Category Archives: Blogs by us

Short essays written by Fern & Catherine

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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Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery

  This morning Fern and I went to Livermore to see the Quilting in the Garden Show.  What an amazing setting. About 200 quilts hanging high up on clothes lines and attached with clothes pins.  Because of the setting the … Continue reading

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Eté 2016!

The summer is coming to an end and I have not done much quilting  but I have done a lot of traveling and gathering of ideas, images and inspiration. I always get renewed when I spend time in Pradelles,  the … 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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Quilts and Book Bags at Berkeley Public Library

The 35th Annual Quilt Show at the Central Library is in full bloom.  54 colorful quilts are displayed on the 2nd floor till June 5th.  I went to the reception for the opening of the show with 3 of my … 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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Giraffe Quilt

My friend Lisa wanted to give a quilt to a little kid that is really important in her life, Westley, 1 year old.  I suggested that we’d do a trade –i want to retile my outdoor table and that is … 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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Field Trip at the Oakland Museum

At the end of each semester i have taken the habit of bringing my students from Harbor House on a field trip to get inspired while seeing art, beauty and other quilters’ work. Last year we went to the San … 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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Quilts from Harbor House for Sale at Gift World

This coming Sunday, December 6, 2015 First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley has invited Harbor House to participate in Gift World, 2407 Dana Street, Berkeley -10:15am to 1:30pm.             We will have a range of quilts … 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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Quilt Inspirations

I just came back from a fabulous trip in Europe. I did take lots of pictures but my favorites are the ones from the mosaics of  Torcello, an island just outside of Venice. Murano and Burano are the two islands … 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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Harbor House Quilting Project

The women of the Harbor House Quilting Project and I participated for the first time to the Solano Stroll.  It was quite successful.  We sold quilts  from 3 different women. We also had a raffle quilt that brought in some … 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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2 Small Quilts for baby Jules

My beautiful niece Ariane –i made a quilt for her 30th birthday— had a little boy, Jules, on June 6.  I am a little superstitious so i only make quilts after the baby is born.  I am off to France … 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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Upcycle at the Richmond Art Center

After the sweet rain of Friday night it was such a treat to be out in the courtyard at The RAC setting up for Upcycle.  Fern and I, the Textile Mavens, were surrounded by the bursting energy of the staff … Continue reading

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Quilted Bookmarks at the Berkeley Public Library

           We did it again! And what a successful event! The Story Room was full of life and laughter with so many patrons of the library participating in making quilted bookmarks.  The most amazing part of the program was the … 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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Les Petits Mouchoirs & +!

Just spent the week-end in Graton with the Pickles and i managed to achieve all i wanted! Yeah! First of all I made a quilted curtain with les petits mouchoirs (petit mu chua) that my cousin Noël and his wife … 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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Unconventional & Unexpected American Quilts

Yesterday, beautiful Saturday in Sonoma, i decided that i could spare an hour or so of incredibly nice weather and go inside the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.  I was not disappointed.  The show entitled Unconventionsal and Unexpected: American Quilts … 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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Not Quilts! but still in the sewing room.

I do have a few quilts on the back burner and some ideas that need to come together. But meanwhile i have been sewing for my grand-daughters.  A three tier skirt for Tessa, so she can twirl around, with the … 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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From Upholstery Sample Book to a Quilted Table Runner

At one of our monthly meeting of the SOFA 8, Kathy wanted to give us something.  Come outside she said, and then she opened the trunk 0f her car that was full to the brim with sample books from many … 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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All I Made is a Dolly Quilt

I love being in my sewing room and making quilts,  but because of the rest of my life: traveling to Italy, Switzerland and France –a few photos below– and the work called for after the publishing of our 14th book … 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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Liberty Quilts for Mom and Niece

I love Liberty Fabric.  I get that from my mom who is from London.  As a kid she would take me into the Liberty of London Store and since then, I go to the store every time I am in … 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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The Textile Mavens are in a Quilt Show

Fern and I belong to a quilt critique group SoFA8. At our monthly meetings we share ideas, fabrics, designs and give each other feedback.  SoFA8 stands for Society of Fabric Artists, the 8 is for our original number of women … 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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Restoration of Leah’s Quilt

My friend and neighbor Leah Kaizer asked me if i could restore a quilt she had since she was a little girl. Her grandfather Samuel Kaizer came from Poland to San Francisco in 1906 and ended up living in Los … 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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Quilted Coasters at Hilltop Mall

Hilltop Mall in Richmond recently provided the perfect space for getting the community involved in an art project, and to promote the amazing services of the Richmond Art Center. With the help of five fabulous volunteers, I coordinated a project … Continue reading

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Quilted Bookmarks at the Berkeley Public Library

Fern and I recently did our third program at the Main Branch of the Berkeley Public Library, thanks to Debbie Carton, Librarian extraordinaire. The first one was Quilting by Committee, then Quilting Condensed, and last week’s program Quilted Bookmarks. We … 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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Upcycling Workshop at Hackermoms

Come and join us for a fun workshop at Hackermoms! Bring a friend & spread the word! Pillows, Runners, Purses, Mats, Coasters, & even Quilts!   Turn your old sweaters, shirts, jeans, ties, t-shirts and even furs into something new … 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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From Shirts to Quilt

I asked Bart to make room in our closet by getting rid of shirts he wasn’t wearing anymore. Although some of the shirts were frayed, they were among his favorites, so I decided to turn them into a quilt. I … 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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Quilt of Cats and Dogs in the Lonestar State

My good friend Sandy –and kind of my sister-in-law (i love and adore her brother!) asked me to make a quilt for her 11-year-old grand daughter, Helen.  I thought i’d have a better chance of being sure that Helen would … Continue reading

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