Border Quilt QAL – A Checkered Tale (borders 1-4)

Here we are on the second installment of the Border Quilt Quilt Along hosted by Jen Shaffer of Patterns by Jen: the checkered borders and first few background borders.

I like to prove you can screw something up and make something beautiful out of it anyway. Let’s be honest: that’s half the battle of winning at life in general.

I made my applique center too large, so my 1st border on my Border Quilt is really a half border (top and bottom only). And I am totally fine with it. In fact, I love it.

Border Quilt - Checkered Borders
Border Quilt – Checkered Borders

I can already tell I’m going to be madly in love with this quilt when it’s finished. I have visions of hand quilting it… making it my slow project for next year while all the rest of the crazy spins around me. Some winter movie watching and a needle. Oh, can I go there now, please?

Be sure to pop over to visit the other bloggers sewing along with us. It’s really fun to see how different this quilt can look!

Becca – Pretty Piney
Joanne – Quilts By Joanne
 Marija – Mara Quilt Designs
Stephanie – Quilt’n’ Party
Daphne – Daphne Greig

In other news…

  • Seth Hackler, fearless leader of the Facebook group Quilting on a Budget has kicked off the sew along for my Churned Up pattern! Members of that group have access to a 40% off coupon code for the pattern. You’ll find it pinned in the announcements in the group.
  • I’ll be in Bethesda, Maryland next week attending my first American Quilt Study Group Seminar. I am BEYOND excited to be in the same rooms with some of our finest quilt scholars and historians. My whole life has led me to this. You know when you find that thing? This is mine.

Upcoming Events

  • I’m speaking at the 7:00 pm Cherokee Rose Quilters Guild meeting at Sutton Hall in Douglasville, Georgia on Thursday, November 15th. I’d love to see you there! The theme of my trunk show and talk is Quilting with the Fire of My Foremothers. Doors open at 6:30.
  • Catch me hanging out in the Just Wanna Quilt booth at Quilt Festival Houston in November! If you’re attending Festival, tap me on the shoulder and say hello!

xoxo,
~ Tara

I Just Wanna Quilt

I’ve been interviewed! What? That’s crazy talk.

I had such a great time chatting with Elizabeth Townsend Gard of Just Wanna Quilt recently, and the podcast episode is live today! You can listen directly at justwannaquilt.com, or head over to your favorite podcast platform (iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker). You’ll want to make this channel one of your favorites… she interviews some big names and interesting quilty people.

I’ll be chatting with her again in another week or so, because we ran out of time and had loads to talk about!

Come join the Just Wanna Quilt Quilting Army on Facebook!

Are you headed to QuiltCon in Nashville next February? Catch one of Elizabeth’s lectures and check out her workshop!

Friday, Feb 22 @ 10:15 am – All About Trademarks (LEC09)

Friday, Feb 22 @ 2:30 pm – Quilting & IP: It’s Not What You Think (LEC12)

Saturday, Feb 23 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Making a Copyright Quilt (MSC012)

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I’ve been visiting a few quilty things across the pond in England while visiting friends the last couple of weeks, and can’t wait to tell you all about it and show you some photos! Stay tuned for some blog posts on that soon.

To catch me on the go, follow me over on Instagram or Quilt District on the book face. Most of my goings on are there.

xoxo,
~ Tara

Improv Workshop with Gee’s Bend Quilters

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

~ Cesare Pavese

Yesterday’s Gee’s Bend workshop at Heritage Hall in Talladega, Alabama was filled with beautiful moments.

China caught me picking apart some fabric strips (which I thought was going rather well), took them from me and just started pulling them apart. Just grab and pull. I would have thought that would warp the fabric or something, but nope. They came apart as if she’d already pulled the stitches out. My table mate and I got a huge laugh at me over that. I really wish I had it on video because it was hilarious.

Of course, China and Mary Ann sang as we worked.

What I admire most about the women of Gee’s Bend is their spirit. These women and their families have known true hardships, and yet they arrive with joy in their hearts and love to share.

They give more than they take.

A lesson for all of us. I have running water, insulated walls, and food in my belly. I’ll bet you do, too.

The Ladies Pettway brought in a bin of fabric odds and ends and we tossed in a few bits of our own. In the bin I found a hand-painted panel depicting pastoral birds, which sent me off in one direction because I had some silly notion that it was meant to be that I work with this thing. Well, I guess it was meant to be in that it taught me that I shouldn’t always listen to silly notions.

Have mercy, y’all… this thing is ug-ly. (Except for the birds. The birds are really pretty.)

But it was terrific fun and felt liberating to sew on something that had no plan, no destination, no pattern, no rules, no deadline. It was freeing. I think I’ll use improv in the future as a way to clear my mind between (or during) more structured projects.

xoxo,
~~ Tara

Comin’ Around the Bend

I had been quilting a year before I saw in person what other quilters were making. I didn’t grow up around quilters. I didn’t belong to a guild. I hadn’t had any in-person classes.

I learned the art of quilt making through watching YouTube. Relentlessly. One video led to another led to another. I’d watch them all, regardless of whether they were traditional or modern, art quilts or lap quilts, improv or well-planned. English or Spanish or Portuguese. (My Spanish is very limited and my Portuguese relies on any similarities I can find in my Spanish, but a flying goose is a flying goose, folks.)

Then I heard about QuiltCon. (cue: the song of angels)

I cobbled together some funds and got myself out to Austin, Texas. It was February 2015. I kept to myself mostly and studied the quilts in the show. I walked around as if in a dream. I attended a few lectures.

Among my transformative experiences that weekend was this:

The quilters of Gee’s Bend delivered the keynote. I had read about them and knew. I knew this was big. They sang gospel. I grew up with gospel. It felt like home to me.

L to R: Mary Ann Pettway, Lucy Witherspoon, China Pettway, Gloria Hoppins. The Quilters of Gee's Bend, QuiltCon 2015
L to R: Mary Ann Pettway, Lucy Witherspoon, China Pettway, Gloria Hoppins. The Quilters of Gee’s Bend, QuiltCon 2015

L to R: Mary Ann Pettway, Lucy Witherspoon, China Pettway, Gloria Hoppins. The Quilters of Gee's Bend, QuiltCon 2015

This is the song they sang:

I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone
I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone
I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone

Ohhh, give me my flower whiles I yet live

The flowers that you give me
I can’t see their beuty
The flowers that you give me
I can’t see their beauty
The flowers that you give me
I can’t see their beauty

Ohhh, give me my flower whiles I yet live

I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone
I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone
I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone

Ohhh, give me my flower whiles I yet live

The flowers that you give me
I can’t tell nobody
The flowers that you give me
I can’t tell nobody
The flowers that you give me
I can’t tell nobody

Ohhh, give me my flower whiles I yet live

I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone
I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone
I don’t want nobody to praise me when I’m gone

Ohhh, give me my flower whiles I yet live

So a few days ago when I heard Mary Ann Pettway and China Pettway of the Gee’s Bend Quilting Collective were soon teaching a workshop only a few hours’ drive away from my home, I sent my registration request off in a flash.

In fewer than three weeks, I’ll get to spend a few hours with Mary Ann and China. I’ll get to learn from them. Hear their stories. Let their histories inform me. I feel remarkably blessed to have that opportunity. I hope they’ll hug me if I cry a little.

xoxo,
Tara