pokey's ponderings

Thoughts on Crafting a Life

Catherine Redford

Above: Catherine Redford demonstrating how she makes colorful fabric bowls and table runners using scraps of brightly hued batik fabrics.


We’ve begin the application process seeking artists wanting to demonstrate in Open Studios and or wanting to teach an hour-long workshop at Make It University!(TM) at our Chicago Quilt Festival, June 19-21, 2014!  If you are interested in either of these opportunities, you can learn more by clicking each of the links in the sidebar to the right. (For those reading this post on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom and you will see the two links.)

Simply click the links, print the PDF files, enter your Open Studios or Make It University!(TM)  ideas, and send them back to me per the instructions. Deadline for both applications is April 7, 2014.


Cheryl Sleboda

Above! Cheryl Sleboda delighting attendees with her LED-lit art quilts.

Happy Monday, everyone!


BLOG UPDATE: February 3, 2014

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and to Kathy Aho in Minnesota. Please email me your address at pokeybATquilts.com so I can ship you the case of Aurifil thread! Congratulations!

With Superbowl Sunday fast approaching, I’m gathering all of my materials for a day filled with quilting whilst munching on fattening football fare. I had hoped it would be a San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots matchup, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be, but there’s always next year! In the meantime, I am rooting for the Seahawks, simply because of this guy:


Fellow San Francisco native, Pete Carroll, former coach of the New England Patriots and an all-around good guy.

I thought it would be fun to do a little giveaway before the Big Game, with swag that Aurifil generously gave me over the holidays:


Check out what’s inside!


Here is how this giveaway will work:

1. In the comments area tell me which team you think will win on Sunday.

2. Then I will take those who accurately predicted the winning team, and randomly select a winner on Monday.

So…who do you think will win the Superbowl?

It’s certainly freezing outside for much of the country, Houston included, which means there is no better reason to stay home and quilt…or knit/crochet!

We have a couple of exhibit opportunities we recently announced for our premier edition of Quilt!Knit!Stitch! in Portland, OR, August 14-16, 2014 that I wanted to point out in my blog (click the links below for all the details):

1. Coming Up Roses!

“Roses have deep and various meanings in our culture. Some would say they represent innocence, beauty, and/or love. Some would say they are symbolic of the Virgin Mary or that they are the national flower of England. Some roses are red, some roses are yellow, some have thorns, and some have none. The different types of roses, when gifted, hold different meanings to the recipient. The smell of a rose can spark different feelings and memories in a person. What do you think of when you think of roses? How do they make you feel? What does a rose symbolize to you?”

2. Grandmother’s Purls 

“Grandmother’s Purls will be the showcase for contemporary international knit and crochet pieces that feature a modern spin on vintage patterns or techniques. This year’s exhibit will interpret the “feather and fan” pattern.”

I hope you will consider entering and will help me spread the word!

Also, congratulations to Christina Keys for winning the skeins of threads from last week’s post. Please email me at pokeybATquilts.com and I’ll post these in the mail to you ASAP!

It’s been a long week, but I am thankful three fantastic things happened in the last few days:

1. Bruce Springsteen released his latest album, “High Hopes!”

2. Virginia Spiegel demonstrated her fundraising prowess yet again, and with the help of fiber artists, exceeded her goal for Fiberart for a Cause and raised more than $5500!

3. And the best news all week? LIBBY LEHMAN GOT TO GO HOME! Read all about it here!

In celebration of the above events, I thought to do a little Friday giveaway, this time a sampling of Painter’s Palette yarn from Koigu that they generously gave me at TNNA this past weekend. Yarn lovers know these skeins offered in sumptuous colors are fantastic for garments, but they work well for hand stitching, too.

Koigu Yarn


Answer the following in the comments area, and I’ll choose a winner on Tuesday. My question is one you’d expect on a Friday afternoon:  What kind of stitching or surface design trouble do you plan to engage in over the weekend?

Me? I’m leaving on a jet plane in the morning so I am packing a small plastic bag with my English paper-piecing project.




I was watching The Today Show yesterday morning where they were launching their “Shine a Light” program, a year-long initiative focused on service and giving back to communities in need. Each co-anchor is choosing a worthy cause to support throughout the year, and this week they’ve been unveiling those causes. Al Roker is joining a U.S.O. tour to entertain our troops overseas, Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie are building playgrounds, and Natalie Morales is running the Boston Marathon to raise money for last year’s bombing victims.

Well! Fiber artists and quilters are not to be left out of the running, so to speak. Virginia Spiegel, fundraiser extraordinaire, is yet again launching a campaign, this time a virtual race to to the finish line, a 5K-race to raise $5000 January 15th for Fiber Art For a Cause to benefit the American Cancer Society.


As this is a virtual race, you can give your knees and achy joints a break! All you need to do is mark your calendars for the 15th to be in the running for some pretty fabulous fiber and quilting prizes and donate money to the American Cancer Society.


And if you leave a comment below (by this Sunday, January 12th at midnight EST)  letting me know what other good deed(s) you are doing this year to help someone, volunteer, raise money, etc., I’ll match each comment (one per person) with a $1 donation for the American Cancer Society. So mark your calendars for January 15th, and let the comments and good deeds commence!

Some people have New Year’s Resolutions, some have anti-resolutions (i.e. “I refuse to diet this year!”)…and some simply find one word they hope will guide them through the next 365 days.

While on my last 2013 run yesterday morning–and realizing as I get older I’m not as spritely a runner as I used to be–my word came to me.  I thought about how I could best illustrate this word in a blog entry, and one of my very favorite children’s book came to mind. Remember Charlotte, the little arachnid, who, through her love of linguistics and weaving webs, saved a pig’s life?


Channeling my inner Charlotte, here’s my word:


Acceptance is understanding where you are in your life…and you Accept. To me, Acceptance is celebrating your achievements, taking stock of your life, and accepting your disappointments and mistakes along the way. With Acceptance, you don’t capitulate, you Accept, and if necessary, you recalibrate. And you learn to take one step in front of the other with grace and humor.

My New Year’s wish to all is to Accept where you are in your life, to recalibrate if needed, do what you love–and to make sure above all else–to surround yourselves with the people you love. Accept nothing less!

Wishing all a fulfilling, accepting, (and of course a stitch-filled) 2014!


It’s Christmas Eve, and from one quilter to another, I thought now is as good a time as any to share my five favorite decorating and stress-relieving holiday tricks and tips this holiday season.

5. Embrace quirky.

Fruitcakes welcome

When I decorated my home this season, I wanted to make sure friends and family would know they’d find like-minded company inside.


4. Be inclusive! Make certain the pets participate in the holiday festivities too.

NellieBad Christmas sweater

This costume was on sale–I’m pretty sure because it was too reminiscent of Thanksgiving with that Pilgrim belt.


3. Make sure your pets are faced with edible temptation over the holidays–just like you–every single day.

dog wreath

Spray paint and hot glue some dog bones onto a wreath. Then hang the wreath in the dog kennel just out of reach from the dogs so that they look at it longingly all day long. (Wreath credit goes to Marilyn Barrow.)

2. Remember that the holidays can be for the birds, too!

holiday owls

With the owl craze over the last few years, don’t we all have some fabric owls lying around? I strung holiday lights in my wishing owl bird cage and installed a tiny Christmas tree, too. (Owls are by Lynn Krawczyk that appeared in Quilt Scene a few years ago.)


1. If you are feeling a little blue at times over of the holidays, then my greatest advice to you is…GET THYSELF INTO THY STUDIO and surround yourself with all of your favorite (quilt-y) toys!



Wherever you find yourself over the holiday break, I wish you a peaceful and festive time with friends and family. And, of course, I also hope you can find some time to stitch.

Hugs to all this holiday season,


Guess what got delivered recently?

Quilt money 2013

Left to right: Meredith Wierick, Pokey Bolton, and Salise Shuttlesworth at Friends For Life headquarters

The $40,000 (+) is twice the amount of funds raised from last year’s edition of Quilt Festival’s Pet Project, so if I do my math correctly based on last year’s amounts, it means that the money will approximately:

• Vaccinate 8,000 cats

• Vaccinate 10,500 dogs

• Neuter about 700 tomcats

• Provide heartworm treatment for 100 dogs

• Provide 2000 Project WARM feral cat shelters for distribution to colonies all over Houston.

It will also help dogs who otherwise would have been euthanized like Nemmy to heal and find forever homes…

Friends for Life

From Friends For Life’s Facebook page: Nemmy, the dog who was found with a rope tied around her waist and embedded in her skin, has developed quite the fan base. We appreciate everyone rooting for her and continuing to inquire about her progress. Medically, Nemmy is doing well and her wounds have healed nicely.

 Our volunteers and staff have been working on socialization at the pace she sets. As any dog who had been mistreated at the hand of a human would act, Nemmy is still hesitant of people. In a room set up all for her at the shelter, volunteers have been taking turns reading aloud to her. This helps Nemmy get used to the sound and presence of humans. She is not ready to be touched or petted but we’ve seen her playing with toys, walking around and sniffing humans. The progress is slow but tremendous. As our behaviorist Melissa puts it “the fastest way is the slowest way.” We will continue to help Nemmy at her pace and keep you updated along the way.

Thanks to ALL who made and purchased pet postcards, and for those who additionally donated money! This is truly a revolutionary shelter that will be a model for other shelters around the country. Check out this recent story in the Houston Chronicle about how Friends For Life is a finalist for a District Council of the Urban Land Institute’s 2014 Development of Distinction Award!

Every animal does indeed matter. Thanks everyone…

As 2013 draws to a close, you may think we are sitting here at Quilts Inc. headquarters tossing back eggnog, resting on our laurels, and playing reindeer games. But alas, we are not. Why?

Because we are not only working on our Quilt Festivals and Quilt Markets next year, but also planning for our brand new show: Quilt! Knit! Stitch!


Quilt!Knit!Stitch! will be premiering August 14-16, 2014, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, and we’re planning for an exciting and dynamic celebration of our collective love for all things related to textiles and fiber.

A sneak peek of some of the highlights:

  • Full- and half-day classes, workshops, and lectures taught by highly sought-after teachers in quilting, knitting, crochet, and sewing.
  • Open Studios™, where over the duration of the show, more than 40 fiber artists in mock studio spaces located on the show floor will be demonstrating quilting, knitting, crochet, and sewing techniques.
  •  Make It University™, where attendees can sign up on the show floor to take hour-long workshops from their favorite designers, authors, and teachers.
  • A daily Fashion Show called “Street Style” celebrating the latest trends in inspiring knitted, crochet, and fiber wear.
  • A fiber garden installation called the “Community Garden” that will grow daily as attendees make and plant floral-themed pieces. (More on that in an upcoming blog post.)
  • “Scrappy Hour, an after-hour reception with cocktails, food, and some pretty desirous fiber loot.
  • Numerous exhibits featuring outstanding works in quilting, knitting, embroidery, stitch, and crochet.

A lot more information will be forthcoming in the new year, but in the meantime, save the date!


It’s late afternoon on Tuesday, the eve of the eve of Thanksgiving, my absolute favorite holiday all year.

I am yearning to take a few days off, gorge on turkey and all the fixings (or as they say here in Houston, the fixins’) and vedge out for a few days. I have no plans except spend some quiet time at home, continue moving my studio upstairs, and haul out the holiday decorations. (And hey, if I can swing a ticket to the New England Patriots-Texans game on Sunday…all the sweeter!)


Thankfully today I had a little visitor come to my office for a short while. Her name is Emily, and she is my coworker Rose Reyes’ six-year-old granddaughter. Emily wanted to join me for “arts and crafts” and although I had stored all of my Open Studios supplies for the year, I was able to quickly find some Great Art Finds in the form of googly eyes, neon pompoms, and a glue stick. She pulled my blue velvet chair up to my desk, grasped a handful of Sharpies from my pen mug, and put her industrious self to work pretty quickly. Admiring my chalkboard and colorful chalk sticks, she then proclaimed that she first needed to create a “Thanksgiving mural” before she could add a “pompom googly-eyed turkey.”

google-eyed turkey

It was a great visit, and one that reminded me how fantastic this time of year is.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope yours is lovely,



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