Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finishing Touches

Last Saturday we met at Sylvia's to quilt our breast cancer raffle quilt on her Qbot. It is so exciting to put those finishing touches on to a project. And this one was especially heart warming. Dillon, who is Sylvia's grandson, and also a student in Mrs M's class this year - stopped by to check it all out. He picked out the backing for the quilt.

Once we finished quilting it, Yvonne put on the binding. I'm working on a quilt label to add to the back. We want to make sure whoever wins this remembers that it was made for a very important cause. And of course we hope that lots of money is raised for Mrs. M's foundation. We hope to display the quilt next week at an education conference being held locally where nearly 200 educators will gather.

Bags, bags, bags

I just finished a cute little bag and have another nearly finished. I love these quick projects when I'm super busy, but still feel the need to sew a little bit.

The fabric in this bag is from the Arabella line of PB Textiles. I got 6 beautiful fat quarters from my friend Sylvia on my birthday back in March and have been looking for a fun project to use them. She knows how I love bright colors and these have my favorites: reds, greens, pinks, oranges. Just yummy! The one I have partially done is in black and white.

The pattern, called Wallet & Grommet, is from Maple Island Quilts in Burnsville, Minnesota. This bag can be made in less than 2 hours - start to finish. The directions are easy to follow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More on the "Rolling On" quilt . . .

The top is done and we love how it turned out. 80 of the pinwheel blocks went together - 16 made by each of the 5 of us. Then a narrow white border and a somewhat wider bright pink border. Pam brought the quilt to school yesterday and showed it to Mrs. M, whose breast cancer foundation it is being donated to for a raffle. One of her students, Dillon, also was the one to select the backing fabric since his grandma (Sylvia) is one of the 5. He did a great job in picking out a fun pink/white print that feels almost like flannel.

Here we are - working on the quilt. . .

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rolling On Against Breast Cancer

Here it is - our raffle quilt for breast cancer awareness. This is a group project and we put together the top last night at Marilyn's. We'll quilt it on Saturday at Sylvia's. More about this project later and more pictures!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Mini Quilt Swap

I've been working on my spring-themed mini quilt for the swap that I signed up for. I'm really eager to get my project finished and mailed - and also to get a package in the mail from my partner. Getting mail is so much fun!!!!

My mini quilt has pink, gold, orange - all on a white background. I finished the applique this weekend, but want to embellish it before hand quilting it.

I'll wait and post a sneak peek once I get a little further with this project.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Secondary Benefit to Quilting

Yesterday morning I was starting to stitch down the binding on a quilt, and the method I love best is hand stitching. It's relaxing, and just comes out looking much nicer than when I've attempted to machine stitch binding. So . . . I was on the sofa in the family room, quilt draped over me, cat laying on part of the quilt, great "chick flick" movie playing on the TV, cup of coffee next to me and stitching away on the binding. I was totally relaxed.

My husband came into the room, stood and watched me for a few minutes without saying anything, and finally commented "you get a secondary benefit to quilting - you get to enjoy the quilt before you finish it". He does like to wrap up in a quilt, but usually doesn't pay much attention to the process of quilting. He just knows it is a hobby that keeps me happy and relaxed. But yesterday morning he finally "got" one of the reasons WHY it keeps my relaxed.

This weekend's binding was actually the second one I've worked on in the past week. The baby quilt was a recent finished project. I made the quilt for Jace - the first baby of my god-son Colin and his wife Jackie. I mailed the quilt to them on Monday morning.

The pattern is a log cabin - swirled - with each block made of just 2 fabrics. It was actually made with a jelly roll. It worked out perfectly with just enough of each fabric left to do a scrappy binding. The back is a yummy yellow "cuddle soft" so it will feel so good next to the baby.

While visiting a quilt shop a few months ago, I saw a quilt done this way, but I couldn't find the exact pattern. I'm sure it exists somewhere, but I just didn't find it. I had done a rough sketch in my purse-size notebook so I finally just sat down at the computer and played with it until it looked the way I wanted.

So here it is - my version of the Log Cabin Swirl. Click to download the pattern.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stage 3 - Origami bag is complete

I finally finished the origami bag. The final stage required rings sewn into the corners and cord or ribbon threaded through. I hunted for interesting rings to use and finally found some at our local Ben Franklin Craft store. The rings are actually jewelry pieces, but work perfectly here. And I ended up using 3 colors of ribbon since I didn't find cord in a color that worked.

Remembering the women in my family

A little late for Mother's Day . . .

The girl cousins on my mother's side of the family love fiber - knitting, sewing, quilting. We love to touch the yarn and fabrics, we love to create things, and we probably came by this trait naturally. Diane is a knitter. Julie is also a knitter who has dabbled a little into quilting. I can knit, but not well. But I love to sew, although I rarely make any garments anymore. I just quilt.

My mother (Jane) loved sewing and passed that love to me. She was an expert seamstress. During WWII she worked in garment factories. Later in life she sewed most of my clothes, and made quilts, curtains, and a lot more. She didn't like to make fancy pieced quilts with handquilting. But she loved to "use it up" and "make due" by putting together blocks or strips into functional warm quilts and she hand tied them all.

Two of my mother's 3 younger sisters also had a love for fiber. June was a knitter and Lois had her own successful business making draperies and slipcovers. Both could sew garments expertly as well, even though they usually chose not to.

They all probably inherited this love of fiber from their mother. My grandmother could knit, crochet, and tat lace. She also did quite a bit of fancy embroidery. But her knitting is probably one of the things her grandchildren remember the most. I don't imagine anyone could even guess how many sweaters, scarves, mittens, socks she made for friends and family over the years. A beautiful white crocheted table cloth won a ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair sometime in the 1960's. I still have that table cloth. And I have the red angora sweater she made for me to wear for my high school graduation photos. Not that it still fits!!!

Another generation has the fiber bug. My younger daughter Laura has become a knitter - thanks to lessons from cousin Julie a couple of summers ago. My older daughter Jerilyn loves to scrapbook and run, but maybe she'll be bitten by the fiber bug later in life. Who knows?

My grandmother passed away in her 90's nearly 25 years ago. My mother died the summer of 1991. But the love of fiber still exists. Thanks Mom (& Grandma & the aunts) for passing it along to the next generations!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Origami Bag - Stage 2

Stage 2 - the next step was to top stitch the outside edge. But I wasn't sure I wanted it to be plain straight top stitching, so I've added a row of decorative topstitching near the top of the bag. I used a beautiful metallic embroidery thread.
Now for the origami part of the bag. I am ready to fold the corners together, slip stitch the sides and add the rings and cord or ribbons to make the ties. I haven't found the "perfect" ties yet, so I'm not sure what the finished product is going to look like. But hopefully I'll finish it up this week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Origami Bag - Stage 1

I've started a small project that is a bit out of my comfort zone. I'm making a small bag using a pattern called "origami".

3 fat quarters and a piece of diaper flannel . . . with a finished size of about 16 inches square. One fabric for the inside (brown with dots), one fabric for the main outer panel (multi-colored floral), and the third color for the outer borders (purple dots).

The next steps are adding some fun quilting - yet to be designed, and then the rings and ribbons that will gather the top together at the centers of each side. The corners will flop over so all 3 fabrics show off.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pink Ribbon projects

Add ImageI'm sharing a couple of group projects here that will hopefully bring about some awareness of breast cancer.

The pink and black pinwheel blocks will be part of a quilt that is being put together to raffle off for breast cancer. There are 6 of us making blocks - 16 blocks apiece. Each of us is doing 2 sets of 4 pink blocks and 2 sets of 4 black blocks and we'll put them all together with a fun pink border. The finished quilt will go be raffled to raise money for a new foundation being set up by a local teacher who is a breast cancer survivor.

The second group project involves 12 ladies. Once a month there is a small group of us who meet for coffee following Saturday Sampler (a block of the month at our local quilt shop). During coffee, Sylvia suggested a challenge quilt project. We decided on a Christmas quilt, came up with a list of possible participants, and went shopping together for the challenge fabric.

We each got 1 yard of the green holly Christmas fabric and will make 13 identical 12 inch blocks. We plan to get together this summer and exchange our blocks so that we will each end up with 1 block from each lady for our own quilt. My block is called "arm flags" from a past Saturday Sampler called Ode to Aging. The 13th set of blocks will be put together by the group and quilted. Then we hope to raffle it off for breast cancer sometime during the late fall.

My Quilting Assistant . . .

It seems like most of the quilters that I know will agree that their pets like to hang out with them when they are quilting. Especially those with cats can appreciate how much "help" their feline friends like to provide. My helper is an 18 pound black and white cat named Sammy. He loves to lay on my sewing table, my cutting board, my ironing board, my lap when I'm hand-quilting . . . you get the picture. If I lay out blocks on the floor to arrange, then he will re-arrange them by burrowing under them.
He's great company most of the time, and a pest some of the time.