Archive for March, 2008

Harvest Spice Fabric Quilt

March 27, 2008

I have had this fabric for quite some time and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with it. I didn’t particularly like the pattern for the fabric so I just “winged” it and came up with this quilt. I’m afraid my feathers are not quite what I had hoped but this is only the 2nd quilt I’ve done feathers on. Also, the borders were 11″ wide which gave me a lot of area to cover. After I finished, I thought of other ways I could have done them but, they are as they are.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and please, don’t be too critical.

Happy quilting!

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Heritage

March 16, 2008

Several of my favorite bloggers have had blogs of their granddaughters taking up sewing in some form or another. These blogs brought to mind my own legacy.

My great grandmother raised my mother and aunt after the death of their mother. My first memory of Granny was going into her house to find all kinds of handwork displayed. She had a one room house with an enclosed porch. On Granny’s bed were dolls with beautiful crocheted dresses that would make them stand up. She also had pillows made from gingham that were smocked into beautiful flowers. Everywhere you looked there was something, either on the walls, the bed, the table, the chair, that had something made with Granny’s hands. Even the dresses she wore were made with her hands. My other grandmother, Nanny, also had a house full of items she made. She kept a little paper sack sitting on the table next to her chair that contained her crochet thread and needle. When she would sit down, she would pick up whatever she was working on and go to work. Her dresses were made on an old treadle sewing machine that I spent hours pumping as a child. That machine sits in my living room now and each time I look at it, I think of Nanny and the hours I watched her sew. My Mother was a seamstress at heart. She had 3 girls and sewed all of our clothes. She made our school clothes, prom dresses, wedding dresses and whatever was needed. This was all done at night after working a full time job. I can remember as a child, getting a doll for Christmas from Santa and seeing that Santa had made clothes for her out of fabric just like some of Mother’s dresses. I was so proud that Santa had done that. I found out years later that “Santa” had stitched all of those clothes on her lunch hour, by hand. As I grew up, I wanted so much to have “store bought” clothes. I just thought they were so much better. Never did I stop and think of the hours my Mother put in making all of those clothes for us after working all day. I didn’t appreciate her talent until I reached high school and wanted prom dresses and school dresses made just so. I could tell her what I wanted and it would be just like I saw in my mind. Never could I have gone to a store and gotten such perfection.

As I grew up and left home, I received a very much treasured Simplicity sewing machine from Granny. I didn’t have much money to spend on fabric so I would use whatever I could find. I’d scrimp and buy yarn to crochet something or yarn for knitting sweaters, fabric for making whatever I could put together. I made all of my clothes and couldn’t bring myself to spend the money for “store bought” knowing that I could make them so much cheaper. When I turned 25, I bought my first machine, a Singer, that I used for 20 years. Along the way, I learned to quilt. I loved working with the fabrics and sitting for hours quilting them by hand. Then I saw machine embroidery. I bought a Husqvarna 1+ and used it for several years before upgrading to a Designer 1. I still have that machine and have made many quilts and clothes for myself, and all members of the family, including the guys. I’m now using it only for clothing and sometimes will use a decorative stitch to bind some of the baby quilts I make. I bought a Brother PR600 embroidery machine several years ago that is used for all of my embroidery and a Juki to use on a frame that only lasted about a year before moving up to a Nolting Fun Quilter. The Juki is now used to piece all of the quilts I make while the FQ is used for all of the quilting. I no longer hand quilt since I can’t stand having the quilt on me anymore (get too hot). But that doesn’t mean that one day, I won’t go back to that. The love of quilting came from my Nanny and my great grandmothers on my Dad’s side. Although I never saw them quilt, I have slept under many of the utility quilts made before I came along. I also have quilts that have been saved from my great grandmother on my Dad’s side.

So, the point of this is that we all inherit something from our relatives. I was fortunate enough to inherit the love of working with my hands with fabric, yarn, or whatever. I bless my grandmothers and mother for giving me this cherished love. Hopefully, somewhere in the future, I will be able to pass along my love to others. Our daughter isn’t interested yet but there is still hope. I have passed my love on to one of my nieces and our daughter is expecting a baby girl this summer that will hopefully be inspired enough by all of her grandmothers to want to pick up a needle down the line.

My quilts will never be the works of art I see so many making but there is a lot of love that goes into each stitch. This love has saved my sanity for years and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Granny and Nanny sitting in heaven stitching away. I’m fortunate that Mother is still with us and at 86 still does hand work.

Thank you Ronda, Carol, and Anita for making me stop and think of the great things I inherited from my grandmothers and mother that I too can hopefully pass on to someone else one day.

Happy Quilting!

A Disappointing Morning

March 3, 2008

I was scheduled to work at the local quilt shop today and tomorrow. When I went to bed last night, it was raining and when I set out to take my 11 year old to the bus, realized that the crossing was flooding and we couldn’t get out. I was so looking forward to spending 2 days stroking fabric. The down side to my working there is I always come home with fabric, that unfortunately, sits on my shelves waiting for me to do something with.

This week has just been a disappointing week for me. I hurried and put a quilt together last weekend that I was looking forward to quilting. I got it on the frame and couldn’t decide what to do with it. I finally used some of my new stencils and still couldn’t decide what to do with the rest of the quilt. I also had some tension issues that ended up ruining the quilt as far as I’m concerned. I used chalk to get the stencils marked on the fabric and ended up washing the finished quilt to get it out…another disappointment. I probably need to do this more often (washing the finished quilts) to see how they look. Seeing this quilt after the washing, I’m going to be doing more quilting on the future quilts to hopefully eliminate some of the wrinkled look that happens when I don’t do as much quilting. This also brings forward the debate of washing fabric before piecing. I’ve seldom washed fabric because I have so much of it that it would take months to get it all washed and then ironed and put away. Plus, my sewing room is filled to the gills so there is little room to spread out without getting birdseed, feathers, or cat hair on the freshly washed fabric. I guess I could move my ironing board to the living room but that would take even more effort to get it out of the sewing room. So, I guess I’ll just quilt more and not wash my fabrics unless absolutely necessary. Plus, quilting more just gives me more practice.

Here are some pictures of the recent quilt that I unfortunately don’t like now. I guess this will go into the charity pile.

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I’m also having some tension problems. I had it on this quilt and thanks to Michelle Wyman, got them resolved before finishing. The next quilt, I used King Tut with Bottom Line in the bobbin. I had about 1/3 of the quilt quilted when I started seeing problems. I adjusted and adjusted on the tension but it continued. So, I decided to frog all that I had done and switch to another thread. I’ve never had problems using the King Tut with Sew Fine in the bobbin but continually have the problems with Bottom Line. So, I guess I’m going to try to find another varigated thread to use when I have to use Bottom Line to match the back fabric. I’ve used the Maxi-Lock Swirls thread but am uneasy about how this thread will hold up over the long run. I’m going to use it on this quilt I’m working on since I have nothing else to try. If anyone has any suggestions for a new kind of thread, please let me know.

Here’s wishing you a happy quilting day!