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Old Friends Make New Memories . . . and New Quilts!

It’s Friday, and I’m still adjusting to “real life” on the heels of my annual quilting idyll in the foothills with Alex (Anderson) and Joen (Wolfrom). In my Tuesday post, I shared photos of projects both completed and in progress. Today, the rest of the story–including more quilts!


Stocking up at the supermarket: Alex and Joen, who had been up since 5AM to catch her flight from SeaTac to Oakland.

Stocking up at the supermarket: Alex and Joen, who had been up since 5AM to catch her flight from SeaTac to Oakland.


One of the most enjoyable elements of the entire week was watching Alex at work. Unlike other years, when she arrived with a specific goal in mind–a quilt to make for a book or pattern, for example–this time she came with a suitcase full of fabrics hand-dyed by Sonya Lee Barrington, and a mind open to “what if?” The results were amazing!


Small Improvisation 1 (12" x 18") by Alex Anderson

Small Improvisation 1 (12″ x 18″) by Alex Anderson



Small Improvisation 2 (12" x 18") by Alex Anderson

Small Improvisation 2 (12″ x 18″) by Alex Anderson


Don’t you just love the little shots of color in the narrow, flat piping, and the wonderful overall quilting?


Stitching down the binding; I can guarantee that's country music coming through those earbuds!

Stitching down the binding; I can guarantee that’s country music coming through those earbuds!


Enouraged by her success (and by Joen’s and my enthusiastic response), Alex launched into another small project. Here she is with her work in progress; by the time we packed up late Wednesday morning, the 15″ x 15″ top was complete.


Alex at work

Alex at work


Along with the two finished quilt tops I shared in my Tuesday post, I managed to tackle two more small projects. The first grew from a single block I had completed earlier in the week.


Phase 1 of Darra's third getaway project.

Phase 1 of Darra’s third getaway project.


I went on to assemble four more blocks, and then had fun trying out various arrangements.


Horizontal and staggered

Horizontal and staggered



Vertical and staggered

Vertical and staggered



Should I make more blocks for a larger quilt?

Should I make more blocks for a larger quilt?



Another option for a larger design

Another option for a larger design


In the end, I decided to consider this a “noble experiment” and stop at five blocks. In the process, I learned a ton about the scale and number of strips to include, and the effects of various color and value placements. I sewed the blocks together, opting for a simple arrangement–one that can be displayed horizontally or vertically. Once quilted, I plan to try out the faced edges Jennifer wrote about in her April 16 post, and (ultimately) to refine and expand upon the basic design and technique to make a larger, landscape-inspired piece.


Darra's blocks sewn together (13 1/2" x 17 1/2"), ready to be basted and quilted

Darra’s blocks sewn together (13 1/2″ x 17 1/2″), ready to be basted and quilted



Darra's blocks with a vertical orientation

Darra’s blocks with a vertical orientation


With another full day to sew, I decided to pull out the bits and pieces left over from my Churn Dash quilt and do something small and traditional. What fun . . . and finished in a day! Though my hands and eyes aren’t quite as cooperative as they used to be, I’ve decided that this one is small enough to be hand quilted.