QGI Fall Quilt Retreat 2018

The beautiful fall leaves I’m seeing around here have reminded me that I’m late in writing this one up. I went on a quilt retreat with my guild in September, and like all retreats, it was fun, fun!

The retreat is held Frdiay to Saturday in the inn of a state park located in the southern part of Indiana. My friend Susie and I go down on Thursday, making a day of it and stopping at quilt shops along the way.

It’s so lovely there, with hills and lots of trees and of course the Ohio river which you can see from your room and also from the hall outside our sewing room. On Friday, we started the retreat with a double rainbow! It was so unusual, we could see both ends of it appearing to disappear in the Ohio river.

Everyone brings projects to work on and has a big gab fest while sewing. There’s plenty to eat, plenty of friends, and of course, plenty of inspiration from the other quilters!

Before I went off to retreat, I made a pillowcase for my friend Alice. She has several Keeshond, one of which is a specially trained diabetic alert dog and her constant companion. I found this fabric I thought looked just like her dog so of course I had to make her a pillowcase with it!

One of my best memories of retreat was giving Alice that pillowcase. Here she is with her dog Asti.

Retreat also affords me the opportunity to meet new quilters. I often spend time just rambling around the sewing room, visiting with people and catching up. This year I met this wonderful mom and her daughter who were at retreat for the first time. The mom had just recently lost her husband, but she knew the best path to healing for her was to quilt and to spend time around quilters. I really enjoyed taking with her and oogling at her projects.

I fell in love with this sweet woman and her lovely daughter, who shares the love of quilting with her mom.

I also enjoyed visiting with my other friends at retreat.

I can’t remember what I worked on at retreat, but I know I was very productive! Despite the fact that it looks like I spent all my time chatting, I remember that I got three projects finished up or moved along.

I can’t wait until next year!

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Tell me…what’s your favorite part of a quilt retreat? Where do you go? What do you do?

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My Visit to the Quilters Guild of Indianapolis

As some of you know, I'm a former President of the Quilter's Guild of Indianapolis. So it was both exciting and perhaps a bit scary when I was asked to to give a talk last Thursday. Turns out I need not have worried! The quilters in my guild could not have been more gracious or welcoming.

Interwoven - A quilt pattern in my book, "Idiots Guide: Quilting"

I think I was just putting too much pressure on myself to be perfect for my guild. As it turns out that's very ironic as my talk was entitled "Try It You'll Like It: Becoming a Brave Quilter." To become brave, I think you need to give up the illusion of perfection and instead embrace learning and growth. Hard to do, but as my talk proved to me, when you let go of perfection and relax you have fun!

Life in the Tide Pool - another quilt pattern from my book

During my presentation I chatted a bit about my quilting journey, including the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (mistakes I've made). <grin>

A quilt only a mother could of my first quilts, a rag quilt that was loved so much by my mother it's kinda falling apart. See, who needs perfection? <grin>

Along the way I shared some of my quilts, and tried to encourage everyone to try new techniques. I've got two workshops scheduled in October if you happen to be in the Indianapolis area! My workshops will teach you how to foundation paper piece, and to make either a wall hanging or a table runner using my Mirage pattern.

Mirage wall hanging - pattern in my store

Mirage wall hanging - pattern in my store

Mirage table runner - also included in the pattern

I totally advocate choosing small "I Can Finish It" projects to use when learning a new quilting technique which is why I chose small projects for my workshops. There's nothing better than the feeling of "Wow, I finished that!" and "OMG I just mastered that new technique! Look at me go!"

My second workshop teaches partial piecing or Y-seams. Workshop participants will make a table runner using either my Peppermint Twist or Water Vortex pattern.

Peppermint Twist quilt - pattern in my book

Water Vortex quilt - pattern in my shop.

I chose my two workshops because I think a lot of people shy away from paper-piecing and y-seams because they are different and new techniques for them. My hope is that people will take my workshops and walk away being glad they did. Couldn't ask for more than that!

It's no secret that my favorite part of any guild meeting is Show and Tell. I love looking at quilts! What was really cool this time though is that the guild surprised me by inviting members to bring quilts made with my patterns. Gosh that was cool. It almost made me cry.

Suzie brought her version of my Stepping Stones pattern. She was so brave when she made this--working with a color palette that was really different than her normal one. She'd won a layer cake at Guild and wanted to use it with this pattern, which uses layer cakes.

Suzie brought her version of my Stepping Stones pattern. She was so brave when she made this--working with a color palette that was really different than her normal one. She'd won a layer cake at Guild and wanted to use it with this pattern, which uses layer cakes.

Stephanie brought this special version of Summer Social, a pattern I created for Dear Stella that's available in my shop.

This reminds me...if any of you have ever made a quilt using one of my patterns or tutorials or quilt alongs, I would love to see it! I host a linkup once a week (my Wednesday Wait Loss) that you can use to share a photo of your quilt.

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Tell me...what quilt technique do you hesitate to try? Leave a comment and I'll see if I can work up some tutorials.

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 I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I’m a Guest Designer for Patchwork Posse!

Last year, Becky from Patchwork Posse invited me to be a guest designer for her exclusive online quilt group, the International Association of Quilters. As you can see, I'm in great company!

The International Association of Quilters is similar to other quilt guilds, except that it meets online. How cool is that? It costs $35 to join the IAQ for a year. With your membership, you get:

  • Exclusive patterns including a monthly guest designer pattern, sampler block of the month, folk art sampler, and an additional monthly pattern (pincushion, doll or plushie, mini quilt, pillow, and so on)
  • Monthly challenges and prizes
  • Member swaps four times a year
  • Member show and tell
  • Weekend mystery quilts and quilt retreats
  • Private Facebook group and an online forum where you can ask questions and share your projects
  • Monthly online meetup where members can get to know each other better, share projects, and get quick answers to questions on the latest pattern releases.
  • Access to online tutorials covering all aspects of quilting
  • Quarterly newsletter
  • Exclusive discounts to sponsor’s shops

After joining the IAQ you have immediate access to all content (2015 and 2016 patterns, plus 2017 patterns as they are added each month). If you're interested, click here to join! (affiliate link)

The pattern I designed for IAQ is called Heartbeat, and it finishes at 56-1/2” x 68”.

I made Heartbeat earlier this year as a charity quilt and got a lot of great response to it. So when Becky’s call came, it was just the push I needed to make Heartbeat into a pattern.

Although it’s shown in rainbow colors on the cover, this quilt would be perfect for showcasing a nice fat quarter pack or selected yardage from a favorite fabric collection such as these. The pattern includes a coloring page so you can design your own look.

Moda Chocolate and Roses

Moda Snow Much by Deb Strain

Moda Snow Much by Deb Strain

RJR Fabrics Daisy Blue by Flaurie & Finch

Riley Blake Designs Vienna by Andrea Muller

Heartbeat is quick to make and quick to finish—I quilted it using my walking foot with straight lines running through the Two Bar Blocks. Then I quilted the Heart blocks using easy curls and free motion quilting.

If you want to learn more about Heartbeat, read my interview with Becky or listen to the podcast by clicking here.

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Tell me...what fabrics would you use to make Heartbeat? Rainbow, or something else?

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 I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

How Quilt Fabric is Made - Who Knew?

Recently I spent a lovely evening with the Evening Star Quilt Guild. I listened with fascination to their guest speaker, Ken Gamache, President of Quilting Treasures as he explained the process of quilt fabric manufacture. I had no idea what all went into the delivery of new treasures for my stash!

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First Ken told us that Quilting Treasures is the oldest fabric manufacturer in the United States, dating back to 1807! They have tons of sample books of the fabrics they’ve made over the years, and he showed us a few samples. As a person who loves both modern and reproduction fabrics, this was quite a treat! Oh to browse through those sample books! (Please forgive the blurry photos…I was in the back of the room without a zoom lens--oh well.)

Ken went on to explain about the traditional method of printing fabric, which involves multiple rollers, each for printing a different color. As you can imagine, each of these rollers must be precisely aligned or the final print will look smudged and blurry.

He showed us photos of the design process, including how designs are worked out on computers. After a design is set, a sample or strikeoff is made. This is done manually by applying each color through a screen using a squeegee. Here, first blue, then yellow, and finally other colors were added one at a time to create this cute kitty border.

This adorable fabric is called The Tale of Two Kitties. How cute and colorful!

Once the sample is approved, it’s time to print fabric. Fabric is rolled on a conveyor belt through a series of ink vats where different inks are applied one at a time through a screen. I think he said that there is a rubber mat underneath the fabric that holds it in place so the printing is precise. Anyway, this process is similar to the manual method in that color is applied one at a time, and a kind of mechanical squeegee is involved. I say similar except that well, it’s automated so none of that manual stuff. Here is how a cute Minion banner panel was printed. I think we're seeing blue, then red, then orange being put on the panel here.

And here's the finished panel with all it's colors. I think the panel is called simply "I Won't Bite," and it's part of the Minion collection at Quilting Treasures.

Those colored dots you see on the selvage of your fabric show you each of the individual inks that were applied in the printing process.

Next, Ken talked about digital fabric. Imagine a large printer with a print head that rolls back and forth over a section of fabric, digitally printing the fabric image. To me, it reminded me of my printer at home only a whole lot bigger!

After fabric is printed, whether in the more traditional way or by digital printer, Quilting Treasures applies several special finishes to the fabric to set the ink permanently and create a soft, lovely hand or finish.

Fabric is then doubled, or rolled onto fabric boards that are sealed in plastic and ready to ship to your local quilt store.

i hope you found this as fascinating as I did, despite the blurry photos. Perhaps if you squint...<grin>

At the end of the meeting, the talented team of editors, sample makers, longarmers, and pattern designers that I work with got to meet with Ken and chat for a while. He couldn’t have been nicer. What a great guild meeting!

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Tell me…have you ever wondered how fabric is made?

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 I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!