Lectures and Workshops

Friday, June 18, 2021

Quilts Unscripted

 Several months ago, The Solid Seven, a modern solids improv bee I was a part of wrapped up. While it was great to step back and take a break for a bit, I was missing the community that comes from participating in a bee and the inspiration and challenges beemates always provide. When I talked to Sarah about it, turns out she was feeling the same way. We decided to invite other improv quilters whose work we knew and admired to join us in a new adventure.

We invited 10 quilters (including ourselves) to play along and.... what do you know.... all said yes! We all seem to be craving community right now, don't we? Several members threw out ideas for a name. A vote was taken and, by an overwhelming majority, we chose to become Quilts Unscripted.

First up with a prompt for June is Sarah Ruiz. Sarah is creating an Improv Ransom Note Alphabet quilt. She asked each of us to sign up for some letters to make (to avoid duplication), gave us a bright, happy color palette and set us free. Well, if you've been around here long you know how much I love letters/words on quilts. Also, isn't it hilarious that our very first Quilts Unscripted prompt is literally SCRIPT??? I thought so.

I tend to jump on my prompts pretty quickly so my blocks have already arrived at Sarah's house. The letters I  chose were H, Q and Z. I started with the Z and at first nobody could tell what it was supposed to be. Once I added borders it became clearer...

H was up next. Hubby said it looks like the History channel logo? Maybe a little but I assure you I did not use that as any kind of inspiration..,,

By the time I got to Q I was running out of brilliant ideas. Even though I improv pieced this Q it ended up looking pretty much like a copied font. oh well....

These were great fun to make and I'm sure Sarah's quilt will be fantastic.

I wonder what July will bring?

If you want to follow along with our group, you can find us at #quiltsunscripted or #quiltsunsdriptedbee.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Tracking your WIPs

 As previously promised, here are some insights on tracking your Works in Progress, courtesy of me and my pARTner, Sarah. This is from our In Tandem Art conversation last week (which ended up being a phone call since thunder boomers kept knocking out my power and my wifi that day. ugh).

Sarah and I have come to realize over the last few months that when it comes to works in progress, we have very different situations! Sarah tends to have dozens of projects at a  time at various stages of completion, while I am more of the "see it through to the finish" kind  of gal. I typically only have a small handful of projects in the works. Nonetheless, most of the solutions we came up with for tracking these projects work for both of us, and would work for anyone anywhere on the WIP spectrum (is that even a thing? it is now).

Some methods that we currently use, or have used in the past include:

A chalkboard on the sewing room wall (I confess this is mine. I need that list IN MY FACE at all times!) Please note that in my world at lease, the chalkboard must be whimsical and cute. I guess a white board would be equally effective.

Both Sarah and I have participated in the bloggers Finish Along in the past. You can check out some of my finish along posts here and here. Basically, at the start of each quarter you list the things you want to finish and then at the end of the quarter you report in as to how you did, keeping you accountable and earning you the opportunity to win prizes. My understanding is that this has since moved from blogs to Instagram. 

Another way to use Instagram is to set a daily goal for yourself and document it with a hashtag as you go along. Sarah is currently doing #99DaysOfWIPs where she is working on completing projects that she started in quilt classes. 

Something I have never tried but I know is popular with many quilters is tracking in a Quilter's Planner.

American Patchwork and Quilting does a 12 month challenge every year to encourage finishes. I know my local quilt store does something very similar.

Sarah educated me on the Trello App, basically a digital bulletin board. I imagine and old fashioned cork board and 3x5 cards would work too (although it would be much more difficult to carry around in your pocket!)

Do you have other ways to track your WIPs? Please share them in the comments so we can all learn more.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

In Tandem Art

 Several months ago,  I was listening to an episode of Danielle Krysa's podcast, Art for your Ear (do you listen? I find it very inspiring.) and she talked about an idea she and a friend had called In Tandem Art. I encourage you to read her blog post here to better understand what it is all about. Basically, to participate, you find yourself a pARTner to come along side you, encouraging you and you doing the same for them. The idea intrigued me so much that I couldn't get it out of my head!

That night I was texting with Sarah Goer, a newish quilty friend, and told her all about it. I asked if she wanted to give it a try and she was all in! We decided to meet via zoom every other week (Sarah lives in Northern California and I am in Texas. While it would be great fun to meet twice a month in person, it simply wasn't practical) and held our first meeting the end of February. Since then we have met faithfully every two weeks (allowing flexibility when we had a conflict) and we've enjoyed it very much.

my pARTner, Sarah

A little more about Sarah, she is a modern quilter, quilt teacher and lecturer, a wife and mom to two great kids who occasionally pop their heads into our zoom meetings. She and I have participated in a bee together for a while and recently organized a new modern improv bee.... more on that another day.

We decided to set a general topic for each meeting, and have found that doing that helps us focus and to each gain something from our time together. Some of the things we've talked about include Creative Goals, Creative Block, our Childhood Creativity and what inspires our work. This last week we talked about how we track our works in progress. It occurred to me that some of the things we talk about might benefit others, so, with Sarah's permission, I am going to begin sharing some of that here. I promised her I wouldn't share anything personal or juicy, sorry folks! Some things are just not intended for internet publication!

In my next blog post I will share some of the thoughts and ideas we had for tracking our projects. Meanwhile, I encourage you to go read Danielle's post and think about who your pARTner might be!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

100 day project

 I'm delinquent in sharing this year's 100 day project with you. You might remember my 100 days of Bojagi that I did in 2020. It was great fun and I became better at a new skill, which, for me, was the point. This year I decided to go in a totally different direction. No needle or thread this time.... I decided to doodle 100 days of Monsters! Why monsters, you ask? Why not?!?

The project wrapped up several weeks ago. Here are all of the monsters I drew in the 100 days...

First because the project began in February, my birthday month, I drew monsters at a birthday party...

Next up was a monster picnic.
Monsters at the grocery store....
A monster Zoom party....
By now baseball season had started, so the monsters headed to the ballpark.
Of course, the yard work needed to be done...
and finally, they headed off to the bakery for a treat...

I had so much fun drawing monsters! Have you ever done a 100 day project?

Friday, June 4, 2021

MCKMQG Scrap Jar

 My guild, the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild started a fun tradition a year or so ago. We have a big jar full of scraps. Every meeting, one attendees name is drawn and that person gets to take the jar the next month. They make a fun small item from some of the scraps, refill it to the top and then pass both the jar and the item on to the next person drawn the following month. It's been fun to see the cute little items everyone has made.

Finally, in May, my name was chosen! I won a darling tiny flying geese magnet made by Stephanie. When I picked up the jar from her, I went home and immediately dumped it upside down on my floor. I had so much fun digging through the scraps and finding colors that spoke to me.

I'll bet you're wondering what I made. Potholders! I added some insulbright that I had on hand and pieced a couple of improv log cabins with the scraps. 

The other day I dropped them off with my friend Chris who is going to make something fun for June. Scrappy is her jam so I'm sure whatever she makes will be lots of fun.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Pin Cushion Swap

 When Lissa announced she was hosting a pin cushion swap I was all in! I love cute pin cushions and I love swaps! It was the perfect storm for me.....

Here is the pin cushion I mailed off to Colette (@rcwfam). She has received it and seemed to like it! I used lots of my Liberty scraps to make it, some I had bought at the actual Liberty store almost 9 years ago! I made it using this tutorial from retro mama's blog.

And I was so happy to receive this beauty from Tamara (@daisy.creates). I love the little pocket to store my scissors!

Such a fun swap! Lissa says she has more swaps brewing and I can't wait to participate in them too.

Friday, May 7, 2021


 My friend Jayne (Twiggy and Opal) has released a new quilt pattern today and it's a winner! I was so thankful that she asked me to test it out for her. I had so much fun with it and just love the finished quilt top....

You can (and really should!) purchase a copy of the pattern here

I had so much fun with the design I decided to see how small I could go with the blocks. The other day I made this two color block...

which led me to pulling out the pantone colors of the year.... Ultimate Gray and Illuminating...

Stay tuned for this finished mini.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Improv Round Robin

 My fantastic Improv small group (we call ourselves the Comedy Club Quilters) has done speedy improv round robins at the retreat center twice before. You can read about those here, and here. It's a fun event we always look forward to. But, like it has done to so many things, the global pandemic caused us to rethink our process this year. In the end, we pulled off our round robin with car swaps, porch drops, and maybe more than one quilt shop meet up (fully masked of course!).

I started out with this fun block, made up of a bunch of improv orphan blocks I had been ignoring for a long time...

I had a blast working on everyone's quilts (we swapped them out once a week) and never saw mine again once it hit the road. A couple of sneak peeks that I posted along the way....

The ladybugs were my signature fabric that I added to each quilt.

On Friday, the five of us who participated met up at the park (our first in person meeting in months! thank you vaccines) to reveal our finished quilt tops. 
They did not disappoint! I think having a week to work on each one really paid off. We all said that we would spend a couple of days looking over the week's project as it hung on our design wall. We have all gotten to know each other's styles and really played to each other's strengths.

Here is my finished top. I couldn't be happier!

I am thinking about how I want to quilt it now. And here's a photo of all 5 of our tops together.... I love them all!

Before we left the park today we had an idea brewing for our next collaborative adventure! Stay tuned!

Friday, April 30, 2021

This is 60!

When you celebrate a milestone birthday during a global pandemic, what do you do to celebrate? Well, if you are me, you recruit your friends to help you make a joyful quilt!
This is 60 is my last quilt with the Solid Seven bee. I asked my beemates to make me blocks that included at least one triangle (I love triangles, weird, I know) in my prescribed color palette of bright, bright, bright! As always, they did not disappoint!

I added the black/neon borders on two sides and finished off my quilt with faux piped binding (I wrote a tutorial for it a long time ago! you can find it here). My friend Diann at Happy Quilts longarm quilted it in a terrific modern triangle panto which I love so much. 

A day at the park with my quilting buddies (stay tuned for more about that in my next post) was the perfect photo opportunity. A cloudy day was just right to capture the bright colors of my quilt.

I'm three months into 60 and I have to say, it's agreeing with me so far! 



Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mod Flower Quilt

 Earth day seems like the perfect day to finish up this quilt and share it with you. Even though it is a small quilt (36"x38") it has been in the works for many months. It all began last September, on National Jelly Roll day. My guild,  McKinney Modern Quilt Guild, was holding a zoom mystery jelly roll sew along day and because I love to "do all the things" I was eager to be a part of it. Mind you, I am not a jelly roll person (not a precut person at all, truth be told) and being on a tight fabric budget I wasn't eager to spend money on a jelly roll. So, I decided to make my own. Due to the generosity of another quilter, I had a large stack of low volume yardage on my shelf. I pulled the needed number of fabrics (20) and cut a 2 1/2" strip from each. 

The day was great fun, with a large number of guild members participating. At the end of the day, I had this finished, and quite boring in my eyes, quilt top. 

Rather than let it go to waste, I decided I wanted to appliqué a large, modern flower to the front. Never mind that hand appliqué was not a skill I had in my current toolbox! I had a vision and was willing to do whatever I needed to do to accomplish it. I set about designing templates for the appliqué I desired, then recruited a friend who is very skilled at needle turn appliqué to teach me. In fact, I also recruited a group of friends to learn alongside me because everything is more fun with friends, right? Martha graciously gave us a free zoom class and I was off and running (with more than a few anxious texts and additional tips and tricks.)
Because I was having fun doing handwork (I usually do), I decided to teach myself big stitch quilting. You Tube to the rescue! I hand stitched the whole quilt using size 8 perle cotton, a neutral variegated in straight rows across and accent stitches on the flower and stem using matching colors.
I even added a few Xs here and there just for fun.
And just for fun, I machine stitched the binding to the back then big stitched it down on the front of the quilt in pink, to match the flower. These stitches don't show on the back of the binding but are firmly stitched through the batting to secure it. Oh, and a few Xs snuck into the binding as well, because, why not?

I'm so happy with this little finish! Very few of my quilts are inspired by nature (weird, I know) and I guess this proves, even when they are, they are modern and not terribly realistic! But it was fun to learn new things.

Monday, April 19, 2021

watercolor journey

 Last year I shared that I had started playing with watercolors just to learn something new. I haven't shared about it in a long time, but I continue to learn and play and I feel like I might be getting better at it! It's funny, while my quilting tends toward solids and graphic design, I really love painting flowers! I thought I'd share a few of my recent entries in my sketchbook. Do you think I'm improving?

Sometimes I layer black sharpie doodles over top of my floral paintings just for fun.

I've almost filled my third sketchbook, in addition to painting many many notecards. I ordered a fourth sketchbook from Amazon and it's ready to go! Have you learned any new skills during quarantine?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

obligatory annual bluebonnet post

 Here we are, spring again! and for a brief time every April the Texas Bluebonnets are in full bloom. Last weekend Hubby and I drove to our favorite Bluebonnet spot for a few photos, as we do. I thought it would be fun to share a little bluebonnet block I made ages ago (and quickly finished into a tiny quilt right before we photographed it).

This is an awesome 6" foundation paper pieced block that is free on Sarah's blog. My original intention was to make a whole field of bluebonnet blocks but, well, you all know how that goes! Maybe someday.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and also a good chance to get some photos of my latest Kalle Shirt by Closet case patterns. This is my go-to summer top (seriously my closet is full of them!)

I just love it in this Alison Glass Tuesday fabric that I picked up at my local quilt shop! This one will be getting lots of wear. I had Hubby take some more photos when we got home in better lighting...

Also I want to point out this is 2 blog posts in one week! Patting myself on the back.... 

Monday, April 12, 2021

baby quilt finish

 Well! I certainly did not intend to take 2 months off from blogging, yet here we are! I have been making making making..... which is not an excuse but it's been fun. 

During Quiltcontogether everyone was sharing the cool things they were creating in their virtual classes. For a couple of reasons I had not signed up for classes, and I found myself feeling a bit of FOMO. A little digging in my WIP pile and I found some blocks I had started at Quiltcon in Austin in 2020. I had forgotten all about these and honestly had not touched the project bag since.

The class I took was called Magic Numbers and the instructor was Katie Pederson (sewkatiedid) from Seattle. I will confess that I completed exactly ONE block during her class (I might be that girl who gets distracted easily and talks too much? maybe). Anyways, several other blocks were partially constructed or the pieces were cut, and all of the fabric were there in the bag so it was easy to get started on it again.

These are improv blocks, right up my alley. I a matter of days I had finished the 12 blocks I needed for a baby quilt, quilted a grid on my domestic machine and shipped it off to a new baby! I don't know why I had put this one off, but it was a pleasure to make now, maybe the timing was just right? who knows, but it is finished and gone.

I am recommitting to blogging at least once a week and I promise to do my very best! Thanks for hanging in there with me....

Monday, February 22, 2021

Quiltcon Together 2021

 I had so much fun going through the Quiltcon Together virtual quilt show this weekend. As always, there was a huge array of stunning quilts in all of the categories. I found the community service quilts to be especially beautiful this year, and I was so proud of my guild, the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild for our contribution. Together in Turbulence was spearheaded by my friend Chris and many many quilters had a hand in the assembly. I was thrilled to contribute some blocks to the quilt.

I had no idea that receiving a first place ribbon for my Urban Emergence quilt was only the beginning of the weekend's fun. I received invites to visit with different guilds throughout the weekend and even did an interview with Steph and Isabelle, the hosts of Scant Quarter Hour in Instagram TV. It was fun to chat with lots of other quilters about my quilt and about their experiences with the online format. All in all, Quiltcon Together was really well done and lots of fun, despite the challenges. I missed the hugs and can't wait to gather with friends in Phoenix next year. Urban Emergence will get to hang at Quiltcon 2022 in Phoenix with the other winners from this year!