Friday, July 31, 2009


I know.....this photo makes no sense to you.....but it does to directionally challenged as I am.......I recognize this view from the window on my 3rd. flight of the's Madison, WI.......nice and flat....grid roadways!!

My flights went fairly smoothly, except for the coffee that got spilled on my jacket, which is probably seat mate was super embarrassed about the blunder....but after all it was an accident. I am trying to remember something my pal Bobbie Aug recently mentioned after her lap top got stolen.......she said........well it's bad.......but not as bad a cancer...........

Anyone who knows me.....knows I'm a hotel snob in part it's because I sleep sooo badly, so I need all the comfort I can get. When I was told I was going to be housed at the Holiday Inn....I cringed.........but apparently that chain has been in process of upgrading their properties and from what I've seen, it's a thumbs up!!

Ribbon covered pillows on the beds alert you whether it's soft or hard.

Large flat screen TV keeps you in touch........

Charming vintage black and white photos are sprinkled around in the halls, guestrooms, dining room, and lobby. Many featured old Holiday Inns....which may take you down memory lane.

NOW....this flipped my lid........if I'd had seen it in a big city.....okay I'd get it....but in Madison, WI at a Holiday Inn?!?!'s about that.....dining & watching a personal flat screen in the booth....oh MY!!!!

This is all a reminder to me......that each there will be something we can appreciate.....all we need to do is take the time to enjoy it. Keep your eyes open for new sites and sounds....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm heading out to my home state of Wisconsin, to teach for Wisconsin Quilters , their state quarterly meeting will be held in Madison, WI.....a mere 45 mins. from our recent homestead in Brodhead, WI.

I'll be looking forlornly at all of the Culver's restaurants until (hopefully) there will be a chance for me to consume more calories than is sensible in one sitting feasting on their Chocolate Concrete Malt. (1,259 calories....oh my!)

Students will be making this bead embellished wool-felt scissors sheath. It's a great introduction to working with wool-felt and some eye-catching beading techniques.

My lecture is titled: Wool Collage - What's Old Is New Again! It provides lots of practical information about how to work with wool-felt, creating both traditional 'penny-rug' style wall quilts and contemporary designs as well. Here are two examples of my designs.

This subject is fully covered in my most recent book "Embellishing With Felted Wool" which can be ordered here. If you prefer to be billed with Pay me using the link on the upper right side bar of this blog.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Each year I try to make several significant pieces for the Alzheimer's Priority Quilt Auction event held in the fall at Quilt Festival in Houston.

I just finished my first piece, and for the 2nd year in a row, both of my donations pieces will feature beading on wool felt. It's titled "Inner Strength", measuring 9" x 12" (to comply with the guidelines)'s the process.....

I marked a 8" x 11" rectangle onto a non-fusible lightweight stabilizer, rough cutting it out with about a 1" margin. Next, using a permanent pen, I traced my design (which I had previously worked out on paper) positioning it in a pleasing manner.

The stabilizer was then thread basted to a slightly larger rectangle of wool felt along the outside lines. I do this because when viewed from the right side, I always know where my outside edge is.

Now, viewing from that right side, you can see the white basting thread along the outside edges and some machine stitching which constitutes the branches and stems of my design. That stitching was done from the stabilized side, following the marked lines. This step not only quickly transfers much of the design, it also strengthens the fabric which helps to provide further support for the beads.

The machine stitched lines will be hidden beneath the beading, however, because of the beading pattern I was planning on using for the leaves, I decided to hand baste their shape (again following the marked lines on the wrong side). The hand basting can be easily removed once the leaf has been beaded.

The center branches have been beaded and about half of the leaves are now complete. As is my practice, I ALWAYS bead in a Q-snap was removed for this photo.

The beading is now completely finished. Before trimming the top, I decided to add hand embroidered french knots to the background for a little more texture.

Then I remeasured and remarked to assure a 8" x 10" shape before taking the final step of cutting away the excess fabric.

I used a rotary cutter with a wavy blade to provide more interest to the edge. Naturally, a backing is necessary to hide the stabilizer and protect the threads. So, using a darker green wool felt, I cut a rectangle 9 1/4" x 12 1/4". The top was then centered on this backing and thread basted together.

In this finished view, you can see how the layers are permanently held together by beading along the center wave cut edge. Remember, I cut the backing slightly larger than necessary......this gives me wiggle room for any uneven stretching that may occur during this final beading step. So, to complete the piece, I trimmed the outside edge of the backing to 9" x 12".

I hope some of you will be at Quilt Festival and take the opportunity to bid on this piece for a very worthy cause.

Project #2 is already designed, beads all I need is some time to stitch it!! Stay tuned......

Monday, July 27, 2009


Here's some more eye candy from the AQS show......the winners are posted here.

Today I've concentrated on a few photos from two of the special exhibits.

A South Carolina group organized a creative challenge to bring awareness of breast cancer by decorating bras. It was great fun seeing all their clever ideas.

Nursing Bra - Anne Duncan

This sewing related theme was made by Jackie Price.

The 'green/red' quilt display was are three examples......unfortunately the signage was too far away to enable me to credit the makers names....... hope you will enjoy their efforts.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Our small fiber art group....PTA.....entered the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge....our 8 quilts were accepted. We didn't earn a ribbon....but the event was a wonderful road trip for 7 of us yesterday.

Our 'challenge' was to create a 32" square quilt featuring a letter of the word LAUGHTER, which we drew from a paper bag. Upon retrospect, we know our pieces weren't as cohesive as they might have been.....but no regrets on our part....... This group works and plays together ver well.

I hope you enjoy our little display....unfortunately the hanging system and the poor lighting didn't show our work off at its best. They will all be exhibited at the Biltmore Estates in the fall where I'm sure they will shine.

"L" - made by Connie Brown

"A" - made by Mary Stori

"U" - made by Barbara Swinea

"G" - made by Georgia Bonesteel

"H" - made by Lynne Harrill

"T" - made by Jodie Smith

"E" - made by Kate Weston

"R" - made by Dort Lee

Friday, July 24, 2009


I've had the honor of judging most of the large and many smaller guild quilt shows over the last 20+ years of teaching. Today I was at the other a volunteer helper for the first of two days of judging for the Asheville Quilt Guild's Annual Quilt Show which will be held at the WNC Arborteum - Aug. 7-9, 2009.

It's always a great show and this year is no exception.....the quilts are fabulous!

Most of you have never seen the inner workings of quilt judging, so perhaps you are curious.
Each group/association handles this task differently, in part due to facility availability. Many shows held at large conference venues will have us judge the quilts as they are already hung. Others, like AQG must hang the quilts just prior to the show, which doesn't allow for the two days necessary for the judges to properly view and critique them.

Our guild uses a large, well lighted room at the Arboretum. The day before judging begins, all entered quilts are dropped off by their owners, along with the proper entry forms. Each is assigned a number and placed in its proper category. Since there are over 300 entries in this show, with amateur and professionals separated, that adds up.

As judging begins on the first of the two days, here's a view of the room.......groups of quilts have protective coverings and await the judges.

This is a long view as the two judges begin, viewing and selecting ribbon winners from each category. First the quilts are fanned to give them a quick each one is held up by two holders as the judges decide whether to 'hold' or 'release' the quilt. The 'held' quilts are then further examined, one by one as they are critiqued....and the 'release' process continues until the 3 ribbon places are awarded. (Sometimes more if honorable mentions or a other special award is given.) Scribes note the judges comments which will be presented to the quilt's owner at the end of the show.

From all the first place ribbon winners in every category, a BEST OF SHOW quilt is selected....which bumps up the second and third place winners one position in that specific category.

The judges make thoughtful comments, both positive and constructive about the design, workmanship, fabrics etc. Though the maker must remember, it's only the opinion of the judges that can help to provide guidance for improvement.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Judi Gunter

Judi Gunter, a certified NQA judge presented a program for the Asheville Quilt Guild's monthly meeting. Her collection of antique quilts and other memorabilia were featured in her lecture focusing on First Ladies of this country. Beginning with Martha Washington, she told interesting tid bits about how each piece related to the life and times of that time period.

I wish I'd had taken notes so I could share the history of these photos......hopefully you'll have the opportunity to hear her speak sometime. But, please enjoy these vintage pieces....

Monday, July 20, 2009


There couldn't have been a nicer finale to the close of Quilt Fest 2009 then a farewell dinner at the home of the owner of Tennessee Quilts, one of the best quilt shops I've ever set foot in. If you are ever near Joneborough or Johnson City, TN.......stop in. Heck, even if you aren't near....make it a point to go! If you are attending the AQS Knoxville show this our their booth too.

The conference was as well organized as I've ever had the pleasure of working. No detail was too small......I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Linda's home is about 20 mins. outside of Jonesborough......and what a view. It's on family property which they've farmed for generations. They own just about as far as you can see....well at least to the tree line from this view.

Her home is tastefully decorated with QUILTS prominently displayed!! Linda custom designed these three panels to fit into the high front hall entry alcove. I hadn't realized she was such a fan of kinda gal.....the bead fringe on the pieces was the perfect touch.

I couldn't resist asking her who hung this quilt which was at least 20 feet from the floor......her painter!

Here's another......

Of course here sewing room was to die for.......she has a magnificent view overlooking their property.....plenty of storage, a big design wall......and one of those new electric adjustable sewing tables. We were all pea green at the thought of such a luxury! This gal works she deserves it.

As I was leaving the Inn in the morning.......hauling my suitcases down the brick sidewalk to my car.......I was greeted by this hot air balloon. Life is good!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


How can you spot a quilter? By the threads on their clothing......

After the evening banquet Friday night for Quilt Fest 2009, we teachers strolled down the charming brick streets of downtown Jonesborough, TN toward the Inn where we were housed. Happily, we stumbled upon 'Music on the Square" which is a free concert every Friday night during the summer. As you can see, it's well attended.

The lively band woke us up so we hung around for about a hour tapping our toes to Wolf Creek.
I was particularly impressed with their sign.......Litter is a HUGE problem in Western North Carolina......beyond belief actually. I appreciate their effort to remind attendees not to litter and hopefully, that will translate actions beyond that evening.

Many folks brought their dogs to join the fun........this pup was very friendly. When we asked what breed it was....the owner said: Tennessee Love Child. Clever......

Saturday, July 18, 2009


At the end of day 2 of teaching.......5 teachers and all their 'stuff', plus a driver.....were crammed into a vehicle for our return to the hotel.........despite a long day.....we are still all smiling...

Sue Nickels still looks comfortable.......even sitting on a seat belt clip!

Each noon hour, one faculty member presents a lecture......Jo Morton wowed us with her precious small traditional quilts......

Here's my sweet room in the Historic Eurkea Inn in Jonesorough, TN.......
a lovely place to stay....