Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mardi Gras Men quilted . . .

Last night, I finished quilting my Mardi Gras Men quilt . . .

Today, the yet-unbound quilt hangs on my office wall (pics to come) . . .

I took down the three smaller tops (36" square) to take home to start quilting tonight . . .

I'll bind all four of 'em at the same time . . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

What is it?? . . . What am I doing??

I primarily use foundation piecing for my quilt tops . . . I sew my fabric pieces to a foundation of lightly-starched muslin. I treat the two layers of fabric as one. When the top is complete, the muslin remains (unlike paper piecing, where the paper is torn away).

I found that using batting and a backing made the resulting quilt too heavy, too hot, too too . . . Now, I only use a flannel backing (and no batting). It can be used year-round ("Quilts aren't just for winter, anymore . . .").

This weekend, I began working on the Mardi Gras Men quilt. I'm sewing parallel rows of white thread at a 45 degree angle (you can just make it out in the pic below). I'm about 3/4 done.

I have two questions for you: is it a quilt (or a coverlet)?? . . . am I quilting (or sewing a lining to a quilt top)??

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Channeling Rooney and Garland . . .

". . . Let's put on a show!!"

Three weekends ago, I ran into Scott and Sam, a couple who run an antique shop/art gallery in Ste. Genevieve, MO . . . they asked if I'd be interested in mounting a quilt show in their gallery for an upcoming Art Walk (which happens the fourth Friday of every month).

Two weekends ago, Ed and I spent the weekend in Perryville, MO, not far from Ste. Genevieve, and I had the opportunity to scope out the place.

This weekend, I decided to mount a quilt show the end of August. I need to quilt the following four quilts in five weeks:

The first three quilt tops are 36" square; the last quilt top is 72" square.
What has me psyched is that all four quilt tops were made using the same set of templates, though no two patterns are alike (and there are infinite possible patterns).
More to follow . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stamping muslin foundations

Today, my stamp-pad foam from Dharma arrived in the mail (actually, it arrived yesterday, but I wasn't in the office to get it).

This evening, I cut a sheet of it to size, inked it up, and started stamping muslin foundations. I like the results much better than using an inked sheet of felt. I stamped about 50 in no time flat!! Shown below are the front of one square and the back of another. The inked lines are clearly visible from either side; reversible foundations will come in handy.

Up next: a day in the life of a foundation-pieced square.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New News (not to be confused with Old Olds)

The first thing you may notice is a different look for the blog . . . that's to reflect the launching of my new and improved website (sometime in the next 24 hours)!! Tonight, I pointed my name servers at my old host to my new host. Patrick Baxter at Big Name Brain ( did a fantastic job!!

Next, an update on what's happening:

I've cut about 300 slightly-starched muslin squares (more to come).

The experiment with the pigment dye and the sheet of felt-as-stamp-pad was a bust (and a mess). I ordered several sheets of stamp-pad foam from Dharma Trading (, which should arrive Tuesday. For the moment, I'm using black indelible marking ink and a sheet of felt . . . I'm getting a feel for the stamping. Slightly starching the muslin squares keeps the ink from wicking outwards, making the lines much thicker than desired. The ink DOES bleed through the muslin, though, making the squares reversible (previously, I had to stencil left- and right-handed muslin squares). I promise to post pics when my results are more uniform.

I came up with a pattern and started cutting fabric and sewing squares Saturday night. I'm sewing them a little differently than in the past. Again, I'll post pics at a later date.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Christmas in July!!

It's been quite a week!!

Monday, I received a bottle of pigment dye and a bottle of thickener from Dharma Trading Co. ( . . . I intend to thicken the dye and use it for stamping (but, more about that later).

Tuesday, I did laundry, including 6 yards of 108" wide muslin (but, more about THAT later, too).

Wednesday, I received 25 Fall-themed fat quarters from a fabric swap with some of the guys from QuiltGuy, a Yahoo group of male quilters I belong to . . .

I also received a pair of rubber stamps I ordered last week . . .

Now, the fun begins . . .
Tonight, I begin lightly starching, ironing, and cutting the muslin into strips, then squares for foundation piecing. I bought a small cookie sheet which I'll line with a piece of felt, then wet with the thickened pigment dye. This becomes my oversized stamp pad for the rubber stamps. I'll stamp my design on the muslin squares before sewing fabric to 'em.
I can hardly wait to see what happens . . .

Monday, July 6, 2009

Operations of Symmetry

There are four operations of symmetry: translation, rotation, reflection, and glide reflection. I present a brief explanation and example of each.

Translation: The motif moves horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, without changing orientation. In the examples below, the motif is a square with lines drawn through it; "T" indicates the top of the motif. The arrows indicate movement of the motif.

Rotation: The motif moves around a center of rotation, or rotocenter, along its sides or at its corners. In the examples below, the motif rotates 180 degrees at rotocenters (indicated by circles) along its sides, then rotates 90 degrees at a rotocenter (indicated by a circle) at its corners.

Reflection: The motif reflects horizontally or vertically along a mirror line. In the examples below, the dotted lines indicate a mirror; "M" indicates a mirror-image motif.
Glide Reflection: The motif is both translated and reflected. In the example below, the mirror lines run through the center of the motifs, horizontally and vertically. The motifs are translated vertically, while mirrored horizontally; they are translated horizontally, while mirrored vertically.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Paper Piecing (Without the Paper)

Today, I ordered two rubber stamps (3-inch and 6-inch square) to stamp fabric for foundation piecing.

I also ordered pigment dye (and thickener) to stamp with.

Everything should arrive early next week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Taking my show on the road . . .

First, it's hard to believe I haven't posted in over a month . . . somebody should spank me!!

But, there's no time for fun, there's work to be done!!

Today, I worked on the details of three appearances for later this year:

First up is Flint, MI. I've been chosen as the guest speaker for the 19th anniversary of the African-American quilters guild. There's a quilt show as well, held September 9-12, 2009, at the Flint Public Library. I top off the weekend.

The first two weekends in October will find me in the Chicago area.

October 1-3, 2009, I will be in Rockford, IL (an hour or so west of Chicago) with the Sinnissippi Quilters ( I will give two lectures on October 1, 2009 (at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.). Then, on October 2 and 3, 2009, I will give two different half-day workshops.

October 8-10, 2009, I will be in Hinsdale, IL (a western suburb of Chicago) with the Salt Creek Quilt Guild ( I will give one lecture on October 8, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. Then, on October 9 and 10, 2009, I will give two different full-day workshops.

The lectures for both guilds are open to the public. I will present "One Quilter's Journey," outlining my development from sewing to quilting and beyond. I'll talk (just try shutting me up), and show slides of many of my quilts, with anecdotes to match.

The first workshop will be "Beyond Symmetry" (and, I hope to have books on hand for that). I call the second workshop "Paper Piecing (Without the Paper)." I primarily use starch-stiffened muslin as a foundation instead of paper . . . ok, I'm too lazy to tear out all the paper otherwise, so spank me (if you dare)!! I had a rubber stamp made of the square used in "Beyond Symmetry." I intend to stamp the design onto muslin with thickened pigment. We'll see how it goes.