

I thought it would be fun to share my first attempt 
at making a quilt using existing blocks, 
let alone hand pieced blocks
made by someone else.
Lost and Found.

Who ever stitched these blocks certainly let nothing
go to waste. Do I see fragments of handkerchiefs? 
Retired work shirts and dress pants? House coats? 
One thing's for sure, they make a delightful, eclectic mix.
Here's a piece cut from a garment that includes the seam.
Love that!
Can you spy the double row of hand stitching 
near the lower left corner?
A subtle reminder that we quilters are a humble lot. 
So, what to do with these pressed and squared blocks?
Good question. Graph paper, please.
I made some sketches, chose my favorite block design
and arrived at a quilt layout based on thirty useable blocks.
The overall quilt size will be about 36" x 42", a modest crib quilt.

Next, I listed the individual pieces needed for the design, 
and with scrap fabrics, I figured out dimensions 
for each piece, as well as the overall block construction (above).
If you look closely at the sample above
you'll see that I made an adjustment after noticing that 
the right point of the inside diamond didn't touch the sashing.
Thankfully, all it took to correct this problem was to
trim the block before attaching the sashing (see the left point).
  With the design decided and the math completed,  
I auditioned fabrics that I felt would work well with 
the scrappy blocks. 
In keeping with the spirit of scrap quilts, 
I promised myself to only use a variety of fabrics 
I already had on hand.  
A lucky assortment, don't you think?

Next came the first round of turning back!
For now, only the ivory triangles are cut.
I'll wait until after the blocks are pieced and squared up 
before I set to work cutting the sashing.
So, let the chain piecing begin!

Stay tuned for the progress on this crib quilt. 
I have a feeling it's going to be sweet!

Have any of you used inherited blocks? 
I'd love to hear what you've made!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


trans-port 1. v.t. to carry (goods, people or animals) 
from one place to cause (a person) 
to be carried away with strong emotion. 

Only a few days in to the "enchanted journey" course, 
and I'm already stunned by my own realizations and connections -
yes, I'm gleefully transported, to say the least!
 Since starting the course, I've happily taken to
stitching and reading my way through each evening, 
a comforting space that seems to encourage 
valuable connections and insights.
In the spirit of evoking sprites, 
spring time-colored flosses slip through my fingers as I work
 Rebecca Ringquist's Blanket Stitch sampler.   
Then when enough new stitches are made, turning  
the pages of another Grimm brothers' fairy tale 
is nothing short of entertaining, 
and enlightening....

With great anticipation and excitement,
I'm looking forward to each class, each assignment 
and each discovery. This course has already become
meaningful platform for personal growth, 
and I'm anxious to see how the coming weeks unfold!

In the event that Elizabeth offers this course again, 
which I hope she will,
I'm refraining from sharing details of our class work, 
discussions and readings so as to prevent spoiling what would be
your own experience, should you take the course. 
For a better idea of "the Magic of Myth, an enchanted journey 
with Elizabeth Duvivier", click here
You'll be so glad you did. ;)

Now, to bring it all together, 
the enchanting Priscilla Ahn:
Priscilla Ahn, Dream

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fairy Tales Divine

From "The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body", Illustration by Kay Nielsen
If you've ever received a gift 
that literally stopped you in your tracks, 
rendered you speechless, caused you to tear up, 
and most important, had you treasuring that gift for ever more,
then you already know how I felt upon receiving this 
Christmas gift two years ago from my very dear friend, Tracy

This reprinting of fifteen Scandinavian fairy tales was originally 
published in 1914, illustrated by the Danish artist Kay Nielsen. 
As you can see, even by my amateur photo above, Kay Nielsen's 
Art Deco-inspired illustrations are something to behold. 

Curling up with these fairy tales, ginger tea and a soft 
hand knit blanket transports me to a wonderful other world.
I'm pretty sure Tracy would be pleased to hear that.
 I'm currently reading these fairy tales and a few others
 as more than a lovely way to pass chilly winter evenings - 
it's all leading up to the highly anticipated online class, 
the founder of Squam Art Workshops.
The course is sold out, so I feel fortunate to 
be taking part in the whole experience. These next six weeks
hold the promise of discovery, creativity and growth,
and I'm ready! 

What treasured gift(s) have you received?
 I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring In an Envelope

With winter still hanging on, this burst of spring
made my walk to the mailbox well worth the effort!
 This is the first of 3 Dropcloth monthly samplers, 
made by the lovely Rebecca Ringquist
which I recently won over at the inspirational

Rebecca's packages always deliver cheer!
This time, she tucked in two of the sweetest hearts 
cut from other samplers she's made. 
Her thoughtfulness and attention to detail instantly transform 
an ordinary package into something truly special.

Amidst all that cheer, the star of the show is the sampler!
I can hardly wait to pre-thread my needles with happy colors 
(clearly inspired by the wrapping paper) 
and explore one of my favorite stitches, the blanket stitch.

If you'd like to try your hand at embroidery, 
Rebecca's samplers are the perfect way to begin. 
For starters, her drawings are irresistibly fun and sweet.
Rebecca's knowledge of embroidery is enviable.
Each month's sampler focuses on a specific embroidery stitch 
so you can master it just in time for the next month's sampler to arrive. 

My friend Marjorie had a fantastic idea: 
she purchased one of Rebecca's subscriptions for her 
Home Economics classroom to help teens learn embroidery basics. 
I want to be in Marjorie's class!

Rebecca has a Flickr pool so you can check out how other stitchers have 
handled her Dropcloth samplers
Get your needles ready!

To keep the spring time energy flowing, 
enjoy this beautiful and uplifting escape!

Órla Fallon performing Mo Ghile Mear from her latest DVD "My Land"

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Telling Our Stories

Labor Day 1916, Garment Workers NYC
Is anyone watching The American Experience on
I recently watched the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire video
and just had to share it.

The video is fifty minutes well spent if you're at all interested 
in learning about the real sacrifices and determination
of our fore-fathers and mothers so that 
we might have a better life and better working conditions

If you have another three minutes, 
give a listen to Utah Phillips telling the story of  
the Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912, 
another pivotal point in the shaping of "the people's right 
to control the conditions of their labor." 
Bread and Roses, performed by Utah Phillips 

As Utah Phillips said,
"This is our history, and these are our people,
so you darn well ought to learn it, right?"

Now those are words I can get behind, 
and since I didn't learn these stories in high school  
there's no time like the present!