Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Make something new for the New Year

I took a break from all quilting projects this week to make a new knitted hat.  It's been very cold here in Southern California.  I have a hat that my dear friend, Shirley, made for me to cover my bald spot when I had brain surgery in 2016.

It's very soft and warm and I love it so much.   So, with the help from Shirley, I'm making another one.

Even though I didn't finished many quilts this year, there were plenty of exciting things that happened.  I have a pattern soon to be published in the Make Modern magazine, MM32, on January 10, 2020.   One of my quilts got into two shows this year: QuiltCon and AQS Quilt Week in Paducah.  I got to go to QuiltCon in Nashville and this certainly was a highlight for this year.

There are quite a few UFO's, I must admit.  There are also a lot of quilt designs that need to be made into reality.  All of these will pass over to next year.  With all these plans, I'm really looking forward to the new year.  Here are pictures to recap this year's finished projects.

Charity Quilt #1 for the Valley MQG
Charity Quilt #2 for the Valley MQG

Charity quilt #3 for the Valley MQG

A bed quilt for my dear college Professor

This is the last post for this year.  I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.  May the new year fairy bring plenty of sewing time to you all.....

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Max with his new coat!

On Monday, I was checking my favorite blogs and stumbled upon 'Sew Can She' which is a blog by Caroline Critchfield.  While I was looking at her cute sewing projects, I saw a little video window on the right of her blog showing how she makes a pattern for her dog's coat.  I watched it and set out to make one for Max, our rescue dog.  It's been very cold here in Southern California, so of course he needs one.  Here is the link to Caroline's fur baby coat pattern.  I used fleece fabric scraps that I have, and I think he really likes it.

We got Max 5 years ago after we lost our beloved black lab mix Shadow.  We never thought we could love another dog after losing Shadow.  He really spoiled our family because he was so smart, gentle, and a great running companion for my husband.  Two years later we drove pass by an animal shelter and decided to go in.  It was 15 minutes before closing, we didn't plan to adopt that day, I just wanted to look around.  A shelter volunteer introduced us to Sparky, a Boxer/Boston Terrier mix dog.  He was a very mild and timid dog who had been there for over six months.  We were surprised because we didn't see him when we walked around.  She told us that no one saw him because he hid in the darkest corner of his stall.  She also said that he was abused by the previous owners and was left in the backyard all the time.  Needless to say, we adopted him that evening.  Everyone at the shelter was so happy and shouted in joy that Sparky finally got a home.

We renamed him Max a few days later.  This is him first night at our house in his makeshift bed.  Sorry the picture is a little bit blurry. 

The next day, he felt right at home.  Isn't he a handsome boy?

Max has many challenges and he has over come them really well.  Sadly, he doesn't know how to play with toys, people, or with other dogs.  He loves going on walks and kicking dirt more than anything in the world, even more than eating.  Sometimes he even went without us and we had to chase him back.  He has some health problems from years of abuse and neglect and we are dealing with them one by one.  He's such a joy to have around.  We are happy that he decided to stay with us.  We are his pack now!!

* Happy Holidays Everyone *

Link up to From Bolt to Beauty, Can I get a Whoop Whoop,

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

To pin or not to pin

Hello everyone,

I was recently facing with an issue of preparing my quilt top for quilting.  For years, I have been using pins to baste my quilts and recently have been hearing about spray basting.  With my newest quilt, I was tempted to spray baste my quilt but I, once again, I went back to my old way of pin basting.  Fear of getting into new things is getting to me.

I do not have a room exclusively assigned for sewing/crafting yet.  The room is still in a renovating stage.  Right now I'm sewing in my dining room.  For spray baste, I would need to have a very large area with good air ventilation to work which I don't have.  I saw on Pinterest that some quilters use their big design wall to spray baste their quilt.  I only have 47" x 74" movable design wall that leans against one of my walls and I would move it out of the way when not in use.   I also saw some quilters spray baste their quilts on a small table using the rolling method.  I've never tried that, but then again the ventilation problem. And I was worrying about all layers not tightly basted together.  Again, Fear!!

So I pin basted this quilt, as you can see in the first picture, and set out to do the quilting.  I started in the middle of the quilt, the pressure foot pushed the fabric outward as in the second picture.  Even though I paid extra attention to basting and put pins closer together.  I had to move pins and re-smooth the fabric as I moved to the next area.  That caused me anxiety, so much that I couldn't continue for sometime.  

I was quite upset at myself for being like this.  Later I realized that fear stops me from working on my projects.  This is a present for my dear friend and the fear of messing it up and ruining the beautiful top gets to me.  I know my quilting is still lacking and I need to practice more.  I need to do more of it to be better at it.  My husband said, 'So what?  Make a new top if you mess this one up.  Do you know how many paintings Michael Angelo painted white over them and re-did them?'  Once again he's right and he's trying to cheer me on.  

So back to work and try to get rid of this fear.  This is the most beautiful time of the year.  I should be light hearted and enjoying myself with lights and music.  I will not let fear get in the way......

Here is the picture of my Christmas tree.   The family portrait on the mantel was done by my artist daughter in fourth grade.  I found it amid her papers.  It needs to be framed.

Happy Holidays, everyone!
May God bless you and keep you safe!

Link up to Alycia Quilts, Can I get a Whoop Whoop

Thursday, September 26, 2019


This week I got to test a pattern for Darcy Stewart Hunter from Darcydoodlequilts in Canada.  We belong to the same FB group called Quilt Pattern Designers.  She asked for some volunteers so I raised my hands.  :-)  

It's a small wall hanging art quilt and here is the picture of the finished piece.

"Autumn at the Lake". 

It's a really fun quilt to make and I had a great time.  Darcy has an etsy shop at : www.darcydoodlequilts.etsy.com.  She has quite a collection of her wonderful one-of-a-kind works.

Remember the Valley MQG's charity quilt that's hung at QuiltCon?  We donated it to the Special Olympics, through our local quilt shop.  The owner of the shop posted this on FB. 

I'm so glad that the quilt is being used for a very good cause.  We are getting ready for our trip at the end of the month.  I probably will not post anything here because I will not be sewing, therefore I won't have any new project to show.  I'm sure I'll post pictures of our trip on Instagram.

Have a wonderful sewing time!!!!

Link to:
Midweek Makers@QuiltFabrication

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Are we having fun?

Time does fly when you're having fun!!!   So many projects to work on, so many things happened in the past couple months.  Here is the recap.

The first on the list is a house warming gift for a dear friend.  It's a wall hanging quilt, and I must say, I'm still agonizing on how to quilt it.

I'm thinking that I will make at least two pieces and let him choose the one he likes.  I haven't got the second one down quite the way I like it.  As usual, more tweaking to do!!

The next project is my new design.  This was originally designed for a challenge at the VMQG.  You can read about it here.

The block at the bottom in the above picture is the one I made for the challenge.  I'm trying to decide whether to set them on point or just go across the row as shown below. 

The block is 15" square, so I don't need a whole lot of blocks to make a good size quilt.  I think on point setting makes the blocks look more interesting, right?

In between these projects, I also worked on writing a pattern for the Make Modern magazine which will be published in January 2020. When the time comes, I will reveal everything here.  

Writing a pattern is no easy task, even for a very simple quilt!!  I found making quilt diagrams are the most challenging part.  Luckily I have a friend who graciously volunteered to help me.  She used the Illustrations program to make all the diagrams.  They came out so perfect and beautiful.  Thank you so much, Ruth!!  I'm done with the draft and sent everything to them a few days ago.  I'm ahead of the schedule because I will be traveling abroad with my family in October and will have couple weeks before the deadline on Nov. 15th when I get back.  I just want to be safe and hopefully finalize everything by the end of Sept.  People at the magazine are so nice and understanding.  Thanks a bunch, Kristy.

We are going back to Thailand and I'm so excited.   It will be a lot of fun to see everyone back home again.  Even though it's hot and humid there, I can't wait!!

I haven't got any ideas for a quilt for submission to QuiltCon and the dead line is quickly approaching.  With the traveling, I'm not sure I'll have enough time.  What to do, what to make?????  I have to think about it more.....

Last but not least, on July 15, I was delighted to get this from the AQS QuiltWeek.

So last week, I got my quilt ready, just the way they want, and shipped it.  I hope the quilt safely got to where it's supposed to be.  I always get worried, almost the same way when I send my children off to a field trip, a summer camp, etc....

I hope you all have a great day and do something fun.............

Link to:
Midweek Makers@QuiltFabrication, Can I get a Whoop Whoop, Frombolttobeauty, TGIF Friday, and Finished {or Not!} Friday

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Hello Everyone,

It's been awhile and I'm excited to share good news with you all.  Some of you may know that I was co-chair on the MQG Charity Quilt challenge last year for our Valley MQG.  Many hands were involved on this project.  We all were very happy that our charity quilt was beautifully finished and hung in Nashville.  Since I got all the blocks that our guild members made, I set out to use them up by making both a lap size and a baby size charity quilt for our Philanthropy group which I wrote about them hereWith a happy dance and a big smile on my face, I'm very happy to say that the quilts are finally DONE.

I used a Juki TL-98E to quilt this project because my Janome 6500 was in the shop.  I wanted to get the quilts done in time for our local quilt show in May, but then I got really sick in March.  I resumed working on the quilt after I got well but the quilting didn't come out right as shown in the picture below.  The real quilt looked worse than what is shown in the picture here. A friend suggested using steam but the ripples wouldn't go away.  The small area at the bottom right wasn't so bad but the whole thing looked terrible to me.

I picked out all the quilting lines. Yes, all of them!  I brought the quilt to our March guild meeting to find answers to the problem I had.  One of the ladies in the guild gracefully volunteered to finish it for me, which I was very thankful.  She used her long-arm machine and followed the same theme with circle motifs all over but then she had to have a shoulder replacement surgery.  I got the quilt back on the last week of April.  I stared at it on my design wall for a long time and tried to decide how I was going to finish it.  I didn't want to do circles again, fearing that I would have the same problem.  I saw that all the circles were on the right side of the quilt so I decided to do some wavy line and straight line quilting on the colored blocks and straight line quilting on the background as in the pictures below.  This time around, I used my Janome 6500 to do the quilting. 

Details shots of the quilting.

When I was done with the big quilt, I worked on the baby quilt right away.  I decided to conquer my fear and did circle quilting on it.  It's a smaller piece, and with my Janome 6500, the quilting came out perfect.

After the quilting was done, I did machine binding on both quilts to speed up the process.  I'm very pleased with the way the corners turned out as shown in the picture below.  I found excellent tips on machine binding at Julie Cefalu's blog called thecraftyquilter.com.  I want to give a shout out to Julie and thank her for all she has done for the quilting community.  Check out her blog, if you haven't already, for more helpful tips and techniques.  There are a lot of things going on at her website.  The instructions were very clear and straight forward which I followed except that I used left over 3" strips as binding.  I sewed 3/8" seam allowance on the back in order to have a wider finish at the front.

Now that my commitments are done, I can move on to other projects.  I have a few patterns in mind that I want to make.  I'm crossing my fingers and hope for the best that they will come out good......

Have a great quilty time everyone!!!

Link to Sew fresh quilts: letsbeesocial Midweek Makers@QuiltFabrication
Also link to Can I get a Whoop Whoop and Finished {or Not!} Friday

Thursday, April 4, 2019

New blocks and new quilt layout ideas

Last week I made a new block for the PBS Fabrics challenge which I really like.  This week, I've been playing with new quilt layout ideas and want to show some of them to you today.

At first I wanted to use these colors in the block for the challenge.

But then I realized that's not what I had in my drawing book, but I like the colors here.  I took a picture of it and then used the app. called Layout from Instagram; it's free from the App Store.  I got this quilt layout.
Layout #1
I really like the colors and I think it will make a really nice quilt.

To be true to my design, I changed the block to look like this.

I do like the colors in this block too.  The peach and green pair really nicely.  After I used the Layout app to put the block together, I got 2 quilt layouts as follows.
Layout #2
And this.

Layout #3

I do like both of them, but in the layout #2, there is a small problem with the green and peach piece in the circle.  To make this into a quilt, I have to modify a few things.  Layout #3 is the original idea that I had when I designed the block.  

For fun, can you tell me which layout you like and want to see made into a quilt?  I'll put a free tutorial on the one that gets the most votes.

Have a great quilty day!!

Link to: Finished or not Friday

Friday, March 29, 2019

A new block design

While I was at QuiltCon 2019 last month, I went to visit the Paintbrush Studio Fabric booth to have my book signed by Jacquie Gering.  They were handing out solid charm square packs and challenged anyone who wanted one to create a block with those squares.  I took one pack and started to work on them last week.  As usual, I forgot to take picture before I cut up two of the squares.  Here are the charm squares.

At first I wanted to use the orange and yellow but changed my mind.  Here is the finished block.

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out.  It's a good exercise for me.  :-)


Friday, March 1, 2019

Self realization in design

Since the beginning of the new year, I have been trying to design quilt patterns to share.  Some patterns have been on my sketch book for some time so I thought I would give them a try.  I decided to use pre-cut fabric to make it easier.  I picked one design that my friends liked but it didn't come out as nice as I had hoped for.  

I used my scraps to make this block which is 14" x 18" size.  I want to try a big block concept to speed up the process, so that I only need a few blocks to finish a quilt. 

My husband made me laugh again by saying that it reminded him of a robot when he saw the block.  I proceeded to put together a few blocks to make a baby size top.
I don't really like this pattern, so I decided not to make a tutorial to share.  Then I thought; would it look better if I use different fabric or after quilting?  Would you agree that the quilting makes the quilt?  Some tops look much better after being quilted.  Let me know what you think about this design.  Do you think it can be rescued after the quilting?

I went back to work on the left over blocks of the MQG charity quilt challenge.  I had a few blocks that our members made left and didn't want them to go to waste, so I put together 2 more tops.

This one can be either a throw size quilt or a wall hanging quilt.  I already got the batting and backing material.  I will show the finished quilt soon.

This top is a baby quilt.  I think I'll call it the 'Bandit Bot'.  I'll show this one too when I finish with it.

I can say that I prefer minimal improv quilts.  I found myself enjoying designing this kind of quilt more.  Now the question is should I work on the design or style that I like, or try to work on something that others might like?  If I made the designs for a commercial release, I probably would try to please the public.  On the other hand, I'm sure that if the design is good, a lot of people will like it.  

This is all in the process of designing I'm sure we have to go through.  I didn't have this problem when I designed all the projects in my book.  I just did what I like and what looked good to me.  It so happened that the Proposal review panel at the AQS liked them too.  Lucky me!!

Link to 'FinishedornotFriday'

Thursday, February 28, 2019

QuiltCon Review

Hi there!

I went to QuiltCon in Nashville, TN last week.  I had so much fun walking around, seeing and meeting people.  Nothing compares to seeing your quilt hang in a quilt show.  I met so many quilters who shared the feeling.  It literally took me a few days to recuperate from soreness of my body.  My friend and I walked about 2.5 to 3 miles everyday while we were there with our heavy bags.  Unfortunately, it rained a lot from the time our plane touched the ground to the time we left.  We had a lot of fun, nonetheless.

There were so many beautiful quilts in the show and I would like to post some of my favorites here.  I'm sorry I didn't get all the quilt makers' names to go with the quilt pictures.  Some of them I thought I could read from the label next to the quilt, but they are too small to read from the picture.  In any case, I apologize if I got the names wrong.

Top left-In the Michael Miller fabric challenge isle, Top right-the white quilt in the middle is Valley MQG charity quilt

Top left-Geometry Lesson by Jayne Willis. Second row, middle-Found at Low Tide by Juli Smith

Top left-Barn Quilt by Renee Tallman,

Over all, this year QuiltCon was a big success in my book.  Thanks to the MQG and all volunteers who made it a great event.  I know a few volunteers and crew, and I'll tell you, they worked very hard for the show.  Thank You very much, again.