• Launching a New Class Series

    Dear friends and followers. it’s been way too long since I’ve posted. Wasn’t it John Lennon who said ‘Life happens when you are busy making plans?’

    This past year has been a heck of a year. First the Pandemic, then wildfire evacuations, and a devastating ice storm. We lost about 9 large fir trees, one of which landed on our home – one family crisis after another. All my good intentions about using the Pandemic time to get caught up with everything evaporated. 2020 will go down in my books as the year that never happened; a blank spot on the calendar.

    After over a year, my classes are gradually resuming. Some shops have resumed classes – Cedar Ridge in Oregon City and Sharon’s Attic in Aloha. Montavilla Sewing Centers will be starting in the Fall. I am chomping at the bit. I’ve done a little one-on-one tutoring this past year and some Zoom classes, but Zoom is awkward for the individual interaction that some classes need.

    Art Quilts in the Attic

    I’m starting a series of ‘art quilt’ classes I will be offering at both Sharon’s Attic and at Montavilla in Lake Oswego. These are a reincarnation of my classes formerly called Art Journal Quilts. Each class session will be $25 and will teach an artistic technique rendered on a small experimental project. These are techniques and design processes you are not likely to encounter in a traditional quilting class. Each is a small investment in time and materials, to give you a taste of the technique. Enough to see if it’s something you would like to explore in greater depth. This has been a very popular ongoing class series in the past, I’ve been teaching these for about ten years now and hope to build up some healthy participation again.

    At Sharon’s Attic, the series is called ‘Art Quilts in the Attic’ and my first class is on Tuesday, August 24. We will be playing with Zentangle style designs rendered with Pigma Micron pens on a fabric collage dragon. Contact the shop at 503 259-3475 or visit https://www.sharonsatticquiltshop.com/ to enroll if you would like to join me for the class.

    Zen Dragon. Designs drawn with Pigma Micron pen and enhanced with stitchery

    Promises Promises

    Here are some more images of Art Quilt classes to come.

  • Folk Art Embroidery Class

    I want to let everyone know I have a Folk Art Embroidery class coming up at Cedar Ridge Quilts this Thursday – November 12. In the class, I teach a variety of fairly simple hand embroidery stitches and ways of combining them into seemingly complex arrangements on wool or felt.

    There are three patterns to choose from – a peacock, a bird or a cat. The motifs can be made into ornaments (perfect to give as holiday gifts) or applied as an embroidered motif to a garment, bag, or quilt – especially a wool applique quilt. Some of the photos displayed are my work and some the work of students – just look at what they were able to do.

    Call Cedar Ridge Quilts – (503) 908-1398, to enroll if you are interested in joining us.

  • Does Size Really Matter?

    As I am getting older, increasingly I am finding myself drawn to making smaller projects as opposed to large quilts. There are a few reasons for this.

    A main one is time. To make a large (twin sized or larger) quilt takes a lot of time. The shortest amount of time I’ve made one in is about 3 months start to finish (for a rather simple one) to as long as 2 1/2 years for the more artistic ones. This is not continuous time stream of course, I usually have quite a few projects running concurrently to fulfill obligations and other deadlines but the big art pieces take a lot of time and energy to make and somewhere in all this I have to make a living and pay the bills as well. Given that time allotment, I figure I would have another 20-25 years or so (if my hands and eyesight hold up) to make them and at about 1-2 years per quilt, that would only be another dozen quilts or so before I have to put my sewing machine out to pasture. On a list I keep of designs and concepts I really want to pursue, I have about 30 projects ‘ready to go’ – designs done, fabric purchased etc… not to mention even more sketches and ideas in progress. See just one spread open page from one of my design books below? I have about a dozen or more of these design books brimming with designs.

    Just two pages from one of many notebooks full of designs just waiting to be made into a quilted project or pattern.

    If I give myself permission to make the projects smaller, I will be able to realize more of them though never if I lived to 150 could I do them all not to mention I keep adding new designs all the time, I just can’t help it.

    The other reason for smaller project is the logistics of quilting them. I can quilt smaller projects on my domestic machine with ease, anything up to a throw size (about 60″ x 60″) is a piece of cake! Larger than that, I have to start making compromises between what I want to do vs. what I can do. Larger than a twin/full size and even those compromises go out the window. I don’t like surrendering an art quilt to a long-arm quilter to create the stitching, I can’t afford custom quilting jobs for all my art quilts and besides, I have experienced those last minute changes when in the middle of quilting, I decide the design I was considering just isn’t working out right. If I am the quilter, I can change horses in midstream and try something different rather than allow another person to make that call.

    Before suggesting that perhaps I should invest in a long-arm machine myself – A) I can’t afford one, B) I don’t have a room large enough in my home to house one (except for the living room and that isn’t happening) and C) the muscles and coordination to long-arm a quilt are different than tabletop quilting and I would have to quilt a lot of quilts before I was good enough to do as good  job as I can do on my domestic machines – there’s that time issue again. I do have friends who have long-arm machines who have invited me to use theirs but with a machine located in someone else’s home and doing the kind of custom quilting job I would want, I would have their machine tied up for days if not weeks  (plus I still would need to quilt a lot of less important quilts before tackling one of my art quilts).

    And so, small it is and I can stitch away on more manageable projects while reminding myself that good things come in small packages.