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Thursday, December 23, 2010


What gives you a feeling of contentment?  When are you most satisfied, filled up, and at peace?

For some of us quilters it is in the enjoyment of selecting a project, fabrics or a design.  Others find it in the sound and feel of their favorite machine running or using their favorite thread and needle.  Others are most satisfied putting on the finishing touches of a binding and label. 

Is it really about the quilt?  I've never believed it is.  For me, the contentment and satisfaction comes in the making and giving of the gift of the quilt and, most importantly, the intentions that go along with it.   The giving and use of it gives a quilt meaningfulness.

To all of you reading this, I wish you contentment and peace.  And I do hope you have a quilt of your own to wrap around yourself and your loved ones.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

We gather together

A day in the studio with friends typically consists of an eclectic variety of projects, good conversation,  inspiration, artistic critique, shared life experiences and comfort food.  These photos are from a recent weekend with friends in the studio.  We're looking forward to another day together in January.

postcards and a little bling
quilt blocks for a scrap quilt
beading and inchie quilts 
Quilt blocks for a wallhanging
 batik jacket
Christmas placemat

Friday, November 26, 2010


It's the day after Thanksgiving, when large retailers with a penchant for falling prices and smiley faces would have us up before the crack of dawn enticed by sales on just about everything.  It's outrageous encouragement to buy more stuff, perhaps using a credit card, in the hopes that it makes us happy.  Here's an interesting link about The Story of Stuff, something worth viewing before heading out to the store:

I think about the things that I either use all the time or enjoy having or using very much - things I'd really miss if I didn't have them - things that would affect how I live, how I enjoy life.  Stuff doesn't make me happy.  What I do with stuff, how I share it and use it may make me happy and it usually involves  action on my part or interaction with others.  My trusty little 1944 Singer Featherweight sewing machine brings me much enjoyment.  It is even more enjoyable to use when I'm working with friends. I appreciate the design and simplicity of it, the sound it makes, it's consistently solid stitch, it's compact but powerful motor and the fact that I can maintain and repair it.

Quilting is seldom about the quilt itself.  It's about the creative process and ultimately the quilt's usefulness; as a gift on a special occasion, to bring comfort, as a gesture of appreciation, caring and love, or as a piece of art.  Most often, the value of a quilt to the maker is intrinsic. Hopefully, the recipient of a quilt understands the love that goes into the making of it; each stitch, each choice, each hour of work, and receives the full intended benefit. 

Here are some pictures of a quilt made for Kelly's professor at UNH, Dr. Jo Daniel, who is expecting a baby in December.   We wish her and her family much joy and thank her for her commitment to her students.

In the process of quilting.  1920's reproduction fabrics.

Kelly and the finished baby quilt.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Arranging Blocks - Part II

On Nov. 2, I posted pictures of different arrangements of these half square triangle blocks.  This past weekend I picked the project back up and decided to finish up the top by adding a few more rows and a border incorporating the remaining blocks.  This is the border.

And here is the finished top.
Next, to find time to quilt and bind it before Christmas!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Giving Thanks

Friends of mine believe that Christmastime brings out the best in people.  It didn't seem that way to me until I decided to genuinely look for little kindnesses, acts of selflessness, and distinct moments of peace - to try to see what they see.  When I paid attention and took notice, I did see things differently.   What a good way to spend time; looking for  and finding joy and goodness, surrounding ourselves with wonderous moments of peace and being grateful. My thanks to Tim and Gina for sharing their views on this season and for so much more.  

Now, they also start listening to the Christmas channel on the radio about this time of year and that is not a trait that I'll follow any time soon!

So here are just a few of the things that I am particularly grateful for;

Friends who show us possibilities and encourage us along the way.

Every New England season that changes our environment in lovely ways.

Laughter, friendship, kinship.

Wonderful people; friends and family.

Lifelong friends, through the years, through each stage of life.

Creativity, shared interests, trusting friendships.


Great times, great places, great people, great memories!

Quilting as a creative outlet, great fabrics, and the tactile satisfaction of making something.

Wherever you are, whomever you are with, whatever your circumstances, I hope you experience gratitude this season. It's good for the soul.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Arranging Blocks

It is amazing how the same simple blocks can be set in different ways to achieve very different effects. Our minds can be similar in that way. A slightly different attitude can contribute to a very different effect under similar circumstances.  A slightly different approach can make all the difference in the world. 

Flying Geese  
Nine Patch

I'll post the final arrangement in a while, but it is not either of the settings in these pictures.

A change of scenery can also help refresh the mind and senses and inspire creativity.  Maine has a way of doing all that for me. 

The spillway on Little River in East Boothbay, Maine

September on Little River after all the summer folks have gone home.

The view from Quilt Divas parking lot in Rockland, Maine

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Standing the test of time

I've passed by this great old barn in Connecticut a number of times in the last few years. This past September I was compelled to pull over and take a few pictures. The barn sits on an expansive piece of farmland with great long stone walls.  The house next to it is still standing and in the process of renovation. There is something I find inspiring about the construction and colors, the fact that it still serves a purpose and is obviously well-worn used over the decades. It is humbling to know that someone pulled the stones from the land, stacked them precisely and created usefulness out of the simple materials at hand.

There are quilts that have stood the test of time, some in almost pristine condition after 100 years or more. But they were not used. They sat in cupboards, folded and displayed. They didn't warm a body or provide comfort in texture and color. They were not handled and dragged and draped over children and their parents as they read a bedtime story. It gives me great pleasure to visit someone and see a quilt I’ve given them bunched up on the couch or a bed, softer from being washed and dried, and used well. I know then it has been used as intended. It has served its purpose.

As I begin a quilt, the first decision is whether it is a ‘user’ or a ‘keeper’. Rarely is the answer a ‘keeper’. Perhaps a piece of my work will last beyond 2 or 3 generations. That’s a nice thought. But the stories will fade and weaken along with the colors and the construction materials. It might need a bit of renovation if it does last. In the long run, if these bits of cloth pieced together and stitched lovingly serve a purpose today, provide some bit of comfort with the recipient knowing I cared for them, that’s enough. And it gives me ample reason to make another and another….

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A room with a view


Classroom sewing area - sewing the last row on a 1920's One Thousand Pyramids quilt. 

The view from the classroom

After a few trial runs with my quilter friends, the studio is ready for regular classes.  I'll be advertising locally in the next few weeks with classes starting in November.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cats, Quilts and Excuses

Is the fact that this is one of Casper's favorite spots to take a nap any excuse to not finish it?  This quilt was started a few years ago (more than I'd like to admit publically) and is done except for hand-sewing the remaining unfinished portion the binding. 

The truth is that I put off finishing projects unless there is a reason to finish them.  My quilts seem to need a purpose to be finished.  Until they have a destination or intended recipient, they linger.  I  like to say I 'live with them for a while' until I know where they belong.  Working improvisationally is exciting and interesting.  There are lots of decisions and trials, experiments, auditioning.  Once all the decisions are made and I can see the finished product, I'd rather be designing again.

The upside in working this way is that there is always something constructive to do at any stage in the process of quilt-making.  If the mood strikes me to do simple piecing, there's a project that needs piecing. If quilting is what I want to do, I can pull out a quilt top that needs quilting.  If I need a take-along project, applique is very portable. 

These may be excuses, but they work for me.  And I have the finished quilts to prove it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Simplicity in Design

There are certain things that we do by habit that become comforting in their simplicity and tried and true results. Half square triangle blocks, essentially a square cut in half on the diagonal from corner to corner is that comfortable and dependable block for me.

I’d rather work with 200 fabrics than be limited to just a few. Simplicity rules! If you use just light and dark fabrics, saving your mediums for another project, the results can be wonderful. This works for two-color quilts, scrap quilts or themed projects. A quilt made with just this block, with or without borders and a simple binding works marvelously. It is important to size them all up consistently before piecing the blocks together, regardless of which method of piecing you use. There are a variety of ways to make these blocks. Because I work scrappy, I like to use the method outlined in this link.

Who knows, maybe someday I’ll try this theory on a rectangular block just to try something entirely different?

If you do decide to make a border, applying a background fabric and using leaves and vines compliments the overall design very nicely.  Sue Pelland's new rulers and tools are a wonderful way to add a lively border.  Check out her website.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 2, 2010 A beautiful autumn day for quilting

Welcome to the first posting for a fine line quilt studio!

The studio is recently completed and just about ready for quilting classes.  Quilters of all levels of skill, from novice to accomplished, gather at a fine line, where the emphasis is on developing and enhancing skills, confidence level, and ability to create.  We learn from each other, get to see a variety of projects and methods, and have guidance throughout the process of learning.  The environment is welcoming and well-equipped.  The people are enthusiastic and friendly.  The results are better than you imagined!

Quilt classes are Friday nights from 6-9 pm, Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon, and Saturday afternoons from 1-4 pm.