Saturday, October 31, 2015


There will be no ghosts or goblins in my activities today. Nope. I have other plans.

Today, I will be teaching an all-day class at Spark Creative Artspace in Greefield. Participants will make a 50"-square quilt top using 3 Charm Packs. Hopefully there will be 7 students--that's how many have indicated they are coming. We shall see.

I've made 4 of these quilts finished to various stages of completion, so that I can have examples to show. The one that is least complete (shown at the bottom) is the one I will sew on if time permits throughout the day.

This is my first effort, a baby quilt for a wee one recently born. I will get this finished for her after this class.

This was my second effort made with some Barbara Brackman fabrics. I tried to write my instructions as I made this quilt.

I taught the class in September to a beginning quilter; this is her quilt top in some vivid primary colors.

While Claudia sewed hers, I worked on a third one. I have just the center portion done, and have left it that way so I can talk about adding the inner border. These fabrics are by French General and 3 Sisters, if I remember correctly.

And yesterday, I  took 3 well-aged Charm Packs of Aviary and sewed just part of the quilt top together. That will give me a different demonstration point to use, if necessary.

It will be an exciting day of quilting today.

Don't forget to stop over at the Bloggers' Quilt Festival sponsored by Amy's Creative Side. I've entered my Long Road Home quilt in the Hand Quilting category. If you have not voted yet, I invite you to head on over there to show me a little love. You could also get friends and relatives to vote, too, as I have some stiff competition, according to the numbers I saw yesterday.

Hope you have an awesome Saturday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fabric Postcards

Fabric postcards have been on my radar for awhile. I don't know if I first saw them on Pinterest or somewhere else, but through Pinterest I have gathered tons of ideas and inspiration. So I just decided to sit down and see what I could come up with. It was fun and surprisingly satisfying to finish something so quickly.

 These postcards were done in about an hour. All I have left to do on them is zigzag around the outer edges. I figured I would get all the cards made first and zigzag later.

Years ago I began saving popcorn wrappers in this basket. I'd read that they are the exact size of a postcard, and therefore would be perfect for protecting fabric postcards.

I had 16 wrappers in the basket, so I am planning to make 16 cards. Duh!

 It's a bit hard to see, but this one is in the wrapper. And I have zigzagged it, too.

You can see that I ironed on stars to a few. Those were left over from a long-forgotten project and were hanging out in the bin with all the Christmas fabric. Figured I ought to go ahead and put them to use.

I will try selling these at the Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 7.

Don't forget to check out the Bloggers' Quilt Festival sponsored by Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side. I've entered a quilt in the hand quilting division. Hope you'll consider giving it a vote!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Being a beginner at something always leaves one a bit clueless and somewhat at a disadvantage.

I am pleading such ignorance about the way this quilt festival works. Apparently voting is going on now for just the Viewer's Choice Award. So go to Amy's Creative Side and click on the tab at the top for Bloggers' Quilt Festival. Look at all the quilts and make a special effort to see the quilts in the Hand Quilted category, as my Long Road Home is entered there.

If you just happen to think this is worthy of Viewer's Choice, then you can click here to nominate it. Of course, if you want to nominate a different one, that is okay, too. I have no grand illusions about winning millions in cash and prizes. *ha!* Actually, you can nominate 3 quilts, so maybe mine would do?

There are gobs of quilts to look at and the inspiration will send you scrambling to get busy on your own fantastic projects!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

More Bazaar Work

When I agreed to set up a table at the local holiday bazaar coming up on November 7, I made a mental goal to try to make at least one thing a day between then and the day of the bazaar. That was about a month of inventory-building.

There have been several days when I've not made anything, but there have been more days where I've made lots. Yesterday, I worked on a few kitchen towels.

This one required a bit of embroidery work. Most did not. Embroidery is not one of my fortes, honestly, but I have done a bit of it over the years. Since these shapes had already been fused to the towel (when did I DO that???), I decided to finish it and use it for the bazaar.

I need advice on how to price items and how to "market" myself - these are areas in which I don't feel especially confident. Maybe I will get it figured out.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mug Mats

I've been dividing my time between sewing for the upcoming Nov. 7 bazaar and a t-shirt quilt I've been commissioned to make. I'm not quite ready to show pics of the t-shirt quilt, so I will show you the mug mats I made yesterday.

It seems like I have a ga-zillion orphan blocks. Do all quilters have this dilemma? It occurred to me that I could very quickly amass a nice stack of mug mats by cutting a backing and a batting, sewing the whole business together, turn and topstitch. Easy stuff. So in very short order I have 8 mug mats ready to go. These are all over 6 inches square - mostly 6.5 inches. Nice way to use up scraps of batting, and it gives purpose to all these orphan blocks cluttering up my room. I expect I will be making more.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Post Script

You learned about the work shirt quilts and the story behind them in yesterday's post. I have a PS to share today.

At about the same time I got the 27 shirts from Kathy, I was learning about English Paper Piecing and making hexagon shapes with templates and glue sticks and all that. It occurred to me that I could make a hexagon "flower" into a Christmas tree ornament. I knew that plaids offered unique design opportunities in these  hexie creations, so I experimented. I wrote about making my first hexie here, and it shows one of the work shirt ornaments.

The top two hexies in this picture are also from the work shirts. I sewed each individual hexie group together, and then stitched those two together and inserted a bit of twine for hanging on a tree branch.

Here are three more that I made when doing the last quilt. Kathy liked the first two so much that she called me to request these.

I made the first 2 ornaments without Kathy's knowledge. As a surprise, I incorporated two shirt pockets into each quilt, and in one of the pockets on each quilt, I hid an ornament. I've illustrated the placement of the shirt pockets on each quilt in the two photos above.

I thought that would be an extra special little way to bring back a happy memory.

One more thing that is illustrated on the top quilt picture is two rows of test blocks. As I said in yesterday's post, I really had no idea what pattern I would use on the first two quilts. I actually thought I would need to conserve on shirt fabric, so I dug out some solids from my stash to add in. As it turned out, I disliked these test blocks and rather than throw them out, I incorporated them into that first quilt in two vertical columns along with the pockets. If you click on that picture, it will enlarge enough so that you can see that there are alternating 9-patch blocks and 3-bar blocks. I am glad I opted to go with larger blocks of shirt fabric. Those tiny pieces in all those plaids would not have worked at all.

And that pretty much concludes the story of making work shirt into quilts. As Paul Harvey would say "And now you know the rest of the story."

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wrapped In Memories

I don't very often wax poetic here on the blog. Most entries are straightforward records of the projects I've worked on, the shopping I've done, or the pretty things being made by my quilting friends. Today's post might have a bit more depth than that. I will try not to be too maudlin, because even though death is involved, the more important part is the way quilts bring joy even in the face of incredible sadness.

This week marks two sad anniversaries - my dad's death in 1982 and another death of a man I never knew in 2006. Both men were Highland County, OH, farmers, and both men died in tragic farming accidents while harvesting fall crops. My dad was 49; Jeff was 51. Both too young and taken too soon.

The connection goes deeper. Jeff's wife, Kathy, and I graduated together from Hillsboro HS. We were friendly, but not overly close. We have possibly talked more this summer than we ever did in high school. Through Facebook and our visiting at class reunions, Kathy learned that I quilted and she asked me if I would make quilts for their two children from her husband's work shirts.

And that has been a serendipitous endeavor for me. In the 33 years since Dad's death, I have most certainly missed him, but memories of him come less often as time passes. Working on these quilts has been a pleasant revisiting with Dad. Even though I was working with Jeff's shirts for Kathy and her kids, I felt connected to Dad and enjoyed the process of making something really special of those shirts. It was like the best of the farmer was in those shirts. Strong arms, solid back, aching muscles, and beating vibrant heart. Farmers have a lot of heart, and so do quilts. I could envision Kathy and her family feeling loving arms embracing them when wrapping these quilts around them.

Kathy had 27 of her husband's shirts; they filled a trash bag. She had laundered them and cut off buttons.

I deconstructed them over the course of a couple of afternoons. This was possibly the hardest part of the process as my hands got cramped from the scissors. I made mental notes of the variety of color options because one of my concerns was that the quilts would all be very dark. Fortunately, variety was wide, and I had plenty of light and even colorful shirts to work with.

I didn't have a firm idea of what design I would use to make these quilts, so I spent lots of time considering various options. I carted the whole pile of shirt parts to quilt camp to try to accomplish some significant sewing through that week.

By the end of quilt camp I had mostly finished the quilt top above. I call it stepping stones, but it is also called brick path, I believe. I made a particular point to keep stains and holes when they were there. Several of the shirts were quite worn - threadbare - and I used them, too. I knew all the stains, the holes and the well-worn fabrics would hold meaning for the family. It makes the man more real, more human.

The second quilt was this rail fence design. It was hard to work with all that striped and plaid fabric and keep things lined up; so I just quit worrying about it. This is a work shirt quilt; it's supposed to look rugged!

I delivered these two quilts to Kathy the first week of September. Since I still had a significant amount of shirt fabric left, I suggested she consider having me make one for her. The first two were throw-size quilts and I knew I could make a third one that would cover a bed. She liked the idea, so I went to work.

Isn't that a pretty stack of shirt fabric? Except for just one or two shirts, most of the fabrics were sturdy cottons and were surprisingly easy to work with.

My stack of 8.5-inch squares for the third quilt. You can imagine how fast this went together.

And here is the third quilt, a simple finish for a double bed. This one is definitely my favorite. I like the large blocks as it is less "busy" and much calmer. Third time's a charm, as the saying goes.

Last week I met Kathy to deliver this last quilt. We shared some memories of our beloved farmers, and I will admit to blinking away one or two tears. We agreed that we didn't want the anniversaries we both will remember this week to be sad. Instead, we want to celebrate the men we lost. I think Kathy and her children will find extra comfort in their new quilts. Each time they glance at them or use them, I hope they will draw strength from the memory of the man who wore those shirts - sweat and stains and holes - all of it.

This thing we do called quilting isn't just about pretty fabric and fancy designs. While I do love that stuff, I think I love even more the way quilting can be a comfort. I took comfort in making these quilts, and I'm confident that the Holbrook family will take comfort in enjoying them. And remembering.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Christmas On My Mind??

We have a week of October remaining, yet I find that I am doing a post today about Christmas. The stores begin their Christmas marketing as soon as the back-to-school items have been cleared away, so I guess we quilters can plan ahead a bit, as well.

When we quilted Friday morning at Terry's, three of the group were binding things. The only one I took a picture of was Jan's. It is a Christmas quilt which she told us originated as a kit.

I share three pictures not because of the extreme beauty of Jan's quilt - although it it quite stunning. I share because of the antics of Terry's dogs, Millie, the darker one, and her pup Cooper. They couldn't get enough! I seriously believe they were of the opinion - if dogs have opinions - that this was their new play mat or something.

So, if you can look away from the dogs and check out the quilt, you will notice that a Christmas plaid is used in those Jacob's Ladder blocks. All of us thought this plaid was a great option for the quilt, and one that we would not have considered. It truly is a beauty.

I worked on this POTC block. It, too, is made with Christmas fabrics, and heaven only knows what I will do with it, but it's nearly finished. I have amassed about 6 of these completed POTC blocks now - none of the others are Christmas. What will I ever do with them?

Joining in on the Quilt Festival (mentioned in yesterday's post) has introduced me to so many nice quilters from all over the place. The network grows! I had fun yesterday answering emails and finding new blogs - which means access to more inspiration.  *wink*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quilt Festival Entry

On a whim, I have entered one of my quilts into a bloggers' quilt festival hosted by Amy Ellis on her blog Amy's Creative Side. If you enjoy going to quilt shows, then think of this as a virtual quilt show.

Long Road Home hangs in front of Tag Sale, both hand quilted.
The quilt I have entered is my hand-quilted Long Road Home. I finished it back in May and it currently hangs in my sewing room. Below is a shot taken the day I was finishing the binding.

My version of Long Road Home is not at all like the one pictured on the pattern, shown below. The original is much less scrappy. Those large blocks of color are supposed to be more neutral. I went into this with the intent of using from my stash - I definitely didn't want to buy neutrals  when I had so much I could pull from right at my fingertips. And now that it is finished, I am so happy with the results.
The Long Road Home by Red Crinoline Quilts
Long Road Home by Red Crinoline Quilts

This is a close-up shot of my version which shows the quilting a little bit better. I opted for a simple cross-hatch quilting design. It has some imperfections, but, hey, it's finished.

So, how this quilt festival works is this: you are invited to go to the link for the quilt show and vote for your favorites in all the various categories. You can vote in all the categories, but I sure hope I can count on you to give my humble effort a vote in the Hand Quilted Category. Think of this as my campaign for your vote (as we close in on the presidential primary in a couple of weeks). Voting begins on October 29, and I will be sure to post reminders.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, October 23, 2015

What I Did Yesterday

Short and sweet today, Peeps. Gotta' get out of here and off to a morning meeting followed by a noon-ish meeting.

I finished stitching these Christmas ornaments made from the work shirts I've been working with to make quilts for a commission job I was finishing. (An unwieldy sentence; sorry!) More on that job later, as it is a story for which I want to do justice. Mustn't do it in a hurry.

I read this book. And this I did do in a hurry. It is a fantastic read, and it solidifies my previously held notion that I simply love historical fiction. This is set in France during WWII, and a more tragic story I have not read in ages. But so well told. I read every word of this book in about 20 hours, with a few breaks here and there, of course.

I'm off to my meetings!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Brown Bear Quilt

Those of you with grandchildren know the urge to make your grandkids quilts, I'm sure. My friend Sharon was over yesterday to sew, and her machine was whirring away on this adorable Brown Bear, Brown Bear quilt. A certain grandson is going to be thrilled unwrapping this on Christmas morning.

It was a UFO, Sharon said. I do recall her working on those bears' paws blocks several months ago. She invented this as she went. Here is a shot of various strips laid out across the chair in the sewing room.

I just love it, and I can see the joy Sharon takes in making this for her grandson. It's a happy quilt, for sure.

By late afternoon, it was ready to be laid out on the guest bed. At this point, Sharon was satisfied with the width of the quilt, but had decisions to make about the length. She handled that by adding a top and bottom border of the large panel with the animals. You can see her finished top below.

Productivity! That's the goal with our Tuesday sewing sessions, for sure. We keep one another motivated!

Happy Quilting, Friends!