Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and Quilting

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is a wonderful time to celebrate and give thanks for all of the blessings that fill our lives: loving families, good health, deep friendships, freedom and happiness... the list is endless. And somewhere on my list is quilting! Quilting offers all of us something. For some of us, it offers us creativity and art. For others, it offers friendship with fellow quilters. For others, it offers an opportunity to share one's talent with friends and strangers alike. No matter what your reason is for quilting, I hope that it gives you great satisfaction.

Over the past couple of weeks I have had the chance to work on finishing up several projects. Here is a sampling - enjoy!

Lily Rosenberry, 83 x 83 inches

This quilt was originally done in red and green on a warm off-white background. This version was done in bubble gum pink and soft green on a rich chocolate background. Denise Green and I collaborated on this quilt and made it together.

The Walkaway Star Quilt, 60 x 74 inches

I am going to teach participants how to make this quilt at the annual February 2009 Quakertown Quilts retreat on Galveston Island (and yes, the island recovery is going great -- lots of work ahead, but the retreat site is in great condition!). The block is one that I designed, based on an antique block. I call the quilt the "walk away" star quilt because the quilt really CAN be done in a day, if one stays focused. That pleases me; I do not think that I am alone in saying that I don't like coming home from classes and retreats with more UFOs!

The Walkaway Star Quilt (#2), 60 x 74 inches

Okay... I liked the first Walkaway Star Quilt so much that I made another one. This time, the blocks are made from a dozen different blue prints and a dozen different shirting fabrics. I like "scrappy" quilts.

The Walkaway Star Quilt (#3), 60-1/2 by 75-1/2 inches

In fact, I liked this block so much that I made a pint-size version of it (7" blocks) with 1/2-inch sashing between each block. I used a variety of civil war reproduction fabrics; the scrappiness of this quilt makes one's eyes dance across its surface. I also like making quilts that don not contain any "background" fabrics -- no white, off-white, taupe, or neutral fabrics, only colored print fabrics. As long as the fabrics contain a good balance of light, medium, and dark prints, the scrappiness adds a wonderful richness to the finished quilt.

So what else am I working on? There are a lot of ideas floating around in my head, following the great Houston quilt show -- I saw a lot of antique quilts that inspired me, and so I'm sure you'll be seeing some of those ideas reformulated into new quilt patterns. I met with the wonderful folks from P&B Textiles and I'm working on a new fabric line for them. Once again, it will have a juvenile flavor to it -- think nursery songs!

Until next time... happy sewing!

(c)2008 Susan H. Garman


  1. Sue,

    I would love to see some closeups of your quilting. :]

  2. I love the chocolate rendition of the berry quilt. It is awesome work. I can't wait till I can start mine!! I have a few more projects to finish and then.. I will be working on this gorgeous pattern.
    THanks for your wonderful designs!!

  3. I know that the word AWESOME is overused, but that is all that comes to mind! WOW!!

  4. You are incredible as always. I have loved your patterns for some time now. You always amaze me!!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. The chocolate background quilt is a stunner! How about a closeup of a block. I will be filing this for future inspiration! Thanks!

  6. Sue,
    I love the diversity of your quilts. One thing I have been wondering about is this. On your applique quilts do you cut out behind the applique or just leave it. I have done both and wondered if you had an opinion and why you do it one way or the other.

    Thanks1 :)

  7. The question was asked... do I cutaway the background fabric when I do my applique?

    Nope -- it's a matter of personal preference, and generally, I like the added dimension that comes with leaving all of the layers of applique. Cutting it away takes away a layer - leaves a hole - makes for a flatter unit... there are lots of reasons to cut away, but I choose not to. I don't worry about appliquing through lots of layers of applique because I "stab stitch" when I hand quilt. I can quilt through a lot of layers without wincing a bit!

  8. As everyone has commented here, your quilt is just stunning!

    Can I ask how you do your berries. Do you just draw the circle and then needleturn it onto the fabric or do you have another way of preparing so many berries?


  9. Irene asked how I make all of my appliqued circles. I use small mylar templates -- I cut out a circle larger than the template, stitch a running stitch around the outer edge, and draw the thread up tight around the template - leaving a 6" tail on the thread and no knot to tie off the circle. Press the circle (I use steam) and then release the thread used to draw up the circle; remove the template and draw the circle back up with the thread. Karen Kay Buckley ( sells those templates in an assortment of sizes, which also come with instructions for how to use them; you can also check your local quilt shop for those templates.