Sunday, May 31, 2009

Paula Nadelstern - More on the Exhibit at American Folk Art Museum

Remember when I told you about my visit to NYC to see the exhibit of Paula Nadelstern's work at the American Folk Art Museum? has video of the tour Paula gave of Kaleidoscope Quilts - the Art of Paula Nadelstern. You can see it too, by clicking here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fig Tree & Co.

Several of the bloggers I follow covered the recent Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. I love to hear about and see what is coming to quilt stores. What really grabbed my attention this time was pictures of the Fig Tree & Co. booth - camp beds covered in quilts and more gorgeous quilts on the booth “walls” and lots of props to add to the disinctivel look. You can see it on Fig Tree founder Joanna Figueroa’s blog here.

I ordered the patterns as soon as Fat Quarter Shop got them in stock. The patterns arrived on Thursday (while I was at a 2-day training session for my job-I-get-paid-to-do). I spent last night (while waiting for my daughter to get home from her first “grown up” dance) looking at the patterns and planning my future projects.

Madeline will become a wall hanging for my sewing room. I haven’t chosen the exact fabrics but they will be something to go with the green and yellow room décor.

For Rosettes, I am thinking of using the Moda Glace line by 3 Sisters. The pattern takes a Layer Cake plus yardage for the cream areas, sashing, border, and binding. I think I will follow Nicole’s advice and wait until after I finish the piecing to select the border fabric.

French Kiss is a good possibility for the quilt I want to make Miss Main Street to commemorate the start of her high school career. I am planning a quilt in her high school’s colors, blue and gold, and will give it to her on her first day of school. Shh! It’s a secret!

I better get to work!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Find - Trader Joe's Ginger, Almond, and Cashew Granola

Trader Joe’s Ginger, Almond, and Cashew Granola is my new favorite breakfast. I love the flavor of ginger and this has just enough without it being over-powering. I mix it with Fiber One (1/4 cup Fiber One with ½ cup Ginger Granola) which increases the health quotient of the granola while the granola totally hides the shredded tree bark like texture and flavor of the Fiber One. I highly recommend it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day - Small Town Parade

Nothing quilty in this post, just an account of what was happening on Main Street this morning.

Every year, our town holds a parade on Memorial Day. It has a very small town feel. Although the parade marches down Main Street, it makes a turn about three blocks from my house so I usually walk downtown (two blocks of small shops and businesses) to see it.
We start with antique cars.
Next is our high school marching band. They were led by the flag twirlers.

Next comes Hightstown Fire Company #1 (there is only one). They have five fire trucks, including this antique ladder rig. Fire companies from neighboring towns and the local EMT also participate so there are a lot of trucks and the little kids love it.

This tractor float had an exhibit of historical items from Decker's Dairy Farm. There used to be a lot of dairy farms in this area. We still have a few farms but most have sprouted houses.

The Kreps Middle School marching band provides the beat for the tail of the parade. Miss Main Street is playing her bass clarinet but she is on the far side and blocked by other kids in the photo.

Mannino's, local pizza and hoagie place, made a 200 foot long hoagie. They served it to parade goers after the parade was over. They billed it as the longest hoagie in the world; it is certainly the longest I have seen.

Have a happy Memorial Day. I'll be doing some sewing later.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Finished Quilt Top

I finished Daisy this afternoon. Well, not quite finished but the top is done. I like it and it is a departure from my usual style - more contemporary and brighter. I used the blanket stitch on my new Bernina for the applique, which made it go pretty fast. The quilt is kind of a sampler for what the Bernina can do that my old machine can't - my old machine doesn't have a blanket stitch (just zig zag). I'm intending to quilt this myself, but first I have to get some fabric for backing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Overheard Conversation

I overheard this while shopping in my LQS when fellow-shopper answered her cell phone:

"I'm at the hair salon getting a hair cut. I'll be home in about an hour."

There were some giggles from those within ear shot. But who knows, maybe she was on her way to, or had just come from, the hair salon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paula Nadelstern Exhibit at American Folk Art Museum

Today I did something really cool that involved a day off work mid-week, a trip to New York City, lots of quilting inspiration, and I met three bona fide quilting celebrities! What an adventure!

I met Paula Nadelstern, kaleidoscope quilter; Luana Rubin, founder of; and Mark Lipinski of Quilter’s Home magazine. At the invitation of eQuilter, I joined Luana Rubin and Paula Nadelstern for a private showing of Paula's exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC. The exhibit is called Kaleidoscope Quilts: The Art of Paula Nadelstern, and includes a number of quilts she has designed, pieced, and quilted over the past 15 years or so. Now these are not your 19th century kaleidoscope quilts, nor are they the stack-and-whack variety. Paula designs and pieces each image using lots of teeny-tiny pieces of fabric, with each wedge (as many as 16) a perfect repetition of the last, to make up intricate images. Many appear to be round but this results from fabric choices as all seams are straight. Seeing the details up close: how small many of the individual pieces of fabric are, how accurate the piecing has to be, how many different fabrics wind up in one quilt – truly impressive and inspiring.

The corporate sponsors of the exhibit include (a great web site for fabrics and other quilty goodness, they have a broad selection) and C & T Publishing, publishers of several books by Paula Nadelstern, including one that covers the museum exhibit including some how tos. You will find it on Paula Nadelstern’s website or

I was one of about 15 quilter/customers eQuilter had invited to the tour, including women from around the mid-Atlantic states (NJ, NY, CT, DE), plus Mark Lipinski. eQuilter had a photographer along, taking video, which will be edited and put on the eQuilter site. If you would like to see more, go to the eQuilter site to take a look. The museum does not allow photography, so all I got was this one “people” shot.

Luana Rubin (center of photo) with Paula Nadelstern on right in profile. (Quilt at rear is an antique, not one of Paula’s works, but you can see a little bit of one of her "snowflake" quilts on the far right.)

You can also see photos of her work on Paula Nadelstern’s site.

The exhibit runs at the American Folk Art Museum through Sept. 13, 2009. If you live near enough or will be in NYC for another reason, I urge you to go. The gift shop is quite nice too. I now have a reusable grocery bag with an image from one of the quilts on it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Work In Progress

When not reading this book

I've been making progress on the Daisy blocks. 16 down, 4 to go!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Using Stash

I just listened to another of Annie Smith's Quilting Stash podcasts. This episode was particularly good, full of creative ideas for using (or busting!) your stash. She gathered ideas from her listeners and even quoted from the email I sent her. Wow, was I surprised when I heard my name! Nearly fell off the treadmill! You can download it from iTunes or here.

On her blog, Annie included a few photos of accumulated fabric sent in by listeners. Wow, after seeing a few of those pictures, I think my own stash is not so extensive after all. In fact, I need more fabric!

Quilt On My Kitchen Wall

I made a seasonal change to the quilt hanging on my kitchen wall. We are now living with Watermelon.
I made this a long time ago. It was the first quilt I sent to a long-armer to quilt. Prior to that, I hand quilted all my quilts. Sending it out to be quilted was so liberating! Much as I love hand quilting, it is exceedingly time consuming and was such a constraint on my output. Now, I can spend more time designing and piecing. Having some my quilts machine quilted has also made me more eager to tackle bed-size quilts.
On Watermelon, I used a border technique that I really like, which is to include a narrow edging between two borders. The bright pink edging is about 3/8" inch wide, made out of a wider strip folded in half and sewn into the seam between the two borders. It is not sewn on the folded edge. I like this as a way to add a pop of color in the border. I find it easier than trying to accurately sew a very narrow border and I like the finished look.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Bucket List - Quilting Version

I've been reading this book:

It is about how setting and achieving goals leads to greater happiness in life. The author encourages readers to make a list or lists with goals to achieve, both short-term and long-term. The act of writing it down is the first step toward accomplishing it; sharing your goals with others is also important because your social circle can help or hinder the accomplishment of your goals.

So I am sharing this list here - my list of quilts I've seen on the internet that inspire me to make something similar someday.

Anne's A Tisket A Tasket Block-of-the-Month quilt
So cute, perfect for my kitchen quilt wall-hanging holder, and I've been wanting to try applique again. I have most of the fabric, just need the background. And I need to start!

Megan's wild applique
I love the bright colors on brown so I put the Aunt Millie book on my list.

Heather of Anka's Treasures has a brand new book with lots of great looking ideas. I don't know whether I'll make All Wrapped Up or Chain Reaction first.

Bookcase quilt
This is such a creative use of selvages. Something like this would be a fantastic gift for my husband, the bookworm and high school English teacher. But I would have to substitute Corgis for the cats.

Kellie's Circles quilt
Kellie has a distinctive style that is very unlike my usual thing. I am taken with the exuberance of this design and it would be a big challenge as it take me very much out of my comfort zone.

Hanne's Nearly Insane Quilt
Ninety-eight 6" blocks! Are we clear on how this quilt got its name? So intricate and gorgeous, and a real testament to Hanne's skill. I look forward to the day when my piecing skills are such that I have the confidence to take on something similar.

Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagon quilt
The quilt is shown in a photo taken at a quilting store so I'm not sure who made or designed it. I've long wanted to paper-piece one of these, even have a few "flowers' started. Neutrals are unusual for this design but I very much like the look. This would make a great portable or carry-around-to-work-on-while-waiting-here-and-there project.

By the way, I admire women who blog in English when it is not their first language. I took French in school but I would not get far with a blog consisting of "Ou est le biblioteque?" and "Je m'appelle Cathy." I'm starting to pick up a few Spanish phrases from repeated exposure in our local bodega. I think the sign at the cash register translates as something along the lines of "If you spend $15 you get a free can of black beans."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Essential Quilting Books - Quilting Design

So the top is pieced and you have a flimsy. How to quilt it? Even if you send most of your tops out to a longarm quilter, you will find plenty of guidance in these two books.

A Fine Line : Techniques and Inspirations for Creating the Quilting Design, by Melody Crust and Heather Waldron Tewell - This book covers both hand and machine quilting techniques but the main focus is on how to select a quilting design that will enhance your piecing or appliqué and is achievable according to your skill level. There are lots of examples and what I particularly like is how the authors have shown the different effects achieved by quilting identical tops in different ways. Quilts used as examples include both traditional pieced and appliquéd as well as contemporary pictorial and abstract designs.

Quilt It! by Barbara Chainey – This book uses illustrations to show the different effects achieved by using different quilting designs on the same pieced top. It is a fabulous resource for different quilting designs, leaning towards the designs found in traditional, hand quilted quilts. If you want an alternative to meandering or pantograph designs, you will find it here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Let's Talk Rotary Cutters

A few months back I was experiencing pain in my right hand and began to worry that I might be getting arthritis. I am much too young for that! Plus it could seriously mess up my quilting! Fortunately, the pain was mild, eased over a couple of days, and went away completely. Until last week. Same pain back, particularly in the palm of my right hand. When I tried to hold a rotary cutter it got worse, with the pain concentrated in the area where the rotary cutter handle meets my palm. This got me thinking that it might be caused by overuse or pressing too hard with the rotary cutter. I put cutting on hold for a few days and went easy with the computer mouse too but it took five days for the pain to go away completely.

Have you experienced anything like this? I use the old version, straight handle Olfa. Maybe I should try the new ergonomic version.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And The Winner Is...


I was one of the door prize winners in the drawing Amy of parkcitygirl held for her Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. This was pretty exciting, especially as I so rarely win anything. My prize arrived today; these eight fat quarters from the Woodland Bloom collection, donated by the twiddletails store. I like these fabrics plus they will force me to do something new because they are not my usual palette. Thanks so much Amy and Anina.

Take a look at the twiddletails store. She carries a lot of what I call the “modern look” in quilting fabrics and has her own patterns and block-of-the-month offerings.