Wednesday, June 15, 2016


My creative friend Misty Cole has designed an unusual and intriguing block of the month - poison bottles! She asked me to interpret two of them, so here they are.

The first bottle looks a lot like Misty's sample. I chose a brown background, and because of the word "poison" I couldn't stop thinking about poison ivy, so I added some. I thought it looked sort of like an old bottle you might find tucked in the back of a barn, and wouldn't it be ironic for it to be sitting in some poison ivy?


The background and bottle were created from fabrics I designed in photoshop, while the leaves are hand dyed.

I think it's kind of fun.

The next bottle Misty calls a "coffin" bottle. Well, it looked kind of like a vase to me, so I went with that. I went a little wild and carefree with this one, screen printing the flowers and using some fabric I designed for the vase.


After quilting.

I was going for sort of a retro cut glass look on the bottle.

I like the flowers, but feel that the white ones still need something - maybe a few lazy daisies in the centers and some French knots?

If you'd like to join in the fun head over to Misty's blog and download these free patterns.

Thanks for inviting me to play, Misty!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Happy "B" Day to Me!

I have some really big news that I've been remiss in not sharing earlier. To get right to the point, I'm a BERNINA Ambassador!!! What does this mean? I get the privilege of sewing on a fabulous new BERNINA 770 QE, and in return I'll be sharing some of my quilting and sewing expertise in a variety of ways for BERNINA. Here's a photo of my beautiful machine:

We've all read gushy blog posts using terms like "over the moon" and "beyond excited", but in this case those terms genuinely apply. I've been a "BERNINA girl" since about 1987, and never looked back. I truly feel at one with both my workhorse 1130 and this beauty due to the amazing responsiveness of the foot pedal. The electronics of their foot pedals give me perfect control when free motion quilting, which makes all the difference.

So, in order to get acquainted with my 770 QE I was given lessons at Bear's Paw Fabrics in Towson, Maryland. The staff was so kind, welcoming, and knowledgeable! Here's Judy Munro, the owner, and Noreen, one of my teachers, on the day I got my first lesson.
Judy Munro of Bear's Paw Fabrics in Towson, MD

My amazing teacher Noreen. She really knows her stuff, and her enthusiasm is contagious!
I'm working on a "top secret" project right now (shown folded to the left of the machine in the photo above), and it's going great. Some of the things I already love about the 770 QE include:

- The light, look at all of that light!
- The large harp.
- Can't live without a knee lift.
- The thread cutter and needle threader.
- The machine is sophisticated, yet quite user friendly.
- The touch screen provides loads of information about the settings with just the touch of a button.
- The huge bobbin.
- As always, the phenomenal stitch quality.

In short, I love it, and am honored to have this opportunity to use it.

In other news, as an extension of my editorial duties for Machine Quilting Unlimited I've been blogging for the magazine twice a week. Look for posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at . In my latest post (yesterday's) I share 10 of my best tips for free motion quilting success, so why not go check it out?

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 01, 2016

Dinner at Eight - Affinity

Last year I once again had the pleasure of being juried into the invitational exhibit for the Dinner at Eight Artists. The theme was "Affinity", and I chose to represent my affinity for color (see blog name). I never really posted much about my quilt, but better late than never!
Paint the Town Red ©2015 Diane Rusin Doran

Detail Paint the Town Red ©2015 Diane Rusin Doran

Here's a link to a youtube video where I discuss the quilt for the Quilt Alliance Go Tell it at the Quilt Show! project.

As usual, I created a digital collage for my 40 x 40 inch piece. I began with a photo I took on my first iPhone about five years ago. It was a chance snapshot of a very bright door in Fort Worth, Texas. We were visiting my sister-in-law and had just finished eating breakfast at a local eatery. I took an antsy child to the car, and saw this beautiful doorway across the street. Here's the original photo with it's inspirational bright red door framed by an amazing tree:
And if you look very closely, my reflection is in the window pane to the left of the door. (I hadn't even noticed that reflection until today!)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sacred Threads - A Little Bird Told Me

I've been remiss in blogging about this year's wonderful Sacred Threads exhibit. We were out of town for most of the duration of the show, but I was delighted to go Friday morning and record an interview for Quilter's SOS and, more importantly, look at the exhibit. I didn't expect to be as moved as I was; it was a remarkable experience.

As I wandered through the exhibit several other quilters were being filmed for their interviews. Hearing the stories of the quilts in their own words and voices was wonderful. There was also an audio tour, available by phone, and again hearing the voices of the artists made the exhibit even more meaningful.

I had two quilts in the exhibit, California Dreaming, which I've blogged about before, and a new quilt made expressly to enter in Sacred Threads. It's called A Little Bird Told Me.
A Little Bird Told Me copyright 2015 Diane Rusin Doran

Detail, A Little Bird Told Me copyright 2015 Diane Rusin Doran
Here's an approximation of what I recorded for the audio tour for this quilt:

We found out in August 2013 that my mother had malignant melanoma. After months of enduring surgery, infection, infusions, and many hospitalizations for a variety of serious side effects, we knew that most likely she was nearing the end. In May of 2014 I went to stay with her for the weekend, as my father was in the hospital and my mother could not care for herself. She had become more and more forgetful and depressed, but never complained. We finally took her off one of her medications, for cholesterol, and it seemed to really perk her up. She was still somewhat forgetful, but so pleasant to be around. That weekend, to my surprise, she took me up on my suggestion to go for a walk in the park behind her house. It was a stunningly beautiful, perfect spring day, glowing with light and new growth. As we walked, I realized that it almost seemed as if she were already in heaven, and I was visiting her there. It was a dreamlike experience, and I’m so grateful not only that I shared it with her, but also that when it happened I had the presence of mind to recognize the beauty of it. This piece represents the glow of that day. The two birds are my mother and I, both blue as that is the color we both wear so much. As a child, when I asked her how she knew something, she often said “a little bird told me”, so that’s why I chose the birds and the title. The buttercups are a melancholy touch, as she could not remember what kind of flower they were and asked me their name during the walk. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Things

A couple of fun and exciting things have happened recently.

- I went to the AQS show in Lancaster. It was wonderful to see so many lovely quilts.

- I won a Judge's Choice award at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival for California Dreaming. Yeah!
California Dreaming copyright Diane Rusin Doran

- I'm so pleased to have two of my quilts (Winter's Tarnish and Return of the Grackle) featured in the April/May issue of Quilting Arts in Jane Davila's article on filler stitching, plus a full page ad for Craft Daily featuring Sunrise Serenade as the backdrop. (All these quilts are on my "Recent Quilts" page.)

- I finished a small quilt! When I find out if it was accepted to the exhibit I entered it in I'll share all the details.

I was so wishing spring would have arrived by now, but alas, this is how it looks in my neck of the woods today:

Here's hoping spring has already sprung for you.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

NEW Work for FFAC 2015

I am very honored to be an invited artist for "The 100" to be held tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4, 2015 . The goal for this fiber fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is to raise $10,000 in one day.

How? All the details are here:, but here are the basics: On February 4, the first 100 people to contact Virginia Spiegel (Virginia(at) beginning at 10 a.m. Central will be given a link to donate $100 by credit card directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause.  Each donor will receive an artwork from one of the 100 artists who have generously donated their work. Assignments of artwork will be made using a random number generator. 

I'm sure you will want to be one of the very exclusive 100 patrons who will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists. 

Here is my contribution, Leaves/Reflections 1
Leaves/Reflections 1, © Diane Rusin Doran 2015
11.5 x 11.25 inches
Digital collage, Machine quilting

Fiberart For A Cause has already raised $240,000 through the generosity of fiber artists and patrons. I've been a participant several times before. This year I especially wanted to contribute, but at the same time it was very difficult for me. This is the first piece I've made since May of 2014.
Detail Leaves/Reflections 1 ©Diane Rusin Doran 2015

My mother was diagnosed with metastatic Melanoma in August of 2013. She had surgery that fall, and we rejoiced when it seemed that it was "only" stage 3. Unfortunately, in February of 2014 we learned that the disease had spread further. The months between then and her death on July 8 were a blur of doctor's appointments, infusions, and emergency room visits. My brother, sister and I tried to go to as many of these with our parents as we could, and we counted ourselves lucky to be able to do so.  

I've seen the impact of cancer on other family members, but this was truly overwhelming. I hope that by doing my small part I can help just a little to prevent someone else from going through something like this. I don't want anyone else to have to miss their mom the way that I miss mine, or watch her go through so much.

To preview some of the other artwork go to our Pinterest board, .

Thank you!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Sue Reno's Printing Expertise

The first time I saw Sue Reno's work in person was in 2006 (see this blog post). I was struck by the graphic impact of her work, along with the skillful design of the piece. I was later lucky enough to meet Sue at the big quilt show in Houston (maybe in 2007?) and spend a little time with her, as well as at a show in Lancaster shortly after that.
"Fireball" copyright Sue Reno

You don't have to know Sue long to realize what an intelligent and thoughtful person she is, and these qualities are clearly reflected in her work. When I found out she was making an instructional DVD for Interweave I was very excited for her, and I couldn't wait to see it!

Well, the wait is over, and it's worth it“Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt”  is now available as both a DVD ($24.99) or a digital download ($19.99) from the Quilting Daily Shop. Sue covers four printing techniques as well as strategies for using the prints in compositions and quilting them to best advantage.

I love printing fabric using a variety of techniques, and have tried cyanotype, heliograph, collagraph and Thermofax printing with varying levels of success in the past. What I admire about Sue's presentation of these techniques is that she has perfected a process for each one that works for her. She demonstrates these four methods of printing in a straight forward, approachable, and yet very thorough manner. Following her instructions, I feel that most artists could create successful prints of their own in no time.

In addition to demonstrating these techniques, Sue discusses options for combining prints in a variety of different ways. I particularly appreciate the way she uses more than one variety of printing technique in a single art quilt and is able to create a cohesive composition.

Finally, Sue pulls her pieces together with well planned quilting. Her tips for ways to quilt the prints are great. In my experience I usually feel that my prints are "precious" and difficult to showcase, but Sue manages to do so with ease.

Bottom line, I love it! If you are ready to try your hand at printing I think this DVD would serve you well.

Several other friends of Sue's are also participating in this blog tour. Here's a schedule so you can stop by and see what they have to say:

11/5/14: Sue Reno 
11/6/14: Susan Brubaker Knapp 
11/7/14: Allie Aller 
11/8/14: Diane Doran 
11/9/14: Vivien Zepf 
11/10/14: Virginia Spiegel 
11/11/14: Cynthia St. Charles 
11/12/14: Natalya Aikens 
11/13/14: Lyric Kinard