There’s simply no way to take pics of all the fabulous quilts at Quilt Week, because 99.9% of them are just THAT! Here are just a few that made me stop, take out my phone and grab a shot. Hope you like them, too!
Oje De Dios by Mary W. Kerr, quilted by Candace West was featured with Mary’s whole series at the Rotary. She takes pieces of old quilts, blocks, or parts of quilts and incorporates them into new works with a modern flare. She gave each quilter freedom to do whatever they wanted for the quilting.
Below is Homespun, quilted by Donna Ferrill James. The wonky star was made from a worn quilt with lots of various designs in it. Mary was able to salvage parts by hand-piecing the star points. She used other workable parts as part of the backing.
Below is Fan Flower, quilted by Vicki Maloney. She purchased three fan blocks at an antiques shop and Vicki worked her magic using those three blocks!
See Mary W. Kerr’s work and get her book TwistedHERE.
I like how Mary combined the old with the new, not just the fabrics, but the design and the quilting techniques, too. I have a book somewhere that shows how to combine hand and machine quilting – maybe I’ll give that a look and see where it takes me.
Quilt show aren’t just about prizes, ribbons, and vendors (whaaat?), are they? It’s about inspiration, aspirations, goals, achievements, sparks, and happiness.
Watch for more quilt week pics to come! Meanwhile, enjoy your quilting journey!
I’m happy to announce another trip is on the horizon! This year our daughter will be in Sherwood, – the Adventures of Robin Hood, she will play Annelle in Steel Magnolias, and one of her bucket list roles…Sophie in Mamma Mia.
Needless to say, she’s quite excited to be able to work again in such a beautiful place–but, even more, she’s happy to be able to work at what she loves to do. What might seem a glamorous occupation to some or even a frivolous choice to others, professional performance is not an easy road to take.
Between roles there’s the down time, the work of researching roles, the honing of singing, dancing, acting and auditioning skills, the doubts, the endless auditions…and along with auditions come many rejections. Landing a job is a big deal. When it’s over, you start all over again… but this time with another line on your resume. You don’t land a job to keep for the next 10 years…and future roles DEPEND on each role you land NOW and the contacts you make.
I watch both of our girls struggle to work at what is their passion – and I wonder at times where they get the courage. Yes, I make jokes that we let them play too much dress up and not do enough science fair projects, but truly I am glad they can give it a whirl…and, in this case, go where the buffalo roam.
Buffalo Moon is made using BOTH sides of a fabulous focus fabric (say that three times fast!) on a scrappy, nighttime background. Spotting the bison roaming the Black Hills was an incredible experience. Having also learned about the Legend of the White Buffalo, saying YES to this focus fabric was easy! Unlike most of my other patterns, the difference in value between the front and reverse of the focus fabric are subtle, but still noticeable. Choosing dark background fabrics was a change of pace and a lot of fun!
I learned about some cool tools at quilt retreat – thanks to friends who like to share!
For the first year EVER, I had my retreat projects planned, cut, packed, and ready-to-go to retreat one whole month before we left. What I didn’t plan for were some unexpected opportunities to pop up which took priority over all of my great planning – I didn’t even get my projects out of there neat cases.
I hope to share those #usebothsides opportunities in the near future with you, but let me just say, I wasn’t prepared! I hadn’t brought the right rulers to do the tasks at hand, so that led me to ask, “Does anybody have a squaring ruler?”
You’ll see here the Tucker Trimmer III which I bought asap and equally love – the size of this one is perfect for my new projects.
The second tool I find indispensable I borrowed from friend and retreat roomie, Peggy: the LEDGLE Rechargeable LED Book Light.
What makes it so great for me are the re-positionable arms which let you guide the light to any angle. It rests around your neck so it is hands-free and perfect for hand-stitching in a dimly lit room. It also works great for reading in bed or even walking back from the neighbors or feeding the dogs in the dark! You set the light to shine where you want it and it stays until you move it. And best of all, I’ve used mine every day for more than a week and I still haven’t charged it once! Click HERE for link to book light.
So there you have it for month three of great quilting tools: the Tucker Trimmer and LEDGLE Book Light!
What are your favorite quilting tools and how do you use them? Do you recommend any you want highlighted here in future months?
Quickly becoming a best-seller, Aria ahr-ee-uh is a quilt pattern for any feather-weight or other vintage machine lover!
Arias evolved from simple melodies in the 14th century and became a means to tell a story in a more emotional way, allowing a musicians (and later, vocalists) to display their talent. Arias are mostly associated with opera today.
So why call this pattern an Aria? Take a look at her…she’s definitely a singer!
While the traditionalist might cringe, fun things are happening with these featherweight machines. Tables and inserts, custom carry cases, and bright new paint jobs are indicators that these little work-horses will be around awhile.
As I mentioned HERE, I’d love to someday own a colorful featherweight, so making a Tula Pink quilt version seemed the thing to do!
#usebothsides of one focus fabric for the machine, binding, bunting (reverse), and scissors and thimble (both reverse). Choose fun, scrappy background fabrics and accent strips – all the while learning the nuances of value! (Click here for more about value.)
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to share my quilting journey with a group of women whose enthusiasm for quilting was truly inspiring to me.
The Inspired Quilters of Warrensburg, Missouri invited me to speak during their guild meeting. It was a cold, wet, and somewhat icy night. I expected a lower turnout of members due to the weather. That was my first surprise.
One of the interesting things I see when speaking to quilt guilds is the uniqueness of each group.
As quilters notably are, everyone was welcoming and helpful – helping my friend and me carry in 50 quilts, bins of patterns and fabric, and set up the power point.
After the presentation, Nancy and were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic quilters who lined up, waiting to purchase patterns and kits. It’s so fun to see people excited about something you’ve designed – and it is quite humbling.
What I noticed next, while Nancy and I spent the next hour repacking quilts and patterns, was how excited and involved the quilters were in their guild meeting. I was wishing I could sit and watch, especially when it came time for Show and Tell. It seemed like each quilter did more than showed her quilt, she told the story behind her project – who or what it was for, how it came about…the details that make a quilt more than just a quilt.
These quilters truly inspire me – to tell the details, to let people know the stories behind the quilts.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Whether the quilts we make are for special people in our lives, for hurting people we don’t even know, for veterans and service members to be honored, or even for learning something new alongside friends – it’s the people in the story that make quilting worthwhile.
A heartfelt thanks to the quilters in Warrensburg for sharing their quilting journey with me!
Two simple tools make a big difference in my quilting experience.
First, and newer (but by no means new on the market) is The Cutting Gizmo (click here) from The Gypsy Quilter. It is a weighted cutter with a rubber, non-slip bottom. It is especially wonderful to use when you are making lots and lots of chain-pieced segments (like in a Bonnie Hunter mystery or scrap quilt). Just grab the two fabric pieces and draw them down either side of the gizmo to cut the connecting thread. It saves the time of grabbing scissors, re-positioning your hands, snipping the thread, putting down the scissors… you get the idea. I keep this on the end of my ironing board.
Next, but not least, is one of the first quilting tools I purchased (so you KNOW it’s not new on the market: That Purple Thang (click here). from the Little Foot Quilt Shoppe. Its just a pointy, plastic tool with one pointed end and one squared end. It works to guide fabric under you needle, hold things in place when your fingers are two big, and turn out neat edges. I’m not sure why, but unlike other similar tools I’ve owned, I don’t misplace this one! I think it’s the cute name…
As you can see, I’ve been working on another Phoebee 2.0 made from both sides of Hoffman California Fabrics Electric Garden line!
This quilt began with a fat quarter bundle from one fabric line. Using the “Hex and More” ruler and 2 1/2″ strips, I made lots of half-hexies and proceded to lay them out to consider my options.
My goal was to create a blended quilt version (see Blended Quilts book) of the classic Grandmother’s Flower Garden. I tried many combinations but the look really came together when I started to use the reverse side of the fabrics for the outer flower rings.
Each black center and first ring are the front of the fabric. I could have excluded the lightest (white) fabric to make the changes in value more apparent, but again, I was trying for a more subtle approach.
Start your packing – it’s time to take your quilting on the road!
Below is my 2019 Quilt Retreat List. I have found that you can’t make a good list if you aren’t clear on your retreat objectives…sounds official, doesn’t it?
Is your retreat purely for productivity? Is it social? Do you spend time shopping? Going out to eat? Do you eat quick bites on location or carefully planned meals? Is your goal to relax? Did you answer, “All of the above?”
I think that’s why i take so many items on retreat – I want to pack (no pun intended) EVERYthing I can into a few days – high productivity, great fabric shopping, relaxation, yummy food, rest, movies, music, walks, and fun with friends…is that too much to ask?
I hope this “official” list helps you on your next quilt retreat – or even just a bit of quilting on the road…
*Sewing machine, electrical cord, pedal, extra light bulb, feet, manual, bobbins, Q-tips for cleaning.
*Sewing table, extra lighting.
*Fabric, patterns, projects, kits, felt-backed table cloth or other design wall with tacks, painters tape, or 3M strips for hanging.
*Personal items which might include drinks, snacks, rice bag to heat for sore shoulders, comfortable clothing and walking shoes, pain relief, charger cords, overnight bag and products, chocolate, and popcorn.
NOW for the REST of the story: a reveal of everything that is actually in my spinning work station (I use it in my studio, plus it’s ready to hit the road on a moment’s notice. Note: I’ve never really cleaned it out before!)
Top left to bottom right: Fusible web (hmmm, not my favorite kind, so it must be for emergencies only), pressing spray, mini iron, chain-piecing cutter, very cute rice bag (for sore muscle, compliments of friend Donna), various rotary blades, The Purple Thang, a gripper tool, bandages, rotary cutter, two styles of Karen K. Buckley scissors (definitely a fave), Pre-cuts guide for fabric purchase emergencies, thumb tacks, pins, cord wrap, thread, Q-tips, battery, thread and button (?), needles, a plethora of markers and pencils, snipping scissors, Fabric Fuse (never used it), the back of something which apparently held batteries, calculator (fabric purchase emergency?) guild directory (what’s her name?), obsolete business cards, note pads, another gripper tool, clips (hmmm, for hanging table cloth design wall?), True Grips (truly a favorite), and last, but not least, Martelli cutters (I am an ambidextrous cutter, so I use both left and right-handed ones). Whew!
What have I missed? Tell me in the comment section below!
I practiced with some scrap fabric, marked my ruler as indicated in the pattern directions, and off I went! It was fun to watch the curved piecing literally “come together”.
There are numerous quilt patterns available which use this ruler. Here’s the one I used. Stunning quilt, isn’t it? I love it when my brain can’t quite find one simple design, but jumps around to the various secondary patterns in a quilt.
Here’s my first try at a mix a fabrics. As you can see, I have a few bumbles for my first block, but it was fun to make! I do suggest using a fine marker to mark your ruler for better accuracy.
I think this quilt is now on my bucket list! What’s on your bucket list? Do you have a favorite specialty ruler?
To the tune of “On the Cover of the Rolling Stones”, I feel like singing! At the close of 2018, I happened onto my pattern, “Holly”, featured on the cover of a Hoffman California Fabrics’ catalog!
It began with an email asking if I (along with four or five other designers) would like to try our hand at designing with a new Christmas line of fabric. It’s my understanding that other designers use digital fabric swatches and their computers to design patterns. But since I use BOTH sides of the fabric, I need the real thing!
Click HERE to see the Winter Projects 2019 Catalog by Hoffman California Fabrics.
We had a week for the deadline – but since I needed the fabric shipped to me and then I needed to ship the finished quilt back to California, I had less than that to design and make the quilt!
Frankly, I was in a hurry! Add to the mix that it was Thanksgiving weekend, I was driving six hours on Saturday, attending our daughter’s show, driving four on Sunday, and staying in a hotel (with terribly inadequate lighting) until Tuesday AND, until I could see and audition BOTH sides of the fabric, I had no idea if my idea would work!
Working with both sides of fabric means lots of value-checking. You can’t tell from the front of fabric if the reverse will work. Some fabrics have great reverses and some just don’t. Click HERE for “The Tricky Traits of Value”.
The Christmas tree panel is gorgeous on its own – who would want to cut that apart? I certainly wouldn’t cut it to make another tree. I was also pretty certain that other designers would be designing borders around the whole panel, so mine had to be different.
I started to focus on the fat-quarter panel they sent. I had received a whole box of fabric to choose from and I knew if I wanted to use this panel, I couldn’t just use one fat-quarter of it or even half of them- I needed to use the whole panel. After auditioning many combinations, I decided I could use the panel – BOTH sides of the panel!
So…once again, it all comes down to fabric values. In classes, I have quilters audition many background fabrics and take lots of black and white pictures to see how their background fabrics “play” with their focus fabric. The smaller accents strips are allowed to be a bit “louder”, but the larger pieces need to provide interest as opposed to distraction. So take a look at this picture of the panel. Lots of dark fabric, right? Really pretty fabric…but more darks than lights.
Now look at a close-up of the quilt. Do you recognize those fabrics? …same fat quarters from the panel – just using the other side! Most of the accents strips are made from the front side. The bows, bells, stripes, plaid, and Christmas words make this an exciting background for the Holly wreath. One of the fat-quarters had two stockings printed on it. I used the one on the wreath and I embroidered the second stocking for the quilt label.
The wreath is made using fused holly leaf shapes from the Christmas tree panel. Being a digital print, the fabric has a sparkle of light to it, making the wreath sparkle as well.
Even the pieced binding is made from the fat-quarter panel!
This is a fun quilt to make and so easy to shop for if you use the two panels! While I have no official timeline, my guess is that these fabrics will be in shops by summer!
If you have Christmas yardage in your stash – you can use it! I wrote this pattern to work with the panels as shown OR using your own choices of fabrics. The same method applies to both – it’s all about the value!
Here’s how Holly look inside the catalog!
I designed Phoebee 2.0 using BOTH sides of Hoffman California Fabrics “Electric Garden” as the focus fabric -it’s available in shops now!
Shop all my patterns at my Etsy Shop: Creative Bee Studios (Click HERE)
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