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A Quilted Flag

I have been traveling a lot lately. I recently spent 3 days with the Shawnee Quilters in Carbondale, IL, teaching both Repliqué and Beginning Fiber Art. The students were delightful and, since I did a lecture for their guild meeting on the third day of my visit, they were able to bring their workshop projects for show & tell.

Great job ladies!!! Thanks for a lovely time!


In May I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week in New York City with my cousins. Deb, Cindy and I had a spectacular time touring the Big Apple, taking in two Broadway shows, and indulging in delicious meals – all interspersed with lots of giggles. We had an amazing view from our hotel room – 35 floors above Times Square.

We did a 2 ½ hour guided bike tour through Central Park with Tony,

and walked or took the subway all over Manhattan. We even walked across the Brooklyn Bridge!

Cindy, Deb and I enjoyed our ferry ride with a tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Our guide Zach made it especially fun.

He did a great job of sharing a lot of history and fascinating information about these two amazing places, plus he spiced it up with his “Zach facts” 😀 ! They weren’t necessarily true, but they kept us smiling (note his flag in the picture above). Here he is next to an actual size replica of the Statue’s foot in the pedestal museum beneath Lady Liberty.

During the rest stop on the tour I showed Zach pictures of my “How Beautiful – Liberty” quilt (click here to see a post about that quilt).

This got me to talking about the tours I’ve led and how Wendy and I have a mascot who often finds herself atop flags so we can keep track of our guides, like when Rudy and Quiltina led us through Siena, Italy.

Zach jokingly mentioned he’d love a personal flag that announced his “Zach Facts”, and when I got home I decided it would be fun to make him one to wave along with his orange “company” flag. He emailed me the “head shot” he wanted me to use, I transferred it to white fabric – along with the words, added the Statue fabric to the back and did a bit of fun quilting. Here are the results – front and back:

And this was his response via email:

“Hey Chris, I just received your quilt and card in the mail today and I want you to know how honored I am. It really made my day. Even the back side of it is beautiful. Loved the card as well. Can’t wait to proudly wave that flag. I am truly thankful.”

That made it so worthwhile. Isn’t it interesting how quilters can find a way to bring quilting into all aspects of life (LOL)?

June 24, 2018, Travel
Quilted Memories – A Contemporary Twist

Shortly after I posted to my blog last week, Cheryl commented that she has a booklet about the Sunday School Picnic quilt.

That led me to do an internet search and I was thrilled to discover the whole story of this amazing quilt. I added the link to my post, but by then over 300 people had already read it, so I thought I’d better share the link again here for those of you who might be interested. It’s a fascinating story and well worth the read. Click here for the link.


This week I’m going to follow up on the vintage memory quilts by showing my own modern version. The majority of those antique quilts were bed sized and hand quilted. You don’t see many memory quilts like those being made today. But we still want to make quilts to commemorate people, places and events. I love to travel and I’ve often thought about making one quilt about my travels. The problem is I’ve been so many places – praise the Lord – that it seemed to be overwhelming.

Last year while planning for our Sew We Go cruise from Quebec to Boston I had a “light bulb” moment. What if I would choose one photo from each trip that triggered all the wonderful memories of the entire vacation? Then I could make each photograph into a block and …

Modular Memory Quilts was born! I gave a lecture on this “quilt”, and all the techniques I used to make the blocks, for our group while on board the Norwegian Dawn and it went over quite well (to read about the projects on that trip click here).

This block is one of my favorites from the “quilt”.

It’s from Mike’s and my first visit to Hawaii when our son, Brad, was a senior in High School. We invited his best friend along and, while stopping at a waterfall on the Road to Hana, the boys decided to climb to the top and jump!

Others were doing it and it was a real case of “monkey see, monkey do”.

To make the block I used a bunch of techniques: glue-stick raw edge appliqué, stitched cheesecloth, and even thread painting on tulle to create my jumping Brad. What fun – and what a great memory.

As you may know, Wendy and I are taking a group of quilters to Hawaii this January. We still have a few cabins available, but since this trip will fill, Norwegian Cruise Lines is requesting all the “non-spoken-for” cabins be returned to them soon. If you have been thinking about joining us – click here for all the details and instructions for signing up while you still can!


Now back to Modular Memory Quilts  🙂 .


One of my favorite parts of making Modular Memory Quilts is that each block is made, bordered, quilted and bound as a separate unit. There’s no quilting and finishing a big quilt! Then I connect them together with my own unique technique, using hair bands and safety pins (yes – really 🙂 ). This is what makes it completely modular. The blocks can be moved around; additional blocks can be added over time; other’s can be taken away; or, if the “quilt” becomes too large, it can be broken up into two separate quilts.

I was working on this project during the Madison Quilt Expo last September and, while walking through the show, I was delighted to see my friend Wendy Butler Berns had made a quilt in a similar fashion and entered it in the show (click here to visit Wendy’s website).

“Unconditional Love – Always” was made as a triptych of quilts of her children with their pets, using her Picture Image Machine Appliqué technique. She put them together with strips of fabric and buttons, so they can eventually be separated and each child can have their own quilt at some point in the future. What a wonderful idea!

Since making my travel quilt, I’ve thought of many more types of memory quilts that would work well as a Modular Memory Quilt: children’s art, grandma’s embroidered squares or hankies, workshop samples … just think of the possibilities! Here’s one – the project we’ll be making on the Hawaiian cruise is a type of “Paint-stik™ appliqué” I wrote about a few months ago (click here for that post). I made three quilts with this technique and decided to combine them “modularly”.

I’ve since made a few other of these “quilts”. Completing small, individual block quilts is quick and a lot of fun. I’m very excited about the results and I’ll be doing a lecture on these fun souvenir quilts at the Madison Quilt Expo this September. Not only will I talk about the quilts and my connecting technique, but I’ll also demonstrate step-by-step instructions for many of the techniques I used to create the blocks. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

June 17, 2018, Uncategorized
Quilted Memories – Vintage Souvenir Quilts

This past March I signed up for a bus trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, sponsored by the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Art in Cedarburg. It was a spectacular trip! The exhibit we went to see at the Art Institute was entitled “Making Memories: Quilts as Souvenirs”. We enjoyed a wonderful tour of the quilts which were separated into souvenirs of places, people and events. Here are just a few of the fascinating quilts on display, along with the labels that accompanied them:

Sunday School Picnic – I found this quilt delightful. It really tells a story! And if you’d like to read the whole story click here!

Map Quilt – I apologize for the dark photograph of this quilt, the museum lighting is good for the quilts, but not great for my iPhone’s camera.

Quilt Show – the workmanship on this one really blew me away!

The piecing, appliqué and quilting were all extremely well done. Here’s a close-up:

State Birds and Flowers

This lovely example of an embroidered quilt was of great interest to me because I have a similar quilt in my collection.

My quilt dates to 1947 and was made by Lillian Heidtke in Wisconsin. The embroidery is very well done, but the quilting is minimal. The quilting on the Art Institutes quilt was very impressive, but I still love mine  🙂 .

I wish I could have shared all of the quilts. It was a spectacular exhibit and a wonderful trip.

I was particularly interested in this exhibit because I’ve begun a journey into memory quilts with a “modern” and “modular” twist. I’ll let you in on all the fun in next week’s post!

June 10, 2018, Uncategorized
Child’s play – Markers on Fabric

A few years ago my friend Linda and I played around with Sharpie™ Markers, muslin and isopropyl alcohol (to read that post go to:

A while later I decided to try it with Sommer. We colored circles:

Then added alcohol with an eye dropper:

Here are our results:

Then we tried again. Sommer drew anything she wanted (these are lighter and brighter, and make me smile):

I decided I liked the way the black bled to purple and made it the focus of my design, allowing some space between the elements:

I was happier with these results:

Have you played with markers like this? Any pictures you’d like to share?


And one more note on Sommer and crafts – our passion is not always their’s!

A few months after Sommer made her first quilt (you can read that post at: )  I wanted to make her an apron. She was excited and wanted to help. We pulled out a pattern I’d purchased a while ago and she picked a pretty fabric from my stash. I ended up cutting it out with my rotary cutter and she didn’t like the waiting and watching, so she lost interest for that day. The next afternoon, while Trey was napping, she helped me set up the featherweight, we pinned a seam together and she began to sew.

Three seams later she asked if she could go play. When I asked her if she wanted to work on it tomorrow or if I should finish it – she perked up and said I could finish it  😕 . So I did.

She’s happy to wear it and help me cook. Her favorite part is tasting the “gredients”.

June 3, 2018, Uncategorized