Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quilters are the Best People

Today was guild day - I belong to several, but the third Thursday is Mainland Morning in Texas City, which meets in the morning, and Island Quilters of Galveston which meets in the evening. So today was a very fun filled quilting day!

Our guest speaker tonight in Galveston was Winnie Fleming. Winnie is a "local gal" coming from Friendswood, just a hop, skip and a jump north on I45. Winnie has been quilting for 26-27 years, has been teaching probably 20+ years, is a pattern designer, author, and scrap exchange queen of the Bay Area Quilt Guild (which I'm also a member of). And she's just plain talented!

I had the privilege of taking a "Borders" class from Winnie this past summer, I can tell you from experience that she's a master precision peicer and a gifted teacher. I was really looking forward to her trunk show tonight! It's always an extra treat when the guest speakers are local and are not limited to baggage weight! I'm not sure exactly how many quilts Winnie shared tonight, but I do know I took over 50 photos!

Her talk was actually two-fold encompassing pieced borders and sharing about scrap exchanges.

A lot of her quilts were made from exchange blocks. She shared that these "exchanges" can be addicting. Winnie enjoys the challenge of coming up with a special setting that is unique to her quilt and stated that she loved seeing what everyone else did with the same blocks. In fact, the Bay Area Guild participates so faithfully to these scrap exchanges that there is even a special category in the quilt show to include these works of wonder.

Winnie also demonstrated how to take an element from the quilt body and incorporate it into a pieced border. She gave several examples of different types of borders, sawtooth, delectable mountains, flying geese, arrows, strips, etc. And she explained the "floater" border that was the math key to making things all fit together.

I think we were all amazed that the quilt above was from block exchanges. She certainly has a talent for taking different blocks and turning them into pieced borders that have so much interest and character. Personally I love scrap quilts and I am in awe of her talent for making things work!

This quilt is the basic pattern she teaches in her Borders Class -- the class had several sessions spread out with a couple of weeks in between so you had time for the "homework" We concentrated on 2 borders each session and learned the ins and outs of construction -- two of my "classmates" (Cristine and Judy) from this summer shared their work in progress. I hope to have mine finished by the spring Bay Area Quilt the way, did I mention that Winnie teaches this class each quarter at Quakertown Quilts in Friendswood.

All in all it was a most enjoyable evening. I truly believe that everyone was mesmerized by Winnie's talent displayed in her trunk show. She had something for everyone -- there was a churn dash scrappy 1930's quilt, a beautiful black, white and red round robin quilt she had made for her husband, quilts with bright fun funky fabrics, plaids and stars with tenny-tiny little 9 patches, wonderful feathered star medallion quilts, and on and on and on. I could have sat there all night!

I've always been impressed by Winnie's talent, her way of organizing (such as the scrap exchange for her guild), her beautiful patterns (she has authored several block of the month patterns for Quakertown Quilts), I've found her to be a wonderful teacher who really knew how to impart her wisdom to her students, and I think she's an all around great gal...but tonight, she was elevated even higher in my book of heroes -- at the conclusion of her trunk show she shared how she knew the gals from the island had been so harshly effected by Ike that she wanted to share a bit of encouragement by offering to each guild member, whether they lost things in the storm or not, a copy of her book Simple Blocks Make Sensational Quilts. I have to admit this random act of kindness brought tears to my eyes. Way to go Winnie ~ you are an unsung hero girlfriend. Thank you sooooo much for your book, and for autographing it too (grin)

Yep, quilters are the best people. And quilters have a way of making light the burden of others by their generosity and random acts of kindness. Pass it forward!

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