Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Sewing and Giveaway

So, if you have followed this blog for a few years, you’ve seen the massive quantities of gifts that I have made in the previous years…bags, mittens, notepad covers. But this year I think I bought too many items and only made a few aprons and really don’t need to give that many. I don’t know why.


Of course they are made from only fabrics that I had in my stash. And as you can see, I have a lot of Jane Sassaman fabric!  I was a fan from the very first collection, way before we published her book!

I got the apron pattern on the web as a free tutorial here.

I think the right one looks very Christmas colors and pattern but you can wear it year round.  I hope my friends like these.

GIVEAWAY…There is a new magazine called FiberArt Now which is very high quality in images and content and my new favorite textile arts magazine and I have one to give away. It would also make a great gift for your favorite quilter/sewer!!  Comment below on what you think I should make in mass quantities for next year’s gifts. I could use the suggestions!


Thursday, December 6, 2012


Would you like to win these 8 half-yard cuts of Early Birds by Jane Sassaman?

Starting Jan. 2, Dragon Threads will be running a monthly contest open to quilters around the world!

For January’s contest you are invited to design and stitch a quilt top using a recipe in Patchwork Sassaman Style by Jane Sassaman. But you can use ANY FABRIC that you like... Kaffe, Amy, Lonnie?... to create a quilt TOP only and send us a photo. No size restrictions and no quilting required.

  Final Sass cover

The particular recipe to use for January will be announced on our blogs… and

We want to prove that Jane’s recipes work with ‘Personality Prints’ of all kinds.

As you work, try to apply some of Jane’s principles, such as color blending, cropping, scale of pattern etc.

So put on your designing caps and submit the photo of your top by Jan. 25 to

We will put the photos on the blog and let readers vote for their favorite. The winner will be announced on Jan. 30.

THE PRIZE- Eight half yard cuts of Jane’s Early Birds fabric in the Plum colorway, for a total of 4 yards of beautiful fabric!

Then on Feb. 1, we will announce the next recipe contest and the exciting prize.

All other quilt tops will be entered for the final Grand Prize to be selected by Jane Sassaman. She will be looking for the quilts that best express the “Principles for using Personality Prints” as described in Patchwork Sassaman Style.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Exciting Events

Philippa Naylor, author of Quilting in the Limelight, was here for a week after Quilt Market.  We played, we shopped, we saw the Annie Liebovitz show, we ate and saw Skyfall and had a fun, fun time! The reason she was in town was to lecture and teach two classes for a local guild.


Her lecture was the Life of a Quilter and it was so very interesting and very humorous!  It took you through her entire life and showed all the other creative aspects such as cake decorating, casket decorating and her fancy costumes for herself, husband and two sons. Everyone enjoyed hearing all the stories of her life!


Here are the two quilts that she brought to show. In the Tumbling Blocks quilt on the right, there are dozens of custom 3-D blocks protruding from the quilt…all of them are free-motion quilted and all are different sizes and irregular shapes.


Isn’t this amazing!?  But it didn’t win anything in Houston this year and that’s wild to me!

Philippa taught Precision Piecing and then Finishing Techniques which I took.


The classes were full and everyone felt that they learned a lot and they had a great time!  I learned something very useful in turning points and making them very sharp, as in collars of shirts and know I’ll be adding that to my repertoire for years. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it here again, if you ever have a chance to take a class from Philippa or go to her lecture, you will LOVE her!

Incidentally, I just put her book on sale this week so take advantage of that!

EVENT#2 I lectured for our local SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group this weekend.  They asked me to talk about my observations of the judging for the Quilt National show and I thought they would like to hear about it.

Well, it was held at Nancy Crow’s barn in Baltimore, OH which was an exciting location!  Nancy and her husband John, took this beautiful timber frame barn and made it a retreat center for Nancy and other guests to teach classes and it is phenomenal!

Downstairs there is an area with this huge sink for wet work and dyeing with huge tables to lay out your fabric.  Then next to that is an area for dry work, printmaking and such with huge working area.

Upstairs is usually where the sewing happens with large tables for each student and high ceilings with pinboards all around.  We used one area for our lecture and discussions and sharing.

The kitchen area is filled with light and a great meeting area with everything you need for a party with indoor and outdoor seating.  We had a potluck lunch and Nancy made apple dumplings.  The kitchen is decorated with baskets and spoons that she collected from Africa and even some mobiles of baskets from the ceiling!  All this handcrafted cabinetry and beautiful sycamore floors!


I basically talked about watching the judges select the 85 quilts for the Quilt National 2013 show as in two previous blogs but also tried to give them some more info and make it a conversation.  They stopped me at parts and asked questions and that is what I like. There were some heated parts when others disagreed with the policies but I don’t make policy at QN, just an observer.

The funny part was at the sharing when many showed their beautiful quilts and said it was a QN reject.  I showed them photos of other works of art that were rejected also. It doesn’t mean that the work is not world class…it just means that there is a finite number of quilts selected to fit into the barn space and that they should keep on trying!

Sunday, November 11, 2012



This is Jane Sassaman with her “Willow” quilt. Fairfield Batting owns it and they brought it back ‘home’ this year to Quilt Market!  This quilt is significant in many ways…it won Best of Show, it is one of the top 100 quilts of the 20th century… but it is also the quilt I saw the first time I attended Market and fell in love with it, and Jane was from that point on, my favorite quilter!  We were happy to see it up close and see that it is still a remarkable piece!


Sorry for the blurry photo. This is Before Dark by Noriko Endo and consists of many small pieces of silk under layers of tulle. This is a bit different for Noriko who usually does landscapes.  She is the author of Confetti Naturescapes.


It was good to see my Noriko Endo piece hanging and can’t wait until it comes back to my living room! This quilt with the hundreds of cherry blossoms was done with the new Cherry Blossom die from Accuquilt that Noriko designed.  She used it to make this top below.  It was in a special Japanese silk exhibit.




This quilt was done in the same Confetti style as Noriko even with cherry blossoms!


Last year at Festival, I bought a small Pat Holly and have been looking at it for hours trying to figure out how she does it! I’m a big fan so I was looking for this year’s entry. This is a large size but with tiny pieces in all the detail.  The silk really makes the colors pop!  Her workmanship is outstanding!

So, here is a photo of Jane Sassaman and Philippa Naylor at dinner.


Here are the two quilts that Philippa entered this year. The yellow, blues, Tumbling Blocks quilt is in the Quilt Festival Scene magazine.


It’s hard to see in this photo but there are 3-D blocks stuffed and attached to the surface of this quilt to give it even more dimension. Each block was hand shaped to fit the irregular rectangle shapes and is heavily free-motion quilted.


Here is another group quilt. I love these. If you want to know how to make one, check out my book, Quilting Party!


I leave you with this gorgeous dragon and phoenix quilt, one of my favorites. Next week, more quilts from Houston!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quilt Market report & Giveaway

Last week was the annual Quilt Market in Houston, Texas.  I think it was my 19th time going…? We had a booth to showcase quilts from Jane Sassaman’s new book, Patchwork Sassaman Style and it was next to Free Spirit/Westminster Fabric’s booth which produces Jane’s fabric line.




It couldn’t get more bright and colorful!  We were there for three days welcoming buyers and old friends and showing them the book.  It does get tiring but there are exciting times too.

This year we went to several parties that were lots of fun.

First, Quilt Market sponsored a party, Fabric 2.0, in the hallway of the hotel with nibbles and cash bar so we could meet and greet.  It was very busy and I recognized many friends from their facebook photos!  We got to talk in person and swap cards.


After an hour or so there, we rushed to a party thrown by Westminster Fabrics for their designers and I was Jane’s date!  It was at the Hard Rock CafĂ© in a private room and EVERYONE was there…Amy & David Butler, Ty Pennington, Tula Pink, Brandon Mably…  Food was great/ turkey, mashed potato bar, beans, cheese platter and dessert (cheesecake balls that looked like wrapped lollipops)!  Sorry, it seemed too private and dark to snap photos.

The next morning at sunrise, Jane and I were invited to a Bernina party at the top floor of the Hilton.  We are both Bernina artisans and they were launching their new 700 series machines. It was a glorious sunrise over downtown Houston!


We met the new president of Bernina and our old friends from the education staff.  The breakfast buffet was great and the new machines looked fantastic!  I just got a new 830 last month and now I’m drooling over the 780 model.  The video presentation showed the new Bernina DesignWorks software package that will actually draw on fabric with markers and can then embroider over it and make a stencil for placement of iron-on crystals! It was so exciting and you could see the potential for all sorts of custom designs.  They already have a cutwork package so combining them all would make some incredible pieces!  Hmmm…I wonder how I can get a package……Actually this would be perfect for Jane since she is an artist and could easily draw a design with embroidery highlights.

Add all that to dinners with Noriko Endo, Philippa Naylor, Jane Garrison from ThreadNuts and it was a pretty full four days!  Philippa is in Ohio with me for a week to teach at my former guild so more on that later.  I hope to be an expert free-motion quilter by the end of the week!! Yeah, right!

GIVEAWAY- The latest copy of Generation Q magazine. Please comment below and leave your email address so I can contact you for your address!  USA only please!