• Category Archives Product Reviews
  • A Horse of a Different Color

    Where did that term come from? The first time I ever heard it was in the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ but the context left no doubt that it was already a phrase in common use.

    But I digress, this may not be a horse but rather a non-traditional rainbow. Just look at what I picked up at Quilt Market last weekend in Portland.

    Valdani six-strand cotton floss

    I visited the Valdani booth where I had a lovely chat with the owner, Dana, and showed her some of my embroidery; one of her helpers in the booth took this picture of me and the rest of the Valdani staff there.

    Valdani Booth at Portland Spring Quilt Market 2018

    I love Valdani threads and have been using them since I first discovered the 35 wt quilting thread in a little shop in St. Helen’s Oregon about a decade ago. they make luscious variegated threads in color combination you just don’t see elsewhere like one blend they called Cold Lava – a blend of black, sapphire blue and a rich rust color that quilts up beautifully (see the close up of a border below).

    Border stitched with Valdani 35 wt cotton thread, color: Cold Lava

    At the show, I bought a few new colors of the quilting thread (what – they actually have colors I don’t already own???) but mainly I added to my collection of embroidery floss. This six-strand cotton floss is soft and silky in texture and the variegation subtle which I prefer as opposed to drastic color shifts that can make the work look splotchy. Valdani also makes this floss available in three-strand balls for punch needle and other work where a finer floss would be preferable.  I can’t wait to work these into a project.


  • Something to Crow About

    OK gentle readers, the proverbial ‘cat’ is out of the bag. I am proud to announce that I have now joined the ranks of fabric designers with a new line of fabrics produced by Northcott to be featured at Fall Market in Houston at the end of this month.

    Northcott approached me this past spring about using some of my quilt designs to produce printed panels with some coordinating textures and supporting fabrics by Linda Ludovico to create the line we are calling Maplewood inspired by one of my Garden Window quilts. Those of you who know me well have been aware of this but for my general followers, I have had to keep a bit mum about this until Northcott was ready to present the new line on their website, this has been a bit hard to do as I’ve been so excited about it. You can view the collection at Norhtcott’s Maplewood page along with some stunning quilt patterns made by their pattern designers utilizing the fabric line.

    Several of the local quilt shops where I teach are already planning to pick up some of the fabric and have even asked if I might come do an autographing the fabric panel event, I will keep you posted if we do that.

    The Garden Windows quilt that has been reproduced for this is my latest one ‘Clothed in Crimson’ and  I’m posting a picture of it here; if you visit Norcott’s page you can see the lovely reproduction they have created of it, I am truly amazed how well it has turned out. Meanwhile, I have self published a pattern for the quilt, which is available at a couple of the local quilt shops – A Common Thread and Pioneer Quilts, these are also shops where you should be able to find my fabric very soon.

    'Clothed in Crimson' my quilt that has been reproduced as a printed panel by Northcott Fabrics.
    ‘Clothed in Crimson’ my quilt that has been reproduced as a printed panel by Northcott Fabrics.

  • Someone DOES Make Them Like They Used To

    OK, I’m going to digress from my usual cat or quilting commentary and take the time to give a product review (and – ‘no’, it is not a quilting product). Have you ever caught yourself saying “they don’t make them as good as they used to…”? I’m talking about GRAHAM CRACKERS! You remember Graham Crackers? Those yummy, crumbly flat ‘boards’ from kindergarten that we loved to dip into milk? My husband has been jonesing for some good old-fashioned graham crackers for the last year or so and we have tried EVERY brand we can find. The Honey Maid, Annie’s, Nabisco; the store brand generic, the ‘gourmet’, the organic… cheap ones, expensive ones, cinnamon covered, plain, we even tried a knock off brand from the Dollar Store… NOBODY makes graham crackers like the ones I remember from my childhood. Some came close but missed the mark, others weren’t even close (in flavor or texture – the Safeway house brand were the closest we found). Try tossing in trying to avoid high-fructose corn syrup and the playing field gets much smaller. Well, we finally found them! Good old Trader Joe’s wins again, Their ‘boxed’ Honey Graham Crackers are it. We just put them to the milk test and it was like going back in time to sitting around that circle painted on the floor and dipping our crackers into the milk – I could almost smell the tempera paint.
     
    Mind you, these are NOT the TJ’s cinnamon topped crackers sold in the clear plastic deli containers, these are plain and come in the box but oh the memories… These are just cardboardy enough, sweet but not too sweet, and have just the right ‘sandy’ ‘gritty’ texture, hold their shape when dipped in milk but crumble in your mouth. Heavenly!