A bit of catching up to do!

I can’t believe my last post was in July!  August is just a blur!  On July 30th, we picked up my son from his first ever week of sleep away boy scout camp…later that same day, my sister-in-law got married .  It was a beautiful wedding on a picture perfect day… we took the boys to Hershey Park for a long weekend…


…my son  played football for a week and a half (although it was just conditioning for 3 hours every night – it threw the entire household into upheaval for that time period as it was much more work than he ever expected) … I taught a 2-part Electric Quilt for Beginners class and a QUILTapestry class at Fabric Inspirations in Englishtown, NJ… and then there were the preparations, clean-up and repairs for Irene AND then Lee!  Oh yes, and the boys started school with all of its related craziness!  There was more, but that gives you the highlights.  Having written all that now I really remember why I don’t remember the last month!

So now it’s the middle of September and life is finally settling down and getting back to somewhat of a normal routine and I am trying to get back to quilting.  I had a good jumpstart this past weekend.  As program chair for my guild, I was responsible for organizing all of the activities around our guest speaker on Sunday, Karen Kay Buckley.  I have long admired her work and was happy for the opportunity to learn from the master! 

We had chosen her full day workshop, Garden Medley, to learn her secrets to beautiful hand applique. This was the second applique class I have taken, the first with Becky Goldsmith.  Although piecing is my forte, I continue to want to give applique a try for all the design possibilities it opens!  I have made one applique quilt in my life for a guild challenge, Ring Around the Rosie, back in 2006.  No one guessed it was mine! 

Ring Around the Rosie by Helle-May Cheney

I even won a 2nd place ribbon for it.  But truth be told, although I intended for it to be completely hand applique – as the deadline loomed – I had to quickly learn how to machine applique in order to finish on time.  Ironically, the techniques I used were very similar to what we learned with Karen – but I certainly picked up quite a few more important tips.  I can’t remember now whether or not I had possibly seen her on Alex Anderson’s show or read an article somewhere.  In any event I am inspired to give it another try with some Estonian-influenced design ideas that just don’t lend themselves to piecing!

In any event, Karen was a great teacher.  She is very organized and has lots of great information to share.  I love that prior to recommending any tool or product, she thoroughly tests it herself to make sure it works.  It’s also always great to hear that someone else recommends the tools you already use!  I felt good about that!

Karen is famous for her Perfect Circles die cut templates (and yes – 25 of us made perfect applique circles that day!) and she has designed and sells 2 pairs of scissors with micro-serrated edges that cut fabric better than any other scissor.  The blades glide through the fabric and don’t push on the fabric, creating a cleaner cut and reducing fraying

Of course the quilts she brought were stunning.  I love hearing the stories and inspiration behind each quilt.  So even though I had seen some of them before, it was just that much more interesting to hear about them from their maker!

Now that I am inspired, I need to get to work!  I have a new quilt/pattern in the final stages and a few surprises that will be coming along shortly!  Stay tuned…

Happy Quilting!


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