Pine Island Embroidery

alaskapinesRecently I returned from teaching on a cruise to Alaska. The scenery was amazing and I took dozens of photos. Alas, this is not one of the better ones. But in reviewing the photos, this image gave me an idea.

alaskapines2Why not do a landscape embroidery featuring an island of pine trees in a bay? It happened that I had this piece of silk with me along with my embroidery kit. So I started this on the ship near Sitka, Alaska. Nothing can compete with the real thing but I’m looking forward to the challenge of stitching this design. Here you see the tree trunks awaiting foliage, earth, and rocky shore. Look for more developments in the future.

Sailing Along


Pretty Planet #11 by Laura Wasilowski

 I know nothing about sailboats except that a fast moving boom can knock you overboard. (Ask me how I know.) But when I made this Pretty Planet quilt, I imagined sailing in friendly waters with a tropical breeze…while wearing a huge life vest.


Pretty Planet #11 by Laura Wasilowski

That’s the beauty of making art, it takes you places you’ll never go.

Look at What You Can Do


Pieced quilt by Diane.

Diane made this super quilt with some of my hand dyed fabrics called Parakeet. Isn’t it beautiful! I haven’t made a pieced quilt in years. But when you see work like this, it is so inspiring. Many of you create lovely pieces like Diane’s using my fabric and I’d love to see them. Please send me a picture and I’ll feature you on the blog too.

Thanks, Diane, for sharing your work with us.

Top Fusing Tips


When I teach a class, the first thing we do is go over the Chicago School of Fusing Rules of Etiquitte. These rules about making fused art quilts are based upon a lifetime of fusing mistakes. I’ve broken every one of them

Want to be a good fuser and not break the rules?

Here are my top fusing tips:

–  Work with fusible web that gives you the best results. I suggest Pellon Wonder Under #805, Vlisofix, Soft Fuse, Appli-Web Plus, or Misty Fuse. Other brands may gum up your needle or sink into the fabric and leave a gridded shadow on the fabric.

–  Use fabric where the color goes all the way through the fabric. In raw edge fusing you see the edges of the fabric shapes. Fabrics with a white back will have a distracting white edge around each shape.

–  Wash fabric before fusing to remove sizing. Sizing or starches on fabric interfere with bonding.

–  Fuse the fabric according to the manufacturers directions by gliding the iron across the fabric (about 5-7 seconds in each spot). Don’t place the iron or you miss areas.

–  Let the fabric cool then take all the paper off. Do not cut shapes with paper on them. If you leave the paper on the fabric and cut out a shape you may fray the fabric when you remove the paper.

–  Use sharp tools when you cut out the fabric to get clean crisp edges. Dull tools fray fabric shapes.

– Keep clean. Protect your iron and ironing surface from the glue by working on silicone release paper, parchment paper, or a Teflon sheet. Clean your iron regularly.

– Apply your quilt top to the NON-scrim side of the batting. Scrim can ripple the quilt. You may have to test your batting by fusing a corner of the quilt to the batt. If it ripples, take it off and put the quilt on the other side of the batting.

– And most importantly don’t expose the glue to too much heat from the iron. Holding the iron in place for too long kills the glue. It burns into your fabric making it stiff and hard to stitch through. Fuse-tack elements into place for 3-5 seconds. Then steam set the quilt top to the batting for about 10 seconds in each spot to set the glue.

Woolly Bird Tutorial #10


The head of my bird stitched on wool needed a little more emphasis so I added another row of Outline Stitches around the edges with a light green thread. We’ll use that same stitch to make a triangle for the beak and fill it in with rows of the Outline Stitch. This is a fancy bird so you may want to add three Bullion Knots with French Knots at the tip to make the bird’s crest.


Fill in the wool background fabric with easy stitchery like swirls of the Running Stitch. This give it that Starry Night kind of look. (Thank you Vincent Van Gogh!)


To complete your woolly bird, finish the fabric edges with a Blanket Stitch. Thank you for joining me during this tutorial and please send me images of what you’ve made. ( Now sing a little birdsong of happiness!