In the Studio

May 19, 2022

It’s been a tough week for the Dietz Family. On Tuesday, we lost our beloved patriarch, Gordon Dietz, my husband’s father. He had a long and happy life, staying feisty and vibrant right up to the last day of his 95 years.

Tom and Gordon Dietz

This was my design wall about two weeks ago…

Temperature Quilt

I finished January through April on the temperature quilt. I think the geese in 2020 look “warmer” than those in 1955. Do you?


This is a Zentangle that I made while on retreat with VCQ (Virginia Consortium of Quilters)

The outlines are drawn with archival ink marker…then the designs are stitched with black thread. The last step requires one to color in the black highlighted areas with more ink marker. I challenged myself to make one of these, and I like it, but I’m not sure Zentangle is my thing.

Compass Star

While looking through items for a donation table for the VCQ retreat, I found this UFO. I couldn’t part with it and so I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole…designing borders to finish this one.

Paper Pieced flying geese for Compass Star Border


Maryland Block

And I’m working on the Maryland Block for the States Quilt. This is a very complicated block, and because the block is 12 1/2″ this 5×5 block has weird cutting sizes. So I’m also paper piecing this one!

Black and White and Red All Over

And Finally, off the machine and bound…my Black and White and Red all over Quilt is finished!

In The Studio

May 1, 2022

This past weekend I attended the VCQ Celebrations! 2022 retreat at the 4H Center near Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

I brought along this collection of fabrics, Playa by Jinny Beyer, for a class by Barbara Black.

This is the bright version of her Five Easy Pieces quilt. The one I will be making.

And here is Barbara Black with her darker version of the quilt. This was a reproduction copy of a quilt top she got for $5.00 at a yard sale. Barbara and I got to know one another over the weekend and bonded over our shared quilting experiences. I’m sure ours will become a lifelong friendship!

In class Barbara gave us some great instructions and wonderful tips on how to make perfect flying geese with paper foundations. I’m hoping to get this quilt made before the next VCQ Celebration! In 2024.

You can follow Barbara Black on her blog here:

I also had a lot of fun in a Zentangle class. We learned to make a few Zentangles on a single tile, using special pens.

Here are some samples and some equipment needed for this process.

After following her instructions, I learned to draw a bigger design, and stitch it out on cotton.

Here is Marisela Rumberg my very talented and energetic Certified Zentangle Instructor.

Click here for her website:

I am thoroughly exhausted after a wonderful VCQ Celebration weekend. We had Show and Tell, Block lotto, Square Dance, and Strip Party, to keep us all entertained, and vendors, Silent Auction, Peddlers Table and the scissor sharpening guy to take our money! I met two wonderful quilters who were my assigned roommates and became my new friends by the end of the weekend.

If you want to have this much fun think about joining VCQ, The Virginia Consortium of Quilters or your local guild. It’s a great way to meet other quilters and share ideas.

The Virginia Consortium of Quilters

In The Studio

April 18, 2022

Phew…finally finished the March rows for my two temperature quilts. I can see a definite warming trend in 2020 vs 1955. Let’s see what happens this month!

The Fly Away Home Quilt is finally basted and under the needle today. I managed to get a round of Stitch in the Ditch along the inner borders. This will help stabilize the quilt as I have some thread play fun in the center.

Look at these luscious thread colors. I’ll be using spools from my Sulky Collection on the Fly Away Home Quilt.

Well, I finished one version of the New Jersey block for my States quilt…hmm I’m not happy with the corner sections.

So here I’m auditioning a few….

Oh. The dark blue looks nice…with just some of the blue print showing.

Ah…this is much better!

At our VCQ (Virginia Consortium of Quilters) Celebration Retreat later this month, I will be taking a workshop called Five Easy Pieces with Barbara Black. These are the group of fat quarters that I want to use, all washed and pressed. They are from the Playa Collection by Jinny Beyer. I’m so excited to be going on a retreat again. Look for more news and photos!

And Finally….at our CAQG (Charlottesville Area Quilters Guild) quilt show last weekend, I was awarded a viewer’s choice second place ribbon in the Medium Pieced Category for “Keeping Our Distance”. I was so surprised and thrilled when I got an email announcing me as a winner. At this show we had over 180 quilts, everything from Small Pieced, Appliqued, and Art Quilts to Large Pieced and Appliqued and everything in between. All of the quilts are winners in my book.

In The Studio

April 1, 2022

It’s coming!

The CAQG Quilt Show will be held April 9-10. Over 180 quilts on display, vendors, demos, boutique, the Shoppe at the Show, raffle baskets, our raffle quilt and food trucks, don’t miss it!

I’m still working on the March Temperature Quilt. The 1955 column is finished…still working on the 2020 column.

I was able to move along the Quilt Top in a Shoe Box… Blocks of States we lived in. I’m auditioning fabrics for sashing and border fabrics.

And the next block Maryland is on my cutting table.

In The Studio

March 17, 2022

We have been traveling almost the whole month since February 17. We met up with our son and his girlfriend in California. Then we had 10 great days on a Baja Sur adventure. Traveling on a 100 year old boat The Westward. We took lots of photos of whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds, and whale fish. I have some great ideas for new quilts.

After we stopped home for a few days, we were off again to New Jersey to deliver some furniture and visit with our daughter and her boyfriend.

Next, we attended some important meetings on sustainability at the University of Delaware. More on this to come later.

We arrived home to find out that our chicken coops had been tossed about in a wind storm…but the chicks all survived!

So of course, I have not had much time for quilting. I did change over the quilts in the Studio…


And today I made a block that will ultimately go into a comfort quilt headed for Ukraine.

And finally today, I chose some fabrics to go into a sign for the “Community Quilts” table at our upcoming (April 9-10) CAQG Quilt Show. We will have over 180 Quilts on display, made by our members. Make plans to attend.

You can find more information about the show here.

In The Studio

February 17, 2022

This month, I moved the Quilt Top in a Shoe Box project along. I finished my Texas Block. This block was based on an older block called Texas Centennial Star. It was machine appliqued, paper pieced and hand appliqued.

The first half of February is finished for the Temperature Quilts. We are away until the beginning of March, so I’ll be late getting the rest of the month done.

My new favorite thing. I purchased a panel showing all of the Kona Cotton colors. These are my favorite solids. I have no where to hang it! So, I may make it up into a shade to cover and protect my fabric bins. Watch this space.

This month I read, and finished, the very long book,”Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone” by Diana Gabaldon. The latest in her Outlander Series.

The title inspired me to finish the Queen Bee Embroidery and it will become the centerpiece of a hexies quilt. Photos below show me auditioning fabrics and the container that I use to carry my work around. These will go with me to California.

This metal piece is a thread cutter, made to be worn as a necklace. It’s airplane friendly

…Happy Quilting!

In The Studio

February 1, 2022

New this month….
After receiving a large donation of very nice quilt books, I decided to turn my bookshelf in the studio, into a Little Free Library for Quilters. I registered the library and just wanted to let everyone know how it works.
It’s very simple…take a book, bring a book. There are no library police, no forms to fill out. Come over to the Studio, plan to spend a little time to sit on the couch and browse the books. I am generally working in the Studio M-W-F from 1-5pm. But if you expect to be in the area, just call ahead to see if I’ll be around.

I have a lot up on my design wall. With all the snow we’ve had this month, I’ve been hibernating in the house and working on lots of different things.

All of the January geese are finished for my Temperature Quilts. The one on the left represents the average daily temps reported in my hometown for 1955. And the one on the right for 2020. Both are using the same fabrics for each 5 degrees of temperature range. I’m curious to see if the quilt for 2020 temps looks warmer!

My Quilt Top in a Shoe Box, started out as Martha’s Block of the Month and will now become My State Blocks. Six blocks representing the six States I’ve lived in. This month I made Delaware. That’s the blue and gold block on the upper left on the design wall and just below. It was quite tricky to make, I used applique and paper piecing techniques. The Virginia Block, on the right on the design wall, was already finished.

The block in the center of the design wall is a challenge block. The yellow fabric was purchased on-line as a quilt back, but as often happens with on-line purchases, it did not go with the quilt…so our group turned it into an “ugly” fabric challenge.

I paired the “ugly” yellow fabric with some NYC cab cars, a little black, red, and checkered fabric and voila…a very attractive block.

Sadly, my Canada geese are still floating on the wall. I’ll make them be my art quilt to finish this month…time to get this one finished!

This art quilt did get finished and given away. I was not able to post the photo sooner, because it was a surprise! The quilt is titled, “Princess Squirrel” a short story written and presented by one of my good friends. She just recently moved into her own apartment for adults with developmental challenges, I’m very proud of her.

My small project this month is a kit with an embroidered bee. I generally find some hand work project to do while I sit and watch TV, especially football. I think I’ll finish it and make it the central focus point of a hexie quilt.

On the long arm, I quilted off this Bright Star Quilt for a friend. My quilt group makes these small quilts for children in the Bright Star program, a “Head Start” like program for pre schoolers.

And I just finally loaded up my black and white and red quilt…woohoo!

Until my next post…Happy Quilting!!

In The Studio

January 1, 2022

Thank goodness 2021 is finally over. I am hoping that this year, we can put all the sickness and death that the pandemic brought behind us.

Please if you have not already done so, go get vaccinated and get the booster shot. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, believe in it! Protect yourself and your family.

Because we were all vaccinated and boosted, our family was able to come together over Christmas. That in itself was the best Christmas gift this year.

I did get a set of six placemats finished for our daughter and her boyfriend…a housewarming gift for their new house.

Placemats, work in progress
Finished placemat

For the New Year, I have made lists of all the projects I have in shoe boxes and piles. There are too many to count!! (Actually I did count a little, and I have 35 projects kitted up in shoe boxes).

I divided my projects into sub categories, because I’m always working on more than one thing at a time. During the day, I’m either in the Quilt Studio working on the Long Arm or else up in the design room in the house finishing up a top. At night I generally work on a handwork project while watching TV.

And there are Art Quilts, small projects and Charity Quilts, too!

Here are my categories:

Quilt Top in a Shoe Box, these are kitted up with fabric and pattern and just need to be pieced by machine.

Handwork Projects, I generally work on just one at a time at night while I’m sort of watching TV.

Tops that Need to be Quilted, these are tops and backs ready to be loaded and quilted on the long arm. They live in a tub out in the studio. I generally choose one a month.

Ongoing Block of the Month Projects, these are fun to do and usually only take one or two days a month to move along.

Art Quilts, these are original projects, generally wall hangings. I need to find more time this year to work on these.

Small Projects, these are more crafty projects, like bags, and the placemats that I finished for a Christmas Gift.

Community Service projects, my guild works on a variety of quilts, some for a local hospice house, some for a pre-school program called Bright Stars and one a year for a local Vet. We also make pillowcases to be donated to a women’s shelter. I donate my time finishing lots of these on the long arm.

For 2022 I have devised a new way to keep track and finish of all these projects. I have decided to choose one from each category this month to start off the New Year. Then each time one is finished from a category, I will choose another one from that category. No time limit, but a way to be sure I eventually will get to all my UFOs.

Red tin with names of Quilt Tops in a Shoe Box…good words for this New Year 2022.
First 2022 Quilt Top in a Shoe Box

This tin has strips with the names of all the Quilt Tops in Shoe Boxes that are kitted up with pattern and fabrics. This is my largest category and I thought choosing one at random would help get me to work on some that I am less enthusiastic about finishing.

I picked out a slip for January. This months Quilt Top in a Shoe Box is an older one originally named Martha’s Block of the Month. It was a BOM challenge from my guild in Fairfax VA. Originally the challenge called for 20 blocks, each representative of a State. I’ve decided to reduce it to a smaller project with just six blocks representing the States I have lived in. It will be a more manageable lap quilt size.

One block, Virginia, was already finished, just five more to go. I love these fabrics and this project will be a wonderful memory quilt for us to enjoy.

Virginia Block
Fabrics for Martha’s BOM

If you have been following my blog, you know that last year I worked on red work bird blocks from a pattern called Flight of Fancy. I am proud to say all twelve blocks are finished. Being rather tired of seeing these birds…I will make up a slip for a Quilt Top in a Shoe Box and add that to the red tin.

All twelve red work bird blocks

My new Handwork project will be….well, I can’t post it, because it’s gonna be a surprise! But I do have one to work on, that will be sitting by my favorite chair all Winter.

My next Top that Needs to be Quilted on the long arm this month will be the Black and White and Red Quilt.

This year, I have two Ongoing Block of the Month challenges.

The first is a challenge with my quilting friend Wendy from Colorado. We both bought a book called Nearly Insane at the Houston Quilt Show, years ago.

I decided to make mine up in light colored batik fabrics. I had made it as far as block four. These are machine pieced blocks mostly pieced using the paper pieced foundation method but sometimes parts of the blocks need to be sewn together by hand.

I will post photos of the blocks here, as I get them finished.

Nearly Insane book and first four blocks

My second Block of the Month Challenge should be lots of fun, it’s a Temperature Quilt. I’ve decided to make two of these quilts, one will use data from my birth year 1955 and the other will use data from the year 2020. Both sets will be the daily average temperature as recorded at the airport in Wilmington, Delaware, my hometown. Each ten degrees of temperature is represented by a different color fabric. It will be fun to see if there is a noticeable difference in the recorded temperatures for the two years.

Data for years 1955 and 2020
Temperature Quilt designed on EQ8
First 4 of 12 fabrics pre-cut for Temperature Quilt

My Art Quilt this month is a fun project that I have been working on already. Our friend Ana Bradley who was born with Downs syndrome, wrote up an original Short Story for her ARC group. The story is titled “Princess Squirrel” and I took her story to re-create in fabric.

I will show the photo of it, after I’ve presented it to Ana. She has recently moved out of her parents house and stays part time in her own apartment with a roommate. A thrilling accomplishment on her road to independence.

And finally my small project for December was a set of wine glass coasters. These fabrics were already cut out, just needed to be sewn together. These coasters are fun to make, with just five squares of fabric, cut into circles, folded, layered, and stitched. Easy!!

Wine Glass Coasters in progress
Finished Coasters

And with that, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!


In The Studio

December 6, 2021

I can’t believe we are already into December! My Christmas cactus is blooming right on time.

November was a busy month for us. My husband, Tom, underwent surgery for Bladder Cancer. He is better now…needs to go back for regular check ups. It was the first real health scare that we, as a couple, have had to deal with.

So for Thanksgiving, we visited our kids in NJ and Tom’s 95 year old dad, being ever so Thankful for our health.

Now we are looking forward to the Christmas holiday and the New Year. We will again travel to NJ and see both the NJ kids and the CA kids, and Tom’s dad, of course. I plan to just enjoy the time we have together.

If you are in need of a last minute gift, Christmas quilts are hanging in the studio…and are now in the Store on the website.

Tin Soldier
12″W x 16″H
24″ W X 12.5″ H
16.5″ W X 51″ H
Christmas Stars Table Runner
25.5″ W x 76″ H

I am still working away on the Red work Birds. I am about half done the last block. I want to finish by New Year’s so that I can piece the quilt in January.

I’m also working furiously on some placements meant to be Christmas gifts.

Deciding on fabric for placemats

I’m hoping to post once again before Christmas, but just in case life gets in the way….

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. May your season be filled with family, food, and much joy!

In The Studio

November 5, 2021

I can not believe that we are already into November. Last month was a full one, we had a great harvest of apples and grapes, with wine making under way.

Part of our 2021 apple harvest
Cabernet Franc
Vidal Blanc

Sadly…we had a bear attack at the vineyard and lost all three of our beautiful sheep. We will reinforce our seven foot fence and add an electric fence line on top.

We have two years worth of shearings from our baby doll sheep…and I want to get it processed and make it into something with which to remember them.

We have made plans already to buy some new sheep and start over, with a different breed. This time we are getting some Shetland Sheep, they will also be low to the ground but lighter than the Ole English Southdown Baby Doll sheep.

Manny, Mo and Missy after they were sheared this year

I did squeeze in some quilting…this top is finished and will go under the long arm needle soon.

It’s made from many half square triangles in a split nine-patch pattern. The blocks were from a block exchange I participated in with a group of quilters from Fairfax Virginia.

I was able to move the Black and White and Red quilt top along.

I did not have enough of the fabric needed for the border, so I had to order some more. It has come in and this top should be done soon.

I am a month behind on my embroidered red work birds.

These Chickadees were the September block. And I am still working on the October block. It’s block #12 so when it’s finished I’ll get to work on making the quilt top.

We took a short vacation at the end of the month to visit our son and his girlfriend in California. As you can see, I take lots of photos that might inspire my next quilt.

We visited the aquarium at Monterrey Bay…

Tasted some Pinot Noir wine at Dutton Goldfield in the Russian River Valley.

Did some bird watching at Bedwell Bay Front Park in the shadow of the Facebook Offices.

Took a nice walk up to the Point Vicente lighthouse in Rancho Palo Verdes.

I even get block ideas from the tile floor at the mall!

Hoping that I will have more time to quilt in November!