Picasso Said I Could.

Learn the rules so you can break them like an artist. –Pablo Picasso

For all the years I’ve been quilting, I’ve been reading the rules, learning the rules, following the rules. Admittedly I have safely broken some rules along the way, but I certainly haven’t been reckless! So the quote above is for me, so I can remember that it’s okay to break some rules as I quilt. Picasso said I could. In reality, unless you are submitting your quilt to a juried competition, there really are no rules in quilting, just guidelines. If a technique works for you, whether you came up with it or are using someone else’s, as long as it keeps you quilting and stress free, go with it!

I’m not really breaking any rules in the current projects I’m working on, but I definitely have some rule-breaking thoughts tossing around in my head. So maybe you’ll be seeing some of them in future posts.

So what’s on my quilting table these days?

Over the holiday season, I stopped down at one of our local quilt shops, Reproduction Fabrics, to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, stop in. It’s a lovely little quilt shop, and Margo is a delightful lady to get to know. She has a wealth of knowledge about fabric. If you want to make a quilt in fabric from a particular era, this is the shop to visit.

While there, Margo showed me one of her quilt kits she was offering — an elephant quilt. I liked the fabric kit so much that before you know it, I was walking out the door with 24 potential pachyderms in my bag. Here’s a picture of a couple of them. Aren’t they cute? Now mind you, I have avoided appliqué. I’ve hardly done IMG_3561any in my quilt life. However, I am thoroughly enjoying these little fellas. I figure that by the time I’m done with 24 of them, appliqué will no longer intimidate me. They are just the right size for stitching while I’m watching a movie in the evening.

The appliqué technique I’m using for the elephants is turned edge; however, I’m using a glue stick rather than a needle. If you want to explore other techniques, spend some time on Pinterest. You’ll find quite a few creative ideas.

IMG_3556When I’m at my sewing machine, I’m playing with this jumble of green/blue batiks. This quilt will come together quickly, using Tonga Treats (pre-cut strips). A friend of ours let us stay at her cabin on Lake Superior this summer. It was absolutely lovely! Those of you who know me know how much I enjoy Lake Superior, so it was a treat to have a cabin with our own little slice of lakeshore for a few days. As a thank you, this quilt will be going to her; the colors remind me of the walk to the lake, and the beauty of her cabin. I can’t wait to see it come together!

The last project is a little one. River’s Edge Antiques & Quilt Shop in Hayward, Wisconsin, is offering a free mystery Block of the Month, soIMG_3566 I decided to make them. This is the January block in progress. I’m making mine with wool. Woolies, as I call them, are a favorite of mine. It’s actually how I decided to begin getting comfortable with appliqué, because wool appliqué is very forgiving, and you don’t have to figure out how to turn any edges.

So that’s what I’ve been up to over the holiday season. I hope you have some fun projects on your sewing table as well. And remember, rule breaking is allowed — Picasso said so.

Threads of Thought


Needles, thread, scissors, sewing machines. Women gathered, chattering away, while fingers stitched quilts together. The banter, laughter. The smell of coffee brewing.

These are some of the memories I have of growing up in a sewing community. The church ladies, yes; but also neighbors, friends. A beautiful creative legacy.

My grandmother was a seamstress, my mother sewed clothes and quilts, my sister-in-law quilts, has owned a quilt shop, and now teaches quilting. Playing with fabric has been part of me for as long as I can remember. When I quilt, I’m with all of these ladies in heart. One of my current projects is applique. I am using some of my grandmother’s needles as I stitch (pictured above — zowie, are they sharp!). It fills me with joy to use some of the tools that she so often used.

Did I grow up loving to play with needle and thread? No, actually. But I have always had a love affair with fabric — the feel, the patterns, the colors. And so, later in life I learned to quilt.

I’m primarily self-taught; however, I have family and friends who have nurtured my quilting through the years. I’m an avid reader, so when I want to learn a new technique I read about it, watch it, then try it. I just beginning to enjoy quilt classes.

I usually have several projects going at once (don’t we all?). Sometimes I stick with one until it’s finished, sometimes only until I feel like I need a break from it. Eventually they get finished. Even while I’m working on projects, another is brewing in my head. I enjoy every minute of it.

So — welcome to my quilting life. Soon I’ll post some pictures of what I’m up to. For now, feel free to follow me on my journey.