Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Each year, I sign up with Rosie's Calico Cupboard to quilt for Camp Reach for the Sky. The camp is for children with cancer (they also do a camp for children with siblings who have cancer). Each child who attends either camp receives a quilt of their own to keep. I commit to quilting 12 quilts a year for the children and I donate the batting for them. I try to bind as many as time allows also, although they do have a group of women who bind quilts for them. I pulled out the quilt tops and backings today and found this one which I am posting because I thought it was very unique. I love the way the blocks are all curvy, I thought it was a very cute quilt! It was all made with oriental fabric.
Amy, thanks for telling me how to do links...it worked! :o)
I plan to do one or two more charity quilts before taking on the customer quilt which was just dropped off. That way I can send them to Rosie in California in small batches...it's very expensive to send them all at once, and the box weighs a ton!
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
This batik star quilt is one I started as a block of the month when I worked at a quilt shop a few years ago. I added a lot of my own fabrics, bought the outer border and backing and finished the top about 2 months ago. I quilted it this week and hand stitched the binding down last night while watching "Holiday Inn" with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. They just don't make movies like that anymore!
I've included a close up of the quilting...I had lots of fun with this one. But...here's my dilemma. My original plan was to join Keepsake Quilting's club and send this up to NH to be sold. Does anyone have any experience with this? The problem is, I LOVE how it turned out and I'm not sure I want to do that anymore! :o) I've been to Keepsake and they have many beautiful quilts on consignment. I've found that as a machine quilter, I've really missed piecing tops (I'm not as organized as Bonnie and Judy...can't seem to fit in piecing time, although maybe the part time job and 3 kids have something to do with that! LOL) I thought selling quilts through Keepsake would be a good way to keep making quilts from start to finish and maybe I could quilt fewer customer quilts. I'll have to think on that. Time to head to work...
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Here is one more little Christmas quilt I had laying around. I hadn't found a home for it yet, so it was sitting in my sewing room. I think it will be going on my kitchen table now that I've gotten it out!
Thank you, everyone, for your opinions on my log cabin quilt. Last night I finished the top, up to the inner border. I had planned on having it done before my son got home from college for winter break...until he told me he'd be home tomorrow! This morning I hope to get the last border on and will put it on the longarm tonight. I think I'll just meander it since it will be a utility quilt and get a lot of use and laundering. Oh...which setting did I use? Barn raising, of course!!!
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
This is my current project...the log cabin quilt for my son's bedroom. I had forgotten how tedious log cabin blocks are if you are doing them scrappy. I have half of the blocks done and I'm pretty sure that the quilt for the other bed in his room will be made with the same fabrics but in a different pattern! I'm not sure if this will be the final setting of the blocks, once they are all made I will play around with them some more. But, I'm liking this so far. I've also been taking the short pieces of strips and sewing them into four patch blocks. I'm thinking I'll set them on point in a strippy setting and see how they look. They would also make nice centers for sawtooth stars. Guess I'll need to think on that a while longer!
I'm heading back upstairs to sew...it's been such fun this weekend!
Saturday, December 10, 2005
The tree is finally decorated, I took pictures and realized that I have to iron the tree skirt and get it under there...I guess I'll post a picture of that tomorrow!
Today was a nice day. This morning while my daughter was at karate I finished wrapping all of the gifts. Yeah! Once she came home and we had lunch, we headed to our local animal shelter www.awanj.org where we volunteer for about an hour a week. Today was their annual open house. Grace went into the community cat room and played with the kitties while trying to convince people to adopt them. I floated around the shelter and helped people who needed help. We have some beautiful animals there who really need good homes. Several cats went home today, as well as one dog. Many of the other animals had applications put in for them today and once they're processed they should be going home too.
As for yesterday's quilting...I did manage to make about 11 more log cabin blocks and cut lots more 2" strips from some old fqs. I'm heading back upstairs now to sew more blocks, I'll post pictures of my progress tomorrow along with the tree skirt.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Well...not only can I browse online now, I can put in requests for books and they will call me when they're available! This is the most wonderful thing...today I got a call that two books I had requested over the weekend were in and I could pick them up. All I had to do was go there, card in hand, and ask for them. Voila, they were in my hands with no time wasted! The other nice part is when friends tell me what books they have read and recommend, I can go right to the website, put the book on hold and pick it up when it's in. We have about 6 or so libraries connected, so often I'll go to the local branch to get a book and it's not there. Now that's not a problem...
Okay, I know I get excited over the little things, but this is great! :o)
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
The last customer quilt for the year is finished, now it's time to relax! This customer has done several yellow and blue quilts and they are all gorgeous. This one got an all over feathery meander.
Because of all of the previous posts, I was thinking about how I accumulated my little stash. Shortly after I started quilting, I found out about Sweet Treats from the Pincushion Boutique in California. http://www.sweettreat.com/index2.html
I subscribed for about a year and got the most delicious sets of 8 FQs every month. Around the time I started with those, my husband started traveling quite a bit. Whenever he came across a quilt shop and had time to stop, he would go in and buy me bundles of FQs. After awhile I had too many FQs and I convinced him to buy me half yards. :o) I would also occasionally go into a quilt shop myself and pick up what I needed...always buying more than the project required, so I'd have extra to add to my stash.
About 7 years ago, we moved from Long Island, NY back to NJ. I still don't buy much fabric, but I love to take my husband to the quilt shops with me because he will push me to buy more than I would myself! He still travels and buys me fabric and about a year ago, I signed up for the Sweet Treats again because it was time to replenish my stash of FQs. I'm now trying to use up some of my older fabric so I can replace it.
We never did manage to get the string of lights on the tree lit, so we just bought another string and put it in the dark spot. We now have the silver garland on it and will enjoy it for a few days before the ornaments go on. Once I finish the Christmas cards and gift wrapping, my time will be my own again and I can quilt...guess I should get off the computer and get busy!
Saturday, December 03, 2005
So now you know what I've been busy doing the past few days! The stockings are hung, the decorations are up and the tree is up. HOWEVER...two years ago we bought a prelit tree after Christmas. We'd love to have a real one, but my daughter is allergic to them. So, we got this lovely tree, put it up last year and managed to get it lit with no problems. We pulled it out today and there is a strand of lights out. I've wiggled and jiggled the wires and bulbs, but there is still darkness in the pine. What do I do? Replace every bulb? Test a bulb in each socket? Prelit trees are wonderful when they work, but there is something to be said for testing the lights BEFORE they go on the tree! Oh well, I'll figure it out, or I'll go buy a strand of white lights and fill in! Decorating the tree is at a standstill until the light issue is solved. Oh...the stockings are all counted cross stitch except for mine which is crewel work. I made mine before I had a hubby or kids. I also made them before I started quilting and even though they are very juvenile, I'm not allowed to make new ones. They want THEIR stockings. :o)
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Back in July my neighbor had twins. I had to make them little quilts, but couldn't decide what to do. Then I dug through my orphan blocks and found these which were leftovers from an online swap. Perfect! I made these two little quilts, using almost all stash fabrics (I had to buy backing fabrics) and had them all finished when the twins arrived.
A year and a half before the twins were born, she had another little girl, so I made this quilt for her. And of course, I couldn't leave her 8 year old sister out when I made this one, so she got a quilt too. I love this Lucky Star quilt, it was so bright and pretty!
Bonnie, thanks for the vacation rental site, I've bookmarked it and we may look into renting a place next year. I don't know where, but the cabin you are going to looks wonderful!
Friday, November 25, 2005
I've just gone through everyone's blogs and love the things that you have done today! Finn, your little quilt is the sweetest thing and I love how you used the leis...what a great idea. I tend to toss a lot of smallish scraps, guess I'll need to hang on to the now. Bonnie, I'm partial to the layout with the black blocks in the center with the grays and blacks and blocks on point. I felt that the orange and blue backgrounds overpowered the pieced blocks.
I've been diligently working on a customer's quilt today. Okay, maybe not diligently...I've taken lots of breaks to sit by the fire, read and drink tea. I've been sick for the last week and the doctor put me on antibiotics on Tuesday. I feel much better, but I'm very tired and yesterday just wiped me out! I tried to relax a bit today.
Since I never made it up to my sewing room, I thought I'd share a picture of a baby quilt I made for a friend's little girl when she was born almost a year ago. I made a quilt for her older brother too (he's not quite 2) and it seems that I'll be making baby quilt number 3 in May. I used up a stack of fat quarters and made the whole thing from my stash. Does stashbusting a year ago count? :o) This is one of my most favorite quilts I've made...I think I might remake it from my scraps and keep it for myself!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
My current attempt to bust stash is laying on my sewing room table.
I've cut most of my Thimbleberries (and similar) fabrics into 2.5" strips and plan to make 2 log cabin quilts from them, for the beds in my son's room. So far I've managed to make 6 blocks...I guess it will be a long, cold winter for him if I don't get moving faster! This is the progress I've made so far. I'm pleased with how they're turning out...just need to find more time to make them! Maybe in this stashbusters group we can share ideas on how to squeeze more hours out of the day? :o)
Friday, November 18, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Back 10 years ago, we were living on Long Island in NY. We had an Irish Setter and I used to board dogs. One friend had an Irish Setter that I boarded...they also had a cabin in Vermont. We borrowed the cabin several times for vacation and on our trips there we would stop in a little quilt store. That's where my husband picked out most of these flannels. Others were obtained in internet swaps. He was so proud of himself for choosing the flannels and going into quilt stores that I knew I had to use them for a quilt for him. Of course, he is the one person who never uses the quilt...when he wants it, one of the kids has usually claimed it! In this picture, Sam sat down on it the second I laid it out...smart dog! He's been shaved since the last time I posted a picture of him...he looks like a different dog.
So, there's one of my quilts...the next one I post will probably be the one you can see peeking out on the arm of the loveseat!
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I've been thinking a great deal about the changes to the Mavericks. When I joined, not so long ago, I enjoyed the easy cameraderie amongst the members and how, with our own little differences, we were all basically on the same journey with our quilting. As new members were added, although I love art quilts, I was losing interest in many of the blogs and would skip right past them, unless they focused on their lives or quilts...not their quest to be quilt artists. There were a few I enjoyed immensely, but those I've kept links for and can visit them. Change can be a difficult thing, but sometimes it is necessary. As Judy and Darcie stated, if my blog becomes too non-quilt related or if I suddenly become an art quilter (which I doubt will happen!) I'd like my blog to be in the right place. If the Mavericks is not the place, I can handle it. But for now...I don't want to be anywhere else than here!
Friday, November 11, 2005
These are the last roses of summer...I'll miss them when they're gone! The first is a Queen Elizabeth rose and the second is a Rio Samba, which is my favorite. The buds are yellow with red edges, they open up to yellow and red, then fade to this soft pink with yellow. At any time the bush will have yellow, red and pink roses...it's just beautiful! Nothing quilty has happened in my house this week. I emptied my son's large bedroom, painted it sage green and moved my 11 year old daughter into it and out of her "babyish" room. Then I painted her old room a cream color (although I did leave her blue ceiling with the sponged clouds on it...I just couldn't paint over it!) and moved my son's things in there. I put 2 beds in it, just in case he wants to bring a friend home from college. Both rooms turned out very nicely, although now I have to make 2 quilts for my son's room instead of one! I'm hoping to finish cleaning up from painting, etc., make a quick cleaning run through the house and get started on those quilts later today. I've cut 2" strips for log cabin quilts so they should go pretty quickly...I hope!
Sunday, November 06, 2005
While wandering through the antique shops in the next town yesterday, we came upon this little treasure and I had to take it home with me! The tag said, "Circa 1890" and the fabrics do look like they're from that era...pinks, browns, blues and greens, set in an on point rail fence pattern, and hand quilted in a half inch grid. It was just too pretty (and reasonable priced!) to pass up!
Here is a close up...
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Surprisingly, I'm not nearly as sad as I thought I'd be. I'm actually kind of relieved and I'm not sure why. I loved the lake house with all its quirks. I loved the idea of a studio separate from the house. But then again...I love my new kitchen with its barn red walls, maple cabinets and granite countertops. I love my little sewing room. I think putting this house on the market made me see how charming it is and how much work we've put into it. So, although I'm sad that there won't be a lake in my backyard, I'm happy that I'll be in this house. And I'm also happy that there won't be any more showings and my house can looked lived in again! :o)
Sunday, October 30, 2005
I thought I'd share pictures of my little sewing room where I do my piecing, etc. The longarm is set up in my living room and my little sewing room is upstairs where I can hide away.
Here is my sewing table and my pathetic little stash. Surprisingly, I usually manage to find what I need there. There are also some larger pieces of fabric in my grandmother's desk which is in the photo, one drawer full. Then there is an entire drawer full of t-shirts which I hope to make into quilts some day! The next picture is my design wall. It is a really cheap and kind of sticky blanket that I got at WalMart years ago for $4. The quilt on the wall is one that I had started several years ago and with the inspiration from your blogs, finally finished, except for the borders. They'll be my next project! I put the borders on a batik star quilt yesterday and will get pictures of that up soon.
This last picture is of one of our dogs, Samuel Adams, affectionately known as Sam. Except for last night when he barked from 4:15am until 8am. I won't tell you what his name was then, but I'm sure you can imagine! We adopted him from a local shelter over the summer and he's been a delight somedays and a pain on others. He doesn't remember what housebreaking is from one day to the next and he's a little crazy man at times. But then, he never leaves my side and is always at my feet when I sew, so it's nice to have him around. Now...why was it not such a good week? As I've mentioned, our house is on the market. Yes, I hope to give up my cute little sewing room! We got an offer last Saturday, the buyers were very excited. We agreed on a price, set a date for settlement and drew up contracts. When it came time for them to sign on the dotted line, they didn't do it. They need to think about it for awhile. Apparently, 6 days later, they're still thinking. Everything is up in the air and it's driving me crazy. Today we had another open house and now there is another family interested in the house, but they will need to sell their house, etc., which the first buyers didn't. That's if the new people even make an offer. I'm just getting very frustrated with this whole process...I think selling a house is one of the least pleasant things in the world to have to do. Think I'll go load a quilt and get my mind off of it! :o)
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Sometimes a quilt can be on my machine for weeks, other times they can take hours. This quilt is another customer's handiwork. I've always loved Snail's Trails quilts and this one was particularly striking. The contrast was beautiful and the piecing was precise. Another wonderful quilt to work on.
Today I saw that Karen McTavish was going to be on Simply Quilts and even though I've seen this episode before, I had to watch. She is truly an artist. The thing that really struck me was that she said it takes her about 10 days to do a wholecloth from conception to completion. TEN DAYS!!! It would take me years! I'm trying to design a panto to use on a customer's quilt and it's taking me forever. Maybe someday....but for now I'm very happy doing what I do!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I love quilting for customers. It allows me to stretch my imagination, play with fabric and thread and actually see almost finished quilts...a stage my quiltmaking rarely takes me to. Sometimes, for various reasons I run late with customer quilts, but for the most part, everyone is wonderful about it. The customers who created the quilts below are no exception...I'm truly blessed to have the customers I do!
For the past 2 weeks I've been working on this quilt. It's a paper pieced New York Beauty. It is the most elaborately pieced quilt I've ever seen. Every block was different and it had some of the tiniest points I've ever seen. Since I rarely do pantographs (the laser gives me migraines) I do mostly custom quilting. This quilt just screamed for it! So I quilted...for hours and hours and hours. Then I quilted some more. I finally finished it last night. It's incredible. When the customer picked it up today, she said she was going to display it with the back up, so everyone could see the quilting. I was touched. I thought the back was amazing too! :o) So here are a few pictures...
Then there are other quilts which are just as beautiful and only need a simple treatment because the quilt design is so strong. Such is the next quilt I did. I meandered it all over and the design stands out...not the quilting. Here is a picture of that one...
Like I said, I feel blessed to have such talented customers who make my work such a pleasure. And I only have 8 more quilts before I'm done for Christmas...and 3 on the waiting list IF I get done in time! We're still waiting to see what happens to our house, so I don't want to book too much in advance, just in case we're moving. I have to admit, it's been about 8 weeks and we're getting discouraged...it seems the housing market in our area is slowing down. Now we're worried the house won't sell, so we dropped the price a bit and we'll see if that generates any interest. And that's it for now...think it's time to hit the hay!
Monday, October 17, 2005
This is the best of show quilt. It's called "Mitosis" and you probably can't see it but there is an X and a Y in the black circles in the corners. The lady who made this was VERY creative! I used my Circle Lord to make designs in most of the circles, using a bright variegated thread. There are also "rainbows" in the black background connecting the outside circles. The background was stippled in black.
Next is the Best of Show ribbon, then the Best Bed Quilt ribbon. Sure wish I could get the pictures to go where I want them...Blogger is being very touchy for me this morning!
Saturday turned out to be one of the GOOD days! The skies cleared, it was breezy and cool and there was a quilt show! My guild, the Berry Basket Quilters of Medford, NJ, had their bi-annual show. Every time they have it I think I'm going to actually finish something to enter, but haven't yet! Fortunately, a few of my customers do enter. Including this one...who won Best of Show! I've never quilted a Best of Show quilt so I'm VERY excited. This is the quilt, hanging in the show. It was called "Mitosis". One thing that upset me at the show was that NONE of the machine quilters were credited for their work. It was an oversight, as one of the husbands volunteered to type up the tags that hung on the quilts and he didn't include that information. They did ask for that information on the entry forms. I spoke to a few people and by the time I left, my business cards were on the quilts I had quilted and they were laying on a table in the entry for people to pick up. I guess it's true, the squeaky wheel gets oiled! I'll post pictures of the quilt once Blogger lets me do it...
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Yesterday I finished the binding on this beautiful quilt. A woman contacted me back in July and asked me about finishing a quilt that either her mother or grandmother had made many years ago. It was mostly pieced by hand and looks to be from the forties. The workmanship on it was beautiful and even after so many years (and bias edges!) the quilt lay almost perfectly flat. I provided backing, batting and binding and finished this family heirloom for her. I used my "King Clam" template for my Circle Lord and did clamshells over the whole top. It is such a beautiful quilt...I hope she loves it like I do!
And Finn...since you asked so nicely, here is a picture of the souvenir I came home with. I got 2 yards of this pretty little print. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but it was just too pretty to pass up. I'll just add it to the stash until it tells me what project it wants to go in!
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
On Friday morning, we got the girls off to school, then were off to the airport to fly to Providence. We picked up our rental car and drove to Newport. There is nothing like the smell of the ocean, bright blue skies and no one making demands on you for relaxation! We wandered around town (stopping frequently at Starbucks, of course!), drove along Bellevue Drive to see the mansions (even toured one of them), drove along Ocean Drive to see, well, the ocean, took a winery tour and tasting (THAT was nice!), shopped, visited a Harvest Fair at the Norman Bird Sanctuary and even found a little quilt shop to visit where I had to leave with a souvenier! We hated to come home and back to reality...so I'm just going to keep looking at the pictures of the adirondack chairs above and pretend I'm sitting in one!
On Sunday, before we headed back to reality, we had lunch at a wonderful restaurant and had a seat right next to the railing of their porch. We sat and ate our lobster salads while looking over the harbor, watching the sailboats come and go. This picture was my last view of the harbor before we left. I hope that it's not another 20 years before we can sneak away again! Yesterday was spent cleaning up the mess of the weekend, vacuuming, doing laundry and putting binding on a customer quilt. Today I'll be back at my long arm...which is where I should be now!