Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unveilings - At Last!

Where in the world has Sue Garman been for the past two months? After promising that I would post on the first of each month, like clockwork, just a short while back... I disappeared. The truth is that I have been very, very busy! Much of what I was working on were things I could not show anyone yet... plus I had a lot of work to do before Quilt Market came to Houston before the Quilt Show. At some point, I will post photos of quilt market, for those who have never been to "market" - the show that is held for wholesale buyers. I will also post photos of some of the fabulous quilts that hung in the Houston quilt show -- though I must confess that being the technical guru that I am, half of my photos (including the top winners!) seem to have disappeared.

Moving on, now... can you guess that this picture is? Other than a stack of papers and file folders?
If you guessed that it is the pattern for Friends of Baltimore, you would be right! It is a huge pattern. As always, I have included lots of tips, pointers, how-tos, and instructions in each month's write-up. Hopefully, all that work will pay off with some quiltmakers who learn and some quiltmakers who have far less frustration. Once again... here is the quilt (and no, I have not added that last 1" border of half-square triangles yet; that comes next week and then I will start quilting. I am still debating silk batting versus other options.

The next quilt is Ruffled Roses - finally I can show it in all of its glory. I wanted The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims to have the honor of showing the quilt before I posted a photo... so now everyone else can see it here, too. It was a fun quilt to work on -- I loved making the pieced swag border, which echoes the inner appliqued swag border. It's always fun to think of new (to me, at least) concepts and figure out how to put them in a quilt.

This pattern took a long time to prepare -- writing instructions for piecing always takes longer than writing instructions for applique because there is a lot of math involved, and all of it takes time to proof. Those who have done The Quilt Show block-of-the-month patterns in the past will be happy to learn that this pattern includes more detailed instructions on how I quilted my quilt - here's a sample photo...

And so what else have I been working on? Aaaahhh... there were the 25 guests that I invited to come to my house for dinner and a quilt showing in the middle of the Houston quilt show. Gail Chalker, from Australia, brought three vanloads of them, and there were many others from elsewhere, including the talented and extremely organized Tresa Jones who runs the wonderful Baltimore on the Prairie conference/retreat each year. Tresa has gathered an awesome set of teachers -- check out the website at http://baltimoreontheprairie.tresajones.com/. I so enjoyed seeing everyone! My quilting friends went overboard helping serve a true Texas dinner: frito pie, ambrosia salad, and peach cobbler with Blue Bell ice cream. Here is the serving team of six...

and here are all the lovely quilters...

So... that's not all that has kept me busy. Over the past year, I have been part of a round robin group. There were five of us who each passed a center block to another, along with fabric and a list of "desires" (like: "please, no broderie perse" - or "just have fun!"). I love round robin quilts because they force me to work in venues I might not otherwise consider. We had our grand unveiling in front of our quilt guild this month -- what a great set of surprises. Below are the quilt tops along with one or two close-ups of each quilt.

First, there is Jean's quilt - she was the only one to start with a rectangular quilt center -- and one of only two quilts that did not end up with the center block set on point!
I added the pinwheel border -- with light inner and darker outer setting triangles; I like doing that because it adds depth to a quilt. Notice that the last border echoes that same light/dark set of setting triangles.

I was amazed at how much time all of the gals put into adding borders -- look at the blocks in the outer border, here. That's power sewing!
Second, here is Georgann's quilt. She started with a star block that was set on point - then a border of blocks was added, followed by a wonderful dogtooth border - and finally, a ruffled swag border. I love the lightness of this quilt -- it has dark fabrics that keep pulling your eye in, but most of the fabrics are very soft in color. It's lovely!

Notice how the appliqued flowers were all outlined with embroidery floss. That is a wonderful touch for this quilt.

Third is Marsha's quilt. She started off with a beautiful mariner's compass. It offered so much opportunity for the next set of borders, with its full spectrum of colors.

Take a look at the detail in the first set of borders -- the flower in the center of the compass is echoed with an appliqued duplicate in the corner of the chain border.

And all of those circles in the center are echoed again in the red scallop border. I made that one - I've never done one like it before, but after pondering what to add to Marsha's quilt, I dreamed up this design and added the circles to echo what was in the center of the quilt. Touches like that give a quilt a cohesive look.

Fourth is my quilt top. I started with the coxcomb in the center and asked that my quilt be red/green... but not Christmas-y. No snowmen, Santas, or reindeer, please!

I love what my friends did - they are SO talented! And they know that I like lots of open areas for quilting, so they gave them to me. I could not be happier with the results - and I can't wait to quilt it!

Here is Cynthia's quilt -- she started with a double-feathered star, which I love seeing in quilts. The fabric she passed along in her traveling box was all blue, white, and cream -- giving us a wonderful pallette to work with.

Look at the details in what was added -- there is so much to see in this quilt.
The details just go on and on. What a spectacular set of quilts!

I think that all of us would do a robin again in a heartbeat, but we are postponing such thoughts until at least Springtime. Our new challenge was thrown at us when we all started reading Pat Sloan's blog (
http://patsloan.typepad.com/). She began posting a set of UFO (Unfinished Object) tips on Tuesdays and Thursdays from early October up until Thanksgiving... and we all started pulling out our UFOs and making confessions about how many we had. I lost count at 41 and that didn't even include the finished quilt tops that just need quilting! So we have now challenged each other to identify a UFO and finish it my March 2011. I have already almost finished the one I put at the top of my list. What was most amazing to me was Pat's disclosure, which I found was not unique to her, that ALL of her UFOs were projects that she was doing for herself - not for anyone else. What does that say about us?? So I have resolved to change that in the future and give myself some time to work on UFOs and other projects. Our UFO group started off by gathering for three days of doing nothing but power sewing -- sort of a day retreat without the interruptions of home or the sleeplessness of a retreat center. We worked hard... and maybe next month I will be able to show you progress on another new quilt!

Until next month... happy sewing, everyone! And most definitely, may the Yuletide season bring all of you smiles, joy, and surprises!

(c)2010 Susan H. Garman


  1. I find that I leave the projects for me to finish something for someone else.
    You seem to have a very creative and talented group.

    Good to hear from you and see your pictures.

  2. Girl...you make my head spin...it would take me several lifetimes to complete that Friends of Baltimore...it is the MOST GORGEOUS quilt I have EVER seen!

  3. Wow! That Baltimore ... words defy! How can one even say anything to justify it. I can appreciate the files and files of instructions being a pattern designer myself. It's good for others to see this....then they can appreciate the 'price' these kind of quilt patterns have on them.
    I loved, loved, loved the Round Robbin quilts. I've always wanted to be a part of one, and now I think you have just given me the final kick int he boot'a to get one started.
    You are amazing!

  4. Wow!! What a beautyful quilt. I love Baltimore. Where can i buy the pattern of friends of baltimore?

    Greetings from Debby,
    the Netherlands

  5. How lovely, each and every one of them. I feel like I've had a personal quilt show in my own house!

  6. The round robin turned out great. I saw the BOM from The Quilt Show and am looking forward to making it. I wonder if/when you will publish the baltimore pattern? I would like to make that. Would that much paper be a cd pattern?

    Any suggestions you have for background fabrics in a white solid that I can hand quilt? I have a few quilts in waiting due to my frustration with the thread count on some of the back ground fabrics I have found.

    I do not have many UFO's but I guess I should get them done so I can start on the new BOM.

  7. I've gotten several questions about the pattern and the background fabric for my Baltimore quilt. Here are some answers...
    1. The pattern will initially be available from Quakertown Quilts (www.quakertownquilts.com -- or go to their website, get their phone number, and call them!) sometime in January. That's the plan, at least!
    2. The pattern will be a block of the month -- with 16-25 pages in each pattern. No CD!
    3. I use Kaufman's Kona Cotton (white) for the background. The applique on the blocks is very heavy on the fabric, so I recommend a sturdy, "beefy" background fabric. Kona Cotton fills the bill for me. I know many quilters prefer background fabric with some sort of pattern in it, which is fine -- just be sure that the fabric is strong enough to carry the applique without being distorted by the weight of it.

  8. Sue do you use the white or snow? And is Kona still good quality? my quilt shop has gone to other brands but I too always liked the Kona.

  9. In answer to Avon's comment...
    I use Robert Kaufman's Kona White. Kona Snow (slightly creamier) would work just as well, however - so it's user's choice! I usually buy it by the bolt from Hancock's of Paducah (www.hancocks-paducah.com) as they often have the best price and offer quantity discounts (10% off for 10 yards). There are many other solid fabrics available, such as Moda's line of Moda Bella. I love Moda Bella, but it is not nearly as beefy as Kona - and for this quilt, I felt it needed something thicker.
    Happy sewing!
    Sue Garman

  10. Lovely quilts!

    So, in true government worker fashion, I have a spreadsheet to track my UFOs. In my defense (and I feel I need one), the spreadsheet helped me track the MANY BOM patterns from a very nice lady named "Sue".

    Thanks to my spreadsheet, I'm almost caught up and ready for more "Sue" patterns!

  11. I was one of the lucky AUstralians to visit your home and must say it was so wonderful and I can't thank you enough for opening your home to us and share your wonderful quilts.
    Thank you again from the bottom of my heart
    Christine C.

  12. Going to order your Friends of Baltimore, How many yards for background/borders?

  13. In response to the question of how much fabric for the Friends of Baltimore border/background fabric, it takes 10 yards.