Crazy Patch of Wool


wool block by Donna

My new best friend, Donna, is making a set of quilt blocks from wool. She’s sewn odd shapes of wool together onto muslin in a crazy patchwork style. Each block is then enhanced with embroidery stitches decorating the seam lines. (Note the beautiful size 8 thread from her supplier, Artfabrik.)


wool block by Donna

And here’s a twist. Donna leaves the labels on the swatches of wool fabric. This is a portable project and a great way to reuse an old wool jacket or skirt to make something warm and cozy. Thanks for sharing your work with us Donna!

Just Checking In

palouse2When we last spoke I was in lovely Mitchell, SD visiting with the South Dakota Quilters and admiring the Corn Palace. But I’ve since moved on and am now in Eastern Washington state with the fine folks of the Patchin People Guild.

palouse1The corn fields of South Dakota were amazing. But the wheat fields of the Palouse are extraordinary! I wish my photos (shot from a car window) could give you a better idea of this vast landscape of the undulating fields of gold. You really must see it first hand.


Wheel Fence in Uniontown, WA

I’ve been well cared for here in Pullman WA but will be moving on again soon. Being a traveling quilt teacher has many perks including meeting new people, making new friends, and seeing wonderful vistas. Thank you quilt makers for enriching my life!

Travel is a Wonder!

cornpalace1One of the advantages of being a traveling quilt teacher is visiting quilt guilds located in exotic places. So imagine my delight when I popped into the Corn Palace in the town of Mitchell while visiting the Quilters of South Dakota!

cornpalace3What a thrill it is to see a larger than life Willy Nelson made from corn and rye. There are 13 different colorways of corn grown for the Corn Palace construction.

cornpalace2And it was great to see that Elvis has finally left the building. Travel is important. It broadens your horizons, inspires you, and gives you joy. Just like a good batch of popcorn.

My Baking Career?

parchmentpaperLooks like I’m about to bake a massive batch of cookies, right? If you believe this, you would be very, very wrong. The last time I baked cookies dinosaurs roamed Illinois. No, this recent supply of parchment paper has a different destiny. It was purchased at my local Costco for your class projects.

stripfusing2See, parchment paper works just like the release paper that comes with fusible web. Used when making fused art quilts, this paper has a silicone coating that releases fused fabrics glued together like this collage of green fabric strips. I am told that parchment paper also releases large chocolate chip cookies that someone else bakes. I hope to meet that person someday.

Rejection: A 12 Step Program for You


Songbird #5 by Laura Wasilowski (REJECTED!)

Two decades ago I made a list of how to deal with rejection when entering quilt shows. And to this day I still get the dreaded rejection letter. REJECTED I tell you! But do I feel rejected? No! I am as happy as a little bird flying home for the night. How did I get this optimistic point of view? I follow this 12 -Step Rejection Recovery Program:

1. Burn the rejection notice.  Rip it up into tiny little pieces and light a match.  As the bad news goes up in flames chant, “There are no bad quilts, just bad eyesight.”

2. Have a day of mourning.  Drape the quilt in black ribbons and remember the good times: cutting the fabric, fusing the little pieces together, and binding the quilt while watching soap operas.  Those were the days.

3. Have a good cry.  Use newly purchased fabric from your local quilt shop to dry your tears.

4. Get a tattoo.  My friend Frieda’s tattoo says, “I love my quilts!”  Make sure to get large type so you can still read it at age 90.

5. Document the entry fees as charitable donations on your tax forms.  Consider yourself a patron of the arts and get a refund as well.

6. Write a tune of lament like my song “Everybody Gets Rejected Sometime”.  I like a song you can dance to or at least shake you fists.

7. Eat chocolate.  The smell of baking brownies always calms me down.  Once I eat a pan-full of gooey chocolate goodies, hurtful memories are completely erased.

8. Complain to your friends.  There is nothing like a good rant to cheer you up.  Make audacious claims of incompetence in the quilt judging system, the crazier the better.

9. Consider a new occupation.  I, for instance, pursued my dream to be a rocket scientist.  Then I realized I was on the wrong trajectory and returned to earth.

10. Buy the quilt show.  If you own the quilt show you can have your quilts on display any time.  Award yourself prizes.

11. Hang the rejected quilt in a prominent spot in your home. Kiss it every morning, pat it on the binding, and tell it how pretty it is.

12. Make a new quilt.  Make something cheerful and colorful like this Songbird returning home. And just like a little bird in flight, you too will be happy.


How to Cut Wiggly Trees

prairielights2Living on the prairie makes you appreciate a good tree line. It assures you that as you approach the horizon you will at least have a tree to hang on to when you reach the edges of the earth. (Us flatlanders are very cautious.)

Therefore I have introduced the Chicago School of Fusing Method of Cutting Wiggly Trees!


  • Cut a 2 inch wide strip of fused fabric on the bias. (The bias is a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric. Bias fabrics don’t fray and will curve when fused.)
  • Using a real sharp pair of scissors, begin cutting the strip in half down the length of the strip.
  • As you cut, wiggly the scissors.
  • Wiggle them up to make one side of the tree.
  • Wiggle them down to make the other side of the tree.
  • Don’t cut through the edge of the strip! You want to keep the strip whole.
  • Save the other side of the strip and use it too.

trees1As you iron the tree line across the horizon, curve the fused strip of fabric. And rejoice in being a flatlander with a tree to hang on to.