In the beginning…

 

Oh those first efforts. The very first effort was a biscuit quilt.  You know, the kind where you stuff each little pillow like biscuit and sew them together.  Well, the first one must have weighed 80 lbs.  The recipient in fear of being crushed under it, gave it to her dog as a bed.  Alas, although disappointed in her actions, I stitched on.

Then I was going to have a baby and wanted a special quilt.  I purchased a kit and embroidered the center.  Even I must say the embroidery was and still is beautiful.  Then time was getting short and I NEEDED to finish the project.  Well, those pieces did not fit together like they did in the picture so I just stitched them down.  Better done than perfect.  YIKES!  But wait there is more.  I put a 100% cotton batting in the piece and instead of actually quilting it, I tied it.  Need I explain what happened when I initially washed the quilt.  Heavy sigh.

As my son got to be a big boy of 5 I gave him quilt blocks as a gift for Christmas one year. Yeah, I was “that mom”.   And then a top the next year.  Well, that was over 30 years ago.  I used the best fabric I could afford at the time and chose those fabrics for their color.  My son, who is in the navy now, and in his mid-30’s will be getting his quilt this week.  It is finally finished.  One of my oldest UFO’s is finally done.

IMG_8211

My sister Terry of Terry Burris Quilting, quilted this quilt with the same attention to detail as she would have quilted a showstopper quilt.  She chose the quilting patterns to reflect the subject matter, and did a beautiful job, elevating this humble effort to something special.  In doing so she elevated my confidence to continue trying and making my best efforts with every block I construct.

At the same time I created a quilt for my daughter.  I would watch Georgia Bonesteel and Eleanor Burns on PBS and was so inspired by how simple they make it look.  My daughters quilt is a sampler.  Again, this is not constructed using high-end quilt fabrics, but there are a couple of local quilt shop fabrics in there mixed with some broadcloth and sheeting, as it was what I could afford as a stay at home mom at the time.  Terry Burris quilted this piece also.  I didn’t even notice my errors, as I was just so enamored by the finished product.  Each block was treated as a treasure.

IMG_2651

IMG_2645

So, stick with your journey.  We all start as beginners.  No one is perfect at the start. It takes practice.  Enjoy each and every accomplishment, and even learn something from the failures.  But above all…stitch on.

 

Advertisements
Posted in First Quilts, Quilting, simple, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Spring in the Air

We all get them, you know the incentive patterns that come with the invitations to subscribe to the quilting magazines.  Some are pretty basic, others enticing, but this one I saved.  I saved it for a couple of years.  And oh yes, I did subscribe to the magazine.

IMG_7038

The name of the free gift pattern is Now and Later.  It is beginner friendly and is a great opportunity to showcase whatever fabrics you collect.  Some of us collect a couple of things.  But it’s a good idea to start with ONE.

Most of the winter I had worked with ties, and dark and masculine colors (read brown and blue).  My collection of thirties fabrics was calling to me and of course it made this a no-brainer.  It was a joyful labor of love cutting out the fabrics.  Then with the smaller pieces I cut for a baby or dolly blanket to match.  This was probably my very favorite part of the process, handling and cutting the rectangles, and revisiting the fabrics that took me decades to collect.

IMG_7037

I even enjoyed attaching the little white squares to the rectangles.  Truly therapeutic, mindless piecework, that after a few hours results in a nice little stack of units.

IMG_7086

Next came putting them together as a cohesive unit.  It was fun to play with the units on the design wall.  I put them up I took them down, and repeat.  Finally, I settled on a layout.

IMG_7322

Then it happened, I started sewing the units together, into bigger units, then rows, and more units and rows, and rows to rows.  My enthusiasm for the project began to wane, but I really wanted to get it all together before pulling it off the wall.  I persevered, and got it together.

Because there is so much handling there were threads.  Lots and lots of threads.  Grooming was a must before sending it to the quilter.

IMG_7901

I can’t imagine any long arm quilter wanting to deal with this, or any piecer wanting to get their quilt back with this stuff quilted in.  So remember, groom your flimsy.

Initially, I was going to use my feed sacks for the backing but reconsidered and went with the same Kona white that I used in the front.

IMG_7902

It’s all groomed and ready to be shipped to the quilter!

Oh that baby quilt, and dolly quilt, they will wait a little while as I need to shift gears.  That being said, I do see this done with florals on a lovely garden green background.  Maybe with bigger pieces.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Gabryella

It had been a long long time since I had been asked how much I charged for a quilt.  Honestly, I didn’t have a very good answer…in fact I had no answer other than “I’m not sure”.  The man wanted a quilt for his six year old granddaughter.  Something girly and a more grown up than a baby quilt but he didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  I mean she is a six year old right.  His only request was that “Sweet Pea” be on the quilt and if I could fit it on, the little girls name; Garbyella.

Truth be told, I had been working on some tedious stuff and was looking for a project that provided me with a sense of accomplishment.  And a chance to work with some FUN fabrics.   Gramps had been doing some work on the house and I wanted to keep the cost down.  I went through my juvenile and novelties stash and came up with a fair amount, but not quite enough.  So there was an opportunity to shop, and I did.  It was fun as I had discovered a couple of new to me quilt shops in my area as I’ve only been here about a year.

It wasn’t long before I had fabrics up on the design wall and the lettering done for her name and nickname.  That was a new thing for me to do!

IMG_7228

The quilt went together fairly quickly as I needed to keep it simple.  I’m calling it an “entry level” quilt.  My quilter, Terry Burris Quilting was able to turn it around for me quickly.  And with some of the scraps I was able to make a pillow case.IMG_7388

 

There was still one more thing I wanted to do.  Part of the reason Gabryella was getting a new quilt was to stop dragging around her old one.  So I went the next step and made one for her dolly so she would still have something to take with her.

IMG_7607

Her baby dolls name is Mya.  The backing of the baby doll quilt is the same that I used on the twin quilt and the pillowcase.

IMG_7385.JPG

This was just the distraction I needed to feel a sense of accomplishment!  So what do you tell people when they ask, “How much do you charge for a quilt?”

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Asian Tiles and a Bonus

For many years I have collected Asian inspired fabrics.  I love them!  The colors,  the subject matter, the lines and the feel of most of these fabrics just inspires me.  These fabrics have inspired me so much that about 10 years ago I lead a retreat with my friend Lynn Chinnis, we called “Orient Expressed”.  The retreat itself was pretty low-key with no classes, but still pressed us to cut into those fabrics we had collected over time.

When I worked for Quilters Confectionery I purchased a pattern called Asian Tiles to showcase my collection.  The pattern is fat quarter friendly, and translated well into what I affectionately call selective scrap.  Well, I found it hard to cut into some of these pieces so I started another one instead that just used one fabric.  That particular quilt is still incomplete.  However, I did cut into my collection and what fun it was to put the pieces together!  Much more fun than the one with just one fabric!  The pattern is beginner friendly and easy to follow.   My one problem was leaving the bonus triangles in place.  It wouldn’t be a problem for most, and truly, I have plenty of fabric to play with, but it truly bothered me leaving those triangles there.  As the piece progressed I made a decision not to abandon the triangles.img_2598

So, I went in after them.  Those that I could, I did, cut out and save.  Those that were too far into the project, I left.  Somehow, it made me feel better.

It wasn’t too long before I had a stack of bonus half square triangles.  I sewed and pressed and trimmed and sewed and Viola!

img_2602

I’m nearly as pleased with this additional piece as I am with the quilt itself!

Keep in mind when assembling your blocks for the Asian Tiles, that you are consistent and follow the directions.  It is very easy to get turned around and then your blocks will be going in different directions.  That is how I ended up with a quilt and a wall hanging, and now the bonus piece.

img_2599

I still have a few projects to finish from that retreat of nearly ten years ago.  But little by little I am forging through that UFO pile.

One of the most fun things we did at the Orient Expressed retreat (and it was initially resisted), was to compose a Haiku.  Oh what fun.

Many miles I must go

on my creative journey

to be with good friends.

Posted in Accomplishments, Asian Fabric, Crafting, Haiku, Quilting, Retreat, UFO's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

February Finishes and Lessons Learned

February.  The shortest month of the year.  Some years it feels like an eternity before it will end with all the cold and snow.  This year however…hikes, and walks and 70 degree days.  Whodathunk!

So time in the sewing room was a little shorter but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t productive.  First of all I finished a trio of pillows.  This is actually the second trio I’ve done over the last year, and I can see doing these again sometime, for no other reason than they please me.

IMG_7070

The two pillows on the ends are created using a total of four pineapple blocks each.  The blocks are merely oriented differently.  Blocks are constructed of neckties on a muslin foundation.  Each of these pillows contain 148 pieces.  That lovely pillow in the center,  also was assembled using muslin foundations.  These foundations were hand stamped.  I completed 25 blocks for this pillow, each block measures 3 inches and contains 33 pieces for a whopping total of 825 pieces.  The white in the pillow is from an old wedding gown.

The pillows were finished using an envelope style with hook & loop (Velcro) at the closure.

IMG_7076

My big finish this month with a huge lesson was the wall hanging.  It is a stunner!

IMG_7078

Instead of muslin, this one piece was done utilizing paper foundations.  The pattern is called Scrap Happy Diamonds by Cindi Edgerton.  The quilt measures 58″ square.  I thoroughly enjoyed piecing those diamonds.  I put my first quarter together.

IMG_2464

and that is when I noticed a problem, a really big problem…

IMG_7085

these units should not have any red.  They need to be all blue.  Well, I cussed and fussed and then just walked away.  I had purchased two of the patterns, but wanted to use one for a completely different project.  I was too far into this one to let it go so I did pinch the foundations I needed from that second pattern to finish it out and will eventually finish a second.

IMG_7067

The instructions really were in there…I had completely overlooked them.

Lesson being:  READ ALL OF THE INSTRUCTIONS.  TWICE.

 

 

 

The most difficult part of this was pulling out the paper foundations without damaging the ties.  I’m wondering if there really is a need for those foundations to be torn out and what if any problems they would cause for a quilter.  I don’t see where the piece would ever be traditionally laundered, and would welcome feedback if anyone has experience with this.

Those red and blue borders and backing are from abandoned prom and bridesmaids dresses.  Who said they would never get used again!

Recycling at its finest.

Looking forward to March and maybe something a little less daunting.

 

 

Posted in Accomplishments, Pillows, Quilting, recycling, Terry Burris Quilting, UFO's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Orphan blocks and January finishes

One of the things I love about going to guild is the different ways they approach fundraising.  I’ve been to a couple of groups over the years that do an auction.  “One mans trash is another mans treasure” is the mantra, and oh it is soooo true. Over the years you see what the ladies bring to Show & Tell and watch with awe how they articulate their color sense, their vision and their design skills.

Auctions can be an economical way to build up your own stash, or purge for a good cause if that is the case.  At one of these auctions I bid on a set of quilt blocks.  Did I want the blocks?  Not necessarily, but a $5 bid would get things moving.  Did anyone else want the blocks?  Apparently not, as I won the bid.

These blocks stayed in my stash for a couple of years until I finally figured out what I would do with them.  I didn’t necessarily want am entire quilt just for the holidays, but then it came to me!

When my husband and I travel with Grand Circle Travel or Overseas Adventure travel we bring a gift for the hostess of our home hosted dinner.  I’ve agonized over what to bring in the past, but this last trip was an easy fix.  If your having a meal generally you sit at a table, what easier gift is there to assemble than a table runner?!  The one that I created for our trip has been delivered, but I did finish these two for January using those very blocks that I won at the auction.

img_6946

This was my first attempt in many years to quilt my own work.  It is a little simple, but I got the job done, and it looks pretty good.

Another place to adopt orphan squares is a block exchange.  Once in a while there might be a couple of blocks where the sizing is off or the colors don’t quite go with its mates.  These are perfect for table runners.  That being said, I think I will continue participating in those block exchanges.

The place that I find hardest to leave the orphans behind are antique stores.  These treasures are just begging for a home.  Last time I brought these home.  It is almost time for me to create something lovely out of them.  But there are issues to consider.  More on that in a later post.

img_7032

 

My finishes for January are my two table runners.  It isn’t all I worked on, but it is what I finished.

Fabric that left the sewing room in January in projects and donations to the upcoming Hospitality Guild Auction totaled 10 yards.

Fabric that came into the sewing room 5 yards of Kona White, and I have a specific plan for that!

What do you do with your orphans?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

And We’re Off! Welcome 2017

Do you love lists?  I love lists.  Every year I make a new one.  Or two.  Or several.  This year is no different.  What an ambitious set of lists I have!  According to my lists I’m going to make some lovely things for my home, finish some beautiful gifts for my family, add the finishing details to projects that have been long neglected, and make a dozen pieces to donate to local causes.  Ahhh that New Year hope, isn’t it grand!

One of my promises to self is to keep track of what I use and not replace it all.  I have a very generous stash and I find that once in a while it is difficult to focus with too many choices.  Also, I’m getting to an age where I may have STABLE (stash beyond my life expectancy), and that is not good.  I see a dumpster moving in before my body is cold.  So for every 5 yards I use up, I can buy 1.  Let’s see if that works!  Not certain how that is going to work for the shirts and jeans and ties.

Having recently moved, I’m also trying to find my “Quilt Tribe”.  One would think that this is a no-brainer, but it can be challenging, especially if you are a little shy.  I will find them though and this year will be a very productive year making beautiful things.

I’ll show my progress as I progress.  Sew what are your plans?

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments