Sunday, December 4, 2016

I SPY BOOK

One of my friends is expecting a new granddaughter in January.  This grandmother is working on a cute quilt for the long-awaited child; so I wanted to do something a little different.

I've been wanting to do an "I Spy" project for a long time, and have stock-piled a few suitable fabrics for several years.  Instead of a quilt, I decided to try my hand at a soft "I Spy" book.

Those that know me know that I never use a pattern; I just dive in, and hope for the best.  
First, I cut my "I Spy" images from the fabric.  Some of them were less than an inch in size.  For each page, I then added strips of fabric joining the collages until I had a page that measured 7 1/2" square.
I made a total of 12 pages including the front and back cover.  The mother-to-be loves bright colors, so I assume the baby will, too.  I chose my brightest scraps and arranged the pages in rainbow colors.

FRONT COVER

PAGES 1 AND 2

PAGES 3 AND 4

PAGES 5 AND 6

PAGES 7 AND 8

PAGES 9 AND 10

AND, FOR THE NEW DADDY -- THE BACK COVER

I machine quilted with a variegated embroidery thread.  My regular machine was at the repair shop; and being impatient, I quilted it on my old Singer Featherweight without benefit of a walking foot.  It would probably look better if I had used some straight lines to follow!!!
Even though this was kind of labor/time-intensive; it turned out just like I imagined, and it was so much fun choosing fabrics.
It's far from perfect -- if I was to do it over, I would have made the spine 1" instead of 1/2" as I didn't allow enough area for the thickness of all the fabric pages.
My grandmother-in-law always said when making clothes for kids --- you'll never see your mistakes on a galloping horse!  So be it with soft books -- it's made to be chewed on, slept on, toted around, etc. and hopefully enjoyed!

I'm joining the following:
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday
Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or not Friday
Sew Can She for Show Off Saturday

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

MEMORY/SIGNATURE QUILTS

The theme this week at Val's Quilting Studio for Tuesday Archives is Memory Quilts.
It's no secret that I love signature quilts that evoke memories of past events.


I've organized signature quilts for quilt symposiums, for gifts of friends leaving the area, and several "just because"!


















 I even wrote a book on the subject.  It is 'out of print' but still available on Amazon, if you are interested.  There are many more quilts, patterns, and tips in the book.

I cherish every one of the signature quilts in my possession --- so many memories of people, places, and events.

Be sure to check out Val's Quilting Studio for more memory quilts.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

MY MIND IS PERCOLATING!

My time is going to be filled next week with Christmas decorating.  But, that doesn't keep my mind from thinking about quilting.
When I picked up my sewing machine from the repair shop within the quilt store in Colorado Springs, I had only a few minutes to browse.  These fat quarters caught my eye.  I don't think they are particularly new, but red and blue are always my favorites.  I knew that they needed to be in my stash, so I bought them --- just added them to the repair bill to compensate for pain and suffering!
Now, I can't stop thinking about what to do with them ---- I'm thinking maybe something with white stars ---- time will tell.

Also, I need to start working on a table runner for a Christmas present.  In a quick pull from the scrap bins, these fabrics surfaced this morning.
I need to get at least one tree up, then maybe I can sew for an hour or two.

Stay tuned!

I'm joining the following:
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday

Sunday, November 13, 2016

COURTHOUSE STEPS TABLE RUNNER

It's our daughter's birthday; and since I hadn't
 made her a table runner, I decided to whip one up this week for her.
She loves the rustic, western look; and has lots of neat cowboy collectibles --- many from our family's heritage.

The court house steps block is always an easy, go-to pattern; and I thought the pattern would be apropos.  She was adopted, and we brought her home at three weeks of age from the local courthouse!!!!   I made my first parenting mistake with her on those courthouse steps.  I thought I knew everything about parenting then as we already had a four-year-old; and no child of mine was going to have a pacifier.  So, as we walked out on those steps there was a trash barrel; and I threw her pacifier right out of her mouth and into that trash barrel.  Regret, regret ------ she became a dedicated thumb sucker, and consequently endured 10 years of orthodontics.  I learned my lesson, and our grandchildren had no complaints from me about their pacifiers. 
All of the fabrics are from my scraps/stash.  I finished it up with some wavy machine quilting using a variegated thread.
Easy, peasy ---- hope she likes it.
Happy Birthday, Jenni!  Birthday cake and presents today, then in three weeks we will celebrate Adoption Day with dinner.  It was such a special experience -- we celebrate twice.

I'm joining the following:
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social Wednesday
Have a Daily Cup for Share Your Cup Thursday
Quilting Readers Garden for WIPS Be Gone Friday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday
Sew Can She for Show Off Saturday

Thursday, November 10, 2016

SEWING MACHINE FRUSTRATION

I've been struggling big time with my 3-year old sewing machine for about two months now.  It must be out of kilter in some way --- at least it is not in tune with MY kilter.  I've been so frustrated at times!  My machine store charges $100 to even look at it, which has not been in my budget.
It is now to the point, however, that I can't even sew one inch without trouble. 
 So, I'm making an appointment with the guru to look at it.

In the past 60 years there hasn't hardly been a day when I haven't sewn something.  I would give up my stove, dishwasher, and every kitchen appliance on the planet for my sewing machine.  It is attached to me like another arm!

It's a good thing that I'm not without a backup -----
This is my mother's Singer Featherweight. 

I had forgotten just how wonderful and simple an old straight-sewing machine is.  This one sews like a dream with such a beautiful stitch.

Before my new machine, I wore out two machines that I had purchased in the 1950s and 1960s (one a straight-sewer and one a zig-zag).  My grandfather, the sewing-machine store owner/guru, sold them to me and taught me how to service and maintain them myself.  I would still be using them, but could no longer find replacement parts.  
That's when I bought the high-maintenance; plastic; computer-infused; expensive taste in thread; over-gadgeted thing they call a sewing machine these days.
Don't mind me --- I'm just frustrated and pining for the 'good old days'.
Since I'm doing some simple piecing, I'm off to enjoy sewing on the Featherweight.

I'm joining the following:
Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or not Friday
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A NOT SO GREAT LONE STAR QUILT!

I made a Lone Star quilt ONCE back in 1982.  I took a class back then from the wonderful Blanche Young -- she was a great teacher and a pioneer in strip piecing techniques.  Unfortunately, my quilt did not measure up to her beautiful class samples.  My piecing was OK; but, oh! my fabric choices were so bad.

Lone Star, 1982, Machine pieced, hand quilted

When my grandmother saw this quilt, she said, "That's the ugliest quilt I've ever seen."  She was never at a loss for words!  I have to agree with her sentiment.
This is not a very good photo.  The quilt is still around here somewhere hidden in my stacks. So I could dig it out and take a better photo, but I don't think it is worth the effort.  Let sleeping dogs lie.

I'm joining the following:
Val's Quilting Studio for Tuesday Archives
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday

Monday, October 24, 2016

FLYING GEESE

 I was in the mood to quilt something traditional ----
my all-time favorite strippy-style quilt ---- Flying Geese.  It seemed appropriate during this Autumn season.
Machine Pieced, Machine Quilted, 24" x 24"
Fabrics:  "Graditude" by Jo Morton, Moda
"Silver Linings" by Laundry Basket Quilts, Moda
Sashing, borders, backing, and binding from my scraps/stash.


This is not my first go-around with the geese, as I've made several variations of them over the years.  This was the very first one in 1983:
 Machine pieced, hand quilted, 82" x 103"

Still at the top of my list of favorite traditional strippy-style quilts!

I'm joining the following:
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social Wednesday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday
Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or not Friday
Sew Can She for Show Off Saturday

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

DRAG ME INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

I guess I am a creature of habit, and slow to embrace change.

I just now purchased my first pre-cuts.
The appeal has been there for awhile --- all of those different fabrics, in little pieces, for an outlay of a few dollars.
 I've been hesitant as I'm a "prewash all fabrics" type of quilter.  Everyone has told me that you shouldn't prewash pre-cuts as you would just have a big mess.  But, I worry about fading, shrinking, and the smell and feel of unwashed fabrics.
I did a little experiment; I took a red fabric from the packet and soaked it in hot water.  There was no noticeable fading; but after ironing there was about 1/8" shrinkage in the cross-width of the 5" piece.  No shrinkage was noted lengthwise, however.
I debated about if I should prewash all of the fabrics, as I didn't find it to be tedious or a mess.  However, I decided whatever -- I would just jump into it and cut and sew right out of the packet.
Occasionally, I get a whiff of the smell of the unwashed fabric and I'll sneeze.  Is that the sizing?
One thing I have enjoyed is the lack of large amounts of fabrics strewn all over my sewing room.  Pre-cuts are very efficient.  This is all I have left after cutting out pieces for 60 flying geese units.

Any suggestions or ideas on using pre-cuts would be appreciated.

Stay tuned for the resulting small quilt.  I'm especially loving the Jo Morton fabric designs.

I'm joining the following:
Confessions of a fabric addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Quilting Readers Garden for WIPS Be Gone Friday
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday

Thursday, October 6, 2016

THROWBACK THURSDAY - PARK LANE VISTA

I had been to the Houston Quilt Festival a couple of times in the 1980s, and knew what to expect.  In October 1991, a friend and I decided to go again; but money was scarce in our household (college-age kids!).  I managed to get the money together from teaching gigs and a yard sale to pay expenses, but only had $50 spending money.

Back then, 100% cotton fabric was about $5 a yard; so I knew by buying 1/4 yard pieces, I could come home with a variety of new fabric.  
 I also wanted 3 yards of a stripe fabric to coordinate with 113 scrappy, saw-tooth stars that I had made.  I knew I would find something in Houston. 

Immediately, as I was walking down the first aisle of vendors; I spied in a stack of bolts --- the perfect stripe. 
  Oh my!  Checking the price --- it was from Japan and was $15 a yard -- unheard of in 1991!  I gasped, stood there a minute and decided to go for it.
Even though I spent my entire budget on one piece of fabric in my first moments of shopping, I've never regretted the purchase.
It was a great fabric to pull all of the scrappy stars together.
And, has become one of my all-time favorite quilts!


I'm joining the following:
Quarter Inch from the Edge for Throwback Thursday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Val's Quilting Studio for Tuesday Archives

Monday, October 3, 2016

IT'S ALMOST HALLOWEEN!

Since I'm still in the table runner mode, I thought I would make my 20-year-old granddaughter a Halloween runner for her birthday.  
With an October birthday, she has always considered Halloween her own personal holiday!

“I take my hat off to you — or I would, if I were not afraid of showering you in spiders.” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


(Inspiration for table runner from various projects on Pinterest)

I'm joining the following:
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social Wednesday
Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or not Friday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday

Friday, September 23, 2016

A CHALLENGE

I decided to revisit some of the patchwork techniques I've enjoyed from the past ----- all in a small table runner.
Challenges:
Medallions, fussy cutting, Y-seams, machine piecing using hand piecing techniques, templates, paper piecing, odd shapes requiring some geometry, and bias binding for non-45-degree angles.
In the process, my frugality gene popped up using only fabric scraps from previous quilts.  This proved to be the biggest challenge of all -- finding pieces of fabric large enough to fussy-cut the number of pieces required.
In the end, the idea was to have a small top on which to practice more machine quilting.   After miles of hand quilting in the past, will I ever be satisfied with my machine quilting?
No pattern available -- this was definitely a design-as-you-go project!

I'm joining the following:
What a Hoot Quilts for BOMS Away Monday
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday
Quilt Story for Fabric Tuesday
Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social Wednesday
Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or Not Friday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday