Thursday, August 30, 2018

can it be . . .

Y'all.  Tomorrow is the LAST day of August, which means Saturday is the FIRST day of September, aka the FIRST day of calendar fall (as opposed to astronomical fall which begins with the September equinox--on the 22nd--this year).
WHAT???!  I think my 'all caps' tell you how I feel about this.

Sigh. This year is going by so very fast. And the summer's gone by even faster! Probably because I spent most of it in a sling. You think? Speaking of that, the right shoulder continues to heal and I continue to do physical therapy. Yesterday I consulted with the doc about the MRI I just had done on the left shoulder ... it's torn too, so as soon as I've got the right shoulder up-to-speed, we'll start the process all over again with the left one. Aye yi yi!  The good news is the doc said there's VERY little chance of either side tearing from use and age(?!) ever again. Whew!

Never mind that. Let's think on happy things.  Like pumpkins and hexies.
Or hexie pumpkins!  We'll introduce our seasonal mug rug swap at the September guild meeting and the October swap is autumn themed, so I'm prepping some appropriate samples. One of my co-chairs (Sarah P.) won't be able to be at the September meeting so she handed over her samples early.  Check out these cute little fellows . . .
Aren't they wonderful??!  They aren't finished (she's going to put faces on them), but still, so fun! She also did these leaf embroidered/strip pieced mug rugs.
I really love these - especially the elongated, embroidered oak leaf!  I'm going to play with something acorn-y for another sample . . .
Not sure where this is going to go with fabric, but I'll work with it and report. I noticed something funny...these two pics printed exactly the same, but whether it's the angle or the lines I've marked around them, they look different.  Illusions.

Here's another happy . . .
Finished whipping together the top of the starburst hexie topper. I was going to let it sit for a good couple of years before finishing it, but Sarah (of sarah did it!) was emphatically against that plan and insisted I have it finished for Veteran's Day. {grin} I'm still thinking big stars in the tone-on-tone solids, and maybe circling the inner starbursts on the stars.

I have one last A Quilters Journey piece, but I haven't decided whether or not I'll share it yet. It was a compilation of a broad sampling of other guild members' thoughts about the 2017-18 guild year -- I just wrote the intro and the closing.  It was still a fun piece, just very long.  I may share it by itself tomorrow -- close out the month, so to speak.

Hip hip hooray, today's a vacation day (and the start, thanks to Monday's holiday, of a five-day weekend)! So I'm headed to the Nook and may not emerge until Tuesday. J/K.  I'll be out to the lake tomorrow!  Happy {long} weekend!


Monday, August 27, 2018

the end of the journey . . .

Posterity being important, I decided to go ahead and include my last A Quilter's Journey article on the blog -- but backdated it. If you find it (and challenge yourself to read to the bitter end), bless you. :)

For this final look into A Quilter’s Journey, I felt that membership has heard enough from me.  I wanted you to hear from a sampling of our membership … old and new … about their respective journeys in the guild this past year, and how it—and YOU—have influenced them.

I started near the top with first vice-president, Kari H.  Kari wrote, “I knew this was going to be a fun year with Pam as president. I was eager to step up and help when she asked me to be her first vice president. I helped her recruit her board, reaching out to members like Pauline, Bonnie, Pat and Beverly to fill really important positions. The entire board helped move the guild forward, with the superb additions of the Tinsel Trail holiday tree and Panoply of the Arts as ways to reach out to our community. My favorite meeting of the year was when Ellen -- our first president from 30 years ago -- took us down memory lane, but I also really enjoyed Teresa Rawson, Judy B., the Challenge and so many other great programs. I was challenged by serving as the first vice president and then taking on much of the duties of the second vice president.  Building coalitions, encouraging partnerships, developing programs, finding new ways to share our love of quilting and getting to know our growing membership base really made this a spectacular year of leadership for me, and I am looking forward to building on that in the new year to come.”

Next, I solicited input from Joan B., a new guild member this year.  Joan responded, “First of all, thank you for taking in a stranger from another state. Many of you have lifted my spirits and brightened my days.  My grandson, when he was 10, helped me design my first quilt, told me what fabrics to purchase as we shopped in a quilt store in a predominantly Amish area of northern Indiana called Shipshewana. I finished it within 10 months and was hooked. That was 2015-2016. You all with your expertise have given me great dreams toward which to strive.  I have learned from two of your fabulous teachers. And, one fine long-arm quilter quilted my grey/white, king-sized quilt. The meetings each month tell of real people creating real beauty through all of life’s ups and downs. You are impressive! I have yet to make a quilt with a ready-made pattern. Oh, wait! I did an Edyta Sitar “Little Handfuls of Scraps” quilt with Barbara Black.  I have made 11 quilts, have three UFO’s, have embroidered 2 baby onesies, made 6 embroidered towels and I love making aprons!  I still struggle with which colors to use but have a color wheel. It’s getting better.  There is great joy in getting together even if you don’t know anyone. It’s a positive environment full of talent and skill! The challenges each month or the show and tell or the classes offered bring each to the realization that “someday I’ll make family heirlooms worthy of passing on to future generations”.  You are fun. You strive for excellence. You encourage. You all say, “I’m up for the challenge!” Life is a journey and quilting enhances that journey!” 

Long-time guild member, Sarah P., had this to share: “Having a theme for the year was something new for HQH. I thought it was a good idea, but was not sure how it would all tie together. However, when I think about this guild year, and the speakers, topics, and the Stitching the Blues Challenge, A Quilter’s Journey was a great fit. Starting with Ellen’s talk about the history of our guild, lessons on inspiration, time management, using rituals, and ending with the amazing Challenge, it all just fit beautifully. I continue to be blown away by the Challenge, because we all had the same destination, and we all took a different route to get to the end. Crossing the finish line together, and reveling in the talents of each other was a highlight of this guild year for me. But, I know that one night comes from all of the other elements that the guild has worked hard to put together. I cannot wait to see what the next year brings.”

Connie B. is one of our charter members and has served the guild in a variety of positions.  Her comments were, “The guild this year has been exciting and enthusiastic.  As an example, the Challenge.  There has not been that much participation in years.  It was wonderful to see so many entries.  I am continually inspired by the awesome, talented people in our guild.  I like the way they are willing to share techniques with everyone through special workshops and I would like to see more programs like that.  Participation in local community events, like Panoply and the Christmas tree walk have made our presence known in our community. I love the Comfy Quilt Community Outreach Program, also.  The people in our guild are so very generous.  Membership has increased, which means nice things are being said about our guild so people want to join. I am so happy to see young people joining and participating in the guild so that it will continue to flourish throughout the coming years.  It is always easy to criticize others when they are in a leadership position, but I have nothing but admiration for those who take on the leadership roles each year and I am pleased with the new ideas and talent they bring to the guild.  God bless you all for all of the hard work you have done for us!  Thank you.”

Another new-to-the-guild member was Rhoda J.  Her thoughts on this year’s guild year:  “A sweet lady I know invited me to come one evening because she would see the quilts I made and posted on Facebook.  Well I went and may I just say, I look forward to every month.  The guild showed me it was ok to share what I made and that nothing is perfect. Everyone is nice and there is no judgement on anything you make. The first time I went, I won a prize too—Halloween fabric and goodies! As I went each month, my husband would ask, What do you do there? I just listen and look at all the pretty things people make and share. Then there was the Paducah Show! Oh wow, what fun! Fabric, tools and quilts as far as the eye could see. Needless to say, that is where I ordered my Sweet 16 long arm. I love it!  I never really expected much from the guild, I just wanted to see what others did, but I’m glad I joined.  They are a wonderful bunch of people. I can’t wait to go to Paducah again and just visit with the ladies. The Stitchin’ the Blues challenge was difficult for me just because I can’t do anything small. It was wonderful to see how many people made something for it though.  So interesting to look at all of them.  I am thankful I went to the quilt show at the Von Braun and joined the guild.  Again, I look forward to it each month and thank all of you that make it possible.”

Leslie B., who served as the guild’s secretary over the past year, responded to my inquiry with, “Our guild is like a scrappy quilt; so many different pieces of unique individuals all with various shades of beauty. It was my heart’s desire to get more involved, so that I could connect with these amazing, creative people and build some new friendships. In addition, I learned that other people were also reaching out to connect with others, who shared in their same love for this “Art of Quilting”. This art of quilting brings to mind Fabric, Fun, Friendship and FOOD!!  And each of our guild meetings has shared that experience with us all.  My expectations were beyond met; they overflowed with such abundance and JOY!”

Many of you know Gail S., who served on our board for the past few years.  Her thoughts were:  “I love being a member of our Guild.  Every year it brings camaraderie and fun into my life!  This guild year I was the Workshops Coordinator, and it gave me a new angle to enjoy the guild from, as well as a set of new challenges.  I learned the ins and outs of getting things ready to roll for the workshops, and learned to ask for/accept help when I needed it (a tough one for me!).  Despite not having quilted as much as I wanted to this year (unplanned remodeling...) I got excited by being able to more accurately get my 1/4 inch while participating in a small block swap, and having fun with a new method of machine applique.  I got to know some guild members a bit better this year, and have had fun with all my quilting friends.  And of course watching all the quilts at show and tell, in our Challenge this July, and our 'Fan Block Parade' is an endless source of inspiration.  Guild gives me the opportunity to enjoy a bit of beauty and creativity, and keeps me motivated in pursuing this wonderful complex hobby of ours.  I think of it as an essential part of my life!”

Wow! Are you seeing the recurring theme here?  Our guild—and its members—make an impact!

My name is Denise and I’m a quilter who’s enjoyed this year’s journey. I hope you have, too.  :)

lakeside weekend . . .

I retreated this weekend.

Aaaaaaaaaaah. It was good. Cuz I mean I really retreated. Like, no cell service or WiFi. In a house on a lake. With quilt-minded friends. 
It was *real* good.

We arrived midday on Friday and set our stuff up and got straight down to business. Lunch. Wink, wink.
And then sewing. (Of course!)

We went out to dinner on Friday evening, but before we went to the restaurant, we stopped and met up with a local long-armer (who's also in our guild) and toured her beautiful quilting space.
I mean, wow, what a set-up.
And what a view! (Not us...sheesh...our lakeside backdrop!)  I'm almost afraid I'd be so distracted by the view, I'd have a hard time sewing!

Saturday we took a road trip and visited "Wilson's Fabric," which I'd never heard of, much less visited. Good GRIEF! I didn't get to spend NEAR enough time there.
It was really lovely.  Lots of bolts of pretties, gadgets, embellishments, and regular fabrics, too. Plus vinyl and notions . . . it was really a lot of fun.
And of course, I had to do my small part in helping the local small business.

We came across a heavily discounted 'row by row' they'd done...maybe last summer.  Lots of fun quilting friends blocks.

This was my favorite of the blocks . . .
We decided to recreate that block on Saturday afternoon.
Too funny!

Sunday morning we had breakfast and went out onto the lake for a ride.  Just a gorgeous morning!
The weekend was over way too soon, but I did manage to get some sewing accomplished.  I stitched up the stack of pink hexies for my hexie flower project.  I need a name for that thing. I've not been satisfied with anything I've called it to date.
And I also got most of the way thru stitching my starburst patriotic topper together . . .
I also read my book, ate, collaborated on quilting and guild matters, took a nap naps, browsed through magazines, walked by the water, contemplated life from the dock, watched hummingbirds play, and drank tea. A most excellent way to spend the weekend, I can assure you!

Plus I made this funky, adorable "handwork pillow" . . .
I didn't even know I NEEDED one of these!  Isn't it fun?  Took about 90 minutes. Crazy pattern at first glance, but super easy. If you're interested, check out Legacy Patterns. It helps alleviate stress on neck, hands and shoulders while you do stitching (or reading or knitting or whatever).  Awesome!

Five more sleeps and we wake up in the month of September.  Who's ready for that? I'm ready for another weekend like the one I just recounted!  Linking up with Small Quilts.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

needs attention now . . .

You know how when you get an idea for a project and it doesn't matter how many *other* projects you're in the middle of, this idea is just begging demanding your attention, so you drop everything else and attend to it?

Like my starburst fabric and the hexie topper.  Why yes, exactly like that. I knew I'd have some down time (five hours, round trip) as we (Todd, myself and a co-worker) traveled to and from Rome, Georgia, yesterday, so I decided Tuesday evening that I'd do some hexi-prepping.
It served me well, because I was able to baste *all* of my hexies on the drive up.  I had to sight-see on the drive back (which may be why I navigated my husband to the scenic route on the way back)!
Yup, pretty pleased with this.  Now to whip them together and sandwich it.  I'm thinking quilted stars in each hexi . . . yes??!

I spent some time this morning using a snowflake die cut to cut out blue and white quilts from the challenge show.  I laminated them, because we'll use these on our Christmas tree (downtown Huntsville has a Tinsel Trail in Big Spring Park) on the trail this year . . .
I think we'll spray a little glitter on the shapes before laminating them.  Aren't they fun? With white and blue lights and a big blue and silver spray as a tree topper -- it'll be stunning!

This was our tree from last year -- the first year we'd entered a tree -- with the guild's 1st VP and President.  The die cut shape I used was an ornament (plus a few stars) and the photos were from all the place winners in our guild's show. It was a lot of fun!

Speaking of guilds, my July -- next to last -- article on A Quilter's Journey featured just that.  Guilds. It was one of my most favorite to write, because it was very personal. Well, you can figure that out for yourself if you read on . . .

To guild or not to guild?

It shouldn’t even be a question! But it is, for a lot of quilters. It was a question for me. Very early in my quilt journey, I was encouraged to join a guild; specifically, the Huntsville guild. That encouragement came from darling Mrs. Martha (who worked at Hooked on Quilting), and who had helped me in so many ways as a new quilter. But I have to admit that I pushed back on her push to visit a guild meeting. Why?

I’m an introvert. Mind you, I’m not shy (being an introvert doesn’t necessarily equate to shyness), but being in a large group of people (especially people I do not know) is incredibly draining; mentally exhausting, even. So heading off to a guild meeting wasn’t high on my list of quilting priorities. Except that Mrs. Martha kept talking about it and asking me if I’d gone.

In December of 2007, I bit the bullet, researched the meeting time and place, and showed up for my guild meeting debut. For all of my initial hesitation in attending, I was looking forward to it. I entered the building, was met and greeted by the hospitality committee, given a ‘ticket’ for the drawings, and sent on in. But December is the holiday dessert meeting – and since there was no planned, formatted program, just holiday fun and festivities, it seemed very overwhelming and a little chaotic. (A lot chaotic. A whole, whole lot.)

I think I may have looked around for about thirty seconds, before I decided that guild was not for me.

On my way out, I handed my ticket back to the hospitality committee member who’d given it to me, mumbled something about making a mistake, and bolted for the front door.

There may or may not have been tears. (Seriously, I was so overwhelmed and out of my element. And I’m a girl.)

As I hit the steps, the hospitality lady (who happened to be Charmaine L.) followed me out and talked me back inside. She introduced herself, found me a seat at her table, and introduced me to the group (which was largely made up of her stitching group). They made me feel welcomed and I ended up having a great time (it didn’t hurt that I won several drawings through the course of the evening). 

I made connections that evening that have stood the test of time. Over the next several years, I made friends. I joined a stitcher’s group. I involved myself in guild business and served on the board in a variety of positions. I encouraged other quilters I knew to come to guild. Through it all, I’ve learned so very much and grown and stretched myself, both as a quilter and just as me.

So, to guild or not to guild? Unequivocally, to guild is the answer. But let’s be on the watch for those who are first-time visitors, wanting to make a connection—let’s help them plug in. Let’s purpose to be more than an audience member (or even just a newsletter recipient). Get involved! Participate in guild events like workshops or community outreaches! Become involved with the board! You’ll find your membership so much more rewarding. I know I do.

My name is Denise and I’m a quilter. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

this, that and the cat . . .

Our guild's year-end party was quite fun and we had a good crowd! 
My offering for our potluck was two dozen mini Gigi's cupcakes.  Served on fine china, of course! Unfortunately, the serving plate only held 23 cupcakes . . . 
No telling where that 24th cupcake went. LOL!  It's also at this meeting that the incoming president announces her board:
We're a good looking group of ladies if I do say so myself! I'm on the board as a co-chair of a newly created committee, the QIC.
I'm pretty proud of that logo, too! :) We'll be in charge of Secret Stitchers, a mystery quilt, and a seasonal, bi-monthly mug rug swap.  Fun stuff!

I've been slowly, steadily working away at my hexi basting.
I'm down to two colors left to baste and then I can start whipping flowers together. My plan is to whip the individual flowers together and then to lay them out to join together. It will be easy to mess up, so I want to take it slow. The only problem is, the deadline for entering quilts in our guild's show is less than a year away now!  Yikes!

I've been sitting looking at this lovely piece of fabric for several months.  
It was gifted to me and I left it up as a backdrop to my laptop because (1) it was patriotic, which covers May, June and July (for me), and (2) I wanted it to tell me what it wanted to be.

It finally did . . .
Something hexi-ish, of course! Which seems only fitting, given that the gifter was Sarah, from Sarah Did It!
I love table mats and this lends itself quite nicely, with a little fussy cutting, to show off those stars! 
EQ to the rescue again, to help me visualize my thought process. I couldn't get the fabric to quite get to the dimension I needed it to be, but close enough. I'll use something a little more subtle for the blue and red, but again, you (and I) get the idea. Maybe I can whip this up really quick and have it ready for Veteran's Day.  :)

Lastly, just wanted to share a little glimpse into the life of Leia, who started life as a two-human cat, and now is a five-human cat . . . 
Three of whom are little girls.  Leia will be ten this year -- and still playing with dolls!! And the only little people she tolerates are *her* little people. As is evidenced above.

Linking up with Sarah Did It's linky-versary for her HeLP (and for Feline Friday)!  I was there for the first one and I thought I should be there for this special anniversary, too!  Plus she's having a giveaway, so you should definitely hop over!  Also linking up to Kathy's Quilts slow Sunday stitching post.

Have a great finish to your weekend!


Thursday, August 16, 2018

be the quilter you want to be . . .

This is August, which means this month is the last month of our guild year. In fact, we'll meet tonight and celebrate the journey of the past twelve months with a party and a potluck, lots of "fanfare" and--more than likely--not a little hilarity.

I still have three months worth of articles to share, but I'll do it over the next couple of weeks, so they're posted before the month closes. That way this series and the guild year can both go gracefully out into that good night. Heh. :)

My June article spoke to being the quilter you want to be -- and being straightforward with yourself about that. Without further ado . . .

I have been quilting since January 2006, when I started my first Patches & Stitches block of the month. For those of you who attended the May meeting, you are now well aware of my dubious quilting start. Over the past 12 years, I sometimes wonder if I’ve gotten much further from where I started. I came to the point, which I think all quilters must, where I had to decide what kind of quilter I was going to be. I’m not talking about traditional quilting versus artistic quilting versus modern quilting, or even being a hand quilter versus a machine quilter. 

No. I’m talking about quilting "my way" versus quilting the "right way." 

Y’all know what I’m talking about! I know we have an amazing number of quilters in the guild who are definitely ‘the right way’ quilters. Even so, I’m sure we have one or two who say “Close enough!” on the quarter inch seams, who sometimes forget which way to press—to the light or to the dark, and who say 'live and let live!' instead of ever fooling with the seam ripper. Right? That’s about where I am. But it took a quilting crisis of faith for me to decide who I was going to be as a quilter. On the one hand, I bemoaned my inability to make a quilt that was show-worthy (and when I say that, I mean AQS show WINNER worthy), and on the other hand, I struggled with the time, patience, and effort it took to make that sort of quilt. 

Then I read a something Judy Laquidara (author, quilter, blogger at Patchwork Times) said to a person who commented that they envied her ability to knit; they couldn’t do it. She responded that it wasn’t that the commenter *couldn't* knit, it was that the commenter wasn’t willing to do what was necessary to become a successful knitter. And that struck a chord with me. It wasn’t that I *couldn’t* be a show winning quilter, it was that I wasn’t doing what was necessary to become that quilter. And therein was my quilting crisis of faith...was I willing to do what was necessary....or was I happy to do my own thing my own way, gift in love, and put my quilts in non-juried shows for the joy of it, not for the ribbon?  

We each get to determine who we are going to be as a quilter and what our quilts are going to represent. Each of us holds the power to guide and direct our respective journeys as quilters as well as the journeys of the quilts we make. In a wonderful way, our quilting journeys become our legacies as well. Whichever quilting path you choose to take, enjoy the journey; it will make your legacy all the sweeter to recount. 

My name is Denise and I’m a quilter. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

fanfare . . .

When I look back over the blog content for the last year and a half, it really makes me sad.  My little hiatus cost me the published 'memories' of what I'd done, both in and out of the quilty world.  Normally, I'd have shared the fan BOM that my guild was doing . . . the fan is our logo . . . a different fan block each month (for a total of nine), getting more technically difficult to piece as the year went along. It started easy, with this little fan . . .
And ended with a Cleopatra's Fan, that I opted out of (because I was in a sling). 
Actually, I opted out of all but one of the last five, because of a busy schedule and shoulders that were giving me more and more pain. But we only needed to have five assembled in a flimsy (and I stress, assembled), in order to share our fans at the final meeting of the guild year (which is in August) and be eligible for a prize!

Today, with sling gone and at least one shoulder feeling peppy-er (more peppy?), I spent some time and assembled . . .
I'm really pleased with this ... it's a fun "memory quilt" from our guild year.  The black corners (and the binding will be in black) give it the appearance of floating. Anyway, it was nice to be sitting at the machine today.

I also realized I hadn't posted (because I hadn't posted) a single of my little Attic Heirloom OOMs! I splurged this year and signed up for the automatic kits.  
I was really good in January and February and got them stitched right up.  The kits have sort of backed up ever since . . .
LOL!  Ah well.  August's is really cute and I think I'll work on that one for some slow stitching time.

We had a GREAT family reunion ... lots of sweet family all under one pavilion roof!

Plus, spending time with *all* my grands was the best! Gosh, they were so sweet and Sawyer, Ellie and June loved reacquainting ... and Evey and Olivia were the best of friends.  Too cute!
♥ Sawyer, June, Todd, Olivia, Edie, me, Ellie and Evey ♥

Okay, that's it for now.  Linking my slow Sunday stitching with Kathy's Quilts. Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!!