Images, Ideas, & Updates July 2017

I am still trying to do a monthly report. Here is July’s.

I wrote an article for Quilting Arts Magazine. It is about making improv stripes—aka as strip sets.

It includes bonus material not found in my book. In case you haven’t heard, Improv Patchwork—Dynamic Quilts made with Line & Shape is available for pre-order on Amazon or at C&T. Yesterday, I got to see the back of the book for the first. I like it.


I packed up my bags and flew to Sisters, Oregon for a week of teaching at Quilter’s Affair.


This was my first big extended teaching experience. I taught for five days—three workshops—and many of my students were with me all week.

thumb_IMG_6758_1024It was amazing. If you want the full story, you can read it here.  This is the piece that Chane Griggs made while studying with me that week. AMAZING.

Chane Griggs #1 croppedGreat shadows.


Great Flowers.


We hung some quilts for the Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show.


Attending the Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show is a bucket list item for any quilter worth her ripper. Basically a small western town is covered in quilts and invaded by quilters. And it is HOT. So gloriously hot—dress appropriately, and you will be fine.

Every space you can imagine has a quilt hanging from it.

The Stitching Post, sponsor of Quilter’s Affair, sells little bags of scraps for eight dollars. I bought one.


I was so excited about my workshops that when I got home I decided I would use the bag of scraps—and only the bags of scraps—to build a quilt. Basically, I took my own workshop, the one called Bits & Pieces— Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do


First, I sorted.


Next, I pieced.


You will have to wait until a future post for the TA-DA.

Back on the road!


This time I headed east to Quilting by the Lake in upstate New York.

Quilting by the Lake is a spectacular week of teaching for everyone involved. The workshops, the venue, the exhibitions, the lectures, the administrators—it is all top-notch.  Here are my teaching peeps. I am honored to be in their presence.


My students were serious.


My students were fun.


They were focused and disciplined, and the work they created showed that. Most of them were with me all week. A day work shop is a musical note. A week long workshop is a rave. Do any of you remember when Sponge Bob partied with the jelly fish? It is kind of like that. Want to know more about the this amazing week? I wrote this blog post about it. 

We visited Circular Abstractions at the Schweinfurth Art Center. WOW. Don’t miss this show. At least part of the exhibition is on show at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts right now. 

From there I traveled to Memphis for two days of workshops and a lecture.

I hung out with my friend Nysha Nelson


Nysha introduced me to Paula Kavorik. Yep, I got to hang out in Paula’s studio and hear first hand how she makes her amazing quilts.


I was nervous to deliver my lecture.


While in Memphis, I felt the political unease that is the current ethos of this country. Colors Unfurled aka If Betsy Ross had My Stash is a quilt that I always share in the lecture about my work. This quilt is about my desire to celebrate President Obama’s historical run for the presidency.

Colors Unfurled Web

When I told this story at Quilting by the Lake, there was a loud burst of applause. When I told the story in Memphis, there was a silence of awkward proportions..

After the lecture, many of the listeners came up to me and voiced their support of diversity and the common good—but they did not feel comfortable saying this out loud, in a crowd, in Memphis.

I am not done thinking about that experience. I know I should say more. Oh, divided nation—what can we do to understand each other?

The workshops were great. Students took the information, and made it their own.

My second Memphis host Mary Lessman introduced me to her chickens,


and took me to see the ducks at the Peabody,

and the street where great music has been made for decades.


I enjoyed Memphis very much—heat included.

I have added two east coast teaching gigs to my 2018 schedule. That means next April 2018 looks like this.

Northern Star Quilters Guild
Somers, New York
Tuesday, April 17 – Lecture 7PM
Wednesday, April 18- Workshop
Thursday, April 19—Workshop (Tentative)

Rochester Modern Quilt Guild
Rochester, New York
Friday April 20–Lecture in the evening
Saturday April 21—Workshop

Western New York Modern Quilters 
Buffalo, New York
Sunday April 22—Workshop

Quilters Unlimited
Reston, Virginia
Tuesday, April 24—Lecture
Wednesday, April 25—Workshop

You can see the complete schedule on my website.

As far as arts and leisure are concerned—

Watch the Handmaid’s Tale. I am so glad there will be a second season. I am so sad to find out Elizabeth Moth is a Scientologist.


Listen to the Handmaid’s Tale. There is bonus audible including Margaret Atwood talking about the book. I read the book when it first came out. It is still a great read.


And don’t forget about Circular Abstractions!

Next up is August. It is a good thing I take photos, because I am afraid I would not remember what I done otherwise.

This entry was published on October 8, 2017 at 11:54 AM. It’s filed under About Teaching, News And Events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

20 thoughts on “Images, Ideas, & Updates July 2017

  1. Sharon E on said:

    I am curious about how you sew pieces together. Do you get a plan in your head and then sew, or do you start sewing and see what happens?

    • I usually make a lot of bits, and then I begin to arrange them on the design wall. I also sketch ideas in my journal. I wrote a blog post not that long ago called Building a Quilt which has more informaton about how I work. You should be able to find it on the home page of my blog. I hope that answers your question. Let me know if it doesn’t.

  2. on said:

    So I ordered the book thinking that it would help me get into your head. Looking forward to getting the book. In the meantime, as I was looking at your work, my neighbor the former art teacher stopped by. We will look at your blog together.

    When I clicked on the Kalamazoo Art Institute, the art center in New York popped up. Tried it twice. The same thing happened.

    I am not surprised by what happened to you in Memphis. My daughter teaches at Washington University in St Louis, and as a born and bred Northerner, she is outraged that the attitudes expressed by people in St. Louis. Ferguson opened the door and the racism is more than she can bare. Sorry that happened to you. It is ugly.

    • Sharon- I fixed the link. Sorry about that! Our country is struggling to find common ground. My greatest hope is that we find a leader that help us respect one and another.

  3. gericon on said:

    Your story comparing Syracuse and Memphis and the response to Obama is heart breaking for me. I just don’t get it. Such an intelligent and graceful and compassionate man. Is it just the color of his skin? Your schedule exhausts me, but when I was your age, I guess I could have managed it.

    • Gerri- I think it has to do with race, but also Tennesse is a red state. They voted for Trump. They never voted for Obama. It is such a hard situation. Your daughter runs circles rings around me! I will never forget that the day I met you, you had spent the previous night dancing all night at your daughter’s wedding. You have LOTS energy–good, positive, energy!

  4. Beth Blankenship on said:

    Great,great post Maria!

  5. Mickeybb on said:

    I love Sisters. The first time I went there were no sidewalks.Quilts have done a lot for the town.

  6. I love your reviews!

  7. Wow; great projects in July. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  8. Maria, I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend in your workshops in Sisters. You are right, Quilter’s Affair and the outdoor quilt show are a unique experience! When I listened to your lecture in Paducah, I was so glad that you included “Colors Unfurled aka If Betsy Ross had My Stash” in your presentation. To me, that quilt is such a celebration of what is good about our country, but at the time, I wondered about how others might perceive it. Keep doing your good work and sharing your insights!

    • Thank you Marla. I truly appreciate your comments. I don’t think of myself as a political artist, but during these times, so many things are political aren’t they? It is always good to see you!

  9. Cindy Beal on said:

    This is a great article in Quilting Arts!!! Cannot wait til the book comes out!!!! Would love to have the privilege of taking a class with you!

  10. Very interesting post. So many different things you can do as a quilter! Also really live the Obama quilt. The colours and patterns are gorgeous and just the right balance of crazy and order. And of course the message makes it better

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