Monday, November 30, 2009

Tomorrow, at The Mint!

Tomorrow, Janet A. Lasher and I will be guest speakers at The Mint Museum’s Artists’ Forum. These events are designed to give area artists a platform to discuss their work as well as current issues and activities in their artistic fields. If you are in the area, please come!

The forum is being held in conjunction with American Quilt Classics, 1800-1980: The Bresler Collection, showing at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design now through February 6, 2010. The collection includes spectacular examples of Baltimore Album quilts, crazy quilts, Chintz pictorial quilts, Amish quilts and log cabin quilts.


Tuesday, Dec. 1

7 to 8:30 p.m.

Mint Museum of Art

2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte NC

Cost: free

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Johannes A. Gaertner
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.

Anne Frank
I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy.

Melody Beattie
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

H. U. Westermayer
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.

W.J. Cameron
Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.

Meister Eckhart
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was “thank you,” that would suffice.

Edward Sandford Martin
Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

E.P. Powell
Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.

W.T. Purkiser
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

Theodore Roosevelt
Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Surface Design Center and Jane’s new book

A few months ago, I was invited by C&T Publishing to test drive some products they were considering for their new Liquitex Surface Design Center. I created my Indian Corn and Hosta pieces using these products, and they are now touring around the country publicizing this new collection of professional acrylic colors, mediums and inks.

C&T designed this Surface Design Center as a way for quilt shop owners to bring surface design materials into their shops, making them more accessible for quilters who want to explore making art quilts. The Center will include Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic colors and Professional Acrylic Ink! colors, Liquitex Fabric Medium and Matte Gel Medium, and Winsor & Newton brushes.

These are really cool products, and I think you’ll enjoy using them. I had never used the Liquitex Acrylic Inks, and they are really great.

The Surface Design Center debuted at Quilt Festival in Houston to an enthusiastic response.

In conjunction with the Surface Design Center, C&T is releasing a great new book by Jane Davila that teaches you how to use all the products in it. Jane Davila’s Surface Design Essentials (72 pages, $16.95) will be available in January 2010. You can pre-order autographed copies from Jane by e-mailing her at

This is a smaller format book with a covered spiral binding that will be a helpful reference for fiber and mixed-media artists. Through 15 techniques and 7 projects, it shows you how to use acrylic paints, mediums, acrylic inks and water soluble pencils on fabric and some unusual, mixed-media surfaces.

In addition to Jane, the following fabulous artists contributed samples for the book:

Natalya Aikens
Terry Grant
Lynn Koolish
Jane LaFazio
Judy Coates Perez
Virginia Spiegel
Elin Waterston

I’ve had a number of questions from people curious about the Liquitex Professional Acrylic Ink! (and yes, the exclamation point is part of the brand name). I’d never used them before this. They come in little bottles like India ink that calligraphers use, with an eyedropper:

Here’s a sample of the inks used in a calligraphy pen on off-white muslin (I mixed the yellow and red in different combinations as I added more ink to the pen making these marks):

What’s really cool about them is that they don’t bleed at all into the fabric.

Here is the ink painted onto the surface of white Kona Cotton. The yellow band at the bottom of the photo was done with watercolor pencils to achieve the bleeding I wanted there; the other marks were made with the inks:

And here are the inks mixed with a bit of Liquitex Fabric Medium and stamped onto Kona Cotton:

The fabric medium acts as an extender (makes the inks go farther), and also keeps the hand of the fabric a bit softer.

You can also dilute them with water and paint on fabric to get a nice watercolor effect, where they bleed out into the fabric.

I really liked using these inks, and plan to buy them in a bunch of different colors and experiment some more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

“Bohemian Bouquet” giveaway!

I’m giving away a copy of all 11 block patterns for my “Bohemian Bouquet” quilt! To enter, just check out my website and then leave a comment on the C&T Publishing Blog, telling which of my patterns you like best. You have to leave your comment on the C&T blog, not mine, to be entered in the contest. Each block is regularly priced at $5 ($55 for the set of 11).

Here are some detail shots from the quilt:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

SAQA Frontiers: Art Meets Science

I just got the news that two of my pieces were juried in to the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibition “SAQA Frontiers: Art Meets Science.” They are Lepidoptera and Coleus, shown below.

My friend Nancy G. Cook also had her piece, Southern Hospitality, juried in. There were 147 entries, and juror David Fraser, MD, selected 35 for the exhibition.

This exhibition will travel to the 2010 Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. Additional venues are to be determined. This exhibit “explores the unexpected intersections of two seemingly different disciplines, Art and Science. The works focus on inspiration from scientific theories or phenomena expressed in new or unexpected ways, from the harmonies of randomness to the dynamics produced by scientific imagery.”

Saturday, November 14, 2009

House Rules 2

I am in the middle of teaching an online course on how to make this little art quilt on I made a version several years ago called “House Rules” that featured only my kids and the dog. When I was getting ready to teach this class, I needed to re-do it so that I could take photos of each step and write directions, so I decided to include the whole gang this time. Yep, even Fishy. That’s him/her on the right, about to get trampled by Miss McDoglington.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How to make a French Knot

Here’s a little tutorial on how to make a French knot. You can download a printable PDF version by clicking here. This is free, so please share it, but keep my name and logo on the printout, okay? Thanks!

Note: Directions here are given for right-handers, but the PDF has photos and directions for left-handers on the second page.

Thread the perle cotton or floss in your embroidery needle, and knot the end. Bring your needle up from the back of the fabric to the front, exactly where you want the knot to form. Pull until the knot is snug against the back of the fabric.

Put the fabric down on a flat surface, like your knee or a table.

Take the thread coming out of the fabric in your left hand between your thumb and pointer finger. Have the needle in your right hand.

Wrap thread over the needle …

and around it three times. (To make a smaller knot, wrap only one or two times.) It should be wrapped tightly, and close to the tip of the needle.

Slide the loops of thread close together, down toward the tip of the needle, holding them with the pointer finger on your right hand. Push the tip of the needle back into the same place where the thread came out (or just a thread or two away).

As it goes in, keep pinching it in place with the thumb and pointer finger of your left hand. The loops must be kept tightly together, or you will not produce a neat, tight knot.

Pull the thread completely through to the back of the fabric, and the knot will form on the front.

Practice, practice, practice!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lark Books contest

Lark Books has announced a new contest called Quilt It! and is offering some great prizes, including a grand prize of a $100 gift certificate from Hancocks of Paducah and 11 Lark quilting books. Four other quilters (one in each of the four categories in the competition) will each receive the 11 books as well.

Entries are due by Jan. 5. Winners will be announced Feb. 1, and all winning quilts will be posted on

To enter, read the rules then email them at with the title of your piece, at least one photo of your quilt, and the category in which it should be judged. Entries must be an original quilt of any size that incorporates at least three of the following five required elements:

  • Bird(s)
  • Mountains
  • Silver fabric, thread, or item
  • Recycled/repurposed material
  • Beads

The categories are:
1. Best Use of Beading or Beaded Elements

2. Best Use of Hand-Dyed/Altered Fabrics
3. Best Art Quilt
4. Best Use of Recycled Material

The Grand Prize will be awarded to the quilt that exhibits the most quilting creativity, originality, ingenuity, and artistry in addition best use of the required elements.

The Grand Prize winner and Category Prize winners will each receive the following 11 books:
Quilt It with Wool
Simple Contemporary Quilts
Freddy & Gwen Collaborate Again
Quilts, Baby!
Masters: Art Quilts
Color Your Cloth
Pieced Symbols
Quilt National 2009
Creative Quilting with Beads
500 Art Quilts
Pretty Little Mini Quilts

Good luck!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Tulip Bag of steel

My mother’s friend, Winnie Lemmon, a member of The Village Quilters in Loudon, Tenn., made this super-cute version of my Tulip Bag pattern. Can you tell Winnie’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan? Just a little bit? She actually made this purse for someone she knows in Pittsburgh. It’s all done up in Steelers black and gold, complete with a little football button on the tab.

Winnie and her husband, Bill, are incredible Steelers fans, and even have a room in their house devoted to Steelers memorabilia.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, so I am waving my Terrible Towel right along with her. Go Steelers!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nothing Could Be Finer

“Nothing Could Be Finer” is a quilt I designed for the Charlotte Quilters’ Guild’s 2010 Raffle Quilt. It is 82" x 84", and was hand appliqued by some very talented members of the guild, and then longarm machine quilted by Kay Giese. I just love how she quilted it.

Proceeds from the raffle will help cover the expenses of the 2010 North Carolina Quilt Symposium, which will be held in Charlotte at Johnson & Wales University June 3-6, 2010. Teachers now scheduled are:

Bonnie Hunter
Carol Taylor
Velda Newman
Robbi Joy Eklow
Flavin Glover
Cythia Corbin
Terry White
Laura Wasilowski
David Taylor
Susan Purney Mark
Charlotte Angotti
Paula Scaffidi
Janet Lasher
Elin Waterson
Karen Eckmeier
Patti Culea
Pat Sloan
Jenny Raymond
Ellen Anne Eddy
Melody Crust
Karen Stone
Kim Diehl

It’s gonna be great … because (sing along y’all!) “nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina!” For more details, check out the
2010 Symposium Blog.