Friday, July 31, 2009

Sixteen Six-inch Selvage Squares

What do you get when you sew sixteen six inch selvage squares? A messy sewing room.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Selvage Squares in Process

I'm working on the selvage blocks for my quilt for Doll Quilt Swap 7. These blocks are 6-1/2" square, and will be sewn up 6" finished. I haven't yet decided quite how I'll arrange them, but I do have a concept in my head.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

I'm going to try making a selvage quilt for the Doll Quilt Swap 7. I've chosen these 16 blues
I think I might arrange them into big diamonds like this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Selvage Bag # 3

As soon as I made my first selvage bag, my Mom asked for one. I had to collect a bit more selvages, though, so I waited.

Mom's birthday was Friday, July 24, and we spent a good part of the day together. I fixed a problem with her computer and we did some shopping.

When I got back to my house, I gathered my stuff. First, I needed the "extras," the fabric I would use for the lining, the pockets, and the trim, and thread and notions. I wanted several pockets, a zippered pocket and a key fob. I also knew my Mom would want the bag to close somehow. I had this funky pink button I had bought for another project, and never used. It would be perfect.

(you can click on all the photos to enlarge.)
My Mother is a professional artist, and she's not afraid of bright color. I made the big panel of selvages for the bag itself. The selection and placement of each selvage strip was carefully planned and deliberately placed. I knew exactly what I wanted.
Then I made the handles.Next I made the panels for the pockets and sewed them to the lining, and then assembled everything.Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I almost forgot to add the handles at the right time. One of the handles was twisted, and I had to rip it out and fix it. But the crowning glory came when I tried to insert the lining and sew the two big pieces together. Somehow I had mis-measured and the lining was way too small for the bag. In frustration, I threw it aside and did some housecleaning.After I cooled down a bit, I realized it was a simple fix. After dinner I went back into the sewing room, fixed my mistake, and finished the bag.It's really quite beautiful, and I am very happy with it. I brought it over to my Mom's house on Sunday morning. My Mom was thrilled, and immediately transferred the contents of her purse to this bag.Even Millie approves.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sew This Is It!

This is all I can show you of something I have been working on the last couple of days. I can't tell you anything else, because I made something for somebody special, and I can't tell the world until I give it to the special somebody.

I always saw those special custom printed labels and I thought, Damn! I gotta get me some of those... Then one day I realized it would be even better if I made my own. So now, whenever I want a label, I just write what I want on a piece of fabric with an extra-fine point Sharpie. Then I iron it, cut it out, fold the edges under and sew it where I want it. I like these a lot better than a "custom printed" label. I've even done a test, by throwing a sample in the wash. Works great.

OK. I give in. I made a tote bag for my Mother for her birthday. I used selvages. You'll just have to wait until Monday to see the other pictures.

In the meantime, go watch that wedding dance video. It's awesome. I've watched it like five times already and it makes me cheer every time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Doll Quilt Swap 7

I decided to participate in Doll Quilt Swap 7. I've been in DQS 4, 5 & 6. It's a secret swap. I'll be making a small quilt for somebody, and somebody else will be making a quilt for me. The partner matching emails went out last night and I have received my partner.

The goal is to make as perfect a quilt for your partner as you can, and to that end you have to give your partner information about yourself. So here's a little bit about me.

I love bright, saturated color. This is my computer desk.I have Fiestaware dishes. More color on my dry sink.And my bathroom is painted school-bus yellow.
What I would really like from my swap partner in DQS7 is a quilt for this empty wall in my bathroom.Partner, make me a quilt that will look good on this wall. Do not worry about "matching" the other items in the room. The space can only take a quilt 24" wide, but that's the outside dimension of the swap quilt, so no problem there. The only other things you should be concerned about is any embellishments must be able to withstand moisture, and I am not a fan of brown.

I am, however, a huge fan of black and white, and I love checkerboards.
Can you tell?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Little Help, An Old Favorite

i love this picture, taken way back in 2003, when I was sewing the binding on my son's quilt. That's Gizzy, "helping." Gizzy was always in the middle of everything.



He was a hell of a cat. Woke me up at 6 AM every single morning, and met me at the door when I got home from work every evening. He made sure to spend time in my lap each day.

He went to the Rainbow Bridge two years ago.

I still miss him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Enter Laughing

The top of my Laughing Out Loud quilt is finished. It's about 82" x 100", big enough for a queen-sized bed.
For comparison, the stockade fence is six feet tall, and that's my car on the left. I didn't compress the top picture, so you can click it to enlarge.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Quilt

Thirty-two years ago I made my first quilt.

It's a Log Cabin, arranged in the Barn Raising design. I don't remember where I got the pattern for it, but it was well before the time of rotary cutters and strip piecing.

The center is red, then it's orange, yellow, green, then blue, then green, then yellow and then orange in the corners. Many of the fabrics were a polyester/cotton mix, because that's what was available. Oranges were hard to come by, and purples were impossible. 100% cotton? Not in my area.
The logs were 1" wide finished. The quilt has a poly filling, was backed with a sheet and was tied.

Over the years the seams have come apart, the ties have disappeared and the colors faded. It looks awful.

But when I dug it out of its storage spot in the basement last week to show my son's girlfriend who is interested in making a Log Cabin Quilt, my son immediately lay claim to it.
He loves it, which serves as a reminder to all of us that it's often the emotional aspect of the quilt that is valued most by the people we love. They don't care if we ran out of one fabric, if the backing is pieced or if the seams don't line up. They could care less if the design is from a pattern, a book, a kit, or out of your head. They don't care if the fabric came from a quilt shop or from wal-mart.

It matters that it came from your hands, and represents your love.

As my son wrapped himself in this quilt, he inhaled deeply and said, "I love the way it smells. It's my past."

My birthday is not until next week. But I think just got the best present I could ask for.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Laughing Out Loud Border Fabrics

These are the brights I will use with my black-and-white fabrics for the border of my Laughing Out Loud Quilt.
I am hoping to have the quilt top finished over the weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Placemat Quilt Swap

I came home tonight to a nifty package from Donna. It was my placemat from the Placemat Quilt Swap. Donna included some notepaper, dark chocolate and a terrific fat quarter with selvage dots! You rock Donna! I love everything! The placemat is so pretty, and the quilting is awesome.

Yes, I'm going to use it. This was dinner last night!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Love and Flowers

I had a boss who teased me once by saying, "I give you an inch and you take a mile." My reply was, "You offer me the mile and get upset when I take it."

Which is why I always smile when folks tell me I can do what I want. My son, for instance, told me I could use whatever fabrics I wanted on the back of his quilt.
I bet he'll claim he didn't.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I've told you I made quilted chessboards. I loved doing them. I called them "a symphony in four fabrics."

They were essentially mini-quilts, about 26" square when finished and took less than a week to make. They are machine quilted, with denim in the middle (so they will be sort of stiff and lie flat). The borders are mitered and the binding is hand sewn to the front. The quilted chessboards meet "regulations" about the size of the squares, so the boards are very "playable."

When I designed this one, my son looked at the greens and said to me, "Mom, I don't like it. The greens are too blah. It's going to be boring. You should try again." (you can click the photos to enlarge.)I smiled at him, told him I valued his opinion, but went ahead with my plan. He didn't say anything.
But a few months later, he asked if he could "borrow" it.

It's still living at his house.

I just smile whenever I think about it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Love & Flowers

I asked my son if I could put a strip of free-pieced letters on the back of his quilt, saying something like, "made with love by Mom."

He didn't look all that excited about the idea.

He suggested I use "xxx..." which is the way I traditionally sign my emails to him. Everybody knows the X's mean kisses, and the 3 dots mean "et cetera." But in a Valentine's card my son gave me many many years ago, after his signature, he added the three x's, the three dots and then, "(infinity)". It's been sort of a tradition ever since.So I followed his suggestion. This -will- be on the back of the Sunshine Quilt I am not showing you.

In a totally non-quilt related area, this is a picture of the planter I have out on my porch. I positioned so I can see it when I sit at the dining room table

It gives me something nice to look at, instead of the blank wall of the building next door. I also have a nice big planter of purple wave petunias that I can't see from where I sit at the table. Out in the back, I have a container garden of thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram, mint, catnip, several kinds of basil, some peppers, a planter of arugula and a tomato plant.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fat Quarter Frenzy

My sister and I went out to Henniker to the terrific quilt shop there on Friday for their "Fat Quarter Frenzy." They had an estimated 20,000 fat quarters for $1.00 USD each. You had to get at least 25.

I didn't have any trouble. I had been squirreling away a few dollars each week, and the day before the big sale, I brought my jar of coins to the bank, where they exchanged them for bills. I had $11 worth of coins. Whee!

I went with a list. I wanted about 5 yellows, 5 whites, 5 blues, 5 Asian-themed, 5 "large prints" and 10 batiks. It helped me from going completely crazy. I ended up spending $55, which was all the cash I brought.

There were a lot of beiges and browns, and novelties and "charms", but none of those interest me. I was pretty happy. Now they're all washed, ironed and folded. I've also harvested the selvages.

Later I'll be working on the backing of the Sunshine Quilt I can't show you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Sunshine-y Day

This is me NOT showing you my progress on the Sunshine Quilt I am making for my son. Remember he doesn't want to see it until he is finished. Here I have pinned two rows of blocks together.
In this next picture, I am not showing you four rows being ironed.In this picture, I am not showing you the finished top. {I can see my son rolling his eyes right about now!} Ha ha ha! Love you sweetie!

Tomorrow I will show you the 55 fat quarters I bought for a buck(1USD) each.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Here's Rusty!

The special Gizzy Quilt, "Where's Rusty?" has reached its intended destination, and its new owner is very pleased:

Within 10 seconds Rusty was off his chair and on the quilt. He sniffed it over and then made a face! I think he smelled a bit of Millie. He then rolled all over it and now it is his. I took some photos and will send them off this evening. From the first day we had Rusty, we have called him Houdini Kitty. He can be with you and then poof he is upstairs looking down at you. To see all the extra Rustys in the windows and the yard is our Houdini Kitty!

As you can see, I kept three of the four "Rustys" hidden until the quilt was received by its owner. Can you find all four? You can click the photo to enlarge. (sorry it's not as sharp as it could be.)


On a side note, my son has changed his mind. Now he wants the Sunshine Quilt quilted. AND he doesn't want to see it until it is finished. Which means I can't post about it until it is done.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Little Sunshine

It's been raining the couple of days. Again, again, again! Really frustrating. We did have a perfect day on Sunday.

All this reminded me that the summer was fleeting by even if it didn't feel like it, and that I had better get going on the Sunshine Slashed Squares Quilt I am making for my son. I tried arranging the blocks a couple of months ago, and didn't get anywhere, so I set them aside. Now that I have all my "obligations" finished (placemat swap; apron; special Gizzy Quilt; curtain), and my sewing table is moderately clean (and I'm housed-out), I have a bit of time.

So I got out the blue tape and then played around with the blocks, and in no time I had a layout I liked. I photographed it, then stacked the blocks in rows. I'll probably get to them later this weekend.

My son has decided he doesn't want the quilt quilted. He wants to be able to use it at the beach, and on picnics and wash it with abandon.

I don't usually quilt my quilts. I've explained why in previous posts. You'll have to go back to the very beginning if you want to read why.

Basically, it's the way my grandmother made hers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Placemat Quilt Swap

I participated in the Placemat Quilt Swap over on Flickr. This is the placemat I made for my swap partner.

It's about 13" by 18". It's a big seminole patchwork band with seven strips. The back is the pretty sunflower fabric, and you can see the quilting.It's going to Donna.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sneak Peek

I participated in the Placemat Swap on Flickr. Here's a tiny bit of the placemat I am finishing up for my partner. I will finish the binding tonight and send it on its merry way tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2009


If a three year old child colors a house, you may very likely end up with a drawing that looks like this:
How do you translate it into fabric? Use dots, of course...
This dotted house block is 19-1/2" tall and 24-1/2" wide.

You can click the photo to enlarge.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Little Shopping Therapy

Yesterday my sister and I took advantage of a lovely day to drive out to Henniker to the coolest quilt shop in the area, Quilted Threads. I was partly motivated by their impromptu 20% off everything-in-the-store sale.

These are the fat quarters I bought. (I made sure to pick the ones with selvage dots.)I bought half yard cuts of these.I also bought several yards of a beautiful batik I plan to use for my godchild's quilt (the housing development quilt).
I didn't really have any particular project in mind when I entered the shop. They loved my Selvage Shopping Tote. I'll be back at the store later next week, as they are having a big special on Fat Quarters - $1.00 each, with a minimum of 25. They expect to have 20,000 Fat Quarters available.

I am counting the days...