Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh The Possibilities

I had a 40 % off coupon for any one cut of fabric at a local fabric store to use this week. I browsed through lots of fabrics but in the end came home with bleached muslin, the whole bolt. Nothing says "quilt" to me as much as muslin and calicoes - small prints - feed sacks. They were the quilts my mom and grandma made. I think that is why I have a whole Aunt Gracie room (see the post back in September). Muslin just seems to get softer under my fingers when I am sewing patches, and it irons so nice and crisp. Oh the possibilities of where I can use this muslin.
Now I really do like the new fabrics as well, I even had a little 'Merry Christmas to me' shopping trip last week to the local quilt shop that carries all the Kaffe Fassets and expanded my collection by a few 1/3 yard cuts. Hmmm, muslin and Kaffe Fassetts??? Maybe any pattern that would look good with Aunt Grace fabrics would also look good done in Kaffe Fassets and white fabric. Oh the possibilities.

All of these thoughts brings me to the quilt that I have been thinking about starting. I have never paid much attention to the Dear Jane quilt, usually thinking "life is to short" to fuss with such little pieces. However there have been some beautiful Dear Janes out there in blogland. So the quilt was in the back of my mind when I found this notebook in a used book store.
When I opened the notebook I found that a quilter had taken the binding off her Dear Jane book and inserted each page in a clear page protector.
There was a triangle ruler for the border triangles in the front pocket of the notebook. In the back were letters and notes written by the quilter, mostly from the mid 1990s. I was intrigued and looked up the name and address of this lady on the Internet and found an obituary that she had died in 1997. I also found an estate sale notice and the auctioneer stated that this auction had the most fabric and quilting supplies he had ever come across. I was intrigued, I liked this lady. I wonder if she ever finished her Dear Jane quilt? Lots of the page protectors include freezer paper patterns and notes for the color of fabric for the block.

As I paged through the notebook I realized that pages 75 - 82 were missing, maybe this was the row of blocks she was working on. And a couple pages later my best find, one of her blocks!
I will take good care of it. I will think about making my own Dear Jane. Maybe muslin and Aunt Grace fabrics or Kaffe Fassetts. I will probably get the Dear Jane software by electric quilt. The software says the blocks can be appliqued. Maybe this is the route I will go, because while "Life is to Short" to piece 1/4 inch pieces, it is definitely not to short to applique them (I am an appliquer at heart). Oh the possibilities.
Happy New Year All!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stitching Strawberries over Christmas

I am working on block 10, the strawberry block, for the CWBQ. As I look out by window and see a light cover of snow (only an inch or two in Nebraska so far) and listen to the weatherman forecast a white Christmas, these little strawberries are quite cheerful.
Note the ouchy little finger, I have been quilting for 20 years without a rotary cutting accident and last Saturday I was cutting too many thickness of fabric and toward myself - I know better - and the rotary cutter jumped right over the edge of that ruler and my little finger stopped it : (

My first thought was "this is going to take away a couple hours of my quilting time while I go to the emergency clinic". I knew I would need an updated tetanus shot and probably a stitch or two since it was quite deep and on a joint. Thank goodness for modern medicine, I did not need stitches, they glued it. Unfortunately in my non quilting life I am an ultrasound technologist and I was schedule to be in a surgery case Wednesday morning to help a surgeon with a case needing ultrasound guidance. The thought of scrubbing that finger with those little brushes brings tears to my eyes and one of my coworkers is going to cover for me.

Back to my quilting life, I have a couple customer quilts to share. I love the green and blue fabrics in this first quilt. I believe the owner told me this was the fabric featured in the Nebraska quilt shop hop this past spring.

What a great pattern to showcase this beautiful modern fabric.

This quilt was so much fun to work on, just a simple two fabric quilt. I did a feather pattern with a light gold thread that blended with the light color fabric, it just turned out so good.
Next is this flannel scrap quilt, a great way to use up your scraps, and what a great cuddly quilt.

And finally, this last minute add on to my schedule (and the culprit of my cut finger - squaring the fleece backing to this quilt) I just could not turn down this t-shirt quilt.
It was my pleasure to help this Grandmother finish her granddaughter's swim team t-shirt collection to take back to college with her in January. What a great Christmas surprise this will be. I proudly add that I did not get any blood on the quilt...

I wish you all a Merry and Blessed Christmas,


Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Labor of Love

This post is hard to write, I want to be eloquent, but the words do not come easily. One of my friends recently lost her husband to cancer. We are a group of eight quilters and have been friends for years. I want to say we are to young to be widows but of coarse this is not true. We planned this quilt for Judy and Jerry to remember all the wonderful times they had in Hawaii. They loved Hawaii and were able to travel there frequently.

The blocks were blanket stitch appliqued by machine and by hand.
The fabrics are all batiks.
There are turtles in the border fabric and the turtles outlines are quilted in the background fabric surrounded by pebble quilting.
We presented this quilt to Judy last night at a little Christmas dinner party. Her daughter, also a quilter, made the label and we all signed it.

Judy, it was our honor to make this quilt for you and we hope you feel our love when you wrap yourself in it.
In loving memory of Jerry Unrein, a wonderful husband, father, and friend,
Cheri, Leslie, Cheryl, Pat, Cathy, Elizabeth, and Julie

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inspiration From One Blog to Another

While reading some of my favorite blogs this past weekend I saw Teresa at post about her current project: making Christmas hot pads for 9 X 13 baking dishes. She has made some changes to an idea she saw on a tutorial for the hot pads at Esch House Quilts She is strip piecing up a storm and has come up with some really cute gift ideas. I thought the hot pads were a great idea, I have not even heard of Insul-Brite, a special reflective batting by the Warm and Natural Company, that is used in the hot pads.

I have a dinner party of quilters coming up this weekend and I thought the hot pads could be used as place mats and then each guest has a little quiltie gift to take home. I like Teresa strip pieced trees, but in the end I am not the great piecer she is, my strip pieced trees are blanket stitch appliqued on the white background.

In an "Ah Ha" moment I figured out how to get a nice blanket stitch on the point of the Christmas trees - I can usually land the sewing machine needle on the point, but not always does the stitch to the left look nice and straight. But with the triangle right in front of me I realized the left side of the sewing machine foot was parallel to the other side of the tree. Viola, perfect blanket stitches on every point.

This came in handy today while I was blanket stitching my latest Roseville Album block. The center of this flower had some funny points, but lining up the left side of the foot with the center circle made the blanket stitch perfect on each point.

I finally finished my second block on Roseville album,
While ironing the finished block I noticed how pretty the back of the block looked, I am using King Tut variegated threads, it kind of gives a little tease of what an embroidered Roseville Album block might look like.
In other Santa Workshop sewing I did a fun little Barbie doll quilt and pillow for one of my co worker's four year old daughter. She is going to be getting a big doll house for Christmas and Mom was going through my scrap baskets for curtain fabric and I just had to add a little quilt for the bed. Hope you are all doing some last minute Santa sewing of your own.
Happy Holidays,

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Love This Video & a Little CWBQ & RA work

A friend of mine sent me the link to this YouTube video, I just love it and had to share.

On the quilting frontI have been working steadily on the Civil War Bride quilt, the block I am currently doing is number 15. It looks rather plain here but the black birds have a splash of red on them that is fun. I am not doing the blocks in order, more like one with lots of little leaves, then one with bigger pieces. The finished block wall is looking good.
I actually had a whole morning in the sewing room this week and I did a little blanket stitch applique on Roseville Album. I have the next block fused and ready to blanket stitch, it has bigger pieces and I don't think this one will take me as long.

Happy Stitching all and enjoy the holiday season,


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Quilts

Christmas is Coming! I used to go all out with decorating, take all the pictures down off my walls and hang up my large collection of Christmas quilts. It would take me three days to decorate the house between the tree and all the quilt hangings. Well, my days of wanting to spend three days decorating are done. I have given away most of my quilts to a non quilting friend who was just thrilled and loves them (I think she left them up well into spring the first year she had them). But I still have a few of my favorite ones. The above and below quilts are small table cloths, I just really like how contrasty they are.

This next quilt I call Wonky Christmas Trees. It is a pattern from the Buggy Barn folks and it is one of those fun quilts where you stack the three colors of fabrics and then rotate the top fabric, then the top 2 fabrics, then 3, etc etc giving it is very scrappy look. This quilt has a flannel back and is a great cuddly quilt usually thrown on the couch.
The following Santa quilt is on my front door, I like this quilt because of it's size, perfect for a door.
The next quilt, Trees and Stars, is the first Christmas quilt I ever made. It is about 18 years old. The pattern was in a book by Sally Schneider about pieced borders. This was just a fun quilt to piece, it hangs on my dining room wall which is at the front of my house. I love seeing it thru my dining room windows when I drive home from work in these winter evenings when it already dark and the lights are on in the house, it always gives me a warm feeling.
The final quilt I take out for Christmas is the first quilt I ever made. It is over 20 years old now, the pattern is broken star. I completely hand pieced and hand quilted this quilt. This was made in the days before rotary cutters and I can remember drawing each diamond with a template I had made from some of my husband's sandpaper glued to one side of a piece of cardboard. I very boldly entered it in my local quilt guild's annual show and it won a blue ribbon in the 1st quilt category.

Christmas is coming, the first Sunday in Advent is here. I wish you all a happy holiday season and a blessed Christmas.

Happy Stitching All,


Friday, November 19, 2010


I knew when I returned from my recent trip I would be working on a very special quilt. I can not reveal all of the quilt yet, but I have been asked to quilt it. I am machine quilting with my regular machine (not the mid arm).
I had some ideas of how I would quilt this quilt, there is sort of a water theme going on, there are turtles in the border and I have outlined them in the background of the body of the quilt with surrounding pebbles. To keep the border as densely quilted as the body of the quilt and because the border fabric is dark and would not show any quilting I just quilted some wavy, watery lines.

The "oops" comes because I thought I would give the Supreme Slider, a special Teflon mat that fits over the bed of the sewing machine, a try. This mat is suppose to make machine quilting much easier, and make the moving of the quilt over the machine bed much smoother, especially if you are doing a lot of small, detailed quilting. When I run out of bobbin thread I usually place a straight pin to mark my spot and earlier this afternoon I pinned right thru the slider - oops.
Now I find out I have sewn right thru the slider - OOPS - the slider slid right along with the quilt. I do not think this is how the designer of the slider envisioned it's use. For this evening I am calling it quits and I will start fresh in the morning.
Have a good weekend all and happy stitching,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hawaiian Quilts at the International Quilt Festival

I have a few more pictures from my day at the Quilt Festival in Houston. It has been fun to see which quilts or quilt collections the different bloggers have been sharing on their posts from the show. Our interests are all so varied and it shows with which quilts we chose to photograph and share on our blogs. I am currently working on Roseville Album so I was very interested in Kaffe Fassett's exhibit which I included in my previous post. I also like Hawaiian applique so I have pictures of four quilts that were in the show. The echo quilting was just outstanding, I think it is one of the hardest types of quilting.
I liked the bright colors, but I also really liked the subtlety of this tan and white Hawaiian applique.
I also tend to migrate to the more traditional quilts and I spotted this one way across the convention floor and liked the colors. On closer inspection I was astounded to see all these little pieced log cabin squares, probably about 1/4 inch logs.

The vendor area was overwhelming. The new gadget that I found was a rotary blade sharpener called True Cut by the Grace quilting frames company. There was an electric model and a model that just required running your rotary cutter against the sharpening stones that were set in a wood block.The Roxanne's glue people also had a new container for their glue that I use all the time in applique, it is a sort of accordion bottle and a new cap for the needle that keeps it air tight and is not suppose to need cleaning of the needle dispenser.

The last pictures I will leave you with is a couple close ups of Mystique, the best of show quilt by Sharon Shamber showing her amazing quilting and applique.This is her third best of show at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. What a talented quilter she is.

Happy Stitching All,