Thursday, September 16, 2010

the girls in Mülheim

i have some friends ... wonderful friends who I met at least ten years ago ... they live in and around Mülheim, Germany ... toooo far away. they are an amazing group of ladies who do *everything*  they are a constant source of inspiration and companionship.

angela dyes the most amazing fabrics, beads, quilts, does mosaic and much more i haven't seen
elisabeth makes things from paper, beads, quilts and loves on her sweet little grandboy
gila felts, beads, sews, makes hats, quilts and runs her little studio called Kunst Stücke "pieces of art" ...
gabi beads, quilts, knits and more
helga specializes in things teeny eensy weeny .. the littlest beads, mini patchwork and knits
hildegard quilts, embroiders, teaches, stitches, etc, etc.
roswitha quilts, teaches and does 100 more things than i know about
sigrid quilts, crafts and collects mini things

i could tell you more and i am sure they will remind me of everything i have forgotten but it has been one of those days.

twice this group has banded together (in different configurations) and flown across the big pond to visit my husband and i in the pacific northwest.  many of you have met them and if you didn't i hope someday you will.

you see - they all belong under the willow tree and i'm really hoping i can convince some or all will sometimes contribute to this blog.

last tuesday i got to spend the WHOLE day with them.  what  blast!

it's always fun to see who's working on what.  and i got to show them my DOTS!  and i'm happy to say some of them caught the contagion and are already addicted.  see what they did!

Gabi's gone dotty with Kaffe
Gila has a huge batiks collection
Angela's GOT DOTS
Angela dyes her own fabrics

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First timer

Okay, this is my first attempt at anything having to do with a blog. Wish me luck! Thanks, dear Jovita, for inviting me! Deb

A give-away because I need your ideas ...

Look what I found today ... well, it wasn't really lost but in the midst of clearing up and organizing my new, wonderful studio ... I "found" it again.

It's one of those things that surface from time to time and brings back a ton of memories.

The fabrics remind me of one of my favorite baby dolls - I think her dress was made out of a reverse of the polka dot.  White dots on red.  The dots and blossoms are flocked, the content is some kind of polyester blend.

My sewing skills ... ahem ... leave much much to be desired.

  • Not a single patch is square.
  • One patch is pieced - curved no less - rather resourceful if I may say so myself.
  • The seams - hehe - not a single one is straight, or even.
  • Some seams are sewn double.
  • One seams has a huge pleat it in.
  • Not a single corner is matched.

But how can you not love it.  I've been thinking of ways to display it.  Hoping somehow I could show the front and back.  Frame it?  Quilt it?  Add to it?

I'm not sure ... although today I think I came up with something I could love but I'm not sure ... it involves the new color in our courtyard and some oh-so-very adorable "Little Red Hen" fabric that makes me think of my childhood - in a good way.  Surprisingly "Not I said the Little Red Hen" was a common phrase of denial in our household.  It's stuck with me.  

For now - I have finally stuck the block to the bulletin board in my new studio to look at and gather ideas.  Because I think it finally needs to feature here - a reminder of how far I've come and all the things I still want to do!

Do you have any ideas for me?  I would love to hear them - add a comment below - and next week I'll pull a random winner to receive a sweet little package from me!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A First Time For Everything

When Jovita asked me if I would like to join some friends and blog "under the willow tree", I thought, "sure why not-I've never done that before." That is actually my story of how I started quilting. It was 2001, and my then "over the fence" friend and neighbor (who shall remain nameless and blameless), would invite me on outings, which would always end up at a quilt shop. "You don't mind do you", she would ask. What could I say, she was driving. What I didn't expect was the sensory overload that awaited me. I was in a foreign country full of mind-boggling patterns, delicious colors, and sumptuous textures. In short, I was a goner! There was only one small problem-I had parked my sewing machine 30 years before, because I HATED to sew. And, over my somewhat plump, dead body would I ever drag it out again. But what to do with all that beautiful fabric? I continued to drool over and fondle fabric for several months, when my friend (noticing my dilema), swore on her cat's grave, that all I needed to sew was a quarter inch seam, and voila!, I was in business.I hauled out the offensive machine (which my neighbor said sounded like a Harley Davidson motorcycle),dusted it off and took my first class, and made my first quilt.
Thus, began a love affair with quilting and quilters,which lasts to this day.
So here I am, having reached full circle with my history-I had never quilted before that time with my friend, and I had never blogged before until this evening. There is a first time for everything, and everyone, and I hope you, perhaps first time readers and quilters, will join us under the willow tree for many a chat, and regale us with stories of your own adventures in quilting.

Not My First.

But the second quilt I made. Did this one for my husband, Eric. I think we fight over it but luckily he rarely gets chilled. This is all flannel...yum-o. I found the pattern in a magazine but it was square. He wanted rectangle. And if you could see the fabrics, they are all hunting/fishing related. Yes, Eric would rather be outside with animals & fish 24/7. The outside border is to represent houses, kinda fun.  The backing? Yes, it looks like quail feathers, of course.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Welcome to Under the Willow Tree!  I'm thoroughly looking forward to this new endeavor and introducing you to some of the very best friends a girl can have.  

I thought I'd just pop in and show you my first quilt first.  Started just over 20 years ago ... at a time with Seafoam Green and Peach were everywhere, I thought I was being clever by adding a bit of Burgundy.  Now, when I see it hanging (as  it did in front of my house for my "Annual Patchwork in my Garden Party") it looks ok but it really isn't my style any more.  The colors are a blast from the past, the pattern is too predictable and well, muslin?

But it's not like I'll ever part with it either ... it all started my senior year of high school (in fact the last three months).  I was working at the local fabric store and planning to head off to college / Colorado in July.  Well I wanted a quilt.  So I picked out my pattern, knew I wanted an element of scrap and started gathering up fabrics.  My sister helped me get started and then I just got too busy.  I was graduating after all ...  so she finished up the top for me and then had a quilting bee for friends and family to quilt on it.  Then it went to my mom's.  And she had it ... and quilted on it ... for about the next ten years.  When we moved back to the States in 1999 mom gave it to me ... unfortunately in the meantime I had married Axel (um, unfortunately he's so tall, not that I married him - being married to him I am very fortunate) who is 6ft 8in / 203cm.  So ... the quilt is rarely used unless one of us is sick and it gets pulled out to go on the guest bed.  Today I put it on our bed today to get a "real" pic ... didn't take long for Clark to get comfy - but I also realized it fits our bed.  I'm really surprised and guess it just might have to show up there more often.

The details: 
Block:      Ohio Star  (12" / 30.5cm)
Fabrics:   variety of calico prints from the 
               $3.99 flat-folds table
Sashing:  simple muslin
Piecing:   entirely by machine
Quilting:  hand-quilted - group project 
Backing: wide backing, print on peach
Binding:  backing brought around to the front
Size:       84-1/2" x 100-1/2" /  215cm x 255cm