A Quilter’s Dozen






I finished my pieced Maze and Vale Circle Quilt today.  It reminds so many people of donuts that I am calling it “A Quilter’s Dozen” Quilt. (the name was suggested by an Instagram friend.  Thanks T. Ninoe)  To see the details of my planning and piecing look back at my previous blog post about it (Quilting Calm | Entropy Always Wins).

Concentric Square quilting with Aurifil thread centered over the upper secondary square pattern was done in hopes of highlighting it. I used pepper cotton in a blue for the backing to match the Japanese indigo dyed circle on the front and bound it all in a natural linen.

I am about to embark on a complicated bias tape quilt (my first attempt at bias tape quilting).  Wish me luck!



5/325 Quilt Complete








-You are more likely to die these days from a Prescription Narcotic Overdose then a car accident.(CDC – Facts – Drug Overdose – Home and Recreational Safety – Injury Center)

-There were enough narcotics sold in 2010 in the US to distribute 40 Percocet and 25 Norco to every citizen in the country. (Addiction USA: Painkiller sales soar across nation – NY Daily News)

These may seem like shocking statistics but they are not at all surprising to those of us who work in the Medical Field and despite this news Narcotics remain an important tool especially for acute pain and end of life care.

I finished my 5/325 Quilt, a statement piece highlighting the mixed blessings of prescription narcotics (in this case, the most common formulation of hydrocodone/acetaminophen).  To see the process behind my quilt top construction go here: 5/325 | Entropy Always Wins.

Once again, I used Kona Cotton in White and Hand Dyed Fabric in Blue by Kim Eichler-Messmer (Kim E-M Quilts).  Trying to echo the pluses and minuses of narcotics, in the white spaces I machine quilted echoing Plus Signs and in the Blue fabric quilted Minus Signs using Aurifil thread.  I hope the echo effect reflects the impact both pain control and addiction have on the community as a whole.  For the back, I used linen in khaki and scrub bottoms from my time working in Seattle and Cleveland.

I will begin soon to look for venues to get this quilt and it’s message out.

In other news, I finished a quilt block for the Bee Sewcial group.  Kari is leading us down a more graphic design path this month.  I had an idea that morphed as I was making it, once again without a drawn up plan.  It is miraculous that these turned out to be equilateral triangles that made the whole thing work.  I would like to explore this design concept more.  See Kari’s blog post here: Craft Happy: Bee Sewcial: February.


I am also prepping for Quiltcon next week and am so excited to meet many of you.  I grew my “garden” of linen flowers and will bestow them on my Bee Sewcial and “Nude is Not a Dress Color” friends.  Say “HI” if you spot me!


I am waiting on some buttons to pass out as well.  Did I really make and order up buttons to share? (so not me but love the message)


Lastly, check out the gorgeous lanyard Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads.) made me.  It it constructed out of Doe Fabric and a repurposed Sari.  I am one lucky duck.




Creative Distractions






This Monkey Mind of mine has kept me distracted on several fronts.  Needing a little Spring in the middle of dreary winter, I came up with the idea of painting heavily starched white linen and making up linen flowers to embellish everything I own.  I experimented spraying starch, tinted with watercolor paints, on the linen and  also tried painting the linen with acrylic paints in all shades of pink before cutting out petals and hand sewing them together.  This has been a popular project among my friends and daughter hence more coming up.






I’ve also been working the sticks and made up a cowl for a girlfriend and a baby girl dress for another.  Both are made out of malabrigo yarn.  I increasingly love well engineered knitting patterns and this simple baby dress qualifies with it’s “knit in one piece” construction, knit in pockets in a complimentary gray yarn and spots to use two of my blue vintage buttons. (patterns here: Ravelry: Bulle pattern by Karen Borrel and Ravelry: Vite Cowl pattern by Kristi Johnson)

I was fortunate to take my kids to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit at Alcatraz in San Francisco this weekend.  The exhibit is a combination of visual and audio art meant to honor and bring attention to imprisoned artists around the world.  It was a treat to see but I think I fell most in love with the whole Alcatraz experience: San Francisco on sunny winter day, the quiet beauty, the history, the smell of Eucalyptus on the island and the color scheme . . .  SWOON!  A project in Alcatraz Palette is in my future for certain.














Quilting Calm

I think most of us who “make” would admit that half of the motivation to do so is in the therapy it provides.  Have you ever made something because you needed the excitement or the calm the object channeled?  I’m not often conscious of these motivations until I’m done with a piece.


Lately I’ve needed a little calm and this quilt top filled the bill.  At the end of December, I took advantage of a sale Leslie Keating was having and bought some beautiful Maze and Vale fabric along with one of her quilts.  If you don’t already know, I have a huge soft spot for hand printed and dyed fabric.  Leslie’s work is amazing. (Maze & Vale.)

IMG_1432I actually drew out a design but then quickly abandoned it and started piecing half circles and circles.  I hated the idea of cutting this gorgeous fabric up so tried to make big blocks to keep it intact as much as possible.  I threw in a Japanese Indigo dyed linen and some mustard linen as well.  Can you see my inspiration in the printed mustard circle of Leslie’s baby blanket?






There is a hidden square on the piece on the top middle.  It was a completely delightful “accident”.  I LOVE this quilt top and the calm I get gazing at it.  This one will go on my wall once finished.  I’m auditioning names for this guy and somehow the cheesy 80s songs which have been my naming inspiration of late don’t seem right.  If you have any suggestions, I am all ears.



Paper Piecing in Rubber and Chihuly Improv

Creativity comes rushing in at least for me in frantic bursts. And ideas are served up best with some great materials to create with. This last week I gathered together a suede coat donated by a friend, some scrap upholstery leather and left over coat leather and a motor cycle inner tube.


An encounter with a paper piecing pattern I have wanted to try and a desire to use nonstandard materials for this very traditional quilting method collided and a bag front in paper pieced suede and rubber materialized.  Of note I did have to rely on my industrial machine to piece these together and ended up quilting them down to a heavy interfacing to help it all lie flat.  It turns out rubber doesn’t iron very well.



Encouraged by some instagram friends to make this a girl bag instead of a boy bag and the fact that it was rocking a Joan Jett/The Runaways vibe (thanks Kirsty) set the stage for a “Cherry Bomb” back with reverse appliqué in leather and rubber.


I used some leftover coat leather for the sides, bottom and handle. If you look closely, you can see a 007 insignia barely visible on the bottom, a remnant of the coat with that marking that was donated for my creative cause.



It’s already been claimed by an interested friend (to be honest with most projects, I can’t wait to give them away fast enough so as to clear my space and brain). Although not shown, the bag has an inserted zipper pocket inside and a magnetic clasp at the top. The bag design from top to bottom is my own.


I completed the first blocks for our first Bee Sewcial month this last week as well.  This month’s inspiration was the Chihuly exhibit in the Denver Botanical Gardens. What an interesting exercise this was. I feel a bit like I am in art school watching myself and everyone else make their self portraits.  I find myself surprised how different all our blocks look from each other’s (heck, my three blocks don’t share much similarity).  I wish Stephanie the best in putting them all together into a cohesive creation (no small feat).


I experimented with curved piecing (which was a tad tricky when trying to make the vertical “glass” overlap) on the first block above.

On the second block influenced by some of the “hard lines” of other pieces in our group, I improv pieced triangles together.  I  inserted some pieced blue orb scraps that were cut from a failed too literal attempt at stacked blue glass balls.


The last block is probably the most “me” and was inspired by some of Sarah Nishiura’s work. I needed a break from all the red I have been working with so concentrated more on the blue and yellow colors in Chihuly’s work trying to mirror the vertical bursts of blue and yellow glass seen in the garden.


I have made some more wonderful connections this week, there is more collaborative work coming and I am anxious to start hand quilting my 5/325 quilt.

Happy Monday all,



Happy New Year

Looking forward, looking back.  In 2015 I hope for more family, more friends, more travel, more creating with purpose and definitely more collaborative work.  And this collaborative piece is a hearty one as it is setting down roots and blooming in this cold of winter.


Stephanie (Spontaneous Threads.) and Leanne (she can quilt.) have collected quite a group of quilters (Latifah-Latifah Saafir Studios | One Stitch. One Seam. One Quilt.., Diane-random thoughts…do or “di”., Felicity-Felicity Quilts., Kari-Craft Happy., Melissa-We Shall Sew., Marci-Marci Girl Designs – Home., and Debbie-A Quilter’s Table.) and they are leading us on a fun journey. Check out Stephanie’s plans for our first month on her website and our progress together on instagram (#beesewcial) and in flickr (Beesewcial group).


Looking forward also to finishing up a project I started last year with many of my sewing friend’s help. I have asked several special people to join me in making a Carolyn Friedlander shirt in their own skin color so we can collectively send a message that “Nude is Not a Dress Color”. Email and plans coming soon to those who offered to help.


Continuing with the collaboration theme, Christine Perrigo (Contemporary Custom Quilting.) has graciously agreed to custom quilt my Queuing Theory Quilt.  It is coming together beautifully!


Lastly I’m looking forward to plans with Luke Haynes (Luke | Just another WordPress site.) who has offered to make me some fabric.  I am curious to see what he has in store and my mind is already spinning with ideas for this collaboration.

I end by including some pics of my last minute Christmas creations and photos my brother took of my work at my parent’s house.

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Happy New Year everyone.




Working in an Emergency Department sometimes feels like being at ground zero of a community’s addiction issues and my medical career thus far can be classified by the locations and eras I have practiced and favored drugs of abuse: Seattle – Heroin, Cleveland – Crack Cocaine, Sacramento – Methamphetamine and now in Northern California – Prescription Narcotics.  Wanting to portray the mixed blessing of prescription narcotics and inspired by the modern painter Cecil Touchon, I dreamed up a statement quilt.  5/325 stands for the most common dose of hydrocone/acetaminophen my colleagues and I prescribe. I have long admired the hand dyed fabrics of Kim Eichler-Messmer and am a huge fan of her book.  This quilt and a few others I have planned call for these kinds of special fabrics.  With limited time to make my own, I went straight to the source with my kooky ideas.  Although Kim didn’t know I was planning to make a quilt specific to prescription narcotics, amazingly she was willing to play along and hand dyed fabric for me on commission.  (If you ever get a chance to see or purchase her quilts, fabric or book do it!)


To start this piece, I grabbed my laptop and projector, found a bold font I liked and traced 5/325 onto the white fabric.


I then hand basted the it to Kim’s beautiful blue fabric.  Channeling Touchon, I cut up the fabric randomly and then needle turn appliquéd each wonky piece.



Finally, I put together the pieces like a mixed up puzzle and machine sewed them together again.  I got to try out Y seams for the first time with some luck.  Finger pressing the seams as I wanted them to lay then sewing on the folds I had formed seemed to work.




I’m hoping to hand quilt this piece and would like to explore finishing the edges without binding.

Wish me luck.