Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The third and final doll quilt...

The third reproduction doll quilt is done!  (see my last post for the first two...)  Mary Jones pieced these little beauties and I got to hand quilt them and give them back to her for binding (to me, that's like getting to play with the baby, then hand it back to mama to change the diaper!).
They are store samples to help sell reproduction fabrics and this great book, out of which all three little quilts came, at one of our LQS.
All of these quilt patterns are so nice and finish up quickly with scraps and a little time.  There is also some interesting historical reading in this book.  Just lovely.

Stay tuned...the chickens are coming in the next post...

Does anyone know a good online source for Moda Bella solids??

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cute little doll quilts...DONE!!

I have finished hand quilting all three of Mary Jones' reproduction doll quilts and she has bound the first two.
Her piecing work is absolutely perfect and color choices amazing.  My crappy photography doesn't show it, but everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is square, straight and perfectly true in every way.  (Any pointers out there on how to make a perfectly rectangular quilt look like a perfect rectangle in a picture??)  No marking required for the first little quilt.  I quilted through the center squares on every diagonal and did a chevron design in the outer border, outlining part of the flying geese blocks.
This second one, a "broken dishes" pattern, has little hearts quilted to soften the blocks and a swag around the outside border with more hearts in the outer corners.  The inner blocks are also quilted on the diagonal.

I will photograph the third one when I see Mary again...I'm sure she has it bound by now, as, in addition to being so gosh darn precise, she is SPEEDY!!

If you have never checked out Fun With Barb and Mary, you really need to!  Barb has a great sense of humor, interesting posts, and does beautiful work.  In her latest post, she shows apple core shapes of Halloween fabrics for a project she laid out on at a retreat.  She would LOVE some tips on machine piecing them.  It will be a stunning project.  If you have some valuable experience with this kind of project, please help her out and leave a comment.  I would love to see her finish this project so that I can copy it, LOL!  After all, imitation IS the highest form of flattery!  (with all credit given, where credit is due, of course...)

Barb is also working on a selvage project that is really cool!  As I told Barb, I wish I had a dime for every selvage I've ever discarded, then I would have more money to buy fabric (and more selvages, more dimes, more fabric, and more selvages.....).  It seems like I was telling someone in the class I was teaching yesterday about all the cool things you could do with those selvages...(hey Laura, click on the link above!).

Well, I suppose I've procrastinated enough at this point.  I am supposed to be cutting in and painting two bathroom ceilings.  Doesn't that sound exciting?!?  I will be dreaming about quilting while I am working. 

One of the bathrooms is my infamous "chicken bathroom," which houses chicken quilts and related artifacts that used to occupy my "chicken kitchen" in my previous house.  I had to take everything down to paint, so I should take and post pictures.  These two quilts started some vicious rumor a few years back that I collect chicken related fabrics.  As a result of this overstated rumor, I have an overflowing tub of chicken fabrics.  The result of this tub was using a "chicken theme" on an "around the block" round robin quilt with 10 other very talented quilters (I thought picking this theme and piecing the back for the resulting quilt would get rid of all the chicken fabric).  HA!

Now I have a tub of chicken fabrics that is twice as big.

How does this happen??

I will post the chicken quilts and discuss the ever exploding chicken fabric bin next time.

Have you ever been falsely labeled the collector of a certain kind of fabric...like chickens, Elvis, mushrooms, owls, witchcraft/wizardry?  Do tell!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)



Thursday, September 23, 2010

The third one is the charm...

Ahhhh.  I've been in hand quilting Heaven while doing a little stitching on three lovely reproduction doll quilts that my friend Mary Jones pieced as store samples for one of our LQS.  Her fabric choices and piecing are amazing...and just look at her basting!  She could sell them basted like that and call it hand quilted!!  LOL

I've already done the hand quilting on two others, which I returned to Mary yesterday so that she could bind them.. This is the third one.  I will post more pictures of all three of them when they are all finished.

Hand quilting is my favorite part of the quilt making process.  It is my therapy.  I love the repetitive motion of the "rocking" when making the stitches and the feel of the 2-dimensional pieced top becoming softly 3-dimensional in my hands.  I enjoy getting to examine all the fabrics "up close and personal" as I take my stitches.  Coming up with quilting patterns feeds my creativity and, sometimes, my sense of humor.

I knew life had been stressful lately, but taking some time to calmly do some quilting has been fabulous!  And each of Mary's lovely doll tops is so small that I can quilt them quickly and get the rush of a "finish."  I got them from her on Tuesday late morning, and I finished the second one yesterday (Wednesday) - they do go quickly!!

On an unrelated, but exciting topic...Jane at Jane's Fabrics and Quilts is giving away an AccuQuilt GO! on October 1, so check that out.  It has been fun watching people blog about the GO!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Local" Quilt Show Today!

There is a "local" Quilt Show today in my neighborhood!  The location?  Block #8 of "All Around the Town" (pattern by Sue Garman).  The block measures 18 x 13 inches and will be the bottom, left-hand corner of the quilt.  Here's the picture of the pattern front:
Four more blocks to go, then I can add the "road" (a skinny stop border), the cars, and the wider outer border. 

I am also going to add a few more things in the front yards of some of the houses...this quilt needs some dogs, cats, perhaps some "lawn art" (maybe a tiny garden gnome??), and a cart with either watermelons or pumpkins for sale - maybe BOTH!

Have a great day in YOUR neighborhood and thanks for attending the Quilt Show in mine!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm so proud of these two BIG finishes!  Above is my Baltimore Album and below you will find my Schoolhouse quilt:
And now the truth...they are really very TINY finishes...for my next "All Around the Town" block (#8).  LOL! 

Here they are in proper perspective (don't you just love the scissoroo scissors from Natima of NotJustNat?!?).
Every time I find a tiny scale "cheater cloth" fabric, I snatch a little up and stash it like a late summer squirrel with a big, juicy nut!  I never know when I'll need a tiny quilt in an applique project.  I hope to be back with the finished block soon.  I used one of these fabulous, fakie, quilty fabrics in one of my original blocks from my Civil War Bride Quilt as well, finished last spring.  This was my "family portrait" block (that's my daughter behind the book).
I thought about making the tiny quilts actual 3-D quilts, complete with batting, backing and quilting, but this is an unusual quilt and I'm not sure if it will be on a large table or hung on the wall, most likely hung on a wall.

Thanks for letting me pull your leg!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


Monday, September 13, 2010

All Around the Town - Block #7...


Yippee!  Another block closer to the finish of All Around the Town.  This one is called the "cat house."  I'm glad my kitty isn't this big...he would eat me out of house and home.  (When they say "he's lies AROUND the house," they mean it!!)

I've got most of the pieces to the next block,the bottom left-hand corner, "quilt show today," prepped and ready to assemble.  I just need to make a couple of miniature quilt tops for the grassy lawn first.

Here are the first 6 blocks (the right half of the quilt).
And here is the picture from the front of the pattern (it is by Sue Garmon).

Have a great day in your town!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, September 10, 2010

29 log cabins, some prep work and SCISSOROOS...

I have a lovely pile of 29 log cabin blocks finished for making a modified version of "Chelsea Cottage" from You're Invited! by Blackbird Designs.  This is a U.F.O. that I am trying to finish for my sister, Laurie (long overdue...).
I am making the quilt slightly larger, so I am using 10 inch log cabin blocks rather than 8 inch.  The blocks are scrappy green and neutral with black centers.  This means my appliqued house block will need to be larger and therefore will need more stuff in it...like some trees, maybe.  That will be fun.
I have also prepped these applique pieces for my next 2 blocks of "All Around the Town" by Sue Garmon.  Fun, fun, fun!
And even more fun...just look at the lovelies I got in the mail today from Natima of NotJustNat (all the way from Australia!!).  Scissoroos (little snips with a kangaroo on them!), a really cool needle case, and a lovely card.  Here is a close up of the scissoroos - ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!!!!  Thank you, thank you - I will treasure them ALWAYS!
And you may have noticed a button on my blog from Singing With Birds - apparently my nephew's baby quilt caught her eye and it was chosen as one for her "Five on Friday."  Thank you for the honor!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bonnie Lehman - a humble, but heartfelt, tribute...

I just read on Barbara Brackman's blog about the passing of Bonnie Lehman, who started Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, now Quilter's Newsletter.  It caused a sad and unexpected lump in my throat. 

Even though my grandmother quilted, I didn't start quilting until 1982 when my grandmother was in her last year of life and very sick.  She gave me her last quilt, A Grandmother's Flower garden, hand pieced of scraps from some of my hilarious homemade wardrobe through the seventies (when I was a teenager).  Here's a picture of her treasured last quilt (Weasley is checking it out):
I am a self-taught sewer and quilter who made (and still makes!) embarrassing mistakes on quilts (and clothes!).  Here's my first attempt at making a quilt...a hand pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden (still unfinished...currently one of those dusty U.F.O.'s (or P.I.G.S. - projects in grocery sacks...).  And I had never even heard of English paper piecing!  LOL!

Get a load of all that calico and the bright cotton/poly blue blend that I put the flowers together with (that blue was left over from making my college dorm curtain!)  Back then, there weren't a lot of good "how to" books out there to help floundering quilters like me.  Thank God I found Quilter's Newsletter Magazine!!  It was my first subscription to any kind of magazine in my life, and I was always hungrily looking for the next issue.

I loved the patterns, the articles, but especially editorial articles by Helen Kelly, who also died in the last couple of years.  Reading the magazine made me feel connected to the quilting community, which was great for me as a young college student, busy studying chemistry and music at Auburn University.

It was publications like Bonnie's that brought quilting "out from under the bed" for all of us.  When I first started sewing and quilting, the choice of 100% cotton fabrics was the pits!  Now look where we are, baby!  (Does this mean I can blame her for the hoarded stash in my basement?!?)

I made this Lemoyne Star quilt, unfortunately, before I learned the proper way to piece an 8-pointed star.  I think this dates from 1984.
Just look at all that plain muslin and cute calico prints!  And no one told me that the quilting cross-hatching (or echo quilting) from area to area had to be the same size and scale!!  HILARIOUS!!

Then look at how much hand quilting it took to get the star center to lie flat and not resemble a circus tent!!
I used to use plain muslin on all my backings and fold the back to the front for my lumpy binding.  OMG!

It's a little scary and humbling, showing you the "dreaded Lemoyne Star."  I feel a little like "my knickers are showing..."  I donated that quilt for an unknown baby years ago - I almost wish I still had the quilt (glad I at least have a couple of bad photos), and I know the baby didn't care, or even appreciate, how funny his or her quilt really was...smile).

I am so grateful for all the books, patterns and magazines that we have now.  I feel like Bonnie Lehman started all of it (I may be a little biased...).  I love all the new modern patterns we have now (not to mention the option of machine quilting), but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the older classics that I learned about from the earlier days of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine and the feel of quilts that are hand quilted.

(The first quilt picture on this post is a hand pieced scrappy bowtie quilt - I got the pattern for the bowtie square from QNM many years ago.  I used to keep little fabric pieces in a baggie in my purse to hand piece when I had a spare moment.  It is one of my U.F.O.'s - I just need to finish hand quilting the corners of the borders.  In Bonnie's honor, I will push myself to finally finish this quilt!)

In stitches (and in memory),
Teresa  :o)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

EXTREMELY rewarding finish - and an end to the "procrastination situation"

Little Asa's baby quilt is done!!  Mostly hand-pieced/appliqued (except for two skinny outer borders) and hand quilted.  I washed it to remove any residual Elmer's glue stick and cat hair (my sister is very allergic - to cats, not glue).  The washing gave it a nice, soft, slightly puckered patina.  I think I will call it Perpetual Motion...if Asa is anything like his Dad, he will be active.   :o)
He recently turned 6 months old...not quite yet in college, but still I am embarrassed about how long it took me to get my rear in gear to get this done.
I got the idea and initial method from Kellie at Don't Look Now.  You should check her site out and see what other's are doing with this quilt-along.  I made mine smaller than most people.  The first steps were easy and fun for me, and I just zoomed right along. 
When it came to connecting all my little circles to make a continuous pattern, I got bogged down and had to put it away for a while.  I have had so much quilt guilt over this thing! 
After singing several rounds of "I am woman, hear me roar..." (any Helen Reddy fans out there?!?), I decided to jump back in and just get it done.  As things usually happen in these procrastination situations, it wasn't near as bad as I thought it was going to be...I had let my perfectionism problem get in my way.  When I finally decided to (in Ola's words) "just let 'er rip," it went together fine.

What's the worst that could of happened?  I mean, if it stunk, I could have lumped it all in the rubbish bin and made a clean start with another project.  I wasted several months sitting and stewing over it, and by the time I did approach the boxed project again, I could have made and hand quilted multiple baby quilts.

We quilters are our own worst enemies sometimes.  Maybe this is why we have so many U.F.O.'s (unfinished objects), P.I.G.S. (projects in grocery sacks), and D.P.B.'s (dusty project boxes) on our shelves, hidden under beds and buried in closets...self doubt and lack of confidence.

Maybe we worry too much about how perfect something is going to turn out and put it away, afraid that it may hurt whatever quilt reputation we may have or not live up to what we had envisioned in our heads in the first place.

Quilting is supposed to BE my therapy, not make me NEED therapy, for Pete's sake!!

(and who WAS "Pete," anyway?)

Sorry it took so long to finish, Lainie (and little Asa)!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Some vintage Teresa - take two...

Still painting the bedroom, so nothing new to share today...more vintage projects, though.  I'm starting my Christmas lists, so it was good for me to re-visit some of these projects.  I did get some more hand quilting done on little Asa's quilt last night, after removing paint from my hands.  I hope to be finished with that soon! 
This wall handing was in a quilt magazine a couple of years ago (I can't find the issue right now...).  I think it was called A Partridge in a Pear Tree and features detachable pear-shaped ornaments that hang from little red buttons on the simple tree.  It was hand appliqued, machine pieced and hand quilted.  Here's a closer look at the ornaments:
This fun little wall hanging was made for a friend...I loved the phrase, then made the tiny rail fence blocks to put around it.  It was hand quilted, in the ditch on the fence blocks and in the background of the stitchery.
This next wall hanging is a birthday keeper from Nancy Halvorsen and Art to Heart.  I made a couple of these, for parents and parent-in-laws, but never made one for me (sad face).  I need one for myself!  I cheated on the applique and just used heavy duty Heat and Bond and just fused.  I knew this would never be washed (and that it might need to be updated and re-done at some point).  I did hand quilt it, though.
I liked these three projects because they made nice gifts and were fairly unique.  Thanks for letting me go down memory lane...this also motivates me toward thinking about THIS YEAR'S Christmas gifts - the clock is ticking!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)