Thursday, January 30, 2014

Catching up, ruling out and playing along

I've been very sluggish about posting lately, but I do have a few things to share. My "Practice What I Preach" top from Pam's workshop has been fully assembled for about a week. (No, I didn't notice that my hourglass blocks weren't all going the right way until I had it completely assembled. I am NOT going to fix them!)
 It does lay flat, I just didn't smooth it out well on the design wall before taking photos. Now I need to "quilt as desired", whatever that will be. I'm thinking I may get some good feather practice in on this.

I've had people ask me about doing ruler work with my sit-down HQ Sweet 16 quilting machine. It is doable. Definitely a different process from doing it with a longarm, and I find that putting loops of good quality masking tape on the back (cheap stuff leaves residue) helps hold them in place as I work. This photo is from the clamshell quilting I did on my version of Lori's Pink Lemonade--see the tape? I posted about it here.
Still on the ruler theme, lately I have become enamored with the curved cross-hatching I've seen on many of the FMQ blogs I follow. When Linda Hrcka finished the quilting on Pam's Settler's Puzzle quilt, she posted a link to the Jamie Wallen rulers she used. Jamie has a great video tutorial on how to create the curved cross-hatching--and I was sold! It was foolish brave of me to splurge just before going to retreat, but I did it. I kept thinking about this purchase when the temptation to spend lots of money at retreat would get strong. : )
My ruler set was waiting for me when I got home.
Though I watched Jamie's tutorial twice, I still failed to mark my registration lines when I played with the rulers, so I got the feel for them, but didn't get precise results. However, I believe the potential is there. I had quite a booboo as I was starting out (see bottom of photo), but then things seemed to settle down.
At the top of the photo I was playing with a wavy ruler Santa put in my stocking, and after making the design with it I decided to fill it with feathers, just for fun.

When I determined that this was the Year of the UFO, I told myself that I could not start new large projects, and my only minis had to be for seasonal decor or gifts--with one exception. I knew I would need to do Lori's new SAL. Hence, here is my progress on Midwinter Blues (and I love that name so much I don't know that I will rename this one).
 Most of the fabrics for these blocks came from contributions to my stash by very generous blog friends--thanks Karen and Carole! Lori just posted part 2 of this SAL today--not too late to join!

And I did allow myself one BOM for this year. You have to have at least one of those going, don't you?  I was happy to see that Barbara Brackman's new Threads Of Memory SAL was a monthly block instead of weekly. I can't keep up with those weekly things. Here is my version of block #1--Portsmouth Star.

I want to tell you about two of my heros before I close. If you have followed me for a while you know that DD#2 has a young son with Dravet Syndrome, a rare, intractable form of epilepsy. Last week he set a personal record of 19 seizures within 12 hours. His poor little, exhausted body was wobbly for days. DD#2 copes with courage and faith that astounds me. And I see that same courage and faith exhibited in DD#1 as she received a diagnosis of MS last week. She is gathering information and doing her best to stay positive and do what she can as she awaits an appointment with a specialist. These young women are putting their trust in the Lord that He will give them the strength to deal with whatever the future holds. They both constantly leave me in awe. I am privileged to be their Mom. My thanks to all who have been privy to these situations and have offered their prayers, encouragement, and insight.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Heartspun Quilts Trunk Show!

On the night of the retreat we had a wonderful meal at Maddox Lodge. Then Pam shared with us her thoughts on quilt making by "prairie women" and the "make-do" approach many had to apply. She had several antique quilts on hand for us to see, illustrating the elements she described. Then we were treated to a parade of her lovely designs and creations for Heartspun Quilts. I won't try to show you all of them, but there are quite a few I can't resist sharing. For the most part, I'll let them speak for themselves.

I have been eyeing this on Pam's blog for some time. She has done it in R/W/B there, and I love it that way!

                                                                 This pattern is named Winter Retreat, so of course I had to buy it at Winter Retreat. I have plans for this that I will share another time.

I think I am already sorry I didn't buy this pattern. I would like to make it bed size.

Love the baskets all topsy-turvey!

No Y-seams in this design--thanks, Pam!

 Above is Pam's new design "Settler's Puzzle". Below, you can see some of Linda Hrcka's beautiful quilting.

Dark and dirty churn dash, in a small quilt. Be still my heart!

Fun to see Nabby's Dowry in person, after having sewn along with Pam to make it myself (only mine isn't quilted yet).

I came home with a stack of patterns. At the trunk show, the pattern, hexie papers, and fabric for this pincushion were all in a little kit by our place setting.

I was gifted two of these "Journey" packs by a couple of very sweet women--I bought the other one.

 Village Dry Goods gals made one of these cool mug caddies for each participant in Friday's workshop. Love it! Had to buy the pattern. : ) Saturday's workshop participants got a jar of hand made hand cream. Wonderful stuff--thanks to Fran!

 Each day Pam gifted us with one of her patterns and a fun sewing themed bag.

Kim, my friend and traveling companion, presented me with this very sweet and fun bundle! On the left are two bars of soap she made. Can't wait to try it! And just look at that chunky churndash pincushion. I forgot to ask if she knew it is one of my favorite blocks--and I love pink and brown together!

Pam and the Village Girls made sure it was a wonderful weekend! Now back to reality!! : )

Until next time,
Janet O.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Retreat With Pam Buda

Each January Village Dry Goods, a great quilt shop in Brigham City, UT, brings in a nationally known teacher for two or three days of workshops and a catered dinner/trunk show. Last year I was able to get in to one day of Lisa Bongean's workshops and had my first, but not my last, experience with wool applique. It was so much fun that by February I was signed up for this year's full retreat with Pam Buda (Heartspun Quilts blog), of Prairie Women's Sewing Circle fame.

I think I was doing my Statue of Liberty impression here!
Via email, Pam and I had arranged to meet up at the home of one of the shop owners to have a pie making session. This took place on Wednesday. Pam is as good a student as she is a teacher and we had a great time while she created her pie--and then we ate!
Fran & Kim
It was a day to remember. Thanks again to Fran for giving up her kitchen, to my friend Kim, who drove me through the  snowy canyon to get there, and to Pam, for letting it happen in the first place. What a generous woman. It was such a treat to spend the afternoon getting to know her! You can read her account of this experience HERE.

Friday was my first day as Pam's student. We were making the quilt from her Book of Quilting Hints, Tips, Secrets & How-Tos, called "Practice What I Preach." We learned all kinds of hints and methods while making the units for this quilt. She introduced us to many new tools, too.
It was a full house--a beehive of activity!

Me, Gayle, Jami, Jean, Pam, Fran, Kim

Cindy (in the purple on the left), fed us with delicious lunches each day. There we had time to relax, visit, and get to know each other better.

We were able to make great progress on our quilt, finishing the center block and getting most of the units made to be able to finish the rest of the quilt easily. This was the display of finished centers.

I so enjoyed meeting Pam, and meeting up again with friends Kim (no blog), and Gayle (The Middle Sister blog). Gayle posted about many fun things from the retreat HERE. So fun to share these experiences with good friends!

Saturday's class was focused on Pam's new design "Settler's Puzzle". We got to see and touch this quilt that was so beautifully quilted by Linda (Quilted Pineapple blog).
 We were able to create a 4 block unit from this design. Many were opting to leave the 4 blocks unassembled so that they could sew their quilts together by rows. Yes, mine is the block with the red triangles amid all of the blue and gold. I just don't know how to make a two-color quilt. Those red triangles will come together to make the square-in-a-square blocks that you see in the quilt above.

On Saturday I had the chance to sit by Donna, who is the sister of Sandra (Textile Time Travels  blog)--both very nice women. Donna shared with us a couple of the antique quilts she had in her trunk.

I really loved this one, and had to have a photo of me fondling it.
It was such a fun time--my first overnight quilty get-away. Hopefully not my last!

Next time I will post about the overabundance of gifts involved in this retreat, and the wonderful trunk show of Pam's creations!

Until then,
Janet O.