Inspired Layers – Linda's Blog

Linda's quilting adventures

Get Away Fun 2016 September 13, 2016

Filed under: get aways,Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild,Uncategorized — inspiredlayerslinda @ 2:29 pm
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47 women travel 2-3 hours to the Franciscan Retreat House in Maine with their sewing machines in tow; along with bags and buckets of fabric and supplies. The gymnasium is transformed into a creative space with design boards 10 feet tall waiting to display the talent of these women.

I just returned from 4 days at the Franciscan Retreat House. Many people ask me why I attend retreats such as this, when I can sew almost every day in my studio. The answer is simple.

  1. Quilting is about community.
  2. Quilters sew many items for charity.
  3. By quilting with others your creative juices flow in new directions.
  4. Learning tips and techniques from others can be time saving and priceless.
  5. Walking along the beach and dining with friends is a nice change of pace.

Each quilter came with several projects to work on. I came with my list:

  1. Labyrinth Quilt
  2. 2 charity blocks
  3. baby quilt for Gifford Hospital in Randolph, VT
  4. My new Moose pattern
  5. Designing a quilt with 20 bowtie 4-patch blocks
  6. Embroider on a t-shirt
  7. Gather recipes to send to my daughter who is living in a townhouse this year at college and will be cooking for herself and her suite-mates.

Yes, my list is always longer than I have time to accomplish. I like to bring a variety of projects, because I need to be in the right mood to do some of my least favorite tasks.

I did sew the Labyrinth Quilt first. It was very mechanical.  The trick to success for this pattern is to choose 4 fabrics with distinct tones. The pattern suggested black, grey and white.  Since I do not use those colors often, I choose a Stonehenge red/purple/blue as my dark fabric.  Then I chose a medium purple, light pink and pale blue for the other fabrics. In the construction, I didn’t draw a single line on any fabric. I used the Sew Easy guide designed by Sara at

img_20160909_205503649_hdr When quilting this quilt, it was important to think about your pressing plan- even if you are sending the quilt out to a longarm quilter. Also, I wanted the quilt to extend over the pillows of a queen bed, so I didn’t follow the cutting instructions precisely. I made the top border much larger than the bottom and sides.


I did stop after the top was done.  Not the fun begins for me. I will think about how I want to quilt it and what color threads to use…..and what color backing to look for at the quilt shops I pass on the journey home.

Next was a couple of blocks for a scrappy charity quilt.  These blocks will be sewn together with others to make a twin size quilt for someone affected by fire. There are a lot of house/chimney fires in Vermont every winter. When people are displaced from their homes, they are given a quit to help comfort them.


My mother made several blocks and ran out of lattice fabric. She passed the blocks to me. I was able to make a baby quilt top to finish at home and give to the Gifford Hospital in Vermont. Every baby born there is given a quilt. The Delectable Mountain Quilt Guild has made over 200 quilts so far.


The week before the retreat I had a dream about a bright moose quilt made with mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics on a Micheal Miller Fairy Frost background.  I drew the moose. I went to Staples to have them enlarge my drawing. I fused Mistyfuse to the back of several fabrics and drew the outline of my large moose on the background fabric which I found at Hen House Fabrics in White River Junction, VT on my way to the retreat. It is not Micheal Miller’s Fairy Frost, but very similar.  It will work! And it was on sale! YIPPIE!


I also designed a quilt to use my mother’s bowtie blocks. I decided to wait until I got home to sew these blocks with my featherweight sewing machine. Many quilters came to the retreat with tiny featherweight sewing machines in Sew Ezi tables. I was inspired to get my featherweight out of it’s box and sew with it at home. I’ll let you know in my next blog post how that went.

I learned a lot at the retreat. There were no formal classes, but in just wondering around the gymnasium I saw lots of people working with wool.  Some use the whip stitch to fasten each piece to the background fabric.  Others use the buttonhole stitch. I also saw that some people sew wool onto wool backgrounds and others use drapery weight fabric. Other sew wool onto cotton flannel fabric. This is another reason I like to go to retreats. I learn to stretch the boundaries of every project.

There is a large store called, Camp Wool in Kennebunk, ME. I purchased a kit. I opened it at home, not wanting to start a new project with so many projects I brought with me. Now that I’m home, I read the directions and am writing my own directions of all the changes I am going to make along the way. I’ll blog on that project too in the near future…

I learned that fabric that is washed is easier to adhere to Mistyfuse than fabric that is not.

I also enjoyed eating lobster with friends. After all, I was in Maine! The meals were delicious. I promised myself I wouldn’t over eat, and I stuck to that promise. I must admit that I enjoyed an ice cream for lunch at 2pm on the first day.  It was too late to eat a full lunch, so I skipped the salad and stuck with dessert only.

I enjoyed walk along the ocean one morning with a friend. Inhaling the fresh sea air was invigorating. I felt happy, alive, and blessed.

I gathered some recipes to send to my daughter at school.

I enjoyed going to Mass at the chapel Sunday morning with another quilter. Praise God!

I look forward to going on retreat again next year. If you have the opportunity, go! Be open to inspiration from others.  You never know what talent you have to share with others. Being in community lifts me up and reminds me how important it is to disrupt my “normal” schedule and take time to celebrate time with my quilting friends.  I’ve often said that quilting is like breathing for me. It is a daily necessity.




It Takes a Village March 19, 2016

I belong to two villages….Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild and Bose Speakers Toastmasters.

Last weekend a quilt that I made won a blue ribbon.  How did that happen?  It all started with a field trip with the Holliston Senior Center to Quilted Crow Store in Bolton, MA.  I saw this quilt, “Oriental Baltimore” pattern by Leesa Chandler Designs. I was intrigued by the three dimensional flowers and leaves.  Thank you to Sue, owner of the Qulited Crow for introducing me to this pattern. I changed the color palette. I used batik fabrics for the flowers. After many hours of using Sulky thread instead of DMC floss and “request” batting adhered to the back of each block, I embroidered as much as I could.  Then the project stopped.  I was stumped.  I have large hands and there was no way I could turn the tiny petals right side out. I was stuck!

Several months pass.  Then in September, I was at a get away with some members of our guild.  Rita had made this quilt before and she came over to me and helped me on the 5 blocks where I was stuck.  It all seemed so simple now.

I finished the quilt in my own unique way.  I put it in the Thimble Pleasures Quilt Show.  I guess a lot of my fellow Thimble Pleasures Guild members appreciated the time and creativity that went into this quilt, for they voted and gave me a Blue Ribbon.  That would have never happened without Sue, my seniors, Rita, Leesa, and the guild members. Thanks you all so much!  I love this village.


Two weeks ago I received a Triple Crown Award at the Bose Speakers Toastmasters meeting. If it weren’t for my husband, encouraging me to join a club, my mentor, Peter, always evaluating with encouraging words, the opportunity that presented itself to me through Toastmasters, Lori, my new mentor, and all the clubs I visited and learned new, exciting tips and techniques for public speaking, I would not have earned this award.


Both of these villages gave me opportunities to be active.  If you are looking for a village to join.  Be active.  The more you give, the more you learn. I’ve also met very creative people in both of these villages.

I do give talks to women’s groups and quilting guilds.  Thank you Toastmasters for listening to so many quilt-related talks. The courage and confidence I have gained over that past few years is nothing short of amazing.  I wish the same for you.  Look for a village to highlight your talents. You will be amazed.



Christmas in July August 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredlayerslinda @ 9:12 pm

Yes, this year I finally got around to quilting a Christmas Table Runner for a customer.  Now to tackle a charity Chrisstmas quilt for the Holliston Senior Center.

Here’s the Table runner…


I started by stitching in the ditch with red thread on all the red points.  Then I stippled in the off white area.  Finally, I used my 1/2″ line tamer ruler and stitched straight lines in the red paisley fabric.WP_20150803_12_18_35_Pro WP_20150803_12_19_08_Pro

My customer needs to bind this project and enjoy it at Christmas time. She took the paper piecing class twice in order to finish this beautiful quilted runner.  Great job!

Next quilt, ready to go….


2 Babies join Juniper Road

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredlayerslinda @ 9:02 pm

The population of Juniper Road in Holliston just increased by 2! That is a good excuse to go to a quilt shop, buy 10 fat quarters and a few yards of fabric.  Here’s what I came up with…


Two Flannel receiving blankets.

Then I cut a 6 1/2″ squares and 4 1/2″ squares.  I quilted an elephant, monkey, baby carriage and lollipop on a few squares.  Then I sewed the squares together to make 2 big blocks and two little blocks.WP_20150728_16_51_58_Pro WP_20150728_16_54_09_Pro WP_20150728_16_58_18_Pro WP_20150728_16_58_24_Pro

Stuff with polyester fiber fill.WP_20150728_20_26_40_Pro 1 WP_20150729_10_40_01_Pro 1 WP_20150729_10_41_09_Pro 1                                                            With the rest of the fat quarters I made a quilt. I put the 6 1/2″ squares in the center, stripe fabric around and 4 1/2″ squares on the outside.  Fun to design a baby quilt!WP_20150729_19_56_05_Pro WP_20150730_14_39_53_Pro 1

Then I quilted it with fun designs in the center, straight lines in the border and feathers in the outer border. FUN!WP_20150730_14_39_53_Pro WP_20150731_08_52_20_Pro 1

Bound with the left overs and ready to wrap and deliver!


T-shirt memory quilt July 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredlayerslinda @ 4:36 pm

Every year I make about 6 t-shirt quilts.  They are each unique.  I love to puzzle the t-shirts and other memorabilia together to create a keepsake.  Last December I made one in memory of a young man who died.  It was a gift from two grieving parents to their other son.  The entire experience was a blessing to me.  I felt honored to be chosen by this couple to cut up and create a quilt.  I have not have the unfortunate experience of losing a child.  I don’t know how I would feel, first going through the t-shirts, ties, photos, memorabilia and selecting items to honor his memory.

I received many items.  I am so thankful to my husband for helping me to build a design wall in my studio. This really helps when designing a memory quilt.

I start by laying out the items on the floor.

WP_20141120_16_13_58_Pro Next step is to iron on an interfacing to the back of each item.

WP_20141120_13_57_45_ProI printed out some photos on to Printed Treasurers paper.

Next is to trim items and put them on my design wall.

WP_20141124_10_38_48_ProI found fabric with musical notes and trumpets and clarinets on it.  What a lucky find!

Here’s the final quilt…

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I have some pretty remarkable customers. Thanks for the opportunity to share this with so many!

Enjoy every moment!



Introductions January 13, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredlayerslinda @ 1:31 pm
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I attended a lecture at the Arsenal for the Arts last night.  The speaker was a nationally known quilter with works of unique art in very prestigious shows. I felt her pain as her laptop was not cooperating with the electronics in the facility.  One very kind, giving quilter in the audience loaned her computer to the speaker and the crisis was averted.  This type of kindness always surprises, but I don’t think it should.

When the Introducer got up in front of an audience of about 150 people, she said, “Our speaker tonight is _____________and she hates introductions.”  Then the speaker started her talk with justifying why she hates introductions.  She said that the audience really doesn’t need to know if she is married, has children or pets.

As a Toastmaster, I felt sad for the speaker.  I see an introduction as an important part of any speech.  It is the opportunity to connect with the audience.

As the night went on, I learned that this speaker loves words.  Her career, before retirement and quilting was as a journalist.  She spent many years with words.  He talk was fascinating in how she connected her love of words with her quilting.  She journals about the quilt she is about to make.  Then she makes a quilt.  Then she asks herself 4 questions and journals her answers.  She makes the next quilt in her series by reflecting on her answers and making a new choice.  I don’t want to give away her talk, so I’ll stop there.

If she could just read my blog, she may change her tune about introductions and use just the right words to entice people beyond the quilted eye candy slide that stayed up way too long.  She had to hit the refresh button several times.

I guess this was so intriguing to me because tomorrow I am giving a talk on the importance of a good introduction. I see an introduction as a way of getting the audience into the right mindset.  It can have a statement or two which add to the speakers authority on the subject matter.  Written properly, it can start the talk off with audience members at the edge of their seats and hanging on every word.

A good introduction shouldn’t steal thunder from your speech, but connect with the audience so you both can enjoy the ride.

Please think about writing a good introduction next time you invite a speaker to your function.



This Week (52) I… December 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredlayerslinda @ 7:41 pm
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…sewed three curtain toppers for the Holliston Senior Center Activities room. I hope they are installed before our first quilting class of 2015.

I attended a Christmas Eve party at my brother-in-law’s home.  It was so nice to see Rob’s Dad and his wife looking so healthy! Our nieces and nephews were there along with Bethany!  We sang songs, enjoyed a delicious meal and had a wonderful evening.

Christmas Day we started with Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Holliston.  It was beautiful!  Happy Birthday, Jesus!  It’s so nice that so many people celebrate His birth and love.  Then I cooked a crown roast and all the fixings too!  We had friends over for dinner.  In the afternoon, my sister and her husband and daughter stopped by.  It was a very nice, social day.

I started cleaning up my sewing room.  First I resorted fabric that was pulled out for various projects.  Then I made a new ironing surface.

I peeled off the old cover.  Cut batting to pad the top.  Covered the batting with Bo-Nash Giant Ironslide Ironing Board cover.  I love this product.  I just cut it to fit and use the extra for portable ironing surfaces.  This is so great because it reflects the heat of the iron.  It takes less time to make great bonds if you use Bo-Nash bonding agent or Mistyfuse, which I use a quite a bit!

WP_20141228_15_26_58_Pro WP_20141228_15_27_06_ProA new ironing board! WP_20141228_15_30_28_ProWP_20141228_16_24_40_Pro