Episode 179: Let’s Play!

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made fabric

Made fabric! It ain’t pretty, but I’ve been playing and not worrying about results. Here’s the block I just finished using the made fabric:

made fabric star

Fabric scrapbook:

fabric scrapbook 1

flannel patch

flannel patch2

The refurbished law book:

nancy page

Pins from a different era:

pins 1

Other stuff:

Kona color of the year: http://www.swatchandstitch.com/thequiltingblog/2015/12/28/announcing-the-2016-kona-color-of-the-year-highlight

Great post on the great machine quilters: http://thesaltyquilter.com/2015/11/23/feather-quilting-gurus/

If you’re a Mark Lipinsky fan (as I am), you might want to help him after his many medical travails this fall. Go here to access the Mark Lipinsky fund: https://www.gofundme.com/5yfr99vz

Episode 178: The Unprofessional Episode

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Was supposed to have this posted yesterday, but Christmas is wearing me thin.

Some pix–

Finished table runner:

table runner done




The finished pillow top (will I have a finished pillow by Christmas? Doubtful).


jack randolph party 2015





























Jack at the family Christmas party.

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas!




Episode 177: Colors of the Year!

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quilting the runner

Quilting the table runner!

Have you heard? Pantone has announced its color of the year–and it’s two colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity (blue). Pretty! For more, here are some links:



Last week I mentioned a quilter whose applique designs I greatly admired. Turns out her name is Jan Patek, and her website is here:


I’ve been enjoying a blog called A Quilter’s Table as well as the monthly email newsletter Debbie sends out with all sorts of interesting links. For more, go here:


Apple Stack Cake recipe: http://www.ncfolk.org/apple-stack-cake/





















Thanks for listening!

Episode 176: The We’ve Got Music Episode

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In this episode, I discuss progress on the Christmas table runner, getting through Thanksgiving  with a bug (hint: read big books), and what’s on Quiltin’ Jenny’s mind when it comes to patterns and copyright.

travis on quilt

Travis is all about Autumn.

devin's art










My nephew’s artwork–how do I make a quilt out of it?


Christmas applique quilt

Here’s the Christmas applique quilt I did two years ago. What a fun project!

Hope you’re enjoying the new site and the new music! If you need some music in your life, check out our guy Ben Brown at Contrail Sound: http://contrailsound.com/

If you want to join the Twilters’ group on Facebook, friend me (Frances O’Roark Dowell) and then I’ll get you in. It’s a whole lot of fun!


Episode 175: The Pattern Spectrum Episode

Welcome to Episode No. 175 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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The Snowflake Table Runner



The latest pot holder, unbasted and unquilted

Pot holder tutorial:


Thanks to Vivienne for the link to this interesting article about how much fabric designers make:


Heather Jones’ new book, Quilt Local:


Heather’s website: http://www.heatherjonesstudio.com/about/

My mom posted this tutorial on Facebook; I might just try it:


Kristin posted this Fat Quarter Shop binding tutorial link on the FB Twilters page:


Want to join us Twilters? Just let me know and I’ll get you signed up!

For a fun read–The Tangled Thread Awards:


Crafty Planner episode with Zak Foster:


Zak Foster website: http://www.zakfoster.com/

The book I’m reading for book group:


Episode 174: Let Us Now Praise Famous Quilts


Welcome to Episode No. 174 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Carie’s (and to some extent Ben’s) Wedding Quilt is done!


ben and carie and me and quilt

Me and Carie and Ben with the quilt at Carie’s mom’s house.




pot holders
I finally made some pot holders!










The postcard I picked up at Duke’s Nasher Museum–don’t you think this would make a cool quilt?











I talk about famous quilts of the 21st century on this ep. What are some quilts that you’ll think we’ll remember? Certainly, for me, Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s double wedding ring quilt, “Double-Edged Love” fills the bill:


Jacquie Gering’s “Bang, Bang, You’re Dead” is another famous one:



What are some of the famous quilts you can think of?

Here’s a link to Color + Pattern by Khristian Howell:


Want to read about the difference between modern and contemporary quilts? Go here …


A little quilt history for you …


Houston pix from Quilter’s Newsletter:



Finally, an interesting post on improv quilting:


Episode 173: Travis Snores, Part 2

Welcome to Episode No. 173 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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shoes1Wedding shoes … the ones I didn’t take back.

Another view:


And me in my dress, from a distance:


Here’s the templates I’m using to mark Carie’s quilt:

templateAnd here’s Travis, the star of our show:

Travis porch

See you next time! Don’t forget to comment! Travis loves comments!

Episode 172: The Bathroom Tour Episode

Welcome to Episode No. 172 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Carie’s wedding quilt, pre-sandwich:



A corner:


The backing fabric, which I love and looks like cells:

backing fabric

Bathroom tour!


The hilarious noise you hear in the first quilt diary? Travis snoring.

See you soon!

Episode 171: The Abstract Expressionists Episode

Welcome to Episode No. 171 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Early draft of Carie’s wedding quilt (this picture makes it look modern, but it will end up traditional, with cornerstones and everything):

wedding quilt1

A painting by Jean Helion, who has another (similar painting) hanging at the NC Art Museum:


I really loved this:


Looking for new people to follow on Instagram? Check this out:


Episode 170: The Fairly Sad Episode

Welcome to Episode No. 170 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Playing with scraps and “making” fabric:

made fabric

Look at this stranger critter that showed up outside our front door:

spicebush2It’s a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpiller. It looks like a goldfish got stuck to the doorway. Little bit weird!

Don’t forget the label!



A fun infographic about copyright:


Episode 169: Say Goodbye to Summer

Welcome to Episode No. 169 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Two quilt finishes to report:

  1. Quilt for our friend David, who’s in hospice care:


2. Artsy shot of quilt for my mom:


Less artsy shot:


Fun article about podcasts:http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/better-living-through-podcasts

Victoria Findlay Wolfe on Crafty Planner podcast:http://craftyplanner.com/2015/08/24/victoria-findlay-wolfe/


Don’t forget to join the Twilters on Facebook! The page is called Twilters! and you have to ask to be invited. It’s been super-active and lots of fun.

Episode 168: The Front Porch Episode

Welcome to Episode No. 169 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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dave's quilt topThis is the quilt I’m making for our friend Dave, who’s in hospice (click on it to see what it looks like in-focus)

Books I mention in this podcast:

My Struggle, Books 1 & 2, by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Euphoria by Lily King

Double Wedding Ring Quilts: Traditions Made Modern by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Movie: Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, with the wonderful Joan Plowright

Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s blog: http://bumblebeansinc.blogspot.com/

A good post about decluttering your sewing space from The Bitchy Sticher:


Episode 167: Let’s Resume, Shall We?

Welcome to Episode No. 169 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Turns out this is *not* Episode 168, even though that’s what I say in the podcast. Nope, it’s 167. For the record.

In this ep, I talk a whole lot about the Quilt Alliance conference I just attended in DC–“Not Fade Away: Sharing Quilt Stories in the Digital Age”–which was just fantastic. Take a look at some of the Quilt Alliance’s amazing projects and consider becoming a member. I’m very excited about the work they’re doing, can you tell?


Want to know more about 100 Good Wishes Quilts? Here’s a good summary:


From the site:

To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to invite friends and family to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the baby. Part of the patch of cloth goes into the quilt for the baby, and the other part of the cloth can go into a creative memory notebook with the wish for the child. The quilt contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.”

From the Quilt Alliance conference, a beautiful example of such a quilt–this is Luana Rubin, who made this quilt when she was in the process of adopting her daughter, Sophie:

100 good wishesIf you really want to geek out on this topic, you can read Marin Hanson’s 2012 paper here:


When Launa spoke about her 100 Good Wishes quilt, she was being videotaped for the Quilt Alliance’s Go Tell It at the Quilt Show project (“One quilt, one person, one video camera, three minutes=one more quilt story saved!”), where it will be archived shortly along with the other videos I mentioned from the Quilt Alliance conference. Go watch some of the ones already archived–they’re just incredible! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbRL8gNFw9DBEAuPT2fLHaehysLU9veeW

It turns out my pictures from the Sacred Threads exhibit aren’t good (surprise). But you can go here to look at entries in previous exhibits:


If you want to learn about the Barn Quilt Tour in Garrett County, MD, go here: www.barnquilts.org

The website for the “Pieced Together” documentary, also about barn quilts, is here: www.piecedtogetherdoc.com

Okay, I think that’s it for now. Have a great week!

The Paducah Diaries: a Guest Post by Ellen

Listener Ellen traveled all the way to Paducah, KY, from Scotland this spring to attend Quilt Week. She was kind enough to take notes so we could share in her fabulous experience. Read on for all kinds of quilty fun!

The Paducah Diaries, by Ellen H.


Day 1: Tuesday

We arrived in Paducah on Tuesday afternoon a little later than planned so it was a bit of a rush to get to the Awards ceremony.

We knew that Kay hadn’t won anything (see Kay’s quilts at the bottom of this post), but it was a good opportunity to see the quilts that had won and see some of the winners. There weren’t a great many winners there. One of Kay’s friends, Linda Hrcka and Lisa Bongean, won the large longarm machine quilted for “Sunflower Gatherings,” so Kay was really pleased to be there and see the presentation. “For Tanya,” one of the prizewinning quilts from Quilt Con also won in the Modern section. That was one of my favourites, so I was pleased to see it win here. Miriam Coffey, one of the quilters was there, and she was so excited that she ran down the aisle, onto the stage.and across it to pick up her prize. That will always be one of my memories of this trip to Paducah.

I was sorry that more of the big prize winners weren’t there. When I went to Houston a few years ago the majority of the winners were there. At Paducah a minority were there. I know that there are all sorts of reasons for that and I’m not being critical of contestants but merely observing that it does a disservice to the competition and to those who come to Paducah for Quilt Week.

Immediately after the ceremony we went over to the Convention Centre for the”Sneak Peek.” If you or anyone else is coming to Paducah in the future, it’s worth paying to attend this. It is busy, but nothing like as busy as the next few days and it gives you time to see all the winners and the other quilts much more easily and get photographs without the hassle that it can become.

This is “Majestic Mosaic” by Karen Kay Buckley and Renae Haddadin , which was the overall winner. Karen wasn’t able to be there at all. I believe that she was unwell, but Renae was there on Friday.


Day 2: Wednesday

On Wednesday we spent the day at the Convention Centre and the Pavilion. Apart from seeing all the quilts, which are over three areas, there were all the vendors. We’re working a system now, which we have perfected over a number of quilts shows. See fabric, etc., once, note where it is, go away and look round the rest of the show, and if it’s still on your mind after that, buy it. It’s certainly cut down on the amount of fabric that I’ve acquired.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable day, met quite a few folk, but by 4pm our feet had had enough. We had been on our feet from just after 8am, after all. Linzi and Kay made their first purchases — antique 1930s flimsies for $40 before 9am and breakfast. (We didn’t realise how much of a bargain these were until the next day). So we retired to Kirchoff’s Bakery & Deli in South 2nd St for a soft drink and some lovely cookies. Don’t miss this bakery if you are ever in Paducah.

Once our feet had recovered and since we were over that way we continued over to Finkels to see the “Hurt” books and meet up with Linda Hrcka at “Primitive Beginnings”. It was lovely to meet up with her and have a chat.

This is “For Tanya” by Emily and Miriam Coffrey from North Carolina. My personal favourite. This one also won at QuiltCon:



This one is “Hard Times”. I believe that there was some controversy about it earlier since it uses a photo taken in the 1930s from the Library of Congress:


Day 3: Thursday

We were out of the house about 8.30 to go for breakfast on Thursday morning and then head for Hancock’s early. We did spend a few hours in Hancock’s, but why wouldn’t you? Kay had a great time spending money. We did have to do an intervention at one point because she went a bit berserk in the sales area. Having only one spare suitcase between three people is a great way of maintaining a focus!

Once we had dragged ourselves away from Hancock’s, we went to the Rotary Club Show. Their display this year featured “hexie”quilts and there were some beauties. It wasn’t too busy when we arrived so we had plenty of time to look at the quilts, but just as we finished looking at them a busload of people arrived, so things got a little busy.

There were quite a few vendors there, including Cherrywood. We met Miriam Coffey, who was one of the people who made”For Tanya,” there as she was helping out on the stall. She was a really lovely young woman, and we had a great chat with her. At the back of the centre was the Cherrywood “Wicked” display. It was an interesting exhibition because there was a huge range of style of piecing and quilting although the colours were all the same of course.

We had to do a bit of spending here; after all, quilt shops need our support. The most interesting booth was Hmong Pandua Needlework. The fabric was from India( I think) and it was gorgeous. If you ever see it at a quilt show, check it out but if you want to buy anything there be prepared for it to take a while (15-30 minutes), because the lady selling the fabric has her own unique style of doing it.

Our next stop off was the Quilt Museum in the centre of Paducah. The quilts on show in the gallery were amazing. I really couldn’t pick one out as my favourite of the ones on show that day. There was a cross section from the earliest to the most recent times, so it was interesting see the changes in styles of quilting–hand to machine, traditional to more expressive (not sure that’s the word that I’m looking for but can’t think of another). Linzi and Kay would pick out different quilts from myself because they are professional long arm quilters. I’m just one “of the rest of us” so we had quite a conversation about a few of them.

We weren’t so keen on the SAQA exhibition which was based around food items. I’ve seen their exhibitions as the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham and they are all quite interpretative and diverse. This one just wasn’t for me. The last exhibition was “Old-Modern” and was based around nine patches. Both the traditional and the modern side of the exhibition were worth spending time on but for different reasons. The traditional side was clearly nine patches used in different ways to interpret the theme. The modern side was more about finding the nine patches. Some quilters’ imaginations knew no bounds. We frequently played hunt the nine patch and they were not always squares. Some were stars, hexies, rectangles …

Obviously the exhibitions at the Museum change all the time, so no matter when you go you will always see something different, but I think that the Museum staff do an excellent job of helping quilters to look outside of their comfort zone.

I should have said at the beginning of this “report,” which is turning into an epistle, that one of Linzi’s friends had arranged for us to stay with the Mayor of Paducah, Gayle Kayler and her husband when we couldn’t find accommodation last August. She and her husband couldn’t have been nicer and more helpful to us during our stay with them and their 3 rescue dogs were just delightful. I had some very long conversations with them.

Anyway about 5 years ago Linzi made a quilted Yurt (see picture at the end of post). It’s about 18 ft in circumference and can seat about 40 people. It’s made up of a large number of panels which have been pieced by Linzi and a number of other quilters. Linzi quilted most of them. The original yurt’s panels were made by folk from the UK and the USA. Linzi calls them her stunt quilters.

The yurt was originally exhibited in 2010 at Loch Lomond. After that Linzi split the panels up and made additional panels for what became the Scottish Quilted Yurt and additional panels for the yurt that became the American one. It was been exhibited in several places including Houston but now it’s on display in a museum in Wisconsin. The Scottish one has never found a home except rolled up in Linzi’s studio. Gayle and Linzi had a conversation the previous night and at the end of our visit to the Museum they met with the Director and other folk from Paducah and the net result is that Linzi’s Scottish Yurt will shortly becoming to Paducah to stay to be used for creative events like the literary festival.

Now was that not the biggest waffle that you have ever read to get to that piece of news? I’m sorry but I can’t think how to say that in a shortened form.

This is “Robbers’ Roost” by JoanneBaeth. If you can look closely you can see some of the things that they have stolen hanging on the tree.


Day 4: Friday

Friday was our last day and we spent it catching up with the few exhibitions that we had missed,walking around the “pop-up” shops in the town and saying good-bye to the quilters that we had met as well as finishing our shopping. It is well worth walking around Paducah and seeing the way in which the town has been rejuvenated. At the same time, you will see all the displays in the shop windows to reflect Quilt Week, displays of quilts in homes and the artisans who have made their homes into their workshops.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Paducah. It was lovely to meet folk that we have only spoken to on the internet and to talk to other quilters in Kirchoff’s Deli and Bakery  (a place not to be missed), restaurants and around town generally. The people of Paducah generally are just so warm and welcoming.

The fabric bargains that we got were amazing. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so good for folk from the US but for us they less than half what we usually pay.

A lot of the notions were a big saving too. You are all so lucky!

The final photo is of David Taylor’s winning quilt:


Ellen’s friend Kay had two quilts in the show:


kay2The first quilt is called “Flower of Scotland,” the title of the Scottish national anthem. The second quilt is “The Horse and its Rider.” It commemorates the Battle of Flodden in 1514 and the beginning of the Common Ridings in the Borders of Scotland, where Kay lives.

And here’s Linzi’s yurt, which will be in Paducah shortly:

Linzi's yurt

Thanks so much, Ellen!

Episode 166: And So the Summer Begins

Welcome to Episode No. 169 of the Off-Kilter Quilt Podcast (Where a Straight Line’s a State of Mind). My name is Frances, and I’m your hostess.

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Dresden Update

The trad plates:


The modern plates:


Want to make your own Dresden (please, join in!)? Go here to access Jaye’s tutorial:


Post a picture of your Dresden plate on Sherri’s flickr page for us Dresden gals:


At last–the video the Man and I did of Uncle Eli’s Quilting Party!


Thanks to Nonnie for posting this link on Twitter–it’s the latest episode of Crafty Planner, with a very interesting interview with Mary Fons. Good discussion of the importance of knowing your quilt history and the pros and cons of learning how to quilt from the Internet.


What am I reading?

The Edible South by Marcie Cohen Ferris

 Shedding My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood by Jim Grimsley

The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough