2018 Houston’s International Quilt Festival


Houston’s 2018 International Quilt Show is in full swing with exhibitions of hundreds of quilts and vendor booths. My little sister, Gretchen, and I made our trek to Houston’s convention center on Wednesday for Preview Night. We arrived around 4 pm and camped out on the second floor visiting with friends and eating a quick bite until the doors opened. Peering through the “porthole,” that overlooked the first floor vendor area, we looked down at all the colorful booths.

Each year I tell myself I will take lots of more photos and then, what happens, I wander down the aisles and just drool. I’m lucky to have taken any photos … the result … a small collection of the many vendors and a smattering of quilts on exhibit.

Subtle things I noticed this year … instead of selling fat quarters … many vendors opted for one-half yard cuts and fabric bundles. I counted only a few actually selling individual fat quarters. Interesting. I saw lots more collage quilting patterns and entire booths devoted to collage. I also saw lots more “quilt celebrities.” I only got the courage to ask one for a “together photo.” Emily from Collage Quilter is as lovely in person as she is in her videos. I also saw Kaffe Fassett and Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

The quilt festival lasts until this Sunday. Be there or be square … or a fat quarter … whatever.

New collage quilters – fusing fabric in 5 easy steps

I think fusing the fabric was my main issue with starting my collage quilt. Isn’t that silly? I had purchased a collage pattern the year before at Quilt Festival and then it just sat on the shelf. Every now and then I would pull it out and read all the directions. Then shove it into the plastic sleeve and move on to another project. Why was I letting the very first step in the process stand in my way of creating my first collage quilt? I had fused fabric before, but not very often … and there are different fusing products on the market. Also, I wasn’t familiar with the recommended Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible.

Supplies needed for fusing include: Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible, lots of fabric, Applique Pressing Sheet (my sheet is 13 inches by 17 inches), ironing surface and iron.

A few comments about Lite Steam-A-Seam 2. The fusible comes in a variety of widths and lengths and can be purchased online, in quilt and hobby shops. If purchased from a quilt/hobby shop you will find it on a bolt. I don’t recall the width but four or five yards is a nice amount for a large collage quilt. Since I intend to make lots of collage quilts, I purchased a 40-yard box. The fusible is 12-inches wide and comes in a large roll. This product has paper on both sides which works great for collage quilts. So lets start!

1. Cut your fabric and fusible in manageable lengths – The fusible is very sticky (when one side of the paper is removed) and can be difficult to handle (all that stickiness can fold up on you in a heartbeat) if you work with too large piece a piece. The Quilter’s Cut ‘n Press surface I use to iron and fuse my fabric on has a 12-inch by 18-inch surface. It is the perfect size for pressing collage fabric. But also great for fusing the sticky fusible to my fabric. Just know you can also cut your fabric in lots of small chunks and place on the fusible!

2. Iron all the fabric pieces you are wanting to use in your collage quilt – After cutting your fabric in manageable lengths, iron a stack that you will be fusing and set aside. You can save lots of time by using the efficient assembly-line method.

3. Cut lengths of fusible in manageable lengths – Cut the number of your lengths of fusible to match your fabric lengths and set aside. You will notice the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 has paper on both sides. Don’t take your fusible apart yet!

4. Getting ready to fuse – Lay one sheet of fusible on your ironing surface. Peel off the top paper layer and discard this paper sheet. What you have left on your ironing surface is the sticky side of your fusible laying up … and the remaining paper layer down … against the ironing surface. Carefully lay one piece of your ironed fabric (right side up) on the sticky side of the fusible smoothing the fabric nice and flat.

5. Fusing your fabric – Take your Applique Pressing Sheet and cover the fabric/fusible. Slide your hot iron (cotton setting) quickly over the entire fabric/fusible. That is all it takes! The pressing sheet ensures the fusible will not get on your hot iron. Should a little fusible adhere to your pressing sheet it is easy to peel off and discard.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns! I am working on a Christmas version of Moo-Shu and another Christmas collage pattern … to be announced!

And isn’t my grandson, Jacob, adorable? It cost me a quarter to get him to model for his photo! Totally worth it!

New collage quilters … a lesson in looking at fabric motifs!


Quilters new to collage quilting look at a photo of a finished collage quilt and are sometimes confused! Just how did all that fabric make it onto the line drawing pattern? I thought it would be fun to take away the mystery. Believe me … you will never look at a piece of fabric in quite the same way ever again!

When you look closely at Moo-Shu, my panda art quilt, you will notice lots of light-colored flower fabric in her face and body. When planning the quilt, I asked myself … how do I make Moo-Shu’s face and body look like white fur? The answer … why with white orchids of course!

I actually used three colorways of the same fabric line from the Spring 2018 Kaffe Collective. From left to right in the first photograph, I used Kaffe’s Black Orchids, Cool Poppy Garden and Natural Orchids. The fabric actually comes in five colorways and all are quite beautiful. The coloring of the orchid petals in the different colorways have different shades of gray, and also beige, which added another color dimension to Moo-Shu’s “fur.”

After fusing larger pieces of these fabrics which contain all kinds of colorful flowers, I basically cut away the background around the flowers with my Karen Kay Buckley scissors (baby blue handles). I left some of the flowers large to be cut smaller later, if needed. Don’t be concerned when you get to the edge of the fabric and you don’t have a whole flower to cut away. I use smaller parts of flowers all the time to fill in a spot on the line drawing pattern. I saved all the colorful cut motifs that were not “white” orchids to be used on Moo-Shu … or for a future project.

I used a pansy fabric for parts of the face between Moo-Shu’s eyes down to her nose and mouth. There was lots of fussy-cutting since I was interested in just the pansies with purple around the edges. Again, I saved the other pansy motifs in other colors for future projects.

Once you understand the concept of cutting away the background on a piece of fabric, the possibilities are endless! Not only flowers … but novelty fabrics are so fun to cut up and tuck in a collage quilt. Motifs like cans of tuna, fish, butterflies, birds are often not noticed when standing back from a collage quilt. But look at all the fun things you can see up close. My grandkids, Jacob and Ben, had so much fun trying to find all the different things tucked into Moo-Shu.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns!

Moo-Shu’s seven tips to finish your collage quilt

The whole collage quilting process is so much fun! Choosing fabric for your collage, fusing, cutting out the motifs and placing them on your Pattern Ease foundation. But now you have to turn it into an art quilt!

1. Cutting out Moo-Shu’s outline – You have a decision to make. Cut along the marked outer line of your pattern … let a design motif spill over or cut along the motif line. I do both depending on the look I want to achieve. Look on the back side of your fused design and decide!

2. Moo-Shu’s Background fabric – Audition your background fabrics for Moo-Shu. I chose two bright green batiks. Ultimately, I liked the look of the flatter green batik for Moo-Shu’s background … and used the wilder bright green batik for the backing.

3. Steam it! – I have had two quilts machine-quilted and have heard from my awesome longarm lady at A Needle and Thread that the fusing sometimes gums up the needle slowing down progress! I have read many online comments that suggest giving Moo-Shu a great steam. Apparently, this makes machine quilting easier. I will let you know if it helps on the next quilt!

4. Machine quilting needles – Since I send my quilts out to be machine-quilted, I do not live in that world. For those that machine-quilt at home (not longarm), several kinds of needles have been recommended at various online sites: Madeira Embroidery Anti-Glue needles, Schmetz Embroidery Gold, Schmetz Super Non-Stick size 4. I have no knowledge if these needles could be used on longarm machines. I welcome your suggestions!

5. Quilting Moo-Shu ideas – There are so many ways to quilt Moo-Shu. I chose to have Moo-Shu custom-quilted around various motifs to make them puff out. Moo-Shu’s outside edge is also outlined. The idea is to catch as many of the free edges as possible so your quilt will last a very long time. This is an art quilt and meant to be hung on a wall. The background has an all-over design. I have seen collage quilts quilted with very close parallel lines and also cross-hatched. It is up to you!

6. Moo-Shu’s Quilt label – My lovely friend, Sally, machine embroidered Moo-Shu’s quilt label. Labeling a quilt is important. My awesome son-in-law, Chad, has a quilt handed down to him from a relative that is priceless … but no label. So … give your Panda quilt a name, put your name on it, and who quilted it. Don’t forget your town/state and the year finished. Fifty years from now someone is going to want to know a little of the story behind your quilt.

7. Moo-Shu Hanging sleeve – Moo-Shu is going to hang in my sewing room just as soon as I get the quilt label finished and the hanging sleeve on. I have five quilts hanging at all times in my house, rotating them for the seasons, and no two are hung the same. Blame that on my engineering husband. He is so creative. But each quilt has the same type of easy hanging sleeve made from fabric the width of the quilt and around 9 or 10 inches in length. Fold the fabric, finishing the ends, make a tube, turn inside out and hand-stitch to the upper back of your quilt.

I hope you found these tips helpful!

Interested in purchasing Moo-Shu’s collage quilt pattern? My first pattern is for sale on Etsy.

Moo-Shu, my collage art quilt panda

Yesterday, figuratively speaking, I jumped off a cliff and released my first collage art quilt pattern. Yep … I have my own Etsy shop! Moo-Shu comes with her own full-size pattern, supply list and detailed instructions. The link is provided, or you can head over to my “Home” page, and click on the “Etsy” button.

Over the past forty year, I’ve done lots of different types of quilting. I love it all! It has always amazed me how fabric can be manipulated and turned on its head to create a personal story. Every quilt is so unique … and no two quilts are alike.

It wasn’t until I took a collage quilting class earlier this year, that I found my joy. Everyone in the class was making a different Laura Heine collage quilt. I was the only making Lulu, the elephant. It was so fun creating my own interpretation of the quilt. I think my husband thought I was a little nuts when I bolted through the door after the first class day. The emotion expressed was “excited” and it was an understatement. He encouraged me to create my own pattern and Moo-Shu is the result. It took me a couple of months to create a prototype quilt. I wanted it to be perfect.

The basic premise of collage art quilts is fusing small amounts (fat quarter size or smaller) of cotton fabric, cutting out the motifs you want to highlight in your quilt, and pinning them on a background (your line drawing). After you like the way your collage looks, the paper fusible backing is removed on each motif and placed back on the background. A final fuse with an iron and you are onto your next step. Next week I will write about that!

Notice the word “sewing machine” has not been mentioned. There is no sewing involved until you get to the machine quilting stage.

Let me know what you think about Moo-Shu! I am also pondering my next collage pattern. Any thoughts?

The Firefly Quilt – part three


Progress on The Firefly Quilt for MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project came in the form of completing all the wings sections and sewing the head section to the wing section. Makin’ progress.

Also started on the abdomen sections of the firefly. I just love the three horizontal color choices. With fabric color names like eggshell, wasabi (my favorite) and pickle, how could you go wrong? Fabric Bubb did an excellent job in putting these fabrics together in a kit. After this section is completed, I will be able to sew the three sections together and actually have a bunch of fireflies on my cutting table.

The Firefly Quilt – part two


Progress on The Firefly Quilt, designed by Pen and Paper Patterns, is in the can! I’ve got the antennae for 16 blocks completed, the head … and the wings are coming together nicely! Chain piecing certainly has helped make this quilt come together fast.

Did I mention last week this is going to be a very large quilt? At least for me … it will be. The finished quilt dimensions will measure 72-1/2″ by 72-1/2″. If I was keeping this one for myself, I would probably make it with nine blocks and hang it on one of my walls when it was all finished. I would take three of the leftover firefly blocks and make a couple of adorable table runners. But since it is for charity, I decided to go big! Hope it makes lots of money for MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project!

Stay tuned for progress report next week!

The Firefly Quilt for MDA’s Ovarian Quilt Project


In addition to purchasing lots of fabric at last year’s International Quilt Festival, my sister, Gretchen, and I also stopped by M.D. Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project booth. The group has a quilt auction every two years. The proceeds from the auction go to Ovarian Cancer research, screening and awareness. In 2017, over $52,000 was raised from the online auction. They receive quilts from all over the United States and also internationally.

Gretchen and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor our sister, Mary, who died in 2017, after being diagnosed seven months earlier with Ovarian Cancer. She was only 62 years old. We have kicked around a few quilt design ideas that would honor her memory. But nothing really stuck. When I saw The Firefly Quilt, and shared it with Gretchen, we knew this was the one. Mary loved nature. To us … it seems fitting that a firefly, actually 16 of them on the quilt, would help keep her memory lit … and also help to raise money for Ovarian Cancer research.

The Firefly Quilt comes with a “bee” block option which is adorable. The quilt is designed by Pen and Paper Patterns. We loved the colors on the front of the pattern and purchased a kit from Fabric Bubb with that colorway. Sewtopia also has kits.

So far, Mary’s quilt for MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project is cut out and all the fireflies have antennas! I will post our firefly quilt progress next week!

Nashville – museums and more food


I’m going to treat this post like one very long day in Nashville and my final installment of our whirlwind trip from May! Full of food, museums, shopping and fun! I can’t believe Katie and I saw so much in three short days!

Transportation hints – Oh, we did lots of walkin’! In fact, we surpassed Katie’s Fitbit 10,000 steps goal every day. We also utilized Uber and the Old Trolley Tour to get around. We loved the trolley tour. Their “hop on and off” policy is awesome! With 15 stops we would have missed Marathon Motors and the Farmer’s Market if we wouldn’t have partaken of that policy. The trolley stops also include the Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame, Belmont Mansion and the Johnny Cash Museum.

Museums – By far my favorite was the Johnny Cash Museum! Small, intimate, comprehensive … and Johnny is singing softly from the rafters throughout your visit. Visitors take a visit down memory lane learning about his childhood, the prison shows, Johnny through the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s decades. Several areas include short videos. I learned so much about his life. And they have a great gift shop and cafe. Open 7 days a week from 9 am to 6 pm. General admission is $19.95. And be sure and cross the street to the Goo Goo Candy Store. Open since 1912, Katie and I snagged a couple of Goo Goo Peanut Butter Clusters for the plane ride home!

The Country Music Hall of Fame was a bit overwhelming. So much to see! General admission is $25.95 and they are open 9 am to 5 pm. Two floors include permanent and featured special exhibitions like “Outlaws and Armadillos” with Willie and Waylon. Elvis’ “solid gold” Cadillac was there and made my heart go pitter-pat! So was Taylor Swift’s sparkly guitar and an outfit Shania Twain made famous in a video! It was also interesting walking through the exhibits with Katie. Because of our mother/daughter age difference, I knew artists she didn’t know and vice versa. The museum also includes several dining options and huge gift store. Don’t miss the Hall of Fame rotunda which recognizes each Hall of Fame member.

Shopping, etc. – Uber transported us to the 12th South area of Nashville where we discovered Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s cute-as-a-button trendy shop. We also shopped on a big white bus pop-up establishment called Buck Mason which sells men’s quality casual clothes. The bus is parked in White’s Mercantile’s parking lot, a lovely shop. The entire street is filled with interesting shopping and eating places.

We also got off our trolley a couple of times. Once at the Farmer’s Market which houses a garden center, extensive farmer’s market, shopping and restaurants. We also hopped off at Marathon Motors, a group of old warehouses that used to house an old auto factory dating back to 1910 through 1914. The complex includes artifacts from the old car factory … you can smell the grease … as well as shopping, ice cream shop, a comedy club and the official American Picker’s store.

Lastly … eating – Edley’s Bar-B-Que is also located in the trendy 12th South area of Nashville. Our Uber driver told us it was VERY GOOD Bar-B-Que and we were impressed by the line out the door and our plate! Mr. Uber told us to save room for dessert so later we made it down to Five Daughter’s Bakery famous for the 100-layer donut. It was delish.

There was also a memorable brunch at The Mockingbird. Instead of a traditional glass, my bar drink come in a cute plastic bag. For our last dinner, we went to Germantown to Henrietta Red, an oyster and raw fish bar with lots of other small tasty plates. Their desserts were yummy and unique! Since it is our favorite menu course … we got two desserts and shared … because that is how we roll!

Highly recommend getting lost … and found … in Nashville.

Quilter’s Patch – the finished quilt!


My Quilter’s Patch block-of-the-month quilt is back from being custom quilted. Now that the binding and the patch on the back is sewn on, I can finally blog about it. Thanks to Sally for using her awesome embroidery skills for the patch on the back!

Cindy Gravely did a FANATASTIC JOB custom quilting this quilt! When I dropped off the quilt top and backing several months back, I also included the Quilter’s Patch book, so Cindy would have an idea of the way the quilt could look. With so much going on in this quilt, I let Cindy just go for it! I am so happy with the results.

A little history … the quilt was designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. The Fat Quarter Shop provided the monthly kits for sale and distribution in 2017. This is not a beginner quilt. I even had a love/hate relationship with some of the blocks … as in the greenhouse roof tiles. Those clamshell tiles nearly did me in. Then there was the bachelor button block. I never could get the blooms to lie flat. But Edyta Sitar’s directions were amazing. Even if you have never worked with hexagons (dahlia block), the directions were so clear, it gave me all the encouragement I needed to be successful.

The quilt as presented in book is quite large quilt … 75″ by 78″ with wide borders. I made a few changes in block order and left off the wide borders. Instead, I added a simple four-inch border which made the quilt more manageable for me to hang. I also left off the little bird on the greenhouse. No reason … just because.