My Family- and Quilting-Filled Memorial Day Weekend Recap (And Free Fabric Giveaway!)

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend!

I partook in my 21st B.F.R (Bolton Family Reunion). Since the Boltons took pity on me in 1991 when I was  a junior at Boston College from San Francisco stranded in Boston over Thanksgiving (which happened to also be the time of their BFR), I have been fortunate to attend every BFR since. This is a very, very special family…

A family that indulges in celebrations, including Memorial Day.

A very patriotic bunch…

Each year the BFR is held in a scenic New England locale, this time in the Sunday River region of Maine. It was so gorgeous. I miss mountains as part of my daily landscape, so I just really enjoyed the beauty of Maine.

And covered bridges, too…

On the big day of the BFR lobster celebration, most of the men can be found sporting BFR collared shirts (every year the shirt color changes) manning the steamer and lobster pots.

The first course is a tasty steamer repast. This year we enjoyed wine with my in-laws on the label.

I have always tried to find a way to bring in quilting/ crafting to the BFR. In 2010 I poured almost my entire studio onto my backseat of my car so I could introduce my nieces and nephews to quilting…

And I got them going on my Bernina!

This year, however, coming from Houston with only carry-on luggage, I couldn’t bring anything to stitch or craft with the kids. But the first day I was itching to do something so I went to the nearest quilt store in Newry, Maine, which was a bed and breakfast that had a quilt store in the backroom. The clerk told me that the owner was out of town and she seemed  a little stressed I wanted to go back there. She asked, “Um, do you know what you may want?” And I responded that I’m sure I could find my way around and get something.

And look what I found!

Polka-dot fabrics!

As well as the Clover yo-yo tool! I had been curious about this tool (which proved very easy to use), so I thought it would be a great weekend activity: to make polka-dot yo-yos. I am not a huge fan of yo-yos, but polka-dot yo-yos are a different matter all together!

Imagine my surprise and glee when I learned my fabrics matched the women’s BFR shirts. I wish I had made yo-yo necklaces in advance!

All in all a good time. Lots of family down time with some stitching thrown in.

Johnny, my godson, posing with me.

I hope you enjoyed a fantastic weekend. In honor of Memorial Day, I thought it would be timely to give away some more fabric from Sample Spree from this past Spring Quilt Market. I was very delighted with this new line of “Bella” fabrics distributed with Windham.I will be honest; I want to keep this fabric because it is so whimsical and fun, and I have a hundred ideas for it in a quilt. However, I know it will go to a good home if I give it away.

All you have to do is answer the following question and I will pick a winner randomly on Thursday.

Question: Did you incorporate any quilting in your Memorial Day weekend? If you didn’t have time, it’s ok. Be honest and tell us what you did!

I have read through all of the responses from my last question about studio space and will post something about those later along with some pictures of my new studio. In the meantime, congratulations to Becky Greene! You were randomly selected to win the Riley Blake jelly roll. Please email me your mailing address to

2012 Spring Quilt Market Report (Pt. II) & Sample Spree Fabric Giveaway!

Now that I’m home and have caught up on a little rest after Quilt Market, I thought I’d share more pictures and final thoughts! There were some pretty clear trends this spring:

The elephant in the room: elephants are a mammoth trend this spring as they were not only the feature display in the Michael Miller Fabrics booth (above), but on countless fabric lines and patterns.

Another trend:

Beach- and nautical-themed fabrics and patterns were everywhere. Pat Bravo’s booth (above) also  happened to win 1st Place for Best Booth for a Double Booth.

Oh, if I only owned a boat or a house in Cape Cod! I adore this nautical-themed fabric line and booth display by  Sarah Jane Studios!

Another trend: Splashes and sprays of color! Above: Art Gallery Fabrics won Best Booth for Merchandising. I am not surprised in the least.

Black and white fabrics were hot, too, and the Alexander Henry Fabrics booth was bustling the entire show. I don’t know which came first: the mustache on John (above) from Alexander Henry or the mustache-themed fabric. Nevertheless, both the mustache fabric and the mustache on the man made me smile, and I wasn’t alone!

Who doesn’t love colorful bolts of fabrics stacked on top of one another? I love these nature and field study-themed fabrics by Birch Fabrics.

This retro couch by Melody Miller may be one of the cutest I have ever seen. I have just the perfect spot for it at the top of my stairs in my home. (Hey, a girl can dream…)

Another angle of the eye candy in Melody’s booth. See the elephant pillow above? Elephants are indeed replacing the owl trend. (Although I did spot a few owls on the show floor.)

Quirky variations on the basic polka-dots were spotted everywhere. These Seven Islands totes feature deer sporting glasses.

Other trends included barnyard animals, zebras, the chevron pattern, and of course…the modern quilt aesthetic was everywhere.

More things I liked:

Check out this extra special advent calendar by the Australian-based business Don’t Look Now! I love how you can stuff a handful of treats, letters, and goodies in each of the day’s pockets.

I finally found and purchased a compact and attractive sewing cabinet for my home studio- the Sewnatra black sewing cabinet by Arrow. I adore how the shutter door gives it a contemporary feel.

Above shows the table partially opened. Since I usually work fairly small, this table will do well for the quilts I make. The cabinet portion swings out so I can sit at my machine, and there are spool holders on the inside of the door.

Bikes and doggies! What a cute quilt pattern by Buttons and Bees.

More bike-themed quilts. The above quilt features needlepoint designs by Lilac Lane LLC.

The whimsical and folksy creations from Such Designs always prove cheerful.

And speaking of cheerful, I was able to grab a quick snap with my friend and former colleague, Helen Gregory. It was so good to see her, if only briefly.

Fabric Giveaway from Sample Spree!

So who wants a jelly roll of “Seaside” by October Afternoon of Riley Blake Designs? All you have to do is answer the following question and I will randomly pick a winner on Monday, Memorial Day.

Question: What does your studio space look like? Is it a guest bedroom? A closet? Please describe your space, and if you have a link with pictures on your blog or website, please  share the link in your comment!

2012 Spring Quilt Market Report!

As I write this, we are at the halfway mark of Day Two at Spring Quilt Market, and the show is proving to be so much fun…and busy!

Above: People on their way to Sample Spree, the event that opens the night before Quilt Market, where buyers, retailers, and other quilt professionals who pre-registered for Quilt Market can get their fabric-loving fingers on the newest fabric lines, notions, and gadgets. The event did not begin until 8:00 PM but we saw people lining up as early as 2:00!

Um…I went a little nuts at Sample Spree. (I think my bag weighed 30 pounds.) I bought Kona solid jelly rolls, stacks of Basic Grey fats from Moda, a HUGE pile of fabric from Seven Islands, and beautiful new prints from Windham. As much as I am tempted to keep all of this for myself, I am going to give some away on my blog, plus some of my Moda fabrics I’ll ship to my mom. (Happy Pre-Birthday, Mom!)

I am always eager to see what Alexander Henry Fabrics will display in their booth, and I thought this upholstered chair installation was so clever! And wouldn’t two of these chairs look splendid in my living room with my newly upholstered stools? I have nudged to see if they would sell any to me. I doubt it, but I must get some of these black and white prints to upholster some chairs.

When this Riley Blake chevron fabric hits the quilts stores I am going to buy yards of this stuff, and in every color. Wouldn’t it be a great print for borders and sashing?

Be still my heart…there is a cruiser on the floor! I was very tempted to leave a note that said “Be right back!” and take it for a spin but thought better of it. Don’t you love the tote basket and little fabric purse under the seat? Hemma Design has patterns for those…just sayin’.

Speaking of patterns, I found these origami-style quilts by Carolyn Friedlander quite charming!

Love the large quilt, too.

OK, let’s make this a multiple choice quiz and see how well you know your Westminster Fibers designers. Which fabric designer’s booth do you think I am in?

A. Anna Maria Horner

B. Kaffe Fassett

C. Denyse Schmidt

If you chose C, Denyse Schmidt, pat yourself on the back! I love those piles of those brightly hued quilts and couldn’t help but think how great they would look stored in my new sofa console. This is the exact look I am going for.

Man Cave Alert! Wouldn’t you be tempted to spend more time with your guy in his Man Cave and sit through a professional wrestling match if you could cozy up his playroom with some quilts? Crazy Old Ladies take the frill out of quilting by devising their “Geared for Guy” quilt pattern line. Pretty clever!

Last but not least, if you have followed my blog you may know I am a huge animal lover, including fictional furry friends. Imagine my glee when I saw that Chewbacca decided to come to Quilt Market to celebrate the new Star Wars line with Camelot Cottons. I love you, Chewy!

More pictures and stories on Quilt Market tomorrow but I am remiss in picking a winner from this past Monday’s giveaway question. Congratulations to Mary Brown! Please email me at with your shipping address, and I will ship you a copy of Modern Patchwork as soon as I get back home.

I’m signing off now so I can see what else I spot on the Quilt Market show floor!

Weekend Recap, a Giveaway, and Countdown to Spring Quilt Market!

I had a really great weekend, all beginning with a long-awaited package that finally arrived at my house on Friday while I was at work:


Saturday morning I put on some tea, got to the business of carefully unwrapping my console table, and auditioning a few quilts in it.

I dream of eventually filling it with lots and lots of quilts. I love this sofa table, and now there is less of an echo in my family room!

I also finished quilting a quilt for someone this weekend, caught up on “Downton Abbey,” went on a long run with my rescue dog, Clarence, and went exploring with my min pin, Louie on two long bike rides along the White Oak Bayou trail.

Think he likes to bike much?

Quilt Market, here we come!

I am readying to leave for Quilt Market at the crack of dawn tomorrow and so excited to connect with everyone in the quilt business this week. I spoke to my mom yesterday (the newly avid quilter) and she asked me, “Pokey, have you heard of a company by the name of Moda?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Oh,” she says. “They have the prettiest line of fabric out. It’s by Basic Grey.”

I had to smile…I love her enthusiasm and I hope to share this with the Moda folks this week.

And in case you are going to Quilt Market and might have missed some previous posts about the venue, you can find out about some tips for preparing for Market by the Quilts, Inc. staff here, or learn more about Kansas City here.

Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway

It’s that time of the week to give away free stuff! Answer the following question and I will pick a winner on Friday to win a copy of Modern Patchwork.

Question: If you could quit your day job and start your own quilting business, what would you do? Would you make quilts and sell them? Make patterns or write books? Invent quilting gadgets? Have a quilt shop? And if you have already launched a quilt business, by all means share in the comments area and post a link if you have one!

In Honor of Mother’s Day, Meet My Mom!

Hopefully by now you have finished placing your flower orders in time for a Mother’s Day delivery! I have always loved Mother’s Day. I am not a mother, but I would like to think my years as a teacher as well as my efforts to be a positive influence to the younger women in my life qualify me as someone who, too, can partake in the celebration. After all, I think about all of the people I have met in the quilting industry who I have looked up to and who have been supportive to me over the years–people like Karey Bresenhan, Yvonne Porcella, Mary Fisher, Lesley Riley…the list goes on and on…and on. All of these women have helped shaped who I am today and without their advice, support, and friendship, I don’t know (nor would I want to know) what I’d be doing now.

In honor of this special day, I wanted you to meet my mom, Kathy. Here we are celebrating another special day about 20 years ago:

Boston College, Class of 1993

And at the Quilting Arts TV Taping, about 18 years later:

From Left to Right: Pokey (in the TV set), Jamie Fingal, Mom, Leslie Jenison

My mom has had to cope with many things over the years, including being a single mom for a while. Ask anyone who has met her: she is funny, smart, industrious, and very crafty. Since I was a little kid I’ve witnessed her immerse herself in a variety of crafts. She paints, watercolor pencils, sews, crochets, knits, used to be a mad gardener, and is an avid cook. I know I’m forgetting something, but the point is when she puts her mind to something, she gets so enthusiastic about it, it takes over her world. (Huh, now I know where I get it from…)

Imagine my GLEE when she told me she bought a sewing machine two months ago and is quilting! (Gee, it only took me 11 years at the helm of a quilting magazine to get her quilting again but I shouldn’t make fun…she is finally one of us!)

On the day her sewing machine arrived two months ago, I got a play-by-play via email of what the experience was like to take it out of the box. “It arrived!”, “I just took my first stitch!”, “I just pieced something together!”

Now she is a part of a quilting club, taking classes, loves watching quilt how-to videos online, and I couldn’t be happier. Because it means that when we see each other, we can have full-on, stay-in-our-pajamas-all-weekend-and drink-wine-and-watch-movies quilt-a-thons!

So in honor of Mother’s Day, mom, I thought to let you know what your present was. Yes, you’ll be getting flowers over the weekend, but the real gift will be a plane ticket to Houston in the fall, and a couple of classes at International Quilt Festival. The class catalog isn’t available yet, but when it is, we will go through it together and see what you want to take.

In closing, I will share with everyone a video of my mom and me on the set of Quilting Arts TV back in September, 2010. She hates this video. Too bad. I find it funny.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Quilts Inc. Staff Goes Free Wheelin’ With Our Rotary Cutters!

Last week I participated in my very first 4:00 Follies at Quilts, Inc. headquarters, and we had such a blast!

In case you are wondering what in the world 4:00 Follies are, once in a great while we gather together at 4:00 so we can sink our fingers into our fabric stashes and celebrate our beloved craft of quilting.

My colleagues’ quilt expertise ranges from newbies to seasoned quilters, so we were looking for our first 4:00 Follies for the year to be fast, fun, inviting, colorful, and creative. It just so happens that one of my TTFQB’s (Top 10 Favorite Quilt Books) is Intuitive Color and Design by Jean Wells (C &T Pub.).

Jean has a lot of great ideas in this book for improvisational piecing, and offers tons of tips, ideas, and exercises to piecing freely while simultaneously honing  color and design skills. So I thought it would be fun to host an exercise in improvisational piecing, a friendly way to get comfortable with quilting since there are few rules.

Using Jean’s book as a premise for our play session, we decided to see how fast we could piece blocks in an hour or so. Then we could turn these quickly pieced bits of patchwork into pillows, pot holders, place mats…you get the idea.

You don’t need much for this exercise:

• Scraps of fabrics (I encouraged people to limit to 2-3 colors)

• Rotary cutter or pair of fabric scissors, a quilting ruler, and a cutting mat

• Sewing machine

• Iron and ironing board

Once we gathered our supplies, assembled the tables, and turned up the heat on the irons, we got to the business of piecing fabrics together. We experimented with skinny piecing, curved piecing, slicing and dicing, cutting sewn strips in half, re-piecing, and cutting again.We worked quickly, not caring if we had perfectly matched seams, just making sure we had 1/4″ seams. (Warning: this is a tough exercise for perfectionists!)

Here I have started to piece some fabrics together, combining my own hand-screened fabric with that of Malka Dubrawsky’s and Marcia Derse’s. (Hey, I wanted to put myself in great company!)

Terri Winsauer (left) with Carmen Valls who surprised herself by successfully sewing a huge hunk of rick rack onto her patchwork piece (hence why she is smiling so slyly).

Judy Murrah was very industrious and had a really beautiful color scheme going. And since she can’t tamp her teacher/nurturing spirit, she was very helpful in guiding some of the newer quilters along.

See how quickly Ann Graf is piecing? The shutter speed on my camera couldn’t even keep up with her!

Here is the beginning of something I was making. It’s no magnum opus, but I had fun playing. I had no idea what I was going to do with this, though.

But it just so happens this past Monday night I found a pillow form in my downstairs closet, so I turned it into a throw pillow.

I also used improvisational piecing to make a couple of pot holders. I added some hand stitching, too.

So that was our first 4:00 Follies of the year. Fun times, and in a matter of a couple of hours I had a finished pillow. I recommend getting Jean’s book if you don’t have it. A few of us in the office have decided to get together once in a while and go through all of the exercises.

Do you quilt with your coworkers or have play dates? What kinds of things do you do?

Are You Coming to Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City?

I can sense the whirring of hundreds of sewing machines, the taping of thousands of boxes, and the printing of  a google of mailing labels as quilt designers, pattern makers, magazine and book editors, fabric companies, and retailers alike get ready for the biggest event to date this year. You guessed it…Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City!

I, for one, cannot wait. I was lucky to be able to go to Kansas City a few weeks ago to tour the convention hall, check out the host hotels, and enjoy a few B-B-Q repasts, and this is going to be an exciting and fun city to host Quilt Market. The convention center is easy to navigate, and every amenity is within walking distance of about 2-3 blocks: the host hotels, a wide variety of restaurants, and a very nice grocery store in case you want food for your room or to munch on a piping hot bagel in the morning.

I am very eager to see what new gadgets, books, and lines of fabric will be out this spring. Lucie Summers’ new line of fabric with Moda came up in my Twitter feed the other day, and oh….this fabric is so adorable. I am crossing fingers that there will be a sea of jelly rolls of it at Sample Spree so I can snag one.

I am also eager to see what sewing furniture is coming out as I am still putting together my new studio, and I am on the hunt for just the right sewing table to set my Bernina in.

Coming to Quilt Market? (And remember Quilt Market is not open to the public, this is a trade show for people in the biz.)

If you are, I thought it would be a good idea to ask the people who know Market best–my colleagues at Quilts Inc.–what tips they had for preparing your trip. We all know the obvious: wear comfy shoes and bring lots and lots of business cards, but sometimes in the excitement of getting ready for a big show, we forget the obvious.

Rhianna Griffin, New Media Coordinator says, “If you haven’t done so already, be sure follow QuiltMarket on Twitter, and make sure you have a Twitter app on your smartphone! We will be tweeting quite a bit from the show floor and will also be featuring a Twitter Wall with all of the latest tweets and news from Quilt Market. And be sure when you tweet to use the hash tag so it reads #quiltmarket. Before you hit the show floor, line up any appointments and devise a plan of attack. And during your time at Market, don’t forget to socialize! There are numerous meet-ups and events after show hours–all opportunities to meet new people and establish important connections.”

Bob Ruggerio, Director of Publications & Public Information suggests, “Remember to bring your cell phone/iPad/Android chargers!” (I think he suggests this because he forgot his once going to a convention. Learn from Bob and don’t make the same mistake he did!)

Rose Reyes, Assistant Manager of Exhibitor Services relays important information for attendees and exhibitors alike: “Don’t forget your name badges, and please take note: the show hours have changed starting this spring show:
9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Friday, May 18
9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday, May 19
9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sunday, May 20

The early appointment schedule is as follows:
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20
Please register your early appointments at Exhibitor Registration Desk, Lobby 2300 the day before your appointments.” (This is really important…if you are setting up an eatly morning appointment you do need to do this the day before so we can alert security!)
Jill Benge, Education Assistant writes, “Being from Texas, I will be wearing my boots, but wear some comfortable shoes and don’t forget your camera.” (Good advice Jill, and I will add the following: if you are like me and like to wear heels, make sure they are wedges so they are easier to walk in all day!)

Judy Murrah, Vice President of Administration & Education shares, “If you haven’t signed-up to take one of the business seminars, I highly recommend you look through the offerings on our website and plan to take one or more that interests you. The enrollment desk will open on-site from 3:00-6:00 PM on Wednesday, May 16 and then again on Thursday, May 17, at 7:30 AM. The seminars are created to help you with your store so it doesn’t just survive, but so it thrives! Looking forward to seeing y’all again!”

Amanda Schlatre, Special Exhibits Coordinator says, “Don’t forget a notepad and pens with your list of what items you want to make sure you see!”





Carmen Valls, also a Special Exhibits Coordinator shares, “I would advise that people bring tons of business cards, something to safely store other people’s business cards and handouts in, a pair of  emergency flip flops for your purse, and vitamin C supplements. I always buy V8 and apples right when I get to a show, too, to stay healthy. Also, they may want to notify their credit card companies that serious spending will likely occur that weekend!” (Good tips, Carmen. I will also add that as a former editor, it was really important for me to hold onto everyone’s business cards, so I always brought a small notepad, a pen, and a small stapler to staple the business card to the notebook with my notes.)

Ruth Polanco, Show Director adds, “Be proactive and plan your trip before you leave for Kansas City by checking out our Exhibitor List. That way you will know ahead of time what exhibitors you make sure you see!”

So there you have it: tips from your friends at Quilts Inc. The only other thing I might suggest is to visit Stacks BBQ one night. You wont regret it. My coworker Kim DeCoste had the Burnt Ends and raved about them for days!

Are you coming to Quilt Market? Leave us a comment and let us know!


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