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April 2013

Think Labrador

We  have a great dog.  Her name is Fiona and she is an almost-nine-year-old Yellow Labrador Retriever.  Nothing bothers her accept when one of us sneezes.  Her extraordinarily calm nature has been a real treat for us.  In our home, when one of us has had a rough time of it, we say to each other, "Think Labrador."  It always works.


So if you're having a rough day, think of Fiona and think Labrador.

Take care,



Road Trip

One of my favorite blogs, Celebrate Hand Quilting recently asked readers to share a favorite hand-quilted piece and here is mine - Road Trip. I made this for my husband for a rather significant birthday.


We used to take a lot of road trips together and since I am not happy unless I have a project in hand, I figured these tumbling blocks would be good to work on in the car.  It has fabrics I bought in shops from Maine to France and it's almost completely hand-pieced and entirely handquilted.

The backing is this very funky fabric with the states names.  I couldn't bring myself to cut it up.


If you look at the top left corner you will see a bit of pink in the binding.  That's a little reminder of a rather significant 'road trip' we took: our honeymoon (we did it by plane, but I think it still counts). You see, we had a great wedding even though there was a hurricane and we had to evacuate our home and the electricity went out and we weren't quite sure if anyone would come.  We got married by candlelight, had a lot of champagne and people came from everywhere.  Everything went well until we got to Bermuda when I realized I forgot my passport.  Here we were, a weeping, forgetful bride and an exhausted, patient groom and an extremely kind Bermudian immigration officer.  He let us in the country on the condition that we would be gone seven days later.  We were.  

I have the feeling they're still talking about us at the airport.  

The good thing is my husband and I are still laughing about it 28 years later. 

Take care,



Peace To Boston

I had an at-home day yesterday.  I typically spend Mondays in the comb doing studio stuff like sorting, piecing and hashing out ideas on the design wall, but since my new project was basted Thursday and I was chomping at the bit to start quilting, I made myself a cup of tea, loaded up my needles and rented Anna Karenina (2012).  The afternoon was pretty perfect.


And then, three hours later, I turned on the news.  Just like that, things change.

I just want to encourage everyone to engage in whatever peaceful activity you can today and maybe, somehow, it will make a difference - stitch for peace, stitch for Boston.

Take care,


Fortune Cookie Roulette #19 and #20


Two for one:

Every good friend once was a stranger. 


Don't be over self-confident with your first impression of others.


I've developed a renewed interest in using templates.  I swore I'd never use them again once I discovered improvisational piecing.  No doubt about it: there is a very good reason why Gwen Marston chose the word liberated to describe what she does. Between reading her book Liberated Quiltmaking II and taking a class with Denyse Schmidt a few years ago, improvisational piecing has made me a better quilter - I'm just a lot more relaxed with the whole process.  Each of the 400 pieces in this top and the 40 on the back was traced with my old-school cereal box templates and pinned before sewing.  This is a big deal for me and it is extremely gratifying.


I cannot wait to start hand-quilting it.  I say this as today's temperature reached 83 degrees. This gorgeous collection of fabrics is Indigo Crossing by Laurie Simpson and Polly Minick for Moda.  I will use my favorite batting, Quilter's Dream Request and I'm trying a new thread: Finca Presencia Perle Cotton Size #16 in a beautiful blue.  

This quilt is a commission and as much as I would like to show you the backing, I can't because it is a suprise.  

Quilting, improvisational piecing, and my sewing machine were once strange, intimidating and frustrating.  I also thought I knew a lot about the process.  It's nice to let first impressions go and to see it all in a different light.

Take care,