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O Canada – After Hours in Perth

Some of my best friends are people I meet in quilting class.  One of the best parts  of being a traveling quilt teacher is the new life experiences that I discover.  Such was the exact case when I visited Ruth Oblinski in Perth, Ontario.  She and I met about 4 years ago at the AQS Lancaster show.  We hit it off right away.  Ruth made it possible for me to travel to Perth, where I stayed with her and her husband, Terry, at their lovely home in the country.

Ruth and me

Ruth and me

The unexpected treat of this visit was discovering the Classic Car world.  Terry is passionate about classic cars and is one handy man! 

Terrys Shop

 

He and Ruth were high school sweethearts and he had already been bitten by the old car bug.  His first car was a 1938 Plymouth that he bought for $60.  It’s the one that he and Ruth drove during their dating days.  He later sold the car, and then bought it back in 2009 for the princely sum of $2,000.  It was a junk heap by 2009.  So, he started restoration by hand, lovingly working each inch of the car.

1938 Plymouth

1938 Plymouth

He was about to set off to his car club meeting and invited me to ride along.  What a ride that was!

The upholstery

The upholstery

With extreme attention to detail, including hand made embroidered seat backs and door panels, riding shotgun was a blast.  What surprised me the most was the power of the engine – while I had expected putt-putt- sputter, it roared ahead with remarkable spunk, leaving the stoplight ahead of even the newest cars.

Plymouth by Terry

Plymouth by Terry

It was my first car club meeting so I was surprised to see a parking lot full of new and classic cars, all lovingly cared for by their owners.  Terry’s garage held another surprise that I would not get to see until the next morning.

1931 Model A  - Work in Progress

1931 Model A – Work in Progress

Jacked up in the back of the garage was Terry’s newest old passion, another classic that he had bought for $2,000.  It also was in poor shape where it is coming to life in Terry’s garage.

Seats not done yet

Seats not done yet

The detail with which Terry restores his classics is obvious.  Here, I got to see the condition of the interior before he began work.

Model A Engine

Model A Engine

This Model A, however, already had a powerful engine, rebuilt by Terry from a junkyard engine from a newer vehicle.

Model A Front View

Model A Front View

I would love to see this classic once Terry finished working his magic on the newest member of his auto family.

Who would have thought that a quilting trip to Perth would introduce me to the world of Classic Cars!  What a trip!

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Twin Rivers Quilter’s Exhibit, New Bern, North Carolina

Last week, I made a quick trip to visit the Twin Rivers Quilter’s Guild in New Bern, North Carolina.  I had hoped to stay a few extra days to tour some of the amazing countryside of the southernmost outer banks, an area which I had never previously visited.  My hostess was Chris Gillespie, who has a lovely home right on the banks of the Neuse River, with birds galore, and sunset views to die for!  Sadly, it was windy most afternoons when I finished teaching so outdoor photography was minimal at best.

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the North Carolina History Center, with 60,000 square feet of exhibits showcasing the 300 year history of the area.  One of the wings featured an exhibit of quilts, old and new, curated by the Twin Rivers Quilter’s Guild.

Twin Rivers Quilters Guild

Twin Rivers Quilters Guild

The guild’s logo quilt welcomed visitors and was the first thing I saw when I turned into that wing of the museum.

Collecting and Recollecting the Past

Collecting and Recollecting the Past

The exhibit honored Nancy Packer (1962-2013), who had been the Assistant Curator or the History Museum.  The welcome sign stated, “by collecting quilts, you are collecting the colors and designs of America” through the wide variety of quilts, old and new, exhibited here.  “To recollect the history of a quilt is to share a great American craft and a treasure of our past as well as the designs of our future.”

Exhibit Overview

Exhibit Overview

It was refreshing to see all the beautiful quilts hanging in a museum quality exhibit hall.  The depth and breadth the the exhibit was unusual in that such a wide array of styles and techniques were included.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul by Rolayn Schwendy

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul  owned by Rolayn Schwendy

This quilt was made by Rolayne’s great, great aunt, Bertha Hill in 1885 or 1886. That young quiltmaker died of diphtheria soon after her sixteenth birthday.  This may have been the first and only quilt she ever made in her short lifetime.

Basket Stack by Paula Paganucci

Basket Stack by Paula Paganucci

Basket Stack, by Paula Paganucci maintains the feel of an antique quilt with 1800 reproduction fabric.  It was made ins 2006 and is hand quilted.

Sashiko Flowers by Penny Finney

Sashiko Flowers by Penny Finney

A small wall quilt, this embodies the feel of the Orient with sashiko style quilting.

Color Our Town by Pat Boni

Color Our Town by Pat Boni

This whimsical piece by Pat Boni falls into the art quilt category with shapes that transform into figurative birds flying into the sky.

Modern Morris by Sue Marra

Modern Morris by Sue Marra

Sue Marra’s quilt was created from a pattern by William Morris. The applique and stitchery on this piece is exquisite.

Beach Memories by Dorothy Najarian

Beach Memories by Dorothy Najarian

Although this quilt was hung with a vertical aspect, I rotated the image to save space in this blog post.  Dorothy machine pieced and appliqued this Cathedral Window design as a bed runner.

Bow Tie by Ruth Powers and Lilly Lucier

Bow Tie by Ruth Powers and Lilly Lucier

Bow Tie was machine pieced and quilted using Civil War Reproduction Fabric.  It is one of the larger quilts in the exhibit.

America The Beautiful by Frances Conner

America The Beautiful by Frances Conner

Frances says this of her quilt, “It is based on the song ‘Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties . . . ‘

Twin Rivers Quilt Raffle 2014

Twin Rivers Quilt Raffle 2014

But, the Twin Rivers Raffle Quilt for 2014 is surely the centerpiece of the entire exhibit!! It is one of the finest raffle quilts I have ever seen, hand appliqued and quilted with extraordinary needle work!  I had to leave a bunch of dollars with them in the hopes of it coming to live at my New Mexico home!  However; winning for me is unlikely.  Despite the hundreds or thousands of raffle tickets I have purchased, not one winning ticket has ever been owned by me.

Chris Gillespie's Giraffe Quilt

Chris Gillespie’s Giraffe Quilt

Lastly, my hostess-with-the-mostest, Chris Gillespie’s Giraffe Quilt was hanging right outside the exhibit hall!  It’s a beautiful piece, as is her T-shirt featuring Red-winged Blackbirds!!! Oh, my!  What fun they have in North Carolina!!! I wish I could have stayed longer.

 

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Shades of the Southwest – Call for Entries

The American Quilter’s Society, QuiltWeek® Show will take place in Albuquerque in January 2015!  I am so excited that I, and Donna Barnitz will be curating an exhibit of Southwestern Quilts, “Shades of the Southwest”, for the show!  The dates of the Show are January 14-17, 2015!  Watch for more details on the AQS website and in magazines and other media.

Storyteller, by Gail Garber 1984.  Design by Fran Soika, Novelty, OH

Storyteller, by Gail Garber 1984. Design by Fran Soika, Novelty, OH

Part of the reason I am so excited is because some of my earliest published quilts were southwestern applique designs.  I learned the needle turn method of hand applique back in 1984 from Fran Soika, when she was the guest speaker and workshop teacher at my quilt guild, the New Mexico Quilter’s Association.  In addition to needle-turn, Fran taught us to use one strand of embroidery floss and an outline stitch to outline all the detail in a design, a technique that I use to this day.  Learning this method opened a whole new world of design possibilities for me, and I ran with it.  It was this quilt that lead me into the quilting world of teaching and was the technique that I primarily taught up until about 1990.

We seek a wide variety of quilts that interpret this theme.  There are no size, style, or age requirements for this exhibit which will include 30 quilts to be displayed at this show.  Additionally, there is no entry fee.

Emily, by Gail Garber, © 1990

Emily, by Gail Garber,
© 1990

Do you have a quilt that interprets this theme?   If not, do you have an idea you’ve just been itching to create?  Entries are due no later than November 1, 2014.  No more than two entries will be accepted from one individual. Quilters, whose quilts are accepted for the exhibit will be notified by November 10, 2014.

For complete entry information and entry form, please click the link below.

Shades of the Southwest Exhibit Announcement and Entry Form

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Quilting with Kids – Bosque Farms School

Last spring, I was honored to be invited to teach a quilting class for the “Art Day” at Bosque Farms Elementary School.  It was organized by music teacher, Sherilyn Welton, the music teacher for that school.  Each year, they hold a special day to explore various themes, and this year, it was the ARTS.  I would be teaching back to back classes for all grade levels, all day long.  Now, for standard classroom teaching, this is a normal thing.  However, for a quilting instructor, it presented a whole new challenge.  What would be suitable for kindergarteners and fifth graders?  I opted for two different projects with overlap for the youngest students.  Fortunately, I got to practice on the older students first.

Fun with Strips!

Fun with Strips!

My pattern was the traditional Log Cabin Block.  I printed enough papers so each student would have their own block.  In advance of the class, I pre-cut strips that fit exactly into the various log shapes, in light and dark values (with a little help from my friend, Michele Hymel – okay a LOT of help!).  Then, on each table of the classroom, I placed one set of strips.  For instance, all the 1″ x 3″ strips were on one table, and all the 1″ x 5″ strips were on another table.  Students had to travel among the tables to collect all  the strips they would need to complete the blocks.

Gathering Strips

Gathering Strips

Before the students got started, I showed them a traditional Log Cabin quilt and we talked about how each block needed light values on one side and dark values on the other side to make it work.  The individual log cabin papers also were labeled with ‘light’ and ‘dark’ in the appropriate strips to help students remember.  Each table also had enough glue sticks so no sharing was needed.

Student with completed Log Cabin block

Student with completed Log Cabin block

It didn’t take long at all for the older students to catch on!  It was really interesting how individual  students perceived color.  Some, like this girl, worked hard to try to collect the same light and dark fabrics in the various strip sizes.

Students with random lights and dark in her quilt block.

Students with random lights and dark in her quilt block

This young lady kept her lights and darks on the appropriate side, but opted for wide variation in the individual strips.

Student with completed block.

Student with completed block.

Interestingly, the colors selected by the male students were markedly different than the pastels often chosen by the females.

More student blocks

More student blocks

The room was buzzing as students mingled among the various tables.  We had only about 30 minutes to complete the project before they would move on to the next class.

Building Blocks

Building Blocks

As the blocks were completed, students worked to arrange them into various designs.

Completed blocks, group 1

Completed blocks, group 1

Then, they posed for the photo of their group project, although each student took home their own block.

Bosque Farms School Quilting Art Class

Bosque Farms School Quilting Art Class

Depending on the size of the class (student-wise), some block sets were larger than others.  And, some students opted for total creativity and did not adhere to the suggested color arrangements.  Check out the boy in the center of the photo.
What worked really well for students in grades 3-5, was not at all successful for the youngest students.  Fortunately, I had anticipated this and had another plan for them.  Using greatly thinned down acrylic paints, we made a painted hand-stamped piece of fabric with a hand print from each student. While one student came up, put on the paint shirt and got their hand stamped, the others were given the same log cabin blocks but asked only to make a design of their own choosing on the paper using the strips leftover from the other classes. They had great fun with this and came up with some very interesting designs – but I was so busy with hand stamping that I didn’t get any photos of that.

Painted Hand Print Quilt Top

Painted Hand Print Quilt Top

What a fun day I had.  I hope the students enjoyed it too.  Boy, was I pooped at the end of the day!  Thanks, Sherilyn, for making this all come together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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New Year and New Beginnings

As I sit down to write this I realize that it has been almost a month since my last post.   I apologize for slacking off during the holidays this year.  However, even though I haven’t been posting, I have not been idle!

Butterfly Filigree

Butterfly Filigree  

Many thanks go to my longtime friend and colleague, Donna Barnitz, who came up with the idea for the filigree work.  The butterflies are part of a quilt in progress and this was our first attempt, using UltraSuede and hand painted fabrics from Mickey Lawler, of SkyDyes.  This work in progress let loose an entire Pandora’s box of ideas for similar work.  Next up on my list of projects was to design the Hawks Aloft raffle quilt for 2014.  (Pam Eastman, of Edgewood, NM, won the 2013 quilt.)

Cooper's Hawk in Flight.  Image by Doug Brown.

Cooper’s Hawk in Flight. Image by Doug Brown.

Through my work at Hawks Aloft, I am very fortunate to know some incredible photographers, like Doug Brown, who allow us to use their images in our public outreach, and social media pages.  Donna and I came up with the idea of doing a filigree bird for the 2014 quilt.  Actually, the idea was more hers than mine.  So, we started looking at Doug’s images and settled on the above image of a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk in flight.  Of course, our work would only be an interpretation of the image, not a literal translation.

One Hawk

One Hawk

The silhouette of the hawk fit perfectly into the space that it needed to fill.  Donna traced the shapes onto fusible web that we then fused to UltraSuede.  Then, we cut out the shapes including all the filigree spaces within the larger shape.  Donna thought that adding an emblem unique to New Mexico, would enhance the overall design, hence the Zia symbol.  We divided up the cutting out process among five of us, Donna, Afton Warrick, Mary Chappelle, Laurie Marnell and yours truly.  Once those were cut out, we cut another piece of fabric, a batik, and placed it beneath the UltraSuede and fused everything to a background.  All was well, except that we weren’t comfortable that the fusible would be secure enough without extra stitching.  And, we had only seven days in which to complete all 12 of the hawks!!!

Afton Warrick and Donna Barnitz

Afton Warrick and Donna Barnitz

We had a stitching party two days ago, with the goal of getting all the zigzag stitching around the outside of the hawks.  Donna, Afton, Laurie and Laurie’s dog, Barry, joined me!  Oh, what fun we had!

Laurie and Barry

Laurie and Barry

Barry was especially helpful as he helped folks do special things, like washing our hands with his large tongue and wagging tail.  Actually, the best part was that Barry got along so well with my dogs, Gabby and Laney, that they wore each other out and had to take loooong naps later in the afternoon.

The Sewers - Laurie Afton Donna Barnitz, and Laurie Marnell

The Sewers – Laurie Marnell,  Afton Warrick, Donna Barnitz

We began stitching at 10:30 a.m. and by 3 p.m. all 12 hawks had been secured with Superior Threads Invisible Polyester Thread.  We stuck them to my design wall so we could photograph our handiwork.

Afton the Angel

Afton the Angel

Afton even sprouted a pair of wings for her angelic efforts!

Birds on Design Wall

Birds on Design Wall

And, here they are – 12 hawks adorning the wall, interspersed with other works in progress.  After my sewing buddies all went home, one more task remained: trimming all the hawk blocks to size and stitching the circular border together.  Then, I also added the outer border to square it up!

Raffle Quilt 2014 - Sneak Peek

Raffle Quilt 2014 – Sneak Peek

And here it is!  The official Quilt Retreat takes place next weekend at the cabin in the Jemez Mountains.  We will have 12 quilters on hand, and we hope to complete the remainder of the quilt top in one day!  Do you think we can do it?

Stay tuned . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something to be Thankful For: International Quilt Festival’s Pet Postcards

It seems appropriate to share this post on this Thanksgiving holiday.  I am thankful for all of the kindhearted people to open their hearts and homes to homeless animals.  I could not help but notice one entire Special Exhibit at International Quilt Festival.  The quilts were all about Dogs and Cats, each one cuter than the previous one!

Doggieminiums, by Pauline Salzman, Treasure Island, FL

Doggieminiums, by Pauline Salzman, Treasure Island, FL

At first glance, Doggieminiums by Pauline Salzman, appears to be a dog house quilt.  But on closer inspection charming little dog fabrics were inserted into many of the houses and most of the fabrics were dog prints of some sort.  Dog are one of my most favorite animals in the world and my house is home to my two current rescue dogs, Gabby and Miss Elaenia, both Cairn Terriers.  In addition to the Cairns, nine feathered kids, a.k.a. raptors, all of whom have a disability that permanently prevents their release to the wild, also call this place home (but they live in large flight cages out back, with heated perches and water bowls).

Doggieminiums Detail

Doggieminiums Detail

Pauline writes about her quilt, “The rules are different here.  No one over 120 pounds.  Howling and barking are allowed before 10 p.m.  No growling is ever permitted.  Poop patrol is provided and there is a grooming and nail salon on site.  Pool at the club house is always open, no peeing in the pool  All doggie doors on ‘garage’; dog houses must be closed at dusk for the night . . . Association fees are one bone per month, penalty if late.  Late fees are one more bone.”

Pet Postcards

Pet Postcards That Came Home with Yours Truly

Pet Postcards raises funds by selling fabric postcards with  100% of the proceeds go to Friends For Life, Houston’s only no-kill animal shelter and rescue organization.  It’s the brain child of Pokey Bolton,  the Chief Creative Officer at Quilts, Inc., the company that puts on all of the International Quilt Festivals and Markets (among other fun, quilt-y endeavors).  Pokey’s goal for the 2013 International Quilt Festival was to raise $40,000 in the second year of the Festival’s Pet Project.  Would all of us pet lovers purchase enough of the post cards, which were totally adorable, to meet that hope!

Gabby and Miss Elaenia, now longtime, comfortable members of the Garber Family.

Gabby and Miss Elaenia, now longtime, comfortable members of the Garber Family.

The big question was — would we visitors to the largest quilt show in the world buy enough of the little postcards to achieve the goal?  Pokey was nervous!

But thanks to the generosity of quilters from around the world who made more than 1400 fabric postcards, to those who purchased postcards at Quilt Festival, and to those who additionally donated money, in total

THEY RAISED $40,666.18!!!

Pokey writes, “THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR HELPING US GET TO THIS AMOUNT!  Thanks to your support, animals who wouldn’t have had a chance at life, will. They will be spayed/neutered, medically attended, cared for in foster situations, and find forever homes.”

Thank you, Pokey and Quilts Inc, for this Pet Project.  I hope that I can make some postcards for next year’s show! For sure, I will be back with wallet in hand!

 

 

 

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