Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Calling Northwest Pennsylvania Quilters!

Hi Gang!

I leave on Thurs for Paramus NJ, Newtown, PA, and Elkins, WV.....and....we have just added some impromptu dates!

My friend Mary Koval (you might know her name, she designs fabric and has published books on reproduction quilts as well) was visiting Meadville, PA where she saw one of the ladies had a copy of my book. Well, knowing Mary, she said....I know her!! They got to talking, and Mary texted me right in the middle of this meeting with them to ask if I could swing by Meadville on my way to WV because I had a couple days "free". Well, sure..I'm a glutton for quilt fun, so why not!

This is the info from the flyer the group has sent out trying to put this together so quickly....


QUILTVILLE COMES TO MEADVILLE: Bonnie Hunter quilt designer, author and queen of the scrap quilt, will be in our area for a lecture and possible workshop on April 22 and 23. Thanks to the kind intervention of antique quilt dealer, Mary Koval, Bonnie Hunter (www.quiltville.com) had a few free days available and has offered to drive from the other side of our state to be with us. Bonnie will be giving the lecture, Scraps and Shirttails, which highlights the main points from her best selling book by the same name. She comes loaded with quilts, inventive ideas, like her Scrap User’s System, and tons of inspiration. The lecture will be 7:00 on Wednesday, April 22 at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church at 233 Church Street (a.k.a. Route 408) in Cambridge Springs. Cost will be $10.00 with free refreshments. Bonnie will have copies of her book available for sale.

A potential four hour workshop will be held Thursday, April 23rd, at the New Beginnings Church in Meadville (former First Church of God at 13226 Leslie Road) if we have 25 committed quilters. The workshop will be from 5:30 to 9:30. Bonnie will conduct the workshop on her quilt pattern, Sister's Choice.

The cost of the workshop will be $25.00. To reserve your spot, please call or email today one of the following members:

Jill Meszaros at 398-8719 or jcmeszaros@verizon.net,

Judith Stoll at 398-4365 or judithlee@coaxpa.com

Laurie Wellington at 573-6599 or lwellie@zoominternet.net

We realize this is very short notice but Bonnie is such an inspiration we just couldn’t let this opportunity slip by. If you wish to attend either event, please make that call today so we can plan accordingly.

Out of town quilters who are attending the lecture can stay overnight at the Country Stitchin retreat facilities for only $25.00. Sorry no meals. Accommodations will be on a first come, first served basis.

This is a rare opportunity as Bonnie is booked through 2011. Bonnie’s sense of design, her unique organizational skills and her commitment to recycling, reusing and repurposing will bring an added dimension to everyone’s quilting while revisiting the origin of our quilting roots.

Come and get scrappy with Bonnie!

I would love to see any of you in the Cambridge Springs/Meadville PA area come on out!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Angel Pattern is FOUND!!!

Hey everyone! No wonder I couldn't locate Gale, her email came as JERRY (I guess she shares her email with her hubby, and that's why when I searched Gale in my address book, it didn't come up!)

Anyway..she saw her angel in the post and sent me the info for it.

She writes:
She was designed by Terry Morberg. Check out www.applepatchdesigns.com for many more great patterns.

My friend who owns Piecemakers Quilt shop sells her patterns and she can be found on the net at www.piecemakers.ca

The pattern is called "Quilter's Angel"

This pic is linked from the site. Just click Quilter's Angel above!

I am sure there are many other shops who sell her patterns. I have made her several times, once for a pink ribbon challenge and yours. I am now working on making her for myself, her dress is going to be made from my mom's pj's, she lost her battle to lung cancer two years this coming august. I love your blog and all the free quilt patterns on Quiltville, and since I started making your patterns (scrappy) I find making quilts using only several colors boring. I have told all my quilting friends about your site and everyone agrees this is one awesome place to visit. Happily Stitching,

So there you go!! Rev up that charge card and help this designer sell more of her adorable Quilt Angel patterns! I can see her done in Christmas colors too, or 30's or 1800's repros..she'd be darling in any form! Her wings would be sweet made from piece salvaged from a cutter quilt, wouldn't they?

I had big plans for today,not sure where they went...but I was awakened at about 7:45 am by an over-zealous neighbor out mowing his lawn. Mind you, it thunderstormed and rained buckets last night. You would think it would be too wet to mow, but NO....spring must be here! And it has been a beautiful day.

I went to the gym this morning. I've reached one goal...I'm down 20 lbs. :c) I haven't posted much about it, because I was afraid I'd fail, but I feel like I can celebrate with this milestone. So to those of you who also made New Year's resolutions, and commitments to your health, I'm cheering you on too. Do NOT give up. It's a hard road. Sometimes you lose one, gain two. But don't give up! Make those choices that can improve the quality of your life and keep you quilting without being winded! :cD

I tackled on my online calendar this morning, adding a few more dates to it that came in while I was in Canada. I think the trip to Canada brought other cold places out of the woodwork! You know how they say things come in threes? Well...I just added Cordova, Alaska for Sept 2011, and confirmed the Windy City Quilt Fest in Casper Wyoming for Jan (YES JAN!!)2010.

That's okay..I balanced it out with 2 Florida dates!

I took these pictures the week before I left for Canada, and it's a good thing I did. I came home, and the blossoms are all gone and the leaves are out now. How quickly things change week to week! So for those of you who haven't seen spring blooms yet, they are coming!

I love the little rural country scenes around here where I live. I need to keep my camera with me so that I can stop and click, and show you what things are like in Wallburg, NC :c)

I've also seen lots of fields turned and ready for planting...that's a sight that I love to see too, celebrating the wakening of the earth after it's long hard sleep.

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Quilting!

Friday, April 10, 2009

To Gale Lavers, With Thanks!

Dear Gale,

I have been remiss in being able to contact you! Your parcel arrived with this ADORABLE Quilt Angel, and tho I have your town as Port Saunders, Newfoundland I don't have a return address or an email address to find you and thank you properly!

I love this little angel so much! The bright colors and the scrappy patches make me smile. She is on the wall of my studio, keeping watch over everyone that enters here. I've named her Gale after you!

Thanks so much for thinking of me and brightening my life in the way you have!

My best to you!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

How Many Pineapples??

I'm piecing.

Yes. I know there is laundry to do and bathrooms to clean and bookwork to catch up on.

But I'm piecing.

I have to. Or I promise I will go stark raving mad from withdrawal!!

Wherever I teach, I give the students the option...to double sew their bonus units into 1/2 square triangle squares to be used in a future project, or to cut them off and donate them to me if they wish. These little corners trimmed from 2.5" squares sewn on the diagonal are the PERFECT size for all these little 5" pineapple blocks I've been working on and off with for the past couple of months.

It is so fun to sew with the scraps that have been gifted to me by students! Most of these are fabrics I don't have in my own stash, so that makes it extra fun.

I've also got this drawer where I throw little snippets of stuff that are too precious to toss out. Paper piecing projects are perfect for these because you don't have to iron them and rotary cut them to some specific size before you can sew them into something. As long as the pieces are big enough to cover where they need to go on the paper, they are PERFECT!

You know, some projects are just not a race? Some projects just don't need a deadline,but are there for the pure pleasure of piecing them! This is one of those projects.

I don't know how many I'll make...I don't know how big the quilt will be or whether it will have borders or not. I'm just making them in between everything else until that little voice inside my head says STOP!

Chloe, as you can see, is supervising...in her own little stand offish way. She loves the back of this chair, which happens to be strewn with batting and backing for a little mini top just waiting to be machine basted so I can hand quilt it while on the road. I guess she wants me to take a part of her with me everywhere I go,which is pretty unavoidable anyway considering her furry purry bulk :c)

I even had a nap today....so I might be pineapple-ing to the wee small hours, and that's just fine with me.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

From Frozen North to Frozen South!

I don't think I have ever seen a place so flat and vast...as the area around Winnipeg, MB!! And there out in the middle of nowhere, is this city. Amazing!

I flew into Winnipeg last Friday....and the worst of worst nightmares happened. My 2 duffel bags of quilts did NOT make my last connection and were still sitting in Chicago. :c( Linda, the gal who picked me up and hosted me at her house, gave the person at the counter her address and phone and we drove 3 hours east to Kenora, Ontario, Lake of the Woods country and hoped for the best!

Linda's house was so charming....she is a girl after my own heart, with 3 treadle machines between her dining/living room, and even the base of her dining room table is a treadle base! What's not to like? Her house is an adorable 100 year old house with all the quirks and quandries that old homes bring. I have loved the old houses I have owned in my past, and it was fun to imagine what this house was like when it was built, what the lady of the house wore as she descended the staircase, her hand on the carved banister. Many of the original light fixtures are still in use, and it was just a wonderful house for displaying quilts.

I had an upstairs bedroom, decorated with quilts, and 2 quilts also on the bed. I was cozy! The main bath also sported a claw foot tub, and I miss my old one! They are the best for lounging and soaking.

Luckily, we got a call that my bags would reach the little Kenora airport by 8am the next morning. Linda's hubby was great to offer to drive out there and pick them up...my big heavy winter jacket was IN one of the quilt duffels, and as cold as it was, I needed it!

The two workshops were Scrappy Mountain Majesties, and Smokey Mountain Stars. I guess we had a mountain theme going on! I was so happy to meet these ladies, some I have known through email for quite a while! We had people drive from as far away as Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta!!! I was Canadian Topography Challeneged...so it floored me when I was told that Edmonton is about a 24 hour drive. I guess this proves that quilters are hearty stock! If we want to get together, not even mileage and snowy icy cold is going to stop us!

The workshops were held at the Lakeside Inn in Kenora. Linda gave me a quick giggle of a story when I commented on the "roundness" of the Inn....she said it is the world's largest replica of the STANLEY CUP! *LOL*

We ate in the dining room at the top floor a couple of times...and this is the view you get in the winter. I was told the ice can easily be 3 feet thick.

The snowy white winter cold against a radiant blue sky is a beauty to behold. The snow just sparkles when the sun shines.

So now I'm home, and trying to put life back together after a very fast and furious 4 days gone. My next class is with my OWN GUILD here in Winston Salem, and it will be fun to finally get the time to spend with the ladies and get to know them better.

Tonight? I'm tackling the hand sewing on the binding of the Cathedral Stars...feet up in the recliner...enjoying being HOME!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thready Thoughts..

I logged in this morning to find a very thought provoking email. I really had to think about my reply as I typed it, and it occurred to me that it was maybe a good topic to bring up.

The email was from R.E. who is a previous machine quilting client, and now has her own Tin Lizzy and is enjoying working with it. She wanted to pick my brain :c) She writes:

Hey, Bonnie! I was just admiring the quilting on your Cathedral Stars quilt and it is truly awesome! I love how the texture shows without showing a heavy thread. You quilted a wedding quilt for me and I thought it seemed like a different thread, although it's really hard to tell from just the pic of Cathedral Stars. I've been using King Tut exclusively (with MasterPiece in the bobbin), since my Tin Lizzie seemed to like it and I was afraid to take a chance with something else (although the Lizzie web site says she will sew with LOTS of threads). I'm also scared to touch the tension, but that might be a personal problem, LOL!

Anyway, I was wondering what type(s) of thread you use and which you have had the least problems (such as breakage) with. I think I remember seeing a picture (from your old house) that you had a variety of threads. I'm really only interested in 100% cotton threads...no metallics or polyesters, since I'm not a 'glitz'-type person.

And I know I've seen on your web site which type of batting you use to get that wonderful texture, but I can't seem to find the info on there right this second. (I've been using Quilter's Dream, the flattest type - maybe Select. I like a thin batting for wallhangings, but might like to experiment with other 100% cotton battings for larger quilts.) You buy yours by the roll, right? Can you recommend a good (cheap) source?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know how busy you are! Your schedule is a whirlwind!! And your quilting is inspirational!!!

And before I give you my reply....Remember, opinions are that...only opinions. Sometimes we hear other people's opinions and take them as Gospel without trying them out ourselves. Just because someone has been quilting longer than you and says "It can't be done, you can't do that"...doesn't mean it is SO! I let all things like this challenge me into testing the boundaries.

My reply:

If you are "only" a 100% cotton person, you can find yourself quilted into a box you can't get out of. Because some of the results you are looking for don't come with heavier 100% cotton threads combined with the thinnest weight of 100% cotton batting.

When I am quilting with cotton, I like signature threads. I use bottom line in the bobbin. If I am doing a lot of detail filler work and don't want it to look thready, I also use bottom line in the top. It's 100% polyester.

I also will be found using other polys or cotton wrapped polys in the top depending on the effect I want. The more stitching there is, the less I want heavy thread.

Threads with poly are less likely to break when sewing at high speeds.

The thread I'm using on the Cathedral Stars is Tye Dye Punch..by maxilock. Yes. Maxilock.

Bottom Line is 100% poly, so is Maxilock. There is no difference in the "ingredients" just because Bottom Line is packaged for machine quilters...poly is poly. The only difference is in the weight, not the fiber or the performance. Bottom line is less linty, Maxilock is spun to give the appearance of cotton. I don't worry about Maxilock being touted as a "serger" thread. Try it. Give it the tug test....it has about the same breakage point as a 40 wt cotton. Just as strong, yet just as breakable, with a much less thready appearance in my quilting.

I've tried being a stickler to "100% cotton only" and it doesn't work for me. I have better tension, better appearance with the poly's and poly blends. And I don't quilt for "glitz" so what I use is not shiny or metallic. I just want the TEXTURE of the quilting to show, not the thread.

I've been machine quilting for nearly 20 years now, 14 of those years on a Longarm machine. These threads have never cut my fabric, and my quilts are used heavily. I have had vintage machine quilted quilts show where 100% cotton thread has just disintegrated and showed lots of evidence of popped stitches from wear and tear. Which do I want? Let's face it..no matter what we use in our quilting, quilts are most likely to be used and loved and eventually fall apart no matter WHAT you quilt them with!

To show the texture of the stitching, I use Hobbs 80/20 batting in my machine quilting. It has enough loft that the quilting has something to sink into. Yes, it's 80% cotton, and 20% poly.

The lightest weight of Quilter's Dream just does NOT have enough loft for machine quilting to give the look and feel I want.

I do use the Quilter's Dream for hand quilting, it hand quilts beautifully, but that is a one thread process not two, like machine quilting is.

When machine quilting I need the batting to have enough loft that the thread sinks in and doesn't just lay on top, and the batting has enough sponginess (for lack of a better word) to puff and show the texture of the quilting, but not just the THREAD.

I'm neither a purist, nor a thread snob...I quilt with what gives me the detail that I like to see in my quilting. :c)

Hope this helps!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Slowly Quilting...

Other than getting the backing pieced last week, Not a whole lot has been accomplished here. Hard to say why, other than the fact that you can't quilt when you are running around doing everything else that needs to be done!

Today was no exception. I had it in my mind that I would QUILT ALL DAY but before I could even get started it was after dinner? I thought after kids grew up that I'd have more time.

So I AM quilting along, even if it is not at the fast pace I've been used to. Here are a few pics of the quilting in progress on the Cathedral Stars.

I had fun with this one..it really is even much more FREE than the original one. Since the first one was a donation quilt, I was careful with the 2" strips I chose for it, keeping things in jewel tones, mostly of the predictable tone-on-tone variety, colorful, but not busy, you know? The same with the neutrals in that one. Pretty sedate pattern wise, what I was going for was COLOR.

Well this time I shook it up! I've got lots of novelties and funzies in here, and some funglies too! I was ruthless when I was pulling 2" strips from the bins, using ANYTHING that would work with reckless abandon in this quilt. Take a look at the close up and you will see cats, spools of thread, Quilt Diva fabric and crabs! One of my favorites was a bright lime green fabric that Randy had brought, with SUSHI on it....too funny.

It's more of the "unlikely combinations" that I was referring to last week as well. Some things are just more fun to look at when they are unexpected. They draw your eye, they hold your attention, they make you wonder WHY!

It reminds me of 7th grade choir...can you see me and my giggly girlfriend, Julie McAllister, so TIRED of rehearsing this one piece over and over and over! So in retaliation and exasperation,we, with our sweet angelic faces and voices, sang our hearts out...purposely just SLIGHTLY enough off key to make the teacher wince.

*Hehehe* Honestly, we did do that! It was so hard to keep a straight face, but somehow we did! I'd like to see someone keep a straight face when they find these funny fabrics amongst my well-behaving traditional ones!

Friday I hit the road again....or should I say "Take To The Sky?" I'm flying to Winnipeg, en route to Kenora, Ontario, Canada! Good thing I haven't completely put away my winter wardrobe yet, eh? I understand the cases of books have arrived past the Canadian border, and I'm looking forward to a fun few days in the great north!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just Wide Enough...

I admit it. I like "unlikely combinations" or Strange Bedfellows if you choose!

When I was going through my stash to find a backing for the Cathedral Stars, I came across this "winter" fabric with big snowflakes. I must have gotten it at an after the holidays 75% off sale or something. I know it had a project at one time, that of course went by the wayside, and here was yards of this bright blue with big snowflakes..what else could I do with it?

Oh yes, another unlikely..the snowflakes GLITTER! Uhhuh...bling! Which is so unlikely for me too.

Well it is PERFECT for the back of the Cathedral Stars!! Not only that...the snow flakes remind me of the time I spent in Sun River, sewing on the quilt with the snow coming down outside heavy and furious...memories of our trek through the snow with Puppy Max in tow. It is turning out to be JUST RIGHT!

There is enough yardage with one exception. It wasn't quite wide enough. So I dug through the orphan bin and found a baggie of "hidden spools" Block quarters left from years and years ago...(7 or 8?) and I simply sewed them together in zig zag fashion and inserted them between the two lengths of blue snowflakes. It's wierd. It's an "unlikely combination"...but I like it! It suits me just fine.

Take a close look at the fabrics in the pieced area...see those PIES?! *LOL* Yep. Unlikely amidst the traditional fabrics. Things like this can add whimsy and fun to an other wise ordinary quilt. Snowflakes and Pies. Makes me smile!

Now to load it on the machine!

Coming or Going?

I've gotten emails asking if I made it home safe, and was I ever going to post to my blog again? Well,yes...I am here, alive and kicking. I got home late Sunday night, but have spent the last few days firmly ensconced in the dreaded TAX RACE!

I admit it. Every year it's the same thing. I tell myself to take care of this stuff monthly, quarterly...and every year I do really well until the first quarter ends...and then....pfffftt! So needless to say, with April fast approaching,that's where I've been. Hey...at least the first quarter of 2008 was done! *LOL* I doubt I'll do any better with 2009...

I've got a few pics from my time in Olympia. Can you tell from the pics that it rained...A LOT!? :cD I think on Friday I saw everything but snow. It went from fog to rain to sun, and then the wind whipped up and blew the clouds back in and it rained some more. But it was beautiful and green.

Friday & Saturday's workshops were held at Gull Harbor Lutheran Church. Just the tiniest little church, it was perfect! During the lecture, as quilts were shown and talked about, the helpers would drape them over the back pews...so after the lecture people could wander and get a closer look. I really loved this!

I also have some important news....I just heard yesterday from my publisher, and there WILL be a sequel to Scraps & Shirttails with more quilts to do with recycled fabric! It's slated for release in 2011. I know it's a way off, but I have the 2010 one in the works, and all things in due time, right?

It was such a quick trip, with not a lot of time for sight seeing, but after Saturday's workshop we headed out to roam an antique mall...didn't find any goodies. There WAS a featherweight there, 40% off in a booth! But it was in bad shape, the wiring needed to be all done, and too bad so sad...there was no room left in my carry on anyway. One of the gals I was with is considering it...but the seller wouldn't go down any lower than 40% off, and the amount of work it needs just to run...she isn't sure it is worth that either. So it stayed.

We had dinner at a lovely seafood place on the water! I got a couple pics..in between the rain (Can you tell it's been raining?!)and wish I had more time to take more. Night was falling. You can barely see the mountains in the background in one pic....they were majestic! And I had to get a pic of the state capital as seen from the pier too.

Next stop? Guess what?! I'm giving a workshop Saturday in Mt Airy, NC! That's only a skip up the road so just a day trip.

My box from Randy's arrived yesterday with all my quilting stuff in it. To the lady who asked WHY I had to ship stuff home? Simple. Charges for excess baggage on the plane. I didn't need my Oregon stuff to come with me to Washington. I didn't want to pay the excess baggage fees to lug it around when I was already toting 2 full 50lb duffel bags full of quilts, and had my clothing in a carry-on as it is. Why bother to lug around another huge box and pay baggage fees on top of it all? Just ship it home and be done with it :c)

Now that the box is here..I need to piece a backing for the Cathedral Stars and get working on the Jared Takes a Wife...pick it up where I left off! When it was time to leave, I just stuffed a long string of chain piecing into the box..it's still all connected and not ironed..*LOL*

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wearing O' The Green...

Well, it's the day AFTER St Patrick's Day, but as I challenged myself a few weeks ago, I was going to sew something GREEN in March. And this is the start of it.

These are the corner units for the blocks in "Jared Takes a Wife", or Blackford's Beauty block as it is traditionally known...a remake of a quilt I gave as a gift because I have to teach it as a class.

When I made the quilt, it was made specifically for someone very involved in music, so the original quilt has a music theme in 2 of the fabrics.

This one....I didn't have to go that route because it isn't being made for anyone in particular, and there wasn't any one focal fabric that I wanted so I could play with it a bit differently.

See those purple rectangles? Those are going to be the star points...there are 8 rectangles of each fabric, 30 fabrics in all...for the 30 blocks of the quilt. I think it will look great, and I had a fun time pawing through my collection of Fat Quarters..and believe it or not, I did come up with 30 different purples to use as the star points.

The star centers will be gold..and that is on the agenda for tomorrow morning..I need to cut a bunch (as in 240!) of neutral 2" squares, and 240 more GOLD squares, to make the star points into star points. I'm going as far as I can on this one even though I know it won't be done before I leave here.

I'll pack it all up in a box along with the rest of my fabrics, etc..and mail them HOME on my way to the airport tomorrow so they will be there waiting for me when I get back from teaching in Olympia.

We have made the most out of every minute. The weather was gorgeous today, snow almost gone, and we have been able to hike and walk the dog every day except for one when the weather was just too bad to be out in it. I'm really glad I had this opportunity to spend the time with friends while cranking on these workshop quilts that have to be done...what a way to combine the two, huh?

You have to see these strawberries!! Aren't they HUGE? They were delicious too...there is nothing like fresh fruit even in the dead of winter (or especially in the dead of winter?) I thought these were so amazing I just had to take a pic of them. They tasted as good as they look!

I'm looking forward to the next few days in Olympia, Washington!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Snowing Snowing, Sewing Sewing!!

Hello from Sun River, OR!

I was able to arrange a little side trip to my friend Randy's and we have been sewing non-stop! It's a working retreat of sorts...I had two tops that I have to make for class samples, and what better way to do it than retreat in a blizzard!?

Our friend Lori joined us for a couple days as well and we had 3 machines set up at the kitchen table....just a hummin!

My first project was to remake "Cathedral Stars". I have had so many requests for this as a class, but had turned it down because the sample was raffled off and now lives in Germany! 5 days sewing time in Oregon..YEP! I can remake it!

I am also working on "Jared Takes a Wife" in Green, Gold, and Purple....that's my challenge for March Madness, to sew something with the overwhelming collection of green I have.

It has snowed and snowed and snowed..and yesterday Randy and I, and Max the 11 week old golden retriever puppy who now owns Randy....bundled up into snow gear from head to toe and headed out to go hiking through the golf course in 8+ inches of newly fallen snow. It was still coming down hard and heavy while we were hiking..and there were plenty of photo opportunities!

Cathedral Stars top is done...Jared Takes a Wife is under way....and I don't have to be in Olympia Washington until Thursday eve! Will I get it done? Doubtful, but one thing is for certain, I got a lot more done than I would have if I had tried to stay home and do it :c)