Tina's Circle Pizzaz in Progress

I thought I'd show a quick peak of what I'm working on now.

Tina pieced this beautiful quilt as a wall hanging to gift to her beloved beauty salon. She attended the Judy Sisneros Circle Pizzaz workshop that was offered by the Westside Quilters this past August, and this quilt is her fabulous result. Tina did an amazing job piecing this quilt, her detailing is extremely precise.

I am using a "squares on top of each other" type of quiting pattern so they will appear to be behind all the circles. When complete, the circles will appear to be floating on top of the squares background. It is a labor intensive quilting design, but a real joy to do. Especially when the pieced top is so well done. I'm looking forward to the finished result on this one!

Nothing's Like a Grandmother's Love

This quilt is the "Lovie for Noel" as a proud grandmother calls it. Daryl, the grandmother in question, gave me the completed cross stitched piece in the middle of this quilt and the old bed skirt that she used for her baby girl, Noel's mother.  I don't normally piece together quilts from beginning to end for customers, but Daryl touched my heart and was so sweet and she really wanted her cross stitch work and her daughter's infant bedskirt incorporated into a quilt for her granddaugher, Noel.    

I used the bedskirt material as the hearts, decorative bias tape (inspired by the designs of Latifah Saafir), and for the bias binding on the scalloped borders.

This quilt was a labor of love for me because my own grandmother Bernice (of blessed memory) was one of the brightest shining stars in my life.  Anything to support a grandmother's love is a special project for me.

Look what I found in Lake Oswego, OR

I was wandering around Lake Oswego, near Portland, Oregon while my son was checking out Lewis & Clark College. Of course, I was on the hunt for a local quilt shop and I found a fabulous shop called The Pine Needle Quilt Shop.  It's a very well stocked shop with both traditional and modern fabrics, patterns and books. They have a whole section dedicated to modern quilting, and were very enthusiatic about what the asthetics of modern quilts are adding to the craft we all love so much.  


Long Arm Quilting Sampler

I'm finally doing it.

I've been meaning for a long time now to make a quilt that would show samples of quilting designs I've learned and adapted, highlighted in individual blocks. Of course my practical side played a part in doing this -- I selected fabrics in green, beige, taupe and orange coral so that the finished quilt will match my living room colors.

I'm excited that I am actually doing this long put off idea. The quilting is a good representation of my version of various quilting styles and designs. I often see quilting patterns in everyday items, such as architecture. For example, the green square above appears to me as a staircase when viewed from the top looking down.

I'll be blogging more about this in the days ahead, discussing the various styles and patterns, and my interpretations of them.

Sunbonnet Sue and Spools Charity quilt

I'm trying to catch up on the charity quilts hanging in my closet  This Sunbonnet Sue top has been waiting around longer than I'd care to admit. This quilt is for a group called Quilts From The Heart that is associated with the Santa Monica Quilt Guild. They are a tremendously active group that contributes so much to our local community and more. Sorry it's taken me soooo long.

The spools quilt is for the Quilter's Circle of Hope that meets monthly to piece quilt tops for cancer patients participating in groups conducted at the Cancer Support Community located in West Los Angeles.

Quilt for my dear friend, Kerry

My very dear friend Kerry is celebrating a milestone birthday and I wanted to make her a quilt to recognize this time in her life. It's no surprise for Kerry since I told her about it in advance because I wanted her to have what she wanted. I involved her from the beginning with design ideas, color and fabrics.

The main block in this quilt comes from Elizabeth Hartman's second book, Modern Patchwork: 12 Quilts to Take You Beyond the Basics. This block is from her Metropolis quilt, but placed in a whole new setting. I loved this block so much that I wanted to come up with a way to connect the design thoughout the quilt.


Kerry and I went shopping at Sew Modern for the fabrics she wanted me to use in her birthday quilt. She wanted a contempory design, so I went searching for inspiration and found what I was looking for in Elizabeth's book. I needed to modify the setting to make the quilt a specific size and to best incorporate Kerry's chosen fabrics.

I used mostly angular quilting in all the neutral areas and quilted the other areas to best suit the fabric designs.

Although I still need to get the binding on, I was able to show it to Kerry this weekend at her birthday celebration. Happy Brithday Kerry!

Quilt for my dear friend, Kerry


4 Fat Quarters in Harmony - Design by Sylvia Davis

This is my most recent customer quilt piecedby Sally Wright, who used a design called "4 Fat Quarters in Harmony" created by Sylvia Davis. Earlier this year, Sylvia taught this design in a class hosted by the Westside Quilters in Los Angeles. Sally used four "4 Fat Quarters in Harmony" panels, added sashing and additional coordinating side rectangle blocks to create this beautiful twin size bed quilt. I'll post a full picture of the quilt later.

I'm Teaching a Class at Sew Modern

I am teaching a Long Arm Quilting Skills class at Sew Modern in West Los Angeles on Saturday, October 20. The class is for students who have some experience on the long arm, but are ready to move beyond basic stippling and other edge-to-edge quilting designs.   It's not necessary that your prior long arm experience has been on Sew Modern's long arm machine.   You should just be aware that the term "long arm" does not refer to an upper body extremity.  Honestly, we just want to know that you've actually used a long arm machine and are basically comfortable pushing the buttons.   

I'm really excited and looking forward to teaching this class. I've been talking with Lauren Hawley, the owner of Sew Modern, for a while now about this class. At Sew Modern, they have a Gammill Vision V-8 long arm quilting machine they've affectionately named Harley. Sew Modern customers rent out time on Harley for their own projects. But before you can use Harley on your own, you're required to take the Meet the Longarm with Lisa class taught by Lisa Alexakis. I think Lisa is a very talented long arm quilter herself, and many people I know who have taken her classes tell me what an excellent teacher she is.   Again, for the purposes of my class, you don't need to have taken Lisa's class.   However, if you do not have a long arm of your own, you may want to take Lisa's class so that you can take advantage of Harley on your own time.  Sew Modern's rental rates for the long arm are very reasonable, and Harley is pretty darn comfortable.


Angles of a Jaybird Quilt

Here's my latest customer quilt that was pieced using the Fast Forward pattern from Jaybird Quilts.

Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts uses the long arm quilting services of Angela Walters for all her quilts. I follow Angela's blog and like what she does. But I wanted to put a new spin on this quilt pattern and not replicate what Angela had done for Julie. The beauty of quilts is they can have many different looks with the same pattern based on fabric choices and quilting designs. My customer chose solids for her piecing to start, and I chose to, in a sense, echo the central design of the quilt.

As I saw it, the challenge for quilting this pattern was to incorporate the overall design, fill all the negative space surrounding the central design of the quilt, and not make them look like two separate parts. I wanted the central design and the negative space to have unity. My solution was using the angles from the shapes to build the quilting patterns that radiate off the to the edges of the quilt.

I'm pleased how this came out, and I enjoyed the experience of this particular challenge. I appreciate quilts that challenge me.

Below is a picture of the quilt on the long arm before quilting commenced. By the needle, you can see one of my rulers that I used to create the straight angles to echo the quilt pattern.

What do you think? If you were quilting this pattern, how would you do it?


Quilt for our Irish Home Exchange Family

I made this quilt for our Irish home exchange family using Suzanne McNeill's 10-Minute Block that I saw on the Design Originals 123 YouTube channel. It's a quick easy quilt project which was what I needed to ensure that I'd finish it before getting back to all my customer quilts. If I put this project on the back burner, it would suffer the fate of most "back burner" projects. The first photo is after quilting, and the second is before quilting. Guess that's obvious. Hope whoever actually reads this is having a great day. Heck, I hope all those who don't read this are having a great day too. May all the world's inhabitants have a wonderful day. Wish I had the power to actually make that happen.

Happy Birthday Lulu

I'm back from Ireland. It's been a couple of weeks now, and my head and body are finally beginning to feel they are aligned and on Los Angeles time. Guess I'm a little slow in the readjustment department. This quilt was a group birthday present that was pieced by some of Lulu's friends. I actually finished quilting it before I left for Ireland, but I could not post it because this quilt was a surprise for the very special Lulu on one of her major milestone birthdays...29 maybe. Who cares what birthday Lulu was celebrating? This is a fun and whimsical project, so I added to the whimsy by quilting her name in between all the birthday cakes using color coordinated King Tut thread.

Last Quilt Before I Go

 I'm packing it all up and getting out of town. Literally. I'm leaving with my family tomorrow to spend a month in Ireland. It's going to be a fantastic vacation and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm even looking forward to the adventure of driving on the wrong left side of the road. I'll be using this space to post pictures and create a mini-travelogue of our trip. So come back to the blog and take a virtual vacation trip with me.

In between the busy-ness of getting ready for the trip, and that includes making sure three teenagers are getting ready as well, (that alone is a feat onto itself), I've completed one last quilt.




south bay quilt, a set on Flickr.


This beautiful applique quilt is from the South Bay Quilters Guild, and is an opportunity quilt for them. It was volunteer pieced by their guild members. The handwork quality of the applique on this quilt is incredible! With the high end quality of their craftmanship, I wanted the quilting to match the high standard they set in the piecing.

Because the applique is floral in its design, I quilted with a type of floral feather shape in the design. I used wool batting as it has a really nice loft and was able to show off the applique in all its beauty. I also really like to use wool batting, plus they really wanted wool batting, so it was a win win for all.

The pictures from the back are my favorite as they really show off the quilting the best. I'm really proud of how this quilt turned out, and I hope you enjoy looking at it as well.

With that, I'm outta here. Have a good summer, and be safe kids. Look for my next posting from Ireland!


A Quilt for Me

For a quilter, you'd think my house would be full of quilts. Well it is, but not my own quilts. I always have a quilt loaded on the long arm that I'm working on. I also have several pieced tops hanging in a closet that include client quilts in the queue for quilting as well as charity quilts that I work in between my clients. And at any given time there might be two to five completed quilts hanging over my upstairs railing waiting for client pick ups. Of course I also have a joy of making quilts, but my quilts are usually gifts and given away. But now it is time to make one for the bed I share with my husband.

I last posted about my love of vintage fabrics. And I've been saving these former drapes made of barkcloth for just this project.

I bought these on eBay, and when they came, WOW did they stink! But nothing a little soap and water couldn't help, and a trip through the washing machine did wonders. Although nubbily textured, the fabric is soft and smooth. The colors are very mid-century in their design, and include coral and teal.

When it comes to piecing my own quilts, my personal style is to use the vintage fabric in combination with solids or very muted prints that can easily read as a solid. I want the vintage fabric to be the star. For this quilt, I fussy cut blocks from the bark cloth and outlined them with color from the pattern. Here's my first large piecing for the quilt:

I've used Kona solids, but also the Heath print from Alexander Henry. Although a quilting cotton, the Heath line is part of their home decor line of prints. I like it because it has a vintage feel as well and goes quite well with the barkcloth. 

I find what I've started is simple in its design, but I think it works. And more importantly, I like it. This aesthetic is something I've definitely learned from the Modern Quilting movement, to embrace simplicity and minimalism. You can make an elegant quilt without repitition and a busy interaction of quilt blocks.

I'll continue to update my progress on this one.

Vintage Fabric

I LOVE vintage fabrics. You might even say I'm a bit obsessed with them. A friend was visiting the other day and I opened up my stash of vintage fabrics to show them to her. And because that was so much fun, I thought I'd share some of them here as well. My dog Roo even joined in the fun during the photoshoot to help show off the fabrics!

I mostly find my vintage fabrics on eBay. My friends also know of my love affair for vintage fabrics and will sometimes gift me a piece that they have come across, whether at an estate sale or possibly from a deceased relative's stash.

The fabrics in the above slide show range from polished cottons to barkcloth, from sewing cottons to home decor/upholstery. All them usable for quilts. Today, polished cotton is a normal cotton weave fabric, but is given a lightly glazed finish produced with resin. But in the 40s, 50s and 60s, when polished cotton was wildly popular for dresses, the cotton strands were interwoven with satin strands. The satin added a shiny polished look to the fabric yet because cotton was still the base of the fabric, the end result was less expensive than satin, but much stonger than satin. Barkcloth is a thick, soft, slightly textured fabric. It gets its name due to its rough surface. (It is also probably similar to a cloth that was made from the fibers of bark in Africa and the South Pacific.) Barkcloth was mostly used in home furnishings in the 40s, 50s and 60s. In fact, most of my vintage barkcloth fabric were drapes in a former life.

The width of vintage fabric is a true clue to it's age. Older fabrics were made on smaller looms, the standard widths once being anywhere from 24 to 38 inches. Sometime in the mid 60s techology advanced to using larger looms and a shift took place to the now common 45-46 inch width.

I love using vintage fabrics in my quilts. Remember this one? That was a fun one with the vintage stripes. I look forward to using these fabrics in future quilts. Now only to find just the right project for each one...

Pebbles, Curves and Straight Lines

Here is my latest customer quilt in which I used a variety of quilting patterns and thread colors to enhance the overall design of the quilt top. This is an excellent example of how quilting can really bring a quilt to life and further enhance the beauty of the pieced design.

The use of pebbles, curves and straight lines add multiple layers of textures and dimension to the quilt, which basically is comprised of two colors, red and black. My philosophy in quilting is to always work with the quilt design, so it was important for me to pursue the Asian theme of the quilt and not take away from its design. As nature is a common theme in Asian art, the pebbles worked especially well in the black, creating a pattern in a solid. In regards to the straight lines with gold thread I used in the red solid, I created a different pattern for each, replicating the gold Asian Seals that are in the print scattered among the other Asian font characters.

In the picture below, the pieced quilt is on the long arm just as quilting began. By comparing the two pictures, it is easy to see how quilting allows a quilt to reach the pinnacle of its pieced design beauty and take on a personality all its own.

 The quilt was made by the fabulous Luann, who I know from the Westside Quilters.

Thanks to Sew Modern

This Bento Box style quilt was made with fabrics donated to the Cancer Support Community by Lauren Hawley, owner of Sew Modern. Lauren has been tremendously generous to the Cancer Support Community, as well as to many other charitable organizations.  

Lisa Redmond pieced this quilt. I did the long arm quilting on this particular quilt. This quilting is an example of the concept that less is more. Long arm quilters, and myself most definitely included, tend to overquilt just because we can. This is a simple quilt intended to provide comfort for someone that is hurting, and called for a simple and functional quilting pattern.  

I'd also like to mention that Lisa Faulkner Alexakis who does long arm quilting out of Sew Modern, also generously donates her time to long arming quilts that are donated to the Cancer Support Community.

Lori's Quilt

Several member of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild got together to create this beautiful king size quilt for Lori's big 50 birthday celebration.  Lori is one of the kindest and most gerenerous people I know, so I was delighted to contribute my part of long arm quilting to this very special gift for this very special person.  The quilt is made up of blue and turquoise mosaic style blocks with Robert Kaufman Essex Linen (flax color) as the "mortar" between the bricks and also as sashing between the blocks.   I used a pebble pattern thoughout the whole quilt on all of the areas pieced with the Essex Linen, but I chose to leave all of the "bricks" in the mosaic block free of quilting.  

The pictures I show here are only a small section of the front and of the back of the quilt.

A Perfect Summer Quilt

One of my favorite parts of quilting is coming up with a pattern that works with and enhances the design of the quilt itself. And my latest customer quilt is a perfect example of that. 

The quilt was made by Lisa Redmond, who I think is extremely innovative in her quilt designs. I've done several quilts for her, both as a client and quilts she has done for charity for the Cancer Support Community. I also know her through the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild.

Lisa likes to play with patterns and colors, and does it well. For this quilt, she told me that she liked the idea of wonky improv quilts but wanted to find a way to create blocks without all the waste that often comes from improv piecing. Lisa shared that she took 10" squares of fabric and cut them all at the same vertical and horizontal lines, making polygons (remember those from 8th grade geometry?). This design idea is so simple and versatile because you can cut up the block at whatever angle you want, just as long as you keep it consistent through out the quilt. I can't wait to try this design concept myself. In the end, Lisa has created a dynamic quilt with her continuity of matching the fabrics in the blocks next to each other. Plus I loved her color choices on the cusp of the summer season.

When it came to quilting, Lisa left it completely up to me on what to do.  I wanted to play off Lisa's use of connecting like fabrics between the blocks, and still maintain the geometric look of the quilt. I tied the connected fabrics together with a dual lines and a design on the line that stayed within those matched fabrics. 

I used a pale yellow thread, although it may be hard to see in the photos. I chose the pale yellow because I wanted the color to blend in and enhance whereas I thought a bright white or a matching blue would overtake the design. My thread of choice is glide. Their colors blend well and make a quiet statement on a quilt. And they are strong and easy to work with.

I'm extrememly pleased with how this quilt turned out. I look forward to another quilt from Lisa.