The Finish-A-Long Q3

Often I am not sure about how I find some of the crafty quilty motivational blogs that help me get things done or inspire me to start something new. Sometimes it can be a blog I follow, that leads to another blog that leads to a challenge. This year I found the Trinkets Sew-A-Long sponsored by Alison Glass, and now 100Blocks100Days organized by Gnome Angel. These are fabulous for new projects but what about those that have been languishing incomplete in my sewing room for years (some for decades)?

Locally, Quilters Corner is sponsoring “Ready, Set, Goal 2019”. In July I listed 6 projects that I would like to complete. Each project should have less than a months worth of work to make it finished. This was easy – or at least I think it will be. We shall see and I will share my progress as the months pass. This months project is something I started with Project Quilting organized by Kim Lapacek of PersimonDreams it was the Mellow Yellow challenge and I bit off more than I could finish in the time allotted.

Mellow Yellow 30 Day finish for Quilters Corner. Needs a center and some quilting and binding.

So about those projects that have more than a months worth of work that are crying out for attention welcome 2019 Finish-A-Long! Each quarter you list the projects you want to complete, link up, and work it off. No bad vibes if a project doesn’t get finished, carry it over to the next quarter. For more information about this visit or put 2019 Finish-A-Long in your browser and move those projects forward! And do it quickly as Quarter 3 linkup is going on through July 18!

Sew, what’s on my Finish-A-Long list for Quarter 3?

I have had this beautiful pattern and quilt started since around 1998, it’s called Prickle Fish by Karen Stone.

Prickle Fish Pattern by Karen Stone. Project started around 1998ish.

Half of the blocks are done. Leaving 72 more foundations to construct and sew together. There is enough dark and medium fabrics that had been previously pulled and stored with the project, but the lights are a little thin and I may have to scrounge around for more. I’m not certain that I am going to set the blocks like the original pattern. I love the center but not so much the outer corners. I’ll play with it and decide after all of the foundations are done.

Foundations are not on newsprint but on standard copy paper. It appears that I’m light with the lights.

I’m kind of excited about this. I really like the palette I chose for this project! I’ll report back on my progress.

Posted in Challenges, Impressionist, Paper foundations, Quilting, recycling, Ties, UFO's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Well that took a while

Well over 20 years ago in a little quilt guild in Fauquier County we had a block exchange.  We broke out into groups of four and each month we would exchange our blocks.  If I remember correctly my group did two sets of four – one bright and one not so bright.

About 12 years ago I put together the first of the two quilts as a challenge to complete a UFO.  I have no recollection of having any problems tearing out the papers or putting the blocks together.  OK maybe the mitered interior borders made me think a little longer but I remember being pleased with the finish.

Foundation Paper Piecing block exchange, Fauquier County Quilters. Approximate start date 1996 approximate finish date 2006. Compiled by Diane Phillips, Quilted by Joyce Gould of ReJoyce Quilting.

After moving several times in the last 15 years I dug into a sweet little box and found these:

Second set of blocks created by Fauquier County Quilters, Paula Rabkin, Annie Morgan, Cathy Konoza, and myself. There may have been a fifth member.

These blocks were so sweet and really deserved to be in a completed quilt. I knew that I wanted this quilt to be different than the original so I pulled out some fun and funky dots. Then I started really looking at the blocks.

Someone used glue to adhere the first fabric to the block. After a couple of decades, the glue still held. There was no getting that off. Some of the seams were skimpy while others were not trimmed. I used them anyway. I recognize one or two of the fabrics as mine but I don’t remember ever using glue on my fabrics.

With a little coaxing and cajoling I found a layout that worked. This second piece is not nearly as large as the first, but I’m liking it.

Foundation Paper Pieced Block Exchange with the Fauquier County Quilters. Piece 2. Blocks from approximately 1996, compiled and finished 2019. Quilted by Terry Burris Quilting

Terry used a higher loft batting to “fill out” the blocks and the quilting is extraordinary. Some of these blocks are similar to the ones in the “original” quilt. The quilting really makes this quilt even more special!

I was so thrilled with this I pulled out a couple more UFO’s to finish. Isn’t it amazing how a little success can inspire!

Posted in Accomplishments, Challenges, Exchanges, friendship quilt, Paper foundations, Terry Burris Quilting, UFO's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 9 Comments


From the beginning of March until the last week I’ve been obsessed.  I participated in my first SAL (Sew A Long).  Alison Glass, creator of the Trinkets pattern, organized a project where each day the assigned block (one of the 40) was posted on Instagram with the hashtag  #trinketsal.

Although the Alison Glass fabrics are absolutely fabulous, I felt I had to use what I have, and those that know me, know I’ve got plenty.  I culled through my stash and decided on my fabrics and had a go at it.  The first week was easy, as the blocks were pretty simple.  I was able to get all of my blocks done and photographed in a couple of days so I just had to post daily.  If  you posted all week you were put in the running for some wonderful prizes by quilt industry sponsors.  I was even able to get a little ahead once in a while so I could work on other projects, and go on vacation.

What I observed.  Several people took wonderful photos of their blocks using creative props.  I figure I need to up my game, as I was merely photographing the completed blocks on my cutting board.  I didn’t get as involved as some who actually gave much thought to what the blocks meant to them or how they were inspired by the blocks.  To see what I mean check out the AG sewalong community on FB, the pictures and stories are very creative.

As the blocks grew into more blocks I got excited.  It was fun to see them all stacked in a pile, or spread out like a deck of cards.  And I was beginning to feel like I was actually accomplishing something.    I learned a little about hashtags.  Which really doesn’t mean much as I knew nothing about this hashtag thing to begin with.

Then the time came where the blocks were complete and the top had to be put together.  The checkerboard (as seen on the cover of the pattern) was nice, but I did not want my quilt to look like hundreds of others made with the same pattern.  So the auditions began.

I was getting nowhere fast.  Too many ideas in my head and I just wasn’t sold on any of them.  Finally I settled on this:IMG_3830

I am satisfied that there is enough negative space for my favorite quilter and sister, Terry Burris to make this special.  If I look closely I can see that technically it may not be perfect, so I won’t look too close.

All in all it was a fun project that allowed me to share the creative process with many other quilters.  I have been inspired and amused and saw a few things differently.

Check out the many other works on Instagram using #trinketsal, you might be inspired too!

Posted in Accomplishments, Paper foundations, Sewalong, trinketsal, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

#5 of Nine Patch Nine Ways

IMG_2239The humble Nine Patch, is so simple to construct, yet this workhorse can look very complicated.

Several years ago the Fauquier County Quilters had a Nine Patch Nine Ways retreat that was coordinated by Annie Morgan of the Quilting in Vermont page on Facebook and myself. It was a novel approach where we were going for a more themed retreat than we had experienced in the past. Many of us were “over” the mystery quilts yet wanted a little inspiration or structure to the retreat.

Decades have come and gone since that retreat, and so have many of the quilts that were made for samples. Although this one was not a sample, in recreating a Nine Patch Nine Ways trunk show it truly fits the bill.

The Blooming Nine Patch is truly easy to make. The fabrics were all pulled from my stash at the time, with the exception of the border. Believe me I had no idea of what my finished product would look like when I was pulling these beauties. It all goes together easily, and the  3 1/2″ nine patches are built using the fabrics from the surrounding squares.

The pattern I used was from Traditions With A Twist by Blanche Young and her daughter Darlene Young Stone, originally published in 1996.  The instructions are easy to follow. This quilt teased at my compulsive nature, as I wanted to see how it would change with every additional fabric.

Several moves and life changes put this quilt on the back burner. But after final construction and the magic of Terry Burris Quilting it has new life in a completed quilt. This one I would definitely do again, look how well it fits on the bed!

I do see another of these in my future…maybe batiks, maybe Kaffe.  You can see why I am so smitten with it! 

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First Finish of 2019 and Last Finish of 2018

Some fabrics are difficult to cut up, they are just so pretty. I remind myself over and over again, that is why you buy pretty fabric, to cut up and sew back together. We are lucky to have a shop that carries most if not all of what Kaffe Fassett has to offer. Such beautiful saturated color and interesting designs are wonderful to look at and can be a challenge to attack with the rotary cutter. But I did it. I offer you my last finish of 2018.

Created with Kaffe
The Long Road to Jericho

And then the final days of last month I finished this UFO from 1999/2000. It languished for nearly 20 years. This sweet beauty was a flimsy that I made as a sample for Fauquier County Quilters Nine Patch Nine Ways Retreat. It was fun…really.

What a feeling of accomplishment to finish projects…


Posted in Kaffe Fassett Fabric, Quilting, simple, Terry Burris Quilting | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Brownies Earn Their Badge

Last month I was invited to help a brownie troop earn their quilting badge. After doing some digging, I found the lesson plan used by another group that seemed manageable with some editing. After cutting and kitting, planning and revising, I was off to see some brownies.

The experience was positive both for the girls and for me.

Takeaways from the experience:

1. The girls were very enthusiastic about hearing about and seeing the quilts. Even more than I thought they would be. They especially liked the ones that had bright colors. They absorbed all of the information I shared with them and was able to repeat the information back to me. And did I say they were enthusiastic…what a gift that was for me!

2. One hour and 15 minutes really isn’t enough time to fully complete the project (we made a potholder). It was after school (so it was the end of the day) and the girls did fabulously but most of them had never held a needle, let alone taken a stitch. That being said, they did not give up and were very patient with me and themselves. If and when I have the opportunity to do this again I would suggest doing this on a day the girls don’t have school, and to set aside between 2 and 2 1/2 hours to totally complete the project. I would also have one adult for every 3 to 4 girls. In spite of the fact that the little ladies did not complete all of their project on site, they were pleased with what they did accomplish, and this pleased me.

Cheerful Brownies at the end of their introduction to quilting and quilting badge project.

3. Kitting the project was the way to go! Threading additional needles prior to the event was a blessing. Using fabrics that engaged the girls was a good call. Not all the kits had identical fabrics, but there was no fussing, everyone seemed pleased with what they were working with.

I would definitely do this again, and the girls were so positive! One thing we need to keep in mind as those of us that have been quilting for decades may or may not have noticed, if we want the craft to continue we need to pass on our knowledge and enthusiasm for the artform. As I attend shows and classes I’m noticing more and more women of a “certain age”. It’s time to get youth involved. And it’s been time for awhile. We need to get out there and engage the youth.

My dear friend Mollie Willey, was confident in her group of girls and their leader, and she was spot on. I was thrilled and delighted with the chance to meet them and hope to do so again when they are Juniors. And such thoughtful girls. They were kind enough to thank me with these…

Beautiful flowers from adorable Brownies.

I am the one that was blessed by this encounter.

Posted in Coaching, Quilting, simple, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

It’s a Totally Different Skill Set

The last months of this year I tried my hand at selling my crafts.  One thing I learned is that it takes a completely different set of skills to create an inviting environment and display your crafts in a way that makes people want to buy them, and to actually sell and be your own advocate when it comes to selling the things that you worked so hard to create.

I did two shows.  One was an epic fail.  Lots of time and barely enough sales to cover my table rent.  The other, also a fail, but I learned a thing or two and met some phenomenally creative people.

One of the lessons I learned, a little late though was that 8′ tables are less useful than 6′ tables. You can not use 8′ tables in a 7′ booth. It was a rookie mistake and I should have done my homework beforehand. Table covers really should go to the floor. This I learned at the first show when I stepped back from my table and could see all of the packaging and boxes under the table.

Under table area for storage should be invisible.

There really is such a thing as too much stuff on the table.

With so much on the table it is difficult for people to focus on any one thing in the booth, so they focus on nothing.

It is important to catch people’s attention in a good way.

Hanging the quilts in a way that would peak people’s interest was a challenge.

One of the things that worked well at the second show was the use of a ladder. At least people knew I had quilts there.

Of course you need a wall for the ladder, but I loved that I could display the quilts without using up all of my table space.


This little ornament tree was a great find. I showcased my fabric pine cones and they were the hit of the table.

During this second show I learned several more lessons.

No one knows what is going to sell from show to show.

Some people will come in just to be inspired.

It’s a precarious dance between being overly attentive and not attentive enough.

These gals all nailed it. Not all of them made huge sales, but they all had a professional look to their booths and had quality product.

It pays to have something that no one else has, like the gals that sold Jerky! And the people that owned the farm and sold painted gourds. Everyone seemed to stop at their tables. Dawn Marie, of Dawn Marie’s Lace made the tatted jewelry as well as the beautiful white and glistening ornaments, she also encouraged children to help her while she was tatting away. Her booth was especially inviting. She shared that she has been at this for years and had curated a following. This was echoed by Mark Weaver of Natural Wood Pens who was a wealth of information, inspiration and advice. His wood turned pens kaleidoscopes and cutting boards were very handsome. Amanda Maney of So Many Crafts had some very trendy crocheted octopi! Cheryl Paulson of The Lupanare, had traditional hand tied pearls and her table glistened with sparkly jewels that looked so lovely and could adorn those your love. What Dolls Dream Of had a professional booth with handmade clothing for American Girl dolls, but did not take cards. A very special thank you to Debra and Tera from dandtshows for their kind words and keeping everyone fed and the music festive.

Will I try again? Yes. Maybe a couple more times during “the season” next year. I’ll do a little more research too. Did I enjoy the experience? Well, yes, I did meet some great people. But I must admit, my strengths are more in line with the creative process than the sales process. I have a lot to learn about merchandising and staging. That being said, I didn’t get where I am in the creative process overnight, and suspect it may take more practice and experience to be a top vendor.


Posted in Craft Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments