Lisa Calle OCQ eventI’m not usually at a loss for words related to quilting for this blog. I’m not really at a loss at the moment it’s just that the quilting world as it is in my life at this moment is refocusing and I’m slowly wending my way around the quilting world as it is for me right now. I’m starting week two with Missouri Star, which I’m loving. With new work, full-time, everything changes, including the rhythm of the quilting routine.

So the other night I posed the question on facebook, “who are the quilterati in your life?” Quilterati is a play on the word, literati, with the meaning of “well educated”, “literate”, “in the know”. Then, as the play continues, there is glitterati with a meaning of “famous, wealthy, and attractive”. I,  personally, was going for a combination of the two meaning who are the important quilt people in your life. The first time I posed the question several people said me. I thank them so very much because that means a lot.

jake laughs againPosing the question the second time yielded a richer and deeper conversation that leads me to this post. Many of the names I knew:

Kim Brunner, Jamie Wallen, Karlee Porter, Sherry Rogers-Harrison, Alex Anderson, Ricky Tims, Sue McCarty, Janet Stone, Jackie Kunkle, Marilyn Badger, Karen McTavish, Linda V. Taylor, Lizzy House, Linda M. Poole, Maddie Kertay, Joe Cunningham, Ruth McDowell, Mickey DePre, Jim Salinas, Shelia Frampton-Cooper, Jake Finch, Melissa Thompson Maher, Mary Ellen Hopkins, Gwen Marston, Doreen Speckmann, Linda Hahn, Marianne Burr, Pokey Bolton, Dee Fox Cornell, Pamela Allen, Sue Brenner, Judi Madsen, Claudia Pfeil, Claudia Myers, Lisa H Calle, Mary Wilson Kerr, Ruth Powers, Cheryl Sleboda, Lynn Krawczyk, Susan Brubaker Knapp, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Sherry Reynolds, Stephanie Forsythe, Luke Haynes, Melanie Testa, Lisa Sipes, Alex Veronelli, Bob Purcell, Debby Brown, Barb Persing, John Kubinec, Joe Callaham, Holice Turnbow, Bruce Magidson, Diane Magidson, Hollis Chatelaine, Paula Reid, Paula Nadelstern, Judy Niemeyer, Kristin Girod Rodriquez, Lesley Riley, Frances Holiday Alford, Jean Ray Luray, Pat Barry, Angela Walters, Margaret Solomon Gunn, Judy Coates Perez, Tula Pink, Amy Butler, David Butler, Bonnie Browning, Pepper Cory, Diane Gaudynski, Sue Nichols, Pat Holly, Phillip Jacobs, Kaffe Fasset, Renee Brown Haddadin, Caryl Bryer Fallert, Laurie Tigner, Mandy Leins, Marybeth Krapil, Brenda Groelz, Jane Dunnewold, Shannon Hicks, Sarah Ann Smith, Karen K Stone, Myrna Ficken, Patrick Lose, Brandy Lee, Jessica Darling, Jo Leichte, Jeanne Cook Delpit, Gayle Schleimann, Bill Volkening, Roderick Kiracofe, Kim Niedzwicki, Michael Dunn, Karen Cunagin, Bert Klimas, Renee Fleuranges-Valdes, Mary Anne Ciccotelli, Anne Frascarelli, Donna Chambers, Sandra Parrott, Barbara Brackman, Pat Campbell, Tracy Mooney, Jamie Mueller, Denise DeSantis, Melissa Kanovsky, Scott Hansen, Bev Mabry, Susan Schrott, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Nancy Rosenberger, Sally Bramald, Jane Monk, Kela Weathers, Chana Charles, Rob Appell, Jenny Doan, Donna Thomas, Christa Watson, my sweetie. . . .

Debby HandiQuilter Teri BERNINAOkay so this list…it’s just a beginning. I’m not even sure I grabbed all the names listed on the fb post. Part of the point is to take a moment and recognize the people in our life who have influenced our quilting world in some way.

One of the things I see is the breadth of the quilting world right there spanning the quilting world, it’s inclusive of all types of quilting, and those in the “business” of quilting from fabric designers to editors and the “behind the scenes” people. This list includes people who aren’t in the business directly but still support and encourage.

And who are the quilterati in your life?

I’m off to work here shortly, have a great! quilterly day.




Notes from BERNINA University

I know from going to quilt shows that the better the buzz, the more the excitement. Well this buzz rivals a really well attended quilt show. Oh my folks are excited and enjoying what they’re seeing.

97DI’m really excited about the new presser foot for machines with 9 mm stitch width, #97 and #97D Patchwork foot. This extends the line of Patchwork feet from 4 to 6 including the 37 & 37D, 57 & 57D .

There will be a few new machines coming out including the Ricky Tims and Tula Pink Special Editions of the B 350. Tula’s is embossed and they are both gorgeous looking machines.

I taught my class yesterday twice with good success. If the Foot Fits – Use It has been added to my class list and is BERNINA specific. This can be paired with a bit of fun like the drawing class. There will be a number of dealers getting the presentation once I tweak it a bit (a couple of weeks folks)

There were other things to be learned that need to wait for a bit.

I didn’t take as many classes as I thought. As I was headed out to the first one this morning I was delayed talking with one of the educators; then I went to the wrong room for the 2nd and ended up being late enough that the teacher was talking when I arrived. (I didn’t want to walk in on the presentation). I did get to the final presentation that I wanted to attend and enjoyed that immensely.

I posted a quick blog this morning sharing where my quilt was located and it has been right in my line of sight all along. hen I realized that I totally cracked up, I mean how do I see everyone quilt and not my own?
I do have more to share and will do so in a day or two. Tomorrow is the travel day so I’ll be leaving the hotel no later than 7:30 in the morning.

Happy Quilting!


one very happy BERNINA Ambassador

How I choose quilting motifs part 1

Twilight in the Bronx fullAs I mentioned the other day I’m going to share how I come up with the quilting motifs for a quilt. I’m going to start with Twilight in the Bronx which is entirely my own, move on to Tilde, Feather Zone and @play.  Each of these quilt are very different and each has its own story. And Twilight certainly has a story or 5 to tell.

Twilight is my first intentional whole cloth quilt. 1 1/4 yards of solid Kona cotton, a chalk pencil, ruler, batting, thread and an idea.
Briefly the idea: to stitch out an 8 pointed star (lone star) using a variety of thread to create the body of the design. Inspiration: the batik that had the center motif and the “suns” around.

Part 1: Mark the quilt top using the ruler and chalk pencil. I marked the center of the cloth with my iron by folding it in half selvage to selvage and pressing then refolding using that center line and the ends and pressing, being careful not to press out the first pressed crease.
Using my 6 x 24 Omnigrid plastic ruler I started drawing the star points. A quick glance shows you this is a 9-patch drawn on a 45 degree angle. Each point is one half inch off the center lines. The diamonds are 1/4 inch away from each other. This was to accommodate the center motif being fused down to the  cloth.

Part 2: I decided that I wanted the star to be raised so that meant trapunto. I layered a piece of Quilters Dream 100% cotton Request loft batting on the back. I didn’t do anything to hold it in place as I wanted to be able to cut a lot of it away when I was done stitching and 100% cotton batting tends to stick well to 100% cotton fabric. (When I teach quilting and we’re using fat quarters I generally don’t baste with pins or spray as the cotton sticks to cotton with out shifting)

Part 3: I liked the movement of color seen on other pieced lone stars so tried for that kind of look using the 3 colors I had: yellow, red and purple. I did this on the fly and made some decisions as I went along. Note: if I were doing this quilt now I’d be using a lot more colors of thread and perhaps splitting the diamonds in half from point to point the long way. For more movement not because I don’t like what’s going on here.

Part 4: Choosing the actual stitching motifs. I decided each color would be a different motif. If this were piece the fabric may or may not be from the same fabric line and therefore would have a different look. Each motif is something I wanted to practice and get better at stitching. Once these and the black lines defining the center spokes were all stitched in and I’d stitched around each one of the circles all extra batting was cut away, another layer of batting and the backing were layered and basted and the intense quilting began.

twilight finished 1Part 5: I won’t go into a lot of detail here because I did in previous posts – Twilight in the Bronx was quilted twice. The black area on the lower right is evidence of the first time it was quilted. The rest of the quilting was done after I’d picked most of it out. I left some as a personal reminder and because I liked it. I sat down to stitch not quite knowing what I’d be doing motif-wise. I had no active plan for this quilt and I’ll tell you quite honestly I don’t for most quilts.  When I had stitched the motif enough I moved onto another motif and/or another color.
I tried out motif after motif just because it was something I wanted to stitch and I liked it.

This quilt was completed within a year of my 40th birthday and is a personal “defining” quilting moment as “my style” is starting to emerge here. I’m still not sure what one would call that style however that’s not as important as the fact that I’m quilting and trying motifs and thread weights/colors and seeing how they play.

Looking at dates (ever thankful for my blog) I attended the Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar in May 2008 and started this quilt in early 2009. Ricky reminded us frequently over the two days that we are “smart and intelligent and you can do this!” Is there anything more important than that? Well, uh, uhm, No. There’s not.
We are smart
We are intelligent
We can do this

We can stop worrying about what others will think of our quilts and quilting. While I am well aware of the quilt police and their role in our quilting society, most of us do not encounter them on a daily basis. Oh we do hear their “voices” whispering in our ear that “this isn’t good enough” or “this doesn’t like right’ or “are you sure this motif needs to go here?!” or “this really sucks and you need to take out the seam ripper” or “this is awful and you should just toss it aside like an old rag”.
I’ve heard those voices I started telling them to go to H3LL! I started listening for my own voice and those around me who were encouraging me.
When I teach and students start showing me their flaws I quiet that voice down and show them what’s working and why so they have something beautiful to hold onto as they move on to the next quilt.
For most of our quilts “good enough” is good. And it’s enough.
Truthfully the only time that “good enough” needs to meet the seam ripper is when we’re competing because that’s different. And that needs to be thought through differently. And we’ll get there in these blog posts.

Happy Quilting!


BERNINA Ambassador Reunion

BERNINA Educators, Creative Center Staff and Marketing Dept.
BERNINA Educators, Creative Center Staff and Marketing Dept.
Ricky Tims at the BERNINA Creative Center

Have you ever been so excited for months about an event you were going to attend? Excited and a bit freaked out?
Well this week was it for me. Excited and a bit freaked out described it perfectly.  Earlier in the fall BERNINA invited their Ambassadors to attend a Reunion: a time of sharing, opportunities for learning and connecting.  Wednesday evening each of the 25 in attendance spent 2 – 3 minutes telling a little bit about who we are and what we do.  I ended up toward the end of the group experiencing this deep sense of awe and gratitude as quilter after quilter introduced themselves among the group were quilters, fashion sewers and dedicated sewing/crafting bloggers. My quilting world came to life in front of my eyes. As I shared I know my voice was a mixture of nerves and excitement. How often in life does a quilter get to thank many of the quilters who have influenced and trail blazed? This moment for me was priceless.

Thursday started with a presentation from Ricky Tims that gave me some things to think about, had us all laughing and brought us to tears.  The good kind of tears, tears of joy and tears relief and tears of thankfulness. You know the most important thing a teacher ever leaves us with is, “you can do this!” And Ricky left me with exactly that. Over the course of the two days we worked on the 580, 780, 820/830 with the Quilt Motion Software.  Different feet were presented with each machine. This quilter was quite thrilled this kind of learning is right up my tree. I’m not full on techie but I do love learning the what and why of the machines and how quilters can use them.  I was really looking forward to the tech talk and got pulled out of class for head shots and interview.

CAM00874In the sessions on the 580 & 780 we made projects (what better way to learn how to use a machine and the accessories).  As much as I was dreading the makeup, photo shoot and interview it turned out rather painless. The makeup artist (whose name I can’t remember) Sylvan (the interviewer) and the photographer really made me (each of us I presume) feel very comfortable with the process.  Cara who works in Marketing and reviewed all of the stills, came over to the Creative Center after all the head shots were done.  I gave her my peeper keeper and brought home the pillow.

Though I didn’t get to stay for the whole tech talk I did learn a couple of very important things: 1) canned air is not good for the machines and 2) cleaning and oiling the machine on a regular basis keeps them from trips to the spa!

All in all this was a good 2 1/2 days.  I’m looking forward to next years Reunion.

Happy Quilting!



Happy Third Birthday!

The Quilt Life magazine coverCongratulations to Alex Anderson, Ricky Tims and Jan Magee!!!  Oh wait a moment – there are a lot of other people to congratulate as well from all of the authors and quilters to the publisher and photographers and so many people who have contributed to this magazine!  I’m privileged to have written for The Quilt Life twice and am planning on submitting something again soon for the “Be Our Guest” feature.

As I write this blog I’m sitting in the waiting room of the dealership waiting.  Waiting for the car rental place to open so I can head off to another part of my quilt life – Hartsdale Fabrics where I work part time.  This is part of my quilt life, one that at this moment did not “feel” very quilterly however, here I am with blog fodder. This is part of my quilt life.  As the name of the magazine offers The Quilt Life is about who we are as quilters, not solely about the quilts we make.  The things we do inform our quilts and our quilts reveal part of who we are.

Over the last few months I’ve been thinking about who I am as a quilter, my quilt  life, teaching and so much.  One of the thoughts that perhaps I’ll submit as an article to The Quilt Life, has been that quilters wear their hearts in public in the quilts we make to give, display and even the ones that never make the full light of day.  Maybe I’ll just flesh this out here a bit.
I myself have been known to make snarky comments and pick apart other quilters work in public.  (hanging my head in a deep acknowledgement of quilterly shame)  I’m not particularly proud of this.  The change was coming long before I ever started teaching as I often began to wonder if the quilter was around and if they could hear what I say, how would they feel?  Did it lift them up?  Did it encourage them?  If the answer was negative in any way or overly critical I keep my big mouth shut.  As a teacher I decided that encouraging quilters, particularly new to the process quilters is essential.

Of course my phrases like, “oh yeah you should have this technique down pat ’cause you’ve been quilting for, oh 3 hours” are part of my  repertoire.  I have a fairly efficient filter in place however sometimes sarcasm is particularly effective in helping the quilter to stop, breathe, blink and move on.

Quilting is not an easy task or thing to learn.  It’s a process.  A process that takes time to learn, to figure out who you are as a quilt maker.  Just like sitting in this waiting room waiting for the mechanics and techs to figure out what is wrong with my car.  They’re going to have to go through a series of diagnostic testing to eliminate a list of potential problems.

So today this is part of my quilt life, waiting for the car and blogging.

Happy Birthday to The Quilt Life!!!  Here’s to many more years down the road.

Response to “Museum Needles Taxpayers”

This article was published Thursday November 15, 2012 in the Times Free Press of Chattanooga TN.  The writer has some serious misinformation regarding quilting in general and more specifically the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.

One event immediately came to mind as I read the article: Quilted Northern came up with what is essentially a very clever campaign promoting their toilet tissue, a group of quilters with knitting needles “quilting” the toilet tissue.  Quilters responded with calls, emails and letters helping to inform the marketing department of the company that we quilters do not quilt with knitting needles.  It wasn’t long before an updated version of the commercial made it’s debut and still runs today with the quilters having a variety of conversations.  I, for one, would like to help the author of said article learn about the quilting community and why the International Quilt Study museum is not only important to quilters but to the history of our country.

In the authors view quilters, quilting and the museum are of the era of Ma Ingalls, Aunt Bea and the Waltons.  The median age of quilters is somewhere between 55 & 62, as of my last birthday (a mere 4 days ago) I’m still in my 40’s and have been quilting for 19 years.  Then there are the quilters I know – not only my local guild members who are amazing in their own right and can be visited Renee and Mary Anne, then there’s Paula, Angela, Lisa, Randy, Ricky none of whom fit the appearance and quilting style of the Ingalls, Taylors or Waltons.

The author reminds us that memories can be created in video and photographs.  The author is right, this is one way of creating memories and these methods are great.  Nothing can comfort a person who is suffering from loss, illness and grief like a quilt.  A quilt wraps a person in a handcrafted love when images will not do.  Photos will not keep a person undergoing chemotherapy warm while a quilt will.  A quilt will wrap a grieving mom, spouse in an embrace from people they may not even know.  A quilt will remind a veteran how much we appreciate their sacrifice in a way that photos NEVER will.

The author wonders why dump hard earned taxpayer money into a museum that no one in Chattanooga will ever visit – a very quick google search reveals 10 shops that come up within 40 minutes of the Museum.  Ten. Ten shops within 40 minutes.   Hmmn, that gets me wondering if there are any quilters in the area who might be interested in visiting the Museum?  Paducah, KY is a mere 6 hour drive and any quilter would know why I mention this little factoid.  I’d like to visit both, which would mean spending money on hotels, restaurants and local quilt shops essentially supporting the local economy.

Quilting has been a part of American History coming in with the first colonists and continuing through with women primarily making quilts to keep their families warm through the cold, snowy winter months.  Listening to Kim Brunner’s lecture quilts were very much a part of her family’s survival during severe winter snow storms.  Quilts were very much part of surviving keeping people warm during the very cold winter nights in homes that had little to no insulation.   As our country moved toward manufacturing inexpensive blankets, homes became better insulated and more and more women were working outside the home quilting became part of the periphery of American society, never really dying out.  The renaissance of quilting beginning in the early 1970’s in preparation for our Bicentennial year in 1976.

Quilting since has not only gone through a resurgence but is more than ever part of American Society being featured on CBS Sunday Morning (Ricky Tims) and most recently on the Today Show in a humorous piece with Hoda.  The International Quilt Study Center and Museum is a small part of that.  I hope to visit and perhaps teach at the Museum soon.  Thank you to the author for continuing to remind me of the importance of quilting.  I do hope that the authors inbox is flooded with responses from quilters, that comments are made in response to the piece and that more importantly the author finds the importance of quilting.

Happy quilting!


PS – in a few days I’ll be hosting a blog give away


Be Our Guest

I love to write.

Hence the whole blog thing.

I love to write about quilting and every once in a while I get published in some really cool places.  One of my favorite magazines to write for is The Quilt Life its different and fun and speaks to quilters for whom quilting is like breathing.  Jan Magee has a blog which you can read here.

I wrote the piece in the August 2012 issue a way long time ago and space was available to fit it in now.

Let me know what you think!

Happy Quilting,