Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Cotton Patch!

This year is the 30th year celebration of our local quilt shop, The Cotton Patch in Lafayette, CA. Carolie Hensley, the owner is passionate about her business. As a thank you to all of her customers,has invited a guest artist each month to give a trunk show of their quilts.

We were honored to be to be part of this exciting celebration. The first week in January we arrived with suitcases filled with approximately 60 quilts, including our first ones as well as our wedding quilts. Laura also brought her wedding dress, which was made entirely by hand using French hand sewing techniques. After a year of hand sewing and the help of Diana, Laura finished the dress just days before the big event.

In addition to the 70+ customers that came to celebrate the success of The Cotton Patch, Laura’s 80-year-old mother came to see the quilts and hear the stories. We were so grateful to be part of this happy occasion and be surrounded and inspired by the fabulous fabric selection at this special shop.

Happy Birthday Cotton Patch! We love you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Readers' Choice Awards

We just received our Feb/March issue of Quilter’s Newsletter magazine and reading the article on the first-ever Quilter’s Newsletter Readers’ Choice Awards. We were thrilled to see so many of our well-deserving friends included in the line-up for most influential people in the quilting industry and favorite teachers.

Then to our surprise and delight… we found our names among the list! Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!, our first book, published in 1988, was named the most helpful book for beginning quilters.

But wait, there’s more!

Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar was given the award for the Favorite quilting retreat. We are so very honored. Thank you readers and all of you who have supported our books and seminars for more than 20 years. We appreciate you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

There was such electricity in the air at the Northern California Quilt Council meeting. It was a special “Meet the Teachers” event with 30 talented quilt teachers promoting their lectures and workshops. Quilt shops and guilds had an opportunity to see the samples and hear what each one has to offer.

It was an outstanding show of very exciting quilts. There was even a workshop for making some adorable quilt shoes. Laura was one of the presenters and wore her apron with a home-baked sugar cookie and heart napkin tucked into the pocket. In fact, each of the 100 packets of brochures included one of the cookies. If you would like a copy of the brochure with a description of the lectures and workshops, visit our web site.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inspiration is where you find it!

We are frequently asked where we find our inspiration for designing new patterns. While I (Laura) was teaching at Tennessee Quilters last summer I was greeted by an enlarged version of the house pattern featured in our book Q is for Quilt. I had a wonderful time teaching at their annual Quilt Fest , a must go if ever you are in the Jonesborough area. Better yet, plan a trip. It is well worth it!

This shop has everything. Check out their extensive inventory at . I was so touched and inspired by the quilt that I shared the idea with Diana.

We expanded on the idea and came up with "Our House" quilt pattern. It was a showstopper and looked so cute in our booth at Market. One local shop liked the pattern but didn't have the Michael Miller flower print on the ground so decided to make their own collage of flowers. What a great idea. We love all the creativity that the patterns inspire. As soon as the quilt returns from the quilter I will post an image so you can all enjoy this adorable new design.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We love working with Asian fabrics...

We shared a delicious lunch together at a lovely Japanese restaurant. We were inspired by the simplicity of the lines and designs and presentation of the box lunches. When a box of fabric arrived from Kona Bay fabrics we knew immediately that we wanted to capture the memory of that lunch.

Our Asian Teacup quilt will be featured in August in an article in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. We’ll keep you updated as you won’t want to miss seeing this new design. Complete yardage and instructions will be included as well as some beautiful photos of our sewing studio.

In the meantime, check out our best-selling patterns that showcase some beautiful Asian fabrics including: Bamboo/Pinwheels, Sensu (upper right), Through the Window and Shoji Screen (lower right).

Sign up now for Empty Spools August 2009

We want you to get this information early so you can sign up for Laura’s exciting class at Asilomar Aug. 30 to Sept. 4, 2009.

Imagine the bliss of spending five days of quiltmaking with me! Visit the Empty Spools web site at and click on Session V. You will find all the information about the class, as well as a registration form.

There is an article on the Feb/March 2009 issue of The Quilter magazine (pg. 62-64) featuring incredible images by our photographer, Gregory Case. These photos highlight what a beautiful setting Asilomar is, located on the Monterey Peninsula of California. Don’t miss this opportunity to spend time both enjoying the ocean and creating quilts. I would love the opportunity to work with you for five full days!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shop online at our website!

We are so excited to announce that you can now shop online at our website,

We have installed a secure shopping cart, and all of our books, DVD and patterns are available for purchase.

We hope you'll start the new year by taking a minute to browse through the patterns and find something that gets you excited about sewing! We have such a variety of patterns that will make great wall hangings, table runners, aprons, and more -- something for every quilter.

If you order any of our books through our website, we'll even autograph them! Just let us know in the "comments" section of the order form, and we'll take care of it.

Santa's Elves caught in the act: Tea for Two Aprons make great gifts

The most appreciated and talked about gift this past Christmas was the Two For Tea apron, pattern #143. We were recently hunting through a box of old aprons and found one made by Diana’s mother in the 40s. Tucked in the bottom of the pocket was her original paper pattern. What a treasure! We knew we had to make more, and that’s exactly what we did.

We spent an entire day with two of our friends sewing these adorable aprons to give to our loved ones. While we were sewing, we had a surprise visit from Alex Anderson who stopped by to see what we were doing. Alex's website at has lots of great information, and her daily blog is full of fun and useful tidbits. Check out this videocast from her December 17 visit, for a sneak peak at our workshop, and the Apron Assembly Session. These are quick and easy gifts and perfect for any holiday. I’m sure we’ll be making more for Valentine’s Day.

Let us know if too make one. We always enjoy seeing what you do with our designs, and post photos of finished items on our website.