Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Inspired Free Motion Quilting: 90 Antique Designs Reinterpreted for Today’s Quilter"

Bill Volckening and Amanda Leins have joined forces to bring us a quilting book full of antique quilt eye candy!  As an antique quilt student and avid hand quilter, these quilts and designs overwhelmed me with their beauty and creativity. Bill I have been following for a few years now and he provided the gorgeous quilts from his collection. Mandy is a newer name to me and I am so intrigued!! A history in archaeology......Wow! She brings her long arm quilting expertise to the design recreation process all the while making us feel how easy it is to do.

Ok, the book! It isn't just for antique quilt lovers though because the purpose is to make the quilting designs accessible to quilters today, in particular, machine quilters. I am not a machine quilter so the designs will be great for my hand quilting too since they are continuous line designs. Any time you can keep the thread continuous without knotting off is a good thing, adding strength to the quilting.  

The first thing that greets you when you open the book is a Fantastic Pictorial Table of Contents. Admittedly I don't buy a lot of books but I don't believe I have ever had a visual contents page before and I felt that was clever for dealing with a visual medium audience.

The book offers thought provoking moments like sometimes less is more.  
Mandy, “I’ve been so immersed in these
quilts, it would be unusual if I wasn’t affected,”
she says. Mandy has noticed particularly that her
quilting work has become less dense over time and
now incorporates many elements of design from the
top itself—piecing, appliqué, and prints—to create a
cohesive design that works to enhance the top.
This type of less-is-more quilting has a different set 

of issues than very dense quilting."
Then she explains what is meant by this.
That resonated with me because I have felt this way for some time and use it as an approach in my own commission work and my workshop, "Fabric Collaborations".

Mandy offers great marking tips and the big take away for me is a stencil grid that is a base for marking designs. Great idea!

Each antique quilt is discussed with detail pics of the amazing quilting all done by hand of course:) Even if there wasn't a picture, you would be able to see it via the wonderfully descriptive writing. So you get a bit of history (some ca 1790) before the designs from those quilts are broken down into accessible bites for the home quilter to recreate in their own works of art!


My goal with this post is to show you how to go beyond the idea of quilting alone.  ANY outline design is perfectly set for applique and embroidery as well.  I hate limits:) Can you tell? 

The first one that struck me was this Orange Peel design.  For awhile now I have been looking for a cute clock to put in my workspace and when I saw this, I immediately thought, "clock"!! Very exciting.  Thankfully I already had some bias vine done and in the right lengths:)
 I traced out my circle and peel lines and started adding bias tape. These were then hand appliqued in place.

I then added applique petals just as the design shows in needle turn applique but you could just as easily fuse it all.  
It was done in 2 parts, a back petal that encompassed the side petals and a center petal that I fussy cut so that the noon tulip was straight and the other 3 bend counter clockwise. 

Then I had to decide whether more marks were needed to represent 1,2,4,5, etc.  I decided yes but not in applique so I found a lovely deep orange variegated machine quilting thread from YLI and used it to hand embroider the single petal in those places.  It is visible but very subtle so that the applique is the star!

Since there are only so many hours in a day, I had to stop with this Thistle even though I could have designed for hours!  
This design is from an antique applique 
quilt but I thought it would be lovely in embroidery.  
I have a wonderful selection of 
Weeks Dye Works variegated flosses.
I chose to make it a bit smaller and trace it out 4 up on a block.  This too may be a clock as a gift because 
I couldn't make a decision:)
It may also make a small decorative pillow.

The book is laid out for visual people. You have a lovely photo of an antique element and then Mandy walks you through step by step how to make it your own or combine it with other elements.
It was exactly what I was hoping it would be!

I will leave you with this lovely quote by Mandy:
“We never cut our threads to the past,” says Mandy. “We just knot on and continue with a different color". 

I hope you will visit the other participants to see how they are being inspired. 
Their blog links are found below.  There are giveaways too:)
For my giveaway, please leave a comment about your favorite part of the entire quilting process from choosing fabrics to binding and everything in between. Make sure your contact information is available.
On January 14th I will draw a winner and announce it here and on my FB page. The winner from my day will receive a FREE EBook from C&T Publishing.  Mandy will also have an additional giveaway on her day (the last one:).
Keep quilting!

January 8: Amanda Murphy of Amanda Murphy Design, Kim Lapacek of

and Stephanie Palmer of The Quilter's Planner   
January 9: Teri Lucas, Lynn Harris, Debby Brown of Debby Brown Quilts
January 10: Robin Koehler of NESTLINGS by Robin, Patty Murphy of Patty Murphy Handmade,
January 11: Joanna Marsh of Kustom Kwilts, and Amanda Leins of Mandalei Quilts

Sunday, January 6, 2019


I am excited to be a part of presenting 
this book to future fans!
Today kicks off the blog hop for Bill Volckening 
and Amanda Leins new book.
Follow along for chances to win a free ebook.

January 8: Amanda Murphy of Amanda Murphy Design, Kim Lapacek of

and Stephanie Palmer of The Quilter's Planner   

January 9: Teri Lucas, Lynn Harris, Debby Brown of Debby Brown Quilts

January 10: Robin Koehler of NESTLINGS by Robin, Patty Murphy of Patty Murphy Handmade,

January 11: Joanna Marsh of Kustom Kwilts, and Amanda Leins of Mandalei Quilts

I will see you back here on the 10th with 

some tips on how I used the book:)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


How did I celebrate?  Very quietly:)  My year review is already done by completing the 31 day blog challenge.
If you missed it, you can read about it Here, Here, Here, and Here!

I am not picking a word this year as so many do.  Instead I will keep plugging away with the skills I have been nurturing in 2018 (hopefully a bit better though:)

I will have at least one new magazine project out this year and one in the works for 2020.
There are 3 lectures with signed contracts and 2 workshops.  If it isn't signed then it isn't scheduled so you can still get your empty calendar spaces filled:) 
My test for Appraisal Certification is in August and lots to learn between now and then!

My wish for us all is a touch of personal peace and loads of Quilting!! 
I also want to thank every single person (you know who you are:) that helped me keep my business growing this year!!  
IF you read all the way to the bottom, message me through FB and I will send you a Free Jingle Penguin Pattern:)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Day 31: Remembering New Years Past:)

These posts are my January "Happy New Year" posts since starting the blog and you can see that I didn't make it every year:)
So great to see what has been accomplished and how I have changed.  We should keep learning and evolving. Who knows what 2019 will bring to each of us but I know we have the courage to face it, learn it, accept it, change for the better. 


See you in 2019!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Day 30: Houston Beauties

When you vend at Houston, they open the quilt exhibit up to you during Market and early on Festival days to give Vendors an opportunity to see the gorgeous quilts.  The level of workmanship and creativity is not to be missed.  This year I did not get an opportunity to go see all the lovelies.  I was there to work after all….SIGH!

One of my favorite things about this is the setting.  The show is beautifully hung on black drapes and though the room is massive the lighting makes it feel intimate somehow.  There isn't the garish overhead lighting but more spot lighting to highlight the quilt you are looking at.  As you walk through the doors from the Market floor with all its noise and craziness you suddenly feel as if you walked into a library or church:  The sound is different and the mood ambient. 

Then there are the quilts!  IQF does a fantastic job of having something for everyone and this year was no exception. 
Below are a few bits from the 2017 show.... 

The Sue Garman Exhibit was Fantastic!  It is sad that we lost her last year but her fans are grateful that her body of work will live on to show future quilters of her artistry!!

My donation to COC this year from one of Sue Garman's patterns.
I thought doing it in brights for Floridians was the 
way to go but it lost some of its charm in my eyes.

Then there was an exhibit on 1650-1800 work-WOW!

Lastly, YOKO SAITO!! Need I say more:)  Ok, one more thing...Her use of soft colors completely fascinates me!!!!
I could have stood and looked at these ALL day!

Hope you enjoyed this quick peek into the 
Wonderful World of Quilt Festival 
and that someday you get the opportunity 
to step into the curtained peace and beauty!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Day 29: Quilt Appraising Adventure

Yesterday I was at my friend, Brenda Grampsas' house and we started reviewing the upcoming Quilt Show season here in Florida.  January, February, and March are very busy down here and her appraisal schedule gets very full which also means my schedule since I have been her little shadow for 2 years now:)

I have tagged along to over 10 shows and seen hundreds of quilts!
Thankfully the "overload" exhaustion that used to accompany these trips has waned and I can enjoy the pure exhilaration over seeing so many quilts. 
Here is Brenda in her appraisal booth in Jacksonville, FL 2016.  This was the first time I tagged along to see what it was all about:)

Here was my appraisal booth at the Manatee 2018 show.  This was my first solo booth and the ladies were lovely! The quilt on the back wall is my design that was published in Quiltmaker and titled, "Love in Bloom".  The quilt top on the table I found in a shop.  The red/green was sweet and the design intrigued me. After some research, I found out the design name is "Ragged Robin"- LOLOL!!
I will always have it with me now!

This February I will be out on my own again as I keep training for my test this coming August.  This is both thrilling and terrifying but I am ready for my new adventure in this wonderful world of Quilting! 
If you have some treasures that need valuing (and you live in Florida:), I am just an email away....

Friday, December 28, 2018


These are being ordered this week!!!!  I am SO Excited to have these ready for the FABRIC COLLABORATIONS workshop! I know going in that the biggest hurdle is going to be all those that feel they can't draw.  We aren't aiming for art gallery expertise in one shot.  We are aiming for getting out of your comfort zone enough to see the possibilities and be excited to keep trying to create for yourself.

Years ago I wrote a lecture titled, ALL AROUND US, and there were quite a few blank stares from the audience so I put it away temporarily until I could focus it more.  The tools and ideas for Fabric Collaborations are intriguing and exciting!  There is something so exhilarating about being around a group of creatives all bouncing ideas off one another.
Have you ever asked a 'how to' question in a group of women??
We all have opinions and one is bound to be the answer:)

If you like new, different, experimental, and collaborative play, this is the workshop for you!