Friday, July 24, 2015

Kid quilts

While the only quilt I've personally finished lately was my Scrappy Spirals, I've been working with kids quite a bit this summer with their own quilts.  This week, I taught a group of 5 kids at Summer FAIR (a young artist's camp) how to make a quilt from t-shirts.  We only had 4.5 hours total, and none of them had ever used a sewing machine, so I'm quite impressed with what they were able to accomplish.  This quilt top is made entirely from extra Summer FAIR camp t-shirts from previous years.  It measures about 47" square.  I'm going to sandwich it and quilt it up for them and it will become part of the camp's display and promotional materials.
collaborative kid quilt from t-shirts

In June, I had 6 kids here for 4 hours a day for a week to work on their own faux cathedral window quilts from denim and fabric scraps.  I love what they did with them - makes me want to make another one for myself! Somehow I didn't manage to get photos of them all before they left, though.

My sample quilt

kid quilt - 16 fabrics used 4 times each

kid quilt - All black and white prints

kid quilt - She had to leave a day early so her quilt is a bit smaller, but still plenty big enough.

But first, I've got two more baby quilts to finish for this fall.  Back to the sewing machine!

Monday, July 20, 2015

County Fair Time!

It was close, but I got a quilt finished for the county fair.  The quilts were due by noon on a Monday, and I finished stitching on the sleeve at about 11:45 am.  In truth, it I wasn't as done as I had hoped - there is no quilting in one of the inner borders - but it was done enough.  Turns out, it was done enough to win a second place ribbon in the small/medium hand quilted category.  Woo hoo!
I enter a quilt every year in part for the objective, impartial feedback.  For years, I've been "dinged" for my binding not having square enough corners or plump enough or whatever.  This year I got highest marks for my binding, with "Binding is well executed" underlined twice.  That made me so happy!!  The devil is in the details! 
Thank goodness for the fair, it gives me a hard and fast deadline to help me with my finishes.  This quilt is the one I chose to give to a friend of mine's baby, and even though the baby was born in April, I was still struggling to finish.  I swear, the closer I get to finishing a quilt, the slower I move.  Anyway, I sent a photo of the finished quilt to my friend, and she and her family went to visit it at the fair this week.  She sent back this wonderful photo of her husband and her baby checking it out.  I love giving quilts to people who will both appreciate and use them!
This baby has the most wonderful parents!  I'm so glad to have them all in my life.
 I also love going to quilt shows.  The talent is so inspiring!  But I noticed that what draws me to a quilt is rarely that which makes it a ribbon winner.  I took photos of some of my favorites, and most have no ribbons, and those that do aren't the blue ribbon winners.  It is pretty obvious what attracts me when you look through these photos - lots of colors and fabrics.
Rarely am I drawn to batiks, but this little quilt SINGS to me!


This quilt is ENORMOUS!  So simple, yet so striking.

This was one of our retreat projects.  I love these blocks set on point.

Not my usual quilt preference, but this little beauty called out to me.

I feel like I am underwater with those fish!

I could happily while away the afternoon on that porch, quilting or knitting with that view!

Again, not my usual style, but just neat!

I love miniatures.  And scraps. Again, simple, but I love it!

Stunning, right? I see a colorwash quilt in my future.

Whimsy makes me happy.  The fact that she pieced and appliqued the back also makes me happy.

Just looking at these makes me want to run down to the sewing room and start creating.  But first things first.  I've been commissioned to make 2 pair of baby booties for a woman's grandsons who are about to be christened.

One down, three to go.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Definition of a baby quilt

Babies are everywhere around me these days.  Two of my local friends just had babies.  My younger sister just discovered that she is pregnant.  And last week I received a text from another friend that she is having a baby, too!  You know what that means, right?  BABY QUILTS!!!

Part of me wants to use quilts that I've already started rather than start new quilts.  I have so many UFOs that it is embarrassing.  But what makes a quilt a baby quilt?  The size?  The colors?  The pattern?  I pulled out some of my current and not-so-current projects to see what I have to work with. First, there's the blue quilt I started this week.  I've got 30 of the 50 blocks done.  It should be 50" square, or I can make it 40" x 60".  Which size would be more useful?  Which will look better?  We'll have to see.  Would this work as a baby quilt?

I started this scrappy log cabin thinking it would be a baby quilt, but then had second thoughts.  What do you think - would this work as a baby quilt?

I've got many more blocks of this version of Bonnie Hunter's Virginia Bound than I thought.  I could finish a baby top in an evening from these.  But I kinda had my eye on this one for myself...

These bright blocks Summer Breeze would make a nice baby quilt, don't you think?  The only problem is, I only have one completed block and two  nearly completed blocks.  There would be a lot of work for me to get this one finished up, but at least I had the foresight to keep the fabrics together with the blocks so I didn't use them I something else.

I've got a bunch of these I Spy blocks I've been making from novelty fabrics that come into my possession.  I guess that is always an option, but the thought of working on this doesn't excite me right now.

Maybe my flannel buzz saw blocks?  Flannel would be so soft and cozy for a baby!  But where ARE my flannel buzz saw blocks? Uh oh, UFO missing!!  It's probably for the best - I doubt I want to work with flannel during these warmer months, anyway.  Hopefully it will turn up before fall...

But look what I DID find!  I'd already started quilting this one, so I'm making an Executive Decision and declaring this a baby quilt!  It has just been bumped up to the top of my hand quilting list.

Any thoughts or comments?  I'd love to know how you approach making baby quilts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Back in the saddle

Remember me?  I know, I've been a bad blogger.  I think about blogging often, but just never sit down to do it.  That changes today!  And I have Gail the Cozy Quilter to thank for that.  We've been blogging friends for years now, but since I live in Virginia and she lives in Canada, we'd never met.  Then, last week, she and her husband were staying in my town on vacation, and she wandered past my shop one night and put two and two together and realized she knew the shop owner.  She came in the next day to introduce herself, and I was just so tickled!  Her timing was perfect, as I was feeling a bit tired and overwhelmed, having recently returned from a trip to Spain with my mom and sisters and trying to prepare for back to back birthday parties at my shop last weekend.  Anyway, THANK YOU for visiting me, Gail, and for inspiring me to blog again!

I must say that, since opening the shop and learning to knit (I know, that sounds a bit backwards, doesn't it?  Opening a yarn shop and THEN learning to knit?  But I didn't know it would be a yarn shop when I opened, it just kinda evolved...) I've been knitting much more than I have been quilting.  That and making class samples for all my kids' sewing classes.  But last night, I was tidying my sewing room at home and realized that I couldn't properly close the drawer with the blue fabrics in it.  Honestly, I don't use blues very often.  So, what's a gal to do but make a blue quilt?  I had inspiration for a quick and easy quilt from the Emerald Waves quilt in the April/May 2014 McCall's Quick Quilts issue, and tweaked it to make it work for yardage of white that I had.  I targeted all the smaller pieces of blue in the drawer, cutting what I needed for the quilt and then cutting the rest into scrap squares for future scrap projects.  I'm happy to report that the blue drawer has now been tamed!  I got 14 of the 50 blocks I plan to make completed.  At this rate, I should be finished with the top by the end of the week!
The blue fabrics just won't fit in the drawer anymore.
See my inspiration photo?  And I cut my scraps to every size between 1.5" square and 5" square for future projects.
So far, so good.  Although I don't like it as much as the original green quilt - I LOVE GREEN!
So, that's it for now.  Gotta ease myself back into blogging, after all.  Let me close by saying that I am so amused that the quilt I featured in my last blog post LAST YEAR just sold today.  AND the dress I am wearing in the second picture of my last post is the same dress I am wearing today in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  Honestly, it is like no time has passed at all!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why wait?

Do you ever, inexplicably, put off finishing a project, and when you get back to it, you can't imagine why you didn't just finish before?  That was me today, finally putting the borders on this pieced Dresden.  I already had the pieced border pieced - why didn't I finish this before?  I bet it took less than half an hour!

This will be my next hand quilting project.  I want to use a variegated crochet thread and do some big stitch quilting on the black.  Should be quick and easy.  Unless, of course, I put it down again...

Oh, and my Ohio Star selvedge quilt?  Scrapped!  Instead, I made the two Ohio Star blocks into an over-the-shoulder tote bag, and was happy to have finished in time for the Challenge Quilt reveal at the guild meeting today.  Oh, what beauties people made!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quilt selfie

Sunday and Monday are my days off.  I was SO TEMPTED to go back to the shop to sew on the treadle some more - it's just that fun! - but I didn't.  Instead, I worked up my plan for summer camp at the shop, worked on some samples, and started a baby quilt.

One week of summer camp will be making a small silhouette quilt.  The silhouette doesn't have to be of a person, but that's what I started with for my first sample.  The framing seems a bit heavy to me, so I'll probably cut it back a bit, but here's what I've got so far.

OK, so I know these are usually done in B&W, but I just don't see the world that way.  Besides, I've been looking for a use for that green fabric - I just love it.  And the background is a patchwork of neutrals, kinda like my own background.  I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but the strip down the center has sewing notions on it - cool!
As for the baby quilt, I've got a major quilting crush on Deanna at  The treadle quilt is based on her Fading Charms quilt.  This baby quilt is her Twinkle Baby quilt.  I love finding uses for all my pre-cut scraps!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Window Quilting

I spent most of my day making a dozen crayon rolls, waiting on customers, and helping two of the guys I recruited to Washington and Lee University sew nylon drawstring backpacks to take to the gym.
They brought these kits with them and I helped them assemble.
But every chance I got, I went to the window to work on my first treadle quilt.  I am using the Fading Charms quilt as inspiration, but of course, true to form, I am modifying it a bit.  Here's what's hanging in the window for the weekend.  It was hard to walk away at closing time today; I could have stayed there sewing until dark!  I am loving treadle sewing!!!
It is hard taking a photo of something in a window.  What's the trick?