Scraps Galore

For a couple of years I made scrap blocks whenever I was between projects. The method was to combine any bright scraps of whatever size/shape, then trim the block to 6.5″ unfinished. When I had 88 blocks I decided it was time to quit playing around and make them into a quilt, so here it is.

Quilt Stats

Name: 616 Scraps

Designed and made by: me

Finished size; 48″ x 66″

Quilted by: Linda Nichols

Of course the scrap pile has only grown larger, so I’m off to start another round of scrap blocks.

Visiting Susan Brubaker Knapp

Last weekend we had the opportunity to see some of the Orange County Artists Guild open studio tour. Our first stop was at the studio of Susan Brubaker Knapp, who makes really remarkable quilts. She also hosts a quilting art TV show, which is how most people know her.

Susan in her studio

Susan is a gracious hostess, and answered many questions for both me and the non-quilter friends who were with me. Her work is absolutely amazing!

One of Susan’s beautiful quilts

She discussed her methods, which you can read more about on her website. She also hosts Quilting Arts TV, so that’s another useful resource if you’re looking for information on how to make art quilts. A lot of her quilts are whole cloth works, painted with textile paint and then extensively quilted on one of her Bernina machines. The quilts are based on her own photographs, and she often begins by tracing a photo on white fabric.

The sheep quilt is amazing, and Susan loves chickens so she has them in a lot of quilts

The body on this butterfly is 3-dimensional

Here are more photos Susan allowed me to take during our visit. Please note, however, that she copyrights her designs.

I am in awe of Susan’s detailed work, and it was lovely to get to visit with her. You can find her teaching schedule on her website if you’re interested. When I expressed amazement at her free motion quilting, Susan pointed out that she has thousands of hours of experience with it! Nevertheless, her skill is amazing.

Poke weed is a native plant and is well represented in this quilt

This is my favorite! I’m happy to say that pitcher plants can grow in the yard here given the right conditions.

Here’s the back of one of the quilts so you can see Susan’s amazing free motion quilting

Of course every quilter needs a vintage machine on display in her studio

You can see much more extensive pictures of her studio on her website, here. Additionally, she has several tutorials on her techniques. You can also visit her blog and subscribe to keep up with what she’s doing. That’s how I learned about the tour. And if you have questions about her techniques, look at both the tutorials and the blog in detail.

Viewing Maria Shell’s Exhibit

While travelling in New England recently, we were happy to see an exhibit of works by Maria Shell at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.

Although it appears rustic, this building has a high-tech interior to protect the quilts stored there

Here are a few of her fun art quilts from the show.

AHOY! by Maria Shell

Tiny Bubbles by Maria Shell. Sorry to say my camera was crooked!

Liminal Lines by Maria Shell

Jokulhaup, by Maria Shell. The title is an Iclandic word for “a type of glacial outburst flood”

Plaidtastic by Maria Shell

LITE BRITE by Maria Shell

The Shelburne Museum is one of our favorite places in Vermont, and having Maria’s exhibit there was the icing on the cake!

You can learn more about Maria on her website.

Quilt building at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont

Holiday Crafts Coming Soon!

Now that Halloween is over, I will be teaching three Christmas crafts.

But first, C&T reached out to offer a discount to my readers who want to take the Handmade Holiday Bazaar class online. It caught my interest because one of the presenters is Laura Wasilowski, and I’ve very much enjoyed her classes in the past. Also, I recently took another class on C&T’s Creative Spark platform and was pleased with it.

So I accepted the discount code for you, but declined the commission for me since I don’t want to “monetize” my blog. Here’s a link to the info on the class, which will also apply your discount: Handmade Holiday Bazaar.

NOTE: When you click on the link, you will see the regular price, but the coupon is at the top of the page, and when you click through to buy the class the discount will be shown before checkout.

And now on to the classes I’m teaching locally!  You can get the schedule for these and other classes on the Studio Stitch website, here.

Christmas Cactus Block

I made a pillow from a single block, but if you don’t need any more pillows you could make multiple blocks for a quilt–I think it would be beautiful! The class will be held November 10.

Pincushion

This is a quick-and-easy (and inexpensive) class for something that would make a great gift for quilty friends.

Pincushion made in a vintage cup with saucer

This class will be on December 1.

Christmas Tree Napkins

This is another fun (and inexpensive) class. We use these napkins every Christmas, and they would make a great hostess gift as well.

The class is December 8.

Let the crafting and sewing fun begin for whatever holidays you celebrate!

 

 

 

The Mountain Thread Company

While at the quilt show in Hickory I came across a new company and product I’d like to share with you.

I’ve made some of those rope baskets that have been popular off-and-on for several years now.

I used clothesline as advised in the instructions and lined the baskets, also as instructed.

However, The Mountain Thread Company folks have developed a new type of cord for this process and they have it manufactured right here in North Carolina. Katherine Lile, the owner, explained to me that the rope is 100% cotton and is a solid braid rather than the wrapped cord of clothesline. She emphasized that, because the new braided cord is sturdy, it’s important to use a denim needle with it.

Katherine holding her book. The headband in her hair is made with the company’s cord.

Indeed, I could feel the difference both in the cord and in the baskets made from it. The cord is about the size of clothesline, but both the cord and the baskets made from it are sturdier.

Katherine has written a book with projects using the cord. The surface of the cord is nicer than the clothesline I was using, so the baskets don’t need to be lined (thank you!).

A variety of small baskets made with the special cord. Notice that only part of the cord is wrapped. The spools in the background are a way to buy the cord in bulk.

Photo credit: The Mountain Thread Company

The cord also takes dye well. Look at the basket on the front of Katherine’s book, shown above. It appears that half the basket was dipped in dye! I love that idea since it reminds me of the way we used to glaze pots (in a former lifetime, I guess).

And look at this interesting basket made with a wide zigzag and no cloth wrap for the cord.

Naturally I had to buy some of Katherine’s cord to try. I came right home and made this little bowl.

My first bowl made with The Mountain Thread Company cord

I found the cord very easy to work with. Because it is solid, it looks good unwrapped, so I followed Katherine’s example of intermittent wrapping for interest rather than wrapping the whole thing as I had done with previous projects. I also used her idea of making a cute little loop at the top of the bowl.

If you’re interested, you can visit The Mountain Thread Company here. If you’ve never made a rope basket, check out the video tutorials, which can be accessed from the main menu at the top of The Mountain Thread Company’s home page. I watched all of them before I made my little bowl and found them useful.

Here are some of the kits

And if you want a little extra help, they sell kits with everything you need (even a denim needle) so you don’t have to guess how much cord to buy or hunt for supplies.

The Mountain Thread Company link

Let me know what you think!

As always, these opinions are my own and I received no incentive or compensation for this review. However, I am always happy to write about products I use, especially if they are local, so let me know if you have something that might interest my readers and me.

 

A Quilt Show–In Person At Last!!!

I’ve thought for years that quilt shows should be held simultaneously with woodworking shows, and many of you know exactly why!

Happily, I found that the Catawba Valley Quilters’ Guild in Hickory, NC, holds their show concurrently with Klingspor’s woodworking show! My husband and I attended this past Friday and were so happy to be able to do so.

Here are just a few of the quilts that were on display.

This beautiful quilt was at the door. It had no label, and the nearby greeter knew only that it was “last year’s first place winner”. I loved it!

Here are pics of a few of the blocks (are they still blocks if they’re round?)

Some of the quilt labels had no information on the design source for the quilts, though I recognized some of the patterns. Where information was given about the design source, I’m listing it.

Made by Ann Becker in a class with Margaret Solomon Gunn

“Escher’s Christmas”, made by Teena McRary, based on designs by M. C. Escher

“Garden Jewels” made by Pat Carson and Pam Bowman. The label indicated the pattern is from the book Kaffe Quilts Again

Connected Places” by Dianne Johnston and Julie Wilson

“Fun With Pinwheels” by Libby Sigmon and Rebecca Mullins

Arizona Friends” by Cindy Konarski. Pattern is “Happy Together” by Sew Kind of Wonderful.

“Happy Trails” by Maryann McCormick and Rebecca Mullins. The smallest squares finish 1/2 inch!

“My Mountains” by Gigi Miller

Of course there were many more beautiful quilts, but this gives you some idea. I hope we can all go back to “in person” quilt shows soon!

Orphan Blocks–A New Use!

Most of us have a good pile of orphan blocks left over from various projects. Here’s the box with most of mine–there are a few in other locations 😀

Typically, I use mine for donation quilts. I’ve used the Circle of Nine idea.

Sometimes I  have just arranged them on the design wall then filled in around them with background fabric.

Splendid Stars, 51″ x 53″

Sometimes I’ve even cut them into circles to applique onto a quilted background.

Donation Quilts for Ronald McDonald House

But still, there’s a big box full of them.

Then my friend Jerri told me she had made some of her orphan blocks into a quilt back! Great idea!

The next time I had a quilt needing a back, I took the blocks from the top of the pile and sewed them together. Then I surrounded them with pieces of quilt backing left from other projects.

Quilt back with a center of orphan blocks

Voila! It may be more “interesting” than beautiful, but it used up a lot of orphans and scraps. And it’s done!

Tula Stack

A “stacked” quilt, with the blocks arranged so they look like they’re overlapped on top of each other, has been on my bucket list for years. So recently when I got a “stack” of Tula Pink10″ squares I decided it was time.

There were even a few blocks left for the back.

I love the lime green thread for the quilting! And just so you know, there are stacked bears on the back 😀

Quilt Stats

Name: Tula Stack

Design based on many similar quilts I’ve seen

Finished size: 52″ x 69″

Quilted by: Linda

 

A Great Little Shop!

I love to visit quilt shops when we travel. Different shops are a great source of ideas and, of course, fabric 😀

We recently travelled through Northern Maine, where we lived early in our careers, and were very pleasantly surprised to find the Majestic Touch Quilt Shop in St. Agatha. The owner, Sandra Bosse, agreed to let me her picture.

Sandra Bosse with one of her long-arm machines

Sandra told me she made her first quilt about 20 years ago. She was unhappy with the quilting done on it by someone else, so she bought a long-arm machine and learned to use it–just like that! I was amazed to hear this for reasons most of you probably understand. Clearly this lady is willing to take on a challenge!

Sandra’s business has changed over the years. She now does quilting for others and sells both long-arm machines and fabric. Her quilting is very much in demand and she is currently scheduling about 3 months out!

We talked about running a quilt shop 4 hours from the nearest “city” (Bangor, Maine, with a population of under 32,000). On the plus side, hers is the only quilt shop for miles around AND she is close to the Canadian border, so customers come a fair distance to shop and take classes. St. Agatha had a population of 730 in the 2020 census, but people in Northern Maine are accustomed to driving to little shops in little towns when they want something.

On the minus side, it’s expensive to get merchandise shipped to her and the fabric reps won’t come that far from the city! Sandra says they send her catalogs, and that’s the way she has to order.

In the photo above you can see just a bit of Sandra’s fabric shop. She has a lovely selection of batiks, and says they are especially popular with her Canadian customers. She also has so many beautiful printed fabrics from the major companies that I had a hard time sticking to my budget 🙂

Here are a couple of fabrics I was “forced” to buy. I haven’t seen them anywhere else, though maybe I just don’t visit enough shops 😉  She had both prints in many colors, with coordinating fabrics as well, and I had a difficult time choosing!

Sandra doesn’t have an online shop, but you can find her on Facebook here.  (The internet tells me that 6-8 yards of fabric can fit in a USPS flat rate envelope, and I expect Sandra would send you pictures if you want to shop with her.) BTW, her prices were lower than those in the bit city.

PS: Hurricane Ian came this far into North Carolina, so I am writing this with the generator powering the house and my computer. We had a neighbor’s tree come down in the yard. It took out our weather station, but that was the only real damage. Steve has left for the hardware store to get supplies for the chain saw, and I am getting geared up to use some beautiful fabric!

I hope all of you are safe and stitching along happily!

 

A Village

I made a lot of little improvised houses and related blocks during COVID and decided to combine them into a quilt for our builder, since we love our house!

Here are a few of my favorite blocks from the quilt.

First, this is a watermelon canning factory. I told the builder it really needs to be re-purposed to make garage doors, since those are in short supply and nobody eats canned watermelon.

Really it’s just my idea of whimsy.

Then there are several little houses that came pre-made from some fabric I’ve had on hand for a long time. I enjoyed placing them in various locations.

My husband especially likes the stars in the sky on this block, not to mention the car pulled up to the house 😀

I made a number of wonky houses of my own.

And even one modern house.

 

Quilt Stats

Name: It Takes a Village to Build a House (because it really did)

Finished size: 45″ x 53″

Designed and made by me

Quilted by Linda

I still have a number of quilts to be bound and blogged, but there is progress!