Saturday, December 5, 2009

Win this book: Threadwork Unraveled by Sarah Ann Smith


I’ve been online friends with Sarah Ann Smith for several years, but just met her at Quilt Market and Festival this fall, and guess what? She has a great new book just out, too! To celebrate, we are both giving away copies of our books. Leave a comment here on my blog after this post, and you can enter to win her book or her Nourish pattern (see photo below). Go to Sarah’s blog, where she is reviewing my book, Appliqué Petal Party, leave a comment after her post, and you can enter to win my book or my Pinata Purse pattern. Double the fun!

I’ll draw a winner at random from those who post by noon on Monday, Dec. 16.

Here is a photo of Sarah’s beautiful quilt, Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul :


Threadwork Unraveled (AQS, 2009, 111 pages, $28.95) is both an excellent reference book on how to use thread to enhance pieced and appliqued quilts, and an inspiring look at how some of today’s best quilt artists are using thread in their work. Best of all, Sarah’s sparkling personality and sense of humor shine through on every page. (Kudos to the AQS editor who was smart enough not to edit out Sarah’s unique voice.)

Threadwork Unraveled provides an amazing amount of information about:
  • thread – weights and plies, strength, how it is made, different types of thread and their advantages and disadvantages, and how to select the right type of thread for your project.
  • needles – sizes, structure, types, when to change needles, selecting needles for different kinds of threads, and troubleshooting tips.
  • sewing machine basics – throat plate, feet, harp, lighting, speed control, tension, thread path, using a thread stand. Note: This section would be particularly informative for those trying to determine which features they want when purchasing a new machine.
  • workspace and ergonomics issues – the sewing surface, chairs, and proper body positioning.
  • foundations – stabilizers (tear-away, heat-away, wash-away, cut-away/leave in; freezer paper; coffee filters and dryer sheets; machine tape; copy paper/tracing paper), hoops and batting.
  • marking tools – pencils, chalk, pens, scoring tools, transfer paper, how to mark a quilt and how to remove markings.
  • applique – using thread to outline machine applique, and as a design element on its own; using thread to tone down, shade and highlight; stitching options (straight stitch, blind hem, blanket stitch, zigzag stitch, satin stitch, decorative stitches); and using thread to add visual texture, contrast and value.
  • machine quilting – quilt top, backing, batting, basting, alternatives to pin basting, starting and stopping, stitch length, speed, getting sharp points, practice tips, stitching density, blocking, quilting designs.
But this is not just an excellent reference book. There’s also lots of eye candy, beautiful examples by both Sarah and other accomplished fiber artists (Hollis Chatelain, Gloria Hansen, Joan Hawley, Jane Sassaman, Pamela Allen and more).

In my mind, Sarah’s information on tension (both in the top thread path and in the bobbin) and how to solve tension issues is well worth the entire price of the book. When I teach machine free-motion quilting, at least half of my students’ problems are tension related. Sarah explains these issues in a straight-forward, step-by-step way that will be useful to quilters of all experience levels.

The section of the book that inspired me most was the machine quilting section. Using lots of examples from her own work and that of other exceptional art quilters, Sarah ponders many issues quilters face when trying to decide on how to quilt a particular piece. I learned a lot from this part of the book.

One of my favorite projects in Sarah’s book is the Thread Tension Quilt Reference Sampler. Sarah gives instructions for marking a grid with thread and needle information and tension settings, and then sewing straight, zig zag, and free motion stitches while gradually changing the tension settings. This would be both an educational exercise, and (when completed), a practical tool and reference guide for any sewer. Check it out:



There are also several beautiful projects (a table runner and three small art quilts) quilters can create to learn new techniques and then stitch them with thread.



Sarah is an art quilter and quilt pattern designer who lives in Camden Maine. You can purchase a copy of the book from Sarah on her website. To be entered in the drawing to win her book, take a look at the Gallery section on her website, and leave me a comment after this post, telling me which of her quilts you like best and why.

NOTE: We have two winners! Kate from Hamden, CT, was selected using a random number generator. She wins the book. And Sherri from North Little Rock, AR, won Sarah’s pattern, "Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul." Congratulations!

84 comments:

  1. I couldn't pick just one. I love her Blue Gingko quilt because the gingko leaf is one of my favorite shapes in nature- so elegant. I love the kimono for her mother's birthday - very charming and sweet. And Circular Paradox is mysterious and colorful. Her book would certainly be a help to me.

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  2. It wasn't easy to pick one for me, either, but I'll go with Autumn Study. Leaves, metallic paints, all yummy. I've been hearing great things about the book, as well. And I love YOUR Lepidoptera quilt.

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  3. I love two of her quilts. Fields of Gold--I can get lost in the colorful landscape since my personal landscape is particularly intense right now--and Tea--this represents my morning ritual perfectly, with granola in my bowl, a lovely cup of tea and a book at my side. thanks for this opportunity!

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  4. This is such a fun idea for the two of you to be working together on...your work is wonderfully unique. Tree Branch Moon has been one of my favorite "Sarah" pieces since I first looked at her blog, but Fields of Gold is also wonderful. Congratulations on your book!

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  5. It isn't easy to pick just one, they are all so beautiful. Art Quilts in her gallery are stunning and I am especially drawn to Autumn on the Village Green. Living in the Arizona desert we rarely see these beautiful colors. My first/only art quilt is still unfinished after 5 years though I may just get it out and finish it up.

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  6. That was easy for me, Naiads has always been one of my favorite pieces! What a great book this would be to have as a reference!

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  7. There are lots of beauties, but I'll go for Fields of Gold. Using simple lines and create a very strong picture. I love it!

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  8. I loved Fields of Gold. First of all, the Bird of Paradise flower is absolutely gorgeous, secondly, it would go so well on a wall in my living room (hint hint, Sarah). I enjoy the colors that she used in that quilt!

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  9. Oh my gosh!!! I would soooo love to win this book! I definitely need to learn more about creating with threads!

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  10. I narrowed my favorites to "the Boy and his Dragon" and Christmas Tableau" I like the calm peaceful feeling I get when looking at these two quilts. I also love the details and stitching. Her book would certainly help me wit my free motion techniques.

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  11. The quilt I picked out is her February 2004 journal quilt. I love the degree of abstraction from the original image, and the fact that the threadwork takes center stage. As someone just starting to learn to machine quilt, I usually feel pretty overwhelmed by all the thread and needle options. Your review makes me think that Sarah's book would be just the thing to help me!

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  12. I would LOVE to win both of your books - CONGRATULATIONS to you both!!!
    I have been following Sarah since 2002 or 2003....
    I LOVE seeing all her work - the one I would LOVE to see in person the most is her Naiads piece.

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  13. I still remember going to a small museum in Saco, Maine and seeing Sarah's Gallapogas Warrior quilt. It is outstanding and really stuck in my mind. Then I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah at MQX in NH 2 years ago. Sarah is a generous woman will tons of tips to share with us all. Her tips on thread tension are worth the price of the book.

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  14. Hawaiian Idyll is the quilt I'd most like to see up close and personal, to enjoy the play of fabric and stitching.

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  15. I have been following Sarah for about three years and you for two. I am reading her book now and am even starting a thread chart like the one in the book. I love the work both of you do.

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  16. love giveaways but never win. I must keep trying. Love this book and your's too.

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  17. I especially like A Sense of Place: The Wall because it immediately drew me in and I felt the serenity of the location and heard the muffled crunch of the snow. It gave me a feeling of peace.
    Karen

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  18. I always read your blog, but this has caused me to leave a comment. Would love Sarah's book!! Love the quilt of her's that you posted. Happy holidays.

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  19. I think the best thing about Sarah, is that she is so very generous with her knowledge. Not just via the book, but online. If there is every a question about, tension, thread, needles or free motion... she answers!

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  20. Thank you for this wonderful initiative.
    It was difficult to choose from three of my favorites:
    Haleakala Sunrise, Fields of Gold, and A Sense of Place: The Wall.
    Finally I choose for The Wall; if I had the money I certainly would buy this one to enjoy this quilt over and over again!

    geni @ Loose Ends

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  21. Wow, that's a lot of quilts to look through! lol The first one that caught my eye was "Naiads". I liked the 3-D leaf work a LOT.

    The other one that caught my eye was "A Sense of Place: The Tree". I think it is my favorite of them all too. The symmetry of the trees and the eye catching fence just pleased my brain.

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  22. It was difficult to pick only one of her works; they are all well worth the look.
    I love scenery and love her
    ‘Autumn on the Village Green’ with the church.
    I also love her ‘Birds of Paradise’ and saw that she has two; I especially love the one from her February 2006 Journals.
    I am sure I could learn a lot from her book.

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  23. I particularly like Sarah's "Koi" quilt. I like the way she created the water and how the fish are swimming. I loved the second side of the "Koi" looking up from the bottom of the pool! What a great concept.
    Cathy

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  24. So many lovely quilts! I quite like the January 2006 Journal quilt of the trees in the snow and I also like the Nourish pattern a lot. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  25. I'd have to pick Lilies because my daughter is Lily, and Marshall Point Light because I'd always rather be at the ocean and this one really gets me there. I'm enjoying your blog.

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  26. Today I have to choose "Ancient Earth", but it was a hard choice! I've admired Sarah's work for some time. Met her at the Mistyfuse booth and am kicking myself for not buying her book then (it was the last one she had and I told myself I'd order it, letting someone from over the pond get it at the show!) Of course I haven't done that yet..........Dec 17th for sure since I seldom win anything!!!

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  27. I was just on the http://www.subversivestitch.blogspot.com/ and saw Sarah's piece Bijagos Warrior. This piece to me has amazing thread work and quilting that gives shading and color to the fabric underneath. The gaze of the warrior is hypnotizing and Sarah portrayed him very well. Thanks for the offer of the book-would love to win it!

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  28. Without a doubt, I love the "Camden Is Udderly Delightful" quilt! I saw Dutch Belted cows for the first time a couple of months ago and was fascinated. They are also called Oreo Cookie cows. They all look like this. It's amazing. Great review of the book. I really want to win this one!

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  29. It's hard to pick just one favorite but I chose Autumn Study----I'm obsessed with leaves.
    I've seen the book and it's wonderful, I added it to my Christmas wish list hoping my husband will add it to my bookshelf.

    Susan

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  30. Sarah's quilts are great. But if I have to pick just one it would be Bijagos Warrior. It was the first quilt of Sarah's which I saw and I was just wowed by it. I still am.

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  31. What a great review! I'll go with Fields of Gold!

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  32. This book is on top of my wishlist! It is very hard to pick justone favourite among sarah's quilt, but mine would have to be the Bird of Paradise quilt. I also love the New England Autumn quilt and the other autumn leaves quilts.

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  33. I love her "Sense of Place: The Wall." The colored stones in the wall are such a surprise. But my favorite has to be "Leaf Samples." The contrast of the bright colors and the syncopation of the leaves makes the quilt very energetic. Best of all, I like her use of her machine embroidery stitches to make each leaf unique.

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  34. Buoys in Blue. I love the subtlety of the color. I'd love to own this one.

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  35. Fields of Gold won MY heart the first time I saw it. Love the composition and her use of the gorgeous framing fabric. Beautifully quilted, too.

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  36. Sarah's quilts are all wonderful, my favorite is her Koi quilt. I love the colors and sense of movement, you can see the fish swimming!

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  37. Beautiful review. Love the idea of a visual guide to tension.
    Your orchid painting is splendid!
    All the best in this Holiday Season,
    Christina
    Lakewood, OH

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  38. I just love Bijagos Warrior, the compostition, the pose, the facial expression. It is a great work of art. Hope I win!

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  39. I really like the Birch Pond. Even though the theme is birches, it reminds me of fall in the vineyards of Sonoma County. Life would be good with a house in the vineyards

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  40. I love "Fields of Gold". The framing fabric is beautiful and peaceful. It makes me want to be in that field!

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  41. My favorite quilt of Sarah's is "Naiads". I love the texture possible when working on fabric, and I am especially drawn to dimensional quilts. The leaves coming off the front are fantastic!

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  42. Wow, her work in stunning and that is a book, I would love to have. I plan on spending time after the holidays doing more quilting and art pieces and learning how to use my machine. The piece that caught my eye was Naiads, love the subject and how she used the fabric leaves for dimension.

    Debbie

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  43. My favorites of Sara Ann have always been The Tree and The Wall. I just love all those colors in the stone walls and the different colored trees!

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  44. I like Autumn Borealis. I love the colors, anything with black appeals to me. The book sounds amazing, something I could really use in my quilting.

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  45. Hi, I am a quilter from Israel. I do not have the opportunity to go to Huston and see Sarah's beautiful quilts. From my visits at Sarah's site and blog it is hard to pick just one quilt, but my favorite is Fields of Gold. I am sure my quilting abilities will benefite from having the book as a referenceform.
    Best regards, Gisha

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  46. Hi, I am a quilter from Israel. I do not have the opportunity to go to Huston and see Sarah's beautiful quilts. From my visits at Sarah's site and blog it is hard to pick just one quilt, but my favorite is Fields of Gold. I am sure my quilting abilities will benefite from having the book as a referenceform.
    Best regards, Gisha

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  47. I love the Threadwork Unraveled book, and the thread tension sampler is a great idea. And I like Fields of Gold. I really like your Pinata purse pattern too. Thank you for the opportunity to win one of these books.

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  48. Wonderful quilts, I like colors and depth of Machu Picchu.
    Thanks, what a great idea.

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  49. I LOVED Ancient Earth!!!!! One could spend hours studying it and then go back for more!

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  50. Love the fields of gold. Thanks for hosting this- what fun!
    Jane

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  51. I think I like Circular Paradox because of the interesting thread work. I'd love to win her book, since I am just now reaching into my thread box for more tricks.

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  52. Love Sarah's use of color. Hard to pick just one. My favorites are "Tea" and "Machu Picchu". What a wonderful book to own.

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  53. It's great to meet on-line friends, isn't it? How nice of both of you to offer up this drawing! Congratulations on your book and I hope I can be a lucky winner. :-)

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  54. I especially like Sarah's "Tea" quilt. Not only do I love all of the colors that she used, but the light and shadows makes it look so natural.

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  55. Thanks to both of you for doing this- I have been eyeing Sarah's new book and will be getting it if I don't win.
    Her quilts are wonderful and it is hard to pick just one but my favorite is Dogwoods:Dawn. The colors appeal to me but even more I love the feeling it gives- of both mist and myth. Truly wonderful use of color for the background.

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  56. As a traditional quilter, art quilter, and longarm quilter, I would benefit greatly from the Threadwork Unraveled Book. And I do love the art quilt named "If the Wind Were Colors, My Dreams Would Be the Wind." Lovely!

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  57. Fields of Gold is one of my top picks though I think it was "evil" of you and Sarah to make us choose a favorite!

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  58. What a great site you have! Thanks for posting this double giveaway with Sarah. I love her quilt Fields of Gold. I was lucky enough to see it in person at the NQA show in Columbus, OH last year and it is smashing in person!

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  59. I love her Naiads, I love the extra's that Sarah has added to the quilt. The Leaves look fantastic. I love free motion work so would love this book :). Never enough thread in my possession :)

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  60. I was very torn between "Nourish the Body; Nourish the Soul" and "Dogwood: Dawn." In the end result though, "Dogwood: Dawn" won out because I held the challenge in which Sarah Ann Smith's quilt was entered, so I got to see it in person up close and personal, and I remember crying little tears because it was so truly beautiful and so touching in the story.

    I think this is the best idea that the two of you are supporting each other's books in this way. Good on both of you!!!

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  61. Sarah has quite a few quilts to covet :) I like the lobster bouys, probably because I used to chase fish and crab in Alaska... I also really like her wheat fields quilt that has been very successful this year. I remember looking at her blog for the first time and going into her gallery. The quilt that still speaks to me is the traditional log cabin (From Sea to Shining Sea), one made from Judy Robertson's (www.justimagination.com) hand painted fabric. I emailed Sarah about this log cabin quilt and told her that this quilt caught my eye - then I read the details, that she used Judy's fabric. Judy is from Washington state (where I live) and that is where Sarah lived before heading to Maine. Small world...

    Lunachance
    emlorenzenathotmaildotcom

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  62. Sarah Ann Smith was listed as one of the "potential" teachers for the June Quilt Symposium in Charlotte, but she won't be teaching there next year and I was so disappointed when I found out. Who could narrow down their choices to only one? Not me! I love her Camden Sunset, Winter Sunset, and Marshall Point Light quilts. I've been experimenting with photo transfer and these are all fabulous examples of the technique. And one of my dreams is to visit Maine -- probably when (if) I ever retire and have some time to travel....

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  63. I like Tea, it just jumped out at me and is a good composition.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

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  64. your are not playing fair. i love all of them. so i will choose all of them.

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  65. Autumn on the Village Green has always been one of my favorites. I already have Sarah's book. The Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul is a beautiful quilt as well. Love your work also, the orchid is stunning. Sigh. Someday!

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  66. I love all the quilts that feature trees, I love the design of tree branches. So many beautiful quilts. Would love to win this book, a great opportunity to learn more.

    Charlotte

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  67. My favorite is "Bedtime": she used leftover blocks from her son's quilt to make the one they cuddle under -- and his old pj's to dress him in! It brought back warm memories of reading to my kids at bedtime under their homemade quilts, too. Beautiful, Sarah!

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  68. It was such a pleasure to look at Sarah's quilts. I really related to "Canadian Sunset" because it looks just like the winter sky from my kitchen, and the piece with the Tennessee dogwood is just gorgeous. Winning a copy of her book would be wonderful!

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  69. Dragon's Breath is my choice I love the drama and colour combo in that piece. I am in love with threadwork so I am sure this will be a book I will need on my shelf.

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  70. Congratulations to both of you! I'm hoping to find the books locally - unless I win them....

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  71. The thread reference sampler is a great idea. I know that it might take away from sewing time on projects, but I think that it would save time in the long run. I'll have to check our her book. Thanks for the review.She has a tree quilt that is just gorgeous.

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  72. Wow, her Dogwood quilt is just stunning! I would love to be 1/4 as good as she is at technique! The two of you are definitely inspiring to fiber artist wanna bes, like me. Thank you!

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  73. A Sense of Place: Wall; Tea; Fields of Gold--I was drawn to those quilts, beautifully made by Sarah Ann Smith.
    A Sense of Place: Wall gives me a feeling of peace (in the woods, surrounded by trees) and of life (the magic of the colors used in the quilt). It's not often that a quilter can combine those feelings into one piece with such artistry.

    I could say much about Tea and Fields of Gold and other outstanding pieces by the artist, Sarah Ann Smith. I am a hand appliquer and hand quilter who has recently begun using machine techniques for applique and quilting. I have so much to learn; I know practice will help me, though Sarah Ann's book sounds like the perfect guide.
    Kathleen C
    villagequilter@gmail.com

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  74. My favourite quilt of Sarah's is the Ancient Earth (2008 Journal. It so beautifully represents the poem, but its textured look just appeals to me. Congratulations on becoming a columnist for QA- I'll look forwarding to reading your tips.

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  75. I love quite a few of them, but I am going to go with Tea. I think her detailed thread work on the dishes is amazing. A beautiful piece of work,very inspiring to this quilter! thanks.

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  76. It is very hard to choose a favorite but I loved the simplicity of Teasel and well Koi is just amazing, the fish appear so real. Thank you for this opportunity! Janet

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  77. I'd love to win! Thanks for sharing with others!

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  78. My favourite quilt is Tree Spirits 2: Song of the Solstice Grove. It seems to draw me in to walk with the spirits

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  79. I really like her your Sense of Place page. I think birch Pond is my favorite. Love the stories that go with each one.

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  80. Okay, we have a winner! Kate from Hamden, CT, was selected using a random number generator. Kate, please contact me at susan@bluemoonriver.com and give me your street address so I can send you the book. You are going to love it!

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  81. Thank you Susan and Sarah! I needed a new challenge for 2010! lol

    Sherri from Arkansas (AR)

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  82. And Sherri from North Little Rock, AR, won Sarah's pattern, "Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul." Congratulations!

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  83. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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