William’s pictures

I am on my way out the door… but here is one picture of my new grandson William.


If you want to see more pictures of William, you can click here:      http://tk42one.blogspot.com/

I am off to shop with my friend.  I am taking a class at QuiltUniversity in September, and the supply list is long.  I need to get many new things for this class.  Really.  I do.  And they are all at the craft store an hour away.  Really.  I need  them.

If you’re nice, I may take pics of my new treasures when I get home.



Anniversary of the Artist’s Birth

Today is the anniversary of my “birth” as an artist.  Two years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.  I watched CNN, glued to the tv for hours.  Including getting up in the nite to watch Anderson Cooper for updates.

I can’t really tell you why Katrina had such a profound effect on me and my life.  The news often effects me, particularly big natural disasters.  Anything related to weather and nature and how we humans act and react to such events intrigues me.

After several days (and nites) of watching tv, I felt like I had to do something.  I paced and thought and paced and threw fabric around.  I was unbearable to be around, I’m sure.  Finally, I had a vision in my head of what I wanted to create and set about doing so.  While doing one art quilt, I had the idea to do a second.  I made both of these art quilts in a week. One to remember the joy and fun that I personally experienced in New Orleans many years ago,   and the other to express the profound sadness, loss and angst.

In honor of the many victims of Hurricane Katrina….

This is “Masquerade”


Masquerade close1

Masquerade close2

And this is my best known piece, “And She Drowned Friday Night”.  I am including the artist’s statement with the photos.

Artist’s Statement

 This quilt was inspired by the Sept. 4, 2005 interview of Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard on Meet the Press. A partial transcript of that interview (the part that inspired this piece) follows:

 “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” And he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.  Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday.  Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday.” And she drowned Friday night.”

This story about Hurricane Katrina moved me to tears like no other story. It is seared in my mind forever. And it moved me to make this quilt. This is one of those quilts that I HAD to do. I have been obsessing about it since Sept 4. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The creating and quilting of this piece was cathartic, and fed my soul.  Hopefully it will touch others.







So today is bittersweet.  I still mourn the loss of Americans, the loss of cities, the loss of a culture that needs to be re-built.

And on a personal level, I rejoice in the newly found artist within myself.  I continue to be inspired by nature, events and people.  I continue to work and learn.  I continue to create.

Life is good.  I only wish it were so good for those on the Gulf Coast.


Welcome to the World William!

August 28, 2007 4:44pm Eastern, Fredricksburg, VA…..

My grandson, William Charles was born. He weighed 8 lbs, 9 oz, and is 20″ long. He has a little bit of brown hair. According to Daddy, William and Mommy are doing fine.

It has been a really long nite and day. They went to the hospital last nite. I did not sleep well last nite. Waiting, wondering….. called Neil at 6:30 am, still no baby. He called me at 10 and 2…… still no baby. Finally when he called about 6pm, William was here. I am sure their relief is even bigger than mine!

So…… Welcome to the big wide world William.   Today you met Mom and Dad, and tomorrow you get to meet your big sister Elizabeth.  I can hardly wait to give you a little snuggle myself  in a few weeks.

Grandma Gayle

I’m not bookless.

I’m not bookless. That is a wonderful thing. It is pretty awful to be bookless. I have been bookless before. I don’t like it.

I grew up reading alot. By the time I was in Jr. High, I read a book a week, at least. This continued throughout my teen years, married life, young adulthood. I have never NOT had a library card. I have lived many places with great libraries. (Until I moved here. Our little library has just a few more books than Steve and I have. And it is only open about 6 hours a week. Sad…… but true.)

17 years ago my life changed. An illness caused me to become dyslexic. (Technically, it is called acquired dyslexia) I had to relearn how to read. This was one of many challenges I faced, but this was perhaps one of the most frustrating.

It took lots of work and perseverance, but I did learn to read again. Not well, not fast, but I could do it. I havent read nearly as much in the last 2 decades. I am a slow reader now. I don’t always understand what I read because I read the wrong words, or the right words in the wrong order. It gets confusing. But I plug away at it.

When I was in Utah on vacation in June, I read alot. I started AND finished a book while I was there (record time of 2 wks for Andserson Cooper’s book Dispatches From the Edge). I started a 2nd one and finally finished it last week. (a whole book in 2 mos! Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper) These are astonishing time frames for me in the reading area of my life.

So yesterday, Steve and I went to KMart and bought more books. I got 3, he got 2. I have read 17 pages. He has read half a book! He is often bookless because he reads so fast. He is one of those people that will re-read a book. Not just once, but several times if it is one he likes. Me? I have re-read a book once. It is one of my favorite books. (I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb) And there are several that I read so long ago that I think I may like to re-read them.

One of my favorite teachers of all time, Chet (Chester) Chylinski taught me how to not just READ a book…. but to think it through, analyze it and figure out what you agree with, what you dont, what you can take with you, what you will leave behind. We read Dandelion Wine, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and Lord of the Flies. All great books, all books I would like to read again.

My late brother (Irv) taught HS English for many years. He loaned me several of the books he taught….. and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison was one of my favorites.

My taste in reading is eclectic. I love true crime stories (my criminal justice background showing), historical novels, Dean Koontz, Jodi Picoult, James Patterson, and most of what Oprah chooses for her book club.

It is good to have books. Sometimes I buy one just to have it. Whether I read it or not…… I just need to own it. I have done alot of that the last 17 years. Put it on the shelf…. maybe some day I will be able to read it. And if I cant, that’s ok too. I can still open the book….. riffle the pages….. smell the print….. feel the heft of it in my lap…… and know that a book can transport me to another time, another place and another world….make me think, make me feel, make me understand, make me marvel, make me wonder.

I am so happy that I am not bookless. And wish the same for you.

Apply Binding with your Longarm Machine

Here is a short little lesson on how to apply binding to a quilt with your longarm machine.

We do this for lots of clients.  They like it because they don’t have to struggle with the bulk and weight of the quilt while feeding it through their domestic machine.

Usually the client brings binding already made.  In this case, she brought the fabric, I cut the strips at 3″, sewed them together and pressed in half lengthwise.  The binding was ready to apply.

After you have quilted the quilt (Steve did this one) leave the quilt on the machine, just where you finished.  We always start on the bottom edge of the quilt, approximately 10-12″ from the right corner….as it looks on the machine from the front.  Pin the binding at the starting point.  (shown below)  Start sewing the binding on with the longarm, about 4″ from the pin.  This leaves a place unsewn where you will tuck in the tail as your last step.  You can use a ruler if you like, but we dont.  You will be sewing from right to left across the bottom, all the way to the corner.  Stop about 1/4″ from the corner.  We use the hopping foot as a guide along the edge of the quilt and binding.

Note:  This is the ONLY time we ever use our needle down feature on our Gammill.  With needle down, it holds the binding in place while adjusting the next section you will sew.  It also allows you to put on the entire binding with only one start and stop.


Turn the corner by mitering, just as you do when you apply binding on your domestic machine.  If you dont know how to do this well, I suggest you look in the general instructions in the back of most Leisure Arts quilting books.

Now you will be going up the left hand side of the quilt from bottom to top.


I usually have the whole long binding dragging on the floor at this point, off to my left.  Be careful…..


Or OOPS!  it will get run over by your wheels.  (wish I had a dollar for every time I have done that!)


Continue sewing until you are to the take up roller.  Leaving needle down, carefully release the take up roller and position machine toward front of machine so you are ready to continue up the left side.  Keep repeating until you are to the top and turn the left top corner, mitering as usual.

Continue to apply binding across the top edge of the quilt.

Sometimes, a corner isn’t very square.  I like to “fix” that for the client by applying the binding squarely, even though that corner was not square when the client made the top.  If you look carefully, you can see below how I did that.


Continue sewing the binding on the right side of the quilt.  Again, you will use needle down position for each time you need to roll the quilt to the next section.  At the bottom right hand corner, turn and miter the corner.  You should be close to where you started now, and will usually have a long tail of binding left.


I cut this off at an angle, so that the pointy end sticks down into the first part of the binding and makes an overlap of several inches.


Tuck in that excess, hold it flat and stitch the remaining few inches.


And now you are done!  Wasn’t that easy?


This entire process took a half hour (including stopping to take photos!) on this queen size quilt.  Usually it is about a 20 minute job.

A good money maker, easy for the client…… WIN-WIN!

Hope that helps someone…. happy binding!


A New Start

Nope, no baby. Believe me, I will let you know when it happens!

Since I finished that DWR last week, I have felt like it was ok to start something new. Silly, I know, but that’s me. I ordered a new book by Louisa Smith, A New Twist on Strips and Curves.

Hopefully this book is going to solve how to go about my next quilt. I have had a quilt in my head since June. But I had NO idea how to accomplish what I wanted to try. Lo and behold, I found this book last week when surfing the net. It came a few days ago and I was able to start cutting the fabrics I have been collecting for several months.

This is how far I have gotten:

strips curves1

strips curves2

Any guesses as to what it will be?

And on a purely personal note….. I have to say this: You know how sometimes there is someone in your profession or industry….. Or in a field that you dabble in and read about….. someone that you admire from way afar…. someone that you learn from via their book or video or TV show or website…… someone who of course does NOT know you, nor would they ever visit your website or blog….. WELL!! WELL WELL WELL! Let me tell you how not true THAT is! On the net, anybody can saunter by and say hi. Whether they are famous or not!

Imagine my TOTAL surprise today that Kay Wood (yep, THAT Kay Wood that you have seen on TV and learned from just like the rest of us have) left a comment on my blog. So I go to HER blog….. and lo and behold my blog is on her blogroll. Yep. And so are some of YOURS.

Gotta say….. it made my day. Made my week. Made my month. Only one that would knock my socks off more would be if Laura Cater-Woods and my all time art quilting heroes Inge Mardal and Steen Hougs. left a comment on my blog. I was lucky enough to share a drink and fascinating conversation at a reception in Houston with Inge and Steen several years ago. For sure, that has been the highlight of my art quilting life.

I wonder who YOUR quilting heroes are?

Design Dilemma and Solution

Every once in awhile I get totally stumped by a quilt.   A client will bring something that is different (all kinds of reasons to be different and cause a dilemma) and I have to work out a solution on how to quilt it.

The dilemma here is this:  The quilt body is pieced in a Storm at Sea design.  It is pieced in a way that it has a strong diagonal design to it, which is unusual for this particular pattern.  Sandy wanted to emphasize that diagonal with the quilting.

The second dilemma is that the border is pieced with the Snail’s Trail pattern.  She wanted something that would coordinate with the body.  Uh huh.  Yup.  Hmmm, put on my thinking cap.  Oh…… and she wanted it non-directional.  Yup Yup.

When I get a quilt like this…. one that stumps me… I take photos of it, then print it on regular printer paper in draft mode. Then I draw all over it until I am sure of the design components.  It sometimes changes a little once I start stitching the actual quilt, but it certainly helps me cut down on ripping out.

She picked up the quilt yesterday and loved it.


sandy closeup

And, as promised…….. here is my Double Wedding Ring (DWR) that I finished piecing last week.  I did most of it on Tuesdays and at 2 retreats.  I think I may name it Tuesday Wedding.

tuesday wedding

EWWWWW…… its more wrinkled than most client quilts!  No worry, it is shoved back on the hanger to join the multitude of UFO’s waiting to be quilted.  I may iron it just before I quilt it.  Or not!

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