Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dear Jane comes to town

Saturday morning was our monthly quilt guild meeting. This month, a group of 4 women in the guild shared with us their Dear Jane quilt journeys. It was a wonderful presentation - part history lesson, part technique workshop, part getting to know each other better. Two of the presenters "just" have some of the blocks done, two of the presenters have completed their quilts.

This is Kerry. Her top is done, and she is currently working on hand quilting it. For some reason, the whole photo turned out a bit orange-ish, but take my word for it - her quilt is stunning and her hand quilting is a marvel!

This is Marcia. Her quilt is completely finished. She shared with us her FIVE YEAR JOURNEY as she completed this entire quilt BY HAND, piecing and quilting. It is amazing! And like the original 1863 Jane Stickle quilt, each block is made from a different fabric.

Here is her signature block in the corner. Do you see those stitches??? Just BEAUTIFUL!

I could have admired these quilts for hours!

You would think that this eye candy would have inspired me to come home and quilt, but no, I spent most of the weekend reading. But finally, on Sunday, Jason got me down into the sewing room because HE wanted to sew something. He wanted to make a shirt, but I let him know that I had no idea how to begin making something with sleeves, so we settled on a vest. His school has a Western Wear day every year, so he used the cowboy fabric that he picked out for himself last time that we went to a quilt store together, and lined it with a plaid fabric that he picked out for himself from his grandmom's stash while we were visiting last week because, "Mom, cowboys wear plaid!" We had no pattern, and the only clothing I've ever made was that pleated skirt and that pillowcase nightdress for my niece, but his vest actually turned out pretty darned well!
(no buttons, though, because I have no idea how to make button holes. Gotta do some research on that. Besides, a cowboy vest deserves some cool buttons, don't you think? Or better yet, maybe some pearl snaps like so many western shirts! Hmmmm.....)

I'm particularly impressed with his control over his speed with the foot pedal - I remember when he first started how he couldn't help but go from a standstill to 60 mph and then to a stop again. He's becoming quite the sew-er. Now, of course, I have to help Donald make a vest, too - he wants to use that pirate fabric that I picked up for the boys when I was in California in May.

While I was down there helping Jason out, I finally got the lead out and started piecing together the baby quilt for my co-worker's newborn. I added a pieced wonky star to eliminate some of the plain-ness, and am now working on appliqueing down the initials using needle-turn.

What I really need to be doing is hand quilting the Pick and Choose quilt. I should go do that now...

Hanging on with both hands

I don't want this vacation to end. I am so relaxed, so happy. I've been getting done what needs doing, but not stressing about the rest, and I am so proud of myself! Plus, I've been getting some wonderful sewing time in.

First up, the binding is on my Ella Quilt, and it is in the wash. (please come out of the wash unscathed and wonderfully crinkly!! Do any of you worry about your colors running or stitches not holding or some other catastrophic event taking place between the time you put your quilt in the wash and the time you take it out?) I will be ready to send it off to my friend on Monday.

Secondly, I finished the Birdie Stitches BOM for May (yes, I know it is July - just smile and nod and be happy for me).

As usual, I modified the block a little - there were too many flowers in there for my liking, so I took some out.

And finally, I've been trying to come up with a quick and easy baby quilt for a co-worker who became a father for the second time this past week. I have been seeing lots of quilts with panels of a focus fabric, so I wanted to do that. Plus, I wanted her initials (we weren't clued in on the name until she was actually born). But it turns out that I don't have much fabric that I feel coordinates with the fabric I want as the focus panel. Be honest - is this too plain?

Do you have any suggestions for me? I haven't sewn anything yet, just played with things on the floor. Unfortunately, being the scrap quilter that I am, I only have limited quantities of the fabrics I want to use, so the quilt will be quite small, but then, so are babies, right? In all the time I've been agonizing over making something simple, I could have pieced a top!

Other than sewing, I've been alternately hanging out on my bed watching Brothers and Sisters (I'm on Season 2 now and still ridiculously addicted to that show!) and hanging out on my porch, reading, drinking iced tea and eating these beauties that I picked in our yard before breakfast.

Oh, how I don't want this vacation to end! I am hanging on to each second of it with both hands!