Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beth Schillig Wins Again!

Beth Schillig, a retired Bernina dealer, has been seriously quilting. Not JUST seriously quilting, but doing incredible work and knocking off one award after another. I featured her recently on the blog (Beth Schillig and Philippa Naylor) and now she's gone and done it again!

Beth is a new member to the National Quilting Association. At the recent 41st Annual show, held right here in Columbus, Ohio, Beth entered 3 quilts and darn it all if she didn't walk away with two ribbons.

Check out the details over at the SAQA Ohio Blog.

Kudos to you, Beth!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Long Arm Quilting from a Medium-Armed Woman

I had a mission, a quest. I have long gazed at work by my authors and dreamt about being half the free motion quilter they are.   Laura Heine doesn't draw it out. She just goes with the flow.....and I think they all do that!  Even if I drew every stitch on my quilt, I wouldn't be able to hit the lines! Philippa Naylor quilts tiny 1/4" feathers which are amazing. I can only dream.  (Pictures from Laura Heine Fiberworks and

After hours of unsuccessful practice on my beloved Bernina, I decided enough was enough. Time to get some real help. I took a class last year at the National Quilting Assoc (NQA) by the master Diane Gaudynski. She was fantastic! By the end of the class I was doing all kinds of shapes. I saw a glimmer of hope that one day I may be half as good.

At this year's NQA show I had a bright idea. Maybe it would be easier to be an excellent free-motion quilter on a longarm machine. Eureka! I took a class by the Queen of Longarm, Linda V. Taylor.  Wow, was that different! Those industrial longarms (made for doing factory bedding 24/7) are huge machines; very heavy and powerful.  Sure, they glide smoothly. Yes, they do all kinds of magic. I, however, could not follow the pattern with the laser light to save my life! (Hopefully I will never be called on to save a life with an industrial longarm.)

The graceful ballerina I tried to draw had cellulite and some severe limb problems.

Still not deterred, I thought, Linda, maybe if you do free-motion with the machine it would be smooth and easy like drawing with a pencil, which I can do well. To the front of the machine I marched. I tried. I flunked. I couldn't get a straight line or a smooth loop despite hours of trying. It just didn't feel right for me. 
I was relieved in a way. Those machines cost so much. One would take up an entire room in a normal house and I could just hear my husband scream at both problems! 

Discouraged, I walked the show floor looking at the gorgeous quilts with all their beautiful free-motion quilting. If I wasn’t going to need to buy a longarm machine, then maybe I could at least find a great quilt. Suddenly, lo and behold, I literally ran into a mid-arm quilting machine! 

It looked nice and friendly, all white and compact, just sitting there waiting for me. It said, Try me, Linda! Somehow I knew just to press the handle button and take off so I did.....loop-d-loop....signed my name....made a tiny circle and retraced right over!  Smooth, simple and just what I was dreaming about!  There is some hope. I might be a decent free-motion quilter after all.  I signed up for lessons on the mid-arm and if all goes well, I should master it by next year. 

I’m happy and excited I found my machine. It's affordable, and I can fit it in my house. 

Moral of the story...Don’t give up! Try the machines. There is one that is right for everyone. (And every house!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Confetti Naturescapes at the printer (and on my table)!

This past week, Noriko Endo’s book, Confetti Naturescapes started the last leg of its long journey to the printers.

Of course, it’s already been a long journey getting the book ready to go to the printer. From initial concept through the writing, photographing, book design, editing, proof-reading, more photographs, more editing….It’s a process, but one that ended last week when I dropped the final proof in the FedEx box.

This is such an exciting time for me, my book designer, my authors. No matter how many books we do here at Dragon Threads, when that book arrives and I’m holding it in my hands, it’s as wonderful to me as the very first one we did.

However, before a book goes to print, there’s such a flurry of work to be done: final edits, photo retouching, design tweaks, phone calls, emails, more edits. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes when a press deadline looms. Then, of course, we wait! The whole process of printing and shipping (by boat from Thailand) takes about two months. But guess what! The proofs (courtesy of DHL) arrived today and are on my kitchen table. Oh, are they gorgeous!

book proof noriko proof

Even better, while I’m waiting for the books, I’ve been able to enjoy one of Noriko’s spectacular quilts here, close to home. As I noted in a previous post, her quilt, Autumn Reflection #2, is on display in a show at the Richard Ross Museum in Delaware, Ohio. reflections

This really is a breathtaking quilt, and seeing the quilt in person makes me even more excited to see her work in print. Look at this detail! The lower part was water reflections, which really glisten from the fibers she captured in the layers of tulle.reflections quilt Her stitching adds so much dimension to the piece. 

The quilt was marked “Not For Sale” but I hear that it is being sold to a collector in town. Most of Noriko's quilts are sold and sometimes before she is even finished with the quilting!

If you'd like to see more of her work she has a nice website with her international teaching schedule too:

In the meantime, if you’re lucky enough to live in central Ohio, go see her quilt for yourself.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Arach-NO-Phobia: Interlude with Jane Sassaman

How I love the internet. I was visiting virtually with my dear friend, Jane Sassaman, on her blog, Jane Sassaman’s Idea Book. It’s my idea book, too. She lives so far away, but I can hang out in her studio from my studio courtesy of the world wide web.

Jane is incredible. She’s tirelessly creative. To watch her work, to talk to her about work, is just a joy. I was “virtually visiting” with her this weekend and chanced upon two things that just delighted me.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, sit down. There are spiders involved. I’m not generally a fan, but Jane is so talented that I might NOT stomp the next spider I see crawling across my deck. Well, not immediately stomp it.

First, a picture of Jane working on an absolutely gorgeous quilt:











And these. She’s gone mad with spiders!

Only Jane could make something I generally scream and run away from so artistic.

I noticed on Jane’s blog a link to one of my favorite time-wasting, wallet-emptying sites, Etsy, and a vendor named 100 Billion Stars. She makes cute things using Jane’s fabrics. Do I need this lovely bag?

I want to need this skirt, alas, I fear it is 10 years, okay 20 years too young for me, but oh, how adorable:

Does the fabric not just SCREAM summer, cold drinks in sparkly glasses at sunset?

Enough. Back to work. Post coming soon about Noriko Endo’s book, which went off to the printer last week. Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mid-week Potpourri

I’m taking a quilting class today, which is like a vacation. I’m away from the computer, the phone, the vacuum cleaner…I’ll learn something new and hang out with creative friends. No airport, cancelled flights, or checked bags. Perfect for a steamy June weekday!

In the meantime, one of my authors, the fabulous Barbara Olson (click here for her website), sent me a link to this blog:

We of Artistic Vision

I’ll say artistic! Fantastic. I’d love to get to know these talented women. The quilt they did in blocks for the Becker Lake Photo Challenge is exactly the kind of project I wrote about in in my book last year, Quilting Party. Since that book was published, I’ve heard from so many readers about their “Quilting Party” projects. One of my photographers, Vicki Rentel, just told me about a project at work a coworker put together for another coworker whose husband recently died. It’s been the talk of the office, and has really been a “hands on” way of supporting a dear friend. Lovely. (photo via We of Artistic Vision)

Last but not least, over the weekend I was digging through one of the innumerable clear plastic boxes in my studio, looking for some ideas. It’s therapeutic for me to dig through my stash, especially my stash of Asian printed fabrics. What do you know? I chanced upon a blouse I made years ago. It was done, but for the buttons and the label. I threw on the buttons and added my brand new labels, made by Heritage Woven. Now, who doesn’t love to finish a project, especially one that takes all of 10 minutes and means something brand new to wear?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Do you Koos?

picture via wikipedia 

As my beloved readers know, I was in New York City a few weeks ago. While I was there, I stopped by to see Koos van den Akker at his studio. I love to see him, his assistants, and staff whenever I'm in the city. Like "The Big Apple", Koos' studio is vibrant, exciting, and thriving. Hanging out there is inspirational and fires up my creative juices. Koos is a dear, old friend, too, and I love having a chance to get caught up with him.

The next edition of Ornament Magazine (Volume 33 #4) should feature a six page interview with Koos. Look for that!  Koos fans--I might be #1--can't get enough of his clothes and vintage photos of his work. His designs and clothes are so interesting and never become dated; they are an exuberant and timeless mix of color, prints and fabrics.

I was lucky enough to get a guided tour of what Koos is working on now. Among other fabulous items, this scalloped jacket is selling very well at his Madison Avenue boutique.  The inspiration from this came from a dear friend who was hospitalized. Koos wanted to make her a designer bed jacket!  Isn't this creation fabulous?



Koos keeps everybody up-to-date with projects via Facebook. Regardless of what you think about the Cosby sweaters (many of which were sold on Ebay for charity a few years ago) , check him out.


I wrote a book about Koos a few years ago. While I'm generally loathe to plug myself on the blog, there aren't many books about Koos around, and mine--Koos Couture Collage--happens to be on sale. Inspiring photos of his designs and sewing techniques in the back.

Koos has been designing patterns for Vogue for years. I decided a few days ago to list a few out of print ones from my stash. Oh my,I lost a few hours over the weekend trying to figure out how to list an item on Ebay. Contact me if there is a specific one you've been looking for. Later we will post a preview sneak peek at his new scalloped coat pattern for sale in's to DIE FOR! Watch for it on this blog!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beth Schillig & Philippa Naylor

Phillipa Naylor, author of Quilting in the Limelight and a recent winner in Paducah came from her home in the U.K. to teach two classes this April at Nancy Crow's barn retreat. Wow! What a fabulous barn set up Nancy created-a wonderful environment for art and quilting including dyeing labs and a big kitchen area with a gourmet chef!

Philippa has received several awards for her fantastic quilts (scroll through here and here for examples) for the past few years at the International Quilt Festival in Houston and at AQS in Paducah, so when she announced that she would teach two 5-days classes here in Ohio, my quilting friends here were all excited.

Kim, my graphic designer, and Beth Schillig took her class and learned from concept to completion how Philippa designs and uses trapunto and applique. Beth is a retired local Bernina dealer who has taken up quilting in a serious way. If you don't know Beth, I'm shocked. Beth knows everybody! She emailed me a few days ago with pictures of the project from the class she just finished. Although she is new to art quilting, she has already won some awards and has had her quilts selected for some big quilt shows across the country.

Here is what Beth has to say about Philippa, in Beth's own words:

Three years ago I went to Paducah for the first time. I stood in the National Quilt Museum and was so mesmerized by this one quilt that I made some quick sketches of the fabulous quilting. At that time, I was not familiar with the name of the quilter, but I kept those sketches in a safe spot. She had made such an impression on me. When Dragon Threads introduced Quilting in the Limelight, by Philippa Naylor, I could finally put a name and a face to that fantastic quilting I had remembered from the Quilt Museum! This is one of my favorite books ever!! So, imagine my thrill when I got to spend a week with Philippa at Nancy Crow's Barn!! She is a gracious and giving teacher. And so much fun and inspiring to be around! It was great to have her help and push me a little out of my comfort zone in creating my latest piece.

Thanks for the shout out, Beth! My experience with Philippa was the same. I saw her quilts at the National Quilt Museum a few years ago and was blown away. They really are incredible. At the time Philippa was living far away (in Saudi Arabia) and I had a full docket of books in various stages of publication. Then, a miracle! My dear friend Jane Sassaman mentioned that she and Philippa would be rooming together and would ask her if she was interested in writing a book with me. The timing was perfect. I couldn't wait to get a book from Philippa started. Working with her was, from beginning to end, a joy. She is as amazing as her quilts.

But back to Beth's terrific quilt, called Cosmic Confetti. The applique pieces have a row of black satin stitch and are embellished with two rows of machine buttonhole stitch. She used a double layer of Hobbs 80/20 and Hobbs wool and which gives the quilting a really intense, cool look when you see it in person. She used a very old fashioned/traditional stencil and marked the clamshell quilt design and embellished it here and there. Finally, she used Philippa's squiggle lines to fill in the rest of the background. She even added a few "yo-yo's" in the flowers using the very smallest of those yo-yo makers. They add a fun little touch.

Look at Philippa's site for her teaching schedule. I guarantee that if you can take a class from her, it'll be the best one of your life!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New York, New York

Today over on Quilts and Creativity, a terrific post--and not just because a picture of me is featured prominently! I had a great evening with Maria Peagler at the IDPA Ben Franklin AwardTM dinner. She says it best in her post, though:

Crafts is a huge category, with winners in previous years covering weddings,
beading, sewing, crafting businesses, and other crafty mediums; for all three to
be quilting books is a tremendous coup for indie quilt book publishers.
David and I sat together with Linda Teufel of Dragon Threads, and we had a
delightful time. It was inspiring to be around so many talented, creative,
and innovative publishers.
Ditto, Maria! It's an honor to be nominated for the award, certainly, but to attend the ceremony and be surrounded by so many powerhouse talents, creative minds, and cutting edge publishers was a thrill. I had a lovely time with Maria and David, and hope our paths cross again soon.

PS: We had a mention in Alex Anderson's & Ricky Tim's wonderful, amazingly comprehensive blog @ The Quilt Show.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More summer quilt shows

Right up the street, so close I can walk, is the High Road Gallery. They just opened a show called "FABRICations: Artistry in Fiber", which features art quilts by central Ohio quilters and dolls from Guilded Lilies Art Dolls.

This is a neat place for a show, with lots of character. It's an old house, and every room features quilts, even the former bathroom. Just like the show from a few days ago in Delaware, I found quilts done by members of the Quintessentials Quilters Guild.

Jody Wigton had five quilts in this show. She experimented with different media, utilizing plastic in one case for a very unusual "wet" effect. One of her other quilts had both printing and painting. It's a small work, but very effective in its use of different textures and effects.

Judy Krol, another local art quilter, had a few quilts in the show. All of them were wonderful, but one was really dynamic. It's difficult to pull off asymmetry and odd shapes in a quilt, and Judy really pulled it off here. Delightful.

If you also like to finish your quilts in something other than right- angle rectangles, take a look at Quilting by Improvisation by Vikki Pignatelli. It has chapters on alternate finishing techniques and is on sale till the end of the month.

If you're in the neighborhood, stop by for a terrific show.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Subversive Stichers

One of my favorite sources of quilting news, gossip, and inspiration is the blog, Subversive Stitchers. Today they were kind enough to post the news about our recent Ben Franklin AwardTM . Thanks so much, ladies! While you've visiting, read their wonderful review of our award winning book, Fibreart Montage, by Judith Montano.

Vikki Pignatelli, a Dragon Threads favorite, posted a fascinating article a few months ago (What can I say? I'm new to the blogging thing.) about a teaching trip to New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, and Ireland. The pictures are just as fantastic as Vikki's work. Head on over to read the post and tickle your eyes, then check out her website. While you're at it, her wonderful and popular book, Quilting by Improvisation, is on sale over at the Dragon Threads website. (Picture courtesy of Subversive Stitchers.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's summer, and the quilting is great

Who would think that Columbus, Ohio--flyover country--is a mecca for quilters, quilt shows and classes? Anybody who lives here (like me), or anybody who has ever taught a class, entered a quilt or juried a show, that's who.

This June is especially busy. There's the National Quilting Association show, the Quilt Surface Design Symposium (QSDS), and the every-odd-year Quilt National (in Athens, not far from Columbus). From these big shows spring up many smaller shows and classes.

Today I went to one of these "smaller" shows, if by smaller you mean 40-plus quilts from artists all over the world. The show is "Quilted Surface IV. It was curated by the QSDS directors, and will be at the Richard Ross Art Museum in Delaware, Ohio until July 1st.

I went to see one of Noriko Endo's quilts (Autumn Reflections 2) in person. I want to make friends with this quilt. It's just gorgeous. I'm posting a picture, but really, you have to see this work of art in person. Photos just can't do justice to the detail a
nd reflection from the metallic and angelina fibers. The actual colors of the piece, are, well, amazing.

I was happily surp
rised to bump into some works by old friends. Sonja Tugend is a dyer and quilter I've known for years. She's a master of color, and frankly, I could stand and stare at her pieces for hours. What she does with tiny stitching and knots on the surface has to be seen to be believed.

Jody Wigton, a friend from the Quintessential Quilters Guild, had a beautiful art quilt with small silk "tabs" added at the seams. Apologies for the photo. The lighting was terrible. The way she always experiments with mixed media is an inspiration to me.

Sue Cavanaugh is another artist who did a presentation this year for our quilt guild
. Her incredible shibori piece is made of sateen she dyed herself then laboriously hand stitches. She sent me an email today about it:

It's whole cloth, cotton sateen, dyed multiple times with MX Procion fiber reactive dyes. The patterning was done with stitch resist shibori using two different stitches: ori-nui and mokume, thus the made up name of Ori-Kume # 17.

Again, you have to see it in person to believe it. You can see more of Sue's work at her website .

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dragon Threads and Ben Franklin

When I found out the latest Dragon Threads publication, FibreArt Montage, by Judith Montano, had been nominated for the Independent Book Publishers Association's prestigious Ben FranklinTM award I felt as though I'd been struck by lightening. (OK, a bad Ben Franklin joke.)

Well, the book won, and I just couldn't be more thrilled. Judith Montano, the internationally known quilt artist, wrote an inspiring book. Her pictures are just jaw-droppingly wonderful. We knew this had to be a full-color, spiral bound book to do her photos and technique justice. The Dragon Threads team set to work producing a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that really demonstrates Judith's skills, vision, and mixed-media techniques in a way that lets readers produce their own one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

We worked really hard on this book, and I couldn't be more proud of it. Sales have been terrific, and the feedback we've received has been tremendous. Then, out of the blue, I heard the book had been nominated for the IBPA's award, the book equivalent of an Academy Award.

Over 4000 publishers submitted books for review. Books are judged by editorial and design merit by top practitioners in each field. All three finalists this year in the crafts categories were strong contenders. It was a nail-biting moment for me at the dinner in NYC at the Roosevelt Hotel on May 24th, but we won! Such an honor for Judith Montano and the Dragon Threads team.

A nod to my competition:

Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts, by Maria Peagler and
Quilts, Unfinished Stories with New Endings, by Gyleen Fitzgerald

I couldn't wait to get my hands on their books, for good reason. Both books are full of innovative, vibrant techniques and were written by accomplished, talented artists.

Confetti Naturescapes @ Bernina

Today, over the Bernina USA blog I have a post on Dragon Threads' upcoming fabulous new book, Confetti Naturescapes, by the wonderful Noriko Endo. The post there is my first blog post ever; it's the first one here, too!

I've been a fan of Noriko's quilts for years and couldn't be more excited to be doing a book with her. From beginning to end, it's been a joy for the Dragon Threads team to collaborate with Noriko. We have a few more photos to tweak, and the book will be off to print. We're anticipating publication this August. To preorder, just visit Dragon Threads.

And now, without further ado, here's the link to my first blog post ever! Head on over to the Bernina USA blog:

Confetti Naturescapes