Wednesday, March 30, 2022

GPDU -- MONTH 4: Applique Block and Pieced Block

Garden Party Down Under is the Block of the Month quilt for The Quilt Show. The patterns are FREE all of 2022 for STAR Members. 

 It's Month 4 and once again we have an applique block and a pieced block. Here are mine from the test quilt made last year:

This time I decided not to make this block from the Kit fabrics--I made this same block last year and decided once was enough. 

Important things to remember: the jug is asymmetrical-it has a handle on one side. If using a fusible product, like Print & Piece Fuse Lite, the jug will be reversed unless you draw the pattern in reverse. This is discussed in the Optional Alternative Techniques document found in Month 1 for STAR Members:

Month 1 Additional Instructions

There is also a Video about using Fusibles for Machine Applique found in Month 1 Videos:

Month 1 Videos

I find a window template very helpful for selecting fabrics for the vases/jug:

This jug is different from the preceding vases--it has a "lip" at the top that is the INSIDE of the jug: 

Irene used the WRONG side of the jug fabric for hers. That would probably work fine with this gray 
Bubbles fabric, I chose a different gray--this is the wrong side of a gray print. It will be covered with 4 stems so it won't show a lot. NOTE: the LIP  is the FIRST piece of fabric to be placed on the background:

This pattern has both 1/8" and 1/4" stems. I have seen beautiful 1/8" stems made by students from 1/8" ribbon. The outer edges of ribbon are finished so you can either stitch right down the middle with straight or zigzag stitches. Or couch it by hand or machine. 1/8" wide is pretty narrow so it doesn't need a lot of threadwork.

Once the lip is in place, note that Leaves 2 and 3 are sewn next because they go UNDER stems:

Next add the stems and all remaining leaves and flowers. The jug can be stitched in place after the stems are put on top of the "lip"--one of the heart-shaped leaves goes on top the the jug.

REMEMBER WHEN TRIMMING THE FINISHED BLOCK: trim it to 13.5" Wide x 12.5" High. See the  Month 3  blog and LIVE video for my Cutting Guide Tip:

The 4-Patch on Point block with the Dresden Plate center is exactly the same as Month 3. The pattern was updated to provide a full size Dresden Plate should you wish to cut your own templates from cardboard or Print & Piece Fuse Lite. The instructions for the 4-Patch on Point were updated to say there are 32 squares cut for the eight 4-Patches, half light, half darker than the light ones. 

Here are Irene's Month 4 blocks:

All of Irene's blocks can be seen on the MONTHLY LAYOUT GUIDE

Next month we will make TWO applique blocks and no pieced blocks. A different pieced block will be introduced in Month 6. 

Be sure to look at and post on the Forum--it is great to see all the progress being made: FORUM  Click on the PHOTOS tab to see just the photos that have been posted in the SHOW YOUR PROGRESS Topic.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, March 27, 2022


 I am starting to travel again. April 5-6, 2022 I will be in Brentwood, TN with the Cumberland Valley Quilters Association, a return visit to them.

The Lecture I will present on Tuesday April 5 is Time Management for Quilters, one that always gets a great response. I hear from people a week, a month, even a year later that they learned many ways to get more done with their quilting time.  There is a  Time Management Tutorial that features just 3 of the things I talk about in this lecture.

On Wednesday April 6, I will teach WESTERN SUN. A class full of easy ways to make what might seem like a difficult project. The class sample size is achievable for most quilters and everyone learns something in this jam-packed day of learning:

Wild Western Sun

Most people won't want to make this one King-Size, but I did. Here it is hanging in my guild show recently: 

CVQA is on Facebook and Instagram and has a website. Contact them directly if you are interested in attending. At this point I know there is space in the workshop. CVQA

Just about every month for the rest of 2022 I'll be going somewhere wonderful to teach. Booking dates are open for 2023. Maybe I'll get to come see you!

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Fanfare 2022--the Heritage Quilters Of Huntsville Quilt Show

 After a 6 month delay, my guild quilt show was held recently. Usually held in October of the odd years, this one was pushed back a few months due to Covid stuff. 

The show was full of beautiful quilts, about 200, great vendors (who did very well) and a record-breaking crowd of attendees. Obviously, people are eager to get life "back to normal". 

I didn't take nearly enough photos but lots of my friends did, like this panoramic view by Robin A--it only shows a small part of the very large hall at the Von Braun Center:

This is the 17th bi-annual show put on by HQH. There were wonderful quilts and pretty ribbons on many. I am going to share my most favorites here and a few of the winners.

Teachers love to see their students succeed so it was great to see these quilts wearing ribbons. 

1. And So It Began: Brenda Miller started this in our Quiltmaking 101 class in 2014 and just finished it. Honorable Mention, One Maker, Pieced Medium.  This is the quilt I had taught for more than 10 years to hundreds of local quilters. My goal is to addict at least one in each class totally to quiltmaking and Brenda and her sister, Jo Anne, both got the bug. I credit Brenda with "making" me start the Sunday Sew & Sews--and we are all glad she did:

There were several Sizzle quilts made by students--this was the 2019 Block of the Month quilt for The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. 

2.  Pam Erickson calls this one Rainbow Sizzle. I love the pieced border she created for it. Designer Becky Goldsmith was also very taken with it. Pam was very excited when she saw the Blue Ribbon, 1st Place in Two Makers, Pieced Large. Quilted by Lois Kindley.

3. I Like It Hot, by Brenda Miller, with the original appliqued border designed by Becky Goldsmith. Honorable Mention, Two Makers, Applique/Mixed Large, quilted by Patty Wilson: 

4. Mariner's Compass on Steroids, by Evelyn Spaulding, 2 Place, Group, Appliqued/Mixed, Medium/Small. Mechelle Armstrong and Linda Snellgrove also worked on it: 

5. Galactic by Cyndi Russell, quilted by Patty Wilson. Cyndi is a student and friend and I love having her in class. Her fabric selections and use of color just amaze and thrill me. Honorable Mention, First HQH Fanfare Quilt: 

There were several Afternoon Delight quilts, the 2020 Block of the  Month quilt for The Quilt Show, designed by the late Sue Garman.

6. Sew Delighted by Brenda Miller. Her first attempt at hand applique. Honorable Mention, One Maker, Applique/Mixed Large: 

7. Afternoon Delight, by Cyndi Russell. The green is so beautiful as the border fabric:
8. I Ain't Afraid to Applique, by Donna Daniel, quilted by Becky Clayton.  Honorable Mention, Two Makers, Applique/Mixed, Large. This neutral palette is amazingly beautiful and unexpected. Designer Sue Garman would have loved it: 
9. Worn By Me, by Evelyn Spaulding, quilted by Patty Wilson. All of the applique blocks use wool fabric from clothes Evelyn wore in the 1960's when she made a lot of her clothes. Pretty clever as wool appliques can be cut raw edge, not turned under. Honorable Mention, Wool, X-Large, Large, Medium:

Another class I love to teach is Smitten and I was very happy to see this quilt.

10. Smitten by Leigh Hubbard, quilted by Lisa Rummell and Susan Yell. This quilt is most often made in bright, happy, contemporary fabrics. Leigh's choice of low volume, soft prints and neutrals is so beautiful and comforting. I loved watching her make the blocks in class and was so excited to see it at the show. Honorable Mention, Group, Applique/Mixed Medium, Small:

Detail shot of Leigh's Smitten and the quilting: 

11. The Giving Quilt, quilted by Lois Kindley, top by Suzie Wilbanks. This pattern is my Charming Sampler that I designed for the first Joyful Journey Retreat in 2020. Suzie made the top there but never really liked it. Lois, however, loved the colors/fabrics so Suzie gave it to her. Lois had to remove the quilting Suzie had done but could then really quilt it beautifully. I was so happy to see this at the show so future students can see fabric possibilities unlike my two samples, which have much more contrast between fabrics:

Detail of the quilting: 
Suzie used all the remaining charm squares to piece the back:

Now for some more of my favorites, in no particular order.

 12. Dad's Lone Star, by Lorrie Brown, quilted by Patty Wilson. The pattern is by Ricky Tims, as are the hand dyed fabrics. So beautiful to see at our show. 

13. 25 by Ben Darby. Made as a tribute to his wife in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary. Ben is very talented and this was wonderful to look at closely. First Place, One Maker, Pieced Medium:

14. Flowering Snowball by Lynda Kronenberger. I recently discovered a photo of this design on Instagram and learned it had been all the rage about 6 years ago with Internet sew-a-longs. Intending to work on it at my recent Retreat, I ran out of time and didn't start. So I was very happy to see Lynda's version as I am even more inspired to make it. Honorable Mention, One Maker, Pieced Large:

15. Happy Mountain by Leigh Hubbard. This was just fun to look at. Great fabric selections: 

16. Hen House by Kari Hawkins. I find these fabrics and the pattern lovely and soothing and enjoyed looking at it. Honorable Mention, One Maker. Pieced, Medium:

17. Iceberg by Elaine Wick Poplin. Elaine does a lot of improv quilts with strong links to traditional blocks. These are log cabin variation blocks. I am always impressed with Elaine's use of color/fabric and just enough "outside the box" inspiration. I look forward to seeing what comes next from her. Second Place, One Maker, Pieced Medium:

18. Awakening by Elaine Wick Poplin. Improvisational curves, First Place, One Maker, Pieced Large: 

19. Seminole Saguaro by Elaine Wick Poplin. The seminole pieced background is amazing, you just want to look at it for a long time: 

20. Sunshine Cove by Sharon Rush. The Detail shot shows just a bit of what makes this quilt so good. Each shape is beautifully stitched with matching thread and the blocks are outlined with piping made from 1/16" cording. First Place, First HQH Fanfare Quilt entry: 
Detail Shot (thanks, Laura!)

My own entries are quilts you have seen before. This is my personal journal so here they are for the record:

Western Sun, a replica of an antique quilt I have always loved. The biggest quilt I have ever made and the last king-size quilt for me. Quilted on my Bernina Q20 sit-down longarm, it took more than 90 hours to quilt and 15 hours to bind. One of my favorite quilts:

Garden Party Down Under, the 2022 Block of the Month for The Quilt Show, designed by Irene Blanck. Made with the help of 8 Sunday Sew & Sews, I quilted it on my Bernina Q20. I  adore this quilt. Second Place, Group, Applique/Mixed, Large, X-Large.

Color My World, the 2021 Block of the Month for The Quilt Show, by Wendy Williams. I quilted it on my Bernina Q20. Second Place, One Maker, Pieced, Medium:

How about Viewer's Choice? There were so many votes, 3 ribbons were awarded for Viewer's Choice.

1. Mariner's Compass Plus 20, by Pam Anders, Melissa Labella and Charlotte Jones. First Place, Group, Applique/Mixed, Large, X-Large:

2. The Bible Quilt by Christopher Smith, David Gilifilen and Lin Hayden. First Place, Other and Best Original Design: 

3. Beardy by Sherrie Cahill, Third Place, Art/Innovative:

And, last but not least: BEST OF SHOW. AU by Ben Darby, First Place, One Maker, Pieced X-Large. Assembled from 6" paper pieced blocks Ben designed. More than a few "War Eagle" shouts were heard:

There were 200 quilts in the show so this is just a taste. I think you will agree, it was a wonderful show put on by a very talented guild.

Let's quilt.


Sunday, March 20, 2022

Joyful Journey Retreat #3 -- the Wrap-Up

Hard to believe, but our 3rd annual Joyful Journey Retreat has been over a week already. We are all still on a high from such a great 5 days of fun, fellowship and LOTS of quilting!.

This year's awesome group--19 wonderful women: 

Five of these women were new to  the group, getting a chance to join when cancellations happened. They are now guaranteed to be part of the gang next year, if they want. All 5 felt welcomed immediately and took every chance to get to know the others. And the regulars got to know them too.

When I came up with this idea about 4 years ago, I wisely chose my friend Kathy Root to be the Admin--she handles the money, the bedroom and table assignments, registrations and lots of other things. She is great to bounce ideas off of and we make a pretty great team. We wanted this to be an EVENT--not just free sewing time. Each year the Retreat exceeds our expectations!

To encourage people to get to know each other, we do a few things not often done at retreats. First, we ask everyone to sit with different people at each of the 11 meals. There are only two tables but lots of chances to sit beside most everyone there, at least once.

After each meal we have "20 Questions": two different people select a question at random and answer it for all to hear. Just a few to give you an idea:

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
What is your favorite quilt that you  have made so far?
What is your best memory?

All questions are positive, open-ended, and designed to let the group know something about all of us, that might not come up in general conversation. We don't know what our question will be until we draw it. This is the one thing that has helped to form friendships and a bond that makes people want to return.

Every year we rearrange sewing table assignments to prevent the "territorial thing" that can happen from year to year. Sitting near new people is good for everyone. 

A few photos to show just a bit of the fun and productivity that occurred during our 5 day, 4 night Joyful Journey Retreat:

AdventureLand pattern by SuzyQuilts, my first finish 

Kathy with her first finished top

Saturday morning brought a light dusting of snow

Several worked on Garden Party Down Under 

Suzie caught up on her 365 Challenge in Teal 
Regular Brenda declared this her first ever "over the railing" quilt--a show entry for HQH show

First-timer Shelley made this beautiful elephant collage and we all wanted to know how--she showed us
Audra got this far on a long-term project--beautiful!

It's a "make-up free zone", a "pj's all day are fine zone" and a "Drama-Free Zone".  And it is full of teachable moments. Everyone learns at least one new thing, including me. Much sharing and caring happens at this Event. Life advice can be offered with love by those who have experienced your troubles. 

One brought a quilt she had just picked up from a long arm quilter. The owner was not happy with the job and asked if anyone agreed with her that there were problems. When all agreed, she felt a little better but faced the daunting task of removing all the quilting so it could be redone. Many people jumped in with their stitch rippers and although it took all of Retreat, the quilting was removed and a celebration was heard when the last stitch came out--now, that's friendship:

Hard at work "un-sewing" 

Cue the "Hallelujah Chorus":

And no Retreat  report would be complete if we didn't mention the food. First, quilters bring lots of snacks to share, this is just an early photo, before everyone arrived, the counter was ultimately full:

We had 11 meals, all excellent, and most different from the last two Retreats. Three times a day the dinner bell called us to eat and we all agreed, it is the DINNER BELL we will miss the MOST!

Homemade Lasagna, full of gooey cheese--great!

Each meal we eagerly look at the Menu board to see what awaits

Those with dietary needs were accommodated, with their meals in separate dishes from the rest. They were very appreciative. 

So now we look forward to next year, March 1-5, 2023. If any of these women can't attend, we'll work our way down the waitlist. A couple who had to cancel this year hope to get back in. And there are others who want to experience what is truly a Joyful Journey, on the road of life as well as quilting.

Let's quilt.