Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 5

Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
***Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging


Hello Friends, here we are again on our Quilt-Along Monday!  There’s not a new installment because Karen and I know the hustles and bustles of life all too well, and sometimes we just can’t get to quilting like we would like.  The panel center is a relatively large area, so, we though we would give folks a couple of weeks to get that done before we move on to the subsequent sections.  If you missed my post 2 weeks ago on quilting the panel center, here is the link again!

I am starting to see pictures of your work, and have interacted with some of you on your project.  I am so excited to see how you have chosen to customize this panel quilt with quilting.


Now, some of you might still be gathering your supplies.  That’s okay — jump in when you are able to. Click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.


I have heard positive responses from many regarding my book.  THANK YOU!

You may order my book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing


or email me for signed copies!

I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!  The collection is IN STOCK again as of this morning!!!

Meanwhile, you may also order the collection HERE and HERE.

My Subtle Strings colors are specially selected to achieve a subtle contrast effect in the quilting.  That is to say, we get to quilt with pretty colors on our quilts, but the colors aren’t really visible from afar and are not competing with the overall look of the quilt, until one looks at the quilting close up.  These colors are also perfect for piecing, machine or hand applique — definitely my go-to!  Why limit yourself to using only beige and light brown, or white?!



So far, here are the Subtle Strings colors I used for the different sections!  It’s a great time to experiment with subtle colors in quilting!  I hope you like subtle contrast quilting as much as I have!  Where the spool is indicates the area quilted with the color.

Since we are on a downtime installment-wise, I thought I would chat with you briefly on quilting results and personality!  One observation that has been consistent from all the free-motion domestic machine quilting classes I have taught is that different quilters will quilt differently the one motif that is being presented.  For example, we would be working on pebbles (pages 50-51), and students will end up with different shapes or sizes for their pebbles.

Last week I shared how our quilting looks is like how our signature looks!  And that solves the mystery why we often end up with different looks when we quilt one motif.  And you know what, THAT is perfectly fine!  Your quilting reflects and celebrates you!!!


This week, I want to share a rule I have for my students who take classes with me.  So often, students are alarmed because the quilting they see right at the moment of them quilting isn’t looking so nice!

I get it!  I am the same way!!  When I am quilting, I see the not so perfectly formed curves, or the slight jerk from moving my quilt sandwich too fast — it’s like seeing all the imperfections in real time.  However, I have learned if I just focus on quilting the piece, and not worry so much about the results and come back to look at my quilting later (36-48 hours!), I would have forgotten about all those real time imperfections and would decide that my quilting looks pretty good after all.

SO — always wait 36-48 hours before you decide how your quilting turns out!  

Here is a real life example…. as I quilted this part of the cloud, I thought I made a tactical mistake in placing the spiral here.  Truth is I went a little further than I would like quilting that front spiral.  I call it my wayward spiral.

I thought of ripping out the stitches.  I then reminded myself I should just wait and see…

I waited and looked at it again, and decided it doesn’t look bad after all as a whole.  So, I was 94.7% satisfied with that wayward spiral, and I am okay with it because I didn’t have to take out stitches!

Remember, the more you quilt, the better you will be at it!  I hope you are having the time of your life working on this piece.  I know I have!  See you again next Monday, but not before you check out Karen’s post for today!  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.


All things giveaway!!!

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well.  I haven’t fared so well — I have been under the weather.  I am taking things a little slowly, which is hard for me to do.  This is the first day I felt like I am on the path to normality!  I hope you have been well.

Giveaway Winners

Thank you all for your willingness to help me in my continual de-stashing project.  So first things first, the winner of my fabric box giveaway are:

Box 1 (mainly cream and beige print (yardages)):  Rita Long

Box 2 (chicken prints and others (yardages)): Brenda Ackerman

Box 3 : Melody G

VERY IMPORTANT:  I can no longer easily access your email addresses to inform you of your win!  PLEASE email me to confirm you still want the fabric boxes at



Mystery Box #1

Mystery Box #2

Both with large pieces of fabrics.  If you have received fabric boxes for me before, you know I am very generous in my packing! :)

Please leave a comment below if you would like one of these fabric boxes.

If you are interested in any of these boxes, enter the giveaway by indicating which Box you would like.  PLEASE NOT THAT YOU HAVE TO LIVE IN THE US, AND WILL BE PAYING $16 TO COVER THE SHIPPING COST.  I will announce the winners this Wednesday so that I can fill MORE boxes.  Please don’t judge, hahahaha! 



I am working on my third quilt top this year!  Having been sick, you can imagine I am in a “leading from behind” situation.  I can’t quite share with you those quilts, but I can share with you that I entered my Thread Journey quilt into a juried show.  I don’t know yet if it is accepted.  I hope it is…. I will let you know one way or another.



It is heavily quilted on my domestic machine to highlight the threads in my Subtle Strings collection.  These Aurifil 50wt threads were selected for beautiful quilting results, as well as piecing!  You can purchase the thread box here: — it is now available at $79.99 — an amazing price from the normal retail price of almost $150!  Be sure to grab a box, or TWO, or THREE!!!



Here is a close up picture of the quilting on Thread Journey: sept15e

Have you seen my new book, Stitching Pathways?!  In it, I shared about a cheaters way to get started on feathers… YOU CAN NOW PURCHASE THE BOOK FROM ME FOR $24 including shipping!  I just received 100 copies of the book!!!  Email me at if you are interested.

I will be sharing free play mat project to go along with the content in this book in the last week of February.  We will be making the play mat solely with machine quilting.  So, get the book because I will be referring to the book for the stitching motifs we will be using!  Of course you can also purchase the book from Amazon, or from my publisher, Landauer Publishing.

That’s all for today!  I will catch up with you later!

New Year Same Projects

Day In Life

As a result of my ongoing organizing effort, I am faced with the reality of “New Year Same Project(s)” situation!!  I see projects I started before Miss Baby was born, and she is turning 9 this year… that shows you how old some of my projects are.

So this year, I will working to reduce the reality of New Year Same Projects situation in my life!  Here is one that I will be working on for the next two months.  This projects uses almost all the blues out of the 270 Aurifil offers for embroidery floss.  The pattern is Bois Le Duc by Long Dog Samplers for those who are interested.  It is a sampler based on historical Dutch sampler motifs, many with Christian symbolism.

I can only work on this a few minutes when I get some down time.  One thing I find that has helped is to always make sure my needle is threaded when I stop — so that when I pick it up again everything is all ready to go.


Upcoming quilt news

Miss Baby was always fascinated in plants and such (including dandelion!) when she was three, and she still is now!

I have designed this Make A Wish quilt a few weeks ago using Windham Fabrics’ upcoming Botany fabrics.  This quilt celebrates girl, and is inspired by Miss Baby, who can never pass up the chance to blow on a dandelion!  The girl even has the hair much like Miss Baby’s usual hair style!

Please note:  This will be offered as a kit by Windham Fabrics!  Pattern is part of the kit.  And since fabric line doesn’t run indefinitely, if you are interested, you should get the kit while you can, and while it is offered. Ask your local quilt shops to contact Windham Fabrics about Make A Wish kits.  Kits won’t be out for another couple of months, so be sure to check back on this site or my Instagram page for updated information.

I have received many emails asking for past kit patterns.  Unfortunately, those patterns for kits are often not available after the kits are gone.  So, if you see something you like, the thing to do is to get the kits before they are sold out.

With that…. I shall close out today’s post…. but not before I share with you a New Year Same Project situation that I proudly maintain in my life: spending time in God’s Word!  Blessings to you all!!

More Giveaway (Destash) News — Happy Monday, and Hello — my name is…

… Wendy Sheppard, the rather accidental quilter!  I want to welcome my new followers following me in the last few months!  I hope you have enjoyed your visits to my blog.  Since there have been quite a few Ivory Spring friends of late, I thought I would take a moment to share a few things about myself.


#1.  I didn’t start off thinking, wanting or imagining to be a quilter.  You can read about my quilting journey here, and why I quilt here.


#2.  I am passionate about domestic machine quilting, but I have also learned this year to enjoy piecing!  More about that in an upcoming post!  I currently have 5 Annie’s different online /video machine quilting classes – check out the sidebar for more information on each of the machine quilting classes.

#3.  I am more a thread-aholic than I am a fabric-aholic!  I am definitely a dish-aholic!

My thread-aholism has landed me in a couple of “mug shots”…



#4.  At any given day, I would rather rip out ALL the seams of a completed quilt top than clean and shine my glass top stove!

#5.  I like to design quilts that ONLY look complicated, but are really easy to put together. :)

#6.  And right now, I am in the process of doing a major de-stashing project.  I am in the process of giving away 80% of my fabric stash.  Come back later this week and I will show you pictures of the fabrics I did keep for myself.  I just sent out an email to those who made it to my Waiting List #2, and I will be sending out another email soon for those who made it to Waiting List #3.  I think my fabric stash is mysteriously multiplying!

#7.  My favorite cookies are oatmeal raisins!  I can’t be left alone with them.


Meanwhile, the following photo shows copies of quilting publications that have published my work.


Duplicate copies of magazines have accumulated over the years.  I am giving away these duplicate magazine issues.  I can fit 3-4 (depending on the magazines) in a USPS Priority Envelope for $9. [If you have received my fabric boxes, you will know I don’t skim, hehe!]  I have enough to send to 20 of you if you are interested.  Please email me at and write “Magazine De-Stash” in the subject line!  Please note that I can only guarantee you will have at least ONE magazine issue that will have my design in it.  


And lastly, I am happy to announce Marty won the Adventures in Hexagons book giveaway!  Congrats, Marty.  I have emailed to ask for your mailing address.  Please respond, and I will pass on the info to get the book mailed out to you. :)  I ran out of time getting my hexagon project completed due to some very intense and unexpected workload.  So my part is forthcoming!  Meanwhile, I hope you will pick up at copy of my friend Emily’s book!


Thanks for stopping by… and have a lovely rest of your week!

Aurifil Thread Journey: Wrapping up – almost!

Happy Thursday, Friends!  To be honest, I am not ready for this week to end because I have quite a few things I would like to check off my list before the weekend is upon us… be that as it may, Aurifil’s blog (click here) is updated with another Thread Journey post!  You will see my notes on the following pictures…




My daughter’s violin teacher always admonishes her to not play sloppy — and I have challenged myself to not quilt sloppy on my Thread Journey quilt.  I have learned much through making this quilt…. it’s been therapeutic in many ways!  Anyway, click here to read up on Thread Journey’s latest!  If you have followed along the journey, you know I have sunk A LOT of thread into it… :)


Thank you for stopping by.  I will leave you with a Miss Baby quote when she was a little miffed from not getting any sympathy from me regarding a gnat that’s been flying around… (what I can say, I grew up in the tropics!).

Miss B:  When I have a husband and kids, I am going to have 14 fly swatters lying about!!!

Thread Journey Part 5 — We are still quilting!


Hello Friends, we are still quilting!  I will again let the pictures tell the story today.  So far, I have logged 30 hours quilting this quilt… sounds crazy, doesn’t it? :)









These colors from my Subtle Strings collection were used to quilt the Ohio Star border.  Click here to read more about Subtle Strings.


Click here to find out how to quilt the motifs I have quilted on the Ohio Star border, as well as other options you could try to quilt your own Thread Journey Quilt!

That’s all for now – another busy day over here.  I’ve got to run for now!  Take care, and have a lovely rest of your day. Hugs to you all!

p.s.  By the way, did you know today is National Mail Order Catalog Day?!  Perfect time to order something from your favorite quilting catalog!!! :o)

Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #69


Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well.  Things have been a little chaotic over here… probably an understatement, haha!  But we are doing well.   Despite the beautiful cherry blossoms we saw last week, we are waiting for the slightly warmer weather to keep getting warmer. :)


Last week, I stitched out a Mandala design using my Subtle Strings threads.  This Mandala design was stitched out as part of QuiltShopGal’s Bee Creative Charity Project.  Click here to read more.  QuiltShopGal also showed my pencil sketch schematic of this stitched Mandala in her post. You are free to use it as an inspiration for your quilting.



Sometimes, a little subtlety goes a long way, yes?  To illustrate how subtle the colors of my Subtle Strings thread spools are, I contrast them against a solid black background.  The flower center is stitched with Aurifil 40wt threads in the bright and loud shades in order to give contrast to the colors and the 50wt threads I had chosen for Subtle Strings.  All 12 Subtle Strings colors are stitched in the 12 outer petals.


It’s interesting to me to see how the colors look SO different when wound on spools vs. when they are stitched out. In this case, when the thread is stitched out (without the effect of the collective rounds of wound thread), you might even say some of the threads are subtly similar in shades — thus the name, Subtle Strings. :)  Take a look at the corresponding colors to the stitched petals, and you will quickly see the effect of “collective vs loner”.  For example, that yellow thread doesn’t look so yellow after all.


My two cents:

#1.  ALWAYS, always (!) audition the color of your threads but pulling a thread by itself and lay it against your fabrics to see if you like the thread color on your quilt, instead of laying the entire spool on the fabric for audition.  Of course that is the lazy way.  You can always actually stitch out the colors on actual fabrics if you are the very responsible kind, haha!  As for me, I tread the quickest path that gets me to the actual quilting part.

***There are logical reasons to my Subtlety (see below):

#2.  Interchangeable shades — that means I have used the similar shades of colors TOGETHER in a quilt in the situation where I ran out of one color during the quilting process, and proceeded using the one with the similar shade.  The effect is almost unnoticeable (unless inspected up close), especially with those two blue shades.

#3. The top center cream shade is my favorite neutral shade (#2130) that I use to piece AND quilt most of the time.  BUT, I have also learned that the other shades (like the light pink, lavender, light blue, gray and taupe) are suitable for piecing as well – even for light fabrics.  So, if you have threads in subtle colors laying around, use them like you would a neutral thread in your sewing!

#4.  The softer colors accentuates the texture of quilting if you want the effect of your quilting not overpowering.

The following picture shows what I call “lemonade” quilting.  The thread is the light pink quilted against a yellow fabric:


#5.  I also picked those shades for hand applique purposes because those shades blend well in securing the applique pieces onto background fabrics.  I read somewhere a long time ago to no pick loud shades for hand applique.  And I have always used subtle shades for hand applique.


#6.  And of course all the Subtle Strings threads are in 50wt.  The reason being, for those starting out with domestic machine quilting, I always encourage them to use the finest thread they can find.  I started out using 100wt silk (you can read more about it and see more pictures here).  As I taught domestic machine quilting, I had found that the 50wt really gives the students the best results that eventually confidence in them to continue in domestic machine quilting.  [From my personal teaching experience, it has to be the Aurifil 50wt that gives the best result!  I would hand out 50 wt threads to student who are struggling in class to have them just try the thread – they are always amazed at the difference the thread makes!]  So, the 50wt is definitely a great weight to start!

#7.  When used for quilting, I find that the 50wt masks mistakes really well, and oftentimes that is what give beginners the initial confidence to keep on quilting on their domestic machines.

#8.  The 50wt is my favorite weight for piecing.  I think that the 50wt helps with achieving precision in piecing.  I found that subtle shades of pink, green, blue or yellow work just as well color-wise as the neutrals in piecing!

My Color Burst quilt comes to mind – that quilt was completed from start to finish (finish means bound and set to the magazine editor) in 5 days.  I have to say it wouldn’t have been possible for me to do had it not been the Aurifil 50wt threads that helped me so much in achieving the precision in piecing.  Keep in mind these HST finish at 1 1/2″ square.



I think I finally ran out of my 2-cents on being subtle here. :)  I hope you will look and see what threads you might have to stitch them out, just to see how they would look on fabrics like I did with my Subtle Strings colors on a black. I will have more projects like that to show and share with you this year — and hope that you will make experimenting a point in your quilting journey this year!


You may contact Donna at to order your own Subtle Strings collection.  A big shout out to Quilters Newsletter for including the collection in the Staff Picks section of their latest issue (April/May 2016).  Have you see my Tartan Links quilt in that same issue?

QN Subtle Strings

Alrightie — Friends, I am going to have a date with my Aurifil 50wt threads as I have to get a quilt top pieced and shipped out tomorrow.  I hope you have a most lovely weekend!  Quilty hugs to you – whether you are a quilter or not.

FREE PATTERN: Memento…. & etc!

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well.  Thank you for stopping by again.  It’s been a really happening summer at my end. I am not complaining, and am doing well!  I am working on quite a few things that I can’t quite share in full.  Meanwhile, I haven’t quite been able to take pictures of my recently returned magazine quilts. We have gotten quite a bit of rain in our area — and it’s made taking my usual outdoor photo shoots of my quilts a bit more challenging!  I keep hoping the weather would line up with my schedule!!  So, here are a couple of quick pictures to show you what are now official!

My All In Knots quilt made cover of Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts Summer 2015 Issue.


My Cozy Town quilt is featured in McCall’s Quilting July/August 2015 Issue – on newsstands right now!



More pictures and details of these quilts are forthcoming – I promise!!

Meanwhile, I feel Christmas in July is in the air!  How about a free-to-use pattern using Hoffman’s Memento Collection – in gold and silver colorways?  The Memento fabrics reflect the traditional and Victorian feel of Christmas — I love, love, love!

high res_gold colorway_66 x 66

high res_silver colorway_66 x 66

Click here to view Hoffman’s Memento Fabrics.

Click here to download pattern instructions.

So tell me – what Christmas color scheme are you — traditional, fun, novelty, funky etc?

Thank you for stopping by, Friends!  I hope you are enjoying your week!  It is back to work for me…. HUGS to you all!


[My free to use designs from previous years are listed under “FREE PATTERNS” on the side bar.]

January: A Red Letter Day using Seeing Red (Benartex)

January: Star Struck using Caryl’s Feathers (Benartex)

February: Happy Home House Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

February: Happy Home Runner (Quilting Treasures)

February: Happy Home Throw Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

February: Farmville using Green Farms (Benartex)

February: Zoey’s Flowerbed using Zoey (Benartex)

March: Camp Cozy Quilt (Quilting Treasures)

March: Pretty Little Houses using Tango (Benartex)

March: Ariel (Quilting Treasures)

March: Flutter B’s using Butterfly Effect (Benartex)

April:  Baby Bunny using Bunny Hop (Benartex)

April: Yuki (Hoffman Fabrics)

April: Shimmering Constellations using Gold Standard (Benartex)

April: Bonjour (Quilting Treasures)

April: Baby Boutique (Quilting Treasures)

May: High Speed Racer using Vroom (Benartex)

May: Flower-Scapes using Blue Paradise / Sundrenched (Benartex)

May: Rusty’s Sleeping Hollow using Rusty & Friends (Benartex)

May: Christine’s Rose Garden using Christine (Benartex)

June: Treeline Drive (Hoffman Fabrics)

June: Frosty the Snowman (Quilting Treasures)

June: Jolly Old St. Nick (Quilting Treasures)

July: Memento (Hoffman Fabrics)

Engineer vs. Artist: Sneak Peeks

Hello Friends, I meant to check in yesterday, but I had an Engineer vs. Artist moment (thus the name of the quilt for now), and the Artist won.  You see, when piecing is involved, I am all engineer because of the precision aspect of things.  Then, when it comes time to decide what to quilt, oftentimes the engineer within me takes over for the efficiency aspect of things, due to project deadlines, and I have to be efficient with what I quilt within the amount of time I have…. but yesterday, the Artist in me won!

I was already late because the piecing took longer – piecing ALWAYS takes longer for me because I am a snail-speed piecer. I knew I had a limited amount of time to quilt the quilt.  I could just quickly quilt an allover motif, and be efficient, or I could go all out and quilt fancy, and really add to the quilt.  The battle raged on fiercely (!), and finally, the Artist won!

I won’t tell you how much sleep I got last night, because I will get in trouble should my Mom check in and read the post. ;) But suffice it to say all those all-nighters I had in engineering school amply prepared for a stint like last night’s!



I was glad the Artist in me won in the quilting department of this quilt.  I really like the result. But the icing on the cake was when Miss Baby came downstairs and saw the quilt this morning… she said, “WOW, Mom…. this quilt is so pretty now (that it’s quilted)!” I guess she wasn’t quite sure about it before, and was too nice to say anything negative.

This quilt is now on its way to the editor.  Whether they would let me officially name the quilt “Engineer vs. Artist” remains to be seen.

Thank you for stopping by!  I need to start on the next few things on my list.  I shall catch up with you later.

p.s.  Through today only, you can still get my book Recreating Antique Quilts at a discount at my publisher’s website. Click here to purchase the book.

00 RAQCover

Quilty previews

Hello Friends, I have had the pleasure of focusing on the quilting part while working on some exciting projects.  Here are a couple of sneak peeks.  They have the feel of rich hot dark chocolate with a hint of raspberry and marshmallow…



How is your Christmas shaping up?  We are slowly seeing more and more Christmas around the house.  And with Miss Baby, it’s almost like we are in all things crafty when it comes to Christmas.   I will have pictures to show you later on.

But I cannot leave today without sharing with you this very quilty Christmas ornament.  Being an aspiring artisan (sort of, and I can at least dream), I am always sourcing home grown artisan Christmas things for my collection.  I am always amazed at just how talented some people are out there.  You can purchase this star ornament here.  [I will have a few more noteworthy American made ornaments to share with you before the season is over.]

Star ornament

Thanks for stopping by, Dear Friends!  Thanks to you all who have shared about your Advent Calendar here.  I enjoyed reading about your Advent Calendars.  Now, curious mind wants to know if you have a favorite ornament, and if so, what it is like.

Giveaway: Learn to Machine Quilt

A couple of days ago, I received a sweet, sweet comment.  Thank you, Ann-Marie, for making my day.

blog comment

I am happy to announce another giveaway today — a free copy of my online Learn to Machine Quilt class, produced by Annie’s.

Learn to Machine Quilt

Click here to read more about the class.  Shown in the following are the topics covered in the class.  This class is designed to help beginning machine quilters to get used to moving their quilt sandwiches.  It remains my firm belief that being able to maneuver one’s quilt sandwich is the key to enjoyable quilting on a domestic machine.

learn to machine quilt 5

Here are a few images of the class sample.

Learn to Quilt 2

learn to quilt6

Lean to Machine Quilt4

And here you see pictures of the class samples made by quilters who took the class.  Here is one by Joyce:


And here is one by Jean:



To be entered in the giveaway, please leave a comment below between now and August 6th, 2014 – and tell me one challenge you face when quilting your own quilts on your domestic machine.  Winner will be announced in August 7th, 2014.  Good luck! :)


Thanks for stopping by.  I am still working on Iron Man II (or Insanity, as Mary calls it).  But I am almost done piecing the top, woo hoo!