Fifty Shades of Red…or Oh What a Week It’s Been…

I know, I know…there was no blog last week.  Typically, I always announce prior to any blog absence that I’m either away at a class or seminar or I’m on vacation.  That wasn’t the deal last week.  I simply ran out of week before I could get one written.

The last two weeks have been horribly busy at my house.  My daughter and son-in-law are moving.  Notice I didn’t say I was moving.  It is my children that are moving.  However, that meant that I had to do double Mimi-duty.  I’ve had the granddarlings a good bit the last two weeks, which I expected and had planned for.

What I hadn’t planned for was everything and everybody else getting in the middle of this move.  For instance, take Wednesday night.  Please.  Someone take it, because that was the point I really understood the phrase, “I had to laugh to keep from crying.”

It started out as a seemingly wonderful Wednesday.  It was cold and windy, but the weather was clear.  The DH and I had to be at our lawyers’ office at 11 to close on the house that my daughter and son-in-law are moving into.  To set the scene, the last closing we were at, our banker was there.  This time, he wasn’t.  And no one from the lawyers’ office had contacted us (even after repeated attempts to contact them), with the final figure for the closing costs.

Now add this little fact to the above scenario:  Our lawyer was late. Not just 10 minutes, but really late.  Finally, this young and I mean really young kid pops his head through the door and says that our lawyer is busy with another closing and he was going to handle us.  I wasn’t worried.  This was a straight-forward direct from seller-to-buyer transaction with no real estate people in sight.  And it went really, really smoothly until the young lawyer turned to me and asked where the check was.  I promptly pulled out the money market check book and then he shot me a look.

“We need a certified check,” he says.

“You do?”  was my answer, “Because I don’t have one because I was never contacted by this office with a final amount.”

He fumbled for minute and then agreed our banker could wire them the final closing cost by 3 p.m. that afternoon.

No biggie, right?  Should be pretty easy…and in a perfect world, it would be.  However, Wednesday happened to be the day I couldn’t reach him either on his office phone or cell phone.  I called.  And called.  And called.  And got voicemail, after voicemail, after voicemail.  So it’s now 2:30 and I’m reaching panic mode.  If the final payment isn’t made by 3, we must re-do all this paperwork.

Desperate, I finally march my way into the local bank branch and speak with a very nice teller who probably dislikes lawyers as much as I do.  At first, she tells me the person who can help me with a certified check has three customers ahead of me…and now it’s 2:45. I explained the situation to her – I need a wire transfer or certified check, the law firm didn’t let me know the amount until this morning at closing, yada, yada, yada.

Her eyes narrow and she frowns.  “Give me that wire information,” she says.

Which I promptly hand over, listening to her mutter about lawyers under her breath and me agreeing with every syllable she utters.

Five minutes later, I’m out the door with wire receipt in hand, thinking I really need to send this lady flowers next week.

Crisis, avoided, so all is well now, right?

Well the first crisis is.  Later that evening my DH and I have just sat down to eat an early dinner when his phone rings and it’s my son-in-law.  His car has broken down.  On Wendover.  And it’s full of stuff he’s moving from the apartment to the house.  Since I’m eating soup and you can’t put that in a to-go box, we scarf down our meal in record time and head toward Wendover.

And immediately passed him, pulled over on the other side of the road.  For those of you who don’t live in Guilford County, Wendover is Highway 70.  And it’s busy.  Seven lanes of traffic, punctuated by various stop lights, ramps, and people that wouldn’t know what a turn signal is if it jumped up and bit them in the butt.  So, we make our way over to the further-most left hand lane, to make a legal U-turn in order to get back to our son-in-law.  We’re sitting at the stop light, when this older gentleman who probably really doesn’t need to be driving at night slams into the rear of the car.

Did I mention we were driving my car?  Why were we driving my car?  Well, that was because my husband’s SUV is in the shop with airbag issues and my knee still won’t let me climb up into his truck because it’s too far off the ground.  And all of that hits me at once – the fact that if my car is out of commission because of this guy, that I am car-less for God knows how long.

After the day I had, ask me how many shades of red I was seeing?

Fortunately for me and the geezer that hit me my car is drivable.  We get to our son-in-law and call a tow truck.  Meanwhile, my daughter pulls up behind us.  I get in the car with her and she’s going to drive me home and then go into work, since she works third shift.  We pull into my driveway and it’s then I realize that since we had been using my car that evening…and the DH had been driving….he still had my key ring and my house keys were with him.

Yeah….that’s how it’s kind of been for the last two weeks.  So that’s why there was no blog this week and I have pretty much got zilch done this week.

I did get this far with one snowman block…

DSC00728 (1)

And I only got this far with my Farmer’s Wife blocks….


And I did get these blocks done for the Halo Medallion.


I have finally gotten clearance from the doctor to play on my long-arm again.  I’ve missed Loretta and have already loaded up a new pantograph to play with this weekend.


Here’s to a quieter week….


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


Butterfly Wings and The Color Purple

There is a theory is the field of science called The Butterfly Effect.  It has its roots in the chaos theory.  Partly used to establish weather patterns, this effect has also been used to explain other aspects of existence and environment.  Edward Lorenz came up with this idea and explained it in 1961 as a strange attractor for values ρ=28, σ = 10, β = 8/3. The butterfly effect or sensitive dependence on initial conditions is the property of a dynamical system that, starting from any of various arbitrarily close alternative initial conditions on the attractor, the iterated points will become arbitrarily spread out from each other.


When I was teaching science, I always explained it as  the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.  In other words, one event, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, can directly affect so many other things.  A butterfly flaps its wings in my front yard today and tomorrow that may change the weather pattern in Newfoundland.

It’s really not quite that simple, but that’s a good picture of how it works.

Why am I espousing the Butterfly Effect on quilting blog?  In the past, I have referenced that I am a sixth-generation quilter and am researching my family on  It has been a long, wild ride and I’m not done yet.  My mother’s family has the quilters, so I have been really digging away on the Perry side.  My mom’s extended family is not from North Carolina.  Many of them came from West Virginia, from McDowell County, from a small town called English (formerly Perryville).  This is one of the poorest, if not the poorest county, in West Virginia and has suffered great poverty.

They were coal miners in a political landscape that was not going to support that vocation, even back then.  So they left, traveled south, settled in Virginia, then in Rockingham and Forsyth counties in North Carolina.

A family leaves one state and settles in another, probably not ever thinking that this one “flap” of those butterfly wings would mean so much.  But without that “flap” I wouldn’t be in High Point and have so many wonderful quilting friends that have taught me so much.  I just find it so fascinating that this one decision changed so many lives for the better.


I am still working on my Snowmen Challenge.  Here are some more blocks that I finished last week.

Our Santa’s Loading Dock group met this week.  I have finished my background and have cut out my continents.


We did decide that we needed to change up the timeline.  The floor goes in next, not the snowflakes.  The larger pieces will have to be placed first, so we can work on the placement of the smaller ones, otherwise the spatial relationship will be off.  The floor takes nine yards of purple fabric.  I did a double take on that amount until I realized that the floor extends into the toy shop.  After leaving our meeting, I went home and began to pull my purple batiks.  Ask me, everybody’s favorite purple-holic, how shocked I was to discover I had nowhere near that amount of purple batiks.  Why batik?  It has a firm weave and lends itself to my Scan and Cut as well as it’s a terrific background for the applique.  Those and the Fairy Frost Fabrics are going to be liberally used throughout this quilt.

I’ve got to draw the floor out this week and then cut it apart for my pattern.  Between Linda and Lisa, I already know that the boards in the floor are not even, the angles are odd, and the entire process is going to take patience.  I’m torn between making a transparency and throwing the thing on my projector and tracing it that way, or asking my son-in-law if I give him a scanned copy to print out on our work plodder the exact size that I need.

I think I’m going with my scanned copy first because my knee is still bothering me and it hurts to stand for too long.

The challenge is still there and every time I wonder if this is all too foolish and crazy to undertake, Lisa gives me the side-eye and reminds me that “It’s the year of fearless quilting!”

Good thing I love her so much….

Still Quilting Fearlessly…more or less….


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam




It’s time to revisit a blog from the past.  If you remember correctly at the end of 2016, I was very concerned (and still am) about the current state of quilting.  Shops are closing, please buy local, yada, yada, yada…


In my anxiety about preserving quilting, one of the last items I mentioned was that every quilter needs to teach someone else how to quilt.  My happy to say that my local guild has a mentoring program for folks that come in and want to learn to quilt or learn to quilt better.  This is important to keep the art alive.


However, I have a very special reason for wanting to pass the “quilt gene” along.  Neither my daughter or daughter-in-law have expressed an interest in quilting.  This has been distressing me, because I’m a sixth generation quilter and I was wondering if I would have anyone to leave my machines and stash to when I’m called to That Great Quilt Bee in the Sky.  However, I’ve been blessed with two granddaughters.  My youngest is Ell.  She will be three in May.



And this is my oldest, Evangeline.


Evangeline just turned four.  She has always expressed a desire to sit on my lap while I sewed.  So we did just that.  She’d sit on my lap and touch the start and stop button on the machine.  She’d raise and lower the pressure foot.  She’d depress the needled down button.  She’d rummage through my scrap box and lay her “quilt” out on the floor and move pieces around until she got it “just right.”  She’d ask for a Ziploc bag to take some “stash” home with her to play with.

In short, this is a little gal after her Mimi’s heart and soul.  I promised her when she turned four, I’d get a machine for her that was all hers.  After we celebrated her fourth birthday, that was the first thing out of her mouth.  “Where’s my machine, Mimi?”

The apple definitely did not fall far from the tree with this one.

Let me explain this process.  I did not want to get her a toy sewing machine.  They’re great, but the manufacturing folks really don’t make those like they did in the forties and fifties when the machines would literally last for generations.  They don’t sew well and usually only do a chain stitch.  I knew Evangeline would get discouraged with that, especially since she’s seen what my Janome 7700 can do.  So, I purchased her a real machine.

I chose a Janome Honeycomb.


It’s small – even the pedal is the right size for her foot.  It has a drop-in bobbin, so we don’t have to struggle with a bobbin case. We tried it out this week and she  is smitten.  I’ve got to make a few adjustments, but we’re good to go.  The first thing she wants to make is a skirt.  I know, it’s not a quilt, but you start where they want to.  Evangeline and Elli will be staying with me quite a bit as their parents are moving in the next few weeks, so I plan to take them on a field trip to a local big box store with fabric.  I have a simple skirt pattern (two pieces).  I want her to pick out her fabric, the notions, and her own sewing basket.

We do have rules.  She’s to never use the machine without me. And while she’s sewing, I work with her only.  She must wear tennis shoes.  They don’t slide, the toe is closed, and despite the fact that I’m diligent about picking up stray pins, you never know when I may miss one.  I cut the fabric – she’s not to touch my fabric scissors or the rotary cutter.  At least for now.

There’s nothing like teaching someone else to sew and quilt. Especially when that someone is your granddaughter.


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam




A thought occurred to me as I am in the middle of three or four different projects… in everything I have written and taught about quilts and quilting, I have never, not once, discussed the subject of pins.

Pins are one of those sewing items that everyone needs, regardless of what they’re making.  I know quilters, crafters, and seamstresses that declare either they don’t use them or rarely use them.  I’ve never known why they say that with such an air of pride.  In my mind, pins do more than hold the fabric together as you feed it through the machine.  To me, they cut down on any errors you could possibly make.  I always pin my nested seams together before I sew them.  It prevents any slippage, so my corners always meet nicely.  If I’m sewing long, skinny strips together, such as in a log cabin quilt, it keeps the edges together and straight.  So, I’ve never been quite sure why some seamstresses and quilters don’t see the need for pinning their projects.

There are roughly six major types of pins on the market.  The one that’s most widely available are the dressmaker pins.


Don’t let the name fool you. These can be used just fine in quilting, too, although they aren’t my first choice.  These vary in length from 1 1/16-inches to 1 3/8-inches. Dressmaker pins can be found nearly anywhere – dollar store establishments, grocery stores, big box craft stores…you name it, they’re generally in the same aisle as the laundry supplies or general sewing notions.  They play well with a variety of fabrics.  However, like shoes, you get what you pay for.  While they’re always going to be on the inexpensive end of pins, the cheaper ones are coarser and the business end of the pin may not always be ground to a sharp point.  They are also larger in diameter and may leave a visible hole in some fine cottons or delicate fabrics.


My “go-to” pin when I’m piecing are the pins designed specifically for quilting.


Quilting pins are longer in shank than other pins, which makes them perfect for paper piecing.  Typically, they are at least 1 ¾-inch long, which means they work well when pinning all three layers of your quilt together.    Some brands have heavier shanks than others, so be sure to test drive several brands before settling on a favorite.  Some have the typical “ball head” but others can have  T-heads or  small plastic disks that are shaped like butterflies, flowers, etc.  I like the ones with the disk because these plastic parts are large enough to write on with a fine-tipped marker, meaning you can use them to indicate such things as row one, block 3 (R1,B3) or left and right. The points are generally very sharp and go through cotton fabric easily.

Silk pins are another pin that quilters may want to consider, especially when piecing fine cotton fabrics, such as Liberty of London.


These are usually 1 ¼-inch long, so they fall between dressmaker pins and quilting pins.  They were originally designed to use with silk and silk-like fabrics, which means they are smooth and the shank is very slender in diameter and they have super-sharp points.  If you need to use these, make sure you get the nickel plated, hard steel kind that won’t rust.  I love to use these if I’m piecing blocks that have lots of small pieces.

Ballpoint pins are another kind of pin you may want to consider using.


Like dressmaker pins, they have a larger, coarser shank and they come in several different lengths.  The ball point is the factor for consideration with these pins.  The end is not sharpened to a super-fine point, but is slightly rounded, making them ideal to use with knit fabrics, since they separate the fabric threads instead of piercing them.  I would not use them with fine cotton fabrics because of this fact.  The separation of the fabric threads may cause “runs” in the cotton material. However, like the dressmaker pins, they’re not my favorite to use in quilting. Their saving grace is that they are widely available.  This means if I forget my pins while I’m on vacation, I can find these or the dressmaker pins at the local grocery store.


The last two pins are specialty pins, but I seriously could not do without them.  The first specialty pin is the applique pin.

These are easily identifiable, because the shank is smaller both in length and diameter than any other pin.  Applique pins are generally no longer than ½-inch in length and can be smaller in diameter than even the silk pins.  For years applique enthusiasts used sequin pins (small pins used for pinning sequins on to Styrofoam forms to make Christmas ornaments), but these have a large head on them, which meant your applique thread was constantly getting tangled around that end of the pin.  Clover came out with a tapered head on their pins’ heads, which prevented any tangling.  Karen Kay Buckley has also developed an applique pin with an even thinner shank than Clover and is slightly longer, which makes it perfect for larger applique pieces.  If you love applique, but dislike the glue-basting, some of these pins are worth the investment.

The second specialty pin that I absolutely must have on my sewing table and in my sewing basket, are glass head pins.


I was introduced to this engineering marvel years ago, when I did a lot of lace-shaping for my daughter’s French Heirloom dresses.  These are long and thin in shank, like the silk pins, but the head is indeed made of glass.  What’s so special about that?  Well, the glass head means that it doesn’t melt under a hot iron.  Some aspects of quilting are like lace-shaping – you pin the fabric down and with lots of steam and a hot iron, you force it to take the shape you need it to take. Specifically, I’m think of Celtic Quilts and vines and stems and basket handles in applique blocks.  If you use a quilting pin with a plastic head, that plastic could melt on the fabric and ruin your work.  Glass head pins won’t.  They’re one of the most expensive pins on the market, but gosh, if you applique, they are more than worth the investment.

My final statement about pins:  Don’t sew over them.  That action can break a needle or damage your bobbin case.  Stop before the pin gets under your sewing machine needle and remove it.

I did make two purchases this week and those weren’t fabric!  However, they are quilt-related. From some of my Christmas money I bought these new Kixs….


Cool, huh?


And I ordered Bonnie Sullivan’s new book.


I know it was published in 2016, but I just got around to buying it.  I looked through it this week and my mouth watered.  Now I want to make all the things….


Let me update you on my latest adventure with Santa’s Loading Dock.  My knee is better.  I’m out of my brace, the pain is minimal (except at the end of the day), and I still am using my cane.  I have planned my background and am cutting out my squares.  Hopefully by Sunday evening, I will have the background together.


I did manage to email the pieces I needed enlarged to my local Office Depot.  In the notes part of my email, I told the nice folks there that I knew that some of the pieces would be on reallllllyyyyy large pieces of paper.  So, a few hours after they received my email, I got a call….

“Ms. Fields, do you know just how large some of those pieces are going to be?”

I assured them I did….sort of.


Here are the window and the continents.  The sleigh took four….FOUR…pieces of paper the same size as the paper the window is printed on.  This thing is massive.  I came out of Office Depo $38.00 poorer, but it’s well worth it if this quilt works out.  I still think we’re going to have to re-do the timeline and put the floor on sooner than the book calls for just to make sure the whole thing comes together proportionately.


Still working on snowmen and Farmer’s Wife blocks….and need to finish the border of my President’s Challenge.  But first I need to make up my mind what I want to do with it.


And still Quilting Fearlessly….



Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam













A Hitch in my Gettiup

Oh my, what a week!


Let me preface this blog by plainly stating I am a list maker.  Before I go to bed every night, I make a list of the things I need to get done the next day.  It’s the last thing I see when I go to bed at night and the first thing I see when I wake up the next morning.  It keeps me focused and crossing all the items off makes me feel accomplished.


I’ve done this for years and this system works for me.  It may stress other people out, but I’ve done this little exercise since I was in middle school.  I like getting things done.  However, this week I’ve been a little hamstrung in more ways than one.  If you’re a regular reader, you will remember that back in August of 2016, I pulled a tendon in my left knee while walking across a perfectly level, dry floor at the Teeter (my local grocery store).  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I pulled the same tendon AGAIN either loading my sewing machine in the car or unloading it at class or at home.  And no, it wasn’t Big Red (my Janome 7700), it was the small Juki I use for teaching, classes, and all day sew-ins.


So it’s this….



And this…


For at least three more weeks.  Coupled with ice and heat and not being on my knee more than about 45 minutes at a time.  Needless to say this doesn’t fit into my lifestyle at all.  I’m not getting enough done and what I can do is taking forever. The only thing I’ve got going in this situation is that my cane is leopard print.


I did tell you folks about the Snowman Challenge my quilt group is undertaking.  You take a traditional 6-inch block and put a snowman in it somehow.  I did get three of these done this week.  I’m using white wool for my snowmen so that the background fabrics don’t show through.  I think they’re kind of cute and it really is wonderfully creative.

And then there’s the Halo Medallion.  I did get the first floater, the setting triangles, and the second floater put on.  I plan to work on the half-square triangles tonight.



I’m still working on the Farmer’s Wife Quilt.  I’ve nearly got all the blocks done.


Meanwhile, let me give you an update on Santa’s Loading Dock.  I have all my blue fabric picked out for the background.  At some point this weekend, I have to cut them into 6 ½-inch squares and sew them into the background for the globe.  Lisa and Linda have finished theirs, so I’ve got to catch up.

We did discover, after we worked up our timeline, that you really need to make the background and floor, and at least have the sleigh and window printed out so you know where to place the continents.  The struggle has been to enlarge these pieces as much as the pattern calls for (which is sometimes as much as 200%).  Much of my morning was taken up with this battle.


I knew that however I decided to enlarge my pattern, it would be easier if I had my book spiral-bound.  So I headed over to my local Office Depo this morning at 10:30, book in one hand and cane in the other.  I hobbled over to the service desk and a nice young man told me he certainly could put the book on a spiral, just stand right there and he’d have it back to me in a few minutes.


The key words here are “stand” and “a few minutes.”


Right now, neither do very well for me.  I’m not sure what happened in the process, but it took an hour to get that spiral put on the book because one of the machines kept malfunctioning.  I had to stand the entire time because there was nowhere to sit.  When me and my bum knee finally got out of there, the pain was overwhelming.  I didn’t dare ask about enlarging the patterns because I was deathly afraid something else would malfunction and I have to stand another hour.


Needless to say, the pain medication has been my best friend this afternoon.


If all goes well, I’m heading back to Office Depot tomorrow or Sunday and get what I need enlarged and continue to work on the Loading Dock.  If this is a precursor to my Year of Fearless Quilting, it should be a wild 365-day trip around the sun.


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam



My Biggest Challenge?

So yesterday I met with my support group for this little project.


We all know that challenging quilts are more fun when you have someone who is going to be just as confused as you are at any given point by your side.  With that in mind, Linda, Lisa, and I met yesterday to plan our strategy for Santa’s Load Dock.  We all had read the book, Lisa had drawn out the globe, and Linda had her background already complete.

Let me mention at this point (least you feel that I was not keeping up my end of the deal) that Lisa and Linda do not work.  Please feel free to contact my husband if you feel I need to retire in order to properly support my fellow quilters.


It’s going to take about 27 months to complete this project.  Keep in mind that all three of us have other quilts under progress during this time, so SLD (Santa’s Loading Dock) will not be the only quilt under construction.  Mary Buvia, the quilt designer, only took a year to make her masterpiece, but I have a feeling that SLD was the only project she was working on during that trip around the sun.

I have decided that this is going to be another one of my stash busters. I may have to purchase more red fabric for the left side of the quilt with the reindeer names, but I think I have enough of everything else to seriously deplete my fabric supply.  I love this quilt because it does use so many colors, yet it fits together seamlessly.


In this year of “Fearless Quilting,” I feel that SLD will be my biggest challenge. If it works out well, it will also be one of my biggest rewards.  I plan on blogging about the progress of the quilt and my support group.


In the meanwhile, I have the second set of directions for The Halo Medallion.


I have some great ideas for my Snowman Challenge, but  haven’t had the time to execute them.


Here’s to Fearless Quilting!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam



Fearlessly Starting

I had two starts this week.


For those of you who may not understand the quilting terminology “start,” let me explain.  A quilter purchases fabric for a quilt and/or pulls material for a quilt from her stash to begin a new quilt top.  A “start” in quilting-land is when you take said-referenced fabric and actually construct the first block – hence a “start.”


The first start was this:


For those of you who are members of or have followed the life and blogs of Sue Garman, you will immediately recognize this as the center medallion of the last  — or at least one of the last – quilts she designed called Halo Medallion.  Sue lost her battle to lung cancer a couple of weeks ago.  She was a non-smoker who managed to succumb to this horrible disease that has taken far too many wonderful people from us.  She was an incredibly talented quilter and quilt designer and so very gracious.  When my guild wanted to make her pattern, Ruffled Roses, for a raffle quilt, she generously gave her permission and encouraged us to send pictures after it was complete.  Her loss will be profoundly felt in the quilting world.

The second start was this:


This is the first block of the mystery quilt my guild’s quilt club is making.  I am not crazy about the quality of the picture – it makes the star point’s fabric look orange, when in fact it’s coral.  This Martha Washington’s Star is constructed from the fabric I featured in last week’s blog.  I swear it’s a love/hate relationship with my new camera.


I’ve really have a third start – a quilt I’m entering in a show this August, but again, I can’t put it on social media, as it’s against the rules.  In due time I will show this, but it won’t be until next fall.  But to give you an idea, it has a dozen Ohio Star blocks in it that are 1-inch, finished.


These small pieces are another component in my “Year of Quilting Fearlessly.”  The smallest blocks I have ever made at this point are 4-inches, finished.  I’ve loved miniature quilts for a long time but have never thought I had the skill level to complete them, or at least complete them well.  In fact, I’ve always been a little daunted at the thought of anything smaller than the blocks I did for Dear Jane.

So again, I would like to challenge you…in 2017, quilt fearlessly.  Don’t be intimidated by a pattern, a designer, or a color.  Let each of these challenge you, but not intimidate or overwhelm you.  Let them teach you a different skill set or improve a skill set you have.  You can do this!  It will stretch you as a quilter and improve your work.


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


Fearlessly Progressing….

Happy Weekend!

I have been stitching my fingers off this week.  I finished my entry for The Applique Society’s Postcard to Placemat contest.  I think I’ve quilted that thing to an inch of its life, but as soon as I finish binding it, it will be photographed and shipped out.  I wish I could show it to you, but the rules state it can’t be shown on social media until the winners are chosen.  The top ten entries will be shown all over the country in different quilt shows.  My fingers are crossed and time will tell.

Meanwhile, a quilt group I belong to has started a mystery quilt.  According to the person that’s leading the bee, this one has a patriotic theme. However, since the last mystery quilt I did with this group was red, blue, and cream, I opted for other colors.  Remember what I said in last week’s blog that this year my creed was “Quilting Fearlessly?”  I backed up my words with action this week and chose colors that were totally out of my comfort zone.


This is the new collection from Connecting Threads.  It’s called Firenze and the colors are darker than I typically gravitate towards.  I’m anxious to see how this one comes out – both in the choice of blocks and how the colors work together.


I’m off to the Statesville Quilt Show next weekend with a busload of my closest quilting friends.  Stay tuned…


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and  Sam



Quilt Fearlessly

Well I survived the 2017 Snow Apocalypse.  According to my trusty quilting ruler, there was 10-inches of the fluffy, white stuff on top of my car by last Saturday afternoon – which meant I spent much of the weekend in my quilt studio.  I accomplished a lot, but never as much as I want to.  I’m starting three new quilt tops this year, and my challenge was to find the fabric and see if I needed to order anything else.  Which brings me to the first point of this blog…

Always Shop Your Stash First


I only had to order some background fabric (11 yards – I rarely keep that much of the same kind of fabric in my stash) and two greens.  Greens are kind of funny.  I don’t care how many greens you have in your stash, the right shade or tone isn’t there.  Remember what I wrote about several blogs ago:  the average stash is worth $6,000.00.  Use it and use it well.  That way you feel much less guilty about purchasing more fabric.

Which brings me to my second point of this blog…

When you must purchase fabric, shop your local quilt shop or small, on-line business first

I know I sound like a broken record, but yes, this needs to be done as much as possible. Since my LQS is shuttered and Pineapple Fabric’s next warehouse sale isn’t until February, I did shop on-line for fabric for the first time in years.

The last point of this week’s blog is this – life is short.  It’s way too short to drink bad coffee, wear ugly shoes, or put up with people that are continuously pains in the backside.  And it’s way too short to keep making the same kind of quilt over and over again.  I mean, all of us quilters are guilty of this.  We get used to the same kind of pattern.  We’re comfortable with the execution of the skill set and the technical difficulties of the same kinds of quilts.  We can pick color palates in our heads when we’re doing something as mundane as flossing our teeth.  In my opinion, at this point, quilters break into three categories:

Those that like to almost exclusively piece.

Those that like to almost exclusively applique.

Those that piece and applique in the same quilt, and the piecing is fairly simple.

You don’t believe me?  Okay, take this challenge.  Go to your quilting space.  Pull out your patterns.  Put all the pieced patterns in one pile, all the applique patterns in one pile, and the patterns that mix both techniques in another.  The pile with the greatest number of patterns will tell you what type of quilter you are.

I have three challenges to my readers this year:  First, look at that largest pile of patterns and vow not to do more than one of those types this year.  We all need something we’re comfortable with to grab and work on when we’re too tired to think or when we just want to be pushing fabric under the needle.  But this year, try a pattern you normally wouldn’t even dream about making.  Whether that means an intricately pieced quilt, a paper-pieced quilt, an applique quilt, or a hand-pieced quilt, don’t be afraid to try something different.  Personally, I don’t grow as a quilter unless I’m challenged – given something new and harder than I’ve ever tried before.  I may not always be pleased as punch at the end result, but I learn a lot of lessons along the way that serve to make me a better quilter.  I’ve got a couple of these on my table right now and will be sharing the lessons learned as I go along.


One of my challenges this year and probably next….

Second, work with a color either you don’t like or doesn’t play well with other fabric.  Why?  Because it expands your color vision and makes you play with colors that normally you wouldn’t give a second glance at.  I know I tend to get locked into color schemes that I’m very comfortable with (purple/green, pink/brown, blue/green.  And due to this, I have a lot of those colors in my stash please do not ask me how many purples are in my stash—it’s almost embarrassing. Which means when I need a yellow or an orange or a black, I’m scrambling to try to find some on my shelf.  It also pushes you out of your comfort zone and dares you to almost fly by the seat of your pants.  Don’t be afraid of orange or lime green or whatever color it is that makes you nearly cringe.  All the crayons belong in our quilting box.

Remember this jewel from the “This Spoke to Me” blog?  While I love it dearly, it does not play well with a lot of fabric.

Last, find organizations that need quilts and try to make at least one to donate to them.  It could be a national organization such as Project Linus or Quilts of Valor, or a local hospital that needs small quilts for preemies or cancer patients.  It could be the local police that would like to have a quilt or two in the trunk of their police cars to shelter and comfort victims of domestic abuse as they’re removed from dangerous situations.  It could be a nursing home or Alzheimer’s unit that needs fidget blankets.  The point here is that our kids and other family members can only inherit so many quilts.  At some point, we need to quilt to give them away.  The love and warmth and prayers that are in so many of our quilts go a long way to comfort folks that are in a horrible situation.  Don’t be afraid to get involved.

Don’t be afraid, fellow quilters.  This year – quilt fearlessly. 

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


Nothing Like a Little Honesty

I have a lot of great quilting friends.

There’s the group of women I sew with on Tuesday nights.  On any given Tuesday night, anywhere between 8 and 20 of us get together and sew and quilt.  This Sit and Sew started at Dragonfly and now that the store has closed, we are continuing to sit and sew at Karen’s house.  This tightly knit group of women were the core that started the High Point Quilt Guild.

Which brings me to my next group of quilting pals – my local guild.  This group of women and men have an “official meeting” once a month, but a good number of us end up together once or twice a month to quilt, too.  We’re a small and fairly new guild, so this too, is a great group of friends.

These folks are my rock…my support group…my therapy session…

However, there is one group of women that I have quilted with since 2001.  This is a bee that sprang from Hancock’s Block of the Month Club.  We call ourselves the Quilting Cuties. Once Hancock’s disbanded the BOM, we continued to meet to quilt and chat.  This is the group of ladies I have known the longest.  Since Hancock’s closed, we’ve gone down in number from seven to four, but this group is the group that knows me best.

And this is the group that is probably the most honest with me.  Always.

So when Lisa, a member in good standing of the Quilting Cuties, called me out on last week’s blog, well…I had to listen.  Because Lisa may be blunt, but she is always the most honest.  Concerning last week’s blog, she commented, “Well, that was cheery.”

I went back and read it.  And she was right.  It wasn’t sunshine and roses and unicorns.  But at the time, it did reflect my raw feelings about our present quilt world.  It has collectively been turned upside down and inside out in many ways.  However, perhaps I shouldn’t have reflected that on my readers.

So I do apologize and hope I didn’t discourage or offend anyone because that certainly wasn’t my intent.  I just needed to regroup, reorganize, and re-orient myself.  And I did.  I finished a quilt top this week, but I can’t show it because it’s a present for someone that regularly reads my blog.  I ordered the backing today and as soon as it gets in, it’s going on my long arm and will be quilted.

Speaking of which, I’m no professional at it at all, but learning how to deal with Loretta has been tons of fun and I’m getting better.  I’m learning what thread she likes and which kind she spits back at me.  I’ve learned to pantograph reasonably well, but find it rather boring.  I am loving freehand work.  I’ve yet to try rulers, but have purchased a few several and as soon as I can book another class with Shelle and/or Janet, I want to learn these.  This is my latest pantograph work, although it’s kind of hard to see in this picture.


And I’m almost through with all my Farmer’s Wife blocks!

These were fun…

These were a bit more challenging…


And I fell in love with the colors on these…

These blocks are 6.-inches unfinished.  But after working on Jane for so many years, they feel huge.  And anytime I work with a 12.5-inch unfinished block — it’s ginormous to me. I’ve only got 15 more blocks to go and I can start putting this together.  I love the Fig Tree fabrics and a huge thank you goes to Jill for “plumping” my stash with her leftover Fig Tree scraps.

The weather folks are calling for 6 to 8 inches of snow here tomorrow and Saturday.  I’ve done my milk/bread/toilet paper/wine/coffee run, so after I finish some household chores (because I really need to clean the house since the Christmas tree is down and packed away), it looks like it’s quilting all weekend!  Hooray!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam