Silk Cactus?


A cactus taking shape made with Scattered Seed and Sheaf Stitches.

Soon I’ll be teaching a new class called Free Stitched Embroidery Landscapes in Sisters, Oregon. And I’m hastily making more landscape samples for my students like this cactus on silk fabric. Well, I say hastily but there is nothing hasty about hand embroidery.

It’s not the stitching that takes the time, it’s all those darned decisions!


More cactus shapes made with the Blanket Stitch.

Decisions like: what color thread, what size thread, what stitch, what stitch to combine that stitch with and what color thread for that stitch? Every time I take a stitch I think, I can always take this out if I don’t like it. It’s all that keeps me calm and stitching.

Sold! And On It’s Way


Young Forest (25″ w x 36″ h) by Laura Wasilowski

I’m happy to announce that this quilt, Young Forest, has been sold and is on it’s way to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. It joins a large collection of textile art that I hope to see there someday. Thank you for your support art collectors!

A Guess on Thread Sizes


Size 8 Pearl Cotton Thread (left) with 6 Stranded Floss (right)

Here’s a question: how many strands of floss thread would equal a specific size of pearl cotton thread? Floss thread comes with 6 strands of threads bundled together. You can separate the bundle and stitch with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or all 6 threads together. Pearl cotton thread is not divisible. You use it as a “single”. 

I don’t dye floss anymore but I’ve tried to compare my hand-dyed pearl cotton thread sizes with strands of floss. Following is a chart to help you compare the two types of threads. (This is just a guess, I have no real way of measuring the diameters of the threads.)

Scattered Seed Stitch

 scatteredseed2I’m really liking this stitch in the center of the cactus above. The Scattered Seed Stitch is my version of the traditional seed stitch (where sets of short parallel stitches travel across the fabric). Being an undisciplined stitcher, I just throw individual stitches all over the place. It’s more akin to the Straight Stitch but I like the name, “Scattered Seed Stitch”.

scatteredseed1It is a texture building stitch suitable for filling in larger areas. The most difficult part of making the Scattered Seed Stitch is keeping it random. Try not to have the stitches form a pattern by repeating stitch angles near each other. Think of the stitch angles in terms of an hour hand on a clock. This gives you 6 different directions to make stitches. I make my stitches about 1/4 – 1/2 inch long and try not to drive myself crazy watching the clock.

Quilting Down Under



I’m happy to announce that the jet lag from my trip to the Australasian Quilt Conference in Melbourne, Australia is slowly receding. It was wonderful to be with the Aussie quilters, who are both friendly and welcoming.  But that 16 hour flight (plus 4 hours to LAX) is hard on this old quilter.

Here you see the art quilts made by students in the Tiny Homes class. Aren’t they fun? This class is always an adventure and a surprise. You never know what people can imagine in fabric. Thank you quilters of Australia!