July 21 - October 15, 2017

Turner and Gilliland Galleries

The 13th Quilt Nihon Exhibition features over 30 quilts from the Japan Handicraft Instructors’ Association (JHIA), an organization that has promoted handcraft arts through training and publications in Japan for over 45 years. On display are quilts made by some of the most talented and respected artists from Japan and the Pacific Rim. The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles is pleased to be the first museum in the U.S. to present the 13th Quilt Nihon Exhibition, and these extraordinary prize winning quilts.

Click here to learn more about the exhibit.


San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

520 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 971-0323


Saeko Hasumuro, Prayer for Peace, Cotton, Hand pieced, applique and hand quilted


I realized this week that I am in love with Block of the Months...or, for those of us in the know...BOMs. The reason being is if you are like me, a Smorgasbord Quilter...(which means you are not a purist who only does Modern or Art Quilts...or Civil War patterns or Wool or embroidery...but likes it all) there is no way you could have the money or the space for all the product to dive into it all. The BOM allows you to create a quilt even if you don't have the fabric in your stash because they send it to you monthly! And, they only send you enough to make the one block.

But, I realized this past week that I am in deep...as in too many BOM's and I need a plan of action. The "AH HA" moment came because of two different V8 moments. First, I called my dear friend Sylvia Pippen to finish the registration process for her latest BOM...which is absolutely gorgeous!!!! My two favorite things, Sashiko and Wool...how could I pass up that!

As I was chit chatting I said..."So I'll get my first block in January right."...NOT!!! No, no, no...this starts Oct. 1st!!! OMG...I will admit I have several BOMs living in my Bee Hive...they range from Wool to Appliqué, from Sashiko to Piecing...and now I have added another one!

This conversation was followed by a call from one of my favorite shops, Olde World Quilt Shoppe in Cave Creek, AZ. They were calling to let me know that block five of the Sue Spargo BOM Crimson Tweed, done in primitive colors, was missing a fabric and could they send it out in the next block or do I need it right away to complete the block?!!! Well...I wanted to say...send it Federal Express!!! I need it like yesterday because I am soooo caught up! But instead I said you can send it with the next block because the reality is I have not started it...oye vey!








These two conversations have led me to a plan and it might be helpful to those of you that have the same issues as me with BOMs/projects. I am going to try...as in TRY...to do one block a month from each of my BOM's...it may take me a year to get them done, but at least I will see progress. The key will be not to get distracted by other eye candy. It will be a challenge because basically all my BOMs are hand work, which are more time intensive. But, I am going to give it the old college try and then I will post them on both Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag...#BOMquiltchallenge. Feel free to also post to the hashtag!

Have a great week. We are hitting the road again looking for more quilting adventures!!

Click here for Anna's YouTube Channel.


Kerby Smith has a great tutorial at WeAllSew.com for making this "scaredy cat" halloween treat bag.

Kerby writes, "Halloween is a great excuse to dress up and fulfill your fantasy as a character from literature or the movies. You can wear pointed ears and be an elf or a Vulcan. Our children loved being knights in shining armor and fairy princesses when they were small. Halloween is one of my wife’s favorite holidays and she drew the cat and moon pattern for this project."


Star Members can watch Kerby and his wife, Lura Schwarz Smith, in Show 702: Quilting in the Digital Age.

Click here to visit Kerby's website.



Order a signed copy of Art Quilt Collage: A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint and Stitch and you'll get a laminated Design Guide from Deborah Boschert. Deborah still has some copies available in her ETSY shop while quantities last.

Click here to order.

You can watch Deborah work her collage magic and get some great design tips right here at TQS in Show 2108: Surface Design Simplified & Vintage Quilt Bed Turningalso featuring Julie Silber.


This week, as we continue our look at Pattern/Repetition, which is the combining of elements or motif in an arranged and repeated manner, we want to narrow that focus on how the use of a single pattern/block can be used to push the resulting quilt to a whole new level. The idea for A Garden For All Seasons by Victoria Findlay Wolfe (Show 1404, Show 2002), came about after viewing empty public space at her newly renovated local bank. The thought that a public quilt would much improve the empty space led her to manipulate the hexagon block units of Grandmother's Flower Garden on a massive scale. The resulting quilt is 9' wide x 30' long and weighs an incredible 28 lbs. Learn more about the quilt on her blog.

Using just one element/block and pushing it can be a fun and exhilarating way to stretch yourself as a quilter. When deciding on an element/block, think of all of the ways you could change the original to something new and interesting:

+ Enlarge the element/block to an enormous scale

+ Cut the logs of a Log Cabin not all the same width

+ Build various sizes of just one block units

+ Use a group of orphan blocks as inspiration for an entirely new design

+ Build just one element of a traditional block, but exaggerate that element more with each additional      block

+ Make a preliminary sketch on paper beforehand to determine a design

Remember that you as the quilter can play to your hearts content when it comes to building an entirely unique design. Think of it as exercising your mind. It all comes down to thinking outside of the box and just enjoying the process of trying something new and exciting.

Nervous? Start small. Make a variety of pot holders or placemats using just the one element. As you begin working on the next one in line, try to find a way to make the second, third, etc. different from the one before. Do you need some inspiration? Let's examine a number of quilts where the quilter has taken one pattern and pushed it, as described above, with very effective results.


Jacquie Gering's Blue Ice and Homage pushes the traditional Log Cabin by using logs of different sizes and in different placements. See more about how she manipulates the Log Cabin block in Show 1202.

Quilt blogger Amy Struckmeyer's (form*work) says that her quilt Deconstructed Lone Star,

“...was inspired by a traditional lone star quilt my mom made for me when I was in my twenties, long before I was interested in quilting myself. I was looking at it recently and thinking about how striking the pattern is and how it might look with a more modern spin. I was also inspired by…all modern versions of the lone star pattern.

I then started to think about the idea of the star breaking off and exploding into space. The concept of combining a traditional pattern with current fabrics and improvisational piecing resonated with me. I drew up a basic star pattern, offset it towards a lower corner, and starting sketching over it with colored pencil.”
See more of Amy's work on her Instagram page.






Origami Garden by John Q. Adams effectively uses repeating blocks in different sizes.











                    Two examples of the Dresden Plate spoke element manipulated

Kathy Doughty has for many years pushed conventional boundaries, mixing colors and patterns with what appears to be wild abandon. She shares her thoughts on how a small traditional block and lack of dedicated sewing time pushed her to create a quilt with maximum impact.

Hi, I am Kathy Doughty from Material Obsession in Sydney, Australia. I found quilting as a lonely immigrant 24 years ago! From the first stitch, I was keen to learn as much as possible and my only source was from library books. Eventually I found a quilt group and then suddenly became a shop owner in 2003.  Becoming a shop owner has been a fantastic learning experience.  From the day the shop opened my skills started to expand at warp speed as I learned from my teachers and customers. Now my shop, Material Obsession, is a place where people come to feel comfortable in creative situations.  Its important to know that being creative can sometimes be scary so having the right tools to get us through a moment is important!   am passionate about teaching, I have never forgotten what it was like to be a beginner!


I have always thought of myself as an accidental designer basically because I couldn’t follow directions!  I would find a photograph of an antique quilt and decipher how it was made.  The easier the better so squares were my thing!  Often times I would select my fabric and get started only to find that my quilt didn’t look anything like the photo!  The surprise ending offered up a sample for understanding what works and what doesn’t!  An important lesson from those days was that by letting go of exacting expectations in the creative process I was able to study my project freely and then make the right choices. 






One day I was looking at a photograph of a lovely antique basket block quilt. I felt a yearning to make the tiny 6” blocks and was dismayed by the reality that my schedule doesn’t allow for the tiny piecing typical in the traditional style basket quilts with lots of tiny blocks in straight rows.  As I held my head in my hands in despair it suddenly occurred to me that I could enlarge the blocks in relative scale to make each basket 60” instead of 6”!!! 


I like my quilts to have visual impact but to be  easy to construct so that I can concentrate on my fabric choices.  The key to the process of maintaining interest in big blocks is to play with the fabric options.  Be aware of where fabrics need to blend to hold a big space and where they need to contrast to make a line.  Once these decisions are made select fabrics for each space  Basket Case has equal value fabrics for the baskets and the background 2” squares. 

This is one of my favourite quilts. I love the way that the partial baskets engage the viewer in imagining the rest of the baskets…the parts unseen.  In selecting the background I only wanted light versions of the fabrics used in the baskets.  I was searching my stash for “pretty” fabrics that were light value.  The large squares were one base print, the blue Kaffe and the other prints were “equal value” choices.  I wanted the alternate blocks to have the same overall impact in each section.  This was a stash quilt so some choices were made on how much fabric I actually had on hand.  The lines indicating blocks used the remaining fabrics from the baskets.  They also indicate the scale of the block layout.  I also got a first place ribbon in the Quilt NSW show for Interpretation of a Traditional block for this quilt!




The process of playing the scale card was fun!  Other block possibilities were exciting so I devoted an entire chapter in my book Adding Layers to the idea of exploring baskets, wedges, stars using the Carolina Lily block. The resulting Lily Field quilt (on the left) features one enormous center block surrounded by two smaller version of the same block.

Getting Started:

As a self-taught quilter I initially skipped the skill of learning to draft a block. My learning process was all trial and error with some success and some failure. Using acrylic templates and rulers was a big help as it standardised cutting which made sewing more accurate.  However, eventually I learned how to draft blocks using graph paper. Drafting a block involves drawing the lines of the block to scale on the paper and then adding the appropriate seam allowance to cut.

Selecting grid blocks that are divisible by 2” squares is a great place to start. This simple building block makes enlarging or reducing a simple task. I use 1” square graph paper so that each square can be whatever size I need.


Examine the block, in this case the Carolina Lily to identify the lines that make the block. The first thing we see is a 9-patch. Within the 9-patch are a six half square triangles. Seeing the block in black and white line form simplifies what we are looking at and makes way for color placement. The color and value of the fabric will define the finished block.


Refer to the graph paper to decide what size block you would like to make.  For example, if the drawn block has 1” squares it makes a 3” finished (sewn) square. Change the square size to 2” and the block size doubles to 6” and if the square unit jumps to 8” the block is 24”. Using 2” increments makes it easy to grow the block and then can be arranged to fit together as a quilt easily.


There are endless options for setting the blocks to create the quilt top.  It is possible to choose a traditional grid layout that may or may not have sashing, a centre medallion or strips of blocks.  It may be that the blocks are set with a modern slant allowing for negative space, off grid work or simply a variety of scales randomly set. It is of course an easy option to draw up the full quilt design on the graph paper and to follow the path set on paper.

When making a quilt like this I generally make a few blocks and position them on a design wall.  I like to look at them and examine how they relate to each other.  I find that interesting relationships often appear on the design wall that I never could have imagined.  I like the feeling of going with the flow of the design.  If my blocks are drawn up with a variety of scales I can easily refer to my notes and map out the size of each section of the quilt.  It then becomes a balancing act of how hard I want to work!

Designing the quilt organically allows for shifts and changes as things develop.  I like hearing the story that develops in my head as the blocks start to take on shapes.  For example, with Lily Field the image of the flower brings to mind fields of lilies blowing in the breeze or basking in sunshine.  With that in mind there are two sections in the quilt…one that focuses on three large potted lilies.  Here I used the large scale blocks…as big as I could make them.  Then the outer corners are made of paths through the flowers in the fields!  Each decision made presents new options to be considered.



To be honest, there is often a moment when an opportunity appears and it may be just out of reach technically, restricted by fabric requirements or limited time.  This is always part of a quilt but each junction allows for a moment to consider what is working and what isn’t..  Or in other words, each junction is an opportunity to get creative and make a new path!

Fabric selection plays an important part of the design.  Sometimes we are inspired by a collection of fabric or a desire to use our stash!!  Other times we want to explore a technique.  Then there is always the motivation to make a gift.  All of these starting points will affect where the quilt goes.  The important decisions may be determined by what purpose the fabric will play in the quilt.

Selecting fabric for Lilly Field was the range of fabrics by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  I loved the daisy field feeling of the background and the rich saturated reds read well as flowers.  The green is one of my all time favourites! I selected a variety of red fabrics that had the same value and would blend to make the flowers.  It is often said that color gets the credit but value does the work.  Be aware of where the dark, medium and light fabrics need to be positioned so that the lines are maintained.

The flowers all sit on the background which is always an important decision.  It used to be that backgrounds were mostly white, bone or off white but not any more!  Now it is fashionable to use spots, stripes, plaids or small prints for backgrounds as long as the block lines are maintained.  Consider the amount of contrast in your feature prints against the background carefully.  Audition options that allow your flowers and stems to stand out. It may be that the flowers are dark and the background light or that the flowers are cool and the background warm.

Cool Colors (blue, green or purple) create a feeling of the sky or sea, while warm colors (red, orange, yellow) create a feeling of the sun or fire. By placing the two groups of fabrics next to each other a line is create a line of light and dark.

To recreate Lily Field as a scrap quilt would be fun!  The flowers could be all different fabrics tied together by one green fabric for the base and stems or even a variety of leaf options.  Even thinking about it makes me want to get cutting!

As I start to sketch up color placement options several questions come to mind:

1.   Yellow Lilies with blue sky? 

2.   Mix the yellow and blue in the flowers and find a background option?

3.   Is each flower one fabric or a variety of the fabrics?

Sketches allow me to get a bit closer to what the blocks will look like and when I decide which way to go they give me a solid foundation from which to work. Starting out with a variety of fabrics from my stash means I can add other fabrics later if the quilt grows or if I run out of the originals.  I can see from the drawings that each block has 7 different spaces for the flower so I want to have seven different fabrics.

When putting the quilt together it is important to constantly review the contrast to be sure it is working. When I start cutting them I’ll use a small design wall to position the fabrics to see how the block works and then to adjust the fabrics as required.  Design walls are fantastic for allowing us to get a broader view of how the fabrics are working together.  Up close we see them with intensity but when we step away we get the dramatic effect…or not.  Sometimes when we look at the work up close we see stronger lines so looking at it from a distance allows us to judge if it works when the quilt is finished.

The design wall also helps me to work out design challenges that may occur in the process.  I can make a large number of blocks and lay them out in several ways until I find the one that I like the most.  Sometimes the first time works and other times I work and work and work to get it right. 

See more of Kathy Doughty's work on her website or her instagram page.




Are these tumbling blocks? Hexies? Diamonds? Find out when you play the game.



Dr. Annette Gero, one of Australia's leading quilt historians, has been documenting and collecting quilts since 1982. She has travelled across Australia giving lectures, curating exhibitions of Australian quilts and documenting quilts in private homes and public collections. She gained her PhD in 1982. Dr. Gero was elected in 1986  as a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts (London) in recognition of her work on Australian quilt history. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Quilt Study Center, Nebraska, USA and an Associate Fellow; Founder and Patron of the Sydney Quilt Study Group; Past President of the Quilt Study Group of Australia; Lecturer, the Australian Academy of Decorative Arts, and her contribution to the history of Australian quilting has been documented in the Archives of the National Library of Australia. Canberra.

Meg Cox introduces Dr. Gero as she discusses the very first quilt she collected for War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics, currently on exhibit at The American Folk Art Museum in New York through January 7, 2018.

Learn more about the exhibition here.

The 240-page publication Wartime Quilts: Appliqués and Geometric Masterpieces from Military Fabrics is now available. Click here to order.


You know the old quiz question, "Which of these is not like the others?" That is how we felt when we stood in front of Beth Brady's quilt, Butterfly Bushes. It is 72" x 63" and was in the Wall Quilts - Stationary Machine Quilted category at AQS QuiltWeek Spring Paducah 2017. The quilt used Machine Appliqué and Free Motion Quilting. It is a "happy quilt" with a mix of colors, flowers, and stars that looks like a celebration of life. Look for the hidden crystals too. A "Great Job" shout out to Beth.



A request from the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild:

"Hello Quilters! The outpouring of love and support we have received is nothing short of incredible and we are overwhelmed with it.  We have been struggling to put together words for what has happened in Las Vegas and have decided to put together quilts!

There have been a ton of people reaching out asking how they can help so we have put together a quilt drive for #quiltsforvegas.  We are requesting completed quilts, quilt tops, blocks, binding, backing, batting and monetary donations (or anything else you can think of!) to our efforts.  Monetary donations will cover shipping, fabric, thread and other quilt costs; any leftover donations will be donated to the GoFundMe that has already been set up."

Click on Learn How You Can Help to get all the details about the blocks, quilts, shipping, donations, etc.



Holiday Spirit was a guild challenge for Bethanne Nemesh where she had to feature her birthday, which is December 30th. The muse represents December and there are 30 pine cones to represent the date. Made in the early 2000s, it's a bit different from what we see her doing today.

Star Members can watch Bethanne in Show 2107: Extraordinary Binding Techniques & Amazing Fabric Collage.

HolidaySpiritbyBethanneNemesh - 35 Pieces Non-Rotating

HolidaySpiritbyBethanneNemesh - 99 Pieces Non-Rotating

HolidaySpiritbyBethanneNemesh - 300 Pieces Non-Rotating

HolidaySpiritbyBethanneNemesh - 35 Pieces Rotating

HolidaySpiritbyBethanneNemesh - 100 Pieces Rotating

HolidaySpiritbyBethanneNemesh - 300 Pieces Rotating

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis

NEW...Introducing our 2017 Halo Medallion Kit by Sue Garman  in Batiks!

Kits are now shipping! Order yours now as we have a limited quantity!

halo batik

Watch Show 1912: (Free) with Rosa Rojas

Apliquick Rods


Apliquick - 3 Holes Microserrated Scissors


 Apliquick Ergonomic Tweezers

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