First Floor

firstfloorI didn’t have any time to sew yesterday. Didn’t have high hopes for today. I think the rain worked in my favor. I was able to get the first floor finished and sewn to the fence. I’m not happy with the proportions right now. I may cut a few inches off the fence. Going to wait till I have the second floor on. I like how this side of the quilt tells a narrative that goes with the other side. I might title this quilt, “A Story”.


Lesliebakc2Leslieback3  leslieback1

I am obsessed with this quilt. I might like the back even more than the front. Maybe one day I will make a single sided quilt. Not sure why I keep making my quilts double sided.  I still have plenty of time for mistakes, but right now, I’m really into it. I’ve completed the white picket fence, and about ¾ of the first floor of the house. I will talk about it in more detail as I complete the quilt.



I spent most of last night quilting in my dreams. I would love to have accomplished so much in reality. Before I went off into la-la land, I was trying to figure out the backside of the quilt that I am working on. I have a photo of my friend’s house, and wanted to use the photo as a pattern for the back. I was doing a rough sketch so I could figure out the proportions.

Besides sewing in my sleep, I also spent time figuring out fabric at a quilt shop. In the dream, I couldn’t figure out what fabrics to use. I had a couple figured out, but couldn’t figure out the rest. I kept picking up bolts of fabric, and changing my mind. Nothing was working.

When I woke up, I felt a need to go to a quilt shop. As soon as work was over I went shopping. I now have most of the fabric I need. I was too tired this evening to do much sewing. I was able to get some cutting/prep work finished. I have most of my unknowns resolved, and a few days coming up with time to make real progress.

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way of Quilting

In Progress Quilt Top

Last week, I felt desperate to sew, but every day passed without a stitch. Friday I was leaving for the weekend to visit my mother-in-law and father-in-law. I brought my sewing machine. When we visit, I usually bring something to work on, but I leave my machine at home. The weekend, I had to quilt. I had plenty of time to sew. I feel peaceful.

The top is getting close. I have plans for appliqué vines, leaves, and flowers that will grow up into the yellow panel. I like it the way it is, but it’s about 12” short on the width. I need to think about how I will handle the extra inches.

This quilt is for my friend Leslie, her husband Jonathan, and their son Abraham. I don’t usually share pictures of my quilts till they are finished, but I’m excited for Leslie to see. When I visit them, I feel the love they have for each other, and for their home.

My Favorite Quilt Books


After finishing a quilt, I start pulling books off the bookshelf. There are two favorites, American Quilts; The Democratic Art, 1780-2007, by Robert Shaw, and my The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. I have looked at these books page by page, over and over again. I went to school for art. I am well aware of the connection between making art and art history. The processes of quilting, makes me feel close to the past. This is something I never felt with other mediums I have worked with. I have often felt like I was born in the wrong time period. Quilting draws me even closer to a kinship with centuries gone. I love modern quilts, but because of these feelings, traditional quilt patterns are equally important to me.

For the quilt I am currently working on, I was inspired by two quilts that were in the American Quilts; The Deomcratic Art, 1780-2007.   However, my newest book has changed the direction of the quilt. Last weekend I went to the American Quilter’s Society QuiltWeek in Chattanooga. There were so many inspiring quilts to look, but the ones that truly blew my mind were the quilts from Caohagan. There was a section of a room dedicated to these quilts. I felt like I was looking at the inside of my mind. I was drawn to all the bright colors, and patterns of joy. I loved the narrative they all told together, and individually. They had a feeling of freedom and playfulness.

I couldn’t afford a quilt, but was so happy to be able to purchase the last book they had left, (1996-2009) Caohagan Quilts; A Small Miracle of a Southern Island, by Junko Yoshikawa. This book is now in my top three favorite quilting books.

My quilt, that I am currently working on, was going to be a medallion quilt. Now that I have discovered the quilts from Caohagan, It’s going to be a little like a medallion quilt with a little appliqué. It might include a Tennessee landscape, and some appliquéd kittens.

Rena’s Quilt


I moved from Washington to Tennessee years back. I love Tennessee, but I wish I could be closer to family and my longtime friends. I really wish I could be closer to my mom. My mom has a friend named Bob. He has become a part of our family. One day he got sick and had to go to the hospital. He was taken to a hospital in area that my mom was not familiar with. My friend Rena took my mom to the hospital. It was so nice of her to do that. I immediately started making her a quilt.

This has been the hardest quilt for me to make. It took me forever to figure it out. I wanted to make a Star of Bethlehem quilt. It didn’t take me long to figure out I had the wrong diamond shape. Then I thought I would work with stars that would work with what I had, but I didn’t like how that was looking. I cut it all apart and started doing a log cabin quilt, but that started going south. It started to buckle in the middle, and wouldn’t lay flat. I cut that apart, and finally it started to come together.

Rena practices meditation. She has been following the path of Eastern Philosophy. I wanted the quilt to have an Eastern feel to it. With the front and the back I tried to incorporate all the chakra colors. I couldn’t figure out how to get purple in it. Purple was my final issue. Forgoing purple was the only option to making it work.

The Fabric Studio, here in Nashville, had a modern quilt show last night. It was my first quilt in a show. It’s not my most modern quilt, but the only one I haven’t given away yet. It was good for me to get out, and involved. I loved the other quilts. There seemed to be an interesting group of ladies there. Unfortunately, my husband was with me. He immediately whispered in my ear, “I’m the only man here.” That was my clue we wouldn’t be staying long. He was a good sport, but if there is a next time, it might be best if I take a gal pal.


Shelby’s Quilt


My Husband is an abstract painter. He has piles of completed sketchbooks. Not all of his ideas end up on canvas. A friend saw a modern quilt online, and asked me if I could make something like it. Thinking back on it, I’m pretty sure it was really a duvet cover. It reminded me of my husband’s paintings. We decided to make it a collaboration quilt. My husband gave her some color copies of one of his sketches. She was to manipulate it as she wished. Then, I would make a quilt from that design.

I know if I continue to use my husband’s sketches, I could have a fantastic body of work. As much as I love how unusual this quilt it, and the challenge it gave me, I don’t think I could limit myself to working like this. I love this quilt. I also have a fondness for traditional quilts. I enjoy working in a more intuitive way. There is something about growing a quilt intuitively that doesn’t happen when I follow a predetermined design. I’m not done using his sketches. He has a few more that I see in fabric, but I wont always work this way.

This quilt was a bit of game changer for me. It has helped build my confidence. I was already finding my way into the world of quilting, but this made me feel like I can now be a called a quilter. It’s put ideas in my head about maybe one day selling a quilt. It inspired me to pursue showing. I already gave this quilt away, but this Saturday, I will have another quilt in a show at the Fabric Studio.  

Here is the link to the Fabric Studio:

This is a link to my husbands work:


Aleister’s Quilt


Aleister’s Quilt

My second baby quilt belongs to Aleister. I was looking through my books at a tree of life qiults. I have never appliquéd anything before. The quilts looked so intimidating.

We have a painting in our kitchen of two birds sitting on two branches. It’s a simple image. My husband found it in an old barn. The artist is unknown.

I put the idea of the tree of life, and the bird painting together for my appliqué. I knew I had to simplify things or it would turn into a disaster. I started researching online how to appliqué. I went with the turned edge method. It was the only method that made sense to me, or maybe I should say, felt right to me.

I had the background fabric and the fabric for the birds. My sister-in-law gave me the fabric for the branches. The branch fabric made it. It was perfect. After I finished the centerpiece, I took it to the Quilter’s Attic for border fabric. I didn’t want to show it to gals who were working there. The gals started to help me. They got a hold of work and spread it out on the counter. They were surprised it was my first appliqué. I had a thought it was pretty good, but they confirmed it for me. They also did a great job finding the fabric for the boarder.

My husband’s granny passed away, and I inherited several quilt tops. I used one of them for the back.

For the quilting, I used a swirling free motion pattern. I was thinking it would look like wind blowing around the tree branches.


Meret’s Quilt


There is a baby girl named Meret. When I first heard about her, she was still baking in her momma’s oven. Baking time allowed enough months to sew my first baby quilt. I envisioned a baby quilt with an abstract vintage circus design. I was thinking of floating elongated diamonds in a field of white. I wanted the diamonds made up of four different color triangles. To give it the vintage feel I would use Aunt Grace fabrics. I love Aunt Grace. As most of my plans go, as soon as I started working, things shifted. I started to experiment with different patterns using the triangle. I had never worked with triangles before. Pattern possibilities seemed endless. I worked in rows, learning as I went. After all the rows were completed, I sewed them together in a way that made sense to me. To give it extra whimsy, I quilted it with rows of free motion curly cues.