In April, I taught my Kaleidoscopic Pinwheels class for the West Sound Quilters in Port Orchard WA and also in March at the Emerald Valley Quilters’ Guild in Eugene, OR. My method is based upon Bethany Reynold’s Stack ‘N Whack technique which I modified so that the pinwheels float on the background rather than coming all the way to the edges of the blocks. This means that if there are inaccuracies around the outside of the blocks they may be trimmed to make all the blocks the same size without losing the pinwheel points. Everyone is successful and it’s easy for new quilters too. It’s a fun workshop in which students get instant gratification after cutting their eight identical squares into triangles and arranging the sets of eight triangles into pinwheels. You can’t predict how the pinwheels will turn out until you lay them out and it’s a delight to see what emerges. Here are some examples.
As you can see, the patterns created are beautiful and it’s hard to believe that each set comes from just one fabric. Here’s a selection of finished blocks made in the West Sound Quilters’ workshop. Note the float between the pinwheel points and the block edges, which makes the pinwheel pop even more. Aren’t they fun!
Last week, I published my work in progress. I’m proud to say that the quilt top, Luaret’s Stars, is now complete. This quilt was commissioned over 18 months ago and has been slowly evolving. Last year I traveled extensively to teach and also spent a great deal of time helping to care for my new twin grandchildren, so I didn’t have much time to devote to the quilt. Fortunately, my client has been extremely patient and understanding. I’ve worked intensively on it over the last three weeks to finish in time for my machine quilter, Wanda Rains, to quilt it before our local quilt guild show in mid-February. Wanda now has it and is working her magic. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does and then I’ll have to scramble to execute the binding before the quilt show. Here it is, spread out on my living room floor. It took over 200 hours to piece and is 105″ x 105″, king-sized.
In my blog of 17th December, 2018 I posted a picture of my major project in progress. I have spent the last couple of weeks working intensively on this quilt top and am sharing the next stage with you. I constructed a pieced lattice for the next border.
I made eight sections, two for each side of the quilt, mirror images to go on either side of the inset compass blocks. I like the scale of this new border and think it will work well for the quilt top. Here I’m wrestling with how to handle connecting them at the corners and am auditioning ideas. As you can see the whole quilt top became rather unwieldy and heavy for my work wall.
When it came to pinning these border sections, I took the whole thing downstairs to my living room. I moved the chairs, vacuumed and put a large white sheet on the floor. Then I was able to lay the whole quilt top out, measure easily and work on the floor to pin. When it was time for ironing after the sections were attached by machine, I resorted to using a hole punch as a fabric weight to keep the top from slipping off and pulling!
This project permeated every part of my house!. At one point, I had to call a time out to clear the surfaces in my studio. By next week, the top should be finished and I will post again.
This photo shows part of my current project which I’ve been piecing on and off for the last 18 months. My teaching schedule has been busy this year and I’ve had family commitments with the joys of twin grandchildren. Hence, progress has been slow. I’m determined to complete the top by the end of the year and have booked my long-arm machine quilter for January. The center is a 28″ Radiant Feathered Star with a 9″ compass in the middle. Then there are four 15″ compass blocks and four 14″ diamond star blocks. The 24 small Ohio Star blocks fill in the gaps. This quilt is a commissioned piece and fortunately, my client is being extremely patient with the length of time it’s taking me to design the quilt and get the job done. I’ll post on this again when the project is closer to completion.
In mid-May, I taught at two quilt guilds in Santa Rosa. My host was a guild member, Janet Tonkin. Janet took me to see a small exhibit of her quilts at her local church. The Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County has a quilt show coming up and the theme for their challenge this year is fire, in light of the horrendous wildfires that swept through Sonoma County last fall . Here is the quilt that Janet made, Sonoma Strong, approximately 24″ x 24″.
Janet’s small quilt conveys the all consuming power of the fire and the destruction it caused. The black tree hanger is a perfect complement. In Santa Rosa, over 5,000 houses were destroyed by the fire and the impact on the whole community is immense. There are entire neighborhoods that were wiped out. The rubble has been removed and the lots now stand flat and bare. Re-building is not happening very quickly. Many people have moved away, or are still fighting their insurance companies to receive their claims. The hillsides have charred trees, several of which have survived and have small green areas on the tops and shoots sprouting away at the base of their trunks. The undergrowth is coming back with lush green grass and wild flowers. In the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild, 17 guild members, “Cinder Sisters”, lost their homes and other guild members have reached out to help them.
At the Guild meetings, these bundles of fabric are free for the “Cinder Sisters”. Other guild members may purchase them and the money goes to the fire victims to help them replace their quilting tools and anything else that they need. A teacher who had recently taught at the guild just before the fires, was teaching at a Texas guild and suggested a fat-quarter drive for the fire victims. Word spread quickly after there was a post on the “Quilt Along with Pat Sloan” Facebook page. 908 packages arrived from 80 quilt guilds around the nation, donors from 49 of the 50 states, and from overseas (Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, and Scotland). Someone in the guild had a new shed which was used to house and sort all the fabric and guild members put together the bundles. The amount received was enough to fill 30 pick-up trucks! 178 finished quilts and 52 tops were also received; 124 of those quilts have been distributed to fire victims. Even after the request for donations to stop, more kept coming but are now down to a trickle. This demonstrates, once again, that quilters are big-hearted and very generous.
I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you are sharing the day with family and friends delighting in good food and fellowship. I have much for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving, including the recent birth of my twin grandchildren! I also greatly appreciate the friendships I have made through quilting and traveling to share that passion throughout the United States and beyond.
Last week, we said farewell to Nancy Zieman who passed away after a battle with cancer. She was such an inspiration to so many people and she will be greatly missed. Thank you Nancy for your wonderful contribution to the quilting and sewing world. Sewing with Nancy was the longest running sewing and quilting TV program ever, with over 30 years of programming in which Nancy taught numerous techniques and invited other teachers to share and participate. I had the privilege to be interviewed about the Mongolian Quilting Center twice for Nancy’s Corner and to do a two part series with her on my Bargello Quilts with a Twist technique, and so I appeared in four Sewing with Nancy programs. The photo was taken during our recording of the Bargello Quilts with a Twist programs. Nancy had friendly and comfortable manner which came across in her TV teaching and endeared her to her large audience and devoted followers. She immediately made me feel at ease in the TV studio. She was also extremely professional and thorough in her approach. It was a pleasure to work with her and a great experience. The company that she founded, Nancy’s Notions, lives on and is a great resource for sewing and quilting supplies.
For a wonderful YouTube tribute to Nancy, click here.
When I was teaching recently at the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters in WY, one of my students had these nifty wrist band pin cushions. The original one, with the cream flower-head pins, came from Stretch & Sew over 35 years ago. She found the new one at the Creative Needle, a quilt store in Littleton, CO. I like this design. The plastic base under the felted area prevents pins from going all the way through and pricking the wrist, and the pins are all vertical, so are easy to access.
Ann Person founded the Stitch and Sew company in the late 60’s. Sewing was taught in home economics classes in schools, but the curriculum rarely included sewing with knits. Ann taught home sewers how to create a multitude of knit garments through her classes, patterns, and instructional materials. Her novel technique, “Stretch and Sew”, employed a straight stitch or zigzag stitch so was easy to execute using a home sewing machine. She opened her first store in Burns, Oregon, in 1967, where she sold patterns and fabric and gave sewing lessons. Franchising was becoming popular in the United States at that time, and she took advantage of the trend. In the mid-’70s, there were 353 Stretch & Sew stores worldwide, as far away as Canada and New Zealand. She wrote dozens of instructional books, most of which can still be found on Amazon, eBay and other online sites; created over 200 patterns; and even developed her own sewing machine. Ann passed away at 90 years of age in August 2015, leaving an amazing legacy.
On my teaching trip to Texas in March, my host at the Vereins Quilters’ Guild in Fredericksburg was Kate Hunter. I stayed at Kate’s home for three nights, enjoying her kind hospitality and seeing her quilts. Kate has a degree in mechanical engineering and worked at Boeing in the Pacific Northwest until she retired about six years ago. After many years of writing airplane repair instructions and teaching other engineers, she has changed her focus to designing quilts and teaching quilters.
Kate’s specialties are quilts inspired by travel, wall hangings that capture travel memories, and techniques that can be used to capture the travel themes. Many quilters enjoy travelling and collect fabric, postcards and a variety of souvenirs as well as taking photographs along the way. Kate teaches how to use this memorabilia to create a travel memory quilt. Here are a couple of small examples.
In this larger piece, Kate has created a map of the area around Fredericksburg and added the local highlights. She uses a variety of techniques and materials including piecing the background, applique, photos on fabric, couching and embroidery. The cowboy boots are ultra-suede with reverse applique to create the colored patterns.
Kate travels to teach and would be delighted to come to your area. Check her website to contact her. It’s always fun to see how other quilters organize their studios. Kate is good friends with Lois Hallock, a quilter with whom she used to work at Boeing. Lois travels and teaches quilters about organizing their quilting space and making good ergonomic choices. She sold Kate on storage boxes for supplies and projects. Kate has these nicely labelled and stacked above her shelves. She also has useful and attractive containers for storing fat quarters.