Upcoming Events! Pat Sloan and Me

The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art

I’m thrilled to announce that in August I’ll be teaching two classes at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg.Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 11.09.06 PM

The date is Saturday, August 23rd. In the morning I’ll help students to realize that “quilting the quilt can be as much fun as making the top” in my “Beyond Meandering” workshop.

free motion quilting

The afternoon workshop is called “Threaded Borders” and in it quilters will learn how to take simple shapes and designs, combine them with high contrast threads and take their quilts to a whole new level of excitement.

quilt borders in thread

One class flows nicely into the next and you would be welcome to take either one … or both! (there is a discount if you sign up for both).

For all the information please go to:  http://wiquiltmuseum.com/education/classes-workshops/chris-lynn-kirsch-workshops

Pat Sloan in Wisconsin

You are invited!

Three Milwaukee area quilt guilds: Crazy Quilters (Mukwonago), West Suburban (Brookfield) and Patched Lives (Wales), are teaming up to bring nationally known quilter, speaker and teacher, PAT SLOAN, to Wisconsin for a 4 day event!

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On Wednesday, September 10th, Pat will kick off her visit with a lecture at the Richard T. Anderson Center on the Pewaukee Campus of Waukesha County Technical College, 800 Main St, Pewaukee, WI. The lecture is entitled:

An Evening With Pat Sloan - “Quilting with Expresso …. Quilts, Creativity, and Fun!” 

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You are invited to this event! It is open to everyone. The fee for the evening is just $10 (there is no charge for members of the three sponsoring guilds).

Then, on the following Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Pat will be presenting two different and exciting workshops – and we have a few openings left:

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Wild and Free - create quilts with personality (this workshop is being offered twice!) – Thursday, September 11, and Saturday, September 13, 2014; 9 – 3:30

The second workshop is:

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“The Magic of EASY Machine Appliqué” – draw, cut, machine stitch, so easy anyone can do it! - Friday, September 12, 2014; 9 – 3:30

We’ve created a website about the event with loads of information about Pat and all the details on the event. Please click on:  http://crazysuburbanpatchedquilts.wordpress.com/ to read all about it!

There are a few spots left in the workshops, and they’re going fast. If you’re interested in signing up you may contact Kathy Frye: rfrye@wi.rr.com, (262)424-4477 cell, (262)679-1798 home.

Hope to see you soon!

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A Student’s Quilts

After a wonderful trip to Philadelphia (to watch the fireworks on the Delaware River with a group of my cousins!), Mike and I returned home with enough time for me to get a good night’s sleep, repack and head up to Door County for a teaching engagement with a lovely guild named the Trillium Quilters. A bunch of us had a lot of fun on Thursday playing with color, fabric and design in my “Where Do I Start With Fiber Art” class. Whenever I teach this workshop I invite students to send me pictures of the projects they create with the techniques.

A few month’s ago I taught this same class for a guild in Iowa City. One of the quilters emailed me afterwards - with pictures!!! What a joy for me as a teacher :-). Here’s what she said:

“Chris, I’m Karen Miller (aka Anastasia) from your workshop at the Old Capital Quilter’s guild in Iowa City.  I have been playing with the parallelism technique you taught us.  I have been having so much fun with it.  Several years ago at one of my small quilt groups we played with the paint sticks and stamping on black fabrics.  I had three pieces when I finished.  I brought them home and laid them on a piece of rust batik that I had.  I liked the combination but couldn’t figure out what to do with them.  After I had your class I decided I was going to use those black painted fabrics using your technique.  What fun!!!!
I am sending you pictures.  I have added teal batik and some black and tan strip fabric from my stash.  I also did beading, but it doesn’t show up very well in the picture.  I will find a place in my home to hang these.  The tape on the finger worked really well when I was doing the beading.  The first and the third pictures are my favorite.  I am anxious to show them at the next guild meeting.
Thanks again for coming to Iowa City.  Karen”
And here’s the photos she sent to me:

Karen-FA1 Karen-FA2 Karen-FA3What a great way for Karen to use the surface design fabric she had created with Paint Stiks! Over the years I’ve played with a number of different techniques to add surface design to fabric. They haven’t always turned out great, but I kept them – of course. maybe I just need to cut them up and use them in something new. Perhaps it’s time for me to dig into that pile of opportunities and play!

Do you have a pile of your own surface design fabrics that are calling to you right now?

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Quilt Magazine Fun!

Just a bit of inspiration, before I share the “topic of the week”:

A friend recently sent me a link to a web site which features “satellite photos from Digital Globes in an attempt to change the way we see our planet Earth” These pictures are truly amazing and I saw quilt inspirations everywhere. Here’s just one.

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I highly recommend visiting the site: http://www.boredpanda.com/daily-overview-satellite-aerial-photography-earth/

Now for more “Quilters in Denmark” excitement:

We just received information on this article which will appear in Kludemagasinet, the quarterly publication of the Dansk Patchwork Forening (guild).   [http://www.patchwork.dk/en/node/1012]  The issue (#3) is not yet available for sale on the website but here is the article on our visit, written by shop owner, Kirsten Ekdahl.

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Google translate offers this rough translation:

Letters from Readers

American Quilters By Kirsten Ekdahl, Kirstens Quilt 

Most quilters would like to visit the shops and meet other quilters when they are traveling. This applies when Danish quilters are traveling, but it is certainly also true of quilters who visit Denmark.   

On May 18, 2014, 48 U.S. quilters (including a few spouses) traveled to Denmark to participate in a Baltic cruise.  To start the trip, they wanted to meet some local quilters. This brought them to stop by Kirstens Quilt in Hedehusene, who arranged a delicious 3-course meal and socializing with Danish quilters. Charlotte Bergstrom was invited to show some of her amazing textile images, which were very much admired. Although guests were tired after a long flight and a tour that morning, the group enjoyed lively conversation and exchanged lots of experiences and opinions – both patchwork and quilt, but also about much else. 

As a special gesture, the group brought gifts – and a challenge – To all Danes. We offer’ fat eights’ (approx. 22 x 55 cm) with a call to sew something with the fabric and send pictures to Chris Lynn Kirsch. Thereafter, they will be posted online in a small gallery together with the creations of the Americans. All in all a great day for everyone, who went home with lots of inspiration.  


So, the fun of our Baltic adventure continues! What a blessing!

Wendy and I did pass out fat 1/8ths of fabric to the Danish quilters and those in our group. Everyone was asked to make some quilted item of their choosing with it and send me a photograph by October. These projects should be quite interesting and I’ll post a link on this blog to the photographs when it’s done.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

My most recent quilting creation was made from the autograph blocks we exchanged on the trip, and flag blocks of the countries we visited. The predomanent colors are red, white and blue, so I couldn’t resist leaving you with this photograph of my latest “patriotic” quilt (When I put a centerpiece over the flags, it really does look perfect for Independence Day :-).

autograph runner

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Painted Quilts

A while back I did a post about the painted barn quilt I ordered to hang on our shed (click here to read about it). barn quilt My dear husband had encouraged me to paint it, but I was more than happy to purchase it from someone who was good at painting. “Give me a sewing machine, not a paint brush” was my motto. Well, not any more.

I live a few miles south of Watertown, WI. Watertown is a small city that lies midway between Milwaukee and Madison. We’ve lived here for 10 years and find it to be a friendly community with a lot of charm.

The Watertown Arts Council “was founded in 1964, and their purpose is to foster and encourage, coordinate, establish, and publish the performance and exhibition of the creative arts in Watertown, and to encourage, develop, strengthen and enrich the cultural life of the area; to further develop a general interest in the natural beauty of the city and to promote an interest in cultural landmarks and work for the preservation and restoration of historic buildings and natural beauty.” One of their projects has been to paint murals on our downtown buildings: Welcome to Watertown That being said, last year they put together a program where they made banners available to anyone interested, asking them to paint both sides for display on Main Street during the Summer. They were great! Some were made by individual artists, a number were made by groups of kids in the elementary schools, there was a lot of variety.

This year they chose to do it again and Kay, one of the members of our small fiber art group, decided we should make a group banner. She got the idea one week before the deadline – and we all said yes! We met for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon, brainstormed a different design for each side and started doing some painting (I was amazed at how quickly and well this came together – it’s a great group!). During the next week, three of the members took turns doing the rest of the painting – and we got it done before the deadline! The banners were coated for the weather and then hung on lampposts up and down Main Street.

Here are a few of my favorites. fish banner copy This one was made by the students at Douglas Elementary School: kids banner cow banner And then there is ours – side #1: 2014 banner2and side #2: 2014 banner1 I actually had the privilege of painting a portion of the Mariner’s Compass side and I discovered that painting a quilt is actually fun … and it goes faster than sewing it. Fiberistas 2014 banner 2I’m quite sure I won’t give up my Baby Lok for a paint brush, but I recommend stepping out of the box every once in a while.

If you’re looking for a nice driving destination, please come and visit our town. On Main Street alone we have family run shoe and furniture stores, two ice cream places (Mullen’s is my favorite), an old fashioned theater where first run movies are $4, and there are many other nice shops and restaurants throughout Watertown.

There are also some nice quilt shops out our way. If you’re coming from Milwaukee, you’ll definitely want to stop at Ben Franklin in Oconomowoc. Their fabric department is actually a large, high quality quilt shop. Plus their craft supplies and gift items are spectacular. Their website is: http://benfranklincraftswi.com/

After spending some time in Watertown, it’s a short drive south on Hwy 26 to Jefferson, where you’ll find a shop called Tea and Textiles at the corner of Hwy 26 and Hwy 18. Barbara has a great selection of fabrics and you’re always welcome to a cup of tea. For more information go to: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tea-and-textiles-jefferson

If you’d rather head north a ways, J & A Stitches, near Juneau is a very unique quilt shop. Take Hwy 26 north and then head west on Hwy 60 a short ways to Welsh Road. You’ll probably have to wait for the geese and peacocks to clear the drive before you can make it up to the farm house/quilt shop. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the adventure. You can find them on the web at:  http://twosistersandaquilt.com/contact/

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Thread Portraits

This week I’d like to introduce you to a very talented fiber artist and dear friend. When Sandy Hendricks joined the Milwaukee Art Quilters a number of years ago, she brought with her a portfolio of some of her work, and we were blown away. She’d devised a free motion machine embroidery technique to do portraits in thread of residents in a senior living facility. Sandy was kind enough to allow me to photograph some of these works. Even though I took these pictures rather quickly, and with my phone, I think you will still be amazed at Sandy’s ability to capture the essence of these dear people.

thread portraits sandy 2 sandy 3 sandy 4 sandy 6

When my Mother-in-law passed away, I asked Sandy if I could hire her to do a thread portrait of Johanna and her response was “you should do it”. I remember that I chuckled and repeated my question. That time she said she would show me how. Well, life got busy and I didn’t bring it up again for over a year.

Sandy and her husband Jon have traveled to both Italy and the Baltic Sea with Wendy and me. Here’s a photo of them with Wendy having breakfast at our villa in Sienna.

Sandy, Jon and Wendy

While on this last cruise I brought up the subject again. Sandy said she was serious and she’d be happy to teach me how she does her portraits. So, last week I finally took her up on her generous offer!

I brought an 8″ x 10″ photo of my Mother-in-law to Sandy’s home

Mom V small

and we began by tracing some of the details of the picture onto tracing paper. Then she helped me pick out a variety of threads from her substantial collection and encouraged me to do a bit of practicing with the threads to decide which ones would work (after posting this picture I realized that the practice piece on the right looks like some sort of weird modern art).

sketch and practice

Sandy does her portraits on a product called Lutradur. It’s a stiff material that seemed to me to be a cross between paper and fabric, that comes in different weights. I did my practicing above on a medium weight sheet.


Next I traced Mom onto the Lutradur – and began stitching in the lines. Sandy’s advice was not to overdo, and my first attempt was a bit heavy handed. At that point I thanked her and headed to Ben Franklin in Oconomowoc for some Lutradur. I went home, began again, and I was fairly happy with the results this time.

Johanna in thread

I think the piece needs to have some areas shaded in more, but I don’t seem to have the right variety of flesh toned thread – at least thats my excuse!

God has truly blessed Sandy with a wonderful talent and she is very humble about it and so generous to share. Thanks Sandy, for a fun morning!

I’ll leave you with something Jon told me that just might make you smile. He came home while I was stitching and when I asked him where he’d been he said he was having breakfast with the Romeo’s. When I questioned him about it he responded that it stands for “real old men eating out”. Too funny!

One more thing I just need to share :-)!

When we had dinner at the quilt shop near Copenhagen, a Danish quilter named Kirsten, dined at our table with us. Here’s the picture from a previous post (Kirsten is in the center).

dinner shot1During our conversation she told us she was very excited because she was planning on attending the IQA Quilt Show in Rosemont near Chicago this month. This past Thursday Nancy (next to Wendy on the left) sent me this email:

“Hi Ladies, I just had to tell you the neat thing that happened today.  I was at Rosemont for the day.  I knew that Kirsten from the quilt shop in Denmark was going to be there, so I was watching for her–and I found her!  Had a nice chat with her, and then we found Kristi and Pam.  Since Pam drove down, they were able to have dinner tonight with Kirsten. Isn’t that great?  Just had to share.”

What a delightful continuation to our Sew We Go adventure, but it gets better! Saturday morning Kristi called everyone who had been at that table, to tell us that Kirsten was taking the bus from Chicago to Milwaukee. Kristi was going to pick her up and take her to Patched Works Quilt Shop and out for lunch. She invited us along. None of us was able to make it, but we were able to meet up with them a little later at Kristi’s home for a lovely time of conversation, snacks and eventually – pizza! (all except Lisa, who had to work :-( )


This was a special, and unexpected, treat for us all. Kirsten took the bus back to Chicago that night, and Monday morning she flies to LA to meet up with her 3 daughters. The plan is for them to rent a car,  and tour California, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota (I may have missed a few). We wish her safe travels and count ourselves very blessed to have had the chance to get to know this sweet quilter from Denmark, just a  little better :-)!


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Tallinn, Estonia

A quick addition to last week’s pictures from Rostock, Germany. I didn’t want you to think I was the only one hugging German men. Wendy found two (Reinhard, and Klaus – the tour guide):

Wendy and 2 men

And Kristi (our fantastic travel planner) rated a kiss!

Reinhard and Kristi

Speaking of Kristi, she arranged for a phenomenal trio of classes while we were in Tallinn, Estonia. Estonia holds artists in very high regard. We began with a stop in a handicraft type shop. This shop had quite a variety of items (from hand knit sweaters to wooden trivets and so much in between). They were all made in traditional Estonian style.

Tallinn handcrafts

In the back room of the shop was an exhibit of fiber art. The artist’s made wall art inspired by jewelry (the jewelry was displayed in shadow boxes next to the art).

Estonian fiber art

This reminded me of a recent Milwaukee Art Quilters challenge called Bead Inspired (click here to see the quilts in that exhibit).

Many artists are trained at the Universities in Estonia, and the old town of Tallinn is filled with shops and studios featuring these very creative individuals. A short walk from the handcraft shop we discovered more fiber art for sale:

Tallinn Estonia fiber art E Tallinn-Estonian fiber art3 E Tallinn-Estonian fiber art5

What a feast for the eyes. But this was nothing – Kristi had scheduled our travelers to take classes with a group of Estonian artists! Our next stop was the studios of the Katariina Gild.

Here is a picture of the members of this “Gild” from their website:  http://katariinagild.eu/index.html (I highly recommend visiting their site! It starts in Estonian, but if you scroll down a ways it’s in English! Be sure to visit all the pages :-) )

Katariina Gild Estonia

We broke up into smaller groups and some of us took a class in Patchwork, making an embroidered and quilted bag:

E Tallinn-artist workshop-patchwork2 E Tallinn-artist workshop-patchwork3

Others took a Fiber Art class, and made broaches from yarn and other embellishments.

E Tallinn-artist workshop fiber broach3 E Tallinn-artist workshop-fiber broach

and there were even workshops in Leather Art. I found that intriguing, and the instructor, Pille, was very talented and very inspiring. In the first photo Jerrie and I are making business card wallets. In the second we’re posing with Pille and our finished creations. It was an interesting process, and I did buy one of her handmade books (on the shelf behind us).

E Tallinn-artist workshop-leather2

E Tallinn-artist workshop leather-JerriePelleMe

It was a wonderful day of inspiration and learning. I didn’t take any photographs of the finished projects (the patchworkers actually placed their projects into a packet and stitched it closed for the trip home – so none of the rest of us got to see them), but we’re having a cruise reunion in July and I’ll be inviting everyone to bring what they made for show and tell. Watch for pictures in a future post.

I wish we could have had another day in Estonia – what a wonderful place to explore!


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Blaudruck and Handdruck

Blaudruck, is a German word translated Blue Print. It is a dyeing method in which a white pattern is formed on a blue background. It uses what is called “reserve pressure” in which the fabric is printed with a resist (called a “Papp” in German) and then indigo dyed.

Handdruck is a German word that can mean “hand printing”.

We were able to experience both first hand on our tour in Rostock, Germany. We began the tour on the outskirts of Rostock, just down from St. Peter’s church, on what looked to be a residential street.

Blaudruck outside1

What a delight to discover we were heading to this shop:

Blaudruck Rostock Germany

On the first level of Christine and Reinhard Haase’s home we were treated to a demonstration of Handdruck, and a display of both Handdruck and Blaudruck created by the Haase’s. Note the logo to the right on the sign above – Haase is German for hares!

Reinhard is a delightful, bearded man with a great sense of humor, who didn’t speak a word of English – and yet we all thoroughly enjoyed his demonstration! They use very traditional German methods for their art, and he had a book showing how they still do it the old fashioned way. Then he jumped right in!

Handdruck demo in RostockHe demonstrated how he loaded the dye onto the traditional blocks, lined up the design, and printed a table runner before our eyes.

Haase Blaudruck Rostock GermanyThe Handdruck “direct printing” demonstration was easy to understand and he made it look quite effortless (I’m sure practice has a lot to do with it!). A Blaudruck demonstration would have been more difficult to do as the Papp (a resist made of the sap of birch trees and clay – if I understood our guide correctly) would be applied with the “blocks”, dried, indigo dyed and then washed in a special solution to remove the Papp. After the demonstration we were able look more closely at some of the shop samples and make some purchases.

blaudruckhanddruck I’m so pleased to own a blaudruck runner and egg cozy from Reinhard’s shop. I’m also happy that he agreed to a hug and a photograph!

Blaudruck Reinhard and me

What a delightful and educational visit!

And here’s an interesting addition to last week’s post. I ended with a picture of Sew We Go making our mark on Copenhagen:

Sew We Go

I just found the photo I’d taken of the description of the “Happy Wall”:

Happy Wall Copenhagen

For more information and a fascinating tour into the art of this very creative man, go to: http://mrdambo.wix.com/thomasdambo-2#!about1/cnk1 

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