Sunday, November 30, 2014

Teaching "Liberated Basics"

Detail of  "Fireworks over Millennium Park."

 "Fireworks over Millennium Park" is the quilt I will be using to teach "Liberated Basics."

In 2015 I will be teaching a series of classes I am calling "Liberated Basics." In this series of three classes I hope to address some of the elements of Liberated quilting. Liberated quilting is very improvisational quilting and a pattern is not needed. The only thing needed is thread, fabric and imagination. I will teach the techniques by  using my quilt, " Fireworks over Millennium Park" as an example for this class. This quilt was a semi-finalist in the 2013 American Quilters Society Show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I will address how I created each of the elements of this quilt and will help the students in the class create their own one-of -a kind liberated quilts.  Quilters Square, a quilt shop in Lexington, Ky has graciously allowed me to use their shop to teach this series of classes. The shop will be providing the students with  a fat quarter pack of fabrics that "reads as solids."  I picked these fabrics because I think the end results will be fantastic. Some of  the fabrics in the fat quarter bundle include the line from Moda called Grunge. My goal is to inspire others to give liberated quilting a try. I will provide the students with my list of favorite inspirational quilt books. My favorite being books by Gwen Marston, the mother of Liberated quilting.  I have been quilting using elements of  this method for about five years and love the results.

Oh yes.... The classes are on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. January 10, February 14 and March 21. There is a price break if signing up for all three classes. You can sign up by calling Quilters Square.Call quilter's Square at 859 278-5010 to sign up. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Machine Quilting Tricks

I was most fortunate to get an opportunity to spend time at a recent retreat hosted by world famous quilting sisters Pat Holly and Sue Nickles. These two Michigan girls know how to home sewing machine quilt. It was five days packed with information, instruction and inspiration.

 I am not new to machine quilting. I received "sticker shock" back in 2005 and it was the cost of having quilts completed by a long arm quilter that sent me to my home sewing machine. Thus I began  to quilt my quilts on my sewing machine. I have many quilts that I quilted and I must say much of the knowledge I have received about this endeavor has come from talking to quilting friends, reading books and much trial and error. There are things like needle size, thread size and different types of batting that matter.

There are many books written about  machine quilting by many different quilt artists. But the ultimate learning experience for me was sitting down with the pros at my own sewing machine and learning what they have to teach.

I have been sewing on a Bernina 440 with a BSR stitch regulator since this machine first introduced into the market. The Holly girls are Bernina embassadors and are familiar with this invention. I call it the $1,000.00 foot . The Holly girls refer to the foot as "quilting with training wheels."  It is quite the electronic attachment that helps control stitch length while free motion quilting. During the retreat I learned to quilt without the BSR.  Basically it means to slow down and be more intentional about where the stitches are going.

I learned to mark a quilt and draw feather designs. Personally, I have never been big on marking a quilt. My free motion sometimes calls for  register marks to keep the size of the quilting even, but for the most part I just jump in and quilt. I'm glad I now have these skills to add to my quilting arsenal. And I am going to use some of the feather designs on a top that I have waiting to be quilted.

I will also be returning to the Holly Girls Retreat in 2015. What wonderful teachers and I want to add more to my quilt skills arsenal.

This is the detail work on my 18"x18" sampler from The First Holly Girls Retreat.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chattanooga Welcomes AQS Quilt Show

The riverfront of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.

September 10-13, 2014 the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee hosted the American Quilters Society Quilt show in their downtown Convention Center. I had the pleasure of attending the event and I must say the City of Chattanooga and the town's quilters embraced the event. After a day of viewing quilts and exhibits at the Convention Center I took the time to visit the Tennessee Riverfront. It was fun being a tourist. I went to the outdoor art, a great restaurant, the IMAX Theatre as well as the Aquarium. What I wasn't expecting to see were more quilts. The Modern Quilt Guild Chattanooga had quilts hung in the IMAX theater as well as the Aquarium.

The Modern Quilt Guild had this quilt hanging from the rafters at the IMAX Theatre.

The Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild must have been very busy in anticipation of the AQS Show. There were quilts of  fish throughout the Aquarium. But the most amazing collaborative was a series of  small quilts approximately 9"x12" each, all side-by-side that represented the Tennessee River. What a fun project that must have been for the guild.

Small quilts from 26 different quilters make their interpretation of the Tennessee River.

Quilts were a fun surprise to find in the Aquarium and the Imax Theatre. I was impressed with Chattanooga and how they embraced the AQS Quilt Show and I will definitely return next year. Maybe I can talk some friends into coming along.

My quilt "Flight Patterns" was an entry in the show and the centerfold in the AQS quilt catalog.


I did have one of my quilts in the show. My quilt, "Flight Patterns" was a semifinalist. The quilt was not a ribbon winner but I was pretty excited to have it pictured in the centerfold of the catalog. This was my first time to be in the centerfold.
I am currently finishing up on a quilt that measures 59"x62". Yea! About the time I am finished with a quilting project I am also ready to move on to another project. I  have several small projects waiting. I have four nieces pregnant and must  honor my mantra, "Every child deserves their own quilt." I will post as they are completed. Happy Stitching.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Following the Kentucky State Fair Quilt Judge

Volunteers gather around as judges critique "Best of Show" quilt.

Last week I had the opportunity to volunteer during the quilt contest judging for the Kentucky State Fair. I spent the day doing various tasks including writing judges comments, folding quilts, attaching ribbons and spreading quilts out for the judge to view. But more importantly I spent the day learning. My guess is there were nearly 500 quilts entered and each quilt was given proper attention for the contest.

I appreciated the certified judge taking time to point out to the volunteers great work along with common mistakes in quilting. The judge realized the volunteers  came to help, but also came to learn. With each quilt she started with praising what was good about the quilt then added suggestions for improvement. Hopefully each contestant can learn from the judges comments.

I want to share some of the things the judge I assisted found important in creating an award-winning quilt.

*Binding - Each quilt she commented on the binding. Some of her binding tips:  Be sure your thread matches the binding. Make sure the binding is full. Sew strips of binding together on the diagonal so not to create lumps in the binding. She is also a fan of binding cut on the bias because she says it will wear better. An accomplished quilter as well as a judge, she shared a trick in keeping the binding full. The trick she uses in keeping binding full is to cut extra batting in one quarter inch strips and insert it as the binding is sewn down.  Be sure the corners are properly mitered and the miters are sewn closed.

*Piecing: Make sure points are not cut off. When a pattern has sashing she suggested adding cornerstones to the sashing even if it is the same color. The reason is because it will help keep the sashing straight. Quilts with crooked sashing or borders were "dismissed." I loved they used the word "dismissed" rather than "rejected." It's so much kinder.

*Quilting: She inspected the quilting carefully for stitch length, thread color choice and workmanship. If the stops and starts and the quilting were obvious that was noted. Many of the quilts were noted as "Needs more quilting."

*Color and design: Each quilt was judged for color and design and she often commented if the colors had value.

*Applique or embroidery: When the quilts were appliqued or embroidered the stitches were inspected for tension.

*Piecing the back. Quilts that were pieced with two equal pieces on the back were noted. She suggested when piecing the back to always piece the seams vertically and never down the middle of the back. The reason is the middle is where the quilt will be folded and this will add stress the the seam. She suggested piecing the back somewhere other than the middle. The reason to piece the backing vertically is because if the quilt is ever hung the vertical seam will not stress the quilt as much as a horizontal seam. (I must admit I am guilty of piecing the back horizontally  because this method saves fabric.)

*Folding. While this was not a category that counted she did give the volunteers this tip: Her suggestion in folding a quilt was to fold from top to bottom twice and then fold from the middle. The reason is when the quilt is hung the weight of the quilt will pull out the horizontal folds in the quilt.

I know this is a lot but if you have entered a quilt in a show the minute details matters. Make sure your great works get the ribbon it deserves. Watch for the detail. I challenge you to enter a quilt in a show and Good Luck!!!

Sneak peek of the quilt currently on the design wall.

I am working on a really fun quilt and will give you a sneak peek. I will post more when it is closer to being finished.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jiffy Baby Quilt for the Little One

My Jiffy Baby Quilt goes together quickly.

Another baby arrives and this time I put together a quick quilt I call my "Jiffy Baby Quilt." Just by looking at the photo you can get an idea of how this is a simple quilt. This is very liberated and can be made from pulling fabrics from your stash and scrap bags. When I cut the colorful strips of various widths I cut the white background pieces at the same time and stored them together until I was ready to sew. Just make sure your rotary cutting blade is sharp because it will be going through 3 or four thicknesses of fabric. 

I love the name "Jiffy" in this quilt for several reasons. One is it reminds me of my youth and learning clothing construction with "Simplicity Jiffy" patterns. The patterns always had only one to four main pattern pieces and were perfect for beginners or for constructing a new outfit quickly." Jiffy"  also reminds me of  the cornmeal mix. This is a great product for the beginning cook or the cook in a hurry. I love that the iconic box label has remained the same for years. Here's to the word "Jiffy."

Back to the quilt. I started this quilt by picking out a backing fabric first. Sometimes I do that because it helps me to narrow down what colors will be on the front of the quilt. I chose the cute owl fabric because..... it is cute.

The cute owl fabric is the back of the Jiffy Baby Quilt.

The owl fabric has great colors so it was easy to find coordinating fabrics from my stash for the front. The other reason I like this style of quilt is because I can have fun with the quilting. I use my home sewing machine to quilt. Baby quilts fit nicely under the throat of my machine and this quilt measures 36"x38" so there is no need to piece the back.

 I quilted each strip of this quilt using a different quilt pattern. It is a great place to try out new designs. The other thing I like to do is include the baby's name and birth date in the quilting. This is a personal touch that I hope makes it special for the family.

This is a close up of the quilted name , weight and date of birth.

A close-up of  some of the playful quilting stitches.

Please try making your own version of "Jiffy Baby Quilt." I would love to see what you come with, you can email me at this link.

As you know I am working on my Hipster profile. (Owls are hipster and so is Instagram.)  I would like to invite you to follow me on Instagram @sundayfarmingquilter or go to this link. I will be tagging some of my blog photos to share with others.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quilt Design Shows up in Footwear

Flight Patterns in the design on hand-painted footwear.

My new daughter-in-law, Stephanie Morgan,  recently honored me and my quilt design. The quilt pattern used in my award winning quilt "Flight Patterns" was painted on a pair of  canvas shoes by  her friend Alyssa Kulik. Ms. Kulik gave the shoes to Stephanie as a gift for being a bridesmaid in her wedding. It was so fun for me to see my quilt pattern gracing footwear. Hmmmm...... could be a new direction for quilters!

If was fun to see my design repeated on Stephanie's shoes.

This is Flight Patterns hanging at the AQS show in Lancaster. The design was inspiration for Stephanie's hand painted shoes.

I have been busy quilting but I just haven't completed any projects lately. Currently I have four quilt projects going simultaneously. Sometimes I like to work in this fashion. That way when I get stuck with a design on one quilt I just move over to a different project until I am enlightened with an idea on how to move on. Hopefully I will have a completed project to share in the near future.

"Fireworks over Millennium Park" hanging at the Community Arts Center in Danville, Kentucky.

I also wanted to share a photo of me and my quilt "Fireworks over Millennium Park." This quilt was part of a quilt exhibit hosted by our local Community Arts Center in Danville, Kentucky. This small town arts center does a great job of promoting all types of art and has different exhibits each months. There is also a lecture series that happens each month and summer art camps for kids.   Lessons in all types of music, dance, painting, drawing are sponsored by the center as well as being the venue for the  occasional wedding reception. We are lucky to have such a great arts center is our town. I was so happy to have a quilt in the home town quilt exhibit.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Baby Quilt x 2 when Twins Arrive

My mantra, "every baby deserves their own quilt," puts me into quilting action when I hear that there is going to be a new arrival. Such was the case when I learned that my son's former college room mate and his wife were expecting a baby. I try to have a few baby quilts waiting in the wings just in case I get behind and need a quilt. But this new family is very special to me and I wanted to make the quilt special. I also like to experiment with new designs in baby quilts because, let's face it, they are about one-fourth the size of a bed quilt. I chose to use my pink scraps and make a pineapple quilt with a green fabric as the background. It is a pattern that I had used before and wanted to use again because I was in the mood for scrappy. The pieces in this quilt are all cut from 1.5 inch strips. Even though it is a baby quilt there a lot of seams and the project is fairly slow.

Pineapple baby quilt from my pink scraps.

I completed the pineapple baby quilt project in plenty of  time before the new arrival. That is until I received word that there would be more than one baby! Twins Kate and Paige have arrived and they are identical, however their quilts are not. I have trouble doing the same quilt more than once so the second quilt is from I pattern that I had been wanting to try. It is a wonky zig zag design. I did keep it in the same color scheme of pink and green. And as always, I quilted the baby's name, date of birth and weight in the quilting. Welcome to the world girls. It is always so wonderful to hear about and celebrate new life.

The wonky zig zag baby quilt.

I include the name and birth date in the quilting.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Searching for the Model

I really like making my nieces cotton dresses for their birthdays. Last Christmas one of the little girls walked in with her 18" doll she had just received from Santa and it gave me a great idea. Each birthday dress should be accompanied by a doll dress for their favorite doll. Having raised a house hold full of boys, dolls are not known in my arena. But I really needed a "model" for these doll dresses.

 So off to the Flea Mall I went in search of a doll. I trolled up and down the rows of booths full of all kinds of items from tube socks to antiques to books and corn hole boards. I finally came across of booth full of dolls. My lucky day. In search of just the right doll I was stopping complete strangers to get their opinions of the right doll. One young girl and her mother had no idea which one was the right doll. But I did come across an older woman that confirmed the doll I picked was the proper size. Besides all the dolls in the booth that day were 50 percent off. This cute little red headed doll was obviously only on display since she still had the tag on her wrist and came with a stand. Nine dollars later I had her in my studio and was dressing her in a matching dress for the birthday girl. She now lives in my studio waiting for her next modeling assignment.

This is a link to the American Quilters Society  utube video. I was interviewed for my quilt, Flight Patterns, that placed second in the Modern Quilt division. 

My new doll is modeling a dress for the next birthday girl. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Time to flip the calendar page

I flipped the calendar to May and the page features a bicycle!
It's already May. Hard to believe. The good news is I love May and planting a garden and riding my bike in good weather. So here I am. Flipping the calendar to a new month and there's a bicycle on the calendar. This could be the month I start a bicycle-themed quilt. After all I did get a new commuter bike that I think is pretty nifty. Sometimes quilters need a bit of motivation to get started or finish what they have started. So that is what May is about to me. I'll be sewing this evening. Finishing projects, even if it means sewing a binding or sewing a label. All sewing counts.

In the past few months I have been working on a block of the month type quilt and while I haven't finished that quilt, the blocks are complete. I will show that later when the quilt is complete  I recently spent the day sewing with a niece and we had a great time. We made a dress for her daughter. The niece had a pattern in mind and she picked through my stash for the perfect fabric. I must say she has great taste. Working together we finished the dress and it has already been worn. She has one lucky little girl.

The front of the dress for my 2-year-old great niece.

The back of the same dress.

I want to promote this new book by my favorite quilt author, Gwen Marston.

I want to let you know that one of my favorite authors, Gwen Marston, has a new book that is hot off the press. Minimal Quiltmaking is a great read. I just love Gwen's writing style. The photos of the quilts are fabulous and I find the book very inspirational. And I am so proud that my friend, Pat Isaman has two of her quilts featured in this book.
Happy May everyone. Enjoy the Kentucky Derby.  Joni

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Last Minute Trip to Lancaster Pennsylvania AQS Show

The obligatory photo of  me with my second place Modern Quilt.

What a great surprise I had this month. It was the phone call every quilter would love to get, and a first for me. I entered my Modern Quilt "Flight Patterns" in the American Quilters Society Lancaster, Pennsylvania show and it won second place. So I did what any enthusiastic quilter would do, I jumped in the car for a road trip. Many thanks to my friend Penny for going along with me for this last minute trip and a really fun weekend.

 I had a great time being interviewed by Michele Duffy, editor of  the American Quilter magazine. It was a video interview and we talked about my second place winner "Flight Patterns."  It is  one of my quilts in what I call my "gray series" of quilts. We also talked about "Autumn in Boyle County,"  my quilt that is being displayed with an exhibit of Modern Quilts in each of the AQS shows this year. I was really excited to have two quilts on display at the show. I hope to see the interviews on the AQS website when they are edited.
 There was so much to see at the quilt show that we missed  the whole second floor of exhibits and vendors. But we did take in all that was to be seen on the first and third floors of the convention center and that included all of the quilts in the AQS contest. Needless to say, they were all amazing and inspiring. There are so many talented quilters out there. I love some of the new directions quilting has taken in the last five years. I especially love the use of solid colors and the quality and design of machine quilting. What will be next?

This  was taken during my interview with Michele Duffy.

Since the trip was a 10 hour car ride we took advantage of the location in Amish Country and spent a day in the small town of Lititz, Pa. We  toured the chocolate factory and the pretzel factory as well as poked around in all the cute little shops in town. This town really did smell like chocolate.

And for the first day of spring....
The first signs..,

Of spring.

My husband insisted I leave my responsibilities to take a hike this evening of the first day of spring.  Kentucky has had a long cold winter and we usually have a lot of yellow Wood Poppies blooming by now. There weren't any Wood Poppies but I did find a few brave wildflowers.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Avoiding Needle and Thread Withdraw

Softies made on a recent trip.

I recently spent several weeks away from my stash and sewing machine. I had the opportunity to spend time in a much warmer climate in the middle of winter. It was an opportunity that was certainly good fortune. But I was concerned about what I would do in what my friend Cora calls "found moments." Being a quilter I did not want to have needle and thread withdraw.  I actually packed my Singer Featherweight and some fabric then changed my mind and unpacked the Featherweight and fabric. For anyone that doesn't know a Featherweight is a small mid-century sewing machine that comes in a small black case and weighs 11 pounds. It is perfect for travel or taking to sewing classes. It is famous for its perfect stitches.  I have several, but that's another story.

I looked around my sewing room/studio/boys bedroom and spied Jodie Rackley's book, Happy Stitch. I purchased this book several months ago. Jodie was one of the first people to "follow" me when I joined Flickr several years ago. She was posting and selling really cute felt ornaments and dolls that were embroidered and hand sewn. Her line, Lova Revolutionary, is also her Flickr name. My friend Kim also found her and gave everyone in our quilting group one of her bird ornaments a few Christmases ago. Jodie blogs at  

Needless to say, I was drawn to her work and now was my turn to give some of her patterns a try. The day before I left for my trip I went to the print shop and had the patterns in the back of the book for the Softie toys enlarged to 400%, as suggested. I packed felt, needles, thread, scissors and pins and was on my way and ready for a bit of hand sewing.

As you can tell the Fox was my favorite and after running out of orange and tan I started making them in other colors that I had with me.  The blue fox is a favorite. There is a bit of fabric on the belly of the Softies and I chose Robert Kaufman's Fox and the Houndstooth fabric by Andie Hanna. It was perfect and I had the fabric from a recent shopping spree.

This was a fun road trip project. I used felt for the eyes instead of buttons since these will be gifts for one-year-old nieces and nephews.

The Foxes were my favorite and I didn't stop at one color.


Nesting Dolls

JodieRackley's Book, Happy Stitch.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Flight Patterns, my latest Modern Quilt, will be in the AQS Lancaster, PA show

Flight Patterns will be in the AQS Lancaster, PA Show.

Flight Patterns, my latest Modern Quilt, has been accepted in the American Quilters Society show set for March 12-15, 2014 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The quilt will be in one of the newest AQS divisions, Modern Quilts. It is a semi-finalist with 173 other quilts spanning five categories.

I want to give a shout out to my son, Sam, who came up with the name, Flight Patterns, for this quilt. Sam is part of my computer support team for this blog because I have a better understanding of quilting than computer technology. So Sam and Daniel, my oldest, are often wrangled into helping with photography and other blog glitches that I will experience. Thanks guys.

While helping me enter the AQS contest Sam called me a "Hipster" because my quilt has fabric with birds on it. Sam said Hipsters put birds on everything and that birds are very popular right now.  Since then I have had to research exactly what being a "Hipster" entails. I have discovered that it is more than putting birds on things. It is what was once called "cutting edge, counter culture or off-beat." Okay Sam, I'll take that as a compliment.

The truth be told I started designing this quilt with the Japanese fabric bird print in the middle because, yes, I do love birds and I was attracted to the aqua color. From there the pattern evolved one round at a time. I stopped and re-evaluated before adding each round. I have added some close-ups of the quilting because this is the first time I have ventured into using a bit of metallic threads.

Metallic threads were used in the flying geese.
 I also used a variegated thread on the gray background that gave the quilt a dimensional look. The metallic threads were used in the flying geese designs as well as highlighting the birds in the Japanese fabric.
Close-up of the quilting.
I used my home sewing machine for all the piecing and quilting. The quilt measures 63"x63", a size that makes it easier to get the quilt under the throat of my machine.
The 16-patch has a quilted flower design.
For each quilt I make I always try a new technique and Flight Patterns is no exception. I find that each quilt I make is a learning process.
In January I have had time to get some UFO's completed as well as complete some gifts for nieces and nephews. I have several baby quilt tops that are in the "to be quilted" pile. After that I hope to create some more fun quilts with original designs.
In February want to feature quilts I purchased at  the three generations quilt auction in November. As soon as I get a good photo shoot day and some helpers to hold the quilts I will make that post.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A New Year. Time to drag out the UFO's

My pile of UFO's awaiting completion... or not.
Since it is a new year I felt compelled to drag out my UFO's. In case you don't know, UFO stands for Unfinished Objects in the quilting world. These Unfinished Objects are also called WIPS in other parts of the country and Canada, which stands for Works in Progress. Whatever you want to call them, you don't have to be quilting long to collect these great fabrics and patterns that are intended to be finished ........ sometime.

After looking over my UFO's last week I gave myself permission not to finish them. What has happened along the way is my style and taste changed and to work on these projects would no longer be exciting to me. So I am moving on. I am going to cabbage the fabric and it will become part of my ever grown stash of fabric. That way the fabric may find its way into a project down the road, just not the original purchase project.

My New Year did begin with finishing a few UFO's that needed completing. I took the advice of Radio Personality Dave Ramsey. Dave advises people on financial matters and suggests listing debt smallest to largest and then attack the debt in that order. So I listed my projects smallest amount of work needed to largest amount of work needed and my attack has begun.

First I sewed labels on two quilts then finished blocks for an on-line block swap. That worked out well. Three projects complete in less that two hours. Then I moved on to finishing a baby quilt top. Next week I hope to finish some birthday gift projects and do some quilting. I'm already feeling better about my projects for the new year. Happy quilting to all in 2014. And don't forget to give yourself permission to rethink your list of UFO's.

It's time to search out all quilting UFO's.