Monday, April 27, 2015

How do you spell love?

Piglet:  How do you spell love?......Pooh:  You don't spell it, you feel it...AA.Milne

I feel very loved this month because I had two wonderful trips and saw great friends.

1) a trip to Shipshewana, IN for a retreat with 94 women who all love the Jane Stickle quilt.

2) a trip to St. Louis, MO to visit my best friend, Dee, with a car trip to Paducah to take in the AQS Quilt Show.

Today I'm home, unpacking from my travels, and my heart is full of wonderful memories of people from both trips. 

One funny thing happened on the last trip.  I was just finished with security at the St. Louis airport on my way home, and put on my navy pea coat so I didn't have to carry it any longer.  The sleeves seemed a little short, and also I noticed there was a hole in the pocket.  Upon closer inspection, I determined that it wasn't mine! Dee was on her way back home after dropping me off at the airport and I called her, and asked if she had a navy pea coat.  She said yes, and I told her I might have hers.  She asked, "Does it have a hole in the pocket?"  Yes, it does!   We laughed, and agreed that we would exchange them the next time we see each other.  I am going to mend the hole in the pocket for her, as restitution for swiping her jacket.  Mine is a "tall" size, so Dee will have extra long sleeves to contend with until we meet again.  It is just another funny best friends story that we will share.

The Paducah show was beautiful as usual.  Dee and I have been going there together for many years, and this year did not disappoint us.  We had a wonderful time.  We were only there for a day trip, and we spent the rest of our time together quilting at her house in St. Louis.

Here are pictures from the Rotary Club Antique Quilt Show that is the highlight of the trip for me every time.  I just love the old quilts!  This time they were featuring hexagon quilts.

They were all amazing to me because there is so much hand work involved in each quilt.  The first one is Silk Mosaic c.1820 from Connecticut.  Label said:
Silk prints have been fussy cut and paper pieced into this striking variation.  The hexies each measure 5/8 inch.  From the collection of Sue Reich.

The fussy cutting was unbelievable!  There was either something of interest in the center of each "flower" or the "petals" were of interest....or both!  And they were so tiny!

This next one is Mosaic Diamonds c.1840  Label reads:  This pattern was a mosaic variation that later became known as Field of Diamonds or Martha Washington's Star.  From the collection of Dana Balsalmo.

Next is Peach Flower Garden.  The label had a sad story:  This quilt was made for the upcoming wedding of Abelonia Klein in 1924.  According to her family, the young gentleman changed his mind and the quilt was put away and never used.  

 Lots of pretty fabrics in this one too.  I might not have called the young man a gentleman!   I bet you were thinking the same thing!

Next is a flower basket quilt.  Label reads:  Baskets, Baskets, Baskets  c. 1940
This basket variation was created using period scraps arranged in a flower basket motif with buds and flowers repeated in the unique border.
From the collection of Sue Reich.

I like the hexis used as a border.

Lastly, here' an interesting one.     The label reads: Seven Sisters Variation
c. 1935 Ohio.  This is an unusual variation that incorporates elements of both Seven Sisters and Grandmother's Flower Garden patterns.  The top was pieced by hand and then finished with heavy machine quilting.

You can see why my head is so full of amazing quilts!  And these pictures were taken before I even got to the AQS Quilt Show.  

Hope you have enjoyed this little show of hexagon quilts.  Please join me at Judy Laquidara's blog for Design Wall Mondays. (Here)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Life is Sweet at a Retreat

April is my birthday month, and I have had a wonderful time so far.  This past week I was in Shipshewana, IN at the Jane Stickle Quilt Retreat.  So much laughter and fun there.  The friendships renewed, the new friendships, the beautiful projects I saw, the jokes I heard, the sewing skills I head is spinning.

Here i the project I took with me to work on.  I finished half of the block, and learned a lot while working on them.  Here's the block:

There are 30 of these in the quilt, and 22 half blocks at the outside edge.  Each block has eight "Y" seams in it......a skill I need to practice.  These blocks were a learning experience, and the retreat made it more fun.  One tip from my friend Elaine Frye helped it go faster.  The "Y" seam instructions are to stop sewing at 1/4 inch from the end of the seam.  Elaine said she learned in a class (and I don't remember the teacher) to sew the seam all the way to the end, and then when you are ready to attach the outer background part, just unpick three stitches at the end of the seam to open it up.  That made it go faster than trying to go slowly and stop each seam 1/4 inch from the end.  The test block I made showed me I would need to cut my background piece a little bigger and trim them off later if I wanted to see any star points in the finished block.  So that was the tip I learned from myself - make a test block.  I watched a video online of Edyia Sitar sewing one also that helped me.

The blocks finish at 9.5 inches and are part of a Moda Collection For A Cause quilt.  Moda issues a quilt kit each year that is a replica of an old quilt, and I usually love the project.  This one with "Y" seams will go faster now, while I am thinking of the memories of the retreat and all the fun I had working on the first half of them.

The Jane Stickle Quilt Retreat is attended by a group of women who all love Jane Stickle's quilt.   Jane Stickle's quilt has 225 blocks in it, and is really "Quilting 101".  If you finish this quilt, you can make anything!  Some of the ladies have completed the quilt, and others (me included) have made some of the blocks and want to make more.  Some have completed the quilt more than once, which is too much for my little brain to comprehend.

Also while there, I put borders on two projects that have been in progress.  When the retreat ends, some people leave Saturday night, and some of us leave on Sunday.  I knew there would be empty room at the tables on Saturday night and Sunday morning to spread out a quilt top and work on putting the final borders.  These two are now completed tops:

They both are Moda Collection For A Cause quilts. I think this will be their 17th year now of issuing these reproduction quilts.

And now to continue my birthday celebration, tomorrow I'm flying to visit my friend Dee, who's birthday is the day before mine.  We usually do something together to celebrate our birthdays, and this year we will be going to Paducah, KY to the AQS quilt show there.  Life is good.

Now, I'm going to Judy Laquidara's blog to catch up on what is on other quilter's design walls.  (Here)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring is Coming and A Spring Doll Quilt

There are lots of changes to my quilting stash going on, and also lots of changes to my view outside my quilt room window.  Here's a picture taken late this afternoon of the "ice flows" and the fog on the lake.  Isn't it beautiful? Soon the ice will be all gone, and Spring will really feel like it is here.

What's been going on inside my quilt room?   I've been looking at all of my projects, and seeing what is needed to finish them.  Quite eye-opening.  I don't even remember where or when I started some of these.   I'm going on two trips in April, and am deciding what projects to take with me to finish on my journeys. 

Here is a project that has been cut, but I have no idea what the original plan was.  It was all in a bag marked "free" that I picked up somewhere - I don't remember where.  

Pretty spring fabric with flowers and birds:

Another picture of more parts:

I am going to make these pieces into a little spring doll quilt, and get it into the completed category.

The above part was written Thursday evening, April 2nd.  I shall write another short postscript with a picture of the completed doll quilt before I post the entry on Monday morning.  

Monday, April 6th:
Here is a picture of progress on the doll quilt top:

Details about the quilt, if you are interested:   The center larger pieces had been cut on the bias, with no side on the straight of grain and the little triangles were a lot of different sizes.  When I trimmed the middle triangles to their largest possible uniform size, they finished at 3.25 inches square.  So the middle portion of the quilt is 16.25 inches square.  I cut the smaller hsts to finish at 2 inches square, figuring I could put 8 on each side of the roughly 16 inch center.  I had to fudge a few seams here and there, but it is all coming together.  I put all the outer triangles going the same direction, mainly because I didn't want to think about any issues that occur when the dark side of the triangles all face the inner large square.

The top three rows of triangles haven't been added yet, and once they are attached, I will bind it with the small print piece that is shown in the picture.   

The ice is now all gone from the lake, and yesterday there was a juvenile eagle in the top of our tree, enjoying the view of the lake with me.  Here is a picture of the eagle in the tree - I need to invest in a zoom lens for more pictures of the wildlife here.

Can you see him (or her)?

Monday is when I go to Judy Laquidara's blog to look at other quilter's design walls. (Here)  Come with me to see what's happening!