Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This is for you Lori...

No I haven't fallen off the face of the earth...not quite.  None of my goals have been accomplished, I am working to much, its getting to cold and I am getting grouchy!  But I am still here and I haven't touched my sewing machine since before I left for vacation.  Part of the problem is I can't find it...there is to much crap piled on it.

However, I have been preparing quilting lessons for handpiecing that will be offered at the library where I work.  We are doing a Read/Quilt along.  We will be reading the The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini, and will be learning how to handpiece the same sampler quilt that the central character is making in the novel; the blocks are integeral to the story.

Every week, there will be photographic instructions, as well as a brief synopsis of that part of the book that we have read posted to the library's blog.  So if you want to join us, leave a comment and I can point you in the right direction.

Other than that, thats be my life in a nutshell...

Have a wonderful Holiday Season, I even forgot about Chanukah this year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Goals for this week

Well I am back from vacation, I got back on Monday, went to work Monday morning, and am now just getting a breather to update my quilt related goals for the week.  Vacation was great, and now back to normal!

Goals for this week are going to be very easy, I hope!

1.  Mail the blocks to Roma.
2.  Mail the huge box of fabric to Henrietta
3.  Deliver the huge boxes of fabric to Quilts of Valor in Lincoln.
4.  Work on 80 flying geese units for a green and white Dolly Madison Star blocks.

Hopefully these will all be complete by next Thursday!

And thanks everyone for the Birthday wishes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goals for this week...

I have been setting goals for myself and it seems to help out a lot.  I have also gotten EVERYTHING organized the way I like it when I sew finally.  So with that being said, I think I am going to start posting goals every Sunday, for the week so I can account for what I do during the week.   This is more for me personally, then you guys who read this.  So what were my goals last week:

1.  Finish the Trip Around the World Quilt
2.  Finish piecing blocks for a Patience Corner Quilt
3.  Set Patience Corner Quilt  top together
4.  Knit 5 caps for charity.

What did I get done?

I got the TATW, finished Monday, the Patience Corner Quilt top has been set together, though I did finish it Saturday night.  And I only knitted three caps, and those were knit in one evening while watching a DVD series.

Whats up for this week:

I am going out of town on vacation on Wednesday, and I plan to get some background triangles cut for a Maple Leaf blocks.  These are vintage from the 50's, and cut out, except for 80 triangles, I hope to cut the triangles before I leave, and have them with me to piece.  That's it for goals this week  That and to knit the other two hats from last week. 

My current book is the Worse Hard Time, about the Dust Bowl, very good read, a few mistakes in research, but overall, a good read, and very interesting.  I do recommend the book.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Design Wall Monday and I take terrible pictures....

Woe is me...I take horrific pictures, don't worry about the quality of the camera, its certainly the picture taker here.  So this is whats on my design wall, a very bright batik, and fossil fern trip around the world.  Does Benertex still make fossil fern fabric?  That shows long I've had it in my stash, time to use it up.  Its nice to have a bright quilt, amidst all the pastels and reproduction quilts that I make.

So without further delay here is whats on my design floor this morning...  Now this quilt is really very bright, like sunglasses white, but I digress, picture taking is not something I excel at.

Now on to another question.  You all know I am a librarian, and I catalog books, so why not catalog fabric.  Does anyone else do this.  I do...and here is how I do it:

I take a snippet of fabric, and I glue it to a index card, on that card, I write the manufacturer of the fabric, the name of the fabric line, the designer, the yardage, and the cost per yard, and grand total.  I also include where the fabric came from.  Whether its washed or not.  I keep this updated, for the current number of yards to a half yard.  From there the index card is weeded from the current use file, and is filed under scraps, and what I used to have.  I am sure some day, someone like Barbara Brackman will be happy I did this.  That and it keeps me happy.

How do I file the index cards?  Alphabetical by manufacturer, then alphabetical by fabric designer, followed by fabric line.  Make sense?

So here is a card for Maywood Studio's All Through the Night.  It shows the magazine picture, as well as the actual fabric, and the cost.  And it shows that this fabric was purchased on May 22, 1998 from Hancock's of Pacucah.  I paid $7.98 a yard for it plus $3.99 shipping.  I purchased a 1/2 yard, and its still not being used in my stash, lol.

I was asked in a comment if I have it indexed with where its located in my stash.  My stash is in file boxes.  Each index card also has a number on it.  Those numbers are transposed to the master sheet that is attached to the file box, via a plastic sleeve.  Each file box is lettered, so each fabric that is in the file box, also has the letter of the file box noted on it as well.  So basically it reads as this.

Maywood Studio's All Through the Night:  Fabric number 000198M  Box AC

Box AC has a sheet attached to it, that includes the Fabric number only 000198M.  Each box is also generically labeled as Box AC Numbers; 000180 - 000199. 

I started doing this about 10 years ago.  When I do buy fabric, I usually buy enough to do borders with out piecing, so that's 3 yards for my quilts.  I rarely buy anything smaller than that anymore.  My fabric is easy to locate by using the index, and I am not making a mess of my stash, or needing to stop and put things back.  Everything is in its place.  1/2 yards and under, and not indexed, and the card is moved to the file that its gone.  This method also helps if you are looking for a particular fabric you need more of, its easier to search and, there is no posting that you need this fabric, with no idea what it is or where it is. 

I actually get more sewing done, because I am not constantly searching for something. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quilt Block Winner

Sorry I am a day late on announcing the winner...I used to find the winner....

And the winner is number 2 which is Roma! 

If you e-mail me with your address, I will get them off to you in the next few weeks.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Give Away Announcement, Stash Enhancement, Sewing Machine Enhancement, and JudyL's Knit Along

Since I have been working on flower garden quilts, I thought I would have a give away for some vintage flower garden blocks from the late 20's to the early 30's.  There is enough to make a small doll quilt or wall quilt, or maybe something else you can think of.  There are 6 of them, and they measure about 9 inches.  I will keep the giveaway open until Wednesday night when I get home from work. 

I just received 400 yards of good quilt cotton.  It was from an estate, and they were just going to toss it in the garbage, so I brought it home.  I will take pictures as I put it away.  A friend of my mother's gave me a Singer 301a and its a long bed mocha, in pristine condition, and includes all the attachments that were available for purchase in 1951, which is the date according the serial number.  The case is perfect to follow in a couple weeks, when I actually have time to look at it!

Now about the Knit Along, I finished the matching sock to the one in the previous post.  The next set of socks have been casted on, and the first sock is almost complete, the heel is turned, the gusset decreases are done, and I am almost to the toes.  Pictures to follow tomorrow, when I am not so tired.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

JudyL's Knit Along Update number 1

Well I tried, I really did.  I really wanted to knit two socks at the same time on two circular needles.  But alas, I gave up in frustration.  I kept trying to cast on, and it would tangle, and I got so upset, I tossed them across the room, dug into my knitting basket, pulled out my double pointed needles, and blissfully casted on.  Below you will find the first finished sock this month.  Knit on size 4 needles with a heavier yarn, I call these boot socks, to be worn while scooping snow, and walking to work when its very cold. 

Quick and easy, took me about two hours to knit this one sock, the second one is on the needles now, and I hope to have it finished tomorrow!  Then on to some socks with some wool I dyed myself.  That makes me excited!

Please ignore the weird photo, and the tale I need to weave in, but its the only place I could get the photo to look like there was actually a sock!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sew-in Results

Here are some pictures of the sew-in we had today yesterday.  Thanks to Mary for taking pictures, I had my camera, but forgot about it in my bag.  The red quilt is my favorite!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Join us today for a sew-in

Today beginning at 9:00 am, we will be tying quilts for immediate use for those who need warm blankets to keep warm this winter!  If you are interested in joining us, come to Keene Memorial Library in Fremont.  Lunch will be provided along with everything for the quilts, come join us, laugh, eat, and help those who are less fortunate than we are!

Check back later today for pictures of the finished quilts!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nebraska Sew-in

The Nebraska sew-in is getting closer, just 22 more days!  The agenda will be tying quilts for immediate use in the eastern Nebraska area.  There will be many quilts ready to tie!   We will be meeting at the same location as the last sew-in.  Keene Memorial Library, 1030 Broad Street, Fremont, NE.

Lunch will be provided and we are having homemade chicken and noodle soup, with homemade noodles.  Fresh rolls, and a dessert.  It will be a bring your own drink sort of day.  There is a fridge for cold beverages.

We also have some wonderful door prizes being donated by Henrietta, who joined us at the last sew-in all the way from Hawaii, via South Dakota!  The images are below.  You can also visit her shop by clicking HERE

One of the prizes is a retractable tether for pinning scissors to your person, which can been seen by clicking HERE.

The second prize is a sewing related pendant that comes with a silk cord, and the image is below.  Please visit Henrietta's shop, and show her we appreciate her support of HeartStrings!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meet Mrs. Winifred Fuzzyboots

Let me introduce you to the newest member of the family!  Meet Winifred, a 6 year old spayed female Mackerel Tabby Cat. She was given to me by a friend, whose daughter found her living outside underneath a shed, in a new home her daughter bought.  The previous owners, just turned her out, and she had been outside for at least a year.  Poor thing!  She is spayed, and declawed, and with the winter that we had last year, I am surprised that she is still alive! 

She is the sweetest cat!  Loves to be held and to cuddle with one, and is a very trusting and loving cat.  She loves to sleep and eat, and lets me know every morning when its time to wake up by walking on me, sitting on my stomach and kneading my chest.  She does the same thing at night, when I get into bed, then lays at the foot of the bed all night.  Such a sweet kitty for the troubled life she had not 3 months ago. 

We first thought that she was a male, and but the vet changed those notions!  She was very healthy according to the vet, and is now update on all her shots, and is quickly gaining weight. She loves to sleep on my hand quilting frame, I think she thinks its the perfect Kitty Hammock.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What I am working on...

I have been working on quilting this Eight Point Star variation, which is known as Carpenter's Square, Dutch Rose, among other names.  I just call it my damn set in seam quilt.  This quilt is completely set in seams.  The pieces that aren't set in are the simple borders.  I love the quilts made Talula Gilbert Bottoms, and she made several quilts in this pattern.  Most of the points are ok, but the centers of the stars don't always meet.  That and since, its almost entirely on the bias, it has a little stretch, something I wouldn't want to quilt by machine, and its a little to involved to be tacked.  But not well enough made, by my standard to hand quilt.  So what should I do?  I decided to hand quilt it in big stitches with pearl cotton in a gray-ish color in Methodist Fans / Baptist Fans, pick your own denomination.

Its not a large quilt, it measures 70 inches by 90 inches.  So it would fit on a full size bed with a dust ruffle, and would make a good size quilt for a twin.  Right now I am into country looking quilts that are make do in style, and this one fits the bill, especially since I lost the light blue fabric, and just substituted a different blue, but I do like the looks of it so far.  I loaded this in my hand quilting frame, and am half way quilted with this quilt in a about a week.  The fan design with the big stitches quilts quickly and I didn't mark this quilt, it's quilted freehand. 

Other than that, I have been piecing simple quilt tops to tie for the homeless, and working on some other blocks as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A new mode of transportation

Since its getting cooler, and fall is around the corner (I hope) I bought a new bike.  It was time, it had been a while since I had owned a bike, and I had been doing lots of walking, so with a new bike, I hope to be getting places a little faster than walking.  I hope it also sheds a few pounds!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mark your calendars for a Sew-in

Greetings Everyone! 

HeartStrings Sew-in information below!

I have a tentative date set for Saturday October 23rd from 9:15 am to 5:45 pm at the Keene Memorial Library in Fremont, Nebraska.  This is the same location of the past Nebraska sew-ins.  It should be good weather, with that being said, it should be warm during the day and freezing at night.  For those who want to stay in the area, there are some fine local motels available, just ask me off list. 

Since this is the first sew-in that we are having in the fall, the emphasis of this will be tying quilts for immediate use at the local homeless shelters.  I have tops that are done and will work for this project.  The good news is, you can leave your sewing machines at home.  I will have a machine that will be free to use to attach binding by machine.  I may bring two machines. 

For supplies for this sew-in, it would be great if you could help provide backings and batting.  Backings would need to be 70 inches x 90 inches so they are large enough to self bind, by rolling the backing to the front.  Cotton or cotton blend fabrics would be fine for this since they are not being quilted, but are being tied.  Batting's need to be the same size of the top.  What I have used in the past is old blankets and mattress pads (these need to be king size).  I also use regular batting scraps that have been zig-zaged together by machine.  You will also need to bring a small sewing box, that would include pins, and scissors for your use.  I will also have some available.  This should be fun to pack for, since you won't need your machine. 

I will  have lots of sharp darning needles and crochet thread and or wool yarn for the tying.  If any one has any questions, please ask, and please don't forget to mark your calendars for Saturday October 23rd. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Questions Answered Regarding Stash Reduction

A lot of people either through private e-mails or comments have asked how I have come to the conclusion of giving away my fabric.  Before I talk about that, I want to talk about how one begins to amass this amount of fabric to begin with. 

I started quilting when I was a kid.  I had people giving me fabric all the time.  My grandmother helped, and so did other people.  They just kept giving me more and more fabric.  I then started buying good quality fabric when it was on sale.  And sale fabrics can cause a large problem, just because a good fabric is on sale, doesn't mean one needs to purchase it.  Sadly no one ever told me this.  I would buy fabric almost anywhere, and all the time.  I just kept folding it and putting it away, and moving and sorting. 

I came to the realization this year that I was so overwhelmed with the amount of fabric that I needed to something about it.  It came to the point that I was actually going to the store to buy more fabric, just because I didn't want to attempt to look in my own stash for what I needed.  And I know that I probably had what I needed in my stash! 

There is a point that what you paid for the fabric has no course of action in how you are going to be discarding the fabric.  How I decided what I wanted to keep was a bit of a challenge, I had decided to create a criteria on what I needed to or wanted to save.

The first thing I did was look at the tops and sets of blocks that were waiting to be finished.   I kept all fabric, that would be needed to finish this tops and blocks into finished quilts.  This means lots of sorting, and finding backing for the tops.  The block sets need further planing, such as the set, the borders, and then you can determine the backing for the block sets.  That being said, all of those fabrics were placed in the keep pile.

Since I have a large amount of tops, and block sets, this was actually a lot of fabric. 

The next criteria was that I would keep fabric that I couldn't part with.  Amazingly, this bunch of fabric, included no new fabric, and was mostly vintage fabric that was given to me by family and friends.  Some of this fabric will never be used, but its just a tactile memory. 

Next, I looked and decided what quilts do I want or plan on making in the future.  I pulled and kept fabric for these quilts.  Luckily this only amounted to about a hundred yards.

I also kept all neutrals.  And neutrals to me, mean several different colors.  I use lots of yellow and red as a neutral in scrap quilts, and navy blue follows closely as well.  I also kept all muslin, and wide backings.  Once I had these sorted, I then sorted them again, and discarded any white on whites or the like, I just don't like the effect they have on the quilts that I made.

Since I had lots and lots of vintage and antique fabrics, I had to develop a plan for them.  It was my intent to donate anything that was pre 1950 to a local university for study.  Especially since I had lots of fabrics from the civil war era to the present.  Most of it was unwashed and had been store properly and was still very bright.    This was also the time, that I decided I wanted to keep all of my fabric.  But I quickly realized that this was not going to be possible.  So because of this, I kept two 6 inch squares of every fabric that I would be giving away. 

The reason for this is I wanted to make some charm quilts where every piece was different, and I also wanted to have a piece of every fabric that I owned.  I placed on set in archival boxes organized by the era of the fabric.

Once that was done, I had to decide what to do with all the fabric I didn't want to keep.  Its important at this time to understand that my stash had taken over the entire house.   I had rooms full of fabric, and I have actually broken pieces of furniture because there was to much weight from fabric.  If my fabric collection was breaking the shelves, wooden mind you, what could the damage of all the combined weight cause on the structure of the house I was living in? 

So the great giveaway begins.  I knew that the local Lutheran Church made quilts for relief, as did many other church groups.  However, most of the churches that I contacted wanted only new fabric yardage.  They also didn't want to come pick it up for several weeks, which was just not going to work.  The Lutheran Church was the only group that openly said yes, and were over to pick it up the next day.  They received the most fabric.  And were very happy to receive it.

I also posted on my local freecycle group, and another church group contacted me, and they received a large amount of fabric as well.  Also through freecycle, a group that makes quilts for Mason Homes for Children, drove over three hours to pick up 50 copy paper boxes of fabric.  All these boxes held were pieces that were smaller than a yard, most were quarter and half yard pieces. 

A friend picked up 200 yards to be sent to a 4 H sewing group, that has basically no budget what so ever.

And by large, the most fabric went to the university that collects, and documents historical fabric.  They also took many antique quilt block samples, and instructions.  It was great know that all the stuff I wanted to get rid of was going to places that it was going to be used.  Its also important to know, that about 1/3 of my stash went to fabric recycling.  This is a company that grinds the fabric up and uses it for other things.  I took lots of polyester and blends there.

Was this a large undertaking?  Yes!  If I had that same amount of fabric, would I do it again?  Yes!  The important thing to remember that YOU as an individual must be willing to overlook many things in this process.  For me this was many months in the making.  Just not a spur of the moment choice.  It was something that I followed through on, and me being happy out weighs the actual amount of money that was invested.  I am happy and no amount of money can buy me this. 

Now, people wonder how much fabric I have now, and if I do still buy fabric.  I have about 3,500 yards of fabric.  That sounds like a lot of fabric, but considering how much fabric I had, this is about 1/4 to 1/3.  That makes me happy!  I still buy fabric, I live antique looking scrap quilts, so I still buy vintage fabric if I see it, but only if it makes my heart sing.  If I buy new fabric, its usually muslin, or patriotic colors for Quilts of Valor.

I also still buy batting, thread, and lots of needles.  I also still quilt for charity, and buy things for that.  At the moment I am very happy where I am with my fabric. 

But its important to remember that whatever works for me may not work for you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What have I been up too....and Stash Report.

well sewing of course!  I have been hand piecing, because that's the way I roll.  I have 42 of these crown blocks made.  I just need to decide if I want to set them block to block, or put some sort of sashing between them.  They are large size blocks and measure 12 inches finished.  I love polka dots and solids, and so did my grandmother, so these are made in homage to  her!

The next picture shows some fantastic quilt blocks I found out and about for a buck.  There is 18 of them.  They are great!  Since they appear to be shoes and roses, I think they could be from the late 40's to the mid 50's.  I think of those woman's shoe plant holders from the same era.  I will have to do some awesomeness with these,  I need to find a awesome layout!

Now that I am all cleaned out, and got things settled, and am happy with my stash at this point, I think its fair to start over in a new stash report. 

Also while out and about, I have only been buying things I need.  i.e. batting, backing, etc.  But sometimes I still have the urge to buy vintage fabric, especially if its 50's era modern fabric.  Which I did buy some at a local estate sale.  But I even left some and only bought what I love.

Stash Report:  Starting Over...

Used to Date            5.0 yards
Bought to Date         2.0 yards

And since I still have lots of fabric, I am going to be only keeping track of used and bought.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

World MS Day

 National MS Society

I know that I am a day late, but this is something that is very important to me since I suffer from this disease.  People I feel need to be made more aware of the disease and its debilitating effects on people.  Please help conquer MS!

And now that, that is over, I will be back sometime this weekend with pictures and updates about April, May, and maybe whats coming up in June!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I am still here

Hello!  Man has it ever been a long time since I have blogged.  I just forgot how long it had been until I started receiving e-mails about where was I.  Well, its been busy, I haven't exactly had the time I wanted off from work, they decided to have a alternate location, good for the library, but not so good for me.  So I work a day a week at the local college's library. 

I have been cleaning like mad, and getting things organized and fabric sorted to get rid of.  Major improvements are happening on all levels, which I am very excited about.  But with those major happenings, things are getting a little busy and have had no sewing time what so ever.  Those I will talk about in a later post, once things have been settled down and are slowing down.

Not many of you know that I also do lots of freelance work for others, such as art style quilts.  Personally they are not my favorite quilt to make, because I am so much more traditional in that aspect, but they do earn me some extra money, and every once in a while, I make a couple art quilts for myself.  I don't tend to share those, because I don't think they are very good, but there are a couple art galleries in Omaha, who are very interested in these quilts that I keep tucked away, and they want to plan a gallery opening, which is very exciting for me.  I have a couple more to make to if I ever have time, because I have to have even numbers or a odd number, that looks symetrical, i.e. like 9 quilts or fifteen quilts works for me, but not 7 or say eleven or nineteen.

When the quilts are hung in the gallery, or if they are hung, I will be sure to take pictures to share with everyone.  I have also been getting my class teaching schedule ready for teaching some art classes at the Fremont Art Gallery.  So my life has been busier than normal, and I wish that the weather would certainly make up its mind if its going to be winter or spring.  I am tired of the cold, the wind and the rain.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What a Crazy Week

Its hard to believe that I haven't done any quilting or piecing since the string top.  Things just get in the way, ike life and work.  Right now at work we are busy getting things packed up to move the library temporarily to two different satellite locations because of renovations of the current library location.  Because of the type of working being done to the building everything must come out, and no one can be inside the library.

We are getting a new heating/air conditioning unit, a fire suppression system, new carpeting and the entire two floors of the building will be painted with many updates.  The building isn't that old, it was built in 1969, with lots of mid-century design elements which actually cause many problems in the current heating system.  It has a old boiler that only has two settings cold or hot, and its constantly deciding what it wants to do.  Since the ceilings and the walls need to be opened up, its a good time to update the carpeting with carpet tiles, which makes a lot of sense, since we would realistically only need to replace 4 carpet squares at the most, depending on the problems.

Oh yeah, and our Library Director decided to retire on the day we close.  What perfect timing!  So not!

They are thinking all this work can be done in 6 weeks, which in my mind is very doubtful in my opinion, but no one asked me.  So I have my desk to clean, and to remove everything, while still trying to provide complete service until next week, when we close.  We will have three days to do the packing and moving of the books, which is not a lot of time. So that's why I have been drained when I get home in the evenings.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Blue and Yellow Heartstrings Top COMPLETE!

Here are some quick pics of the finished blue and yellow random string quilt top.  I have a nice piece of blue flannel for the back, and maybe a lightweight batting.  Some curvy quilting might be in my future in a couple days!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Blue and Yellow Heartstrings Blocks

I belong to Heartstrings, and we do special projects every so often.  Today, Mary announced a random blue and yellow string blocks.  So I set right to work and got 48 done.  I am in the process of trimming them now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quilt of Valor Album Blocks

I am done making these!  My final total was 36, less than I hoped to make.  Since red and blue are not my favorite colors, I really don't have much of them.  Then when I get rid of the obviously feminine prints, there is considerably less than what I found.  Some of the blocks have tone on tone floral, but since they are small, I left them in my group. 

Since I am cleaning fabric out, I don't want to add more, so I stopped.  I have 4 nice size pieces that I hate to cut into strings, since I can make a "pattern" quilt for Quilts of Valor. 

Tomorrow I will get them all pressed and ready to go!  Then I think I will start on a Double Irish Chain for QoV in red and blue and cream.  I also have enough Chinese Coins to make a top.  


EDIT:  Here I am back home, and they do have 100% cotton thread in large spools, 1200 yards I believe for $4.94. I bought one.  Then came promptly home and ordered my normal thread.  Good thing I went too, I needed some toilet paper, LOL

How can one run out of thread?  Well I did tonight on the mission of making string blocks.  And what makes it worse is that, the only thread that I do have is only suitable for quilting, via hand or machine.  So apparently I need to make a midnight trip to Wal-Mart and see what kind of thread I can find.  Wish me luck!  As I truly hate the big box store!

Monday, March 29, 2010

QOV Signature Blocks

One of my quilting buddies, Julia, (Hey Julia!) needs help making 500 String Signature blocks by April 30th for the Lincoln, NE Quilts of Valor.  Here are my first 10 blocks done, with many more on the way I hope!  If you want to  help, please let me know, and I will get you in contact with Julia.

Its a good cause, and if you aren't helping you should, its not about politics, its about supporting those people who put their lives on the line for our country.  Whether you agree with the current war or not, its showing that you care, and you support THEM!

Teaching kids to quilt - homeless quilts

I teach many young kids, how to quilt.  Mostly all the items are for charity, more specifically the homeless problem in our area.  By working with the local synagogue we are able to get donations of fabric, and I have found several machines that work for this group.  There is also a second group that I work with and they are more advanced in technique and through the library, we will be able to start making quilts for Quilts of Valor.

So I thought I would share some of the quilts the kids and I made at the synagogue in the past weeks.  They aren't pretty, well they are, but in that unique loving way.  They are very warm, with mattress pads as batting, and flannel on the back.  Two are pieced with cotton on the top, and the pink one is all double knit.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stash Report

Well this is kind of an odd stash report.  In the past three weeks I have gotten rid of over 1000 yards of fabric.  Its hard to think that I have gotten rid of that much fabric, considering, I still have tons more to go through, and more to clean out and to get rid of. 

I know at one time I was feeling completely overwhelmed by my stash.  And I still feel overwhelmed but not nearly as much as I have in the past.  While giving fabric away, I feel a tremendous weight lifting off my shoulders. So much so that I have decided to keep getting rid of fabric.

Last weekend while I gave about 200 yards of fabric to Lori and Henrietta, I felt wonderful knowing that this fabric was going to be used, and it would be used in my lifetime.  Which makes lots of sense, since some of what I gave them had dates of 1952 on the selvage end of the fabric.  Not only did I send fabric, I also sent to unfinished cross stitched tops, that were almost complete.  They were probably from the 50's and 60's.  They were started and never finished.   I hope they get finished, but if they don't, I don't have to worry about them not being finished on my watch! 

With that being said, I see that solid fabric quilts are making a come back. Which is very exciting, since I hand pieced this Trip Around the World quilt top a couple years ago.  I think its going to be next one to be inserted into my hand quilting frame.  Now that I have the picture on blogger, I see it looks almost Amish, but not quite.

Flower Garden Quilts

Have I mentioned how much I love making flower garden quilts.  I have made so many I have lost count.  Tonight I couldn't sleep, so instead of tossing and turning, I decided to get back up, and work on this flower garden top.  The flowers are made out of vintage 50's and 60's fabrics.  There are some funky combination's of fabric, which I love.

Unlike some people who cut their irregular scraps into squares and the like, I tend to cut mine into hexagons.  I love working with them, and if I was to only be able to pick one shape, and one shape only, I would definitely want hexagons.  So many patterns and quilts can be made from the lowly hexagon, and they are certainly not boring to piece together, they provide a bit of a challenge, but once you are used to sewing the hexie together, they are just as fast as any other shape. 

I certainly love to piece them by hand, I can fly through them in no time at all, and I believe I was able to piece all the flower for this quilt with in a fortnight, and tonight I started joining the flowers into rows with four white hexagons between each flower, then every odd numbered row, gets surrounded by white hexies, while the even numbered rows only get the four white hexies between the flowers.  Then the rows are sewn together, with half flowers inserted once the top is complete.  Once that is done, I generally do one row of hexies of white around, then its ready to be quilted.

Don't be afraid of the hexagon, give it a try, and make your own hexagon quilt.  And I don't use English paper piecing, I just cut my hexagons including seam allowance, and piece in a traditional manner.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Little Old Quilt Top

This little quilt top has been laying around for a really long time. And I mean a really long time. The fabric's in it are dress prints, and I think they date to before the turn of the last century.

Its just a simple, wonderful little scrappy nine patches that are set block to block. It took about an hour to quilt it this evening.

I quilted it in a simple cross hatch on my 1948 Singer 66 treadle machine. I really think that it will make a great little quilt to use on a table or a back of a chair. It is roughly 36" x 40", so it would make a good baby quilt as well, though with the fabrics, I certainly wouldn't give it as gift for a baby.

Other than this, the only sewing that I did was finish another quilt as you go, and pieced a set of 80 small nine patches into 20 larger blocks, that I just might set together with muslin, or another solid color. The blocks are mostly sacking, with the printing still visible in a few places.

I did work today, so that's not bad progress. I am off tomorrow, so might just set together those above mentioned quilt blocks, maybe finish setting together a set of string blocks, that I found this evening while looking for a small piece of batting for this quilt top. They are pieced on newspaper, most from the Louisville, KY area. I have no idea where these blocks came from, but they are from the mid to late 70's and I am sure they have at least a touch of blend fabric in them. They are hand pieced on the newspaper. I know many years ago, they used to just quilt the newspaper in, and it would eventually disappear as the quilt was washed. I don't want to waste time picking yellowing newspaper out. I just might quilt it with the newspaper in it. Whats there to loose!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fan Quilt

These are the blocks that a friend gave me at the Nebraska Sew-in. They weren't really attractive, but I do like how they look after they are set together. The bow tie quilt, is some blocks I found while cleaning out my stash!

I really think the fan quilt needs something in the middle, don't you?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fun Times

I must say we had a good time at the Nebraska HeartStrings Sew-in this weekend. It was lots of fun, and I got rid of some mucho stash, thanks to Julia, Lori and Henrietta! There is not much to add differently from all the other blogs, but I am so glad to have had help assembling QAYG blocks!

And since I have had several requests for the directions on how I made the soup here they are:

Vegetable Soup:

1 small head of cabbage
5 to 6 medium size carrots
3 small turnips
1 onion, diced
1 large green pepper diced
2 medium red delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 medium sized potato's
4 oz of beef cut into cubes
1 tsp of thyme
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of basil
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbsp of white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 bag of frozen peas
1 bag of frozen corn

For the soup stock
12 whole unpeeled tomatoes
2 bunches of celery
12 ozs of beef broth
V-8 Vegetable Juice

I make the soup in two days. That's when its best!

To start I run the tomatoes and celery through the juicer, and then add the beef stock. I then add the beef cubes and I simmer on low in a dutch oven until the beef is tender is and cooked through. You must keep a lid on the pot to keep the juice from evaporating.

Next chop and dice all the vegetables and add it to the pot, stir well, and bring to a boil, once the pot is boiling add the herbs, cinnamon, and sugar, making sure you stir until the sugar is dissolved completely or it will scorch on the bottom of the pot.

Reduce the heat and simmer until the turnips are tender. Then I let the pot cool and sit to let the different flavors melt together. Reheat and serve.

This can also be made in a crockpot.


2 pounds of ground beef
1 whole onion chopped
1 large green pepper chopped
1 tbsp sugar
2 cans of kidney beans
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
15 oz of tomato sauce
1 can of chili's
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of thyme
1 tsp of basil
3 cups of beef stock
8 large garlic cloves
2 packages of taco seasoning
3 tbsp of butter

In a large skillet, melt the butter, and the garlic, onion and green pepper, cook until the onions have carmelized. Remove the onions and green pepper from the pan, then add the meat and cook until no pink remains, add the taco seasoning and stir until mixed. If using cast iron soup pot, don't drain the meat, if you are using a regular pan, do drain the meat. Once the taco seasoning is well mixed, add the tomato paste and mix. In your soup pot, add the rest of the the ingredients and mix well, and the meat mixture bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the chili has reach your desired thickness. If it gets to thick, and a little water.

This can also be made in a crockpot, but you will need to cook it uncovered, otherwise it gets really soupy.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stash Report

I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy quilting much more than piecing or applique. Though if you would look at my stack of quilt tops, you would think differently. So while continuing to clean out fabric, finding block sets etc, I have decided that almost all of my stash is going out the door. It has become so cumbersome, that I would rather buy fabric to make a quilt then to actually look at what I have here at the house.

So while I have close to 100 quilt tops that are not finished, these are mine, not ones for donation. And I found almost 30 sets of quilt block sets. Right there is 130 quilts. Now mind you, I don't make doll quilts, wall hangings, table runners etc. I think its great that people do make these, and I do like looking at them, but for my own use I would rather make bed quilts. Quilts that I can use and quilts that I want people to use are the quilts that I want to make, so those 130 quilts, well, they will be eventually, are all bed size.

With this thought, and if I want to make a top, I would rather buy the fabric and make the top and have a small manageable stash that inspires me, then a stash that paralyzes me, which is what I have at the moment.

With that, I am going to be weeding out almost all of my stash. This does not mean I am not going to be quilting any longer, it just means that I am going to do the process that I like to do the best, and that is quilting, more specifically hand quilting. Fabric that I am keeping is going to be yardage that will work for backs of some quilts, and or border's, sashing, etc for the quilt tops and blocks I have. I will also be keeping some scraps for scrappy quilts, and with buying borders, and other fabrics as needed, I think I will feel more at ease with where I am in this new phase of my quilting life. I will also be keeping all charity fabric that was donated to me, and I will continue to make charity quilts for the groups that I make them for now.

With all that being said. Here is my stash report for this week.

This week alone I purged 350 yards of fabric, which made absolutely no dent in room 1 of my stash. It was divided between three church groups, and they were happy to receive it. This might not seem fair to some people, but when you have as much fabric as I have, this doesn't even make a dent in anything. And because I am not actually using my fabric, I just might not do any more stash reports until I am comfortable with the amount of fabric that I actually have.

If any one is coming to the Nebraska sew in for HeartStrings, be prepared to take lots of fabric home with you!

Purchases this week 0.0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: 350.0 yards
Used YTD: 537.5 yards

Running Total 281.0 yards in the black

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stash Report

Well, I finished four quilts this week! Granted they were just tied, but I did use lots of fabric for backing. Not only did I do that, but I got rid of 3 boxes of fabric to the Lutherans to use for LWR quilts. I have so much fabric, I just need to get rid of it. At this point in time any one that will take it and use it for charity can have the old, unloved stuff that I no longer want. As long as they come to my house and pick it up. Its amazing how much fabric one can amass. And no I didn't measure it all, I weighed one yard, then weighed the rest of the fabric in the piles. Quick and easy! Though 24 yards were used for the backs of those four quilts.

I am very happy that I am getting very close to breaking even, I might have to clean more fabric out!

So here are my totals for this week.

Purchases this week 0.0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: 90.0 yards
Used YTD: 187.5 yards

Running Total 69.0 yards in the red

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stash Report

A slow week this time around. No sewing done, nothing bought, so the same as last week.

Purchases this week 0.0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: 0.0 yards
Used YTD: 97.5 yards

Running Total 159.0 yards in the red

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stash Report

Well, wasn't to busy this week. I put together another set of blocks. Some Bear Paw blocks that I found. Other than that, not much sewing this week.

Purchases this week 0.0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: 2.5 yards
Used YTD: 97.5 yards

Running Total 159.0 yards in the red

Edited to add that I made a typing mistake somewhere on my excell, and had the wrong formula on the used YTD, lol, I am almost to 100 yards used this year!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Vintage Quilt Pieces

I can never pass up vintage quilt block sets. They are even harder to pass up with you get EACH set of quilt blocks for $1.50 a set. There are 25 Dresden Plates, 12 18 inch cross stitch blocks, 20 basket blocks, and 12 Applique/Embroidered blocks. The patterns she gave me since I bought the quilt blocks. She said her grandmother made them, and they all date to the 30's except for the Cross Stitch blocks which are probably in the last 20 years. It was a good buy!

Sometimes I take good photo's sometimes not, in this post you can see the mixture!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stash Report

Not much sewing has been going on. Been taking care of other things, like work, fixing the car, taking care of the house, some fun things. However, I was off for three days this weekend, and I was able to cut and complete a quilt top for donation. I have the last row of blocks to add and then it will be finished.

So with that being said, here is this weeks stash report:

Purchases this week 0.0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: 6.0 yards
Used YTD: 80.5 yards

Running Total 161.5 yards in the red

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stash Report

My stash report is the same as last week. Nothing new added, nothing used. I have been knitting this week, and I have just about finished putting the second flower garden together. The first flower garden, which is posted below is almost a 1/4 of the way hand quilted. I did purchase some sets of vintage blocks. I think are from a kit from the 30's. I will take pictures of them later today. I really want to watch East of Eden and it starts in 8 minutes. LOL So here is my numbers this week, same as last week.

Purchases this week 0.0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: o.o yards
Used YTD: 74.5 yards

Running Total 167.5 yards in the red

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stash Report

No new purchases this week, which is excellent! I did very little quilting that used fabric. I am continuing piecing my flower garden top, I have three more blocks to piece, then its time to set the quilt together. I did make 5 night shirts, which used 4 yards of fabric for each one, hence the 20 yards out. That was the extent of my sewing this week.

Purchases this week 0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: 20 yards
Used YTD: 74.5 yards

Running Total 167.5 yards in the red

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lincoln's Platform

A lot have sent me e-mails about a picture of Lincoln's Platform. Its a old pattern, and I made it using metal templates my grandmother had. Its all hand pieced and made out of flour sacking, the cream and the prints. This is a picture of the top before I quilted it. Its hand quilted by the piece. It has 6 flour sacks on the back of the quilt, and I quilted it with cream thread. It was a fun quilt to make and piece. It went together quickly.

I have also noticed that this quilt pattern is also called Road to the White House, and the original pattern that was folded with the templates was called Roosevelt's Trip, the newspaper is dated 1934. Its set block to block. They are large blocks, they measure 14 inches finished.

Stash Report

Well I was busy this past week. I pieced 5 tops out of 6 inch squares, those go FAST. I also made the backs for them, and cut the binding. So that was an easy 30 Yards out of the stash. The other two yards was the sashing for the quilt as you go. I am not counting the flower garden since they were already cut. But I will count the backing which was 6 yards. Its already on the frame. So I think I will have no problem using the fabric I bought. Well I hope I don't. I also used another two yards for binding the Lincoln Platform Quilt.

Purchases this week 0 yds
Purchases YTD: 256.5 yards

Used this week: 40 yards
Used YTD: 54.5 yards

Running Total 187.5 yards in the red

Friday, January 15, 2010


The first set of blocks have been assembled! In orange no doubt. I love this quilt, and I am sure it will make some one very happy! As you can see the backs look as great as the fronts of the quilt! These blocks were made by Jackie in New Jersey.