Thursday, October 22, 2015

TBT - Callaliope

Funny Things Happened on the Way to Guild

Early in my quilting career I discovered Quilter's Attic in Goodlettsville, TN, the closest local quilt shop at the time. I don't recall where I heard of them but I do remember that in 2001 I purchased the fabric for my first finished quilt (Double Pinwheel) there.  That's also where I learned about my first guild from a little brochure next to the cash register.  While the shop has changed hands a couple of times, it still thrives in the ancient building that is it's second home.

Bethany Reynolds had just introduced her Magic Stack 'n' Whack technique a few years before and I was intrigued by the kaleidoscopic look of her designs. When a class was being offered at Quilter's Attic, I jumped at the chance. 

I must have had the fabric requirements in mind when I purchased the fabric -- a very large calla lily on a dark purple background -- because otherwise I can't imagine why I would have bought such a large amount of such a bold print!

The pattern we used was "Half-Square Triangle Magic" from Bethany's first book. After we mastered the stacking and whacking, construction of the blocks began.

If you've ever done a kaleidoscope quilt you know how addictive it can be, wanting to see how the next block will look.

I had no idea what to use for the background.  In fact, the teacher recommended we wait till we had a few blocks mocked up before choosing a background (more sales for the shop!).  All I could find that supported the colors in the blocks was a bold yellow with a purple dot in it. Decision made, construction continued.

After I had the blocks made I was auditioning their position in the quilt on the den floor with help from my husband.  Since none of these colors was in my home's decor, either then or now, I made the comment that I didn't know WHO could possibly want this quilt. To which my husband replied, "you're not giving that quilt away!"

Alex's Quilt - Callaliope
When I proudly showed the quilt at the next guild meeting, someone in the back of the room said, "I would never have used THAT fabric!" I assumed she was referring to the background.  I was hurt and it was a long time before I ever showed anything again.  (Note to Self: be careful what you say about a quilt.)  Now, with the passage of time, I want to interpret her comment as a compliment, as in "Wow, I would never have thought to use such a lovely fabric in the background!"

It's been almost 15 years and my husband naps under that quilt every day.

Linking up with Krista Quilts and Jen at A Quarter Inch from the Edge for Throwback Thursday.

Monday, October 19, 2015

How Many Shades of Gray?

Do you go through color "phases"?

I am currently in my "gray phase."  Seems I simply can't get enough gray ... and yellow.

While I had accumulated a few pieces of gray/yellow fabric in the last few years, my recent purchase in Indianapolis has kick-started a gray/yellow fever in my soul.

Fat Sixth bundle from Quilt Quarters in Carmel, IN
I used this little bundle to make samples and step-outs for the Exploding Pineapple class I taught last week at Quilt Camp at Cedar Lakes.  This is what's on my design wall this Monday morning.

Exploding Pineapple Samples
I liked what I was doing so well that I enhanced my collections of grays and yellows with stops at Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough and Heavenly Stitches in Kingsport, TN.

Exploding Stash
And since I needed gas in Bowling Green, KY, I took the opportunity to stop in at Whittle's.

Yep, you guessed it -- more gray and yellow.

It does seem that travelling is my downfall.  If I'd just stay home and sew I'd use it up ... maybe. Heaven help me, I'm going to Shipshewana, IN in 3 weeks.  Lolly's here I come!

Statsh Status as of October 19, 2015

     In last two weeks:             20.00 yards
     Out last week:                    0.00 yards
     In year to Date:               199.50 yards
     Out Year-to-Date:           163.75 yards
     Net Used                           35.75 yards

Linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Quilt Camp Review - Part III

Days 3 and 4

Deer on the Back 40

Fire and Ice by Libby Smith 2014

My second class was French Braid.  Students could select any one of the 14 projects in Jane Hardy Miller's first book, French Braid Quilts.

We had three or four different projects going in a variety of fabrics.  Our goal was to finish one or two braids and get at least one separator strip attached so that all the steps would be covered in class.

Betty stitched late into the night and finished a small top, but she decided she would add another braid (or two) to make it bigger when she gets home.

Betty's Beauty

Unfortunately time was our enemy and not everyone got that far, but we had a great time with some really exciting projects in the works.

Joyce's Elegant Batiks

Susan's Icy Blues

Dave's Bright Batiks

Leigh's Modern Yellows and Grays

Wendy's Version of Fire and Ice

Quilt Camp Review - Part II

Days 1 and 2

Geese on the Pond
To me, the best part about Peg Bingham's Quilt Camp at Cedar Lakes is the 2-day classes.  There is enough time for me to do some in-depth teaching and time for the students to get a lot accomplished.

Black and Tan Pineapple
by Libby Smith 2014
My Monday-Tuesday Class was Exploding Pineapple.

The pattern is in Karin Hellaby's booklet Sew Simple Pineapple.  It is not a traditional pineapple block.  There is no special ruler required, no paper to tear off the back.  Instead, it's constructed from a series of squares in graduated sizes.  Start with two squares the same size, right sides together.  Stitch around all 4 sides, cut the top square diagonally in both directions and peel the resulting triangles back like the petals of a flower.  Add another square of this new larger size and repeat.

Peggy's Fussy-cut Centers
Yes, it's mindless, repetitive sewing, but sometimes that's just what we need. The hardest part is deciding which 6 fabrics you're going to use in any given block!

There was quite a variety among the students, from 19th century repros to modern brights. 

Wendy's Repros

Cher's Modern Brights

And organization went from 2-color combos to totally scrappy.

Cathy's Scrappiness
Sue's Planned Blocks

Kathy's Pinks and Browns

We were shooting for 80 blocks; finishes ranged from 20 to 60 (she worked the extra 2 days).  I can't wait to see the finished projects!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Quilt Camp Review - Part I

Sunday - Welcome to Cedar Lakes

Morning Fog on Cedar Lake
I was greeted at the Administration Building where I picked up my credentials and gift bag.

Gift Bag
In addition to the Camper's Handbook we received a nifty screw driver/flashlight combo, measuring tape, and a cute pin that says Rippity doo dah!

I had time to organize my classroom before the evening welcome festivities.  I was assigned a space in the Craft House that usually serves as the cooking classroom for Future Homemakers.

Kitchen Classroom

Other than a little lot of noise from the freezers, the room was spacious and served us well.  After dinner we reported to Assembly Hall to be welcomed by our host/organizer, Peg Bingham.

Peg at the Lectern
Eight vendors lined the outside walls of the assembly room, offering everything from fabric to patterns, to notions.

After Peg welcomed the 200+ campers, a parade of quilts from home followed.  Most people showed completed projects from last year's classes, including Peggy who showed her finished Wink & a Smile from my 2014 class.

Peggy's Wink & a Smile
See how Peggy's sashing changes the look from the pattern!

Wink & a Smile pattern (Nancy's version)
Returning to Cedar Lakes is like coming home with hugs from old friends and nervous smiles from new campers.  I had two terrific classes with such pleasant and accomplished students.  More reviews to follow.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Friday Finish

Two Classes!

Quilt Camp 2015 is over and I am happy to report that both of my classes went well.  I had enthusiastic students who accomplished alot and had a great time doing so.

I am too exhausted to file a full report, but I promise to do so as soon as I get home.  (Honestly, I don't know how Bonnie Hunter does it -- teaching and posting all the while!)

Here's a couple of photos from around the Cedar Lakes campus:

Craft House - Location of my classroom behind the little tree in the center

Dining Hall at Sunset
Scroll down through some of my last posts to see more.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

One Proud Teacher

The first two nights of Quilt Camp we have show-and-tell from home, with special prize opportunities for those who show completely finished projects from last year's classes.

Several of my students told me they had finished their projects but didn't think to bring them to show. One did, though, and it was a stunner!

Peggy's Wink & a Smile
Peggy took my suggestion of replacing the 9-patch centers with a 6-1/2" square.  She fussy cut fruits, vegetables, and other novelty prints and chose matching colors for her star points/arrows.

Green Peas with Green Arrows
She also made the quilt her own by adding a contrasting 3-piece sashing between the blocks.

The sashing gives the quilt an entirely different look from the pattern.  I admire such creativity from an octogenarian.

Hats off to Peggy!

Sweet Peggy in the red sweater in front.
From the photo you can get a glimpse of my kitchen classroom!  And can also tell what a fun group we had in class.

I've been too busy and exhausted to post anything.  Will try to catch up tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For

I wanted to avoid the heavy truck traffic on I-81 so I asked Gabby the Garmin to plot the shortest route, not the fastest, from Kingsport, TN to Ripley, WV.

Well, she took me at my word and, for the most part, the route was a lovely 4-lane divided highway that wound through the mountains of western Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and into northern West Virginia.  But there was this 10-mile stretch where she cut the hypoteneuse off the triangle -- single lane, winding through coal country -- and she didn't know about the bridge that had been replaced so I ended up going another 5 miles on that road because the only place to turn around was driveways where toothless old men were sitting on the porch.  I was kidding about the banjos on Saturday, but yesterday .....

In the end I made it to Quilt Camp in plenty of time to get my classroom set up before the teachers' meeting, dinner, and opening festivities.

I'm in the cooking and canning classroom!  Wait till you see it. I'll post pictures in the morning.  At least it's big and my class is small so we can spread out.

Hope everyone has a lovely week!

Keep Calm
Camp On!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Day Two

Forget Golf!

Saturday dawned with showers looming and the further northeast we drove, the colder and gloomier it got.  But we weren't daunted!

We headed up to Abingdon, Virginia and made an early stop at the Abingdon Vineyard & Winery. Not too far off the interstate and relatively easy to find with good directions, but as we wound down to the winery we might have heard banjos in the distance ... just sayin'. The gentleman behind the counter was very informative and since we were the only ones in the shop we had his undivided attention. 

The site is lovely, though, alongside a babbling brook which flows into a larger stream beyond the trees.

From there we headed up to my favorite mountaintop east of the Mississippi River.  It's in Grayson Highlands State Park, located within view of Mt. Rogers, the highest elevation in Virginia at 5,729 feet.  On a good day you can see that it is very craggy; today, however:

I could have taken a picture of my bed sheets and you'd have had the same impression!

Nevertheless, we forged on to the top and made our way to the Visitor Center where we learned a little more about the geology and wildlife in the area.

One thing I have to say about Virginians -- they are physically active, in spite of the weather.  There were large groups of people gathering on the mountain to hike and bike.  The Appalachian Trail winds through the park and there is a bike trail on an old railroad bed that goes through Damascus at the foot of the mountain.  Tons of folks, dressed appropriately for the weather, having a great time in the great outdoors.

We were at least 1,000 feet higher than yesterday when we were at Bays Mountain and we could see that Fall has fell up there (apologies, my dad was a Pogo fan). On the road up the maples had turned red and orange, but there was still a bit of green.

When we were able to see the mountainsides, they were mostly yellow and orange with very little green.

Back at the resort, watching football and getting ready to do some slow stitching on a binding.  I can't say enough what a joy it has been to be away from home with my husband doing nothing in particular.

I will try to report from my classes next week if I'm able to get on WiFi there.  Otherwise I'll write my posts and log in when I get home next Friday.

Hope you all have had a pleasant weekend!

First Full Day...

... of R&R

Main Man and I were in separate cars for the trip to Kingsport on Thursday since he will return home on Sunday when I go on to WV.  So I took advantage of my solitude and made a side trip to Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough where I did a little damage. 

My quest was to add some soft yellows and darker grays to the pack I had purchased in Indianapolis last month.  I am using those in my Exploding Pineapple class step-outs and I like them so well I want to make a whole quilt in those colors.   I stuck to my plan with only two exceptions.

The yellow Handmaids fabric goes with panels my secret sister gave me last year.  The diamond fabric -- well, I just couldn't resist it. Do you blame me?

We scrapped our plans for golf Friday due to rain and an aching back (not mine).  Instead we started our day at Countryside Winery.

Sipping wine at 10 a.m. -- kinda like mass except you can go back for seconds!

Our morning also included a drive through Warrior's Path State Park, a visit to the Gray Fossil Site and Natural History Museum (absolute fascinating!), and a walk around Bays Mountain city park. The fall colors are just beginning in this part of the state.

Bays Mountain Park
I managed to fit in a stop at Heavenly Stitches Quilt Shop in Kingsport where I added a few quarter yards to my earlier purchases.

And that's the highlights of Day One.  Bottom line: even though we went around several counties, it was a very restful day for both of us! 

Today, Saturday, we're off to another winery in Abingdon, Virginia and a picnic lunch at one of our favorite VA state parks.  And if the rain clears, we'll hit the driving range this afternoon.  I think that's all either of us can do at this point since we haven't played in over a year.  Stay tuned .....