Friday, October 30, 2009

The Singing Bridge

Don't you just love fall? Today was a breezy, dull day with a hint of rain, but then there are the leaves! So pretty despite the weather! On my way to work I walk over this foot bridge. Some local school children have collected sticks to make the bridge sing!

So I did!

left my message,

continued on to work with a smile on my face!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I've finished my BIQR applique, now to put borders on...I am trying out these hour glass blocks in fall flash does not work so I had to add light in picasa...

I finished my 9 Lives quilt, putting on the binding at the retreat, but I didn't get around to taking a photo of it until today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is your name not Susan?

Here's a gallery of WIP's from the BIQR final show and tell. I had some problems with the flash so I apologize if some are not as clear as I would have liked.

Isabeau's piece grew from one flower on a stem to this!

Sue sat behind me and it is from her I got my great fussy-cut-circle-scraps! This one is so Moran/Marston! with the bright colours and the wild black and white fabrics! I love the long legs of the bird with the berry that has a bite out of it!

Katie and Meg worked on these pieces. Katie did the one with the half vase and the girl with ATTITUDE! I love the hat and the floppy legs! We met Katie last year at the retreat and she brought Meg for her first time to the retreat.

This is another Sue's work. (there were 4 Sue's , 3 Carol's and 3 Linda's!) This Sue used wool for the applique and left over baskets from BIQR 2007.

Below, the one on the left is by Carol (one of "Gwen's people", veterans of BIQR)....this was just one of many UFO's she worked on at the retreat. She coined the term ORP, Oriental Reduction Program....She discovered she had way too many oriental fabrics in her stash and decided to make a conscious effort to use it up....She made at least 5 pieces out of her oriental fabrics....this was not one of them! The one on the right is by Sally.

Below, and top right, Susan (Sally's sister) worked on an vintage poppy pattern. My stuff is on the left and the 3 left in the middle are from the Wild Girls from California, 2 Linda's and a Sue!

Christine worked on baskets, her pomegranate applique, and fabric postcards! I received the basket postcard in the mail on tuesday, postmarked Elk Rapids! Thanks, Chris!

Below, The Pit! The lighting is terrible, luckily I took these before the flash died on my camera! From left to right, Jolene, Denise, Lucy, and then Bonnie. Jolene also sat at the table behind me and showed me that if you use the right needle your applique turns out way better! Thanks Jolene!

MJ brought applique started at a past BIQR. She had the applique all done but had never put the four pieces together. She used a bold red diamond border that is really striking!

Joyce cut all these pieces free hand and arranged them as she went, she really likes a folksy look to her applique. The three chickens represent her grandchildren!

It was an amazing week of inspiration, we all had a lot of fun, I highly recommend it!

BIQR 2009 Report

The weather started out cold, windy, and rainy, but that blew away and the next day was beautiful. The leaves in northern Michigan were turning colour and squirrels were collecting acorns for the winter...these squirrels were quite literate and left us this note ;)....

The retreat started off with Gwen's wonderful trunk show, she was raring to go despite this being the 5th time in the past month to give this show! What a wonderful lady!

Christine and Bonnie both had a turn at helping Gwen show off her quilts. It was amazing to see up close some of the quilts we've only seen in her books, like this antique Whig Rose from 1900:

Gwen told us that she once read, that your applique should be in scale with your blocks...well she thought, I don't think so... and Gwenny's Little Bitsy Nine Patch was born.
She reminded us that the old quiltmakers didn't have patterns to follow they just designed their quilts themselves. All your tulips don't have to be exact, and if you run out of a fabric you can use something else. That is why no two antique quilts are alike, they are similar but not exact copies. There are some basic formats you can follow, such as four-block applique, or medallion quilts with the applique in the centre.
Each day Gwen treated us to her mini demos. If you wanted to learn one of her techniques she was on hand to give it to you. She taught her serpentine borders, how to cut out flower templates from folded paper, how to make yo-yos, how to draw feather quilting patterns, to name a few. This year she had a quilt frame set up for hand-quilting demos.
She had plenty of her books on sale, I think she sold out of her Classic Four-Block Applique Quilts book. I used my copy as a yearbook and had all the participants sign it as a keepsake. It is an excellent book for applique!

Christine and I were a little more relaxed this year and we headed out to explore the Michigan countryside and visit quilt stores. We visited The Quilt Cottage in East Jordan, Cousins Quilt Shop in Bellaire, Rene's Quilt Shop in Williamsburg, Now and Then in Elk Rapids, and the Quilting Bee in Traverse City.
We were lucky to have 3 visitors from the Netherlands during our week. Lucy from Haarlem (Quilting from the Past), Joes (Dutch Quilt Cat) and Isabeau from Amsterdam. All 3 of them have been featured in Quilt Mania, a quilting magazine from France. They agreed to give us a talk about Dutch quiltmaking and fabrics from Holland. They knew so much! It was fabulous, a dutch treat!

Below, you can see Lucy holding my Echt Hollands quilt and my Cathedral windows pillow as examples of fabric from Holland. The fabric I used, my cousin bought for me at the store that Lucy works at(!)

Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville, best friends with Lucy, was also there. It was very exciting to meet such an amazing lady! That lady never quits! She had been on the road for weeks before driving up to Elk Rapids. You can read about her experiences at BIQR already on her blog.

Last but not least, here is what I accomplished at the retreat. On the right is the applique I was working on. The applique is not finished, some of the pieces are still just pinned on...I am planning to add some borders, but I don't know what yet. I made 3 little appliqued postcards. I like to make postcards at the retreat and send them from Elk Rapids as surprises. And the final piece on the left is my floor scrap quilt. Every year Gwen tells everyone to just throw your scraps onto the floor and let everybody go "shopping". The centre piece I created and the colourful strips on the borders are all found scraps, I did add the solid purple and black as borders from my stash.
Most of my scraps were from Sue, who was sitting behind me! She was doing this amazing applique where she had fussy cut all these berries and there were some on the floor and I was happy to include them in my piece as flowers or are they just wacky lolipops, I'm not sure!

On Sunday, we woke up to snowflakes! brrrrrrrrr! and it was Good-bye!

In the next few weeks, I will try and put up a few photos of some of the other amazing projects that were being worked on at the retreat.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Round Robin tops done!

Here's my poppy round robin, I love the liberated sawtooth border Christine added to it! I don't have a photo yet of Christine's finished top, but I will get one soon.

I've also finished the handquilting on my 9Lives wallhanging, but it's been too dark in my sewing room and it's been rainy and overcast so I haven't been able to take an outdoor photo of it either. So you will have to wait.

My friend Quilt Rat has lent me an old Pfaff sewing machine of hers to practice machine quilting Kenmore machine does not lower the feed dogs. So, I have been practicing. It's is as hard as it looks! I might have to stick to hand quilting!

Christine and I are off to Gwen Marston's BIQR 2009 in Michigan on Tuesday so will post lots of photos when we get back!