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What is a Fiber Artist?

“The Narrow Gate”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’d like to share my thoughts with you.

I am no longer a member of the Milwaukee Art Quilters, but I am part of a new fiber art group in the Milwaukee area called the Threadbenders. I’m very excited about what’s going on with this creative bunch and I hope to share pictures and ideas about the group in a future blog.

So, what makes someone a fiber artist? I couldn’t find a definition in the dictionary, but I have my own opinions on this subject 😀 . I feel that anyone who makes quilts is a fiber artist! We have a passion and purpose for creating quilts that keep our families warm, adorn our walls and tables, or help those who are in need. We purchase fabric and supplies carefully, yet with enthusiasm, cut it apart, sew (or fuse) it back together again, and receive joy in the process. What better form of “art” can there be?

Because I do not have a background in art, I never thought of myself as an artist. When I began quilting I chose geometric patterns to piece because I loved geometry and could use a sewing machine.

My first quilt

As I continued to make quilts I started envisioning projects I couldn’t find patterns for. With the encouragement of teachers and friends, I tried to put into fabric what was floating through my brain and, lo and behold, I was happy with the results (most of the time).

“1491 A Quilter’s View” – made for the Quilters Newsletter Magazine contest “Discovering a New World in Quiltmaking”; 1992

Since, as I said, I have no background in art, I have always felt that there is creativity inside of each of us. That’s what I try to share with my students.

Parallelisms I – my first adventure into the world of abstract art.

But this opinion has evolved over the years. Artists are inspired by many things and my faith in Jesus Christ is a huge part of my inspiration.

“Into the Light – a Journey of Faith” – made for a contest entitled “Windshield Visions”, I’m driving down the curvy road of life towards the light of Christ, and in the rear view mirror is the sinful life I’m attempting to leave behind with the help of the Holy Spirit.

As I’ve grown in my faith I’ve come to realize that, because we are created in God’s image, and His amazing imagination created everything – we must each have some creativity inside of us! I know that my abilities and opportunities are all a gift from Him and I praise and thank Him for it every day! What a blessing it is to be able to do what I love and have others want to know about it. Praise the Lord!

“Crossings V: Living Water” – This is one of a series of quilts I’ve made called “Crossings”. I feel the beads cross the gap and hold the broken pieces of my quilt together, as my faith holds the broken pieces of my life together.

Coming to know Jesus as my Savior has changed my life and my attitude. I realize I have a purpose: to bring God glory. I don’t always succeed, I’m a work in progress, but it is my goal and my joy to share this with others. That’s why I’m a fiber artist!


For those of you in the Milwaukee area, I’d like to share a special opportunity to take a class in fiber art. My dear friend Laura is hosting a special workshop with Barbara Yates Beasley on June 11th. I’m already signed up! Here’s the flyer with all the information.

February 26, 2017, Inspiration
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 🙂 ). 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  😀 ! 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 Repliqué. 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™ 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™ 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 😀 !

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 Multi-Country Quilt Challenge

I hope you enjoyed last week’s post about Rumi O’Brien and her quilts (to read that story click here). I also hope you’re looking forward to the rest of the story!

While going through my photo album I was so pleased to find how well I had documented the “sister city” challenge – between quilters in Madison, WI; Freiberg, Germany; and Berne, Switzerland. This is a picture of my album with a photo of the challenge poster, the fabric scraps opened across the top, and me standing next to my quilt. Don’t you love the 80’s hair?

One of the newspaper clippings I saved, reported a part of the story I had forgotten:

The German and Swiss quilts were lost in shipping! Georgellen enlisted the help of Swiss, German and U.S. embassies, then Sen. Herb Kohl, and the Postal Service, to help find the quilts. We hung the American quilts so the exhibit could open on schedule, and the European quilts finally arrived the morning of the opening reception! Talk about excitement!

I won’t be able to show you all of the quilts, but I chose a few of the ones I found most interesting. The pictures you see here were taken of photographs, so the quality is not perfect. The American quilts have their makers in the pictures. The European ones don’t. I apologize for not having the quilter’s names with their quilts. That was one part of the documentation I neglected to include 😥 . I’ll share a slick trick about my  quilt at the end of the line up!

I found it interesting that most of the American quilts were traditional in design, while many of the European quilts were quite “artsy”.

The quilt I made for the challenge is named “Floral Lights”. I chose to add a burgundy, a blue, and a pink fabric to the challenge fabrics; and pieced them into basket weave blocks. These became the background for a floral silhouette.

Isn’t the floral design lovely? I’ll let you in on my secret. The white fabric was a “white-on-white” print, so the design was already on the fabric. I drew around it with a washout marker, quilted on the line, and trimmed away all the non-floral areas of the white fabric, so the piecing showed through. I then machine satin stitched the flowers and hand-quilted the same design in the border areas.

I’m quite sure this was the first challenge I ever participated in, and it was a great experience!


A Sew We Go from Quebec to Boston update!

Wendy and I are working on the projects and extra special plans for our upcoming cruise from Quebec to Boston this Fall. One of the quilters who signed up early has had to cancel due to a family circumstance. Her roommate is still planning on going and is looking for a travel partner. If you think you might be interested in coming along, please email me at, or contact Kristi at (262)786-6763/ For more information on the cruise, please go to:

February 5, 2017, Challenges