Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My First Quilt…Rough Start



This picture is my first quilt, Rough Start. I cannot remember where I got the pattern, so I am sorry that credit can’t be given where it is due. I love the fabric colors (purple, green and yellow) in this queen size quilt. For a beginner this was a difficult pattern, as it was all cut on the bias. I had never used a rotary cutter, and I didn’t have a clue about how to carefully iron bias pieces to avoid stretching the fabric. Somehow I did get it pieced anyway, and then came the issue of quilting her. I quilted her with a walking foot (in the ditch, sorta) on my Featherweight. I did not enjoy the quilting process at all, it was boring and much harder than I ever imagined. I had been told to roll the quilt and found that like moving a log through the 4 1/2 inch harp space. It was difficult, to say the least. One valuable lesson that I learned was that the print backing was very forgiving of my mistakes. Just so happened that the print on the back is my favorite fabric in the whole quilt. I hand quilted a grid on the green border while sitting in the hospital with my father-in-law. When I finished her, I thought I would just have to be a hand quilter because I would not ever do the rolled quilt and walking foot process again. However, I was determined to quilt—a life long goal.

While I did not know how on earth I would get it quilted, my daughter picked out the fabric and found a pattern for “Lovely Lou.” By then I had spent many hours studying about cutting, ironing and piecing quilts. I had years of sewing experience and was always quite meticulous, but had not pieced quilts other than Rough Start. I spent hours with Lou piecing, ripping, piecing, ripping, piecing…until I was pleased with the result. I actually took her completely apart twice. Then the question of quilting this king bedspread size quilt arose…

At one point I thought I would have someone long arm “Lovely Lou”, but I did not feel right about that. It would not be my work. I had never heard of Free Motion Quilting until I came upon The Free Motion Quilting Project. What a relief! Then a friend told me that FMQ was just too hard. Well, then I had to learn; a challenge had been issued, though my friend did not realize what she had done. I spent hours and hours watching videos and reading every  word on Leah Day’s website. I was amazed at her generosity in sharing all the tutorials on her website. I ordered the tools that she recommends from her Day Style Designs Quilt Shop and was thrilled with the difference they made. I practiced and practiced before I started quilting “Lovely Lou.” I especially loved her tutorial about puddling the quilt around the machine. Lou has many ugly stitches, but my daughter is happy that her quilt is the one on which I am learning.

After a week of having fun in Rhode Island with my family and now chasing little Mia (my granddaughter), it has been a while since I have been able to touch my machine. Can you say “quilting withdrawals?” Leah has engrained the “quilting habit” in my brain. I will finish Lou as soon as Mia goes home and then move on to the next quilt which will be a gift for a wonderful friend. I  have not picked out the fabric nor a pattern yet, but that will come when my efforts on “Lovely Lou” are finished.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Home from Rhode Island…



This beautiful quilt is a Dresden Plate that my grandmother quilted. I took this picture while on my trip to Rhode Island, where I spent five days having the time of my life with my family that I have never really known. I had soooooooooo much fun, but now I am home. Today I rested. Tomorrow I hope to clean house a bit, get the laundry caught up, and then pick up my granddaughter, Mia. She will be with me a few days.

My major unfinished quilting project is still “Lovely Lou.” It seems as though I have been working on her forever, but I spent many hours piecing and ripping and repiecing her before I even thought about how to quilt the mammoth. I am so ready to get back to my sewing machine to finish “Lou,” but I suppose she is going to have to wait a few more days until Mia goes home. This little girl keeps me too busy to quilt! She will be three on September 9, so those of you with children at home amaze me that you ever have time to quilt. There is definitely a reason that God gives babies to young people!

As you may know, I closely follow Leah Day on the Free Motion Quilting Project, the greatest quilting teacher on the planet. Although I am excited about her new project designed to finished any unfinished projects, I have no other projects started at this time. For years I had unfinished projects everywhere, but I purged them a long time ago and pledged to not find myself in that position again. I try to keep my attention focused on just one project at a time; however, I have a stash of fabric with plans for many new quilts and clothes for my granddaughter and my mom. All too often I am tempted to start another project, but I know myself too well—nothing would get finished.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Party in Rhode Island…



My cousin, Debbie, and I are having a blast at a family gathering at Debbie’s house in Rhode Island. I have a family the size of a freaking’ army that I had never met before. Debbie and her husband, Dan, threw a great party, and I met family members that I didn’t even know I had. I saw family members that I had not seen in 48 years! How great is that? The food was terrific, and the atmosphere was perfect.

Debbie and Dan, thank you for a day I will never forget. One of the best gifts I have ever been given…the opportunity to know my family!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Visit in Rhode Island



I am so thrilled to be visiting my sweet Uncle and many cousins in Rhode Island. The one and only time I was here before I was ten years old. My mom (81) and my uncle (87) have always been great friends, even though they have lived so far apart. We are having a wonderful visit!

Their mother, my grandmother, was one of the most prolific quilters ever. I wish I knew how many quilts she made in her lifetime, my guess would be in the hundreds. All pieced and quilted by hand, with beautiful stitching. I have her frames and her cotton cards, which she used to prepare the cotton batting for her quilts. She had picked the cotton herself and after dinner every night she would pick the seeds out of the cotton and card or batt the cotton for her quilts. She rarely had the money for fabric so many of her quilts were made from flour sacks and scraps, but she had a wonderful sense of color and made beautiful quilts.

The quilt pictured below is on my uncle’s bed, and I just love it. When my grandmother died, she had enough quilts that each of her 6 living children received five brand new quilts. She had always given the grandkids quilts when we each got married, so the 30 that she had stored was just a drop in the bucket. She was my hero!

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beautiful Morning in San Antonio, Texas…



What a beautiful morning in San Antonio, Texas! The temperature is about 75 and the sun is just above our tree line. My neighbors free range chickens are in my yard, and the roosters are crowing like crazy. I love that they come to my yard for all our bugs and to talk to me. A perfect morning to hang out in the quilting studio/garage with “Lovely Lou.” Still working on setting triangles, outlining the motif on the fabric-who knew it would take this long to do these beautiful flowers? If I were getting paid by the hour on this quilt, I could be debt free by now! However, I am quilting just for the love of quilting and this particular one for my sweet daughter, Amanda.  I seem to be rather slow, but loving every minute of the fun project.

Waiting on photos from all my family and friends! I am in the process of photographing all my old quilts so that I can share the lineage from which I come. Quilters in that day had to be resourceful—no modern conveniences like FMQ, rotary blades, Magic Genie Bobbin Washers, Machingers’ gloves or Supreme Sliders. By the way, the Bobbin Washers, gloves and Supreme Sliders are available from Day Style Designs Quilt Shop. I happily buy those products from Leah Day in return for the wealth of information that she shares on her blog, The Free Motion Quilting Project.

amanda and mia

Amanda and Mia   

Photo by Sam Roberts Photography

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Need to Finish “Lovely Lou”…


IMG_0782I am feeling the need to finish this project. Amanda was home a couple of weeks ago, and expressed her excitement and approval of “Lovely Lou.”  She has painted her master bedroom in preparation for receiving this quilt (bedspread size). It has been well over a couple of years in the making from picking out fabric with Amanda and finding a pattern that she liked to actually learning how to free motion quilt with my little Singer Featherweight and Leah Day, a great teacher and mentor.

Soon I will be making a trip with my mom, flying for the first time in many years. I never liked to fly anyway and could handle it only after a few drinks. Then 911 happened, and I have not forgotten the horror I felt. I suppose it is morbid, but I need to finish this quilt before I fly. What if the unthinkable happened? Who would finish “Lovely Lou?”  So that’s all for today, I am going to go quilt.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Project working…


IMG_0820Excitement does not describe how passionately I feel about this project.

Today, I posted on my Facebook a request from all of my family and friends for pics and information about quilts that they own. The picture on the right is one of mine that I will tell more about when the project launches. It is really old from the Shipley side of my family. What a fun way to give credit to our quilters from yesteryear. Those quilters were not so spoiled all our many conveniences of today. I have one that I cannot wait to show you, it is so funny and as folk~art as they come! That one is from the Dalton side of my family. Those of you who quilt today, please join us as well.

Also, the call went out to my hometown of Monahans, Texas. We have a great communication tool going on Facebook thanks to a couple of cool gals and they know who they are. I would love to commemorate the Monahans quilters, both current and past. You all are a part of the history of this great community, so get out the cameras/phones/videos and let me have ‘em. Be sure to include information about you and the quilt/quilter.

I’ll be updating the blog so stay tuned…


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Away from my machine again…


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I have been playing with my granddaughter, Mia, instead of quilting. I miss the “humm~purr” of my machine, but there is just nothing like being “mee-maw” to this little girl.

We have dug in the dirt, played on the swing set, put together puzzles, colored and swam in the neighbor’s pool. What fun we have had!

Mia and her parents live about 5 hours from me. When I have the opportunity to keep her for a few days, both quilting and blogging about quilting goes out the window. Mia wins, hands down. She will be with me until the weekend, so until then, I will be away from my machine, again.