Quilting with a Big Lap and a Home Sewing Machine
Jun 26th, 2015 by Wendy

Machine Q#1-RMachine Q#2LRMachine Q#3LR


For this bed quilt, with a riot of over a hundred fabrics, I kept the quilting simple.

I stitched in roughly parallel lines- not marked- by using my walking foot and the seam lines of the blocks as a guide. I had seam lines between blocks and seam lines within the blocks to keep me on track.

I used Sulky Blendable 30 wt thread on top (a variegated color called Poppy) and an Aurifil 50wt solid color thread in the bobbin.

This is an “old school” method for machine quilting- roll up the sides, accordion fold the quilt in your lap, and let it unfold through the sewing machine. Twenty-five years ago bicycle clips got repurposed to hold the rolled up sides in place. What a pain that was! That’s why we don’t do that anymore. 

I have a big lap, so large quilts accordion fold and fit in my lap quite easily. It’s easy to let it unfold and run through the sewing machine.

But there comes a point where the weight of the quilt on the table behind the sewing machine starts to make the stitch length get smaller and smaller. The solution is to put in ONE ACCORDION FOLD behind the sewing machine. This lifts the weight off the table and lets you keep on stitching to the end of the line with no problems.

More Shirt ReMix Fun Fun Fun
Jun 26th, 2015 by Wendy

Front Shirt 2015LRBack Shirt 2015LRShort Sleeve OptionLRDetail Short SleeveLR

I splurged on several half price mens shirts at our local Second Tern Thrift Store. For $10, I cannibalized 4 shirts to make one new fabulous shirt.


Black LeftoverLR

I started with a black shirt that fit me comfortably- not too big and not too small. This is what is left of that shirt. I removed the collar, cut off the sleeves, and whacked off the lower front of the shirt. Oh, and I swapped pockets with the green shirt.


Red LeftoverLR

I removed the collar from this red shirt and attached it to my Black Shirt. I discovered these sleeves have the Roll Up feature with a button and a tab. Looks great on the Black Shirt!


Blue LeftoverLR

I took the back of this blue shirt and sewed it onto the front of the Black Shirt. Now my Black Shirt is a pullover!


Green LeftoverLR

I took the front of the green shirt and put it on the back of the Black Shirt. The green pocket went on the front of the Black Shirt, but that meant I had a black pocket leftover. Hey, I put the pocket on the back.

I still have lots of leftovers, and more untouched shirts, so I can make more fun clothes someday….


Maytag Washer Blues & LG Hopes & Shout Color Catchers
Jun 26th, 2015 by Wendy

Maytag Pair #2LRMaytag WasherLRWendy & MaytagLR

I purchased my pair of Maytag washer and dryer appliances in 1984 at the Mountain Electric & Refrigeration Company in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. They pair cost $898.00 before sales tax, but surely I’ve gotten my money’s worth in the 31 years since. These faithful appliances crisscrossed the country with me until settling down in Sunriver.

We’ve never had any problems with either appliance until the washer sprung a leak. I really wanted to get it fixed, but besides the cost of this repair, surely all the other hoses and seals would sooner or later (probably sooner) also break down. We decided to buy a new washer. Hopefully, the dryer won’t give up living with its companion gone- but will make friends with the new washer.


LG Washer #2LRLG WasherLR

Now we have Old House Syndrome. The built in cupboards in the kitchen and laundry room (more like small air lock) were designed around much smaller appliances. We managed to cram and wedge the washer into the space but just barely. If/when the dryer goes, we will have to take out the old cabinets and do something different.

I flagged the pages of the manual so I could Read All About It with each load of wash. I tried various cycles with and without default settings. I added extra water in the cycle and I added an extra rinse cycle. I tried the various spin speeds. For fun, I read the introductory warnings that no one reads, not even me. I discovered that I should never pour gasoline into the washer or try to wash clothes soaked in gasoline. To ensure safety, I was advised to wear safety goggles and long sleeved gloves when doing the wash. And according to the State of California, my washer may contain cancer and reproductive disorder ingredients, so I should wash my hands after touching the washer. The “best” part of this is that you know someone somewhere sued LG about these things.


Quilt_ColorCatcherLR11ColorCatchers After WashLR

After catching up with our laundry and learning about the new washer, I put the ready-to-be-washed quilt in with 11 Shout Color Catcher sheets. They are pricey, but when it comes to quilts, I spare no expense!

You can see the white Color Catcher in the washer as the cycle begins. Compare with the 11 Color Catcher sheets when the quilt came out of the wash. The Color Catchers did their job and the quilt came out of the new washer and old dryer looking great.

Now I need to finish this quilt. And pillow cases. And maybe a big pillow to go with it.




Hair Hair!
Jun 14th, 2015 by Wendy

Hair Drawing copyhairLR


Magic happens at the Blue Star Salon in Bend, Oregon with Lonni!

Taking a Break
Jun 7th, 2015 by Wendy

June 2015LR


In between doing loads of laundry, housework, clearing out our son’s room to make way for the new bed plus, cleaning the car (promised a month ago) and washing the first of many windows, I successfully machine basted the quilt-in-progress with Vanish Lite water soluble thread (by Superior).

Instead of beginning the quilting, I decided to take a break and make one rabbit postcard. Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I did not read my own instructions which were right in front of me nor did I compulsively check the steps along the way: I cut the background fabric the wrong size; I forgot to add the cardstock paper back before zigzagging the outside edge and I ran out of the chosen bobbin thread with no more to be had in that color.

Each time I had to scramble for a solution. It’s good to remember there will be days like that and most times, everything will turn out okay anyway.


Chasing the Goose, Part 2
Jun 2nd, 2015 by Wendy

I am still chasing the goose ideas with or without a rail fence component, but meanwhile I’m working on the UFO for the new guest bed (arrives Friday) for the bedroom that our son has not lived in since the summer of 2006, when he delivered pizzas between his freshman and sophomore years of college. This long sentence is representative of the List of Things To Do to fully reclaim the bedroom.


I’m adding a pieced shot cotton border, using 44 differenct colors of fabrics.



Years ago I discovered the magic of stitching my seams open with water soluble thread (top and bobbin), especially with large quilts like this one. As more seams get added and ironed, it’s easy to start scrunching those previously beautifully pressed seams. I don’t understand why, but stitched seams also keeps the entire quilt top looking almost freshly pressed. Hey, it works, that’s all I know. (You can also stitched through pressed over seams, but please try stitching seams open and experience flat seams and intersections for yourself.)


solo spray basteLRspray baste#2LR

After getting the quilt squared away on the batting, I rolled up half of the quilt top on a swim noodle. After spraying the 505 brand spray baste on the exposed batting, I easily unrolled the quilt top, a few inches at a time, smoothing the way from the middle the sides, slowly advancing the roll to the end. Moving my hand in big circles, I rubbed the spray basted part to connect the layers. Repeat with the other half. Let the spray basting dry a bit before repeating the process with the quilt backing fabric.

I love this method of spray basting the quilt sandwich because I can do it all by myself and it works really well. This time I let Side One (quilt top) dry while I packed up a few boxes of The Kid’s stuff, which we will store until he has a larger and more permanent home, before I repeated the process with Side Two (quilt back).

Meanwhile, I had two kitty helpers:

bad IzzyLR

Izzy, the frisky kitty, played “attack the batting”.


good CooperLR

Cooper, the sleepy kitty, found a sunbeam on the cat hammock in the sewing room.


State of Oregon Craft
May 31st, 2015 by Wendy

State of Oregon Craft

Museum of Contemporary Craft

Portland, Oregon

June 5 to August 15, 2015

You never need an excuse to go to Portland and enjoy all the Portlandia Things to Do, but if you get a chance, go see this exhibit curated by Nicole Nathan and Namita Gupta Wiggers.

“Craft is the stuff of everyday life. It is a tangible rubric for measuring the state of the state and for discovering how we live through what we make. In the same way that biennials of fine art demonstrate the state of “culture”, State of Oregon Craft and its related programming takes stock of how Oregonians make and live with craft objects today.”

I’d be excited about this exhibit even if my quilt, Autumn Textures, 2009, had not been invited to help tell the story of the “breadth, diversity, history and future of Oregon’s artisan craft makers…”. But now I’m even more excited to go to Portland. 

Autumn Textures, Wendy Hillautumn_tex_detail_sm                    

I identify with being a “maker” along with having an eclectic range of primarily fiber arts interests.

Time to make some more stuff!       

Note: photographs by Craig Howell, Studio Craig                                                                       


Fun Fun Fun
Apr 29th, 2015 by Wendy

Pink ShirtLR


First I cut up a pink oversized thrift store tee shirt.

Orange ShirtLR


Next I cut up an orange XL thrift store tee shirt.

knit yardageLR


Then I rustled up the knit yardage I bought on sale years ago.

Vogue 8877LR


With Vogue Pattern #8877, I made this tee shirt. I hemmed the sleeves and shirt with the hems of the thrift store tee shirts (instead of turning up the fabric). I made my own bias tape to finish the neck (instead of using commercial bias tape).

I love this shirt!


Chasing the Goose, Part 1
Apr 4th, 2015 by Wendy




My sister-in-law made this quilt (with a little help and scraps from me) for her father. “Purple Haze” fits an extra long twin bed, with a matching pillow case. I fell in love with this Double Rail Fence pattern.


Goose #1LR

But I love the Wild Goose Pattern too. I drafted a pattern that combines the Double Rail Fence and Wild Geese blocks. One is the classic zigzag pattern at right angles from left to right and another puts the blocks on points with vertical columns of zigzags.


Large VS MediumLR


Wild Geese Experimentation! The units on the left finish at 3″ by 6″. The units on the right are at 2 1/2″ by 5″.

This VS That:

• The larger unit makes a great graphic statement. Can the smaller unit make a graphic impact?

• The larger units take a lot more fabric and the quilt gets exponentially larger. To get that graphic impact, the quilt must be large to have enough zigzags with the Double Rail Fence pattern. The smaller unit takes less fabric and the quilt is smaller with the same number of zigzag lines.

Fun! Meanwhile, I’m working on a UFO from – oh- 2010. In 2008 I gave away my Bamboo and Pinwheel* pattern quilts. I started collecting more Lime Green Tomato Red fabrics for another set of Bamboo/Pinwheel quilts. I gave away the Pinwheel quilt in 2012. Fast forward to 2015 and I’m working on the Bamboo version of the block. I will omit the vertical sashing strips and I’m adding a border. Stay Tuned!

* Bamboo/Pinwheel pattern by Laura Knownes (Google to find the pattern online or check with your local quilt shop)







Before and After
Mar 23rd, 2015 by Wendy

I’ve been making fiberart postcards for years, but I still find it different to create a composition in a small space.

I just finished a 6″ by 8″ quilt for the Wild About Studio Art Quilts Associate Spotlight Auction fundraiser, which will be held during FiberLandia in Portland, Oregon (where else?) April 30 to May 3. The little quilts will be displayed in a cellophane sleeve, under a mat with a 4.5″ by 6.5″ opening. If you will be at FiberLandia, consider bidding on one of the quilts- it’s a good cause!

Wendy HillLR

I know better than to make judgements when the quilt is under the bright light over my sewing machine, but I did. I thought the hot pink 12wt. Sulky Cotton thread contrasted really well, but once I put it on the design wall, my heart sank. I tried to like it, but I couldn’t.



I rustled up two of the threads I had previously thought too bright: a radioactive orange and orangey-pink (NEON by Madeira, polyester fiber). I poked around the trash bag for my original test leaves so I could see what happened when these colors were added. I liked the result!

I remembered the way I used to run two colors through the same needle. It’s a fun way to get random color results, as the two threads take turns being dominant in the line of stitching. The combined threads acted as they were a thicker weight so it blended well with the original 12 wt. thread. The additional stitching made the leaves more solid than I imagined but the overall high contrast against the background makes it worth it.

The moral of the story is to remember to look at the quilt under construction from up close, mid range and far away. Make the changes necessary to follow your intention but remember to seize upon any happy accidents along the way.

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