Today I woke up with a “walk down memory lane” mindset. This time of year I generally like to go through my photos to review my quilting accomplishments.
This year it takes on a new meaning as my quilts are a reflection of wrapping up my “career” as The Quilt Rambler as I officially retired 12/16/22. On the books with Uncle Sam, my business JEO Enterprises LLC, DBA The Quilt Rambler will be closed 12/31/22 – Uncle Sam likes full month figures for tax purposes. Grin.
By the way, this may or may not be my last blog post…still to be determined. I did change the “theme” of my website to just the blog and no other business info, but I’m uncertain if I will continue blogging. Time will tell.
Okay, enough rambling , so here is my quilts from 2022 with a short story about each.
Taking The Long Way Home
Taking The Long Way Home is pieced with my 3rd Island Batik Signature Collection, Chantilly, created by Kathy Engle for The Quilt Rambler. This collection was in their Fall/Winter 2021 Catalog, however, that catalog was digital as there were shipping issues in receiving the fabrics ahead of time (thanks Covid). I actually had 3 designs in the catalog and this was the first one I pieced in 2022. I had to rush writing the pattern as it was picked up by Hancock’s of Paducah and later in the year featured during their Batik Week promotion.
Do you ever wonder about the names of quilt patterns? Sometimes it’s sorta obvious, but other times there is usually a story behind the design. Which is usually my case…this quilt is part of a series that I designed back in 2006, with a block I then called “Overton Pass” – I think at the time I was reading pioneer stories or something, who knows! I actually have over 80 designs with variations of this block (future book?) Anyway, this one was named Taking The Long Way Home as it reminded me about wandering, taking my time, enjoying the scenery. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Chantilly Garden Rose
You guessed it, Chantilly Garden Rose was the 2nd of my Signature Collection quilts for the Island Batik Chantilly fabric line. It’s a traditional spin using two familiar blocks that reminded me of a rose garden. Just a fun quilt to make – no long story this time.
No sooner than I finished Chantilly Garden Rose the fabrics were arriving for my 4th Signature Collection designed by Kathy Ingle of Island Batik for The Quilt Rambler, Baby Bloomers, featured in the Spring/Summer 2022 catalog and recently released in stores.
This is A-Maze-Ing, my spin on the traditional Churn Dash block combined with my love of mazes. As a young girl I would draw all sorts of paths and mazes using graph paper or creating a page full of dots then connecting them with intricate paths complete with long “wrong” paths that lead to dead ends causing one to retrace and get back on the right path. I have plans on making this larger, using red, white and blue fabrics to create a different path, the possibilities are endless!
My favorite memory of this quilt is when my granddaughter Reagan was visiting, she saw the quilt on the design wall and I had an idea…we found a toy car in the toy box and I taught her the path, with our little song “go this way and that way and this way and that way.” Lots of giggles!
On a sad note, by the time it was time to invest in the pattern writing and publishing for this collection I had made the decision to retire.
I know, I know…it’s a weird name…Discombobulated is how I was feeling around this time, trying to make decisions and yet wanting to move forward. Remember that “Overton Pass” block I mentioned earlier…Well, this is a part of that same series. What I like about this quilt, also made with the Baby Bloomers Signature Collection, is the ghost blocks in the background fabrics. It gives a sense of order in the midst of the missing pieces. Sorta like not knowing your future but knowing that you must go forward no matter the emotions or circumstances. This is another unpublished design, but it’s a comfy quilt – currently it’s an “extra cover” on the bed as we have been experiencing this Christmas Arctic Blast. The bright blue in the border (and backing) remind me that blue skies are ahead and we will be more than conquerors!
This is the 3rd design using Baby Bloomers, and my favorite! I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to piece this as I was inspired by a tile floor I saw in a movie. The intriguing part to me was the secondary design, which resembles a traditional friendship star. The name derives from the street we lived on for over 17 years, and the friendship star represents “the best neighbor” in the whole history of our neighbors! Again, this did not make it to the publisher. Just like moving away from a homestead, sometimes business plans get moved too.
No Name – Jelly Roll Bargello
Oops – kinda sad to have a quilt with no name, but not as bad as “a horse with no name” – I mean seriously, if that fellow rode the mare through the desert you’d think he’d of had time to think of a name!
This is an example of what I call a “throw down quilt” – as in, I don’t mind if you throw it down on the floor, use it at the beach or on a picnic – in other words a simple quilt that is totally meant to be used. Of course, it would be “useable” if I quilted it! Which I hope to during my “retirement years”.
I made this from a strip package of 2 1/2″ strips of Island Batik’s Chantilly (Signature) Collection. It started out as a simple “jelly roll race quilt” but I didn’t like the way it turned out, so I cut it up and resewed it as a bargello. I talked about it during one of my online Facebook Live events as an example of what to do with precuts.
No Name Quilt #2
Yeah, I was really on a roll – another precut 2 1/2″ Island Batik strip pack that I happened to have matching yardage for the border. Another demo quilt/thrown down quilt used during my online shopping experience live events earlier in the year. I do like it, especially the “zig zag” effect and hope to quilt it this upcoming year.
Circle The Wagons
I decided I need to pick up the tradition of an annual “birthday quilt” as I had been slacking for a few years (actually with in the past year I quilted one of the birthday quilts that had been pieced 10 years ago!) Circling The Wagons is another of the “Overton Pass” series that I have sorta renamed “Rambing On” in my thoughts of publishing all those sketches from 2006…but that’s a story for another time, or a dream that may or may not come true.
Anyway! My birthday is in July and I decided to break away from my beautiful Island Batiks to revisit a collection of beach themed fabrics I had been “collecting” since the turn of the century. What fun it was to revisit those fabrics! So many memories of using a few in other quilts, or remembering when and where I bought them. A few I drew a total blank on their origin but they were beachy and thoughts of the beach make me happy.
The name “Circling The Wagons” was actually assigned to the drawing created back in the day, but it took on a new meaning for me as I was realizing that it was truly getting time for me to “circle up” with my family. I think this is my favorite birthday quilt, so far!
If this doesn’t get your attention upon waking up in the morning, I don’t know what will! Zoom in on the photo to see that my stars are actually pieced of tiny strips of fabric. Brighter Days was a personal challenge to use up trimmings from making a clothesline covered Easter Basket for our youngest granddaughter Stevie’s first Easter. The trimmings were so pretty I just couldn’t toss them!
In my true nature of “if I can do it I want to show you how so you can do it to” attitude I issued a challenge to my online FB live shoppers to make a “crumb quilt” using small scraps that they were “collecting”…
It took me a while to complete this quilt, and as I auditioned the yellow background I couldn’t help but think about being a little Discombobulated in trying to decide the future of my business, knowing that I needed to Circle The Wagons by Taking The Long Way Home to truly take time to smell the (Chantilly) Garden Roses of life to discover new A-Maze-Ing paths….okay, so that’s perhaps a bit cheesy, but that’s how I process things…quilting is indeed my therapy!
I realize that some folks could get dizzy just looking at this quilt – it’s really fun when you scroll up and down to make the design “move” – or just move your head a bit – there are so many optical illusions with this one called Focus.
My guild issued a challenge earlier in the year to do a black and white with one color quilt…I had all sorts of rough drafts of B/W quilts including one from the Overton Pass/Rambling On series…but decided I really wanted to do something crazy! By the way, the “one color” is the red binding and if you look closely my red signature butterfly quilted in the lower right. Also, you might notice that I was simultaneously working on those star blocks for Brighter Days.
This was a lesson in precision piecing! I purchased a new ruler this year called Stripology – had put it off for several years as it’s sorta pricy, but being a gal who has a vast collection of tools this one just needed to join the gang. For those unfamiliar this tool is a true asset in precision cutting of strips. I used it to cut out 1 1/2″ x WOF strips using my Island Batik solids in White and Black. Yep – that’s not stripe fabric, it’s precision pieced (well almost) 1″ finished strips and I love it!
In keeping with my ramble of how each quilt tells a story, it should go without saying that Focus told me to take a closer look at my life to truly focus on what mattered most. Faith and Family. By the time I had made this quilt I had also made the decision to close my business.
Geese Over Galveston Bay – Times Two
One thing about making a quilt pattern and then traveling to teach it, is that the quilt can sometimes get made multiple times…and in this case, multiple sizes. I reworked my pattern Geese Over Galveston Bay to a lap size as Christmas gifts for our two granddaughters, Reagan and Stevie.
This one is for Reagan, “my favorite color is purple”. I made it using fabrics from my 2nd Signature Collection by Island Batik for The Quilt Rambler, Sea Glass. The backing is purple minkie and it’s “sooo soft”.
This one is Stevie Ann’s, since she just turned one this past week I had no idea of her favorite color so her quilt is kinda “rainbow” using the lighter fabrics from my 4th Signature Collection Baby Bloomers (ask for it in your local quilt shop, it just shipped in December). Again, minkie on the back for the win!
Both of these wrapped up the final quilt tops quilted this year….well, maybe not, there’s still almost a week left and I have something “up next” on the longarm…but my final “best of 2022” show and tell ends with…
No Named Christmas Quilt
We are back to that “horse with no name” song…sigh.
I actually began this quilt in June! Yep, a part of my “demo quilts” showing what you can do with precuts. Believe it or not, the entire center of this over 87″ quilt is made from Island Batik precut package of 10″ squares plus some beautiful snowflake background fabric that I happen to have had in my personal stash.
I had sew much fun figuring out the math on this one, how could I cut out diamonds and triangles from 10″ squares and have enough to make a unique design? If I told you I’d have to charge you (grin). And no, my friends, I’m not going to write a pattern for this, “sorry, I’m retired!”
I did have a lot of fun making the half hexagon braid out of matching 2 1/2″ strip precut package – I couldn’t believe one strip pack was enough to go around this huge quilt, “but wait there’s more” – I actually had a little left over! I wasn’t sure how to turn the corner of the pieced border so put in a cornerstone block and have called it good.
I had high hopes of quilting it and sleeping under it for Christmas…but then I got the bright idea of piecing the back, I mean, after all I did have two sets of matching 10″ squares and two sets of matching 2 1/2″ strips….so yes, I’m still piecing the back. However! If and when I do get “around to-it” I’m going to go ahead and quilt it, not saving it for next Christmas. Winter is just begun, and while we hope it’s not lengthy here on the Texas Gulf Coast, who says you can’t have a Christmas quilt on the bed into the new year!
Well, it’s been 10 days since I retired. I haven’t quite done everything on my retirement list, yet, but as the old song says “we’ve only just begun“.
Up ahead is all the legal work it takes to close down a business, Uncle Sam is pretty set in his ways…then there’s the normal stuff like cleaning up the studio (and house) after the mad dash of the holidays. I’ve organized my UFO’s and PhD’s (unfinished projects and projects half done) and made a list of all the quilt designs waiting in EQ8 (Electric Quilt Software) to be combined with real fabric. Not to mention 4 tote buckets full of “quilts in waiting”, as in waiting for their turn on the longarm, dating back to the turn of the century (this is what happens when you “quilt for hire” or have “deadline quilts” for publication). Yep, the quilting part is covered! I planned well for retirement with my vastly curated collection of fabrics!
Clearly the most important on the retirement to do list is to focus on family! I may not know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds my future! Faith and Family – that’s the real deal. Quilting is the bonus!