Post Gees Bend Quilters' Retreat - blues

I've just returned from a most delicious and delightful retreat....with the quilters' of Gees Bend from, Boykin, Alabama - Mary Anne Pettway and China Pettway.     There were 36 of us eager-to-enjoy members in the group - all corralled by Anne, our beautiful Gray Center Retreat host.  Yes, you guessed it.  We had a rip-roaring good time.  It was a four day blast of energy and creativity rejuvenation.  And the food was from the gods! 

We came from California and New York and points in between to share ideas and fabric, love and laughter while Mary Ann and China mentored each of us in our quilting patchworks in progress and lifted us up with their soul-filled music. 

From start to finish:  Was it only 2016? that a group of us bussed to Gees' Bend, Alabama.  While there, Mary Ann was working on a little patch and I came home with it....signed, of course, by it's maker, Mary Ann Pettway.

I had the foresight to take the patch back with me last week and had Mary Ann add the final border and add the current date.  I hand quilted it and added binding this week for a finished momenta of the beauty of  a glorious time with queens of improv patchwork. 

This pink and lime predominately thrift store linens, started while at the retreat and the patchwork pieced borders were added this week after I got back home.    I think I'll call it a "running with lemon grass."  It's filled with the lime and lemon colors of citrus. 

and other snapshots while at Gray Center, Canton, Mississippi.

Sisson wears his patchwork!

then it was breakfast and goodbye until we meet again ~

China Pettway following Mary Ann Pettway as they leave
Gees Bend Quilting Retreat

Yes I can - No you can't - Yes I can!

Do you have running debates with yourself?  I'm doing a paint-on-fabric presentation for my art group friends next month and have been making myself believe that I can paint on fabric:  because, that's what the presentation will be about.    Yes, I can!

I also make books ~  Here's the front cover of one that I painted and used to make a color palette photo. 

You darn tootin' I can ~

It's a peel ~

Of all things, it's a peel ....well, only a quarter of the peel.  My heart just wasn't into making four of these little peel quadrants for the whole but I'm loving this one just as it is and the size is perfectly my size with all the straight line machine quilting and all the hand quilting interspersed to jazz it up a notch.

This one was No. 12 on my get-it-finished-in-2019-list.  No, I'm not getting them done in number order....but in my order in my time!

All in the family ~

~  What a delightful blog is Mary & Patch where Maryline blogs about quilts and patterns and  her Three In A Row photography series. 

But first ~ My sisters and nieces had the most fun gathering last year - just us girls for a long, relaxing weekend in Hot Springs.  While there, we made a morning of walking the scenic paths in Garvan Woodland Gardens, a botanical respite nestled into the Ouachita Mountains.

walkin' the woodland path while solving a problem or two

 I thought this was such a fun picture of  sister, Sandy and her daughters.  They were so busy discussin' the what ifs and what fors that the walking stopped while some serious family issue was being resolved (no doubt).  I can just hear it of the girls said something or other and Sandy with hands on hips to stress the importance of what's right, was setting them straight on the issue.  Thankfully I was tagging along behind and saw this fun photo opportunity to catch a historical family moment  'just as we are.'     Love it!

So, when Mary & Patch put out the call for photos for her new series, Three In A Row, this picture popped into my head.   Thank you Sandy, Shannon and Kallie for the memories.

All in the family where fun can happen at any level of immaturity ~ 

Is serendipity a noun?

so, you've been invited to be a local quilt guild presenter?  now what?  make a decision, get a grip!

who will be there?  some modern, some traditional, some spontaneous, some subdued,  some young, some still young at heart.   how does one provide food for 25 when some eat fish, some are off carbs,    some are gluten free and some eat it all?  same rules apply when prepping for a quilt meeting presentation - provide a little bit of a variety.

so, the hint to the presentation will be entitled (appropriately) 'serendipity to a 9-patch' .   using only donated fabric, i'm busily making 9-patch blocks.  serendipity is a noun, and i'm in a serendipitous (adjective) state of mind.

..............several days later - so fun, i can report.   the presentation was a success and everyone seemed to enjoy my serendipitous habit of  turning loose of the rules.   admittedly, my serendipity is only that....mine.  but everyone should every now and then stop following the rules and enjoy the spontaneity and surprise and pleasure of improv patchwork. 

there were definitely no rules while "Blue Vase" was under construction.   smile

Let there be blue days too ~

Perhaps I've never shared that I have blue days too!  As in indigo blue....perhaps I've never shared this quilt top with you....the one with my shibori hand dyed mixed in with other over-the-counter, yet wonderful fabric.

and life continues around here in many colors and hues ~ 

And the happiest of Spring days to you too ~

Vibrant red is my leading color on the first day of Spring...overshadowing all the rainy gloom we had in the winter solstice. 

It's My art quilt

It was a meeting in early 2019 when Sharon tells us that being president of the quilt guild allows her to send out challenges to the group and that her next challenge will be entitled "It's My Party......and I'll cry if I want to."  A song sung by many but Leslie Gore made it a memory for me.  Art quilt completion date and hang date is set for May.

I was in no mood for a party on that particular cold, dreary January day but being the trooper that I am,  came home and started working on ideas.   Let's see....what parties can one have in May.  Well, there is May Day where kids dance around the pole and Cinco de Mayo celebrating the Mexican heritage of many and of course, Mother's Day.  But my mind kept going back to an outside garden party with flowers in full bloom.   A tea party idea was out of the question as was a fish fry or steak cookout!

The final idea was off-the-wall-wild!  Flowers can have a party in the garden....can't they?

Step one was to make a background using minuscule scraps one on top of the other with raw edges exposed.  Flowers, leaves and stems were then appliqued onto the background in random fashion.

 Hand quilting and flower head embellishing came next for the final meow.

 Yes, it's a wild flower party and we're having a blast getting dressed up in style.

Hand-dyed in orange, these tangled threads made the perfect flower's head for a standout in the party crowd.

Here's the statement made for the quilt label and maker acknowledgement:

It's My Party....a wild flower party hosted by Crissy the Mum and attended by Rosey, Violet, Lily, Daisy and Iris.  Black Eyed Susan sent her regrets.  Zinnia served Rosemary her Sweet Violet tea and Aster brought her favorite Ginger snap cookies to pass around to all.  We like them wild at the wild flower party where there's no room for tears. 

Marty Mason
May, 2019 

.....and then there were crumbs ~

Having a goal is a good thing here in my room.  A couple of years ago, I was in a workshop taught by a fabulous teacher, Sue Welton, who loves diddling in thrift store finds with her special delight being men's shirts.  Blogged about here at Quilters' Guild Acadienne.

Friends and I collected shirts for a couple of seasons and shared pieces parts of each shirt with each other.  It was a great way to share so not too much of the same shirt showed up in each of our quilts.

Not having a good plan, I hung on to my shirt stash about as long as I could but finally realized there was a goal niggling in the back of my head - get rid of that stack of shirts since the space was needed  for other fabrics.  Those shirts had value so they couldn't be given away!  But,  I was growing tired of pushing them around from one fraction of the shelf to another. 

I started depleting the shirt stash with the challenge thrown out by The Root can read about that quilt here.   I even used the shirting to piece the backing and still had leftovers.  There was nothing left to do but to start another quilt.  Luck be with me, I found this little jewel of a pattern at The Quilting Digest.  My shirts worked wonderfully in each paper pieced log of this log cabin.

What was left?  I filled a little zip bag with the scraps crumbs and along with the printed pattern  tossed it as one would a bridal bouquet out in the group of quilters at our Thursday sew day.  Life is soooooo  good.

Unconventional and Unexpected Quilt-a-Long

Remembering the collection of thrift store cotton and linen shirts that needed to be cut and sewn! When Sujata Shah at the The Root Connection enticed me into this quilt-a-long, I new exactly where to go for just the right fabric.....thrift store shirts.....cotton and linen.   Yes, the Unconventional and Unexpected lives in my house. 

OH HOW FUN this one was to complete.  Inspired by a quilt found in Coal City, Alabama, quilt maker and quilt pattern unknown, made with scraps of cotton and 51 in Roderick Kiracofe's Unconventional & Unexpected (American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000).

With each improvisational pieced block, I  remembered how Grandma would sit and sew all her scraps together.  Remembering her humbleness and how thankful she was for her good life.   Her surroundings were not filled with riches, but her life was rich with inner peace and love.