Happy Birthday Sam – One of the youngest Southern California Quilters

I love birthdays and am a big believer that quilters need to celebrate birthdays with quilting friends, old and new. After all, we are stitched together in a family that keeps us warm with a special bonding where ever we go. And a birthday lunch, trip or sew-cial, with quilting friends always makes for a wonderful birthday for me!

As such, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to Sam Marion who will be celebrating her 9th birthday on May 16th. Sam comes from a long line of sewing enthusiasts. Jan Harmon, Sam’s grandmother is a quilter and long-arm quilter. Sam’s great grandmother was a pattern designer and dress maker.

I think Sam may be the only 9 year old that may actually enjoy receiving birthday gifts of fabric, quilt patterns, and various related quilting items. You see, Sam has been raised in a quilting environment and I believe she’ll soon be teaching quilting & long arm quilting classes. She has such a wonderful smile, cheerful attitude, loves new experiences, and the ability to chat with people of all ages. While she has life ahead of her to make choices of what she’ll want to become, I believe she’ll be a delightful as a quilt teacher, but I also believe she’ll be great at whatever she wants to do in life.

Sam may be one of our youngest quilters and I believe she is the most talented quilter for her age (and for those much older). Samantha has been quilting since she was 6 years old. She also learned to do long arm quilting, on an HQ 16 long arm quilting machine, almost two years ago.

As a baby, Sam began attending a quilting group called “Hens & Chickens Quilt Fellowship” , which meets in Huntington Beach, CA, when she was 11 months old. At the meetings when she was a toddler and would get tired, she would lay down on a pile of fabric or a freshly finished quilt top and take her nap. Members fell in love with Sam and enjoyed showing her various types of needlework and embellishment techniques.

Sam officially started her quilting career in earnest when she was 6 years old by designing her own small quilts, cutting the fabric shapes and Jan would sew them on the machine. Sam quickly started sewing herself, focusing on what many would consider “art quilts” — cutting shapes and fusing them to background fabric and then stitching over the shapes. More recently, Sam is reading quilt magazines for ideas and continuing to design her own quilts.

The first two quilts she finished on the long arm were entered in the 2008 Glendale Quilt show in the youth category. Now those two quilts proudly wear a big red ribbon. On one of these two quilts, My Colorful Collage, she used a groovy board and the machine’s stylus to quilt a large spiral in the middle of the quilt. Then she added fabric pieces and quilted freehand over them to hold them down. For the other of the two quilts, Clarisse the Reindeer used fusible appliqué and quilted freehand over the whole quilt. To finish it off, she added Swarovski crystals for sparkle. She heat sets the crystals herself.

Last summer, Sam collaborated with Jan, on a quilt for Sam’s babysitter who was going away to college. Sam decided on what should be on the quilt and she cut the shapes for the fish, the jellyfish, the seaweed, the submarine and the other features on the quilt. Jan printed the photos of the babysitter and her friends and did the hand appliqué. Sam and Jan took turns quilting it on the longarm, using the very expensive thread that Sam picked at one of the quilt shows. Sam copied the yellow submarine from the design on logo of her summer camp shirt. The quilt was a very special gift for a special person.

Sam has a wonderful eye for color and design. She shows talent in making creative and artistic quilts, as well as having a unique long arm quilting style. Sam is definitely a delightful young quilter to watch, as I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Sam at future quilting events.

Happy Birthday Sam. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!


English Paper Piecing

I love all forms of quilting, and definitely enjoy handwork. I realize handwork isn’t something that everyone enjoys doing, but I want to heighten awareness of a wonderful way to create a quilt while traveling, during lunch breaks, while riding on a bus (train, boat, car), or while you are simply watching tv.

English Paper Piecing is a very easy way to quilt. It is also a perfect technique for a beginner quilter, and even fun for the advanced quilter. Plus, it gets easier when you use pre-cut paper templates by Paper Pieces (http://www.paperpieces.com./). It is amazing how easy and fast a project can come together using PaperPiecing.com templates and/or designs. And, after all, you can’t always have your sewing machine with you all the time!

While it has been years since I’ve done any quilting using the English Paper Piecing technique, I found the instructions provided by Paper Pieces.com were very easy to follow and very thorough.

I had fun piecing their tumbling block pattern while traveling. I still need to add borders, but I wanted to show you how this wallhanging is coming together.

To start with, I quickly pulled together some red/white/blue fabrics from my stash. I want this wallhanging to be donated for a fundraiser to benefit a Veterans project, when I finish. As I was in a hurry, busy packing for my trip, I didn’t have much time to prepare a “project kit” to take with me. Fortunately the instructions were well written and I was able to quickly cut fabrics to match up to the paper templates provided in the pattern. I used a few small ziplocks to “kit” a 3 piece tumbling block with templates and fabrics in each small ziplock, while placing all the remaining fabrics, templates and pattern instructions in a large ziplock.

On my trip, I’ve been able to keep the small ziplock kits in my purse, where I also had a small pair of scissors, thread and needle. That way I was always ready to sew a tumbling block together, at any time (e.g. while in a car, at the beach, having coffee, etc.). As I completed each tumbling block I simply re-filled my small ziplocks from my kit stored in the large ziplock. Pretty soon I had all my tumbling blocks completed and began working on building rows, which soon became a quilt. I’m now ready to add a border, with fabric from my stash, when I return home.

I’ll post more info when I finish this wall hanging. In the meantime, I hope consideer making an English Paper Pieced project this summer, using templates & patterns from PaperPieces.com. PaperPieces.com. You can find some of their products in most quilting stores, but they definitely have more to offer via their website. And if you are looking for a gift, I also think their patterns make a wonderful gift for a quilting friend, or someone you want to introduce to the fun of quilting!



There are many websites designed specifically for those that are interested in quilting, but for many there are so many sites that the internet can be overwhelming. Thus, I want to share my insight with you on a particular site that can serve as a very useful tool. Useful for many of us interested in quilting: general quilter, quilt blogger, quilt shop owner, and those dependant on web sales for their quilt business.

The Quilterblogs is a wonderful website that helps us get connected to bloggers who like to quilt, as well as where quilters may want to shop. And, it is free. Yes, free to use and free to promote your business! Owners of quilt related websites simply need to submit a request to be linked to this site. Quiltersblogs.com has search functionality that searches over 400+ blogs daily to create a summary of several blogs, with an easy to use link to get to these blogs for more insights. Likewise, it has a easy to use index of over 250 quilt stores that you can search to see if they have a specific item, or you can search for a particular quilt store in a specific location.

I highly recommend that you check this site out. I have been having fun reading Quilterblogs on a daily basis. And it is now the first place I check to find a quilt store in a particular area.

I’ve also had fun learning so many wonderful things out about Quilterblogs that I’m planning on writing more about them in the near future. I hope you’ll check back to learn more about why I think they are so wonderful.



Snapware Products, Craft Storage

I am absolutely convinced that Snapware products are one of the best products on the market, at a reasonable price. I also believe Snapware products are not only a great buy and that Snapware products can help everyone become better organized. I know they have helped me become better organized.

Snapware has a variety of wonderful products that will help you be better organized in the kitchen, bathroom, garage,craft room ….well, better organized everywhere. But where I’m so excited is how they help the quilter, embroiderer, and sewing enthusiasts. I have truly fallen in love with how these products can help us organize around the home, our sewing rooms, plus how easy they make it when we participate in a retreat, workshop, or sew-cial.

As there are actually so many variations of how you can use these products daily, I’ve decided to provide a broad overview with you today. I promise to provide more insights on how you can use these products for quilting, embroidery or sewing in the near future.

The Snapware Company designed these wonderful Craft Products with adjustable divider systems for such activities as scrapbooking, papercrafts, beading, jewelry making, sewing, needlecrafts, painting, drawing and general arts & crafts. But remember I also recommend these containers for the quilter, embroiderer and for the sewing enthusiast too.

The “snap” design, with adjustable diver systems, really help you layer your carrier for what you need. To clarify, while a particular Snapware carrier may be a 2,3,or 4 container design, you can buy more of the same design and snap together to meet your need for storing at home or carrying your items to an event outside of the home. What is so cool, is that you don’t need to spend so much time packing & unpacking when you do take your project & supplies with you. I also love that you can snap more, or less containers, of the same style, together, to create a stackable carrier to meet your specific needs. For example, I’ve frequently found that a 4, 5, or 6 module container works well when I’m taking a large project to a retreat or workshop.

I hope you’ll check back for more of my insights on how these products can make a difference in how you organizing your sewing room at home, as well as how you might carry your projects and supplies to retreats, workshops and sew-cials. But even more so, I hope you rush out to the store this week to buy some Snapware products. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with them, as I have.

You can see all the Snapware products at their website: www.snapware.com
Many of the craft products that I like are also available at Target, WalMart, and JoAnns.


Hawaiian Quilting

Hawaii holds a special place for me. It is where my husband proposed to me, and a year later where we married. While I had quilted for years, before we married, I had never made a Hawaiian quilt. I decided to tackle a “king size” Hawaiian Quilt for our bedroom. With my work schedule, it took me two years to finish this quilt! But I’ve made many Hawaiian Quilts since. A variety of styles and sizes (more king, queen, twin, lap and wallhanging sizes of various colors and designs). I still love Hawaiian Quilts and plan to make more.

In keeping with Hawaiian tradition, my first Hawaiian quilt was a breadfruit design. The thought is that if you start with the breadfruit quilt for your home, you will have a fruitful life, never hungering for wisdom or knowledge. They also say that this tradition is a spiritual journey, where by starting with the breadfruit quilt Hawaiian quilting will become part of your life. I must confess it did become part of my life.

As I’m currently in Hawaii, I thought I’d post a photo of one of my Hawaiian Quilts. Unfortunately I do not remember the name of this design, but believe it is one of the historical quilt designs that is part of the collection of quilt patterns available for free tracing in the public libraries.

Here are some wonderful companies that design and sell beautiful Hawiian quilt designs that you can buy in pattern, book, or kit form.

Hawaiian Quilting http://hawaiianquilting.net/

Pacific Rim Quilt Company http://www.prqc.com/

Poakalani Hawiian Quilt Designs http://shoppoakalani.com/

Quilt Hawaiian http://www.quilthawaiian.com/

Also, while this is late notice, Nalani Goard is teaching an Hawaiian Quilting class at the Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu, starting this coming Saturday. This class is only $6 with a purchase of a starter kit (what a deal to learn Hawaiian Quilting from a professional). I’m sure every that is able to attend this class will have a wonderful time!



Metallic Thread Investigation

Metallic threads add bling to machine embroidery designs, as well as free hand quilting. But, many find that using metallic threads is too painful and give up the bling that these beautiful threads can provide.

I wanted to investigate different brands of metallic thread to see how much the experience of working with these threads can vary from brand to brand, as well as how the outcome might vary in bling. My investigation has taken me longer than anticipated. In fact my investigation is still on-going, but I felt I wanted to provide an update on what I’m doing.

I tested 20+ spools of metallic thread, representing a broad spectrum of manufacturers. The brands include: Coats & Clark, Guetermannn, Madeira, Metler, Robinson Anton, Signature,Sulky,and

My evaluation test uses two different designs, one a light thread count design and the other a higher thread count design, with some solid fill areas. At this point, I’ve completed stitchouts of the lightweight designs and have formed my opions, but am also in the process of performing a blind study evaluation of the level of bling each brand of thread provides.

While I plan to complete this evaluation and post my findings in late May, I can share with you that at this point I found all threads acceptable, with the exception of one. On particular thread seemed to pull the metallic coating from the core part of the thread, leaving the final result of the stitch out to have a poor quality bling. While I tried different needles, speed settings and stabliziers, I was unable to resolve the issues with this particular thread. I currently have someone else testing this particular brand, to see if they are able to resolve the problems I experienced. Overall, the majority these threads stitched out perfectly on first test, but a few had one or more thread breaks. For threads where I had problems with breaks, those were retested with different machine speeds, needles, fabric and stablizer, but for the most part all each re-test resulted in similar breakage.

The design used for this initial test is from Designs By Sick. It is a nice design that stitches out easily for metallic and non-metallic threads.

I hope you’ll check back late May, when I complete my investigation on Metallic Threads.


Quilting Wishes

I love many forms of quilting, but scrap quilting is definitely one of my favorite. I don’t view that I am good with color, but I do enjoy seeing how various scraps come together. I also enjoy hearing the stories of what was thought by the quilter, when they were making a particular quilt, especially when the quilt is to be given away to someone. As such, I thought I’d share one of my currently quilting and machine embroidery projects with you.

This particular quilt uses the Bento Box design,by Tracey Brookshier, I find extremely easy and fun to make. Tracey’s instructions are also well written and easy to understand, making this design perfect for a quilter of any level. Most Bento Box quilts have coordinated fabrics, but I also love this pattern for scrap quilting. I also took a different twist in the design, by using a large block to machine embroider (ME) on.

I decided to ME on this particular quilt as I wanted to add words of encouragement, words of healing, and words to motivate. As this is a charity quilt that I’m making for Camp Reach For The Sky (CR4TS), I thought of the recipient who has fought a battle with cancer. I want this person to be able to wrap themself in this quilt to feel secure and comfy, and I want them to stay healthy forever! And every stitch on this quilt I think positively of this young person and their family, while I stitch in my best wishes.

I selected an embroidery design set(Kanji Design Pack) from
Emblibrary. EmbLibrary has many wonderful designs, but when I saw this Kanji set I felt it would be perfect for this quilt.

The border to this quilt will be a black fabric, but I’m still searching for the right fabric. With luck, I’ll find the appropriate fabric and be able to finish the borders on this quilt soon, as I want to be able to drop this quilt off at Rosie’s Calico Cupboard, in May, and hope for a volunteer longarmer to quilt it. The camps for these kids are in the summmertime, and I’m hopeful it will find a home with a young person this summer!


Sharyn Craig

One of my reasons to start a blog was to research and learn more about various aspects of quilting, machine embroidery and sewing. I don’t want to ever come across trying to present myself as an expert, as I will never be an expert at anything. But I do so enjoy learning from experts in their field.

To me, Sharyn Craig is certainly one of the most outstanding quilting experts in this field, and I think she has contributed to help an endless numbers of quilters develop their skills as well as providing a written legacy that will help many quilters in years to come.

Many realize that Sharyn has an excellent background. She obtained a BA in Home Economics from San Diego State University. She has taught quilting since 1980, as well a became a famous author of a numerous amount of books and magazine articles.

While rumors about Sharyn’s retirement led myself and many others to believe Sharyn would completely leave the world of quilting with her retirement in 2009, it really is a matter that Sharyn has retired from traveling and teaching. While she may agree to an emergency substitute teaching at a conference, or something along these lines, her retirement goal is to no longer focus on traveling and teaching. She continues to be an active quilter and writer. She is active in a Prayers and Squares chapter, and views this is a wonderful reason to make quilts.

Not spending so much time traveling and teaching, Sharyn is finding more time to enjoy spending with her two grandchildren (nearly 10 and almost 7) that live in Germany. She now has time to travel to Germany, as well as enjoys being in town when they come to visit! She is really enjoying her freedom by not making 25 trips a year for teaching.

As a quilt book author, Sharyn pursued a unique style of writing. She didn’t focus on writing pattern books, but her goal was to help teach quilters how to do it on their own, by focusing on techniques and providing a lot of pictures. While all the books that Sharyn has written are truly wonderful, and very helpful, her book “Setting Solutions”, is one that should be viewed as a must have in every quilter’s library. Setting solutions helps quilters learn techniques to fix problems with blocks (size differential, color issues, orphans, etc.).

In addition to the 13 books that Sharyn has published to-date, she continues to write. She will have four new titles coming out this year: two at Spring Market, one mid-summer, and one due out at Fall Market. Sharyn will also be making at Cozy Quilt Shop on May 30th at 10am for a presentation, trunk show and book signing of two new books, published under Cozy Quilt Designs: Half Log Cabin Quilts and Layer Em Up Volume 1.

Chitra Publications was the first publisher that Sharyn worked with. Her writing actually started when the owner of that company sat in her living room and said “What book do you want to write? I want to publish it.” . . . well, the rest is history. She published 3 books with C&T: The Art of Classic Quiltmaking (co-authored with Harriet Hargrave), Setting Solutions, and Great Sets.

Martingale & Company  will be releasing her book “Quilt Challenges: what if ideas for color and design” this summer. It was co-authored with Pam Mostek. And Cozy Quilt Publications will be releasing 3 of her books this year (Half Log Cabin Quilts and Layer Em Up Volume 1).

While Sharyn has officially retired from teaching, you may be lucky enough to see her when she travels for book promotional tours. She will be at Spring Market, the Quilt Festival in Long Beach, and signing books at local quilt shops.

I always struggle with what to say when I meet someone as talented and famous as Sharyn Craig, but I have learned that she is a very warm and thoughtful person, one that truly likes to give of herself to help others. I believe this has been visible to anyone that has taken a class with Sharyn. And for all of us, her gift to us is now the legacy she offers us through the books she writes for us. If I were to meet Sharyn I would say, you are “inspirational”, your quilts are “real and attainable”, “I loved your teaching style”, and I also “love your books”. But the main thing I would want to say would be “I’m happy for you that you retired, and I’m also happy you are continuing to write”.

I’m going to be eager to read Sharyn’s books this year, and will definitely look forward to future book releases in coming years, for they will always have “new” techniques to help me!



Virtual Quilt Show – 500+ quilts submitted

I recently read about the First Annual Online Quilt Festival and have been admiring the variety of entrees. They range from being traditional to very artistic. I’ve been having so much fun looking at these quilts, I decided this was something you wouldn’t want to miss. And, you don’t need to spend any money for gas, admission, or a hotel room.

Amy of Park City Girl, came up with a wonderful idea for this online quilt show. Currently there are 500+ quilts on display. But each quilt on display also has a story behind it, and you can take your time to view these quilts (no rush like when attending a land based quilt show). This quilt show runs From April 17th until April 24th, when all entries must be submitted. Unlike other quilt shows, photos will remain posted long after the 24th, so you certainly have plenty o time to click and view each quilt.

In the spirit of participation, I decided to enter one of my quilts in this contest. But as I am currently traveling I realized I don’t have many photos of my quilts with me. Here is my entry

This photo shows a quilt that I made while I spent the summer traveling in the Pacific Northwest, with my husband. We cruised from Anacortes, WA to North of Desolation Sound in British Columbia. Our boat, El Bucanero, is too small for me to bring a sewing machine so I ended up doing hand piecing. I decided to make a traditional quilt, similar to ones my grandmother had made, using scraps of bright colors on a white on white background.

To view all the quilts participating in this quilt festival you can click on each entry by clicking here to start. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I have.


Quilt Visions Presents Elizabeth Busch

Quilt Visions, San Diego’s premiere fiber arts organization, continually presents exciting exhibits by extremely talented quilt artists. Quilt Visions’ current exhibit is by Elizabeth Busch, a wonderful artist from Maine. Elizabeth has worked in various artistic medias, teaches, and has won numerous awards. Her professional background includes Interior Design and Architectural Design. She has taught many topics, including Color Theory. Her exhibit at Quilt Visions will run thru June 7, 2009.

For more info on Elizabeth Busch check out her website: http://www.elizabethbusch.com/index.htm

San Diego Quilt Visions Gallery is located at 2825 Dewey Road, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92106.

For more information, call (619) 546-4872, or visit www.quiltvisions.org.
Admission is Free.

Quilt Visions is located in the NTC Promenade, Liberty Station in Point Loma. This is a beautiful area of San Diego. If you are coming from out of the area, it is close to the San Diego Airport. There are some fantastic restaurants nearby, as well as hotels. While in the area, consider a visit to the historic Point Loma Lighthouse can be quite fun and it is one of my favorite places to share with out of town guests.

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