Thursday, December 29, 2016



Return invitations are really nice!  In 2017 I will be returning to teach with the American Quilter's Society at Quiltweek in Grand Rapids, MI---August 16-19. Stay tuned for details


Madeline Island School of the Arts, October 2-6 for a 5 day workshop. 
A Quilter's Mark Making Study

Wishing you big times at the quiltings in 2017----"We had big times at the quiltings and big eatin' afterwards. They would make two quilts a night and they were nice quilts too with hems and everything. The Nine Patch pattern was a beauty, with little squares no bigger than your thumb nail."  From an interview with Lizzie Fanta Brown at age seventy-six, Mississippi, in Cloth and Comfort by Roderick Kiracofe,1994

CHECKING THE STITCHES ON THE BACK OF THE QUILT...and he doesn't look impressed

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Once upon a time, my quilting library was growing with books reflecting my roots. I was delighted to find Old Swedish Quilts by Asa Wettre, English language edition 1995, Interweave Press. I turned to this book recently to study a few quilts which promise to influence some aspects of my next quilt. Old quilts have much to offer our modern imaginations and efforts. 

If you look closely, you might be able to see that I "marked" a page with a quilt I thought had mark making appeal. Some of you already know that I am offering a 5 day workshop at the Madeline Island School of the Arts in 2017

On this winter solstice (a popular mid-winter festival for Scandinavians) let me introduce my Papa, my grandfather Knute Johnson. Born in Boras Sweden in 1893, Knute arrived at the port of Boston in 1912 and in Muskegon Michigan in 1913. He served in the US Army Air Force in WWI. Here is Papa photographed in his uniform.

Two buttons from his uniform were found in my grandmother's button box. Imagine, I held them in my hand and they stepped out from the photo and pulled me back in time. Knute and Rena were married in 1919. They survived the flu pandemic, and Nana was among the first women allowed to vote in US elections. 

Charming sayings and wisdom embroidered on a Bride's quilt caught my attention, Old Swedish Quilts p. 134,  "A hut a heart and a potato" "Do not complain at the wrong moment" "The one who does not go forwards goes backwards" "Rest is sweet after finished work" and "Poor Zaar!" 

I might not have been interested in Swedish quilts if not for Papa's roots. Family heritage and quilt tradition can intersect making rich pieces to stitch together. Each piece is important to the whole. Story telling, sharing and making quilts might stitch us together. 

a peek at a selection from my stash to get me started on my new old Swedish quilt----

Friday, December 9, 2016


FAR AFIELD  12" X 14"

Presenting........a collaboration by Wayne and I. Now available in our Etsy shop  to "wrap up" the holiday shopping season.

In this piece, Gwen Marston's liberated quiltmaking ideas migrate from the sewing room to the wood shop. Explore, make it up as you go along, be inspired by the materials at hand and enjoy the process. Improvisation is engaging, liberating.   Seasons Greetings!