Monday, October 31, 2011

Threads magazine article


I was so excited today to get my copy of THREADS magazine because I have my FIRST article for them in it!!  I’ve written many articles and designed many quilt patterns for other magazines over the years but I’ve always wanted to be in THREADS! The article is how to make the spiral moebius scarf that I shared in this blog months back.

I’ve been reading THREADS for decades, enjoyed their interesting articles and have even met the editors. The next page has an article written by my former Pratt roommate, Patricia Keay who is an incredible fashion illustrator and a remarkable garment sewer. What a coincidence huh?

I’m a fashion designer, maybe from birth, I think it is in my genes. My mother was a fashion designer. She attended a college in New York City and I attended Pratt Institute and got a BFA in Fashion Design too.  She never worked in the industry but she made clothing for my sister, my father, herself and me, as well as drapes and stuffed animals, etc.  Can a love of sewing and fabric be in your genes? That’s for someone else to answer but I think so.

Well I’ve submitted some other projects to THREADS for their Quick Stuff to Sew issue and other special fashion issues and hope they like and publish them in the future. Next week I will go visit Koos and see what else he has to share with you.

I’m off to Quilt Festival to teach my silk classes and shop till I drop. Will take photos for you all!

WINNER of the sewing caddy giveaway was Jackie from Canada…her blog is

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My guild,a free pattern and a giveaway


Last year I joined a new guild in town, a chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. I like it because it is easy and fun and doesn’t have all the parliamentary stuff and rule book that some older guilds run by. So, I’m one of the leaders of the group ‘swaps’. They are a fun way to get to know each other.

The first one was mug rugs. mugrug

People brought in baggies of their favorite fabric scraps with their names on bags and put them in big box. Then they blindly pulled out a bag of someone’s scraps, went over to meet/chat with them, then took bag home, made them a mug rug and brought it to the next month’s meeting.  Everyone was very pleased with their ‘gift’!

This month we started a new one that is a sewing caddy to keep all your tools handy. If you have a machine that fits into a table then you have no need for this daily but it comes in handy if you take your machine for a class.  It’s fast and easy and here are my instructions:


    * 2 different fat quarters 18" x 22"
    * 18" x 22" of batting 
    * decorative threads

1. Cut both pieces to be same size/roughly 18" x 22".

2. Place two fabrics right sides together, put batting on top and sew 1/4" seam around all edges leaving an opening for turning. Trim and clip corners. Turn. Press and stitch opening closed.

3. Topstitch around entire piece close to edge. Quilt all over if desired.

4.  Fold up the short end 5" to form pocket. Pin in place.

5.  Stitch vertical lines to divide pocket into 3-4 spaces for tools.

TO DECORATE -Mark off the bottom 5" which will form the pocket and decorate before putting together.

GIVEAWAY- I’m giving away the caddy in the photo that I made out of Jane Sassaman fabric by Free Spirit.  Just leave a comment below- tell me if you do some small projects like this for your guild or gifts…we need new ideas!  We’ll use to pick a winner Oct. 31.

And the winner of last week’s giveaway...a copy of Silk Unraveled book is Kathie MacKie from Canada.

I’m teaching at Quilt Festival Houston November 2 so should have some interesting posts after that trip!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sewing with Silk and a Giveaway

A few years ago we published a book called Silk Unraveled: Experiments in Tearing, Fusing, Layering & Stitching by Lorna Moffat.


With Lorna living in South Africa with small children, she is not available to teach these techniques so I’ve been offering a few classes. This November at Quilt Festival in Houston, I’m teaching the Spiral and Flowers quilt top class


and the Silk Crystal pillow class.


Both are fun classes because we aren’t precise, we just tear up silk and let the loose threads be a part of the work.

Many people love the look and sheen of silk but are afraid to try it. Maybe it is the price of silk, although it is available for less than it used to be and cotton quilting fabric is getting more expensive.  We use silk that is stable (not slippery or shifting) such as dupioni, shantung and taffeta so it can be cut, sewn and treated as a substitute for cottons. I use the same threads and needles and don’t do anything special.

You don’t prewash it and after sewing, it could be hand washed or dry cleaned.  Many of the projects in the book use small scraps of silk. The base of this crystal pillow is half-inch strips of assorted varieties in different colors so you could even go to thrift shops and collect nice silk garments to cut up and use.

The flowers,as well as the crystal above, are just backed with Steam-A-Seam 2 by the Warm Company and then fused on and stitched! The cut edges won’t ravel anymore. But this book celebrates the raveling and shows you how to use even the loose threads from the warp.

GIVEAWAY SILK UNRAVELED BOOK! For a chance to win a copy, leave a comment below telling if you have sewn with silk and what you’ve sewn. We’ll pick a winner Oct. 23 and start a new giveaway then!

As I said in previous posts, I’m teaching the Silk and Spirals flowers quilt on our cruise to Panama Canal and the Caribbean in 2013. Sign up for the email newsletter to know when the contest to win a cruise is open!  Tell your friends to sign up too!

The winner of the set of Jane Sassaman notecards is Vivika! Congrats!

Enter the giveaway for beautiful mugs on Jane Sassaman’s blog too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sassaman Giveaway

Here is the first of our giveaways to promote the upcoming Patchwork Sassaman Style book.


It’s a set of 7 of her beautiful notecards from her Free Spirit Fabric collections over the years. They have matching colored envelopes.

Jane and I have planned a wonderful cruise for Jan 14, 2013 and hope you can join us. It’s with Quilt Retreat at Sea and they do a terrific job to make sure that everyone has a terrific time. They are very personable and give special attention to make it an intimate cruise and lots of fun!

So, I selected the 11-day Holland America cruise that goes from Florida to Bahamas, Aruba, Cartegena, into the Panama Canal and Costa Rica. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I love sun, beaches and snorkeling to see colorful fishes and sea life. There should be lots of that on this trip!

When the ship is at sea for 4 days, we will have a large room equipped with sewing machines and all we need to SEW, SEW, SEW! Jane’s class is Broderie Perse using her fabrics to make a flower collage with some of her art quilt applique techniques.  My class uses silks to make a quilt top with torn/raw edge pieces of silk from our book, Silk Unraveled by Lorna Moffat. Check out our video to see the projects.

We’re giving you plenty of notice so you can save up your time and pennies to take the ultimate quilting class cruise! If you are in Columbus, OH on Nov. 14 at 7pm, we’re having a cruise information night at our sponsor, Quilt Trends with fun, food, prizes so please come.

Now, to win the notecards, leave a comment here and tell me your best vacation ever! We will randomly select a winner on Oct. 16.

Visit Jane’s idea blog to see what she is working on.

Sign up for our email newsletters to find out how to WIN a place on this cruise when the info is up!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dyeing Day 2


Vicki and I picked another gray overcast day to finish up our dyeing. This time we had primary red and yellow and a third color.

This is how the reds and yellows turned out with Frieda Anderson’s Fabric To Dye For method.


As you would expect, several shades of a color. But the third color surprised us…it turned out


to be these beautiful shades of blue BUT we didn’t use blue dye.  We used pure BLACK dye and it came out to be inky variations…how odd!!

We love the color but it was a surprise and we wonder how to get Black and shades of gray? The dye looked black with blue highlights when mixed. If you know the answer, please comment below.

We also tried her 12 step color gradations formula in the book but only did 9 steps as three were solids that we dyed before. It came out beautifully and we loved the results.


You can see the top right fabric was our fun piece. We soaked up the left over raspberry and purple dyes by blotting it with crumpled up fabric.

All in all, I’m VERY pleased with our results and how easy and NOT messy this method is. The most  time-consuming part was rinsing out the fabrics before throwing them in the washer.

I will do more dyeing in the future. We need to order some more Jacquard Procion MX dyes for the other 20 yards of PFD in my closet!

Now, what to do with all these colored half yard cuts?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Patchwork and Everything Sassaman Style

I am so excited to announce that we are working on a book of patchwork ideas and recipes for quilts Jane Sassaman style!  If you follow her blog, you’ve seen these remarkable quilts that blend color and pattern to make some dazzling patterns. Sometimes you don’t even know where the seams are. The fabrics just blend. I’ve been fascinated by them for ages and am thrilled that we’ll have a book to show you how to design and make them yourself.
This book came out of the frustration. So many of Jane’s fans buy her fabric collections by Free Spirit but then are stumped about how to incorporate these bold, bright colors into quilts that show off the fabric. Her amazing, vibrant prints include larger scale patterns which have great visual impact but may be challenging for some quilters.  In Patchwork Sassaman Style, Jane clears up the mystery! She'll come right into your studio and work with you to unlock your creativity using any large scale “personality prints” as she calls them.

When I started this blog a year ago, I wanted to take my dear readers on a tour inside the world of quilt book publishing. This book is the perfect opportunity to walk everybody through book production, step by gorgeous step! We're taking you in, with lots of giveaways, polls, ideas, and detours on the way to keep your creative juices flowing.

I've known and admired Jane Sassaman since 1996, when I first saw her Willow quilt at IQA Houston. This quilt was absolutely breath-taking. The detail was incredible. Jane was standing by it with white gloves on, answering questions of passersby. I asked the stupidest question EVER: "How many hours did it take you to make it?" From then on Jane has been my favorite quilter, and that's saying something.   I followed her work in magazines and shows, and have been to her studio which is just as interesting and inspiring as she is. Her unique graphic style and unbelievable detail have to be seen to really be appreciated.

I have taken three Sassaman classes now was inspired every time. (I’ve never taken a class by the same teacher three times!) Our paths have crossed through the years, and we've gotten to know each other well through the Bernina Master Artisans group, quilt shows, classes, etc. I love Jane and her work, and can't tell you what an honor and delight it is for everybody here at Dragon Threads to work with her.

Starting now until the book is released in early 2012, Jane and I will be blogging our hearts out about the book. We've got studio tours, downloads galore, newsletter sneak peeks, and special sales coming up. Don’t miss anything! Sign up for our newsletters at Dragon and Jane Look for us on Facebook, too. We can't wait to share Sassaman Style!