Quilting in my genes!

When I was more youthful I always had the urge to sew.  My Grandmother bought me a used machine and I sewed my doll clothes and some simple drawstring shorts.  It was then I felt the creative juices flow, but did not know exactly at the time what that all meant.  Then when I was a teenager, I had seen a Nancy Zieman show on PBS using the new fangled rotary cutter and thought to myself I could so do that.  In the next 5 years I made two quilt tops and countless other sewn projects.  The quilt tops got to the top point and then I had not a clue what to do next.  I just didn’t know how or where to get materials to finish the top, as this was before the internet.  The women in my inner circle were not quilters so I did not have the advice that I so needed.  I ended up selling those tops on a yard sale for $15 each.  I think that is the amount of money I had in them.  I still remember the woman who bought them.  I live in a small town and she was the crazy lunch lady at school.  I wonder if she ever did anything with them?

Fast forward 8 years and the death of my Grandmother.  When she passed my Grandfather wanted us to bag up her clothes and take them to the Salvation Army for donation.  The whole time we were bagging them up, I kept thinking in the back of my mind, uh Dawn you need to keep these and make a memory quilt out of it for him.  It gnawed and gnawed.  And I said nothing.  And regretted that one moment in time, lost forever.  That is when the idea was born.  My deep genes spoke to me and I knew I was a quilter.  Fast forward another 7 years with my Grandfathers passing.  This time I spoke up and took every stitch of his clothing as well as my Grandmother fabric stash which was forgotten in the storage room.

My Grandfather lived through the depression and seemed to save what I would consider trash, but he deemed useful.  In our efforts of the purge of his “collections”, we had come across some weird things.  One was a huge stash of toilet paper.  I guess he always bought on sale and it piled up (odd because he had a colostomy and would never use it).  So that year as a gag gift I got toilet paper for Christmas which made me cry because it was something my Grandfather purchased.  The other odd thing was his worry about losing power which would then affect the water pump on the farm, which would equal not being able to flush the toilets.  He started collecting every milk jug/juice jug and filled them with tap water so he could flush the toilets.  His worry could have been from the 1999 millennium scare of everything shutting down.

So fast forward 1 year to 2002.  I decided to make a memory quilt for my parents as a  Christmas present.  And since I had found a long armer to finish the top, I knew this one was going all the way.  I made them a farmers daughter quilt top.  My points were imperfect and seeing it today, I see how refined my skills have become.  I also wanted to make another memory quilt for my Aunt.  And come up with an idea of preserving his clothing in jars on a shelf much like the water he collected and saved for the toilets.  I don’t have a picture of this quilt, but the jar idea on preserving the past was a perfect memory quilt for the situation.

Fast forward another 15 years to present day.  I have this worn tattered quilt for my children’s crib and always wondered who made it.  I knew my Grandmother knew how to sew, but did not believe she made it.  This quilt was used and abused.  It was formerly mine and my mother who kept it safe all those years and all those moves, gave it to me for my children to use.  It was still vibrant with color and not a rag at the time.  When the family got together this summer, I asked my Aunt who made the quilt.  My Great Grandmother was her answer.  I felt my face turn white.  My Great Grandmother…..it sunk in.  I discontinued use of this quilt.  Amazingly it is still holding together with frayed edges.  Something that surrounded me with love in my first years…..perhaps planting the seed of the memory quilts mentioned above.

So now life made a little more sense.  I know deep down that I have inherited the quilter gene.  Thanks Great Grandma, RIP!


Bonnie Hunters Mystery Quilt Nov 25th!

Hello blog readers!  I had read that Bonnie Hunter is starting another mystery quilt in November and thought I would give it a try.  I do not like to spend lots of money on quilts so I went to my stash and found one of the templates!  And of course I found a gob of fabric.  After photographing the fabrics I see that some of them will be removed because it just does not flow with the tones of the other fabrics.  Here is a link to her mystery quilt guidelines for colors and tools.  Here is a rough first draft of the colors that came out of my stash.  My stash is currently organized in ziploc baggies with similar colors in the bags, pre cuts in their own packaging, and scraps crammed into ziplocs with no rhyme or reason with color.  So this was an easy grab to steal from this baggie system and rob from that precut.  My fossil fern large box of fat quarters will play a key role in this quilt as it provided a bunch of scrappy goodness.  So are you going to join in?neutralsgreenspurpleslightanddarkyellowscoral

Since this starts around the Thanksgiving break, this should give me enough time to get the Green Lemonade project at its completion.  And even though I have 2 baby quilts I need to plan/sew/complete (one being for a boy the other is undetermined) and I have oodles of projects that I need to work on and finish, I thought branching out to try something new for a change will perhaps make me grow as a better quilter.  Regardless of which project I work, I know my future looks very promising for whatever quilt project I choose!

Flash Card Fun

I have always shied away from fabric panels, mostly because I have never quite figured out what to do with them.  Usually the blocks you can incorporate into your quilt have various sizes which require math.  I like to sew, sewing and math do not go together (for me) and I have yet to embrace this idea.

Here is a picture of a fabric panel cut up and a heavyweight stabilizer put in the mini quilt sandwich.  Unlike, paper flash cards, these will never get ripped.

Christmas will be here before you know it.  This would make a toddler a nice gift and a little smarter.  Win Win!


Quilting Gremlins! Just in time for Halloween *sigh*

2rowsWell, the green lemonade quilt is not disappointing with it’s drama.  I have started quilting this green monstrosity and it continues to be problematic.  And as I suspected, the gremlins are coming out to play while I do the FMQ.  (How Ghoulish for halloween).  My sewing machine has got a bad case of the gremlins lately and will not stop sewing if I have the needle stop in the down position.  It just keeps going and going like the energizer bunny.  I can unplug the foot control.  I can press stop.  The only way to stop it is to turn it off and you are not supposed to just turn it off in the middle of the program.  That would be like shutting a windows computer off without shutting windows down properly.  You know if you do this, you might end up with the blue screen of death.  My machine had done this for a period of time and I thought it was because my magnetic pin keep was too close to this digital sewing machine.  So I moved it long ago and it went away.  Now unless the green is magnetic fabric, this should not be causing the problem.

Tonight while I was doing some feathers the quilt batting decided to get underneath the part that I was quilting.  *SIGH*  The machine first decided to have the bobbin thread come from its hook and make a mess of thread afro on the back.  Got that cleared.  Then the top of the machine came unthreaded and made another mess twice.  Got that path un-forked.  For some reason a couple nights ago the thickness of this quilt (which is no thicker than any other I have quilted) kept pulling the needle loose.  That was an oddity.  I estimate I am about 35% through the quilting.  Because this quilt is so large and my harp space is only 6 inches, it will be a slow (and probably frustrating) process.  Since I am doing feathers, this is my way of giving the bird to the quilt haha.  I am so ready to be done and onto something else more pieceful (smile).

Green Lemonade FMQ

I am back it with the Green Lemonade quilt.  I have more money tied up in this than I care to admit.  I have way too much time afforded to this not-so-gem of a quilt.2rowsThis quilt has been made into a queen size.  Saturday I got the last block sewn on and made sure all the melons were accounted for.  Last night I put my quilt sandwich together.  That was a job.  I am glad I purchased 8 yards for the backing.  I wanted the design to flow in one direction so it had to make three passes and two seams for the backing.  I will have just enough to bind it when I am done.

I selected my thread and wound several bobbins.  I proceeded last night to choose my quilt pattern for the melons only.  I have never attempted this size quilt on my DSM.  My throat space is a mere 6 inches.  I have been quilting now for about an hour and my shoulders are give out from all the tugging and wrestling.  The backing fabric is good, heavy, quality fabric, so this is adding to a thickness like no other I have tried.  Any other quilt projects this large, I will wait for a longarm purchase.  The UFO below, once finished, deserves a beautiful longarm customized quilt job.circlesjackschain-1

As previously mentioned in another post, I thought my problems were behind me.  The first melon I attempted to quilt ended up with a pucker on the back so I had to get Jack the seam ripper again and proceed to wear it out a little more.  Because this is so large my movements are rather jerky at best, especially closer to the center which is where I started.  As I get farther into quilting, this will ease up.  Now I am pooped and it isn’t even lunch yet.

This one will probably be tackled one small snippet at a time each evening.  Once I get the hard part done and get those melons successfully quilted, the rest will be easy.  I will be able to trim the bulk of the extra batting and fabrics.  The centers of the black and white square will be less flawed I suspect.

I am glad I did not choose white thread to break up the melons because of my jerky movements it would have looked worse.  I chose a dark green thread for the green in the quilt.  Once I get to quilt the black and white centers I will probably go either black or white thread.  I haven’t figured that part out yet.  My finish is in sight (golf clap), yay!  Because I want the back to be revealed when the quilt is complete, sorry everyone, no picture.  You will get a chuckle, it is worth the wait.

From the Quilt Stack – Winging It

Here is a quilt from a year and a half ago I made for a coworker expecting a baby.  Wow time flies.  I never named this quilt.  I tried paper piecing on this and thought those blocks looked like butterflies.  I tried to accentuate this with the butterfly shape in the quilting.  I only had a pattern for the paper piecing, the rest I “winged” it!

Looking back, Winging it would be the perfect name!

baby-quiltThis was my first attempt at free motion quilting.  It was imperfect, but it was completed and I figured the baby would not care.  The paper piecing pattern is available for free download at favequilts.com.

Time for quilting


The essence of time seems to speed up as I add to my growth rings.

I took a small respite from quilting and sewing and did absolutely nothing crafty.  I had to reset whatever clock pushes my passion for quilting.

My mother visited briefly yesterday and asked if I had worked on the green lemonade quilt.  I said I had not touched any part of the project for a couple of weeks.  I also informed her that I was so close to being done.

So in leu of that happening and then the mailman brought me 2 packages.  I seemed to find the fire again.  I bought the book by Anita Grossman Solomon entitled Perfect Blocks in minutes the Make It Simpler way.  I believe I had red someone’s blog that they had checked this book out from the library or had met her or something.  So I went bargin hunting on amazon and found the book for pennies on the dollar.  I am very satisfied and the blocks in the book  will eventually turn into something for someone.  I also received the yardage in the mail for the back of green lemonade.  As much as I want to share this with you, I am going to leave this as a surprise.  It will make you smile and it goes perfectly with the color scheme.

So I put my big girl panties on and proceeded to sew.  And I enjoyed it!  and sewed for about 2 1/2 hours!  With no interruptions!  I have a few more melons to sew to the borders and then it will be ready for sandwiching.  *Whew*  that one was a lot of work, considering I tried to take a shortcut by buying it half done.

Thread choice, not sure which way to go.  If I choose white I will be able to break up a lot of the green,  Perhaps I should go with multiple thread colors.  I just hope when I go to quilt this, all my problems are behind me.

No sew blues

It seems I am taking a respite from quilting.  I want to sew, but I am tired.  I get this way sometimes.  I have no momentum towards a sewing goal.  I look at my project draped over the accordion clothes dryer staring at it, admiring it, and wondering what the next adventure I will ensue working on it.

Sometimes creativity takes me by storm and I have to try what is in my head before it leaves and my memory forgets.  In that mad rush, I completely ignore all the projects I have going because _____________(I need to figure out the right word to fill in the blank, if it ever comes).  Maybe the words I am looking for are sudden urges.  Passions.  Yup creative passions over-rule.  My heart for sewing takes over my mind of logic.  So, while I await the gumption to get back to quilting, I will visit wordpress and pinterest.  I will admire much and add to my long list of un started projects.

Do you ever experience highs and lows while crafting?  The highs being you just have to find something for your hands to do, to occupy time.  And the lows being the lulls that you don’t want to touch any fabric or any tools and kind of get blue because you have all this stuff, but no urge.

*sigh*  Perhaps I push too fast to hard and my crafty mind has a bit of collapse and a bit of rebuild before it can tackle quilting again.  Perhaps life interrupts the crafting part so much that I just am tired of the interruptions and don’t want to start something I cannot completely focus on without having to stop to steer the children in a better direction, or to cook, or to clean the litter box, or to do laundry or dishes….take out the trash, make the grocery list, vacuum, let alone work a 40 hour week.

I know the mojo will return, I don’t want to rush it.  Right now I am goose egging the blog, the sewing machine, and the WIPs.

Romantic Quilting Delusions of Grandeur

Oops I did it again!  Lyrics from a famous song apply to this post.  Did I learn my lesson the first time?  Nope, apparently not.

As my fellow readers know, I purchased a quilt top with Delusions of Grandeur to finish someone else’s UFO.  I call this quilt green lemonade.  You can look back the last couple of months to see my posts on this nearly completed beast.  This quilt I policed and was dissatisfied with and would not allow the imperfections the previous owner(s) had created.  Now, I have acquired some more UFOs that were started by someone 50 miles away.  Name unknown.  Year unknown.  Why unknown.

I keep reading these wonderful stories of people who have passed away and someone else down the line finished a quilt.  The life of these people becomes eternal in that quilt.  This  makes me smile.

My mother called me over the weekend to tell me she had come upon a garage sale where they were selling a quilters stash.  She offered them $50 for all of the oodles of fabric.  She then offered them (an unknown amount for ribbons and ric-rac and even lace) to take this next lot off there hands as well.  I was glad that she was able to find fabric for her informal quilt guild.  All those hands will put all the fabric to good use.  But, of course this is my mother, trying to look out for her daughter with an offer to come take a look and get first dibs on anything in the fabric lot.  So, after I got other things checked off my weekend list, I went to visit to see this vast amount of fabric.

My mother did very well with that $50 bill.  She came home with 5 thirty gallon trash bags all full of fabric, with a storage trunk full too (trunk included).  So I proceeded in the hot sun and un air conditioned shed to go through the bags out of curiosity.  There were a couple small pieces of corduroy, 3 pieces of velvet, some pieces of fleece, but mostly it was quilters cottons.  I would reach down into the bag and feel around for the good stuff.  You quilters know what a good piece of cloth feels like.  In one grab I brought up some unfinished and orphaned quilt blocks.  I did not take all the blocks.  There was nice needle turn applique.  There was a sun bonnet sue ready to be placed onto fabric.  There were a couple of overall sams too.  Those were already appliqued and stitched all by hand.

But stuff like this has become my weakness.  I admire the romantic notion, the love that goes into quilting and to finish someone else’s project I think is _________(not sure what word to use here) and adds to the story.  I perhaps need to reflect more on this because I am uncertain exactly what it does to me to make me want to take it and do something useful with it.  It is kind of like going to the pound for an animal.  And coming home with as many as you could take because the idea of them being destroyed is sad.  Saving them is kind of a superhero role.  Perhaps, I have a quilting superpower and need to make myself a cape.  No need to fear, Quilting Woman is here.

All of the following pictures were stitched by hand.  I see these uniform stitches and wonder if this woman hand quilted as well because they are so even and perfect with many years of practice behind them.  I measured the seam allowance on one and was astonished to see they were all a perfect 1/8th of an inch.

The fabrics in the glorified 9 patch were beautiful.  And since this is the green lemonade pattern I thought I could make a nice wall hanging out of it.  Then there is this long piece of the double wedding ring.  This would make a lovely runner for the foot of the bed but I do not have any pieces to finish it.  So perhaps I will take this one apart and make it complete for my use.

For now they will get put in a bag and shoved to the back of the list waiting for the right thought, or the right situation to present itself, hopefully giving direction to take on these few pieces of stitched cloth.

Glorified 9 patch tutorial

After gathering lots of pictures to give this info to you, I have this important detail to share.  If you do not like sewing curves, this pattern is not for you.  There is a learning curve to sewing curves and I will go over these snipits.  I have dreamed up a pattern that would be alot easier to accomplish with the same affect.

You could make a 9 patch without squares using rectangles to get the same pattern affect.  The center square would be around 3 inches.  The rest of the 9 patch would be 3 by 6 with rectangles surrounding the center square and 6 by 6 in the 4 corners.  Your melons would be cut out and sewn to interfacing and turned right side out and pressed on the the set of four blocks, appliqueing to the block.  That is my advice if you don’t like curves.

If you like a challenge, and have done curves, or want to try them out.  I have a few tidbits of advice all learned from sewing this quilt top with a little bit of internet research.

After you have pieced your 9 patches to sew your melons to the 9 patch, mark the centers of the 9 patch (4 places) and the center of the melon 2 places.centeroutSew from that mark (center) outward.  Here is one side.  Once you stitch this side, flip it over and sew from the center outward.  If there is any discrepancy with the pattern or your cutting of the pattern you will know immediately that something is not quite right.  When you finish stitching your melon to your 9 patch, the raw edges should be even and match at both ends.  I had red somewhere on the internet to stop stitching a 1/4 inch from the end of the seam and to backstitch.  I did not do this for any of this quilt top and did not have issues.  I suppose if it were a long lasting UFO like this one has been , then perhaps back stitching is a good thing?!  I do know with as many seams as I have ripped out of this to get where I am back stitching just makes it harder to fix if it is imperfect. sewingcurvesWhen sewing curves, stitch another 3 or 4 stitches past where you think you should stop.  Do not look at the front of the foot when piecing curves.  Look at the foot where the needle penetrates the fabric.  If your edges are butting up to your foot correctly here, but at the front of the foot they are not, you are still ok taking a few more stitches until your raw edges appear to go askew at the needle point edge of the foot.  If you can break the habit of looking at the front of your foot while sewing curves, you will be able to make this quilt and your seams will be 1/4 inch accurate.  Of you choose to look at the front of your foot and do not break this habit, your seams will turn into 3/8 seams.  The pattern is designed for 1/4 inch seams and if you mess with that dimension, the quilt will not sew together correctly and you will not be able to match subsequent raw edges after the first block is done.extrastitchesIn the picture above looking at the front of the foot vs where the needle penetrates the fabric, I now know I have about 2 to 3 more stitches to take before I need to lift my pressor foot and reposition both pieces of fabric.

After two melons are sewn to each 9 patch(one on each side), you will be able to proceed to the next critical step.  Do NOT sew more than 2 melons to a 9 patch, it will be too difficult to match seams when you add the extra ones at this time.  I found a nice diagram of sewing the strips of the quilt in this pictorial.  Without this info, I would not have been able to piece it together correctly.6d34ba2b265ee93eb4d525c394605b99Here is an example of what I am talking about.  The first block is turned with the melons on the top and the bottom of the block.  The second block in the top row is turned where the melons are on the right and left of the 9 patch.  So every other block is up and down or left and right.  This is how you make a row.  Then you can sew your rows together by starting in the center of the center block and stitching to the edge of there the 4 blocks come together.2-blocksmeetatjunctionWhen pressing your blocks press your 9 patches toward the melons.noticeThe pieces that were cut for this pattern did not have the ends trimmed so, when sewing follow that natural curve of the raw edge until you get to the very end.  There will be a tail.  rawedgerawedge2Your first joined blocks will not be perfect (due to the learning curve you are experiencing and that is ok, as this is the part of the process of quilting).  You have the following options 1.) you can proceed and make sure this row is a row located on the edge of the quilt and not in the center or 2.) rip it out and start over until you can get all those raw edges to come together perfectly without alignment issues.  Practice will make perfect, the more of these you sew together, the better you will get at it.2rowsIf you notice the bottom row the second 9 patch from the left is not in correctly and will cause issues matching seams later.  If you look at the 9 patches above and to the right you will see the imaginary lines of the white fabric blocks to not line up.  I did not notice this until I later when I was viewing the photo I had posted on the blog.  Sometimes the camera shows things that the naked eye cannot take in because of size.  These rows were sewn before I started marking the centers before I had sewn the melons on.  So marking centers at the beginning will eliminate this.  Accurately cut pieces will also eliminate this problem.  After you have sewn all your rows together, you then will sew the remaining melons onto the 9 patches that are missing a melon.  This quilt will end up with a gentle scalloped edge which is a nice touch.  If you don’t like that you can always trim it off.   As soon as I figure out a way to post a pdf, I will share the tracings of the melons and the 4 corners of the 9 patch.  I hope I have not forgotten any details.  If something does not make any sense, let me know and I will definitely edit this post.

The Green Lemonade quilt top (that is what I have named this tamed beast) is almost complete.  I will enjoy shelving it until I can find backing fabric.  If I find backing fabric by thanksgiving, you will probably see a post of its completion.  As long as this UFO has taken me as well as its former owners, it can stay shelved a bit longer.  *SIGH* now onto something else ~WHEW~!

Please visit my other posts about this quilt here, here, here, and here.

Please visit my other cooking blog here.