Super Nova

Super Nova
August 2019

Do you have a fabric in your stash that sits there day-in and day-out, month-after-month, year-after-year, taunting you to make something of it? Challenging you to do something to let it be the shining star it is? But, in your eyes, it lacks. It won’t play well with others. It doesn’t have a pretty motif, it isn’t modern, and its colors are juxtaposed in an odd way.

The plaid binding fabric in my Super Nova quanket was this fabric. It is one I probably would not have picked out in the store. I’m not sure if you can zoom in enough to see it clearly, so I’ll try my best to describe it. It is a very small plaid print that seems to want to be a Christmas fabric, but the red is closer to magenta and the green is so dark that from afar, it is difficult to discern as green at all. I had acquired it from a donation several years ago, and it has sat in my stash patiently waiting its turn to be used. Well, its day has come! It, along with several other homespun plaids, and magenta and dark green scraps have been used in this Bursting Star quilt. If you are interested in this pattern, you can download it for free from Bluprint here. *I revised the pattern slightly, around the central star.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August 2019.

Be Dazzled

Be Dazzled
May 2019

The star of this quanket is the zebra fabric blocks which are alternated with a medley of grey blocks. The zebra fabric represents zebras not only as black and white – or white and black 😉 – but also as rainbow striped.

When my kids were little, they enjoyed the poems of Shel Silverstein, and this particular poem is representative of many of the thoughts I had while creating this quilt, and thinking about those rainbow zebras. The message that I took from the poem and the rainbow zebras is that we are all different, and that’s okay! We should respect each person’s choices and individuality, and not question what makes them tick. We shouldn’t worry about what others choose to do with their lives. The only thing that matters, is what we do with ours, and to make it as dazzling as we possibly can!

Zebra Question
~ by Shel Silverstein
I asked the zebra
Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra
About stripes

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August, 2019.

Land’s Edge

Land’s Edge
March 2019

Back in January I tackled my blue scraps bin and created the Bargello twist and turn quilt I named 3273 K. Of the 500 scrappy blue rectangles I cut for that project, I still had about 100 left. So instead of trying to cram them back into my scraps bin, I pulled out all my skinny blue and brown string scraps and made this! No pattern, just winging it 😉

There are so many different fabrics in this quanket, I wouldn’t know where to start to list which ones are “pieces of the past” – heck, I guess they’re all technically “pieces of the past” since they’re all from past projects! I plan to link this to the weekly linky party over at Quilting is more fun than Housework. Pop over to see all the other great scappy projects others have been working on.

Quilting is more fun than Housework

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services in March 2019, for a foster child.


February 2019

Early this year, we got devastating news: our youngest daughter was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. At 31 years old, life has dealt her some harsh knocks. Yet while the justice scales seem quite out-of-whack where she is concerned, she has faced the challenges that life has thrown at her head-on, with such resolve and a fighting spirit. She is truly a modern day Spartan warrior! That is where the name I chose comes from: a hoplon was the warriors shield.

Before she began chemo treatments in mid-February, I made this quilt for her. I intended it to be symbolic of the hoplon, shielding her in the tremendous amount of love her family and friends have for her. The center LOVE is quilted while the outer blocks (Clay’s Choice) are tied. The sashing between each of the outer blocks have written messages of hope, love, strength and healing from family and friends.


3273 K

3273 K
January 2019

What do you do when the scraps get out of control? Make a quilt of course! In the process of putting away my latest project’s scraps, I found I could no longer squeeze scraps into my blues bin. It was like packing a really full suitcase, but even if I had sat on it, I was just not going to be able to cram even one more teeny weeny scrap in it.

So I dumped the scraps onto my cutting table and started by cutting 2.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles from every piece of fabric that was big enough, ending up with close to 500 rectangles. My original plan was to just join them randomly: since there were so many different fabrics, this would work well. As I began organizing and grouping them by their color values, the idea of doing this scrappy quilt as a twist and turn Bargello came to me – an idea that had been tickling at the back of my brain for awhile.

A couple years ago, I had made my first Bargello quilt based off a pattern I had from a 1993 issue of a Quilters Newsletter magazine. During the process of making it, I Google searched Bargello quilts and was awed by the twist and turn Bargello quilt designs. At that time, I was ready to move onto something different, but the idea of doing a twist and turn Bargello quilt at some future time seemed appealing.

I sometimes like to use obscure names for my quilts: sometimes they are something personally meaningful to me, but sometimes, I just like quirky. I typically don’t divulge the deeper meaning, but I think even a Google search on this one would be challenging to find what 3273 K is. This is 3273 Kelvin, the temperature at which a flame burns blue, creating a pinpoint blue flame (also one of my favorite David Grey songs).

This was donated in March 2019 to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child.

Opening Day

Opening Day
December 2018

This is a memory quilt I made for my brother-in-law Ryan as a remembrance of his Dad who passed away in early September. Hide (pronounced ‘hee-day’) loved fishing, and it was a hobby that he and Ryan shared. Each Spring, they would travel from Southern California to the eastern Sierra Nevada to participate in the opening of fishing season on the last Saturday in April.

Hide was a Japanese American citizen. In June of 1942 at the age of 16, he was incarcerated in the Manzanar War Relocation Center, a remote, military-style camp located in California’s Owens Valley, in the foothills of the Eastern Sierra. At night, Hide would sneak out of the guarded encampment to fish in the pristine mountain lakes, rivers and streams just outside the camp’s boundaries. Being interned, he didn’t have access to a fishing pole and reel. He had to make due with a stick and string with hand-made lures and hooks. In late 1944, Hide left Manzanar to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an Army unit comprised of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland United States.

Hide’s love of fishing in the pristine lakes, rivers and streams of the Eastern Sierra called him back to the Owens Valley each year. From the late 1940’s, Hide never missed an Opening Day. Ryan joined his Dad on these yearly trips, and he himself has not missed an Opening Day with his Dad for the past 42 years.

I chose to do this as a medallion quilt. The center fish design was from a tee-shirt, while most of the remaining fabrics were from three of Hide’s casual dress shirts. The fish in the four corners of the fourth border were from his pillowcase. I purchased the cream, dark blue and grey fabric to provide contrast to all the printed fabrics, and I also purchased the fishing lure fabric (in beige) to complement the fishing lure fabric taken from one of the shirts. In my final border, I wound these two fishing lure fabrics to represent Hide and Ryan: it is meant to be symbolic of how a parent and child’s life travel along separate paths, but always intersect, staying connected throughout life’s journey.

Go Teal it on the Mountain

ovarian cancer fundraiser

Donation block for Go Teal it on the Mountain
December 2018

Back in September, Kate over at TallTalesfromChiconia was looking for contributors to her upcoming Ovarian Cancer Australia auction quilt. While I have not participated in a single-block donation project before, the timing of her request came at a significant time for me: a close family member had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I wanted to participate as a tribute to her and her battle.

Kate’s plan was that every block feature some sort of mountain idea, and that the color palette be the Ovarian Cancer colors of teal and cream. As an avid backpacker, I have hiked many miles, mostly in California’s Sierra Nevada. The image of mountains in either the early morning or late evening is breath-taking. I love how the foreground hills have deeper color and the farther, distant mountains are taller, more rugged and their color is more muted, almost blending away into the sky. This is what I wanted my block (shown above) to mimic: how a mountain range looks in the fading light of day. As with all my quilt projects, I used fabric that was a piece from the past. In this block, the fabric used at the bottom was from my Granny. To help achieve differentiation between these two mountains, I used the front side of the fabric for the mountain on the left, and the  back of the same fabric for the one to the right.

Kate received blocks from all over the world, and she then did the final layout, joining and quilting to achieve an amazingly beautiful quilt! I hope you take a moment to check out the finished quilt on her blog (click here). My block is the second block in the second row.



December 2018

This quanket is a Prairie Flower block pattern. Jenny over at the Missouri Star Quilt Company has a great tutorial on YouTube if you are interested in giving this design a try.

It’s always such fun to see how fabric choice and placement can drastically affect the look of a design. Jenny’s quilt has a very modern vibe to it, and you certainly get the sense that they are flowers. However, I quickly found that this pattern can create a strong X design when using the same fabric for each block, which I only noticed as I started getting my finished blocks onto my design wall. And since I was using strong colors in my colorway, it seemed to make the X’s stand out quite a bit, which I felt detracted from the “flower” aspect. Instead of going back to square one, literally, I decided to stick with the fabrics I had chosen, but to alter the fabric placement in every other block to help break the X’s.

The fabric I pulled from my stash to represent a piece of the past is the floral that is in the border and flowers, which I inherited from Edith. I suspect she had planned to make a dress with it, as there were, and still are, several yards of this fabric in my stash! I then pulled in yellow, red and blue to complement the colors in the floral.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a child in foster care in December 2018.

The Bees Knees


The Bees Knees
November 2018

This is my adaptation of Jacquelynne Steves Save the Bees BOM which began back in August. Since I was away on a road trip through Utah and Colorado for most of August, I felt a bit rushed to get the first block done when I got home, and chose to deviate from Jacquelynne’s original flower appliqué design for this block (my block is in lower left corner). I used an embroidered tea towel to which I added the embroidered bee.

For September’s BOM, pictured in the lower right corner, I designed the flower appliqué to better match my first block, intentionally winding it on a post so that I could do a second accompanying block with a beehive sitting atop the post. I wanted to incorporate a memory from our road trip into this quilt, and what could be more fitting than a beehive! The beehive is the state symbol of Utah, which we saw a lot on our trip since this is on all their state highway signs. The two blocks on the right side are what I made in September.

October’s block is the one with the hexagons in the upper left and November’s block is the bee in the center. Since I had varied the design from the start, I had planned on making the third and fourth blocks and then choosing one or the other for the final quilt. However, once I had everything on my design wall together, I liked them all so much that I didn’t want to have to choose between these two. Instead, I opted to further deviate from the original design for this quilt to make it what it has become.

I used a lot of fabrics from my stash, many that were Pieces of the Past, including two embroidered tea towels, the cute bee fabric behind the hexagons, and the fabric shown below which is a Debbie Mumm print from 1995. The stamp on the fabric says Debbie Memm – perhaps like coins, this misprint makes it more valuable? 🙂 This has been a fun project to participate in. I learned new things like how to make an HRT, as well as dusting off my appliqué skills.

Why the name? I grew up hearing the phrase The Bees Knees, and I like the silliness of it. In looking up its origin, this phrase along with the cat’s whiskers, the cat’s pajamas all became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s (long before I was born 😉 ). Here are some other similar phrases that didn’t endure: the eel’s ankle, the elephant’s instep, the snake’s hip and the capybara’s spats. This last is hands-down my favorite! (source: Wiktionary)

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a child in foster care in December 2018.




October 2018

This is a variation on a Churn Dash quilt block that I first saw on Jacquelynne Steves Sew Quilty Friends Facebook group. In researching to find out more about this block design, I came across this similar Churn Dash variation over at Angela Walters Midnight Quilt show on YouTube, and I also found a great resource site, In all that I looked at, this block seems to be a melding of the Capital T block and the Churn Dash block.

For the colorway, I really wanted to keep it limited to just two colors. However, as it came together on my design wall, I decided to add the thin black lines around the purple blocks to draw the eye to the center of the quilt, and give more definition to the purple blocks. The patterned teal’ish fabric is one that has been in my stash for years (a piece of the past from Granny), and is probably circa 1970’s.

Like my last quanket, the name inspiration also comes from music. I always have music playing while I am working in my studio, and while working on this quilt, Chad Lawson’s piano piece, Nocturne in A Minor came on, and wow, what a beautiful piece. I felt the name Nocturne was befitting, as the color palette of this quanket has a night-time feel to it.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a child in foster care in October 2018.