Entries categorized "Fortune Cookie Roulette" Feed

Fortune Cookie Roulette #35

    For the 10th Anniversary of my nephew's fundraiser for ALS,  I wanted to build a quilt around the number 10.  I spent many a night, pencil (and mouse) in hand, sketching what came to mind.  I had quite a few ideas that I liked, but I couldn't make a decision (I'll remember this the next time I am feeling somewhat less than creative).  So I turned to my collection of fortune cookies.

Make big plans.

    That did it.  I knew that I wanted the quilt to be bigger than I normally make, which is typically a 55" square. I wanted to do central motif,  a medallion,  a single symbol,  to represent the tenth year of the event, so I thought, why not a ten-pointed star?

10 star word

    Have you ever tried Microsoft Word to draft your patterns?  You should and if not that, try Pages for Mac.  The Shapes tool in both programs drafts stars with lots of points - enormously helpful.  What you see above is a picture of a set of fabrics that I 'cut' in Word and then arranged into in a star.  Guess this is the poor man's version of Adobe Illustrator.

    So the other day, while it was 82 degrees in my work space, I stitched  32" 10 pointed star.  I won a jelly roll of Michael Miller fabrics a while back and felt that this was the perfect time to experiment. I'm not sure that this is the color choice I'm going with, but with the August sun blazing, there was no sense in fighting it.  I think I might be going for a star, so I might go blue.


     This is what I did.  I sewed 2 sets of 9 2.5" strips.  Using the template I made in Word, I cut each diamond blade.  At the blade's widest point, it is 5 inches plus seam allowance.  Out of one jelly roll strip set, you will only get 7 blades, hence the arrangement above, where I had to use both sets to get a complete star.  I love how if you stare at it long enough, the secondary five pointed star comes through.

    Using the seven blade set, you can get an idea as to where you star is headed, but I think you really need all 10 blades to make a decision.


    I came up with 13 different combinations - a fascinating process.  It is a great way to experiment with value, hue and saturation.

    I'm paying more attention to my instincts lately.  When I came across this tomato with its secondary star fish pattern, I knew I was on the right path.



Take care and keep cool,



Fortune Cookie Roulette #34

Out of confusion comes new patterns.

Seriously?  How could I not do a riff on this one?

When we last got together, I told you how my winter restlessness had gotten the better of me.  I struggled to focus on a project; I had many fits and starts and was headed nowhere fast.  Recognizing that I needed to get some physical activity in my life, I took up boxing.

Aside from having the absolute best sleep I have ever had in my life, the boxing world has also given me some great inspiration.  I dove into my stash yesterday, forcing myself to cut fabrics I have been saving - for what I didn't know. Now I know. Boxing has also taught me to take risks (but let's not get crazy here).

Since you will never, ever see me inside an actual boxing ring, it has become the object of my quilted desire.  I researched the boxing ring shape and size and translated them into a block.  I did not want to drive myself nuts by making my 'ropes' less than a half inch in width, so I used those as my starting measurement.  That and for some unknown reason, a 4" center square.

Boxing ring 1

Boxing Ring: Round 1

I really like the way the ropes look.  The block ended up being 20" square which is pretty huge for me but  within proportional range of the 16 to 25' side measurement of an actual ring.  By the way, the square is called a ring because fighting matches were usually held within the confines of a circle drawn on the ground (thank you, Wikipedia).  I'm definitely going to use circles as my quilting motif.

Boxing ring 2

   Boxing Ring: Round 2

    So it makes sense that I want to make 9 of these and I've got some ideas brewing in my head as to what to do with them.  I think this may be the series I was looking for all this time.  Whatever this quilt or quilts turn(s) out to be, it will be called Knock Out.  Thank you very much to Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches who gave me the inspiration for the name.

    Because I am a firm believer in quilt history preservation, I think it is really important to identify a block whenever you use it and try to date and place the first time it was published.  My go-to block reference book is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia Of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  I tried to find the pattern in her book and the closest I found was White House Steps - another one of my favorites.  So I am asking for your help: whatever kind of quilter you call yourself (traditional, modern, contemporary, art, artisan, on-the-fence), I'd like to ask this: have you ever seen this pattern and if so when and where?

    Thanks very much - your help is truly appreciated!

Take care,



Fortune Cookie Roulette #33

Don't stop now!

Sometimes it takes more that sitting in your workspace and putting some fabric on the design wall, or organizing your extensive thread collection, or re-reading thank you notes from happy quilt recipients to get out of your inspiration funk.  I needed a good swift kick in the whozits to get me going again so I thought I would share my experience with you.


Don't chain yourself to your screen.  Sometimes it's a good idea to step away from your e-device, go outside and look around.

Don't hang on to fabrics that no longer appeal to you.  It's totally okay to let them go; in fact it's a very good idea.  Acknowledge your changing tastes (I threw out my 1980s acid-wash jeans and killer shoulder pads a long time ago).  Give your less-than-favorite fabrics to a school, a community center or a continuing ed program.  If you can't do that, relegate those fabrics to the experiment pile and use them for your own continuing education and teach yourself a new technique. If you make a mistake, it's not the end of the world.  I cannot tell you how many applique and curved piecing experiments I've tried.  I'm still trying.  

Don't let the class you've wanted to take pass you by.  It's a relief to find out that you don't know everything and nor should you be expected to.  I'm still thinking about Jacquie Gering's Modern Quilting: Know It When You See It.  My eyes have been opened. Wide.

Don't ignore other creative avenues that make you happy.  I truly forgot how much I love cooking.


Don't lock yourself in.  Sometimes it's good to look at fabric through somebody else's eyes.  An old friend approached me about creating a quilt.  I drew some sketches, made a few fabric suggestions and off we went to City Quilter.   We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted.  We cruised through the store with three other friends and picked what we thought would work.

Then my friend spotted the batiks.





There was no turning back.  She was hooked.  I haven't worked with batiks in ten years.  I had forgotten how beautiful they were.

I can't stop now!

Take care,




Fortune Cookie Roulette #32

There are many new opportunities being presented to you.

Jump Cut Arts just turned three and that kind of amazes me.  If you know any three year olds,  you know that they are: good at initiating conversations, beginning to see others as friends, becoming more aware of the nice world around them and they like to tell stories.  In other words, my blog is the typical three year old.


I think I've got the conversation part down; I try to write something fairly interesting every week or so and I love comments.  I visit lots of friendly blogs (check my sidebar), and I continue to be amazed at what is going on in the on-line quilt world.  Just last week I 'attended' a webinar with Jacquie Gering, Modern Quilting: Know It When You See It.  It was a tremendously informative session and I have read my notes several times since.  Only time will tell if I will be able to successfully integrate modern quilting principles into my my quilts.  But just as a three year old has so many opportunities, I am eager to try so many things and I'll just need to practice, practice, practice.  





Three year olds can be kind of impulsive some times.  That may explain why I bought Carolyn Friedlander's book Savor Each Stitch: Studio Quilting With Mindful Design.  I bought the book virtually sight unseen back in September:  I read the title and I knew I had to have it.  I have read it three times since and have resisted reading any reviews.  I hope to clarify my feelings for the book (hint: all great) and write a decent review soon.


It's a cold and rainy day here at Jump Cut Arts.  There's not too much on the agenda - it's just kind of peaceful.  Sorry I can't resist  - pieceful.  With absolutely no ideas in mind, I'm just going to put some WIPS and UFOs up on the ol' design wall and see what happens.


My sister gave me a gift card and I blew it all on quilt tools.  Sounds like an excellent play opportunity.


I'm sure there's a good movie on sometime this afternoon.


I just might read Savor Each Stitch again.


Lots of opportunities. 


Time for tea and toast.


Take care,






Fortune Cookie Roulette #31

 The rubber bands are heading in the right direction.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I'm baffled.  This fortune is kind of random and out there,

so I'm putting some random stuff out there today.  

My right arm is on the fritz so I've had to take a break from quilting.  Bummer.


 I love symmetry in nature.  


What a difference ten days makes.


Cereal for dinner means an easy clean up.


Thinking a lot about log cabin quilts.


Took out the color to appreciate value.


I don't get it. 


 I treated myself to homemade soap.  Lavender and bergamot.


Cannot wait to start reading this.


Christmas in July?


I miss this. 

Take care,


Fortune Cookie Roulette #30

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

I thought I was in the clear when I chose Summer Garden (Barbara Brackman's #2284b).  I love the name of the block and I thought it would work so well with a palette of white, purple and grey, with just a touch of green thrown in.  The quilt is for my grand-niece (!) who is due to arrive in mid-July, my favorite time of year.  I could almost feel the finished product, freshly washed and out of the dryer, all bumpy and comfy, ready to go.

I planned to make 9 blocks, each one 12" square so it would finish at 36" square.   I like the tradition of giving a baby a yard of fabric and I'm comfortable with that size.  It's perfect for a tummy time mat and later, when she's older, it would make for an excellent cape and a camping-in-the-living room tent cover too.  

I got this far and then I stopped.  I froze.  I left it up on my design wall for a while and then I took it down.  A few days later, I put it up again.  I really wanted this top to work but  it went nowhere.  So what went wrong?


For starters,  I've been thinking a lot about scale lately so the individual pieces for a baby quilt should be on the small size, as in less than 3 inches.  Super-large pieces, like two half-square triangles or even four 18" squares would work too - close to a whole cloth with a bit of a twist.  But the medium-sized open spaces in this top bothered me and I felt like it would work better as a twin bed quilt for a pre-teen girl.  The angles are pretty harsh too; it started to look like a Pac Man game.  So now it sits in the Drawer of Forgotten Blocks (funny - as I'm looking at this picture I'm seeing a secondary block emerge.  Down girl.).

So - working with 2" squares in mind,  I pulled out a gray fabric that I have absoultely no memory of buying (come on - don't tell me this has never happened to you before!) and I put it up on the wall.  Then I took some of my cut 2.5" squares and threw them into the mix.


 Version #1 


Sorry I'm leaning so much.

Version #2


Remember that Marvin Gaye song, You Got To Give It Up ? It's about a guy at a disco who's scared to get out on the dance floor.  He finally makes his move and has a blast.  That's the way I feel about this piece - I let go of what I thought I wanted to do and did something else.  Once I started putting the small squares up on the wall, I felt better.  I thought I was being too simplistic with the one patch idea, but I'm really happy with what happened.  I'm still working on the colors - some pink might work it's way in there, and I think the green is out - but I really like the direction this is taking.  

Whatever colors I use, this little quilt will make a great little cape for this little supergirl.

Take care,








Fortune Cookie Roulette #29

Be unconventional, even visionary.

We are having our house painted.  It seemed like the perfectly logical thing to do now that the temperatures have been hovering at a downright balmy 37 degrees.  Sun screen and shorts are next.  Even the ducks are digging it.  For all you symmetry fans out there, this one's for you:


To celebrate the increasing daylight and rising mercury, I took a walk around the yard to see if any of new bulbs are up.  That would be a 'no'.  I stood in front of my derma-brased house and tried to imagine over-flowing window boxes and flowering trees and sunny skies.  Any day now.

In the meantime however, I realized what a perfectly wonderful back drop a sanded house makes.  Naturally I got out a quilt -  I have nothing in the hoop right now, so I had to use an old favorite - and pinned it to the naked shingles.  This is Wacky White House Steps.


 As much as I would love to have a nice 8' x 8' patch of unpainted house for just this purpose, I don't think my husband would go for it.  Let your quilts be unconventional and visionary, he's say, but leave the house to Benjamin Moore. 

Take care,


Fortune Cookie Roulette #27

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.

After spending a few lovely hours quilting Marina, I realized how much I enjoy stitching through wide open spaces.  It's very relaxing and it goes very quickly.


I've done two whole cloth quilts - a white king-sized wedding quilt and a white-on-white christening quilt for my son.   Quilting a whole cloth quilt is like painting a fresh canvas every day, and that is as close to painting as I will ever get.  There was something about the act of sitting down at my floor frame, facing this huge white expanse of fabric and stitching for hours, that I found both exciting and relaxing.  When you are working a king-sized quilt at a frame, you do get some kind of Jackson Pollock vibe which is very cool.

Unfortunately, I do not have any digital pictures of that king quilt, but I can share with you a duplicate block (12" x 12") that I made as a momento of sorts.  The pattern is based on the grille work of the window boxes of The Plaza Hotel.  I repeated this pattern throughout the quilt because the young groom proposed to his bride over dinner at the hotel. Very romantic.  


As for my son's christening quilt (25" x 33"), I like to go by the English tradition of giving a newborn baby a yard of fabric (as if anyone needs a reason to give a baby a quilt).  That yard is supposed to accompany the little one his or her way through life.  It's a nice thought, but I wrapped up the quilt about twenty minutes after the ceremony and he hasn't touched it since.  Don't worry - he has quite a few others and they will be with him forever.


Back to Marina.  I had very elaborate plans for quilting a marine life scene in each of the solid panels.  I imagined low tide at a tidal marsh with blowing grasses and crabs waddling about, egrets fishing, the sun setting.  


Nice idea, I suppose, but that didn't work because . . . that's just not me.  What did work and what felt right was simple, straightforward, uncomplicated and undemanding stitching. I did a very simple boxy pattern where the egret was supposed to perch, hunting for fiddler crabs.  I couldn't wait to get to the  navy blue section and I knew I wanted waves but nothing too stylized.  I didn't know where to start, so I undid the quilt from its hoop and draped it over my kitchen table.  Nothing.  I picked up my hoop and started twirling it, like a hula hoop.  That's when it dawned on me: the arc of the hoop suggested a nice rolling wave.  I got out my chalk wheel and ended up with this:


Now the waves look like clams and I'm okay with that.  I couldn't help but think of the movie The Perfect Storm, starring George Clooney and a lot of other people.  It's the true and very sad story about a fishing boat lost at sea in the North Atlantic during what was considered the perfect storm.  The movie poster features an enormous wave about to crash over a fishing boat.  That stuck with me for a long time.  Apparently it is still there on some level.  I think I'm going to add a subtitle to this quilt: Safe Harbor.

The more I quilt, the more I realize that I don't like to complicate my quilt process - I like to keep it pretty simple - stitch, stitch, stitch.

In these times, simplicity is astonishing.


Take care, 




Fortune Cookie Roulette #26

It's tough to be fascinating.


I am not the Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge or Mr. Potter, nor am I Charlie Brown. But I was on the path to becoming a combination of all of them when I foolishly thought that the Christmas holidays had to be magazine perfect.  It took an unfortunate accident with a Christmas stocking, a sewing machine and my left hand, resulting in  a trip to the emergency room, to teach me the lesson of the imperfect holiday.


And yet . . . there were occasional slips which presented lessons I failed to recognize, i.e.  the seven varieties of cookies for swap night (2001), the temporarily spray-painted silver mirror (2005),  the individual carrot bundles wrapped with leek skins for a sit down dinner for 12 (what year?) - the list goes on. There were plenty of successes too and that was fun.  I loved my hand-stamped wrapping paper (1986), the herb infused olive oils (1987), the perfect pastry leaves for pies (1988), and of course my Bûche de Noel, (1988-2011).  I like the Bûche de Noel so much I made three in one day (2003).  Honestly, it's not that hard to do.  Good times.


I'm all for learning something new, but it is comforting to stick with what you know.  This brings me to my latest top.   I've had these blocks around for two years and I couldn't make them work because I didn't have the right number for a layout.  That really bugged me.  A few weeks ago it began to bug me even more that it was bugging me.  Lacking inspiration,  I picked up one of my favorite quilt books, Small Endearments: Nineteenth Century Quilts For Children And Dolls by Sandi Fox.  There is so much imperfect beauty in this book.  The doll quilts for the most part were made by young children practicing their sewing skills and the results are nothing less than fascinating, in a non-contrived, unselfconscious way.  Therein lies their charm.

I took note of this and went back to the c.o.m.b.  I let the blocks fall where they may.  I had some additional greens and reds and made up some blocks to fill in those gaps.  Some squares were smaller than others and their shape is a little skewed.  It doesn't bother me at all.  It's all about the process for me.


 I Don't Know What To Call It Yet  (42" x 58")

I feel absolutely no pressure to quilt it any time soon.  Maybe I'll start it on the Christmas break or maybe I won't.  Maybe I'll start it next year, on a day when the only thing I want to do is work a red and green nine-patch lap quilt and it's snowing and I have a fire going and there's a good movie on and I and endless cups of hot tea.


Take care,


Fortune Cookie Roulette #25

If you can't decide up or down, try moving from side to side.

I've had an idea for a quilt series floating around in my head for some time so I've been busy working through it, seeing if I could make it happen.  It involves applique and as I am still not too comfortable doing it by hand, I've been experimenting with my machine.   Needless to say, ( I always want to spell that word as needles - hilarious, I know), fabric, thread and paper were flying about the c.o.m.b., and it was quite a mess.  It was also fun.

I made a lot of progress with the applique but I needed a break.  I can't go too long with a messy workspace so today was c.o.m.b. clean up day.  One garbage bag and several re-folds of fabrics later and I was able to reclaim my worktable.   I took out the blocks for Beatrix and Willem (Abdication) and put them up on the wall.  I still can't decide on the layout, probably because I haven't made enough blocks to sway me either way.



As you can see, placing the blocks on the diagonal makes for a completely different effect. That's one of the many beautiful things about making quilts - the possibilities really are endless.  After all these years, I'm still amazed at the process and that in itself makes me very happy.  

So what makes you happy about this quilt top: up and down or side to side?  I'd really love to know what you think. 

Take care,