Friday, May 26, 2017

The Contact Quilts of the Sierra Nevada by Ann Johnston

Ann Johnston Nevadan OrogenyThe Contact features over 30 of Ann Johnston’s large-scale quilts inspired by the California Sierra Nevada range. Johnston’s quilts—made from cloth that the artist has dyed herself—make creative use of patterns and textures to create literal, abstract, and sometimes completely imaginative representations of the area. These works demonstrate the mastery with which Johnston uses different processes in her fabrics to produce fascinating pieces that draw viewers in, powerful on their own and cohesive as a series.

The artist’s connection to the Sierra Nevada is strong. Her family has held a mining claim near Tioga Pass since the 1800s and she considers the area to be a place of power and fascination. The collection of work presents subjects that visitors of the Sierra Nevada might recognize—bands of colors in the earth, mineral-rich rock layers that have been squeezed and heated over centuries, mountain peaks, lakes, and rock formations.  The word “contact” in the exhibition’s title has a double meaning. It refers both to a place where geologic units touch each other as well as alluding to the human influence on the landscape. The forests, the rivers, and even the mountains themselves have been shaped forever by people seeking their fortunes.

Exhibit closes June 11, 2017.
Monday & Tuesday     Closed
Wednesday - Sunday     11am – 5pm
First Free Fridays     11am – 8pm

510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The City of Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles often known by its initials L.A., is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. With a census population of 3,971,883, it is the second-most populous city in the United States (after New York City). Located in a large coastal basin surrounded on three sides by mountains reaching up to and over 10,000 feet, Los Angeles covers an area of about 469 square miles.

Nicknamed the "City of Angels", Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and sprawling metropolis. About the climate: I went for the sunshine, and got overcast and rain. But I enjoyed my visit!

The beach from the Hermosa pier

Monday, May 22, 2017

Quick Trip To LA

Friday morning I took an early flight to LAX. Wanted to spend some time in the California sunshine. Saturday morning got up early to go to the Fashion District in LA. The LA Fashion District is home to the largest selection of textiles and notions in the United States. There are nearly 200 wholesale and retail textile stores selling trim, beading and fabric, crafts and home decor. Shoppers can find nearly every type of fabric, running the gamut from novelty to exotic silks and European upholstery. Prices range from 99 cents up to hundreds of dollars per yard. Designers, stylists and crafters all rely on the textiles and resources of the LA Fashion District. Textile and notion stores are generally centered within four blocks, from 8th Street down to Olympic Boulevard, between Maple Avenue and San Julian Street.

Spent most of the day visiting The Santee Alley. Over 150 stores selling apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty supplies, cosmetics, and more. The Santee Alley makes up two blocks of the 100-block LA Fashion District. It has traditionally been the retail core of the area, popular for bargain shopping and its bazaar-like atmosphere. Open 7 days a week, rain or shine.

Friday, May 19, 2017

How to Build a Better Back

I like to piece the backs of my quilts.I dig around in my pile of 'back' fabrics to find something that kinda matches, usually about the same value. A group of pieces that might be large enough.
I usually choose fabrics that I bought in my past and am no longer interested in putting on the fronts of quilts .(I'll use the two on the left last, they don't seam to go with the rest.)

It is easier for me to build the back, on the wall, right over the front. No small backs for me.

Oops, the bottom piece would look better if it was turned over.

All I need to do is sew the pieces together and I'm ready to baste and quilt it!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Label, Label, Here is an Easy Label

I love to print labels with my computer. Sew-On Printable Fabric Sheets work with any inkjet printer or inkjet copier and are colorfast and washable.
1. On your computer - prepare image to be printed. 2. Set printing parameters at BEST for the print quality and PLAIN PAPER for the paper type. 3. Print first on regular printer paper to test ink coverage - image clarity - size and placement. 4. Cut (do not pull) any loose threads from the Printed Treasures sheet. 5. Load Printed Treasures sheet in printer tray so image prints on fabric side. Follow your printer's directions for loading instructions. 6. Print image. 7. Allow ink to dry completely - (approximately one minute). 8. Slowly peel paper backing from the Printed Treasures® fabric sheet. 9. Before sewing - remove any excess ink that may be resting on the fabric surface. This can be done by submerging your fabric sheet in an oversized bowl that is overflowing with a constant stream of cold water. Keep fabric sheet submerged for approximately one to two minutes. The water will carry off any excess ink - and prevent it from attaching to other areas of the sheet. Do not twist - or wring out - simply lay flat to dry. 10. Once dry - the sheet is ready to use. Care for completed Printed Treasures projects: As needed - hand or machine wash in cold water using the gentle cycle and a mild detergent. Air or machine dry using low heat. After washing or rinsing - Printed treasures is iron friendly using the lowest steam setting (silk or wool). For best results - avoid exposure to direct sunlight. 
I add a step, paint the fabric first! Makes great personalized labels

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pressing Seams Open

I have been pressing seams open for almost 20 years. I didn't admit to it for a long time. I guess because I was afraid of the quilt police. I press open for a couple of reasons.

A very flat quilt, means less bulk when quilting and fewer skipped stitches.
When you press to one side, unless careful, piecing can be less accurate. 

I suspect the original reason to press to one side was to strengthen the hand stitched seam.  This was much more important with hand pieced quilts and old cotton battings.

Pressing seams open works for me, perhaps it will work for you as well. Try it you'll like it!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Eye Candy Quilts with Words

Words are a simple addition, too, and there are a variety of ways to add them to your Eye Candy Quilt. Hand stitch them, use your sewing machine lettering program or purchase them straight from a craft store. You can even write directly onto buttons using a sharp-tipped permanent marking pen.

Purchase your copy of Eye Candy Quilts

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Inspiration comes from many places. Sometimes I just need to figure out what to do with it!

Friday, May 5, 2017

I Love to Quilt! Here are My Best Tips

I love to quilt, I especially love dense stitching. I have some tips and tricks to make your machine stitches, quilts the best ever.
Batting - I prefer cotton batting because among other things:  Cotton tends to stick to the quilt top and the backing, allowing for easier machine stitching. Thin cotton batting rolls up compactly (a nice quality for machine quilting).
Safety pins – The 1” size work the best. And if you have bent quilter’s pins work even better. Use lots, I place the pins about 4” apart. I remove them as needed.
A walking foot - It has built-in feed dogs that help move the top layers of fabric through your machine, while your machine's own feed dogs move the bottom layers through. This helps ensure the layers don't shift while you are quilting.
Basting - First, lay the quilt BACK on a flat surface, right side down. Use masking tape around the perimeter to hold the edges in place. The fabric should be taught but not distorted. Next, place the batting on top of the quilt back. Smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles with your hand. Finally, lay the quilt top on the batting, right side up. Once again, use your hand to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles in the fabric.
NOTE: Take the time to make sure all the straight lines that should be straight are straight.
On a sample, test the tension and stitch length.
Change the needle.
If I can hide the starts and stops in under the binding, I back stitch at the beginning and end of each line of quilting to lock the stitches.
When I start quilting, I use the edge of the fabric as a guide, keeping my walking foot placed along it as I stitch.
Use the needle down, if possible, so the fabric doesn't shift.
I use the previous line of quilting as my guide for the next line, keeping the edge of my walking foot against it while I work on the next line of quilting.
Before you know it, your beautiful quilt will be beautifully quilted!

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. May Day is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings.  Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons.

Seattle has many flowers in bloom!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

One Simple Way to Alter Fabric

I love fabric, I collect fabric. So why do I like to change it so much? I guess because it’s fun? I love he individuality of it? Or maybe just because I can? Who knows or cares!!
One very easy, inexpensive way to play...

Dye-Na-Flow is a free flowing, transparent, textile paint. Dampen the fabric with either a brush or a spray bottle. For a blended effect, mix your fabric paints right on the fabric, applying one color over another while the paint is still wet.

Add caption
Rainbow started it's life with a black and white fabric very much like this one. Dampened the black and white flowers and dropped paint until I liked the look.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Studing Leaves

I am very inspired by all the shades of green. Hawaii is my latest influence. Now how to incorporate this into a quilt!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's Always About the Color

The Chinese love color and so do I

Bargain Boutiques Vintage Fashion Collection - Children's Hospital

I love vintage fashions. I had an opportunity to see part of Children's Hospitals collection. A vintage fashion show covering more than 100 years of fashion, all proceeds benefit Seattle Children's Hospital.
They offer a number of different shows, I was pleased to see the Wedding Show which features more than 100 years of wedding fashions, including wedding dresses, bridesmaid's apparel and fashions worn by the mother of the bride.


Other shows include:
Fashion Through the Decades - A fashion show of women's clothing and accessories from the early 1890s through 1990s.

First Ladies - A special presentation of clothing styles representative of first ladies. This show features ensembles and a history of presidential wives, their styles and how they impacted American fashion.

Famous mothers - From Mother Jones to Mother Nature to the Queen Mother, this show features the fashion of famous mothers.

Some Enchanted Evening – From ball gowns to tea dresses to prom wear,  party dresses through the decades.
For more information, contact Kate Slaminko at 206-242-7633.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


It's fun for me to make quilts, thinking of all the ways to quilt them as I piece. The actual stitching is the most enjoyable part of all. Well let's face it, I love the process!

So it occurs to me you might be interested in how I use different threads. I'll quilt with any thread I can get into the needle and if it doesn't fit, put it in the bobbin.

The easiest of all threads is 100% cotton. Buy the best thread available makes the sewing a lot easier. Choose a needle with a sharp point; quilting, jeans, & microtex/sharp needles. Pick one that corresponds to the size of the thread. Small thread- small needle; large thread-large needle.

The sewing is fun and rewarding when you use a walking foot for the actual stitching.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Blocks to Share

My friends and I make each other quilts to celebrate significant birthdays. Our favorite is this simple disappearing nine patch.It starts with 5" squares.

Changing the fabrics makes a totally different quilt!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Painting Highlighted with Metallic Thread

Lavish Leaf, is one of my painted quilts. Paint sticks are easy and fun. But what I really want to talk about is the metallic thread that I used for the quilting. The thread helps fool the eye and lead the viewer to think that it is some kind of fancy applique done with a shimmery fabric.
It's not. Iridescent paint sticks and flat film thread (probably Sliver). A couple of pointers about the thread. Use a metallic needle, the smaller the better, I like an 80/12. Choose a polyester bobbin thread, my favorite is The Bottom Line by Superior Threads. And be sure to loosen the top tension as much as necessary to get a good looking stitch. Most important of all, have fun!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Around Town

A trip to the Asian Art Museum means that I get to go to the Arboretum too!

Friday, April 14, 2017

More Stenciling on Fabric

This example is painted using a purchased stencil.
Paint Sticks are oil paint in a crayon like form, my favorite for stenciling on fabric.

Textile Paint
 This is a friendship block, I thought that it would be a fun change to paint the block. I drew the block design on freezer paper, ironed it to the back of the fabric. Masked the areas not to be painted with more freezer paper on the right side of the fabric and painted with textile paints. Great way to personalize a block!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

All About Painting Using Stencils

1. Understand the paint:
Textile Paints can be applied with brushes, sponges, stamps and squirt bottles.
Luminere are metallic paints that brush on like butter. The paint remains flexible. They are opaque, even on dark fabrics.
Paint Sticks are oil paint in a crayon like form, very suitable for stenciling on fabric.
Dye-Na-Flow & Seta color are free flowing textile paints, not suitable for stenciling

2. Easy Clean up: Tape plastic to your table.

3. Discourage leaks: Use some hairspray on the underneath side of your stencil to make it stick on the surface, and to help prevent the paint seeping in at the edge.

4. Securing basics: keep a stencil in place by taping it at the top and bottom with a piece of tape and iron the fabric to freezer paper.

5. Less is more: Load the brush lightly, so that the ends of the bristles are covered evenly; wipe off any excess on a piece of paper or cloth. You'll get better results by applying two thin coats rather than one thick one. Wait for the first to dry before applying the second.

6. Work from the outside: Start painting on the edges of the stencil, working into the center. This helps prevent paint getting under the edges.

7. Appling the paint: Stencil brushes are round with short, stiff bristles. Use quick up-and-down movement to dab paint onto your fabric. This helps prevent paint getting under the edges.

8. Go multi-colored: To use more than one color in a stencil, use tape to mask off areas of the stencil you don't want in a particular color.

9. Wash regularly: If you're doing a repeat design, wash your stencil regularly in warm water to keep the edges free of paint. If there's some paint on an edge, you won't get a crisp edge to your painted stencil.

10. Store stencils flat: A stencil needs to be flat to be usable. Store it in a large flat box.

Friday, April 7, 2017


I'm in my studio thinking about my next quilt, and just can't get the images of Venice out of my mind!