Quilt finished for A Century of Women’s Progress

Sherman-Claire-Still No ERA-FULL

I finished this just in time for the deadline of January 4, 2020. It’s a “story quilt,” so here’s my story:

I remember when the first issue of Ms. Magazine hit the news stands. My mom bought it and read it. Then my sister and I devoured it from cover to cover. After that, Mom subscribed so that all of us could read it every month. I got my own subscription when I went away to college.


I was a teenager in the 1970’s when I first heard about the Equal Rights Amendment, (the ERA.) I was shocked to learn that it hadn’t been ratified yet, and it wasn’t part of the constitution. How could the constitution leave out something so fundamental? “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”. The amendment needed to be ratified by 38 states before becoming part of the constitution. We were one state away from ratifying it, when the time limit ran out.


Twenty five years ago, my husband and I were thinking about names for our not yet born baby. The girl’s name we picked out happened to have the initials: ERA. Although we hadn’t done it deliberately, we very much liked that the initials of our child’s name would spell out ERA. (I didn’t change my name when I married, and my husband’s last name begins with an “A”). Frequently in emails, I would write “ERA,” instead of writing out my child’s full name. On my phone, “ERA” would flash when my first born called home. This year that child, now an adult, decided to legally change their first name to another name that starts with an “E,” that better reflects who they are now. I hesitantly asked, ‘what about your middle name?’ ‘No change’ was the answer! It turns out that ERA loves being ERA!


I wrote a haiku for my quilt about the ERA, but like many things in life, the words couldn’t be contained on just three lines.


100 years of

A woman’s right to vote. BUT

still no ERA?


The background fabric, full of words and newspaper images symbolizes all the talk, arguments, and debates about the ERA that have surfaced since it was first introduced in Congress in 1923.


The scope of work available to women has completely transformed over the last 100 years. In designing this quilt I chose the “churn dash” block, named for part of a butter churn, to represent women’s work of 100 years ago. However the fabric in these blocks represents the work that women do today. Fabric with mathematical equations represents scientists, mathematicians, and technology workers. Radio circuitry fabric represents women in the media; film fabric represents women in the film industry; recipe fabric represents women in the food industry; fabric with a spool of thread represents women in the garment industry; and the sheet music fabric is for the music industry. In the center of largest churn dash is a mariner’s compass to help women find their way in the world.

Here’s a detail:

Sherman-Claire-Still No ERA-DETAIL

Someone asked how I got the newspaper onto the fabric. It’s all commercial fabric! I bought fabric that looked like a newspaper, or like typed lines of words, or math equations. There are ways of printing whatever is on your computer screen onto fabric that’s attached to paper and goes right through your printer like regular paper, but I didn’t use that for this quilt.

Here’s a link to more info about the challenge:

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Liora’s quilt finished!

Liora front

I’m really happy to have finished this quilt in time to take it to the EBHQ meeting which was the Monday before Thanksgiving. It’s always good to have a deadline. And Liora is only a month old, so I’m quite pleased. Especially since her parents weren’t public about what her name was until her baby naming at 8 days old. A week or two before she was born, I brought a pile of about 30 fabrics to her parents for some weeding. These were the 30 fabrics in my stash that had animals on them. I knew her parents loved animals. They whittled it down to 11 favorites and about 10 maybes. I managed to use 5 different animal fabrics on the front, and 5 more on the back, plus a green fabric with computer circuits. (Both her parents are computer techies). Here’s the back:

Liora back

And here’s the label:

Liora lable

The letters on the front are backed with fusible web, then I zigzaged around each letter with a matching thread. I will deliver this quilt tomorrow morning.

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Maggie’s quilt


Maggie GeeI got an email from the Chinese Historical Society of San Francisco asking if they could borrow my quilt about Maggie Gee again for a show. I looked and looked for the quilt- it’s quite small, about 20 inches in height, but couldn’t find it anywhere in my sewing room. I finally emailed back that I couldn’t find the quilt. They replied that they already had my quilt from the previous show. The show my quilt was in was called Towards Equality, and the next show is about WWII. I totally forgot that my quilt was already in the museum. This will be the third show this same quilt will be in the societies’ museum in SF Chinatown.

Maggie quilt at Chinese Hist Society

Here’s a photo of my quilt hanging in the museum.

And here’s a brief bio of Maggie Gee:

Margaret “Maggie” Gee, 1923- 2013 was born in Berkeley, CA. As a child, she loved to watch the planes take off and land at the Oakland airport, and dreamed of becoming a pilot. When the U.S. entered WWII in 1941, Maggie quit UC Berkeley and became a draftsman for the war effort. Her mother got a job as a welder, building Liberty ships. In 1943 Maggie and two friends decided to go to flight school with the hopes of joining the Women Air-force Service Pilots (WASP). They pooled their money, bought a car for $25, and drove to Nevada. After a rigorous test, Maggie was accepted into WASP training one of only two Chinese American women to do so. Though not allowed in combat, she trained other pilots. After the war she became a physicist for Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. With a passion for politics, she served on the California Democratic Party Executive Board.

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Carrie’s baby quilt

Cerries baby quilt

I just finished this baby quilt for a neighbor who’s having a baby shower next weekend. She asked for orange, yellow and blue. I picked fabrics that had an interesting image in those colors. This quilt actually has 15 different fabrics! It’s a little quirky, with carrots, fish, lemons, snails and peaches in it. It’s certainly not an art quilt, but it was fun to make. I wanted it to be fast and easy. I cut out most of the squares at Hello Stitch, with their CriCut machine. I had to fussy cut the oranges and fish, so I did that by hand with a ruler.

Carries baby quilt back

Here’s the back. It’s Marimekko. I don’t remember how I got this fabric. Maybe June gave it to me? I think Carrie (the mom of the baby) will like the back since it’s so orange.Carries back lable

Here’s the label. Helen Green is a neighbor who quilts. She’s about 82 years old. At the neighborhood potluck, when Carrie announced her pregnancy, i offered to make Carrie a quilt. Helen also offered, so Carrie suggested that Helen help me. Helen offered to help me hand quilt the baby quilt! I said I had no intention of hand quilting it, but that Helen could help me sew on the binding. When I was collecting blue, orange and yellow fabrics for the front, Helen let me raid her stash. The fish, oranges, butterflies and kokopelis come from Helen. Unfortunately Helen fell and broke her hand, so she wasn’t able to help me sew the binding on. The up side is that she didn’t break her hip.

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295A1E84-022C-4D0C-A4BD-84F591D5130DHere I am, visiting my quilt at the Pacific International Quilt Festival! This quilt was finished on the day before it was due for jurying. It was a huge effort to finish it in time, but I did it! Below are other quilts at the show. The first one is my friend, Julia, in front of 2 of her quilts.



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Process photos for Circular Rectangles

Circular Rectangles is the kind of quilt where you keep making units, without firm ideas about how to sew them together, and put them on a design wall. The blocks don’t get sewn together until the whole quilt is on the wall, and you’ve stopped rearranging it. I chose not to square up blocks or make them all the same size in this quilt. Some of the edges are curved rather than straight. Some blocks are square, some are rectangular, and some edges are slightly rounded. This makes it more challenging to sew together.

process circular rectangles 1Here’s the first process photo, above.

process circular rectangles 2Here’s the second. Note the little white rectangular holes in the design. With this quilt I decided to embrace “partial seam construction.” I ended up with 3 holes where I needed to sew in a rectangle with partial seam construction.

process circular rectangles 4Here I was working on adding the red to the upper corner, and the blue to the lower corner. I really liked the fabric with the polka dots on the bottom right, but it never made it into the quilt. In the finished quilt, the lower left corner is my favorite part of the quilt. I like the way the edge of the piecing interacts with the blue negative space next to it.

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Two quilts finished!


This is the small healing quilt I just finished. I’d like to make a larger one, and maybe add more embellishments, like embroidery and tassels to the bottom. I have a lot of ideas for another healing quilt. I’d like to experiment with quilt edges that aren’t straight. I’d like to do more with middle eastern archways.

It’s hard to see in this photo, but there are seed beads sewn in the flowers.  I used fusible applique for the hamsa in the middle, and used a straight stitch to sew it down. I used to do a lot of paper-cutting with an Exacto knife. It’s harder with fabric, because it stretches, but the skill set is the same.

Circular Rectangles

I call this one, “Circular Rectangles”. I started this quilt a year or so ago when I first taught my circular squares and rectangles class. I taught it again, recently, and made more rectangles with the same colors. I decided it was time to gather both sets of blocks together and make a quilt. My favorite part is the lower left corner where the edge of the pattern meets the blue of the negative space. I’d like to make another quilt like this, but with more negative space, and less busy, overall.

Circular Rectangles detail.1Here’s a detail of the quilting. I used my walking foot, of course.


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House shaped hamsa quilt


I took the hamsa I cut out in the fusible appliqué class I taught, and put it in an appliquéd archway. I think I’m going to wait until it’s ready to be quilted before stitching anything down. In this photo I’m auditioning the other fabrics for this small quilt. I’m really pleased with the ombré fabric behind the hamsa. This quilt won’t be a square or rectangle. I’m planning to make it house shaped, with a pointy roof.


In the photo above I was experimenting with making a pointy roof. I decided not to do it this way, but to make it larger, and add an additional fuscia triangle for the roof.

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Fusible fabric appliqué i.e. Paper-cutting

I taught a fusible fabric appliqué class at Hello Stitch last Sunday. This was the first time I’ve taught this class as a fabric class and not a hamsa or paper-cutting class. I taught the basics of paper-cutting, but everyone did it on fabric. It was a great class. I had 6 students, 5 of whom had never taken a class with me before. Here is my students’ work:






Below is is the hamsa I worked on during class. I was too busy teaching to finish it then. But I finished cutting it out (with an X-acto knife) while watching Outlander on Netflix.


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Really? A hamsa air freshener?


In Mount Vernon, Wa I found this hamsa shaped air freshener. I’m amazed that hamsas have become this mainstream. Not only that, but it has rainbow stripes on it.

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