Saturday, July 31, 2010


I was lucky enough to be in town for the monthly meeting of the Pensacola Quilt Guild in July, and their program was give by Jennifer Bunnel; her topic was Notan with fabric.

Notan is a Japanese word that loosely means "contrast", light & dark. This method of design is often done with paper, but Jennifer wanted to apply the concept to fabric using a fusible product like Wonder Under.

The basic idea with paper is to start with two square pieces in contrasting colors, one large and one small, and to draw half of a symmetrical figure on the edge of the small square; then flip that piece out (see photos).

Jennifer realized that she would need two pieces of each color of fabric and that she would have two finished products that were opposites...

She also realized that the squares must remain intact, so precise cutting was important. When each piece was fully laid out, she fused it once.

For more information on Notan, Google it, or go to Jane Dunnewold's website under Tutorials and The Expansion of the Square.

Note that Notan can be used to applique fabric (without fusible), as long as the color of each piece of fabric is the same on both sides. Hand-dyed and batik fabrics would work.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quilting Fabric in Pensacola

Several years ago the lovely Quilt Corner closed in Pensacola. It was my favorite all-time quilt shop, and it was the home for our Killer Bees quilting bee. We spent many, many hours there enjoying the work room, hogging the huge round table, and sipping cold drinks on the back porch.

My next favorite fabric store in the Pensacola area was A & E Pharmacy. That's right, a pharmacy...with a fabulous craft and fabric area, which has since expanded into the largest seller of quilt fabric in the area (perhaps in north Florida, Alabama and Georgia).

You can see by the tiny tiles and the sign that A & E has been in business for a long time. It is the place to buy your Mardi Gras beads and decorations, drug store items, school supplies, craft supplies, and much more. They are the only store that I know of that has a glass case of tiaras. Can't go to the Mardi Gras Ball without a tiara, I guess. It reminds me of an old 5 & Dime store.

Stop by sometime if you're in the area, or make a special trip. Call ahead to see what's on sale in the fabric department and to get directions. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Visiting the Gulf Coast

This past week we were on the Gulf Coast visiting with friends. It had been months since we had visited our former home in northwest Florida, so it was exciting to reach the coast.

This is the bridge to Pensacola Beach.

If you have never been to the Gulf, it's worth the trip just to see the beautiful white sand. There are no rocks here, so wading in the sand or water is easy on your feet. Also the "sand" is actually quartz which does not heat up like regular beach sand.

This is the Pensacola Beach pier which is about 1/4 mile long and is for fishing and sightseeing,
and this is a sight we had hoped never to see...

Wherever there are oil rigs and super-tankers, there is a risk of oil spills. It's sad to have it so close to these beautiful beaches.

We were very surprised by the number of people in the water. The Sound was quite busy with beach-goers, but the Gulf also had a lot of swimmers. Yipes.

We took a long walk down the pier as soon as we arrived ...

So beautiful.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beginner Quiltmaking Class

In August, I'm starting a continuing series of Beginner Quiltmaking classes through the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild in Athens, Georgia which will run until folks are sick of me, or until I'm worn out. The classes will meet twice a month. Before the start of each series we'll have a preliminary meeting to check the working order of student sewing machines, learn good machine maintenance habits, practice the 1/4" seam, and talk about fabric selection and tools. I'll also pass out the Supply List and fabric requirements. The preliminary meetings are free, and there's a small fee per class.

Here's my class sample...

It's a "row" quilt with half-square triangles, 4-patch blocks, and stars; just right for learning popular piecing methods.

If you live near Athens, GA and would like to learn how to make quilts, leave a comment on this post or go to my website here for contact information.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Teaching

No photos this time, but I was helping to teach sewing camp at the Lyndon House Arts Center this week; our students were from ages 12 to about 15 and they learned to do all kinds of things with fabric.

My part was to teach them about their sewing machines (safety, troubleshooting, smooth operation) and to lay out a sewing pattern. From what I could tell, a fun time was had by all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Back to Regular Life

Our son just went back to the war zone yesterday for more months, and the house feels very empty without him. It was a great visit, and we're looking forward to his homecoming in early 2011.

Yesterday was workshop day at the Cherokee Rose Quilt Guild in Lithia Springs, GA. They're a wonderful group of avid quilters and we had a wonderful time.

The ladies especially loved making fabric beads.

Great day, and good food too!

Friday, July 2, 2010

More Scraps

Earlier this week I was on Vicki Welsh's blog, Field Trips in Fiber, and saw how she used her lovely hand-dyed scraps to make greeting cards. Vicki is one of "the three" in Three Creative Studios where you can find online classes, free projects, challenges and much more.

I followed Vicki's simple directions and made my own greeting cards this morning from some of these tiny (1/4" to 3/4" wide) scraps...

I embellished this card with gold Lumiere paint and a stencil.

For this card my fusing fell apart, so I split the pieces up, trimmed them, and made them into flip flops. The circles are made with dauber brushes and more Lumiere paint. These were quick and fun and are a wonderful way to use up my scraps!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Storing Strings

For years I have been keeping my fabric "strings" (tapered strips of fabric) loose in baskets, but this week I finally found a way to keep the strings organized and wrinkle-free in my sewing studio.

I started pressing the strings and placing them in wide plastic drawers. Two sheets of paper separate each layer (40 to 60 strings), and there are so many of them that some of the drawers have 8 layers!

There are six drawers in this set, and each drawer is marked on the outside with the particular color.
Oh, it will be so nice to just reach for the strings when I need them without having to straighten and press them.

To see how I use strings in quilts, go to the right column marked Labels and click on "string quilt".