Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


My Blog Has Moved!

May 6, 2012

My blog has a new look and a new address. Please go to to check it out.




Opinions Please!

November 20, 2011

I’m currently in the throes of writing my third book. This one will be similar to the others in that it’s based on a class I’ve taught many times and students have asked for it in book form. It will differ from the others in that I’m going the route of self-publishing. I’m very blessed in that my daughter-in-law, Betsy, is a talented graphic designer and we’re finding we make a great team.

We’ve reached the point of editing and I’m having a difficult time deciding on a title for the book. While riding in the car the other day I asked my husband to help me do a little brainstorming and he gave me a few good chuckles. Instead of helping me narrow down the options, he just gave me more. So, I thought I would get some feedback from quilters this time.

As many of you know, my technique differs from most of the other books out there in that the drafting is done using only a pencil, ruler and paper folding techniques. Because of this compasses can be made any size and any shape. They can then be accurately paper pieced.

With the other books on the market, the pattern you see is all you get, so there’s no opportunity for creativity.

So…. how do I get this difference across on the cover of the book? That’s where you come in. The following are the titles that have made the cut so far (in no particular order). Please read them over and let me know which one appeals to you. Thanks in advance :-)!

Compass Creations

Compass Capers

Not Your Mama’s Compass (this was one of Mike’s)

Create a Compass Your Way

Journey With a Compass

May the Compass Be With You (Mike’s favorite!)

Compass Capers – Create Your Own Unique Mariner’s Compass Block

Finding Your Way With a Compass  – Who Needs a GPS?

Getting Lost With a Compass (another of Mike’s)



Old Frame, New Life

October 23, 2011

I met my friend, Eileen Rozumialski, when she signed up for our Sew We Go trip to Ireland. She was a fairly new quilter at that time and a delight to get to know. She has recently retired and shared a story with me about her new quilting studio. It was a story and an idea I think you will enjoy.

I often run into quilters who have inherited quilting frames from a relative. They usually are not sure what to do with them. I now have a suggestion and here’s Eileen’s tale in her own words and pictures:

“You might remember I mentioned some time ago having my grandmother’s quilting frame.  I would guess it must be 100 years old.  We finally figured out how to mount it on the wall so I could use it for displaying quilts.  3 of the boards are up and currently holding a quilt my great Aunt Ida hand pieced and quilted around 1940 using flour sacks and the maternity tops my mother wore while carrying my brother and myself.  I was actully unaware of them until my Mother passed some years ago and the quilts were found folded up and “stuffed” in pillowcases!  I learned she (my mother) had always been afraid to use the quilts as they were so precious to her.  Am hoping with hanging some of the creases will disappear.  As you can see on the picture the friend who figured out how to hang the frame figured out new pegs so I can raise or lower the horizontal piece.  We then used the 4th board in my new work studio (also in my basement).  I am thrilled beyond measure to be using the frame (and to now have a studio to sew in).

I know the frames were left unused in the rafters of a garage for probably 50 or 60 years before I figured out what to do with them and had a place to do it!  They were a piece of my family history I wasn’t ready to throw out and am so glad now I hadn’t.”

I’m so pleased Eileen cherishes all these pieces of her family history and thank her for allowing me to share them with you. Has anyone else found a new use for an old quilting frame?


Quilting In the Desert

October 16, 2011

What could be more appealing than Arizona in January? How about a quilting retreat in Arizona in January? I’ve been blessed with the delightful opportunity to teach at this exciting event with many other inspiring teachers and wanted to let you know all about it!

Quilting in the Desert is held in Phoenix at the InnPlace Hotel Phoenix North.  Check out the website for all the details:

Please consider making the trip for 5 days of quilts, classes, sunshine and fun!


Let’s Face It!

October 10, 2011

My latest quilt has a very odd outer edge that I wanted to face, rather than bind. After a bit of noodling I came up with a way that worked great! It would work for any quilt with a curved or unusual outer edge (scallops, double wedding ring, grandmother’s flower garden, etc.). I can’t show the front of the quilt because I plan on entering it in a major show and don’t want to have it shown publically yet. So here’s the step by steps along with a full shape picture from the back :-). I hope you enjoy them.

1. Layer and quilt the quilt. Then, with water soluable thread on top and a thread that contrasts the backing fabric in the bottom, stitch through all layers on the exact line that will be the outer edge of the quilt. Cut away all layers 1/4″ from this line.

2. Lay quilt, right sides together, on a piece of  facing fabric which is slightly larger than the quilt itself . Pin all the way around.

3. Stitch through all layers (with regular thread on top now), exactly on the previous stitching line, all the way around.

4. Trim even with quilt and clip all “inny” angles.

5. Trim facing fabric 1″  away from stitching, all the way around.

6. Fold facing to back of quilt and match facing raw edge with quilt raw edge.

7. Fold facing completely to back and pin in place.

8. Hand stitch the facing to the back of the quilt and – Voila – you’re done!

If any of the water soluable thread shows along the edge, just get it wet and the problem will be solved (or disolved :-).

Also – This past week Laura Krasinski and I hung a joint exhibit of our work entitled “Make a Joyful Noise” in the lobby of the Waukesha Civic Theater on Main Street in Waukesha (just 2 doors down from Frank’s Sewing Center). Please stop by if you’re in the area!


Howe Many Machines Do You Own?

July 31, 2011

If you want to feel better about your sewing machine collection, read on. Up until recently I owned 6 (but one’s a treadle that’s being used as an end table, so I’m not sure it counts). I recently acquired #7…with my husband’s blessing, and I can’t wait to share. We were wandering through an antique store in Fort Atkinson, WI when this machine caught my eye:

For many years I’ve been presenting a quilt lecture about my collection of antique quilts entitled “But I Still Love You”. In it I share some sewing machine history, including information on Elias Howe, the “inventor of the sewing machine” (there were other machines invented in other countries, but his was the most user friendly and marketable, so he’s credited with it). There is actually a plaque on the machine with a bust of Elias Howe and the words “Elias Howe Jr; Inventor and Maker; New York, USA”.

The machine has been mounted in a case with a glass front and a light inside so that the mechanism underneath can be viewed when the crank is turned.

The case has a plaque that reads: “Inventor: Elias Howe; Patent #4750 Granted 9-10-1846; circa 1865-67; Restored by Carmon M. Howe; 1991”. I was able to contact Mr. Howe and he told me he is not related to the inventor. He found the machine on the 3rd floor of an antique store in LaCrosse, WI with about an inch of dust on it. When he saw the name – he had to have it :-). He said it won’t run because the bobbin mechanism was missing. We had a lovely conversation and he told me to enjoy the machine. I am already.

 After a bit of web surfing I found a photo of the same model machine as mine and it is indeed from 1867!  I searched for more details about the machine and found very little. I did find a wealth of information about Elias Howe and am anxious to share it in future lectures.

So, anyone own more than 7 sewing machines???


Shrek on Quilting II

July 25, 2011

I was so pleased with the positive feedback on the quilt basting frame and I have a few more frame related comments:

1. I have 2 comments that would fall under the heading “leave your pins open”. The first is good advice when you take the pins out of your quilt as you’re quilting. I always toss them in a container open and store them this way. The downside is you get poked when pulling them out for the next use, but the upside is you don’t waste energy closing and reopening. It’s much healthier for your hands -ergonomically.

2. Next, leave the pins open as you baste the quilt. I do this whenever I pin a quilt in the frame by myself. It’s easier on the back to leave the pins open, remove the quilt from the frame and then sit in a comfy chair to close them all with a Kwik Clip or grapefruit spoon.

3. Storing the boards – you’ll want to keep the boards in a dry place so they don’t get damp and warp. I’ve found that stacking them in an I-beam in the basement keeps them out of the way, yet easily accessible. Wrapping a bungie cord around the I-beam near each end keeps them from tumbling down!

4. My final recommendation is that it is definitely more fun to “frame a quilt” with friends. Last week Ida was so sweet to come over as soon as I called. What a dear friend! Many years ago I needed to baste a quilt with a deadline and had mentioned it to Sharon and Carol early in the day. Mike was out of town and the kids were in bed when I finally set the frame up in the living room. We lived out in the country at that time too, so when I saw headlights coming up the driveway at 9pm, I was a bit concerned. What a delight to see my wonderful quilting friends walk up to the door – with chocolate! The quilt was quickly basted and a good time was had by all!!

So, how do you store your pins? Do you have a “quilting friends to the rescue” story?