The Singing Quilter Newsletter

May 2012

In this issue:

    A great story from Lodi WI
    Australian Shadows pattern
.    Next Cruise: Fall Colours, September 2013
.    New class: Notan Design
.    Solutions: Mock Mola fraying
.    Upcoming
. What I'm working on


This was our show at Mill House Quilts
in Waunakee, Wisconsin

     Cathy Miller and her husband John Bunge, of Victoria BC Canada travel the world singing songs about quilts, quilters and quilting.  For further information, visit the website at Or email them at

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John and I are home now, from our spring travels around North America.  We met so many wonderful quilters, and felt very welcomed and well taken care of at every guild.  Thank you everyone!

I tried to get this newsletter out before this, but ran into some issues with my program and the hotel room Internet connections, so I gave up and waited till we got home to send this.

We had a great visit to Wisconsin, meeting some old friends, visiting some Frank Lloyd Wright buildings (check out the blog for pictures), and discovering new quilt shops!  We also returned to Winnipeg (almost 12 years since we sang one song to them!), Moose Jaw Saskatchewan and finished off in Kuna Idaho (near Boise).

Happy quilting,


If this is the first newsletter from me you've received, welcome!  I send them out periodically, when there's something I think you'll be interested in.  If you'd like to follow our doings more often, join my Facebook "fan" page (link at the left) or the blog (where I often write about our travels).

If you would like to be removed from this list, send an email to with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.

We have only three states left to visit in the United States!  If you know anyone who lives in Mississippi, Arkansas, or West Virginia who has contacts to quilt guilds there, please let us know!  We can't possibly retire until we've sung in them all...


Here's a great story that was told to me after our show in Lodi Wisconsin.

A man pulls up to the US border station, just after 9/11. Behind him, a van full of quilters on a spree. The officials search everything, and he has the look of smugness that comes from knowing there's NOTHING they will find. They open the trunk - empty. Then, the spare tire compartment. It's FULL of fabric!! Not an empty space to be had. His face registers total shock - he had no idea it was there. The quilters fall over laughing, as do the border crossing guards.

His wife (who will hear about this when he gets home): BUSTED!!!




Australian Shadows Pattern

Due to popular demand, I have released the pattern for my Australian Shadows quilt.
The finished size is 52 x 65", and is a great way to use fabric collections like African, Japanese, or Australian Aboriginal prints.
It's an easy pattern, that goes together like a log cabin.
This quilt was inspired by the book "Casting Shadows" by Colleen Wise.

You can order the pattern ($10.00) from my website:
Follow the links to "Quilting" and "Patterns".
Alternatively, send me an email and order it directly!


Mark Your Calendars
Fall Colours Cruise, September 2013

We have just confirmed with John Rumsby and Cruise Ship Centres here in Victoria BC that our next quilting cruise will be from September 22 (from Quebec City) to October 2nd (arriving New York City).  Your two teachers will be Susan Purney-Mark and me.  Once again, we'll be hosted by Holland America. We'll have something special for you in Halifax - a class on shore with a world-famous quilter, as well as optional tours of New York City after we disembark.  If you've travelled with us before, you'll know we have lots of fun. We always start with a concert, and continue with a group cocktail party and classes (only when we're at sea, so we don't interfere with your port explorations).  At some point, I steal away all the non-quilting partners to write a song together, which we all sing at the final concert.  There's show and tell, door prizes and lots of time for enjoying the brilliant maple leaves and history of the area.

Sept 22/13 Quebec City (overnight)
Sept 23/13 Quebec City 4:00 p.m. Depart
Sept 24/13 Cruising Gulf of St. Lawrence Cruising only - QUILTING!!!
Sept 24/13 Scenic cruising Saguenay Fjord - maybe some QUILTING!!!
Sept 25/13 Charlottetown Prince Edward Island 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, ANYONE?)
Sept 26/13 Sydney Nova Scotia 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (HISTORIC LOUISBURG)
Sept 27/13 Halifax Nova Scotia 8:00am to 5:00 pm
Sept 28/13 Bar Harbour, Maine Tender 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sept 29/13 Boston, Massachusetts 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sept 30/13 At Sea - QUILTING!!!
Oct 01/13 Newport, Rhode Island 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Oct 02/13 New York, New York 7:00 am

Once the pricing details are released, I'll put them up on my website.  Or, you could contact John directly and let him know you're interested in finding out more.

New Class: NOTAN Design

In August I'll be teaching three one-hour classes at the Quilt Festival in Birmingham on NOTAN design.  I've made lots of reference to this technique of light/dark design development in my Mock Mola classes, but this is an opportunity to teach this simple and striking tool all by itself.

So, I thought - why not offer it as a full-day class too?  Students will start in the morning by playing with designs on paper. We'll explore what happens when the designs are cut symmetrically, asymmetrically, mirrored and double-flipped. Then, in the afternoon, each student's favourite design from the morning will be done in fabric, using my Mock Mola™ appliqué technique. Here are a couple of designs from my NOTAN Facebook challenge from last July.



Solutions: Mock Mola Fraying

Have you taken a class in Mock Mola Appliqué from me? If so, you have heard me talk about the "hairy-ness" of the technique (it is raw edge, after all).  To minimize the fray factor, I've sometimes encouraged students to use curved lines, and I've recently suggested laying the top fabric at a 45 degree angle to the design, if there are lots of straight lines.  But I wanted to find another answer to this problem. 

The labyrinth design below is almost all on-grain.  I chose a really cheap and fairly coarse black fabric on top. There are lots of fray possibilities here! First, I sewed the top section normally, using a straight stitch, cut it out, then sewed a meander on top of the black to catch the edges. Yuck! There were huge threads hanging off everywhere!

Then I did some satin stitch on the cut section to finish off the edges.  Still pretty messy, because it was cut out before I finished the edge.

I finally started on the bottom section of the labyrinth, sewing a satin stitch on the black BEFORE I cut it out!  That's the ticket!  Then, rather than leaving a scant 1/16" away from the sewing line, I cut as close to it as I could, without cutting through the colour layer.  It only required a little bit of trimming frayed threads away afterwards.  

This quilt will be finished before we go to Boulder Colorado in August to do a taping of The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. I'm very excited about showing them this cool technique!


What I'm Working On


. My next job is to write up the class notes for the NOTAN classes I'll be teaching in Birmingham England in August. Class participants will be working with paper to design their pieces, and we'll have an hour to experiment.

. I'm officially "under the gun" in writing the World's Biggest Hexagon song!  It's okay - I LIKE working under pressure!  We have a couple of weeks at home soon, and that's when I'll be looking for inspiration.  Wish me luck....

.  Yes, I'm still working on hexagons!!! 1/2" this time, in a snowflake pattern. It's going slowly, since I'm having some tendon problems in my left arm, so I can't do too many at a time.

.  I'll be home for a few weeks before we leave for Australia.  During that time, I'll be finishing up the new Mock Mola pieces, and seeing what else I can produce - I need lots of quilts for The Quilt Show taping in August!

Upcoming Tours:

Spring Tour US and Canada:

June 13/14 Sequim WA concert and Mock Mola class
June 23     Newcastle NSW AUSTRALIA concert
June 28-April 1 Townsville QLD - SCQuilters Retreat
July 4        Atherton QLD concert
July 5        Mossman QLD concert
July 6        Mossman QLD Mock Mola class
July 7        Cairns QLD Mock Mola class
July 12      Gatton QLD - Sew Creative (shop) concert
July 13      Brisbane QLD - House concert

July 26      Spokane WA (USA) 2 shows at 1pm and 7pm

August 2   Boulder CO - taping The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and
                  Alex Anderson

August 16-19 Birmingham England - Festival of Quilts
August 21 Northampton UK - Hamtune Quilt Guild concert
August 23 Haslemere, Suffolk UK concert

John is starting to plan our next huge tour in 2014, again around the perimeter of the US and Canada. The confirmed gigs are up on the website already.

For details on any of these performances, please get in touch, or visit the website where there are contact addresses for each performance.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  Feel free to share it in its entirety.  If you have any suggestions of things you would like to hear about, please get in touch at .
© Cathy Miller, May 2012