Archive for the ‘Featured Participants’ Category

Is there any better combination?

Cotton and Chocolate is a wonderful quilt shop located in Thousand Oaks, California. Voted one of the Top Ten Shops by Quilt Sampler Magazine in 2012, this shop does some amazing things. I visited their booth at QuiltCon in Pasadena last February, and their samples were jaw-dropping!

I’m mentioning them here today because . . .

For their Saturday Sampler Club in 2017, they are doing the Hazel’s Diary quilt!!

And today is the sign-up day!


So if you’re anywhere near Thousand Oaks, get yourself to the quilt shop and sign up! If Cotton and Chocolate happens to be your local quilt shop, then consider me jealous. They’re limiting enrollment to 100 spots, and you can read all the details in their latest newsletter from their website.

I’ll be following their progress all year; I’m so excited to see their quilts!

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I’m here today to highlight a participant from the very first Hazel’s Diary Quilt-Along, the 1951 Quilt.

Susanne contacted me a few days ago to let me know she had finally finished her quilt.

And it’s fabulous! I’m always so thrilled to see yet another colorway and someone else’s take on the pattern, and Susanne used a wonderful zebra print in her quilt — along with all the bright colors in her blocks, it just zings . . .

Susanne blogged about her quilt, and you can go read all about it and see some more pictures by clicking HERE.

And thank you so much, Susanne, for sharing the post and pictures with us — your quilt is beautiful!

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I’ve received several pictures from participants of their finished blocks, which always makes me happy. It’s great to know that you are all quilting along with me and that you actually like the project!

I’m hard at work getting Block 4 ready to post. This requires equipment to be working properly, being able to find everything, and most of all, a little bit (OK, a lot) of concentration and focus on my part. Never has my ADD been more annoying to me than since we made this last move. I cannot believe how one little thing can so quickly lead me to something else, and on and on and on, until I’ve done nothing but follow rabbit trails all day and accomplished nothing at all!

Anyway, while you’re waiting for Block 4, which I’ll have ready in just a few more days, I thought I’d show you some pictures of what your fellow Quilt-Alongers have gotten done.

Here’s Diane’s Block 2:DianeBlock2

Heleen sent pictures of her Block 1:Heleens block 1

Her Block 2:Heleens block 2

And her Block 3:Heleens block 3

Kay has finished Block 3 as well:KayBlock3

And Stephanie took some awesome pictures of her Block 3 and even wrote a blog post of her own about it:StephanieBlk3

You can see more pictures and lots of close-ups of Stephanie’s block by clicking HERE.

I just love seeing all the color and stitch choices everyone is making!

If you have pictures of your finished blocks to show and would like to share them, just send them along to me, and I’ll keep doing these periodic posts to feature them. And thanks to those of you who have sent them so far!

Are you all ready for Block 4?

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I’m so impressed with you guys in this quilt-along so far. You’ve been so kind to send me pictures of your finished blocks. I absolutely LOVE seeing all the different colorways.

I just have to show them to everyone.

Here’s Kay’s Block 1. She’s using a Sulky variegated thread for at least the blue part, and I love the way it made her French knot flower look. I love the soft palette of this one.Here’s Kathy’s Block 1. I’m loving the purple and orange together. You can see a little snippet of her fabric at the edges that she’s pulling her colors from. Fabulous!Here’s Diane’s Block 1. The bright blue is wonderful! I haven’t seen Diane’s fabric choices, but this is sure making me wonder what they are! It can only be gorgeous, if this is any indication.Here’s Stephanie‘s Block 1. She and I must be twins separated at birth — we’re crushing on the same color palette lately. She added some yellow into hers. She’s also posted lots more photos and close-up shots of her block on her own blog. You can click HERE to see those.

Thanks, ladies, for sending me the pictures. I can hardly wait to see what you do with the rest of the blocks, and what your finished projects turn out like!

If you’ve finished a block and want to send me pictures, I’ll be thrilled to post some more. I know Marge has one almost done, in gorgeous colors, and my friend, Rose Marie, is doing bluework on hers in the most vivid blue imaginable. I also know my sister is making one, but she won’t show me hers — she’s being all secretive and crap — makes me wanna beat her.

I’ll be back with more news tomorrow, and possibly even that Alternate Project for Block 2 that I promised a while back. Block 3 is scheduled to come out next Monday, too, so all this should keep you busy! I know it’s keeping ME hopping!

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It’s time once again for another Featured Participant.

This time I’m introducing you all to my best friend, Rose Marie.

She obviously had no choice but to join in the Quilt-Along!

I asked Rose Marie to tell us how she came to be a quilter . . .

“I was in my 40’s and I decided that I would quilt.  I bought a cheater cloth and quilted it with puffy batting.  It was less than wonderful.  I decided to dig in and do better.  So I appliqued some little dogs onto muslin and set those together with green print sashing. Better! But still a long way to go. Then I met my friend Shelly, and as they say, ‘the rest was history.’”

Rose Marie took to quilting like a fish to water, and I wondered where she considers herself in her quilting journey, given all the different things she’s tried just since I’ve known her.

“I would say I’m an intermediate quilter, but if anyone else who had had a quilt accepted to the AQS show said that, I would cry foul.  Still, I don’t consider myself advanced because there is always so much more to learn.  But I may have peaked and be on the downhill slide and don’t even know it!!  Time will tell.”

I really don’t think Rose Marie is on the downhill side of anything. She DID have a quilt accepted into the AQS Show in Des Moines, and there was no foul about it. You can see that quilt HERE.

I know Rose Marie has done mystery quilts before, because I’ve been right there beside her doing them, too! She says: “I love a good mystery in both books and quilting.”

Then I asked her a trick question: “Why did you decide to join the Quilt-Along?” She gave a stellar answer: “Shelly is my best friend and my best quilting teacher.  It was a no-brainer for me.”

She adds, “I’m glad I did because the quilt is wonderful, although I did have to go to the creator of the Quilt-along for help.  But she can tell you that I often challenge the most able teachers.” That is true. In fact, we have an agreement that she is not allowed in any of my quilting classes!

When questioned about where she got the fabrics for her Quilt-Along quilt, she confesses, “I used what was in my stash and had to substitute about 1/4 yard into a few of the blocks because one piece I used was actually a little too small.” I would have been completely shocked if she had thought she needed to go shopping for this quilt. I’ve seen her stash! Aren’t her choices great?

I know she had one spot of trouble making the quilt, and I take the blame for it because others have said the same thing. It’s Setting Block 5. I drug it out entirely too long, and it caused folks to get a little lost. Rose Marie says of it: “One of the setting blocks could be labeled as the block from hell . . . or maybe I am just the participant from hell.” Haha! No . . .

I asked her if there was anything else she’d like everyone to know, and she ended with, “I think I have already told too much!!  Let’s save something for the next mystery.”

Thanks, Rose Marie, for being a Featured Participant, altho, once again, you didn’t really have a choice!

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I’m way overdue for featuring another participant. But finally I’m back, and this time, we’re hearing from KarenC.

Karen begins by telling us, “I’ve always loved fabrics and needle work of any type, thanks to my Mom. She is very talented in the needle arts. Her Mom was a quilter so I grew up with her lovely quilts in our home. I’d always wanted to learn about quilting but it wasn’t until 2008, when I was pregnant with my daughter, that I decided to teach myself.  So I started with a little patchwork taggy blanket. Then I eventually found quilt-alongs on the internet and figured this was the best way to teach myself. After doing this quilt-along, I finally think of myself as a quilter, because I learned so much from it.

Humbly, she adds, “Considering those that have quilted for decades, I know I have much to learn.”

Karen had never tried a mystery quilt before, but says she was glad this one was a mystery, “because if I’d seen the finished quilt, I’m sure that I would have been too intimidated to try it.” I’m certainly glad she tried it!

Karen decided to join the Quilt-Along after “Crafty Maine Mom mentioned it on my blog one day and Cindy FL on Flickr, that it wasn’t too late to join. So I started reading and the more I read about Hazel, and seeing the beautiful blocks that were created, the more intrigued I was. I could see that I would learn a great deal if I tried it and seeing Shelly’s detailed instructions, I felt I should give it a try.”

“I’m so very happy that I did this quilt-along! I learned so many new things. Everything from the fast-flying geese, to putting borders on properly, to the binding method.  All were new to me. It really was like an on-line quilting course for me.”

I asked Karen if she bought fabric for her quilt, or if she shopped at home in her stash. She says, “I used what I had in my stash already. I didn’t want to buy anything new because when the local quilt store went out of business, I’d bought a fair amount then. So I played around with fabric combinations, ‘stealing’ from various projects, until I came up with what I thought fit Shelly’s descriptions of what was needed.”

I also asked her if she had any trouble making the quilt: “Not in following any of Shelly’s instructions, because they were so well done.  Only in keeping the accurate 1/4″ seam allowance.  It still seems to evade me.  So I made sure to keep squaring up the pieces as I went along so I wasn’t too far off on the finished block. One of my blocks was too small but I used freezer paper to help me piece it in the final assembly, which seemed to work well.”

“It took me awhile to completely finish it because I couldn’t decide whether to send it out for someone to quilt it for me or try it myself.  I finally decided to do it myself. I kept it simple and just used my walking foot to go around the blocks and inner border. I made a ‘hidden’ label for the corner, which flips over to view the information. Since I wanted it to be a wall quilt, I’ve made a sleeve already for it to hang.”

Karen, I love your fabric selections, and I think your quilt turned out beautifully. Congratulations, and thanks so much for being a Featured Participant!

If you’d like to see more pictures of Karen’s quilt, and see what else she’s up to, just go visit her blog here: For the Love of Needle and Thread.

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It’s time once again for a Featured Participant. This time I’m talking to CathyP.

Cathy got hooked on quilting when her daughter asked for help making a quilt. She’s been quilting since the fall of 2006 when she got a new sewing machine. She says she learns new techniques with every quilt. (Don’t we all?)

This is not Cathy’s first mystery quilt. She has previously made Bonnie Hunter’s Double Delight, and is currently working on Bonnie’s Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll mystery.

I asked Cathy why she decided to join the Quilt-Along, and she said, “I was hoping to learn some new techniques.  I liked the flying geese technique you taught us,” adding that she is glad she joined in on the Quilt-Along.

Although she said she could have found fabric in her stash to make the quilt, she instead bought fabric for this project, because, as she says, “Shopping is fun, too!” I definitely agree with that!

I also asked Cathy if she had any trouble making the quilt. She answered: “The main trouble that I typically have is the difference in mediums and lights.  I changed a fabric in my quilt after a few blocks.”

I think her quilt turned out wonderfully. It’s got that soft blended look about it, but is also very bright and cheery.

Cathy says, “I hope to make the quilt into a wall hanging for my office.  It will certainly add some color to my walls.”

Yes, I believe it will! Thanks, Cathy, for sharing your quilt with us.

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This week we have another Featured Participant, Mary. Mary says she started piecing quilts about 45-50 years ago . . . “probably my mother’s influence, I don’t really remember but she was a seamstress and she pieced quilts. I have never considered myself a ‘quilter’ as I rarely hand quilt them. I usually have them machine quilted by someone else. I have quilted one or two regular sized quilts but usually just hand quilt smaller things as it doesn’t take me long to become tired of it.” (Wow, can I relate to that!)

Mary also adds, “I only like to piece things that have straight edges; do not like to do the curved things or applique both of which I have done but don’t enjoy it.” Girl knows what she likes!

Mary has made lots of mystery quilts before. She says her favorite is the first one she did, “and it is on the back of my couch — a 4×6 foot throw and I hand quilted it.” She belonged to a quilt club for years: the Care and Share Quilters. “We did what it sounds like we did — made quilts which we put on a frame and hand quilted for people who had burned out or needed a quilt. We usually did a mystery quilt every couple of years . . . that is one of the things that attracted me to the Hazel Ilene quilt along.”

Deanna of Wedding Dress Blue influenced me when it came to joining the quilt along. Hers was the first quilting blog I had ever read, and I got that from a newsletter from a local quilt shop that I had visited from our Middle of the Mitten quilt shop hop last year.”

What’s the “Middle of the Mitten”? Mary tells us the lower peninsula of Michigan is shaped like a mitten –“if you hold our your left hand with the thumb on the right that is what Michigan’s lower peninsula looks like. I live in the ‘thumb’. Anyway they included a link to get the 10-minute table runner pattern and it was Deanna’s or could be the quilt shop she works at and I went from there. As I said I love mystery quilts and when I went over to check it out it really interested me. It was so much fun.”

I asked Mary if she was glad she joined the Quilt-Along, and she said, “I am glad I did. Had I not liked it I would have quit on the spot. I enjoyed reading about Hazel Ilene and also following the pattern. I admire you so much for all the time you had to have put into writing that quilt the way you did. It made it fun and exciting. I really enjoyed it.” I’m blushing . . . what a sweet thing to say. (I enjoyed every minute of it my ownself, and I am extremely grateful for every participant.)

Mary says, “My only new year’s resolution this year was that I would not buy any fabric unless it would be the backing of a quilt. I have collected fabric for years and have so much of it, so decided this is the year I am going to use it up, so I only used my stash.” Way to go, Mary! If only I had that much willpower.

To choose her fabrics, Mary enlisted a bit of help. “My daughter and family was here a couple of weeks this past summer and I had just found your quilt along and so got out my fabric and she helped me pick out the pieces. Since one of her favorite color combinations is greens and purples she picked out these. It worked out good although for some reason I thought it was going to turn out darker. So many of my fabrics were darker but it turned out nice. I tend to make my quilts on the darker side. I haven’t sent her the picture yet but I am sure she is going to want it when I do so I will have it quilted for her.” I think it turned out VERY nice, and Mary’s daughter is in for a wonderful gift!

Mary, too, had trouble with that darn Setting Block 5. She said she “kept having to do it over and never got it quite right but it looks ok,” then adds, “I thought it was a fun quilt to make. Turned out to be a great pattern. The instructions were written so clearly and the pictures were great.” Well, except for Setting Block 5, right?

Now get this part . . . Mary is 74 years old, the same age as Hazel! She is a widow with one daughter and 5 grandchildren, and says of herself: “I love to sew and most every day I do some. I have 4-5 other quilts started and will finish them one of these days. I find a pattern, get the fabric together, start it and put it away along with the pattern . . . a bad habit of mine.” Don’t worry, Mary, I have that same bad habit!

Thanks so much, Mary, for being a Featured Participant. Your quilt is beautiful.

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I had too much going on last week to write a Featured Participant post, but I’m back this week with Featured Participant #3, ChrisD.

Chris started quilting about 18 years ago.  She says: “I always wanted to learn, but never had the opportunity until I met a friend who was a quilter. She showed me the basics and off I went. It was hard the first few years since we lived in Germany and there were no quilt shops. We would place an order with Hancocks every month and wait eagerly for our new treasures to arrive. I did a lot of smocking at that time and loved doing hand work. I still love hand work and, in a perfect world, I would spend all my days hand quilting.”

She adds, “I can do just about any technique that I set my mind to, but I am also very traditional so I don’t try artsy type methods. While art quilts are incredibly lovely, they are just not my style.”

Chris says this is not her first mystery quilt. She’s done one other, and says it turned out beautifully, adding, “It took about five years for me to finish though, LOL. It was Debbie Caffrey’s Cat’s Meow (the link is on my blog) The quilt can be seen here: Cat’s Meow. This mystery was with our quilt guild in Cody, WY and everyone had theirs done sooner. I am just a little slow at times. There were too many distractions at that time in my life.”

I asked Chris why she decided to join the Hazel’s Diary Quilt-Along, and she said, “The idea of a journey through the life of a teen in 1951 was the most appealing part of the QAL. It was a unique hook to draw my interest.”

“I am soooo glad I was able to participate. I had a number of times where I was not sure that I would finish the quilt, but I learned new skills and saw various methods of block construction that I had not considered before. This was the fist time I did a QAL and was able to share with other quilters in blogs and Flickr. Shelly went out of her way to make it fun. There were recipes, tidbits of history, giveaways.”

When I asked her where she got her fabrics, she confessed, “You know, I am a little skeptical when it comes to mystery quilts. For both that I have done, I used what was in my stash so if I did not like the end result, I would not have spent a lot of money on new fabric. Isn’t that terrible??? But, I love the fabric in my stash, so it was stuff I liked anyway. The truth is, I love how the quilt turned out so my skepticism was needless.” (I’m sure glad of that!)

I asked her if she had any problems making the quilt. She recalls: “The only problem I had making the quilt was on setting block #5.  The instructions were so drawn out, over a period of months, that I kept losing my place (call it an Oma moment). Other than that, it was perfect. The only flaws were in my own sewing (just don’t look too close)! The instructions were so detailed that it was hard to go wrong. Anyone, at any level can do this beautiful quilt.”

(So if you had trouble with Setting Block 5, too, you are not alone. My best friend still doesn’t have her Setting Block 5 finished, and it’s all my fault! At the time I didn’t realize I was dragging it out so long – something for ME to keep in mind if I do another Quilt-Along.)

Chris closes with the following advice: “I can only say that if you have not joined in a QAL, do it!!  The support you get from your fellow bloggers and quilters is just plain ole fun. There are so many options out there and it seems like many of us do the same ones. You kinda get to know the other quilters pretty well through their blogs and their quilts.”

Thanks, Chris, for being one of our Featured Participants!

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Our next Featured Participant is actually a pair of participants: Jennifer and her mother, Pat. I think it’s so sweet that they did the Quilt-Along together.

Pat says she’s been sewing for 50 years, but started quilting about 25 years ago when a group of friends got together and made a wedding quilt for another friend. Here’s a shot of Pat’s finished quilt:Jennifer grew up sewing around her mother but really started quilting when the first of her friends got married 6 years ago. She says, “I wanted to make them a wedding quilt like my mom always did.” Here is Jennifer’s finished quilt:While Pat only considers herself an intermediate quilter, and says she tries to learn more with each quilt she makes, Jennifer considers her mother to be an advanced quilter. Jennifer says of herself: “I know a little about every technique, not enough to be great at any one thing!”

Although Pat has done a mystery quilt before, this was Jennifer’s first, and it was Jennifer that challenged her mother to join in on this Quilt-Along! Jennifer said she had never done a Quilt-Along before, and that this “seemed an easy way to start.”

They both admit that they are glad they participated, and Jennifer adds, “Very glad I did especially since I convinced my mom to do it as well. We live 2000 miles apart so it was fun to share the experience.” How’s that for quilting together?

They both used a mixture of fabrics from stash and fabrics purchased specifically for the Quilt-Along in their quilts. Here’s Pat’s choices:

And Jennifer’s:

Thankfully, they neither one had any trouble getting their quilt assembled, although Jennifer did say, “The hardest part was that the pieces were so small! I did the smaller version and didn’t realize things would be so tiny. By about the 6th block, I finally got comfortable with it and rolled on.” Looks like she did just fine to me! What do you think?Pat adds, “I love the fact that I inspired my daughter to begin quilting!” Jennifer says, “It’s so fun to share this hobby with my mom, or just anyone, find people to swap ideas with, it makes everything better.”

I’d have to agree with that!

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