Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beaded Blocks

Thought I would share photos of  my current quilt project.  I've added some accent beading, nothing too elaborate, just a little extra interest.  Check out my last blog post to see the layout. 

Now it's on to the borders.  

Oh, and Leo just enjoyed watching me work so much yesterday, he dozed off.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring Quilt Week Paducah


This time of year, a quilter's thoughts turn to spring and for me, spring is all about Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky.  An annual tradition for the past 14 years, I enter the show and spend the week at my sister's home in Cape Girardeau, MO.  We attend the show together and just have a great time.  

I'm happy to announce that my quilt Happy has been juried into the show this year as well
another of my quilts A Few of My Favorite Things. 

A Few of My Favorite Things

The competition is fierce in this international show, it's not that easy to be chosen as a finalist and even harder to win a ribbon.  I love seeing my quilts at the show among all that talent whether I win or not.  

And this year, another of my quilts Moonlight Migration will be on exhibit at the National Quilt museum in Paducah as part of their New Quilts From an Old Favorite challenge.  I'll attend a book signing on Friday, April 28th; I wrote a chapter about my quilt for the annual book published by AQS.

Moonlight Migration

So that's the latest news from Jane's Quilt World.

What am I working on now?  A smaller wall hanging, done in wool appliqué on cotton backgrounds using my raw edge machine appliqué technique to stitch the motifs.  Some of these blocks were adapted from my Flower Power quilt and others were newly designed.   
I love the results. All the blocks are stitched but not pieced yet and I'm in the process of adding some hand beading. Of course, there will be borders to design and appliqué.  

Happy Spring and Quilt Week!!

 What I'm working on now

Monday, November 21, 2016


 Moonlight Migration
56" x 56"

For those of you who are following the progress of my newest quilt pictured here, I'm happy to announce that it has been chosen as a finalist in the National Quilt Museum's 2017 challenge:  New Quilts from an Old Favorite.   

It's on its way to Paducah, KY to be judged and photographed for the book AQS will publish, featuring all the finalists in full color, with a photo of the maker, information about the quilt's development, patterns and tips.

And as a finalist, my quilt will be included in the museum's exhibit which goes on tour around the country for two years. 

Monday, October 31, 2016



A Few of My Favorite Things

A nice 1st place ribbon for each of my quilts entered at the recent Treasures of Tomorrow quilt show, Marshfield, WI.  

This show is an annual tradition for me.  I've entered and attended with my friend Jan  for the past 20 years (rough estimate).  

There were lots of interesting and lovely quilts to view this year, and some great vendors. Every show I attend gives me some kind of inspiration.  

But lately I've been struggling with the "too many quilts getting in my way" syndrome.  It's keeping me from plunging right into a new quilt since finishing Moonlight Migration.  

I have never sold any of my quilts but am now changing my way of thinking;  some of them can certainly move on to other homes.  

My quilt Cottage Garden is listed on The Quilt Broker for sale. 
Cottage Garden

Another, I gave to a friend in exchange for deck repair and rebuilding.  I'm also thinking about eBay and Etsy as possible sites to explore.  

While I realize I will never recoup my time and costs involved in making my quilts, I have no reason to just keep them. They will be priced to sell.

How about you?  Do any of you sell your handmade quilts an if so where? Do you donate them to charity, give them to family and friends? 

I'll keep you posted as I list quilts for sale.  

On that note, while out walking this morning, a new quilt idea popped in my head.  I shall keep you posted on that too.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Moonlight Migration 
56" x 56"

In case you didn't read my recent blog post about Moonlight Migration, here it is.  

This quilt is completely finished, machine quilted by me, blocked, labeled and photoed.

My entry will be sent to the National Quilt Museum and if I'm a finalist (and maybe a winner), this quilt, its story and pattern will be included in the museum's 2017 book.  It will also be displayed at the museum during Paducah's AQS Quilt Week in April and then tour for 2 years as part of the challenge exhibit.    

A couple of close up photos:

On to a new project!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A finished quilt

Greetings from the northwoods of Mercer!

I'm please to share my newest quilt titled "Happy." 

Happy 74" x74"

Ann Becker completed the long arm machine quilting.  Here are a couple of close up photos of my appliqué stitching and the quilting.

Right now, I've paused the machine quilting of my Moonlight Migration quilt and am working on an article for Machine Quilting Unlimited.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Goose Quilt

Moonlight Migration 58" x 58"
Jane Zillmer original design

What we have here is a photo of my almost finished quilt top;  I still need to machine appliqué the moons in place.  

This is the first time ever that I have created a quilt strictly for a competition, in this case it's the National Quilt Museum's yearly New Quilts form an Old Favorite contest. Yes, I enter most of my quilts in quilt shows, but I don't make them just for that reason.  

I was initially inspired to make this quilt after spotting a flock of snow geese in the sky while out walking in the Minneapolis area last March. I had never before seen snow geese and what a wonderful a sight they were.  

Shortly after that,  I found that the museum's theme for the 2017 contest is the Flying Geese block.

Ah, perfect!  All I had to do was create a quilt that would be an interpretation of that block, recognizable in some way.  

Here's a sample of a traditional flying geese block from Purl Soho:  

Traditional Flying Geese block

I designed and drafted Moonlight Migration, and it is almost entirely made up of flying geese including the pieced black and brown background.  Geese and many other birds do migrate at night and I like the dramatic effect I created.  

Another entry requirement is that the quilt maker also does the quilting, my next hurdle.  

I thought the deadline for entry was August 15th - WOW!  I just read that it's actually November 4, 2016.  Plenty of time to do the machine quilting.  I could take the summer off..... but I won't!   

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Happy Ending


76" x 76"

I've finished my latest quilt; well the top is finished.  This is a rough photo before it's off to be machine quilted.  See my previous blog about Happy for more details.

One of the most tedious parts of making a quilt, especially a large quilt is measuring for, cutting and piecing the quilt backing.  You are dealing with lots of yardage.  Lots to handle.

I have always washed my quilt fabrics including my quilt backing fabric.  Imagine washing 9 or 10 yards of fabric;  it would come out wrinkled and frayed requiring lots of pressing and straightening.  I decided with my last big quilt "Gardens of Rock" to not wash the backing fabric.  Wow! What a difference. This saved so much extra work.  I have not been washing any new fabric since then and I'm..... happy. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Free Pattern Offer

Saturday, March 19 is National Quilting Day and I thought I'd help celebrate by offering a free pattern to my blog readers.  

Dresden Basket is a cute little wall hanging and finishes at 22"x 22".  It is suitable for any skill level.

You'll find complete instructions to make this wall hanging including my raw edge machine appliqué technique  but you can use any appliqué method you like.  Full size templates are also included.

Simply email me: and I'll send you the pdf, ready to print on your home computer.  

This offer will expire in one week:  March 26th, 2016.  

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cottage Garden!

Cottage Garden 80" x 80"

I am very excited to offer this quilt for sale by   

You may have read my blog post a while ago about how I never sell my quilts and that I make them for myself only. 

Well, time passes and my quilt storage space is at capacity.  I've decided I have a number of quilts that I am willing to part with. 

I enjoyed making this quilt using a pattern from the book "Quilting in the Garden" by Barb Adams, Alma Allen and Ricki Creamer.  Of course, the appliqué designs appealed to me and I used my raw edge machine appliqué technique.  It was professionally long arm quilted by Cheri Trexler and I added hand quilting accents and hand beading.  

This quilt was displayed at a number of quilt shows and has won several ribbons.  

Click here to purchase this quilt.

Also, visit The Quilt Broker's Facebook Page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Center Applique Mandala 

Here's a glimpse of my new quilt in progress.  The simple title "Happy" is what it's all about.  No deep theme or major inspiration here.  

I enjoy watching hummingbirds all summer, both at my feeder and as they flit among my annuals.  They even worked their way into my new design. 

I started at the center of the mandala appliqué block and worked my way outward. This block will finish at 30" square.

Here's a sketch of the entire quilt-to-be:    

Sketch of quilt layout

OK, so far so good.  But things got messy when I started working on the side basket blocks.  I had pieced the backgrounds only to find I'd forgotten to include seam allowances. So, of course they did not match the size of my center mandala.  I'd even appliquéd two of the baskets.  

And I was really not sure at all what I wanted to add to those baskets.  

My project was at a standstill until I visited my quilt group last week (after a long hiatus).  I immediately got not only their enthusiastic approval, but they also helped me form a plan to carry on.  

I re-cut and pieced the background side blocks, appliquéd new baskets and I'm working on flowers to fill the baskets.  Each basket will have the same flower motifs (enlarged from the ones used in the center) but with different colors.

I'm happy when I'm quilting!  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happy Day

Oh Happy Day!  

Gardens of Rock is finally finished and has been bound and hung.  "Bound and hung"! That sounds terrible.  But you quilters get the lingo.

If you haven't been following my blog, or just gave up waiting for me to get this quilt done, this is my original design with each block, or record, inspired by a favorite rock song, all from the '60's and '70's.  You can try to guess each song title or look back at previous posts.

Outstanding machine quilting was done by Ann Becker. Kudos to her and many thanks.  Close up shots of her work are below.

Gardens of Rock
93" x 93"

By the way, if you really examine my full quilt photo, you'll notice a shadow in the upper left corner.  I take my photos outdoors, and this time of year there are few moments where the sun is just right, shining between the enormous trees in our yard.  I will be taking more photos as this one would not be "Paducah entry worthy", referring to my ultimate goal of entering it in the AQS Paducah, KY show this spring and later, other shows. Entry deadline for Paducah is December 4!  Plenty of time.... 

A new quilt which I plan to call "Happy" is in the works.   No, this time it is not named after the song.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Slow down

Echo Lake

"A woman must cultivate the practical arts, and lend to them that satisfaction of beauty, that the soul might flourish, and the hands be remembered past death." 

                                                                                                        A Sudden Country, Karen Fisher

I've kept this quote in my file of embroidery ideas for years.  How I do love to hand stitch:  knitting, crocheting, embroidery, wool appliqué and sometimes even hand quilting.  Of course, this is in addition to all my machine work.  Any time I spend with needle and thread slows me down and calms my soul.  

In the newest issue of Quilting Arts magazine, I found an article written by Mark Lipinski the creator of The Slow Stitching Movement.  He states: ..."you can change your life at the end of a thread"....

He talks about how quilting books and magazines boast patterns that are "fast, quick, easy, simple and fun" the end result being that quilts are all the same, instead of being unique and creative.

I thought about my own work.  Certainly in the early years of quilt making, I cranked out many many pattern quilts.  At one point, this became boring and forced me to start designing my own work and thus I slowed way down.  One of my large quilts will take me a year to make (while working on a few smaller projects).  I always tell people I make my quilts for me. I don't sell them or make them to sell the patterns to a wide audience.  

My book Nature's Journey Appliqué is all about this.  Most of the quilt patterns included are intricate and very detailed.  I know this is not everyone's cup of tea. 

I just finished my largest quilt ever:  Gardens of Rock.  You can read about it in my previous blog posts.  It took me a long long time to complete.  

Gardens of Rock (before borders)

Backing fabric for Gardens of Rock.  Neat hey?

Now it's on to a new project.  I decided I would only use fabrics in my stash for this quilt.  I won't share my idea until it gets rolling, it's still in the design process, in my head and on paper so far. 

Some of my fabric stash 

I'm also taking a Botany in Art class through the county extension.  We're drawing nature and also learning to do water color.  I do draw all my own appliqué designs, but have learned more about technique in this class.  The instructor is a wonderful artist and very inspiring. 

One of the most fun things I've done in the past year is to spend time with my grandson Woody.  I just want to freeze those moments with him.  He has changed and grown every time I see him.  

Grandma and baby Woody sitting on one of my "early" quilts

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


".... in disorder; chaotic"  

I've always liked that word to describe life's messes or glitches and that's where things have been lately with my "Rock Garden" quilt. 

Before I go on, this is block #8 inspired by four of my favorite Van Morrison songs:  In the Garden, Sweet Thing, And it Stoned Me and Into the Mystic. Common themes are rain and water, mist, nature and a sense of transformation (thus the dragonflies).  

Block #8 A Tribute to Van Morrison

From my own garden "wet with rain"

Now back to my snafu.  

Here's my original paper pattern with the quilt layout I had planned: (in random colors)

I liked this unusual layout. Each block or record would have three separate circular borders. 

When adding the third border though,  I used the wrong pattern and cut all the border pieces the wrong size.  Not to worry, I redrafted a correctly sized pattern and pulled enough fabrics from my stash to cut all new pieces.  

This new third border was pieced (I use 4 separate pieces to create the circle borders) and sewn to each block. Time to layout and finish this quilt!

But.... when I checked that original design layout - ahem - this quilt would turn out to be 112" x 112"!  Only 20 inches larger all around than I had planned. The third border would have to be eliminated. I'd never even attempt to make a quilt this large.

My carpenter Tom always says "measure twice, cut once."  Well, I'd already cut that third border twice.  

Do you ever feel like just stuffing a project in the closet and starting something new?  I felt like it, but I love these blocks too much, so no, I had to keep working at it. At this point my only choice was to forge ahead and decide it would have to be a masterpiece.  

So, I removed that 3rd border from each block completely and decided to set the blocks in a traditional 3 x 3 layout (your basic Nine Patch).  Meaning I needed to design one more block to equal 9 total.  

Which I did;  in one day - idea, design, all ready to appliqué.   I had no problem coming up with another favorite rock song. 

Block #9 is Forever Young written by Bob Dylan, my favorite version sung by The Band. It consists of flower buds, clean, simple and beautiful; young and hopeful always.

Forever Young by Bob Dylan

Once the blocks are sewn together the quilt will measure 87" x 87". The only thing left to decide is whether to add any borders.  I  always decide on borders once the  quilt is pieced.  

I know one thing:  I shall follow "Tom's Law" more closely from now on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rock Garden Rocks On

San Francisco

Blocks 6 and 7 of my new quilt Rock Garden are finished!  The block shown above was inspired by the song San Francisco (Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair) by Scott McKenzie.  I always liked this song, it just sums up that whole era.  Peace and know.  

Learn to Be Still

Another lovely song inspired me to create this block (Eagles.)  When I want to "be still" I  take my paddle boat down the secluded river flowing into Echo Lake and float among the water lilies.  I kept this block simple and quiet.  

Here are the 7 finished blocks pinned to my sewing room wall.  The final block is in the design process, then I need to work on the overall layout. 

My annual trip to Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky in April was fun as always. I was surprised and happy to receive Honorable Mention for my quilt entry:  Nature's Edge.

Nature's Edge

And also, my quilt December was on display at the National Quilt Museum as part of the Nine Patch, New Quilts from an old Favorite exhibit.  Each of us exhibitors wrote a chapter for a book of the same title published by The American Quilter's Society.  

The museum sponsored a book signing for us on opening day.  There were a total of 18 quilts in this exhibit and 12 of us from all over the country made it for the book signing.  Very fun!

 My pattern Carla Rose and Katy Marie published recently and also available as a kit was on sale at the AQS booth.