That Creative Spark Still Burns

It seems quilting isn’t really done with me, or perhaps I’ve just figured out that I’m not done with quilting. Maybe it just takes more time than you’d believe to get past total burnout. Remember that ambivalence? Well, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last three and more years trying to answer the question “What do I want to do now?” I’m lucky that I have the luxury to even consider that, I know.

I’ve thought about (and tried) a lot of different things that I could pursue instead of quilting and textile art: drawing, mixed media art, programming, web design, web and mobile app creation, photography, and so on. It all goes back to how much resources I’d need to devote to be able to accomplish what I’d want to at the level I’d want to be at, and it’s just too much time, effort, and in some cases money, to invest in something that doesn’t speak to me as clearly and as loudly as quilting and textile art always has.

To state it another way, and this is a bit more brutal: I think I’m just too lazy to invest the time and energy it would take to be as good at any of that other stuff as I am at quilting. Yep, I can just admit that I’m lazy. Quilting is still a comfort zone as well. Or it is again…or something. Continue reading That Creative Spark Still Burns


Horn MultiLift 6000: 252 Pounds of Pure Quilting Bliss

For many years–okay, for all the years that I’ve been quilting–I’ve wished for a table that was specially made for sewing machines, where my machine would sit down in the table so that the machine bed was level with the table top. I think this can be so much better for machine quilting, though obviously, I’ve been getting along just fine without this table for 20 years! Still, most of the reason that I didn’t ever invest in such a table was because we were living in Germany, and that kind of furniture wasn’t all that readily available there, and what there was seemed a lot more expensive than what you could get here in the US at the time.

As soon as I was partially settled in the new house though, I started thinking about that table, and looking around to see what was available these days. Of course, the first thing I found that I was really excited about was a bit bittersweet. Continue reading Horn MultiLift 6000: 252 Pounds of Pure Quilting Bliss

Quilt Marking Roundup: Stitching Through Paper

I’m currently teaching Machine Quilting—Master the Basics online at, and one of my students said that the hardest thing was to figure out how to transfer the quilting design to the quilt. I really can’t disagree with that! Quilt marking methods are many and varied as are the tools, and it’s different for every single quilt you make, so it’s not like you can just figure it out once and run with it. It’s a “figure it out” process over and over and over again.

Over the years, I’ve used many different methods, so I thought I’d share some of them here over the course of the next few posts. I can’t tell you how many parts this will have, as I’m just going to start with a couple of the methods I used way back when, and work my way through my bag of techniques and tools. Some of what I’ll share I haven’t used recently for one reason or another, but that’s not to say I won’t ever use a particular technique again, and of course someone else might find it useful.

When I was fairly new to quilting, my goal was to not actually mark on the quilt at all if it could be avoided since I was petrified that the marks wouldn’t wash out, so I spent a great deal of time figuring out how to get the quilting pattern on to the quilt without ever touching an actual marker to the fabric. Continue reading Quilt Marking Roundup: Stitching Through Paper

In the Groove, Sort of…

Last Sunday, I did a little dusting and cleaning up in the studio, and then decided that what I really wanted to do (or needed to do, as the case may be) was some free motion machine quilting. Free motion quilting is something that I find pretty relaxing actually; I can just get in the machine quilting groove and I can let my mind wander a bit while I do it. Seemed like the perfect thing to do since I still couldn’t figure out what I needed to be doing and get back into the groove with everything else after returning from the States.

I purchased a couple of wonderful preprinted blocks for free motion quilting from The Quilting Connection in their booth at the Des Moines AQS Quilt Expo. Their newest blocks are printed on lovely batik fabrics, instead of the more common, plain ivory and white fabrics (though I did get one in ivory as well). I’m contemplating using one of these preprints as a kit for my machine quilting class, so of course I wanted to test it out!

Continue reading In the Groove, Sort of…

Machine Quilting–Master the Basics Online Workshop

Machine Quilting--Master the Basics

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be teaching Machine Quilting—Master the Basics at Quilt Campus starting this Saturday! This is a great beginning machine quilting workshop that you can take online from your own sewing studio. The workshop is presented in four lessons over four weeks, with plenty of opportunities for discussion and feedback with your fellow students and me in the online forum! See more about the workshop on the Workshops page, and then visit the registration page at Quilt Campus to sign up now!

Stay tuned for a post filled with info and FUN about the Des Moines AQS Quilt Expo! 🙂

Marking Quilting Designs on Dark Fabrics with a Lightbox

Marking quilting designs to dark fabric got you down? Don’t despair! Check out this tutorial for instructions and tips to use a light box to trace designs on your fabric, even if your fabric is black.

Transferring quilting designs is quite possibly the bane of my existence. It’s not my least-favorite part of quilting (that would have to be basting!), but it runs a very close second. It’s a different combination of issues and tools for every quilt you make. During my classes, I hear a lot of questions about the best way to mark quilt designs, what marker to use, how to do it, and the list goes on. Everybody wants a quick answer, but there really isn’t one. There is no “one true way” that works best for every quilt or every design when it comes to quilt marking. I’ve tried a few different methods to mark designs on black or dark fabrics when I didn’t have a stencil or the designs were too complex to make one, and so far, I like this one best.

The step-by-step process: Continue reading Marking Quilting Designs on Dark Fabrics with a Lightbox