Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Quilty Week

Last Tuesday night I went to a Class Preview Party for In Between Stitches, my local shop. This quarter's event was an even more fun affair since Melissa, one of the two co-owners is expecting a baby the end of April. She elected not to know the gender so both pink and blue balloons abounded. The presenters wore pink or blue tops with an inflated balloons stuffed beneath in the appropriate position. When one of the presenter's balloons popped she cried out "Oh, no, my water broke!" to peals of laughter. The audience took sides cheering for their guess of gender. Note cards were passed out for all to add tidbits of advice to make the final month more bearable. There is an large paper mâché egg in the window of the shop and it will be marked with a crack when Melissa goes into labor. We were instructed to pass by and observe it as least twice daily this month.

But the evening was not total chaos. Many upcoming classes for quilts and techniques and friendship clubs were described with samples displayed around the perimeter of the community room of a local spa and retreat house.  I really like this framed nine-patch pattern. It is simple but the framing really sets it off and it has such a masculine feel to it. I am on the wait list for the pattern. I'd most likely be able to figured it out without the pattern but I feel that creativity should be rewarded and that the designer should be supported. Often these patterns that, on the surface, seem obvious, include a speed or streamlined assembly technique that surprises me and that I can add to my arsenal of tricks.

Thursday morning I went to a meeting of the HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen Club at the Cotton Patch classroom in Lafayette, about 30 miles northwest of me. The group of ten or so ladies was a delight and I learned so much in the exchange of tips and quilt handling and flow patterns for continuous motion FMQ. There is no charge for the club. The Cotton Patch is very generous with their customer support. The club was well worth it and I made some new friends. At the Cotton Patch store I bought an HQ ruler and some ruler grips. I have already tried out the adhesive grips on the VersaTool I am using for the straight line quilting on my Simple Gifts quilt in progress and they make a big difference. I bought the large Quilt and Sew Ruler because of a tip I learned in the class. Because fabric is soft and cushy, a flexible rule is better for marking quilt tops since it can conform to the surface. Some folks also mark on the top before it is sandwiched with the batting and backing so the surface is not so plush.

On my way home I stopped at Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, a shop about 20 miles northwest of me. I struck up a lively conversation with a customer who is member of the Diablo Valley Quilters and will be attending one of their monthly meetings tomorrow night. Looks like there may be more quilting friendships in my future. I caved and bought 2 one-yard cuts of this cheddar colored house fabric that called to me from the clearance bin. I think with some gray or coral or white sashing it can be pressed into service as pretty quilt backing.

On Friday my husband and I took a car ride to a quaint part of Fremont called the Niles district about 17 miles southwest of us to just browse the antique stores there. I zotted in to a quilt store Color Me Quilts on the main street. There I bought this awesomely cute woodland animals fabric that called to me from the clearance rack. My, those clearance racks and bins have loud voices! It seems like I am drawn to yellow of late. This too would make a great quilt back. I can also see it as a large block or a strip quilt so the fabric is not cut up too much. It speaks "baby boy" to me.

I also got two fat quarters that seemed like they would be versatile. The orange is such a soft sherbet orange tint that the webs appear fluffy-soft and not spider-creepy. I liked the blue stripe for its potential as narrow framing for quilt blocks, run perpendicular to the side of the block.

Between my Tuesday preview party, my Thursday HQ16 club, the Thursday quilt store conversation, and the quilt store visit during our Friday outing, I'd heard multiple times about a guild's quilt show the upcoming weekend in Concord about 30 miles north of me. So my husband and I went to a quilt show on Saturday hosted by the Guild of Quilters of Contra Costa County. This show was great and very much to my taste. Sometimes if I go to very modern shows or very artsy shows I am impressed with the craftsmanship, but do not necessarily want the end item for my own home. Here are some images of quilts I particularly liked.

I thought the FMQ on this was just stunning. I liked the fan detail in the corners, the great space planing for the swirls, and the precise even loops in the border.

Here is a view of the entire quilt.

These free floating lanterns were so colorful and I liked the way their outline was repeated in the cream negative space.

This one may just have been my favorite. It has it all –  embroidery, Dear Jane blocks, piecing, curved piecing, applique, sit down long arm quilted feathers, domestic machine grid quilting, and Christmas.

This collection of Dear Jane blocks was impressive.

This quilt of leaves had a beautiful blend of applique and precision piecing and a gorgeous color palette.

In the Country Store associated with the show I bought a crocheted hat, a book on curved piecing, and this Campbell soup apron panel, all at great bargain prices. I thought the apron panel was just too darn cheerful to leave behind.

While I was in line waiting to pay at the guild's Country Store, my husband snuck back to the Thimble Creek vendor booth and bought the Sleepy Hollow pattern for me as a surprise. I'd been admiring it for several recent quilt shows we've attended but was reluctant to buy it because of the cost. It is not like I have a shortage of patterns at home, after all. He knew I was still struggling with my decision to pass it by once again. He wanted to put an end to my angst. What a guy!

Instead of the Halloween gray/orange color combination, my plan is to make a quilt for our bed in a palette that reminds me of seaside cottages - blues, sea foam greens, soft corals, sand -  to fit in with our beach themed bedroom. I would like to incorporate this sepia fabric from my stash either as a broad border, or backing to a quilt made from the Sleepy Hollow pattern.

Speaking of sleepy, even husbands of quilters have their limits. Frank is patiently waiting for me so we can leave. The show ended a very pleasant quilting immersion week for me and I came away from the experiences of the past several days renewed and inspired and feeling very welcomed and loved.


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful week! I bet you are super inspired. Have fun with your new rulers and fabric!

    1. Will do! Already sewed up the apron and used the grippers on the ruler. Thanks for visiting.

  2. What a good husband, and what a fun weekend! Just the curves on that "Joy" quilt make me cringe in consideration of the effort. That sepia beach fabric is stunning, and I love both the lanterns and the leaves from the show. The Woodland animals print is cute, but BOY is it bright!