August 26, 2010

A Home for the Eclipse Quilt

Desiree Brugman was the winner of our Eclipse Charity Quilt. She dropped us a line to let us know the quilt arrived safely. Her initial reaction was priceless. She said:
My daughter Maddie's reaction was, "Its huge! It's so pretty!" And all Meagan could say was, "Wow mom!" As for me, all I could do was smile and touch it. It's absolutely breath taking!

She sent us another note with a photo of her girls holding the quilt and we'd like to share that with you.
We were thrilled with the quilt! You can't just call it a quilt though, its a true piece of art. The girls and I have looked at and touched each square. The work that was put into it is amazing. Of course we each have our favorite square. Mine is the imprinting, Maddie's is Rosalie's and Meagan likes the tent scene. My husband couldn't pick just one; he liked the whole quilt, but was real impressed with the ribbon that runs through it. We're going to use it as a wall hanging over our sofa. That way everyone can enjoy it. I am still amazed we won this. We can't wait to see what you girls come up with for Breaking Dawn (we're anxious to see the movie too!). Thanks so much for the quilt and your love of Twilight. I'm proud to say yes, I am one of those Twilight people, a Twilight Mom as a matter of fact!

Congratulations to Desiree and her girls, Maddie and Meagan! We would also like to thank every one who donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. We believe it is an important cause.

August 9, 2010

And the winner is.....

We would like to congratulate Desiree Brugman, along with her daughters Maddie (9 yo) and Meagan (8yo) from Texas on winning the Eclipse Quilt!

Once again thanks to everyone who participated in our Eclipse Give-To-Win.  Thank you for your support and your interest.  


August 7, 2010

Stephenie Meyer talks about our quilt!!!

Yesterday Twilight Lexicon posted part of the Eclipse Junket interview done by where Stephenie Meyer says the quilt we gifted her, Piece, Love, Twilight, is lovely!!!!

Letters to Twilight posed the question: So what have you been given where you’re, like, “Oh! Okay…that’s interesting…”

Stephenie's response: What’s the weirdest thing I’ve been given? I been given some really amazing stuff, because someone gave me a quilt that…….I mean, I don’t have words. It’s amazing. Each square was made by someone different. And they depict scenes from different scenes from the book. And it’s lovely.

Here is the audio of the interview.

Here is Stephenie's Quilt:

You can see the post at Twilight Lexicon here and the entire transcript is here.


August 5, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: Thanks for all the support

The Eclipse Give-to-Win is officially closed.  We'd like to thank everyone who has shown interest in our work and everyone who has donated.  We are proud of everyone involved in this project.  Together we raised $1729 for ALSF!!!  Stay tuned, the lucky winner will be announced August 10th. 


July 29, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: The Finishing Touches

Ok, my last post was a huge I'm going to keep this one short and SWEET!  Here are the pretty pictures of the finished quilt, so you can see all the yummy quilting Angie did on it :clap:!

I took these photos outside with the morning sun at an angle, hoping to get that quilting to show up.  It was done with invisible thread, also called monofilament thread, so that it wouldn't interfere with the designs.  Not sure what brand Angie used, we'll have to do a post exploring the do's and don'ts of invisible thread sometime in the future :wink:.

It's a shame the camera still doesn't capture the full sparklingness of this quilt.  All the shimmery Fairy Frosts, rhinestones and beads, and thanks to that invisible thread, all the quilting sparkles in the sun! Mouse over the lower right corner for the controls to stop the slide show for a better look at the pictures.


July 22, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: It's All in the Details

The most difficult aspect of this quilt was the ribbon. How can you mimic the Eclipse book cover ribbon with fabric? One that is interrupted by 20 blocks? The easiest way would have been to put the blocks together with sashing, mark up where the outline of the ribbon needed to go, cut out pieces from one color of red, and fuse them on. But then you get an outline of a ribbon, with no depth and the ribbon pieces really wouldn't form a coherent unified piece. Plus it would look like a tacky afterthought, even if it were stitched along the edges. I wanted the ribbon to look like part of the background, not slapped on top.

To achieve the look I was going for, I would need multiple shades of red in order to show that it is flowing and folding around, with lighter and darker areas. I started out by opening an image of the Eclipse book cover in Photoshop. I tried my hand with the pen tool, outlining the ribbon shape, but that still looked blocky. I then tried the magic wand tool, trying to select just certain color sections, but there are too many shades of the color in a high def image to easily select distinct sections.

And then the Photoshop Guru (my husband) gave me a tip that was an "aha" moment. He took one look at what I was doing one evening as we were watching TV on the couch together (I rarely watch TV without doing something else at the same time) and calmly said, "just Posterize it". I stared glassy eyed at him till he told me what it meant, we looked to see if my "inferior" Photoshop Elements version had it (so far it's been able to do everything that the super expensive CS version does), and we tried it out.

I tried to find an official definition/ tutorial on what it does, but everything out there sounds too complicated or tells you how to use it for other things. And I'm not going to make this post a Photoshop tutorial, it's going to be long enough already. Basically it takes your high quality image and reduces the number of different tones in your image. It makes it look more cartoon-like. So I went from the image on top, with who knows how many tones of the image on the bottom, in which I specified I only wanted 4 tones. Three tones was too simple, didn't provide the depth I was looking for, and I didn't want to look for more than 4 different fabrics to use!

So then I went shopping! For Fairy Frost! Online at our favorite place to shop for FF, Mary Jo's, of course (the shops around here don't carry more than one or two colors). At first I tried doing this combination of reds: a mottled red batik (for the shadow – don't know what it's called) with Scarlet, Blood, and Pomegranate Fairy Frosts.

As you can see there just isn't enough contrast. There is no definition between the 3 Fairy Frosts. I went looking around again, searching locally and online, and even considered just dying some of the Snow (white) FF I had, but finally found a lighter pink color called Lipstick at Fat Quarter Shop. I cringed at the pinkness of it, but one thing I have found over the years is that I tend to not use enough contrast and things look washed out. So I rearranged colors and came up with a new quadruple: the mottled red batik with Scarlett, Pomegranate, and Lipstick Fairy Frosts.

The next challenge was piecing it into the background. At first I thought I would piece it with rectangle and half-square triangles into a "rough" ribbon. I even drafted it up that way in my design (see the second picture above). The fact that it wouldn't be a solid background, but would be in the sashing between 20 blocks and 20 quotes was an obstacle. There was no way around the fact that I would be making things more complicated needing to piece around the blocks and quotes. I couldn't think of how to piece it easily, but I did find a wonderful technique for piecing curves. Fiber artist Dale Fleming has a technique called "Pieced Curves So Simple" and I looked at this tutorial on HGTV to figure it out. I'd previously done regular piecing and paper piecing but this is a whole new method, and it was actually super easy. The curves come together nicely, it was the piecing between all the blocks and quotes that had me yanking hair out!

Here is a quick overview of how the curvy parts worked: I drafted up my design to scale in Photoshop, meaning the quilt was to be 58" x 62", and my design canvas size was 58" x 62". It made for a slow file to work with, but I didn't want to deal with scaling. I had the grid showing on the file and I went through and methodically printed a paper template for each 8" x 10" section that had ribbon on it. I pinned the templates on my design wall behind the prepped blocks and sections of black/grey background fabric sashing. (And if anyone knows a quicker way than manually hitting "print" and giving it the coordinates each time, let me know!) You can see that the ribbon is made up of paper.

Unfortunately I wasn't thinking ahead and did not take photos of the process, but I'll try to describe it as well as I can and include the couple of photos I have. For each section, I cut the separate template colors apart. I used the templates to cut each corresponding fabric, with a roughly 1/2" seam allowance. Then along the inner curve I clipped the seam allowance and folded it over the paper. Using a washable fabric glue stick I lightly tacked down the seam allowance to the back of the paper template. I then lightly ironed it so that it had a crisp edge. I placed the "outer color" (which has the paper template attached) on top of the "inner" color and tacked down just that seam allowance to the bottom color (you can see in this first photo that I've re-taped the two darker reds, cut the shape of the pink and already folded it over the paper template and tacked down to the reds).

Then I peeled off the top "outer color" from it's paper backing to get to the crisp folded edge, and sewed along that seam (in the 2nd photo). Then I removed the paper backing all together, and ironed to smooth it out. I basically "built up" each section this way.

It may sound complicated, and unfortunately I don't have a "tutorial" of my own photos, but it actually is no harder than paper piecing. You just have the extra steps of cutting your pieces into a curves, clipping the seam allowances, and gluing the fabric around the edge of the paper before sewing them together.

This fourth picture shows a clipped edge already sewn onto the reds/pink with the paper removed.

To re-cap the process: I started with an image of the ribbon, I made it into a "cartoon" with only four shades of color . . . and this is the end result:

July 20, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: The beginnings

As we come upon the last two weeks of our Donate to Win fundraiser for Alex's Lemonade Stand, I thought it would be fun to share with everyone some more details about this one of a kind quilt and how it came about.  If you've been reading our blog for some time you'll know that we all met just last winter/spring and in just one year we've been busy with several group projects, all through online and mail collaboration.  The first big one was the quilt we gifted Stephenie Meyer (spring/summer '09) and then our first for charity project, the New Moon Quilt (fall '09).  In February we started planning our third "big" project, also for charity and on our TwilightMOMs Eclipse Charity Quilt thread we opened a call for designs.   Eclipse is my favorite of the "published" books in the Saga, and immediately I felt inspired to make a design for the quilt.  I had seen a small wall hanging quilt in a magazine that looked nothing like I wanted, but had the suggestion of a ribbon running around blocks and felt that a ribbon had to be incorporated somehow.

My first attempt looked like this--------------------------------->
But I wasn't satisfied with how blocky it was, and no matter how much I played with the "ribbon", made up of rectangle and half square triangle pieces, I couldn't get it to look right.
But having everything revolving around a central Eclipse was something that I liked.

In the previous two quilts, it frustrated me that we had to narrow down to only a couple of quotes.  But this done for good reasons: one they were embroidered, so they had to be big enough to be feasible; and two the blocks were the star of the show.   But I love Stephenie's characters and so much of what they say.  If I could, I'd have the whole Saga quoted on my walls!  Recently I've been experimenting with printing on fabric, both the "printable fabric" you can buy, and making my own, and I thought this would be a great way to incorporate more quotes since they can be smaller and still be legible.

<----I have an Edward Cullen fan-made calendar that has this page I really like.   As a scrapbooker, having the scenes shown as labeled "polaroids"  seems so fun to me.  And it's a way to incorporate those quotes I so desperately love.

So I thought, why not make the whole quilt look like a scrapbook page: the Eclipse book cover as the "background"; the appliqued Eclipse as an "embellishment"; the blocks as the "photos"; and the pertinent quotes as the "journaling".  Here was attempt#2 -------------------->

They were the only designs submitted by our deadline and we put them up for vote.   Someone suggested changing the polaroid effect for a framed photo with a separate jouraling tag under each, which has a much cleaner, sophisticated look.  And thus the design evolved to this (with temporary "sample" blocks):

Check back tomorrow to see how the ribbon evolved from something blocky to the flowy ribbon on the Eclipse cover.
(and for some good Photoshop tips!)



July 10, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: Help Us Spread the Word

No doubt, you've seen the movie by now and so you're more excited than ever about getting a chance to win our Eclipse quilt! We donated our time, talents and materials to create this quilt in order to raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a charity close to the hearts of the Twilight Fandom. We're collecting donations for ALSF and in addition to your donation (for which we are very grateful), you can also help us by spreading the word! Blog about our quilt and grab one of our buttons to display in your sidebar.

Small Button - 150 pixels wide

Eclipse Give-to-Win Quilt

Large Button - 220 pixels wide

Eclipse Give-to-Win Quilt

We are accepting donations through August 1, 2010 and the winner will be announced on August 10, 2010.

If you blog about us or even just display our button, leave us a comment with a link to your blog and we'll stop by and visit you!

June 3, 2010

Presenting: The Eclipse Give-to-Win Charity Quilt

We've given you a little preview of this special one of a kind Eclipse quilt we've been working on, and now it's time for the grand reveal!
Eclipse Quilt,Iris

This special quilt is being given away to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a charity close to the hearts of the Twilight Fandom. See Peter (the embodiment of our beloved Dr. Carlisle Cullen) Facinelli's promotional video for ALSF below.

Give to win? How does this work? Simple! Donate $5 to ALSF through our PayPal button here on the blog or on the Eclipse charity Give-to-Win page and you’ll get a chance to win this original, one of a kind beauty.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any Twilight Saga fan! A handmade, Eclipse themed quilt made by the members of the TQC, and just in time for the movie release! To make it extra special, the quilt has 3 autographs from the saga's actors: Peter Facinelli (Carlisle Cullen), Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley), and Daniel Cudmore (Felix)! For every $5 increment donation, you get a chance to win. Give $5, get 1 chance; give $20, get 4 chances, etc. (so the more you give, the more chances you get to win!). Donations will be accepted from June 4, 2010 until August 1, 2010. The winner will be announced on August 10, 2010. We promise to not share your personal info with any other party. Your name will be posted on our website if you are the winner, but nothing more. So remember to make sure your contact info is correct in your PayPal account so we can contact you if you win. Please give generously! And who knows? You might have this gorgeous quilt in your hands!

Twilight Quilters Coven
Angie, Cat, Elizabeth, Iris, Jerri Lynn, Joyce, Kate, Mel and Wanda

May 26, 2010

The Virtues of Fairy Frost

Fairy Frost is a fabric line by Michael Miller and is a favorite in our group because it is shiny and sometimes even sparkly. As we all know, vampires sparkle and since we quilt about vampires, Fairy Frost is a great pick. (Comments with the words real vampires don't sparkle, or any combination thereof, will be immediately deleted. It is not up for debate, but next time you meet a real vampire, you can ask him and then we'll discuss.) Elizabeth (that's me) has been named the Queen :queen: of the Fairy Frost because of my large stash (50 colors and counting, pictured in part above) and frequent use of Fairy Frost in my Twilight quilt blocks. I named Angie the Fairy Frost :princess: Princess. See why here.

Fairy Frost comes in a rainbow of colors, each with a really cool name. Generally the color is tonal and splotchy with a pearlescent or metallic overlay. These have a really nice shimmer to them. Sometimes the overlay is pearlescent and metallic, which gives it a kind of shimmery marbled effect (Natural Fairy Frost). There are a few colors like Aqua, Diamond, Evergreen, Garland, Glimmer, Holly Berry, Platinum and Twinkle which have a glitter overlay.

The least expensive place we've found for Fairy Frost is MaryJo's, a fabric mecca in North Carolina with mountains of fabrics at thimble-sized prices (just in case you thought I was clever enough to come up with that terrific, albeit slightly mixed, metaphor, it's their tag-line. I totally stole it off their site). Unlike most other on-line fabric stores, their shipping is flat-rate and so sometimes that makes up for the great discount on their fabrics when you factor that into the total cost. However, they do have a great selection. If you are looking for a certain color of Fairy Frost (or other fabrics as well) and MaryJo's doesn't have it, is a great tool because you can search by name and then comparison shop for the best price.

If you're not sold on Fairy Frost yet, and Twilight and quilting about vampires isn't your cup of tea how'd you end up here? you can add a little shimmer to more traditional quilting. Check out this amazing quilt that Angie is working on for her neighbor. The turquoise and olive checkers are Fairy Frost as is the coral. They really make this quilt.

Here's a bigger shot of the quilt, called Autumn in New England, and you can read about how this quilt came to be on Angie's blog.

You would think we were getting paid to advertise Fairy Frost. But we're not. Michael Miller, if you're out there trolling blogs for people who think Fairy Frost is fabulous, we're your number 1 fans (and we wouldn't mind if you sent something fabulous and shiny our way)!

May 24, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Piece, Love, Twilight

We are excited to participate in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side. The Blogger's Quilt Festival is an on-line tour of quilters in action. It is open to everyone with a blog and a love of quilting. If you'd like to participate, you can find more information here.

The quilt we are featuring for the Festival is Piece, Love, Twilight: A Quilt for Stepehnie Meyer. We created it as a tribute to her amazing series, the Twilight books.
We live scattered across the United States, Canada and even have a member in Australia. When we began work on this quilt we'd never met each other in person. We coordinated design and blocks on a thread at TwilightMOMS. We brainstormed ideas chose blocks that we thought best represented the books. Each of us signed up for blocks that interested us and when they were completed, they were to Elizabeth for assembly. When the top was complete, Elizabeth mailed the quilt to Vivian, who did a beautiful custom quilting job on it and then hand-delivered the quilt back to Elizabeth for binding and a label.

Elizabeth (l) and Vivian (r), July 8, 2009

When the quilt was finished, we entered it in the Springville Art Museum quilt show where it won Best Group Quilt with a $100 prize (which was donated to ALSF) and the Pacific International Quilt Festival.

Several of our group members came to visit the quilt while it was at the Springville Art Museum, but not everybody could meet on the same day.
(l to r) Wanda, Shannon, Elizabeth, Iris, August 2009

(l to r)Vivian, Shannon, Elizabeth, Iris, August 2009

This quilt was created by Twilight Quilters Coven members Cat, Elizabeth, Iris, Jerri Lynn, Joyce, Vivian and Wanda and former group members Jean and Shannon. We were even featured in the February/March 2010 issue of Quilter's Home Magazine. We sent the quilt to Stephenie Meyer in January of 2010 as thanks for the inspiration she gives to each of us.

Here are some close-up shots of the individual blocks (place cursor in the right hand corner to bring up play options to pause, stop, etc. the slideshow):

Block credits

Medallion Center:
Forbidden Fruit: pattern by Cat, piecing by Shannon
Broken Petals: pattern by Cat, piecing by Elizabeth
Eclipse Ribbon: design and piecing by Elizabeth
Breaking Dawn: design and piecing by Elizabeth

Quilt layout, assembly and binding: by Elizabeth
Book Quotes: machine embroidery by Jerri Lynn
Machine Quilting: by Vivian

Top Row:
Forks Trees: design and piecing by Wanda
Charlie: pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein, design and piecing by Jerri Lynn
Vampire Baseball: pattern by Elizabeth, piecing by Wanda
Bella's Truck: pattern by Cat, piecing by Joyce
"My" Jacob's Paw Print: pattern by Cat, piecing by Jean

Left Column:
Vegetarian Vampire Eyes: traditional jewel box pattern, piecing by Jean
Carlisle & Esme: pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein, layout and piecing by Iris
Emmett & Rosalie: pattern by Linda Hibbert, piecing by Shannon
Jasper & Alice: pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein, Jasper fabric by Iris, piecing by Shannon
The Meadow: pattern and piecing by Iris

Right Column:
The "Other" Jacob: pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein, piecing by Joyce
La Push First Beach: pattern by Cat, piecing by Jerri Lynn
Bella's Bracelet: pattern by Cat, piecing by Joyce
Edward's Crystal Heart: pattern and piecing by Iris
The Volturi: Clock Tower at Volterra: pattern and piecing by Iris

Bottom Row:
And So the Lion Fell In Love With the Lamb: Lion pattern by Linda Hibbert, Lamb pattern by Four Twin Sisters, piecing by Shannon
Bella & Edward's Wedding Dance: pattern by Liz Schwartz & Stephen Seifert, piecing by Shannon
Isle Esme: feather pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein, layout and piecing by Iris
Renesmee's Locket: design and piecing by Joyce
Bella & Edward's Stone Cottage: pattern and piecing by Shannon

Our group also created a New Moon quilt for the release of the movie. The quilt was auctioned off for $850, all of which was donated to ALSF.

We are currently working on an Eclipse donation quilt, the proceeds of which will also go to ALSF. Check back for more details as the quilt unfolds.

May 23, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: Under Construction

Iris designed the layout for our Eclipse quilt. She's kept us updated as construction of the top progressed.

As she received the blocks, she added a sashing of Fairy Frost in Snow around each.

Each block will have a quote from the book to accompany it. Iris printed out the quotes in each character's font (as used in the books) on Snow Fairy Frost and treated them so that the printing would stay permanently on the fabric.

Then she put the blocks with their sashing and quotes up on her design wall.

Stay tuned for more updates on the quilt in progress.

May 22, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: I Can't Fight With An Eclipse

Eclipse by Iris

The clouds I can handle. But I can't fight with an eclipse. –Jacob Black, Eclipse, page 600

Block design and assembly by Iris.

May 21, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: Newborn Combat Training

Newborn Combat Training by Kate

"When will our guests arrive?" Carlisle asked Edward.

Edward concentrated for a moment and then sighed. "A minute and a half. But I'm going to have to translate. They don't trust us enough to use their human forms."

Carlisle nodded. "This is hard for them. I'm grateful they're coming at all."

-Edward and Carlisle Cullen, Eclipse, page 390-391

Original block design by Kate.

May 20, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: The Meadow

The Meadow by Jerri Lynn

The meadow was a peaceful, happy place today. Patches of summer daisies interrupted the grass with splashes of white and yellow. I lay back, ignoring the slight dampness of the ground, and looked for pictures in the clouds. They were too even, too smooth. No pictures, just a soft, gray blanket.

Edward lay next to me and held my hand.

"August thirteenth?" he asked casually after a few minutes of comfortable silence.

"That gives me a month till my birthday. I didn't want to cut it too close."

He sighed. "Esme is three years older than Carlisle -- technically. Did you know that?"

I shook my head.

"It hasn't made any difference to them."

My voice was serene, a counterpoint to his anxiety. "My age is not really that important. Edward, I'm ready. I've chosen my life -- now I want to start living it."

-Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, Eclipse, page 615-616

Original paper piecing pattern by Cat. Block pieced by Jerri Lynn.

May 19, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: Bella's Bracelet

Bella's Bracelet by Jerri Lynn

I examined [the bracelet] cautiously. On the opposite side of the chain from the wolf, there now hung a brilliant heart-shaped crystal. It was cut in a million facets, so that even in the subdued light shining from the lamp, it sparkled. I inhaled a low gasp.

"It was my mother's." [Edward] shrugged deprecatingly. "I inherited quite a few baubles like this. I've given some to Esme and Alice both. So, clearly, this is not a big deal in any way."

I smiled ruefully at his assurance.

"But I thought it was a good representation," he continued. "It’s hard and cold." He laughed. "And it throws rainbows in the sunlight."

You forgot the most important similarity," I murmured. "It's beautiful."

"My heart is just as silent," he mused. "And it, too, is yours."

I twisted my wrist so the heart would glimmer. "Thank you. For both."

-Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, Eclipse, page 438-439

Original paper piecing pattern by Cat. Pieced by Jerri Lynn

May 18, 2010

Eclipse Charity Quilt: Victoria

Victoria by Cat

Her orange hair was brighter than I remembered, more like a flame . . . the fire around her face seemed to shimmer slightly.
-Bella Swan, Eclipse, page 541

Original paper piecing pattern by Cat. Block pieced by Cat.

May 17, 2010

Eoin Marcus

Cleaning and scrubbing
Can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up,
We've learned to our sorrow.
So, cobwebs, be quiet.
Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby
And babies don't keep.

Announcing the long awaited arrival of Eoin Marcus, Cat's beautiful son.

Eoin was born on May 1, 2010 at 5:05 am. He weighed 3.520 kg. (7 lbs. 12 oz.) and was 50 cm (19⅝") long.

Cat informs us: Eoin is pronounced similar to Owen. It is the Irish form of the name Ian, which is his paternal grandfather's name and also has a very similar meaning to his last name. Marcus is his maternal great-grandfather's name.

Mother and baby are both doing well. Welcome little Eoin!

May 9, 2010

One Flaw in Women

Women have strengths that amaze men .....
They bear hardships and they carry burdens, but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give.

However if there is one flaw in women,
it is that they forget their worth.

Prose: Author Unknown
Artwork: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Young Women Talking, 1878

Shared by Wanda

May 6, 2010

Chooks and Quilts

This is Cat. Isn't she pretty? Cat lives in Australia and designs lovely Twilight themed paper piecing patterns and gardens and has chickens. In Australia they call chickens 'chooks.' Cat's husband calls her the Chicken Whisperer because her chickens all have names and listen to her and do what she tells them. Cat is expecting her first baby and since Cat is such a special member of our group, we decided that we needed to make a quilt for the little nudger. With chickens. And Minkee on the back. And lots of love.

Angie, Elizabeth, Iris, Joyce, Jerri Lynn, Mel and Wanda worked on this project secretly. We're virtual friends (most of us have never met in person), so we discussed plans in private messages (and a few e-mails) over at TwilightMOMS. Even though Cat could never walk up on us at Guild Meeting talking in a huddle about her baby quilt, we still had a really hard time keeping it a secret. And it was a LONG secret to keep. We started making plans and organizing in January. Blocks were due to Wanda in late February. When she finished with assembly, she shipped the quilt top and minkee backing to Angie, who quilted it, bound it and sent it back to Wanda. Wanda added a label and, at last, it was shipped it all. the. way. to Australia. We're excited that Cat has finally received the quilt and the doors are blown off this secret so now we can share it with you too!

We wanted to share a bit about our little chook blocks and the fun we had putting this surprise together for Cat. We'll start in the top left corner and work from there. Click on any of the pictures for a closer look.

Hen with Chick by Elizabeth
I did this block using Cat's own design, Hen with Chick. I thought it was fitting to use Cat's patterns in a baby quilt for her. I used a bit of Fairy Frost (a perennial favorite) in the hen's beak and for the fluffy yellow chick. I also used another of my favorite fabrics for the hen's body, Moda Essential Dots. The eyes are 'painted' on here. I hadn't decided how I wanted to do them at this point; buttons seemed too big and French knots seemed too small. In the end I did a satin stitch on them.

Chick by Iris

Rooster by Elizabeth
When I started my blocks for this quilt, I had a something else in mind for my second block. But after putting together the Hen with Chick, I thought it might be cute to put together a little 'family' of chickens, using the same fabric (a Nancy Halverson print with hearts and a 'feathery' look to it) on the upper part of the rooster (another of Cat's designs) as I did the hen. I conferred with my co-conspirators and they all agreed that the family of chickens was fun. It was so neat to make a sneaky project for someone who inspires me so much! Good luck with the new little one, Cat!

Hippie Chicken by Angie
'The man', as I so affectionaly refer to my husband, couldn't decide between Broody and Flappin' over at Fat Cat Patterns but in the end Flappin' was just too silly not to use. Then of course I had to have crazy colors and batiks are kind of my thing so I tried to make them as crazy as possible. So Flappin' ended up being named the 'Hippie Chicken' with all her tye die fabrics.

Three Eggs by Jerri Lynn
Three Eggs pattern by Jennifer Ofensten at SewHooked.

Mother Hen by Joyce
I found this pattern at Fat Cat Patterns. It was designed by Syndi Rodenmayer. She is just too cute! I had to make her. This block could also be called 'Fun with Batiks' because I used so many. There are 10 different fabrics in this block. I selected the fabrics and in which section they would be used. I used Steam a Seam Lite 2, which made piecing things together and fusing easy. Once everything was ready, it was just a matter of putting the picture together one layer at a time. For the finishing touches, I added some white to the eyes and some eyelashes.

Cat's Rooster Right by Joyce
I learned later that this pattern was designed for Cat by Jennifer Ofenstein at SewHooked. Very cool! For fabrics, I was just looking for something fun and baby-appropriate. I liked the bold orange-red for the comb and the orange for the beak. The dots on the pale yellow fabric reminded me of feathers, and the batik in the middle had those shades in more vibrant tones.

Baby Volvo by Wanda
This is my first block for Cat's baby quilt. I had a pattern for rabbits in a car by Bunny Hill Designs.  Rabbits Prefer Chocolate  is the name of the quilt pattern. Anyway, my rabbit quilt is in progress, but I remembered that the quilt had one block with chicks coming out of eggs. So I searched the dark recesses of a closet and pulled out the pattern and decided that I wanted to make a baby chick driving a car. Of course the silver car represents a baby version of a shiny silver Volvo ;) ! So I used the chick and the car and put them together to make my block. It is fused with Steam-A-Seam Lite and then appliquéd with a blanket stitch. I wanted to write "baby Volvo" on the car, but just couldn't figure out where to put it so in the end I just left it as is, knowing that I could tell this and Cat would know it's a little piece of Twilight in her baby's quilt.

Struttin' Chick by Mel
This project was so much fun to make. As soon as I heard the idea, I was in! I knew Cat would be tickled pink to have a chicken quilt for her baby, being the owner of a small chicken family herself. So I went searching on Google and found this great Struttin' Chick pattern at Patch Pieces! I love it because the chick is so chubby!!! We agreed on pastels, but when I saw the beans fabric, I couldn't resist! It just looked too cute. I thought it would look like the chick was in a garden. The chick is made with a canary yellow fabric, with orange-y vines in it. The beak was made using leftover red-and-gold Christmas fabric; orange didn't work, as the chick was too close to orange already. The legs were embroidered using a zigzag stitch with my machine, and the eye is a star button. I have to say, I am glad Cat received the gift, because this was a HARD secret to keep!!! I'm so glad with the way it all came together. Kudos to Wanda and Angie for finishing it all up. Amazing work!!!

Eggbert by Angie
I got my patterns from Fat Cat Patterns ...and there were just too many cute ones to pick from. My first choice was Eggbert. He is so round and fat and cute. He was just screaming "I need to be on Cat's baby quilt!" I used Steam a Seam 2 under the fabric and then blanket stitched over the edges with coordinating threads. I know it is unconventional to use stripes for this type of thing.

Heart Chicken by Wanda
This is my second block for Cat's quilt. I resized a heart chicken from a pattern called Three Chicks by Lady Bug Lace. I just thought the chicken heart was in keeping with the love that surrounds motherhood and baby. It is also put together with Steam-A-Seam Lite and then hand appliquéd with a blanket stitch.

Chick by Jerri Lynn

Angie is our go-to girl for long-arm quilting. She said, "This project was so much fun! Yes, we all have a (some would say unhealthy) obsession with Twilight but we are also avid quilters. And I have yet to meet a quilter who doesn't love making things for other people. And the opportunity of making something for one of our sisters was a chance we just could not pass up! Cat, I hope you love it as much as we loved making it!" Here's a close-up of the super theme-coordinated quilting she did in the borders.

Iris made the label for the quilt back and Wanda organized and assembled this little fabric miracle. She said, "I have to say I had the honor to assemble the quilt and I had the most fun doing it! I showed it in different stages to various friends and all were in love with it and want a chicken quilt. In fact I think all participants want a chicken quilt and we have even talked about having a chicken block exchange this summer! When I was looking for border fabric (originally bought chicken wire but it didn't look good for the border) I took the blocks to a store with me. As the clerk was cutting the fabric, she asked what I was making and I was so excited to show her the coven chicken blocks and brag about us. She picked up the stack of blocks and admired the work and told me how she just loved 'this one' which was Joyce's block. She also commented on the wonderful quality of workmanship in the blocks. And she wasn't the only one. The shop owner of my favorite shop also said the same thing. After Angie quilted it, I got to take it to a quilt club meeting and they all admired it as well. Who wouldn't love chickens? Especially ones made for a sweet baby. The hardest part of this quilt was keeping the secret!"

After Cat received the quilt, she sent us a little message.
I would just love to say a big THANK YOU!!! to you lovely ladies for the chicken quilt. It is just beautiful. It brought a few tears to my eye! And a thanks you for the other little goodies that were added as well. It was a very thoughtful gift and i really appreciate all the thought and effort that went into it.

You ladies are just so AMAZING! I'm so glad to be part of such a wonderful and caring group.

Thank you again!