25 May


I am proud to say that ‘Murica, from my Security Blanket series, is part of Quilt National ’15, the nineteenth international juried competition for new, innovative quilts, and that I can now share it publicly!

Murica horiz web

The flag is made up of many guns appliquéd from used clothing and other household textiles, and then outlined in a variety of hand embroidered stitches commonly used on crazy quilts.


I think it’s pretty self explanatory. For me, it essentially represents America’s obsession with guns, and specifically the craziness of the human toll it takes in the name of safety. Hopefully it’s open enough that others are able to infuse some of their own interpretations as well. I hope it’s a conversation starter.

This quilt and many others in a variety of aesthetic approaches and subject matter can be seen in the cloth from May 23rd – September 7th, 2015 at The Dairy Barn Arts Center, and then in smaller traveling groups for the next two years.

05 Apr

It’s Scraptastic

It started here, about four years ago when, inspired by a vintage quilt of my mom’s, I decided to sew all my scraps together into “bricks” and make a quilt.

I made progress sewing together more scrap bricks here, and here, in 2012.

I finished the first of four quilts made from the scraps in September 2013, and the second in November. The third is somewhere in there too, but since I didn’t blog it, it doesn’t exist.

But now, I’ve gone from this:

Scrap Piles

and this:

Three tops, still more scraps!

to these!

Scrap Quilts

Scrap Quilts

Scrap Quilts

16 Feb

Blorange Done

My Scrappy Trips Around the World quilt is done. You may remember it from this post, where I was trying to use up leftovers from my pixelated Selfie portrait, but needed to restrain the colors a bit to keep it from getting too ugly.

Blorange Quilt

That said, it’s still pretty much a scrap vomit quilt. I do like the insert of the smaller squares here and there!

Blorange Quilt


It was supposed to be just blues and oranges (brown counts as dark orange) but I needed one more column, so I allowed purples. As far as I’m concerned it’s a utilitarian bed quilt and I’ll never worry about anything that happens to it. I also used it as my first big long arm quilting practice. I used the pantograph method where I’m moving the machine head to follow a pattern indicated on a screen. I’m actually wobblier trying to follow a line on a screen than I am “drawing” directly on the quilt, but it was good practice and I definitely wasn’t ready to quilt this big a quilt completely freehand. Oh, and yes, I did have the rug above the bed in mind while I was making this quilt — I thought the diamond in the rug pattern and the diamond in Trip Around the World would speak to each other nicely.



Blorange back

The back is most of the body print tests I did for “Exposed,” my TSA inspired quilt that is currently in the Privacy in America show. The back is much more sedate, but all those ghostly bodies on the bed kinda freaks me out.

09 Feb

Improv Handbook: The Process

Last year I volunteered to be a test quilter for Sherri Lynn Wood’s upcoming book The Improv Handbook (it will debut at QuiltCon and be available through Amazon on March 17th). What appealed to me in Sherri’s proposal was that the book would not have specific how-to patterns, but would inspire makers to create their own designs based on inspirational “scores.” Examples in the book were to be in a range of styles and experience levels. Ultimately, my quilt did not make it into the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed making it — and only wish I had had more time to commit to the process because the more I worked on the score, the more options emerged. I could have easily made three quilts from the ideas that were spurred by the prompts in the Flying Geese score I was assigned.

So, here’s a glimpse of how I made my quilt “Nene” (named for the state bird of Hawai’i which happens to be a type of goose).
The begining
I chose fabrics based on a favorite painting in the room where I was likely to use the quilt.

Kunia Painting



Sewing a Flying Geese block
Then I made a bunch of flying Geese blocks (without measuring or using rulers).


Flying Geese block
What if I stretched out the proportions?


Improvisational Flying Geese
What if I “outlined” the geese? I really wish I had made a bunch more of these. As I ran out of time, I wanted to make a whole quilt with just this style block.


Flying Geese blocks
I made lots of geese.


Improv Flying Geese blocks
I made so many that I had lots of leftovers.


"Nene" in progress
I started out thinking I might make an abstracted version of the landscape in the painting.


Improv Dutchman's Puzzle block
But I made some Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks and liked where that was going.


"Nene" quilt in progress
They looked pretty good alternating with solid color blocks. That might be too tame though.


"Nene" quilt
Ultimately my quilt became something between the two ideas. Clusters of more complicated blocks, surrounded by larger swaths of fabric, vaguely reminiscent of a landscape.


“Nene” detail.

I have not seen The Improv Handbook yet, but based on my experience as a test quilter, I am very much looking forward to seeing the final product. I wish Sherri all the best and hope that her book is a smash hit at QuiltCon!


14 Nov

Houston Quilt Festival 2014 (part 2)

I took a lot of photos of quilts that were interesting to me in one way or another. They are not particularly good photos, so part of me feels like I am doing a disservice to the makers of those quilts. On the other hand, I know that those who can’t make it to a particular show often enjoy seeing even a part of it vicariously through those who did go. I know that I’m often that person. So, here’s a completely subjective, not at all cohesive or inclusive, handful of quilts that I enjoyed seeing at the Quilt Festival in Houston.

The big draw is IQF’s annual World of Beauty show. It’s the one with the big prizes and about a million categories. The big prize winners were impressive as always and can be seen on IQF’s website. Overall, I tended to like the second place winners best.

Growth by Maria Elkins
Growth by Maria Elkins. I just loved the ovoid shapes and the way the colors gradate from pastel to jewel and the background from dark grey to white. It’s a refreshing change from the currently popular rainbow method of organizing color. I don’t remember which category this was in.


GMOs Gone Wild by Betsy Brandt-Kreutz
GMOs Gone Wild by Betsy Brandt-Kreutz in the Art-Abstract, Small, category attracted me with it’s wild milifiori look. We decided that it was definitely a commitment to a look, and I have to respect that conviction. This may have been in the Embellished category. I like that too — embellished but without the usual glitz.


Eight Branchlets by Janet Steadman
Eight Branchlets by Janet Steadman. I think this was in the Art Quilt, small, category. I really liked the crafts(wo)manship on this. Also, it’s just plain lovely.


The Messenger by Marlene Shae
I found The Messenger by Marlene Shae in the Whimsical category to be utterly enchanting. I love the somewhat folkloric style of the illustration and the fabric choices. I’d love to see an entire book illustrated with quilts like this.


Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred
Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred was my favorite in the digital imagery category. There were a few variations on this multiple versions of a single image theme, but I think one was done the best. I appreciate that the ground fabric is patterned and I like the insertion of contrasting fabrics within each image as well as the addition of Flying Geese motifs.

Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred (detail)
Shared Destiny, detail


Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner
Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner used miles of satin stitch in an interesting way. This also may have been in the Embellished category.

Towers and Spires by Paula Tanner (detail)
Towers and Spires, detail


Hudson Trader by Coleen Wise
Hudson Trader by Coleen Wise. You can’t go wrong with blue and white. I like how this one seems pretty traditional and basic at first glance, but then you notice the illusion of the spheres and the subtle changes in their size and it just becomes sublime. Well, to me at least.


Somewhat, but not too surprisingly, I absolutely loved the exhibit of 500 Traditional Quilts. There was no photography allowed, so I have nothing to share. There is wonderful, inspiring, and varied work in the collection though so I may have to buy the catalog (along with the catalog for the Walsh collection we saw at the Quilt Museum in La Grange).


Another special exhibit that is always a favorite of mine is Tactile Architecture.

Rooflines #8 by Colleen Kole
Rooflines #8 by Colleen Kole is to me a perfect combination of quiltiness and implied imagery. It’s also influenced by both the quilts of Gee’s Bend and Nancy Crow/Lisa Call, but too derivative.


Rooflines #2 by Colleen Kole
No surprise that her other entry, Rooflines #2, appealed to me too. This one is more derivative of the School of Nancy Crow/Lisa Call, but appropriate and well executed and therefore no less appealing to me.


Bedolina Threads by Maggie Vanderweit
And for something completely different, I loved the stitchiness of Bedolina Threads by Maggie Vanderweit.


I couldn’t enter Zeitgeist into the World of Beauty show because I paid for it to be long-arm quilted (entries by more than one person must be collaboration — no work for hire), so I submitted it to the Modern Quilt Showcase for another stab at it being seen in Houston. It was rejected, and so I was curious to see what quilts were ultimately chosen. As I suspected, my cat would not have fit in the exhibit because though it might appeal to a “modern” audience, it does not exemplify Modern quilting. I did enjoy seeing what does exemplify the movement though. Two of my favorites:

Entropy by Elisa Albury
Entropy by Elisa Albury

City Center by Angie Henderson
City Center by Angie Henderson


The pursuit of Happiness by Robin Felton
The Farm to Table special exhibit was also predominantly Modern in it’s aesthetic. I just loved The Pursuit of Happiness by Robin Felton for it’s bold simplicity and nod to both furrows and flag.


Finally, these cheerful mola-style dogs kept jumping out at me from the It’s Raining Cats and Dogs exhibit.

Los Perros de Panama by Kathleen Kennedy-Dennis
Los Perros de Panama by Kathleen Kennedy-Dennis

23 Oct

Baby Quilts

Lots of them.

I started my quilting journey making baby quilts for friends. These days most of my friends are parents of teens so there’s not too much need for baby quilts. But every now and then the opportunity arises, and last year friends we met in Hawai’i conceived twins after much trying. Twin quilts — fun! There would need to be two, and they’d have to be the same, but different.

Twin Quilt 1
I started with this one. The mom is stylish and modern so I knew this was the perfect opportunity to make a houndstooth quilt which I’d been eyeing for a while. All the colors were chosen to be gender neutral and to coordinate with some absolutely adorable forest themed fabric my daughter chose for the backing.

Twin Quilt 2
I tried plaid to go with the houndstooth for the second quilt, but the scale was wrong, so I went with tried and true triangles. I really like this one.

Unfortunately, the twins didn’t make it. So, I didn’t finish the quilts. The good news though, is that mom and dad tried again and they are now expecting their first daughter any day! When the baby shower was announced, I knew I didn’t want to give them the original twin quilts. The karma just wasn’t right. So I jumped right back in to make a quilt that was related, but it’s very own.

Baby quilt

I was in an improv quilt kind of mood so I started with a motif from the backing fabric and built around it in a modified log cabin style. I like it, but something just wasn’t quite right yet. I still had a bunch of fabric left over, so I kept going.

Baby Quilt

Simple and slightly floral.

Baby Quilt

Yes, that will do.

Baby Quilt

Now we are all just waiting for baby to arrive so she can be wrapped up in this and drag it around with her for many years to come. I will finish off the twin quilts and the log cabin and will eventually donate them to a good cause.

07 Oct


About a year ago the United States was slogging through a government shutdown. I went to DC and sat for a small while deconstructing an American flag as a metaphor for what I saw our congress doing. I blogged about it here. Since then, I have used those flag parts for several art quilts. One was as a base for “Dominant” which was shown in SAQA’s regional show Tarnish last May.

I haven’t shared my second piece as yet because I decided to submit it to Quilt National. Today, I found out that one of the two pieces I submitted was accepted (yay!) and so the other was rejected (also yay because now I can share it!).

DeathShroud_detail web

Death Shroud for Democracy” is constructed of a deconstructed flag, used clothing, and a vintage sheet. It should be obvious that it references the Shroud of Turin. Death Shroud expresses my frustration and disappointment with the state of American politics particularly since 2010.

Death Shroud web

I probably should have more to say about this piece, but I’m not sure I need or want to put it into words. I suspect everyone can have their own conversation with it. As for the other, somewhat related, piece that DID get into Quilt National, we’ll have to wait until May 2015 to see that one.

26 Sep

Quilting Arts!


The October/November issue is in stores now, and I have not one, but two pieces in it! QA gave Dinner@8 Artists a nice write up and features seven of the 33 pieces in the show. My Selfie was one of the seven. I’m pleased that they included a detail photo as well as the overall piece since my quilt is so much about the myriad fabrics that make it up. I went to the framing store to pick up some artwork today, and one of the ladies there is also a fiber artist. She had already read this issue of QA and recognized my work. We talked about the piece a bit, and she hadn’t realized that it included a square from every fabric in my stash. I was VERY brief with my statement, so maybe I should have written more. Or maybe all those fabrics will be a secret to uncover while enjoying the patchwork.


The exhibit will debut at the Houston quilt show in October/November. I plan on going with my friend Deborah and am looking forward to not only talking to people about the show, but meeting other quilt artists whose work I admire. I love putting names to faces, so if you’re going to Houston too, let me know.

As an extra added bonus, one of the “Breast Pockets” I made for Melanie Testa’s project is featured in the magazine too (as are pockets by friends Natalya and Vivien)


And if that’s not enough, yet another friend, Lorie, is a featured artist in the same issue! Obviously, this issue is a must-buy, collectors item.