Leaves & Life

I have been very busy this winter: John had been in the hospital for 18 days during December, and I worked very little during that time. Just enough to meet Christmas deadlines for clients, and putting aside quilts that could wait. So I started the new year about four quilts behind, and soon zoomed to six quilts behind. January 1st my folks moved to Cottage Grove, and came to live with us until they can move into their home here.

Mom & Dad

Mom & Dad

The move to their home here has been complicated: first it had to clear escrow. Then they wanted a little work done on it. Then they found the entire foundation was rotten…so they’ve been delayed moving to their house, but we now have two Lowrey organs in our home. Mom & Dad love GoodWill. They visit nearly every day.  It’s amazing the bargains you find there.

Mom's Lowrey Organ on the right, John's on the left...

Mom’s Lowrey Organ on the right,  John’s on the left…

In addition to collecting organs, teaching John to quilt, and working on my clients’ quilts, I’ve also been relearning to cook dinner for four every night! It’s been a very intense time. John and I also started going to the gym and working out…it’s been busy, but good. Very good. And just because you’re probably wondering, we’re all getting along very well.

That’s just the lead-up to show you what I’ve just finished, a quilt for a very special client, Joyce Garrett. Joyce and her sister Jamie are the featured quilters at this year’s Pioneer Quilters’ show (um, yes, I am the chairperson), and I’m quilting a quilt for each of them. Here is Joyce’s:

$5 Sampler BOM Quilt

$5 Sampler BOM Quilt, maybe 2002

I was working at Quilter’s Junction in Junction City, Oregon, when they hosted this $5 Sampler quilt.  You began the quilt by paying $5 for the first block kit.  The next month you brought your completed block to their meeting and were issued another block kit.  This is one of my favorite quilts, and I have one of my own from that time.

Jamie made some wonderful quilting space for me to play with

Joyce made some wonderful quilting space for me to play with – note the doubled cross-hatch lines

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I became very attached to this feather-fern motif and used it throughout the quilt. Each cornerstone is an individual motif

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These half stars are fantastic, aren’t they? More feathers, more tendrils, lots more quilting!

Apparently neither Joyce nor Jamie make small quilts! And in fact, most of the quilts in my queue are large  I have a Grandmother’s Flower Garden that just arrived yesterday that is 100×101. “The better to quilt upon, my dear!”

The really good news is I’m now only three quilts behind.

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There’s a New Quilter in the House

Sometime this past January I showed my husband John how to sew a seam.  Then he sewed another.  And another.  And then he had a quilt top made.  And then I quilted it for him.

Quilt Number One!

Quilt Number One!

He gave this quilt to a young lady who is recovering from distress in her life.  We began with the four patch in the center, then added a couple borders.  Then he found my Civil War reproduction fabrics and made a bunch of squares.  He likes squares.

Nice feathered wreath in the center...

Nice feathered wreath in the center…

Quilting Closeup

Quilting Closeup

Here’s a photo of him binding this quilt.  John is a retired surgeon, and at one point he came into my studio in a huff, saying, “These needles are archaic!” and looking for a curved needle…He has settled on a larger needle, I think a #3 basting needle.  I did explain to him that I’ve been sewing for over 50 years, and it just takes time to get used to the small needles.  He does have the grace to admire my invisible hand stitches…

The back side is Minke, not the easiest to hand sew

The back side is Minke, not the easiest to hand sew

So that quilt (Audrey’s Quilt) was barely out the door and he was ready to make another…

It’s All About Time…

I knew I’d neglected my blog, but I didn’t realize I had started neglecting it so long ago!  I have been working steadily; I think I’m now only two quilts behind — which really means I’m caught up…

I did a little more beading and painting to enhance the border

I did a little more beading and painting to enhance the border

Here's a closeup of the beading, just so ya know...

Here’s a closeup of the beading, just so ya know…

Autumn Pathways didn’t make it into the Road to California show.  I was disappointed but my friends all consoled me and then I felt better.  It was accepted to the AQS Lancaster show that opened today, and it received an HONORABLE MENTION!  It is also accepted into the AQS Paducah show held this April. I have always lionized the Paducah show, and really did not expect to have the quilt accepted.  I am thrilled!!

The experience of entering competitions and receiving comments from the judges has been very valuable.  Yes, they did notice all the little details that weren’t perfect.  But yes, they have made very nice comments about the design and execution of techniques.  I know I want to continue to explore this type of work.  I can’t remember how many hours I spent creating Autumn Pathways, but I know it was somewhere in excess of 400 hours.  That’s ten work weeks…if you work full time (and I really don’t)…

I can feel my biological clock ticking, and I want to give myself enough time to make a few more of these quilts. And of course, I also need enough time to make as many SpongeBobSquarePants skirts as possible!

Halie

Halie

Storm@Sea

I have looked at the Storm at Sea pattern a number of times, and I did know you could create a heart shape by manipulating the color.  But this quilt came as a complete surprise to me when I realized what the pattern was.  My client, Jan G brought this to me, with a couple other quilts, but this one definitely needed to be finished before Christmas.

Hmm, hearts…what should I quilt on those?

Isn’t this an intriguing quilt?  Storm at Sea, who would have thought?  I quilted feather hearts inside the hearts, of course, using my entire set of heart templates to make the various sizes.  Inside the diamond shaped background is a curve filled with pearls and a couple of small feather-like flourishes.  The fill is overlapping spirals.  Then on the border is a pretty-much invisible undulating feather design.

Heart Detail

Note the spiral fill in here

These are called “hook” feathers. Each one is echoed individually as they are created.

So this finishes my updates.  I am currently only one quilt behind, which means I’m on top of the world and have enough time to post these blogs!

The “Emergency Quilting”

As I was working on Phoebe’s quilt, I received a call from my friend Helen Andrews, owner of The Quilt Patch.  A customer had come in, telling a story to break your heart.  Her stash had been vandalized, ripped and cut into pieces, her equipment ruined.  She had one completed quilt top in her car that escaped the damage; she had come to her daughter’s home for refuge from this incident.  Could I, would I, quilt this top for Helen’s customer?  Immediately?  I have a hard time turning Helen down.  She has supported my quilting efforts for over ten years, and is a very good friend.  I looked at my calendar.  I waffled a bit.  Then suddenly I saw how it could happen, if everything went just right.  If I worked longer on Phoebe’s quilt that day, and finished it, I could slip in the “Emergency Quilt” — Helen got in her car and brought the quilt to me and I began work on it the next day.  I worked extra hours, skipped attending Pioneer Quilters, and finished it that week.  So here is the Emergency Quilt:

My name for this quilt was “Almost Amish”

Imagine my distress when I realized I had no black Glide thread…

I used dark navy thread, and I actually prefer it to the black

Detail of the appliqué

I heard that the client loved the quilt.  I never actually met her, only know her through this vibrant quilt.

Holiday House

I really enjoy being crafty…and I thought you might like a look at a couple of the little crafty things I did for autumn:

This little table is by our front door. I didn’t actually make the gourds…they came from our neighbor!

I did make these pumpkins, from a kit I bought at the Emerald Valley Quilt Show in September. I’ve made a few more sets from the pattern, but gave them all away!
This is in on our coffee table in the living room.

No holiday is complete without a few yo-yo’s

Seriously, yo-yo’s rule!

Just so ya know, I do also hand quilt…

So that’s our house, all ready for autumn.  I had these up before Halloween and will keep them up until Christmas decorations appear.  (I am working on a couple of table runners for Christmas, using modern fabrics from Valori Wells.)

Catching Up!

I know it’s election day!  Maybe this will distract you for a few moments.  I have been working a lot, getting caught up with client quilts, and here are some pics of them!

First is Phoebe’s quilt.  Phoebe is the granddaughter of a friend of mine, and this is her first completed quilt project.  The instructions I received were to quilt it just like the magazine, and I sort of did.  I just added a few flourishes.  Really.

Halfsquare triangles, not too hard…but the hearts on the outside? Lots of bias edges, pretty hard to piece together

Just imagine it right side up…

These are the flourishes I was talking about

Corner detail, just a sweet quilt

I did get a chance to see this quilt after the binding was sewed down, and it is truly beautiful.  Phoebe will be able to enjoy this quilt for many years, and I’m super happy to have been a part of it.

AND THEN…Deanna’s Fairy Quilt

Deanna is the same quilter who made the Wedding Star quilt that took Viewer’s Choice at the Coburg Quilt Show.  I think this piece will take some honors as well:

Each fairy is associated with a flower, and the border also has each flower appliquéd on it

A quilt like this is tricky to quilt.  There is so much beautiful space for quilting design, and yet you don’t want to take attention away from the appliqué.

And notice the matching flower in the border…

I love each of these girls!

And a couple more:

I love this kick. And look at the beautifully done legs and feet!

The detail shows the triple crosshatching I did on the border as well as the variety of feathers

So I think this quilt is another winner from Deanna.  Thanks to her I got to work on this gorgeous quilt, and I didn’t have to do the applique myself!!

Report Card

I have been working steadily the last month on client quilts and am almost caught up with my queue.  There were also a few quilt shows to attend in September and October, and I have a report for you on Autumn Pathway’s journey.  At Northwest Quilt Exposition it won FIRST PLACE in its category.

The view of my quilt as I approached it at the show. (I don’t know those ladies.)

I was pretty excited, even though I already knew I had won a prize.  I had been called by the NW Expo staff to invite me to the award ceremony.  As well as a ribbon, I came home with $500!!!!!

I’m a little happy!

To make the day even sweeter, my friend Jenny also won a first place ribbon for her hand quilted piece!

This quilt is truly wonderful!

And here is a photo of Jenny, she’s also pretty happy!

The next show was the Emerald Valley Quilt Show at the end of September, and I am so happy to report that Autumn Pathways was selected as Viewer’s Choice for both days of the show.  I received two beautiful handmade ribbons (made by my friend Sheila for the guild) and a large bag of prizes! I was thrilled!!!

Autumn Pathways then traveled back to Portland for the Machine Quilters Exposition.  It did not place in that show, but I did get some very good marks from the judges and I appreciated the information on the judging sheet.  The next show is “Road to California,” in January.  I will hear by December 1st if it is accepted into that show.  In the meantime, I am thinking about and working on designs for a show quilt for next year!

Back to Work

This week I’ve been working on a quilt belonging to my good friend and client Bea.  It is an especially beautiful pineapple quilt called “Pineapple Rings.”  Here it is:

The quilt measures 77×102, just right for this double bed

As you can see, there are lots of straight lines.  So I stitched in the ditch in the areas that have bold color and put spiral feather wreaths in the circular light areas.

Here’s a closer look:

Spiral Feathers. Remember you can click on the image to make it larger

Of course, the front is interesting…but the back is where I live:

I really like the pebble spiral in interior of the feathers

And one more that just shows some of the smaller feathers I put in the “football” shapes:

These little flippy feathers added some contrasting motion to the straight lines of the pineapple shape

Oh, I just have one extra photo, so I may as well use it:

This is my favorite one

So this has been a very good week for me.  I finished quilting this project and also have been beading the small quilt that will be donated to Emerald Valley Quilters for their Small Quilt Auction.  I’ll post some pictures of that one as soon as it’s finished.  Now I think I’ll collapse on the couch.

DoubleWeddingRing!

I started this quilt in April of 2010, piecing by hand.  I had decided to make a series of blue and white quilts to give to my son Michal and his wife Rebecca.  I had to look around quite a bit to find templates I was happy with, and finally found them in a book belonging to my friend Debby.

This is the first block…

And this is the completed quilt top

Debby and I had claimed a mission of collecting blue fabrics for a planned series of blue and white quilts.  I wanted to place darks and lights to create a bow or flower type effect in the block intersections, and when I saw the quilt coming together, I was very excited.

The quilt top was fully pieced by August of 2010, finishing at 96″x101″ , then stored for later quilting.  I had always planned to machine quilt it on my longarm quilting machine, and had visualized several different quilting designs over the years.  But there wasn’t a single design that I was intent upon placing on the quilt.

I am a member of The Pioneer Quilters, a handquilting group that meets weekly to quilt on each other’s quilts.  We host an annual quilt show that benefits the Lane County Historical Museum in Eugene, Oregon, and we also demonstrate at the County Fair each year.

PioneerQuilters Workplace

To my pleasant surprise, my name came to the top of the list to have a quilt in the frame at the County Fair!  I had only two weeks to prepare, but when I was asked if I had a quilt ready, my immediate answer was “Yes!”

The quilt that came to mind was the hand pieced Double Wedding Ring quilt that was sitting in the cupboard waiting to be quilted.  So I scurried home with plenty of advice in my ears and began to plan the quilting of my Double Wedding Ring quilt.

I did pre-baste my quilt, which is a little unusual for loading a quilt into an old-fashioned quilting frame.  But I knew that because it was a DWR, it had scalloped edges and might load a little wonky.  And I also realized it would sit for a while after the fair before its turn came up to be quilted upon steadily.

We’ve already rolled twice at the time of this photo, but it shows most of the quilt

This is how our club works:  we quilt on three quilts at a time, each in order.  So Quilt No. 1 is the first quilt one would go sit at when you first get to the meeting.  When that frame fills up, then members would begin to sit at the frame of Quilt No. 2, and so on.  For the Fair demonstration we will start a brand new quilt, which is basically the next quilt in turn to go on the floor.  After the fair, it waits in storage until a quilt comes out of the frame, then the fair quilt will go on the floor and be Quilt No. 3.  So…I knew my quilt would be stored for a time after the fair, and decided a pre-baste was a good idea.

Since there was no border on my quilt, we immediately started quilting the “meat” of the quilt.  First were a row of the ovals across each side of the quilt, then into the interior of the rings.  Each ring was stitched in the ditch and each seam was stitched in the ditch…so there’s a lot of quilting that isn’t visible, but makes the quilt design really pop.  I used a Hobbs Polydown bat and a very nice lightweight white tone-one-tone wide fabric for the backing.

Examining the quilt design and discussing the approach on the very first day

As we quilt, fair-goers come by and watch what we’re doing, ask questions and tell us their stories about quilting.  It is an extremely enjoyable time to share quilting.  We quilt from 11am to 5pm for the five days the fair runs.  That’s a lot of womanpower at work!

The first day we rolled the quilt two times on one side and one time on the other side.  The Pioneers facing front in the photo are on the rolling edge, just beginning the quilting.

The first block!

Here is a photo taken in the afternoon of the second day.  The light really shows the quilting shadows well.  Each oval has three ” echo” ovals inside it and the interior of the ring has an elongated oval, echoed in the same way, with feathers coming off it.  Of course all seams are stitched in the ditch.  If you look closely at the rings, you can see some of my basting stitches, just temporary stitches to hold the layers together before it’s quilted.

This character came in for a few hugs and kisses, and pretended to quilt with us for a bit!

We quilted until our fingers were ragged!  Over five days we quilted 1/4 of the quilt.  During that time most of our members came and spent at least a few hours quilting and the frame always had a core of a half a dozen quilters at it.  We also consumed copious amounts of ice cream and other Fair food, shopped at the fair and enjoyed the atmosphere.  One day was extremely hot but the rest of the time it was very comfortable.  And yesterday afternoon at the conclusion of our demonstration, we rolled my Double Wedding Ring quilt up and I have it at home now.

Just a personal note:  I will be keeping this quilt for our bed at home.  Since all my very close friends have had a hand in finishing it, many memories have been created that I will cherish through the years.  I am planning to make a replacement quilt for Michal and Rebecca, and of course they will inherit this one…

Many people wanted to know how long it would take us to finish this quilt.  I am making an estimate that my quilt will be on the floor in January of 2013 and perhaps be done by June of 2013.  The quilting seems to go very quickly, and if it does the quilt will be finished in time for next years Lane County Fair.  I hope so, anyway!

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