March Madness Duke Basketball Quilt

Back in the summer, when our daughter and son-in-law announced they were expecting their first child in late February, we teased them about the timing of the big event. They are both Duke grads and huge college basketball fans. What’s a better time to be home on maternity leave than during March Madness?!

Here's Ollie, born 2/28/15, just in time for March Madness! One week old and sporting his Duke Blue Devils hat.

Here’s Ollie, born 2/28/15, just in time for March Madness!

In anticipation of Ollie’s arrival, I designed a March Madness basketball quilt. My inspiration was the layout of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium and the project became a lot easier to envision when I discovered that Robert Kaufman makes a basketball court fabric panel. Perfect for the center of the quilt.

I studied the stadium layout and used the seating arrangement for the patchwork pattern around center court. (Originally I thought I could follow the entire layout, but quickly realized I would end up with a king size quilt…a bit too large for a baby quilt.)

As for the color palette of the quilt, of course I would be using lots of Duke blue and white, including a Duke Blue Devils logo print. But I needed to add something else. The discovery of a basketball print led me to include several orange fabrics. Orange dimple dot minky (which looks a little like the textured surface of a basketball) was a natural choice for a soft, cuddly backing fabric.

Here is our little Cameron Crazy grandson on his quilt. He’s just one week old in this picture so I’d say he is definitely one of Duke’s youngest fans.

Ollie's first game day...trying out his Duke basketball quilt for the first time.

Ollie’s first game day…trying out his Duke basketball quilt.

After that picture was taken, I decided the finishing touch on the quilt needed to be an embroidered “Baby K Court” on two sides. (Their last name is Kelley.) I positioned the stitching strategically to mimic the “Coach K Court” wording on the court at Cameron.

20150320 206Let the Madness begin, Little Ollie. Go Blue Devils!

Lisa Call’s Abstraction Class

After considering taking an online art class with Lisa Call for over a year, I finally made the commitment and joined her fall 2014 Abstraction class. I had heard many good things about Lisa’s classes and was anxious to study with her. I am not sure exactly what guided me to take a class in abstract art. Frankly, many types of abstract art do not appeal to me. However, I was looking to find a way to discover more about myself and to learn how to express ideas in my own unique way.

Taking Lisa’s Abstraction class was a real eye-opener for me. I learned about Abstraction art and the various art movements and studied the works of the influential artists of those “isms”. I practiced basic design principles in relationship to the studies done for the class assignments and I discovered how to critique my own work by taking the time to really look at it and write down by thoughts. But most importantly I learned more about myself – what kind of work I like to do, how to take inspirations and translate them into finished work, how to quiet the critic within, my preferred methods of working, and the whispers of a “voice” that will guide me forward.

Initially I worried I would not have enough time to devote to the class work. (“Maybe I should take the class at a later time….This is such a busy time in my life….Can I handle the assignments?….etc.) But I was drawn to sign up and I am so glad I did. There are always excuses to not do something but I realize that taking this class was important to me as I work to find meaning and direction by creating with the skills and techniques I have honed over the years.

Lisa is a very positive, sharing teacher who continually encourages her students to explore and grow. I like how the class was structured with weekly e-mails, assignments, recorded lectures, group and individual calls. It was very interesting to see how each individual approached the assignments and found their way. Because Lisa’s class was online and was 10 weeks long, I felt that I learned more than I would have if I had taken an in-person workshop or retreat. There was time to digest the material and the challenges kept me moving forward and engaged. The group and individual calls provided the personal attention and gave several opportunities to ask questions or request specific feedback.

Here are photos of my completed assignments. It is very interesting to me how my work changed and how much more comfortable I became as I worked through each challenge.

Abstraction Class assignments

Abstraction Class assignments

Now that I have completed the class, I find myself with a new direction that I want to focus on and explore in my work. I am excited to have found a technique that excites me and am anxious to see where “action stitching” may lead.

 

 

My Ribbon Skirt is Featured in Stitch Magazine

Hot off the presses! Check out page 47 of the winter 2014 issue of Stitch Magazine. That’s my ribbon skirt – created with rows and rows of beautiful Renaissance Ribbons, including my favorites from Parson Gray, plus coordinating laces and other trims.

RibbonSkirtPageI sewed all the ribbons and trims onto a base of Parson Gray’s fabric from FreeSpirit. The skirt is fairly simple to make…just one pattern piece for the yoke and five rectangles for the slightly gathered tiers.

Winter 2014 issue of Stitch Magazine

Winter 2014 issue of Stitch Magazine

You can order a copy of the magazine here. Or, look for it on the newsstand or at your favorite sewing or quilting store.

Now you have an idea of what to do with all those precious ribbons and trims you’ve been collecting. Sew them together and make a skirt. Wouldn’t this be cute in a child’s size with lots of bright and colorful ribbons? Think I need to work on that idea!

2014 – A New Year Begins

View from under the deck in Mt. Snow, VT

View from under the deck at Mt. Snow, VT.
Interesting lines & angles.
Inspiration for a quilt?

Another year begins.  A good time to stop and reflect on the year that has passed and the one that is to start.  My resolutions always seem to remain the same – get organized, pair down the “stuff”, move more, eat healthy….

It’s a popular notion to select a special word to define your goals for the upcoming New Year.   I was going to select “Balance” since I kept reminding myself to keep things in balance as I juggled many “interesting” balls during the last few months of 2013.  Looks like “Balance” is a very popular concept – from the theme of this month’s Real Simple magazine to many personal blogs and TV segments.

Since the idea of “Balance” got me through the end of last year, the work/phrase that comes to me now is “New Perspectives – Looking at Life from a New Vantage Point”.  I like the idea of taking a minute to stop and think and see things in a new way.  As our lives change, we are given the opportunity to have that new perspective.  It just takes the confidence to listen to the little voice in your head that encourages you to think “outside the box”. (I hate that phrase!  I see a bunch of words captured inside a square.)

So here’s to New Perspectives in 2014 and the exciting places they may lead me to in my work and personal life.

Turned on its side - still an interesting inspiration for a design.

Turned on its side…still an interesting inspiration for a design.

Happy New Year!

Fall Quilt Market – More Quilts

Here are more of the quilts that caught my eye in the exhibitions area of Fall Quilt Market in Houston.

There were several unique quilts that had openwork sections.  It was fascinating to study them to try and figure out how they were constructed.

One of the quilts in the World of Mother's Dream exhibit by Reiko Kato

One of the quilts in the World of Mother’s Dream exhibit by Reiko Kato

A detail of the Reiko Kato quilt

A detail of the Reiko Kato quilt.

Another Reiki Kato quilt

Another Reiko Kato quilt

Circle Quilt by Aki Sakai

Circle Quilt

Detail of Circle Quilt

Detail of Circle Quilt

Blue Tone Quilt by Aki Sakai

Blue Tone Quilt by Aki Sakai

Detail of Blue Tone Quilt

Detail of Blue Tone Quilt

And there were the quilts that tugged at your heart strings:

Boy & Best Friend by Jennifer Day Photo of her 10 year old son and his dog printed on fabric and enhanced with 58 different thread colors.

Boy & Best Friend by Jennifer Day
Photo of her 10 year old son and his dog printed on fabric and enhanced with 58 different thread colors.

My Best Friend by Nancy Hutchison Scrappy pineapple blocks, created ith fabrics from her late husband's favorite shirts.  Quilting served as therapy following his sudden death.  The backing is an expensive Dallas Cowboy fabric she'd been saving.

My Best Friend by Nancy Hutchison
Scrappy pineapple blocks, created with fabrics from her late husband’s favorite shirts. Quilting served as therapy following his sudden death. The backing is an expensive Dallas Cowboy fabric she’d been saving.

Mayapples by Judith Busby Part of the Healing Quilts in Medicine exhibit.  These quilts were based on pharmaceutical plans and animals being used in cancer treatments today or being researched in studies and trials.

Mayapples by Judith Busby
Part of the Healing Quilts in Medicine exhibit. These quilts are based on pharmaceutical plants or animals being used in cancer treatments today or being researched in studies and trials.

And there were many quilts that made you smile. The What’s for Dinner? exhibit proved that quilters also had a passion for food, along with their passion for fabric.  Each art quilt was an enlarged place setting, complete with place setting, silverware, plate and food.

What's 4 Dinner?

Whats4dinner2Whats4dinner3Whats4dinner4Whats4dinner5

Fall Quilt Market Report……… Part 2 – The Quilts

Quilt Market Exhibits - Peaceful Inspirations and Quiet as a Church

Quilt Market Exhibits – Peaceful Inspiration and Quiet as a Church

One of my favorite things to do at Quilt Market is to spend quality time enjoying the rows & rows of quilts hung for the various quilt competitions and exhibits.  During Festival, those rows are packed with people admiring the quilts and eager to see all the details.  But, during Market, while most attendees and exhibitors are busy conducting the business of quilting, the rows are practically deserted and it is as quiet as a church – so peaceful and inspiring.  Here are some quilts that caught my eye this year.

Exuberance by Wendy Starn - a windmill block cut using the stack & whack method

Exuberance by Wendy Starn – a windmill block cut using the stack & whack method

Fish Scraps by Rahna Summerlin.  Inspired by a vintage fish quilt.  Almost all the fabrics are from surf wear industry ready-to-wear fabric samples & remants

Fish Scraps by Rahna Summerlin. Inspired by a vintage fish quilt. Almost all the fabrics are from surf wear industry ready-to-wear fabric samples & remnants.

Cakes Are Ready by Keiko Maida of Japan.  Just gotta smile when you look at this one.

Cakes Are Ready by Keiko Maida of Japan. Just gotta smile when you look at this one.

Dear Jane, Welcome to the 21st Century by Valerie Mullally of Ireland.  Jane keeps up to date with apps and icons for her block designs.

Dear Jane, Welcome to the 21st Century by Valerie Mullally of Ireland. Jane keeps up-to-date with apps and icons for her block designs.

Recycled Silk Ties - No Necks Needed by Virginia Anderson.  Sewn from silk ties.

Recycled Silk Ties – No Necks Needed by Virginia Anderson. Sewn from silk ties.

Pink Candle, Organic Log Cabin #5 by Jennifer Emry.  The color palette for this quilt was inspired by the Henri Rousseau painting, "The Pink Candle"

Pink Candle, Organic Log Cabin #5 by Jennifer Emry. The color palette for this quilt was inspired by the Henri Rousseau painting, “The Pink Candle”.

Mediterranean Colors and Perfumes by Sonia Bardella of Venice, Italy.  A beautiful mosaic pieced quilt.

Mediterranean Colors and Perfumes by Sonia Bardella of Venice, Italy. A beautiful mosaic pieced quilt.

A detail of Mediterranean Colors & Perfumes.

A detail of Mediterranean Colors & Perfumes.

Irish Crochet Lace by Chieko Shiraishi of Japan.  A combination of crochet and quilting

Irish Crochet Lace by Chieko Shiraishi of Japan. A combination of crochet and quilting.

Looks like there are several more quilts I’d like to share, but I will stop here and do Part 2 of Part 2 shortly.  I guess that would technically make it Fall Quilt Market Report – Part 3.

Fall Quilt Market Report – Part 1

As usual, fall Quilt Market in Houston was a colorful visual treat for all the senses and an overload of sewing/quilting and creative inspirations.  Here are just a few of the booths and products that caught my eye when my camera was close in hand.

Fabric, fabric everywhere!  It seems to me that this show, more than ever, featured so many new designer fabric collections.  I sure am glad I am not a fabric buyer because it would be so difficult to narrow down my favorites.  Here’s a peak at what was new:

Laura Foster Nicholson of LFN Textile and designer for Renaissance Ribbons introduces her first fabric line with Troy.

Laura Foster Nicholson of LFN Textile and designer for Renaissance Ribbons introduces her first fabric line with Troy.  http://lfntextiles.blogspot.com/

Andover Fabric makes a big splash with their Downton Abbey collection - free tote bags at Schoolhouse.

Andover Fabric makes a big splash with their Downton Abbey collection – free tote bags at Schoolhouse.  http://bit.ly/1go3SVm

Amy Butler Hapi collection inspired by her travels to Egypt.

Amy Butler Hapi collection inspired by her travels to Egypt.  http://bit.ly/1bTTbUM

Heather Bailey's award winning booth.

Heather Bailey’s award winning booth.

How nice to meet Denyse Schmidt (no relation!) and see her Ansonia collection and Modern Solids

How nice to meet Denyse Schmidt (no relation!) and see her Ansonia collection and Modern Solids. http://bit.ly/19whitQ

Anna Maria Horner's beautiful Dowry collection.  Anna Maria just had her 6th child...how does she do it all?!

Anna Maria Horner’s beautiful Dowry collection. Anna Maria just had her 6th child…how does she do it all?!

Of course there were lots of other things besides fabric to get excited about.  A couple of my favorite new products:

Nathan Wiedenmann, creator of the Stella EDGE light.  Santa...I need this!

Nathan Wiedenmann, creator of the Stella EDGE light.  Santa…I need this!  http://stellalighting.com/

Terial magic spray that transforms fabric into paper like sheets.  Makes incredible soft flowers that can be molded and formed.  Exciting what can be done with it and the Silhouette Cameo.  More things to add to Santa's list.

Terial magic spray that transforms fabric into paper like sheets. Makes incredible soft flowers that can be molded and formed. Exciting what can be done with it and the Silhouette Cameo. More things to add to Santa’s list.

And of course there are always the quilts!

Love the graphic look of this bicycle quilt.  Sorry I didn't write down the company who featured it in their booth.

Love the graphic look of this bicycle quilt. Sorry I didn’t write down the company who featured it in their booth.

How cute is this Dena Designs ruffle chevron quilt?

How cute is this Dena Designs ruffle chevron quilt?

A happy BOM colory therapy quilt program from Westminster Fibers.  Inspired by Michele Bernhardt's book Colorstrology: What Your Birthday Color Says About You.  My color is nectarine...what does that say?  I like to eat them!

A happy BOM color therapy quilt program from Westminster Fibers. Inspired by Michele Bernhardt’s book Colorstrology: What Your Birthday Color Says About You. My color is nectarine…what does that say? I like to eat them!  http://amzn.to/18UhKhp

And the booth that I thought was really unique:

Green Bee Design & Patterns.  Love how they showed their patterns in muslin with the design lines in black.  You can imagine them in just about any fabric.

Green Bee Design & Patterns. Love how they showed their patterns in muslin with the design lines in black. You can imagine them in just about any fabric.  http://greenbeepatterns.com/

Here I am after my book signing.  Thank you to Fabric Editions for helping me promote Precut Patchwork Party.  I signed 20 books in 20 minutes–whee!  http://amzn.to/HDkxWHBookSigning

In Part 2, I’ll show you quilts from the exhibitions area.