North Carolina Quilt Symposium

I recently spent 2 weeks mostly doing quilty things rather than cooking, doing laundry, hanging on the internet, etc. The time ended with the North Carolina Quilt Symposium at Lake Junaluska, NC.

View from the hotel at Lake Junaluska

This was one of the best events I have ever attended in terms of the quality of instruction. The friends who went with me agree, so it wasn’t just me in my little bubble 🙂

I took a class with Cheryl Brickey (see her website here), who was a wonderful instructor and showed us her personal method of designing modern-traditional quilts using EQ8 (Electric Quilt).  I have used EQ for ages (OK, since EQ5, and they are now up to EQ8) but she showed me some cool new tools I had never discovered.

Cheryl and me with the partially completed quilt I designed and made in class

My second class was with Lyric Kinard.  (Her website is here.)  I learned a lot about creating portraits in fabric.  Here is one that was done for practice at the beginning of the class.  It’s supposed to be the woman who was sitting across from me, but I did not take a photo of her for comparison 😀

This was just a quick practice piece; I promise the woman didn’t really have blue skin!

Lyric went on to teach a much more elaborate and realistic way to do a portrait in fabric, but mine isn’t even far enough along to show.  The whole class was useful and Lyric is an encouraging instructor.

The details of next year’s NC Quilt Symposium are not finalized, but if you want to know more about the symposium and what was available this year, visit the website at  I hope to see you there next year, especially, because I have agreed to help recruit teachers!  Come join the fun!

I was able to interview 3 of the teachers at NCQS, so look for posts about them coming up in the next few weeks.

Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild Show 2016

One of my local guilds had their biennial show recently, so of course I have many pictures of the quilts.  This is an opportunity to display the best needlework of many of our local quilters.

I’m starting with ten of the most elaborate ones.  The quality of the pictures is limited by both the lighting in the hall and the arrangement of quilts in 3-sided cul-de-sacs, the way it is done at AQS as well.  However, it is obvious that a lot of work went into these!Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild, Pamela McBride

Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild, Sandra Sneed

I’ve always meant to make one of these!

Smoky Mountain quilt Guild, Linda Hallatt

Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild show, Karen Burney

Though it is traditional, this is one of my favorites!

Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild, Frances Owl-SmithSmoky Mountain Quilt Guild Show 2016

Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild Show

Love the houses and trees!

Smoky Mountain Quilt GuildSmoky Mountain Quilt Guild ShowI’ll have more pictures from this show at a later date 🙂



Connie Brown, A North Carolina Quilter

Connie Brown quilter

Connie Brown 

Connie Brown and I met at the Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville.  She has been juried into membership in the Southern Highland Craft Guild, a prestigious organization promoting fine Southern Appalachian crafts.  I thought you would enjoy meeting her.

Give us the quick tour of your quilting career.  How did you get started?

My husband, son, and I moved to Asheville in 1989.  I knew no one in the area, so I signed up for a quilting class at Asheville-Biltmore Technical College.  The instructor, Mary Field, was the best.  Along with quilting basics, she taught me many sewing skills and shared her knowledge and love of antique quilts and quilt history.  By the end of the class she had encouraged me to join the Asheville Quilt Guild and a weekly bee. The first few meetings I attended featured presentations by quilt historians.  I really enjoyed quilt history, so I started studying antique quilts.

When/how did you decide to “go pro” by studying quilt history and appraisal, judging shows, and joining the Southern Highland Craft Guild (SHCG)?

Connie Brown, hand quilting

Connie demonstrates quilting at a Southern Highland Craft Guild event

After a few years of making quilts and entering them in both local and national shows, I put a couple in a gallery exhibit.  To my surprise, one sold and visitors were interested in my other quilts.  I knew about the SHCG, with its shops, marketing, and educational opportunities.  After selling that quilt in the art gallery, I decided to apply for membership and was juried in during 2000.  I have my quilts in their shops and participate in several of their events, including Fiber Day and Heritage Day (where I share my beekeeping), as well as others.

When people started calling me about the value of antique quilts, or what value to place on a quilt they were entering in a show, I saw a need for a local certified quilt appraiser.  I put my years of studying quilt history and my knowledge of local quilt sales to use and focused on becoming a certified quilt appraiser.  In 2009, I was certified by the AQS (American Quilters Society) as an Appraiser of Quilted Textiles.

What is your favorite of the quilts you have made?

I love making circles and Drunkard’s Path units!  My 3 favorite quilts so far are:

Connie Brown quilter

Color Cascade

“Color Cascade aka Prints Charming”  includes more than 500 scraps.  The pattern for this quilt is in the September 2012 issue of American Quilter Magazine.  This is machine pieced and machine quilted.

Connie Brown quilt“V-Spot Target Attack” is also made entirely by machine.

Finally, “Tiffilippa” was inspired by a Tiffany lampshade.  I couldn’t throw away the trimmed off “waste”, so I used it as a border.

How much time do you spend quilting?  How do you have time to quilt, participate in guilds, keep bees, substitute teach, and still eat and sleep?

Every day I do something quilt related, whether it’s making quilts, studying, visiting an exhibit, or writing appraisals.  I always carry something to work on in my down time when I substitute teach.

How far do you travel with your quilt activities?  And what do you have coming up?

I’ll be at the Folk Art Center (on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville) for National Quilting Day (March 19, 2016).  I’ll be hosting a quilt sharing day with an exhibition of 4 or 5 antique quilts, and people are invited to bring older quilts they have questions about.  I won’t be doing appraisals that day, but it’s a free event and a good opportunity for people who may have quilts they wonder about.  It can help them decide whether the quilt needs a formal appraisal.

This year I will be offering appraisals at the AQS shows in Paducah and Chattanooga as well as in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina during the Cobblestone Quilt Show.  My fees for written appraisals are $75 per quilt, but during these events the charge is $50 per quilt. Each appraisal takes a minimum of 2 hours, including meeting with the client, travel, research and preparation, and typing the report.

To see more of Connie’s quilts, visit her webpage at

You may email Connie at

7 Quilts

The Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville had a show at the Handmade in America gallery this summer. Here are a few of the quilts. Unfortunately, there were difficulties with photography so the pictures aren’t as good as I’d like, but these quilts are just too good to pass up.

Quilt Show

Grumpy Cat. by Diana Cantor

Modern Quilt Show

Through the Open Window, by Amy Anderson

Modern Quilt show

Dreamsicle, by Kelly Wood

modern quilt show

This, That, and the Other, by Miriam Coffey

modern quilt show

Fantastical Astronomy, by Erica Kilgo

improvised modern quilt

Karla Made Me Do It, by Mary Puckett

Modern Quilt Guild Asheville

Migration, by Emily Coffey

The Modern Quilt Guild of Asheville continues to grow and thrive, so look for more news in the future!

Meet Lee Monroe of May Chappell Patterns

Images for this post are the property of Lee Chappell Monroe, May Chappell and used with permission.

Lee Monroe

Lee Chappell Monroe

Lee is a North Carolina quilter, designer, and teacher who came to my attention through her blog, which is titled May Chappell. Like a lot of other people, I initially thought May Chappell must be her name. Here’s her explanation of where the name of the blog actually came from:

Why May Chappell? There are always loads of questions about why the company is May Chappell and not Lee Chappell Monroe. You can read all about it here. The short version is that it is named for an awesome lady, my great grandmother.
Lee designs quilt patterns and sells them through quilt shops.  She went to quilt market for the first time last year, hoping to give her patterns a wider audience.  In addition to quilts, she designs pouches and “loves all things fabric”.  Like many modern quilt designers, she is trained as a graphic artist.  Here’s one of her quilt patterns:

May Chappell quilt

All Strung Up, a May Chappell design

And here are a few questions Lee was kind enough to answer for me, as well as pictures of more of her patterns:
tote bag pattern

Here’s a tote bag Lee designed to use mini-charm squares

Q:  Where do you think the quilting field is going?

A: This is a toughie. I usually see trends in the questions that I get from my students. I’ve had a lot of students lately that are self taught and they’re interested in learning more about precision. I’m a big believer that there is more than one right way to do things in quilting, but there sure are some wrong ways!
Q: What about your personal quilting future?
A: I have new patterns coming for Spring Market that I’m really excited about. I’m a terrible secret keeper so I usually want to put out the design right as I draw it!
Q: I know you took your patterns to quilt market, but where could I buy them?  I don’t see them on your website [Note: They ARE on her website, at least now.  Silly me 😉 ]

Eye Candy quilt

Eye Candy, one of Lee’s quilt patterns

Designer star quilt

Lee’s Designer Star Quilt. If you go to her website/shop you can see a picture of the whole thing.

A:  I love designing patterns and the printed patterns are available through local quilt shops. Because I also teach quilting at local shops, I’m a huge advocate for supporting local! Quilt shops are a huge resource for the sewing and quilting community. If your shop doesn’t have my patterns, they’re available through the distributors. You can also purchase PDF patterns through my website here. I teach all over North Carolina and I’m starting to expand out across the country. Teaching is my favorite part of my job; I’m passionate about quilting and I love sharing that. You can see my teaching schedule on my website, too.

Q: Show us something pretty you’ve made lately!
A: This is a table runner I made for my brother using my Blue Ridge pattern.
table runner quilt

Table runner by Lee Monroe

This post ran longer than usual, but that’s because I just HAD to explain a little about why Lee Monroe has a blog named May Chappell 🙂

Meet Jo Glover–The BigStitch Quilter

big stitch quilting

BigStitch Quilting by Jo Glover

Big Stitch quilting has gotten to be a big deal in the past few years, so I was thrilled when Jo Glover, who published the original directions for BigStitch Quilting, spoke to our guild last year.  She agreed to be interviewed for this blog.  Here’s what she said about her development of the technique:

Jo Glover photo

Jo Glover

“In 1988, when I started quilting, I was more interested in the line designs of the quilting, rather than the patchwork.  It frustrated me that my fine hand quilting–natural thread on muslin background–didn’t show.”

“In 1991, I went to Japan and saw their sashiko with its strong visual impact.  Thick light thread on solid dark fabric.”

big stitch quilting

Another sample of Jo’s BigStitch Quilting

 “Upon my return to the US, I started using a high contrast #8 pearl cotton, longer stitches, with the traditional rocker motion of hand quilting with a hoop and thimble.
I was pleased to find that larger scale designs looked good with the longer, thicker stitches.  The new needlepunched cotton battings permitted a longer distance between quilting lines.”

BigStitch quilting

Jo Demonstrates BigStitch Quilting

“BigStitch was coined in the booklet I wrote and copywrited in 1993 (under my name at the time, Jo Walters).  It still sells.”   [You can get a copy of Jo’s booklet directly from her for $7.50; just e-mail her at GloverGirl52 at gmail dot com for her mailing address, and of course give her your address.]
 “To reach a wider audience, I uploaded a series of BigStitch lessons.  They are available at no cost on YouTube; just search “BigStitch Jo Glover” for the 5 lessons and Gallery.  I’m for the preservation of hand quilting.” [Here is the link to Jo’s YouTube lessons.  I am so impressed that she did this!]
BigStitch quilting

Matisse’s Goldfish, by Jo Glover

 “Right now, I’m stitching straight lines about 1/3 inch apart, using crochet thread AND NO HOOP OR THIMBLE, ssshhhh.  My friend Jane Cole brought this style, called chiku-chiku, to my attention.  (Chiku-chiku is the sound a sewing machine makes when stitching) Jane got it from Quiltmania magazine, issue # 100, in an article featuring the originator, Akiko Ike.”

Jo Glover quilting

Pillow with close lines of BigStitch quilting by Jo Glover

 “Mixing fine hand quilting, BigStitch, and machine quilting (and now, chiku-chiku) in the same quilt is fantastic.  I do prefer solids or hand dyed fabrics to showcase the hand stitching.  I see many Modern quilters featuring their machine quilting on solids, and that’s great.”
Quilt by Jo Glover

Amerika Blooms by Jo Glover

 “Quilters I have known and loved include Gwen Marston, Jonathan Shannon, my friend Jane Cole, the Gee’s Bend quilters, Fran Skiles, Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen, and Yoshiko Jinzenji.”

Gallery Show!

applique art quilt

Leaf, made in class with Laura Wasilowski

The Asheville Modern Quilt Guild is lucky enough to meet in a nice conference room in the building occupied by both the Quilt Alliance and the Handmade in America organization.  Because of those connections (and the quality of our work) we will be having a show of our members’ work at the gallery maintained by Handmade in America.  This is an organization representing craft artists from Western North Carolina (that would be us!) The work they represent is very high quality, so we are thrilled to be invited to display our work in their gallery, located at 125 S. Lexington Avenue in Asheville.  (The entrance is on Hilliard Avenue between Church and S. Lexington.)

I’m including pictures in this post of the works I’m submitting, but I hope any of you whoshow announcement are in the area will come see the show.  It will run April 29 – August 19, with an opening reception 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 4.  We have several fine quilters in our group, and they really do make “all kinds of quilts”, as the title of the exhibit suggests.  Please come!


Improv I, my original design

pieced quilt original design

Bubble Up, my oritinal design



Pop-up Show

quilt show

Asheville Modern Quilt Guild Show

Here are some pictures from the Asheville Modern Quilt Guild’s Pop-up Quilt Show, held Sunday, March 16 at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We had good attendance and gained several new members!  As you can see, we had some members demonstrating quilt making, as well.  If you missed it, the Guild will have a show at the Handmade in America gallery in Asheville from mid-May through mid-August.  Meanwhile, here are some of our members and their quilts:

First, here’s Diana Kantor with her amazing table runner.  It has 3-D folded flowers and leaves in addition to that beautiful quilted design in the center!

quilted table runner

Diana Kantor

And here’s Erica Kilgo with her very fun Bricks and Bubbles quilt:

modern quilt

Erica Kilgo

Here’s Amy Anderson with three of her beautiful quilts:

modern quilts

Amy Anderson

Here is Connie Brown with some of her amazing art quilts:

art quilts

Connie Brown

Emily and Miriam Coffey weren’t able to be there, so I don’t have their pictures, but here is one of their beautiful quilts:

modern quilt

Emily and Miriam Coffey’s quilt

And of course we had our Opportunity Quilt on display so people could take an interest and maybe even buy tickets:

modern quilt

Asheville Modern Quilt Guild Opportunity Quilt

Hopefully you’ve found these quilts inspiring.  If you’re interested in joining our guild, here is a link to our Facebook page.

Next week I’m starting a series on designing your own quilts.