International Quilt Festival/ Long Beach 2012

Aaaaaaah, Long Beach, one of my favorite quilt shows! Seeing gorgeous quilts, enhancing one’s stash of fabrics, breezy California temps, and connecting with old friends—it just doesn’t get any better! For this year’s Long Beach edition, I was acting Show Director along with Belén Timmins, pinch hitting for Ruth Polanco who is pregnant and on bed rest. It was a different experience for me from years past where I have spent the entire time on the show floor, and this time I got to visit more with artists in the special exhibits area, talk to faculty and students, and see what it takes to facilitate this quilt show.

Here I am getting my Zen on with Jane LaFazio. (Everyone knows that before entering a quilt show, centering one’s energy upon entering the show floor is of utmost importance!)

Above: Quilting couple David Charity posing with his wife Trish Charity, who made this quilt for the Black and White with a Twist exhibit. (By the way, I loved the concept of this exhibit so much, I wore black and white all week in support of it. Thank goodness for White House Black Market!)

Speaking of couples, I love to a see a spouse supporting their better half. Read the shirts.

One of my favorite booths where I bought so many fabrics was The Sewing Party booth—lots of great patterns for totes as well as some really unique bolts of fabrics from Seven Islands Fabric.

See what I mean?

Here’s a closer look at how they displayed their fabric selections with numbers. This system made it very fast and easy for the staff to cut since so many people wanted fabric from the same bolt.

The Jaybird Quilts booth was very busy every time I went by—so much so I had to wait until 10 minutes before the show closed on Sunday to make my purchases. I love the quilt on the top left called “Northern Lights,” and bought the pattern for it. If you are going to International Quilt Festival/Houston, you need to stop by this booth and meet Julie Herman. Not only an up-and-coming talented quilter and author, but she is very humorous, too. (As is her mother!)

I saw a lot of exhibitors selling totes and quilt patterns in the modern quilt aesthetic. Can you take a guess as to what was the one of the most popular and prevalent fabric lines on the show floor? If you guessed Marcia Derse, you would be right! I spotted her fabrics in numerous places.

Left to Right: Me, Yvonne Porcella, and Trix Buhlmann-Epple

I also got to visit with old friends, including Yvonne Porcella, founder of SAQA. She is (rightfully) a revered pioneer in the art quilting world and someone I consider to be the Erma Bombeck of the quilt sphere. I was lucky enough to have dinner with her and the other artists from Dinner @ Eight, and my favorite comment she told me over my salad was: “I saw a fortune teller and she told me I will be 92. I asked her, ‘Will I be vertical or horizontal?”

All in all a great show and the quilts on display were spectacular. Now I am back home in Houston and trying to exercise some patience as I wait for my fabric, patterns, and other quilting loot to come back on the Quilts, Inc. truck.
I did see that my fabric I had ordered from Fat Quarter Shop arrived while I was gone. I am about to partake in my first online quilt-along that they are helping to sponsor, and I am excited to start. (More on that later!)

Breaking Quilt News!

Many of your Quilts Inc. crew have descended upon Long Beach to get ready to open International Quilt Festival/Long Beach later this week and while we hang quilts, set up sewing machines, prep the irons, and sort the show tickets, we have another wonderful thing to be excited about:  We are bringing International Quilt Festival back to Rosemont/Chicago! This does not mean Rosemont will be replacing Cincinnati, it simply means we are adding Rosemont to our roster of International Quilt Festivals.

Read the press release below to find out more…


Back by popular demand…
International Quilt Festival returns to
Chicago with a new edition in 2013!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—July 23, 2012—For eight years, the
spring edition of International Quilt Festival/Chicago was a muststop
destination for quilt fans—especially those from the midwest—
until its final edition in 2010. That show drew more than 20,000

Today, Festival Founder and Director Emeritus Karey Bresenhan
announced that the show will return to the city from June 21-23, 2013,
with Preview Night on June 20. Quilt Festival will again be held at
the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont (just minutes
outside of Chicago).

“I am thrilled with this development and excited to bring the show
back to Chicago,” Bresenhan says. “We had a lot of positive
experiences there, and I expect that it will only get better in the
coming years.”

However, she also noted that this show will not replace the current
spring edition of Festival that is held in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a new
addition to the schedule. Also, the Chicago Festival will offer a
number of great mini-classes and lots of educational opportunities—
such as Create on the Spot!—that attendees can sign up for right on
the show floor. It will not have individual classes and lectures in
separate rooms as in previous years.

Additionally, the city of Rosemont has recently opened MB Financial
Park, an exciting new dining, shopping, and entertainment district
located just one block from the Stephens Center.

Places open either now or by Festival dates include Toby Keith’s This
Bar and Grill, Five Roses Pub, Hofbräuhaus Chicago, Park Tavern,
My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, and Adobe Gila’s. The Park also
includes Zanies Comedy Club, Kings Bowling Lanes, and the 18-
screen Muvico Theaters. Find out more at

For more information on this new edition of International Quilt Festival, visit our website at and look for future announcements here on our Facebook page,

Free Fabric Friday & Weekend Plans

UPDATE! Congratulations to Judith Reynolds! Please email me your shipping address to, and I will ship the fabrics to you!

And everyone,  thanks for responding and letting me know what you are quilting these days!

Aaaaah, it’s Friday! Weekend forecast calls for several dog walks, a manicure, a Houston Modern Quilt Guild meeting, a Sunday bike ride, quilting, and sunny skies with temps in the mid-90s.

I am also going to play with Khaleesi, my newest quilt studio pet as I want to bond with her more before I leave Monday for Long Beach for International Quilt Festival next week.

Since it is Friday, it’s time to give away some free fabric, and in honor of my little tabby…

I thought to give away some orange fabric!

Free Fabric Friday Question

My question to you on this lovely Friday afternoon has to do with wanting to know what kind of quilting you are doing nowadays. I, of course, love art quilting and surface design work, but right now I find myself making lots of small projects, and wanting to make finished quilted throws that I can colorfully stack in my console table behind my family room sofa. So I guess I am making lots of scrap quilts, and want to make some modern quilt-type quilts, too.

What about you? What kinds of quilting activities are you doing right now or want to explore? Leave a comment and I will randomly choose a winner tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and post the winner in this blog.

Have a great weekend!

International Quilt Festival/ Long Beach, Here We Come!

It’s bustling here at Quilts Inc. headquarters as we pack up loads of quilts, catalogues, name badges, totes, irons, and other quilt show goodies, and get ready to make the trek to International Quilt Festival/Long Beach!

I absolutely adore this show and have had the best time in years past.

International Quilt Festival/ Long Beach in 2009
From left to right: Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Jenison, Pokey Bolton, Melly Testa, Jane LaFazio

A lot has changed since this photograph was taken in 2009, including that I am now working at the quilt show as part of the Quilts Inc. staff. This summer I am helping out as acting co-manager along with Belén Timmins while Ruth Polanco gets some rest at home in preparation for her twin girls. (If you didn’t hear about Ruth’s exciting news, check out this blog post.)

There will be another change this year in that Make It University! is morphing into Create on the Spot, an on-the-floor, hands-on area facilitated by our Education Department. Here you can take just an hour (or less) to learn a quick new skill and make a fun project. No pre-enrollment; just pay $10 at the door (first-come, first-served). Tickets available all day (for that day’s sessions only) until the class space is sold out.

The Create on the Spot schedule of events:

Thursday, July 26

5:30-6:30 p.m.                        Traci Bautista             Collage Pauge Techniques

From image transfers to painting, explore creative ways to use Collage Pauge in your Mixed-Media creations. Doodles Unleashed, F&W Media;

6:30-7:30 p.m.                        Traci Bautista             Collage Pauge Techniques (repeated)

From image transfers to painting, explore creative ways to use Collage Pauge in your Mixed-Media creations. Doodles Unleashed, F&W Media;

7:45-8:45 p.m.                        Heather Thomas         Mini Art Quilt Assemblage

Use several unusual products and embellishments to create a “no-sew,” layered miniature art “quilt.”

Friday, July 27

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.           Pam Damour               Easy Metal Embossing

Metal Embossing is a great accent as an insert on your art quilt or as covered buttons embossed to match your fabric patterns.

12:30-1:30 p.m.                      Patti Medaris Culea    Baubles & Dangles

Create beautiful embellishments for quilts, wearables, dolls, etc. from a simple circle of fabric, glitzy threads, and a few beads.

1:45-2:45 p.m.                        Lois T. Smith              Color Tricks—Transparency

When two shapes slightly overlap, the illusion of transparency can be achieved. The resulting blended image is unbelievable and dynamic. Learn how!

3:00-4:00 p.m.                        Lois T. Smith              Dynamic Doodles Become Extraordinary Quilting Designs     

Start with a line or circle and keep adding feathers, more curves, peaks, or echoes, until you have created a one-of-a-kind montage.

4:15-5:15 p.m.                        Lois T. Smith              Color—The Power of Value

Discussion of the term VALUE as used in designing quilt blocks. Colored pencils will add color and value to two identical traditional blocks. Fabric scraps will create block #3.

5:30-6:30 p.m.                        Jill Benge                     Embellished Name Badge Holder

Use your imagination and the mountain of embellishments to create your own one-of-a-kind name badge holder to wear throughout Quilt Festival and then take it home as a souvenir.

Saturday, July 28

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.           Jane LaFazio               Felt Like Stitching

Sitting & Stitching. Learn to make a small improvisational piece from an assortment of colored felt. Jane

will show you embroidery stitches to complete your tiny masterpiece. You’ll find you enjoy the

meditative quality of hand stitching.

12:30-1:30 p.m.                      Patti Medaris Culea    Baubles & Dangles (repeated)

Create beautiful embellishments for quilts, wearables, dolls, etc. from a simple circle of fabric, glitzy threads, and a few beads.

1:45-2:45 p.m.                        Marilyn Petersen         Pentagon Fabric Bowl—English Paper Piecing

Create a really cute bowl by basting fabric to paper pentagons (5-sides) and then joining the pentagons. Two sets makes the inside and outside of the bowl. Great handwork project and the result is sew charming!

3:00-4:00 p.m.                        Pam Damour               Easy Metal Embossing (repeated)

Metal Embossing is a great accent as an insert on your art quilt or as covered buttons embossed to match your fabric patterns.

4:15-5:15 p.m.                        Embellishment Village     Design Your Own Fabric

Design your own fabric using stencils, texture, stamps, inks, and paints.

5:30-6:30 p.m.                        Embellishment Village     Scrumptious Surface Design

Make a mess and a beautiful piece of paper fabric with paint, stencils, Smooch, glitter, and fibers.

Sunday, July 29

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.           Heather Thomas         Mini Art Quilts Assemblage (repeated)

Use several unusual products and embellishments to create a “no-sew,” layered miniature art “quilt.”

12:30-1:30 p.m.                      Leora Raikin                How Long Is a Giraffe’s Tongue? (African Folklore Embroidery)

Learn the answer to this title as you experience a hands-on safari through African Folklore Embroidery, learning stitches, embellishment techniques, and how to apply beads.

1:45-2:45 p.m.                        Kim DeCoste               Padded Fabric Picture Frame

Make a fun picture frame using Pellon batting, WonderUnder, and Fabri-Tac glue. Later, you can make these by the dozen for gift-giving and personalize each one with your fabric choice and embellishments.

**Names in regular font are on the Quilt Festival faculty. Names in italics are exhibitors or staff.

Want to take a half- or full-day class? You still can!

Speaking of educational opportunities, if you are coming to Long Beach and would like to take half-day or full-day classes, we still have some room! Check out our class catalogue, and when you come to the show, head over to the availability board in the enrollment area to see what spaces in what classes are available.

For those coming to Long Beach, we are really looking forward to seeing you next week!

Meet My New Quilt Studio Pet!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was certainly eventful.

We have had so, so much rain over the last week and on Friday night I got a phone call from Amanda Schlatre, a coworker of mine who went home from work that night to find a little kitten huddled on her front porch. Amanda is highly allergic to cats, and she knew I had gotten my dog Clarence from Friends for Life, a no-kill animal shelter in Houston, and wanted to know how to get the kitty into their program. I told her to drop off the kitty on Saturday morning to my house and I would foster it, then take it to the shelter.

Problem was…kitty and I started to bond.

I knew this bonding business could be trouble, so after I fully bathed and fed her, I went to the shelter to see if they were taking kittens, and found out they are not for at least another month. So I went back home and well…more bonding happened––this time in my quilt studio where she was very curious about my equipment.

She was fascinated by my Bernina!

And after trying to figure out what my Thermofax machine did exactly, she thought my ironing pad was a great place to perch and tease Clarence.

We auditioned my fabric locker bins with various colored fabrics to act as a temporary kitty bed. She looked great in blue, her complementary color!

She blended in a little too much with all of that orange.

But she seemed to really like the green bin, which just so happens to be my favorite color.

So for the rest of the weekend I carted her around in her green fabric locker basket, where she could observe weekend chores like juicing.

I knew I needed to give her a name, and I reflected on how fierce she is, and how she stands her ground with Clarence. She is a little she-dragon, and so I have named her…

The Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons from HBO’s “Game of Thrones”


Khaleesi is separated from the other pets in my house, but tonight I have a vet appointment and will get her fully checked out and all of her shots in order. If she doesn’t pose any health problems that would be problematic to my other pets, then she will be my newest quilt studio pet—a nice way to start my week.

Do you have a studio pet on your blog? If so, please leave a link to your blog in the comments area so we can see!

Free Fabric Friday: Blue Fabric Giveaway to Stave Off Those Rainy Day Blues


SATURDAY UPDATE! Congratulations to Pam Biswas! You won the fabric! Please email me at with your shipping address and I will send you this blue fabric next week.

Everyone, I am pondering some ideas for a quilt-along. Thank you so much for your comments, they were very, very helpful. I hope everyone is enjoying a creative weekend. Today I inherited a six-week old stray kitten to foster. My hands are full, but this little guy is very darling. Enjoy a good rest of the weekend!


If you live in Houston, you know the weather this past week has been pretty soggy, to say the least. These storms have given me my first real taste of severe weather in the Lone Star state, and like most things in Texas, they are big! However, the rain and flooding have meant that I have enjoyed more indoor activities, which is fine by me as I love any reason to be holed up in my studio. Unfortunately Clarence doesn’t share my sentiments…

Clarence looking outside the window, wondering when he will be able to play (if ever) in the backyard again.

To stave off those rainy day blues I thought it would be fun to give away some blue fabric:

If you want a chance to win this set, just answer my question below in the comments area, and I will pick a winner tomorrow (Saturday morning) and post the winner in this same post. So check back tomorrow for an update to see if you won!

My burning question: Have you ever participated in a quilt-along? No? Yes? If so, what did you do? If you haven’t participated in a quilt-along, would you ever want to and what would you want to do?

Inquiring minds want to know!

My Weekend in Pictures: From Photograph to Thermofax Screen

I had a very industrious weekend. Saturday was filled with sunshine and photographic possibilities whereas Sunday was steeped in rain, which meant for a lot of indoor creative endeavors.

My weekend in pictures:

My night water lily. It is a little groggy to close in the morning, so I can usually catch it still in full bloom at 6:00 AM.

A hibiscus blossom greeting me first thing in the morning.

Plumeria! This flower is so fragrant, not to mention velvet to the touch.

A water lily, just waking up and spreading her petals to embrace the day. I thought this might make for a nice Thermofax screen, so I imported the image into my computer.

I used the magnetic lasso tool in Photoshop to focus on the central flower shape.

I then dragged the flower to a white background.

Using the photocopy tool in the filter menu, I turned the full-color image to a black and white rendition.

Then I opened a new file in Photoshop and dragged three of these flowers to create a row. Later, I copied this row a couple of times so I had a sheet of three rows of waterlilies.

I then printed the sheet of waterlilies on my inkjet printer, placed a piece of screening material on top, and ran them through the carrier of my Thermofax machine. The bulb in my Thermofax machine heated up both sheets, and where the black carbon ink appears on the sheet of paper, it melted the screening material, creating the graphic impression on the screen.

I usually run the print and the screening material at least three passes through my Thermofax machine to make sure the image took on the screening material.

I chose pink paint to screen the images onto a rich lime green background. I created about 1/4 yard of fabric with this image, and screened with a variety of colors.

I had an idea to incorporate this piece to create a stitched cover for a recycled aluminum can to hold my watercolor pencils.

And here it is: my new watercolor pencil holder. I guess I should make greater strides to keep a sketchbook now!

When I was done, I experimented in the kitchen and made  spinach and parmesan dumplings in a ginger broth:

I enjoyed a nice couple of quiet days. Did you stitch or quilt this past weekend?

Introducing…Free Fabric Fridays!

Blog update: The fabric winner has been announced at the end of this post. Thanks to all for playing along and commenting!

What better way to gear up for an industrious weekend of quilting than to give away free fabric, and give it away right now?

Here is some fabric that I got at Sample Spree at this past Spring Market. Isn’t it just divine? I have an “installation” of it in my studio at home and just love to gaze at it from time to time.

I got a fat stack of half yard cuts of linen fabrics from Seven Islands. Look how cute these fabrics are. I mean…really! Polka-dots and deer with glasses?!

And sorry…I am too selfish to give any of this away.

But…I also got fabrics that have multiple designs in them: zebras and stripes and chevrons…oh my!

I am keeping one to make a wholecloth table runner, but am giving the other away. And I am giving it away right now!

All you have to do is fill in the blank below, and by 3:00 Central Time today (Friday, July 6), I will select a random winner and announce in this blog post! Just make sure to fill in the blank and leave your response in the comments area by 3:00 P.M. Central–today!

My Pondering to You: If I won this fabric, I would make _____________.


Well, it is 3:00 PM and time for me to pick a winner! And through blind pointing at my screen, the winner is Sue Chef! Please email me at with your shipping address, and if you make that shirt for your little grandson with this fabric, please send email a picture!

I think this was a fun little Friday afternoon activity so I will definitely be doing this again soon, maybe even next Friday.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, stitch-filled weekend!

Easy Afternoon Quilt Project: Mini Quilt Flags

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July celebration yesterday! I spent my day quilting in my backyard:

My portable Gidget 2 sewing table that I wheeled onto my back porch and set my Bernina on for an afternoon of stitching.

I thought about past July 4th celebrations, many of which I had spent on the water on my dad’s boat in the San Francisco Bay as a kid, and got the idea to make mini nautical quilt flags…

These were so fun to make, and only took a few hours!


• 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of card stock

• Tracing pen or pencil

• 9″ x 12″ pieces of fabric. You will need one for the front, and one for the back. I chose plain white fabric for the front of the flag so I could thread paint designs as well as appliqué colorful pieces of fabrics.

• Fabric scraps for fusible appliqué.

• Fusible webbing (I used WonderUnder.)

• 9″ x 12″ piece of low loft batting or sheet of craft felt

•Fabric scissors, paper scissors

• Thread of choice (I used black thread.)

•Sewing machine with free-motion capabilities

• Iron and ironing pad

• Wooden skewers


• For thread-painted designs:  Small copy-right free illustrations from books, tracing paper, Sharpie pen, sewing pins. (If looking for copyright-free designs, look at the publications by Dover.)

• To make your flags curl: Stiffy Fabric Stiffener by Plaid, clothes pins, small paintbrush, small plastic container


1. Draw flag shapes that are roughly 3″ x 5″ in size onto cardstock. I chose shapes found in nautical flags.

2. Fuse the top and backing fabric to the batting, and using card stock and a pen, trace the shapes onto the front fabric.

3. Cut fabrics that have fusible webbing applied to the back into small shapes and fuse to the front of the flags.

4. Now the fun part: stitching! Take your sheet of flags to your sewing machine and with a 1/4″ foot and black thread, outline the flags with a straight stitch. Stitch around each flag a few times to give them a little doodling flair. Then with a free-motion foot and your feed dogs dropped, doodle around your appliquéd designs.

5. If you want to create thread-painted designs, trace the designs onto tracing paper, cut loosely around the traced design with your paper scissors, and pin to the top of the flag. Using a free-motion foot with your feed dogs dropped, begin stitching the design. Once done, take a sewing pin and carefully scrape away the tracing paper from the stitched design.

6. When all of your flag shapes are fully stitched, carefully cut them out.

7. Now it’s time to add a sleeve for your wooden skewer. Simple cut a scrap of fabric (with no fusible on it) the width of the flag side you want the skewer to go through. Using a 1/8″ seam allowance, straight stitch the fabric scrap to the front of the flag, right sides together. Cut the excess thread, then pull the sleeve to the back of the flag and stitch it in place again using a scant 1/8″ seam allowance. Once finished, cut excess sleeve fabric as close to the stitched line as possible.

Poll sleeve has already been stitched on the front of the flag. Here it has been pulled around to the back, and is being stitched in place to create the tiny sleeve for the wooden skewer to slide through.

8. Stick your wooden skewers through the sleeves and set the flags into a little glass jar filled with buttons, beads, or other embellishments that will keep the flags in place.

9. If you want your flags to stay curled like they are blowing in the wind, you can use Stiffy Fabric Stiffener. Simply pleat the flag and use clothes pins to keep the pleats in place. Set the flags over a tiny plastic container, and apply the Stiffy Fabric Stiffener with a paintbrush. Paint the flags liberally, making sure to get into the creases. Let them dry overnight, then remove the clothes pins.

Example of curled flag on the lower left (the red and white striped flag).

All in all making these mini quilted flags was so much fun, and I am going to make fresh ones each season. Next up: a bouquet of fall harvest flags– pumpkins, witches on brooms, a full harvest moon, thread-painted candy corn images… the list goes on and on!

When I was finished with my mini quilt flag project yesterday, it was time to relax on my new chaise lounge with a chilled margarita. I love summer…

Easy Baby Quilt Pattern! Battle of the Bento Boxes…

Ok, I don’t really mean a battle, per se, I just love alliteration. (If you haven’t noticed.)

Years ago, I fell head over heels in love with “Sugar and Spice” a quilt that Kathy Mack featured on her Pink Chalk Studio blog. See what I mean? It is so adorable…

Kathy Mack’s baby quilt for a friend, entitled “Sugar and Spice.”

Kathy used Tracy Brookshier’s Bento Box pattern, and I just was so enamored with this quilt on Kathy’s blog, I immediately bought the pattern…and spent so much money on pink and orange fat quarters, I am embarrassed to tell you how much. (About $200)

Here’s the full, frontal view of Kathy’s quilt:

I never did make the Bento Box quilt with all that pink and orange fabric, but I did finally have a reason to make a Bento Box quilt–my colleague Rhianna Griffin had a baby boy end of last year. So at the International Quilt Festival/Cincinnati this past spring, I bought some really cute boyish fabrics from the Anna Griffin fabric booth, combined them with some Marcia Derse fabrics, and this past weekend I finally finished Rhianna’s baby quilt:

If you are looking to make a baby quilt, this is really a terrific pattern. It’s easy, fun to make, and I wanted to give this specifically to Rhianna, New Media Coordinator, because the pattern reminds me of a QR code!

And yes, Kathy and I really aren’t battling. See? We are very friendly with each other…

Kathy and me on the set of Quilting Arts TV in 2010.

Hope everyone has a GREAT 4th of July! I hope to stitch and relax in my backyard. Hope you have some quilting plans!


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