Teddy Bear and Doll Quilts

I’ve used most of my left over rogue quilt blocks and a few odd samples from workshops that I’ve taken to make little teddy bear and doll quilts. These are a great way to use up scraps and I also had several odd four-patches ready to go that were left over from all the baby quilts we made to send to Mongolia last year. My local quilt guild, Kitsap Quilters’ Guild, collects these from our members and donates them to Kitsap Community Services. We wrap teddies and dolls in these little quilts and our local police, firefighters and social workers give them to kids who are in distress or in traumatic situations. I recently delivered this pile of 13 quilts to our guild representative who coordinates this Kitsap Snuggles outreach project.

Maggie’s Sampler Quilt

During our Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders, I’ve been attempting to tackle some long overdue projects and the clearing of storage bins in my garage. In my last blog, I showed you a quilt made from friendship blocks that were given to me. The sampler quilt here was made from blocks mostly accumulated over the last 20 years or so. For a while, I taught a Block of the Month class to a small group. Many of the blocks were created as demos to teach a variety of patterns and techniques. A couple were given to me by Joanne Bennett and Marcia Barrett. The fan on the bottom row is much older. It was a gift to me from my dear friend Anita Hejtmanek for my 30th birthday in my very early days of quilting.

The nine blocks placed on the diagonals, (variously named as Courthouse Square, Grandmother’s Pride and Beggar Block), were given to me by June Campbell. I loved the blocks and was surprised when she offered them to me. When I came to piece them together, I discovered the problem was that their unfinished sizes ranged from 11.75″ to 12.5″. The solution was to frame every block and then trim them all to the same size. This was successful and these small discrepancies in block size are not noticeable. The quilt is 84″ x 84″, and beautifully machine quilted by Wanda Rains.

Maggie’s Friendship Quilt

I’ve been rescuing unfinished projects from bins in my garage and am making efforts to get better organized. It’s amazing what you find when you start digging around! I’ve recently finished this double-sided Friendship Quilt. When I was President of Kitsap Quilters’ Guild about 12 years ago, members gave me 16-patch blocks. I clustered in these in groups of four to make the 16 large blocks of 64 squares. The border took a surprisingly long time to complete. I cut scraps into 2½” squares and I needed over 550 of them to make the borders three squares deep all the way around.

The back of the quilt is made from blocks given to me in 1988 when I left Fayetteville, AR. They were made by members of Quilters United in Learning Together (Q.U.I.L.T.), my first quilt group in Northwest Arkansas where I learnt to quilt. Some of you receiving this newsletter may recognize your blocks! Thanks to Wanda Rains for her fantastic long-arm quilting and Joanne Bennett for instructions on two fabric double-sided binding (red on top and blue on back, the first time I’ve done this).

Blog break

Unfortunately, I need to take a break from writing my weekly blog. I’ve been sick for the last four weeks since the beginning of June, and have been diagnosed with Stage III peritoneal cancer. The next 4-5 months will be spent in treatment. I’ll have 9 weeks of chemotherapy, surgery, and then another 9 weeks of chemotherapy. The prognosis for full recovery is good and I hope to be in remission by Christmas.

I have canceled all of my teaching engagements for the rest of the year and am hoping to reschedule these in 2020.

Unfortunately, I am unable to go to Mongolia next month for the Third International Mongolian Quilt Show celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the Mongolian Quilting Center. However, my two travel companions are still making the trip. They will assist at the show and distribute the baby quilts to newborn Mongolian babies.

I hope to be writing again by the end of the year once I’ve kicked this cancer. In the meantime, happy quilting. I’ve set up a Caring Bridge site so if you’d like to check on my progress, click here.

Kaleidoscopic Pinwheels Class

In April, I taught my Kaleidoscopic Pinwheels class for the West Sound Quilters in Port Orchard WA and also in March at the Emerald Valley Quilters’ Guild in Eugene, OR. My method is based upon Bethany Reynold’s Stack ‘N Whack technique which I modified so that the pinwheels float on the background rather than coming all the way to the edges of the blocks. This means that if there are inaccuracies around the outside of the blocks they may be trimmed to make all the blocks the same size without losing the pinwheel points. Everyone is successful and it’s easy for new quilters too. It’s a fun workshop in which students get instant gratification after cutting their eight identical squares into triangles and arranging the sets of eight triangles into pinwheels. You can’t predict how the pinwheels will turn out until you lay them out and it’s a delight to see what emerges. Here are some examples.


As you can see, the patterns created are beautiful and it’s hard to believe that each set comes from just one fabric. Here’s a selection of finished blocks made in the West Sound Quilters’ workshop. Note the float between the pinwheel points and the block edges, which makes the pinwheel pop even more. Aren’t they fun!

Bill Clinton Portrait

Some time ago I posted a portrait of Diego Rivera that I found inspiring. Here’s another which I was fortunate to see last October at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

This Presidential Portrait of Bill Clinton was painted in oils by Chuck Close in 2006.
Chuck Close begins all of his paintings with a photograph of his subject, in this case an image made during a photo session in August 2005 for a New York magazine cover. He then draws a grid on both the canvas and the photograph and uses the information contained in the photograph to create a series of abstract modules on the canvas. For me, this has quite a quilt-like quality. The photo really doesn’t do it justice so I recommend seeing it in person if you in Washington DC. The 3-D effect from a distance is fantastic. Below is a detailed shot showing more clearly the way it pixelated into the on-point grid.

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show, May 2019 (4)

Our 33rd Kitsap Quilter’s Guild Annual Quilt Show at the beginning of May was a great success with over 200 quilts on display. Selecting a small number of my favorites to share from the wide selection is always difficult. Last week I shared three quilts and here are another two. These two are both multicolored on dark backgrounds using curved motifs, but they are so different.

Wild Rose was pieced by Cheryl McCurdy and quilted by Debi Snyder. Cheryl used the pattern Vintage Rose by Judy Niemeyer, but named hers Wild Rose because it didn’t look at all vintage. The piecing is all foundation paper pieced and was challenging. Here’s a detailed shot of the center. I love this burst of color and the combination of points and curves on this gorgeous piece.

The second quilt I’m featuring is Cartwheel made by Vicki Adams and quilted by Libie Peterson. Vicki was our featured artist at the show and her special exhibit was highlighted in an earlier blog. The Cartwheel pattern is from Kaffe Fassett’s book Quilt Granduer, but Vicki designed her own border.

The detailed shot shows the lovely array of colorful fabrics and rickrack added for embellishment. I love the whimsical cheerful nature of this quilt. Techniques include machine piecing and hand and machine applique.

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show, May 2019 (3)

Our 33rd Kitsap Quilter’s Guild Annual Quilt Show at the beginning of May was a great success with over 200 quilts on display. Selecting a small number of my favorites to share from the wide selection is always difficult. Brilliant Beauties of Joy pieced and quilted by Debi Snyder was absolutely stunning and glowed. Debi made this from a Jacqueline de Jonge pattern. This quilt won first place in the Individual Large Pieced category.

Debbie Flood made Montana Stars from a pattern by Bette Faries, and beautifully quilted by Marybeth O’Halloran.

Debi purchased the pattern in a quilt shop in Bozeman, Montana and made most of the stars on yearly trips to Montana. There are 315 stars! The pink border with the delicate sawtooth triangles offset the center perfectly. The detailed shot shows Marybeth’s exquisite quilting.

While I tend to gravitate towards the more traditionally based pieced quilts, I loved this pictorial dog quilt, Ty’s a girl, made by Wanda Rains, using the photo pinned to the bottom right. Wanda so realistically captivated the spirit of her dog Ty. She did a five day class with instructor Susan Carlson in 2017 to learn collage and it took almost two years to complete the rendition. Everyone thinks Ty is a boy, hence the quilt title and pink nail polish.

Farewell, Retro-Radiation

I recently gave this bed quilt, Retro-Radiation, away to a friend who lost most of her belongings when her apartment caught fire a few weeks ago.

I gave her a choice of two quilts and I accurately predicted that this would be her pick. She loves the colors and since she is a piano tuner, the piano keys borders seemed most appropriate. Here you can see four of the 16 Op-Art Kaleidoscope blocks. These blocks are made using my template-free technique (see my video) which is very easy and fun. I have patterns available at my on-line store. Look closely to see the awesome long-arm quilting by Wanda Rains.

Below, the border is illustrated. The wavy line which looks like rickrack is a fussy-cut fabric. The piano keys border features all of the fabrics from the center field of the quilt. In the lower left corner, you can see the small Kaleidoscope block which is in the mid-point of the side. This looks like a radiation warning sign.