Journal Article


Posted on Wednesday - June 1, 2005

What do you like doing the best? I like to write, please see my column in Quilting Arts Magazine. I'm in every quarterly issue as the Goddess of the Last Minute. My quilt Still Life With Strawberries was on the cover of Issue 7. Pokey, (whose real name is Pocahontas) is a great publisher, her magazine is GORGEOUS. I am so proud to have my name show up in her magazine, let alone my silliness.

When did you start quilting? I've always sewn, clothes, curtains, useful stuff. Then one winter, early in my marriage, 1980 or 1981,we had a cold spell that was so bad we had stay in on the weekends. It would warm up during the week, enough to go to work. (figures). One weekday, I discovered a quilt shop and bought a bunch of fabric, and Beth Gutcheon's book on quilting. That did it for me.

How did your machine quilting get to be so nice? One would hope after 20 years, I would have accomplished something. The more you do it the better you get. Of course, I'd be more than happy to supply you with details in one of my workshops. Click here for my schedule!

Can you recommend a sewing machine? Of course! I have a Bernina Artista 200E. and a Pfaff 2140, which also has embroidery capabilities.

American Professional Quilting has graciously loaned me a Millenium to use for a while.

What kind of applique do you use? I call it Fused Applique. I use fusible paper backed web to attach hand dyed pieces of fabric together. You iron the paper backed webbing onto the wrong side of your fabric, cut the shape out, peel the paper and iron that onto the quilt top. Voila!

How do you finish the edges of each shape? I don't. I just fuse them on there, and quilt them very, very closely. Once a year I explore techniques to finish the edges and find for various reasons that I prefer raw edges and go back to my normal technique.

What kinds of threads do you use in your machine quilting: I use a lot of different threads. I love varigated embroidery threads, most of them come only in rayon. I prefer the strength of polyester, but will use rayon when I want varigated. Isacord makes a great polyester embroidery thread. It comes on a 1000 yard cone that will stand up by itself, and you can lock the thread on the bottom of the cone. And the thread seems stronger too! Bernina dealers carry this thread, or go to

What kind of batting do you use? I've been using Hobbs Heirloom 100% Wool Batting Harriet Hargrave Batt. I like the way it makes the quilt a bit puffy, it adds great texture. But it's lightweight, and not cheezy like polyester. Also, it doesn't hold a crease like cotton does. If my quilts get folded, I can steam out the crease with an iron.

Tell me about the fabrics you dye. I use 100% cotton prepared for dyeing fabrics. I prefer a mercerized cotton. I dye the fabrics in two and four yard lengths. I prefer using my own hand dyes in my work, because it gives me great satisfaction to know that the whole quilt started out being white before I got my hands on it. Also, I like fusing hand dyed fabric, because it fuses so nicely. There is no sizing in the fabric, and I've washed it many many times in the dyeing process.

A good place to buy fabric is

Michael Morvka and Debra Lunn are quilters themselves and will send you samples and answer your fabric questions. I love sending people to them. Tell them I said hello! here's what I recommend:

Bleached Dyers Cloth
P+B Textiles 78x78 Construction Shrinks to 40" wide
Mercerized Optical White Color

There are several great places to buy dyes. I prefer these two. Their catalogs are excellent and they will provide you with instructions. Their staff people are really nice and they know what they are doing.

Here's a good site to find out all about dyeing, I get lots of good info here, it's Paula Burch's website:

Why are your hands and feet always funny colors? I wear gloves when I dye, but sometimes I forget to put them on right away, when I'm cleaning up or rinsing fabric. My feet and legs get dyed when I splash around. And there was that time I leaned over a dye table and dyed straight through my clothes to my underwear....

Will you make me a quilt? Sure, as long as you pay for it. Email me for details.

Are your quilts for sale? Yes, and thanks for asking. Which one are you interested in? Contact me me for details on pricing, please include the name of the quilts you are interested in.

Will you sew a button on my shirt? No, I don't do buttons. I'm too busy quilting.

But you have a bunch of sewing machines and a serger. And a whole separate room for quilting. Ok, fine. Give me the shirt, and go away. You are obviously a spy sent by my husband.

Will you iron my clothes? No. Either send them to the cleaner or iron them yourself. My iron is covered in fusing gunk. Which reminds me, Faultless seems to be the remover that works when you've covered your iron with webbing. I've tried the other brands, I've tried the dryer sheet trick, when you've made a huge mess, nothing works like Faultless.

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