Monday, August 3, 2015

California, Tennessee, and more!

Once again, life took over and inserted a few obstacles between me and August 1... so I'm late in posting my August 1st blog post.  It takes me about three days to prepare photos for posting, write the text, and then post the blog.  I didn't find those three days until July 31 and could not fit them into just one day.  I'm sorry about that, but life goes on and I'm back in the groove and actually looking forward to a couple of weeks with NO travel!  Visions of stitching all night have now been popping into my head, but I had those same visions a couple of weeks ago and they did not come to fruition.  Still... I am never without hope!

So what kept me so busy in July?  A few trips, a marathon piecing bee, teaching a workshop on the New York Beauty... and putting a few more hours in on finishing some of my own quilts.  Lots of other family issues popped up, but they are behind me.  Let's take a look at my trip out to southern California -- my old stomping grounds -- to spend time with the Flying Geese Quilters Guild.  What a wonderful guild!  They began with Linda picking me up at the airport and running me over to the hotel... where my room already had a wonderful gift basket in it.  Whee!  They certainly knew the way to my heart!!

This guild visit involved two workshops and a lecture.  One of the workshops was at a local quilt shop that had one of the finest classroom set-ups I've ever seen.  Every single table had it's own outlet on the dividers between the tables.  I thought that was the coolest thing!

I did have a free day before my lecture and three of the guild members took me out to visit quilt shops including the fabulous Primitive Gatherings in Murrietta (as seen in the photo below... I bought so much fabric that they shipped it home for me!), Temecula Quilt Company in Temecula, and the Fat Quarters Quilt Shop in Vista, California.  Each of those shops were wonderful in their own way:  Primitive Gatherings had everything in the way of civil war reproduction fabrics and wool, along with patterns and quilts you could only drool over; Temecula Quilt Company had the most original of quilt designs; the Fat Quarters Quilt Shop had the most expansive array of fabrics of all kinds, from reproduction to 30s to tone-on-tones to batiks... with endless quilt samples.  I could not being to say enough good words about these shops... and the kindness of the gals who took me out and about all day (thank you, again!).

I normally don't depart from the subject of quilting in my blog post, but I could not resist sharing this photo.  The gals took me to a wonderful restaurant for lunch - and one of the walls was covered in an array of cooking and eating utensils.  It was SO cute!

The guild had a grand show-and-tell of quilts made by members.  I'll share a few of the pictures I took; the guild has some mighty talented guild members!  The quilt below gave me an idea for the charm quilt my daughter and I have on our list to make.  We have finally collected our 1,000 different fabrics, but making them all fit within the boundaries of a reasonably-sized quilt is a challenge.  It had not occurred to me that I could easily divide one or more of the larger triangles into four triangles. 

This quilt, though you might not notice it at first glance, was made entirely of fabrics containing "cherries" on them.

Here's a close-up of the quilt so you can see all the cherries.  Can you imagine finding so many fabrics with cherries on them?

Yet this quilter had so many cherry fabrics that she could even put more on the back of her quilt!

And as if that were not enough... here's a small quilt with yet more cherry fabrics that she put to use!

This next quilt uses blocks set on point -- I love quilts like this because it is not intuitive for most of us to use blocks on point - yet it makes a quilt so visually interesting.

All right... when this quilter stood up and held up her quilt, she said (if I remember correctly) that it had taken her seven years to make this quilt.  Really? 

And then a guild member told me she was a truck driver.  And then the maker said... THIS QUILT IS MADE ENTIRELY OF YO-YO's!!!!!  So I looked even closer....

I was stunned!  This quilt was unbelievable - in its design, in its beauty, in its uniqueness and originality... I was speechless!  Yo-yos???  Normally, a yo-yo quilt won't turn my head... but this one magnetized me to the spot.  I quickly went over to the quiltmaker after she left the stage and told her that her quilt was SO beautiful and SO unique that she really needed to enter it in a big quilt show.  It would inspire so many others!

Notice the border on this quilt, too.  WOW!

Here's another quilt that was shown.  I love the flying geese in it.

This next quilt was made by someone who was described to me as a real workhorse - one who never ceases to finish another and another and another quilt!

I love the simplicity of the quilt below - lots of half-square triangles and a scrappy inner border.  This has to be fun to make!

And here's a variation on a New York Beauty block.  I love how the differing sizes of the spikes gives visual movement to the whole quilt.

And here is a 4-block Lily Rosenberry quilt.  Note that she alternated the colors of the berries - red and green (or is it blue - I can't tell from the photo), with a gold berry at the tip of each berry spike.  I love quilts like this!

The little Lily Rosenberry quilt maker also made this quilt - I like her use of broderie perse!

And one of the guild members shared her Monsters quilt done in a multi-color embroidery floss.  I always tell those who don't like the "A" word (applique) that they don't have to do applique, as just about any applique pattern can be done in redwork (or other colors of floss, too!).

This gal may not like applique... or maybe she does... but here is yet another quilt she made (Redwork Mama Said) with embroidery floss.  Nice job! 

One of the workshops I taught at the guild was how to make a perfect Feathered Star.  Janet Friedrich sent me a picture of hers.  I loved it!  It is hard to go wrong with a feathered star; they are all so gorgeous!

Janet also sent me a picture of the border fabric she may use with her block if she decides to just make a wall hanging.  I love how the red in the border fabric brings such "life" to the block.  Again, a nice job!

Sue Glass, one of the Flying Geese Quilters Guild members sent me a picture of her reinvention of my Bed of Roses pattern.  Rather than use an on-point setting of thirteen blocks with a lot of setting triangles, Sue decided to set her blocks as a straight set.  She noted that she carried "mini-vases" into the border corners.  I love how this quilt looks.  The border, in particular, is so unique and special.  What a great guild!!!

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Alas, but I had to leave California and head home for a few days before I packed up for Quiltfest Tennessee. This event occurs in Jonesborough, Tennessee - it is the oldest town in the state and is nestled in the northeastern tip of Tennessee.  Every year, Quiltfest brings in nine national and regional teachers for a three-day event.  Linda Crouch, owner of Tennessee Quilts (check out their website later this year and see what is in store for 2016!), is the one who makes Quiltfest Tennessee all magically happen.  I doubt that magic made it all happen so wonderfully; Linda is extremely organized, as well as being warm and genuine.  I had never been to Quiltfest before but hope to go back some day!  Below, I'll share some of the Quiltfest instructors' quilts that were on display in the large exhibit/dining/lecture hall.
First of all, Alice Kay Arnett's Fire in the Sky (front) and Fire in the Sky 2 (back) was phenomenal!  In addition to the well-executed stars... the quilting done by Sherry Reynolds was exceptional.

Below is the same quilt... from the back side!  All of the color you see on the back of the quilt is from thread play!  And Sherry Reynolds obviously knows how to play well.
 Here is a detail picture of the center of the reverse side of the quilt.  Look at the perfection required!

Here is another detail photo of the back of the quilt.

Alice Kay Arnett mastered diamonds in her Greenworks, quilted by Virginia Ohr.  There is a lot of precision involved in making a quilt like this.

Here is a close-up of one of the blocks.  Notice the detailed quilting that went into each block.

Ann Moore made Summer Wonders.  I apologize for the blurry spot in the top left corner of this quilt - you'll see it in more of my pictures; I clearly had a smear on my camera lens that I didn't discover before I got home and downloaded my photos.  Ouch!  But it doesn't detract from the beauty of Ann's quilt.  What you might not notice without enlarging it a lot, is that Ann put a line of green rick-rack around the edge of her quilt.  That's a unique way to add a splash of color!

Below is another quilt by Ann Moore called Blue Kaui.  Ann sure seems to like complex piecing as well as bright colors.  Her quilts are gorgeous.

Brenda Crouch and Linda Crouch-McCreadie stitched Chesapeake Rose.  The block is one on a Quilt Trail Block found on the Crouch Barn.  This full-sized quilt was quilted with diagonal lines and feathered wreaths in the center open areas. 

Debbie Maddy was one of the teachers at Quiltfest Tennessee - and she had several of her quilts on display including some from new patterns.  Below is Gypsy Sampler, a modern-style quilt made with lots of wonderful silk.

Here is a close-up of Gypsy Sampler; look how those silks add such rich color to the quilt! 

Debby Sowers made Coxcomb, based on a Judy Niemeyer pattern.  Her choice of fabrics, set against a dark background, were striking.

Equally striking was the detailed quilting that was in every inch of this quilt.  Take a look, below.

I know that many of us, myself included, often go to quilt shows and see quilts where the first thing we say is, "Wow - look at the quilting!"  My own opinion is that our first comment should be, "Look at the quilt!" and then only after looking more closely, do we add, "Wow - look at the quilting!"  I do not believe that quilting should overwhelm the quilt maker's work; the two should work together.  In this quilt, the quilt design, fabrics, colors, technical merit, AND quilting worked together beautifully!  Congrats, Debby, on making a masterpiece.

I had the absolutely delightful pleasure of meeting Jane Hall at Quiltfest Tennessee.  She is a firecracker of a quilter with energy that feeds on itself, creativity that doesn't stop, and just a joy of life that is infectious!  Below is her Vinas Viegas, one of her infamous pineapple block quilts.  Jane manages to take the pineapple block to new heights with each one being more unique in color, size, and shape.

Below is a close-up of her quilt; look at all of the seam lines in this quilt!

Here is another close-up.  Notice that her quilt is hand-quilted, with the quilt lines being circular or straight, depending on where the "star" is in the pineapple.

Jane's border was quilted in the ditch after she created a series of crazy quilt blocks out of her background fabric.  What a fun design motif she chose for her border!

Jeanne Phipps stitched Fire Island Hosta based on a Judy Niemeyer pattern.  Her color choices make it a stand-out quilt.

Another quilter that I had the pleasure of meeting was Kathryn Zimmerman.  Several of her quilts were on display, and they had each been based on one of my patterns.  Below is her Aunt Lynn's Baltimore Carousel, based on my Bouquets for a New Day pattern.  I love how she used the fabrics from each of her blocks and used them to create her own unique border design. 

Kathryn is an expert quiltmaker who has won many awards; when you see her blocks, you can see how special her work is.   Below is a close-up of one of the blocks from her quilt.

And here is another block.  She has a special quilter that she uses to quilt her quilts, Brian Fackler.

You can see the detail Brian puts into his quilting in this border strip:  the spine of the feathered vine has tiny circles along its entire length.

Below is a second quilt made by Kathryn Zimmerman based on my pattern called Ruffled Roses.  She named this quilt Autumn Journey at White OakbedKathryn's color choices again make this quilt outstanding; she chose to add a pop of color with the rich red-orange roses.  Of course, it isn't just color that makes this quilt; her technical merit (precision piecing, etc.) is top-merit.

Here is a close-up of the center area of the quilt. 

And a closer picture of the center block; check out those ruched roses... and the detailed quilting you can see in the background.

Again, Brian Fackler did an amazing job of quilting this quilt!

And now... I owe Kathryn Zimmerman a humble apology.  My camera failed me more than once on this trip... and the photo that I had taken of her third quilt, Coming Home to White Oak.  The picture file was corrupted when I downloaded it... so I've replaced her quilt with a picture of my quilt, below, Coxcomb Medallion.

I would not have bothered to include the above picture... except I wanted to place the close-ups of Kathryn's quilt in context!  Here is a close-up of the center of Kathryn's quilt.

And a closer close-up.  Again, note the detailed quilting in the quilt.

The border didn't find relief from exquisite workmanship and quilting, either.

Ditto on the multitude of pieced blocks in this quilt!

Debby Maddy had another one of her quilts, based on a new pattern, Estelle, on display.  The lines and colors on this quilt make it a striking design! 

Another new Debbie Maddy pattern, Cosmic Jewels Revisited, is shown below.  Debbie uses tons of half-square triangles in many of her quilts, thereby avoiding inset seams and Y-seams.  She gave a lecture one evening and when asked about how to keep those diamonds from looking life double half-square triangles, she pointed out that the secret is to simply NEVER quilt the seam line between the adjoining half-square triangles that make up a diamond; instead, quilt across it, consistently.

Here is another quilt made by Ann Moore, called Branches of the Vine.  The design is unique - and in the outer green border, Ann stitched the words of the John 15 biblical passage related to the quilt.

Leonore Crawford taught several different workshops on pictorial piecing.  Below is one of her quilts; notice the detail in this quilt!

She noted that she sometimes enhances the details with paint or pencil, as needed.  I loved her quilts; I make very few pictorial quilts but they are something I'd love to make more of, if I could find more time (please -- can't ONE of us invent a time-generating machine??).  Note the detail in this close-up of Lenore's quilt.

Linda Crouch-McCreadie, who puts Quiltfest Tennessee together every year, had her very first quilt on display with a note for each of us to find the rookie errors.  I could not find a single one!  This was a challenging first quilt to make and hand-quilt!

Linda has moved on from sampler quilts like the one above to complex Judy Niemeyer patterns, like Paradise in Bloom, below.  Owning a certified Judy Niemeyer shop has certainly made her an expert!

Check out the detail in this quilt -- Linda is an expert piecer, as well as a great appliquer.

Lucille Amos made Prismatic Star based on a Judy Niemeyer pattern.  She chose some wonderful fabrics that make her star glow!

The beautiful quilting done on Lucille's quilt was done by Gina Boone.

Lucille Amos also made Split Log Cabin, based on a Judie Niemeyer pattern. 

This quilt was also quilted by Gina Boone.

Another teacher at Quiltfest Tennessee was Pat Wys.  Pat and I had known each other on a passing basis... we would see each other at the Houston quilt market on occasion, but we never spent time together.  Pat is a great designer with three books out in the market.  More importantly, I spent a great deal of time with her in Tennessee and we got to know each other so well that we both felt like we were sisters!

Here newest book is Handmade Christmas Cheer and is full of dozens of different Christmas projects from stockings to tree skirts to quilts and such. 

One of the quilts from Pat's book was on display at the show.  It is a scrappy delight of pieced blocks, appliqued blocks, joining strips, and more.  Who can resist this?

Here is a close-up of one of the blocks in the quilt -- Pat always takes the time to add embroidered details that bring a block to life.

I loved the big angel lady with her embroidered halo/hair.

Below is another Pat Wys quilt called Lazy DaysFull of the fun of summer - flags, watermelon, flowers, baskets, and birds - the quilt is a visual delight.  She made the quilt with BJ Laird and Leisa Wiggley, quilter.

Below is a close-up of one corner of the quilt.  Given the heat that Texas has been having, that watermelon is making my mouth water!

Pat is perhaps best known for her penchant for using neutrals in a quilt (and black is a neutral!).  Look at this quilt that was on display.

You can find Pat's quilts in many shops and on her website.  If you ever see that she is teaching a workshop in your area... rush to sign up!  She taught a techniques workshop that I wish I could have sneaked into, where she demonstrated how to make mitered corners, bindings, scallops, over sizing blocks, changing block dimensions, over-dying fabric, specialty rulers and their uses (the good, the great, the ugly and pointless), applique raw edge and beyond, and so, so much more!  Students got to practice everything she taught that day - wow!

Another Pat Wys (with BJ Laird) quilt on display was Snowbound - I'm showing Pat's pattern cover, below, because it has a much better photo of her quilt than the one my camera snapped.

Below is a close-up of Snowbound.  I love the snow flakes - big and little and also the appliqued circles of falling snow!

Pat loves using borders to finish out designs; she rarely just adds a big strip of fabric to finish the outer edge of a quilt.  Check out her snowman, below.  You may also notice the quilting again done by Leisa Wiggley.

Everyone at Quiltfest Tennessee had the opportunity to see a mountain of Pat's quilts when she gave a lunchtime lecture... and they were all gorgeous.  Thanks, sis, for a great time!

Another woman I had the pleasure of meeting was Renny Jaeger.  Her quilts were fabulous and all so different; Renny doesn't stick to just one style of quilt; she attacks them all.  Below is her English Gardens.

Here is a close-up, showing the fussy-cut center of her "Grandmother's Flower Garden" block.

Renny also made a Judy Niemeyer pattern, Fire Island (quilted by Linda Crouch McCreadie). 

Below is a close-up of Renny's quilt.  The quilt was drop-dead beautiful.  I see a lot of Judy Niemeyer quilts in my travels, and they are often over-quilted with really thready-looking overlapping quilting lines.  The quilting on this quilt was fabulous though - it was original, suitable for the design area, and perfectly crafted!

Here is another close-up of the quilt.

Renny Jaeger made another Niemeyer pattern:  Misty Mountain Pond.  Check it out, below.

But Renny didn't stop there with her Niemeyer masterpieces; below is another of her works:  Pulsar.

As I said earlier, though, Renny doesn't stick to just one style of quilts.  The quilt below was another one she made, Sweet Sixteen.  It is an Edyta Sitar design and was quilted by Uarda James
In the close-up below, you can see the quilting on the quilt.

And here is another close-up - this time, you can see the border and its quilting. 

Again, Renny Jaeger has crossed lines and in the quilt below, she used a lot of red, white, and blue fabrics to make Women's Voices.

Here is a close-up of one of the blocks in the quilt.  I like how these blocks were all framed with three-strips of fabric:  a center red strip and two background strips.  It makes the block float within the sashing, yet it's not obvious how that was done!

I had shipped a few of my own quilts ahead of my trip and they hung in the exhibit.  Here is Bed of Roses, a good old-fashioned red-and-green quilt.

I loved making a "wreath" of feathered vines around the center block in this quilt - by simply quilting in partial wreaths in the blocks surrounding the center block.

You can probably see it better in this picture.

Also hanging was my Borrowed Roses quilt, based on a quilt designed and made by Rose Kretsinger.

The quilting in this quilt was based on the same quilting motifs that Rose used in her 1930s quilt.

And although I thought I was nuts when I drew up the feathered swag designs... they turned out to be the easiest and fastest border I'd made in ages!

My Twirly Balls and Pinwheels also hung in the exhibit.  The layout of blocks sitting amidst pinwheel sashing strips was based on a mid-nineteenth century quilt made in Virginia that I spotted in the documentary book called Quilts of Virginia.

I chose this quilt to hang because one of the workshops I taught was on how to make the zingy spiral blocks that I think are so fun!

Sue Jones created a couple of quilts that hung in the show, based on her pattern, "Fill in the Blanks."  This one, Norway Adventure, incorporates photos from a vacation to Norway.  What a wonderful way to have those memories remain visible on a regular basis.

In Fill in the Blanks 2, Sue Jones used black and gold fabrics to frame a unique toile-looking print of covered bridges.  When I see a quilt once... and then I see a variation of that quilt... then my mind starts bouncing around other ways in which I could adapt the pattern to different fabrics, designs, etc.  You could put different applique or different pieced blocks in this quilt.  Just think about your options!

Sue Jones also made the quilt below, Golden Triangles.  I like symmetry and I also love "graham cracker" colored fabric, so this quilt caught my eye.  That color always brings warmth and a golden glow to a quilt.

The quilting on Sue's quilt is a simple edge-to-edge design but it is a very effective choice.

Finally, here is another quilt of Sue's, Kanawha Crossing.  I liked the simplicity of this quilt; it's relaxing.

Here's a close-up of the blocks.

The next few pictures are ones that I took in my workshops.  I got to teach three all-day classes and I had a blast with the nicest, most enthusiastic learners I've had in a long time!  We took a break at one point and they showed me a couple of quilts they had made, based on some of my old designs.  The quilt below used a garden angel from my old Angel Quilt design.  She just framed it and added some unique applique.  I like it!

Gina Holland (on the right) showed me her Lily Rosenberry quilt - basted and ready to start quilting!  Isn't it fabulous?!

Here is a close-up of a block in Gina's quilt.

And then suddenly... another Lily Rosenberry quilt appeared!  This one was so unique (made by the gal on the left) because it used a dark background.  It gave the quilt a special almost Pennsylvania Dutch look!  These two gals and their two other friends had all come to Quiltfest together and were in all three of my workshops.  They were such a treat to meet and talk to; they ended up taking me to the airport on Sunday morning.  Thanks, ladies!

Here is a close-up of the above quilt.

And then... yet another Lily Rosenberry popped up!  Can you not fall in love with this work?!!  I never tire of seeing different Lily renditions.

*  *  *  *  * 

And then, suddenly, I was back home in Texas.  And prepping madly for a New York Beauty workshop.  I love New York Beauty quilts.  Here is a small 4-block version of one that I've made using sold old Hoffman metallic Christmas fabrics - which is why this quilt is called Christmas in New York

Everyone in this workshop has such a FUN time.  Jackie Rodewald, who organized the workshop, shows her first block... with more to come! 

And as soon as that workshop was over, I rushed to the closest fabric shop to buy some border fabric before the shop closed at 5:00 sharp.  I had finished making this quilt..... up to the point where the last borders needed to be added.

So here is the last border I've pieced... and I intended to add another one-inch border of cheddar-colored fabric, followed by a beautiful, warm brown print border.
The only problem... was that I was short a half-yard of this fabric.  Doggone it!  I did an internet search that led me to believe that this must have been a very popular fabric... and was no longer available.  That drove me to the shop....


Because this quilt definitely needs a 6-7 inch outer border!

I learned a long time ago not to finish writing a pattern until I finish making the quilt because I often change my mind about borders, units, and more as I make the quilt.  I've got the border fabric now (a deep, rich rust) but I still am holding open the option to add another pieced border.  I mean... if the quilt is a crazy pieced concoction already, why not add more?!  But really, I think I'm ready to be done with it.  The only thing left after I finish adding the borders is to finish the pattern.  Calculating yardage is a hefty chore, and it's half-done... so you will likely see the pattern for this quilt, Good Golly, on my website in the next few weeks.  I'm excited!

The other quilt that I finished this month (finally!) is my Baltimore Glory.  I love how this quilt turned out!  I had thought that I would use 1- bb 2-inch flying geese in the sashing and borders but after I stitched up a few of them... I thought, "Gee - this looks too much like the last quilt I made!  I need to change up the routine!"  And so I did, and I'm glad I did.  First of all, this border is so simple and fast.  Second, it adds a lot of airiness to the quilt, which is useful when the blocks are so densely appliqued.  And third, while it's not a design consideration, it take about 4 fewer yards of background fabric; flying geese chew up fabric like crazy!

I have finished writing and re-writing all of these patterns, so the only thing I'm waiting on is a cover photo for the pattern set.  That can't happened until I finish quilting the quilt.  I've made the backing and it, along wit the quilt top, are all lying across my long arm machine, waiting to be loaded.  It should take me under a week to quilt this quilt, and then I'll take a picture, insert it into the pattern... and you'll see it on my website!  Some gals up in Denton are going to test the pattern for me, just to be sure that everything is up to snuff (ie, no big mistakes for you all!), but I'm almost ready to roll with this pattern.  Yay!!!

Once the Good Golly and Baltimore Glory quilts are finished, I will be ready to dive in and start assembling my next pieced quilt... a navy and white quilt that looks like a woven blanket.  I hope you're excited just based on that 10-word description; I am itching to start on this one!  I'm also ready to start on a new applique quilt... but I'm at a loss for ideas.  How can this be???!!  If any of you have some thoughts on what you'd like to see me make or put into a new quilt design, drop me a comment or remark on the blog... or send me an email.  A designer cannot survive for long with "designer's block" and I've got a bad case of it!

Until next month....
Happy quilting!


(c)2015 Susan H. Garman