Wednesday, April 27, 2011




You may know Laura as the “Dean of Corrections” of the Chicago School of Fusing.  She's been writing books and teaching for many decades and her bright colored quilts are always eye-catching. I've been following her work in shows for a long time.

Her new book is a beautiful little project book of wonderful, whimsical scenes that are typical of her joyous style.   Houses are all askew, tree trunks are curved and the birdhouse has paned windows!  All the projects are easy, fun and colorful...basically you just cut and fuse the pieces to a background and then the magic starts.

Here are photos showing the difference between fusing alone and with 'Fanciful Stitches' added.  WOW! What a change to the piece by adding a few choice stitches in certain areas.


Laura takes you step-by-step in each project to show you what stitches to add and where. There is a chapter showing how to do basic hand embroidery stitches and which threads and needles to use. Beginners to advanced stitchers can make one of these creations.

For me, whenever there is hand stitching on a quilt, my eye tends to follow and trace the lines. It draws you in and keeps your interest. I don't know why but perhaps it's the irregularity of the stitches? Perhaps it's my attention to anything done by hand? 

I think I will try one of these projects in the near future. They are great little works to bring when you are flying, waiting for doctors or relaxing on a sunny balcony.

Here are my questions for Laura for this blog tour...

What got you started in textile art?
As a girl in Colorado, I joined a 4-H club and learned to sew. This led to a job in the costume department of my college where I then learned to dye fabric. My first exposure to textiles as an art form was a trip with my neighbor, Janet Dye, to an exhibit of Amish Quilts at the Terra Museum in Chicago. It was then that I realized that the fabrics I was dyeing could be turned into creating this thing called an "art quilt."

Who was the biggest influence in your art?
There is no one person. My family has given me the freedom to be myself and friends like Melody Johnson and Frieda Anderson have given me artistic support. I admire and study the work of Degas and Bonnard. My teachers from the 4-H ladies to Renie Breskin Adams have changed my life. Also, I am an avid admirer of those who illustrate children's books. My collection of picture books grows constantly!

What would you like to try next/what direction is your work is going?
For years I've wanted to work with fused felt and stitchery. The felt is in the studio and ready to go and the potential is overwhelming!

What's the best advice you have for new quilters?
Play and practice with the fabric. Give yourself the freedom to make bad stuff and enjoy the learning process.

Just comment below for a chance to win.  For a second chance to win/sign up on my website and put "Laura sent me" in the comments. On May 5 we'll pick one winner at random. We can only mail to U.S. address (apologies to our foreign friends!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Laura Wasilowski has a new book!


 Laura Wasilowski has a new book Fanciful Stitches Colorful Threads, with a focus on hand stitching !
There is a blog hop going on, and at each stop you can enter to win a copy of her book.
Here's the schedule:
Annie Smith April 19
Melody Johnson April 23
Jane Moxey April 24
Lyric Kinard April 25
Judy Coates Perez April 26
Linda Teufel April 28
Jane LaFazio  April 29
Susan Brubaker Knapp May 2
Frieda Anderson May 3
Connecting Threads May 4




Monday, April 18, 2011

Quilt Festival Cincinnati

Last week was the first Quilt Festival in Cincinnati and I was so happy that it moved from Chicago since it is only a 2 hour drive for me!  It's committed to be here for 3 years and I hope it grows so large that they decide to stay longer.

I managed to get down for the last day and it was a very good show with lots to buy and lots of quilts to see.  The hotels are connected by skywalk downtown and so is the parking garage.  The Duke Energy center is a great space for classes and meetings and the show floor. Perfect location with restaurants within walking distance and the beautiful river running nearby with many bridges and paddlewheel boats floating by.

I got to catch up with many friends. First I ran into Vikki Pignatelli (Quilting by Improvisation) who has a new color line of threads for Wonderfil.  Then I had coffee with Barbara Olson (Journey of an Art Quilter) who taught a few classes there.  She's from Montana so I only get to see her at shows and we talked about her exciting new work and classes.

Then I had to get to shopping!  The most exciting booth for me was Shibori Girl silk ribbons and scarves by Glennis Dolce.  Here is the necklace I made from her ribbon with a glass bead that I've had for ages. silkshiborinecklc

Here is one of her freeform necklaces that I'd like to tackle next. She will be in Houston at Festival this Fall and I plan to buy one of her interesting shibori scarves and more ribbon of course!   Maybe I can even take her class!


My main purpose in going down there was to pick up my author, Noriko Endo (Confetti Naturescapes) and bring her back to Columbus with me to teach for my guild.  Here is Noriko with her friend Phyllis from NY and Linda Pumphrey, National sales manager from Accuquilt.


Linda took us all to dinner across the river where we had a great view of the city, boats going by and a terrific seafood meal!  Noriko will introduce some beautiful new dies for the Go! cutting systems this Fall....more on that later.

Below is a sampling of quilts that caught my eye, three are by the same artist, Sherri Driver who uses these ikat fabrics very effectively. 

IMG_3651 IMG_3641 IMG_3642 IMG_3644 IMG_3645

This quilt won First and Viewer’s choice awards at the show. It’s made by Hiroko Miyama who is a student of Noriko Endo’s in Japan. You can see the confetti style background that she did.  She has monthly lessons at Noriko’s studio…lucky girl. It seems she learned well from the Master!



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Buttons Buttons Everywhere!

Last week we spent the week on Grand Cayman Island for spring break. I was wondering if I would see anything textile related for a blog post and I was surprised at the inspirational work I saw and there was a theme--buttons!

If you've ever flown through Atlanta airport, you know that some of the gates are art galleries. My favorite is the art quilt gallery in terminal E that features major art quilters such as Jane Burch Cochran. It is worth visiting if you have a long layover.

Our gate this time featured these wonderful paper collages with heavy button details. Sorry for the quality of the photos with all the glare from the overhead lighting but there was no avoiding it. Unfortunately there wasn't a sign that I could see with the name of the artist or a statement.

On Grand Cayman there is a new shopping center called Camana Bay and it was the most beautifully designed center I've seen (more on that later). I went into their bookstore to get a tropical fish identification card and more button art on the walls.

These are by Mary Teeter ( from Pennsylvania and I found them truly inspirational. I may even do some HAND embroidery soon! The framing added a charming touch.

My husband said, "I know you have enough buttons to do this." But I suspect it wasn't said in a "Congrats-you have a well-stocked studio!" manner but rather in a 'use up all that stuff you've collected" sense.

Either way he's right. I'd like to make a picture with a snappy saying and buttons incorporated in a simple design. I could use machine embroidery for the wording if I wanted.

Grand Cayman is a great vacation island. We explored all of it and every beach (almost) and found wonderful snorkeling sites where we saw loads of colorful fish in great quantity. One of the secrets is to use frozen peas to feed the fish and in some areas they respond like dogs and swarm you! I petted many fish.

Of course the best thing to do on the island is to take a catamaran to Stingray City where you can hold, pet or kiss docile stingrays. They are used to being hand fed and you're in no danger. They feel like wet velvet sponge with rough parts on their back. I loved how gracefully they swam and it was a thrill to swim with them! It's a must-do once in a lifetime activity.


Winners of the Barbara Olson DVD are Marcia W and Claudia. Congratulations!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jumpstart Your Creativity: DVD by Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson wrote one of Dragon Threads’ most successful books, Journey of an Art Quilter. While Barbara offered techniques in the book, I think what really captured readers—including me—was her account of becoming and an artist. Barbara is a powerhouse talent, but what was special about the book beyond her innovating quilting techniques was how she harnessed her creativity and translated it into art. Her story is inspirational and motivating.

Well, her new DVD, Jumpstart Your Creativity, is a chance to spend a little time with Barbara in your living room! The DVD walks you through the steps to create your own art quilt in the shape of a large flower. Barbara includes detailed lessons, starting with a flower outline pattern that you can print from the DVD. She then shows you how to select fabrics that work together and then how to machine applique each petal. She also includes a lesson on auditioning background fabric, and how to finish the top with her colorful, random free motion patterns. It’s a unique look and adds so much to the background. In the end you’ll have a large,very graphic floral quilt which will impress everyone.

Special to this DVD is a trunk show at the end. I really like it! She also includes outtakes which are very funny. The run time is 1 hour and 20 minutes and nearly every one of them is full of valuable designing information.


There are two prizes this week. Leave a comment (with an email address). First prize is the DVD. Second prize is a large Barb Olson flower pattern. I’m including a copy of her book, Journey of an Art Quilter, with both prizes. If you don’t win, get over to Barb’s site to buy the DVD, book, and patterns. Deadline for this contact is PM, next Wednesday April 13th.

While you're there, bookmark her site. There’s always something new to study and enjoy. She keeps a "Quilts in Progress" page that is just fascinating.