Improv Log Cabin


I’m working on this log cabin quilt. In my previous post I mentioned that I thought this quilt needed a tiny orange square in the upper left corner. I could have fused a square on top, but instead I took it apart and sewed in an orange square. I looked at it and regretted that the square wasn’t higher up. So I sewed another orange rectangle above it.


Here is what it looks like now.  I regret that I deliberately made it wonky. I’m thinking of doing it over with a straighter rectangle. I might sleep on this decision and see how I feel in the morning.


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Looking at a WIP (Work in Progress)

Log cabin WIP

When does a WIP become a UFO (Unfinished Fabric Object)? I haven’t worked on this improv Log Cabin in many months. I was deleting photos on my phone and came across it. When I stopped working on it I was trying to decide if it was done or not. Today I looked at it and decided that it needs at least one more tiny orange square in the upper left! I think that will help the eyes to travel around the quilt better.

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The loss of Roberta Horton

I received  sad news this evening- the loss of a great quilt maker and one of the teachers who taught me how to quilt (after I taught myself- I started by making it up as I went along). She and her sister live/ed a few blocks from me. Pre-pandemic I used to run into them out taking walks in the neighborhood. I think I’ve only run into them once on my walk in the last year. Two years ago we were in the same BART car, on our way to the SFQG quilt show. We talked all the way from Berkeley to San Francisco. I learned most of what I know about Amish quilts from Roberta.
From President, EBHQ:
The sad news reached me today that our beloved Roberta Horton passed away Thursday afternoon, February 4th. I don’t have any more details at this time, but I want to reflect a moment on what a gift her life was to us.
It’s impossible to overstate her impact on our guild, on quilting nationwide and even worldwide. Roberta made her first quilt in 1972. She was an important bridge between the quilters of the Depression, who carried the craft with them for love through the post-war prosperity that suppressed the craft. Roberta caught the baton, and passed it to us. She was there, already teaching, when the Bicentennial revived interest in quilting. She taught the first state accredited adult education classes in quilting back in 1973! I know of a number of long-time Guild members who learned to quilt from Roberta. Roberta and her sister Mary Mashuta were EBHQ founding members.
Roberta stretched beyond tradition. There had been Story Quilts before of course, but her exploration of her European heritage through her quilts helped popularize the form. Her exploration of ethnic fabrics, and the design influences of artists worldwide helped make EBHQ in the early days, before the Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA), a welcoming home for the burgeoning Art Quilt movement. And she taught all of this, through Albany Adult Education and beyond. She wrote 5 books on quilting, donated some of her most important quilts to the then new San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and was honored nationally and internationally.
She was also an avid gardener, and two years ago at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire I had the honor of teaching a Woman Of A Certain Age, who had known Roberta for decades from the Garden Club, how to piece a nine-patch, as we shared stories of our beloved friend from different contexts.
Roberta was unfailingly gracious, welcoming and kind to me, a much younger MAN, encouraging my sometimes strange quilts!
Keep her memory close, and I challenge YOU to challenge yourself, as SHE did; learn, this year, a new technique, use some unfamiliar fabric, and always, always, teach whomsoever you may.
“And gladly wolde she lerne, and gladly teche.” -slightly altered from Chaucer, “Canterbury Tales”
I have asked the Web Support Team to create a Forum Thread on the Discussion Board where we can share our memories of Roberta.
May her sister, Mary Mashuta, Be Comforted In Her Loss, along with all of Roberta’s family. And May Her Memory Be For A Blessing. I’ll pass memorial details as I get them.
You can read and remember at
– Ryan Young –
EBHQ President, 2020-2021
Roberta Horton: Quiltmaking Teacher - Author - Designer
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Small Covid related quilt


I never posted about this small 12″ x 12″ quilt which has now traveled to Sacramento and back. Here’s what SAQA and the Blueline Gallery said about the show:

This Showcase will exhibit work inspired as a result of the pandemic. While quarantined or sheltering at home, artists have grappled (and continue to grapple) with social distancing, isolation, loss and grief. How do artists express their emotions during this period? Does a slower pace of life afford opportunities for more intense creative expression? Artists in Residence will explore this subject.

Here’s what I wrote about my quilt:

September 9, 2020 was the day that the sky turned orange-yellow due to smoke from forest fires. It was so dark that it felt like twilight all day. In this piece the houses aren’t side by side, but socially distanced, representing all of us sheltering in place. We are in our separate homes, but not alone since we are connected through the internet. Instead of the sun, which couldn’t be seen on September 9, I placed a flower that looks like a Corona Virus.



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Re-do for my (prize winning!) Lone Robin


I took apart the top row and redid it. I knew that every time I looked at it it would bother me. Below is the previous version. Deadlines are my friend! January 1st was the deadline for EBHQ.

Lone Robin SFQG


What’s somewhat ironic is that the version right above which bothers me, won first place at the SFQG among 25 other Lone Robin quilts. I won a $50 gift certificate to Bay Quilts! Everyone at the Zoom meeting got to vote for their favorite. On the first vote, three of us  got 9 votes each. Then there was a runoff vote and I won!! This is my first quilt to win a prize as EBHQ doesn’t give prizes at our show.


Below are all the rounds of the Lone Robin from the SFQG website, with the 6th one first, and going down to the first one.


Nov 2nd Element: Your final round is…wait for it!… YOUR CHOICE! (with one condition). Add anything you like – plain, fancy, wide or skinny, patterned or solid. You get it – anything you like to wrap up your quilt design to your satisfaction. Maybe there’s enough compositional drama already and all you need is a plain border to complete your quilt. Or perhaps it’s time to create a dazzling final element. I leave it to you. The one condition is that in this final border, you must use one of the colors that appears in your first curved/circles block.

Oct 5th Element: Your fifth element must include crosses or Xs. They can be regular or wonky! This could be the moment where you cut your entire piece into quarters and put a cross through the middle of it. Or maybe you’ll make some miniature “x” blocks and scatter them in the corners of your quilt. You could combine crosses with another motif of your choosing. It’s your choice, Lone Robins!

Sept 7th Element: Your fourth element must include squares. They can be neatly square, or loose quadrilaterals, big blocks or tiny checkerboards. The squares can be pieced, printed, appliquéd, embroidered – you decide! They can be evenly arranged or just feature in a few small areas. You could combine them with another motif of your choosing. Use your imagination!

Aug 10th Element:  Your third element must include strips or stripes. You could piece your stripes or use a stripy fabric. They can be straight or wavy, chunky or pencil-thin. The stripes can be evenly distributed or just appear in a few small areas. The possibilities are endless!  

July 2nd Element:  Your second element must include flying geese that connect to the 1st element in some way — you decide how. You can paper piece them, foundation piece them, stretch them out so they’re skinny and long or wide and flat. They can follow the shape of a circle or wind randomly. You can make a string of ten on each side, or just include two or three randomly. The variations are endless!

June 1st Element: Your first element must be something that involves curves or a circle. Go for a paper-pieced block, cut your curves free-hand, appliqué something circular, or even feature a face!  Your first block can be any size or shape. It’s up to you. Have fun, Lone Robins!


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Chanukah postcards

Chanukah postcards

Here are three fabric Chanukah postcards that I made for my offspring and my sister. One of them still hasn’t arrived. I delayed posting these, intending to wait till they had all arrived. Here’s a better photo of two of them:

Chanukah postcards 2

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Pillow number 2

Pillow 2

Here is the second pillow I made for my daughter in Vancouver. It’s very improvisational! I decided that I would make it from food themed fabric and turquoise. Here are some process photos:

Pillow 2.2
Pillow 2.1

Pillow 2.3


It was an interesting puzzle to piece it together!

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Back story on Lone Robin quilt

Lone Robin without top row

I have a tendency to procrastinate, and all this Covid quarantining is draining my creativity. However deadlines are a great motivator for me. There was a midnight deadline to send the photo of my Lone robin to the SFQG. By midnight that night this is what I’d accomplished. Although all 6 elements were there, I hadn’t finished the top row. I emailed the photo above to Julia and kept working till 2 AM when I finished the top row. That’s when I sent Julia the photo below.

Lone Robin SFQGEven though this won the prize at the SGQG meeting, I wasn’t happy with the top row. I decided that I want an orange diamond in the center of the top row, and different orange curves on either side. I have taken apart the top row and am redoing it before the EBHQ deadline of January 1. Since I am the one picking the 4 prize winners for EBHQ, I won’t put my name in the hat.

Posted in EBHQ, Improvisational piecing, Lone Robin, SFQG, Work In Progress | 1 Comment

Lone Robin, (sort of) finished!

Lone Robin SFQG

Here is my Lone Robin with the 5th and 6th elements. #5 was crosses or Xs and #6 was anything of my choice but must include a color from the first round. I submitted this quilt top to the San Francisco Quilt Guild meeting for the show and tell of all the Lone Robin quilt tops. There were 26 LR quilts shown at the meeting. Everyone on the Zoom meeting could vote for their favorite. There were 3 quilts which tied for first place, each receiving 9 votes, including mine! there was a runoff for these 3 quilts, and mine was voted the winner! I received a $50 gift certificate to Bay Quilts, which I will use for fabric. I’m actually really surprised that my quilt won. I am a newcomer in the SFQG, and I thought people would vote for their friends.

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Pillow number 1

pillow 1 Shira

This is an 18 inch pillow I recently finished for my daughter in Vancouver, BC. She has a red couch. I offered to make black and white pillows, but she wanted vibrantly colored pillows! These are some of the same food fabrics I used for the quilt for her bed.

Here’s a photo of her bed quilt.

Good Enough to Eat 2012 (twin bed size)

Good Enough to Eat 2012
(twin bed size)

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