Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Visit with the Dunes County Quilters

Michigan City, Indiana, can boast about their beautiful location perched on 23 miles of Lake Michigan's shoreline, a popular outlet mall called Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, the huge Blue Chip Casino Hotel and Spa, and of course the fabulous, not-to-be-missed, Indiana Dunes State Park. Last week I had the pleasure of discovering a hidden gem in Michigan City...a welcoming group of wonderful women known as The Dunes County Quilters.
Beautiful Indiana Dunes State Park in Michigan City, Indiana
Let me just say that the Dunes County Quilters know how to have a guild meeting. The first order of business was to line up at the buffet! Yes, you read right...they had a spectacular spread of food!
All I can say is...YUM!
Fried chicken, sides, and desserts, Oh,my!
Starting my talk about The Bunco Club Series and approximately 30 quilt trunk show.
Explaining my right-hand/left-hand art work.
I was thrilled that railing was there. It helped me balance my big gouty legs, knees, and ankles!
Explaining that this quilt is on the cover of Book 2, Quilters of the Bunco Club: Phree & Rosa.
A quilt I designed around my spool fabric.
The quilt in our 60s room.
Who doesn't love a pinwheel quilt?
I just had to show the unquilted top that I worked on and finished during my DIY Quilt Retreat.
Thank you Dunes County Quilters for an exciting evening of sharing.
PS: Your buffet rocked!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Selfie of My Private DIY Quilt Camp

Day Five: Comprised of Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday
March 8, 9, and 11, 2015  
Yes, it took me three days to accomplish day five!
Audio Book: Finished Saving Grace:Katie and Annalise, Book 1, by Pamela Fagan Hutchins,
Started Take Me with You, by Catherine Ryan Hyde 

So here's what happened...
Sunday was to be the last "official" DIY Quilt Camp day for me. Sadly, my...ahem...recent gout attack reared up again and after sewing together a few piano key units, it became too painful to press down on the foot pedal. Okay, so there's always tomorrow, right? That brings us to napping away the pain on Sunday. 
I showed up Monday at the office of Dr. Google and after doing some searching, made several pro-active choices that have paid off. I then didsome much needed communication catch-up on my books, along with Frame Masters work. After heading to my sewing room, I ended up one border shy of finishing the amazingly huge, white-elephant of a 1930's quilt on which I've been working. Darn...still not finished!
Tuesday was a ray of sunshine...our son, Rob, visited me for the whole day! Yippee for me, but a non-productive sewing day--however, as we all know, seeing your kid trumps everything!
Wednesday morning I went straight to my sewing room, sans coffee and in my pj's. I was not doing anything until that silly border was attached and "A Tisket a Tasket" was completed. 

TA DA--here's proof! The Quilt is finished, my DIY Quilt Retreat is over, and so is my lengthy explanation of why my last camp day lasted 84 hours.

One thing that became very clear to me is that I need to make more time for my sewing passion. Thanks to all for keeping me company while I missed my "official" quilt retreat. It was fun to share my progress and, at times lack of progress, with you.

Happy Stitching and Peace Out.

Day Four: Saturday, March 7, 2015 
Audio Book: Finished In the Land of the Long White Cloud, by Sarah Lark 
Started Saving Grace:Katie and Annalise, Book 1, by Pamela Fagan Hutchins (9 hrs)

STILL NOT FINISHED! What the heck?
Admittedly, I worked a little bit on several other projects today, but I still spent half the day working on the piano key border. I am confident the border will be finished and attached and that "A Tisket a Tasket" will be completed tomorrow -- that is unless I just jinxed myself! 
Piles of piano keys, ready for the big day tomorrow when they will be sewn together to frame the finished quilt top.

My first One Block Wonder -- at least it's cut out and ready to go.
Cut fabrics and T-shirt for a Blackhawks quilt using the pattern below.

Pattern that I will use red/black/white fabric to make the Blackhawks quilt

The start of rhombus blocks for "Maddie Bea's" quilt (see last photo on Day One for image). I suspect this quilt will also take me a lot longer than I had originally thought.
I accomplished a lot of cutting and sub-cutting today. With a little luck and a few more hours of work, I'll be posting a photo of my newest 1930s repro quilt. 


Day Three: Friday, March 6, 2015 
Listening to Audio Book: In the Land of the Long White Cloud, by Sarah Lark (22 hrs -- 3 hrs left)
After another full day, I'm sew close to having this baby finished! All I need is to piece together and attach the kick-ass piano key border. I'll be pre-cutting the jillion pieces after dinner tonight. I might start on a new quilt tomorrow for a little break but I'm hopeful to have this quilt finished before the weekend is over.

This quilt is way too big to lay out anywhere, so I draped it over the sofa.
Note to self: Seriously Karen, as much as you might love the do NOT need any more queen sized 1930s reproduction quilts!

About a month ago several of my friends and I each got this cool cordless iron that's become quite popular. With the release of my third book, Threads of Friendship, I was too tied up to even take it out of the box. I've been using it since Wednesday and I LOVE it! 
The Panasonic Cordless Iron paired with Mary Ellen's Best Press...Ironing at its best!

One more quick thing and then I'm back to work. Check out this Free PDF Pattern that is Charm-pack-friendly (to me that also means Scrap friendly).--Charmed! I think it's pretty cool and it gives me a ton of ideas!

Back to the cutting mat and rotary cutter... See you tomorrow =)

Day Two: Thursday, March 5, 2015
Listening to Audio Book: In the Land of the Long White Cloud, by Sarah Lark (22 hrs -- 10 hrs left)

Starting my day with a hearty breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries, red grapes, Acid-free decaf coffee (YES, the coffee tastes really good!).

Ummm, since this was almost half-way finished when my DIY retreat started yesterday, I really really thought this quilt would be finished by the end of the first day. It's nearing the end of the second day and I'm STILL working on it!  Argghhh!
At least all the blocks are done.

I'm this far with the center portion (See below--Day one--for a view of the whole pattern).
Cool Notion of the Day 
I picked this up at a quilt show last summer when I was vending. I think it cost me five bucks. It works great to get those annoying little threads off your blocks as you're working on them or the whole quilt at the end. It fits over our fingers. 


This is the side that grabs the strings. It reminds me of the texture of an air conditioner filter.
The sofa in my sewing room is beginning to disappear under sewing and quilting fabric and supplies.
I'm beginning to feel a little bit better...still very tired and napping through out the day...lots of rest.  As much as I miss my fellow retreaters, staying home was the right call. I'm counting on the medicinal affects of sewing and quilting to work its magic =)


Day One: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Audio Books:  Finished listening to War Brides, by Helen Bryan
Started In the Land of the Long White Cloud, by Sarah Lark

The B.A.Q.S. (Big Ass Quilting Society) Quilt Camp starts today, Wednesday, March 3, at a remote lodge in Michigan.

...So why am I not there?

I prepared for camp by pre-cutting several (make that many) quilts, as though I would take my usual spot among twenty-four quilters for five days while we enjoy camaraderie, food, and our passion for creating with fabric and thread. But alas, it was not to be!

After a series of medical issues that have piled up over the past ten days, I was forced--yes, forced, to make the very difficult decision not to attend our beloved retreat. Without going into detail about aging body parts, it became apparent that I had no business traveling to the wilds of Michigan. (One of many new things I learned is that gout is a form of arthritis and is not caused by diet).

So here I am, ready to start my Bernina and not take my foot off the pedal for the next five days... a do it yourself, by myself, quilt retreat. I'll be posting my projects and my progress from Wednesday through Sunday. Follow me to see how much and what I get accomplished over those five days and what books I'm listening to as I sew.

I arrive at my sewing room in my jammies by walking twelve steps from my bedroom--I guess I'm on the 12-Step-DIY-Quilt-Retreat Program! 
I'm ready to have some fun, even if it's by myself! 
Ready to sew!
Starting off with a quick breakfast
On tap for today:
I brought this fabulous 30s reproduction kit with me to quilt camp last fall and got about half of the blocks finished. I thought this would be a good place to in, I'll just whip this up and move on to the next project. I started by squaring up the center piece and suddenly -- OOPS! Within ten minutes of starting my DIY Retreat, I had to take several steps backward in order to move forward! DARN--thirty minutes to fix the innocent little slice below.

 Back on track, I put a double border on the center piece. Why do borders always take so much longer than I anticipate?
 Finally got to making a few blocks

I set up a table in the living room for evening retreat work, such as cutting and sub-cutting--preparing for the next quilt in the queue. This way I can be productive while Bob and I watch a little TV.

Sub-cutting strips for the pattern below. I hope to finish the quilt above tomorrow and then dive in to this one.

I'm going to do a little more cutting and then head up to bed. I'll be back at it in the morning. Stop by again to see what I've accomplished.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guild Talk

Thanks to Heritage Quilters of South Suburbia for inviting me to speak at their guild meeting.

In the summer of 2013, shortly after my first book, The Bunco Club, was released, Geri and Winnie (the Events Committee) invited me to speak to the guild. At that point, February of 2015 seemed like a million years away, yet here we are...the talk, trunk show, and book signing is a thing of the past! The talk was especially meaningful to me not only because it was the first time I had been asked to speak at a guild meeting, but because Heritage Quilters Guild is the guild to which my "real Bunco Club" and I belong!

I have done countless guild, library, quilt shop talks, and book signings since that day in July when Geri and Winnie graciously extended an invitation to me. It seemed only fitting that I launch my newly released third book in the Bunco Club Series, Threads of Friendship: Marge and Beth, to this special group of quilters.

My husband helped me at the guild talk. Thanks,Bob!
"Lessons from Mama" Quilt pattern by Terry Atkinson
Examples of my left-handed and right-handed art work.
Dresden Plate--Cover of The Bunco Club
Traditional Orange Peel done in 1930s reproduction fabrics
Bear Down--Chicago Football
Red and White
Edyta Sitar Pattern/Wall Hanging

Wind Farm by Miss Rosie
Monterrey Medallions -- Pattern by Terry Atkinson
Egg Money--Queen size pattern by Eleanor Burns
"Gathering Basket" with teeny tiny 9 patches

And finally, several of us took a jacket making class and these were our results--the same pattern with seven different personalities.

I had a wonderful evening among fellow quilters and friends. Thank you all for making it memorable.