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Saturday, September 22, 2007


I know, I know, I know! It's been almost an entire week since I said I would tell more about the retreat. But, life somehow gets in the way, and I've been playing, ahem, working at the LQS all week. They are getting ready to be a first time vendor at a quilt show next weekend, and they needed all the extra hands that could be spared! I've been cutting fat quarters, fat quarters, fat quarters, and making travel size pillowcase kits, and some more fat quarters.

So, the retreat was fantastic, as usual! My friend, Carolyn and I arrived on Sunday afternoon, a full two days ahead of schedule. That allowed us to get the grocery shopping done, a little sight seeing, a little quilt shop hopping, and get all set up to sew before the rest of the gals arrived on Tuesday afternoon. A few more gals from out of state arrived Monday, so that was nice to get caught up with them too.

Gwen shared all her fabulous basket quilts, since that was this year's theme. Some of them were blocks, some were tops, some were antique quilts, some were contemporary, some were liberated. We also had a wonderful show and tell from other participants. I think there were a total of 35 quilters this year - so show and tell was great!!!

This is Carolyn and I on the second night, trying to figure out how this quilt of Gwen's will fit into one of our suitcases - and more importantly, would she miss it!

Isn't this just the cutest little reproduction basket quilt? And the handle sort of took a life of their own, I think. One of our class friends called this her pocket purse quilt since her kids couldn't ever figure out whether their gramma carried a purse or a handbag.

And, this is our crazy friend Kitty from Louisville, showing off how she matches her big purse quilt that she played with in the class. No, she wasn't wearing the water bottle, but I just couldn't get it out of the view! LOL!

There were oh, so many more really great quilts done this week, but once again, I am not able to post more of them. So many folks want to share their work on their own, and I need to respect that. But, believe me when I tell you that their creativity was so inspirational!

I worked on some small 8" baskets in 1800's reproductions, and finished up the center of a lap quilt, then started on some 12" blocks that I just love. I still need to add the borders, but that can always happen later.

Because Traverse City is the Cherry Capitol of the United States, one of the little shops there carries a lot of cherry fabrics. So, I went shopping! Imagine that! So my 12" baskets will be all of cherry fabrics. I used Gwen's handle technique where you just fold a bias strip (3 times as wide as you want)into thirds, baste it with the machine to hold it folded, then simply stitch along the edge as you lay it into the curve you want for the handle. These are much more my style because they are playful and happy. I decided to piece the handles with different stripes and to use ric-rac on most of them, too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back from Michigan

Yes, I've been back since Sunday, and on the run since then. So for now, I'll add one of my favorite pictures, and then return with lots more pictures and fun stories about my time at the retreat with Gwen Marston.

If you don't know our profiles, Gwen is on the right, and I am on the left. This rainbow lasted about 10 minutes, and you could see the entire spectrum. We decided that the end of the rainbow was right over the local fabric store in Elk Rapids - really!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hi! Ho! Silver! Away!

I worked today at the LQS, and managed to actually come home with only 9 spools of thread in colors I didn't have, and of course needed! Why in the world would I need 9 different colors of thread at this moment?

Welllllllllll...can you guess?

I'm going to Gwen Marston's Beaver Island Retreat (not on Beaver Island anymore) in Elk Rapids, MI!!!!

This is me last year, wading in Elk Lake which is at the edge of where our retreat building is. I couldn't believe the water was as clear OR as warm as it is!

Yep, it's the second week in September, so where else would I be? This year the theme is baskets, and I have all the backgrounds cut (45 different) and all of the basket fabrics chosen, and cut into smaller manageable (read that as packable) pieces.

What is so nice about her retreats, is that she really has put the R-E-T-R-E-A-T back into quilt retreat. She sets the theme, and most everyone plays along, but some bring other things to work on too. There is minimal structured events, and mostly comraderie between about 25-30 women. This year, I plan on sleeping in a bit, sitting by the lake, reading AND working on my baskets. At this moment, I'm all packed except the last minute stuff like my toothbrush, and my eyeliner:)

Here's Gwen and I (me, a few pounds heavier then) last year...and I think I've cropped out almost all of the threads that were on my shirt!

In honor of this trip, I bought a Tutto Machine on Wheels case. I so love my Pfaff that I don't want to sew on anything else. Especially HSTs that are 1/2" finished! So, we'll see how this works toting it on the plane.

I return next Sunday, the 16th. You all be good and get lots of sewing done!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More Nashville Stories - Again!

Now it's on to the Confederate side of the family. This one is the most interesting, so I won't post all of the others that I found in (former)family fields, and unknown corners of Dickson County, TN. But I can tell you that this day of my genealogy sleuthing was very rewarding. And if you want skip the genealogy trip, and just see some quilts, scroll to the bottom of this posting, where I will reward YOU with two that I've made since I've been home!

This is Carnton Plantation in Williamson, TN, near Murfreesboro. It turns out I have Confederate ancestors buried here that I hadn't been able to locate before I read the book, Widow of the South. "Historic Carnton Plantation is a private non-profit historic site located in Franklin, Tennessee. Late on the afternoon of November 30, 1864, Carnton was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. Carnton, the home of John and Carrie McGavock, served as the main Confederate field hospital for hundreds of wounded and dying soldiers. In 1866, the McGavocks designated two acres of their land as a final burial place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers killed in the Battle of Franklin. Today the site has 48 of the original 1,400 acres and includes the restored antebellum home, a recreated one-acre 1847 garden, slave quarters, smokehouse, springhouse and the adjacent Confederate and family cemetery." The cemetery isn't far from the house.

Over time, the headstones have fallen into disrepair, and they've been replaced with square concrete markers. You need to know what section the soldier is buried in, then you can locate it in the McGavock book. Unfortunately, only one of my soldier's graves is marked with a concrete block with his initials, but the others are with the sections marked with their regimental State.

MAJ. Amzli T. Meek, 2nd Regiment, ARK, age 25, died in the Battle of Franklin, TN

And this is Moses Harvey Meek, born 25 July 1839, died 27 Sept 1929 (along with some of the rest of the family) in a small field along a road by a major highway near Burns, TN.

As a Kansas Art Quilter, I am invited to make quilts for Fabriquilt to show their new lines at the Houston Market in November. When I got home, the fabric was waiting for me - and you must use what they give you, and can't add anything else. It's to show their new lines, so that makes sense. BUT it sure makes it hard when you are a scrap quilter like me!

Here's Classic Blues. Does the pattern surprise you? LOL!

And here is Bloomsbury Square(s). I used a template I had purchased at the Nashville show to make it. It surprised me how much I liked the color of the fabrics once I put them together.

Monday, September 03, 2007

More Nashville Stories

Have you ever heard the phrase "Quilters are just friends you haven't met yet?" Well, here are some St. Louis, MO friends I hadn't met yet! I am so sorry, but I can't remember everyone's name, but the closest one to me is Debbie could I NOT remember that? And the lady (mom) in the rose colored shirt is Rose.

While I was at the Nashville AQS show, I sat down on the steps to wait for my friend Carolyn. Sharing the steps with me were these gals, talking about what they had bought, and of course, I had to get into the conversation, too. Carolyn arrived, and we continued the conversation with suggesting a background fabric for their gramma's 30's blocks (Kona Cotton Snow), explaining an easier way of applique, and in general sharing quilting talk - as quilters do.

We all laughed a lot when we found out they have another relative that lives fairly close to us, and they come to the Kansas City metro area several times a year. So, the pencils came out, and a list of all the fabulous quilt shops in our area were made. I hope they make a comment on this blog so I can get their email address and we can visit again when they come to town!

Another friend I hadn't met yet in person was Debby. She was so busy at the time I was there, I hope I didn't get her in a spot of trouble by taking time out for a picture! I guess I just missed Judy, but she's about an hour and a half away so maybe I'll get her here before the end of the year!! Of course, I've been trying to find some time to see her since she moved to MO, and that hasn't happened yet!

Debby and Sharon at Nashville AQS, 2007.

There were some beautiful quilts, and some fantastic quilts, wonderful ideas, and unique perspectives. I came away, as usual, with more ideas than I'll ever be able to use, and inspired to play again with color and fabric.

More on the show and the last of my genealogy trip in the next post.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Home again, home again

Home again, home again, jiggety jig! I have so many different things to blog about, it's taken me a while to think about how to do this. I am going blog chronologically and some entries will be about only one day, and others will combine days. So sit back, and fasten your seatbelt! Be prepared to go into the past to the Civil War, spend some time at a quilt show, see new work of mine, and just generally get caught up with a cup of tea or coffee!

Before I start with my trip, I'll try to answer a couple of questions asked rgarding the Cherry Limeade quilt. First of all, there is only one pattern - a circle! I've referenced Dale Fleming's book and technique before about how to make these circles, so you can learn that from her. She was on Alex Anderson's show, and you can see the reference points here. Sharon Schaumburg and Kelly Gallagher Abbot both use pretty much the same technique, but I think Dale's book is a bit more straight forward with pictures to reference. The background is also explained in her book. The green fabric with the pink polka dots is called Dipped Chicks from Clothworks. I haven't finished the final borders simply because of the trip and several other commitments that must be done SOON. I'll post it when it's completed!

Here I am home in the Midwest again, with my family and friends around me. I spent a marvelous day in Tennessee following my research of my ancestors, finding their home land and graves. I learned more about the Civil War than I ever had in the past, and met some wonderful people along the way.

I started my journey by driving south of Nashville to the Murfreesboro area. There I found the Stones River National Cemetery, where one of my ancestors lays at rest in the National Cemetery. I was able to locate his name by using an on-line civil war soldier cemetery locator, and I've had this piece of information for several years. I've just never been in this area to go find him before. Additionally, all I had was the date that he died and that he died at Murfreesboro.

At the visitor center, I found Park Ranger Bill, anxious and willing to share information with me. He was so excited to have a descendant, too! I got to sign a descendant's register, and I felt quite honored. He got out maps of the day of the battle, hour by hour, and found the regiment that my soldier was with, then proceeded to tell me where he was at all points of the battle. After I bought a book about the three day battle at Stones River, I was ready to walk the battle area. Now, you have to understand, that it was very hot this day! The temperature was 107 degrees!!!!! Whewee!

This is where I started walking. As you can tell by the marker, this is the eve of the battle.

This is where Thomas (my soldier) was having breakfast with the 49th Ohio infantry regiment when the battle began about 6 AM on Dec 31, 1862.

There is a lot to see and absorb at this site, and if you want to read more about it, you can find more information here. It's wonderfully preserved, with the original cannons, and cleared fields. Even if you don't have ancestors here, you would truly enjoy the history of the area!

This is only a partial view of the cemetery.

Thomas VanBuskirt(k) at rest. He was wounded in this battle, and moved to Murfreesboro. He died 6 months later (June), and laid to rest in this cemetery.

The next posting will be more genealogy, and some fun stuff from the Nashville AQS show.