Gail Garber Designs

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Quilts by Gail

The Full Circle.

Save Our Eagles © 1991 by Gail Garber and friends. Image by Mary Elkins.

Have you ever had one of those experiences that completely changes the direction of your life?  “Save Our Eagles” did just that for me.  Back in 1989, my friends and I offered to make a fund-raising raffle quilt for a local conservation organization.  Other than a love of the outdoors, I was not particularly interested in birds of any kind and had only a passing knowledge of raptors.  But, as we hand-stitched our quilt (like many quilts of that era), I met and fell in love with the group’s first educational raptor, a Red-tailed Hawk, named Red.  It had never occurred to me that being that close to a once wild bird was possible.  More than anything, I wanted to work with her.

Big Red (1989 – 2006). Image by Jerry Hobart.

So, I became a volunteer and eventually became an employee of the organization.  Big Red came to live in a large flight cage that we built for her behind my house.  Each day that she was part of my life was a blessing.  In 1994, we started Hawks Aloft, the non-profit that I continue to direct to this day.  We have a cadre of about 26 non-releasable educational raptors that we use to spread our conservation message.  The presence of the hawk, owl or falcon never fails to entrance children and adults alike.  I know, from personal experience, that a close up encounter with one of these magnificent creatures can change lives.

Hawks Aloft 2012 Raffle Quilt

Because I had been a quilter long before I started Hawks Aloft, we immediately set about making an annual raffle quilt to help raise funds.  Above is our 2012 quilt, stitched by 15 volunteers in one weekend at the cabin!  It was a blast and men, women and children help in its creation each year.  The winning raffle ticket will be drawn on December 1, 2012 at our annual holiday party!  If you would like to purchase a ticket, they are $1 each or 6 for $5.  You can purchase them on the Hawks Aloft website.  Just click on the icon for either single or multiple tickets.

Another occurrence in 2012 affected the lives of not only myself, but also many of my friends.   My friend and colleague in Gail Garber – the company, Michele Hymel, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  It was a huge surprise to all since Michele had never smoked and had always been physically active and fit.  As she was going through chemotherapy, we did what quilters do — we made a friendship quilt for her.  We put the word out and began collecting blocks.   Several of Michele’s friends from her work at the local utility company, PNM, contributed blocks.  We presented the quilt just as she was beginning the treatments.

Michele’s Friendship Quilt – 2012

And then, a funny thing happened.  A coworker of Michele’s contacted Ed Chappelle, who helped to organize the collection of blocks, to say that she had won a quilt a LONG time ago and wanted to donate it to Hawks Aloft for a fundraiser.  The quilt had a pair of eagles and a chick.   As I read his e-mail message, tears ran down my face, for I realized that it might very well be that very first quilt, the one that led me down this avenue of life.  Indeed, it WAS the quilt, the one that started it all, without which there might never have been a Hawks Aloft.

It is now part of my personal quilt collection and Hawks Aloft is $1,000 richer.  These funds will be used for well-deserved staff bonuses at year’s end, as approved by the Board of Directors.  Many thanks to Carol Palmer for this incredible donation!  And, to Ed Chappelle for making the right connections at the right time!  And, to all of you who have worked on the raffle quilts over our 18 year history.  It’s a small world, after all.


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Quilting Adventures in the Texas Hill Country – 2013

Quilting Adventures, Class of 2009

Speaking of the San Antonio Area, did you know that I will be teaching a five-day workshop for Quilting Adventures in Kerrville, TX, March 3-8, 2013?  I firmly believe that students learn and retain much more when they take a multi-day class because the information can be presented more slowly at a rate where it can be absorbed.  In addition, students  make really good progress toward the completion of their own original design.

Work in progress by Ann Gehin, Netherlands

Work in progress by Janice Schindeler, Houston, TX

Above are two works in progress from the class.  Because students have ample sewing time and can sew all day and all night, if desired, with all meals dished up by the resort (fantastic food!), they get a lot done!

Whimsical Hearts by Janice Schindeler

Janice designed and stitched this whimsical quilt for her husband, Harry, to whom she has been married for 40 years!  I love it!

Cupcake, by Janice Schindeler

And, Janice stitched this one up using the techniques taught in class.  It was for her daughter, who is a “cupcake”.   Are you interested in joining me in the Hill Country in March 2013?  I would love to spend a few days with you. Contact Quilting Adventures.

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Only in Texas, a Designer Bootique!

Flying Goose Boot by Holly Nelson

You might remember my post from earlier this year that featured this cool use of the Flying Goose Filler designed by Holly Nelson from Comfort, TX.  She was designing a “boot of the month” for her local quilt shop, Sew Special in Leon Springs, TX, just north of San Antonio.   Holly has this to say about the block, “It took me a long time to figure out how to get those flying geese onto a boot, as I kept trying to swirl them and twist them, but there is just so much space to work with.  I thought about putting a pieced star as a spur, but thought the ladies would mutiny.”

“The 12 boots went into a top called “Designer Bootique” (pardon the obvious pun).  It’s not quilted yet, but the top is done and I thought you’d like to see how it turned out.”

Designer Bootique by Holly Nelson

The pattern for “Designer Bootique” will be available in November through the shop and also can be ordered directly from Holly Nelson!   I just love the creativity in this one!

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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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A Few Days in Connecticut, Chapter 3.5

Wonky Hears by Rita Mencel

I loved the whimsy of this one!  Such fun we had at the guild meeting!


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Girl’s Weekend at the Cabin

Lindsey Sewing

A Girl’s Weekend at the cabin!  I love to retreat to my cabin in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico for a sewing weekend.  This time I asked my friend Lizzie and her daughter Rhianna, and my friend Chellye and her daughter Lindsey to join us!  I think it’s very important to pass along a love of sewing to the next generation.  Everyone brought whatever they wanted to sew.  It was Lindsey’s first time making a garment – a wrap skirt.

 Rhianna and Olivia Sewing
Rhianna brought her friend, Olivia, and they decided to make tote bags of their own design.
Dogs Sleeping
The Garber dogs held down the sofa while we stitched.
Girls with tote bags

The girls show off their new totebags.

Lindsey with the skirt she made

And here’s Lindsey’s stunning skirt, all finished in one day!

Chellye with her skirt

Chellye made a denim skirt with fringed edges, also completed in one day!

Lizzie with her bag

And, Lizzie completed the bag she had begun on our previous sewing day.

R&R at Soda Dam

Our sewing finished, we took a break to go down to the local swimming hole.

Wet kids, wet dogs, and a hot afternoon.  It was time to retire to the deck for libations!

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