Summer is always wonderful. The weather encourages us all outdoors. Gardening, swimming, camping, sailing, hiking, whatever your "ing" is, we all do a lot of it in the summer. The end of August brings football, school bells, fall leaves and pumpkins. We spend time outside, but start putting on those sweatshirts and jeans.
In the summer, I usually work on projects that travel easily and don't sit on my lap and make me warm. Fall and Winter are the season for holding onto a warm quilt to hand quilt or attach the binding. I tend to stay inside more the colder it gets outside. If you live in a warmer state, you may not understand what I'm talking about. But, the Midwest has it's seasons. Fall is the season for pulling out a hand quilting project and working on completing a quilt by next Spring.
I have just the project I plan to finish. I attended Gwen Marston's BIQR - Beaver Island Quilt Retreat - in 2009. Of course, the retreat is no longer held on the island and it's difficult to get a spot. Previous attenders have first crack at the spots and no one usually gives up their place. I was fortunate enough to have a friend whose daughter couldn't attend that year, so I was able to take her place. Gwen has a theme each year for her retreats. That year was solid fabrics - bright & bold like Amish quilts. She provides a trunk show of the quilts in her newest book and teaches techniques throughout the week. Her retreat is all about designing. And, I had a grand time thinking outside the box and designing a quilt. I incorporated several of her techinques into the quilt. My favorite was a serpentine border using a bias strip that is so easy to make. I have used this technique several times since then to make vines and bias for stained glass. Check out Gwen Marston's website to find out about her retreats and books that teach her freestyle techniques. She is definitely one of my favorite quilt teachers.
I made the entire quilt from Kona solids. The backing is black and I am quilting with black thread. Because the kona cottons are a tighter weave, the quilting is more difficult. I was initially discouraged, but plan to just plug away at finishing the hand quilting. The project is small enough to take with me, so I should be able to work on it regularly. I'll have to take pictures and post in the future.
If you're heading up to one of Gwen's retreats in September, have a great time!