In January, when I taught in Lake Havasu, my quilter hostess took me to the local quilt stores. Two were located in homes (see earlier blog on Monica’s Quilts) and were only open a couple of days a week. Fabrics Unlimited is a regular commercial store open daily except on Sundays and Mondays. Their address is 2089 W Acoma Blv, #1, which is easy to find. The store is well stocked with not only quilting supplies, but general sewing supplies, sewing machines, notions, fabric paints, buttons, books and patterns, and a wealth of useful items for a variety of crafts.
They have a large classroom which was busy when I visited. Gina Perks was teaching a long-arm quilting class as part of the Quilting at the Lake event at which I taught. The students did classroom exercises and then gathered around the long-arm machine where Gina demonstrated.
This quilt store is extensive with several areas to explore. They have the products attractively displayed, combining some antique furnishings with more utilitarian shelving.
I encourage you to check it out if you are in the area.
In January and February, I made several trips to Chestnut Hill Academy in Bellevue to quilt with the 5th Graders in collaboration with my daughter who is their science and math teacher. I loved the fresh enthusiasm of these kids who embraced both hand and machine sewing and were so excited to see the two quilts come together.
There are two classes of 15 kids and each class made a quilt. We cut out 45 hearts backed with fusible webbing, ensuring that every kid had a nice variety from which to pick. This is where having a good fabric stash comes in handy! I included some really funky fabrics and was surprised that the kids thought that they were cool, e.g. spoons and forks, clocks, and water melons. We fused the hearts and then taught the kids how to hand blanket stitch around them. For some this was really challenging, but they persevered and everyone finished.
We gave them a choice of fabrics for the corner triangles on the blocks and I took two sewing machines into the classroom working with two kids at a time for the sewing. They practiced on graph paper to get the feel for the stitching speed and sewing in a straight line before sewing the triangles.We made color photocopies of all the blocks and put them up on the bulletin board. The kids each received a copy of their block for their work portfolio too. After I had assembled the quilt tops and we had basted them, I went back into the classroom with my sewing machine and worked one-on-one as each child machine quilted around their heart. Then, I finished the quilts.
The quilts will were auctioned in early March at the annual school fundraiser. Here are some detailed shots. I have to smile every time I see the heart with a grinning dinosaur and the cartoon eyes in corners of the block.
The kids were very enthusiastic about the project and excited to see the finished quilts. It was a rewarding experience for me and I’m really proud of the job they did. I encourage you to quilt with kids, girls and boys, to keep this beloved tradition alive and to have the joy of completing projects together.
I’m always drawn to the traditional pieced patterns, so it’s no surprise that three of my four top picks from our recent Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show fall into that category. Along with the attraction of the designs, these quilts display excellent use of color, value and outstanding workmanship.
Terry Loy made this gorgeous quilt, Georgetown (My Version), using a pattern by Jen Kingwell. She was having so much fun that she made twice as many of the circular pieces than needed! There are four different white fabrics and many Kaffe fabrics. The beautiful quilting by Marybeth O’Halloran enhances the crisp bright look of this lively, cheerful quilt.
This intricate Log Cabin is stunning. Snake River, was made by Betty Ekman who admits to finding the small piecing challenging! She used a pattern by Judy Martin. It was quilted by Pat Sloan. I love the use of the beige fabrics in the background of the design. These give the quilt a wonderful warm look. All the small red pieces give the illusion of curves in the quilt and the scallop look inside the piano keys border is extremely effective.
Here’s a classic blue and white Feathered Star, entitled Feathered Stars, made by Mary Polensky and adapted from Marsh McCloskey books. The outstanding machine quilting, (which earned the quilt, the Best Machine Quilting in Show award), was done by Jacque Noard. Jacque made full use of the setting squares to enhance this precisely pieced quilt with beautiful quilting patterns. It is a gem.
My final pick for this blog is an applique quilt, Piece O’Drama, made by Wanda Rains from a pattern by Piece O’Cake Designs. I’m drawn to this piece because of Wanda’s fabulous choice of fabrics. Firstly, the dark background makes the floral designs in the blocks look stunning. Secondly, the fabrics used in the flowers and leaves include unusual beautiful prints that I wouldn’t think of as prime candidates for applique blocks. Finally, the choice of sashing fabric brilliantly frames the blocks and they look gorgeous. I love this quilt.
Last week my blog featured a quilter, Ann Trujillo, whose beautiful quilts were show-cased in a special exhibit at our Kitsap Quilters’ Guild show. Two more quilts displayed at the show and illustrated here were also made by Ann, who thrives on complex, detailed projects. Millefiori-style quilts have become popular recently. Their amazing kaleidoscopic designs are made up of several English paper piecing shapes in which the fabric is often fussy cut to create spectacular results. When fabric is fussy cut, a particular motif or section of pattern is selected for the patchwork piece. Repeated identical pieces used in stars, hexagons, or other shapes generate wonderful patterns. Millefiori (Italian: [milleˈfjoːri]) is defined as a glasswork technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware. The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers).
This quilt, Dance of the Dragonflies, took Ann a year to hand-piece and was quilted by Marybeth O’Halloran. The quilt is stunning from a distance, (the overall photo doesn’t do it justice as it was located in a dark spot), but there is so much more when you get up close to look at the all the detailed work. The designs formed by the combinations of the fabrics, many with fussy-cut motifs, are awesome. The pattern came from the book, New Hexagons, by Katje Marek and Ann was inspired by another guild member, Andrea Rudman, who was piecing beautiful sections and started a small group of quilters who met to share this passion.
Remembering Donna, was made by Ann to honor one of our guild’s founding members, Donna Endresen, who passed away last year and is missed by us all. Donna loved reproduction fabrics and loved flowers. Take a look at the two fabrics and note that all the centers of the hexi flowers were fussy cut from the blue fabric and all the background fabrics in between the stars were cut from the beige material. It’s beautiful.
Ann used the pattern, Garden of Fortgetfulness, to make this quilt and it was quilted by Gladys Schulz.