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Washington State Historical Museum
Tacoma WA

April 16 – August 21, 2016

What a great way to spend some time with your visiting family and friends in Tacoma. Three major museums in arms length: the Tacoma Art Museum, the Glass Museum and the Washington State History Museum.
The new exhibit at the WSHM just opened last weekend. The Seattle based Contemporary ArtQuilt Association (CQA) is celebrating it’s 30 years of existence: 37 juried Artists show 69 pieces of work, beautifully arranged, nicely lit and very accessible! You are in for more than a good piece of Washingtonian history in this  grand building.

Here is a review by the Tacoma newpaper thenewstribune.com

Plan ahead and park your car just off the freeway I-5 at the Park&Ride next to the Tacoma Dome. Hop on the FREE lightrail to access all of down town Tacoma. But wait, there is even more… if you walk a few more steps, there is a Children’s Museum at the corner of the next block, and on Broadway are many galleries. Of course, plenty of options for lunch or dinner are all in walking distance.

On the walls within the exhibit are 4 of my pieces.


Golden Ratio II and Golden Ratio (detail below) are a visual representations of the Fibonacci Principle: “In the arts and mathematics, the Golden Ratio is a geometrical proportion based on a specific ratio, whereby the whole (i.e. the sum of the two parts) is to the larger part as the larger part is to the smaller part. 1:1:2:3:5:8:13:21:34:55:89:144 . . .”

Golden Ratio: Detail of the 1" inner squares

Golden Ratio: Detail of the 1″ inner squares



April 16, 2007, I woke up to the news from shootings at a college. As the day unfolded, more dreadful news from Virginia Tech came in.
This is my visual of thirty-two completely innocent people who have lost their lives that day.

Detail of the hand stitiching.
Materials & Techniques: Silk frame in colors of VT.
The center is a piece of solid black Kona cotton, folded clamped discharged, hand embroidered and quilted with wool thread.

Detail of Moor :: Heather

Detail of  Moor :: Heather

Blooming heather in masses is one of the most intense experiences in a wetland or moor. Growing up in Germany, visiting the Lüneburger Heide left me with a deep memory of that color. Today, most of these landscapes are endangered, and will need much awareness and protection.

Materials & Technique: Hand-dyed cotton (by the artist), Dupioni silk, commercial cotton.
Pieced by machine, facing applied & quilted with domestic sewing machine.

At the 2015 International Quilt Festival in La Conner, WA, two of my quilts were honored with awards.

Way back in June, I entered “Moor :: Heather” in the in category “Original Abstract Wall Quilt”  and “South of the Border” in category “Original Nonrepresentational Wall”.

Moor :: Heather

I’m tickled pink, – looking at the first quilt, quite literally-, because it’s the second time I’m getting an award for one of my “quilts with holes”.
It made a 2nd Place.
Its all ruler-free, improv-curvy cutting (see “Teaching”), effectively slicing-in two different silks and Kaffe Fassett’s woven stripes (love those!).
And as several times before, when I thought its a really finely finished top, I made holes in it.

Now, how about the intense pink, or is it fuchsia, or just heather?


Detail of Moor :: Heather

A while ago, I took a workshop on hand-dying cottons…
…however, the class was meant to do graduated dye baths in series… but this didn’t appeal too much to me, so I started systematically crunching up my 1/2-yd. cuts and stuffing it into small tubs. (Note: I like the big lidded tubs you buy peanuts or such party snacks at Costco).

It’s important to carefully poor “layers” of the different colored dye solutions. I screw the lid back on as tight as possible (be prepared for minor spills…don’t ask how I know), and turn all so carefully once the closed tub, making sure some, but not all dyes are mingling. And YES, there is some good portion of luck involved.

When I opened the fabrics, the colors of this hand-dyed’ surprised me with a strong memory of a sea of blooming heather in the Lüneburger Heide in Northern Germany.

South of the Border


The other quilt, – not lesser in color impact, but mostly yellow-orange-red, did even better:

Award of Excellence Domestic Machine Quilting.

I named this quilt aptly “South of the Border“, because when I was quilting, pictures and music of Mexico kept swirling in my head.

south of the BorderThere is a so much movement, and patterns of zigzags like the woven edges of sombreros of lace-lined swinging skirts. The center is basically a small painted whole-cloth quilt, placed on the pieced quilt.

South of the Border, Detail







All the fabrics in the “tangy-orangy” pieced background are Judy Robertson’s hand-dyed’s
(available at Just Imagination).
I love her fabrics, she’s doing such good work, -always high quality-, and it gives me the freedom not to feel the need to dye yardage in my own house

Working with lots and lots of dye can be problematic if your house isn’t on the city sewer. The bacteria in your septic tank(s) do NOT like the amount of salt and other chemicals you must use for hand-dying. Small amounts are o.k., but never yardage.

For the past several years, every month, I received a beautiful yard of her hand-dyed fabric via mail. You can sign up for her “Yard of the Month Club”. It’s affordable, supports a small business owner and over time, will give you a substantial stash in all kind of colors to pick from. Once you’ve enough of this stuff, you’ll get fearless!
This might be just the perfect cure for the panic many quilters feel when it comes to actually CUTTING into this oh-so precious stuff.

…oh, and the newest tell about this quilt is, it’ll travel to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, to be exhibited within the most prestigious quilt show in Brazil: Rio Patchwork Design 2016.


New Experience: Teaching

I’m always ready to learn something new.
. . . but I’m usually in the seat behind the rows of desks, with a bunch of other students, watching the action up front.

Then, last year, after I was the featured artist at the quilt show, it felt kind of natural when the program chair at my local quilt guild (600+ members), asked me hold a workshop. I spontaneously said YES! – why not?
We set the date to April.
Not much later, the inner voice started talking back, – it sunk into my brain… What? Was I ready?
Sure, I previously did some 8-students small-class teaching of machine quilting, and that went well, but this is different. Most students are not from my circle of friends and it’s a paying job! No space for failure.

Never mind, I did’t have anything prepared or even worked out the topic.
A bloody beginner… But, with months to go, I started to plan the – to me – most frighting thing:
Standing in front of many and teaching!

However, planning seems a good thing, but so far in advance, everything felt very hypothetical.
So I did what I do very well, procrastinating. The clock ticked on, days and months came and went, my mind kept mulling for a solution, a “road map”. I knew I had to break it down into steps and make samples.
It got much easier when I pulled out all the quilts I’ve made, using this basic technique. I found, they all look very different, – that’s the key. I was happy to start sewing my samples.

The class filled up quickly, even got to a “wait list”.
Then, last Saturday, it happened for the first time. I was standing behind the front desk, facing a class of 20 eager students, teaching how I piece my “organic” looking art quilts, and how not to be frightened by “making a hole” (or more) into a perfectly fine quilt top!

All the planning didn’t commute anything close to the exhilarating atmosphere of students,
watching me and every move I made, taking notes of tiny details, asking questions and clicking cameras to memorize the samples for later. We had a very good vibe in the class, lot of laughter and Ah-Ha-moments.
By the end of the day, every single student made a substantial piece of work and each person truly understood the processes.

When I’m a student myself, I rarely have the feeling there will be finished work to show some day.
My students did not just make a sample destined to disappear in a dark drawer forever.
I’m looking forward to next year’s quilt show.

To sum it up in short:
I learned so much, – and I’m loving it!


It’s that time of the year, –  quilt show time! Come and visit the 500+ quilts on display for you.

Beautiful hand applique, the Piece'o Cake-way.

Beautiful hand applique, the Piece’o Cake-way.

Piece'o Cake design in modern fabrics

Piece’o Cake design in well chosen modern fabrics

You will enjoy all the color, the skills, the many techniques and styles. 2015 Quilters Anonymous Quilt Show

More beautiful applique.

More beautiful applique.

Quilters Anonymous clearly has some of the finest hand appliqueer. Don't miss the excellent choices of quilting in this quilt

Quilters Anonymous clearly has some of the finest hand appliqueer. Don’t miss the excellent choices of quilting in this quilt

Lets not forget all the great shopping possibilities at our 26 vendors.

My fascination for scrap quilts finds here a place to look around. So much to to see and take in what one can do with a few (or more, or many) fabric scraps. Color, value and shape play off nicely.

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If anyone needed some mood lifting and a jolt of color…

…this was the venue: the gallery of
The Island Quilter
was exhibiting my quilts in a stunning show for the full month of December 2014. It all started with the “Vashon Island First Friday Art Walk”. Even this gallery isn’t a official participant of the art walk, it’s location in the middle of Vashon makes it hard to miss for the walkers and strollers.

The Island Quilter
The spacious and well lit gallery allowed to step back and take in the works as a whole, but the intricate workmanship on each quilt invited the visitor to see it up close. Some people got even very up close!

The Island Quilter

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On display was also brand new works like “Moor :: Heather” (which will be on display within a CQA exhibit at La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum from March – July, 2015)
Portrait with Heather -no power outlet
and “Botanica” (see previous post for close up’s),

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but also quilts from my humble beginnings roughly 12 years ago. Yes, that’s the kind of classic quilts you’d expect and comes up in most peoples mind when they hear the word “quilt”.

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Left to right: Winter – Honeymoon (top) – Tuscan Air (below) – Persistence (Shop Hop 2013) – Lisa’s Posies – Sunny Flowers – Tulip Festival – Bifidu’s Tutti Frutti


Even my family has “quilted” needs, so very now and then, I seriously enjoy to make a what I call “utility quilt”. It allows me to keep my skills sharp, – a very much enjoyable side effect of these classics.

The “Vashon Island First Friday Art Walk” is always a good idea to get out, enjoy and evening and see stuff you’d not thought of, yet. Have dinner at The Hardware Store and keep walking, the gallery of The Island Quilter is only a few steps south of it. Check out the line-up of current and future shows.

Starting this Friday, the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum is having 2014 Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival! Come and visit from October 3-5, 2014.

I’m so excited, the director of the Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival just notified me my quilt Botanica has won an award.

— NOTE added —-  The quilt has been awarded with the Award of Excellence in Domestic Home Quilting and 1st place in it’s category.

— NOTE added —-  The quilt has been awarded with 3. Place Innovative Wall Applique at 2015 Road to California.

Full view of the finished Botanica

Full view of the finished Botanica

It doesn’t say what kind of award… so I’ll have to wait until Thursday evening for the preview party at Maple Hall in La Conner, WA.

See the leaves and the hand quilting in the detail view of Botancia?

See the leaves and the hand quilting in the detail view of Botancia? I love Hawaiian-style hand quilting. The flower boards are quilted separately with extra batting underneath  before I layered for machine quilting. One could say it’s a kind of “trapunto”.

The hand appliqué of the flower “boards” started many years ago in a appliqué class with Becky Goldsmith. Everybody knows, really good hand appliqué takes a long time to master. It took perseverance and practice to make my stitches disappear, smooth curves, keep the sharp points sharp and valleys safe and not distorted.  To keep it interesting, – in maybe a stroke of genius -, I started the work on the very bright yellow background.  To add even more variety, I split and pieced them together from different yellows like trimmed 4-patches. Turned out, the bright color disengaged the classic flower and well-known design from Becky, which has been published in print and DVD of Appliqué. But the samples are mostly on classic and very “quilty” fabrics. It became clear to me, any classic sashing or framing was not an option as a setting. I tried to imagine the extraordinary.

And here are a few images of my working progress:

Making of Botanica

The real kick came when I layered it on the hand-dyed fabrics from Judy Robertson, a renowned hand-dyer in Western Washington.

Sewing the orange silk veins on my Bernina.

A lot of work went into the sewing the orange silk veins on my Bernina. Prepping all the fuzzy silk from a pile of silk scraps took me a long time. From the bigger pieces of the silk I created leaves to be appliquéd and made up 3-dimensional leaves for top stitching later.

The addition of the dark shadows make the piece really pop (compare the beginning of the work pictures). All of a sudden, three dimensions appear.

Layering on batting and backing, - getting ready for quilting! I love the look of the dark shadows, the design looks like its floating above it all.

Layering on batting and backing, – getting ready for quilting! I love the look of the dark shadows, the design looks like its floating above it all.

As always, the quilting is the crown-jewel of the finished piece.

Botanica, detail



Hunter Valley Wine Tour

An old German saying goes… “Wo der Wein wächst, da lass dich nieder” (where the wine grows, you want to take up residence). A visit to the Hunter Valley confirmed that perfectly.

Rows and rows of wine, waiting for spring.

Rows upon rows of wine. The farmers are busy to clean out the old brushes, clip the branches, clear the grounds off weeds. Smoke rises at the edges of the vineyards from burning the dried grapevine branches. Everything is waiting for spring.

At the organic destillery, tasting clear liquids.

At the brand new organic Hunter Distillery, we were tasting the clear liquids. My personal favorite: Chocolate Vodka. Yummy. But the fruity liquors are very good as well, I’m just not so for the sweet stuff. Worth to test for sure is ginger infused Vodka.

@ Two Fat Blokes

Lunch at the patio at Two Fat Blokes was a fantastic culinary experience. We ordered wine parings with food for red and white wine, and also a beer tasting. Excellent choice. Great food and the presentation is mouth-watering. The larger-than-life “Walking Men on Sticks” were just next door at the winery entry.

Even it is officially winter, this area is lovely in landscape, people, wine and food. And of course plenty of history and art. But I didn’t see any quilts  …hmmm…  I consoled myself at the Alpaca Barn: I bought knitting yarn – oh so soft! Now I can’t wait to get back home and start a sweet little baby jacket.

Grange @ Hunter Valley

Sunrise 6:45am, Grange @ Hunter Valley

On our way into the valley, and out, we had to take a break from all the wine. We stopped at the Potters Brewery. Just at the turn off the road are huge circular brick buildings, as we learned later, these are old historic kilns. This was the site where most bricks, much of Newcastle’s sewer pipes and lots of earthen mining equipment was made.

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As so many times, crossing path with art in unexpected places is the most surprising. There is no difference to this fact even far away from home. We visited the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, just a short drive north of Newcastle, NSW. I was expecting lots of native trees, shrubs and many flowering plants, despite it’s almost “Winter” here in Down Under.

As we readied ourselves for lunch under the canopy of enormous eucalyptus trees, we picked a picnic table surrounded by sculptures, placed in a wide circle all around us.

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens - 2014 Sculpture Exhibit

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens - 2014 Sculpture Exhibit


After a long walk thru only a part of the extensive gardens, we kinda “escaped” the mosquitos by having a coffee in the fully screened terrace of the Kookaburra Café. In the adjasent little foyer of the visitor center, we found smaller and more delicate sculptures. I gave this torso the name “a quilters delight”.

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

This one was called “Penelope” by Bill Cummins (Cut steel butterflies).

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

Life in “Down Under”

Most recently, our family has grown by a tiny new member: Zoë Elisabeth, and I’m the truly lucky, over-the-moon Nana to spend the first 4 months with her. Seeing her to grow by leaps and bounces daily is a feast.



However, the rest of my life has been on some kind of a “hold”. Especially my quilting life, since I don’t have the usual access to my stash. But I re-united with my 32 year old Pfaff sewing machine, which surprised me anew how good and still precise this old model is. But there is very little fabric here to play with, and not really a space where I can spread my wings – uhm – stuff.

Zoë's Curtains

Zoë’s Curtains

So, I resort to making small stuff…

…like fleece-flannel blankies for Zoë, curtains for the baby room, mending and alterations on my daughters wardrobe. And I made up a pattern for a cover of the ugly and often nastily dirty baby shells on shopping carts (I promise to post pictures as soon as I’m finished).


In my suitcase, I hauled much of my watercolor stuff here, and I’m now painting 4 pictures with a enlarged replica of the birdie fabric of the curtains. Thanks to a trip to IKEA in Sydney, we found inexpensive frames, although I’m sure, the paintings will look much better if we get custom mats cut for them.


Take Two   –   The April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting has an article about the Grand Central Station Challenge

I’m happy the quilt I entered is one of the 30 finalists and will be displayed at the Grand Central Station Gallery Annex & Store from March 15 –  July 6, 2014.

GCS full

See the winners and all 30 finalists online


GCS Detail

Take One   –   American Patchwork & Quilting : : Grand Central Station Challenge

Last Summer, when I was about to finish the challenge quilt for GCS, my intention was to post this on this blog . . ., but then I re-read the rules again . . . and as it turned out, any publication before the challenge committee made a decision, no picture can be posted anywhere public, and that included blogs, websites, even pint rest. Here is what I was about to post:

Nothing works as well as a deadline . . . as there is one out by “The City Quilter”, NY/NY to commemorate the 100th birthday of the Grand Central Station.

Well, I ordered the fabric, – long ago- and kept it neatly together in a baggie with the challenge rules on top of it, close to my usual working area. So, I can not really claim “out of sight, out of mind”. It was there all the time, but, as time flies, while I was working on a gazillion different things, like remodeling our used camper we bought last year, on which we had some water damage over the winter (but that’s another elaborate story), or spending a lot of time with a class “Watercolor for Illustration” at our local college, it got ignored (as there are two other challenges ‘flying’ around, plus one I missed the deadline full fledged).

It resurfaced when in the newsletter of my local quilt guild a calendar of events showed upcoming deadlines. The got that deadline wrong, – instead of the printed 1. of August it’s the 21st. Yeah, gives me a few more days to make it. And I am sure determine not to let that pass. After all, this might be THE one opportunity to actually go to New York! This has been on my Bucket-list for way too long.

Now, it was time to get that stuff out and make the cuts. Although I had a vague idea what I’m going to do, a few scary moments hours later, I had pieced my basic blocks (even they are not classic blocks in a traditional quilters eye), and arranged on my design wall to fill the max. size of 36″ x 36″, hey, no small quilts here, we’re talking the Grand Central Station!

Now I’m filling in with blank BG fabrics, which are the same background as the feature fabric, just without the B&W prints, and some more fun stuff.

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