Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Spring Retreat!

As you may already know, my guild, Lakeview Quilters Guild, has a retreat every spring in Galveston, Texas.  A nice size group of quilters, somewhere between 80 and 90 this year, settle in for four and half wonderful days of solid quilting and camaraderie.  So, this month's blog is nothing about me and my work, and everything about the awesome projects and inspiration that I saw at the retreat!

First up are a couple of quilts that my friend Becky Stephenson has been working on.  The top one is a square in square quilt that she and a group of friends did an exchange with, and she recently finished.  The colors and movement of the quilt are just mesmerizing to me.  Note that the white "border" isn't really a border.  The squares are all sewn on-point, and then white triangles are added to the ends to square up the quilt.  It turns out creating an imaginary border! 

The quilt just below that one is the center block that she's been working on for the Happy Trails quilt by Pearl Pereira at P3 Designs.  Being a native Texan, I can't help but love a boot filled with yellow roses and bluebonnets!

Becky's Square in Square Quilt
Becky's Happy Trails center block.
This next quilt is an Aggie quilt made by Sara Genoa.  And, she hand quilted it!  I went to Texas A&M, so Aggies are near and dear to me.  And all of those little words quilted into the border just stole my heart!
Sara's Aggie Quilt

Closeup of Sara's quilting.
Speaking of Aggie quilts, my friend Cynthia Clark spent most of her retreat time working on one for her soon-to-be step-grandson.  It will be a beautiful Aggie log cabin!

A stack of Cynthia's log cabin blocks in work.

Cynthia's first finished block!
This Bed of Roses quilt has a very unique story.  The blocks were made by Deborah Salisbury, who had Alzheimer's disease and was unable to finish the quilt.  The blocks were given to Marlene Lewis, who asked Mom for help with it.  Mom helped her to square up the blocks and figure out how to put it together.  I think she even cut some of the sashings for her.  I think it turned out just lovely, and I love the story that goes with it.
Deborah's and Marlene's Bed of Roses
Sometimes, we start new projects at retreat after seeing something inspirational in the room with us.  That happened here!  This first picture is a block that Carolyn Hooks made, called Far West.  She and a group of quilters exchanged fabrics only and made their own blocks.  Becky saw the block and really liked the look of it.  But, she thought it would sure be nice in a smaller scale.  Becky's sister, Jerrianne went ahead and made her a small version.  So cute!  I think we may have to make a full size quilt of small blocks!
Carolyn's Far West block
Jerrianne's/Becky's mini Far West block
We also have non-quilt items that are inspiring.  Here we have a small sewing case that Johnnie Nottingham made for Holly Cagle.  Look at all of that embroidery and detail.  It's absolutely gorgeous!
Holly's sewing case, outside.

Holly's sewing case, inside.
This next quilt, I think Mom would have loved!  Linda Ainsworth took her Bunny Block Sampler blocks and took them to a whole new level.  She added multiple borders and tons of embellishments, and she's working on hand quilting it.  Beautiful!
Linda's Bunny Block Sampler quilt.

Linda's Santa Bunny, with embellished gift sack.

Linda's Halloween Bunny with pumpkins, a spider, and almost Mardi Gras-like mask.

Linda's Thanksgiving Bunny, with added turkey and carrots.
Marci Henry actually finished a quilt at retreat (something I always wish I could say).  I have an affinity for blue quilts, and this is no exception.  I love it!
Marci's blue pineapple top quilt.
Nancy Ferverda made this lovely Shabby Vintage Rose quilt using pink and purple fabrics.  I like the look of sampler type quilts like this.
Nancy's Shabby Vintage Rose quilt.
This next quilt caught my eye when Jeanne Whittle put it up on a design wall.  The bright colors and waves going both vertically and horizontally add so much interest and movement. 
Jeanne's Crown Jewels using the X block.
And as soon as Jeanne's quilt came down to be sewn together, Mary Ann Alexander put this next quilt up, with even brighter colors.  This pattern is called Gemstone by Henry Glass.  Again, the movement and colors draw me in and make me want to keep staring.
Mary Ann's Gemstone quilt.
And yet another eye catcher was this Chains quilt that Phyllis Grounds was working on.  Lovely florals in soothing colors.  I can imagine myself wrapped up in the finished quilt, keeping warm by a cozy fire.
Phyllis' Chains quilt.
Last but not least, this quilt top is one that Mom purchased several years ago for $20, and it wasn't all put together when she purchased it.  A group of quilters has since completed the top and finished the applique that wasn't quite finished.  It will be quilted and up for auction in our guild's annual auction this August.  I'd guess it'll bring the guild a nice sum of money.  So pretty!
Antique quilt top.

Antique quilt top
That's all for this month.  I hope you enjoyed viewing some of the works of art from my retreat, and maybe got some inspiration of your own.  Have a fantastic April, and I'll see you next month!

Keep on sewing!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Marching Through Time

I seriously can't believe that we're already in March.  Maybe it's due to the shorter month of February.  Maybe it's due to the crazy weather we've been having, which throws me out of kilter.  Or maybe it's just because I'm having too much fun!

First, I want to let everyone know that there will be an exhibit of around 30 of Mom's quilts at the Texas Quilt Museum this summer!  I'm so excited about this!  The museum is in LaGrange, Texas, which is 1 hour 15 minutes from Austin, 1 hour 30 minutes from Houston, and 2 hours from San Antonio.  It's housed in a pair of historic buildings from the 1890s, and is supposed to be pretty fantastic to see.  I haven't been yet, but I'll definitely be taking a trip... or two or three... out there this summer to visit the quilts!  If you're nearby, I encourage you to do the same.

Photo of the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange

Next, I have a few quilts to show off.  I've been busy, practicing on Carol Ann (my longarm), and trying to finish up some quilts for the Lakeview Quilters Guild show that's coming up in May.  Oh, and speaking of that!  Our shows are every other year, in even numbered years.  This year's show is called "Celebrating Sue" and is in honor of Mom and all of the work and support she did for the guild, and for the quilting profession.  And, with every show, we also have a studio tour.  I went ahead and volunteered my home to be on the tour, thinking that it was Mom's studio, and the show is in her honor, so it's only appropriate.  Boy, do I have a lot of cleaning to do between now and April 14!  There will be eight homes total on the tour, which will be a great variety to get ideas and inspiration from.  Tickets are $15 in advance at guild meetings and local quilt shops, or they can be purchased the day of the tour at the homes for $20.

Back to my quilts now... actually, the first one is just one that I quilted.  But, it still counts!  A husband of a quilter in one of my bees started chemo a few weeks ago.  So, there happened to be a bee at my house, and the group pulled together and made him a fantastic quilt to keep him warm while he was in the hospital.  The top is made from all homespuns in solids and plaids, the back is sock monkeys (!!!), and I must say that the quilting pattern we picked is my new very favorite E2E!  It's spiral pano 001 by Kimberlee Diamond.

Overall view of the quilted top.

Loaded on the machine, stitching away.

Nice view of the quilting pattern.

Who doesn't love some sock monkeys on pogo sticks?!!!
Next quilt on my list is... drum roll please... Mama Bear!  So, last month I finish Papa Bear and posted pictures of the handsome guy.  This month I finished his smaller partner in crime.  She is made using all of the same (but no duplicated) fabrics, just on a smaller scale.  I used the same quilting pattern as the quilt above, just shrinking it down to scale, and I think it turned out fabulously!  You can judge for yourself.  And wait until next month (hopefully) when I finish Baby Bear!  He's going to be so darned CUTE!

Overall view of the top of Mama Bear.

A closer view to see the quilting pattern.

Mama and Papa together, so you can see the size difference.
Last quilt I finished this month is that mini double wedding ring that I wrote about when I finished the top.  I finally dove in, loaded it on the longarm, and did some serious learning about custom quilting.  The main thing I learned is... the laser pointer may not actually be pointed exactly right, which can cause some issues when drawing borders and placing patterns that need to be exact!  I made a whole bunch of mistakes, but I feel like I learned even more.  Most importantly, I absolutely adore how the quilt turned out!

Overall view of the quilted top.

Close-up of the quilting.  Just ignore where I overstitched the colored fabrics.
Great photo of the overall quilting of the quilt.  I love how the rings pop!
Next, I want to share a couple of quilts that aren't mine, and aren't Mom's, but their beautiful quilts that are based on Mom's patterns!  First up, one of her very good friends, Cynthia Clark, made a miniature Hugs and Kisses.  Each of the floral blocks is only 4-inches square.  Remember by miniature Sleeping Beauty from last month?  This is another from the group of us that are miniaturizing a pattern of Mom's for our guild's quilt show in May.  I just love this one!  Those teeny tiny circles are really applique, believe it or not.  She used a hole punch in making them!!!

Teeny tiny Hugs and Kisses by Cynthia Clark.
 Next up, I have an absolutely gorgeous Baltimore Album quilt called Heartsong, by Patty Goodsell in Green Valley, Arizona.  It measures 58" x 58".  The four center blocks are from an original Baltimore Album quilt called the "Elizabeth McCullough Hervey" quilt.  Patty "borrowed" the borders from Friends of Baltimore, shortening and tweaking them to fit her quilt.  They took her 2-years of work, as she stitched in many, many dimensional flowers and added lots of embroidery.  Patty said she loved almost every minute of stitching those borders.  The quilt is entirely hand appliqued and hand quilted.  It recently won four awards at the Tucson, Arizona Quilt Fiesta 2018, including Best of Show, Exemplary Hand Applique, Exemplary Hand Quilting, and 3rd in Viewer's Choice.  Congratulations to Patty on an outstanding work of art!  I am absolutely sure that Mom would have loved it.

Patty Goodsell and her quilt, Heartsong.

Close-up of a corner.  Such detailed work!

Another close-up of a corner.  Outstanding!
Later this month is my guild's spring retreat, so April will bring lots and lots of photos of guild members' work, and tons of inspiration!  Hopefully, I'll find time to finish a few more things to post as well.  Last, but most certainly not least, I want to introduce everyone to the newest member of our household.  Please meet Mr. Wiggles (named by my 10-year old son, Jack), the amazing pug puppy!!!

That face!

Until next month... keep stitching!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

What a LOVE-ly Time of Year

Ah February… the month of hearts, valentines, love, and pinks and reds.  And I have none of that!  Except love, of course, for family and friends… and, of course, quilting!  Now, let’s see what I have to talk about this month.  I know!  First, I’d like to commend my fabulous husband, Mark, for building and installing a new design wall for me.  I LOVE IT!  We followed some instructions that a good friend, Jerrianne, had written up for her own design wall, and it came out beautifully!  The “wall” itself is made from 4’ x 8’ insulation sheets that we picked up at the hardware store.  I covered them with queen size white flannel sheets, which I ordered VERY inexpensively from an online massage supply shop.  And Mark hung them on my studio walls with regular screws, but added some white screw caps to the heads, so they almost look like cute little buttons.  LOVE!

My beautiful new design wall, with some blocks laid out on it...
more on those in a minute!

Now, is anyone curious about how many quilts I’ve managed to get quilted in the last month?  I had to go back and look!  There are only three, but that’s not too bad, considering I still have a full time job during the day, and a 10-year old son and husband and take care of.  Right?!  The first is a community service quilt that was made by Jerrianne, using fabrics that Mom (Sue) donated to the guild.  They’re the fabric line that she designed for P&B Textiles a number of years ago.  They’re so cute! I got some good practice in on working with borders and corners, using various block patterns, and playing with cornerstones and sashings.  I ended up doing some free motion meandering for the sashings, instead of a computerized pattern, and I think it turned out really sweet.  Lesson learned on this one… take time to draw outlines for the actual borders to ensure that you don’t quilt over the edges and into the binding area.

I played with using one border-corner pattern across multiple borders,
and I think it turned out nice!
An overhead view of the whole quilt.  LOVE it!
Another view from the corner, this time with the meander
complete in the sashings around the blocks.
A close up view of four of the blocks.  I love the quilting patterns!
Next up is another community service quilt that I picked up at our last guild meeting.  I don’t know who put the top together, so I can’t give credit.  Since the fabrics were all red, white, and blue, I decided to pick a patriotic edge-to-edge quilting pattern.  Wow, did I really pick one… or four!  There’s a set of patriotic E2E patterns that comes with the Statler, which are pretty pictoral, with images of the Golden Gate Bridge, an eagle, George Washington, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, etc.  That’s what I did!  It’s pretty hard to see because of the range of fabric colors, and me picking a neutral thread, but it still looks pretty cool.  Lesson learned: if you want the quilting to be seen, pick a thread color that doesn’t disappear into any of the fabric colors.

An overhead view of the whole quilt.  See how it's difficult to see the quilting?
Here you can see the Statue of Liberty.
And George Washington's face, surrounded by stars.
And the Liberty Bell, with stars all around.
Third, and last, but most definitely not least!  I quilted Papa Bear, the charm quilt that I talked about last month.  And, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how it turned out!  I wanted to find a curvy E2E pattern, to offset the geometric triangles in the quilt top.  I searched and searched, found some feathers and decided against them, found some swirls and decided against them, then found the absolutely perfect pattern!  The Baptist Fan is a long-time love of mine, and is just traditional enough to feel right on Papa.  And, even better, I found a version of it with pearls inset in every other row at Wasatch Quilting.  The final design I used alternates between the traditional fan and the pearl fan, and I couldn’t love it any more than I do.  My plan is to bind it with a cheddar print that will match the fabric I used for the backing.

A nice view at an angle across the top of the quilt.
This close up really lets you see the pearls in every other fan!
A view of the back of the quilt.
This is me auditioning the cheddar print for the binding.  It wins!
What’s my next project, you ask?  Well, that’s a great question, and I’m SO EXCITED to share!  Of course, every great quilter has a bazillion UFOs, right?  Well, I didn’t for a couple of reasons.  First, I have only really been quilting for four or five years now.  Second, and most importantly, I’m totally OCD about things like that, and can’t stand to have unfinished projects laying around!  Now, notice that my comment was in the past tense… I didn’t… now I do, and I have a lot.  Mary and I split up all of the projects that Mom left behind last year, and even with only half of them I still have a ton!  There’s one that stands out to me more than any other, and I’m pushing myself HARD to try to get it complete within the next few months.  Mom finished a pattern for a quilt that she called a Double Oak Leaf Reel.  It was finished, all except for the cover photo, because she never had the chance to make the quilt.  So, this beauty is my tribute to Mom… one of her very last patterns, and I think it will turn out to be a stunning quilt.  So much LOVE!

Stacks of oak leaves for each of the sixteen blocks.
See the background from the earlier quilt?  Each of the sixteen blocks will
be appliqued with two oak leaf sets, a red ring, and eight berries.
This is the first one out of the gate, with just one of the eight berries
waiting to be stitched down.
Last topic of the month, and it’s more of a plea for help or ideas.  We’ve seen all of the notes asking us to publish a book of Mom’s quilts.  We actually came up with the idea last year, right after she passed away.  Time got away from us, but the idea and the desire are still there.  Last year, we spoke with a small publisher up in the Dallas area, and got a quote for publishing a coffee table book.  We still have that, although we probably should shop around a little more to make sure we get the best deal possible.  The real holdup is photography.  We tried to photograph one of the quilts ourselves, and it was a very long and difficult day… for one quilt.  So, we are looking into hiring a professional photographer.  We’ve gotten one recommendation from three different sources, but we suspect that he’s out of the business because he hasn’t returned any of our e-mails.  So, if anyone out there has suggestions for quilt photographers in the Houston area, send them our way!  Or publishers even… we’re not locked into the one we spoke with last year! 
I hope everyone is warming up now, and getting to spend lots of time with needle and thread.  See you next month.  Keep quilting!