Category Archives: Quilting

Quilt Arizona! 2023 Part II


On Tuesday I posted Part I of my coverage of the Arizona Quilters Guild Quilt Arizona! 2023 Quilt Show. Today we are continuing with ten more beautiful quilts.

Happy Hearts
Happy Hearts by Susan Parker
In the Garden of Delight
In the Garden of Delight by Geneva Horning
Log Cabin Bubbles
Log Cabin Bubbles by Eliza Lawrance

I’m very impressed with this Log Cabin variation. And I would never have thought to quilt it this way.

Detail of Log Cabin Bubbles
detail of Log Cabin Bubbles by Eliza Lawrance
Another Scrap Sampler
Another Scrap Sampler by Kathleden Bowers
Patience and Pandemic
Patience and Pandemic by Mary Lucille
Lake House Flowers
Lake House Flowers by Penny Dimick
Diamonds 2
Diamonds 2 by Jackie Fife
Crystal Lane
Crystal Lane by Katy Clement
detail of Crystal Lane
detail of Crystal Lane by Katie Clement showing star-ray and snowflake quilting
Spring Blossoms
Spring Blossoms by Celeste Johnson; quilted by Melissa Turner

Made from vintage blocks.

detail of Spring Blossoms
detail of Spring Blossoms by Celeste Johnson; quilted by Melissa Turner
Alaska Joy
Alaska Joy by Terri Austin

Part III of our coverage of the show will appear on ARHtistic License this Saturday.

Creative Juice #337

Creative Juice #337

Lots of great articles for writers this weekend.

But also other stuff.

Quilt Arizona! 2023, Part I

Burst of Colors
Burst of colors by Jill Eskew; quilted by Pat Roche

On Friday I went to my first quilt show since the pandemic. The Arizona Quilters Guild has a show every year (except 2021; it was held in February in 2020, but I didn’t attend). I can’t remember the last time I attended this show; it’s been a while.

Copper Mountain Springs
Copper Mountain Springs by Melanie Harris; quilted by John Harris

This year’s theme is Canyon of Colors. I photographed 40 quilts at the show. I’m going to include them in four separate posts, so that I don’t overwhelm myself or you. I took pictures of quilts that appealed to me. Some of them were prize winners, but you know what? Not all the prize winners interested me, not that they didn’t deserve the recognition. But a lot of the non-winners caught my eye because of their use of color or their whimsy. I also prefer traditional quilts, so I passed by some of the more modern ones. One problem I had was fitting some of the large quilts into my viewfinder. The aisles were too narrow to step back far enough to capture them completely, even with judicious focusing.

detail of Copper Mountain Springs
detail of Copper Mountain Springs, showing the awesome quilting and rhinestone accents

I made one very big mistake. Attendees received a lovely booklet as they entered the show. I didn’t look at mine until after I left, because I was eager to see all the quilts. On the back was a map of the convention center. The quilts were on display in two different halls. I only saw the ones in the Main Hall. After I had seen them all, I thought, gee, there weren’t as many quilts as I remember seeing in the past. I saw a sign that said “More Quilts” and I went down a hallway and saw some lovely Hopi quilts on display as well as some for sale. I looked around the next corner and didn’t see anything more, so I backtracked and looked at all the quilts in the Main Hall again, as well as the 39 vendor shops.

Arizona Canyons
Arizona Canyons by Sujata Ryan

What I didn’t realize because I didn’t look at the back of my booklet, was that there was another exhibition hall off the hallway around that last corner. So let that be a lesson to you: when attending a quilt show, be sure to look at your booklet!

Detail of Arizona Canyons
detail of Arizona Canyons showing the expert quilting

If you are disappointed that I missed almost half of the quilts, I urge you to check out Quilt Inspiration in the coming weeks. Marina and Daryl Lynn usually attend this show and post about it. As of yesterday, they were still posting about the Tucson Quilter’s Guild Show, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t cover the AQG one as well.

Dancing Butterflies
Dancing Butterflies by Gail Witt; quilted by Jessica Jones

One nice touch at this show that I haven’t seen before: each quilt had an index card folded around the edge near the right side lower corner, fastened by a clothespin. If you wanted to see the backside of the quilt, you didn’t have to wait for a white-gloved volunteer to come help you; you could carefully flip the clothespin.

Zigzag Rainbow
Zigzag Rainbow by Becky Ripley
detail of Zigzag Rainbow
detail of Zigzag Rainbow

Zigzag Rainbow is constructed with one-inch squares and half-square triangles. Note to self: I want to make a quilt like this.

Colors on Parade
Colors on Parade by Terry Findlay; quilted by Amy Dyer

Colors on Parade, made of half-square triangles acquired in a quilting group exchange, also has a bottom border of flying geese like the one on the right side. Note to self: I want to make a quilt like this.

Laurene's Legacy
Laurene’s Legacy by Jean Lopez; quilted by Robin Ruiz

Laurene’s Legacy, a Baltimore Album Quilt, is named for the late Laurene Sinema, a beloved quilt designer, founder of the Arizona Quilter’s Guild, and Phoenix quilt store proprietor who authored many quilting books. Laurene owned the original mid-19th-century quilt this is based on (published design by Heartland Quilt Guild), and many of the fabrics came from Laurene’s shop. As I was looking at this quilt, Jean Lopez happened to walk by, and graciously allowed me to take a picture of her with the quilt:

Laurene's Legacy
Laurene’s Legacy with Jean Lopez, creator
detail of Laurene's Legacy
detail of Laurene’s Legacy showing quilting and ribbon
Will and Juli's Celtic Wedding Quilt
Will and Juli’s Celtic Wedding Quilt by Carol Rich; blocks hand-quilted; sashing and borders machine-quilted
detail of Will and Juli's Celtic Wedding Quilt
detail of Will and Juli’s Celtic Wedding Quilt showing meticulous hand-quilting
Pineapple Scrap Quilt
Pineapple Scrap Quilt by Jillane Ocana
Southern Gentleman Meets Carpenter's Wheel
Southern Gentleman Meets Carpenter’s Wheel by Janice Jones; quilted by Kris Neifeld
detail of Southern Gentleman Meets Carpenter's Wheel
detail of Southern Gentleman Meets Carpenter’s Wheel showing quilting

My husband, Greg, told me I should “buy something I don’t need” at the show, because I often come home empty-handed from shopping trips because I don’t see anything that I need. I breezed through the vendor booths without being tempted, because I know I have more patterns and fabrics at home than I will ever be able to use. But one item did make me take pause.

Seam ripper/stiletto (closed)

What do you think it is?

Seam ripper/stiletto (open)

A seam ripper/stiletto combo! The prettiest one I’ve ever seen. It’s pricey, though. $40. I had to walk away and think about it.

Greg actually gave me permission to buy something I didn’t need. I do need another seam ripper or two, but a cheap one would do. I usually use a bamboo skewer when I need a stiletto.

But this one is a work of art.

I went back to talk to the maker, Ron Schuler of Quills and Quilts. “What is this made out of?” I asked, pointing to the handle.

“Magic powder,” he replied.

“Like an epoxy?”

“A two-part resin.”

And it looks and feels like stone.

I bought it. And I used it (the stiletto part) on Saturday. It works like a charm.

If you want to see more of the beautiful quilts from this show, stop back on Saturday. Until then, happy quilting!

Quilting Question #4

Quilting Question #4

Quilters out there, if you have to piece together a one-fabric border, do you try to line it up so that the seam falls at the center of the quilt, or do you let seams fall wherever they may? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Creative Juice #336

Creative Juice #336

Quilts. Art. Books. Signs. Writing classes. And other interesting things to think about.

Quilting Question #3

Quilting Question #3

What is the best quilt design software?

I love using traditional patterns, but if I want to change the colors or where the light and dark fabrics go, I’m not good at envisioning what the result will be. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed with the way a quilt turned out because it looked different in my head.

I wish I had a way of auditioning my ideas before I cut the pieces. I know I can make a few sample blocks, but the full quilt still looks different than I expect. I’ve thought about drawing my ideas out by hand, but it’s time consuming, and sometimes I would like to try multiple settings. That would be very tedious.

If you use (or know of) a computer program that previews what a quilt will look like if you change the color placement, could you recommend one in the comments below? Add a link if you know a website or an online article about it.

Yay! It’s Quilting Day!


In honor of National Quilting Day today, I’m going to bring you up-to-date on my long arm (really mid arm) quilting adventures.

If you’re a regular reader of ARHtistic License, you know that last November I got a HandiQuilter Moxie. Then I had six private Zoom lessons with a HandiQuilter educator to learn how to use it. I made a practice piece to try out free motion quilting and also the ProStitcher Lite robotic quilting software. The piece was not good enough for a human being to use, but I thought it might work as a quilt for Ralph.

Ralph's quilt

Ralph was not impressed. (Yawn.)

Ralph with his quilt

At the same sewing and quilting festival where I ordered my Moxie, I’d bought some fat quarters of designer fabric. I added some fabric from my stash to it, and I pieced a top for a lap quilt. This was to be my first “real” quilt quilted on the Moxie.

Andrea's lap quilt

Man. I had a time of it. I knew what quilting pattern I wanted to use, but I couldn’t get it to run. The error message said the pattern was larger than the frame area, though it didn’t look like it was larger on the screen. I couldn’t figure out how to make the design a little smaller. I tried setting it up multiple times, but I couldn’t get it to run, so I tried a different quilting pattern.

I didn’t realize how much smaller this new pattern was until I began running it. I didn’t like it, but I figured it would be a good lesson. It was, but not in the way I expected.

I did two passes of the pattern, and then it was time to advance the quilt (shift it so that I could work on the next unquilted part). It was then that I discovered the bottom tension was all messed up.

Tension problem

It’s funny–as the design repeated, the tension improved, but it was still not good. I decided to take it all out and start over. The only good thing about bad tension is that the stitches are easy to pull out.

While I was pulling out those bad stitches, I had plenty of time to ruminate, and I realized that I had watched a video about resizing quilting patterns. If I could find it, I could use the pattern I originally wanted.

But first I had to fix my tension. I reread the section of the manual on tension, and I watched a lot of videos. I followed all the instructions, but no matter what adjustments I made, it didn’t seem to affect the tension at all. I worked on it for days. I must have tightened the little knob 30 rotations, and I still had what looked like couching on the back of my quilt. (It looked like a thread lying on the surface, held in place by small stitches.) One instruction on one of the videos made no sense to me: the instructor said that the thread should snap between the tension discs. I couldn’t make it do that. So I took a picture of the tension discs and texted it to the store technician I’d ordered it from. He told me the discs were too tight together, and I need to loosen the knob at least 10 rotations.

Yep. He was right. I loosened it severely, and then I was able to snap the thread between the discs. It still took a long time until I could get the tension to look acceptable. It’s not perfect, but much better.

I figured out how to tweak the quilting pattern so that it fit within the frame area, and in one day I quilted the entire lap quilt. I wish I could say everything went smoothly; it did not. I forgot the “drag and drop” sequence when I advanced the quilt, and I had to figure out how to make the machine start quilting at the right spot again. I don’t even know how to explain the problem and the solution, but if that ever happens to you, watch this video, starting around the 5:30 mark. (I don’t have the same machine or the same frame or the laser light, but by following his “drag and drop” directions, I got my machine properly lined up.)

I just have to finish hand-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt, and then it’s ready to be my new TV-watching quilt. (Yes, I like to be all snuggled up in a blankie when I watch TV.)

So here’s a sneak peak at my next quilting project, some blocks for quilts for our new granddaughters:

Blocks for a baby quilt

The babies came over on Tuesday.

Me and Etta:

Grandma and Etta

Greg and Robin:

Grandpa and Robin

Do we look like we’re at all happy to be grandparents?

Creative Juice #334

Creative Juice #334

Let me entertain you.

Creative Juice #333

Creative Juice #333

From art to books to quilts, so much to see and read.

Creative Juice #332

Creative Juice #332

Lots of quilts and other creative stuff.