Q&A with Diana McClun and
Laura Nownes

Q: How has quilting changed over the 25 years since the first edition of Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!! was published?
A: Fabric colors and styles have changed. Colors are lighter and designs are larger. Many artists trained in fabric design are bringing their designs to the quilting industry. These new designs generate excitement and are an inspiration to quilters. There is more freedom, experimentation and fun in cutting and incorporating these designs into quilt patterns. The traditional/classic patterns are still used but often with a fresh look as a result of new and exciting fabric designs.
Q: In what ways has the book changed to reflect the changing needs and tastes of quilters?
A: We have simplified the designs for the third edition. There are not as many small and fussy cut pieces. We have combined original and traditional patterns but in all cases have used fresh, current fabrics. The organization of the book has been simplified, with quilts sequenced from easier to more challenging. We have also added many more color drawings and photographs of hand movements.
Q: What do you see in the classes you teach? Has the skill level of beginning quilters changed? Do they still like to make the same types of projects they were making 25 years ago?
A: Many quiltmakers today are enthusiastic about adding their own voice or stamp to their work. They are often inspired by designs but not always wanting to copy. They still enjoy learning the needed basics which helps build confidence and then eager to experiment with colors and designs to create their own unique patterns. The internet has had a major influence on designs and techniques as the curious quiltmaker can find almost anything she wants online. The cutting tools make the process easier today as they are more precise and user friendly. There is definitely more machine quilting, and especially innovative quilting designs than 25 years ago.
Q: How has your style of teaching changed or matured?
A: Our teaching style is pretty well defined. We are perhaps more flexible and open to many possibilities, always listening to the students and encouraging them to try new things. We have always been passionate about teaching and been both available and supportive. If a student shows even a spark of interest we are there to assist them in reaching their goals. One important aspect of quiltmaking is that it is not a limiting art, but provides a wealth of possibilities and opportunities for the creative quiltmaker.
Q: What criteria did you use for choosing the patterns/fabrics/colors for the new book?
A: We started with a list of the techniques we wanted to cover in this edition. We selected appropriate patterns for each of the categories and then presented them from easiest to more challenging. Since we felt it was important to bring diversity to the book, we selected quiltmakers who were willing to add their own original designs to the line-up of patterns. Often many traditional/classic patterns were used but modified to best showcase the selected fabrics.
Q: What do you see happening 10 or 25 years from now?
A: We feel that the enthusiasm for quiltmaking will continue to grow because it is an art form offering so much variety. There is always something new in the industry: fabric, techniques, tools, etc. Quiltmakers love the camaraderie they find in working with other quilters. The bonds and friendships become very strong and supportive of our art form.

Discover Temari Balls

Barbara Suess first came across temari when living in Japan. Years later and oceans away in Alabama, her sister made the same discovery--an exquisite folk craft from ancient Japan that makes for beautiful handmade projects. These fun, colorful handballs require nothing more than a needle, threads, and enthusiasm. Click here to read an interview with Barbara, where she describes her books Temari Techniques and Japanese Temari, and explains what makes temari so addictive!

Sieglinde's Smiles Wins National Prize!

Take a close-up look at Sieglinde's new quilt, Smiles. This delightfully whimsical quilt won Ist Place for handwork and Viewer's Choice at The Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. Earlier this year, Sieglinde's quilt won the hand workmanship award at the American Quilters Society's Peducah, Ky, show. Judges praised the quilt for its exquisite workmanship as well as it's power to bring smiles to the faces of everyone who views it. The quilt is entirely sewn and embroidered by hand. The extraordinary amount to detail makes it hard to believe that it was made in less than a year. Sieglinde says that her inspiration came for the children's stories her German grandmother would read to her when she was little. Anyone who has read Hansel and Gretel or tales by Hans Christian Anderson or the Brother Grimm will immediately be enchanted by the quilt. The perfect hand workmanship, with every little stitch and embellishment lovingly worked into a rich and complex design, astounds even the most gifted hand quilters. The fact that Sieglinde did not take up quilting until she was 65 years old serves as an inspiration to us all! Click here to view printable images of this wonderful quilt! For more by Sieglinde, try her Mother Earth and Her Children Gift Trio by clicking here

Dierdra McElroy's Hand Quilting FAQs
Ever wondered why the stitches on top of the quilt are much bigger than the ones underneath? Why does your needle constantly bend or even snap while you quilt? Or why does your needle keep slipping off your thimble? And what can you do about painful hand and shoulder cramps? Expert quilter Dierdra McElroy, author of That Perfect Stitch answers all your questions--and helps you improve your quilting stitch. Click here to download her Q&A for hand quilters.

Mother Earth--A Musical Slideshow!

Look inside Sieglinde's Schoen Smith's bestelling childrens picture book--with a musical accompaniment! A beautiful 12-year old soprano sings a celtic melody about fairies who live in a grassy hillside. To download the slideshow, click here. Enjoy!

sample block 6

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