Gail Garber Designs

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Quilts by Others

Meet Diane Kirkhart

Diane with the “Summer Lily” quilt that she made from one of Jinny Beyer’s patterns.

My recent trip to Virginia came about thanks to Diane Kirkhart, who was the program chair for the Quilter’s Unlimited Quilt Guild in the Washington, DC area.   Diane specializes in applique and hand quilting and she also works at the Jinny Beyer studio in Great Falls, VA.   Above, Diane poses with her hand-quilted Summer Lily quilt that she made from one of Jinny’s patterns.

Diane teaches at the Studio where one of her classes, “Back Basted Needle Turn Applique”, is quite popular.  Above the appliqued flowers are enhanced with Tsukineko Inks. The class generally has a waiting list and she teaches this often.

Diane with “Midnight Garden”, in progress.

Midnight Garden is a dual design by Diane and Jinny.  Jinny designed the piecing and Diane designed the applique.  Diane hand quilts using a hoop in her lap.  Her quilting is exquisite.

Midnight Garden detail

Autumn Leaves in Virginia

In mid-October, when I visited, the leaves were turning brilliant shades of golden and scarlet.   I enjoyed my visit with Diane, her husband Kenny, mom Bonnie, and her friend Betty Osweiler.   It was a full and fun house, so much so that even the wildlife came by to visit.

Mom and baby white-tailed deer stopped by for dinner!  The protected woods behind Diane’s place are home to several deer.  What a treat!


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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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Into the City

Many, many thanks to Gayle Brown, the outstanding program chairwoman for the Connecticut Piecemakers, who offered to drive me into New York City so I could have dinner with my daughter, Christi!  What a treat!

Our first stop was The City Quilter !   I got to meet Cathy Izzo and her husband and learn about the history of this remarkable shop.  It is a must see if you are in NYC.

The gallery featured the art quilts of Lisa Call.  Below are just a few of the works on display.

The gallery even had the proverbial carpet dog lounging in the corner.

Imagine my surprise when I met fellow teacher, Emily Shuff Klainberg, who was setting up for a class that evening.

And the. . . .

My daughter, Christi Garber, arrived at the shop — to shop!!  She’s taking classes at the Fashion Institute nearby!

But, by far and away, the highlight of my day was getting to have dinner with Christi and friends.  It was the perfect day!

Good-bye New England!  It was fun!  Now, on to Memphis for a different kind of adventure.

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Notable Nebula

This gorgeous quilt, called Nebula, was created by Barbara Daly Blanchard who took my class in Lancaster in 2010.

Nebula by Barbara Daly Blanchard

Here’s what Barbara has to say about creating this beauty:

“Nebula was created for a fabric challenge. I’d wanted to do a quilt with a collection of intersecting circles for some time, and thus Nebula was created. I began by drafting the circles before I worried about filling them, which was comparatively easy. The circles of flying geese and spirals were a further attempt to add complexity. The entire quilt was pieced, with the exception of three center circles, two in the top two stars, and one in the bottom star – piecing them was simply out of the question. The squares were drafted last as an attempt to add some color contrast and geometric diversity.

The most interesting challenge turned out to be working with so many small pieces and still getting a flat quilt. It would have been far easier with larger circles, but the fabric challenge had a limit of 120″ on the perimeter.”

This complex quilt is only 25″ by 35″! Barbara also shared that she has entered the quilt in two different shows and received quite different comments from the judges.

“I entered it in one quilt show and it got absolutely brutalized by the judges. I’ve never seen so many picky comments and excessive fault-finding. Talk about quilt-Nazis! So, I entered it back into another quilt show and got a totally different set of comments, which were more positive and constructive.”

I think all of us who have entered our quilts in competition can relate to what Barbara experienced. We shouldn’t let critical comments hurt our feeling or impede our creativity, but we should try to learn what we can from them. On a personal note, I have been asked to judge a number of shows and I can tell you from experience how hard it is to choose between the many beautiful quilts on dispolay and to put my personal preferences aside while judging.

Good luck to all who enter their quilts in shows! Thanks Barbara, for sharing your beautiful quilt with us.

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A Few Days in Connecticut, Chapter Three

Dresden Plate Front View

Show and Tell is my favorite part of every quilt guild meetings.  The Connecticut Piecemakers have some incredible quiltmakers among them and show and tell was spectacular!  Here are just a few of the cool quilts that were shown at their October 2012 meeting.  The Dresden Plate quilt was created by Nicki Johnson.  Check out the back view of this quilt that shows off the extensive quilting.

Dresden Plate Quilt – back view

A Thrift Store Special

Found wadded up in a basket in a thrift store, this quilt top was purchased for $5!  What a steal!

Red, black and white quilt!  A creation by Phil Gold.

A beauty created by JoAnne Fabry and Lee Hicks. The blocks were discovered when Lee held a sale of her fabrics and JoAnne volunteered to stitch them all together!

One of the Connecticut Piecemakers Charity Quilts, stitched by Kathy Chisholm.




Baby Quilt for a very lucky babe!

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A Few Days in Connecticut

Quilt by Mickey Lawler

My first trip to Connecticut has been marked by some real highlights!  First of all,  I discovered that one of my favorite artists, Mickey Lawler, of SkyDyes, lives right in Hartford.  Better yet, I got to visit with her on my first free day, after I taught a class for the Apple Valley Quilters in Southington.  Above is one of Mickey’s fabulous quits.  It hangs in her living room.

Mickey shows off her painting outdoor painting tables. Soon, it will be time to move everything indoors for the winter.

The painting table

Look at that gorgeous fabric, all stretched out in the autumn sun!

After checking out the outdoor painting area, we moved indoors to Mickey’s studio to look at her works in progress.

She’s currently working on a series of small quilts that will be framed for sale in a local gallery.  And lastly, after a cup of tea and a good chat, we got to touch and feel, and BUY some of her incredible hand-painted fabrics!

Gayle Brown, Connecticut Piecemakers, shows off one of the newer style painted fabrics – Sand Painting!

What a fun day that was!  I have a feeling that there are many fun adventures in store for me up here in New England!

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Visit this Pumpkin Patch!

It always amazes me to see the creative ways in which students and readers of my books adapt my techniques to their very own creations. Recently I discovered Sharon Schutt’s blog Five Shadows. She used the filler strip ideas in my book, Flying Colors, to enhance her pumpkin design in the mug rugs she is making. Here are some pictures of her cute little pumpkins!

Pumpkin with Flying Geese Insert

Pumpkin with Flying Geese Insert

Pumpkin with Triangle Insert

Pumpkin with Triangle Insert

i just love the creative use Sharon has made of filler strips. Thanks for sharing this on your blog, Sharon!

If any one else has made a quilt using filler strips or other ideas from my books or classes, please send me a photo at

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