Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stay Warm...

With the icy waves of cold that are racing across the Nation, I want to start with the premise that we should all be making more quilts in order to stay warm! My outdoor thermometer shows that it is a chilly 32 degrees at 10 pm tonight... which is balmy compared to elsewhere.

This month there is not much to show, because I've been too busy to make much progress on anything. First of all, my "Friends of Baltimore" quilt is now on the market. I basted it right before Christmas and have already been quilting away like crazy on it -- check it out in the picture below; I have finished quilting 5 blocks. Yes, I'm a slowpoke, but this quilt is being heavily quilted!

Next, I have been working on my "Borrowed Roses" quilt. I have basted all of the blocks and have finished appliquing one block and one border unit. I love working on quilts that I can't wait to finish -- imagining what it will look like after it is quilted helps me keep my nose to the grindstone. The inspiration for this quilt was a quilt made by Rose Kretsinger -- if you check out my January post, you will see a draft of the pattern. Below is a picture of one block and one border unit-- I'm making progress!

Back on August 31, 2010, I posted several pictures of old cheddar quilt tops that I've collected. I found another one late last year and I'll share it below -- I just love all those bright 9-patches with cheddar setting squares and triangles. This is definitely on my list of quilts to "re-make" in the future. I've already purchased my cheddar fabric.

I have been asked by Emmy in Bemidji, Minnesota, to comment on how to select, prepare, and choose a non-bleeding red fabric good for applique - as well as other strong colors like green and purple - and whatever else I want to say about shades, brands, solids, etc. First of all, I like a very rich, rich red. Those are difficult to find -- there are lots of pinky, purplish, bluish, blackish, and gray reds... but a really good, strong, rich red is hard to find. So... the first rule of thumb is: when you find a good red, BUY it! Buy LOTS of it! Look at it against other reds and other colors (e.g., gold, green) to make sure that it is a true red. Sometimes when you place a red print against other colors, you'll find that it is a different shade than you thought.
I prepare my red fabrics just like I do all my other fabrics: it walks in the door and goes for a swim in warm water, then gets dried. It is not allowed to enter my sewing room until it has bathed -- therefore, I am always certain that all the fabric in my sewing room has been washed. I do not ever use washout markers, disappearing ink markers, starch, or fabric finish (sizing) on my fabrics, and particularly not on reds, navies, or blacks -- those items may cause your fabric to bleed, despite having been washed. Ask me how I know... and being the compulsive person that I am, I even tested these products on a variety of fabrics to prove that they may cause fabrics to bleed. If you do use these products, make sure that you thoroughly wash them out at some point.
As for brands... I have an inherent trust in all the major fabric manufacturers; they are in the business of satisfying their customers, and they work hard at putting out fabrics that make us happy. All of that is to say that you are probably safe with fabrics you find in your local quilt shop. As for shades of colors... there are tons of beautiful shades of reds, greens, purples, blues, golds, and so on. Which ones do you use? Choose your fabrics by laying them out to see if they work well together. While a pinky red may not go well with one green, it might go beautifully with another. It's a matter of trial and error -- just do not expect to be able to choose fabrics in 5 minutes. I have always believed that it takes 3 times as long to choose fabric as you think it should.

Finally, I have been asked to start a Yahoo Group for people working on my Friends of Baltimore quilt. I was reluctant to do so, as there is a certain amount of overhead attached to moderating a Yahoo Group, and there are plenty of other Yahoo groups on the web where discussions might occur. However, I have succumbed to the wishes of those of you whose persuasive powers overwhelmed my ability to say no... so I have now started a new Yahoo Group called SueGarmanQuilts. You can find it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/suegarmanquilts/ -- don't be in a huge rush to check it out... I haven't posted anything there yet! Eventually I will post pictures of my Baltimore quilt so that those of you who want to see closeups of the blocks can easily do so. If there are other things you want me to include there, holler at me!

Okay - that's enough for tonight. It's 10:30... and now it's 30 degrees outside. I need to make more quilts!

Happy sewing -
(c) 2011 Susan H. Garman


  1. Sue, I'm happy to see your post! Your Borrowed Roses quilt is going to be wonderful! Well, all your patterns are wonderful, but I am eager to see the rest of this one! Thank you for sharing the photos! Hugs, Robin

  2. Sue, I look forward to each of your postings. Since I am snowbound in IL today it will be a perfect day to finish the "Glorious Eagle" block I am working on. I look forward with excitement to see each block finished--the same anticipation I felt while making your "Ladies". I am crazy about your designs! Thanks

  3. Sue, I look forward to each of your updates. Since I am snowbound in IL today it will be a good day to finish the "Glorious Eagle" block I am working on. I can hardly wait to see each finished block--the same anticipation I felt while making your "Ladies". I am crazy about your designs. Thanks, Carolyn.

  4. Wow Sue! Your Friends of Baltimore quilt is absolutely gorgeous...and the hand quilting adds so very much wonderful texture. I too love a rich, deep red...and have a few favorites I have enjoyed for a while...great advice to buy quite a bit when you find a great red!

  5. Sue,
    Trying to get in touch with you about using a couple of your pics in a post, but I can't find an email address for you anywhere. Could you please contact me?

  6. Love your quilts.
    Is there a way I can buy the patterns for Oh My Gosh and the other precision pieced quilt patterns?
    Thanks, Subee

  7. Your Baltimore Album is stunning. I'm with you on the washing before putting in the sewingroom...new fabric is relegated to the guest bathroom until it is washed thoroughly!

  8. It's such a delight to see your wonderful work, the Baltimore is very beautiful and the Borrowed Roses is looking fabulous as well.

  9. Lovely Baltimore Album quilt. Such a lot of work... don't think I'll tackle one. At least not this year!

    I am wondering if you are the Sue Garman I have a signed block from a Prodigy swap in about 1992 or 03? It was a 4" finished Valentine block. (I have about 4 more swaps of 4" blocks from the same time period.) I am just now trying to put it together -- 17 blocks and 2 extra pieces of fabric from each swaper. We'll see what I come up with. Bonnie, now living in Central Va, but in '92 living in Georgia.

  10. How happy I am to find someone who speaks with authority that comes from experience. I thank modern technology for allowing me to tune into your thoughts and see your creations.

  11. Sue,
    Your Friends of Baltimore is out of this world! How the heck do you do it?
    How long did this one take you? Your fingers must be made of iron.(grin)
    The Borrowed Roses quilt looks great as well. A Christmas project, perhaps?

  12. The Friends of Baltimore quilt is just exquisite. It literally took my breath away the first time I saw it. I've never subscribed to a BOM but I am going to join this one. Thank you for creating such a beautiful work of art.