Time Flies

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

The month of September seemed to fly by as I followed through on my new classes. Combined with a quick trip to New York, I have most definitely been busy.

My “Stitch Along” class with Karen Ruane thankfully has a 12 month timeline. I used the class as an excuse to wander the Garment District while in New York City to gather some materials to use in the class. In my spare time, I have been playing with some samples of lace and stitch and slowly developing a theme for the year.

The Visual Design workshop with SAQA is a much shorter commitment. I am in the second component of the workshop, Principles of Design, the first two weeks being devoted to Elements of Design. Each week is rich with resources through video interviews, some video chats, and links to many articles. There are no assignments as such. I have enjoyed the review of design principles. One immediate application has been in reviewing my photos from our Alaska trip. I have appreciated a bit more why my eye is drawn to particular scenes and why in culling through hundreds of photos, I have selected a few to print and perhaps use eventually in some art works.

Here are two examples where line and shape were important.

Zodiacs along the cliffs near the Dawes glacier.

Early morn view from our boat approaching LeConte Bay.

Looking forward to learning more as I continue exploring the wonderful world of fiber.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog for more inspiration from other fiber artists.

Looking Towards Fall

To every season there is a purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

The temperatures are dropping at bit and there is even the mention of showers in our forecasts…..stores are stocking Halloween decorations (at least it is not Christmas). Hints of fall are everywhere.

This summer has been a time of enjoying grandkids, recharging energy and nurturing spirit. Earlier this month, I spent a week in the glaciers and forests of southeastern Alaska (photos will follow as I am still sorting!) but even before that trip, I knew my self-imposed sabbatical from “serious” art projects was working. When I returned from Alaska, there on my design wall was  a quilt top with batting and backing ready for quilting…… the first art quilt I have created in quite a bit with an eye to entering in some Calls for Entry. Refreshed and inspired from my travels, I set to free motion quilting my work. With my Bernina newly tuned up, the quilting went amazingly smoothly. For most of the stitching time, I listened to my favorite cellist, Zuill Bailey, on my new Sonos system and just enjoyed being back in the interpretative process that free motion quilting is for me.

Since the quilt will be submitted to a call this fall, I can’t share the results of my efforts in full, but here is a tiny peak.  🙂 

Now with fall approaching, I have enrolled in several exciting opportunities to continue to feed my creative spirit :

My friend, Karen Ruane, is offering  a new 12 month “Stitch Along.”  I have so enjoyed my studies with Karen and the community of ‘stitchers’ around the world who participate in her sessions. This “Stitch Along” is paced in a way that I can easily work on more art quilts that I am sure will emerge for my Ice Worlds series.

Here is Karen’s description of the class:

Join me for 12 months of creativity, a unique fly on the wall experience. Observe my process, my day to day, my working practice over a full year. Who knows what will crop up, what will inspire and develop over this programme. We begin with a blank page of time and fill that page, that time developing embroidered works on paper and fabric. There may be artist books, there may be delicately embroidered laces along with decorative silk surfaces. There will definitely be buttons, ribbons, sequins, beads and all manner of added titivation.

Isn’t that enticing? If you are interested in joining me in a fun experience, you can sign up  on Karen’s website.

I have also signed up for the SAQA Seminar  2018: Visual Design.  The seminar will cover four units: elements, principles, process, and evaluation with new material released every two  weeks. You have to be a SAQA member to participate, but there is no added fee for the course which promises “access to articles, tutorials, book reviews, links to inspirational resources as well as video conversations with leading artists in the art quilt field.” There will also be a Facebook group for participants with opportunities to participate in weekly live video chats.If you are a SAQA member, or thinking of joining, the seminar begins September 10. Registration information can be found on the SAQA website.

So, it looks like I am set for the coming months stitch-wise. And, now, I must get back to sorting through all those photographs I took in Alaska! If you would like to take a peek at what other quilters are up to, here is a link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog.

Summer Days

Inspiration comes from within yourself.
One has to be positive.
When you’re positive, good things happen.
Deep Roy

It has been a hot July and much of the western area of our country has suffered through massive fires. I recently encountered one along I-90 while driving from Seattle to Spokane. We have been relatively lucky in Spokane so far – rapid responses, low winds, and luck have kept most fires small and minimized damage.

I have been spending my summer on a range of activities with my adorable grandchildren.

Judy Cate has been off from school so we have been doing things like cherry picking followed by baking a most delicious tart.

I discovered that she has an uncanny ability to focus when it comes to  painting pottery.

When not enjoying my grandkids, I have been filling in time with stitching. My cousin Kate visited and I was able to give her a piece that I designed using bits and pieces from her childhood first communion dress.

I also created another quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders.

And, finally, while I have nothing to share photo-wise, I think I finally have an art quilt project that is inspiring me. Proof for me that a positive mind and filling my days with positive activities would eventually yield an idea for a piece that I could get excited about creating. With luck, I will work on it in August and eventually be able to share on this blog.  🙂

Keeping Focus

True power is
energy moving freely
towards a vision.

June has sped by in a flash in many ways. Stitching, quilting, travels, and a bit of illness all contributed to an upside down month. 🙂

If there was any doubt that we are living in a relatively rural area, we need simply to look out our windows. Earlier this month, a patch of grass outside my studio provided a place for an afternoon rest for this grouping.

And, now as July approaches, we are seeing the first of this year’s turkey hatchlings. We will be watching them grow through till fall if past summers are any prediction.

I did take time off from wildlife viewing for a quick trip back to NY state. I found a few minutes to take advantage of the antique mall near our Victor house and search for some laces, etc. for my hand stitching. These are becoming more and more difficult to find it seems. Last visit I was not very successful, this time was better.

Inbetween trips and wildlife viewing, I continued to work through Karen Ruane‘s Create and Embellish class. This surface continues to fascinate every time I pick it up to work on it more.

I also finally finished a pouch I had been making for the past few months from some samples I received from one of my favorite stores, French General.

And, I felt compelled to continue creating quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders. I call this one “Upside Down World.” My intention was to reflect the upheaval globally that refugees face as they are forced to leave homelands and search for new lives. What you might expect to be a predictable quilt layout surprises with an ‘upside down’ turn to the pattern.

I hope that this posts finds you continuing to find a path of positive movement in your life despite the chaos that may be happening around you.

Appreciating Life

Remember to
stay centered

in the moment!

These are the beautiful days here in Spokane where everyone wants to just be outside. The Spokane river is flowing rapidly, the skies are clear, and the temperatures are perfect for a walk or run…..

May has been a busy month. I flew off for a quick trip to visit family near Sedona and, as always, was enthralled with the red rock vistas.

Back in my studio, I completed one fairly simple quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders that I had mentioned in my last post.

I have another top on my design wall……..

This top grew from a 16″ square that I had made many years ago…..I am gradually using my stash to create these QBB quilts, finding the challenge a fun design effort. When exactly this top will get quilted remains up in the air. There are some very wonderful distractions whom I look forward to playing with everyday!


I have also continued creating hand embroidery surfaces with Karen Ruane in her latest class, Create and Embellish. Here are a couple of my favorites. I don’t have a plan yet on how I will use them, I am really just enjoying the almost zen feeling of creating them!

The coming month promises to busy too – I will be fitting in stitching around some more travel, a bit of construction on our property, and plenty of fun time with the grandchildren…..for now I will leave you with a bit of wisdom on life from the perspective of  my six-year-old granddaughter.  🙂

Time Passes……..

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.
Michael Althsuler

Since I last posted I have spent some wonderful time in Hawaii, begun another quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders, and continued my hand stitching adventures.

The place where we normally stay in Maui is along the coastline where some of Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtles make their home. One of my delights on this past trip was a daily conversation with some of these creatures who liked to rest on a small stretch of sand near us. They are quite wise.  😉

My latest quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders is in process. I am pleased that I devised a way to use some left over pieces from a past project in creating this quilt. I had a number of strips that I had previously sewn together and stored away. I was able to blend them with fat quarter thirds to create a simple but attractive design.The pattern came from a post on June 24, 2014 of the Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog. When I finish quilting my piece I will be sure to share.

As I mentioned in my last post, I participated in Karen Ruane’s Embroidery School 2018 this winter. The online class has finished and I am currently creating a cloth book of my samples. Each sample has its own page and I am really loving the feel of each page. Hope to have it completed in the next month.

Pages for my sample book

I am just starting up another of Karen’s classes, Create and Embellish  where we will be creating our own cloth surfaces and then hand embellishing. Here is a sample of my first surface that I will be working on. It should be an adventure as we proceed! By the Way, if you are interested in listening to Karen discuss her work, there is a podcast interview with her here.


As I move forward with my WIPs, spring is making its presence felt here in Eastern Washington. Each day the temperature warms more. Our yard is always filled with wildlife and they are all celebrating the end of winter. I am totally enjoying their antics. Just yesterday, I caught this photo of a wild turkey in full glory.

I am looking forward to more time outdoors along with more quilting and hand-stitching in the coming weeks. I will be back to share again. In the meantime, I am linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other fiber artists are exploring. She has some great suggestions for organizing if you are in the spring cleaning mood.


It’s Been Awhile

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars to change the world.

Harriet Tubman

I have been absent from my blog for over a month. When I went to write a post in early February, I discovered that I was unable to back up my site. I am not sure what happened but, through testing, I could determine that it definitely related to my server at MacHighway.  I have been a customer there for many years and they have always been helpful when occasionally there has been an issue of some sort. This time, though, the problem was not simple. The case kept getting bumped up in the organization and finally, this past week there was resolution. It took patience on my part and research on theirs but I am grateful the problem was resolved. I did not really want to move my site and all that would have been entailed!

Just because I was off line did not mean that I was away from my studio! One project that was completed was a second quilt for Quilt Beyond Borders.

The main fabric is some Yukata cotton I bought from Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts when I took a workshop from her last fall . The intensity of the flowers against the geometric background caught my eye.

I played with the angles a bit to divide up the fabric into four quarters and used those angles for a simple quilting pattern.

While I was off line from my blog, I also spent a good deal of my free time on hand stitching. I have been in an online class with Karen Ruane called Embroidery School 2018. We have been making many samples of stitches and that has been great fun.

Each sample gets enclosed within a border, labeled, and will ultimately be gathered into a cloth book of my making that I will have for reference.

I have also been working with some random bits that have been collecting in my studio – something about the color red attracted me to them initially.

I wanted to explore some of the stitches I was learning in Karen’s class a bit more and decided to build towards a pin pillow……….

As my play continued, the pin pillow morphed into components for a possible pouch for my growing collection of fabric bits and pieces. These components currently reside on my design wall where the proposed back of the pouch patiently waits for attention.

And so, while I have been silent on the web, I have been busy. You will notice, I have no art quilts above in this post. I have had to patient with myself these few months. Creating quilts for QBB is a priority I have set for myself for 2018. It is one small way in which I feel that I can make a difference in this crazy world. The quilts go to children in need, many in refugee camps.  Alternatively, hand stitching offers me an escape into whimsy and a meditative process that, along with my beautiful grandchildren, allows me to keep a positive mind. For a bit, I wondered if I would ever make another art quilt…….it is only in the past few weeks that I have begun to feel my way back into the world of design. I sketched quite a few ideas while I was preparing for Patricia Belyea’s class. They have sat waiting and now, finally, I have begun to play with an idea I sketched and some fabrics I had purchased last fall. My other projects have had to move over a bit on my design wall to make way for a possible art quilt. Where will it go? We will have to see!

Linking up to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog so you can check out what others have been doing this week.  🙂

Hawaiian Dreaming

Kahuna Nui Hale Kealohalani Makua
“Love all you see, including yourself.”
Hale Makua

Here in Spokane, WA, winter is in full display. It is beautiful when the sun shines but often the days are grey. My dreams turn to our beautiful state of Hawaii as I count days till I will next be there. It is one of my favorite places of inspiration for my fiber work.

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on my first 2018 quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders. As I gathered fabric and designed the quilt, I often found myself playing a Hawaiian music station on Pandora. Can you see the influence in my choice of fabrics. I have named the piece “Hawaiian Dreams.”

The quilts is made from two sets of charm packs (5 1/2″ squares). I had bought one set on a trip in November as I wanted a record of some fabric I saw. The art quilt didn’t happen but I did love the fabric. But what to do with 40 51/2″ squares?!? After playing with it on my design wall one night:

I decided to use it for QBB by purchasing a complementary set of charm squares. It is the first time I tried this approach. I actually stitched sets of four squares together in blocks to give myself a range of layout options but ultimately decided upon simply bordering the grouping of squares.

For the back of the quilt, I used some yardage that I had purchased for the contemplated art quilt. The result is quite a nice backing for the piece:

I am quite pleased with my first quilt of 2018 and the knowledge that it will be going to child in need.


A New Year! A New Start!

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Steve Jobs

Here is what my design wall looked like shortly after the start of 2018:

I had spent the first few days of 2018 focusing on an art quilt that I had been working on for a month or two. I had full size sketches, a selection of fabrics that I thought would work, etc. However, the more I pulled it all together, the more I realized that I really wasn’t enjoying the process and just wanted to be done and move on. So, I decided that 2018 would be a year of listening to my heart, my gut, my center. I packed away all the pieces, pictures, etc. and cleared my design wall. 🙂

It was a most freeing decision!  After a day or two, I pinned a beautiful hand embroidered Christmas gift my husband gave me to the wall for inspiration:

Then I began working on projects that excited me. The first was a small needle case for traveling that used fabric that I purchased last fall in Ireland and some beautiful lace I had ordered from Switzerland.

Front cover of needle case


Back cover of needle case

Inside of case

I am now moving forward with an idea for a pin pillow from some bits and pieces that I collected during the Fall and had been patiently waiting to stitch. 🙂

And so, my “mantra” for  2018 will be follow my heart! It is great to feel re-energized and excited to play in whatever ways feel right. Already I have another quilt project for Quilt Beyond Borders up on my design wall! Will share that with you in the coming weeks.

Warm Wishes for the Holidays

Wishes for a joyful holiday season!

A Fiber Artist Approach to Holiday Giving

Every little bit counts!

Tis the season to share with others. It has always bothered me how after giving great thought to gifts for friends and family, I find myself often wrapping my gifts in paper that will quickly go in the trash. There are of course paper alternatives such as newspapers etc that can be recycled. But, this year I am taking a different approach.

My studio has a wall of fiber stash…..cloth, ribbons, thread that, at this point in my life, I try to use before buying new. For my Quilt Beyond Borders quilts, I use this stash. This year I decided to see if I could also use some for wrapping my gifts.

I found a wonderful site that gave me an excellent start for creating fabric bags: Longanberry Handmade. The owner of the site, Susie, lives in Los Angeles and promised that it would take only 5 minutes to make one of her bags. She was right! Her measurements are for small size wraps for things like gift cards:

However, once you have made one, it is very easy to alter size. For special gifts, any fiber artist can immediately see options for creating a fancier design — and I can imagine those with embroidery machines could enhance in all sorts of magical ways. I haven’t quilted any of my bags as it really isn’t necessary but  that would be an option too.

Options include contrasting tops or coordinating fabrics among gifts for someone.

I love this approach to gift wrapping. And, one might consider that it adds another dimension to your gift as the gift bag can most definitely be ‘regifted.’  🙂

Have fun!

Linking to Nina Marie Off the Wall Friday so you can check out what other artists are doing this week. She also has some great gift suggestions for quilters this week!

The Places We Go

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
Dr. Seuss

The past month has been a whirlwind of travel and play.

Early in November I was back at our home in Victor, NY and we discovered the Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame was giving a concert. If you ever have a chance to attend one of Peter’s concerts, do go. His music is timeless, his performance endearing, and his words uplifting. Towards the end of the concert, all ‘children’ were invited on stage to sing along to Puff the Magic Dragon……..you can catch a glimpse of me in the rear to the left of a red checked shirt. 🙂

Next we were on to red rock country in northern Arizona to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday. ‘Lovey’ is an amazing woman who still volunteers at the local high school.

Jerry and Mom

In the midst of all these travels, I have been keeping up with my fiber art….a quilt went out to Quilts Beyond Borders before I left:

I have continued to play with the online activities of Karen Ruane. She currently has two groups running  – a twelve month course in creating Artist Books and a short course on creating projects from handkerchiefs. I am participating in both of these and was able to carry along a needle case project to stitch away on in my down time.

Needle case inside

Needle case front

Composition for page in artist book

I also was honored to have two of my “ice” quilts included in the November/December issue of Machine Quilting.

And so, November ends with my studio filled with holiday projects and my heart filled with gratitude at the life I have been given.

Treasure Trove of Inspiration

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
― Anita Desai

In late August, I traveled to the north of Scotland to visit the Shetland and Orkney Islands and finally a few spots in the Hebrides. I had always wanted to visit the Orkney Islands as I have collected the jewelry of an Orkney artist, Sheila Fleet, for many years. Couple that with my Irish/Celtic heritage and when my husband and I discovered our favorite travel group, Lindblad/National Geographic, had created a trip that began in Bergen, Norway, rounded the north of Scotland, and ended in Dublin, it seemed perfect for us. It was.

As is totally appropriate, before a trip begins, I never know what I will take away from it. I always hope for some special moments and this trip did not disappoint in that respect. In Scotland, we hiked or ‘Zodiaced’ in the most beautiful serene scenery that I have no doubt will be reflected in my art for the coming year.

In retrospect though, the highlight of the trip is one that I am still processing…..a visit to the Standing Stones of Callanish on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. These stones were estimated to have been constructed between 2900 and 2600 BC. There is debate on the purpose of the stones…..some say they were a ‘prehistoric lunar observatory’ while others have proposed a relationship between the stones, the moon and a distant mountain range. The stones have become a popular tourist destination as became clearly evident when our small group reached the site. We were not alone by any means! Fortunately, buses dropped off visitors at one point near the site and then arranged to pick up their passengers near a Visitor Center that was not within view of the stones. Being a patient person, and having just had a talk by a National Geographic photographer the previous day on how to handle crowded venues from a photographer’s perspective, I knew to wander and wait to see if the site would clear. It did and when I then walked within the stones, there was a moment where the mystery of the site took over. I can only describe it as a feeling of energy as I entered the circle. The largest of the stones was overpowering and I felt, for a moment, that I was in a place of great reverence. My readings since my visit suggest that the site has always been a place visited, not a place of habitation, so I would like to think it has been a place of reverence for mankind throughout the ages and I was treated to an experience of its power.

Here then are some scenes with my journey that I hope you will enjoy!

Fair Isle, Shetlands

Mull Head, Orkney Islands

Near Skara Brae, Orkney Islands

Isle of Staffa, Inner Hebrides

Sumburgh Head, Shetland Islands

The Stones of Callanish



Follow Your Heart

When in doubt,
follow your heart.

A simple trip to the Quilting Bee in Spokane to drop off JOY! for an upcoming local quilt show quickly turned my planned studio time this week upside down. As I was leaving the store, a Halloween display caught my eye.

A quick text to my daughter confirmed the images would make a perfect Halloween quilt. So, I picked out a few fabrics, did some quick guesstimates on yardage, and committed myself to sewing up a new quilt in the next few days.Soon my design wall was rearranged with ‘works in progress’ shoved over to a side while I contemplated design options. The ‘free pattern’ offered in the store was way too detailed if I was to produce this lap quilt in a few days.

I think all my efforts for Quilts Beyond Borders contributed greatly as by Wednesday I had a front and back cut, pieced,  and was assembling my quilt sandwich. 

Much to my own amazement (and selection of very, very simple big free motion quilting lines), I was able to quilt my quickie project in a day!

While the results are most definitely not ‘Houston’ standards, the most important ‘judge’ of my halloween quilt gave it a definite nod of approval.

Linking to Nine Marie”s Off the Wall Friday to see what other quilters have been up to.



The Cloth Shop

I am curious, I love making discoveries,
travelling, speaking with people, go shopping.
Maria Grazia Cucinotta

Another highlight of my recent travels was a few days in Dublin where I got to visit The Cloth Shop. The shop was founded in 2010 by mother and daughter, Deirdre and Sinéad. I was lucky enough to meet Sinéad on my visits. She is a totally delightful hostess.I first popped in to see what generally was available and found an exquisite selection of fabrics – but, more than that, what made me definitely plan to return was how welcome I was made to feel. I explained that I was just window shopping but it didn’t matter. They answered questions and gave me a card to be sure I could find them again. I did return and again, they were incredibly helpful. Sinéad and I chatted for quite a bit as she was as interested in my art as I was in their cloth. As weeks have passed, I have realized that  my time in the store is one of my fondest memories of Dublin.

I was particularly looking for cloth for my embroidery classes with Karen Ruane. Karen had given me The Cloth as a possible source of Liberty fabric in Dublin. And, wow, did they have Liberty cloth. One of a handful of worldwide dealers who receive liberty fabrics as they are first issued, the selection at The Cloth was amazing. I was delighted that when shopping in person you can buy as little as 1/4 metre and so I chose a number of cottons from the fall line.

What I didn’t expect were the silk Liberty fabrics available. Of course, I had to try a few of those too. 🙂

The Cloth offers many more fabrics beyond Liberty. They have beautiful Irish tweed and Irish linen, all dyed and woven locally, as well as  cashmeres from Italy, fine bead work from India and exquisite velvet and  lace. I saw some breathtaking modern Irish lace that I dream of someday going back to purchase.

If you have a moment, it is inspiring to browse their website, even better, if you happen to be in Dublin, check them out in person. You will definitely receive a very warm welcome.


A Weekend with Patricia Belyea

Always desire to learn something useful.

Last weekend I traveled over to Seattle for a two-day workshop by Patricia Belyea on piecing complex curves. I only attend hands-on programs every few years so this was a special experience for me. In the past year or so,  I noticed a real ‘urge to piece’ rather than relying upon fused appliqué in my art quilts. Couple that with an increasing desire to quilt children’s quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders and attending a program on piecing curves seemed a good idea.

I had met Patricia at a conference in Takoma, WA several years ago and liked her. I thought I could learn from her so I took the plunge and indulged myself. I can say that I was definitely pleased with the workshop. It was held in her ‘store’ in the basement of her house so the workshop space was small but, with only five participants, it was fine. Everything was provided from machines to lunch – we only were asked to bring fabric.  As if to enhance our learning experience, we were surrounded by shelves of the Yukata cotton that Patricia sells.

Patricia is an organizer at heart as well as a designer and this was probably one of the most well thought out workshops I have ever attended. She provided excellent teaching materials which we could take home and spaced out the teaching elements over the two days. There was plenty of leeway for each of us to proceed at our own comfort pace and Patricia was always at our sides if we asked for help, or if she, almost magically, sensed before us that we needed some guidance.

I used Yukata cottons for the workshop – not a requirement – but since Patricia has focused on using Yukata in her own extensive work, I decided to follow suit while learning from her. I knew that would be a stretch for me  as my own tastes tend more towards batiks but it was a good decision as I discovered how easy the cotton was to work with.

We progressed over two days from sketching a curved pattern, transferring it to freezer paper, cutting and finally stitching using Patricia’s method. Each of us created unique well executed 18″ quilt blocks that lay perfectly flat. Since I remembered frustrations years ago with piecing  a sketch and getting it to lie flat, I was really delighted with my results. I think it is a mark of Patricia’s skill as an instructor that each of us experienced success.

For me the real test was could I go home and have as much success as I did at the workshop. I had completed two blocks and cut pieces for a third before I left Seattle. Since I returned home I have been able to stitch together the third block and also complete a fourth block competently.

What will I do with the four blocks and what is the real value of the class for me?  I suspect the four blocks will be transformed into a set pillows. This reflects the fact that I was focusing upon technique in constructing the blocks….when I create art quilts, I prefer to start with a vision or a message that the piece is meant to convey so I can’t quite envision the blocks up on one of my walls. However I did enjoy working with the cotton and looking through Patricia’s huge inventory in person, I did purchase a few as ‘they spoke to me’ so I am sure Yukata will be sneaking into my future projects.

The real value of the weekend is some new insights into piecing curves in a composition and taking the technique forward into other areas. We had a glimpse of the potential towards the end of the workshop as Patricia shared her efforts with inset circles and curvy lines. Without a doubt, this is what made the workshop a huge success for me. I know I have learned the basics and I am sure I can adapt the process to enhance my own art.

It is always exciting to be exposed to new ideas …….I firmly believe it is what keeps us young at heart. If you are interested in learning more about piecing with curves, I hope you will check out Patricia’s workshops. They sell out early so you need to plan ahead!

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other artists are up to.

SAQA Auction Surprise!

Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.
Boris Pasternak

My last post a month ago included a reminder that the SAQA auction would be coming in September. Since that post, I have traveled and traveled and traveled. Future posts will share some of the special moments and teachings in those travels.  However, this morning I was greeted by the most wonderful email – a note from Martha Sielman, Executive Director of SAQA, that my auction contribution has sold!


There are still many, many beautiful art quilts available for bidding. The auction will run through October 8. If you would like to review and bid on a 12″ square art quilt, you can do so through this link. You can see the quilts that I selected for my ‘Dream Collection’ entitled tranquility base in my last post.

Happy bidding! And, I will return to post again after my travels are at an end.  🙂

Time to Recenter!

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength,
the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars
to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

There is a lot of synchronicity in this world if you just follow your instincts. I will be mostly off line for a few weeks and intended to do a post on the upcoming SAQA Auction before my travels started. I usually start my posts with a quote and since I intended to share my ‘Dream Collection’ for the auction, I googled ‘dream quotes’ to jog my memory on a good quote. Harriet Tubman’s quote popped up. It felt very appropriate to me for beginning this post after this past week’s events.  For those unfamiliar with Harriet Tubman, here is the opening paragraph from Wikipedia on her life:

Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era was an active participant in the struggle for women’s suffrage.

Harriet Tubman is a heroine from our county’s past. She used her home in Auburn, NY as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Auburn is not that far from where I lived for many years in the Rochester NY area.  A few months ago I wrote in a blog post about another heroic woman, Susan B. Anthony. I had created an art quilt based on a statue of her that is in Rochester. It seems these women keep leaping into my consciousness as if to remind of how hard our ancestors worked to create the country we live in now — I am not saying this country is perfect but people have worked hard to keep it growing in the right direction. Times like we are currently living through are unsettling and it is easy to lose sight of dreams and forget the power each of us has as an individual to keep us moving forward positively.

Seems like this is a good time for everyone to recenter — to connect with that place of stability in their being. And so, my Dream Collection for the SAQA auction are pieces that suggest tranquility to me, that offer a reminder to slow down, breathe, and refocus. If you appreciate the pieces I selected, they will be up for auction on the SAQA website, beginning on September 15. You can find information on the auction here.  I also have a piece in the auction in Section I which you are welcome to bid on as well.

Aspen III
Judy Warner

So, without further ado, here is my Dream Collection entitled “Tranquility Base”:

Linking as I often do to Nina Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday blog.

Labor of Love

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.
~Welsh Proverb

I have had a pretty blessed life, full of love, but even I admit that grandchildren are special. Some of you know that I uprooted my life and redirected my path in ‘retirement’ when I learned I was going to be a grandmother. And, I do not regret my choices one bit. I know that I have laughed more in the past few years that I would have known possible and thanked the powers that be that I am able to spend as much time as I do with my now two grandchildren.

Needless to say, my devotion to said grandchildren has included creating all sorts of fiber articles for them — from knitted animals to art quilts for their rooms, clothing for stuffed animals, and, of course, quilts for their beds. Back in 2013 it was a relatively simple matter to stitch up an Elmo quilt for Judy Kate’s small bed
However, it is now 2017 and Judy Kate has grown a bit. In anticipation of a move to a twin size bed, her Mom suggested that I might consider a new quilt for Judy Kate. Her little sister, Miriam, would certainly be delighted to inherit the Elmo quilt.  Of course, I agreed. However, several years older, with a downsized Bernina, and having spent much of time in the intervening years quilting up smaller projects, a twin sized quilt was a bit of a stretch. But, can you ever say ‘no’ to a request from granddaughter for a quilt? Of course, not.

So, over the summer Judy Kate and I discussed colors and themes. I really could not get excited about spending hours on a Batman theme (her current hero) so we went with her love of oceans, Hawaii, and whales. I came up with a design, got approval, and decided that a block approach would perhaps work best with quilting on my smaller machine. I researched quilting each block separately but that approach didn’t lend itself to my design. I considered letting a long arm quilter take over for me, but I wanted my granddaughter to be able to look back at the quilt and know her grandmother made the entire quilt.

So, in July I did all the pre-work and then spent the past two weeks using any free time I had to quilt what I will call “Whale Tail”.  I quickly appreciated that I needed to let go of any expectations of ‘perfect quilting’. To say my stitches are not uniform would be an understatement. And, there are zigs and zags as I moved the quilt while I ‘fmq’ed. Fortunately, in my mind,  the design called for a relaxed, child like pattern of quilting so only an expert quilter would find fault with my endeavors. My granddaughter definitely will not!

What making “Whale Tail” has provided me with was an opportunity to share my love of fiber and stitching with my granddaughter, to contemplate how precious she is to me, and to be grateful for the life I have been blessed with! 


Having a Good Summer

Good things come to those who wait.

I have had a lot to be grateful for this summer in my art. Besides being blessed with time, good ideas, and sheer enjoyment in stitching, I have also been acknowledged by my peers. As mentioned in my previous post, I have had After the Storm in the Sacred Threads exhibit which just closed last week.

While After the Storm was on view, I received word that Oasis was accepted into the first show of the SAQA WA Region: The State of WA(ter) which will be on exhibit at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner, Wa from August 2 – October 29.

Applique of Japanese Gardens, Spokane, WA

I am quite excited about this. The exhibit recognizes the complexity of the state of Washington when it comes to water. To quote from the Call for Entry:

Although nearly 5,000 square miles of our state are covered in water, the landscapes of the western and eastern regions could hardly be more different. Washington is a state shaped by extremes of water: the cool, rainy West contrasts vividly with the dry, more climatically severe East. Dividing the East from the West is the dramatic Cascade mountain range, itself a setting for a plethora of lakes, rivers, and glaciers.

SAQA members residing in Washington were invited to interpret these extremes of waters, either by representing the character of water in the east, west or mountainous region of the state.

I offered the following explanation for my entry:

The dryer climate of the eastern part of Washington State has created a deep respect for the role of water in our community. Why? Years with low seasonal rain/snow mean ideal conditions for summer forest fires. Spokane has historically demonstrated its appreciation of water through its planned use of water in the county. An example is the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden which was created in 1974 in partnership with Spokane’s sister city, Nishinomiya, in Japan. The garden, with waterfall and pond, continues to this day as an oasis of peace in the heart of this eastern population center. I chose to highlight the respect for water and its careful usage in the eastern side of the state through my depiction of the pond in my art quilt, “Oasis”.

I hope that my readers will have the opportunity to see the entire SAQA exhibit at the museum.

And, my good news does not end there! I was also thrilled to learn that my art quilt, Ground Zero Reborn, has been juried into the Global Murmurs exhibit which will be on exhibit in Rochester, NY this fall. I will be writing more details on this exhibit in a later post.

Hope that everyone is having a fulfilling summer too!

Sacred Threads 2017

Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity
into a domain of awareness that is more universal.
Deepak Chopra

Tomorrow is opening day for the Sacred Threads Exhibition in Herndon, VA. I consider this exhibit to be one of the most meaningful quilt exhibits in this country. On display are quilts that people have made expressing their life’s journey in themes of Joy, Inspiration, Spirituality, Healing, Grief and Peace. I have to confess that I have an intuitive belief that quilts that we make because they speak to us about our life are among our most powerful quilts. Walking through the Sacred Threads Exhibit, it is clear that when one quilts from a deep felt feeling, others are touched by the message.

I am honored to be part of the exhibit again this year with this entry:


After the Storm

One very rainy March, we ventured down the east coast of Maui towards Hana. On one beach there was an enormous tree branch that had broken free and landed against some shore line rocks. I captured the scene in a photo which served as an  inspiration for this quilt.

As part of any entry for Sacred Threads, the artist is asked to explain why they created the quilt and what theme from the exhibition it represents. Here is part of my entry explanation:

This quilt was inspired by a photo I took on the Hana Coast in Maui after a long overcast day of rain. The broken branches reaching out and seeming to pierce the skyline represent emotions of angst and pain, reflecting grief I have felt in my life as friends and family have passed on. While grief dominates the scene, over in the upper right corner, the sky is beginning to clear, reminding that life goes on.

If you have the opportunity to visit the Sacred Threads Exhibit, I assure you that it will move you. You can find out more about the exhibit at this link. I am also listing some basic information below:

Dates of the Exhibit: July 7, 2017 – July 23, 2017

Location:Floris United Methodist Church, 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon, VA 20171, (703) 793-0026, www.florisumc.org

Hours for the exhibit: Mondays – Saturdays: 11am – 5pm, Sundays: 1pm – 4pm