Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet the editors in Knoxville

Do you want to be an AQS-published author? If you are planning to attend the AQS show in Knoxville July 25-29, please stop by the Editors Room to introduce yourself. AQS executive book editor, Andi Reynolds, and I will be sharing this room to conduct show winner interviews and have meetings with potential authors, both book and magazine. I'll be in and out of the room during the daytime, Wednesday through Friday. Please e-mail me at for an appointment in advance, or just stop by to set something up during the show. (You can also contact me via the AQS membership booth at the show.) Andi Reynolds can be contacted at The Editors Room is classroom 200E, on the second floor just off the elevator. I'll also be at the awards presentation Thursday afternoon at 1:00 PM in the lecture hall.

I'm really looking forward to this new AQS venue - there will be lots of wonderful quilts, outstanding vendors, fun events, and terrific teachers. Y'all come!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Freedom to Wear Orange

Hi! My name is Marje Rhine. I am a quilt pattern designer (Quilt Design NW), teacher, longarm quilter, and, most importantly, pattern editor for American Quilter magazine. I'll be posting occasionally on this blog.

I belong to a journal quilt group that meets monthly to share thoughts and ideas about our little challenge quilts. Every meeting we choose a word, technique, and fabric to inspire us (or not, as sometimes happens) to make a quilt for the next month. My quilts finish to about 9" x 12". For the most recent meeting, we were to use items from our art supply cupboard in any way. The key word was 'freedom' and the fabric was one I decided not to use. (There are no set rules, so I could do that.)

I had recently read the new AQS book, Faux Appliqué, by Helen Stubbings. She uses colored pencils to re-create the look of appliqué. So, out came my colored pencils. Following Helen's instructions, I colored this black and white motif printed on fabric (small photo) just to see how the process worked. I treated the fabric per Helen's recommendation so the coloring wouldn't easily wash or rub out, and it worked well. I see many possibilities for this technique.

In the meantime I was thinking about 'freedom.' To me, freedom meant I could do anything (legal!) I wanted, even wear orange! I found a great zebra-stripe fabric in my stash, but no bright orange colored pencil. So I used an orange hi-lighter pen to color a piece of the fabric, then treated it (again per Helen's recommendation in the Faux Appliqué book). I designed a saw-horse zebra block and pieced 6 zebras - 5 white & black and one orange & black. I call my creation, Freedom to Wear Orange. The quilt was fun to make, and I had a ball seeing what everyone else did for their little quilts.

Submitted by Marje Rhine, pattern editor for American Quilter magazine

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Looking for a pattern?

Check out the cute little thumbnail images of American Quilter patterns on the AQS Web site. Here's the link: From piecing to applique to redwork to embellishment, there's a project here for every quilter and every taste. You can sew our projects with confidence, as AQS technical editors triple check all the yardages and instructions.

If you've recently made a quilt from one of the patterns published in American Quilter, be sure to send a good photo of the quilt to Selected photos will be posted under Readers' Quilts on

Sunday, June 14, 2009 Alaska

Ketchikan was the last port of call on our Alaska cruise. With a year-round population of about 15,000 residents, Ketchikan is surrounded by vast wilderness areas and mountains, without road or rail connections to the rest of North America. But there is a thriving quilt community here, with a guild of about 90 members that meets monthly, and a fabulous quilt shop, The Silver Thimble, owned by Beatriz Torres. “The shop has been in business 25 years,” says Beatriz, “and we’ve expanded from one space to two in the building.” One of the newest fabric arrivals at The Silver Thimble is the Hoffman California Glacier Lights line designed by Ryan McKenna. These beautiful border-style organic prints come in multiple colorways—I bought only one but really wanted more. If you love beads and yarn, don’t miss Mission Street Arts & Fibers just a few blocks away, featuring the works of Alaskan artist Terry Pyles.

Tomorrow we’ll be cruising the magnificent Inside Passage all day on the last leg of our voyage. What a privilege it has been to see our country’s last frontier up close and personal, enriched by meeting lots of friendly quilters and visiting well-stocked shops in every port—isn’t that a perfect vacation?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 Alaska

On this day of brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the 70s, we changed gears in the afternoon and rode a jet helicopter over the Juneau Icefield to Herbert Glacier. Glacial pools of bright aquamarine greeted us upon our approach to the moon-like surface of thousand-year-old compressed snow. In between deep fissures and craggy ice spires, our pilot found a perfect landing spot where we had a chance to get out and carefully explore this magnificent and unspoiled place. I had my first taste of icy glacier water from one of the many nearby pools—exhilarating. Looking around at the surrounding rocky cliffs and the sea down below in the distance, I felt both humbled and fortunate to experience this glorious part of the earth.

Next destination was Skagway, gateway to the nineteenth-century Canadian Yukon gold rush. This quaint town, still just four blocks wide and 23 blocks long, saw tens of thousands of “stampeders” passing through in just two years after the word was out that gold had been discovered in the Klondike fields 600 miles away. Many prospectors died searching for instant riches, but more than $50 million in gold was pulled out of the Yukon in just four years by a lucky few. Skagway still lures travelers with lots of outdoor activities, great shopping, and—you guessed it—a thriving quilt community. When you visit, check out the Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska shop and Changing Threads needle arts shop, both owned by Trish Magee.

Monday, June 8, 2009 Alaska

After a glorious day riding the rails from Anchorage in a domed sightseeing car, our group of seven arrived in Seward, Alaska, for embarkation on the Celebrity Millennium. Our next day was spent at sea, enjoying perfect deck weather and spectacular close-up views of Hubbard Glacier, harbor seals, moose, and bald eagles. Today we arrived—again blessed with sunshine and warm temperatures—in the capital city of Juneau, accessible only by air and sea. Just a few steps away from the pier I discovered Changing Tides, a wonderful quilt store and gift shop in the Senate Mall Building. Owner Jan Nardone is a longtime quilter and owned a quilt store in Skagway, Alaska, for nine years before opening this shop five years ago. Although stocked with fabric, notions, and patterns, the shop has more of an art gallery ambiance, with textile and gift items designed by many Alaskan artists. Jewelry, cross stitch, fabric art panels, and glass and caribou antler buttons are a few items that caught my eye. If you collect thimbles, select from a variety of these miniature works of art crafted of wood, ceramic, pewter, and moose antler. Changing Tides is open year round.

Thursday, June 4, 2009 Alaska

What a lovely surprise to discover, on the first day of my 9-day vacation in Alaska, The Quilted Raven shop in downtown Anchorage. This is not your typical quilt shop: "It's a gift shop that sells fabric and patterns," says owner Jana Hayenga. (Jana is on the left in photo, standing next to one of her employees, Louann.) The character of this small but well-stocked store is defined not only by a spectacular wall of batiks and an amazing array of outdoorsy prints, but also exclusive art and fabrics produced by Alaskan designers. You'll find Jon Van Zyle prints, made in Hawaii and sold only in Alaska; Barbara Lavallee machine applique patterns; soft wool yarn that is locally spun and organically hand-dyed; dolls hand made by a local artist; and patterns from Carolee Pollard, Lisa Moore and other Alaskan artists. If Anchorage happens to be in your travel plans, be sure to stop by The Quilted Raven, Seams to Bee, The Quilt Tree, Dina's Cozy Cabin Quilts, or Alaskan Quilting Adventures for some wonderful shopping and a healthy dose of homegrown talent.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Your opinion counts

If you are a regular reader of American Quilter magazine, please take a few minutes to complete our online survey by June 30, 2009. Your feedback will help us choose the articles and projects that YOU want in future issues of AQ, plus you could win a very nice prize just for participating. Click on this link to fill out the survey now:

Don't forget a label!

Labels preserve the identity of a project so future generations will know more about the quilt and the maker. Labels could be important should the quilt be lost or stolen. Here are a few tips for making labels:

1. Sew quilt labels onto your quilt backing before the quilt is quilted. That way it is incorporated in the quilting and cannot be removed later. Also consider signing your name and date on the front or incorporating your signature into the quilting.

2. For hand-inked labels, be sure to use a pen that is meant for writing on fabric (many permanent markers are not).

3. Using horizontally-striped fabric for labels will help keep your lettering straight.

4. Depending on how much space you have, include the name of the maker, quilt name, completion date, city and state, intended recipient, special occasion, and care instructions. The label shown was made for a new baby and was printed on printer-ready inkjet photo fabric. (Look for the wonderful quilt pattern that goes along with this label in the January 2010 issue of American Quilter magazine!)
Submitted by Kathy Niemann, technical editor for American Quilter magazine