Friday, December 28, 2012

Something New for the New Year

The Wizard
I've very flattered to have been asked to be the Keynote Speaker at the Minnesota Quilters 35th Annual Quilt Show and Conference in June. I'm going to talk about "So Many Ideas; So Little Time". This new lecture is a humorous look at how I design and made my contemporary quilts. You can relate to these true confessions of the struggles and foibles of a prolific quilter.

So the something new? They are asking for a sample. The challenge, how to make one sample that includes Fantastic Foil, Borders; the Final Chapter, and Machine Quilting?  Resuilting in ...  The Wizard.  I'll also be there with Eye Candy Quilts, since I have many of them, choosing one will be the hardest part. More on this event later.
Lots of fun stitching to highlight the foil.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Too All

The best place I know in the south end of King County to see Christmas lights is 300th Place, Federal Way WA. Just off 1 St Ave South near Dash Point Road, this display is wonderful! Enjoy, and have a Happy Merry Holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Few More of My Favorite Things

Through trial and error and the occasional ‘beads dumped onto the carpet’ fiasco, I have learned that a neat way to hold your beads is in a six-inch embroidery hoop, lined with fabric and turned upside down. Thus safely corralled, the beads don’t jump around because there is no static charge to get them going. It definitely turns what should be a fun and creative process into an exercise in frustration when you have to chase down each and every bead! Another great advantage to this method is, if you happen to work in an upholstered chair or couch, you can pin the hoop directly to the arm, making it pretty close to impossible to knock over. A win-win situation if ever there was one.

"Fast Finish" Triangles - This is a great way to quickly and easily provide a fake sleeve to hang a small quilt on a single nail. Before sewing the binding, fold two squares of fabric in half diagonally, press. On the back, place them over the two top corners, all raw edges together. Sew the binding. Simply insert a pencil, small dowel, or chop stick under the triangles and balance the quilt on a nail.

Is the eye of the needle getting smaller every year? Try the Clover needle threader. Just like having younger eyes, well almost!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


    Why is starch is my friend? Need to tame bias edges? Looking for the easiest stabilizer for stitching or just because you like to work with washed fabric with some stiffness. I prefer to use concentrated liquid starch, purchased at a big box store. A heavy solution of 50% water to 50% starch. Spraying the starch to warm fabric, makes the fabric firm faster. Need more body? Dip the fabric in straight starch and place in the dryer. Maximum stiffness? Dip fabric in straight starch and hang to dry!

    Stenciling: Use some hairspray on the underneath side of your stencil to make it stick on the surface, and to help prevent the paint seeping in at the edge.

    The Bottom Line by Superior Threads - This thread has a shiny appearance and is virtually lint free. It can be thin and lightweight, yet strong. Due to its smooth surface, it works well with metallic threads and heavy cotton threads. The smoothness of the filament poly thread does not snag or grab the top thread. If you've had trouble using metallics or heavy cotton threads,  smooth bobbin thread may solve some problems.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stitching Through the Layers: The Art & Elegance of Straight Line Quilting

Quilting Counts! Really, when you think about it, it’s the stitching through the layers that transforms a top into a quilt, so make sure it contributes in full measure to the beauty of your quilt!

Elegant & Powerful Straight Lines: Fully integrated and thoughtfully planned quilting enhances and supports the quilt. By integrated, I mean that the quilted stitch design should tell the same story as the quilt’s composition.

Strong lines make a very noticeable contribution to the visual impact of a quilt. Lines have the power to direct attention toward or away from its various parts. They can affect the mood of the work by adding movement and excitement or contribute a quieter, mellower feel. For example, horizontal lines commonly create the impression of calm, tranquility and space. Strong vertical lines can give the feeling of importance, drama and height. Diagonals tend to indicate action or forward movement. Tightly angled lines that constantly meet and cross each other give a dynamic, lively effect to the work.

The same kind of line, running in different directions, can add interest to the overall quilting pattern. Repeated lines of parallel stitching on traditional quilts often changed direction upon reaching the outside border, thus highlighting the center or the border – or both!

Decoding the Magic of Lines: There are three basic qualities of any stitched line; visibility, style and scale. Understanding them lets us easily expand the range of potential designs we can create. Varying each of them opens an endless range of quilting ideas.

Melody’s TIP: A great way to test a design before stitching is to draw it onto a piece of clear Duralar™ or Plexiglas™, a piece about 18” by 24”. Mark the edges with tape so you know  where to stop from drawing on your quilt top. Place it over your quilt, test patterns directly onto the plastic with a Vis-à-Vis Wet Erase™ pen. This allows you to evaluate how the lines and shapes of your planned quilting design will
relate to the pattern of your quilt top

In ConclusionYour quilt top is beautiful – and the quilting is the delicious frosting on the cake! Let the feel of your quilt and your unique artistic interpretation play out in your work. The result? Pure genius!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hands All Around Quilt Guild, Bloomington/Normal, IL

Great guild with a wonderful show and tell!
 We played with foil and paint sticks in the Simple Surfaces workshop.

Here is Trisha Hooker working on her Embellishments, etc project

Give Marsha the award for bravest quilter ever! She came with a completed quilt, wanted to 'do' something with it. Decided to cut it up to embellish it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tiny Quilts Raise Big Money to Fight Alzheimer's

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) raised $75,000 selling small format art quilts at International Quilt Festival (IQF) in Houston, Texas, October 31 through November 4, 2012.

Volunteers sold 1,597 Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts (mini quilts measuring 9" x 12" or less) breaking all previous sales records for the all-volunteer nonprofit.

This was the seventh year the AAQI was invited to sell Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts by IQF founder and director Karey Bresenhan. Brooke and John Flynn, from Billings, Montana, have sponsored the AAQI booth in Houston since 2006.

There were 2,185 quilts for sale. In case you’re curious that’s approximately 230 pounds of quiltlets, shipped to Houston in three 50-gallon Rubbermaid trash cans. They’re sturdy as the dickens, they have wheels so they can be rolled around, and holes drilled in the lids/rims to secure them with “zip-ties.”

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Our last day in paradise we visited Doris Dukes Shangri La. It is the Honolulu home of American philanthropist Doris Duke. Built in 1937, Shangri La houses an impressive collection of Islamic art and is considered one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes. Shangri La Take the virtual tour and see for your self. 

Photo: David Franzen.Talk about inspiration, blue sky, blue sea, sunshine, and more geometric and floral patterns than one can imagine. A perfect ending to a wonderful trip.