Count Your Blessings

Saturday, September 25, 2010 1 Comment »
I've admired Judi Madsen (the Green Fairy) for quite some time.  She is a young wife and mother who has been blessed with a tremendous gift for quilting.  I drool over the pictures she posts of quilts she's long-armed for customers (and herself), I smile at the pictures of her youngsters, and I am in awe of her endless enthusiasm.  Today I cried.

Judi and her husband Clint are involved with charity work for Romanian children.  Last year they traveled to Romania, visiting an orphanage, and this year Clint and his dad made the trip, visiting various families living in very difficult circumstances.  Their main purpose is to distribute donated quilts to children, but this year (through generous donations), they were able to deliver food and school supplies as well.

If you think those scraps in your stash don't really amount to much, take a look at what an impact those scaps would make when put into a quilt.  Then pass it along!

Green Fairy's 2010 Trip to Romania.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010 2 Comments »
It's not going well, and I am starting to wonder how I ever got myself into this.  Sample cow hide scraps in hand, I went to a BOM class at my LQS on Saturday & asked advice from some expert quilters for advice.  Then I visited the store where I had purchased my Bernina, and asked their advice.   The suggestions ran the gamut from butting the edges, using a strip of fabric backing, and feather stitching the seams, to sewing on top of a full fabric backing.

Leather needles and jeans-weight thread in hand, I tested 5" samples and was pleased.  What works best is overlapping the edges, then doing two parallel rows of stitching, just like the stitching on a pair of jeans.  Worked like a charm on the scraps, but not on the big pieces.

The pieces that I need to stitch together are roughly 18" x 24".  Very very tough to hold them together so that they stay aligned while I stitch.  And they are heavy, so they don't want to feed as nicely as I'd like through the machine.  And they have fur that switches direction, so I'm sewing with the nap for 5 inches, then against it for the next 5.  And the fur flies all over the place when you cut it, less so when you are stitching.   Sheesh.

The current solution to the holding together problem is basting glue.  I tried it for one pair of rectangles, but applied the glue too late in the evening for it to be set enough to work on.  It was dry this morning, so I'll try again tonight when my bovine outlook is a little better.   I will also experiment with my walking foot.

If that doesn't work, I might just staple the darned things together and throw some cow pies.

The last of the summer baby quilts

Sunday, September 12, 2010 8 Comments »


Whoooo could this be for?

This is MOST special of all of the summer 2010 baby quilts because it is for my daughter and son-in-law's very first child! 

Baby Ojeda is due to make his (or her) grand entrance at the end of February.  This will be our 4th grand child, but will be the very first on the Ojeda side of the family -- as you might imagine, joy abounds. 

Kate and Paul want the sex of their baby to be a surprise, so I chose a non gender-specific flannel by Valori Wells for Baby O's first comforter.  I think it's smashing, with colors that are sure to grab any baby's attention.

Next up on the agenda?   The nursery suite!  I told Kate that one of my gifts would be a fabric ensemble for the baby's room:  dust skirt for the crib, bumpers, changing table pad, crib sheets,  curtains, and anything else that suits out expectant fancy.  Her tastes run  to the more modern and "organic" (her description), definately not pale baby colors or even cute children's prints.  And of course it can't scream "boy" or "girl".  And it needs to compliment the fabulous crib they found on Craig's List.  Oy.

What did she pick?  Thanks to a layer cake of fabric I had in my sewing room, she found just the thing:  Fandango, by Kate Spain.  We'll neutralize the girlier aspects and combine colors to make an ensemble that's both baby appropriate and mommy stylish.   I took advantage of a huge pattern sale at Joann's last week, bought a very nice Vogue pattern for a box-pleated dust skirt, and got the bumper innards.  I'll write out my yardage requirements this week in anticipation of a trip to The Hayloft or The Old Country Store next Saturday.  This is gonna be a major fabric buy.

Stay tuned in future posts for progress reports.

More of "what I did this summer"

Saturday, September 11, 2010 2 Comments »
I know, it sounds like one of those compositions you wrote on the 1st day back to school in September.

I made 2 baby quilts this summer.  One was for the Jenn, the daughter-in-law of dear friends.  When my husband and I were dating (back before there was fire, paper and cell phones), Jenn's husband Chris was the very first baby any of our friends had.  After seeing what our friends Jan and Denny went through with Chris, it's a wonder we ever had kids ourselves.  Chris turned out to be an exemplary young man, and married an even more exemplary young woman, Jenn.

Jenn and Chris are expecting their very own little bundle of joy in a week.  Baby Duerr's gender will be a surprise, and Jenn wanted bright bright primary colors for her quilt.  "Duerrpalooza" is made from Moda's Animal Alphabet, plus some additions from my stash.  The pattern is another from my friend Kimberly's book, Jelly Roll Quilts and More.

I used a new long-arm quilter, who made some great suggestions for the over-all pattern and the thread.  It was her idea to use the variagated thread in primary colors to compliment the colors in the quilt.  It was a great idea!

Here are some pictures of the back and the label. 

The other baby quilt was for one of my daughter's friends, Liz.  She is expecting a little girl, so I used many of the same fabrics I used for Amazing Grace.  (Side note:  Amazing Grace was made for Chris's sister Kate last year)  Liz's last name is Rookstool, so I called the quilt "Rookie Star".

One again, the quilter made a great pattern suggestion that picked up on the movement in some of the fabrics. 

Today is Month 8 of my Civil War Tribute BOM class.  I have to tell you, this quilt is not easy, and the Homestead Hearth directions leave a lot to be desired.  HST's measured to the 16th of an inch????   I'm told that their next Civil War quilt has much better directions, but I probably won't be checking them out after this experience. 

I'll also be visiting the LQS where I bought my Bernina so that I can seek advice on the cow hide situation. 

Holy Cow*

Thursday, September 09, 2010 4 Comments »
*with props to Nancy for the title. 

Here's the problem. 

My beloved son-in-law, Paul, brought  back several cow hides from Mexico.  He thinks it would be a truely wonderful thing to create a manly cowhide wall hanging from these hides. 

To that end, he cut big squares from them thinking that his talented MIL could create a bovine quilt.  Of course he made me feel like a sewing goddess, so how could I refuse?  The boy is no fool.  Truth be told, Paul would really love to keep this creation for himself, but my daughter Katie refuses to have dead cows hanging on her wall. 

Oh, and did I mention that he would like me to teach him to sew at the same time?  And that both he and my husband think it would be a WONDERFUL idea if I used the cow scraps to make him a cow tie? 

Now that I've bared my soul, or at least exposed my hide, does anyone have any suggestions for sewing these suckers together?  They are not super thick, and are somewhat supple, not unlike the suede on a jacket.   Using my wonderous Bernina, I'm thinking a #16 jeans needle and quilting thread?  Overlapping the edges of each piece & either zig-zagging or maybe double stitching to give it a jeans look? 

BTW, these hides have fur on them and my dog has formed an amorous bond with one of them.  If you can't give me advice, at least send wine.

The Wedding Quilt

Monday, September 06, 2010 3 Comments »
The daughter of our Best Man was married a few weeks ago.  What a great excuse to make a quilt!  I posted the flimsy a while ago, but thought youz guys (y'all?  yins?) might like to see the finished quilt.  She's a generous queen size, made by up-sizing a pattern from my friend Kimberly's book, Jelly Roll Quilts and More.  Since the newlyweds are using brown, turquoise and aqua for their bedroom color scheme, the jelly rolls of Cherish Nature seemed perfect. 

To Paraphrase Mark Twain......

Sunday, September 05, 2010 2 Comments »
"The rumors of my blog's death have been greatly exaggerated".

Laziness. That's all it's been. Sheer laziness. I've been lurking and commenting on other blogs, but have just not done a posting myself. So if I haven't been posting, what the heck have I been doing?

For one, I've been working through some Schnibble kits that I put together at the beginning of the summer. I spent most of one weekend picking patterns, matching them up with the appropriate set of charm packs (or so it seemed at the time), cutting the various components, packing them in little baggies, then putting each set together in a larger baggie along with the pattern. 

This one is State Fair, using Moda's Breath of Avignon.

The whole megillah went into one of my ArtBin organizers and became my Schibbles Schtash -- ready to raid any time I needed just a little project. It went with me on a retreat, and came out again at a church Quilt Day. I've played with the stuff in that bin all summer.

There a couple of things I found during this process:

1. The charm packs that I thought would be great for a certain pattern in April ain't necessarily the charm packs that look best when I get around to working on that Schnibble in August. Here's an example. It's Roundabout, done in Moda's Happy Daisy. Is it terrible? No, but it's just not what I thought it was going to look like, and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it.

For some patterns, I might have been better off mixing charm packs or supplementing from my stash rather than just using the squares form one one fabic line alone. 

2. I AM addicted to charm packs, even though some of the squares contained therein are dogs and really don't play well when Schnibble-ized. My over-all stash now contains a sub-stash (stashette?) of charms. I tend to buy 3 at a time to allow for the dogs and for my personal design latitude (la-de-dah!).  Some of those charm packs would also lend themselves nicely to co-mingling with other charm packs, although that sounds vaguely smarmy.

3. White or beige can get very very boring as backgrounds, although they seem to work best with these little quilts. I need to create a stash of interestingly textured neutrals, or even force myself to try something more adventurous.

4. The concept of having ready-made kits is an awesome one. There is nothing like being able to pull out a project and having everything pre-cut. Nothing. 

And you don't need to limit yourself to Schnibbles.  Any smaller project will do.  I even took  a Civil War repro kit that I bought at my LQS on sale and put together this kit.  What the heck, you could even do this for bigger projects.  Once the cutting is done, the rest is a piece o' cake.  Or at least a slice of eclaire.

Stay tuned for the next few posts which will contain pictures of the big girl quilts I finished this summer, as well as a happy announcement.