Christmas Tree Block Swap

GoodHeartQuiltersBanner2016This picture-filled post shows when a bunch of the local Good Heart Quilters (my little quilting group) got together to trade Christmas Tree blocks (pattern found on *this* post).  Usually we don’t meet in December, but then Leisa had this idea about these Christmas Tree blocks.  Those who were interested in the swap came together in a Flash Mob Quilt Night; we had a great time, although family trips and sickness prevented some from coming.
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We’re nothing if not helpful.  Some of us had our trees already made, so we all pitched in a sewed, ironed and trimmed the others’ blocks so we all went away with our set.xmastreeswap_3 xmastreeswap_4 xmastreeswap_5

We dealt out all the blocks.  I asked everyone to count their blocks (below), for after an evening of letting loose with children-and-husband-and-life stories, lots of laughing, too many delicious cookies, I couldn’t be depended on to get the numbers right.xmastreeswap_6 xmastreeswap_7

Trying it vertical.  Hmmmm.xmastreeswap_8

This is one of mine, made afterwards, with a bit of my husband’s blue-and-white plaid shirt.xmastreeswap_9

Fun fussy-cutting.xmastreeswap_10

Now I either need to make 4 more blocks, or rethink everything and add a ton more.  We could use another Christmas TV-watching quilt, because of:

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The Crown, streaming off of Netflix, fictionalizing Queen Elizabeth as a young woman.

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Poldark, on PBS (we watched the first season via CDs from Netflix).

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And apparently Endeavor, a crowd-pleaser in our house, will return for a fourth season.

Oh, and then there’s that big event called Christmas, which needs some time…Happy Quilting!

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I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Good Heart Quilters • Quilt Retreat 2016

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The 5th Annual Good Heart Quilters Retreat began last Friday morning (7/8/16).  For those of you who don’t know yet about this small quilting group I participate in, The Good Heart Quilters began meeting about 20 years ago, and have been meeting about once a month, taking summers off.  Five years ago, Lisa decided she wanted to do a retreat, so she clears out all the furniture, brings in tables and chairs and we come and sew (or mostly sing and talk, it seems like) for two days in July.Retreat2016_2

She also invites her relatives to join us, so they all schlep down from Utah/Washington, which is really fun.  Above is Elly, our newest member.  In the background are Nycole and Brittany. Retreat2016_4

I always believe I will get something done, which is a complete fantasy.  On Friday, I made four log cabin bee blocks, all the wrong size, and put this Chuck Nohara square together, then had to rip it apart when it didn’t fit.  I did make it over to Costco at dinner time and brought back an  “All-American Chocolate Cake” (aka, “Death by Chocolate”) so the day wasn’t a total loss.

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Lori just puts her head down and goes.  This is the culmination of her LQS Sampler Saturdays.Retreat2016_6

Jean is another who quilts and quilts and gets her blocks sewn together at retreat.  She’s amazing.Retreat2016_7

Coming back from dinner.  I think we had about 12 sewers on machines, and one doing handwork.  Retreat2016_8

We had two more join us on Saturday, which is when I pulled out all my words from the Spelling Bee I’m in, and tried to make some to fill in where I didn’t have.  Again, a total illusion that I’ll actually get something done. Retreat2016_9

We do Show and Tell at Saturday lunch.  This is Brittany’s.Retreat2016_10

Charlotte did a quilt with Monopoly Fabrics.Retreat2016_11

Nycole made a quilt in her husband’s favorite soccer team’s colors, and played us the RSL song that is sung at the games.Retreat2016_12

Laurel finished her exquisite Millefiore Hexie Quilt-A-Long, and even has it backed to a border.  I love this one!  (Mine sits in pieces on the guest room bed–six months down, six to go.) Retreat2016_14

Simone’s been working on a baby quilt: free-form hexies will be appliquéd to a very creative front.Retreat2016_15

And YES!  I finished something: Simone’s word for this month’s Spelling Bee.  She’s playing with all our minds and asking us to make the names of colors in a color other than is indicated.
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Lisa sent us home with lots of goodies, all in a Daiso Japan zipper case — thank you, Lisa!! See you all next year!

Roaring into March

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First off the bat, the winners of the giveaway, using the Husband Random Name Generator were:

Janice, who wrote: “WOW! I just began following your blog and missed the start up of this QAL. After seeing your beautiful work, I am inspired to dive in and QAL too. I love the embroidery details. . . [and the] layering [of] the stitches. I’d choose the magazine. Thanks for the great give away. I can’t wait to see your finished tree.”  I’ll send you the magazine.

Camille, who said: “Thank you again for your excellent post. I’m almost done with the tree appliqué. Still have the freezer papers to cut out. This project is so out of my typical arena so I’m thrilled to be pushing myself. Thanks. I’d love to add the fabric medallions to my stash since I have the magazine.”

Good luck on the Oh Christmas Tree project to these two and to all of you (and me).  I tried out making birds last night and they went so fast, as there’s far less stitching work on them.  Can’t wait until next month to tell you about this.

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In my regular, non-digital life, I attended our monthly gathering of the Good Heart Quilters, a group of friends who have been quilting together off-and-on (with new members coming in, and old members leaving) for the better part of twenty years.  Charlotte, a newer member showed off what I think is only her third quilt top EVER, a Monopoly board.  All the fabrics are Monopoly fabrics.  Terrific!

Laurel brought two new rosettes for the New Millefiore Hexagon and re-arranged them to make more sense.  She has an exquisite sense of color.  Caitlin, whose house it was at, had a nice spread of snacks, including freshly baked brownies, and she worked on Christmas stockings.  Lisa and I did hand work–Lisa sewed together hexies and I worked on Step 3 of the Oh Christmas Tree QAL, which I already mentioned.  We had a lively and interesting conversation, running from mid-century modern furniture to QuiltCon to Donald Trump.Quilt Night Mar2016_2 Quilt Night Mar2016_3 OhChristmasTree_flowers2_1

I wanted to show everyone my newest flowers.  There they are above, all prepped up, with fabric appliqued on three of them.  And below, you can see my progress.OhChristmasTree_flowers2

I sewed the backstitch around the orange fabric not only so you’ll think I’m so clever, but also to cover up some wonky appliqué.  Okay, that’s the real reason.  Then I just got going on it, and kept adding stitching. OhChristmasTree_flowers3

On this one, I borrowed one of Wendy’s ideas for the center, then did “closed blanket stitch” for the green-on-red ring and then just a zig-zag backstitch with small French knots (3 wraps of the needle using size #12 pearl cotton) at each juncture.  It’s really a layering sort of task.  I add this stitch, and ask. . . now what?  It also helped that the program I was watching, “Sagrada,” a documentary on La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain was still going on.  We’re headed there this year and I can hardly wait to see all of Gaudi’s surface decoration and bring home more ideas of what to put on these circles.March MCM bee blocks

Lastly, I finished up two sets of bee blocks, the first for Linda of the Mid-Century Moderns.  She asked for tiny churn dashes; these are measure 4″ finished.  We were also supposed to make some unusual section but still keep the church dash recognizable.  I wasn’t too inventive, switching around colors and turning corner blocks. March SpellingBeeblocks2_2

Mary of the Spelling Bee (#spellingbeequilt), an IG bee, asked for sewing words, then asked for us to add one more word.  I wonder if that “i” is too long; I included extra fabric in case she wants to shorten it up.

Chocolate

Lastly, I thought you’d be happy to have some solid research behind our quilter’s habit of eating chocolate, from an article published March 4, 2016, in the Washington Post.  Definitely need to keep up our visual-spatial memory and organization in order to keep sewing our quilts together!

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Good Heart Quilters Quilt Retreat 2015

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The Good Heart Quilters had their 4th annual quilt retreat at Lisa’s home this summer.  She is the smiling blonde marathoner in the lower right (I am in the yellow T-shirt).  Some of our group isn’t here, and we also had a couple of newbies join us this year.  We meet at Lisa’s home Friday morning, eat lunch together (Lisa gets it all beforehand) and this year, we went out for dinner, then sew into the night. Saturday the group meets up again (we always lose a few on Saturday) and goes again until they can’t anymore.

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From this industry. . .

Quilters working on Quilts

. . . came these results.

EPP Laurel

We had some handwork going.  Laurel shows her Rosette #1 of the New Hexie Millefiore Quilt along, and the start of her third rosette is the inset.

House Block CentesrLisa was more than patient with me as I auditioned centers for this house block for her to comment on.  At 16″ it is to be a mini quilt for a swap I’m in.  While the easy way would be to use the popular Swoon pattern, I went back to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns and went to the source: a block titled Rolling Star from 1932. This brilliant little house idea came from Blue Mountain Daisy.

LemoyneSawtooth Star

(from here)

After setting in umpteen Y-seams and a billion more V-seams, I finished the mini quilt top.  I think using the Swoon Block method of half-square triangles would have been easier, but the center of the original Rolling Stone block is also a Lemoyne Star, rather than the a Sawtooth Star block, so inset seams it is (although I suppose I could subdivide them like the lower block on the right).  I like to try this original Rolling Star block again, now that I’ve got one under my belt.  We’ll see which one ends up going to my partner!

See you all next year!

A Lovely Time at Road to California 2015

St Nick and Me

This was my big weekend at Road to California where I got to see three of my quilts hanging at the Road to California quilt show.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  Above, St. Nicholas and I are whooping it up.

St Nick Hanging

When I wasn’t there checking on him, he hung out with two other really cool Christmas quilts.

Sol Lewitt and Me

Here I am with Sol Lewitt, who so graciously provided an idea for me to work with in cloth.

Sol Lewitt hanging

He was tucked into a corner among the Modern Quilts — a lovely home.

Lollies and Me

After seven tries the nice lady who took my photo finally got it.  Here I am, coaching her from behind my plastered on smile, “The white button on the screen. . . the white button on the screen.”

Lollies hanging

All those Lollypop Trees were on a side aisle, which was consistently busy.  I had many nice conversations with people who stopped by when I was standing there.  One pair of women had made the St. Nicholas quilt, asked me who my quilter was.  “Me!” I said.  “Then that’s the difference,” one said.  “I sent mine out for an edge-to-edge long arm quilting design and it just doesn’t look as good.”  We had a nice conversation about the lovely green and white blocks from all my Mid-Century Modern Bee Mates.

Good Heart Quilters Road 2015I went Thursday, Friday and Friday night all my local quilting group — the Good Heart Quilters — came to a Road Potluck at my house.  After we finished, we sat around the table chatting, trading stories and enjoying each other’s company.  We had some hard news: one of our members starts chemo next month for her newly discovered cancer and I was quite touched by the offers of help that came willingly, to assist her in any way she needed.  I sat and listened, looked at these beautiful women and felt incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful quilting friends.  They have cheered me on, and celebrated my successes.  I can’t imagine my life without them.

I’ve put a TON of photos up on Instagram, if you want to click over there on the right on the icon and scroll through them.  I hope to get some more up in a week or so, but first, I need to address the upcoming Four-in-Art challenge and get that going.  The deadline is in about a week!

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