Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Best Laid Plans....

Wait a minute... didn't I say my next blog post would be late but that I would still post it in early November?  Yes, I certainly did!  Unfortunately, my body did not cooperate and I ended up spending half of November in the hospital and in bed recovering from the side effects of my chemo.  Oh my... thank heavens for oncologists and dear friends who have helped lead me back to health and have been SUCH a wonderful support to me.  I could not be more blessed.  But let's get right to quilts -- you have been waiting long enough!

I will start with a final set of quilts that were displayed at the Lakeview Quilters Guild - my home guild.  I am surrounded with quilters who inspire me and push me to new levels, in that guild -- mostly because our guild has a LOT of bees and that is where the action happens in a guild.  Next, I'll show you some pictures of quilts that readers have made - if I miss posting your picture, I apologize; send me a new picture.  Being laid up for a couple weeks ended up with me losing a few brain cells!  Finally, since the season of hope and joy is now upon us (no matter what your faith!), I'll show you a bunch of my Christmas quilts.  Buckle your seat belts for a whirlwind trip!

First up is Barbara Gahring's quilt, Flower Boxes (69 by 69").  Barb appliqued and machine pieced this quilt, based on the pattern by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Baskets.  She said this was probably the most challenging quilt she's ever made.  The baskets were machine pieced with cotton fabric while the borders were appliqued with wool.  Barb used a theme fabric for the color scheme... but did not use any of the theme fabric in her quilt.  I think that is an amazing way to choose fabric! 

Here is a close-up of Barb's quilt, where you can see the magnificent quilting done by Lee Ann Lively.  Lee Ann uses a computerized Gammill machine to do her stitching, but don't forget:  computerized quilting still requires the artistry of the longarmer, and Lee Ann is quite the artist when it comes to quilting designs, as you can see below. 

I love both the fabric color choices and the quilting in this quilt.  You can see both very clearly in the picture below.  I love the use of circles in the background, too!

Becky Stephenson made this quilt, Out on a Limb (49 by 49") using both hand applique and machine piecing.  The design source was a center medallion quilt pattern by Lori Smith.  The border came from a challenge that Becky participated in with her home guild, Piecemakers' Quilt Guild in Corsicana, Texas.  This quilt is so bright and beautiful. 

 You can see some of the different borders here.  The quilting was done by Cynthia Allen.

One of the members of the Lakeview Quilters Guild is Cindy Gravely and I always look to see what quilts she has made and entered in our show.  The quilt below was a hostess quilt machine pieced by Lecia Majewski and quilted by Cindy.  Momma's Closet (60 by 80") is a wonderful Lori Holt design.  Cindy (or was it Lecia?) saw this quilt in a shop in Tennessee and says it brought to mind her grandmother and mother's dresses.  She was immediately transported back to the days of ladies dressing for the day, a more feminine time.  She looks at these dresses and remembers all the women who made her what she is - and says she loves her Grandma Wiley, Grandma Ariola, Great-grandmother Fitzpatrick... and mostly her Momma.

Isn't this just the most clever of designs?  The quilting on it makes it even more wonderful.  When Cindy quilts a quilt, she does not "see" blocks; she sees geometric designs sitting on top of the fabric and then she starts quilting away.  Take a look....

The quilt below was made by Cynthia Williford.  I'm sorry to say that the photo I took of the quilt's "info" card failed to be included in my picture files, so I can't tell you anything about it except that Cynthia made it!  She is a wonderful and most creative quiltmaker and loves using lots of embellishments in her quilts, as you can see.

In the close-up below, you will see that she incorporates lace, buttons, ribbons, embroidery and more in her quilts.  It is a feast for the eyes and everyone halts at her quilts to study their content when they come to one.

Baltimore Christmas (68 by 68") is a favorite quilt of many.  Designed by Pearl Pereira, the quilt was made by Deanna Coats.  I love this quilt - but what makes it even more special is that this was Deanna's first hand appliqued quilt!   In addition, Deanna chose to work with wool when she made her quilt.  Wow! 

Look at the block below and you can see several things:  the beautiful applique, the exquisite embroidery, the use of the wool, and also the quilting done by Lee Ann Lively.  It's all gorgeous!

The quilting shows up well in the border, also.  Check it out, below.

I chose to enter my own Baltimore Glory (87 by 87") quilt in the show.  I had always wanted to make a "simple" Baltimore Album quilt - one that could be done in less than the usual year or more - but I also wanted to make an album quilt with the blocks set on point.   I like setting blocks on point because it usually gives me a great place to do some extravagant quilting that raises the "elegance level" of an applique quilt.  Plus... I only had to make nine blocks for this quilt.  Easy-peasy! 

Nancy Amidon came to our guild and did an extended three-day "master class" workshop at our request, to teach some of our members how to do prepared-edge or "freezer paper" applique.  Very few of our members had ever used that method, but now more do.  And if your guild ever needs a teacher, ask Nancy to come!  She is a delight and a wonderful teacher.  So with all that as background... Georgann Wrinkle took the class and obviously mastered the technique in her version of Pearl Pereira's "Nesting Goose" pattern.  In Duck, Duck, Goose (46 by 50"), Georgann added a few flowers and some embroidery to Pearl's design.  She also added some unique borders that really brighten up this wonderful quilt.  Georgann quilted this quilt on her domestic machine.

When I first saw "Gold Rush Leaves" in a magazine as a pattern, I was in love with it.  The pattern was inspired by quilts of the Gold Rush period from the Oakland Museum of California.  Georgann Wrinkle obviously was as enthralled with this quilt as I was... and bought the pattern and reproduction fabric from the museum, and made her version of the quilt (52 by 52").  Lee Ann Lively finished the quilt with her beautiful longarm quilting.  There is just something so appealing to me with the scrappy but soft fabric colors, the symmetry, and the simplicity of this design.

Hester Carnew made and quilted Erin's Wedding Quilt (70 by 70"), which was based on Barbara Burnham's "Baltimore Garden."  She made this quilt for her grand daughter's future wedding.  It is hand appliqued and includes a lot of broderie perse.

For those of you not familiar with broderie perse, it is a French term for "Persian embroidery" that is used to describe applique done using fabric with a print (or picture) on it, that is appliqued to background fabric to create a scene.  It was a very popular method in the 1600s in Europe, and probably migrated from India or Persia a bit earlier.  Take a look at Hester's broderie perse and outstanding applique in the close-up blocks below.

Hester outdid herself in this quilt show, adding a second wedding quilt, Nikki's Antique Wedding Sampler (85 by 83").  Hester says that this quilt never bored her with its variety of blocks and techniques.  I love her choices in fabrics - there is a lot of contrast between the blocks, but the blocks are also so cohesive and united in in terms of their color and pattern.  Awesome!

Lifesavers (75 by 75") was made by Janet Sauer, based on one of my Happy Daze pattern.  She hand appliqued and machine pieced the quilt top and then Linda Brandon machine quilted it.  To get all the fabric for the quilt, Janet was encouraged by friends to participate in the Texas Shop Hop, where she  she visited 80 shops to collect a variety of 1920/1930s fabrics, even though she didn't know what she was going to make at that point in time.  When my Happy Daze quilt pattern came out, she knew what to do with it - and loved the challenge!  I love the name she chose for this quilt.

Earlier, you saw the quilt made by Georgann Wrinkle, designed by Pearl Pereira, called "Nesting Goose."  Jeanne Whittle was in the same workshop with Nancy Amidon (engage her to come to your guild - she's wonderful!) and made Watchfull Eye (38 by 34").  She did all of the applique by hand, machine pieced the remainder, and machine quilted it herself.  You might notice that Georgann removed the goose and chicks from her design, while Jeanne left them in her rendition.  I love when quilters feel the freedom to change designs, colors, and more!

Jenny Arkinson (who happens to be one of my daughters!) made Beginner's Luck (43 by 42").  I quilted it for her on my longarm.  But what is amazing is that this was Jenny's first foray into the world of applique.  She chose two different ones of my designs and combined them into a small quilt that would challenger her with lots of different curves and angles so that she could get a good taste of what applique was all about.  I refused to let her learn prepared edge (freezer paper) applique, and insisted that she master needle-turn applique first, as I was afraid (as I've seen it time and time again...) that she'd never learn to master needle-turn if she started with prepared-edge applique.  She has now learned to do prepared-edge applique and loves both methods.  She says, "I love the colors and symmetry in these designs!"  I think it is unique that a new applique quilter was inventive enough to combine two different designs in the same quilt.  Bravo, Jenny!

Jenny went on to learn prepared edge applique by taking the workshop with Nancy Amidon.  In Pluckin' Goose (61 by 61"), Jenny made the center block and then turned the quilt into a medallion quilt, adding border after border to her center block.  She said she was pretty sure she wouldn't ever finish her quilt, but a guild challenge inspired her to get it done.  And then she adds, "I absolutely love what I created in the end!"  I love it too; I love border-on-border quilts, and this one combines the best assets of a border quilt:  different shapes, different scales, different colors, and an airiness between them all that lets them each stand on their own.  I quilted this quilt on my longarm - and it was so fun!  I love using different quilt motifs on the outer borders of quilts - in this one, I used cross-hatching on the inside of the swag border and piano keys on the outside of the swag border.  It adds a nice transition between the inside and outside of the final quilt border.

Kris Kringle (44 by 44") was made by Jenny Chiovaro.  The center block and some of the pieced blocks were made using patterns from my "Classic Santas" block-of-the-month.  Jenny likes a challenge and makes wonderful and unique quilts; she wanted to experiment with trapunto so she added half-snowflakes in the setting triangles around the Santas.  What a terrific idea, not to mention a terrific job.  I've never tried trapunto... it intimidates me... so I'm impressed with Jenny's decision and outcome. 

Jerrianne Evans made Baskets (57 by 82") based on the "Trick or Treat" quilt from When the Cold Wind Blows by Barb Adams an Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs. In the original quilt, the baskets were all orange and black.  Jerrianne chose to use all colors of civil war reproduction fabrics for her baskets.  The backgrounds were all shirtings that incorporated black prints in them.  For the backing, Jerrianne used a print with little black spiders that looks almost like a shirting.  It was such a treat to see that spider fabric - I only regret that I don't have a picture of it to show you!  I can offer a different treat, though... when you're finished reading my blog, go check out her quilt webpages here:  She is a master quilter with a great sense of color and design.  Enjoy!

Here is a close-up of some of Jerrianne's baskets - here you can also see the variety of shirtings she used in the backgrounds of the blocks.

Joyce Gorkiewicz entered Sunny Days (85 by 85") in the quilt show.  It was pieced and machine appliqued by Dottie Carlin, Sara Genoa, Jean Johnson, Mary Katherine Heeb, Mary Jean Chatron, Osby Allen, Rita Hedges, and Joyce Gorkiewicz - and then it was machine quilted by Marcia Brenner.  The blocks came from a JoAnn's block-of-the-month set that was donated to the Mary Queen Catholic Church Queen Bee Quilters.  This prolific group of quilters makes a ton of prayer quilts every year and this month they blessed me with one; I was moved to tears with their thoughtfulness and generosity.  And then I donated about 150 yards of fabric to their ministry.  They are worth it and as a recipient, I know how much a prayer quilt means. 

Karen Watts made Lily Patch (54 by 54") which she designed for the New Quilts From an Old Favorite contest: Caroline Lily.  The lilies are made of dupioni silk and embellished with hand embroidery.  Karen finished the quilt by machine quilting it herself. 

It is definitely a new design from an old one - and I love how the lilies lie across a crazy-pieced background, while the traditional pieced Carolina Lilies show up in the top left and bottom right corners of the quilt.  The machine quilting adds to this wonderful design.  Whee!

The creativity of Karen Watts truly shows up in her quilt below, entitled Piece, Love, and Rock 'n Roll (57 by 66").  Karen designed this quilt for the New Quilts From an Old Favorite:  Jacob's Ladder contest.  The guitar player is her husband, adapted from a photo she took in 2011.  There is so much about this quilt to remark on that I hardly know where to begin!  First, the whole design concept.  Second, the unusual use of different color combinations (who uses purple, gold, rust, and aqua together?).  Third, the wording around the border - it makes you stop and study the quilt!  Fourth, combining a pictorial and a pieced quilt along with applique.  The whole quilt is just a dancing delight! 

When you look at the individual blocks, you find that each is based on a song.  Take a look...

Pictoral applique is notoriously difficult to do well, but Karen knows how to do it quite well!

Added to all of the above, when superb quilting is applied to the quilt, it becomes a masterpiece.  Look at the quilting on the border of this quilt.  Wow!

Kris Bryson put together Folk Art Angels (60 by 76") as one of her quilt show entries.  The angel blocks were one of my older designs.  Her quilt started out as an early group quilt made by a Friendship Bee - she gave each bee member a block to make and they were returned to her a month later.  These blocks were made in 1998... so, like many of us, the quilt top sat and sat until she finally decided to quilt the top.  And it looks like the wait was worth it!  The block-makers included Kristen, Elaine Haycraft, Merridy Pyer, Fran Gentry, Virginia Spiers, Marian Kush, Jerrianne Evans, Jerryann Corbin, Elsa Tutt, Jean Cloyd, Patty Mayer, and me.  

Here are some close-ups of the angels....

Linda Ainsworth used old Rachel's Sewing Room by Mim Schlabach (although Linda's is needle turned while the original was just raw-edge applique) to make her And Sew On (53 by 77").  This quilt was a block of the month, but Linda took every block and knocked it up a notch with lots of  applique, beading, and buttons.

 Showing her span of interests, Linda Ainsworth also made Keep on Trucking (89 by 106"), based on a design from Dear Pam by Pam Bono.   She made this quilt for her grandson Noah, and the names on each of the trucks are all related to their family. 

It Doesn't Really Matter (55 by 80") was made by Loresa Loftin.  Before I comment about the quilt, let me first say that Loresa has agreed to serve as my guild's President for 2017.  Bless you!!!  It is the most difficult job in the world to fill, even though the rewards are rich.  Cheers to volunteers like Loresa, who are willing to go the extra mile rather than just complaining about things or saying she's tired of volunteering.  She will be a terrific President and I was SO happy to hear she had agreed to serve the guild.  Yay!!!  But back to the quilt, now.  Loresa says this quilt (based on Disapparing Hour Glass by Missouri Quilt Co.) was so much fun to make (don't you love hearing that?!!).  She said the Disappearing Hour Glass doesn't lend itself to perfection, but "IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER!"  Those words are music to my ears - I should go hunt down the pattern!

Here is a close-up of the quilt, which was quilted by Paula Businger.

 Marcia Henry did a block exchange with herself, Linda Brandon, Cathy Carnew, Ronda Stockton, and Linda Ainsworth - and then quilted her own Sewing with Friends (61 by 71"), which was based on "Spool Quilt" by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.  Designs like this one are great for exchange block sets, as you don't have to have nearly as many different fabrics to make all of the blocks.  That is worth considering when you take on a quilt like this one!

You have seen several of the Nesting Goose quilts from students in the Nancy Amidon prepared-edge workshop.  Here is another one, made by Marsha Fuller.  Don't you love how they all start out with the same block but each turns into a unique quilt?  In her Goose Surrounded (52 by 52"), Marsha designed her own unique borders.  Adding the movement and whimsy to the colorful center block with these borders and the quilting is a wonderful touch.  Marsha quilted this quilt herself - and I love her choice of quilting motifs; they just add to the whole look of the quilt!

Here is a close-up of part of the quilt - I love her flying geese "hoop" border.  You might also notice that Marsha sometimes "outlines" her applique with a little embroidery.  Look at the yellow tulips - they would be lost against the cream background, but her embroidery makes them stand out.

Another Marsha in our guild, Marsha Robinson, used the same pattern but changed it a lot by removing all the background in Fly Away Home (32 by 25").  She says, "the goose has found its home!"

So why did Marsha think that her goose needed a home?  Well... she also made a companion quilt for the quilt above, called Nesting Goose Gone (39 x 35").  I laughed to see that the original Pearl Pereira pattern's goose was gone in this quilt - and only the basket of flowers remained!  Marsha added some flowers to the basket... but now we know where the goose went by looking at the quilt above!  What a great sense of humor she had, in making these companion quilts!

Patty Mayer and I have known each other for forever, it seems... but her quilts always stop me dead when I see them, despite expecting the best quilt ever when I see one of hers.  This one was no exception.  Patty made Barnyard Beauties (55 by 61") for her daughter Nina, who raises and shows chickens from her farm in Washington State.  He has, or has raised many of these varieties in her chicken coop.  The pattern was designed by Maggie Walker and involved very labor-intensive applique.  Patty says she will enjoy knowing that her daughter will enjoy this quilt - and isn't that the best gift of all?  The quilt was quilted by Lee Ann Lively.

Okay... remember that I said in the previous paragraph (in not so many words) that Patty's quilts are drop-dead, knock-your-socks-off exquisite and gorgeous?  Patty Mayer definitely knocked my socks off with her Texas Two Step (60 by 60").  The applique on the quilt was adapted from a block of mine in Lily Rosenberry... but she was brilliant by starting with a lone star design.  Patty said it had been many years since she made a Lone Star quilt but she was much encouraged by her friend Kris Bryson, who helped her do the math to make the lone star and the Lily Rosenberry block work together.  When placed carefully, the berries on the applique units create a circle of blueberries around the star.  The "Two Steps" refer to the dance of the colors and also the steps of piecing the star and appliqueing the corners and triangles.  There is so much depth to Patty's design -- I think it is absolutely stunning!  Her choices of color in this quilt add to its beauty, not to mention the quilting done by Kris Bryson. 

Take a look at some of the close-up pictures of this quilt.  Wow!  I just can't tell you enough how sensational I think this quilt is!

Patty Dillon made I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues (53 by 63"), based on a design called Blue Garden by Minick and Simpson.  Donna Warnement quilted the quilt.  Patty was drawn to this quilt at a particularly "blue" time in her life.  Her father had recently passed away and working on this quilt provided the soothing comfort that only quilting can bring.  The hand applique was done at a retreat, surrounded by friends so full of love and laughter.  Patty ways "Dad would have loved it, after all, any creativity came from him."

 Here is a close-up of Patty's quilt.  It's amazing how such a simple pattern can have so much meaning behind it, isn't it?

And here we go again with another Nesting Goose (38 by 34").  This one was made by Peggy Richards, who says the workshop led by Nancy Amidon "was very enjoyable and quite a learning experience."  I love this quilt and the magnificent quilting on it.

Ronda Stockton appliqued and pieced this quilt, Sunflower Gatherings (68 by 68"), which was then quilted by Denise Green.  This was Ronda's second wool and cotton applique project.  The design came from Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.  I love the combination of fabrics and colors in this quilt - and how it just "moves" as I look at it.

In this close-up, you can see the wonderful quilting, as well as the combination of wool and cotton applique.

And here, too, you can see those things.  Dynamite!

Sharon Meyer made Christmas Reel (86 by 86") after finding an unusual green fabric and seeing a picture of an oak leaf reel quilt in a magazine.  She decided that the two needed to be together!  She says "I love the scrappy look so the oak leaves provided a way to use lots of reds."   Lee Ann Lively's quilting provided the finishing touch to this quilt.  I like the use of half-square triangles as an inner border deep in the quilt -- it makes a nice "frame" for all of the blocks. 

Sharon Meyer also made another quilt in our guild's show, Forever Chickens (49 by 65").  Sharon has a friend in Wisconsin who has a farm but lost all her chickens due to a virus that was going around at the time.  Sharon decided that these chickens needed a home and, since they require no care and are immune to disease, her friend would have them "forever," hence the name of the quilt. The quilt was made by Sharon, Cindy Gravely (who also quilted it) and other friends, based on an adaptation of a Maggie Walker pattern.

Shirley Ksiazek and members of the Island Quilters Guild in Galveston, made Flip Flops Red/White/Black (52 by 76").  The blocks began in a guild exchange, but Shirley made more and completed the quilt design by adding black.  The setting is original and looks great.  The quilt was quilted by Cathy Miles of Lawrence, Kansas.

Here is one last quilt from my guild's show:  Sunday Best (64 by 89"), made by Tonda Helm.  The design is an American Jane pattern.  Kris Bryson quilted the quilt.  It is adorable!  As Tonda said, I saw this pattern and fell in love with it.  How can you go wrong with Scottie dogs and 1930's reproduction fabric?"  Is there anything to add to that?  I think not!

I'll now show you some pictures that readers sent to me.  I LOVE your quilts!  This first one was made by Martha Fry.  She hand-quilted it (it took forever or at least felt like it, she says....), and says she is now in "hand-recovery" mode - she quilted six hours every night in order to finish it before her local quilt show, where it won the Viewer's Choice Award (and that's the only award the show presents!). 

Martha also had two other quilts in the show.  The first one is a Lady of the Lake block design called "Churchville in Autumn" because she grew up next to the Churchville Reservoir in Pennsylvania.

And she also made and entered "Almost a Farmer's Wife."  I think it's fair to say that Martha loves complexity and intricate piecing as much as I do!

Caroline Doyle completed her Classic Nutcrackers quilt and loves it.  She gave the quilt to her daughter and daughter's husband at her daughter's birthday.  She had tried to make it a complete surprise but her daughter saw a picture of it on her phone by mistake... so only the husband was surprised!  Now, her daughter is looking for a great place to hang the quilt.  The back of the quilt includes a description of each nutcracker (included in my pattern) - which adds a lot to the quilt!

Donna Wells of Missouri sent me this picture of her Afternoon Delight - she says "I must admit I enjoyed working on this more than any other quilt.  I may have to do the applique blocks again."  I agree - that's why I called the quilt "afternoon delight" -- once the prep work was done on the applique blocks, it was just a delight to sit down and applique them, as each one really only took an afternoon!  Great job, Donna!

Kathy Havelka also sent in a picture of her Afternoon Delight quilt -- it is hanging in her guild's show and look - there's a blue and a purple ribbon there!  Woo hoo!  Great work, too!

So what is this?  Some of you may know Margo Clabo from when she and I collaborated on some old "The Quilt Show" projects.  So... this is the backing (a wonderful Kaffe Fassett print) that Margo used on her Omigosh (she calls hers OHMYGOSH!) quilt.


Here is Margo's OHMYGOSH! quilt.  Margo says, those are "the exact words that I hear when I show anyone the finished quilt and that just makes me laugh!"  She used 40 different background fabric and 120 of her own hand-dyed solids in this labor of love.  Wow - truly, it is a labor of love!  But so fun when it's done!

Next, I'm going to tell you that I have had little time to work on quilts this past month.  Dealing with the death of my husband, and being sick are not conducive to picking up a needle, and I've been buried in the endless tasks of paperwork and picking up the pieces while finding my way among tears and tasks I'm not at all familiar with.  Each day gets a little easier but only because it is becoming more familiar, not because the emptiness has disappeared.  And after having 16 transfusions of platelets and 4 units of blood this month, I'm getting a bit stronger.  But I honestly mean to the depth of my DNA that I couldn't have gotten through these days without the support of friends and family.  And so I urge you during this season of hope and joy, to find a quiet time to raise a cup -- to faith, family, and friends who get you through the worst and remind you to celebrate the best. 

My goal this month is to finish the patterns for my blue and white pieced quilt (lots of teeny pieces but it is all strip-pieced so it's a breeze!) and my Target Practice (the quilt with all the circles).  You can see these quilts at the end of my October blog.  And with that, just because I don't have anything else to show you and I'm getting excited about family and friends gathering over the holidays, below you will find a lot of pictures of my Christmas quilts to look at.  Scroll down... and enjoy the blessings of family and friends.

Cheers and hugs to all -
Sue Garman




Happy holidays!
Sue Garman