• Gallery Woes

    A warm hello to all my fans and followers, I hope everyone had a marvelous holiday and is ready to greet the New Year with enthusiasm. I have been incredibly busy every since late summer with a few important engagements – being a featured quilter at Northwest Quilting Expo where I displayed the largest showing of my work ranging from first quilts to my latest work; organizing the quilts to hang was a monumental task and I was also an instructor at this event. This was followed by a week of classes in Blackfoot Idaho, and then back to my regular schedule of local classes and working on a commission.

    I’ve also been working on a stack of UFOs, my New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to finish ten UFOs and I decided to qualify as a UFO, the project had to have been shelved more than a year ago, just finishing current WIPs (Works In Progress) would not count. As it turns out, I should have included them, to date I’ve finished five, only half my goal but I have finished many other more recently started projects. As for my second 2019 resolution – cleaning and reorganizing my sewing studio… HA! Ha, Ha, Ha… need I say more? Maybe I’ll get to that this coming year.

    On to the main subject of my post. I am having troubles with my website gallery. It was working fine about a month and a half ago, but after the most recent updates to WordPress, the gallery plugin and a few other operational plugins on my site, now all I can get on the lightbox slide show are tiny images. I was notified by a visitor to my site about a week and a half ago that the slideshow on the gallery albums was not working correctly. I tried a ‘fix’ posted by the plugin developer but it did not correct the problem so I am working with their tech support right now to find a cause and solution; they think it may be a conflict with another plugin but it may take some time to find and fix the problem. I ask you all to be patient while we sort this out, I hope to have it resolved soon and be back to work posting additional gallery pictures.

    And speaking of pictures, I am a true believer in photos. Images are the ‘eye candy’ that draw attention, text without images can be very bland so for your entertainment, I am posting the photos of the five UFOs I did manage to get done this year.

    This project was from my Journal Quilt classes, and started about 7 years ago, I returned to the project and finished quilting it this year.
    This project was started in 2011 as part of a pattern for Asian Fabric Magazine called Moon Cranes. It didn’t make the final cut, and I remade the version that got published only returning to finish this one with Sashiko this year.
    I started this project for an exhibit at the Japanese Garden about 10 years ago. I abandoned it after my I ran into problems with the initial technique for creating the ‘windows’ for the bamboo chimes
    This little fellow is Cattus Romanus from my Garden Patch Cat series; he represents a head of Romaine Lettuce. He got lost in a stack of other Orphan Cat Quilts in various stages of progress about 5 years ago
    A sample of my Serene Marsh pattern from my Bella Vista Landscape Vignettes. This one features hand embroidered details and got shelved about 3 years ago.

  • From Acorn to Oak

    I am honored to be the ‘Featured Quilter’ at the Northwest Quilting Expo in Portland Oregon this September! The show organizers have asked me to display a retrospective of all my work from the earliest quilt to the latest. Those attending the show will get to see some of my early work from when I did not grasp that perhaps a mink coat was not a good material to include on a quilt. My plan is to hang about 50 panels of work in every imaginable style and technique.

    Most of my early quilts are embarrassingly bad and few people ever see them but they are my roots from which all I now do grew. I really hope everyone – especially novice quilters who may feel insecure about their skills – will take heart from seeing my humblest most awkward attempts at making a quilt; sometimes when I look at these old quilts, I am amazed I did not give up in discouragement.

    Over the many (47 at this point) years I have been quilting, I have explored many techniques and styles – traditional to contemporary but with an emphasis on pictorial quilts. This exhibit will be a sampling of all of these explorations from the smallest miniatures to my largest quilts. The show has graciously offered me table space to sell patterns and I plan to supplement this with occasional demos as time allows.

    I will also be offering a couple of classes at Expo, one on Kantha embroidery and the other on small scroll-like wall hangings inspired by the stone pathways in a Japanese Garden that I call Zen Pathways; pictures of these class projects are below. You can get more information from the Northwest Quilting Expo website.

    A kitty in Kantha stitching
    Folk Art cat stitched in the Kantha style
    Ardie’s Kantha Kitty
    Leaf design in Kantha Stitching
    Joy’s Kantha Kitty
    Stacie’s Kantha Kitty
    Mary’s Kantha Kitty
    Kantha Bird
    ‘Under the Ginko tree’ – a Zen Pathway quilt
    Zen Pathway #2

  • Where Have All the Quilt Shops Gone?

    Remember the old Pete Seeger song from the 60’s – ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’ These poignant lyrics can be applied to quilt shops as yet another one closes it’s doors. A sad farewell to Sewn Loverly in Wilsonville Oregon which closed earlier this month. When I moved to Portland in 1991, I was astounded by the number and variety of quilt shops here. Some might argue that having many shops diluted the market and made for stiff competition between the shops but from the standpoint of a quilter, few shops can carry EVERYTHING you might want and having that many stores made for access to a very diverse selection of fabrics to suit every taste.

    Most stores had a decent selection across a wide range of fabrics but with an emphasis on a particular style or genre. Momma Made It, specialized in Civil War fabrics – I never realized there were so many of these available until I first visited that shop years ago – it is now gone. Scarborough Flair – also long gone – carried every single fabric in the RJR Jinny Beyer collections. Cedar Ridge quilts which opened in the last couple of years in Oregon City, carries a wonderful selection of floral and botanical prints – those who enjoy Laura Heine’s collage quilts will find plenty to chose from here. A Common Thread at one time had the best collection of Batik fabrics to be had, now that it too is gone along with Fabric Depot, that honor can be shared by Pioneer Quilts (Milwaukie) and Sharon’s Attic (Aloha) who are still open and both carry a large selection of these beautiful favorites, and Pioneer Quilts has arguably the best selection of wool for the Sue Spargo and Primitive Gatherings fans but for how long? I heard that last year Oregon and southwestern Washington lost over a dozen quilt shops. A few new shops have opened here and there but for the most part these stores left a void when they closed.

    A quilt shop needs customers to survive and they need steady traffic and sales to keep their doors open. We are told the economy is booming but this isn’t ‘trickling down’ to the quilt shops, many of them are still struggling to stay in business. They need a consistent base of buying customers to keep their doors open, popping in once in a while when you need some thread or to buy a quilt back is not going to do it, quilters need to support their local quilt shops – please – do your part to keep them in business.

    Despite being a huge box store, it’s true that when you shop at JoAnn’s you are helping a local person stay employed but shopping there is a different retail experience. When was the last time a JoAnn’s employee helped you pick just the right combination of fabrics for a quilt pattern you were making? Do they come out from behind the counter and help you pick the correct color of thread to coordinate with your fabrics? Can they tell you which kind of batting is better for hand vs. machine quilting? Will they even try to help you calculate how much more fabric you will need to take a twin sized quilt pattern and bump it up to a queen size? And do they carry some of the quilting specialty items like Sashiko needles, or Golden Threads Quilting Paper? If you value these products and services you need to shop at your local quilt store.

    Support diversity, support your local quilt shops and small business sewing machine shops, don’t let another small business quilt/sewing machine shop close its doors if you can help it.