Monday, July 30, 2012

Free E book still available

My machine quilting tips are still available free at Quilting Arts.

If you did not see this several months ago when I posted it, it is time to go over there and download this for FREE.

Be sure and tell your quilting friends.
Featured: Free eBook

Free eBook: 81 Tips for Free-Motion Quilting,
Thread Sketching and Quilting Motifs

Practice makes perfect with machine quilting designs! Expand your skill set with these free-motion quilting tutorials: one that looks at stippling quilting, one on using variegated threads for free-motion embroidery, and another on thread sketching. Get creative quilting ideas to give your projects the polished finish they deserve, from the experts at Quilting Daily. Download this week's recommended free eBook to get all 81 simple tactics and proven techniques for more successful free-motion quilting.
Spacer 10x10 pixels
Collection of 81 Machine Stitching Tips and Motifs
Spacer 10x10 pixels

Learn more about this free resource and download today!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Come to merry ole England

Inspire Quilting and Creative Textile Retreats 2013
Inspire Creative Events is a company which organizes Quilting and Creative Textile holidays and retreats. It is a partnership between Janet Gledhill and Gail Burton. There are 3 large events planned for 2013 up and down the UK. This blog documents the process of setting up venues and organizing the events themselves.
Frieda Anderson at Inspire April 2013
We are really looking forward to our Inspire April 2013 event. Coming over from the USA is Frieda Anderson whose work is really quite spectacular. Have a look on her website here. Her gallery of work is not to be missed.
Frieda is taking 5 workshops for us through from Wednesday 10th to Sunday 14th April 2013. They are Sundance, Duluth Trees, Frieda's Fun Fast Free Machine Quilting, Laughing Leaves and Trumpeting Spring.

This is a wonderful example of Frieda's Free Machine Quilting, so why not come and see how she does it. It gives us all something to aspire to. Oh how I wish my work was like this! I must carry on practicing.
I would love to see all of you in England next year :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

So good to be home

Home again, home again, jigged jig.
I just returned from a week long trip to Paducah and Cedar Rapids IA.
It always feels so good to come home, don’t you think? I certainly do.
I had a great week with some wonderful quilty gals.
The three days in Paducah were fabulous, and it was wonderful to be inside quilting on such hot summer days. What on earth did we do before air conditioning. I guess we sat on the porch, drinking cool limeade and fanning ourselves. Or maybe it was Mint Julep's.
Teaching at the National Quilt Museum was really special.
There is a gigantic Magnolia tree at the corner of the Museum. One morning on my way into class I heard all this buzzing. I looked over and there inside the blossoms were these bees. I believe they were having a sugar overdose. They seemed incredible happy. What a way to start the day with the heady smell of gorgeous Magnolia blossom. I am in love with the way they smell.
There are these historic markers all over town. I have never had the leisure to read any of them. I am now so impressed with all the history of the place.
It was so fun to have classes in the museum it self and then be able to walk through the galleries at lunch time, or if we just needed a quick inspiration break.
This museum is a real treasure for all of us quilters.
I taught three days of classes.  A two day fused collage class and one day of machine quilting.
The happy quilty gals of Paducah.
And I was lucky enough to stay at Caryl Bryer Fallerts home and studio. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer mid summer trip.
After three glorious days in Paducah I was off to Cedar Rapids IA to teach at the Eastern Iowa Heritage Quilters Guild in Cedar Rapids.
On the way I passed through St Louis. Just a little glimpse of the arches as I drove by.
We have been parched here in the wid-west this summer. A real heat spell has been upon our region, but driving through Iowa on the way home today the fields looked green and ripe, and I felt like I was in the heart land of America.
It is good to be home.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quilt show floor plans

Every year Laura Wasilowski and I share booth space at two major quilt shows.

Some years we do several smaller shows as well.

This year I will be all alone by myself in our booth in Grand Rapids. Laura has other stuff to do.

We have a pretty easy set up for our booth these days.

I decided several years ago to invest in “Velcro” walls.

These walls go up with hooks over the polls provided by the convention center.
See those black walls, Velcro Drapes that I made.

So now we just put up the drapes. Attach the quilts to the drapes with Velcro and drape the tables with black table cloths.

Put all the gorgeous hand dyed fabric and thread on the tables and we are good to go.

I also have a black metal rack for my patterns.
Last year we added a very cushy mat floor. 

You will want to come to my booth - #517 in Grand Rapids and stand on the floor. 

Also you NEED to come to my booth at Grand Rapids and give me a potty break, because I will be  there all alone with no one to let me run around the show.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lucky Winner

WOW a lot of people really want this book. And it is FABULOUS.
The winner is MARY aka Cornwoman. Please send me your snail mail Mary and we will get a copy out to you.
Lucky Lucky Mary.
Flower Pot 2
Flower Pots. These are so spectacular and yet so easy to make.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jane’s Quilts

Mirrored Triangles
Mirrored triangles

Broken Star
Broken Stars
Thousand Mountains
Thousand Mountains.
Bars 2
Aren’t these just fabulous!!? Don’t you want this book?

Leave your comments. Tell your friends.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Jane Sassaman


My friend Jane Sassaman has a new book.
I think Jane’s work is spectacular.

I am wonderstruck with the awesomeness and gorgeousness of Jane's work and this book.
Illinois Album 4
Jane’s fabrics are a lot like Jane’s quilts with large graphic imagery.

But she also makes many blender fabrics to go with these large scale prints.

In this book Jane shows you many techniques for using those large scale prints to perfect effect.

Here are just two of the projects from the book.
I hope you will stop by and leave your comments for a chance to win.

I will draw a name on Friday July 20. So be sure and enter a comment.
Please share this with your quilt friends.

If you haven’t already joined this blog, just click on the link at the top of this page that says “join this site”.

If you email you have done that I will send you a free PDF pattern.

17 Pat Sloan
18 Jan Krentz
20 Lyric Kindard
21 The Quilt Show
22 Jane LaFazio

Nancy Zieman

Friday, July 13, 2012

Left overs

I thought you might enjoy seeing the two little quilts I started at the start of this week.

Each of these is the tiny version of one of my patterns. The first one is the tiny version of Summer Afternoon done in pink. And the second one is the tiny version of Three Pumpkins. I make these tiny versions with left over's from fused projects. 

Nothing is ever wasted with fused fabrics.

A bit of a peek at the process.

Here is the quilt in the process of being quilted.

I like to leave plenty of extra fabric and batting around the design while I am quilting it, that way I have lots of fabric to hold on to and plenty to trim away once I am done quilting.


The design elements (flowers, leaves, stems) were outline quilted with 30# rayon thread and then the background area was stippled with 50# silk thread.


I thought you might enjoy seeing the back as well.


And finally the front.

This little quilt is about 12” x 9”


The flowers and leaves are made of my hand dyed silk and the background and binding are my hand dyed cottons. If you are interested in purchasing it for your own private art collection, contact me.

Tiny Three Pumpkins is the perfect wall quilt for fall.


I decided to quilt the background around the pumpkins with little oak leaves and swirls. I like to do this kind of quilting with a variegated 30# cotton thread.


I always sign my quilts in three places, obsessive I know, but I can’t help it. First I machine quilt 
my name on the front, then I sign and date the label, and lastly I sign the back with a black extra fine sharpie marker.

This little quilt measures about 14” x 10”. Cute isn’t it. Perfect for your studio wall or in the kitchen this fall to cheer you up.

Have a great weekend and stay cool.

Don't forget next week is my blog give away for Jane Sassaman's new book. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Crazy Busy

There was a great op-ed piece in the New York Times by TIm Kreider, about working and being busy.

If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”
If you want to read more go click here.

I want to dream lazily and do work when I am inspired. That seems to be crazy, but I think it is the right way to work.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Professional Quilters, an association to help quilters, fiber artists and other creative arts entrepreneurs build business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I like to play around

I like to play around, don’t you?

Here are a few more ideas using Derwent Pencils.

Derwent Inktense Pencils
Here are a few more ideas from Mary in HOT Arizona. I bet she plays around inside A LOT!

First...if I draw a line with the pencil and use a paintbrush, filled with the aloe gel, on the line it will spread the really intense color out into surrounding areas, with the darkest concentration of color being where the line is.  You need to make sure that you're good with having a line still showing.
Second...if I put some of the gel into one of those little plastic palette indentations, then immerse the pencil sort of like drawing in the cup and mixing the color in until it's as deep a color as I'd like, I can use that colored gel like watercolors to paint on the fabric.  If you want it darker, just either add more of the color from the pencil or multiple layers of the color...or both.

Third...if I only need a really teensy bit of the color, I put a bit of the clear gel on my finger and roll/draw with the pencil until I get the intensity of color that I want.  Then I dip my brush into it and use it to paint the area.  The caution with this one is that if you need to color a medium to large area, the color consistency would be tough to achieve.

Also, there are special paint brushes for fabric that sort of scrubs the ink into the fibers of the fabric, which is needed.  You want the ink to be more than just surface.

When you wet the Inktense pencils, the color becomes very intense and beautiful, but like all liquid (gels included), it will spread the color and the moment that it dries it becomes permanent.  If you want to contain it within a specific area, your 24 pencil kit has an outlining pencil that is usually located on the end.  If you use it, that sort of silvery-grey color will be visible when you finish, however, so play with it to see whether you want to use it or not.  Also...when adding gel or other liquids to the Inktense on fabrics, give them at least 24 hours to dry thoroughly.

The clear colorless aloe gel that I buy comes from Walgreens in their suntan lotion section and usually runs me 2 tubes for $5, so it's pretty cheap.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Playing inside

With this terrible heat driving me inside, I am working on a few small quilts. My basement is cool and comfortable, if a bit messy.

I really wish I had a magic genie to come in every night and straighten up my workspace, just the way I like it.

I will never be that really neat person, sigh.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you one of the ways that I add quilting lines on my work if I need to follow a line while I am quilting something.

Often I like to have a drawn line to follow when doing something like these flowers. If I don’t have the line to follow the line will become to straight and un-natural looking and so it helps if I can mark the curves. I discovered these colored pencils several years ago and now use them when doing this kind of quilting on my pieces.

I also discovered just recently that these lines can become permanent. I will share that next time.
Using Derwent Pencils to mark quilting lines
Don’t forget that next week is a free give away on my blog for Jane Sassaman’s new book.

Please leave your comments and take a moment to join my blog.

Happy Quilting.

Saturday, July 7, 2012



Today on Linda Teufels blog you can sign up for a chance to win a free Jane Sassaman project.

Pillowcases. You don’t want to miss this.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A lesson I have learned as an artist.

I often have students say to me you are such an artist, and then they say "I can’t draw anything."

And my response to them is - I think we are all artist, looking for our voice.

One of the things I have learned along the way is to -

Often we stop ourselves from doing the thing we want to do because we are afraid of failing.
  • Failing what? Not making the thing we want, maybe it will be better than we think.
  • Failing who? We only have ourselves to live with.
  • Failing how? I think we only fail if don’t try.
You don’t just start right off and be the best at anything. You have to work at it over and over and over again.

If you are lucky you will love it and want to do it more and more.  By doing it more and more you will only get better and more efficient at what it is you do DO.

If you begin to hate it, look around for something else to do.

View album
View albumView albumView albumView albumView album
View album
This advice is for me as much as you.

Print this page