Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Quilt Top to Check off the WIPs List

I worked on this one until I finished it.  It is a gift...can't say who it will be a gift for as I think they read my blog.  It was a great pattern and all of the batik fabrics are from my stash. I think there are over 50 different fabrics.  There are lots of greens, harvest browns and tans.  Pictures show the top without borders and with borders.  Now to find the perfect backing.  I thought I had it but it was about 2 inches short. 

Now I will spend the rest of my sewing time this week finishing up the nine patch pineapple quilt.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tribal Journey Completed

I started cutting and piecing this quilt about 4 years ago.  It is one of my favorites.  I used mostly Australian Aboriginal and African-inspired fabrics.  I free hand cut the curved pieces to make each block, so no two blocks are alike.  They are all different.  Some have a slight curve while in others I cut very deep curves.  I am fortunate to have a friend with a long arm, the Tin Lizzie Ainsley 26, so I quilted the top with an all over pattern using a complimentary variegated thread.  With the stopping and starting it took less than 2 hours to complete the quilting.  The binding was a challenge as I could not settle on a color that I liked but to get it completed I used a similar blue to the one in the border.  I am happy with the results. And I can now cross this baby off of my long and still growing WIPs list.  This one I will keep for myself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The 800 Four-patch Block Swap

Late last summer, two friends and I agreed to do a swap among ourselves after seeing some blocks made for a postage stamp block swap club.  We are still not sure whose bright idea this was (Wendy:0) - but after much discussion, we agreed that we would make 800 4-patch blocks each.  That's right 800 blocks each.  We would all do something different with our blocks to make the swap more interesting...Carrie's blocks are made with batiks and African fabrics; Wendy's blocks are made with various textured fabrics in the mustard color way and African fabrics; and my blocks are made with many African fabrics and a solid black fabric.  The  one constant would be the African fabrics.  We all have a lot from years of collecting, so while we expected some duplication, there wouldn't be much.  After several false starts, late starts, hair-pulling and much discussion (you get the idea)  we attempted to swap the blocks.  We all went to a retreat in Smithville, VA last weekend to take classes with Bonnie Hunter among others and thought this would be a great time to swap out our blocks.  We agreed to swap 200 blocks each, so I would have 200 of Carrie's; 200 of Wendy's and they would each have 200 of my blocks. We were really busy at the retreat and didn't quite complete the swap.  I had my blocks with me but forgot to separate, they will get their blocks this weekend.  But I did get blocks from my friends.  For a simple block, these are some of the most beautiful blocks that I have ever seen.  Both friends took great care to make sure that the fabrics in each block complemented each other.  Mine were so much easier with just the accent of black.  African fabrics can be hard to work with because of color, value and the scale of the prints,  but can you imagine finding batiks to go with African fabrics for 800 4-patch blocks, let alone finding so many colors of golden mustard to work with so many different African fabrics.  Simply Amazing...!  Now we  have to each find the perfect postage stamp quilt pattern.  I have no idea what I am going to do.  We will get together soon for a sew-in and hopefully I will have visualized a quilt by then. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dana's Quilt

We finally presented the quilt to Dana last week.  Trying to keep the presentation a surprise was a task in itself, but we pulled it off.  She was so surprised and humbled by the experience.  She went over every single block and talked about it's meaning to her.  She shared stories about her family and colleagues and her dog Elvis who had just passed on.  To top it off we had cupcakes and lemonade.  It was a perfect day and most importantly Dana was so happy!   Here are pictures of Dana's Quilt.  I had to make the photo a little smaller to post the whole picture, but you can click on it to expand it and see more of the detail.


Monday, July 26, 2010

New York Sunrise/Quilt Odyssey Show in Hershey, PA

It has been so hot here, that I stayed in and was finally able to complete the New York Beauty wall hanging top.  I am re-naming it NY Sunrise.  It was all paper pieced except the pie-shape, so it was a little bit of a challenge, but I am becoming more comfortable with the process.  I am going to machine quilt it with a simple design.  The fabric and pattern speak for themselves.  I found a great batik backing with purples, oranges and a little green.  It should make a nice accent.  Now it is back to the double wedding ring and ocean waves tops.

I did take a little time to drive up to Hershey, PA on Saturday to go to the Quilt Odyssey show. It is only a 2-1/2 hour drive.  My daughter and granddaughter went to chocolate world and I went to the show. They gave out samples at chocolate world.  My granddaughter is 2 years old.  You get the daughter looked like box of chocolates exploded all over her clothes. :0)   It is a nice show, not too big and just enough vendors.  This time I had my camera with me, but forgot to check for a memory card and the memory became full after 3 photos.  But the quilts were gorgeous.  I will post in a few days.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catching Up!!!

We have been in the midst of a heat wave that has been the hottest ever on record.  I took this opportunity to stay inside and work on a couple of projects.  We finally finished up the blocks for Dana's quilt.  I will post a picture when the quilt has been put together.  I was working on the Ocean Waves quilt.  I thought I was making good progress with the 80 or so blocks and then I made the mistake of actually counting the blocks...I only had 35, so my frayed nerves needed a break from the Ocean Waves and I switched over to sharpening my paper piecing skills.  I have come a long way in 30 days.  I started a New York Beauty wall hanging (all paper-pieced) and it is looking pretty good if I must say so.  I had a few glitches, but I didn't give up.  I kept reading and re-reading the instructions, taking my time and making sure everything was right and avoiding as many shortcuts as possible.  I love shortcuts...instant gratification.  I even made a hand drawn sample picture with my granddaughter's crayons (I have EQ6 & 7) to give me inspiration and for color placement. There are 16 blocks in the quilt.  I have completed 11 with 2 more almost complete.  I counted them, have confirmed that I only need 5 more and I am happy with the results.  Then I was so psyched with my progress on paper piecing, I decided to do something that I have wanted to do since I started quiliting.  It's crazy...I don't know where this energy is coming from but I am going full steam ahead.  I have started a Double Wedding Ring.  That's right, I must be nuts or suffering from heat exhaustion, but I am doing it.  I have completed 20 arcs and they are perfect so far.  It remains to be seen if they will fit when I put the rest of the quilt together but right now it works. I don't know anyone else who has completed a DWR quilt, so if you are reading this entry and you have completed one, please leave me some insight in the comments section.  I only had one setback on the DWR so far.  I mis-read the number of arcs that was required...silly me.  I was so happy that I thought I only needed 28 arcs...DAH...I really need 98, but oh well.  It was a temporary setback.  And I only need 78 more.  I am completing about 3.5 arcs per hour.  So this shouldn't take me 20 years to complete!  Here are pictures. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dana's Quilt -- More Blocks

We are still working on the 25 or so blocks for Dana's quilt.  And as the blocks are circulated among the staff, more folks want to participate.  I have made 5 including my own.  We are also taking pictures of each block and everyone who contributed will write a note to Dana.  The picture of the block and the note will be put into a scrap book and given to Dana along with the quilt, so that she will know who made the blocks.  Here are a couple of the blocks that I completed for my fellow staffers based on their vision.  Hard work... It has been fun doing this for Dana.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Annual Quilters' Unlimited Show & Class

Every year in June, Quilters Unlimited Guild of Northern Virginia has a wonderful show with over 600 quilts and other media.  The show is always well attended and there are over 80 vendors of all types.  I am not a member of the guild, but my friends are, so we make it an annual event and we have lots of fun getting together, shopping the vendor booths, eating and yes, looking at some of the most gorgeous quilts ever.  Of course, I had everything except the kitchen sink and my camera in my bag, but the one thing that I love about this show is that they produce a cd with pictures of the quilts.  You preorder it at the show and it comes to you in the mail in about 2 weeks.  I do have one picture to share of my show favorite that my friend took for me so that I wouldn't have to wait 2 weeks to share it with everyone.

I also took a class at the show.  This was a first for me, but the instructor was Norah McMeeking, artist and author of the Bella Bella Quilts.  These quilts are some of the most intricately paper-pieced and beautiful quilts that I have ever seen.  I thought it was going to be over my head, but the class was wonderful.  Norah was very thorough, she had written instructions (with visuals), she was funny, attentive and most importantly she was patient!  I only completed one block of the Roman Rings pattern, because it is paper-pieced with lots of little pieces, and those of you who have read my blog before know that I am sort of paper-pieced challenged.  But I do plan to finish it.  I am still working on the ocean waves quilt and I have started paper-piecing a NY Beauty quilt with hand-dyed fabrics and once they are done, I will pick up the Roman Rings quilt again.  I have a feeling that it is going to take much more time than usual for me to complete this one.  If you haven't experienced the Bella Bella quilts, the web site is  They are amazing.

I shopped at my favorite vendors and purchased some really beautiful African hand-dyed fabrics in stunning colors.  I am making a NY Beauty quilt with this fabric and as soon as I have more blocks completed (paper-pieced :0), I will post some pictures.  Here is a picture of my favorite quilt at the show.  There were others, but I didn't take pictures.  It is a Drunkard's Path done in African fabrics.  The picture does not do it justice, but it is a beautiful quilt with lots of texture.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Quilt for Dana

It is at times such as this one that I am not so sure that being a quilter is my calling.  I always rise to the occasion and respond appropriately, but it really puts me through a stressful time.  I try to post only about quilt-related things, but this post is about more than quilting and it is a little longer than I what I usually contribute.

A friend and co-worker has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and her prognosis is not good.  While I have family (my Mom) members and friends who are cancer survivors, this situation with Dana is difficult for me.  I have worked with her for 7 years.  She is a conservation attorney and while not measuring at more than 5 ft in height and probably not weighing more than 100 lbs., I have witnessed her go up against the badest of the badest in the industry and win.  She is a strong woman and her illness brought forward a strength so formidable that she vows to keep working until...

A group in the office decided to make a comfort quilt for Dana.  I was asked to participate, because I am the resident quilter and Dana's friend.  Then several non-quilter staff members came to me to ask for my assistance because they wanted to be a part of Dana's quilt and to let her know how much we all care.  We are contributing blocks but some wanted specific designs.  One person came to me with fabric only with no other requirements than to add any ocean critter that I wanted to the block.  Another staff person wanted something pretty and pink with flowers (oh boy!).  Still another wanted a block showing sea lions because she and Dana have "a thing" for sea lions.  I struggled with what I would do.  I didn't want to do another cancer ribbon or ocean critter.  I wanted to do something that would make Dana laugh out loud (she has a wicked sense of humor), so off I went to my stash.  After searching through every bin and bag, I found what I wanted -- Laurel Burch's Ocean Songs.  I had completely forgotten about this fabric and the piece with the mermaids rang the bell.

What immediately came to mind was the story of Yemaya, the goddess of the ocean.  While Yemaya's story is a myth, the legend tells the story of a goddess and mermaid who protects the ocean and its creatures.  According to the legend, Yemaya's first gift to humans was a sea shell in which her voice could always be heard.  To this day, we honor Yemaya when we hold a shell to our ear in order to hear her voice, the ocean.

Not only has Dana been a protector of our ocean and its inhabitants, her voice will be remembered forever through her litigation and for her contributions to our Earth.  It is a simple block.  It will make Dana smile because she will be the first to tell you that she is no goddess, but that one can dream.  And as far as being a mermaid...don't we all wish...
Dana's Block

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ocean Waves -- Latest Update

After many starts and stops, I am still working on the blocks for the ocean waves quilt.  I have completed over half of the blocks (I need 80).  I have a ton of WIPs (works in progress), so when I complete the ocean waves quilt I will start working on an UFO.  Then I will start a new project.  I am going to create a list of all of my WIPs for the blog to help me keep track of what I am working on.  I am posting a couple of pictures of the ocean waves blocks.