Red/White Mini Quilt Show

After seeing the quilts along the streets of Temecula, I headed to the Temecula Quilt Company, a shop that specializes in reproduction fabrics, which lies about 4 miles inland from Old Town Temecula.

As usual, she had done the displays in such a perfectly arranged fashion.  There’s a little excitement when you have a quilt in a show, even a mini one, and I hunted for my two.

Right away I see one of mine: the folded quilt on the lower left.

It’s a deeper red than those around it and I like how she harmonized all the patterns together along with color tones.

Some quilts were tiny, some small, some larger.  Sometimes we think we can only make giant-sized quilts, but these little ones carry great visual punch.

Some quilts have more red, some have more white.

What makes this starry quilt intriguing for me, is the tilting of the central stars in the blocks.

Teensy little rooster quilt.

With a fabulous label.  Wouldn’t it be very cool to have a “signature label” like this one?  I suppose that #184 in the upper left corner is her personal number of quilts?  I’ve got to make smaller quilts so I can catch up!

The quilt on the upper right (center-ish) is compelling with all the applique symbols.

In the classroom area, she had this giant red/white quilt top started.

More classroom quilts.


I started chatting with the shop owner as I exlaimed at how much I enjoyed her display.  Next year, she said “Blue and White!”  I laughed.  She asked me if I’d seen my quilts and I told her I hadn’t found my table runner.

“The sampler from around the world?” she asked?  “We put it up front where we could display the full length of it.”

Ah, there it is!  Thanks again to all my participants.  It looks great.

As I sat and ate my lunch — she’d provided All-American Hot Dogs to go with these deeply All-American quilts of her mini-quilt show — I could take in all the quilts around in this area.  It was a lovely, satisfying day, spending time with quilts and with other quilters, and I appreciated all the efforts of those who put up displays for all of us to enjoy.

I strolled around the shop once more, trying to see everything.

The show will be up for the month of October — if you are in the area, I’d suggest heading there to enjoy all these quilts!

To Temecula!

What does that mean?

It means that today was the day I dropped off my Red/White Challenge Quilt to the Temecula Quilt Company.  The grand opening is October 1st and will run for a month.

My friend Leisa helped me measure them for the tags we placed on them.

I received a very cute thank you gift, shown here with one of Temecula Quilt Company’s patterns (they have a line of their own).  I love the slogan printed on the top of the pattern: What has been done will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1).  This is so appropriate for their shop as they use a lot of traditional patterns with reproduction fabrics.

This is a little kit to make a pillow (see above photo) and on the back of the thank-you gift were three magnets from the great Red White quilt show in New York!  I was pretty jazzed about this.

One of the things I love about this shop are the displays.  Everything is so creative and interesting which makes you want to take everything home.  But of course you can’t.

So this is why I bought the pattern.  I may make it in different colors, but their theme resonates with me.

Another clever display.  Most of us have these wooden spools hanging around and here’s what you can do with them: make a mini quilt and wrap them up for display.  The spool will keep the quilt from flopping over, and you’ll have done something interesting with the spools.

Check the  website of the *Temecula Quilt Company* for more.

FSF–Red/White Table Runner


Gathered here are:

a block from Sue (Canada)
a block from Kay (Australia)
a block from Leisa (California)
a block from Sarah (California)
a block from Rhonda (Virginia)
a block from Lisa (California)
and a block from me, all combined to make a table runner that will remind me of these lovely quilting friends.  For even if I didn’t know them at the beginning, I’ve made some new friends by the end.  Thank you, one and all.

I stippled it with invisible thread on top, and red rayon thread on the back.

Because I might want to turn it over and use the reverse on occasion, I hand wrote my initials and the date.  But I have this blog to remember everyone by–now to take it to Temecula and enter it in their Red/White Challenge.

WIP–Red/White Table Runner

Isn’t Lee, of Freshly Pieced Fabrics, the best?  Many many thanks to her for providing motivation for us to get something done and put together, so we can share with our WIP community.

Even though my week was somewhat stalled, due to Lack of Personal Energy (that even chocolate and caffeine couldn’t fix), I did force myself to some progress on the Red/White Challenge blocks.  I wanted to make a table runner, but didn’t know how it would come together.  I played around with a lot of ideas, putting the blocks on point, but in the end, it was all about getting the blocks to interact together.  I love how they seemed to “converse” when they were up on my pin wall and I knew if I put them on point, that conversation would vanish.

So I made a mock-up of the blocks with a checkerboard border.

Then I kept switching around the order of the blocks until I got an arrangement I liked.

Stitched together and pinned–ready for quilting!  It’s good to have something smaller to work on, because school started this week.  For those who don’t know, I teach English at a local community college, and this semester (they rotate our classes) I’m teaching Introduction to Literature.  We’re diving into poems right off the bat, so I thought I’d offer up this poem by Billy Collins, as a tribute to what students in literature classes can do to a poem.

Introduction to Poetry

by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

from The Apple that Astonished Paris, 1996
University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ark.

But the most important thing of all is, it’s my daughter’s birthday.  Because she developed pari-partum cardiomyopathy upon the birth of her last child–a life-threatening disease–I celebrate every birthday I can.  Happy Birthday, Barbara!

And if you’ll indulge me for one more, here’s my husband and I with most of our grandchildren, taken at the last family reunion.  I LOVE glow necklaces!

Doing Nothing But Making A Mess

This is WIP Wednesday, hosted by Lee of Freshly Pieced Quilts, who is fabulous and writes us all a thank-you note for posting.  My mother and grandmother salute you, Lee!  (As do I.)

Let’s start with a quote from Andrew Wyeth, a great American painter, culled from the Brandywine River Museum when I visited last fall:

“I dream a lot.  When I’m doing nothing is when I’m doing the most.  Sometimes when there is great tension, or lots taking place, I may get an idea or an emotion, and it hits me strong.  I let it build in my mind before I ever put it down on the panel.  Sometimes I do my best work after the models have gone away, purely from memory.  (1996)”

I’m kind of in a fallow period right now as well. It’s time to make the shift from an all-quilt life to a life shared with the papers and detritus of my real job: an adjunct professor.  I’ve been quieter here on the blog, not because I haven’t lots to share, but I had to get that pesky syllabus over to the Copy Center on campus, as well as the Get To Know You form for the first day.  We’re also slipping out to a family reunion and a camping adventure in a National Park before I start back up again, so I’ve been doing the regular things like getting the car prepped, tires checked, laundry.  Well–you’ve all been on vacations and you know what’s involved.  Perhaps because of this, I relate to Wyeth’s comment “when there is great tension, or lots taking place”  it’s hard to be creative.

But since these Wednesday posts are about Work In Progress, I give to you my WIP: cleaning up the sewing room.
No lie.

Another lovely view.  Sometimes I just pile the stuff here and there, making way for that next project.  I’ve been trying to finish up a few things (two more coming in the next couple of weeks–on Fridays), yet you can see on the corner of my elevated cutting table a stack of reds and whites.

The Red/White Challenge finished ahead of schedule!  Here they all are, with my block on the top.  I have them up on the pin wall, just percolating there as I think very sweet thoughts about the women who took a chance on me and my quirky idea.  September 1st is the deadline for the Temecula Quilt Company’s “quilt show” and I want to have something new to add.

Somehow the idea of a table runner keeps popping up.  This book is an inspiration.

Blocks on point, bordered by a log-cabin type of block?

Or with a checkered block in between them?

I’m going to let it rest while we do family stuff for a while, and see what comes up after things simmer down.


How fun is this?  The mail lady rang my doorbell and gave me this lovely package all the way from Australia.  I practically grabbed it out of her hands.

And look what was inside–these lovely Shoofly blocks from Kay from Down Under.  She has a funny story (which she gave me permission to relate) about these blocks.  Seems she had them all completed and ready to send off when her niece spotted them in her sewing room.  She grabbed them and gave the dogs a bath with her aunt’s “pretties.”  So Kay sent off for more fabric, and remade them.  I’ll always think of this story when I look at these blocks.  The dedication of the quilters in this red and white challenge impresses me over and over again.  Thanks, everyone!!

WIP–Red/White Blocks, Etc.

It’s Work In Progress Wednesday!

Nothing fancy today–just the red/white squares for my mini-challenge.  Three are in, and I need to get these made and sent off to those who have already finished.  Thanks, ladies for meeting your August 1st deadline early!

My tip for the day occurred to me while I was trimming up bulky flying geese units for this block.  Sometimes on seam-heavy patches, if the ruler is sliding around a lot, leave part of your hand halfway-on and halfway off the ruler (my lower thumb, above) in order to anchor it better.  Then you can successfully trim up the unit.

And then there’s this. I got it back from CJ Designs (my quilter) as we’d worked out that she’d quilt some and I’d quilt some.  I’d been putting it off for a while because I didn’t quite know how to begin.  Yesterday I went to Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project website, looked at some of her designs and clicked on her videos of how to make those designs happen.

This one’s called Curvy Key.

I like this one too: Overlapping Arches.

But I woke up this morning thinking about this one: Lollypop Chain.  If you have never been to Leah’s site, click on the Lollypop Chain link and watch her quilt up her sample.  She is amazing (and so is her quilting).  So maybe I’ll try this one.  Ruth McDowell suggested taking some transparent paper (doctor’s examining table paper, architect paper, or those waxy deli squares you can buy that they use to grab things with) to try out the quilting.

Draw out your design on the paper and place it over the area you want to quilt.  This does two things: let’s you “see” the quilting on your quilt before you decide, and also puts it into your muscle memory, so when you do start to quilt, it’s not completely foreign.  It also wouldn’t hurt to first try the design on a scrap quilt sandwich before you begin on your quilt.

Now I’m off to go look around at what you all have been doing!

Churn Dash

The first block is finished from the Red/White Challenge!

Sara finished up her Churn Dash block and sent it to me, and she was very happy to have completed her square (she’s a beginning quilter).  I think it looks beautiful–there’s something so simple yet lovely about these two colors put together.

I think the vibrancy of the red, which acts as a dark value, really makes the red/white combination pop.  That old saying “color gets the credit but value does all the work,” applies in this instance.  We think it is because of the red that the block looks so crisp.  But it’s the deeper (a darker value) red that is doing the work, as you can see in the block below.

I’ve simply lightened the red to a medium color.  The block is not nearly as vibrant or interesting.

Red also has its own stories and folklore, from the popular red and green Baltimore Album quilts, to this story, related in the book Wild by Design (Berlow and Crews):

“[A quilter] recalled an instance from her youth in the early twentieth century, when she and her mother traveled to the dry goods store to buy some fabric for hope chest quilts:

‘We had picked three pieces of remnant blue and was just fingerin’ some red calico.  We was jest palnnin’ on enough for the middle squares from that.

‘Just then Papa came in behind us and I guess he saw us lookin’.  He just walked right past us like he wasn’t with us, right up to the clerk and said, “How much cloth is on that bolt?”

‘The clerk said, “Twenty yards.”

‘Papa never looked around.  He just said, “I’ll take it all!”

‘He picked up that whole bolt of red calico and carried it to the wagon.  Mama and me just laughed to beat the band. Twenty yards of red.  Can you imagine?’ ”

And in honor of men who buy red bolts of calico, and help us in all we do, Happy Fathers Day!

——-Update———Two Red/White Challenge Blocks are In!———-

Red & White Challenge

Yesterday I wrote about Temecula Quilt Co and how the owner has a Red and White Challenge going on. {Details are •here•}  Bring your Red and White Quilt into the shop by September 15th, or if you are too far away, send a photo.  Head to her page for more info.


Do you? While I was there I purchased six fat quarters of red and six of Kona Snow white from her (she graciously wrapped them up for me in cute little papers).  I’d like to share with you, so we can get started on a quilt to show in October.  Sheryl has more red and white available on her website, but if you live far away–or already have your own stash–any of the deep reds will work for this exchange.  And yes, I prewashed all the reds for you.

So, I’m organizing my own little way for you and I to play together, no matter where we live.  What I propose:
• leave a comment in order to get a free fat quarter of red and a free fat quarter of white.  By signing up, you agree to finish your block and get it back to me by August 1st.  Pinkie Swear you will do this–please don’t sign up if you won’t complete it by the first of August.
• make an 9″ block (should measure 9 1/2″ so as to include the seam allowances) using only red/white fabrics; you may select your block pattern from the blocks below.  I’ll include the pattern when I send it to you.
• make another block for yourself (if you want)
• send me my block by AUGUST 1ST!!
• And as a thank you, I will send you a block in return.  So you get two free blocks for making one–and for taking the red and white challenge with me.  This should get you started, so you can participate in the Quilt Challenge. I only bought six, so don’t waste time!

About the blocks: I looked through a lot of quilts that were hanging up in New York City, and chose a few.  I drafted them using my software (I use QuiltPro), and have printed them out, paper templates included.  Choose the block you want to make and it will be in your little package of fun that will be coming your way.  Be honest with yourself.  If you are just a beginning quilter, choose one of the easier blocks.  I don’t mind if we have duplicates.  If you want something fun (you only have to make two), try one of the more complex blocks.

I will be making a 9-patch based block for you–a surprise!–but it will coordinate with yours.  If I have no takers by June 20th (because you are all traveling, or having a baby, or don’t feel like a red and white, or just want to relax this summer), I’ll withdraw the challenge.

I’ve already had some replies:
First participant: Rhonda, making Jacob’s Ladder
Second participant: Sara, making Churn Dash
Third participant: Leisa, who hasn’t said yet which block she wants (Flying Geese Nines?)
Fourth quilter is Lisa G, who wants to make Swirling Star
Fifth quilter is Sue, who has her eye on Double-X
Sixth quilt is Katie H, who wants to make Shoofly.
Thanks all–looking forward to seeing your blocks in a couple of months.  I’ve got my design all planned out, and hope to start slicing into the red/white fabrics tomorrow.

I took the Swirling Star block from this quilt.  It looks amazing all made up and put together, doesn’t it?
P.S.  I’m sure most of these have other names; I looked them up in Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.