Food Fabrics

Food Fabrics - June
Food Fabrics - June

The food fabrics above are for the quilt my mom is making for her step grandson. I talked about it last week. Maureen saw my post and offered me some squares of food fabric. She even cut them. The first 3 rows above are the fabrics she gave me. The last row are fabrics I bought and have cut for mom. I don’t know how many blocks she has, but it must be nearing 100. That should be a good sized quilt.

Late June Diamonds

Late June Diamonds
Late June Diamonds

I have been cutting and pressing fabrics like a demon lately and here is another group. I have found that this number of diamonds is the right number to photograph, so I have a few more on the wall that will be in the next photo.

One of the things about this group is that there are a lot of the Fizz by P&B fabrics and I am really loving those fabrics. I would love it if they would come out with another dozen colors in between the colors they already have. There are a lot of colors in the group already so that would mean that their colorists would really have to work over time. I would love it if these became a staple background fabric. Fabrics go so quickly out of fashion that I doubt that will happen. I plan to use these fabrics in another Interlocking Triangle quilt.

An idea that occurred to me with these Fizz fabrics is that I could arrange them in a color wheel and then radiate the other diamonds out from them. I think that would make the piecing a challenge, but all ideas are worth considering. It might be a problem with the colors which I don’t buy very often.

I haven’t decided if I am cutting diamonds from the food fabrics for my mom. I am intermittently, so some show up as diamonds and some don’t.

The other thing I am doing is cutting pieces from a few fabrics I have pulled out of the stash. An example is the red at the tip of the diamond. These fabrics have never had a piece cut from them. My project, my rules.

The A List Blog

Blogger’s Concierge is looking for A List blogs. Who knows if this is a real thing to get real attention or not, but it is worth a quick post to try.

ArtQuiltmaker Blog IS an A List blog. It is an A List blog, because the goal is to provide:

  • interesting words
  • great photos
  • color
  • inspiration
  • and encouragement to develop a creative habit

Linda Poole said that my blog was like a magazine. I really never know what I am going to post until I post it. I constantly rearrange posts until I am happy with the way my posts look. i want people who read to keep coming back and be surprised and pleased at what they find. While all of this excitement is based on fabric and quilts, the blog branches out into art, exhibits and other inspiration.

Rainbow Blocks

Red Joseph Block
Red Joseph Block

You might remember that there was some devastating flooding in Central Tennessee earlier this year. This is Anna Maria Horner’s neighborhood. She created a project, which I talked about on Thursday, called Rainbow Around the Block. Simply, she is collecting 12.5″ unfinished 2 color blocks (e.g. red and white, blue and orange, etc). These blocks will be made into quilts and given to families who lost their homes, belongings, etc.

Last week, she sat down with her children and designed blocks. I think this is a very nice idea. I can picture the children drawing and coloring and talking with their mom about helping these neighborhood families. We have these kind of times in my family where the lull of filling in a spot with color without the distraction of screen noise helps to free the mind from the mind’s monkey chatter and allows people to bring up interesting conversation topics.

She intends to post a version of each child’s work on the Rainbow Around the Block page as a group called The Horner Family Blocks. The first one, The Joseph Block, is up already. It is a simplified version of a Square in a Square block and simple directions are given for sewing it together. I am concerned about the way she suggests cutting a square into the quarters that the quiltmakers will have a lot of bias blocks to work with. Perhaps that is part of the plan? In any case, you can make any block you wish and a variety are already posted for your viewing pleasure in the Flickr Group.

I made two blocks. I don’t normally make 12×12″ (finished blocks) and the pieces seemed so large. I just made them, though, without questioning or quibbling. The first deadline is July 1. Close to 100 blocks have been posted to the Rainbow Around the Block Flickr Group. People have really taken the idea of letting the fabric do the work, that I talked about from the Jane Sassaman lecture, to heart. I guess they got the message sooner than I did!

Purple Joseph Block
Purple Joseph Block

What will YOU make?

Basting & Quilting

I am trying to force myself to sew, so last Friday, I planned a day to baste the Tarts Come to Tea. I am not in the groove since I was sick and that is a weird thing.

It has been a long time since I basted a quilt. The last time I remember doing it was on our kitchen floor before we remodeled the kitchen 3 years ago. I think it was a long time before the remodel, too.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take me, so I planned to spend the whole day. First, we had to set up the tables, which we planned to do the night before.There was NO way I was crawling around on the floor and the tables are large enough so this configuration was the perfect size. When we went to set them up, one was missing. SIL and BIL kindly offered to come over and bring our table back (it gets shared around the family) that evening. Once it was found and delivered, DH and I set two of them up downstairs. It was a tight squeeze downstairs, but worked fine in the end.

Piecing Batting
Piecing Batting

First, however, I needed batting and I didn’t remember that critical piece of information until I was at class at 7am on Friday morning. I did remember the night before and vaguely thought about looking to see if I had a piece, but didn’t get to it. The gang was over watching the Lakers vs. Celtics game. I looked when I got home from class and found nothing big enough. I did find two leftovers I could piece together. I have pieced batting before and think I learned the technique from one of Harriet Hargrave‘s books. I just use a big zigzag and butt the two pieces of batting together but not overlapping. Once quilted, there is no problem with shifting or anything. I try to use the biggest pieces possible and not have too many seams. This a good use of leftover batting.

Pieced Batting
Pieced Batting
Placement of Pieced Batting in Quilt
Placement of Pieced Batting in Quilt

If you look carefully in the photo above, you can see the zigzagged seam. I thought about turning the piece over and going over it again, but decided that would be overkill. I did pay attention to where the seam ended up in the quilt (lower photo). I want to keep track of where it is as I quilt so I can see if there is any difference in how that section looks. Obviously, I won’t highlight it. I just want to see how it comes out.

Back Face Down
Back Face Down

For the first time ever, I basted on a table. One of the things that was preventing me from quilting my own quilts (and there are many) was basting on the floor.

The two tables made a HUGE, GIGANTIC difference on how my body felt afterwards. I am no longer the limber gymnast I was at 15 and crawling around on the floor just isn’t an option! This basting experience was awesome! I sat or stood around the table and listened to some podcasts while I pinned. It really put me a good mood to move forward on the rest of the process.

Quilting Border Comes in Handy
Quilting Border Comes in Handy

One of the things about a quilting border is that it protects the end seams. Sometimes seams on the edge of the quilt come apart as I work with the quilt. The quilting border, which I like to add (though don’t always remember), help keep those seams tidy. I talked a bit about the quilting border in a previous post.

All Taped
All Taped

I tried very hard not to stretch the quilt top or back while I was taping regardless of how tempting it was to make the piece tight as a drum. It was taut, but not tight.

Pins In
Pins In

I tried not to put pins in the actual motifs, thought I had to do so on occasion. I find that the combination of the fusible and the safety pins creates a hole. If I get a hole, I rub it with my fingernail, but sometimes it stays even with that treatment.

Pins In - Top View
Pins In - Top View

You can see above that I broke my self imposed rule. The curvy teapot was just too large a space to go without pins. I am scared that there will be a giant ugly hole. We’ll see.

3 Cups Marked
3 Cups Marked

In my first quilting class, I learned to use a white pencil to mark quilts. They are difficult to use, but are not permanent. The thing I like about them is that they are white and not permanent.

I don’t like that I can’t sharpen them to a really find point. I also don’t like it that I have to go over and over the line. I found as I was quilting, that the light in my workroom (and the foggy grey weather) made it hard to see the white lines as well.

Deirdre sent me some .9mm chalk ‘lead’ that can be inserted into a mechanical pencil. I am sure these will work better, but haven’t had the chance to go to a stationery store and get a new pencil.

Despite these problems, I am not prepared to try a water soluble marker. I may leave my quilts marked and unquilted for years and I know that won’t work with a water soluble marker. Nadine Ruggles has a great podcast episode giving instructions on using a water soluble marker. I feel more confident with her instructions supporting me, but still don’t want my first effort to be on this quilt.

Open Toe Walking Foot Quilting
Open Toe Walking Foot Quilting

After the above photo of the curvy teapot and my brilliant success at basting, I was ready to quilt. Mentally, I was ready to quilt.

I know that I quilted Beach Town last year. Beach Town, however is small and does not need quilt wrestling. I don’t remember the last time I quilt wrestled. It had to be more than 10 years ago. Aside from the quilt wrestling aspect of quilting a large quilt, I was reminded that I am not a fan of the actual designing of quilt motifs. I have to look at my Flickr set. I don’t know if any motifs will be appropriate, but I will, at least, look.

I did some basic quilting on the 3 Cups block. It isn’t enough. I should have remembered that I like my quilts to be densely quilted. Now I don’t know whether I should quilt within the lines I created using a free motion foot or whether I should leave it and move on. I don’t like the puffiness. If I go back and quilt more, will I get folds or tucks?

3 Cups Half Quilted
3 Cups Half Quilted

Let me know your thoughts on how this block looks. I went around each cup (in the green) with green thread, but didn’t do any quilting within the cups. I think I need some. Again, I have to think about giant holes through the fusible.

Creative Prompt #73: Glyph

A glyph (pronounced /??l?f/) is an element of writing. It is a slightly vague term, but a more precise definition might be an individual mark on paper or another written medium that contributes to the meaning of what is written there. A grapheme is made up of one or more glyphs. (Wikipedia)

See the Creative Prompt page if you have questions about this project.

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.

In World of Warcraft, Glyphs are spell and ability enhancements created by scribes. Until used, they
are not soulbound and can be traded or sold.

Mathwire states that “glyphs are a pictorial form of data collection. You might be reminded of the term “hieroglyphics” and think about early picture writing.   Different forms of glyphs are used in many medical situations to quickly record data about a patient in pictorial form.   For example, a dentist records cavities on a picture of teeth.   A chiropractor might record injuries or muscle aches on a skeletal picture. In these cases, a “picture is worth a thousand words” and the glyph allows a doctor to more quickly record and analyze the data.

court reporting


computer icons


smiley faces


Odds and Ends Thursday

Tips and Tricks

One of the email newsletters I read for my job is called ResearchBuzz. I know I have mentioned this site before. One day, I was pleased to find an article that would allow me to keep a steady stream of quilts coming to my blog reader.

Here is a sample of a quilt search:,modern

After creating the link above (by changing the tags at the end to suit your needs), paste this URL into your Bloglines or Newsgator or Google or whatever reader and it will send you back search results. I put the above search into my (newly refurbished) Google Reader and was immediately provided with several fresh looking quilts for my viewing pleasure.

I also wanted to see what was new and exciting in the basket quilt arena so I changed up the URL above to:,basket

I retrieved a number of basket quilts, but also some mishits. They were pretty mishits, so I didn’t mind much.

Find more info at ResearchBuzz.

Before he went off on his new adventures, Mark Lipinski showed the Half Square Triangle ruler from Creative Grids. I have been interested in it, but not enough to buy it before I could try it. Inspired by TFQ’s good example, I finally started to read blogs in a blog reader. This helped me to see a post on the Exuberant Color blog about using this ruler. There is also a video posted. This is a wacky looking ruler, but Wanda’s photos make it look really useful. It looks like it cuts off the bunny ears as well. My only concern is often I would use 2.5 HSTs?

Need to know the basics of fusing from the Expert? Did to refresh your skills or check the whys of what you have been doing? Melody Johnson posted a step by step guide recently. She includes a lot of details along with photos.


The Professional Quilter blog had a post about Print on Demand. The article starts out with the line “Many quilters have a book in them and don’t know where to start”. Isn’t that a great and positive way to start an article? It certainly caught my attention! Morna has links to several of the popular print on demand companies as well as links to more information. This is a brief overview type article, but it was a good reminder with resources for further exploration.

Journals and diaries are part of daily life for many girls and women. I have kept a journal for years and write faithfully nearly every day. These pages are, mostly, for my eyes only. Occasionally, I share drawings I have done, such as the drawing for the Original Bullseye border and the notes I took on the Cartier exhibit. NPR is working on a story called “The Hidden World of Girls“. they are asking for uploads of journal pages to their Flickr pool. These aren’t all the art journals we are used to seeing these days. These are the words depicting the angst of growing up and learning to deal with life. I am glad NPR is taking a look at this subject. What do you have to share?


Journal covers have been on mind lately. I think I will make a new one for myself and I have a desire to make a couple as gifts. While this topic was rattling around in the back of my brain, I saw a blog post on Kindle covers made with selvedges. I have always been intrigued with items made from selvedges. It really takes some commitment to use selvedges, because you have to save them! I also cut off a selvedge the other day and thought I should save it and send it or give it to someone working on such a project. I don’t know anyone and I don’t think I want to start such a project, so into the garbage it went. Finally, I relate journal covers with things like Kindle/Nook/iPad etc covers in my mind. I guess since they are all designed for added protection it makes sense. One of the nice things about the Kindle cover pictured is that it has a flap to close it. I will think about adding something like that to a future journal cover.

By the way, the Selvage Blog has a lot of interesting projects made out of selvedges including a great quilt, called the Blue Zinger by Jen Duncan, using a pattern I tried to make once. I’ll have to look up the name. This is a great blog in that there is a lot of interesting information and a variety of different projects. Even our own Quilt Rat showed up with a selvedge house!

Again with the blog reader, I saw Corky’s post on her class with Karen Eckmeier. I love the village projects she and her friends worked on. They remind me of those French and Italian villages clinging to the sides of cliffs.


Need some additional inspiration? The Harry Ransom Center has made a database of medieval and early modern manuscripts available on the web. These types of manuscripts were elaborately decorated and make for wonderful inspiration for borders and quilting designs. Not all of the pages have those elaborate illustrations. Some are just regular parchment like pages with script writing. You can see a slideshow of various pages on the first page. There is also a way to search. There are lots of scrolls, flowers and religious iconography.

Have you done your Rainbow Around the Block block for Anna Maria Horner’s project? In case you haven’t heard, she is collecting blocks to make quilts for people in Tennesse who were affected by recent flooding. A number of people have already contributed and AMH has a Flickr Gallery for your viewing pleasure. Check the link for directions and information.

I get depressed and want to completely quit making quilts whenever I see Red Pepper’s quilts. That [wo]man (??) makes quilts like I make toast. She is prolific and per pieces are gorgeous. A recent post shows a fantastic, absolutely, positively wonderfully GORGEOUS red and white quilt. No amount of new fabric is going to allow me to make that quilt. How does she do it?

Deirdre has created a gallery of quilts at the recent Northern Star Quilt Show in Connecticut. Take a look and let her know what you think! Nice job!

Deirdre, being the awesome ‘Net surfer that she is sent a site called Pattern in Islamic Art. The images are WONDERFUL. If you aren’t inspired, I am not sure anything will inspire you! There are great ideas for quilts, quilting motifs and Creative Prompt Responses!

Suzanne Cabrera is a sketch artist whose blog I read intermittently. I have posted links to some of her drawings here before. Posts popped up in my blog reader today or over the weekend so  I went to take a look and found the most wonderful series of posts about her 30th birthday and the wishes for love and hope she sent out to the world. Take a look at the idea, photos of the event and responses. We couldn’t do this here, because we are too close to the ocean and we don’t want the sea life to choke on balloon parts, which makes me even more happy to see Suzanne’s celebration.

And if all of the above isn’t enough Vicki Welsh has recently posted her latest edition of Field Trips in Fiber. I love to make her list and am, alas, once again not on it. She surveys various blogs and puts up links to finished projects. I started to put links to each piece I liked, but I liked all of them so decided to give Vicki a shout out for her hard work on this list. Go and take a look at the beautiful pieces.


Remember when I mentioned that Art Quilting Studio had a new editor and I speculated on what happened to Jenny Doh? Well, she is now associated with She writes about the launch party and about the vision of CrescendOH. I love it when people jump from their safe life and take a risk. I wish Jenny the best!

Handmade Beginnings by AMH
Handmade Beginnings by AMH

We went on a family outing to Border’s the other day. I know how exciting that sounds! I had a gift card to use as well as a 33% off coupon. The child wanted to get the latest Artemis Fowl book, so it seemed like a good way to spend an hour together. I went to the craft section and looked at all the quilt books they had available. I saw the new Anna Maria Horner book there, Handmade Beginnings, so I took a look.

I have no babies in my life at the moment, and, thus, have no plans to buy this book, but, of course, I found two projects in it that I loved! One is a tote bag, which is large and has some dividers in it. It is called the Here We Go bag. The other project is a decorating project called Writing on the Walls. You pick a word and then through various means create the letters, attach them to stretched canvas and you have a wall decoration. This might work for the C*R*E*A*T*E project I have in mind. The AMH project is another way I could make that project work.

I took some time with the V&A exhibit ancillary materials. The blog is a marketing piece, but it is so well written and entertaining that it made me want to jump on a plane and go to the exhibit and damn the consequences. Lynn Prtichard gives lists of upcoming quilt events in the UK. I could be entertained with quilts for the whole summer if I were a lady of leisure. I am hoping that my quilt friend, LoveAnna, is getting to some of these exhibits. I watched the Caren Garfen video again and really enjoyed it. The website is really a treasure trove of information and photos. It is really the epitome of a web as I clicked here and there and really got lost in a world of quilts.

A survey of how much quiltmakers are spending was recently released. Terri (of quilt book mystery fame) pointed me to an article about the survey. Interesting that we are still spending. I am doing my part, for sure. 😉


Remember I visited the Decorator Showcase house? Lil Sissy pointed me to an article on the house that might give you a better idea of what it looked like and was about. The photos in the article also give you a lot more of an idea of what we saw. They do show off the rooms to their best advantage. The before and after photos are great, too. The other great thing about this article is that the reader really gets to see a lot of what we saw, sans the shoving of people out of the way!


Spam is becoming a huge problem on Artquiltmaker Blog. Does this mean I am popular? I never was in high school. Bleah on spam.  Generally, I, at least, glance through the posts to see if anyone inadvertently wrote something that my spam filter didn’t like. Lately, I have been getting 20, 30, 40 spams a day and have just been marking them all and deleting. Some tips:

  • one word replies get sent to the spam filter
  • embedded links get sent to the spam filter
  • nonsense series of letters and numbers get sent to the spam filter

If your message gets sent to the spam filter, because you are being cute or funny, future posts will need me to approve them and I may miss them in my wholesale deleting of spam. See here for more info.

New Fabric

Martha's Quilting Corner
Martha's Quilting Corner

I have been stockpiling new fabric lately for various projects.

The Child and I are going to make pillowcases for the Million Pillow Case challenge that is putting on. I wanted him to do a non-screen related project this summer and he didn’t think of one, so I imposed one on him. He is not excited about sewing, but said if I found some taco fabric, he would make one. I had already bought some cute robot fabric (see below), so he will be making at least two.

Hart's & Back Porch
Hart's & Back Porch

I was trying to find some boyish fabric and think the taco fabric is actually better for older boys than the robot fabric. The robot fabric is really cute, though. As of this writing, they have 99,416. Come on, people, make some pillow cases!

All of the food fabric is for the project my mom is working on. She is collecting 6.5″ squares of food fabric for Lil Sissy’s stepson. I probably mentioned this already. Since I told The Child that I would buy him taco fabric I picked up a couple of pieces for my mom’s project as well. We are discussing doing the food project together, but she has to come back from SoCal first.

I am going to use the Day of the Dead fabric to make some blocks for a Christmas gift. What would you think about receiving blocks for a Christmas gift for a project you had been showing on your blog?

I really enjoyed making things for my friends for Christmas last year and would like to do some of that again. Good thing I bought the One Yard Wonders (a sale – YAY!) book. I think I will have to find some projects in there. The projects have to be cute and not stupid. I want them to be useful and nice as well.

Sassaman Fabric
Sassaman Fabric

You, of course, see tons of dots in this group of new fabrics. Hart’s had a lot of the Dumb Dots (dumb name) by Michael Miller. I love those dots. For me, they are the perfect dots. I wish they would team up with Robert Kaufman and make dots the same colors as the Kona Solids and keep them in the line as staples. Everyone needs a good selection of dots, IMO!

Despite Jane Sassaman’s detailed explanations of how to use her fabric, I only bought the black and whites at her lecture. I really like the one with the spiral and sun motifs, but it came in a bundle. I, of course, already have some of the black and white dots, but one can always use more dots, right?

Magazine Report

A Variety of Mags & Books
A Variety of Mags & Books

I am pretty happy with the recent magazines and books that have magically appeared in my life recently. I brought several magazines with me to Monterey and read them while I laid in bed.

I recently really and truly gave myself permission to skip over articles even if the magazine cost a lot. As a result I was able to get through 2.5 of these magazines over the weekend.

Stitch (upper left) always draws me in with their cover photos. I really try hard not to buy the issues, but their covers are so gorgeous that I gave in this time. There are a couple of projects I want to make including a two handed hot pad and an apron. I am thinking the hot pad, if the directions are not stupid, would make great gifts.

I had never seen Classic Stitches magazine. It is a UK magazine and that journal cover just blew my mind. I am having a hard time reading the pattern, because I can’t stop looking at the photos, so I can’t tell whether I could make it. There is soldering required and I probably wouldn’t do that part, but I have to try the pattern in general. It might revolutionize my journal cover making, or at least jazz it up.

Love of Quilting was mostly patterns. I did enjoy Gerald Roy’s column on antique quilts and would like it if his publisher would compile a book of those columns. My all time favorite is still his column about the Tea Basket pattern. There are lots of appealing ads in this magazine!

Fresh Vintage v.10
Fresh Vintage v.10

This is what I bought (I think I did anyway) after seeing Gerald Roy’s column on the Tea Basket pattern. I am sure this pattern is in EQ6 (etc) as well. You can buy this pamphlet at the Fig Tree site. Is it a great block? Not easy, but great!

I bought a second issue of the Quilt Life just to see. I am concerned about it having anything new and exciting because the editor is the same as QNM. I probably won’t subscribe, but I’ll read it and see if it is worth another issue. Sometimes I just feel like I need some new quilt info and buy whatever magazines I can find.

The Jane Brocket book is not a magazine, but it came in from The Book Depository. I have not read it yet, but glanced through and noticed it has the Kaffe Fassett styling with lots of old, shabby brick, decrepit walls and peeling paint. There is an obligatory section on how to make a quilt. I’ll tell you later if I find anything of interest. Her writing style is what attracted me. I liked the Gentle Art of Domesticity and was hoping for something like that. The current title was released int he US already and I saw it in Back Porch Fabrics.

Go read and be inspired.

Jane Sassaman Lecture

Seasons Cycle; Spring Tree  30”x58”
Seasons Cycle; Spring Tree 30”x58”

I signed up for the SFQG emails. These emails notify me of upcoming speakers to the local guild. My mom and I went to one towards the end of the year last year to see Mike McNamara. For $5, I can hear really great lectures and see wonderful slides. A recent email notified me that Jane Sassaman would be coming to lecture. My mom is gone and I almost didn’t go, but I committed to myself to go and went.

I am not much into the whole guild thing right at the moment. I do belong to two different guilds, which suit my needs very well: workshops and like minded people. It might be interesting to be a member of the SF Guild again, but I don’t want to volunteer for stuff. I just want to sit in my workroom and make stuff. Selfish, I know.

Still I couldn’t resist the lure of Jane Sassaman. I have admired her quilts for awhile and love her name. She has designed a rug (I don’t know if it is still in her shop) that I would love for my dining room. Boy am I glad I went! The lecture was wonderful! I usually feel so inspired when I hear someone like Jane Sassaman speak.

When I arrived at the meeting the greeter asked me if I wanted a hostess or chaperone. I didn’t so I said so and I was rather proud of myself for saying so. I was tired and didn’t feel like talking to people. They have a lot going on and the hall was crowded. The only seats apparently available were int he front row. I thought they might be saved for the officers, but I went and sat in one and nobody kicked me out.

Simple Shapes Complex Fabric
Simple Shapes Complex Fabric

Ms. Sassaman called her lecture A Fabric Romance. She talked a lot about the fabric she has designed, about which she is very enthusiastic. She said that she has spent a lot of time working with the fabric she designed. Ms. Sassaman said that she has filled her whole hose with the fabric. She showed pictures of duvets, pillowcases, throw pillows, upholstery, seat covers and even a tree skirt for the holidays. I was enamoured with all the fabric that she used and it made me think that these types of simple home decor accessories would be a wonderful, and relatively easy, way to cheer up my house. It would also be a wonderful way to use up precious fabric in large amounts so as not to worry about cutting it.

I love it when I go to a lecture and learn something. Jane’s fabric is pretty busy or complicated. She said she designed it that way to make the work of quilting easier for people like us. The one tip she repeated over and over in various ways was:

Simple Patches, Complex Fabric.

With larger designs, fussy cut and cut larger patches. What I think she meant by that is displayed in the quilt to the left = “complex fabric with big motifs makes simple piecing look sophisticated.” There is no applique’ in that piece. She has fussy cut the fabric motifs and carefully placed them to make the piece look complex. She showed several examples in her slide show and had a few examples in person as well.

I have to say that after listening to her talk, I am looking at fabrics, especially the large prints that we love and are so popular right now, a little differently.

Blue Butterfly
Blue Butterfly
Blue Butterfly-detail
Blue Butterfly-detail

Some things I noticed were that her stitching is a real design element. The stitches are large and fill in some outlines where there would otherwise be blank space.

I rarely think of thread that way and would like to try and learn to do that, because, at least, in the butterfly, it is very effective. I did do a bit of this type of stitching to accent the angles and folds in the Pie block in the Tarts Come to Tea.

I am not sure if it is the design and if that type of stitching would translate well to other shapes, but it is definitely worth thinking about and trying to incorporate more of into my pieces.

In general I think thread still has a lot more to add to my pieces that I am currently doing. TFQ and I have said that threadwork has become much more noticeable in recent years. Jane’s work is another example.

She learns, “like other visual people” (her words), by looking at other artists’ work. She is heavily influenced by William Morris, the English designer. From him she learned “if you have an empty space, put a dot in it.” Right up my alley! I never much liked Morris’ work, but think I may have gained a new appreciation for him after listening to Ms. Sassaman speak about how he influenced her. She opened my eyes to some of his other work besides that one sees at Liberty of London.

She also enjoys the work of Christopher Dresser. He was a contemporary of William Morris and was trained as a botanist. His work is quirky in that he gives extreme discipline to natural objects. She showed a beetle box/jar which illustrates this concept. The beetles, which would probably rarely stand still, are stopped and in order in this piece.

Rennie Mackintosh is another designer to whom Jane looks for inspiration. She particularly showed the stylized roses. I used to make small leaded glass panels and one I made used a pattern which included these roses. I don’t know if I have a photo of it, but if I do, I will post it sometime.

Viennese Succession is a movement that she loves. I may not have completely understood what she said, but I think she said she likes this era, because of the decorative arts elements. Manufacturers put restrictions on the artists designing hte decorative arts (e.g. design for this box, which will be 4×4″ square) and then the artists put further restrictions on themselves within the first set of constraints. Dagobert Pesch was an Austrian artist from this era. She enjoys the scary elements that he puts in his work (e.g. the spiky leaves here and the pointy bits on this tiara). I am sure someone who knows more about him could talk more intelligently about his work.

Josef Frank was another Austrian artist who moved to Sweden, whose work Ms. Sassaman enjoys. He loved to put everything he possibly could on a piece.

Forgotten Garden 60" x 90"  ©2004
Forgotten Garden 60" x 90" ©2004
Life Totem 23" X 71"
Life Totem 23" X 71"

Jane has an interesting sense of the macabre. She likes the spiky, spooky elements. She said that she always puts something scary in her work. They are not scary, but they are not sweetness and light either. Spikes and thorns can be seen regularly in her work. She walked us through her design process via slide and showed some of the designs she had considered that didn’t make it into the final collections.

It takes her about 4 months to complete a collection of fabric. Included in the process is lots of “noodling” around at which time she tries to make the pieces work together. She starts with line drawings in black and white. She figures out how they will repeat and how the different designs (on each bolt) will work together. She makes her colorways “talk” to each other so they be used together. Her collections involve about 10 prints in 3 colorways – 30 total for each collection. She calls her fabric designs “William Morris on antidepressants.” That got a big laugh.

She starts with 3 contrasting shapes when she gets to work on a quilt and then adds in a collage style. She will often have layered shapes, which are made up of three layers using shapes that mimic each other.

She is heavily influenced by the decorative arts and uses lots of decorative elements in her work. Her quilt, Willow, was influenced by English embroideries of the 1600s. You have to look at her quilts side to side, as is the case with many historic embroideries, to see the “conversation” going on. The side motifs are similar on each side, but not the same. I think I learned something about looking while at that lecture.

Busy Shop
Busy Shop

She brought quite a few things to sell. Before the lecture, the shop was busy. After the lecture, it was completely mobbed with people grabbing things right and left. She has a couple of lines that I think are very good marketing ideas. One is called Simple Silhouettes, which are patterns for ~1 foot square quilts using piecing and applique’. They look to have very few pieces. She also has created a line of sewn accessories she calls Home Dec pint sized patterns. These are specifically designed for newer quiltmakers, young parents and people who are just starting out and don’t have a lot of time. All of these patterns and her fabrics can be purchased from her shop.

Deluxe Seasonal Patterns - Winter
Deluxe Seasonal Patterns - Winter

A few other photos:

Pink Butterfly with Grass
Pink Butterfly with Grass
Pink Butterfly with Grass - full
Pink Butterfly with Grass - full

Sketching #71: Eye

Creative Prompt Response #71: Eye
Creative Prompt Response #71: Eye

The middle coffee poster is taken from a coffee poster that is hanging in a Starbuck’s near my office. Yergacheffe or Yirgacheffe is a kind of Ethiopian coffee.

I saw this poster when I first met Pamela Allen. She makes the greatest eyes and includes them in her pieces. This poster made me think of her, so I took a picture and sent her the photo. This image has been in my mind ever since.

Creative Prompt #72: Ice

One of the 15 known crystalline phases of water (Wikipedia)



US Immigration and Customs Enforcement


In Case of Emergency

a drug

polar cap

Iced Tea

Ice Age

ice cubes

ice try

ice sculpture

Arctic ice

ice cap

polar sheet

melting ice

on the rocks

ice bucket

ice skating


shave ice


ice fishing

dry ice

ice scraper


See the Creative Prompt page if you have questions about this project.

Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the artwork together and provide a way for others to see your work and/or your blog.

The Creative Prompt Project, also, has a Flickr group, which you can join to  post your responses. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses.