Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall Chorus Retreat

We had learning and FUN at the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus fall retreat. We spent a lot of time beginning to learn the notes of our new music,

but we also did a little unplanned DANCING while our accompanist played "I Ain't Afraid" by Holly Near.

"I ain't afraid of your churches,

I ain't afraid of your temples,

I ain't afraid of your prayin'

I'm afraid of what you do in the name of your god."

Then we had a fabulous potluck with a table for each of the songs, and appropriate foods. My group had the Finnish table, so I brought Fruit Soup and Dilled Cucumbers. Now Charlie and I are going to have both for several days because there was so MUCH interesting food that a lot was left over.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get back to skinny triangles and finishing another border.



Fall colors are starting

Fruit soup GREAT with whipped cream

Lots of music in my head

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More skinny triangles

Trying to get a UFO really finished so I can report to Finn. . . . I decided the batik floating four-patches was the closest to ending. BLUE was the suggestion for the border, so I purchased some medium blue and a little light blue for an inner border. No, changed my mind, since the skinny tirangles were so much fun.

I made three batches and here's what two of them look like attached:No more time for this today. I'm off to the fall Grand Rapids Women's Chorus' workshop for two days of learning our new music.



A plan to avoid blood pressure medication

Charlie's on board with the food and exercise program

Another sunny warm fall day

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Skinny triangles

I think I want another border on the "white-framed squares" quilt top I made at The Beaver Island Quilt Retreat.

I have begun making some of the skinny triangles that Gwen Marston uses in some of her borders/inner parts of quilts. She gave us a little method demonstration on the Retreat, basically using various widths of rectangles sewn from one corner across to the opposite side. Not too hard.
However, I don't intend to make a whole border of these! I'm thinking of just inserting some segments like this into a red border. Or should that be into a WHITE border?



sunny and warm
masses of Black-eyed Susans
Found a loaf of brioche in the freezer!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Several months ago I saw an article on the internet about saving selvages from fabric and then making quilt blocks from them---a particular form of String Quilts.

So have have asked my quilting bee and the sewers at retreats if they would give me their selvages, if they have no use for them. After the additiona at my last two retreats I found I had this whole box of "fluffed up" strips.

At the suggestion of the Heartstrings group I have finally ripped up an old sheet into 7"x14" rectangles for base fabric. Yesterday I had a few minutes for "mindless" sewing and began. At first I sewed a straight stitch quite near the tightly woven selvage edge (after overlapping the previous raw edge about 1/4-1/8th inch). I found that I wasn't keeping the seams straight, no was I sure about catching the invisible edge. So I changed to a zigzag stitch.

I now have two rectangles done and a narrower strip for some leftovers. I'll make some more and then start thinking about how this will be put together.



dinner at Dianne's

Sue's help with driving to and from eosophagus scoping

beautiful sunny day after a lot of clouds

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spoolspinners Retreat

I have joined Finn's UFO challenge, and said I would finish FIVE before the end of the year. My plan was to get two finished this weekend, which was our Bee's retreat at Ketunnen Center (4 H conference center) south of Cadillac, Michigan. Friday afternoon I put together these blocks from my UFO pile.

The fabrics were samples I received from The Cotton Club back in the 80's. Even then I knew that I might have a hard time finding a use for them, so I immediately took each month's selection and sewed them into HSTs. Then, maybe ten years later, I sewed the HSTs into blocks of four, a slightly asymmetrical block. Now I have finally sewn the blocks together and added a border. This turned out a really dumb size, 50"x42". . .I guess it is a wall hanging.

Friday night I counted up the Floating Four Patch blocks I had in another ziplock bag from an internet exchange, oh, five years ago. Found I needed about 25 more to approach a twin-sized top. So I worked with my batiks, which is very enjoyable colorwise, to make the rest.

This is the result, and I'm a little surprized. The fabrics are showing more pattern than I expected. Well, that's the chance you take with exchanges, and just using what is "at hand".

What do you think about with or without a border? I'm a little tired of black borders, and I don't have any other idea. As it is, 48"x78", it's really too narrow for a twin--maybe more of an adult nap quilt. So I may have to find SOME kind of a border. Darn, I wanted to be done! A really dark batik, not quite black? Oh, and I could put a FEW of Gwen's spikey triangles in it for interest.. . . that would be a different shape.

Also that "white" framed block in the botom row is bothering me. So much lighter than everything else in the quilt. Maybe I'll replace it with a different frame and make it definitely skewed. More my kind of oddity than the color.

Then on Saturday night and Sunday I worked on a third top, still another ziplock bag full of blocks, but had to pack it all up before it got sewn together. Since it is On Point I have to make a bunch of setting triangles before I can sew the rows together. Hope I'll get that done this week, tho' unlikely.



Sue is here for a visit

Three days of rain didn't stop us from sewing!

Yea for rotisseried chicken from the grocery store

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beaver Island Quilt Retreat, Part 2

Our working room was overlooking Elk Lake in Elk Rapids, Michigan. We all could look up from our work and see the changing colors of the different green foliages and the lake reflecting the sky and clouds.

I started a second quilt top on Friday, using the greens that were in my box. In the back of my mind I was working with the view out the window.

I made Rail Fence blocks with one rail having triangles (mountains? evergreens?) and laid them out on the piano, which happened to be next to my work station.

When I laid them out as a square, they looked almost TOO landscapey, so I set them back as Rail Fence with the greener blocks at the bottom and the bluer blocks at the top.

Looking at more of Gwen's quilts I saw that she sometimes set the center of the quilt OFF-center and also sometimes made un-equal borders--so I played around with those ideas.

The final quilt top includes a large pine tree on the left and a representation of "My Wilderness Cabin" [log cabin block] on the lower right.
And here are a few more photos of Gwen's quilts for your inspiration:

Strips, squares and triangles.


She advised: "Use a simple block. Then make it over and over."

And finally, here is the cover of her new book, self-published:


TWO tops made while on the retreat
Special time with Reunion group at Lake Michigan
Home again, home again, jiggity-jog!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beaver Island Quilt Retreat

Yes, Gwen Marston is giving her retreats for the 25th year, and I finally was able to participate. The theme was SOLIDS - using solids to create design.

First she showed us about 30 of her quilts.
[If you click on any photo you will get an enlargement and can see the quilting, and even some edges of other quilts piled on the counter!]

We oohed and aahed, and took lots of photos!

The tan one with light interior squares was tied leaving long ends dangling for "more texture."

She had used multiple repetitions of fairly simple shapes.

So then we went to work with our own solid fabrics (though some people had brought other projects which they labored over).

I had brought my bolt of WHITE that needs using, and was bound and determined that I was going to use it for background.

I stuck the blocks I had done when I went to bed on Wednesday onto one of the tablecloths hung around the area.

Thursday I worked on the sashings all day.
I hung itover the piano in my corner of the room, and after some study, I decided no more was needed. Anyway I was done for the day, and wasn't going to do any more on it until I got it home.
Here is the final result. Definitely using some of Gwen's ideas, but defintiely not made by her!
More on days three and four in a couple of days.