Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Quilt

My quilting journey has been a long one, I've had a needle and thread in my hand since I can remember. I started out sewing doll clothes, graduated to making most of my own clothing by the time I was in high school. My mom passed her love of sewing on to me, and taught me most of what I needed to know! I took home ec. in school, also, and was lucky enough to have teachers that were encouraging and pushed me to go further, and do quality work. In my teens I made myself a pieced comforter from scrap fabrics and pieces purchased from the sears catalog (there were lots of places that sold fabric in the 70's that don't anymore). It was made out of rectangles set like bricks with the seams alternating every other row. It was filled with a double layer of poly batting, then pillowcased with a sheet for the backing. No binding makes a quickie quilt! I used this on my bed through high school and took it with me when I got married. It was used as a bed quilt, as a couch quilt, and a kid quilt. Not sure what happened to it, but I would love to find it and look at all the fabrics again, it really was a sampler of my life.

My next quilt was one for a double bed and it was made out of pre-cut squares from percale sheets. My mom and I bought a couple sets and swapped colors so we had our favorites. Mine was browns and blues. I pieced the top and tied it with the usual two layers of batting and a pillowcase edge again. We used this for many years, and still have it, it's so soft and lovely to snuggle in! Not a work of art, but it kept us cozy and warm!

My first real quilt was this one:
I made this in 1986 when I was pregnant with my fourth daughter. You can't tell from this view because the background is a small floral with a white background and blue flowers! Not the best pick color wise, but we were kind of hoping for a little boy! The pattern was from Woman's Day magazine, I believer. All the pieces were cut by hand with cardboard templates. I hand stitched it all - no thimble, using a hope and a stab-stitch. Didn't know about rocking my needle yet. The hearts are hand applique and padded. For the quilting I used two strands of regular sewing thread! The edges are prairie points instead of binding. My daughter still has her quilt and loves it, and I have made so many more since that I can't count them all. I think I learn something new with every one - and definitely have improved in knowledge and technique over the years. How fun it is to look back and remember when I first started out, and how much enjoyment I have had over the years with fabric, needle and thread - I wouldn't trade it all for anything!

Friday, November 25, 2011


I'm definitely feeling thankful this week. I've got the Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt finished - hurray! I've had this quilt for about a year now, and will be quite glad to send it on to it's owner now that it's finished. I'm sure she will enjoy it!

I cooked a nice Thanksgiving dinner and enjoyed time with my family here, though I do miss the daughters that don't live nearby. Maybe next year we'll have a big get-together. I also had a great visit with my mom on the phone (nearly 2 hours!). We are so much alike! We were debating whose sewing room is the messiest. I said we ought to exchange pictures and decide, but I am pretty sure I would win! (But my freezer is the cleanest, since I did a big clean out of that this week and threw out a garbage bag full of mystery meat and other assorted freezer burned yuckiness.)

My youngest daughter and I spent the day finishing up the Harry Potter movies. I feel a little guilty for not doing any sewing, but it was fun! Spent this evening watching one of our favorite movies with my husband - The Shawshank Redemption. Love the ending. Now I'm ready for bed, tomorrow will be a good sewing day, I think!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almost done!

I suppose I should have guessed that I was getting pretty sick by that bit of a ramble last week. Never fear, I am well again and back in the saddle (so to speak) again!

A week of not feeling so well wasn't fun, no machine sewing for me, but I did get a good bit of hand quilting accomplished and have nearly finished the GFG (Grandmothers Flower Garden). Today I machine stitched the binding to the top and wanted to share my neat trick for keeping the binding from getting tangled and messy - at least I think it's a neat trick. If you've ever received one of those giant tins of popcorn, you know that they are great to use for various things, I have one that is a trash bin I keep by my sewing machine. When I do a really long binding, though, I dump it, give it a quick wipe and use it as my binding helper. It sits under the edge of my ironing board and as I press my binding I let it fall into the tin, keeping my binding nice and clean!
It keeps it from tangling up, too. When I finish pressing I just move the tin over to the sewing machine and use the end that was pressed last to start my binding, and it comes out of the tin just as easily as it dropped in! No twists, tangles, or stray threads to deal with.

I even did a little tuck on all those inside corners to make them lie nicely - I'll try to remember to get a picture of that later. I'm ready for a nice long weekend to finish up the binding - once I get this finished, I'll be getting started on the DWR (Double Wedding Ring) that's been waiting for it's turn!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

When I can't talk....I start thinking

I think there is really not much that will make you stop and take a good look at your life like being sick. Luckily, for me, it's just a minor cold with laryngitis, but it has forced me to slow down a bit for the last few days and really see what my daily life looks like. And to think a little about the things that are important, and the things that are urgent, and how the two aren't necessarily the same thing. I think I've spent too much time on the urgent and not enough on the important lately, and if you don't take care of the important, then the urgent starts looming more and more. Does that make much sense, or is it the germs taking over?

I just know that I spend more time daily putting out small fires that if I planned better wouldn't exist. For example, every week we go through at least two packages of bagels and two containers of cream cheese. If I were to buy all of these at the same time, I wouldn't have to run to the store twice - or more because we are out of one of these items. (I know, I'm a little old to just now be figuring this out, but give me a break - raising 5 kids has left me in survival mode more than I realized!)

I read this blog post today and it really hit home. I think often that I lack the contentment that my life once held. I look around my home and feel discouraged by the clutter and unfinished projects. I keep myself occupied with what I feel like I have to do, and ignore what I want to do, then whine about it. I plan my time poorly then stay up too late to finish something that should have been done earlier, but was neglected because I was busy doing something irrelevant. We hear a lot of talk today about being "purposeful" and leading an "authentic" life. I think sometimes we set those things up as ideals, then beat ourselves up because we are falling short.

Maybe what we need to do is just breath. To look at the leaves on the trees and listen to the music of the wind. To know that who we are and what we do is enough. To appreciate what we have and to know that all of this window dressing is just temporary and enjoy it for what it is. Today is a new day, and a new opportunity to go beyond the daily grind and into a day that holds joy and promise that we can share with others.

In Joy!


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Too many deadlines...

It's been a pretty good week, but I am feeling quite stressed by all the deadlines hovering over my head right now. I have three dresses that need to be altered this week, vests for the lions club and some bags and other small things to make. Not to mention a quilt to finish hand quilting. I think it's all pretty doable, but right now I'm having trouble seeing how it's all going to work. Plus I think I'm getting a cold. Or at least laryngitis. Fun.

Out of all the sewing I did this week, this was my favorite finish! It is a Travel Bag / Carry on bag by Candy Corner Quilting on Etsy. This pattern was different in that it has a little contrast flange in the seams. Not sure exactly why this isn't actual cording which wouldn't be much different to apply, but I followed the pattern directions, and it came out really cute! I added extra pockets to the inside. This is a nice size weekend type bag, no pattern pieces to worry about blowing up, and easy to make with good results.

I found a new supplier for hardware that is only 100 miles from me, so my order for the rest of the bags came in less than 2 days from the time I ordered! Very nice! I also ordered a free (with shipping) scrap bag of webbing and was thrilled with a nice quantity of webbing in several colors that I have for future projects. I see some fun quilted bags in my future! At least after I get past all of these deadlines.

I suppose I need to learn to say no, but I really need the work right now. Seems like the bills have piled up lately. I suppose I shouldn't complain, it's good work that I enjoy. Enough rambling, I suppose I should get to the rest of tonights hand quilting. Can't wait to finish up this Grandmothers Flower Garden. Then I get to start the Double Wedding Ring!

Remember to turn back your clocks!