Quilting Fun

While I love the satisfaction of finishing a quilt, it isn't the only way to have fun with quilting. Fun also comes from the great outings with girlfriends, shopping expeditions with Grandma, or just sitting in my "thoughtful spot" chair perusing magazines and books. The thrill of the next project waiting just there on the horizon...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Poem In My Pocket Day

***GEEK ALERT!!!***

April is National Poetry month; did you know that? Coming up this Thursday, April 30, what is known as Poem in My Pocket Day is observed. I surfed around the WWW and found that some poetry lovers need pockets for their poems, and directions were given for making a crude, yet simple pocket for poems. Here is a link to one site that gives rather complete information. If you want more, just an easy search will provide more info; there are several links to choose from.

I first heard about Poem in My Pocket Day at our most recent book club meeting on Friday. One of our group, Debbie, mentioned it. As I researched it further, I found the tip to make pockets out of old jeans. I made mine last evening, and went ahead and made one for the other girls, too. If I'd thought of it earlier, I would have embroidered their names on, or flowers, or something.

I wonder which poem I will use?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Amie's Incredible Story

This post has been in the making for quite awhile. It is just such an awesome tale that I wanted it to be done well. And, I will give you a 'head's up' - it is long, and I recommend getting comfortable. A coffee or tea would be nice, and a biscuit or muffin, too. I guarantee you will read this story more than once.

Amie has come into just a little bit of fabric lately. Almost to the point of overwhelming, it seems.  From the sounds of things, this is just a sampling of what has arrived via US mail in recent weeks.

Before beginning the story, you need just a few background details. My long-time friend Amie has been working for about five years on a postage stamp quilt. I first shared Amie's story here. Updates on her endeavor have been infrequent, but you can read additional background on her story here and here.

Are you suitably comfortable? Then let us begin. This is in Amie's words - all from her emails - one at the end of March, and another earlier this week.

I've been meaning to share my crazy story with you, but just haven't taken the time to sit at the computer for any length of time to do it.  But today is the day.  I hope you can sit for a few minutes and enjoy. Better grab a cup of coffee or wine because here we go!

Did your dad ever subscribe to GRIT when you were younger?  My dad did and back then it was a newspaper format. These days it's a magazine and Mike, my wannabe farmer subscribes to it.  It's a pretty neat magazine with all sorts of stuff including recipes which is why I thumb through it when it comes.  Quarterly, I think.  Anyway, they feature a "requests" column where people write in asking for long lost recipes like grandma made or relatives, college roommates, any sort of thing.  So I get the bright idea to write in and request little fabric scraps for my Postage Stamp quilt.  I had stopped working on it for over a year at least because my fabric supply was low and what I had were either mediums or darks.  Now I know any fabric can be any value based on what you put with it, but I like my blocks better when there is high contrast. 

So back to the story.  A good while later, Mike gets home and he always gets the mail.  He walks in with a few mailing envelopes saying he thinks my letter must have made it into the new issue which we had also received that day.  Well sure enough, there was my request in print! 

And how fun it was to open those couple of envelopes of fabric.  I cannot remember exactly what was in them, but I was really tickled. And then things got crazy.  Every day brought more and more packages.  One day I received 9!  Staci [daughter] asked what I expected when I sent in the request.  Well certainly not big boxes of fabric.  I envisioned someone putting two or three squares in an envelope and sending it. Honestly, I never thought I would get in the magazine. But I did and I am getting big boxes, sent express (I'm not freezing with no blankets, folks) full of tons of fabric.

 One lady sent a box containing six perfect little stacks of blocks all cut so perfectly and in her letter she told me some of those fabric came from Great Britain and Italy. 

 I'm getting fat quarter packs and those little pre-cuts that are 2" I think. Amazing boxes full of really nice fabrics.   And believe it or not I have received very few duplicates.  I realize people could be sending things they have had for years but I would still think there would be more duplicates.  And there are some pretty ugly fabrics in the world!  And not to sound ungrateful because I'm not, but it strikes me funny that one or two people feel that a piece of solid black is just what I need!  One envelope had a few squares cut from a cotton feed sack bag. Cool!

At first, I was trying to cut all the pieces in the package and then send a thank you to the sender.  Well forget that!  When you're getting so many and so much there was no way to keep up with it. So I wrote a thank you on the computer and at the end included a picture of some of my finished blocks.  I bought a storage bin and would put the fabric in the bin then send my note, always including a brief handwritten note.  I have now filled 2 storage bins-big ones. And there is still a pile of boxes and mailers waiting to be gone through. 

Here are some fun facts for you about my adventure thus far.  I have mailed out 68 thank you letters to 28 states.  Pennsylvania and Missouri lead the pack.  Washington state is the furthest a package has come from.  As I open each package I photograph it so I can make a scrapbook of all this when I am done.  Most of the packages include a note which are really the highlight of this experience. I am saving those as well.  Many of them are from very old little ladies who can no longer quilt but still have lots of fabric sitting there.  My youngest person to respond was a 9 year old girl and the oldest is 92.  
One letter has made me cry-a young girl who lost her "nana" has been trying to finish the quilts left behind.  She has completed five so far and feels her nana smiles down at her as she does this.  Not only did she send fabric she included a stack of letters sent to her nana for a signature quilt she had planned.  I haven't even looked at those yet. Two people have sent me two packages.  Only one person has wanted to sell me some fabric.  One quilting group sent a joint package including all their names.  People are spending an insane amount of money on postage to mail me fabric.  I'm talking 10 to 15 dollars a box.  Yikes!  Only one box contained things I couldn't use-parts of clothes that weren't cotton, that sort of thing.  Two or three packages didn't have any information who they were from, no return address, name or anything.  I hate that I can't thank them. One of them had a huge stack of 10" squares in it.

I don't know how long I'm going to receive packages.  Just when I think it's slowing down it picks back up again. Yesterday I only received a card with a few pieces.  I am curious if GRIT is mailed anywhere besides the United States.  Maybe I'll get something from another country. 

I have been working my way through cutting and saving the big pieces.  There are plenty of scrappy patterns I can make with the leftovers.  I want to get it all cut and then when school is out I will start making blocks again.  Most everyone has requested a picture of my finished quilt.  Hopefully, I will get it done before too long.  Especially since I have no shortage of fabric now. Last time I checked I think I have 38 blocks.  I might make only 56 blocks instead of my original plan of 63.  I'll see how it goes.

So that's my story.  I thought you would get a kick out of it.  I admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed at times when I would see all the boxes and mailers piled up in my sewing room.  All the while I'm trying to finish a t-shirt quilt someone asked me to make for them. 

Earlier this week, Amie sent this update:

Just to keep my facts current, I have now received 113 packages or envelopes from 35 states.  Missouri and Pennsylvania have sent the most, 13 and 12 twelve respectively.  It has slowed down a bit, but I did receive 4 yesterday.  I had had a pretty long day, so I sort of groaned when I got the mail. Today I got one big envelope and it was STUFFED with hundreds of beautiful little squares.

UH-MAY-ZING! I told you it was a great story. Does this not say a lot about the good-heartedness of quilters? I have read and re-read Amie's story a number of times, and find it utterly amazing all the kindness and thoughtfulness Amie is experiencing. And it's going both ways; Amie is considerate enough to know how sweet each gesture of giving was, and her efforts at recording, photographing, thanking, and remembering each giver illustrates yet again how caring quilters can be. 

There is goodness in the world, dear quilters. And we perpetuate that goodness with each quilt we lovingly make and give, with each sharing gesture, with each helpful tip between friends. 

Makes me mighty glad to be a quilter; how about you?

Thanks, Amie, for sharing your wonderful story. I am so glad you allowed me to share it here!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Show and Tell

When several of us sewed at Terry's on Tuesday, we had an impromptu show and tell. I think you will agree that these gals do such a wide variety of interesting work. This show runs the gamut.

Jan made these adorable baby quilts with matching pillow cases. The top quilt was made using the pages from a book panel. Jan says that when she needs to make a baby item, she buys two of the panels, turning one into a quilt and the other into the book that can be read while snuggling with the quilt. Isn't that a clever idea? The pillow case fabrics are what she plans to use on the backs of the quilts.

Here are two more of Jan's projects; I think both were also made with book pages.

The next two quilts are from Sheryll. The Burgoyne Surrounded quilt was in the block-making stage at retreat, so she has been industrious since coming home. Oh my gosh, I love the colors used.

This gorgeous star-in-log cabin quilt was also Sheryll's creation. So pretty.

Susan, a nurse,  was late in arriving to the party. She must think that working the night shift excuses her or something! She made the effort to come (after getting her sleep) because Terry had 2 quilts finished for her to pick up. The chevron quilt is made with 30s prints and had a special feathery design quilted on the chevrons and stippling in the separating columns. Jan helped with the quilting by doing the feathers.

 This next quilt you saw at the retreat. Susan was sewing the blocks together and finished the quilt top. Now it is quilted and ready for binding. Minky was used as the backing, so baby will definitely get lots of comfort under this quilt.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to show you Laura's English paper-piecing project. Talk about stitching tiny pieces of fabric together! This will blow you away.

I need to ask Laura what her intentions are with this - is it to become a table topper or wall hanging? Surely it won't one day be full-size? *gasp* I will inquire further and report back. For now, you can just gape at the intricate stitching - all by hand, mind you - and be amazed. I placed a nickel on top to show you the scale of these pieces. If you click here you will get back to the 2014 Canter's Cave retreat when I first shared this project with you.

I did not take a single stitch on anything yesterday, but I hope to get back to the quilting room today.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Productive Tuesday

As is always the case, we who sew together get much accomplished - and we have a good time doing it. The laughs and giggles were a-plenty yesterday at Terry's; I managed to achieve my goal of stitching the inner part of the quilt top together. I got as far as the setting triangles.

I am very pleased with the look, and am currently considering options for a neutral inner border. The blocks are hand-pieced (I did them 10-15 years ago when DS ran at track and XC meets). They are also quite scrappy, so I also made the setting blocks scrappy - a mish-mash of dark blue and navy. I decided that the setting triangles would be from one fabric in an effort to control some of the haphazardness in the blocks.

This quilt is my April UFO in our little UFO Challenge, so I am motivated to get the quilt top done.

I had one other significant accomplishment yesterday: I made an apple pie. In the 35.5 years that I've been married, I suppose I have made a fruit pie once or twice, but I sure don't remember them. And my dear husband LOVES apple pie! I had an occasion to see my mother, the queen of apple pies, jot down her recipe and it seemed so easy! Well, one trip to the grocery later, and VOILA! we have an apple pie. It is quite tasty, I must say, even though apple isn't my favorite of the fruit pies. So maybe in our next 35 years, DH will have a few more apple pies.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Did you notice. . .

. . . that my list was seriously whittled? I posted a list on Friday in which I was taking stock of the to-do list. It felt constricting, like I had too much on my plate and breathing room was diminishing.

I am pleased to report that in 3 days, I had 3 items checked off the list. Allow me to review.

1. Prom dress alterations - DONE!
2. Purple KF quilt - DONE!
3. Tulip wall hanging - DONE!

How rare it is to be so productive. Feels pretty good, let me tell you. I quilted and bound the wall hanging on Sunday afternoon. Simple, straight quilting; nothing fancy. I used a navy blue print from my stash for the backing and binding.

Today, I am off to sew at Terry's. I am taking yet another item on Friday's list - the April UFO. I would like to get the top together as far as possible. That would be fantastic. I have already cut my setting blocks and trimmed the pieced blocks. I am set to sew.

I'm setting it on point, and the variety of blues will just be thrown out - no special arranging.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Celebrating A Finish!

The infrequency of this announcement makes me want to do a happy dance all around the sewing room. The purple Kaffe Fassett quilt I made for Emma has been quilted and bound. DONE! I even remembered to put a label on it.

I began cutting this quilt out about a month ago. I had just finished Snowbird Stars and felt as though I was on a roll, and with Emma's graduation looming, I went right to work. It was fun to make and so, so easy.
Now here we are a month later, and by gosh, it's quilted, labeled and bound. Ready to give to our graduate in a couple of weeks. She will be so surprised.
I just love the lime green inner border I used; it pops the colors even more than they already pop, and provides such fantastic contrast. It's a happy quilt! And Emma will LOVE it.

The back is rather bland by comparison. It is KF dots in the palest of lavender colors. I had enough to use it for the binding, as well.

 There's more to celebrate. All those triangles which were cut away from the blocks yielded this HST quilt. I have put all the HSTs together and have a smallish wall hanging-size quilt top. I have put it aside for a bit so that I can mull over the next step. I think I'd like to make it bigger, and must determine if that means more triangles or some other fun option.

Or options. Quilters have many, you know. *wink*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I Shopped

It's a rare day when I find myself shopping for fabric anymore. I came to an unpleasant realization 3 or 4 years ago that I could not possibly live long enough to use all my fabric, and that I had better focus on reducing the stash instead of continuing to buy more. And for the most part, I have been rather successful in that endeavor. If only I'd kept track of how much I've bought as opposed to how much of the stash I've used. That would be some telling statistic, for sure. But I did not, alas. It's gratifying enough, then, to know that I have done well at limiting the new fabric purchases.

All that being said, I did cut loose while on retreat recently; we took only one outing and, of course, it was to buy fabric. Jackson, OH, has a unique discount clearance store called Guhl's. Fabric is drastically reduced, and they draw lots of quilters from all over. I spent $25 and got 6.5 yards. At full price, $25 would get you little more than 2 yards, so I know I did well. *smiling!*

 Ten fat quarters in a pleasing array of colors. I never could resist a pile of fat quarters.

Two 2-yard cuts of neutrals. They are actually the same design in different colorways. One is gray on gray; one is navy on cream. One always needs neutrals, and I seem to use mine up, so it seemed wise to restock.

That little bit of retail therapy satisfied my fabric appetite, and I didn't stretch the purse strings too terribly far.

Happy Quilting, Friends!