Sunday, February 12, 2012

Retreat Recap

I spent the weekend at the first annual Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild retreat!

Nine members and two guests traveled to Southern Utah for the weekend. We stayed at a wonderful vacation home, surrounded by great scenery (we found the house through While we did venture out for various errands, lunch and shopping, mostly we stayed in the basement theatre/billiard room and sewed.

This is the theatre side of the room. The other side accommodated four more sewing tables, two cutting stations and a pressing table. It was perfect!

I worked on these blocks. They are made from Elizabeth Hartman's Octagonal Orb Block tutorial featured at The Modern Quilt Guild Blog (which was originally inspired by Heather Bostic's pillow). They finish at about 17" across, so I plan to make 6 more, if my fabric holds out. I used a fat eighth stack of Flora, by Lauren and Jessi Jung.

It doesn't look like I got very much accomplished, but I feel like each of the completed blocks was eight blocks in one! I also cut pieces for 3 more orbs and I made some progress on embroidering some of Ruby McKim's Roly Poly Circus blocks for a quilt for Dearest Sister's grandbebe number five (another girl!)

Sharon brought a tiny pieced block as challenge/gift for each person. The pieced block was about two inches square made of tiny half inch squares.

These were some of the challenge projects. Clockwise from the top left: Andrea's beer pong cozy, Cindy's pot holder, Bev's coaster, my pin cushion, Maria's tiny cushion to protect the bed of her featherweight when it is folded up, Tracie's tissue cover and Darlene's iPhone purse.

We all had a great time and by Sunday morning, the discussion had turned to how many days we should add to next year's retreat! We drove home under rainy, overcast skies, but that was kind of a nice change, as well.

I am looking forward to seeing some finishes at show and tell next month!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Year of the Dragon! And Other Stuff!

We are just a few days past the Chinese New Year which is a big holiday here in the desert. Since the January new year is long gone, I decided to use the Year of the Dragon as a re-starting point for getting my blog mojo running again.

The last six or seven months have been spent waiting for this year, which is shaping up to be a great one! In 12 weeks I will retire and we are going to leave the desert to return to the middle of the country. Most all of our belongings have already moved. The Mister and the kitties will move first, in about 7 weeks, then he will come back for me and the Isetta a few weeks later. We. Can. Hardly. Wait!

The thing I will miss most when we leave, is the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild.

Since we formed the group just over one year ago, I have been building my quilting skills through inspiration, challenges and deadlines.

Although I usually stay away from table runners and wall hangings, I have finally seen the appeal of small projects. Generally I think of quilts in terms of bed linens, so doll quilts seemed like the perfect small project for learning new skills. A quick finish, new techniques learned and possible hand made gifts! Win, win, win!

During a late night of Internet Christmas shopping last fall, I ordered several books from Amazon (for me). This one has 24 small quilt projects.

Pretty in Patchwork - Doll quilts by Cathy Gaubert

After flipping through it a hundred or so times, I settled on making this one:
Probably not the best choice for a person of my rudimentary skills. I foolishly thought that improvisational curves might not be so hard. The last little curved seam was ripped and re-stitched until the pieces started to fray, so I finally decided finished was better than perfect and called it good.

And, I had something for show and tell at the January meeting!

The next project was more straightforward:

Dream Doll Quilt - Pattern by Aneela Hoey

Detail of Dream Doll Quilt doll and bunny
Tiny half square triangles are a bit more challenging that they looked, so don't look too closely! The pattern had a template for a little doll and teddy bear, but I used part of a panel called Appleville by Suzy Ultman. Also the original called for applique clouds, but I decided to do embroidered ones, instead. I used flannel instead of batting on this one.

Next weekend, about 10 from our group are headed to Utah for a quilting retreat! I have my machine all packed up with everything (and more, I am sure) that I need. I had a very hard time deciding what to work on so I packed several projects to take, including some embroidery.

I am starting to feel like a real quilter!