Breaking Special Exhibit News & Free Book Giveaway!

Mark your calendars and break out your sewing machines! I’m thrilled to share that we have just posted the exhibit particulars for our new special exhibit debuting this fall in Houston, It’s Raining Cats and Dogs!  This juried exhibit will accompany our Festival Pet Project where once again fabric postcards made and donated by animal lovers worldwide will sell for $20 each, benefiting Friends For Life, Houston’s premier no-kill animal shelter and rescue program.

Pauline Salzman

Fabric postcards by Pauline Salzman

What about making a pet-themed quilt for this exhibit and some pet-themed fabric postcards to benefit homeless animals?

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs will premiere at International Quilt Market and Festival, October 26–November 3, 2013. Quilts must be a minimum of 25″ x 25″ in size, and you can find out all of the nitty-gritty details by clicking this link.

Nellie Clarence

Nellie and Clarence, two very special alumni from Friends For Life.



On a completely unrelated note, I have an extra copy of this fantastic quilting book by the extremely talented Yoko Saito of Japan:

Japanese Quilting

With 29 projects featuring traditional patchwork designs, beautiful hand stitching, and muted fabrics in taupe and sepia, this book isn’t just pretty to flip through, but you’ll find a project (…or two or three) that you will want to create.

Just answer the following question and I will randomly select a book winner in the next few days!

Question: What was the zaniest idea you have ever had for a quilt? Was it a 3D quilt, a quilt that was so large it took you twenty years to complete, or perhaps a baby quilt done in whacky colors? Did you actually complete your zany quilt idea or are you still mulling it over? (And if you have completed your zany quilt idea and have a picture of it online, be sure to include a link in your comment!)

73 responses

  1. I have had a quilt bouncing around in my head for years, based upon Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi song. It stems from the line “they paved paradise and put in a parking lot”, and seeing a giant fenced in parking lot, completely devoid of cars, on a beautiful spring spring – just haven’t figured out how to execute it yet, but I think of it every time I hear the song!

  2. Craziest idea was to begin a quilt along before ALL the details were out. I began WITHOUT following instructions exactly and ended up having to change the whole thing! Next time…I will LOOK before I LEAP!

  3. I volunteer with one of the dog rescue groups in Houston. I learned that one of the other volunteers is here in Texas for a short time (husband working on a project) from Scotland. I was amazed to learn that this woman choses to give of herself by helping with dog rescue and visiting the sick while she stays here. I thought, she needs something to remember Texas, because I think her spirit has made Texas a better place.

    I learned that back in Scotland she was an accountant. I have gathered these old bank bags and decided that I could make a dog crate mat for her. I picked Texas banks and sew-typed the main verse to “Beautiful Texas” in the blank rectangle. All the other materials are also rescued. I tried to pick material that had the green of money but still some cheer.

    I am sending a FB link, I am not sure it will work, but I can send you a direct email. (I will not share your personal email.)

  4. Oh my, I love Japanese Quilting! I’ve thought multiple times how I’d like to make a quilt filled with blocks representing every place I’ve lived (yes, I’ve moved around a bit …). I’ve not made one yet, maybe if I started drawing something in my art journal . . .

  5. I am trying to conquer marbling fabric…..I want to do a quilt centered around marbling. My skill level on the marbling has a long way to go to get to the desired skill level …..BUT IT HAS BEEN FUN PRACTICING!

  6. I love Japanese quilting and Yoko Saito in particular! This book would be awesome, thanks for the opportunity. I have a few zany ideas for quilts but one that has stayed with although I haven’t made it yet is to make a quilt incorporating all the “odd socks” that end up in the laundry that apparently no-one owns!

  7. I wanted to design a quilt featuring a revolving turntable with a melange/collage of European city-scapes standing upright around the outside of the turntable’s perimeter. On the turntable, upright tourist figures — revolving around the scenery. Am still trying to work out the logistics, but according to SAQA, the definition of what makes a “quilt” is changing, and my idea just may fly! I am so in love with your blog posts, Pokey. Your grandmomma was a special lady. And so are you.
    Tina in San Diego

  8. I made a quilt with butterflies forming from water pouring out of a pitcher & fluttering away. I made another where a woman’s shadow stole her quilt and her cat preferred to move with the quilt. Could send photos if u want.

  9. In order to challenge myself, I decided to make a quilt with a color I normally don’t use. I chose to make an art quilt in mostly yellow. I painted dryer sheets for the background and used silk flowers as embellishments. I even got as far as to quilt it. But I just don’t like it and it sits unfinished. I cut some pieces out of it and used them for other things, but still have most of that bright, sunny, UFO.

  10. I have two “crazy” quilts that I’ve made both are from memories of Baba, my late grandmother. The first and still not finished is a huge 30″x30″ cherry pie designed to honor the time I spent with Baba pitting the wonderful black cherries that grew on the cherry tree just outside her living room window.
    The second is called “Beach Baba’s” which depicts my Baba and great aunt Helen at the beach. The figures are appliqued, and stuffed in all the right places, with hand painted faces and crocheted hair. Even the sand has character with glass beads scattered in the hand quilting. What fun to remember.

  11. Wow! People have the greatest ideas!!! I think that I would love to make a portrait quilt… that would be a great accomplishment… but I need to decide on the subject… stay tuned!!!
    The book looks amazing – thanks for your generosity!!

  12. Well…its not that zany…I have more of an arty quilt in mind, of a nature scene. I have NO experience in art fiber quilting (is that a thing?) very limited experience in applique, and I cant cut out shapes to save my life – so for now, that’s just going to jump around in my head until I can figure out how to accomplish it!

  13. Zaniest idea, with a long piece of variety of fabrics about 4 inches wide and wrapped it around the patio support pole in front of the gallery. Yes, I used batting and backing and quilted as I went down the fabric… zig zaged the edge and put rivets at each end to hang with nails. Very colorful!
    Would love to have the book…

  14. I did silhouette’s of my three grandchildren for my daughter no pattern no idea of how to do it, but it worked and she loved it.

  15. One time I wanted to make a portrait of my favorite artist on quilt. Then, I browse for the resources for it. Finally, I give up. I think it’s too challenging for me.
    Thanks for the chance to win this book. I like it.

  16. While staying in my niece’s house in WY last summer we were visited by a Moose – apparently all Moose are called George. My niece has a cat named Getzy. I had photos of George printed onto fabric by Spoonflower and asked quilter Stacy Hurt to make one of her world famous cat-nip quilts as a thank you gift. Title – George loves Getsy

  17. I did a tiled quilt floor for my Dad’s laundry room! I dug the clay and created the quilt design in it, fired it and then installed. His laundry room is huge and previously carpeted. When he started brewing beer, the carpet go a bit stinky, so I offered to create a custom floor for him. That was my wackiest quilt to-date.

  18. Perhaps the zany quilt for me is the one that gets worked on each winter…longer in the house days for the tedious process of doing “quilt as you go” blocks using pieces of embroidery done by my grandmother in the years 1900-1940, pieces done by my mother and aunt in the years 1930-1990, and finding a thread of design or color to connect them to one another as the quilt continues to grow. Perhaps one day my daughter will want to add some bits of my work to this family heritage piece…the visual and tactile memory of a family of needleworkers.

  19. Hmmm. I saved some sticks from a mountain walk and am trying to figure out how to incorporate them into a quilt, along with some river stones.

  20. I made a series of small quilts with the theme of sushi. The zaniest was probably the 5 inch giant sushi roll between two ordinary sized chopsticks. I love sushi and I have a lot of chopsticks and my mind wandered! :)

  21. I made my niece, Shauna, a quilt before she was done with a teddy bear print. She loved that quilt and always called it her ‘blank bears.’ When she was four she was sad to see her legs and body sticking out from under the quilt and asked me to make ‘an extension.’ So I used similar material and made a button-on border….she got a few more years out of that quilt which gratified me greatly!

  22. The Zaniest thing I ever did with quilting was not all that zany… it was the first quilt I ever made… from leftovers from making clothing…. Remember polyester doubleknit?? The quilt was pretty much an atrocity, with squares in crazy bright shades of lime green, orange, pinks and more…. Definitely NOT a practical quilt either… That thing weighed a ton and was not warm at all…. So glad doubleknit went out of fashion…

  23. My zany quilt is a wonky houses done in bright, mostly polka dot fabrics. The houses are set in chocolate browns. I still have a few to make and some lettering to cut for the bordrs, but already have the quilt named. So far, I love it!

  24. Timing…My daughter was planning to get married. At the same time, I was asked to make quilts with diamond shapes in it for a friend’s book. The two ideas blended…I drew the gown and background completely in diamonds, going from whites for the gown to yellows, pinks and blues for the background.
    Things change. The wedding got moved to a date 5 months earlier because their favorite pastor had just one date in January available.
    My daughter and her husband selected their quilt from the three I had on hand. It hangs on their stairway landing.

  25. I am thinking of a zany quilt I almost finished: I cut rectangles from 3 purple fabrics and cut unplanned curves down the middle and then sewed zigzag to unite 2 unlike purples. I then covered some of the rectangles with netting! I sewing this “masterpiece together” and tried to like it! I think it will have to be one of those projects that someone else completes.

  26. When Steve Irwin died I wanted to make a tribute quilt for him…of a 30 foot crocodile. A perfect rendition so the everyday person would have an idea how amazing he truly was wrestling them, loving them and ultimately rescuing as many as he could. Sadly, my skillz as a quilter (art or otherwise) were not up to the task at that time. My art has moved in a different direction since then, but I still like the idea. I would like to see faces in every scale and the giant gaping maw with teeth!

    • This is a zany idea because I have little patience or experience, and this is huge. I’m in the planning stages of two quilts for my king sized bed. One will be a relativly simple (??!!) rendition of the Taj Mahal, for the wall above the bed. The second will be a modified crazy quilt/bedspread with Indian motifs (elephants, peacocks, paisleys, etc.) and as much in Indian style (piecing & stitching) as I’m able to imitate.

      I’ve also considered tenting a room with quilts, but I’ve never gotten to a planning stage with that idea.

  27. Its got to be the quilt I’m making for my youngest brother. It is so big, I don’t have room to lay it out for basting at my house. It is ten years in the making. Thank you for the giveaway!

  28. The zaniest idea I ever had for a quilt is based on the Brooks & Dunn song “Neon Moon”. The song conjures such vivid images for me and I can see them whenever I stop and think about the song. So I have drawn up several layouts but have not yet gotten the picture quite right. I keep trying and one of these days the idea will come to fruition.

  29. I use the Shout Color Catchers when prewashing my quilting fabrics, especially hand-dyed fabric. I have now collected a wonderful stack of many unique colors and textures. Ioften think the would make interesting quilts or maybe a background for an applique quilt. I just haven’t tried it yet.

  30. The zaniest idea was to hand quilt a Roman stripe quilt as a bed spread/cover for a king-sized bed. The pieces were 1″ x 3″. I finished it – it took several years. It was gorgeous but sold that thing when the divorce was final, so no pictures available.

  31. I haven’t made it – yet – but the NAME of my zany quilt is “Oh Crap! There’s Cat Hair on My Quilt!”. It would have a 3D cat, actually stuffed with cat hair on it. (The cat hair would be inside some sort of plastic bag, so it would be safe for folks with allergies) :^)

  32. Last summer I spent two months at my daughter’s home in London welcoming the arrival of my first grandchildren (twins). Such a glorious time, I wanted to select 30 significant words or images to celebrate the time and quilt these into a wall hanging so that I could enjoy every day. Images and words selected, the project has become so important to me that can’t get it started!

  33. I have a quilt that I started in the 1980’s and I tried to quilt it on my sewing machine but it didn’t work. I messed it up and now I could have it quilted but I don’t like the colors or the traditional pattern. It’s amazing how we change over time with colors, shapes, etc. I love art quilts, funky stuff and very bright colors.

  34. Well, zany….. more like an art quilt I think. I have plans making an rusty quilt – have started doing the fabric + stash rusty and have some rusty kees to go with. I have been planing it in my mind for a while – so get closer every day. Love to play with all the stash when I’m doing it. Hopefully it will include a lot of freemotion quilting too :-)
    What a great give away.
    Wish you a kreative week.
    Quilthug from Norway :-)

  35. I have been collecting fabrics of all the foods that I am no longer allowed to eat since being diagnosed with diabetes. So I have fabric with chocolate, cupcakes, candy, French fries and the like. I figure that if I can’t eat that stuff any more, I canst least wrap it around me :-)

  36. I am looking for Zany, crazy and different. Our friendship group is challenging us to a 12×12 quilt. The theme is community. I want it to be different, colorful and challenging. Making sure it takes me out of my comfort zone. I keep looking on the internet for inspiration and ways to look at things in a different light. The 1st post i read about the yellow submarine, inspiration from a song is a great way to start. Gotta git going on a start.
    By the way, i would love to win this awesome book, so pick me!

  37. As a relatively ‘new’ quilter, so far, my ‘zaniest’ quilt is one my family refers to as ‘The Nipple Quilt’…but it’s real name is SQUARE PEG, ROUND HOLE. It has a 3-D element in the center (the nipple) including a gold ring with a bead on it (pierced?). I made this for a quilt challenge and posted the details on my blog…you can find it at the sites below if you are interested!

    BTW, I would LOVE to win that book! ;-)


    Patricia Smith

  38. Each year as Winter rolls by I think to myself “I should make a quilt dressing gown (robe) to keep warm in of an evening”. The few I have seen on the internet have looked gawdy, but I’m sure I could make something that looks nice, maybe in soft coours and neutrals.
    I’m feeling motivated to start planning it, and possibly get it finished before our winter hits.

    Marianne in Australia

  39. The Festival Pet Project is a fantastic thing to do. I had not heard of it before.
    I don’t know about sending in a quilt, but I will definitely make some fabric postcards for their fundraiser.

    Marianne in Australia

  40. The craziest idea I’ve ever had for a quilt was a self portrait that represented the transition from my career as a firefighter to my career as a professional quilter! I jumped in the shower to soak my hair and my husband helped me do a photo shoot in my firefighter gear. It took me countless hours to cut the fabrics, layout the design and complete all the stitching, but it turned out beautifully! See it on my home page at

  41. I am working on collage mixed media art quilts that can be trimmed and embellished as the creative inspirations continue to flow! I love art that is personalized by the artist with the receiver in mind! I would love to win any prizes and giveaways from Pokey, as I love her work as seen in her blog, website and in PBS television instructional videos!
    Creative and inspiring God’s blessings for all, Namaste’! <3 ;-}

  42. I don’t know about zany, but the daftest idea I ever had was to think that I could make a double bed sized quilt for my first effort. The piecing wasn’t too bad, but I am still embarrassed by the stitching in the ditch (it wasn’t in the ditch) but the biggest horror was the binding. It was baggy and saggy with wrinkles, twisted and just nasty. 25 years later, I still haven’t made another bed quilt but my first and only comes in handy today as a wrap for my dogs crate – they like the den effect. Atc’s and postcards sized pieces are much more to my liking :)

  43. …. zaniest idea you have ever had for a quilt? Well that could have been the time I thought I’d try to save enough dryer lint to become a ‘felted’ batt for a quilt! Trying to be ‘thrifty’ and re-cycle! I gave up after a year as it would take many many years to save enough lint for even a twin size quilt! LOL! Thanks for the lovely giveaway & your continued charitable efforts for the animals. Ani in NC

  44. I made a quilt with the children at my local primary school – every child made a bug block and I put them all together! It was great fun!

  45. The book looks awesome – I love the Japanese aesthetic of soft taupes. I have a small collection of fabric that I hope to use someday!

    My craziest idea I’ve had for a quilt (so far) is based on a quilt I saw in a Japanese quilting magazine – a lap-sized quilt in the shape of a cottage. It was very detailed with a lot of embellishment. This would be way outside my comfort zone as I tend to be a pretty basic quilter.

  46. My crazy idea would be to make a bed quilt for my dog and me. It would have a body outline of me and where I would lay, and a body outline of my dog and where she would lay. I would spend time showing her this is her spot. She tends to get frustrated with me when I accidently kick her in my sleep. Maybe make the background a nice floral garden for us to sleep on. Then maybe our nights would be more peaceful

  47. I have always wanted to make a quilt with the silhouettes of girls twirling and dancing wearing billowing skirts. As yet I don’t have the skill but maybe one day I will be brave enought to try.

  48. Not too zany, as it turned out, but it seemed a little far-fetched at the time. Late 70’s, and I was clear across the country living in Washington State, young, “in love”, and usually broke. One of the big bedroom decorating trends at the time was jewel-tone velvet/velour patchwork comforters, and I craved one. Had a big inspiration one day at the thrift store, and stuffed some bags with an assortment of colored corduroy pants, took them home, and set to work. Took all winter, with lots more collecting of cord pants (ribbed and unribbed, not unlike velour). I pinned the finished squares to the wall of my sewing room as I went along, arranging and rearranging till I liked it. Black cord background, lots of burgundies, tans, and dark greens, blues, and purples – it turned out big, heavy and beautiful, and to my knowledge is still covering the bed of the ex-boyfriend I was out there with. Even today I have a soft spot for cord material because of that, and a secret stash with another effort in mind someday. Poor woman’s velvet, haha, and still lots of it to be found around the thrift stores! :)

  49. My Day of the Dead Quilt. It is made up of Fussy cut/crazy quilt Blocks. I entered it in the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Guild Quilt Show this Past Feb. people were calling it the skeleton Quilt.

  50. I am really loving the theme/design of your blog.

    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?
    A handful of my blog readers have complained about my website not working correctly
    in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any suggestions to
    help fix this problem?

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