Judy Martin's Free Online Newsletter
Every two or three months Judy sends a bit of cheer, quilting information, and a general what's-going-on-in-her-life to her fans in the cyberworld. It's sprinkled liberally with family, nonsense, and off-the-cuff remarks. If you'd like to read previous newsletters, they are indexed on this page. If you want to sign up for your own regular copy, delivered fresh to your emailbox, fill in the registration blank above.
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We respect you and your privacy. That's why we do not sell our lists.
Below are the links to the old newsletters. I can't vouch for the currency of all the information any more. Things change. Y2K went off with nary a glitch; I seldom use my Featherweight anymore; Star Happy Quilts is no longer my most recent book. So, read all these for what they remain: an interesting snapshot of a particular time as seen by a very particular woman!
August, 2021 - A good Samaritan; Kate; The Peanut Butter Falcon; why I like scraps; Shoeless Joe; financial advice; gratitude; cover thoughts; Macbook Air; hearing aids; Marti Michell; Zoom cooking; and the wisdom of Samuel Goldwyn.
May, 2021 - Hospitality; forming meatballs; Red, White & Blue Star Quilts; Ride Like a Girl; scratch paper; quilter's last will; best Mother's Day ever; fabric considerations; Road to California winners; Wife 1.0; more e-books; and homemade ice cream.
February, 2021 - New e-books; nuclear turkey; neverending snow; a coffee table book; a vaccination; backseat cooking; iron problems; pumpkin rarebit soup; "Not so fast and easy!"; Calico; a quilt show; The Dig; and education funnies.
November, 2020 - Lockdown; cooking up a storm; new books and patterns; the derecho; Christmas games; top albums of the year; supersaturation; cookbook index; Christmas '83; The Creative Pattern Book; quilts for sale; and what we're fighting for.
September, 2019 - Pre-washing fabric; Camry Hybrid; "Heart of a Kid"; Just One; a meniscus tear; quilt market recap; frico; Judy the music video star; album reviews; Quilters Hall of Fame; Meal Train; and science in the schools.
March, 2019 - A plantaris rupture; All Your Favorite Songs quilt; Dear Mrs. Bird; jelly rolls, fruit salad, and biscuits; overmatched reactions; the most wonderful time of the year; Patchwork Among Friends; Green Book; border psychology; and a mime joke.
November, 2018 - Samuel Goldwyn quotes; being needed; The Quilt Show, a survivor; Azul; C&T reactions; iron table how-to; flight announcement; on tour; Singular Stars exhibit; a journal; a quilting trend I don't like; fabric values; the Empty Bottle; bowling; quilts for sale; Quilters Hall of Fame; and good advice.
July, 2018 - Who is Judy Martin?;Tasty Girl; Border Inspirations; a movie star; Steve Earle and my basement; editing; album covers; exploded block diagrams; Paddington 2; enjoying the process; and signs.
February, 2018 - Slums; Singular Stars; the Tooth Fairy; Demise of the Short Order Cook; "You Are No Simple Machine;" swan song; retirement; Christmas dinner; This Beautiful Fantastic; Employee of the Year; and more on why God made moms.
November, 2017 - Scary grandma; quilts for sale; Codenames; sloth art; contradictory reviews; burnt ends; proofreading; Singular Stars update; family lore; massage therapy; Judy Martin myths; The Hideout; small worlds; e-books; and why God made moms.
July, 2017 - Mom's spare time; Singular Stars; Chicago eats; Aladdin; "Tumblin' Down;" "Star of the Orient;" Innovation Meets Tradition; empathy; Star Happy Quilts; The Creative Pattern Book; community theater; and drunk talking challenges.
April, 2017 - An unanswered prayer; Judy Martin E-books; Lone Star book preview; Kansas City Christmas gift; Hidden Figures; Quiltfolk; green bags; album accolades; the quilts of southwest China; and sports quotes.
November, 2016 - Election quotes; Best Press; behind the mic; Star Power; daily dust; a triple threat; hangin' with historical figures; Lone Star book progress; a gold medal; an American game; Iowa Quilt Museum; Atlanta highlights; fabric from trash; The BFG; and Bible lessons.
June, 2016 - Font humor; Lone Star book teaser; Saints Rest; Country Traditions; The Time in Between; loving diamonds; Adobe and Teardrops; Wichita; Judy's doll quilt; and more church bulletin notices.
March, 2016 - Church bulletin notices; a new sewing room tour; "All Your Favorite Songs;" Chocolate Covered Cherries; and Steve's stroke.
October, 2015 - A stroke of bad luck; The Fabric of My Life pattern; Kate Just Watched; I Hope You Hear This on the Radio; By the Sea; NQA; quilts and kids; Grinnell White Sox; Infinite Lone Stars; Hawkeye picnic; flying geese; and Kate's trip to Chicago.
March, 2015 - More Goldwyn; NQA keynote address; Skewed Nine Patch; your birthday song; Cooked and Delicious!; why we make quilts; Quilt Show reprint; a fishing joke; European TV shows; the red carpet; Pinterest; The Tells; The Fabric of My Life; and silly headlines.
October, 2014 - Moses and the Red Sea; tornado drill; The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry; Best of Show; volleyball manager; Aria for sale; Celtic Squares; a plaque for Kate; Encyclopedia Britannica; a quilt of 45 years; barbecue; Lou Gehrig's Disease; Ukrainian Village; Battgirl; Des Moines is hip; and silly headlines.
June, 2014 - Great insults; an interview; Origins and Quilt Show; Mediterranean burgers; every 823 years; Columbus; old school; needle felted animals; finishing school; block contest; the unveiling; background thoughts; easy quilts; World Cup; QuiltFabric.com; a QOM; and weird headlines.
March, 2014 - Call center communications; Judy's hand quilting; the kids plan a vacation; scrap quilts and stashbuilding; game update; the nest empties; gravy; lecture calendar; a dinner party; a charm quilt; rhyming couplets; fat lips; Paducah Log Cabin; a hand injury; and funny signs.
December, 2013 - Paul Lynde; Bonnie Hunter; Settlers of Catan; Quilt Show game; Grandpa's Log Cabin; clear instructions; a goodbye letter; apple crisp, consistency vs. perfection; an inspiration source; crazy book prices; Special Olympics bowling; test blocks; and more great headlines.
October, 2013 - Hollywood Squares funnies; lots about Extraordinary Log Cabin Quilts; sublimination; Judy's Facebook page; a quilt game; Modern Quilt Guild meetings; Will's new EP; a pregnant son; stash tales; antique bowels; George Siciliano; honoring a great fan; color in quilts; Tips for Successful Log Cabin Quilts; and funny headlines.
June, 2013 - Call center communications; Extraordinary Log Cabin Quilts; St. Louis; a Wisconsin trip; Seamsters; Kate's apartment; Modern Quilt Guild; Elenore; the graduate; awesome people and amazing animals; cat lady decorating; more Pinterest; Quilter's Newsletter TV dates; and great headlines.
February, 2013 - Golden Quilter Awards; Quilter's Newsletter TV; home alone; quilter's calendar; great expectations; nine tenets; a gold medalist; Lincoln; Pinterest; Motown junk; healing through quilting; and articulate insults.
December, 2012 - Hard of hearing; Themes and Variations in Judy Martin's Quilts; going topless; For Sale; metal quilts; defining elderly; Mexican Stroganoff; Thriller; International Book Giving Day; football team manager; Homecoming King; Jack Taylor; and failing memories.
October, 2012 - Old political quotes; Star Power; a band with no name; Storytelling Through Photos; Down Syndrome and a quilt shop; Kate's specs; my mom's quilt; converting a pattern to rotary cutting; sodding; and more strange flight announcements.
August, 2012 - Archery; an Underground quilt; green beans; funny hospital charts; National Quilt Museum; apartment hunting; spy dreams; dumpster diving; mountain biking; a pointless domain; and strange Bible interpretations.
May, 2012 - The facts of life; a dormant Lone Star book; my grandfather; why my quilts are large; a new book timeline; Special Olympics; so-called comedies; Canadian copyright; snowshoe art; the Bible; a restaurant contest; Quilter's Attic and Heartfelt Quilting; the band manager; and political quotes.
March, 2012 - An engineer and a mathematician; Kate's gift; quilting videos; Will's concert; a quilt game; track and field championships; my next(?) book; the FBI and MI-5; a perfect love; Cross Patches; The Hill in St. Louis; and baseball wisdom.
December, 2011 - A Judy Martin themed retreat; a bucket of balls; cheese or font; 1968; finger-pressing; my son the rock star; O Sleepless Night; Market impressions; Korma Sutra; The Resistance; Ember of Dreams; and the spirit of giving.
September, 2011 - Jack Sparrow; RAGBRAI; Mollie and Dear Abby; a mathematician joke; Quakers; the joy of rediscovery; Zombie Burgers; Judy Martin Flickr quilts; figuring yardage; and plane landing humor.
July, 2011 - The perfect mom; quilts and Criminal Minds; assembly line breakdown; decisions for the new book; familial love; Will in concert; Mamma Mia!; driver's ed and quilt patterns; and an undaunted quilter.
April, 2011 - Forensic quilting; block size conventions; a tornado; the Tower of Terror; fingerless quilting; the worst anniversary ever; laundry rooms; teaching beginners; assembly-line piecing; and more paraprosdokians.
February, 2011 - More church bulletin humor; Trudie Hughes; our special Christmas dinner; funny quotes; "easy as pie;" waffling on my new book; biscotti; Will's block; crazy eighths; the music man; and paraprosdokians.
November, 2010 - A whiff of my next book; Selleck and sandwiches; cathedral windows; a real quilter; Tony Gwynn; hating James Joyce; Radio Flyer car; Hawaii Chair; more remodeling; Kate's TV habits; Wits & Wagers; in praise of 8ths; and church bulletin humor.
September, 2010 - Bonnie Leman; remodeling pictorial; crab cakes; the satisfaction of taking the time; barn quilt photos; the Old 97's; help with picking colors; permission to display quilts; Shakespeare (Abridged); team-building exercises; no-fudge quilting; and more inventive analogies.
June, 2010 - Yellow cards; ironic spam; Michelangelo; old magazine advice; a design star; the Flylady; Camp Courageous; Threads and Beds; fabric lines; an outrageous book price; Log Cabin sets video; and inventive analogies.
April, 2010 - Homestead Hearth; storing patterns vs. purging patterns; Booger Red; moving outside the Comfort Zone; Judy is a twit; Page 5; reversing a trend in quilting; a perfect book for parents; Incident at Twenty-Mile; a ballplayer takes a flying leap; and Ask Karen.
February, 2010 - A profession of love; a small world; Judy Martin on the small screen; stupid questions; a birthday theme; Judy Martin Yahoo groups; Oscar reviews; famous customers; where to buy; choosing the wrong partner; and Samuel Goldwyn quotes.
December, 2009 - Judy Martin's Quilt Show; the Meeples of Carcassonne; grumpy fish; an odd recruiting visit; urban sprawl; colors, fabrics, and contrasts; Quilts Con El Diseno Log Cabin; family DVD ideas; barn quilts; and potholder avoidance.
September, 2009 - Strange workplace complaints; Empty Nest Syndrome; Kate's 20th birthday; Fat Elvis; completists; the sordid underbelly of quilting; carnivores in Kansas City; the self-made man; throwing down the cookie gauntlet; Stellar Quilts update; and Auric Goldfinger meets Jane Austen.
July, 2009 - Churchill's wit; Barack, Huey, and Will; graciousness; Grinnell College; punctuation; an "Aha!" moment; Stellar Quilts; family history ideas; Steve Blass Disease; Kate dates; Quilt Show: The Game; and an A+ short story.
April, 2009 - Eleanor Roosevelt's rose; the process; the play; rotary cutters; an oral history; Rocky Mountain National Park; Jan Krentz; Prufrock; a blue-ribbon girl; TV news banner; and the meaning of "pregnant."
February, 2009 - Lipstick; picking a college; on paying taxes; naming quilts; making quilts by any means necessary; birthday calculator; "mental pause;" some misconceptions; the assembly line; rotary cutting ergonomics; an Oasis concert; and a biology lesson.
November, 2008 - How to sign quilts; Cosmo; the evolution of Judy; Quilt Expo wrap-up; quilting threats; a trip to the dentist; Blackfriars Playhouse and the Grotto of the Redemption; Ticket to Ride; the genealogy of patterns; Kate Math; Beaufort, NC; dirty campaign tricks; and cookie watching.
September, 2008 - Monkey toes; eating Dixie; a handwriting smackdown; required reading in childbirth classes; a first class girl; Snake River Log Cabin; and a sausage attack.
June, 2008 - The Great Flood; starting with big bites; Senior Class President; vultures; seam allowances; Just Like a Woman; "I Know He Has My Back;" the graduate; buying groceries; Prospero's Daughter; AQS Des Moines Quilt Expo; the Music Genome Project; and automatic out-of-office email replies.
April, 2008 - Silly Walks Generator; rules for ironing; Special Olympics; The Pale Blue Eye; my obituary; design wall ideas; why grandma's hair is white; pressure-free quilting; a guitar hero; the voice of God; and the one-legged ballplayer.
February, 2008 - An African feast; a whale tale; seam guides; Killer Bunnies; enjoying the quilting process; the wisdom of grandmas; ash-colored quilts; engaging the next generation of quilters; quilts for San Diego County fire victims; the Senior Sweetheart; and the Brother and Sister Commandment.
November, 2007 - The Rockies and the Rotary Reference; quilt closets; The Music Man; Citizen Kate; signs; bumper stickers; spam folders; and my granddaughter.
September, 2007 - On being a girl; price gouging; a new banner; Log Cabins as skillbuilders; I Spy; All-Conference pitcher; doing time vs. enjoying time; how a square can be a circle; bad hyphenated names; a working girl; and miracles with bed pans.
June, 2007 - Opening Day starter; Viewers' Choice; binding advice; fabric purchases and scrap storage; a love story; Kate and Pictionary; the power of determination; and a test for accuracy.
April, 2007 - Judy's Disney World vacation; a silver anniversary; new batting; zoology; Hoosiers; the Great Ice Storm; seam allowances and smog; Kate's trash talking ways; and a pact between quilters.
February, 2007 - Judy Martin's Log Cabin Quilt Book; the psychology of borders; gushers and squealers; a quilter's obituary; permission to send your tops out; and performance evaluations.
January, 2007 - American accents; Audi; Monet's Signature Quilt; going to heaven; a Puke 'n' Play quilt; Insidious Pez Mutants; beef tortellini soup; and Hollywood Squares answers.
November, 2006 - Crackpots; strip-piecing; a tragic love story; barn quilts; the joy of sets; Will's driving; and a parking joke.
September, 2006 - The strangest newsletter; the meaning of love; PQR; the Iowa State Fair; quilts for sale; The Coffee Trader and Birds Without Wings; and the lamest excuses.
June, 2006 - Kate's first date; baseball quotes; a short history of quilt patterns; my Primedia Gallery show; and Pilots vs. Maintenance Engineers.
April, 2006 - Middle wife; Living Color fabric; Alzheimer's quilts; Precision Piecing Jubilee; and bad movie translations.
March, 2006 - Great excuses; Celluloid Heroes; Tom Jones Syndrome; turning Block Books into gold; Designers Quarters; and funny patient charts.
November, 2005 - Rhapsody fabric; World Champion White Sox; fruit salad; the Jewel Box; Pumpkin Abusers; Pretzels and Orphans; a guide to the quilts; and more bad analogies.
August, 2005 - Dresden Plates; teachers; a cagey Cajun; Scraps; Judy's fabric line; Krispy Kremes; and children's science exams.
May, 2005 - See the Rabbits; Quilters News Network; a wardrobe malfunction; dead parrots; Kansas City Quilt Market; and a dog's letter to God.
February, 2005 - Judy Martin's Stars & Sets; John Sayles; the color of frustration; rowdy quilters; pinning; 1904; and bad analogies.
November, 2004 - Puke pans; Quilt Market; oldies; my house's new paint job; more on trimming down; dead letter office; tummy tucks and pressing seams; jocks; and a spelling lesson.
August, 2004 - Knockout Blocks and Sampler Quilts; toothbrushes and toilets; more games; more on seam allowances; Heavenly Angels; and trimming down.
May, 2004 - Nudity; seam allowances; ER idiots; Judy & the Sexy Girl Wrestlers; game recommendations; The Lottery; Judy's new book; and understanding engineers.
February, 2004 - Operation Homefront Quilts; family game night; ideas for a beginners class; a funny order confirmation; and the Quilt Price Index.
November, 2003 - Kate's run for class president; crazy quotes; magnetic pin cushions; Friends in the Bee; yogurt bars; Chinese burritos; and the 4 stages of life.
August, 2003 - Power pitching; why God made mothers; Juki sewing machines; explosive cell phones; thread snips; Hoosier memories; gourd quilts; and home remedies you don't want to try at home.
July, 2003 - Grinnell's 4th celebration; grade inflation; Quilt Like Tiger; weighted quilts; Will's European journey; and strange church bulletin notices.
June, 2003 - Book turn-ons and turn-offs; the Quilters Hall of Fame; changing the world; sending my ballplayer to Europe;and odd newspaper headlines.
May, 2003 - Kate's wisdom; an employees handbook; seam guides & test patches; Periodic Table of Condiments; and science in the schools.
April, 2003 - Judy's Disney trip; pina coladas & cannibalism; an inspirational story; and the wisdom of 6th graders.
March, 2003 - Critters in bras; the Paradox of Our Time; fighting the fear of bias; a block exchange idea; and new drugs.
February, 2003 - Quilters' Night Out; glue; Canadian lighthouses; Quilt Bimbo Zombies; and the Senile Virus.
January, 2003 - Advertising buzzwords; why one woman quilts; excessive dessert; the man in the refrigerator; Bozophobia; and the family dog.
December, 2002 - The Night Before Christmas; Christmas CD's; baking disaster; Kalona Kapers; and wasting fabric with "shortcuts."
November, 2002 - Whipped cream; Judyism; blatherskites; bad clowns; Michener; coffee cows; and buttons and zippers.
October, 2002 - Caring for your Juki; using ugly fabric; Manic Street Preachers; lumpy gravy; fighting inaccuracy; and Great Truths.
September, 2002 - Cutting layouts; Judy's new sewing machine; the World's Greatest Band; missing fabrics; and Steve's book list.
August, 2002 - Piece 'n' Play Quilts; Freedom Quilts; a small iron; Home Ec; the Dialectizer; Quilting Traders Newsletter; and seeing through shortcuts that don't work.
July, 2002 - 38 Judy Martin quilts; Boston trip; the uglies; Slobberbone; baseball and quilting; and speaking English.
June, 2002 - Chocolate pie recipe; a no-hitter; knowing how much fabric to buy; canine numbering system; Squirrel Syndrome; Aurifil; and the Senility Prayer.
May, 2002 - Lessons from Mother; Market impressions; chickens of the world; Judy's books; book search site; and the truth about cats & dogs.
April, 2002 - Stars 'n' Stripes Forever; a booger joke; the Blue Belle Inn; a proof of accuracy; Yogi's armpits; and the Balloonist & the Woman.
March, 2002 - How to make an ironing table; classified ads; frivolous lawsuits; a gift package; painting old barns; and things learned from watching movies.
February, 2002 - Strip piecing vs. rotary cut patches; a letter from Mom; more on valuing quilts; more strange band names; tattoos; and the Stellas.
January, 2002 - A heartwarming tale; Big Ugly woman; cookie tales; the mental approach to sewing; valuing quilts; and deep thoughts.
December, 2001 - Slumber party round robins; class outlines for Cookies 'n' Quilts; chocolate ratings; Featherweights on steroids; family reading night; and computer haiku.
November, 2001 - Oregon Trail variation; quilts in movies; Kate's vocabulary contest; cutting thread on airplanes; and terrorists in the workplace.
October, 2001 - Cookies 'n' Quilts at last; Quilting is Hot!; Steve's movie list; pins; Einbahnstrasse; strange product labels; thinking outside the box.
September, 2001 - Cookies 'n' Quilts; fabric search; pin cushions; Steve's book list; and movies to avoid.
August, 2001 - My MVP; cookie book names; cookies vs. GPA; the Hunch; the Plan; a shy Minnesotan; and quilters vs. normal people.
July, 2001 - Ballparks; Mill House Quilts; my cookiebook; quotes for women; copyright issues; problem students vs. class resources; and word play.
June, 2001 - Cookies; Fat Judy; Sweet Treats; incongruous song lyrics; bear trouble; retirement and sewing; chili casserole; and Badtimes virus.
May, 2001 - Piecing and playing; learning experiences; Top 10 Favorite Designers; Philosophy 101; quilting ergonomics; and Words to Live By.
April, 2001 - Democracy in action; quilting; a healthy level of insanity; reviews and reviewers; Color-It-Quilts; Art of Machine Piecing; QPI; backtacking; and The End.
March, 2001 - One man's ____; decorating with quilts; Judy's second career; backtacking pieced borders; quilting snobs; and missionary kids.
February, 2001 - A clean sewing room; famous customers; Dick and Jane; turning kids into quilters; proverbs; Johnny Depp vs. Jim Carrey; and a Fertile woman.
January, 2001 - Star Happy Quilts; Nowegian computer virus; Troublemakers; rotary cutting patches; Post Polio Syndrome; and the Way-Back Machine.
December, 2000 - A scholarly quilt list; random thoughts; Buckwheat Zydeco; Christmas music; and Sylvia's Studio.
November, 2000 - Star Happy; out-of-print books; a hillbilly letter; more on pre-washing; good quilting sites; feeling really old; and If a Dog Were Your Teacher.
October, 2000 - Pre-washing fabric; swingin' chicks, Baby!; feeling old; Kate the Scholar; Steve's book list; and questions to ponder.
September, 2000 - Point trimming lesson; Judy Martin's Manifesto; a quilting logic puzzle; entering quilt competitions; quilting moms of rock stars; more stalking; and Are You a Professional?
August, 2000 - Bumper stickers; Judy's reading list; online tests; the newest Barrelman; "plump"; and 1000 marbles.
July, 2000 - An old fabric source; the gender of computers; Quilter's Review; an ironing table fable; Sharing Grandma's Gift; my daughter the scriptwriter; and the power of suggestion.
June, 2000 - Quilts 2000; Victorian poets; find your Star Wars twin; women's wrestling; decorating with quilt blocks; Gene Pitney; Johnny Chicken, and a dose of nostalgia.
May, 2000 - Quilt Market observations; Judy Martin Barrel Man of the Month; beard wars; the Take Out Method; You Know You're a Real Quilter When.; and some very deep thoughts.
April, 2000 - Backtacking; Special Olympics; wedding songs; more band names; fantasy baseball and throwing cheese; breakfast cookies; the next generation of quilters; and computers vs. cars.
March, 2000 - Project Linus; strange band names; Small Scale Quiltmaking; forensics & pretzels; the evolution of a quiltmaker; Moroccan Beef; and the dog days of March.
February, 2000 - Curing running fabric; stamping out breast cancer; Carrie Hall Blocks; another Judy Martin; a virtual quilt gallery; tracking quilts in transit; and stupid Banff Park tourists.
January, 2000 - The joys of proofreading; finger-pressing & Cindy Crawford's thigh; lost quilts; merger mania; two proofs that love is boundless; the quilt on Judy's bed; and an Oreo cookbook.
December, 1999 - The Creative Pattern Book details; The Quiltmaker's Gift; Gulliver's Travels and the new millennium; and courtroom humor.
November, 1999 - Top Quilting Books of the Millennium; millennium quilts; salad dressing and ethnic groups; lemonade and 60-degree diamonds; getting it right from the start; and an interview with God.
October, 1999 - Remembering Doreen Speckmann; recommended reading; a logic puzzle; the inner workings of Crosley-Griffith; 2 tips for correct yardage; and redneck Jedis.
September, 1999 - Cat urine & black light; seam allowances; a pin recommendation; the 10th pin; marbled fabric; and 8 gifts everyone can afford.
August, 1999 - Disney World musings; pinheads & fatheads; things you didn't know; the Best 40,000 books; and Quilter's Travel Companion.
July, 1999 - Tips for building a stash; database for shops, teachers, & guilds; The Babe Ruth Story; avenging Jane Taylor; and funny quotes from non-visionaries.
June, 1999 - Tips for preventing ruler slippage; boycott "Twinkle, Twinkle"; false start to cover quilt; survey results; Loving Stitches; danielmauser.com; and Wife 1.0.
May, 1999 - Tom Mauser's remarks at the White House about the Columbine tragedy.
April, 1999 - Thoughts on April; Judy Martin Barrel Man of the Month; "Wear Sunscreen"; The Creative Pattern Book gets its name; and grafitti from the London Underground.
March, 1999 - Point trimming; reading to children; Katie's Alphabet Quilt; Barbara Kingsolver; and Japanese fabric.
February, 1999 - Judy's Newsletter Manifesto; patches with sides in common; new books by Ami Simms, Trudie Hughes, and Marsha McCloskey; ham chowder; and corporate America in the '90s.