Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pre-Market Busy-ness

It's always a little crazy right before Spring or Fall Market and this year is no exception. With two weddings to plan for this Spring, we decided that there would be no way we would be able to attend Spring Market and share new quilts. Wedding quilts, yes, new quilts, probably not. The weddings were our priority!! But as luck would have it, Paula did design 1 new line of fabric and she was asked to design a "fat-quarter friendly" quilt featuring a previous collection.

Timing is very important in fabric design. Once Paula designs and decides on the final fabrics for a collection, it has to go into production and that takes place overseas. Then we began the waiting game.  Paula has designed the quilt, but we are waiting for the fabric to arrive so I can start piecing. Luckily Marcus Fabrics was able to send us some yardage of Paula's new collection, Red Rose and Vine (yummy blacks and reds), so that became my focus for our mini-retreat.  And luckily Paula was there as I pieced the blocks.  Designing a quilt without the actual fabric can be a bit of a challenge and in this case Paula decided the design needed to be tweaked. I was able to piece all of the blocks at the retreat and actually pieced the majority of the top when I was back home and that's when we went back into a holding pattern. The large floral print wasn't quite ready, so it couldn't be shipped. The fabric arrived last Monday, the borders were added last Tuesday, it was on the longarm machine by Thursday afternoon and off to be bound by Friday evening.  It will be in Salt Lake City on Wednesday morning and hanging in the Marcus Fabrics booth by Wednesday afternoon.  Whew!! Old City Gates was truly an all-village effort!!!  Special thanks to Lynn Graham and Cathy Peters of Palm Tree Longarm Quilting and Linda Bowman for binding.

Now let me share a picture of this gorgeous collection, and part of the finished quilt top (remember, it is not quilted).  I haven't even seen it quilted yet! Red Rose and Vine will be debuting at Spring Market and should be in your local quilt stores in July.
Red Rose and Vine - reds, blacks, lights, stripes and large floral print - what's not to love!

Corner of Old City Gates - can't wait to see it quilted!

I also finished our "fat-quarter friendly" Heritage Stars that features Paula's Heritage Red collection.  Our dear friend and fellow retreater, Pat Meeks, graciously took it home with her for some tight stipple quilting.  I honestly don't know what we would do without these wonderful people!! 
Heritage Stars

Old City Gates and Heritage Stars patterns will be added to our website after Market.  We will also have kits for Heritage Stars in the Heritage Reds fabrics and in fabrics from Paula's Peppery collection.  That's next up on the piecing list!  

It should be a busy summer - Paula's brain seems to be in overdrive.  I talked with her today and she's designing and planning new collections and quilts for Fall Market and new quilts for our second book!  Yup, we're doing another one!!  I've already finished one quilt and another one just needs a border.  Paula is working on two new quilts and there are all sorts of designs floating around for more!

If you are attending Spring Market in Salt Lake City, be sure to visit the Marcus Fabrics booth, #2231.  Old City Gates and Heritage Stars will be displayed there.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen and Paula  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mini-retreat fun

As is always the case with our retreats, we had a fantastic time at our mini-retreat in April. Paula was able to fly-in on Wednesday and we kicked off our long weekend with lunch with our dear friend Phyllis Anderson, author of Diamond Quilts.  We met Phyllis on the quilt show circuit and became fast friends.  Phyllis and her husband Bob live near Sarasota, so I get to see them pretty often.  I have to say that we are all looking pretty good in this picture!!
ME (actually having a good hair day), Phyllis and Paula
We always do a bunch of sewing at the retreat, but I wanted to share the other "fun" things that were going on. On Saturday, Gloria taught a group of six to make a basket.  It was pretty neat to watch and I have plans in my future to make a basket too.  I'm sure you will be wondering why Sara is wearing a large garbage bag while she makes her basket! She was wearing a brand new shirt and using dyed reed to make her basket and when she wet the reed it was starting to run on to her shirt.  Vicky came to rescue and made her a plastic smock! Thank you Vicky!
Gloria and Paula - looking very serious
Gloria, Sara and Tami (Sara's daughter)

Paula and her completed basket.  She stained it when she got back home.
Sunday found Vicky, Paula and I making a last minute run to Rachel's Farmhouse for some much needed items.  Thank you Cindy for staying open for us!!  Paula found 2 great antique quilts, Vicky bought some fabric, but I think I had the most fun - a big galvanized bucket and a beautiful wooden bench found their way home with me.  I've been lamenting the fact that I have run out of places to put quilts and have been forced to store some in a closet.  My new purchases have helped.  Prior to the retreat I asked Gloria if she had a basket to replace the one that I was currently storing quilts in, but was falling apart (bottom falling out!) and she came through for me.  We weren't home an hour and Paula already had the bench decorated and the basket full.  I also had just ordered a collapsible laundry basket, so it was quickly filled up.  Only the bucket remains empty, but it just needs a good cleaning before it is put to work.  The closet should be empty again soon!!
Oh yeah, we had fun!
My "new" old basket from Gloria

My new bench

Collapsible laundry basket filled with quilts
These ladies are all part of our exchanges, so this time we had a couple of completed Star Block exchange quilts.  Congrats to Sara and Anjie for finishing theirs.  I love how the quilts look so different with the different alternate block and sashing colors. Mine is on my bucket list, but I did manage to finish my Churn Dash exchange quilt this Spring.
Sara and Anjie and their quilts
 I worked on quilts for Spring Market, which I will share in the next post in just another day or two!

Until next time,
Happy quilting,
Mary Ellen and Paula