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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.

2014-07-29 13.23.43

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.

My trip to  Road2CA  last month was a blast.
I really like this quilt show.

It’s not as big and overwhelming as IQF in Houston, but still shows a very high quality of quilts.

Besides, coming from Seattle, spending some sweet time down in California in the dead of Winter feels so good. In the meantime, my husband finds this rather warm and sunny interruption in January appealing, too.
For the last few years, he joined me at the weeks’ end. After the show closes, I pick up my quilts and we usually set out for a road trip . . . more of this year’s trip later.

But now back to the quilt show.

First of all, I’m thrilled about the classes and faculty they put together every year.
And I tell you, I do take advantage of this fact!

This year, I had lined up classes with Cynthia England, Frieda Anderson and I spent two delicious days with Katie Pasquini Masopust.
In case of the latter, I admit to be a repeat-offender. This was actually my third workshop with Katie. I’m not getting tired of her, as a matter of fact, she’s such a power house, she surprises me every time.
I love her contagious artistic energy!

Katie Pasquini Masopust 2-day class at 2014 Road2CA

She got all of us 22 students truly excited about experimenting with watercolor paint, many types of resists, and a variety of imprint making devices.
After the first half, she asked us to use the “cropper” and pick small segments of 4 favorite paintings. This is the hardest fun part.
The longer you look at your painting, the more parts you find which could make a fantastic base design for a quilt. The actual challenge is to make a decision!


Keep in mind, these are only the small cut-outs selected off the much bigger painting. I call the design on top “Mellow”, the design below “Blue”.
But none of my first 5 picks made it to become the big  30″x 26″ B&W copy at Kinko’s.


It needed a 6th design: The circles are just too delicate to pass on. I’m fascinated by the interlacing partial round lines, running on and off the page, and I love how the watercolor merges, but still leaves lots of “negative space” in white.


Next comes the line drawing on matte acetate, of which will be a first enlargement made, followed by the big copy.

2014-01-24 15.10.31

2014-01-24 15.11.37

Excited how it developes even further? Me too. Unfortunately, there is one quilt top under my needle which MUST be quilted within the next week.
I’ll follow up on this design. Promise.

Now, our road trip this year got us to Joshua Tree National Park.

Inspiration piling up everywhere. This for us Northerners almost absurd desert landscape is so stunning beautiful, – just mind-boggling!
I desperately wished I had more time to pull out my watercolor paint and paper. Two days is not bad, but surely not enough for an artist.
As we pulled out from the parking lot after a hike at Hidden Valley, we passed a  big extra-tall van (the type plumbers have), where an elderly lady just set up a painting easel.
Her car was stuffed full, but well organized up the roof with equipment and canvasses.
I totally envied this clearly serious artist.
However, I found out, this very NP has a “Artist-In-Residency” program (AIR). I will be back.


Daily Blog and IQF

The Daily Blog within “The Quilt Show” featured both of my entries in the Art Miniature quilts of the IQF quilt show 2013: Wild Fire and Azzurro.


Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to travel to Houston this year, but I’ve heard all over good things about the 2013 International Quilt Festival.

…will be soon, –  October 4 – 6. Don’t miss it!

Three pieces of my work will be on display:

Ying-Yang, a digitally manipulated and color alternated self portrait. Printed on silk-cotton blend via Spoonflower.com



And Ocean, a 3-D diorama of a jungle to ocean scene, inspired by Susan Else (susanelse.com)



 Campsites & Waterhole is my entry to the 2013 Aussie Challenge of the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum:

Campsites & Waterhole

Campsites & Waterhole

The 3-day festival features an International Show of Juried & Judged quilts, fiber art, and wearable art in Maple Hall and the La Conner Civic Garden Club, both locations within a half-block of the Museum.  The work comes from seven countries, including the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Japan, The Netherlands, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Nineteen U.S. states are represented with the largest group of work coming from right here in Washington State. The city-wide Festival also includes a Quilt Walk, Specialty Vendors, and a Silent Auction.  A $10 donation to the event also includes entry to the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum!  Dates and times for the 2013 Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival are:

          Friday, October 4:  10am-6pm

          Saturday, October 5:  10am-6pm

          Sunday, October 6:  10am-4:30pm

…is always a good thing, even when you think this might be not exactly your style.

It always expands my horizon, gives me new ideas where to go with my quilting.
This is especially true when the class is taught by a fantastic teacher:
Cindy Needham, The Linen Quilter.

Detail of the "French Nun's Quilt"

Detail of the “The French Nun’s Quilt”

She is extremely well prepared, has lots and lots of experience in both, – quilting and teaching, she is very generous with sharing her knowledge, and photographing her samples, – and there are plenty of it.

The class I took was “Quilting Feathers & Background Fillers”. The time we had was well divided into theoretical parts and actual hands-on quilting. Everyone in the class had their Aha-moments, and every single student took home a  practice piece of silk (prepped & provided by Cindy) filled with most varieties of quilting for reference.

Feathers & Background Fillers (35)

Speaking for myself, I sometimes would be a bit “lost in space”.
It gives me something to hold on to, keeps me straight and upright, it works like a skeleton.
A deadline makes me move, get it done, pushes me all the way to the finish,
but also makes my head spin to come up with the best ideas. Which…

…does not always happen easily without some pressure.
The idea to be wide open and able to create “anything under the sun” to me,
feels as I’m out and about, floating in space.
A realistic deadline gives my work gravity and direction.

So, I’ve entered pieces into shows, for many I didn’t have a single stitch of the piece done, sometimes not even a rough sketch.
All I had was just an vague idea in my head where this could carry me.
Especially challenges with spelled out rules are quite good to tests how hard I can push myself.


Themes vary widely, from creating a quilt . . .

  • based on a poem,
  • a song title,
  • color of a crayon, or
  • find variations on a quilt block pattern pulled from a bucket,
  • a grab bag of thrift store fabric finds, mostly not anything cotton-like
  • a paint chip from the hardware store
  • often a piece of specific fabric,
  • make a self-portrait
  • the call for exuberant embellishment,
  • to pick a painting, – as in the case of WINTER. The rules required to use only the color scheme, and nothing of the subject of the original artwork).
A quilt based on the painting "Haus in Wintersonne" (1909) by Gabriele Muenter

A quilt based on the painting “Haus in Wintersonne” by Gabriele Muenter

The quilt WINTER was the result of the painting ‘Haus in Wintersonne’ by Gabriele Münter (Blauer Reiter, 1909)

Detail of stitching and shading

Detail of stitching and shading

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