Workshops and Lectures

I’ve given lectures and taught workshops around the United States and in Europe. I’m passionate about sharing these stories and love meeting other textile aficionados and hearing their stories. Please contact me for more information on fees, scheduling, and more. I look forward to hearing from you!


Speaker at Art Quilts of the Midwest exhibit at Iowa Quilt Museum.jpg
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Lectures

The Story of Feed Sacks

Long before “sustainability” was a household word, people reused the fabric bags that once held everything from animal feed and seed to sugar and flour to ballots, hams, and even laxatives. Based on my book Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric, I’ll share both the beauty of feed sacks and their importance in the social and economic history of the times in which they were made and used. The lecture features historic photos, vintage advertising, and fabric patterns, as well as actual sacks and the clothing, quilts, and other items made from them. It is of interest to lovers of fashion, textiles and design, historians, quilters, and those with an interest in sustainability. 

Art Quilts of the Midwest

What influences the color, design, and content choices of an art quilter? Based on my book, Art Quilts of the Midwest, I discuss the way Midwestern art quilters use their medium to embrace or react to their region in creating their textile-based works of art. These 20 quilt artists were selected from a field of nearly 100 for inclusion in the book. Through interviews and writing profiles of each of them, I learned that inspiration for themes and techniques can come from things as diverse as the weather, landscape, neighbors (or lack of them), food, and much more. The lecture is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation featuring the work of artists included in Art Quilts of the Midwest.

My Unexpected Journey: Saying Yes to Quilts

I didn’t set out to be a fabric designer or to write two books and dozens of magazine articles and blog posts, and I certainly didn’t think I’d ever add “Independent Curator” to my resumé. I especially didn’t envision these things happening to me in mid-life. But my curiosity and love of learning, particularly about textiles, proved stronger than my fear of the unknown and after a lifetime of saying “I couldn’t possibly,” I started saying “Yes!” In this talk, designed to be both informative and inspirational, I share the way that my interest in textiles has led me to embrace challenges and be open to opportunity and how those ideas can be applied to quilt design. The accompanying PowerPoint presentation provides plenty of eye candy for lovers of textiles and quilts, including images from my books, museum exhibitions, trade shows, and more.

Workshops

String piecing 

Quilters of the feed sack era embraced string piecing as a way to use up every last fabric scrap. But it also offers countless design opportunities, which we'll explore through images of vintage and modern string-pieced quilts. Then you'll use your own scraps to create quilt blocks on a paper foundation. There’s no right or wrong way to string piece, so this technique is great for freeing quilters from worries about perfect points or fabrics that match exactly. Four blocks will make a striking pillow or keep going and you’ll soon have enough for an entire quilt.  

Stitch-And-Flip 

Stitch and flip quilts align with the feed sack-era mantra of using every last scrap. But this simple technique can be used to create lovely designs—you’ll learn to make this simple block and we’ll explore options for using it to create lively quilts. While this technique has been around for years, it offers endless variety and can be used to create cheerful, scrappy quilts or, when combined with solid fabrics, modern quilts with a clean, graphic feel. It’s a very freeing technique, perfect for releasing you from worries about the “quilt police.” It’s quick, too!

Goodness Grows Table Runner

The Goodness Grows pattern by Clark Street Quilts provides an opportunity to make log cabin blocks and learn a clever variation on string piecing. This project is a perfect way to use a line of fabric or a bunch of scraps to create a table runner that’ll have you thinking “spring” all year long. The finished runner measures 18” x 49” and you can complete it, or continue making flower blocks to create the 65” x 68”quilt that is also included in the pattern.