Question: What could be more wonderful than finding a happy surprise in your mailbox? Answer: Finding two happy surprises.
Last week a package arrived from my friend Deborah, a fellow member of our small quilt group the Quisters (Quilt Sisters). Look what was inside:
If you are a fan of wool appliqué and the designs of Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night, you will surely recognize this as a block from Bertie’s Year, introduced in 2014. Bertie’s Year is made up of a dozen 13″ x 17″ wool applique projects, one for each month of the year.
The Bertie Deborah made me is the May block. Here’s the entire year:
In the past few years Deborah has made me two other blocks in Bertie’s Year, January . . .
. . . and September:
They never fail to make me smile.
I had never done wool appliqué before but I was so charmed by Bertie that I bought the pattern for July . . .
. . . and wrote this post about it. That was back in 2014.
This is how far I’ve gotten:
I can’t believe it’s been five years since I started this project. I need to bring Bertie out of the closet (so to speak) and get back to work on him. He will definitely be in good company. Thank you, dear Deborah, for the lovely Happy Mail!
Oh yes, I did mention a second surprise in my mailbox. I’ll tell you all about Happy Mail #2 in my next post.
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.
. . . (see my last post), I have another finished one to show you, the one I made alongside my students fall term at the Pine Needle. The class ended a few weeks ago but I didn’t put the last touches on the bag until today. It’s for my friend Vickie, who has a late November birthday, but she won’t get it for several more weeks because she’s traveling. You get to see it before she does.
Here are the front and back panels:
I decided early on to cut the binding fabric on the bias because I figured the striped fabric would provide a dramatic frame for the panels. Good call, don’t you think?
These pictures don’t give a sense of the depth of the bag — 7½” — so here’s a partial side view that also shows you the pockets I put on the outside:
That side has two pockets and the other side has one taller pocket cut from the same wavy stripe I used for the binding:
Coco is busy investigating the interior pockets, of which there are many.
A look inside:
It’s really hard to get a good shot of the interior of a finished Junior Billie Bag. This earlier photo should give you a notion of how many pockets there can be (totally up to the whim of the maker):
You can also see there’s a shorter set of handles. Those are tucked out of sight in the photos at the top of this post.
To sum up:
The Billie Bag was designed by Billie Mahorney, who taught for many years at the Pine Needle. The junior version measures 14″ wide, 17″ tall, and 7½” deep.
The panel with Friendship Star blocks was based on a design by Thelma Childers of Cupcakes’n’Daisies. Read here how I modified it for this project. The windmill block is a variation of one designed by Deb Eggers of the Cottage Rose for her pattern A Mid-Winter’s Night.
I started with fabrics from the “Dance of the Dragonfly” line by Benartex and Kanvas Fabrics, adding several batiks from my stash and one blender from P&B Textiles. There can be no doubt what the birthday girl’s favorite color is!
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.
I got a phone call last night from one of the organizers of Northwest Quilting Expo (coming up later this week in Portland, Oregon) that my quilt Where It’s @ won a second place ribbon. I am thrilled!
If I remember the rest of the phone call correctly (I was a bit dazed), winners will be announced Thursday at 1:30 pm at the quilt show. That was the day I was planning to visit the show with my quilt group, the Quisters, so the timing is perfect.
I started this quilt in July 2016 in a class with Karla Alexander of Saginaw Street Quilts and finished it late last year. The name of her quilt pattern is Rewind. Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day.com quilted it for me.
Quilters who enter their creations at Northwest Quilting Expo can opt to have their quilts judged. I chose to have mine judged, as I’m always interested in what the experts have to say, hoping I can learn from their remarks.
In 2011 I won a ribbon in a non-juried show. Here’s a look at that quilt:
The venue was Quilts in Bloom, a small quilt show held at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon. Much to my surprise and delight, this quilt won the viewer’s choice award for Best Traditional Quilt. I’m sure that the beautiful custom quilting by Melissa Hoffman contributed to that award. (You can see other examples of Melissa’s beautiful work on her Instagram page, fiddlestitches.)
This quilt is very special to me. It was made from my own pattern 4-Patch Wonder, published in 2010. I originally called the quilt Carmen, after the name of the fabric line from Timeless Treasures, changing it later to Midnight in the Garden. I don’t have it anymore but it’s still in the family. I gave it as a gift to my twin sister Diane as a 60th birthday present. It’s on display in her home in Georgia and I get to enjoy it on my annual visits.
The Northwest Quilting Expo runs Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 28-30, at Portland Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Drive. Maybe I will see you there!
My third Junior Billie Bag of the year is in progress. I’m teaching a class at the Pine Needle next month and need to have the individual components of this quilter’s tote on hand to show my students how the bag is constructed.
Here is the first component, one of the front/back panels:
This JBB is a birthday present for one of the friends in my small quilt group known as the Quisters (a mashup of Quilt Sisters). She knows I’m making her a quilter’s tote and she doesn’t read my blog so I think I’m safe in posting progress pictures.
You can guess what her favorite color is. I don’t have a huge stash of purple fabrics but I do have an ample array. These are the ones pulled for consideration:
My friend’s Junior Billie Bag will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 pockets so an abundance of fabric choices is a good thing. One thing I knew right away: that striped fabric, cut on the bias, would be perfect for the binding.
Guess what happened right after I took that photo. Coco jumped up on the ironing board to see what I was up to. It seems she approves of my selection:
Almost 1500. Fourteen hundred and ninety-seven, to be exact. That’s how many quilts were on display Saturday, July 8, at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in the tiny town of Sisters, Oregon in Central Oregon. An all-time high. The quilts are up by 9:00 am and come down starting at 4:00 pm the same day. I did my best to see as many of those 1497 quilts as I could and to photograph the ones I found most striking.
We start with the ones featuring hand appliqué, as this was on my mind after taking an excellent class on needle-turn appliqué from Australian quilter Sarah Fielke, subject of my last post, during the week of classes known as Quilter’s Affair that precedes the quilt show.
I was in Sisters that week with my quilt group, the Quisters, and this is one of the very first quilts we saw as we headed out on Saturday morning:
There were plenty more.
The proud fellow in the the photo below is the husband of the quiltmaker, Nancy Payne-Schomaker. He was clearly delighted with the positive comments he was overhearing about his wife’s quilt, so of course I had to ask him to pose with it:
It was her first appliqué project; no wonder he is proud!
Christmas in July, anyone?
This quilt by Carolyn Friedlander was part of the QuiltCon exhibit:
Carolyn Friedlander was one of the teachers taking part in Quilter’s Affair. This quilt of hers was hanging in the Teacher’s Tent:
This is another quilt in the Teacher’s Tent featuring hand appliqué:
I took a class from Laura a couple years ago and loved her whimsical style so much I bought one of her quilts. It hangs in my sewing room.
You saw this quilt in my last post but I have to show it off again. It was made by Sarah Fielke, inspired by an old quilt in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum:
This quilt was made by a woman who took a Quilter’s Affair class in 2015 from Sally Frey (I wish I had taken it, too!):
Look at this beautiful Baltimore Album-style quilt:
Guess what? It’s not hand appliquéed! I couldn’t tell it was raw edge appliqué until I got right up next to it.
There were a few other raw edge appliqué quilts at the show that caught my eye, including this one by Deborah Boschert, another teacher at Quilter’s Affair:
This quilt by featured quilter Tamra Dumolt (also a teacher at Quilter’s Affair) is from a forthcoming book:
And look how cute this wool appliqué quilt is, instantly recognizable as a Bonnie Sullivan design:
These quilts run the gamut from traditional to contemporary to modern. And there were so many more . . .
Thanks for stopping by. Please check back in a few days for another post about the quilts of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2017.
I took a needle-turn appliqué class last month from Australian quilter and designer Sarah Fielke. She was teaching at Quilter’s Affair in Sisters, Oregon. Quilter’s Affair? That’s the week of classes leading up to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, which is always held on the second Saturday in July. My quilt group, the Quisters, goes every year and we all take at least one or two classes.
Sarah created a series of contemporary quilts based on old quilts in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum, making both “a direct interpretation” and “a modern reinterpretation.” The class I took was called I’ve Got Sunshine, also the name of a quilt in her book Old Quilts New Life (CICO Books, 2015). Our class project was a block from that quilt.
We spent the day learning how to appliqué sunflowers, leaves, and hearts. Here’s my block, still under construction:
Here’s a look inside the book:
On the right you see Sarah’s quilt I’ve Got Sunshine and on the left the quilt that inspired it: Sunflowers and Hearts, made sometime between 1860 to 1880.
Sarah teaches the classic needle-turn appliqué technique in which shapes of fabric are attached to the background by hand, using a sewing needle to turn under the seam allowance. It’s a technique I have yet to master, despite having taken two other classes on it. This was by far the best of the classes I’ve taken. With the others we spent too much time getting the design ready and not enough time stitching. In Sarah’s class we had needle in hand within the first hour, and she circled the room several times to give us individual attention, gently correcting our techniques and providing tips as well as encouragement.
And I am encouraged. My plan is to spend a couple hours every week working on my practice piece. There are at least three quilts I want to make that require lots of appliqué; more on them in a future post.
Sarah had a couple of other quilts on display in the Teacher’s Tent at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Take a look at this one:
It’s an improv quilt — no templates and certainly no needle-turn appliqué. The apples and stems are cut free-form and sewn by machine on different low volume background fabrics. I was totally charmed by the fabrics Sarah chose for her apples. The only thing these fabrics have in common is that they are mostly red. They couldn’t be more different:
Getting back to needle-turn appliqué, this is Sarah’s quilt Sweet Home, inspired by a Whig Rose Quilt made in 1857-58:
It’s not the best shot as the quilt was backlit by the sun but here’s a charming detail that highlights Sarah’s hand quilting as well as her appliqué skills:
Having taken this class from Sarah two days before the quilt show, I found myself drawn to quilts featuring hand appliqué. In my next post I’ll show you several examples from the show.
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!
Three weeks without a post! That’s the longest gap in the five years since I started this blog. What could possibly account for such a lapse? Two back-to-back trips followed by a fun-filled week of family visiting from out of town.
The first trip was to Paducah, Kentucky with my quilt group, the Quisters. Yes, Paducah — home of the National Quilt Museum and site of the American Quilter’s Society’s Quilt Week the last week of April. What a thrill! More on that in a future post.
Home for one day, then off to Central Oregon for a family reunion that my twin sister Diane and I were responsible for planning. It was a great success, with 83 family members coming from as far away as Texas, Virginia, and Florida. Most of the relatives are in Oregon, remaining in the state where our common ancestor settled after emigrating from Switzerland in the 1880s. This reunion has rekindled my interest in family geneaology, which I hope to pursue in between quilting projects. I could use a few more hours each day to accomplish that.
While my relatives were here last week, I squeezed in a bit of sewing time to make a sample block of the quilt design I have chosen for the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat on Hood Canal in June. I’m teaching two sessions back-to-back at a beautiful retreat center in Washington State.
As my regular readers know, I am a huge fan of the Quick Curve Ruler and the designs created by those talented sisters (Jenny, Helen, and Sherilyn) at Sew Kind of Wonderful. For the retreat I chose one of their free patterns that call for the QCR Mini Ruler. The pattern is called Mini Mod Tiles and looks like this:
Isn’t that fabulous? This wonderfully scrappy quilt was made and quilted by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful, finishing at about 34″ square. (Photo used with permission.)
My sample block, finishing at 10½” square, is made from one focus fabric, a Dena Fishbein print from the Painted Garden line for Free Spirit:
That fabric was in my stash just waiting to be picked for this project. I chose a vibrant yellow tone-on-tone print for the connector pieces and couldn’t resist the temptation to add a square of color in the center of the block. My background fabric is a white-on-white dot.
It’s good to be back in the saddle with blogging and sewing.