Archives for January 2015

First blog post

Look right here on Sunday, May 10, for the first post of my blog! If you have a passion for machine quilting you will want to read this!

Treasures of Julia’s Life

Treasures of Julia’s Life

Treasures of Julia’s Life
67” x 80”

This quilt was created in 2001, my first full-size piece made to enter in major shows. My intention was to showcase original ornate designs and graphic images using Heirloom Machine Quilting. The rich fabric choices combined with the large-scale floral to enhance the vintage appeal of this piece so reminiscent of the textiles used for home decorating in the 1950’s. To my surprise, as I began working with that brown floral, my mind became flooded with thoughts of my Grandmother, Julia Stegerwald Zeier. It had been over thirty years since she passed away and she was not normally in my daily thoughts. Just handling it brought back sweet memories of the wonderful home she lived in and the impact her presence made on my young life. The quilt is dedicated to her memory.

Julia and my grandfather had endured the hardships of raising a large family during the depression. A home built for their retirement in the 1950’s was a tribute to their perseverance. It was filled with love and there was a grand piano for Julia to play. My grandmother’s memory is honored by including reference to her faith through the image of a Bible, and her love of music with the lyre. Interlocking hearts with the initials “M” and “J” quilted in the border indicate their 50-year marriage and nine hearts represent the children born of their union. A cartouche encircling Julia’s initials is at the top of the quilt and another with my initials is at the bottom. This quilt will remain as a tribute to Julia’s life for the future generations of my family and this treasure in my life will not be forgotten.

My quilt was Heirloom Machine Quilted on my domestic sewing machine, a Bernina 730 built in the 1960’s. I used Hobbs Heirloom Wool batting, which filled the unquilted spaces like plump pillows and remained soft despite an abundance of tiny stitching. 100-weight Silk thread by YLI Corporation was used for the top thread as well as in the bobbin. The green and beige sateen, which adds to the vintage look of the piece, is manufactured by RJR Fabrics.

© Joanie Zeier Poole 2002 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail images:

Treasures of Julia’s Life Treasures of Julia’s Life Treasures of Julia’s Life

Awards and Exhibits
2002 American Quilter’s Society Show, Finalist
2002 Quilting the Quilt, Second Place Large-Traditional
2002 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show First Place Viewer’s Choice
             and First Place Mixed Techniques
2003 National Quilting Association, First Place Appliqué
2003 International Quilt Festival, Finalist
2004 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, Judges Ribbon
2004 Three Rivers Quilt Festival, First Place Appliqué
2004 Pacific International Quilt Festival, Finalist
2004 Quilter’s Heritage Celebration, Finalist
2005 International Quilt Assn., Houston, Faculty Exhibit
2006 Dallas Quilt Festival, Second Place, Masters Division
2006 Machine Quilter’s Exposition, Teachers Award
2006 Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Honorable Mention, and Judges Choice
2006 Home Machine Quilter’s Show, Best Solitaire Quilt
2007 International Quilt Festival, Chicago, Traditional Treasures Exhibit

To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold

To Have and To Hold
68” x 80”

This quilt celebrates the splendor of matrimonial love. It has similarities to a marriage in that constructing it was a journey filled with great joy, daily struggles and ultimately great satisfaction in my accomplishments. Created in the fall of 2002, this quilt took 3 and 1/2 months to make, including 100 hours of refined free-motion machine quilting on my home sewing machine.

The fabrics I chose determined the theme of the piece. The subtle colors and gentle feel of the floral fabrics gave a romantic elegance to the original layout. I drew from what I knew about love and based my design on the courtship and 66-year marriage of my parents for inspiration. As a child, I often heard the stories of how they met at a dance at Springfield Corners. The first time her drove her home, he had four of his sisters in the backseat of the car. My parents fell in love in the early 1940’s and like so many other couples at the time, spent four years of their engagement separated by WW2.

Images representing their love story grace the composition. A yellow ribbon indicates my mother’s faithfulness in waiting for Dad’s safe return home from war. White birds are used in several places; one is delivering a love letter from so very far away. Their wedded life began at the tiny country church where the pledge to love one another always was exchanged. Rows of small quilted circles on the ivory sateen represent the buttons on mother’s wedding gown.
The name of this quilt, “To Have and To Hold”, is written in the bible. The quilted checkerboard background contrasts the soft curved edges of the appliquéd “lace”. A small cartouche with my initials is at the top of the border, another with the date is at the bottom.

This quilt was accomplished while I was a student and was my greatest designing challenge to date. I wanted the border to represent lace. I struggled many days to find the right materials and to invent the technique that manipulated fabrics to achieve the final result. When the quilt was finished, I told my aunt about how I faced a new design challenge each day. She said it was just like how we must work at a marriage to keep it progressing.

© Joanie Zeier Poole 2002 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail images:

To Have and To Hold To Have and To Hold  

Awards and Exhibits
2003 Minnesota Quilters Show, Best Machine Quilting
2003 International Quilt Festival, Honorable Mention
2003 American Quilter’s Society Show, Finalist
2004 Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Best Workmanship
2004 National Quilting Assn., First Place Appliqué and Viewer’s Choice
2004 Quilting on the Waterfront, Second Place, Traditional
2004 A Quilter’s Gathering, Best of Show-Craftsmanship and Best Machine Quilting
2005 Road to California, Best Traditional Quilt
2005 Dallas Quilt Celebration, Second Place, Masters, Appliqué and Viewer’s Choice
2005 Quilter’s Heritage Celebration, Honorable Mention, and Viewer’s Choice
2005 Pacific International Quilt Festival, Finalist
2005 Treasures of Tomorrow, Second Place, Professional
2006 Home Machine Quilt Show, Third Place, Masters
2007 International Quilt Festival, Chicago, Traditional Treasures Invitational Exhibit
2007 Lowell Quilt Festival, Honorable Mention

Springtime Sweethearts

Springtime Sweethearts

Springtime Sweethearts
49″ x 49″

I chose the refreshing colors of spring to enhance this original design in patchwork and Heirloom Machine Quilting. The center of the piece features an illustration of a lovebird nesting in a floral wreath, stitched with silk thread. The luster of the green and ivory RJR Sateen fabric reflects the original drawings. The resilient loft of the Wool batting was sufficient to highlight the graphic designs without the use of trapunto.

Detail images:

Springtime Sweethearts Springtime Sweethearts  

Awards and Exhibits
2002 Pumpkinfest, Portage, WI. 1st place Wall Quilts
2005 International Quilting Association, Chicago, Traditional Treasures Invitational Exhibit
2004 Olbrich Garden Show, Invitational Exhibit
© Joanie Zeier Poole 2002 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Ode to Diane

Ode to Diane

Ode to Diane
50” x 50”

The four patchwork basket blocks that form a central medallion for this wall quilt were constructed at a workshop titled Sixteen Baskets of Mud, taught by Diane Gaudynski in the fall if 1999. The quilting was completed in March of 2000, just after a weekend seminar with Diane covering the various techniques of Heirloom Machine Quilting. As Diane and I grew to know one another, we discovered that we share a love of deep, rich colors combined with the traditional patterns of antique quilts. I dedicated this quilt, my first heirloom machine quilted piece, to my teacher who changed my life forever. Diane continues to inspire me with the incredible beauty of her quilts and her generous spirit.

I used my home sewing machine to stitch original drawings that create quilting designs and texture on the surface of the quilt. The same quilting designs that surround the central patchwork baskets were modified and repeated to fill the border space. A cartouche containing my initials and another with the date are at the bottom of the quilt. The quilt was constructed of cotton fabric, with 80/20 cotton batting. Mettler 60 weight cotton thread was used for the top and in the bobbin of my machine. It was completed in March of 2000.

One important lesson learned while completing this quilt. Is that for all of the time and effort put in to stitching elaborate quilting designed, the fabric chosen does not show off the designs, a solid piece would now be the choice of this experienced machine quilter.

This quilt is featured in “Guide to Machine Quilting” by Diane Gaudynski, published by American Quilters Society, 2002. This book remains in print 15 years later and is widely respected as one of the best publications on machine quilting.

© Joanie Zeier Poole 2000 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail images:

Ode to Diane    

Exhibits and awards
2000 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show, First Place, Wall Quilts
2003 Crazy Quilters Quilt Show, Best of Show, Machine Quilting
2004 International Quilting Assn., Chicago, Traditional Treasures Exhibit
2004 American Quilters Society, Nashville, Finalist

Maggie’s Quilt; Wrap up in my Love

Maggie's Quilt; Wrap up in my Love

Maggie’s Quilt; Wrap up in my Love
42” x 50”

Made for the arrival of a very special delivery, Maggie’s Quilt uses colors to match the décor of her sweet nursery.  A surprisingly simple patchwork center is surrounded by a hand-appliquéd border.  Soaring blue birds overlay the vine with a variety of leaf shapes. This is made with cotton fabric, wool with silk thread. The daisy quilting motif was inspired by a quilt by Natalia @ Piece N Quilt. String of beads is the pattern quilted in the narrow white borders and the outer is filled with spirals background with a smattering of hearts representing the people in her life that love her. “Wrap up in my Love” and Joanie’s initials complete the piece.

Detail images:

Maggie's Quilt; Wrap up in my Love Maggie's Quilt; Wrap up in my Love Maggie's Quilt; Wrap up in my Love


La Petit 2

La Petit II

La Petit 2
23″ x 23″ 

This is the second miniature quilt inspired by a woven coverlet made in England, c.1850. The coverlet was woven in a manner to imitate French hand quilting style called boutis. Joanie made her machine quilted miniature highlighting the extraordinary designs that were originally quilted by hand.

© Joanie Zeier Poole 2002 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail images:

La Petit II    

Awards and Exhibits
2004 A Quilters Gathering Nashua, New Hampshire- 3rd Place Machine Quilting
2005 Indiana Heritage Quilt Show 2nd place Miniature
2005 American Quilters Society April 20-23 2005 Juried Finalist
2005 Minnesota Quilters Guild, 2nd Place Miniature
2006 HMQS Salt Lake City 3rd Place Miniature
2006 Three rivers Quilt Festival, Fort Wayne Indiana, 1st Place Miniature
2006 Houston IQA Entered La Petit II Exhibited Finalist
2010 Exhibit of Contemporary Broidery Perse, National Quilt Museum

Folk Art Meets Free Motion; 82 Inches of Domestic Freedom

Enter Folk Art Meets Free Motion; 82 Inches of Domestic Freedom

Folk Art Meets Free Motion; 82 Inches of Domestic Freedom
Joanie Zeier Poole 
82” x 82”

The machine pieced and hand appliqued top was inspired by the Buttermilk Farm Quilt by Teri Christopherson of Black Mountain Quilts, ©1998. This quilt demonstrates the impact that learning free-motion quilting had on this 15 year old quilt top. Joanie created original quilting motifs and textures to fill the plain spaces of the top with reined free-motion quilting. What began as a simple folk art was transformed into an elegant piece of art with intricate quilting designs and textures quilted in 178 hours on a domestic sewing machine. 

The materials used were cotton fabrics, Legacy Wool Batting, Silk Thread by Superior and YLI and The Bottom Line Thread by Superior Threads.

Detail images:

Enter Folk Art Meets Free Motion; 82 Inches of Domestic Freedom Enter Folk Art Meets Free Motion; 82 Inches of Domestic Freedom Enter Folk Art Meets Free Motion; 82 Inches of Domestic Freedom

 Awards and Exhibits
2014 Denver National Quilt Festival, Honorable Mention
2014 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show, Founder’s Award and 3rd Place Applique
2014 American Quilter;s Society Show, Grand Rapids, Best Machine Quilting – Domestic
2014 Quilt Expo, Madison, WI ,3rd Place Applique
2015 Midwest Marvels Exhibit, International Quilting Assn. Chicago

Embroidered Elegance 1

Embroidered Elegance 1

Embroidered Elegance 1
24” x 29”

This small piece is Joanie’s first real attempt at using my embroidery equipment. The layout for the quilt and the floral designs were drawn in Adobe Illustrator. Next, they were imported into Creative DRAWings, software that assigned stitches to vector artwork and tells an embroidery machine how the designs should be stitched.

The piece has four embroidered appliqué panels that create the oval shape surrounding the main embroidery. Joanie used hand guided machine quilting to repeat the identical leaf designs on the outer border. The incredibly vibrant fabric is “Radiance” a silk/cotton blend by Robert Kaufman, the batting is Wool by Hobbs and threads are by Superior and YLI.

Detail images:

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Embroidered Elegance 1 Embroidered Elegance 1


Doodle Bird 1

Doodle Bird I

Doodle Bird 1
24” x 34”

Painted fabric by Pam Levenhagen,  quilted by Joanie Zeier Poole

The second quilt created by two friends; Pam Levenhagen painted the fabric and Joanie quilted this piece inspired by an original painting by Pam. The colorful surface is filled with tiny quilted motifs that at times follow the painted images and others just fill in empty spaces. Joanie quilted plants and flowers in the center of the quilt that flow into the border.  She used her home sewing machine to quilt the entire background with tiny flowers, bugs and spirals in several colors of thread.

Fabrics chosen were all Radiance by Robert Kaufman, Wool batting and many colors of silk thread were used for the quilting. Joanie used her regular sewing machine and the technique of refined free-motion quilting to complete the piece.

© 2012 Joanie Zeier Poole

Detail images:

Doodle Bird I Doodle Bird I  

Awards and Exhibits
2012 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show 1st place Wall Quilt
2012 Quilt Expo Exhibited Finalist
2014 Pacific International Quilt Festival Santa Clara CA
Best Domestic Machine Quilting for a Wall Quilt

Bountiful Vineyard

Bountiful Vineyard

Bountiful Vineyard
35” X 35”

A patchwork grapevine wreath is the central focus of this vibrant wall quilt. Joanie’s original drawing of a garland of grapes, leaves and vines wrapped around a rail fills the outer border. A complimentary color scheme of gold and purple create a vivid energy for this heirloom machine quilted piece. Joanie uses her home sewing machine for the free-motion quilting. The area around each image is flattened with heavy stippling, enabling the grape motif, enhanced by trapunto, to stand out.

© Joanie Zeier Poole 2002 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail image:

 Bountiful Vineyard, detail







Awards and Exhibits
2001 Prairie Heritage Quilter’s Show, Bountiful Vineyard, 1st place wall quilts, 3rd place Viewer’s Choice
2003 Olbrich Gardens Fall Mum and Quilt Show, Madison

Lea’s Choice

Lea's Choice quilt

Lea’s Choice
81” x 81”

Traditional motifs with a garden theme were chosen for this delicate hand appliquéd piece that was quilted on a regular sewing machine using hand-guided free-motion quilting. The images represent my friends with the Prairie Heritage Quilters, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, a group that I have belonged to for many years. In 2006, I purchased the book, Twentieth Century Quilts 1900-1950, from the husband of our deceased member, Lea. In it were many beautiful appliqué quilts including a photo of “Central Medallion” made in 1937 by A. Y. of New Jersey. A blank sheet of paper left by Lea marked the quilt as if she wanted me to know THIS was a great quilt! I agreed with her and decided to use the quilt as inspiration for a new project.

On January 5, 2007 I began studying the photo of A.Y‘s quilt and creating the drawings for templates. The only part of A.Y.’s quilt used in my composition was the center appliqués set in a circle within the square (on point) of more appliqué shapes. It took five weeks to hand appliqué the many pieces giving me time remember Lea and the other friends we have lost and the many good times we shared. As I stitched, the motifs began to take on a special meaning. The pink garland that encircles the central design signifies the friendship that unites us in our love of quilting and the yellow ribbons are in memory of those who are no longer with us.

With the central appliqué complete, I assembled the border sections and appliquéd the leaves and flowers that join the outer sections. Late that winter, I attended a dinner party at the home of the granddaughter of another of our former members, who learned sewing from her grandmother. I admired her simple floral silverware pattern and when I discovered it had belonged to her grandmother, I knew at once that I had found the foundation for the quilting designs for my quilt. I fashioned the flowers, leaves and rows of beads into borders in several sizes. Next, I added outlines of the birds (from the toile fabric) that filled the four quilted heart shaped wreaths.

I the free-motion quilting was completed on March 24, 2007. I thought the quilt was finished when I entered it in the 2007 Prairie Heritage Show, the next day. However, when I saw the quilt hanging I felt the trellis (quilted in the green solid) looked empty. My younger son agreed and insisted that whatever I added to the tiny spaces (3/4”) must have relevance to the theme of the quilt. After the show, I added a leaf in each square for my students, hoping that with my guidance, they will turn over a new leaf in their quilting. Including those leaves, the number of hours of machine quilting grew to 300.

Quilting Designs for this quilt are in the Prairie Rose Design Collection

© Joanie Zeier Poole 2007 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail images:

Lea's choice, corner of quilt lea-choice-bird Lea's Choice quilt, detail of applique

Awards and Exhibits
2007 Pacific International Quilt Festival, Best Machine Quilting, Traditional Quilt
2007 Quilt Expo First Place, Large Appliqué, Machine Quilted
2007 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show, First Place Appliqué Large
2008 Quilt Odyssey, First Place, Large Appliqué
2008 Lowell Quilt Festival, Best Machine Quilting and Viewer’s Choice
2008 Appleseed Quilt Show Best of Show and Viewer’s Choice
2008 Road to California, Excellence in Machine Quilting Award
2008 Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, Third Place, Appliqué, Professional
2008 Lancaster Quilter’s Heritage, Third Place, Appliqué, Large Quilt
2008 American Quilter’s Society, Second Place, Appliqué, Bed Quilt
2009 Dallas Quilt Festival, 1st Place Appliqué, Large Quilt

Fais de beaux rêves

fais de beaux reves poole

Fais de beaux rêves
68” x 80”
Joanie Zeier Poole

The story of this quilt, Fais de beaux rêves, began two years before I knew what that the title phrase meant. The purchase of the fabric set in motion the creation of the design, but the theme for the piece didn’t reveal itself until it was time for the top to be quilted.

On Mother’s Day 2003, we visited our son during his first year at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Seeing him on my special day provided a good excuse for a quick trip to one of my favorite places to shop, Vogue Fabrics, only a mile from campus. I was immediately attracted to one artfully composed print with gigantic peonies that have the appearance of a watercolor painting (by Waverly Fabrics). Since the fabric came into my life on Mother’s Day, I concentrated on the mother and child relationship for the theme as I planned the layout.

As I had successfully done the two prior years, I began the quilt during my three-week break between summer school and fall semester. However, many distractions during the final months before completing my Graphic Design degree and writing my first book kept me from working on the piece and it took over two years to get back to it. Ben was in his junior year at The Sorbonne in Paris. We were in the habit of emailing late in the evening and I would end my notes with “Sweet Dreams”. One night I asked him how to say that in French and he answered “Fais de beaux rêves”. I knew then I had the perfect title for my quilt! I began to search for images; with a French theme and to express my longing to remain close to my son, at least in my heart.

I drew a layout and began construction. The process used to enlarge the clip-art Eiffel Tower and bird delivering a love letter into stitchable designs is now offered in my design classes.  Many new techniques were invented for this piece like combining fused raw-edge appliqué with turned-edge appliqué to create the unique border. I used supplies which are now my recognized as the formula for success for my quilts; the solid colored RJR sateen fabric, wool batting and a combination of lightweight threads; Bottom Line by Superior Threads and silk by the YLI Corporation.

I have had great satisfaction in completing this piece and showing at quilt shows around the country. After focusing so long and hard on my degree, and after the pure joy of creating the projects my first the book, I finally got back to the real activity that makes my heart sing, Heirloom Machine Quilting. The quilt was completed in 2 ½ years (with a 2 year break) and took 160 hours to complete the hand-guided free-motion machine quilting on my regular size sewing machine.
© Joanie Zeier Poole 2005 Photo by Norman Lenburg

Detail images

fais-de-beaux-reves-cartouc fais-de-beaux-reves-corner fais-de-beaux-reves-tower

Awards and Exhibits
2005 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show Sun Prairie, WI, Best of Show
2005 Minnesota Quilters Guild, Best Machine Quilting
2005 Quilt Expo, Madison WI, First Place, Large, Machine
2005 A Quilter’s Gathering, Best Machine Quilting, and Viewer’s Choice
2005 Quilt Odyssey Hershey, PA First Place Appliqué, and Viewer’s Choice
2006 Road to California, Best of Show
2006 Quilting on the Waterfront, First Place Conventional Machine, Traditional, Large
2006 Three Rivers Quilt Festival, Best Machine Quilting, and Viewer’s Choice
2006 American Quilters Society, Paducah, KY, Finalist
2006 Pacific International Quilt Festival, Best of Show
2007 Dallas Quilt Celebration Second Place, Masters, Large, Appliqué
2007 Quilter’s Heritage Celebration, Third Place, Appliqué
2007 International Quilt Festival, Second Place, Merit Machine Quilting
2007 Lowell Quilt Festival, Best Machine Quilting and First Place, Large Traditional
2008 National Quilting Ass. Honorable Mention and Judges Award
2008 International Quilt Festival, Chicago, Winners Circle Exhibit
2010 Contemporary Broidery Perse Exhibit at National Quilting Museum, Paducah, KY
2015 Elegance in Stitches Exhibit- Artwork of Joanie Zeier Poole, Quilt Expo Madison, WI
2016 Elegance in Stitches Exhibit- Artwork of Joanie Zeier Poole, AQS Grand Rapids, MI