News and Tips

May 12, 2015  Interesting lectures and workshops have been presented at the Des Moines Area Quilt Guild.  Martha Henrichs and Kathi Russi gave information on organization of studio areas and work details.  I thoroughly went through the projects, typing up a card for each unfinished project which showed size, color, amount of completion and desire to complete.  At the same time, did I really want to finish this project?  Many searching questions, some of which still need to be answered.  March program featured Carol Taylor with projects involving yarns, circles, layering of backgrounds.  My project became a sofa pillow.  Jody Sanders presented English paper piecing lecture and workshop.  I am eager to get   started on a project for an upcoming road trip.  My personal quilt completions include Positively Pineapple, paper piecing, as well as another featuring Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  Two baby quilts were completed and shipped off to the newborns.  All in all, it has been productive.  Workshops at the home studio continue.

February 28, 2014 It is exciting to have the Quilt Studio in operation and to host quilters for the workshops.  Small Groups have taken advantage of the invitation to come visit for a couple hours to view the studio.  Interesting discussions cover organization of fabric, thread, books and tools.  Castle Hills Quilt Guild was the scene of a quilt lecture and workshop in February.  Weather was colder than usual for Texas but we still played some golf.  Quilts completed were Friendship Quilt, Where Children Play and  Birds and Flowers. Before moving I sorted and packaged UFO's into bags and boxes.  Now it is great to open up one of these and complete the project.

October 16, 2013 The AQS Des Moines show was October 2-5 and as usual contained many beautiful quilts. The vendors were interesting.  I found Radiance fabrics at the Color by Hand  and lovely threads at Wonderfil.  Bill Kerr presented workshops on fabrics  choices and quilting designs.  My quilt Target Practice  received a 2nd place ribbon.  October 12 I presented a lecture with trunk show as well as Waltzing Nine Patch workshop to the Savannah, GA Quilt Guild.  A great quilt shop Tabby's in Beaufort, SC was a welcome stop.  So glad I helped out the economy there!  We visited Tom's sis and family, Donna and Ralph Kolbeck and son John in Augusta, GA on the way home.  Last night we hung two Design Walls for the Home Workshops which have been scheduled for upcoming dates.

July 26, 2013  Very happy news to report as the basement is just about complete.   Three doors need to be hung yet.  A week ago the carpeting was installed.  That same night two of our sons, Keith and Bruce, and three of our grandsons, Bryan, Matt and Dakota came to help carry larger items from the garage to the lower level.  Tom made shelving the following day for fabric tubs.  Dakota carried down all the fabric tubs.  Bryan and Matt came to carry books and file cabinet contents.  Every box unloaded and put into the appropriate place is a great accomplishment.  Today eight padded office chairs on casters and adjustable for height were delivered.   These will be great for the workshops.  The Des Moines Area Quilt Guild has hosted Susan Cleveland and Barbara Shapel recently.  These two highly energetic and knowledgeable ladies shared many talents.

May 22, 2013 I hardly know what to say and where to begin but we have MOVED.  That is a small word but involved much sorting, throwing, lifting, packing, unpacking, putting away,  and calling.  Having lived in the same home for 39 years with much square footage plus a large shed, lots was accumulated but could not and would not fit into a downsized new home.  We are happy to report we feel we are still sane and mobile.  The main floor of our new home is finished and we love everything about it.  The basement is being finished for a large quilting studio, large guest room, bathroom and our office.  Therefore, all of the equipment, furniture and supplies for this are being stored in the garage.  So excited about having my quilting studio all in one area instead of 7 different place as in the past.  After getting that all settled, I will be having quilting workshops again.   Let me know if you have questions or wishes about workshops in the future.

December 31, 2012  This finds me at the end of 2012 and catching up on News and Tips with the computer and website back in working order.  Des Moines Area Quilt Guild had their annual auction for heart, cancer and hospice which brought in a goodly amount.  A quilting thimbles set and boxes of fabric strips ready for Log Cabin piecing left here to be useful in someone else's home.  AQS Des Moines show was October 3-6.  My donation for the Small Quilt Auction was an art piece entitled Beaded Birds.  Also, Gypsy Doll sparked some interest.  I enlisted in Joanie Zeier Poole's workshop for some fine tuning in quilting.  Susan Cleveland presented an afternoon of precision mitering.  The Eqyptian Quilt display and video was enlightening.  My quilts received 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons.  I succumbed to the Baby-Lok Sashiko machine sold by Quilters Cupboard of Ankeny. It has provided a wonderful finished stitching on some dyed art pieces.  November 1 to 3,  I taught quilting at Quilters Gathering, Manchester, NH.  Workshops they chose were Wool Applique, Graceful Flight and Carousel of Flowers.  My roommate was Robbi Joy Eklov, long and entertaining chats.  Kent and Sharon Chappell were gracious hosts and provided transportation for the remainder of my NH stay.  I was glad that my Three Salmon Lillies complemented  the decor in their home. A short lecture with trunk show was given to The Modern Quilt Guild here in Des Moines.   Our home/acreage has been listed for sale as we wish to downsize to a ranch home.  For the past year i have been busy like the beaver going through many drawers, cupboards, boxes and sorting for throwing, giving to family and friends, GoodWill, sale.  This is quite the process as any one of you would know.  Tackling the quilting area is quite interesting.  Really, do I need or want to finish some projects?  Is this bunch - bundle - scrap better off with someone else?  So I was glad to give some to Betty who teaches at Montessori School.  The Dallas Center-Grimes School where two of our grandchildren go advertised for products for the FCS classes and more bundles made their way to that location.  Of course, Anonymous Donation at our Guild meetings might be applicable.

August 20, 2012  July 7th was a Carousel of Flowers Workshop in our home.  The quilters had been attending the Newcomers Group and enjoyed this workshop thoroughly, so much so they decided to form their own Small Group.  August 8 was a day our small group spent dyeing fabrics with Karen Spencer.  We are ecstatic with the results and as quilters are prone to do - we want more, more, more.  Never mind that people ask "What are you going to do with that?"   - we are confident when the right time comes, the fabric will find its way to the cutting table or sewing machine.  August 8 the Sac City Quilt Guild held their workshop at the Haage Park where I taught Carousel of Flowers.  A lovely facility and the quilters made great progress on their triangles, diamonds and hexagons.  August 18 was my class reunion from MHS.  We have had our class reunion every 5 years but when we hit 50, we decided to go for every year.  The class was small with 33 members, most of which are in Minnesota.  The meal was held at Pattie's Place in Mapleton, one of our class members.  Food was scrumptious.  Her boutique was most interesting and the landscaping  outstanding.  On the way home, we stopped at Calico Hutch Quilt Shop, located at Hayward, MN, intersection of Interstate 90/35.  By all means, stop on your way at this quilt shop or go way out of your way!  It is so well worth it with 5000 bolts of fabrics in every type/style, wools, threads, kits and books.  I am excited to teach there October 27. The AQS Des Moines Quilt Show is coming up October 3-6.  My quilts are registered for hanging there and I have also signed up  for a couple classes. 

July 6, 2012    The Minnesota Quilt Conference in Mid-June was its usual success.  Thursday's workshop was Geese in Formation where each quilter did considerable design work with a variety of components.  We enjoyed three Norwegian quilters who traveled here specifically for the MN show.  I felt honored they chose my design workshop.  Friday and Saturday was a two-day workshop on Whimsical Triangles.  Great progress was made with the twelve patterns and their concepts.  Each pattern could be a quilt  by itself or any two used alternately.  The Des Moines Area Quilt Guild invited me to present the program to the Newcomers Group.  This year I presented Magical Flower Quilts with the great variety possible of techniques.  Now is the time to register quilts to hang in the AQS Des Moines Show coming up in the fall.

May 31, 2012  The Martina Place for Assisted Living hosted a Mother's Day Tea for the mothers and invited daughters.  My trunk show of Magical Flower Quilts was enjoyed and appreciated by all present.  I taught a Fall Foliage Wool workshop featuring appliqued leaves and completed with a variety of embroidery stitches.   Another workshop Fun with Color and Design opened the possibilities for design components with their chosen theme fabrics.  My niece Arian and husband Chris had a baby daughter Jasmine Marie so the baby quilt was completed with animals fussy cut and a variety of quilting designs.

February 13, 2012  A bit of a lapse for news but lots has been going on since last report.  We listed our home and 17 acres for sale and are looking to downsize.  We would like to stay in the general area but would prefer a ranch walkout.  Consequently, for the past year I have been throwing something away every day.  It does not have to be much, but just something.  Have you ever opened a drawer and honestly answered the question "Do I really need everything here?"  So, a major sorting, giving, throwing has taken place.   All the family was gathered one time for pizza and looked over the "choice" items for giveaway. Each item with a piece of paper so recipients could place their name.  If two people wanted the same item, then Tom did the coin toss.  All had a laughable time.  Lots of Placemats and Pillowcases were completed for the  Des Moines Area Quilt Guild.  Dazzling Carsidium, feature article, appeared in the March 2012 issue of American Quilter magazine.  Interesting comments on this finished piece are arriving by email.  Deep saturation of color of the quilt carried through in the magazine.  The many techniques used in producing this art piece made it challenging.  Calenda, Pocketsch and Pinosa is my newest completion which embodies fabric construction, freeform cutting, color and design.  As in all workshops, a number of techniques are included.

September 30, 2011  Busy days as August came to a close and September rushed on by.  The report on the Grandchildren shows Tad enrolled at UNI; Tyler at ISU; Doug at Aurora, IL running cross-country; Corbin in Bloomington, MN with hockey, MNJHL; Brooke junior at VHS; Bryan sophomore at VHS; Matt 8th grade, cross country, trumpet, at Stillwell school; Dakota 7th grade, cross-country, trombone, at Dallas-Center Grimes school; and Elizabeth, 6th grade, choir and violin  at Dallas-Center Grimes school.  Lots of memories being made as we attend activities and cheer them on.  Fargo, ND, was the site for the state quilting festival September 15-16-17.  On the 15th was the teachers' dinner, "Meet the Teachers" and the evening presentation with trunks show by Cindy Erickson, the quilt judge for their show.  On the 16th I taught Waltzing Nine Patch.  That evening we attended a buffet with Barbara Oliver Hartman telling her story followed by her trunk show.  The 17th my workshop Whimsical Triangles introduced neat methods for a special ruler.  A surprise in the workshop when it was discovered that Carol Wold and I had the same 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Esther Snustad, at Roseau Grade School, just two years apart. The day concluded with a banquet and my lecture on Quilting Journey with trunk show.  Thanks to my new-found Canadian quilter friends who marched the many quilts across for the audience.  Thanks to class helpers Linda and Barbara.  And a huge thanks to Marcia, Muriel and Bridget for all their work getting the quilt show ready, arranging for rooms and schedules, and toting my quilting supplies. Fargo had a wonderful quilt show!  A baby quilt was completed for Liam Becker who arrived two months early.  His parents and grandparents are all golfers.  The fabric for the back of the quilt features various animals golfing.  There was enough fabric to fussy-cut out the animals for squares on the front, alternating with quarter-square triangles of red/blue/green.  Name and other specifics quilted on the border.

August 15, 2011 Completed Projects    It's wonderful to write the word "completed projects". For the Silent Auction for the Des Moines Guild I finished Zhenjoo and the Combovers.  This is a small art piece which is the result of opening your boxes of "gifts" - fabrics which have fusible on the back - and working with the various scraps in odd and assorted shapes and sizes.  Of course, these are from my Magical Garden Series.  Stitching incorporated as usual.  Twelve Placemats were completed for the July meeting.  Sunflower Surrounded is the art quilt completed for the heart-cancer auction for the Des Moines Guild end of August. The center feature is from a Schamber workshop many years ago.  Fourteen leftover blocks form the border.  A great variety of quilting patterns adorn the center section as well as the border. Other activities included the Indianola Guild lecture and trunk show.  Joanie Zeier Poole presented her lectures as well as two days of workshops. Attending workshops is a great way to expand your knowledge and abilities; support the Guild; and make new friends.

July 14, 2011   Sorting, Filing, Throwing and Giving Away have all consumed the last days.  It began with two red chests with narrow drawers finding a new home at Keith and LaGaya's for their music room.  That set in motion the cleaning out of four small chests.  My goal is to throw away one item per day so you can well imagine that quota was met.  Quilting was a bit neglected during this purging session.  Ankeny Quilt Guild had their annual show Saturday with quilts and vendors.  Quilters enjoyed the ten patterns they learned in my Whimsical Triangles workshop.  The Super 60 special ruler made learning a breeze as they explored all the triangle and diamond combinations. Color and placement were discussed in depth.  Thanks to Tami and Janeen for all their organization, set up and carry out for the day.

June 15, 2011  Saturday's Wool Works Home Workshop gave the quilters the option of working from my pattern Charposa and the Tripleberries or designing their own flower, vase and leaves.  Some of each was included to make a personal piece.  Wool pieces were first applique-whipped to the background with Genziana wool threads.  Embroidery stitches were added with DMC cotton or other threads.  Our drive was to Fairmont, MN, Sunday afternoon with an overnight stay at my classmate Patti and husband Dale Knewtson.  Her sister Roberta and husband Dave Ward (also a classmate) were present for a wonderful steak dinner.  The Prairie Star Quilters of Fairmont were a great group of quilters as they enjoyed all the possibilities of the Super 60 Sara Nephew ruler.  The day adjourned after the early-evening lecture and trunk show.  

May 31, 2011  Another Belling event took place over the past weekend as our 4th grandson Corbin graduated from high school.  His favorite color of red with the addition of black and white made the Flying Geese pattern effective.  Back of the quilt has hockey words.  For the quilts of the older grandsons, see Tad, Tyler and Doug in the Quilt Gallery.

May 21, 2011  quilters enjoyed a Colorwash workshop at our home.  Sharing precut squares from a quilter who moved out of state as well as my stash, the group was able to delve in immediately with sorting. Their vinyl-flannel design yardage was marked off before class so they were anxious to place a mass of squares and produce an overall design.  Colorwash is a great way to learn about color, density and relations.

May 17, 2011   The Newcomers  of the DMAQG visited our home and viewed traditional quilts.  In the quilting room they observed some of the organizational methods for saving time and keeping neat areas.  A quick binding demo for placemats was given.  One tip which all appreciated was regarding the "scrap" which is used at the beginning and end of piecing.  Instead of a "scrap", why not have stacks of dark and light triangles.  Sew a dark and light together instead of your "scrap".  That way you are building a bunch of triangles to put into a quilt.

May 9, 2011   Thursday we drove up to Minneapolis for the May Minnesota Quilt meeting.  The tour of the Textile Center included the galleria, gift shop, library, dyeing area and weaving area.  That evening 125 quilters attended the quilt lecture and trunk showing of traditional quilts.  Friday's workshop was on the Waltzing Nine Patch which involved free-hand rotary cutting, special border and a demo on piping.  Saturday morning about 150 quilters listened to the quilt lecture and saw the trunk showing of art quilts and embellishments.  Flying Geese in a Brave New World comprised the afternoon's workshop and featured no-waste methods with a multitude of blocks available.  Thanks, Laura, for all your planning to make the experience memorable.  I appreciated the warm Minnesota welcome.

April 27, 2011   Placemats        The Des Moines Area Quilters Guild has been active in supplying placemats for Meals on Wheels.  A good size for a placemat is 14"x18".  This means that 6 backs can be cut out of a yard of older fabric (42"x36").  Some projects which began with all good intentions became UFO's.  When taking a workshop, go with an open mind of learning the technique.  If the technique has been learned and not enjoyed, make a placemat!  If it is worth the project and you LOVE it, then continue on to completion.  Many orphan blocks reside in bins because of making too many for the project.  When errors occur in the sewing, extra blocks are thrown in the large bin.  When trying out new patterns to check accuracy or color choices, these few endeavors often join the bin.  Scraps of BATTING work well.  Two layers of flannel sheet and one layer of old toweling also provide batting.  Placemats are an excellent choice for practicing your QUILTING because of their small size.  Likely the recipient will not scrutinize your quilting stitches or design with a judge's eye.  I cut 2 1/4" BINDING  of assorted patterns and densities, sew together, press in half lengthwise and roll it in a bundle, save in a drawer for future use.  Generally all reds (include purple, pink, orange) are bundled together; same with blues or greens or browns.  Does it matter if the binding pertains to the placemat? - oh, my, no.   Binding is sewn on the back side and then flipped to the front side where you again sew it on by machine.  The use of a bright variegated THREAD adds pizzazz to your work.  Think of this as a way to neaten up your working quilt studio.   Is it permissible to cut up a quilt top from 7 years ago and makes a batch of placemats?  Of course.  And if you make 12 absolutely magnificent placemats, can these be sewn together to make a quilt!  Yes, I did that once, embellished it with buttons and it was juried into a large quilt show.  Anything goes.  Mostly, think of your smile as you neaten up and think of the smile on the recipient's face.  


April 11, 2011  Working With Wool         Lots of excitement as I completed Chrysolaria, the name of the wool piece which features a large floral, leaves and background stitchings.  Items used in this production include dyed wool; Fassett cotton fabric; Genziana wool thread; Valdani perle cotton; Velvet Rickrack; Sea Grass by Threadgatherer; and Beads.                                                                                                     Charposa and the Tripleberry was also finished with a great variety of fascinating fabrics and stitchings.  These include the dyed wool; dyed velvet; Fassett cotton fabric; Rio thread by Elin Noble; Valdani perle cotton; DMC perle cotton; Genziana wool thread; Sea Grass, Shepherd's Silk and Chenille by Threadgatherer; Pleated velvet ribbon from Button Emporium; and Beads.    Charposa features multi-layered petals and leaves with numerous stitches.  Tripleberry has a vibrant gold center with purple berries surrounded by a deep red shell.                                               Contact me for setting up your Wool Designing Workshops.     Phone 515 987 4912         email:

APRIL 1, 2011   Today's  news and tips will include a few hints about organizing your quilting domain.  It is always great to have a designated place for all supplies and equipment.  Well said, however, if you don't put anything back or away, what good is that?  So for me, anyway, it is a challenge to plan the best use of your space.  The greater challenge is to keep things where they belong when not in use.  Fabrics:  The closet in the quilt room has shelving to accommodate the Rubbermaid large tubs for the fabrics.  Fabrics have been folded for two rows, front and back.  The thickness of the fold automatically lets you know how much fabric of that color is present.  Bins are filled with fabrics of same colors.  There are separate bins for colorwash-type fabrics since they were difficult to sort by color.  Stripes, dots, music, juvenile, jungle, food, oriental and other specialty types all have their personal bins.  Thread:  My threads are kept in plastic containers sorted by type of thread.  This means that all the Bottom Line spools occupy two containers, etc.  One of my splurges tends to be buying the entire collection.  A few of the orphan spools are on racks on the wall for decoration and general sewing.  Books:  Two tall bookcases provide the space for books.  One bookcase includes books by author.  The other bookcase includes all the embroidery books, drawing books, research books.  Additional bookcases are in the guest bedrooms.  Magazines:  I save all copies of Quilting Arts, Quiltmania, all Japanese magazines, Quilt Life, Quilters Newsletter and AQS.  All other magazines I am endeavoring to devour.  If there is an article I wish to keep, then this is removed and punched for insertion into a three-ring binder.  Sometimes it is a small diagram or picture in which case I razor-blade it and toss into a plastic bin.  Consider trading or passing your magazines along to your quilter friends.  



Home      About JoAnn     Classes    Small Group Workshops     Workshop Schedule

Quilts and Items For Sale     News and Tips       Patterns And Cards     Quilt Gallery