Monday, January 24, 2011

A Road Trip to "Road to California"

Three friends and I took a road trip up the I-15 on Saturday to the Road to California Quilt Showcase in Ontario. Barbra S. was kind enough to drive the other three of us--Barbara L., Anna L. and I. It was a little bittersweet, as another friend was supposed to be in the 4th seat, but came down with a nasty bug and couldn't go, so I was able to take her place. Sorry Patty. Hope you're feeling better.

It was a gorgeous day and we arrived around 10:45 and went our separate ways to visit vendors and see all the gorgeous quilts. Pictures I took of the quilts can be viewed here: You can visit the show vicariously if you weren't able to attend. Click on the thumbnails on the right side to view the various groupings I organized. Here are a few pix to entice you. If you click on each photo, it will enlarge. The parrot was one of our favorites. It looked like you would feel real feathers if you touched it. Don't miss the pictures because they were fabulous. One group of pictures was an exhibit from the Rogue River Art Quilters in Oregon. They each took a section of the Rogue River to depict in a small quilt and all the quilts were displayed so the river ran through from one quilt to the next. I think there were more than 15 quilts. Be sure to look at those.

We met again for lunch and played photographer with another group of sister quilters from Fallbrook. We took their picture and they took ours. Here's the result.

The quality of the quilting seems to just get better and better every year. There were so many gorgeous examples of exquisite quilting. I didn't take pictures of every quilt, but tried to take as many as I could. Really enjoyed perusing the vendors. Cozy's was there. Here's a picture of Maureen. They were pretty busy.

I bought some really nice landscape fabrics at Cynthia England's booth. Some mountain, rock, tree bark, night sky and some other trees. Also bought a product called Retro Clean, which is supposed to remove staining and yellowing from old quilts and linens. And a handy storage box for buttons, beads or bobbins. It has individual little containers inside a larger box. Here's a couple of pix.

We left to come home around 5 and had a lovely ride chatting about the show, and how the world has changed since we all raised our kids 30-40 years ago. If you've never been to Rd to CA, you should really go next year. There are usually a couple of buses that take people who don't want to drive.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Pros of Guild Membership

In a reader poll in the Aug.-Sept. issue of Quilter’s Home magazine, nationally-known quilter, Jo Morton, commented on the poll’s multiple-choice question about what type of quilting organizations the readers are members of. Jo was quoted at saying, “If you go to the guild meeting, you get jobs you don’t need or have time for.” I guess she has trouble saying no!

I have been a member of Kaleidoscope Quilt Guild, since 1987, the year it was formed, and have seen people come and go, experienced all the changes over the years and after 23 years I would not characterize this guild as an arm-twisting, threatening entity. Sure sometimes it is hard to get people to volunteer to help out, and the same people seem to rotate the main jobs year after year, but new people do step up and help to keep everything running smoothly. Others contribute in whatever ways they are comfortable with. No one is ever forced into doing something they have no interest in. Being a member of a guild is a good thing. A guild is a social and educational community of like-minded people, in this case with a serious interest in the art of quilting. For one who is new to quilting or the older, experienced quilter a guild provides opportunities for learning at workshops, seeing the work of other quilters at every level, participating in guild activities, and making lifelong friends.

A guild is multifunctional. It supports quilter education through monthly programs with speakers--well-known quilters and guild members. It schedules workshops allowing members additional educational opportunities. It organizes retreats to foster community within its membership. It encourages and supports philanthropic organizations with donations of quilts and other handmade items. Our guild presents a quilt show, free of charge, which allows members to exhibit their work to promote quilting in our community.

I would suggest that anyone contemplating joining a guild should visit that guild to see if it is welcoming and inclusive, if it is a place they would feel comfortable being part of. Don’t shy away from membership, fearing you will be forced to take on responsibilities you are not ready for. Go in with a positive attitude to make the most of your guild experience and you’ll find you will enjoy it. Visit for more information on what guilds are all about.

Here are a few photos of our last guild meeting—some member sharing and our program presented by member, DeAnna Kendall. Visit DeAnna’s blog at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lessons Learned From a UFO

We are having a UFO challenge in my class. For those of you who might not be quilters, these UFO’s are not the extraterrestrial type, they are UnFinished Objects—quilting projects that for one reason or another are unfinished. The challenge is to finish as many of your UFO's as you can by the end of this class session in March. Prizes will be given at the end based on the total number of square inches of the projects completed.

I thought I would work on some of mine, so I pulled out two bags from my hundred or so UFO’s, both of which are old Stack ‘N Whack projects. I started with one that is an 8-point pinwheel pattern in a quirky country fabric and green. The blocks that were finished had interest and movement to them, so I sat down and spent one day sewing the rest of the blocks together. Then I measured the blocks and it turned out they were all just “slightly” larger than they should have been. I couldn’t trim them down without losing the points of the pinwheels. If they had been less than ¼” too big, I may have been able to avert the fiasco that resulted, but they were more like 3/8” too big. The unfortunate part of this story is that I had already cut the setting triangles when I started the project several years ago, and now they were just “slightly” too small. Normally I wouldn’t have cut them until the blocks were all done, but years ago who knows why I did that. Well, to add insult to injury, I thought, “It’s just a teeny, tiny difference. I can just ease it in.” (ignoring the fact that 3/8” is not teeny, tiny) Big mistake! I knew better, but didn’t have enough fabric to cut new ones, so I thought I could MAKE it work. Nope, nada, no way. The quilt top will not lay flat because the triangles are too small. My only option is to unsew them, and resew them into the sides without stretching or easing, then trim the sides of the quilt even with the triangles. Luckily, I can do this without losing any part of the pinwheels. I should have done it in the first place.

The moral of this story is three-fold: 1) Even the most experienced of us make mistakes—stupid ones at that, 2) NEVER, EVER cut the setting triangles for an on-point setting before you finish the blocks, and 3) don’t try to MAKE something work, especially when it involves bias edges.

Here are a few pictures of the top. I fixed one triangle, but have to do several others to make this lay flat. Hope this doesn’t end up back in the black hole of UFO’s.

These show some of the wrinkles I need to get rid of.

Closeups of a couple of the blocks.

The triangle I fixed. Notice it doesn't meet the corners of the blocks. That's why I will have to trim the edges of the top.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival Slide Show

Already one week into 2011, 51 more to go! I'm trying to actually quilt every day, so I am journaling what quilt related things I do every day--hopefully to keep me on track. Yesterday I cut out the rest of the pieces for a Stack 'n Whack UFO from a number of years ago. Today I sewed the rest of the blocks (5) and assembled the quilt top. It still needs borders and a backing. I have a feeling of accomplishment, even though it isn't finished yet.

I ran across this slide show of some of the amazing quilts at the 2010 Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival on The Quilt Show blog. They had over 200,000 visitors over about a week-long show. I hope you can watch it because these Japanese quilters are amazing in their talent. The other two links below are photos from the 2009 show and the 2010 show by blogger Jennifer at

2009 Tokyo show

2010 Tokyo show


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Adult Ed Quilting Class

Last night I started my 9th year of teaching quilting through the adult school program here. It has been fun, very rewarding, and hard work. I have Anna to thank for the class as she decided to give up her evening class all those years ago. I have a loyal group of wonderful women who keep coming back for more. We have a lot of laughs, get to admire each other’s work and even learn some fun new patterns and techniques. If any of you out there want to join us, just email me. The class runs weekly from now through March 22, 11 more classes for only $39. This session we are finishing our UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) in a challenge and also learning the Stack ‘n Whack technique.

Here are some photos: our class, minus a few people who couldn’t attend last night, two Stack ‘N Whack quilts shared by class member, Rita. I’ll post more photos as the trimester proceeds.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Great Beginning for a New Year of Quilting

How’s this for a great quilting start for 2011! I went to Cozy Quilt Shop this morning for the Fat Quarters Anonymous demonstration and the kickoff of Building Blocks with Sharyn Craig, a new block of the month the shop is sponsoring. The shop was decked out with a Happy New Year banner, party noisemakers for all guests, and a mirrored disco ball, which Daniella, the owner of Cozy’s, pointed out, would be on a pulley next year for a true ball drop. We did a countdown anyway and blew our noise-makers. Don’t you wish you were there?

The new quilt for Fat Quarters Anonymous is a stunner. “It’s called Curvaceous,” Daniella said, “after some of us!” It uses anywhere from 5 to 33 fat quarters depending on the finished size, from a lap to a king and uses raw edge appliqué (easy, peasy ladies) instead of curved piecing. You can find the pattern at Cozy’s website, Here’s a photo. Sorry about rather poor quality on some of these photos. I had my camera on the wrong setting.

After FQA our own nationally-known quilter/teacher/lecturer, Sharyn Craig, gave a fabulous presentation to kick off the new Block of the Month at Cozy’s called “Building Blocks.” Obviously, there will be one block a month, all of which are 9” finished blocks, all in the “9-patch” configuration, with many variations. Sharyn said some of the blocks are in the public domain, being old standards. Some she designed herself, although she did say if you look hard enough you might find them somewhere, because “There’s only so many ways you can put a block together.” Each month the new block pattern can be purchased for $3. It is a single sheet printed on both sides, with diagrams and templates for cutting and assembly. There is no coloration of the block because Sharyn wants you to do your own thing, putting fabrics together in your own style. I thought I would photocopy the line drawing and color it several different ways before I put my block together. The pattern will also be sold as a kit with 3 fat eighths (9” x 21”) each month, in five different colorways—black and white, pastel, bright, red and green, and patriotic—for ONLY $5. Such a bargain! You do need about one yard of background fabric for all 12 blocks. You can use only the kit fabrics or add to them. There are no rules—it’s your quilt so do whatever you like. You don’t have to commit to buying all the blocks, but you can put your name on a list so they will hold a kit for you. They will be available at the shop and online on the first of each month. Here are some photos of Sharyn’s presentation—she is such an enthusiastic speaker and a great teacher. The photos of the blocks include each colorway, with multiple blocks of the red and green. In the first photo below, clockwise from upper left, are: black and white (with added red accent), patriotic (red, white, blue & added gold), red and green, pastel (with black background). In the second photo, from upper left are red and green, pastel (on light background), brights, and another red and green.
The other photos are examples of sampler quilts, such as you would make with Blocks of the Month, which Sharyn has made in the past. She brought them to show what you can do with a collection of different blocks. It was a fun morning. I can’t wait to get started on mine. Details and pictures should be on the Cozy website soon.

Already a great quilting experience to start 2011!