Slowly but surely

Sixty blocks down and forty to go.

This is the first time I have blogged from my iPad – no processing in Photoshop so excuse the picture quality. I just thought I’d better post something to let you know that I am alive and well – it’s been a long time.

These are Inklingo 3″ Drunkard’s Path blocks. I am in the process of joining the 400 quarter circle blocks into 100 six inch full circle blocks.  They are in no particular order. I just put them up on the wall as I finish them. When I have 100 I will arrange them in their final order.


Alabama Beauty is quilted

AB full quilt
AB detail side view
AB red dot


The Alabama beauty arrived home safely yesterday. I LOVE it – Margaret did a spectacular job. Her photos are better than mine – you can see the details of the quilting .

See the photos and read about the details of the quilting process.

And here – back on the long arm for more quilting:

Mailing the finished quilt to Panama is always nerve-wracking for me. Margaret ships it via UPS it to our freight forwarder in Miami  (that’s the easy and safe part of the journey.) When it arrives in Panama it has to go through customs and I am always afraid that they are going to go wild with the box cutter and slice into the quilt. I always ask that Margaret put a piece or two or cardboard on the top of the quilt in case of a box cutter mishap. She did and – wouldn’t you know it – they cut the box open from the bottom! But nothing was damaged – thank goodness.

The quilt is quilted but there is still some work to do before I can block and bind it. Before Margaret even began the quilting she suggested that I appliqué some 1/2 inch circles/dots in the center of the red petals.

After much thought I have decided that I am going to take her advice. I was against it at first –  is it going to be perceived as a cover up of a less than perfect intersection?

Somehow it feels like a failure on my part that I couldn’t get it  absolutely perfect. But  Margaret convinced me that it would greatly enhance the competitiveness of the quilt – and after all I enter shows because it’s fun and winning ribbons is always a plus! If the damn dots may positively influence a judge – I’ll do it!

I think I have figured out why the decision to add the dots was difficult for me. I worked sooooo hard on those intersections and was very proud of how well I did – they lay flat and there were no holes. I sort of wanted to leave them that way to show the judge and the show atendees how well I had mastered a difficult technical challenge. But… now that it is so beautifully quilted I do admit they look a little “raw”  – somewhat unfinished.

Those dots are going to be very challenging – they wouldn’t have been easy if I’d done it block by block – but now I will be handling a whole quilt – that has been quilted! Yikes!

I have already started making the dots using my glue stick freezer paper on the top method. I am using dark purple on the 36 blocks with the purple points and a dark reddish orange for the 25 intersections with the yellow circle backgrounds.

The Alabama Beauty pattern – like the Joseph’s Coat – is often appliquéd – it certainly would have been far easier! So I hope the judges (at QuiltFest Jacksonville 2015) are going to be surprised to see a hand pieced Alabama Beauty :-)

Around the World Blog Hop

My cyber friend and fellow Inklingo quilter Cathi from Quilt Obsession in Canada asked me to join the blog hop on November 17th. It sounded like fun but I couldn’t accept the invitation because I’d be in Virginia celebrating my father’s 90th birthday on that day. Several days later she emailed again and asked if I could do it on December 1st. I said I’d love to so here I am.

My instructions were to invite other bloggers to participate and to answer the following four questions:

What am I working on? How does my work differ from others of its genre? Why do I create? And how does my creative process work?

Sandy White is from Toledo, Ohio and has been quilting since the mid 90’s. Like Cathi and I Sandy is “an Inklingo groupie” and a hand piecer. She also enjoys hand appliqué and hand quilting.


 Wait – before I begin let me show you my Alabama Beauty which was still a work in progress when Cathi asked me to join the blog hop. I mailed it to my quilter Margaret Gunn while I was in Virginia.


I used the Inklingo Orange Peel Deluxe pattern. It is hand pieced – I even attached the border by hand​! With one exception all of the quilts shown here are hand pieced or appliquéd.

Alabama Beauty finished!!!

I will be entering it in QuiltFest, Jacksonville 2015 next September along with the following three quilts – which all need blocking and binding – so technically they can be included as work in progress. Right?


Patchwork Of The Crosses. Quilted by Margaret Gunn

Pie and Tarts

Pie and Tarts. Quilted by Margaret Gunn.

mini drunkard's path

2″ Drunkard’s Path. Quilted by Margaret Gunn. This is a mini – it measures less than 30″ square.

I have seven other projects in various stages of completion. I will start with the one that is well on it’s way to being finished


12 Drunkard's Path

I’ve started joining the 400 quarter blocks into what will eventually be 100 six inch full circle blocks – 10 blocks x 10 blocks.

No border is planned – which will be a first for me – there is so much going on I think it will be able to stand alone.



I have resisted the urge to preselect the fabric combinations – I think it might be fun to do one at a time. When designing blocks I always set aside the fabric I have used to avoid repeating it. That forces me to use my stash and not rely on favorites. Sometimes on the last blocks of a large quilt I have to use some pretty funky combinations – but I think it makes a more interesting quilt when there are some odd pairings.

As always, I am going to use a mix of my Kaffe and Co. fabrics and batiks and small all over prints – basically because those are the only fabrics that I own.


The pattern is Hearts and Flowers designed by Kim McLean from Kaffe Fassett’s book “Quilt Romance.” It is 78” x 78” – so most of the appliqué pieces are large. There is a lot of machine piecing  – and not really that much appliqué – it should go together fairly quickly.


Kim hearts-and-flowers

This is the picture from the book – as usual I am doing my own thing with the color.


union jack blog

There are several Union Jack patterns online – but the design of the flag is usually not accurate. It is such an iconic image – it reads “Union Jack” with just some thick and thin Xs – any color and any shape.  My husband is English and it HAD to be accurate.

Each block measures 18” x 10”. I downloaded a flag and enlarged it in Photoshop and made my own paper piecing pattern for the 4 striped units. I’d forgotten how much I despise paper piecing. I tried it with templates but that didn’t go well – so back to the paper piecing.

I plan on three blocks across and five down. – ten more to go. All with different red, white and blue prints (already selected and cut in pieces ready to sew onto the papers.)



This was a trial block to see if I liked it. I do – I love it! I’ve only made one block but all of the pattern pieces are cut out and ready to sew.


Hex Stars

I am trying an unusual setting of a hex within a hex. I won’t know if it works until I make a few more blocks.  It may be too busy – if it is I will just use the plain hexagon in the taupe fabric.

I do not have the fabric pulled for this project. I am saving that job for when the overwhelming urge to play with fabric suddenly comes upon me.



I plan on 49 blocks – 7 across and 7 down. I have two options – I may use dark batiks and very light cream batiks (every block different of course.) Or maybe dark/medium combination as shown in the test block above. I have the fabric pulled for both options! But you knew that didn’t you :-)

Once I have pulled the color combinations for a project I am eager to get to the next quilt – just so I can play with color again. That’s probably why I have so many projects in the works.


That is a difficult question – I am not sure it does. I don’t want to claim anything I do as original. I usually follow commercially available patterns and I use “store bought” fabric.

My use of color is my “signature.” Living in the tropics is definitely an influence.

I love a challenge – inset seams and curved pattern pieces are a favorite. The Alabama Beauty at the top of the blog has 16 pieces in each block and all of them are curved! I love the difficult patterns  you rarely see at a quilt show or on Google images.

I also enjoy hand piecing. In today’s rush rush rush world of “Quilt in a Day” there is something to be said for relaxing with a hand pieced project.


Art is my passion and my therapy – I have to do it!


As long as I can remember I have wanted to be an artist. This is my favorite photograph taken when I was about 3 years old – hard at work at an easel – my tongue sticking out – which is what I still do to this day when I am concentrating.

I studied art in England in the 60’s. I was a graphic designer and a digital printmaker for many years. Today I design and make jewelry and I quilt. I have been quilting for about thirteen years.


This was my first quilt. I had no rotary cutter, no quilting rulers, and zero experience. I measured everything with my stainless steel type gauge (my favorite ruler from my graphic art days.) I marked the squares and the cutting lines with a pencil and cut with scissors. It is machine pieced.

The pattern is Nine-Patchez from the book Cut-Loose Quilts by Jan Mullen.


How much time do you have? Never mind – I’ll stick to quilt making.

My stash is essentially Kaffe Fassett Collective prints, batiks, small all over prints, and “nearly solid” mottled fabrics. Except for backings, borders and bindings, I almost never buy more than a quarter yard. I love all the new pre cuts.

When choosing a pattern I always check to see how many fabrics I can use in each block. I am of “The More The Merrier” school when it comes to selecting fabric for a quilt.


x and + pattern. This quilt has 387 different fabrics. Quilted by Jan Burnham.


Same pattern – another color way. Quilted by Jackie Kunkel.

I mainly make one block quilts so I want each block to be able to stand alone. During the process I often think – if I made the whole quilt using just this one block how would it look?

I can spend literally HOURS changing the fabrics in a single block (after having spent several days pulling fabric from my stash.)  My fabric choices may look random – but believe me the chaos is very very controlled I do NOT do random – EVER!

When designing the blocks I have a spare parts department for the bits that are rejected – I keep them because they may work in another block.


When the blocks are all finished I spend days – no – make that weeks – arranging and rearranging them on the design wall. Occasionally I have to eliminate blocks because they don’t play well with the others.

Borders are agony for me. I struggle with all of them – some more than others. Unless I choose to leave my quilt borderless it is a necessary evil I must deal with.

Choosing a border for this quilt was a long drawn out process – I made countless changes along the way – one of which was to make 44 more blue blocks for the new “inner border.”


It is called “Beyond Sunrise and Sunset” and won a first prize ribbon at QuiltFest Jax in 2013 – quilted by Margaret Gunn. It was also featured in the November/December issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine in an article written by Margaret.

When designing the borders (and the blocks) as long as I keep thinking “something is wrong – it just doesn’t feel right yet” I will keep trying new ideas. I have to reach the “ah ha – that’s it” point before I will stop.

As you can see I finally decided on a piano keys border using all of the mustardy/ochre yellows in my stash. It doesn’t read as a specific print – it is the yellow I was looking for but with more depth and texture than a single print or solid.

Process is actually the reason I started blogging in 2008. I needed a way to record the making of the Angel quilt (an adaptation of a Mary Lou Weidman pattern.)​


In Panama we don’t need quilts to keep warm – I make them because I enjoy the process. When they are done I hang them on the wall –  throw them over a sofa or chair or give them away and move on to the next one.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”  Greg Anderson

I love this quote – in fact I named this quilt ​”​The Journey” after discovering this quotation.

batik hexagon1-2

1.5″ Hexagons. Quilted by Jackie Kunkel.

My goodness – I certainly did get carried away. If you have managed to reach this point – I thank you  for your patience :-)



Alabama Beauty finished!!

Alabama Beauty finished!!!

I’m calling it “Round And Round” from the Perry Como song of the same name.

I’m travelling to the US on Friday. After showing it off to the family I’ll mail the top to my quilter Margaret Gunn in Maine.

The post office here is rather unreliable and I try to finish quilts to coincide with family and friend’s trips to the US.

The fabric I had planned on using for the backing doesn’t work – so I am going to have to order another one and send it to Margaret later.


Alabama Beauty 36 blocks finished!

Alabama Beauty 36 blocks fnished!

Finally. I started this project on June 26th 2010. I made half of it and put it away for years. I just got distracted with other projects I guess – but here it is. DONE!

After agonizing over the border (which I do with every single quilt I have ever made) I decided I didn’t want a border at all. I ran the idea by my quilter Margaret Gunn and she suggested that I add at least a narrow border.

I am taking her advice – because stitching the binding to a tiny one quarter inch sliver of fabric with a zillion seams on the edges plus the thickness of two battings and a backing – would be a nightmare. All the while trying not to sew over the red butterfly points – yikes!

I originally thought of a narrow one inch inner border of a yellowy orange print – then a three inch piano keys border of the yellow and orange prints in background circles.

Yesterday I cut out all of the yellow strips. Four each of 27 prints. Auditioned them and I didn’t like it. So I am just going with the narrow one inch border – no piano keys. I will bind it in the same fabric so it will look like a wide binding rather than a real border.

Blocks 19-36 joined

Alabama Beauty second panel of 18 blocksTomorrow I stitch the 48″ center seam and the top is done!! Finally.  Then on to the borders.

Alabama Beauty blocks 19-36

blocks 19-36Done! Now to join them.