Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Legend, Judith Baker Montano

And a giveaway…..

Judith Baker Montano is a legend in the needlework industry, where she has been active for 30+ years. I remember in 1993 when her book The Art of Silk Ribbon Embroidery was all the talk of Quilt Market. I bought the book and so much silk ribbon! Her pictures, her quilts, and her ideas were so unique and striking. Her work stuck with me. A few years ago Ricky Tims suggested that I chat with Judith about a book. Of course, I thought, perfect idea!

Many quilters incorporate multiple techniques--embroidery, photography, knitting, beading, weaving, dyeing--into a project. Nobody does it like Judith. She’s the master. Nowhere is this more evident thJBM coveran in her latest book, Fibreart Montage: Combining Quilting, Embroidery & Photography with Embellishments. “Montage” in this book is the technique of combining pictorial elements from various sources in a single composition. Judith uses parts of different photographs or fragments of printing. These either stand alone and retain their separate identity, or they look as though they belonged together from the very beginning. But don’t just listen to me. See for yourself. One picture is worth a thousand words; two even better. I think these two sample pages from the book will give you a great idea of what Judith does:

jbm sample

jbm sample2

One thing that is very unique about Judith is her wonderful photography. This book is filled with gorgeous pictures she’s taken over the years, making it a personal, colorful journey. But she doesn’t just provide “eye candy”. She also manages to capture her technique, step-by-step, through pictures. These are two completely different skills, but masterful Judith nails them both. This is a lavish, creative trip full of inspirational photos and the detailed information you need to make a montage of your own.

Book not enough? How about a class? Judith has been travelling for years, teaching her followers around the world. Living out of a suitcase gets old after a while, so now Judith does private workshops in her adorable studio in La Veta, Colorado (also known for its other famous citizen, Ricky Tims). Can you imagine? Spend a few days immersed in Judith’s world, getting hands-on attention. Soak up all that gorgeous scenery, surrounded by all her fabulous work. Look at these wonderful pictures of her studio (by Judith Baker Montano herself) and tell me you don’t want to make a reservation now:

studio 2

studio 3

Judith has put together an absolutely fantastic giveaway. I mean fantastic! Check it out:

Straight from her personal stash there’s a lovely assortment of fabric, thread, embellishments. I was tempted to keep it for myself....Alas. Lest you wonder how to use all this fabulousness, the lucky winner is going to get a copy of Judith’s book, too. You can work on a montage of your own, using Judith’s technique and her stuff! A runner-up will win a copy of Judith’s latest book. What are you waiting for? Leave a comment below. Need a second chance to win? Sign up for our email newsletter. (Don’t worry--I’m catching duplicates if you’ve already signed up.) Leave “Judith sent me” in the “How Can We Help You” box.

Contest ends Wednesday, Groundhog Day, February 2nd at 5pm.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Calling Sassaman Giveaway Winners!

Last call for the Sassaman giveaway winners. Please contact me by Friday at 5pm @ so that I can make arrangements to send you your prize! If I don't hear from you, I'm afraid I'll have to re-reward the prize to somebody else.

I am looking for:

Joyce (commenter #36), who said, "I am a long time fan of Jane's work and love the bag pattern, hope I win!"


Lynn (commenter #10), who said "Jane's work is amazing and inspiring."

Another BIG giveaway coming up tomorrow!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Sewing

linda scarf

Is it cold where you are? Here in Ohio it is cold. (Can you tell from my picture that I am cold?) Cold, cold, cold. There’s snow. And cold. Did I mention the cold? Going anywhere is a chore. Will it ever be warm again?

I got so excited after our Jane Sassaman giveway that I decided to get creative Jane-style about protecting myself against the cold. A quick dig in my stash turned up some of her fabulous fabrics and some cozy polar fleece. I set to work on her Cozy Cowl Scarf pattern.

Not only does this scarf look great and keep my poor neck warm, but it took maybe only 2 hours to make. I have a beloved special Bernina foot that sews on buttons. Not only does this save time and sew on the button more securely, but it saves my cold fingers from having to touch a cold hand-sewing needle. Here are a few pictures of my work:

scarf 1

scarf 2

How about making a few of these for Christmas gifts next year? The possible fabric combinations are endless. I think I could come up with several hundred from my stash alone!

How about you? What about some ideas for gift sewing? Send me your ideas! I’ll post them in time to get started on your holiday sewing next year. Put ideas in the comment box below or email me at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Koos Makes the Cover of Vogue

I just got these photos of the Vogue Spring/Summer catalog. It's the new Koos harem skirt and cowl blouse pattern. Koos and I are thrilled!

Vogue always goes to the studio of Koos and to select an outfit to put in their Designer collection. This usually is for the Fall/Winter catalogs. I thought that they should see what Koos did for a summer outfit last year--I loved this patchwork silk harem skirt and cowl. It is so diaphanous and looks perfect for any summer occasion.

Well, Vogue loved it too. It will be for sale online March 25, and will be in the stores around April 1. The number will be Vogue 1244.

I joined Club BMV (Butterick, Mc Call's, Vogue) to get notice of the sales on their patterns. It really saves a lot when $30 patterns are on sale for $4.25! Shipping is very inexpensive. Check it out at:
Now I must collect my silks and wait until the pattern arrives. This would even look beautiful in solids or one color where you'd just see the nice seam lines. Perhaps we'll do a giveaway then? Let me know if you'd like a Koos pattern giveaway!

Jane Sassaman Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everybody who participated! The winners are:

Joyce (commenter #36), who said, "I am a long time fan of Jane's work and love the bag pattern, hope I win!"

Lynn (commenter #10), who said "Jane's work is amazing and inspiring."

From the email sign-up participants, Suntosh won.

Joyce and Lynn, congratulations! Please email me at so I can get details about address, etc.

Thanks again and stay tuned. Another BIG giveaway coming up later this week.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jane Sassaman Giveaway

I met Jane Sassaman in 1996 her when she won Best of Show at IQA in Houston. She was standing by her huge, amazing, gorgeous "Willow" quilt with white gloves on, answering questions. My question was the stupidest: "How long did it take you to make this?" Gracious Jane answered the question. Over the years we’ve become friends.

From the second I laid eyes on her work I’ve been a fan. It’s almost impossible not to be! Her trademark design sense, distinctive applique technique and use of machine decorative stitches are inspirational. If you get a chance, take a class. They’re informative and invaluable in terms of developing and opening up your own technique. Soak up some of Jane’s spirit and creativity in person. I've taken classes from her twice and I promise you will love working with her.

Lovely Jane is helping Dragon Threads get readers off to a creative start this year. She generously donated this nifty set to one lucky reader. Here’s what’s included:

Pretty Perfect Pocket Purse Pattern

and a piece of the main purse fabric from the front cover

and a piece of the blue fabric from the back:

Now, this bag is perfect. I love it. It’s been road tested: Jane uses it every day! Look at the fun details. Note the shisha mirrors in the daffodil centers. Who can resist the fun felt ball fringe? This is a happy bag, perfect for chasing away the winter doldrums.

sassaman swatches

Jane featured fabrics from her new Garden Divas collection for Free Spirit fabrics. This line is so luscious. I want every pattern in every colorway! I'm planning to make a shirt mixing 6 different prints. Looking for your own ideas? (After you’ve made the bag, that is…) There are some beautiful FREE quilt patterns for this new fabric on Jane's blog.

sassaman blog

I am always inspired to see what is new with Jane on her blog, which she obviously lavishes with attention. She seamlessly weaves fabrics, travel, stories about life on the prairie, and her own terrific photos in the most compelling, almost painterly way. Her posts are as exotic, colorful, creative, and interesting as she is.

But back to the giveaway!

Post a comment below by Sunday evening, January 16th about Jane's work for one chance to win. For a second chance, sign up for our newsletter and say "Jane sent me" in the “How can we help you" box. Lucky winners get the Pretty Pocket Purse pattern plus two fabric swatches directly from Jane. Two runners up are going to get something special. I’m digging into my stash for two coveted special Jane Sassaman fabric pieces. You’ll each get two samples, half of each piece. Enter now, then start planning your next project a la Jane.

PS: Jane is having a Noriko giveaway this courtesy of Dragon Threads over at her blog. Don’t miss it! If you can’t wait to get your hands on Noriko’s book yourself (here comes a plug) head on over to my shop and buy one!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Susan Lenz Makes My New Year Happy

I'm new to the blogging world. So far, I really enjoy both reading blogs and writing for my own. One of the blogs I enjoy is Subversive Stitchers by Dawn Goldsmith. Recently she had an intriguing review of the work of Susan Lenz. One blog leads to another on the world wide web, so off I went to Susan's blog:


I mean blogs. She has several. I jumped around from one to another, but I was immediately taken by her In Box and Stained Glass series of small quilts. I lingered over the tutorial on her In Box technique. I was so impressed by the number of steps involved, the stitching, and especially by the melting of fabrics with her soldering iron. Check out this picture of her at work (all pictures courtesy of Susan Lenz).


Look at the detail on this In Box:

I really wanted to buy one. I mean, look at the amazing completed pieces below:

Detail from Stained Glass XVII


Stained Glass XXII:

In Box LXXI:

And a detail from In Box LXXVI

A great thing about the internet is that you’re only one email away from making a new friend or buying something awesome. I contacted Susan (who is quite friendly), who hooked me up with photos of her new pieces.  Her work is for sale at the the Grovewood Gallery, next to the historic Grovewood Inn in Asheville, NC.

Susan, as it turns out, is a fellow “Buckeye”. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies with a concentration in History of Art. Her fascination with Gothic and Romanesque architecture is obvious in her work.

I sat down with my husband and studied the Stained Glass gallery, then decided which of her fabulous pieces I needed for my Christmas present. (He got a Zeus mask made of iron parts.) I finally decided on an asymmetric piece. Today it arrived. Oh, how wonderful it is! So many little details and interesting textures of the melted fabric etc.  I’m going to look for a nice warm, rich wood frame. This piece is going in my studio, where it will inspire me daily. Thanks, Sue. Happy New Year from Dragon Threads! m

Window XIV

Window XIV

For more information about Susan and her amazingly diverse work, be sure to check out her site: