Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Art In The Eyes Of A Child

The first quilt I ever made was a Turning Twenty by Tricia Cribbs.  Oddly, this quilt sits in our spare room and still needs the binding sewed on it.  Not sure how I let that happen but this story is not about that quilt...I digress.  The pattern was so easy (and it was the only thing I had pieced) so I thought it would be fun to take my daughter to the quilt shop and let her pick out twenty fat quarters of her choosing and make a quilt.  I believe she was around 7 or 8 at the time.

We were there forever as she buzzed around finding just the right fabrics.  After I had all the pieces cut, I had her hand them to me in the order she wanted them so that I could begin sewing it together.

As we figured out how she wanted them laid out I found myself asking her why in the world she chose the fabrics she did.  It was a crazy group of the most miss matched fabrics I had ever seen.  She had a reason for every single one because they reminded her of something she loved.  The strawberries made her think of the festival our town holds every spring. The brown one with holly made her think of Christmas.  There is one with blue, purple and green that looks like crackled glass that made her think of the ball at New Years Eve.  I was floored that she had put so much thought into what she had picked out.  

Sadly, this top laid around and collected dust for about 6 years.  I had decided that I wanted to be the one to quilt it since I wanted it to mean something to her even later on.  Finally in 2013 enough was enough and it was time to bite the bullet and finish it.  
I decided to do an all over quilting and was bored with stippling, so I gave loops and hearts a try.  Not too bad for my first time and take into consideration I had obstacles...
To this day she loves her quilt and even takes it with her to sleepovers.  I just hope 20 years from now she remembers how much fun we had picking the fabric out and what each little square meant to her.  She can forget all the yelling I did at the cat.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Globetrotting Finished

Back in November I asked my husband to help me pick out fabric for Pat Sloan's Globetrotting BOM.  He actually loves playing with colors as much as I do and this is what we came up with.
Then it was to the drawing board and searching for just the right Aurifil threads so that I could get started on the quilting.  
I probably have about 12-14 hours of quilting on this project.  This was the first time I attempted to keep track of how much time I spend on quilting.  I started with the middle section first figuring it was better to get it out of the way.
Next it was on to tackling the surrounding blocks.  

The strip of sashing separating the two center blocks of each row is slightly wider than the other sashing.  I remembered a great tutorial by Kathleen at Kathleen Quilts on quilting flying geese into a quilt and thought this would be perfect to highlight these areas.
And of course no project can be considered complete until the project manager has given his approval.
This is the finished quilt.  It feels good to say finished!  

Monday, February 9, 2015

4-H Love---How How!!

It seems like the older my daughter gets the busier we are.  Definitely a bitter sweet thing, because before I can blink she will be trying to tell me she's and adult and ready to do her own thing.  One of the things I am grateful for is that she was introduced to the 4-H program when she was in elementary school.  She dearly loves and believes in this organization and it is giving her confidence and helping her become the beautiful young lady she is today.  By going to the different camps she is able to meet other teens from different areas of our state and make friendships that may last a lifetime.

I have to have a proud parent moment for a moment...excuse me while I climb up on my soap box.  The two weekends ago she participated in our state air rifle competition for the first time.  Though she did not place she did an amazing job for her first year considering she had only been shooting since November.  This past weekend she participated in her club competition.

She placed 1st place for the girls junior division.  She also participated in the club archery shoot as well against a neighboring school district.  
She placed second in the girls shoot for her grade.  Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of her because we had to leave before the final scores where announced.  Hopefully, her team will advance to the state competition.

A big clap of hands for the  4-H organization for sponsoring these actives!  Through the clubs, camps, and sporting events such as these,  the children have a chance to learn teamwork, confidence and the value of their community.

As any true 4-h'er knows camp is where it's at and everyone takes a deep pride in their tribe...even when they are adults.  During my daughter and nieces last year at younger camp they were both chief of their tribes.  For our family it was the Delawares vs the Mingos.  My fear was a scalping as the girls are very competitive, but they happily proved me wrong and worked together to lead their tribes.  My heart rannith over, so of course I made quilts.  It seemed like the perfect presents for Christmas so they could take them to camp the next year.

I tried to personalize each one with things specific to each tribe such as tribe colors and animals but also give them blocks that represent camp itself.  Each quilt has a Maple Leaf block (Maple is the name of the cabin everyone wants), a Friendship block, Indian mat and Indian Star blocks.
The Delaware quilt is done in the tribe color of black and has their mascot the Fire Bird, a Birds in the Air and Delaware Star block.  The Mingo quilt is done in the tribe color of red with their mascot a bear, a Bear Paw and Ohio Star block.  And of course they both have the four leaf clover blocks representing Head, Heart, Hands and Health.

Both girls loved the quilts and proudly displayed them on their beds at camp.  How! How!

Friday, February 6, 2015

What do you do when your not in the mood?

When I went home yesterday, I just wasn't in the mood to set at my machine or work on my quilt binding.  Was I sick?  Nope just wan't in the mood to sew.
 I had been working hard in the evenings piecing on some of my quilt blocks and needed a break.
I chose three unfinished tops and tried to find some inspiration on how to quilt them.  I started off with my Holiday in Kashmir top.  It is made up of the same block with sashing.  
I was pretty happy with what I came up with so I moved on to my Jelly Roll Race quilt top.  It is basically a strip quilt and my two basic thoughts are to quilt something different in each strip section or do an all over design of some sort.  
As of right now, if I can find a nice variegated thread, my favorite is the wavy lines in the middle picture.  They should add a nice texture and movement to the quilt.

My last quilt top is something I pieced very early on.  I have allowed it to set around forever because I hate my fabric choices.  Looking at it today, I don't feel like they flow well together, so every time I try to figure out a way to quilt it I get frustrated.  I could just do a very basic over all design, but I think a more custom job will do it justice.  (At least it will in my head)  
So after drawing and erasing I came up with two possibilities for the pieced blocks.  I still have not figured out how to deal with the background.  Maybe a few more glasses of wine tonight and I'll find some inspiration.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Death Quilt

We all have a story whether it is a fairy tale or something straight out of a Stephen King novel.  My guess is most quilts have a story too ranging from emotional for both the maker and the recipient to just weird to all but the person who made it.  This is the story of a quilt that I almost did not finished, but in hindsight I am glad that I did.

When I saw the pattern for Interlocking Stars in the the January/February 2011 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting I had to make it.  Although the colors they chose did not speak to me.
 I decided to make the colored links alternating shades of pink and turquoise.  Which seemed like a great idea until I realized how much thought it was going to take to figure out how many tiny pieces of what to cut.  Out came the zip lock bags and markers so I could keep track of what was what.  I was still fairly new to quilting and this was the most complicated project I had tackled so it seemed to take for ever to get everything cut and organized.  Most of the pieces were in the 1.5 to 2 inch range. It is made up of two basic alternating blocks.  I was in the process of sewing the gazillion units to make the blocks when this quilt's story started.

It was Mother's Day, May 8, 2011.  My daughter had spent the night with my parents and my husband and I were to visit with them later that afternoon.  I had just spoke with my dad on the phone when I set back at the machine to sew.  He was happily watching TV and my mom and daughter were at the store.  Less that 45 minuets later my world would crash down and forever change.  The phone rang and the voice on the other end was the calm voice of my child but the words she spoke were hard to process.  "Mom, get here quick.  I think Papaw just died."  Everything froze.  I could hear my mother in the background and I knew things were serious.  My husband and I raced to my parent's house.  Luckily, we were able to get behind the ambulance and run.  I would like to say that this part of the story has a happy ending, but for our family, it did not.  My father suffered a massive heart attack and did not make it.  The next week was spent at my mother's side all of us trying desperately to make sense of things.  When we finally returned home and tried to make life seem normal again, I could not stand the sight of those quilt pieces or the thought of sewing.  I packed all the sandwich bags of fabric and the magazine into a plastic tote and stuffed it away.  I think it was months before I even turned my machine back on.

Now my story fast forwards to 2012.  By this time my small family had moved into a house beside my mother and I had once again started piecing quilts.  It was the end of October and hurricane Sandy was headed toward New Jersey and New York.  Our small town was expected to get hit with large amounts of snow and I stayed home from work.  Since I had just recently finished something, I thought enough time had passed that maybe I would work on my pretty pink and turquoise quilt again.  Out came the almost forgotten tote and all its small pieces.  I sorted everything out and scratched my head trying to figure out what in the world I was doing.
Several hours into it while entertaining myself on Face Book, I was devastated to learn that one of my best friend's (she more like family) mother had just passed away...of a massive heart attack, just like my dad.  We all knew her as Momo and loved and respected her deeply.  Another piece of our heart would be missing.
I just stared at the partially sewn blocks in disgust.  I know it sounds stupid but I thought "is someone going to fall over every time I touch this thing?"  I had not touched it in almost a year and a half and it is out for a few hours and we get the same news.  After things had once again settled, I shared the story with my friend and told her I didn't want to finish it.  Then I had a great idea, I would finish it and we would burn it.  I didn't want to look at it again.  Somehow I figured symbolically it would feel good and allow us to release some of the hurt and anger. A bond fire and wine was the answer.  Yes as crazy as it sounds it was the plan, I'd show this quilt who's boss.  As soon as it was together I dropped it off at the local quilt shop for quilting (I even told the long arm quilter to quilt it at her own risk I was not responsible for any more deaths) and a few weeks later it was back.
I called Jackie to tell her it was finished.  She loved it and as much as I hated to admit it I did too.  The burning did not happen (the wine probably did).  We decided it was our quilt and named it "The Death Quilt."  She even talked me into entering it into a local quilt show and it took first place in the wall hanging division.
It's a quilt that adds an extra bond to one of my best friendships.  I'm very thankful that she and her family are in my life.  
Though others may look at me crazy when I call it "The Death Quilt" she and I understand it really represents the love that we have for the ones we are missing.  I don't have to hate the quilt anymore.  My dad and Momo where beautiful souls and I'm happy that it represents them.  Plus as long as there are little things like this...
Face Dad spray painted on the building door.
I know he's still around.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


I just finished finished my second project of the year.  It is from Pat Sloan's Aurifil designer challenge for 2015.  The January designer of the month was Gudrun Erla of GE Designs.  She introduced us to the cutest mini quilt called Flurry.  I pulled out my boxes of fabric and decided to go with a solid light turquoise and white on white polka dot fabric.
 Next it was time to pick out thread.  I already had a nice Aurifil white thread but I needed a turquoise of some sort.  Unfortunately,  the quilt shops closest to me do not carry this brand of thread so I had to look online.  Sometimes ordering online can be tricky and the color I chose actually ended up being slightly darker than I wanted, but I decided to just go for it.
Now I needed a plan so out came the Plexiglas and dry erase markers.  

 After I started quilting I wasn't quite happy with what I had came up with.  I didn't like the back and forth wiggles in the white blocks or the swirl/scrolls in the blue.
So I went with a more dot-to-dot quilting approach.

Finished Front
 Finished Back