The secret quilt I’ve been working on

As the EBHQ board member in charge of workshops it is my responsibility to organize and make a group quilt for the outgoing president every year. Since I did this last year, the responsibility shouldn’t have snuck up on me this year, but it did. Somehow I found 13 quilters to each make two blocks for this quilt. Orna (my co- workshop person) and I designed a quilt that incorporates the things that Janet, the outgoing president likes. As of today the quilt is done!! Joan quilted it and Edy sewed on the binding. It’s actually a two sided quilt- Joan had made a donation quilt that was the right size once I added a strip to one side.

Janets quilt 2

Above is the front, and below is the back.

Janets quilt 1


Here’s a detail of the blocks on the front.

Janets quilt detail


Before starting to design this quilt with Orna, I made a list of the things Janet likes in a quilt: Fall colors, muted colors, rust, olive, brown, maroon, indigo, Asian fabric, traditional quilt blocks, not improv. As you might notice, there’s not much we have in common except for liking Asian fabrics and indigo.

I gave the quilt to Janet tonight at the EBHQ educational session, so it’s not a secret anymore.

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Blue and white quilt block

blue and white

My friend Mary loves blue and white china dishes. She usually makes quilts and gives them away. She’s finally making a quilt for herself with blue and white as the only colors. She asked if any of her quilting friends wanted to contribute a block or two. Above is the block I made for her. I was so excited that I had the perfect two fabrics for it, plus the ferns as the medium blue. It’s a modified version of Gwen Marston’s liberated star. This is Mary’s photo as I made it at the last minute and failed to photograph it. The block is symmetrical, but the left hand side is cut off in the photo.

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What I’m working on

photo 1A week ago I taught my circular squares and rectangles class. I chose to make sample blocks in the same colors as last time I taught the class. Now I’ve got enough blocks to start making a quilt. Here’s one layout. I’ve rearranged it several times since this photo.

photo 3


I decided that I wasn’t afraid of partial seam construction. Most of the rectangular holes will need to be sewn with the partial seam technique.

photo 4

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A cape!

cape 1

A little boy that I know just had his 3rd birthday. Back when I had a 3 year old, more than 20 years ago, I made some capes for the preschool auction. At the time, I traced around a cape among the school’s dress ups onto a brown paper bag as a pattern to cut around. The question I asked myself was whether I still had the paper pattern in my sewing cupboard, or did I throw it out? It’s hard to know what size to make a cape for a 3 year old, if you don’t have a 3 year old around, to measure at home. I looked for the brown paper pattern, and couldn’t find it. I had a vague memory of throwing it out. Then I remembered that I had cut out a cape of pirate fabric that I never finished. If I still had it, it would be in my box of children’s and novelty fabric. I found it on the very bottom of that box! I used it as a pattern to cut out two pieces of fabric, one for the front, and one for the back. Although I originally intended for the alef-bet fabric to be the front, I think in reality the orange will be the front. I machine appliqued an “A” on the orange for his name. Orange is his favorite color. The little red square is Velcro.

cape 2

Here’s the other “front.”

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Work from the Circular Squares & Rectangles class

Here’s some student work from the Circular Squares & Rectangles class that I taught at HelloStitch:

imageimageThese are both by the same student. The first is just 4 square blocks, and the second uses both squares and rectangles.

imageimageSame thing. First is 4 squares the second adds a rectangle.

imageimageimageThis is what I worked on while teaching.


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I’m teaching fusible fabric applique, Aug 4

I’m teaching a fusible fabric applique class at HelloStitch, Aug 4.  Below is an example of what you can do with this technique. image

Here’s a link to the class on the website. 

Use paper cutting techniques to make intricate, iron-on fabric appliqués. Then practice different ways of sewing the fused appliqués onto a background fabric. Explore the possibilities with multi-layer appliqués.

This is a process class, focused on learning how to cut and appliqué fabric. However it’s easy to turn your class project into a wall hanging or pillow.

Skill Level: Appropriate for everyone from beginners to advanced.


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The eyes quilt, continued

I started thinking about this quilt last Monday. I started working on it on Wednesday, and I finished the binding this morning at 1 AM. I’m not quite done yet. I might sew on some beads. I need to ship the quilt Tuesday morning.



Here’s a detail of the beading I’m in the process of doing. The photo is rotated wrong, but I kept trying to fix it, and my computer wouldn’t let me because the file was supposedly open somewhere else.

I plan to ship this quilt to Virginia tomorrow, so any beading I do needs to be done by noon tomorrow.



eye detail

Ok. It’s after midnight and I’m going to bed now. Here’s a final photo:

The Wise One

And here’s a detail of one eye and the beading:

Wise one detail

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The eyes have it!

I’m working on a 23″ wide by 5″ tall eyes challenge. Since that doesn’t make much sense, here’s the info:

Sacred Threads Eye Contact Project

Sacred Threads 2019

“Eye Contact: creating a connection

We need your Participation!

Samples made by Barbara Hollinger, Karol Kusmaul and Laurie Ceesay

Hi, I am Barbara Hollinger, curator of Sacred Threads, our national quilt and fiber art exhibit.

We are planning the show for the summer of 2019 and have a project underway that will allow you to participate in creating a special installation for our visitors.

It’s called “Eye Contact: creating a connection“.

There is a famous quote by Cicero (106-43 B.C.). ‘Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi’ (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter). ‘The eyes are the window of the soul‘ is a variant form of the proverb…”Reference

Here are the specifics:

– The dimensions are 23″ wide x 5″ high
– Any fiber/ mixed media technique and materials
– Finished using any method
– No sleeves are needed
– Please put your name on the back of your piece, either with a label or permanent pen
– Human Eyes – Looking at the Viewer

Make one, or make several, and mail them to us to share in a special display at the exhibit here in the Washington DC area next summer.

Deadline May 31, 2019.

Mail to:

ST Eye Contact Project

c/o Barbara Hollinger

10309 Dunn Meadow Road

Vienna VA 22182

Please fill out this return shipping form and include with your shipment.

Return Fees (There is no fee to enter but we do need to collect funds to help return your piece to you):

From within the US: Please include a $7.5 check, made out to Sacred Threads.

From outside the US: We will send you a PAYPAL invoice for $25.00.

We will return your artwork in a USPS Flat-Rate small box. It will be trackable and the default insurance will be applied.

We would love to have you join us at the exhibit and cannot wait to share your “Eye Contact: creating a connection” project.

I rarely make art with eyes in it. About 30 years ago I made a Purim mask of Queen Esther out of Fimo clay and wood. Here it is:

Queen Esther

It suddenly occurred to me that I could make this quilt topical by putting stars in the eyes of the quilt I’m making of eyes. but I’m not sure I really want to. If you have an opinion, please leave me a comment below.

Here’s what I have, so far:


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I’m teaching Circular Squares on June 9th!

Slightly Sober Path 2012

Slightly Sober Path 2012

Circular Squares and Rectangles Improv Quilt Class

At Hello Stitch Studio on June 9, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM,

1708 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

 Sign up at or (510) 982-6549

This class explores curved piecing in both square and rectangular blocks. Learn how to boldly cut curves with a rotary cutter, but without a ruler or a cutting line! Using a stack of fabrics, you will learn how to make a fun, improv quilt. This is a process class. Once you learn the process, the world of curved, pieced quilts is yours to explore.

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner-Intermediate

Below is some student work from the last time I taught this class.


And here’s one that I made during the class:



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Annual library quilt show!

image image

The 38th annual Berkeley Public Library quilt show is up from now until June 29. It’s on the 2nd floor in the cases in the lobby and hanging above the reference desk. I have 2 quilts in the show: a 3′ X 3′ star in a star, and a postcard sized basket.

Star in a StarHere’s a better photo of the star quilt. There’s a reception for the show on June 10, at 6:00 pm in the community meeting room on the 3rd floor. Everyone  is invited! I’ll be there, with a lot of the quilters from the show.


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