Books, Music, Podcasts, Studio

Quilter True Confessions


Sloppily sewn down binding.

There, I have confessed.


In my early days of quilting, I was rather impatient with the last stage of completing a quilt – “sewing down binding”. In my mind I was quickly sewing down the binding to the back of the quilt. In reality I was sloppily sewing down the binding to the back of the quilt.

Recently I went to wash an old (my early days of quilting) quilt, and discovered the binding was loose and missing in some areas.

I took a good and honest look at the stitches in the back of this old quilt, and I was APPALLED. Yes that is appalled in all caps because that is how I felt.

As you can see in the image below – on the left side of the rectangle is where the thread left the binding; and on the right side is an example of my sloppy stitching. (Yes, it looks like I was under “some chemical influences” with one eye closed, while I was sewing).


I am going to remove the old binding and redo the entire binding. This time I will carefully sew it down.

I did not realize I had an issue with being sloppy with sewing down binding until a couple of years ago when a friend asked me to help her sew down binding on her quilt. We were at a quilt retreat and in the process of taking a break from sewing and doing the local “quilt shop hop” near the retreat center.

I was sitting in the backseat with a couple other quilters (two were up front and one of the them was driving of course, as we have yet to afford the special QUILTER AUTOMATED VEHICLE that drives you around on its own to quilt shops while you visit with your friends and sew). My friend had a lovely quilt for her son that she was trying to finish and brought along to work on in the car, as it only needed its binding sewn down. So she gave me one end of the quilt to work on while she worked on the other.

She tried to be polite, but she had to remove and redo all the stitches I had done. This is when I realized (as the truth was now starring me in the face): that I need to take sewing down binding more seriously. Binding a quilt deserve the same level of care and patience that goes into piecing a quilt.

I committed to becoming a better “quilt binder” and my quilts over the last couple of years and had high quality binding stitching.

Interesting: once you get into the habit of doing something correct, sometimes you forget what you used to do in the past. I was in shock when I saw what I had done on the old quilt!


Originally when writing this post I was going to title it: “Quilter’s Hall of Shame: Binding”. However ever since listening to the audiobook of Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly (2015) I have no time for the concept or feelings of “shame”. I figure life is a learning and growing experience (for a summary of key insights I gained from reading this book, see my post Life is Nonfiction Part II) and I am not going to fill it with any feelings of shame.

Books, Music, Podcasts, Studio, What's on the Design Wall

What’s on the Design Wall: “Ohio Star” (a taste of “Big Magic”)

This post is really the “Part II” of the previous post: “Creative Inspiration: Where I Started…” in which I discuss my inspiration to create series of small recycled clothing quilts based on the first quilt book I owned: Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! (McClun & Nownes, 1998).

The “Big Magic” of Creativity

I am currently listening to a wonderful audiobook by Elizabeth Gilbert, read by the author – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015). In the inspirational book Gilbert proposes that Ideas are entities unto themselves that move among us searching for a home/host to bring them fully into existence.

If an idea visits you and you do not grab onto it, it will move to someone else. She also discusses the concept “multiple discovery” (simultaneous inventions by different individuals not aware of what the other is working on). She proposes that when an Idea is ready to “be born”, it will visit numerous people to find someone who is going to bring it into existence. This is all part of the “Big Magic” and mystery of creativity and the creative process.

The Ohio Star Idea (magical “multiple discoveries”?)

In the previous post, “Creative Inspiration: Where I Started…“, I share my  recent experience of being in a thrift store with friends and having the idea to do some traditional pattern small quilts using recycled clothing for The Wardrobe Meets the Wall collection.

The traditional quilt pattern “Ohio Star” popped into my head. I mentioned to my creative partner on The Wardrobe Meets the Wall my idea of making some recycled clothing/garment manufacturing samples quilts based on the Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! book. I did not mention that the traditional pattern, “Ohio Star” had popped into my head.

At first she hesitated on the concept and then remarked: “An Ohio Star done with the recycled silks would be interesting”.

The Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! book does not contain the Ohio Star pattern. It was like we both just came up with the same idea at the same time!  I was completely overwhelmed that she randomly mentioned “Ohio Star” when I was thinking it at the same time. There are so many traditional quilt block patterns – why did “Ohio Star” pop into both of our minds.

The Ohio Star Silk Experiment

Of course, I had to try and make a small recycled clothing quilt with the Ohio Star quilt block pattern! I found an image of an “Ohio Star” on the web and reverse engineered it.

My challenge: The quilts I have made so far from recycled clothing materials, such as silk garment manufacturing samples, have been using free form, intuitive piecing techniques. In order to create a traditional Ohio Star block, I had to use more accurate piecing techniques.

Using a special interfacing, I backed on the thinner silk pieces to stabilize them for cutting into specific small shapes (such as triangles). Silk is not as forgiving as cotton when piecing a block and it was a new experience to try and make a traditional block with silks!

On the design wall photo below, you will see I have completed the basic Ohio Star block. I am working on an inner border and outer border for this piece. I will post the completed small quilt top in the future.

Ohio Star, recycled silks (in progress)
Ohio Star, recycled silks (in progress on the Design Wall)

I consider this experiment a warm up for the project to make a series of small quilts from recycled clothing inspired by traditional quilt patterns from Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!



An update to my post Progress and Fear about the 5 quilts awaiting completion:

Finally, I finished binding all 5 quilts back from the long-arm quilter! I  have listed 4 of them for sale on the tierneycreates Etsy shop.

I still need to master photographing quilts as they are much prettier in person than my photos seem to reveal.

The 5th one, the “Ugly Sunflower Fabric Quilt” I wavered on and was going to keep, then was going to sell on Etsy, and now I am completely undecided.

I might just hold onto it until the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show entry time next year to decide.

Perhaps I will put the sunflower quilt in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show as I am guessing bed size quilts are easier to sell at the show than lap size quilts (of the 5 quilts I had in the 2015 Sisters Outdoor Show, only the bed size quilt sold).

The plan is for next year’s Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, I put in 5 quilts again and Terry “The Quilting Husband” put in 5 of his quilts!

Books, Music, Podcasts, Studio

Progress and Fear

Interesting combinations of words, huh? One sounds positive (Progress) and the other sounds, well…fearful (Fear)!

Actually the title is about two positive things!


Making progress on the five (5) quilts that are back from the long-arm quilter and need bindings to be completed (refer to the posts “Some Progress Made” and “The Quilting Husband Saga Continues” for more info). Terry the Quilting Husband assembled the bindings and I have sewn them onto all 5 quilts. Now they are waiting in a nice pile to taken turns sitting on my lap and have their binding sewn down. Then they will be complete!

"Please complete us" (Pile-o-Quilts waiting for their bindings to be sewn down)
“Please complete us” (Pile-o-Quilts waiting for their bindings to be sewn down)


My previous post was on Creative Inspiration: Words. Currently listening to Susan Jeffers’ fantastic audiobook Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and feeling very inspired. I wanted to share her 5 Truths About Fear she has published on her website (

  1. Fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow (this is a good thing)!
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it!
  3. The only way to feel better about yourself it to go out and do it!
  4. Not only are you afraid when facing the unknown, so is everyone else!
  5. Pushing through the fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness!

I am really enjoying this audiobook. Of course now you all expect that I will quickly complete the bindings on the stack-o-quilts as I should feel pretty fearless about them now…

Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: What Others Are Working On!

Please check out Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips page for her latest adventures, and check out The Wardrobe Meets the Wall’s post In Progress (Vessel) for photos on my current art quilt project for our collaborative collection. 

Creative Inspiration: What Others Are Working On, continues the series exploring Creative Inspiration that began in the post Creative Inspiration: Family. Other posts in this series include Creative Inspiration: Nature and Creative Inspiration: Fabric.

Winter's Houses (2015). Based on Sandy Bonsib's "House Block", 1998. Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.
Winter’s Houses (2015). Based on Sandy Bonsib’s “House Block”, 1998. Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.

If you are a quilter, this may feel familiar: you are at a quilt retreat, or at a quilt class, or you go over to a quilting friend’s house and you see what someone else in working on – and you are suddenly inspired to make something like their piece! 

You have just received creative inspiration from someone else’s piece in progress.

This has happened to me several times. A couple months ago I went over to a friend’s house for a “Sew Day” to each work on our separate projects while hanging out together. I saw what she was working on – these adorable house blocks based on Sandy Bonsib’s 1998 “House Block” (which is easy and fun to assemble, free pattern available online).

I attempt to shy away from traditional quilt blocks but what grabbed my attention (and inspired me to make one too) was the very creative color palette my friend had selected: Orange, Gray and Black.

As you see from the photo – I was inspired to experiment with this color palette and create the same quilt myself. I named the piece Winter’s Houses and used a Moda fabric that reminded me of snow at night as the border. Sometimes someone else is working on exactly what you know you should be working on!