Tag Archives: Quilts


Last month I shared Deborah Mersky’s tex-tiles with you. Today I’m welcoming you into my house.


Joe and I have lived here for many years. Fabric is woven into our home and life. Each piece of cloth tells a story.


It reminds me of the place where it came from, and of particular meals or celebrations.


Some of the fabric on the windows and doors is from around the world.


I made some of the curtains.

Paschkis appliquepaschkis applique

The quilt is by Sarah Mary Taylor, a gift from Ella King Torrey. Our friend Kay gave us the indigo-resist Hungarian deer. The cat pillow is from my sister-in-law Julia. Sigrid upholstered the bird and cherry couch with fabric that Roberta found. Almost every piece of fabric reminds me of friends and family.


And then there are tablecloths!


And more tablecloths…

All of this fabric makes daily life richer, and it feeds my work. Here are a few new still life paintings.

Paschkis still life

Paschkis still life - flicker

Paschkis still life-reflect

I’d like to take a textile tour-de-friends. Please snap a picture of fabric from your home or life that means something to you and send it to me at  jpaschkis@comcast.net. I will post the pictures on this blog. Thank you!



Last weekend I was lucky to go to part of a quilting retreat taught by Joe Cunningham and organized by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts.patricia and joeWe met at a quiet retreat center on the Hood Canal where we had a good workspace, good living space and good food amidst beautiful scenery.

In front of a warm fire (and under the watchful glass eye of a ruminant) we looked at quilts made by participants of the retreat. IMG_0578Here are a few of those quilts. Everyone’s quilts were amazing but most of my photos are too fuzzy to share.
Susie Wolcott  –susie wolcottSeda Terek –seda terekBarbara Hassenrikbarbara hassenrikGeoff Hamada –geoff hamada

Jennifer Rhoads –jennifer rhoadsOne day’s assignment was to quilt a sentence of three words, at least 36″ wide. Joe showed us slides of quilts with words on them. I don’t have copies of the slides he showed, but I found these images with a similar feel. freedom first squair quilt glad day quiltAfter we looked at the slides we were set free. Everyone attacked the problem in a different way. Joe Cunningham is a great teacher. He inspired us and got us rolling on our own projects. The projects were engineered to allow the unexpected to occur. Joe helped us when we wanted help and let us steam ahead unimpeded when that was desired. The environment was kind and friendly. Joe even played the guitar for us.Joe CunninghamHere are some of the letters and sentences (in progress) that people made.
Laurie Wilkey pieced this. laurie wilkey IMG_0585 IMG_0584Susie Wolcott’s letters were put together to spell Mush Head Day.IMG_0599 IMG_0598 IMG_0596Janet Hasselblad wrote this:janet hasselbladSara Goss added a pieced demonstration of her idea.saraLynn Haia wrote about her dog Tallulah and his toy Bluey.lynn haiaI wrote WHY ? and WHY NOT. I pieced the letters with fabric cut from a patchwork skirt that had been sewn by my Great Aunt Marjorie Powell..aunt marjoriepaschkis why why notWhy was the retreat so fun? A good teacher, thoughtful planning, a beautiful place, and the pleasure of meeting interesting people with common interests, all of us working side by side. The feeling of the retreat can be best summed up by a  quilt from 1874 which says: From  every quarter flowing joyful crowds assembled round and spake with exalted zeal.
…Just substitute sewed for spake.Cornelia Vosburgh quilt

p.s. Here is a link to my blogpost about Wordwatching at Books Around the Table. Please stop by!

Mr. Big

Recently I was sewing a quilt. It had a face on it which turned out to be larger than I expected.

Paschkis big pink head quiltI wondered what a REALLY big quilt would look like. Hmmm – if I sewed together pieces of old wool blankets I could make a very large quilt without backing it. And thus the idea for Mr. Big was born.

I put out the call for wool blankets and several kind people gave me some.Thank you Fay Jones, Kate Harkins, Reeta Tollefson, Diane Glenn and Marcia Paschkis! I cut all of the blankets into 12″ squares which my  trusty cat Ruby guarded.wool squares Ruby on wool

Once I knew how many squares were available, I drew up a plan.big wool quilt designEach ¼” square would be a 12″ wool piece. I didn’t have a room large enough to lay it out, so I borrowed one from Coyote Central. Once I saw the quilt  I took away the two outer rows bringing it down in size to 11′ x 18′. I left the figure intact but rearranged the background several times. Paschkis big quilt planAfter I saw how big it really was I felt overwhelmed and wondered what on earth I was doing. But if I didn’t keep going than I had needlessly destroyed a lot of nice blankets.

So I picked up each row and put it in its own bag. I came home and sewed.  The sewing became more cumbersome as the quilt grew. But it was possible! It was even fun; the ridiculousness of the project made it entertaining.sewing bigThe finished blanket was once again too big to spread out in my house, so I took it back to Coyote for a look. I stood on a ladder to photograph it.Paschkis Quilt BigAnd then took a rest (photographed by Marybeth Satterlee).me on bigIn May I will be having a show at the Bitters Barn in La Conner. I hope Mr. Big will fit on a barn wall there. After that I will need to find either a cold giant in need of a blanket, or a giant wall. Hmmm.

The Brave Little Tailor by Franz Wacik

The Brave Little Tailor by Franz Wacik


Rudolf Mates was a Czechoslovakian illustrator who lived from 1881-1966. I treasure the two books of his that I have: A Forest Story and The Cock and the Hen, both illustrated in the 1920’s. This is from the Cock and the Hen.rudolf mates

And these are from the Forest Story.mates frog

mates micemates meal

I was inspired by his style to paint some animals. Some of what I took from him was the style of outlining, of using vivid secondary colors and reveling in pattern. Now that I look at his art again I’d like to go back to the drawing board! Here are some of my paintings:Paschkis valentine mouse

Paschkis squirrel

Paschkis cat

Paschkis dog with cartThese images were made into cards for Artists to Watch, and then into a fabric line for In the Beginning Fabrics called Bohemia. The first part of Bohemia was to combine the animals into a repeating panel.Paschkis bohemia panel

Next I designed some smaller patterns to go with it. Some of them became fabric.Paschkis Bohemian gardenbohemia floralPaschkis bohemian acornJason of In the Beginning put the acorns on a diagonal which makes them easier to use.Bohemia acorn fabricAnd some designs didn’t become fabric:bohemian heart

The fabrics have so much pattern that I like a very simple quilt made from them. This quilt is just the panel, quilted. I used the overall floral on the back.Paschkis Bohemia quiltHere is a quilt that uses a bit of Bohemia with some other schnitz.Paschkis bohemia bebopIf you feel inspired to sew something Bohemian, you can buy the fabric at Hancock’s of Paducah, or maybe a local store. Or maybe Rudolf Mates art will lead you in a different direction.mates rabbits


In southern Spain and Portugal there are tiles everywhere, called Azulejos.  There are tiles inside and outside of buildings.IMG_0222 IMG_0276

These tiles share a quality with quilts in that the individual squares have beauty, and that beauty is amplified through repetition as larger patterns are created.  As in quilts, beauty also  comes from the irregularities. There is beauty in the broken tiles, the mismatched repairs and the sliding brushstrokes. Here are tiles from Lisbon, the Alentejo, Seville and Granada.

IMG_9303 IMG_0776 IMG_8469 IMG_0745

Some of the tiles are dimensional.IMG_0418 IMG_0399

And some (like quilts) give the illusion of dimensionality through light and dark.



Some are geometric.

IMG_0768 IMG_0347

And some are narrative.IMG_0386

Some show the passage of time.


The connection to quilts seem implicit. I hope to design some fabric to make it explicit. Please join me for some imaginary mint tea in this courtyard to think about it.


Mood Indigo

Why are blue and white so good together? Blue skies with white clouds, midnight with white stars, blue willow dishes and sailor shirts are all good. And blueberries of course.out of the blue Paschkis

For the quilt Blue Bop I cut many slightly crooked stripes out of a variety of blue and white fabrics. The cutting was quick and dirty; there was no measuring involved. A little irregularity can give breathing room to a quilt. 
I sewed the irregular stripes together into four long strips and then trimmed those so that they were even from side to side. I flipped and flopped them until the arrangement was congenial and then sewed them together. Blue Bop!

Blue Bop 84"W x 120"H

Blue Bop 84″W x 120″H

Most of my paper quilts are also blue and white.  I soaked some of the paper in tea to give variety to the whites. The paint is gouache – opaque tempera. The tubes of paint have good names: Ultramarine Deep, Cobalt, Cerulean, Indigo.

Sitting Blue Paschkis

bluebird blueberries Paschkis

The paper is stitched together on the sewing machine. The threads can be part of the conversation.

conversation Paschkis

To conclude, here is a painting by my husband, Joe Max Emminger.Cold WInter Night - Emminger


Oh, Yes 38"W x 47"H

Oh, Yes 38″W x 47″H

Oh, Yes is a simple quilt. The red letters are appliquéd onto a black and white fabric that I designed for a line called Chickadee. My original design was a papercut, about 8″ x 10″.papercut butterfliesBW

In The Beginning Fabrics reproduced it in black and white, as well as in color.  The Oh, Yes quilt is backed with the color version of the pattern.

chickadee hearts

I like quilts with words on them. This quilt by Nancy Ward Butler of Jamestown NY is poignant. She must have stitched away some of her grief for her granddaughter as she stitched in her love. The quilt was preserved with a handwritten note saying it had won “Second Prize for the Most Beautiful Quilt.”

from the Smithsonian Treasury of American Quilts by Doris Bowman

When I thought about what I wanted to say on a quilt, or just in general, YES seemed like the obvious choice.
I was too lazy to say it more fully, as Cornelia Catharine Vosburgh did in this quilt from 1874: “& From Every Corner Flowing Joyful Crowds Assemble Round And Spake Withe Xalted Zeal.”
Oh, YES!

Cornelia Vosburgh quilt