Category Archives: New Techniques

Adventures in trying new techniques

Modern Quilt by “old, gray haired quilter”


Well, I decided that this “old, grayed quilter” would see if it was possible to make a modern quilt. Guess what, I made my first modern quilt and liked it, even had fun doing it. All quilted now and ready for binding…ugh! This started with several groupings of pieces of fabric exemplifying a study of space. Then I decided that even though I had just used old stash without much consideration of color, I didn’t want to waste my efforts. it is. It does look better in person but hopefully it will pass the “modern” movements inspection. Either way, I called it ugly when I started and have grown kind of fond of it now.










Bee Happy…Karen


Black, white and “red”all over


Finished a great black, white and red quilt for Esther. Putting the binding on and making an embroidered label for her. It’s a great quilt! Working on a show quilt that’s really looking good. surprise later.

It reminded me of an old argument I have had with myself and others. Black and white…all colors?, no color? Sew….decided to study up on that for my color exercise today.


20130706-162200.jpg. Guess what? Still no definitive answer. Seems like it depends on whether you ask an artist or a scientist. In art, black is all colors and white is the absence of color. In physics it depends upon the reflection of light. White is the reflection of all colors and black reflects no colors! Now, not sure I have a great answer yet but I am starting to get it!

Bee happy…Karen

Texas is definitely Red and orange!


It’s July, it’s HOT, it’s red, orange and all shades thereof! Been reading a lot about color lately. I know I learned some of this in my “very younger” years but my senior moments are more like hours and days now.

There are some really terrific color wheels out now but the simplest was from a painter, Johannes Iffel of Germany, living in the early 1900’s. it’s so simple that it even resonates with me. Apparently he was the first to assign “feelings” to colors. Interesting trivia!

20130702-154720.jpg. The colors in the center are the PRIMARY colors. They are clear and true and can not be mixed from any other colors. The colors surrounding the center are Secondary colors, mixed from combing two of the primary colors. (Yellow plus blue equals green). The colors on the outside ring illustrate “hyphenated” colors (yellow-green) or, more scientifically Tertiary colors in between the primary and secondary colors Ok…got that! Back to reading and learning about color.

Just finished a neat, fun quilt with some freehand playing. Quilt belongs to Debbie and I think she will like it. It was very Spring/Summery and I wanted it to be light hearted! I like the casual outcome!


Bee happy…Karen

What makes it modern?


Well, even though I’m one of those “gray haired old quilters” I am intrigued by the modern quilters movement. I have been watching and reading about modern for a couple of years now. I love the bright, clean colors and the clean quilting lines. I’m intrigued by the movement but really have trouble seeing the wide divide between “traditional quilters” and this modern movement. Our “traditional” quilt guild is so receptive to all types of quilting, traditional piecing, appliqué, art and innovative, so many techniques, the more the merrier. Our members range from age 9 to age 90. Anyway, just rambling and wondering why the quilting world, always such a friendly place, seems to be morphing into a “them and us” group.

Meanwhile I am starting to work on a modern quilt, at least one that I would define as modern, lots of negative space, more solid colors than I normally use, and it is a challenge. I love jumping out of my box and exploring this movement. Here is a pic of my beginnings… This is just a grouping of various blocks that were a study in space and shape. I intend to slice and dice them into more shapes and set them in a sea of plain white then play with textural quilting. I’ll post as this project progresses. You never know I might dip dye my hair before its all over!


Meanwhile here’s a traditional quilt I just finished, just fun! Good job Keeley!

Have fun and Bee Happy! Karen




How Many Quilters Does It Take


…to change a light bulb? Well, have you ever put such mundane things off (like changing a light bulb) just because you don’t want to stop your sewing/quilting project? The answer is only ONE, I just had to stop long enough to do it, after all the bulb(s) were in the potty room and the hall to the utility room, NOT MY Sewing room! Who needs light in those rooms? Anyway, light has come back into the Shively house!

Meanwhile back at sewing I have been quilting away, making memory pillows for some middle schoolers, and making my way through an Art For Quilters online class. So much fun and so little time!

Thought you might like to see the memory pillow project. Quick, easy, and another option for a favorite t-shirt. I used my trusty serger and an embroidery machine, but, of course, you could use a DSM and even hand embroider. First cut through the t shirt straight up the side seams. In this case I used a 12 inch square ruler and fussy cut the artwork. Mine was too big so I had a great natural spot to cut another piece as large as possible, using the natural hem of the shirt. Then I used the back piece to cut another square about two inches shorter. These pieces will overlap and provide the back of the pillow pocket. Just sew around all four sides and you have a cute memory pillow. Hope these pics give you a better idea. First pic is finished pillow, second shows the front of the T-shirt cut into two pieces, the third was the original tshirt before I cut in apart, and the last is the finished pillow. Super simple and took less than ten minutes (not counting the embroidery of course).





Back to having fun. Hope you get a chance to try the pillow. In this case I used a 14″ pillow for stuffing, no backing on the shirt, worked perfectly!

Bee happy…Karen

PSsssst! It disappears!


Well. Getting back into the groove here, finishing up a great scrap quilt that is on the table today. Thought I would share a fantastic tip I picked up from the great Sharon Schamber! If you use the blue disappearing pens to mark your sewing or quilting projects, I am sure you join me in having seen the blue run or reappear. Well, guess what, A SOLUTION! Apparently the chemicals used in the blue pen are the same used in swimming pools. If you spray the marks gently with spray starch like you buy in the grocery in a spray can, they disappear immediately. According to Sharon, the spray starch changes the Ph in the blue chemical and just makes it go away permanently with no running! How great is this?

Meanwhile, here are a couple more quilts from the MQS show.








Enjoy and Bee Happy!

Blocking your quilt


I have just finished blocking my quilt that will be headed to Wichita in a couple of weeks.  Yes, I am actually ahead of schedule.  This is a small quilt and was a little easier to block than my usual large quilts, but the technique is still the same.  I use a sheet of insulation board covered with some flannel for my base for blocking.  If I have a larger quilt I would lay two sheets of board side by side.  Insulation board can be purchased at your nearby home improvement store for a very little bit of money.  In my case, my quilt should finish at 27″ x 30″.  I did go thru this process before adding my binding but found that it still needed tweeking after the binding and initial blocking.  The first procedure was exactly the same as this one I am showing you.

Here is a picture of my flannel covered board.  I have used the large rulers to assure 90 degree corners and the correct size.  I have marked my square with the friXion pens (by Pilot) that will disappear with heat (I use my hair dryer), hence the markings are not permanent.  The extra line you see on the right was an initial error in marking the correct size.  In future pics I am ignoring this line.

These are used to make sure all sides and corners are the right size.

These are used to make sure all sides and corners are the right size.

Board marked and ready to size quilt

Board marked and ready to size quilt

Now I will completely wet the quilt, removing excess water, and carefully stretch and pin the quilt to the board,starting with the corners and middle positions and filling in closely on all sides.  I am making sure that the quilt sides follow precisely along my marks.  At the same time I am making sure that all inner straight lines are parallel to their respective side.

blocking block distance block close up

I will leave the quilt securely pinned to the insulation board until it is totally dry – very important.  This quilt will travel well and hang squarely when it is displayed.  This blocking process will leave the quilt with a newly made look.  The technique can be used to restore the “new” look to any quilt you wash and should not be limited to show quilts.

Happy Blocking….BE HAPPY


Hand Sewing Hexies????


Well, everyone who knows me is very aware of my “love” for hand sewing…NOT!  I think it is just a lack of patience for me.  I really have a very hard time even binding my quilts and putting a sleeve on.  Yes, I do know how but just seem to have a hard time sitting still long enough to do hand work, even when I’m forced to sit still in a doctor’s office or where ever…Oh well, I have accepted it.

I have a box of hexies sitting next to my chair in front of the TV, even have a few done, but it just sits there looking at me.  AH HA…just found hexies that are more my speed.

Check out for a tutorial on Hexies by Machine!  I may even try these just for kicks.

Off to quilt guild for a lecture by Mickie Mowery on Tiny Pieces…hmmm, we shall see!  I hear her quilts are fantastic and will take some pics to share for those whose mental capacity allows them to sew teeny-tiny pieces.

Meanwhile, BE HAPPY!  Karen