Wednesday, January 31, 2018


January 2018 has flown by but there is one more day and lots of sewing planned today.  On Ringo Lake is my major UFO that I am working on and I"m ready to see some progress.  I have 17 blocks made and most of the parts done for the rest of the blocks so I vow to work on that today.  I wont finish but I want to put a big dent in it before February arrives with new challenges.  
Speaking of new challenges Alicia has posted the fabric requirements for her free Quilt of Valor 2018
Alicia Quilts .  I think I might do this as it is all scrappy and I have a lot of patriotic fabrics stashed away.  
There is also the American Patchwork and Quilting UFO challenge that I'm participating in.  My goal is to finish up some of those languishing projects and get them quilted.  Here is the project sheet  here.  
One of my major goals in 2018 is to get this blog up and running with daily postings, or near daily postings.  And here is my progress on Ringo Lake, see below.  I like to sew things together as I go along to see how it is going to look.  I selected to use a constant sashing which I have plenty of and reserve the sashing from Bonnie's directions for a border.  I'm making this a queen size for my bed.  You can never have too many bed quilts!  The paisley on the bolt was purchased at a bolt sale from Quilting Treasures at the LQS.  Isnt it perfect for backing and final border?   Happy quilting!  Carol

On Ringo Lake in progress!

Monday, January 29, 2018


In 2017, I finally finished my Sew Simplicity Quilt by Jacquelyn Steves.  I even quilted it myself on Platypus, my platinum 16 quilter.  I am so pleased with it!  I had fun with this because I made it with my friend Barbara from the UK.  We became friends while her husband was stationed with the RAF at our local AF Base.  We each made one and they look entirely different! I think it turned out beautifully! 

Sew Simplicity Quilt

And quilting closeup!  


My philosophy on selecting fabrics and colors for a quilt is a five part process that I have shared in my recent postings. Let me restate them here
FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM 1. find your fabric; 2. find your theme; 3. find your neutrals; 4 find your accent fabrics; and 5 find your pattern.
In the case of the fabrics and blocks I've been working on I already had a pattern in mind. A friend and I had agreed to take advantage of Jacquelyn Steve's free Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM. You can visit the pattern at
The center 6.5 inch block of Jacquelynne's quilt could be either applique or a fabric. I'm not all that fond of applique and when I saw the fun floral fabric at the LQS,I thought immediately how much fun it would be to fussy cut the flowers for the center block. So in this case, the pattern came before the fabric.
Most of the time, I think I find the fabric first and then search for a pattern to go with it. In my travels and visiting local shops, I look for what is on sale. If I think it is a good buy and I like the fabrics, I will buy 1 to 2 yds, depending on the pattern repeat. I have a set of fabrics in my stash that I purchased on a New England vacation in 2013. I tuck these fabrics into my mind and then I search for patterns through magazines and books. I think I have hit on a pattern that will be wonderful for this set of fabrics. On the other hand, I have bought patterns that I like and I'm not sure I've ever made them. I do make bags from patterns, many of them. My husband continually asks why I can't throw the magazines out. You all know the answer to that one. We save them to find patterns to use for fabrics we have. And the books, I have many many books and buy more. After all it is like reading a novel and you learn so much. And, unlike a novel, you will read it again. I hope you have enjoyed my take on finding fabrics and mixing and matching colors. Its been fun.Next time, the reveal!   Carol


One of the reasons why I don't blog consistently is because I have such difficulty with pictures, loading up, saving, etc. A blog is better with pictures but if you can't get them to appear and save them to your computer, well it doesn't work. That's another post. Today I am going to talk about the third and fourth items in our FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM story, choosing neutrals and accent fabrics.  Featured is our focal fabric I've been working with and the neutrals and accent fabrics I selected to go with. Starting with neutral, I went with the obvious choices of white and black. Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame describes neutrals as anything lighter than a brown paper bag. That is a large selection of fabrics but I usually choose a white, cream or tone on tone. And when I'm working with scrappy, I like to use a constant neutral throughout to give the eye a rest. Back to our focal fabric. After choosing the neutrals that you are using, it is time to choose the accent fabrics to go with the focal print.
I selected a total of three accent fabrics and if you look closely, they are three prints. The purple is mottled and falls into the print category. The grey has tiny ovals printed on it and I selected this fabric because the ovals reminded me of the petals on the flower. This is an important aspect of interior design, repeating shapes or motifs throughout a room. Why not in a quilt. The third accent fabric I chose is a small grey/white floral that has a modern vibe. It is probably my favorite fabric of them all. It calms all the bright colors of the focal fabric, purple and black. It is slightly larger in scale than the grey oval fabric and it pulls it all together.  What is interesting about this grey/floral fabric is that when I presented to my local guild and showed these fabrics, there were many comments that they did not think this grey/floral fabric went with the other selections, too beige.  When I get to the finished quilt I'll show you how it does coordinate!  
Now that I've shown you my fabric selections, its time to show them to you in a finished block. 
So far we've finished 4 steps of the FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM list. The focal fabric, the theme, the neutral and accent fabrics! And we've sewn them into blocks. You can see how the bright fabrics are calmed by the white and the small grey/white floral. Next time, we'll talk about choosing the pattern. In the case of these quilt blocks, the pattern was predetermined. Until next time, happy quilting. Carol



As I've been writing my take on Color Confidence and Fabric selections, I've been running my writings past my friends on quilt and Lose Team. I quilt but I don't lose and they let me stay anyway! Before I delve further into color selection, lets concentrate a bit on theme. Lets narrow our themes down to just three: traditional/transitional; modern/contemporary; novelty. There are many others we could name but most fabrics probably fall into one or more of these three categories.
Lets first talk about traditional/transitional. I put these two together because they can cross over into themselves. A traditional design would include large florals, roses, the "Waverly" look, Colonial design, toiles, and civil war. Plaids lend themselves to traditional when made in warm colors and tones but they can also be fun and playful. Lets not get too bogged down in names, just go to your LQS and peruse the racks and try to select tradtional designs. There are many fabrics that fall into this category and the coloring of the fabrics also plays into the category. A magazine where you would find the use of traditional fabrics and furnishings would be TRADITIONAL HOME.
Next, transitional, which bridges the gap between very traditional and modern/contemporary. I live in Florida and I have many clients who move here from northern and midwest states. In their past lives, they may have had very traditonal interior design in their homes and I help them "tone it down" to a more transitional design with the use of color and furnishings. They may have brought antique furniture or dining room tables with Queen Anne legs with them. We add brighter, more contemporary fabrics to the mix. The 1930's fabrics would suit this type of furniture well and bring it down to a more casual lifestyle. Traditional/transitional fabrics and design are the # 1 preferred style of the American lifestyle.
There has been a resurgence in the modern/contemporary look in the past several years, both in interior design and quilting and sewing. Modern fabrics include geometrics, solids, textures, stripes, flowers that have been "modernized" and more. You could also include Australian/Aborigine fabrics as they include very modern techniques with a traditional vibe. You should be able to identify modern and contemporary fabrics at the LQS because if you don't particularly like this look, you would breeze right past them into the more traditional section.
Lastly, lets talk about novelty fabrics and this includes a wide range of just about everything left. Fish, sailboats, juvenile, baby, Americana,; It's easy to identify novelty fabrics at the LQS
My interior design eye is trained to peruse the racks in the LQS quickly and land on the fabrics that I am either looking for, or that appeal to me. I can quickly eliminate those I'm not interested in. If you could train your eye so that you can eliminate and select, it would help you in your quilting. In many quilt shops, there are so many fabrics on the racks it is overwhelming, even for an experienced fabric selector such as myself. I visited the Keepsake Quilt Shop in New Hampshire two years ago and I was completely overwhelmed at the # of bolts on the shelves. In addition, they had all of their fabrics booked by color. If you were looking for a particular series of fabric, like Civil War, you wouldn't find them all together on the shelf. All the browns would be separated, all the blues, reds, etc. It can be very confusing if you are looking for a particular line. I had less than an hour to shop at Keepsake because my husband was patiently waiting in the car. If I could go back and spend half a day, it would be different! I hope this has helped you to be more comfortable in thinking about themes and grouping them into the three categories I've suggested. Quilting isn't a test and you don't have to be exact. We just need a few guidelines to make beautiful quilts. Until next time, visit your stash and group your fabrics into themes. Carol

Thursday, January 25, 2018


So the first two posts I made about color confidence gave us some background information on quilting terms and the use of black as an accent in design and quilting. As I said before, I had difficulty relating to the terms, light, medium and dark as it pertains to fabric selection in quilting. I think these terms must have been invented when quilters were really sewing with scraps and leftover clothing, etc. In order to have the quilt look pleasing in the end, they just learned to select fabrics with different values. To me it has little to do with color. If you bought a new black dress and wore it to a dance, would someone say to you,"Oh, that is a beautiful dark dress!" I have always wanted to write a book and so the proposed title of the book that talks about Color Confidence is "FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM'. There are five steps to learning how to select colors and fabrics for your quilts!
Number 2, Find the Theme
Number 3, Find the neutrals
Number 4, Find the Accent fabrics
Number 5, FInd the Pattern
These five items can be done in any order you wish but lets talk about them as listed.
Finding the fabric might be your first step as quite often, we go into the local quilt shop and we see a fabric that we absolutely fall in love with. Maybe its on sale and you buy what's left on the bolt. Maybe its not paired with something else in the store, you just love it and have to have it. Maybe someone gifted it to you. Then it sits on your shelf and you never use it. One of the things that I rarely see talked about in quilting magazines and articles is the print or pattern of the fabric. In interior design you want to start with a focal point in the room and find a focal fabric from which you pull all of the other elements in the room together with it. I had been planning to sew along with jacquelynne steves and in the center of the blocks is a 6.5" square that is meant for applique or a focal fabric. I saw this fabric  at the LQS and thought how pretty those flowers would be for the center square, fussy cut. It was on sale and the fat quarters were $1.00 so I snatched it up. The is the answer to my number 1 guideline, Find the Fabric.
The next step to finding the fabric is to identify the theme of your fabric. In this case, I would say that this is a modern floral print with a fun transitional vibe. By transitional, it bridges the gap between very tradtional and very modern. It is neither both of these themes. So when I select more fabrics to go with the print, I need to be aware of the theme involved so I don't pick something that doesn't fit. Until next time, have fun playing with your fabrics and identifying the theme. Themes to consider, traditional, modern, fun, flirty, romantic, kid, baby, etc. You know the drill. Carol

2018 Update:  Jacquelynne Steves Sew Simplicity is no longer free but you can purchase the quilt pattern here  Sew Sweet Simplicity.  I have since finished the quilt and will post at the end of my updates to my blog!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018



Today I'm delving into part 2 of my take on becoming color confident in fabric choices. In the interior design world, there are many principles of design that we learn in our studies. But I am not going to delve into those or attempt to teach you the principles of design as it just gets too technical. After all, our purpose here is to learn to effectively select colors and fabrics to go into a quilt so that we will love it in the end. Today I'm going to talk about color and value in general. The hue of a color is its name and the primary hues are red,yellow and blue. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a hue and you get different values by mixing and matching other colors with it. A tint is the color with the addition of white. A tone is the color with the addition of black. The intensity of a color refers to the purity of the hue. I hope that is simple enough. Lets talk about black. A pure black is vibrant and clear. Adding other colors, such as beige, can make it muddy. Interior designers have long known that black is a great accent to use in a room design. A room without black can be very bland. Look around in your own home and see what black highlights you might have that you weren't even aware of. A picture with a black frame, the black fireplace surround, black appliances in a white kitchen, a black granite countertop, a black lampshade, a plaid fabric with a black line through it. Its something you may not notice until you start looking for it. I often use black in my quilts as it creates a neutral place for the eye to land and accents the other fabrics. Above is the first block that I made for Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt. Bonnie provided the suggested colors for the quilt and then I selected my own colors from my stash and purchasing additional. Black was one of Bonnie's constant colors and the blacks I chose were solid, one with a small white dot, one with a green leaf and one with purple swirls in it. Without the addition of the black, this block would be a boring mess. Another change I made to the block was adding a solid purple center where Bonnie had suggested a 2 color 4 patch. I preferred using the solid for something for the eye to land on. Looking at the block can you identify the lights, the mediums and the darks? The lights are the white and yellow, the medium is the green plaid and Most of the other colors are darks with a similar intensity of hue. Intensity refers to the purity of the hue. HOpefully, I've helped you make some sense of these terms that are prevalent in the quilting world. Until next time, happy quilting. Carol



First off, let me thank everyone who commented on my blog and appreciated the quilt I had made to support Breast Cancer. It was fun and I still plan to make the "bras" but another day on that. Today I am going to start a thread on Color Confidence. I am an interior decorator with 34 years experience putting colors and fabrics together for my clients. I've won lots of design awards and a special award from Waverly Fabrics in the late 1980's when that Waverly look was so popular. I became a quilter 7.5 years ago in 2010 after taking a beginning class. I was always an avid seamstress and I took to quilting like a duck to water. When it came to trying to adapt my color and fabric selections to the quilting terms of "light, medium, dark and value," it was difficult for me to wrap my head around them. After all, these terms are not descriptive of any sort of color or fabric that I was familiar with. So I bungled along, choosing fabrics and patterns for my quilts and bags and making color choices using my skill as an interior designer. It worked and I churned out quilt after quilt. Then I started hearing from other members in my quilt guild who would say, "I have such a difficult time picking out fabrics." "I'm not good with colors." "I only buy kits so I don't have to pick out fabrics." " Illustrated is a blue and yellow quilt I made with a honey bun and an Eleanor Burns pattern. I didn't have to pick out anything, just choose the two colors that would go in each block. An easy quilt for anyone. So this year, my guild was looking for speakers and I decided that I was no longer a novice quilter and it was time for me to share my color expertise. I'm practicing my speech on you, my blog readers. I finally decided to learn about the terms, light, medium, and dark. I learned I already knew what they meant as it is just about choosing the right tones and colors while pulling fabrics. I just don't use these terms to describe my selections. I don't say to my clients, "why don't we put a medium drapery here." Or "how about some dark wallpaper?" I use terms like pale pink, bright fuschia, and vibrant burgundy. Now how to get that across to quilters? So I've come up with a plan and I'm excited to share. It's called "FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM!" Next time part 2. Happy a happy day! Carol

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


I've been an interior designer for 34 years this year. Who knew when i purchased Decorating Den Interiors franchise in 1984 that I would be so successful at it? Deep down I think I did. It never occurred to me that I would fail at it. I've won lots of awards over there, had the top producing franchise in the whole company in the 90's and been published in lots of magazines. Even on the cover of WINDOW FASHIONS! As my business winds down, I am finishing up with a Model Home for a builder. It has been so much fun to do this! I will surely post pictures!

Now on to quilting and learning colors. To be an interior designer you should have a knack for design and color coordination. If you dont, you need to select a different career. I sewed and made clothing for myself since I was a teenager so I was confident I had the ability to succeed. And I have. In 2010, the opportunity arose for me to take a beginning quilting class at a local quilt shop. I loved it! I couldn't wait to get home after class and sew up the two blocks that were assigned for that week. I loved pulling the colors and fabrics together for that quilt and I still have it. It was a sampler and if I could figure out how to get a picture posted to this blog I would include it. I used a combination of new fabrics and older fabrics that I had in my stash. At the time I didn't even know I had a stash but I had made a quilt for my first grandson and still had fabrics left from that one. Looking at Jack's quilt now, it was not very good.

Back to learning colors. I have heard so many quilters who love to sew and make quilts complain that they have difficulty selecting fabrics for their quilts. Some have said they only buy kits or take Block of the Month (BOM)classes because they dont want to select the fabrics. On the flip side, I'm not all that enamored with BOM's. I dont always like the fabrics selected and when I buy a kit, it is usually on sale and I like the fabrics in it but not necessarily the pattern.

Based on my experience I want to share with you 5 tips on selecting fabrics and colors for your quilt.

1. Select a focal print. This is the main fabric of the quilt from which to pull the rest of your colors and fabrics. If I find a fabric on sale that I love, I will buy at least 2 yards of it. Many times the focal print is used for the border and a few pieces in the quilt body but not necessarily all over the quilt. If you have a focal print that you have purchased and you dont know what to do with it, pull it out and lets practice.

2. Lay out your focal print, go to your stash and select 3 to 4 other fabrics to put with it. In most cases, my other fabrics will also be prints. Back in the Victorian design days of the 80's and 90's, I would often pull at least 5 other prints to go with the focal print in a room design. Look for a large print, a medium size print and several smaller prints and a solid. You will be looking for colors and designs that mirror your focal print. If your focal is a large floral, select a medium coordinated print of a smaller floral with similar colors. A polka dot, a stripe, a texture, pulling colors from the main fabric. Practice makes perfect.

3. Stand back and look at your selections. Do they blend together and complement each other? Fabrics and colors dont have to match exactly. In fact, I go out of my way not to match things exactly. When you stand back at a distance, you will see that these fabrics will go together even if not an exact match.

4. The Color wheel can be a useful toy. But I must admit I dont use one. I think I have worked so long in colors that they are permanently fused onto my brain. But if you have a color wheel, compare your fabric selections to the color wheel and see if you have managed to select complementary colors to each other or adjacent colors. There is lots of information available on the internet about the color wheel so you can learn more through that.

5. My last advice is to find a pattern for the fabrics you have selected. Most quilters probably find a pattern they like first and then try to find fabrics to make it with. I prefer to find the fabrics first and then the pattern will appear, either in a magazine or on a blog or one I have.

Hope this helps you in your fabric selections. Practice makes perfect. Carol


This is my year! Not sure what is in store for me but there are many possibilities. I might be retired from my interior design business this year; and then again, I might not be. I'm taking appointments as they come along but if they don't, I'll just resort to quilting. I've been working on a model home for a builders and that should finish up in about two weeks and I will surely blog about it and post pics.

Today I signed up for a class and tutorials on blogging from Abby Lawson I'm looking forward to learning something useful about blogging. I like to write but I seem to get jumbled up when it comes to certain computer type things. I hope to be able to fix that problem this year.

I am still participating in Bright Line Eating I lost 30 lbs last year due to this program and have maintained. However, I have slipped away from the right foods at times and I want to get back on track. I will get back on track.  If you would like a referral for a discount to Bright Line Eating , let me know. 

I will continue to quilt and this year I intend to work on my UFO's, Unfinished Objects or quilt projects. I intend to have a lot of finishes this year. I downloaded the American Patchwork and Quilting UFO challenge sheet UFO CHALLENGE SHEETand there are 12 spaces to list the UFO's you want to finish in 2018. Since I was already working On Ringo Lake, I just listed that one as # 12 which was January's pick. I have a few others filled in but had thought to wait to see what the # was and fill in the blanks as I went along. That is cheating isnt it? But I would get to work on what I wanted to work on and not what they picked for me. I have left some of the spots blank and some are filled on. Only 10 more days until the new UFO is picked for me.

I continue to quilt with the Lutherans every second and fourth Mondays of the month. I sew enjoy that process and get to use up lots of fabric!

I'm a speaker at a guild in Gulf Breeze in April so I need to come up with a program. My next blog will be about colors. Join me. Carol