Enter Spring

Enter Spring

Spring is officially here.  Here in the Northwest, spring weather means all the weather in one day.  Sun, rain, wind, maybe some thunder.  Because we’ve had such  record-breaking rainfall, many a back yard is pretty swampy, mine included.  However, the front yard is merely soaking wet and the tulips don’t seem to mind it much.  We’ll have plenty of color out there soon.  I’m fervently hoping the tulips will overshadow the weeds which have also loved the wet weather.

My quilt guild had a show last weekend and our small quilt group had a chance to show off the projects we’ve been working on for a year and a half.  We all had the same group of fabrics, though we could add some if we chose and the same blocks from the Tula Pink “100 Modern Blocks” book.  We each made at least 60 blocks although a few overachievers made more.  There are a few missing from the group below but you’ll get a taste of how different each quilt was.

It was such a fun project to work on and my fellow quilters are just the best.  It will be a while before I use lots of black again as it was a dust and thread magnet.  (Mine is the big X.)

I finished “Limeade Runner” (finally) and it’s perfect for the kitchen table during Easter time.

It’s just seven blocks from “Pink Lemonade” put together in a line.  And here it is at work already.

If you really look at the top right of the above picture, you might notice a furry photobomber.  She blends in so well with the couch, it’s easy to miss.

Here she is with her favorite toy.  She carried it around for about 20 minutes the other day.  That ball is  so far in there I’m not sure how she does it.

Ella’s not giving up her tennis ball for love or money.

Toby has perfected his “nobody loves me” look.  Trust me when I tell you, he’s our big sweetie.

Check our shopping page for a couple of specials.

Quilt for fun.


PS  Please share us with your quilting friends.  The more, the merrier.

Longing for Spring

Longing for Spring

How is meteorological spring looking for you?  I wouldn’t have known the difference from winter if I hadn’t been listening to the weather channel while I was quilting.  The fog, rain and occasional snow looks pretty much the same as it did two weeks ago.  So I put out Easter decorations just to brighten the house up a bit. I think it’ll help a little.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



Confession time:  I’ve got more than a few UFO’s hanging around and it’s time to finish them.  Most are completed tops and many aren’t even very big.  Some are projects I started in classes and just never got around to finishing (which assumes that I can figure out how to pick up where I left off).  I’ll be working to finish or give away some of these projects over the next few months.  This does not mean that I won’t start anything new.  I will.  I’m still me.  I’m actually looking forward to finishing some of these quilts because I really still like them.  Since I won’t be working out in the yard anytime soon, I can concentrate on inside projects.

Actually the UFO thing sort of springs from a newfound need to simplify my life and thin the herd that has become “our stuff.” I was inspired by seeing a friend’s newly pared down closet.  In order for this not to be overwhelming, I just do a little bit a few days a week.  One drawer is so tidy that I open it daily just to inspire myself to keep going.  (Also, to admire my work.)

I’ve been working on a quilt from Karla Alexander’s book, “Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves.”  It’s a gift for some old friends who have recently redecorated.  The new look is very modern/contemporary with mostly neutral colors.  As you may have noticed, I’m not exactly the queen of neutral.  I think I’ve met the challenge.  Whether I was victorious is another question.  I like it more than I thought I would, but am ready for a project with color.

Since March weather can be dicey most everywhere, I’ve decided to put a few of our springier and brighter quilt patterns on sale.  If the flowers aren’t blooming in the garden, we can just make them bloom in fabric.

Tulip Field

Spring Sampler

Singing Tulips

In Full Bloom

All four quilt patterns can be found on our Shopping page.  They’re pretty much guaranteed to brighten up any space they occupy.

Please share us with your quilting friends; the more quilters, the better.

Keep quilting for fun!


Teased by Spring

Teased by Spring

Last week we had a lovely, sunny day.  The kind of day that says, “Spring is just around the corner,” when it’s really not.  Mother Nature can be an awful tease.  Still, being outside in the sunshine is really refreshing.  Since then we’ve had a couple of nice days and lots of rainy ones, with more rain on the way.  Tell me, again, “how many more days until spring?”

We went to Utah to ski with friends week before last and managed to ski a bit before it rained.  This has been such an unusual winter for many of us.  The mountains of Utah were gorgeous as always and just getting out of Dodge for a few days makes the winter pass more quickly.

I finally finished my small quilt group project. All the blocks are from Tula Pink’s “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.”  All twelve quilts were made with the same blocks and colors.  To say they’re all different would

be the understatement of the year.  It was such good practice for very accurate cutting and sewing.  Each block finished 6 X 6-inches.  I made 67 Tula blocks (and parts of a couple more).  Everyone made at least 60 and at least one person made all 100!  There’s always at least one overachiever.  The quilting was a challenge as the quilt is kind of big, 72 X 76.  My next few projects will be decidedly smaller.

Speaking of smaller, I’m in the midst of another teapot quilt.  This one is mostly wool.  The basic pattern is the same as the last Teapot Quilt, but it’s a little different look.  I’m putting in a few stitches I learned in a Sue Spargo class I took last summer, ably taught by Tonye Phillips.  The pot is still looking a little naked, but you get the idea.

I’m attempting to use materials I already have,  I have lots of little bits of wool and felted wool, which work well.  The beads in the center of the purple flower are 2mm seed beads.  For $2.59 you get a little vial with about 2000 tiny beads.  I bought them for a class where I used about five.  I have enough left to last for generations.  If anyone’s interested, I’m happy to share.

I’m thinking about a poppy quilt for this summer based on this picture:



Poppies always take me back to the flower days of the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I loved the bright colors and pink and orange together.  I also liked the clothes, although that’s a whole different story.

Time to get back to my teapot and maybe a cup of tea.

We’d love to hear your comments and follow us on Facebook.

Quilt for Fun.




Digging Out

Digging Out

We’re now back to weather that we  call normal.  The snow and ice are gone and it’s about 30 degrees warmer than it was a week ago.  The tulips are just starting to come up and we may survive winter.  The back of the house had lots of icicles.  One was 28 inches long!  Check out the bottom of this hanging basket:


We’ve had wintry weather before, but icicles off the bottom of a hanging basket is a first for me.  Because we had such a lovely fall, I hadn’t taken old flowers out the the pots.  Of course, they’re all totaled except the pansies.  Those babies are tough.


I finished Dancing Teapot today.  It came a long way from this


to this


And a close-up of the flowers and quilting.


The teapot and decorations are fused, so it’s pretty quick to do.  I needed a little color to brighten up our rainy, winter days.  The pattern will be on the Shopping page tomorrow.

My next move is to make the teapot penny rug style.

Having some smaller projects that go quickly is really nice when there are some pretty big ones in the queue.  I have a couple of large quilts that “just” need to be bound.  As if that will take a half hour or something.  I also want to make some serious headway into my stack of unquilted tops.  (After all, it’s still January and we’re allowed to say stuff like this as if we have all the time in the world.)

I have one other project that’s been haunting me for many years.  Back in about 1983, I started a Christmas quilt.  I’m pretty sure the pattern was from Quilter’s Newsletter.  I finished the top and began hand quilting it.  I didn’t get very much quilting done, but vowed to finish the following year.  Cut to 2017.  That same unquilted piece has been hanging around all these years and I haven’t put one more stitch in it.  The backing is plain white and the batting is polyester and a bit fluffier than I like now.  So here’s the plan:  I take out the hand quilting (Luckily there isn’t much), and sandwich cotton batting and a more colorful backing and machine quilt it.  I really want to finish as I totally loved the fabrics and I want to use it at Christmas time.


 I’m thinking my new mantra for the year will be “Fix it or fling it.”  This is not just about quilting, but about a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.  Because we haven’t moved in 27 years, we’ve tended to save stuff “just in case.”  I’ve decided that if I’m not using something, someone else should get a chance to.  So this will be my first “fix it.”

When I get to a “fling it” quilt top, I’ll post it here and on Facebook so that other quilters can get first dibs before I give it away.  Check us on Facebook and post any quilt top that you’d like to give away to a good home and we’ll see if we can put some “fix it” and “fling its” together.

As always, we ask you to share us with your fellow quilters.

Quilt for fun,


Happy Hallowe’en

Happy Hallowe’en

This is what goes on around here at Hallowe’en.

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The “tombstone” at upper left fell over when we had some wind.  Naturally, the mums had been planted about three days before.  As you may have guessed, the center mum was never the same.

The very unfinished quilt top is all from the Hallowe’en stash.  When this is finished, I plan to go right to spring so I have some new things to show.

The little tree is decorated with fall ornaments I found at a quilt show some years ago.


This picture is not all I’d hoped.  I took it panorama style and had to limit pixels to upload it.  It’s kind of cool, but it bends everything a little.  The table is actually a regular rectangle.  Mona and Maynard spend October having their moment at my dining room table.  The rest of the year they hang out in my office.

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And yes, this actually is in my yard.  The witch has been a Hallowe’en staple for some hard years, but she survives.

The sock is from a wool class I took years ago.  It just pleases me.

I think the last one is self explanatory.


Sadly, it’s slated to rain on the Trick or Treaters on Monday, but the weatherman has been wrong before and I can only hope the kids get a break.

Next time I’ll talk about actual quilting.  I have lots of new ideas to try out soon.

In the meantime, here’s Toby –


“Only two more days until all the kids come to tell me how cute I am!”

Quilt for Fun and Happy Hallowe’en!



Halloween – Quilt for Fun

Halloween – Quilt for Fun

Yesterday was a nearly perfect example of a gorgeous fall day:  calm winds, cloudless blue sky and temperatures in the low 60’s.  It was the kind of day that I could’ve lived sixty times in a row.  Today is still warm and the morning was sunny.  Now high clouds are thickening up and we’re looking at a week of rain.  Swell.  The good news is that I will quilt more because I won’t be tempted to wander outside.

I made good use of lovely yesterday.  This is what 99 planted tulip and hibiscus bulbs look like.


I’m actually kind of a fan of instant gratification, so next spring seems a long way off.  There are another 99 on the other side of the brick walk.  When they’re colorful and smell like spring, I’ll be glad I took the time to plant them.

About the only things left in the garden that are blooming are the dahlias.  They might be the showiest low-maintenance flower ever.


I spent last weekend at my quilt guild’s fall retreat.  It’s a good way to get to know other quilters that you see every month, but never really get to talk to.  The retreat center has good food, nice people and a huge, well lit room to sew in.  Out the windows we see things like this:


And this:


Also, I didn’t have to let the dogs out, start dinner, or throw a load in the washer.  Always a fun weekend.  Did I finish anything?  Actually, no.  But I made some serious inroads.

Halloween has come to my house.  I used to do a lot of decorative painting.  I still do a little, but there is just not enough time to do it all.  I painted this from a pattern about 20 years ago.


I have some postcards with similar images that are dated from the early 20th century.  They show lots of witches and jack-o-lanterns and black cats and tend to be more sweet than scary.  I love this holiday for lots of reasons, but mostly because it appeals to my inner eight-year-old.  This is the same child-woman who read Harry Potter books in record time.  The possibility of some magic is a feeling I hope I never lose.  We can all use a little magic in our lives.

If you’ve been living in a cave, you might not know that I have a pretty large stash of Halloween fabric.  In the spirit of denting it, just a little, I’ve started a quilt that I found in the Quilty Easy Modern Quilts magazine (Winter, 2016).  On page 66 a quilt called Giddy Gridlock is featured which told me it needed to be a Halloween quilt.  I have lots of cute prints that I don’t want to cut into tiny pieces and this looks like just the thing.  So here’s my start.


Here’s to all of us who love out hats and boots and brooms!

Quilt for fun!


October Color

October Color

It rained here last night.  The kind of rain that actually gets down to the roots.  It’s cool and cloudy and that fall smell is in the air.  It’s a mixture of wet leaves, wet dirt and not enough sun.  In the “olden days,” there would also be burning leaves mixed in and although I totally support the idea of clean air, I do miss that smell in the fall.  There are still lots of leaves on the trees . . . well, some trees.IMG_1221   IMG_1220

Same parking lot, same day, two directions from where I was parked.  Apparently, not everyone is on the same schedule.


There is still color in the yard.  The dahlias are going strong and probably will for a few more weeks.  Love those guys.  The hydrangeas are doing their fall thing . . .


Except for the one below that’s still the color that most of them were throughout the summer.



I’ve never owned any hydrangeas until about two years ago.  Now I’d like a yard full.

And then there is alyssum and one little geranium (the tiny pink thing at the top) that’s trying to hang in.  I just put the ornamental peppers in as they add some much needed bright color.


I finally got the binding finished on Autumn Sunset.  The pattern is ready and actually pretty easy.  The video on painting highlights and shadows is still on the to do list.  That project will be a learning experience for me.


The painting part is completely optional.  I just like messing around with it.  The pattern is available over on the Shop page.

I went to the Quilting Expo in Portland last weekend.  There were lots of really great quilts and I took a bunch of pictures.  Sadly, none of them is very focused.  Usually my phone takes great pictures, but I suspect I did snapped and went so quickly that it didn’t have a chance to focus.  Here are a couple that aren’t too bad.

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I enjoyed how the spiral, above, is escaping the edges of the quilt.

Now that it’s October, I’m all about Halloween.  This week most of the decorations will go up.  The outdoor stuff will wait a couple of weeks.

 I dove into the Halloween stash and made this cutie.

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What no home should be without.  The perfect size for my rocking chair.

Drink some cider, eat a pumpkin scones and enjoy this colorful season.

Quilt for Fun!


For All Who Learn the Hard Way, Like Me

For All Who Learn the Hard Way, Like Me

Autumn Sunset, the pattern, is ready.  I’m currently quilting it (well, I stopped to write this, but you get the picture).  I have a couple of suggestions for this project, and quilting in general to help curb the frustration factor.

  1.  Keep a notebook next to your sewing machine.  Do not move it or put it someplace safe.  It needs to be right where you can get your hands on it.  Write down the threads you’re using for your current project.  Also note any changes you make with regard to needle size and tension.  Even when you use the same machine, things seem to work differently for some projects.  I opted for free-form leaves on Autumn Sunset, using Aurifil 40 weight on the top.  After changing the bobbin thread type twice, the needle twice and messing with the upper tension at least 6 times, I finally got pretty much what I wanted.  While I will tell you that I ended up with Aurifil #40 in the bobbin, a #90 topstitch needle and notching down the tension to 4.8, it would’ve been nice to start with a plan closer to the one that worked.  Write it down.  Someday you’ll thank yourself for this.DSC_0169
  2. Clean out the bobbin assembly A LOT, especially when you’re quilting.  It should be the first place you look when the top thread breaks.  I have no idea why a lint filled bobbin case breaks thread, but it seems to.  It should never look like the inside of the lint trap in your dryer.
  3. Set a timer and take a break.  Take a break earlier if things are going badly.  Please trust me when I tell you that gritting your teeth and battling it out wastes time and energy.  When you get back after your break, it’ll be easier to see what the problem is and how to fix it.

The center part of Autumn Sunset is being quilted with variegated thread.  Because the thread changes from very light yellow to orange to dark purple, the question is, what to use in the bobbin.  No matter what I do, from time to time the bobbin thread shows on the top.  I thought about putting the matching variegated thread in the bottom until I realized that it would almost never match up.  There’s probably more yellow than anything else in that thread,  so I went with yellow for the bobbin thread.  If some yellow pops out in the middle of a purple patch, I’ll deal with it.


The free flowing leaves is one of my favorite quilting themes.  If you quilt yourself into a corner, just wander out through the leaves to a good area to start making leaves again.  Also, if one turns out kind of weird, just pretend that an unexpected storm clobbered the daylights out of it and keep going.

Fall is really here.  We had enough rain yesterday to actually soak into the ground and by this time of year I’m about done with watering the flower pots so it works out.  It’s time to tear out what’s left of the veggie plants and put in some tulip bulbs and chrysanthemums.  Summer came and went too quickly.  Luckily, fall is lovely here and I intend to enjoy it.

The Northwest Quilting Expo opens in Portland (at the Expo Center) this Thursday and runs through Saturday.  Lots of cool quilts and vendors.  I can hardly wait.

Look around our site and be sure to check out our patterns on the “Shop” page.  All our Halloween patterns are on sale.

Enjoy fall and Quilt For Fun!



Fall for New Beginnings

Fall for New Beginnings

I hope that you had a fun Labor Day Weekend.  Sunday and Monday were cool and cloudy here and while Barb and I planned to both can some tomatoes and freeze fresh peaches, the peach-freezing didn’t happen until this afternoon as the peaches were not ripe enough.  The whole process takes time, but there is just something about a taste of summer in December or January that is so special.

I think fall may be my favorite season of the year.  After the obligatory cool and humid weather of last week, we have sunshine and 80 degrees.  The reds and golds of autumn are right out my window and the nights are cool enough for good sleeping.  Even though it’s been a while (and then some) since we had anyone in school, fall seems like a beginning, a time to get organized and possibly some new shoes.

I find that I’m in the mood to clean up and make a list of my UFO’s.  It’s kind of like getting a new notebook and crayons for the first day of school.  (Remember the smell of floor wax and new crayons?) When I’m deeply into a project, I rarely stop to put things away.  The plan is to clean up after I finish the current project.  What really happens is that I get distracted by 1) taking a class that has nothing to do with what I’m currently working on, 2) the season changes and I’m no longer interested in what I was working on, but want to start something new, or 3) the sun comes out and I go outside and ignore the mess.  So every 2-3 months I need to haul my wandering mind into the present moment and create a neatness, which lowers the anxiety level and fools me into thinking I will get it all done.  Mostly, it’s the simple things:  throw away the empty starch can, put the rulers back in their assigned places, and refile the fabrics I took out to test and then didn’t use and didn’t put away.  Today I put a new cover on my ironing table and put away/threw away a few things that appeared to be nesting there.  It makes me feel tidy.



(The thread spools on the window ledge were customized by Toby when he was a pup.  He managed to bite most of the way through so that there are few pieces that are longer than 12 inches.)  Even the small things give me the illusion of control.

The Northwest Quilting Expo is just around the corner and I’m ready to be newly inspired.  There is a lot of quilting talent in the Portland area and it’s fun to see what new things have been created.  There’s also a whole boatload of vendors to tickle the imagination and empty the wallet.  I can hardly wait.

Speaking of inspirations, the quilt I showed you last week needs just a couple more pieces appliquéd.


Since I’m doing it by hand, it takes a while.  The colors in that quilt inspired me to go off on a little tangent of my own.


I really liked the oranges, yellows and purples and found that I had some batiks with varying degrees of all those colors and went for a gradation in the background.  It’s made up of six-inch double square blocks and the pumpkin plant is fused on.  The plan is to have the pattern ready by late next week.  We can take pre-orders so it will go out as soon as possible.  This pattern will be mailed so that the appliqué pieces will be accurate.  We’ll send these first class (as opposed to mule train) so they’ll get to you fast.

All our Halloween patterns will be on sale through the 10th of October.  It’s about now that I think I have plenty of time for Halloween projects, but these autumn weeks are pretty full and go so fast, it’s good to get started now.

My tomato crop is kind of puny this year, but there’s plenty of zucchini.  Luckily, there are plenty of zucchini recipes out there:  zucchini bread, chocolate chip zucchini bread, chocolate wave zucchini bread and of course all-chocolate zucchini bread.  I’m even known to use it as a vegetable! Truly, about the only thing better than zucchini bread in all its variations is pumpkin bread.  It’s a shame I don’t like to make salad nearly as much as I like to bake.

Someone brown and furry (not to mention freshly groomed and wearing her new collar) is telling me it’s time to get her some dinner.  Just look at that cheesy smile.  Ella is not terribly subtle at the best of times and comes on pretty strong when it’s meal time, so I’d better get with it.


I’ll work on the new pattern as fast as I can.

Quilt for fun!


Last Sweet Days of Summer

Last Sweet Days of Summer

Dear August,

How did you get away so fast?  I’m still waiting for those lazy dog days of summer where I sit in the shade, sipping iced tea while doing a little appliqué.  It’s such a cool fantasy and I dream it every year.  Then life happens and school starts.  Hey August! I want you back!

Okay, now for a little visit with reality.  What actually happened during August was a day at the air show, a two day class with Sidnee Snell,  (to see her wonderful work, go to sidneesnell.com, it’s really cool), a week with my mom in Southern Oregon and after a few days home, my son, daughter-in-law and their Labradoodle Finn, (age 8 months) came to visit for a few days. Sunday I canned salsa.  Yesterday, I capped off the month by defrosting the freezer in the garage.  It’s life, my friends and I can’t spend all my time in the studio.

With fall just around the corner, I want to show a couple of my favorite fall patterns.


Harry’s Halloween came about because of the cool pumpkin and broom theme fabric.


There are wonderful fall and Halloween fabrics out now, just waiting to be the theme of your quilt.  All of the center is squares or half square triangles and can be a great stash buster.


Autumn Leaves is a 3, 6, 9 quilt which basically means that you make some blocks and put them together any way you like.  It all fits together because the block sizes are all divisible by three and you put in coping blocks wherever you need them.  The quilt above is bright and busy because I find fall to be those things.  Use your favorite fall fabrics for a more serene look, if that pleases you.

We invite you to visit our Shopping page for a little, well . . . shopping.

The class with Sidnee Snell was really fun and a lot of info stuffed into two days.  About three quarters of the time was spent learning how to use Photoshop and Illustrator to simplify and posterize a photo and then create a quilt out of it.  We practiced on a pattern of Sidnee’s and I finished the top a few days ago.


This technique has a lot of potential.  I’ll post a picture of the coffee cup after it’s quilted.  I just hope my notes from the class make sense so I can do more.

Southern Oregon is a bit of a trip in the summer.  Days in the 90’s and hundreds are the usual thing.  I grew up there and keep telling myself I’m used to it.  Here’s a little tip:  105 degrees, even if it’s a dry heat and you’re “used to it” is still awfully hot.  I did get a couple of cool pictures.

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I have to ask my mom the name of the flower on the left.  It’s a good sized bush that’s climbed up a fence.  The honey bee at the center top was too busy to come out and get his face in the picture.  The hydrangea on the right is such a cool color.  I’m not much into pink, but I love that shade.

My squash crop is going to town.  I also planted two of the three kinds of peppers that go into my favorite salsa recipe as well as cucumber.


 Sadly, my tomatoes are not ready, so I had to buy some at the farmer’s market to make salsa.  It’s fun having lots of the ingredients come out of our garden.  The only thing about salsa is that there’s a whole boat-load of chopping to make this much salsa.


Just one zucchini plant and one yellow squash make so much squash.  Must be time for four kinds of zucchini bread!

I’m almost finished with the appliqué on this top.  The piecing part went together quickly and the handwork isn’t hard, just a bit time-consuming as handwork tends to be.  I found the pattern when I was cleaning out quilt patterns and inspirations that I’ve torn out of magazines over the last fifteen years or so.  This was an insert in a magazine and I decided a few weeks ago to try it.  ( I think it’s a Fons and Porter pattern, but it’s gone missing.  It’s around here somewhere and when I find it, I’ll pass on the details.) I love the purples and oranges together and it’s a nice hanging for early fall.


I missed the year-end meeting of my small quilt group as I was at my mom’s, but I posted a picture on Facebook (Mother on a Broomstick Designs) to show them off.  All of the blocks are from Tula Pink’s book “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.”  Each of us was assigned a color group and provided five fabrics to the other members and chose five blocks from the book.  Each of us made at least 60 blocks (several of us did more).  What we wound up with was pretty diverse and totally beautiful.  They’ll all be quilted this fall (some overachievers are already finished) and will be shown together early next year.

Finally, Toby and Ella had a great time with their houseguest, Finn.  At eight months, Finn is full of energy and finds that he likes to run with the big dogs.  Toby (who’s almost 13) doesn’t do a lot of chasing around.  He prefers the basic bark-off.  It’s noisy, but nothing gets knocked over.  Ella, on the other hand played chase around the house and through the mud after the sprinklers went off.  I was amazed at how much dirt came off those two during the obligatory hose off.

Toby’s taking the week to rest up.


Ella says she doesn’t need to rest up.  She’s still looking for trouble.


Enjoy these last sweet days of summer and as always,

Quilt for Fun