Tuesday, December 31, 2013

June 19, 2014 - Piecemakers Quilt Guild, Galesburg, IL

7:00PM - "A Piece of Me" iMovie with Q&A session/trunk show
Galesburg Christian School, 746 Hawkinson Avenue, Galesburg, IL 61401.
(Rescheduled from FEB 21, 2013).

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quilters Newsletter, December/January 2014

"Bent but Not Broken: Quilting in the Great Recession"
by Mary Kate Karr-Petras

The article features my quilt "Rapture" (2011), completed during the 2010 US economic downturn as well as during the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake.

Asparagus Soup

Comfort for a cold winter's day: the most wonderfully delicious and easy-to-make asparagus (my favorite vegetable) soup!  I find all the ingredients at my local Aldis, or you may already have them on hand.
the recipe
snap off the tough ends and add to compost bin
you're left with only the best part
don't skimp on the (fresh ground) pepper
soon you'll have an empty bowl
from Bear Wallow Books

January 18, 2014, The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America; Iowa State Historical Museum, Des Moines, IA

2:00PM - Please join me for a gallery talk in conjunction with The Sum of Many Parts exhibit.  The presentation will feature my video, A Piece of Me, a Q&A session, and the quilt I'm currently making with the lao bu (handwoven, indigo-dyed fabric) brought back from my trip to Shanghai (September, 2012). 

Here is a preview of my video A Piece of Me.  
Along with five other quilts, it features Portmanteau, 
my quilt from the exhibit, The Sum of Many Parts.  

Iowa State Historical Museum
600 East Locust, Des Moines Iowa
Second Floor Gallery,
Oct. 4, 2013 - Jan. 31, 2014
More information about the exhibit from the State Historical Society of Iowa website:

Making its North American debut at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, this traveling exhibition featuring works of 25 contemporary quilters from the United States – including two from Iowa. Des Moines is the only city in the United States to host the exhibition in its entirety. It was originally developed as a cross-cultural exchange to introduce the people of China to American culture through a shared love of textile arts, using quiltmaking as a metaphor for the rich diversity of American society.

This exhibition has been touring major cultural institutions in China since 2012, and it’s installation in Des Moines includes additional information about the state of Iowa’s unique and ongoing relationship with China, along with quilts from the State Historical Museum’s collection that represent Iowa’s contribution to quilting.

The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers from 21st-Century America is a program conceived and sponsored by the United States Embassy-Beijing. The exhibition and its tour throughout the People’s Republic of China was jointly developed and managed by Arts Midwest and South Arts, with additional assistance from the Great Lakes Quilt Center at Michigan State University.

Partial funding provided by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Additional support from Rhoda A. Pierce, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, Iowa Arts Council, Kentucky Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Mississippi Arts Commission, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and South Dakota Arts Council. The exhibition’s presentation in Iowa has been made possible by the Iowa Arts Council and State Historical Museum of Iowa.

My longtime friend (since 1989), Lori Sip who
braved the weather all the way from Nebraska to
Des Moines.  What a friend!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Osa's Casserole

This recipe is from Osa, the late mother of one of my high school girlfriends, Sonja.  Her mother was a Norwegian native and made this whenever I would visit.  It's good anytime of the year with chicken or turkey, but an especially nice way to use Thanksgiving leftovers.  The recipe is shown here in my own mother's handwriting from a book of her favorite recipes she gave me one year for Christmas.  When my own mother is gone (and I hope that is many years away!) one of the things I will miss the most is her cooking.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hair Clips: A Quilter's Friend

It's been a long time since I've needed any safety pins, and even longer since I've had hair!  I was rifling through a storage drawer looking for safety pins (prepping two baby quilts for quilting), when I re-discovered a stash of hair clips.  They are such a great alternative to pins when finishing (hand-sewing) binding.  I had forgotten about them!  I don't know how many times I've been stuck by pins in the binding process.  Even with the hair clips, I somehow always manage to run the sharp end of my sewing needle under my left thumbnail a few times, and the blunt end usually punctures the middle finger of my right hand at some point. Ouch! 

I made this quilt for my niece Jeny.  She and her husband, Seth, are expecting their first baby Spring 2014.  Here she is opening the quilt at her baby shower in Kansas City, their home.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Des Moines Register, September 2013

A&E: Quilt show brings common threads to Iowa

Des Moines hosts national premiere of quilt show from China

By Michael Morain

If you haven’t seen hordes of needle-wielding visitors around town, you will soon. They’re heading this way for the American Quilter’s Society’s largest QuiltWeek ever, which opens Wednesday at the Iowa Events Center with displays, demonstrations, gadget sales and more than $44,000 in cash prizes.

So yeah, it’s an invasion. But they’re pieceworkers. They come in peace.

On the same day the expo opens, in fact, the State Historical Museum of Iowa opens an exhibition of American quilts the U.S. Embassy in Beijing recently trotted around to five cities in China. Call it textile diplomacy.

The project celebrates “the common threads between our two countries,” Arts Midwest President and CEO David Fraher said. His Twin Cities nonprofit partnered with the U.S. State Department and a network of state arts councils to make the show happen.

Des Moines is the first stop on the show’s U.S. tour and the only city where all 25 quilts will be displayed together. The honor results from Iowa’s close ties to China through trade agreements, cultural exchanges and the friendship between Gov. Terry Branstad and Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Iowa Arts Council Administrator Matthew Harris.

Besides, two of the 25 quilts came from Iowa.

Caroline Trumpold, 81, of Middle Amana made a whole-cloth quilt — with a single piece of fabric on each side — like the pair she and her husband received from each of their families at their wedding. She stitched a beautiful feathery design into a panel of pumpkin-colored poly-cotton (on one side) and tiny gold flowers (on the other) over the course of three weeks in December 2011.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of time,” she said. “I wanted it done by January.”

The other Iowa quilt came from Erick Wolfmeyer, 46, who works as a school bus dispatcher in Iowa City. He colored a 1930s pattern called Arabic Lattice with the browns and blues you’d find in men’s suits and dress shirts.

“All it is is tile work. That’s really what it is,” he said. “I think of it as painting with fabric.”
Wolfmeyer has a fine arts degree but didn’t start quilting until he made a baby blanket for one of his friends. For the quilt he sent to China, he designed the pattern but hired out the actual stitching to an Amish cooperative in Indiana.

He went to Shanghai last year to help open the show. He visited Chinese schools and museums, talking to quilters and non-quilters alike.

“They understood that quilting was a traditioanl art form, but they always asked ‘Why are there no animals or people or plants or flowers?’ That’s what they think of as ‘traditional,’ ” Wolfmeyer said.
When the questions went the other direction, when he asked the Chinese what they knew about America, “the students always said ‘jazz’ and ‘Mickey Mouse.’ ”

Wolfmeyer will get his quilt back at the end of January, when he swaps in a different one for the rest of the show’s national tour.

Trumpold’s quilt is in it for the long haul, but she’s OK with that. She has others to keep her warm.
Besides, she said, “It doesn’t fit my decor.”
Caroline Trumpold of Middle Amana stitched an elaborate feathery pattern onto her whole-cloth quilt, 'The Peacock.'
Caroline Trumpold of Middle Amana stitched an elaborate feathery pattern onto her whole-cloth quilt, 'The Peacock.' / State Historical Museum of Iowa/Special to the Reg
Erick Wolfmeyer mixed light and dark into the quilt he calls 'Portmanteau,' borrowing the linguistic term for two words that combine into a second (smoke + fog = smog).
Erick Wolfmeyer mixed light and dark into the quilt he calls 'Portmanteau,' borrowing the linguistic term for two words that combine into a second (smoke + fog = smog). / State Historical Museum of Iowa/Special to the Reg

Friday, October 11, 2013


The inspiration (upper right in photo) - what I am guessing may be an overshot woven coverlet?
(Photo from Tunestam's Antiques in Mineral Point, Wisconsin) ~ October 2013
In process on the design board in my studio
 Binding the quilt
Taffy is not impressed
Beautiful hand-quilting by Amish quilter
On the bed
Done! April 2015
Overshot is a return to something simpler,
a welcome relief
 from the tedious piecing of some of my quilts. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

October 4, 2013-January 31, 2014, The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America; State Historical Museum, Des Moines, Iowa

November 6, 2013, official opening of
"The Sum of Many Parts" exhibit
State Historical Museum, Des Moines, Iowa

David Fraher, President & CEO, Arts Midwest
Peter Capell, Board Chair, Arts Midwest
With Caroline Trumpold (IA), Patricia Lei Murray (HI) and son of the late Marguerite Cox

With Caroline Trumpold of Middle Amana, Iowa
 Patricia celebrates the exhibit opening as well as her birthday
with Gayle Jorgens and Stan Wai, designers of the award-winning exhibit catalog


This will be the only complete exhibition of "The Sum of Many Parts" in the US.  I am thrilled that it will be in my current home state of Iowa at the State Historical Museum.  Look for further announcements on programming (gallery talks, panel discussions) dates.

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Press Release

Class @ Home Ec Workshop, SEP 14 & 24, 2013

SATs SEP 14 & 24, 10A-1P, Home Ec Workshop, Iowa City
Fun large-scale Chevron quilt (finished size ~60x70").  Endless color combination possibilities.  (Suggested pairing: machine-quilting class taught by Codi Josephson - date TBD)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kater Bohnen (Dill Beans)

This recipe is from a dear friend, a fellow quilter, and one of my "adopted" grandmothers, Caroline Trumpold, of Main Amana, Iowa.  Dill beans are a German treat to look forward to every summer, if you are fortunate enough to find fresh yellow wax beans.  This year I made them over Labor Day after stumbling on the wax beans at a high-end grocer in downtown Iowa City.  The summer before I got the beans from a vegetable stand upon special request.  The recipe is for about one pound of beans.  I think I had two pounds and did a recipe-and-a-half of the brine.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Class @ Home Ec Workshop, AUG 17 & 24, 2013

SATs AUG 17 & 24, 10A-1P, Home Ec Workshop, Iowa City
Be charmed by this ~ 44" x 55" quilt-as-you-go project!
Learn to make this wonderful quilt pattern by Teri Stillwell. All sewing skill-levels welcome in this fun quilt-as-you-go class.  Sew 5 strips from charm squares (5" x 5" squares), cut your sashing strips and start building your finished piece.  My goal is for everyone to go home with a finished (or very nearly finished) quilt.  Some homework may be required depending your individual in-class pace.  This is a great quilt to really showcase some of your favorite Home Ec fabrics!

Audrey cuts

Maureen sews ever so joyfully

Val sews on her binding

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quilters Newsletter, June/July 2013

A nice article by Mary Kate Karr-Petras for Quilters Newsletter about my trip to Shanghai, China in September 2012 for "The Sum of Many Parts" exhibit. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Class @ Home Ec Workshop, JUN 8 & 15, 2013

SATs JUN 8 & 15, 10A-1P, Home Ec Workshop, Iowa City

Come Celebrate the UNSTR8!
June is bustin' out all over!  Learn to make this wonderful quilt pattern by Pam Rocco.  Work toward a finished 50" x 50" quilt in this 6-hr class, or take the top home and make three more to construct a quilt fit for a QUEEN!  Perfect gift for a bun in the oven or for someone you love bunches!  Whimsical and loose: recovering perfectionists welcome!




So great to see each student's personality shine through in the quilts.  What a fun quilt, class and group of students!  Great job everyone!


 I eventually machine-quilted this sample and gave it to my niece, Jessica, for her daughter - my great niece, Bella Rose.  Here she is wrapping herself up, peek-a-boo style, at her soon-to-be-cousin's baby shower in Kansas City, MO.