Feeling Recharged

For six years now, I have traveled to Waite Park, MN in July to spend a few days with some of the best friends I have ever known; a group of women that felt like forever friends almost immediately after our first meeting. My Grubers Retreat is a non-negotiable event on the calendar. I’ve written about the joys of this retreat in the past; but really, words cannot explain what this week means to me and does for me emotionally. Group8                               L to R: Amanda, Rene, me, Mary, Michelle, Terri, Cindy, Shelly, Stephanie

Amanda produces like crazy every year–many things with her new fabric collection for Connecting Threads this year! She free-motion quilted like crazy, and she and I made micro quilts. Amanda2015CollageRene worked on a scrap vortex quilt most of the weekend. Her 51 Kisses quilt, made for her sister, Michelle, is fabulous. Go check out her MUCH better photos!Rene2015CollageI finished up my Rock Pools quilt top from a class I took in May (it’s Christmas fabric), and worked on my Quick Curve Ruler project from last year’s retreat! My micro quilt is at the bottom left:Doris2015CollageMary made us the adorable egg-cup pincushions (top right photo) with the smallest EPP hexies I’ve ever seen. She worked diligently on a Moda Bake Shop pattern most of the weekend. Mary2015CollageMichelle first joined us for retreat in 2011 (year two). She is Rene’s little sis, and at the time she was just a newbie to quilting. She has come a long way! The girl is obsessed with foundation paper-piecing (and the movie Pitch Perfect, which we watched as a group Saturday evening). The quilt on the top right is the beauty she made for Rene this year:Michelle2015CollageTerri is fun to watch work; she makes the most of her time at retreat. She goes back and forth between projects, starts new ones when inspired by something she sees (see the blocks at bottom right, inspired by one Michelle shared-in my collage above), her creativity is inspiring. She came prepared with her suitcase of fabric (LOVE IT!)… Also, she made us those beautiful Dresden coasters this year:Terri2015CollageCindy accomplished much more than I took photos of. I couldn’t resist snapping the pic of her with the matching Hello Kitty sewing machine! She made us all one-hour baskets with fussy cut license plate fabric–so fitting! A friend made the cute bag at the bottom for her, it’s just too adorable not to share:Cindy2015CollageShelly and I share a ride from Des Moines to Waite Park, about 5 hours in the car (each way). She’s afraid she talks my ear off, but I love the laughs, the sharing, the brainstorming…and she tells the BEST stories. She was working on some top-secret stuff, so not many pics of her work, but she was very productive! I’m still tickled pink that she made us those perpetual journal calendars in the pint box (it’s one of the first projects I ever added to Pinterest and I have YET to make one–don’t need to, now!):Shelly2015CollageStephanie sat next to me this year, I was amazed at how quickly she made the Mini Disco quilt in the Allison Glass fabrics (the back is just as beautiful, photo on bottom right). She worked on a Quick Curve Ruler project as well, a current QAL on the Sew Kind of Wonderful blog.Stephanie2015CollageEach year we make (or “outsource”) happies for each other. Seriously, it’s better than Christmas:Happies4I gave the Cotton & Steel charm packs and scissors key fobs this year, Anna Maria Dresden coaster from Terri, Perpetual Journal Calendar & flashlight from Shelly, Egg Cup pincushion from Mary, Work in Progress bag and pattern, and mini-charms from Amanda, fabric tray and chocolate from Michelle, Her OWN honey and “Sew Sisters” bag from Stephanie (and fresh Michigan blueberries!), License plate basket from Cindy, and Mug and mini-charms from Rene.

Every year I come home feeling recharged and inspired–Love my Grubers gals!

Advertisements

A ghastlie reunion

**If you’re visiting from the Bloggers Quilt Festival, be sure to scroll down, my quilt entry is two-sided, and you don’t want to miss the back!

When we (Row House Creations) designed our Mums for Melissa pattern, I knew I had finally found the perfect design to use my (ahem. cough) collection of Alexander Henry Ghastlies fabrics! I think the first collection was released in 2009; sort of a unique, “Addams family” style novelty print. This pattern is designed to use a 2-yard cut of a print fabric that you can’t bear to cut up too small:

mums_frontcopyThe characters in the Ghastlies fabrics are so detailed and have such great expressions, backgrounds and “props” that they need to be used in larger pieces. I did make placemats with them a few years ago, and I made the quilt top I shared on our Row House Creations site in 2013. Trina quilted it for me in 2014, but I realized I never blogged about the finished quilt. Because, you know, 2014 was my worst year. Ever.

But it did get quilted, and it’s pretty awesome (if I do say so myself), because it’s two-sided, and the back is fabulous, too. This is a full shot of the front:

MFMGhastlies1

The “mums” in the center panel include some Ghastlies coordinates, but also just grey, black, pink, and lavender prints from my stash that coordinate well; the center is a dark green tangled lace Ghastlies print. It’s easy to see my fabrics in this photo from before it was quilted:

GhastliesMFMDetail3And the inner border is from a line by Sanae for Mode called Haunted Mansion (I love this print) and looks like a damask wallpaper print complete with spider medallions:

GhastliesMFMdetail5

The quilting is done on an Innova long-arm, using their computerized designs, but in a custom manner (a different design for the center flowers, the inner borders and the large side panels of the quilt):

MFMGhastlies5

MFMGhastlies4I had a TON of fun making this quilt, I’m a bit crazy for Halloween, I love these fabrics, and I was using a pattern my business parter and I had designed. My fun didn’t stop with the quilt top. The back I had just as much fun making, creating a family “photo gallery” and a wainscoting wall look using some Tula Pink Nightshade fabric that coordinates with this collection very well, and the original Ghastlies, the Ghastlie Family Reunion and Ghastlie Gallery collections:

MFMGhastliesBack1

I started by fussy-cutting scenes from the large prints of each collection and “framing” them in coordinating fabric:MFMGhastliesBack4

I arranged them in rows on my design wall, added the white “wall” around them, then added the “wainscoting” panel below and above the photo gallery:

MFMGhastliesBack3

MFMGhastliesBack2The photo gallery inspiration came from this print from a Ghastlie GalleryMFMGhastliesBack5One of my very favorite quilts–this one stays with me! BTW, the back is a one-of-a-kind design and is NOT a pattern and NOT included in our Mums for Melissa pattern.

This is my entry in the Spring 2015 Blogger’s Quilt Festival — entered into “original design” category — would love to have you vote for me for viewer’s choice!

Happy Quilting, and come back again,

Doris

Fox in a Box

Trina and I designed this quilt in 2013, published the pattern, and it’s been a best seller! I’m sharing it here again as my entry in the Spring 2015 Bloggers Quilt Festival.

There is an applique and a non-applique version. I’m kind of partial to those cute little foxes on the applique version…

FrontCoverForDigital_woFR

FIAB FullSHot Quilted2

Fox in a Box made with no applique:

Fox in a Box Quilt

Trina did a wonderful job on the quilting of this one, a combination of straight-line quilting, pebble quilting and shadow spirals…

Fox in a Box Free Motion Quilting

Fox in a Box Free Motion Quilting Detail

In designing this pattern, we worked out two methods of making no-waste (or LOW-waste) flying geese; through trial and error, but the methods in the pattern work our lickety-split!

Our little fox friend peeking out from his Fox and Geese Block, isn’t he adorable?

Fox in a Box Applique Fox and Geese Quilt Block

And his little friend gazing up at him from another block:

FIAB Fox 1 Detail

The two quilts side-by-side on my (apparently not-so-straight) fence:

FIABonFence2

The pattern is available here.

Happy Quilting! …and do come visit again

Doris (& Trina)

Swoon-worthy

In early April, I mentioned I was about to start on my first Swoon quilt, a good two years later than most of the quilters I know (I’m always late to the party… but I don’t like making the same thing as everyone else, either). Anyhoo, I started this at a retreat on April 10th — intended as a wedding gift for my oldest stepdaughter, who was getting married May 9th (yes, 2015).

Guess what? I gifted them a FINISHED King-size quilt last weekend! This photo is as close as I could come to a full shot:

SwoonQuilt2

The pattern only makes an 80″ square quilt, so I made 16 blocks (instead of the 9 the pattern calls for) and my quilt finished at 105″ square. FULL DISCLOSURE: I did not quilt it myself, the reason it was done in time for the wedding is because my long-arm quilter is awesome and turned it around quickly.SwoonQuilt3

My stepdaughter requested her wedding colors, navy-cream-metallic gold, I had very little navy in my stash (other than prints with other colors in it) so I went shopping for most of these. The centers of the blocks are either the gold birds by Violet Craft (from her Brambleberry Ridge line) or Indigo Natured Dots from Wilmington fabrics. The background is a Cotton & Steel solid, Kerchief. I used three different metallic gold prints for the star points, one by Carolyn Friedlander and two Asian prints. The navys include three Cotton & Steel prints, and some civil war reproduction and navy/white prints by Windham, Michael Miller, RJR and Red Rooster fabrics.SwoonQuilt4The backing fabric is a Dear Stella chevron, with Cotton & Steel Mustang Arrows and Saltines running lengthwise:

SwoonQuiltBack

SwoonQuiltBack2

The quilting is a computerized design called “Alex”:

SwoonQuilt5

SwoonQuilt6

SwoonQuilt7It turned out beautifully. It happens to be the first King size quilt I’ve made (the one on my bed was my largest quilt to date and I think it measures 98″ square), and it might be the last. It took many hours to piece these blocks, but by the time you have the top together, that is a lot of fabric and weight to maneuver around the sewing machine table. Not to mention getting the binding sewn on after it is quilted. However, I know this quilt will be appreciated, they both value handcrafted gifts. SwoonQuilt12

Congratulations again to the beautiful couple, may you share many happy years together,

Doris

Linking up to Finish-It-Friday...

A gem, revisited

Remember this quilt?FinalGemmaQuiltFullWell, it’s available as a Row House Creations pattern in the latest issue of Fons & Porter’s Scrap Quilts… (Summer 2015)17093_10205811642123170_7308003853359679834_nThere are some wonderful quilts in this issue, 13 projects total… including one by my friend and fellow DSMMQG member, Leila! Go grab your issue this week…

Happy Quilting,

Doris

The garden that took a long time to grow.

This quilt is another 2014 finish I have yet to blog about, but it was started waayyyyyy before 2014. I bought the fabric to make my niece a quilt when she was 8-9 months old (May 2012). Here she is at my mom’s house, lovin’ on the fabric:

ZoeFabric

There is another shot taken just before this one where she is sitting up looking at the camera with a big cheesy grin. Then she just kept snuggling the fabric on the floor. Yep, I completely understand, Z–I feel the same way about new fabric.

I started cutting hexagons for her quilt in July 2012 at my Gruber’s retreat in Minnesota using a friend’s Go! Cutter and this die I bought:GoCutterHexagon

I only cut the large hexagon, not the two smaller sizes.

In the meantime, I had used some of the fabric I bought to make Z this sweet pillow for her 1st birthday using our One Big Cabin owl applique, and I made a matching valance for her new bedroom… y’know, to match the quilt she didn’t yet have. 😉

I didn’t really have a pattern in mind when I started cutting hexagons, but shortly after that retreat, I came across Terry Atkinson’s Hexie Garden pattern, and I knew that was meant to be Z’s quilt.

I worked on it at a few more retreats, and naturally, adapted the pattern a bit (because I have a hard time sticking to a pattern), added a double border, and eventually had it ready to gift to her for her 3rd birthday last August. It’s twin size, perfect since she was moved to a big girl bed that very same week:

ZoeQuilt1

The center of the hexagon flowers are a light grey print from Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda, the purple triangles are Tiny Diamonds by Dear Stella, and the flower “petals” all came from my scrap bin, mostly scraps from my Candied Hexagon quilt.

ZoeQuilt2

ZoeQuilt3

ZoeQuilt4

The quilting is a computerized Innova design, and includes butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, bumblebees… truly perfect for this quilt, and this sweet girly-girl.

ZoeQuilt5

I used leftovers on the back, leftovers from the valance and pillow, and the front of the quilt, and a few coordinating pieces from my stash.

ZoeQuiltBack

One of my favorites is this Valentine print, tiny X’s and O’s with little hearts hanging inside each O:

ZoeQuiltBackDetail

Z is the child I believe should have been named Joy, because she is THE poster child for living a joy-filled life. She’s kind of a party waiting to happen, very sweet and kind, almost always smiling and enjoying herself. I hope she stays that way, always.

Zoe&HerQuiltThat’s her on birthday #3, when I gifted her the quilt. She gets lots of goodies from Aunt Doris, handmade and purchased–it doesn’t hurt that she knows how to melt her auntie’s heart.

Happy Quilting,

Doris