Category Archives: quilt guild

Summer Flowers

I started a new project! Over a year ago I received a stack of Kaffe Fassett florals from somebody. It was during the first round of #getyourquiltywishesgranted on Instagram. I wish I could give proper credit but I just can’t remember which kind quilter sent them. She had offered them up if anyone wanted to use them and I was the lucky recipient. Then, as often happens, they sat on the top shelf in the closet for about 18 months!


At the April guild meeting, they announced a class to be held for using up scraps. I have no shortage of possible ways to use scraps but this pattern looked cute and what is better than a day sewing with friends? I signed up. Yesterday was our sew day. A woman, Doris Javier, from a neighboring guild, had designed the pattern and she was there to teach. The pattern itself is extremely simple to construct; basically cut lots of rectangles and sew together in pairs. Then arrange in one of a number of designs and stitch into blocks. When I first started joining the rectangles, I was not consistent about the direction In which I placed the floral fabric and the background. Of course, it needs to be consistent so that the angles run the correct way. Luckily, I was eager to see how the block would come together and tried to lay some out right after I pieced the first couple. So I have a few that are slanting the wrong way and will have to be used in something else. Maybe I will piece the backing and use them for that. Because the rectangles are sewn together on the bias, much like binding strips, I now have a large stack of triangles to use up. They are all stacked in pairs and I will chain stitch them into HST’s to be used at some point down the road. Love those little bonus HST’s!

It has been a long time since I have sewn with a group and I had forgotten how much fun it is. Even with people you aren’t well acquainted with, there is already a common bond with our shared love of stitching. One of the best things about making a particular pattern with a group of people is seeing all of the different fabric combinations created by each of us. Each unique combination gives the quilt a whole new look. When I gathered my fabric together, I based the pull on the Kaffe Fassett scraps but didn’t have quite enough of them to make the whole top. It was very easy to add other brightly colored floral scraps to round things out. For the background, I selected a textured solid made by Red Rooster – it was the last bit I had in my shop and works perfectly with the florals. The look is so summery.


I made significant progress yesterday. I have a large stack of rectangles made and paired into blocks. It takes four of these to make a full block. I didn’t sew too many complete blocks together because I want to lay them out and check the distribution of color. At this point though, it shouldn’t take too long to complete the quilt top. I would estimate I have half of the rectangles pieced. With one more session in the sewing room, I should be able to chain piece the rest of them.


The group in class yesterday agreed to try and get at least the quilt top finished before the guild meeting in September. I am sure I can complete the top but would be even more pleased to get the quilt itself completed. We shall see how my projects go this summer!

Quick side note: I am thrilled with the number of readers joining in with the sew along that is just beginning. If you haven’t read the post yet, click here. We will be making a simple shirt to wear and I will break it down into a few simple steps. We are just getting started so I t isn’t too late to join in. Read the post, order your pattern and select your fabric. The next post will be up on June 15th! Let me know if you have any questions.

Downieville Quilt Show Weekend

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.

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Some of it must have been done with an embroidery machine but other parts were thread sketched. The precision of her stitching is fantastic.

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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.

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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.

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The quilt below won Best of Show in its size category (visitors voted for their favorites since this was not a juried show.)

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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.

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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.

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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.  🙂

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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.

Lazy Sunday

Yesterday was a busy day so to balance that out, today is not! I am not a fan of jam packed weekends. This morning I was up early and spent quite a while in my sewing room cutting pieces. I cut everything I need for the May blocks for my RSC15 row quilt.  The color is dark green and I am hoping to piece those blocks (at least some of them) later today. I also cut the binding strips for the Alison Glass miniquilt that I am trying to finish up. I should easily get that binding taken care of as the quilt is only 24 x 24 inches. Then I cut the pieces for a cute little zippered pouch using the scraps from the AG mini. I will send that along to my swap partner with the quilt.

Yesterday was a little crazy. Julia had a science/math competition that she took part in. She did well, placing 7th (they did a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4 ‘honorable mentions’)  She was happy to place within the honorable mentions.  The test was really difficult.  After that we spent the afternoon at a picnic for the incoming freshman at her new high school. She had a great time meeting her new classmates.

We got home at about 4:00 and I was wandering around the garden, letting the dog run around a bit since she was cooped up all day. So many things are blooming right now. My garden is definitely a spring garden. It really peaks in May. Looking at the peonies and iris, I nearly tripped over this huge snake. It startled the heck out of me. Because of it’s color and the pattern down the length of it, I immediately looked to its tail to be sure it wasn’t a rattler. We have quite a few snakes around here and a somewhat large number of rattlesnakes. (The mascot for Julia’s middle school is the “Rattlers” if that gives you any indication.) The garter snake on my grass was a good four feet long. While snakes don’t scare me too much, it is somewhat disturbing to nearly step on one. I went to get my phone from the car (we’d just gotten home) to text a picture to Ray but by the time I returned the snake was gone.

Deciding it was time to go inside, I called Lady (our dog) to come in. She came bounding over to me and had the head of a rabbit hanging from her mouth. Snakes I can handle, dead animals – not so much.The sight of this made me gag. Honestly, I just didn’t know what to do about it. I yelled for her to drop it and she looks at me like, ‘are you kidding?’ She ran to her crate in the garage and put her treasure in the crate. Yuk. To be honest, living on acreage, we have our share of dead animal tasks to deal with.  But that is Ray’s job. I want no part of it. Unfortunately, Ray was up at the house in Downieville. I texted my advisory board, aka my sister’s, for their advice and hmmm…. surprisingly, it wasn’t all that helpful.  A lot of ewww, gross, and call the neighbor for help. Gagging all the while I managed to deal with the yuk in La dy’scrate. But the visual of my dog’s trophy piece stuck in my head for a long while (it’s still bouncing around in there, if you must know). I went inside and had a glass of wine which is unusual for me (hypoglycemia = no alcohol).  Julia was teasing me; dealing with the horrorific experience with alcohol Mom?  Eighth graders think they are so wise.

Enough of that nastiness, I need to move on, get over it, clear my mind!  Let’s talk about quilt shows and silent auctions instead.  That topic is much more pleasing.  Two weeks ago was our guild’s local quilt show and I worked at the silent auction table. We had so many wonderful donations and I bid on quite a few. I wasn’t there at the end of the day to actively try to outbid people on the items I wanted but I did manage to win two items.

Below is a stitchery of bamboo done on dark green batik. Green is my favorite color and I have quite a bit of it in my home. I love the simplicity of this piece. It is hanging in the dining room.

IMG_20150517_3316The other piece that I took home is a whole cloth mini quilt. It was made by a friend of mine and I love it. She did a lovely job with the quilting. The fabric has a wonderful shimmer to it. I use a lot of lavender in one of our bathrooms and plan to hang it in there. I need to put a sleeve on it first though.

IMG_20150517_3318When I was working the silent auction table it surprised me how little activity there was. I think it wasn’t in the best place as far as traffic goes. Also, I noticed that most of the activity came at the end of the day when people would actively try to win items and out bid other people. It seems like there must be a way to encourage more activity during the day. I would really appreciate hearing how other guilds handle the silent auction at a show. Would it work to have the bidding for certain items end mid-day rather than at the end? Seems like that might encourage that active bidding process to happen at different points throughout the day. Plus people that don’t stay at the show all day long could have the fun of trying to win items before they left. Thoughts?  Please leave me some hints on this in the comments section.

 

 

Gratitude – Part 4

We’re home!  My husband and Julia and I spent a long weekend up at the Downieville house working. It was really productive and, consequently, tiring! We made so much progress though.

Over the weekend Julia and I painted the basement level bedroom. It had dark paneling on the walls – ick. It made it feel like a cave in there. We primed the paneling and then painted it a sage green. It looks wonderful. I forgot to take a finished picture but do have this (iPhone) picture which portrays the wonder of having a 13 year old that is already 5′ 7″ tall.  She did a great job rolling the top half of the walls. Made me jealous of her height.

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Also got the valances and pleated window shades installed in the kitchen.

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Another project that I tackled was painting the picket fence that runs along the front yard. (Yep, I felt like I belonged in a Mark Twain story.) It was in terrible shape. Most of the fence needed to be scraped paint and then primed and painted. This took up the better part of two afternoons but was well worth it. Here is a before picture.

IMG_20150330_3017And after:

IMG_20150331_3031It looks so clean and fresh. We did a relatively good job of not getting paint all over the little rock wall.  See the little orange tulip peeking out? It is the only one in a sea of iris. Gorgeous though.

IMG_20150330_3036Photo credits to Julia for the three pictures shown above!

The best part of the weekend, and my gratitude focus for this week, was the new friends we met. You might remember that this is a tiny town. At it’s peak, during the California Gold Rush in the 1800’s, the population peaked at about 5,000 people. Now there are about 300 people that live there full time. From what I can tell, the school district there has about 50 students (grades K through 12). Pretty tiny. Spending the afternoons outside working on the fence gave me the opportunity to meet a few new people and everyone was kind and gracious. They seemed to truly appreciate that we were fixing up this little house.

The day after painting the fence, Julia and I checked out the library. It is adorable. Tiny but with a reasonable selection of books and because it is part of a larger library system, the patrons have access to a much larger selection. People can “order” books from the larger library and they are delivered to the local library. But best of all was chatting with the librarian (Cheryl) and guess what? She is a long arm quilter. What do you know! Immediate connection there as we talked all about quilting. The local guild, the Mountain Star Quilters, keep a library of quilting books in the public library which is a fairly impressive collection considering the size of the guild. As we talked quilting (and bored Julia) another woman (Linda) came in. I remembered meeting her briefly when I attended the quilt retreat in Downieville last October. (I posted about that here.) The three of us visited for a bit and and Linda showed me a book she had brought in. It was Tula Pink’s City Sampler book. We talked about it and she said she had decided she didn’t want to use it, and would I like to have it? I love Tula Pink and have looked at her beautiful book numerous times, wondering if I would ever really make the blocks in it. Seems like fate, right? There was the book falling into my hands. Clearly I am meant to make these blocks.

IMG_20150402_3034This adds another project to the list. I will use the 1/2 yard collection of Floriography, a Riley Blake fabric that I won from Doe Street Fabrics a few months ago.

I need to add a few solids to it but no problem there. I think making a block or two a week will be a fun way to use the book and the fabric.

Back to the kindness of these women. It never ceases to amaze me what a friendly group quilters make. Meet a quilter in the store, instant rapport. Run into a few in the library, new friends. Both women talked about the local quilt guild. They have about 30 members and meet one afternoon each month. I am going to attend the April meeting and see if I can start participating in their guild. I belong to our local guild as well and it is a challenge to get myself to the meetings, so we shall see. Luckily the schedules of each of the guilds seem to be opposite of each other (quilt show dates, challenge quilts, etc) so that will help. For sure, joining this second guild will be a great way to meet new friends and for that I am thankful.

Finally, just so you don’t think the weekend was all work and no play, here are some pictures from a hike along the river that Julia and I took. It was a gorgeous morning.

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We are fortunate to have found our place on the river. It is a treasure for which we are so grateful.

Linking to Quilting Jetgirl’s Thankful Thursday and Needle and Thread Thursday and Let’s Bee Social (links to these are at the top of the page under Link Ups.)

 

 

 

 

The Hidden Cost of a Quilt Retreat

A few weeks ago I posted about a quilt retreat that I went to located an hour north of my home. Remember I was describing the story of the lynching of Josefa Segovia (aka Juanita) and how her ghost now haunts the town?  If not, you can read the post here. Well, while on breaks or taking lunch during the retreat, my friend Sophia and I would walk around the tiny town of Downieville. It consists of a few restaurants, a post office, hardware store, gift shop and a few other shops.  It is a cute little town that attracts hikers and mountain bike riders (and quilting afficionados like me and Sophia!) As we wandered about the two block radius that is “town”, I noticed a little, worn out house for sale. I looked at the price and joked with Sophia that we should buy it and come up here to hike the river and go to the quilt retreats. We laughed and that was the end of the discussion.  Or was it…..

When I got home I kept thinking of that little house.  I looked at the listing on-line and showed it to my husband. He immediately got excited about it. The house is reminiscent of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  It just needs someone to love it!  The owner was elderly and after passing away a while back, the house has stood empty. We decided to make an offer on it and after minimal negotiations, we bought it.  Escrow should close this afternoon!!  We are soooo excited about this project.  Everything about the little house speaks to us. (Best part…. there is even a tiny room off the only bedroom that will be a sewing room where I can keep my old machine and some supplies!! Yay for weekend sewing up at the river.)

It needs to be completely renovated. However, it is so tiny with basically four rooms (the living space is just shy of 700 square feet) that it is a manageable project. It was built in the 1930’s and we plan to keep the vintage feel to the house. Here is the kitchen:

20141026_1990Isn’t that floor gorgeous?  All of the flooring in the house is hideous and will be replaced.  The colors are odd, to say the least, and really dated. The walls all have wall board and need to be updated. I like the vintage look of the cabinets and will just refinish them. Buy why is the paper towel roll on the outside of the cupboard??

20141026_1993The living room…. again, oh the flooring!!  There is dark hard wood under that ugly carpet so we will peel it up and refinish the floors. I like the little built in cabinet and book shelf but need to refinish both of them. They have about 138 layers of paint on them.

Now for the real reason we bought it.  This is basically in our back yard.  Walking about 100 feet brings us to this:

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The view upstream is wonderful.

photo 2 (9)Look at our tiny neighborhood library, which is just a few doors up from our house.

photo 3 (6)We start working on the house this week, soon as we get the keys. It will be a long project but a fun one. So….lesson learned. Quilt retreats can lead to all sorts of unexpected expenses.  Be careful when attending. On the plus side, I will have a place for Sophia and I to stay at the next retreat. So really, that is a money savings, right?

In the interest of keeping the house’s vintage feel, I have been thrifting and collecting vintage dinner ware and kitchen items. Yesterday I was out looking and while I didn’t find much for the house, look what I came home with:

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I was so excited. Most of the pieces (with the exception of the upper left corner) are at least a fat quarter or larger. The fabrics were about 25-75 cents each. The top four on the right side are from an older Mary Engelbreit line for Moda.  Score.

Looking out the window now and leaves are blowing off the trees like crazy. It is supposed to start raining soon. It is shaping up to be a nice day.

Linking to Freemotion by the River, Let’s Bee Social, and Sew Cute Tuesday. Links to these and other link ups can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.