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