Tuesday, June 16, 2015



Living in Columbus, Ohio we are lucky to have the Quilt Surface Design Symposium here every June for 2 weeks. They bring in the best textile teachers in the world for wonderful classes.  And it’s only a 15 minute drive for me!


A few weeks ago, I took Sue Cavanaugh’s class with a few friends and it was really interesting. Above are the samples we made.

Sue is one of the best shibori artists in the world and she lives here in Columbus also. I’ve seen her work at shows and have always admired it but was intimidated to start my first dyeing class with such a renowned artist.But that soon disappeared as she is a very friendly, fun teacher who makes this seem easy.




This purple piece is my favorite and it was the easiest with just rows of running stitches done with thick beading cord and then tied up tightly( as shown below) before dropping into a bucket of dye.


Since I haven’t dyed much, I was experimenting with mixing colors and what you see is not what you get in the end. Many were trying to make the traditional indigo dye color and that was blue with some black dye added. The dye bath is always darker than what the fabric color dries to.

For me, the hardest part was pulling the thread through the Pimatex tightly woven fabric with my arthritic fingers. A friend gave me some lawn to try and that was better. Then I changed to a finer needle and some less thick button thread and that improved it a bit more. I think I need to experiment with diff needle and thread combos until I find one that is not too much strain on my fingers.  Also, I’d like to try shibori with silk and that should be much easier to stitch.

My grand plans are to shibori some silk and then make a simple blouse and to do three huge cotton panels and sew them into a king size comforter/quilt but I better start small first.

It is always good to take classes and try new techniques to further your creativity and I highly recommend QSDS classes for next June.



A very simple dress for a gift for a friend. I’ve made many of these dresses. It starts with a store bought t-shirt that is cut about 4 inches above the waist.

Then you get 2 yards of fabric from your stash for the skirt. I cut two panels 31-36” by the 45” width of fabric and sew them along the selvage to make the side seam. Press the seam open and then I gather the top edge using my BERNINA #16 gathering foot.

I love love this foot because you just put the fabric under it and go and it gathers up the fabric….no pulling two threads to gather! The longer the stitch length, the more gathers you get. It’s a huge time saver!


After I gathered up the entire top edge of about 90 inches, I was ready to attach the skirt to the knit top. First I matched the side seam of the skirt to the side seam of the shirt and pinned.  I left 3 inches on each side of the opposite side seam of the shirt unpinned. I sewed across the top attaching the skirt to the top and then stopped short. Held the two sides of the skirt together and estimated where to sew that side seam and stitched it down to hem, trimmed and pressed it open. Then I continued to attached the gathered top edge to the remaining 6 inches of the shirt.

After that you just need to hem it and I used the blind hem stitch and foot to match, of course!  It’s a very fast dress to make and only takes maybe two hours.  You can make it easily for a child and you can also use a woven shirt that buttons in the front as long as you cut it above the waist and it’s roomy enough to pull over your bust.


Some good friends of mine took two years and went all over the world, decades ago when they were in their twenties. It was a fascinating trip and their stories are so interesting! I wish I had the guts to do something like that!  They just gifted me with this incredible bag from China.


As you can see, it is 3-dimensional applique. Much hand embroidery on it and it seems to be lined with newspaper…? I don’t plan on washing it so it should stay pristine. It’s just so much work and skill for probably very little income for some craftsman.

But I just love the whimsy of the bugs on this and the frog’s open mouth! It’s a very special gift!



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sweet Baby Jumpers

Project #15

I’m going to consider these 3 sets of garments as one project. It’s a gift for a baby girl and I just used the fabric from my stash, which is always a plus!


This back-cross little jumper is always cute and great for warm weather and easy to fit. I remember wearing one when I was a little girl too! The most challenging part were the panties because the pattern didn’t say how much elastic should go in the legs or the waist and I don’t have the baby to measure her. I had to go to a store and measure a garment and then guess. I hope they don’t fall off the baby! It was fun to sew with ric-rac again.

I’m planning on making more little girl garments in the future!

Collecting Art Quilts

With two designers in the family, there are a lot of collections in this house. My specialty is art quilts and usually I buy them from my authors such as Barbara Olson, Laura Heine, Jane Sassaman and Noriko Endo.

This month, I bought a quilt or two from seeing them on facebook! It may sound odd but it isn’t the first time.  A few years ago I saw the work of Susan Lenz and then looked at her website for more and purchased one from her.  I love it and it is hanging in my studio. Facebook is a great marketing tool to get your work out in front of the right ‘eyes’.

Window XIV

Windows XIV by Susan Lenz

In April, I kept seeing the work of Danny Amazonas from Taiwan on facebook. What caught my eye is how he cuts up ‘shards’ of fabrics to make a realistic image with his precision value placement.

One morning, I saw a quilt of a rainy day scene where the people in the evening light were reflected in the rainy street. It was mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics which I love, and the color range started at the left with reds and then graduated to the right into blue/greens!  The technique was something that was new and fresh and the quilt was breathtaking!

I followed it all day and it got 1100 likes by the evening. I sent a message to Danny and told him how incredible I thought this was and he wrote back that he was having an exhibition from mid-April to mid-May. Then my wise husband said that I better put my name on it before it went to the show where it would most certainly be sold! So by the end of the evening, I had told Danny that I seriously wanted to buy it and to save it for me. He graciously agreed and I waited a month.

After the show was over Danny contacted me and said that he has a special arrangement for me.  If I bought this Bird of Paradise quilt then I would get the Rain scene as a ‘free’ gift!  Wow! 2 Amazonas quilts!


I’m hoping that some of you were on facebook that day that the rainy quilt was posted because I’m not allowed to post it anywhere. It’s a special request of Danny and I have to respect it. Sorry about that. I was wondering if I should even blog about it!

But if you get a chance to see his work or take a class from him in Taiwan, you should do it! I hope he will come teach in the States so I can take a class too.  Take a look at his portfolio on his facebook page/there isn’t a website. It’s just fantastic that now we can see quilts from around the world on the internet, or I’d never know about this talented quilter who is also a florist for his day job!  Now, I need to make room to hang these two new beauties!