April 9th – Learning is Fun!

Learning is fun, even as I get older and older…

On March 25th I took a class on how to make  butter, ricotta cheese, and yogurt. It was tasty and informative.  I learned a lot about using raw milk, local coops and farms that sell raw milk and more!


Then I learned what would happen if you trimmed the Shazam block incorrectly. Sometimes it created a new pattern, but this time it took the drama out of the Shazam pattern. I am working on refining the directions to my pattern, Shazam.  Here’s my first two quilts done without a pattern…



Here’s my table runners I made while writing the pattern…


Now to finish quilting them with interest and variety.  I’ll show them to you in the next update.

I learned how a sugar house operates. I even filled some bottles with syrup made from sap from trees on our Vermont property. If you would like to buy some real maple syrup, you can click here.

syrup bottles for sale

I learned to color eggs with magic markers and the Egg-mazing  device.

easter eggs 2018

I worked on my Spring Fling blog hop…Use it up, throw it out, or make it do challenge.  I hope you will follow along with Island Batik Ambassadors Alumni and all their creative ideas from April 16-22nd. Here’s where it will begin…

Monday, April 16, 2018

Lemon Tree Snippets


Here’s the Northern Woods strips I used up.


My postcards came for my upcoming Art Show at the Bridgewater Mill in Bridgewater, VT July 15th -August 30th.


I made a basket for an Epilepsy Foundation Auction. Here’s a link where you can support this effort.click here


I made a few more bowls.

I took my first dance lesson in 23 years! It was tons of fun!  I cannot wait until the next one. WE learned the two step, waltz and box step all with twists and turns. Yes, I did have to follow the lesson with ibuprofen. I’m not as young and limber as I once was.

Here’s the update on my “Almost Midnight at the Oasis” quilt:

Unfortunately, my time in Vermont for the rest of April is very limited. I may not finish this one until May, but it’s coming along…

Happy Quilting,



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March 26th -Quilting through March

March continues to be exciting with 4 Nor’easter storms in one month! I finished the second and third blocks for my wool project.


I gave my “Stranded on Island Batik” talk to a full house at New England Fabrics on March 17th. It was loads of fun. If you know of a quilt shop willing to host me for this talk, please call me to schedule a date or pass my number along to the quilt shop owner. It is fun to share my quilts and strategies for facing challenges.  Let’s face it, we all face quilting challenges…One of my most frequent challenges is whether to fix supper or continue sewing until dear hubby’s tummy growls. (haha)

I visited the Maple Leaf Quilters in Rutland, Vermont on March 20th. I shared my “Confessions of a Catholic Quilter” talk. Lent is a time to grow closer to God. Some people attend daily Mass more often, read Scripture more, give to the poor in a new effort, perhaps weekly donations to the food shelf. Still other quilt for charity. A good confession before Easter is mandatory for every Catholic in good standing.  Thank you Maple Leaf quilters for hearing some of my confessions.  Since there was no priest there in attendance, I guess I have a few more days to confess to a real priest. I hope your Lent was fruitful. Now back to quilting…that’s when I feel closest to God.

The Maple Leaf Quilters Quilt Show is coming up on April 7th and 8th at St. Joseph’s College.  The play, “The Quilter” is also playing on the 7th on the same campus. I hope to attend both!

On March 21st I attended a SAQA pod meeting. Betty Warner gave a talk about Elements of Design. It was inspiring!  The show and tell after the lecture was amazing! We meet quarterly. I hope you will join us next time, June 6th for a supportive and inspiring time.

I attended my friends, Eric and Sonja’s wedding on March 24th! It was in Barnard, VT. This is my new hometown.  Eric and Sonja were the first friends we made.  They helped us when our water line froze due to the below zero temps. They shared annual events such as the potato picking day and Suicide Six flame parade. We have so much fun with them. Now they are Mr. and Mrs.


My hubby and I took a class at a local farm to learn to make yogurt, ricotta cheese and butter. We use raw milk and learned quite a bit.


I’ve designed a Block of the Month for the Heart of the Land Quilters. I used EQ8 to design the quilt. Thanks to Kari, onpointquilter.com I finally have a working understanding of how to use the software.

I pulled my fabric from my stash. I will be making two quilts. Here’s the beginning of this project.


I also made time to go on the Vermont Shop Hop one day.  I purchased all the fabrics I needed to start 3 new quilts. I got the tops done this past week, but I cannot show them until after the baby showers….

I decided to design one more Island Batik quilt with some alumni ambassadors.  It will be part of a Spring Fling Blog hop. I will let you know how to see all the new projects in my next newsletter and blog. Stay tuned and keep quilting!

Linda Ramrath

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March 12 – Quilting update


This is such a fun month! On March 1st I delivered a talk as Defense Attorney for Jack, from Jack and the Beanstock. The Prosecutor did a great job accusing Jack of murder and theft. I, however won the jury and got Jack freed with a not guilty verdict. Toastmasters has taught me to use humor in speaking to a crowd.  I cannot tell you how much I have learned and enjoyed learning at Toastmasters.  The ciriculum is changing and I’m excited to learn more with the new materials. Toastmasters is integrating new technology with the talks.  You can learn to run webinars, be more effective in writing newsletters and much more.  Look to join a Toastmasters group in your area. Simply go to http://www.Toastmasters.org.

In the past two weeks, I’ve spent 9 days including 2 nor-easter storms in Keene, NH.  That means I could work on my computer (planning the BOM 2018 for Heart of the Land Quilters) and work on handwork. Last summer I bought a wool project pattern in Utah. I’ve since collected lots of wool and started to design my quilt on white wool instead of black.  I always seem to change colors from what I see on a pattern.  Remember the “Midnight at the Oasis” pattern? I changed many parts of that pattern. I have not had time in Vermont to quilt the quilt yet.  Hopefully, my next blog will show a photo of progress on that quilt. Here’s the progress on my new wool quilt…block #1


What I have accomplished is my “Who’s hunting Who?” quilt.  I used my collage pattern, “Cool Bull Moose II”. I decided to make the antlers solid colors and not collaged. I also decided to echo the branches in the background fabric and stitch some boot prints in the snow.  Do you see the moose, with a smile on his face, tracking a hunter?  He’s following the boot prints.  He has a pocket full of ammunition and a gun over his shoulder.  His name is Hunter. I used my Bernina embroidery unit to stitch the name.


Do you have a Bernina embroidery unit? I use mine only once or twice per year. Why is that? I always hurt my back trying to put it on. If I figure this out, I will make a video and share the secret with you. The shortest time it has taken me to connect the unit is 20 minutes.  I’ve always knocked the thread holder off and had to find the bobbins which were piled up on one of the spool pins. There has got to be a better way!

I did video my Doodle of the month for March.  It is a continuation of my mendalla type doodle.  Here’s what it looks like after February doodle and March doodle complete. I hope you will post you results on my facebook page, Inspired Layers.


I’m giving my new talk, “Stranded on Island Batik” at the New England Fabrics store on March 17th. It’s a free talk. You do need to sign up for a seat, however. There will be a fabric give away and a list of challenge ideas for each attendee. I hope to see you there!

Looking forward to more fun quilting this month!


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February 26th – Quilting Update 2018 Lots of Secret Sewing!

Tuffet finished with covered button installed!IMG_20180226_173808

Almost Midnight at the Oasis – purchase backing, washed and pinned all three layers together. I can’t show you what it looks like….It’s a secret!

Made a t-shirt quilt for a customer. Twin size. No photo yet.  I don’t want to spoil the gift.

Used EQ8 to design 3 quilts. I took an online class with onpointquilter.com, Kari Schell. It was very comprehensive.  If I don’t use it to do my own quilts, I’ll forget how to use this software, so this year, I am drafting patterns using EQ8.

That being said, I’ve also decided to stretch myself with SAQA this year.  I am designing some new quilts for challenges that they present in hopes to get one entered in one of their shows.  Thats my BIG news for 2018. I feel that I’ve turned a corner from quilter/pattern designer to artist. I will not be drafting patterns for SAQA entries. I feel that a more organic design will grow and develop.

Finished a bustle and alterations to two bridesmaid dresses for a friend. I have photos but the wedding is in March so I shouldn’t share  before the wedding….sorry!

Doodle of the Month center is back in my machine to complete.  It is blue thread, King Tut #403 Lapis Lazuli on Kona white fabric with both request cotton and wool battings and a good quality cotton fabric for the backing.  My bobbin is magna-glide No. 40 Trilobal Polyester in 10CG3 cool grey3. The needle is a size 16 for my Handiquilter.


Well that is the status of my quilting projects.

I have my “Who’s Hunting Who?” quilt in the machine today. I’ll blog about that design next time. PROMISE!

Looking forward to March and giving my new talk, “Stranded on Island Batik” at New England Fabrics in Keene, NH on March 17th at 10:30a.m. I hope you can come. I’ll be giving some Island Batik fabric away and sharing lots of challenge ideas.

Happy quilting for two weeks!

Linda Ramrath


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Progress on Quilt #1 – 2018 Part 2

The pattern is called, Midnight at the Oasis by Jen Kingwell.  It measures 60″ square.  It looks like a round robin. I always read a pattern cover to cover before I start. I made decisions after the first read.

  1. I will not use a medium size dot fabric for a background. I need something that reads as a solid for the eye to rest.  I chose the grey that looks like brush strokes.
  2. I decided to hand applique the center onto a 15 1/2″ square rather than use the templates provided.  This would help me to keep it square.
  3. I decided to hand applique the petals in the first round.
  4. I decided to turn the baskets inward and hand applique the vines and flowers.
  5. I decided to use background fabrics from the first round with the Kaffe Fassett scraps to make the churn dash blocks. Again I think it is easier to see the churn dash blocks with the more “solid” ish fabrics in the backgrounds.
  6. Once again the checkerboard seemed too busy for me.  I want my free motion quilting to shine, so I decided to simplify the checkerboard round to alternating blocks in the center strip and two solid background strips, one on either side.
  7. To brighten each round, I chose a red-purple to separate each round.
  8. On the last round, I used the brush stroked background with the colorful fabrics to make courthouse steps blocks.

As I started cutting units to sew at the get away, I decided to change the cutting measurements to use my Sew Easy Guide to make half square triangles and then trim them to size.

I do appreciate all the effort that went into making this pattern. It is another reminder to me to use the skills in my quilting technique box and not to follow a pattern blindly. I will clearly give the credit for the design to Jen Kingwell.  I just hope she doesn’t mind that I modified it a bit.  It will be my quilt, and not one to be displayed with her pattern pinned to it.

How many of you follow all of my instructions? Please feel free to use rulers or techniques that you’ve learned and liked, if you see that it may work out more accurately or just more simply.

Personally, I love to see how my students modify my patterns.  We all have individual perspectives. If you feel driven to change something, do it!

I put my blocks and strips up on my design wall and stitched them together.  The top is done!


I also finished a mini tuffet 8″ round.


And a Squffet too!


Well, almost finished. I ordered a 2″ button to cover with fabric and secure in the center.

Next were two small wall quilts,(12 1/2″ x 22″) for my mom.  She quilted the first one and sent me a picture of something similar to the second one.  I stitched them up and finished the bindings and rod pockets during the rain yesterday and mailed them to her today.

Yes, 2018 does look like a year I’m making some progress.

See you in two weeks for more progress!

Quilting is my therapy!




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2018 Quilt #1 progress 2 weeks later

As promised I have an update on my first quilt of 2018. Two weeks ago I mentioned that I was thinking about changing a few aspects of the pattern. It’s my quilt, so I give myself permission to do so.

The pattern is “Midnight at the Oasis” by Jen Kingwell.

My quilt will be “Almost Midnight at the Oasis”. I think it is fitting because I’ve decided to change a few things.

Here’s photo of my design wall with lots of units sewn together.


The next two weeks will  entail finishing the hand sewing in round #2. I did position the baskets facing in instead of out.

I did sew all the churn dash blocks and sew all the courthouse steps blocks together.  I cut the separating purple strips too.

I did decide to change the checkerboard to a floating row of colorful blocks alternating with the background fabric. I will sew these on row by row instead of sewing the three strips together and then attaching that row.

I think the quilt will go together quickly after the applique section is complete.

Then the decision of how to quilt it.

My latest Doodle of the month project showed 4 different thread colors (pink, purple, blue and dark green) on a table runner. I liked the dark green best.  I like my quilting to show, not hide.

I’m thinking about lime green and a bright purple for this one.  It’s a busy quilt, so it’s important to quilt it and give the eye places to rest.

Well, wish me luck! I’ll share my progress in two weeks.



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Progess on 2018 – Quilt #1

I’ve just returned from get away at Lake Morey in Fairlee, Vermont. On Friday, I drove through pouring rain, got my wagon out and started to load it up.  It was an icy mess, but a guild member ventured out in the rain to help me slip my wagon to safety in the huge quilting room.  Thanks, Sandy! I brought an empty plastic CD case to hold the little blocks I was about to make. I did spend a few hours cutting pieces before I left for the retreat, so I could make as much progress as possible during the weekend.

There are so many things that I love about this retreat.

  1. The people!  There are lots of quilters from Heart of the Land quilters guild. There are lots on non guild members who are friends of guild members there too. I dare say that everyone is nice and gets along famously!
  2. The food is fresh, delicious, and filling.  I even indulged in desserts that I never make myself. YUM! I didn’t prepare any food or clean any dishes.
  3. The space is well lit and each quilter is given a very long table, maybe 8-10′ long.
  4. There is so much creativity in the air.  I love walking around to see all the different projects.  This retreat had a mystery quilt going on, demo on how to make a little free motion quilted baskets, a stamping up quilty card to make, and charity quilting too!
  5. The dates for next year were announced and I’ve already blocked off my calendar for 2019.
  6. There is a quilt shop, Barnyard Quilting within a mile of the retreat.  Yes, I stopped in on my way home and bought another yard of fabric which I may use to separate each round of blocks. Decisions, Decisions!


Here’s my progress of 2018 Quilt #1…


I got 14 of the 20 applique blocks done.

35 of the 52 Churn Dash blocks done.

44 of the Courthouse steps blocks done.

The pattern is called, “Midnight at the Oasis”.  I saw this quilt done at he Connections Quilt Show in November of 2017. I was inspired and bought the pattern at the show. I’m using my basket of Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make this quilt.  I purchased an grey background fabric and some of the printed background fabrics in the blocks.

I believe my quilt will look very different from the photo on the cover of the pattern. That is just what I do. I like patterns, but often picture my own fabrics in the quilt. Do you look at patterns that way? I hope you do, even if it’s my pattern.  I guess I like to teach techniques and see that they work with whatever fabric you like to work with.

I can imagine this quilt in reproduction fabrics. I gave my reproduction fabrics away to someone who is having fun using them.  The fabrics didn’t resonate with me, so I found someone who they do resonate with.

One more thing I like about retreats is that I always come home and feel inspired. It takes about an hour to applique each little block.  I only have 6 left to make.  Today I will tackle at least two.

I’ll post again in two weeks with my progress.

Happy quilting!

Linda Ramrath

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