Monday, October 24, 2016

Exploring - Purple

Purple is a color intermediate between red and blue. According to surveys In Europe and the U.S., purple is the color most often associated with royalty, magic, mystery and piety. When combined with pink, it is associated with eroticism, femininity and seduction.
Purple was the color worn by Roman magistrates; it became the imperial color worn by the rulers of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, and later by Roman Catholic bishops. Similarly in Japan, the color is traditionally associated with the Emperor and aristocracy.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

I wish I had more time to sew!

I hear that all the time—from my friends and other quilters. Although I'm sure we'd all like endless hours or even days to spend in the studio creating, few people have the lifestyle that affords them that
kind of time. From my own experience and that of other quilters I know, I've discovered the following tips for fitting more sewing into a busy lifestyle.

1. Take a good look at the things you do on a daily basis. What can you change or how can you be more productive with your time? My favorite; I make fewer trips to the store if I have a list. Saves time to sew. (And then make sure you do!)

2. Rethink you UFO's. I don't have any. I give them to community service, cut them up for the back of something else, and I've even been known to throw something out. I would rather sew on something I like than a project I have lost interest in!

3. Set yourself up for success. Keep your most-used tools and supplies set up in such a way that they are ready to create when you are.

4. Schedule sewing time. If you don't make your sewing a priority, no one else will. So time on your calendar, even if it's just an hour.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Looking Back at a Summer Highlight

Northwest Quilting Expo | The Pacific Northwest's annual quilting and creative festival at the Expo Center, Portland Oregon

A fabulous quilting and fiber event at the Portland Expo Center in Portland, Oregon! They assemble an outstanding group of talented instructors, gorgeous quilts and exhibits, great vendors and more for the show.

I love to look at the special exhibits. 2016 featured Laurie Shifrin, Helen Remick, Joyce Becker, Colleen Wise, Leotie Richard, The Portland Modern Quilt Guild, The Corvallis Modern Quilt Guild, WestSide Modern Quilt Club and a Men's Quilt Exhibit.

A fascinating addition this year was the Oregon Historical
Society's traveling exhibit, entitled Oregon Is Indian Country, provides text with historical and contemporary photographs about the nine Federally Recognized Tribes of Oregon. Themes include: The Land, Federal Indian Policies, and Traditions that Bind.

My favorite was the exhibit from the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center. Featuring vintage quilts ranging from the 1800's to the 1940's. It will be a wonderful display of the incredible skills our quilting ancestors developed.
The old quilts with their beautiful quilting!

I can't wait to see what they have next year!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Things you should know about thread

1. Cotton is the only 100% natural fiber thread made especially for sewing machines. It can be a bit linty, so clean your machine frequently when using it.
What to look for: extra long staple thread that is very smooth with-out bumps on the spool.
 2. Rayon thread has a high sheen, and is both
soft and heat resistant. Unfortunately, it’s not colorfast and neither as strong nor as durable as polyester.
What it does: 30 wt. is intended to show and 40wt. has a subtle sheen.
3. Metallic: There is a huge range of quality of metallic threads.
Best when: used with a polyester bobbin thread, a Metallic needle and a lower than normal top tension.

  4. Polyester: is strong, durable and is available in a broad range of colors. Sizes range from very thin
Advantages: strong, durable and color fast, with either a matte or a sheen finish. Most are virtually lint free.
5. Silk: Great thread!
What to look for: 100% pure filament silk.

6. Monofilament: Use only polyester monofilament. It will not yellow over time or melt easily.
What to look for: comes in clear and smoke colored.
to very thick.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Introducing Artsy Bear

This year RARE Science is partnering with The Quilt Show (and a number of other great organizations) to bring you... the FIRST Ever Celebrity RARE Bear Auction!  This is your opportunity to own a signed bear made by the quilt world's most talented artists while helping a great cause.

RARE Science works directly with patient families and foundations to find more immediate therapeutic solutions for children with rare diseases.
Artsy Bear by Melody Crust


Friday, October 14, 2016

Remembering - Infinite Variety -- Three Centuries of Red & White Quilts

These quilts, collected by Joanna S. Rose, are spectacular! While the idea of hundreds of quilts is impressive, the actuality is overwhelming. This presentation of quilts is magical!

A digital guide to the exhibition, including images of all 650 quilts, is available as a free app for your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Android smart phone. For more information and to download, visit
(This link is still good, check it out)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Block Party Quilt Guild ... WOW!

By now you must know how much I support quilt guilds and quilt shops too. I had the opportunity recently to attend a meeting of Block Party Quilters. A fun group! The have great speakers, even though it is a bit of a trek for me to get there, I go often. This time it was Esterita Austin. She presented "Working in a Series" .Portraits have been a source of inspiration to artists for centuries.  Esterita took us on a photographic journey that begins with taking an expressive photograph then discussing: lighting, angles and settings through interpreting the image in fabric.  She will cover her technique step by step and show how, by adding textile paint, one can achieve greater depth.

Here are a couple of details of her work.

And did I mention, they do a great show and tell?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Quilted Straight here I come!

I will be teaching a couple of my favorite workshops at Quilted Straight in October! See you there!! 

32280 Puget Way NE
Port Gamble, WA 98364
Toll Free: 1-855-467-8458
Every Day 10 - 5, Tues. to 8: 30 

Sunday, October 23, 2016,  10:00 am  to 4:30 pm
First you will learn to join pre-quilted blocks using several innovative techniques. Go home ready to make larger machine quilted quilts without all the work of trying to get it into your machine. The Quilt-As-You-Go method allows for more detailed quilting using a standard sewing machine since you're only quilting a small section at a time. Fast finishing concludes with super-fast binding. Is binding the quilt your least favorite part? Bindings and piping are a snap with this no-fail completely machine-stitched method. In this class you will be making a sample to take home to keep as a ‘how to’ example for your own quilts. Binding will never be the same again!

 Fun and Fancy Purse Class
Monday, October 24, 2016,  10:00 am  to 4:30 pm

Create stunning purses with Melody Crust based on the Two Hour Tulip Purse pattern that can be finished in practically no time. Make your own in class, embellish it with trims, ribbons, buttons, bows, lace, fabric, found objects and then dive into the wonderful world of beads. We will learn what beads to buy, how to sew them and how to make your own lavish beaded dangles and fringes.  Basic sewing skills required.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bears on the March

This year RARE Science is partnering with The Quilt Show (and a number of other great organizations) to bring you... the FIRST Ever Celebrity RARE Bear Auction!  This is your opportunity to own a signed bear made by the quilt world's most talented artists while helping a great cause.

RARE Science works directly with patient families and foundations to find more immediate therapeutic solutions for children with rare diseases. 


Meet Celebrity RARE Bear "Blossom" by Alex Anderson!
"Alex wants all her quilting "buds" to blossom with creativity and this adorable little bear is doing just that. A scrappy little hand-worker, Blossom always has a "to-go" project with her to keep those creative juices flowing (and to keep those UFOs away from her door). Tiny embroidered flowers and cute little buttons on her bow, make Blossom a visual treat and colorful companion that you'll want to light up your studio."

Blossom by Alex Anderson 
Here is a sneak peak of my Bear before embellishment! Artsy Bear all dressed up will be revealed Monday October 17!
Artsy Bear by Melody Crust

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A New Spin on Drunkards Path - John Kubiniec

John Kubiniec's "A New Spin on Drunkard's Path" is an inspirational delight. The first half is bursting with information providing the reader with everything they need to know in order to create their very own version of a Drunkard's Path quilt design. I was very please to see that John included snippets about his own quilting journey and thoughs on design. As a quilter, I'm always fascinated by other quilter's artistic journeys. His Tool Talk is a helpful way for him to share the professional tips and tricks that he has picked up along the way and I appreciate his willingness to help other quilters gain insight into easier ways to make their beautiful quilts happen as painlessly as possible.

The last half is devoted to easy-to-follow patterns of Drunken Path quilts, along with a wide range of exceptionally interesting borders. Every quilt you make using this terrific book will be a unique creation, all your own!

Here's the schedule of blogs participating in the tour. Head to these sites each day for more info about the book and more giveaways!

September 26, 2016

September 27, 2016

September 28, 2016
September 29, 2016

September 30, 2016

October 1, 2016         
Kathy Patterson 
October 2, 2016

October 3, 2016

October 4, 2016

October 5, 2016
            Marti Michell 

October 6, 2016

October 7, 2016

Here John talk on Pat Sloan’s radio program on Monday afternoon (4pm- 5pm EST).

Now for what you are all waiting for - the giveaway! To win a copy of  John's book - leave a comment telling me about your favorite color and why . I'll draw for the winner on Tuesday October 11 And remember, in order to win, I have to know how to get a hold of you! If you don't have your email address in your profile or comment as anonymous, I won't be able to get the book to you, so please include your email with your comment if you think I won't be able to find it!

This drawing is now closed!

The winner is Carol who likes green - it goes with everything. She always thinks about flowers and green stems as her analogy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Quilt Show - Straight lines Rule!

I'm all about the quilting. I make lots of small very simply pieced quilts just to see the straight lines I can stitch. Here are a few.

Friday, September 30, 2016

I'm Teaching at QuiltWorks in Belevue in October

QuiltWorks Northwest located in Bellevue, is a great destination for all things sewing, quilting, and beading!  From fabrics and notions to batting, books, and embellishments, we offer an extensive selection of high quality sewing, quilting, and jewelry supplies to spark your imagination and satisfy your creative needs.  You’ll also find a full line of BERNINA sewing machines, embroidery software, and sewing cabinets, as well as an on-site service department that specializes in expert maintenance and repair of all sewing machine makes and models.

Located at 107th Avenue NE, we’re a casual, welcoming gathering place where handcrafters of all skill levels can enjoy a wide range of classes and fun store events. When you need assistance, our friendly, knowledgeable staff members are always on hand to offer personalized service, helpful product advice, and continuous project support throughout your creative journey!

Finishing School
Oct 8, 2016 at 10:30 am to 1:30 pm
Discover the joy of transforming unfinished projects into amazing quilts. We will explore construction techniques and setting blocks and delve into designing and sewing the perfect border, all while engaging in a lively problem-solving session that will convert challenges into marvelous, artistic solutions!

Thread Toppings
Sat, Oct 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Thread is no longer a 'Plain Jane' necessity - it's now available in many luscious colors and types. Steering your way through the sea of threads out there can be a bit daunting. Experiment while you learn how to match thread to the appropriate needle, make the tension setting your best friend and troubleshoot your way to fun and fancy sewing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Best Machine Quilting Tips

I love to quilt, I especially love dense stitching. I have some tips and tricks to make your machine stitches, quilts the best ever.

Batting - I prefer cotton batting because among other things:  Cotton tends to stick to the quilt top and the backing, allowing for easier machine stitching. Thin cotton batting rolls up compactly (a nice quality for machine quilting).

Safety pins – The 1” size work the best. And if you have bent quilter’s pins work even better. Use lots, I place the pins about 4” apart. I remove them as needed.
Basting - First, lay the quilt BACK on a flat surface, right side down. Use masking tape around the perimeter to hold the edges in place. The fabric should be taught but not distorted. Next, place the batting on top of the quilt back. Smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles with your hand. Finally, lay the quilt top on the batting, right side up. Once again, use your hand to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles in the fabric.
NOTE: Take the time to make sure all the straight lines that should be straight are straight.

A walking foot - It has built-in feed dogs that help move the top layers of fabric through your machine,
while your machine's own feed dogs move the bottom layers through. This helps ensure the layers don't shift while you are quilting. (FYI: If your walking foot doesn't seem quilt right, it might need servicing!!)

On a sample, test the tension and stitch length.

If I can hide the starts and stops in under the binding, I backstitch at the beginning and end of each line of quilting to lock the stitches.

When I start quilting, I use the edge of the fabric as a guide, keeping my walking foot placed along it as I stitch.

Use the needle down, if possible, so the fabric doesn't shift.

I use the previous line of quilting as my guide for the next line, keeping the edge of my walking foot against it while I work on the next line of quilting.

Before you know it, your beautiful quilt will be beautifully quilted!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Exploring Color - Red

Red is one of the primary colors of visible light, along with green and blue, which in Red Green Blue

(RGB) color systems are combined to create all the colors on a computer monitor or television screen.
Roses are Red
Reds can vary in shade from very light pink to very dark maroon or burgundy; and in hue from the bright orange-red scarlet or vermilion to the bluish-red crimson. Red is the complementary color of cyan.

Since red is the color most commonly associated with heat, activity, passion, sexuality, anger, love and joy. In China, India and many other Asian countries it is the color of symbolizing happiness and good fortune.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stitching Through the Layers

Should I say it? Christmas is just around the corner. Need to finish those gifts?  Stitching Through the Layers: The Art and Elegance of Straight Line Quilting is just what you need!

Quilting for me is part of the original design idea. It’s as important as the color or piecing design. I like
all the parts of quiltmaking, but design and fabric selection are my favorites. As I travel and teach quilting design workshops, it became obvious to me that many quilters find choosing a quilting design to be very challenging. Most realize that a good design can make or break a quilt. But free motion can be very intimidating. There had to be a better way. 

In my machine quilting workshops I try to help everyone get past that apprehension. Sometimes I find that we just don’t have enough hours in the day for all the things we need to do much less want to do, and good free motion takes practice, lots of practice. There just had to be a better way. So Stitching Through the Layers; The Art and Elegance of Straight Line Stitching was born. The slogan became “Move your quilt one big step toward stardom! This book makes it EASY for you to decide how to maximize the ‘wow’ factor by using the right stitching in the right way and in the right places!”

Osterman Media ISBN 978-0-9838274-0-5 paperback
28 pages, 8 1/2" 11".   $19.55

Order Now

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tips for Machine Piecing

I have been sitting behind my sewing machine this week piecing my next creation and thinking about
Thread for piecing
what makes a quilt successful. The first in a long line of things is piecing accuracy. Here are my tips for piecing by machine.

1. I prefer to use colored thread. It's more trouble but well worth the effort. If this is too much of an investment for you consider using dark gray and beige or light gray and beige. Put the gray thread in the top and the beige in the bobbin. This makes reverse sewing easier. You'll know right away to cut the top ‘gray’ thread and pull the bottom ‘beige’ thread.

2. Sew with smaller thread; I use a machine embroidery thread or one of the newer threads made for piecing like Superior Threads ‘Masterpiece’ or Aurifil cotton 50wt.

3. Use a sharp needle and change it often; I prefer to use a smaller needle Sharp/Microtex size 70/10. Other good choices are Sharp/Microtex size 80/12, a size 75/11 quilting needle or a Jeans/Denim size 70/10 or 80/12.

4. Press seams open; I press as many seams open as possible. Now I’m not totally crazy, if it is easier to have seams pressed one way or the other I do so, but I press seams open most of the time.

5. Use ¼” foot with guide if possible; Many machines have a ¼” foot available. I prefer the foot with the guide. I need a ‘wall’ that allows the fabrics to ride along. If you want to try the guide idea, use either layers of masking tape or moleskin and place it exactly ¼” from the needle.

6. Use the single stitch throat plate; The normal throat plate has an oblong hole which allows the machine to eat the thread tails or fabric.

7. Change needle position; Even though I use a ¼” foot, I still feel that in order to get a scant ¼” seam, I move the needle one very small step to the right. Be sure to check and make sure the needle won’t break.

8. Chain piece; I piece as many pieces as possible one right after another. Saves time and thread.

9. Even seam width the whole length of the seam: Use a stiletto to guide the last little bit of a seam if necessary to get an even seam width.

10. Starch: I starch a lot. I prefer the old fashioned liquid starch that I find at a big box store. I mix it
half and half starch and water for heavy use. The hardest part of doing this is finding a bottle that likes to spray facing down at the work lying on the ironing board. I prefer this to aerosol cans because it never flakes!

11. Press not iron: I do not want any distortion, so I carefully press and lift, not rubbing back and forth as in ironing.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

About Judging

The purpose of judging a quilt show is twofold: one is to award excellence, and the other is to give critique. ‘Critique’ is not criticism. A critique is defined as ‘a critical analysis or review’. A good critique should point out the areas in which the quilter has demonstrated success, as well as suggest areas which need improvement.

Much of my judging is done locally and I sign all judging cards given to the quiltmaker. Sometimes I get comments. 'Thanks" other times there is more of a conversation. One quilt maker just didn't get it. I evidently made the comment the I thought the piece would benefit with more quilting. She said "but it has a warm and natural batt" (this batt requires lines of quilting a minimum of 8" apart). I kept saying "how would I know that?" I don't think she ever got it.

I might make comments like these;

FEATURES OF THIS QUILT ARE:                               

1.    Excellent visual impact
2.    Stood up well against stiff competition
3.    Edges flat
4.    Colors and fabrics well chosen for quilts style
5.    Innovative use of color
6.    Innovative use of pattern
7.    Well balanced design

8.    Color impact could be improved
9.    Good effort
10.    Bearding is apparent
11.    Loose threads should be cut (threads shadow)
12.    Remove basting threads and/or pencil marks
13.    Edges wobble or ripple

1.    Piecing well done
2.    Points match
3.    Block size is uniform
4.    Straight lines are straight
5.    Curved seams are smooth

6.    Piecing needs improvement
7.    Corners and points should meet precisely
8.    Block size should be uniform
9.    Straight lines should be straight
10.    Shadowing-through detracts
11.    Stitches should be secure
12.    Piecing thread should not show

 1.    Appliqué well done
2.    Design well centered on block
3.    Curves are smooth
4.    Points are sharp
5.    Stitches are even
6.    Stitches are unobtrusive

7.    Appliqué needs improvement
8.    Design should be centered on block
9.    Curves should be smooth
10.    Points should be sharp
11.    Stitches should be even
12.    Stitches should be unobtrusive
13.    Background shadows through
1.    Border well done
2.    Border compliment’s central design
3.    Corner miters well done

4.    Border techniques need improvement
5.    Border should compliment central design
6.    Corner miters should be done carefully
7.    Borders should be straight
8.    Sashing inconsistent (not aligned)
 1.    Binding well done

2.    Binding techniques need improvement
3.    Batting should fill binding completely
4.    Corners should be stitched closed
5.    Width of binding should be consistent
6.    Fabric bias more appropriate than commercial bias
 1.    Quilting well done
2.    Stitches are even
3.    Stitches on back are even
4.    Straight quilting lines are straight
5.    Curves quilting lines are smooth
6.    Quilting pattern appropriate

7.    Quilting techniques need improvement
8.    Density of quilting should be consistent over surface
9.    Stitches should be of even length
10.    Stitches should go all the way through
11.    Beginning and ending of quilting threads should be invisible
12.    Quilting design should enhance design
13.    In the ditch quilting should stay in the ditch
14.    Tension on quilting stitch should be even