Posts Tagged ‘Lani Longshore’

Small Quilts, Large Stacks

March 21, 2018

My quilt guild’s year-long challenge to get things done is working. I finished the project due next month. It’s a small quilt, but it was on a large stack of projects so making any kind of a dent in that pile is a victory.

Trees in my neighborhood – palm, pine, deciduous

In the interest of full disclosure, I will probably add more beads to the quilt at a later date, but for now I’m satisfied with this one embellishment.

While I was inspired, I made a few more small quilts. This one is called Equilibrium, in honor of spring, which is today.

Not pastels, but still a spring quilt

I also finished one of the blocks from the Peggy Martin workshop for the Display Block Committee of Amador Valley Quilters. The guild has a collection of 16-inch blocks that we can show at schools, libraries, or other events.

Seeing all the progress in my sewing room made me take another look at the stacks by my computer. I have almost as many writing projects as I do quilting projects. As with my quilting, I envisioned creating a body of work that I could submit for contests. That didn’t happen. As with quilting, when those Call For Entry emails arrive they are usually accompanied by guidelines. I’ve tried writing artist statements that would convince a panel the quilt I had really does fit the contest, but those statements rarely made sense even to me so I knew a judge wouldn’t buy it. There’s even less wiggle room with writing contests. That’s why I’m going to start posting twice a week now–once for quilting, once for writing. Wednesdays will still be quilting day. I’m not sure which day will be writing day, but I’m leaning toward Monday. Now that I’ve put my intentions out to the universe, I have to be accountable. I’m putting myself on the journey to finishing what I start in all aspects of my life.

Luck and wisdom!


Experiments for Pi Day

March 14, 2018

My husband asked for pecan pie to celebrate 3/14, Pi Day. I have a great recipe, because it’s easy – when you have all the ingredients. When you don’t, well, how else should one celebrate a made-up math holiday than by experimenting?

The pie for Pi Day

First, I had some Trefoil Girl Scout cookies that needed eating and not entirely by me, which is a problem because I’m the only one who really likes those cookies. I decided to make the crust from them, which worked fine except I ended up with more cookie crumbs than required. My experiment was to add a little more butter and use them all. It worked. Then I discovered I didn’t have corn syrup for the filling, so I used molasses. That made the filling a little bitter, so I added chocolate chips – and more butter. Heaven only knows what the calorie count is, but the pie tastes good. That’s all that matters with cooking experiments.

The same is true of quilting experiments. I took Peggy Martin‘s Jelly-roll Jive workshop on Sunday, only instead of a jelly-roll I brought some 2 1/2″ strips from my stash. I chose from the not-quite-scraps drawer, those pieces too large to go in the scrap bag but too small to make an entire quilt. I figured if I got a decent block out of it, great; if not, I hadn’t lost much.

Perhaps I’ll call this Blueberry and Pecan

Turns out I got a great five blocks. I made four blocks from blue and beige fabric. My first thought was to make a traditional 4-block medallion wall-hanging, but turning it on point is more interesting. I’m not sure how I’ll fill it out, but that’s an experiment for another day.

A second experiment for another day is this last block that I made from fat quarters I bought in New Mexico. I have enough fabric of a similar nature to make a small wall-hanging, and a boatload of beads that might find a home on the piece.

I hope all your experiments go well today and every day.

Luck and wisdom!


March 7, 2018

I had some green felt left over from the project with ribbon roses, and some hand-dyed purple cotton thread, so I decided to resurrect my purplework project. Purplework is like redwork, just in purple. I thought I had sketched some patterns a long time ago, but I couldn’t find them. “Self,” I said, “wing it.”

Target or alien spaceship?

To be honest, I did use Helen Stubbings’ Simply Redwork for inspiration. The motif in the picture above is the whole reason I bought the book.

These flowers are from her book too. Once I finished them, I took out some other embroidery books and played.

Sea creature or alien spaceship?

I’m not sure what I was thinking with this one. I might add beads, or I might turn the pointy motif into a tiny sea creature by adding legs and antennae.

This last piece definitely needs more beads. I started with a paisley motif, but stopped partway through because I liked the idea of hanging flowers. Now I’m not so sure. The great thing about this project is everything was left over, so even if I’m not entirely pleased with the result I’ve learned something for the next time.

Luck and wisdom!

Cityscape in Felt

February 28, 2018

The last Challenge Group project was to take a piece of art and mess with it. I pulled out my art books, looking for inspiration, and found it in a Howard Behrens cityscape of San Francisco. I messed with the concept by putting it on felt. This is what started my journey.

From a book of Behrens’ work – a street in San Francisco

This is what I got after stripping together some scraps that didn’t always match Behrens’ colors but suggested buildings to me.

A street, an ocean, a sky

I put the pieced work on felt because the felt was there and I thought I could see if I liked the idea of matting the pieced section. Then I thought, “Self, leave it on the felt and do some embroidery. Pretend it’s a crazy quilt and see where it leads you.” This is what I’ve done so far.

This may turn out to be one of those never-ending story quilts. I’ve added a few lines of embroidery, let it rest a day or two, added a few more. As I dig through my floss and specialty thread collection, I have been inspired to push the design in a different direction. Who knows what it will look like when it is closer to done?

Luck and wisdom!

Experiments with Landscape Fabric

February 21, 2018

A non-woven fabric to use in landscaping

And you thought I meant fabric with flowers and trees. No, this is actually some plastic-y non-woven material that bills itself as a plant and seed blanket. My husband bought it at our local Orchard Supply Hardware store, but for some reason I can only find an online link at Amazon. He gave me a leftover chunk and asked if I thought I could use it for a quilt.
Boy, could I.

I call this piece “Gut Feeling”

The material is nubbly, like an iron-on interfacing, so it grabs hold and won’t shift during sewing. I sprinkled sequins and seed beads over the background and quilted them in place. While the material is as transparent as a tulle or netting, it won’t allow the small beads to slip through the holes.

Secure sequins

It also shimmers, making it a good candidate for water effects.


You can make reasonably clean cuts close to the stitching line.

I have no idea how long this material will hold up, nor what it will do to the cotton underneath it. That’s part of this experiment. Still and all, it’s fun to play with.

Luck and wisdom!

Finished Enough to Celebrate

February 14, 2018

Despite an accumulation of small medical woes that have irritated me (who knew toothache could be so debilitating?), I brought two projects close enough to finished that I intend to celebrate.

This is what I made from the collection of blocks I received from The Progressive Party. I decided I didn’t want a classic setting, so I put black strips of varying widths along one side of the blocks. The horizontal sashing includes a flamingo on a skateboard because I found it in my stash and it wasn’t going anyplace else.

The second project is the third novel in the Chenille Series, The Chenille Ultimatum.

Book 3 with Ann Anastasio

In the latest adventure with our quilting heroines, Susan travels to the distant planet of Schtatik to save her mother and daughter, and stop a civil war. You can find it on Amazon here.

Of course, I still have to quilt the top and promote the book, but that is going on another To-Do List. Today’s list is long enough.

Luck and wisdom!

The Snarky Woman’s Guide to Home and Travel

February 7, 2018

The Progressive Party often has a little rejuvenation session between rounds. I call it our One Month Wonder routine, as we take a month to make one block for each member of the group. We pick a theme and hope for the best. Those hopes are well-founded, as this last collection shows. I plan to combine them into a quilt called The Snarky Woman’s Guide to Home and Travel.

Homes, modes of transport, and sassy ladies all in a row

You may recognize the spaceship blocks from an earlier post (Quilt Dreams). I made extras, so I’ll have two in my quilt. This one has bling.

While I’m not really keen on tootling around the country in an RV or trailer, if I would do such a thing this is the trailer I would use.

I love this block because the house reminds me of Joseph Eichler’s classic California houses. If I could manage to keep a clutter-free lifestyle, I wouldn’t mind living in one of these homes. In truth, I belong in one of those fussy Victorians that everyone expects to be stuffed beyond the laws of physics. Perhaps that is why I have been writing a blog about cleaning my sewing room for so many years without actually getting the space tidy.

Luck and wisdom!

Fun With Felt Patches

January 31, 2018

I have a collection of silk ribbon in a plastic bag. It surfaced again about the same time that a collection of 5-inch squares caught my attention, and I decided it was time to embroider some simple roses. At first I thought I would fill the whole square. Then I had the good sense to ask myself what I would do with the piece. That’s when the idea of making felt patches popped in my mind.

Rather than fill in the center, I divided the square into quadrants and embroidered one rose in each section.

When it came time to separate the sections, I remembered that I own pinking shears. Now the edges are part of the design (so, yes, the wibbly-wobbly aspect of the patch can be taken as intentional).

I cut 3-inch squares of deep rose felt and 3 1/2-inch squares of pale sage green felt for each patch, and used a running stitch to put the whole thing together.

I may add beads a little later, if the roses say they want a little extra sparkle.

Luck and wisdom!

Baby Quilt – A Project For Another Week

January 24, 2018

I said in the previous blog that the baby quilt was a project for another week. Turns out that was last week.

Cats in huts

The top will be quilted after I finish a couple of pieces with more pressing deadlines. The child who will receive this quilt is already born. Her older brother didn’t get his quilt until close to his first birthday, so I’ve got time.

The Art Quilt Critique Group helped a lot with this project, not only in setting the assignment that inspired the quilt, but in advising me about borders. If you need to kick-start your work as an artist this year, find or create a support group. Not only is there strength in numbers, there is also creativity.

Luck and wisdom!

Quilt Dreams

January 17, 2018

In my quilt dreams, all my old projects are finished. The fabric for new projects is washed, ironed, folded, and stored in drawers. There are no scraps. The reality is so very different. If my quilts have dreams, they probably feature me finding the perfect fabric already in my stash to finish them instead of using what sorta kinda maybe fits because I can reach it and there’s enough of it. Dream on, quilts, dream on.

Although I do smoosh things together that I probably shouldn’t, sometimes the results are interesting. Here is another collection of house blocks I made with two orphans and a scrap of a novelty fabric.

Three houses for jungle critters

I’ve found some fabric in my stash that holds a promise of turning these blocks into a cool baby quilt. That is a project for another week. I am currently working on creating transportation-themed blocks using another novelty fabric.


Quilters in space

These are for the Progressive Party. We’re exchanging blocks with either a transportation or a dwelling theme. The novelty fabric will appear in the windows of either the transport or the building.

Snarky quilters in space

I’m not sure what kind of quilt I will make from these blocks, but I’m certain there’s a fabric in my stash that will sorta kinda maybe go with them. If only I can reach it . . .

Luck and wisdom!