Category: Quilting Arts Blog

Back from Houston

I was away for a whopping eleven days for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival and in my absence Halloween came and went, the remnants of a hurricane whipped through Boston, and oh yeah baby… the Red Sox won the World Series!

While I get my voice back and catch up on sleep, I thought I’d provide a few pictures for your viewing enjoyment from Make It University! with Cloth Paper Scissors at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. With the new addition of Open Studios, we were a happenin’ spot. A huge thanks to all of the talented artists who spent time in Open Studios including Christine Adams,  Traci Bautista, Jane Dunnewold, Lesley Riley, Mary Fisher, Claire Benn, Laura Cater-Woods, Judy Coates Perez,  Heidi Lund, Frances Holliday Alford, Beryl Taylor, Lisa Engelbrecht, Alyson Faulkner, and Tracie and Marilyn Huskamp.

Now pictures…

Tracy and Allison Stilwell of Artgirls. They are always so much fun to hang out with. (Can’t you tell?)

The beautiful Mary Fisher stitching and painting her mixed-media books in Open Studios. (Be sure to see her article in the latest issue of MORE magazine!)

A darling girl showed us these glamorous beehive do’s using Artgirlz felt beads and ends of balloons. Clever!

I’d tell you what we’re doing but it’s top secret. If you come to Spring Quilt Festival/Chicago, all will be made clear to you…

Okay, it has to do with “Surviving the Runway.” Here’s Melody  who earned high honors for her creativity and swagger on the runway (which by the way, was pretty darn funny…see below.)

We are breaking ground, guys.  It is now completely acceptable to wear a toga to a quilt show.

High-ranking Quilts Inc. folks also played along. 😉

Traci Bautista, the Artgirlz (shown in first picture) and I shared the spotlight in an article in the Houston Chronicle. That was certainly an honor!

Believe it or not, we are already planning ahead and getting ready for Spring Quilt Festival/Chicago. Soon I will post details for a call for art for a special exhibit we’ll be featuring in Make It University! with Cloth Paper Scissors. With so many mixed-media artists in and around the Chicago area, it will definitely be a riotous few days. Be sure to save the date: April 11-13, 2008.

Four bits of news from Quilting Arts Headquarters

1. Make It University! with Cloth Paper Scissors at International Quilt Festival is taking place in less than two weeks! If you can’t come to the show (and we’ll certainly miss you) you can still be a part of the fun if you send in some Fat Inchies. Send us up to ten and we’ll send back the same amount in your S.A.S.E. Info can be found here on how to participate. We also want to showcase finished artwork made with Fat Inchies/PSI’s. If you have made a piece of art with Fat Inchies and would like it to be considered for display in Houston, please send your piece to Quilting Arts, Attn: Fat Inchie Project, PO Box 685, Stow, MA 01775  by next Friday (October 26).

Open Studios– We are thrilled to present a very exciting line-up of artists who will be creating art in the Make It University section right on the show floor. Special guests include Jane Dunnewold, Mary Fisher, Beryl Taylor, Lesley Riley, Judy Coates Perez, Frances Holliday Alford, Lisa Engelbrecht, Tracie Lyn and Marilyn Huskamp, Traci Bautista, Laura Cater-Woods, and more.

2. If you haven’t yet heard one of our favorite fiber artists Virginia Spiegel has set yet another ambitious goal for raising money for the American Cancer Society, this time striving for an astounding 30K. Virginia continues to work tirelessly to raise funds for this worthy cause and I hope you’ll join me today in ordering her book. I’ve heard very good things about it and I plan to read my copy on my way down to Houston next week.

3. We are actively seeking submissions for two very special issues we’ll be publishing next year. Our STUDIOS publication will be available next spring and we have some beautiful, inspiring studios to share with you. If you have a nifty storage tip, studio story, or before/ after pictures of where you create, by all means let us know about it if you haven’t already.  We will also be publishing our second annual Quilting Arts Gifts issue for early fall, so if you have a quilted home décor idea or a special gift project that celebrates your special holiday, let us know.

Lastly, doesn’t Lesley Riley’s artwork look great on the cover of the next issue of Cloth Paper Scissors? Here’s a sneak peak of the cover below. This issue is still at press and wont be available until November, but this is what you have to look forward to:


How to Quilt with A Sewing Machine for Beginners

Quilting is a sewing technique with two layers of fabric that have an interior insulating layer sewn together with multiple stitching rows. Quilting has been used for hundreds of years, and it is mostly used for wall hangings and bedcover construction. With that said, quilting is not easy, especially when using a sewing machine.

In this article, we hope to help you embark on your quilting project. However, the first step on the quilting journey should be to pick the right equipment. Here is an amazing Stitcher machine for newbies compilation that might help you out. Read More “How to Quilt with A Sewing Machine for Beginners”

It’s a Wrap!

We just finished taping the first series of Quilting Arts for PBS, and I have a few more pictures to share with you…

The queen of complex cloth, Jane Dunnewold. She’ll appear in our very first episode and I’m feeling pretty lucky that she’ll be setting the tone!

Speaking of Lucky…

We have Susan (“Lucky”) Shie, too, in this series. She’ll be showing us how she gets copious amount of writing onto her diary quilts.

Jeannie Sumrall Ajero demo’d a neat digital technique to create her beautiful landscape quilt that celebrates her trip to the far east.

Since I was a bit shorter than many of the guests, want to know how I appear so tall while sitting down?

Check out the yellow pages next to the printer. My very own high-tech booster seat!

Quilting Arts will begin airing the very end of this year. Check your local PBS stations the end of December to see when/if it will air in your area. At this time I don’t have information on Quilting Arts airing in international markets, but if that changes, I’ll let you know. When DVDs become available I’ll also share any information I have from Kathie Stull Productions–owner/producer of the show who will have them available.

In gratitude, I’d like to thank the following people for making Quilting Arts TV a reality:

First and foremost, Kathie Stull (owner/producer). Thank you for all of the hard work you did on every facet of the production, and for the faith you had in Quilting Arts Magazine and its community. I’d also like to thank Kathie for being so supportive of me as a host, my first time out of the gate.

Interweave Press– Also for having faith in a girl like me. (We did it!)

My editorial  and design staff: Barbara, Cate, Helen, and Larissa.  For being such a supportive sounding board as they listened to me natter on and fret before I left. Also for helping collect props for the set and design board, for shopping for vintage items (and I know that was painful), keeping me organized, stitching those adorable quilt blocks, and for holding down the fort while I was away.

Mike Murphy (director) and the video-editing, sound, and camera crew. They were all so kind, funny, and patient with me–no matter how many takes it took to get some of those closes.

Katherine (Kathie’s assistant)– For always being such a calm, assuring presence, for making sure I was hydrated, and double-checking I didn’t goof on wardrobe changes.

Karen, the talented make-up artist. She made us all feel and look like rock stars, and every day she left us presents in the make-up room so we’d stay fresh throughout the day. (Photo by Pam RuBert)

All of the wonderful underwriters who made this possible, many of whom came to the set and shared funny and candid conversations in the green room with me. (And I promise, what happens in the green room, stays in the green room.)

The quilt artists who enthusiastically said yes when I asked them if they would want to join us for the first season. You all made this so much fun. Thank you!

John– For taking Saturday afternoon to fix all of the toilet dispensers in the house and for cleaning out the fridge. I honestly didn’t realize we had salad dressing in there…from 2002.

And last but not least, our animal children for giving me a laugh when I got home. I landed late last night, went straight to bed, and woke up to this site this morning (it’s wonderful to be home):


We’re mid-way through taping Quilting Arts TV so I thought it would be fun to share my journey with you thus far. Let the pictures do the talking…

I had to chuckle when I boarded my flight to the taping and saw this on the back of the seat in front of me. We’ve all seen this critical, life-saving tip a million times before, but it’s one I never really considered until now. Having never hosted a TV show, never seen the set before, met the crew, etc., I think subconciously I was hoping for some sort of life line.

The first hurdle: The Set

Kathie Stull (owner/producer of the show) invited me to be a part of the design process for the set and I was honored to be asked. She and I consulted with my friend Bette Troy who is a world-renowned photo stylist and has styled TV commercials as well as some of the fashion catalogs we all love. Since Bette knows me well and she’s also a fiber artist, she came up with a clean, invigorating look that she presented to Kathie and me. Fabrics, paint colors, accent pieces, furniture…we all wanted them be fresh, fun, artful––something that would be indicative of Quilting Arts and also my dream studio. However, when you talk about concepts and colors over the phone, you don’t have that visual sense for how things will come together on the set. And I’ll admit, I didn’t get much sleep the end of August before I left for the taping because it was so important to me how the set looked.  Imagine my delight when Kathie created this set…

The walls are apple green, one of my favorite colors. And there’s bead board!

And a hutch!

And a window accented with nine-patch blocks my editorial staff made (thanks Cate, Barb, and Helen).

This is my studio with my design wall before I clutter it with all the things that inspire me. I was so overjoyed when I saw the set, I started to tear up. It was exactly what I’d want for my own quilting studio. (John, you’d better be taking notes…)

Day Two

I’ve just completed taping all 13 openers. (I’m smiling because it was my first task and I lived to tell about it.) I love this jacket (lots of hand stitching on in). The morning after I purchased it, I saw Meredith Vieira wearing it on “The Today Show.” Hey…if it’s good enough for Meredith, it’s good enough for me!

The next day the fun began because I have guests/friends with me. Every single one of them did a bang-up job on camera and we created quite a raucous in the green room.

Here my friend from St. Paul Wendy Richardson (Quilt Tapestry Studio) and Michelle Muska from Wrights realize they have a connection  from the past (this pin cushion has quite the story behind it). When it dawned on them they knew each other, they screamed so loudly, we heard them in the sound-proof studio. Leave it to quilters to make so much noise…

Laura Cater-Woods, Pam RuBert, and Wendy Richardson glamming up for the camera. They all did so well in their segments, these are smiles of jobs well done!

Laura Cater-Woods and I after the end of a hard day’s work.

From left to right: Me (obviously having a bad hair moment), Judy Coates Perez, Frances Holliday Alford, and Lesley Riley.

Here’s Frances and me getting ready for her segment. Check out all of the bead/found object mixes Frances has on set. You will NOT believe what she’ll put on a quilt. (I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. It’s top secret until the episode airs.)

Here Lesley Riley is talking to herself as she practices her segment. Isn’t she cute?

Shelly Stokes from Cedar Canyon Textiles. You would never guess she hadn’t been on TV before. Total natural…

The only shot I have of me with my good friend Beryl Taylor. I swear I’m not about to punch her.

Alison and Tracy Stillwell, the ArtGirlz. They NEVER fail to make me laugh. They promise me that when I’m ready, they’ll give me a mohawk, which they’ll happily do in their own backyard. “It’s so freeing,” Tracy told me. After all of the hair problems I’ve had on set, I’m looking forward to it.

But what really had me laughing was what the ArtGirlz gave me. Tracy, Allison, and I have had many deep, philisophical discussions about…well… the reality show, “Survivor.” I have a handful of TV shows I’m obsessed with–“Sopranos” for one (:::cough:::cough:::) and also “Survivor.”  Imagine my glee when Tracy and Allison gave me my very own Survivor buff! How many quilting hosts can boast they’ve been gifted their own Survivor buff?!

This Survivor buff will most definitely make a cameo appearance at Make It University next month (preview night of Quilt Festival begins on Halloween, after all).

We’ve been having so much fun and we’ve still to tape such art quilting celebrities as Jane Dunnewold, Susan (“Lucky”) Shie, and others that will bedazzle you.

Direct blog links for guests who have blogged about their Quilting Arts TV taping so far:

Pam RuBert

Lesley Riley

Judy Perez

Natalya Aikens

Elin Waterston

Frances Holliday Alford

Laura Cater-Woods

Will report back when we’re finished!

Studio News


If you have designed a studio space either in or outside of your home, and would like to share your space with the greater community, I’d love for you to tell me a little bit about your space. We’re interested in stories about how you designed your space and what was important to you in setting up various work areas and storage systems. If you have crafty ways of storing and organizing your supplies (fabrics, threads, pens, journals, paints, brushes, stamps, stencils, papers, trims, beads, etc.) please share with me if you’re willing to divulge your nifty secrets.

If you have “before and after” pictures of your studio, or any pictures of your studio or storing systems, I’d love to see. Please send me jpegs of any pictures you may have (low resolution at 72 DPI).

Please send me all of this information directly to my email rather than the blog.

In subject of your email please write: STUDIO

In the body of your email please let me know what makes your studio and/or storage system(s) so workable for you.

I may not be able to respond right away to your email, but I will be placing these emails into a file, and when the time comes I’ll be in touch.

Many thanks,


Back from Chicago and 2008 Calendar Finalists


Above: Debbi Crane, Patricia (Pokey) Bolton, Cheryl Prater

Thanks to everyone who came by MIU in Chicago last week! Between a flooded basement (came home to two feet of water) and a head cold, I’m just a tad beat, but I’m still laughing as I think about all the shenanigans that happened in Chicago at MIU.  The “Surviving the Runway” bunch who braved the collage challenge were such troopers to put up with me as their host (I even got them to sing the “Barney Song” in order to earn more gel medium for their project). I’m afraid I can’t tell you more because we’re doing it again in Houston this fall, and the prizes will even be better. I posted a photo gallery on our Quilting Arts website so be sure to have a peek at the images. I’m also looking for more photos to post on this blog so if you have some, please email them to me.

A VERY SPECIAL thanks go to the following artists who participated in the Virtual Studios:

Julaine Lofquist-BirchKelli PerkinsCheryl PraterDeb SilvaDebbi CraneJudy Coates PerezLesley Riley

Virginia Spiegel (Who stayed the entire time!)

In other news…

Congratulations to our 2008 QUILTING ARTS MAGAZINE® Calendar finalists! With more than 220 entries, slimming it down to the following pool was not an easy task. Our deepest thanks goes to all of our participants and we hope you had fun interpreting a favorite story of yours.

Our editorial team also learned that you are a group of prolific readers. Some of the more popular books that were depicted in stitch included The Scarlet Letter, Alice in Wonderland, The Poisonwood Bible, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Secret Life of Bees, Anne of the Green Gables, The Alchemist, The Wizard of Oz, and The Color Purple.

The following artists are asked to ship their quilts to Quilting Arts by Wednesday, May 9, 2007 (please note this is a receive-by date). You may ship your quilt using UPS, DHL, Fed Ex, or USPS.

If using UPS, Fed Ex, or DHL, ship your quilt to:

Quilting ArtsATTN: 2008 Calendar Contest23 Gleasondale Rd.Stow, MA


If using USPS, please ship to:

Quilting ArtsAttn: 2008 Calendar ContestPO Box 685Stow, MA


If you choose to ship using USPS, you must use our P.O. BOX; otherwise your piece will not be delivered to us.

Congratulations to the following finalists:

Donna Anderson (both entries)Heather ArkinstallMary ArnoldCynthia BodeneBetsy Brandt-Kreutz (both entries)Susan BrownMaija BrummerVineta CableSusan ConawayMarjorie DeQuincyMichelle DobrinKaren FrickeMarilyn FromherzN. Girod-BuetMarie GraceMargaret HallJane JohnstonSusan KnappKaren McCarthyMarin McFaddenBrenda MossoD. PageKristine PorterSheena QuayleWen Redmond (“Dance”)D. SawitskyRosalie SchroederTamara SchultzCarla ScottLinda SharpConnie SimonNancy SmithJulie StocklerPatricia Styring

Linda Thompson

On Friday, May 25, 2007, we will announce the winners on our website. Please note: we reserve the right to keep the 13 winning quilts for display through December 31, 2007. All other quilts will be returned between June 1–15, 2007.

Thank you!

All Aboard?

I’ve been quiet as we have had an intense publishing/ show travel schedule of late, but I had to pop on the blog to let you know some breaking news: Quilting Arts LLC is putting on it’s own fabulous fiber art/ creative embroidery cruise next July 14 – 21 to Alaska, and guess who’s teaching? The Double Trouble girls themselves, Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, our very own Beryl Taylor, and little ole’ me. The luxury cruise line, Holland America is top notch, and we’re going to eat a lot of chocolate, drink champagne, stitch and sketch by the pool and the bar, take innovative embroidery/fiber art classes, attend private cocktail parties, participate in a creative challenge, and oh…squeeze in some Alaskan scenery. We’re limiting the number of students to 100, but encourage you to bring your spouses, family, and friends. (We sure are.) To find out the itinerary and teaching schedule, click here.

Hope you’ll join us!

Upcoming Events

We returned from Chicago late Sunday night/ Monday morning, and three days later we’ve finally chiseled our tired, groggy selves off the floor.

Thanks so much to everybody who joined us in Chicago last week. We were stunned by the sheer number of people interested in taking the workshops, and we’re eager to continue this learning opportunity and expand all aspects for Make it U! with Cloth Paper Scissors in Houston. People often waited in long lines to get the opportunity to take these workshops, and given the level of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn new mixed-media techniques, we’re planning on making the workshops in Houston even more accessible for everyone. If you either took a workshop or two, have feedback, or ideas on what you’d like to see more of, please email us at

Everyone who participated or observed this unique area of the show was mezmerized by the beautiful work that you, our readers, created for the “Do With Me What You Will,” ATC, and Creative Self-portrait Exhibits. Thanks again for sharing your artistic talents with the greater world!

I wish I had the opportunity to take more photographs but unfortunately I was tied up the entire time.  Sally and I did, however,  sneak out of the booth to take a few of these Saturday afternoon.


ATCs submitted for the Chicago show. I have some extras that I made so if you missed out and you’d like to trade with me (two ATC limit per person please), send your ATC(s) to QUILTING ARTS LLC attn: Patricia Bolton, PO Box 685, Stow, MA, 01775, and I’ll send up to two ATC’s back to you. (Trade Deadline is May 15th.)


Before the show opened on Saturday morning.The crowds were mind boggling.


No quilt show is complete without Marie Osmond! Ms. Osmond is collaborating with both OESD and Bernina, and on Saturday afternoon she was signing autographs and taking pictures in the OESD booth. Security was very tight and the lines were rather long.


Shelley Stokes, author of Paintstiks on Fabric, teaching one of her Make It U! workshops. Here, students got a sample of hand-dyed fabric, a rubbing plate, and a Shiva Paintstik.


Four-year-old Emma McCoy proudly displays her ATCs she made in Jill Haglund’s of Tweety Jill Publications ATC class.


Here I am teaching the brag book class with Peltex Saturday night. I was surprised the class filled; I thought on a Saturday night after walking the show all day, most everybody would be heading out for a much-needed margarita!


And lastly, my TV appearance on local ABC news to promote the show.  Here I brought a lot of art work, including several of Beryl Taylor’s mixed-media pieces from the Make It U! section. The anchor was blown away by all of the intricate embellishments.

Tomorrow we’ll be posting the 2007 Quilting Arts Calendar Contest finalists both on the web site and on this blog, so stay tuned.

I ask you…

We enjoyed beautiful, Indian summer weather this past weekend, and I took a photo break Sunday afternoon to capture some images of my bucolic little town where I work and live: Stow, Massachusetts.

When mishaps from the Big Dig aren’t backing things up (which is kind of a rare event these days), Stow is a mere forty-minute ride from Boston.  You’d never guess it’s so close by the looks of it. We’re one of Boston’s best kept secrets.  (Pictures below taken at “Little Farm.”)

Stow’s home to a state forest, a river, two traffic lights, five golf courses, a handful of farm stands, a couple of cool magazines, and three apple orchards.

On weekends, our streets are teeming with motorcycles and minivans as friends and families hail from New Hampshire to New Haven to come apple picking. Just listen to the names of some of the locally grown varieties: Russett, Golden Delicious, Vista Bella, Red Rome, Early Mac, Paula Red, Jonagold, Macoun, Ginger Gold, Red Delicious, Crab, Empire, Northern Spy, Winesap.

Meet Luther, a fifteen-year-old Golden who keeps busy as the “watch dog” at Carver Hill Orchards.

On Sunday, my husband and I stopped at Carver for a small basket of Cortlands and a bag of fresh peaches. When we returned home I brought some art supplies outside to our garden table, promptly plucked four apples from the basket, and sliced them in half—not for eating but for art-ing, of course.

Do you remember making apple prints as a kid? I do! That afternoon I spent a fun- and sun-filled hour transfer-dyeing and hand-dyeing apple prints onto Lutradur, muslin, Lokta paper, paper towels, and coffee filters. (The image below is a transfer-dyed coffee filter that I later stitched .)

Symmetrical, tart, curvaceous, ancient, crisp, and rich with meaning, the apple presents itself as a wonderful form to celebrate with paint and stitch (and I’ll certainly be exploring and playing with it while I’m cooped up during the winter months).

I ask you: Is there an image, symbol, motif, or theme  that has you running for your sketchpad and/or needle?  Have you created a series? Would love to hear about what you’ve done and if you have a link, please share.

Soon I’ll be posting a prelimimary schedule for the workshops for Make it University in Houston this fall.  (And I’ll be teaching a sampler workshop where we’ll be playing with a variety of coloring agents, papers, stabilizers, and stamping with what else? You guessed it!)