Fourth FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011

Yesterday, we celebrated the fourth FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011.  This time it was Pat’s turn to be honored in the celebration.
We started the party in the morning with Pat opening the gifts sent through the mail to her.  I was in such a hurry to get my parcel mailed off to Pat before my holiday that I forgot to snap a picture of it.  So, the picture below has been “borrowed” from Pat’s site. 
I made Pat this bag/purse from a pattern called, the Cross Town Carry – Regan’s Bag by Marlous Designs.
This is a fat quarter friendly pattern which can be made from 7 fat quarters.  This was a pattern introduced to our Monday night quilting group by Leslie.  Thanks for sharing your talents Leslie and leading us in successful completion of our bags!
I included a package of Coffee Crisp Bites in with Pat’s gift.  It has become a tradition this year for me to include something Coffee Crisp in with the birthday packages I send.  We love Coffee Crisp in our house and I have been sharing this not-available-across-the-border treat with my friends. 
After Pat was done opening her birthday presents, we started working on our quilts.  Pat’s choice of pattern was Minnesota Hot Dish by Atkinson Designs. 
This is one of my blocks.  You would never suspect that this log cabin inspired block would become the spiral design of the finished quilt.

I didn’t have time before Saturday to cut my strips so I only finished a few blocks–enough though, that I could see the design emerge when you placed the blocks together in a quilt. 

All the fabrics in my quilt were 2.5 inch strips cut from my stash.  Shop the stash first!

Christmas Bargello

Another quilt finish! I took the last few stitches in the binding on this one just before I had to leave to deliver this quilt to the quilt show for this weekend’s quilt show.

My quilt was inspired by a pattern on Bonnie Hunter’s website called, Scrappy Bargello.

My version of this quilt continues the same fabric across the quilt from left to right, unlike Bonnie’s scrappier version where the fabric choices change for each block across the quilt. Since my quilt is made from Christmas fabrics, I am calling my version Christmas Bargello.

I started this quilt on Feb 3, 2008 – Super Bowl weekend. I joined my good friend Linda that weekend in making this quilt. Several other quilters on the Internet were making the same quilt and we started calling the event, Bargellobowl.

Linda and I finished our quilts to the flimsy stage early this year and I quilted mine on March 15 and Linda’s on March 22. Linda was faster to finish off her binding. I guess I needed a deadline like the show to prompt me to finish off the last few feet of binding.

Rooster Twist

I finished up my quilt that was started at our FAB retreat in August. This quilt was a finished flimsy on August 16 Now this quilt is quilted and bound. That must be a record for me–2 months to quilt and bind.

Cher kept me company while I put the binding on this one. There is nothing like a friend to keep you focused on the task at hand. Cher has finished her Strip Twist as well and I believe she has already gifted her quilt to the lucky recipient.

The pattern is called, Strip Twist and is by G.E. Designs.

I am calling my quilt Rooster Twist, named for the fabulous rooster fabric that I used on the borders that I just could not bear to cut up into smaller pieces. I love this fabric just as much now as I did the day I spied it in the fabric shop.

I used to use muslin to back my quilts. I have now decided that the backs need to be darker in colour than beige or white. Now I look for fabric for backing my quilts that will not show the tell tale signs of wear that quilts get with loving use over time.
I love the colour of the fabric on the back of this quilt–I am calling it Carmel. The picture doesn’t do it justice as it has a wonderful swirl pattern to it.

Quilt Retreat – FABS + 2

Mom and I headed south to Oregon for the FABS + 2 retreat on Thursday, August 6. We weren’t due to meet up with the rest of the group until the Friday, but we thought if we headed down a day early we would be able to get in a little shopping before the retreat.

Our hotel reservation was at the Phoenix Inn Suites in Tigard. This is a fabulous hotel and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. We were conveniently located across the street from the Washington Square Mall.

In that mall was Macy’s where we found our Fiestaware dishes on sale. We loaded up on the newest colour, Lemongrass (a beautiful bright green), Chocolate (a new colour in 2008), Cinnabar, Plum, and Sunflower (colours released in 2000, 2002, 2001 respectively). Mom and I started collecting these beautiful dishes that are manufactured by the Homer Laughlin China Co. in WV last year.

We also managed to get to Joann’s for some great chicken and egg fabrics and a great print called, “Kittens at the Beach”. We even had time to get in a visit to another favorite stop of ours when we head south: Kohl’s.

I have a special project in mind for this fabric. (Does it count as adding to your stash if you have a specific use in mind for your fabric when you purchase it?)

Thursday night, we decided that we were going to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. Both Mom and I chose pasta dishes. There was no way we could eat the amount of food that was presented to us in one sitting! Since we had a microwave and fridge in our hotel room, Mom suggested that we take our leftovers “to go” and eat them for lunch the next day. Great idea. The problem was that we had no room left for a piece of cheesecake either. Fortunately, we could take the cheesecake to go so the problem was solved. Later that night we enjoyed cheesecake and coffee in our hotel room. I ordered White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cheesecake and I believe my mom ordered a piece of cheesecake with lemon in it.

On Friday we weren’t due to meet up with the rest of the FABs until 2 in the afternoon. We had touched base with Pam and Linda the night before and we knew that they might be a little late arriving due to the traffic on the freeway between southern Oregon and Portland so we weren’t in a hurry to get to Fabric Depot. We weren’t expecting the heavy rush hour traffic we encountered on the way to Fabric Depot on a Friday afternoon in Portland. Thankfully, we had the steady voice of Garmin to guide us on and off of highways, off ramps, and down busy streets. I still find myself wondering how we managed to navigate through all that traffic to find the location of Fabric Depot in a big city that we had never driven in before.

We were barely in the door of Fabric Depot when we were spotted by Linda. After hugs we connected up with Pat, her daughter Michelle, and Pam. We were given a small square of challenge fabric related to the upcoming FAB challenge and asked to find something to go with the fabric–a pretty light lavender/blue colour. I purchased a FQ of a pretty pink and violet batik. Not knowing what the challenge would be, I only purchased a single FQ and wished later that I had purchased more of that great fabric. Pam spotted a great floral that would be perfect for a 4 Patch Posie quilt. The last time I was with Pam over a year ago, she purchased a print to make a 4 Patch Posie quilt but used it in another project before she got to the 4 Patch Posie project. Pam was determined not to let that happen again. I guess we were drawing a bit of attention to ourselves as we were discussing the suitability of this fabric to a 4 Patch Posie pattern and just how much a repeat really was, that we had another quilter in the shop stop by to find out what we were up to. No problem, Pam ended up purchasing a “little extra” — more than what she thought 4 repeats was equivalent to. After all, you don’t want to run yourself short later on and what if Norma really did know what she was talking about when she was trying to explain that repeat thing.

After we made our fabric purchases, we made our way back to Cher’s house for supper. Pat was driving one car and had the assistance of the navigator on her cell phone and I was driving the second car with the assistance of Garmin and my Mom. We started out ahead of Pat and ended up behind her on one of the freeways when we made decisions to change lanes at some point. Despite getting separated by traffic, we managed to pull into Cher’s driveway just behind Pat and Linda. Thank goodness for satellites and those wonderful little boxes that give you precise directions!

The next day we exchanged our friendship blocks. We took turns putting our blocks up on Cher’s design wall and taking pictures of them.

These wonky house blocks now belong to Cher.

These block parts now belong to Pam. Pam has decided to put together these block bits into a quilt block that will depict a ring of friendship. The plan is to back the block with foam and quilt it in the ditch before framing it and putting it in her ME themed kitchen.

These blocks now belong to Linda.

These wonderful house blocks now belong to me.

These are now Pat’s wonky star blocks.

On Saturday we took a break in the morning to visit quilt shop to close to Cher’s house. The shop was Fibers in Motion. I found two bright chicken prints and some great “go withs” to put with the chickens.

We decided that it would be a great idea to have lunch out since we were already in the proximity of a great little restaurant. We headed down the hill to Marco’s Cafe. Mom and I had eaten there last year when we met Cher for the first time in person and I was thrilled to be here for a return engagement. The food is great!

These are umbrellas that hang from the ceiling of Marco’s. Some of the umbrellas are very unusual and used to belong to locals who frequent the cafe making them all that more special.

By now you must be thinking that all we did on this retreat was shop and eat. Although those were two great activities that we did partake in quite a bit, we did actually get to piecing our blocks for our Strip Twist quilts.

This is Linda and Cher.

This is a picture of me piecing my blocks before Pam pushed her 4 Patch Posie squares my way.

This is Pat in the foreground and Pam in the background.

These are Pam’s Strip Twist blocks going up on the design wall Saturday night. That is my Mom sitting at the computer. Cher and Pam managed to hook my Mom into Farmtown on Facebook and make her a “neighbour” in the game. It looks like Pam is giving my Mom directions as to what fields of hers to plow so she can get a leg up on Cher in the game. Hmmmm

These are Pam’s 4 Patch Posie blocks. Yes, this is the fabric that Pam purchased in Fabric Depot the day before. Pam managed to convince Linda to cut her fabric yardage into the 4 repeats and then the required squares to make the blocks. After that, Pam convinced me to piece her blocks for her. There was something about guilt, making a round robin quilt, getting those squares home without mixing them up, and some sort of a dare involved in there somewhere. There is now significant pressure on Pam to finish piecing this quilt and not let it sit as a UFO. We will have to monitor the progress of this quilt carefully in the future!

These are Pat’s Christmas themed blocks.

These are Linda’s blocks.

These are some of the blocks that I managed to piece before the weekend was over.

This is my Mom and I just before saying our goodbyes to the rest of the FABs on Sunday night. We headed home on Monday morning.

This was a great holiday and a FABulous quilting retreat. We have now all returned to our respective homes and are back “talking with our fingers” as Linda says.

Quilt Retreat – Friendship Blocks

Only two more days until I leave for the FAB retreat!

We had decided some time ago to do a friendship block exchange. Every participant explained to the group what they would like for their friendship block and each person in the group was to make a block following those guidelines.

The first block I made was a Wonky Star for Pat. Pat requested a blue star on a yellow background. I picked a turquoise blue – my favorite blue right now because it reminds me of Arizona. Hopefully, the link to Arizona will help Pat remember which block is mine. This was my first ever attempt at wonky anything so I am not so sure I got it right, but IIWII! Since I was already in a wonky frame of mind, I decided to push on to the second block which was also to be wonky. This wonky house is for Cher. Cher said it didn’t have to look like our house; we were just to have fun with it. There are some things in this block that are taken from my house – the cat in the window, the red door, and the red maple in the yard. This was only my second attempt at anything wonky. I am not so sure I got it right, but once again, IIWII.

The next block was not really a block at all. We were to make block parts using Pam’s favorite fabric: ME. I went through my small stash of ME fabric to find the piece that had the most green in it. Green is my favorite colour so of course, I had to have green in my block. I believe Pam is going to assemble the parts we give her into a piece to frame for her kitchen wall. Cute idea!

The last block is for Linda. Linda had shown us her block which had pink, purple, and green in it so we could get some hints of the colours she was looking for. Of course, I had to make my block green! If you double click on the picture, you might be able to see the words and the drawings of the cats on the fabric. Green and cats–yup that is me!

I still have a few more strips to cut for the Strip Twist project we are going to be working on at retreat so I had better get back at it. Thursday will be here before we know it!