I think I have mentioned before that I attend Mimi's Grad Class meetings. Mimi Dietrich is a well-known quilting teacher (she's been teaching since the mid-late 90's). When I had my shop, she taught a year-long Baltimore applique class for me many times. God alone knows how many scores of needlewomen (and men?) she has nutured. There is a group of former students (graduates of her year long class:) who meet monthly to work together on applique-oriented projects. It is a warm, witty, sometime raucously happy group of women - most of whom I have known for years.
This year our group is working together on making a pattern by Piece O'Cake Designs called Backyard Birds. We broke the pattern up into monthly designs and small groups of two and three members chose birds/month to be presenters. Each set of presenters gives information about the birds and a small fabric package to make the bird (only) applique. My friends Barbara B. and Barbara L. and I chose the Scarlet Tanager for our bird and June is our presentation ... so that was today.
I think I have mentioned before that I worked up the pattern for the male and female birds. The original Piece O'Cake design is somewhat whimsical and none of the three of us really liked the design given for the Tanager in the pattern package. Also, many of the members are sewing both male and female birds on their own blocks. Unlike blue jays and robins, for example, Scarlet Tanagers have very different male and female coloring (more like cardinals in that respect). If you look at the block shown in the picture above, you will see how Barbara L.'s applique block turned out (I have not made any of these blocks, despite my intentions, because doing applique at the farm is rife with difficulty so I am collecting the fabric packs and keeping my project for a later time).
So, I re-drew the pattern, Barbaras B. and L. made up the fabric packs for both birds, we all researched information about the bird .... I played a sound track of the bird's song (from Cornell Bird Labs online) ... we handed out the pattern and two pages of info that Barbara L. gathered ... Barbara L. shared cookies she made from scratch ... it was fun!! :)
Last months' bird was the blue jay so there were many finished blocks with each member's renditions of the bird ... some in the original pattern, others with the bird in alternate settings (for example, on a holly branch or oak tree limbs) ... and wonderful ideas all around for making eyes (printed fabric with circles that can be broderie perse'd, French knots, small black beads, tiny 1/8" black buttons, etc). Everyone who brings a finished block is entered into a small prize drawing (courtesy of the blue jay presenters) - this month's prize was a magnifying seam ripper which was won by Barbara L. with real gratitude. :)
This may sound incredibly boring to you if applique or fabric is not your 'thing' ... but to me it was glorious. Especiallly being able to visit with friends I have not seen in several months! SO 'Old Home Week'. :) We meet at Bear's Paw quilt shop (now that mine is closed) so I got to go petting fabric, admiring new patterns and generally breathing in QUILT for a while. Joy! :) I did buy a few items - some 'background' fabric for finishing those Splendid Sampler blocks into a charity quilt, some size 12 Perle cotton (Valdani) for big-stitch quilting the same ... some really lovely rickrack with machine embroidered leafy vines to use in my story book ... a very long zipper so I can make the Sew Together Bag at long last (have to find the other parts and take it back to Ohio with me:). Just 'bits'. :)
My local guild meeting is tonight - having our summer potluck supper - but I fell asleep when I got home from Grad School and just woke up (meeting started at 6:30). Sigh. Was planning to attend but the flesh was weak. Will go to guild meeting on Thursday to see friends.
Tomorrow I have to take my cat to the vet for her annual shots and check-up. She hates the outing but it has to be done.