contrast material hand quilting2jpg


Take a moment to pause.

It’s hard for me to pause. I’m in a hurry to get things done and the faster the better. But, I slow down when I hand quilt. The news is that quilters are slowing down.


Quilting Daily says it’s because the quilting frenzy of tools and fabric and social media posts are stressing us out.

One of my Book Bee participants (where we’re exploring Savor Each Stitch: Studio Quilting with Mindful Design ) sent me the above post. In it, the author writes:

Mindful creating, or paying close attention to what you’re doing. how you are doing it, and the materials you’re using, can help you regain the “Zen” of your favorite pastime. Not to mention how much better your results will be.

The author cites Mark Lipinski’s Slow Stitching Movement as an example of this approach. When I explored his blog, it was overwhelming. I couldn’t decide where to go first, so I just quit looking. That’s a good place to start. Just stop looking!

And, for my exploration of the chapter in Savor Each Stich, “Contrast,” I’m hand quilting my quilt. (featured photo above)

I love hand quilting. Over the last year I’ve made more than 3 million stitches on my machine trying to improve my free motion quilting. It worked. I got a lot done, but it’s time to pause and take a break from that. I’m going to take my time and not stress about my “to do list.” I’m going to pause and savor each stitch.




Hot Pink Palette

Mad About Patchwork and Stitched in Color are hosting a contest to create a mosaic using the theme, Nuanced Neon. This is my nuanced hot pink palette:


It was a fun activity on a Friday evening. It reminds me how much I love pink. I tried other colors such as navy, green and mustard but I kept going back to the pinks.

Cheers to Hot Pink,


hexagon experiment

Hexagon Applique Tutorial

In my Random Perfection quilt I used hexagon applique. To avoid the problems I encountered where the fabric came out,  you will need to make sure some of the folded fabric comes underneath each stitch line. Also, I didn’t use Aleene’s Fabric Fusion glue which is a permanent glue. That may explain why the folds came out as well.

First I’m going to show you how to make a perfect hexagon applique. Then I’ll show you the “more fabric” way which will result in all the edges staying inside the hexagon applique even without permanent glue.

There is more than one way to make a perfect hexagon for applique and English paper piecing, but I like this method.


Cut a strip 2 5/8"

Cut a strip 2 5/8″

Cut across the strip 2 1/2"

Cut across the strip 2 1/2″. The piece is now 2 1/2″ by 2 5/8″.

Add a dap of glue to your paper hexagon (this is 7/8" hexagon)

Add a dab of glue to your paper hexagon (this is a 7/8″ hexagon)

Trim around the edges. There should be at least 3/8" from the edge of the paper to the edge of the fabric.

Trim around the edges. There should be at least 3/8″ from the edge of the paper to the edge of the fabric.

Spray regular starch into lid of starch and apply a small amount around the edges.

Spray regular starch into lid of starch and apply a small amount around the edges of the hexagon with a brush.

Press the hexagon with an iron.

Press the hexagon with an iron.

This is a perfect hexagon applique. You can remove the paper and there’s no basting strings to remove.


Use more fabric and don’t trim the fabric into a hexagon. Instead, do this:

Dab a little glue on paper and attach to the fabric. Do not trim into a hexagon shape. Press.

Dab a little glue on the paper and attach to the fabric. Do not trim into a hexagon shape. Press.

hexagons more fabric


  • Make a few hexagons with the “more fabric” method and apply them using glue. I used Appli-Glue (it washes out).
  • Draw lines 7/8″ apart.
  • Space the hexies 1/4″ apart (1/8″ inch from the hexie edge to the drawn line)

hexagons experiment measuring

  • Make a quilt sandwich:

hexagon quilt sandwich

  • Stitch straight across the points. It takes three passes to get all the points.

hexagon stitch hexagons quilted

  • Square up and bind.
  • Wash it.

What happened?

hexagon experiment closeup

hexagon experiment

Success! None of the ends came out.

Taking a break from experimenting,


I’m linking up with The Late Night Quilters’ Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays.

Random Perfection

Random Perfection

Birds fly.

Over the Rainbow, why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?

                                         —Over the Rainbow, Lyric by E.Y. Harburg, Music by Harold Arlen

One of my goals for 2015 was to finish my yellow hexagon applique quilt. The yellow hexagons led me to thinking about The Wizard of Oz musical which I saw last summer and the song, Over the Rainbow. I took the words and used hexagons as musical notes.

I hand appliqued the “notes” and added green and orange hexagons to my rainbow. I machine stitched them using the method I saw on Modern Handcraft.

I added orange for the binding and it looked fabulous.

  • Then I washed it!

why ohwhy can't II noticed that sides of the appliques were not stitched down and were coming out. This was caused by the way I folded the hexies. See in this photo the way the fabric was folded straight down. The stitching across the point of the hexagon did not catch the fabric. Some of the fabric caught and some didn’t.

yellow hexies up closeI fixed some of them. But, man, what a chore.

I’m looking at it and wondering, “why can’t I just embrace this?”

I took off all the hexies which weren’t nailed down — 303 hexies to be exact.

303 hexies

And, I loved the outcome:

random perfection

I would not have placed these hexies in this configuration, but it feels better than the pre-washed quilt. That’s Random Perfection.

Finding home in the random,



Changing Themes

I’ve been considering changing my blog theme for awhile. I preferred a full width template that would make it easier to share tips and tutorials. I found the Sela theme.

Overall I like having categories at the top of the blog. I like the clean white/gray background. The new theme cut off sections of my featured images throughout my blog, though. I took that into consideration when I chose these orchids for the featured photo of this post.

I just started exploring this theme –maybe I should have done that before I switched to the new theme. There’s no going back now!

I can’t decide if I want a “front page” static page. If you have any tips on navigating themes on wordpress, I’d love to hear from you.


yoga sling featured image

Yoga Sling Tutorial

I just started yoga at a local studio and of course in the middle of meditation practice I had an idea — I needed a way to transport my “yoga quilts” to class. They make great bolsters, by the way. I didn’t want to make a bag because taking the quilts in and out of the bag would just add stress to yoga. I needed a sling.

I searched Pinterest and the web for ideas and only found yoga bags or straps to carry a yoga mat. I needed something different. I’m sharing this tutorial in case you want to make a yoga quilt sling to carry your quilts and/or your yoga mat. It would also make a great sling for beach towels.

I had these wonderful pieces I had made in my Liberated Quilting Group. The wavy piece (shown above) was made by the group leader, Betty P., during a class on “portholes” from the book, Improv Quilts, by Lucie Summers. Betty thought my red fabric looked good with her piece. I like how organic and happy it is. The perfect piece for a yoga quilt sling.

Let’s get started. Continue reading

Mama Bear

“Mama Bear” 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge, Marsala,

Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose mother read her the story of “The Three Bears.” And, she said, “that’s just like us: Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear.” That little girl insisted her name was “Baby Bear” and her mother was “Mama Bear” and her father was “Papa Bear.”

A year went by and the little girl insisted her parents call her by her given name and not “Baby Bear,” but her mother and father continued to be “Mama Bear” and “Papa Bear.”

I struggled to find the right design for this quilt challenge.  I had sketched a quilt called “The Three Bears” with three bear’s paw blocks, but settled on a quilt celebrating my love of my name, Mama Bear, and my love for quilting. You can read more about the design process here.

The quilt measures 54 inches by 54 inches. I’m entering it in the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge, Marsala, hosted by On the Windy Side and Play Crafts.

Mama Bear

Mama Bear

The Bear’s Paw block is typically made with a square as the paw of the bear and the half-square triangles as the “claws”. I machine quilted “paw” prints, instead of pieced squares adjacent to half-square triangles. I chose prints in paisley, feathers and geometric circles for the “claws”.

The Marsala color was the perfect choice for this quilt.

Mama Bear Marsala close up top left

Close up of the free motion quilting. The bear paw footprints are surrounded by pebbles and pea pods.

I made a one-half inch binding, instead of one-quarter inch. I used scraps of Marsala inspired fabric. Love and Kisses on the binding is just -- serendipity

I made a one-half inch binding, instead of one-quarter inch. I used scraps of Marsala inspired fabric. Love and Kisses on the binding is just — serendipity

Mama Bear back2

On the back of the quilt I used a variety of Marsala-inspired fabrics as well. The quilting really shows up on the back.

Marsala is a great color to wear as well. Check out this site for tips on wearing marsala.

Loving Marsala,

Mama Bear

Fretting over Shadows

I don’t know when I learned that quilting shadows were bad, but now I fret over them. I worry I’ll miss a shadow sliver and once it’s in the quilting phase I won’t be able to fix it. Quilting Shadows are those annoying slivers of fabric which show through a lighter fabric. They are easy to avoid if you’re pressing to the dark side all the time:

Seams pressed to the darker fabric.

Seams pressed to the darker fabric.

But, make a simple four-block and you can’t press only to the dark side:

four block

And, I like releasing the threads in the middle seam to reduce the bulk in the middle of the four-block. This also confirms you have a perfectly matched seam.

getting rid of the bulk

Now, the seams are pressed toward the white and away from the darker fabric, and, of course, this one has a blue shadow.

What to do?


shadow sliver

trim the shadow

The result is a block with NO DARK SHADOWS:

no more shadows

I’m linking up with The Late Night Quilters’ Tips and Tutorials Tuesday.

Getting out of the shadows,


One tip: perfect needle-turn applique

I am very good at raw edge applique, but needle-turn applique intimidated me, and every attempt looked sloppy. Until now. Carolyn Friedlander suggested in her book, Savor Each Stitch, that you baste the piece to the background one-quarter inch from the applique edge as a guide for turning under the fabric. This changed everything. I deviated from her instructions and instead I stitched one-quarter inch from the edge of the piece, separate from the background:


I applied starch on the edges and ironed:


I used temporary glue to attach to the background fabric:

no sew glue

At this point I had the choice to stitch down by machine or by hand. I choose by hand, using a Size 11 gold needle by John James and 50 weight thread from Mettler in a matching thread. I’m experimenting with curves as part of the Savor Each Stitch Book Bee and studying Contrast. The pink and orange seemed like a good place to start.

needle turned applique

If you aren’t into this method, there are ways to get the same effect with no fabric turning. Jenna Brand has a tutorial.

I’m linking this post to The Late Night Quilters’ Tips or Tutorials Tuesday.

One tip at a time,


Resources for just about every sewing tip.


May Chappell has organized her Terrific Tip Tuesday into categories. It’s a great resource for just about every sewing tip. She covers the following topics:

For a weekly taste of tips, The Late Night Quilter has a Tip or Tutorial every week and links from fellow bloggers:

New Blogger Series

I’m linking this post to that blog for this week’s Tips and Tutorials. Check it out. Today’s tip is perfect for being perfect when hand stitching.

Keep the tips coming,