Author Archives: Fern

Belated Happy New Year!

According to Catherine, my textile maven mate, the cut-off date for wishing Happy New Year was yesterday. Oh, well – Happy New Year! However, if you want your new year’s wishes within the social parameters, I did post it on … Continue reading

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Making Bookbags at the Central Library

Another year, another library event with Debbie Carton, librarian and community building maven, at the Berkeley Central Library. After two years of making bookmarks (click here and here for pictures and stories), Catherine, Debbie and I decided to mix up … Continue reading

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Stitch Modern Lecture

Every year the Stitch Modern Quilt Show includes a lecture. This year the lecture was a double treat with Sujata Shah and Youngmin Lee in a talk titled “Global Perspectives in Quilting.”   Youngmin spoke first, telling us about the history and importance of … Continue reading

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Quilt Shows and End of Q1

I knew before I spoke at AAQGO last week that they had at least 2 wonderful members but I quickly found out that the guild is full of wonderful, creative, caring and fun quilters. It was an amazing afternoon spent with … Continue reading

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Lecture at AAQGO

Following on the tail of last weekend’s Voices in Cloth, I am now preparing for a lecture at the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland, on Saturday, March 26th. (No worries about the name listed on their calendar – Fran … Continue reading

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Nonstop Busy

    In early January, Catherine and I sat down together and wrote a few notes for a post we planned to publish within a few days regarding some changes we’re making to our blog this year. Who knew we … Continue reading

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Improv Wooly

  Today was a lovely, wet day – perfect for enjoying my finished Improv Wooly Quilt. It didn’t start out an improv quilt. Inspired by a piece of fabric, I gathered a few some colors and started cutting rectangles. and then … Continue reading

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Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale

This month I’ve been volunteering at the White Elephant Sale. Every year in the last weekend of January the Oakland Museum has a preview sale for its later sale in March. For those of us who love scouring yard sales, thrift … Continue reading

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Linky Party

In hopes of finishing projects and keeping myself accountable, I just joined the Q1 Finish – A -Long on Debbie at A Quilter’s Table’s website. If you are interested you can join too – the link up is open until … Continue reading

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2015 in Retrospect

  My wooly bookend quilts: January 2015 and December 2015 (Click to read more if the quilt title is highlighted)                     At the top of the list of my favorite memories of … Continue reading

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Bringing the Back to the Front

My Friday finish is a quick baby quilt I made using the leftover fabric from the back of another baby quilt.   It started when I pulled out 8 orphan 4 patches.             I decided to … Continue reading

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Fine Tuning a Finish

Sometimes when I look at quilts I’ve finished I fall in love with them all over again. Others serve to remind me of something that I wished I’d done differently….  This quilt has/had both of those qualities. I started this … Continue reading

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Bossy Quilt Gets Finished

I struggled for almost a month to finish this quilt but you would never know that from the picture.   My original plan was to do straight line quilting, following the zig zag pattern. Seemed like a good idea, so I quilted … Continue reading

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A Week of Finishes

The month of October passed with quite a bit of  “dithering” on my part – flitting from project to project with “indecisive agitation” but not finishing much.  However, with Northern California’s second true rainstorm in two weeks, I have regained my SOU or Sense … Continue reading

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Pandora’s Box of Fabric Scraps

Yes,  I haven’t posted for a bit – I got sidetracked. I was planning on pinning and quilting the three quilt tops: Bossy Quilts, Leftovers and my most recent vintage/retro 4-patch, but I opened this small plastic bin of bits and … Continue reading

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Quilt Leftovers

  We all have them: stray blocks, leftover pieces, WIPs, UFQs….       The blocks I used in this quilt top came from my friend Lynne. They were in a bag of donations she meant for The Legacy. I … Continue reading

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Bossy Quilts

I’ve always said quilts have a mind of their own – they will tell you what they want. However, some quilts are more “assertive” than others. This is a story about a very bossy quilt. Like my Shoo-Fly String Quilt, this … Continue reading

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String Vacation is Over

In August I said I was taking a bit of a string vacation but this week I jumped feet first back into strings. My excuse – I needed to make a few string samples for my string class at Stonemountain … Continue reading

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How My Shoo Fly String Quilt Was Born

The original three blocks of this quilt started out as sample blocks for the string class I teach. When I made them I wasn’t worried about the fact I only had two fat quarters of the teal colored fabric, only that … Continue reading

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Round Robin Four

  Yesterday I put the final border on my third Round Robin project. Check out the others here and here. This time we had two months and were instructed to add about 20″ to the projects.         … Continue reading

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Good-bye Summer

  Last Monday morning jolted me back to reality with an earthquake after my weekend with the Pickles. It took me a full week to not only catch up but also compose myself  – and this post! Here’s a recap … Continue reading

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Summer Pickles

  Posting early this week as I won’t be here on Friday – I’ll be at my annual weekend++ retreat with my long time quilting group, the Pickles.   But before I leave I wanted to say thank you to all … Continue reading

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Friday Finish

Nothing like a looming deadline to move things along. I quilted like a madwoman this week in order to finish this quilt – my improv, multi-sized, Shoo Fly string quilt. (What was I thinking?? But that is another post.)   … Continue reading

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Round Robin Three

          It’s been quite a week!! Last Sunday, during the quilt workshop at Richmond Art Center, I finished this month’s round robin. After studying Carol’s quilt for a few weeks I realized it reminded me of a Medallion … Continue reading

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Addendum to Unknown Quilter

For those of you that may feel as intimidated as I felt about working with curves, here are a few resources. I found instructions for binding a curvy edge in Darlene Zimmerman’s book Granny Quilts – Vintage Quilts of the ’30s Made … Continue reading

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Thank you to an Unknown Quilter

I took this vintage Dresden Plate with me on vacation. It was the perfect project for a week of long, slow summer days and evenings. The quilt was finished except for binding. It took me three unhurried days to hand finish … Continue reading

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Round Two

Here’s an update of my Round Robin exercise that I mentioned in “Something New.” Terri, the organizer/moderator of our Round Robin group, participated in Sherri Lynn Wood’s workshop version of this Round Robin exercise. You can find pictures and a description … Continue reading

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I Just Donated

Last week Gwen sent me an email regarding this amazing summer camp she and her daughter support. She asked me if I could help spread the word – so for all of you Gwen Marston fans – here is a chance … Continue reading

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Excitement and Inspiration

Maybe it was the home court advantage, but I like to think it was the 3 pinned Children’s Project Quilts I had ready and waiting in case of emergency upstairs. Lucky me, I wasn’t asked to leave the TV room! … Continue reading

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It’s a Win-Win

We’ve been watching the Warriors in the NBA play offs this past week. However, after game 2 and 3, I didn’t know if I could sit through another game – way too much excitement and agony.         … Continue reading

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Row by Row

Quilting time was in short supply this week but I was able sew the last few rows of a quilt top for the Children’s Quilt Project. The quilt was a precut kit but I exchanged a few of the squares … Continue reading

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Second Star Quilt

  I put the final borders on the purple string star quilt this morning.  This quilt is for Sydney – who turns 1 in August. Sydney’s big sister, Carly, also got a purple quilt. (Unfortunately I only have this one … Continue reading

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Something New

My first Round Robin! I am embarking on a new quilting adventure. There are five of us in the group. We each make a block and send it off. The blocks move from person to person until we have all worked … Continue reading

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Strings Are Addicting

I finished the binding on Caleb’s Star by machine. Between the machine binding tutorial on crazy mom quilts and a super helpful piece in QuiltCon Magazine by Jo and Kathy Thomas called Binding Your Quilts by Machine, this binding was … Continue reading

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Quilting Caleb’s Star

Caleb’s string star is quilted. I started “in the ditch” between the strings in the center square and then decided to add a few wavy lines through the middle of some of the larger strings.           … Continue reading

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Know Thyself

Self-reflection is a good thing. This week I learned something about my quilting style. The quilt top I (almost didn’t) finish taught me the lesson. While looking for ideas of quilts using squares, I found a pattern I had saved … Continue reading

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Monday Baking

          I’ve been in the kitchen this morning rather than my sewing room. The two college kids have finals next week and requested care packages, so I’ve been baking rather than making. Baking done, I took a good … Continue reading

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Finishing my Small Studies, One by One

  I sewed the final inch of binding on another small study today. This is one of four that I made while I was with Gwen in Santa Barbara. So that’s my finish for this week. Since Gwen’s retreats in … Continue reading

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Monday, Monday

I’ve been wanting to try a free motion quilting design that seems to be everywhere these days. I found a version of it in Angela Walters Free-Motion Quilting book. I studied it, drew it, made a few practice samples ….. … Continue reading

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Long Time Coming

Just in time for Finish it up Friday, my Sonoma Stars top is finished!!!! A little back story: I started working on this in 2011 – a year before we started the Textile Mavens blog. I mentioned it in my … Continue reading

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Oh my Stars!!

Remember back when I said that finishing my Sonoma Star quilt would be easy – just a few seams to sew???!!?? Ha! This quilt was destined to become one of those unfinished tops found long after the maker is dead … Continue reading

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Finishing Stitches

  A confession: I never got around to working on my Sonoma Stars top at the Pickles weekend but I do have a  finish to show. I came home with the hand sewing done on the binding of my Clown quilt and spent today … Continue reading

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March (Quilting) Madness

This year when we refer to March Madness in my household it has nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with my quilting schedule. My quilting events have book ended March, beginning with my return from Gwen and Empty … Continue reading

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Finish and Refocus

  Returning home after being away for awhile is a bit like climbing into or out of a moving car…. So to make the transition easier I focused on finishing a piece I started at the beginning of my trip … Continue reading

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Photo Outtakes from Driving Ms. Gwenny

Santa Barbara Quilt Retreat En Route From Santa Barbara to Asilomar                      Outtakes from Empty Spools, Session 1&2                           … Continue reading

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The Quilting Gospel According to Gwen

  A few days into Session 2 Gwen’s voice got scratchy, so before class she sucked on Hall’s lozenges. By the second lozenge she noticed the wrappers had inspirational messages written all over them and she incorporated those into her morning … Continue reading

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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

  The days here at Empty Spools are beginning to run together. While Gwen and I both remember the date, we are often confused as to the day of the week.  However, it’s not all about quilting – we did have … Continue reading

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Empty Spools, Session 1

An update on Gwen’s class – here’s what’s been happening the last two days. Gwen’s class is held in Merrill Hall at Asilomar. The classroom is actually the auditorium. Our sewing tables wrap around the perimeter of the room, always set up … Continue reading

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More Adventures With Ms. Gwenny

      Friday morning Gwen’s daughter sent her a weather update, just in case she needed to be reminded that she wasn’t in Michigan anymore.     On Saturday Gwen taught a class from her 37 Sketches book at … Continue reading

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Driving Ms. Gwenny Continued

What happens when two quilters walk through a courtyard in San Luis Obispo? The courtyard becomes an open classroom as Gwen points out tiles, brickwork, coffee cups and mosaics in regular and irregular quilting patterns.           … Continue reading

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Driving Ms. Gwenny

  NOTICE: The regular content of this blog will be temporarily suspended while I follow Gwen Marston’s travels through California. Gwen arrived in California on February 7 and spent a week with Freddy Moran in Orinda. Sunday, February 15, I picked … Continue reading

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One Thing Leads to Another

In August last year I started reading Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter by Carolyn Woods and began a campaign to sort through my cupboards, drawers, bookshelves – every nook and cranny of my studio – and organize, finish up, or move on…. … Continue reading

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Because I Say So!!

I’m linking up with crazymomquilts for Finish Up Friday and calling sewing the binding on my Chicken Quilt a finish today. I worked to the sweet sound of rain pattering on my roof. Since January came and went without a drop … Continue reading

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Learning to Teach

 Wonky Star Sample Blocks   Knowing how to quilt does not a teacher make. When I started teaching quilting I had to learn how to teach. Teaching has made me think about how or why I do what I do. Teaching also … Continue reading

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The Chickens Come Home to Roost

A few years ago I fell in love with this flannel chicken fabric and bought 3 yards…. Ok, maybe I bought a little bit more than three yards, but who’s measuring?? It was the perfect back for a red, black and … Continue reading

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Christmas – Past and Present and Future

Traditionally, our family Christmas gifts always include a few handmade items. The days leading up to Christmas are a flurry of last minute “finishing.” One of the first handmade Christmas gifts I remember receiving was a pair of  deer hide slippers … Continue reading

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Design Opportunities

With every “mistake” a quilter thinks she makes, comes a “design opportunity,” whether it is running out of fabric, or a cutting or sewing mistake. Here is a story that includes all of those “design opportunities.” It started with an image … Continue reading

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Bishop’s Ranch Quilts

Here are pictures of quilts by my fellow quilters at October’s Bishop’s Ranch Retreat. Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures of all the quilters or their quilts. I forgot to take pictures until the final day and missed a lot of photo … Continue reading

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It’s a Process

Last week I attended a quilt retreat at Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, CA. One of the projects I brought to work on was a wool quilt for a friend. I had no pattern, just a dark plaid wool skirt that I … Continue reading

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It’s a Wrap – Last Week’s Finish

Last week I linked up with crazymomquilts for Finish it up Friday but forgot to post a picture so here it is a week later. This finish is actually a “redo.” I started it over a year ago at Gwen Marston’s 30th … Continue reading

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Books and More Books

I bought a new quilting book last month that I wasn’t planning on buying. Heavens knows (as do my family and friends) that I do not need a new book. However, I was in a bookstore and…well….  I know, I know, … Continue reading

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Slow or Quick Finish

On August 1st I posted that my basket quilt was all finished except for the handwork. A month and a half later, I finally had a few days to sit and finish the handwork. Having a quilt in the process of … Continue reading

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Scraps of Summer

  Labor Day has come and gone but humor me as I savor the lingering memories of summer by recounting the weekend I spent with a few of the Pickles in Sebastopol in August. If you remember, Dear Reader, I … Continue reading

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Looking for Distraction

Ok, I usually don’t need to go “looking” for distraction as it seems to have no trouble finding  me, thank you very much, but this week I returned home from two back-to-back trips delivering/returning the last two kids to college and I found myself … Continue reading

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It Only Looks Like Chaos

The signs of the end of summer can be seen throughout my house. Piles of clothes, half-filled suitcases and boxes seem to be in every room, including my studio.             As my two youngest pack … Continue reading

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It’s Done!!

    Ah, that sense of completion! Today I put the binding on my Legacy Baskets quilts. It’s been on my to do list awhile. I  spent a long time looking at it and musing, had a few false starts, but … Continue reading

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Not So Lazy Days of Summer

In the early months of every year I start fantasizing about summer – thoughts of warm nights and long days….. Spring comes, the pace picks up, my to do list grows and my fantasies of long, languorous summer days grow … Continue reading

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Finishing Up

  Last month the Textile Mavens finished teaching the last class of a six week quilting series at the Richmond Art Center. Due to both Catherine’s and my crazy summer schedules we will only be teaching one two-day weekend workshop over … Continue reading

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Fabric Memories

Recently, as I was searching through some boxes for something else, I found a small bundle of fabric that belonged to my mother. Folded neatly within the bundle were a few children’s aprons that she had cut out and never … Continue reading

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Homage to Julie Banfield

We quilters in the San Francisco Bay Area are a lucky lot. We have the luxury and advantage of taking classes or attending workshops with fabulous and often famous teachers, some who even live in our backyard, so to speak. … Continue reading

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Regrouping after the Upcycle

Sunday, April 12th, Catherine and I participated for the first time in the Upcycle Event at the Richmond Art Center (RAC). Although we tried to come prepared, we had no idea what to expect! One Upcycle event later, with notes, … Continue reading

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Pickles’ Continued: When Wool Goes Bad

  One of the traditions of Pickle Retreats is a trip (or two) to The Legacy in Sebastopol, a wonderful treasure trove of donated fabric, yarn, buttons, books, craft supplies, etc. This year, along with other treasures, I found  3 … Continue reading

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All My Bags Are Packed – The Bi-Annual “Pickles” Retreat, Part 1

Catherine, myself and the other “Pickles” headed up to Sebastopol for our annual March “Pickle” Retreat Weekend last weekend. I had great plans to post – at least a picture of the pile of “stuff” I was taking with me … Continue reading

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What If She Hadn’t Warned Me???!!

I finished my “What if” quilt top, but before I tell you about that I have to tell you a little story.  A few days after Lynne and I pinned the pieces onto my design wall, Catherine happened to drop … Continue reading

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All about quilts, all month

February has been a month full of fabric and quilts for me. First it was “donors” day a White Elephant Sale of the Oakland Museum thanks to an invitation from my friend/donor Racine.  The WES is a yearly fundraiser for … Continue reading

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Finally, a little rain!

I awoke this morning to a sound I couldn’t quite place….Oh, rain!!! Unfortunately, it was just a sprinkling and not a downpour and now it’s gone. Not only has California had the lowest amount of rain recorded since the 1929, … Continue reading

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Winter Wooly

  My Pickles- Lynne, Lisa and I had a December wool quilt basting party the week before Christmas. While we basted Lisa’s quilt we reminisced about how long this quilt had been in progress – three or four years? It … Continue reading

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Finished At Last

Ok, so my last post was mostly pictures of trees…. I immediately heard “Where are the quilts??!” Hopefully you can see the connection between that post and this one. In between taking those pictures I was also quilting (or struggling … Continue reading

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Fall Colors

I’ve been photographing the many Japanese maple trees in my neighborhood and their vibrant colors this fall.   A few weeks after I started taking pictures, we had a two very windy days……       A carpet of leaves … Continue reading

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Freddy Moran

                  The Monday after returning from Week 3 of BIQR Catherine and I attended a workshop put on by our quilt guild: East Bay Heritage Quilters http://www.ebhq.org/ Freddy Moran was teaching Spikes, from her … Continue reading

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Celebrating 30 years of Gwen Marston’s Beaver Island Quilt Retreats

  Ok, a bit late, but here’s my post for Week 3 of BIQR 2013.     This was only my second time to attend BIQR but it was great to meet up with friends from last year and get … Continue reading

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Back to the classroom

Labor Day has come and gone. Everyone is back in school or back to work, including me. The Textile Mavens Beginning Quilting classes begin at the Richmond Art Center this week (Thursdays, 10am-12noon, Sept.12-Oct. 10/repeating Oct. 17-Nov. 14) and my … Continue reading

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Summertime and the quilting ain’t easy

It’s late August and I have that familiar pang: I can’t wait for summer to be over! It’s not that I’m anxious for relief from hot weather because in the Bay Area we get more fog than sun in August. … Continue reading

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Kudos To My Local Library

  We, the citizens of Berkeley, are fortunate to have four branches libraries, a Tool Lending Library and our beautifully restored, downtown Central Library that all offer many free programs for the entire community. One of those programs is the … Continue reading

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May Baskets

I’m a sucker for basket blocks. Especially odd, not quite perfect ones. I found this stray basket block years ago at a thrift store. It never ceases to make me smile. According to Barbara Brackman in her Encyclopedia of Pieced … Continue reading

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Spring

Well, I missed a few months of posts – let’s just consider that my winter hibernation. The first day of spring is tomorrow but, just in case I don’t trust the calendar, the magnolia trees in the neighborhood and my … Continue reading

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Beaver Island, Michigan

In September I traveled all night from San Francisco, California, to Traverse City, Michigan, for my first Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Gwen Marston. I had never been to the mid west before and “Beaver Island” loomed in my imagination … Continue reading

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Last Days of Summer

In my last post I was leaving for my annual Summer Pickle Retreat in Sebastopol. We ate well, sewed a lot, and laughed and talked into the night. One of my favorite memories of that weekend was lying on the … Continue reading

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Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Ah, life has a way of encroaching on those grand plans to write monthly! Since my last post we have had three family graduations spanning high school through graduate school, from the Bay Area to Southern California. Following the graduations, … Continue reading

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The House That Fern Built

Spring is definitely here and I find work in my studio impacted by too many events, the beautiful weather and end of the school year short attention span. However, despite my feelings of flitting around, I have made a bit … Continue reading

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Quilt in Progress

I am in the midst of finishing a quilt. Actually, I am in the midst of finishing many quilts. Some of them seem to take on a life on their own and get finished quickly and others, like my Starry … Continue reading

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