Thursday, December 31, 2009
I am going to keep track of how much time I really do spend quilting and just like Mary I am going to keep track of just what I am accomplishing on a monthly basis. If I have have the quilting energy of the last few weeks, I should really be able to bring my stash under control and bring quilted comfort to many. I will also keep you posted on a weekly or monthly basis concering the handquilting of my Christmas quilt.
Wishing everyone the opportunities to make many dreams come true and experience many blessings in the New Year. Lets make it a positive year!!!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Don't panic for me! I have a huge stash that has been calling to me all year. In order to make this truly work, I am still going to put aside $30/ month for those little bits of fabric that might be needed to create the right look in my scrappy quilts, but I am not going to spend anything that I don't feel is an absolute necessity. (Would be really great to have lots of new quilts and still have the $360 to spend when the year of scrappy is over!!!!) I already have 5 quilts planned with all the needed fabric on hand, and I have my wonderful Christmas BOM quilt to hand quilt. Along with that, I have Quilts of Valor to finish quilting, comfort quilts from my strip stash, and lots of books to finish, so I am certain that I can do this. I will keep a running record of how it is going and share it at the end of the year.
Merry Christmas to all and hope you all have "enough" to sustain you through the year.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
What I want you to know here, is that my quilting journey is taking a little bit of a course correction. Sure I will still finish my Christmas Quilt and put up brag pictures about quilts that I have made. I still have the passion and the desire to quilt. I plan to continue sharing what I learn and learning more about my craft from others, but I am going to do more of my quilting as a gift for those in need. Also, I will continue to do quilting for other people's quilts and pay taxes on the money I may earn. However, the big change in my quilting life is that I am going to give more time to making and giving comfort quilts for those in need of warm hugs.
As always, life is a journey with lots of twists and turns. Who knows what is around the next corner, but if I am not willing to take the next step, I will never know.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tomorrow is another day. I have had so many fluids that I am floating - might be why I am not sleeping. lol I am just going to keep on doing some hand-quilting and finish my last Jason Bourne book. I am trying to make lemonade out of the lemons! I am hoping this is my one and only down time this winter.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I feel that I will be able to do this, but I have been down hard for two days with some virus. This afternoon I can finally almost hear, but I still have only a little voice. (Poor Kevin had to put up with being totally ignored last night, simply because I could not hear him and my voice was an inaudible whisper.) I slept yesterday, but today I have dozed only a little and actually put the ornaments on the big tree. I am pleased with the results and the memories conquered up as I worked. Usually I do all the decorating while listening to Christmas music, but since I could not really hear it, I did not waste the energy. In between boxes, I had to rest which seemed weird, I tried to sleep, but instead I did some hand quilting and read a few chapters.
Tomorrow is another day. I have fabric mounted in the quilt frame, so I will be able to try some of the pantographs before going to work. I will share some photos after I have a little practice time.
Hope all of you are enjoying the Advent season and are not letting the "Christmas" frenzy get to you.
Monday, November 30, 2009
As I stated earlier, we both learned about what happens when you pull the fabric a little to tight and in too many directions as you hoop it. There is some pull around the designs, so I decided to force the blocks to fit even though the inner borders are not even in the blocks. Then I cut all the blocks to the same size and pieced them together. Because of the pull, I decided this might be a very challenging quilt to work through on the longarm, so I used high loft batting and I tied the quilt together with white floss, and then I put a double fold binding on it. It will be a fun quilt for snugglingbecause it is lightweight yet warm. I enjoyed my time sitting with it on my lap while I did the hand sewing on the binding. Believe me it says "CHRISTMAS" all over it!!!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Are you asking what lefse is? Lefse takes the place of bread at our holiday meals. It resembles a tortilla in appearance, but is much thinner if it is done right and is the flour type. There are two types of lefse - flour and potato. Potato lefse is stored in the refrigerator or freezer. We make the flour version because it is family tradition and because it can sit on the shelf in an air tight container for months. It is like a brittle cracker while sitting on the shelf. About an hour before the meal we sprinkle it with water and lay it between the folds of a dish towel, and it becomes pliable like a warn tortilla ---that is when the fun begins.
When we sit to the table we explain to our guests that they may put whatever they want on the lefse, but we generally put a little butter and sugar on ours. When I lift off the lace tablecloth at the end of the meal, I know exactly who chose the sprinked sugar version. Several relatives love to put their potatoes and gravy inside, and sometimes I opt for cranberries. Once you decide what to put on it, you roll it up like a crepe and enjoy. However, folding up a little bit of the end before rolling helps to keep the trimmings inside. Even for those unfamiliar with lefse, I plan 2-3 pieces. One of my brother-in-laws claimed that he was half Norwegian simply because he wanted more of the lefse.
What do we do with the leftovers? Well, I actually make planned-overs and try to hide them until the meal is over. These pieces are made into klings. I layer about 6-10 pieces, covering them with various toppings: butter, jelly, peanut butter, honey, and sugar. Instead of rolling them I cut them into bite sized squares and place them in a small container for later. When my husband was a kid Grammie would make them to take ice fishing. Delicious and decadent!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Did every seem line up as shown in the diagram? No, but every strip was the right size. With the spacer pieces that were added in the original, I was a little nervous, but all in all it turned out to be something I will treasure for a lifetime. The top was pieced in chunks and then fitted together leaving me to consider y-seams, etc. I was a little anxious with the hourglasses, Santa, the train and Noah's ark, but they actually went together with ease.
Would I do it again? Not certain on that one, but I did learn a lot about different kinds of piecing and color choices. I would switch out some of the colors, if I did it again, but then these are all scraps I have had for years, including some scraps from my mom's stash . I did not purchase one piece of fabric for this during the piecing process, but I have been thinking about this quilt for years and probably stockpiling certain ones.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Would I ever do another block of the month? Yes, I am starting two different ones. My guild is doing a Fat Quarter Sampler quilt that is scheduled to take until March of 2011, but I think I may work ahead because I get anxious to see the final outcome. I have to choose the 28 fat quarts and 2 border prints this week so that I will have my first 4 blocks done before Dec. 8.
I am also going to do as snowman (non-Christmas colored) family reunion quilt from Pearl Louise Designs. I will be starting that one in December and plan to have it done by December of next year ----- It is basically a single applique block each month, plus a few filler blocks which could be done at anytime on the machine. I want to do more needle-turning so these blocks should be perfect.
Stay tuned for all of these exciting adventures!!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
***Want to know more about Quilts of Valor, check out the website (It is under reconstruction, but there is still good information on it.) www.qovf.org
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I have written about how I really do appreciate custom and heirloom quilting, but I have also been very clear that the type of quilting I do is more for the quilts that will be loved and used by infants, toddlers, teens, and people in need of a hug. I see my role as helping to make sure that the whole quilt stays together through many washings, tent making, and cuddling on the couch. I have chosen to work with meandering, loops, loops and stars, loops and hearts, and swirls. I will probably branch out in the months and years to come, but I think my versions of these designs have worked well on the quilts I have quilted. I am always practicing to develop my skills with other designs, but I do not aspire to earn "The Best Machine Quilting" awards at large quilting venues. My preference is to help the quilt top maker turn a wonderful top into a quilt that will be loved and used for many years to come.
I have received many positive comments from those of you who have been given a quilt that I have quilted. Even so, I see my role as the background player so that the quilt top maker receives the applause and praise for a beautiful treasure. After all, every quilt begins with the creative thought from the top designer. Without them, there would be nothing for me to quilt.
If you are interested in my rates and services, please contact me through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, I have only one quilt waiting to be finished, so you could still have your quilt finished before Christmas.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Yesterday morning before work, I cut up my scraps and made 4 1/2 inch blocks, 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch strips, then sorted them into color places for more cousin quilts, etc. or into their light and dark strip boxes. When I got home from work I reorganized my embroidery software and quilting books (did not look inside) and started restocking my thread trays until I got distracted with another idea when I saw a rug pattern which I started thinking about this flannel that I have had for more than 10 years.
I decided that the flannel I still have from my mom's stash would not be used for a quilt back, but rather for a rag rug using a toothbrush handle as my needle (something I have been wanting to make for several years.) So, in the middle of all my cleaning and sorting, I stood in the studio and tore 9 yards of fabric into 2 inch strips. I think it will be one of my non-quilting projects for the winter. The pattern says it will make a 18x36 inch oval rug. I am proud to say that I did nothing more than place the strips, the pattern and toothbrush needles in my travel basket and set it by my chair in the family room. Then I went back to cleaning and organizing.
I have 3 hours before I need to get ready for work, so I am going to head into the studio and see just how much more TROUBLE I can get into before running the vacuum. If I did not have so much fabric or love touching it so much, I would probably be done much sooner, but this is one of those tasks that I love!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I also played with an old sweatshirt that had already been started toward becoming a cardigan. I learned a lot about doing this and may attempt another down the road. For now it will keep me warm in my studio, but will probably never travel upstairs to become part of my regular wear. I guess that I thought that binding the sweatshirt edge should have been as simple as binding a quilt, but I say it is not anything like it. The miters are not things of beauty!
Monday, November 2, 2009
One of the things that I like to make for a baby gift is a flannel comforter. It is great for laying on the floor or for snuggling a baby on the cold walk to the car. Several of these have been mailed to new great nieces and nephews as well as a few grandma friends' grandchildren so these may look familiar to some of you. One of these will be headed to Tennessee in the next week for another friend's baby.
SPECIAL NOTE: I have made a few of these comforters for teenagers and adults, as well. Everyone loves the warm, but light feel of the flannel comforters. You can also tie the comforters with yarn, but after many washings I, personally, think the yarn looks rather matted.
How do I make mine?
- Buy 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 yards of flannel or two different pieces of flannel at 2/3 or 3/4 each.
- In hot water, wash the fabric using the quick setting without fabric softener(Flannel tends to shrink, so I try to take care of the shrinkage upfront.) and tumble dry.
- Fold in half or lay the two pieces together so that the right sides of the fabric face each other.
- Square up the fabric. (Let me know if you need me to explain this concept.)
- Take a large round template (substitute a dinner plate) and trace around the edge of each corner to get a little bit of a curve and trim off the corner. It is so much nicer for turning and looks good when finished.
- After that make a sandwich of the flannel and a piece of high loft poly batting. The batting is laid down first, then add the two pieces of flannel just like they were when you cut them.
- Pin the flannel pieces to the batting, leaving about 10 inches unpinned.
- Feel free to trim off most of the excess batting, but don't cut right up to the edge.
- With the sewing machine, make about a 1 inch seam starting with a few back stitches near the opening. Sew all the way around to the pin on the other side of the opening.
- Remove ALL pins (Experience is a great reminder.)
- Turn the comforter inside out. You should have the two right sides of the flannel on the outside.
- Use a blunt object to help push all the seams out. If you feel more comfortable, you can then pin the edges down before sewing.
- Hand sew the opening using a blind stitch.
- With the sewing machine, sew around the outside again using the same 1 inch seam. The edge is puffy and adds to the finished look.
- Lay the comforter on a hard flat surface, and place safety pins (quilter's pins work well) to mark off the top of the comforter. Pin through all three layers. You can lay out a grid with yarn or simply use a ruler to or measuring square to keep things in line. I generally use a 4 inch grid unless the batting tells me to quilt or tie a smaller distance apart. the tying keeps the batting from shifting and pulling apart from repeated washings.
- Use embroidery floss to tie square knots through all 3 layers, and then remove the pins.
- Trim the floss to no more than 1 inch in length if giving the comforter to a small child or baby.
- Feel free to launder before sending the comforter, but you can also just toss it in the dryer to add to the fluffy look.
- After the comforter is made, I recommend that the new owner wash using regular settings and use fabric softener as desired.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
During the first half of the visit, Aleah had to work quite a few hours so while Kevin and Jon painted, pounded, measured, hammered and drilled, I was center-stage with Dean and Bryson. We went full-tilt right up to nap time. However, only the boys had naps. I did some dishes, restoration of the living spaces, and of course a little sewing. The boys are so loving and sweet, but they are also quite opposite in their personalities - Dean's middle name should be "Full Speed Ahead" Bryson's could be "Chilly with my Homies".
On Wednesday we celebrated Zoe's 3rd birthday and Dean's 2nd birthday. How thrilling it is to have them all together at one time. Can't wait for them to reach the age when they can really interact with each other. They are all interested in each other, but there is more observation than interaction.
Our son-in-law was busy helping his friend celebrate his upcoming wedding , so we whisked Jamie and babies off for a long weekend. We went to the AQS Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. We share one room with two beds and the porta-crib. Interesting concept, but I think everyone would have slept better the first night if we had separate rooms. (Second night was much more restful for all of us!!!) We rode a bus to the Expo - a first for Zoe and Henry. Obviously Zoe was much more excited about all of it. The quilt show was fabulous as always and if money were no object, Jamie and I would have purchased more gadgets and fabric than we would ever have time to use. But sensibility won this time. I spent less than $200 and part of that was all of our admissions plus a Sunday present for Jamie. (I will tell you about my purchases in a later post.) Zoe got a measuring tape and was entertained for hours while we walked around. She also loved riding the escalator with Grandpa and then with Grandma and then with Grandpa...... Henry slept in a snuggly sling nestled close to his mommy and away from the well intentioned ooos and awwwws of our fellow quilters. After 6 hours of walking around, riding the escalator, and having lunch, we had another bus ride back to the hotel where Jamie and babies chilled out. Kevin and I took the skywalk(8-10 blocks) back to the show and wandered around for a couple of more hours. We followed that up with pizza in the room. After swimming and chasing around in the pool Zoe had some down time with a little bit of Green Eggs and Ham; Kevin finished a book; I tied a second baby comforter; Henry chilled on the bed; and Jamie tried to get all the blocks trimmed for a friend's wedding quilt.
What a glorious way to spend time. I could not ask for something better than time with family. Throwing fabric and gadgets into the mix just added a little more to the enjoyment. Of course, Kevin and I slept in when we got back home, but neither of us has any complaints about how the time was spent!!!
NOTE: On the way to and from seeing the kids I worked on several quilting projects, but I have a lot more sewing on the last applique block for my Christmas quilt. I am way ahead of schedule though, so................ Now I need to get my hand quilting skills upgraded from extremely rusty to at least much improved. That is how I am going to quilt the Christmas Quilt.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
I did not give up on the quilting while I was hurting (still am-- a little), but I only did a few small projects at the long arm. Instead, I was piecing and refreshing my hand-quilting techniques. Today, I decided I needed to begin a large quilt so that I could get it in the mail by Monday. I worked on it for about an hour and am now taking just a few minutes to blog. This design is free-hand loops and double hearts. I have done it a few times and really like how it looks. I vary the size and the shape of the hearts simply because I know that love comes in all forms. It is more labor intensive than many of my designs, but certain quilts just seem to fit it. This quilt is one made with blocks created by my "Quilting Frog" group, several other friends, and my own little tadpole, Jamie. I am always amazed at how differently we piece the tops even when we have the same initial blocks. When I finish I will put photos of this one up along with the one that I pieced for myself. For now, I am just going to work through the design and say some prayers for my friend that will eventually be napping under it.
It is wonderful that there are so many different aspects of quilting so that I am always able to do something with fabric. A day without fabric better include grandkids!!!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
In several discussions this week, I found myself saying that I think the most important part of my quilts is the piecing and the quilting is something that adds a little to it. Others believe that the quilting is as important or more important than the quilt top. Don't get me wrong--When I start up the HQ, I work to make my quilting be a positive addition to the quilt. I plan out what I am going to do and take the time to pick out any areas that I feel detract from the look, but I do not showcase my quilting over and above the actual piecing.
I love to go to the big quilt shows and see the prize winning quilts. I admire the work and the overall beauty of each whole quilt. I know that these quilts are works of art and so does everyone else. I will be in DesMoines at the end of the month to see some of the fabulous works of art simply because I appreciate beauty.
However, my personal feelings tell me that the true beauty of my kind of quilting is offering warm hugs and prayers to those in need. How many of these award winning quilts ever get to be wrapped around someone who is in pain, feeling blue, or just wanting a hug? How many will every be used to cuddle a baby or be made into a tent for a toddler? I think that there are different types and uses for every kind of quilt. I have chosen to make mine and the ones that I quilt for others be ones that are used, loved, and frequently washed.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
email@example.com Thanks for your assistance.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Since I have been home, I finished up quilting two more quilts for friends, completed a couple of bindings, and made the October Christmas BOM blocks + am working on the second one for November. I also bought a new gizmo to help me see some of the quilting when I am working on similar colored fabrics. Kind of scary, huh? Even so, it is soooooo easy to use and can be dimmed or even very focused, so I will continue to use it in the privacy of my studio. Are you laughing, yet? Maybe I should not have shared this.
My favorite quilting project of the month is creating two quilts for my twin great-nieces. (The first quilt attempts for them did not go as planned and I canned them or actually bagged them to be given away to some unsuspecting daughter or anyone who wants to play around with curves.) Now I am nearly done creating the blocks and will be laying out the tops this week. The quilts are similar, but each has a little bit different appearance since their mommy wants to allow for their own personalities to shine through. Watch for an update in a couple of weeks if not sooner.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Just 5 more kinds of blocks to go. Then I will piece the top and start hand-quilting it. By Christmas 2010, I plan to be able to lay this quilt (finished) on my bed. Having set monthly goals for the different types of blocks got me this far, so that is what I am going to do once I see just how big the quilt will be. I have only hand quilted two other quilts so if it takes a year, I can deal with it. Any hand quilting tips are welcome.......
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Back in June I decided that I needed to get crack-a-lacking and make a special quilt for my soon to be born grandson. I fell in love with another curved quilt that I had made and decided that I wanted to make one for the baby, as well. I pieced it and added a new border that I dreamt up one night. Jamie asked for a flannel back, and I had just the right piece for the back, so I was in business. Then I put it aside to get ready for quilt camp and lots of other things. Suddenly, it was time to give it to her and I still had not decided how to quilt it. As I paged through lots of design books, I realized that many would think this was an inappropriate pattern because the center is also known as the "drunkard's path" layout, but I don't hold much with what others choose for names. I call this one "Hisnibs" because the kids were not willing to share the baby's name until he arrived. Guess what, he has arrived and just like my way of thinking my new grandson's name does not match his quilt's name. His name is Henry.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
When I make comfort quilts that is exactly what I do as I sew. I count each stitch as a pray for her and her family and anyone else that is going through a similar illness. This particular comfort quilt has all kinds of different fabrics and one message. The purpose of this comfort quilt is two-fold: to help keep her warm while she is going through treatment and to give her something hopefully make her smile and distract her during tough times.
The beginnings of this pattern came from http://blog.maryquilts.com/. Mary explained how to make heartstring quilts. After I had all the blocks made, my husband and I rearranged several times and decided this would be a fun version. Bright, colorful, and made with love and prayers.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
To add insult to injury, I decided it was really time to work on my physical self and got really involved with the WiiFit. I love doing the step segment. I am a klutz without rhythm, though. I pulled a muscle in the side of my knee and was told not to do too many stairs for a few weeks and to avoid walking the hills. GREAT excuse not to exercise, but I was not looking for one. I am going to start doing water exercises next week. (I can swim, so I feel I can save myself! lol)
Despite the injuries, I have managed to quilt 5 tops, bind 3 of them, make a comfort quilt for a friend's daughter, make 3 tied flannel baby comforters, help Dad H create a quilt design for his newest embroidery efforts, finished the 3 blocks for my Christmas BOM, and cut out several baby quilts. Progress is not what it normally would be, but it is still progress. I have also managed to read several books, prepare and serve dinner for 10, and entertain a few grandbabies.
Life is good! Pollyanna and I can always play the "Glad Game" if we start to feel down. I am glad that I have the ability to adjust, but I am even more glad that I have a wonderful husband who is always available to cheer me on and help with whatever needs doing!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
I thought I would give you another tour of my blocks for the Christmas Block of the Month Quilt that I have been working on since January, 2009. I have 4 more months and 12 more types of blocks to make before I can begin piecing it all together, but I am impressed with myself for staying focused and reaching my goal each month. I have enjoyed making each block, but have discovered that I am not a perfectionist with certain types of piecing. My needle turn applique gets better with each piece. I also love choosing my own fabrics for each block type. This will be a treasure for me every year when I display it at Christmas, but I am not so certain that I will let people use it just for cuddling. Time will tell.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I cut the video at the last moment afraid I make her cry because I was laughing or she would start crying because she hit her foot. Neither happened. But the three of us did run lots of bases after that. The applause were deafening. (We did so much better that the Twins!) Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Instead of having to cut all those squares at once, I have been very diligent about cutting up the leftover backing and making squares or binding strips for the next ones. I have the squares categorized by color or theme, so later the sorting will be just as easy as it was this time. Will every bit of the fabric make it back into more cousin quilts? NO! I have been taking a few 1 1/2" and 2" strips from each to add to my strings and log cabin quilts stash. I am going to work on a couple of each of those blocks every week until I have enough blocks for several of each type - lap quilt and bed quilts. They are what I consider to be mindless sewing tasks for when I want to touch fabric but don't have the brains left to really concentrate.
However, today I have to get started on quilting projects for clients. I have everything scheduled and should be able to reach my goals without any trouble now that I will be working less hours at the quilt shop - Minnesota Shop Hop is almost finished! Fun and friendly experience to work, but glad I am not a shop owner or in charge of organizing it.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I need to complete one more type of block for the month of August, but I have two picked out. I might just do both types. Time will tell. Watch for the unveiling sometime before the end of the month.