Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I recently came across a book about blessings and after a few weeks of exercising 'blessings', I've got to say, it's a life changing way to see the world and the other people who share it with us.  A lot of the information wasn't new to me but the way the author brought it all together was reveolutionary. 

I think we often think of blessing another person in terms of the people we like or love but the author encourages us to bless those people who not only dislike us but who hate us just as Jesus did and he was the master of blessing the people who hated and mocked him.  

So in this election season which will dominate the media for the next year, step back and instead of taking part in the negative verbal onslaught, take the time to form your thoughts and words into blessings.  If blessing doesn't come easy because you feel like you might be condoning ideas or actions that you believe are wrong then remember that a blessing is speaking the favor of God over a person or situation and He only wants the best for all of His creation.  God can't bless that which is wrong or evil and He is certainly the best one to sort out which is which.  So when your co-worker, a crazy driver or someone you love, does something and you feel hurt or angry, take a moment and bless them instead.  Speak out God's very best for that person.  It's a start in the right direction and it's a blessing.

And by the way, the book is THE POWEROF A BLESSING  by Kerry Kirkwood. 

Machine Quilting Information and Update

A while back, during my last machine quilting class, I promised to post information about a very interesting online resource for machine quilters.  So, here it is.  The Website is daystyledesigns.com and is the work of Leah Day.  I'm sure you'll be amazed at her output of ideas for machine quilters. 

If you find it a bit overwhelming, remember that practice is important. Take some fabrics you're tired of or buy some just for the purpose of practicing, it doesn't have to be the 'good' stuff, this a good time to use up the uglies in your stash.  You'll have more control of the patterns if you can see what you're doing so try putting a solid or near solid fabric on the working side and a print on the backside.  You'll be able to see what you're doing on the solid and then how the pattern looks on the printed backside.  Be ready to go in advance so you don't have any excuses.  Assemble some practice fabric snadwiches or just some felt (2 layers) and give yourself permission to just play.

Good Quilting!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tile Applique and Welsh quilts?

Finally, Ruby Street Quiltworks has everything for the new class, Bird On A Branch, a Tile Applique Wall Quilt such as the supply list and description to go along with the finished sample.  SO, the class is scheduled for Oct. 12 &14.  This will allow a little bit of time in between the two classes for students to do some foundational work to get started so they can get the piece done in time for Christmas.  Tile applique is really simple but it comes together with such interesting detail on the finished work.  For more information, you can check out TILE QUILT REVIVAL BY C&T. 

I'm really hooked with the tile applique technique and have had plans to work it in to some scrap piecing which will then be quilted using patterns which are drawn from Welsh quilts.  After presenting my lecture on traditional Welsh and English quilts at the Great Western Quilt Show, I browsed through the quilts in the main exhibit and came across a use of appliqued patchwork on a quilt that was really creative and better yet, the quiltmaker was standing next to her quilt and I got to talk to her and see more of her work on her phone.  The quiltmaker, Margaret Teruya was from Kaneohi, Hawaii and her quilt featured a very much larger than life pineapple.  To create the texture of the pineapple, she had pieced freeform log cabin blocks and then appliqued them in curved rows to suggest the texture of the pineapple.  It put all sorts of ideas in my head as to how freeform, pieced blocks could be combined with tile applique for really unique quilts.

So, once again, there's nothing new under the sun.  Traditional tile applique will get mixed with scrap piecing and quilted with patterns inspired by old Welsh quilts to make something all 'new', if there really is such a thing.  It'll be good when it's done.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Books That Change Lives

It's appropriate to have a wallpaper of books surrounding my blog posts because I do love books.  I have hundreds of them and at times it concerns me, I've heard organizers say that to keep from being buried by your 'stuff', you should get rid of an item when you bring a new one into the house.  I thought about trying that with my books and at one time I actually had quite a few quilt books sorted out to sell.  The pile has shrunk but not because any were sold. At some moment of curiosity, I peeked inside one of them and found some little nugget of inspiration and decided the book had to stay.   I now own a NOOK which is a pretty awesome way to store and access books but I still like the feel of a real book.

Books take you places, they inspire you and let you get into the minds and lives of other people.  Books can change your life's direction.  One such book that had such an effect on me was THE PASSIONATE QUILTER by Michele Walker.  This was the British quilt book that introduced me to Welsh quilts and literally changed my life's focus.  I still love Welsh quilts and they are a big part of who I am but there have been other books that have changed my life.  The most recent of these is about finding your 'cause' in life.  It's written by George Barna, an author I'm very familiar with and a newcomer, Mattew Barnett.  Anyway, the book tells the story of Matthew Barnett and the Los Angeles Dream Center and how it came into being to serve the people of the neighborhood.  It's inspiring and challenging but it's also a life changer.  This book is in my 'top ten'.

So, what role do books have in our lives?  It'll be different for each person but I think it's tragic when a person doesn't make books part of their life.  A book encourages you to think about what you're reading and process the information.  A book isn't passive like so much of out mofern media. 

I have a book by N.T. Wright that boggles my mind but many books just tell us a good story.  Agatha Christie is an example of a great storyteller and there are many others,   Tyrants like Hitler feared and burned books and ironically, he eventually met the same fate.  So whaterver your taste in books, they can make our lives richer.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Classes, Projects and My To-Do List

It's September 2 and the cool weather is definately signaling the change of seasons.  It's been an odd summer weather wise but now that's all behind us and it's time for me to focus on upcoming classes and other loose ends such as learning how to put pictures on my blog.  I have a tendency to ignore technology until I need it so I'm almost always behind the times but some day soon there will be pictures of all sorts of things on my blog.  The pictures of my Welsh and English quilts will have to be scanned and so that basically boils down to just finding the time and someone to do it.   

A new class sample is just getting finished up for delivery to Ruby Street Quiltworks in Tumwater.  It's a 'tile applique' technique that I really love, it's super simple and beginner friendly.  Look for the class description on the Ruby Street Quiltworks website some time next week or so, I need to make a pattern off the quilt and deliver it to the shop at which time the class details and so on will be available on the website. 

I'm also teaching again at The Quilter's Junction in Centralia and one of my favorite classes is the beginning needleturn applique class.  I supply a kit for the class and it's all about learning the tricks and techniques for needleturn applique.  A lot of people make a big deal over needleturn as though it was some sort of torture process invented to torment would-be stitchers but that's just silly.  It's very satisfying and I've had the honor of watching many women become very skilled with needleturn.  But, most of all, they really enjoy the process.  Recently, I've had former students bring applique quilts that they've finished to show me and it's truly a thrill to see what they've accomplished, they inspire me.

Anyway, there are more classes in the works which I'll list in full as soon as a few details are worked out. So, until later....

It's time to make out the to-do list and get busy.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Welsh and English Quilt book list

I was asked about books at the lecture this last Friday and so here is a list.  Some of the books are out of print but you can seek them out on the net. 

The book that started it all for me was THE PASSIONATE QUILTER by Michele Walker, it's a very good one. (out of print)
TRADITIONAL BRITISH QUILTS by Dorothy Osler (out of Print)
THE QUILTS OF THE BRITISH ISLES by Janet Rae (out of print)
QUILT TREASURES, The Quilters Guild Heritage Search  pub. by the Quilters Guild of the British Isles (out of print)
QUILTS 1700-2010 Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, pub by V&A, edited by Sue Pritchard, may still be available from amazon
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF QUILTMAKING by Michele Walker (out of print)
MAKING WELSH QUILTS by Mary Jenkins and Clare Claridge, this book has been available from Edward R Hamilton Booksellers at about $7 or $8 dollars, edwardrhamiltonbooksellers.com
THE QUILTERS GUILD COLLECTION Contemporary Quilts, Heritage Inspiration, this one features a cross section of traditional and contemporay British quilts, it has also been available from Edward R Hamilton Booksellers

My own book, THE WELSH QUILTING PATTERN AND DESIGN HANDBOOK  is available from the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre

Another book that isn't Welsh or English but will be of interest is QUILTS OF PROVENCE The Art and Craft of French Quiltmaking by Kathryn Berenson, it has also been at Edward R Hamilton Booksellers

Good Luck with your book search!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Quilts Left Behind

This morning I set about sorting out the antique Welsh and English quilts that will go with me to the lecture at the Pacific West Quilt Show on Friday.  I know that particular quilts need to to go because they're the 'stars' of the collection and so I set about seeing how many of them will fit into the large suitcase with wheels.  Once in a while, I'd lift the suitcase to see how heavy it was getting because while it may have wheels, I still need to be able to get it in and out of the back of my car.  I juggled quilts between the suitcase and a large duffle bag which doesn't have wheels and it didn't take long to realize that I had to cut way back on what I could take to show because the large duffle bag would be out of the question if I had to carry it for any distance at all. 

So, two of my original Welsh quilts, an English Strippy and the gold Sanderson Star made it into the suitcase and a smaller duffle that can ride on top of the suitcase.  I still need to pack the other wheeled suitcase that my own small quilts will travel in and I figure I'll have to make two trips to and from the car.  There's no room for any more of the wonderful antique quilts. 

One of the quilts to be left behind is a beautiful English quilt.  It has a large gold sateen center framed by a wide floral printed border.  The quilting radiates out from the center and large English feathers run around the outer border area.  The unique thing about this quilt for is that the quilting design ignores the piecing.  It's a quilt you need to see to appreciate, it can't be described in a few words.

Another quilt that won't make the trip is the third Welsh quilt that I bought from Jen Jones.  This quilt is faded and very worn but the Welsh quilting patterns on it are great, it would have a interesting addition to the lecture.

The green and pink Welsh strippy won't make the trip either.  I call this quilt my Desperation Quilt, it's a product of hard times in Wales.  From a modern perspective, the quilt is ghastly.  It's pieced from forrest green and bubble gum pink strips, unusual colors, even for Wales.  The quilting on it is crude but there is a design that is easily recognized as Welsh but it's been stitched in heavy red thread and the knots weren't buried, they're all over the quilt.  And while the circle quilted in the center may have been marked to start with, I think the entire rest of the quilt was quilted freehand because the quilting lines are all over the place.  The quilt has old clothing, probably wool, inside of it.  I figure that somebody needed a bed covering so this quilt was made to do the job.  It's very primitive but I love it, it's one of those quilts that I wish could talk and tell me about the people who made it.

I'd love to take more of the quilts but the problem for this lecture in Tacoma is that I'm really not sure how far I'll have to tote the quilts from my car into the convention center.  I've been assured that there is plenty of parking but that isn't very reassuring on the first morning of a major quilt show which expects to draw a large crowd. 

I'd like to make all my old British quilts available for people to see and study, there's a lifetime's inspiration in them.  One of my ideas is to do a workshop of sorts.  I'd do a session where people could study the quilts up close, one at a time.  Then we could do a workshop on how to mark the quilt top.  If you're interested, let me know.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Up and running

Blogging.  If anyone had told me a year ago that I'd have a blog, I would have thought they had lost their marbles but after seeing some of the amazing blogs out 'there', I couldn't resist.  So at last, my blog is up and running.  It may be very simple in the beginning but my goal initially (and most urgently) is to use it as a way to post my class schedule.  So, please be very patient while I get everything listed which will probably come after this coming weekend after the lecture at Tacoma is finished.