Monday, May 21, 2018


Hello quilting friends,

When I meet someone I haven't seen in a while, I am always asked: "So, are you still quilting?"  and "What are you working on?" 

Yes, I have been quilting, sewing and knitting non-stop and have just finished several big projects, all for my daughter and grandkids.

First project which I started in January,  a king size quilt for mom and dad's bed.  A replica of an antique quilt, traditional LeMoyne star pattern, lovingly named The Behemoth.  The largest quilt I've ever made at 108" x 108"  and machine quilted by Ann Becker.

                                               The Behemoth, show off by Woody

Then two twin size quilts for Woody's new big boy room.  These were fun and easy to do, using lots of different blue print fabrics.  My daughter wanted random placement of the blocks.  I quilted these myself, a challenge as I haven't machine quilted in a while using stitch-in-the ditch and straight line echo quilting. 

And in addition to these quilts, I knit a stuffed bunny and a baby blanket (more like a rug) for my new granddaughter, June.  (No pics - darn), and stitched up several tablecloths and pillows, also for my daughter's home. She was "nesting" before the baby was born, getting all her home projects done.  

Now it's back to other works.  "Greens of June" is on Ann Becker's quilt frame, ready to get finished.  Here's a picture before I added borders:

New quilt designs are in my head, time to get at them! 

As always:  Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

All is new

It's a New Year, yes that's all we hear about right now, but still January 1 is a milestone.  It's time to refresh and renew. It's also time to share some of the projects  I've been working on and new projects in store.

Each year, I use a favorite quilt as my Christmas card photo.  I especially like the results I had using to print my cards last year (odd to say last year already).  I used my most recent quilt "Blossoms in Wool" a collaborative quilt I did with Ann Becker.  

Another project completed:  a table mat done in wool, appliquéd by machine with hand embroidery.  Pattern by

And what do I have up next:  

My daughter Carla asked me to make this quilt for their king sized bed.  She found a photo of a vintage quilt and I created the design using my EQ7 program. Eight point stars, not the easiest pieced block in the world, but hey!  I can appliqué all those stars!  I will definitely pre-wash the red fabric using Synthrapol to set the color.  

And after this quilt is finished, she has ordered new quilts for Woody's new big boy room, a family room quilt and of course a quilt for the Woody's new baby sister who will be born in May.   

This should keep me occupied during the long Northwood's winter.

I'm planning on entering 'Blossoms in Wool' in the 2018 IQA show in Houston, Texas and the Fall Paducah, Kentucky show.  

Oh, and as far as my New Year's resolutions, I gave up trying to write them and decided to revisit this quote and leave it at that:  

Friday, June 16, 2017

New Quilt/New Venture


My newest quilt, yet to be named arrived yesterday from machine quilter Ann Becker, Always in Stitches.  It is always exciting to unpack that box and see what beauty lies within.  And no exception with this quilt.  Ann's quilting is amazing.  This photo is just a sneak peek.  The binding needs to be sewn, a sleeve and label added, good photos need to be taken once hanging.

I am also announcing a new venture in my quilt world.  That is, Ann and I have decided to collaborate on quilts.  This will be a new "learn as you go" venture for both of us, or should I say adventure?  

More and more show quilts are entered as a collaborative effort. I will continue to design and construct the quilt top and Ann will design and machine quilt the quilt, same as we have done in the past but now both our names will be listed as entrants at shows.  

It always seemed to me that this is the way it should be.  Quilting is such a huge part of a quilt especially in today's competitive arena.  Why shouldn't the quilter be considered an equal partner?

June weather is unpredictable here in northern Wisconsin, but there have been many beautiful days and then I'm outside working on my gardens or reading a book in the sun. But I'm hoping for some rainy days so I can get into my sewing room and get to work. 

Lake view of my home on Echo Lake

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