Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Farewell to 2011, it's time for to fade away. 2011 was a busy year many good things happened, the two best being the birth of my granddaughter, Laela and the engagement of my son Kyle to his Ashley.  We are blessed, our grandson Trevor turned 1 year old in November.

I've been super busy with family, dogs, knitting, finishing some holiday UFO's and quilting some quilts for customers.  Then of course there was Thanksgiving & Christmas!

While we were in Hawaii in October I contacted a quilt instructor named Kathy Tsark, owner of Kwilts 'N Koa in Honolulu. Kathy teaches traditional Hawaiian quilting, which is basically 2 fabric applique. Hawaiian quilts are made in two colors and are all handmade, no machine sewing or rotary cutting.
Kathy was super friendly and knowledgeable, she wants to preserve the Hawaiian quilting style and is happy to teach it to anyone interested.
                                                               The Breadfruit
                                                         Kathy Tsark, Kwilts 'N Koa
                                            All basted and ready to needle turn applique
                                                       Beginning the hand quilting

Kathy came to my hotel for two lessons, the first on the history of Hawaiian quilting, tracing and cutting the Breadfruit design, basting it onto the background and beginning the appliqueing. Over the phone we discussed color options as well as what notions I would need. I had brought along a sewing kit so I was semi-ready for this.

The designs used in these quilts all have a meaning, Breadfruit being the first, the food to start the quilter on her journey. Pineapples are well know around the world to mean 'Welcome', so there is a progression to the designs, all steeped in tradition.

I really enjoyed my lessons and working with Kathy, she's a sweetheart and so knowledgeable. If you ever get to Honolulu and want to learn from Kathy please contact here at KWilts 'N Koa,  you can check out her web site at 

I now own a quilt hoop as well as a Roxanne thimble, I haven't completed my breadfruit yet but I will!
I had Kathy prepare a crib quilt with pink & white fabric so that I can make a Hawaiian quilt for my granddaughter, Laela, who is Hawaii born to have.

I had done some hand applique but nothing of this scope, Kathy helped me to understand the applique as well as the hand quilting. I won't be expecting to win any ribbons with my new found skills but I will definitely enjoy the process as well as the completed projects!

Thank you again Kathy! Aloha!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Aloha #2 from Waikiki

Aloha again, it's early morning here and I think the jet lag is all gone, we actually slept until a normal time this morning. Now to go to my daughter's and help her out so that she can nap.

Here is our little Miss, Laela, fresh from her first bath. Isn't she just gorgeous?

Out hotel has Hawaiian quilts on every floor by the elevators. These are a cultural wonder and so beautiful. If you've never seen one they are made from just 2 fabrics, usually a light solid for the background and a darker solid for the applique. The applique is one piece for the entire quilt, no matter how large the quilt it's one solid piece of applique. They are hand basted, then appliqued and then hand quilted with either an echo of the design or with stitching that compliments the design. Pineapple and breadfruit are often included in Hawaiian quilt design.
Above are 3 of the quilts from the Hale Koa. I plan to go to the Bishop Museum to see more and get a pattern or two!

Don't you think that these quilts are stunning in their simplicity of color and intricacy of design? Can you imagine appliqueing one of these, all of those points and corners to master and make perfect! I hope that I get to make one, just a small one to start and see where it takes me.

I went into a shop at the Hilton Village here and it was all "Hawaiian" quilt items. Uhm, well not to be picky but the stitching was not good and upon further examination they are labeled 'authentic Hawaiian quilting" made in polynesia. Definitely for the unknowing tourist. I left without making a purchase. If I know that I can stitch it better I won't ever buy it!

Aloha, have a great Sunday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

October in Hawaii

Aloha from Oahu! My husband & I are here with our daughter, her husband and their daughter, Laela who was born 2 weeks ago! Yes grandchild #2 is here and we now have a boy and a girl.
This is the farthest I've ever flown and my first trip to the Pacific Ocean, it is beautiful and the flight wasn't as bad as anticipated.
While we are here we will spend a lot of time with the kids and some time sightseeing and shopping. I've already looked up quilt shops and yarn shops and really what else do I need to shop for? I brought a quilt for Laela with me on the plane, it's made with Winnie the Pooh fabrics along with bright read-as-solids prints. I hand sewed the binding on while flying west and handed it over shortly after arriving. My daughter has washed it and it has crinkled up just right to look warm and snuggly. For the most part Laela won't need a warm quilt while living here in Hawaii but it will be a play mat or stroller cover or a fort, who knows? I needed to make this quilt for my granddaughter like the several that I've made for my grandson, Trevor, who will be getting another quilt for his first birthday. This is Laela's second quilt, the first was pink Peter Rabbit fabrics with hints of turquoise.
Often grandchildren amass quite a quilt collection early in life and I can't stress the importance of labeling these lovingly made bits of history. Stitch a label, write one with permanent fabric ink or embroider onto the quilt but do label your work!
I promise to share a picture or 2 of Laela as well as Hawaii when I have a better internet connection!
Mahalo for reading along!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Intersting summer continued

Hello again, can you believe that I am back so soon? I realized that I had barely touched on the many things that made up my interesting summer! Below is a picture of my guild's raffle quilt for this year. This quilt was designed by Gina Gempesaw for County Line Quilters, pieced by guild members and machine quilted by me, Sally Malley finished it with her perfect binding. Our quilt guild hosts a non-juried show every 2 years in the spring, it will be in late March this year at Archbishop Wood High School. Isn't it beautiful? I love the bright, happy colors in this design and the large blocks really stand out! Oh I'd love to win this quilt! On a very sad note our Beautiful Morgan has gone to the Rainbow Bridge, I'd always asked her to make it to 13 years and she did, she turned 13 in May a left us in late June. I miss her so much!
This is Morgan on Trevor's bed, wasn't she just gorgeous? I used to send Morgan and Daisy in to wake Trevor up, they'd jump on the bed and play around. Trevor was not easy to wake up!
God Bless you Morgan, you made our lives so much richer in so many ways and you are missed my beautiful girl!

As I write this I am watching my Ninja Hummingbird guard the feeders, she is fierce in her desire not to share the nectar! The chases are comical and I could watch them and their beautiful shiny green feathers all morning. Mr. Rusty is at my feet, he never goes far any more it's like he's decided I'm his since Morgan left us.

In looking at my red golden retrievers and the green hummingbirds and can see a beautiful copper and green quilt, the colors are rich and would really shine together. Isn't it amazing how nature inspires us? Look around you and be inspired, after this hellish summer with it's prolonged heat waves and then the devastation of Hurricane Irene we have much to be thankful for. For me autumn is a wonderful season, the colors, the scents and the crackling leaves on the ground. I love the shorter days and cooler nights. I am inspired to create quilts and food. Autumn is a time to gather and prepare for the possibility of winter, I relish this time.

Our guild will start meeting again in September as will many guilds, we are starting off with a Tea Party this year! I can't wait to see everyone and what they have created over the summer!

I will get to have lunch with my good friend, Donna Lynn Thomas this week, she will be coming back east to promote her newest book and visit family. Spending time with her is amazing, she is so creative and inspiring!

Enjoy the last official weekend of summer, your family and friends and maybe you are inspired to create something for yourself to remember your summer of 2011 by.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Interesting Summer...

Hello, it's been awhile since I've blogged, as usual life gets in the way! My family is growing, my 3rd child, Kyle became engaged to his Ashley while in Cancun, Mexico last month. Congratulations! A July wedding is planned for next year.

My grandson, Trevor, Jr is almost 10 months old, that's him below on the boogie board. He's a beach baby and loves the sand and ocean. He loves the sand so much he wears it all over himself! We were blessed to have much of our family with us during our week in Sea Isle City, NJ or "down the shore"!
My daughter is expecting our first granddaughter this October, she will be born in Hawaii where they live while her Dad is stationed there, he is a U.S. Marine. I'll be traveling to Hawaii when she is born to meet her and help out the new parents as much as I can in a short time.

I'm still quilting and working on my own projects, sew much to do! I plan to make a Christmas gift for everyone, quilted, knit, crocheted or crafted. I love making or buying a special gift, knowing how well it will suit the person that I've chosen it for. The look of surprise and joy when they open that special gift makes it all worthwhile for me.

In my business I am fortunate enough to see the beautiful quilts made for beloved family members and friends. Below is an example of a special quilt made by a good customer of mine, Karen W. This alphabet quilt is for her grandchildren's play room, it will be hung on a wall and taken down to practice their ABC's.

There are dozens of machine embroidery designs in this gorgeous quilt and in quilting it I didn't want to take away from the embroidery but highlight it. I chose a very small stippling to nail down the backing and make the embroidery POP! It worked and the designs all stand out beautifully.
I am honored to be able to finish so many wonderful quilts that will be around for generations.

Keep piecing and quilting and remember to always include a label with your name, date and location as well as who the quilt was made for on each quilt that you create!
Happy Stitching!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sometimes you just need to say 'Uncle' to a project!

Tonight I ripped out a baby afghan that I had started in April. It was a sampler, which means different patterns of stithies alternating through out the blanket. I loved the cotton yarn that I chose, it's a Celadon green, very light and airy. This was to be for my Granddaughter who's supposed to arrive this October, they live in Hawaii at the moment so light weight was important.
I saw the quilt on the yarn shops web site and loved it, went in and signed up. the first class had us casting on over 200 stitches and then making a 2' ribbing pattern. This took awhile. the next class I missed because I was at MQX in Providence. Then the instructor realized that more time was needed to get this done so she put the last class off until after a trip abroad.
Today was that class, this pattern requires perfect attention, there isn't much repetition that you can just go over and over.
I had to un-knit the same row 4 times....enough said, I don't have the time or the concentration this pattern requires so I ripped it out and will make an easier pattern with the pretty yarn.
Mentally this is a load off my mind and work wise, I have more than enough on my plate.
It's okay to drop a project that doesn't work out, we shouldn't be beating ourselves up to finish something this is frustrating or time consuming.
So, feel free to rid yourself of that albatross project and move onto something that you will fully enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Spring!

Dresden Plate Quilt back and front to show quilting.

Hello Spring and the quilting has been flowing. Once I got past all the stitch-in-the-ditch work on the Dresden Plate quilt everything leveled out!
My customer LOVES the quilting and how it made her quilt look. The blocks were a hand me down from a neighbor to another neighbor to my customer who sashed them in red and blue. The fabrics were all from the 30's and not reproductions & hand pieced. This was a use it up quilt as there was seersucker and rayons in the mix as well as the feed sack prints. While I am still not a big fan of the red & blue sashing I do think that the quilt looks good and I am so happy that my customer is happy after all the stressing that I did over this job!

I have been knitting & crocheting for my grandkids, Trevor who is now 6+months and the new baby that is due this October. I try, struggle actually with time management...there are so many things that I want to accomplish or create and I never seem to get as much done as I'd like to! Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

My guild, County Line Quilter's has a challenge every year, with the results shown during our November meeting. This year it's a get it done challenge, you have to finish a UFO or WIP and us a small piece of cream fabric provided by our challenge master, Gina. You can use the fabric in the quilt or as a label, whatever works. I've got many UnFinishedObjects or WorksInProgress and hope to actually participate in my first challenge! Wish me luck.

With the nice weather coming make sure to have some hand work ready to go so that you can sit in the bleachers, on the beach or in the car with something to do!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is it Spring yet???

Have to wonder what's up with Mother Nature, we are still getting snow & sleet! This is the winter that won't quit! I'd love to have a normal spring with cool temps gradually warming up, time for the trees to bud out and the flowers to bloom without freezing.
The studio has been rather stagnant these past few weeks, I had a cold that turned into bronchitis, my husband had surgery on his foot so I had to pick up what he couldn't tend to and then just a general lack of motivation! I need a kick in my creative butt! Oh yes, I've been reading, a lot, many books. Reading is my first passion and can consume me to the detriment of anything else getting done! Time to put the books down for a bit, or my Kindle!
Today I will be cutting up Patty's wedding dress to make a Communion Dress for her daughter Katelyn. The gown is satin with a lot of trim and cut outs but plenty of fabric to make the simple dress that Kate wants. Pictures to follow.
I will be working on the quilt mentioned last time, yes it's still there. Turns out it's getting Stitched in the Ditch, very time consuming and boring for me. Must get it done, must get it done!
I did complete my grandson, Trevor's hooded knit sweater and will hand sew the zipper in today too!
Sew many plans, wish me luck!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I am guilty of procrastinating in many things but nothing makes me wait more than a quilt that isn't speaking to me. It can be the design, the colors, the style of the sashing....a creative block ensues and I am on the fence.

I've had a Dresden Plate quilt for awhile now, it's been on the frame for over a week and it's just sitting there while design ideas percolate in my head. I've looked for other Dresden Plate quilts to see how they were quilted to no avail, they are almost all meandered! UGH!

The story of this quilt is that the actual plate blocks are old, given to my customer, Karen by a neighbor. They are 30's prints, hand pieced. Karen added a triple sashing with 9 patch blocks at the junctions. My problem seems to be the sashing---it's red & white, the 9 patches are red & blue, solids, all of them. The border is rather narrow for this quilt but also red. She asked for me to come up with quilting that will enhance the blocks, (the easy part for me) and do something that would go with the period to match in the sashing and border.

Today I will work on this quilt, I will bite the bullet and go for it. I know that once I get started it will flow nicely (usually), rarely will I start quilting if I am not sure about the design. I will draw it on my white board and maybe even on a clear acrylic square that I can overlay on the quilt to test my ideas.

Wish me luck! I will post pictures as I go on this one!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More snow coming and I am getting projects done!

The top photo shows the baby afghan that I've finished and Ashley's Just Desserts quilt which has gone home with her.

This past week I finished the borders on Ashley's birthday quilt, quilted it and sewed the binding on! It went home with her Tuesday!
I've been working steadily on Trevor v2's Hooded sweater and have the hood & cowl collar completed, now onto the sleeves and then sewing in the zipper. This one is a rush as he is growing so quickly!

Yesterday I went to my friend Gina's for a sewing day, which includes a fair amount of chatting and eating...we had a delicious soup and sandwiches. There was trail mix, cranberry bread biscotti & Pepperidge Farms Dark Chocolate Nantucket Cookies, my favorite!

I took several WIPs with me, Trevor's Owl quilt, a pajama outfit that needed some additions-a long story about ordering personalized clothing that arrives wrong and too close to change-snowballs on the union jack flap on the rear, the Golf diaper bag that I've been making for Trevor the Dad, it's made up with golf fabrics and looks really good but I goofed up cutting the lining and it's been waiting and a project from a class taken in 2005, Sweet Emma Rose quilt that I mis-cut something on but don't remember exactly what and have to find that to fix so I can go on with it.

I worked on the first 3, only Sweet Emma didn't get touched, if only I hadn't gotten stuck in so much traffic that one might have been put aright too! Oh well, next time I hope!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hello 2011, it's been awhile since I've Blogged. So much has happened since September, my daughter was married, my cousin was married and my grandson arrived on November 4th. With all of those happy, glorious events I still managed to quilt all of my customer's quilts on time for Christmas and make some things for our new Trevor.
My son Trevor with his son, Trevor v.2

I don't believe in resolutions, like a diet it's setting yourself up to fail, I have however decided to straighten out my house, my files, my pantry, my fabric stash and projects.
I've had an overwhelming need to clean, which is so uncharacteristic for me! I don't believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness but the clutter and disorganization after so many huge events has got me down.
Do you have a great organizational tip? My favorite is to sort the mail as soon as it comes into the house, each persons mail, my bills, magazines, the recycling bag is next to me and then anything that could be used to steal our identities goes to the shredder. If you have a tip to share post a comment!

I like lists, shopping lists, to-do lists, Honey-do Lists (my favorite!) and now a project list. My need to create and to collect is a big part of who I am, always has been. So I have a list of my Works In Progress or WIPS, some are quilting related, some knitting and some cross stitch. I've promised myself not to start something new, a very overriding need of mine, until I complete 5 WIPs. Can I do it, or even remember where I parked my list? Time will tell but I am off on the right foot.
A crocheted afghan for Trevor is now done, Ashley's birthday quilt (from August) is ready to be quilted now, the borders complete. That's 2, sew far sew good!
Wish me luck and my next post will list my current WIPs, at least the most recent and then I will post pics of them as they get done.
I won't mention all the books I want/need to read, that's another story!
Enjoy the snow, winter will be gone soon enough, use the cold weather to get things done inside so that you can get outside when it warms up! Or you can be like our dogs and LOVE the snow!