Monday, February 27, 2017

New Section

I am back home from my trip to the Staying in Stitches Quilt Guild in Statesboro, and Quarterdeck Quilts in Springfield. It was a really fun trip, and I had a great time and met lots of wonderful quilters. Sandy has a lovely shop with many fabrics I hadn't seen around my neck of the woods. It truly had me wishing I had deeper pockets. 

And there was a bonus. I really hadn't given it much thought, since I was focused on all of the new things I had been trying to learn how to do at home, but it was brought to my attention that we were only 45 minutes away from Quiltcon in Savannah. How silly would it be to miss that when I was so close?! So down to Savannah I carried myself, and boy, am I glad I did! There were a lot of beautiful quilts. I think I will make a future post with my favorite quilts from Quiltcon. 

Right now though, I am excited about the new section of my Rose Garden quilt(working name). I have just laid it out on my design wall. You can see the drawing for this quilt in my last post. This section is the lower, right hand corner.

This is the first section I have put together that isn't a diamond. I can't wait to see what it looks like with the others. I really love working on this quilt. All of my small units are sewn together now, so this is about to stop being a "portable quilt". I will need to have my thinking cap on to layout and sew these sections together. Between traveling, visiting with friends, and watching Netflix, I have gotten most of my HST and 4 patch units made. I even took a couple of hours last week to walk down to our local riverside park, and sit at a picnic table and trim units. Winters in Georgia usually have some mild days, but this winter has been so much milder than normal. 

My view from the park bench:

I love our riverside park, and I am so grateful that I can just walk to it.

That is what I have been up to. I hope things are going as well for you. 

This week I am linking up with Patchwork Times.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 17, 2017

What I Did on Retreat, and Why I Love Love Love The Jacobs Ladder Block

This is a project I have been very excited about for a very long time. 

Many years ago. I saw this photo in a book titled Quilts, by Ljiljana Baird.

It is an antique quilt created by an unnamed maker dated to 1870. I really love this quilt, but anyone who knows me at all know that the chances of me voluntarily limiting myself to 2 fabrics, let alone 2 solid fabrics are slim indeed. 

But, this quilt was always in the back of my mind as an idea I wanted to do something with.

A couple of years ago I wanted to make a special wedding gift for a young women who is very dear to me. I thought it would be a good opportunity to play with this block. The colors of her future bedroom were to be turquoise and brown, so I got right to work on the computer to begin playing with color placement. Long story short, I came up with an idea for Kimberly's wedding quilt, plus about 200 other drawings!

Obviously, not all of them are keepers, and some of them are so similar to each other that they aren't worth bothering with. But it made a real impression on me with regards to how versatile this block can be. I had some many ideas that I really loved! Here is a photo of Kimberly's wedding quilt.

I have really wanted to submit this as an idea for a book, but I knew it was going to take years to make 12 or 13 quilts, since these quilts, though easy to make, are pretty time consuming, and I had none of them made. I have been trying to think of another way to share that information. 

I thought it might be fun to post one drawing a week, just as a drawing, then maybe self publish them as a book sometime in the future. Before I did that, I thought it would be a good idea to make at least a couple of them to see what they look like translated into fabric. Maybe I should call this "My Jacob's Ladder Project". 

There are so many things I really love about making these quilts. I love the almost infinite number of different designs you can get, once you start playing around with color placement, and rotating the blocks. Then, you can add another set of variations by either using all the same block, or alternating with a "B" block. The difference between the A block and B block is the position of the lights and darks. The antique quilt in the book, and Kimberly's wedding quilt both have an A block alternating with a B block. I am not sure if one of these options is a true Jacob's Ladder block, and the other isn't, but I have spent a good deal of time playing around with both options. 

Since these quilts are made entirely from half square triangles, and four patches. These are simple, basic units that are easy to make, and have many "portable" steps. By portable steps, I am referring to steps you can do even if you do not have a sewing machine handy. For example, cutting units from strips, pairing, marking, pressing, and trimming. When you DO use a sewing machine to do the sewing required on the units, you can just run them through the sewing machine, quickly and easily, instead of spending time to figure out where you left off. You can make these units even when your brain is tired, or you don't have very much time to work, or when part of your brain is doing something else, like visiting with friends, watching TV, or keeping an eye on the stove. If you are a fan of Bonnie Hunter, you can use them as "leaders and enders" while you are making other quilts. 

Eventually, of course, you will have to put your thinking cap on to make the units into blocks and layout the quilt, but until then, it is just a matter of making the right number of units in the color combinations that you need. 

I have started a couple of these quilts, but set them aside because this one was really pulling on my imagination. I just couldn't wait to see what it was going to look like, and if the colors were going to work like I hoped. Another reason is because I had to do some traveling, and the way this quilt is laid out really lends itself to working on these "portable" units.

I have written some about getting the units  ready to take to retreat in this post.
Unfortunately, I didn't get all of the units done, so I was still making 4 patch units while I was laying out the sections at retreat, which really slowed me down. That said, I am so excited with the way my colors are working! Since I am dealing with 4 values, pink, coral, red, and maroon, I wanted to be sure that the pattern was showing up clearly. 

So here is a reminder of what my drawing looks like.

I have this drawing divided into 9 sections, 5 of which are centered around the 5 diamonds, and the 4 corners.

Here are 2 sections I made while I was on retreat. 

I started with the center section, and the center-right section.

That is what I worked on at retreat. 

Next week I will visit The Staying in Stitches Quilt Guild in Springfield GA, and teach a Sonja's Windows class at the Quarterdeck Quilt Shop in Springfield GA. Stop by and see my quilts in person if you are in the area!

I hope all of your winter projects are going smoothly.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Retreat Was Wonderful

Retreat was wonderful. It was so much fun seeing friends that I only get to visit with once or twice a year, and seeing what they are working on. Here are just a few highlights of what was happening around the room throughout the weekend. 

 This is Tracy, who was kind enough to stand beside her brilliant string quilt. Luscious no?

A Fabulous Baltimore Album, made by Joyce.

 I just love Barbara's version of my A Maze Zing pattern. It think it's neat that she did the opposite of mine, and made the wide border the constant, and varied the narrow border. Can you believe those are dinosaur bones on that wide strip? Even though it is constant throughout the center of the quilt, it adds so much movement, and interest, I just love it. What a perfect choice. The asymmetrical ombre border is such a fun surprise!

Another fun quilt made by Barbara. Love her  fabric choices.

Donna's stunning One Block Wonder.

I am usually not a big fan of panels, but this quilt, made by Shelia, is so serene and wintry, even I can't resist it.
I love Bonnie Hunter's 2016 mystery quilt. This one was made by Lynne. Here is another started by Mary George. (We have to call her Mary George to distinguish her from 2 other Marys in the group).

They look so different when they are not in repeat. I have always loved what Bonnie Hunter does with alternating blocks.

This is Ivy's first quilt. She is making a much more color coordinated version of my Lightning Strikes quilt. I took the photo too early. It is just after half done here. She had ALL of the blocks made and up there before we left. Hopefully, I will get a photo of it all in one piece soon. (Maybe next retreat?). Not bad for a first quilt, don't you think? BTW, I will be teaching that block at Quarterdeck Quilts in Springfield GA, on February 22.

Mary Beth made this beautiful quilt for her daughter. I love the focus print that looks like a slightly different framed painting in each block.

This is Mary on the left, and Dana on the right, working together to make a couple of fringed bags. I have probably mentioned in passed retreat posts, that Mary is the one who is kind enough to bring us all together every year.  We sure appreciate it!

Here is a quilt Mary was working on:

What rich beautiful colors!

Another blogger, and friend, Sandy Gilreath came by to visit us, and wrote about it on her blog here, so if you want to see more beautiful quilts from this retreat, check her post out.

I will write about what I worked on at retreat on the next post. 

That is what I have been up to. Thanks for stopping by!