Thursday, October 29, 2009

Des Moines Best of Show

What a thrill it was to chat with Karen Kay Buckley (on left in the photo) in front of her magnificent quilt, Arabesque, at the AQS show here in Des Moines. The quilt, which is hand appliqued and machine quilted, was three years in the making. The detail in this quilt is just don't do it justice. For anyone living in or traveling through Des Moines in the next couple days, this quilt is reason enough to stop by the AQS show in downtown. There will be more photos and lots of information about all the winning quilts in the March 2010 issue of American Quilter magazine.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Who is this famous quilter?

American Quilter magazine teaser:

Can you guess the identity of this renowned quilt artist, shown here in her New England garden? She began her artistic career as a potter but is now identified with spectacular use of color. Her quilts are largely strip pieced and strip quilted. Read all about her in the next issue (January 2010) of American Quilter magazine! If you're an AQS member, this issue should show up in your mailbox before Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More from Houston

American Quilter contributing editor Barbara Polston and I posed for this photo in the vendor area of the International Quilt Festival yesterday. She's at this show for the first time and thoroughly enjoying the experience. We chatted about some of the unusual and creative techniques we saw in the show, several of which will be showcased in future issues of American Quilter. The technical and design ingenuity of quilters worldwide never ceases to amaze me!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Catching up with friends at Houston

It's the second full day of the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Catching up with new and old friends is part of the magic of any large quilt show, and there's lots of that going on here. Even though it may be years since we published a particular article in American Quilter, the connections between the designer/writer and me are still strong and immediate. I feel so fortunate to have hundreds of "article friends' out there in "Quiltdom."

Jacqueline de Jonge, a talented quilt designer from the Netherlands, was profiled in an article by Marjorie Russell in the Summer 2007 issue of AQ. Since then, she has obtained a work visa for a lengthy stay in the United States as a working artist, and I'm delighted that she is so visible again on the quilting scene. She is here with her brother, Harm, who manages the business end of her endeavors and shares her passion to bring her amazing designs to an ever-increasing audience. (That's Harm in the photo. I'm in the middle and Jacqueline's on the left.)

The pattern for one of Jacqueline's spectacular foundation-pieced quilts is still available at Use the search box in the upper right corner of the home page to locate the pattern, called Dutch Treasure. Jacqueline has many more designs coming out in the next year...stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reporting from International Quilt Market

The 2009 International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas, came to a close yesterday, and in spite of a challenging economy, market activity was brisk and successful for many buyers and sellers. (For those not familiar with "Market," it is the twice-yearly wholesale event where quilt shop owners, teachers, designers, and industry entrepreneurs come to see all the new products and place orders for fabric, notions, books, and all things quilt related.) AQS Publishing participates in Quilt Market as both a book and magazine publisher and industry book distributor. That's Chrystal Abhalter in the AQS booth. Chrystal is the AQS copy editor and she also represents AQS at many quilt events.

Market is a terrific opportunity for AQS to introduce new book authors who conduct "schoolhouse" demos to share their techniques and generate excitement about new titles. It's a whirlwind of business activity but also a testament to the huge cultural and economic impact of quilting in the past 35 years.

I found some great new products and fantastic fabrics that will be featured in upcoming issues of American Quilter. But more than that, my quilting "battery" was recharged at Market, seeing all the beautiful quilts on display and reconnecting with the people who have made quilting so meaningful to so many people in so many ways. Quilt on!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breaking news

The American Quilter's Society is proud to announce the creation of a new magazine with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson as creative and executive directors. The Quilt Life is scheduled to premiere in April 2010 with six issues per year. According to Ricky, if you are someone who understands that quilting is a way of life, "you'll find our new magazine, The Quilt Life, has been created with you in mind."

Issue one will focus on inspiration and how it compels a quilter to start a new project. You will find articles from quilt artists who reveal the sources of their inspiration and share the techniques and patterns they use to create works of art. Popular quilter/teacher/author/judge Libby Lehman will write a regular column featuring tips and entertaining stories about her quilt life.

As editor-in-chief of The Quilt Life, Jan Magee is proud to be "working with the cream of the quilting industry crop - Ricky, Alex, and AQS."

Subscription to The Quilt Life is available at and is separate from AQS membership, which includes a subscription to American Quilter magazine.

Monday, October 5, 2009

On pins and needles

The expression "on pins and needles" can have special meaning for quilters. A friend recently spent several thousand dollars getting a milliner's needle extracted from her dog. Given that pins and needles are indispensable tools for quilters, I have collected some tips on safely storing them.
The magnet, in many shapes and forms, is perfect for keeping pins and needles in place as well as for searching for lost ones. Auto parts stores sell a highly-magnetized bowl (used to hold bolts, nails, and such) for under $10. They catch anything even remotely near them. You can turn them upside down and do a clean sweep of the floor to gather misplaced pins and needles. Just be sure to keep any magnetized objects away from your electronic sewing machine.
For searching the chair, couch, or other hard-to-reach areas for lost pins and needles, a bingo wand is very handy. This is a magnetized stick used for picking up bingo chips (see photo). They can be found in most variety stores in the hobbies and game section for about $2-3. It is not as powerful as the bowl but you can get under things and in nooks and crannies.
For transporting needles and pins safely, make a needle box. Choose a small box that will shut securely, like an empty gum or mints tin. Trace the shape of the tin on a flat refrigerator magnet. Cut to size and glue to the bottom of the tin. (It may fit in without gluing.)
Safely dispose of bent, used, or dull needles and pins. Family members who empty the trash will appreciate it. Any handy recyclable will do - a popular one is the old pill or prescription bottle with a childproof lid.
Remember the immortal words of Mother Goose:
See a pin and pick it up,
All the day you'll have good luck;
See a pin and let it lay,
Bad luck you'll have all the day.
(Submitted by American Quilter magazine contributing editor Kathy Niemann)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Readers' quilts: "Trail to Paducah" mystery quilt

Here are two beautiful quilts made by friends Cody Anne Moss and Debra Svitil. The pattern, designed by Kimberly Einmo, was published as a mystery quilt in the May, July, and September 2008 issues of American Quilter magazine. (AQS members can access the pattern online at Cody's quilt is named White Diamonds and Debra's is Daisy Chains. Debra quilted a daisy motif and the words "He loves me...he loves me not" in the purple border. Both quilts were recently exhibited in the entryway of the Bulloch Hall historical home in Roswell, Georgia, where visitors could see these two very different interpretations side by side.