A month ago today I was in Sisters, Oregon with Vincent van Gogh. And I have the picture to prove it:
I must say, even with a bandaged ear Vincent is looking pretty cheerful. Not at all like the unsmiling tormented soul we see in his self portraits.
So what’s this all about? In 2017 Cherrywood Fabrics issued a challenge for quiltmakers to interpret the paintings and life of Vincent van Gogh in a 20″ square quilt. Contestants were required to use three saturated blues and one black — all hand dyed fabrics by Cherrywood — in their creations. The company received 465 submissions and ultimately selected 200 to be included in two traveling exhibits, one called “the Dutch Gallery” and the other “the French Gallery” to represent the time van Gogh spent in his home country and the country where he spent the last years of his life.
The 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show included a special (indoor) exhibit of the French Gallery. I went to the exhibit near the end of the day and quickly snapped a few photos of the quilts in groups:
I’m amazed at the artistry, creativity, and skill displayed by these quiltmakers. I could have spent hours at this exhibit and probably would have had I arrived there earlier in the day.
If you look carefully at the last photo, you’ll catch a glimpse of “Vincent” between the first and second vertical panels. He was standing against a backdrop of The Starry Night holding an empty frame and a bouquet of sunflowers. His colleague was encouraging viewers to stop for a photo op. So I did.
The dates and venues of both traveling exhibits can be seen here along with the names of the quiltmakers and close-ups of the quilts made by the five winners of the challenge. If you get a chance to see either one, I highly recommend it.
Having viewed the French Gallery, I am now very keen to view the Dutch Gallery. I see that it will be in Spokane, Washington Oct. 19-21, at the Washington State Quilters Show. That’s only 350 miles from my home in Portland, Oregon. Road trip?!
Before more time flies by I want to show you some of the projects my friends and I were working on in Sisters, Oregon during the week leading up to the July 14 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Normally the group consists of the Quisters (Quilt Sisters), a small group I’ve been a part of for many years. This year Quisters Peggy and Vickie couldn’t make it. Happily, two other good friends, Nancy and Vivienne, were able to take their places.
All four of us took classes during the week organized by Quilter’s Affair. When we weren’t in class, we were back at our rented house sewing in the bonus room over the garage. Here’s Deborah, who just finished layering a darling baby quilt made from the pattern Just Can’t Cut It:
See the blocks with dinosaurs? She’s planning to quilt dinosaur tracks onto the quilt. Won’t that be cute?
Deborah was also working on hand appliqué blocks for her Vintage Moments quilt designed by Marsha McCloskey. The quilt finishes at 90″ square so it’s a large and very ambitious undertaking. She brought along the center medallion as inspiration:
Here’s Nancy with a newly completed quilt top:
The pattern, called High Fashion, is from the book More Layer Cake, Jelly Roll & Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott (F & W Media International, 2011). Nancy’s handbag quilt was made from a Layer Cake, a set of 10-inch squares from a line of fabrics made by Moda.
Nancy was also working on a second design in the book called Twisted Braid:
This one is made from a Jelly Roll, pre-cut strips of fabric 2½” wide, also from a line of fabric by Moda.
I don’t normally work with pre-cuts because I like to wash my fabrics before using them. However, exceptions can be made! During one of the Quilter’s Affair events, I won a door prize: the Charm Pack you see below. It’s a set of 5-inch squares from the fabric line “Blue Carolina” by Riley Blake:
It’s pictured with the book mentioned above because I’m thinking of making a smaller version of the cover quilt from this Charm Pack. If I do, I’ll shorten the handbags so they look more like baskets.
Vivienne was working on a very scrappy Trip Around the World quilt made with squares that will finish at one inch. I wish I had a photo to show you but I’m sorry to say I didn’t get any pictures of Viv with her project. She does such beautiful work! I have never seen such perfectly stitched and pressed blocks. In the evenings Viv was knitting a beautiful and intricate scarf and again I missed out on getting photos. I hope she will forgive me.
As for moi, I finished piecing a top based on Corey Yoder’s Idyllic block:
Those blocks range in size from 14″ to 21″ square.
I also experimented with Dancing Churndash, the delightful pattern Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful designed for Cut Loose Press in 2014:
I used up all of the focus fabric I had from a previous project but I like this checkerboard effect well enough to make an entire quilt out of another set of black-on-white and white-on-black companion prints.
Speaking of Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson, they were part of Quilter’s Affair, giving a lecture and trunk show during the week and demonstrating the Quick Curve Ruler on the day of the quilt show. I had the pleasure of meeting Helen last year and was delighted to meet Jenny this year. Here I am flanked by Jenny on the left and Helen on the right:
I’ve been a fan of Jenny’s since since she introduced the Quick Curve Ruler several years ago. To date I’ve made 10 quilts using Sew Kind of Wonderful patterns and there are more on the horizon because the SKW sisters keep coming out with tempting new designs.
Coming up in my next post: pictures of quilts from the 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show that caught my eye.
It’s been a week since we flew back to the states from Portugal. Fortunately, I have many memories and lots of photos to remind me of the delightful time my husband and I spent cruising the Douro River and the many shore excursions we took to medieval hill towns and modern cities. Everywhere we went, images appeared that made me think of quilt blocks, appliqué designs, and even free motion quilting motifs.
When we got to Lisbon, our final destination in Portugal, the amount of gorgeous tile work I was seeing made my head spin. These three designs were on the walkway outside our hotel:
This one was on the floor of the main entrance to the hotel:
On the north bank of the Tagus River near the Monument to the Discoveries there’s a huge tile wind rose and map of the world charting Portuguese explorations. The map is embellished by wonderful designs that would look right at home on a quilt:
We visited the National Tile Museum dedicated to the azulejo, a glazed colored tile traditionally used in Spanish and Portuguese buildings. The museum houses examples dating from the 15th century to today. With the battery in my cell phone running low I took very few pictures but they’re enough to give you a sense of what I was seeing:
Tile work from the 21st century evoking a sampler quilt (a modern take on Dear Jane, perhaps?):
Rally ’round the maypole, folks — I have a May Day finish to report. It’s Hip Hop, my kangaroo table runner (or wall hanging — I haven’t decided which). There was just enough late afternoon light left on this overcast day in Portland to snap a photo outdoors:
In a prior post I described how I quilted the background of each block, some with a walking foot and some with free motion quilting.
The last thing I did was stitch an outline around each of the five kangaroos. I was lucky that the fabric (from the “Walkabout II” line by Paintbrush Studios) included five separate ‘roos so I could put a different one in each circle. In these close-ups you may be able to see the outline stitching as well as the stitching-in-the-ditch around the inset circles:
Last but not least, the label:
The label is a finished edge appliqué circle, my preferred method of making quilt labels. It’s fused in place but I will also appliqué around it by hand to make it really secure.
I’m really happy with my choice of turquoise for the binding. The acid green fabric used between the blocks would have been too strong, I think.
Earlier this week it hit me that I’ve finished only one project since 2018 began. Only one! Plenty of things started, of course. I decided to spend some time this week addressing that rather pathetic record.
I quilted Hip Hop, the wall hanging/table runner pieced in January using my Full Moon Rising pattern. The quilting motifs were suggested by the fabric, a lively aboriginal print featuring kangaroos hopping around in the bush. The kangaroos were fussy cut and centered in the circles, which are inset (not appliquéd).
Here’s a look at the entire quilt, measuring 15¾” x 58″ after quilting and trimming:
All told I used four different quilting motifs. You can see three of them in this close-up of Blocks 1 and 2 bordered by the end piece:
Block 1, with the turquoise background fabric, was quilted with uneven wavy lines patterned after the wavy lines in the fabric design. Block 2 was quilted in a simple loop-de-loop design suggested by the dotted batik background fabric. For the end pieces I quilted angled straight lines at random using my walking foot. All the quilting in the other blocks is free motion.
Here are Blocks 3 and 4, stippling in the dark blue background of Block 3 and a repeat of the waves in the turquoise fabric in Block 4:
Here are Blocks 5 and 6 and the other end piece, with repeated quilting motifs:
Still to do: outlining the kangaroo in each circle using white thread, just following the lines on the fabric. I already did it in Block 1, though it’s hard to see in the photos.
My binding is already cut and sewn. I’m using the turquoise fabric, cut on the bias to show off the wavy herringbone pattern to better advantage:
I’m very happy with this little piece and will be even happier when it is bound and labeled. Only then can I claim my second finish of the year.
Isn’t that a gorgeous array of fabric? The prints are all from Jill Finley’s new line called “This and That” for Penny Rose Fabrics, a division of Riley Blake Designs.
I’ve been keeping my eyes out for this fabric since Jill introduced it on her blog, Jillily Studio, a few weeks ago. Not finding it at a local quilt shop, I ordered directly from her website last week. I bought almost every print in the line, that’s how much I love it.
And I have a project in mind already:
I’ve been wanting to make the quilt on the cover ever since spotting this book in Sisters, Oregon in July of 2016. Hazel’s Diary Quilt was designed, pieced, hand appliqued, and machine quilted by Shelly Pagliai of prairiemoonquilts.com.
The book contains lovely photos of this quilt (along with several other quilts and projects designed by Shelly) but guess what? I have seen the real thing! In April of this year I was lucky enough to be in Paducah, Kentucky with my quilt group, the Quisters, attending AQS QuiltWeek, the huge quilt show and vendor mall put on by the American Quilter’s Society. I turned a corner in one of the quilt display areas and this is what I saw:
Now it’s one thing to admire pictures of a quilt in a book. It’s quite another to be up close and personal with the actual quilt. I stood as close as the ropes would allow, studying fabrics, admiring Shelly’s beautiful piecing and appliqué skills, and taking in the beautiful free motion quilting. The quilt is 95″ square so there is a lot to look at.
Jill Finley’s fabrics will be the starting point for my own version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt. I’m quite sure I have other fabrics in my stash that will play well with them. I’m going to take my time with this project, making one or two blocks a month. Every block includes some hand appliqué, giving me ample opportunity to practice and improve upon that skill.
I like the idea of starting this project at the beginning of the year and letting it take me all the way to the end. But as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. We still have a couple weeks left of 2017, and I have a couple of projects to finish up in the time remaining.
Aren’t these lovely? They are the first group of Mini Mod Tile blocks coming from the second group of quilters attending the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat in western Washington last month. (You can read all about the first group’s output in my preceding post.) The blocks you see above were made by Sandra and Dena (top row) and Linda and Barbara B. (second row).
Here are the second group of blocks:
These were made by Lorri and Barbara S. (first row) and Liz and Roxanne (second row).
The venue for the retreat was St Andrews House on Hood Canal near Union, Washington. In my previous post I showed you the view of the Olympic Mountains from the long porch at St Andrews House. Here are some photos of the house itself starting with the porch, which runs along the back of the house:
The view from the parking lot:
The herb garden:
A pleasant shaded seating area:
Such a lovely retreat and conference center!
Now for more blocks. These blue and white blocks were made by Joyce . . .
. . . and these were made by Sue and Lisa:
So far all the blocks you’ve seen measure 11″ unfinished and were made with the QCR Mini, the small version of the original Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Kay was one of those making my “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles in which the blocks measure 18″ unfinished:
What about those three blocks on top? Kay was also working on a second project, making Ribbon Star blocks from the Missouri Star Quilt C0. It’s pretty clear Kay likes color!
Another quilter making colorful supersized blocks was Kristine:
Missy was making the mini version using a palette quite similar to Kristine’s:
Three of my students were using the original Quick Curve Ruler to make different designs by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Janna started with the free pattern Spring Fling from SKW but departed from the design to do her own thing. Here’s her first block:
Katie fell in love with the pattern Dancing Churndash designed by SKW for Cut Loose Press. Here are her first two blocks:
Delia chose SKW’s Chic Diamonds design:
With the second group of students I was much better at getting pictures of them with their projects toward the end of our time together. Here is Rosalie with her five beautiful blocks:
Barbara B. completed a runner . . .
. . . and had enough fabric left to make a mini Fun Poinsettia block:
Here’s Missy with her four blocks sewn together:
Do you see how there’s a fifth block in the center that is made up of partial blocks from the four? This is an example of a secondary block design being the same as the primary.
In addition to their blocks (shown behind them), Dena and Kristine made self-binding baby blankets in soft flannels:
Dena showed several quilters how she mitered the corners on her baby quilt. Joyce practiced the technique, making a square with mitered corners in addition to her lovely runner:
Another vision in blue and white is Roxanne’s quilt top:
Linda decided to change the 3 x 3 setting to 4 x 5 to make a bigger quilt. Here is half of her Mini Mod Tiles quilt sewn together:
Mini Mod Tiles looks wonderful in both traditional and modern fabrics. Here is Sandra with her four-block runner in soothing muted colors. . .
. . . and Lorri with her five-block runner using bright Tula Pink prints:
Lisa’s runner makes me think of pink lemonade:
Or maybe raspberry sorbet?
Liz completed her purple pansy runner and made a second one with a charming pinecone print:
Sue departed from the original design by incorporating sashing strips inside some of her blocks:
Remember Janna’s bright batik block? Here is her quilt top complete with narrow and wide borders:
Here is Katie with her four Dancing Churndash blocks:
Can you believe Katie is working on her very first quilt? Amazing! She has a bright future as a quiltmaker.
Katie’s sister Barbara S. was originally planning to make a runner but she liked her blocks so well she kept making them and wound up with a quilt top!
In this photo Kay has laid out her supersized blocks and is auditioning the scrappy connector strips between blocks:
Kay also made a few more fabulous Ribbon Star blocks:
During her time at the retreat Delia finished quilting a quilt begun in an improv class with Jean Wells:
The back is as interesting as the front:
It was all quilted on Delia’s domestic machine. She was on deadline: her quilt needed to be in the mail the following week to Sisters, Oregon where it will hang in the world’s largest outdoor quilt show on Saturday, July 7.
That’s the perfect segue to let you know I am in Sisters right now with my quilt group, the Quisters. We’ve taken classes this week put on by A Quilter’s Affair and we will all be at the quilt show tomorrow where a record 1,497 quilts will be hung for one day. Of course I will be keeping an eye out for Delia’s quilt.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the beautiful blocks, runners, quilt tops, and other projects created by my students at the two Pine Needle retreats!
Ladies and gents, I have another finish to report: Here is my latest version of the quintessential quilter’s tote known as the Junior Billie Bag:
I just finished teaching a class at the Pine Needle on making a JBB. I started the class (and this bag) in January; you can read about my fabric choices here.
In the photo above, you see the longer of two sets of handles; these are worn over the shoulder. In the photo below you see the shorter set of handles, allowing the bag to be carried like a satchel:
Notice the custom outside pockets in both photos.
Now look inside the Junior Billie Bag, where you’ll find many more pockets, all sized with specific items in mind:
After those pockets are filled, there’s still room to tuck in bundles of fabric or batting — or even a sack lunch. Now you know why I call the Junior Billie Bag “the quintessential quilter’s tote.”
The original Billie Bag was designed by Billie Mahorney and measured 21″ x 21″ x 7½”. This version is smaller, measuring 14″ x 17″ x 7½”. Billie never wanted to write a pattern, preferring to teach her design in a classroom setting. Now that she has retired from teaching, I have the pleasure of teaching the class. How glad I am! It’s been so much fun sharing her design with other quilters, and in the process I have made myself a JBB or two and given others as gifts.
When Coco saw me taking photos of the JBB this morning, she trotted right over to investigate. Before I knew it, she had crawled inside and made herself very much at home:
It seems the Junior Billie Bag is perfectly sized for a cat. Who knew?!
. . . is back from being custom quilted, and she is sparkling:
I wanted this one to be quilted entirely with free motion quilting. Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day was up to the challenge, and I am so delighted with the result.
Karlee quilted free-form feathers in the bright yellow center hexagons and in the triangles that spin around the yellow centers:
Contrasting with the loops and curves in the feathers are the angled lines in the white trapezoids. And if you look very carefully, you can make out the swirls and pebbles that Karlee quilted in the background. Here’s a better look at those designs:
I love how the random swirls and pebbles play against the random white dots sprinkled on the black background.
Did you happen to notice the four small kaleidoscope blocks in Rows 2 and 4? Each one is quilted with a different design, a Karlee touch that pleased me immensely:
The fabric in the kaleido blocks is pretty busy so the quilting is easier to see from the back. Here’s the first block in Row 4 as seen from the back:
Yes, I used a starry fabric on the back of the quilt, too. A couple of them, in fact. Stars play such an important role in this quilt that I actually toyed with the idea of naming it Star Crazy.
Go back to the first photo for a moment. Focus on the middle block (Row 3). See how the white trapezoids form a hexagon and the black triangles around the hexagon form a six-pointed star? Stars everywhere you look!
Measuring 53½” x 73½” before quilting, Stella by Starlight now measures 52″ x 72″. I’m going to bind it in the same fabric used in the background so that all of the blocks continue to float in the night sky. I’ll post more photos when the quilt is bound and labeled. I have something fun planned for the label so I hope you will come back soon to check it out.
My “kaleido-spinner” runner, based on Heather Peterson’s Spinners block, is back from longarm quilter Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC. Once again I marvel at how much depth quilting adds to a pieced top:
Debbie used a combination of computerized quilting (center hexagons and triangles), ruler work (white strips), and free motion quilting (dark blue background) on my quilt. Look how cleverly the quilting in one corner of each triangle echoes the floral quilting motif in the center hexagon:
You really have to look for that little blossom. I appreciate the way the quilting adds texture and interest to the quilt without overwhelming it.
Debbie quilted spirals, one of my favorite motifs, in the dark blue background. I added some fill light to this photo to give you a better look:
I call this quilt a “kaleido-spinner” because of the effect created by using repeats of the floral fabric in the triangles that spin around the center hexagons.
In my last post, I showed you the five-block bed runner I made using the same block design and the same floral fabric. This is a different shot of the runner:
I named the quilt WanderLust as a nod to the floral fabric, from the Free Spirit line “Wander” by Joel Dewberry. The runner was given to my sister in Idaho, which is why my previous post is titled “WanderLust, at Home in Idaho.”
I like the name so much I’m going to call this runner WanderLust, too. It’s staying here in Oregon. Coco has already staked a claim on it: