Saturday, November 13, 2010

Court Street Quilt Retreat

I've just hosted a quilt retreat at my house!

My quilting buddies, Joann and Barb, and I have been discussing attending a retreat for a long time, but retreats are beyond our budget right now and I have to work. But because the opportunity presented itself (no man around for a few days), and I was able to work out some time away from the office, I jumped at the chance to take a couple of days off work and create my own retreat. Thank goodness everyone was available!

We kept it very simple because the point of the 3 days was to produce. Over three days we each worked on our own projects with varying levels of satisfaction. Our days began in the morning with coffee and bagels, then down to work, with a break for lunch around 2 pm, then back to work until early evening. Lunch menus consisted of home made chicken soup, baked macaroni and cheese, and Greek salad with olive oil ciabatta bread. Beverages were coffee, tea, water, soda and wine (the sources of our only exercise, climbing the stairs to the bathroom). I provided a cutting table, iron and ironing board. And background music. Tony Bennett and Michael Buble had us dancing in our chairs.

My project was to make a wall hanging for my mantle at work. I am using almost all batiks which work really well for the pattern. It consists of stars in 3 sizes and a LOT of flying geese units. I still have not finished the little guys, but I am very happy with the way they are coming out. These are the blocks; finished item to come.

Joann's project was a quilt that she adored at a recent quilt show. She is working with some beautiful greens and a great pattern. However, frustration reigned from the first block she completed. Much ripping to come, but she did complete the four corner blocks in a method not included with the pattern. So this quilt will be uniquely Joann's. Here's a finished block:

Barb joined us for a couple of days, but due to her busy schedule, she only got as far as cutting for her project, a table runner.

All in all, it was a great way to spend time together and help each other out. But it's not really over. Tomorrow we are traveling to a favorite quilt shop for a quick visit before continuing on to my daughter Laura's house for a Tastefully Simple party. Mmmm, more good food!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

5:20 p.m.

That is the hour I had to turn on the lights in my quilt room today. The dying of the light was not subtle, one moment I had bright sunlight streaming across my worktable, and the next moment it was gone - just like that!

Autumn has arrived.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Peggy's Quilts

Peggy and I have been friends for about 29 years now. We met when we were neighbors and our girls were very little so we would spend a lot of time together. We took up knitting and made some really cute sweaters for our kids. Then our family moved, I went to work full-time, she moved and went to work full-time but through the years we've been in close contact. (We still live in the same town...). Now we meet for happy hour instead of koffee klatches.

A few years into my quilting obsession, Peg asked me to make this quilt when she saw the pictures in Sharon Yenter's first book, In the Beginning. I agreed but convinced her to help. So off we went to purchase the fabric. I did the sewing, she did the pressing, and she helped sew the binding. The was a BIG quilt, I think my first really big quilt that I sent out for machine-quilting. It came out just like the picture and Peggy loves it.

Back, oh, about 20 years ago, there was a wonderful quilt shop about 30 minutes from my house. The shop hosted "mystery quilt night" every so often. We would begin sewing at 6pm and shut the shop about 2am. I was much younger and it was a lot of fun. Now if you asked me if I'd like to do a mystery quilt night I would ask if it had a nap break. This quilt is a result of one of those sessions.

I may have been thinking at the time that I just didn't want to spend the money to buy new fabric, or I just didn't want to use my good fabric on a mystery quilt ( This is what results from actually using good fabric). So I chose mint green and pink as the main colors. Now, I have seen pink and green quilts and have never been moved by that color combination, so why NOW did I think this would work???? I had it quilted and put it aside, but when Peggy saw it she went all gooey with her ooooo's and aaahhhh's. Sheese! So I gave it to her for a Christmas present. I know she loves this quilt, but one day not too long ago I asked her where it was. She admitted that for some reason it was in a bin in the basement! IN THE BASEMENT!!! IN A BIN!!!

Peggy, it's autumn (almost). Time to dig out the quilt!!!

I still love you girl!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

First, You Cry...

"I have breast cancer..."

I could not talk; I could not breathe. I put the phone down and cried for about 4 minutes. I could hear her at the other end saying, "Barb? Barb? Are you there, Barb?"

My sister has breast cancer.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That was April 23. Since then, Jeannie has undergone a full mastectomy, and will be undergoing chemotherapy soon. I gave her a choice for a chemo quilt: pink, blue (her favorite color) or funky. She chose funky but asked for it to be really soft. When I got home from California I felt the need to get the quilt made quickly, but then the OTHER news came...lung cancer. The oncologist says that each cancer is unrelated. Jeannie is a smoker. Ok, no cancer diagnosis is good, but you have to understand that the lung cancer (stage 1) was found only because Jeannie was having surgery and she needed a routine, before-surgery chest x-ray. In my view, the breast cancer has saved her life. This lung stuff is curable with surgery. So I'm off to California again and I can deliver her chemo quilt in person.

Once I got over THAT shock, I was able to concentrate on the chemo quilt. I started pulling out my funky fabrics but somehow they didn't FEEL right for the purpose. By the time chemo starts, it will be hot where she lives, so I was thinking that something softer would fit the bill. It should look cool, but keep her warm. (I've heard that chemotherapy patients are often chilly, even in warm weather.) So I hit upon a group of fat quarters I picked up at a quilt show about two years ago. And it's backed with baby blue minky embossed with stars. I hope Jeannie likes lavender and green.

Tropical Dawn

A bluebird has come to visit Jeannie whenever she goes out in her back yard:

So I put baby fairies with bluebirds on it:

The lettered fabric sends messages of love, hope, joy and compassion, and you can find some pretty cool words in there too if you look hard enough. And I sprinkled it with a little bit of pink ribbon fabric for sparkle. It really is easy on the eyes. I'm sure Jeannie will love it.

Now don't go sending this post to her - she is incapable of using her computer for browsing the internet, let alone check her email (which I set up for her! She never answers back!). Let's save it for a surprise for when she gets home from the hospital, OK?

This was taken at lunch post-surgery. Doesn't she look great!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Baby Quilts

I loved making this quilt! At the time this baby girl was due, I was so happy to be making something pink! The baby who got this quilt is a big girl now and still loving it. The pattern is Barristers Block, a bow to the Mom's profession.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This quilt was made for a friend at work when her granddaughter was born. This is the grandma's quilt, to be used only at grandma's house! My friend has been kind enough to unload her aunt's quilting fabric on me so I wanted to make her something special and old-fashioned. The pattern is straight out of American Patchwork & Quilting. Don't ask me the issue; I'm not going through the piles to find it!

The sashing and backing fabric are what pulled this together for me. And thankfully, it's mostly PINK! My friend tells me that when the kid knows when it's nap time, she cuddles up in it. Smart kid.

~ ~ ~ ~

It has been many years since I've made doll anything. My daughters are hovering around 30 and 40 now, so I was very happy to make this for another person at work. I made this cutie about 10 years ago. Thank you Riley for showing it off, even though you are way past the doll years!

I'm waiting on more electronic pictures from various owners and I'll have to scan some pictures, but at least I've got this baby quilt project going!

Wedding Quilt #2: Finished & Delivered!

Bear Cave

Laura and Jeff finally got their wedding quilt on Christmas Day. My camera died as they opened it, so I don't have pictures of their surprised faces.

The all-over pattern is from an issue of Quilt Sampler, Bear Tracks. I modified the pattern by putting in the Bear Paw medallion. Because Laura and Jeff really live in bear country, this was the perfect quilt for them. I used a wool/silk/cotton batting. The all-over quilt design is a funky elongated star, looks sort of like fireworks to me. The border has a flag and heart pattern which does not show on the front, but looks really good on the back. This is a heavy quilt, about 103" square.

Dominick does a great job modeling it, don't you think?

~ ~ ~ ~

Because I forgot to take pictures of the back, the unquilted version of the back will have to do. I have to say that the back is quite impressive on it's own.

For now I am done with very big quilts! Until last unmarried child weds!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More info than I need!

Please tell me you have this problem...quilt magazine panic! I have every issue of American Patchwork & Quilting since it began publication more than 10 years ago. AND every issue of Quilt Sampler! God knows how many issues of several other very popular quilt magazines. So I started putting little flags on the patterns I thought were interesting and possible contenders for my quilt stash, and I put them in those upright magazine holders to help organize them, all with little red, orange and yellow post-it notes sticking out the tops. Well, I quickly ran out of the holders and began building piles, which today starting falling over when I just touched one magazine. All because I'm looking for one slim quilt book for my good friend. (You know how you think you know exactly where that one book is.. and it turns out not to be where it belongs? And then you go crazy trying to find the darn thing! Yeah, that's where I'm at right now.) Now I'm in the middle of re-organizing my precious quilt pattern mags, because I can. not. give. them. AWAY! AND I found a project that I had wanted to make-many years ago-so moved it to a different pile. And the Christmas issues - those go in another pile. Oh, and the slim pattern books, by single designers, another pile! And on and on and on...

So. In addition to fabric panic I now have magazine/book/pattern panic!!! I need to take some serious time off from work to, you!

The Baby Quilt Project

I confess I've been dragging my fingers, waiting for the time when I finally have photos of all the baby quilts I've made for family and various friends. Well, it's time to start the documentation project, because if I DO wait, I'll never get this done!

What better time to start than for the birth of a new baby in the family! Branden Stephen was born on his Nana's 60th birthday, so I wrote to the lucky nana that when she forgets how old she is, all she has to do is add 60 to Branden's age!

Although I would normally use flannel for a winter baby, I decided to use fabric I purchased in Myrtle Beach, soft sea greens and pale blues, an "oceany" feeling. I backed it with baby blue minky, which surprisingly, was pretty easy to work with given the horror stories I've heard. I did not use batting.

Of course, with a new baby in the house, big brother Chris gets a quilt too!

I thought dinosaurs would be a nice addition to his growing collection.



First quilt with Laura Birch animals.

Chris also got 2 pillow cases for Christmas, which he is wearing:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm still here!

I have been very busy over the last couple of months and will shortly be posting the finished wedding quilt along with other completed projects. And maybe some finished tops that haven't been quilted yet.

I am planning a post about all the baby quilts I have made over the years, but trying to track them down is time consuming.

Stay tuned!