Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Cup of Tea and Mystery Quilts

I like listening to books on tape when I am sewing. My latest book was A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd. It's a murder mystery set in the World War I time period. I listened to it because it is set in the same time period of Downton Abbey, a Masterpiece Theater series I love.

At one point in A Bitter Truth, the constable announces there has been a third murder and the body has been found on the grounds of the stately home of the main characters...all of them suspects. This leaves everyone speechless until a family member declares, "I think we all need a bracing cup of tea." How British! I travel to England often  (I have friends and relatives there), to know the English think a bracing cup of tea is the prescription for any situation, no matter how big or small.

This reminded me of a quilt I designed for Andover this spring. The fabric collection and the quilt are called Tea Party. It's a free pattern you can download on the Andover Fabrics website http://www.andoverfabrics.com/FreeQuiltPatterns.php

Here is the quilt....if you need a bracing cup of tea, stitch up stacks of them!

This posting is to remind you the newest Sunbonnet Sleuth Mystery series will begin this Saturday. Look for the shopping list and shop your stash or your local quilt shop.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lightning Strikes!

Lately I have been doing a lot of Log Cabin Trim Tool demos. The result of all these demos is a huge stack of log cabin blocks begging to be sewn into a quilt. Here is a quilt I finished after the demo last month at Red Hen Fabrics in Marietta, GA. For convenience, I took the photo on my front porch swing. The quilt has 48 blocks.

This coming weekend I have two more demos. The first demo is at Tiny Stitches in Marietta. It is on Friday afternoon and Friday night. The second demo is at Red Hen Fabrics on Saturday. I am sewing 64 blocks to demo at Tiny Stitches and another 48 to demo at Red Hen. I will have enough new blocks for two more Log Cabin quilts. I know I am going to set the 64 blocks into the traditional diamond setting. I will play with the 48 blocks and maybe come up with something totally new as a setting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Beginnings Quilt Shop Event

On Monday last week I stopped in the not yet opened quilt shop in Hendersonville, NC. They sold me some fabric so long as I could pay cash as their computerized cash register was not yet set up. Well, on Tuesday there was a teachers meeting and the shop owner told the teachers about my visit and that I would be returning in January to teach some classes. One of the teachers, Collette Kocinski, called me on Thursday, I returned her call Friday noon and agreed to meet with some of her quilting friends. It seems Colette had bought the book I wrote with my sister, Circle of Nine www.circleofninequilts.com. Collette and a few of her quilting friends have been making Circle of Nine quilts.

In less than 24 hours Collette set up an event at Beginnings Quilt Shop for Saturday morning and about 30 quilters showed up on short notice.

I demonstrated the Log Cabin Trim Tool and talked about my two books, Circle of Nine and Sashings and Settings www.jeanannquilts.com. Lynn, the happy shop owner, took orders for all and will have them for the grand opening of her shop the first week of August...an opening you must attend if you are in the area.
Jean Ann and Collette Kocinski

Jean Ann Demonstrating the Log Cabin Trim tool with shop owner, Lynn Easler and shop staff member, Debbie Beaver looking on.

Quilters who turned out for the demo on less than 24 hours notice. They were a great crowd and we had a fun time talking quilting and seeing the quilts many of them brought to share.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zentrum - Jean Ann's Day Out

We left the mountain yesterday and drove down to Greenville, SC. After taking granddaughter to the airport we visited the BMW factory Zentrum building - www.bmwusfactory.com/zentrum/. It was a fun visit with a really great movie showing how all the robots work to make BMW's.

They also had an exhibit of some earlier BMW's and the BMW that James Bond used in one of his movies. I liked the little BMW's the best. Here are the pictures. They are so cute. And you get into the cars by opening a door at the front of the car not on the sides.

If you are in the Greenville SC area you really should stop by, it was a really interesting visit. You can also take a factory tour, although we couldn't on this trip because the factory is shut down for a month to get ready to make new models. You do have to wear shoes with closed toes and heels to take the factory tour. We are definitely going on the factory tour next year.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Vintage Quilt top finished

I have worked diligently all week and actually finished a quilt top while here at Kanuga. It is made using the soon to be new Log Cabin Trim Tool Two that trims both a 6" and a 12" block with the same ruler. I used a prototype ruler to make the blocks. The actual production ruler will not be available until at least September. This is a sneak peek at what is to come. I combined both size blocks in one quilt. There are sixteen 6" blocks in the quilt center surrounded by twelve 12" blocks for an exploded barn raising design. I still have to find some border fabric to add to the outside edges before I can quilt it.

I persuaded my two granddaughters to hold the quilt for the photo. 16 year old Margaret on the left and 17 year old Madeline is on the right. The girls are cousins and have been best friends forever.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Here is a community website I didn't know about, but Google alerts sent an email to me saying there is a review of my new book by a Gather member, Barbara R., who reviewed Sashings and Settings.

Quilt Sashings and Settings by Jean Ann Wright | Gather
The first thing that caught my eye is that the book is spiral bound and will lay flat and STAY OPEN while you quilt. This is always a plus in my...

Here is Barbara's review. I think she is my new best friend :-)

The first thing that caught my eye is that the book is spiral bound and will lay flat and STAY OPEN while you quilt.  This is always a plus in my book.  The second thing is that I already have a book that I love that she and her sister wrote, Circle of Nine.
This book contains a section on fabric and color and then goes on to show how to create several different blocks.  There are lots of pictures and the written instructions are easy to understand.  There is also one page on setting blocks on the diagonal.
The rest of the book is divided into sections:  basic sashings, block to block settings, diagonal settings, strippy settings, medallion settings and my favorite, Circle of Nine settings.  Each section has at least two patterns and one even has five.  There are  total of 22 in all.
Colored photos of the quilts are provided with each pattern and a paragraph about it.  Material and cuttings lists are easy to follow and the written instructions contain lots of graphics to make sure you are on the right path.  Any templates needed are provided at full size.
So, what are you waiting for?  Grab a copy and start making quilts!

quilting at Kanuga

Nearly our whole family is here at Kanuga www.kanuga.org. We all arrived safely on Saturday afternoon, had a quiet Sunday. I did start sewing my newest log cabin quilt. I have finished 12 blocks even with all the starts and stops to play with the newest family member, my great-niece, Olivia. Lots of laughing, talking, sharing family stories. Took our annual trip to Walmart where I bought toothpaste and a shower cap, as I forgot to bring both. Here are vacation photos so far.

Car in driveway at home, packed and ready to roll.

This is my sewing set up at Kanuga, a 2' x 4' table in the corner of the porch.

Here is my son-in-law, Chris Gaffney with Olivia, my great-niece. We are babysitting this morning so mommy can take a watercolor class. Chris is the family "baby whisperer" as he can calm her down better than anyone. He is Olivia's favorite. He is finding a netflix movie for her on the ipad.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kanuga quilting

I am off to Kanuga this Saturday, gone for a week!

Every year for the past 25 years our family has spent a vacation week at Kanuga, the Episcopal Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. www.kanuga.org/guest-period/

Summers at Kanuga are guest weeks. It's not a retreat or a study, it's just get away with the family. There are no TV's no telephones. There are morning crafts: water color, basket making, wood carving. There is day camp for the children age 2 and up all day, every day (lunch with parents). It's all included in the price. There are local entertainers every night (no TV).  It's like a cruise except it is in the mountains. It's the best kind of cruise for people like me who get very, very seasick on the ocean.

Here is a wee, small picture of the large pavillion on the lake. Yes, there is swimming every day. Also boating (row boats, it a small lake) and fishing (I suspect they keep it stocked). 

Every January Janet Houts (my sister) and I spend the MLK weekend teaching a quilting workshop at Kanuga. It is my favorite place in the world to be. Registration is open for the Knitting and Quilting weekend. You are all invited to come and join the quilting (or knitting) fun. Here is the very long link:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Echo Log Cabin

Research of antique log cabin quilts brought this setting to my attention. It is called the echo setting and will be featured in my new log cabin book, available late fall 2012. I made this one for a friend. I started making the blocks with the log cabin trim tool www.jeanannquilts.com on the morning of the 4th of July. I live right downtown so the parade, the street fair and the fireworks keep me house bound all day.  No way am I getting out into all that traffic! So, a perfect day for quilting. I got all the blocks made that day and sewed into the quilt top.I did walk to a fireworks supper picnic at a neighbor's house in the evening so quilting stopped about 6 PM.

On Thursday I put on the borders, assembled the backing and put it into my longarm machine. It was done before dinner on Thursday, and on Thursday night I put on the binding. Finished in 2 days! That's how much time the log cabin trim tool saves you because you don't have to spend hours making cut-to-size strips. Just stitch 'em on then trim-to-size as each round is complete.

The quilt has 20 blocks set in 4 rows of 5 blocks each. It finishes 53" wide x 61" long. Perfect for a baby crib, a wall quilt or for a short person like myself, a nap quilt. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Red Hen Demo Day

On June 30, I spent a demo day at the local quilt shop, Red Hen Fabrics - redhenfabrics.com
I was there to demo my Log Cabin Trim Tool. They positioned the demo table right in front of the entrance door so I could trim block after block showing how easy and fast it is to make a log cabin block using the trim tool. Everyone who saw the demo bought a ruler, making it a very successful day.

Here I am with my first two customers. They bought rulers and books. I can hardly wait until the new log cabin book I am writing with my sister, Janet Houts, is ready. We have finished all of the text and quilts and sent them to the publisher, Landauer Publishing Corp, www.landauercorp.com. The book is expected to be on sale this fall.

Other good news...I read on my facebook page yesterday a posting from Checkers announcing the Log Cabin Trim Tool is their best selling ruler. There will be a big announcement soon about the next ruler to come. Quilting is good and rulers, rule!