Monday, May 31, 2010

Frames Completed

Using the basic directions of the Teddy Bear Frame in Quilting for Baby, I made these frames to help decorate my new granddaughter's room.  Not bragging that my seams are all perfect, but I do love the look.  A wooden dowel will be used in the loops to hold the frames.  Hopefully, everything will look straight.  lol

Memorial Day Salute

My father passed away 44 years ago.  In part because doctors knew so little about lung cancer back then, but also because he lost a lung to shrapnel during WWII, built and repaired grain elevators, and worked with asbestos.  There is no one to blame for this because the dangers were not well known, but on Memorial Day I always remember that my dad served.
For 34 years, I have been lucky enough to have a FIL that is very much my "dad".  He served in Korea.  His was the forgotten war.  We don't talk about it much but we did discuss food and lodging during dinner today.  However, I know that he is proud of his service and always pays honor to those who did not return home.  This week, he is with us waiting for results from some medical tests; therefore we needed to come up with projects to help pass the time.  Again, he went to work making another set of blocks for a quilt.   He loves to stay busy and "out of trouble" so while we worked, he sewed.  This time, he made a Quilt of Valor to honor his commitment to supporting the troops. I put the blocks together and will put it on the frame this coming week. 
All three of his sons have served or are currently serving in the military.  They are justified to be proud of their service.  Kirk retired after 20 years, Kyle is on year 16.  My husband is on his 29th year.  They have sacrificed for all of the people in this country and I am grateful to them. 
I am also thankful that all of them have returned safely each time.  Not all families have been as fortunate, but I hope all who have benefited from their sacrifices will remember to offer up a prayer for those who did not return and the families they left behind.  "No greater love has a man than to lay down is life for another."  Honor, commitment, patriotism, service, and sacrifice!  Thank you to all families who have had to accept this enormous sacrifice.  Know that it has been appreciated and honored in our family!

Quilting This Past Week

At Christmas my FIL asked to learn how to quilt.  We decided to start on something simple.  The blocks were completed quickly, but putting it together, quilting it (tied by guild members), and then binding it seemed to be lower priorities.  I finished the binding today and be donating it.  Donating was the plan from the beginning.

The yellow- centered quilt is from the HeartStrings project for April-May.  Two of these quilts were made from the same yellow centers. Both quilts are made using kid-friendly fabrics and feel so cheerful and happy!   One is at another person' home being bound.  I just finished piecing this top this afternoon.  For June-July the project is to use homespun fabrics with a black center.  I have quite a few fat quarters of this type of fabric, but I am only going to use what I have and donate the blocks if I can't reach the magic number of 48 blocks.  The goal for me is to use up my stash, not buy more fabrics.  (At least that is what I keep telling myself!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One More Part Ready for Grandchild #5

As I said in a previous post this baby quilt was influenced by several different sources: Layer 'em Up,, and several other blogs and magazines.  I started with 10 different fabrics and an 8 1/2" ruler.  The centers are rectangles or squares.  At first I did not think I was going to like it and was ready to go shopping again, but now I really like it.  Kevin and Dad voted on the how it was bound - leftover scraps.  I quilted it with hearts and loops which is one of my favorite freestyle designs. 
I finished the binding while waiting at the doctors and then the emergency room with my FIL and husband.  Thank goodness for handwork or the 6 hours would have been much more difficult to handle.  Today I am going to make a smaller quilt using more of the same fabrics to frame out embroidered blocks made by my FIL.  I think there is enough to do the same binding, as well.  This granddaughter/great-granddaughter will be in for a treat with all the goodies being made: fabric frames, valance, quilts, bibs, and burp cloths.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mini-Vacations, Here We Come!!!

The pontoon boat is in the water and we have been out several times, already.  Based on today's quick change of weather, summer has officially arrived.  Thought I would share a photo of the boat's captain.  I will be reading, doing needle turn, and making lots of yo-yos for my monkey projects while we tootle around the lake and someone else tries fishing.  LOVE THIS PART OF WARM WEATHER!!!

Several Quilting Activities

With a great deal of help from my wonderful father-in-law, we are making another HeartStrings Quilt of Valor.  He has been here for only 2 days and he is almost 1/2 way through the 48 blocks.  He will make the blocks and I will put them together, then quilt and bind it.  Based on past experiences, I am willing to bet that we will get several quilts made in the next few weeks.  It is not a slave camp, he just works fast and stays on task.  
I am also working several projects for my soon-to-be-born 5th grandchild, a little girl.  I am using a variety of pattern ideas to make the quilt, but was most inspired by Layer 'em Up.  After reading through the pattern several times, I varied it to fit with what I wanted.  My take is a little different, but the idea seems very similar.  Even so, I guess that I might be buying more magazines and books than I thought because I have several other patterns that seem somewhat similar as well. I also made a valance using the yellow dotted fabric.   Great-Grandpa used his embroidery machine to make several blocks that will also be worked into another small quilt for this new little precious child.   The picture frame is a mock-up of the ones that I will be making.  I got the "Teddy Bear Frame" pattern by Mary Ayres from Quilting for Baby.  I am starting with frames for this grandchild and then I will use fabrics from the other grandkids quilts such as baseballs, monkeys and ???? for the others.  I can see these as great gifts for many of my friends.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Binding Attached

Just finished attaching the binding to Jamie's king size quilt.  Quite the challenge because of the size, but with a few four foot tables, I was able to keep the bulk from tugging as I sewed.  It will take her more than a few nights to do the hand sewing part, but I am thinking she will not be needing it in the near future.  That means she will probably get it bound before she uses it, unlike several others that I know. lol

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

HeartStrings and Charity Sew-In

Last week my guild did some charity quilting.  At two separate events we pieced, tied, and bound quilts for Quilts of Valor and other charity groups.  Based on the responses, I would say that we had a great time.  I was in charge of organizing the HeartStrings quilts (at least picking the centers and providing the foundations -- also provided strips for the second workday)  and now have many more blocks that need to be sewn together and quilted.  We will take photos of most of the quilts we have near completion at the next guild meeting.  The string quilts will continue to be my pet project for the year, and I will bring bags of strings to meetings for others that wish to continue with me. 

Happy birthday, Sweet Girl! King Size is HUGE!!!

Sunday I started the preparations to quilt Jamie's king size quilt.  It took almost 3 hours to prep the backing and get everything ready for quilting.  It requires more fabric that one imagines and on the ironing board it seemed to go forever.
Monday morning I loaded everything into the machine and realized that this quilt was too big for my machine to do edge to edge with the panto because the quilt was really edge to edge in the frame.  With Jamie's consent I did loops because all she really wanted was some texture and because they were able to fit.  It took me about 5 hours and 5 bobbins to complete the process of actually quilting. Afterwards her father consented to help me muscle the whole thing so that I could trim the edges in preparation for the binding.  Tonight I will set up extra table space and attach the binding, but Jamie gets the opportunity to complete the hand sewing portion. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

What's up?

Today is dog bed deliver day.  Every few months I pack up with all the dog beds I have made with the snippets and excess batting and fabrics used to practice quilt design and head to the Last Hope, Inc.   They use the beds for rescue dogs.
Is all the fabric mine? No, I have to admit that quite a bit of it is, but others know that I do this and bring me their snippets.  I hate to throw away any fabric, but there comes a time when I need to say I have used all the bits and pieces that I can and turn them all into something for the four-legged critters.  Feels good and the studio always seems more tidy once I make the deliver.  It is one of those win-win situations.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quick Peek

Hot off the machine.  This is a Quilt of Valor that will be finished at guild tomorrow.  It is so cheerful.  I will add another photo once the binding is finished.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy 57 to me!

So far it has been a perfect day!  We slept in until 6:30 and shared a simple breakfast.  Then we went out to buy wood for the linen press that Kevin is building for me.  We also made a quick stop for groceries.  After putting things away we headed for the Mall of America to see the jellyfish exhibit at the aquarium.  Although I know that the stings from these creatures can be very painful or even deadly, there is  something that really draws me in.  We will be back there in the near future --- during the week when there are not so many visitors.
I have also heard from the kids and laughed really hard when my grandson decided to hang up the phone instead of wishing me happy birthday---just because I did not have any birthday cake to share with him (He is 2 and lives in a different state.)
The last bit of fun came in the form of several gift certificates for fabric.  Do people know me, or what?? 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Military Spouses' Day -

I woke up today hearing my husband tell me that he wanted to thank me for being his own military spouse.  He said he knew we had faced some real challenges, but he also knew that our love and our commitment to each other were the things he could always count on, no matter where he was or what the situation.  I second that thought!!!
As a military spouse of 29 years, I understand that the life we have chosen is challenging. The sacrifices for each of us have been great, but the pride and strengthen that we have gained is ours forever.  We each do our time a little differently, but for me it has been a good life. I hate leaving friends, but I have found that we have stayed close and many times even relocated in the same place. Moving is a pain, but living in so many different places has been a real adventure. One more year and we will see what is like to leave the military community and find the new adventures as a retiree and his ever-loving spouse. To those that are still at the beginning or middle of the journey, know that this life is not for the weak of heart, but it is a good life and one that I am proud to have been a part of over the years.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Stash Busting Seems to Cause Reproducing...or is that shopping

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am trying hard to avoid buying fabric and focus on using up my stash.  All of the most recent purchases have been related to the busting part.  I am facilitating the making of quilts for HeartStrings with my guild - mainly for Quilts of Valor, and I am really gun-ho to make this an ongoing project for myself and others that care to join me.  However, each time I seem to think I am close to finishing cutting and sorting strings, I find that I am lacking one of the three color groups for my kits; or I am just a few foundation blocks short of another quilt;or I could use just a few more brights to make a strip grouping look even more cheerful; or I need one more back. Then I make up my mind to check my stash again where I have found many great additions to add, but if needed, I make a list of what I will need to pick up.  Because it is for charity, Kevin said it does not count against me, but the budget does take note.  After adding up my receipts, I have put myself on HOLD! 

Watch for more photos including finished quilts before the end of May!