Thursday, April 30, 2009

CAUGHT UP!!!!

I am a member of the Yahoo Group, "British Quilt List", which I joined two years ago just before we were making a 2 month trip to England. Last year they had a bag making monthly challenge. I did the January bag and then decided that I really wasn't interested in making 12 bags, so I dropped out.

This year, I joined the challenge again. The theme for the year is making calendar quilts....each is 12 inches square and follows instructions and themes set by the challenge moderator, Kandy Newton. (By the way, I got to spend a day with Kandy while in England and she is a wonderful quilter and a hoot to be around!!!).

Well, I made the January quilt (click here to see it) and had it posted to the BQL photos before the first week in January. Things went down hill from there!!!!!

So, this past two weeks I have been working to catch up on the challenges and here are my next three entries......




The February quilt was going to be based on a bed of Daffodils that were growing
just outside my window, but a freak Snow Storm (we dont often get snow) greatly
shortened their duration. This quilt will help me to remember their beauty.




The March quilt uses a photo that I took at Kew Gardens when visiting London two
years ago. My husband was visiting a researcher there and we arrived at the
research facility about 1-1/2 hours before the gardens opened. I had planned to
just walk slowly to the main entrance and wait for opening, but was told to go
on into the gardens from the research entrance. So, I got to spend over an hour
wandering the gardens before the hoards of school children arrived. It was
bliss.




The April purses use fabrics that I bought in India last year. I still have to
bind this one and add a bunch of embellishments, but those can be done in front
of the TV and at my leisure.

I have done a lot of FMQ, but never while in such a hurry, so I put my foot down
and let the needle fly. It was actually quite fun!!

I just got the instructions for the May challenge......a machine trapunto piece!!! Maybe I will get it finished in the next 30 days!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My First Quilt


Do you remember your first quilt? I certainly do!! It was 1985...the year that I became hooked on quilting!!!

For the last 8 years that I lived at home, I watched my Mom make quilts. She made them the old-fashioned way using hand piecing and quilting. AND, each quilt was full size and took a year to make. This was not appealing to me so I turned my creative talents to other forms of needlework, mostly needlepoint. After I left home and married, I found interest in Crewel Embroidery and Counted Cross-Stitch, however the love of quilts never left me.

When I was expecting my first child, there was a friend whose due date was only a couple of weeks ahead of mine and I decided that I wanted to make her something special....a quilt. Now at this point, I had not attended any formal quilt classes, but after all, I had watched my Mom do it and I KNEW what to do.

My first job was to decide on a pattern and I quickly found one that I had clipped from a magazine many years earlier. It was a duck wearing galoshes and holding an umbrella.

The second step was to make the applique pieces. I did this by drawing the pieces onto the fabrics and cutting them out, leaving a ½ inch allowance and then hand basting the folded edges to give the pieces a finished appearance.

I was now ready to attach the applique, but decided to do it by machine rather than by hand, so I pinned it onto the background fabric and layered the top and bottom with a thick polyester batting. I then set my machine on zig-zag and proceeded to sew happily around the applique pieces

Of course, the result on the back was disastrous as there were tucks, folds and lots of wrinkles. However, the front looked ok. I didn’t put any other quilting on the background fabric, but just left it loose......any judge would have had a heart attack.

I proudly gave the finished quilt to baby Sarah although I knew in my heart that my technique wasn’t so wonderful. However, the quality of my work was pushed to the back burner the night that I saw Sarah being brought into a friend’s home with my quilt wrapped around her to keep her warm. That simple sight brought my quilting experience into focus.

Well, 24 years have now passed and I am still quilting. Even as I win ribbons and hear people exclaim over the quality of my work, I am always drawn back to the picture in my mind of Sarah being kept warm by my very imperfect and un-professional quilt, and that is good enough for me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Professor Arnold -- I wish!!

On Tuesday, I had the great privilege to speak to a class at the University of Georgia, in the Family and Consumer Science Department. The class was in textiles and textile design and it was really fun to tell them about quilting. They asked good questions and only one girl struggled to stay awake (my husband, who IS a professor said that this is a common occurrence)!!!

I own quite a history of quilts, having some made by my Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother and myself, and, as you can imagine, I am able to present a wide variety of styles and techniques.

I have given this class to 3rd graders before, but never to twenty-somethings. The woman who helped me, Nancy B., said that there really isn't much difference between them!!!

Since I had all of the quilts packed up into three large suitcases, I decided to use the rest of the afternoon to photo document all of them. Our local Art Center has a wonderful fiber room with a huge design wall, and excellent lighting, so I went there to take the photos. I will try to show them over then next few months.

OK...enough of this....out to work in the yard!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blogger Quilt Festival

In case you haven't heard, there is a Blogger Quilt Festival going on through April 24th. Check it out here......


This is my entry in the show........


I know that readers of this blog have seen this quilt before, but it is probably my favorite one ever made. I was inspired by a stained-glass window that I saw last year at the Mysore Palace in Southern India. When I walked into the room, I knew that I was going to make a quilt based on the window. Unfortunately, you couldn't take photos (they made us check our camera before we could enter), so I hastily drew a sketch to help me remember how it looked. When I got home, I searched online for a photos from the Palace, but there were no good ones around. So, I had to make it from memory.....and quickly before my memory faded!!!!

I visited my local quilt shop, Dragonfly Quilt Shop and happily found that they had all of the Caryl Bryer Fallert "Gradations" fabrics on sale 50% off. I knew that they would work perfectly for this quilt.

I then got online again and looked for photos of Peacocks or Peacock inspired art and used them to get more ideas for the quilt.

I had a wonderful time making this piece, and enjoyed remembering the people that I had met and things that I had seen while visiting this magical country.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fabric treat for the birds

A few posts ago, I mentioned the passing of a friend named Pat. She LOVED to watch the birds and, when I was last at her house, noticed a suet holder that had shreds of fabric. The idea is that the birds will get the small pieces of fabric and use them to decorate their nests. I thought it was a lovely idea, so yesterday I bought a suet holder and made a fabric store for birds.




I hope that they enjoy it!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The light is OFF!!!

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I keep my front porch light on 24 hours a day during income tax season so that my clients can pick up or drop off their stuff without having to do it in the dark.

Today is the wonderful day that the light goes off, signifying that tax season is officially over!!!!

So, since I had a free day, I decided that it was time to work in the much neglected yard!!! I spent 6 hours today, weeding, spraying, mowing, pulling, sawing, planting etc, and even though I am bone tired, it was wonderful to get so much done in one day.

Before I started this morning, I made a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up a few missing supplies and found this wonderful lantern on a clearance table. I think that it is a fun way to add a bit of color to my backyard. I also bought a new bird feeder....of course the cat thinks that it is just a smorgasbord for him!!

On of the flowers that is currently blooming is this beautiful Iris. I traded Irises with my friend, Kris, a few years ago and I think of her everytime I see it's beautiful blooms.


As I was finishing up by making a trip to toss some uprooted plants, I noticed a tree hanging over the fence from my neighbor's house that has these wonderful flower groupings.......

So, not much quilting today.....that is scheduled for tomorrow!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Basting Saturday (Take 2)


The other quilt that I worked on Saturday was a "White on White" quilt that I have had for a number of years but simply haven't gotten around to doing.

The top was given to me by Elsie, who was a member of our guild. She had started hand quilting it, but hadn't gotten very far along. I took out her hand quilting, thinking that I would use the piece to practice my machine work. ....... This was maybe 5 or 6 years ago

Then I decided that I wanted to add some trapunto to the piece, so spent quite a bit of time getting the extra batting sewed on and ready to quilt.

The piece had a pillow-top that I was not interested in, so I cut it off, practiced my quilting and then tried washing out the blue lines. Well, they did not immediately come out!!!! I contacted the company that made the piece and they told me that it was only guaranteed to come out for about 2 years. She did suggest that I try washing it in Shout and Oxi-Clean, and that seemed to help remove the lines.

The bottom line here is that I have NO idea whether the lines will wash out once I finish the quilting, but have decided that it is a good practice piece regardless.

I had planned to pin-baste this quilt, but decided that I would just use a Basting Spray and get it over with. Who knows if that will further hinder the line's disappearing act.

I had thought I would use a variegated King Tut thread, but didn't like the way it looked in the final analysis, so have decided to just use a beige thread and let the texture do the talking....hopefully with no interruptions from the nasty blue lines!!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Basting Saturday

Yesterday, I spent the day making backs and basting a couple of quilts that I have in progress.

The first one was the top that I showed a couple of weeks ago.....I am really pleased with how it turned out.



However, the back is probably the ugliest one in all of history. I decided to try Bonnie Hunter's (http://www.quiltville.com/) idea of cutting scrap fabrics into 10-1/2 inch squares and piecing them together to form the back.

Well, the first thing that I learned is that not all fabrics will allow you to get four 10.5 inch squares out of one width. I think that I will use 9.5 or 10 inch squares next time.

The second thing that I learned is that you need to be a bit more careful in selecting colors for these squares......I think that I had too much variety in color and print design.

As I pieced these squares into strips, I realized that I had not done a wonderful job of cutting the squares and some of the sides didn't line up properly. SO, after I had pieced each strip, I put it on the cutting board and evened the edges up....making the square not EXACTLY square.

I knew that I didn't want to match seams, so I sewed the ends of the strips together into a circle and then randomly cut in the middle of one of the squares. I took them out to my garage (the only place that gives me enough open floor space) and decided on a decent pattern.




My NEXT mistake came in sewing these rows together......I apparently put one (or maybe two) of the rows together backwards and ended up with a whole series of squares of the same color together. Oh well.....it is only the back!!!!

I used Hobbs Fusible Batting to put this quilt together. Now I have to leave it for a few weeks until I get a brilliant idea for how to quilt it......I would welcome any ideas.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friend bearing gifts

Yesterday, one of my quilting friends, Anita (check out her blog here), came by to pick up her income tax returns, and (unlike most of my clients), came with thank you gifts in hand. She does some gorgeous hand dyes and brought these 5 half yard pieces to add to my stash. She had read on a previous blog post that I was missing light colors so she brought these to help fill in a bit.


They remind me so much of Spring and I cant wait to use them in some way.

Her husband, Bill, has been recently playing with Rust dyeing and has come up with some amazing designs. He sent about 15 pieces and told me to pick my favorite. There were several that I really liked, but this one grabbed my attention.......



I can see cutting out the "chain section" and bordering it with some cool piecing. Another idea to add to the "to-do" list.

Isn't it wonderful to have such good friends!!!!!

Thank you Bill & Anita!!!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saying Goodbye


On Friday, I attended the funeral of a wonderful lady named Pat Kools. She had been a member of our quilt guild for a long time and I had really gotten to know her in the last 3 years as I attended the Charity Bee.

As I thought about her, the words that came to mind were quiet, kind, concerned, willing, and ready to do whatever came about. She was 70 years old, but I never heard her say "Oh, I could never do that". Instead she would say, "Now how did you do that?.....I want to try it myself".

She took my "Photos in Quilts" class back in the Fall and her next big project was making quilts for her two kids. She was kindly waiting until my tax season was over so that I could help her with the computer bits of the quilt. Unfortunately, she didn't get to make those quilts, but our guild is hoping to make it for her.

In our Bee, she was the one who would volunteer for the ugly jobs and then stick with them until they were done, even while the rest of the group was moving on to the more "fun" activities.

At the funeral, the Priest compared Pat to a small flower in a garden....one that you dont really notice when it is there, but REALLY miss when it is gone.

Pat Kools, you were that beautiful flower and I will miss you!!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Baby's Birthday!!!!

Today is my daughter's 22nd birthday. She is still great friends with 5 girls that she went to High School with and she decided that for her birthday, she wanted them all to come to our house for Chili Cheese Dogs (like they used to do when they were 16). The only difference was that we served Corona Light instead of Diet Cokes!!!!

I decided that we needed to set the party atmosphere so the table was decorated with Hannah Montana stuff and, as you can see, the girls quickly got into the swing of it......

Jenny is third from the left


Michael and I had a wonderful time hosting these special girls!!!!!


To keep something in this post about quilting, here is a photo of five of the girls when I gave them their photo quilts for graduation back in 2005.........

Jenny is in the middle....


Great memories and fun friends......can life get any better!!!

Bye for now......
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