Gail Garber Designs

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Hancock’s of Paducah

Hancock's of Paducah

Hancock’s of Paducah

Or, perhaps it should be called Mecca for Quilters!  Although I had been to Paducah many times, I had never before crossed the threshold of one of the largest quilt shops anywhere, Hancock’s of Paducah.  Seems that on every othervisit, either there were so many quilters already inside that I couldn’t get in the door, OR, I forgot that they close at 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays!

Hancock's Main Showroom

Hancock’s Main Showroom

Hancock’s certainly lived up to my expectations and more!  In fact, it was completely overwhelming.  All the fabrics are arranged by manufacturers in LOOOOOONNNNNNG rows.  Everything you could possibly want is here.  The trick is finding, and deciding on the ones that speak to you.

The Back Room

The Back Room

And, if the main showroom isn’t enough to keep one entertained, the back warehouse holds bin after bin of kits, fabric packs and everything else your heart might desire.  It was a very hard place to leave but we had an appointment at the museum.  Yes, we did all leave some $$$ there with the fine folks at Hancock’s!

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Embellishment and Embroidery in Virginia

Kath Heslep and her embellished, embroidered T-shirt

Check out this cool T-shirt!  Kath Heslep, who was in my Goose is Loose class for Quilter’s Unlimited that I taught the second weekend in October 2012.   Kath bought the t-shirt, but then spent the 10-hour drive to the AQS show in Paducah hand embroidering the spaces between the pattern.

Detail of Kath Heslep shirt

I love the detail!  Great design, Kath!  Quilters are so creative!

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Pocket Purses

Pocket Purses by Donna Barnitz

My good friend, Donna Barnitz, came over for dinner a couple of nights ago.  Donna often designs for the magazine, Altered Couture.   This night, she showed off these two little pocket purses that she designed.  Each was made from the pockets of wool suit jackets that she had rescued from a thrift store.   I always love her creativity and enthusiasm.

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A Few Days in Connecticut, Chapter 4

It was a gorgeous afternoon at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Connecticut.  Gayle Brown, program chair for the Connecticut Piecemakers took me out there to see the 9/11 Memorial for victims that were residents of Connecticut.  It was very moving.

It was to this location that many CT residents came to watch the fires burning across Long Island Sound on that terrrible day.

The flowers that surround the name plates of those who perished are made from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

A juvenile Herring Gull basked in the sun that afternoon. . .

and someone had built a cairn from beach rocks on the picnic table . . .

and arranged rocks in a row, evidence left by others who had visited the site, possibly children.

God bless America


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Indigo Dyeing with Rice Paste Resist

Dragonfly Dress

Here’s the dragonfly dress that required several days of pasting using my favorite stencil, Donna’s dragonfly.  Each time I pasted a section, I had to wait for it to dry before moving on to another part.

Charles Dips in Indigo

My friend, Charles, also loves indigo dyeing.  He pasted several items and came over so we shared a big dipping day in the vat!

Canoe Rack for Drying

Here are a few of his treasures drying in the sun.  Charles was making holiday gifts, well in advance of the season.  Actually, in 2011, we discovered that the best time to dip was on a blisteringly hot day.  That’s because the pieces with resist dry more quickly so we can get more than one dip in an afternoon.

Dragonfly Dress – Early Dips

Here, you can see the graduated colors that occur with multiple dips.  However, since the dress is long, dipping only the lowest portion required a little help.

Getting Taller

Every home should have a tallish step stool so the dipper can be taller than the vat!

Dragonfly Dress – back view

Here’s the back view of my dragonfly dress.  It was finished in time for me to wear it to the costume party for my dance group.  The theme was “the blues”.  I love this dress.  Having an indigo vat inspires me to buy white garments so I have more stuff to dip.

I hope that I can keep this year’s vat going into next summer.   I’ve never before gotten such dark blues from one of my vats!  If you have a chance, think about taking a class from John Marshall or Karen Miller.  You will be glad you did!



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My Indigo Vat

Sandhill Crane resist on cotton.

I know I’ve been lax in posting to my blog lately!  But, although I haven’t been posting, I have been doing!  And, doing lots of different stuff!  One of my favorite types of dyeing is making up an indigo vat to get those lovely shades of blue that only an indigo vat can achieve.  I took a class from John Marshall a while back and with thee help of my good friend, Donna Barnitz, we cooked up a new vat in late July!

Cooking up rice paste resist

The next step is to mix up a batch of rice paste resist.  After the first mix, we form donuts of dough and put them into the rice steamer.

Stirring rice paste resist

Almost done now!  After the steaming, we add a few more ingredients and stir it up into a smooth paste – ready to apply to the fabrics.  We made stencils for pasting in a previous class with Karen Miller.  I only made one stencil but Donna made several! Sorry, no images of the pasting part — I forgot to take photos.  We pasted and pasted.  And then set the pasted pieces aside to dry.  Sometimes the pasting can take several days as we wait for one part to dry before pasting more on the same piece.

A good, oxygen free indigo vat

So, we began by dyeing socks!  A good indigo vat has a wonderful, earthy smell and is oxygen free.  Here, you see the white sock, either bamboo or cotton, scrunched up on a PVC tube.

Sock Dipping

When the fabrics are immersed into the vat, they turn an emerald shade of green.

Scrunched Socks

Once they are pulled from the vat and exposed to oxygen, they turn that gorgeous shade of blue.  To get a darker color, multiple dips are necessary.

Drying indigo dyed socks

Here are our first six socks, drying in the shade.  I love this technique. Thanks, Donna, for thinking it up!


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Oh baby!

Does it sometimes seem like everyone you know is having a baby or grandbaby at the same time? That’s happened to me lately! And of course I don’t have any extra baby quilts on hand for gifts. So I ordered some tiny white baby socks and onesies from Dharma Trading Company and dyed them to match. I think they are very cute and they will look even cuter when they are worn by a baby.

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Happy 2011!

Here at Gail Garber Designs, I am very excited to announce my new website. It was designed by Michele Foster of the Quilting Gallery, and I think it just looks fabulous! After several months of redesign and updates, I am thrilled with the new feel of this site. There are many new photos of my quilts as well as those of student quilts. When you open the gallery, just click on a thumbnail to open a full-size image.

You’ll want to visit the store section where you’ll find information on my favorite products. The teaching section includes all of the information necessary if you are interested in a class or lecture for your group. There is also a handy calendar section that details my upcoming appearances. I hope you find the website easy to navigate and helpful.

Soon, I’ll begin sending out a quarterly newsletter with tips, projects, student photos and more. If you wish to subscribe, simply click on the link at the top of the homepage that says subscribe.

In April 2011, I will be off to New Zealand for a quilting and textile tour of that country with several of my favorite quilting friends. The tour will feature participation in the biannual National Symposium – Remarkables 2011, this time held in Queenstown on South Island. We’ll visit artists in their studios, learn about Maori culture and fiber art, visit quilt shops, view native wildlife, and much more. For complete information, see the tours section tab on the homepage. While you’re there also look for the information on the 2012 Paper Piecing Quilt Cruise with myself, Carol Doak and Eileen Sullivan!

If you haven’t had a chance to become a friend on Facebook, please do. I love keeping up with my friends and students!

Another exciting happening for 2011 is the addition of Michele Hymel to my office. She and longtime assistant Donna Barnitz crack the whip and keep me organized and in control. Life is never dull here. Look for their profiles in our first newsletter. The three of us are looking forward to brainstorming new ideas, sewing up beautiful quilt designs and sharing new ideas with all of you.

So, here’s to a fabulous 2011!


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