Ranya Gillman was a wonderful teacher to work with at Quilt Wyoming.  I was already an admirer or her quilts and books, but hadn’t yet really explored the idea of sewing in an improvisational method.  It makes sense though; I play jazz improvisation; why not try that in my quilting?  Rayna set us completely at ease from the very start.  Well, I guess I should say, “She tried to set everyone at ease,” because some of the ladies were freaking out about having to sew without a pattern!  But they soon fell in step and made some beautiful creations.

The best way she inspired us was by sharing some of her own quilts with us, up close and personal.  They are absolutely beautiful!  They resulted from Rayna experimenting with the blocks and asking herself, “What if…I did this or that?”  She let the fabric and the blocks, as viewed on a design wall, determine the next direction to go.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Here is Rayna with the quilt that is on the cover of her book, Create Your Own Improv Quilts.  I absolutely love it!  Next week I’ll explain more about the improv method she taught us, and show what I came up with.


Exquisite Quilts

At Quilt Wyoming, earlier this summer, we had some outstanding national speakers and teachers.

Grace Errea was back by popular demand.  She turns inspirational photos into amazing quilts.  I was able to get a close-up of some of her works.  Aren’t they amazing?  I don’t think I’m gifted for this type of sewing, but many of you are.  For more of her designs, as well as patterns, click here.

I was fascinated to see up-close how she sews fabric together for unique backgrounds to her floral designs.  Grace taught two classes–one on reverse appliqué and another regarding these photo inspired quilts.

Another gifted quilter and speaker was Catherine Redford, a hilarious speaker, born and raised in Northwest England.  Her classes were called “Folk Art Stitching” and “Wrapped in Scraps.”  Here are some examples of her work, which are amazing embroidery and fun fabric bowls.

Her students were having a good time when I stopped by.

She spoke about an “around the globe” tour of quilts that she has made, representing various cultures and types of stitches and her speech had us, literally “in stitches” of laughter.  Check out more of her works here.  

The third national guest speaker and teacher is the reason I was drawn to Quilt Wyoming this year — Rayna Gillman taught classes called “No Strings Attached,” and “No Pattern Paper Piecing.”  I already had her books and was thrilled to see she was coming to Wyoming.  She is also a witty and fun person to sew with; I learned so much from her about improvisational quilting.  I stepped beyond my fears and actually started making unique blocks without a pattern.  I’ll share more about her classes in future posts.  Aren’t her creations beautiful?  To see more of her work, purchase books, or view her teaching schedule, click here (I love following her blog).  I will have much more to share about Rayna in my next post.

Quilt Wyoming

I was privileged this summer, along with several friends, to be able to attend my first “Quilt Wyoming.”  This is an all-state quilt retreat, complete with classes, speakers, a quilt show, and plenty of gifts.  This year it was held on the campus of Central Wyoming College in Riverton.  I took only one photo of the campus, unfortunately, but found this tree artwork to be very interesting and pretty.

Here are some of the quilts that were displayed to indicate what some of the classes were.  There were 28 classes to choose from, which is generally done a few months before, during pre-registration.

This year also featured the first “Quilt Camp,” for people new to quilt making.  It was an excellent opportunity for people who wanted to get started but didn’t know how.  For experienced quilters, it was also an opportunity to invite a friend to the retreat that has never sewn a quilt before.  It was very successful!

There were also several venders from various fabric shops across Wyoming and the region; many beautiful fabrics, kits and supplies to view!

There were gifts given out every day, such as these pictured here.

Yes, this is a sewing machine that has been covered with a Wyoming map!  Crazy!

Infinite Distance

When we think of God’s holiness, the first thought that usually comes to mind is moral purity.  This is certainly an important aspect of it, as we shall see.  But when the seraphs called out, “Holy, holy, holy,” they meant something far more profound and fundamental.  The Hebrew word for holy is qadosh, which generally means, “cut off,” or “separate.”  When used of God, the word expresses the idea of separateness or “otherness.”  God is wholly “other” from all His creation, from angels, from men, and especially from sinful man.  He is absolutely distinct from all his creatures and is infinitely exalted above them in incomprehensible glory and majesty.  R. C. Sproul uses the word transcendence to describe this holiness:  “When we speak of the transcendence of God we are talking about that sense in which God is above and beyond us.  It tries to get at His supreme and altogether greatness…Transcendence describes God in His consuming majesty, His exalted loftiness.  It points to the infinite distance that separates Him from every creature…”  — Jerry Bridges, The Joy of Fearing God, pg. 66-67

Be Still and Listen

I never understand people that force having their way.  It’s always so much better to wait quietly, listen to God and trust in His way and timing.  Patience and kindness to others, especially when we disagree, is always best.

Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2).  The saint’s duty is to be still and listen.  There is a darkness that comes from too much light–that is the time to listen.  The story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16 is an excellent example of listening to so-called good advice during a time of darkness, rather than waiting for God to send the light.  When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait.  God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing.  Never try to help God fulfill His word.  Abram went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all his self-sufficiency was destroyed.  He got past the point of relying on his own common sense.  Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure.  There’s never any need to pretend that your life is filled with joy and confidence; just wait upon God and be grounded in Him.  (see Isaiah 50:10-11)  — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Special Gift

One Christmas my wife gave me a book I had wanted for a long time.  It was a rather obscure book on N. C. Wyeth.  When I discovered it (she had tried to hide it in the wardrobe) I was surprised and happy.  I didn’t hug the book, however, and give it a big sloppy kiss.  No, I dropped the book and embraced her, the one who had given such a special gift.  — Michael Card, Joy in the Journey