Sunday, December 9, 2012

No, I didn't drop off the face of the planet...

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the planet. Really. I haven't taken the time to blog since the end of October because I've been totally immersed in working on my book projects and magazine pieces. It's been quite a hectic time, believe me. Now of course, I'm trying to fit the holidays into the mix as well. Whew.
Here is a photo of my "QUILT STACK". All except for the two bottom quilts are for my book and this isn't even all of them either! I have two more stacked on top of my sewing machine in my studio and the sampler quilt is still at the quilters. If all goes well, I will have all of the quilts done by the beginning or middle of January. There are a total of fifteen quilts in my book ranging in size from a small wall quilt all the way up to a queen size bed quilt. And then I have to finish up all of the written material by February. I can't believe how little time I have left, but I know I can do it! Writing a book is an awesome and awe-inspiring undertaking because somehow you have to keep it from taking over your whole life. Adding the holidays makes it even more challenging. I'm so fortunate to have three great friends who each pieced a quilt for me as well as two very talented machine quilters who quilted three of the fifteen projects for me. As for the rest, that is all up to me. If you've ever thought of writing a book, I say go for it, but do it with eyes wide open!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankenstorm and Me

Well, after several days of preparing for the worst, thankfully my neck o' the woods did not receive terrible weather like those on the East coast. Yes, we had wind and quite a bit of rain, but no serious problems. Last night I worked on hand-sewing bindings and hanging sleeves while watching some reruns on Dish, just waiting for the electricity to go out. It didn't though, thank goodness. I really feel for those who were hit hard. We had some small branches down and this morning we had a disoriented ring necked pheasant hanging out in the yard, but beyond that we weathered the storm remarkably well. I didn't make it to Quilt Market in Houston this year, but my freidn Cathey did with her boss at the quilt shop where she works. They attempted to fly home yesterday from Houston, but were rerouted to Dallas. Hopefully, they'll be home tomorrow. Can't wait for her to get home so I can find out all about the "new" stuff she saw at Market. If all goes well, I'll be in Houston next year (with Leslie, my travel buddy and budding designer) to debut my new quilt book.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I had a lovely surprise when I went to work at the library on Saturday. There was a plastic bag on my desk with a completed grandmother's flower garden quilt top folded up inside. The notes said that it was from a member of the Women's CLub that meets at the library and that it had belonged to her mother, and, no she didn't want it back. So, another orphan is added to my orphanage.
Today I decided to give the top a preliminary wash so that I could see what I was dsealing with. Besides it was a nice day to hang it outside to dry, breezy and overcast. I washed it in the washer on the gentle cycle, allowing it to soak for a couple hours, using Quiltwash with some vintagev soak thrown in for good measure. It came out much much cleaner, but now I could see the remaining brown age stains as well as the frayed seams and separated seams. Well, so the work begins. I will need to let it soak in either Restoration or Vintage Soak for a while to see if I can rid the top of the brown stains. Then of course I will need to repair the split seams. Luckily the fabrics all seam to be in good condition, no holes or tears. Stay tuned to find out how this top turns out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Newest Addition to My Quilt Dungeon (err, Studio)

After two years of begging, my Dad has finally made me one of those big ironing board tops that fit over your existing ironing board. Of course, he designed his own version and calles it "The Big Topper." It is big, too -- a whopping 24" x 60", several inches bigger than the ones available commercially. I even put it on a different ironing board -- a charming vintage wooden one from perhaps the 1920's with great orangey-red original paint. I love it and it's so sturdy I think I could tap dance on it! Of course, my Dad added a few special safety features (he knows me too well, I guess).
He liked making "the Big Topper" so much that he's now designing a "Lil Topper" as a portable board for me to take to class or wherever. He's very excited and has decided that he wants to make more boards and offer them for sale (locally right now, because the shipping would be insane). Already, my "Big Topper" board has really been a life saver! I am currently working on the HUGE bed-sized sampler quilt for my upcoming book. Thank goodness there's only one giant quilt in the book. I've been working on it for about three weeks. Yesterday, I actually assembled the center of the quilt, but it seems like I will never get it done. I need to get it done, of course, so that it can go to my friend and long arm quilter extraordinaire, Gaynel, so that she can work her magic on my humble quilt. Sadly, I probably won't get back to it until next week. Sigh..... Anyway, the book is coming along. I have nine quilts completed (mostly, anyway) and I'm working on the giant quilt right now. Then five to go. Hopefully this week end I will be able to get two more tops done and the final three quilts are being put together by my dear friends Cathey, Leslie, and Mary Lee, who also pieced quilts for my first book, Orphan Block Quilts. I've also begun writing instructions too. Let me tell you that writing instructions isn't easy. I've been used to doing them in a certain way for the magazine pieces that I design, which are mostly geared towards the beginner, and now I'm trying to write instructions for the intermediate quilter. Ugh. How much is too much ..... or not enough? Right now, I don't have answers for this so I'm mostly experimenting right now. But, things will all be fine. (So I keep telling myself, anyway.) Recently, my three friends Cathey, Leslie, and Mary Lee, and I went on our annual quilt pilgrimage to Chautauqua Institute in New York for the Quilting Around Chautauqua Weekend. The event begins on Friday, but we start our pilgrimage on Wednesday........ It was a great five days, although it is always way too short. I had the privilege of meeting Mary Fons (who was one of the speakers along with her mother). I really enjoyed her lecture. She was articulate, fun, and energetic. Have you checked out her new magazine called Quilty yet? Next year it will be going to 6 issues. I'm personally looking forward to that because I'd like to submit some of my work for consideration........ We'll see. This coming week end (as in two days from now) I am going to Quilt Camp for the first time in three years. It should be fun. Both Cathey and Leslie will be there too. It starts at 2 PM Friday and goes to 2 PM Sunday. As I think of what to pack, clothes are the easiest -- I only need three pairs of jammies! Just think -- sewing, eating, laughing, perhaps a little sleeping -- AND THEN REPEAT! What am I waiting for -- Quilt Camp here I come!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What a Relief!

Whew! The other night I finally had the opportunity to talk to my editor for quite a while. It's amazing how much better I felt after our discussion. I realized that I am actually doing okay with my progress and that everything is going to be just fine. We even changed several of the projects into smaller pieces which of course makes my job a little bit easier. It's amazing how not knowing things has a tendency to make me freak out and expect worst-case scenarios. Perhaps this is just human nature, who knows? I am glad to say that at least now I know what I have to do and how long I have to do it in. On a different note, I am so proud to say that my niece, Meghan, is officially a freshman at Allegheny College (my alma mater!) Here she is with her completed quilt! I actually had it done before she moved into the dorm so she could take it with her.
Meg is planning to double major in English and history with the future goal of becoming a college professor! I'm pretty pleased that one of her very first classes in her first semester is with my college mentor. How perfect is that? And, of course, Meg just adores her.....I hope she still feels that way when she gets her final exam.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Returning From Nowhere

Well, it seems I've taken a very long vacation from blogging. Strangely enough, I don't feel any more rested than I did before. OH! That's right, I've spent the last six weeks attempting to keep my head above water while I tried to balance work, work, and work. Oh, yeah -- the Olympics was in there too. AND quilting (that's work too, but fun most of the time). Anyway, I've been trying to get as much done as I possibly can on my quilting projects for my book, magazine pieces, and the monthly class that I co-teach. The strange thing is that the harder I try, the more obstacles that jump into my path. One of my biggest obstacles right now is trying to find a place to work where people will leave me alone. For example, right now I was sitting at the dining room table, writing this blog (after completing my latest magazine submission) and two members of my family came out from where they were working on their own projects and begin talking to me. The one family member is complaining about sopmething or another so I have to stop writing and take care of it immediately or else I won't hear the end of it. Then the other family member turns on the TV and proceeds to find something to watch while the volume is quite loud, all the while having a conversation with the other person. So now I have grabbed my laptop, mouse, etc. and I have relocated to my bed. Thank goodness for wi-fi! Oh, of course, my dog follows me and I have to put him up on the bed too (he's cursed with very short legs and is a terrible jumper...). Looking back on the past six weeks, this scenario has repeated itself over and over and over with slight variations of course. When I'm in my studio working on a quilt project, someone needs something somewhere or the dog has to go out....or whatever. I know, I know......welcome to reality. The only problem is that it's only really gotten this annoying in the last couple months, or has it? I love to be needed, but not that much. The really ironic thing is that I'm no one's mother nor am I someone's spouse. The only children I can claim are the furry ones on four feet. Please forgive my frustration and my complaints, but I can't seem to get enough accomplished.....or maybe I'm asking too much of myself. I'm not really sure. If I had a little help and cooperation, things would go more smoothly, I think. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

95 and Still Picking.....

Today my family and I went to visit a dear friend who lives at a personal care home. Oakey, who I christened "Dingaling" when I was a small child (we believe it came from the DIngaling" song from the 1970's -- he calls me Dingaling too) has always been like an adopted grandfather to me. I can remember Dingaling, my dad, and John (Dingaling's son in law and my dad's friend) taking myself, my sister, and John's daughter to the circus. It makes me smile to picture three men taking three little girls to the circus. I think my sister had to visit every bathroom on the way and I really don't remember much about the circus itself. Dingaling is 95 years old, er.... I mean young. Although he's suffered from several different cancers lost his wife last year and his daughter some years before that, he's still picking out sings on his two guitars. Today he serenaded us with an impromtu concert. He also likes to play his guitar for the lady residents at the home.....especially the new residents. What a playboy! My friend, Cheryl's mom, also in her nineties, goes to quilt guild meetings and still makes quilt tops. I can only hope that I have that much energy when I get older. I hope that I'm still able to quilt in some capacity.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting in the Groove

I know a lot of quilters slow down in the summer due to the heat, but I don't. I even manage to sew on binding on big heavy quilts. My secret -- shhh! -- is propping the quilt on a TV table instead of on me as I hand sew the binding down. I also have a fan blowing directly at my legs which helps keep me cool. Add a cool beverege and a favorite DVD and I'm good for a couple hours of binding as long as the air conditioning is working hard, of course. Right now, I'm getting two quilts ready to go to Quilter's World for another upcoming book on precuts which will be out sometime next year. Instructions are written and the quilts are finished, I just need to get everything packages, printed, and mailed. I'm also wrapping up a quilt for FOns and Porter Easy Quilts magazine for Spring 2013. I just have to test the instructions to make sure they are accurate and then it too will get packaged, printed, and shipped. I'm also trying to complete the binding for my niece, Meghan's graduation quilt before her party on July 28th. I plan to make a matching pillow case as the gift bag too. I'm pleased that the quilt won't be travelling too far....she is attending my alma mater, Allegheny College, in the fall. In fact she will be living in the same hall I did when I was both a freshman and a junior, only just down the hall. I am incredibly proud of this young lady. Stay tuned for pics of her quilt and pillowcase in an upcoming blog. In the meantime I'm trying to get down and dirty with my new book project. I've contacted the publisher but do not have an assigned editor yet so right now I'm on my own. There are about 15 quilt projects in the book. I have two quilts quilted and in the binding phase, two tops ready for quilting, and I'm starting the fifth top. The majority of the story part is done. Photos are being translated as we speak. And I'm working on the book layout, or flat plan, too. I do need to start writing the instructions for the projects I've been working on, although I do jot down notes as I make the quilts. But I do need an editor ASAP and a deadline, of course!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Whew!! Do ya think it's hot enough yet? This afternoon when I left the library, the bank thermomenter stated that it was a steamy 101 degrees F! And in northwest Pennsylvania. Whoah! Like most parts of the country, we're having hot weather and little rain. So I found a way to beat the heat....quilter style. I crank up the air conditioning, grab an icy bottle of tea, prop my quilt on a TV table so it's not sitting on my lap, put on a favorite DVD, and work on binding. It's relaixing, cool, AND I'm actually getting some quilting done. On the other hand, on days like these, I'm glad my studio is a sewing dungeon located in the basement. It's at least ten degrees coller down there so all that I need is some background music -- keep spinning those tunes Cousin Brucie -- and an oscillating fan. How are you beating the heat?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Let me tell you about an exciting thing that happened the other day. I received a box of quilts back from DRG, the parent company of both Quilter's World magazine and House of White Birches. At first I couldn't remember which quilts that I should be getting back then I wondered if they were perhaps the quilts from the White Birches ninepatch book that comes out in August. I ripped into the package to find that I was correct -- it was the two quilts from the ninepatch book and nestled in the between the quilts was an advance copy of the book, officially called NINE PATCH PANACHE. I pulled that book out and started yelling and hollering BECAUSE ONE OF MY QUILTS WAS ON THE FRONT COVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What an awesome surprise! The book retails for $19.95 and is available for preorder through Amazon, etc. right now and should be available September 1st. I hope everyone will order this one -- and not just because my quilt is on the cover (although it does look really lovely there). The book features about 45 ninepatch quilts from traditional to contemporary. It's a nice addition to any quilter's library. I actually have two designs in this book -- Floating Stars and Optica. Optica is the cover quilt, of course! OH, BEFORE I FORGET -- HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Recently, I had an email from Dianna who just stumbled acorss my blog. She is part of a sewing group and together they have tons of orphan blocks and she was wondering about ideas to utilize them. Below is the list of ideas that I emailed her. Hope it helps all of you orphan block rescuers to get going and whip out some orphan block quilts so that you, too, can be orphan quilters like me! 1. First, of course, you need to check out my book, Orphan Block Quilts: Making a Home for Antique, Vintage, Collectible, and Left Over Quilt Blocks!!! ;) 2. How about an orphan block exchange or swap? Have the members sort their orphan blocks, keeping like blocks together. You could make it into an auction and use the money to buy supplies to finish quilts to donate to charity such as Project Linus. 3. What about an orphan block challenge??? Each particpant has to pay a fat quarter to participate. Set a deadline and a few guidelines (such as how many blocks must be used or the size of projects). Display the completed projects (which could be quilts, purses, bags, wearables, etc.) and everyone should vote on the "Best Orphan Block Project." The winner, of course gets all of the fat quarters. 4. Have each member put a set number of orphan blocks (groups if possible or same size blocks) into a brown lunch bag. Add a few fat quarters of coordinating fabrics or left over fabrics from the blocks. Put all of the bags together, mix them up, and each person picks a bag. If she gts her own, she would need to select a different bag. Then , do an orphan block project challenge. 5. What about an orphan block round robin? Each member makes a quilt center using orphan blocks. She then puts it into a bag with any coordinating fabrics she wants to add. Then she passes her project to another member. Continue to do this until each member has had a turn adding to each round robin quilt. (if there are a lot of members, you could have two or more round robin groups). Set rules for each border if so desired or do an "anything goes." 6. Instead of a round robin do a row robin using orphan blocks! 7. What about a mystery orphan quilt project? I designed one that uses either 9" or 12" orphan blocks for a guild last year and we had an all day sewing workshop. It was great fun! AND all of the quilts were amazingly terrific! 8. Members could pair up to create projects using both their stashes of orphan blocks together. These projects make great charity quilts. 9. Have everyone bring in their orphan blocks. Keep track of how many blocks each person brings. Sort all blocks by size. Hopefully there will be lots of blocks in a single size. Then each member picks up the same number of orphan blocks she brought, hopefully in groups of the same size (she may get back some of her own of course). Having a group of blocks in the same size makes it easier to put together a project. 10. If all else fails, donate them to a good cause or send them to me, the Orphan Quilter!!! :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sewing Machine Problem

I know, I know -- two blogs in one day -- amazing! Anyway, I wamted to put this problem out there -- I have two friends who have older Pfaff sewing machines -- nice ones with bells and whistles. Well, we recently did a workshop on free motion machine quilting and both these machine siad NO WAY - WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO THAT. The machines got all kinds of thread balls and nests in the bobbin area. My friend Mary Lee's machine hasn't been the same since -- she can't seem to get the balance adjusted once again. Is free motion quilting a problem for older Pfaff machines or are Mary Lee and Sherri doing something worng here? I did ask another firned who had a Pfaff and she doesn't have any problems with it and suggested that maybe Mary Lee and Sherri didn't have the presser foot at the mid level point for free motion....... We'd all be interested in anyone's thoughts or experiences on this subject. My email is: Speaking of free motion quilting, here are a few of my recent projects:
What do you think? I particularly love love love the spiral swirls design.

New Orphan Block Acquisitions

I promised that I'd have pics of my most recent orphan here they are:
I found the two 1930's double wedding ring blocks at a flea market. I was thinking of just finishing them as table quilts. I have a round table and I think one would look great in the middle (if only I could find the table under all of the newspapers, magazines, and mail.....LOL!). The string blocks and large four patches came from the same place -- one of my quilt friends called and said she had some old quilt pieces she thought I'd be interested. People know me too well, I guess. There are something like 150 string blocks about 8" in size. The fabrics are really fun -- they range from the 1930's to the 1950's. Not sure what I'm doing with them yet, though. As for the big four patches, I think I might take them apart, that way I can reset the four patches into a more interesting setting. The set of Album blocks was truly a very special find. They date from the 1870's-1890's and there are 75 of them in the set! Amazing!!!! The fabrics are incredible and I don't think there are any duplicate fabrics within the blocks. There are even some early purples that haven't faded to brown yet. Sadly, there are no signatures on them. So, what do you think of my new finds? Not bad, eh?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Okay, I admit I must be one of the worst bloggers right now. I haven't blogged since the end of April. I've never gone this long without blogging. It's not that I didn't have anything to say, actually it's been quite the opposite. It's just that I've been quilting like a mad woman and haven't been spending any real quality time with my computer. No computer time, no blogging. I've been so lax in computer time that I'm actually checking my email on my ipod now. Sad, isn't it? Now that that's out of the way, let me tell you what I haven't been blogging about. May was a really busy month. Of course, I worked on several magazine pieces and made my deadlines. I also made several stash projects including another quillow, a table runner out of left over batiks, and a miniature quilt for an upcoming guild quilt challenge. Speaking of guild, I didn't even make it to the May meeting. I also worked on a few projects for my upcoming book -- I really need to buckle down and get serious about the projects. Of course, I also worked on research and writing for my book, too. I had an Orphan Quilt trunk show in May. It went well and the dinner beforehand was delicious. Of course, all of these activities were fitted around my day job at the public library, a few other part-time jobs, and my home responsibilities. The end of May brought some real heartache in my family, though, as we said good bye to our beloved canine companion, Poohka. This was really hard. He was a very special and unique Shih Tzu, with a smile and he even stomped his foot (yes, like a two year old's temper tantrum) when he didn't get what he wanted fast enough. His kidneys were failing rapidly and there wasn't anything more the vet could do. What hurt even more was the fact that my other furry pal, Gizmo has been absolutely bereft in the absence of his doggy brother. I think he's finally adjusting somewhat but he's very clingy and doesn't like me to leave him. Giz has even taken to sleeping on a pillow in my studio while I sew (he's never done this before). We've all had to make adjustments in our daily lives. It's ironic, really, when you realize how much your day revolves around a beloved pet only after he or she is gone. Smile on, Pookie, smile on.... June is turning out to be just as crazy as May was. In addition to trying to spend more time with Gizmo, I'm working on one project for the magazine and I just found out today that they accepted two more for a pre cut book. Whew -- I'd better start sewing faster. I had another program for the Sew and Sew Guild in Grove City recently too. Very nice group. I debuted my new program, "Fabric Dating Tips and Orphan Block Tricks." It was a fun evening. Next week I have a program for Country Charms Guild -- I'm doing the new one, and I am also doing a volunteer workshop on English paper piecing at the at the local senior center. Well, I see it's getting late so I'll stop here. Hopefully I'll get some photos up soon for your viewing pleasure. I want to show off some of the new Orphan Blocks that have come my way recently. Good Night! I need to go to bed so that I can get up early and QUILT!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Challenge

I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a quilt designer! I especially like the challenge it represents. Here's one recent example: On Friday, a package of fabric from Benartex arrived even before I knew what I was doing with it! The editor of Quilter's World called and left a message that they wanted some changes to some designs that I had submitted for a new House of White Birches book. It always makes me happy when my designs are accepted, of course. So I checked my email to find out which designs were accepted and what the changes were. Boy was I surprised to see that tehy wanted a design that was originally throw sized to be queen sized. That's what the Benartex fabric was for. WHEW -- the deadline for the piece is about four weeks away. So I had to redesign the piece to make it queen sized as well as work within the amounts of fabric that were sent to me. This created a challenge because there were only three yards of white background fabric. OH NO! So I had to keep tweeking the design until it worked with the amount of fabric that I had. On top of that, I had to line up a machine quilter FAST who could put a rush on this quilt. CHECK! Last night I pieced all of the blocks and sewed them together. Today, I'm going to tackle the three borders, including a pieced middle border. If I can have it done in the next few days, Karen, the long arm quilter, can quilt it on Friday. Totally insane right????? Oh, almost forgot to mention that there's another quilt to be made for the same deadline, but the Balis won't arrive until May 8th or 10th (right off the rollers, they're so new!). Luckily, that piece will go together quickly. I love being a quilt designer -- it's never boring, it's challenging, AND I GET TO PLAY WITH FABRIC ALL OF THE TIME!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Guild

Last night was our Anniversary Guild Meeting for my guild, Free Spirit Quilters. I must say that our president, Kim, really went all out! It was an Oriental-themed party complete with fans and chopsticks. Have you ever eaten birthday cake with chopsticks???? It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be -- the icing helped a lot. We had a discussion on different types of silk (with examples) as well as a selection of kimonos on display. Two members even gave a demo on tying scarves, which was very interesting.

We also had sew and tell, mostly oriental pieces. I even took a pice of sashiko and wouldn't you know it, but another member had the same preprinted panel too! Great minds think alike, I think.

Probably the most memorable event of the evening was when our president, Kim, came out of the restroom dressed in a blow up sumo costume, complete with the appropriate wig. OH MY!!!!!!!!! If I can scare up a photo of it, I'll post it on my blog. It was a real hoot.

Great meeting -- I don't know when I'd seen so many of the members come at the same time. It was nice to see.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


A few blogs ago, I mentioned an upcoming jelly roll quilt race......Well, race day finally arrived --- yesterday!

Our group, "Pennsylvania" against the "Chicago" group.

The contestants:

The Pennsylvania group consisted of ten sewers: Mary Lee, Leslie, Lynn, Sherri, Jill, Shirley, Evie, Gaynel, Debbie, and me (Tricia).

The Chicago group consisted of eight sewers: Phyllis (sister of Mary Lee), Vera, Erusha, Babe, Maureen, Kathy, Pat and Gwen.

We began the race at 10 AM our time (9 AM Chicago time).

Gwen of the Chicago group was the first to finish at a little over 1/2 hour! WOW -- she stitched like greased lightning! Congratulations Gwen -- you are the Queen of Fast!

The second overall finisher was Vera, also from the Chicago group. Vera was visiting her daughter (married to Phyllis's son) and new grandbaby and is from Tula, Russia! Так держать, Vera!

The third finisher was none other than our very own Jill from the PA Team! WAHOO, JILL!

Here are the rest of the quilts!

Debbie's quilt (PA):

Pat's quilt (Chicago):

Shirley's quilt (PA):

Kathy's quilt (Chicago):

Gaynel's quilt (PA):

Babe's quilt (Chicago):

Evie's quilt (PA):

Lynn's quilt (PA):

My quilt (Tricia -- PA):

Phyllis's quilt (Chicago):

Mary Lee's quilt (PA):

Sherry's quilt (PA):

Leslie's quilt (PA):

Maureen's quilt (Chicago):

Here's a photo of the whole Chicago group with their quilts:

We didn't take a group photo of the PA group. :(

Sadly, Erusha of the Chicago team had some machine issues and wasn't able to finish her quilt until she went home in the evening. Sorry Erusha....we're glad you finished your top though!

I have to give a special high five to Debbie of the PA team -- she is a brand new quilter and this was her first quilt project. Talk about trial by fire! Well done, Debbie -- welcome aboard!


Gwen of Chicago was the fastest individual, but PA won the award for fastest group finish.

Congrats to all of the racers......may all your dreams be quilted!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Okay, okay I've been really remiss about blogging for a while. It's just there's been so much going on. Some good, and some not so good. So here's the dish:

I've been working a bit on projects for my upcoming book. I have three tops done already -- two are already sandwiched and ready to quilt, I just have to do it. And I've got the fabrics for another seven projects, thanks to a trip to Heirloom Quilting and Antiques in Brookville PA recently. (Heirloom is a great shop -- around 8000 bolts including batiks, 1800's reproductions, 1930's reproductions, basics, contemporary, wovens, novelty, kids/baby). Their prices are reasonable too. So, if you get to Brookville, PA, stop by and check them out!

I've just finished a couple of projects for Quilter's World magazine and am working on two new pieces -- a bag and a baby quilt. Riley Blake sent me the fabric for the baby quilt, a new collection called Vintage Baby -- very sweet in pink, yellow, blue, and green with some red accents, too. I'm looking forward to working with this collection! I just finished the bag prototype and now I'm ready to work with the actual fabrics -- blue batiks! These projects are for the December 2012...... I'm also working on some new designs for an upcoming House of White Birches book, too.

I did have some very disheartening news a few weeks ago, though. Northcott dropped my Cocktails at Eight fabric collection, but I'm shopping around for another fabric company, so stay tuned on this topic. It was a big let down after waiting for all of this time, but fabric companies are hurting right now due to the economy and the high price of cotton.

In the meantime, I finished my taxes AND have had three sick cats...... It's certainly not been boring around here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'm Baaaaa-aaaaaack!

Well, it seems I took a little hiatus from blogging this month. All of a sudden, it's March 20th. How did that happen?

The weather in my neck of the woods has been amazing so far this month. First, of course, we had a very mild winter, and now we've skipped spring and it's summer. Our temps have been 30-40 degrees warmer than average. I've been fighting the urge to dig out my warm weather clothes, but I think I'll have to succomb to the urge after all. We are expecting another day around 80 degrees tomorrow. You have to understand -- I LIVE IN NW PENNSYLVANIA! It usually snows here into April. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this weather but I do wonder what it's doing to the natural world. The trees think it's time to leaf. Flowers are blooming. I heard that people are starting to till their gardens -- not too mention taking of their snow tires. I'm still thinking that Mother Nature will probably have the last laugh and will hit us with a massive snowstorm when we're not looking.

Anyway, check out this photo -- it's a HUGE snapping turtle making its way across the backyard. We usually don't have "turtle crossing" until late April into May so it sure was a surprise to come home and see this big dude ambling across the yard.

The next day we had a little painted turtle making his crossing across the yard.

Oh, do you know what "peepers" are? They are tree frogs. They woke up a week or so agao and now they are serenading us, sometimes even in the daytime. They are really loud and we can even hear them inside the house.

Okay, Okay, on to the quilt stuff. Recently, my friend Melanie went on a quilt retreat and she made a gorgeous version of my quilt "Luscious" from the April 2012 issue of Quilter's World. Here's her version:

Isn't it lovely? I got to see it in person today when Melanie, my pal Leslie, and I met for lunch. It was a great time! Nothing like a three hour lunch spent gabbing and eating.

If you haven't checked out Quilter's World yet, please do -- it's a great magazine (I'm not just saying that because they publish my designs, either)!

I'm excited that my first fabric collection will be launching next month and then will be avialble in shops later this fall. It's called COCKTAILS AT EIGHT and has a fun and flrty 50's feel. I hope you'll love it as much as I do! I'm working on a few new ideas for Northcott right now, too. So stay tuned.....

Thursday, March 1, 2012


As if writing a new book and keeping up with my magazine pieces isn't enough -- now I'm adding teaching quilting eclasses on too!

Follow these links to check out my classes:



Come play with me -- let's make a project together!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Baby is a Centerfold!

Have you received your April 2012 issue of Quilter's World magazine yet?

I'm thrilled to share that I have three -- yes that's THREE (3) -- quilts in this issue! On Page 31, you'll find my Spring Baskets Wall quilt in shades of turquoise, red, pink on snowy white. On page 50 -- my CENTERFOLD project -- is Steppingstones which failry glows with Stonehenge fabrics. (Sorry, I'm not in Playboy afterall -- HA HA!). Then on page 59 you'll find my sassy strawberry quilt fittingly entitled Luscious.

If you're not a subscriber to Quilter's World magazine -- you should be! They always have great projects in different ability ranges in every issue. Each issue has a common theme too. The photos are great too -- I can never wait to just look at the magazine page by page from cover to cover. Oh, did I mention that each project gives quilting suggestions too???? What are you waiting for? Get your subscription now and tell 'em Tricia sent you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Playful Quilting

Have you tried making a "Jelly Roll Race" or "Jelly Roll 16oo" quilt yet? The concept is really sweeeping my area right now as groups and guilds challenge their members to be the fastest sewer. In April, I have a group that is going to make Jelly Roll Race quilts.

So...........I made a sample! I used 2 1/2" strips from my scrap stash for this one, although I plan to use a Stonehenge strip set for my next one. In 1 hour and 25 minutes, I had a completed aprox. 48" x 60" quilt top! WOW! Add a border and you will get a large throw or small twin quilt. Add a series of borders to make a large bed quilt.....

Here is my sample for your viewing pleasure:

Oh, our group in April is going to race against a group in Chicago! May the fastest team win!!!!!!!!!!!!

FOr more information about Jelly Roll Race quilts, watch the following YouTube video: Jelly Roll 1600 quilt video by Heirloom Creations.

Friday, February 17, 2012


OKAY!!!!!!!!!!! I mailed my signed contract today. It's almost 100% official.

I am so eager to get this project rolling because it is very meaningful to me personally. Working with Kansas City Star Quilts is going to be a great experience, too. I'll bet everyone has at least one KCS book in their stash -- their books are so well designed and beautiful -- it's a lot more than a quilting project book. Have you been on their website yet? You can follow this link: They're also on Facebook and Twitter too. So please check them out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Surprise in the Mail

The other day I got home from work and there was a package on the table for me. At first I didn't know what it was and then -- I REMEMBERED! What an exciting moment! The fabric that I had ordered had finally arrived. This was just any fabric, though -- it was vintage fabric from Russia. I had ordered it through ebay back in January and it took nearly a month to arrive, but arrive it did! First, I had too look at all the cool stamps on the plastic mailer. Then I couldn't open it fast enough. Finally, once the box was open I could see the treasures inside -- my fabrics!

OH! How gorgeous they were -- identical to the photos the seller listed.

I'm really amazed at how different Russian fabric is from American fabric. For one thing, the width is narrower (alhtough vintage American fabric was narrower in width than fabric today too). Most importantly, there's just something about the dyes that just makes the fabric glow. You'll really notice it with the blue and red large floral print (which, by the way, I have special plans for). I'm just guessing from what I know about fabrics, styles, and time periods, that the greenish teal fabrics probably form the 1960's/1970's as it sthe black and pinkish purple flower. I get the feeling that the blue and red is somewhat newer maybe as new as ten years old or so. But, of course, these are just guesses.

So, you've seen another clue to my upcoming book -- I will be using some Russian vintage fabrics.......hmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jumping in with Both Feet

Okay, I lied. Well, sort of. I'm still going over the contract and the other documents and I kind of got excited about getting started. So, today I went to one of my local quilt shops (I'm so lucky to live in the center of four quilt shops within about a 30 minute drive). I took along diagrams for five of my quilt projects for the book.

The last couple of nights I've been shopping in my own stash, but I was having a hard time deciding where I wanted to go with the projects. When it comes to selecting fabric for my projects, I have to consider several different factors including time period and geography. My stash just didn't yield what I was looking for. Most of my fabrics are the supporting actors, I don't generally stock up on the stars. Most of the time, I start with my focus fabric which may or may not be the border and then I select the supporting fabrics using a combination of my stash and shopping. I'm going to try to stick with shopping at my local shops as much as I can (doing my part to keep them in business), although I do dearly love to shop online as well.

So of course I headed to my nearest quilt shop today. After fondling many fabrics, stacking and restacking, walking round and round, I finally narrowed my choices and left with fabrics for two complete projects and borders for three others. Not a bad beginning, I must say. Now I that I have borders, I can shop in my own stash again and see what I have already that will go with the borders.

I'm not going to show you my fabrics right now, but I will say this much: PAISLEY. Hmmmmmmmmmm......

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Contract!!!!!!!!!

My new book contract has finally arrived!!!!!! Now, of course, I have to read it carefully and write down any and all questions. I'm going to pull out my first book contract and do some comparison/contrast too. When I received my first contract, I went over ir with my lawyer. Most likely I'll do the same thing again, that way I know that I understand what is expected of me and what I can expect from the publisher. Of course, I'm now working with a different publisher, so there are bound to be diffferences, but overall they're probably very similar.

Once I get the contract business taken care of, then I am going to jump right into my new book project! Since it won't be released until July 2013, I have plenty of time. Of course, time will fly by so now will be the time to get going.

I, of course, have been working on it all along. I have the projects all designed and current;y I've been working very hard on the historical research end of the things. Yep, you've guessed it -- my second book will also have an historical theme.

My first book, ORPHAN BLOCK QUILTS, was about quilt history and using orphan blocks (antique/vintage OR contemporary) in new finished projects. My second book has a more world history flavor.

So stick with me through the journey of writing my second book, and I'll share bits and pieces about the process as I proceed. What fun we'll have together!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fiendish Frenzy!

Whew -- I've been really working hard in the last couple weeks trying to get my fist eclass with CraftArtEdu completed. I've taught a lot of quilt classes through the years, but this format is very different. It's a slide show with voice and photos/diagrams. WOW! I think my eclass has like 70 slides -- that's a lot of photos, not to mention vocal recordings. I just emailed my coordinators to have them take a look and provide feedback on the finished eclass. As soon as the class is up and running, I'll provide a link here if you'd like to check it out -- maybe you'd like to take my class.....who knows?!?

I've also been working with my coteacher, Mary Lee, on getting our 2012 quilt class set up. I think this is our fifth year teaching at our local quilt shop together. We really compliment each other -- I'm into quick and easy and Mary Lee is excellent at the more fussy aspects of quilting. This year's class is called "Christmas All Through the Year" and will consist of a series of projects that you can make for yourself or for someone special. The projects will take either 1 or 2 months to complete and the class runs from February to December. We've had a nice response to the class so far, but we still have a few spots available. Here's a tentative list of our class projects: the convertable bag, jelly roll race, bargello, quilty slippers, reversible table runner, quillow, jelly roll apron. What fun!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Collection

Well, I am so excited to announce that my first collection, Cocktails at Eight, with Northcott is finally done and is going to the mill on Monday!!!!!! It sure seems like it's been a long time since I started this project (not to mention that the actual collection has changed several times), but it's finally moving forward. AND I CAN'T WAIT! I will post images as soon as I can! In the meantime, you can watch the the fabrics coming soon pages on Northcott's website:

We even have a google group for our Northcott Designers and I've been really learning a lot about Photoshop from more seasoned designers. Right now I'm exploring creating textures because textures are very popular. I'm sure you've all heard of Stonehenge -- most likely you have some in your stash -- well, Stonehenge is Northcott fabric of course! I'm so lucky to be part of a group of designers who are really caring people and go out of their way to help those of us who are still learning.

Here's what I've learned about textures so far:

1) It's way harder to make a repeat for a texture than it is for something more graphic.

2) There's a whole giant world about brushes and how to use them like stamps in the creation of fabrics, particularly in textures.

3) There's no end to the creativity and work involved in creating textures.

4) There are lots of resources on the Internet from examples of textures/brushes to tutorials.

So, if you have Photoshop, I challenge you to play with textures!

Here's a few of the ones that I created during my Photoshop play. They're not perfect but it's a start! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Off and Running

Whew -- it's been a busy year already.....and it's only begun! I just finished writing the patterns for my most current Quilter's World projects for the August 2012 issue as well as 2 pillow projects for an upcoming House of White Birches pillow project book (not sure when this will be out). I love designing for magazines and project compilations, but it sure is time consuming -- and I'm not just talking about making the project!

I've also been doing more research for my new book project which has a Russian theme. Although I do not speak Russian, I've been slowly translating some documents! It's amazing what you can accomplish when you have to.

I'm even working on a couple of new quilt fabric collections too.....

Oh, did I mention that I'm still working on getting my first online quilt class set up too? I think I'm finally in the homestretch now! More on this later.

Ah, yes, I did promise to share photos of some Chrismtas gifts that I made for my two BFF's, Leslie and Cathey. Here they are:

I bought the two miniature tea cups (which were glued to their saucers) at a flea market and thought they'd make darling pin cushions!

The two pieces of fabric are my very own attemps at hand-dyeing a yard of fabric using shibori techniques. They really turned out well and both Cathey and Leslie were thrilled -- can't wait to see what they do with them.

The last photo is of the three of us -- aren't we cute? I'm the tall one in the middle (ha ha -- I'm barely 5"4' and I'm the tall one....).