Monday, September 1, 2014

Cows and Quilts

I had meant to post the other half of my guild's quilt show quilts (half were posted last month) but I decided, after preparing almost a hundred photos for this month's blog, to put off showing those quilts until next month.  That should work better for me, anyway, because I'm going to be doing lectures and workshops across most of September, and having these other quilts ready to post will make next month's post easier for me.  This month was super, super busy -- I had zero breathing room but, oh golly, did I have fun!  I went to the Pride of Prairie Quilters guild in Illinois for a couple of days, and worked on lots and lots of projects.  I'll show some of those in the future - but for now... I'm going to reach back to show you one of the cutest set of quilts that were exhibited at last year's International Quilting Association (IQA) quilt show in Houston - what the locals (including me!) still call "Festival."

Festival had an exhibit called "MOO-ston."  In the book by Mary Lou Weidman and Melanie McFarland called Out of the Box with Easy Blocks, there is a block called "Purple Cow."  That design was taken up by friends and students and quilted into an un-bull-ievable exhibit of embellished quilts, with each built around a theme.  It was quite a treat for the viewers!  Below, I'll show you my pictures of those quilts; they were such fun to look at and brought lots of smiles to all the viewers. 

And the Cow Says "Boo"
by Peggy Baldwin-Clayton
Galveston, Texas (quilted by Anne Lett-Brown)
Peggy coordinated block exchanges in her quilt guild, and designed a set of Pinwheel and Rail Fence blocks in Halloween colors.  She had been thinking about making a cow after seeing all of the "bovine mania" amongst Mary Lou's followers, and "What did the cow say? BOO!" flashed into her brain.  She surged ahead and the quilt is a visual delight for all who see it.

Boo Moo
by Molly Evangelisti
Sacramento, California (quilted by Kathy Woods)
Molly loves Halloween - it's her favorite holiday.  Is it any wonder that she dressed her cow up for the holiday with a mask and fun Halloween prints?  The big and little spiders, tiny bat, black crow, and green spiked heels are the perfect accompaniment for this cow.  One of the funny things on almost all the cows was the choice the quilter made for the cow udders.  Molly's cow has a wonderful set of tiny pumpkins on the tips of the cow's udders.

Bovine Intervention
by Mari Linfesty
Santa Monica, California
Mari says her play on "divine intervention" shows her Catholic upbringing and her continual search for that special sign that she is being watched over.  She thinks her cow could represent Mary and how she watches over her darling newborn calf, sitting in the creche.  The quilt has many symbols of Catholicism - and Mary is often represented by flowers and the color blue.

Captain A-MOO-ica
by Julie Post
Titonika, Iowa (quilted by Shelly Phelps)
Julie wanted to make a quilt for her sister's 50th birthday and her husband suggested that it have a federal shield on it.  When she saw the cow pattern... the rest became history.  Her son suggested that Julie make the cow fly and also suggested the cow's name, Captain A-MOO-ica.  Julie says her simple patriotic cow became a super-hero with a mask, cape, and matching boots.

Cow Girl
by Candy Woods
Bend, Oregon
Candy says she was encouraged to make a cow quilt after seeing a bunch of them at a retreat in Tahoe with  Mary Lou Weidman and friends.  When the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show issued a call for small quilts, Cow Girl was born -- and then her daughter purchased the quilt.  The funds from the Sisters' Small Wonder exhibit supports the local parks and recreation district programs.  It is nice when the quilts we make support the community.  Most of the quilts in this exhibit were larger wall quilts -- this was the only really small one. 

...the Cow Jumped Over the Moon
by Sandi Henschel
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada (quilted by Lauren Tolhurst)
Sandi received her copy of Out of the Box with Easy Blocks and knew she would have to make a cow jumping over the moon.  Why?  Her initials are S.H.H ... or shh... time to go to sleep, as the moon and stars are out.  Sandi also says, "I believe that if you aim at the moon, you may make it to the stars."  Her cow may be jumping - but it also looks like it's just doing a wonderful happy dance in the sky.

Cowmen Miranda
by Sue Cresse
Castaic, California (quilted by Kathleen Woods)
Sue chose to use her collection of fruit button embellishments as a jumping-off point for her quilt.  She says that before she even finished making the Miranda's body, she had appliqued her lips - a "signature feature!"  Below this picture are some close-ups, as Sue included many special features in her cow.

Cowmen Miranda has bangles around her knees, each filled with beads and sequins...

And that hat is something else with all the fruit on it -- along with the wonderful dangly earrings and the fringe-ball bedecked collar.  The cow also has blinged out eyelids and furry eyelashes.  What fun!

Cow Pie
by Linda Cook
Waukon, Iowa (quilted by Linda Johnson)
Linda says her quilt was made for a local quilt guild challenge where everyone was to make a quilt using black and white fabrics along with one other color.  When Linda found a remnant of fabric with red cherries printed on it, she says she knew just what to do:  "Being a farm girl, it was only natural that I make a cow pie!"

Cow Town
by Mary Lou Weidman
 Spokane Valley, Washington (quilted by Kathleen Woods)
Mary Lou gets together with sewing friends every summer.  A few years ago, her group inspired her to make a lot of cow quilts, based on her cow pattern.  In this quilt, her cow is made up of little houses with names over the doorways.  Each is named after loving family members.  Mary Lou says, "It's all about the fun!"

There is a wonderful abundance of buttons and bling on this quilt - and check out the eyeballs on this cow.  And who doesn't love the way the fabric shapes the mouth on this cow?

And for a special treat... look at the udders on this cow.  They are little hot dogs!

El Dia De Los MOOertos
by Peggy Baldwin-Clayton
Galveston, Texas (quilted by Denise Green)
In her cow quilt, Peggy used a lot of wonderful Alexander Henry fabrics that she had collected at Festival last year.  The two cows are covered in skulls and crazy flowers, and the skeleton is celebrating the Day of the Dead holiday with grand flare.  What a great use for these fabrics.

Dia de los MOOertos
by Patricia S. Wood
Goliad, Texas (quilted by Gaye McNett)
Patricia says her quilt was inspired by her daughter's love of Dia de los Muertos.  This is such a delightful quilt with its wacky monkey wrench blocks and flying geese.  The skull flowers in front of the cow are as cute as you'll ever find!  For those of you who are not familiar with Dia de Los Muertos, we see it celebrated a lot in Texas because of our large Hispanic population.  The holiday starts on October 31 and continues through November 2, and is a time for families and friends to gather and celebrate the lives of those who have died.  There are lots of traditions associated with the holiday - from creating little offering altars to honoring the dead with sugar skulls and marigolds, and sharing favorite foods and drinks of the departed.  The Mexican holiday traces back to Aztec festivals held hundreds of years ago. 

Frosty AMOOsement
by Connie Donaldson
Spokane Valley, Washington
Connie took on the challenge of working with wool fabrics.  She loves winter, and chose to include chickens and birds -- which she says aren't usually seen as winter animals... but then cows aren't either.  She had fun piecing the icy blue background.  The snowman is cute as a button, though the cow is munching away on its carrot nose!  At least the cow's ears will stay warm with its muffs -- and check out the boots and stockings.  I just can't stop thinking about how much fun these quilts must have been to design!

I Love MOO
by Mari Linfesty
Santa Monica, California (quilted by Pamela Dransfeldt)
Mari had a stack of "hoochy-heart" blocks from a swap, loves cows, and thought it would be nice to combine her two favorite things in a "family portrait."  Once she made the hoochy heart border and cow, she added two baby bulls and a big longhorn bull.  Her husband was pleased to be included in one of Mari's story quilts.  Each cow has an ear tag with the birthdates of the family member.

Here's a close-up of husband John -- with a nose-chain.  Hmmm... I'm sure there's no meaning in that (ha ha).  Note the sweet quilting motifs in the background.  These cows are just SO cute!

In this close-up, you can see the cud that Mama Cow is chewing -- it's made of ribbons and rick-rack.  The fabric choices in all of these quilts are phenomenal.

Here's another tiny detail in the quilt - a bird and a little caterpillar.

And here is one of the little bulls with his tiny little toes.  So cute!  As in all of the quilts, the quilting adds to the overall look of the quilt, with fun details.  Here, you can see vines quilted into the background.This is just a wonderfully happy quilt.

MadaMOOselle's ChoCOWlate Café
by Sandra Fisher
Davis, California
Sandra tells us that MadaMOOselle is Miss MOO-LaLa's older sister (she's in a quilt, below -- she's a can-can dancer!).  She chose a more traditional path, opened up her own business, and though they both love fanciful hats and braided tails, MadaMOOselle is much more reserved; she does not approve of her baby sister's occupation, but loves her as only sisters can do.  What a hoot!  These stories, alone, make me want to make my own cow quilt.  What would I name it and what would the theme be?  When my children were young, we used to make up "bull" challenges.  What do you call an earthly bull?  A Terra-bull.  What do you call a happy bull?  A laugh-a-bull.  What do you call a bull heading out of town?  A Bye-Bull.  Okay, these are pretty silly and I could go on and on...  maybe one of those old bull challenges could inspire me to design something clever and oh-so-fun!

Memaw's Rio (Cow Dog)
by Tracy Overturf
Woodinville, Washington (quilted by Lynn Reppas)
Tracy says, "I noticed a HUGE resemblance between the Purple Cow and my mom's dog Rio - same big brown cow eyes!"  She shortened the tail and legs and removed the cow udder - and made the rest of the quilt showcase her garden.  Tracy's mother lives with her family and loves to garden.  Two of Tracy's friends made all the blocks for the quilt.  The quilt has special meaning for Tracy's mother, as Rio is now in dog heaven.  Quilts can mean so much to us because we stitch all sorts of meanings, friendships, stories, and more into each quilt.  And each of those stitches contain memories for us.

Mirage? No, MOOrage
by Rebecka Schafer
Lincoln, Nebraska (quilted by Rich O'Neil)
Rebecka took her cow into the world of camel-dom in the desert - with a saddle and pyramids.  Like a dressed-up camel, her cow has sunglasses to make her look like she is gazing out into the desert.  I love this quilt - the cow looks so smug!

Miss Candy Cane Wishes You A MOOey Christmas
by Wendy Price
Irvine, California (quilted by Sandy Fisher)
Wendy decided to join in the fun of cow-making and chose a Christmas theme, as it is one of her favorite times of the year and she had lots of fabric to make the cow.  Wendy says her cow "was so excited about going to the show that she put on a tiara and kicked up her heels and did a dance."  Look at that star tiara - wow!  And the pink dot fabric - who would have chosen that?... but it works SO well!  What you may not notice without the ability to check out the details is that Miss Candy Cane has fur on her cuffs and her udders are made of tiny little candy canes.

Miss MOO-LaLa at the MOO-lin Rouge
by Sandra Fisher
Davis, California
Sandra decided on a "Moo-lin Rouge" theme as soon as she heard all the hullabaloo about cow quilts.  Her can-can dancer gives a high kick and the iconic windmill stands near her.  Sandra says that as she looked at Miss MOO-LaLa on her design wall every day, the cow kept telling her what else she needed.  Take a look at the detail pictures below this one.

Miss Moo-LaLa has long eyelashes, a beautiful headband, luscious red lips, and button earrings.  You can see a blade of the windmill, complete with its own bling.

Here is Miss MOO-LaLa's tail -- it is made of twisted black and white rick-rack.  This is SO clever!  You can see the bottom of the boa that Miss MOO-LaLa is sporting, too.

And really - who would have guessed that Miss MOO-LaLa would have such decorative udders?  The pink tassels are terrific!

Moody Blues
by Laurie Latta
Lopez Island, Washington (quilted by Karen Brown)
Laurie watched Mary Lou Weidman and Melanie McFarland make their cow quilts at a retreat and was enamored of all the fun they were having.  She had an "overabundance" of blue fabric and decided her theme would be Moody Blues.  She's had fun knowing that her cow is traveling the nation.

by Mary Lou Weidman
Spokane Valley, Washington
Now here's a quilt that screams piecing... but guess what?  The fabric is cheater cloth made by Robert Kaufman.  It was the perfect inspiration for a Moodern quilt.  Mary Lou was busy teaching and traveling so her neighbor, Connie, did the lettering to finish the quilt for Mary Lou.  Now that's a nice friend!

MOO-ey COWliente
by Tina Neppl
Yorba Linda, California
Tina's Moooy Cowlienta cow is made up of lots and lots of chili pepper fabrics.  Tina says her cow's name is Cowseula, her alter ego.  I love the sombrero with its little fringe balls - and look at the cow's tail with the chili peppers on the end of it.  I think that the gals who made all of these cow quilts must have had SO much fun choosing fabrics and themes!

Here is a close-up of Cowseula -- check out her big hoop earrings, her serape blanket on her back, and the lovely rose in her mouth.  I fully expect her to break into a sexy flamenco dance!

MOOey Fiesta
by Joanie Korte
San Antonio, Texas
Joanie went to a quilt retreat to learn "how to quilt outside the box."  She's a traditional quilter who learned the fun of crazy-made quilts -- look how wild her cow is.  It's party time!  The cactus is wild, with its prickly rick-rack edging - and the tail is a set of braided fabrics.

Check out the button hat and button nostrils, the flower eyeballs, and the rick-rack hair.  And where did she find such fun fabric - pink and brown cowhide for the ears and udders?!!

MOOlah a Cash Cow
by Charlotte Lorenzo
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Here's another case where fabric inspired a quilt.  When Charlotte saw the dollar bill fabric, her first thought was that she had to make a "cash cow" named Moolah.  She got the biggest jewels she could find and one thing led to another... and when she was finished, she took it even further and added more jewels and coins.  Charlotte says, "When I look at her, she makes me smile.  I think that is what it is all about."

PanaMOO Canal
by Susan Typpi
Seattle, Washington
Susan says she bought this fun fabric with all the molas on it when she was on a Panama Canal cruise with her friends.  Every time she sees it, she says it reminds her of the trip and makes her laugh.  Susan gathers with another group of friends every summer for a week of sewing, cooking, and drinking merriment in the San Juan Islands near Seattle; the quilt was born on one of those trips.  She says, "I just love how fabrics can be inspiring."  I love how she used the black and white fabric for the cow's hide - it's unique... and perfect!

Purple Cow
by Mary Lou Weidman
Spokane Valley, Washington (quilted by Kathleen Woods)
Mary Lou tells everyone that when she was five years old, her 70-plus year old neighbors took her to their farm.  On the way home, she was taught this poem:  "I never saw a purple cow; I never hope to see one.  But I can tell you anyhow, I'd rather see than be one."  She still has a fondness for purple cows, today... and I think we could all become very fond of her cow.  With flowers on her head, yellow rick-rack hay in her mouth, and shiny buttons on her udders, she is an absolute delight.

Red, White & Moo
by Melanie McFarland
Manhattan Beach, California (quilted by Kathleen Woods)
I had to laugh, seeing this flying flag cow with its udders made of tiny little keys.  Even the moon is looking up and laughing!

Here's a close-up of the patriotic bovine -- look at the fun fabric choices and all of the buttons in the sky!

She Eats the Meadow Flowers
by Rebecka Schafer
Lincoln, Nebraska (quilted by Rich O'Neil)
Robert Louis Stephenson's poem about a cow that's loved and likes to eat the meadow flowers, was the inspiration for Rebecka's quilt.  Saying that cows have really distinct eyes, Rebecka made them really stand out.  I like her choice of black buttons for the cow's udders.

Three COWballeros
by Jane Tenorio-Coscarelli
Lake Elsinore, California (quilted by Pam Dransfeldt)
Mary challenged Jane to make this quilt by saying, "I like your style."  Jane says her wicked sense of humor and the quilt make her laugh at every level.  I have to agree -- three cows mushed into one... each with a neckerchief.  And look at the six legs; go figure!  Yes, this makes me laugh, too - on many levels!

Vino Cow
by Sandy Thompson
Jamul, California
After seeing the cow parade at the Road to California show in January 2012, Sandy fell in love with cows, photographing each one.  As she shopped at the show, she found some wine glass fabric... and that set the scene for making a Vino Cow.  Sandy's mother donated the plastic grapes that used to sit on a side table in her family room, while Connie Hogan, one of Sandy's students who watched the quilt progress, donated the jeweled fringe on the blanket, the wine corks, and the wine charms.  Indeed, this quilt is charmingI

These udders are just way too cute!  And check out those legs.  Wowie!

Zorro the BOOvine
by Eilene Hamilton
Spokane Valley, Washington
Eilene brainstormed cow names with a group of friends and decided her twist on a cow quilt would be to dress up her cow in a Halloween costume, resulting in her BOOvine.  I love the mask on Zorro -- and the cute pumpkin.  Almost all the cows have a little bird or figure on their hindquarters -- look at Eilene's big bird!

Okay - have you had enough of cows and bulls?  I suspect not, but that's all I have to show you.  Now, I turn to some quilt pictures I've taken in the past month.  First of all, Becky Stephenson is a good friend and one of the most prolific quilters I've ever met.  More prolific than me, and that's saying something!  Below is a simple quilt made of thirties fabrics.  I like the use of open blocks - and the fabric choices for those as well as the setting triangles.  Too often, I believe our first choice is to use a single fabric.

Here's the back of the quilt.  Note that she just used a bunch of fat quarters, stitched together.  It's a nice way to use up a stash if you have fabrics you would not otherwise use, or are trying to downsize your stash.  As someone said to me this past week, though... using up scraps and fat quarters is sort of like emptying the beach of sand, one teaspoonful at a time.  That's an understatement.  I have enough fabric to last many lifetimes... and I keep picking up more, here and there.

Here is another quilt that Becky made.  I cannot remember the story behind it... was it a set of challenges (eg, triangle border, pieced border, etc.)?  Or just her own concoction once she'd finished the center block?  Whatever it was, it's beautiful.  The colors are vibrant and lively.

What I do remember is that Becky put a different vase in each corner.  So here's the circle of corners:

I love the different border - the double pinwheel and the pieced block borders, especially.  The use of cross-hatch quilting in the green border is a wonderful choice.

The piecing on this quilt is incredible.  Becky is a master piecer.

Here's more sets of blocks with beautiful piecing in them.

Becky found that one of the local medical facilities accepts heart-shaped pillows for its patients.  She put out a call to her guild and thought she'd be lucky to get 10-12 heart pillows to take to the facility... she got over 60 pillows!  These go to people being treated for breast cancer.

Small pieces don't intimidate Becky.  Here's her bow tie quilt.  Edge-to-edge bow ties.  Wow!

These are 3-inch bow ties and so simple to make with two light squares, two print squares, and two triangles flipped and sewn on the light square.

The Baptist Fan or Dinner Plate quilting pattern is a classic one for vintage-looking quilts.  I like using it in some of my quilts because it's good-looking and easy to do on my longarm.

The quilt below was a real find for Becky -- it's a Dresden plate quilt, but the outer edge of it is actually a border of half-Dresden and quarter-Dresden blocks.  It's in wonderful condition.

What makes it such a delightful quilt, though, is the sashing fabric, along with the quarter-circles stitched onto each block at the corners.  That fabric is a green and orange and yellow polka dot fabric.  Who else would have thought of using that print in the sashing?  I learn all the time how reserved I am... and try to push myself to think beyond the expected answers to something out-of-the-ordinary.

Here's a close-up of one of the blocks.  Everything is hand-pieced - and then hand-quilted.

Here is one of the cornerstones.  What an undertaking!

Look closely at this photo.  The quilter not only quilted right next to the ditch on all the seam lines... she quilted next to the ditch on both sides of the ditch!

Check out the side-border blocks.  They are really very well done - along with that incredible binding.

Here's one of the corners...

And a close-up of the corner unit.  I'm always amazed (and shouldn't be!) at how creative quilters are!

Becky said she'd never seen a quilt with the little quarter-circles at the sashing intersections... and then her sister showed her the magazine below.  It's an August 2007 issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting.  While the antique fan layout below is considerably different than the quilt Becky has, you can still see the quarter circles at the sashing intersections in the fan quilt, below. 

In August, I had the opportunity to go to Naperville and spend time with the Pride of Prairie Quilters guild.  What a wonderful group of gals!

I had left my house near the south side of Houston at 5:30 on a Thursday morning, expecting to fly into Chicago around 10:30 that morning.  It was not to be!  Between flight cancellations, flight diversions, weather issues, and running low on jet fuel... I arrived at 6:55 in the EVENING, for a guild meeting that started at 7:00 pm... an hour away from the airport!  The gals who picked me up from the airport were wonderful and tons of fun... Cathy and Lynn got me to the guild meeting at 8 pm, I plugged in my projector, and started my lecture instantly.  Nothing like a little pressure to get my heart going, right?!  But what fun we had...
We stitched, I found some take-home fabric, we laughed, I bought a new book, we shared stories, and I did a lot of teaching. 

I always feel like I've made a great new set of friends when I leave a guild...

The workshop I taught was on how to make twirly balls.  Here is Lynn's -- isn't it great?!

The gals showed me little sewing case (offered by Victoria Findlay Wolfe) that you can applique fabric onto.  In this case, some half-square triangles were appliqued in place.  I fell in love with this project bag. 

One of the fun things I love seeing at a quilt guild is how people have taken some of my patterns and made their own quilts.  This guild was full of Sue Garman quilts!  So here's my Coxcomb Medallion quilt. 

And one of the Pride of Prairie Quilters had made the quilt using some beautiful green and pink and burgundy fabrics.  I just loved her quilt!

Here's her Coxcomb Medallion quilt center - what a marvelous set of fabrics she chose!

Three of the gals had also made Ancient Stars using my pattern.  Here is my Ancient Stars quilt, below.

And here is what one of their quilts looked like.  I just LOVE her choice of fabrics! 

Check out the quilting on the border of this quilt.  It is very elegant and adds to the geometric flavor of the quilt.

And then there was another Ancient Stars for me to see!  I think I had a view of heaven... these intricately pieced quilts make my heart sing.

But the Pride of the Prairie quilt guild wasn't finished wow-ing me!  Below is my version of Omigosh.  It's the quilt that I "cut my teeth on" when learning to do my own brand of precision piecing.

But, oh my... look at these beauties!  Here's the first one - it is a stunner!

And here's the second one - another stunner!  These gals said they had an "Omigosh" group that made these...

And then another one came forward!

These quilts are not difficult to make - I promise!  They make you work on precision piecing... and you "get it" by the time you're done.  Many of the gals I know who have made one of these quilts says they are now addicted to little pieces!

This quilt had an interesting border fabric...

And cornerstone blocks were incorporated into the outer border.  I love this idea!

Well, as if I had not been wow-ed enough, another quilter brought out her rendition of one of my patterns.  I loved her use of scrappy fabrics, with a common background fabric.

Here, you can see what a wonderful quilter the maker (Julie) is... I wish I could quilt this well.

The border had lots more quilting in it - stunning. 

Here's the back of the quilt, where you can really see the gorgeous quilting.

I asked Julie how she was able to quilt such perfect circles in the border strips.  She assured me that it's just muscle memory - practice makes perfect!

I left the Pride of Prairie Quilters guild, sad to leave such a wonderful group of quilters.... and came home to work on the final border of my Summer Medallion quilt, offered through the Temecula Quilt Company.  They design a lot of their own block or border quilts, and they are always simple, beautiful, and the fabric is fantastic.  Below is a picture of the quilt my daughter and I each made.  I thought I'd share our experiences, as we made "twins" of this quilt, but they did not end up being identical twins.  Rather, with us each making slightly different choices in how we made them, our quilts are fraternal twins.  I thought you might find it interesting to understand the logic behind our choices.

Here is Jenny's quilt (my daughter).  Her quilt ended up being about 51 inches square.

And here is my version of the same quilt - it ended up being about 55 inches square. 

So where are the differences?  First of all, Jenny made the "flying geese" triangle border by cutting squares and quartering them diagonally. then stitching them together, as instructed in the pattern.  She has less experience and was disappointed that some of her triangle tips were chopped off when she finished it because stitching triangles together is not an easy task.  In fact, her border was also longer than it was supposed to be... so I gave her some fabric and she inserted a little floater to make the pieced border fit.  You can see the floater tween the tan/off-white flower fabric border and the triangle border - we decided it was a nice addition!

Here's my triangle border... no floater, but no chopped off triangles, either.  How did I make my triangle border fit so nicely?  Easy... for me, anyway.  I made paper foundations for those flying geese triangles so they were perfectly-sized and it didn't matter that the edges were cut on the bias.

The next difference came when we were to add the square-in-square border.  Jenny followed the instructions... she says she has to because she's obsessive about making her quilt just like it is supposed to be made. 

On the other hand, I cannot follow a pattern.  It's just not in my genes, and I hope to get Jenny to learn how to skip steps and change instructions when it makes sense.  In my case, I again made some paper foundations for my square-in-square border.  That meant I needed a tad bit more fabric... so I just used my own fabric, fearing that I would run out of what was included with the pattern.  This is not a slam against Temecula Quilt Company - they provided more than adequate fabric and their fabric choices were excellent!  But knowing that paper foundations use 20-30 percent more fabric than precision piecing, I used my own fabric for the blue portion of this border.

The next border was a 4-patch border.  We were to sew little 4-patches together, sew them into a long strip, and add these to the quilt center.  Here's Jenny's set of 4-patches; they are perfect.

And here is my set of 4-patches.  Here's the difference:  the pattern called for each 4-patch to be made of two fabrics - a print and a background fabric.  Well... Jenny cannot NOT follow a pattern, so she did as she was told (it's okay - blame me for being her mother and teaching her to be obsessive-compulsive!).  But I cannot FOLLOW a pattern... so I chose to strip piece a bunch of fabric strips together, slice them into strips, and sew the strips together, making four long 4-patch border strips.  Ta-da!  My 4-patches are just as perfect.  Just not matched as pairs of squares!

Next was the zig-zag border.  I loved doing this one, using paper foundations (which I convinced Jenny to use!).  Here's Jenny's zig-zag border.  She followed the pattern.... precisely!

And here's my zig-zag border.  I followed the pattern precisely too... except when I went to stitch it together, I made a slight change.  I inserted four (you only see three, below) different strips using a second brown fabric choice.  Why?

Well, here's the logic behind those odd-colored zig-zag units.  Below is the corner of Jenny's quilt.  You can see how the zig-zag squares fit very nicely at the corner... but there is a little notch in that zig-zag border as it turns the corner.  Since that's what the pattern told Jenny to do... that's what she did.  Jenny rocks!

But that notch bothered me, so I flipped my zig-zag border, added four more units for the cornerstone section of the border... and made my zig-zag border run right around the corner, with no "notch" in it, as you can see, below.  That meant, though, that I was short of fabric for making those four units... so why not just throw in a couple of ringers and use different fabric?  Using scraps is done throughout this quilt, so I think using four different brown zig-zags just adds to the quirkiness of the border and the whole quilt.

Here's the fourth unit with the quirky fabric choice in it.

A final difference in our quilts came when we were putting the outer border in place.  The fabric that we received was cut cross-grain, so we were to cut our border strips from selvage-to-selvage.  Jenny knew that I never recommend using cross-grain fabric for long border or sashing strips, so she cut her fabric length-of-grain, and did a lot of piecing of the long borders.  Below is her border - you can even see one of the joinings of the fabric strips in her border, if you looking closely at the left end of it. 

And here's my outer border... since I couldn't stand to use a cross-grain cut and did not want to have so many pieced units in that border.... I decided to just put a narrow 1-inch strip of the fabric, pieced with straight-of-grain units.  And then I used fabric from my own stash and added a wider outer border.  That's me... can't follow a pattern, but can sure work my way past any decisions I make to the contrary of the pattern.

So now you can see how patterns develop, how choices are made, how different skill levels affect the decision-making... and more.  I love both of these quilts - Temecula Quilt Company did a nice job with the design and the fabric!  I actually learned a lot in the making of this quilt.  Temecula chose fabrics that I would never have put together with each other, and I was continually amazed with how wonderful the fabrics worked together.  Putting lots of geometric prints adjacent to florals, strips, printed little ditsies, and tone-on-tone small prints really works!

When I was done with mine, I even sat down at my machine and made a label for Jenny and for my quilt.  We just need to settle on names - we thought about naming them Thing One and Thing Two (a la Dr. Seuss) but have settled on The Twins.  I don't know how we'll distinguish them with that name, but the label will share all that information.  We had a grand time sewing together for a couple hours every week for eleven weeks!

That's all for this month - I'll be back next month and hope to have a lot of inspiration for you.  I'll be teaching at Baltimore on the Prairie and you know I'm going to fill my camera with some beauties!!!  I've been doing a lot of applique and hope to have the bones of a new quilt ready to show you -- I already have a lot of the blocks done but not photographed to show you at this point.  Be patient!

I hope the end of summer has come quietly to your homes and towns and families - and you're ready for Fall to bring the sweet sound of falling leaves and the feel of cooler temperatures.  In my town, we will have to wait until October before it begins cooling off, but that's okay.  I don't ever like to rush winter into coming early.

Happy quilting, everyone - I hope to see all of you back here in a month!

(c)2014 Susan H. Garman