Finishing a Watercolor Painting in the Mountains

Colorful watercolor of Mountain rocks garden

Unfinished Watercolor

Every watercolor I work on is an exercise in capturing the flickering light that is experienced in nature. I try to combine that light with colorful elements that flash before me while I move through an area. I love spending time in the mountains in the summer because I can get outside and hike around to experience these elements easily.

Colorful mountain garden landscape watercolor

Fantasy Mountain Garden

Here are some photo notes I took yesterday on a walk.

Monkey Wrench sewed and pressed

Monkey Wrench 2019-Designing as I go

Machine pieced Monkey Wrench Pattern using triangles and squares to form the 10″ Squares started in May 2019.  A friend from quilting mentioned that she wanted to do a monkey wrench quilt but all she had was directions for a twelve inch block.  Thinking about it I had always wanted to do one too so I got busy and figured out how to make a 10″ block.
Here is the preliminary drawing that maps out the shapes in light and dark that form the pattern.
4 shapes are used in this design.


Below are the Templates I cut out for her.  I made them out of cardboard.  They can be used in cutting out the shapes of fabric to form the pattern.  She wanted to make hers very scrappy.

Shapes that form the Monkey Wrench pattern

Templates for pieces of the monkey wrench pattern

I have included the Math notes figuring the size of squares that the triangles can be cut from if you choose not to use the template.  When cutting diagonals out of squares It is important to consider which sides are cut on the diagonal as that side will stretch.  Diagonals should not form the outside edge of the larger square.  Also triangles need to be cut at least 5/8 ths of an inch bigger than the finished shape so that points don’t get cut off where seams meet.   One quarter inch for seam allowances for the small squares.  That is figured into these measurements.


Interlocking light and dark triangles and squares

Layout of pieces that make up the Monkey Wrench pattern, interlocking of lights and darks

Cut Shapes are laid out to form the pattern

Shapes are sewed together and pressed starting with the small light and dark squares
I managed to put all my squares together the same way accept one That one square is the reverse of all the others.  I will keep it that way and use it in the center.

I have laid out the 11 squares I have with the odd square in the center.  This pretty print presented itself at this time as I was pondering over how to lay it out.  I inherited it from my mother or my great Aunt.  It seems to me that it might serve as an anchor to hold the thing together since it has a lot of colors.  It is light and airy even though it is dark and it has a fresh painterly flow about it.  The floral pattern will keep the palette from going to far into that autumn and fall look.  I plan to quilt the interlocking shapes into the whole cloth pieces.

I am going to make 10 more squares and then see how it looks.  Those 10 squares will go down the sides and make it square.  At that point I will decide if my plan is working and if that is the case I will sew it together.

Traditional Monkey Wrench Quilting Pattern

Machine pieced interlocking squares and triangles form the Monkey Wrench pattern


Quilts Speak at NC Museum of History

Highlights from our day at the Quilt In with the Cedar Grove Quilters

NC history Museum Quilt In

Sarah Troxler at NC History Museum

Quilts by Cedar Grove Quilters at the Quilt In

Quilts by Nancy Oliver, Marcia McDade, Ruth Richardson and Joanne Mathis

Cedar Grove Quilts at the Quilt In

Orange Peel by Sarah Troxler, Small works by Kathi Lewis, and Morning Glories by Shirley Scarlett

Quilt In with Cedar Grove Quilters

Quilt Design by Barbara Phillips

Cedar Grove Quilters

Rachel Ray, Shirley Scarlett, Marianne Kimbro, Ruth Richardson

Members of Cedar Grove Quilters at NC Museum of History

Sarah Troxler, Marianne Kimbro, Ruth Richardson, Guest Quilter, Shirley Scarlett, Rachel Ray

Cedar Grove Quilters

Shirley Scarlett, Rachel Ray, Sarah Troxler


Winter Watercolor Studies

Pursuing a new direction is always tough.  Stepping out of the comfort zone and finding the time to work on new ideas is also a challenge.  I managed to do some works this winter that I had been thinking about for  while.  I am not sure where it will take me.  









Checkerboard border and Quilt top

Marion Making a Checkerboard Border


Step One cut 3 inch stripes of black and white.  Sew them together in two patterns.  White Black White and Black White Black.

Marion is cutting three inch blocks

Cutting the 3 inch stripe sheets into three inch blocks

Three Inch Blocks

Black White Black and White Black White strips ready for sewing into the checkerboard pattern

Sewing lesson for Marion

Marion sews the checks together

Checkerboard border and Quilt top

A section of the checkerboard border is complete and laid against the existing body of the quilt top

It took quite a while to assemble this border and then attach it to the quilt.   Once it was complete I took it to show it to the Cedar Grove Quilters.  They invited me to have it quilted at a much faster rate than I could do on my own.  It is very exciting for me to see it finished this spring.  Who knows how long it would have taken me working by my self.  Group quilting or “the Quilting Bee”  is so much fun and interchange of ideas is invigorating.  So much knowledge and experience is passed back and forth.  It is a great experience!

Pieced and hand quilted

“Harbor Lights” Machine Pieced and Hand Quilted 94″H x 102″W

The Cedar Grove Quilters are helping me quilt this piece.  When we stretched it out in the quilt frames the checked border did not lay down properly.  It was bunched up in places.  Before we could start quilting I had to work on the quilt top and do some repairs.  I had to take seams apart and then fold  the seams inward so that each square fit better.  Some of the square are now varying in size but at a glance it is not that noticeable and the quilting details make it work much better.

Cotton Pieced Quilt

Harbor Lights


Harbor Lights

Pieced Backing for Harbor Lights

A New String Quilt 2018

Finished on June 24th in 2019

The Blue and Yellow color scheme is a favorite of mine these days. After an inventory purging and reorganization of my quilting scrapes I am ready to start. I have come up with a pattern and I think I can pull it off with Four different string blocks. I am using a paper piecing technique.

Sorting and Ironing String Scraps
What a process.

Blue and Yellow

all my blue and yellow fabric scraps

Blue and Yellow

Fabric Scraps to be ironed

Blue and Yellow Scraps

I have been ripping some of the scraps so that the process goes faster.


I like to use tissue paper for paper piecing strings because it tears off easily

My sketch of the pattern and the number of squares I think I will need: 16 yellow patches, 76 blue and yellow patches, 12 light value (pale) patches, and 28 dark blue patches.  These numbers will change I am sure!
**If you look at the quilt you will see that I did not use any of the yellow squares.  It was a nice idea but I came to the conclusion that since the room was yellow–the all yellow patches would be too much.
The only yellow square is in the center and is made up of 4 yellow-blue squares.

for sketching and figuring graph paper works well


As you can see I like to design as I go.  This sketch today will help me to make some more adjustments while I am making the squares. At the present I have made 21 squares. I have enough to layout the center section and I can see that some adjustments are in order.

The corner where you see the B’s I will add the light blue strips. So I need to make 8 light+dark blue squares. This will provide a nice border in both the inner and the outer bands.


I have now added the dark blue and yellow string blocks which surround the lighter blue string blocks. Next I think I will add another row of lighter blue blocks.


The blue border I added did not work so well this time.  It stretched during the sewing and did not lay flat.  It was on a roll and I inherited it and have had it a long time.  I think it is time to give it to the scrap exchange.  It was trouble!

I Hand quilted this by myself and it took me over a month and then I finished it off with a yellow ochre print binding.


Final stitches on June 24th 2019