Kaleidoscope Collections

alex anderson selfieFriday Alex Anderson gave a talk at Steve’s Sew & Vac in King of Prussia, PA. I’d hoped to be able to go however it didn’t work out. I got the next best thing a selfie with Alex.
As I’ve mentioned I was there to teach a class based on Alex’s Quilt Basket Rendezvous so here’s how I managed to see Alex. BJ actually Saw Alex and wrote about it on her blog.

Jeanie of Kaleidoscope Collections taped an episode for The Quilt Show a while ago. Her episode debuts on Monday.  Our quilt, Feather Zone, has been made into a puzzle. How cool is this. You have the option of anywhere from 35 to 239 pieces.

Go quilt your world!


CAM00776CAM00777CAM00775 CAM00754 CAM00753 CAM00748 CAM00749 CAM00752 CAM00773   CAM00770  CAM00766 CAM00760   CAM00762 CAM00756After weeks of very long days and not  meeting an obligation I have a down day.  We’ve been members of the Botanical Garden for years, joining when our youngest nephew was coming to visit for a few days…unfortunately the weather when he and his parents were here was rather yucky and we never got to take him.  The nephew and my sweetie spent hours watching the trains on the internet.  It was rather sweet to watch.

We mCAM00755issed last year with my sweeties surgery and finally got to go today.  The time of day really changes the overall look of the gardens and the Train Show.  This year they have added a special exhibit about the artist and the creative process.  Each one of these buildings are made from leaves and twigs and acorns.  It’s such a neat thing to see all of these landmarks, some of which are gone, preserved for all to see in tactile form.  A trip to the Garden is one of those amazing, re-energizing respites in City Living.  We are so blessed to have this treasure and others around the City.  Since Autumn is my favorite season the colors right now are just inspiring.CAM00772  I’m also loving all of the details we get to see close up.

The rose making one last valiant attempt in blooming, nodding her full heavy head to the weight of winter clearly around the corner.CAM00771

And yes, you did read that I missed my deadline on finishing the quilt.  I am gutted on soCAM00768many levels.  The quilt is making the trip anyway and I’ll get to finish it later.  I can tell you this:  I have stitched bubbles for about 70 hours (probably longer) and have about 10+ hours to go.  It’s well worth it. Every.Single.Stitch.  Because I’m a curious sort I started counting stitches (well, actually checking the stitch count on the machine) to see how many stitches are in each section and oddly enough in a 1 x 8″ section plus a wee bit more there are over 6,000 stitches.  CAM00764The more I stitch the more I love this quilt and the more I admire Jeanie, her piecing skills are off the hook!

My next piece I’m working on I’ll share a bit more of and hopefully will get started this weekend.  It will be on chocolate Radiance with shades of red and pink.

Happy Quilting!


PS I’m working on several teaching dates for 2014 and 2015 as soon as everything is in place I’ll let ya’ll know!


CAM00513Quilters as mentioned here I found the screen to see the stitch count on my machine!  I’ve often wondered, and there is no way to tell, how many stitches there are on my 1080’s.  With the quilts stitched from piecing to binding over the years and all those tiny bubbles from @play I’m sure the counter would be in the millions.  Perhaps with those bubbles on @play I may have topped the billion stitches?  A quilter can dream!

CAM00650So curiosity got the better of me yesterday, I wrote down the start number on one 1 x 7″ strip where I’m quilting bubbles.  (if I haven’t mentioned this before Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero has mad skills as a piecer!)  When I got to the end I checked the stitch count, quilted another strip, checked the stitch count.  After the 3rd I checked the average: over 6,000 stitches per strip.  Since I can’t count how many bubbles there are I can count the stitches.  More to the point the BERNINA 780 counts the stitches for me.  I’d be a little like that owl in the tootsie pop commercial stopping at, “one, two, three!”

Congratulations to my friend Debby Brown! Handi Quilter released 4 teaching videos that Debby taped over the summer.  Check out Debby’s blog for details. I’m so excited for her.

Have a happy Sunday!



CAM00513Sing it with me now, “Tiny Bubbles
I’m still stitching tiny bubbles.
Tiny Bubbles here, tiny bubbles there.
Tiny Bubbles


CAM00650I’m stitching tiny bubbles.  And occasionally checking in on my stitch count.  It’s fun to stitch for a while and watch the stitch count go up.  As of the time of this post I’m 3,000 stitches shy of 350,000 stitches.  More than likely by the end of this quilt I’ll be very close to if not over 1 Million stitches.

CAM00649And then there’s this feature that I love so very much.

By pressing the “i” this screen comes up.

I can then press the “save” button and save the stitch that I’m working on right now allowing me to turn the machine off, go away for a very long time, turn the machine on and have my settings stay right where I need them.

This is stinkin’ cool!!!

Happy Quilting!


CAM00518or quilting



I am working on Quantum Leap.  Nothing like a due date to get motivation to set in.  It’s due to Jeanie on my birthday!  YAY.  I love that part.  I’m celebrating this quilt as I go along and this will be a great way to celebrate my birthday.CAM00517

To stitch out the 3.5 million pebbles I am using 2 different colors of Magnifico and may use a 3rd once I stitch it out on my practice piece – thanks Jeanie – to see how it looks.  If it does what I think I’ll be madly in love with it.  Oh heavens me I am madly in love with this quilt.

I’ve been sharing a few photos like this oneFB_IMG_13812779448808075

and this one

FB_IMG_13815283992797648I do like to sip a little wine when I quilt. it’s relaxing and tasty.  Don’t let the camera angle fool ya, it’s all good…the wine and the quilt are not really in close proximity to one another.  Especially that red.  ;)

FB_IMG_13815427076871322Over the course of quilting each of these scissors end up on the floor, usually falling when I’m paying attention to the quilting and not what’s under the machine.  The quilt sometimes snuggles under the tray shoving the scissors onto the floor fighting for more room and winning.

Those are just 3 of the many pair (including Paula Reids Batt Snips) that I have around…and yes dear quilters you do see my very favorite BERNINA seam ripper.  I love my BERNINA seam ripper….it’s so fine and get’s into the tiny stitches when I need it.  What isn’t pictured is the needle threader and needle to bury threads.

Oh and you can see the light that is in the bobbin area of the 780.  Yep, that’s one feature I love!!!


CAM00240One of the Friars used to say, “Blessed are the Surprise-able for they shall be surprised”.  As quilters I think we’re among the surprise-able when we work on our quilts no matter how much we plan there is always a level of surprise when the quilt is complete. There is always something that happens along the way that I don’t expect.  Oh wait, the whole process is a bit of a surprise for me because I don’t really plan much along the way.  It’s kind of freeing to work this way.

Every once in a while I need to do a bit more planning….mmm planning is the wrong word.  I need to see what the thread looks like on a quilt to get a sense for the overall effect.  Thankfully this time I have a practice piece to play with thank you Jeanie!  This quilt is special, really, really special.  A bit of background, when Jeanie and I won a first place ribbon for Feather Zone I sent her some Robert Kaufman Radiance – turns out it’s prepared for dying which means that Jeanie can put it through the printer to get whatever color she wants.  And it’s pretty, really pretty.




2 – pink


3 – orangy red


4 – blue (teal)

See, Oops I’m not really giving you enough to see the whole thing. Oh I’m a tease, I know.  I can’t quite help it.  Until I’m a bit closer to being done I don’t want to share the whole quilt.  Jeanie and I emailed and phoned to talk about the next step.  Our arrangement is this: Jeanie comes up with the concept, and pieces and I choose the batting, thread and stitching design.  Along the way we check in with each other to affirm where we’re going.  Sometimes the emails fly back and forth.  This time it’s all about the color.  The quilting will be dense but will be mostly in the background of the quilt.  I’m bubbling away here.  Bubbles, bubbles everywhere.  I love quilting bubbles.  I needed to know how the colors would play on the surface before starting the stitching so here are 3 of the 4 colors I tried out before settling on the blue.  I thought the orangy red would work well, uhm not so much.  I liked the pink but it started overwhelming the dots. So we’re going with. . . the teal blue and the green in 1.  The colors head more toward the background.  Originally planned to use the teal in number 4 for the border however that’s changed and I’m going to use Twist that will fade to the background.

Having a piece to play on has been priceless it means a little less flying blind.  The rest of the quilt remains a bit of a mystery and i like it.  With quilting I like a few surprises.

Happy Quilting!


jb cactiMy sweetie has been on vacation this week so any time that I wasn’t working the time was spent with him.  Outside of quilting this is my very favorite thing in life to do.  We spent time alone and with friends.

Wednesday evening we went into the City to see “Old Hats” with David Shiner and Bill Erwin.  These clowns are funny and I mean that in the very best way. The show is closing soon so if you get a chance go see this!!  The theater has live music prior to the show, a book store and is just lovely!  We first saw them shortly after we moved to NY way back in 1995 in Fool Moon where we got to participate in one of the skits.  So technically I have been in a Broadway play.  Our friend Mary joined us for dinner and the show.  The food…outstanding! simply outstanding.  I ordered the wine backwards with my dinner.  I ordered a red first that went ok with the appetizer and the Sancerre with dinner and it was ok, however if I’d ordered them the other way round it, sublime would be a most apt description.

at julies 009Friday we visited with friends.  Part of the joy in visiting these friends….we were married one month apart from each other.  Jules and I met years and years ago really became friends when we lived in Georgia and have stayed friends over the years.  Jules quilts and it’s been so fun watching her grow as a quilt maker.  My sweetie and I brought dessert with us from Ady’s Cakes in Reading.  We just happened upon this place and oh my goodness are the cupcakes outstanding.  Because 8 people were having dinner together we brought a dozen with us.  If you’re ever in Reading find this place.  Have a cupcake.  Or 2 and share with a friend.
Jules husband is a farmer, mostly dairy (milk) but they have chickens and goats too.  We are the very grateful recipients of some of their fresh eggs.  If you ever have the chance to get fresh eggs, from chickens who are free range…oh my goodness they are just simply outstanding.  Jules made deviled eggs with dinner, so good!!  She can make them any time as far as I’m concerned.

at julies 003The Kaleidoscope above is from a photo of an old, twisted, gnarly cactus at Jules place. It has such character!


sunday fun 005Sunday we went to Garrison Landing to see “Beyond the Fringe”, a series of skits that launched the careers of John Cleese, Eric Idle, Rowan Atkinson and a whole generation of actors involved in comedy.  The whole show was fun.  I have to admit I did snooze during one of the skits, I was trying to pay attention honestly I was.

Garrison Landing is where “Hello Dolly” was filmed.  It’s such a sweet little town with an art gallery and this theater that seats about 70 people.   The town is  located across the Hudson from West Point Military Academy.  sunday fun 002

Being Memorial Day I want to express my deep gratitude for our military and the freedoms we enjoy as a result of their service, bravery and sacrifice!

A trip to this area would not be complete without a trip to the Blue Pig for ice cream or sorbet.

There will be quilterly content very soon.  I’m on a bit of delayed gratification.  As soon as that comes through I will share with you.  Oh and look forward to a joint blog post with Debby Brown, probably in June.

Happy Quilting!




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gray radiance 001Road tripping is always a delight.  Road tripping with 3 friends is priceless.  Our first stop: Ladyfingers Sewing in Oley PA.  Well our first “stop” was Wegmans for provisions, ie chocolate and fruit.  I just missed Gail, however I did not miss one of my very favorite fabric lines, Robert Kaufmans Radiance.  I picked up these beautiful gray pieces.  I have plans, plans I say.  I may pair them with the cheddar orange dupioni silk and I may not.  We’ll just have to see what happens.  The color choices may seem odd for this quilter however I’m planning thread play on each one of the pieces of gray that I have.  I’m not sure of size yet, that will come later.

Arriving at the quilt show I was delighted to see Jan Magee, the Editor of  The Quilt Life.  The Quilt Life is quite refreshing for a quilt magazine and, I think, is leading the way in encouraging quilters to really grow their skills as quilt makers.  I’ve written a couple of times for them and plan to submit again soon.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo with Jan.

AQS Lancaster 002I did get a photo with Alex Anderson.

Alex has been part of my quilting  journey nearly from the beginning.  Now that she and Ricky have The Quilt Show.  We get to see more of her joy and exuberance in personality.  I really love how different The Quilt Show is compared to SQ.

One of the gals brought home a new Bernina 350 Special Edition with the cool skin on the front.  Alex signed it.  How cool is that?

lime and gray yarn 001Before heading over to the show on Saturday we stopped at Kitchen Kettle Village to shop at The Olde Country Store, Zooks and the Village Shops.  My first stop: the Lancaster Yarn Shop.  Oh my!!  This shop is delightful, friendly staff and lots of beautiful yarn.  First of all how can you go wrong when the shopping bags are lime green with metallic purple writing?  So stinkin’ cute!  And then I picked up this lime green and gray kettle dyed yarn.  And this time I have a plan.  A friend showed me a herringbone infinity scarf.  I can’t wait to start stitching this.  I want to finish a couple of other projects first though.

AQS Lancaster 016When I saw this quilt the first time I stopped in my tracks and had to take a photo.

Then saw the artist, Sue Reno.

Sue and I have been friends on facebook for a few years and the last couple of AQS shows we stand on line and chat while waiting to pick up our quilts.  This year was, delightfully, a bit different.  We talked for a bit, went to see her quilt and Sue shared the process a bit with a family admiring her quilt.  The silk used comes from a particular town in India where Sue studied in the 1970’s and again on a recent visit.  The ornamental ginger leaf is dyed using a cyanotype process (a type of  light reactive dye – left in the sun for a period of time for the desired effect).  The family asked great questions about how Sue put the quilt together.

Sue and I talked a bit more about her quilt after the family left.  I really love the groundedness and freedom of this quilt.  It speaks to roots and growth.  At least in my mind.

I am once again grateful to see Tilde hanging in a show.  I have a few more shows to enter Tilde into before shipping her off to Keith as he AQS Lancaster 003has a couple of shows to enter into.  Thank you John Anderson for taking this photo.   John also took the photo of Alex & me.

I was able to share with quilters about the making of this quilt a few different times, which is always a pleasure.

Tilde is one of my favorite quilts to date.

Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero and I did the great quilt hand off with a long conversation at the Superior Threads booth.  I can share that the quilt Jeanie pieces is off the hook gorgeous uses Radiance as well as some commercial batiks.  I know roughly how many hours she has invested in the quilt so far and know I’ll probably meet her in hours quilting.   We won’t know until later when we’ll be able to share the quilt, it just depends on when I get it finished and which show we decide to enter first.   A very special thank you to Gina Reddin who spent a good 20 minutes with us offering a few great suggestions.

Happy Quilting!







It seems lately it’s either I have nothing to say or everything to say.  I am truly grateful that my blog readers bear with me.  As promised in my October Free Motion Quilting Challenge on the SewCalGal site the December Bonus Tutorial is up.  It’s primarily based on the Kaleidoscope Collections Feather Template pack that Jeanie designed “Feather Zone“.  As I machine quilted “Feather Zone” I learned how to stitch feathers in several new ways which I show in the tutorial.  I’ve struggled with stitching out feathers where I get a thinner spine for quite a while and quilting this quilt and for the tutorial gave me the opportunity to learn how to do that in a variety of ways.  I hope you enjoy.

As I mentioned yesterday I met Stephanie of The Fiber Nation.  I have long enjoyed Stephanie’s artwork and her thought process as she shares on The Fiber Nation.  Stephanie interviewed a number of artists in 2010 – you can read the article here.  I remember a couple of my answers being kind of short and flip however I was serious – one of the benefits of working at home as an artist is that I can be flexible it’s also one of the biggest draw backs as sometimes I’ll do other things rather than taking care of my work.  This has been something on my mind and I’m working on figuring it out.  Stephanie had the opportunity to create art with Melanie Testa, check it out.

So back to the lovely Stephanie…she’s a lot of fun.  At the City Quilter we enjoyed the art quilts currently hanging in the gallery, the current artist being Judy Blaydon.  Many of Judy’s quilts remind me of looking at farmland viewed from a plane.  Stephanie and I talked machines and I enjoyed watching Stephanie choose fabric.  There is one I’m going to have to purchase next time I go there.  I’m kinda kicking myself for not getting it yesterday because you know it’ll be gone later.  I purchased Cherrywood 8-step gray.  It’s really pretty and I have a quilt in mind for it that I may actually piece.

in front of the window at Tinsel Trading

in front of the window at Tinsel Trading

We visited Tinsel Trading on 37th street in Manhattan.

Talk about shiny things.

a reminder of my dmil

a reminder of my dmil

I staged the photo on the right and hope to get back to the City and get these for two reasons.  They remind me of my dmil who passed away nearly 2 years ago and I think it’s a good reminder of how to live…with JOY in your heart.  I recognize that living with JOY is not always easy I am finding more and more JOY in the new quilts I’m working on and in the fact that I love what I do as a quilter, I love what I’m privileged to participate in as a quilter.

a day in the city 042

This truly was a cabinet of curiosities.  I must have been here for 15 or 20 minutes touching things.  I want a cabinet like this, just full of things to touch and feel and enjoy and let others have the same pleasure.  I think if I ever have my very own out of the house studio I will work on a cabinet of curiosities for quilters to enjoy.

a day in the city 043

I found my marbles





a day in the city 044

This “Thread-Keeper” caught my attention for sure.  Sewists for years have wanted to keep their thread neat and tidy for generations, it’s an on going chore that many of the thread companies are helping us out with on their end caps.

Happy Quilting!








Jeanie gave me some of this years projects to quilt at the AQS Show in Lancaster.  We had a while before the projects needed to be finished which gave us time to think through what these kaleidoscopes would become.  Jeanie and I decided to change things up a bit and make quilted items along with a quilt or two for this years booth.

These pieces give Jeanie the opportunity to develop new techniques with the Kaleidoscope Creator and the new ideas rambling around in her head.  Leaving the quilting to me means that she can work on the main items without worrying about the finished product.  Our first item is this quilted tote bag.

We used:

1 embroidered kaleidoscope

2 fat quarters

1/2 yard suede for the back and handle

fat quarter of batting – I used bamboo

I used the suede as it’s durable and washable and I had it on hand.


Then we chose to create 2 pillows.

The kaleidoscopes give a great basis for the quilting and to highlight the kaleidoscopes I chose to let the quilting go to the background.  Each one of the kal’s has been quilted along with the surrounding fabric.

I chose the very simple overlapping method – involving no zippers, buttons or closures of any type – just a finished stitched edge.  These are stitched up pretty quickly.


And finally we chose two small quilted pieces.  These can answer that plea “make a quilt for me” on fairly short notice.  Ok there needs to be a little planning and design work, once the kal is printed and embroidered the quilting can go fairly quickly.  Using cross-grain binding makes it even simpler.




The loveliest thing about these projects is that they can be made up quickly, simply and with the colors that complement your kaleidoscope.

I had the opportunity to watch Jeanie demonstrate the Kaleidoscope Creator to a customer at her booth.  With a little practice it’s easy to use and the options are limitless!  Oh my can we have fun with this!

I’ll share too that the embroidery (which Jeanie will explain because I’m clueless!) really complements the kaleidoscopes and add such rich detail to the items!  I’ve given Jeanie the quilting tips and once she gets the projects up on her site feel free to ask me questions about the quilting on the embroidered kaleidoscopes.

I have a three big projects that I’ll start working on as of next week.  Two of the projects will be published so I’ll not be able to share anything until later on.  I have ideas galore rumbling through my head and it’ll be difficult to choose.  I’m headed to the Courthouse Quilters this weekend and am looking forward to two days of teaching.

Happy Quilting!



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