Welcome to my blog

For quilting demonstrations, trunk shows, or quilting retreats, please email me at jaci@backriverbags.com


Thanks for stopping by – I hope you enjoy my entries and check out my website at backriverbags.com.  You can find links to my current magazine articles, find out where to buy my patterns, or view a photo gallery of my quilts – you can also find pictures of my garden and some of my ideas on green living.

Need a Little Island!

I broke my arm trying on a pair of roller skates – my first ever sports injury! Since I was just diagnosed with carpal tunnel in my other hand, have not been doing much typing or any sewing. Didn’t keep me from ordering a new sewing machine! A 12 pound Juki travel machine…does it qualify as a medical necessity? Or just therapy?

And why is typing tough but I have no difficulty with online shopping and ordering? Isn’t that just peachy! I think I will feel better after my follow up tomorrow when they tell me if it is healing and whether it will require surgery or not…Prayers are appreciated!

Starry Eyed!

DSC00458It’s getting to be that time of year…it’s almost here…Session I and Session II of the Star Quilters Conference! I love being on star and quilting with the Star Quilters…marshmellow roasts, pajama parties, games, demos, and kayaking! Walking and snapping photos of the sunset on the porch and spiderwebs on the dock still covered with dew. It gives me time to stop and notice the small details that I would usually be too busy to see. It is like leaving all your cares on the mainland…and all the flowers are wildflowers and no one is weeding…

This year should be even more relaxing because our theme for the conference is “Zen IMG_20170625_142246596Quilting.” Zen Quilting is like zentangles, small, simple steps to create an intricate and organic design. It also embraces the idea that there is beauty in imperfection, “wabi sabi.” Personally, I don’t adhere to the idea that this means there is no planning or design…I think it means the design is simple, balanced and can be beautiful even if there is not precision and perfection. I think precision and perfection can be machine like and predictable. Organic and surprising is more my style! This swan is an old, old, sculpture at the Met in NY…the colors are gorgeous…lovely imperfection!

Each year I bring two projects, one piecing and one art…you can guess which is my favorite! I will be bringing along my sew-batik challenge for the 2020 Vermont Quilt Show to work on…the theme is circus…and for my piecing project, an original design postcard quilt. Almost time to start packing….almost…almost!!




Table Runner – Just Released

other-side.jpgIf you are a subscriber to The Quilt Pattern Magazine (www.quiltpatternmagazine.com), you know that the first of the month is the release of their latest issue and new patterns! August 1st is the release of my latest pattern, Trimming the Tree. A sew as you go table runner featuring snowmen and snow babies, this was one of my most challenging pieces to design. I usually have an idea, make it, try to float it to a publisher, write the pattern, photograph the finished project…this one was totally backwards. I designed the O’Easy Christmas Tree skirt and they signed me up for a matching table runner…I thought great, I will make it match my tree skirt and how hard can it be? It was wicked hard! Trying to adapt a pattern for a circle and put it on a rectangle…make it coordinate but not duplicate…give it original elements…it was really hard!

I love how it turned out…It has the same trees as the tree skirt and used the same trim – Bindingglittery baby rick rack.  The colors I used are modern Christmas but you could use any colors that match your decorating style. And shout out to Jacque Thompson! She showed us a fake flange at one of the quilt retreats and I could not wait to use it in one of my patterns. It is really easy to make but adds a pop of color around the edges – just what this piece needed. I tried sewing the binding from the front, but honestly next time I think I would just hand sew the binding like I usually do. And online you can find custom labels – if you sew a lot, you want some of these! And they make great Christmas gifts for other quilters!

As usual, I had my little Grandma’s helper around during creation process – think she might be ready for the Vermont quilt show next year!DSC01363

Thanks Chloe! You make my designs look good! Love you, Grandma.

UFO Week

tooth fairy dayThis week is UFO week on Pattern Pastiche – an online quilt group associated with TQPM (quiltpatternmagazine.com). This is the second year in a row that I have joined this activity…no discernible effect on my UFO pile last time and not much so far this time….I did get my challenge quilt top done, and I got it sandwiched with batting and then…nothing. It is due next month for the guild meeting and so I need to get started quilting it – ASAP! Since it is a secret – this is all I can show you – the fabric they gave us. I love how it turned out so far…since you can’t see it…take my word for it – really awesome!

Meanwhile, I have got some fun rust dyed fabric that the art bee made to share with you. DSC03052We were out in the rain making this so we suffered for our art! This month the art bee is going on a field trip where there will be a lot less suffering (and snacks) but I am pretty sure the results will also be really awesome!




I wore my rust dyed shirt to the guild meeting last month and so I got to be my own show n’ tell too!

So, the question for this weekend? Do I spend time out in the garden, sit on the porch with my awesome husband, do some weeding, maybe soak in my new soaking tub #2 (we added one so dsc03078.jpgDave and I could both have a soaking tub), or do I work on some of those UFOs? Summer is short and this year it seems like it is even shorter. The daylilies are blooming, the weeds are thriving, but the quilt show entries are due and it’s a really bad idea to enter quilts that are not finished…so far batting zero – 4 for 4 not finished (one not even started)…I was going to work on one of them tonight but I sat down and poof the evening was gone…is it only me? Maybe if I sprayed round up on my UFOs that pile would stop growing….

Started on Star!

dsc00161.jpgEvery year when we are out on Star Island for our quilt conference, I work on a piecing project and an art project. Planning what I am going to work on and dreaming about sewing away with all my quilting friends is almost as good as actually being on Star – or at least it is as good as it gets until the ferry sets off! I wanted to find a way to commemorate these special quilts so I have decided to add a special line to the quilt labels – Started on Star or “SOS 2018” or “SOS 2019.” SOS seems to be in order since our first quilt retreat had a Gilligan’s Island theme. In 2017, I started the signature quilt project designed by Mary Furber for one of our first demos – this was my piecing project for that year. There were a few pieces…I mean, I am an art quilter…I’m flexible!

My art project for 2017 was a Star map quilt that actually made it into the Mingle article! DSC00162Published! An original design, started on Star in 2017 and now it is in a nationally distributed magazine that you can buy on a news stand…I mean is that living the dream or what? Somebody better hold me down on the trip to Star or I will be floating right off the ferry and into the clouds! Of course, for 2018 I got a little carried away….the piecing project I started on Star in 2018 had 700+ pieces, not a dozen…It took me the entire year to get the top finished and I only got done because I had the hardest parts already pieced before I got off the island…art quilter…not piecer…if there is no glue, I am slow as molasses. I am quilting the portrait project that was my 2018 island art project myself so that is not done yet either. I haven’t given up hope of getting it done for the Cocheco quilt show in October, but I need to get stitching as it is only 1/4 quilted.

DSC03084These 2018 quilts will get the first SOS labels. I got the idea for it when one of our conference ladies, Ruby, gave me a block she created on Star as a gift. It was so thoughtful, but I did not have a quilt to put it in. Then it occurred to me to put it on the quilt as a label rather than in a quilt and that gave me the idea to create a custom SOS label for each of these new Star pieces. Thanks to my friend, Viki, I do not have to get out my embroidery machine and try to configure the wording for these 2018 labels! Thanks Viki, you’re a peach! And thanks Ruby, I love my first ever Star block and can’t wait to see it embroidered and on the back of my portrait quilt…actually, knowing Viki…the label might be ready way before I’m done with the quilting!

Making the Big Time!

Mingle Magazine Summer Issue is at the newstands, stores and craft stores today and I am in it! Well, our Quilters Conference on Star is in it actually but I did write it! And a photo of my Isles of Shoals Map Quilt, Janina’s plucky Island Chick and our show ‘n tell on Star Island is in there too! If you have been to our conference you will want to be sure to check it out – page 68! It’s a lovely full-colored magazine and no it’s not about dating…it’s about socializing and hostessing and now – Quilting!


Christmas in July!

Christmas Tree Skirt (2)It’s beginning to look a lot like summer, but my newest pattern release is “O Easy Christmas Tree Skirt!” It will give everyone a chance to have it ready for Christmas, 2019 and it is available July 1st at “The Quilt Pattern Magazine” (TQPM), http://www.quiltpatternmagazine.com.

They have a special subscription price for my followers…secret code: POET…just sign up at http://www.quiltpatternmagazine.com/program/S/?D=POET

And you don’t just get my latest pattern – you get a whole year’s worth of their patterns, magazine articles, and a subscription to their online chat group, Pattern Pastiche. I actually have two red-work groups on their chat site right now for a couple of my modern redwork patterns that they have published and it’s fun to watch the show n tell photos and hear how people are coming along.

pillow2 (2)If we were hanging out at the quilt retreat a while back, you probably got a sneak preview, and I had it at the quilt show “meet the quilter” booth last October. I am still working on getting a matching tuffet, but the matching pillows are done and the…uh ….well, can’t tell you about that until next month!