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Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Quilt Blogs Are Bustin' Out all Over

Blogging has of course now become the "Fifth Estate," a vast sea of amateur journalists who are having a major impact on news and information around the world. Quilters are part of this, too, and every day we seem to discover new quilter blogs.

Our friend and long-term contributor of mystery quilts to Planet Patchwork, Merry May, has a blog at at which she posts her musings on quilts, teaching quilting, and more formal lessons, such as a couple she's done on photo transfers in quilting.

Over at Quilts Galore, Mel (or Mellicious, as she's known on flickr) does breezy short takes and tells funny stories on herself, including one on her quilting technique, which she calls "the ADD approach to quilting."

She has also published an amazing collection of photos of quilts from the Houston Quilt Show.

Check out both of these new blogs, and let us know about any others you come across by writing us at planetpatchwork at gmail dot com.


Book Review: Quilted Planet by Celia Eddy

Quilted PlanetIf I hadn't already splurged on this luscious $40 book, I would definitely put it at the top of my Christmas list.

British quilter and researcher Celia Eddy has put the quilt world at your fingertips, documenting quilting traditions from around the world with 230 stunning photographs. You expect to see exquisite quilts from England and France and the U.S. and Japan, but Eddy also shows you examples from India, Central America, Africa and New Zealand. Historical quilts and contemporary ones are both included, and you see intriguing glimpses of cross-pollination across eras and cultures.

What will keep this book on your sewing table instead of your coffee table is the depth and detail of Eddy's approach. Under Indian quilts, for example, she shows examples of regional traditions and techniques. Kanthas are needlework quilts once made by layering old saris. The style almost died out but is now being revived. Throughout the book, Eddy has a feature called "Method and Style," where she zooms in on a specific technique or style of quilt, including kanthas, and shows how they are made.

Though originally published in England, Quilted Planet is easily found in this country, where it was published by Clarkson Potter (Eddy says the only thing different in the American version is the cover.)

Eddy is a member of the American Quilt Study Group and in 1998, she founded the British Quilt Study Group. She runs an invaluable online quilting magazine called QuiltStory (

Get it at a discount from Amazon!

See more great books at the Planet Patchwork bookstore!


Last call for entries! You could win up to $500 by designing a quilt in EQ!

The contest deadline is midnight tonight! If you have some EQ designs sitting on your computer that you haven't pulled up in a while, or if you think you might flex your creative muscles by designing a quilt in the next few hours, we encourage you to seize the day and SUBMIT!

Planet Patchwork, along with our sister site The Quilt Channel, and with support from The Electric Quilt Company, announces a virtual quilt design contest for users of Electric Quilt software. So many of you have bought Electric Quilt from us over the years, and told us how much you love it, that we want to provide an opportunity for you strut your stuff, and feature your work for other EQ users to see and be inspired by. And we're offering some great prizes, too!

Learn all about the Planet Patchwork EQ Design contest here.


Three Quilters Celebrate the Four Seasons

3 Quilters Celebrate 4 Seasonsby Karen Combs, Joan Shay, Bethany Reynolds
American Quilters' Society, 2004. 143 pages, list price $22.95.

Journey through the calendar year with three top quilt designers and teachers. These special friends have designed a quilt pattern for every month and combined their diverse styles to create unique and exciting new designs. They also share fabric selection ideas, how-to sections on Stack-n-Whack and Appli-bond, and techniques and tips to use all year round. Joan Shay's designs feature her easy and popular three-dimensional Appli-bond method for creating flowers, birds, and fish. Bethany Reynolds presents several fun, new Stack-n-Whack designs -- a method that has taken the quilt world by storm. Karen Combs adds her special insight with quilts of illusion that delight the senses. From enchanting applique to dazzling patchwork, the great variety of projects offered will bring quilting excitement throughout the year.

The Midwest Book Review says: 'In 3 Quilters Celebrate The 4 Seasons: By the Calendar Girls, Karen Combs, Bethany Reynolds, Joan Shay (three famous quilting professionals) collaborate to provide their specialties showcasing over a dozen quilt projects emphasizing diverse patterns and styles and approaches, providing a diversity of original styles. The color photos are wonderful embellishments.'

Get it at a discount at Amazon!

See more great quilt books at the Planet Patchwork Bookstore!


New issue of newsletter up at Quilt University

Quilt University offers a newsletter each month about their classes and events. Find out what's going on with Quilt U this December by reading the latest issue.

In this issue:

  • Houston Quilt Festival
  • Gearing Up for New Year
  • Three New Classes
  • Pets and Quilts Show
  • 2006 Guild Challenge

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2005


    And Sew it Goes: The most famous quilt I never made

    Terry Grant has a terrific story on her blog about the Peekaboo Bears Quilt she designed for a contest. It won, and though she never made one herself, it is her most famous and recognizable design. It's a captivating tale about the quirks of the quilting world and how small choices can shape our lasting legacies. Read Terry's Peekaboo Bears quilt story now.

    Monday, November 28, 2005


    AIDS Quilt Settlement Unravels

    Ousted founder, organization head to court again over 2003 termination
    By ANDREW KEEGAN | Nov 21, 6:15 PM

    An agreement to return a portion of the world’s largest traveling AIDS memorial to its West Coast birthplace has unraveled due to "unreasonable" demands by the founder of the display, according to an attorney involved in the case.

    Cleve Jones, who co-founded the AIDS Memorial Quilt in San Francisco two decades ago, and the Atlanta-based Names Project Foundation, which maintains the quilt, have sparred publicly since 2003.

    Read the full article about the AIDS Quilt settlement in the Washington Blade.


    This is reality?

    I don't know how many of you are following the news story about a Reality TV show called Wife Swap, but the producers are said to be searching the country for a wife and mother who quilts, who would "swap" her husband and children with another wife, who presumably doesn't. My first reaction to this was basically outrage at presumed stereotyping, since I'm guessing the non-quilting wife will be some Park Avenue heiress who only sees needles when she's getting her regular Botox injections. (Does anybody here think Paris Hilton makes quilts in her spare time?)

    To me, the whole thing smacked of the annoying misperception that quilters are quaint, unglamorous, certainly not urban-dwelling and probably poor. Finally, knitting is hip, but the mainstream media have no clue that quilting is a high-tech boom that cuts across all income levels. (Really, we ARE cool, right? We don't ALWAYS go out in public with our clothing covered in thread bits.)

    But ever since my last guild meeting in Pennington, NJ, I've decided that the last laugh will be ours after all. The Wife Swap show was a major topic of conversation, and the collective response was: No Thanks.
    "What? They actually think we would let some clueless woman operate our sewing machines and paw through our stash?" said one woman who makes her living quilting. Nobody seemed bothered about the idea of having a stranger handle their husbands and kids, however...


    Finished mystery quilts pop up on blogs, too

    Suze over at Caricol Creations posted her finished top from our One-Day Mystery Quilt on her blog. If you've posted your mystery quilt on your blog, let us know about it! We'll post a link here.


    First set of "Opposites Attract" quilt photos online now

    As mentioned in a previous post, quilters around the world spent Sunday participating in the latest Planet Patchwork One-Day Mystery Quilt, "Opposites Attract" by Merry May. Some of those participants sent us photos of their finished tops, which are now available as a Flickr photo set. If you were one of our mystery quilters yesterday, send us a photo of your quilt! We all want to see it.

    See the "Opposites Attract" quilts now!

    Send your photos to planetpatchwork at gmail dot com.


    "Opposites" attracts quilters for a one-day mystery quilt

    Planet Patchwork's One-Day Mystery Quilt (Merry Mayhem's Case #122: Opposites Attract) drew hundreds of quilters to the web site for a quilt pattern that unfolded in steps over the course of the day. The chat room topped out at just over fifty quilters at any one time (we guesstimate there were about 100 quilters who popped in and out over the course of the day), and over 500 people entered the door prize drawing.

    We have already started to receive pictures of finished quilt tops from participants, which we will post in a gallery soon for everyone to enjoy. If you'd like your "Opposites Attract" top to be featured in the gallery, just send a picture of it to planetpatchwork at gmail dot com.

    "Opposites Attract" will be hosted at Planet Patchwork for the remainder of the day, after which it will disappear! If you'd like to share this mystery quilt with your guild, please contact Merry at for licensing information. You can also select from a large choice of Merry Mayhem's Mystery Quilts at Planet Patchwork or her clever and time-saving Gridded Geese, the fastest way to make Flying Geese blocks!

    Sunday, November 27, 2005


    One-Day Mystery Quilt Today at Planet Patchwork!

    Merry Mayhem Presents: Case #122: Opposites Attract

    A few times a year Planet Patchwork hosts a One-Day Mystery Quilt, during which quilters around the world tune into the web site periodically throughout the day for a set of instructions in sequence. Without knowledge of what the quilt will look like, these quilters watch their chosen fabrics transform into a work of art beneath their very hands.

    Today we're holding our traditional post-Thanksgiving Mystery Quilt at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Merry Mayhem supplies us with the Mystery Quilt this year, entitled "Case #122: Opposites Attract."

    You can get all the advance supply and cutting instructions you'll need on the first page of the mystery quilt instructions.

    On the appointed day at 11 a.m. Eastern, a link will appear at the bottom of the cutting instructions page to the next step of "Opposites Attract." These instructions are left standing for 24 hours and then they disappear, never to return.

    We will also be giving away some great prizes throughout the day for our Mystery Quilt participants! To register for the prizes visit this web page.

    We hope you'll join us for a Sunday of discovery at the Planet Patchwork One-Day Mystery Quilt!

    Saturday, November 26, 2005


    Dear Gift Guru . . .

    GG, my Mom tried to show me how to quilt, but I spend all my spare time following baseball. I keep trying to tell her I don't want to quilt. I want to watch Derek Jeter. How can I show her how I feel without hurting her feelings? -- Louise in Long Island

    Read the Gift Guru's answer here.

    (You can make sure you get what you want by sending your gift givers an E-Elf wish list message.)

    Friday, November 25, 2005


    America's Fabrics

    America’s Printed Fabrics, 1770-1890
    By Barbara Brackman
    C&T Publishing, 2004
    128 pages, suggested retail $29.95

    Barbara Brackman’s reputation as America’s quilt historian is unparalleled. She has compiled the most comprehensive quilt block catalogue ever assembled, and has done many historically based quilt books for major publishers. In this volume she turns her attention to fabric, for a fascinating tour of fabric patterns and tastes from the American revolution to the Victorian era. The fabrics are displayed, aptly, in dozens of historical and reproduction quilts, and the book is studded with sidebars and photos featuring the quilters and mill girls who played such a big part in the history of American textiles. In addition to the fabrics and quilts, the book contains eight reproduction quilt projects, with instructions and templates. The book is absorbing in and of itself, and also an invaluable reference to help date antique quilts.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2005


    Harmonies & Hurricanes (book review)

    Harmonies & Hurricanes, by Kumiko Sudo: Like the "life lesson" thrown into a book of erotica to provide "redeeming social value," the do-it-yourself patterns offered at the close of Kumiko Sudo's voluptuous collection of quilt art seem meant to justify pure pleasure with a little instruction. Forget about it. You may be inspired by her gorgeous dream meditations on the Japanese-American experience, but you will never duplicate them. This series of one-of-a-kind art quilts paints noble ladies, bold chargers, wind-driven galleons, and cranes in flight, all with a ravishing collection of silks. It's a book to savor by firelight. Best to let this fine artist feed your dreams, not drive you to futile imitation. Sip a fine wine and let your imagination soar--what fabrics would you choose to illustrate your personal history, your trans-oceanic heritage? What migration, what aristocracy, what conflict, lies in your past? What family story would you tell? Paperback, 144 pp. Published by McGraw Hill; list price $27.95.

    Monday, November 21, 2005


    And Another

    Meg Cox of Princeton, New Jersey, former writer for the Wall Street Journal, and author of an upcoming book on quilting to be published next year, will begin posting to the Quilt Channel in the near future.

    A warm welcome for Meg!

    Saturday, November 19, 2005


    A New Voice

    Beginning any time now, Quilt Channel will feature a new contributor to the blog, Penny Schmitt of Wilmington, NC. Penny is a long-time quilter, writer, and friend, and will bring an interesting new point of view to our commentary about quilting. Look for her reviews of books and products, and her general thoughts on the craft.

    Welcome, Penny!


    A Laurel Burch Christmas

    A Laurel Burch Christmas: Color the Season Beautiful with 25 Quilts and Crafts

    By Laurel Burch, C&T Publishing, 2004, 80 full-color pages, List Price $24.95

    Laurel Burch, former Haight-Ashbury jewelry maker and now internationally known for her whimsical designs featuring flying cats and dogs and other beasts in incandescent jewel tones, has written a book of Christmas projects that are sure to brighten your house and satisfy your creative urges.

    Using a wide variety of materials, from fabric paint to fusible applique, Laurel presents instructions for several small wall hangings, an advent calendar, a felt wreath, tree ornaments out of both glass and fabric, a stocking full of stuffed critters, a mantel runner, tree skirt, table runner and a "Dear Santa" tote bag. It's quite a tour de force.

    All of the designs are in Laurel's unmistakable (if occasionally cloying) style, and run an amazingly wide range of moods, from peaceful to exuberant. My favorites include the mantel runner (with winged cats) and a 24" X 30" wall-hanging called "Matisse and Tiger" ( a dog and cat) who pose together in a luxurious holiday bow.

    Many of these projects are simple and colorful, and would make great Christmas projects to do with kids, especially the "Surprise a Day Tree Calendar." Complete instructions, tips, and templates are included.

    Available at a discount from Amazon.

    See other great books in the Planet Patchwork bookstore!

    Friday, November 18, 2005


    Making a difference, stitch by stitch

    Groton, CT - To sew a button is one thing, but to stitch an entire quilt is a feat that most teenagers wouldn't even dream of undertaking.

    But Dan Balbuena and Holly Bartlett aren't your typical teenagers. The two paired up a few weeks ago to start a quilting circle through the young adult program at the Groton Public Library.

    "We both had sewing skills, and figured we could put them to good use," Balbuena said. "At first we had wanted to donate the finished quilts to the ABC program (At-risk Baby Crib quilts) but changed our minds after Hurricane Katrina plowed over the South."

    Read the full article about Balbuena and Bartlett here.

    Thursday, November 17, 2005


    The best new links from the Quilt Channel directory

    Every week there are new links pouring into the Quilt Channel Links Directory; here are our favorites from the newest batch. Visit the directory for the full list of new links!


    Pre-Civil War era quilt bought online by Oxford historian

    (Oxford, CT) The old met the new when Oxford's town historian bought a 150-year-old quilt on eBay.

    Dorothy DeBisschop, the town's historian, found the antebellum Civil War Friendship Quilt and won the auction for the rare artifact of the town's rural past with a bid of one thousand dollars.

    Read the full article here.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005


    Quilts, Inc. names Judy Murrah as Vice-President of Education

    Judy Murrah HOUSTON—November 15, 2005—Quilts, Inc. today announced the promotion of Judy Murrah to Vice-President of Education for the company. President Karey Bresenhan tapped Murrah—who moves from Director of Education—for the newly-created position. She joins Bresenhan, Executive Vice President Nancy O'Bryant, and Vice-President of Operations Wilma Hart at the top level of company management.

    "Judy has been with Quilts, Inc. almost since the inception of the company," Bresenhan said. "She first worked as an unpaid volunteer who could always be depended upon to show up when we needed her and do a super job at anything she was asked to do. Once we discovered those talents, we never turned loose of her!"

    Quilts, Inc. produces trade and consumer shows in the U.S. and Europe for the quilting and soft crafts industry, including the annual International Quilt Festival in the company's hometown of Houston. Festival is the world's largest annual quilt show, sale, and quiltmaking academy, with close to 55,000 attendees.

    "When I took the managing position in the Education Department in 1982, the teaching staff, classroom space, schedule of events, and number of attendees [at Festival] was less than 25% of what it is now," Murrah continued.

    "The growth has been invigorating and enriching for me. I have found lots of joy andinspiration in working with the education staff, the teachers, and Karey and Nancy. I am honored they have put so much trust and confidence in me. This feels like a life-long achievement award. And it makes me want to make the education segment of our shows even better and more efficient!"

    Visit the Quilts, Inc. web site.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2005


    The Christmas Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel

    Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
    Simon & Schuster, 2005. 240 pages, list price $18.95.

    When Christmas Eve comes to Elm Creek Manor, the tenor of the holiday is far from certain. Sylvia Bergstrom Compson, the Master Quilter, has her own reasons for preferring a quiet, even subdued, Christmas. Her young friend Sarah McClure, however, takes the opposite view and decides to deck the halls brightly. As she explores the trunks packed with Bergstrom family decorations that haven't been touched in more than fifty years, Sarah discovers a curious Christmas quilt. Begun in seasonal fabrics and patterns, the quilt remains unfinished.

    Sylvia reveals that the handiwork spans several generations and a quartet of Bergstrom quilters -- her great aunt, her mother, her sister, and herself. As she examines the array of quilt blocks each family member contributed but never completed, memories of Christmases past emerge.

    At Elm Creek Manor, Christmas began as a celebration of simple virtues -- joy and hope buoyed by the spirit of giving. As each successive generation of Bergstroms lived through its unique trials -- the antebellum era, the Great Depression, World War II -- tradition offered sustenance even during the most difficult times. For Sylvia, who is coping with the modern problem of family dispersed, estranged, or even forgotten, reconciliation with her personal history may prove as elusive as piecing the Christmas Quilt.

    Elm Creek Manor is full of secrets, from a Christmas tree with unusual properties to the sublime Bergstrom strudel recipe. Sylvia's tales at first seem to inform her family legacy but ultimately illuminate far more, from the importance of women's art to its place in commemorating our shared experience, at Christmastime and in every season.

    Get it a discount from Amazon!

    See other great books in the Planet Patchwork Bookstore!


    Bella Online Quilts of the States series - Ohio Star

    Bella Online has updated their "Quilts of the States" quilt block series - this weeks' block is the Ohio Star.

    Monday, November 14, 2005


    The Great American Quilt Revival

    Georgia Bonesteel and her son, Paul, have made the documentary that captures the American (and world) quilting revival that we have lived through during the last half of the 20th century. "The Great American Quilt Revival," originally made for PBS, has now been issued as a DVD, along with extra bonus footage, and it was the hit of last month's Houston Quilt Market. As it explores the factors that fueled this amazing cultural and artistic revolution, the video features such contemporary quilting luminaries as Jean Ray Laury, Yvonne Porcella, Barbara Brackman, Jinny Beyer, and Karey Bresenhan, musing on the ways a traditional and practical craft became tranformed into high art -- and big business.

    There are lots of retro photos coupled with touching discussions of how the quilting experience was an essential part of people's lives. The watershed Whitney exhibit, the Gee's Bend Quilts, the impact of the Paducah and Houston shows are all part of the included footage, which concludes by featuring the Quilting Hall of Fame, its contemporary inductees, and the dedication of its new headquarters in Marion, Indiana. All of this has been artfully blended into a riveting narrative that chronicles the journey not only of American pioneers but of the women who led the way for those who followed to become artists and businesspeople, and to give "permission" for women to find their own creative space and expression. It is, in its way, the ultimate "chick flick," and makes for a very pleasant evening immersed in the recent history of quilting.

    Sunday, November 13, 2005


    New Quilt Gallery from Houston Show

    Now that things have settled down a little bit since our return from Houston for Quilt Market and Festival, we have posted a few of our photos of the amazing quilts displayed there, including the "Best of Show" winner, "Scarlet Serenade," by Sharon Schamber. Check out the whole set at our site on flickr. We'll be adding more as time goes on.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005


    Quilting news roundup

    Quilting news stories circulating on the Internet today:

    (free registration required for some articles, or see


    Get all the buzz

    As blogging has become a more mainstream online activity, it's even being adopted as a communications alternative by big corporations like Microsoft. More importantly, it provides new outlets and creative opportunities for people with passions.

    A passion for quilting is what motivates Gina Halladay of Orange County, California, as she writes several times a week in her new quilting blog at In a lively and down-to-earth style, Gina chronicles her quilting adventures as she goes to shows, attends classes, and helps purchase fabric for the Cozy Cottage Quilt Shop, in Brea, where she works. Her entries so far tell us about a class she took with Billie Lauder, "stalking" Robyn Pandolph, and meeting and talking to Freddy Moran about how red is a neutral color.

    Visiting Gina's blog regularly will bring you sharp personal insights about quilting along with a recharge of your quilting energies. Give it a try!

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005


    The Alliance for American Quilts moves to Asheville, NC

    Alliance for American QuiltsThe Alliance for American Quilts announced in October that it will move its offices to Asheville, North Carolina in summer 2006. The Alliance has been invited by HandMade in America, a nationally recognized craft and economic development organization, to join them in new offices currently under construction in downtown Asheville. The offices are part of Buncombe County’s effort to encourage the further development of Asheville as a premier center for craft and design.

    Read the full press release here.

    Sunday, November 06, 2005


    E-Elf is here to make sure you get what you want this holiday!

    The people who give us gifts are always long on good intentions but occasionally short on clues. Make sure your gift-giver knows what you want by using Planet Patchwork's E-Elf Wishlist. There's no registration involved and it couldn't be simpler. Just give the E-Elf your e-mail address and the address of the person to receive your wishlist (we never use this information for any other purpose), and check off the quilting items you want from the Planet Patchwork store. Hit "send" and away the E-Elf goes, to send a polite reminder of what you'd like to see beneath some wrapping paper!

    Try out the E-Elf now!


    Electric Quilt and RJR Team Up!

    In a new feature at both of their websites, The Electric Quilt Company and RJR Fabrics have teamed up to provide visitors with quilt patterns and instructions for beautiful quilts designed in EQ and using RJR fabrics. Files under the title "RJR Goes Electric" are available for both Electric Quilt users (in project file format) and for non-EQ users (in pdf format).

    The quilts are varied and striking, such as this "Teahouse Garden" design based on the Drunkard's Path block and using the Teahouse Garden fabric line from RJR. It's also shown in two other colorways -- blue and green, and the EQ project file contains scans of all the fabrics. For those without EQ, you can download swatches from the RJR site as well. Templates for block construction are also provided.

    You can find links to all the project files at the Electric Quilt site.

    Friday, November 04, 2005


    A Free Christmas Quilt from Debbie Mumm

    Get a free "Cozy Northwest Christmas Quilt" pattern from Debbie Mumm's site. Downloadable or printable diagrams and instructions assist you in making this charming fussy cut snowman design in the rich colors of Debbie's fabric line or in other colors of your choice.

    Finished size is 38-1/2" X 53-1/2", and the entire top can be made with 23 fat quarters. This would be a nice one to make out of flannels to warm yourself on those cold winter days.

    You will find it by clicking on the link above.

    Check out her beautiful fall table runner pattern as well!

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