Renewing my Design Wall – Product Decisions

Okay, so I read Sew Katie Did’s post on her design wall and decided to update mine. Mine is a sad, but very, very useable (and cheap) tacked on wall. I think I paid $10 for the plastic tablecloth at Walmart, then tacked it with the plastic to the wall and flannel outward. Done!

It has served me well, but is now full of threads and I want something I can stick pins into when I want to test other fabric. The only thing I have really missed is the ability to put fabric on top of fabric to test ideas. Otherwise a plastic tablecloth really, really works.


So…I headed to our local home improvement store to look at the insulation board. It is HUGE! 4′ x 8 ‘. That is NOT going to fit in my car, and I don’t own a truck! Hmmm…decided to come home and measure my wall first. If need be, I can cut the board before I load it in the car.

So, now I am online searching for insulation board. Turns out that it burns quickly and the fumes will kill you. Do I really want to use foam board? Back to Google.

Well, after reading some SAQA design board comments and contractor forums, I have decided that Armstrong Fireguard Acoustic Tile might be the way to go. We had a bad fire two years ago at my parents’ house, so I am more careful than I used to be about flammable products.

Next installment…selection and creation of my design wall.

Reflections on and Finishes for 2015

Here are my 2015 finishes…some started in 2014.

I still consider myself a beginning quilter…a confident beginner who will try intermediate skills, but a beginner nonetheless. When I look back at 2015, I know now why my seams line up so much better here at the end of 2015. I had a LOT of practice with matching seams.

When I started quilting, I avoided patterns where I had to match seams  because I could NEVER get them to match. I also started glue basting thanks to a tutorial by Sharon Schamber and a second tutorial by her daughter Christy Fincher. I don’t glue baste every seam, but I do glue baste the ones I have to match. I can finally “feel” the match between the seams and I understand why I should press seams to opposite sides, but it took awhile–think several quilts–for that to happen.

I had a lot of firsts for me in 2015.

  1. free motion quilted a baby quilt on my home machine.
  2. made flying geese blocks
  3. used flannel as backing
  4. sewed curves thanks to Jayne (Twiggy and Opal) of the Music City Modern Quilt Guild
  5. learned to cut and piece triangles thanks to Rachel’s Angled class at Stitched in Color. She may be doing that one again this year. I am not sure. If so, I highly recommend it! Really a 2014 skill, but I finished finished the quilt in 2015.
  6. learned that I am terrible at bees and keeping up in online classes. I will do the classes, but doubt I do another bee. Life keeps interfering and I cannot keep up.

For 2016, I have two commissions to finish up and then I want to practice more free motion quilting (FMQ). I haven’t done that often enough to feel comfortable. My cats may end up with lots of cat pads as I practice.

Here’s to a great 2016 with more challenges and lots to learn!

A Christmas Celebration in Abingdon, Virginia

To all who celebrate at this time of year, I hope you have a wonderful day full of love and joy. Peace and goodwill to all!

For my family, Christmas came early when we all met in Abingdon, Virginia to see two plays at the Barter Theatre and experience Christmas in a small arty town in southwest Virginia! My brothers, theirs wives, nephews and wife, and dad were all in attendance at what may become an annual event. This was Dad’s present to us. We had loads of fun and enjoyed both plays and ate way too much good food at the Martha Washington Inn across the street from the theatre. If you ever drive past Abingdon, I highly recommend a stop. We didn’t even see everything crafty.

If you do stop, please go by the the Arts Depo, Heartwood, and Holston Mountain Artisans. I visited these shops with my sister-in-law, Susan, and loved the variety of crafts, quilts included, available from local artisans.

There are also two quilt shops in town. The more traditional quilt shop with civil war era fabrics is on the main street in town. The other (Virginia Highlands Quilt Shop) is a little out of town, but had fabric with a more modern vibe. People in both shops were extremely helpful. I treated myself to some teal fabrics at the Virginia Highlands shop and a couple of Kate Spain mini-charm packs. Shopping smaller stores often gives me a chance to stock up on out-of-production lines, like Michael Miller’s Stitch Square and Cotton & Steel’s Spring 2014 line.


Friends and family who know my quilting obsession provided some quilty love this Christmas with a super sidekick ruler, patterns, and fabric, including some hand-dyed wool, that I am dying to try. I don’t know what I will make with it yet, but the wool is glorious and the patterns and fabric fabulous!

Wool                       QuiltyChristmas1

New (and Old) Beginnings

Beginnings can be new, or old, or in process. My definition of “beginnings” runs broad and deep to encompass side journeys, rethinkings, and life in general. Below is my first quilting blog entry from December 2, 2013 on my original blog Sweet Succotash Quilts. I won’t be using that blog anymore, but it got me started, so I am leaving it up.

Beginnings: My paternal grandmother quilted. But, because I didn’t think quilting would ever be “my thing,” I never learned to quilt from her. I was left with one impression though–machine quilting is bad. Hand quilting is the ONLY way to go.

So, now I am in my late 50s and decided I wanted to try sewing and have discovered an absolute LOVE of quilting–machine quilting that is. As a cousin told me: “Your granny would turn over in her grave.” I think she is just happy that I am quilting.

I am still learning, so my quilts are flawed, but it is calming to make your cuts precise, then piece and sew–as long as I don’t have to do points. I find points fiddly. Maybe some day they will be relaxing also, but I’m not there yet.

My first completed quilt is the background for this blog*. I really like it–flaws and all. I LOVE the colors, which led me to the title of my blog: Sweet Succotash.

Thanks to the Cathy and Carolyn at the Bernina Sewing Station in Brentwood, Tennessee for helping me choose fabric and the class that helped me start this quilt.

*Here is the quilt. Thank goodness I have learned how to PRESS, not IRON now.