Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seeing Stars

Well, I have been busy as always. I have been spending alot of time quilting on a Lemoyne Star quilt in 1800 Reproduction prints. I'm just loving it. It will be a little while before this one is done. Good thing I enjoy it.

This is the start of the next raffle quilt for my church the ladies are working on. We have quite a collection of Christmas prints. I think most of the blocks are done. Sashing is next. I think I will plan an extra meeting at my house with 1 or 2 other ladies to get the blocks and sash put together. I will pass it on to someone else at next months meeting to add the pieced border.
We had a full house at the meeting last week. Several of our members have returned from their winter residences and 2 new gals joined us. This is great. We have so much fabric to sew into quilts. Next month everyone will have returned and I like to get things organized so we can get lots done in those 3 hours. Probably only 3 will work on the raffle quilt.

Well, I am going to go check out a few new blogs and then quilt some more. Sew long. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Williams Bay Workshop

There is a good chance that if I haven't been blogging, I have been quilting - or in the garden. I had a workshop with the Scrappers Quilt guild in Williams Bay on Saturday. They sure were a fun group. I was looking forward to this class because I taught a workshop for them before and new what to expect. Or so I thought. There were lots of new faces there! I did get one picture of some of the blocks the class worked on. They were learning lots of new techniques that day and did a great job. Probably my favorite comment of the day was "It will be fun to see all the quilts with these stars at the County Fair this summer." This was the first time I used a window for my flannel design wall. They have a great meeting room with lots of windows and natural light- even when it's raining.

Jeanette Gillespie took my class again. She has a clever way of keeping her precut strips organized for class. She uses clothespins to label and separate the strips. She writes with a pencil that can be erased later and reused. I wonder if I even have clothespins anymore.

I also had quilting with my friends at church this week. I will share more on that later. Sew long for now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

oops, I did it again

The lecture went pretty well last night. It was well attended by the guild of over 220 members. I have been to this guild several times in the past so it was great to see so many friendly, familiar faces. I was reminded that the very first time I taught a quilting class was for this guild at their retreat 15 years ago. There were 32 in that class and it was not an easy project. Boy was I nervous. I knew my material, but didn't know if I could teach. Well, that was then, this is now and I wasn't nervous at all last night- till I realized I forgot my notes! But apparently I don't need them. Guess what? I know the material. It was a fun group with lots of show and tell and as usual I forgot to use the camera. They have a show coming up May 16 & 17 at Rock County Fairgrounds. If I am around I will plan to attend. Maybe I'll think to use the camera then.

Forgetting to use the camera isn't the only thing I did again. I have this tendency to make a quilt and then rearrange the values and/or colors and make it again. Okay, I do it deliberately - usually, but not this time. You saw the start of this a week or two ago. This blog may be just the motivation I need to get that pieced border done sooner rather than later. Oops. I see that I have a quarter block in the wrong orientation. Aren't photos great for showing mistakes?

The black with hand-dyes I call "Wish on a Rainbow". Look closely and you will see that both of these use the same piecing. I must have 15 pairs of quilts where I have made a second version. That sounds like the start of a new program for a guild.
Well, I better get sewing. Sew long.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rotating Quilts

Busy day. I finished the quilting on the border of that 10 year old quilt, added a sleeve and hung it on the wall. It doesn't photograph well. I also switched 4 other quilts on display in the house so I am showing two of them, one on each of two balconies.
I am giving a program for Rock Valley Quilt Guild of Janesville Tuesday evening. so I have to go prepare. Also coming up is quilting with the church group and I am in charge. I will take my camera, but seem to have a hard time remembering to use it!
Sew long

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Park City Girl: Quilt Festival - Spring 2009

Park City Girl: Quilt Festival - Spring 2009
Oh I have sew much to learn. Well, I did post a favorite, but I don't know the first thing about linking. I have been blogging all of 2 weeks more or less. Help! TIA

Current Favorite

Remember when you were a kid and you thought that favorite meant that there could be only "one best, most liked". I remember how glad I was when I discovered you could have more than one favorite in any category. This sampler is my current favorite quilt. And believe it or not after 27 years of quilting it is the only sampler I set out to make. All the other samplers I have made were from orphan blocks I eventually joined together.

The blocks in this sampler all use my Thirtysomething technique. There are a few designers around the country that have discovered my Thirtysomething Square Up tool and have designed quilts for classes using it. That led me to play with the concept more and since then I have come up with another 100 blocks. So I plan to do another Thirtysomething book eventually. Life has a way of throwing you a curve ball sometimes and I have had to postpone those plans. You can try the basic technique and free pattern at my website.

I posted this picture for the Online Quilt Festival. I don't know if I will be able to figure out how to set my options to link correctly. Thank goodness for all the friendly quilters out there that can point me in the right direction.
Excuse the interruption. Sew long.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Festival Report

Hi everyone,
Quilt Festival was great. Imagine that. It was nice to have such a big show close to home. I have been to Fall Festival in Houston several times - usually to teach. So, I have seen some of the quilts in the exhibits before, but that is fine with me. And all the vendors adds to the excitement. Chicagoland guilds have hired me frequently over the years, so it is not surprising that I ran into old acquaintances. That was fun.

The 19th Century Divas is always my favorite exhibit at Festival. I think this is an online group. Could be wrong. If anyone knows anymore, do tell, please.

DH messed up my plans to not buy any fabric. Before I left he told me he expected I would buy some. So I did. (Oh, and he says he never thought I was obsessed with buying fabric! Seriously.) Apparently there was a big Longarm show this weekend out east somewhere. So I was disappointed there weren't more longarm supplies there. But I did manage to find a few things.

And I did get all the thread I wanted. So guess what I was doing tonight. I put a quilt on the frame this afternoon. I quilted this quilt about 10 years ago, but I never quilted the border. So I am doing it now cause I want to take the quilt off the stack and hang it on a wall. Maybe I'll get a picture of that later.
Today's picture is of my flower garden from last year. Spring has finally sprung so I have been busy in the garden rather than behind the camera. I sure don't know how I find the time to take care of them. This is about half of them.
Sew long for now. I have to get the quilt ready to do the side borders.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mixed Feelings

Hello everyone,
Okay, I am so new to this, I don't know where to start. I want to thank everyone for welcoming me to blogland and their nice comments. I'd like to respond to each of you, but I am pinched for time tonight. Boy, can I lie. Really, I don't know how to do it yet except for here. I intend to visit each of your blogs though.

Thank you Wanda for spreading the word. And was it Carol that wondered about my departure from the quilting world for other business? (That was 9 years ago already.) My retirement lasted 2 years. I think I was feeling a bit burned out after self-publishing 3 books and then all the teaching and promoting and shows.... But quilting kept calling me back.

Since then Martingale & Co. published my book Save the Scraps and just recently, Twin Peaks. Isn't it interesting all the twists and turns in life. I am really glad I did those 3 books myself, but am sure glad I am not doing them alone anymore. As we go through different phases of life our priorities change. I could not devote the time to it now. I am happy with Martingale's part in my books and hope to continue with them for a while.

I did get a chance to get back to my other retreat project. Not sure I like it enough to make it much larger. Maybe it needs a pieced border. I will leave this on the design wall a while and think about it.

Tomorrow I am off to Quilt Festival at Rosemont. I hope they have vendors there with longarm supplies. I think I have enough fabric for a while. I need to think about thread for finishing some of my tops. Doesn't that sound like fun? And of course, I have to buy a souvenir book. No, they don't have a show book to buy. I just use it as an excuse to buy another quilt book. Anything that appeals to me. Luv books. I will put my theory on control over fabric shopping to the test, too. It doesn't help that my dh doesn't care.

The comfort quilt I showed on my first blog is almost done. I haven't been able to quilt as usual this week cause dh is off and he always cramps my style. However, he was a real gem this afternoon and helped me in the garden with some huge clumps of perennials. It was finally a nice spring day.

that's all for now, sew long

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Controlled Fabric Buying or an Obsession?

Friends were over the other day as I was ironing some fabric I had just washed. It was a red load. I told them that I thought if I got caught up with washing and ironing my new fabrics I would become familiar with them and wouldn't buy the same fabric again. I really enjoy my stash and don't feel a great need to "use" the fabric. Once they were all ironed and folded I tried to find room in the drawers. They all fit pretty well after some creative folding.

I had just finished telling them how I feel I always have pretty good control over my fabric shopping sprees. They didn't seem to agree and hinted that I was obsessed. We had some good laughs over that. So what do you think? Are we obsessed? I know I have lots of fabric. These four drawers are probably less than half of what I have. But I have seen others with far more.
Yes, I know many of us would like to use our stash more often. That is why I wish for all to Sew Long.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scraps - A Favorite Theme

This holiday weekend I thought I'd get a chance to get some more serious sewing done. But I wasn't sew lucky. I decided to put "clean the garage" on the agenda for Saturday. And Sunday was spent with family. Neither were planned, but I am sure glad I did both.
When I saw Mom for church today she had some more scraps ready for me. Mom likes to pick at things and sort and organize them. I knew the scraps I was offered at the retreat would be something she would enjoy ironing and sorting. The were given to me sorted in two huge laundry baskets. One basket for lights and one for darks. I pulled out all the long strips under 1 1/4" wide and all the little bits. I'm slowly turning the rest of the scraps over to mom. She is pressing and sorting them for me. I will let her decide how small a piece she will putz with. My church group will use these with little additional cutting. We'll make crazy or crumb quilts and string quilts.

I made this odd width Log Cabin from similar scraps. If you look closely at the blocks you will see that the strip width varies from log to log. As the blocks get larger it is usually evident if you need to add a narrow or wide strip to keep the blocks kinda square. For the last round of logs I usually add wider strips(2 1/2" or wider). I keep a ruler handy as I add the last 2 logs to be sure I add a large enough piece. After the final pressing, I square them all to the same size.
I have only made 2 other log cabin quilts before, and that was fairly recently.

This is one of them. I'd almost abandoned it entirely as I'd only made 12 blocks and I didn't like the direction it was going. It had been a PHD for probably over 15 years before I picked it up again last year. I like pink now. I think I didn't for a while.

I sure enjoyed making the log cabins, so I think I will be doing more. How many have you made?
Sew long.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Best Retreat Yet

I love whoever it was that started the whole concept of a quilters retreat. I am still feeling the effects of the retreat I took a few weeks ago. Having been to them before, though never often enough, I knew to pack plenty to work on. I packed 6 projects and never touched 3. But I did get a good deal done. One of the PHD's (Project half done) I packed was for this star quilt. I'd made these Golden Years stars about 10 years ago. I never finished the project because I didn't like the gold fabric I chose. In fact, I hated it with the green so much, that I threw away the pieces already cut and sewn for a pieced border. I did that cause I didn't want to be tempted to change my mind. That left me with 8 blocks. Duh! Why I didn't finish a 9th is beyond me.

Well, I enjoy a challenge like this, so I came up with an alternate block to use and simply made more green and yellow stars to go with it. Now I need to decide on which setting and what to do for the center block if I choose this version. And I haven't got a clue what I will do about a border. I'll probably sew the blocks together than put this project away again till I come up with something for the border.

That seems to be a pattern with me. One time I counted that I had 17 projects waiting for borders! And Yes, I already know they don't all need one.

This weekend I am going to get back to another project I worked on at the retreat. With luck you can see that soon too.
Sew long and thanks for visiting.

Feeling the Years

I have been feeling old this winter. Okay, so I made that pincushion 40 years ago. My daughter just turned 32? Wow, how'd that happen? Mom is almost 80! I have been quilting 27 years! I understand I am in a different phase of my life and I may not have time to do as much quilting as I'd like, but I figure I can keep you entertained with pictures of quilts for a full year if I post everyday.

Today I loaded my 6 month old Lenni with this ShooFly comfort quilt. It's from a kit I put together for the church ladies to sew. This one turned out a little bigger than we usually make. I agreed when I got Lenni that I'd quilt the big ones. I just might be careful that I don't put to many big kits together anymore. I have plenty of my own quilting to do. Something like 100 quilt tops. You are getting a picture of it before quilting because my quilting isn't too good yet. I think this one turned out pretty good. WE had lots of solid fabrics and I rarely use them so I had to guess that this would look okay.

The fabric we use is all donated and much of it is old, and even ugly. I enjoy the challenge to make a pleasing quilt from them. Generally I try to keep similar types of fabrics together, just as I do in my own quilting. But with this group's fabric, I am not talking, separating batiks from, novelty prints. I am talking separating 1970's from 1980's! Well, probably not much as old as the 60's or 70's. But we do have some of that fabric I keep thinking I ought to post on e-bay. Anybody interested? Somebody please. I can post pictures.

Sew Long

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Grand Opening

Welcome to the Grand Opening of (drum roll please) my blog!
I have been thinking of starting a blog for a few weeks now and decided to take the plunge. I am sure it won't be as bad as jumping in a lake of cold water. I mean, how hard can this be? I like to think my computer is my friend. But it may take a while to figure this all out, so please be patient.

At a minimum, I can introduce myself by saying that I am passionate about quilting. In addition to designing quilts, writing quilting books, and teaching quilting I am also the chairwoman in charge of a group of ladies from my church that makes comfort quilts. These are the main topics I will share here. Of course, I have another life too. That includes my husband and others we care for together including our daughter, my mother, elderly neighbors and middle-aged man that struggles to manage his own life.
I'll see what kind of details I can include in my profile or better yet, visit my website www.gaylebong.com and of course come back and visit here. I am looking forward to getting acquainted.

I have been reading blogs for only a while now, but my favorite so far is Wanda Hanson's Exuberantcolor.blogspot.com. She shared pictures of two pincushions she finally cleaned out. I am responding here with a picture of my pincushions. Well some of them.

My oldest pincushion I made for my mom when I was in Girl Scouts. She attached it to her ironing board to keep pins handy to indicate a hole that needed mending. Great Idea mom. Anything I mend tends to sit in the way for anywhere from 1 week to 1 year! But her idea makes me think I need to ATTACH scissors (on a string of course) to the ironing board. I am always looking for them when I am there.

The new pink and black pincushion was a favor from Sue. She made one for everyone that attended the retreat I went to last week. Thank you Sue. The retreat was great. This one I attended for myself. I usually have to "work" them. I couldn't believe it took 5 hours to pack my quilting gear alone. Still, it was well worth it. More on retreats later, I am sure.

Well, thanks for stopping by. I better go see what else I can learn about blogging so you will be glad to visit again. -Gayle