Friday, August 19, 2011

Quilting for Alzheimer's Research

I'm pleased to be able to able to assist Ami and her crew in their endeavor to fund Alzheimer's research.  Check out how you can help too... even the non-sewers...

These little quilts are about 8x11", made from scraps left over from the piano key border on my Liberated Quilt Challenge.  I then layered them with batting and backing and hand quilted them using perle cotton.  The top one is done in triangles and the bottom one is done with clamshell shapes.  The photos are a bit funky since the light is yellow in the library at night, but they are bright and cheerful and hopefully someone at the Houston Quilt Show will find them fun and purchase them.  The top one is dedicated to the memory of Grandma S and those that loved her and the bottom one is for Terri's Grandma and those that love her.  I'm happy to be doing anything that might help us find a cure for this dreadful disease.   

Thursday, August 4, 2011

No baby, but I have the blanket!

I took this off the loom last week.  It took forever, mostly since I have been too busy quilting to go to weaving class much, but it is done and I do like it.  I tend to do rag rugs and projects using chunky yarn on the loom, so this is one of my first real attempts in 30 years of weaving to really do a consistent pattern and the lacy boxes turned out beautiful and pretty much square!  The blanket is 36x42" and finished with bias binding. 

Blues is finished and on the bed

It is quilted with a medium sized meander that I just freehanded, it came off the long arm on the Tues, I bound it on Wednesday in the really dark blue, and washed and dried it this evening.  It did shrink up a bit, from 102x102 to 97x97, but is still plenty large enough for the king sized bed and H even said it looked nice.  I could get so much more done if I just didn't have the day job...   

Inspired by the Red and White Quilts

After seeing photos on-line of the fabulous red and white quilt exhibit in New York, I had to make my own.  I used lots of scrappy reds, everything from almost orange to almost purple, with a scrappy white to gold background, framed it in black and bordered it with more dark red.  The stars are 8" blocks, there are 11 across and 11 down, with a 1" black frame and a 8" red border.  I plan to bind it in red too.  It ended up being 98x98" but will shrink up some with quilting and washing.  I think I will quilt it with a simple grid pattern across the stars.  Next week...   

Monday, August 1, 2011


I have finally gotten the Blues quilt on the long arm.  I'm doing an all over swirly pattern and although it's a practice piece and for our bed, which means the dogs will be on it, I think it's going to look good.  I haven't done anything on the long arm since K's quilt in May, so I had to look up all the directions again. a couple weeks, H and I are attending the classes that came with the quilter and I needed to get in some practice.  The funnest (I know, I'm making up words) part of this was that I couldn't find the perfect backing fabric so I bought something and then dyed it the color that I wanted it.  I'll take a photo of the backing when I get it off the long arm...    

A Wacky Bird

I took a class with Suzanne Marshall in Ann Arbor last Friday on hand appliqueing.  I made a wacky bird using one of her patterns and then embroidered a swirly tail, head dress, and eye lashes to dress him up a bit.  I took it with a friend and it was alot of fun.  The background for this is one of my hand dyed pieces of fabric that I made a few weeks ago.  I'm pleased with him.  I think he will make a cool bag or pillow.   

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I had such a good time with the blue piano key border on the Liberated Round Robin that I bought a couple more 1/2 yard cuts of blue batik and made a window pane style quilt top.  I saw the inspiration for this in one of this month's quilt magazines.  This one is bigger, 102 x 102", since it is for my king sized bed.  I needed something that the dog hair wouldn't show on too badly.  The sashing, which looks black in the photo, is really 4 shades of dark navy blue batiks and the panes are different shades of blue and blue-green batiks.  It is more modern looking than I intended, but since my room is painted a fairly deep yellow and I have woven denim rag rugs on the floor with cherry shaker style furniture, it looks good.  I started it Sunday afternoon and finished it last night.  It will sit on the quilt rack until next week when I have time to put it on the longarm and get it quilted.  I'm thinking that I will do a freehand all-over leaf pattern for quilting.  I intend to tightly quilt since the dogs will be sleeping on it at night.  I'm pleased with it right now.  We'll see how the quilting goes, I haven't had time since May to do anything with the long-arm and I am really looking forward to the long-arm classes in August.   

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lib Quilters Round Robin

My liberated quilters round robin is starting to take shape.  I deleted some of the triangles and added log cabins.  I needed a border and added some more color.  So far, everything is from scraps and the stash.  I cut way too many strips to start with and then made too many log cabins too.  I originally thought I would put cabins all the way around, but I really like this design better.  So in order to get this much quilt top...I have extra pink triangles (and the triangles that I made and didn't use), extra log cabins, extra pink strips, and extra blue piano keys.  Hmmm... enough for another quilt.  I always seem to do everything twice.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Row x Row and Round Robin

I am doing two completely different versions of small quilts.  Talk about differences in style.  The first one is for my guild.  We are doing a row by row challenge and passing it to someone different each month for 4 months.  We had the option of choosing our fabrics or letting the others choose for us.  This is my challenge for this month.  She wants me to use these background fabrics and her theme is stars.  It will be a challenge for me as these are not my colors and I will have to be different.  Hmmm.  More to come. 

The second photo is the Liberated Round Robin for my on-line group.  We started with a center block of our own design, some were simple and some very complicated.  You can see check out others on this blog  This round robin is different than others because we each do our own rows following directions given to us.  This month was triangles.  I liked these colors and the simple word, but since it is supposed to be design as you go, I didn't really think about colors for the next row.  This is the second set of triangular blocks that I have made.  The first were very cool, very liberated, but much too dark for the off-white background of the center block.  I have saved them and may use them later in the quilt.  I'm still not terribly pleased with my start, but have to trust that it will come together in the end.  On June 10th we find out what the next round should look like.  I need more colors next time... and more liberated...    

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And the Quilting Journey Continues...My New LongArm

I know, it's huge.  A new Gammill Long Arm Quilter with a 12' stand.  I can do free motion, meaning self-guided, and follow pantographs (stencils) with a laser.  We bought a few pantographs to try it out on, but so far, I have finshed and bound the 2 baby quilts (and given them to the twins, who are ADORABLE!) and finished the spiderweb that is on the quilter and have only done free-motion.  I did daisy type flowers on the baby quilts and big spirals on the spiderweb.  It is very easy and quick to do fairly big, all over designs, but to have any real style is going to take some time and lots of practice.  I have a few more practice quilts already made and am starting a couple more soon, in between doing the big applique and hand quilted projects. 

Lots of things are going on, but if it doesn't stop raining soon, I'm not going to get to do a garden this year.  I can only imagine how wet the field is where I put the garden last year and even my flower beds are saturated.  Flint has gotten 8.19" of rain this month and that is 5.5" above normal.  Stunningly, we are at the historic high for the month of May and it is only May 18.  The little woods behind our house is completely flooded out. 

Tonight we are heading out for Vermont to help my niece celebrate her graduation from UVM.  I'm pretty excited to see my sister and her family since we weren't able to get together after Christmas this year.  AND Monday, I'm going to the Shelburne Museum to see the antique quilts.  You can't get a much better weekend than that.  I hope your weekend is lovely too.      

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bird Haven

 Bird Haven is a new applique project.  I am taking a class at the local quilt store with a couple friends.  The class starts next week, but I picked up the pattern last week and as you can see in the second photo, have a few of the blocks already done and a couple more started.  They aren't trimmed or blocked yet, but at least a couple of them are done except the embroidery.  The basket block will have ruched roses in it and there are a couple more blocks with ruched flowers too.  I am going to let Nancy show me how to make those next week.  For some reason, this quilt seemed to call out for pastels, or maybe it's just spring...  The rose fabric in the top left corner will be the border and I pulled the other colors from it.  A couple colors came from the stash and are left-overs from Kate's quilt but I did purchase some fabric when I bought the border fabric.  It's different from anything I've made in a while, but it will be fun to work on it with the women in this class.    

I have also been hand quilting on the oak reel quilt.  I have it all marked with wreaths of oak leaves in the empty blocks and a border of oak leaves and acorns on all 4 corners.  After I get those quilted, I'm going to do a fairly close set diamond design over the whole quilt, so this is a long term project.  I have one wreath done and 3 to go...   

My guild's quilt show is next week and I will be busy Thurs, Fri and Sat.  I'll help set up on Thursday and do white glove, help with food, take tickets and whatever else is needed during the show on Fri and Sat.  On Thursday, I'll drop off my Star Light, Star Bright quilt and the hand quilted baby sized quilt to be in the show.  One very wonky and one very traditional...  I'm really looking forward to seeing them hang in the show.  The show is every two years.  My goal is to get the hand quilted oak reels quilt into the next one.   
This is the center for a medallion quilt.  We have Quilters Night Out once a month and we are working on different border and sashing designs.  You could do a row by row quilt with each design or you could do a medallion quilt and put the borders around the medallion.  I had seen a feathered star quilt in the NY Red and White Quilt Show a couple weeks ago and thought it looked pretty cool.  I hadn't pieced a feathered star before, but I was really careful and it turned out pretty well, meaning the points more or less match.  I really like the scrappy reds, which is a good thing because I got carried away cutting fabric and must have 500 triangles of various red fabrics, so several of my borders will be done with triangles.  Fortunately we are doing a pinwheel design in May so that will take a few more... I only have 300 or so of the white/cream/gold triangles...  this star is only 16 x 16 so it will take many borders to make this a bed sized quilt.      

Monday, April 11, 2011


I know, it has been forever since I have written.  There just isn't much to take pictures of...  or write about.  Everything is in progress.  I'm in the middle of a really cool basket-making project at basket guild, have marked and just started hand quilting the oak reel quilt (which is going to take me about a hundred years, I have over-estimated my hand quilting abilities to the point where I seriously hope I live long enough to finish this), have finished 3! knitted dishclothes, am about 3/4 done with the baby blanket on the loom, have signed up for another applique quilt class at the LQS (because some really good appliquers are taking the class and I will get better just being around them), and best of all, tomorrow Harold and I are off to order my new Gammill long arm quilter.  It will be really cool to be able to quilt my own tops.  Harold also thinks that I should learn a skill that has the potential to make money (to support my "therapies"), and since I told him that I needed a lot of practice and I don't retire for 4 years, well, you get the picture.  I think I have 4 years to practice, Harold, of course thinks I really only need 4 months of practice... we will see.  He even went down to Detroit with me to see the quilt show last weekend so he could check out the "competition".  I'm not going to be "competition" for a long time.  I think we are going to one of the big national quilt shows this summer, so he can see real machine quilting...  Anyway, I have 4 full size and 4 baby quilts waiting for the LAQ so I will have plenty to practice on for a while.  The baby quilts will be first, since the babies are all here...  It will be a couple weeks and I'll post photos when I get it.           

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ideas and Snow

This is some of my new reading material; Amish quilts, Susan McCord's fabulous appliques from the Henry Ford, Gwen's wonderful quilting, Ami's stitches, and Tonya's words.  Enough ideas for dozens of quilt designs, now I just have to find enough time to get some of them onto fabric.  I love having lots of options and opportunities to try new things.     

This is March 24 in my back yard in mid-Michigan.  Last week was in the 40 and 50s, all the snow melted, and I went to buy seeds.  Hmmm...this week we got 5" of snow and 1/2" of ice on Tuesday night and it is still hanging around in the trees.  I'm going to be optimistic and pretend that spring really is here.  Tomorrow I start my tomato, basil, and flower seeds in flats in the florida room.  It will be good to see little green stuff.  It's time.      

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Still Knitting and the World Wide Swap

Okay, TWO dishcloths have been completely knitted.   They aren't perfect, but as Nita keeps telling me, "they are dishcloths". 

On the other front, the on line quilting group that I belong to is having a world wide swap.  I just spent two hours foraging in the boxes in the florida room to find my extra pieces, strings, buttons, and bows.  Tomorrow these will be going to Connecticut and I will be getting a package from California.  It is worldwide because we also have members participating from Australia, France, Panama, and Germany.  Harold is less than impressed that we are shipping fabric scraps across 4 continents.  I think it is totally cool! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Knitting, not Purling...The Dish Cloth

Okay, once again, Nita is teaching me to knit, notice that I did not say purl...yet, only knit.  My next lesson is purl.  I decided to figure them out one at a time.  It doesn't seem like it should be difficult, however, my motor memory seems to be faulty when it comes to knitting.  Of course, practice would help...and practicing oftener than every 2 months would be even better.  I will figure this out, even though I have to admit, I'm not sure that dish cloths are really worth the time or money for cotton yarn....but I need to make something to start.  Don't look really close though, every time I said that I had made a mistake, she said "keep going, it's a dishcloth". 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oak Leaf Applique and Kids

I have not been blogging, but I have been busy.  This was spring break week for the kids' colleges and they both went out of town to visit their sisters and then spent a couple days at home and Chrissy brought her housemate too.  It was a lot of fun.  We went to Detroit and the Eastern Market yesterday, drove around Belle Isle and down Jefferson so she could see where they made the Chrysler commercial.  We had lunch at PF Changs and walked around Somerset eating Godivas.  Chrissy drank Starbucks again and again, since she can't get it up north.  But back to school today... 
The Oak Leaf Applique
I started this applique about a month ago.  I was thinking about maybe hand quilting a whole cloth  quilt when I saw this style in an old magazine.  I loved the oak reels and with big spaces between them, I'll have lots of room for fancy hand quilting.  The blocks are 25" with a 2" green border and a 5" white border.  (It's amazing how big and white 25x25" blocks can be when you are going to fill them up with stitches.)  I used white Kona muslin for the background and 1948 Roses by Maywood Studios for the varigated green applique and border.  It does have a fairly distinctive rose pattern in the green, but it was exactly the shades of green that I was looking for and I don't think it bother me when it's done.  I'm going to wash and dry it so I understand how it shrinks and then hand quilt it.  When it's done, I'm thinking about maybe tea dying it to give it a more vintage look and take some of the whiteness out of the background.  The next step is to decide on quilting patterns.  This one will take some real time.  Postscript...thanks to Harold for holding it for the photo (it was starting to snow).     

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Free Day at Basket Guild

I think we all had a good time.  It was our guild's, Mid Michigan Basket Weavers, free class day.  We had 10 new weavers looking for entertainment on a snowy Saturday.  We offered supplies, tools, instructions, lunch, and chit chat and they made small market baskets.  Everyone finished their basket and seemed pleased.  A couple people signed up to join guild (always a good thing) and I think a couple more may be back too.  It's a nice weekend; Chrissy is home from school with her roommate for the weekend and we had a good day making baskets.  I'm always grateful for family and fellowship with like minded women.    

Monday, February 28, 2011

Putts, Spider Webs, and Koi

 I laid the spider web quilt top out on the floor to see the finished product (in case you can't tell, I put a few flying geese down each side) and Putts had to investigate.  She often "helps" me quilt, consequently pet hair is one of my distinguishing marks.  I apologize if I give you a quilt with hair, but with Putts "helping" at every step of the way and the 2 dogs vying for attention, every stitch seems to have a bit of padding.  It is especially noticeable (at least to me) in the hand quilting and applique because I have to take off my glasses and get very close in order to sew and I see every hair... 

This wallhanging is for Dick, my brother in law.  I know he likes oriental gardens so when I saw these Kaufmann panels, I thought that he might like them as a wallhanging in his home office.  I used Maywood Shadowplay fabric as the sashing and appliqued the circles.  I didn't want to have it machine quilted as I wanted the piece to be more open, so I used big stitches and hand quilted it using some gold colored silk thread.  I hand quilted the inside and outside of each seam and around the inside and outside of the circles and along the koi stream.  These pictures aren't terribly good as they were taken on the floor of the library as I was trying to get the best light after dark to take the pictures.  I did learn that the Maywood shrunk more than the panels after I laundered it (to get rid of the majority of cat hair) so I put rod pockets at the top and bottom of the back hoping that it will hang flatter with 2 rods.  I enjoyed making it and I think he will like it.  It's a good thing to bring your gardens inside in February in Vermont.  To that end, I have in progress a much wilder garden hanging for my wall too.  Next time.       

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Galloping Moss and Big Stitches

At this site, you can see photos of moss "galloping" down the slope of stromatalitic limestones (remember Don, like the stuff we looked at last summer off the road behind the hardware in Marquette).  I believe I have also seen this phenonmen on rocks in the UP, although not on the stromatolites...  I will be looking this summer and post photos if I can find them. (and you guys thought we were just going to the wedding...)  Cool website, check it out.  Botany pics every day. 

I returned last weekend from another quilting retreat with P, R, and K at R's cabin.  It was a blast.  3 trips to the local quilt stores, lots of great food and drink, laughter, and funny stories.  I took 6 quilts to work on, didn't actually do much on any of those, but found a perfect fabric for another one and am finishing that up this week.  It's a gift, so you'll have to wait for a photo, but I tried out "big stitch" hand quilting for the first time and am really enjoying it.  You can cover alot of area quickly and I really like the way it looks on this piece.  It will actually contribute to the quilt top and not just hold it together.  I've also been looking through all the quilt magazines that I have been collecting for our guild quilt show in April, and have found at least 100 more patterns, styles, and color combinations that I just HAVE to try out.  I have to live a LONG time.     

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Moonlight and Strings

This is Winter Moonlight hanging on the wall in the library and though I still need practice quilting, piecing, and making letters, I like it.  And since my goal was to get it completed by this Friday, I made the goal, but it took many, many, many hours over the holidays to get it quilted. 

This is a spiderweb styled string quilt.  I started it on Sat evening and have 6 blocks together and another 6 blocks made, but not yet together.  I will use the dark blue batik for a sashing, border it with more strings, and then use the dark blue again for the binding.  The top should be done by the weekend.  I think this one may go to the longarm quilter for an all-over pattern.  It will definitely not be hand quilted, see lessons learned for Winter Moonlight.  All that fabric bunched together makes for really hard going with a needle and thread.     
This photo was taken by Pam, my sister in law.  She thought it would be a good inspiration for a quilt.  It is, but she paints beautifully and I can hardly wait to see these paperwhites painted.  I think she takes lovely photos too.  I love the sunlight coming through the fading, translucent flower petals.  The golds and greens are gorgeous.    

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Moonlight is finished!

I have finished hand quilting Winter Moonlight and have it bound, laundered, and hung on the wall in the library.  And though I can't show you a picture because Don still has my camera, it looks great.  I made a few mistakes with this quilt.  Knowing that I wanted to handquilt, there were several things that I should have thought of before I put this together...pressing seams so I didn't have bunching at every intersection, doing a much better job of piecing since the quilting accentuated all the little triangles, and planning the quilting process in the beginning so I didn't get stymied at the end and had to freehand some stars to fill in the blanks.  But in spite of all still looks great (especially from more than 8" away) and I really like it hanging there. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blogging Hiatus

I am, by necessity, taking a break from blogging.  The computer monitor died a couple days after Christmas and the computer is old enough that nothing is worth repairing or replacing.  I do have a new droid phone with all the bells and whistles, and although I can access my blog, I can't seem to be able to actually insert text, so I'm using Don's Apple to write this and hopefully within a couple weeks, we will have a new computer.  And since I am furiously handquilting the Winter Moonlight piece and am almost done, I will have photos of that as well as news of a new project or two in a couple weeks.   I did sign up today for a new hand applique class at the local quilt store, but it doesn't start until the end of April so there is lots of time between now and then to get a couple new projects off the ground.  I actually made a list of things that were completed in 2010 and was pleasantly surprised, so I hope that 2011 is productive for me and happy and healthy for you.