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Gail's Quilting Blog

Guest Post – Afton Warrick from Quilting Mod

Hello, I’m Afton Warrick from Quilting Mod. I am a mother of two and an avid paper-piecer. I have had the pleasure of assisting Gail with some of her creative pursuits, such as the Hawk’s Aloft raffle quilt. Gail has been kind enough to allow me to visit with you here.
I have just experienced the BEST WEEKEND EVER! Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic and my son, who optimistically insists each and every day is the BEST DAY EVER, is rubbing off on me. To my credit, I have been away at Quilt Bliss, a weekend retreat organized by the Utah County Modern Quilt Guild, where there was much to appreciate. 
First off, the accommodations are divine at the 26,000 square foot Timber Moose Lodge.
 

 
This enchanting hide-away boasts thirteen bedrooms with comfortable beds, a hot tub and pool, great views, and plenty of sewing space. 
Here’s a peek into my bedroom, featuring three queen-sized bunks.
 
 
While my driving companions and I discovered the four-wheel drive vehicle requirement regarding the gravel road leading to Timber Moose was more than a suggestion, we made it to the formidable lodge in time for an elegantly prepared feast of pork tenderloin, green beans, salmon and scalloped potatoes. I will not soon forget dessert either–with its marshmallow snowmen, trio of yule logs, meringue mushrooms and chocolate-covered candies. 
 
Thank goodness this was not a fitness retreat, as I had no intention of restraint at the sight of the food, glorious food! This fine dining experience extended throughout the weekend, with an unending assortment of tasty delights.
 
It was a pleasure getting to know the talented women who attended, many of which are well-known fabric designers, quilt bloggers, or pattern designers such as Emily Herrick and Melissa Solecki.
 
I took advantage of the many optional classes included with the retreat. Amanda Woodruff gave great suggestions for fabric selection such as using a unifying solid color to tie together a quilt, balancing warm and cool colors, and excluding a color to make a desirable palette. Anna Morrison provided a step-by-step overview of paper-piecing so her students could create a free block designed by Anna of Six White Horses.
Kristin Barrus expressed the importance of journaling by sharing her late mother’s beautiful watercolor journals and providing suggestions from her personal organization of quilt records. I learned a few helpful knots for hand appliqué and played around with fabric dyeing under the guidance of Jeanette Hartvigsen.
 

Emily Sessions gave some pointers regarding quilting and Leigh Hansen reminded everyone of the value of time to create. Amy Smart provided ample ideas for how to use scraps in her class, which resulted in these beauties. 

 
The trunk shows from JoyLyn Rigby, Sarah Jane Wright, Sherri McConnell, Erika Bartlett, and the Utah County Modern Quilt Group were quite inspirational.
 
Sarah Jane
 
Sarah’s Jane’s Autograph
(Yes, I’m that groupie.)
Sherri McConnell

 

Sherri McConnell
What’s more, there was SWAG. Check out the bountiful loot I scored from the sponsors!
I also won some fabulous prizes.

 

I participated in the Secret Friend swap too. I created this wall-hanging using the Lone Star tutorial on Better Off Thread.



These are the treasures I received in return from Pamela Cardell. Aren’t I lucky?


The low volume and text print fabric swaps were a rousing success as well.

Now I’ve unpacked the bag I made for my trip using a free pattern tutorial by Jennifer Mathis. I’d say they are quite a match.

Bye, Bye, Quilt Bliss. I will miss you. Until next year…

 

 

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Quilting in the Desert – After Hours

A lot of what happens at a quilt event like Quilting in the Desert, happens after class has ended.  At this event, it began to get exciting before I even arrived. I had been following the exploits of former student, Gale Wrigley as she drove west, leaving her home in Florida for four months of travel.  She ran into road blocks in Texas that slooooowed her down, and for a while she worried that she might not ever move beyond those  expansive borders.  So, I commented a time or two and we began a friendly repartee about her travels.  However, not for a minute did it occur to me that Gale was en route to Scottsdale to take my class!  What a treat!

The Two Gails - Gale Wrigley and Gail Garber

The Two Gals – Gale Wrigley and Gail Garber

It was just like the reunion of two longtime friends, a natural and comfortable fit!  So, we hung out together, walking across the street for lunch with her friend, Dolores Roseveare.  They had reserved a suite with a full kitchen.  And, they invited me to dinner along with fellow teacher, Louise Smith.

Cooking in the Kitchen

Cooking in the Kitchen

I showed up at the appointed time to find Dolores and Gale in the midst of dinner preparations, with wine already set out – both red and white, which we drank in plastic hotel room cups.

Dining a la Wrigley

Dining a la Wrigley

A lovely Greek feast with couscous, feta, olives and veggies, along with a tasty salad of beets and greens hit the spot.  But the best part was the companionship as we lounged on their tiny patio renewing our friendship and getting to know Dolores and Louisa.   The next afternoon we headed off to the Desert Botanical Garden to view the Chihuly exhibit, but there was much to see at the gardens in addition to the glass exhibit.

Perfect Saguaro

Perfect Saguaro

I’ve always been intrigued by the massive saguaro cacti which grow only in the Sonoran desert.  They grow slowly and must reach ~50 years of age before they even begin to sprout arm buds.  A saturated saguaro can hold up to 200 gallons of water!  But, what I didn’t know was that

Saguaro Skeleton

Saguaro Skeleton

when the cactus dies, it leaves behind a sturdy wooden skeleton, much like the trunk of a tree.  My first exposure to this aspect happened when I checking in at the Cottonwoods Resort . . .

Saguaro Art

Saguaro Art

where a fully varnished saguaro skeleton graced the lobby of the hotel. It was for sale too, for ~$4500.  However, as much fun as it was to see this masterpiece, I was not even tempted — it was taller than the ceilings in my modest home.

I hope to be able to return to Phoenix sometime soon so I can take my time and take in the full majesty of the Desert Botanical Gardens a celebration of all things Sonoran, including

Spiral Cactus

Spiral Cactus

and

Round Button Cactus

Round Button Cactus

In fact, I’ve never seen such an amazing display of the various cacti!  But my favorite remains, the giant saguaro.

Saguaro in Desert Garden

Saguaro in Desert Garden

Bye Phoenix.  Bye Gale.  ‘Til next time!

 

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Quilting in the Desert – Sensational Stars

Sensational – an apt description of this class of versatile students!  The smaller class size enabled me to spend more time with each student, getting to know them and to help them with their designs.

Sensational Stars Class

Sensational Stars Class

Although in the above image, only the star centers appear, the two-day class also included circular border design.  We’ll have to wait to see those when the images of the finished designs show up at a later date!

Bea

Bea

My favorite part of class is doing introductions at the beginning because this is where we get to know each other and begin to develop friendships that just might last a lifetime.  When Bea (no last name given) introduced herself, she said she was OLD.  How old we will never know, but this lady taught others a thing or two and was one of the first students to finish all the sections of her original design star!

Bea's Star

Bea’s Star

I just love the way her fabrics almost appear to be floating atop the mottled background fabric.

Carol Ann Emerson Quilt, Surprise, AZ

Carol Ann Emerson Quilt, Surprise, AZ

Shortly after class began, Carol Ann Emerson showed another quilt that she had stitched. It was a beauty and the detail work incredible.

Carol Ann Emerson, Surprise, AZ

Carol Ann Emerson, Surprise, AZ

Carol was the only student that elected to make an asymmetrical star design.  Although simple to draw, these designs create sewing challenges.  I can’t wait to see what she does with the rest of her design.

Beautiful!  (Sadly I didn't get the name of this student)

Susan Lock, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The color in Susan’s star simply radiates!

Alexandra Bykova,Novosibirsk, Russia

Alexandra Bykova,Novosibirsk, Russia

It was my great pleasure to meet Alexandra Bykova, who traveled all the way from Siberia, Russia to attend Quilting in the Desert.  Leksie, as she prefers to be called, is bringing quilting to the women of Novosibirk.  She blogs about her work on SkinnyBear Hugs Quilts.  It hope to entice her to write a guest blog here about her quilts and the women of her area.

Leksie and yours truly

Leksie and yours truly

It was a grand time!  Now, I have a whole bunch of new friends in quilting, some from near and others from very far away!

 

 

 

 

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Art in Phoenix – Chihuly After Dark

This is the second post about my visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens to view Chihuly in the Garden.  My new friends and I arrived in the late afternoon after we all finished class for the day.  The daylight exhibit was impressive with the glasswork mirroring and complementing the desert vegetation.  But , but once the sun set, it became positively magical.  Below are my favorites from the series of images that I took that night.  I hope you enjoy them.

Chihuly Starburst

Chihuly Starburst

Chihuly Starburst Detail

Chihuly Starburst Detail

Globe Among Spires

Globe Among Spires

Garden Globes

Garden Globes

Hidden Among the Vegetation

Hidden Among the Vegetation

Fireball on the Mountain

Fireball on the Mountain

Fireball Detail

Fireball Detail

Spires Among Cacti

Spires Among Cacti

Spires Among Prickly Pear

Spires Among Prickly Pear

Glass Yuccas at the entrance to the park.

Glass Yuccas at the entrance to the park.

Desert at Dark

Desert at Dark

What a treat it was to see Chihuly in the Garden.  It will remain in Phoenix through May 11.  It’s definitely worth the visit!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quilting in the Desert – Flying Colors

Quilting in the Desert at Cottonwoods Resort, Scottsdale, AZ

Quilting in the Desert at Cottonwoods Resort, Scottsdale, AZ

This was my first year to teach at Quilting in the Desert, owned and operated by Ginny and Lyn Goodbar.  What a treat it was to stay and teach in the warm sunshine of Arizona in the winter!  And, what a thrill it was to be able to teach multi-day workshops and meet students who had traveled from near and far to take the class, Flying Colors.

Drawing

Drawing

Like many of my classes, every student designed their own project.  We always begin by drawing, using a workbook to master the various free-form shapes before moving on to original design.

Earth in Progress

Earth in Progress

Geri Willems of Apache Junction, AZ, arrived with her already completed circle that was to be Earth in a cosmic view of our planet.  Once the drawings were complete, we turned to stitching.

Gail's Little Sweatshop!

Gail’s Little Sweatshop!

This is when the fun really begins as the patterns and colors start to emerge!

Debbie Cavillon and Carol Hesse

Debbie Cavillon and Carol Hesse

It was a double thrill to had the mother-daughter duo in class, Carol Hesse from Annandale, MN and her daughter Debbie, who hails from Aix-les-Bains, France!

Debbie Cavillon, Aix-les-Bains, France

Debbie Cavillon, Aix-les-Bains, France

Both of their designs were very different.  Above, Debbie poses with her design.  She had never before done freezer paper foundation piecing!

Sylvie Poulin, Val-D'Or, Quebec, Canada and yours truly

Sylvie Poulin, Val-D’Or, Quebec, Canada and yours truly

Sylvie surprised me with a gift of Pure Maple Syrup, a specialty of Quebec.  All the directions are written in French but she also gave me a good recipe for candied pecans, which will be one of my offerings for today’s SuperBowl Party!  Thanks Sylvie!

Sylvie Poulin

Sylvie Poulin

As an artist whose primary medium is stained glass, Sylvie arrived in class with her design already drawn.  The challenge for her, which she overcame brilliantly was using the far more accommodating fabric than the hard-as-nails glass.

Goose on the Loose

Goose on the Loose

As students worked, I took photographs of various parts and pieces in progress.

Beth Gilhuly, Kelso WA

Beth Gilhuly, Kelso WA

I can’t wait to see how this design turns out when it is complete.  Beth’s drawing includes piecework and hand applique of the Superstition Mountains.

Marilyn Lynch, Redwood City, CA

Marilyn Lynch, Redwood City, CA

Marilyn’s design includes the Golden Gate Bridge.  It will be very interesting to see how she combines the techniques to complete her design.

Jennifer Holt, Bossier City, LA

Jennifer Holt, Bossier City, LA

Above are two of the parts from Jennifer’s design.  The sun is particularly effective with the strip pieced center that combines many different fabrics.

Maggie Kingsbury, Bishop, CA

Maggie Kingsbury, Bishop, CA

Two students opted to use one of the quilts in my book, Flying Colors, for inspiration, although each drew her own interpretation.  Above is Maggie Kingsbury’s which features hand-dyed gradations in rainbow colors.

Pat Rotolo, Pueblo, CO

Pat Rotolo, Pueblo, CO

While Pat Rotolo’s design features commercially printed fabrics.  I think that both are equally effective and very different.

Geri Willems, Apache Junction, AZ

Geri Willems, Apache Junction, AZ

Geri Willems made good progress on Earth as viewed from the cosmos, completing major portions of her design.  I can’t wait to share this one, and all the others as they are completed in the coming years! Thanks to all 21 students in the class!  You made these days very special.

Stay tuned — I also taught the two-day Sensational Stars class, and there are ‘after-hours’ items to show as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art in Phoenix – Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Gardens

Chihuly Boat

Chihuly Boat

In Scottsdale this week teaching for Quilting in the Desert, one of my first tasks after checking into my hotel room was to check out art exhibits.  Chihuly was emblazoned on the cover of more than one travel mags stacked in my room.  So, it made perfect sense that my second task was finding a way to see the exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens.  The goal became a reality yesterday afternoon, when my friend Gale Wrigley said she’d be happy to drive.  In the end, we were a party of five, driven by fellow teacher, Sue Rasmussen.  Oh, my!  What an experience!  Any comments that I might make could not possibly do his artwork justice, so I present them without comment below.  All photographs were taken by me.

About Chihuly

About Chihuly

Chihuly and Saguaro

Chihuly and Saguaro

Chihuly 9

 

 

Chihuly 7

Chihuly 8

Chihuly 2

Chihuly 5

Chihuly 4

Chihuly 6

Chihuly 10

Simply amazing!  Our visit spanned the twilight hour so we were fortunate to view the exhibit during the last light or day as well as after dark!  The exhibit runs through May at the Desert Botanical Gardens.  If you are in Phoenix, be sure to make time to take in this incredible exhibit.

Stay tuned for Chihuly At Night, and also tales from Quilt Classes in the Desert!

 

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Quilt In A Day – Hawks Aloft Style – Part 2

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear with no evidence that it should have been wintry.  Our hearty crew was hard at work early on.

Sweatshop 2014

Sweatshop 2014

Stitching, stitching . . .

Steve Elkins uses paper foundation piecing techniques to stitch blocks for the quilt.

Steve Elkins uses paper foundation piecing techniques to stitch blocks for the quilt.

It wasn’t long before the different blocks began to emerge.

Star Block in progress

Star Block in progress

Keep Calm and Carry On was the mantra of the day.  For a while it seemed like the stack of block kits was getting larger, not smaller.

Pat Folsom, the newbie to this year's retreat.

Pat Folsom, the newbie to this year’s retreat.

We were twelve strong, including two newbies, Pat Folsom and Allison Schacht.  Both had such a good time, they have already signed up for 2015.

First Look at the Middle

First Look at the Middle

It wasn’t long before the center star was completed.  Here, Cynthia Figuerora-McInteer shows the results to Steve E. and Laurie Marnell, while my dog, Gabby, looks on.  He’s probably not terribly impressed.  After all, this is his 9th quilt retreat.

The Center is done!

The Center is done!

Shortly thereafter, the inner border of Flying Geese completed the center.  Now, to stitch that to the already existing Flying Hawk circular border.  And so it went, until late afternoon when all the blocks were completed and we began to stitch the final borders.

Sami Sews on the Border

Sami Sews on the Border

We took turns stitching on the final borders, so four sewers each attached one border.  It is a one woman stitching job at this point.

Snoozing

Snoozing

As our excitement mounted, the dogs remained unimpressed.

Mary Chappelle sews on the third border.

Mary Chappelle sews on the third border.

and, finally as the dinner hour neared . . .

Chellye Porter and Laurie Marnell work on the Final Border

Chellye Porter and Laurie Marnell work on the Final Border

by this point, it really helped to have a holder to keep the weight of the quilt top from dragging on the stitcher!  And, Ta-Da!  We finished at 5:59 p.m., one hour earlier than the 2013 quilt.  We celebrated in style that evening and then posed for the final photo the following morning.

The 2014 Hawks Aloft Raffle Quilt Top.

The 2014 Hawks Aloft Raffle Quilt Top.  Image by Steve Elkins.

From L-R: Pat Folsom, Anita McSorley, Sam Sanborn, Chellye Porter, Miss Elaenia, Gail, Gabby, Barry, Laurie Marnell, Steve Elkins, Cynthia Figueroa-McInteer, Ed Chappelle, Allison Schacht, Mary Chappelle, and Layla!  A good time was had by all.  Many thanks to all who participated.  The quilt top has now gone off to Lincoln, NE where it will be magically quilted by Kris Vierra!  Look for it to make its debut at the Monte Vista Crane Festival, in Monte Vista, CO in early March.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quilt In A Day – Hawks Aloft Style – Part One

Raffle Quilt 2014 - Sneak Peek

Raffle Quilt 2014 – Sneak Peek

It all started about a week before the big event, when several of us worked on pre-sewing the birds so we would have a chance to complete the 2014 Hawks Aloft raffle quilt in one day which is always our goal.

The Cabin.  Image by Steve Elkins.

The Cabin. Image by Steve Elkins.

Three of us, Ruth B., Laurie Marnell, and yours truly, decided to retreat to the cabin on Thursday for some relaxation.  Laurie brought her dog, Barry, along for the weekend.

Laurie and Barry

Laurie and Barry

Playful and unbearably cute, Barry got along well with my dogs, Laney and Gabby.  They played themselves into exhaustion,

Ruth with Gabby and Barry

Ruth with Gabby and Barry

while Miss Elaenia practiced looking cute!  It’s one of her best skills and I believe that she practices in the mirror when I am not home.

Laney, the Cute!

Laney, the Cute!

Friday afternoon, the rest of the crowd arrived and we worked on cutting kits for the individual blocks, with Ed, our master cutter, a.k.a. Mr. Precision!

Ed

Ed Chappelle

Ed and Mary brought their newly adopted dog too, Layla, who wasn’t too sure about Barry!

Layla

Layla

It was a Four Dog Night!  While the dogs all got acquainted, so did we!

Dinner in the New Room

Dinner in the New Room

Enjoying a sumptuous dinner by Ruth and Chellye Porter, we relaxed in style in the new room, for tomorrow would be all about stitching.  Could we do it?  Would we succeed in finishing quilt top #21 in just one day?

 

 

 

 

 

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