Retreat! (At Last)

Our retreat group was so happy to get together again after having to cancel the last two scheduled get-togethers due to you-know-what. We went to Kim’s Summit Retreat in Maggie Valley, NC, and it was perfect.

We were greeted by this beautiful Sassafras leaf on the front steps

Assembling some of the triangles from one of our previous swaps

Haha! This was a donation quilt project we were scheduled to do in October of 2020!

This was picked up from the quilter and I got it bound. More later.

One group member modified the free Kaffe Fasset pattern “Carnival” so she could use smaller blocks

This is a paper-pieced block-of-the-month that two of our members are doing

One retreater is making at least two quilts from fabric featuring national parks

I took these orphan blocks and put them on the design wall…

…then made additional blocks and strips to fill in the holes

That was so much fun! We are looking forward to the next one ūüėÄ


A Few Pictures…

…from a recent very productive quilt retreat!

This string quilt by Rena was a very successful design, I thought:string quilt

Here’s the back of the string quilt, and she also made this cute Halloween quilt top:

Mary made a string quilt, too, this one all in purple:string quilt

And Jerri finished a large Bonnie Hunter quilt with a zillion pieces:Bonnie Hunter quilt

I worked on half rectangle triangles, which turned out to be a lot more work than half square triangles:Half rectangle triangles

And a good time was had by all!

What have you been up to?

Retreat! Need I say more?

Here are some pictures of projects from our last retreat. A good time was had by all!

Nothing says “retreat” like somebody working all day at the design wall ūüôā

Don’t know what the pattern was, but I love the way the flowers blend with the background!

Rena was given a circle cutter at the last retreat, and she went wild!

A T-shirt Quilt for a family member

This wedding ring quilt was made to incorporate the fabric napkins used at the wedding!

I think this is one of the Turning Twenty patterns

This Christmas quilt for a grandchild is the Turning Twenty Again pattern

Here is the finished top that started out on the design wall. It was a Moda pattern.

This quilt was huge! Made from a Deb’s Cats and Quilts pattern

This was another really big one made using Deb Tucker‘s rulers.¬† I enjoy Deb’s tagline: “Tools for the realist, not the idealist”!

A memorial Quilt made using a man’s shirts

Isn’t this beautiful? And it was large–I cropped out a lot of it.

Detail. These pieces were LITTLE!

Next week I’ll have pictures of some of our quilts for Ronald McDonald House.

Quilt of 5496 Pieces!

A friend who loves TINY things recently finished this postage stamp quilt of 5496 one-inch squares!!!  She will donate it to be raffled as a fundraiser at the retirement home where she works.

postage stamp quilt

Postage stamp quilt–all 1″ squares!¬† Made by Jerri Szlizewski

Jerri says this is “the ultimate I-Spy quilt”.¬† She has found many, many, little novelty prints to put in the little blocks.¬† She even has Elvis, though I didn’t get him in this close-up.

postage stamp quilt

A close-up showing a few of the little designs in the quilt

Here are just a few of the projects from the design walls at a recent quilt retreat at a “secret” hideaway:

slabs, quilt slabs

One retreater came up with this design to use slabs we had swapped previously

One person made several dozen of the cute half-circle napkins that fold into a Christmas tree.¬† She made a lot of place mats, too, but I didn’t get a picture of those.

quilt retreat

Christmas Tree Napkins


Working on a quilt from Scrap Quilt Sensation, by Katharine Guerrier

Here are a few more works in progress from various people:Retreat15Retreat18Retreat-4And finally, here are some of the quilts we made for Ronald McDonald House:

Winner! Online Quilt Retreat

I won a year-long online quilt retreat!  What the heck is that?

Lora Douglas of Dragonfly Quiltworks

Lora Douglas of Dragonfly Quiltworks

Here’s Lora Douglas, one of the teachers from the retreat, to explain.

This year-long on-line, quilt retreat is sponsored by ‚ÄúAdventure Art Retreats‚ÄĚ, which was started by Ilysa Ginsburg and Kira Slye. They launched “Polymer Clay Adventure” as an online experience¬†in 2015¬†and got about 1000 subscribers! They’re adding a quilt adventure for 2016.

There are 12 projects, one each month of the retreat. There will be classes for quilts, placemats, totes, hexies, fabric dyeing, laminating fabric and polymer clay buttons

Roxie bags made by Lara for her Quilt Adventure class

Roxie bags made by Lora for her Quilt Adventure class

.I designed the Roxie Bag as one of the monthly projects for the retreat, and I’ll be teaching it by online video. When¬†I couldn‚Äôt find a pattern using flex frame hardware that was easy to make and looked great, I designed my own. It is perfect as a cross-body bag for carrying a¬†cell phone and other small items.

“Quilted Adventure” is the online equivalent of a traditional quilt retreat where you meet other quilters while learning new things. ¬†‚ÄúRetreaters‚Ä̬†can¬†take a new¬†class each month; participate in live-stream events with our host, Vanessa Vargas Wilson of The Crafty Gemini; receive monthly clues for a mystery quilt; and take part in swaps. There will be a newsletter to keep participants¬†informed of upcoming events. The instructors will be available to answer questions throughout the retreat. It’s going to be fun!

Another Roxie bag--how many samples did she make???

Another Roxie bag–how many samples did she make???

I’m gathering my supplies, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing some of my projects here as I participate in the retreat. ¬†For now, If you want to know more about Lora or the Quilt Adventure online retreat, here’s the¬†link for her site.¬†There’s a button¬†there to click for finding out more about the retreat. ¬†(Or, if you just want¬†to buy a¬†Roxie bag after seeing it here, her site has¬†a link to her Etsy shop as well. I won’t tell if you want to buy it instead of making it yourself ūüėČ


There was a BIG finish at our last retreat:

traditional quilt

Quilt of 3392 Pieces!!!

Here is Jerri’s quilt of 3392 pieces, made from a pattern in one of Bonnie Hunter’s books. Jerri made this for a¬†Little Sisters of the Poor fundraiser, and it certainly should raise a lot of funds! ¬†It is beautiful. ¬†And she had the sense not to count the number of pieces until she was FINISHED with the project! ¬†Even so, it took almost a year to complete. ¬†I am VERY impressed¬†that there is not even ONE block is turned wrong!.

This is a HUGE quilt!

This is a HUGE quilt!

And here is the latest stack of donation quilts from our group.Donation quilts

So far everyone is keeping up with the commitment to make a donation quilt each month, and one over-achiever is several months ahead of the rest of us!!!  As you probably can see in the photo, another over-achiever quilts hers by hand!  I am always amazed by my very accomplished friends!

modern quilt

As soon as Jerri finished the BIG quilt, she started this beauty!

Our latest block swab is monochromatic slabs.  Each of us chose a color we wanted, and as soon as we swapped one group member turned her blocks into a donation quilt.  Talk about quick work!


Donation quilt from green slabs

When I got the slabs, I immediately started cutting them up and adding accent strips of blue.  So far I really like the result.  More on this later.

Slabs, accent strips

Slabs with accent strips.

So, what’s new with you?



Your Inner Designer 6: Copy Somebody Good!

Truly original ideas in design are really, really rare ¬†More often good designs are inspired by other good designs, and most designers start by copying other people. ¬†There’s nothing wrong with that–just give credit!

Door with art glass window

Glass window, designer unknown

For example, here’s a door I admire in a friend’s house. ¬†It got me thinking that it would be nice to make her a table runner with a design similar to the glass in the door, especially since the dining table is right by the door. ¬†I may start out by copying the design, but my table runner won’t be an exact copy. ¬†I want it to be obviously inspired by the door, but I probably couldn’t make an exact copy even if I wanted to. ¬†And I’m not going to sell it as my own “original” design without reference to the door, either.

Here’s the first attempt:Craftsman inspired table runnerThat may be obviously inspired by the door, though in fact both are inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Craftsman styles of design. If you don’t know much about those styles of design, Google them.¬† There are many similar designs to be found, so I can make LOTS of designs of this style without copying any of them.¬† Here’s the second try:Craftsman style table runner

This one has a little more detail.¬† Another master of this style, popular in the early years of the 20th Century, was Charles Rennie Mackintosh.¬† William Morris textile and wallpaper designs were the same historical period, and you may have seen Moda’s extensive line of William Morris-inspired fabrics.

One last try:table runner

So go look at some books on the history of design (the history of advertising works too) and make some designs inspired by what you see.¬† It’s a good starting place when you think you don’t have any ideas, and you’ll eventually come up with something your really like.¬† Then it’s time to make a quilt!

Here are the first 5 posts in this series:

Your Inner Designer 5: A Program to Make Your Own Palette!

Quilt Design 4: Choosing Your Color Scheme

Your Inner Designer 3: New Blocks From Old

Your Inner Designer 2: Many Block Arrangements

Find Your Inner Designer, Part 1

10 Donation Quilts!

stack of quilts

Ronald McDonald Quilts

I have a little group of quilty friends that I retreat with at least twice a year.  We all make quilts for Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati.  This last time, just 3 of us finished a total of 10 quilts!  Here are some of them.

R McD House of Cincinnati wants all quilts 40″ x 40″ so, as I’ve mentioned before, these are a good opportunity for a lot of experimentation:

  • Try new designs to see if you like them
  • Make orphan blocks into quilts
  • Try new color schemes

    pieced quilt

    Donation Quilt, 40″ x 40″

  • Use up fabric left from other projects
  • Use your scraps to make an improvised quilt top
  • Use up charm packs (yes, we’ve all bought a few extra!)
  • Make a simple quilt as a rest from challenging projects
  • Quilt the tops yourself for practice
  • Try out binding entirely by machine–makes the quilt more durable
  • Anyway, enjoy this little quilt show!¬† And check with your local Ronald McDonald House if you’re interested in donating quilts to them.
  • pieced quilt

    Quilt with teddy bears

    quilt back

    Pieced back


    Charm Squares



    Girlie Colors

    Girlie Colors

    More Charm Squares

    More Charm Squares–this one more of an I Spy design

    More leftovers--can you tell some group members have grandsons?

    More leftovers–can you tell some group members have grandsons?

    Boy Scout theme--there were 2 of these!

    Boy Scout theme–there were 2 of these–and look at the quilting, 1/2″ apart!

    My improv 9 patch

    My improv 9 patch

    Orphan blocks with improv sashing

    Orphan blocks with improv sashing