Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Friendship quilts

This month seems to be a big month for making and giving friendship quilts. This is another "exquisite star" wall hanging done in white, with black and red star points. Our girlfriend Cathy turned 60 and her husband threw a surprise party for her. My quilt bee members each made her a block, signed it and wrote happy birthday messages for her. What better gift could a quilter ask for? I took a picture of her with it also, but for some reason my computer would not upload it. Well, here's the cute quilt anyway.

A couple of weeks ago we presented Lillian with her friendship quilt, she was so surprised and loved it.

I have been stitching up a storm but not able to show anything because their Christmas presents. I am able to show the flannel pillow case I made for my niece, she's in the Navy on a aircraft carrier, in a ocean on the other side of the world. I don't know if she's able to use the pillow case (and bright pink slippers I sent) but I thought it made a great Christmas card and she can save them for her home. The pillow case is full size I have it folded for the picture.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkins, squash, family and football

Last weekend I cooked down my pumpkins, measured the correct amounts, packaged and froze it for pumpkin pies. I also roasted 3 buttercup squash and froze that for muffins. There's nothing better this time of year than pumpkin pies and muffins with all the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

I made this quilt for my new little nephew. The mommy and daddy love football, so it's made from flannel football fabric, silk binding with "minkie dot" fabric on the back. What baby can resist that!

And this is the new 3 day old baby sound asleep in his quilt.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A little bit of everything

I went to a lecture last week, the guest speaker was Sue Spargo http://suespargo.blogspot.com . I love her work and am very inspired by it. She works with wool (dyed by her sister), velvets, cottons, beads, and trims etc. She does all her applique by hand, with a lot of layering and bead work. Please check out her blog. The following are just a few of her pieces. A winter table runner.

One of her wall hangings. She has patterns for sales for all these pieces.

Another wall hanging.

I especially like this piece, this was one of her childhood homes in S. Africa, with her story appliqued around it.

I also went to a fund raising dinner last weekend. It was titled Potters for Peace, Nicaragua. This non-profit group has developed a water filtration system to help people have drinkable water. This is a small sample piece of what the pottery filter looks like. The potters from the different villages make the filters. To help raise money to buy kilns for the potters to fire the pottery filters in they had a pottery sale, the pottery was made in Nicaragua by the potters. (I hope this rambling makes sense).

This is how the filter system works, you pour the water into this cup like insert, the water filters through and come out the hole that has a spout attached. Such a simple system that could save thousands of lives around the world. And since it's usually the young girls that walk and haul the water home for the families, this may free some up so they can go to school.

This is some of the pottery that was for sale.

And a few hand-woven baskets.

There also was a "Taste of Nicaragua" dinner, with traditional Nicaragua foods. This old Nicaraguan water picture was on the buffet table.

This was the piece I bought. Doesn't this look like me?

Back to Laura's cottage where my girlfriends and I wrapped leaves in silk scarves and steamed them. This is Laura's printed with white birch leaves she picked on her walk. She added on a beaded edge along the bottom. Beautiful.

This is a quilt in progress, when ever we go to Laura's cottage we all make her an Exquisite Star block with the fabrics that we were working with while there. Then write a message on one of the squares. It's always fun to look back at the top and read it, what memories it brings.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quilt Camp

Last Tuesday my girlfriends and I went for a week long quilt retreat, wow, you can get a lot done when there are no "real world" interruptions. All we did was quilt and eat, I think I put on 5 pounds, quilters are such good cooks!

We rented a cottage, this was our view from our sewing area, it over looks the channel that flows into Lake Michigan.
We watched the birds and ducks all week.

We had this new pattern called Lil' Twister by Marsha Bergren. You start out piecing your whole quilt with squares and put on the boarders.

Then you use this plexie-glass template (by Lil' Twister), position it on the intersections of each corner, cut the fabric around it, carefully move it into a new postition, then resew it all back together.

If you do it correctly, this is what it looks like. Fun pinwheels with a great pieced boarder.

Mary (the over achiever) then took her scraps left over from the pin wheel quilt and pieced them together to make this miniature pinwheel quilt, it's so cute. She also made this beautiful table runner and many, many more projects. She barely stops sewing to sleep!

This is Kay's version done in batiks.

Martha made a small wallhanging. Before

and after.

Deb's pieced blocks (Deb and I wanted large lap quilt size when they were finished so we started with a lot more bigger squares). The finished quilt is about 1/3 smaller when finished.

Debs finished quilt made with reproduction fabrics.

And mine, started out the size of a queen size bed,

And finished a large lap quilt. One thing about me I hate piecing (but love the look of pieced quilts), I would rather applique by hand or do machine quilting, so this was a challenge for me to piece the quilt and then cut it up and re-piece it back together. That said, I love the finished quilt. I did add an extra boarder at the end.

This was our view from our ironing board, I don't think I've ever ironed with a more beautiful view.

We also worked on many, many more different quilt projects, here are a few. Kay pieced this black and white with batik stars quilt as a wedding quilt for her granddaughter. This picture does not do it justice.

Our dear quilting friend is very ill and was not able to come with us, she loves Moda fabrics so we went and bought some and pieced her a friendship quilt. As soon as it's quilted we'll present it to her.

And Deb H. this picture is for you, Deb C. machine quilting! She said she finally has the confidence to do it after taking a class from you! She does a nice job.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Experience Rwanda

Friday night my girlfriend and I went to a fund raiser for a nonprofit organization called Koinonia, this organization works to modernize education, implement clean and renewable energy sources, and create strong communities that promote a safe and healthy standard of living in Rwanda. The Dr. who started the organization began in 1995 following the genocide in Rwanda and resulting refugee crisis. Tonight's fund raiser was to raise funds for a solar power system and computers at a secondary school in Rwamagana, Rwanda. Only 6% of the population in Rwanda has access to electricity.
The event was titled "Experience Rwanda". I love how they had the tables covered with African fabrics, we ate traditional Rwandan food while Rwandan music played in the background.

Clever vases on the tables with rope tied on the outside and some African flowers used in them

When you walked in you were given a little gift bag made with African fabrics.

A little market to purchase hand-made Rwandan crafts.

And inside the package was hand-woven ear rings, a wooden bottle opener, Rwandan tea and coffee.

After leaving my wool bundles processing about 5 days I opened them, they came out so nice. The fabric was premordanted with alum, then while I was up camping on the Tahquamenon river I soaked the fabric in the river water overnight, the water has a high concentrate of tannin from all the roots of the trees along the river (that's why the water falls are copper color) and I think the tannin helped capture the leaves colors beautifully. From left to right-sumac, oak, and white birch. Someday they will be cut up and used in a quilt.
Tomorrow I leave for a week on another quilt retreat with my other quilt bee I belong to, we rented a little cottage on a waterway that runs into Lake Michigan. Their should be a lot of beautiful scenery to see and a lot of beautiful quilts made. See you next week!

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo