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!!! :)