This and That

I thought I’d show some of my stash. What Gary doesn’t know about…   Actually, I found this on Pinterest but it sure could be mine!

I have been remiss in showing quilts I’ve longarm quilted for customers. Leslie received a gift of Merimeko fabric and used the blocks in fun ways. The leaves are dimensional. I smile when Leslie brings me quilts. 

This is the back of a quilt she made for a grandchild. If I ever find that map panel, I’m buying it!

Now that’s a colorful quilt! Leslie had fun cutting up her stash and piecing. Everything works, no decisions, just sew! I bet you could even have a glass of wine and make this quilt. Maybe a glass of wine would be beneficial in fabric selection. 

I had fun pulling out my most colorful, variegated threads. 

I quilted a big stipple over all but a different design for each flower. Thanks, Leslie, you certainly brightened my studio. 

Yesterday I walked all over Longwood Gardens. Everything is in bloom at once! Here in Kennet Square, we think this is one of the most beautiful Springs in a long time. I really, really want to make a quilt from this photo because I think the composition is very nice. But I have challenged myself to not make the next quilt white flowers. Hard!

I recently upgraded my photo storage to iCloud. Now I can take a million billion photos. If I just had some logical sorting and filing system and the discipline to use it, life would be complete. 

Coloring


I love coloring! Have you seen this Color Me fabric by Hayley Crouse for Michael Miller? There are all kinds of things to color, like princess castle panels and trucks and robots for boys. I saw this dress made up on Craftsy and knew I had to make it for my little granddaughters.

Craftsy sold a kit including the Geranium dress pattern, fabric yardage and permanent fabric markers, for $20. They seem to have sold out because my Bee searched Craftsy yesterday and couldn’t find it available.

Two granddaughters! I needed two dresses so I found this ballarina Color Me fabric on Etsy for about $5.00 a yard. I bought 2 yards for a size 3 and needed almost all of it to get the panels on the front and back. There is a lot of the upper portion of clouds left over.

The dresses were a huge hit! What! We are allowed to color our clothes? Of course, I immediately switched the permanent markers for Crayola Ultra Washable Markers. I’ve been around that block before…

I didn’t want to introduce 4 year old Mackenzie to a wide range of coloring on cloth with anything permanent. Besides, why not wash the dresses and color them again!

So I did a little experiment and colored a scrap with the Crayola Washable Markers.

I really just dunked the scrap in a sink of cold water but the color rinsed out almost completely. It probably would do even better in the longer cycle of the washing machine.

The artists were very pleased with their creations.

You can’t believe how many questions we all got, walking around Longwood Gardens! Where do you buy those dresses? Darn…I should have had cards made up. When the girls got soaked playing in the water at the children’s garden, the colors bloomed and streaked and looked like Monet painted dresses. Cool!

Umm…the colors did kind of bleed onto the Dad’s white shirt a bit. He’s a good sport about these things. Maybe he was just a little disappointed that no one asked him if he colored his shirt.

Making Choices in Indy

I hardly ever have time during a workshop to take photos. I just get so involved with the projects, I forget or just get too busy. But I had to pull out my phone and snap a shot of this cool, portable design wall. This belongs to the Quilters Guild of Indianapolis. Thanks to Amazon and fast shipping, I now own one too. I bought the gray option.

The Indy quilters had a choice of Appliqué or Piecing Quilting in Layers workshops on alternate days.

How about this fabric! Lots of choices are always good.

We always begin in the same way, with the blocks.

Some choose to try all the techniques and then decide which will work best to create the design for their quilt.

Other quilters have a clear idea from the start. Isn’t this a soft and modern color way. Choosing center squares will be fun and make the gray color and texture sing.

Laura, the wonderful Program Chair for the Guild, took the Appliqué class the day before so she decided to continue work on her tulip. The batiques she chose for the background are beautiful just by themselves.

Orangy red tulips grow in her garden at home. I hope this quilt will be a reminder for her in the snowy winter months.

I had a wonderful trip to Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. Thank you to all the quilters and new friends who made it possible. I hope our paths will cross again.

Marie Webster

   

Laura asked if I would like to see the exhibit of Marie Webster Quilts at the Indianapolis Art Museum. Absolutely! Not really knowing Marie Webster, but she had me at quilts and I was All In with going to an art museum.

  
 

I remembered seeing pictures of this beautiful sunflower quilt and I learned that Marie Webster was quite a quilt celebrity.

   

 

The appearance of Marie Webster’s quilts in Ladies’ Home Journal made her a household name. She was asked to write a book on the history of quilts and following the publication in 1915, was invited to exhibit her quilts throughout the country, to lecture on quilt making and to judge many quilt competitions.

  
 

Marie’s quilts were so popular that quilters were eager to replicate them and in 1920 she and her sister and two friends set up a mail-order business, the Practical Patchwork Company, in her home in Marion, Indiana.

   
Marie Webster’s pioneer mail-order business was one of the first of its kind and very successful. More than 25 different quilt patterns were available. Pattern packets included pictures, directions, fabric swatches, blueprints and tissue paper cutouts of the design. All for fifty cents! Tops with stamped patterns sold for $9. Finished quilts cost $85, which would be about $1100 today. 
   

What an entrepreneur! I bet Marie Webster would have stormed the Internet today!

The display of these quilts was extremely well done. The lighting was perfect and the inclusion of Marie’s personal items, history and information made the exhibit more meaningful. I kept thinking how much my friend Jane would enjoy seeing the quilts– and how difficult it would be to move her out of the rooms!

I wish I could come back in a few weeks. There will be a concurrent showing of new quilts made from inspirations chosen from Marie Webster’s quilts. Two members of the Indianapolis Guild brought their quilts to the workshop for me to see. I can’t show them because they won’t be unveiled until the exhibit opens but I can tell you, they are stunningly beautiful and incredibly imaginative and an absolute must see. I really hope there will be a way to view some of the quilts online. Or I just might have to drive back to Indiana. Maybe I can talk Jane into coming with me. 

 

   
 

Indiana Bound

   

I haven’t been just laying about not blogging…I’ve been on a speaking and teaching trip to Indiana. First stop was Fort Wayne to give my Appliqué Quilting in Layers workshop to Appleseed quilters. I was having too much fun to snap photos. Darn, there were some lovely quilts in progress. I couldn’t resist the complimentary colors in this pot on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum. 

  
 

Laura, the Program Chairperson from the Quilters Guild of Indianapolis, has taken me here  for the afternoon. We are just entranced with this gorgeous wall!

 

  
 

The collections in this museum are eclectic and varied. I just filled my eyes with art and inspiration. I couldn’t take the time and concentrate enough to take notes to record the artist’s name and information.

 

  
 

At first I thought this work was a textile but closer inspection showed carved wooden panals.

 

  
 

Georgia O’Keeffe! One of my favorite artists. It is just amazing how much depth and nuance and interest there is in this painting when I see it in person.

 

  
 

This exhibit showed women’s garments from 1775 to 1968. I’m very grateful for casual wear today.

 

  

It was fun to meet Laura and spend the day with her at the museum. I could spend a week there. I’ll show the Quilt Exhibit tomorrow. Yes! Quilts at this museum, too. Just to make sure I was comfortable in my hotel, the Guild members put together a Welcome Bag. What a wonderful idea! There was all kinds of goodies, from fabric to chocolate (not shown because…well, you know why.) Thank you all!

 

Birds Cats Squirrels 

   

Birds, cats and squirrels? An appliqué quilt? No. My friend Peggy made these seed cakes and gave me a heart and a star to feed the birds. I love to watch birds at a feeder but our trees are too far back in our yard to see them. We have another complication. Feral cats live under our deck during the winter. We have had them spayed and neutered to the tune of a lot of effort and money, fortunately shared with our neighbors. I think this cat community started with a pair of refugees from Longwood Garden’s “Natural Pest Control Program.” Our cats disappear during the summer months (back to Longwood?) because they don’t like the regular bursts of water from my automatic sprinkler system. Take that, tabbies! I’m worried about having a bird feeder because I feel like I’m setting up a Songbird Buffet for the cats dining pleasure. 

 
So I had this idea to bring a wire tutour from the garden onto the deck to hang the seed cakes. I could see the birds enjoying their treat and the cats wouldn’t venture up to snack on the birds. Well, I did not take into account the acrobatic talent of squirrels. I used to like squirrels. I would even bring them acorns back from my walks. This ended abruptly one day when I witnessed a vicious, unprovoked attack on my beautiful, full blooming, climbing red roses. The malacious little beasts bit every single lovely flower off the rose trellis.  Why, I ask you? They didn’t eat them, just bit them cleanly off. Squirrels shot themselves in the paw with that, because no more acorns from this girl. They got the seed though. In about seven seconds this guy scampered up the wire, knocked down the seed cake and commenced gorging himself, not leaving until he devoured the entire thing. Clearly, I need a new plan.

Happy Easter

  

I have been crazy busy the past few weeks with guild lectures and workshops. And when I haven’t been on the road, I’ve been longarm quilting on customer quilts. Ahh, living the quilt life!  I hope to show some lovely quilts soon. 

Today!

  
Today is the day! Registration Opens March 19th 2016 at 9:00AM EST

Save the date for Mid-Appalachian Quilters retreat 2016.

MAQ 2016 will be held July 15-17, 2016 

Mount St. Mary’s University 

Emmitsburg, MD
I am teaching two classes.  Appliqué Quilting in Layers on Friday and Saturday. Class 418
  
On Sunday, I’m teaching Piecing Quilting in Layers. Class 
   
    
 
MAQ is such a fun quilting retreat. I hope to see you there!

Orchids

  

I received a lovely email note from someone who saw my quilt Ghost Orchids, hanging at Fairchild Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida, during the Orchid Festival there. The quilt was my donation to Everglades National Park following my Artist in Residency. The viewer inquired if I accept commissions. Absolutely!

   
What a coincidence! I went to the Orchid Show at Longwood Gardens yesterday and my head was full of ideas for an orchid quilt. 
 
Over the years of seeing the orchids, I surely must have taken zillions of photos but I can’t stop taking more. 

 

I love the way all these different colors and varieties are grouped together, each more beautiful than the other.

  
These hanging spheres of orchids were enormous.
 
Simple white orchids in an amazing arch. How does Longwood get that water so dark and reflective? They add black dye! Perfectly organic and biodegradable, I’m sure. If you are in the area, I highly recommend Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza, now until March 27.

  
If you do visit Longwood on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, look to see if the Bread Sign is up on the corner of Conservatory (Doe Run) and Street Road. (Rt 926)  I part with this secret reluctantly because the best baguettes– In. The. World. are only available until sold out– tho you might be saving me a lot of calories. And if it is your first time there, make sure to tell them. They will treat you to a warm from the oven “Bap.” If it’s not your first time, just buy one, and if you don’t know what a Bap is, google it. 

And because I just divulged this tasty tip, I will also mention, I am teaching my Quilting in Layers Workshop for Newtown Quilters Guild this Tuesday, with the “Inspired by Adventure “lecture that evening. There are spots available and they accept visitors. Contact information is available on their website. 

A Fix and a Finish

   
  
I’ve been working on this sample for my Piecing Quilting in Layers Workshop. It needs to be in the mail to Indiana….um, yesterday. I decided not to put any center squares on this flowery quilt so all the easy blocks are ready.
  

I’m going to piece in thin curved strips and straight thick strips, hoping for a twig and branch effect. I have a class sample using these techniques that is very graphic and “arty” looking. This quilt will have a more traditional look.
  

Well, this is what I get for being lazy, working on the floor beside my machine and not putting blocks up on the design wall to see how things really look. I thought I would mix the “tree bark” fabric with some more solid gray-brown thick strips. The solid is too bold and dark and looks chunky. Ok, I can switch those out real quick. 
 
I’m loving the tree bark but the top left twigs are way too light. And that block middle row right is a weird angle. Aargh. It’s a sample! It’s not going to be judged in Paducah! I’m doing what I tell my students not to do. D and F. Dither and Fret. But….I hear my mother’s voice. “If you’re going to do a thing, do it right.”

   
 

Ok, third try on this problem child block, starting completely over. I wonder what time the darn post office closes? Would Express Mail cost more than $50?
  

Twigs darker, branch at a better angle, yea! On to the binding. I absolutely knew I wanted to use the lovely gray stripe so I cut the strips before I even tested the fabric next to the quilt. I’m in a time crunch!  I hate the gray stripe….   The pinks are better but too sweet. All the florals just get lost. Could I just listen to my own inner voice? “Make visual decisions, visually. Don’t try to think’em out.”

   

Go with the apple green stripe or the dark tree branch fabric? I allow a full 10 minutes to ponder. (Ok… D and F)

 

 
Finished!   Mailed!   Less than $50!   Phew. Inner voices, lessons learned. We’ll not discuss procrastinating right now. 

A Finish and a Start

  


   
I found both of these fabrics in my stash. I cut a bit of the orange and yellow to add into the pink stripe. I love striped bindings on quilts. 
 

Tulip quilt sample finished! I intentionally did not quilt a petal on the flower and a part of the leaf to show what the edge looks like without stitching.
   

On to the next! I also need a new sample for the Piecing Quilting in Layers workshop. I may have gone overboard in buying fabric…. But this Moda dogwood line was so perfect, again, I decided not to be judgemental, just buy it all. And a few add ins, too. . 

I’ve been thinking of a quilt that looks like a branching, flowering tree just bursting into bloom. (Yes, I have a raging case of Spring fever.) My plan is to insert straight strips to look like branches and some thinner, curved strips to look twiggy. I’m not opposed to trying some center squares, either.
  

I’m trying a few blocks to see if this is going to work. I really love teaching this class because everyone does something different. It’s fun to just come with great fabric and see what piecing techniques will make the quilt special.

Leaves and Little Squares

   

The leaves are usually pretty fast for me because I have so many green batiks to choose from, they fall into place. But I tend to get a little too “matchy.” With this technique, I want the fabrics to look different, otherwise, I should just cut a whole leaf from a single fabric.  
 
This fern fabric should work nicely to show off the curled part of the leaf.

 

  

I thought it would be nice to bring in a little of the burgundy color from the tulip petal. 
 
I’m a little unsure of that sort of honey comb fabric in the lower right block but I’m trying to not be so judgemental and just go with it.

   
Now for the “bling.” I always tell my students, I audition the little center squares last because I think of them like assesories completing an outfit. That little black dress looks different with a dramatic turquoise squash blossom necklace or a single strand of pearls.

 
Rejects!   I really thought those polka dots were going to look fun and funky but they weren’t right at all. A little green in the mix works sometimes but the patterns just fought with the tulip. 

   

More rejects!   I put these solid squares with colors from the tulip on the blocks and I liked them a lot, until I tried that subtly stripy one.
 
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! This looked like a watercolor brush stroke. 

  

Suddenly, all the plain squares looked flat and dull next to the ones with color variation. 
 
Why did I think I could get away without emptying the contents of my entire stash?

 

  

And throwing fabrics all over the longarm frame and covering the floor so I can barely walk up to the design wall? Oh well, I think I found just the right “jewelry.”
 
Tossing fabric all over the place, I also found the perfect binding. I’m rushing off to sew that now. 

Orange Tulip

   

I need to make a new Tulip quilt sample for my class, Appliqué Quilting in Layers. This is how I think about what fabrics I’d like to use. I always start with the tulip color and just roughly lay out the folded fabrics I think will work. 

 
Next comes background blocks. I have lots of fairly light, green/aqua choices from my stash to go with my new orange batiks. I know I want dark green for the leaves so just one fabric for now to indicate contrast. I came across that polka dot and wonder if that would be interesting for the little center squares. 

   
I love finding just the right design bit to suggest the tulip petal. Usually the part I want is smack in the middle of my fabric. 

 
It helps to see where to place the pattern piece before I iron down the freezer paper.

   
I’ll sew the flower together, even though I haven’t quilted all the blocks yet because I can’t wait to see how it looks. So far, I like it!

Mostly Cloudy

   
Discipline. That’s what it took to finish this bed quilt. That and listening to “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” on CD and a beautiful bag of new fabric I can’t wait to cut into, as a reward. (notice I didn’t mention cake) I don’t name bed quilts, but if I did, I’d call this Mostly Cloudy. Or Mainly Boring. I’m going to challenge myself to try and add interest with some special, showy quilting. Not any time soon though…  I’ve folded the top and put it on the stack.

 
I put all the “waste” triangles up on my design wall. Sheesh. With the fabric I have remaining, I probably have enough for another boring quilt. That’s a lotta darn fabric and I purchased exactly what the pattern called for. Another challenge– how to spark up this (lack of) color scheme. I’ll save this for a later day, too because tomorrow I’m busting into my new fabric. 

I’m making an orange tulip from the pattern in my Appliqué Quilting in Layers class. All my samples are out at guilds for upcoming workshops and I need something new. Orange is soooo not in my color way but I have seen many beautiful student quilts with orange tulips. I’m ready for anything that isn’t beige. 

Egg Issues

 
The Sometimes We Do Quilt Bee meets every two weeks. When it’s my turn to be hostess, I like to bake something decadent, since Peggy has decreed there aren’t any calories at Quilt. I saw a scrumptious looking recipe for toasted pecan layer cake on Pinterest. The recipe called for 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg. I got 5 eggs (I think…) out of the fridge to warm to room temperature. The first egg I dropped on the floor…splat. Then there were 4 eggs (I think…) or maybe I got another egg out of the fridge? The next egg I cracked over a bowl to separate the white and the yolk broke into the white. Aargh! Why didn’t I just use that as the 1 whole egg and put it in the mixing bowl? I don’t know why! I set that egg, in its separate bowl aside and now there are 3? Or maybe 4? Eggs left? Who friggin’ remembers how many eggs at this point? It’s clearly a very bad egg day. 

I’m sure I messed up the recipe because the cake was quite dry. Still, my wonderful friends complimented me and even asked for the recipe. It’s not a recipe– it’s a blasted math problem! Use any yellow cake recipe and fold into the batter, 2 cups of chopped pecans, toasted in 1/4 cup of butter. The flavor is delicious enough to indulge in two pieces (Joan!)  I’m not telling how many pieces Gary ate. I will say there isn’t a (dry) crumb left. 

Maybe this is a life reminder for me. Stuff doesn’t have to be perfect to still be good. Quilts, cakes, all kinds of stuff. And spending time with friends is just the best!