The challenge of a challenge

This year’s QuiltCon Michael Miller Fabric Challenge was a finishing challenge.

While  I was machine quilting, my Bernina 560 machine gave me fits. The needle position was to the left when I turned it on but the display said it was in the middle. Then the tension acted up and the stitches looked terrible. This was at the first of November. I took it to the shop— wait time could be 30 days or more. Good grief!

I came home and used my credit card points to purchase an inexpensive machine, a Brother. I didn’t have a backup and this seemed like good time to get one.


City Hall Secrets

That meant I switched to handquilting. I love handquilting but finishing it on time would be a struggle. And it was.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Brother arrived. On Sunday, I added the binding even though I had until November 30 to enter it. You never know when the computer will go out too.

Because sections of the edges were not quilted, I got puckers on the back using the regular presser foot on the Brother when stitching the binding. I was used to my walking foot. And this confirmed how valuable a walking foot is. Most of it was okay but about a third had to be removed and redone. The next pass I pinned the whole thing and no puckers. Yeah for patience!

I took photos on Monday, November 27, and entered the quilt that night.


The quilt design has a nice backstory. In May I took over our Guild’s Instagram account. On May 8 the theme for the day was Inspiration. I took a photo of the back side of City Hall. I live across the street.

Last year I bought Heather Jones’ book, Quilt Local, Finding Inspiration in the Everyday. Heather used photos of local scenes and turned them into quilt designs and quilts. I took her instructions and sketched a quilt from the City Hall photo. Then, a graph with sizes for each edition.


Along the way I adapted it, preferring an asymmetrical design. And I added two rows on the right. Rather than solid “sashing”, I used the Michael Miller Our Yard prints. They started as large improv blocks that I cut and stitched into long strips. That changed my plan to connecting the rows. Instead of three long rows, I had multiple sections and rows. It actually helped with accuracy. I find that sewing long strips together can create wonky lines.


A Cloud Eclipse and Simple Improv Tutorial

For October, I am the lead Quilter for the Emerge Circle of do.good Stitches. I created the design for our group to make (see below). I’m posting the instructions for my fellow do-gooders on my blog, but I thought WLS followers might enjoy seeing how to simple improv.


I used this photo of the eclipse as inspiration for the color palette:


The light on the clouds is awesome.

I uploaded the photo into Play Crafts palette maker:


These are the colors: Navy (royal is okay too), Black, Light and Medium Grays and Cream/White



For example, you can use cream, black and light gray together. If you don’t have navy, that’s okay with me.

Please avoid prints with other colors in them.

Please make TWO BLOCKS.



Cut strips 13″ length  by 2.5″ to 5″ (or thereabouts) width


Use scissors or a rotary cutter.

Don’t use a ruler.

I learned this technique at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Maine this summer. Heather Jones focused on color theory and we used all solids, but the idea works with prints too! When I’m ready, I’ll write a post about the class and my experience at the Retreat.


In any order, sew the strips together along the 13″ side.

Press seams open or to the darker fabric.

Square up to 12.5″

Great Job!


Mod Drunk

Mod Drunk is finished! It was my exploration of the design element, EMPHASIS, as part of Savor Each Stitch Book Bee. I started this quilt in October 2015. I described my process in a previous post.

I’ve been hand quilting it since last year and concentrated my efforts during the 100 Day Project. It is my favorite design from the Bee.


Donate this block and I’ll make the Quilt

You may have missed this, but I took over the Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild’s Instagram account for a few days in May. At the end, I challenged followers to send me a quilt block that I could turn into a quilt for the Commonwealth Catholic Charities resettlement program.

The deadline to mail to the Guild is July 11.

Here’s the link to Instagram:

It’s an easy block to make:

Cutting Instructions:

(1) solid color (any color) 4.5″ by 4.5″
(2) white 4.5″ by 8.5″
(1) white 4.5″ by 12.5″


Sew the 4.5″ blocks to each other
Add the 4.5″ by 8.5″ to the top
Add the 4.5″ by 8.5″ to the left side
Add the 5.” by 12.5″ to the bottom

Press however makes you happy.

Your block will measure 12.5″ by 12.5″

Mail to:

Attention: Wanda Dotson
P. O. Box 5421
Glen Allen, VA 23058





Pattern matching prints for quilt backing

This was my first attempt to align fabric prints for a quilt backing.

I used a method I found on Aqua Paisley Studio.

First you’ve got to find where the repeats are and where you to align the two pieces of fabric. I don’t have a photo of that.

Second, fold fabric one-inch and press:


Third, apply glue to the bottom of the one-inch fold, then align:


Fourth, flatten the fabric out and sew on the seam where you pressed it:

Fifth, trim to one-quarter inch then press to one side:


Not bad for my first attempt: