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Stars, Squares and Fiber Art

Last week I shared the story of Anne’s Serendipity Stars.

Many people asked me how they could obtain a copy of the most recent issue of American Quilter magazine. I didn’t have an answer, so I emailed Anne. Here’s her response:

“Any place that has quilt magazines might still have a copy. I only have a couple of copies, but Ben Franklin in Oconomowoc has 20 copies that they are going to sell during their Quilt Fest weekend in October. I have made a new gmail account just in case anyone wants to ask me questions, it’s I have directions that can be emailed, not thinking about charging anything so I don’t have to worry about income, taxes etc. Will suggest that anyone that wants the directions could just make a little donation to their local animal shelter if they want, it isn’t required though.”

What a generous offer. So, if you are interested in more information about Anne’s star technique – feel free to email her¬† ūüėÄ . She said she might be a little slow to respond because of her busy schedule, but she will try to check that email account in a timely fashion.

Upcoming Classes

The class lists are out for the Fall semester at Waukesha County Technical College. I’ll be teaching 3 all day project workshops:

Quilting – Layered Squares; Friday, September 21st; 9-2:30

Combine simple piecing, diagonal cutting and clever block construction to make this crib/lap-sized quilt with a three-dimensional look.

Quilting РPieceful Stars; Friday, October 26; 9 Р2:30

Get the look of a Lone Star style medallion, without all the fussy piecing. We will strip piece simple blocks and then cut diamond shapes from them to create a star that is much simpler than it looks! 

Quilting –¬†Beginning Fiber Art;¬†Saturday, November 17; 9-2:30

Are you a traditional quilter who is interested in making an art quilt? Come and discover your inner creative child by playing with simple fusing techniques, fabric, color and design. Students will not be creating the pictured quilt, but their own unique work of art. (This class was formerly titled ‚ÄúParallelisms‚ÄĚ)

We also have a new quilting instructor starting in the Fall. Welcome Nan Feurer! She’ll be teaching 2 classes. Here are the titles and descriptions:

Quilting For Beginners –¬†Anyone can quilt! Learn several quilt blocks and techniques to create a beautiful heirloom.

Quilting – T-shirts –¬†Learn to use a ‚Äúquilt-as-you-go‚ÄĚ technique to transform adult and child t-shirts into a beautiful quilt full of great memories.

To register for a class go to:¬†, in the course search box choose Fall 2018 and type “quilt” in the “course title/subject” box, then click on “submit”. All of the quilting classes will appear and you can open the description/photo of each class by clicking on it’s title.

If you’ve never signed up for a class before, instructions can be found in the link just below the picture of the college.


July 29, 2018, Classes
Stripped pinwheel Topper

Last semester I taught a pinwheel table topper class at WCTC.

It was the first time I’d taught this class and I’m always a bit anxious about timing, and the possibility of handout errors. It can be hard to gauge how much students can accomplish in the time allotted. I had them cut their fabric strips ahead of time, and there were no problems with the handout, but I really underestimated how long it would take to sew all the strips together. After lunch everyone still had more strip sewing to do and I was getting nervous.

As some of the students finally began to reach the triangle cutting stage it became obvious that the triangle cutting and sewing was actually fun and it was great to see how the fabrics were coming together. But half the class was still sewing away on their strips and I could sympathize with their frustration. Well… by the end of class Carmen had her top done.

A few more were close to done, but – praise the Lord – everyone had at least 1/4 of the topper cut out and sewn or pinned together. I felt sure they all knew what they needed to get them finished. On the way home I still felt uneasy about the class – I always want it to be a good experience for everyone.

That night I received an email from an address I didn’t recognize that began: “It’s all your fault!!!”. I gulped, but I knew it was not spam because the rest of the message (readable prior to opening) said “I came home and the one we made in class”. That’s all I could see, but I felt I had to read the rest of the email and when I opened it this was the entire statement:

“I came home and the one we made in¬† class was too large for our table so I shrunk it. Thanks for the technique. Deb”

She made a second, smaller one that same day! And here’s the picture¬† ūüôā :

Wow! What an overachiever. I responded with how impressed I was, and congratulations. When I asked Deb how she did it and if I could include it in my blog she wrote: “Sure.¬†I cut 3-1″ strips. I’m a goof ball who went home and made more. ūüė䬆Turned out!!¬† Thanks again!”

This made my evening. I then wrote to the other students and asked them to send me pictures if/when they got their tops done. Here’s what I received back!




Mary Ann




Great job ladies. I’m so impressed with the results! They’re all lovely and it’s fun to see them in so many different colorways.

January 21, 2018, Classes Piecing
Homemade Christmas Gifts – Pillow Cases

Many years ago a member of my quilt guild brought in a pattern for pillow cases and invited us to make them as Christmas gifts for members of the military. The response was great. Problem was, the pattern was very simple and all the seams were raw edged on the inside of the case. This bothered me because I knew they would not wear as well with those exposed seams. On the way home I began to noodle on this and, since I don’t own a serger, I had to come up with another option. I harkened back to my days of garment sewing and knew the case itself could be sewn with French Seams. But how to do the seam between the case and the cuff??? An idea came to me and I couldn’t wait to get home and try it. It worked, so I made a new handout to share with my guild and called it the Enclosed Seam Pillow Case.

I shared it at the next meeting and many of us had a great time making pillow cases. The following month one of our members came up to me with a handout she’d printed off the internet. The author was using the same technique I came up with, but was calling it the “hot dog roll” technique. This made me smile. Someone else had come up with the same idea, just a different name! Either way – it works!

In early December this year, one of my Open Lab students asked if I’d do a refresher demo on the cases, because she wanted to make Christmas gifts. It was about time I made my grandkids new ones too – so I did the demo and many students participated:

From left to right, top to bottom: Deb, Judy, Jean, Marilyn, Eileen, Rose, Mary Ann and Louise

Great job ladies!

Here are my instructions for making pillow cases. Many of you probably know how to make them, but you may enjoy some of the additional helpful hints I’m including ūüôā . I’m hoping this post might be just in time for you¬†to make a few for Christmas gifts too.

Enclosed Seam Pillow Cases

Supplies: ¬ĺ yard main fabric, ¬ľ yard cuff fabric and a 1 ¬Ĺ” accent strip (pressed in half lengthwise).¬†Make sure the main and cuff fabrics are squared up to the right size and not just the way they were cut at the store. Things will just fit better this way.

‚Äʬ†Place the main fabric right side up on your work surface, with a cut edge laid out horizontally in front of you.

‚ÄĘ Lay the raw edges of the accent strip along this cut edge and pin about every 8″ (flower head pins).

‚Äʬ†Lay one long cut edge of the cuff fabric, right sides together with the other raw edges and pin in between the previous pins (ball head pins – I have my reasons for pinning this way and I’ve used different pin heads so you can see the difference).

‚Äʬ† Flip this entire unit over so the cuff is against the work surface, and the wrong side of the main fabric is facing up.

‚ÄĘ Roll up the main fabric until you see the cuff peeking through from underneath.

‚ÄĘ Bring the remaining cut edge of the cuff fabric up to the other raw edges and re-pin each of the pins through all the layers. Be sure the¬†main fabric doesn’t get caught in this pinning.

‚ÄĘ Sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance. If you are using flannel, you can strengthen the seam with an added line of zig-zag stitching in the seam allowance. Be sure to backstitch at both ends to secure.

‚ÄĘ Turn¬†this tube right sides out. Press.

‚ÄĘ Rotary¬†cut the selvedges off both sides of the unit, making sure the cuts are straight and the angles remain at 90 degrees.

‚ÄĘ To¬†make the French Seams: Fold the case, wrong sides together, and pin along the two unfinished sides.

Sew with a¬†¬ľ” seam allowance. Sewing through the cuff seam can be difficult. I can usually make it through on this seam, going slow and with a bit of tugging from behind (stay tuned for hints to sew it the second time).

Trim off all three corners (don’t forget the one at the end of the cuff).

I like to trim the seam allowance at the cuff seam to 1/8″ at this time.

‚ÄĘ Turn¬†the case wrong side out, push out the corners, press and pin.

‚ÄĘ Sew these two¬†edges one more time, this time using a 3/8″ seam allowance to enclose all the raw edges, and backstitching at each end. If you can’t sew through the thickness at the cuff seam, leave that area open, and once the rest of the seam is complete, go back and fill in the seam using a zipper foot to avoid the thickness.

‚ÄĘ Turn right side out and press. DONE!

My tip for trimming the corner at the cuff (5 pictures back) gets rid of any loose threads peeking out of the seam at the finished cuff edge.

And here are the ones I’ve made for my family this year.

I hadn’t tried flannel before, and I like it!

I love to give homemade gifts to my loved ones! What homemade gifts are you working on? Did you make pillow cases this year? I’d love to see pictures! Please send them to me at .


December 10, 2017, Classes
“Quilting” at Sea

Quilters often ask me what makes a cruise a quilting cruise. Well it certainly isn’t that all 2500 people on the ship are making a quilt. But our group (which numbered 43 this trip) had fun with fabric, even if we didn’t do any stitching. The main focus of the trip is for people with a common interest to see wonderful sites, enjoy delicious food, socialize, shop and do some things with fabric too. We try to spend at least 1¬Ĺ hours each day in class, working around shore excursions, meals, and on-board entertainment.

We began our most recent trip with a “prior to the cruise” project by inviting everyone to participate in a friendship exchange. We¬†asked quilters to find a leaf shape of their choice either in their yard, in a book or on-line. I chose a maple leaf because this year is Canada’s Sesquicentennial,

but participants could pick any leaf they wanted. We had 32 quilters in the exchange, thus each of us chose an Autumn color batik and cut out 32 leaves with paper backed fusible web attached. Only 6 of us wanted them signed, so we asked everyone to do this to six of their leaves while on the ship and then we exchanged them. Here mine are laid out in a wreath.

Beautiful! I’m not sure if this is what they will become. The project option¬† I came up with prior to the trip was to scatter leaves across a windswept background with tulle shadows to add depth.

The next quilt related portion of our trip took place the first night on board. I shared a new lecture I call “Travel Memory Quilts”. I’m very excited about this new idea the Lord blessed me with. In essence, I distill each trip down to a favorite picture and create a single block to represent it using a variety of techniques. Each block is quilted and bound separately and they are attached to each other with a simple system of my own creation. In this way the “quilt” can be added to or rearranged with very little effort!

I’m working on other memory quilts using this technique and I’m pretty sure this is going to grow into something even more exciting. More information to follow!

During the trip Wendy gave two presentations. One on her method for making “batiked” scarves and another in which we each created a quilt label. Mine will go on my leaf quilt – whenever I get it done¬† ūüėÄ .

The main project on the trip was a fused block of the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

I created the pattern from a picture and made up kits for the 33 travelers who chose to participate. I finished mine as a small wall quilt and added a few of the pins I collected while traveling. Here are pictures of class time aboard the Norwegian Dawn.

Mary and Jane were the first to finish theirs

And everyone got a block made. I can’t wait to see them all together at our post-trip gathering.

We combined traveling and quilting – it doesn’t get much better than that!

October 15, 2017, Classes Travel
Appliqué Animals

Back in June I took a “raw-edge” appliqu√© workshop with Barbara Beasley. It was organized by my dear friend, Laura, and we had a great time (thanks Laura!)

Barbara is an amazing talent!

And if you’re not familiar with her name, you will probably recognize her by her work. Here are just two of the many pieces she has posted on her website: ¬† Many of them are for sale!

Each student was to bring a picture of either flora or fauna, a photo enlargement, fusible web and a lot of fabric. Her technique was very interesting and the results in just our 6 hour workshop were wonderful!

My friend Evelyn (of Quilt Sissies fame ūüôā ), chose to do a special cat. She was amazed at the amount of blue in the picture – for a cat that wasn’t blue.

Laura decided to portray her cat in unexpected fabrics.

I can’t wait to see some of these finished!

I chose to do our grand-dog, Moseley. He’s a very pretty Australian Shepherd (photo courtesy of my daughter-in-law Betsy).

Here’s my “Moseley in progress”

and here’s Moseley!

Next I need to find the right background. I cut him out and placed him on a number of different fabrics and I’d like your opinion on which to use, or suggestions for other options.

background 1

background 2

background 3

background 4

Please comment in the box at the bottom of this post to vote for your favorite, or offer other suggestions. If you don’t see a comment box, click on “Appliqu√© Animals” at the top of this post and scroll back down to the bottom.

I love taking classes and learning new techniques. This was a fun class and a great technique. Here’s a challenge to anyone in that class. If you finish your piece and send me a picture, I’ll be thrilled to post it on my blog!

July 2, 2017, Appliqué Classes
Keeping the Little Pieces Organized

I learn so much from the students in my Open Labs at WCTC. A while ago Marilyn started working on a very popular animal pattern:

Fancy Forest Quilt Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. Click here for Elizabeth’s website.

Each animal is adorable, but the number of pieces per block was a bit intimidating. Marilyn has stuck with it and is making great progress.

This past week she came in with her solution to the problem of keeping all the little pieces organized.

Ingenious! She simply pins the cut fabric pieces, along with identifying notes about each stack, to a chunk of foam. This would work for appliqué projects too.

Thanks Marilyn, for sharing your great idea!


And, speaking of teaching and learning, I had a wonderful time teaching at Spring University Days at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts this past weekend.

It was a great event, and I have the privilege of teaching two half day workshops at the museum in June.

A “quilt as you go table runner” will be¬†the morning offering. Students may choose from a Patriotic or Christmas themed kit and there’s a good possibility the runner will be ready for binding by the end of class:

In the afternoon I’ll be teaching students how to make a variety of Seminole Borders. These samples will be a great reference for adding spice to future projects and kits will be available for this class also (please be aware, the following picture is not of a finished quilt, but shows 3 different seminole borders, overlapped for the picture):

Click here for more information on the French Braid workshop.

Click here for more information on the Seminole Border Workshop.

Perhaps you’d even like to sign up for both! I’m looking forward to a day of learning and fun!


Happy Mother’s Day to all!

May 13, 2017, Classes
Goose Oops!

Double oops! Sorry for¬†the error. Please click here for the January 7th post – “Sew We Go to Hawaii”!


Here’s Goose Oops!

Before I admit to a recent mistake, I have to share what happened this past Wednesday. My parents called and asked if they could come over to visit with Sommer and Trey (and Mike and me too, but the great grandkids take priority ūüôā ). Well, Mom brought me not one, but four spool pin doilies she had made since last week’s post! (click here to visit that post). She said the pattern on the site I linked to in the blog worked well. She’s the best!


Now for my true confession post! When I was quilting my Silly Goose quilt, I really got into the free motion groove.

flying geese variation

Then I turned it over to look at the back and, I’m sure you’ve never done this, but… a picture is worth a thousand words.


I’d been meaning to move that scrap pile farther from the machine, but I hadn’t, so that scrap mocked me and crawled under the quilt in a densely quilted area, dead center in the quilt back. There was¬†too much spiraling to want to remove it. Since necessity is the mother of invention – it was time to be inventive.

Are you ready for my solution?





After all, a quilt does need a label¬† ūüėÄ ! And who says it has to be at the bottom?


And one more related bit: This past week I had the great pleasure of teaching for the Heritage Quilters Guild of Lockport, IL. I presented my Tradition With a Twist lecture and an all day workshop on Architectural Repliqu√©. Each time I teach this class I make a block along with the group (click here for more on those blocks). I’ve made over 80 blocks while teaching this class, and I’m getting a little whacky in my fabric choices. Usually I grab whatever fabric is still laying around from a recent project. This time I chose the stack leftover from Silly Goose. Here’s the block:

I just had to add a line of geese flying behind the house. Thanks ladies for a wonderful time with your guild!

February 19, 2017, Classes Labels
Spool Pin Doilies

In the “Pieceful Star” class I taught a few weeks ago, Bonnie brought along her Singer Featherweight‚ĄĘ to sew on. She had a hand-made notion I’d never seen before and it was not only clever, but lovely. Instead of placing a felt circle under her spool of thread on the thread pin, she had a “Spool Pin Doily”.

Bonnie said she had taken a class on Featherweights‚ĄĘ at Frank’s Sewing Center in Waukesha, and one of the other students had made them and brought them to sell. I love it! I’d like one for every machine I own!

Sew, I did a little internet search and found many sites that have them for sale. Prices ran around $5. One site had a pattern for crocheting your own: ¬†¬†I think I need to share this with my mom. She’s a great crocheter and I bet she wouldn’t charge me too much. Usually she’ll do anything for me if I invite them over to play with Sommer and Trey. Great grandparents are such pushovers ūüėÄ !

The Pieceful Star class was a lot of fun. It has the beauty and appeal of a Lone Star without having to match up all the diamonds. All of these 31″ square quilt tops were made by students in that class!

Pieceful Star by Suzi Banks

Pieceful Star by Mary Miller

Pieceful Star by Joyce Egle

Pieceful Star by Sue Ehlen

Pieceful Star by Bonnie Morris

Pieceful Star by Jane Wettstein (don’t you love the fun way she used her scraps in the border?)

Pieceful Star by Cathy Bornemann

I’m offering the Pieceful Star class again at Waukesha County Technical College on Saturday, March 18th, from 9 to 2:30. We need a few more students for this workshop to run, so please sign up at!

February 12, 2017, Classes Notions
A Variety of Stars

I love the Lone Star pattern. Any star medallion can be a delight to the eyes, especially in Christmas colors. But matching all the diamond points in a Lone Star can be a bit tedious.


While in Paducah this year, I began to play with an idea to simplify it, yet still create an interesting star. I began by piecing a very simple pattern, in this case a checkerboard, then I cut identical diamonds from the piecing. Voil√° – a pretty pieced star medallion, with no diamond intersections to match:

Pieceful star quilt

That was fun, but what if I started with¬†a different simple block? I liked this one even better and called it¬†“Pieceful Star”:


This type of playing is just too much fun not to share. So I’m teaching it as a one day workshop at Waukesha County Technical College this winter. It will be offered on 2 different days, in case you can’t make one of them :-).

I’m also offering my usual Thursday afternoon Open Labs, and one Thursday morning Open Lab in January!

The additional workshop I’m offering is a repeat of my beginning fiber art class called “Parallelisms and Concentricities”. This is an art quilt class for traditional quilters who don’t think they’re creative, but want to try. It’s a day for using your imagination while playing with beautiful fabric, skinny strips, and geometric shapes. Loads of fun fusing and embellishing techniques from my most recent book will be shared.



Parallelisms I

For all the information go to:¬†, in the gray¬†“Course Search” box (scroll down and on the right), choose “Spring Semester”, and type “quilting” in the¬†“Search for: Course Title/Subject” box. Then click on “Submit”. All the quilt offerings should be there! If you have any problems registering on-line, you can call registration at:¬†262.691.5578. Here’s the class information:


Course Information
Quilt-Parallel Concentricity – 304 611A 001
CRN: 21145
Duration: Feb 18, 2017 – Feb 18, 2017


Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin – Update

The PBS program I’ve been telling you about aired this past Tuesday. Many fascinating quilts and their stories were shared, and the interviews with Wisconsin quilters were very interesting. Wendy and I had our 15 seconds of fame (it may have been more like 2 minutes ūüôā ). What an honor to be a part of it!

For those of you in Milwaukee, you will have your chance to see it. Here’s the scoop: “Milwaukee PBS will air Treasured¬†Quilts¬†of Wisconsin¬†during the March Pledge (Saturday, March 4-Sunday, March 19, 2017); the March schedule will be released on or about¬†February 1, 2017.”

For those of you outside of the State, It may be aired on the internet in the future. I’ll keep you posted!

December 4, 2016, Classes Piecing
Friendship Quilts

As I said last week, I’m very excited about the new guild lecture I’m putting together. The idea began to form a few weeks ago when I was looking at the quilted tote my grandchildren use to transport library books.


France autograph tote – front and back

It’s made from friendship blocks exchanged while on our Sew We Go riverboat cruise through¬†France in 2008. It got me to thinking about all the wonderful friendship/autograph/signature quilts I’ve made or been given over the years. Like this one that was given to me by Common Threads quilt guild in thanks for my years as president (thanks Valeria!)

autograph quilt Common Threads

And then… what about that old top I made after collecting signature blocks at a family reunion in 1993? It was at the bottom of a¬†UFO bin, along with a group picture from the party, already printed on¬†muslin. It¬†only needed a border to complete the top. I added one with Seminole piecing and it’s ready for quilting!

Lohse reunion 1993 quilt top-border 2016

Everyone who attended the reunion (including the kids) signed their block and many also drew or wrote something important to them on it.

This led to pondering about “that” vintage autograph quilt top I purchased a few years back. I pulled it out and enjoyed looking over all the signatures and wondering about it’s history. Who was Grandma Chapman? What’s the name of this lovely pattern?


I looked more closely to find other interesting signatures. Than I did some research to discover the pattern is called “star bouquet”. What fun!

Well, from there it was a short hop to checking out Buckboard Quilt’s website for signature quilts. I wasn’t disappointed! Judy makes every effort to get the story when she acquires a quilt, and¬†she had some great stories!

Like one¬†that has a block signed: mother 82, and the pattern is¬†called Little Britches,¬†or this one in which Judy¬†included a copy of the obituary of the man in who’s estate the quilt was found.


I’m having such a good time gathering the quilts and their stories. It’s requiring some detective work – which I’m enjoying immensely.

In the talk I’ll share old and new¬†quilts, their stories, plus handouts with patterns for great autograph blocks to use in your next friendship quilt.

If you’d like to see more quilts and hear the stories, I’d love to visit your guild and share them all! Please direct the program people in your guild to this blog, and have them contact me! Thanks!!!

September 4, 2016, Classes Vintage Quilts
Pressing and Biscuits

While visiting the blog of a quilting friend I found a great post on starch/sizing alternatives. Her name is¬†Lois Arnold, and you can see the post at: ¬† It contains her product testing adventure with Mary Ellen’s Best Press‚ĄĘ. I’ve used Best Press‚ĄĘ and discovered my husband and I are both allergic to something in it – it causes us to cough as soon as the iron hits it. So her alternative recipe was of interest to me. I highly recommend reading her entire article, but I want to share her recipe here:

iron-for-webLois Arnold’s Starch Alternative

3 cups distilled water

1/2 cup liquid starch

3 oz vodka

1 teaspoon essential oil

I tried it myself and love it! Works great and no coughing! My essential oil was a bit strong, so I think I’ll use just a few drops¬†in my next batch.


This week I’d also like to share a picture of a biscuit quilt made by a follower of this blog. Janet had seen the post I did a year ago, about a biscuit quilt made by my friend Louise (click here to visit that post). She emailed me this message:

Janets biscuit quilt

A few months ago you posted a picture of a Biscuit Quilt designed by one of your fellow quilters. I’m always looking for new ideas particularly with children’s and baby quilts and decided this would be the perfect use for some of my flannel scraps. This became a fun “work in progress” project but I quickly learned that overstuffing is not a good idea. The finished quilt was donated to the MS Auction held in southern Wisconsin. The response was great and I know the money raised went to a great cause. Thanks for sharing ideas and directions.

Isn’t it delightful!?! And the matching burp cloths are so clever. Thank you so much Janet! I really appreciate getting feedback from you quilters, especially with pictures, about the things I share on the blog ūüôā .

April 2, 2016, Classes
Madison Quilt Expo 2015

I think this year’s Expo was better than ever! They say attendance was up 4% over last year and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. It has really become a national level quilt show.

I headed to Madison¬†the day before the big show began to hang a special exhibit of quilts by the Milwaukee Art Quilters. As I pulled into the parking lot I saw the Ducky car. It’s here every year and lets me know the fun is about to begin!

Ducky Car

The Marq exhibit was entitled “Color Wheel Opposites” and the quilts looked great (if I do say so myself¬† ūüôā ¬†).

Expo 2015 marq1 Expo 2015 marq2

From there I checked into my hotel room and set up a mini-studio.

Expo 2015 Clarion

I spent the afternoon happily stitching away on my latest challenge quilt. I don’t tend to get much quantity/quality quilting time while watching 2 small children, so this was a treat. My husband is amazing – he had Sommer and Trey all to himself for three days and did a great job – while I ran away to the Quilt Expo. I’m very blessed!

Wendy arrived late in the afternoon and set up her machine. We had a lovely evening of eating, sewing and giggles.

The next day the show began. I presented my Great Finishes lecture each morning of the show and then taught a class I call “Quilt, Slash, Create” in the afternoons. This class is a crazy way of playing with fabric that turns 4 fat quarters of fabric into 2 reversible art quilts! The students were fantastic! Here are a few pictures of the fun:

Expo class2 Expo class3 Expo class4 Expo class5 Expo class6 Expo class7

Expo class 1

The quilts in the show were very inspiring, the Fall Challenge quilts were delightful,the vendors were enticing, spending time with friends was the best, and … I can’t wait for next year!

Did you make it to Expo this year? What was your favorite part?

September 27, 2015, Classes
Making Circles in Three Easy Steps

Curves and circles are a staple of quilt design. Quilts that include them really speak to me. A while back I decided to pull out all the quilts I’ve made with these designs and I realized they weren’t all made with a single favorite technique, but in many of these quilts, I had¬†used different¬†techniques. I do a lot of machine appliqu√©, and quite a few projects had¬†circles done this way. This is the placemat from my book: Snuggle and Learn Quilts for Kids.
satin stitches circles

In another book, Compass Capers, many of the Mariner’s Compass quilts are made in a circle. In this one the fabric was pressed around a paper circle pattern and hand appliqu√©d in place.

Mariner's compass

A few years ago I came up with a really simple and fun way to make snowpeople faces:

Snowperson Topper - November 14, 2014

Snowperson Topper – November 14, 2014

I’d like to share that technique here! The fun part is that the faces you see are actually the “batting” between the quilt layers, and in this quilt I used white polar fleece. Prepare to do this by¬†layering the quilt with polar fleece as the batting. Then cut a circle of freezer paper the size you’d like the face to be, and iron it in place on¬†the quilt top, shiny side to fabric. Then:

1.  Sew around the circle in a color thread to match the quilt top.

2. With a sharp, pointed scissors, cut away the top fabric from the inside of the stitching, so the fleece shows through.

3. Satin stitch around the circle. Repeat for remaining circles.

Here are a few more circles and curves using many more techniques:


Fused Sheers in Circles and Rings

gradation lecture

Bias Covered Curves

Tuscan Sun blog

Appli-Pieced Curves

circles on quilts

Slash and Zig-Zag Circles and Curves

If you’d like to learn to do some of these techniques – and more, I’m teaching a class at WCTC this Fall, on September 18th, called “Creating Curves“. You’ll learn many ways to stitch circles and arcs into your quilts, while making samples of each technique, which will serve as a wonderful reference guide for future projects.

Besides my Thursday afternoon Open Labs, I’ll also be doing 2 more one day workshops:

Stacked Strips РOctober 10th: With a bit of simple foundation piecing, scrappy new strips can be made. These will be bordered to create an exquisite bed runner.

Quilting - Stacked Strips 304-617J-001

Stain Glass Trees – November 7:¬†Layer Pretty scraps, cover them with tulle, stitch, cut and couch these triangle trees onto a base fabric. It’s simple and oh so pretty! A lovely Christmas gift.

Quilting - Stain glass trees 304-617K-001


Wendy has many offerings also. To sign up for any of these classes go to:¬†(click on “course search” at the top, and type “quilting” in the “subject” box), or call registration at:¬†262.691.5578



August 9, 2015, Classes
Driftless Fiber Arts

Last weekend Mike and I drove to Des Moines for our nephew’s high school graduation. We made a mini vacation of it which included spending a night in a B&B/Edwardian Mansion in Dubuque on Friday night. As we were driving past Mineral Point, WI, on our way to Dubuque, I spied a sign for Pendarvis and said to Mike – I’ve heard of that, wonder what it’s about.

On the way home I looked it up on my phone (isn’t technology amazing?) and discovered Pendarvis started in the early 1800’s as “A settlement of highly-skilled Cornish miners which unearthed an ore that led to a mining frenzy”. To read the actual history of the settlement and it’s preservation go to –

I was intrigued. Then I clicked on their calendar and found that we were right on time for the Driftless Fibre Arts Faire! We had to stop!

Pendarvis sign

There were sheep, lambs and alpacas,

Pendarvis alpaca

Local vendors with yarn, garments and many interesting works of fiber art,

Pendarvis yarn

It was a feast for the eyes and a wonderful way to break up a long drive on a sunny afternoon.

I’ve done a bit of playing with felting wool roving into cotton fabric on a shirt. I used my friend Linda’s felting machine and was very pleased with the results.

felted front felted back

So I couldn’t resist purchasing a bag of colorful wool ends. Who knows what I’ll do with it???

Pendarvis roving

The only problem was, by the time we had visited the vendors and I made my purchase there wasn’t enough time to enjoy a tour of the buildings led by a costumed guide.

Pendarvis house

We are already planning our trip back!

Upcoming Classes at WCTC

This Summer I’m teaching one¬†all day Open Lab class each month, as well as 2 one¬†day workshops. Here’s the scoop:


Swirls and Stars¬†Learn an exciting way to piece twirling Snails Trails blocks and let them dance around pieced stars. A great class for quilters who are comfortable with piecing techniques and want to try something a bit challenging. The pictured project is lap sized, but a smaller wall hanging version¬†will also be an option.¬†Friday, June 26th, 9 – 2:30, Course Reference Number: 5363¬†(this class is coming soon, so if you’re interested, please sign up today!)


Beginner’s Workshop¬†Learn the basics of rotary cutting and stitching an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance while creating a lovely table runner. You may already be an experienced quilter, but please let your non-quilting/newby friends know about¬†this fun, basic class. Saturday, August 8, 9 – 2:30, Course Reference Number 5364

Register by phone at:¬†262.691.5566 or on the internet at:, click on Course Search, choose Summer semester and type “quilting” into the Course Title/Subject box. All the quilting classes will appear, with instructions for signing up at the top of the page.


June 6, 2015, Classes Travel
A Great Lone Star Technique

The Lone Star is a very old, traditional, and much loved pattern. I’ve taught it as¬†a strip piecing class,¬†but I’ve discovered¬†a modern twist that makes matching all the intersections quite a bit easier. Before I share the details, Here are a few pictures of student quilts made in some of my recent classes. The project was a 38″ Lone Star.

Virginia sent me this picture. She uses her pretty red star as a tablecloth.

Virginia's Lone Star quiltHere’s Barb’s lovely wallhanging!

Barb's Lone Star

Ida cut her original pieces a bit too¬†small. She often brings more than the required amount of fabric to class, so when we realized the problem, she was able to recut all the pieces for the diamonds and chose to use the “wrong” pieces in a beautiful border.

Ida's Lone Star Sue has made two delightful Lone Stars this size.

lone star Sue Ehlens2 Lone star Sue ehlen

Thanks ladies, for sharing your quilts and sending me the pictures in time for this blog! Great job!!

So, do you want to know the trick? The answer is Quiltsmart’s interfacing method! Quiltsmart is a company out of Oregon, with a lot of great ideas. You can find them at: On their website you can order the printed interfacing, and instructions for this great project.

Because of copyright, I’m not able to post pictures and step by steps (of course), but I’d like to share a brief description of the process to pique your interest.

1.  Quiltsmart has printed all eight of the large diamond bases on fusible interfacing in an ingenious way. These are cut apart and pieced one at a time.

2. Rectangles are cut from the appropriate fabrics for all the small diamonds. These will make up the big diamonds.

3. The first rectangle is put in place on the interfacing, right side up, and the second one is placed right sides together, at a specific angle to the first.

4. A diagonal seam is sewn, the second piece is folded down, “sew and flip” fashion, and pressed in place. This is repeated to create¬†each row of small rectangles/diamonds.

5. Once all the rectangles are pieced into rows of diamonds, the rows are sewn together – interfacing and all, resulting in 1/8th of the star.Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 11.55.05 PM

If you’d like to watch a video of the originator of the technique demonstrating it, click here!¬†(the demo is for the 58″ lone star, but the process¬†is the same for any size)

I highly recommend giving it a try and, if you live in Southeastern Wisconsin, I just happen to have a class coming up on this very technique at Waukesha County Technical College on Saturday, March 7th from 9 Р2:30. The course is called Quilting Workshop: Lone Star (CRN 20793). You can register on-line at, or by phone at 262.691.5578!

Floss Frenzy Reminder

The deadline for the floss challenge is February 28th! Please send good quality pictures of your finished project to me prior to that date at:

Quite a few photos have already arrived, and I’m very excited about all the creativity I’m seeing!

February 15, 2015, Classes Piecing
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:

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!

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 3.02.19 PM

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¬†–¬†‚ÄúQuilting with Expresso ‚Ķ. Quilts, Creativity, and Fun!‚Ä̬†

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 3.01.20 PM

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 Рand we have a few openings left:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 3.04.55 PM

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

The second workshop is:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 3.06.06 PM

‚ÄúThe Magic of EASY Machine Appliqu√©‚ÄĚ ‚Äď draw, cut, machine¬†stitch, so easy anyone can do it! –¬†Friday, September 12, 2014; 9 ‚Äď 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: ¬†¬†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:, (262)424-4477 cell, (262)679-1798 home.

Hope to see you soon!

July 20, 2014, Classes
Tradition With a Twist

I recently received an email from Ellen at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison. She asked me to pass along information about a program coming up this week (see below). My connection with Ellen led me to a brand new lecture. Here’s the story:

Last winter I had¬†an exhibit of my work at the Museum ¬†(click on the purple writing to read about it :-)). I worked with Ellen and the Museum on hanging a group of my contemporary quilts (some made in collaboration with Sharon Rotz and Wendy Rieves) which were made as innovations of traditional patterns. I was also able to present a lecture to go along with the quilts. The talk was a hit, and it led to a treasure hunt. Mike and I like to go antiquing and I decided I wanted to collect vintage versions of my modern quilts. After an enjoyable search I have a new collection of old quilts and a new lecture tying them all together. The lecture is called “Tradition With a Twist” and in it I share the old quilts, the stories of their acquisition and patterns and my modern versions.

Here’s a picture of my pair of Bow Tie quilts, just to pique your interest:

Bow Tie quiltsIf your guild is looking for a program that offers something old and something new, please contact me!

And now for the Museum information:

History Sandwiched In: Civil War Quilts and Stories
Feb 19, 2013¬†¬† 12:15‚Äď1 pm
Quilts have changed in purpose and style over the generations. Some quilters make quilts for the main purpose of making art. These artists choose to use fabric as their medium instead of using paint, wood, metal or paper. Another purpose for quilts is to honor and remember. Whether big or small, quilts can make an impact in the lives of people. Join quilter Pat Ehrenberg as she shares her knowledge of the stories of quilts during the Civil War.

The museum will present this program in conjunction with the Dane County Regional Airport exhibition, “Wisconsin Folks: Masters of Tradition,” organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Tandem Press and the Wisconsin Arts Board. The exhibit, which runs through March 2013, highlights the Arts Board’s Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Click  for more info on the Wisconsin Folks: Masters of Tradition series at the Museum:


February 17, 2013, Classes Vintage Quilts
Threaded Borders

Sometimes a single, solid or tone-on-tone border is all that’s needed on a quilt, but when it comes to the quilting it might be nice to add a little pizazz. By using a contrasting color thread, simple shapes and a bit of stippling, an interesting border can be fairly easy to do. This quilt is one example. It was made from friendship blocks Wendy and I exchanged with the travelers who joined us on our Danube Cruise a few years back.

Threaded-border1I first drew the “leaf” shapes in a chain around the quilt (you’ll notice I didn’t even try to make them meet in the corners :-)). I stitched on these lines and then stippled inside in a high contrast thread. Next I marked a scalloped line 1/2″ from the outside of the stippled shapes and free motioned lines that were somewhat perpendicular to the outside edge.

quilt borders in threadI didn’t actually mark each of the “perpendicular” lines, but used my favorite marking tool – a sliver of soap – and marked a line perpendicular to the outside edge about every 3″ along the edge. This was just enough to keep me from tipping while free mo-ing. I angled the lines in the corner so that they continued smoothly. It was fun to do and it gave me the opportunity to play with those neon threads I just had to own.

Speaking of free motion quilting (what a segue!) I’m going to be doing a lecture and 2 workshops for the Darting Needles Guild in Appleton, WI in February. There are a few spots available in my workshops and they’ve decided to open it up to quilters outside of the guild. Here’s the information:

Beyond Meandering & Threaded Borders: Monday, February 18; 9:30 a.m. Р4 p.m.;  First Methodist of Appleton located at 325 East Franklin St, Appleton

free motion quilting

Quilting the quilt should be as much fun as making the top! If you‚Äôve been free motion quilting for a while and wonder if there is life after stippling and meandering, the answer is YES! This class is for stitchers who are already comfortable with the free motion technique. This 6 hour class will be filled with loads of ‚Äúno mark‚ÄĚ designs to learn and practice along with time for students to bring in¬†unfinished tops and have the group brainstorm design ideas. This free motion quilting class has¬†a twist for the machine quilter who has been honing her free motion skills. By combining our imaginations with contrasting threads, wonderful borders and illusions will take ordinary quilts to a new level of excitement!¬†Supply list available upon request.

Compass Capers: Sunday, February 17; 9:30-4pm; classroom TBD

Mariner's Compass

Traditional mariner‚Äôs compass quilts are beautiful, but can be difficult and time consuming to piece. This class will change that! Learn to draft a traditional compass using only a pencil, ruler and paper folding techniques. Then sew directly on the pattern using paper piecing ‚Äď no math or templates! Once the technique is learned, compasses can be made any shape and any size.¬† Supply list available upon request.

Here is the lecture information too!

Quilt Tales: Darting Needles Guild Meeting; Monday, February 18; 7:00 p.m; First Methodist of Appleton located at 325 East Franklin St, Appleton

A quilter‚Äôs life is full of creative exploration, experiences and mishaps! Here‚Äôs a lighthearted look at one quilter‚Äôs journey as her love affair with fiber continues to evolve. Chris will be ‚Äúformally‚ÄĚ attired when she pulls quilts and other intriguing items from her overflowing suitcase. Listen on, as she spins tales of the quilts and what she‚Äôs learned from each of them.

Details: Classes are $40.00; if a quilter takes both classes they get a $5.00 discount on the 2nd class making it $35.00; Monday night lecture is $5.00 if a non-member. Contact Marie at: for more information!

January 27, 2013, Classes free motion
Find Fabric and Take a Class!

It’s not uncommon for quilters to be in need of a fabric they’ve run short of. This comes up fairly often in my classes. I’ve just learned of a website to help with this problem: This is the description from their “about” page:

“ is a fabric and quilting & sewing supply search engine. Search for products offered by hundreds of online stores to find exactly what you are looking for. Simply type your search term into the box provided. You can also search by uploading a photo.”

I’m bookmarking this page for future reference :-).

I thought this week’s post would be a good time to share some of my upcoming local classes (with apologies to those who don’t live in southeastern Wisconsin).

Waukesha County Technical College

Quilting classes are held at the downtown Waukesha Campus. Wendy Rieves and I are the quilting instructors. To register for one of my classes or see the list of Wendy’s, please go to, click on Class Search, type “quilting” into the subject box and then click on Submit (to see a picture of the project simply click on the class title).

This semester ¬†I’ll be teaching three Thursday afternoon Open Lab¬†four week sessions. The dates are: January 10 to January 31, February 14 to March 7 and March 28 to April 18 and the classes go from 12:30 to 3:30. This is a great opportunity to finish up UFO’s, Get help starting a project your struggling with, layer and pin a finished top and so much more. I also do a brief demonstration each week on some pertinent aspect of quilting and finishing.

I will also be doing 2 Friday workshops: Black, White and Bright (1-18-13) is a bed sized quilt that combines simple strip piecing of black and white prints with paper pieced flying geese in a very modern looking quilt.

modern quilt class Playful Gradation (2-8-13) creates a bargello effect in a quick and easy way by using a printed gradation fabric. My project is wall sized and has fused sheer embellishments, but other finishing methods will be brainstormed in class.

modern bargello quilt

A few weeks ago I taught a new class at WCTC that was a lot of fun. It’s title is Snowpeople Table Topper and here is my sample:

Snow person table runner

Its a “quilt as you go” style project and the faces are actually created by using a reverse machine applique technique that allows the batting (we used polar fleece) to shine through! Couching and machine embroidery from behind were other techniques used.

Here’s Barb Jordan’s finished quilt!

Snowman quilt

Darlene Allen’s is done and on a table (yes, because they’re quilt as you go, they got done!)

snowman quilt

Thanks Barb and Darlene for letting me share your quilts!
I’ll be teaching this class on Saturday, Feb. 23rd, at Ben Franklin¬†Crafts in Oconomowoc. I will also be teaching my Beginning Fiber Art class (formerly called Parallelisms) there on 2 consecutive Wednesday nights – March 20 & 27, from 6-8:30. This is a fiber art class for traditional quilters who don’t know if they’re artistic, but want to try! Each student will make their own unique art quilt. This is one of my Parallelism quilts, just for example:

art quilt

You may register by calling Ben Franklin at 262-567-0271.

I will also be teaching a one day class at Hustisford High School (Community Ed) called Spinstar. The project is a table runner that is made of stars created using a “Stack n Whack” type technique where a large print is strategically cut to yield kaleidoscope stars.

quilted runner

For more information contact Cindy Fitzsimmons at

I am blessed with many opportunities this coming year to share my lectures and workshops with guilds around the country, so I hope to see many of you in the very near future :-)!

December 16, 2012, Classes Fabric