What Do You Get When You Add Friends And Fabric?

photo of quilting workshop with Karen Overton

 …A quilting day with friends of course!

pink poka dot suitcases full of quilting supplies for a quilting workshop
Suitcases full of quilts, fabric, sewing supplies added with comfy sewing chair and sewing machine – perfect combination for a quilting workshop

The Quilt Rambler has been on the road again (yes, you can hum the Willie Nelson song while you read along, I don’t mind). You may recall my recent trip to Arizona to teach my pattern Illuminated Journey….well I have to confess that the bags have been in the living room unpacked – full of quilts – for over 2 weeks now! Too many fun things going on to worry about refolding quilts to put back up in the studio! Procrastination paid off somewhat as all I had to do to get ready for this next workshop was to pull out the quilts I didn’t need, add in my work-in-progress demo kit, update the thread kit, etc. – quick packing if I do say so myself!

Save the Date

Several months ago the plans were put into motion to teach my pattern Double Occupancy to my local guild, the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston Texas. I’ve been looking forward to this – nothing like hometown advantage! I can bring my own sewing machine and chair!! Actually, that’s a bonus but the real fun is quilting along with my friends from the guild, ladies that I enjoy having sew-ins and retreats with. We share more than fabric, we share a lot of laughter!

Pattern cover showing Double Occupancy quilt pattern by Karen Overton
Advertised months in advance – we’ve “saved the date”  May 20th for Double Occupancy workshop

Friends and Fabric

Mindy is happily sewing her workshop project
Mindy helped with all the workshop arrangements and notifying students of homework and other details in preparation for a fun day of sewing

It wasn’t long before everyone had their sewing machines set up and all their beautiful precut fabrics neatly pressed, labeled and laid out eager to learn a new technique.

This pattern was designed with precut bundles in mind. Specifically 10″ squares and 2.5″ strips plus background. And of course, my recommended fabric was/is Island Batiks. They have the most gorgeous fabrics, and since the majority of the guild members actually live on Galveston Island (sadly I’m a mainlander) most of us have that tropical island outlook in our fabric choices.

student is sewing colorful fabric in the quilting workshop with Karen Overton
Libby looks like she is enjoying the process

That said, my quilting friends are unique individuals and do have different tastes in fabric choices – which I might add, based on experience, varies from project to project!  I rarely teach a class where it is a mandatory cookie cutter kit – while there are advantages to kits it is nice to offer a student the option of bringing their own fabric as I feel like you need to love the fabric if you are going to put that much time into making a quilt. Who needs another UFO quilt project! But I have to say, I really enjoyed seeing all the island batik fabrics of those who chose to use them! The other fabrics were equally stunning…A little Moda, a little Kaffe…all beautiful!

colorful pile of quilting units made with beautiful island batik fabrics
Island Batik fabrics are perfect for this Double Occupancy pattern

When designing this pattern I preferred the Island Batik precut bundles because there are an equal number of duplicates of the fabrics – 20 coordinated prints times two. I based my pattern off of this feature as only one-half of the package of both 10″ squares and 2.5″ squares is needed to make one quilt. The entire packages (plus background and borders) actually make two quilts! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!

Demo a Little, Sew a Lot

Karen Overton teaching her pattern Double Occupancy at a workshop
I love being able to demo the steps with the sewing machine instead of just presenting a handout or visual

I love teaching! And I love learning new techniques and designs. In my early years after I made my very first quilt, I turned around and taught 10 ladies and their daughters from my homeschool group to make the same quilt I just learned. For me, “it’s make – one teach ten!” I love sharing what I am doing with my friends!

ladies carefully watching a quilting workshop demonstration
I have very attentive students during the demo

 

Double Occupancy uses Studio 180 Design Rapid Fire Hunters Star Ruler in the larger size ruler (there’s a petite size). I demo-ed one step, sent the gals back to the machine to sew, then demo-ed the next step. Following this process most of the day. See one, do one….works for me!

 

student shows her progress in quilting workshop
Get it, got it – good! Way to go Mindy!
student in quilting workshop
Bonnie looks like she’s making good progress
student sewing in quilting workshop
Keep up the good work Libby!
student sewing in quilting workshop
Christine demonstrates good posture and good concentration (grin)
quilting student in workshop
See Katy, I told you that you were photogenic (and that I wouldn’t leave you out of the photos!)
lady showing her quilting block in a workshop setting
Terri you are just having way too much fun girlfriend!

Double the Fun

As I hinted to earlier – the pattern is designed to make two 68 x 68 quilts from one package of 10″ squares, one package of 2.5″ strips, plus background and border fabric. There are 13 different layout solutions in the pattern and I have personally made 9 of them with the remaining 4 being works in progress ( I work on them at sew-ins or work from them as my classroom demo). Sadly at this time, only the cover quilts are actually quilted.  Just like the old saying “a cobbler’s children have no shoes”, a longarm quilter is generally behind in quilting her own quilts.  I like to call the quilts with the same fabric choices “twins” – two identical fabric kits yet uniquely different. Just like people – no two are really alike. What I have enjoyed as I have taught this class is seeing the students’ completed quilt tops, same fabric + different layout = individual unique quilt. The hunter star is like a log cabin – endless layout possibilities!

Quilting workshop samples
Several quilt samples of Double Occupancy layouts were displayed around the classroom
colorful quilts on display around the workshop classroom floor
More layout choices for the Double Occupancy pattern

Friends Plus Fabric Equals Fun Fellowship

smiling lady at sewing machine
Leah seems to be enjoying the workshop

As the day went on the step by step techniques were demoed and the ladies just sewed and sewed. I like to teach to the individual. It’s been my experience that there are multiple learning styles as well as the speed of sewing that varies by the individual. Because of that, I tell everyone that “where you are is where you are supposed to be“. Sometimes the smoking needles are ready for the next step and other times someone needs a repeat demo. That’s what I’m there for. That and making all the mistakes so they don’t have to.  I can make some whoppers but I show how to work through them, fix them, or forget them! As I like to say “I fired the quilt police a long time ago.”

That’s not to say that I don’t strive for my best and I do teach proper technique, but I do remind my students that they are there to learn a technique and to allow themselves a little learning curve. Most people don’t sew their best in a group setting….for me it’s usually because I’m focused more on the conversations that my perfect quarter inch seam! Quilting is our passion, but we need to be kind to ourselves sometimes and just have fun. My motto that is hanging in my studio says “Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge I have at the time with the goal of continually improving.”

student looks on as teacher demonstrates sewing technique
Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge available at the time striving to continually improve. Yep, I love teaching workshops. especailly to students who are eager to learn something new and fun

I do like to introduce students to a sometimes new to them technique of using a pressing stick to press their seams open as I think you just get better results. Regardless of “press to the dark side” or press open, the proper technique of pressing is always an important detail as is good rotary cutting techniques.

lady ironing a quilt block
Bonnie is a very careful presser
Lady pressing quilt blocks
Libby is enjoying her new rotating pressing surface
students in quilting workshop
Trimming is important ladies! And make sure you are having fun doing it
lady cutting out a quilting block
Helena said she was enjoying her new cutting mat, the markings helped her to be more accurate. Good job!

One thing I love about Deb Tucker’s rulers is the success even beginner quilters have when using them – a little wiggle room is added to help with the piecing part and then when the unit is completed it is trimmed to perfection. Genius design makes happy quilters!

Happy Quilters

lady holding a quilt block make in the quilting workshop
Dena’s quilt is going to be fabulous with the Kaffe fabrics!

All too soon it was time to pack back up and head to the mainland leaving my island gals to their own paths home. While a one-day class doesn’t usually produce a finished quilt top I do believe that everyone went home with the knowledge and experience of using this specialty ruler and it is my hope that there will be lots of Double Occupancy quilts in upcoming Island Quilters Quilt show and tell!

 

photo of quilting workshop with Karen Overton
Double Occupancy Workshop – Island Girl style

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, on the road but not far from home

Do you enjoy quilting with friends? I’d love to have you share your thoughts, please leave a comment below!

 

 

 

 

Illuminated Journey – Arizona!

Karen Overton holding her quilt Illuminated Journey outside near a breathtaking view of Arizona

Arizona, We have landed!

Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, poses by a tall cactus in Arizona
Nice to meet you Arizona!

I have been looking forward to this journey for months! This past week I had the honor of being a guest speaker at the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild in Prescott Valley, Arizona and able to teach a workshop with my original pattern Illuminated Journey.

I have to say the hardest part of packing was deciding what quilts to bring for my trunk show! Every quilt has a story and this rambler does like to ramble on.

Bags are Packed

My friend Dianne accompanied me on this journey. Fortunately, she travels light so I was able to appropriate one of her allowed check in bags. As you can see, I don’t travel light!

Three hot pink polka dot suitcases are full of quilts to take to Arizona
Colorful suitcases are easy to spot at baggage terminals!

 

Let the Journey Begin

photo shows a sandaled foot on the break and view of the dashboard of a rental car
Current world view – trying to find the ignition and the stick shift on the rental car

We flew into Phoenix from Houston Hobby and had a rental car waiting on us. It’ s a good thing that Dianne is a little more up to date with vehicles than I am. I was really surprised when I couldn’t find a key hole in the ignition! She calmly explained to me “put your foot on the brake and press the start button”. But even Dianne was dumbfounded when we couldn’t find the stick shift – who knew it was a knob on the dash!

Road Trip

Our destination was Prescott Valley. I have to thank my friend Larry at church for teaching me the proper way to say this. As a Texan, I thought it was pronounced Press-Scott but he kindly corrected me that it was Pres-cut, the only way I could remember was it sounded like it rhymed with biscuits…

We had a little over an hour and a half drive UP the mountains to our destination. Coming from 10 feet above sea level to over 5000 feet above sea level was breathtaking in multiple ways. The scenery was glorious. Along the way, we saw an exit sign for a visitors center where they shared a location with us to enable us to safely take photos of the fabulously tall cactus we were viewing out the window. If you follow me on Facebook you can see my impromptu Facebook Live video from High Desert Trail. The scenery was truly breathtaking.

Two friends take photos of large cactus at a road side hiking trail in Arizona
Mountain top experience in Arizona

Shop Hop

Colorful fabric on the cutting table of a quilt shop with ladies studying the pattern for a quilt
Dianne studies the pattern and picks out fabric for her next quilt

By late morning we were joining our hostess, Patsy and Karen (daughter/mother), for a fun tour of the two local quilt shops.

First stop was Quilt ‘N Sew Connection I enjoyed all the shop samples and beautiful display of fabrics. The ladies there were very welcoming. Dianne found her “next quilt” and I’ve been recruited to assist her with some of the teachable moments in the pattern. It’s going to be stunning.

Just down the road was Cloth Plus which offered both quilting fabric and home decoration fabric and supplies. This shop was equally friendly – that’s important in my book! I was pleased to see some Island Batik precuts – they actually had the fabric line that I used in my Illuminated Journey sample!

I’m not confessing my purchases – but I will say it wasn’t easy to squeeze in more fabric in my already packed suitcases!

Time for Guild Meeting

After an enjoyable afternoon sight-seeing and a late lunch with the girls, it was time to prepare for my lecture and trunk show.

I had brought two little cameras and asked that photos be taken for me….well, low light and a camera that’s not familiar yielded a few shaky shots as well as grainy shots – but if you are a true quilt lover, and I know you are, you will forgive the photo quality and look at the quilts!

I have to say my favorite part of quilt guild meetings are the show and tell by members. I love seeing what others are making and hearing their stories. The Lonesome Valley Gals are extremely generous in the making and donating of charity quilts – so many were displayed during their community service show and tell. In addition, the members shared their own personal quilts. I was able to capture a few.

A 9 patch collage of ladies showing their quilting projects
The Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild members share their latest quilting creations

Time To Ramble

A lady at the front of a church with a table full of folded quilts ready for show and tell
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you….Karen has her quilts in a row ready to ramble the night away!

It doesn’t look like 100+ pounds when they are all folded up on the table, but I promise I had 3 suitcases weighing just under the 50-pound limit each full of quilted quilts, unquilted quilts as well as all the teaching supplies for Illuminated Journey. Here’s a small sampling of my trunk show…and yes, this Quilt Rambler did ramble on! I lost track of time and never made eye contact with my “timekeeper” Patsy to know when to stop….umm….yeah…how about an hour of rambling on! I really could have talked all night – quilting is such an inexhaustible subject! I got tickled when Patsy stated, “I don’t think she took a breath!”

Scrappy quilt made from purple fabric
Early quilt pieced and quilted  by Karen Overton – Fabric collected in 2001 as fat quarters
scrappy purple quilt with lime green stars
More purple fabrics, quilt top pieced between 2007-2009 waiting to be quilted
Sharing a colorful lemoyne star quilt
Stack ‘N Whack quilt pieced and quilted in 2003. This quilt was a turning point in my journey. I attempted to machine quilt this on my domestic sewing machine – it “made a good woman cuss, so I had to buy a Longarm”
colorful wallhanging quilt
Crown Jewels, a pattern by Deb Tucker, pieced and quilted by Karen Overton,
scrappy reproduction fabric quilt made using a specialty ruler by Deb Tucker
Original pattern using Deb Tucker’s Ruler Corner Beam, I call this “Hummingbird” pieced and quilted by Karen Overton
Binding Tool Star Quilt in colorful island batik fabrics of orange, hot pink, yellow and lime green
A fun fast pattern called Binding Tool Star Quilt by Missouri Star Quilt Co. with a border variation by Karen Overton. Pieced and quilted by Karen Overton using Island Batik fabrics. Yes, Lime Green is a neutral!

Illuminated Journey Workshop

Tuesday morning 14 ladies were up bright and early, toting in their sewing machines and supplies for a full day of learning how to use Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design’s Rapid Fire Leymone Star Ruler with my pattern Illuminated Journey.

collage photo shows students in a quilting class
Illuminated Journey class with the Lonesome Valley Quilt Guild ladies

The ladies were delightful. I truly appreciated their kindness and loved getting to spend time quilting and visiting with them. Once again, thank you to Kim who provided a sewing machine for Dianne to be able to sew during class. Since Dianne had already made Illuminated Journey she worked on her first “Jelly Roll Race” quilt and was pleased to get it totally pieced during class.

beautiful scrappy blue quilt
Dianne’s first “jelly roll” quilt – pieced in one day! Fond memories of time spent in Arizona

The day went too quickly! Before I knew it everyone was packing up and we were headed out to dinner with Patsy and Karen, joined by their husbands. I neglected to mention that these ladies, who are actually from Prescott Valley, spent some years in my neck of the woods – the Texas gulf coast – and we were in the Mainland Morning Guild together (Texas City). This mother/daughter team is a joy to be around. Again, Dianne and I appreciated their hospitality.

four quilting friends holding a colorful quilt
The road is never long between quilting friends!
Karen Kumke, Patsy Franko, Karen Overton and Dianne Burnett. Illuminated Journey goes to Arizona!

All Roads Lead South

map showing route from Prescott Valley to Phoenix
Heading south the Phoenix then on to Houston

Well, maybe that’s not true, but it was time for these Texas gals to head south – but not without another stop on the road for our photo op. This time we stopped at an official rest stop called Sunset Peak, a mere 3000-foot elevation. We weren’t disappointed by the view that’s for sure!

 

cactus flowers in Arizona
Dianne enjoying the beautiful flowers
collage of cactus and flowers and a quilt in the wild
Photos taken at the Sunset Point Rest stop
cactus flowers in Arizona
Beauty in the desert
yellow cactus flowers in Arizona
Loved the colorful flowers in the sea of brown – Arizona is a beautiful state

Illuminated Journey in The Wild and On the Road

While taking this photo another rest-stop guest asked if we were going to a quilt show in Utah that weekend…Darn! We would just have to miss that one! Just not enough hours to see all the fabulous quilts in the world!

Karen Overton holding her quilt Illuminated Journey outside near a breathtaking view of Arizona
Illuminated Journey and The Quilt Rambler journey to Arizona

I truly appreciated the good fortune to share my pattern with the Arizona ladies. Thank you again for your hospitality and allowing me the opportunity to see your beautiful state!

Pattern Available

stunning scrappy quilt made with precuts, purchase from Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler
Illuminated Journey is an original pattern by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, and is available for purchase

Illuminated Journey was created in 2014 as a pattern to be taught on Cactus Quilt’s 2015 Quilting Cruise. The pattern is available for purchase as a PDF download, written as it was for the cruise. If this is something you are interested in please contact me.

In addition, if your guild would like a trunk show or workshop I would be more than happy to discuss details.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Rambling On the Road, Telling My Story One Quilt At a Time!

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts about guest speakers at guilds and workshops you have enjoyed.

3 Reasons Why You Should Join a Quilting Guild

Being a part of a quilting guild is sharing the love

Today we are celebrating National Quilting Day and what better way than to discuss the top three reasons why you should join a quilting guild if you haven’t already done so.

 

Reason #1 To Join a Quilting Guild: to Meet New Friends

Quilting Guilds are full of fun friendly folk
Joining a quilting guild will forge new friendships

It’s been my experience that quilters are some of the best people you could ever meet. Generally, they tend to be very unselfish and giving. Most quilters make quilts to give away. How many of you have a quilt made by a grandmother, mother or someone special? So, doesn’t that give you a hint of the kind of people you would find in a guild? Yep, a guild provides fun friendly folk that just happen to love quilting.

Quilting Guild Member Denise made this quilt as a gift
Denise made this Olivia quilt for a special family member
Members of Quilting Guilds are contributors to their community
Janielle made this quilted Ark Covering for her local synagogue
The beginnings of a beautiful large pillow top by quilting guild member Leah
Leah is making large quilted throw pillows for her college-age daughter and her roommates

Reason # 2 To Join A Quilting Guild: to be Inspired

Quilting Guild members share their talent and inspire others
Janielle always has a fun project to share. Her energy alone is inspiring

The members of my local quilt guild, The Island Quilters Guild from Galveston, hands down are a very inspiring group of ladies! I don’t even want to add up the years of combined experiences but I can tell you that each and every one in their own way is influencing my quilting journey.

 

Quilting Guilds are a place to observe and learn new techniques such as Millefiore English Paper Piecing
Jane has been patiently working on her Millefiore English Paper Piecing

I am always learning from my quilting guild friends by observing their fabric combinations, watch them exploring different styles, and observing new techniques. Not to mention seeing the latest notions, fabrics, designs and receiving shopping referrals! Being with my quilting friends is always infectious – in a good way – motiving me to go home and start a new project!

Being a part of a quilting guild provides opportunities for sewing with friends
I love sewing with my guild friends. On the design wall is my pattern Double Occupancy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reason # 3 to Join a Quilting Guild: to Share Your Quilting Passion 

Quilting Guilds support local community service projects by donating their time and quilts to those in need
Pat is a true example of unselfishness – she produces multiple quilts each month for community service

Quilt guilds offer a variety of activities from guest speakers, classes, show and share, community service projects, sew ins, retreats, seasonal parties, and for our island guild the annual bus ride from Galveston to the Houston International Quilt Festival for Preview Night each fall!

Quilting guild members share their creative love of quilting with others
Show and Share is my personal favorite thing about quilting guilds and sew ins – such creativity! Denise’s Jack’s Wheel reminded me that I have this pattern in my UFO closet. Time to get back to it!

 

 

 

 

 

Each guild has its own flavor and unique personalities. It never ceases to amaze me the talent of numerous seasoned quilters gathered together encouraging each other to sharpen their skills and try something new. I find it refreshing to know that quilting is being shared with the next generation. Bottom line I think it’s just plain fun to gather with folk who enjoy talking about quilting as much as I do.

New members are welcomed in quilting guilds as they celebrate their first quilt
Belonging to a quilting guild is a wonderful way to share your FIRST quilt! Congratulations on a job well done Diana
Taking classes is one benefit of belonging to a local quilting guild
LeMoyne Star Technique Class taught by Karen Overton at Island Quilters Guild

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time

Are you a member of a local or national quilt guild? What do you enjoy most about your guild? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Hello March – Fun Challenges Ahead

Hello March, In Like a Lamb, weather is perfect to kick back in the hammock

Hello March

Hello March, In Like a Lamb, weather is perfect to kick back in the hammock
March 2017 In Like A Lamb

Just a quick hello to say that March entered like a lamb in the Houston/Galveston area today. It was a little overcast but still the high was around 80 degrees with 100% humidity. Gotta love it!

Instagram Challenges

Instagram challenge for quilters to post daily in March
A fun challenge to post daily on Instagram during the Month of March

So, while taking a quick break in my hammock under the tiki hut after lunch I was scrolling through Instagram and found two fun challenges that started today.  First #IGQuiltFest by Amy Ellis .  This one is going to be fun to see what other quilters will have to share. Here’s the schedule for posting each day.

Instagram challenge for small business owners to post daily
Another fun Instagram challenge to post daily

 

The second one I discovered is #marchmeetthemakers by Joanne Hawker. The purpose of this is for small businesses to tell the story behind their brand…this one is going to be more of a challenge because I don’t have an Etsy shop as I think most participants will.  Who knows, maybe later I will!

 

Challenging to wear so many hats, longarm quilter, island batik ambassador, quilt teacher, bike rider
According to the challenges we were to introduce ourselves on the March 1st post

I introduced myself on Instagram as a longarm quilter, quilter, quilting teacher, the maker of t-shirt and memory quilts, Island Batik Ambassador  as well as mentioning my love of riding my bike near the Galveston Bay.

Anyone can join in – whether following or participating! You can find me on Instagram as The Quilt Rambler.

Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

This is the real exciting news!

colorful island batik fabrics at the sewing machine waiting to be turned into a quilt project for the March challenge
Coming up in March – another Island Batik Ambassador Project

The March challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is “March Mini Madness” and it involves “Foundation or English Paper Piecing, 24 x 24 or smaller.”

Tall order for this traditional piecer who loves rulers and such…. I’ve been working on my project off and on for a few weeks and can’t wait to show you – hopefully by the weekend.

March Challenges

Do you have challenges ahead for yourself in March? Maybe fun quilt related things, maybe family adventures – will you share with me in the comment section below?

Or perhaps you are facing true challenges of the difficult sort? Just wanted to share a word of encouragement – I believe in prayer and if I can pray for you please leave a comment or feel free to email me.

March In Like a Lamb…. I hope not out like a Lion!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, rambling on, Telling Your Story One Quilt at a Time!

Galentine’s Day 2017 Island Style

Galentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day? Projects for both were made at this weekend’s Sew In with the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston.

What is Galentine’s Day you say?

According to google search Galentine’s Day was “invented” by a fictional character on a program called Parks & Recreation to be celebrated each February 13th – it’s all about enjoying time with your lady friends, saving the romance for February 14th with your sweetheart.

February’s challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to make Kennel Quilts but our bonus challenge is to make something for Galentine’s Day.

Love is Sharing Your Island Batik Fabrics

Knowing that I had an Island Quilters Guild Sew In over the weekend I began pulling fabric from my stash to go along with the Valentine fabric included in my ambassador box. My goal was to include my quilting friends in this project – after all, isn’t that the “true meaning” of Galentine’s Day! Girl time! Only thing better than girl time is girlfriend quilting time!!

Island Time – Island Quilters Guild Style

Janie is enjoying piecing together fabrics cut with the GoCutter
Janie makes quick time of her quarter square triangles cut with the AccuQuilt GoCutter

My Galveston Island girlfriends are the best, not only are they creative accomplished quilters, they are gracious and willing to set aside their own projects for a few hours to “play” in my Island Batik. fabrics.

Without further ramble, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves…sorta….

Sew Many Ideas!

Island Batiks Fabrics in Beautiful Valentine Colors
Ready Set Go – Such A Beautiful Pallet of Batiks to Work With For a Fun Galentine’s / Valentine’s Project

I couldn’t come up with an idea for a mug rug – actually, I had too many ideas! I’d been saving ideas to my Pinterest board but couldn’t seem to narrow it down. When quilting gives you too many decisions just make a purse!

No pattern, just making do. I had a candy wrapper saved from last year – the 150 year anniversary of Sweethearts, which IS my favorite Valentine candy. To protect the candy wrapper I placed a piece of vinyl over it before sewing the sashing strips from my batik stash. On the back, I made patchwork from the fat quarters provided in my Island Batik Ambassador box.

Add a phone pocket to the inside purse lining
Any purse of mine has to have a phone pocket!

I added a phone pocket to the lining piece before using the Fantastico from Superior Threads for the quilting.

Ready to quilt the purse piece using Superior Threads Fantastico, the perfect blend to the Island Batik fabrics

Guild sew ins always include teachable moments….Janie shared with me how to do machine appliqué – something I’m not too well-versed in. I like the way the hearts added to my little purse.

Janie is a willing teacher – she is demonstrating how to use the blanket stitch to go around the heart raw edge appliqué on the Galentine/Valentine purse project
Janie was more than gracious with this teachable moment – that’s what girlfriends do for each other!
Front view of my Galentine/Valentine Purse, perfect for date night
I just love the way the Island Batik fabrics blend together to make this patchwork sing. Enjoyed my first lesson on machine appliqué with the button hole stitch too.

More Projects

Pieced heart block
Dena make a quick project inspired by Missouri Star Quilt Company’s recent heart tutorial

Janie brought her AccuQuilt Go Cutter for our enjoyment. I loved the amazement on Shirley’s face as Janie showed her how a GoCutter worked! Didn’t take Shirley long to make her Galentine’s project.

GoCutter makes quick work of cutting out fabric
Shirley is genuinely amazed as she sees the ease in using the Accuquilt GoCutter in action cutting out the heart appliqué pieces for her Galentine’s Day project
Shirley used the heart die from the GoCutter for her Galentine's Day block
Shirley is all heart when it comes to requests to quilt with friends.
GoCutters are fast and easy to use
Katy used the GoCutter to cut squares for her project
Katy is our resident smoking needle, she makes quick work of any project.
Close up of Katy’s Galentine/Valentine pouch made with beautiful Island Batik fabrics

Our sew-in was a two-day event and I was pleased that more wanted to join in the fun on Saturday.

Braided mug rug made with Island Batik fabrics
Debbie joined the Galentine’s Day project fun with a colorful mug rug made with Island Batik fabrics
Mug Rug and Girl Scout Cookies
Debbie’s granddaughter had a very unique thank you card included with the delivery of the cookies – which look darling on this Galentine’s Day mug rug
Kennel Quilts are fun to make especially in Valentine Fabric from Island Batik
Pam’s Galentine’s Day Kennel Quilt in the Making

Pam decided she wanted to combine the two February challenges and made a Galentine’s Kennel Quilt.

I Have Great Gal-friends to Celebrate Galentine’s Day

We heart Island Batik fabrics
Shirley pieced the block & Karen quilted and bound it. Truly a Galentine’s Day collaboration between friends.
Three Amigas – Happy Galentine’s Day from the Island Quilters Guild and Island Batik Ambassadors!

How will you celebrate Galentine’s Day this year?

Island Batik scraps make a pretty picture themselves
Scrap cutting are the proof of a fun day playing in Island Batik Fabrics

Leave a comment and share!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, Telling YOUR Story One Quilt At A Time

 

 

 

WIP, UFO or working on your PhD?

Quilters seem to have their own lingo. Take for example the acronyms mentioned above. WIP in quilt terms means Work In Progress. Whereas UFO is stretching it a bit to mean UnFinished Object. Here’s an interesting one, PIGS = Projects In Grocery Sacks. But I think my favorite one is PhD – Projects Half Done.  Doesn’t that sound SEW smart!

No matter what you call them, if you are like the majority of quilters I know you probably have a project or two that is in some sort of process of being finished.

Starting The New Year Off Right – Quilting With Friends!

I belong to the Island Quilters Guild in Galveston and one thing that I enjoy about this wonderful group of quilters is gathering with them once a month for our Sew-ins.  A Sew-In differs by definition from a  Quilt Retreat. Generally retreats are overnight adventures whereas a sew in is just a day event or multiple day event as the case may be. Either way there’s lots of sewing and chattering going on as quilters bring whatever project they are working on to the designated facility and work on their projects together. Sewing is always better with friends!

 

Have Sewing Projects Will Travel

In eager anticipation of this month’s sew in I packed up my belongings, picked out two WIP,  and loaded up the car to head south about 13 miles… about halfway there I realized that I hadn’t packed my thread…SIGH!!!  So back to the studio!

Don’t Forget The Thread

So to avoid matters such as this I have now created my ultimate checklist for Sew Ins and Quilt Retreats. You can download a copy here and print for your use. Never again will I waste precious sewing time due to a forgotten item!

The Quilt Rambler’s Sew In/Retreat Checklist

 

Nothing Like The Hum of a Sewing Machine

Our weekend for January was a little cold so there weren’t as many in attendance as usual – but our hearts were warmed as we laughed and sewed together. We schedule two days together a month for our sew-ins at a local recreation center, a Friday and a Saturday,  where we have the freedom  to come and go during the course of those two days. Some can only attend a few hours, some are morning folks, some are afternoon folks. Most bring their sewing machine, but on occasion someone will bring handwork, or occasionally someone will just drop by for lunch to visit. Have I mentioned that this is a friendly bunch?

I generally attend both days but this month I was able to attend Saturday only…I thought I’d walk you around the room and show off some of the fun things my quilting friends were working on this weekend.

This is Jane. Her professional background is in embroidery. One of her goals has been to challenge herself in completing an embroidered whole cloth. She brought her PhD to share with the group.

The color of the dupioni silk is so rich and yummy! Jane was explaining that the challenge of this project is lining up the individual designs…if you look closely you will see that this WIP is comprised of rectangle blocks set expertly together to be totally seamless.  Jane’s professionalism shines!

Jane’s Whole Cloth

Jane is also working on a Millefiori quilt and leading a group of like minded quilters in working through this challenging english paper piecing project. I have to admire her dedication to detail, not to mention all the handwork! Each sew-in Jane manages to add a little more to this fabulous piece. I will do my best to keep you updated on her progress.

 

 

Moving around the room lets take a look at what Marilyn is working on this weekend..

Marilyn’s Handiwork

Marilyn is our guild president this year.  It’s always interesting to see what a she is working on – especially certain times of the year as Marilyn makes these “out of this world” costumes and pageant dresses. She must have the patience of Job! This weekend she was working on beading and sequence for a bodice of a gown – if I remember correctly this will be for an upcoming Mardi Gras outfit. Amazing….all I have to say is Handwork Rocks Girlfriend!

 

Debbie knits

This is Debbie, our past guild president. Debbie is best known for her vibrant colorful quilts – you should have been there at the last guild auction when her bags of quilting scraps were well fought over! This weekend Debbie was like me, she didn’t have the luxury of being there both days…she has the privilege of keeping her grandchildren every now and then (who, by the way, all have the cutest quilts made by Debbie)….all that to say, she is so committed to the fellowship of our little group that  even knowing she only had a short while to be with us she made a point to join us and brought a more portable project this time! We were all excited when she walked in around lunchtime to join our happy little band of quilters. I didn’t know Debbie knitted…can’t wait to see the finished project! Maybe next sew in or guild meeting she will bring it for “show and tell.”

This is Katy, also known as a  smokin’ needle. Which by my definition is someone who knows how to put the peddle to the metal and keep that machine hummin’ at lightening speed. Katy is one of those gals who has dozens of UFO’s and manages to finish several quilts whenever we are together. I’ve been on retreats and sew ins with her in the past where she finished up a top and managed to machine quilt it and bind it all in one setting. Did I mention that she’s a smokin’ needle? On this particular morning Katy was working on a row of flying geese  and by lunchtime Katy had this cute little baby quilt sewn together ready to add the baby’s name on the bottom border! Did I mention that she was a smokin’ needle – yep, she’s fast…but better than that, she’s good at what she does!

As someone who “makes a living” in the quilt industry I do my best to take “time off” to work on my own personal projects – this is why I appreciate our guild for hosting these sew ins and I do my best to attend as many as possible.

Karen’s PhD

Last July we had our annual 3 day Island Quilters Guild Sew In. THREE DAYS! I make this a high priority on my calendar to attend each year bringing as many UFO’s, PIGS, WIP, and PhD’s as possible. Last year I actually brought something new to work on the last day of the event. I had recently been cleaning out an area of my studio and found a ruler

and book by Lazy Girl Designs

I made this little top in one day from a  package of 2.5″ inch strips. And then it became a WISP = Work In Slow Process…

Until the January Sew- In that is! By lunchtime I  had added borders and my UFO became a TGIF = Thank Goodness Its Finished.

Karen’s UFO became a TGIF

 

Pieced backing

Actually it has become what I fondly call a Quilt in Waiting…as in it is a pieced top waiting to be quilted – and then it’s “Finished is Good.”  I ended up with a few pieced blocks that didn’t make it into the quilt top so decided to go ahead and piece them into the backing. Now it’s really ready for the longarm! Hum…wonder how long it will take to work into The Quilt Rambler rotation? Grin. “A cobbler’s kids have no shoes.”

We had a few more join us after lunch….so to continue with the show and share…

This is Pam, she’s a fiber artist/art quilter and recently new to our Galveston guild and to the island itself. She’s not a stranger to quilting or being known among the national quilting scene (she is friends with lots of nationally known quilters.) Pam was working on a little project for the Houston chapter of SAQA – Studio Art Quilt Associates. If I understood her correctly this is a piece that she will be teaching at an upcoming meeting with that guild.  And look!  she did all the handwork, embellishments, quilting and binding at sew in. Yep! Finished is good!

Did I mention that  Katy’s a smokin’ needle? She started another WIP, this time a paper piecing project…I believe she said this was going to be part of a placemat set.  I love the colors – so tropical on such a cold winter’s day.

Sometimes in the excitement of making quilts we lose track of some of the ones that just need to be finished. That’s what’s so wonderful about sew-ins! I have lined up all my UFO’s in a priority order and plan on working through as many as possible this year. Some date back to 1995!

Dena joined us after lunch. She was working on a very old project….seems this was one of her first quilts, part of a sampler class she took years ago at the community college. She was hand-quilting it and is almost finished…If you look closely you can see where she embroidered “Dena’s first quilt 1992 -20__” she said as soon as she finishes she will fill in the blank with the finished year. Talk about a major accomplishment!  Hum…is it considered Vintage or Antique if something is over 25 years old? Just kidding Dena – I think it is beautiful and a great memorial to your many successful years of quilting – looks like you passed your college class and have become a world-class quilter!

Dena’s almost finished quilt

Janielle is another quilter/knitter of the group.  This weekend she was working on finishing up several UFO’s. This first quilt top was pieced from a book called Jelly Roll Jambalaya Quilts 

I’m typically not a “brown” person (preferring bright jewel tones) but I do love batiks and this pattern just spoke to me.  Janielle was layering it to machine quilt and made good progress. She mentioned that this would be a charity quilt.  Through the generosity of our members our guild provides many quilts each year to various local charities.

Janielle’s Charity Quilt

Janielle brought blocks from another project also from the Jelly Roll Jambalaya Quilt book. (I just ordered my copy!)  It wasn’t long before she had these together in a quilt top.

 

Janielle’s blocks turned quilt top

Janielle did say that she is going to consider adding a border to this top. Her thoughts “some quilts just need a border to frame them in and I think this is one of them.”

Karen’s Second UFO

Not to be accused of being idle, I started on my second WIP after lunch. This is a top I pieced at a retreat last February called Stereo by Jaybird Quilts.

The pattern doesn’t call for a border but I wasn’t as pleased with my color choices as the original pattern so I thought it might look more contained if it had a border….

What do you think?

Karen’s 2nd UFO turned TGIF

All too soon it was time for me to call it a day. The event wasn’t “over” but my time was limited. Sigh. I was so pleased to finish two PhD’s in one setting – that sounds sew smart doesn’t it?

Before I left I noticed Janielle pulled out another WIP, a beautiful Hunter’s Star that I believe she said Pam was quick to call “Dibs” when Janielle said she was probably going to give this one away… Time will tell.

Thanks for joining me for the ramble. I have a nice group of quilting friends from the island – I’m sure you will see more of their beautiful creations as time goes by.

Don’t forget to download your copy of the The Quilt Rambler’s Sew In/Retreat Checklist

Happy Sewing!

This is Karen, The Quilt Rambler, telling your story one quilt at a time!

Please leave a comment below as we’d love to hear from you!