Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Storing thread

I just recently visited some one’s blog who was showing their studio space. It looked so gorgeous and white, and I noticed that they had all the pretty colored thread on one of those thread racks. I used to have four of those thread racks for storing and displaying my thread, but what I discovered was that my thread got “dusty”. Some threads you just don’t use that often and especially those threads were really dusty.
So when I moved to the basement of our home for my new studio.
I moved all my thread into plastic containers. I now have it sitting under my sewing table and to the left of where I sit. This affords me easy access to all my colors as well as keeps it out of the sun, and dust.
I have it organized by weight. I like to use different weight thread for different effects, so my thread is sorted into silk or thin thread, rayon or heavier weight thread, cotton bobbin thread, cotton heavier weight thread and variegated thread.
Here are three of the units that store my thread. The top one has one color of silk thread, the four drawers
have different colors of silk thread and the bottom larger drawer has cotton bobbin weight thread in large spools.
This little three drawer chest has small spools of bobbin weight thread and polyester weight thread.


There is another chest under the bobbin weight thread that has three larger drawers – the top picture- and each drawer has a different kind of thread, rayon, variegated cotton, and really heavy cotton hand dyed and other heavy thread.
I also have a small five drawer chest where I store my different size and types of needles. One drawer has universal needles for piecing, three draws have different types of machine quilting needles, one for microtex needles that I use when machine quilting with silk or monofilament threads, embroidery needles when I machine quilt with rayon thread and quilting needles for machine quilting with cotton thread. The bottom drawer has miscellaneous needles.

This keeps everything close by, clean and easy to find.

Organizing is not my forte but it really helps to know where stuff is.
Share with us how you store stuff.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Day fabric

Dyed on Thanksgiving Day.
I love these multi colored fabrics. Each one is ONE OF A KIND. I can't really post these on the website but if you would like this one click the button. $20.00.

Thankful Thursday give away



I am thankful everyday that I am a quilt artist and teacher. Being a quilt artist, teacher and fabric dyer brings me so much pleasure and happiness AND lots of new friends all the time.

As a teacher at the big quilt shows we receive many new products and freebies from the sponsors who support the shows. I can’t possibly use all of them. I decided a long time ago to concentrate on the things that really grab my attention and not be distracted by all the great things to do out there. I would never get anything done.

SOOO this Thursday I will ship off this little packet of goodies to a reader who leaves me a comment. There is a free sample of Steam a Seam 2, two iron on RhineStuds, A sample of American spirit batting, a pillow corner template – oh I would love to make some new pillows – and a pair of cut and clip scissors.



I know you could use all of these so leave me a comment any time through the end of Thursday to receive this nice gift package.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Signature quilt and hand dyed fabric.

My oldest son was married a year ago. I showed you in an earlier post the beginnings of quilting the quilt his mother in law and I made for the happy couple. We made this quilt with my hand dyed fabrics. I designed it on EQ7 and Linda pieced it. Now it is my responsibility to quilt it. I would like to give it to  them for Christmas so the race is on to finish it.
After doing all of the stitch in the ditch on the inside of the quilt that I want to do, I have begun to add in the quilting on the borders of the quilt. I drew templates for the oval shapes I wanted in the first border in Illustrator and cut them out of paper.
I spray basted them with 505 spray to hold them in place while I traced around the outline with a clover marking pencil. I have since quilted that shape and echo quilted inside of it twice. I quilted this shape with silk thread so that it would sink into the fabric rather than stand out. I wanted the writing from the signatures that people signed on the front of the quilt to stand out instead.
On a different note, this Thursday on Thankful Thursday I will be giving away a package of products. When you are a teacher at some of the big shows many of the sponsors of the shows fill our bags with wonderful goodies. Many of these goodies I use, some of them I don’t and some of them I already own. So I thought I would pass on the bounty.
Leave me comments through out the week to be eligible to win the first of these drawings.
I dye a little every day just for you. This is one of my “Mystery Fabrics” no two are alike and I can only sell these in person but today I am offering you the chance to purchase this gorgeous fall medley. If you are interested in purchasing this  multi colored brown, purple and lime green fabric it is $20. Email me and we’ll arrange something.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday SALE at Friestyle

All day Friday November 25th, fabric and patterns are 20% off at  Please be sure and share this with your friends so they can get the discounts too!!

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 
I am thankful for my family and friends.

I am thankful to be a quilter.
I hope you find yourself thankful this Thursday too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Using gradation fabrics

I love dyeing the fabric. It is still one of my favorite parts of quilt making. I started dyeing fabrics because I could not find the colors and intensity of color that I wanted to use in my work. I find that now when I work with printed fabric I am distracted by the designs in the fabrics. I have always been attracted to colors and working with colors. But I know that some people find working with color a difficultly. Color theory can be learned and one of the great sources for learning color theory is in Joen Wolfrom’s new book - Adventures in Design

Author: Joen Wolfrom
Internationally reknowned design and color expert, Joen Wolfrom, teaches you everything you need to know about the essentials of good design.
One of my earliest quilts using my hand dyed fabric is featured in this book. A good source to have in your library.
Dandelions – Joen referenced this quilt because I used opposite colors on the color wheel as the color theme I worked with to create the quilt top.

I love the way my fabric gradations look. They give the effect of watercolor designs, blending from one color to the next with wonderful “drip marks” through out the fabric. The blending of one color to another allows me to use less fabric to create my designs. I often let the gradation do all the work for me. The “drip marks” also create texture and depth in my pieces.
This is just a sampling of the variation in the colors in different gradations of my hand dyed fabrics.
The first fabric on the left I used to create my pattern Dancing Trees. One end is used for the border and the other end for the background. I do that a lot with my work. Just look at Winter Forrest  or Wild Blue Jacks.
In “Winter Forrest” I used gradation fabrics like Blue Sunset and Limey Avocado for the border fabrics and I used sections of Rainbow for the trees themselves utilizing the drip marks in the center of each branch of the tree.
The background and the border are made from one yard of a gradation that goes from blue to yellow/green. And the Jack is made from a gradation that goes from lime to grass green. It makes working so fun and easy.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Baby Quilt

My niece Gretchen is expecting her first child. Gretchen’s standard response to me whenever I ask her what she wants as a present – a quilt auntie. So of course I had to make her a quilt for the new little one. I’m calling him Charlie, no name yet that I am aware of.
Here is Charlie’s quilt. It is made from Tula Pink’s pattern  Modern Alphabet. I worked with Tula this summer at the Sister’s quilt show. We spent a great morning waiting at the airport. We had breakfast together.IMG_1985
Here’s my version made with hand dyed fabrics. Gretchen said she wanted it in blues and browns.
This is a really easy pattern to make. I think I would just use one brown color instead of the three that I did use. However It was not much fun to quilt because each of the letters had to have straight line quilting in it to emphasis the letter shape.
If I do it again I will do the straight lines before I assemble the quilt and then stipple around the straight lines after the quilt is assembled.
I did add in some fun animals to the background quilting.
I know she will love it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

And the winner is.


Cornwoman has won the $25 gift certificate to The Quilt show. You all sent in some great ideas, thank you for sharing. Please look forward to the Thursday after Thanksgiving for the give away.

Shimmering Foliage at Fermilab


This article will appear in the Fermilab Today Science Newsletter. There is a reception this evening. If you live in the area please attend. There will be wine and cheese. I will be working and unable to attend, so you should go and drink my wine and eat my cheese Smile

New exhibit flaunts a rising art form


My Quilt Shimmering Foliage 82” x 82”

A violent particle collision ignites a heated core, spurring brilliant streams of color in every direction and unveiling the mysterious Higgs boson, as imagined by the art piece titled “The Heart of the Matter.” The story was fused and embroidered by artist Susan Jackan into an art form rising in popularity: the quilt.

“Stitched Together – Art & Science: Art Quilts by Midwestern Artists,” now in the Fermilab art gallery, is showcasing 28 quilts referencing science and nature. Themes range from endangered sea turtles to string theory. One quilt even has a matrix barcode that can be deciphered by smart phones.

Artist Laura Wasilowski channels warm memories of a prairie near her childhood home in Minnesota for her piece titled “Chicory.”

“It’s about the origins of who we are,” she said, in reference to the general motif of fundamental sciences in the quilts.

Wasilowski is an artist and representative of the Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA) (, which promotes the art quilt through education, exhibitions, publications and professional development. The show is done in partnership with the Professional Art Quilters Alliance (, a regionally-based group promoting fiber art development.

Wasilowski creates her quilts most often through an improvisational approach, starting with hand-dyed fabrics. She would then work in the direction that the shapes and colors inspire her. For a quilt like “Chicory,” she would invest at least 40 hours of work.

“The quilt is a piece of art and not for the bed,” said Frieda Anderson, a representative also from SAQA. “People are expressing their ideas on fabric in many ways.”

Anderson’s comparatively enormous nature-inspired quilt, “Shimmering Foliage,” took about four months to create.

Georgia Schwender, curator of the Fermilab art gallery, felt the quilts would find the right audience at Fermilab.

“I didn’t want to just have quilts,” said Schwender. “I wanted to tie in the artwork with the state-of-the-art science we do here.”

Stitched Together ( ) is on display now through January 20, 2012. An artist reception will take place today between 5 and 7 p.m. after a tour of Fermilab.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Storing Fused Fabrics

I am a fuser. I have LOTS of left over fused scraps. Let me share with you how I store these treasures.
I keep several plastic stacking drawers full of the left over fused pieces. Just because something has fusible web on it doesn’t mean you can’t use it for another project.
I try to keep the colors sorted by color, but most of the fabrics that I dye are multi colored so this gets a little hard to do sometimes. You can see yellows on the left and red/oranges on the right.
But sometimes the colors migrate. This is the blue green drawer, what is pink doing in there?
I inherited these drawers from Melody when she moved to TN, but they still work great AND they fit under my other work areas. These are under my big board ironing surface. Handy to get at while I work.
One of the things you can do with all those leftover scraps is to make a fused purse. With every order on my website - -this month I will include a free pattern to make this great little fused scrap purse. FUSE ON!!
Don’t forget to leave me a comment on your favorite sewing tip to be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate to the Quilt Show.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Enter to Win a Free $25 gift certificate to THE QUILT SHOW

I am a proud member of The Quilt show. I enjoy the website and all the fun things that are offered there.

Please send me your favorite sewing tips and George and I will pick a winner to receive a $25 gift certificate to be applied to a membership or what ever you choose to purchase on the The Quilt Show. I know you will enjoy going there and seeing all the great things that are offered.

Two years ago I was featured on the show doing a fusing project, one of my patterns - Winter Dreaming, this is a tribute to my kitty who is now long gone but not forgotten. My kitty was always sitting at the back door looking out the window, and of course all cats think they are royal so I had to make her purple.
I had a fantastic time doing the Quilt Show with Ricky and Alex. I have to say that Alex and Ricky are truly nice people, they are just like you and me and wish to share as much information and fun as they can with the rest of us.
As part of my on-going thankful Thursday blogs I am offering a $25 gift certificate to the Quilt show to all you lovely readers. In order to be considered for this gift certificate please send me your favorite sewing tip or trick. I am always looking for new ideas to help me as a quilter and I am sure you are too. I am of the belief that the more you give the more you get. I tell my students this all the time. And one of the great things about the quilting industry is I feel the same response of giving from all the quilters that I meet while I am traveling and teaching.

Print this page