Dueling Sewing Machines

Yesterday Kaitlynn came over again to sew. While she happily worked on two new blocks…..

……I kept working on the border for my stripe quilt……

It was so much fun to have good music, good conversation and dueling sewing machines…..

And, in case I haven’t said this enough previously…..I LOVE MY NEW STUDIO!!!!

Kaitlynn did work on a third block but I couldn’t remember how to size the strips for quarter square triangles using the Essential Triangle Tool. So, after I had her cut them too large and then too small, I suggested that we stop for the afternoon and start again next week. I promised that I would do my homework and get her off on the right foot next time!!!

Quilting with Claire…an ongoing story!!

Sometime back I posted a blog about quilting with my friend Claire. Claire is now 10 years old, and we have been quilting together for the past year. It has been fun to see her skills develop , and to see her interest in trying different things.

After making her first quilt, which I described in this blog post, she said that she wanted to make things for her family , starting with something for her twin brothers, Andrew and Noah.  She told me that they both loved animals, especially dogs , so I started looking for a pattern that would work.

When we started out, I wasn’t sure if she wanted this to be a big quilt or a small one , so we started with just making 2 dogs, And she soon decided that she wanted to do funky colors rather than real colors. IMG_5020

She was happy with just the two dogs and her brothers LOVED it!!

As we had done previously, I did the measuring and cutting , and she did the sewing. At the the start of each lesson, I had her spend a few minutes with a Rotary cutter and ruler….AND a non-cuttable glove!!!IMG_5476

Next came a quilt for her other brothers, Isaac and David.  This one was a no-brainer because they are both heavily into SOCCER, so soccer balls it was.   This time we used fusible applique…..IMG_5030

….and she very patiently did all of the sewing to attach the applique’s to the background.   The end result was…..IMG_5162

Now there was just one last family quilt to make…..one for her Mom and Dad.   She knew immediately that she wanted to do a cross of some sort so I scoured the internet until I found a design that we could work from…..6788b578139574c9f4f9fb3b2de3ed67--beginners-quilt-quilting-patterns

We changed the dimensions a bit and she graphed it out before we started…..IMG_5334

As we were picking fabrics, I showed her how to use a “Value Finder” and she spent one afternoon checking the values on the fabrics that we had chosen…..IMG_5191

At one of our meetings, it was obvious that she wasn’t really in the mood to sew so she spent an hour designing patterns with a couple of Charm Packs that I had lying around……


This is just a FEW of the designs that she came up with!!!

But back to her Mom and Dad’s quilt…..   She did the majority of the work on this one, starting with cutting the squares, laying it out, sewing the rows together and carefully pressing each seam.  I helped her with pinning when she started joining rows and she soon learned how to “stretch” the fabric just a bit if it was needed…..IMG_5247

I have been really impressed with her machine technique.   She has become more proficient with every project that we have done.

Like many of us, quilting is her least favorite thing to do but she persevered with this one and did a fantastic job….IMG_5373

I did the final task of adding the binding while she colored this wonderful reminder for my studio….. IMG_5380

The final quilt was great…..IMG_5377

….and we are now onto a new quilt using some jungle prints that she found in my stash….IMG_5481

One of the fun things about Claire is that she doesn’t want to make these quilts for herself!!   Except for the very first one, she has found a recipient for all of them and now she is talking about making them for one of our local children’s ministries……

……sounds like a quilter to me!!!!

Resident artist

They say that the mark of a good blogger is consistency.   Oh well, I never said that I was a good blogger!!!  

I have been pretty much tied to my desk these last 6 weeks, but am happy to announce that tax season is going great!! 

Last week I got to have a break and spent the day at Level Creek Elementary School as their “Artist In Residence”.   My D-I-L, Amber, is the art teacher at the school and invited me to be one of two artists to come in March.

I set up in the main hall, in a place where every student walked passed at least once during the day.  I set up four display areas…..

My working area…….


A display of bed size quilts, both traditional and contemporary…..DSC09111A large frame with smaller wall quilts……


And finally, an area where they could try their hand at designing a patchwork block…..


I had LOTS of short, one on one conversations with the kids as they wandered the halls and also did more formal presentations to 15+ classes.   I enjoyed telling them about how a quilt is made, but had even more fun telling them about the reasons that I make quilts.  

I spent short periods of time piecing blocks and used them to further illustrate how quilts are made….


It was so much fun to just play with the fabric and get to do some sewing!!

At the end of the day, I got to visit Amber’s room…..


By the way, it freaked me out every time a student said “Hi Mrs. Arnold” and it wasn’t directed at me!!!

Amber has a wall hanging that I made for her years ago hanging in her office area…..IMG_1421

….And a great classroom with lots of light and room for creativity……


I particularly like the poster that she had in the room….


In case you cant read it, it says “When you think that you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful” ….from the book “Beautiful Oops” by Barney Saltzberg…..

What a great thing to remember, and I am SO happy that Amber teaches this to her students!!!

All in all, it was a fantastic day!!!!  Thank you Amber for including me!!

Kicking up your quilt to the next level

On Tuesday night I attended my local guild meeting where one of my best friends was the speaker.

IMG_0053  Deb presented a wonderful talk about ways to kick your quilt up to the next level.

Her excellent points were…..

  –  Audition your fabrics before you start

  –  Feature an on-point design

  –  Think outside the box for your borders

  –  Change up your blocks so that they are not all the same

  –  Use negative space effectively

  –  Use large scale prints

  –  Choose a fun binding

All great things to put into play in my next quilt!!!!


I am always amazed by the creativity of quilters and it came into play with the refreshments.  Linda made these oh-so-cute turkeys for us to enjoy……


They were the talk of the night!!!!

Thanks Ladies for inspiring me once again!!!!

Teaching Time

Wow, a whole week has passed and I haven’t found time to do a single post….shame on me!!!

One of the reasons for this lack of posting has been a lack of quilting time. I am trying to get a bunch of work and home tasks taken care of before the holidays hit so that I can enjoy the season from Turkey Day up until Christmas. So far, so good, but still a long way to go.

Although I haven’t been sewing, I have been doing a fair amount of teaching in the last few weeks. I recently taught two Beginning Machine Quilting classes at my local store, and then this past week, I taught two 1-day classes at a local guild, the Lake Oconee Quilters.

All of the classes were so much fun and I really enjoy meeting so many different quilters. Also, I always manage to learn something new in every class!!

This week I am teaching a Machine Trapunto Class at Dragonfly Quilt Shop and next week I am visiting a school and talking to a class of 3rd graders…..should be fun!!

This is a photo of my set up for the first day of a two day class.

I will leave you with a quote that I give to my students. It says……

“Artists who seek perfection in everything, achieve it in nothing?”
— Eugene Delocroix

Happy Quilting!!

Professor Arnold — I wish!!

On Tuesday, I had the great privilege to speak to a class at the University of Georgia, in the Family and Consumer Science Department. The class was in textiles and textile design and it was really fun to tell them about quilting. They asked good questions and only one girl struggled to stay awake (my husband, who IS a professor said that this is a common occurrence)!!!

I own quite a history of quilts, having some made by my Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother and myself, and, as you can imagine, I am able to present a wide variety of styles and techniques.

I have given this class to 3rd graders before, but never to twenty-somethings. The woman who helped me, Nancy B., said that there really isn’t much difference between them!!!

Since I had all of the quilts packed up into three large suitcases, I decided to use the rest of the afternoon to photo document all of them. Our local Art Center has a wonderful fiber room with a huge design wall, and excellent lighting, so I went there to take the photos. I will try to show them over then next few months.

OK…enough of this….out to work in the yard!!!!

A Fun Day Was Had By All

Yesterday, I had the great privilege of teaching a One Day Machine Quilting Class at the Misty Mountain Quilters Guild retreat in Helen, Georgia. I had 15 WONDERFUL students who worked hard and improved greatly by the end of the day. My favorite part of this workshop is when the students bring their un-quilted tops and we talk about how they might quilt them. They stretched my imagination some this time, but as usual, the group came up with excellent ideas. I have asked them to email photos when their quilt is finished….hope they will remember to do it.

The guild has almost 200 members, with 74 being present at the 3 day retreat. As I always expect with quilters, they were warm, hospitable and HAPPY ladies. Thank you for making the day so enjoyable for me!!!

The retreat held a Name Tag Contest with each retreat goer being given a month that they had to represent in their name tag. There were some very imaginative tags, including a 3 dimensional Hot Dog on one for July and a kite shape for March.

Well done ladies!!!

On another note, I had a chance to sew with a Bernina Stitch Regulator and LOVED how it worked. Now I have to start saving my pennies to buy one in 10 or so years!!!

Bye for now.

Teaching Day — Part 2

Today, Mary T came over to finish up her quilt top. As we laid out the blocks, we were both disappointed with how they looked…..there was simply not enough contrast between the background fabric and the accent fabrics. Here is what we saw……

After a bit of playing around with the blocks, we came up with the idea of putting a small (1 inch) sashing between the blocks, and that made all of the difference!!!

Here is Mary, hard at work!!!!

She left today with just one border left to do and then she will come back on Monday for instructions in how to hand quilt….should be a short lesson since I only know about 10 minutes worth of tips!!!

Teaching Day

Yesterday, my friend Mary T. came over to start learning how to quilt. She is interested in learning to hand quilt, so we decided to make a smallish quilt (probably a doll quilt for her granddaughter) and then she can try quilting on it. This is the basic design that she is planning to use. This pattern was created using EQ.

She first picked out a main fabric and then had fun selecting two fabrics of each of the colors to include in the scrap quilt. Here are her final choices….

Next, I showed her how to use a rotary cutter and rulers, and she practiced cutting on some old fabric. Once she figured out how to hold the cutter at the correct angle, she was ready to start cutting the fabrics for her quilt.

We started with the background small squares. She cut 2-1/2 inch strips and then sub-cut them into squares. The only problem that she had was with the long ruler slipping as she cut, so I held the further end in place while she cut.

She next cut the 3-1/4 strips (squares) that were needed for the half-square triangle blocks. I had her cut these much larger than the needed 2-7/8 inch size so that they could be trimmed down to the proper size after being sewed.

While she cut the squares out of the other fabrics, I drew diagonal lines on the background squares. She then put the 3-1/4 inch squares together and sewed along both sides of the drawn line. It was good that we made the squares larger as she messed up on a few of them by sewing much farther than 1/4 inch away from the line. BUT, because we had extra to work with, we were able to trim them down to the correct size.

Her final step at my house was to make one of the modified nine-patch blocks. She has taken the rest home to finish at her leisure.

I think that the colors in the trash can at the end of the day say it best…..it was a bright, fun day of quilting with a friend.

How could life get any better than that!!!

2008 Retrospective

Well, we are up to the last few hours of 2008 and I have to say that I am glad to see it go. We have had an interesting year, including 2 wonderful overseas trips, but have also had 3 major surgeries in our immediate family. I am thankful for all of the blessings of the year and that we have made it though the hard times.

I always try to recap the quilts of the past year, so here goes….

This first quilt was made for an Australian friend’s daughter’s wedding. She wanted it to be primarily blue, but with a contemporary look.

The next quilt was made for the same friend’s son who married in October. I was told that they were planning to use earth tones in their living room and was very excited to remember that I had this top lying around waiting to be finished. The top was made as part of a Mystery Quilt project at my local shop, Dragonfly Quilt Shop.

This quilt was made for a family who moved from Athens to Boston to take up the Pastorate of a church in Dorchester. They told us that people pronounced the city “Dot – Chester” so I made them a Dot quilt to take to keep them warm during the cold Northeastern winters…..hope it is working!!!

The final quilt that I will show here is one that I am proudest of. It is a design that was inspired by a stained-glass window that I saw in the Mysore Palace during our trip to India this past summer. I had a wonderful time designing and putting it together. It is probably one of my most favorite quilts ever.

There were also the two smaller quilts that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

All in all, this has not been my most productive year as far as quilts go, but I have enjoyed quilting in other ways, mostly from the interactions of the wonderful friends that I have made thru this wonderful art.

Finally, I have had the honor to speak at several different venues during the year, including the Georgia Quilt Council Spring Convention, a meeting of my local guild, Cotton Patch Quilters, and also at the Lake Oconee Quilt Guild. I have also taught machine quilting workshops and given a “Using photos in quilts” lecture at Dragonfly Quilt Shop.

For 2009, I hope to put more energies into my quilting, both making quilts and teaching about them.

Anyway, I wish each of you a very Happy New Year!!!!!

….until next year…..