Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

Tonight I am blogging for the first time without a picture. I am sick with asthmatic bronchitis which is cramping my style. However, that did not stop me from hiring a friend to put new lights into my quilting room. OMG..I did it because I thought/knew I had old eyes...but I realize now that I have been working with very poor lighting. The new ones are not the charming antiques that I have on the wall, instead they are ceiling lights with dimmers. And it is a whole new world now in my quilting room..A whole new beginning and quite appropriate I think for the start of the New Year. So now, on my antibiotic and my cough meds and my extra inhaler...I will definately be getting better and braver so I can photo my room in the best of shape and in the worst of shape to show the world in a whole new light. I feel an excitement about the New Year. Happy, peaceful, creative New Year to all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Emily's Irish Dance quilt

Our daughter Emily has been an Irish dancer for most of her youth and into her early 20's. She danced here in Charlotte with the Rince Na H'eireann dance school Our family has had great fun following her around the country and to Ireland to watch her dance Championship dances. Now that she is all grown and on her own...what to do with all those dance T-shirts...What is a mother and a quilter to do??? Well Emily thought that a T-shirt quilt was in order. Easy to do...cut out the T-shirt pictures, iron them onto Wonderunder, iron the patches onto fabric blocks, machine blanket stitch the logos on...and voila...treat it all like regular quilt patches. This was made a number of years ago and has been well used and loved on her bed.

Fintan's piano playing quilt

My husband cheers us all up with his wonderful piano playing. So....this quilt was made for him. It is only by seeing how poorly the quilting is that I see how far I have come now. That is a good thing. This quilt is a Square Dance pattern.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Quick and easy reversible bib tutorial

A package of undecorated terry cloth bibs can be purchased at Babies R Us at 10 bibs for about $11. Wash the bibs first for shrinkage. I cut a heart shape from paper, transferred it to a template and cut cut fabric hearts. Then I fused them to Wonderunder or something comparable. First I fused a heart or shamrock shape to the bib. Then I put the bib on the light box to align the back heart to the front heart so the bibs would be reversible. Iron the back heart on the bib.
Once the hearts were fused to both sides of the bibs, I used the machine feather stitch on both sides. It seems to be the stitch that is most forgivable in not showing mistakes.
When the thread color is the same as the bib color, the stitches tend to sink into the terri cloth and not show as much. Voila...quick and easy and very practical for travel and use with babies/toddlers.

Casserole Cover tutorial

The PDF for this tutorial is here:  I drew it onto brown paper and then made a muslin copy.  The muslin is so much easier to use as a pattern. The changes I made were...add 1/2 inch or 5/8 of an inch around the whole thing for seam allowances.   I put Insul-Brite inside which keeps the food warm longer and did not use batting.  I did not use pre-quilted fabric.  In fact, I did not quilt mine at all.  I had the local hardware store cut the wooden handles for me.  There are other tutorials without the wooden handles, but I love these..they are handy and nice. I made it last year and have used it with great joy ever since.  I covered a flaw in my sewing with the rick-rac...which I now love.  I put the fabric right sides together with the Insul-Brite and sewed around.  The first few times, I left the half circles open and covered the stitching with ric rac.  This last time, I left one of the flaps open (sewing first one inch in on each side of one flap).  I think that I like this better. I zigzagged around the entire thing close to the seam and trimmed close to the zigzaz.  I then, turned it, pressed it well and top stitched around the entire thing except the circles. I took my seam ripper and opened the circle ends for the dowels.  Then did a decorative stitch to secure that part around the circle so it would not unravel with use. I added a 1" by 6.5" Velcro strip to both ends of the flap.  Play around with this pattern to your own likeing. It is very sturdy with the handles and I have carried heavy casseroles in it.

Dresdan Plate quilt from the 40's

Well..back and exhausted from the holiday rush. Here is a special Dresdan quilt that is big enough for our queen sized bed. I bought it a few years ago from a dealer at the Metrolina antique show here in Charlotte, NC. It is hand quilted. Note the couching...very nice.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Evan and his cat quilt

Evan found his daddy's beanie babies in a box in the closet and chose two cats. At four and a half, he sleeps with these cats and brings them with him on car rides to Grandma's So of course, Evan needed a proper place for them to sleep. This quilt for Evan and his cats is a simple one patch, each block is a different cat fabric. Two pockets have been added for the cat's comfort at night. I do not know who loves this idea more...I think it is me!

Lynsey's cat quilt

So Lynsey at 9 months should have a cat quilt too. Looking around my scraps and squares, I came up with this for her.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Antique Blazing Star

This quilt was purchased at a Miami quilt show March 12, 1985, the day we brought our son home to be adopted. He was 6 weeks old and he is now almost 25. I bought the quilt and then we got the phone call that he was available. Exciting. I am not sure of the age of the quilt. I am sure that I love yellow and red and stars, and I love my son!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More Patriotic Quilts

Be sure to click on these pictures to see the variety of scraps I used. I just love scrap quilts!

Patriotic string quilt/straight furrows

Patriotic Coin strip quilt

These quilts were made by free stripping fabric without rulers and sewing the strips together. Patterns were then cut from the "new" fabric made from the sewn strips.

Happy Fourth of July

Now I am not that far gone that I do not realize that today is Thanksgiving and not the Fourth of July...but I like to get with the program early...or maybe late. So I am going to show you the patriotic quilts I made. This one is a quilt top that I donated to Quilts of Valor for the injured soldiers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Those handy dandy pincushions

When Ruth brought me cat fabric from Japan, I just had to put it to good use. This pin cushion fits perfectly on my Janome 6600. It is velcroed on for best fit! I took two kinds of Velcro. I took the bottom part of the stick on Velcro and stuck that on the machine. Then I sewed the top part of the sew on Velcro and sewed it to the pin cushion. Perfect! The turquoise pin cushion is used on the cutting table and for taking on trips. The straps for the thread bag are sewn into the pin chushion when it is being made. They are attached to the thread bag with sewn on Velcro. Both are very very very useful and were fun to make. They are filled with plastic pellets, batting and with sand. All of these items are available at Walmart or Michaels.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Evan and Milo

Milo never ever wants to be left out of a nice quilt and a wonderful grandchild!!!

Milo and Cookie

How did they know that I had just washed this quilt to get rid of the cat hair? How did they know??? RIP our Cookie (white one) who died a few days ago suddenly at the age of almost 14 from heart disease. Guess he knew it would be ok to be on my clean quilt!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Antique Chips and Whetstones.

So my husband and I have been married coming up on 30 years. We spent some nice years collecting antique quilts until children. All of a sudden the antique quilt money went to daycare, preschool, braces, piano lessons, tutors, soccor, oboe lessons, horse back riding lessons, etc, etc....I know you understand. This quilt was bought in Phoenix, Arizona from a dealer. This dealer had purchased it from an estate sale in Sun City, Arizona from an estate of a lady from "back East". It was Christmas time and my mother and grandmother had given me money for Christmas to pick out my own present. This quilt was calling my name and it has said Christmas ever since. The quilt was purchased in 1981. It is hand pieced and hand quilted. I had it appraised at that time when I got back to Miami, and the appraiser said it was sloppy work...hello... I do not think so..

Vintage Blue and yellow Star of Bethleham

In the High Pines section of Miami where we lived for years, I was checking out estate sales when I happened on this quilt. There were two others as well, but I was trying not to overspend and I left them behind. This quilt was from the estate sale of Susanna Swain (83 years old). Her daughter said that it was made by Susanna's mother, Arminta Neptune in Ohio before she moved to Miami in 1937. I really love this quilt and at the time was sad for Arminta that it was leaving the family. Not sad enough not to buy it myself. It has hung over my bed for years. I made the purchase in 1990. It is hand pieced and hand quilted.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My orange collection

The story....I had planned to go to Mardelle's quilting party at the beach one year..all paid for and ready to go. Then the day before departure, I injured my back lifting my mother's wheelchair. In bed I was and the show went on without me. Well, in preparation for this workshop, I had made about 100 scrap four patch blocks. I had planned to take Patti Cline's class called "Take Two Aspirin". I like to get things ready ahead of time and had made so many blocks so I would have variety to choose from. Instead, I was taking more than two aspirin, in bed in pain and was left with 100 scrap blocks. Once well, I decided to challenge myself with orange....hence, my orange collection called Orange quilt I, Orange quilt II, etc. The four quilts I made are below.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The rabbits

The rabbits was my first free motion quilting quilt.

Moonlit Path

This quilt was started in a class at Mardelle Smith's Beach Party one year. I was working on snowballs and loving using the blues and peaches from my stash. Patti Cline saw the star potential!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Potholder Tutorial

These are the pictures for the potholder tutorial. The instructions are at the end. I am still learning how to coordinate pictures with words on the blog so please hang in here with me. I hope you enjoy my potholders.

I have just finished making 20 potholders for holiday presents. I have been making them for years. I remember sitting in my daughter's and actually, also in my son's kindergarten classes with each child on my lap sewing potholders for Mother's Day. I would bring in the fabric markers and the cut muslin and help the children draw a picture and put their name on the block. Then they would sit on my lap and help me sew the border on my sewing machine. Then through the years, my children would make a similar potholder for their various favorite teachers. A few years back, I met one of my son's former teachers from years ago. She told me that she still had the potholder in her kitchen and how much it had meant to her. So although I know that everyone makes potholders differently. I thought I would show my way on this blog. I love to choose the fabric to suit the recipient.

First step it to cut the muslin foundation and insulation pieces for the potholder 8 inches. The muslin goes down first with the batting on top. Nothing is measured here but the 8 inch blocks, so the strips are loosely cut with the rotary cutter. Take a squarish scrap ,put it in the center on top of the batting. Take a strip and sew it right sides together on the block, press, and continue with this till the batting is covered with scraps. Turn the block over and trim with ruler and rotary cutter until it is squared up. Cut a backing from quilting fabric about an inch larger than the block. Put down the backing wrong side up, then either two pieces of denim or one piece of the Insul-Bright, then the quilt sandwich. Bring the backing fabric around to the top of the potholder and pin two opposite sides and sew with walking foot. Pin the two other sides and sew with walking foot. Hand sew the white ring for the hanger. This is found at places like Walmart or Michaels or you can make a fabric hanger. I hope this is easy to follow and that you enjoy my examples.