Oct 13, 2019

piecing strips of African gold

Calling this one "African Gold." It is all pieced from very small scraps of African fabric, set against Kona black. Plus a few whole African prints from my collection.

This is an original design. It is 60 x 72 inches. Not quilted yet... Below is what I started with. These scraps actually came from my friend who made a quilt first and was going to toss all these small strips. I rescued them and sewed them together in large rectangle block shapes. At the time, I had no idea what I would make with them.

I held on to these scraps and the blocks I sewed together for more than 6 months (maybe a year???)... Then a entire pieced quilt idea came to me and I sketched it out. I ended up moving some of the blocks around ... so my quilt does not look exactly like the original sketch. Plus, I opted for a 6 x 5 block scheme, instead of 6 x 6. The blocks finish at 12 inches.

Tom the Dog waiting patiently for something interesting to happen!

Oct 10, 2019

interviewed by Abby Glassenberg!

A few weeks ago I recorded a podcast with Abby Glassenberg for her series with the Craft Industry Alliance (her podcast has just moved from the While She Naps site).

Episode #154 Craft Industry Alliance Podcast!

You can listen to it here.

I have followed Abby's blog since the early days of blogging... and I've kept up with her journey ever since. Abby is the Barbara Walters of the handmade world! She asks tough questions and she is a great interviewer!

For my interview segment, I was expecting to talk about my newest book: "Magic & Memories: 45 Years of International Quilt Festival." But Abby went back to the beginning and asked me about my career and how I got to the place where I am now. Then we talked about my first three books, and then we talked about Karey and Nancy and how these two women changed quilt history. It was so fun and such a thrill. Abby was able to take my crazy journey and weave it into a story that makes sense. I am quite giddy!

Hope you can listen in!

Oct 3, 2019

a darling dust cover for my Bernina

My studio is always a work in progress. I love keeping it clean and rearranging stuff to make it work better and look better. For years, I have wanted to make my own sewing machine dust cover for my Bernina 820. I just never got around to it.

Well, in my most recent studio redo, I used my regular dust cover from Bernina and put it over my leather sewing machine (which did not have a cover)... and while I love that machine, it is a monster and not attractive. The Bernina cover (which I always felt was too big for my 820) fit perfectly. Problem solved there.

So that left the 820 without a cover. I turned to my stash and chose this darling Kokka Japanese fabric... with big pink circles, modern black lines... and smiling pandas. All of life's essentials!

I did not use a pattern... just measured and made my own size. Inside I used Soft & Stable batting (from By Annie). This stuff is awesome and gives it a crisp shape that holds. It is lined and I used the serger on the inside seams, then put on a binding just like for a quilt.

Sep 17, 2019

modern star in black and white

Just finished this modern star quilt and I love it. The pattern is from Victoria Findlay Wolfe (vfwquilts.com). And the fabrics are the latest collection from Marcia Derse, mixed with black Kona cotton.

Sometimes you just need a new quilt for the couch. And black and white is my favorite palette. 

I have actually made this pattern twice and this one turned out just as I had hoped. The pattern takes quite a while to cut, but it sews up pretty quickly. Victoria did a great job making this quilt workable. There are 10 major sections, or blocks, and you sew the first five together, then the other five, and connect the two halves. Super easy to follow the directions.

Aug 31, 2019

slow stitching a zebra

Teresa Duryea Wong on the road side somewhere in Oregon, with a hand stitched zebra. Aug 2019.
Slow stitching is not really designed for blogs or social media. But I do love to do handwork.

This image was taken last week on our very long driving vacation from Texas to Oregon, and back. I love to take stuff with me to do in the car.

The zebra I am holding here looks a bit odd, so let me explain. I started with a photograph (by Joel Sartore, used with permission) of this zebra's backside! The image just got to me for some reason... I think its pretty cool and unusual. So I printed the image out on cotton (via Spoonflower). Then I cut out the image and basted it on to a 60-inch piece of black wool. Now I am covering the entire zebra in hand embroidery! The cotton print is just a guide. You will not see the printed fabric when I am done.

The stitches can best be described as a folk art, stab/satin stitches. Going for a funky, dimensional look. I am using all Valdani pearl cotton #8. I plan to use thicker yarn and thread on the mane and tail.

The needle is a Tulip (from Japan!) and this awesome thimble is also from Japan.

I started this project last summer on a drive to California. I do not know how long it will take me to finish... I have covered about 2/3 of the right hind side. So, clearly this will take a while. But, what's the rush?

When it is done, I will either hand quilt around the image or machine quilt it. Not sure. But I have plenty of time to think about it.

Aug 19, 2019

forget the double wedding ring, this quilt is a star with single rings

I came across a very cool pattern by Denyse Schmidt and just had to make it. I haven't made too many quilts from patterns in recent years. I did make a double wedding ring quilt a half a lifetime ago. These single rings were a lot more fun and certainly more modern!

This quilt was a gift for my daughter and her boyfriend for their new Brooklyn apartment.

These blocks are very large... over 20 inches or so. Inside each ring, I used my new circle ruler set to make concentric circles and then quilted inside the circles. As a side note, I recently purchased two books by Amanda Murphy on FMQ and quilting with rulers. Both books are excellent. Simple and short. I purchased three different sets of rulers she designed as well, and I used the circle set on this quilt. Here is a link to her blog.

My daughter's special request was for fabrics in the gray scale category... black, white and gray. I love these colors too and had tons of fabrics to make these small pieces. All the sections of the circle are cut improv style (no ruler). This pattern also has the option to purchase a set of acrylic templates to make the circles, but I did not purchase those. I just used the paper pattern.

I made this quilt in queen size. Because it was for a bed, I used Warm & Plush batting. And it was a great decision. This style of batting is thicker than my regular fave, Warm & Natural, so it gave it more loft and a lovely drape for a bed. I plan to use Warm & Plush again soon!

And here is a picture of the boyfriend checking out the new quilt!  And just for fun, here's a photo of my Double Wedding Ring from long ago. Hand quilted! Still love these colors! Photo is a little dark... the inside is pure white, with black and white rings. Quilted in black thread.

Aug 16, 2019

it all started with a jelly roll

Quilting without a plan suits me just fine. My latest quilt all started with a jelly roll.

Recently, I went to hear a lecture about the history of feed sacks by Linzee Kull McCray. Linzee actually happens to be a friend of mine, a fellow quilt author! I really enjoyed hearing her talk and learned a few new things about those old cotton sacks.

At her lecture, I could not resist buying a jelly roll of her newest fabric designs - Red Rover - manufactured by Moda. Linzee's designs are inspired by her love of old cotton feed sacks.

So I took out the strips and started cutting and sewing. I had one idea, then swerved to a completely different one. I ended up with sixteen, 14 inch blocks, with wonky improv style piecing. I added sashing and border in matching solids. 

I love how the unplanned pieced created all these little tucks of fabric here and there inside the blocks. 

Finished size is 76 x 76 inches.

Here is the cover of Linzee's book. The original print run for this book has sold out!!! But hold on, there is a reprint coming and it will be available again this fall. You don't want to miss this book. It is a visual feast and has a lot of good information.

I will be quilting this top very soon! Then its going to a new home... giving it away to a dear friend. 

Aug 12, 2019

lecture details for International Quilt Festival on Nov. 1, 2019

Reposting the announcement from International Quilt Festival about my new book and lecture.


For several years, author Teresa Duryea Wong has been diligently working on a book about the history of Quilt Festival and the stories of the two women behind the show, which celebrates its 45 anniversary this year. 
Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant Puentes are cousins who were raised as sisters, and their shared history is a colorful story of five generations of quilters. Through numerous interviews, Wong shares a mosaic of memories and histories not only from Bresenhan and O'Bryant, but from an array of quilters and Festival-goers. The book also touches on other topics including women’s rights, business, politics, sociology, trade, and a lot more. 
With nearly 200 photos spanning more than half a century, Magic & Memories: 45 Years of International Quilt Festival (Schiffer Publishing) celebrates the resilience and passion of all who love quiltsyoung and old, beginner and expert, traditional and contemporaryand the history they make.

The book will debut for sale at this year's Quilt Festival in Houston! Purchase your copy (while supplies last) at the Commemorative Items booths in Concourses B, C, and D. It can also be purchased via online enrollment if you're signing up for classes or events. Pre-ordered copies will be available for pickup on site at the show. 
Teresa Duryea Wong is the author ofJapanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters: The Story of an American ImportCotton & Indigo from Japan, and American Cotton: Farm to Quilt. Her travels regularly take her to Japan and throughout the U.S. to research, write, and lecture. When she’s not traveling, writing, or walking the dog, Teresa makes quilts.

Friday, November 1, Noon-2:00 pm
More information and enroll HERE

Don’t miss this wild romp through 45 years of International Quilt Festival history as you learn the story of the two women who created Festival and a whole lot more. At a time when women rarely owned a business, cousins Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes broke social barriers and raised the bar for women as they turned what many saw as a hobby into a business, and created an appreciation for the art form that flourishes today. Their company, Quilts, Inc., also founded the International Quilt Market, which is credited with helping build the multi-billion dollar quilt industry. In addition, these two intrepid Texas women helped revive quilting in Europe through 20 years of Quilt Expo.

Author Teresa Duryea Wong spent countless hours interviewing the powerful duo for her book Magic & Memories: 45 Years of International Quilt Festival (available for purchase at the luncheon). The interviews, the research, the memories, and the magic of Festival will all come to life in this lively lecture. A meal with beverage is included.

A Q&A and booksigning with author Teresa Duryea Wong and Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant will also take place on the Quilt Festival show floor Saturday, November, 2, at 3:00 pm.
Show Time by Cynthia England 
Technique: Picture Piecing
Quilt Size: 39" x 35"

Appearing on the cover of Magic & Memories is this incredible quilt created by the talented Cynthia England to celebrate International Quilt Festival's 45th anniversary. Fun facts about the quilt: 
  • There are 34 different fabrics used, representing quilts collected over a period of 25 years;
  • The word "Texas" appears in the quilt 14 times;
  • The quilt includes approximately 4,000 individual pattern pieces;
  • England is pictured in front of her booth (boat quilt) demoing;
  • Bresenhan and O'Bryant are represented by two figures in the foreground. Bresenhan is pointing and O'Bryant is next to her;
  • The quilt is based on a photo of Quilt Festival taken by Jimmy Wong. 

Jul 31, 2019

I just recorded a new interview for Just Wanna Quilt podcast

Hello friends. I was interviewed by Elizabeth Townsend Gard for her podcast "Just Wanna Quilt."

Here is the link to her site https://www.justwannaquilt.com/podcast

Or you can listen on Stitcher, iTunes, Spotify, etc.

We talked about my new book, "Magic and Memories: 45 Years of International Quilt Festival"

The book is the bio of two women who changed quilt history - Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant Puentes. It will be available for sale at International Quilt Festival this year (late October) and after Festival, it will be sold at all the usual places.

Elizabeth's podcasts are always interesting to listen to. She is a lawyer and law professor by day, and a quilter in between, and both of those careers/passions lead her to ask very insightful questions about quilting and the quilt industry... and in my interview, we even talked about the writing and research process.

Hope you will listen in!

Jul 30, 2019

making a quilt from a pattern - why not?

It's been at least a decade, maybe longer since I made a quilt from a pattern. For a long time I prided myself on my original ideas for quiltmaking. I thought that it was somehow more creative to design quilts myself. Plus I was making smaller art quilts and many of them were figurative --- animals mostly. So it was an easy path to design them myself.

Lately, I am taking a new direction. After years of art quilts, I am somehow drawn back to the traditional format these days. And, not only have I a made a quilt from a pattern, but I also bought a kit recently - another first for many, many years! More on that later.

When it comes to large, traditional inspired quilts, I think there is a lot to be said for a pattern made by someone who has done the work to figure things out and design a quilt that is unique, and also you can count on the final quilt to have a certain balance and professional design. 

Here is one of those patterns!

The pattern name is Star Storm by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

The quilt is 80 x 80 inches! Very large. The pattern is basically 10 large segments (kind of like big diagonal blocks). The segments are then sewn together in order. It took me a long time to cut out the fabric, there are a lot more pieces that you would think at first glance. But the sewing part went pretty quickly.

The hardest part is getting the points on the star to line up. These are pretty critical. I feel like mine lined up really well.

I actually plan to make this again! But with a totally different palette... black and white. Its on my to do list anyway. 

This photo below shows the quilt on the frame in my living room - I have not done the binding yet. - but you can see how big it is!

I am truly grateful that there are so many talented pattern designers out there. I have made a few patterns myself and I know there is a lot of work involved in designing and writing patterns! Thanks Victoria for making this cool star quilt.

Can't wait to make this again.

Jul 24, 2019

an all American day in the Tennessee Valley

On July 20, I had the honor to be the guest speaker for the Tennessee Valley Quilters Association. This is a group of some 25 guilds who get together once a year in their region for education, shopping and camaraderie. Lots of camaraderie!!! This year's theme was As American as Red, White and Blue.

I was the keynote speaker and shared the story of my new book "American Cotton: Farm to Quilt." It was an enthusiastic audience of about 350+ passionate quilters.

This year's event was organized by the Friendship Quilt Guild (based in Smyrna) - and let me tell you, they are an enthusiastic bunch. They also did their homework. When I was speaking at QuiltCon in Nashville in Feb. of this year, several of the members attended my lecture to see if my topic was a good fit for their event.

Also shared a trunk show of my antique quilts. This one is made in Nebraska, circa 1910. 

My trunk show quilts are all lined up ready to be shown... this table looks just like a candy store!

Not the best photo of me... haha. I was busy talking... explaining that this quilt - like many antique quilts - is made with tiny little stitches. Tiny stitches were necessary to keep the cotton batting from moving around, (or migrating is the technical term).

The quilt above and the one below are both made in the 1930s from quilt kits put together by Home Arts Studios. This company was run by Hubert Ver Mehren and he designed some fabulous quilts. He is known for these two incredible designs - the Rising Sun and the Giant Dahlia. I love the solid colors.

This one is contemporary. Made by Robin Long - Robin Ruth Designs. She used American Made Brand cotton... and she has some pretty cool templates to make these Mariner Compass points super doable! Check out her website

The event was held at a local middle school in Smyrna, just outside of Nashville. I can honestly say, of all the lectures I have done, this might be the most impressive set up ever. Look at that screen! The slide I am displaying is an art quilt made by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred, part of her American Portrait series. You can see more of Patricia's work here. 

Each of her images in this series are American farmers and farm wives and they are hand silk-screened onto old cotton feed sacks. The image is a little washed out in the photo, but the real quilt is just stunning!

By the way... I recently wrote an article on Patricia and her work for Curated Quilts magazine - "Well Said" issue. It turned out to be a very powerful feature story on a truly talented artist. See more here.

The Warm Company donated this beautiful roll of Warm & Natural and I drew the number for the winner. Warm Company also donated packs of queen and twin size. How wonderful! I heard some happy screams when those numbers were called for door prizes. Thank you Warm Company! I love your batting and have used it for 20 years.

This sweet woman below, so cute decked out in the event's patriotic theme, picked me up at the airport, took me to dinner - twice - and even took me back to the airport. Thank you Kim! You are awesome!

Jul 12, 2019

cheddar quilt will be on view in Houston

This quilt was accepted into the 2019 International Quilt Association (IQA) juried exhibition for International Quilt Festival. So thrilled! 

Title is "Cheddar, Charcoal and Cherry" - made in 2019. Machine pieced and applique. Machine quilted.

The design is based on a 1890s quilt from the collection of Joanna Rose. The original quilt is below.

Look for this one in Houston this year! I will probably be nearby showing it to my family and friends.

Jul 5, 2019

done with the white gloves

I am finally done with the white gloves. Moving on to a brand new longarm machine! And needless to say, I'm pretty excited.

If you have never done free motion quilting... there are basically two ways to do it. One is on a sit down machine where you are essentially drawing on fabric by moving the quilt. Thus you need these white gloves for grip.

The longarm however, you are drawing by moving the pencil, or in our case the needle. So  no more white gloves required.

My studio is cleaned up and I have made room for a new 12 foot table. Now all I need is the nice delivery people to bring it over to my house.

Stay tuned for more.

Jun 11, 2019

quilted 'Pop Art' by a Japanese-born artist

Ai Kijima. "A Groovy Valentine. " 2006. 
In this quiet, classic Brooklyn street filled with hundred-year old Brownstones, lives an artist whose work is super modern, colorful, unconventional and very alluring.

Ai Kijima was born in Tokyo and came to the U.S. during her high school years as an exchange student. In fact, she credits one of her high school teachers, at a small town in Wisconsin, for pushing her toward a life in art.

That one push from a teacher has set her on a fine art career where she has had numerous museum exhibitions and solo shows. She also has art gallery representation to help sell her work. Private collectors and public museums own her work as well.

Recently, I was commissioned to write an article for Art Quilt Quarterly on the collection of studio art quilts at the Racine Art Museum, in Racine, Wisconsin. During my research and interview with the curator, I was introduced to Ai's work. I was immediately captivated and reached out to her to learn more. My husband and I travel frequently to New York to visit our daughter and Ai invited me to her Brooklyn studio for a visit!

While Ai has built an excellent following in the fine art world, she is not as well known in the quilt world.

Her incredibly innovative art is definitely rooted in quilting techniques. Ai uses all types of commercial novelty fabric and she cuts it up, fuses it to a base, adds batting (sometimes) and quilts the layers on a small, older-model Bernina sewing machine.

Her fabrics come from bed sheets, children's sleeping bags, pillow cases, shower curtains, toys, whatever she can find that looks interesting and has the colorful printed images she is seeking. There are sweet children's cartoon characters next to sexy illustrated women and Japanese anime and manga characters.

Ai takes these printed characters, toys and graphics and cuts them out. Each is carefully fused  on to a base to form a compelling and stunning original collage. She creates artful line and order out of seeming chaos. Her collages pull the eye in and keep it moving from one unexpected image to the next. In some cases, hundreds of images fill her canvas, each meticulously placed.

Her Pop Art series is by far the most innovative of her work. She conjures ideas from the 1960's pop art movement, including imagery that is ghostly reminiscent of the infamous 'POW' cartoon fist in her work, sometimes with a literal fist and sometimes with no fist at all. 

Ai Kijima. "Odyssey." 2012.
Artist Ai Kijima talks about one of her art quilts with author and researcher Teresa Duryea Wong.
Ai Kijima - detail.

This amazing wall hanging is made with textiles from Turkey that Ai has collected over the years. It is a beautiful juxtaposition of hard and soft angles, crazy prints, and unusual shapes for an eye-popping result.

In the photo above, Ai is explaining one of her first attempts at this type fused and stitched collage. Her color palette in this first one is a bit softer, the imagery is sweet. Over time her style has morphed to bolder and stronger colors.

Author and Researcher Teresa Duryea Wong and Artist Ai Kijima. Brooklyn, June, 2019.

It was such a thrill to meet Ai and see her work in person. I was inspired by her innovative techniques and her fearlessness in expressing such bold work --- and and I love that she is doing all this in the quilted form.

I hope that somehow I can help bring her work to more people in the quilt community, so stay tuned for more on that. In the meantime, the Art Quilt Quarterly article on the Racine Art Museum (which owns one of Ai's pieces) will be published this fall.

You can see more of Ai Kijima's work on her website.

She is also on Instagram @aikijima