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!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Holiday Season Madness

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and got to take some time for yourselves to get some extra quilting time in.  I know I did!  There's so much to talk about this month!

First, and most exciting for me, I got the best Christmas present EVER!  My new Gammill with a Statler Stitcher was delivered.  Yippee!  There's actually a bit of a story that goes with the delivery.  Daren (from Linda's Electric Quilters) and Cody (from Gammill) arrived early in the morning and started work, getting everything brought upstairs and put together.  By early afternoon, she was ready for the initial testing.  That's when things started getting strange.  The machine started stitching by itself!  Daren would stop the stitcher, touch the table, and it would start on its own again.  Or, he'd stop it, and step back and it would start again!  I joked that Mom was there with us, testing it herself, because she was so excited about having a Gammill back in the house again.  It turned out that the issue was more likely a short in the machine, and it had to be sent back.  I went ahead and christened her with the name Carol Ann, after the little girl in the movie Poltergeist.  Hehehehe.  Just a few days later, a new head was delivered and installed, and is working absolutely beautifully!  I picked up a couple of community service quilts from my guild, and quilted them for practice.  I love it!
Carol Ann all set up and ready to stitch!
Community Service quilt #1

Close up of the flowers I quilted onto the blocks.

Close up of the work that I did on the sashing and cornerstones.

Community Service quilt #2.

Close up of the quilting from the backside.  A pretty, swirly Edge-to-Edge pattern.

Anyone remember the miniature Sleeping Beauty that I was working on a few months ago?  I just finished it!  My original plan was to hand quilt it, but when I really started thinking about the amount of quilting that I thought it needed (so much stitching in the ditch!), I changed my mind and learned how to use a walking foot on my Bernina.  I finished all of that stitching in the ditch, then loaded it up on the Gammill to add some pretty feathery patterns in the center and in the quarter circles.  I think it turned out beautifully!  I gave her the name Southern Jewel... the bright colors remind me of pretty gems sparkling in the sun.

Finished Southern Jewel.
Closeup of the quilting in the center.

Closeup of the quilting in the quarter circles.

Shot of the quilting from the backside of the quilt.

Next topic... Mom may have mentioned it previously, but she and I had been collecting charm squares to make our own charm quilts.  Charm quilts have an interesting story behind them, where women would collect pieces of fabric and make quilts that had 1,000 different fabrics in them.  Well, I finally finished the top of the first of my charm quilts.  Yes, the first... of three!  After I started making the quilt, I thought there was still a good bit of fabric left on each of the charm squares, and realized that I could make at least one more quilt.  Or, I could make two more quilts all of different sizes.  So, my Goldilocks quilts are named Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear.  Papa's top is done, and getting ready to be loaded up and quilted, probably with a swirly, feathery edge-2-edge.  Then, I'll get busy finishing up Mama and Baby.

Papa Bear

The beginnings of Mama Bear and Baby Bear.
I also finished a miniature double wedding ring quilt.  This was a pattern that I bought at Festival this year, all paper pieced.  I've always had a kind of obsession with double wedding rings, and I figured this would be a good way to scratch that itch without having to make a full size quilt.  So cute!  I haven't quite decided how I want to quilt it yet, but I'll start working that soon enough.

Paper pieced double wedding ring miniature quilt.

And last, but certainly not least, I want to share photos of a couple of quilts that friends are almost done with.  First, Becky finished her Omigosh! top, minus the borders in this photo.  This is such a popular pattern, and you can definitely see why.  It's beautiful!


Becky's Omigosh!
Second, Jerrianne finished The Grape Quilt!  There are just a couple of grapes on the quilt... I think over 1600 of them!  It's absolutely gorgeous!  And, this was a pattern that Mom had put together, and I found the file for it, complete except for a cover photo.  So, as soon as Jerrianne's quilt gets back from being quilted, and gets photographed, we'll be releasing the pattern for sale on our website.

Jerrianne's Grape Quilt.

That's all for this month.  Happy New Year to everyone!  My resolution is to quilt more, and to post monthly blogs this year.  Yippee!

Keep quilting,
Jenny

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Greatest Show on Earth!

Wow!  I think that's the best word I can use to describe the Houston International Quilt Festival this year.  All of the quilts were fantastic, and there was so much to take in... and, of course, there was the exhibit that is near and dear to our hearts... Remembering Sue Garman: Traditional Talent Extraordinaire.  It's hard to describe the feelings that came over me when we walked into the exhibit.  It was overwhelming, spectacular, beautiful, and sad, all at the same time.  It was fantastic to see so many of the quilts hanging together, and they seemed to just go on forever!  I'm pretty sure that people missed pieces of the exhibit because they didn't realize how many quilts were part of it.  Mary and I got to meet so many people who knew Mom, or who were affected by her in some way over the years.  And, we even got to learn more about her quilts as we listened to stories that friends and fans told us about them.  Many thanks to Quilts, Inc. for hosting the show, and to The Quilt Show for sponsoring the exhibit.  We can't say it enough!  Now, this month will be many more photos than words.  On with the show!

And to All a Good Night was on the end that opened the exhibit.

Quilted Gingerbread was right next to And to All a Good Night.


Ladies of the Sea

The Christmas Lady

The Garden Lady

The Quilt Lady

Mama Said.  In small embroidered font, she wrote things that mothers say to their kids around each block, for example "Always wear clean underwear." At the show, we learned that one of the two Mama Said quilts that she made has all the things kids say to their parents embroidered on the back, such as "Are we there yet?"

Grandpa's Nightshirts

Good Golly


The Walkaway Star Quilt

Cotton Candy

Addie's Cheddar Alphabet

The Glorious Princess Feather

Ruffled Feathers

Sarah's Revival

The Washingtonian

Friends of Baltimore

Sallie's Secret


Baltimore Glory

Coxcomb Medallion - Round Robin

Bed of Roses - the cover quilt for Festival this year!

Baltimore Squared

Sue's Lone Star Medallion

The Houstonian

Lily Rosenberry

Spring Joy

Ruffled Roses

Feathered Log Cabin Christmas

Shine On, Harvest Moon

If Friends Were Flowers

Chain Gang - Chains

Chain Gang - Flowers, Stars, and Chains

The Barrel Racer

Discovery

Postage Due.  Do you see the mistake in one of the blocks?  I had never seen it before, until
someone pointed it out to me at Festival.

Tucker's Tulips

My Blue Heaven

Bouquets for a New Day

Chain Gang - Flowers and Chains

Target Practice

Trick or Treat

Boo Buddies

Monsters!

Summer Joy

Classic Santas

Winter Memories

Bunny Block Sampler

Daisy's Mother Goose Quilt

Hugs and Kisses

Happy Daze

Mother Goose Stories

Borrowed Roses

Feathered Star Heaven

Hearts in Bloom

All Around the Town

Antique Rose Quilt

Autumn Joy

The Night Before Christmas

We noticed that the stockings have the grandchildren's names on them!  Not including the youngest, Ben, because he hadn't been born yet.

The Lindenberry Quilt

Gingerbread Joy

Papercut Fancy

Forever Yours

Little Baskets

Southern Beauty

Twirly Balls and Pinwheels

Afternoon Delight

Pennsylvania Stars

Coxcomb Medallion

Ancient Stars

Floating Stars

Omigosh!

My Old Kentucky Beau
There were so many more quilts to see at the show, but I'm going to leave today with just Mom's exhibit since there were so many.  We're working on bringing back some of her older patterns, like Trick or Treat, Yuletide Joy, and Harvest Moon.  Let us know if you have any special requests!

Have a fantastic holiday season, and we'll see you soon.  Keep on stitching!