Special cross stitch quilt

Yes, I know I haven’t posted in awhile.  After the Ponderosa Retreat I spent a week at Edisto Beach with my good friend Carol and her hubby and three college age boys – the oldest is 22 and then twins 21!!  I forgot to take my camera.  We had a wonderful time and I came home very rested and refreshed.  Last week I worked on this special cross stitch quilt.  The cross stitch part was done by a family’s grandmother.  They asked another quilter/piece to put the blocks into a quilt top and then she brought it to me to be quilted.  I was able to use a lot of new free motion patterns I learned at the Jamie Wallen classes I did in July.  I also stretched myself to quilt BIG to fill the spaces and to meet the customer’s budget.  You need to put some quilting in the cross stitch areas but you don’t want to quilt on the actual stitching.  So then the amount and size of the other quilting designs need to be compatible.  I am very happy with how this one turned out.

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Ponderosa Retreat Project Pictures

Virginia's Stars Stars Stars for Quilts of Valor

Virginia’s Stars Stars Stars for Quilts of Valor

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Another Quilts of Valor by Virginia

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Jolene’s Churn Dash for Quilts of Valor

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Karen’s Civil War BOM blocks set with Windblown Squares.

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Peggy’s Fall Bargello

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Jolene’s Jovial quilt

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Pat’s Avocato

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Pat made two Star Wars tops for her grands and had me humming the theme song all weekend long. DA DAA da ta da daa da LOL

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Gail’s Christmas tabletopper

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Virginia’s tesselating trees from Stonehenge fabrics

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Peggy’s first set of kaleidescope blocks – stunning!

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And here is Peggy with her second set of blocks.

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Rita’s chevron baby quilt. Rita also made beautiful pillow cases but I didn’t get a pick and she worked worked worked on another set of blocks that were beautiful but again no pick.

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My Buckeye Beauty FINALLY got it’s borders.

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And here is my Four Patch swirl version set with square in a square alternating blocks. This one also got borders at last!

The Ponderosa in Waynesville, NC – the perfect place for a quilting retreat

Just back from a wonderful long weekend quilting in the mountains of western North Carolina.  We held our retreat at The Ponderosa, owned by Kim Polson.  It is a wonderful retreat house fully equipped for the quilter.   It will sleep and accommodate up to ten quilters.  Kim also owns The Summit in Maggie Valley, NC which is similarly equipped and will accommodate up to six quilters.  I have stayed at both facilities and highly recommend them.  The hospitality and amenites are perfect!!

Today take a tour of The Ponderosa – the next blog will highlight all the projects that were worked on by the retreaters.  Click on pics for a larger view.

Hostess and owner of The Ponderosa Quilting Retreat - Kim Polson

Hostess and owner of The Ponderosa Quilting Retreat – Kim Polson

Jolene at a sewing station.

Jolene at a sewing station.

Sewing stations.  Full capacity is 10 sewers but we feel 8 is enough.

Sewing stations. Full capacity is 10 sewers but we feel 8 is enough.

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A wall of book and patterns for you to peruse at your heart's desire.  steps on left lead up to the sleeping quarters.

A wall of book and patterns for you to peruse at your heart’s desire. steps on left lead up to the sleeping quarters.

Dining area in downstairs kitchen.

Dining area in downstairs kitchen.

Another view of the sewing area.

Another view of the sewing area.

We couldn't get another item in the fridge on Thursday afternoon but by Sunday it was getting down fairly low!!

We couldn’t get another item in the fridge on Thursday afternoon but by Sunday it was getting down fairly low!!

Island in kitchen provided cutting space during the day and serving/eating space for meals.

Island in kitchen provided cutting space during the day and serving/eating space for meals.

Downstairs kitchen packed with our food supplies for the weekend.

Downstairs kitchen packed with our food supplies for the weekend.

Kim provides any notion/tool you need for quilting!!

Kim provides any notion/tool you need for quilting!!

One of three pressing stations.

One of three pressing stations.

Peggy at a cutting table.

Peggy at a cutting table.

One of two full bathrooms upstairs.  There is also a powder room downstairs.

One of two full bathrooms upstairs. There is also a powder room downstairs.

Bedroom for two.

Bedroom for two.

The second full bath.

The second full bath.

Bedroom for one.

Bedroom for one.

The third bed in bedroom for three.

The third bed in bedroom for three.

Another bedroom for one.

Another bedroom for one.

Bedroom for three - you can see the corner of the third bed in lower right.

Bedroom for three – you can see the corner of the third bed in lower right.

Bedroom with full bed.

Bedroom with full bed.

Sitting room upstairs.

Sitting room upstairs.

Kitchen upstairs - not a full kitchen - microwave and coffee maker - but a nice big table.

Kitchen upstairs – not a full kitchen – microwave and coffee maker – but a nice big table.

View of sewing area from the gallery upstairs.

View of sewing area from the gallery upstairs.

Another view of sewing area.

Another view of sewing area.

Sewing area.

Sewing area.

Sewing area.

Sewing area.

Sisters’ Choice ala Betsy

Every year or so the Sew’n Sisters work on a joint/mutual project.  A couple of years ago we decided to make Sisters’ Choice blocks and do a block exchange.  We cut lots and lots of 2 1/2″ strips from each of our stashes and tossed them all in a big plastic tub.  We found a white background that we all liked and cut strips of that also.  Then once a month or sometimes more often we would dive into the plastic tub – select two strips that we liked together – and start cutting and sewing.  After about a year – maybe a bit less – we decided we had enough blocks made.  So we put them all out in a pile and started choosing.  That way each of us had blocks made by each and every sister in our quilt.

Next we had to choose a setting and start putting out quilt tops together.  Frances was the first to be finished – is anyone surprised about that?  Frances is FOCUS with a capital F and she keeps at a project till she “gets ‘er done.”  You can see Frances’ finished top and how I quilted it here.  Hers was finished in November of 2011.  The other Sisters have been very distracted.  Me by quilting for lots of customers, Betsy by weddings and babies in her family, and Sheila – well if I had to name all the major life changes that gal has been through in the past two years I would need another page.  All good but her life has been a very big whirlwind and much piecing/sewing got put on the back burner.  But her top is done and I can’t wait to get it quilted.

I was the second one finished but mine is yet to be quilted.  Betsy was the third – she had to make a lot of setting blocks and then cut those blocks and add them to the Sisters’ Choice blocks.  Lots of work.  Well worth it as you will see from the photos.

I used two different quilting stencils for the setting blocks and the Sisters’ Choice blocks plus some freehand continuous curves in the star points of the Sisters’ Choice blocks.  In the setting blocks I also echoed around the outside of the stencil and I added continuous curves in the centers of both the setting and the Sisters’ Choice blocks. The background has straight lines and pebbling.  I used Superior’s Sew Fine thread on top and pre-wound Bottom Line in the bobbin.

The back is just wonderful – I love it when the back looks as good as if not better than the front.

Hopefully I will have Sheila’s and my own quilted within the next few months.  We want to display them together at our next quilt show.

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I love Betsy’s setting around the Sisters’ Choice blocks and the on point.  Where the blocks come together it makes a new block/secondary pattern.  This is the scrappiest quilt that Betsy has done – she was not sure about this the entire time we were working on it.  But I think she is very happy with the final product.

Quilts of Valor

It has become a tradition that the president of Quilters of SC issues a challenge to the membership.  We have done Artful Bras which supported breast cancer – specifically a charity that helped provide woman  who had undergone a mastectomy with the ability to get a prosthetic device.  We have done heart themed quilst to support women’s heart health and menopause quilts to support ovarian cancer.  For my first term we adopted the four hospitals in the state that belong to the Children’s Miracle Network and I challenged the membership to make quilts for critically ill children across our state. We called it Covering SC Kids.  It was a big success and we delivered over 600 quilts!  Here is a picture of  the quilts that we delivered to MUSC in Charleston, SC last fall.

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I am serving a second term and for this one I selected the Quilts of Valor organization.  Quilts are made and given to servicemen and women to honor their service to our country.  They may be active and/or wounded service people or veterans.  I announced the challenge at our Spring Meeting in Hilton Head and we had a wonderful, serendipitous opportunity occur.  One of my board members had made a QOV to show at the meeting and kick off the challenge.  There was a group meeting at the same hotel that bring in some servicemen and their families and give them a nice weekend on the island.  We were able to present the quilt to one of the men.  We also had some children’s quilts turned in so we gave the children quilts too.  There was not a dry eye in the room.

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Here are three Quilts of Valor that I just finished longarm quilting. The first two were pieced by Frances and I quilted them.  The last one was a joint effort by Nancy B and myself.  Nancy had done the strippy piecing and then decided this was a project she no longer had an interest in.  She gave them to me….I shopped for the perfect setting fabric….and we are both very happy that an abandoned/orphaned project is now going to someone special.

 

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While many QOVs have a patriotic theme, not all service people want that. The bright coral and brown quilt will really brighten the day of one of our service woman.  In fact I have a very special gal in mind – a former student of mine who is serving in Afghanistan and has f0ur months left  in her deployment.  She left a very young daughter in the care of her capable and loving husband to serve and protect our freedom.

 

Blooms of another nature

The pattern for this quilt is called Blooming Nine Patch from the book Tradition with Twist. It was all the rage a few or more years back. More …..I think I started mine in 2005 or 2006. Maybe earlier. It is called a Blooming Nine Patch because it is made of many little nine patches. The bloom part comes from choosing fabrics that carry out a color theme and move from one color to another. In the book the samples had very dramatic color changes – it one fabric was fuschia with gold in it then the next fabric was gold with maybe turquoise and the next would be turquoise with.????. The nine-patches were made from each pair of fabrics – the fabric to the left of and the fabric to the right. They were linked with squares of the paired fabrics. Confused? Yeah – many of us were. LOL I was always intrigued by the idea but the sample quilts were just too too colored for my taste. Then a lady from Georgia came to People, Places and Quilts with her version and we fell in love. The bloom was subtle – the fabrics shaded into each other- and the center glowed. Jolene and I took the class together. Then we sewed and sewed and then Jolene moved and we put our blocks into a box and let them season. One weekend I went to Jolene’s and played task master and forced her to get hers sewn together. It is a big task – the little blocks are on point and you have to keep everything in order or the bloom will not happen. So I would lay out a row and carry it to her and she would sew. I thought she might throw me off the mountain before we got finished. I then quilted hers for her birthday – maybe not that year – could have been the next.

I finally got mine together – I luckily have the long table with the longarm and I could lay out each row on it to stay organized. I pieced a backing and shoved it all in my “to be quilted for me” stack. which by the way is HUGE!!

I dedicated the month of July this year to do quilting for me, the sisters, Wadmalaw, and Quilts of Valor. My first project – my blooming nine patch.

So here it is – so big I can’t hang it for a picture – I love it – I have matching pillowcases already made for it thanks to my good friend Frances. I quilted continuous curves in the X squares of the nine patch and a Mystical Gridwork pattern ala Jamie Wallen in the squares. This allowed me to travel back and forth across the quilt with minimal starts and stops and gave the quilt great texture. A light sage green thread on top – So Fine – and a taupe Bottom Line prewound in the bobbin. And piano keys in the border. Simple but effective.

Enough blathering – you want to see the quilt, right?
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And here is Jolene’s.  I can’t find a picture of the entire quilt – maybe she will send me one.

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Lilies, lantana, and more

Lots of pretty blooms to share so let’s just get on with the show!

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