2015 National Quilting Day & Giveaway!

Hello Friends — Happy Saturday and Happy National Quilting Day!  Read about National Quilting Day here.


Once upon a time, there was girl who lived in the tropics, in the comfort of home, church, and many relatives.  All her life, she dreamed upon going to England for college… ever since she was five years of age.

starry pursuit6


She worked hard at school… because of the consuming dream of going to England for college.




The day came, she left home to go to college…. but to England, but to the United States.  She was disappointed at the time, but she accepted that it was the path chosen for her.



She finished college with a graduate degree.  She married.  She had a little girl.

Autumn Stars2

Somewhere in her years in the US, she met a most generous and loving lady — who taught this girl how to quilt.



And the rest is history.  Because someone else stepped in, and encouraged, and took the time to teach this girl (who hadn’t really even touched a sewing machine in her life), this girl’s life was changed!




She made many sweet quilting and non-quilting friends along her quilting journey.  She was able to do things not dreamed off in all her dreams of going to England for college…



And she continues to accepts the path chosen for her, by her loving God.



And in a roundabout way, though she sees that she is but a whiff of air passing through this world, she is inspired by the people she meets to make a difference in her small roundabout circle…because someone else had made a difference in her life.


On this National Quilting Day, this is a roundabout way of telling the story of an Asian girl who discovered the joy of quilting, because a loving lady who answered the call to make a difference in the lives of others!  Thank you, Barbara!

And Happy National Quilting Day again, Everyone!!


Annie’s has generously sponsored a giveaway of my online class Learn to Machine Quilt class.  Leave a comment between now and March 27, 2015 to enter giveaway.  Winner will be announce on March 30, 2015.


learn to machine quilt

Speaking of machine quilting, stay tuned for some exciting news!

Migration in American Patchwork & Quilting Calendar 2015


Happy Friday, Friends!  I hope you have had a good week.  I have been wanting to share with you a couple of quilts before the year ends.  The first quilt is Migration, and it is featured in American Patchwork & Quilting’s 2015 calendar.


 image source: Meredith Corporation

Migration is a little different from my usual style.  It is a geometry-centric design that focuses on the use of flying geese units in different color gradients to achieve a captivating (I hope) visual effect.  I had the GREATEST fun making the quilt, and I felt I was rather hip after completing the project.



Migration uses fabrics from Island Batik — check out Island Batik’s website here for similar fabric swatches that can be used to replicate the quilt.  Actually I would really love to hear what other color combinations you have in mind!  I am thinking a fiery yellow and orange and red combination would make a very stunning visual impact.


The quilt design lends itself to much negative space for quilting.  The following picture partially shows the back where I had quilted circles randomly across the quilt, and then filled in with feathers.


Here are a few close up pictures of the quilting on the quilt front.  I know I sound like a broken record, but I honestly don’t think I will enjoy the quilting process as much as I do if it weren’t for the Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton threads I am using.


I included the following shot to show just how tiny and tight Aurifil’s Mako 50 Cotton thread allows me to quilt in the background fillers in the picture above.


I wanted my quilt to lay flat and not stiff as cardboard after all the dense quilting.  So I opted to use Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting as the “meat” of my quilt.  I also made a hanging sleeve for this quilt because I know for sure I want to hang this quilt up somewhere.



Want to make Migration?  American Patchwork & Quilting Calendar comes with a separate booklet with complete instructions for all 12 projects.  You may purchase the calendar here. The calendar and booklet would be great for anyone who wants to do a QOM (Quilt of the Month) regimen.


I actually have two projects featured in the calendar.  I will be sharing about the other project next week.  So do come back! :)  It is that star quilt on the top right corner — and you know what I think of star quilts!


Tell me what you think of Migration.  And this rounds out a very intense week for me!  I intend to work still, but will take things a bit more slowly.  Have a blessed weekend, Dear Friends!


My 2014 lineup to date — click on project names for more information on individual projects.

Editorial features:

American Patchwork & Quilting (Calendar 2015): Get Happy

American Patchwork & Quilting (Calendar 2015): Migration

Annie’s Row Quilt Book (March 2014): Stardom

Annie’s Dazzling Diamond Quilts Book (May 2014): Solar Star

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 68): Stars Aligned

Australian Quilters Companion (Issue 70): Pocketful of Daisies Welcome Banner

Fons & Porter Table Toppers Book (September 2014): Silver Maple

Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts (Summer 2014): Teething Rings

Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting (January/February 2014): Hurry Home

Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts (Winter 2014): Hoppity Hop

Generation Q (May/June 2014): Hole in the Wall

McCall’s Quick Quilts (August/September 2014): Owl Be Your Friend

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2014): Spiral Squared

McCall’s Quilting (July/August 2014): Bird Watching

Popular Patchwork, UK (April 2014): Mending Fences

Popular Patchwork, UK (September 2014): A Mother’s Love

Popular Patchwork, UK (December 2014): Christmas Wreath Runner

Popular Patchwork, UK (December 2014): Yuletide Snowflakes

Quilt Trends (Winter 2014): Enchanted Forest

Quilt Trends (Winter 2014): Urban Stars

Quilter’s World (Spring 2014): Urban Oasis

Quilter’s World (Summer 2014): Starry Repetitions

Landauer Publishing’s Recreating Antique Quilts (October 2014)

The Quilter (December 2013/January 2014): Farm Crossing

The Quilter (December 2013/January 2014): Boxing Day

The Quilter (April/May 2014): All Squared Up

The Quilter (April/May 2014): Tulip Trail

The Quilter (June/July 2014): Garden View

The Quilter (August/September 2014): Song of Praise

Free to use designs / PDF download:

January: Midori’s Place using Gramercy by Benartex

January: View on Lexington using Gramercy by Benartex

January: Everything’s Coming Up Rosey using English Rosey by Benartex

February: Verde (Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

February: Verde (Banner/Runner) by Quilting Treasures

March: Hot Topic by Quilting Treasures

March: Poseidon’s Adventure using Neptune’s Dream by Benartex

March: My Cozy Sweater using Palm Springs by Benartex

March: Wild Kingdom using Sew Rousseau by Benartex

April: Fun with Frosty (Quilt & Runner) by Quilting Treasures

April: The First Thanksgiving (Quilt & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

May: Party Poppers using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Sprinkled Sweets using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Dino Craze using 10,000 B.C. by Benartex

June: Monster Mash by Quilting Treasures

June: Santa’s Sleigh using Starry Night by RJR Fabrics

June: Learning is Fun by Quilting Treasures

August: Lovey Buggy using Luv Bugs by Benartex

August: Hot Little Dish (Wallhanging/Table Topper & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

August: Sweet Hearts using Luv Bugs by Benartex

August: Pagoda Paradise using Little Harajuku by Benartex

October: At the Pond using Leap Frog by Benartex

October: Expressions of Faith (Sofa Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

October: Expressions of Faith (Tablerunner) by Quilting Treasures

October: Expressions of Faith (Infant Quilts) by Quilting Treasures

November: Sunshine using Sunny Days/Sunny Bonnet Susie by Benartex

November: Sew Lovely using Made With Love by Benartex

Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #57


Hello Friends, I hope you are well.  I am happy to share a little more about my “Roundabout Feathers”, as dear friend Joyce calls them.  Joyce gave me her permission to coin the name “Roundabout Feathers” for these fun feather wreaths with a twist!  These feathers are free-hand quilted with very minimal marking, as shown later.


[Sorry about that little piece of lint in this following picture!]



SO — you have this open space that is perfect for quilting something feathery!  For this particular quilt, I have A LOT of open space that I needed something feathery…. but I wanted to add visual interest to the feather wreaths, and not have all of them look identical… so I thought off-centered and concentric wreaths would do the job.

First, I looked through my piles of dishes, and found two bowls – one large, and one smaller.  You can decide what sizes work for you – just make sure one is smaller than the other.  And I then trace the circles on the open space.  The circles then form the spines of the wreaths, and are the determining factor of the placement of your wreath.


The key is to remember the inside feathers of the inner ring MIRRORS the outside feathers of the outer ring, as shown.  You can definitely mark the orientations of the first feather on each ring before you start if the feather wreaths on your quilt are direction-specific.


Then, you would start filling the outside of the outer ring, and inside of the inner ring with feathers!


Then, it’s time to feather the inner feathers of the outer ring.


For the outer feathers of the inner ring, I don’t do “full” feather lobes on some of them just to give the eye a bit of rest — instead I quilt the effect of overlapping feathers, as shown in the schematic.


I find these roundabout feather wreaths to be very versatile.  I can place them wherever I want on an open space, and I can decide how large or small my rings would be, and thus further customizing their appearances.  I hope you can see what I mean with the pictures of the wreaths quilted in real life that I had shared with you earlier in this post.

I hope you will give these wreaths a try!  Curious mind would love to know what you think of them! :)


Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely week!


Click here, here, and here to read my other Thread Talk posts on quilting feather wreaths.

Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #50

thread-talk1I want to tell you I do so love my eagle-eyed friends that come to my blog — whether in spotting my featured projects in magazines before I do, or noticing details in the pictures I share on this blog.

Dear Joyce made this comment about the following picture shown in this post… “I just looked a bit more carefully, I like the way that you added pebbles to fill up a space not taken up by the feather. Very clever and it really adds to the overall look of the quilting.”


Unbeknownst to Joyce, I have been planning a Thread Talk post dealing with the background quilting on the negative space in feather quilting to make the feathers POP even more besides using the appropriate type of batting (click here and here to read past Thread Talk posts)!  Note the scale of the background quilting…


The scale of background quilting compared to the feathers is… tiny!  In order to make the feathers stand out, the scale of background quilting has to be times tinier than the feathers.  To pop my feathers, I normally try to quilt the negative spaces (if I decide to… sometimes I don’t) with a scale as small as I can manage.  Don’t panic though, I find it is easier to quilt small and tiny in many cases.

Many of you might have not seen my Harrison Urn quilt block (based on Susan McCord’s quilt) I quilted way back when.  Feel free to click here to view more pictures of the block.

Meanwhile, Happy Quilting!  Remember to quilt them small when it comes to background quilting!

p.s.  Can you believe we have reached our 50th Thread Talk installment?!  Thanks so much for your encouragement on my past Thread Talk posts.  Your encouragement has kept me going… Stay tuned for a giveaway!

In the Meadow in THE QUILTER (April/May 2013)


Happy Monday, Dear Friends!  I hope you had a good weekend, and do wish you a lovely week ahead of you.  I am happy to share with you today another of my recently featured magazine quilt:  In the Meadow in The Quilter‘s April/May 2013 issue.

TQ_Sweet Home_High Res

In the following, the quilt is shown with the books on my current reading list.  I promise you quilting is not all I do, ha!


The fabrics are from RJR’s Thimbleberries Sweet Home collection.


I was reminded of the Jewels game that I used to play on the computer eons ago, so I sought to design the quilt with the feel of “jewels”.  It turned out to be a neat way to highlight the different fabrics in the collection.

jewels game


You can see the blocks close up in the following:



This design turned out to have quite a bit of negative space — perfect for any kind of background quilting.  I chose free-handed feathers – surprise!


Quilting was done tone-on-tone using Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton threads over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.




It was hard sometimes during the quilting process to perfectly fit a rounded feather lobe right into the geometry of a square or triangular quilting area.  So I quilted little what-nots at the end of the feather lobe to fill in the gap.  I wrote more about the what-nots here.


I hope you enjoyed visiting me today.  As always, I am tickled you choose to drop by.  Have a blessed day.

p.s.  If you have written personal emails to me in the last three weeks and hadn’t heard from me — don’t worry, your emails did reach me more than likely.  Time has evaded me the last couple of weeks.  I really felt like I was a hamster on a wheel.  You WILL hear from me when I can carve out some time to get caught up with my emails!  Meanwhile, keep those emails coming.



My 2013 lineup thus far besides “In the Meadow” – click on links for more information:

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Spring 2013): Baubles, Baubles

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2013): Curious Cats, to be posted

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2013): Fabrique Foursome, to be posted

The Quilter (December 2012/January 2013): Not Too Square

Quilt Trends (Winter 2013, Cover Quilt): Tango

Quilter’s World (February 2013): New Life

Quilter’s World (April 2013): Monkey Around

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): In & Out

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): Garden Maze

Annie’s Love Those Precuts Book (January 2013):  Apple of My Eye

Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting (March/April 2013):  Now I know my ABC’s

Machine Quilting Unlimited (March/April 2013): Quilting Curvy Feathers

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  2 Wishes, to be posted

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  Watercolor Sketches, to be posted

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (January 2013): Mediterranean Dream

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (February 2013): Butterfly Kisses

Benartex Free Pattern (March 2013): Pumpkin Patch/Autumn Fauna

“Quilting Curvy Feathers” in MACHINE QUILTING UNLIMITED (March/April 2013)

MQU March 2013 cover

Hello Friends!  Before I even saw my copy, some of you had written to me with kind words about my “Quilting Curvy Feathers” article in the latest March/April 2013 issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited!  I really appreciate the positive feedback on the article.


This is my first time ever being published in Machine Quilting Unlimited.  If you are unfamiliar with that magazine, it is an amazing publication that features works of HUGE HUGE names in machine quilting.  [I am a HUGE fan of Sandra Leichner!] Click here to subscribe.


As I often share with you, I am just a wee fish in the vast ocean of quilting, and oftentimes swimming upstream. I am learning and experimenting like everyone else, with LOTS more to learn and experiment.  To have something featured in Machine Quilting Unlimited seems unreal to me, even after seeing the article in print.


I say all that to encourage you to take the plunge to machine quilt — you might really enjoy yourself along the way and end up one of the HUGE HUGE names I talked about!  I also want to take the opportunity to thank you all for being my friends, sharing with me my machine quilting journey – albeit a rather wee journey!  Quilt on, my quilting friends — and hugs to you all, even if you don’t quilt.


My 2013 lineup thus far besides “Quilting Curvy Feathers” – click on links for more information:

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Spring 2013): Baubles, Baubles

The Quilter (December 2012/January 2013): Not Too Square

Quilt Trends (Winter 2013, Cover Quilt): Tango

Quilter’s World (February 2013): New Life

Quilter’s World (April 2013): Monkey Around

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): In & Out

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): Garden Maze

Annie’s Love Those Precuts Book (January 2013):  Apple of My Eye

Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting (March/April 2013):  Now I know my ABC’s

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  2 Wishes, to be posted

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  Watercolor Sketches, to be posted

The Quilter (April/May 2013):  In the Meadow, to be posted

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (January 2013): Mediterranean Dream

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (February 2013): Butterfly Kisses

Benartex Free Pattern (March 2013): Pumpkin Patch/Autumn Fauna

Starry Host: Final Sneak Peeks

Hello Friends, I showed you previews of the fabrics and some of the blocks:



Here is a final peek before it is officially featured:


Here are a couple of highly close-up shots of the feathers… I am baring it all for you to pick out all the blemishes.  I can spot a few already by just looking at the close-ups for a few seconds.



Can you tell I am the happiest when I quilt feathers?  With that, I bid you all a very HAPPY Monday, and a Happy Week!

Not Too Square in THE QUILTER (December 2012/January 2013)


Good day, my Friends!  I hope you are doing well.  I thought I would share with you my “Not Too Square” quilt that is featured in The Quilter‘s December 2012/January 2013 issue.


[Image Source:  The Quilter Magazine]

Quilt blocks are oftentimes thought of being square when considered. I decided to put a bit of a spin to that conventional thought and made my blocks rectangular.  Thus the name “Not Too Square”.  What a fun name for the quilt, eh?  I had the grandest time making this quilt, and felt a little sad when the project was completed.

Design 2c

I am really pleased by how good the blue, green, yellow, and, ORANGE fabrics from Riley Blake’s Avignon collection look together in the quilt!  Since the principles pertaining to the color wheel are all greek to me, my approach to pulling colors together in a quilt is more “potluck-ish” in nature. :)  So you can imagine my delight when I saw how the slightly strange color scheme unfolded before me in a very pleasing manner.


Here you see “Not Too Square” in different poses.



Quilting was done with Aurifil Mako 50 cotton threads over Hobbs Tuscany Silk Batt.



Here are a few technical tidbits for the quilting junkies… :)  I had a few thoughts prior to quilting, but the frames presented by the white fabric just screamed FEATHER WREATH to me!  So that’s what I quilted.  The quilted down white frames highlighted the print patches very well.  The un-quilted print patches look raised nestled amongst the quilted down white areas.  Click here for my Thread Talk post on feather wreath.  Click here for my Thread Talk post on the options I considered when quilting this quilt.



Following are images of my feather-quilted sashing:



This is how the back looks:


Are you kind of liking “Not Too Square” yet?  Well, the pattern instructions are offered free on The Quilter’s website.  Isn’t that great?  Click here to download the pdf file.   Click here to purchase kits ($44.95) from Quakertown Quilts.

I hope you have enjoyed “Not Too Square”.  I know this is not a Christmas quilt, but I thought of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” while resizing the photos.  The first stanza is my favorite, reflecting how I felt when I saw the bright colors in “Not Too Square” on a chilly wintry day:


“Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.”

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a blessed day.

Silver Maple in Fons and Porter’s EASY QUILTS (Winter 2012)


Hello Friends, my Silver Maple quilt is featured in the latest Fons and Porter‘s Easy Quilts Winter 2012 issue! YAY!

[image source: Fons and Porter]

This small-sized wall hanging can easily fit a narrow display area.  The color has a wintery sort of feel to it!  Don’t you think?

[image source: Fons and Porter]

The fabrics used are from Thimbleberries’ Pressed Flowers collection, released by RJR Fabrics.  This is my second featured Pressed Flowers quilt.  You can view my first one here.

This is a foundation-pieced pattern.  If you have never tried foundation-piecing, this might be a fun one to try.  One great thing about foundation-piecing is that the points in your blocks will look REALLY impressive!!

Here are a couple more shots of the quilt:

The most fun part in making this quilt for me is the QUILTING!  Quilting is allover free-handed feathers done with Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.

This is how the back looks

So, do tell me, what do you like or dislike about Silver Maple?  You can be totally honest…

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope my post finds you well today.  The weather has certainly be chilly at my end, and wet and rainy too a couple of days this week.   The cold weather makes running errands around town with a young child an even bigger drama – hats, coats, boots etc!  I am sure some of you go, “Uh-huh, been there, and done that!”  :)  You will not likely to hear from me until next Monday as it’s crunch time again over here… have a great weekend!



Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #43

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well.  I am sharing with you a quilting trick I fortuitously discovered when I was quilting my Home Sweet Home quilt.  [I love that word “fortuitous” — it was a word taught to me by a dear Chemical Engineering professor in college when I would go see him in his office.  More often than not, he would give me the “word of the day” after he was done teaching me engineering stuff.]

If you look at the image below, you will see that I added little “what-nots” at the tip of some feathers to fill in the geometry of either square or triangle patches.

The reason I did that is because I was trying to fit rounded feather lobes into the geometry of a square or a triangle, and sometimes it’s just impossible to quilt a feather large or narrow enough to fit the quilting area and have the feathers still look decent.  So I came up with the “what-not-companion” approach.  See the below images to see what I mean…

You can see in the following the aforementioned “what-nots” in action.  You will need to study the images a bit to find the “what-nots” since the quilting was done tone-on-tone.

I hope the “what-nots” trick would come in handy for you when you are quilting feathers to fit quilting area of fixed geometry.  Notice this post does not deal with how to quilt feathers — that topic is already covered here.

Thanks for stopping by!  A huge quilty hug to all my friends!

Modern Country in SIMPLY SOLIDS by Annie’s

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well!  My Modern Country was returned to me amidst of all the chatter from you about feather quilting in my Learn to Machine Quilt online class giveaway post!  Perfect timing, eh?  Modern Country appears in Simply Solids, a newly released book by Annie’s.

[image source: Simply Solids, page 23]

Modern Country is inspired by primitive quilts that are so dearly loved by many quilters, and adapted with a modern flair in that the colors are brighter than the traditional primitive palette.  I used all solids from RJR’s Cotton Supreme Solids collection.  Click here to see the full range of fabrics.

Quilting was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton threads (different colors) over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.  Some of you have asked about my thought process in deciding how/what to quilt.  I will take the opportunity here to share a little how I decided to quilt this banner.

So, here goes… looking at a quilt top that is made of entirely solids — my first thought is dense quilting that adds interesting texture to the quilt.  Deciding what dense quilting motif to quilt is strictly a matter of personal preference.  I happen to love feather quilting, like really really really love!  So, it’s feathers for me!

Next comes the question of whether to quilt marked or unmarked feathers.  Oftentimes in my case, I go with free-form and unmarked feathers because of my time constraint.  I often do not have more than 6-8 hours to quilt a quilt.  So, I almost always go for unmarked feathers. I decided to unevenly distribute the feather so that the eye is drawn to look at the various parts of the banner.  I also quilted straight lines in the mid sections of the side borders to break up the feathers a little, again, for visual effect.  And so, you have the completed banner in the following image.

[image source: Simply Solids, page 21]

Here are a few close-up shots of the quilting:

And here, you see close-ups of the birds with their respective sprig of berries.

I also took this super close-up shot of my quilting to show you why I like to quilt with Aurifil’s Mako 50 Cotton thread — I get virtually no thread building up despite stitching over some of the areas multiple times.  Click here to read more about my thoughts on threads.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed looking at my Modern Country!  I am going back to work — on quilting feathers actually.  Talk about coincidence, eh? :)

Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #42

Dear Friends,  I hope you are doing well.  Life has been sort of a blur for me in the last few days as I worked to meet a few non-negotiable deadlines!  I had heard from some of you that you were not able to leave comments on my Cottage Chic Christmas quilt.  I am sorry about that.  I am not quite what was wrong.  I am guessing whatever it was, it was temporary on WordPress’ end.

Here is a snapshot of one of the three quilts I had shipped out in the last week or so.  You can see that it is quilted feather wreath, but with a lighthearted informal feel.  My feather lobes don’t all look the same in size or style.  They almost look like they are up to mischief or something – which is not totally outrageous in light them being quilt on my Monkey Business II quilt there! :)

You will see what I mean by comparing the previous photo with  this next one.  Since all the feathers are the same size, the feel is more uniform and more formal.

Moral of the story:  Experiment with the sizes and styles of your feather lobes to achieve different looks.

Thanks for stopping by!  I will see you again tomorrow, hopefully.