Monday, July 30, 2007

A Dilemma

My dilemma is this - I have this small quilt top made. I have enough blocks to make a second the same. Do I make two small quilts or do I try to make a larger one from the blocks.

The small quilts are about 36" X 45" so if I put them together I would have 45" X 72" which is getting close to a twin size.

I have half square triangles of the blue with the prints leftover from making the 'blue' blocks that I could use as a border of some time I could get more of the blue for borders or I could do a scrappy border using the prints. I also have some plain white I could use in a border of some sort. I could also use the half square triangles as borders on the two small quilts or ...

As you can see I just have too many options and I can't make up my mind. Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Adding another UFO

I decided that while I had all the 30's reproduction fabrics out for the two baby quilt tops I finished over the last couple of days I would at least cut out the blocks for another one or quilts. It is one or two because I don't know if it will be two small quilts or one bigger one.

Well, as often happens, once the pieces are cut it was hard not to start sewing. I now have half of the squares done and might get the rest done later today. The blocks I am using create a bunch of half square triangles so I might have another leftover quilt to make or I am thinking I might use them for a border for this quilt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It Came Today

My package from my swap partner came today. I was beginning to despair but there in my post office box this evening was a key to one of the magical package lockers! Very exciting! Thank you so much Susan! It reminds me of fabrics that were around when I was playing with dolls! I have enjoyed being a part of this swap and hope to get a chance again in the next one.

I now have what I think could be called a collection of doll quilts. I believe I have 5 total. This isn't a great picture but it was the best I could do before I had to run out for a meeting and the clothesline was handy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One off but two added

That would be UFO's of course. I finished the one mentioned on July 12 yesterday but in the last few days I got started cutting the pieces for the two baby quilts I am making from the 30's reproduction fabrics that I got in the mail. I started putting it together yesterday while I was prewashing some more fabric that I bought for it. Tonight at Sally's I hope to get close to having one top finished! That would be cool. The other one should go together even quicker. Of course, I will have plenty of leftover fabric to make at least one more quilt or maybe several baby/lap quilts. I will post a picture when I get one top done.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Very pleased with the day. I got the three baby carriers finished in spite of a minor setback. When I first made my daughter's carrier I oriented the main rectangle so it was wider than it was tall by mistake. So I had to get it back and rip it apart and redo it. Somehow when I did the first one today I did the same thing. Luckily I realized it before it was totally finished so I only had to rip for half an hour! It went back together nicely and I managed to not screw up the other two and I am finished! Yee Haw!

Now what will be the next project?


Work has been a bit slow in my sewing room this week. I just can't seem to get the focus. Part of the problems has been distractions and interruptions. The biggest one of those has been our son's wisdom teeth removal on Thursday. He is your average 17 year old who has been enjoying having his mom wait on him, bringing him non-chew foods like milkshakes, egg drop soup and tapioca.

In between the interruptions I have managed to get the UFO/WIP from July 12 quilted and got the binding on yesterday. I hope to finish handsewing the binding today so I can have another finished project!

My latest project is baby carriers as seen here. That's my daughter and grandson modeling the one I made for them. She now has two friends who are expecting and she wants to give them each one. I bought the fabric in the Home Deco section at JoAnn's when it was on sale. I really like their home deco fabrics for projects like this. They have fun coordinating choices that are easy to work with. I bought enough for three carriers and I got them cut out a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday I got the straps sewn and turned. Now I need to press them and put the carriers together. Hopefully, that can be off my list today also!

These carriers are very simple to make and simple to use. It is my daughter's favorite which is why she wants to give them to her friends. I am considering making them to sell but not sure if I want to get into that or not.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Made for the In-Laws

This quilt was made in 1992 for my husband's dad and step-mother. This picture isn't too great but it gives the idea. It is a simple 4-patch alternating with a neutral block and set on-point. I hand quilted it diagonally (in relation to the quilt not the squares).

Not sure how I came up with the edge idea but I had to figure something out after I put those squares on point! I used a wide strip of the neutral, folded in half and then sewn along the zig-zag of the edge. I trimmed the strip in the valleys and trimmed the points and clipped the valley and turned the 'binding' to the back and then hand-stitched it to the back. As I recall it goes 1-2" beyond the valleys. I finished the hand-stitching as we were driving to their house in Phoenix for Christmas.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No more UFO's?

I can't seem to find any at this time. I am sure another one will turn up but I don't know where it is hiding. I do have piles of fabric that go together that I want to make something out of sometime but I haven't actually started making them yet so they aren't unfinished as much as unstarted.

Instead I will show you some pictures and tell about some of the quilts I have made in the past. This is a scan of a slide from about 20 years ago. The quilt was my first ever hand-quilted one. It was a sampler quilt made of 36 different blocks. All of the pieces were marked marked on the fabric using a cardboard template and cut out with scissors. They were then machine pieced. I decided that since we used a wood stove to heat our house back in those days I should use two batts so we would be nice and warm in the winter. Handquilting through that was a challenge. My stitches started out being about 1/4" long and gradually improved. I had to do the whole thing by poking up and then poking down. There was no 'rocking' the needle through that thickness!

We used this quilt on our bed for at least 10 years before it started looking pretty bad. I forgot how worn it was until I pulled it off it's display shelf to take pictures (1, 2, 3, 4, & 5) I saw the mildew from the slow leak that our waterbed had that we didn't notice for quite some time. It was at the bottom corner where the quilt was tucked in. I also saw the patches I tried to mend it with so we could keep using it until I could get another king sized quilt made. In the end I had to buy one of those bed-in-a-bag quilts to get by! Back then with three kids and no sewing room it was hard to accomplish much!

The moral of the story is: older waterbeds with heaters can be very hard on quilts!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What is Grandma Growing?

From time to time people will give me a half-done project because they figure I will do something with it. I think people just know that I won't just toss these 'gifts' out and that I just can't pass up a challenge.

Several years ago I was given a bag of quilt stuff that someone thought I could use. Included in the bag were quite a few hexagons and one 'flower' made up (see below)

Now you are thinking that I was lucky to get these already cut hexagons, right? You would be right except that they were 7" hexagons! Yes, SEVEN INCHES! Also, in the bag were some smaller hexagons, but not all of those were the same size. They ranged from about 1 3/4" to 2 1/4". I figured I would tuck these treasures away until I felt up to the task.

I pulled the package out and brought it along to a quilt retreat a couple of years ago and late in the evening, when we didn't think it was wise to sew on anything we didn't want to ruin, Katie and I put as many flowers together from the big hexagons as possible. When people started coming in to the room in the morning we had them laid out on the floor and we did get some interesting comments!

There weren't enough to do anything with at the retreat so I brought them home to think about a little more. One evening, Katie and I laid them out and came up with a way to put them together with some more green hexagons as filler 'leaves'. The idea is to make up a special 'garden'. Flowers made from the smaller hexagons will be appliquéd randomly onto the big hexagons. The big hexagon garden will be appliquéd onto a large background piece of green print or maybe a large floral. Then I will quilt it and I think add some embellishment like maybe some of these little flowers, some folded fabric flowers and maybe some 3D leaves.

One thing about this project that intrigued me was just why someone would start a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt using 7" hexagons? The fabrics used were so varied in color, scale and vintage that I am thinking they were cut sometime in the 70's and they just make me feel that Grandma was growing something other than flowers in that garden! Which gives me a number of options for quilting designs and names for this quilt when it is finally completed.

This is a project that will probably take several more years to get to my finished pile but I do work on the appliqué every so often when I don't have any other handwork to do.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Where do you find the time?

This is a common question I get about my quilting. My answer is that I don't find the time, I make the time.

Several years ago, when I still had all three kids at home and my husband was working long hours running his appliance repair business and I worked full time, my mother was having health issues and ended up in a nursing home. I was very stressed and I didn't have time to do much that was just for me. I was not a happy person. My sewing room was about 9' X 12' and I shared it with a huge upright grand piano and all the stuff that didn't have a different home. Needless to say, I wasn't doing much sewing and I was not a very happy person at all.

About 5 1/2 years ago, Larry's business was doing well so I didn't 'have' to work anymore so I quit my job to stay at home. From the moment that decision was made, I was a different person inside. I started sewing again. My sewing room wasn't any bigger and nothing else had really changed other than my oldest was off at college.

I had discovered my 'passion' - I need to be creative. I need to sew and especially, I need to make quilts. It is my mental health therapy.

Much has changed since that discovery. Larry had knee and back surgeries so I am now working part-time with him, my mom died, my second child went off to college and has graduated and my oldest got married, finished college (well, almost) and had a baby. With the girls gone I got their room for a sewing room and I got my supplies mostly organized. When I get home from work I greet our son (a high school senior this coming year) and the dog, check email and blogs and then get to some sort of project. It keeps me sane.

I think that each of us, especially mother's with full and crazy lives, need to find that thing that keeps us sane and balanced. We need to step off the hamster wheel and take a few moments every day for ourselves. When my kids were little I chose to sit down with a book or some embroidery or something while they were napping instead of doing the dishes or cleaning the house or whatever. Other times I would get up before everyone else and have a cup of coffee and read a book and enjoy that peace that would be shattered as soon as others were awake.

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now as long as you figure out when your mental health moment is going to be each day!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another UFO/WIP

This top was made from some fabric I got at Fabric Depot. I have seen it at a couple of other shops but not many. It is sort of 60's retro Christmas fabric but since it has the turquoise and pink and no Santas or anything it could be any gift giving occasion. Now that I have it pulled out I am thinking I will get it quilted in the next few days so it can move to the finished pile. I am going to try to machine quilt it with packages so we will see how that goes! Not sure what I will do with it when it is done but at least it will be done!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Shop Hop 2002

This UFO/WIP is my quilt top made from 2002 Shop Hop blocks. I also threw in a couple of panels that my sister gave me and a few extra blocks that I made.

This was my first shop hop. My nieces, Katie and Brita were along. Brita was too young (according to the rules) to get the official block but received a square of fabric at each shop. At one shop she was also given a fat quarter. That fat quarter was the beginning of her first quilt. At each of the rest of the shops we helped her look for fabrics that would go with it. She had her first queen size quilt done in a few short months! She was just 10. She has now done several more and has learned how to use the long arm at their local quilt shop and has finished several quilts for her mother and others.

I think we went to 16 shops that year. I have 27 blocks in the quilt besides the panels. I put the top together at a quilt retreat and I had it all laid out and then went to breakfast or lunch or something and when I came back I was sure I was short a couple of blocks so I made more and then when I looked at it again I had two too many! Shows what lack of sleep can do to you.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Fabric in the mail!

Larry went down to the post office early this morning in case there was a package and guess what! there was one. And it was for me! And it was my fabric from Fabric Depot! So I guess technically I can add another UFO/WIP since some of the fabric was for a specific project - a baby quilt for my niece's third baby coming in September. I got several 30's repro fabrics for that quilt and some fun chicken fabric I will use for a quilt or two someday. I will add a picture or two to this when I can get to my camera. (the son-in-law is sleeping in the sewing room where the camera is hiding!)

Now it is time to head off to the shower so I am ready for a full day of grandbaby!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Round Robin

I often forget that I have this UFO/WIP out there. That is because it is out there. This is the beginning block for my quilt in a round robin. Several of the quilts tops have been returned to their originators all finished but mine and a few others are still waiting for the last few borders. I think 5 people have mine to finish but it is summer and people are busy so I will just have to wait.

This round robin has 16 people in it ranging in age from 14 to 60-something. The projects traveled through Washington, Idaho and Montana and sometimes Alaska. Our 'rules' were that each person made their starting block and then each person would put a border on up to 3 sides.

I am not sure why I thought that making a Christmas tree out of 1" squares was a good idea but that was my brilliant idea. It turned out pretty well I thought and I have heard that mine is quite cool as it nears completion but I cannot verify that at this time. I am sure I will update this UFO/WIP when it is back in my possession.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Shop Hop 2004

This is the quilt top I made from the blocks from the Western Washington Shop Hop 2004. It was the third year I went on the hop. This time there were four of us. My sister, Karla, her two daughters, Katie and Brita, and myself. We started on Wednesday evening by driving up to Lynden. We spent the night in the hotel with a windmill. Very cute place.

Thursday morning we got to the first shop about the time they opened and hit the other two shops in Lynden before heading toward Bellingham. We stayed focused (very key if you want to get to very many shops because most shops are just too inviting for fabric junkies). We did all the shops along the I-5 corridor down to Puyallup on Friday and spent the night at Katie's little house there.

The next morning we were up and at 'em again and went to all the shops between Puyallup and Vancouver (except the one in North Bonneville, which was just too far out of the way). That year there were two shops in the Olympia area and we barely made it from one to the other before closing time. That night we slept at my house.

Saturday we were a bit more leisurely and did the shops on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas. In the end we made it to 61 of the 64 shops in the hop. We had such a fun time. Lots of great memories. The random elephants in Lynden, drawing postcards to send to my daughter who was in Pennsylvania that summer, Brita's problems hanging on to her shop hop passport. Probably one of my favorite memories was going to one shop where the lady was explaining their 'improvisaaaational' block. Karla said to her 'so that's an artsy-fartsy way of saying crazy quilt'. The lady just didn't know how to respond.

My quilt ended up with 4 improvisaaational blocks because 61 just doesn't come out even for laying out! Once again I ended up with a huge quilt. As always, the blocks just don't come out the same size from the directions you are given so I have found that bordering all the blocks with the same color and cutting them all to the same size works best. These I bordered with a rich purple Moda Marble. Then I used solid black on the bottom and right side to make the blocks look like they are floating on the gold. This quilt top is awaiting quilting and then it can get moved from the UFO/WIP list.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

I know that not everyone that reads this will be celebrating today - picnics, fireworks, etc. - but here in the US it is a special day. A time to celebrate our country and what our founding fathers (and mothers) fought for to bring freedom to this place.

Shortly after 9/11/01 I felt a need to make something to help me deal with all that was happening here. It was a time of great sadness for the US and our friends all over the world but it did bring out much of what is good about this country in the days and weeks following. I saw a picture at a store and went home and recreated it in fabric and this is what I ended up with. It is about 12.5" X 15.5".

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Out of the Darkness

This is another UFO/WIP. I saw the pattern online and just had to have it even though I thought it was rather expensive (oh well, its only money!) for a pattern that I was downloading! On my next trip to Fabric Depot with Katie I picked up fabrics for it that I didn't already have and started cutting everything out. At my next quilt retreat I started sewing the blocks. I got several done at the retreat and then finished up the 10 blocks at home. And that is as far as I have gotten on it. I might just pull it out one of these days and get the top finished. If you want to see pictures of the rest of the blocks they can be seen starting here.

Monday, July 2, 2007

She Got It!

Here they are. My two little doll quilts. My swap partner received hers today so now I can show them off. The eggs and chick are paper pieced. I thought they turned out quite cute.