Thursday, December 6, 2012

Announcing dates for 2013 Quilt Retreat Getaway Weekend

We would like to extend an invitation to ALL quilters and WANT TO BE quilters for our 2013 Quilt Retreat Getaway Weekend.

DATE:  November 8, 9 and 10, 2013

PLACE:  Quality Inn and Ballroom
                 Mineral Point, WI

Please join Barb and Diane for funfilled, educational weekend of quilting.

We would love to have you join us!

Check out the details here  2013 Quilt Retreat Getaway Weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A very Special Quilt for a Very Special Lady

On the left the large quilt with the theme
 squares and triangles. 
 On the right, the small quilts has information regarding the larger quilt
and the names of all participants.
I had the pleasure to quilt a very unique quilt to hang in the The Beth Hillel Temple.  Judith Warren orchestrated this project and I asked if I could share it with you.  I also asked Judith to write a paragraph for me regarding the project. 

"The Beth Hillel Temple Quilting project began in September of 2011, during an intergenerational retreat of the congregation. Rabbi Dena Feingold and 74 adults and children made squares and triangles that were incorporated into the quilt. The theme of the quilt centered on Jewish community and the natural and spiritual themes discussed at the retreat. All of the children in religious school spent a day creating their contributions to the quilt. Over 14 volunteers from the Temple in Kenosha, Wisconsin, helped to put the quilt together, during quilting sessions at the Temple and in private homes over a ten month period. Quilt organizer Judith Warren then asked Quilts by Barb to finish both quilts, the larger one, and the smaller explanatory quilt which tells the history of the quilt project and names the participants. The quilt was hung in the Temple and dedicated with a beautiful musical ceremony attended by many of the quilters on Sunday, September 9, 2012, almost a year to the date after it was started." 

Thanks, Judith for sharing.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Hand Dyeing Workshop

We held our spring annual Hand Dyeing Workshop on June 18, 2012, at Lapacek's Orchard near Poynette, Wisconsin. It was a bit hot and windy but a good time was had by all.
Kim Lapacek took a few pictures for us and did a blog post so check it out here.
Here is Brooke expressing herself when she is happy with her work.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Radiant Star with a Mariner's Compass

Wow, Leigh has another amazing quilt.  I just love the color and fabric choices on this quilt.  The compass with the radiant star is such an unusual combination and it works so well together!  This is a quilt I am putting on my to do list.

I knew it would be hard to get pictures of the quilting on this one as I used a light orange Bottom Line thread from Superior on all the quilting.  I didn't want to thread to shout "Quilting" and I achieved what I was after.  The compass is fun and quirky with the radiant star so I wanted the quilting patterns to be a large contrast, too.  I used a swirl in the compasses and then put ferns in the surrounding inside borders.  Made just the contrast I was after.

On the borders I did a squiggly line following the diagonal piecing and then added one more line between the lines on the piecing.  This makes a really nice contrast in textures to the ferns and swirls on the inside of the quilt.

I wish the star quilting could have shown up better but it doesn't.  I used the "Terry Twist" set at .8 of an inch (that means something to you Statler Stitcher users) and just went from p2p all the way around the star in a counterclockwise circle.  This kept the twist going in the same direction.  The twist goes outside the diamond and it justs really works great.  These diamonds are cut at 3" widths so the larger twist really helps to fill the space and keep the inside of the diamond from getting baggy.  I don't like the baggy look!

It was just hard to quit taking pictures of this beautiful quilt.

And another a shot to show off those great fabric combinations.

It is always fun to work on Leigh's quilts.  She gives me the go ahead to do as I want on them and I really push the limit sometimes.  I love it!

Happy Quilting.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thread Painting on a Landscape Quilt

I have had this beautiful Wyoming landscape quilt for a while and was a little nervous about working on it.  It was very stiff through the middle of the quilt because of the amount of fusible that was used during quilt construction.

I loaded the backing, then a layer of a fairly stiff stabilizer and then a thin layer of polyester batting and then the quilt top.  This really works nice.  There was no stiffness in the edges, the sky and the border and the stabilizer will help this quilt to hang as flat as a picture.

Leigh did a beautiful job of fabric selection when making this quilt.  Here you can see a close up of some of the rocks and the different blues in the water.  I did a flowing meander for all the water.  I outlined with different brown threads on the rocks.

i did a lot of thread painting, fairly dense, on some of the pine trees and a little looser on the lighter green area.  I did a raw edge applique straight stitch around all the pieces so none will ever come loose. 

I started by using invisible thread and basted the edges all flat and top stitched in the ditch around the borders.  I stitched in the ditch around some of the applique to keep everything square before I started the heavy thread painting. 

I stitched the wood bark on the tree trunk and you can see some of my stitching on the rocks by the tree.  I used four wavy lines in the border.  I wanted to keep a consistent amount of quilting but didn't really want my quilting to show in the border.

I really had fun with the snow capped mountain.  I started by just outlining the detailing and kept the white flowing.  I used a purple variegated thread for the mountain top and it really worked great.

This quilt turned out far better than I even hoped.  It is going to hang as flat as a picture and to me that is the number one requirement for a landscape quilt.

I still have one more of Leigh's landscapes left to quilt.  After this quilt, I am excited to complete the "Forest Landscape."

Happy Quilting! 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Farmer's Wife Quilt

The Northeast Iowas Quilt Guild has been working on the Farmer's Wife Quilt.  I finished quilting Carolyn's quilt today.  It is wonderful!

This is a full view of the quilt. 

All the blocks in the border were 6 inch blocks set on  point.  I quilted a crosshatching in each of the blocks and a feather in the setting triangles.

This is the center of the quilt.  Each of these blocks measures at 3 inches.  I did a crosshatching in each of these tiny blocks to make it a mini of the 6 inch blocks.

This shows the crosshatching in the blocks.  The sashing strips and squares each have an X sewn through them.  The quilt has wool batting so there the quilting definition shows nicely on the actual quilt.

The setting triangles in the "mini" part of the center is quilted with a small feather triangle.

Carolyn has made an heirloom quilt.  It is beautiful.

Happy Quilting.  Barb

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Quilt Retreat Getaway Weekend

Our main project for the 2012 Quilt Retreat Getaway Weekend is "Celebrations" by Marilyn Foreman.  We are adding a twist to her fantastic pattern by adding kaleidoscope blocks from a great print fabric to some of her blocks.  First, here is her pattern as printed:

Now here are a few examples of different quilts using the kaleidoscope blocks in the quilt:

This is a closeup of just the center of the quilt.  Below is the fabric I used to make my blocks:

A medium to large graphic print really works the best.  You don't want too much background in your print.  I prefer to have a lot of different colors.

This quilt has an oriental fabric for the blocks.  The colors are very soft but still very effective.

Barb and Toni were two of my "testers" on this pattern.  Toni used a very bright print for her quilt.  Barb's fabric had fewer colors with a light background but really turned out great.

This is Barb's when she was assemblying it.

A full view of Toni's quilt.  She used a lot of  brights and her orange was last year's Yard that Keeps on Going.............

Tish's fabric had a lot of dark fabrics.  The star fabric is her own rust dyed fabric.

Below are some fabrics I found on Hancock's of Paducah that would really work well for this project.

It doesn't have to be floral although floral works great.

I would also like to share the following links on fabric selection for this quilt:

Connecting Threads - Selecting fabric for kaleidoscope quilts - This is a tutorial that has a lot of good information on your fabric selection. 

Quilt Moments - This is the webpage for Marilyn Foreman's patterns.  Take a look at her quilts.  She uses the same fabric for the outside border on a lot of her quilts that she uses to do her kaleidoscope blocks.  She uses a lot of florals.  I hope to have many of Marilyn's patterns for sale at the retreat.  She writes a great pattern.

After you have chosen your main fabric, read through Diane's advice in your registration packet on selecting other fabric to go with your focus fabric.  We will also have a lot of hand dyed fabric that works great as accent fabrics with your focus fabric.

If you are looking at a fabric and are not sure,  you may email Diane or I a picture of it and we would  be glad to let you know how it would work.

If you have any questions, please contact us.  We are very excited about this great project for our November retreat.  See you then.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sampler Quilt

Today I finished a small sampler.  Mary didn't want to spend the money on custom quilting for this quilt.  I think our solution for Design Quilting is fantastic.

Mary set her quilt with a pieced block and then a red print plain block.  We choose an overall curlque design for the quilt.

For thread, we used a medium gold thread.  This is my most used thread color as it blends beautifully with both the pieced blocks and the plain block.  It doesn't distract from either block.

Another close up a block.

And here is a picture of the full quilt.  Mary added a matching border to the blocks set on point so the blocks "float on the red."  This is a great setting for sampler quilt.

Great job, Mary.

Happy Quilting


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bear Paw Quilt

Just thought I would share a few pictures of a wonderful quilt I just finished quilting this morning. 

This is a close up of the center.  I wish you could see the quilting but I just couldn't get it to show.  I used a modern feather design in the large center block and then cross hatched the rest of the center medallion.

The center was surrounded by a larger bear paw block.  I used the same modern feather pattern here.

The borders had a wonderful pieced diamond.  I used a coordinating modern feather in these and then crosshatched on the outsides of the diamonds.  Was very effective.

 Another corner shot.  This really shows the true colors of the quilt.

And a full length view of the entire quilt.  Nicely done, Connie!

Happy Quilting.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 Hand Dyeing Workshop

When: Monday, June 18, 2012,   9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Where: Lapacek’s Orchard, N1959 Kroncke Rd, Poynette, WI

PLEASE NOTE:  This is a NEW location. 

If you’re a beginner or an advanced dyer, this workshop is for you.  The format is very relaxed.  Each participant chooses her (or his) own colors, materials and methods.  We provide help as needed.  Advanced dyers will be able to jump right in and start dyeing while beginners learn the basic procedures to get started.  We will be working outside (or in a LARGE shed in case of rain) and there will be LOTS of room.  You can dye as much or as little as you’d like.

A few of the topics that will be covered:

The basic procedures involved in dyeing cotton fabrics using fiber reactive dyes
  • Color gradations within a color family
  • Color gradations from color family to color family
  • Color wheels
  • Techniques to create visual texture and one of a kind fabrics
  • Learn how to make "convergence fabrics" just like Barb and Diane

Interested in dyeing things other than cotton fabric?

  • We will have blank white T shirts in many different styles and sizes for sale the day of the workshop.
  • We will have a selection of onesies, dresses and rompers for your little ones.
  • We will also have PFD fabric for sale by the yard or by the bolt.
  • Interested in trying to dye silk? We will have some!
  • Want to dye fibers for embellishment?  We’ll have some of them, too.

    Bring other items from home and we will help you dye them. Think old table linens, crocheted doilies, kid's socks. The fun is just starting! The methods we use work with cellulose (plant based) materials or silk. No wool.  (That’s an entirely different process.)  Think cotton, linen, rayon.  Blends will also work as long as they include some cellulose fibers.  If you’re in doubt, bring it along.  We’ll advise you.

Workshop cost: $55

The workshop fee includes all instruction for the day and lunch.  Supply cost will be $9.00 for each yard of cotton PFD.  This includes the fabric, dyes and other supplies needed.  If you purchase other items or bring them from home, we will weigh them and charge for dye supplies according to the weight of the items.

Supplies will also be available for purchase if you’re interested in dyeing at home.

A $25 nonrefundable deposit will be paid at time of registration to reserve your spot. The balance is due the day of the workshop.

For more details and registration:

Quilts by Barb 2012 Hand Dyeing Workshop

We would love to have your join us!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

T Shirt Quilts

I have to share the story of Kassandra and her T Shirt quilt.

Step 1:  the box arrived in the mail.

The T shirts arrived and they were so beautifully folded.  She had every shirt marked exactly what she wanted in her quilt.  This girl is organized!


Step 2:  Kassandra didn't want anything to detract from the shirts and they were a lot of different colors.  Her choice of coordinating colors:  Black and White.  This was a first for me and it worked great.

Step 3:  I interfaced all the T shirts and did a trial layout to get a feel of what would fit where.  Kassandra had a lot of shirts and I wanted to use them all if possible.



Step 4:  I combined the sashing fabrics with the T shirts, moved things around a little and I had


Step 5:  I received the most thoughtful letter from Kassandra and I just had to share it with you.  This really made my day!


"This quilt is beyond perfect; it is everything I had hoped for and so much more.  I don't think you have any idea how very much this means to me.  You did an awesome job and certainly have a vision for this sort of thing.

Although it sounds sort of cheesy, all of these T-shirts were associated with memories for me.  Although I know that high school will by no means be the best part of my life, there were a lot of things that I enjoyed, and I know I really built a strong base for myself there, from which I'm sure I will be more comfortable off at school.  I'm sure one day when I'm missing some home-cooked meals I'll stare at it longingly and it will be a great comfort.

When my sister had the idea I was beyond excited.   My T-shirts were getting worn out but I was too sentimental to get rid of them.  At first we considered, being the crafty people that we are, attempting to make it ourselves, but I quickly nixed the idea, not wanting our first half-cocked attempt to ruin my T-shirts forever.  This was definitely a job for the professionals, and I could not have picked anyone better, nor would I ever go to anyone else in the future for something so important to me.

So thnk you Barb, from the bottom of my heart, I love this quilt more than I can put into words, and it means so very much to me.  You are truly a miracle worker.

With the upmost appreciation, always,"


How's that for appreciation from a HIGH SCHOOL girl who will be graduating this year!!!  Congratulations, Kassandra in whatever your future plans are.  I am sure you will go far. 

I will be teaching a T-shirt making class at the Quilt and Sewing Expo at UW Platteville this summer.

Check it out here:


Monday, April 30, 2012

Every Quilt Tells a Story - Belmont High 1932

I have been working on a most unusual quilt.  Monica Bartels and I are both in a quilting group with a number of other wonderful ladies.

 Monica's Mother, Marguerite Keyes passed away this year at the age of 98 years old.  When Monica was cleaning out her Mother's home she came across a brown paper bag with chrome yellow squares with embroidery names in bubble gum pink stitching.  On closer inspection Monica realized these squares were traced autographs from the Belmont High School class of 1932.  This would be the 80 year class reunion!

Apparently Marquerite  gathered the signatures and embroidered over them.  Monica thinks a couple of the signatures may have been teachers.  One of the signatures, Vincent Donahoe, was my father.  Another, Cecilia Donahoe, was my aunt, Dad's sister. 

All the fabric is original from 1932.  The blocks were in the bag and I cut the sashing blocks.  The fabric was 36" wide.  The blocks were cut at 7" squares (remember rotary cutters weren't used in the 30's) and when our quilting group assembled the quilt top, I didn't do any squaring up on the blocks.  I kept reminding them they were working in the 30's!  I did starch and press the blocks before sewing.

What are we going to do with the quilt?  Only one student from the class is still alive.  Helen Buss was a school teacher in Belmont, still lives in Belmont and is in good health.  Monica is going to present the quilt to Helen Buss to use as a lap robe.

Can you tell this was an exciting meaningful project for me????

Here are pictures of a few of the blocks:

Monica's Mother's block:  Marguerite Nodolf - Marguerite Keyes.  Marguerite did the embroidery and carried the blocks all over the country to a number of different stated that her and her husband, Don, lived in over the years.

Helen Mary Buss's block:  Helen will be the recipient of the quilt.  Helen never married so she is still Helen Buss.

Vincent Donahoe's block:  This was my Dad.  Notice the writing in the selvedge.  It stated the fabric was colorfast and it is.  The pink is that wonderful bubblegum pink and the green is that great green from the 30's.  The chrome yellow is as bright as the day it was purchased.

Dad's signature looked the same in 1932 as it did when he passed away at the age of 88!

My aunt's block, Cecilia Donahoe.  Cecilia and Dad were brother and sister but they were not twins.  Cecilia never married and lived in Darlington most of her life.

Dwight Mille'sr block.  Our family and Dwight's family grew up a few miles from each other and we all attended Pleasant View School together before we attended school in Belmont.

Charles Rowe's block.  Charlie owned Rowe's Tavern in Belmont for a number of years.  I worked with him one summer when I was in college at Belmont's First Capital State Park.

I hope you enjoyed my little journey with this quilt.  Every quilt tells a story!

Happy Quilting.