Reflecting on 2017


It has been a while since I have written on this blog.  2017 had many highs and lows, and life just got in the way as it sometimes does.  I had written last year about my head injury that I sustained exactly a year ago today when I had a fall from my horse.  It took about 8 months before I finally felt normal, but in those first few months I wasn’t able to go anywhere or drive, and spent a lot of time resting and napping.  I had already signed up for a “Color and Composition” on-line class with Katie Pasquini Masopust, and she was kind enough to let me do the assignments at my own pace.  At first I could only work for an hour or two in my studio and then go rest.  I was pleased that I hadn’t lost my creativity and this was a wonderful distraction for me.  I have only completely finished one of the quilts, but finishing them is on my to do list for 2018.

I had been wanting to do a color wheel and this was a great opportunity.  I designed the  center star in EQ7 and used Karen K Stone’s technique of English paper piecing by machine.  The hexagons were hand appliqued on.  Green Galaxies was my first exploration using raw edge fusible applique, and I enjoyed the speed  which with a small project can be completed.  I thought that doing concentric circles using a heavy embroidery thread would add additional depth and give the appearance of far away worlds.


The assignment to create a modern still life resulted in Daffodils in a  Blue Vase.  I had no choice but to do daffodils, as they were blooming profusely and were visible from my studio window.  I love  how the red pieced background adds interest and moves the eye around after you take in the flowers.  I have decided how to finish this and there will be some hand embroidery of the flowers and some beaded fringe on the bottom of the table cloth.  I look forward to sharing the finished product.

The next assignment was to explore the use of lost and found lines, soft edges, and engaging the edges.  I toyed with many ideas, but finally just quickly drew it up  and Solar Flares was born.  Raw edge fusible applique has been a great addition to my tool box!

Three Vases  is a value study based on a photo I had taken of three vases arranged on my coffee table with a bright light reflecting on the wood.  We were to crop the photo to zoom in on the tightest part of the photograph.  Then using black and white fabrics and neutrals, we were to match the values of the colors with the fabrics.  Below is the original photo:

In March, I managed to quilt the Fredericksburg Vereins Quilt Guild group quilt.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it, but I did get it done.  I was honored to be asked to do this quilt and had been looking forward to it.  I had done some practice quilting with the fabrics they were using. The wool applique baskets were beautifully embellished and each block was amazing.  Below is a picture of Debbie Geistweidt and I at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in front of Rhapsody in Blue as well as some close ups of the quilting and baskets.


In April we found out that my husband, Jerry, has bladder cancer.  This was certainly a shock and a time of uncertainty.  We are lucky that we live close enough to UT Southwestern Medical School and saw the head of urologic oncology, and were able to get outstanding care.  Several months went by while we were having procedures done to get an accurate diagnosis and staging.  I’m happy to report that his surgery in August was successful and he is doing very well and is feeling pretty much back to normal.

The highlight of the year, was the birth of our daughter, Sarah’s, first child!  Augustus Laurence Smith was born on July 4th.  I went to Maryland as soon as she went into labor and helped her out for 2 weeks and Jerry was able to come and meet Gus!  Sarah and Gus came to Texas in October to meet his cousins, aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents.  Here Jerry and Gus are hanging out in the kitchen.


During that time I did manage to get Gus’s chevron baby quilt done.

Gus's chevron quilt

When I knew that I would be spending a lot of time at the hospital, I decided I needed something to do that I could take with me.  My sister, Peggy, has been doing Sue Spargo’s block of the month quilt, and inspired me to do some wool applique and embroidery.  I wanted to do something more modern and less folksy, so I designed a bunch of flowers on hexagon bases using cotton and wool.  With a couple of books, and watching Mary Corbet’s “how to videos”, I set out to learn embroidery as I went.  I found this kind of work to be very meditative and calming and was just what I needed at the time.  It is nice to have something you can take with you.  I am currently working on the last flower (a total of 7) and designing the background for the quilt.  I look forward to completing this in time to enter in Fall Paducah.  Here is one of the finished flowers:


I was then inspired to make Gus a stocking for Christmas, and had a lot of fun doing this.  The tree design was from Mary Corbet of Needle ‘n Thread.

My quilting highlight of the year was seeing two of my quilts hanging in the International Quilt Festival in Chicago and then in Houston.  My sister, Peggy, and I went to Chicago where my quilt, Playing Well Together, won first place in the modern category of the Celebration of Color exhibit which debuted in Chicago and then traveled to Houston.  Drunkard’s Bullseye Wow! was also juried into the exhibit.  I had a blast sharing the story of my quilts with so many people.  I met many wonderful and interesting fellow quilters!

I was asked to publish the pattern for Drunkard’s Bullseye Wow in Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine and spent quite a bit of time on this project.  I actually had to make a whole new quilt top because I had figured out an easier method for putting it together.  This will be published in the May 2018 issue of their magazine.

2018:  What’s to come

I am looking forward to 2018 and finishing up a lot of projects.  I’ve read that learning new things helps to prevent Alzheimer’s, so I’m going to learn lots of new things in 2018!  Kicking off the New Year is a retreat next week with quilt artist, Sue Benner, at Madeline Island School of the Arts winter site, Tanque Verde Resort, in Tucson with my friend, Debbie Geistweidt.  The topic is landscape quilts.

One of the other things I am looking forward to is taking Ricky Tims’ on-line photography class.  I have heard wonderful things about this course, and the pictures of his students’ work are stunning.  Ricky Tims is an accomplished quilter and co-host of the popular The Quilt Show.  This is a year long commitment!

Although I have designed a lot of blocks in EQ7, there are a lot of things I don’t know how to do or have not spent a lot of time working on, so I’m signed up to take Kari Shell’s on-line class, Tech Know Quilters, which will be an in-depth look at the new EQ8.

I am going to make it a goal to post at least once a month in 2018 and keep you posted on my progress with “learning new things”!  Who knows what else the new year will bring!

P.S.  I literally just got an email informing me that my quilt, Playing Well Together, was juried into the AQS Lancaster, PA, show in March!  Great way to start the New Year!