Saturday, August 29, 2009

I have a project in Quilt Scene magazine

It’s almost here! I’m looking forward to seeing International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene magazine, created by the Quilts, Inc. (who produce the International Quilt Festivals) and Quilting Arts magazine. It comes out in October, just in time for the 35th annual International Quilt Festival in Houston, and is the brainchild of Quilting Arts editor Pokey Bolton and International Quilt Festival founder Karey Bresenhan.

According to editor Pokey Bolton, it will be “a traditional quilting magazine with a clean, fresh design—chock full of contemporary quilted projects and quilt news.” The magazine will include a showcase of award-winning quilts, articles, artist profiles, and 25 quilted projects, including one (a quilted door organizer) by me!

The 148-page publication costs $14.99, and is available for pre-order now at the Interweave store website.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Everything you ever wanted to know

I just found out that I was recently profiled on the C&T Publishing blog! C&T is my publishing company (my first title, Applique Petal Party, comes out in October) and a month ago, they had me fill out a form that asked me about my background, personality and my creative process.

So if you ever wanted to know my Myers-Brigg personality type, or what I view as my biggest character flaw (yes, I know it has been keeping you up nights), now you can.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A quilt tattoo

Kakie Urch, an old friend and former co-worker from my days at the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, is now an assistant professor for new media in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky. Yesterday, she posted on Facebook about a young woman she saw sporting this tattoo.

She wrote: “Amy Robertson, incoming first-year student in Journalism at the University of Kentucky, is from Paducah, ‘Quilt City, USA’ Ky. The tattoo, she says, honors her hometown, along with her mother and her grandmother, who are both quilters. Robertson is not a quilter herself right now, but she plans to be one, she said at New Student Orientation on Tuesday Aug. 25, 2009 in the Classroom Building on UK's Lexington campus.”

Photos by Kakie Urch

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Making a favicon

I just made a favicon for my website. What is a favicon? It’s that teeny tiny square icon thing-a-ma-jig next to the website URL, in the address bar of the web browser. Most big companies have them. If you bookmark some websites so you can get to them faster, the favicon can help you find them more quickly. This is because many people “read” visual images faster than words; it’s why we have many traffic signs with symbols on them rather than words.

I started out with this square chunk cropped from my logo:

In Photoshop, I saved it as a 16-pixel square image and resampled the image using the bicubic sharpener (this keeps the image from blurring as it is resized). Here’s how it looks blown up:

And here’s how it looks at actual size:

Cute! You can see how it looks in a web browser by going to my website,

Have a website and want to make your own favicon? Here’s a great tutorial by Jennifer Apple on how to make one in Photoshop.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

2009 Barnful of Quilts

For the past two years, I’ve been taking part in Barnful of Quilts, a wonderful event hosted by Valerie Fox at her family farm in Waxhaw, NC. The show features all sorts of fiber arts (weaving, traditional quilting, art quilting), and vendors (yarn, jewelry, ceramics, fabric etc.) and it is held in Valerie's spectacular barn on what is usually a glorious, crisp fall day. The event benefits Waxhaw Presbyterian Church; this year the featured artist is Fletcher McNeil.

This year, I’m planning to be in Houston for Fall Quilt Market and Quilt Festival, so I can’t particpate. But if you are near Charlotte on Saturday, Oct. 10, don’t miss it!

Also not to be missed is an opportunity to win this quilt (below) donated by the UCo Quilters. If you want to buy tickets and can't make the event, just e-mail Valerie at

“Under Tennessee Skies”

In July, I presented and taught at The Village Quilters guild in Loudon, Tenn. At the meeting, they showed photos of a gorgeous quilt they made called “Under Tennessee Skies.” It was donated to the Knoxville Convention Center, and installed during a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 22, 2009 at the opening of the first AQS Expo held in Knoxville. The quilt was made by members of the guild, led by Arliss Barber, and quilted by Kathy Drew.

It has lots of scenes of Tennessee historic sites and of state symbols thread-painted on it, including this box turtle, passion flower and iris:

and this inquisitive raccoon:

What a spectacular quilt, and what an amazing gift from The Village Quilters to the city of Knoxville! I am sure that it will also help to educate passers-by that quilts can be art, as well as beautiful bed coverings. If you are in Knoxville, make sure to swing by and see it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beautiful work by Pam George

As a teacher, there is nothing more fulfilling than hearing from people who have taken one of your classes and go on to do great things with what they have learned. Pam George took my “Start with a Photo” class when I taught The Village Quilters in Loudon, Tenn., in July. She wrote me last night to tell me she used my method to make a quilt for her daughter’s birthday. Look at what she made!!!

She started with this photo of her daughter’s dog, taken at Look Rock in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee:

Here you can see the piece before she added the smaller branches, twigs, and all the machine thread work and details on the icy branches:

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll remember Pam as the one who makes amazing needle-felted creatures. Here she is with her little chipmunk:

What a beautiful piece! Pam really took the techniques we talked about in class and made them her own. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Make your own “House Rules” quilt

Want to make a little quilt like this? I'll show you how! I'm teaching this class on

The class will begin on Nov.3. It is 5 lessons for $50. If you’ve never taken an online class, click here to get more information about how they work at Joggles.

Here’s more information about my class, which is called “House Rules”:

Make this charming piece of fiber art to remind yourself and your family and guests of the rules of the house. You can customize the piece by adding your own kids (or adults), pets, and rules! The sample shown is 12" square, but you can make it bigger. Patterns are provided for all applique pieces, with multiple choices for girls, boys, dogs, cats, houses, etc, and for the text.

Lesson 1: Create the background and plan your overall design.
Lesson 2: Use watercolor pencils to add details to your house, people and sun.
Lesson 3: Applique your pieces to the background, and add text.
Lesson 4: Embroider the background and add French knots to the sun.
Lesson 5: Finish your project with a binding or facing.

Nancy’s work at Wooden Stone Gallery

My friend Nancy G. Cook is August’s Featured Artist at the Wooden Stone Gallery in Davidson N.C. Wooden Stone is a fabulous gallery that sells functional art. I always try to buy my “special” gifts (graduations, weddings, etc.) there, because it is great to support other artists and the galleries that sell their work.

Here are Nancy’s pieces Mimosa Dancing and Sourwood Festoons displayed (above) with some hand-crafted furniture.

Meet and Greet the Artist
at the Wooden Stone Gallery
Davidson, NC
Friday, Aug. 21 from 6-9 p.m

Friday, August 14, 2009

Promotional postcards

My publisher, C&T Publishing, just sent me the promotional postcards for my new book, Appliqué Petal Party, which comes out in October. Wow, that’s right around the corner! The postcards look really great, and there are a lot of them. It is time to get busy handing them out and promoting this baby.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Felt ball glass holder

Over the weekend, I made this nifty holder for my glasses. I am always misplacing them and I now need them a lot of the time. I wanted a glass holder to wear around my neck. But I wanted something lightweight and fun, not something that would make me look like a matronly librarian.

These handmade wool felt balls from Nepal fit the ticket. (You can get some of your very own online through Handbehg Felts or ArtGirlz.) I did a little embroidery on the big balls with some varigated perle cotton, then strung them and some charms on some hand-dyed cording. My reading glasses slip through the little silver circle (which is actually part of a toggle clasp purchased at a craft store). I used crimp beads to attach the ends of the cording to jump rings, and then to the circle.

I like it so much that I might make a necklace next!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Asheville Quilt Show

I just got back from attending the Asheville Quilt Show at the North Carolina Arboretum, and it was wonderful. One of the best things is that the show is open to any quilter in the U.S., so it attracts a lot of national talent. (But the local quilters are plenty talented, too.) This year, there were 240 entries by 169 quilters from 15 states. Total money awarded was $8,300.

A few miles away, the Rotary Quilt Show, held in conjunction with the Asheville Quilt Show, but in a different location (Biltmore Square Mall), boasted quilts by the Shady Ladies of Waynesville and the Fiber Arts Alliance, as well as more wonderful vendors.

My quilt “Lepidoptera” took a Merit Award for Outstanding Use of Color, and the Pandora’s group quilt “Motherhood” took an Honorable Mention ribbon in the Group category (yea, us!).

Here’s a look at some of my favorites at the show:

Chicory by Ruth Powers of Carbondale KS.

I love Ruth Powers’ work, perhaps because I cannot fathom how she pieces it, or how she manages to make so many different fabrics work together. Here is another:

Lazy Afternoon by Ruth Powers of Carbondale KS.

Lazy Afternoon (detail) by Ruth Powers of Carbondale KS.

Red Art Festival by Deborah A. Morgan of Waynesville NC.
This beauty featured fabric beads tied in each rectangle. Simplicity and repetition, and a very nice color sense.

Rocky Mountain Memories by Wendy Bohen

Baskets in Bloom by Holly Greene and the Foothills Quilters Guild of Shelby NC
This is by the Foothills Quilters Guild. A great bunch of women I met last year when I spoke to them. Beautiful applique, quilting and trapunto!

Abundant Life by Susan Webb Lee of Barardsville NC
I love how Susan Webb Lee broke through the black borders of her quilt with bits of color.

Sun Bonnet Sue Does Hollywood by Linda Cantrell of Fletcher, NC
Crowds were gathered around this quilt by Linda Cantrell, as everyone tried to guess which movies were portrayed. In each scene, Sun Bonnet Sue is standing in for the heroine. What a riot.

Murphy’s Law by Linda Nichols of Waynesville, NC
According to the program, Linda persevered through many obstacles to make this quilt: “First block was lost, border ran when washed, cockscomb block caught on fire. I didn’t know when to quit but friends encouraged me on!”

Glorious Survivor #1 by Maureen Kampen of Asheville NC
This quilt chronicles the journey of a survivor of domestic violence. The portrait pulls you in, and then you start reading the details and understanding the pain. Beautifully done and very thought provoking.

Icing on the Cake by Linda Roy of Knoxville, Tenn.
Linda’s intricate, hand-stitched quilts are a wonder. This one was inspired by antique wool coverlets. I know Linda has won Best of Show in Asheville at least once before.

Swamp Hibiscus by Judith Heyward of Hendersonville, NC
Amazing thread painting, intricate borders and beautiful machine quilting won Judith Heyward the Outstanding Machine Workmanship award.

Amazing Arcola by Elizabeth T. Miller of Charlotte NC
Many of Elizabeth’s recent quilts feature antique quilt blocks she has purchased at antique stores (in this case, the stars around the outside). She made this quilt after a trip to Arcola Illinois. Elizabeth, who is a quilt judge, has a great sense of humor; I love how she uses commercial novelty and conversation prints.

Room to Breathe by Elizabeth T. Miller of Charlotte NC
Here’s another of Elizabeth’s recent quilts, very different in style and tone from Amazing Arcola above! Those are slices of actual stone in the water (under the blue heron). It is dedicated to her friend and fellow artist, Joan Colvin (1933-2007).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Max and the pincushion

Our cat, Max, has this thing for my pincushion. After he’s walked all over whatever I’m working on at the moment, and I pick him up and move him to his comfy spot in my studio (an old bassinet filled with snuggly blankets), he gets very passive-aggressive with me. He’ll jump back up on my cutting table and take out his frustrations on my pincushion. He hasn’t swallowed a pin yet, although he sometimes flings them onto the floor. What a character!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Art in unexpected places

“Macchia” by Dale Chihuly, 1981 - 1984.

While visiting the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga a few days ago, I came across several wonderful windows of glass forms by master glass artist Dale Chihuly and others in the aquarium’s jellyfish exhibition. Of course, while I was examining the jellyfish, I was thinking about how to create them in fiber, rather than in glass! I took some great photos of the jellyfish to use in some of my future work.

How nice that an aquarium would include these artists’ work in their exhibition, exposing all who walked by to a little art, and perhaps making them think about the jellyfish in a different way. It was a wonderful marriage.

“Macchia” by Dale Chihuly, 1981 - 1984.

“Jellies” by Thomas Spake, 2009.

“Screamers” by Stephen Rolfe Powell, 2007 - 2008.

I also found wonderful patterns on turtles, colors on fish, and inspiration from the architecture, plants, butterflies and simply from the flowing water in the tanks. The Tennessee Aquarium is spectacular; don’t miss it if you are passing by.