Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show, May 2019 (2)

Our rescheduled 33rd annual Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show the first weekend in May was a great success. We had a wonderful array of 200+ quilts and guild member, Vicki Adams was our featured artist. Here’s Vicki in her lovely display area.

Vicki’s immersion in fiber arts began at an early age. Her mother and grandmothers sewed, did embroidery and other handwork and Vicki took to it naturally completing her first embroidered piece at the age of five. She loves knitting, counted cross-stitch, clothing construction, and all kinds of embroidery. She began quilting in 1976 after she spotted a quilt at the local county fair and replicated her own version of it using all her fabric from her bottom dresser drawer. Since then her fabric stash has grown and she’s always finding new techniques to try.

Vicki writes, ” I love sharing my love of quilting and skills with others. One of my greatest joys is sewing baby and doll quilts for our guild’s charity projects.”

The two purses are knitted and then felted, including the large flower. Below is a gorgeous embroidered peacock, which was a project that Vicki inherited when is was barely begun. The detail is exquisite and her choice of frame is perfect for the piece.

Kitsap Quilters’ Guild Show, May 2019 (1)

Our rescheduled Kitsap Quilters’ Guild 33rd Annual Quilt Show was very successful with good attendance and all of the logistics running smoothly. My only entry, Lauret’s Stars, was awarded first place by our peer judges in the Large Pieced Group category. Group quilts are those made by more than one person. For my entry, I did the designing and piecing and the quilt was exquisitely long-arm quilted by Wanda Rains. This quilt was commissioned and I was fortunate that my client allowed me to borrow it from her for the show.

The quilt is king-sized, 105″ x 105″, which is very large. Our guild has a few extra tall quilt stands for the really big quilts and it was great to be able to see it in its entirety. I spent more than 200 hours piecing the quilt over a period of 18 months. My client was extremely patient when life got in the way and my time was eaten up helping to care for my twin grandchildren as well as traveling to teach. I had a push to finish it by February for the show, which was then rescheduled to May because of the snow. Here’s a detailed shot showing the lovely machine quilting and the blue ribbon.

Baby Quilts for Mongolian Newborns (2)

The response to my request for baby quilts for newborns in Mongolia has been fantastic and we have received over 100 quilts! I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the quilting and my church communities for this project. Thank you to you all. Quilts have come not just from my local area, but from as far afield as CA,IL and OR. We’ve also received some crocheted baby blankets. Special thanks goes to Wanda Rains, who long-arm machine quilted 50 of the quilts. On Sunday we covered the pews at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island, WA with quilts for our 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services and the parishioners laid their hands on them for a special blessing. Everyone was delighted to see the quilts and the church looked especially beautiful.

These quilts will be packed in boxes this week to be shipped in a container leaving for Mongolia next week, (6th May, 2019). They should arrive in early July. We will display them at the 3rd International Mongolian Quilt Show at the State Department Store in Ulaanbaatar on 1st-3rd August. This quilt show will celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Mongolian Quilting Center. After the quilt show, we will travel in the Mongolian countryside and distribute the quilts to babies in rural hospitals.


Baby quilts arriving here after tomorrow and before the end of June, will be carried in our suitcases when we go to Mongolia in July.

5th Grade Quilt Project (2)


Earlier this year, I spent time at Chestnut Hill Academy in Bellevue working with 5th Grade students to make two quilts. This blog features one, The Rain Forest, and my blog last week featured the other, The Ocean. In their science classes they were studying different habitats and each child selected an animal for detailed study. They made line drawings of their animals on 10″ quilt blocks and then spent 2-3 weeks hand embroidering.


We were delighted with the results and the enthusiasm with which the kids embraced this project. The embroidery was challenging for some, but they all enjoyed it and persevered. When the blocks were completed, I took my sewing machine to school and worked individually with each child as they machine stitched the block frames. They were proud of their work and so were we. Here are a couple of detailed shots.

The children determined the block layout and decided to arrange it according the height of rain forest which each animal occupied, hence the canopy dwellers are at the top of the quilt and the ground dwellers at the bottom. I assembled the quilt top and Wanda Rains machine quilted it. The quilt was auctioned at a school fundraiser the proceeds of which go towards special projects and field trips to enhance the curriculum. The two quilts raised just over $5,000! For me, the educational value was enormous and the money generated at the auction was just the icing on the cake.

5th Grade Quilt Project (1)

Earlier this year, I spent time at Chestnut Hill Academy in Bellevue working with 5th Grade students to make two quilts. This blog features one, The Ocean, and my blog next week will feature the second, The Rainforest. In their science classes they were studying different habitats and each child selected an animal for detailed study. They made line drawings of their animals on 10″ quilt blocks and then spent 2-3 weeks hand embroidering.

We were delighted with the results and the enthusiasm with which the kids embraced this project. The embroidery was challenging for some, but they all enjoyed it and persevered. When the blocks were completed, I took my sewing machine to school and worked individually with each child as they machine stitched the block frames. They were proud of their work and so were we. Here are a couple of detailed shots.

The children determined the block layout and decided to arrange it according the depth of ocean which each animal occupied, hence the surface dwellers are at the top of the quilt and the deeper dwellers at the bottom. I assembled the quilt top and Wanda Rains machine quilted it. The quilt was auctioned at a school fundraiser the proceeds of which go towards special projects and field trips to enhance the curriculum. The two quilts raised just over $5,000! For me, the educational value was enormous and the money generated at the auction was just the icing on the cake.

Handy Sewing Bag

When I was teaching in Wenatchee, Eastern Washington last autumn, one of my students had a handy zipped bag with pouches for storing quilting tools and notions.

Inside there are several divisions for keeping items separate, including four zipped compartments so that rotary cutters, spools of thread, pins etc may be kept contained.

These bags are made by Pat Lannoye of Malaga, WA and are available for purchase. You may contact Pat at plannoye@msn.com.

Baby Quilts for Newborns in Mongolia

In August, Elaine Percival, Barbara Peterson and I will be traveling with Selenge Tserendash in rural Mongolia after assisting at the Third International Mongolian Quilt Show celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Mongolian Quilting Center in Ulaanbaatar. We plan to visit rural hospitals and take baby quilts to the maternity wards to give as gifts to mothers for their new babies.

Would you like to make a baby quilt to send to Mongolia? We are hoping to make 50-60 quilts, so would love your help. The quilts should be completed by the end of May and will be sent to Mongolia in a container in early June, taking about a month to get there. Any late arrivals will be carried in our suitcases, with the final deadline of 10th July.

The recommended size is in the range: 32-38” x 36-48”, square or rectangular. The Mongolians love brightly colored prints, which of course are unobtainable in Mongolia. Please contact me if you are interested in participating in this project. If you live locally, (near Bainbridge Island, WA), and need help getting started, you may visit my studio and I’d be happy to supply the fabric and a simple pattern.

Update, 18th April, 2019

The response to this project has been amazing! Thank you to all of you who have contributed baby quilts. Our goal of 50-60 has already been exceeded! The container for Mongolia is actually leaving in early May, and not June as stated above. The completed quilts will receive a special blessing on 28th April before being packed in boxes to go into the container. They should reach Mongolia by mid-July. They will be displayed in the quilt show before we distribute them to the babies. Any baby quilts that I receive after 1st May will travel in our suitcases. Thanks again for your support.

Matthew’s Quilt – a new work in progress

I’ve begun my next large project, a quilt for my nephew. I have five nephews and nieces and am making quilts for all of them for their 21st birthday gifts. Matthew’s is the fourth, and since he’s already turned 25, I’m running behind schedule! He looked at my website to see what kind of quilt he’d like, and was really drawn to the Gateway to Mongolia pattern because it looked Celtic. Who knows where this pattern originated, but it has been around in Mongolia since before the era of Genghis Khan 800 years ago. In Mongolia, the Olzii is painted on the doors of gers (yurts) to bring long life and prosperity to the inhabitants. It also drives away wild beasts and evil spirits. It is one of the Tibetan Buddhist special symbols, a never-ending knot signifying the eternal universe and continual cycles of life and death. The pattern is indeed typical of many Celtic under-over designs and I’ve also heard it called a Gordian Knot. A few years ago, I went to an exhibit of Islamic art in London at the British Museum. There was an Abyssinian tile from the fourth century with this pattern, so it clearly has significance in many parts of the world and has been around for a long time.

I achieved the woven effect by using a color gradation of fabrics on the large on-point central Olzii block. The simple Olziiis surrounding the center field are 12″ blocks and will be trimmed slightly to fit. I will sew another orange strip around the outside and an additional pieced border yet to be determined. Watch this space in a couple of months for the finished quilt….

Rotary Cutter Maintenance

I’ve just changed the blade in my rotary cutter and oh my, what a difference! Whenever I do this, I think to myself that I should have done it weeks ago. As I tell my students, we spend hundreds of dollars on fabric, but we balk at replacing rotary cutter blades and sewing machine needles. This doesn’t make any sense. Ergonomically and for ease of use, having a sharp blade is the way to go. With a new blade, fabric cuts are like cutting through butter. They are clean and can be made without applying much downward force on the rotary cutter.

When I’m teaching, I’m surprised how often I come across rotary cutters that are incorrectly assembled. I’ve had students say to me things like, “I’ve just put in a new blade, so I don’t know why it’s not working very well”. Make sure that you put it back together in the right order with the large black circle in the center on the top and the washer and nut on the back.