Last summer I had the good fortune to join up with a group of fairly inexperienced quilt bloggers for the 2015 New Quilt Blogger’s Blog Hop. It was a wonderful experience and I learned so much from the other bloggers, and even more from the four leaders of the Blog Hop. One of the projects that resulted from the Blog Hop was the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog Hop. About seventy quilters designed an original block using fabrics donated by Fabri-Quilt. Together, this made for a wonderful series of creative, original blocks, each of which was posted with a detailed tutorial.
One of the leader’s of this year’s Blog Hop, Stephanie Palmer, of Late Night Quilter, took it a (giant) step further. She has created a Quilter’s Planner for 2016 (and isn’t it crazy that we will be heading into a new year so soon?) Stephanie put hours and hours of thought into the creation of this calendar. She included both monthly and weekly pages, quilting references and tools, and pages to write detailed quilting plans for your projects.
There are pages to write notes, doodle designs, and plenty of room to organize your quilty life and your family life. This is perfect for me. I am a list maker and keep a list on the kitchen counter that I create at the beginning of each week. There are always four lists containing my goals for the week. I use one each for Sewing Etsy Product, Blog Posts to Write, Personal Sewing and Quilting and Family/Household. Stephanie thought of everything and I think this book will cover all of it for me. She collaborated with Kelsey at Lovely and Enough. Kelsey created artwork that is interspersed throughout the planner.
In addition, there are a number of quilt patterns from numerous pattern designers included (including Pat Sloan, Amy Garro, Yvonne Fuchs, Lee Heinrichs and Kitty Wilkin among others). Finally, on each weekly page there is a gorgeous original quilt block from the Fabri-Quilt Block Blog Hop, with instructions included. And guess what… my block is included!!
This calendar will be the perfect holiday gift for that quilter who has everything. Or a gift from you, to you! I just ordered mine and it should ship the first week of December. I am so excited to receive my copy.
If you are interested, you can click here to order. Alternatively, you can also click on the Quilt Planner button on my page. (I do not receive any compensation for the purchase of the planner.) Stephanie is self-publishing the books so she is using Indiegogo as her tool to sell them. These lovely planners are available for order until the end of November. The planners should ship in the first week or so of December.
I want to give a couple of updates on past posts. They are both heartwarming to say the least! Here goes:
Remember the post about the yellow and gray elephant quilt that I made for a friend several months ago? To recap, my daughter-in-law’s brother and his wife had been trying to have a baby for a very long while. After many miscarriages, they finally decided to take an alternate route and use a surrogacy firm. This firm is located in India and it was a huge undertaking but it speaks to their determination to have a child. You might want to read more about it on my blog, here, or on Margot’s blog, Find Your Spark. (I have given you the link to her home page, rather than a specific post. There are many posts on the process as she went through it and it is a wonderful read.)
Here is the latest! Margot and TJ’s daughter, Emmerson Kate, was born in September! It is hard to believe that she is already one month old. This baby is such a miracle. Margot and TJ traveled to India about a week before Emmerson was born so they were there for the birth of their baby. That was such an exciting day. Pictures were being texted from India to the East Coast and then to the West Coast. The first pictures of Margot holding Emmerson brought tears to my eyes. It took a few weeks to process the paperwork and get Emmerson’s passport but as soon as that was completed, they were able to fly back to the States and settle into their new life as a family of three. Margot sent me a few pictures of Emmerson with the quilt I sent her.
She is just adorable. Here she is on the back side of the quilt.
She is such a sweet girl. I wish this family joy and happiness. Margot continually says that she is blessed to have Emmerson. That is certainly true. It is also true that Emmerson is so blessed to have such wonderful parents in Margot and TJ.
Update number two is about the Ashes to Beauty project. At the end of September I wrote a post about a project to help the quilters in Northern California who had lost their homes and belongings in the Butte Fire. I put out a call for quilters to make pastel colored, 10″ blocks with a heart appliqued on each one. It was wonderful to see the number of readers who made blocks and/or put the word out to others. One reader posted it on a Facebook page for a quilt guild in Ohio and they responded with blocks. A few days ago I received an email update on the project. Here is what Kerri (the project coordinator)had to say:
THANK YOU to everyone who made Ashes To Beauty heart blocks. We stopped counting at 500 and there are still many more. We have more than enough to make 9 quilts for ladies who lost everything in the fire.
We received blocks from all over the country and as far away as New York, Ontario, Canada, and Hawaii. Needless to say I am overwhelmed at your generosity, kind words for me and the ladies who will receive the quilts and the obvious love and care that went into your blocks. Also for generous cash donations for battings and backings and supplies, etc. One gal who was evacuated but her home did not burn made lovely labels for each quilt.
Again- THANK YOU so much. God does truly console the hurting and turns ashes into beauty and many times uses us to accomplish it. We have begun sewing the blocks together and they are wonderful.
I’ll take some photos and send them along later.
I think it is just awesome that they received so many blocks! Thank you to all that participated and sent in blocks or told others about the project! If I receive pictures of the quilts, I will post them later on.
Finally, last but certainly not least, thank you all for the prayers and good wishes you offered up for my mom. She is really doing well. It seems like she gets a bit stronger each day. We are all so happy to see her up and walking (still with the support of a walker). She is now doing the work of healing and resting and going to myriad post-op doctor visits. My sisters and I are taking turns staying up at Mom and Dad’s to help with errands, cooking, etc. In a strange way, this is sort of the silver lining for me. We don’t all get together very often, but with everyone coming and going to help out at mom’s, I get to see one, if not two, of my sisters each week. (Mom and I live about 15 miles apart.) I think I need to convince my mom to keep this visiting daughter/nurse thing going on as long as possible! 😉
Well, it is the end of October and I have done little to no quilting. Clearly I didn’t complete my ALYOF goal for this month! I had hoped to sandwich and quilt the Kaffe Fassett jelly roll quilt I made. But it is still hanging in the closet, untouched. I had also planned to complete the brown row of blocks for my Classic Stitches BOM quilt. I have completed only two of those little blocks so far. But it feels like life is calming down now and I think I will be getting back into the routine soon. So what have you accomplished this month?? I would love to hear.
It has been a long while since I have written a gratitude post but, this week life is all about gratitude, so it feels like the thing to do!
A little more than one week ago I posted that I would be away from my sewing room for a while. My mom was in cardiac ICU. She had experienced some odd symptoms and after navigating the maze that is our country’s current insurance system, was finally scheduled for a stress test. They told her that she had a blockage in one artery and would need to have a stent placed. This didn’t sound great but it was ok, she could deal with this. Two days later, she checked into the cardiac outpatient center at a hospital about an hour away. Once they got started, they said a stent wasn’t enough, she would need a triple bypass. This was crazy because mom has been lucky to enjoy very good health. At 80 years old, she volunteers in so many capacities in our town, plays bridge, goes to the gym twice weekly, is in a book club, and the list goes on. We all had a hard time adjusting to the idea that her heart was in such bad shape. Once they got started on the bypass, they found they also had to replace her mitral valve. The day following surgery, Mom suffered a gastro-intestinal bleed and had to have a procedure to correct that. Two days later, the cardiac surgeon found she would need a pacemaker to regulate the heart beat. So, another procedure to place the pacemaker. It was horrible for mom. She has always been a trouper though and she came through each of these events quite well.
Yesterday my sisters and father brought mom home after 13 days in the hospital. We are all filled with gratitude that she came through this series of events and is home again. We are also thankful for the amazing technology that made all of this possible. It is so amazing what they can do! A balloon was inserted and ran up into Mom’s heart assisting it until she could be scheduled for surgery. When the valve was found to be non-functional, it was replaced with a bovine valve (I didn’t know this was even a “thing” that was done. A valve from a cow?) Next on the list of things we are grateful for are her ICU nurses. Wow! These people are so highly skilled and they took such good care of mom. She had so many IV’s, tube, monitors, and different drugs to keep in balance; it was a huge process. But for the first couple of days she had one-to-one nursing and throughout, she received excellent care. They took care of our family as well. Answering our endless questions (some of them more than once, I am sure.) Reassuring us that whatever was happening was normal or would pass soon. Truly amazing. While we were at the hospital our family was in constant communication. My sisters and I would text updates and questions. I was texting with my own children, giving them Grammy updates. I had a list of a few of mom’s friends who wanted daily updates as well. So I suppose I am grateful for the technology that allowed all of us to be in constant communication during a very stressful time. It was such a weird time. If I was at the hospital, I felt better about being able to see mom and observe all that was going on. The days that I wasn’t there I felt restless and sort of agitated. It was hard to get anything done. The communication with whichever sister was at the hospital at the time was really helpful. I know my sisters felt the same. So, yes, we are grateful to Apple and Verizon both! 😉
So……surprises are the best, aren’t they? Well, in the midst of all of this misery that our family was dealing with, I received the sweetest, most unexpected, surprise in the mail. It came on a day when I was really tired and just so unhappy. I stopped by to pick up the mail (we have rural mailboxes and they are about 1/2 mile from the house) on my way home from the hospital. Inside was a package from Janine. Janine is an amazing quilter who writes a sweet quilty blog over at Quilts From the Little House.
I knew what it was when I saw the package. She had recently posted about making some mug rugs for gifts. I certainly didn’t think one was going to be sent to me though. I sat in the car and opened it up and cried some more (lots of crying over the past couple of weeks!) Her note was so sweet and the stitching on the tiny quilt so perfect. It really touched me.
I have been using it over the past couple of days and I tear up each time. It reminds me how lucky I am to have found this community of kindness. I have enjoyed exchanging emails with Janine ever since we found each other’s blogs over a year ago.
Maybe I will put it up on my wall with my other mini’s. Then I will see it whenever I am sitting at my machine.
I know I have been incommunicado lately. I will write more about that a bit later on. But I wanted to let you know that I am guest hosting Sew Cute Tuesday this week for Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts. With all that is going on in my family’s life right now, I forgot about this. I saw some feedback in my email and remembered this was Needle and Foot’s week for guest hosting. Lucky for me, Alyce is very organized. She asked me to write my post and give it to her by October 6th. Phew. If left to my own devices, it would have been overlooked and I would have been so embarrassed!
Anyway, please be sure to check out Alyce’s Sew Cute Tuesday Link up. So many talented quilters link with her each week and there is always inspiration to be had! Hope to be back to regular posting soon. I miss you guys!!
Our family has some stuff going on so I am going to be otherwise occupied for a while. That means no sewing and no time at the computer, which means Needle and Foot will be on the quiet side for a bit. Just wanted to let you know. I am reading blogs when I can and enjoying keeping up with your projects until I get back at it! Hope all is well with everyone and I look forward to joining in again soon.
This weekend I had the pleasure of working at the quilt show up in Downieville. I recently joined their quilt guild, Mountain Star Quilters, so that I could meet some of the women in town and get to know more quilters. One cannot possibly have enough quilting friends! The MSQ guild holds a quilt show every other year. On the alternate year, the guild hosts a quilt retreat in Downieville. It was at this retreat last fall that I found the little house we bought and have been renovating. (You can read about that experience here and here.)
This quilt show is such a nice event. MSQ is a small guild located in a charming small town. There are about 25 active guild members. This year’s show held over 100 quilts which is impressive considering the size of the group. In addition to local quilter’s showing their pieces, we also had the treat of hanging a traveling collection of challenge quilts from a 2014 Hoffman challenge. This is the second show we have had where we shared a traveling collection. I think it is really wonderful to have access to collections like this in such a rural area. It is a long ways (maybe 2 hours?) to the nearest large city so it isn’t easy to attend the larger shows that might feature quilting from artists such as these. Here are two of my favorites from this collection.
This one, titled Big Top, held my attention for such a long time. The quilting on it is spectacular.
Some of it must have been done with an embroidery machine but other parts were thread sketched. The precision of her stitching is fantastic.
Titled, Free Floating, this piece features appliqued jellyfish that sparkle. The quilter used great thread choices and placed tulle over the top of this piece. It exudes a peaceful feeling. I especially love that the coral extends into the border. Just lovely.
Looking at the quilts, I was surprised that my favorites were really the simplest quilts. This blue and white quilt with clean, crisp lines is gorgeous.
The quilt below won Best of Show in its size category (visitors voted for their favorites since this was not a juried show.)
The quilter appliqued small. roughly circular pieces of floral fabric and then hand stitched embellishments and outlines to define them into flowers. The entire background is hand quilted with random stitches which provided a great texture. The background thread was lightly variegated for a fantastic effect.
I kept coming back to this piece to look at all of the hand work. I can’t really imagine doing something this intense. It was gorgeous and the viewers kept returning to it as well. There was a short story posted alongside of the quilt explaining the the quilter made this while sitting with her father who was very ill. He helped to pick out the floral fabrics and shapes with her. I am sure this quilt holds a great deal of emotion for her.
The show was a lot of fun and I met so many appreciative people, wandering the show and oohing and ahhing over all of the work put into the quilts. One thing that really impressed me was when I went back to the show at the end of the day to help tear it down. As I said, this guild is quite small. I was truly surprised to see how many people came to help at the end. There must have been at least 25 people (including many guild members’ husbands) there to take everything down and sort the quilts for return to the owners. It took about 30 minutes to do. Amazing.
While we were up there, Ray and I took a hike. It was a gorgeous fall day. While walking along the river, Ray spotted this Blue Heron standing oh-so-quietly off to the side. He was gorgeous.
We watched him for a long while and then I asked Ray to make some noise so he would fly off. It was spectacular to see his wingspan. The picture below doesn’t do him justice, but I am sharing it anyway. 🙂
Wishing everyone a wonderful week with some creativity mixed in!
Linking to Connie at Freemotion by the River and Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts. Both sites have links above, click on Link Ups.
First of all, just know that it is raining as I type this post. That makes me so happy!!
Today I thought I would share about a class I took with Carol Taylor back in spring of 2013. If you aren’t familiar with Carol, she is an extremely talented quilt artist from New York. She works on quilts that are often abstract and are always beautiful. Her talent with thread is beyond belief. If you are unfamiliar with her work, check out her gallery. It is a treat to look through.
One day (a long while back) I was looking at the website for my LQS and there was a post about a class with Carol Taylor coming soon. At first I didn’t think much of it because it didn’t seem possible that this Carol was the same Carol whose site I had looked at so many times. Then I saw the description of the class and was thrilled to see that it was her. Wondering how the heck our tiny guild could afford to bring her out, I called the shop. Apparently, we had partnered up with a guild about an hour away and the two guilds were splitting her travel expenses which made it just barely affordable.
I was very hesitant to sign up though. I felt like the class was out of my league and it was also fairly spendy for my budget. I talked to my husband and he encouraged me to go. I really wanted to just learn from her at whatever level I could, even if I wasn’t quite up to speed on the techniques. I am so glad I did becasue it was fantastic!
At the last minute, I talked one of my friends into going with me. There was a woman that had signed up and was ill so her spot was up for grabs. This was the second quilting class I had ever taken and I was more than a little unprepared for it. When Sophia (my friend that went with me) and I entered the room it was obvious that we were newbies. We both came with a tote bag of supplies and fabric, plus our machines. Yikes, the other women there had (literally) suitcases and duffel bags filled with fabric. They had large boxes, or kits, filled with needles, thread choices, mysterious feet for their sewing machines etc. I was overwhelmed. I brought exactly what the supply list said, no more than that.
After lecturing for a bit, Carol had us get out the colors we wanted to use for the background. I had about five fat quarters. She came by and actually asked me where the rest was. I was baffled. Then she said to the class, “we need greens over here” and it was like the story of the ‘Loaves and the Fishes’. Twenty women started to hunt through their fabric, pulling out greens of every shade. This was really my first exposure to the kindness of the quilting community. I ended up with plenty. 🙂 We started cutting strips and playing with them.
One of Carol’s strengths is her use of color and that is something that I have mentioned struggling with. She was so helpful. When she looked at my first choices (above) she explained there wasn’t enough value difference. Working together, and using donations from classmates, I finally ended up with my backgound. The lightest solid green is a gorgeous silk given to me that adds a wonderful texture to the collection.
Beyond learning about value, I learned about design and free-form applique. I wanted to make a wall hanging that was inspired by some pictures of Coleus plants that I had brought to class. She had me cut huge leaves with my rotary cutter without drawing them or making any sort of pattern. It worked great and was so much fun. (I wish I had taken pictures of the process but this was long before blogging so I don’t really have any.) Below is the end result of the class. I did have to finish much of this at home. By the end of the two day class, I had the background done and the leaves in place. It wasn’t quilted and much of the thread sketching down the center of the leaves was incomplete.
One of my favorite aspects of the quilt is the little point of the petal that hangs below the finished edge. Carol suggested this and it worked perfectly. There is a cute story behind the idea. As a well-known artist, many of Carol’s quilts hang in different shows and galleries. She had made a quilt that she wanted to enter in a show and it was 1/2″ short of the size requirement. The show held firm on their size requirement so Carol added a tiny fish that hangs off of the edge of the quilt. They took her entry. You can see a photo of this on my Flikr page. Carol did a fantastic trunk show and was kind enough to let us take pictures.
This class was actually my first exposure to thread play. We used Sulky threads (which she sold in class in every color of the rainbow.) I love the veins that are sketeched in the center of the petals.
I also learned to incorporate texture with simple ideas such as cutting the center of some of the petals to show the green behind it as the center vein.
When I was ready to quilt it I used a different FMQ pattern in each of the green fabrics, repeating the pattern wherever that particular color strip was used.
With a faced edge, rather than regular binding, the quilt finished out at 28″ wide by 25″ tall (including the tip of the leaf!)
This class was such a fantastic learning experience. If ever you have the opportunity to take a class with Carol, I cannot emphasize this enough – Do it! She has such talent and is a very good instructor as well.