2016 New Quilt Bloggers – Blog Hop

Welcome to week three of this year’s blog hop!

My name is Marla Varner, and I’d like to introduce you to:

penny lane quilts “modern with a hint of vintage”

Last summer, I decided to start a small business to sell hand made, quilted items and Penny Lane Quilts was born. (I live on Penny Lane, hence the name.) At this point, I sell at a few arts and crafts fairs, some local shops and I do some custom work, as well.

My tagline, “modern with a hint of vintage” refers to creating modern quilts and products on vintage machines. I’ve been quilting for over twenty years, so I guess I’m a little vintage, too!

I live in beautiful Sequim, Washington. The  Olympic mountains greet me each morning and the nearby waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca are all that separate us from Victoria, B.C.

view of the Olympic Mountains from my studio windows
the view of the Olympic Mountains from my studio windows

My quilting adventures began over 20 years ago when a friend suggested taking a class at our local quilt store. That shop has long disappeared, but my love of quilting has only grown. Over the years I learned a variety of skills as I created  traditional quilts. During this time, I also collected vintage Singer sewing machines including a few treadle and several hand crank machines.

handcrank Singer sewing machine
Singer 201 hand crank

But a few years ago, I began creating improvisational quilts and dyeing my own fabrics and my quilting took on a more contemporary look. I joined the Modern Quilt Guild in 2013 to connect with other quilters interested in taking a modern approach to their quilting.

Detail from All the Colors in the Box

At QuiltCon2015, I was so excited to be attending my first big quilt show and convention. I was doubly thrilled to have two of my quilts juried into that show and to see them displayed in the company of so many wonderful quilts. I was shocked, thrilled and a little overwhelmed to discover that my quilt, Coral Reef, had won an award.

detail of quilt Coral Reef by Marla Varner
Coral Reef and ribbon from QuiltCon 2015

I missed last year’s show, but I’m registered and excited to be attending QuiltCon East in Savannah next February!

Baby quilts are always fun to make and I try to keep a few on hand to sell or donate. The size is just right for machine quilting and I enjoy simple patchwork piecing. Here is one of my favorites.

Spring Frames
“Spring Frames” exhibited at QuiltCon2015

There are lots more photos of my projects in the galleries, including household items and personal accessories. Go to the menu and check them out!

card holders
business card holders

If you are interested in following along here, I’ll share my process, my current projects and maybe even some helpful tips.

Speaking of helpful tips, here are a couple in honor of the blog hop:

Blogging tip: For technical advice, do an internet search. It works ALMOST every time! When that fails, ask family and friends. The advice and feedback that I received from my hive mates and mentors was invaluable! I am so grateful to you all.

Many thanks to our son, who created the blog's new header!
Many thanks to my son, who created the blog’s new header!

Quilting tip: There are MANY ways to achieve your desired result. Do some research and then discover what works best for you. Maybe you will come up with an original way that works best of all!

A few fun facts:

  • I can play the accordion, although I don’t very often.
  • Flamingos seem to collect at my house.
  • Sometimes I live in a horse trailer.

A question for you:  I love hand work…quilting, applique, English paper piecing, etc. Do you love to slow stitch, too? If so, what’s your favorite type of hand stitching? If not, I’d love to hear your favorite technique.

PRIZES!!! The blog hop is supported by our wonderful sponsors, with lots of giveaways each week.

Visit our wonderful mentor and host, Yvonne, to enter!

Host: Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

button by Beth@Plaid & Paisley
button created by Beth@Plaid & Paisley

I hope you’ll visit the fellow bloggers from our hive this week, and show them some encouragement, too!

Blog Hop Week 3 – July 11th

Sharon @Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Amanda @This Mom Quilts
Laurel @Quilts By Laurel

Marla @Penny Lane Quilts

Here are the other bloggers in the Sewcial Network:

Blog Hop Week 1 – June 13th

Amanda @Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.
Paige @Quilted Blooms
Tish @Tish’s Adventures In Wonderland

Melva @Melva Loves Scraps

Blog Hop Week 2 – June 20th

Carole @Carole Lyles Shaw
Anne @Said With Love
Beth @Plaid and Paisley

Jennifer @RV Quilting

Blog Hop Week 4 – July 18th 

Jennifer @Dizzy Quilter

Seven @The Concerned Craft

Mary @Made By Marney

Amanda @Quiltologie

Many thanks to our mentors  who gave us so much valuable assistance and guidance!

Visit the other hosts to find the rest of the new bloggers and the chance to win some great prizes on their sites, too!

Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Stephanie @Late Night Quilter

Comments are welcome and appreciated!

55 thoughts on “2016 New Quilt Bloggers – Blog Hop”

  1. Marla, I’m so glad we met at QuiltCon and it’s good to get to know you a little better from this post. Coral Reef was absolutely stunning hanging in the show! Congratulations again! I have a hand applique project in the works (which I need to pull back out). I have recently started an English Paper Piecing project as well! Looking forward to meeting up again in Savannah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Going through photos today, I ran across one of you with your Michael Miller challenge quilt at Quiltcon 2015. I enjoyed meeting you, too, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with you in Savannah! Your machine quilting skills are exquisite, and I’ll be interested to see your hand stitching projects, as well.


  2. Congrats on a) having a quilt in QuiltCon and b) receiving an award!! That must have been thrilling! Wish I lived closer and could attend a QuiltCon… it would be so inspiring to see all those amazing quilts in person 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! QuiltCon was such a wonderful experience. I spent hours wandering the show floor, and there are so many terrific lectures, workshops, demonstrations and vendors. I hope you have the opportunity to attend some day!


  3. And I forgot to answer your question! I don’t like hand sewing…. it takes too much time (I have limited time to sew with full time work so like to get the most out of my time) however I love hand sewing my binding on…. that final part of the quilt, just before it is gifted, is my quiet time to think about the person who is about to receive it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I also recently discovered EPP, through the webinar you mention in an earlier post actually, and I am really enjoying it. I also like that it’s possible to create your own patterns and create your own templates recycling food boxes out of the recycling bin. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I can’t wait to see what you do with EPP, and I’m glad you’re finding a way to create your patterns in keeping with your low environmental impact approach to quilting!


  5. Oh, I loved your quilt at QuiltCon!! I love having that connection. I hope you have a great time in Savannah in 2017. The only “handwork” that I do right now is to occasionally sew down my binding by hand (I probably do machine binding 40% of the time right now). I really prefer to hand bind, but it’s not always the right choice for me in a quilt. I do love the meditative quality of time spent hand binding, though, so I’m sure if I delve off deeper into handwork I will find I like it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, so much! I love being able to connect people with the quilts they have created, too. There are many times that I think a machine binding would be best, but I can never get it to look the way I want. (Confession: I even hand bind potholders!)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the thought of making quilts on vintage machines, I keep looking out for one. Wow, a quilt in QuiltCon, so impressive, you must have been overjoyed. I enjoy hand sewing, I have done Baltimore in the past, and often hand buttonhole if I’m doing bonded appliqué. Of course I always stitch my binding by hand, it is just so relaxing, plus I can’t machine straight for toffee! I like hand embroidery too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keep looking for a vintage machine! They stitch so nicely, are easy to clean and service and they’re very durable. It was thrilling to have a quilt at QuiltCon and I felt very fortunate to have one included with all the wonderful quilts on display. I find handwork very relaxing and portable, and my experience with machine binding is the same as yours. Every time I get brave and give it a try I end up ripping out stitches and doing it over again by hand.


  7. Very colorful and lovely quilts and I currently use a Janome MC5500 which is vintage to me by the fact that it was in existence before I was born. Very nice to get to know you more. I do enjoy English paper piecing when I slow down enough to indulge in it. I enjoyed reading your post too, I am also on the blog hop today and slowly making my way through all the posts

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Vintage” is definitely a relative term! That’s one of the things I love about hand work. It forces you to slow down and it helps me stay focused. Thanks for stopping by today, and enjoy the hop. I’m just about to pour another cup of coffee and visit some more blogs, too, including yours. See you soon!


  8. I love hand stitching, binding the quilt is one of my favorite steps and I always hand stitch the back side of the binding. The quilting in Coral Reef looks so lovely, Congratulations on the success of that quilt. I agree about searching the Internet first when you come across a technical obstacle with your blog, more often than not someone has experienced the same thing and found a way to overcome it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hand stitching the binding is a favorite step in the process for me, too. Thanks for your comment on Coral Reef. It was so much fun to quilt, and is one of my favorite quilts, so far. When it comes to technical issues, my problem is sometimes I have trouble understanding the directions for the solution!


  9. Hi Marla, great post! I really like your business card holders…I’ll have to look into those more closely! I really love to do hand work and always have 3-4 projects going at a time – embroidery, hexies, or hand binding. I find it very relaxing and a good way to unwind at the end of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping and checking out the blog. The card holders make great gifts. Sometimes I tuck in some money or a gift card and then they can be used later, too. They have been a popular item at art and craft fairs. It sounds like we both enjoy relaxing with hand work.It gives me something to do while watching television, listening to an audio book or even visiting.


    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m enjoying getting to know folks better through the blog hop. I’ll be on the lookout for some of your hand applique. I enjoy it, too, although I haven’t done much applique lately. Maybe I need to remedy that!


  10. Marla, What a great post. How exciting about you quilt a con quilt!!! My son helped with my header too, LOL! He’s my “free” tech support. Love all your quilt things! Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Heide ( Miss Bee hiving group)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Heide! It’s great to get a little help from friends and family when you need it! I’m enjoying hopping about and visiting all the new introduction posts today.


    1. There’s a full view of it in the gallery on the page “large quilts”. Just go to the menu of pages at the top. This quilt started at a retreat where I made a whole stack of aqua and orange half square triangles and put them on the design wall. After it was pieced, the fun really began when I started quilting it!


  11. Loved your quilts and congratulations on the award! I rarely choose to do handwork because of limited time but I enjoy it when I do. It has a distinct meditative quality. I have only really hand appliqued in the past and it’s something I would love to improve as it opens up another element of design possibilities, with a different finish to machine applique.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love the new header! And your quilts. Great colors all around! I like English paper piecing, but haven’t done much lately…hmmm, maybe that would be a fun diversion today…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I like how the header turned out, too. The help was much appreciated! Color is so much fun to play around with, which is why I love to dye fabrics. EPP is usually my default for a grab and go project.


  13. I love your work, Marla! So pretty! I also love slow handwork and have started by exploring big stitch quilting with either pearl no8 or Aurifil 12wt. I really love the boldness of the stitches. What is your favourite stitch and thread weight?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I love to hand quilt. When I use perle cotton, I usually use no. 12. If I want a really bold stitch I use no. 8. I’m trying Aurifil 12 wt. for the first time on a large quilt. I also love to stitch tiny stitches and one thread that I am very fond of for traditional quilting is YLI quilting thread.


  14. Wonderful post Marla! Your work is so lovely and inspiring. I am working on some EPP hexies and will make a scrap vomit bag for Xmas. Its very meditative and goes quicker than I thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amanda, for your kind words! “Meditative” is how lots of people describe their hand work. In this day and age, that has to be a good thing! I’m looking forward to seeing your hexie project as it grows and thankful that I “met” you through the blog hop.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi, Marla –
    Every time I visit your blog the Beatles song gets stuck in my head.
    I love your quilts – I am learning to be more modern and this blog hop has been opening my eyes.
    I love hand piecing, but most of my quilts are done on the machine. My handwork takes too long. I need finishes every now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll picture you singing when you visit the site.(The street next to us is Strawberry Fields Lane, which could have been a good blog name, too.) It’s fun to see the ways quilters tweak a traditional quilt or block to make it a bit more “modern”. Handwork is not always practical for me, either. Sometimes I machine quilt and then just add a bit of hand quilting for a little accent.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Marla, I love your quilts. I’ll be in Sequim next week for a week and hope you can point me to some quilt/fabric shops in the area. Your blog post was great and be sure to tell your son that he did a marvelous job on your header.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Karen’s Quilt Shop is located in Sequim and Sleepy Valley Quilt Co. is in Port Angeles. The Sunbonnet Sue quilt guild is holding their annual quilt show this weekend to coincide with the Lavender Festival and they usually have quite a few vendors, too. I’ll pass the compliment along to my son about the header.


    1. Thanks for stopping by. Spring Frames was a fabric challenge quilt that I really enjoyed making, although improv piecing always takes me a long time to do. The hand part of attaching the binding is one of my favorite steps, too.


  17. First of all, it was great to get to know you a little better. How exciting to have quilt juried into Quilt Con…and even more exciting to receive a ribbon! Your quilts are beautiful and I agree baby sized quilts are great for quilting on a domestic machines. And I love the graphic your son created for your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. It’s hard to believe the blog hop is almost over! I’m very happy with the header, too. I may incorporate that graphic into my next business card order.


  18. Fantastic post, Marla! And congrats on the ribbon! I so wish I could attend QuiltCon East. I really picked the wrong time to move away from North Florida! Your quilts are lovely and I love your sweet little card holders. I’ve never really enjoyed hand sewing in the past, but it’s definitely something I’d like to acquire the patience for. Maybe one day. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments. For me, hand stitching doesn’t take any patience, it’s just putting one stitch in after another, and it can be done anywhere. Okay, it does take a long time to finish, but free motion quilting is what tries my patience! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Nice to get to know you a bit more! 🙂 I love hand stitching. I love to hand stitch the bindings on my quilts, EPP (I have a Grandmothers Flower Garden in the works, as well as a few finished table runners) and embroidery. I’m slowly working on “Over the River and Through the Woods” from Crabapple Hill Studio. Since I only really hand stitch when in the car, I don’t get as much accomplished in that area as I would like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting. I’m glad you enjoy hand stitching, too. There is some hand work that I can do in the car, but only if I don’t have to look down at it too closely and if the road is fairly straight. Thread basting epp shapes is my favorite stitching when I’m a passenger.


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