Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Quilter's S.O.S. - Save our Stories is an oral history project of the Alliance For American Quilts. It celebrates it's 10th year and super milestone of 1,000 interviews of documenting our stories. The interviews are being archived in the U.S. Library of Congress....pretty cool!

Read Karen Musgrave's article about Q.S.O.S. in the Oct/Nov 2009 issue of Quilters Newsletter shared here compliments of Quilters Newsletter.

Recently, (and nervously....hoping I made some sense) I read Karen's interview of me. Trying to answer the questions with wisdom was more difficult than one might guess, but I don't think I stumbled too much. The only real goofs were done in translation..... one typo and a mistake with my blog address. You can read it here.

Two of my buddies in our small PTA Fiber Group are also included......I even learned things about them and their work that I hadn't on....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Football on.......

I thought I was a goner this week....I picked San Diego to took them longer than I liked to get a comfortable lead....WHEW......

There are only 21 of us left in the Suicide Pool.....this week only a total of 7 teams were selected to win.....and everyone picked a winner so all 21 of us will be battling it out for week #4 choices. Each week we must select only 1 team to win, but we can never use that team as time marches on, it gets more difficult. I've tried to save the top teams for later......because the last man (or woman) standing wins the pot of about $800.

Last year I got bumped out on week #5.....I hope I can do better this year. I'm already studying the line up for next weekend!

Monday, September 28, 2009


So many quilters have already conquered free-motion quilting.....but I'm not one of them. Due to numerous back surgeries I'm not very comfortable sitting hunched over a machine for long periods of time....actually I should have said, as I sit nervously and tension filled, hunched over my machine!

My pal Patsy Thompson is an expert on this subject. She's produced a large inventory of excellent DVD's to help guide the helpless like me. After a recent 'whining' session with her, she suggested one of my problems may be the surface I'm working on. The insert that fits around my machine is (believe it or not) pebbled.....NO WONDER I can't slide that darn quilt sandwich!!

Patsy suggested I try using a specialty Teflon sheet that can be placed on the work surface which allows the quilt to move more easily. Sew Slip did the trick for me.

I was able to gain additional control moving the quilt sandwich by wearing a pair of specialty machine quilting gloves. The rubber dots help to grip the top...keeping it flat and smooth as the needle flows through the fabric.

If you too are struggling, consider researching some of these tools to make the job easier. Now all I need to do is PRACTICE.

Friday, September 25, 2009


What could be better than good food and good art to admire?!? A visit to Early Girl Eatery in downtown Asheville, NC fills the hunger for both. Be sure to check out this unique restaurant when you are visiting this charming city. Sign up for my "Great Smoky Mountain Quilting Tour" in Aug. 2010, and I'll take you there myself!

The no frill table setting doesn't mean plain, boring food.....oh no....not even. Tables are cleverly covered with brown butcher encourage 'art'.

And 'art' they get...... Walls on either side of the entryway to the dining room are filled with torn pieces of 'table art' for customers to admire. What a clever idea.

The menu is very diverse......featuring good ole' comfort food but with an eye on fresh and tasty ingredients. I ordered a grilled (whole wheat bread) pimento cheese sandwich....with spinach & tomatoes. It came with either sweet potato fries or a vegan soup. I chose the pumpkin/squash soup and it was DELICIOUS......

The large windows let in tons of light which is the perfect accent to highlight the paintings of Moni Hill. Each piece is delightful, cheery & whimsical, and you'll want to take one home. (Which you can!) I highly recommend a visit to her on her name above and check out her gallery.

I took the following photos of just a few of the many pieces on display at Early Girl.......they are being posted here with Moni's permission. Being a quilter, wall space is at a minimum in our house, but still I'd love to own one of her pieces anyway......

Thursday, September 24, 2009


The Alliance for American Quilts and Handmade in America hosted a special reception today in conjunction with AAQ's Crazy for Quilts Exhibit. The exhibit honors the spirit of the crazy quilt, a genre of quiltmaking that emerged in the late 1800's, traditionally featuring oddly shaped pieces of fancy cloth like silk and velvet, and often embellished with extravagant embroidery.

Member Merikay Waldvogel, a well known quilt historian, has written an essay on the contest which can be read here.

It was an honor to preview all of the 85 pieces which will be auctioned on eBay to benefit AAQ
Oct. 26-Nov. 15th. You may visit AAQ's website for the auction date of each quilt. This is their main fund raiser of the year so I hope the following photos, which of course don't do justice to the quilts, will get the bidding going! A big thank you goes out to all the artists who have created and then donated these fabulous 16" x 16" quilts.

The quilts are being posted with permission from AAQ. Some are created in the original tradition of crazy quilting.....others have interpreted the contest title in other fun ways...... Enjoy!

Rose Song by Betty Pillsbury - Middleburgh, NY

Still Crazy After All These Years by Ramona Bates - Little Rock, Arkansas

Crazy Cow Polarity by Kathryn Wagar Wright - Highlands Ranch, CO

But I Know Crazy by Luke Haynes - Bend, OR

A Modern Romance by Debra Jo Hardman - Anchorage, Alaska

Detail of A Modern Romance.....this clever feather got a lot of was created with threads, perhaps on a water soluble.

Crazy for Beads by Amy Munson - Bismarck, ND

Detail - Crazy for Beads - of course I'd be drawn to this piece!!

Crazy for Ewes by Sheila Rauen - Knoxville, TN
Created using wool, felted wool, needle felting, and wonderful machine stitching. Sheila is a Bernina Artisan....her machine skills are very apparent in this charming piece.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Aren't we lucky to be quilters??? Amazingly, strangers become immediate friends.....who are ready and willing to share their knowledge, inspirations, & fabrics.

My recent trip to Knoxville, TN area guilds brought new pals into my life. Bridget Matlock sent me this well crafted and designed post card....complete with BEADS! I'm so flattered!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today the Fiber Junkies (a small fiber group I belong to) had a road trip to KRB Fabric Outlet in Boiling Springs SC. They have no website....but for directions and info call: 864-578-8752.

It's a very nondescript building.......but inside....oh my. If you like digging for bargains and inexpensive fabrics.....this no nonsense warehouse is a must visit.

You'll find bolts of fabrics, flat folds, and many boxes of smaller cuts of fabric, zippers, patterns, threads, trims, laces. Quilter's cottons were sparse as fashion, upholstery, and home decorating fabrics made up the bulk of the inventory.

For such a huge place it was amazingly well organized and tidy.

These are bales of fabric ends waiting to be opened and organized for display.

The same owners opened a consignment shop next door to the fabric mart. Again, it was well organized with really cheap prices. I already have enough 'stuff' so I just browsed......while some others who prefer to be anonymous filled the back of their car with goodies! Love the American flag.......which I notice is on display quite often here in the South.

We all were astonished to find rows of turtle supplies......are there that many turtle owners? can shop for a baby crib and for a walker....right in the same store......

A fun day was had by all as we explored a little of what the South has to offer!

Monday, September 21, 2009


If you aren't a fan of may want to visit again tomorrow rather than reading on.....

I had forgotten to email my pick for the 2nd week of the football suicide pool I'm research was short when I realized I was nearly past the deadline on Thursday. The goal is to pick a winning team each can be any team, but you may only use that team once during the season. first I zoned in on Green Bay (I cheer for them no matter what), however I 'thought' I should save them for later in the season....since I was sure their team is great this year after their spanking of the Chicago Bears last week. Next I chose San Francisco.....but at the last minute, I switched to Atlanta to beat Carolina. (No state loyalty for me)

Yeah!!!! .......Atlanta won 28-20. The pool lost A LOT (19) of participants this week....the bulk of them due to the Packer loss.....(how could they?!?!) So the pool has shrunk, from 39 to 21.

I'll be studying hard for my week #3 choice...... again....if you got this are either a football fan or bored!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


One of our favorite past times is driving around in our open sports car......taking in the scenery. About 10 years ago, we were roaming the rural country roads around Richland Center, WI. It's a lovely area, full of high bluffs and long valleys, near the Wisconsin River.

As we drove up a winding road from the valley floor and came around a curve, we spotted this home when it was just a shell. It literally took my breath away. This isn't just an ordinary log home, it's a timber home......some of the logs are 45" in diameter and 45' long.

We watched its slow construction process for years and years......literally, work would move along and then nothing for a very long time.

We still watch the housing market in WI......I guess the midwest is not totally out of our blood. We were astonished to see it completed and for sale here. If you have an extra 3 million to'll enjoy the views!

Sadly, I'm not crazy about the decor......but someone sure has paid attention to even includes a hot tub on a deck that rotates to take advantage of the best views during various times of the day.

This photo could have been taken here in NC......we were amazed to realize one of the things that caught our attention about this home was the view.....which is quite similar to what we see in our current surroundings. At the in NC was not even on our radar!

I love watching the real estate and home fix up shows on HGTV.......if you do sure to click on the link provided above to see how the other half (1%) lives!

Friday, September 18, 2009


You all are probably aware of the significance of this pink ribbon......cleverly designed here as a tape measure.....

This is a reminder.....don't forget to schedule your yearly mammogram.

While departing the health care facility where I just completed my annual mammogram.....I was struck by this lovely bush. I've never seen anything like it....the color was so unusual for this time of the year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


It's difficult to say goodbye to summer......but of course fall is here already. As I traveled down our mountain today, on my way to the Asheville Quilters Guild's monthly meeting....I was struck by this scene.

Tobacco continues to be a major crop here in North Carolina.....and in our area, it's grown and harvested the old fashioned hand. If you look closely, you can see the field hands following the tractor as they toss the dried bundles onto the trailer.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Once a Packer fan, always a Packer fan. I grew up about 45 mins. from Green Bay.....where the world stops when the Packers play.

It doesn't get any better then this.....yesterday's opening game was held at Lambeau Field against long time rival, the Chicago Bears. Oh.....too bad Bear Fans, your new QB looked pitiful, while our patient Aaron Rogers and the boys won!!!

My nephew has organized a Football Suicide Pool for the last several years. This year it consists of 44 people. Each week we select ONE team to spreads or points....just to win. The catch is, you can only select that team one time during the entire season. If your team are out. The last man (or woman) standing wins the entire pot...which is $880! Of course, it is shared if there's a tie.

After pouring over all the odds....I picked Indianapolis to beat Jacksonville.....they did, however the score was a bit closer than I'd have liked. So far, one participant is out due to their pick of Arizona. 4 more participants must wait until tonight's games are over before their fate is known.

My week 2 pick will be decided in the next few days...... I'm saving Green Bay.....because I KNOW this is their year....Super we come!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This teaching trip has been a super busy one.....packed with presentations, new friends, new shops to visit, and a very unusual workshop location. I've asked these groups to adopt me!

The Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild had their workshop in an old school house which has been in the process of being restored by a local Knoxville couple who now also live and work in the house.

Riverdale School is in rural Knoxville, TN, east of the city.....

Amazingly, they've been able to gather photos and historical documents which are on display for interested parties to enjoy.

They've been working on bringing what was nearly a condemned and falling down property, back to life. Part of this large building is used for public and private events.....and the owner's large art collection is sprinkled through out the building.

One of the many examples of the art......

Even the old gym has been saved and now houses large events. I taught in one of the old classrooms....with metal lockers at one end....and huge windows which provided plenty of light for the beading class. This clearly is a labor of love by the owners which will benefit their entire community.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Many quilters are unaware that beads may not necessarily be colorfast. For instance, this beautiful blue bugle bead below may appear as if it's blue glass. Not's clear glass that has been dyed or painted blue. Often the color remains secure on the bead, other times not. So.....if you think there's a possibility that your project will be washed, become damp, or even require high steam for pressing.....take a few minutes and test your beads for colorfastness.

Most of the time, there isn't a problem, but for that heirloom'd be devastated if during a final steam pressing, the bead color ran into your fabric. The pricier beads may be just at risk as the less expensive can't tell by looking.

Here's how to test:

- Fill a shallow dish with hot sudsy water....drop in a few beads....let it sit for 15 mins.
- Remove them...rinse and let dry on a paper towel.

Note....sometimes color will be visible in the water, other times....the color will slowly eek out as it dries. As you can see....this blue bead has is another color I check carefully.

Don't let this scare you.......we are all aware that colorfastness can be an issue with you know that beads carry the same risk. Even if the bead color doesn't run....sometimes the fancy coatings......that make a bead's surface shimmer with various affects, (like rainbow) can dissipate......and the bead will lose its luster.

I've tested very, very few beads that I decided not to use......or that I've used with caution......beading is worth any effort....hopefully with this hint....all your projects will continue to shine brightly!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Spritzer Sister Francie shared two more of her quilts that are in the permanent collection of the UW Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.

Naturally, I adore anything with a cow motif.....and this one is just too cute! Spritzer Sister's have their own term for quilts (and other things) like this.....we say: Oh for cute!

But the biggest reason I wanted to share these quilts today is because the image of a pig is quite timely in our life. 'The husband' has been suffering from a summer cold......which has been hanging on for over a week now. We all know guys don't suffer quietly (well.....neither do this may not be an appropriate jab the other opposite sex)..... But he's been hinting the last few days that 'perhaps he has swine flu'.......get a's a cold! So, I'm printing off a photo of SSF's pig quilt and will be taping it to his medicine cabinet mirror today!

Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

GUINEA FOWL FEATHER fingers are really sore from hand quilting (not a surprise since my callouses are long gone after concentrating on beading lately). So, I'm taking a little break and am back working on another project.

Here's my inspiration......a Guinea fowl feather I spotted at my friend Dort's homestead. Dort is our 'Mother-earth' member from our PTA small fiber art group who raises various animals/birds.....

I drew a larger/longer shape on Pellon light-weight (non-fusible) interfacing.

The interfacing was hand basted along the outside edges of a piece of the feather was outlined basted as well. This provided the shape on the right side which I've begun to fill with beadwork.

Creating circular shapes has been more difficult then I anticipated. I've tried numerous methods and was able to stitch circles but none achieved a flat appearance. In the end I had to choose between flat and not so round or elevated and round. I went for the flat look. I hope in the end the spots will work.

On this detail view, notice the right side of the feather tip......I've gone back and added some raised bead clusters to provide some 'fluff'. A few rows on the left side will also be 'fluffed'.....

When it's finished, I'll share the final work.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Over the last year, I've been reducing my air travel bookings while adding local groups within driving distance. Next week I'll be visiting two Knoxville, TN quilt guilds. Here's details and contact info if you are interested in joining the fun.

Village Quilters: Sept. 10 - Full-day workshop - Beading Basics and Beyond
Sept. 11 - Guild meeting lecture - Let It Shine

Smoky Mountain Quilters: Sept. 12 - Full-day workshop - Beading Basics and Beyond

The subject of both workshops are beading techniques. I cover the equipment needs, product information, stabilizing necessities, when to bead, etc. Next we learn the beading basics.....straight stitching, curve lines, working with seed beads and bugles. Student's are introduced to 'decorative' methods such as attaching sequins, buttons, charms, etc. Notice, all the buttons (flower heads) on the quilt above are attached with beads.

The afternoon focus covers a large variety of bead edging such, 'zig-zag' has been utilized on the binding in the above photo.

Every student has a front row seat because of my live projection demo system......learning is easy as they follow along with my on-screen stitching as they create their own sampler.

I hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I love to hand quilt......even though this technique seems to be out of vogue with most quilters these days, I still enjoy the look and the process. So, I volunteered to hand quilt a panel for the new upcoming Alzheimer's Exhibit. To learn more, click here.

The panel is 6" wide x 7 feet long, consisting of 55 signature patches. Though many quilters aren't comfortable stitching in a hoop/frame.....I'm a firm believer that this is the very best way to achieve uniform stitches and to avoid distortion.

Here's my method of securing smaller work in a frame (I use a 11" x 17" Q-Snap frame)....this is a great trick you can use to quilt the final border of a quilt!

First, make a muslin 'casing' with a 2"-3" long extension.

The casing or sleeve needs to be large enough to slip over the PVC frame.

For this project, I've got two on each lengthwise side. The narrow panel was pinned to each of the muslin extenders and the PVC clips secured as usual. The short sides of the PVC frame utilizes the clips in the usual manner. (Refer to top photo for a full view)

In this view of the wrong side of the quilt sandwich (white threads are the basting) can see the muslin pinned on either side of the quilt.

Here's a detail of the hand quilting from the wrong side. I was a bit concerned the quilting would be difficult because the backing is batik, but since the batting is a thin poly, I'm not having any trouble. However, my fingers are a tad sore as it's been awhile since I've hand quilted. I pondered for quite awhile over what quilt motif to use and finally settled on overlapping circles.....since we are all in this quest to raise money for Alzheimer's Research together!