A Hand Quilt Along Goodbye…

… from me… My big handwork time of year is over and now the outdoors is calling to me. Time to weed and plant and dye and make the outside beautiful. I do intend to finish quilting that quilt, and when I do, I will let you know!

I do have some hand quilting for you to admire. My friend Louann (The Finisher!) has completed this lovely Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt that she began piecing some years ago. She started it when a friend taught us how to do English Paper Piecing, and she’s been hand quilting it on and off. Isn’t it lovely?


Happy Stitching ladies!

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyLoriMargaretKerryEmmaTracyDebConnieDeborah,  Susan, JessiscaSherryNanetteSassyEdith, and Sharon







HQAL – the dog ate my homework!

What follows is my December Hand Quilt Along report:

One afternoon I took the quilt up to the studio and fussed with it. Years ago I  pin basted it in order to machine quilt it and then decided to hand quilt it. When I decided to hand quilt the top, I should  have then thread basted it…but was lazy. The pins do not hold the three layers securely enough, so periodically  I have to smooth all the layers and re pin it. I put the whole bundle in my evening chair fully intending to quilt it that night. And here is what I found later that evening. It’s the cat equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”.

How could I possibly disturb the little man?!? The cats always love whatever I am working on, so now I put the quilt where they can’t reach it. However, last night Gizmo jumped in the middle of my lap, and the quilt….what can a cat loving quilter do?

That concludes my excuses for lack of progress…

Seriously, I have divided the quilt into quarters with pins so that I can keep track of what I have accomplished. I have gotten my rhythm back and am enjoying the work, even quilting around all the triangles. ( Kerry asked and here is the answer: There are 352 flying geese and 160 New York Beauty spikes.)

Here are links to the other talented quilters participating. Go check them out and give them some atta girls!

Kathy, Lori, Margaret, Kerry, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Connie, Deborah,  Susan , Jessisca  ,  SherryNanette, Sassy and Edith



Hand Quilt-Along Progress….

…very little! Has it been three weeks already???

I started hand quilting this top some time ago and then I put it in my “quilt top” cupboard. Often I wrap the threads I am using in the unfinished project, but I did not this time, so I had to take some time to match the thread. I am stitching in the ditch around all the flying geese {sigh}. In the more open spaces, I marked a little leafy pattern, which I will have to inspect to reproduce it. As I complained mentioned in the previous post, the fabrics are all batiks, so the quilting will be slow.

Today is a full day of football, so I will really get started on the quilt. I get a lot of handwork done on Sundays and Monday night. It’s one of my favorite times of the year.

I am relieved to see that we all have had other things to do. ;-D  Please click on the links below to see what the other ladies have been up to!

Kathy, Bella, Lori, Margaret, Kerry, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Connie, Deborah,  Susan , Jessisca  and Sherry




Hand Quilt-Along Group!

Kerry of Lovethosehandsathome  recently posted about a hand quilt-along group that she had joined. It sounded like a great idea to me, as I guiltily remembered a quilt stuffed in a cupboard waiting to be completed. The quilt along was started by Kathy of Sewingetc, and I contacted her to be added to the group. Here is the story of my project….

I was surprised to see the date on the post – I didn’t realize that it was so old. (The top was completed pre-move (2013) and it is still not done!) I did start quilting it at some point and it is perhaps halfway done. It is not an easy project to hand quilt. All of the fabrics are batiks, which are always printed on very finely woven cotton, which means that it is harder to pierce with a needle. The backing is also made up of batiks… To compensate for the difficult fabrics, the batting is a thin polyester. Sneer as you might, but polyester is very easy to quilt, it’s very light, it washes easily and many award-winning hand quilters use it for all of these reasons.

I noticed on the post I wrote celebrating the finish, that I was planning to machine quilt it. In those days I had the #%$& Bernina sewing machine and was having all sorts of trouble using it, which would explain why I decided to hand quilt it. I use the teeny, tiny quilting needles with my readers on and a bright light over my left shoulder. Now that the weather here has finally cooled off, I will surely attract a cat or two with this cozy project.

This quilt was made in what I call my Illinois colors. I have moved on to lighter, brighter colors in South Carolina. But I do still have the Indian rug that I used as an inspiration, and it will still be lovely in that room.

Let the quilting begin!

Here are the other quilters who are participating! Click on their names to see what wonderful quilts they will be finishing. Check up on us November 26th to see what we have accomplished.

Kathy, Kerry, Deb , Bella Lori , Margaret , Emma , Tracy









Japanese Quilts at AQS Phoenix!

The AQS Phoenix show had a special exhibit of Japanese-made quilts. I made a beeline to the back corner of the exhibit hall where they were hung. I can’t tell you how stunning they were and I hope you’ll click on my pictures to get a better look at them.

Flowering by Sachiko Yoshida has the feel of Japanese crest designs (kamon). One circular design is pieced and the next one is appliqued. All the fabrics are from kimono or other Japanese clothing.

Sachiko Yoshida Flowering

In this detail, you can see the careful fabric choices and lovely piecing and applique stitches.

Detail of Sachiko Yoshida

Dianthus – In Memory of My Mother made by Sachiko Yoshida, is a stunning color study! It was hung in a place that could be seen from across the exhibit area and called for a closer look. It’s the perfect example of a quilt that looks amazing from a distance but has delightful details when you are right in front of it.

Dianthus Sachiko Yoshida

In this close-up you can see the lovely kimono bits and hand stitching.

Detail Sachiko Yoshida Dianthus

When I lived in Tokyo, I attended as many quilt shows as I could. The quilts that are made in Japan and stay there, tend to be more like the quilts in this show. (I feel like the Japanese who compete in International quilt shows have a very different style from the women who don’t ship their quilts to shows outside the country.) Most are entirely made of kimono fabric. At a distance, this quilt looked as though “panels” were cut out of a special kimono, but on closer inspection, the “panels” turned out to be hand applique and piecing. This quilt by Junko Yazawa, is called Flower Book.

Junko Yazawa Flower Bppk

Here is a wonderful flower applique.

Junko Yazawa Flower Book detail

Japanese crest designs or kamon may have been the design inspiration of Wild Flowers by Yoshiko Sakurai.

Yoshiko Sakurai Wild Flowers

Each circle is a small masterpiece!

Detail Yoshiko Sakurai

I think that this quilt is my favorite. It was hung so that it could be seen from a distance and as I walked towards it, more and more soft details appeared. Japanese quilts can be so precise, but this one softly undulates. It is Rose Garden by Junko Yazawa.

Rose Garden by Junko Yazawa

Here you can see the movement of the background triangles. I wonder if she drew out the squares or “free hand” pieced each row…. There is minimal quilting so that each piece of fabric can be seen and admired.

Detail Rose Garden by Junko Yazawa

All of the quilts were hand pieced or appliqued and hand quilted. Japanese fabrics would be difficult to sew in a machine and it would flatten the texture and fine details in the weaving or surface design. One of the AQS people said it was going to several of their shows, so if there is one near you, I’d suggest you go!



Cozy Evening Projects

My evening projects of late have been planned to keep me warm. Though South Carolina is not experiencing the frigid temperatures of the Midwest (it was never that cold when we lived in Illinois!) the house is definitely cold at night. Not sure if it’s all the windows or the kind of heat that a heat pump puts out, but I always add another layer when the sun sets. Last night I started to crochet the edge on a fleece for a new-ish baby we found out about in a Christmas card. This little throw and a gift card will make a nice present for a new family.

Baby fleece

And I am continuing to quilt the Livingroom Rug quilt. The batting is a very low loft for ease in hand quilting and I’m not sure you can see anything…. I’m hopeful that when I wash it, the quilting will show more.

Progress on hand quilting

And I’ve unearthed the Vermont Shells hooked rug – we need rugs in this house full of wood floors! Something looks funny, doesn’t it? In the blue area…

No outlines

I did pretty well at remembering everything that I wanted to work on while we lived in the motel last Summer. I brought all the wool I needed for the rug – except – the brown which outlines all the shells. I debated what to do about it and finally decided to use another color to outline and then pull it out when I could find the brown wool again. I really wanted to get a lot done on the rug and decided that re-hooking a few rows wouldn’t take that long. I find it interesting to see just how important that outline is to the design.

During the day, the patching and painting continues.

Starting Some Hand Quilting…

Several people have asked what I’m up to, in the creative department. Not much, is the answer. I am still fussing with the house and my studio and can’t quite get down to being the creative me again. But that doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing. I can’t have idle fingers. ;-D I have unpacked lots of boxes in the studio and the Livingroom Rug Quilt has surfaced. I really like it and want to get it done. Turns out that a quilt guild I recently joined has a show coming up in the Spring and that is a great deadline to get me working on the stack of tops I have.

Livingroom Rug Quilt found

Hand quilting is really on the wane. I have been to three quilt shows this Fall and in this area of the country I expected to see more hand quilting. I love to hand quilt and haven’t done it in a while. After looking at this top for a bit, I have decided to hand quilt it! I can see some eye rolling, but here’s my reasoning. I don’t want to do an overall quilting design. I didn’t carefully piece all these geese and points to have a design go over them. I want to quilt around each shape. My machine quilting skills are such that this is a very tedious exercise. Frankly, it’s easier and quicker for me to hand quilt it and so I am. {As I am working, I see that more points than I would like have been nipped off. The circular geese are not easy to sew. Maybe I won’t enter it in the show….}

LPQ hooped

I was working on the Halloween Grandmother’s Flower Garden, but I’ve put that away until another trip. Parts of it are still portable.

Halloween GFG progress

Well, I know someone who always approves of hand quilting!

Jasmine quilting