Monday, April 14, 2014

I Dream in Pink

I Dream in Pink, Valerie Bothell, 2012

As I sat to write this post, I just became lost for words.  I have so many things to say about this project that I don't even know how to begin!  I'll begin by saying that this project began at the International Quilt Study Museum on one hot day in July.

Allie and I knew we were going to be taking a tour of the IQSM and we also knew that  this was where one of our all time favorite crazy quilts lived.  When we started the tour, we asked if there would be any chance that we would be able to see it.  By it, I am referring to My Crazy Dream, made by Mary M. Hernandred Ricard between the years of 1877-1912.  As you can see from the picture above, our dream came true and we were able to see this beauty in all it's glory!

Can you see the smiles on our faces?  Those smiles never left our faces for the next 45 minutes as we studied and admired this glorious crazy quilt.

Just in case you couldn't see how happy this quilt made us, I'll show you a closer shot.  Ok, I know I am being silly but it was such a great day for both of us!  The funny thing about it, I think everyone else in our group had more fun watching us because none of the rest of them were crazy quilters!  They eventually moved on to other quilts as we stood there in great awe.  I do have one secret to tell you about this's not done.  That's right, it's not done!  Isn't that just like a crazy quilter, to make a beautiful crazy quilt but not put the back on it!

So, you may ask, what does the first photo of your project, I Dream in Pink have to do with your visit to the International Quilt Museum?  Well, Allie and I decided to take a small 18'' x 20''section of My Crazy Dream and try piecing it ourselves.  So, I Dream in Pink is an exact piecing replica(not of the stitches or fabric) of a small section of Mary Ricard's masterpiece!  We had so much fun reproducing this section of her quilt, that it became a pattern in our book.  In fact, we sacrificed 8 pages of written text, to give you a full sized 18''x 20'' pull out pattern.  For two women who had a lot to say in their book, that was a sacrifice, one we happily made!

Many thanks to Marin Hanson, and the International Quilt Study Museum for helping Allie and I make our dream come true.

Talk to you soon,

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fond Memories

Fond Memories, Valerie Bothell 2012

When Allie and I were discussing what type of projects we would do for our book, we decided that one of the projects needed to be a down to earth workingman's quilt.  About the time that we were working on these quilts, we were gifted with some absolutely beautiful feed sack fabrics.  I instantly knew that I was going to use 1930's reproduction fabrics with my feed sack fabrics.

I also began to think about the fabrics that were given to me when my grandmother passed away.  You see, she was a fabric hoarder.  No wonder I love fabrics, I come by it honestly!

 This is one of the fabrics that was from my grandmothers stash.  I didn't even put a dent in it when I made this quilt, I have yards of it!  I am guessing that this fabric is from the 1950's...I love it!  After browsing through all of my grandmother's fabrics, I became very sentimental.  When I would go visit her in the summer, she gave me free reign to use her fabrics and sewing machine.  What fun as I made clothes for my favorite doll!  As I worked on my quilt, so many fond memories of my grandmother came to the surface, thus the name of my quilt!  She certainly wasn't perfect, but she was fun.  She smoked ALOT and being 100% Danish, she would cuss in the Danish language if she got mad at you!  Ha!  (Don't ask me how I know!)


 To make this quilt with the long skinny crazy quilted pieces, I had to get creative to keep the look still "crazy!  I really love doing this technique and have made several projects using it.  Pictured above is a small wall hanging I made for the Quilt Alliance as a fund raiser.  I liked it so well, that I made myself another one!

 At Christmas time I finished off a little UFO using this same technique and you can read about it here:

Then, in January, I decided to do the project pictured above.  In this project, I used two techniques that are in our new book, Quilting....Just a Little Bit Crazy.  The piecing of the long borders that I have already talked about, but also my method for piecing crazy quilt curves.  I just love how it turned out and is by far my favorite piece I have made using the techniques.

I taught these methods for the first time in February to the quilt guild here in my hometown.  As, you can see, they had a ball and I just love how their wall hangings were coming together!

 Now, I know that you are thinking....Val, these are not embellished so are they crazy quilts?  My answer is YES!  Webster's definition of a crazy quilt is: a covering for a bed that is made of many pieces of cloth in different sizes without a regular design. embellishments are mentioned!  Many of you that know me well will be surprised that I have made some crazy quilts without embellishment, because hands down, the embroidery is my favorite part of crazy quilting.  I can tell you that I love this technique so much that comes in at a close second!  Anyway, something for you to think about!

Talk to you later,

Saturday, March 8, 2014


 Last spring, I had the opportunity to film three segments for QNNtv, and I didn't pass the chance up!  Their studio's are located in Golden, Colorado which made it even more fun.  QNNtv is a great way to watch a ton of different types of quilting shows online for a very reasonable price.  Pictured above, I am with Jodie Davis, the host of the show.  Jodie is the BEST and she made it sooo easy!   No, I don't look like that in real life, they just have a great hair and makeup person.

I did three segments starting with piecing this cute little Easter Egg, a pattern I wrote a few years ago.  Then in segments two and three, I go over some crazy quilt stitches and show you some closeups of my black crazy quilt that I made several years ago.  You can get the Easter Egg pattern here, if you are interested!

Here I am a little later in the evening, just having a little fun in my room....before I wash the Barbie look off.....

My co-author, Allie Aller , also filmed three episodes for them and they are listed right next to  mine.

If you would like to see us on both on QNNtv, you can go here.

Talk to you later,

Thursday, February 27, 2014


 According to Webster's dictionary, serendipity is: luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.  The kind of luck that only comes from above.  That is how two crazy quilter's, one from Kansas and another from Washington state came to write a book together.  A very happy accident, that really was no accident in the whole scheme of things.

In November of 2011, these two crazy quilter's happened to sit together at a lecture given by Carole Samples.  Both were moved, almost to tears by this lecture.  At that moment we realized that as different as we both were, we had so much in common.  We both had a deep love for crazy quilting, historical quilts and a special place in our hearts for Carole Samples and her work.  I couldn't sleep that night thinking about Carole's lecture!

The very next morning we vowed to write a book together.  Our journey was filled with the joy of creating beautiful things together.  It is our hope that you will feel the joy radiate off the pages of our book.  Then maybe you can take a little bit of that joy to create your own beautiful things.

Oh, and it is due for release May 2014, so excited!

For Allie's take on our book announcement, you may visit her here:

Talk to you later,

Allie and Val

Thursday, February 13, 2014

{Crazy} Quilt Heart

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!  Of the top two things I love to make, a heart is one of them.  This is a class I will be teaching for Prairie Quilt Guild in my home town next week.  If you are interested in taking this class you can go here:

If you can't make it to the class, I have the heart portion of the project (not the borders!) written up as an online class.  For more info on the online class, you can go here:

Thank you for stopping by and I'll talk to you later,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Very {Vintage} Update

I haven't posted in a few weeks and so I thought I would give you an update on my vintage crazy quilt block that I am working on.  I changed a few things that I thought didn't look quite right.  I had a white lace butterfly in the upper right hand corner but it just stuck out like a sore thumb, so off it went!  I put a Christmas tree in it's place.

Here is a close up of the lower left hand corner.  The reindeer are still flying, but I have added some red poinsettias and some small Christmas trees to the mix.

Upper left hand corner close up...

Upper right hand corner close up...

Bottom right hand corner close up....

I am giving a lecture and a workshop in my hometown in the next week or so and that has keep me busy, so I don't have as much progress on this project as I would like, but I am getting there!  You may have noticed that I haven't appliqued the picture of my 4 boys on the center of this block yet.  I am waiting until I am a little closer to the finish line because I don't want to damage the print as I work.  I have another project that I made a few days ago that I will post in a few days so......

I'll to talk to you later and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Very {Vintage} Crazy Quilt Block

About 10 days before Christmas, I decided to start a new project.  It seemed a little crazy to start something new so close to Christmas but this project had been on my mind for about 2 weeks and I just couldn't let it go!  I knew what pattern I was going to use, so I started picking fabrics.  As you can see in the picture above, it looked like a mess but what a fun mess!

I decided to plan the project around my favorite picture of my 4 children at Christmas time.  This picture was taken about 7 years ago and I still have it in a frame in my bedroom.  The pattern I drew up was a difficult one, but I really wanted this to look as vintage as possible.  I felt that the extra time it would take to piece it would be totally worth it.  Pictured above is after a few days of piecing.

Here is more progress after a couple more days.  Remember it was Christmas time, so I worked it in around other Christmas stuff I was doing!

A few more days later with more progress, you can see my faithful sidekick right at my side as usual!

Finally about a week later, it was pieced!  Time consuming, but so worth it as I felt it had the vintage feel that I was going for.

What I usually do next is pick out all of my thread and silk ribbon that I am going to use.  The things I pick intially are not always what I end up using, but a girl always has to have options!

Then I pick out my laces and trims that I may use, with the same philosophy...options!

I usually put all of my stuff for a project in one box, so I can just grab it and go.

This old blanket binding looked interesting and was the right color so it may have a use, we'll see!

Then, on to my favorite part, stitching!

I just love that herringbone stitch I did around the fan shape in the upper left hand corner.  I used ribbon floss and I love the shine it gives to the stitich.

Here is a closer look at the top right hand corner.  That green piece of tatting is going to become a wreath.  Well I have more done than this, but I'll save that for another day!

Talk to you soon and thanks for stopping by,