Monday, September 29, 2008

Retreat Gallery

Hi everyone... as promised, here are some of the photos I took at retreat. My apologies to my gang, but unfortunately I did not get photos of our table showing off their projects since I was up front with you. :-(

This is a family tree one of the retreat ladies made for their family. Each leaf is signed by a member of the family. I wonder who gets to keep it. I love the idea!

Recognize this pattern? It has graced the pages of many of the popular quilt magazines. But I love it in pink and white. I think I am going to make it in teals and browns... what do you think? Oh yeah, mine definitely won't be KING size!

There were quite a few of this quilt at the retreat. The class had been taught this summer by the owner of the Country Quilter, Claire Oehler. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Claire, gab it, she is a great teacher. Great job Barbara!

As always large paper pieced flower quilts are stunning. I love this piece, almost as much as I loved the Poppy piece she did last year in burgandies...

Fall is upon us and this wonderful pumpkin piece is just darling. It captures the spirit of both Halloween and Thanskgiving at once. This is a commercial applique pattern, so I think many of the group will be buying it soon,

I missed the commentary on this piece, but it is a pre-printed panel that I believe was made for a young member of the family.

Hand applique is always stunning. But when we work in reproduction fabric, to me it is almost nostalgic. I love the way the flowers danced across the piece.

I took many more pictures, but I need to clean them up before I post them. Many of the quilters were a little too fast for me, so I will need to try and crop the photo so you see the quilt and not all the tables.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy pictures of our Saturday night Show and Tell!

What a weekend!

What a weekend I had. As always Quilt Escape weekend was fantastic. The gang was all there.. 46 strong this fall and our small group (7) had a great time quilting, chatting, laughing and yes eating!

I worked mostly on a piece that came to me one day during my morning walk. It is all based on curved flying geese (yes I am sort of fixated on them right now :-) ). From the flying geese shape came the triangular shape of the small wallhanging and of course a bright background is a must for almost any piece I do.

As a result, here is the top I created... the flying geese shape took the entire day Saturday, and then Saturday evening I appliqued the bright ribbons on the background and used the blind hem stitch to attach my geese, or as some in the room called them the ram horns. While sharing with the ladies, many thought it reminded them of an African mask, others of Madi-Gra and so I think it will be named 'Carnivale'. What do you think?

I don't really like where the right curve ends, since it is blue on blue and the point gets lost, so before I quilt it, I might think about slicing the background and weaving in another ribbon to enhance the visual effect. In fact there was quite a bit of dialogue Friday night on the piece as we discussed the impact the brights in the background might have on the pink/orange geese. Would they just fade into the background, will the bright yellow take over, will the geese really look like the are on top??? All questions we pondered and even took out colored pencils to explore. It sort of became a lesson in color theory. In the end I decided to make the piece as was my original design, and then create another similar in concept but with more muted colors in the background to see which works best to achieve the feel that the geese are on top of the background. I think both work visually, the question which works best from the standpoint of what I was originally trying to achieve.

To be honest I hadn't really thought that far until I was discussing the piece and the colors with Jane Davila, one of our hosts for the weekend. She is a phenomenal fiber artist and provided me quite a bit of guidance during the weekend. Thanks Jane!

Anyway, I will create a gallery of photos from the weekend and a vew of the other piece I started, but I want to share with you, one of the projects Evelyn Moccia worked on while we were there. Last spring, Elizabeth Rosenberg, another fantastic fiber artist taught a workshop for the Pelham Quilters. The subject was Finding your Inner Goddess and we began work creating original quilts that expressed who we were. Evelyn brought her goddess with her to finish this weekend and here she is... the goddess and its maker.... Doesn't she Look Beautiful!

So, that was my weekend. Hope yours was as enjoyable! Looking forward to April 17th, 2009 and Quilt Escape Spring 2009!!

Cheers, Renee.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Going on Retreat this weekend!

Can't wait! Six of my quilting friends and I are going on retreat this weekend, and I can't wait! The retreat is at the Interlaken Inn in Lakeville, Ct. and is sponsored by The Country Quilter. We will be joined with about 45 other quilters... what a hoot! All we do is quilt, laugh, eat and maybe a little sleep!

Can't wait... I plan to work on two pieces that I have sketched out... one is a triangle piece that sits on it's point. It has ribbons of red, yellow and green applique against a dark blue background, with two swirling flying geese pieces coming out of the bottom point. The second is a 48x48" medallion guilt that I have been playing with on paper. I had both enlarged at Kinko's today, and my fabric selection is all ready to go.

But of course tonight, I worked on a third piece that just makes my heart sing. It is a Rhapsody quilt, and if I can get it enlarged before I leave and figure out the fabric, I think I might just bring it along with me. Oh well... guess the pressure is on.

I will post pictures when I get back next week (probably during the week, as I will be on the road for work, spending my nights in a hotel... always a good time to blog :-) )


Monday, September 22, 2008

Round Robin Medallion

While snooping around trying to learn how to draft, I saw many entries on Round Robin quilts and Center Medallions. So I asked my guild if they were interested in starting a Round Robin project. As a result, 8 quilters including myself have signed up... with two of us making a center medallion square as the beginning.

Here is my Center Medallion....

and yes, I used my new drafting skills to create it. :-)


Dazzling Geese

Ok, sorry I didn't post this during the weekend, but we ended up in Troy to watch Robert's first football game.

Here is my finished baby..... I echo quilted each element, as well as around each flying geese and NY beauty point. The cutouts were also outlined quilted. Everything was done free motion, no walking foot, on my Viking Lily. My echo quilting isn't perfect, but I am getting there (smile). I used Superior Threads Rainbow on the top and bottom.

I really like the un-even wavy bottom.... I didn't put binding on the bottom, in an attempt to give the illusion of it continuing. Instead, I sewed the batting/backing on along the bottom, flipped it over and then basted and quilted. I used the same striped fabric from the piping around all the circles as the binding. I think it gives it a nice finish.

This is the center flying geese circle with the fabric that was the inspiration that started it all. From an earlier post you will remember that I actually drafted all the geese and beauty points. (My first attempt at drafting!) If you can zoom in, you will see that I quilted within the star. It really came out nice, as the various sections of the star, actually pop out.... as if they were raised in some way. Sorry you can't actually touch it, but I love the look.

This is one of the smaller stars from the fabric. I actually fussy cut it out and appliqued it on the black background and then sewed it into the NY Beauty circle. Then I outline quilted the various stars within the star.... again using freemotion quilting. On this picture you can get a good look at the piping I placed around each circle.

This is one of the cut outs from the larger star circles. The panel had 4 different star patterns and I tried to use at least two pieces from each. I outline quilted these as well, as well as within the star, to give it some definition.

I am so pleased with the fact that the fabric inspired me to learn how to draft. Now to send the photos to Diane, the owner of People, Places & Quilts in Charleston and Summerville, SC, where I brought the fabric last year. She was such a pleasure to chat with, in fact, she and my husband had a real long chat while I browsed and shopped.

Hope you enjoy as much as I do!


Friday, September 19, 2008

I have a new baby

Ok, so it is not a real child, but it is my true baby. An original design, done all by myself. Even the drafting. That is right, the quilt I started a few weeks ago, with the star fabric that kept calling for the right pattern, and those circular flying geese that I wanted to learn how to make. Well it is done, pieced/appliqued, basted, quilted, bound, sleeve and label! I will take a picture tomorrow, (once I get back from Crafts at Lyndhurst) and post, but I just wanted to say, that I love the creative process.

My quilting isn't going to win any awards, but I am personally thrilled, that I have created such a complex piece all on my own... well complex for me.

Until tomorrow... Cheers!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quilt Shop visits in Hilton Head, SC


I have been meaning to post some info on my latest shop hop from our trip to Hilton Head, SC and Savannah, Ga, so here it goes.

I left here with copies of the pages from my 2004/6 Quilters Companion for both areas, knowing that if I found one store open, they would let me know where other shops were within driving distance. Well, just like last years haunt to Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC, both hubby and I found some great stores. Unfortunately, this year with the Hurricane Trifecta (Gustav, Ike and Josephine) in the area, fishing boats weren't going out, so poor Bob did more than just one day of hopping with me. Of course, I tried not to wear him out... but like the trooper he is, he was a good sport about it.

First stop was to Beaufort, SC to a shop called Creative Stitches (60 B Robert Smalls Pkwy). The shop was behind another building and not visible from the road, but they did have a sign. The owner and workers were very friendly and if you are a Brother machine person, they are the shop for you. They had every Brother quizmo under the sun. In fact, they were working on applique Christmas ornaments in silver and gold metallic thread... they were beautiful! The ad in the Quilter's Companion says 1,500 bolts of fabric, but since I am a bright and batik person, only a small portion of their fabric fit my taste. They did have some absolutely wonderful art quilts on display for classes, that were designed by one of the women who work in the shop. I asked if they sold patterns for them, but unfortunately she hasn't produced patterns yet. Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area... great shop for ideas... about an hours drive from Hilton Head.

Heading back towards Hilton Head, we stopped at a new shop called Grannie's Attic. It is off of Rte 170 (Robert Smalls Parkway) on a new road (there is a sign for new traffic light), which intersects with I-95, and has a Walmart at its end. The shop has only been open for 6 months and isn't listed in the Quilters Companion yet. But, if you are in to non-traditional fabric, it is a great little shop. They had a nice section of batiks, moda's and brights. Of course they had, Hauffman, Thimbleberries, Blank and Timeless Treasures as well as many more traditional fabric, but I went straight to the batiks :-). The hardest part will be finding the place, as of last week, they didn't have a sign at the curb or on the front of the store, just a small wall hanging in the window. If you do find the road, look for the large white colonial building on the left hand side, that has a sign for an eatery... Grannies Attic is in the same little strip mall, right before the golf cart shop.

Continuing our journey back to Hilton Head, our next stop was to Cross Stitch Junction. I know, doesn't sound like a quilt shop, but it is. It was originally located in the Belfair Town Village in Bluffton, SC, where it was 50/50 Cross Stitch/Quilting. But 3 years ago, it moved onto the Island on Office Park Road, in the Park Plaza Shopping Center and is now called Cross Stitch Junction and Quilts Too! Well, it is now 80/20, Quilting/Cross Stitch and a fabulous shop for my quilting style. Lots of batiks, and the modas are marked by number with a color chart right next to them, so you know exactly what they have. Their fat qtr section is arranged by theme and color... so you will see a section for 'sky and water/blues' vs 'sky and clouds/whites'. Really neat and easy to find exactly what you are looking for. They have lots of original patterns, with kits in clear zipper project bags, perfect for retreat or just keeping your stash/projects organized. I really liked this shop and left quite a bit of cash in Hilton Head :-)!

The last day of our trip we spent in Savannah, Ga, so of course I had to find a shop there as well. I opted out of visiting Colonial Quilts in Savannah, as I had been advised that it carried mostly traditional fabrics, and choose instead to visit Lets Sew (also in Savannah proper). Lets Sew is a small shop with less fabric, but it had a decent stock of batiks in a separate room. Again, this shop had a nice selection of quilts on display for their classes... there was something there for every quilting taste. I really liked their original block of the month for Christmas 2008. It was really spectacular!

We never made Sew Much More in Garden City, which is about 15 minutes out of Savannah. Oh well, there is always next time!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two Great Quilting Reads

Hi everyone. I have been on the road alot over the last month or so, and as usual, I like to find a good quilting book to take with me. Well, I must say I found TWO!

The first is Karen K. Stone's book entitled... "Quilts", 2004. It is not the typical quilting book focused on how to make a particular pattern, instead it is a journey through her quilting process, in an interview format. As she helps the interviewer and her readers understand how she approaches quilting, including color and fabric selection, she uses 13 of her quilts as examples. Patterns for all 13 are included in the book as well, including my favorite "Cinco de Mayo". Karen uses wonderful colors and sometimes as many as 100 fabrics in her quilts. Take a look, you won't be disappointed!

The second book was another one that has been around for awhile. Gail Garber's, "Stellar Journey", published in 2001. I thought it was a new book, since I had a hard time finding it in quilt stores. But I finally found it on the APQS website. Later I realized, I could have just purchased it off of Gail's website, but oh well. I was introduced to the book via Gail's site, while googling how to draft circular flying geese. As you look at the site, you will see why I just had to have the book. Oh yeah, I brought the compass as well. Anyway, the book! I loved the way Gail made learning the basics of drafting soooo easy. She didn't tackle it, as if she was writing a book for engineering students (notice how many great quilt designers are either trained in art or engineering???). Well I am just a lonely software salesperson, and I don't understand all the mumble jumble many sites went into while I was poking around on the web. Gail's book also uses some of her students quilts to help make the process easier to understand. I am going to use some of her techniques to draft a center medallion for a round robin quilt project my guild just started.

OK... hope you enjoy the books, they are definitely worth the investment and are books I am sure you will pull out over and over again in your quilt designing.

BTW.. notice how both of these books use paper piecing to create great points... oh yeah, exactly the technique I use to create crisp points!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

I've been tagged by Mary Anne

Just got back from vacation in Hilton Head, SC and Savannah, GA (more on vaca and my quilt shop hops in another post) and was catching up on my blog reading. I have been tagged by Mary Anne, so I decided to respond, because I always like trips down memory lane. So here goes...

What I was doing 10 years ago:
As with most Septembers for the past 15 years until this year, September means getting the kids back in school. It was the second year in St. Pius X, and they had adjusted nicely. So I must have been busy making sure their school uniforms were all set, busy getting my Girls Scouts off to a fast start and beginning the soccer season with my son.

5 snacks that I enjoy (none of these are healthy, but I like them anyway :-)):
  • Pecan Turtles
  • Malted Milk Balls
  • Snickers
  • Home made apple pie
  • German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream from Baskin Robbins

5 Things on my to-do list today:
  • unpack from vacation (doubt it will get done :-))
  • Cook dinner for my mom, sister and nieces
  • fix the quilting on a piece that I finished in August, but didn't realize until I was attaching the sleeve that some of the quilting isn't right on the back
  • prepare the back for my star and circle quilt that I finished the top for before vaca (no name yet)
  • catch up on sleep!
4 things I would do if I were a billionaire:
  • Open a quilt shop
  • Have my son design a home, that included a quilting studio, a pool, a relaxation garden and a separate wing for my Mom
  • Buy a plot of land that was large enough to hold my new house, one for my son and one for my daughter
  • Buy my husband a fishing boat
5 Jobs that I have had
  • Knit/Crochet teacher (in 8th grade)
  • Tutor (in 8th grade)
  • Camp Counselor during high school
  • Cashier during high school
  • Many roles at IBM (my only real job)
5 bad habits I have
  • expect others to have the same standards I have
  • procrastinate on the little things, until they become big things
  • buying fabric because it makes my heart sing
  • spending too much money on flowers
  • over-eating (even though I am working hard on this one now)
4 places I have lived
  • Mt. Vernon, NY for all but 5 years on my life
  • New Rochelle, NY for my first 5 years of marriage
  • ok... so I am boring... I stay close to home and family
Five People I Want to Get to Know Better: Hint.... “Tag. You’re it!”
  • Mary Anne
  • Teri
  • Jeanne Moccio
  • Giovanna
  • other art quilters, so I can grow my quilting horizon
6 Random Things
  1. One of my favorite memories is fishing with my dad. One year for my b'day I got my first fishing rod and that summer while fishing for black fish, I hooked into a fish and it took my line under the boat. Dad had to manuvuer the boat, and grab my rod on the other side of the boat so I could bring in the fish! I don't know if the fish was so big, or my rod was just sooo thin, but either way it made for an exciting day and a wonderful memory.
  2. When I was younger, I really enjoyed camping. My longest and bff and I went camping with another friend. We drove to Lake George in her Nova, getting to the camp ground after dark. Unfortunately, the storm that was forecasted wouldn't wait for us to set up camp. The wind was so strong, that we gave up on setting up the tent that evening and bunkered down in the Nova. Well, just as we got ourselves settled in, flashlights and all, along came the ranger, who without even knocking on the car door first, set up our tent, so we could get comfortable. I'll never forget how grateful we were that night!
  3. I don't know if I will live long enough, but I have so many ideas for quilts in my head that I wonder if my life could possibly be long enough. My only hope is that Raven will pass on my quilting supplies to someone who will cherish them as much as I do.... just as my bff did when her mother, my quilting inspiration, passed on.
  4. My youngest child, Robert, is a freshman in college this year. He is attending RPI, studying Civil Engineering. He is also playing football. Secretly, (well maybe not so secretly anymore) I pray daily that he doesn't get hurt playing ball, so he can excel in his studies. Deep in my heart I feel both my children will leave a significant imprint on society, Raven through her HUGE heart, and Robert with his ingenuity. He loved his internship this summer so much, that I hope that he has an opportunity to put his ingenuity and his engineering education together to create something wonderful for society.
  5. I wish I had a GEORGE! My husband says I talk so much about it, that he doesn't doubt I will buy one soon... but I have to stay level headed and wait until the time is right. But of course, I want it NOW.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I am sooo thrilled!

In my last post, I commented on the thing I have going with circles... and that I was working on one that was alot more complex.... Well take a look...

Don't mind the striped background, that is just my ironing board cover :-).... but I fell in love with this fabric when I brought it last year in Charleston, SC. At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with it. At one point, I was going to use the Big Square pattern. Then I was going to use the Big Square 2 pattern. But each time I was sure that it wasn't really what the fabric was meant for.... so back it went into my stash.

For those of you who know me, you know I love flying geese. After seeing Mary Anne's Flying Geese Color Wheel, I knew what I wanted to do. Combine them both.... so here it is... the quilt top is done.....

I tried my hand at drafting for the first time and combined drafting circular flying geese and points in the round. I added thin piping around each circle and created what I thought was a great design. Until I stood back and took a good look.... it was crying for something more.... too much negative space.

So back to the fabric I went and decided to fussy cut some of the stars out of the circles and add them around the larger circles to create a galaxy.

Now, I just have to figure out how I am going to quilt it. I want to do echo quilting around the circles, but I have to decide if I will echo the stars, or just treat them as part of the background fabric. Oh well, just another design decision to make while I am on vacation this week...