Chuck Nohara · Quilts

Chuck Nohara • January 2016 blocks finished

Jan 2016 Chuck Nohara

Happy to report that I finished my January’s Chuck Nohara Blocks a few days early, even with totally redoing the house on the hill block (#cn968). (The upper left fabrics are from Sherri and Chelsi’s new line of fabrics, called Valley. Yes, that is a shameless plug for her two lines, as I love the colors and patterns.)  By the way, that  (#cn968) is how we tag them on Instagram if you are ever looking for a block, and want to see what others have done.  After seeing what others put together, I switched out the house colors (previous version shown below):

Old Chuck Nohara 968Yeah.  I didn’t like it much either, although I like all those fabrics.


Chuck Nohara Jan16 planned

Jan 2016 Chuck Nohara totals

Here they all are so far.  No, I haven’t trimmed up all the blocks yet.  Mine will measure 6″ when they are finished (6 1/2″ trimmed).  Here’s February’s blocks, in case you want to think about them early:




Quarterly Reveal on February 1st


See you on February 2nd to begin our Oh Christmas Tree QAL!


Reflections on Road to California 2016


It was a lovely ride.


Road to California began as a local quilt juried quilt show that over 20+ years has built itself up to be a nationally-ranked show with outstanding quilts in all categories.  Unlike other popular national quilt shows, they limit their entries to three per person, so this year’s entries totaled just over 500.  After jurying them, the field was narrowed to about 250 quilts.  You can imagine my surprise to learn that I’d been awarded a ribbon in the Traditional, Wall, Pieced category, a high moment given this past year of sturm und drang (German, for “storm and stress”).  When I found out about my ribbon Tuesday night after my guild meeting (they sent out emails), there was a lot of whooping and hollering and hugging my husband in excitement.  He was as thrilled as I was, as he has been there every step of the way.


I was also happy that Colorwheel Blossom was accepted as well, shown here on the right in one of the bays at the quilt show, hanging among other fine entries.  Overall, many of us were saying it was an outstanding quilt show, from top to bottom, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.


Ewe Are My Sunshine, by Janet Stone, won the Marie White Prize of $7500.


Silk Road Sampler, by Melissa Sobotka, won Best of Show (and a $10,000 prize). This was created with raw edge appliqué, and some use of paints for shading and tinting.  Both of these quilts were so different, but so stunning.


All of the prize winners can be found on *this* page; above is a screen shot of how it looks–when you click on the photo it enlarges it to a nice size so you can see the details.  I also put a lot of the quilts on my Instagram feed (button is to the right), along with their names and titles, if they were posted.

On Wednesday, I took EQ7 out of the Box, taught by Barbara Vlack, a terrific class where I learned a few tricks.  After class I stayed for a while to help hang quilts, joining the incredible army of volunteers who had been at that all day long.  On Thursday, I enjoyed David Taylor’s You, Too, Can Stipple.  Even though I passed stippling long ago, I also learned a lot.  If you ever get a chance to take a class from either of them, sign up immediately.  Some famous quilters aren’t teachers, but Taylor’s class flowed well and was really fun (he’s also pretty funny with a dry sense of humor).

Thursday afternoon Sherri, a friend, joined me from out-of-town, and on Friday morning we met up with a large contingent of the Good Heart Quilters, a local group of quilters in my area.  We carpooled in, then split up to shop see the quilts.  At noon, we were joined by more Good Heart Quilters, and two more quilters from the LA area (Megan and Michelle), and we all went over to El Torito for lunch, enjoying a few minutes off-site to celebrate Simone’s birthday.  Back in the cars for more quilt show, then home again.

Shop Hop in Temecula

Saturday, Sherri and Laurel (one of the Good Heart Quilters) and I did a mini shop-hop, hitting three stores in the Temecula area, and enjoying lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.  We were buying wool for their Oh Christmas Tree QAL, which begins next week in earnest (so I hope you are all getting your supplies, too).  If I look funny, it’s because I was standing on my tiptoes to see over the high rails of the antique bed I was posing in front of. Plus I’m really tired from too much fun seeing the quilts.

Sunday, Sherri flew home, and Dave (my husband) and I headed up to Road for one last blast of quilts, to pick up a flier so I could subscribe to both QuiltMania and Simply Moderne (it took me a while, but I’m finally going to do it) and pick up my quilts.  We were back home by 5 p.m., the fun ride over.

After last year’s high of having three quilts accepted into Road, I didn’t think my quilting life could get any better.  That year still remains a high, but this year was really amazing, too.  In reviewing the year, I must also add in the lovely emails from all my readers, the relationships we’ve developed, as well as the quilting, the ups and downs, the travels, the successes and the failures you’ve shared with me.  As I explained to one white-glove volunteer, who asked about my Pineapples and Crowns quilt, that quilt is really a collaboration, a celebration of community.

And so I celebrate us all, as we begin the year!



Quarterly Reveal on February 1st


See you on February 2nd to begin our Oh Christmas Tree QAL!

Creating · Four-in-Art · Quilts · Something to Think About

Microscopy for Four-in-Art Feb 2016


This microscopic image is cocaine.

I found it while researching images for this quarter’s Four-in-Art challenge of “microscopic.”  The overarching theme is color, so of course, I was drawn to this as an idea for a quilt, hating what I’d already started piecing a couple of days ago.  As any good grad student knows, the best way to postpone the inevitable work on a deadline is to do more research.

The image of cocaine is from a website run by Michael Davidson, who recently passed away.  But he would take the images from his laboratory’s microscope and use them to make neckties.  I thought we could keep going and use them to make quilts.


This is nickel oxide on sodium chloride, an image from his website.  After exploring his butterfly gallery, I moved on to the pharmaceutical section, and noticed that not only were Mr. Davidson and his team a whiz with microscopy, they also had a sense of humor, as witnessed by the last line in the description of caffeine:


To quote: “Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant most commonly found in the coffee we drink every morning….Symptoms of overdose include insomnia, restlessness, tremor, delirium, tachycardia, and running of the mouth.”


Taxol, a drug used in chemotherapy.  I’ve pinned quite a few of these to my Pinterest Board Art Quilts, as they will become the inspiration for this quarter’s efforts.

serendipity illusNot only was wandering through the internets a way to spark my creativity for this month’s looming deadline (to be published on Feb. 1st), but also I allowed myself to goof off do the research because of an article recently published in the New York Times about Serendipity, or more specifically, “How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity,” by Pagan Kennedy.  She talked first about the word’s origins, noting that we “think of serendipity as something like dumb luck.”  But it was coined in 1754, when Horace Walpole noted that he “had been entranced by a Persian fairy tale about three princes from the Isle of Serendip who possess superpowers of observation.” In writing a letter to a friend, “Walpole suggested that this old tale contained a crucial idea about human genius: ‘As their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.’ And he proposed a new word — “serendipity” — to describe this princely talent for detective work.”  So, as Kennedy notes, the word meant “a skill rather than a random stroke of good fortune.”

She quotes Sanda Erdelez, a University of Missouri information scientist, who divides serendipitsts into three groups: ” ‘non-encounterers’ ” or people who see “through a tight focus, a kind of chink hole, and they tended to stick to their to-do lists when searching for information rather than wandering off into the margins. Other people were “occasional encounterers,” who stumbled into moments of serendipity now and then. Most interesting were the “super-encounterers,” who reported that happy surprises popped up wherever they looked. The super-encounterers loved to spend an afternoon hunting through, say, a Victorian journal on cattle breeding, in part, because they counted on finding treasures in the oddest places. In fact, they were so addicted to prospecting that they would find information for friends and colleagues.”

So, maybe in “researching” my Four-in-Art quilt, I’m just really being a super-encounterer, finding that “happy surprises” pop up with each click of the mouse button.

Or maybe, I am just putting off the inevitable: getting the work done.


Four-in-Art Microscopy.  Coming soon to a blog near you.  Premiering February 1st, 2016.


P.S.  Pagan Kennedy has written a new book, titled Inventology.  The blurb from her website says “Inventology is a must-read for anyone who is curious about creativity and imaginative leaps.”


200 Quilts · Quilt-A-Long · Quilts

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

1Xmas Tree

The winner of our giveaway is Quilter in Motion, aka Marsha.  And no, she doesn’t get a chicken dinner–I just like saying that.  Thank you so much for all your birthday memories–I loved reading them!  I have a couple of favorites, and have read many of them to my husband, who also picked a few of his favs.  You are all the best.

You’ve all been busy out there in Quilterland, contacting felted wool/wool felt suppliers and I have a few more pieces of information for you, as you collect and gather.

First up is a note from Stephanie, saying she contacted Errin Rissberger at QuiltingAcres on ETSY, and bought this fine array of colors of felted wool, all for about $69.50:

rainbow of felted wools

Stephen had shopped around at some other sites and found this one to be most reasonable.  Erin has those bundles up there, ready to go, if you want one too.

Prairie Woolens FeltBrenda contacted Donna, of Prairie Woolens, and she wrote that she does: “create custom kits for pretty much any pattern whether it’s something we carry or not and there are no requirements.  I checked out the picture and I would say it would likely be the hand-dyed colors [of wool].  The 100% wool felt and the felted wool are similar in thickness so I think you could use them together in the same project.  I’ve mixed felt and wool together in the same project and it works wonderfully.  Hopefully this helps but if you have any questions, please let me know.”

Primitive Gatherings Wool

This screenshot is Primitive Gatherings’ offering.  I was down in there shop this past week, and they stock felted wools, but no wool felt.  They are beautiful, though.  You can purchase them on their website, too.

Whether or not you’ve already purchased your wool, you can bet that halfway through the project, you’ll be wanting a different color, so either head over there now, or save this for later.  I so appreciate those who have written in to pass on information for others to benefit from.


The next post on this will be in a couple of weeks, just after the beginning of the February.  On February 1st, we have the reveals for our art quilt group, Four-in-Art, a collaborative group of quilters who wanted to try something different.  We post four times a year (hence the name) and work in the chosen themes.  This year’s theme is Color, and February’s challenge is Microscopic.

Road 2016 QuiltsSM

Before that, I’ll be going to Road to California, where I’ll have two quilts hanging in the show–if you are going, please DM me on IG and find me–I’ll be the girl with the goofy smile standing in front of one of these quilts.  I generally post a lot on flood Instagram with quilt photos from the show, so you can find me there: occasionalpiecequilt (the button is on the right, if that’s easier).

Okay, Marsha, I’ll be in touch with you to get your snail mail address and get your magazine off to you!

Giveaway · Quilts

Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-A-Long & a Giveaway!

1Xmas Tree

When I first saw this Christmas Tree on Instagram, I fell in love.  So I proposed a Quilt-A-Long that would force enable me  to to get it completed in time for Christmas 2016, for there is power in having to put your innermost feelings about quilts/goal setting out there in the world and shaming yourself into finishing it.  I’m really good at this, I know. I wrote to Wendy Williams, who designed this pattern, and she gave us her blessing, and said “she can hardly wait to see the quilts that will come of this.”  So onward, everyone!

Simply Moderne Scan

The magazine where this pattern is found is Simply Modern Issue #3, and that’s the giveaway part.  I have an extra copy which you can win, but wait a minute.  First let’s do the business of this.  If you aren’t lucky enough to win this, you can buy it from Fat Quarter Shop, or the QuiltMania people, or if you live in Australia, it’s on Wendy’s website Flying Fish Kits (link below).

I’ve broken it down into several steps, some easy and for some months you will be carting around your embroidery around with you everywhere you go, but these are definitely do-able steps.  Here they are:

January, Step “prepare”: buy the magazine, gather your fabrics, buy the felt/wool, buy/find the pearl cotton.  More about that in a minute.

February, Step 1: Make the tree on the background and stitch it down.  If you use wool felt, she has an easy appliqué method.

March, Step 2: Make 21 flowers.

April, Step 3: Make 10 birds.

May, Step 4: Make the scene at the bottom.  Wendy’s pattern (IG: flyingfishkits) has two cavorting reindeer.  I plan to switch mine out to a simple nativity.  Your choice.  (If I were you, I’d also start haunting her IG site as she has lots of great embroidery ideas for the flowers. I’d also consider buying her book, Wild Blooms and Colorful Creatures, for more tips and helps.)

June, Step 5: Appliqué down the flowers.

July, Step 6: Appliqué down the birds and the scene.

August, Step 7: Sawtooth border (reds).

September, Step 8 (finish up Quilt-A-Long): Make wonky star blocks, sew them together and attach border #2.  Ta-Done!  I just have to deliver you here.  You are on your own for getting it quilted and bound.

1Xmas Tree

So here’s the drill for Step: prepare.  Wendy calls for wool felt.  Some of my IG followers have left a lengthy series of comments on an earlier IG post about threads and wools (scroll back in the feed to find it–it says Step 1 on it, which is an oops, but it’s those Flying Monkeys again).  You can buy 100% wool and felt it yourself (more tips in her book or on the internet), or buy 100% wool felt.  According to @yondergirlie, the preferred is the felt, as you don’t have to stitch it down as much as it doesn’t fray (sometimes the felted wools can fray).  The general consensus was to use pearl cotton #8 for the embroidery.  According to the pattern, you’ll also need a medallion-style piece of fabric to appliqué in the center of some of the flowers.  I love Wendy’s combination of wool and felt together.


(all of my felts, threads and wools; some of the fabrics, and Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitches book for embroidery ideas)

I visited with the people at a local shop today that specializes in felted wool.  When using the wool they use Steam-A-Seam 2 to back their pieces, fuse them to the top, and then they handstitch around them, using pearl cotton size 12 thread.  All these are options for you to try and to experiment with.  I’ll be using wool felt, plus some felted wool sweaters for accent pieces, that I recently re-discovered in my garage (let’s hear it for UFOs that deliver to your newest project).  I also found a stash of wool felt that I purchased in Munich, Germany some years ago.  If you want to take a trip there, I can provide the address (it’s another one of those things that I buy, hoard away, and then later find a use for, much to my delight).

Many others mentioned an ETSY shop: [copy and paste addresses into your browser address bar].  I’ve also seen Primitive Gatherings mentioned for felted wool, as well as @benziedesign on Instagram.  I have found lots of Christmas fabric on sale this past month to use for the wonky stars, borders and background.  So, gather away and get ready for the Oh, Christmas Tree quilt-a-long!

UPDATE (2/11/16):  I’ve found two more sources for high-quality felt from companies here in the United States.  I’ve ordered from both of them and can attest to the quality of these felts (and no, they aren’t giving me anything for free).

Felt A Childs Dream

The first one is A Child’s Dream.  Above snapshot is from their website; they have several different thicknesses and many more colors, but I went for the “Holland wool felt” type of wool.

The Felt Pod copy

The second is The Felt Pod.   Again, a snapshot from their website shows many of their different products in their wool felt.  This is the “Reds” page.

Giveaway Banner

Now for the giveaway (domestic only).  HOWEVER!  if you live in Australia, Wendy has patterns of this tree for sale on her blog (just thought you’d like to know).

Since it’s my birthday tomorrow, I’d like you to leave a one-or two-line memory about your best birthday ever.  I’ll randomly draw a name this weekend and get it sent off on Monday.  Make sure you fill in an accurate email address as I’ll use that to contact you.  And if you throw your name in the ring for this magazine, I’ll expect to see a finished quilt this coming December, as you wouldn’t want to just hoard it away from someone who really really really wants it, would you?  Leave your comments below.

NOTE: Comments are now closed.  Giveaway winner will be announced this afternoon (Friday, Jan. 8th).

Chuck Nohara

Chuck Nohara Blocks • January 2016

Note: This was supposed to be published in a few days, but the Flying Monkeys took over and things just got a little out of control over here.  Over and Out.ChuckNoharaChoices2016

Most of the time, I keep the Chuck Nohara blocks confined to the immediacy of Instagram, but as we start a new month (and a new year), I thought I’d show where we are.

Chuck Nohara_NovDec2015

Finished these.  Don’t be too harsh a critic on my skills, as some were done in a car, some in an airplane and some while in a hotel room.  But done is the operative word.

Chuck Nohara Jan16 planned

Starting to prep up these.  Two choices are from Susan, of PatchworkNPlay, and two are mine.  I love the ones that are a combo of hand appliqué and machine piecing.  Come and join us!  Refer to the earlier post for information about the book, 2001 New Patchwork Blocks, and follow our quilt-a-long on Instagram (#chucknoharaqal).

Giveaway Banner

P. S. There’s a giveaway coming up in my next post for the magazine Simply Moderne, which has the fabulous Oh Christmas Tree pattern in it.  Stay tuned.

Simply Moderne Scan