“Shirtings” project

December 1st, 2013

Early 2013, my Tuesday quilting bee friends and I embarked upon a personal and shared group project…….. Personal, because we each create our own design and shared¬†‚ąí because we each contributed fabric and second-hand shirts purchased at local stores who specialize in re-selling donated items. There are many thrift stores operated by local churches, and larger stores such as those by Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries, who also offer job training, rehabilitaion and disaster relief in addition to resale of donated goods.

Our primary desired objects? Fabulous men’s and women’s shirts:

colorful shirts arranged by hue

shirts are arranged by color hue

We each purchased shirts that appealed to us – whether it was the color, the pattern (solid, stripe or plaid), or size¬†‚ąí translating into more yardage per garment! Some of us creatively searched the pajama pants and ladies’ dress aisles, capturing more bargains.

solid colored shirts

wonderful solid-color woven shirts

beautiful shirts in plaids and stripes

a myriad of plaid and striped shirts

NEXT: the garments were laundered to begin the projects with pre-washed fabric.

sorting for laundry

sorting the lighter colored shirts for washing

Shirts are ready for the laundry

Shirts are ready for the laundry

warm colored stripes and plaids - yardage

add some plaid and striped yardage to the mix

The garments are now “de-constructed”, breaking down the wearables into their flat-fabric forms once again. Collars, front button plackets and cuffs are set aside for future use (hmmm. Wonder what I can do with those?)

deconstruct the garment

cut away collar, cuffs and button plackets with scissors or rotary cutter

Finally, the flat fabric pieces become usable again. Each of us cuts from our collective “stash”, whatever sized pieces our projects will require.

My warning tip: if you embark on this journey yourself, it becomes very addictive! I find myself scouring local resale shops, searching for the “holy grail” of shirts!

light-to-dark collection

a wide range of shirtings from light to dark

warm colored stripes and plaids

A mix of lovely warm colored stripes and plaids. Some hand-woven Guatemalan fabrics included.

mixture of shirtings & yardage

warm colored shirtings, with some cool color mixes

Stay tuned for more……… ¬†Jan

2012 – Commission Quilt – 4 – continue adding fabric

November 7th, 2012

Months 4-5:¬† As the larger composition takes shape, I am challenged to find ‚Äď or create ‚ąí the ideal bridge fabrics. I spend as much time searching for fabrics, cutting single pieces from specific fabrics, or painting, stamping, or shopping for the missing pieces.¬† I am still teaching, traveling, packing and shipping my teaching equipment from place to place. This process takes a while because I am also teaching others how to make quilts!


Months 6-7:¬† When working high on the wall, my step stool and I get a workout! I eventually shift from a step stool to a ladder, and add another 18″ to the top of the design wall. The loose pieces are currently overlapped,¬†and I know that¬†sewing the¬†seams will cause shrinkage. (This photo was taken later in the project ‚Äď this was a tall project with lots of¬† “ladder time”!)


Month 8: Once I am happy with all of the fabrics, then I begin sewing diagonal rows of fabric diamonds. I keep the rows in manageable sizes, working one row at a time. Climb the ladder, secure all the loose pieces edge-to-edge, climb down, sew the seams, press, climb the ladder and re-position the pieced row. Continue to the next row. An audio book can be my best friend during this process! 



ÔĽŅÔĽŅ2012 – Commission Quilt – 3 – Begin design layout

November 6th, 2012

After cutting a palette of diamonds in various colors and values, I begin composing the design on my flannel-covered wall. This wall surface is “pinnable”, and I want to secure the pieces when I am satisfied with the results. This design wall is 8 feet tall, 9 feet wide. I am also arranging fabric on the left adjacent wall, too.

I arrange a batch of color, creating regions of dark (for the base) or blue-grey (for the water) or lighter values (blue, pink, peach, lavendar) for the sky. Then I search through my fabrics to find the perfect “transition” or “bridge” fabrics, which contain bits of the colors on either side of it.¬† Note the change in the sky between photos 4 and 5 – as I completed changed the fabrics in that area, seeking a smoother, sunnier color.






2012 – Commission Quilt – 2 – Diamond Cutting Tutorial

November 5th, 2012

After selecting a wide range of fabrics as my initial palette, I decided the scale of my pieces. Since it was to be a large quilt, I cut 4-inch diamond shapes (as if you were cutting a strip 4″ wide, then sub-cutting it on a 45-degree angle¬†into 4″ diamonds). I positioned my diamond tool in one corner of the fabric, so my strips were cut at an angle to the outer edges of the fabric. The resulting diamonds have slightly bias edges, and the grainline is straight through the body of the diamond shape.

Place a diamond tool at the edge of the fabric.

1. Place a diamond tool at the edge of the fabric. 2. Place a long ruler next to the smaller diamond tool.








Cut at this established angle from edge to edge.

3. Cut at this newly-established angle from edge to edge. [1/2 of a 45-degree angle = 22.5 degrees.]








Align the longer ruler with the freshly-cut edge.  Cut an angled strip, the desired width (3" in this photo).

4.¬†Align the longer ruler with the freshly-cut edge. 5. Cut an angled strip, the desired width (3″ in this photo).








Re-position the smaller tool on the strip. The woven grainline should bisect the shape in the center.

6. Re-position the smaller tool on the strip. The woven grainline should bisect the shape in the center.








Cut one or several diamonds from the angled strip(s).

7. Cut one or several diamonds from the angled strip(s).


2012 – Commission quilt – 1 – Select fabric

November 4th, 2012

¬† Early in 2012 I accepted a commission for a private client. The request was for a king-sized diamond quilt, reminiscent of Monet’s famous water lily paintings.

I first searched through my fabrics, arranging the stacks and photographing them for the client to see the range of colors and textures I was considering for their quilt. This became a monumental landslide of textural fabrics in all colorways.





The Winner of Simply Triangles

September 6th, 2012

click to order Simply Triangles

Thank you, all who participated with your comments for Barbara Cline’s newest book! Drum roll please! I called my impartial judge (my mother, who had just awakened) and had her pick a number from the 89 comments yesterday……..

Lucky number 56 is our winner!

Now, I am looking through the names and see that our winner is: JUDY FORKNER!

I will contact Judy to tell her the good news; C&T Publishing will ship a book to her. On behalf of Barbara Cline, thank you for following the blog tour and commenting here. Remember, by going to today’s blog on the tour, leaving a comment, you have another opportunity to win Barbara’s book!

Visit other bloggers in the tour to read additional reviews:

Sept. 3  Polly the Patch Worker
Sept. 4  Cherry House Quilts
Sept. 5  Jan Krentz
Sept. 6  Connecting Threads
Sept. 7  Coleen Sr. Xanga

My Secret Summer activity …… Commission Quilt

My day today will be busy. I have not shared with anyone on the blog…. that I have been working on a commission quilt all summer!

I rarely have the opportunity to create a quilt for hire due to my teaching, writing and travel schedule. Thanks to the economy slowing down in the past couple of years, I accept a quilt commission request. Not just any quilt. Noooooo.

(THE TEASER):  This project is a California King sized Diamond Landscape bed quilt. Oh-my-goodness. It is looking beautiful!  I am posting some work-in-progress photos in the next post!

Please add my blog to your RSS feed, and you won’t miss any of my <infrequent> posts! Have a great day, and CONGRATULATIONS, Judy Forkner!

Simply Triangles – newest book by Barbara H. Cline

September 5th, 2012

click to order Simply Triangles

I am participating in a Book Review Blog Tour! This week I am reviewing Barbara Cline’s newest book, Simply Triangles. There is nothing “simple” in these beautiful quilt designs! They are eye candy for the machine piecing aficionado! Many of you are familiar with Barbara’s first book, Star Struck Quilts¬†‚Ästa beautiful collection of Lone Star designs with an elegant twist.

Star Struck Quilts book by Barbara Cline

My favorite new designs are shown below. Barbara’s clear instructions and unique shadowing technique will guarantee¬†you will successfully create one of her beautiful masterpieces! In addition to eleven quilt design patterns, I enjoyed reading personal anecdotes featured throughout the book by Barbara and her family members.


Read Simply Triangles¬†book in several ways: ¬†follow Barbara’s introductory method instructions and understand her step-by-step techniques; read through the patterns themselves to see a variety of designs incorporating the techniques; read the personal stories and life lessons to glimpse Barbara’s personal life and wisdom.

Please leave a comment below, I will draw from the participating visitors today, and one lucky person will win a copy of Barbara’s new book. Follow Barbara at her blog,¬†http://quiltingal.blogspot.com/ or on her website: ¬†http://www.delightfulpiecing.com/.¬† This book is a great addition to your personal library! International winners will receive an e-book version rather than a printed copy.

Visit other bloggers in the tour to read additional reviews:

Sept. 3  Polly the Patch Worker
Sept. 4  Cherry House Quilts
Sept. 5  Jan Krentz
Sept. 6  Connecting Threads
Sept. 7  Coleen Sr. Xanga

Happy Stitching!

Hawaiian Cruise – Sept 2013

September 1st, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line - Pride of America

Join me on a Hawaiian Cruise! I posted all the information on my website Рplease click this link to go directly to the newsletter.
Registrations for this wonderful event are available through Cruise Holidays: Click this link
I’ll add more details in the future. I hope YOU can join me!


July 19th, 2012
HELLO, ALL! THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS! I am preparing to draw the name….. (drum roll please!)……
I have drawn the name of Annmarie. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I will contact her by e-mail to notify her of her win, and acquire her mailing address.
Please continue to follow the blog entries for Jane Sassaman’s book, both the entries before my blog page, and following. If you are not a winner, I encourage you to purchase a copy of the book for your library‚ÄĒit is a wonderful resource! I have some of Jane’s beautiful fabrics on my shelf, and I am dying to cut into it!!

Patchwork Sassaman Style

Patchwork Sassaman Style

Jane's Early Birds fabric

Jane’s Early Birds fabric

Happy stitching, ALL!

Patchwork Sassaman Style Blog Tour

July 18th, 2012
Patchwork Sassaman Style

July Book Review Blog Tour! I am participating with others in a blog tour to review Jane Sassaman’s new book! Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed, and follow reviews of Patchwork Sassaman Style ‚Äď Recipes for Dazzling Quilts! Leave a comment on my blog to enter a drawing for a free book!

The blog schedule and participants are:

2-Jul Laura Wasilowski http://artfabrik.blogspot.com/
3-Jul Jessica Sloan http://remnantsfiberculture.blogspot.com/
4-Jul   Celebrate Independence Day!
5-Jul Judy CoatesPerez http://judyperez.blogspot.com/
6-Jul Jane Sassaman http://sassaman.blogspot.com/
7-Jul Linda Teufel http://dragonthreadsopenbook.blogspot.com/
8-Jul Gloria Hansen http://www.gloriahansen.com/weblog/
9-Jul Melissa Peda http://100billionstars.com/blog/
10-Jul Susan B Knapp http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/
11-Jul Jacquie Gering http://tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com/
12-Jul Weeks Ringle http://craftnectar.com/
13-Jul SewCalGal http://www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com/
14-Jul Jessica Kovach http://twinfibers.blogspot.com/
15-Jul Pam Matthews http://www.delrayfabrics.com/blog
16-Jul Frieda Anderson http://friestyle.blogspot.com/
17-Jul Pat Sloan http://blog.patsloan.com/
18-Jul Jan Krentz https://www.jankrentz.com/weblog/
19-Jul Anita Grossman Solomon http://makeitsimpler.blogspot.com/
20-Jul Lyric Kinard http://lyrickinard.blogspot.com/
21-Jul The Quilt Show http://www.thequiltshow.com/os/blog.php
22-Jul Jane La Fazio http://janeville.blogspot.com/
23-Jul Free Spirit http://www.freespiritfabric.blogspot.com/
24-Jul Nancy Zieman http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/

Jane’s early work was an amazing collection of stylized applique designs based upon plant life. When Jane began designing fabric, she transferred those stylized botanical designs into large-scale whimsical bright fabric motifs.

Jane¬†creates simple pieced designs from her wild, wonderful large-scale printed fabrics. Quilters were intrigued, seeing¬†her gorgous printed designs, and needing Jane’s vision for how they might be used successfully in a wide variety of applications: quilts, home decor, clothing and accessories.

Jane Sassaman in the studio

Jane, designing a fabric repeat

Please add Jane Sassaman’s Idea Book to your RSS feed! http://sassaman.blogspot.com/. Jane regularly posts delicious photos of design inspiration, fabric projects such as pillows, aprons, quilts, napkins, table coverings and SO MUCH MORE! As an example, here is a link to one of Jane’s 2009 posts with small accessory projects; they are SO cute! http://sassaman.blogspot.com/2009/01/get-organized.html

Jane and I were teaching at Empty Spools Seminars a few years ago. We were discussing¬†simple templates for dramatic¬†star designs. I provided Jane with a set of the fast2cut Fussy Cutter 45-degree diamond rulers.Jane¬†began playing with diamond and star shaped medallion patterns, incorporating her gorgeous botanical fabrics into the traditional pieced designs. With selective diamond and square¬†cuts, capturing various printed motifs and grouping them in traditional mediallion settings, Jane’s Broken Star quilts are spectacular! ¬†¬†
Jane Sassaman Cosmic Star

Jane Sassaman – Cosmic Star

¬†Now‚Äďenter a comment below, and you’ll automatically be entered the drawing to win a free¬†copy of Patchwork Sassaman Style!¬† Watch for my announcement of the winner on this blog, and I’ll contact the lucky winner¬†by e-mail! I will count all the comments that were entered on July 18th, by midnight Pacific time. The comment contributors will all be numbered in order as I receive them, and one lucky winner’s number will be drawn!


Jane's Plaid Quilt

Jane’s Plaid Quilt