Monday, October 6, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour...

Welcome to the "Around the World Blog Tour!"  I was tagged by Karen of Quilts...Etc., who posted last Monday.  The idea of the tour is that featured blogs take turns posting and answering four main questions.

1)  What am I currently working on??  I have been a little distracted the last 5 months and my work is ALL OVER THE PLACE!  My design wall is cluttered with multiple projects, all wanting my attention.  

I always have multiple projects going so that I don't 'sit and spin' (sit idle while I am stumped...).  I simply jump to something else for a while.

Most recently, I have been working on "Miss Emilie's Garden" by Lori Smith.

I have just recently finished appliqueing the twenty-five 5-3/4 inch blocks and setting them with sashing and cornerstones.  So far, I have been a good girl and have not deviated from Lori's pattern.  

But now I am in a state of 'sitting and spinning' with this project as I decide to either finish it with her outer border design or come up with something original.

I have a bad habit of changing other people's patterns sometimes...bad, bad girl...

I call my blog Fabric Therapy because handling beautiful 100% cotton fabrics is therapy to me.  When I am in the most need of therapy (like the last 5 months), I like to use up scraps and do some mindless chain-piecing.

I have been fascinated watching the projects others have created using selvages and thought I would experiment a little myself.

The selvages from bright fabrics are so cheerful, and some of the fabric lines have fun names...I even got my name into the block below (thank you to Teresa Kogut, a fabric designer).

And thanks to Riley Blake, I got my daughter's name in the following block...

Some people use strictly the selvage edge with the little color dots, but these bright fabrics selvages are fun to use with a hint of the rest of the colorful and happy...

SO much fun...

I am working on an outer border with even more selvages...CRAZY!  I am sewing them onto foundation paper to create my strippy borders and corner turn-arounds.

Another mindless scrappy, happy project involves some leftovers from a previous finished project (I save everything...).  I started with these leftover crazy-pieced strips...

Then I combined them with some leftover bright strips to make crazy 6-1/2 inch blocks.  I have not decided whether to sash between them yet, so while I am 'sitting and spinning' about that decision, I'm off to think about another project...

It never gets boring in the quilt cave...

I've got quite a nice stack of blocks finished, with the makings of a few more waiting patiently for their turn on my therapy merry-go-round way of working.

But as most of you know, hand applique is my favorite thing to do. Now that "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" is finished and appearing around the country in shows, I have been thinking about other music blocks.  I'd like to make a smaller quilt containing four blocks employing music clefs and fermatas, the symbol for "hold."

Or maybe I want to make individual one-block projects with them...

The bottom two blocks, the F and G clefs,  are actually two of the first music blocks I finished.  Then I added the tenor (or alto) clef and the crocus block with fermatas.

I am at another 'sit and spin' point with this project as I contemplate whether to sash or not, and if so, how, or even decide if I like the four of them together after all.  Then there are outer borders to dream about...I hope my design mojo comes back SOON!  I miss it!

And "Belles and Blossoms" is still asking for the outer borders...

Yes, there is no shortage of things to work on...even some scratchings at something new...

2)  How does my work differ from others??  As I mostly work on hand applique, I would say the biggest difference in what I do centers around my chosen method of hand applique.  I use freezer paper on the right side of the fabric as a guide and the temporary use of glue to turn edges under and glue baste to backgrounds (which is soaked out later).

I find it much easier than needle turn and I get some great results. It is also portable at several stages of the process, which is important for me at this time.  This method also works great for me as I have started to design a lot of my own gives me a lot of freedom.

Here is some of the prep I did on the tuba block for my "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" quilt...the "right" side...

The wrong side (with edges turned under and glued with a glue stick)...

Part of the assembly process...

These are some of my favorite tools for doing this method of applique...

Freezer paper, Elmer's disappearing purple glue stick, Elmer's washable school glue or Roxanne's Glue Baste, good Karen Kay Buckley scissors, a Clover stiletto, tweezers for handling tiny pieces of paper and fabric, pattern weights, and YLI silk thread and good needles for hand stitching.

If you are interested in more about this method, there is a 3-part tutorial accessible from my tool bar above.

3)  Why do I create??  I love quilts, especially antique applique quilts and I feel the call to make them.  I like doing things with my hands...I cannot stand to just sit or watch TV without DOING SOMETHING!  I love touching the 100% cotton fabrics and putting the colors and patterns together.

As I find it hard to make fabric decisions, I love to use a scrappy palette in my applique and piecing.  I like the way the scraps interact with each other and cause movement over the surface of the quilt, the eye darting back and forth, being distracted by this piece or that piece.

I also have OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder) so I get satisfaction out of using saved little scraps and working with fussy, hopelessly TINY pieces.

I sort some of my small scraps by color into small containers that are easily accessible when working on a project.

These little boxes are so much easier to deal with than getting out bigger boxes with really large pieces of folded fabrics.  I handle and sort through the scrappy giblets with my beading forceps, so my clumsy hands don't slow me down!

My Grandmother was a quilter, and I was a tomboy.  Even though I sewed, I never really thought to pay attention to what she was doing.  Then she asked me for some of my floral scraps when I was in college.  I thought I was just donating to the next quilt, not knowing it was for ME!  

She was dying of cancer, and she hand-pieced a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt for me, FROM MY SCRAPS, and the ladies in the community hand quilted it.  It was her last quilt.  I was 22 and I swore I would learn to quilt and carry on her tradition.  I've been quilting and creating for the 21 years since receiving that precious gift.

4)  How do I work??  Well, lately it seems like I work out of either a baggie of pieces or a small project box.  I have a fabulous quilt cave, in the basement, that calls to me, but I can't seem to spend much time in there ever since my parents' accident in early May.

Hand applique is so portable, and that has been great as I have been back and forth between Alabama and Michigan so much lately.  It has also allowed me to get things done as I have waited in the car for a teenage daughter.

When I get time to do some mindless machine piecing, I fill about a dozen bobbins and just let the machine go crazy!  I keep a "leader and ender" project by the machine (thank you, Bonnie Hunter!), which helps me reap better scrappy rewards for minimal time in the driver's seat of my sewing machine. 

Due to my OCD, I like things organized.  I hate spending quality sewing time looking for stuff...THAT makes me nuts and is super frustrating.

Because I flit around from project to project, I have to keep ongoing projects in boxes, labeled, and with a lot of details (like when I started it...).

And, I have to have the company of my constant quilting companion, Weasley.  He generally seeks out my warm chair when I stand up and I just roll him out of the way and grab another chair.

Next Monday (Oct 13) you are in for a treat, as Jill from the Happy 2 Sew blog will be posting on the "Around the World Blog Tour." She is always up to something interesting...piecing and hand quilting, costuming, knitting exciting golf club won't want to miss it!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)


  1. Oh My! Your world of quilting is wonderful. This shall be a tough act (tour) to follow. For not saying much, Weasley, is full of character. Thanks for a glimpse into the Quilt Cave.

  2. How I waited all week to see what you would share - having seen post of your quilt cave before I wondered if we would see more of it and you didn't disappoint! what a wonderful tour you have given and thanks for letting me tag you Teresa

  3. Your organization skills are such an inspiration to me!

  4. I don't know what was more fun here...revisiting some of your beautiful ongoing projects or viewing all of your stuff and how you organize it all! :)

  5. All I can say is WOW! My only method of organization is that I have a 19th century fabric room and a 20th century "annex" (thanks to my children being married and out of the house), otherwise if I have my ironing board and iron in the same room I feel I am organized. You are amazing!

  6. INCREDIBLE post . . . thanks for sharing SO much with all of us . . . (especially that scrappy 6.5" block idea)

  7. I've always loved watching what you're working on, and I totally get your process. :) I hadn't "heard" of your story about your Grandmother making her last quilt for you - it's so touching! I'm pretty sure you've done her quite proud. :D

  8. I didn't realise you did such a wide variety of quilting - I thought you mainly did the beautiful aplique. Your quilt cave is amazing. I can totally justify my small stash now. You could be snowed in for three years and not run out of things to do. Thank you for sharing.

  9. So amazing to visit you in your quilt cave today! Thanks for the tour!
    You are so inspiring in your projects and techniques... you go girl!

  10. This post has blown me away ! I love how organized you are ! I can only dream of it. Love all your projects such beautiful work.

  11. Change is good which makes you a good girl when you change the pattern. I've seen your results - they are very good. I have a quick question...I am looking for Michigan quilt shops within one hour drive of East Lansing. Do you have any suggestions? I want one that carries 19th century reproductions.

  12. How funny - everything I searched out yesterday from your previous posts is all tidily included in this one!

    As always, thanks for the inspiration!!

  13. Your quilt cave is AMAZING!!! I would spend hours down there just browsing around. (haha) Thank you for sharing your awesome quilting world with us! -Brittany

  14. You're so organized! And your work is gorgeous, so glad I stopped by for a visit to a new to me blog, INSPIRING!

  15. Wow, I am reeling from the colour, the sheer variety and the marvelousness of your storage system! Unbelievable. You are one clever lady. And your ginger cat is just gorgeous!.

  16. Wow, where to begin? I'm a new visitor, sent by Greg of Grey Dogwood Studios. First of all, your fabulous selvage quilt is making me feel horribly guilty for throwing all of those selvage scraps away over the years. Second, I know what you mean about the value of "mindless" sewing projects when you have a lot going on in your life. Maybe we should call them "MindFULL Projects," because it's the sewing you do in the background when your mind is full of everything else. I am in awe of your organization, too. Only one tip to pass along there -- like you, I store my good scissors in a drawer beneath my cutting table, but I cut a piece of that rubbery carpet pad stuff to line the drawer with. That way the scissors can't slosh around and bang into one another when I open and shut the drawer. Thanks for sharing your inspirational projects, your process, and your pussy cat partner!


  18. Wow, what a great post! Your applique is perfect! Would love to see your work in person.
    I thought I was organized, but I think you have me beat by a mile!!! What a great place you have to put your skills to work. Good luck on ALL of your projects!

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