Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's all in the planning....

I don't always have chunks of time to sew... between being a full-time wife, working part-time, normal house stuff, 2 young adult kids (young moms it does not get easier!), my 81 year old mother, church activity and life in general, I have to find the time and energy sometimes to work on a project.

So when I can, I like to set things up for those times when I have 15 or 20 minutes to play with fabric.

Here is how I have sewing central set up now....

I sew on our dining room table. Normally I use a task chair, but I haven't taken the time to roll it from the computer in the other room to the dining table this morning. I have 2 Granny Square Blocks set up and ready to sew.. as well as piles of fabric cut and ready to set up more. I have to add a BIG advantage is a husband who cuts fabric for me! Of course I am often cooking supper or doing laundry while he cuts, so it is a win-win.  :-)

I may only get these 2 blocks sewn together today.. but that is ok!  It will be 2 more to add to this small, but growing collection...

And once the 2 are sewn today, I will lay 2 more out for the next bit of sewing time.

If you struggle with finding time to sew and if you are able to leave things set up, I encourage you to try something like this. Get fabrics cut.. layout a block or two.. have machine ready (correct thread, plenty of bobbins, fresh needle if needed) and then when you have a few minutes to breath, do it at the sewing machine!  You will accomplish more than you think!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Granny Square Block

Last year I was reading through some quilt blogs and discovered a group of bloggers making Granny Square Quilt Blocks. I fell in love with this block!  It is a great way to use up scraps (I am a true scrap quilt fanatic!) and it connected me to my grandmother.  My dad's mom has a great deal to do with my love of quilts.  She made one for each of her grandchildren... my was her last and the only one for a girl and she made it several years before I was born.  My folks were told about a year before I came along that they could have no more children.. 1 in a million chance. My grandmother was certain that her granddaughter would have the lovely dutch doll quilt she made. (She did everything by hand... never touched a machine).  Sure enough, a year later I came along.

BUT I did not get the beloved quilt then.. in fact, I was 18 before I got it!  I would often get her to pull it out of the Cedar Chiffarobe and let me look at it.  It was a great treasure to me.  My grandmother came from a time where you didn't use "fine" things and this was a fine thing.

I still have it. It adorned the bed in my daughter's room for many years. It needs a bit of repairing, but is still lovely and usable and, Lord willing, will one day be treasured by a granddaughter.

So what does this have to do with Granny Squares? Well I never saw my grandmother quilt. She was done with that by the time I came along, but I watched her crochet.  She tried to teach me but my fingers would not cooperate at all! I remember when she started working on the granny square afghan.  The squares are made of bright colors (she loves bright colors.. must be where I get it!) and they are put together with navy yarn. It is a large bed-size afghan with bright multicolored fringe. I love it!  And she made it for me.  As far as I know I am the only grandchild who has anything she crocheted and the only one who had something made especially for her.  Makes it more special!

Quilts and Granny Squares both hold a special place in my heart because of my sweet Mama Rush... Bessie Case Lea Rushing... and this block combines those 2 and stirs memories of days with her.

I knew I wanted to make a Christmas quilt this year and while looking online for inspiration, I ran across a pin on Pinterest of a Christmas Granny Square Quilt.  This was it!  So I pulled up the Granny Square Tutorial.. pulled some fabrics.. and whipped up a practice block.

It takes a bit of time and focus to keep things order, but it is a fairly easy block and I think it turned out lovely! I will be pulling more fabrics this week and start cutting lots and lots of 2.5" squares.  My plan is to have a box full of squares, so I can make blocks in between other projects when I just need something different to do.  The blocks are essentially 9" blocks and I want to make a pretty decent size quilt, so I have a bunch to piece!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cate's Quilt

Over the Christmas holidays we ran into a young couple we know who live in another part of our state... and they had a surprise. A beautiful little girl named Cate!  We knew immediately that she had to have a quilt.  And so once the holidays were done, I whipped up a top and hubs finished up with the quilting and binding.

Another Disappearing 9 patch... seemed to be the quilt theme for January.  We found this precious birdie fabric and added in fabrics from our scrap boxes.

I love love love how it turned out!  I would never have thought these colors would look so well together!

Off this goes next week to Cate.  I feel certain she will like it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gone Fishing...

I posted in an earlier post that my one real quilting goal this year is to make more charity quilts... at least one for every quilt I make as a gift or too keep.  I have chosen, for now, to make quilts for the Quilts for Kids Organization. (You can find their link and other info in my earlier post. )

This weekend I finished up my 2nd Quilts for Kids quilt for 2013 with the help of my hubby who took care of the binding for me. :-)

Quilt for Kids often runs short on quilts for teen boys, so this one was made with a young man in mind.  When I was digging through my novelty fabrics for inspiration, I found some fish fabric scraps I got when I bought a box of scraps some time ago. I knew they would be perfect for a teen boy's quilt.  Also, fishing has a special place in my heart and life.  My father was an avid fisherman and I was in a boat from the time I was just a few months old.  So this one is in memory of my sweet daddy.

Gone Fishing....

I have prayed for the boy who will receive this quilt... that he knows the Lord, that he feels God's presence and comfort. My dad knew the Lord.. loved Him.. felt His presence throughout his life and especially while battling cancer... and while I miss him even after 16 years, I know that God answered our prayers by giving him the ultimate healing.

I took time this weekend to clean out my huge box of novelty fabric and straighten them up.  I have focus fabrics pulled for 4 more charity quilts. I have decided on a pattern for 2 of them and have pulled fabrics from the scrap boxes to work with them. We have boxes here where we cut up scraps into 2.5" - 6" squares as well as 2.5" strips.  Takes time to do, but so worth it when it comes time to pull for a project!

Be watching for more Quilts for Kids' quilts soon!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Summer Breeze...

My husband loves batiks and has wanted to make a quilt using them for some time, so it was no surprise when he found a bag full of batik scraps at a local quilt shop (Stitch n Frame ) he snatched them up.  

He chose a very basic modern geometric look that highlights the batiks.. and one he got started making blocks, he couldn't stop. I have shared here before, hubs is a big tall guy and he tends to make big quilts!  This one is NO exception!  Here is the top laying over our kingsize bed...

It is very summery looking to me, so I have dubbed it Summer Breeze... which of course means every time I see it I start singing Seals and Croft (anyone here old enough to know who that is?)

This one is going to be a booger to quilt!  But I have no doubt the mad quilter will knock it out in no time!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I have made quilting goals for the year in the past and rarely do they all get met. So this year I am keeping things simple. I know of 3 baby quilts that will be made this year.. one is done and waiting to be bound.  I have one other quilt I plan to make this year... cannot tell what it is here since it is a surprise.  Other than that.. no set plans except.. I really want to do more charity quilts this year. I love making quilts and giving them away and I especially love sending them to organizations that use them to bring comfort and love to others.  My goal is for every quilt I make to give as a gift or keep, I will make a charity quilt. 

So far in 2013, we have made (finished) a wall-hanging and made a baby quilt. So that means 2 charity quilts are needed. No problem!

I whipped 2 tops up a couple of weeks ago and have one quilted, bound and ready to mail.  Both will go to Quilts for Kids  I love this organization ... love quilts going to kids in the hospital to comfort them.  You can request quilt kits from them and will receive fabric for the top and a pattern. You provide the backing and batting. I did that a few years ago for my first Quilts for Kids quilt.  Since then, I have just used their guidelines (found at the site) and made them from my stash.  

NOTE -- there are very specific size requirements. These are small quilts and go together quickly!  No excuse not to whip a few up.  Truly one could be made.. start to finish.. in a day by most any quilter.  There are also requirements concerning fabric (new, washed, 100% cotton) and quilting (tight so the quilt will hold up to use and washing).  

This first one is for a girl.. any age really.. I read that they needed quilts for teen boys, so I was pulling fabric for a boy quilt (which is next to my machine ready to be quilted) and while pulling 5" charms, I kept seeing these fun bright ones left over from some other kid quilts. So I pulled enough for a girl quilt too.  

I used the disappearing 9 patch pattern. It is soo fast and so cute... can be laid out in a number of ways. I have a lot of 5" charms, so I can get started quickly on one of these.  I will probably make some with other patterns as the year goes on. That is one of the fun things.. you can try out new patterns as you create something to bless a child.  

You can name your quilt and register it here: Downy Touch of Comfort  Then include the name and your first name with your quilt. Quilts for Kids sews a special label on every quilt, even if you add a label at home.  They can link up your quilt via the name so you can see who got it.  You can also read stories and see photos of the quilts and kids at the Downy site for inspiration.

This really is a great way to use the gift God has given to brighten someone's life!

So here is my first charity quilt of the year.. Wiggly Giggly...

The boy one will be posted soon and no doubt there will be more on the blog in the months to come. I already have ideas for 2 or 3 more!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wearing Hearts on Sleeves...

The end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 was tough. My mom fell in Oct of 2011, right after her 80th birthday. She fractured 2 vertebrae, broken her shoulder and her pelvis. She is recovered and doing great these days, but the journey from there to here was a long one.  Lots of days staying with her.. helping her.. going to the doctor.. wondering if she would rebound or if this was our new normal.  So very little quilting (or anything else for that matter) got done during that time.

Shortly after 1/1/12, I was home one day and determined to make SOMETHING.. I just needed to create! So I pulled fabrics and started a heart wall hanging.  It required large four-patches.. some for back grounds, some to create the hearts.. which were fused to the backgrounds and then appliqued. I got all the four patches made,  got 2 blocks fused and appliqued, 2 or 3 others fused and that was it.  

I just did not have time to work on it, I was tired and unfocused and that led to frustration. So I put it away. Thankfully I didn't let my frustration take over and throw it away!

Fast forward to 1/12013... my sweet hubby said "What ever happened to that heart wall hanging you were working on?"  I didn't remember where it was, but he thought he knew.. so we went and found it and looked at what was there. Decided it might be worth salvaging. So I started 2013 reclaiming a UFO and I am so glad!  

I finished up the blocks and got them pieced together. Hubs and I brainstormed about borders and decided a thin white followed by a pieced outer border would be good. Got those added. He quilted it using Connecting Threads Red-Violet Essential Cotton Thread.  Looks so good!  It is all done and ready to hang on the wall come February 1 (Snowmen are hanging there now and I'd like to enjoy them a bit longer).

This is NOT your typical heart / Valentine's quilt.  Yes there is pink and red and purple in it.. but lots of other colors too. I love the plaids!  They are either from 100% cotton plaid shirts I bought at thrift stores (Thank you Bonnie at Quiltville for that idea!) or from some 100% cotton shirting fabric I found on sale at Hancocks a year or so ago. Bright fun plaids. 

In a weird was this is a combination of our 2 kids. Our daughter was born on Valentine's, so the hearts connect us to her. And our son loves plaids, so the fabric connects us to him.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Catch-Up Time.....

Starting off 2013 catching up from 2012. There wasn't a huge amount of sewing / quilting that happened late in 2012.  Life continues to get in the way of fabric time!  Hopefully in 2013 I will find a bit more balance to it all.

A young woman in our church is away for a year working with a church in Ireland. She has to raise all her financial support for this mission, so my daughter (her sister-friend) has been making various things to sell to help financially. She asked me to make some mug rugs. Here are a few of the ones I made:

For several years, I have wanted to make stockings for our family and finally this year it happened!  I think they all turned out great! Not perfect, but perfectly suited us!

My daughter is in seminary getting her masters (the exact name of the masters is a mouth and mindful!).    Her fella is working on his PhD. They are both very academic and intellectual and yet there is a very playful side to them! They really are big kids at heart, so their stockings are fairly whimsical.  Fella loves things that go... planes, trains, autos etc. So when I saw this cute fabric with all those, I knew it would work well for him.  Daughter loves polka dots, so I was thrilled to find a coordinating fabric with those.  I used some denim and adding the heal / toes for a bit more fun.

Son and his girl like the urban / anthropologie vibe. She loves burlap and we have these table coverings we made a while back that are from a fabric that looks a bit like a cross between burlap and linen.  They borrow them regularly, so I knew this was a good fabric choice.  She also loves the color peach and fabric flowers. So those became part of the mix and I tossed in a big ole wooden button to add a bit more rustic flare.  I had planned to use the same fabric for my son with a plain cuff and small wooden buttons, but then I saw this gray herringbone fabric that looks a bit like the fabric used for a man's suit. Perfect for him!

Last but not least, Hubby and I.  I am love anything to do with snow and fell instantly in love with Moda's Blitzen fabrics.. especially this whimsical snowman. My cuff is a white on white that is snowflakes.  I wanted Hub's to coordinate in some way, but knew whimsical snowmen didn't fit him.  We did some digging through the stash here and found this lovely golden olive snowflake print we purchased at some point in the past. Very classy just like him.  His cuff is a white on white paisley (he loves paisleys).

Everyone was pleased with their stockings.. especially when they were filled!  And I love how they looked hanging from the mantel.

I used this tutorial / pattern:

Tie-dyed Diva Stocking

Very easy to follow and make.

The other main end of the year project was a new quilt for my mom. Hubs and I made her one last year for her 80th birthday. We used 1930s repros (her faves) and made it especially for a large four poster wooden bed that belonged to her aunt. Mother loves that quilt, but sadly she no longer sleeps in that big tall bed due to a bad fall last year.  She now prefers a smaller and lower to the ground twin bed. We have been taking various utility quilts over there for her to use on the bed, but I wanted her to have another repro one. So we pulled charms and Hubby cut lots of white fabrics and we got to work. It is a simple 9 patch pattern.  The highlight, to me, is the quilting. Hubs did it and used a dark honey thread that shines against the repros and looks amazing on the back (which is a soft steely blue).  Add a fun throw pillow to match and it's done!  Mother is thrilled and able to snuggle up each night under a quilt made especially for her.

Here's to more quilty projects in 2013!  "Belle"