The 7 principles of art and design are balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity and movement. Use the elements of art and design – line, shape/form, space, value, color and texture – to create a composition as a whole.

I was recently reading about and seeing blog posts about Quiltcon 2020 acceptances and rejections.  If you look for #quiltconreject on instagram, you’ll see many beautiful and original quilts.  I wondered how many quilts are submitted, and how many jurors there are.  How do they pick the “chosen” and reject the unchosen?  Thats when I started thinking about the seven principle of design.  Of course I couldn’t remember all seven, as I learned them back in the 80’s.  A quick google search brought up the quote above.   Its seems like a lot to coordinate into making one thing.  Some makers are adept and some aren’t. But what about the ones on the edge, like if they did one thing a little bit better, they were a little bit clearer with their composition?  What is the tipping point, where everything falls into place, and you “feel it” “get it” or even like it.  There are artists/makers who intrinsically know, and can judge all the parts/pieces/whole in a few seconds.  Do they have some kind of mental checklist?  Is it a right brained or left brained thing?  In becoming a master artist, does this list get longer or shorter, or just read faster?

This post is sort of a continuation of my  Ruminations  post about a month ago.  I would like to make another show quilt this coming year.  Maybe even for QuiltCon 2021.  Self doubt is part of what holds back those goals.  In an age of self advertisement and promotion how does one stand out?  In the days before Facebook and even before the internet, people had to self promote themselves on merit, and talent, maybe a little luck or knowing the right person.  So how does one break through the fuzzy static of a world filled with selfies, twitter and visual noise?  Seems like one of those secrets that won’t be shared, because then everyone will be doing it.  Hey! Look over here! My quilt is freakin’ Awesome!  I’m more like “excuse me, did you happen to notice this thing over here that I, uh, made?”


I had my own retreat these past five days.  My DH was out of town and I got a lot of sewing done.  I can’t really figure out why this happens, why is it easier to get this accomplished when he’s not here?  He does work out of the house, and he’s not particularly demanding of my time.  I can’t really put words to the feelings, his presence (?) distracts me?  It’s not like he hasn’t seen me in my pajamas lounge wear, but maybe not all day.  Then there’s the meal thing, I make dinner, pretty much every night, and weekends I make breakfast and sometimes lunch for him.  So when he’s not here I make things that I like, and eat when I want to.  Breakfast for dinner is not a DH thing, me however, I’ll put an egg on it and be happy.  I listened to three novels in the past few days too.  I use noise canceling head phones, which block out the world and let me concentrate on the words and my handiwork.  Kinda unsociable when someone else is around, but I can loose myself for a few hours that way.  The weather this past week has been rainy and overcast, I want to stay in the warm dry house.  I think what it comes down to is being a care giver, it’s what I do, and have done for about 25 years.  When all my “cares” are gone, I can do what I want, when I want and how I want.  It’s quite intoxicating.

I finished three tops this week, two are baby quilts, and the other is the scraps from the Honey comb quilt.  I still have enough of that fabric line to make another, but the bee themed prints are mostly used up, lots of butterflies left.  I made a lot of progress on the Oak Cardigan sleeves, and I made a hat (xmas present).  I should have finished the Poinsettia quilt, but only got a row finished.  Finished clues 1 and 2 for Frolic, the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt.  I did four loads of laundry, yay!  Finished up all the Christmas wrapping, shopping and mailing, double yay!  My tree is up, though undecorated and my design wall is blank.

I think I’ll catch up on the Mrs. Miller BOM blocks that I have, months 10 and 11.  Then I’ll be ready for the next clue for Frolic on Friday.

I’m linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for ‘Can I get a Whoop Whoop?’ .  She has a pretty quilt finish to show this week.


Honey Comb

This past weekend I worked on this quilt.  The pattern is called Sweet to the Soul by Jillily Studio.  I used the Deb Sprain line “Bee Inspired” to make it. I altered it a bit, to use my fabric more efficiently.IMG_4748

Then I started putting the scraps together to form some kind of medallion quilt center.  I have a panel of 4 ½ inch squares that goes with these fabrics and I have an idea in my head that may work.IMG_4747

I am diligently working on my on-line EQ8 course.  I finished Medallion centers in November and now I working on Medallion borders this month.  The classes are easy enough, but my retention isn’t what it used to be.  I need lots of repetition, but not so much of the same thing, or I get bored and don’t focus, which leads back to the no retention thing.

Yesterday I cleaned up my work table enough to set up the embroidery module on my machine.  I made a bunch of quick towels and two reindeer candy holders.  The Reindeer are from Emblibrary and are fun to make, but about 2 ½ hours of stitching.  The candy goes inside and shows through the cut out where the belly would be.  I like Emblibrary’s designs, they are thoughtfully digitized, and easy to follow tutorials come with the” In the Hoop” projects like the deer.  Their sister company Urban Threads is equally good, with a different theme (?) or more modern trend.  I have many designs from both companies, one of these days I will catalog them and get them all together in an organized fashion.  Luckily they have all my purchased designs safe on their servers, so all I have to do is look there, and download them.  A bit easier than looking through the multitude of USB sticks I have around here.  Funny that they have replaced the floppy discs and cds that used to populate the sewing room.  I don’t know if it is better or worse, only that I need to organize them.IMG_4746

I’m still working on quilting the red and green Poinsettia quilt, it’s a slow go, only got about two hours on it this week.

Linking up with Denise at For the Love Of Geese for Put Your Foot Down  #29 today.

Poinsettias and Pumpkins

I decided to go with poinsettias to quilt the red and green quilt with.  I found some that I had in my library from last year.  They are simple, but fit the blocks well and add a little texture, but don’t overwhelm the quilt.  There are diamond shapes, triangle shapes and square shaped flower blocks.  There are also single leaves that fill in the odd HST that doesn’t have a stitch in it.  I’m about half way done, the designs don’t take long to stitch out, but there is a lot of stopping and starting.


I can knit a bit while the machine stitches though, I’ve been working on my Oak Cardigan.  The back and one front side are finished, the other side needs shaping which requires concentration.  I started the sleeves, working two at once, they are a bit mindless, but the shaping starts soon.IMG_4721

Tuesday I was looking for something to do, I wanted to sew something, but all the quilts in my queue are large and involved.  Then I found this kit I had bought at PIQF.  I really liked it when I saw it there, it’s kinda weird and sewing related, a bit steam punk, victorian and spooky Halloween all together.  The fabric line is designed by J. Wecker Frisch, it’s called ‘Costume Makers Ball’ by Riley Blake designs.  It took about three hours to cut and sew together, I have some ideas on quilting it too.  It’ll be ready for next year for sure.IMG_4723

Yesterday, I had to stick around for plumbing people, I had discovered a water leak in the main line coming into our house last Friday.  They are currently digging trench through my yard to lay new pipe.  I needed something to do besides vacuuming the house.  I have been wanting to make this quilt, Estela.


I have a large scrap pile of red and white French General fabrics that I want to use in it.  I spent about an hour sorting though them and categorizing them.  I figured out I needed more in pink tones, most of the pieces in the blocks are small, so I ordered a jelly roll of the Chafarcani line.  It’ll be here next week.  Also starting next week is Frolic, Bonnie Hunters mystery quilt for 2019-20.  I’m going to make it, I missed last years project, Good Fortune due to non sewing related activities.  Estela may have to wait a month to be started, lots of little pieces and chain piecing.


I did start a new pattern yesterday, this is called Sweet to the Soul by Jillily Studio.  I have had the Bee Inspired fabrics (Kate Spain) for a while now.  Looking for just the right pattern.  Half hexagons and straight piecing make it relatively quick to piece.  I decided not to do the bees, They are pieced and appliquéd, and I though they would make the quilt look a bit juvenile.  Not to say that I might add one for interest.


Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese for Put your Foot Down #27 today.



Orange you glad?

Recently I had a request for an orange colored quilt for a baby. [that started out as “orange baby quilt”- hmm]  Anyway, I thought it might be fun, so I went to my stash and found it surprisingly lacking in orange selections.  I found this cute orange with bunnies print, it was on sale and I added it on to a fabric order that was for a different project.  When it got here, I was able to find some nice contrasting and complimentary colored scraps and FQs.  The pattern is a knock off from one I saw on Instagram, I think from The Fat Quarter shop, yeah, it’s called “Somersaults Quilt”.  My version uses 2 ½ Squares and HSTs, and wider sashing/borders.


I started out with the focus fabric, the orange bunnies and made a bunch more of the four patch blocks.  The white toned down the orange a bit, but it wasn’t really working as the sashing.  I tried pink, bleh, then more orange print, too busy.

Then I figured I should just go with more orange.  I had to order it, as I didn’t have the right shade.  I have a Moda Bella Solids fabric swatch card/folder, which I got a few years ago, and still seems to be up to date.  The right orange was “Amelia orange”.  I used some of the extra block pieces for corner stones and added a print border and then it was done.  The quilting is Spring flower E2E, in orange, of course.


This week I also finished the quilting on the Seaside quilt and got the red and green fig tree scrap quilt (needs a better name) on the frame.



Also I finished the feathered star quilt top last week.  I’m ready to swear off Judy Niemeyer quilts for a while, especially after pulling off all the foundation papers.  It’s hanging on my design wall while I’m waiting for the inspiration to quilt it.


Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese for Put Your Foot Down #26.


Now that PIQF and Houston are over, I have been thinking a lot about quilt designing and quilt artistry.  Seeing the quilts in person and Instagram/FB posts, it starts to get overwhelming.  I find myself going back and re-looking at the pictured quilts, categorizing them and picking them apart.  What is special about each one, what “makes it” special?

From there I am thinking about the difference in traditional quilt and innovative quilt categories, the prevalence of photo realism, digital fabric print quilts.

Traditional quilts, pieced, common angles (30,45,60,90), usually cotton fabrics, distinct patterns/designs and sub-patterns and designs. Curved piecing to some extent.  Crystals and beads (although crystal use seems to be waning).  Interesting color combinations, pattern geometry, tessellation, 3-D effects. Applique, raw edge, fused, or machine/hand done. Machine quilted, hand quilted.  Quilted to death or not.  Texture from quilting, trapunto, pantographic, tied (heaven forbid 🙄) big stitches, micro-stitches, colored thread, mono-poly.  Usually bound and finished edges.

Innovative/Art quilts, all of the above, some, or none of the above.  Photo realism, collage techniques, appliqué, raw edge usually.  Let’s not forget embellished, painted, inked, rusted, dyed.  Beads anyone? Imagery, statement pieces, emotion grabbing pieces, also fun stuff, plays on words and ideas.

Photo realism, should it be a separate category? Maybe, it’s a collage, it’s made from fabric, it’s quilted.  I enjoy pieces that are a study in value and hue, sort of like a Monet painting.  This also opens up the category of pointillism, OY!  Fabric used like paint, to make a picture/quilt, like landscapes.  This flexibility of fabric is one of the things about quilting that really interests me.  The ability to use a piece of printed fabric to represent texture or shadow, or movement.  But what about quilts that are a digital fabric print that is quilted on?  Does the quilting actually add to the finished quilt, or does it serve to make it a quilt? This area is a bit gray to me.  I enjoy seeing the finished pieces, but rarely do I revisit and want to get up close and visually dissect it.  These quilts are often like posters of art to me.  I used to have a poster of Georgia O’Keefe’s Orange Poppy.  It was pretty, but then when I saw the real painting, I took that poster down, it was hollow and lifeless in comparison.

Lastly, I am trying to come up with inspiration for next year’s quilt.  Right now I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of talent out there.  I am trying to balance my joy in creating with my artistic side.  How to combine them with out loosing the balance.  Self doubt figures in here, unfortunately.  The technical stuff, I have down, I can sew a 1/4″ seam with my eyes closed.  I’m mastering pattern creation with EQ8 and have a sizable stash of “inspiration”.  Maybe it’s that next step that’s scary, the falling-off-the-cliff step.  Is it time to start a masterwork, or think more? Do I need to make a few more sub-masters, to reach to top?  When I see the ‘best in show’ quilts, I feel that I am a fledgling, but when I see the quilts of my peers, I feel confident.  Practice or stretch?

This weeks quilt

I have been steadily working on this quilt that I bought as a kit.  I stated earlier that I was channeling Judy Niemeyer methods, but now that I have progressed I find I’m really channeling Bonnie Hunter.  If you’ve ever done one of her annual mystery quilts, you can relate.  Each week there is a clue, like make 150 HST’s or 250 flying geese.  It seems overwhelming at first, however if you divide it up over the seven days, it’s not too bad. For this quilt I’m making, There are 150 nine patches made from 1 ½” squares, then you make them into 25 larger nine patches with plain 3 ½” squares.  The vertical sashing has 40 small four patches set on point.  I put it all together today, yay – Quilt in a week.  Thankfully we still have electricity, PG&E spared us from the mandatory shut down.  As you can imagine not much sewing gets done without electricity.fullsizeoutput_230

On my frame this week is the butterfly wall hanging.  I made this about 4 years ago, started quilting it and took it off the frame for some reason.  I am going to finish it this month.  I’d say week, but I have obligations this weekend, which involve cleaning and entertaining. Bleh.  I also fixed the green and red quilt, so its up next for quilting. IMG_4663 I was going to put the Growing up Odd (pattern from Wedding Dress Blue ) top on, but its huge, (110 X 110) and I don’t know what I’m going to quilt on it.  Panto or graffiti or feathers or ???

Linking up with Sarah over at Confessions of a Quilt Addict for Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? this friday.

Something old

Something new, and something blue.  My DS was here for the weekend to attend a high school friends wedding.  Maybe that’s why the saying popped into my head this morning.

The something old is a finish, the Unicorn Playground quilt is bound and finished.  So sparkly and sweet.  I think I should have used light pink thread to quilt it, the white isn’t really visible.  They are secret unicorns. IMG_4660

Something new is a quilt kit I’m working on.  Got it all cut out and I’m ready to put 150 little nine patches together.  I think the organization skills from the Judy Niemeyer quilt are blending into my work habits.  It’s an improvement to be sure.  I didn’t work on sewing the star this past weekend, just got the pieces cut for the next section.IMG_4653

The “something blue” is exciting, a blue ribbon for Sew She Did.  I was so surprised to get the email Thursday that my quilt had won Best Interpretation of Theme at PIQF this year.  I entered the show first as a challenge to my creative self, and secondly thinking that I could get some exposure for my LA quilting.  It worked out that way.  My quilt was displayed in a central location, right next to the Cherrywood Prince exhibit.  The lighting was good and it was hung singly, with nothing next to it.  So fun to watch people looking at it and admiring it.  I was very proud, and happy to share it.IMG_4606

When I went to pick it up yesterday, the man who was giving them back announced that I had won a ribbon to everyone else who was waiting for their own quilts.  Everyone applauded me, it was very, well, nice and felt really good too.  You can see all the winners for 2019 here PIQF 2019


Cutting and Piecing

IMG_4598Last week I cut and pieced this quilt top.  I had seen the pattern somewhere on a surfing expedition, and made a similar pattern in EQ8.  The borders were my addition and the color selection.  I wanted to use up the scraps from the Christmas Figs sampler that I finished up earlier this past summer.  I was able to cut all the pieces with the Accuquilt Go.  It was quick and easy, and now I have another top to quilt.  UGH!  looking at the picture I see a green triangle out of place.  I fix it later.

I dropped off “Sew She Did” at the Santa Clara Convention Center yesterday.  I’m planning on going Friday to shop and then Sunday to really look at the show. Of course I’ll look for my quilt first thing when I get there :).  I really don’t need *ANYTHING* for myself, so my strategies may include only bringing a small bag for purchases, making lists of what I have (thread colors) and bringing only cash.  I have to go back Sunday to pick up my quilt after the show.  It always amazes me how quickly they take the show down.  It closes at 4;00pm, the vendors are packing up at 4:01 (sooner if they can) and runners are taking down the quilts and bringing them up to the lobby area for pick up.  Last year mine was in the last bunch to come out.  It’s fun to wait with all the other locals, talking about the show and what they bought.

IMG_4597The feathered star quilt is taking shape.  I started chapter two yesterday, which is the second round of pointy feather thingies. This one is green and tan, I am enjoying working with the batiks.  There is something that satisfies my need for order and straight lines.

Linking up with Denise at For the Love of Geese for “Put Your Foot Down #22” today.

More foundation paper piecing


I have started a new project.  It’s an older Judy Niemeyer pattern called “Feathered Star”.  I found the fabric kit for it on sale earlier this summer, and the pattern was on sale too.  I’ve been chipping away at each “chapter” of this quilt.  If you’ve never made a Quiltworx pattern, they have a system, and it is very effective, helps you organize and it breaks down each step of their complex patterns.  I find it comforting in a methodical way, but first I have to let go of my need to do it my way.

This week I promised a friend that I would help her make a halloween costume.  She wants to be a magical mushroom.  Yeah, not your typical cape or jump suit costume, It mostly involves a hat, shaped like a mushroom cap.  I am trying to come up with a way to make it light, as no one needs more weight on their head, and she needs to fly with it to NY.  There will be upholstery foam and glue gun work involved.

I finished off the hand sewing on “So She Did”.  The binding, ugh black on black, I used quilting thread.  It’s a full binding, and I knew if I used regular thread, it would pop with the stress.  It worked well, and it was easy to thread the needles.  I also had to sew the hanging sleeve on and make a label with my name and address on it.  I’ve gotten out of the habit of making quilt labels.  I think its because I sign most of them with my initials and date when I long arm.  But most of my quilts are for sale or donations, and no one is interested in that.  I think if I ever make that quilt that is in my head, it’ll have a label on it.

Last week I got the unicorn quilt back on the long arm.  I had taken it off before I started “Sew She Did” and then the Lions club donation had to be quilted.  When I first put the sparkle Minky backing on the frame, I did what I always do with Minky, I pinned the selvedge edges to the leaders.  However I didn’t orient the quilt top so that the long side was parallel to the long side of the Minky.  I  found this out the hard way as I advanced the quilt to the last rows of the pantograph.  The backing was eleven inches too short, Minky is 60 wide, quilt is 71 long.  I was able to cut the extra backing from the side and add it to the bottom.   Thankfully I hadn’t centered the quilt top on the backing, as I wanted to have a decent sized scrap left over when the quilting was done.  One side was 4 inches and the other was 12.  Phew.

I want to start quilting the Christmas figs quilt after the Unicorn is done.  I also saw a quilt that will use up most of the scraps from it.  I drafted it on EQ8, and it is mostly HSTs, squares, and HSTs with one part split into two ( is there a name for them?).  Recently I signed up for an online class with Kari Schell at On Point Quilter to further my knowledge of EQ8.  It’s really helpful so far, Kari is a good teacher, and along with the handout PDFs and videos I feel like I getting a better understanding of the software and what it can do.