Machine Sashiko – Can This Piece be Saved?



         The art that is Sashiko is incredibly beautiful and traditionally done by hand.

This Japanese kimono at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is from the Meiji period (1868–1912).  It is Indigo-dyed plain-weave cotton, quilted and embroidered with white cotton thread.  Stunning!

I prefer to work by machine and decided to follow a pattern (Crane 1) from the book Sensational Sashiko by Sharon Pederson.  I chose non- traditional colours for a fresh look and basically I like the piece but there is a small problem.  Can you see it?  It is glaring to me.



Can you see it now?  LOL

I washed the piece which I don’t usually do with my art pieces and there it is:  right smack on the beak – some residue from the PERMANENT red marker I used for the freezer paper applique process.

I just don’t know what to do with it.  Any suggestions?

P.S.  The bleach pen (starts with a T) did not work. 😦


Modern Log Cabins – the process


I enrolled in the Craftsy Block of the Month 2012 Class (great class and free too!) and the May block was a Modern Log Cabin – one of many versions out there.  Here’s my block and some comments on the process I followed to get there.


Things I did do:

  • fussy cut the centre
  • looked for colours that I felt matched
  • squared up the block between frames
  • pressed each seam
  • used scissors & a rotary cutter
  • used old style prints AND modern solids
  • pieced everything by machine
  • had a focal point (the deer)
  • used a non-traditional colour palette
  • changed the format of the original block into a frame, instead of an L (per the Craftsy pattern)

Things I did not do:

  • use pins
  • use high contrast (not strictly light paired with dark)
  • centre the fussy cut centre block
  • worry about 1/4 ” seams
  • worry about the width of the strips
  • worry about perfection
  • are we seeing a pattern here about not worrying….LOL

This is not the only way you could modernize the log cabin block.  I followed the directions in the Craftsy class (  It was very improvisational and some people might not like that aspect but I did.  It made me  a little more free with my own design choices and stepping outside your comfortable box is always a good thing, in my mind.

Modern Log Cabins – first, some history…


Most quilters are familiar with the traditional log cabin block – it is the most recognized block and its origins are often associated with the American Pioneers.  However similar designs have been found on ancient mummies and in English quilts predating 1830.


Strips of fabric were hand pieced around a central square, usually with one half dark strips and one half light.

A red centre symbolized the hearth of the home; yellow, a welcoming light in the window; and a black centre in a quilt hanging on a clothesline is believed to have meant a stop for the Underground Railroad.

How has this block become “Modern”?

see my next post: Modern Log Cabins – the process.

Sample this…


Finished this up today from a workshop I took in February.  Sometimes you only learn one or 2 things but this was a little smorgasbord of techniques!

What it promised:

  • how to use some decorative stitches on your sewing machine
  • the functions of a twin needle and wing needle (had them but had no idea what to do with them)
  • the quilt-as-you-go technique

What I got in addition:

  • how to make circles without the use of a $50 attachment
  • how to make a monogram without an embroidery machine
  • how to use 1 inch strips of batting (which might normally be thrown away) and strips of fabric to make a basket weave block

This is not Modern Quilting – looks more like an heirloom piece to me –  but I love it!


Thank you, Susan Gatewood, wherever you are.

Celtic Love


Being part Irish, I am attracted to Celtic knots so it was no surprise that I signed up for a class recently in No Mark Celtic Interlaces with Linda J. Hahn.  Check her patterns out at

I learned a wonderful new FAST AND EASY way to machine applique them to a quilt – the last one I did by hand took a year and a half.  Do not like doing the handwork…

Linda had put these together in a 4 patch setting but I was short on one of the fabrics I wanted to use as a border, so I decided to make 2 pieces with different borders.

Which one do you like better and why?

100_3523 100_3524

Take a Chance…


About 2 weeks ago I was at the Vermont Quilt Festival.  I usually take classes in things that I like but also in techniques that don’t appeal to me (which most people don’t understand).  I like a challenge LOL and sometimes I wind up making beautiful discoveries.

So the class that did not interest me was Landscape Using Woven Fabric with Nancy DiDonato.  I like making landscape quilts but the woven fabric backgrounds?   Not so sure….

It was a very small class and we learned a lot.  Aside from the technique she taught us, which I loved, she also shared some of her art.  What I really liked about her was that she used very innovative ideas in the creation of her quilts.  Thrift shop finds or bark from the forest – she uses what she feels will work for the concept she has in mind.  The “Only 100% Quilting Cotton Fabric Police” would not understand…

Her work is outstanding and innovative: check her out at

Meantime, have a look at what she helped me make:

GetAttachment.aspxThanks, Nancy!

Take a chance, people – you might learn and love something new!

Etoile de Provence


Why is it …that sometimes when you just throw something together, it turns out better than something that you plan and plan???

That’s what happened today with this little quilt:  I just picked up some scraps of fabric I didn’t really like and,  as an experiment, made this Giant Star Block.

I just loved how it turned out – reminds me of France.

giant star block

Bubble Tea Anyone?


I decided to work some circles into a simple patchwork layout this weekend, just to challenge myself.  It really didn’t appeal to me.

The fabric choices came easily:  I picked out some fabric with polka dots and pieced them all together.  The lime green, yellow and coral seemed made for each other!

One big circle in embroidery stitches, a few little coral circles and some free motion work to highlight the circles: voila!

First choice for a name was Bubblicious but my little sis suggested Bubble Tea and I love the Bubble Tea so..

sweet shades of lime and coral

I’m officially an artist, people…


I’m sew excited! I sold my first art quilt today on Ebay so I’m officially a starving artist!  I recommend that you put in your orders/commissions now before my prices skyrocket!

here is the piece I sold:

completed July 2012