Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and Quilting

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is a wonderful time to celebrate and give thanks for all of the blessings that fill our lives: loving families, good health, deep friendships, freedom and happiness... the list is endless. And somewhere on my list is quilting! Quilting offers all of us something. For some of us, it offers us creativity and art. For others, it offers friendship with fellow quilters. For others, it offers an opportunity to share one's talent with friends and strangers alike. No matter what your reason is for quilting, I hope that it gives you great satisfaction.

Over the past couple of weeks I have had the chance to work on finishing up several projects. Here is a sampling - enjoy!

Lily Rosenberry, 83 x 83 inches

This quilt was originally done in red and green on a warm off-white background. This version was done in bubble gum pink and soft green on a rich chocolate background. Denise Green and I collaborated on this quilt and made it together.

The Walkaway Star Quilt, 60 x 74 inches

I am going to teach participants how to make this quilt at the annual February 2009 Quakertown Quilts retreat on Galveston Island (and yes, the island recovery is going great -- lots of work ahead, but the retreat site is in great condition!). The block is one that I designed, based on an antique block. I call the quilt the "walk away" star quilt because the quilt really CAN be done in a day, if one stays focused. That pleases me; I do not think that I am alone in saying that I don't like coming home from classes and retreats with more UFOs!

The Walkaway Star Quilt (#2), 60 x 74 inches

Okay... I liked the first Walkaway Star Quilt so much that I made another one. This time, the blocks are made from a dozen different blue prints and a dozen different shirting fabrics. I like "scrappy" quilts.

The Walkaway Star Quilt (#3), 60-1/2 by 75-1/2 inches

In fact, I liked this block so much that I made a pint-size version of it (7" blocks) with 1/2-inch sashing between each block. I used a variety of civil war reproduction fabrics; the scrappiness of this quilt makes one's eyes dance across its surface. I also like making quilts that don not contain any "background" fabrics -- no white, off-white, taupe, or neutral fabrics, only colored print fabrics. As long as the fabrics contain a good balance of light, medium, and dark prints, the scrappiness adds a wonderful richness to the finished quilt.

So what else am I working on? There are a lot of ideas floating around in my head, following the great Houston quilt show -- I saw a lot of antique quilts that inspired me, and so I'm sure you'll be seeing some of those ideas reformulated into new quilt patterns. I met with the wonderful folks from P&B Textiles and I'm working on a new fabric line for them. Once again, it will have a juvenile flavor to it -- think nursery songs!

Until next time... happy sewing!

(c)2008 Susan H. Garman

Monday, November 3, 2008

What's New for Me?

The International Quilting Association's grand show in Houston closed Sunday night -- and my feet were so thankful! Quilt shows are always so much fun for me. I love seeing the quilts on display, meeting the makers, visiting with friends old and new, and hunting down antique quilts and blocks that can serve as inspirations for new quilts. The Houston quilt show definitely fulfilled my hopes: my brain is just buzzing with ideas for new quilts! I saw so many wonderful 19th century quilts; I just need a few more hours a day to get them made... don't we all? And the daylight savings time change only gave me ONE hour. What's with that?! So until I get those new quilts designed and made, below are some quilts that I recently finished.

Stars for a New Day
83 x 83"

At the Houston quilt show, Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims hosted a booth for The Quilt Show, their online community for quilters. Alex and Ricky are warm and genuine people. They had invited me to design and make the 2009 Quilt Show block-of-the-month. And so my quilt, "Stars for a New Day," made its debut (pictured above). The quilt patterns for this block-of-the-month are free of cost to anyone who signs up for a year's membership with The Quilt Show at Each month in 2009, a new pattern becomes available online and members print it out. The quilt pattern is a bargain if you join, but there is so much more. Go to The Quilt Show website, take the "tour," and see one of the online video shows. Membership is a lot of fun!

By the way -- I also started making a second version of "Stars for a New Day" using Alex Anderson's "Never Enough Romance" line of fabric -- I love how it is turning out.

And so w
hat else have I been working on? I finished Ruffled Feathers -- I love the blocks in it because they each have a "halo" around the star. The blocks are easily made and the pattern, as are all of mine , is available from Quakertown Quilts (

Ruffled Feathers
69-1/2 x 85-1/2 inches

I also finished my chocolate and bubble gum colored "Lily Rosenberry" quilt. As soon as it comes home from its visit to a local quilt shop, I'll post a photo of it. I love brown and pink fabrics together.

And so what am I working on now? I am leading two workshops and giving a lecture down on Galveston Island in February. One workshop will be aimed at teaching applique techniques and skills, using an antique rose pattern (pictured below). The other quilt will be a delightfully simple pieced quilt with no critical seamline intersections -- I'm looking forward to a fun day with that class, because there is nothing frustrating about the piecing. Pictures of that quilt will be forthcoming! If anyone is interested in the Galveston Retreat, it is being organized through Quakertown Quilts -- we always have a lot of fun at this gathering, and winter is Galveston's best-kept secret!

The Antique Rose Quilt
69 x 86 inches

That's all for now -- I hope you are enjoying the Fall weather.
Until we meet again, happy quilting!

(c)2008 Susan H. Garman