Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Last Quilt Comments for 2008- isn't life a curious thing!

Happy New Year Everyone!! May 2009 be your best year yet!

Here are a few last interesting quilt things from 2008 I want to share with you.

First is an article in about some Mennonite and
Amish appliqué quilts for sale in Lancaster county, PA but not being made there. What struck me as I read it was the fact that appliqué quilts have never been a hallmark of traditional Lancaster, PA quilts. But that was not their point to make. I first heard about Amish quilts being made outside of the US in the 1990s. This article runs down one main source of needleworked applique.

Next is an article about women scientists, mostly specializing in neuroanatomy, who are also fiber artists. See how they have combined their passions. There is an online Museum dedicated to exhibiting the results of this combo. Maybe you have a quilt to offer them?

Lastly, have you taken Martha Stewart's textile quiz? Check it out. I got all but 1 right. How did you do?

Oh what the heck- here are some completely unrelated, but significant recommendations from me to you as you begin 2009- I'm talkn' serious girl stuff here :)

1. SEE on the big screen "The Curious Life of Benjamin Buttons." It is probably the best movie that has been made in my lifetime. The message is what I am referring to; the acting, screenplay and visuals are superb too.

2.If you like Seal's music, and are a baby boomer like me, you will love his newest album of the blues and Motown songs from the 20th century, SealSoul.

3. If you get tiny fat deposits under your eyes, use Sudden Change Night Repair Eye Cream and they will quickly go away. They form from putting creams under your eye area.

4. If you have a daughter or granddaughter who is aged 10 to 14, get her the book "The Tale of Alice's Quilt" by Jennifer Blomgren. It is so delightful! It is about an 11 year old girl learning her family history while also learning to quilt. She decides to make family heirloom butterfly blocks into a quilt. The 92 page book includes the pattern and instructions. There is a watercolor picture at the start of each chapter, making this a wonderful gift book too.

5. Join me in the new year for inspirational telephone talks with quilters and women in quilt related careers and businesses at Women On Quilts where women seam together business and spirit in the creative arts. This could be a new way to learn and grow for all of us. The first call in 2009 is Jan. 8 with author, publisher and book coach, Lynne Klippel. Are you self-sabotaging that book you want to write? Sign up to recieve notices for the next tel-event or interview on

Piece to you and those you quilt with,

Subscribe by Email or Feed

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Think Like an Artist with Pamela Allen

little girl who loved horses triplet         Pamela Allen's infectious enthusiasm for spontaneous quilt making had me sketching before the end of this rich two-hour DVD. I seldom sketch, but the dozens of quilts she showed inspired me! The irony of that response is that Pam would not recommend sketching at all. No. Scissors are her drawing tool.                                  

She just dives right into cutting three values of fabric into  pieces big enough to cover the backing and batting she pre-prepares by spray basting them. Her quilting and embellishing hold the layers of her pictorial wall-hanging fiber art together. little girl who loved horsesdet

Pamela thinks in pictures; I would bet on it. She loves putting symbolism in her quilting stitches and her appliquéd pictures. She draws from her childhood up to her current life for inspiration. Her fabrics are of every fiber and type, including stretch knits. Mostly she buys clothing at thrift stores to gather her stash. She loves to touch her pictures. She appliqués the pieces by hand, using floss and big stitches on the scissor-cut edge and other stitches for decoration and portraying the symbolism she wants you to see. Stitching is an element she uses extensively, with or without embellishments - texture abounds in her art. (**bag of embellishments)

tooth fairydetail Pamela's quilt style stimulates conversation and invites the viewer to look longer and discover her many elements . About half of the DVD is like a gallery visit, where we are viewing her quilts while she explains her source of inspiration for the theme she had in mind. Good close-up views are included.  In the other half, we watch and listen as she goes about spontaneously making a wall hanging. It appeared her choices were not preplanned or scripted in any way. Clearly she loves making art by auditioning both fabrics and shapes. She urges the viewer to work fast to make decisions rather than go back and forth trying to decide.  It was her goal to teach us "to think like an artist." The word detached came to my mind.tooth fairy finished Don't get hung up on your favorite fabric or shape, go with what you find first that works, then stick with it.

The naturalness of her working style makes this DVD stand out from the others I have seen and enjoyed too. It is a less structured lesson and I felt Pamela came across in a very personal manner.  She even includes the bloopers as a menu option, which adds humor and appreciation for how nervous she was, but didn't show it. She makes you smile because of her passionate pursuit for the craft and it's possibilities. She describes her approach to making fabric postcards by showing before and after visuals of postcards being made.

If you prefer rules and details and specifics from a teaching wannabiteIIdet DVD, then this one definitely won't appeal to you. Pamela is totally free-wheeling - 'the anything goes if it looks good to you' approach. She takes quilting seriously and enters shows and challenges, but she likes to do it her way.

I didn't realize I already knew Pamela's work until she showed a house moving-themed quilt Rains on Moving Day 2that I took pictures of at Pacific International Quilt Festival a couple years ago. I loved how she had tiny kitchen utensils attached to the kitchen wall of the house. She titled it "It Always Rains on Moving Day" in  2005, 35"X40". Pamela says " I moved a great deal as a child and hated it. It didn't matter what the weather was really like, it always seemed to be raining.  Each room of the house has embellishments and quilting describing their function. Cutlery and utensils for the kitchen and even a quilted bath tub and toilet!"  Pamela makes any kind of knick-knack sew-able by using various tools to make holes it, which she demonstrates in the video.


Pamela's DVD is available here. There is a also a short video sampling  out-takes from the DVD.

Great job Pamela.  The quilt photos are also from Pamela, and used with her permission. Thanks for sharing your self, art and approach to art quilting.


Wannabiteii Here is the entire quilt that encapsulates the area seen in the detail photo above on the right. It is titled "WANNA BITE?" 2008,45"x42". Pamela says "I think Eve has always gotten short shrift. After all, she introduced adventure and knowledge to the human race! Hardly forbidden fruit in my opinion"

**"Think Like an Artist" bags of embellishments for your quilts are available from  The bag includes  some of your signature embellishments including plastic eggs, safety pins, dice, game pieces, keys, spools, thimbles, bobbins and much more.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Artist's Statements at Quilt Visions exhibit- some thoughts & links to past quilts

This year I was especially interested in discovering why or by what the artist was inspired.  I much prefer it when I can see what the artist is saying she or he is making visible in the piece.

Their statements for the most part were meaningful, and added to my understanding of the purpose of the quilt for the artist (from their perspective). What the artist wrote about in their statement that she/he wanted to say or project, was visible in their wall art.

It was interesting to see how the artist made the leap from a mental cognition to the fiber visual.

There is no right or wrong of course, but sometimes I just don't get the connection. 

It seemed to me in this exhibit that their statements fit the quilt, even when one or the other was quite abstract.  So what changed I wondered, me or the artist's statements?

Here you can view  quilts from past Visions exhibits.  2004 and 2006 show all of them.

This was one of my favorites in 2006, Cosmic Bicycles. Also "Primitive Door Series #30, Haunted House" was realistic looking and another favorite. Click on See All Quilts slideshow to view it.

I just came across an interesting article from an Australian magazine about a woman economist who found a connection to weaving, quilts, darning and photography. the article doesn't have pictures unfortunately, so it's a bit hard to visualize what she is referring to at times. But it fits with this post in my mind. See

Maybe some of my Australian friends and subscribers could post a comment on this with a link to visuals? it would be most appreciated.

I hope your Holidays are filled with love for you this season.



Monday, December 15, 2008

Quilt Visions 2008 exhibit- Contemporary Expressions

You are so lucky!! No photography is allowed at this art quilt exhibit in Oceanside CA, but they have wonderful brochures with pictures!  I liked many of the quilts in the exhibit, but the two that took my vote (only in my mind, it's a juried exhibit) were on the brochure- yeah!

Diana Goulston Robinson Facade sm

  This all fabric quilt was made by Diane Goulston Robinson, titled Facade. It was like looking through a window when I first came upon it hanging alone on a short wall. It is an incredibly accurate depiction of a building reflected in a glass building across the street.  Can you believe Diane used upholstery fabrics among many other types of fabrics?

Karin Franze Pirouette 4


My other favorite is in aqua and tan shades of layered  illusions on shear fabrics, AND upholstery fabrics, rough cut to blend in ways you hardly noticed but made perfect ground and wings. A beautiful quilt that felt delicate and powerful at the same time.


Mariam Nathan-Roberts Red Temple


This is Red Temple by Miriam Nathan-Roberts. Looks like a wooden ceiling or furniture. All fabric. Amazing.



The top quilt photo(right) is only a small section o2 Pelish app & geo Noble-rileyf a raw edge 8 or 10 foot long wall hanging. I am guessing on the length, but it is very wide and less tall. BIG. Close up you see layers and layers of myriad of fabrics; stand back and a scene of friends sitting around and one playing music forms. Exquisite.


The second photo is also smaller than the wall art, but shows what it mostly looks like. It keeps your attention for quite awhile, as it is interesting to look at. Symmetry is no where to be found, yet you think you can find it. I also liked the colors.


Quilt Visions 2008 will hang at the Oceanside Museum of Art (just north of San Diego) until March 1, 2009. It is without question worth your time. There is a book if you can't make it. The quilt exhibit is every other year. For directions and hours,

Oceanside Museum of Art



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peggy Martin's Paper Piecing


I met Peggy quite by chance at the Long Beach International Quilt Festival this summer. She and I both attended Yvonne Porcella's lecture. We ooed 'n awed at the same things so striking up a conversation was easy. It was then that she told me her name and I told her I had just ordered her DVD about her method for quick paper piecing. Never had I put the two words together in one sentence before! Truly her method is quick and now I can make the mariner's compass and other stars that have eluded me over the years of admiring them in antique quilts.

Peggy made the purse she's carrying in the exemplifies her color choices, saturated warm colors and black and white. her compass stars will look different than mine, well most of them :0)

Peggy Martin's years of quilt teaching experience make's her technique DVD excellent. Rightly named "Peggy Martin Teaches You Quick-Strip Paper Piecing." Peggy's attention to detail is the frosting on the paper pieced quilt you can make in no time compared to non-strip pieced methods. Much less time is spent ironing, cutting, sewing and she wants you to make multiple copies from your printer. The DVD provides two patterns to download and she has a copyright free stamp on the patterns in her two books; "Quick-Strip Paper Piecing" and "Paper Piece the Quick-Strip Way."

Let's face it, most paper piecing patterns are full of angles that make guessing impossible, so trial and error or checking and rechecking or ripping out and starting over are a part of the process. This turned me off in the past. Peggy's patterns are clearly marked and using her strip-piecing method together with them eliminates the guess work and eliminates steps making it a faster process. Some checking is required, but no more than on regular piecing as the 1/4 inch seam allowance still applies.

In the DVD Peggy makes two patterns, one totally made from angles for beginners and the other a compass star. She shows a variety of quilts one can make from the featured pattern blocks. Of course there are more variations.

She covers preparing the fabric, tools to use, ironing tips, sewing with excellent close-up photography and a clear narrative following her thinking as she progresses. It doesn't sound like a script is being read, she's into it and we are the benefactors. This DVD makes the process sensible and doable.

Peggy covers every question you would ask and repeats the answers when the situation arises during the instructions. I didn't have a question left when the DVD was over. After that I was pleasantly surprised to see there was more. Peggy talks about her beginnings as a teacher, shows us her studio and her quilts. this DVD is #14 in C&T's "At Home With the Experts" series.

As I always say- Piece!


Subscribe by Email or Feed

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Charm Quilt Returns

Charms for Charity Contest Michele Foster who runs the Quilt Gallery, an online quilter's blog directory and more, is holding a charm quilt contest this month. Michele lives in Ottawa Canada. She, along with her quilting freinds and family, want to make charm quilts for the charity Victoria's Quilt Canada using fabric squares from all over the world. Let's help her!

She requests 6 5" charm squares (meaning they are 6 different 100% cotton fabrics) be sent to in a regular mailing envelope. Your name will be entered into a drawing for receiving a set of 36 charm blocks back!

Click on her icon for shipping info and more details. If the icon above isn't showing click here for the webpage
This is another historical quilt style coming back to us in the 21st century. Hurry as this ends Dec. 31.

I'm going to cut my charms now. Thanks Michele- this is a great idea. It's easy and fast for us at a busy time of year.


Subscribe by Email or Feed