Tag Archives: quilting

and then it was Spring

You know how it is when you neglect something for so long that it is embarrassing to get started again?  Since my last post featured snow, this one will be a quick recap on some spring activities and hopefully get me motivated to continue blogging on a more regular schedule!

The end of February brought a trip to Savannah and a wonderful time connecting with friends at QuiltCon East.Bonnie and Hans in Savannah

If you missed out on the fabulous quilts on display, Kristin Shields has provided a series of posts highlighting many of the amazing quilts. Check out her excellent recaps by category and enjoy her beautiful quilts, as well.

Besides viewing quilts, I was inspired by the many lectures I attended. It was a privilege to hear long time friend, Anna Boenish @quiltingqueerly share her creative journey and personal insights into leading an intentional life.

It was my first trip to Savannah and I enjoyed the architecture and riverside attractions in this historic city.Bonnie and I downtown Savannah

ferry in Savannah

March brought a visit to the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum in LaConner, WA to view a collection of quilts by Gwen Marston. I really enjoyed spending the day with friends and the opportunity to view Gwen’s quilts in an intimate setting.

High Desert III, 2008, Gwen Marston

In April, quilting friend, Stan Green, had a solo exhibit at the Sequim Museum and Arts Center. It was a wonderful opportunity to see a retrospective of his beautiful work.

Stan Green with “Taboo”

Spring colors get my creativity flowing and I enjoy watching the plants awake from  winter.new leaves

If you follow @pennylanequilts over on Instagram, you can find photos of my quilting projects during the spring. Now that I have “broken the ice”over here in blog land, I’ll share details on some of those projects soon. Thanks for being patient with me. It is so hard to sit down at the computer when there are stitches to be sewn!

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confidence

My goals for 2017 include learning how to free motion quilt, specifically on our Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen machine.

A few years ago, a friend and I decided to purchase a used  sit down midarm. Neither of us had much experience with free motion quilting, but we figured we would just jump in and learn on the new machine. For a few months we practiced, watched videos and quilted a few projects and quilts.

However, life “happened”, and our priorities shifted. My friend moved away for a year and I focused my energies on my walking foot, straight line quilting. The poor machine sat neglected and unused for about a year and a half. After awhile, I felt a bit intimidated about getting started again. Would I remember how to use the machine? Could I effectively adjust the tension? Was I willing and interested enough to begin practicing again?

Then we came across a notice from Road to California announcing that David Taylor would be teaching a couple of classes using HQ Sweet Sixteens. One class focused on finding your own tempo and rhythm for free motion quilting, and the other emphasized using a variety of threads , adjusting tension and choosing needle sizes. Just what we were looking for to ease us back into the process.

Road to CA David Taylor class
waiting for class to begin in a classroom full of HQ Sweet Sixteens

David’s classes were entertaining and informative. A series of exercises helped us practice techniques, and the Handi Quilter reps were there to assist with the machines. That quick trip to Ontario gave us helpful hints, experience and confidence to come home and get started again.David Taylor demo

Practice exercise using glitter thread
Practice exercise using glitter thread

My goal is to spend at least a few minutes each day practicing and to start building muscle memory. It is one of the daily quilting tasks that I keep track of in The 2017 Quilter’s Planner to hold myself accountable. As an added bonus, each week the planner features a fmq motif to practice and Stephanie Palmer @latenightquilter is creating short videos to introduce the designs. I was super excited to see that she demonstrates using a HQ Sweet Sixteen!Daily chart for quilting

Each day brings a new opportunity for practice, my confidence is growing and I am actually starting to have some fun in the process!fmq practice

Stay tuned for progress reports. Now it’s time to go practice!

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!