December 7, 2015

My Alaska Shop Hop!

I don't travel very often, and never very far (my husband won't fly). So last spring when my son suddenly insisted that we go to Alaska (we live in Connecticut) my response was that he had been there three years before with his college friend! So why go again?? But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. It was all because my sister in law was about to retire from 6 years as the Superintendent of the North Slope School District based in Barrow, Alaska. It was our last chance to visit Barrow, because well, no one goes to Barrow without a really good reason! So my son quickly planned the trip, and I made sure there was just enough time to visit at least one quilt shop in each city :)

The trip consisted of 9 flights, Hartford - Chicago/Midway - Seattle - Juneau - Anchorage - Barrow - Fairbanks - Train to Anchorage - Seattle - Baltimore - Hartford. That was more than I have flown in the last 9 years! Thankfully the flights were all uneventful, and we met some really interesting people along the way.

Our first stop was Juneau, to visit my brother in law and nephew. Rain Tree Quilting was first on the quilt shop list.

It was a beautiful shop, as you can see!

Traveling for two and a half weeks with only a carry-on, I didn't have much room for fabric. I bought a few small pieces of a newly released fabric line by Northcott called Eskimo Snow, designed by Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee. I didn't know at the time that it was so new it had only been released in Alaska!

Our next stop was Anchorage. After a day on the Alaska Railroad to Seward, we spent a little time checking out the city.  The Quilted Raven was my fabric fix for that day! 

They had an incredible selection of Alaska related fabrics and patterns. I bought a few more pieces of Eskimo Snow, and a couple Alaska wildlife panels. I could have spent several hours in there, but the parking meter was ticking and we had many more places to go!

One of my favorite parts of the trip was meeting a fellow Statler (quilting machine) owner that I had known of from various quilting forums. I have always respected her talent and knowledge, and it was a real pleasure to meet her! We had lunch, which turned into a few hours of talking "Statler" and a well needed break from our busy schedule. Oh, I wish Jo Ann lived closer. A LOT closer!!

Almost forgot to take a picture, so please excuse the parking lot!

Our next stop was Barrow, Alaska, to visit my sister in law. Barrow is the northern most point in North America, far north of the Arctic Circle. It was May, and the next time the sun would set was August! It's really hard to describe Barrow, it was an experience I will never forget. Here I am outside the general store.

To my surprise, they had a very large fabric section. I guess a lot of people make their own clothes, and quilts too!

Animal furs are not something that I am used to seeing in any store!

Our next stop was Fairbanks, the first fabric store on the list was Material Girls. Wow, lots of fabric!

I found more pieces of the Eskimo Snow fabric, and some northern lights fabric.

Last stop on my Alaska Shop Hop was Northern Threads, also in Fairbanks.

I bought a quilt pattern called Northern Wilderness, here is their sample. Now I just need to find time to make it!!

We had a fantastic trip, ending briefly in Tacoma, WA to visit my brother and sister in law. Would I do it again? Absolutely!! And I would buy more fabric and have it shipped home :) I ordered more of the Eskimo Snow line when I got home, enough to make a long overdue king size quilt for our bed. I still have to design it... and piece it... and quilt it... that will keep me busy!

April 24, 2015

Published Again!

Imagine my delight when the editor of Modern Patchwork Magazine asked me to quilt a quilt for the Spring 2015 edition! Seeing the finished quilt along with my name in print was sure to put a smile on my face, so of course I bought the magazine as soon as it was published. I anxiously read the article about Tula Pink on pages 32-33, and admired the photo of the quilt made from her unique fabrics. Imagine my dismay when I found no reference whatsoever to either the piecer, or the quilter. Don't get me wrong, I can deal with not being given credit because I know I did the quilting, and that's good enough for me. But I really think it was unethical not to acknowledge the makers of the quilt. Anyway, here it is.... :)

February 20, 2015

Off to the Races

Making a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt had been on my list for awhile. So when Hancocks Paducah had a sale on Timeless Treasures "Jack Frost" I swooped in and ordered a half yard of every color! I diligently cut about 40 2.5" strips, and sewed them together. And sewed, and sewed, and sewed. Not the most interesting quilt to piece, but it was fairly quick and I am happy with the result! I quilted it with a swirly design called "Alex".  

OK, I confess, I had plenty of fabric in my stash to make one of these, and probably a few hundred more :) but it was appealing because they were all from the same fabric line so color selection was easy! I don't normally "collect" batiks. In fact, I think this is the first batik quilt I have made! I  have plenty of fabric left over to make two or three more quilts, but they will be something different! 

February 2, 2015

When Will Winter End?

This groundhog wants nothing to do with going outside during an ice storm, just 6 days after a blizzard!  Does seeing his shadow from a lamp count? The weather has been tough, but as long as we have power for the furnace (and the well too), life is good! And all the bad weather is a great excuse for staying home and quilting! I was straightening up my sewing room the other day, and I found some fabrics and patterns that I didn't remember I had. Imagine that! Has that ever happened to you? ;)

February 20, 2014

Lots of Dots

And a little bit of fun! Another almost black and white quilt, and more intrigue with the modern style. This one was going to be lots of colors, but I gravitated to black and white. Probably because it was easier to decide what fabrics to use! I quilted it with variegated thread to give it a little sparkle. It is 33x38, a nice size for a walhanging.

February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day :) I have been busy quilting for other people, but recently I pieced and quilted a black and white tumbler block lap quilt. The quilting design is called Modern Maze, and I used a multi-colored variegated thread. I like the way it gives the quilt a tiny hint of color!

October 6, 2013

The Local Fair

I always do my best when quilting. And I rarely see a quilt again once it goes back to its owner. Who knows where it might turn up! A client recently told me that the quilt she had meticulously pieced, and I had meticulously quilted, won a blue ribbon at the local Guilford Fair! Now I know a lot of quilters who have a lot of ribbons from a lot of fairs. But the fairs around here do now allow me to enter anything because I am a professional. Not a professional piecer, just a professional quilter. Someone else can piece the quilt and I can quilt it, but I am not allowed to piece my own quilt. Makes no sense to me, but that's the way it is. So anyway, I am very pleased that the quilt won :)

July 22, 2013

New Ventures

Well, it's not exactly a brand new venture. I bought the new "toy" 11 months ago! It's a Brother PR1000e 10 needle embroidery machine and it's awesome! I have so many ideas and envision many new projects. I'm not sure where it will lead me but I'm up for the ride!

Here is something I did today, it's a linen tea towel. I prewashed the towel so it won't shrink after the embroidery is done, that way it won't pucker. I think it turned out great!

July 7, 2013


Wow, it's been a long time! I've been busy quilting for other people, and quilting a few of my own. This quilt is from a workshop I took with Karen Combs called Patchwork Illusions. I was going to make more blocks with the risk of the whole project ending up in the UFO pile indefinitely. So instead I decided to just sew together the two blocks I made in class and go with it! The quilting was all improvisational, and it was fun! And it's d-o-n-e :)

June 3, 2012

My Ohio Quilt Shop Hop, Zanesville to Toledo

A few weeks ago I attended Statler Stitcher Days in Zanesville, OH, hosted by Doug and Martha Creasy at A Touch of Thread.

It was a three day seminar where I met lots of nice machine quilters. We all share the love of quilting on our Statler Stitcher computer guided longarm quilting machines. I learned a lot of new tips and tricks that will take my quilting to a new level, and it was well worth the trip!
When it was over I had a few days to meander my way up to Michigan to visit my parents. So I did some research and mapped a route from Zanesville to Toledo through farmlands and over back roads of eastern Ohio that would take me to several great quilt shops!

After leaving Zanesville, my first stop was Berlin, OH for an overnight. I stayed at the Berlin Grande Hotel, it was fairly new and very nice, except there was NO cell phone service in the area! Berlin is located in the midst of the largest Amish community in the US.

The following morning I was up early and on my way to Millersburg, OH to visit Miller's Dry Goods. I was in search of fabric, of course!

I was looking for a specific fabric that I had seen on their website, and they were very helpful in finding it for me! A very nice selection, and a wonderful experience!

I was soon on the road to my next destination, Country Fabrics in Shiloh, OH. It was challenging to find because at one point the Google maps directions, the 8 year old GPS, and the AAA paper map all showed different directions! I sat at an intersection with no one around and finally decided to trust the 8 year old GPS. There was nothing around other than farmland and an occasional barn. But lo and behold, there it was, a relatively new building with lots of cars parked out front. That must be the quilt shop!! 

I am much less overwhelmed if I have something specific in mind when I go fabric shopping (that doesn't mean I stick to my wish list LOL). So it didn't take me long to make my selections, and find some other fabric that I needed....

Soon I was on the way to my next destination, The Door Mouse in Bettsville, OH. I continued heading northwest, and by that time the roads were getting straighter and the farmland was getting flatter. I had to fool the GPS several times because I wanted to stay on the back roads even though some of them were labeled as highways!

Again in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, there was a barn like building that was bursting with fabric!

I had been warned that it could feel overwhelming inside. Here is the green aisle...

And the red aisle....

I made my selections upstairs in the novelty section. And on my way out I stopped in the ladies room and found even mores stuff for sale in there!

One more stop at Checker Distributors in Maumee, OH. They sell wholesale quilting supplies to businesses, and since I have a longarm quilting business I have an account there. I was very curious to see the inside of the warehouse first hand! 

Once inside, there was a spotless showroom with samples of all the items they sell. All I can say is wow, I never knew there were so many cool quilting gadgets!

But the fabric warehouse was the coolest part... words can't even begin to describe the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of full bolts of fabric.... (If you are a quilter and you have read this far, you probably know that feeling!) So much fabric everywhere!

And more fabric, as far as you can see, arranged by manufacturer.

I made my selections, paid for them, and was finally on to the final leg of my adventure to Michigan. It was a day filled with fabric, definitely a good day for a fabricaholic :) It was a fun adventure and I look forward to doing it again!!

March 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

My Dad will be 90 next week, so I thought he should have a beautiful quilt for his bed! When I was young, we would go sailing all afternoon on Lake Charlevoix, in the 16' Windmill that he built himself. I loved being out on the water, and he taught me a lot. My Dad has always been there for me, and he will always have a special place in my heart :)

Here it is, on my Statler Stitcher. I used Quilters Dream wool batting so the quilt will be light, warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

I quilted a nautical design that has sailboats, anchors, ships wheels, and waves.

The quilt pattern is called "Take 5", a random arrangement of 8 nautical fabrics from a line called "Gone Sailing". I cut it out using my Accuquilt Studio. I think he will like it :)

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! It's been almost a year since my last blog post, but I promise to do better this year! I have been making quilts to get ready to start selling. It's going to be an exciting year at Valentine Quiltworks!

February 27, 2011

New Website is Up and Running!

My new website is up and running! I am continuing to add to it and change some things, but the info is there. A few weeks ago my web host informed me that the software I had been using for the last 4.5 years was being discontinued. So I experimented with three new softwares and chose the one I thought would be the best for what I wanted to do. I spent the last week or so learning it, designing the new site, and getting it all done! And I did it all by myself :) Except for the last step of switching the old and the new, I called my web host and they were very helpful and did the final switch for me. So please check out my new redesigned website!

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

January 14, 2011

Published Again!

In March 2009 I was selected by RaNae Merrill to be one of the members of a special group called "Spiromandalas". Over the next 10 months we learned, designed, pieced, and finished a quilt for her second book, Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts. After that task was completed, the book was written, edited, and published in November 2010. It is a wonderful book :) I am very proud to have my quilt pictured in the design section on page 39, highlighting my unique approach to the task at hand. Here is my quilt!

I named it "Up, Up, and Away" because my focus fabric consisted of brightly colored hot air balloons.

I will now explain a little about the process. The quilt was designed using paper, pencil, ruler, and colored pencils. I used a program called Auto Sketch to help me draw my design. It follows the guidelines that were given to us by RaNae, and are spelled out in detail in her book.

After RaNae and I settled on the design I made a full size drawing on paper so I would know where the various colors of fabric belonged. I also used these drawings to create the foundations for each section of the paper piecing.

Then it was time to choose gradations of the various colors in the quilt. Fortunately I found most of them in my stash of bright colored fabrics :)

I cut strips of fabric corresponding to each piece of each section.

Then I cut them to the approximate length I would need, as paper piecing does not require exact sized pieces of fabric.

I arranged the pieces I needed for the six sections that consisted of blue, green, and yellow, so I would be sure to put them in the correct position.

The deadline was fast approaching, and apparently I was so busy sewing all those little pieces together that I forgot to take pictures! So here is the quilt laid out before the sections were sewn together.

Here is a close up of the quilt after the sections were assembled.

Time to quilt it! I used my Gammill Statler Stitcher.

I quilted radiating lines every five degrees to represent the ropes that hold down a hot air balloon.
The border is a feather design that represents the blowing wind that keeps the balloon afloat.

I quilted some circles in the center to represent the people riding in the balloon.

And once again, here it is, "Up, Up, and Away"!!

I invite you to read more about the Magnificent Mandala Quilts! Click on the link below and it will take you to RaNae Merrill's blog. The right column on the blog lists all of the members of the group and gives details about how each quilt in the book was designed and constructed. At the bottom of that column you will find the section that tells more about the process I used to create my quilt, click on Susan Wood. Enjoy!

Spiromandalas Blog