Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May day! May day! May day!

May day -- a well known emergency call -- seems appropriate as the title for this month's belated blog entry.  I mean, it's kind of like HELP or ELSE around my house!  I've been peddling as fast as I can for the past few weeks, and feel like I'm drowning.  Family matters have been consuming me.  I'm moving my parents out of the house they've lived in for six years... and that means downsizing my Mom's quilting room.  Or, said another way... Mom is making a HUGE contribution to my guild's annual auction ( - August 18 - come one, come all!).  I'm temporarily storing over 45 boxes of fabric, along with a dozen boxes of notions and unmade kits, and a dozen boxes of wonderful quilt books.  I haven't a clue as to how to get all the boxes to the guild meeting on the night of the auction; it's a good thing that I love problem-solving.  I'll sure be glad to get my dining room back, too...

And while worrying about packing and the move, I've been trying so get Sarah's Revival quilted.  Here's the full picture.... before I started quilting it.

And here it is, rolled on the frame; I've finished one border, one full row of blocks, and half of the next row of blocks.  I love hand quilting - it is SO relaxing.  You can see some of the painter's tape on the block I'm quilting; I use it to mark the cross-hatching as I go, and therefore don't need to use a pencil or other marking tool for my quilt lines.  You'll also see the tv remote... here I go again, watching all those murder mysteries while I quilt, and once again, I'm thinking of renaming the quilt, "Murder on Queensburg Lane" since that's all I am seeing with that red fabric everywhere!

Here's a close up of the block I'm working on -  you can see that I just keep adding strips of tape as I add a line of quilting across the block.  It's a pretty simple - but very effective - method for quilting cross-hatching.

And here is a block that has been fully quilted -- I quilt in the ditch around all the applique, and then do the cross-hatching, too.  I am using 3/4-inch tape on this quilt.

Now... for what many of you have been waiting to see!  I have been working on Bed of Roses, my new block of the month.  It has had so many starts and stops that I think I can make two other quilts with the mis-starts!  I have 5 feathered stars that have been tossed aside, setting triangle units made of 1-inch half-square triangles (these drove me nuts, so yes, you're welcome; I didn't include these in the design!), and lots of other cast-aside units.  BUT I can say that I'm very happy with the quilt now.  I had thought that the four blocks with rose trees in them (the blocks next to the center block) would be plain white fabric with some beautiful quilting in them, but that, too, was another design change that fell by the wayside - it looked too much like the quilt had four holes in the middle of it!  So here's the final rendition, ready to be quilted!  I will be machine quilting this one - I think the machine quilting will look good on this quilt.  Some quilts ask to be hand-quilted but this one didn't care (yes, my quilts "talk" to me!).   So - whatcha think?

As for what else to include in this month's blog entry, I thought I'd just do a quick review of some of my other red and green quilts (and no, my next quilt is not going to be red and green... but I reserve the right to change my mind!).  Here's the Princess Feather I finished putting together last month:

Here's an early four-block quilt I made.  I wanted to try a four-block quilt, as it just seemed intuitively that the applique and assembly could be done more easily than a large quilt could be done.  I loved how this went together so quickly.

In fact, I loved making a four-block quilt so much that I made a second one pretty soon after the one above; this one took a little more time because it included a big appliqued border.

What I loved about this quilt (The Washingtonian) was that the blocks were SO big!  And guess what?  Take a look at one of the blocks in the above quilt:

What I have always loved is that if you take ANY block and set it on point, it immediately grows dramatically in size.  That 24 inch block, above, when set on point, becomes a MUCH bigger block (41 percent bigger, to be exact)...

And those big setting triangles become GREAT places to put some spectacular hand quilting... or machine quilting if you're so inclined.  And if you're not... most long-arm quilters who are worth their salt simply LOVE having a big place to "play" when they quilt quilts.  Woo hoo!

Back to the red and green quilts, now.  Most of you will recognize my Lily Rosenberry.  She still surprises me when I look back at her -- she is a pretty awesome creation!

And here is a very early quilt - one made back in the 70s.  Take a look at all the star centers.  I sweated bullets, quilting little "feathered rosettes" in the center of each of those.  They took 45 minutes each, to quilt.  And guess what?  you can't see the quilting on the front!  What a disappointment for me....

But the quilting in the border made up for what was "lost" in the stars!  I love leaving wide, open spaces on quilts, specifically for quilting.  They add a soft, gorgeous touch to a quilt.

Here's a Cherry Tree Reel below -- it uses circles instead of the classic "hoop" reel around the leaves.  It's on my stack of "to be quilted" quilts.  Which is otherwise known as my full retirement system. 

 And here's another red and green quilt - I actually have TWO of these quilts, but the second one isn't quite finished yet (sniff....).   And before you ask, yes, I am a glutton for punishment.

And most of you will recognize my Borrowed Roses..  This is a lousy picture... I'll work on a better one later.

 And lest you think I've run out of red and green quilts... no, I haven't!  I love, love, love coxcombs, so this quilt used five blocks, and awaits quilting...

In the meantime, if I have ten minutes to spare, I make a block.  A simple block.  For my guild's auction.

And in case I forgot to mention it (I didn't...), the June issue of Quiltmaker will be featuring a quilt I designed, along with "lessons" on applique.  I haven't seen the magazine yet... and I don't want to spoil the "surprise, so you'll just have to keep your eyes open for this quilt in the near future!  Here is a teeny sneak-peak, though!

Until next month (and yes, I'll probably post late again... moving parents is tough but I'm thinking the UNpacking will take longer than the packing!), happy quilting!

(c)Susan H. Garman 2012


  1. Oh my Gosh Sue. I have stumbled on your blog via another one and I am amazed at all your fabulous work. I love what you are doing and I guess now I have to go back and read your older posts.

  2. Always enjoy reading your posts and seeing your quilt pictures, no matter how late in the month they appear. Aging parents issues do take precedence as us baby boomers are quickly finding out.

  3. Such a lavish showing of wonderful quilts...loved this post!

  4. Ok, now I'm officially red and green with envy. Those quilts are so spectacular! I'm working on Sarah right now. I hear a rumor or thought I read somewhere where you appliqued a block per day. Is that right? I'm moving this summer from Hawaii to Virgina. My machines will get packed up the first week of June and I'll get them and can use them after we unpack in mid-late July, so I have Sarah's Revival to keep me busy. I have done 5 of the blocks, but am waiting now for the move before doing any more. I'm loving them, because the "papercut" blocks are fairly similar to Hawaiian quilt patterns. I've also done your patterns for Star Crazy and my favorite, Omigosh.

  5. I love you! You are a treasure to the contemporary quilt world, especially to us traditionalists. You have just inspired me to get back to my Ruffled Roses--no excuses, if you can accomplish all you do, I need to get it in gear.

    As for the may day call, I'm just sorry I don't live near you so I could lend a hand. I'm sure your local friends will step up. Blessings to you, my hero!

  6. Wow! Bed of Roses is amazing, I can hardly wait for the release of the pattern! All of your quilts are simply amazing and seeing all you have done makes me wonder why I don't have more to show from my years of quilting! Thanks for the push(even if you didn't intend it)to accomplish more of my dream quilts. Please keep inspiring us.

  7. Love Bed of Roses and all of your other quilts too. What a lot to be proud of!! Thank you for the inspiration and the push to get more of my dream quilts done. Good luck with your parents move. I face that soon as my Dad is 90 and still living alone. Hope all goes well.

  8. Thank you for sharing that wonderful collection - absolutely inspiring. And I LOVE your idea of the painter's tape for marking your quilting lines - that's something that I know I will be using because I love crosshatching on a quilt. Good luck and fun with the auction!

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  10. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  11. You are ONE AMAZING woman!! Your work is breathtakingly spectacular! I so enjoy your blogs, so thank you for taking time out or your very busy life to share with us! I pray that the moving of your parents will go smoothly.

  12. I think the Bed of Roses turned out wonderful. The first time I viewed it last night--was not sure about the 4 blocks facing inward--but that is without the quilting added. I think I just had sensory overload from all the fantastic applique pieces. Now I know why red & green quilts were the best quilts of their day & kept for company visiting!! I know this quilt took a long time to come together & it was worth the work (for me, maybe not you). Your quilts have such a intense quality about them--with so much precision in the stitches from the applique to the quilting. Thanks for the quilt show & hope things go well for you and the family. It is a difficult task to now take care of our parents--but the love tends to make us better people.

  13. Your quilts are so inspirational! I am also a red and green quilt junkie. I can't wait until Bed of Roses is available as a BOM. This will be a must-do for me!

  14. I can't wait until our guild auction!
    Can you believe that I don't have a stash?! Silly, I know.
    I do, however, still have the pillow that you made for auction many years ago. It has a little pineapple on it and it sits on a corner chair in my kitchen.

    I love the red/green quilts. I think they're timeless and beautiful. I do remember when I thought some of your earlier pieces were difficult (*Remark directed towards Lily and... well... anything after that...)

    Keep up the awesome posts.
    They inspire all of us!

  15. I am in awe and speechless after viewing your beautiful hand-quilted quilts!!!

  16. As usual, I have to wipe the drool off of my keyboard, lol.
    Your quilts are outstanding!

    What needle do you use for applique? You may have mentioned it before, but it'd be great if you could tell me again. ;)

  17. Bed of Roses is going to delightful. While you are right four blank squares would have looked strange, the four with just a touch of color look GREAT. Gives the eye a place to rest without a lot going on. And for those who are into quilting, a place to put some special designs.

  18. Absolutely spectacular, thanks so much for sharing all the lovely photos with us.

  19. Ohmygawd! I love your red and green quilts. I've made Lily Rosenberry and am hoping to do Sarah's Revival next. Of course, I'll be first in line for Bed of Roses BOM. I'm always in awe of how much you get finished. You must use every minute of your time quilting. Love your blog.

  20. Just beautiful. You amaze me.
    Have you considered teaching a stab quilting class? I would definitely take it.

  21. Sue, I was looking at the background of one of your quilts and noticed there is a pattern on it. My question is do you ever use the cream with white psint ( I do not like them because of the paint on the fabric) or do you strictly use tone on tones?

    Still Love what you are doing.