Episode 202: The So Late It’s Early Episode

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These quilts are going to QuiltCon 2017!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Quiltfiction.com newsletter (first issue out in January) and get a free short story!

I love Uppercase Magazine! Check it out!

If you’re interested in Amish Quilts, here’s a site you’re going to love:

Love Alida’s post on how she’s using the Quilter’s Journal!

Angela Walter has a YouTube show!

Block@quiltblock.studio site a new–or new to me–site about quilts. Very interesting!

Hope your holidays are merry and bright!

Episode 201:

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The Modern Flying Geese are basted and ready to be quilted! Finally!


I’ve been posting quilt stories lately …



A sadly out of focus picture of my applique house:


Another house:


This is a chair sketch from Beverly Buchanan, the artist I’m currently obsessed with:


Beverly Buchanan video

And here’s my version, in cloth:


Want to build your own house? Go here (thanks, Nicole!):


How to photograph textile art


I love me some good quilt talk! This is the UK’s version of the Quilt Alliance: http://www.talkingquilts.org.uk/

See you next time!

Episode 200: Episode 200!

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Don’t forget to leave a comment by December 1st, to win a copy of Birds in the Air (or one of my other books)! We’re celebrating 200 episodes, baby!

Here’s the central unit of the flying geese baby quilt:


And here’s the first part of the first element of a house quilt that lives in my imagination:



Some interesting quilt/textile sites I’ve found poking around recently …



Not about quilting, but about interior decorating–an older piece by Michael Pollan in the NY Times.

The book I’m reading by Michael Pollan: A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams.

An article about vernacular architecture artist, Beverly Buchanan.

I like this little essay on “It wasn’t for me,” a great way to respond to works of art and literature that don’t really capture you even though you recognize their value. It’s from Austin Kleon’s newsletter, which has lots of great links about creativity and other interesting things.

Do you listen to the “On Being” podcast? It’s one of my favorites. On the most recent episode, Krista Tippett interviews David Brooks and E.J. Dionne, who you might be familiar with from NPR’s All Things Considered (and of course Brooks is an NY Times’ columnist). I was particularly moved by Brooks’ comments about politics, religion and grace. Really beautiful stuff.

Just finished Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I really enjoyed it, but it might not be for you if you don’t like stories that jump around in time and are told from the perspectives of several different characters.

Oh, the Chagall guy: Simms Taback


And this is Chagall:


Thanks for listening!

Episode 199: What Do I Do Now?!?

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Atlanta pix! To your right, me and “Meeting of the Geese,” and below is me and the most amazing Quiltin’ Jenny! Isn’t she gorgeous?




Author Frances O’Roark Dowell (l.) celebrated the launch of Birds in the Air (Milton Falls Media, Sept.) with a trunk show and book signing on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at the annual meeting of the Atlanta-area's Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Guild. The show featured a number of quilts by Dowell (Dovey Coe, The Secret Language of Girls, Trouble the Water) incorporating variations on the traditional Birds in the Air quilt block, a central element in her new novel -- her first for adult readers.



To your right, a gathering of Twilters: me, HollyAnne, Quiltin’ Jenny and HollyAnne’s amazing baby, Ian.

And below, signing books. That marvelous creature directly to my right is Miss Adelle, who drove up from FLA! To her right is Marie, one of the amazing Chattahoochie Evening Star quilters. What a great guild!





What newsletters do you subscribe to? I just signed up for Quilting Rainbow’s newsletter, which is quite fabulous (and not just because the current issue has a nice mention of Birds in the Air!).

Other newsletters I enjoy:

Meg Cox’s Quilt Journalist Tells All

Abby Glassenberg’s While She Naps

Jessica Skultety’s The Wonky Press (a modern quilting newsletter)

What am I missing? Let me know!

Seems like we’re hearing more from people who are leaving the quilt and crafting industry. Here’s a post about one quilter’s reasons why: http://kristawithersquilting.blogspot.com/2016/10/what-happened.html

There’s also a recent Crafty Planner podcast in which Sandi interviews a former craft business pro and podcaster Diane Gilleland (Crafty Pod) that’s worth a listen. It seems like a lot of folks are rethinking their decision to monetize their creative passions.

Thanks to Jane for sending me this link to a Leah Day tutorial on burying threads!


Just finished Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst, which I liked except for the last ten pages.

I recently read a really quirky and fun nonfiction book by Amy Krous Rosenthal called Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life.

And I finally finished (after a second try) Truly, Madly, Guilty. If you like Liane Moriarty, particularly her characters, you’ll enjoy this, perhaps with a reservation or two. The critics, it should be noted, have not been uniformly kind.

Have a great week!

Episode 198:

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I recorded this podcast before my trip down to Atlanta for the Chatahoochie Evening Stars Quilt show (this picture of me signing books was taken there). I had every intention of posting it before I hit the road, but sadly that didn’t work out. Tune in next time for all the Atlanta news and pix!

Author Frances O’Roark Dowell signs copies of her new novel Birds in the Air on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at the annual conference of the Atlanta-area's Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Guild. Birds in the Air (Milton Falls Media, Sept.) is Dowell's (Dovey Coe, The Secret Language of Girls, Trouble the Water) first book written for adult readers. Marianne Fons calls it "a truly enjoyable read" about "the power of quilts to connect, heal, and restore the soul."







Some recent helpful links:

Machine binding:


A great resource re: educational quilting articles:


How I learned to make a temporary quilt sleeve:


5 Basic Tips on How to Photograph Your Quilts!

Photo Gallery: Birds in the Air Launches at ‘Evening Stars’

Many, many thanks to the Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Guild for inviting Frances O’Roark Dowell to launch Birds in the Air at the 2016 Stars N Stitches Quilt Show on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Cumming, Georgia.

Birds in the Air is here!

Birds in the Air

A truly enjoyable read! Quilters will relive their own first patchwork steps along with Emma as she searches for her place in a new community. Non-quilters will experience vicariously Emma’s discovery of the power of quilts to connect, heal, and restore the soul.” –Marianne Fons

Buy Online at Amazon.com

I’m so happy to introduce you to Emma Byrd, wife, mother, introvert, wannabe writer and — much to her surprise — quilter. Like so many of us, Emma longs for a simple life, and like most of us, she discovers that life is rarely simple, even in a small town in a scenic setting.

I wrote this book for a simple reason: it’s the sort of book I wanted to read — a book with quilts and quilt-making at its heart. As a writer and a quilt-maker as well as a wife and mother (and a homebody!), I’m interested in intersection of daily life and creativity, the useful and beautiful. No wonder I love quilts so much!

I hope you read and enjoy Birds in the Air. If you do, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.com and/or Goodreads. Thanks so much!

Birds in the Air, A Novel by Frances O’Roark Dowell

When Emma Byrd moves into the house of her dreams in the small mountain community of Sweet Anne’s Gap, she knows that making friends may prove to be her biggest challenge. Her husband loves his new job and her kids are finding their way at school. But Emma — no natural when it comes to talking to strangers — will have to try a little harder, especially after the sweet, white-haired neighbor she first visits slams the door in her face.

Luckily, a few of the quilters of Sweet Anne’s Gap adopt Emma and she soon finds herself organizing the quilt show for the town’s centennial celebration. But not everyone is happy to see the job go to an outsider, especially one who has befriended an outcast pursuing her own last best chance at redemption.

With Birds in the Air, Frances O’Roark Dowell (winner of the Edgar Award, the William Allen White Award and the Christopher Medal) has created a warm, funny novel about fitting in, falling out and mending frayed relationships one stitch at a time.

What a delightful book! … As I read, I was transported out of my chair and into the town of Sweet Anne’s Gap and the lives of the quilters that I can understand so well.”  –Annie Smith

Birds in the Air is a great book and quilt block — it’s as unusual as liking the book and the movie! It was such a pleasurable read. I cared about the characters and what happened to them. I enjoyed revisiting what it is like to be a brand new quilter.” –Kathy Mathews, ChicagoNow

A Quilting Q&A with Author Frances O’Roark Dowell

  • Why did you decide to write about quilters? There’s a rule of thumb for writers: Write the books you want to read. I’m so happy whenever writers like Jennifer Chivavirini, Marie Bostwick and Sandra Dallas come out with new quilting novels–I wish more quilters wrote books! So it makes sense that if I love reading books about quilting, I should write one.
  • What draws you to quilting? I’ve always loved quilts. For many years I was convinced that I’d never be able to make a quilt (I’m math phobic, for one thing), and when I finally realized I could, quilting became my new passion. I recently interviewed novelist Marie Bostwick for my blog and asked her why she made quilts. Her answer: Because I can’t paint. I totally got it. Making quilts satisfies my artist soul (the one that can’t paint, alas).
  • How are quilting and writing similar; in what ways do they differ? With both quilting and writing, I revise a lot. I find this especially true now that I’m designing more of my own quilts. I mess up a lot in both endeavors, but find that sometimes my failures lead to good, unexpected places. Neither books nor quilts always end up being exactly what you intended them to be — for better and for worse. One thing that’s different about making quilts is that you’re constantly in motion, going from the cutting board to the sewing machine to the ironing board and back again. It’s great to move while I’m making something instead of just sitting in front of a computer.
  • How did the “Off-Kilter Quilt” podcast come about? I’d been making quilts for a few years when I discovered quilting podcasts. For the most part, these podcasts were homey and conversational, and I loved listening to the hosts talk about their projects and guild meetings, and hearing about the books they were reading and what they were having for dinner. For me, starting a podcast was like joining an ongoing conversation with other podcasters, which then became an ongoing conversation with my listeners, who leave comments, send me emails, and sometimes even come through town and have a cup of coffee with me. It’s a really wonderful, supportive community.

Episode 197: Another Imperfect Episode

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I’m in the process of quilting the Modern Birds in the Air quilt. Some of the lines aren’t on the straight and narrow, but I sort of like the waviness! We’ll see if I decide to requilt. (ETA: I did.)

BIRDS IN THE AIR is available for pre-order on Amazon.com! For the paperback, go here. For the Kindle edition, go here.

If you’ll be in the metro Atlanta area on September 24th, the following info is for you!

The Chattahoochee Evening Stars Quilt Guild proudly announces a very special guest at our 2016 Stars N Stitches Quilt Show. Award winning children’s book author Frances O’Roark Dowell (Dovey Coe, Shooting the Moon, Where I’d Like to Be) and the host of the Off Kilter Quilt podcast and blog, will release her first novel for adults, Birds in the Air, this fall. Frances will kick off her book tour at the Stars ‘N’ Stitches show on Saturday, September 24, 2016, with a reading, book signing, and trunk show of her own quilts.

For more info, go here: http://cesquiltguild.com/stars-n-stitches-2014-quilt-show

New quilty podcast! Yay! Go listen to Vicki here: http://mycreativecorner3.podbean.com/

Thanks for listening!

Episode 196: Paper Birds!

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Paper Birds in the Air!

paper birds top

The original inspiration, from an article on tiles in House Beautiful:


birds mosaic

Here’s the background fabric–Botanical Beauty, Indigo, by Robert Kaufman, up close:

botanical fab

Don’t forget to enter by September 1st to win your very own copy of Sew Illustrated ! Just leave a comment saying you’d love to have it!

sew illustrated

Thanks to my girl, Christa Watson, for posting this Weeks Ringle post on FB: https://craftnectar.com/2016/08/08/united-we-stand/

Abby Glassenberg post on the Quilt Alliance: http://whileshenaps.com/2016/08/go-tell-quilt-show-records-oral-histories-quilts.html?mc_cid=0fad21a1c4&mc_eid=8f4fe123f6

An interesting post on the ongoing copyright debate: http://www.thetartankiwi.com/2016/08/copyright-copywrong.html?mc_cid=0fad21a1c4&mc_eid=8f4fe123f6

MQG post on copyright (lots of comments!): https://themodernquiltguild.wordpress.com/

SAQA on derivative artwork: http://www.saqa.com/resources.php?ID=2244

Episode 195: The Learning Curve Episode

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Finished top: Meeting of the Geese!



Almost finished top (it’s pretty much finished, but I need to make some corrections and square it up)–Bauhaus Birds in the Air. Many thanks to Adelle for designing the pattern!



Leave a comment and you’ll be entered into a drawing for this wonderful new book, SEW ILLUSTRATED, by Minki Kim and Kirsten Esser!


sew illustrated


My Twilter friend Holly Anne has a new blog, String and Story http://www.stringandstory.com/

GenQ blog post about the changing quilting industry http://generationqmagazine.com/notions-what-the-heck-is-happening-in-our-q-niverse/

How to paper-piece angles:

Episode 194: It’s Called a Color Card. Color Card. Got it?

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The Twilters’ Blocks!

BITA friends

Row one of Meeting of the Geese:


Which gray is the right gray?

different grays



Other stuff:

I found an interesting interview with quiltmaker Joe Cunningham the other day, which included this bit of Q & A:

What is it like to be a male in a female-predominant art form?

Cunningham: Well, I understand that when a woman goes into a realm traditionally considered male, men will often do anything they can to keep the woman down, to shut her out, to marginalize her. In my case it has been the opposite of that. When I went into quilts I was a 26 year old tall white boy who felt comfortable around older women. Those older women responded by treating me like a most honored guest, and very quickly began treating me like an authority, an expert…instead of marginalized I got centralized. This continues more than  30 years later.  But there are psychic aspects of quilt making I will never apprehend, whether it is from being a man or from being wired a certain way. For me, quilts have always represented an art project. For many quilters it is the community of women that is most important, and the actual quilts less so. The quilts are gifts to be given either to loved ones and friends or to charitable organizations to be dispersed. So I am a foreigner in this quilt world, psychically and physically. After a while, the subject of my gender becomes uninteresting in the quilt world. But it is a daily freakout to every single person  who learns that I am a quilter. It is like my wife, to whom people used to exclaim, “But, you don’t LOOK Jewish.” But, I don’t LOOK like a quilter. That just goes with the territory, and if I didn’t enjoy the attention and the very freakiness of it, I would tell people I was a janitor, or a bookkeeper.



And here’s another interesting interview with another interesting guy, Michael James:

Michael James: A visceral connection with textiles

The marvelous book I just finished: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offil.

Episode 193: The Flock Block Episode

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“Modern Birds in the Air v.1” top!

Want your own quilt stand for photos? Go here–http://www.craftgard.com/

Next quilt: https://community.themodernquiltguild.com/sites/default/files/Meeting%20of%20the%20Geese.pdf

Check out the Quilt Alliance! http://quiltalliance.org/

Interesting piece on things that can be a hindrance to creativity: http://fabricmutt.blogspot.com/2016/06/when-creativity-hurts.html

Great machine quilting tips from our girl, Christa W:


See you next time!

Episode 192: The Rambler

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It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, weeks I was away on vacation and at a big librarian convention, weeks which I’ve done some quilting, but not a lot. But the engines are revving, the needle is moving, and the Birds in the Air blocks are lining up on the wall.

bita 6-29

We took our annual vacation on Ocracoke Island the week of the 12th.

ocracoke sunset


This past weekend I went to Orlando for the ALA summer convention. Met some famous writers, had some lovely conversations. As always, the librarians were my favorites. They’re so cool! (I’m second to last on the right):

See you in ten days!

Episode 191: Birds in the Air Cover Reveal!

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No new quilts to show you this episode, but I do have a book cover! What do you think?

Remember, you have until June 20th to leave a comment and wish me a happy 6th Podcastiversary! When you do so, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop. So what’s stopping you?

The end of the school year has gobsmacked me per usual, and I haven’t gotten much quilting done. I’m not worrying about it, though. Once things settle down for the summer I’ll be back at my machine on a daily basis, have no fear.

Hope this finds you filled with lots of fun summer plans!

Interesting blog post on making: https://hollywrenspaulding.com/2016/05/24/why-do-you-make

Episode 190: Podicastiversary #6!

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The crib quilt is done and gone!


Above: Before washing. Below: After washing.



The quilting up close:


More quilting:


The back!


Don’t forget to leave a comment so you’ll be entered into the Fat Quarter Shop give-away! Deadline: June 19th!

Great new quilting book: The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Christa Watson and Angela Walters. Highly recommended!