Goodbye to an old friend….

 

Back in 1993 our guild decided to put together small quilting groups of four people each and that each group would work on a mystery quilt….one clue each month.

At that point, Michael and I  barely had enough money to live on, much less to go out and purchase fabrics for a quilt that I had no particular use for AND no idea exactly what it would look out.

So, I decided to use the fabrics that I had on hand and to make it scrappy rather than a planned format.  I had a wonderful time with my three bee mates and was thrilled with the final product….

F's

This quilt became our family “comfort” quilt.  We used it for our kids to sit on when we ate dinner in the living room, we snuggled under it when we were cold, we were comforted by it when we were sick or recovering.  Basically it was our “go-to” quilt.

Now, after all of these years, it looks like this…..

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Many of the fabrics have rotted and shredded, probably because I didn’t use the best of fabrics……DSC00645

This hole was the final straw…..

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When my feet went thru the quilt I decided that it was time to put this old friend out to pasture.

Now the question is what to do with it.  I am not sure that I can throw it away but not sure that I want to store it for the long haul!!!

I guess that I really need to finish up the quilting on the piece that I started to take the place of “comfort quilt”!!

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Bedtime Bears on Christmas Eve

This post is about a quilt that I made in 1992 for my daughter, Jenny. She was never into Dolls, but she LOVED her Teddy Bears, so I decided to make her this quilt for Christmas.

I found wonderful patterns, many that reminded me of Jenny’s pursuits.P4211166Then there was one pattern called “Lonesome Bear” and I felt that he couldn’t be on the front with all of the other bears, so I decided to piece the back and include poor little lonesome bear. The idea behind the back was that he walked all around the edge of the quilt and then curled up in the window and fell asleep….

P4211171 This quilt has been much loved over the years and has survived thru two disasters….the first being a black pen breaking on top of it (note the black spots) and the second being a can of pink hair spray leaking on the front. Jenny was horrified when these things happened, but I think that they just give the quilt more character!!!

As with many of us, I had planned too much for the holiday season and was running low on time to get it finished. The reason I remember this quilt at Christmas was because of a poem that I wrote to read when I showed the quilt at my guild Christmas Party……

Twas the night before Christmas and all thru the house, not a creature was stirring….except for Mama Mouse.

The stockings were appliqued, quilted and hung with care, in anticipation of the goodies that would soon be there.

The presents were wrapped before Turkey day and now law under the tree in much disarray.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of “Baby Crimp and Curl” and “Super Mario” danced in their heads.

Many hours ago, Dad had gone to bed, while Mama went searching for needle and thread.

And now she sat sewing binding on the sides of a quilt made for Jenny who was then only five.

The idea was born in September with much love and care and……”Yes Dot, your right. It must have a bear”

Or two or three or maybe eight plus five or whatever it takes to make the quilt alive.

That special brown print was bought from Melissa’s store and Dot and Dale sent bear patterns galore.

The patterns were enlarged to make the size just right and that polar bear block wouldn’t go together without a fight.

The Ballerina must have a Tu-Tu of net. Now the blocks are together, the top is finished and yet….

It still needs a border to set it off right. What about Bear’s Paws…..so I sew with all of my might.

The back of quilt must be special too. It needs a lonesome bear and more Bear’s Paws…at least a few.

But now it’s Christmas Eve and time is a slippin. Oh not another mistake…I dont have time for more rippin.

At last now it’s finished, the final stitch has been taken. Once it is all wrapped up, then the kids I can waken.

And so I exclaimed as I wrapped the present tight. “Merry Christmas my Jenny and may it keep you warm many nights.

I hope that you have finished all of your Christmas projects and that you can dream tonight of the many new quilts to come!!!!!

Star over Bethlehem

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This quilt was made in 1985 and was my first foray into the world of machine piecing.  The pattern came from a magazine, but the top part of the star was not part of the original design.  I hadn’t done a lot of quilting at this point and was NOT at all confident that I could make the needed changes to the pattern.    I knew that if I pieced it by hand, it would take a week to do and then I still might not be able to do it.   SO, without really know what I was doing, I set out to piece it one the machine. 

I did EVERYTHING wrong in this process….at least based on what I know now.  I prepared the templates out of cardboard, and then drew them onto the fabric.  I cut out each patch, adding  the quarter inch seam allowance.  I matched the corners and lines and then sewed along the line.  

But, the upside was that it only took a couple of hours to piece and I was able to make the changes easily. 

It is fun to look at this piece and remember how much I worried about making such a simple change.  I have come a long way in the past 24 years and hope that, in 24 more years,  I will look back at today’s quilts and think about how much more I have progressed since then.

Thanksgiving is Here

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This quilt was made in 1997 and is the November quilt that hangs in my entry way.  I found the pattern for the Cornucopia and executed it with Machine Satin Stitch.  I was excited to be able to use a marbled fabric in the corn husk.  This had been dyed in a guild workshop.

The border blocks were an appliqued version of the “Turkey Tracks” block and the pieced turkeys came from some block pattern that I found and translated it into squares and half-square triangles.

After finishing the top, I realized that the back fabric was simply too white and garish and did not look good in the quilt.  I debated for some time about whether or not to Tea Dye it, but wasn’t really happy about dipping the entire top into a vat of strong, boiling tea.  My friend, Sandy, came to the rescue when she suggested that I do the stipple quilting using a light tan thread and let the thread take the edge off of the white.  Up until now, I had only machine quilted with monofilament thread. 

I was really pleased with the final result!!

Halloween Harvest

 

P4211101 (2) This is the quilt that adorns my entryway during the month of  October.  It was made in 1995 and was a LOT of fun to make!!!   I  had tons of Halloween patterns that I was dying to use so I decided to use them all.  I picked out the patterns, determined the sizes and then worked with graph paper to figure out where to place them on the quilt.

It is funny how quilts evoke memories of when they were made.  In this case, I remember how excited my kids (ages 8 and 10) were about the upcoming holiday.  I also remember that my husband, Michael, was doing a lot of deer hunting during this time and he would often leave super early in the morning and I would get up and sew before anyone else got up.

It was also the first time that I   had used a striped fabric for the binding and I was particularly happy with the result.

Falling Leaves & Flying Geese

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This is the quilt that I use in my entry way during the month of September.  As with most quilts, there is a story behind it…….

Back in 1992, my youngest child started to school.  I celebrated by starting into a weight loss program that put a lot of focus on exercise….especially walking.  I was fairly new to the state of Georgia and not used to the beautiful autumn foliage display.  As I walked, I began watching the leaves fall and became enamored with the way they swirled and swooped to the ground.

At this point in my quilting career, I had mostly worked from patterns and had not done much that was designed “from my mind”.  The leaves were made first with the colors moving from the green of summer to the brown dead leaves of dead winter.  I also decided that I wanted the background sky to flow from the dark blue of summer to white wintery sky.

I cut out lots of 2 inch squares of blue and then started placing them on a flannel board on which I had drawn a 2 inch grid.  The morning that I started placing blues was also the meeting of the quilting bee at my house, so I enlisted the others to help me set the sky in place.  We all had so much fun arranging and re-arranging them.

As for the borders, I started with the idea of placing flying geese all the way around the piece, but realized that I didn’t want to make that many of them, so started looking for ways to group them.  I ended up being really pleased with the final arrangement and even quilted a few “ghost” geese in the blank border.

As I looked at the completed top, I realized that it didn’t have the movement that I wanted, so I added the leaf stems and allowed them to provide the “swirl”.  Even more movement was added with the “windswept” quilting.

In the final analysis, I really liked the quilt and it was a wonderful step into the world of designing quilts.

So, it’s September……..bring on the leaves!!!!!

Friendship Flowers

 

August is Sunflower month at my house and this is the quilt that hangs in the entryway….Friendship Flowers In 1988 I was active in a Quilting Bee that was part of my local guild.  We were called the “Friendly Starters”…..intimating that we started a lot but didn’t get much finished!!

After making several charity quilts as a group, we decided to make a Round-Robin quilt.  The rules were as follows……  each person would make one 12-inch  block in the style and theme that they wanted.  They would put it into a box, along with miscellaneous fabrics that fit with it.

The box then traveled to each person in the group and that person would make blocks that would fit with the desired theme.  These blocks had to be in multiples of 4-inches….ie 4 inch squares, 8 inch squares, 4 x 8 inch rectangles etc.  You could simply include a 4 inch piece of fabric.

When the box was returned, we each set out to make our quilt using the blocks that we had received, plus any others that we wanted to add.   We also included the rule that you didn’t have to use all of the received blocks and could even include them on the back if necessary.

FF Block 1

 

 

I started out with this block , and told my group that I wanted the theme to be “Sunflowers and Summer”.

 

 

 

FF Block 2

 

 

One of the blocks that I received was this sun

 

 

 

FF Block 3

 

I added it to the paper-pieced chickens and added a stem and 3-dimensional  leaves to make this section.

 

 

 

Block 8

 

These four patches were embellished with some bobbin threadwork

 

And I made these three dimensional flowers to fill in some spaces…..

FF Block 4 FF Block 5

FF Block 6

FF Block 9

 

 

The final part was to add this wonderful pieced flower garden

 

 

 

FF Back

 

 

The last of the fabric patches were added to the background and the label was made to dub this piece “Friendship Flowers”!! 

 

I have lost track of several of the ladies that added to this quilt and I am afraid that one has since passed away, but I think of them each time that I look at this Sunny and fun quilt.

Bells, Baths and Bidets

Several people have commented on the quilt that is shown on the right side of my blog so thought I would show you a larger photo and tell you the story….you know that every good quilt has a story that goes along with it…….

In 1998, our family spent 10 days in Italy, including 3 days in Rome. When we first walked into our hotel we heard a Church bell ringing LOUDLY, so Michael and the kids both ran to the window to look out…..

This is what they saw…….this tower was extremely close to the hotel and right on our level……

As any good tourist does, the next stop in the hotel room was to check out the bathroom. This one interested us in several ways……..

Michael noticed the curtainless shower, Brian and Jenny (then 12 and 11) noticed the Bidet (something they had not seen before) and I noticed the cool tile on the wall…..

Much to B&J’s shame, I whipped out my tracing paper and made a tracing of this wonderfully designed tile.

After I got home, I graphed out the design and tried to figure out how to piece it with mostly straight lines. Here is the graphic that I finally used……

And here is the final project…….
It is a fun reminder of a great trip to Rome.

On a comic note, I have since contacted the hotel to see if the tiles were still in place and, if so, could they take a better photo and send to me. Needless to say, I have had no response from them, although I am sure that they talk about the crazy American lady!!!! We are spending a month in Rome in 2010, and I am planning a trip back to Hotel Miami and check it out for myself!!!!

Happy Fourth of July!!!


This is a quilt that I made several years ago to celebrate the month of July.

I have a wall in my entry way that has a special place for 30-36 inch square quilts, and I try to change them each month. I also have pie safe (which holds many of my quilts) that was built especially for that area and I put various nick-knacks on top for each month. Here is a photo of what it looks like this month…..


This quilt was made from a pattern found in a now unknown book, but it was for a 66 inch square quilt, so I cut the dimensions in half to get my finished product.

My biggest memory of this quilt was that my sewing machine was acting up and I spent MUCH of my time re-piecing the areas where there were birds-nests on the back.

Starry-Night in Bethlehem

September, 1986……Continuing on my quilting journey, I now move into the realm of machine piecing. Up until now I had done most everything by hand, even though it had taken a lot of time. Then, I saw this little quilt pattern in a magazine and I really wanted to try it. However, in the pattern, the star only had the bottom half so I knew that I needed to make some adjustments to it. I was concerned that I would spend a week or more piecing it and then it wouldn’t work, so I decided to try my hand at machine piecing.

As with my first quilt, I did just about everything WRONG!!!! I prepared the templates and cut out the fabrics as if I was hand piecing. I drew the sewing lines on the fabrics and then pieced along the lines.

The upshot of this was that I had the top pieced in ONE DAY….not one week!!!

I quilted it by hand, using some very bad metallic threads, and even added a little padding to some of the houses to create a bit of texture.

I was very proud of it and still hang it at Christmas time.