I thought I’d share a little bit about the Loose Threads, a quilting group I belong to. We are a “loosely knit” group of friends who quilt. Most of us have connections to Tehachapi Unified School District in one way or another but some others have just joined in the fun. I tried to “piece” our history together and this is what I came up with.
In 2002 I joined a quilt group that was meeting at Tehachapi High School on Thursday nights. Patty Lantz was teaching us quilting. We started with a Mystery Quilt that was probably a bit complex for us beginners but turned out really beautiful. We picked a big bold fabric and then several coordinating fabrics to go with it. I made a pink, blue, green, yellow and floral quilt that I ended up taking on the Simply Quilts show with me when I was invited to a taping in 2003. I asked Alex Anderson for help on the binding and she showed me how she did it. Christmas 2002 we had dinner at the club in Bear Valley Springs and wrote down our first membership list, naming ourselves Loose Threads.
During 2003 we did the Pioneer Sampler by Eleanor Burns, making one block each month. We each made an extra block and had a drawing for one of our members to win the extra blocks. I made my quilt out of red, white and blue scraps and it turned out enormous as I kept adding extra blocks from my Block of the Day perpetual quilting calendar.
In 2003 we made two charity quilts. The first was a Bachelor’s puzzle in dark blue, rose and tan for the Save our Schools organization who were trying to raise money to save teacher’s jobs. I sewed the blocks together and added the border and another of our member’s quilted it. SOS was able to auction off the quilt. Also during 2003, we donated one of our sampler blocks to make a quilt for one of our members, Minnie Booker, who was fighting cancer. I pieced the blocks together and another member quilted them in a very bright, happy quilt to encourage Minnie.
In 2004 we did our first Round Robin quilt. Each of us provided the first block and then we passed the block on for each member to add something to it. My Round Robin started with some card trick blocks and ended up a full-sized quilt that I gave to Terry Helmick. Working on my quilt were: Julie Heaslet, Mary Landon, Diane Cole, Donna Adams and Lisa Archie. I won the Card Trick blocks at a Tehachapi Mountain Quilters guild meeting. They were made by: Linda Ramay, Carolyn Gilliland, Diane Gitz, Eleanor Miller, Sally Boudreax and Vi Donaldson.
Loose Threads Christmas parties are always a lot of fun and well attended. In 2004 we exchanged “Morning Glory” blocks that we had created during the year. We each chose a color and then made enough blocks for everyone. We swapped at Christmas time. I made the turquoise blocks. I modified the original pattern a little bit and had the chains of green close on the outside. Blocks in this quilt come from: Julie Heaslet, Lisa Archie, Peggy Rosler, Carol Brueggeman, Joan Pogon-Cord, Diane Cole, and Mary Landon. I put this quilt in the Tehachapi Mountain Quilters show in 2007.
At Christmas 2005 Loose Threads did a Batik Fabric Exchange and Challenge. We were challenged to make a quilt that included EVERY fabric we received in the exchange. This WAS a challenge as we received a wide variety of colors and styles of batiks. First I used some of my batiks to make a small Cathedral Windows quilt when I took a class with Shelly Swanland. She said it was the first scrappy Cathedral Windows quilt she’d ever seen done in her class. Then I started work on the “real” quilt I wanted to create for the Loose Threads challenge. I’ve always wanted to do a Hunter’s Star quilt (found this pattern in Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine) so I grabbed my Thangles and sewed hundreds of little half square triangles at the Ventura Quilt Retreat in 2005. I got the quilt done in time for our Loose Threads revealing in September of 2006.
For Christmas 2006 we opened a gift. The gift of someone else’s fabric. We had to make a quilt for them out of it. Someone else would be making a quilt for us out of our own fabric. I received the fabulous shoe quilt made by Mary Landon the following Christmas. It hangs by my bed and I get to enjoy the incredible detail that Mary so creatively put into this quilt. I made the cute little Cathedral Windows quilt (at right) for Kim Ross. I taught the Cathedral Windows technique to the Loose Threads. Over the years we’ve each taught techniques to each other and kept learning our craft. We’ve done fabric folding, pineapple blocks, applique, and more.
For Christmas 2007 we put a block in a bag and exchanged blocks. Each member got someone else’s block and had to make a quilt for them from what was in the bag during 2008. At Christmas 2008 we gave the quilts we’d made back to the original owner who gave us the block.
Also during 2008 we tried a Mystery Quilt which didn’t go over very well as it required “being out of control.” The finished product, the 4 Star Mystery, turned out very cute, however. ( I made mine into six stars to fit a spot in my entryway.)
During 2009 we did some more Round Robin quilts. I worked on my tennis quilt from our last round robin and started in on a cowboy boot quilt. The Round Robin challenged many of our newer members to try something new. In 2009 we had our annual Christmas Party at Diane Cole’s house.
In November of 2010 Mary Landon organized a quilting retreat from some of the Loose Threads. We went to ECCO outside of Oakhurst and quilted happily for three days in a beautiful setting.
In January of 2010 we all tried a Strip Club quilt pattern: The Cactus Wreath (above). We showed off the finished product at our annual Christmas Party at Julie Heaslet’s house. We exchanged Charm Packs at the Christmas Party and plan to have a Charm Pack Challenge in 2011. Parameters: Use the Charm Pack you received. Use what you have. Try a new technique. I made the 4 Birds Quilt below and it was a challenge! Tried raw edge applique for the first time. We showed off our finished challenges at the Christmas Party 2011 at Teri Kanallakan’s house. Also at Teri’s house we had our first homemade item gift exchange and started our Dots and Stripes Challenge.
In Fall of 2010 we began meeting at Country Oaks Baptist Church and worked on UFO projects. We began taking turns serving dinner to the group each time and attendance has improved! It’s easier to come and sew if you don’t have to worry about dinner.
In 2011 I started this blog in order to communicate with our group members.
In 2011 we formed a Strip Club and did one strip quilt every other month during 2011. See our plans on our Strip Club page.
October 16, 2011 we formed a private Facebook Group for Loose Threads where we can share pictures and news.
In 2012 we are holding a UFO Challenge. Loose Threads members submitted a list of UFO’s and will finish Unfinished Objects in order to enter a drawing to win quilt shop gift certificates every other month. See our UFO Challenge page.
In 2012 we sewed min pillowcases for an orphanage in Mexico.
Our 2012 Christmas party was at Diane Cole’s home again. The Christmas before we had drawn a dotted and a striped fabric at random and had to include both fabrics in a quilt. We presented our Dots and Stripes Challenge quilts at the Christmas party. Kim Ross won for her fantastic Halloween quilt and Julie Heaslet was our second place winner. We also held our second annual homemade item gift exchange and exchanged batiks for another batik challenge in 2013.
Carolyn Wright led us in a sewing bag class, we made our own Best Press, and we made the Moda Queen Bee bag.
In July we had a sew day and made simple pillowcase dresses for Dress A Girl Around the World.
We had another retreat in Oakhurst – this time led by Sherrie Perez.
In 2013 – all year long- we did a Block of the Month following the Summer Sampler Quilt patterns and adding a few more of our own. Here are some of the blocks we sewed:
Christmas – In 2013 we had a Batik Challenge with fabric we exchanged at the 2012 Christmas Party. Cathy Criger won the 2013 prize at the Christmas Party for her beautiful batik quilt. We exchanged Eye Spy squares at the party for next year’s challenge.
In 2014 we are continued with our Block of the Month we started in 2013. We had three Challenges for 2014. Our members could work on one or all of the three Challenges – showing them at the Christmas Party in December 2014.
- Complete an “I Spy” from the charm exchange we had in December 2013
- Make a Block of the Month quilt from blocks you win (Block of the Month 2013-2014
- Or make a Block of the Month sampler with your own blocks/own fabrics. (Block of the Month 2013-2014)
We had our first Mystery Quilt led by Laura Newbry.
TMQ held a night meeting at COBC!