Painted Fibers, AP # 86


I have truly been blessed to attend numerous classes at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. If it were not for the continued employment of my husband the opportunities would never have occurred. Today’s story is about another one of my excursions.

Last summer I participated in the Judy Coates Perez, Paint and Print Palooza. I had a wonderful time learning how to dye, print and silk screen fabric.

I Had A Handful

Watching the applications go from start to finish was entertaining.

Folded Fabric Waiting to Dry
All Dried and Opened Up

I even designed and cut out my own foam stamp.

My Own Foam Stamp
The First Print Using My Foam Stamp

I created a minimum of 12 new blocks of fabric. These are two of my favorites.

Rather than point out all of the quilt’s wonderful features I’m going to share them with you through photos. Enjoy!

My First Block Arrangement

Eight of my favorite blocks. Click on any photo to watch a slide show of the gallery.

Last but not least, here is the finished art quilt.

Art Piece # 86: Painted Fibers

I am so pleased with the final version of my art piece. My finished art quilt measures 64 x 47”. Hidden inside this family of blocks are oodles of special features. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the many details.

Thank You for stopping by!

Time to Clean House


In A Stitch Quilting

Cleaning the house can be a lot of work but it looks and feels so good when the task is complete. Every now and then I take a look at my blog to see what needs refreshing and what should be removed. Recently I updated a number of my documents and refreshed the appearance of my blog page. As a result of my efforts I think everything looks cleaner now and more organized.

Some of the items that were changed reside in the uppermost area of my page—often called the Menu. These items provide links to very important information that may not always be noticed. Here’s a list:

Many of the tasks (i.e. the gallery) took a great deal of time. The process of updating or adding my photos to the gallery created a lot of extra posts. You may have noticed a large number of them in your mailbox. I’m sorry if their volume was overwhelming. If I stay on top of this task the frequency of gallery posts should stay minimal. On the other hand the frequent posts not only took care of a housekeeping task but it also gave you another opportunity to see items that you may have missed.

I hope that you will have the opportunity to browse through some, if not all, of the Menu items. If you do I know you won’t be disappointed.

As always, thank you so much for sharing your time!

A Customer Quilt


Ms. G., my longest running customer, was at it again! Just when I think she is finished making quilts for her family and friends she creates yet another one. Her quilts are always so imaginative, so creative.

The specimen she presented recently was made for a young man with many interests. As you will see from the photos he enjoys zombies, Minecraft, the Greenbay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, among other things. She even added a tie and a hand-made block created by the young man.

Ms. G and I put a lot of thought into the thread colors and stitch patterns. Our plan was to choose colors that would blend well with the fabrics and stitch patterns that would accentuate her artistic design. I think we met both of our goals. The quilt measures 72″x 57″. Take a look.

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Ms. G’s Quilt for Mr. B.

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Ms. G’s Quilt for Mr. B. (Back)

Well, what do you think?

I’m very happy that you were able to stop by to see Ms. G’s latest masterpiece. Thank you Ms. G. for allowing me to work with another one of your projects.

Talk with you soon!

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I Present Art Quilt # 33: Bits and Pieces


Handbloom Batik Scraps

From A Bag of Scraps

From a bag of scraps to a finished item this project has had quite a ride. The top, all by itself, is gorgeous. I just love the soft feel of the fabrics as my fingers lightly stroke their surface. The visual impact of the colors is equally as pleasing. Their varied hues entertain my eyes with an explosive pallet of color.

With three of my senses already engaged, how could this quilt get any better? The answer just has to be quilting! Being the creator of the quilt means I am in-tune with every fiber and every inch of its surface. This connection gives me an advantage when it comes to finishing it. From day one my mind was day dreaming about how I would quilt it. For Bits and Pieces it seemed only natural to compliment its design with straight-lines and geometric shapes.

A Tour

Lets take a look at my Bits and Pieces to see how it turned out.

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Bits and Pieces, Art Quilt # 33

I think you will, agree after seeing the above photo, that this is a warm and earthy art piece.

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Bits and Pieces, Art Quilt # 33, Closeup # 1

There are so many of my favorite colors represented in the above photo. The bright orange and gold the calming blue and lively green. All of them work together to create a grouping that will continuously draw your eye from one area to another.

AQ # 33-Bits and Pieces-Closeup 2
Art Quilt #33, Bits and Pieces, Closeup #2

This photo was taken  just slightly east of the previous one. The black and white floral fabric is another of my favorites. I like how the author used only two colors to create this striking, organically flowing design. My love for the fabric can be evidenced by its repetitious placement throughout my piece.

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Art Quilt #33, Bits and Pieces, Closeup # 3

Many of the blocks within Bits and Pieces morphed drastically from their original versions. The two blocks on the right are great examples. Unfortunately since I failed to document their journey I can’t prove it to you. You will just have to believe me.

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Art Quilt # 33, Bits and Pieces, Closeup #4

The area captured in this photo can be found north of the previous snapshots. In the bottom left corner is my reformulated log cabin block. I spoke about the block in more than one of my previous posts. Finding a design that the block and I could agree with was a lengthy process. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it. This final version is spectacular.

The other blocks in this photo went through their own versions of reincarnation. They too are far more interesting now than their original versions.

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Art Quilt # 33, Bits and Pieces, Closeup #5

I love all of the blocks in Bits and Pieces…but if I had to choose a favorite or two, I would nominate these two for that honor. I just adore the bright orange alongside the cooling mist of the blue in the adjacent block. The blue adds pizzazz with it’s bursting white images. Strutting through it’s center is a section of my original strip-pieced fabric.

Bits and Pieces_Stitched Together
Bits and Pieces Stripped Pieced Fabric

The orange block, with it’s unevenly pieced borders, sports an interestingly pieced center section. Smack-dab in the center of the block is another section of my strip-pieced fabric.

AQ #33-Bits and Pieces-Backing
Art Quilt #33, Bits and Pieces, Backing with its artful quilting

The back of a quilt is not typically something that would draw our focus. From a longarm quilters perspective it’s often the best place to observe our work. With this quilt the solid color allows the abstract stitching to take center stage; there are no patterned fabrics to distract from the design. I’m quite pleased with the reflection I see in my stitching. From this photo can you see that my quilting was just as earthy as the fabrics I aimed to accentuate.

Privilege

I had so much fun photographing this quilt. The fabrics are just so rich and inviting. I know I went way overboard with the quantity of photos that I took. Because I kept my shutter rolling it was so hard narrowing down the number of photos to share. I know that I have only scratched the surface of the possible angles I could have taken. Thankfully, I’m so very proud to have Bits and Pieces hanging in my entryway where I can see it everyday. Anytime I want to get a closeup all I have to do is pause and allow my eyes to take in the beauty of my Bits and Pieces.

A Slow Rendition

Well, there you have it; the finale of my story about Bits and Pieces. It has taken quite a while to get us to this point. Well-thought-out art develops slowly and so too should the telling of its story. There is no need to hurry along. Hasty renditions loose sight of the many important details and as a result the reader looses touch with the impact the author desires to portray.

Handloom Batik Strips
Handloom Batik Fabrics

Enriched Experience

I have been so enriched by the journey Bits and Pieces and I have taken. My exposure to the world of improv art has been enriched through this adventure. Having successfully created another art piece, the experience has fanned the flames that fuel my desire to continue on this path. I hope one day to share my enthusiasm for this piece with the owner of Handloom Batiks. She is ultimately the spark that is responsible for the birth of Bits and Pieces. Without her fabrics my piece would not be as rich in texture and interest.

Woohoo! What a Ride!:)

Your Participation Means A Lot

I hope you have enjoyed following along! I love sharing my time with you and receiving your comments. Thank You for being a faithful follower!

For those that just joined in or those that would like to relive my quilt’s journey I have provided links below to the posts that have woven this story. Please enjoy!

Bits and Pieces, Art Quilt # 33

Bits and Pieces: Part Two

Bits and Pieces Part Three

Bits and Pieces Part Four

Bits and Pieces Part Five

Bits and Pieces Part Six

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Pam’s Nine Patch Garden


Pam’s Nine Patch Garden is one of the quilts I inherited from my Mom. I first introduced my readers to this quilt eons ago. Way back in March of 2017 I had the pleasure of spending a number of days at the Woodland Ridge Retreat Center in Menomonie, Wisconsin. While there, aside from many excursions, my attention was focused on five quilts passed on to me by my Mom. All of them were in various stages of completion. If you would like to read about my adventures at the Center you will find them here. My original story about this quilt can be found here.

This quilt is extra special to me for two reasons. First, my Mom is a big fan of flowers. My Mom is well-known for turning the majority of her lawn into garden space. Those gardens were always overflowing with flowers. Her love for gardening and for flowers was passed on to me.

The second reason is because my Mother is also an avid cross-stitcher as well as a seasoned embroiderer. This quilt has twelve blocks that have been hand embroidered by my Mom. All of them are of various flowers, many of which she has grown in her own gardens. Her love for flowers along with her talent for stitchery are why this quilt is dear to my heart.

When I received the quilt, in it’s plastic package, the twelve embroidered blocks were all that were finished. Not yet assembled were the twelve nine-patch blocks. Included with these items were several lengths of multiple fabrics. Whether or not they were meant to be used for the 12 remaining blocks was unclear. My Mom’s recollections on the status of her quilts is sketchy.

Since I wasn’t really fond of the enclosed fabrics I decided to go out on my own to select options I felt seemed more appropriate. I pulled specimen after specimen from my fabric stash to audition as candidates. By the time I had finished I had accumulated enough fabric to complete all twelve blocks with fabric to spare.

I chose a variety of fabrics from the green, yellow, orange, white and blue families. The fabrics were adorned with flowers, birds as well as catchy phrases that seemed to match well with the quilt’s theme. Among the phrases or words of encouragement were:

  • find true love
  • have more fun
  • love
  • make a quilt for my children
  • peace
  • smile more

One even has a mini bucket list printed on it.

With my fabric choices conquered it was time to create the nine-patch blocks. Typically I would assemble strip sets to create them. In this case I wanted to be more strategic in the arrangement of these fabrics. I wanted to make certain I had a well-rounded distribution of color as well as printed phrases. To facilitate this outcome I individually cut squares and hand placed them in groupings of nine. Once I was satisfied I stitched them together.

The embroidered blocks and the nine-patch blocks were then laid out on a table and juggled around until I was satisfied with the appearance. They too were then stitched together into rows and finally into one piece.

To the 24 blocks I added first a small border of hand-dyed orange fabric. Next I added an over-dyed border of blue. With the last border in place it was time to load the quilt onto my longarm machine for quilting.

Since it is obviously impossible to pack up and take my machine along on trips, I think my husband would shoot me if I asked him to do that, the quilting had to wait until a later date.

Fast-forward to December of 2017. This was the first opportunity I had to even contemplate accomplishing this task. I chose a pretty floral batik from my inventory to serve as the quilt’s backing. After loading my carefully pressed top, batting and the batik on my machine I set to work adding a variety of stitches.

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Pam’s Nine Patch Garden Quilt

In the outermost border I stitched a swirly pattern using a color coordinated thread. The bright orange border was treated with a soft flowing line of cream colored stitches. In the nine-patch blocks I stitched a meander of angular lines. To polish off the remaining blocks I first added a row of stitching around the outer border. Next I echoed around each of the flowers giving them a dimensional appearance with the same cream colored thread.

Curious what the stitching looks like from the back?

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Back of Pam’s Nine Patch Garden Quilt

This last photo was included for three reasons:

  1. I wanted to give you a closeup of a flower block so that you could see both the embroidery as well as the longarm quilting
  2. I thought you might like to see one of the nine-patch squares with the phrase, “make a quilt for each of my children” and most of all because
  3. The sunflower is my all-time favorite flower. I was tickled pink to see that an embroidered sunflower was incorporated into the pattern.

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Combined together I believe all of my added touches created a magnificent quilt; one with which my Mom would be well pleased. I did have the chance to show it to her early in December of 2017. She was overjoyed to see the quilt and extremely thrilled with its outcome. I asked if she remembered doing the embroidery and she did.

I set myself a goal to finish all five of my Mom’s quilts before she is no longer with us. She’s getting on in years so I know the timeframe I have to work with is limited. Finishing this one meant I was one step closer to reaching my goal.

I am very happy to say that the other four, one of which was The American Flag Picnic Throw, have been completed as well. I will share their stories in the coming weeks.

American Flag Picnic Blanket (Quilting)
American Flag Picnic Throw Closeup

This wraps up the story of my Mom’s Nine-Patch quilt. I hope that you have enjoyed reading about its history as much as I have enjoyed sharing it. They say that behind every quilt is a story. This quilt is certainly no exception.

Thank you for spending time with me as I revealed this story. I’m so glad we had the opportunity! Be watching for the quilt number three of five.

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Karen’s Brown Bear Quilt


Last time I shared one of Karen’s quilts I hinted that there was a second one. Today’s focus is on that quilt. The theme for Karen’s third quilt is animals; the kind you would find in the book called Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

I just love this quilt with its bright and cheery colors. Karen really showed her talent when she put this one together. This quilt, with it’s exploding color scheme was screaming for attention. We let our imaginations roll full steam ahead while choosing our stitch plan. The bold colors in her fabrics demanded stitches that added motion and pizazz so we filled every inch with flowing lines that keep your eyes a traveling from one block to another. To compliment her choice of colors we decided to use a matching variegated thread.

Have I peeked your curiosity? Let’s see how Karen’s quilt turned out.

Karen M Brown Bear Quilt.jpg

If you look closely you will notice the mazes quilted in continuous lines across the outer-most border. The same motif was repeated in each of the other two borders. In the colored frame surrounding the animal squares a flowing curvy line wraps around all four edges. Within the animal squares I stitched a single row of straight-line stitching just inside the perimeter. Another row of stitching was added just above the lettering. To finish off the blocks I encircled each animal with a row of stitches, giving them a dimensional appearance. The rainbow colored strips of fabric were treated with angular lines.

Below you will see a photo of the quilt from the back. I think it is neat how much more clearly you can see the stitch patterns. In spite of the colorful animals you can get a feel for the impact the quilting made without the distraction of the individual quilt blocks.

Karen M Brown Bear Quilt Back.jpg

Now that we have finished the guided tour can you see why I liked it so much? Would you have noticed all the details if I hadn’t pointed them out? I’m so glad we had the opportunity to look closely at Karen’s quilt together.

Thank you for visiting! See you soon!

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Karen’s Puppy Quilt


I am so excited to share today’s quilt. It was made by Karen M. You may remember her? She is the lady that made the beautiful, surprise quilt for her granddaughter.

Karen M-Bow Quilt

Not long after taking her quilt home Karen surprised me with an email. In her note she asked if I had time before Christmas to work with two more quilts. Now, mind you, this was right before the start of December. I was blown away by her request. She already had a binding to add to the surprise quilt so how could she possibly have time to make two more.

I thought about her inquiry for a while. My schedule was already crammed full of commitments yet it is really hard for me to turn someone down. How could I possibly say anything but YES! Besides Karen was such a nice lady and so easy to work with. Without much hesitation I fired back my response. Of course I would love to work on two more quilts!

The first quilt was an adorable Puppy Quilt lovingly made for one of her grandsons. As is always the case, I sit down with my customers to discuss their expectations and to brainstorm about the possibilities. Together we make decisions on how to proceed.

Karen really likes to have input in how her projects will be quilted. She carefully and thoughtfully considers all of my suggestions. After drawing numerous examples of possible directions to approach this project we finally settled on this design.

Karen M Puppy Quilt Front.jpg

In the outer green border I stitched a single row of connecting circles. We chose circles to breakup the prevalent linear appearance.

Karen M Puppy Block.jpg

Inside the large white squares I first outlined it with a single row of stitching then echoed around the puppies to make them pop.

Karen M Paw Print.jpg

To continue the quilt’s puppy theme I stitched paw prints in a variety of sizes and shapes in the green and gold blocks. The bottom right corner of the quilt was saved for adding the little boy’s name and a small paw print.

All of the stitching was done using two different thread colors. Using more than one color as well as not connecting the blocks together with continuous stitching meant the quilting took longer than normal to complete. All of these features combine together to make what I feel is an adorable quilt.

Now that I have shared the details of this project isn’t it just the cutest thing! I bet this little boy was absolutely thrilled to receive his brand new blanket made by his Grandma. I can just see him snuggling underneath all warm and cozy grinning from ear to ear.

Well, that’s the story behind Karen’s second quilt. We have one more to go so stay tuned!

Thank you for sharing your time with me today! I look forward to our next visit!

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Machine Update


Anytime a mechanical device breaks or malfunctions it can be frustrating. Having my longarm quilt machine out of commission is downright heartbreaking. This industrial built machine is supposed to be my workhorse. How can I practice my craft if my machine doesn’t stitch?

I struggle to stay in harmony with my Tin Lizzie. There are so many opportunities for things to go wrong. I recently shared two posts discussing some of my issues. The first one called A Bump In The Road revealed the challenge I experienced with breaking/shredding thread as well as a timing issue. Those items, for the most part, had been tackled.

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My second post named Not Again talked about a machine failure. When I signed off, at the end of my post, I was waiting for the Tin Lizzie corporate office to call. Several days later I did receive a call. After asking a series of questions I was told that my issue would be forwarded to a repairperson. This repairperson would then call to discuss my issue. As of today the repairperson has never called.

After my machine sat idle for days I thought I would try turning on the machine to see if for some reason it would mysteriously work. Much to my surprise the machine successfully completed its start-up routine. With hesitation I pressed the stitch button and away she went. Bingo!

I was so happy to get back to quilting! Who knows what was wrong. All that counts is that my machine is working.

I wonder if the repairperson will ever call? 🙂

Thank you for stopping by!

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P.S. My machine did mysteriously stop working again giving me the same error message as last time. I decided to turn it off and restart just like I did before. This particular time it worked right away. I hope this doesn’t become a regular occurrence because my machine’s warranty expires midway through 2018. ;(

Karen M’s Bow Quilt


A while ago I had the pleasure of quilting Elisabeth B’s beautiful Christmas quilt. The quilt, with its unusual design, was a joy to work on. I had a blast creating an explosion of surprises from top to bottom and side to side.

Now fast-forward to November 2017 when I received a surprise email from Elizabeth’s Mom. I’m always thrilled when my customers share my information with friends. This gesture is the nicest compliment I could ever receive.

Karen had made a quilt top for her granddaughter. Her initial plan was to do the quilting on her own. She had even decided on and purchased the thread for stitching but then Karen had a change of heart and decided to entrust the quilting to me.

Karen and I spent a great deal of time exploring her project discussing the possible stitch designs as well as colors of thread. By the time Karen left we had created a carefully orchestrated, detailed outline. The number of stitch patterns as well as the volume of thread colors meant the quilting process would be slow. From start to finish I invested 28 hours in Karen’s project.

It wasn’t until the final stitch was applied and I was able to remove the quilt from my machine that I could finally absorb the quilt’s gorgeous appearance. Karen’s quilt top would have been magnificent even without my stitching but the plan we mapped out together complimented her project in a way that I never could have imagined. I was so in awe!

I’ve been patiently waiting to reveal Karen’s beautiful quilt until after Christmas since the quilt was meant to be a surprise. Now that the coast is clear I am so excited to share my photo’s.

Please enjoy!

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Karen M-Back of Bow Quilt.jpg

I can’t wait to hear how Karen’s granddaughter reacted!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed seeing Karen’s quilt. Let’s do this again real soon!

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