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Quilt Retreat at The Main House at Creations in Kerrville, TX

Tonight I find myself in a wondrous ~10,000 square foot, quilter’s dream palace.  It’s called The Main House at Creations, in Kerrville, TX.

The Main House in Kerrville

The Main House in Kerrville

Tomorrow morning, I get to sew in the most amazing classroom ever, stitching the binding on a queen-sized quilt in spacious splendor while I await the arrival of my students for the next 3.5 days.

Creations

Creations

Furthermore, The Main House is right across the parking lot from Creations, one of the best quilting shops ever!

The Main House Studio

The Main House Studio

Check out the classroom- studio! Each student has – not just 1/2 table shared with a tablemate, but three entire tables to themselves, and a fabulous comfy chair to boot!  I cannot wait to teach in this classroom.  But wait, there’s more wonderment.

Dining Room

Dining Room

A spacious dining room sits to one side of the main floor, and during organized retreats, all food is provided.  The coolest thing ever is that you and your friends can rent this spacious retreat house for your own retreat.  What could be better!

Upstairs Lounge

Upstairs Lounge

Upstairs, there’s a nifty little lounge, where I sit now, typing this post!

Wall decorations

Owners, Julie Milam and Kathy Thompson, have gathered some classic pieces to add to the decor, and created a comfortable and colorful feel to each room.

Poppy Room

Poppy Room

The Main House sleeps 24 people in 6 guest rooms and 9 bathrooms!  Each room is decorated with a different theme, and all rooms are named after Texas cities.

Cowgirl

Cowgirl

Julie told me that she and Kathy fell in love with this painting, and it became the centerpiece of one of the bedrooms.

Cowboy Boots

Cowboy Boots

Bench and quilt

Bench and quilt

One of the rooms is decorated in Tres Chic in pastel colors.

Pastel Room

Pastel Room

Although tonight I am the only guest, I can imagine the fun that will begin tomorrow!  Next time you and your friends are looking for a retreat facility, be sure to put The Main House on the top of your list!  One group travels all the way from Alaska to spend a winter week here, stitching away in the Texas sunshine.

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The Best Part of My Job is YOU!

Turtle by Alexis Mongeau

Turtle by Alexis Mongeau, Perth, Ontario

Without a doubt, my email box is better than checking the mail box outside!  I’ve just returned from Ontario, where I taught for the Lanark County Quilters in Perth, about an hour south of Ottawa.  Check out the first three quilts in this post!  Alexis Mongeau is new-ish to freezer paper foundation piecing and look what she created in less than three weeks, a marvelous, original design.

Valetta Hudson, Ottawa Ontario

Valetta Hudson, Ottawa Ontario

Valetta was in the same class in Perth, also new-ish to freezer paper foundation piecing.  She chose to use the free-form fillers to feature and enhance the oriental woman in one beautiful piece of fabric.  It’s gorgeous!  Then, just today . . .

Valetta Hudson, Ottawa, Ontario

Valetta Hudson, Ottawa, Ontario

Valetta sent me another photograph!  This time, she made one block of the Wheel of Fortune pattern in my book, Flying Colors.  Simply Superb!

But, I also have received several more images of student works.  Check these out below!

Carol Hesse, Annandale, MN

Carol Hesse, Annandale, MN

Carol Hesse took my class at Quilting in the Desert in Scottsdale, AZ this past January.  I just love the contrast in her pieced filler strips, particularly the Mountains and Valleys filler.

Mary Kay Eklund, Payson, AZ

Mary Kay Eklund, Payson, AZ

Mary Kay Eklund took my class in Payson, AZ about a year ago.  She has this to say about her project and the class: “Thanks for the encouragement on my quilt….it was fun and I hope to do more using your techniques.  Remember if/when you have a chance to come to Payson, you have a place to stay!”

Vivian Pinto, Brazil

Vivian Pinto, Brazil

Vivian was in my class at Houston’s International Quilt Festival a while back.  I love the movement that she got with the strategic placement of fabrics.

What a joy it is to see where you take the techniques learned in class!  Some of my best friends in the world are people I meet in quilting classes! Keep those pictures coming!

 

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Quilt Canada – Goose is Loose

Yup, I’m home now!  What a grand adventure I had in Ontario!  The quilters, conference, and scenery were magnificent.  I could not turn my attention back to all things New Mexico, though, without finishing the Canada story – O Canada, How I Love Thee!  But first, the class:

Drawing

Drawing

Day one began like all of my design classes with a series of exercises.  Then students moved on to drawing their own designs.

Choosing Fabrics

Choosing Fabrics

Once satisfied with a design, colors and fabrics are selected for the portion of the quilt that the student chooses to begin working on.

Cutting the Fabric

Cutting the Fabric

Cutting the fabric comes next, after a short demo about how to determine what sizes to cut individual pieces for freezer paper foundation piecing.

Freezer Paper Foundation Piecing - Dashing Sunrays

Freezer Paper Foundation Piecing – Dashing Sunrays

The next step is to use Freezer Paper Foundation Piecing to stitch the individual filler strips.  The border above is called Dashing Sunrays.

10000 Pyramids

10000 Pyramids

Above is the 10,000 Pyramids border, my absolute all time favorite.

Judith Messenger, North York, Ontario

Judith Messenger, North York, Ontario

And, above, already stitched to a background piece is the filler strip called Mountains and Valleys, another of my favorites and very popular in class.

Fran Sayles, Calgary, Alberta and her design

Fran Sayles, Calgary, Alberta and her design

By the end of day two, some students, like Fran Sayles, have accomplished major portions of their designs.  This one is going to be a beauty!  Do you recognize the top border in Fran’s quilt as the 10,000 pyramids border shown above?

Goose is Loose Class - Quilt Canada 2014

Goose is Loose Class – Quilt Canada 2014

In the end, we all had a marvelous time!  I can’t wait to see where these talented quilters go with their new skills!  Thank you all for being such lovely students!

 

 

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Sensational Stars – Kingston Style

Kingston Stars in Progress

Kingston Stars in Progress

This is another of my favorite classes to teach.  By the second morning of class, almost everyone showed up with a nearly completed star.  Then it was time to design the borders.  Above, by using two different colors as the background of the geese, it creates a saw-tooth edge around the center star.

Sensational All Stars

Sensational All Stars

Above is a selection of stars in progress from class.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Sylvie Poulin

Sylvie Poulin

Sylvie, who had driven the 8 hours from Val-D’or, Quebec, had brought a second finished quilt from the class she took with me in Phoenix.  She gets a lot of quilting done up there in the far north!

Fused Glass Plate by Ann Oastler, Kingston

Fused Glass Plate by Ann Oastler, Kingston

At the end of class, I was surprised by the gift of a fused glass plate and a card signed by everyone in the class!  What fun we had!  Ann is a professional glassmaker and has a website, “Sawdust and Glass” where you can see more of her work as well as that of her husband, Ron, who specializes in wood designs.

Sensational Stars in Kingston, Ontario

Sensational Stars in Kingston, Ontario

Thank you Limestone Quilters, for showing me how much fun we could have in class!  I love your designs and your hospitality!

 

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Sensational Stars in Kingston, Ontario

Yours Truly with Cartwheel Constellation, Image by Bethany Garner

Yours Truly with Cartwheel Constellation, Image by Bethany Garner

After leaving Perth, I moved south to Kingston where I gave a lecture and taught the two-day workshop, Sensational Stars and Circular Borders.  Like the Flying Colors class, each student designs their own project, and we begin by working through a series of exercises that build confidence.   What surprises the Limestone Quilters Guild had in store for me!

Sylvie Poulin, Val-D'or, Quebec

Sylvie Poulin, Val-D’or, Quebec

First among them was the arrival of Sylvie Poulin, who had taken my workshop at Quilting in the Desert in Phoenix, back in January 2014.  Sylvie hails from Val-D”or, Quebec, an 8 hour drive from Kingston, which is on the north shore of Lake Ontario. (watch for another post about her work soon to come).

Stitch by Stitch, owned by Margaret Millar

Stitch by Stitch, owned by Margaret Millar

The second surprise was the beautiful new shop, Stitch by Stitch, owned by Margaret Millar.  She has moved to this new, sunny location and re-opened just one month earlier!  Wowsers!  It was gorgeous and bright with natural light from above, a.k.a that big orb in the sky.

Coffee Stand

Coffee Stand

Tucked away at one end of the shop, perched atop an old treadle sewing machine, was the Keurig coffee maker, complete with real milk and cream! Now that is one sure way to warm my heart!

Stitch by Stitch Classroom

Stitch by Stitch Classroom

The classroom was brightly lit too, courtesy of a floor to ceiling window on one side.  Each of the sewing tables was lovingly hand built by Margaret’s father, designed with the quilter in mind.  There were little cubbies below the table top to stash your tools, extra fabric, lunch, etc.  And, the big, comfy rolling chairs made for an exceptionally pleasant sewing experience.  It wasn’t long before stars began to appear.

Class Star - maker unknown

Class Star – maker unknown

Not yet stitched together, this was the first star to appear.  Sadly, I did not get the name of the designer.  I am hopeful that someone will send me that information so I can update this.

Sylvie Poulin's Star

Sylvie Poulin’s Star

Sylvie was the second designer to complete all of her sections.  At the end of the day, everyone seemed happy and a bunch of students took their projects to work on at home.

The next time you find yourself in southern Ontario, be sure to check out Stitch by Stitch!

Stay tuned for day 2 of this class . . .

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O Canada – The Real Deal

I’ve been looking  forward to this trip for a long time!  I found myself in the Ottawa, Ontario airport where my buddy, Ruth Oblinski should have been waiting for me.  But, in her place, as I walked through the doors of customs was none other than Paul Leger!  He’s my buddy that I met back at Quilt Festival in Houston many years ago!  What a surprise!  The two had cooked up the switcheroo plan and I fell easily into their plot!  I got to spend a lovely hour with Paul as he drove me south to Perth, Ontario, home of Ruth!  I was here to teach workshops, and Perth was my first stop where I taught the two-day Goose is Loose Workshop!

Blue Jay by Cathy Price, Perth, Ontario

Blue Jay by Cathy Price, Perth, Ontario

I love it when students bring show and tell to class.  This abstract art piece by Cathy Price features a Blue Jay.  The detail and quilting in this piece are incredible.

Valetta Hudson, Ottawa, Ontario

Valetta Hudson, Ottawa, Ontario

Valetta Hudson drove down from Ottawa to take the class.  Prior to that, she made “Little House of Geese from my pattern published in American Quilter Magazine in early 2013.

Drawing Class Sample

Drawing Class Sample (Image by Ruth Oblinski)

The Goose is Loose class begins with a series of class exercises where students learn to draft the various fillers that are used in their designs.  Working from a workbook, this sample is not meant to be pieced, but rather a sampler to take home to refer to later.

Class Demo (image by Ruth Oblinski)

Class Demo (image by Ruth Oblinski)

Being older myself and not always able to remember a whole bunch of new things presented all in a series, I teach “things of three”.  That is, I demonstrate three things, then they return to their tables to draw those three things.  And so it goes until we work our way through the workbook.

Class Design (Image by ruth Oblinski)

Class Design (Image by Ruth Oblinski)

After lunch, everyone begins working on their original design.  This is a simple design that I drew for a demonstration.

Valetta Hudson works on her project (image by Ruth Oblisnki)

Valetta Hudson works on her project (image by Ruth Oblisnki)

On day two, students learn freezer paper foundation piecing.  Above, Valetta Hudson works on her design that features this gorgeous piece of  fabric featuring an oriental woman in glorious colors.

Goose is Loose Class - Perth, Ontario

Goose is Loose Class – Perth, Ontario

The Goose is Loose Class is all about design and although students learn much, they don’t always have a lot to show at at the end of second day.  It is a two day class!  I hope to see you in class one day!  What fun I had!  Stay tuned for more from O Canada!

 

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Thimbleweeds on Retreat

Each year the Thimbleweed Quilters hold a weekend-long retreat at Hummingbird Music Camp in the Jemez Mountains.  That’s the camp where my girls attended every summer until they were just too old and it is less than two miles from my cabin.  Last fall, Thimbleweeders invited me to be a teacher at their retreat.

Thimbleweeders at retreat

Thimbleweeders at retreat

And what fun we had!  We gathered at the primitive accommodations just as the clouds were gathering in the west.

Storms A-coming

Storms A-coming

It looked as if rain were iminent and it was much needed.  New Mexico has been in the midst of a long-term drought that has lead to severe fires, like the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire.  There were grave fears about the aftermath.

Water roaring in Jemez River

Water roaring in Jemez River

And, then it happened — a downpour!  Water roared through the canyon, threatening to wipe out the only bridge that lead to the reclusive retreat area.  Dark brown water raged downstream.

Donna Barnitz, Suzi Campos, and  Anne Townsend posed for one last photo as we crossed over the bridge heading toward the cafeteria.

Donna Barnitz, Suzi Campos, and Anne Townsend posed for one last photo as we crossed over the bridge heading toward the cafeteria.

But the bridge held, and shortly thereafter, we were back in the classroom, working away.  My buddy, Donna Barnitz posed with Suzi Campos and Anne Townsend on the rustic bridge spanning the raging brown waters.

Working in the classroom

Working in the classroom

Laughter was everywhere despite the rising torrent outside!

Lucy Greene's Pile of Fabric

Lucy Greene’s Pile of Fabric

Lucy Greene brought a giant pile of fabric in case she had trouble making fabric selection choices.  Others brought less, but still created fun designs that they stitched up.  The storm never did wipe out the bridge and the next day delivered sunnier weather.  We finished our Goose is Loose class in style.  Check out the projects in progress below.

Sue Harris and Glenda Crowley

Sue Harris and Glenda Crowley

Sue Harris opted for a simple design and brought a pre-printed panel to which she added goose strips applied with flat piping.

Selina Farington

Selina Farington

Selina Farrington opted for a more complex design.

Mary Moya and Anne Townsend

Mary Moya and Anne Townsend

Mary Moya worked in her usual bright colors, while Anne Townsend explored pine trees.

Kathy Sublett

Kathy Sublett

Kathy Sublett opted to work on my Little House of Geese pattern so she could learn the stitching tecnhiques.

Diane Bourg

Diane Bourg

And, Diane Bourg was fascinated by the sun.

Ardith Alumbaugh

Ardith Alumbaugh

Ardith was into evergreen trees, of which there was many at this getaway in the Jemez Mountains.

Donna Barnitz and Colleen Konetzni
Donna Barnitz and Colleen Konetzni

While Donna and Colleen, the head honchos of the group, stitched up their newest project, a raffle quilt for the Farm and Ranch Association.

Overlooking Jemez Canyon

Overlooking Jemez Canyon

It’s one of my favorite place on the planet.  Although I won’t be a teacher at Thimbleweeds 2014 retreat,  I hope I still get to stop by to visit.

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My First Quilt – 1980

Just last week, I was invited to visit the New Mexico Quilter’s Association for their monthly meeting.  They were honoring past presidents and asked each of us to bring our President’s Quilt, our First Quilt, and our most recent quilt.  I got to thinking that, for all of us who quilt, that first quilt made such a difference in our lives, something we all share.  For, if there had never been a first, you and I would not belong to the sisterhood of quilt makers! Here’s my story!

My First Quilt - 1980

My First Quilt – 1980

Wow – 1980!  That’s 34 years ago!  It seems like yesterday.  My friends had talked me into taking a quilting class, saying I would love it.  They were right!!!  I immediately fell in love with this art form, even though, way back in the dark ages of quilting there were SO MANY RULES!  Rules like, “If is isn’t made by hand, then it really isn’t a quilt”.  Machine stitching of any sort was shunned.  I labored along with my hand needle, painstakingly stitching each block by hand.  Kay Pike was my first teacher, at a quilt shop called the Quilt Works, which is still in business today.

First Log Cabin

First Log Cabin

The shop provided kits for the class, so students didn’t have to purchase anything, not even the backing or batting.  Notice the humble fabrics of that day – small calico prints with muslin for the background.  I remember being befuddled by the Log Cabin block, wondering how I would be able to draft it into any size other than the 9″ blocks in our sampler quilts.

My First Applique - Tulip

My First Applique – Tulip

When it came to that first applique block, I was less than impressed by the technique, and determined to never ever do that again!  It went like this:

1.   We cut our templates out from thick plastic
2.   We stretched our fabric pieces over sandpaper and traced around the shape with a standard lead pencil
3.   We basted all the edges under
4.  We pinned the piece in place
5.   Finally, we got to stitch it down
6.  Then, we removed the bating stitches and we were done — with that piece only!

The curves weren’t very curvey and the points were anything but! I didn’t see much potential applique in my future.

Grandmother's Flower Garden

Grandmother’s Flower Garden

Then there was this block, Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  Let it suffice to know that I have NEVER made one of these again!

By 1984, I took another applique class where I learned the needle-turn technique, falling in love with this method!  For many years, I was known for my southwestern applique quilts.  I was hungry to learn more about my newest passion and took all the classes I could!  I dabbled, I learned, I loved!

A while back, my quilt collection was appraised for insurance values.  Imagine my surprise then the humble quilt above was valued at $1,500!  I querried the appraiser, only to be told that all first quilts are highly valued because they are irreplaceable.  In each of our lives, there can only be one first quilt.

Now, 34 years later, I remain just as passionate about quiltmaking, but my quilts are very different.  Below is my most recent quilt, finished with Kris Vierra in 2013.

Climate Change (c) 2013 by Gail Garber and Kris Vierra

Climate Change (c) 2013 by Gail Garber and Kris Vierra

I am sharing this story as part of the Quilting Daily Blog It to Win It Contest.

Blog It to Win It

 If I am fortunate enough to win, I’d select:

T1436 – Color Magnet

14QM11-EP8282 – Grouped – Digital Surface Design

T1987 – Fabric Surface Design

13QM28-EP7571 Grouped – Dynamic Fabric Art Portraits

13qm29 – EP7572 Grouped – Quilting Arts Workshop – Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork

 

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