Monday, August 10, 2020

Summer Summary


The kids are packing up to move back to campus. Kelly and David are off to UGA for her first year of Veterinary School and his Senior year of undergrad. Danny will be moving back to Virginia Tech for his Senior year a week later. 

They've been home since Spring Break, and yet, it feels like time has flown. I love having a house full of laughter and chatter and coming and going and long walks with the kids and dogs and our weekly hikes. We've tried new recipes, and watched all of the Harry Potter movies again, and spent hours talking and sharing and just really enjoying each other. We have fallen into an easy coexistence that I'm going to miss very much. I also know they LOVE the campus life and I hope they will be safe and stay healthy. None of us really know how this is going to go, so they might be home again sooner rather than later. 

The dogs are loving all of the attention they get with a house full of people. Boomer loves to walk himself but he graciously lets us follow along. Gotta love a dog who know what he wants and goes for it!

All major home remodel construction is finished but there are still plenty of walls waiting for quilts, and other finishing touches that will come together at some point. We've been enjoying summer a bit too much to really focus on those final details. I have some ideas, just need to make them happen.

A whole lot of quilt related 'work' has been happening even if the sewing machine hasn't been running. I have made some decisions about a Sew Along (it's going to be fun and special thanks to all of you who contributed ideas!) The Mystery Block of the Month begins next month. I'm going to sew up my sample steps while I'm at the beach in a few weeks. 

I'm also working on some really fun new ideas with a company that has asked me to design for them. Truly a dream come true, and the ideas are hard to narrow down, but I'm having SO much fun!!

Thanks to so many of you, I've been busy longarm quilting all summer long as well. I am happy to continue to quilt for you, however, due to my work schedule, I may have to cut off quilting for a few months near the end of the year, so if you've been thinking about sending me a quilt to longarm, NOW is the time to do it!

And I'm really focused on my 5 ZOOM presentations to quilt guilds in September. I've completed my SCRAP QUILT SECRETS presentation and I will share it live very soon! If your guild is ready to ZOOM please contact me to set up a date and time for a presentation. I'm not ready to do workshops yet, but hopefully that will be an option soon. 

No wonder this summer feels like it's flown by! I've learned so many new things and I've only scratched the surface. No telling what this fall will bring, but I think I'm ready...

Share your favorite summer memory in the comments for a chance to win the PDF pattern of your choice from my online shop. It pays to read until the end! I'll choose a winner on Friday.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

10 Minute Tip

Do you ever feel like you have too many tabs open in the browser of your brain? Do you feel like you can't focus on one thing because there are so many things that need dealing with? Do you ever want to hide under the covers to avoid the day? Do you ever feel like no matter how much you do, it'll never all get done? Or is that just me? 

If you've been around here for any time at all you know that lists are my love language. They keep me focused and calm. They allow me to believe that I can actually get my life organized. For the most part, it works. 

So here's the list I made this morning when I was feeling overwhelmed by life and the way too many things that need to be done (DISCLAIMER: these are all things I WANT to do! Things I choose to embrace on a daily basis. I am NOT complaining, I am simply planning a strategy!) 

  1. Make a list...Ha!
  2. Keep moving forward (don't dwell on the current issue)
  3. Planner update (let your planner be your brain)
  4. Manage emails (an organized inbox is beautiful!)
  5. Schedule and pre-post online and social  media content
  6. Schedule studio time (quilting is therapy!)
  7. Read a book!
  8. Move your body.
  9. Learn a new skill.
  10. Connect with a friend.
Does this mean my entire day goes as planned? Do I keep a rigid schedule? Do stay up at night until all items are checked off the list? Heck NO! But I let the list do the worrying for me and I refer back to it when I start to get overwhelmed. What do you do to make things you enjoy get your attention? I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments.

Go HERE for all my 10 Minute Tips! 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

So Many Changes...

The blog...

For those of you who use Blogger you know that they have changed to a new format for blogging. I am not loving it. It takes longer to blog, longer to load links, scrolling forever to add labels, and basically scrolling forever for everything. You can only see the tiniest amount of information on each screen that provides a nice clean look, but it is HUGELY impractical. So please bear with me while I try to survive yet another unnecessary obstacle. (EYEROLL)

Also, I love and read every single one of your precious comments. I reply to each one as they really are the reason I keep blogging. But the new format allowed me to delete a whole lot of comments before they were published, and I have no way of retrieving them. I'm so sorry that I didn't respond to those comments, but I did read them! And in my defense, the 'publish' button is right next to the 'delete' button and I didn't even realize what I had done at first. Sigh.


I haven't been on a travel/ teaching trip since February. I miss seeing all of your wonderful smiling faces and sharing laughter and love of quilting with you!! Meeting all of the amazing quilters out there is what makes this 'job' so rewarding. But thanks to a certain pandemic, all of that has necessarily changed.

The good news is that I am now offering some new teaching options. I have spent days putting together comprehensive PowerPoint presentations that include overall quilt photos, detail shots, and bullet points of information. I plan to deliver these LIVE via ZOOM to your quilt guild very soon! I already have 4 guilds booked for my STRIP QUILT SECRETS trunk show! 

Soon, I hope to add voice recording to my presentations and offer them as online class purchases for individuals in my shop. I might even be able to sell these to groups for them to watch and interact together. 

Also, I hope to figure out the technology to do interactive online workshops with the guilds that I have scheduled, and open the format up for future guilds. 

There's nothing like the REAL THING but hey, we are going to make the best of all of the changes and have fun doing it! My sweet friend Audrey told me that she was so impressed that I wasn't afraid of trying new formats. The truth is, I'm not afraid, I'm TERRIFIED. But that won't stop me! Put me in a room of 250 folks and I will gladly take the stage. Stick a camera in my face and ask me to rely on technology and I panic. 

Luckily, I'm the most stubborn person I know.

Longarm Services...

Lots of you have been sending me sweet emails inquiring about my longarm quilting services. You can find all of the information HERE. The quick version is, print a form, fill it out and send it with the quilt, I will quilt it and ship it back to you almost always in a week or less, but definitely less than 2 weeks. 

Email me with a notice that it's been shipped so I know when to expect it. You can choose thread and design or let me. You can send batting or purchase it from me, you can ask me to bind it or just trim it. But write it all on the form so I don't get confused! I will invoice you when I am ready to ship the quilt back and you can send a check, Paypal or Venmo me. And yes, I can show you how to do those things! 


The website needs to be updated to reflect the changes of online teaching and online classes and I will get to that as soon as I have all of the information ready. I pay someone else to upload and manage information on my website, so I need to be sure I have it all correct first. Thanks for your patience.

Secret Sewing...

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that there haven't been as many quilts lately. I have a good reason for that. I have been doing a bit of secret sewing and I hate keeping secrets, but it will be worth it I promise! 

Staycation Sew Along...

The sew along that you all so enthusiastically voted for is still going to happen. I just need to get some of these technical issues sorted out first. I love that you are excited to sew together, I am too! Hopefully it will happen in August. 

Your support and enthusiasm means more to me than I can say. Your longarm business and online orders keep me smiling. While I can't make up for the financial loss of this pandemic, I can move forward to try and find new ways to connect with the quilters I love so much! From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for each and every email, comment, purchase and opportunity to quilt for you. 



Saturday, August 1, 2020

July 2020 Instagram Review

Boomer, new recipe, blog
fireworks, new furniture, explosives
great book, smoothie recipe, pep talk

Instagram from July runs in reverse order because the photos appear this way when I screen shot them. So if you want to start at the beginning, just scroll to the bottom and work your way up. It was a fun month overall! If you aren't already on Instagram, I would highly encourage you to join. Just make up a name if you want to remain anonymous, and you can follow anyone you want, no approval needed. You can also follow hashtags. Some of my favorites are... 


Some of my favorite products to follow are...


Or just go to @dianedknott and select 'following' to see all of the people and things I follow including books, travel, cooking, etc.

Christmas in July Sale, piles of quilt, cast iron skillet steak
Halloween fabric, Boomer, coffee
Making PowerPoint for online class, Buddy, Virtual Teaching
Fat quarter bundle, banana pudding, mask making

Good book, sewing stack, pep talk
3 cheese quiche, home, photo assistants
My favorite magazine, good book, making a new friend
Christmas in July Sale, royalties, Buddy

Trying a new recipe, Buddy, dinner
Old quilt in  a new home, Buddy, Buddy's health update
Quilt for sale, gardenia, quilt sale (thank you!)
Buddy and Bailey, Harry Potter movie marathon, wine

smoothie recipe, good magazine, rainbow
Bailey, pressing mat from a friend, fiesta win
a friend's sewing room, my favorite magazine, breakfast in bed
Boomer, chocolate chip cookie brownies, blog update

See all the fun you're missing! It's like facebook without the complainers. You can keep your account private too if you only want to approve who gets to see your photos. Just saying, it's really no risk!

Now go stitch something!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

July 2020 Reading List

Get the book HERE.

I listened to this book on Audible and HIGHLY recommend listening to it because it is read by the author and the accents and dialects that he uses really enhance the story. His childhood growing up in South Africa as a biracial child was nothing short of a miracle. He has a huge personality and was notorious for finding mischief which only adds to the effect. His life is at once brilliant and so very basic. He was raised by a strong single mother whose own life was amazing. He found a way to not only survive but thrive in a world that actively tried to kill him. PLEASE listen to this book. It's filled with hope in spite of everything. 

Get the book HERE.

I needed a fun light read and chose this book because it was on Reese's book club list. I have found that I adore all of her choices. Thanks Reese! This is the story of a woman with a very orderly life that is highly constructed to suit her specific needs and she finds herself grieving the loss of her mother as well as unexpectedly pregnant in her 40's. Her story of discovery, recovery, and ultimately embracing her circumstances was delightful. It's not all fluff, there are some serious topics and revelations that kept me wanting to know more. I do highly recommend this book as a perfect summer read though. 

Get the book HERE.

After reading Sing, Unburied, Sing (which was probably a favorite of all time for me!) I knew I needed to read more by this author. Her stories take place in deep south Louisiana and Mississippi, right where I grew up. So the landscape and culture are familiar, but the stories are very different from the one I lived. I did feel transported back in time and felt surrounded by things I could easily feel and imagine. For me that is part of the magic of her writing, but I don't think you need to be from the area to embrace the characters and be transformed by the stories. Please ready anything you can from this author. Her storytelling is mesmerizing.

Get the book HERE.

One of my favorite historical fiction authors does not disappoint in this lovely tale of woman, a house and past lives of both. I enjoyed the story so much and perhaps because I needed an escape, it felt like a sweet dream. I really love the details and the setting of the stories and the connections. If you love historical fiction, read anything by Susanna Kearsley and you won't be disappointed I promise.

Get the book HERE.

I listened to this book on Audible while driving and really enjoyed the story very much. It was a peek into a family life that had issues and conflict and relationships that were unexpected, interesting and overwhelmingly sad. While I felt great empathy for the characters and their relationships, this book should probably come with several 'trigger warnings'. Some deep issues are dealt with and each of the characters brings their own perspective to the family dynamics. I really enjoyed listening to this book but it was heavy. 

Get the book HERE.

Read by the author, I think this book is perfect for listening to because it's a story of the author, and when told in her voice, brings a personal touch that really resonates. From the story of how she got her name to the encounters of her everyday life, this book is an interesting peek into the life of someone whose experience has been often ignored. I love reading books that teach me something, and this book teaches in the telling in a way that makes someone else's experience feel personal. I highly recommend this book.

Get the book HERE.

I listened to this book on Audible and really enjoyed it. I liked that it was fiction and fairy tale combined. The story was fascinating and very different from anything I had ever heard before. While I didn't love it, I am glad I listened to it. It was a bit sad and maybe I'm just not in a good place to listen to sad right now. It was beautifully written and I would definitely read more by this author. 

Enjoy every story!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Since my travel teaching schedule has been derailed by 2020, I’ve decided to embrace a new adventure. I’ll be present quilt guild trunk shows and workshops via Zoom. I’ve never used Zoom and I’ve never even made a PowerPoint presentation. But there’s no time like the present! I’m determined to learn everything I can and if I make a fool of myself it won’t be first time. LOL

If your quilt guild or group is scheduled for a visit from me, or you would like to have me visit via Zoom, please email me at butterflythreadsquilting at gmail dot com or leave a comment with your contact information.

I’m super exited to share my trunk shows featuring my books SCRAP QUILT SECRETS and STRIP QUILT SECRETS as well as my fun presentation of IF QUILTS COULD TALK that includes some published quilts as well as many from my private collection.

The first workshops I plan to prepare for teaching via Zoom will be my most popular UNDER THE MISTLETOE and LIME TWIST.  I’ll be adding others on an ‘as needed’ basis.

The part of my job that’s most rewarding is meeting and spending time with amazing quilters, so I’m very sad that hasn’t happened since March but maybe this will be the next best thing. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn so much I can even offer online classes and videos? There’s just no telling what we will all learn before 2020 is over.

Until then, enjoy every stitch and wash your hands!

PS. Buddy (shown in top photo) is currently recovering  from a torn cruciate (doggie ACL). We are hoping to avoid surgery and we truly appreciate all of the kind messages and love that have been sent his way. I've read them all to him and I can tell he is thankful, and so am I!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Second Chances, episode 1

One Way Ticket appeared in my latest book STRIP QUILT SECRETS. It's a fun and easy block to make using 8 strips 2'' wide each. Sew the strips. Sew the strip set into a tube, then slice, and resew. It's fun fast and easy. If you have a collection of strips, it goes together in a snap. 

For this version, I used a consistent color order or each strip set. While the strips were all scrappy, I grouped them by color and just kept the same order. I sewed most of the blocks at home, and I sewed a few more on retreat (using a different machine) those blocks ended up on the back of the quilt because they were NOT the same size at all. So while quarter inch can be your personal version, it does need to be consistent with this block! Don't find out the hard way like I did!!!

I've made this quilt in several versions/variations and loved each one of them. I've taught it as a workshop as well, which is really a great way to explore different settings.

This totally scrappy version was donated to a local charity. It is so bright and fun and the scrappy colors change from block to block. You will also notice that this quilt has a different setting. The blocks are in a 'barn raising' setting. They create a diamond pattern from the center that continues to the edges of the quilt. I hope it found a good home and that it's making someone smile.

This is one of the latest versions of this quilt that I have in progress. These are some blocks I made for the workshop so we can play with settings. It's always fun to rearrange them and snap photos to see which setting we like best. That changes from person to person, as it should!

These blocks are ones made by the quilters at the workshop. They each had a great color sense that would result in a wonderful quilt, but it was fun to see the blocks all play together!

The 'second chance' version of  this quilt is one that I couldn't find a photo of so my helpful photo assistants were right on the job for me! What would I do without my sweet fur babies? LOL

This version has a couple of changes to note. I made only two rows so it's an awesome table runner. Being from south Louisiana, Mardi Gras is an essential holiday in our home. I love to decorate for it and this big table runner lets me enjoy the green, purple and gold colors in moderation. I also place a huge glass bowl of Mardi Gras beads on the center of it to add to the festive feel. 

Also note that each block only has four colors instead of eight. I repeated the four colors in order so that there are two strips of each color in each block. The fabrics are scrappy but the colors are consistent. This allowed me to have a greater variety of fabrics in a smaller number of blocks. 

Also the setting is the 'barn raising' style with the blocks all radiating out from the center. I like how the two rows look balanced but not repetitive. This would be awesome using patriotic or holiday colors of any combination. A friend made a Halloween version that I really adore. 

I hope this makes you start thinking about your favorite designs and how you can have fun giving them a 'second chance' by changing up the colors, the settings, the layout, the size, etc. I plan to remake several of my previous quilts using lots of variations, but until that happens, I thought it would be fun to look back at a quilt that has already been given a second chance. 

Enjoy every stitch,

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