Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Embroidery, again

The term "Miao" gained official status in 1949 as a (ethnic group) encompassing a group of linguistically-related ethnic minorities in Southwest China. This was part of a larger effort to identify and classify minority groups to clarify their role in the national government, including establishing autonomous administrative divisions and allocating the seats for representatives in provincial and national government.

Historically, the term "Miao" had been applied inconsistently to a variety of non-Han peoples. Early Western writers used Chinese-based names in various transcriptions: Miao, Miao-tse, Miao-tsze, Meau, Meo, mo, miao-tseu etc. In Southeast Asian contexts words derived from the Chinese "Miao" took on a sense which was perceived as derogatory by the Hmong subgroup living in that region. In China, however, the term has no such context and is used by the Miao people themselves, of every group.

The later prominence of Hmong people in the West has led to a situation where the entire Miao linguistic/cultural family is sometimes referred to as Hmong in English language sources. Following the recent increased interaction of Hmong in the West with Miao in China it is reported that some upwardly aspiring non-Hmong Miao have even begun to identify themselves as Hmong. However, most non-Hmong Miao in China are unfamiliar with the term as referring to their entire group and continue to use "Miao", or their own separate ethnic self-designations.

Though the Miao themselves use various self-designations, the Chinese traditionally classify them according to the most characteristic colour of the women's clothes.

Friday, February 17, 2017


I am looking at my picture file for inspiration for a new hand project. Here are some of my favorites.

The Miao is an ethnic group recognized by the government of China as one of the 55 official minority groups. The Miao live primarily in southern China's mountains, in the provinces of Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hainan, Guangdong, and Hubei. Some members of the Miao sub-groups, most notably the Hmong people, have migrated out of China into Southeast Asia (northern Vietnam, Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand). Following the communist takeover of Laos in 1975, a large group of Hmong refugees resettled in several Western nations, mainly in the United States, France, and Australia. There has been a recent tendency by Hmong Americans to group all Miao peoples together under the term Hmong because of their disdain for the Chinese term Miao. This however fails to recognize that the Hmong are only a subgroup within the broader linguistic and cultural family of Miao people and the vast majority of Miao people do not classify themselves as Hmong and have their own names for themselves.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy Valentines Day (or I should say the day after)

A quick trip to the nursery on a lovely sunny day!
In the United States, about 190 million Valentine's Day cards are sent each year, not including the hundreds of millions of cards school children exchange. Additionally, in recent decades Valentine's Day has become increasingly commercialized and a popular gift-giving event, with Valentine’s Day themed advertisements encouraging spending on loved ones. In fact, in the United States alone, the average valentine’s spending has increased every year, from $108 a person in 2010 to $131 in 2013.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

About Starch

I like to starch my fabric. I prefer to use concentrated liquid starch, purchased at a big box store. A
heavy solution of 50% water to 50% starch. Spraying the starch to warm fabric, makes the fabric firm faster.
  • With aerosol cans I must wait for the foam to sink in...waiting just isn't in my vocabulary!

Why starch?
  • I prefer to work with firm fabric.
  • It stabilizes bias edges
  • Stabilizes light weight fabrics
  • Stabilizes fabric for some decorative stitching
I starch after washing, piecing and the final pressing of the top. And any other time I think it necessary!
  • Be aware that bugs like to eat the starch!
To remove starch build-up from your iron, place a couple of wet paper towels in the sink add the HOT iron and wipe!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Joy of Buying Fabric

I often ask 'how much fabric do you buy?' when I give a lecture. I, like most of you have lot's of fabric. I usually buy 1/2 yard. I figure; I know there isn't 'enough', which makes me more creative.
And some of it no longer matches my current style. I like the backs of my quilts to be as interesting as the fronts. Rather than buy new yardage for the back,I prefer to use smaller pieces and piece the back. I often include blocks that did not make it to the front of the quilt. 
Try it! You might like it!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Maker "Unknown" - The Saddest Words

I name my quilts so I add the title. And if there is any other interesting information I want to share, I'll add that too!

The basics:
Label Fabric Choices: Pre-washed (without fabric softener) white or muslin fabrics are suitable; 100% cotton fabrics are preferred. For a more coordinated look, a good choice would be light colored fabrics left over from your quilt.

Permanent Fabric Marking Pens: Fine point permanent fabric marking pens are colorfast and do not bleed. Pigma Micron® pens are a good choice. They can be found in many colors and sizes including felt tips. They are available at your local quilt shop, art supply, and stationery store or through many catalogs. Always test for color fastness.

Freezer Paper: Freezer paper is used to stabilize the fabric for writing. As a temporary bonding process, the plastic coated side will adhere to the fabric pieces when a dry iron, at 'cotton' setting, is applied. The plastic does not damage the fabric and peels off easily.

Light Box: A light box is very useful while tracing any design to use. If you do not have one, improvise, a brightly-lit window works well.

Ideas: Ideas for labels can come from anywhere. Look at fabric, newspapers, magazines, and postcards for ideas.

Getting Started: Start by making a pattern for your label on your computer. Play with the fonts, try word art. Just be sure your label includes, as a minimum; your name, city, state and year. • Note: Be sure to check the spelling.

You may wish to include other information such as the quilt name, the recipient's name, the occasion or the inspiration. Anything goes!

Next choose the fabric for your label of sufficient size for a generous seam allowance. Pieces left over from the quilt top make excellent coordinated labels.

Cut freezer paper the desired label size. Place the shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric and iron at a 'cotton' setting, the fabric is then trimmed to approximately ½" larger than the freezer paper. The freezer paper stabilizes the fabric for drawing.

Now the fun begins! Place the fabric (with freezer paper) over the pattern on your window or light table and trace using permanent fabric pens or markers.

When you have finished inking the label, place fabric side down and press the ½" fabric edges over the freezer paper with your iron. This heat sets the ink and the pressed edge provides a guide for the appliqué. Remove the freezer paper and appliqué the label to the back of the quilt using an invisible stitch. You may choose to add the label before you quilt the quilt.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Let it Snow

All indications are converging to a significant snow storm across much of Western Washington, with Winter Storm Warning is now in effect for the greater Seattle/Puget Sound Metro area, Kitsap County, Southwestern Washington and the Cascade foothills through 4 p.m. Monday for as much as 3-6 inches of snow by the end of the time frame, with some spots seeing as much as 8 inches.

Think I'll light the fire and sew!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January is Retreat Time

This year we went to a new place. One that feeds us breakfast, lunch and dinner. Four days of food, fun, sewing, and laughter! I even got to sew! Two quilts for community service.
The View

We are all in!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Seattle is growing so much that

an average of 236 people move to the Puget Sound region every day. After nine and a half months, they’d fill up CenturyLink Field (which has a capacity of 67,000 people).

58 construction cranes joined our skyline this summer. As of October, that was more than any other city in the country, and more than New York and San Francisco combined.

there are 30,000 more cars driving on the Mercer corridor than there were in 2014. And we’ve got the traffic to show for it.

we’re opening nearly 10,000 new apartments in 2017. That’s almost twice as many as any other year in our history. [

Amazon posted 11,042 job openings in King County this past summer. That’s twice the number it posted in the summer of 2015. The company moved its headquarters to South Lake Union in 2010 and has been growing like crazy ever since.

we are officially the hottest housing market in the country. That’s as of November, and we kept the title through the end of the year.

the number of homeless people in Seattle/King County went up 19 percent in just one year. That’s from 2015 to 2016.

Crazy but true! How fast is your city growing?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stitching Through the Layers.

I had a blast quilting the ten new quilts for Stitching Through the Layers.
Move your quilt one big step toward stardom! This book will help you decide how to maximize the ‘wow’ factor by using the right stitching in the right way and in the right places!From one happy reader: "Congratulations on your latest book. I LOVE it! So easy to read - fabulous photographs and a lovely encouraging tone! Thanks for the nice inscription which made me smile!! I can't wait to whip up a simple pieced quilt and try your terrific ideas for the quilting!"
Just $19.95 Order yours now!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I Am Always Looking for Inspiration

Just look at all that embroidery. And they wear it every day. Reminds me a little of the embroidery I added to my jeans in the 70's.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Quilt Show

The Good Earth
Dimensions: 48” w x 66” h
As an artist, I am always enveloped in color especially the colors of flowers. Every minute of every day is about glorious reds, warm, rich browns, the thrill of that perfect shade of purple, the myriad shades of green. I love them all.
Cotton fabric, painted, and machine pieced and quilted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What Does Your Favorite Color Say About You?

You strive for power and control in life, but are often artistic and intuitive and do not share things well with others.
You are organized and very independent, and you rely on logic to solve every problem.
You are cool and composed and a very reliable person who tends to conform to keep the peace.
You have drive and determination, and you prefer action and risk-taking behaviors. Your biggest need is for physical fulfillment and fitness.
You are a perfectionist who requires emotional security in life, and you are a good humanitarian who helps others in need.
All you want in life is unconditional love and to be accepted for who you are by your peers.
You love to be with people and socialize with them, as you want to be accepted and respected as a part of a group.
You want to find inner peace and absolute truth, and you always make an effort to think of others and their needs.
You are loyal and very frank with others, and you consider your reputation a very important part of your life.
You enjoy learning and sharing knowledge with others, and you feel a need to always express your individuality.
You are a great friend, and you value a stable and simple life over material things.

Color Preference by Gender

Blue: Male 42%, Female 29%
Green: Male 25%, Female 19%
Purple: Male 12%, Female 27%
Red: Male 8%, Female 9%
Yellow: Male 5%, Female 6%
Orange: Male 7%, Female 3%
Pink: Male 1%, Female 7%
It’s surprising to me that purple is cited as the third most-liked color for both males and females. But they didn’t include brown, white, gray and black in this study. I’m guessing a lot of men prefer those neutrals over purple!

5 Fascinating Color Facts

40% of people worldwide say their favorite color is blue, by far the most popular color.
Red is the first color a baby sees, at around 2 weeks of age.
Pink is the most calming color, and is used in some prisons and mental health institutions to calm worked-up prisoners and patients.
White is considered the safest color for a car. I’ve seen studies on this – it’s the color that’s most visible both day and night.
Red and yellow together are the most appetizing colors. That’s why they’re used in a lot of fast food signs.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Quilt Show


Dimensions: 73” w x 85” h
I make quilts that celebrate life. This piece combines a love of traditional technique, craftsmanship, design and the desire to experiment with shape and color to create a fantasy. I find quiltmaking in the twenty-first century exhilarating.

This quilt is machine pieced and quilted, hand and machine appliqued using hand painted and commercial cotton fabrics.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

QuiltWEEK - Landcaster March 29 - April 1, 2017

I will be teaching at QuiltWEEK in Lancaster PA  March 29 - April 1, 2017. Here are the classes! Sin up NOW!

Beads are a BLAST!
Day: Saturday, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Heritage Ballroom D

Beads are a fun addition to many quilts and garments. Come learn how to use beads. Learn what to look for when you shop, how to sew those little beads that add so much to your designs. Melody will share with you design ideas, handling tips, and sewing techniques.

Fantastic Fabric Foiling
Day: Friday, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Susquehanna Board Room
(Kit Fee)

Bring your projects to life with instant glitz and shine. Foiling on fabric is easy, fun, and permanent. This informative hands-on workshop is for both traditional and nontraditional quilt and clothing makers.

Joining the Blocks: Quilt-As-You-Go Style
Day: Wednesday, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Conestoga AB

Learn to join prequilted blocks using several innovative techniques. Go home ready to make larger machine quilted quilts without all the work of trying to get it into your machine. The Quilt-As-You-Go method allows for more detailed quilting using a standard sewing machine since you’re only quilting a small section at a time.

Paint Stick Magic
Day: Wednesday, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Susquehanna Board Room
(Kit Fee)

Make elegant fabric with the look of airbrushing! Paint sticks applied to silk or cotton are simple, fun, and permanent. This revealing hands-on workshop is for both quilt and clothing makers.

Quilt Toppings   the Lecture
Day: Friday, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Heritage Ballroom C

WANTED! Quilters seeking new ways to express their creativity. This lecture taps into the strong 
emerging trend toward embellishment of quilt surfaces. Paint, foil, paint sticks, thread, crayons, buttons, ribbons and beads are all fun, easy ways to add that final design element to traditional and nontraditional quilts. Supplies are not required for a lecture, although you may want to bring a pen and paper to take notes.

Super Fast Binding and Piping

Day: Thursday, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Federal AB

Is binding the quilt your least favorite part? Tired of humdrum finishes? Come and learn piping and binding techniques to make your quilts stand out in a crowd. In class you will be making samples of finishing methods to take home and use on your own quilts. Bindings will never be boring again!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hand vrs Machine Quilting

Hand and machine quilting in essence are not interchangeable. Although it is possible to make machine quilting resemble hand quilting, each technique has its particular look and its limitations. The look and limitations arise from the very different ways by which the two processes accomplish the quilting.

A hand-stitched line is the most subtle of quilted lines. The process of hand stitching dictates this characteristic: stitch by stitch the hand quilter runs a needle and thread in and out of the layers leaving a delicate, dotted trail. Delicacy of line does not preclude a significant design statement. We respond to hand-quilted antique quilts, modern quilts with well-designed patterns stitched by hand, and innovative quilts that are hand-stitched with original designs. The beauty of hand quilting is the quality of the line itself and the texture created.

On the other hand, the process of machine quilting lays a continuous line of thread on the fabric
surface. This line is obvious in a way that a hand-quilted line never will achieve. Machine stitchers, embracing this quality, have exploded the possibilities in the quilted line. We are seeing threads in every texture, color, and material as design elements. Innovative lines, almost like drawing with pencil on paper, are becoming part of the visual design vocabulary on machine-made quilts.

In addition to differences in the effect of the stitched line, some designs are simply easier to accomplish with one method than the other.

For hand quilters, starts and stops are easy. Starts and stops are more problematic on the machine and must be carefully handled. For this reason, machine quilters will want to reduce the number of starts and stops by designing long lines of continuous stitching.

For machine quilters, tiny circles and twists and turns are quickly and easily accomplished using free motion. A hand quilter working with a hoop or a frame either will have to turn hoop or body continuously or learn to quilt wrong-handed and backwards to execute these same designs. The hand quilter will find it easier to design quilting with gentle curves and less frequent changes of direction.

In sum, both hand and machine quilting have their characteristic looks and limitations. As designers of the quilting, we can learn to use these characteristics to our advantage.

Friday, January 13, 2017

It's All About the Fabric

Shopping is certainly my passion, or I should say collecting fabric. I look at my collection as just that, something I love to look at, fondle, and even use. But I must say using it isn't the high point. I find myself drawn to the green section of the quilt shop. Haven't any idea what I am going to do with it, time will tell.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


The Library of Congress, Washington DC
Do you keep a file of ideas for future use? I do! I love to spent time just looking at the pictures to see what I thought was interesting. I see the same kinds of images more than once. I'm quilting and looking for ideas.

The Lincoln Memorial

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Look Back in Time

The corset has been an important article of clothing for several centuries, evolving as fashion trends have changed. Women, as well as some men, have used it to change the appearance of their bodies.

The corset first became popular in sixteenth-century Europe, reaching the zenith of its popularity in the Victorian era.  corsets.

When the waistline returned to its natural position during the 1830s, the corset reappeared and served the dual purpose of supporting the breasts and narrowing the waist. However, it had changed its shape to the hourglass silhouette that is even now considered typical both for corsets and for Victorian fashion. At the same time, the term corset was first used for this garment in English. In the 1830s, the artificially inflated shoulders and skirts made the intervening waist look narrow, even with the corset laced only moderately.

In 1839, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Werly made a patent for women's corsets made on the loom. This type of corset was popular until 1890 when machine-made corsets gained popularity. Before this, all corsets were handmade - and, typically, home-made,

Believe me when I say that we should be more than a little grateful the we are here now! Just looking at the size of them, much less the boning was an odd feeling.

But, the workmanship nothing short of inspiring!

There were lots of corsets (my photo's just did not do them justice), other inner garments, but the boxes, besides being beautiful, told a story all by themselves. Just look at the different body shapes shown on there boxes from the 1880's and 1924.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Color of the Year?

A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.
Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.
A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

What is the PANTONE Color of the Year?
A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.


Nature’s neutral, PANTONE Greenery is a versatile “trans-seasonal” shade that lends itself to many color combinations. As displayed in the 10 palettes below, Greenery is paired with neutrals, brights, deeper shades, pastels, metallics and even the enduring presence of PANTONE Color of the Year 2016, Rose Quartz and Serenity. These palettes easily cross over fashion, beauty, product and graphic design applications.

Color of the Year 2017 - Color Pairings and Palettes

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Think Scrappy

Note the boxes, full of scraps, stored above the cabinets
Scrap quilts are a distinctly American art form and I love to make them! Why? it is all about the
fabric. One of quilting's biggest appeals is the ability, or more accurately the need, to collect and keep lots of different fabrics. I love my stash, and a scrap quilt project allows me to use some of my long forgotten favorites.

I have talked about this before, but I cut my scraps into usable pieces. Squares of various sizes work best for me. So I cut 1 1/2, 2 1/2 4 1/2, 5 1/2 and 6 1/2" squares plus a few strips.

This year as always I plan to make more quilts!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year

When the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, people all over the world cheer and wish each other a very Happy New Year. For some, this event is no more than a change of a calendar. For others, the New Year symbolizes the beginning of a better tomorrow. So, let's look forward to a good year ahead, spread happiness with Happy New Year wishes.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Here's to a Wonderful New Year!

I love hand quilted quilts. Unfortunately I do not own one. But that is about to change. My friend Patti is quilting a new quilt for my bed. I am so thrilled! What a way to start the New Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Want something more subtle?

Through the ages, ribbons have been a source of delight. Luxurious, colorful, sensuous ribbons raise our spirits and make our hearts beat just a tiny bit faster. Nothing signals treasures within like a prettily wrapped package and the fancier the ribbon, the greater the anticipation of delightful surprise! 

Take any Crazy Quilt or other project up a notch or two by incorporating ribbons in dozens of  ways – couching, ruching, flowers, stems and leaves, bows – the list goes on and on! Perhaps not quite as obviously festive as ribbon but still providing us with a multitude of opportunities for creative expression, there is an abundance of other trims available. I challenge you to think about rickrack, bias tape, cord, fringe, doilies and lace without feeling your creative urges spring to life! Old handkerchiefs or special fabrics, such as lamé, ultrasuede or embossed velvet are other materials that can add that special something to any project. The possibilities are so limitless that they boggle the mind.