Back from Cruise

Let me begin by saying that I am sorry you have not heard from me in so long!! Holidays and getting ready to leave on this teaching vacation was amazing. Sorry I lost touch with all of you.

Waiting to board the ship

This is a picture of my mom and I in the terminal. We were waiting for the fog to lift so the ship could pull in and we could board.

I’m back from the cruise I taught on. We went to Jamaica, Montego Bay, and Cozumel. What a wonderful time!

champagne greeting

Champagne and dessert greeted us when we arrived in our stateroom.

the first class

I met a great bunch of quilters. I taught this group first.

Classroom 2

This is the second classroom… and the class that was in the dining room…

the third classroom

There are more photos and I am thinking I should put a separate page on the website for them. If anyone on the cruise wants to send photos to share, email them to me and I will add them to mine.
Debbie Luttrell, the owner of Stitchin’ Heaven was the instigator and I have to say, she did a marvelous job. It takes a lot of organizational skill along with a positive attitude to do something of this magnitude.

We had 2 rooms for the classes. One room housed two classes. The two classes were separated by fabric panels (what else?) and although it was a bit crowded we all had fun. The second room was actually a dining room where a portion of it was turned into a sewing area during the day. It was just around the corner from the main classroom so we were never far from each other.

There were three of us teaching: Myself, Debby Maddie, and Sarah Moe/Miller. We rotated so each class got a different teacher for the three days of classes at sea. WE moved so they didn’t have to. Sewing machines were supplied so no one had to lug their own. That was also a benefit as we were sailing into international waters. I don’t know how that would have been with customs questions and all…

We had early seating in the dining room and boy, were the waiters/waitresses ever professional. Not to mention being entertaining. They sang to us, danced for us, and brought us some of the best food you have ever tasted. Of course, there were lots of things to do onboard so you had no opportunity to be bored. Pat and I attended a comedy show one evening but truly, I was so tired out from all of the options that I didn’t take advantage of near enough of the opportunities on board.

Debbie had lots of games for our quilters and a TON of giveaways for the students. You could earn tickets according to different tasks you were to complete. Of course, the more tasks you did, the more tickets you had and the better your chances of winning a prize.

Every day Deb gave away a quilt! You all know how long it takes to make one of those so we all were very excited to see them and have the chance at winning one (well, my mom and Pat could win… it would be pretty bad if one of the staff won a prize!). We even had a fat quarter toss. Watch out, we were all throwing fat quarters at the students as fast as we could go and people were wild! The fat quarters were to give everyone a chance to play the game LCR. Never played it? Me either, but it sounded like fun.

My mom came all of the way down from Fairbanks, AK, graced me with her presence and put up with me in our room. My dad kept my husband, Tom, busy while we gallivanted around the open seas. Oh My GOD! Our room steward was fabulous! I wanted to bring him home with me but my husband might have objected. And every day we found a new little creature made from towels. So cute.

Towel Frog

Bunny Towel

My friend, Pat Edmunds, from Anchorage also joined us.

Pat and I

I couldn’t believe she was able to skip town long enough to do this….We did excursions at the ports together and I will never forget our time together.

View from the bobsled in Jamaica

It’s really a once in a lifetime experience that I definitely want to repeat. We climbed a waterfall, took the bobsled down a mountain, swam with the dolphins, and Mom and Pat went snorkeling.

Our Carnival Conquest ship

I stayed on board the ship while we were in Cozumel to help any people that wanted to sew while we were in port.

I didn’t realize how short everyone was until I saw all of these pictures!


Some people just prayed they’d finish their quilt on the cruise!

Alice Wilhoit

And then, of course, there was Alice…
BTW, I have just finished putting together a few videos for the Jamaica Vanilla quilt we sewed on board. That should help all of those that got started on the quilt but did not have time to finish it. It was an ambitious project that was too time consuming to complete on the ship but these videos should be a big help in remembering how to do the techniques that I taught in the class. Watch the videos here. Make sure you see them in order.

At the end of the cruise Deb gifted me with a marvelous massage. I must have looked a little tense, but believe me, by the time my massage was done I was as relaxed as a cooked noodle. Thanks, Deb, for treating us all so well.

I’m campaigning to teach on a cruise to Alaska in fall 2011. Up the inland passage. Mmmmm. If I get to go, I want to bring my mom, my dad, my husband, my son and his fiance. No, I won’t come close to break even but who cares? I’m going to start saving now for the trip in hopes that I am asked to teach. Even though I lived my whole life in Alaska and have visited Southeast (as well as other areas in that huge state) I miss it! It will be good to see it from a tourist’s standpoint, too. I have been developing a whole slew of new patterns for Alaska that should be ready to go up there for this summer season. I’ll show you a preview of some of them in the next post or so.


Quarter square triangle units

Now that you have seen the video on half square triangle units, take it a step further and create quarter square triangle units. This opens up a world of possibilities in the types of quilt patterns you can create. Pressing is, of course, a key component and watching the video shows how to avoid warping the block when you press. Also, trimming the units to the perfect size before you attempt to sew them into the block can make life a lot easier.

I used to pooh pooh the idea that I had to square up units or trim them because most of the time it was a sliver of fabric that I was removing. Plus, who wants to waste the time!??!

Then I realized, I am dealing with 1/4″ seams and the more accurate the units are, the easier it is to have beautiful blocks. Trimming before I continue piecing has saved me ripping out many times. I am not as frustrated and if there is a place where my unit swerves in a bit, maybe a little too small, I can easily see that when I sew the units together. It lets me accommodate the discrepancy in the seam allowance or lets me know when the error is too big to fudge when sewing…in other words, it lets me know I need to rip out and re-sew a seam. And my quilt points come out, my top lays flat, and the pieced top is square when it is completed. YAYYYYY!

I hope this video helped you.

Pressing Half Square Triangles

Here’s a new little video showing how to press half square triangles so they do not warp. If you have ever tried to press half square triangles and have the bias seam stretch, you know how frustrating it is to end up with a wobbly diamond shaped unit. No matter how hard you try to fix it when you are sewing it into the block, it can be frustrating and still come out awful. This simple trick will make your units come out consistently square and reduce the urge to grit your teeth and toss your hard work in the trash!

If the video is taking a long time to load, you may want to visit the YouTube site and watch it from there. If you hover over the vid frame you can find a link that will take you there. Or click here.

New Vid

Just a quick note to let you know that I just put out a new video (well, three actually) on how to press for success!!

Pressing is really important when you want your quilt to come out looking good. If you don’t press correctly it is easy to get pleats, mis-matched points, truncated points!, and your units ends up being the wrong size…. of course that makes your quilt look like a big wobbly mess so watch this video to see how to press when you are sewing strips into bands.

That’s one of the worst problems! When we are trying to sew bands together for strip pieced quilts it is so easy to get that “rainbow”… and then your units get cattywampus.

Have fun stripping! BTW, I noticed, when I previewed this, that it took a long time for the video to load. If you mouse over the screen it gives you the option of watching it on YouTube. Let me know if this is a real problem. I will see if I can come up with a solution!

It’s our 27th anniversary today!

Today is my 27th wedding anniversary! I can hardly believe my husband has stuck around for that long, even through the hot flashes. Wow. No wonder we got married right before Thanksgiving… we have so much to be thankful for.

My son, Matt, just got into a lease/purchase program for his own truck!
On his way through he stopped and spent the night… here’s a picture of him with his new ride.
While he was here, Brandy decided to crawl up in his lap and pretend she was still a baby and could be a lap dog. It’s a good thing my son is 6’4″. Otherwise he would have been crushed.

I’ve been sewing together a new quilt, the Blue Jam that I will be teaching in Austin at the Chisholm Trail Quilt Guild January 5 & 6. I can hardly wait to get there and meet everyone. Here are a few shots of the quilt.

I’ve also been working on a new pattern that I plan to have ready to go… think you can guess what it is?

Talk to you soon. I had a question recently about fusible applique and am planning on showing some options and results soon so check back.
Have a great Thanksgiving if I don’t see you before then! Ta.

Quilt Festival, etc.

Just wanted you to know, I realize I haven’t posted in a while, things get away from me.
It’s great out… we’ve had lots of rain (over 30″ in one month) so things are a little soggy, but the sun has been out for the past two days and I love it. I washed the dog outside today, too. A bit chilly but she was starting to smell like swamp… eeeeuww.

I went to CA and had a wonderful time teaching. My pictures are all still in my phone but I called Sprint and talked to a nice young man and I think I know how to get them out now. I’ll post the pictures of the class soon.

Quilt Festival in Houston was amazing, as usual. I was in Cindy Surina’s booth “Custom Creations”. She invited me to sign books at her booth and I was happy to meet so many of you while I was there. It was really nice not to have the responsibility of my own booth, so I got all of the bennies but none of the stress.

If you didn’t attend Houston I have to tell you the quilts that won awards were fabulous. And there was a display there from Germany… a “forest” of quilts. Very interesting. There were a lot of incredible ideas that were inspiring and it was so interesting to see how different textures were created. I am sorry. I didn’t have a camera so I don’t have pictures to share this time. I won’t do that again. Next show I will be sure to take pics to share with you so you can at least see some of what I experienced.

My favorite of all of the quilts was a quilt done on black wholecloth. It was awarded by Superior Threads and was a scene of the wetlands called “Protection” done by Hollis Chatelaine of Hillsboro, NC. You can see it at this link:

I am so enthralled by Hollis’s work. What an artist!

BTW, I have about 20 Jamaica Vanilla Patterns left over after what was needed for the cruise. If you are interested please order soon. They are moving very quickly. The applique is full size line drawing so I don’t plan on printing that again… it was pretty expensive to do the oversize printing.

Click on the picture and it will take you to the online store where you can order it. I’ll put more in soon, with pictures, next time! jamaica_vanilla
Oh, one more thing… if you are interested, we are offering a Christmas Special. It is one of everything in the QuiltArt series of books and DVD’s. Click on the Jamaica Vanilla pattern and it will take you to the online store.

Quilt Market & Festival

It is just around the corner! I’ll be attending Festival, not Market this year. But the wonderful news is that I will be signing books at Festival in the first booth you come to on aisle 100! I’ll be there on Preview Night and then will be signing books Thursday and Friday at 10am and 2pm both days. I can’t wait to meet you!

If you have a picture of a quilt you have made from one of the books, please bring it by. I would love to see what you have done. It’s not often I get the opportunity to actually come in contact with you, to see the quilts you have put together, so this will be a great opportunity to chat. I’ll be a captive audience and can’t wait to hear about your fabric exploits.

Festival is October 15 this year in Houston. Mark your calendar and, please, come by and introduce yourself to me! I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Back from CA

I’m back! I took some pictures in the class with my phone and as soon as I figure out how to download them to the computer I will post them. We had a lot of fun. Stay tuned.

Preparing for CA

I’m leaving in a week to teach in Burbank, CA at Conejo Valley Quilt Guild. I am really looking forward to this! It has been quite a while since I have taught the basics of using ink to create different textures on fabrics.

I’ll be teaching using ink with salt and water:
The workshop kit will be in these greens. I figured everyone can use green, especially if you are creating leaves or some other organic plant look.

We will also be playing with shaving cream. I think this is a lot of fun, and getting messy with something that is so easy to clean up really is an ice-breaker. If you were feeling a little reserved before we get to this, you definitely are not feeling that way once we start.
shaving cream flower
This shows one of the ways we will use the shaving cream. There are lots of techniques presented in this workshop.

Our afternoon is going to be working with foil. Lots of people hear “foil” and think “Oh, that is so chunky. I just don’t know where I would ever use that”. Well, if you have ever seen those $30 t-shirts you will re-think your stance on this! Foil is easy to apply and you can go way beyond the artwork you see on commercially prepared and sold items.

If you are creating a bag and want a unique, wow-em look try foil. Here is a sample of one of the images I did for the class.
hummingbird in foil
As you can see, using multiple layers of foil that has already been partially used up makes for a beautiful, soft blend. There is a trick to it which I demonstrate in the workshop.

Once you have put foil on your fabric you can use it as a basis for thread painting. Same with the shaving cream and ink, and same with the ink and salt. It really is a wonderful base for your next project.

One of the new patterns I just created, which will be available on the website soon, uses plants and foil to create the image. It is a little thread and trash collector you can place next to your sewing machine. Of course, thread work was added to it to make it really pop. I’ll be showing a picture of it soon…. so check back.

Speaking of which, I have some new tote patterns. Lots of different concepts you can use in them and I will be presenting them soon. Well, maybe after I get back from California.
See you soon…

Jamaica Vanilla

I am so READY to get on that cruise I will be teaching in February. I have never been to the Caribbean and being asked to teach on a cruise to Jamaica and other stops, well, it’s like a dream come true.

Here is what I will be teaching on the cruise.
Strip piecing makes the block fairly quick to piece. The applique is raw edge fusible. Two large stars are surrounded by the “diamond” blocks. Then the same block is used around the quilt, creating the illusion of a 3D border. Using colors very close in value provides you with a nice base for the art nouveau type applique. I absolutely love using neutral fabrics like this.

I plan on making a new pattern that will be a modified version of this, using a color, rather than neutral fabrics so check into the website soon to get a look at it: I think you will be pleased to see what a difference COLOR can make!

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