Collage Quilting students are the best!

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of presenting and teaching for the Tri-County Quilt Guild in Cypress, Texas. This is a large guild with over 300 members and 80+ in attendance at the meeting. I was treated to dinner before the meeting. Not gonna lie. It made me feel like a rock star! Later in the week, I taught a dozen enthusiastic ladies at Bobbins & Threads Quilting & Crafts in Houston.

I have found the heart pattern is the best way to learn collage quilting and the ladies certainly stepped up! It is a large enough image that students gain confidence in their collaging skills to move on to a more challenging pattern. The ladies came ready to work and by the end of class we actually auditioned lots of completed hearts for background fabrics.

Each heart is so unique! This is the first time I’ve had someone try Christmas motifs and it is beautiful! The lady in the hot pink shirt had lots of new Kaffe Fassett fabric. Seriously, I was on the verge of drooling. It was all so new, I didn’t have any of it in my stash. Also, you might notice a Tula Pink vintage tuna can in one of the quilts. I allow students to pick through my secret stash when I teach. I have found quilters to be very good at sharing. It is probably why I always wind up with more great fabric than when I started teaching the class.

2021 quilt projects in the rear-view mirror

The year 2021 will go down in my quilting record book as the most prolific. I completed 9 quilts, 20 little Christmas pillows, and a Christmas table runner. Who says COVID and lockdowns have to be boring or non-productive?

Two quilts went to charity! MD Anderson’s Ovarian Quilt Project received the heart collage quilt with the yellow background. This year the auction raised over $46,000 to fight ovarian cancer. Thank you brother for purchasing the heart collage labor of love which honors our sister. Mary passed away from ovarian cancer several years ago. Today, the last day of the year, is also Mary’s birthday. She would have been 67 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven dear sister! The online auction occurs every two years. I’m already thoughtfully contemplating the next one for 2023!

The butterfly quilt designed by Laundry Basket Quilts went to The Village Learning Center’s annual gala. Mimi attended their amazing day center for many years before she passed away. It is a charity painfully near and dear to my heart. This quilt is my favorite for 2021. I love how it turned out. The quilting by Judy Mathis really made it shine. And, of course, Sally continues to amaze with her embroidery design skills on the quilt labels. I called it “A Flutter” because that is what a group of butterflies is called.

I’ve already set my quilting goals for 2022! I start the year by presenting, and teaching, collage art quilting at a couple of local quilt guilds. There are a number of UFO quilts on my list, fabric organization, a baby quilt for my fifth grandchild due in May, two charity quilts, and a quilt retreat to attend! 2022 is going to be a busy, creative quilting year!

Quilted, Bound, and Labeled … “Peace Crane” Collage Art Quilt

There is something quite satisfying about putting all the finishing touches on a quilt! This art quilt was no exception. It will always be my COVID quilt. The one I struggled with during a difficult time. The long arming is complete (thanks to the lovely Eric at A Needle and Thread), the quilt’s binding and hanger is hand sewn on, and lastly, the quilt label (Sally keeps surprising me) seals the deal. In an instant, the quilt project goes from being a UFO (quilting acronym for “Un-Finished Objects”) to a finished quilt!

Origami “Peace Crane” art quilt

Traditionally, an paper origami crane is a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times. An idea came to me during the first few months of the pandemic. I spent lots of time at my daughter’s house hanging with the grandkids. One of our activities was origami. I believe it is just as difficult to fold a crane as it is to turn it into an art quilt.

Using a play on words I call it “Peace Crane” in honor of Cat Stevens’ song Peace Train. Recorded in 1971, fifty years ago, it is one of my favorite in a long list of oldies. I remember attending a Cat Stevens’ concert when I was a high school senior in Houston’s Sam Houston Coliseum. Obviously, his song is relevant today.

I started “Peace Crane” in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. I call it my COVID quilt mostly because, like wearing a sweaty mask and the imposition of quarantine, I struggled. The concept of an origami crane appealed to me. But for some reason, it was difficult to execute. I tell myself people will either love it or hate it. I did it anyway. I worked on an area of the collage and would leave it be for a few weeks. Then I would take off all the flower motifs and start over. When the crane was finally covered in motifs after several months, I struggled with the background. I told myself this time I would piece the background instead of using a colorful solid batik. After auditioning that concept, I hated it. I’m finally happy with the black and white patterned background. I can’t wait to get it back from being quilted by the lovely Erica at A Needle and Thread. I guess that must mean things are getting back to normal in the world. I have tossed the mask aside and hugged a bunch of people recently. It feels so good. Hop on the “Peace Crane” with me.

The art quilt is 42″ W by 43″ H. The “Peace Crane” PDF pattern is available for purchase at my Etsy shop!