Thursday, July 28, 2011

A memory quilt

Way back in March 2011, I finished a memory quilt that I was asked to make for my Dad's lady friend.   I was a nervous wreck .. would they (the lady friend & her family) like it?  Did I do a good enough job?  I was a nervous wreck.

I was much relieved when Dad's lady friend called to say that she loved it.  I mean she LOVED IT.  Furthermore, everyone in her family was simply enthralled with the quilt.   I was tickled when she called again, a couple of weeks later, to tell me *again* how much she loved it.  :-)

I had made it with the intent of it being used as a lap quilt, but it was apparently so well received that it is now hanging in the foyer of the lady friend's home. :-)

In retrospect, I suppose that I could have simply slapped something together and since none of the people involved know how to sew, it would have looked amazing.  But I can't do stuff like that.  I want to do the best that I can under the situation.  I was pleased with how it turned out and am very gratified that they liked it also.

(Adult) children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren made memory squares to be included.  They were all *so* creatively made.  I certainly had "challenge" blocks and angst about how to assemble all these disparate pieces.  But in the end ... voila!  it was done.  :-)

Once a quilt is done, the NEXT project is always to make a webpage for it.  Time spent doing the webpage is time that I'm not sewing ... and if I want to be sewing, I begrudge the webpage time.  Most times the sewing wins and the webpage suffers. :-)

But now, I can finally say that the webpage for the memory quilt is DONE and active!  woo hoo!

For all the gory details, links and LOTS more pictures, please visit my web page for
Josephine's Memory Quilt.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No quilting for a while ....

... as I am working on our oldest Dear Daughter's wedding outfit.  The happy date is Sept 10th .. so I have some serious garment sewing to do.   That, of course, is taking precedence over any quilting projects!

Her outfit consists of a corset top over a separate A-line, full-length skirt.  I have experience in making corsets, as another Dear Daughter has been heavily involved in Victorian re-enactments and I have made her the Victorian outfits she's needed .. which included proper Victorian corsets! 

Here's a Victorian corset and a second Victorian corset.  Another Dear Daughter got a fancy corset as the top of her senior prom outfit. So, when I say that I can make a corset .. I can. :-)

However, oldest Dear Daughter wants shoulder straps for this corset (that don't look as though they are an add-on element) and that is a new wrinkle for me.  Since it has been about *four* years since I made the last corset, my skills aren't finely honed.  Thankfully, my corset instructor is available for consultation and hand-holding!  With her expert skills and instruction, I have successfully made a workable mock-up. 

It's time to take a deep breath and cut into the Real Fabric.  :-)   With any luck, I can have the base fabric cut and sewn by this weekend.  At that point, push will have come to shove and Dear Daughter simply *must* make a decision as to exactly which fabrics she wants as the outer fabric!

With more luck, I might even be able to get the corset *finished* by the first weekend in August.

It goes without saying that there won't be any "progress" pictures!  No sneak peaks, no teasers.  Pictures will need to wait until after the wedding. :-)  I'm sure y'all understand.  :-)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

All Things Come to She Who Waits ...

Mode Prize Package
Back on February 8, 2011, Cara Wilson of Cara Quilts  issued a Basics Charity Challenge.  From a personal experience in her town, she asked us, her readers, to drive by a local shelter for abused women & children to find out what they need and fill the need.  There is always something and usually doesn't cost much.  If there was no local shelter, then a donation to the National Coalition Against Domestc Violence or the United Way or the Red Cross would also be sufficient.  A comment on her blog telling her what we did would give us an entry to one of the many prizes she was able to line up with her sponsors.

I was touched by her story but I didn't do what she said.  :-)  Instead, I commented about the quilts I have made and continue to make for a local crisis center for family and children up to age 11.  There were a LOT of comments published and I was only one of a couple hundred.  And I never win giveaways or contests or raffles.

So, it was with absolute ASTONISHMENT that I received an email from Cara saying that I had won the prize offered by Moda.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I was jumping up and down like a kid at Christmas!  :-)  I supplied my snailmail and eagerly awaited my prize.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.  I waited 3 months.

::sigh::  I figured it was too good to be true.  But, just to make sure that I was giving everyone a fair shake, I emailed Cara to say that I hadn't received anything from Moda .. that I was sure it wasn't her fault but nevertheless, I was disappointed.  She emailed me *right back* saying that absolutely I had won the prize and she would follow up with Moda.

Fully one month after that, a big box from "United Notions" arrived on my front porch.  I was really puzzled because I hadn't ordered anything quilty online or via a catalogue.  But once I opened it, I realized it was from Moda!  Oh my goodness .. there was my prize!!

I got a FQ bundle of their 'Ready Set Snow" line, a roll of Luna Soy Batting (a queen sized!) and a Sewline mechanical pencil!  Wowsers!  :-)

The fat quarter bundle was very, *very*, VERY impressive ... there were TWENTY EIGHT fat quarters!  All of them soooo nicely coordinated!   There were ....
tone-on-tone stripes
tone-on-tone swirls

Christmas trees on different colored backgrounds
snowflakes on white

squares in squares
swirls on white

stripes on white
bias plaid on white

dots on white
  My mind is awhirl with ideas!  I have never, ever had a coordinated collection of fat quarters like this before and I am simply overwhelmed with the possibilities!

The Luna Soy batting ... *especially* in the queen size ... is very, very welcome!  I have a quilt top all lined up for it!

I've used the Sewline mechanical pencil before and truly loved the way the lead was soft enough to leave a crisp line on the fabric but firm enough not to crumble.  It can be removed with one of their erasers or wiping with a damp cloth or being laundered.  I am very happy to have one!

Thank you, Cara, issuing your challenge in the first place.  I hope that your readers were able to help their local charities.  And I thank you and Moda VERY MUCH for my prize package!

I'm just grinning like a fool.  :-)

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Birthday, USA!

Here is a very favorite quilt of mine.

Back in 2001, I "met" quilt designer Marj Rhine of Quilt Designs NW on the internet and occasionally she asks for people to beta-sew her designs before she makes them commercially available. This is the 2nd quilt I've beta-tested for her. She calls it 'Stars & Stripes Forever'; it comes as a wall-hanging and twin sized.

Since I didn't want another wall hanging right now, I decided to make the twin size version. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her layout! When you look at the photo, you'll see it's a bunch of Lemoyne stars. Normally, one makes this block with set-in squares and triangles. An alternative method is to use half-square triangles to avoid potential set-in problems. I'll admit that I'm a snob in this area, in that I like the set-in squares, etc because it demonstrates that I can do it. But for this specific layout, to get the zig-zags, you *need* the HST to accomplish this. And ya know? I like it! :-)

I decided that I was going to use fabric from my stash to make the twin size quilt and mostly I achieved this goal. The reds were from a wall hanging made about 6 years previously. They are reds with different gold metallic designs. One white is a homespun-sorta weave, i.e. looser than the cotton, but I liked it anyway. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough to do all the white zig-zags in this fabric, so I bought another white that reads the same from a distance. The blues were a recent addition to my stash, not specifically bought for this project .. however, I discovered that I was going to run short of the dark blue (which was also going to be used for the outer border), so a quick trip to the fabric store for additional supplies was in order! Fortunately, it was still in stock.

The result is that the red zig-zags are of different design reds; the white zig-zags are of different design whites, but overall, it reads as a simple red/white zig-zag.

Because I loved this quilt so much, I decided to indulge myself and have it quilted by a local longarm quilter, Janna Bailey of The Quilting Company. At that time, I had no idea of what sorts of thread a longarm quilter preferred to use and I wanted a glittery thread for this quilt. I brought over spools of the glittery thread and asked if she could use it. I'm not sure of Janna was just being accommodating or thought it would work fine but ... when I picked the finished quilt up, she mentioned that it had been a very difficult thread to work with. I had no idea ... and can only hope that *she* didn't either ... but now we both know something new!

At the time this quilt was made, I was in the habit of using a compatible quilting cotton for the backings. For this quilt, I used a fantastic red-white-blue starburst fabric. I don't use quilting cottons for backings any longer; the cost of fabric has become so high, I can't justify the expense for an area that just isn't going to be seen. (I generally use 110" wide muslin now).

I'm pleased with it and even after all these years, it's still one of my favorites.