Sunday, November 29, 2009

More Quilts!

I wish to thank everyone who commented on what you would like to see in a blog. I heard you loud and clear: pictures, techniques, and tips! With that in mind, I am sharing several things I have been working on and have completed in the last few weeks. November has been a wonderful month for quiltmaking -- and I have been working on being focused on completing things. I have way too many unfinished projects.

First of all, I am nearly finished with a quilt for a dear friend who has hosted a dinner for our book club for the past 5 years. In appreciation for her generosity, we are surprising her with a quilt that has 1) a favorite quote of each club member inked in the tiny outer border, 2) a list of each book we've read since our inception in 2004, and 3) quotes from The Thought Gang, which was the first book we read as a group -- it was painful to read but had some of the funniest quotes in it -- the story involves a professor and a one-armed crook who team up to rob banks. The recipient is not a quilter, but three of us teamed to make the quilt; here is the front of "The Thought Gang" quilt.

"The Thought Gang Quilt"67 by 67"

Here are several close-ups of the quilt - first the border. I am tickled at how it turned out - I quilted a piano key border (1" parallel lines), but inserted a feathered vine in each corner. It adds a softness, which I like, to an otherwise very geometrical quilt. Here is a closeup of the quilting in the interior of the quilt. Notice that in the 2" wide border, I did "ribbon candy" quilting. Sometimes it is hard to design something to fit into those narrow little borders, but this works well and is fairly easy to do. The double feathered wreaths in the "open" block areas also soften the look of this quilt. I love double feathered wreaths and do them quite often when I quilt open areas. Note that I ran the geometric echoing lines around those wreaths -- I've seen too many wreaths where the "triangles" at each corner are left unquilted and bubble up. I like filling that area with something.

And here is the back of this quilt. The quilting shows through very clearly. I pieced the back from leftover fabrics from the front. My friend Jerrianne E made the blocks for the front, and when she gave them to me for the quilt, she also gave me a lot of leftover fabrics. Interspersed inbetween all of the rectangles are some "open" rectangles, where I inked a list of all the books we have read -- along with some of the funniest quotes in the world from The Thought Gang book. This quilt will certainly carry memories for Dot, our glorious dinner hostess.

And here is a close-up of one of those rectangles on the back of the quilt. There are a lot of great things about being in a book club: seeing friends every month, having very interesting exchanges about the book we've read, and "upgrading" the level of reading that I would otherwise do. Without a push, I tend to read nothing but thriller detective novels.

Next: I am a strong believer in supporting community events and activities. And so when a friend called me and asked if I would mind "hemming up some sort of puzzle piece" that would then fly on the next NASA Space Shuttle mission, I jumped and said yes. You see, their son was diagnosed with autism, and they have struggled with appropriate therapies that give him the best chances for an improved quality of life. Autism is a mysterious disorder, and as with so many disorders, research funding is critical. Funding for the Autism Research Institute is being aided through "The Million Dollar Puzzle" initiative. By selling puzzle pieces, researchers can continue their work in solving the puzzle of autism. While I was only asked to "sew something that looks like a puzzle piece," I replicated the logo of the Autism Research Institute; after it flies on the Space Shuttle, it will be gifted to the institute.
Autism Research Institute logo(
Next are two quilts that I made for Ricky Tims' and Alex Anderson's The Quilt Show. They are the featured block-of-the-month quilts that are being offered online, at no cost other than "joining" The Quilt Show ( It's a bargain -- a $42.95 one-year membership brings you featured artist videos every 2 weeks, two block-of-the-month projects, free classes, an online quilt guild with blogs and forums, and lots of additional show-and-tell, articles, and information. And the very best part of all of this is... you can do it all in your jammies! So here are the quilts. The first one is an applique quilt called "Hugs and Kisses." I named it that because of the X's and O's that traditionally represent hugs and kisses.

"Hugs and Kisses"71 by 87"

Here is a close-up photo of the quilting on this quilt -- each of the "X" leaf sprays have a feathered wreath quilted behind them. The "O" shaped wreaths are quilted with diagonal cross-hatching. There is also a 4-inch sashing strip between all of the blocks; you can see it in the above photo. It is quilted with a meandering feathered vine. The ruffled swag border is quilted with feathers, while the background behind it is quilted with "bead-board" slats (Yes... I listened to all of you when you said you wanted more information on techniques, quilting, etcetera. Let me know if you want more (or less or different) information!).
The next Quilt Show block-of-the-month is called "Star Crazy" - because it is filled with stars. This quilt is a fairly simple one to make -- with the exception of only a few star-interiors, all of the blocks use either 1-1/2" or 2" (finished size) units. I wanted to give everyone a break from making my usual 1" (finished size) units. Or maybe I was just giving myself a break from the complaints (just kidding!). I have long believed that you don't improve if you don't push yourself to do more difficult things. I wear a bracelet that my friend Cynthia gave me that says "Always do the hardest thing." It's become my mantra - it keeps me focused on learning and growing.

"Star Crazy"84 by 84"

And here is a picture of the quilting in this quilt -- again, I used double feathered wreaths in the border, and inserted a feathered wreath "behind" each of the star blocks in the central part of the quilt. The area around the border of smaller stars is quilted with just fill-feathers, while the outer border has a meandering feathered vine.

I hope you're still with me - I still have more quilt photos to post. My latest quilt is a Coxcomb and Currants quilt. Below is a photo of my rendition of the traditional coxcomb and currants block. Many of the older versions of the block are a bit too "chunky" for my likes. My version strikes me as being almost being "lacy."

And here is the quilt; it still needs to be quilted. My friend Margo has suggested that I "echo" the coxcomb design in the open areas through quilting. I'm not sure that I am skilled enough to tackle that, but wouldn't it be wonderful? I'll give it some thought. I am using this quilt to teach applique at a retreat in Utah in January 2010. Yes, I do quite a few lectures and workshops across the country. If I ever get my act together, I'll rebuild my website (which currently just points to this blog) and list all of the workshops that I teach, along with dates and sites. Teaching is FUN for me! But I digress... here's the quilt:

Phew -- I'm worn out! I hope you all still have plenty of energy to quilt some more today and all of your tomorrows. Until we meet again...

Happy sewing -

(c)2009 Susan H. Garman
All Rights Reserved
"Coxcomb and Currants"56 by 56"
Last, but certainly not least, is a Princess Feather block from an antique quilt I saw last month. This really is a chunky version of the block -- but that's what makes it so delightful! I have had a red and green Princess Feather quilt in process for over two years -- it has all the ins and outs in each feathery plume - which means that it has a lot of perimeter that needs to be appliqued. I have only about an eighth of a final feather to be appliqued, so there is a chance that you will be seeing my own version of a Princess Feather quilt in the near future (I can only hope!). In the meantime, I plan on drafting this chunky princess feather design into a new pattern - I just love how chunky it is -- and that it is done in an unusual color; I've never seen a navy princess feather!


  1. Whew! So many lovely quilts! I really like your coxcomb and currants version.

  2. Good to hear from you again. I may have to stretch myself and see what I can create. I love applique but it takes so long to complete. I have to give myself a schedule to keep up with what I do.

    I really love the diversity of your quilts.

  3. WOW. So many gorgeous quilts. Just beautiful.

  4. Wow! You do gorgeous work! Great photos!

  5. Sue, I just found your blog--thank you! You are such an inspiration to get out of the beginner quilts and do something spectacular! Keep on blogging and quilting!

  6. What a great posting! You are so is wonderful to see all the detail AND understand your rationale behind it. You are a great teacher!

  7. Yeah...I'm still voting for the Coxcomb ghosts! ;-)

  8. I love your Baltimore Album blocks!
    Do you have more? Is it going to be a pattern? I have been thinking about doing a Baltimore A and I love your eagle square.

    Love seeing all the awesome things you are doing.

  9. The quilt is great and I would like to know more about the books that your group has read. I also quilt and belong to a book club & like you read mostly thrillers. We are always looking for new books and there was a couple on the list I wanted to know about.

  10. Wow! Life got so busy there in Nov and Dec it has been awhile since I visited. What a wonderful gift! And I love what you all put into it to make it a treasured for her! And so I ever love your Star Crazy and expecially the coxcomb block! Absolutely stunning!

    And do I ever LOVE your bracelet saying! What a great motto to live by!

  11. Sue, I love your quilt patterns and your quilts but I also want to pass on my sympathies regarding your husband's illness. I hope it gives some measure of comfort and strength to know that so many are sharing this burden with you. I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  12. I just adore your coxcomb and currants block. That green is one of my favourites. You are such wonderful inspiration :-)
    I too love your bracelet motto.
    Take Care

  13. Hi Sue, I just love your quilts. I'm currently working on Ladies of the Sea and am loving every minute of it. I look forward to seeing your new creations.