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!!