Friday, October 9, 2009

15th Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork

The international quilt show held yearly in the Alsace region of France was held again this year in Ste Marie-aux-Mines and surrounding villages. For the first time I was able to go! Leslie and Maria went last year, so Leslie was the perfect guide, and Mr. Bob was the perfect chauffeur, and I felt totally pampered the entire week. We left midmorning on Friday and drove down easily, arriving in time to check in, unpack, and then be driven off again for dinner. We were met at the hotel by a nice, cold glass of what they called Cremont (check my spelling, that's how I heard it but never saw it written), which is the local sparkling wine. This is a very civilized habit and one I could definitely get used to!

The show is hung very imaginatively, utilizing local churches, cathedrals, events halls, and shop spaces over 4 villages in close proximity to each other. Every shop on every street has some sort of quilt or quilt-related item displayed in the windows, so the entire local population is extremely supportive of the show and extremely patient with the yearly mass influx of humanity. The drive to and from each venue is extremely picturesque, with beautiful mature vineyards nestled into a backdrop of mountains.

The villages are mostly from the Middle Ages, and the architecture is what I would, in my amateur architectural knowledge, term "Alpine" as in what would be expected of Switzerland or Germany. The roof overhangs are deep, I suppose to keep the snow from dropping down on the doorstoops, and the windows are mostly shuttered. But the most unexpected thing was the color - more of what I have seen around the Mediterranean, Greece and Italy, the pastel stucco with the wooden beams. The regional food was also different from my previous experiences with French food in that the meals were hearty and initially everything came with sauerkaut and potatoes. We learned quickly how to order better.

The exhibits were varied and interesting this year. Of course due to copyright issues I can't publish pictures of the different exhibitions, but they are available at the website of the Europeen du Patchwork, The Dutch chintzes were interesting, of course, and well represented by a variety of quilts. Some of the other exhibitions were, in my opinion, not very complete, and the information available in English was woefully inadequate for me to understand the point of several of the exhibitions. I realize that this is partially my fault for not knowing French but the lack of background definitely limited the experience in some of the shows. The Hungarian and New Zealand exhibitions had some very fine quilts in them. And the competition, "The Colors of My Country", also had some very good and imaginative quilts. Sandra Meech had the best exhibition of all, and her work is so very well done and interesting to look at. She also has a new book, which I purchased and brought home to peruse, hoping some of the magic rubs off on me!

Of coure, no quilt show is complete without vendors, and this one was no exception. There were many quilt shops represented with fabrics from all over the world, and other necessary items such as beads, buttons, lighting, threads, and miscellaneous notions. The fun is in the browsing. And the purchasing of little things to take home, fat quarters, a new brand of thread, books, new scissors, patterns and such. I found fantastic new YLI zippers this year, and Leslie discovered some glass beads. Above is Beryl Cadman in her Gammill booth, with our "Little Amsterdam" hanging behind her this year, and below are Andreas Wolf, tempting us with some of Heide Stoll-Weber's hand-dyed sateen and Ilka Rave just looking beautiful, as usual. I would like to take her home!

Happy quilting,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seeds that were planted at EMQE

Well, Maria has finished one of her workshop projects from the European Machine Quilters' Exposition!

Her whole-cloth trapunto threadpainting is really fun and just full of new techniques. This little wholecloth has lots of movement in the outside areas and lots of detail in the center. And it was really, really fun to do!

My favorite item from the expo was a little gift from one of my favorite people, Ilke Rave. She has made these little bags from a wonderful felted material and this one is absolutely perfect for me - how did she know?

Happy quilting, Marybeth

Linda Taylor in Castletownbere

After a long day's work it was really great to go into town and find a place to sit and eat. We ate early and late, alone and with friends. But we did eat well and slept well so that we could start each day fresh and eager.

Marybeth and Maria were only able to attend the long-arm workshops but Leslie was lucky enough to do the workshops and all of the classes. Tracey Pereira, Robin Fahy, and Ilke Rave all taught day-long classes.

At the end of the second week a raffle ticket was drawn and the winner was . . . Andreas Wolf! Andreas was luck enough to take home one of Linda Taylor's in-class samplers!

Linda told us that when she first got her machine from the factory it was not stitch regulated and the motor speed was set on 70%. Now, I know this doesn't mean much to many of you, but let me tell you, I don't think I can DRIVE that fast! She was able to finish parts of these quilts in the time it would take me just to decide what to stitch there!

At the end of the week we stuffed all of our new thread and work pieces into our little bags and came on home. We will try to finish some of the things we started and start new things based on ideas we got at the workshops. Some we will post later as we decide we like them. Some will just not see the light of day. But the fun of these workshops is the ideas that grow from the little seeds planted. Sometimes they come up immediately, and sometimes they take a little while. And they all come up differently for each and every participant. Stay tuned!

Happy quilting, Marybeth

European Machine Quilters Exposition

We are home from a fabulous workshop held yearly in Castletownbere, Ireland. Beryl Cadman organizes the European Machine Quilters Exposition to further the training of Gammill owners in Europe. Castletownbere is a hamlet on the southwestern coast of Ireland and it is remote ... no telephone coverage, no interruptions. Fabulous!

This year Linda Taylor taught the longarm workshops. Linda has received many awards, the most recent one being the Quilters' Newsletter Magazine Teacher of the Year Award, which is quite justly deserved! This may look like good fun, but let me tell you, it can be hard work! And Linda really gave us a lot to do in a very short period of time!

Linda is well known for being one of the pioneers of long-arm quilting. She has been quilting on a Gammill for 16 years and she makes it look like breathing. We didn't manage to make it look so easy or elegant. But just give us a couple of weeks!

With Linda came Rick Taylor, who taught us all about machine maintenance and American country music, and Todd Fletcher, who gave Leslie a few new pointers on the Statler Stitcher. We ate well and slept like babies.

The long-arm classes were all full and the participants came from all over Europe, including Great Brittain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and even Cyprus! We were able to make some new friends and catch up with our old ones.

Maria was able to try out a lot of new techniques and, best of all, lots and lots of new threads. We have been wanting to get our hands on some of the new threads we have been reading about and now we have! Linda's line of threads for YLI are neon, no, N-E-O-N bright, glow-in-the-dark bright, wonderful deep jewel tones and even pastels that will show up on anything. We tried polyesters and rayons, anything shiny and new. We even managed to bring home a suitcase full of them to play with some more!

Happy quilting, Marybeth

Monday, May 4, 2009

Open European Quilt Championship in Veldhoven

Saturday we went to visit the Open European Quilt Championship in Veldhoven. I hoped to take many photos and show it to you, but as most of the quilts were quite high on the wall I couldn't take a good quality photos. If you would like to see the winner quilts, I would recommend you to visit their website: www.
However I would still like to show one (hope you don't mind if it is from a strange angel, but I'm short and the wall was really high). This quilt was made by Ria Notenboom and won the 2nd price in the Novice category. This was her first quilt. It is an amazing work for a first quilt. We know this quilt quite well as Ria asked us to quilt it for her.
We were happy to see that Ria won a prize with her quilt. She really deserved it. Congratulation!

Ria Notenboom: "Rorii Miyajima"

Fabric Painting Trapsuutjies

It was a long time since I wrote my last note. And the photos I'm going to share with you came from a workshop, which we attended even earlier than my last blog. I did wanted to write about it as soon as we came home, but things just happened. But finally it is here.
We met Laura from Trapsuutjies two years ago in Rijswijk at the Patchwork and Quilt Days. We loved her work/fabrics at first sight and we wanted to take a class with her, have her studio and her full attention just for ourselves. How selfish!! But it took us two years to get there as we were so busy with our company and family.
I save you from the reports of the last two years and cut it short. Finally we had a whole Saturday workshop in her studio in Belgium. We tried out a few techniques, reverse stampings, printing, scratching your design, applying paint with different tools (cards, sponges,etc), creating textures. You can find the description of all the techniques in Laura's website and also the paints:
It was a great fun. I can recommend it to you. Laura is a very nice teacher and a very good hostess. Her cake and salad were really delicious.
Since than we had a repeat "workshop" in our studio and played with the colors, fabrics, techniques. We are planning to go back to Laura again and do a screenpainting class with her soon.
Here are some photos from the one day workshop.

My daughter's works (she joined us)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Meeting" with the new Bernina 830

Yesterday we went to our Bernina dealer in Katwijk, Rooijackers Naaimachines (sewing machine shop) to attend the demonstration of the new Bernina 830 by Karen Lipton. I think the new Bernina might be the dream machine for everybody, who loves sewing, but definitely mine. It seems to incorporate the best features, what you expect from a sewing machine: very good lighting, big space for your quilts, sewing in 360 degree directions, automatic needle threader (just press a button), built-in dual feed (no more walking foot) bigger bobbin, multiply spool holders, automatic thread cutter and not to mention my favorite, the touch screen. I can't wait to try it out, but I guess I have to wait for a while. Until than I just think of the nice afternoon, the hospitality of Mr. Rooijackers with cakes and coffee and watching the 830 working.

by Maria

Monday, March 16, 2009

North Sea Quilters in the Patchwork en Quiltdagen in Rijswijk

Of course it can't be a"North Sea Quilters and Friends" exhibition without showing our own works. We selected "Little Amsterdam" and "Kyoto Nights" to exhibit during the Patchwork en Quiltdagen in Rijswijk.

"Little Amsterdam" quilted by Marybeth Tawfik,
designed and pieced by Maria Laza, Leslie Carol Taylor, Marybeth Tawfik
72” x 72”, 2007

This quilt was conceived by the North Sea Quilters as a tribute to the beautiful and distinctive architecture of the Netherlands, our host country. The house facades are all based on real houses found on the canals of Amsterdam. The quilting was done to replicate all the different textures found around these houses: smoke, wind, vines, bricks, cobblestones, and water.

This quilt won 1st prize for Long Arm Quilting at the Open European Championships, Waalre, the Netherlands, 2007.

Kyoto Nights (2008)
by North Sea Quilters: Maria Laza, Leslie Carol Taylor and Marybeth Tawfik
67” x 73”

Kyoto Nights celebrates the large-scale asymmetrical Japanese floral prints that have been so popular in the last few years. Using a hexagon as a base, North Sea Quilters have isolated vignettes of the fabric to give the impression of looking into a Japanese garden at night through a window. The Japanese crests were stitched from patterns on the Statler Stitcher™, the chrysanthemums were first drafted and digitized by Leslie and the “rain” in the bamboo forest was stitched freehand.

This is the end of our report on the exhibition. Thanks for following it during the last couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Marybeth Tawfik's Quilt at North Sea Quilters and Friends exhibition in Rijswijk

During the Patchwork en Quiltdagen in Rijswijk in our exhibition you could also see a quilt of our friend, Annelies, which were beautifully quilted by Marybeth.

"Simply Delicious" quilted by Marybeth Tawfik,
46” x 46”, 2008

This Piece O’ Cake design, hand appliquéd by Annelies Nijland, reminded me very much of my grandmother’s garden. My grandmother spent many, many hours growing the fruits and vegetables that her family would eat throughout the year. She always put up her vine supports by hand using small branches and twine and I have tried to replicate that look by quilting freehand, not using any rulers or markers, to give it that old-fashioned, homemade look that was so very beautiful to me growing up.

details of the quilt

Marybeth Tawfik received her first electric sewing machine at the age of 10 so that her mother would be able to use her own Pfaff. Originally sewing garments, she became interested in patchwork in 1996 while living in Japan, but was too intimidated by the process to begin patchwork until 2001. She purchased her Gammill Optimum Plus® in 2004 at the International Quilt Festival in the Hague. She “practiced” on the machine for 3 years before attempting to quilt other people’s quilt tops. She tries very hard to sew every day, believing that therein lies the path to sanity and serenity.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Leslie Carol Taylor's Quilt at North Sea Quilters and Friends Exhibition in Rijswijk

As the long-arm quilting exhibition during the Patchwork en Quiltdagen 14-15 February in Rijswijk was organized by us, it is obvious that we exhibited also our individual works, like Leslie's Forbidden Fruit.
Leslie Carol Taylor: "Forbidden Fruit" (2008)
65” x 89”

"Forbidden Fruit was originally made for a challenge entitled “Paradise”. The idea was to create an exotic and mysterious atmosphere using batiks in lime, turquoise and black. The flying geese border mimics the markings of the serpent, and in this Garden of Eden there are lemons as well as apples. The design was simple to leave myself plenty of “open space” for quilting. I first drafted the quilting designs for the different parts of the quilt, then digitized and eventually sewed them, using a Gammill® Optimum Plus with Statler Stitcher™ and the new Creative Studio™ software. The quilting designs mimic the mood of the fabrics used for piecing and the variegated thread enhances the black background."

Leslie Carol Taylor was born in the UK and has been sewing for as long as she can remember. She officially learned to do patchwork by hand in France in the eighties. Whilst living in Japan in the late nineties, she discovered you could also quilt by machine and from then nothing has been able to stop her. She has been back in the Netherlands since 2001 where she later met Maria Laza and Marybeth Tawfik. Together they founded North Sea Quilters in 2007. Her trip with Marybeth to the EMQE long-arm quilting retreat in Ireland in May 2007 was to become the most expensive holiday ever, as it resulted in the purchase of a Gammill Optimum Plus with Statler Stitcher Leslie has been quilting for customers since December 2007. She loves enhancing a treasured object entrusted to her, and turning it into something even more beautiful. She has a scientific background which helps and inspires her to digitize her own quilting designs, which the Statler stitches out beautifully. And she has even been known to still sew things by hand...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quilts of Andreas Wolf at the North Sea Quilters and Friends Exhibition

During the Patchwork en Quiltdagen in Rijswijk between 14-15 February you could also see these two quilts, which were designed, pieced and long-arm quilted by Andreas Wolf.

Andreas Wolf: "Elemantals"
47.5” x 55”

"‘Elemantals’ uses hand-dyed fabrics for the applique and is quilted on a longarm every line. This quilt was displayed at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. The quilt was machine sewn and longarm quilted on a Gammill® Optimum Plus."

Andreas Wolf: "Opal"
59” x 90”

"This batik quilt was made to showcase our acrylic templates and the fabrics. It was machine sewn and longarm quilted on a Gammill® Optimum Plus using an edge-to-edge pattern."
The templates are available from:

Andreas Wolf was born in Hamburg 1965 and grew up on the Lake of Konstanz. He began making handicrafts at a very early age, knitting and cross-stitching. The first quilt show he attended was an exhibition of Amish quilts in Konstanz in 1995. He was then inspired to begin making traditional quilts. In 1998 he opened his own quilt shop in Hamburg and began as a professional quilter. In the shop he has everything any quilter would need. He holds classes, attends quilt shows all over Europe, and produces templates for cutting fabric. In 2005 he purchased an Optimum Plus® long arm quilting machine from Gammill and began to custom quilt clients’ quilt tops. Andreas loves to meet nice, creative people and brings a unique perspective to quilting. You can contact Andreas on 0049.40.22697070 or e-mail to

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quilts of Tracey Pereira at the North Sea Quilters and Friends Exhibition

During the Patchwork en Quiltdagen 14-15 February in Rijswijk you had the opportunity to look at the Birmingham winner quilts of Tracey Pereira.

Tracey Pereira:"It Happened Overnight …" (2003)
70” x 90”

"During the past twenty years or so the mysterious and often overnight appearance of crop circles has fascinated the world over. Intrigued by many of these beautiful and intricate designs I used this quilt to focus on this strange phenomena."

The inspiration for the quilting designs comes from the book "Crop Circles" by Werner Anderhub and Hans Peter Roth. Whilst some artistic license has been employed many of the quilting designs are based on actual circle formations. Quilted on a non-stitch regulated Gammill® Classic.

This quilt was the winner of the 2006 Art Prize for Freehand Quilting at the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England.

"Cosmic Cousins" long-arm quilted by Tracey Pereira (2006)
85” x 85”

"This two-colour piece incorporates an "Ohio Star" foundation block designed by Carol Doak and pieced by my cousin Emma Armstrong. The on-point layout was a 'happy accident' after discovering insufficient blocks had been made but left an open door for some bespoke quilting. Tracey developed the quilting design and freehand quilted it on her Gammill® Optimum plus quilting machine."

This quilt won 2nd place in 2006 at the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England, for a two-person quilt and for long arm quilting. It was also juried into the 2008 Mancuso World Quilt and Textiles tour.

Tracey Pereira is an award-winning quilter based in the South of England. She has been quilting for many years and has taught at both national and international levels. She is also a published author and has made several contributions to UK patchwork and quilting magazines. Most recently, Tracey has produced a number of designs for robotic and computerised quilting and embroidery systems.
Tracey is also an accredited judge with the Quilters Guild of the British Isles.
You can see more about Tracey and her work at

Friday, March 6, 2009

Quilts of Mary Palmer at the North Sea Quilters and Friends Exhibition

Many of you admired the work of Mary Palmer during the Patchwork en Quiltdagen 14-15 February in Rijswijk. You can look at the quilts again and read about them here.

Mary Palmer: "20th Century Stars" (2006)
90” x 90”, 2006

"This quilt was made as part of a challenge themed “Blue and White Stars”. Having recently made a traditional star quilt, I tried to play with the term “stars”, hence the familiar faces. The two girls in the centre are my daughters, both born in the 20th century, and stars to me! In the quilting, I have tried to complement the image in each area."

"Log Cabin Houses" quilted by Mary Palmer
64” x 88”

"Marie O’Brien pieced this quilt, having purchased Heidi Stoll-Weber’s hand-dyed cotton sateen and having seen the pattern in a book by Favin Glover. She then gave it to me to quilt. I felt that as the houses had such tiny pieces of fabric, then tiny quilting would be most appropriate. The quilting in the “sky” represents wind, and the earth and borders are cobbled like a road."

Mary Palmer: "Grandmaster " (2004)
90” x 90”

"This quilt was made for the Amish Long Arm Challenge. It was inspired by Amish strippy quilts, with colours inspired by 20th century Amish quilts. When it was finished it reminded me of a circus tent, hence the name “Grandmaster”.
It was the second or third quilt I quilted on a long arm machine (Gammill Optimum with stitch regulator and Gammil Optimum w/o stitch regulator!), which a friend very kindly let me use."

Mary Palmer has been an avid quilter since 1990. Her work has been shown in many exhibitions both in Europe and the US. She has been juried into the AQS show in Paducah and has won awards through the RDS competition in Dublin. Most recently, she has qualified as a Quilt Judge through the Quilters Guild of the British Isles.

Yvonne McKee's Quilt in the North Sea Quilters and Friends Exhibition in Rijswijk

During the Patchwork en Quiltdagen in Rijswijk you could also see Yvonne McKee's "Blue Rhapsody" in the long-arm quilting gallery.

Yvonne McKee: "Blue Rhapsody" (2006)
90” x 90”

"I fell in love with the blue batiks especially the flowery one, which I used in the centre of each star and then the outer border. I also enjoyed creating freeform feathers in the main body of quilt and continuing the feather theme in the two inner border."

Yvonne McKee, 53 years old, owns a quilt shop in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has been longarm quilting for five years now and currently has a Gammill Optimum® with a Statler Stitcher™ and an Optimum. Her shop is called Quilters Quest. She teaches classes and workshops, as well as providing a quilting service.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Quilts of Liesbeth van der Hilst at the North Sea Quilters and Friends Exhibition

This time you can read about the quilts of Liesbeth van der Hilst, which were exhibited during the Patchwork en Quiltdagen in Rijswijk between 14-15 February.

Liesbeth van Der Hilst: Festival of Snowflakes
65” x 77”

"All of the snowflakes are pieced with paper piecing techniques. The big stars are from a book by Paula Nadelstern. The other stars I designed. All the stars are appliquéd then quilted in the ditch using transparent thread. Between the stars you can see quilted stars using free-hand quilting and blue and silver threads."

"Alle snowflakes zijn gemaakt met de paper piecing- techniek. De grote sterren komen uit het boek van Paula Nadelstern. De andere sterren zijn zelf ontworpen. Alle sterren zijn geappliqueerd en daarna met transparant garen in de naad gequilt. Tussen de sterren zijn uit de vrije hand sterren gequilt met blauw garen en met zilverdraad."

Liesbeth van Der Hilst:"Hestia 4"
59” x 62”

"Hoffman butterfly fabrics are the basis for this Stack ’n Whack quilt. The hexagons are quilted in Stitch in the Ditch. In the plain areas I experimented with different background fillings and different (variegated) threads."

"Hoffman vlinderstof stond aan de basis voor deze Stack ’n Whack quilt. De hexagons zijn in de naad gequilt. In de effen vlakken is geëxperimenteerd met verschillende vlakvullingen en verschillende (verlopende) garens."

Liesbeth van der Hilst started quilting on a Gammill® longarm machine in January of 2006. Lots of beautiful quilt tops came in to be quilted. It is really a lot of fun to talk to quilters and explain the possibilities of this machine!! There is always a solution to enhance the quilt tops with quilting in accordance with the wishes of the owner.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quilts of Robyn Fahy at the North Sea Quilters and Friends exhibition

During the Patchwork en Quiltdagen in Rijswijk you could also see the quilts of Robyn Fahy. You can read more and look at the quilts below.

Robyn Fahy:"Bumblebee"
70” x 90”

"This quilt was created for the Longarm Gallery Exhibition at Festival of Quilts Birmingham 2007. The challenge was to create a quilt measuring 70” x 90” using only black and white and one other colour. I chose yellow. I then quilted the quilt on my hand-guided Gammill® quilting machine using Aurifil 100% cotton thread."

"Chasing the Dragon" quilted by Robyn Fahy

"This quilt was made as a ‘Round Robin’ challenge with a group of friends.
Our group is called ‘The Bags and Tarts’. We all had to make a 24” centre block and then pass it to our next friend to add the next border. Each border size was decided before we began. We then each had to finish our tops with our own 8” final border. I then quilted using various 100% cotton threads on my hand-guided Gammill® Quilting Machine. "

Robyn Fahy moved to the small village of Drumquin, Co. Tyrone, Ireland from Margaret River in Western Australia 22 years ago.
Her interest in patchwork began in 1992. Initially self-taught, she studied every book she could get her hands on. She has since been fortunate enough to travel widely, and take classes with many wonderful teachers in both patchwork and longarm quilting.
About 8 years ago she began her career as a teacher when a local women’s group asked her to teach them patchwork. Since then she has owned her own quilt shop and now holds classes in her custom built studios at home. From there, she felt it was a natural progression to owning her own longarm quilting machine. She now has a hand-guided Gammill® Classic on which she does her own custom work and a Gammill Optimum Plus® Statler Stitcher™ for customer quilts.