10 March, 2018

It's Coming...

I am posting this today as a reminder of what is just around the corner; especially for my family and friends in New England who are currently finding themselves under a think blanket of snow. For some reason, every time I look at this a certain song (click) runs through my head, over and over. πŸ˜‰
Don't despair, it's coming... 
Life is Good!

Pattern from Kim Shaefer's Calendar Quilts

09 March, 2018

C'mon Along...

C'mon along on a quick walk through of the quilts that caught my eye at MAQF 2018, some award-winning and some that were just my very favorites. It was a great show, I simply couldn't be a judge.

I took a lecture and a class from the immensely talented Sue Nickels. She is a wonderful instructor, extremely well-prepared and super organized. I got a lot accomplished in class and finished two machine appliqued blocks since I have been back home. I am inspired and eager to see these blocks in a wallhanging-- when? Hmmm. We'll see.

And in between the show and the workshop that I took was shopping, visiting, more shopping, eating and-- yes, you guessed it-- more shopping. I came home fully supplied, enough to last until next year. Maybe. 

😲Also-- just a bit of MidAtlantic Quilt Festival trivia-- in yesterday's post I mentioned the fact that the event moved from Williamsburg, VA to Hampton, VA somewhere in the mid-2000's, but I was unsure exactly when that change took place. I contacted Mancuso show management and this is the official answer, in case any of you were wondering the same thing:  "The show moved from Williamsburg and was held (for just one year) in the Hampton Coliseum in 2005. In 2006, it moved to the Hampton Roads Convention Center where it has been held ever since."  Now we know. 

Life is Good!

07 March, 2018

MidAtlantic Memories

MAQF  Williamsburg, VA  2000
I've been going up to MidAtlantic Quilt Festival for a long time, somewhere in the vicinity of twenty years; always with friends and always making memories. Back when I started going up it was held in Williamsburg, VA; it moved to Hampton in 2005. Back in those earlier days I traveled with these two: Quiltkeemosabe in the center and Maredda, on the right. We met in the summer of 1992. I was teaching a class at a local quilt shop and these two ladies signed up, they were both brand-new in town and were wanting to connect with the quilting community. The three of us became fast friends from that very day. We were always up for an adventure, that never changed. I moved away in January of 1995, to Puerto Rico. I still remember the day that the moving van arrived, sitting on a bed amidst boxes piled high, with Maredda; she assured me that I would make new friends. I wasn't so sure. I moved once again, in July of 1996, from Puerto Rico to Geneva, Switzerland. Through it all Maredda sent notes and cards and photos, so did Quiltkeemosabe, even at foreign postal rates. Eventually, Quiltkeemosabe moved away too. The two of us vowed to move back one day. Maredda remained and continued to be faithful with prolific correspondence. During this time of being scattered, one from another, the three of us launched a Round Robin challenge with other local quilters from "back home".  Again, my friends were loyal; keeping me as a part of the group despite exorbitant postal rates at each "round". We had a grand unveiling party and social gathering at Maredda's home in May of 1997. What fun we had that evening, as always.
Maredda with her Round Robin quilt top at the "unveiling" event. 
Each time that I managed a "home leave" the three of us got together again. Sometimes our adventures were attending a quilt show, or maybe a fabric shopping excursion or sharing a meal; but there was always MidAtlantic Quilt Festival in February. The last time the three of us went together was in 2003. After that, things changed; Maredda's husband had retired and they had purchased a large recreational vehicle together to winter in Texas on the gulf coast. I had returned "back home" by that time and we built our home and were settled. Quiltkeemosabe had moved again but wasn't too far away, she moved back, for good, in 2005; but the three amigas were no longer bonded as we had been before. Sadly, Maredda was leaving us-- by inches. Her memory was fading fast, Alzheimer's was claiming her, although we didn't quite understand what was happening at the time.
One day, maybe ten years ago, I found a fat envelope in my mailbox containing many cards and letters that I had sent to her when we lived far away. She had kept them, and mailed them back to me (or someone did). Rather than viewing this as a rejection of our friendship Quiltkeemosabe was quick to point out to me that letting go of things that she was trying so desperately to remember, or keep organized, was necessary for her tortured mind. Since then I have read through and through these letters and cards, I am thankful that she returned them, they serve as a precious journal of those long-ago days for me now. 
This photo was taken in the fall of 2004, Hannes was just a tiny puppy! I had stopped by a local rec-center where I knew Maredda quilted with friends on Wednesday mornings to show her our newest family member. We had a wonderful visit that morning but things were changing, despite how hard we tried to pretend that they weren't.
I think of Maredda every day. Each time that I look at the window and beyond. At the window in our eating area because there hangs one of these monthly quilt minis that she made for me many years ago. This is such a fitting gift and lovely reminder as she always decorated her home seasonally. I think of her when I look beyond the window, too; as there stands the birdbath that she hauled out to our home construction site in early 2001 after witnessing birds bathing there in a rain-filled rut left by a tractor tire. We immediately placed that birdbath and filled it, long before our house had roof or walls. It stands in the side yard to this day, providing a bathing and drinking respite for our fine feathered friends and reminding me of a long ago kindness bestowed by a loving friend. 
MidAtlantic Quilt Festival 2018 ~ I am the shortest one standing, Quiltkeemosabe on far right. 
Fast forward to yet another MidAtlantic Quilt festival, this one; just a few weeks ago. This photo was taken on the very day that Maredda passed away; although we didn't learn this very sad fact until days after we had returned. Naturally, my heart broke but I was thankful that her suffering was over at long last. She had already been gone from us now for a long time, but we will never forget her and all the fun that we had together. Maredda was right after all: I did acquire new friends. Hold on to them tightly, make memories while you can; life changes with twists and turns you might never expect but your memories will be your treasures forever! ❤

Life is Good!

20 February, 2018

Home Shopping Club

Inspired by Bonnie Hunter at a recent Guild meeting, I have pulled out the scrap bins and "shopped" at home. I don't know why I hadn't been shopping at home all along! Years ago, inspired and fired-up by the very same  quiltmaker, I took all of my scraps leftover from other projects and dutifully cut them up into squares and bricks in usable sizes, employing Bonnie's 'Scrap User's System'. I labeled my bins accordingly and put them under my cutting table, it's where they live. Occasionally I would get them out, the granddaughters like to create using the bins of pre-cut small squares for doll-sized quilts; but other than that, they languished-- out of sight, out of mind. I had forgotten the most basic premise of this system, the reason I spent all of those days weeks months cutting up the scraps in the first place, this is designed to be the Scrap USER'S System, not the Scrap SAVER's System!  During Bonnie's inspirational program and spectacular show-and-tell of her myriad of finished quilts she kept reminding those of us in the audience to shop our own stashes. Yes, she said, go and buy new too, mix it in; but remember: for every yard of already owned fabric that you use you are earning yourself a pass to purchase that much more. Hmmm, I wondered, how much do I have already stashed that needs to be used up. How can I earn myself a pass to buy more without guilt attached? I set out to shop at home and see what was right under my nose. The first bin that needed my attention was that of the 2.5" X 4.5" bricks; the bin was crammed full of so many that the lid didn't fit anymore! (see, Scrap SAVING was getting me nowhere!) I removed the contents and while straightening and sorting these pre-cut rectangles I grouped them into contrasting pairs by fours. I chain-pieced them together.

There were lots and lots of pairs (times four)!
Then, I cut the paired bricks diagonally from corner to corner.
I shuffled the pieces to make two Twin Sister blocks, one positive and one negative. These were then sewn together as shown and trimmed into one 5.5" block, unfinished. I did this over and over.
The results are above, a start to a charity quilt; more rows will be added to make it a nice, usable size. Next month our little mission church is beginning a quilt ministry to create donation quilts (and blankets and afghans) for disaster relief. This is but a small seed that will grow toward that effort. I am feeling quite pleased to have spent such a small amount of time, in reality, making something from what I already had. But this newly-inspired me didn't stop there, oh NO!
Gregory needs a big boy quilt on his bed to replace his tattered and thread bare Picture Play Quilt. (Nothing thrills me more than to have a quilt worn-out from love! πŸ’—) He said that he would like one that is tan, green and blue. I designed a few layouts in EQ8 and he selected his favorite (above). My original plan was to shop for fabric when I'm at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival later this week. But then I remembered that I have my own home shopping club! Back to the bins: for squares and rectangles that meet the criteria. How much more fun will this one be? A tan, green and blue quilt made from pieces that Nana has saved (and now is USING!). I am giddy with excitement. I don't feel one bit bad about shopping outside the home for a consistent sashing and/or border fabric; not at all. What do you have in your own home that you can "shop" for? You might just be surprised!
Oh, and in case you think that this new-found excitement and inspiration may wear off; not a chance. I bought Bonnie's newest book at the meeting, I'm good for months years!
Life is Good!

18 February, 2018

Be Attitudes

The February addition to my growing pile from Nancy Halvorsen's "Be Attitudes" pattern. 
I am working my way through the year, one block at a time; can a finished quilt be far behind? 
Life id Good!

16 February, 2018

The Year of the Dog

In honor of Chinese New Year, and this being the zodiac year of the dog, I have brought this quilt out to celebrate; an oldie but a goodie. This was constructed from an Ami Simms pattern (Dog Yeared Calendar) back in 2003 and completed (quilted and bound) in 2010. It never loses its appeal to me, even after all this time. Probably because I had so much fun with every little element of making this one!

Obviously, in this house, the year of the dog is a per-PET-ual one!
Life is Good! 

15 February, 2018

Project Bags

These are Project Bags, made from the pattern of the same name. I have made lots of them; as gifts, and a few to keep. They are pretty to look at and straight-forward to construct. According to the write up on the pattern, they are: 

Great for organizing everything you need for each of your projects, these handy totes in four sizes have sturdy quilted bases and fun fabric details. A zippered closure keeps everything safe and secure and a see-through vinyl window allows you to see at a glance what is in each bag.

I concur, although I have only made the large (13" X 13") size. For me, they are especially handy to place chosen fabrics, supplies and the pattern or booklet for any given project all in one tote for workshops or retreats.
If you haven't made any bags by Annie this is the perfect one to start with. 
Fear not the zipper-- the instructions are easy-peasy; go forth and get yourself organized!
Life is Good!