Kate Hunter, Quilt Artist and Teacher

On my teaching trip to Texas in March, my host at the Vereins Quilters’ Guild in Fredericksburg was Kate Hunter. I stayed at Kate’s home for three nights, enjoying her kind hospitality and seeing her quilts. Kate has a degree in mechanical engineering and worked at Boeing in the Pacific Northwest until she retired about six years ago. After many years of writing airplane repair instructions and teaching other engineers, she has changed her focus to designing quilts and teaching quilters.

Kate’s specialties are quilts inspired by travel, wall hangings that capture travel memories, and techniques that can be used to capture the travel themes. Many quilters enjoy travelling and collect fabric, postcards and a variety of souvenirs as well as taking photographs along the way. Kate teaches how to use this memorabilia to create a travel memory quilt. Here are a couple of small examples.

In this larger piece, Kate has created a map of the area around Fredericksburg and added the local highlights. She uses a variety of techniques and materials including piecing the background, applique, photos on fabric, couching and embroidery. The cowboy boots are ultra-suede with reverse applique to create the colored patterns.

Kate travels to teach and would be delighted to come to your area. Check her website to contact her. It’s always fun to see how other quilters organize their studios. Kate is good friends with Lois Hallock, a quilter with whom she used to work at Boeing. Lois travels and teaches quilters about organizing their quilting space and making good ergonomic choices. She sold Kate on storage boxes for supplies and projects. Kate has these nicely labelled and stacked above her shelves. She also has useful and attractive containers for storing fat quarters.



Valli & Kim Quilt Store, Dripping Springs, TX

Last month I visited Valli and Kim, located in Dripping Springs between Austin and Fredericksburg, when I was transferring from the Brazos Bluebonnet Quilt Guild in Bryan to the Vereins Quilt Guild in Fredericksburg. It was a great meeting point and we spent an enjoyable time perusing this colorful and vibrant store.

The building looks industrial from the outside, but the inside is  painted in bright colors making an attractive backdrop for the numerous quilt samples and displays of racks of fabrics. The place has a modern, fresh feel appealing to both the younger new quilters and the more seasoned of us.

There are large collections of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, solids and more as well as a wide selection of notions, books and patterns. This t-shirt amused me!  They have a long arm quilting machine which was in use when I was there and they are also Handi-Quilter full-service dealers. There are classes including several for kids and a summer sewing camp for kids. I recommend visiting if you are in the area, or you can go on-line.

Lyndon B. Johnson Quilt

During my teaching trip to Texas last month, one of my kind hosts took me to LBJ’s Ranch also known as the Texas White House. We enjoyed a walk in the grounds and a tour of the house. This quilt was hanging in one of the education rooms.

It looks a little tired and dated, but is of interest because the blocks reflect important events at the time that it was made. For “Operation Stitch Quilt Project” as it was called, the blocks were made and donated by staff and volunteers associated with the Lyndon B. Johnson State and National Parks, and the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association. Each donor was asked to produce a block that depicts something of importance to them regarding the Texas Hill Country and/or the President who made this park a reality, the former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The quilt display at the park was presented for public viewing in March 1994. Here are some detailed shots of the blocks.

There was a book accompanying the quilt, naming all the makers of the blocks and the hand quilters. I recognized some of the fabrics as old friends from my early days of quilting.



Teaching trip to TX

I spent two weeks in March teaching at four TX quilt guilds. Spring was definitely springing in TX, where they had unusually warm weather in February, combined with enough rain to make for a bumper crop of gorgeous bluebonnets. Here I am in Bryan, surrounded by these beauties. I loved the brilliant swaths of blue along the highways, then patches of rich orange Indian paintbrushes and areas of delicate pink primroses. Of course, time with quilters always involves visiting the local quilt stores and I relished several on the trip. Here are some lovely TX wildflower fabrics sold in most of the stores there, (check at a later date for blogs on the TX stores). These are so appropriate for this area.

My first engagement was with the Greater San Antonio Quilters’ Guild. I taught my Op-Art Kaleidoscope workshop the day before the guild meeting. Several of my students continued piecing their blocks and quilt tops at home that evening, and here they are putting on a nice display during “Show and Tell” at the meeting. After the meeting, I did a half-day UFO class discussing quilt design and problem projects. The next stop was the Brazos Bluebonnet Quilt Guild in Bryan where I taught my Bargello Quilts with a Twist class.

From there I transferred to the Vereins Quilt Guild in Fredericksburg and The Hill Country Quilt Guild in Kerrville. In Fredericksburg, my students worked on precision piecing of triangles to make Sawtooth Star Bear’s Paw blocks. Here are some partially completed blocks. My final class in Kerrville was the Gateway to Mongolia. In all classes, it was such fun to see the variety of fabric choices and results.

Visiting four quilt guilds made this trip logistically complex, but with careful planning and collaboration all went smoothly. As I was transferred between the groups, guild members took excellent care of me and made me feel welcome wherever I went. I taught five workshops and they were all different.  After packing the essentials of the quilts for my trunk shows and workshop materials in two suitcases and my hand-luggage, I only had 12 lbs left for two weeks’ worth of personal effects. Both suitcases were within less than a pound of the maximum 50 lbs. I sent five packages of books, patterns and Mongolian items for sale by mail in advance. So, lots of stuff!

It’s always inspiring to see the work of other quilters and I enjoy the “Show and Tell” at the guild meetings. I’m blown away by the talent and also the generosity of quilters who support many philanthropic organizations with gifts of quilts stitched with love and care. Guild members come together to make opportunity quilts as fundraisers for their guilds, the proceeds of which pay for education and the likes of me coming to lecture and teach. Here is the beautiful red and white raffle quilt made by the Hill Country Quilt Guild in Kerrville. The theme for their next quilt show, taking place on Memorial Day Weekend, is “A New Twist on an Old Favorite: Two Color Quilts” at which this quilt will be displayed. I am drawn to this traditional classic look and love this quilt. Talking of the generosity of quilters, I’d like to thank the members of the guilds of San Antonio, Bryan, Fredericksburg and Kerrville for their incredible support for the Mongolian Quilting Center. We raised a whopping $3,650!

Fabrics Unlimited, Lake Havasu, AZ

In January, when I taught in Lake Havasu, my quilter hostess took me to the local quilt stores. Two were located in homes (see earlier blog on Monica’s Quilts) and were only open a couple of days a week. Fabrics Unlimited is a regular commercial store open daily except on Sundays and Mondays. Their address is 2089 W Acoma Blv, #1, which is easy to find. The store is well stocked with not only quilting supplies, but general sewing supplies, sewing machines, notions, fabric paints, buttons, books and patterns, and a wealth of useful items for a variety of crafts.

They have a large classroom which was busy when I visited. Gina Perks was teaching a long-arm quilting class as part of the Quilting at the Lake event at which I taught. The students did classroom exercises and then gathered around the long-arm machine where Gina demonstrated.

This quilt store is extensive with several areas to explore. They have the products attractively displayed, combining some antique furnishings with more utilitarian shelving.

I encourage you to check it out if you are in the area.

Quilting with Kids – 5th Grade Project

In January and February, I made several trips to Chestnut Hill Academy in Bellevue to quilt with the 5th Graders in collaboration with my daughter who is their science and math teacher. I loved the fresh enthusiasm of these kids who embraced both hand and machine sewing and were so excited to see the two quilts come together.

There are two classes of 15 kids and each class made a quilt. We cut out 45 hearts backed with fusible webbing, ensuring that every kid had a nice variety from which to pick. This is where having a good fabric stash comes in handy! I included some really funky fabrics and was surprised that the kids thought that they were cool, e.g. spoons and forks, clocks, and water melons. We fused the hearts and then taught the kids how to hand blanket stitch around them. For some this was really challenging, but they persevered and everyone finished.

We gave them a choice of fabrics for the corner triangles on the blocks and I took two sewing machines into the classroom working with two kids at a time for the sewing. They practiced on graph paper to get the feel for the stitching speed and sewing in a straight line before sewing the triangles.We made color photocopies of all the blocks and put them up on the bulletin board. The kids each received a copy of their block for their work portfolio too. After I had assembled the quilt tops and we had basted them, I went back into the classroom with my sewing machine and worked one-on-one as each child machine quilted around their heart. Then, I finished the quilts.

The quilts will were auctioned in early March at the annual school fundraiser. Here are some detailed shots.  I have to smile every time I see the heart with a grinning dinosaur and the cartoon eyes in corners of the block.


The kids were very enthusiastic about the project and excited to see the finished quilts. It was a rewarding experience for me and I’m really proud of the job they did. I encourage you to quilt with kids, girls and boys, to keep this beloved tradition alive and to have the joy of completing projects together.


Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show – Maggie’s picks

I’m always drawn to the traditional pieced patterns, so it’s no surprise that three of my four top picks from our recent Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show fall into that category. Along with the attraction of the designs, these quilts display excellent use of color, value and outstanding workmanship.

Terry Loy made this gorgeous quilt, Georgetown (My Version), using a pattern by Jen Kingwell. She was having so much fun that she made twice as many of the circular pieces than needed! There are four different white fabrics and many Kaffe fabrics. The beautiful quilting by Marybeth O’Halloran enhances the crisp bright look of this lively, cheerful quilt.

This intricate Log Cabin is stunning. Snake River, was made by Betty Ekman who admits to finding the small piecing challenging! She used a pattern by Judy Martin. It was quilted by Pat Sloan. I love the use of the beige fabrics in the background of the design. These give the quilt a wonderful warm look. All the small red pieces give the illusion of curves in the quilt and the scallop look inside the piano keys border is extremely effective.

Here’s a classic blue and white Feathered Star, entitled Feathered Stars, made by Mary Polensky and adapted from Marsh McCloskey books. The outstanding machine quilting, (which earned the quilt, the Best Machine Quilting in Show award), was done by Jacque Noard.  Jacque made full use of the setting squares to enhance this precisely pieced quilt with beautiful quilting patterns. It is a gem.

My final pick for this blog is an applique quilt, Piece O’Drama, made by Wanda Rains from a pattern by Piece O’Cake Designs. I’m drawn to this piece because of Wanda’s fabulous choice of fabrics. Firstly, the dark background makes the floral designs in the blocks look stunning. Secondly, the fabrics used in the flowers and leaves include unusual beautiful prints that I wouldn’t think of as prime candidates for applique blocks. Finally, the choice of sashing fabric brilliantly frames the blocks and they look gorgeous. I love this quilt.

Fussy Cut Wonders

Last week my blog featured a quilter, Ann Trujillo, whose beautiful quilts were show-cased in a special exhibit at our Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show. Two more quilts displayed at the show and illustrated here were also made by Ann, who thrives on complex, detailed projects. Millefiori-style quilts have become popular recently. Their amazing kaleidoscopic designs are made up of several English paper piecing shapes in which the fabric is often fussy cut to create spectacular results. When fabric is fussy cut, a particular motif or section of pattern is selected for the patchwork piece. Repeated identical pieces used in stars, hexagons, or other shapes generate wonderful patterns. Millefiori (Italian: [milleˈfjoːri]) is defined as a glasswork technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware. The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers).

This quilt, Dance of the Dragonflies, took Ann a year to hand-piece and was quilted by Marybeth O’Halloran. The quilt is stunning from a distance, (the overall photo doesn’t do it justice as it was located in a dark spot), but there is so much more when you get up close to look at the all the detailed work. The designs formed by the combinations of the fabrics, many with fussy-cut motifs, are awesome. The pattern came from the book, New Hexagons, by Katje Marek and Ann was inspired by another guild member, Andrea Rudman, who was piecing beautiful sections and started a small group of quilters who met to share this passion.

Remembering Donna, was made by Ann to honor one of our guild’s founding members, Donna Endresen, who passed away last year and is missed by us all. Donna loved reproduction fabrics and loved flowers. Take a look at the two fabrics and note that all the centers of the hexi flowers were fussy cut from the blue fabric and all the background fabrics in between the stars were cut from the beige material. It’s beautiful.

Ann used the pattern, Garden of Fortgetfulness, to make this quilt and it was quilted by Gladys Schulz.


Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show – Ann Trujillo, Featured Artist

At our local Kitsap Quilters‘ Guild’s recent show, our featured artist was guild member Ann Trujillo. Ann has been been quilting for about 20 years, but has been involved in crafts such as embroidery and sewing doll’s clothes for much longer. She has won many awards for her colorful intricate quilts and the booth looked beautiful with her magnificent array. She loves to try different techniques and complex patterns.

Ann has a hard time pinning down her favorite technique because she loves it all. She writes: “For me, the slow and steady progress on an intricate project is like a mediation. I love puzzles and complex things that take a long time to do! I love to learn new things, try different things, and challenge myself to never say it’s enough. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!”

This bird quilt is a project in progress, with birds from the book Bird Dance by Sue Spargo. Ann inherited vintage lace from her mother and decided to use it in her blocks. She is now adding more beads and embroidery and planning the border. These birds take on their own characters with all the wonderful embellishment.

This luscious water-lily quilt, Emerging Beauty, was designed in collaboration with Ann’s sister, Mary Hennington, who painted the oil painting. Ann took a photo of the painting and enlarged it to life size and used this to create the pattern. The quilt is hand appliqued and the silk is hand painted. Marybeth O’Halloran machine quilted it.

Ann is generous with her time and talents and loves to share, teach and encourage new quilters. She finds helping quilters to achieve their goals very satisfying. Once a week she volunteers, teaching quilting and sewing at the Washington Correctional Center for Women in Purdy. Last year, their charity program produced over 2,500 items for the less fortunate. In addition to quilts, they make knitted items, stockings for our military, food bowls for the hungry, backpacks for kids, and much more. Ann works part-time at the quilt store, Quilted Strait, in Port Gamble, where she gives customers a warm welcome and  puts her skills to great use helping them with their fabric selections.




The Making of a Guild Quilt Show

My local quilt guild, Kitsap Quilters’ Guild, held their annual show last weekend. It was successful and everything ran smoothly. I’m blown away when I consider what it takes to put on an event like this with all the volunteers and the hours they contribute. Our Quilt Show Chair, Gail Mann, did an outstanding job with excellent planning and communication with all the various quilt show committee people. This was our 31st show and our experienced members know what to do. Our quilt hanging techniques have improved dramatically in the 25 years that I have been with the guild and the drop-off check in, and take-down procedures are slick. The pictures below illustrate some of the many components of our show.

First of all there’s the quilts! We had 199 in the show, plus a special exhibit from our talented featured artist, Ann Trujillo. I will post more pictures in subsequent blogs.

The first quilt right by the entrance which captivated the attention of show-goers was our opportunity quilt, Glacial Stars, designed by yours truly, pieced by me with major help from other trusty guild members, and beautifully machine quilted by Gladys Schulz, (more on this one in another blog). I’m proud to say that over 7,000 chances have been sold. Also near the entrance door, there was a welcoming membership information table.

Here’s the lucky recipient of two of the silent auction baskets. There were over 60 baskets containing items donated by guild members and local businesses. This is quite a fundraiser for the guild and putting together the baskets was a tremendous amount of work. We also had a guild boutique, where members could sell unwanted fabric, books, half-done projects etc with 10% going to the guild. The other picture shows some of the many quilts made for our Kitsap Snuggles program and two quilters busy at work piecing quilts. The quilts are wrapped around dolls and stuffed animals and distributed throughout Kitsap County to children in crisis and children with cancer.

Of course, the quilt show would not be complete without our vendors giving everyone the opportunity to go shopping!

I hope that you will be able to support quilt shows in your area and that you will express you appreciation to the volunteers who you meet and who make it all happen.