Monday, October 26, 2009

Special Quilts

Although I do not know all the facts or have any real memories of being a twin, my mom was very clear that I was and that my twin passed away before our first birthday. I was told that the hospital/nursing home where I was born in Kansas burned down and that all the records were destroyed. Mom said that they chose to omit the twin information when they resubmitted the application for the birth certificate because it was just too painful to always be reminded. I have always wondered why I don't know more, but I guess that was a choice my parents made and an acceptable way to do things in the 1950s. The reason for sharing the fact that I am a twin has to do with the quilts that I have just mailed to my twin great-nieces. The quilts are similar in appearance with subtle differences. The large pinwheels were made to represent the individual whose name is on the quilt. The small pinwheels are there to help them to always remember the other twin. I want these girls to be independent thinkers yet always remember that they are a part of something unique.....twinship!

Don't misunderstand by thinking that my other great-nieces and -nephews are less loved, it is just that I feel some different connection because of my own experience or more accurately non-experience with being a twin.
******Each quilt has its own pillow case. As many know, it is not good to store quilts in plastic or up against wood. The pillow case can be used for a pillow now and a storage bag later.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I am quilting

About 3 weeks ago I sneezed and twisted a rib. Did anyone know that it could happen? What was I doing at the time? ---using the long arm. Was the long arm to blame, NO! It was a powerful sneeze. I have been to the doctor and seen a chiropractor 4 times. (Never saw a chiroprator before, but his efforts are helping!) I am feeling much better but am not 1oo%. For those that know me, they are aware that I am accident prone, but that the accidents don't seem to happening doing anything of a daredevil nature. Also, they are aware that things tend to happen in threes for me. I have had my three, so hopefully I will have a few years of relative calm.

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

Pieced and Quilted with Love and Prayers!

I have some strong feelings about my own quilts and how they are quilted. I never knew that I felt so strongly about it until this week. I believe that every quilt I make is made to be used and loved. Each one contains a part of me. When I make a quilt it is sewn with love and most are sew with prayers for the recipient, as well. If I can not feel the love and joy, I will actually stop and try to figure out what I can do with what I have, or just bag it and hope that I will figure out what to do with all the pieces. I have only bagged 3 in my life and they are all still bagged. Someday Jamie will have to wonder about why I left these "treasures".

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

Baby, its getting cold up here!

This morning, I did something a little different. I sewed mittens for homeless children. I used a pattern from Hancock, and leftover fleece from several projects and parts of new, cozy, cuddly blankets that had already been cut up for other projects. I cut them out a week ago, but I did most of the sewing today. I had enough fabric to make 46 pairs. (I have 14 pairs left to sew.) Hope that when they are added to the rest made by the guild that they will make a difference for all the little people in the soon to be cold Midwest. Quick, easy way to help someone else feel a little warmer this coming winter season.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Do you know...

I belong to a quilting guild that does some charitable sewing projects for a few non-profit groups. We work on Quilts of Valor and quilts for The Home of the Brave. We also sew pillow cases for homeless. I have not been a member of the guild for a long time, but I am working on finding the names and needs of a few groups that could use our assistance. I am not promising anything, but I would like to hear about organizations that you think are worthwhile yet maybe not well known to many. Just send me the name of the organization, who they serve, and the contact name in an email, and I will follow up. We are located in Minnesota which is in the United States. Thanks for your assistance.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I have been busy!

Many of you already know that on Sept. 23 I became a grandma again for the 4th time and I was there to be the grandma-in-charge of Zoe for a couple of days. Each time has been as special as the first, and each grandchild has been unique. Like so many have said, if I had known being a grandma was so wonderful, I would have skipped kids and gone right in to the grandparent business. Love Jon and Jamie, but there is something so very special about Zoe, Dean, Bryson and Henry.

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

Impressed with Myself

I have so much that I need to do during the month of October that I decided to dedicate time yesterday and first thing this morning to making blocks so that I would not be rushing at the last minute to finish this month's blocks. I am also working on an applique of Santa and his reindeer, but I am going to be able to count it in next month's groups, so..... All of these blocks are fairly well trimmed at this point. The Ohio Star blocks are 6" finished. The Welcome Star is 12" finished. The 4 hourglass blocks are each 3" finished. The odd stockings block is 7 1/2 x 10 1/2" finished. Not really wild about the stockings, but I did learn quite a bit about myself when I made the block. ---- I am much more accurate with a rotary cutter than with a scissors. Pointy stockings kind of bug my senses, and I would not make the block again without making some real modifications.

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.......