November 11th, 2013

Allow me to introduce you to my work in progress. I affectionately am calling it The Mother of All Quilts……..for a variety of reasons.

in progress background

First…….I am using no defined technique, not sketch, no rules……nothing. What you see here is the background only……next comes a layer of circle appliques with bias tape edges I’ll make.

My inspiration for the appliques to come is from the amazing work of Koos Van den Akker…..of whom I’m a long-time fan.

As many of you know, I love working with circles and have used them extensively in my Paintbox series. The big difference is this time instead of my signature raw edges I’ll be adding the contrasting bias edging. Waaaay different but I’m excited about the challenge.


Honestly…..I just wanted to create something very difficult and different, and the background of this huge (about 100″ x 100″) piece has been a killer….wrestling all that fabric around. I put it together all in one piece….not tidy little, or big, blocks to make and sew together.

Soooo…..I ‘ll keep you posted on how it’s developing. Unfortunately, it’s going on the shelf now until after Christmas so I can work on my Santa goodies. Don’t worry…..I won’t forget to come back to it. I’ve never my whole sewing life left a project unfinished and this is certainly not going to be the first.  After all, I have a reputation (even if it’s just with myself) to maintain! Here are a couple more details as I was assembling it.detail 1det 2



October 22nd, 2013

mary's stones 2


I’m not sure I was actually in the Highlands……..but I thought it was a good attention-getter! I do know that I was in Scotland teaching and had a wonderful time!

In June I had the wonderful experience of teaching for the Quilt Guilds of the British Isles, Scotland region.  Everyone was warm and friendly, my students were hard-working and fun, the venue was very good, the food and drink were excellent…..and Scotland is one of my favorite places to visit.

We worked in my signature collage style, and the class did excellent designs. They may have been a little intimidated at first, but I’m used to that. After all, don’t most of us first feel a little nervous the first time we jump into new waters. But jump in they did…..and created their own unique collage work.  And check out the color. No color fraidy-cats here! They weren’t afraid to mix up the boldest and brightest colors which was awesome!

As you can see, I’ve included photos of some of the projects  from class which are still in progress, but since it’s been four whole months, I’m sure most of them are completed by now, right, Ladies??? I’ll be looking for photos of your finished projects so I can share them on my blog.

poppies students mulin rouge2 moulin rouge more poppies Ihouse dock debs horse 2 classwork debbie class class tree class marys stones bottles beach huts mary's stones 2

BABY, BABY…….quilt

March 28th, 2013

baby quilt detail


How’s this for a bright and bold baby quilt.  A baby art quilt as my good friend described it. This is just a detail…..a full photos below.

My very special niece Alli is having a baby boy very soon and this is for her…..and baby, of course.  There aren’t many people I’d go to the time of creating this improvisational style quilt….but she’s one of them. I hope they’ll all enjoy the little patches and pieces of color and print. Some of them I dug out of the bottom of my stash and others are new and trendy ones!

Kid Krazy

Here’s the whole quilt.  I made it in 14″ blocks, figuring it out as I went. I    especially like the curves …….I’ve been wanting to try this style  for a while      (hopefully you’ll see more of them to come…….why is it that there’s never enough time for all the things I want to do…whine, whine……I’m sure you’ve felt the same way)

I stitched around each block with a small stitch when it was completed  because with all those little pieces and seams, I didn’t want to be resewing a   gazillion times as I sewed the blocks together. I didn’t square up the blocks….just used the curved technique I used creating the blocks to sew the blocks into rows and the rows together.

KK det 3A little closer look……I especially liked seeing and using those kids fabrics that I’ve had forever in my stash…..some probably 15 years old. Old friends! You’ll notice a lot of sports fabrics…..we are definitely a sports family and my niece was a fabulous college basketball player so there are plenty of basketballs. I did add footballs and helmets for her husband Nick as he’s a mega-fan!

If you’re interested in a good reference for this type of work, create your own free-form quilts by Rayna Gillman is a great way to learn a few techniques and get started.

Enjoy looking……!














A TRIBUTE……my most faithful blog watcher

February 19th, 2013

Most of you have realized….if you drop into my blog now and then…..that I’m not a very faithful or frequent blogger. I always promise myself to do better, but life just gets in the way. Today I want to take time to tell you about my most faithful reader and consistent reminder that I need to write on my blog.  That would be Lauren……one of my granddaughters.

Fifth grade  Here she is……beautiful like her mother! Lauren just turned 11, and is a very busy and talented young lady with basketball, dance, school, friends….and, of course, keeping her eye on Grama’s blog.  Frankly….I think she may be the only one of my wonderful family who even reads it!! I so appreciate her watchful eye. She lives a couple of hours from us, but we were at her house several days ago to attend her fabulous dance performance. She asked me then….”Gramela, (her name for me…..inventive, isn’t she!) when are you going to write on your blog?

Ok, Lauren. I’m going to try to do better. I do have lots of things to say…..just not lots of time to say them! he

Lauren on the beachAt the beach in Hawaii this winter…..having fun with her cousin Brooklynn at the left.

Lauren loves my fabric art and is a great sewer herself…..with her own sewing machine. Her favorite of my pieces is Sunspot…..which I’ve promised will be hers someday. She loves all the beads and crystals….anything that sparkles is good!Sunspot 3Thanks, Lauren. You’re the best….and Grama really appreciates your attention and interest in my blog. Keep reminding me. xo


August 21st, 2012

Here’s a look at what I was doing this spring… works based on the theme “Textured Waters.”  An interesting theme as it seemed to suggest water colors, and I rarely work in blue. That means it was a good stretch for me! As you may know, I prefer a pretty dark, dusty palette of a variety of shades.

The show is at the Bainbridge Arts & Crafts Center on Bainbridge Island, Washington. If you’re visiting the Seattle area, stop in and see my work. Be sure and tell them I sent you!

The piece above, Currents, is primarily in my favorite shades (the blues are still to come!) It’s a textile collage using many African hand dyed fabrics plus a little of this and that from my stash.  I’ve also added textile paint to some of the shades and finished it off with a few lines of hand stitching. Here’s a closer look so you can see those details

Here comes the blue color! This piece, Low Tide,  I also created from African hand dyed fabric….definitely my new favorite  fabrics. Even though I design fabric for the US market……there’s something so exciting and fresh about these gorgeous fabrics from Africa.

The piece of fabric itself did most of the work…..I enhanced it with raw edges, layering, machine and hand stitching. It has an irregular outer edge which also gives it a very handmade look. I like the contrast between the programmed machine stitching and the raveling raw edges.

Tide Pools gets a little extra glitz from the metallic stitching in the background and a sprinkling of small beads called lentil beads….because they’re shaped like lentils! Very soft colors that add a nice effect.  In this piece, as in many of my textile collages, movement is a very important part of the design. The water current here is rushing toward this small group of rocks in swirls of shallow water.

Here’s a closer look. I created the look of water on the rocks by layering hand-dyed sheer fabrics over other fabrics and shapes to add depth and shading. One of my favorite techniques!

One more…..this one, The Perfect Storm, is from my Paintbox Series….probably my favorite style to work in. Again, my goal was to show motion and depth along with creating a composition using a limited palette of blues.

I’ve used sheer fabrics here for layering and creating depth as well as hand painted cheesecloth to add interest. As you can see, it’s all about where I place the circles to create the composition. I love working in this series!

Enjoy….for more of my textile art, check out the gallery section. I’m not good about updating with new work but hopefully you get the idea!


August 14th, 2012

Great advice passed on to me from my amazing granddaughter Josie… true, isn’t it?

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.

          Josie Showalter,  interpreted from a quote from Justin Bieber


SCARLET……it’s here!!

August 12th, 2012


And I love it!! My new fabric line Scarlet should be arriving in your favorite quilt shop soon!  It’s bold, beautiful, and full of drama….just the way I like fabrics!

The large poppy print is back by popular demand……..I designed the main floral several years ago and the collection was a great success. In fact, I still get emails asking me if I have any left!! Sorry….I have to say. This time I’m a little smarter and I bought more from the manufacturer, Clothworks.

All the coordinating prints are fresh and new…as you can see! There are three background colors….black (always one of my favorites,) blue, and yellow.  To see all the prints in the group, go to the Clothworks website –    /collection.asp?ID=350


It will be up on my website soon….and I’m putting together a great Scarlet kit called THE BIG EASY.   Get the idea that it’s EASY and gorgeous?  Keep checking. It will be up there soon. Trust me…it’s a weekend project and shows off the fabrics beautifully. I know there are lots of you out there who like to make lovely quilts and other items for your homes….but don’t feel you have the time to do it. Trust me…this one you can!

Enjoy Scarlet…….if you don’t see it at your local quilt shop, just ask them when it’s coming!!


Here’s Lauren!

May 9th, 2012



A great model, isn’t she! Meet my lovely granddaughter Lauren who had lots of fun in my studio trying on and modeling some of my recent wearable creations.

She put together outfits with my altered jean jackets and vests, scarves, and purses…..and I snapped away taking photos!  Delightful!


I’ve been busy making my textile creations for an upcoming open studio sale with two other artists in June. More to come on that…but if you live near Spokane, circle June 23 on your calender and come check us out.

One of my favorite things to do is alter jean jackets……as you see on Lauren…and I’ve been experimenting with wet felting and making bags. I’ll post more photos of the details….but until then….here Lauren having fun with Grama’s Goodies!

Love that girl….and love to see her having fun with my textile art. Of course, it’s my dream that at least one of my three granddaughters might pursue a career in art someday……..All three of them are alreadywonderful artists!!


March 14th, 2012


I know I’m really dating myself naming one of my collages after that ’60’s classic by Iron Butterfly…….but, I was invited to take part in a group exhibit with a theme of butterflies so this was my solution. I’m just not a butterfly-kind-of girl….so I needed to come up with an idea. Voila….the album cover of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida became my inspiration.

I used a variety of fabrics….including one fabulous hand-dyed piece from which all of the oranges, purples, and pinks were cut. Perfect ’60’s colors, don’t you think. I also embellished it with a lot of gold and pink metal leafing….to add a focal point since the whole thing was pretty much an in-you-face-kind of thing. Without the metallic it was pretty blah…. The metallic thread helped but it still needed a little more pizazz.  I’m thinking it will probably go to my grandson’s room when it’s done hanging.

Funny thing….when researching Iron Butterfly, looking for the image of the album cover, I read that the song was the longest recorded at that time…..17 minutes. It brought back memories of my college days when In-A-Gadda-da-Vida seemed to be playing everywhere, all the time. In fact, I can remember it blaring at noon hour in my sorority house. We’d go upstairs for lunch and when we came back downstairs it was likely still playing……Just a little blast from the past!


I kind of like this collage because it’s a departure from my usual look. It’s a good idea to shake up the comfortable style  sometimes……


February 27th, 2012


Doesn’t that look like a village you’d love to visit?  It’s nestled in the hills of the Abruzzo region of Italy where I’ll be teaching a textile art workshop in September….and I’m soooo excited!

It’s like the perfect adventure….combining two of my favorite things…travel and textiles!  I’d love to have you consider coming along!

I’ll be teaching at the Abruzzo School of Creative arts…and everything about the school, the location, and the itinerary are deliciously inviting. Check out the website at  My workshop will be September 5-12 and you can learn more details about my class by clicking on my name at the top of the page.

Now….you may be asking yourself….why would I want to go to the other side of the world to take a workshop when I can do that at home. Good question….and I have a good answer.  While we’re at this idealic location we’ll be immersed in its beauty and ancient culture which will feed our souls and allow our inspiration to blossom and grow. Nothing to do but enjoy and learn. How often do you get that opportunity in life? Not often.

As artists we need to recharge our batteries from time to time and nothing does that like a fabulous location, others around us who share our passion for textile art…..and  the opportunity to relax and grow artistically. I get this same rejuvenating effect as a teacher as you will as a student……and I can’t wait!!   And the opportunity to be hosted by natives of the region is priceless….our itinerary is relaxed with lots of time for side adventures like an Italian cooking class, wine class, market trips and more. I hope you’ll look at the fabulous details of the itinerary on the website.

So….what do you think?  Let me know if I can answer any questions…..I’m already dreaming of the hills of Italy…especially when I look out my studio window at the drab Washington Winter! It’s only six months away….sigh….