(photo: Ricky with Keiko Goke, visit Keiko's blog here)

Greetings from Japan.

I am here as a guest of Bernina of Japan at the 15th International Quilt Week Yokohama. My quilts are on display and I am teaching a few classes. As you probably know, the Japanese are excellent quilters and create magnificent designs. On a more personal note, I'm already experiencing culture shock - but in a good way - and there are plenty of things that make me feel right at home.

I had a bit of free time while decompressing and was able to put together a video of my adventures so far - enjoy!

Ricky - still jet lagged but hanging in there.


Kiss How do I look?



Tons of TV people were at festival - I developed a serious case of camera envy! What is a gal to do?



Story Submitted by: littleflower

The most beautiful part of quilt-making for me is giving the quilt to the person intended and watching their reaction. In March of 2006 the president of my guild made the announcement that a young woman she knows, who lost her husband about 9 years before, is looking for someone to make a quilt for her from clothing of his that she'd saved after he passed away. I went home to think about it. Two days later I called the guild president and said I'd be interested. She made the necessary phone calls and I met with Mary (not her real name) a few weeks later. She arrived at my home with a huge bin of his old clothing. This included t-shirts, jeans, polo shirts, oxford shirts and a few ties. As we went through the clothing I thought this would be two quilts, at least the first being a t-shirt quilt and the second a feathered star. As we sorted we talked about her husband and the important memories. I wanted, no, needed to know, a bit about this man and this family so that the quilts would reflect them as much as possible. By the end of our time together I felt confident that the project would work well. After posting on a couple of message boards I learned that the t-shirt quilts weren’t that difficult to make. One of my friends sent directions. Although not straight set the t-shirt quilt was done rather quickly. She was thrilled and before making the second quilt she asked me to make quilt blocks for his mom and all of his brothers and sisters. I made up a couple of blocks, gave some prices and after some discussion completed the project in time for her to get them to the family members for Christmas. On to quilt number two - the feathered star. I looked all over for a feathered star pattern; found a couple however for some reason I was having trouble going from the directions to making the actual quilt blocks. I cannot tell you how frustrating that was! I really wanted to have this quilt completed sooner rather than later. At this point it had been nearly a year since I took on the project. In April I went to the Quilters Heritage Celebration and with a little encouragement from a friend I bought Marsh McCloskeys “Feathered Star Quilt Blocks I – Really Hard Blocks That Take a Long Time to Make”. That night I began reading the book and all Ms. McCloskey’s explanations made so much sense to me! Whew! Later that week I cut out the pieces for 5 feathered star blocks. I did as much chain piecing as I could, keeping all of the fabrics straight. I finished one block completely and then was able to work on the other four blocks all at the same time. The whole quilt was completed within 4 weeks. I called Mary and let her know the quilt was done and she could come pick it up. When Mary arrived, we chatted for a couple of minutes. Then I folded the quilt out on the floor for her to see. She knelt down, touching the fabric and the look on her face was something amazing. All of her memories of this man that she loved so much just swept over her face in one moment. And me, I was just honored to be there.



      "Life Reflections" by Deborah Sylvester 

Many quilters often wonder how their favorite quilting mentors became interested in the art of quilting and what inspires them.  Lilo, the QuiltShowWizard, caught up with Deborah Sylvester in Houston and had the chance to sit down and ask Deborah a few questions about her quilting career.  Interestingly enough, the journey for Deborah has similar threads (no pun intended) to that of many quilting fanatics. 

Deborah’s husband of 23 years, a United States Marine with whom she has had the joy of parenting 3 children, was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA.  At that time she began watching Alex on Simply Quilts.  On one particular program, the pattern demonstrated was Friendship Star.  Deborah thought to herself, “I’d like to make this pattern,” so she gathered all of the necessary supplies and completed two blocks.   She became frustrated because they didn’t match.  Unwilling to give up so early, she went to her local quilt shop for assistance and advice and learned about the necessary quarter-inch foot on the sewing machine.

A short time later, Deborah’s family moved to Louisiana, where she joined a local quilt guild and learned a great deal more about her new found hobby.  After attending the Houston show in 1998 and taking classes, she was ready to enter her first quilt in the Houston show exactly one year later, in 1999. 

Initially Deborah’s work was in the traditional vein, but she soon learned she could not be as accurate as she desired.  She had always wanted to try her hand at the more artistic quilts, and ironically (or as a matter of fate) met Hollis Chatelain in the elevator while at that same 1999 show in Houston.  She and Hollis chatted, and Deborah subsequently began taking instruction from Hollis, who quickly became her mentor.  Deborah proved to be a quick learner - she had her first gallery show while stationed with her husband in North Carolina. For that particular show, she was required to create 6 pieces in 6 months - no small feat, even for the most accomplished artist.

Deborah’s studio at Edwards Air Force Base, California, was in her laundry room.  She put the cutting board atop the washer and dryer.  She says that most military spouses who are also artists have to be very creative to find space in which to work.  This is further proof of the old adage (as if more is needed) that “where there is a will, there is a way.”

Deborah’s style of work is fabric collage, which is hundreds of tiny pieces of fabric glued to the surface, as a painter would use paint. She has been evolving with this artistic style for 10 years.   Deborah purposely obscures the ethnicity of her subjects.  She says, “We all have the same colors in our skin, just different amounts of those colors.”  She hopes the viewer sees what they imagine. 

Deborah’s procedure differs somewhat from what one might expect in that she purchases fabric for the skin tone of her planned subjects, not the pattern of the quilt.  Once she has accomplished purchasing the fabric, she begins with a line drawing and then enlarges it.  She also stays very focused, only working on one piece of art at a time.

Deborah currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and stays busy exploring and creating.


593_libbylehman.jpgThread embellishment and sewing machine expert Libby Lehman shares her Sheer Ribbon Illusion technique and demonstrates how she uses the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator). Ricky performs a tune from Heart and Soul, Heather Purcell with thread tips and photo man, Gregory Case joins us with a very special photo contest!


I recieved this idea from Linda in Yuba City - GREAT IDEA - Be sure to use our store locater when you travel!

Recently my husband took me along on a business trip that he took. I took all my current sewing projects and had a lovely time sewing my days away in his hotel room and then spending the evenings with him. But the last day I had to be out of the room early. What's a sewer to do??? I called up a quilt store that had an ad in the local yellow pages and asked if they had space available in their classroom and they said come on down. There was a group of ladies there who got together every week on that day and they welcomed me with open arms. I made some new friends, got to see some new projects, shop in a new quilt store and get more done on my projects. I felt like a million bucks when I left. (My poor hubby though. He had to be working! LOL) Amazingly enough there was another lady that had done exactly the same thing as me. They were thrilled with not 1 but 2 new faces. Within a few minutes we were chatting like old friends. The shop owner was so excited and thrilled that we called and actually showed up.

So I definitely recommend this to anyone in a new or different city. I had a blast.


Hey everyone! Yup that's right, I'm in the Houston International Airport about to board on my flight to Japan. I will be a featured guest at the Yokohama quilt festival. This is totally uncharted territory for me but I wanted to let you know I"ll give you a play by play blog as often as I possiblly can.  Any advice?




Wendy and I go wwaaayyy back - We have enjoyed many years of raising kids and quilting together. While waiting for the ship to dock (sadly at the end), we took the opportunity to show what she was working on.



Sorry we are late posting this blog to let you share you quilt festival quilt. As you can see by the previous blogs we are staying very busy. This has been the first opportunity for our members to come to a quilt show and see us directly. It has been wonderul. So many folks with TQS badges are coming in and shouting, "It's a New Day!"

If you have a quilt in the IQA show or a specil exhibition at International Quilt Festival in Houston and you would like to share it wih us, please post it on your profile and reply to this blog with your news or story about it. Members can click right on through to your profile to see the quilt. So. show us your stuff!

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