Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mom's Nine Patch

Forget about "Facebook Official." After nine years of togetherness, my partner and I made our relationship legally recognized and State of Florida official. Sure it was over a year ago, but I thought I would share a story about why my husband is the best. 

We had a short guest list, mostly because we had an even shorter budget. It might be a mid-west mind set, or just a personal challenge, but I have this guilty feeling asking people to do something for me. I even felt guilty asking my parents to travel from Michigan to Florida for our special day. (Don't worry, they made it.) 

The Friday before our wedding, there was an event for the young artists in our school district, and being the art teacher I am, not only did I feel obligated to go, but I had committed to reading the names, graduation style, of all the artists being honored at this function. Typically, after the art show, we art teachers work together to take down the show. I sheepishly said, "I really don't think I can stay, it's after 6,  my family is in town, I have an hour drive home and I'm getting married on Sunday." My fellow art teachers chastised me for not telling them, and made it clear that as friends we should celebrate such events together.

I felt horrible as I began my drive home. Why didn't I feel I should share this with my friends? I didn't share the news with my art teacher friends, and I didn't tell friends from home either. I dialed my best friend from college, whom I've written about before, sobbing. "Anna, I am a terrible friend. I didn't tell you that I'm getting married. I wanted to invite you, but didn't want you to have to come all this way." I went to explain that it was only a couple of days away, and it was going to be really small. We didn't invite anyone from Michigan other than my parents. The plan was for a small wedding, and bigger party sometime later in the year. Anna, always good at consoling, assured me it was OK, that she would make sure she could come to the party, and that there weren't any hard feelings. Our phone conversation came to an end as she was going to meet her family in a noisy restaurant. 

Later that evening, my soon to be husband, was called to meet his colleague,  our mutual friend and wedding officiant (they are the same person), regarding some real estate work. I was happy to stay in and visit with my parents. Progression of time. One of our guests from out of town arrived to stay with us, and we chatted and shared a beer. Progression of time. I was starting to get worried that my fiance had run away, when hours later he came through the door. He told me that his colleague, our mutual friend and wedding officiant and her husband (two different people) had an early wedding gift for us and were waiting in the drive way.

I stepped outside, and from behind our two mutual friends lept my bestie from college, whom I'd just had a phone conversation with mere hours before. I was dumbfounded, and in tears yet again. I had just talked to her on the phone. I was in Florida, she was going to a family dinner near Detroit! 

No, she was not going to dinner. She had to get me off the phone so I wouldn't hear the busy airport! She and my husband had been planning from the time we started planning the wedding. It was the best gift ever! 

So why the quilt. This nine patch is one of the tops that my mom brought with her for me to quilt. She thought it was a simple nothing quilt that she had thrown together from left over fabrics. I showed my mom that it was beautiful with an all over leaf and berry design. I think every major event should include great friends, family and quilts.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nine Patch Courthouse Steps

I pulled this beautiful quilt from the frame recently. The client who expertly pieced it had fallen in love with a quilt from a magazine, and purchased the matching fabrics so that she could make it just like the picture. 

The applique border was treated with echo quilting, which I found to be very fun to do. The courthouse steps blocks received cross hatching in the central nine patch, and serpentine waves alternating with diamonds in each of the 'steps.' I followed the quilting suggestions from the magazine to make this quilt as close to the original as possible. 

I love this little quilt, and was imagining one made in subtle autumn colors such as this color palette entitled 'Culinary Autumn' from Design Seeds, inspired by a photograph from Instagrammer _ewabakrac. 

My dream for this quilt, would be to recreate it with these colors, and to have autumn leaves, pumpkins, and acorns appliqued around the border. It's just another quilt to add to my quilty bucket list. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Prize Winning Quilt

Once upon a time, there was a naive long arm quilter who loved making quilts. He had recently participated in the Foothills Mystery Quilt along hosted by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs and discovered that she would be hosting a second mystery. This naive and ambitious quilter was so excited that he eagerly shopped for fabric for this next adventure, and jumped in surprise and joy when his husband purchased fabric to make a second mystery quilt! 

A portion of the naive quilter's fabric choices are pictured on the left, and his husband's choices are on the right.

Cheryl had been such a kind and gracious hostess that the ambitious long arm quilter wanted to extend an offering of gratitude to her and perhaps to her loyal quilt detectives. He decided to offer his services as a quilter to one of the cunning solvers of the Midnight Mystery. The details of this prize were documented here.

Confession, I'm an art teacher, and a maker. I am not a writer. So I'm going to stop with this silly narrative from above and will just go on to say that I, the naive quilter, in the story ended up being delighted and extremely nervous when the winners of the various prizes were announced. I was going to be quilting for Mel Beach! If you do not know who she is, you should check out her website Mel Beach Quilts and blog Piece, Love, and Happiness! When you do, you'll find that she is amazingly talented and inspirational and that the picture featured on her website, is of her and the quilt that I finished for her! Whoa, I'm thrilled beyond belief!

Anyway, I was really nervous when I found out that I would be quilting for Mel, whom, I have to admit was a complete stranger to me, as this online quilting community is so vast that I had never heard of her. Mel has it going on. She is an accomplished quilter and does workshops and lectures about quilt challenges, mandala quilts, and improvisational techniques. She is a true master, and I am a mere fledgling.

I consulted with her via e-mail, and sent her several quilting ideas that I drew out based on a picture of her quilt. Here are some examples of my sketched out ideas.


 We decided that diagonal lines and curves would compliment the on-point setting of vibrantly colored rectangles in Mel's quilt top. Additionally, a brightly colored thread was chosen that blends into the bright geometric shapes, but pops against the deep blue background.

The pattern was a delight to quilt out. Unfortunately, I am terrible at documenting the process of quilting, and only have these few photos of the quilt in progress.

If you've read my blog before, you might know that I am fascinated by quilt stories, and I am so happy that I am a part of this quilts history. If you would like to read more about the piecing and challenge behind this quilt top, pop over to Mel's post, where she describes the entire process and has more fantastic pictures.

Meanwhile, I'd love to quilt for you, and there is another opportunity up for grabs with Cheryl's new Meadow Mystery Quilt along. Check out the details on Cheryl's blog! (She also has way better pictures than I do!)

Have you won any prizes from the world of quilting? What is the best prize that you've received?